A Page From My Playbook

It pains me greatly to pay full price for anything not tied down.

Without light, we can't see anything.

Perhaps uncoincidentally, the literal translation of "professor" is "one who leads others out of the darkness"

How come we often refer to a car's transmission as a tranny, but not other words with the prefix "trans," like "translation," "trans-Atlantic, or "transport"? Why do we save that particular locution for transsexuals? What happens when a transsexual needs its transmission worked on? Most confusing...

You know what? I just did some fact-checking on "professor," and it doesn't seem to mean that at all. Damn.

But light is still pretty friggin' important. And if you're lost, well, you'd need leading out.

So what do we call those guys?

Pauses and reflects for a moment. Meanwhile, "Blackbird" plays on the author's "Steely Dan" Pandora radio channel.

How about "The Beatles?" We could call them that... does Google image search for "Blackbird."

No, not that Blackbird, dummy. Funnily enough, though, this image is by far the best known shot of Lockheed's air-breaking Cold War spyplane, the SR-71. The CIA used it first, but we don't talk about that, when what the CIA flies these days is so more shocking and awe-full...

I happen to know that this is one of the best shots of the Lockheed SR-71 because I coincidentally happen to have edited a book on combat planes for Popular Mechanics.... No, really!

It's an interesting thing to do a generalist book on warplanes when one is ostensbly a pacafist. Basically, I learned a hell of a lot about the 40 planes featured in the book -- a greatest hits, if you will, of warplanes from WWI to 2001. Most of that knowledge has since drained out of my head, but not this: That shot of the Blackbird, above? It's actually one of their training aircraft -- the secondary, raised canopy is for an instructor. For a warplane, the SR-71 was pretty benign -- although they allegedly tested a fighter version, all it did operationally was to snap photos, but at unimaginably fast speeds. I particularly like its design -- like the marriage a giant flatworm and massive jet engines. It has an undeniable beauty.

I'd like to take this time to thank Judy Clark of Dewey, Oklahoma, who reviewed our book on Amazon.

Apparently, her grandson liked the book. Warfare aside, it's nice to be appreciated.