The Eudaemonic Pie – Audio Episode Show Notes

The Eudaemonic Pie It’s up! My first effort as an audiobook narrator, The Eudaemonic Pie by Thomas A. Bass, is available for purchase through Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. You can listen to the entire prologue of the book in the episode here:

This is a story of the very early days of personal computing. It’s the late 1970s in Santa Cruz. Intel has just recently released the CMOS processor – the first “computer on a chip.” The Homebrew Computer Club, just an hour up the road, is putting together the early basis for what became Apple. The air is electric in more ways than one. A band of physicists, artisans, artists, and adventurers decides that the game of roulette can be beaten. Not by reaching out and affecting the game, but by deducing the Newtonian equations that govern the game and then using computers embedded in their shoes to play the game in the computer’s brain at hyperspeed to predict in advance where the ball will land.

To be sure, this is a story of going to Las Vegas to do battle with the casinos. But, much more importantly, this is the story of the democratization of computing and the very birth of the hacker culture. And, even though the book came out more than 30 years ago, it remains astonishingly relevant – you could almost change the names of the computer chips and restaurants in the story and have it read like it came out yesterday. I’m honored that Thomas trusted me with this story. We worked closely to make the audiobook carry the energy and inspiration of the story. Thomas tells me that I managed to do it. I hope that you think so, too.

The read is dedicated to Bill and Barbara Tozier (who have been my spirit animals and guides to ways of thinking about information and people for 15 years) and David Fry, the tech entrepreneur whom I most admire.

Want to catch the spirit of this story and provide an incentive to get more stories like this into audiobook form? Here’s how.

(1) If you’re not already an Audible subscriber, please sign up for a free trial using the URL You sign up for a free trial on Audible and pick The Eudaemonic Pie as your first selection. The show gets a few bucks from Audible for your free trial sign-up and the author and the show splits a bounty when you pick our book as your first selection.

(2) If you’re already an Audible subscriber, buy The Eudaemonic Pie just like you would any other audiobook. The show gets a little taste of Audible’s revenues associated with your purchase.

Thanks for supporting efforts that bring important and inspiring stories to you!


Yanks v. Planes of Fame Pleadings Tracker

Yanks v PoF Complaint Image 02

Updated 25 April 2017 1700 US ET.

For the convenience of those following the litigation over the Chino Airshow (Yanks, et. al. v. Planes of Fame, California Superior Court for the County of San Bernardino, Case No. CIVDS1705434), Airspeed is tracking the pleadings in the case. The plan is to update this page from time to time, workload permitting. (Like flight following through the Chicago Class B, only slightly better).

What, exactly is linked here?  Good question. These are the court documents, as filed in the court. A copy of the court’s docket, as it appeared at the time we downloaded the documents, leads each PDF file so that you can see the context of the documents.  Most of the documents are downloaded directly from the court’s website. Several of the items were sent to us by others and we’ve posted them, having no reason to think that they’re other than true copies of the court records. We might or might not include additional documents received by this means.

There are omissions in the PDF files and those happen for two reasons. (1) Some of the documents don’t show on the docket as being available for download. In those cases, we generally don’t have the document unless someone has provided it to us by other means (such as an e-mail the other day). (2) Some of the documents that do show as being available from the court’s website either appear to be – or are – not very interesting, such a proofs of service and other documents that have more to do with the Kabuki theater of litigation than the actual substance. Make no mistake, we love the Kabuki theater of the court system. The producer is a lawyer, after all. But we know enough to think that non-lawyer readers probably won’t find them interesting and we have, accordingly, omitted them. (Note: We have not reviewed each document that was omitted to determine whether it’s uninteresting. In several cases, we made that call based solely on the title of the document in the docket, e.g., “Amended Proof of Service filed for Planes of Fame Air Museum filed.” We’re guessing that you wouldn’t want to read that, either.)

So here are the pleadings. They’re court documents and part of the public record.  You don’t have to ask Airspeed for permission to do this or that with them. You’re welcome to do whatever is permissible to do with court pleadings.  Knock yourself out.


25 April Update

See the Ex Parte Application for Court Re-Setting Hearing Dates here.

On 24 April, Planes of Fame filed an ex parte application to the court seeking to reset hearing dates for several motions in the case. In the application, PoF is asking the court (without Yanks or the other plaintiffs being involved – that’s what “ex parte” means) to hear three different motions on the same date.  They are:

(1) PoF’s demurer to the complaint (a pleading in which PoF essentially says, “We understand everything in the plaintiffs’ complaint . . . except the ‘therefore’”) set for hearing on 9 May;

(2) PoF’s motion to strike the complaint (a pleading that says that the plaintiff’s complaint, on its face, doesn’t allege the things that it needs to allege to get to the remedy requested); and

(3) PoF’s special motion to strike (what is commonly known as an “anti-SLAPP” motion designed to combat lawsuits that are intended to censor, intimidate, and/or silence opponents by burdening them with the cost and aggravation of a legal defense until they abandon their opposition) set for 13 June.

This is the first time that we’ve seen the anti-SLAPP motion (filed 21 April under California Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16(b)(1), but not previously available on the court’s website), mainly because it’s attached to the 24 April application. Anti-SLAPP motions are usually used in cases that have a more clear-cut free-speech element than we see in the Chino fistfight. In the usual case, a journalist or advocate says this or that about a well-capitalized person or enterprise.  The well-capitalized person or enterprise then sues the journalist or advocate for defamation without much regard for the merits of the suit.  The idea of the suit is to burden the journalist or advocate with the lawsuit and try to discourage the journalist, advocate, or others from criticizing the plaintiff. A good example of a successful use of an anti-SLAPP motion is the case of Dr. Edward Tobinick’s suit against Yale Neurologist and host of The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe Dr. Steven Novella. Novella criticized Tobinick’s claims regarding Tobinick’s Alzheimer’s treatments. Tobinick sued and Novella succeeded in fending off the suit with an anti-SLAPP motion.

Although the PoF anti-SLAPP motion alleges that the airshow is protected speech, airshows and similar events are not the usual focus of anti-SLAPP motions and their jurisprudence. Maybe it’s that California court rules require that anti-SLAPP motions be heard within 30 days after filing if possible. Perhaps the idea is to get a hearing on something other than the injunction prior to the dates for the show. Given that the court has slated other motions for hearing on 9 May, PoF argues that the court has room on the docket and must hear the anti-SLAPP motion earlier than the scheduled date (by 19 May in any case). Nevertheless, there’s no guarantee that the hearing would happen before the 6-7 May dates for the 2017 airshow.

Long story short, PoF is asking the court to hear all of PoF’s motions on the same day.  Being that the earliest of the presently-scheduled PoF motions is set to be heard on the second day after the 2017 Chino Airshow wraps, there’s no obvious effect on the 2017 airshow itself from the consolidation. But it might signal thoughts by PoF that it believes that it has a pretty strong case and wants to bring all of the motions together to concentrate firepower in one hearing. Generally speaking, if a party thinks that it’s a little thin on the law, the facts, or both, it makes sense to scatter one’s motions around a little to divide and conquer, or at least fight an effective rear-guard action.  PoF is doing the opposite.

Could the ex parte application mean something else?  Of course. But that’s the view from here in the cheap seats.

Lastly, by all indications that we can see from the docket, the motion on the preliminary injunction is still set for 28 April.


21 April Update

Yanks Docket 2017-04-21

Nothing new to upload today. If I’m reading the docket (reproduced above) correctly, it looks as though the hearing on the injunction was adjourned for a week or longer. The docs themselves are not available and you’re seeing everything that we are without calling the clerk to get an explanation.  We might do that early next week.  In any case, if we had to guess, we’d guess that the parties are huddling to see if there’s a way to settle this out of court (which would be among the results most likely to result in the 2017 airshow happening on schedule). So we’re cautiously optimistic. Stay tuned.


All pleadings through mid-day 17 April 2017 (the whole megillah).

Pleadings after 7 April 2017 through mid-day 17 April 2017

Pleadings filed by Planes of Fame on 7 April in opposition to the injunction.

Final notes:

Neither this post or anything else short a of a formal engagement letter creates a lawyer-client relationship between Steve Tupper or his law firm (on the one hand) and you (on the other).

The materials are provided with no representation, warranty, guaranty, or other promise of any kind and we might or might not update this page. Use these items at your own risk.

Airspeed has dropped maybe $150 with the court in order to download the pleadings.  If you feel like slipping Airspeed some money, you can do it by hitting the “Donate” button on the right-hand side of this page. Any excess received will be squandered on aviation activities and/or donated to the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum in Detroit.


Yanks v. Planes of Fame Lawsuit Heats Up

Yanks PoF Web Pages

The lawsuit in San Bernardino County, California is heating up. I’ll be on Warbird Radio Live tonight at 8:00 PM US ET (2000 US ET/0000Z) to talk with Matt Jolley about recent developments in the case from a lawyer’s perspective.

As many of you know, Yanks Air Museum and several other tenants at the Chino Airport (KCNO) have sued Planes of Fame Air Museum, claiming trespass, three flavors of interference, and unfair competition, and have sought an injunction that would prevent the Chino Airshow from occurring. In a nutshell, Yanks and the other plaintiffs claim that the airshow limits their ability to do business and, among other things, they’ve asked that the court enjoin Planes of Fame from conducting the airshow.

For those following along at home, here are links to the pleadings so far.  These are public court documents.

All pleadings since inception on 27 March that i found interesting (including the 7 April filings by Planes of Fame opposing the injunction):

Just the pleadings filed by Planes of Fame on 7  April in opposition to the injunction:

Tune in tonight!  You’ll get my perspective as an aviation lawyer, airshow performer, and air boss, as well as the views of other callers and guests – all moderated by Matt Jolley, a real and experienced airshow announcer, pilot, and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist.

[ Website screen shots used as permitted by 17 U.S.C. § 107.]

A Day at CAP MIWG Arctic Glider Ops

FOD TG-9A 2017-03-11a


I spent yesterday at the Owosso airport (KRNP) in the fashion that is becoming ever more frequent: As a an instructor pilot for Civil Air Patrol’s glider program.

Michigan Wing has one of the most active glider programs in the country.  This despite the fact that Michigan’s weather is not always hospitable to glider operations. We fly year-round, sometimes in single-digit temperatures that require bundling up like the Michelin Man and changing chemical heaters in our boots and gloves at least once in the middle of flight operations. The result is that we often rank at or near the top nationally in terms of cadet orientation flights, as well as cadet flight training.

We operate two gliders: A Schleicher ASK 21 (TG-9A) and a Schweizer SGS 2-32 (TG-5). Both types operated at the U.S. Air Force Academy and we know that the N975AF airframe itself was there. We have two regularly active instructor pilots, a third IP who participates when he can, and a fourth pilot who flies orientation rides and doubles as a tow pilot.  We have two frequent tow pilots and several others who tow as they’re able.

I frequently get strange looks from those who hear about MIWG glider ops. And those strange looks are deserved. But days like yesterday make it all worthwhile.

Temps started out at -9C and stayed below 0C all day. Cloud cover ranged from few to broken at around 4,000 AGL and winds were pretty consistently down Runway 29 at 12G18. But, to everyone’s surprise, we found lift.  Lots of lift, in fact. We hit four to six knots up pretty consistently and, although there was some corresponding sink, we had enough to keep us up for much longer than the usual 0.3 from launch to landing.

To be sure, we can do everything that we need to do for a cadet orientation flight within that timeframe. But a little additional time allows us to let the cadets fly longer and spend more time demonstrating altitude-eating maneuvers like steep turns.  Even an additional 0.1 or an extra few hundred feet make a big difference.

I flew 13 sorties: Two C16 flights with FOD (and would have re-soloed him if the winds weren’t above CAP cadet solo limitations), two C12 flights with senior members, and nine A15 cadet orientation flights.

Nicholas “FOD” Tupper is flying very well. Other than talking briefly on the radio to ask an incoming CAP airplane to give him room to get in and land, I was baggage there in the back seat. When I get bored, it’s time to get out of the glider and let the C/2Lt ply the skies without all that weight and noise in the back seat. I’m unspeakably proud of what he’s done since his first flight with me in 2012, and especially as certificated student pilot since last year.

The C12 flights with senior members are fun. First, during winter operations, you only get the senior members who really want to fly. They’ll come out and stand in the cold all day launching and retrieving gliders and supervising cadets just to get a flight.

Most senior members like that are in it for the stick time. I don’t disappoint them.  For one of them, I fly the takeoff and tow and he takes the controls from release until downwind. For the other, today was the first time I let him fly from takeoff to landing. I learn things when I fly with guys like the second one. He’s nervous and uptight. From the back seat, I can see his shoulders up in his ears from the time he straps in.

We got the bird in the air on the takeoff roll and immediately shot laterally to the left. “Um, help me on this?” No problem. Boot a little rudder, get us back behind the tow, and hand it back to him. Off we go to the left again. Lather, rinse, repeat.  Then we’re up above 200 AGL (the safe return altitude after which it would be really hard to get hurt in a glider) and he’s finding his way on tow.  Pretty consistently high, low, left, and right. Shoulders in his ears. But it’s best to let him figure stuff out.

As an IP, I’m finally developing a decent sense of how far I can let a student get away from where he or she is supposed to be before intervening. This is important. Correcting from error is a valuable process in which the student teaches himself or herself about flying. If I’m on the controls more than I need to be, I’m depriving the student of that valuable experience.  My job is to sit there and protect everybody (the student, the tow pilot, and me) from Bad Things while providing a sandbox in which the student can play.

Neither of the senior members has yet found his feet. As a budding aerobatic, then glider, pilot, I did my share of uncoordinated flying. This is the universe’s way of revisiting my early training on me. It’s not uncommon to be sitting in the back seat, forced into one side or other other of the glider as the student has a wing down and no corresponding rudder. (Or pull to make the turn happen. You just kind of sit there uncoordinated and see the puzzlement exuding from the back of the student’s head.)

But that’s okay. Here’s my view: We tell students that these controls have such-and-such effects. But the students initially have no kinesthetic sense of how much of what input does what or how inputs combine to give the desired effect. It’s only right to let them get up in the sky and try out those controls. I’m absolutely fine with a student thrashing all over the sky. When they get it, they’re really going to get it. And I expect that it’ll happen suddenly and neither of them will actually know why. It’ll suddenly just feel right and they’ll be doing what they’re supposed to do.

“The glider already knows how to fly. The sooner you get out of the glider’s way and let it do what it wants to do, the better your results.” Yes, some jerk said those words to me. And I now regularly say them to the senior-member students.  They’re true, even if a little frustrating at first.

Cadet orientation flights were the mixed bag that they usually are.  All good, but a mixed bag.  Cadets show up feeling everything from unbounded enthusiasm to abject terror. As an orientation pilot, you have about five minutes to size up each cadet. You see him or her step to the glider, you get his or her name, CAP ID, and weight, and then you see the backs of their heads from the time they strap in until the time they unstrap.

You owe each cadet an orientation flight that teaches what the syllabus says to teach while reaching out to the cadet where he or she is. A cadet who’s terrified, but doesn’t want to show fear in front of his or her fellows, needs a ride that’s going to get him or her back to the airport for the next ride. No shucking or jiving. Talk in soothing tones. Explain everything. On the other hand, a cadet who’s on his or her fourth flight and wants to see big turning stalls again is going to get another kind of flight entirely.

I had a cadet today who among those that make brutal cold, withering heat, and lots of Saturdays more than worthwhile. We have a policy soft spot for 17-year-old cadets who are about to age out of eligibility for orientation flights. If they show up, we make every effort to get all of their O-flights in under the wire.  That sometimes means that we’re flying that cadet as much as five times that day. Today’s was one such cadet who had four flights to go.

On the first flight with her, I ran into nothing but sink. 4-6 knots of it wherever I turned. We eked out Syllabus 2, but after we came to a stop on the runway, I apologized to her. Then, on the next tow, we hit lift.

Like I said, lift is time and options. Even an additional six minutes or a few hundred feet means additional opportunities to teach and let the cadet explore the envelope. We rapidly found ourselves at 4,100 and about 500 feet below the clouds. Syllabus 3 is where you introduce stalls, so this seemed to be a good point at which to lay off the thermals and let the relative wind see the bottoms of the wings.

I demonstrated a basic stall, then let her fly one of her own, which she accomplished perfectly. She had done well on the first flight of the day, so I thought it appropriate to go a little further than I otherwise might. I showed her a stall with a much higher deck angle at the break (maybe 20 degrees), which tends to result in a pronounced break and a good 30 degrees of pitch down at the conclusion. And she yelled and laughed  Well, a yell and a laugh in my ship is going to get you the opportunity to fly your own stall like that. So she took the controls and pitched for the stall. And pitched. And pitched. Hmmmm . . .

When the break came, the nose pitched precipitously and I noticed that there was considerably less than 1G on the seat. Quite considerably. And considerably more planet in the windshield than I was accustomed to seeing. As we pulled out (to the sound of laughter and other positive noises from both seats), it occurred to me that the overall effect was much more like a pull-push-pull Humpty Bump than a stall and recovery. All safe and well within the capabilities of aircraft and aircrew, but nevertheless an experience to throw into the flight bag for future reference.

On the third flight of the day, we really got into the lift. It was everywhere. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. We’d pick a direction to fly with zero sink for a minute at a time, then get a kick in the pants and be hard-over into four to six knots of lift. We got right up to the cloud bases again, this time with me giving spoken suggestions, but her doing all of the flying. It was the fastest I’d ever seen someone develop an intuitive sense of how to thermal.

After nearly a half hour, I decided that we needed to get back on the ground. There was a reasonably deep stack of cadets who still needed to fly and I wanted her to have a chance to fly the other glider as well. When faced with extra altitude, I take it as license to practice those maneuvers that eat altitude, here meaning steep turns.

I talked her over to an area where it was clear below and clear laterally of the other glider, then demonstrated a 45-degree steep turn. She took the controls in the turn and, with the nose bobbing a little and some airspeed excursions, she got it going around pretty well.  We leveled out and then I put us in a 60-degree commercial steep turn going the other way. Once established, I pulled to +2G, as befits that bank angle. The noise from the front seat was what every IP hopes for.  I gave her the controls and she kept the commercial-grade steeps coming as we came out of the sky like a hot set of car keys. Recovering a little before 1,500 AGL, I took the controls and got us on the ground.

Like I said, yesterday was one of those days that make all of the cold, the heat, and the work worthwhile. 13 total sorties for 4.3 hours. And lift that the other IP (a 10,000+ flight glider guy) said that he’d never seen before in those kinds of conditions.

Aviation frequently brings on the feeling of disbelief that they let us do things like this. We feel like we’re getting away with something every time we show up at the airport, raise the hangar door, and see the birds sitting there in the pre-dawn light as the tow plane taxis onto the ramp behind us.

Of course, we’ve paid for this many times over, we hold ourselves to brutally high standards, and we’re not “getting away with” jack. But it’s not hard on a day like yesterday to feel like we do.