Friday, October 20, 2017


(Intensively reworked from a 2012 post.)

I don't mean to sound bitter.  I know times are tough & there are many people who can't find work, no matter how hard they try.  They are forced to panhandle. THEY NEED YOUR GENEROSITY TO SURVIVE!!  Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, there are others who could work but have decided to take advantage of our generosity & our gullibility, instead.  It can be very difficult, if not impossible to tell the difference.  I am wary when I hand a couple of bucks to someone on the street.

There was one time when I had no problem seeing through a scam.  I was sitting on a freeway off ramp, waiting for the signal to change so I could turn onto the boulevard.  There was a guy with a sign that said something like, "Hungry--please help--God bless".  The problem, as I saw it, was that he handed the sign to another guy & left.  I assumed his shift was over.  I didn't donate to either of them.

Here are some other examples of questionable panhandling:

Jose & Carlos are panhandling at the freeway off ramp.
Jose drives a Mercedes, lives in a mortgage free house & has a lot of money to spend.
Carlos brings in only two to three dollars a day.
He asks Jose how he can bring home a suitcase full of ten dollar bills every day.
Jose says, "Look at your sign.  It says, 'I have no work, a wife & 6 kids to support'.  Nobody cares."
Carlos looks at Jose's sign.  It says, "I only need another $10.00 to move back to Mexico."

A man came out of a convenience store the other day & some seedy looking guy walks up to him & holds up a little sign: "DEAF & MUTE  Can you spare $10?" WOW!! $10!! What happened to a dollar or two?  So he reached into his pocket for his wallet, opened it, took out a folded piece of paper & handed it to him.  It said, "I can't read"--& he walked away.

Some others I would think twice before donating to:

This could have been one of the guys I saw:

These deserve something for their ingenuity:


And it's not just people:

The light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off due to budget cuts.  Please leave a comment, anyway----fishducky


Thursday, October 19, 2017


I don't think this would work.

This is probably not a good idea, either.

You'd be better off in one of these!!

The invention of hot air ballooning (Wikipedia):

The modern era of flight lifted off in 1783 when two brothers demonstrated their invention, the hot-air balloon, before a crowd of dignitaries in Annonay, France. Joseph-Michael and Jacques-Ètienne Montgolfier, prosperous paper manufacturers (a high-tech industry at the time), began experimenting with lighter-than-air devices after observing that heated air flowing directed into a paper or fabric bag made the bag rise. After several successful tests, they decided to make a public demonstration.

The Montgolfier brothers built a balloon made of silk and lined with paper that was 33 feet (10 meters) in diameter and launched it — with nobody aboard — from the marketplace in Annonay on June 4, 1783. The balloon rose 5,200-6,600 feet (1,600-2,000 meters), stayed aloft for 10 minutes and traveled more than a mile — about 2 kilometers.

Word of their success quickly spread, and a demonstration for the king was planned. For this flight, the brothers enlisted the help of Jean-Baptiste Réveillion, a successful wallpaper manufacturer. They constructed a balloon about 30 feet (9 meters) in diameter made of taffeta and coated with a varnish of alum for fireproofing. Réveillion's influence was apparent as the balloon was decorated with golden flourishes, zodiac signs, and suns (symbolizing King Louis XVI).
There was some concern about the effects of high altitude on living beings. The king proposed a test using prisoners, but the Montgolfiers instead suspended a basket below the balloon containing a sheep, a duck, and a rooster. It was actually a scientifically sound idea. The sheep's physiology was thought to be similar to a human's. The high-flying duck was unlikely to be harmed, so it was used as a control. The rooster was included as a further control because while it was also a bird, it did not fly at high altitudes.
The balloon and its passengers lifted off on Sept. 19, 1783. The flight lasted 8 minutes and was witnessed by King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and a crowd of 130,000. The balloon flew about 2 miles (3.2 km) and landed safely.
The Montgolfiers' next step was to put a person in the basket. On Oct. 15, 1783, they launched a balloon on a tether with Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, a chemistry and physics teacher, aboard. He stayed aloft for almost four minutes.

A reproduction of the Montgolfier's balloon.

The history of fishducky's hot air ballooning: 

My first attempt at hot air ballooning happened about thirty plus years ago.  My friend Helen & I were in the Napa Valley on a wine tasting vacation.  They were offering balloon rides for about $10.00.  Helen was afraid & declined, but I'll try anything.  (If it were possible, I would have been on the space shuttle!!)  The morning I selected was very windy.  I was first into the big square basket, like the one in the cartoon picture above.  I doubt that I could have flown like the guy in the first picture.  Another dozen or so people got in.  At that point there was a huge gust of wind, toppling our balloon & basket. In my direction.  On me.  I was at the bottom of a heap of people. Very uncomfortable!!  Our pilot then decided it was too windy to fly that day & I agreed.  Some other balloons had taken off earlier.  You cannot really steer a balloon.  One of that morning's flights ended up landing in a swimming pool.  Score: Balloon 1, fishducky 0.

About five years later, Bud & I were in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Our son Matt was assistant travel secretary for the San Francisco Giants.  We decided to join him & his new wife to see the Giants' spring training.  My daughter-in-law Linda & I wanted to go on a balloon ride while we were there. Our husbands weren't interested.  We had a much smaller basket this time.  It probably would have held six people but the only ones aboard were Linda, me & the pilot.  We flew early in the morning.  It was clear & sunny & the wind was calm with just a breeze.  It was marvelous!!  I have a fear of heights, but I didn't feel it there.  There was no real feeling of speed because we were moving at exactly the same speed as the wind.  It was dead quiet & we were floating above the fields, the cattle & the people below.  There is no feeling I can think of that would match it. Score: Balloon 1, fishducky 1 (& I'd love to make that 2)!!

If you ever have the opportunity to go to a hot air balloon show 
you'll see this spectacular view:

As I recall our balloon was relatively plain, but they are made in a variety of designs with cartoon characters & advertising being very popular.  
Here are some examples:

This is a hot rare balloon.
Talk about high steaks!!