RobertMBlevins

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Everything posted by RobertMBlevins

  1. Correction: The fundraiser was done in 2016, not 2012. And here's a REAL tribute to Bryan Woodruff and Dona Elliot, one that actually tells the truth about things. Even though it hardly makes any sense, goes way too fast, and is totally crazy, this is still my favorite video I ever created on Cooper. No worries. We will do better in July I hope. The cover image is my high school girlfriend Georgia on the left, and skyjacker Cathy Kerkow on the right. Like Cooper, she was never caught.
  2. Well, somebody found the spot because the FBI was known to do a bit of digging there. The container was not found. Two very good witnesses at the 2012 Ariel party told me what happened. They lived right next door to the people who owned the property. The whole investigation just smells to high heaven. First, the FBI says it's the right size, right color, and in the right spot. Next they say they are bringing in chute experts, but only consulted them by phone. No one besides FBI personnel and Earl Cossey were allowed to examine it. Then Cossey tells the press he knows it isn't Cooper's because it was made of silk, and Cooper's chutes were nylon. But the chute ISN'T silk. You can see the crosshatch pattern in blow ups. A Bic lighter does an easy test between silk and nylon, and silk is biodegradable anyway. Tom Kaye, the same guy whose team was allowed to examine practically all the other physical evidence in the Cooper case...has a standing offer to examine the chute. So far, no joy for him. In the end, the FBI doesn't even give a minimum reason WHY they dismissed it. 'By a preponderance of the evidence...' is all anyone ever got out of them. My question would be, "Oh, yeah? What evidence?" No answer to that either. More than a dozen years later, if you ask them about that chute, they still call it evidence. I had to practically drag it out of them that they only consulted their so-called experts by phone, and no one was allowed to examine it physically. The whole thing from start to end...and even into today...is WEIRD. Returned from the gear test trip to the Olympics this afternoon. Our solar panel system worked great, the generator powered everything we hooked up to it, including the stereo, the PA system, and the night lights. It's dual-fuel, but we're running it strictly on propane tanks because it's safer, greener, and they seem to last longer anyway. A bunch of other gear checked out fine as well. Apps to attend the Cooper Party continue to come in, even when we were gone. It's looking more like we will finalize the event after June 5th...maybe...at least a better possibility than I thought our chances were six weeks ago. Basically, we're going to take down all the webpages and other stuff as soon as we are 100% convinced that an absolute minimum of 100 people will actually show up. We're going on the idea that maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the folks who apply to attend will actually show up, so we're looking for somewhere between 200-300 serious inquiries where people answer the return message. (We message everybody that applies, to see if they're serious or not. If they don't answer our message, we assume they aren't that interested and drop them from the email lists.) There has been one change. We're not going to make the PDF with the maps and contact information, event information etc public. We were going to do this on the same day we head up there to set everything up. We decided against that for security reasons, mainly because I have to give out some cell phone numbers, etc. The PDF will only go out to the press in a release, and to the people who apply before June 5th, or manage to get on the email list after that time, if the event is finalized and Greg budgets it. The truth is that if we let this thing get TOO big, we won't be able to handle it. I already know we will get some drop ins from people wandering the hills up there looking for a camping spot, as they do up there in summer. And I think 150 people is going to be our manageable limit. (They didn't even get that many people showing up at the Ariel parties. That was around 100 people. I counted heads in 2012.) It was a good test trip. We had a lot of fun along the way. Weather was cold at night, but fortunately no rain. I think we're good on all the hard gear and necessary equipment now, except I need to pick up a couple of solar panel stands from Renogy. We found out just sitting them on the ground or against a tree works...but not too well. Since I got no answers in my email box regarding whether or not the Vancouver convention wants our support, I will assume that they feel they can go without it. Our position on it is completely neutral. We will do nothing to get in their way, and hope they succeed and sell out the seats. But we will not advertise for them. If they want that....they will have to arrange this with us privately. I tell people sometimes I don't go where I'm not wanted. Recent quote by Shutter over at the Cooper Forum regarding the Ariel Store: (My apologies, but I just HAD to respond to this one.) Excuse me, but this is a load of baloney. You personally stood against our effort in 2012 to raise money to 'Restore the Store,' and allowed nasty comments about those efforts right up to the last day prior to our fundraising party there. Bruce Smith, one of your more prolific posters, even used Bryan's obituary to try selling his book at Amazon. That is absolutely pathetic. Fortunately, you failed in your negativity for the most part. Bryan walked away with at least $2,500 we raised for him, plus whatever came through PayPal on the computers we set up inside the store. What did you and your forum friends ever do for Bryan and the store except offer lip service? The answer is...NOTHING.
  3. Shutter says in part, over at the Cooper Forum: Well, thank you for that. Yes, I believe Bill Rataczak's reason for having to skip this year's Cooper Con is perfectly valid and reasonable. I was trying to make an important point. And the point is that Bruce Smith is allowing really bad comments to the same article where he promotes the convention. And some of the names on the comments are identical to people who will be appearing at that same convention. We already know the remainder are members of the Cooper Forum. We KNOW this. Don't you guys see the problem? You are trying to pack the house, and Bruce Smith is going to end up providing fodder by the score for anyone who wants to discredit the convention. It makes him and the convention itself look bad. That is the only point I made. Look...I don't give a rat's behind about the personal nature of the comments. I have seen much worse. But I'm worried what will happen over the next few months if these filthy comments on one of the main websites (Mountain News) concerning Cooper keep piling up. You guys have it in your brain somehow that Adventure Books of Seattle does NOT support Cooper Con. That is not true. We do. But Bruce is making it difficult for us. If I were to post up a comprehensive article on the convention, promoting it for you at WordPress, the Quora Cooper space, encourage people at the Cooper Party to attend. and dedicate a page to it at the main AB of Seattle website...you might actually have a chance to pack the house as you all want to do. Trust me. I can reach hundreds of thousands of readers, if not more, if I chose to do this. We have 2,000 followers of the Quora Cooper space, and plenty of traffic at the other places. Plus...Quora could pick up on some of this stuff and send it out by email to thousands of OTHER users. It's like a snowball. My measly little article at Quora about Survival Myths reached almost a half million people. Not in my personal stats, but by sharing from other Quora users. And it's still seven months until the convention...plenty of time for organized promotion on a large scale. But you have to be reasonable here. My sincere belief is that what is good for Cooper Con is also good for Adventure Books of Seattle. We stand to gain if you succeed. But if all you plan to do is sit around all summer and talk smack about us...or allow some of your scheduled speakers to do the same...then how can we support you? This is not rocket science, folks. It's common sense. There are only two scheduled events this year, as far as I know, on Cooper. Yours and ours. We go first. We do want to help pave the way for you guys, but you're making it tough to do. Personally, I don't think Bruce Smith gives a flying f&$k if Eric loses money, or how many people are in the seats. All he wants to do is have a beer or two with Marla Cooper. I'm fine with that. But he also has responsibilities if he's going to be a major part of the convention. Eric should talk to him privately. The way things are going at Mountain News, all people will see is the trashy comments. One after another, after another, after another...etc. And then we will not be able to support the event. We won't make the slightest move to harm the event, but neither will we go out of our way to help you fill the seats by doing those things I mentioned. We will just toss the Cooper Party and move on. And every day it's looking like we will be finalizing that in June. Here is the bottom line: Someone needs to bring Bruce to reality. My suggestion is he forget all those other articles where the Peanut Gallery was trashing, and simply delete all the bad comments from the article on the convention itself. And Shutter should tell his people at the Cooper Forum to knock off using their phony identities to make those comments. You aren't hurting me, you are hurting your chances for success at the convention this year. Bruce needs to be made aware that is what he is doing. After the convention, I couldn't care what the Peanut Gallery folks have to say. But if you want our support...as I said back there...you have to be reasonable. And don't let Bruce tell you he can't easily delete the comments. I have WordPress too. And all who comment to WordPress have their IP addresses and emails recorded. Those IP's can be matched right back to their owners at the Cooper Forum, even if they used a phony email address. Deleting comments can be done in seconds, as well. And if Bruce plans any more articles about the convention itself, he should keep the Peanut Gallery away from them for the duration. The day after the convention is over...well, I don't care what happens then. I have to leave in the early morning for the Olympics on the gear test, so I won't be able to respond until sometime Tuesday night. If you don't want our help, you can tell me that too and I won't bring this subject up again. But you guys have much more to lose than WE do. All we're doing is tossing a free party over the summer. You guys are trying to put on a serious event with an entrance fee. You need all the help you can friggin' get.
  4. One of the things I have held back, and will continue to hold back, is the identity of the two witnesses besides Bentz. It's a control, a safeguard, and frankly...a way to verify the story if/when Jarvis is ever given the opportunity to respond. I have absolutely no doubt that Bentz is telling the truth, and that his story is accurate on what happened that day. The real fly in the buttermilk is whether Agent Jarvis was operating from information he was privy to somehow, or whether he just heard a rumor at the office. The Cooper case is known to virtually everyone who works at, or HAS worked at the FBI from coast-to-coast, mainly because it's famous as the only skyjacking they could never solve. Plus it's been on TV a bunch of times. The conundrum I faced with this story is simple. And one I have not been able to reconcile. If Jarvis was a rookie in the organization, or just your typical rank-and-file agent, I would tend to think he was just giving his opinion, or had no inside information regarding why the Bureau suddenly decided to close the case. But at the time he spoke to Bentz and his two friends, he had been with the FBI for about 15 years, had solved some pretty high-profile cases including a murder aboard a yacht down in the San Diego area. And at the same time, he's working as a Behavioral Profiler, not in the Salt Lake or Reno office or something, but at the Big Cheese in Quantico, Virginia. Obviously, he's working with and rubbing elbows with the higher-ups there. So...I was also faced with THAT. Maybe he WAS privy to some 'real' reason the case was closed. If he was, I thought...well, hell that would be the place with the people who would know. I wish Bentz would have gone to the Washington Post with this story instead of coming to me. What the heck could I do about it? Even if the whole thing is true, and the FBI really DID close the case because they concluded Cooper was Kenny Christiansen, how did that come to that idea? They would have had to do a real investigation on Kenny and company using the 54-page report we provided them in 2015. But if they did...why did no one hear about this alleged investigation? It goes around and around. But the bottom line is that either Jarvis knows something, or he was just taking a guess on why the case was closed. I couldn't tell you which is correct, and that's the truth. I just do not know. The only thing I am absolutely certain of is that Bentz and his two friends are very solid witnesses, and they are not lying. But the question is whether Jarvis was right, or was it a guess on his part? It didn't sound like a guess, and when he said these things it was less than six weeks after the FBI closed the case. It occurred to me that around Quantico, there might be talk about WHY the decision was made to close after 40+ years. There HAD to be. It would be natural. You see the problem? After a while, I came to the idea I probably would never find out anyway. I believe Bentz is telling the truth. I just don't know how to prove it. Oh, brother. I need a vacation. On a side note, if EU or Shutter see this post...maybe some of you over there might want to tell Bruce Smith to delete a bunch of those Peanut Gallery posts (and start screening his own damn WordPress) before Smith ends up trashing Cooper Con. Just imagine if this continues and the convention is still seven months down the road. You could end up with scores of filthy comments sitting there for people to quote, see, or use to show that the convention is a farce and its biggest speaker is a hatemonger. I don't know where you guys ever got the idea I want that to happen. What is good for Cooper Con is also good for Adventure Books of Seattle...but you guys need to bring the hammer down on Smith and have him clean up his act before the Peanut Gallery (and we KNOW they are also members of the Cooper Forum) brings down the whole damn event. I know a lot of these comments Smith is allowing are directed at me personally, but they aren't hurting me. Books continue to sell, people still apply for the Cooper Party, and I am not receiving any nasty emails. But you guys better get it together over there and soon. That's my advice and you don't have to take it. If I were in charge of something like that Vancouver event, I would demand this, or I would tell Smith he's being dropped from the speaker list. Think about THIS: Before you start harping on about ME over at the Cooper Forum, do you know how EASY and SIMPLE it would be for someone to wait until September/October...and then send out to the venue (the theater) or the media...quotes from that website by the dozens showing Smith is nothing but a supporter of hate? Wake the heck UP and pull it together, folks. Stop blaming me for everything. You got a real problem child going in your midst. He's supposed to have the most comprehensive book on Cooper going...something I actually agree with by the way. He's one of the biggest speakers at the upcoming convention. You begin to wonder if he actually has any common sense. If you're really going for a sellout of 500 or however many seats EU wants to fill, you have to look non-juvenile to do it...especially when one of your biggest speakers is involved. Here I am trying to do this Cooper Party, and there YOU ARE doing the convention. Fine and dandy and A-OK with me. Get a handle on him before you end up looking out at 50-60 people in the audience instead of those 500 come November. Save the hatred for afterward and then I don't care what he allows on his site. As it is, AB of Seattle supports this convention in spirit. FOR NOW. And I would like nothing better than to promote it heavily on Quora, AB of Seattle main site, WordPress Cooper, at the Cooper Party itself, and elsewhere. But Smith is making it hard for us to do that, although we will not interfere no matter what he does. And we can definitely reach a great number of Cooper fans for you if we wish. Make us wish to do that.
  5. That's Amazon and eBay. Just go HERE. Have your debit/credit card ready. These deals don't last long. As far as a Kindle version, you have to find out who owns the rights to the book and contact them. If it's a publisher, so much the better. If they haven't printed any copies for years, they are usually happy to turn the rights over to another publisher. If it's someone's estate, that is trickier.
  6. Crap. Had to cancel the gear test today. Weather report called for one more big snow in the mountains, down to 2,000 foot level tomorrow. Then it was supposed to get better by Saturday. But this means there will be leftover snow on the Forest Service roads in the Olympics for a few additional days before it melts out next week. Generally, the Olympics get less snow and more rain than the Cascades, but we decided not to take a chance on it. Will move the test to another weekend. EDIT: Checked with Hoodsport, found out the road between the Skokomish River Valley and Lake Wynootchee is open to vehicles. No snow expected there. I am very familiar with this area. Greg and I decided we WILL run the gear test up there over the weekend, but we will leave on Saturday morning instead of today. No work scheduled until next Wednesday, so we have plenty of time. We will probably run these tests near Spider Lake and do a little fishing in our off time. (Picture below.) If you happen to be in the area, you can contact us on CB channel 14 or on Family Radio Service channel 1 (ham, basically). Frequency is 462.56250. Things are getting serious now. I have received more than 30 responses from our ad on the Cooper Party, and additional apps and inquiries keep trickling in from Quora, the WordPress article link, Facebook, and the main AB site. I just knew we wouldn't be able to weasel out of this one. I told Greg to start preparing the budget, and for Gayla to begin planning the remainder of the shopping list. I figured interest would pick up as the date of the event got closer, and the weather began to improve. I was right. Still not a done deal yet. We still need to reach at least 250 official inquiries by June 5th. Right now, we are just over a hundred short of that mark. On another subject, I hear that Flight 305 co-pilot Bill Rataczak has bailed from Cooper Con this year. The official reason is he was concerned for his wife's health right now. I have no reason to disbelieve this, but I also have reason to believe there was another factor involved as well. For example, when you schedule guest speakers they have a tendency to research out the OTHER people who will be appearing with them. And if any of them drop by Bruce Smith's Mountain News website and get a whiff of the filthy comments being posted by what we call the Peanut Gallery, who are also members of the same website (Shutter's forum) supporting that convention...it could tend to turn certain people off. Especially the people you are trying to sell attendance tickets to at $21.50 a pop. Or even some of your scheduled guests. Some of these ding-dongs in the Peanut Gallery are even using the names of the same people scheduled to APPEAR at the convention. Real smart. Or maybe not. They say it is me and Adventure Books who are planning to trash the convention. We actually hope they succeed. It's good for them, and good for us as well. If they are trying to trash everything, they need no help from us. They are doing it on their own in spades. Get your act together. We have. My unsolicited advice is that Eric Ulis bring down the hammer on Bruce Smith (a scheduled speaker) before these Peanut Gallery idiots end up trashing the whole thing for Eric, and everybody else involved in that convention. This is why I screen all comments to my Facebook, my YouTube videos, my WordPress, and everywhere else I personally host something on the internet. I do not allow hateful or attacking posts by trolls. Saves me a lot of headaches and keeps people honest. Allowing these things has a habit of backfiring on you.
  7. There is always that possibility. On the other hand, assuming Bentz is telling the truth about what happened, a good reporter would gently remind him that three witnesses heard his statements, and you are simply trying to verify their story. I also remember suggesting to Bentz that instead of coming to me, he might want to go to the local media with his story. He said he came to me instead because I was the one supposedly investigating Christiansen. I don't know. Maybe I will give it a shot on my own, but not right now. Way too busy to deal with it. As soon as I check my mail and finish this cup of coffee, I have to start dragging out mass gear and totes from the garage and getting them ready to haul tomorrow morning.
  8. Small update and late: After watching the weather reports for the last few days, Greg the Techie Guy and I have decided we WILL risk running the full-out test on all gear for the Cooper Party. That means the stereo and PA system, the generator, the big screen with media projector, the shower tents with their flush toilets and electric showers, and everything else including a public charging center for devices. (Some of this done solar.) And we will do it this coming weekend. I will be unavailable from Friday morning until late Sunday. We're not taking our smart phones for this one. I insisted. We would be too tempted to spend time on the internet when we should be working. No big deal, though. I still have an old flip phone that works, and we can reach the Forest Service rangers on the ham radios anyway. I have their frequencies programmed in, just for emergencies. So if you email me and don't get an answer until Monday, that's why. This gear test will be run in the Olympics. It's closer and easier for us. We need to know it all works. And if anything doesn't, how to fix it when we get home. I can't wait to watch the Director's Cut of Dark City on the big screen. Anyone going past on the Forest Service road will wonder what the hell we're doing with all that stuff and only two people there LOL. Should be fun. If anyone drops in who happens to be cruising around up there, we check them out first to make sure they are nice and honest folk, and then maybe we let them in to have some fun.
  9. Reading the one-way street (yawn, usual stuff) responses by Shutter today over at the Cooper Forum, I am constantly amazed at the lengths he will go to try and make everything I post in the case sound bad. He even looked up the script to the Alamo movie and corrected me on that. It was a paraphrase, ding-dong. Of course I know the line wasn't exactly as I stated. I've seen the movie, just like about every other American, more times than I can count. He also thinks I should be pounding on the doors of media and reporters with the Bentz allegations. Andrade thinks he could get Joe Biden's phone number easier than he could get Agent Jarvis' number. I guess Andrade never heard of email. Most FBI agents can be reached by contacting the FBI agent assigned 'media' at whatever office the agent in question works at. You have the media agent forward your email to the agent in question. And if you think I'm going to contact Agent Jarvis on my own, not a chance. I'm just some guy from Seattle and nobody special. You want the press to investigate the Bentz allegations? Then create a report based upon it and send it to the nearest local media. Why should I do your work FOR you? I never said I was a 'Cooper Investigator'. I write books, I edit books, I clean homes, I go out in the wilderness occasionally. I make a pretty good living doing that and I am fine with it. Well...I don't get paid for the wilderness stuff...but if I did I would do that full time. You guys bad-mouth just about everything I have done...or WILL do...and you mostly do this using either Bruce Smith's Mountain News with phony identities...or at Shutter's place, because you know that I cannot respond to your (frankly) baloney at either place. You've known about the Bentz allegations for over two years now, and not once did any of you contact me personally like a regular person with some friggin' MANNERS and ask for details. That means email, not insulting, challenging posts on the internet. I do not respond well to that. You can't have your cake and eat it too. I went to my Cooper WordPress today and saw I accidentally deleted the article I did about the Bentz allegations, (was going to edit it) so now I suppose I will have to rewrite it and repost it at some point. You can get your basic information from there if you wish. But I'm not going to release the names of the other two witnesses, or where they work, or anything about them in that article. You guys have a real bad habit of going behind peoples' backs and causing trouble. I won't go into details, but we all know this is policy for some of you. On the other hand, every time I come out with something interesting, you want everything and right now...and you want it only at Dropzone. Forgettaboutit. Some stuff I am just NOT going to put out on the internet. When November comes and you find out that not only did we not support Cooper Con this year, but instead published a few things about some of the participants beforehand...instead of trying to help you ungrateful jerks fill the seats...you will have brought this on yourselves. I have plenty of justification to do this, but I hesitate to do it because a full house at Cooper Con benefits everybody involved in the Cooper case. Yes, even me. Not that some of you don't deserve to have us come down on you like a load of bricks, because you do deserve that. EU's alleged behavior at the 2019 event, the constant barrage of hateful comments on Smith's website, (a main speaker for Cooper Con who actively supports these comments?) the outright theft of Sheridan's book in violation of copyright, MORE hate spewing at Smith's site by people who are actually scheduled to appear at Cooper Con, yada yada yada...it's a damn big list that goes on and on. I'm lately trying to overlook these things in the interest of the common good. But you don't make it easy for me to do that. No worries. It is unlikely I will bother with showing the public your true nature, if for no other reason because a successful Cooper Con is beneficial to AB of Seattle as well. However, if you can't fill the seats in November, then maybe for once you will admit I was probably right when I said cooperation between the only two events scheduled for the 50th anniversary was a good idea. But you guys can't put that hatred in your back pockets and do what you need to do. You are not hurting us. You are hurting yourselves. The book on KC continues to sell (a full ten years after its release) at record rates, and if I held the Cooper Party a week from now, we would still get maybe 40-50 people to show up. Who knows how many people we will have lined up by June 5? Or, as Greg says, how many people will simply drive up that weekend and jump into the fun. That general area north of Mt. Rainier is extremely popular on weekends. We will get drop-ins, I'm sure. The ad is also still running on it, and will continue to run until at least June 5, and three or four inquiries about it come in each week, plus the folks who contact us who saw the information about it at Quora or WordPress, or maybe the main AB of Seattle website. You aren't stopping anything. You aren't even slowing us down. You should take advantage of the fact that AB probably CAN help you fill those 500 seats that EU wants to sell out. But you probably won't. You always let your emotions get in the way of common sense, or what is best. You've been doing that for years. Why should you change up now? This is pretty much your last chance, Cooper Fans and Folk. After the 50th anniversary passes, if you haven't made a big hit down in Vancouver, you never will. At this point, I don't see where anything has changed from the last time. And there is the pandemic to deal with...now you have to convince people who are reluctant to gather in groups anyway that they should cough up $21.50 to attend. There is already a built-in reticence to unnecessary group gatherings as it is. You need all the help you can friggin' get. If you don't score a hit THIS year...it could be the last time Eric coughs up the money to do another Cooper Con. We've been promoting the Cooper Party since last November, so we know how tough it is to get people to commit to some group gathering, for whatever reason it is. And we're not even charging money. We're actually offering nice prizes and free food, and still...it's only been the last 4-6 weeks where we finally started getting some real interest from people. The pandemic has not made it easy, and you will be no exception. When you discuss these things among yourselves, remember the Prime Directive: Shutter's opinion means next to zero because he is not paying for a plane ticket from Florida to attend. HE is not spending his hard-earned money (like some of you are) to drive to Vancouver. He is not spending his money on a hotel room. He is operating from a simple dislike of me personally, and couldn't care less how many people are in the audience when you step up to the podium. He has no commitment to Cooper Con except for allowing comments on your participation, and a thread on the event. But even that isn't too great, because any links you guys post to your 'stuff' is only seen this way by the public, also a 'Shutter Thing': Just saying. No skin off my nose, but in my humble opinion you guys need every bit of assistance you can get to ensure you aren't disappointed, or feel at the end you wasted your time and money. Start doing what is best for YOU, and ignore the opinions of people who have a built-in agenda. AB is (*probably*) doing the Cooper Party in July and then we are pretty much out of the Cooper biz after that anyway. At least with the public activities stuff. Maybe a final, smaller campout later to our most trusted friends and fans...and yes...we do have them.
  10. One of the problems (initially) with the Interstate Highway System is that Eisenhower was advised correctly about it, but chose a cheaper option. Some of these advisers had worked on the Autobahn, and what they told Eisenhower was that this system should have a 36-inch deep roadbed base, or prepare for fixing the highways all the time. (Especially if you planned to allow anything but passenger vehicles and pickup trucks on it.) But Eisenhower went with an 18-inch roadbed...and now we have to fix them all the time. It was a 'pay me now, or pay me later' situation. Well, okay. So there we are. I guess we live with it. I have only recently explored solar, or done anything solar. It wasn't that many years ago that solar panels were heavy and inefficient. Today, they are lighter, cheaper, and much MORE efficient. Renogy is one of the big leaders, and their prices keep coming down all the time. I finally dipped my toe into Solar River by buying a Renogy 50-watt panel from Amazon Warehouse for a measly fifty bucks and free shipping. I stuck it out in the yard on a cloudy day and hooked it to this portable power unit, and it was still getting 28 watts through the cloud. (I live in Seattle, too.) Ten or fifteen years ago, you might get ten watts and spend more doing it. So for $250 total, I can keep a couple of lights, the cable box, a small TV, and the high speed modem going for hours if the lights go out. (By the way, I do recommend that particular portable power station. It has true pass-through tech, (charge and use simultaneously) has a built-in MPPT controller, a voltage regulator, and uses a Life PO-4 battery.) Obama may have had something to do with at least a portion of the advances in solar. His stimulus package included one heck of a big chunk to develop clean, alternative energy, and to provide assistance to American companies who wanted to go into that business. Much progress has been made since that time. At this point, going 100% solar in your home is still expensive and would take years to recoup the costs. But going just PARTIALLY solar on smaller things around your home is fairly cheap these days, and still cuts the power bill. We're headed in the right direction, we just haven't 'arrived' mainstream yet. But we're slowly getting there. For example, a *few* homebuilders are trying to create small housing developments that are completely off the grid, at least for electricity. (They still go traditional for sewer/water/garbage of course.) This could be the future for a lot of people, rather than trying to set up thousands of solar panels in the desert, and then transport that power to the grid. Solar could end up being a more localized form of power. One thing I have experienced with solar. Once you try it, even for something small, you like it. And then you want more.
  11. Very funny. It was probably a bookstore or some retailer in Italy. As far as the answer to your other question, I am not a reporter. Any further investigation into the Bentz allegation needs to be done by a professional. I just presented what was available, but I have also said I would be more than happy to reveal full details to any legitimate reporter who inquires, in case they want to check the story. This one, since it involves a reasonably high-ranking FBI agent, needs to be explored by someone with the proper access and credentials. You could say it is above my pay grade. (Edit: NO, I do NOT know if Agent Jarvis worked on the Cooper case.) I do hope you guys get decent attendance to the Cooper Con this year, but your negative stuff is going to end up blowing up in your faces if you don't get your act together...especially when you want more to get in the door than I usually pay to watch a live-performance musical at the local theater. Right now, you have Eric saying he thinks they can sell out 500 tickets, but the last time he didn't even fill a hundred seats. I got that report from someone who was actually there. And what he said was that 'maybe' a hundred, if you count the people on stage. What I see happening is that all the ticket holders will show up the first day, and then on the second day...some of them will stay home. So starting out with a much stronger crowd than the last time would be good. I told the guy at the Kiggins in my last email that Adventure Books of Seattle would like to support Cooper Con, even though none of us will be there in person. But that certain participants' behavior on the internet makes it difficult for us to do so. I also suggested that Cooperland support both scheduled events, (Cooper Con and Cooper Party) because we get to go first and it would be easy for us to endorse the other on several levels and venues...even with the media...thereby increasing attendance to BOTH events. Especially YOUR event, since we go first. But who knows? Maybe you don't need any free advertising or support from us. Maybe everything will be fine going on your own, while talking smack about anything we do this year. Or maybe it won't be fine. No way to tell just yet. But there's no use in not taking advantage of every opportunity to sell a seat that you can get. However, I see some of you folks as SO stubborn...you would rather look out on a bunch of empty seats in November rather than consider any kind of cooperation. Okay. We will see what happens with that approach. And there is something you should know. We actually hope you succeed. We don't WANT you to fail. One thing happened after the last Cooper Con, even though attendance was only poor-to-fair. We sold a lot more books the following month. If you managed somehow to play to a packed house, this would be good for us, and on an even bigger scale. On the other hand, I am not so greedy for book sales that I would support something where non-cooperation, negativity and personal attacks on others for months beforehand are a big side agenda. I have to draw the line here. As John Wayne said in the movie, The Alamo:
  12. We're not talking about what investigators believe. Many of them involved in the case either have their own favorite suspect, or they have personal issues going. That is easily proven. It's not whether Cooperland believes KC is Cooper. It is what can be proven, and where the truth is. It is the only thing that matters. The sheer volume of personal attacks only proves they are worried. There's nothing like investing years of emotional garbage in a single point, and then finding out you might have been wrong the whole time. Ask him.
  13. This story is QUITE believable, which is the problem you and some of your friends at the Cooper Forum have going about it. Troy Bentz, a decent man with a wife and two children, is an engineer working in R & D for the US Navy. His two friends are basically in the same jobs, but at a different location in DC. We tried finding holes in their story, as well as their characters, (we even ran our own background checks on them) and we could find absolutely no reason to disbelieve their story. Your living near Oak Ridge has nothing to do with this situation. Or even our combined experiences with toilets for that matter. And I have no intention of 'quitting this narrative'. In fact, it is discussed heavily, with names and all details included, in my upcoming book Cooperland. Troy Bentz' wife was very angry with him for even coming forward to us and giving us all the information he did. You have to remember that these three men testified that a high-ranking FBI agent indicated to them that Kenny Christiansen was indeed Cooper, and even indicated the reason it was not announced publicly: Because Christiansen was dead anyway. One added bit that may or may not be coincidence is this: If what Agent Jarvis said is true, then the FBI closed the case exactly one year after they received our 54 page report on Christiansen and Bernie Geestman, along with the other things they received in that package. (Mostly photos, documents with notes, etc on a CD disk.) You understand that all three of these men could be fired from their jobs and lose their clearances...as well as their careers...for coming forward? Do you grasp the depth of this risk? Why would they do that? To pull my chain? To get a laugh? To get in trouble with the FBI for going public with a big lie about an FBI agent who had been (at that time) with the Bureau for more than 15 years, and worked in Behavioral Profiling at Quantico? The correct answer is NONE OF THE ABOVE. Bentz' wife warned him that their kids did swim team with not only active duty personnel's families, but the families of FBI agents as well. Yet Bentz was brave enough to lay out what happened that day very well. And then his two friends backed up his story as well. He was not afraid, although he asked me to keep his name out of it for a year if I went public on this story, which I did for him. But yes...I eventually went public. Bentz and I exchanged quite a few emails, and some phone calls regarding this allegation. In the end, I am sure it happened just the way he and his two friends said. The real question here isn't whether Bentz and his friends just made up a story to impress little old me. The REAL question is whether Special Agent John Jarvis was in possession of information not generally known outside the higher-ups in the FBI. The fact that all three men actually NAMED Jarvis as the person who told them this information is significant. It wasn't like they claimed, 'some guy in the FBI told us'. They actually named him because at least two of the witnesses knew Jarvis personally. Prior to the revelation, Agent Jarvis had even discussed some of the more high-profile cases he had worked on when he was a field agent. It is extremely unlikely he lied to his friends, especially being a long term veteran of the Bureau with a job such as he had in profiling at the FBI. It is much MORE likely that he was indeed privy to certain information that even the general rank and file did not know. I can tell you this much. The decision to close the Cooper case did not come from the Seattle office. That's just where it was announced to the press. That decision to close came from someone a bit higher-up in DC. I know this based on two facts. An admittance that this was what happened from Agent Fred Gutt in Seattle. And because several FBI offices were actively involved in the Cooper case, not just Seattle. I suppose I should ask the obvious question. Would you blindly question this allegation as much as you do if it were Bruce Smith who had received the initial contact from Troy Bentz? I very much doubt it. But there are differences between myself, Bruce, and Eric Ulis. I do not allow people using the same names as some people appearing this year at the Cooper Con to make filthy comments about others on my own websites. That is foolish. Maybe you should question that occasionally. If Cooper Con gets about the same attendance as last time, some of your own participants will be to blame. You guys do absolutely no self-policing on either facts, or common sense at all. Or very little. It's possible that some of these people may need a hard lesson in manners to get the point. In other words, that you can't expect people to take you seriously as a legitimate investigator/speaker/book author in the Cooper case. And I, unlike Eric, do not simply make things up about a suspect in order to prove my point, and then expect people to follow me like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, without questioning those lies. And the really funny thing is that none of you question these things as much as you question me. Which in my mind means I must possess more character than you. Even I draw the line somewhere. It's doubtful that the theater will be a sellout, but it is possible that attendance, partially due to the pandemic, will be even less than the last time. You don't help yourselves by failing to set standards. It just makes the entire group look childish, and unprofessional. And by the way...the more over-the-top negativity that happens in Cooperland with my name, or the names of my friends attached to this...the more books I sell. We broke all records for sales between March 2020-March 2021. So I suppose you are doing me a favor. But you certainly don't establish yourselves to be taken seriously, or to encourage people to drop over twenty bucks a seat to hear you talk.
  14. This could be part of the reason they finally banned smoking on commercial airliners. I dunno. Just a guess. I had to post it.
  15. I will buy all of this because I know you have extensive experience in the sport. Still...I wonder why Cooper would dress like that knowing for certain he would be doing a night jump and it was close to December. Brrr. But okay, I will still buy it. And there's always the chance he wore long johns under that suit, I don't know. People should never mistake me for someone who is an official expert on the Cooper case itself. Before I worked with Skipp Porteous, I was running a sci fi mag and cranking out sci fi stories and the occasional book. Also sci-fi. Before 2009, I didn't know any more about DB Cooper than your average Northwest guy, and spent all my free time hiking, camping, and fishing. To counter the lies regarding my relationship with Porteous, I got along great with him and he invited me to visit him in Morro Bay, California more than once. But then he started getting ill with that aphasia stuff and the poor guy went downhill from there pretty quickly. Within a few months he could hardly use a keyboard and his messages were hard to interpret sometimes. We exchanged messages almost up until the day he died, and his family members are still Facebook friends. Those things you read about him hating the book, etc and wanting nothing to do with me are just fables. The reasons we never met in person were because he lived in New York for most of the time I knew him, and because I was too busy to travel to Morro Bay after he moved there after his divorce from Hannah. And then when I finally considered making the trip (it's 1,200 miles), he got sick, and then his girlfriend there broke up with him, and he ended up in Florida with his family, where he died. It's too bad, because I wish I had taken the time to accept his invitations. I have sometimes felt guilty about that. Not real familiar with these two. So many suspects... Oh...no big deal but I found out the case of 52 books that were printed up via Espresso Machine weren't done in New York. The Lightning Source report I got today says it was in Italy. I did not know they had the machines going there. Who the hell in ITALY would want 52 copies of Blast? And why? Another mystery for the record I guess. I know some folks will want me to 'prove' this, so here is a picture from the report. I blanked out our account number at LSI. These reports come in individually each month, for each market in which you had sales. Most sales come from US, Great Britain, or European market. Some from Australia or Asia, and rarely from South America. Italy counts as European sale, of course.
  16. Well, Agent John Jarvis indicated to three confirmed witnesses (all with security clearances, all worked in the WA DC area) that the reason the FBI dropped the case was that they knew it was Kenny. But that doesn't make it true that Kenny was Cooper. If the FBI really had a viable suspect, they would have at least brought him in for some heavy-duty questioning. I don't know if you've ever dealt with the Feds on a legal level...but I have...and they are serious business. They can often bring someone who has resolved to lie to them right to Jesus, and in a quick-fast New York hurry. Was this alleged suspect ever brought in for questioning? And I don't mean a quick interview at the guy's door...but 'downtown' as they say. I was questioned in this way many years ago by the FBI, and even a supposed tough guy like me was scared shitless. They do that to people. EDIT: Which suspect are you referring to?
  17. If there was anything of great interest, the FBI would have solved the case long ago. Personally, I would like to see any and all files from between 2006-until July 2016. At the rate the FBI is releasing these files, it will be years before they ever get that far. I will give you that there have been occasional entries in those files about relevant suspects, but none of those files really lead anybody to the true identity of the hijacker. It would help if they didn't redact the files so heavily as well. Geoff Gray somehow managed to get at least a portion of the UN-redacted files released to him. And he is a civilian. I have often wondered how exactly he managed that. He had a good source, but like all good reporters, he kept the source anonymous. And if he got SOME of the unedited files released, he probably could have gotten the rest. But...he told me once he was put off by all the craziness that surrounds the Cooper case, and decided to get out. EDIT: Even though some of you folks would never admit it, I know you want updates on the only other Cooper event currently scheduled this year...the Cooper Party in July. Situation is still the same. We're running the ad through June 5th. If we don't have enough interest in the event, I will cancel it and just invite everyone on the email lists to a private party, probably in the Olympics, and then delete the pages from the AB site, as well as the Quora and WordPress stuff. At this point, I can live with either option. Currently, we have three people scheduled to do presentations, and if I held the party next weekend, maybe 40 people would actually show up. Not enough yet to release the main budget. We will see what happens over the next two months. I told Greg the Techie Guy yesterday that a trip to the Oregon coast is out, and even if we don't get enough people to hold the main event...that we DO owe the people who have signed to go so far. Most are coming from the Seattle/Tacoma area, although a few are from Bend and Portland. So going to the Olympics instead would be a shorter drive for them. I have a feeling this is exactly how it will turn out. Eight weeks to Decision Day, and I just don't see us getting 120-150 people. Maybe 60 or 70 by June. In that case, it will be more booze, and less on the Amazon gift cards. (*laughs*) That was a joke. The truth is, I'm not even sure the four of us could handle it if we actually got the full crowd. (Greg, Gayla, Kyle, myself) And Gayla would only be hauling some of the gear, not staying for the weekend. Maybe we bit off more than we could successfully chew. Maybe just a smaller party in the Olympics, like we used to do for the Cooper Campouts, will work just as well. Only this time we're better equipped. I'm starting to hope the ad fails, no kidding. I think Greg is too. We would do it if there is enough interest, but part of us now wishes there isn't enough interest. I think this whole thing would have been easier had not a pandemic swept America and killed a half million people so far. It has affected damn near everything on every level conceivable.
  18. These so-called 'file releases' by the FBI are so heavily redacted as to be nearly useless. Pretty much anything you could use to identify a particular suspect, or a witness, or any relevant facts...has been edited from the documents. I have learned three things from reviewing these documents. The FBI was heavily focused on the idea for years that Cooper was a regular skydiver who probably had a favorite dropzone. It never occurred to them that because Cooper was dressed so poorly for the jump, that Cooper might not have been a 'regular' in the skydiving world. Everybody and his brother thought they knew the identity of Cooper, and the FBI was absolutely flooded with tips. Too many, in fact, to properly investigate. One after another, names (redacted, of course) come in, and one after another they are dismissed. They wasted their time chasing one dead end after another, all without result. Because of all this, even if they had received a tip that turned out to be valid, the FBI probably would have missed it anyway. I think they actually got used to the idea that the tips were mostly a waste of time, and this tainted their approach to suspects. After so many false leads, instead of investigating each one as possibly valid, they would look for the easiest way to eliminate that suspect...and move on to the next twenty tips or so. In the end, the FBI missed the most important clue of all. Who would be the kind of person that obviously knew how an NB-8 container worked...but who also came so poorly dressed for the occasion? To me, this points to a guy who had military jump experience, but had not jumped as a civilian, and had not jumped at all for a long time. Yes...that description *could* fit Kenny Christiansen. But it could also fit just about any veteran of a paratrooper company over the last twenty years PRIOR to the hijacking. A middle-aged man, with obvious experience in military jumps, (Mucklow testified that Cooper seemed to know what he was doing when he put on the parachute) who drank, who smoked, and who dressed like he didn't have much money for a decent wardrobe, even to do a most dangerous jump. A guy who said he wanted to go to Mexico, but knew the Pacific Northwest fairly well, and how to get a jet to fly as slow as possible...but got off the ride less than an hour after the takeoff from Seattle. CONCLUSIONS: Cooper was a middle-aged guy who never saw a dropzone other than a military one, had not jumped in quite some time, and was desperate for money. Cooper never had the slightest intention of going to Mexico, or even Reno for that matter. He just said that to throw off any possible search, and probably didn't know that the crew...even if they were made to stay in the cockpit...would be able to figure out approximately when and where he jumped. The FBI had him pegged as a civilian jumper, which means they proceeded from a false assumption right from the start. If he had been a civilian jumper in his mid-40's, he would have at least worn the proper shoes. He would know to do that. This crime almost sounds like a guy who had been pushed to the edge by circumstances, knew how to use a chute but nothing much about crime, and his plan was probably hastily thought out over a period of no more than a few weeks prior to the crime. He was the luckiest guy on the face of the planet, and should have been caught, but wasn't.
  19. I think you guys might be lacking in a sense of humor. I get angry sometimes when certain folks in Cooperland start lying, or going off the deep end. But on the other hand...I definitely have a sense of humor when it come to Cooper. You really have to, or you will get weird like the others.
  20. Conclusion: D.B. Cooper was actually the guy shown below. Alice just took the angular face thing a bit too far.
  21. Unfortunately, no. The image presented by Flyjack is from a complete catalog that was once for sale on eBay, but has since been sold. There are no more for sale at this time.
  22. As a member of the Washington Trails Association, (although I gave up the 50 mile hikes a while ago) I sometimes get interesting emails from members. I guess there is a trail down by Ariel, WA leading right to Cooper's hideout cabin. Click on image to view in full size. Click it again to return here. I think you have to click on it a couple of times before it actually becomes big enough to read. However, since I can't find a 'Forest Service Road 476' anywhere near Ariel, and to my knowledge there is no 'Washington WALKERS Association,' this is probably an April Fools thing.
  23. No big deal, but in case you're wondering why I kept the screenshots from the Cooper Forum, as well as Sheridan's angry emails to me about what you did...was in case his family ever comes calling and wonders what happened. And although Eric U had nothing to do with this copyright violation/theft of Sheridan's book...the whole situation is made worse when you also support the idea of Sheridan being D.B. Cooper...when you KNOW that EU has told outright lies about Sheridan and his history...basically just making stuff up about him...and you support all that as well. What an honest bunch you are. Or maybe not. This is the main reason why, even if I didn't go to San Diego almost every Thanksgiving, why I would never step foot inside a Cooper Convention supported by, or partially hosted by...members of the Cooper Forum. I do have some morals, and a real attitude about copyright infringement. There was no signed contract between Snownman and Sheridan Peterson, although Snownman tossed Sheridan a couple of free copies of his own stolen book, as if that made everything right. (I make exceptions for people like Tom K and Mark M '377', because I consider them sound and decent folks. And Marty, the book author.) You want to make it right with Sheridan and his family? Contact Snownman and tell him to remove that stolen book from Amazon. Let me remind you there is a copyright issue here. Once he does, I will arrange with Sheridan's surviving family to have the book published at no cost to them in the traditional manner, in wholesale, and with worldwide distribution. I hear a lot of whining about 'my Cooper book doesn't sell' from some Cooper Forum members who have books out there. Well, of course they don't. You have no wholesale distribution, and that means no bookstores, no retailers will go near them. In case you didn't know, the 50-55% discount off the cover price arrangement between publishers and wholesalers has been going since the 1920's. I have tried repeatedly to advise you on how you can make YOUR Cooper book sell like ours, and even offered to help some of you for free. I get repaid with insults. Well...you can just sit there and check your Amazon sales and hope you will move a copy or two this month. If you're lucky. Amazon is peanuts on retail-only books, unless you are a famous author with a history. When you have wholesale distribution at the trade rate, you also automatically recruit thousands of book wholesalers and retailers worldwide to list YOUR book for sale...because both THEY and YOU make a profit on each sale. They help you along. Why shouldn't they? They have nothing to lose and can make a buck as well. It's a symbiotic relationship beneficial to all sides...the author...the printer/shipper/distributors...and the wholesalers and retail entities that deal in books. Currently, Into The Blast is the second-best selling book on the Cooper case worldwide, at least in paperback, with Geoff Gray's Skyjack being first. But that's because we're on a level playing field with Crown Books, the imprint that does Skyjack. The only difference between them and AB of Seattle is that they have a bigger marketing budget. The Prime Directive (as Star Trek would say) in book publishing success is NOT to release a book at straight retail, using Lulu, or CreateSpace perhaps. You won't get far doing that. A few sales to friends, maybe the occasional Amazon sale, but that's about it. Overseas or worldwide sales? Forgettaboutit. You wouldn't believe the shipping. Kindle? Yes, you can do okay with them, even worldwide, as long as your price isn't too high. There is a lot of competition in the Kindle market. As far as paperbacks in normal distribution, all shipping is normal on book orders because these books are printed and shipped out locally from print bases in the USA, England, Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia. You'll probably say I'm angry with many of you because you don't support the Cooper Party, or for other reasons. I was disappointed by that, but not angry. Your loss, not ours. It isn't going to stop us, I can assure you. The ad has only been out two days and it's working already. No...it is not that. I just don't like what was done to Sheridan and his family. Yes. I am VERY angry about that. It was easy for you to support the ripping off of his life's work, especially when he was 94 years old and in residential care. Easy to pick on a senior, lie about him, take advantage of him. You should put your heads together, talk to Shutter (since he's the guy who runs the Cooper Forum, supported all of Snownman's posts, and knows how to contact Snownman), and as Spike Lee once said, Do The Right Thing. On a side note, if any of you are ready to shift from selling two or three copies a month of your Cooper (or other type of) book, (as opposed to a few hundred copies a month) drop me a line and if you are nice I will show you how it's done.
  24. With ONE exception. We WILL send everyone on the email lists the multi-page PDF document with the maps, the scheduled programs and speakers, directions, contact information to party personnel etc...two or three weeks prior to July 9. The public version will be available for download three DAYS prior to July 9 and can be downloaded and printed from the website at that time. All of this is assuming of course...that the party is finalized on June 5. Saw something nice (that's never happened before) in our sales reports for AB. Someone actually used an Espresso Book Machine (probably in New York City) to buy an entire CASE (52 copies) of Into The Blast in March. That's dedication. It takes a couple of minutes to have the machine process just ONE book. Machine shown in the picture below. They must have waited for a couple of hours I bet. The way it works is if your book is in wholesale and being distributed by Ingram, buyers can scroll through thousands of books by author, title, subject etc and buy them at the wholesale rate, which for AB is 50% off the cover price. These machines are usually located in big-city, high-end bookstores. Or also large libraries I think. This case purchase would cost the buyer $300, of which AB receives $100. This is actually the cheapest way to buy from AB all around, since no shipping is involved and even street buyers can get the wholesale rate. But whether someone buys retail from Amazon, or wholesale through Ingram or their distributors, we always receive the same amount per copy sold. This, my friends...is why I wanted the folks at The DB Cooper Forum to lay off supporting the theft of Sheridan Peterson's anti-war book The Idiot's Frightful Laughter, and allow US to publish it free for him. Instead of a ridiculous, retail-only availability at a whopping 25 bucks a pop in paperback...Sheridan and his family would have collected wholesale royalties directly from his book for years to come. Of course, some of you would have none of that because AB of Seattle was involved...and screwed Sheridan out of his life's work...based on your dislike for me. Pathetic, selfish, are two words that come to mind. No use trying to deny what you supported. I have more than fifty screenshots showing the ugly truth on things. All done to obtain a few bragging-rights copies for a Cooper convention. You should be ashamed, and if you are not...there is something wrong in your character.
  25. Minor update on the July 9-11 Cooper Party: We are running some advertising for the event now, and that will continue until at least June 5th. No need to post a link to it. Folks in Cooperland already know where to find all the information on the party anyway. We don't expect the advertising to have much effect until after the end of April and into May. Frankly, it's too early for most people to commit to something not being done until the middle of summer. This advertising is directed at Cooper fans in the Seattle and South King County area. It's been decided to do only one more bulk email update to our email lists, the public one and the so-called 'VIP' list. I don't think we will need to do any additional updates past the one scheduled for April. Everyone on those lists already knows what 'the deal' is with everything anyway, and they can show up on July 9 or not, as they wish. Response to the whole idea has been slow, but steady. We think it will pick up as summer approaches. Word is getting out on a number of platforms. On June 5, a decision to finalize the event or not will be made. There is no other news.