Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review: McKinner's Pizza Bar

Monday night we went out for a friend's birthday, and she chose McKinner's Pizza Bar in downtown Littleton. I beat everyone there and chilled at the bar for a bit, gathering impressions.

First thought for me, was that the place is pretty small. You couldn't fit fifty people in the place. The bar only had room for about a dozen people at it, and not much of a selection. But that was the only possible negative.

The beer selection whilst limited, is a very good selection, mostly local craft beers. They even had some excellent ciders that I'd not had before. And their prices, well except for the Lindeman's Framboise from Belgium, they were all under $4.

When you get there, if you check into foursquare you'll notice the suggestion to try their jalapeno poppers. And you should, they were def worth the trying.

Most of us ended up getting pizzas. The birthday girl and her sister, got this Lucky Seven pizza, which is nothing but different kind of cheeses combined. One of my friends and I split the Extreme Johnzza, which they were very kind to switch out the mushrooms for more pepperoni. That was one of the best pizza's I've ever had. Another of our friends tried the Elvis sandwich. If peanut butter, banana, honey, and thick sliced bacon sautéed on pane bianco bread for $6 sounds good, then you'll probably enjoy it as much as he seemed to.

Some nights McKinner's has live music, which could really be worth checking out. I may have to find excuses to go to downtown Littleton more often, so that I can take advantage of McKinner's and further explore their menu. They will definitely be getting return visits from me.

Remembering: Frank Whittle and The Jet Engine

Born June 1, 1907 Frank Whittle was quick to pick up mechanical skills, thanks to his father being a mechanic. At the age of sixteen he joined the Royal Air Force as an aircraft apprentice.

In 1926, at nineteen he passed the medical exam and began training as a pilot at the RAF College. His senior thesis, discussed rocket propulsion as a way to power airplanes, and was entitled Future Developments in Aircraft Design.

He was posted to a fighter squadron and in his free time worked on creating his own jet engine. One of the instructors was impressed by his work, and put the word up the chain that his designs should be looked at. But they were rejected by both the Air Ministry and a private turbine firm.

Whittle did not let that stop him though. In 1930 he patented his design, and in 1936 formed his own company, Power Jets Ltd. By 1937 he had tested his engine on the ground, but still could not get the funding required to go further.

On August 27, 1939 Hans Joachim Pabst von Ohain's design Heinkel He 178 was successfully flown in Germany, marking the first jet flight in history. A week later WWII began. Suddenly the Air Ministry was more than interested. They immediately commissioned Gloster Aircraft Company to build an experimental aircraft around a Power Jets Ltd. jet engine.

May 15, 1941 the Gloster-Whittle E 28/39 successfully flew up to 370 miles per hour at 25,000 feet. It beat a prototype that had been designed by the same company which had rejected Whittle's designs in 1929. By 1944 Gloster Meteor jet aircraft were taking to the skies over the battlefields of Europe.

Mr. Whittle would retire from the RAF in 1948 as an air commodore. The year also saw him become Sir Whittle, and he was awarded 100,000 pounds. He published a book in 1953, Jet: The Story of a Pioneer. In 1977 he moved to Columbia, Maryland and took up a job as a research professor at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. Sir Frank Whittle died in Maryland in 1996.

Sir Whittle was a pioneer in science and mechanics. He was also a hero. Not just a British hero, or an American one; he was a hero to all people who fought on the side of freedom. He is someone who history tends to forget, but a man who we should always remember.

Hollande's Plane Struck by Lightning

Newly inaugurated French President Francois Hollande celebrated by leaving Paris and getting on a plane for Berlin.

His plan was to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel and work on "compromises" that he feels are necessary for the progression of European life.

As the plane sought altitude it was struck by lightning, and forced to return.

Everyone is fine, they're prepping a new plane for Mr. Hollande, and he plans to still get to Berlin tonight.