March 29th, 2006



Finally one of my local post offices, Drake Street in Kalamazoo -- open til 7pm, has the new $4.05 Priority Mail stamps. And it's shiny and beautiful: Black background, with computer generated false-color temperature simulation of an X-15.


The new rates have been in effect for months -- and I'd been putting them on return envelopes even longer -- but I had to use the old $3.85 stamp plus two 10-centers. First time out, the Allendale Post Office was finishing up 10-cent lick 'em stamps. Good lord, what are those? (grin) Then the $3.85 stamps began to disappear.

Just In Time Delivery

Now I'll be able to send this quarter's Writers of the Future entry on Friday. (double-grin)

Dr. Phil

(updated with pic 3-29-2006)

Quick Blasts From The Past

I was talking with a student after class today and the conversation turned to jet aircraft, turbine engines and eventually to the Union Pacific Railroad's attempts at making giant turbine powered locomotives. Under the heading of Dubious Achievements, one has to remember UP 8080, a "coal turbine locomotive". Yup. I said "coal". As in, coal was ground up to dust and fed into an 8500 h.p. gas turbine engine. Wikipedia has a nice article on the UP efforts and the disastrous coal turbine. (grin)

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Of Course I Grew Up On The Northeast Corridor Of The 60s and 70s

And for my turbine engine train thrills I was partial to the United Aircraft TurboTrain.

I rode the Canadian National/VIA Rail Canada TurboTrain once between Toronto and Montreal in 1978.

Also the Amtrak TurboTrain from Penn Station to Boston and Boston to Providence RI in 1973(?), the Amtrak RTG Turboliner from Chicago to Battle Creek MI in 1977 and the Amtrak Rohr Turboliner from Grand Central Terminal to Albany NY and back around 1977.

Dr. Phil
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    nostalgic nostalgic