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Everything posted by bellyboy

  1. Nah Mate, Yank lavs are much better than the ones in Blighty - If I ever move back to the UK I'll be making a point of shipping a proper toilet or two and a bunch of mounting flanges with wax rings so I can convert, even if I have to drop the pipe out to the vented stack so it comes in between the floors. Now if we were talking heaters/combi-boilers I'd be able to back you up as a fellow Brit (because they ARE 100 years behind in that department), but I'm afraid that in the game of toilets, the USA wins. Oh, as for the original post: If the plumber were telling the truth I'd have had to replace my toilet a dozen times. It might not be pleasant if the aftershave's wrapped in a poo blanket by now, but it's not that tough to remove it. I have a cat called Zebadee, Boing...
  2. Abolutely with you Jakee - as a former UK resident and holder of a burgundy as well as dark-blue passport, I can back you up on the 'you can't own a gun in the UK' thing. One might not be able to easily own a firearm but it is possible, legal and I've done it in the UK. For those interested in pure thought approaches to why we are here, and why what we see is seemingly just perfect for our needs (y'know, the sort of thing which makes people think there might be a god), I suggest reading something on the anthropic pricinple (starting with the weak version, which is a truism by any standard although it asserts nothing). Whilst occasionally hijacked by creationists and manipulated to support their arguments, it is an excellent starting point for a rational discussion on the subject. Also, the excellent book 'The Goldilocks Enigma' by Paul Davies goes to great lengths to explore the matter fairly, giving mind to theists as well as non-theists in the exploration of the nature of existence. If you don't own a copy you're missing out, whichever side of the theism fence you sit on. I rest.
  3. Because THIS is the sort of stuff religion tends to cause: Or this, from the other camp:
  4. Oh calm down dude, you sound like an atheist version of Rush Limbaugh. None of it matters, seriously - if it gets too bad those of us who think will eventually be able to get ironic asylum in Brazil, Europe or Australia on the basis of possible persecution for lack of religious beliefs - that'll leave the dwindling population of morons bahaving like villagers from the middle ages, slowly devolving into flat-earthers and witch burners. Eventually we'll be able to return and take the land because they'll have all starved to death. Actually, I'm quite enjoying this little vision of the future, bring on the exodus!
  5. "I don't want my tax dollars going to fund abortions." ... Why not? It'll stop "ghetto dwelling welfare moms" from overbreeding and creating yet more ghetto kids who go on to sponge off welfare. Overall, it's a bargain and seems like it's logically the fiscally conervative route - I'm confused. Morals aside, this seems like a no-brainer, and I'm assuming morals are put aside for the people who oppose healthcare reform, because they are ironically allowing this sort of thing to happen by living in their temporarily perfect little worlds:
  6. Agreed- 'Promote' it is, but as Bill Von notes, only in the preamble... Interestingly though, does not doing something about organized price gouging 'Promote' the well being of the people? I suppose you could argue that Government has no place preventing such abuses, but then I would think you might logically nullify most of the sociological advances our country has seen in the last 80 years, undo the premise for an oganized police force and make room for re-establishment of Mafia-style rule. I feel like Jane Goodall sometimes in this country.
  7. "and a business passes the cost to the consumers-that's how we stay in business. I'm sorry you're poor-but don't take it out on me, go earn more" Erm, I'm NOT poor. In fact this does affect me because I make enough to qualify for the additional taxes but I worked a damnned sight harder when I was making less money than I do now and I realize there are plenty of people I still depend upon who NEED this legislation to get insurance. If you're short sighted enough to hurt the people you depend upon then I pity you the poverty of your imagination. And as for business passing on the costs to consumers, I agree. That's why this is there - there is NO reason for a healthcare plan to cost what the 'Cadillac' plans cost, consumers will have reason to move elsewhere if those companies 'offering' such plans pass on the cost, reinvigorating the market forces we rely upon for your economic premise to be valid. This is of paramount importance for you to be able to compete equitably in the pursuit of the American dream - without someone (read Government) to prevent organized monopolies you will soon find yourself either party to one or the victim of one. Remember the Constitution contains, in it's preamble the commitment to ensure the general welfare of it's constituents, where welfare is defined as n. 1. health, happiness, or prosperity; well-being
  8. Fair enough, I can understand why someone with a massive investment income making over $250k might feel a little miffed about this, but they DO have to remember that the extra taxes only apply to the income they make OVER $250k, not the bit up to and including $250k (which is quite a bit of money...). You will note also that the tax on 'Cadillac' plans is on the insurnace companies, not on the consumers. This is commonly known as 'The invisible hand of the market', where if those cheeky buggers put up your premium, you have the option of going to another plan and force that company to reduce it's premiums. Come to think of it - that's pretty conservative and capitalist isn't it, not really what you'd call lefty... So, to recap - Rich people will have a tiny slice of their investment income taxed (boo-hoo), and what amounted to an organized Monopoly with price fixing has been broken up. Sounds like a pretty balanced plan in terms of left/right to me. I also note that healthcare insurance company stocks didn't exactly plummet on the news
  9. OK, a few facts would seem to be in order to dispel the bollocks which abounds in these debates, fuelled by Beck et al. Here's the bill distilled for those too lazy to read it before commenting (and yes - it's a matter of public record so you can read it if you want to, I suggest you take a few law classes first though or you'll get lost in the language):- Coverage: Would expand coverage to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured. Health Insurance Exchanges: The uninsured and self-employed would be able to purchase insurance through state-based exchanges with subsidies available to individuals and families with income between the 133 percent and 400 percent of poverty level. Separate exchanges would be created for small businesses to purchase coverage -- effective 2014. Funding available to states to establish exchanges within one year of enactment and until January 1, 2015. Subsidies: Individuals and families who make between 100 percent - 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and want to purchase their own health insurance on an exchange are eligible for subsidies. They cannot be eligible for Medicare, Medicaid and cannot be covered by an employer. Eligible buyers receive premium credits and there is a cap for how much they have to contribute to their premiums on a sliding scale. Paying for the Plan: Medicare Payroll tax on investment income -- Starting in 2012, the Medicare Payroll Tax will be expanded to include unearned income. That will be a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for families making more than $250,000 per year ($200,000 for individuals). Excise Tax -- Beginning in 2018, insurance companies will pay a 40 percent excise tax on so-called "Cadillac" high-end insurance plans worth over $27,500 for families ($10,200 for individuals). Dental and vision plans are exempt and will not be counted in the total cost of a family's plan. Tanning Tax -- 10 percent excise tax on indoor tanning services. Medicare: Closes the Medicare prescription drug "donut hole" by 2020. Seniors who hit the donut hole by 2010 will receive a $250 rebate. Beginning in 2011, seniors in the gap will receive a 50 percent discount on brand name drugs. The bill also includes $500 billion in Medicare cuts over the next decade. Medicaid: Expands Medicaid to include 133 percent of federal poverty level which is $29,327 for a family of four. Requires states to expand Medicaid to include childless adults starting in 2014. Federal Government pays 100 percent of costs for covering newly eligible individuals through 2016. Illegal immigrants are not eligible for Medicaid. Insurance Reforms: Six months after enactment, insurance companies could no longer denying children coverage based on a preexisting condition. Starting in 2014, insurance companies cannot deny coverage to anyone with preexisting conditions. Insurance companies must allow children to stay on their parent's insurance plans until age 26th. Abortion: The bill segregates private insurance premium funds from taxpayer funds. Individuals would have to pay for abortion coverage by making two separate payments, private funds would have to be kept in a separate account from federal and taxpayer funds. No health care plan would be required to offer abortion coverage. States could pass legislation choosing to opt out of offering abortion coverage through the exchange. Individual Mandate: In 2014, everyone must purchase health insurance or face a $695 annual fine. There are some exceptions for low-income people. Employer Mandate: Technically, there is no employer mandate. Employers with more than 50 employees must provide health insurance or pay a fine of $2000 per worker each year if any worker receives federal subsidies to purchase health insurance. Fines applied to entire number of employees minus some allowances. Immigration: Illegal immigrants will not be allowed to buy health insurance in the exchanges -- even if they pay completely with their own money.
  10. Thanks David - I hadn't woken up enough to have that cross my mind, you're absolutely right, the flour dust could ignite like it has done in flour mills. I suppose I hadn't even considered the possibility they would make the crust there too. I'm a bit thick in the morning...!
  11. Yup, I agree wholeheartedly. Sociologically speaking we have a reasonably coherent understanding of 'liberty' in the US - the right to grumble about government, to vote, to dress however we want etc. The exercise of some of those liberties, however, may be interpreted as a violation of another's liberties (to not see your white hairy ass crack poking out of the top of your sagging pants while shopping in Vile-Mart, for example). In short - there is no 'hard' definintion of liberty (or indeed of democracy - it has several) and therefore no - liberty is not dependent on democracy, in fact one could more robustly argue the opposite, that democracy is dependent on liberty of some sort as a prerequisite for any of it's forms.
  12. I saw that and wondered if the casket would have a crust on it and a tinfoil base or if he'd get a massive cornish pasty shaped one - only joking OK... Really though - what a sad way to go - surrounded by pie filling. Why on earth would a pie factory explode? It says the Police are not treating it as supicious but I'd be pretty cirumspect about eating a pie from there now...
  13. And we've seen in the past that she's a great path to much better things... I have NO idea what Twitter is for - it actually irritates me to think of people spending so much time sharing what they're up to when they could be getting up to it instead. The 'virtualization' of everything is pretty sad really. I'd rather have a shitty real day than a great virtual one anytime. Having said that I'd better log off Dropzone and actually DO something eh?
  14. bellyboy

    pd pulse

    Fair enuff - I'm certainly not going to be winning any pullup competitions anytime soon! I thought it was really good too, Gareth had already 'set' the line attachment points on that first jump so I didn't have to. I shall have to recruit his services to make the first jump on my new canopy so it's ready to go and I know it works! This business with the lines though.... We all know there are some canopies which spank you more than others and which are more sensitive to packing technique. I reckon PD have made something here which opens about as well as you could hope for with NO fancy tricks being played to get it there. Alright, I'm off to the canopy coloring program - it's friday...
  15. bellyboy

    pd pulse

    Yup, no stretch I guess. It does seem that the Pulse is a fine opener though, no nose rolling or stuffing required - in fact it opens great with a flake, quarter and bring the tail around then dump it on the ground. I don't think it's a deal breaker at all given the forgiving nature of the planform but hey - it's ultimately your decision whether you'd rather buy a canopy which opens without needing elastic lines, or you prefer the insurance against being spanked. I'll try the Storm too but I think PD made some good decisions with the Pulse.
  16. bellyboy

    pd pulse

    Vectran lines. Nice, actually - they were easy to stow and felt...solid. I may try the Storm too in the next few weeks but it'll have to be pretty impressive to get my mind/wallet off the Pulse. The packing ease and generally forgiving feel of the Pulse coupled with it's ability to turn quickly has me rather tempted.
  17. bellyboy

    pd pulse

    Yup - jumped serial #34, a 135sqft Pulse this weekend. Loading it at 1.52:1. Opening: Openings very good, on-heading and nicely timed, no long snivel or sudden inflation - just smooth and controlled, beautiful. Ghdiver jumped it too and opened from normal freefall, a full track and a subterminal with fine openings. I expect he will be posting here soon with more info... Flight: Forgiving and fun. Very quick turn initiation for an 'intermediate' canopy and instant roll-out on heading, builds speed surprisingly quickly in turns too. Front riser pressure was, I thought, relatively high (others might disagree but perhaps they get to the gym more than I do...) and riser turns were easy with quick recovery. Landings: Could it get easier? This thing is a breeze to land. I took a straight-in approach and it was great - slow descent rate and very linear toggle response meant a perfect touchdown from the get-go. Ghdiver, who is rather good, swooped it dramatically and even carved 90 degrees through his swoop to a touchdown with a few trotting steps to finish-off, not bad at all for something which could, more lightly loaded, be flown by almost anyone. Packing: I could not be more positive here - this is THE BEST canopy to pack ever. It was a zero-jump canopy when I got it from PD's demo program and yet it practically packed itself, try that with most other new canopies... Pack volume is tiny. If I buy one, and I probably will, I'll need a smalller rig. Think about it though - say you're a new jumper: You could get one of these in a bigger size with a container cut to make it a tight fit and you could probably downsize 2-3 times on the same container. The 135 fitted perfectly into a container sized for a Stiletto 120. Overall: Buy one, now.
  18. bellyboy


    I flew the Nitro 135 this weekend. As a reference my main until now has been a Stiletto 135. Packing: Easy enough, fabric is relatively controllable and the pack volume is fractionally higher than a Stiletto of the same size. The HMA lineset has a tendency to knot up a bit and you have to walk up it slowly to avoid heat build up between them and your hands. Deployment: Crisp opening, nice with very little hunting (I packed with the nose just hanging and the slider quartered and level with the nose). No sudden thump or nasty tendencies at all - this bit is good. Collapsing the slider is a pain in the rear however, requiring at least twice as long as PD's system even after several practices. It's secure, but overkill and seems chunky. Flight: Rear riser input after deployment with brakes set results in nice controllable turns with no problems I could find. Release of the brakes gives an indication of what to expect from here on in - little surge to full flight. Toggle turns are OK, not particularly fast to initiate but build up turn speed to a very good rate, recovery is relatively quick with slight oversteer. Front riser pressure is on the low side of normal, not as low a my ST135 was but it's easy enough to perform a 360 without ripping your arm off. Landings: Easy. The flare is predictable and forgiving loaded at 1.6:1. I landed straight-in and crosswind just fine. The approach is steeper than a Stiletto and the initial flare results in a less rapid transition to level flight, which I imagine would be nice for some folks. Overall impressions: S'alright... It's not a fast canopy at this loading and I think it flies a bit bigger than it's posted size would suggest. If I were Hi-Per I'd ditch the non-cascaded lineset. I'd also prefer a more conventional slider collapsing arrangement but you might like it, who knows? This would be a nice canopy if your requirements met the characteristic advantages - no chance of accidentally inducing line-twists during radical flight, easy landings, crisp openings. It might not be for you if you like sportscar turn initiation. It's horses for courses here and I can't find anything 'wrong' with this canopy at all.
  19. [reply But the SKS isn't saleable in CA either Yes it is. I'll agree it has to have the grenade launcher taken off and something tack welded over the barrel threads if it's a Yugoslavian one but apart from that it's perfectly legal to own one, within the limits imposed on any other long gun. I could postulate he may have used an AK47 with a folding stock as he was able to deliver fatal rounds from a closet (confined space) but does that really matter? What's pertinent here is that he did what he did - the WHY and not the HOW is FAR more important. Clearly Oakland PD have a problem which requires years of work to resolve. As for assertions the Avtomat Kalashnikov of 1947 might have come from Mexico - WTF? I'm not in California, but I fully legally own one I made myself from parts in my garage (it's REALLY easy) so I see no justification for blaming Mexico - after all they get most of theirs from the USA...
  20. bellyboy

    100th jump

    JP, I don't remember you advertising your 300th very much.... At least now I have an aproximation for your 400th , and make sure you keep your logbook out of sight , heh heh! Incidentally my 200th was that naked skyvan load at the Byron Boogie . Needless to say I was a tad reluctant to share THAT I'll never forget the look on the faces of the elderly couple I landed next to ( I was told to land in the camping area to avoid any spectators ) neither of them said a word , they just gawped and held their cameras at half mast , not unlike my rather chilly chap.
  21. Yup , saturday night running around naked on the runway was the first time I've seen all of Lisa's tattoo , classy......
  22. Cornholio , if you're like a greased pig , then what the hell am I after going low on that dive on sunday? I dread to think how fast I was going when I headdowned in my RW suit (when I gave up on getting back up to you and Deuce) , but it felt like a canopy deployment when I went flat again! I must get a protrack so we can have fast ass contests. I think I go fast coz' I weigh 195lbs and am a skinny sod, do you reckon I should eat more lard though?
  23. The fans were pretty well wound up early in the day , but not all that bad , not like some days at Byron . JP was dammned lucky and how the hell he managed to get a flare out of a barely inflated canopy is beyond me , but he was impressive to watch. That happened to me once , over near the ditch , but it collapsed me at about 10 feet , not nearly as scary. Could've been worse though , like if the dust devil had hit on that full , naked skyvan load on sunday , I'm sooo glad I made a clean landing... JP - have you worked out how the hell we managed to stall that tube yet? Perhaps it was a stalling day for you.
  24. I've thought about having it changed to that too but suspect my prospects of getting another job if I lose this one will be much reduced as a direct result . My brother has his changed to 'Tristan Speed' , brilliant! My real name is Edwin , not got quite the same ring ... I like it , but not as much as Fishy. Bizarrely I've now got another name too , Chris DeBar from Bombsquad freefly decided I should be called 'Rollo' , for no apparent reason , although if I ever get pudgy it'll work well......
  25. Nice pic , For my few pennies worth , while we're jumping I'm not sure I really notice what people look like . I do enjoy seeing people who have taken just a little time to look after their image afterwards or before though , in the same way I try to start the day looking reasonably kempt and make some attempt to do the same at the end of it. I hate it when I wake up at the DZ and I look like I've been ten rounds with Taz, whilst I cultivate a sketchy adrenaline junkie look I prefer it to be by design rather than by having spent the night curled up in the back of a Jeep Cherokee. I like women to look like they care about their apearance , because I care about mine. That doesn't mean they have to look like roller skate Barbie , it does mean that they have take just a little time to augment their natural beauty. BTW - Clinique, my ex was a scuba instructor and managed to look like an advertisment for them just after surfacing - gawd only knows what they make it out of though.....and were bunnies hurt in the process? Perhaps squirrels?