Friday, January 30, 2015

Cannon Mountain Ski Weather

It's snowing right now.  We have maybe 2-3 inches down and it's still falling.  What with the 9 inches we got on Tuesday, the mountain will be in great shape. 

A Conservative Republican candidate?

The conservative Republicans claim that  the party needs a truly conservative candidate and the losses to Obama in 2008 and 2012 came about because we ran middle of the road candidates.  I don't believe that.
   We the voters want a decent, competent, and caring president.  We want a president who can make a decent public speech, and actually say something of substance, rather than declare his allegiance to motherhood and apple pie.  We want someone who understands who our overseas friends are, and who our enemies are.  We want someone who will support our friends and visit harm upon our enemies.  We want someone who understands business and labor well enough to get the economy growing again.  And make jobs plentiful again. 
   These are the things that really count.  Wedge issues, gay marriage, common core, creation science, gold standard, and anti vaccine policies don't really count. 
   I notice Mitt Romney is bailing out.  Not a bad idea.  Romney would make a fine president, trouble is, I don't think he could ever get elected against a Democrat.  He allowed Obama to beat him in 2012, which should never have happened.  When Obama smeared him as a heartless capitalist who threw people out of work and canceled their health insurance, Romney never replied.  Silence gives assent.  Coming from a state that does Willy Horton ads, Romney should have known that he had to deny Obama's smears.  He didn't, and  Obama gets another four years to flush the country down the drain. 

Avoiding "sexual assault"

Don't get drunk at parties.  You go to parties to meet guys, enjoy conversation, and show yourself off.  You can't do any of these when you are falling down drunk.  And, guys go to parties to pick up girls.  They know that falling down drunk girls will likely not object to getting laid. 
     And know your limits.  Tolerance for alcohol is a learned thing,  If you haven't done much drinking, a couple of drinks can get you into trouble.  Best plan is stick to beer, from a bottle.  You can drink enough to quench your thirst without getting smashed, unlike say martinis. 
   Same goes for weed.  Couple of tokes is probably OK, but a whole joint can put you on cloud 9 if you aren't experienced with the stuff.  
   Have a plan for getting home from the party.  Don't depend upon friends, they may hook up with a really cool guy and disappear.  Walking alone after dark is a bad idea.   If you get to your car and find you are too buzzed to drive safely, just take a nap in the car.  
If you really want to get pie eyed, do it on dorm, or at home, with some good same sex friends.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Will Airbus reengine the A380?

The A380 is the enormous double deck four engine super jumbo jet, biggest one in the air.  It's been on the market not very long, and sales have been mediocre at best, 318 delivered or on order since the rollout.  Now Airbus is talking about re engining it.  The newest engines can save 5 to 10 per cent on fuel consumption.  So far, only Emirates is pushing for this, they say they will take 70 more A380's if  Airbus reengines them. 
  Cost quoted for the engineering is staggering.  They are talking about $2.5 Billion just for the design, and presumably some flight testing.  Wow.  This is a airplane with the four engines in under wing pods.  Changes would be confined to the engine pods.  Design a new bracket to fit the new engine.  Make some changes in fuel piping, electrical harnesses, and the pod to accommodate the new engine.  You don't have to change anything in wings or fuselage or cockpit. You might have to replace the engine alternator control box, the one that keeps all four alternators in phase.   I figure 4- 5 engineers, with CAD/ CAM could do the drawings in a couple of months.  Then you have to test fly the aircraft to make sure everything works, and to make the regulatory agencies happy.  I'd budget $200,000 for engineers salaries, and let's say $1000 per flying hour for test flights.  Call it 500 hours of test flying (gross overkill)  The whole design and test effort is less than $1 million.  I may be a little low, but there is a helova long way between my back-of-the-envelope estimate and $2.5 Billion.  
   And, with the price of oil down by half since last summer, the urge to buy fuel efficient aircraft has presumably eased off a bit.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's so bad about Common Core?

I actually took the time to download it and read a while ago.  It's not great.  It's written by Ed majors, using Ed major jargon, which makes it vague and hard to read.  Since it was too big to read altogether, I concentrated on the high school mathematics section.  It wasn't bad.  It wasn't as good as the high school math I had many years ago, but it wasn't all bad.  For instance, Common Core called for plane geometry up to the proving of some lesser theorem.  When I took plane geometry, we proved the Pythagoras theorem, which is harder, and basic. 
   Actually, as far as educating children goes, we would do better by simply requiring all high school students take chemistry, physics, and biology, as well as algebra, plane geometry, and trigonometry. 
   Anyhow, I am not going to take Common Core as a serious political issue.  It's a wedge issue, all emotion, no real substance.

Cannon Mt Ski weather

It snowed all day Tuesday, and we have 9 inches of fresh powder this morning.  No wind, so the snow is still on the trails rather than in the woods.  It's cold, 8 F, and overcast.  I'm all plowed out which means I93 and Cannon are ready to go.  Skiing ought to superb. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cannon Mountain Ski Weather

After a steady all day yesterday hype on TV, the snow did start to fall up here just about 7 AM this morning.  No snow fell overnight.  It's cold, 10 F. Little to no wind.  Nice dry powder snow is falling, but isn't accumulating much.  Hasn't built up an inch yet.  It is nice fine flakes which promises to keep on falling for a while. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Watch Greece and the Euro

Anti austerity party Syrisa won the Greek election yesterday.  Greece has been running on bailouts from the EU, mostly Germany, and those bailouts required Greece to shape up it's financial scene.  Syrisa campaigned and won on a platform of dumping the shape up moves.  If they do that, the EU is likely to stop the bailout.  In that case, nobody else, not every brain dead sucker banks, will lend to Greece.  Which means the Greeks will be unable to keep paying on their massive debts, and will be unable to meet payroll at home.  This ought to insure a lively time in the old town tonight, or tomorrow night as well.  The Greeks may decide to drop out of the Euro, and print enough Drachmas to meet expenses.  They may not, because every Greek holding euro's will take a very close haircut if that happens.
  For extra fun, watch the EU get all twisted out of shape.  They shouldn't, Greece is petty cash compared to the EU GNP, but listening to Europeans talk, you would think that Grexit is the end of the euro itself. 

Computer running Slow?

Mine perked right up after I uninstalled (zapped) the Avast free anti virus.  I'm still running XP, and after blowing away Avast, it now runs faster than Win 8 on a much newer computer. 

Full Court Press

The White House Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough did all the Sunday pundits yesterday.  I saw him on Meet the Press, and on Face the Nation.  Instant replay showed him on Fox as well.  He didn't say anything that stuck in my mind, but sending him out to all the talk shows is usually a sign the White House has some message they want to spread.  Kinda like that State Dept lady who appeared on all the talk shows after Benghasi, pushing the line that all the fuss was caused by an obscure Internet video.  I missed what ever it was McDonough was pushing.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Verses from the Koran

There ought to be some that forbid murder, like the Charlie Hebdo massacre.  Only, I don't know the verses.  I haven't read the Koran.  I'm not planning to, either. 
  But there oughta be some Muslim scholars who do know the verses. (if they exist, if they don't, that tells you something).  Those scholars ought to be quoting the relevant verses, verses that might make us non-believers consider Islam to actually be a "religion of peace".  I am aware that Islam lacks an ecclesiastic structure like Catholicism.  But still, there ought to be some imams of decent standing whose words would carry weight. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cuba. Do they recognize an 800 lb Gorilla?

There the Cuban are, poor, unhappy, and only 90 sea miles from the United States.  For unknown reasons Obama decided to offer them US diplomatic recognition.  You'd think the Cubans would jump at the opportunity.  Being recognized gives them substantial protection again things like another Bay of Pigs, and offers an opportunity to plead for better economic treatment.  With an embassy in DC, the Cubans can send all sorts of diplomatic notes to the Americans, and get them published in friendly US newspapers like the NYT. 
   You would think that the Cubans would be willing to do just about anything to gain American recognition.  But, sounds like the mission to cut the deal, which traveled to Cuba, hasn't made any progress.  I assume the Cubans are being sticky about minor things.  Dunno why. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Things I'd like to know about Yemen

And the newsies probably don't know.  Like where is the Yemeni Army?  Surely they have one.  How big is it?  What side is it on? 
  Who are the rebels?  Are they locals? Are they Iranians?  Are they foreign fighters from all over the place like the old Mujahedin in Afghanistan?  How long have they been in business?  How many of them are there?  Who is their leader?  What is their relationship with the Saudis?  How much turf do they control?  Where do they get their gasoline? 
   Who was the Yemeni government just decapitated?  A collection of tribal sheiks?  A democracy with elections?  A Saudi puppet?  A hereditary monarchy?
   What do the Saudi's think about the new government in Yemen?  Are they for it or against it? 
   Does Yemen have any oil to pay for things?  If not, what do they use for foreign exchange?

Air Time. 2 lb Air Pressure gets it all

We have Yemen falling to Iran, the Congress and Obama squaring off, the economy still in the tank, the Euro zone in a deep muddle, and what does the TV news cover?  Underinflated footballs.  A whole 2 psi low.  End of the world. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

EU softening toward GMOs

Genetically modified organisms that is.  The EU has forbidden growing, importing, selling, or eating of anything with "gene modifications".  At least modern gene modifications using laboratory methods.  Nobody talks about the extensive gene modifications made over the centuries by plain old selective breeding.  All crops grown today are way different from their wild ancestors. 
   Anyhow, the EU Parliament lifted the EU wide ban on GMO's last week.   Regulation of GMO's is now up to the national European governments.  Who are strongly anti GMO and are not expected to loosen rules anytime soon. 
   The Economist does admit that GMO's are widespread in American and Asia, bringing increased yields, better taste, and lower food prices. 
    It could be, that in turning GMO regulation over to the national governments, the EU Parliament hopes to dampen criticism of overweening EU bureaucracy.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wild Winter Turkeys

We got 'em.  Last week I saw a wild and soggy turkey strutting  up the road in a rainstorm.  It was 40 that day, but very wet.  Then two days ago I saw a pair of 'em stumbling thru the woods behind the house with three inches of fresh snow on the ground.  I wonder where the turkeys spent the night, now that it is dropping down to 10 and 20 degrees below zero after dark.  You'd think temps like that would give you quick frozen turkey. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Who has the patience to watch Obama tonight?

Not I.  I can get a quick recap a few minutes after he finishes.  Obama's speaking style, vague generalities with no substance, is just plain annoying. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Greasing the skids

Greece, somehow has bamboozled the EU into giving them handouts.  After being allowed into the Euro back in  the 1990's, the Greeks managed to paper over their humungeous deficits by floating bonds.  Somehow, a bunch of sucker banks, mostly in Germany, was stupid enough to buy the bonds, thinking that they would get paid back on time.  The Greeks kept the illusion going by using the proceeds of the latest bond sales to the roll over old bonds. 
  This scam finally unraveled and every one, even the sucker banks, stopped buying Greek bonds, or making loans to Greece.  At this point, the Greeks owned so much money, that allowing them to default would cause intense pain thru out Europe.  The sucker banks cried that a Greek default would bankrupt them.  So, the EU decided to bail the Greeks out, a bit.  They demanded that the Greeks clean up their act, balance their budget, lay off the enormous number of Greeks on the Government payroll, and tighten up tax collection.  In return for promises to reform, the EU would give the Greeks enough money to pay the interest on their debts.  Which means that the sucker banks can carry their Greek loans as assets on their books.  If the Greeks stop paying, then sooner or later, the sucker banks would have to declare a whacking big loss.  A loss big enough to put a number of them out of business. 
   This stop gap situation may come unraveled this spring.  The Greeks have to hold national elections and the polls all show a new populist party Syrisa about to win outright.  Syrisa  is threatening to scrap all the promises of reform, and stop paying on Greece's foreign debt.  At which point the EU handouts will stop. 
   What happens to the EU and the Euro is unknown, but the Europeans are worried about it.  The Greeks will have to figure out how to live within their means.  They may decided to drop out of the Euro so they can print their own money, as much as they need, to meet payroll.  They may not, because all Greeks with any kind of money, in Euros, will be against the idea.  Dropping out of the Euro, would mean everyone's Euros would turn into Drachma, and then the Drachma would drop 50% or more against the Euro.  In effect, every Greek gets a real close haircut.  No one wants that. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Woe to the Brits

Britain is heading for another election.  They have the Labour party, the Tories, and a new rising power the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP for short).  The way the polls have it, UKIP will have enough votes that they will have to be taken into a coalition government in order to get a majority in Parliment.
UKIP is anti immigrant and anti EU.  They want to pull Britain out of the EU.  Since Britain does about 60% of her export business with the EU that could really smart.  Right now as an EU member, British exports go into Europe duty free.  If Britain pulls out of the EU, that happy state of affairs is over, British goods will face full EU tariffs, and there are plenty of continental competitors eager to pick up that business. 
   The way things look now, Britain is sailing into a sea of troubles.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Who do you believe?

We got two polls out this morning.  Reuters, and Gallup.  Reuters scores Obama at 37%, where as Gallup has him much higher, at 46%. Both Reuters and Gallup have good reputations going back 80 years or more.  Both base their results on small samples of the population, 1000 to 1500.  It takes great care and skill to select a representative sample.  Select an unrepresentative sample, say at a Tea Party meeting or a ACLU gathering, and you can get just about any results imaginable. 
   I like the lower Reuters number myself, but perhaps it is too good to be true. 
   So what does one believe? 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fox News Joins Nanny State

They are hard at it right now.  Cops are investigating a Silver Spring MD couple who allowed their grade school age children to walk home alone from a park, about one mile.  Fox has a couple of lady commentators raving about how terrible this was, it's cold, a mile is too far.  Yackety Yack.
    When I was in grade school we all walked home after school.  It was a mile. No school buses in that town. I walked that mile to school and back from school, every day, rain or shine.  That was in Saxonville, a medium tough working class town.  This was Silver Spring MD, a silver spoon bedroom community. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Prisoners of War are not Criminal Defendants.

The prisoners at Gitmo are enemy soldiers.  They were captured on the battlefield bearing arms against US troops.  They are not criminals, they didn't commit robbery, murder, rape, arson, or other crimes.  They just fought against our soldiers.
   No American court, military or civilian is going to convict enemy soldiers just for being enemies.  The hundred or so prisoners left in Gitmo need to stay there, otherwise they will go back to fighting for Al Quada.  They haven't committed any recognized crimes, but you cannot turn them loose.
  US criminal law doesn't recognize prisoner of war.  In US jurisprudence,  only a court can convict a defendant to jail or worse.  Arrests cannot be made until the perp has committed a crime. The Gitmo prisoners haven't committed a crime, haven't been convicted by a court, but we are holding them in jail.  There is a good chance that if they were brought to the US, some bat brained judge (we got plenty of those) will order them turned loose.  That's why we parked them at Gitmo in the first place.
  Just to confuse the issue further, to be a prisoner of war, you have to be a soldier of a recognized nation-state.  Al Quada isn't a nation-state, it's a bunch of raghead terrorists.  We have international agreements about treatment of prisoners of war.  Things like "name, rank, and serial number" mean no interrogation of prisoners of war.  So we don't call them prisoners of war, we call them detainees.  And we used to interrogate them, harshly, but Obama lacks the stomach for this, so we don't anymore.  In fact, Obama has ordered the troops to take no prisoners, kill them all instead. 
  In short, the Gitmo prisoners need to stay in Gitmo.  Giving them trials won't solve anything, it will mostly turn them loose.  Bringing them to the US is quite dangerous, some judge may turn them loose. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cannon Mt Ski Weather

We got 3.5 inches of  fresh powder last night.  It's 2 below zero this morning, and colder is promised for tomorrow.

Don't get mad, Get Even.

Obama has spent his last 6 years trashing every one in Europe.  It started when he returned a bust of Winston Churchill, continued with tapping Angela Merkel's phone,  dropped plans for an American anti-missile system in Poland, sucked up to Vladimir Putin, and wimped out in Syria.  Nobody on europe owes him anything, and a lot of people in Europe would like to get even.
   So, when the Europeans set up a big solidarity parade in Paris, I'm thinking that nobody bothered to tell the Americans about it.  We have demos and parades all over the world, every day.  Somehow the news that the Paris one was bigger and more important than average, and that lack American representation would be noticed bigtime, never reached the White House, at least not in time.  That's what White House underlings are leaking to TV newsies today.
    Sounds plausible to me.  I didn't know the Paris demo was gonna be all that big until it was underway.  Unless someone told them, the White House wouldn't know much more than I did.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

Troops in the streets

Won't keep us safe against Islamic terrorists.  You need informants who will finger the terrorists before they open fire.  Terrorists have to live somewhere, they have to eat somewhere, they have to travel, they have to communicate.  Someone sees this.  The landlady at the apartment, the counter person at the greasy spoon, the car rental clerk, the cell phone salesman.  If you could talk to that someone, you could arrest the terrorist before he strikes.  We need undercover cops to develop contacts inside the terrorist neighbor hoods, inside the mosques, anywhere we think terrorists might be. 
   We also need laws that allow us to imprison terrorists BEFORE they have done anything bad.  Right now the criminal justice troops only work on crimes that have been committed.  No commission, no action.  Innocent until proven guilty. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Saga of SS Contessa, from Rick Atkinson's "Army at Dawn"

Operation Torch in WWII was somewhat incredible.  An invasion army boarded ship in Norfolk Virginia, steamed across the submarine invested Atlantic, and landed in North Africa.  To provide air support after landing, an airfield was located, near the sea and on a river bank.  Shallow river.  The call went out for a freighter of less than 17 foot draft to get up the river.  The only ship meeting this requirement was a aging banana boat, SS Contessa.  She was duly ordered to Norfolk.  When the crew discovered that their new cargo was to be avgas and 1000 pound bombs, they all promptly jumped ship.  The skipper took some Navy guards with riot guns and paid a visit to the Norfolk city jail.  After some explanations to the warden, including the fact that anyone volunteering would not be back in Norfolk anytime soon, the skipper recruited 37 experienced seamen who decided that risking torpedoes was a better deal than an extended stay in the Norfolk jail. 
   Meanwhile the Navy drydocked Contessa, repaired the worst of her leaks, and slapped a fresh coat of paint on her bottom.  Then they started loading bombs and avgas.  This took longer than it should have, and Contessa sailed two days after the main Torch fleet sailed.  She managed to cross the Atlantic by her self, all in one piece,  without encountering an enemy sub.  She turned up in North Africa on time, and with a local pilot, made it up the river and was unloading at the airfield before any aircraft arrived. 
  Just one of the cool stories Rick Atkinson tells. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Take 'em alive, don't waste 'em with missiles

Obama's plan for dealing with ISIS and company is drone strikes.  Send a Predator and pop the target with a Hellfire anti tank missile.
   If we have the intel to launch a drone strike, we have the intel to take 'em alive and grill 'em.  Load a company of infantry into choppers and fly out and grab 'em.  With a little interrogation we will know every thing that they know.  Things like where is their base, who are their members, where do they plan to strike next, where does their money come from, who is tipping them off.
   Obama doesn't do this, 'cause he wants to empty out Guantanamo so he can close it.  Newly captured prisoners would fill the place up, making it harder to close it.  Congress has forbidden transferring Guantanamo  prisoners to US soil, largely out of fear that bat brained US judges would turn them loose. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Two below zero

That's what I had this morning.  Coldest it's been this winter.  But it's been a lot colder in past winters.

Keep a piece in your desk drawer

Yesterday's horrible attack on Charles Hobdo in Paris is scary.   They could do that anywhere.  Just two guys at the front door and 12 people die.  They could deliver two guys any where they like. 
    I'm thinking a large caliber handgun, close at hand, gives the best chance of surviving the event. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Chuckie trashs Keystone XL

Senator from New York, Charles Schumer was on TV the other  day badmouthing the Keystone XL project.  He called the jobs the project would furnish "temporary" implying jobs on the McDonalds level.  Chuckie, you got it wrong.  Those will be construction jobs.  Good jobs, good pay, lotta overtime, outdoor work where you get to see the sun and breathe the fresh air.  Lotta guys like working construction.  And, everyone knows a construction project hires on and the beginning, and when the job is finished, the workers move on to something else. 
   Then Chuckie claimed after the pipeline was finished only 34 jobs would be left.  That's pure BS.  You need a helova lot more than 34 guys to keep a 2000 mile pipeline running.  More like 3000 guys I'd guess.  And all the workers at the Gulf refineries that Keystone will feed, would be out of work without the oil to feed the refineries.  Plus all the workers in other industries that will be powered by Keystone oil or use it as feedstock. 
   And Chuckie wants to require that all the pipe be American made.  A real free market man is our Chuckie.  I suppose we can accept that if it brings in some Democratic votes.  It would be fairer to say Canadian or American made.  But fairness isn't high on Chuckie's priority list. 
   And finally Chuckie wants to prohibit sale of Keystone oil overseas.  Another grand free market idea.  The reason the US dollar has always been strong, is the fact that the Americans will sell you anything you want.  The reason the Russian ruble is fairly worthless, is the fact that the Russians don't have anything to sell. If we start saying "Yes, your dollars are good for everything except oil, and a few other things." customers will go elsewhere, and dump the dollars they were going to spend.  Fortunately oil is just  liquid, no serial numbers, and pretty much untraceable, so I expect they oil companies will merely say that oil they sell abroad doesn't come from Keystone, and get away with it.

Monday, January 5, 2015

How soon we forget

From the Economist:  "Data General introduced the first minicomputers in the late 1960s"   Not true.  I was in the industry way back when, and everyone knew the first commercially successful minicomputer was the PDP-8 from Digital Equipment Corp (DEC everyone called them).  The PDP-8 wasn't much of a computer, it was only 12 bits and could only address 4 K of  "core" memory. (RAM had not been invented yet).  It sold for $10k, 1960 dollars no less.  But it was enough computer to automate a lot of test and assembly tasks, and $10K looked cheap when compared to a mainframe. 
   DEC and competitor Data General thrived on making minicomputers up thru the 1980s but neither of them were able to transition to the microprocessor age.  The remains of DEC were bought up be Compaq in the 90s and Data General faded away somewhere and nothing was heard from them. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

What the Republicans oughta do

We start the new year with Republican control of house (solid) and Senate (decent but not veto proof or even filibuster proof).  The voters are unhappy, they are still out of work, just scraping by.   They still have Obama who will veto anything they pass.
   Republicans need to show the voters they care, they keep the public debate both public and sensible. 
they need to propose laws that the voters approve of.   Laws that fail to attract a single Democratic vote lack broadbased support.  And to win political support, the laws have to be understandable.  Which means short.  Which means to the point.  A law doing something good packed with a trainload of unrelated pork is easy for the voters to classify as a swindle.  Obama is looking for opportunities to veto anything and everything.  Bills with wads of pork tucked into them will get vetoed and Obama will claim he is vetoing because of the pork.  So keep the bills clean and simple, so that everyone understands what it is about. 
   So much for generalities.  Mitch McConnell has already cued up the Keystone XL pipeline.  Good chose, it is simple, most voters like it, Obama might even sign it, and will face some heat if he doesn't.  Next start appropriation bills. one for each federal department thru the committee process.  Then we can cue up some tax reform, some immigration reform,  some patent and copyright reform, and some regulatory rollback.  For instant, an act of Congress declaring that CO2 is not a pollutant and cannot be regulated by the EPA under the clean air act.  An act of Congress declaring that "navigable waters" means waters deep enough to float a canoe in dry season.  Tighten up the endangered species act to forbid invention of new species, followed by declaring the new species endangered. 
   We voters want to see some democratic lawmaking done in a serious fashion by serious people.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Railway Children Masterpiece Theater 2000

A charming and very British tale set at the turn of the century, 19th to 20th century that is.  A well to do British father is arrested and jailed for unspecified crimes.  His wife, in order to keep her children with her, decides to cut expenses to the bone.  She sells the nice London house, and its furnishings, and moves the family to a humble place out in the country. 
   Arriving after dark in a strange place, the locals lend a helping hand getting them from the railway station to country place.  As days go by the children strike up acquaintances with the railway workers and passengers.  One thing leads to another, and the children persuade an elder and wealthy gentleman (played wonderfully by Richard Attenborough) to take an interest in their father's case and get him sprung from jail.  Happy ending.  Good warm feeling kind of flick.  For rail fans like me, there are lots of good shots of British steam trains chugging thru the extra scenic British countryside.  
    The flick portrays an England of many social levels, and every one fits comfortably into his or her level and works to carry out his job to the best of his ability. There is a warm consensus about right and wrong, honor and duty.  You get a feeling for the social glue that held England together thru the two terrible world wars to come.  Nice feeling.
   The feeling was strong enough to upset the lefty Masterpiece Theatre commentators.  They tacked on a lecture at the end explaining that real railway directors were nasty people like Commodore Vanderbilt and Deacon Drew, the charming Richard Attenborough character never existed in real life.  Which is too bad.  I like the notion of benevolent men running the society.  The idea for the movie came from a book by E. Nesbit published in England.  Although I never read it, over here we had The Box Car Children, a different schtick, it was good enough to support seven different movies and TV shows since the early 1950's.  Clearly the author's idea was pretty strong, and possibly closer to real than a that of a lefty American commentator.