Jan 4, Pork-you-pay'n

Jan 4, Bargain Defaults

Jan 4, Money Management

Jan 11, My First Computer - 25 Years Ago

Jan 21, "The Past Eight Years"

Jan 28 The State of the Union

Feb 19, False Assumptions

Feb 22, Last Original Hobo Dies

Feb 24, NJ Senate votes to give Morgan Stanley $350 million!

Feb 24, Congress Declares War on American People!

Feb 26, Gravity and the Law of Death

Apr 7, Bayer Aspirin and CAFE Standards

Apr 19, Atheists Blame God

May 4, More Idiotic Stuff from Microsoft

May 7, Computer Problem Resolved

May 14, What the NJ Dept. of Motor Vehicles and copiers have in common

May 18, The Angry Mob

May 23, Downgrading to Windows 7

Jun 4, Indecent BBC Film

Jun 19, Tea Party Rally at SC Fairgrounds

Jun 21, Puppy and Goose Poop

Jun 23, I am an Environmentalist

Jul 2, 2011 is coming!


Jul 2, Taxidermy

Jul 12, Readers' Email

Jul 12, New Jersey DUI Ruling

Jul 16, Please bare with Trump!

Jul 23, Honda Hates Heat

Aug 3, Most Stolen Car Prize

Aug 5, Local government tries to take a family farm by eminent domain - again!

Aug 6, Legal Euthanasia

Aug 16, Eminent Domain - Continued

Aug 21, Obama's Faith and Ground Zero

Aug 23, The Mosque Debate - My Opinion

Sep 4, The 28th Amendment

Sep 9, Quran Burnings and Kool Aid

Sep 28, UNCLOS

Oct 18, Vanishing Industry in America

Oct 29, Bullying

Nov 1, Having a Party!

Nov 3, The Morning After

Nov 22, Electronic Medical Records

Nov 23, Profiling, we all do it!

Dec 6, Hard Times for Motorists

Dec 16, Digital Books and Kindle



January 4, 2010

During his bid for the Presidency, Barack Obama promised repeatedly to crack down on the pork under his watch.

December 10, 2009, while Americans were busy preparing for the holidays, the House voted to pass a $1.1 TRILLION dollar Omnibus spending bill for 2010 (#3288) and the Senate passed it without amendments. Obama signed it into law on the 17th, increasing the national budget by 10%.

The $1.1 trillion bill has 5,244 earmarks of nearly $4 billion.

Some of the pork:
$30,000 for the Woodstock Film Festival Youth Initiative
$200,000 for a visitor's center in a Texas town with a population of about 8,000.
$150,000 for educational programs and exhibitions at the National Building Museum.
$400,000 for renovation of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
$150,000 for Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Foundation exhibits, Buffalo, N.Y.
$500,000 for exhibits at National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, Dubuque, Iowa.
$200,000 for the Washington National Opera.
$30,000 for the Woodstock Film Festival Youth Initiative.
$2,700,000 to the Univ. of Nebraska Medical Center for surgical operations in space!
$200,000 for a visitor's center in Bastrop, Texas.
$700,000 for "Shrimp Industry Fishing Effort Research Continuation," Silver Spring, MD
$292,200 for the elimination of blight in Scranton, Pa.
$750,000 for exhibits at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in Iowa.
$1.600,000 for a tram between the Marshall Flight Center and Botanical Garden, Huntsville, AL
$655,000 for equipment at the Institute for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Research in Los Angeles.

Now Congress prepares to take up a new jobs-creation package, raising the debt ceiling by nearly $2 trillion. Four Republican lawmakers are demanding an audit of the $787 billion job-creation stimulus program already enacted following reports of exaggerated or inaccurate accounts of the number of jobs created.


January 4b, 2010

The government's program for "mortgage loan modification" is a failure. To date, only a small percentage of home loans have been modified and of those that were, a high percentage still go into default and foreclose. Neither the Obama Administration, nor banks, nor Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are offering acceptable modifications.

Thousands of homeowners whose equity is worth less than their mortgages will walk away from their homes even if they can afford to make mortgage payments. Here's why.

A few years ago, many Americans bought homes with an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). If interest accrued, the mortgage balance rose while house equity fell. They could pay forever and never own the house. Or they can default.

By defaulting, they eliminate hundreds of thousands of debt immediately. Many who stop paying the mortgage live rent free for up to a year or more before they can be removed. There is no need to pay property taxes because the bank now owns the house.

Because it takes time to complete foreclosure, the lender sets an actual equity value, reduces the mortgage accordingly with a corrected 6 percent interest rate, hoping the homeowner will eventually honor the loan.

In a worst case scenario, a person's credit rating may suffer for a year or two, but if he or she pays down credit card debts in a short period of time, it will rebound.

GM, Chrysler, Merrill Lynch, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG have cost taxpayers dearly and Wall Street robbed them of retirement funds. Why should home buyers feel guilty about walking away from debts?


January 4c, 2010

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the organization that "insures" your bank deposits, ran out of money in October, 2009. The FDIC expects to be "in the red" through 2012. No one dares to make any prognosis beyond that date.

In September, 2008, the FDIC reported that 117 banks were in trouble. By the end of October, 2009, more than three fourths of the institutions named had gone under. Since 2000, 200 banks have failed, seven alone on one day, October 23rd!

The list of "problem banks" nearly quadrupled to 416 institutions by August 27, 2009 (FDIC's most recent release) and a couple hundred more were likely added in the last quarter of 2009.

Many jobless Americans are depleting their bank accounts in order to survive. The government reports a 9.8 percent unemployment rate but the real rate is closer to 17 percent. Millions of Americans have stopped looking for jobs or have taken early retirement, or part-time positions and no longer appear in the government statistics. This drain on wealth is putting an increasing number of banks at risk.

When businesses go under or reduce productivity, this too adds stress for banks. Many lending institutions find themselves saddled with confiscated homes worth less than what was owed on them. Add to this the cost of property taxes, upkeep and insurance, and it is easy to see why banks are struggling.

Government on every level depends on taxation to exist and carry out its duties. The above described scenarios result in less revenue. Economist John Williams, who publishes the website Shadow Government Statistics, shows the negative net worth of the federal government (total federal obligations based on GAAP) to exceed $70 trillion at the end of 2009. The Federal Government can print money or borrow from foreign powers to pay for whatever it chooses to do, but that drives the Dollar's value into the pits on international money markets.

State and local governments, however, do not have that option and must raise taxes, cut services or create astronomical deficits. The recently elected New Jersey Governor inherits more than $50 billion in debt (including obligatory interest payments) and will hardly be able to keep it from rising more.

Many people are already wondering how to prepare for the future, but when the full realization of what is happening dawns on them, there may be a mass run to withdraw money. Already, many are withdrawing their savings and investing in gold, real estate or commodities that can be exchanged later.

Gary Kah writes on his website, "I believe there is a growing possibility that a more serious financial collapse could occur between now and the end of 2010. I also believe that Barack Obama is "the anointed one" of the international elite and has been designated to take the United States into the new world order. As long as he is making unhindered progress toward their goals, they probably will continue to pump a measure of money into the US economy to create a "softer landing." However, if resistance to Obama increases to the point where he is no longer able to effectively push forward their (and his) agenda for world government, they could pull the financial plug and throw America into a crisis that makes our current situation seem benign. Globalization efforts by the international elite could soon be accelerated through a designed crisis if they fear Obama might lose his majority in the House and Senate in next year's election."

"Most of the pieces are in place and our economic sovereignty has, for all practical purposes, already been handed over to international interests. This took place, unbeknownst to the American public, through agreements made at the G-20 summit in London (last April) and was finalized at the summit in Pittsburgh (this September). As a result, a group known as the Financial Stability Board – composed of the top central bankers of the world – is now running the show."

"From now on the FSB will be making the most important financial decisions impacting the United States and the rest of the world. Six of the twelve national members on this board are from European countries. The United States, with a GDP three times that of the next largest G-20 member (Japan), will have only one vote."

The design of all this is to replace the dollar with a new international currency. At some time soon, very likely in 2010, all banking institutions will be closed and accounts frozen until the transition takes place. All old currency will be worthless unless exchanged for the new currency.

We witnessed this process while living in Europe. While Americans were worried about what would happen when computers switched to the year 2000, Europe was changing to the Euro. Two years later, the Dollar was on a par with the Euro, but it is presently worth 65 cents and still heading south.

This is why many are now investing in gold. If you actually have the gold in your possession, it may work for you, but most sellers of gold merely give certificates that can be devalued just like any currency.

I don't have any money to invest, but if I did, I would buy small farms or land that could be made into farms. Your kids would do well to learn how to till the ground, raise livestock, and can fruit and vegetables. In short, they should turn the clocks back a couple of centuries.

Back in 1963, the government prohibited prayers in schools. Those kids graduated and became the generation that got us where we are today. And now they and their offspring are blaming Christians!


January 11, 2010

Exactly 25 years ago today I purchased my first computer, a Commodore 64.

My new computer had a 5 1/2" floppy disk drive (it really was floppy!), a monochrome monitor (I think it was 12" diagonal) and a dot matrix printer (young people probably never heard of those). I paid about $1500 for everything including a bookkeeping program on floppy disc.

I just dug up the sales brochure and copied the specs for readers of this blog.

Just to give you an idea of the amount of ram this thing had, the two reduced pictures on this blog total about 64kb.

Every time I use my desktop computer running Windows, I get nostalgic and wish they could still make computers like they used to. Twenty-five years ago, there were no daily updates, virus scans, pop-ups, error messages or crashes to interrupt your work. You just turned the Commodore 64 on and went to work. When finished, you saved your work and turned it off.

Ten years later Commodore was bankrupt and my fourth PC was running Windows. Someone sent me the following. Enjoy!

Abbott and Costello Meet Windows 95

Costello: Hey, Abbott!
Abbot: Yes, Lou?
Costello: I just got my first computer.
Abbot: That's great Lou. What did you get?
Costello: A 486 DX-266, with 16 MB RAM, and 325 MB hard drive.
Abbot: That's terrific, Lou.
Costello: But I don't know what any of it means!!
Abbot: You will in time.
Costello: That's exactly why I am here to see you.
Abbot: Oh?
Costello: I heard that you are a real computer expert.
Abbot: Well, I don't know-
Costello: Yes-sir-ee. You know your stuff. And you're going to help me.
Abbot: O.K. Lou. What do want to know?
Costello: I managed to turn it on, but I can't figure out how to turn it off.
Abbot: Well, first you press the Start button, and then-
Costello: No, I told you, I want to turn it off.
Abbot: I know, you press the Start button-
Costello: Wait a second. I want to turn it Off. I know how to start it. So tell me what to do.
Abbot: I did.
Costello: When?
Abbot: When I told you to press the Start button.
Costello: Why should I press the Start button?
Abbot: To shut off the computer.
Costello: Press Start to stop?
Abbot: Well Start doesn't actually stop the computer.
Costello: I knew it! So what do I press?
Abbot: Start.
Costello: Start what?
Abbot: Start button.
Costello: Start button to do what?
Abbot: Shut down.
Costello: You don't have to get rude!
Abbot: No, no, no! That's not what I meant.
Costello: Then say what you mean.
Abbot: To shut down the computer, press-
Costello: Don't say, "Start!"
Abbot: Then what do you want me to say?
Costello: Look, if I want to turn off the computer, I am willing to press "Stop," "End," "Cease and Desist" buttons, but no one in their right mind presses "Start" to Stop.
Abbot: But that's what you do.
Costello: And you probably Go at Stop signs, and Stop at green lights.
Abbot: Don't be ridiculous.
Costello: I'M being ridiculous? Well. I think it's about time we started this conversation.
Abbot: What are you talking about?
Costello: I am starting this conversation right now. Good-bye.

Microsoft hasn't learned much in the last fifteen years. You still have to press the "Start" button to turn off the computer.


January 21, 2010

I was determined not to write a blog about the election of Senator Brown in Massachusetts because everyone else was doing it. I changed my mind.

In yesterday's evening news, ABC's Stephanopoulos had an exclusive interview with President Obama. Obama gave his assessment of the situation which brought about the big upset in Massachusetts.

Obama said, "Here's my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts, but the mood around the country. The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office. People are angry, and they're frustrated. Not just because of what's happened in the last year or two years, but what's happened over the last eight years."

In other words, Obama now concedes that George W. Bush's first year in office was ok and his own first year was lousy. Otherwise, nothing has changed. Obama's favorite cliche' is still "the past eight years."

Obama was obviously ad-libbing and not reading a prepared speech from his teleprompters.

Almost two years ago, on my birthday (March 8, 2008), I wrote a blog about political jargon and shared one of Obama's little-known idiotic statements. In a speech at Drexel University, he blamed Republicans for the high gasoline prices but was forced to concede that the prices had gone back slightly in recent weeks. Then he said, "But just wait! After the election, the prices will go up again!" The audience gave him a standing ovation.

It amazes me that there are still Americans out there who think Obama is a great orator. A President who thinks Massachusetts Democrats voted for a Republican because they are angry and frustrated with Republicans amazes me even more!


January 28, 2010

I listened to Obama's entire State of the Union speech last night and must admit that he has a golden tongue and knows how to work crowds! Alert cameramen caught Napolitano napping and Ried yawning, but President Obama was obviously in his element, doing what he does best.

The audience was strangely silent toward the end of the speech. Obama seemed nervous when he paused for applause that didn't even come from the Democrat side. At one point, Joe Biden could be seen applauding, but he stopped clapping when he realized that he was all alone.

Many other politicians have had the gift of oratory and rhetoric, but history has shown that these traits have not always been beneficial to the constituency (voters, supporters), let alone the subjects of dictatorships.

Deficit of Trust
The President said that he had observed a "deficit of trust" in America. The deficit of trust has been rather obvious to some of us, but many Americans are still naive enough to think that small print on packages, contracts and labels is insignificant. They listen to the sales pitch and buy whatever sounds good. That is why they voted for Obama.

The rest of us didn't trust him and voted for McCain or not at all. In the past year, our trust in the President, Congress and the Senate has eroded even more. Considering the debacle in Massachusetts, many who voted for Obama are also having second thoughts.

I have been blogging about this lack of trust for quite a while already and contend that it isn't just politicians who aren't trusted. Many motorists drive with a "me, myself, mine and I" mentality. And when they get where they are going, they go into a shop or the workplace or church or their home where that attitude continues to prevail. People don't trust their employers, employees, lenders, borrowers, husbands, wives, parents or children. Ask anyone in this category and they can tell you why. It's because of broken promises and unfulfilled expectations. Oh yes, it is always the other person's fault.

I little child asked, "Mommy, do all fairy tales start with 'once upon a time?'" Mommy relied, "No child, some of them start with 'I do" and others start with 'If I am elected, I will.'"

I wrote about President Obama's standard explanation for America's problems in my last blog. He used the phrase "the past eight years" again last night, but also added an updated version, "the past decade." Either way you look at it, I must give him credit for including his own first year.

Restoring Trust
President Obama praised Americans for traditionally showing "human dignity," "ideals," "values," and "fundamental decency," but he chided them for not allowing gays to parade their sexual desires in the military.

Obama announced his plan to restore trust in the Federal Government. He is calling for a freeze on government spending (with some exceptions) for three years.

That should really scare Americans! We have been alarmed at the astronomical sums of taxpayer money (mostly of our children and grandchildren) that have been thrown at banks, mortgage companies and auto makers. There seems to be no end of this reckless spending for bail-outs and stimulus plans.

The President added that the freeze will not begin until next year. That gives him enough time to wrap up his three trillion dollar health plan with all the pork needed to buy the necessary votes.

Our President promised that this (wild and reckless spending) will continue to increase in 2010 and then "freeze" through 2014.

Did that restore your trust?


February 19, 2010

False assumption #1: "Men and women are equal."
Of course no one in their right mind, and certainly no one in the Winter Olympics in Vancouver really believes that, but many dare to make the assumption.

I recall the story of a farmer whose horse had twin colts. As they grew, the farmer could not tell them apart because they seemed identical in every way. He weighed them, measured them, checked for special markings, inspected their teeth and hooves, but still could not tell the colts apart. In desperation, he counted the hairs on their bodies. By the time he was finished, the colts were full grown horses, but he was finally able to tell them apart. The black stallion had three hairs more than the white mare!

The above story is no more ridiculous than the contention that men and women are equal. Be honest! Be logical! No two animals, plants or people are exactly alike. Similarities and differences are everywhere you look!

Men and women are different. A man and woman can marry and have kids or men and women can have kids without marrying. It doesn't work that way with two women or two men. If that difference seems unjust, then consider how many heterosexual couples can't have children. It may not be fair, but it is reality.

False assumption #2: "All differences are injustices."
Some Chinese have been imprisoned for being Christians and are forced to work 18 hours a day, seven days a week, making strings of Christmas lights. They must fill their quota, even using their teeth, or they get nothing to eat. Most of these prisoners are men; is that not an injustice? Shouldn't we demand that more women be jailed?

Some students are naturally gifted and others have to work hard for their grades. Some girls are pretty and others must wear makeup. A few young men are good-looking and the rest compensate by driving nice cars. Some inherit a fortune while others work hard for a pittance. There are great musicians who have to work in a factory to pay their bills and there are lousy musicians who get millions for making noise. My wife and I have university degrees, but spent 40 years as missionaries living on minimum wages. Many seniors who neglected their bodies are in excellent health, while some of us who lived on granola spend our golden years in doctors' offices.

Some differences are a matter of choice and others are fate, chance or predestination, depending on your point of view.

In a free society, values, costs and prices are a matter of supply, demand and preference. The argument that a woman deserves to get paid the same as a man if she does the same work certainly has credibility, but this never happens anywhere on our green and blue planet, not even among people of the same gender. The same would hold true for adults and children, educated or uneducated, a genius and the village idiot. Equality was never achieved under communism. Some were always more equal than others.

False assumption #3: "We are entitled to fairness."
Entitlement is one of the greatest curses on America. Our court system is polluted with this ideology and lawyers make a fortune off it. In the past, some African Americans were enslaved while other Americans fought and gave their lives to free them from slavery. Modern African Americans are no more entitled to compensation than descendents of those who fought for their freedom.

You may be legally entitled to receive a product or service that you paid for, but an agreement is only as good as those making it and those who enforce its fulfillment. Some people get satisfaction while others are denied what they want. It isn't fair, but who promised you that life would be fair? Some people get preferential treatment while others are victims of prejudice.

False assumption #4: "Preference is okay; prejudice is not."
Everyone is happy with preferential treatment and hates prejudice, but these are usually one and the same thing. It all depends on how it affects you.

We founded a small Bible Institute in Austria that had both classrooms and dormitories. Because space was not unlimited, most students were assigned a roommate. Students not only learned in the classroom, but they also learned valuable lessons in the dorm rooms. Students learned to control their preferences in the dorms while teachers had to control their prejudices in the classroom (students' perspective).

Teachers controlled the temperature und just about everything else in the classroom according to their prejudices. In the dorms, students fought thermostat and window wars. One turned up the thermostat and the other retaliated by opening the window. They had their preferences. Then, the Business Manager came by and enforced his prejudice. I always sided with the one who liked it cool. After that, the roommates learned that it was better to control their preferences.

The founders of our great nation understood these principles and believed that the American people were better qualified and capable of running the nation than a bunch of politicians. Government was deemed necessary, but only to teach the people to care for their own and abide by the rules of the masses. They believed that the home was of utmost importance in this learning process. A harmonious marriage between a man and a woman was the best assurance of a smoothly functioning household. If homes are intact, we don't need much government. There would be differences, skirmishes and calamities at times, either of natural or man made causes, but churches and social institutions would be able to care for most needs that arise.

For many years, our unique Constitution was sufficient to settle most disputes. It was rare that the Supreme Court had to mediate and it never legislated. Government officials understood themselves to be elected servants of the people and not arrogant, elitist despots, seeking power and control.

Our founding fathers - and I agree with them - sought freedom and equality for all. But they understood that where there is freedom, there will be competition, and where there is competition, equality and fairness will sometimes fall by the wayside. This is not where the government should step in, however. This is the golden opportunity for citizens to display character, courage, generosity, helpfulness and faith.


February 22, 2010

I just learned that the last of the Original Pitman Hobo Band founders, Ralph Miller, passed away on January 29. He was 90. You can read his obituary on the Hobo Band website:
Hobo Band Website

My Uncle John Pedicord was also one of the founders. He died three years ago, almost to the day (January 27, 2007). I asked his daughter if the band would have to change it's name, dropping the word "Original," when the last founder died. She replied, "We are ALL originals!"

I heard Tom Brokaw speaking at the opening of the Olympics and he said "most unique," which is an impossibility. Unique means "one of a kind" and it speaks for itself.

There is only one Original Hobo Band, but there are many original Hobos! Old Hobos are dying, and the band needs young replacements. You won't need a uniform. Just come in your baggy pants with ripped knees and shirt tail hanging out. If you have purple hair, tattoos and piercings, that is even better! 


Febuary 24, 2010

Yesterday, the New Jersey Senate voted 36 to 1 in favor of bill S920. Your representatives want to give $350 million of NJ tax-payer dollars to the global financial giant, Morgan Stanley for it's Revel Casino project in Atlantic City.

Congratulations to Senator Mike Doherty, who had the courage to cast the lone "NO" vote!

Morgan Stanley, the second largest financial institution in the US next to Goldman Sachs, has already received a whopping $10 billion in TARP funds (Troubled Asset Relief Program) from the federal government.

Morgan Stanley executive salaries have skyrocketed in the past year. According to, Walid Chammah, chairman of Morgan Stanley International in London, had his base salary lifted to $800,000 on May 1, 2009 from about $323,000 in 2008. Colm Kelleher, who served as Morgan Stanley’s Chief Financial Officer from 2007 through last year, receives a base salary of $750,000 since May 1, up from about $323,000 in 2008. The 2010 CFO, Ruth Porat, also receives $750,000. John Mack, who served as CEO in 2009, and 2010 CEO James Gorman, each receive $800,000.

If you think that is a lot of money, consider the bonuses these guys receive. Porat got stocks worth $5.5 million; Chammah stocks valued at $6.6 million and Gorman received a whopping $8.6 million worth of stocks for performance in 2009.

Revel Casino is expected to generate $1.5 BILLION in profits in its first five years, and the NJ Senate has voted almost unanimously to grant them $350 million NJ tax-payer dollars!

Okay, Governor Christie, now is your chance to show your true colors. If you don't veto this one, we will know you are one of them.

August 2009 video of Revel Casio construction progress and source materials


March 24, 2010

Yesterday, Barack Obama announced a "historical event." One hundred nineteen Democrats voted to openly violate the will of the American people.  Nancy Pelosi wanted the health care bill passed so she could see what was in it. She will soon find out!


March 26, 2010

The Path of Least Resistance

Small children get whatever they want simply by acting cute, begging or throwing a tantrum. When kids go to school, they soon learn to cheat. Before they graduate from High School, they have already had sex and taken drugs. They listen to music that that blasts their ear drums and play video games to get their adrenalin flowing. Their heroes are people who have gotten rich or famous with the least amount of effort, through immoral acts, or by criminal, unethical and non-productive means.

Following graduation, the same philosophy continues to permeate people's lives. They want to do the least amount of work for the best pay. Relationships are easy come and easy go. Life is all about entertainment, enjoyment, and having things. It is evidenced in shopping habits - looking for sales, bargains and freebies. Advertising executives feed these cravings with slogans like, "No interest until...," "Everyone does it," "Everyone has one!"

Just go with the flow; jump on the bandwagon; follow the path of least resistance!

Because the end is so all-important, the means used to achieve those ends are not. Greed is no longer evil; trickery, sneakiness and dishonesty can be beneficial in achieving the desired ends. Pay to play and notes for votes are the name of the game in politics. The general populace has caught on. People vote for the one who promises them the most, and then feel entitled for handouts.

Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, suggested a "deem and pass" solution to get her way with the health-care bill. President Barack Obama told Congress, "I don't care how you do it, just do it!" On TV, he said emphatically, "I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedural rules are in the House or Senate.”

After the bill passed, Vice President Joe Biden celebrated with the kind of vulgarity that has become commonplace in Democratic circles these days. It shouldn't really surprise anyone, however. Why should we expect decent language from people who are responsible for blatant lies, want taxpayers to pay for the slaughter of infants and cater to the wishes of homosexuals who go around bragging about their sexual preferences?

The final stage of this godless and deadly philosophy is entitlement. The old name for entitlement was socialism or communism.

Gravity, our Enemy

There are many natural laws, but the first law that every human being, animal, bird, sea creature or plant gets acquainted with, is probably gravity.

From the moment of conception, a person begins his or her life-long struggle with gravity. Shortly before birth, a baby "drops" in the mother's womb and is soon downing nourishment and filling diapers. Fortunately, babies are born small and don't have far to fall when learning to walk.

All life strives constantly against gravity, pushing upward, seeking air, sun and growth. Man has always wanted to defy gravity and fly. Gravity will assist you in flying - just jump off a tall building! But you will need other resources to land safely, or gravity will claim another victim!

All living organisms eventually succumb to the law of gravity. It may take thousands of years, as with the Sequoia and Joshua trees, but gravity always wins. The word "grave" comes from gravity. Gravity is the law of death, but only if we yield to its will.

Gravity, our Friend

Astronauts withstand extreme gravitational forces measured in "G"s to escape the law of gravity. And when they arrive in outer space, they discover that it difficult to function and survive without gravity. We can not only overcome gravity but also derive great benefit from gravity by putting it to productive use.

Gravity works for us. Farmers sow seed and Rain falls on it to make it grow. When we drop something, we can usually find it again, but what if it went up instead of down?

Life is learning to coexist with gravity, overcome gravity and use it and other natural laws for productive purposes. We call this work or exercise. Gravity is a primary player in the workplace and in sports. Our struggle with gravity is what keeps us alive and healthy and if we stop struggling, we are following the path of least resistance. It is the way of decay and death.

Large ships are made of steel and other materials that don't float. Add to this, the weight of atmospheric pressure (14.7 pounds per square inch) that presses down on a vessel and one would expect the ship to sink. As improbable as it sounds, it is the forces of gravity and atmospheric pressure which keep the ship afloat! The hull is placed under tremendous pressure that could easily be relieved by drilling a hole in the bottom of the ship, but then the vessel would follow the path of least resistance and sink to the bottom of the sea.

I like to sail and find it fascinating that sailors can use gravity, wind and waves to move a boat forward, even against contrary elements. Using a rudder, sails, keel, knowledge and skills, the sailor puts natural laws to work and guides the boat safely into the harbor.

Throughout history, many have followed the path of least resistance and died. The sum total of their life's worth can be read on their tombstones. It is the minus symbol between the date of birth and date of death.

Great men and women, however, attempt to harness nature for productive purposes. Sailing, windmills, waterwheels and even solar power have been used for centuries. These people are industrious, creative and dare to swim against the current of popular opinion. They have displayed great character and discipline in the face of extreme difficulty. They were honest, committed, dependable and credible. It has always been men and women of faith, integrity, ethics and high moral standards who made the world a better place to live. You don't need to read their tombstones to discover their worth. Their inventions and accomplishments can be seen everywhere in the world around us.

In times of natural and man-made catastrophes, great men and women have stood out for their heroic and selfless acts. Those who seek the path of least resistance are the ones who pillage shops and take advantage of hapless victims.

Our nation is experiencing difficult times. Unemployment is high and many are losing their homes and their life's savings. We may see some great men and women emerge from these catastrophic conditions, but the pillagers and looters are already busy and clearly recognizable.


April 7, 2010

I was going to write this blog on April 1st, but no one would believe it, so I waited a week.

April Fool from Bayer Aspirin! I bought this bottle of low-dose aspirin at CVS & got a bottle of cotton. There were aspirin buried underneath, but they fit easily into an empty 35mm film canister.

Also on April Fools Day, the NHTSA announced new CAFE standards for the automobile industry.

NHTSA is the acronym for "National Highway Traffic Safety Administration" and CAFE has nothing to do with coffee or traffic safety. It stands for "Corporate Average Fuel Economy."

CAFE Standards (plural - some would say, "double standards") were invented back in the mid-seventies to enhance fuel economy, but they accomplished the opposite. CAFE created one standard for passenger cars and another for light trucks. The Ford pickup soon became America's best selling vehicle and Detroit invented the SUV, which was classified as a light truck and not a passenger car.

The new CAFE Standards released on April Fools Day obviously had input from Government Motors (formerly General Motors) and Al Gore. As most recall, Gore was awarded a Nobel prize for his PowerPoint about carbon footprints. The "footprint" provides a foundation for the new CAFE Standards. The idea is borrowed from "Cap and Trade" and is just one more redistribution effort.

CAFE Standards demand that passenger cars average 39mpg by 2016. The key words here are expressed in "Corporate Average". Some large footprint vehicles will continue to guzzle gas, but other passenger cars must get 45-50 mpg in order to compensate. There are two ways to get that kind of mileage. The car could be very small and lightweight, be underpowered and packed full of electronics. Or it could be an electric vehicle which doesn't consume fuel from the pumps. CAFE Standards will be met!

Both these options would be prohibitively expensive and problematic. The electric car requires heavy batteries that must be recharged regularly and replaced every couple of years. How will these batteries be recycled and at what cost? The extra weight will certainly affect economy, but is not expressed in miles per gallon. Few people are interested in driving a tiny lightweight and sluggish car on the same roads as heavy electric cars and large footprint trucks, not to mention the big rigs which certainly won't diminish!

That brings up a question that President Obama didn't bother to answer in his presentation of the CAFE Standards.

"Who will purchase all the small, expensive, underpowered cars and the heavy electric cars that must be sold in order to meet the 39 mpg average consumption required by CAFE?"

The answer is written on the wall: the taxpayers of course! Government agencies on national, state and local levels will be required to purchase these cars for their fleets.


April 19, 2010

As a retired missionary who served nearly four decades in Europe, I derive a bit of personal satisfaction from hearing many Europeans fuming like volcanoes about an "act of God" which has shut down their airways.

For many years, Europeans have been proud of their enlightenment and looked with scorn on Americans who actually believe that there is a God. To most Europeans, anyone who believes in the existence of a God who meddles in earthly affairs, is extremely naive.

So, I am amused to hear many of these atheists talking about "an act of God." Can't they produce an Al Gore who can come up with another explanation?

History Lesson

Statism was modus operandi in Europe for many centuries. During the middle ages, secular government and the church ruled in coalition, sharing the spoils. Usually, the secular powers held the upper hand, giving special privileges to the church, but occasionally, the Pope called the shots. Powerful Emperors stood barefoot in the snow, pleading for mercy. But it was the church which convinced the common people, called peasants, to submit to government. The church promised heaven for submissive souls and sold indulgences to sinners. No other religion was tolerated and those who dared to voice criticism were tortured, burned or drowned.

Today, Europeans are socialists and their churches are empty. Under socialism, humanists provide the propaganda. European humanists of the 18th and 19th century officially declared that God was dead and Charles Darwin offered an explanation of natural origins which most adopted. Hitler and Marx wrote their own bibles, paving the way for socialism and the elimination of people who stood in their way (eminent domain for dissidents and undesirables.

After the discovery of the new world, millions of disenchanted Europeans fled the continent and came to America. European powers first sought to build and rule their colonies, but many colonists had had enough of European style government and determined to build a free nation based on biblical concepts. They were determined that this nation should never become a church state or have a state church. Later immigrants were just as determined that America should reject socialism and communism.

Enough of the history lessons. History has taught us that no one ever learns from history. History is apparently about to repeat itself again - in America! And when calamity strikes, atheists will still blame God.


May 4, 2010

I realize full well that nobody is interested in reading this blog, but I just need to vent my indignation with Microsoft and my website is the most convenient outlet. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were people at Microsoft who cared about the people who pay their salaries? Just wishful thinking of course! That might happen when Obama shows us his birth certificate.

My newest adventure Has to do with creating folders to store files. It used to be very simple, but now I get error messages when I attempt to create new folders. If I just keep the name "New Folder," everything is fine, but I have no interest in having hundreds of folders with the same name on my computer. When I try to rename the file to some title that I can relate to, I get an error message like this:

Thinking that perhaps someone else has had the same problem, I decided to type the error message into a search engine. Microsoft does not allow you to copy and paste an error message for obvious reasons. As I suspected, there are millions of frustrated users who have had or still have this same problem. A number of geeks gave detailed instructions on how to resolve the issue "quickly and easily:"

To solve, follow these steps:
1. Open up a command prompt (run cmd.exe from the Start Menu).
2. Navigate to the folder that the object resides in.
3. Run "dir /a /x /p" to display the contents of the folder, including hidden files (/a) and 8.3 filenames (/x).
4. Find the 8.3 filename of the object to the left of the regular, long filename.
5. Run "ren <8.3 name>" to rename the object, "del <8.3 name>" to delete it if it's a file and "rd /s <8.3 name>" to delete it if it's a folder.
Note: If renaming to a long filename, make sure to enclose the long filename in quotations. If that fails, temporarily rename it to an 8.3 name and then rename it to what you want outside of the command prompt.

I didn't get past the first quick and easy step, because Microsoft gave me instructions about navigating that I apparently didn't understand or could not follow correctly.

I still can't rename new folders, but there are a couple of geeks in our family and a family reunion is coming up this Saturday.


May 7, 2010

Our son arrived early for the family reunion so I gave him his assignment. He fixed it in a jiffy, the same way he fixed previous problems with Windows 7. He removed the "Libraries" feature -- again. It was probably a Microsoft update that reactivated them. I hate it when Microsoft thinks it knows best what I like and dislike.


May 14, 2010

Today, my wife received her driver license renewal form. I was fascinated with the questions that the Department of Motor Vehicles asks on the reverse side of the application.

In addition to the request to confide a Social Security number, the applicant is asked if he or she has a valid driver license in any other state, province, territory or country.

The second question asks if a driving privilege in any other state, province, territory or country is suspended, revoked, disqualified or canceled.

I am not a lawyer, but it would seem to me that "valid" means the driving privilege is NOT suspended, revoked, disqualified, or canceled. If, however, a driving privilege has been suspended, revoked, disqualified, or canceled, the person to whom it was issued no longer has a driving privilege. The applicant must therefore answer both questions "NO" or face legal consequences. No explanation is needed.

We are both blessed with good health and can do just about anything we want, but can anyone who has had multiple surgeries and visits doctors every month answer the third question "NO?" Does forgetfulness count? How about hiccups?

I wonder how many people who are in this country illegally bother to apply for a driver license, and if they do, would they answer "YES" considering the paltry consequences of providing false information?

The next box is self-explanatory. At our ages, organs are not worth much, but the federally approved Organ Donor Procurement Organizations don't really care. They take what they get.

I ask what being more than six months behind in child support payments has to do with obtaining a driver license. How about alimony payments? What about rent, mortgage and car payments? Next year, my driver license needs to be renewed. The DMV will likely ask about my religious affiliation, if I attend functions of the Tea Party movement, and who I voted for in the last election.

The heading of this blog asks what the DMV and copiers have in common. Go to YouTube and watch the CBS report on copiers that collect your personal data. After many thousands of sensitive documents are stored in memory, the used copiers are traded for new machines or sold. Containers of these copiers are shipped to foreign countries, loaded with all that valuable information.

At least the DMV is up front about collecting personal information.


May 18, 2010

Today's Gloucester County Times reported,
"Senate President, Stephen M. Sweeney's refusal to post Gov. Chris Christie's Supreme Court Nominee still has several up in arms about his decision three weeks later.
The New Jersey chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group led by former gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan, plans to send several people to Sweeney's Gloucester County legislative offices today in protest of the senator's announcement."

I decided to add my face to the "several" mentioned in the article. I checked the official legislative websites to get the address of Sweeney's offices and typed it into my GPS. When I reached a busy intersection, the Garmin voice said, "You have reached your destination." I only saw a bank and Dunkin Donuts shop. I entered the donut store and asked two customers and two employees if they knew where Sweeney's office was located. My question drew blank stares. One couldn't speak English and two didn't know who Sweeney was. The paper said it was on Kings Highway, so I drove further and asked some more people. Finally, a girl said she thought his office was in West Deptford, but I was in East Greenwich. Armed with that information, I set out again to find the elusive Senator.

About two miles from the destination named on the official website, I spotted 200 cars, four large tour busses and a dozen police cars. A crowd of about 300 persons carrying signs and umbrellas were gathered in front of what turned out to be Sweeney's offices. When I put my signal lights on to turn in, a friendly officer stopped me and said if I was joining the demo, I couldn't park there. I finally found a spot next to a wooded area some distance away and tramped in the pouring rain towards the crowd, carrying my poster, camera and umbrella.

I was ten minutes late and in my hurry, I stepped in a pothole filled with water and fell to the ground. My camera landed on the pavement and the poster got wet, but I was thankfully uninjured.

After collecting myself, I joined what the media and President call "the angry mob" and held up my poster for all to see. I heard someone call my name and looked to see my brother on the edge of the crowd. I took a picture of him holding my poster and handed him the camera to get a picture of me, but the batteries died! At least I knew my camera was not broken.  Just the lens got wet as you can see in the photos!

It seemed comical to see so many friendly smiling faces surrounded by armed officers and even a K-9 unit. At first, the police told us that we were trespassing on private property and to remove ourselves. Some knowledgeable person at the front said that we taxpayers were paying rent for the public offices and had a right to visit the office of our representative during office hours. We were then told to line up in single file. Sweeny had a bunch of forms photocopied and distributed to all. The form asked for name, address, telephone number, email address and a written "opinion." Most of us obliged, so we are now in their data base of dangerous persons.

Several newspaper photographers took pictures of me and reporters interviewed me, so this may not be the last you hear about this "angry mobster."


May 23, 2010

I hate Windows 7. I have not yet screamed these words loud enough for the entire neighborhood to hear, but my wife will attest to the fact that she has heard me speak them on numerous occasions.

One big reason why I have a computer is so I can store and find my documents without sorting through file drawers and piles of paper that I didn't have time to archive.

I already mentioned "Libraries." Microsoft obviously doesn't want users to do their own archiving. Windows 7 puts documents in hidden places and then shows us a page of icons so we think we know where they are.

When you try to search for something on your computer, that is when you can really start to hate Windows 7. The great search feature we enjoyed in XP and even vile Vista is gone! I used to right click the mouse on a folder or other location (like C:) and type a word or phrase. The results came up almost immediately. Many times I couldn't remember when or where I wrote something but I knew it was on the computer and I could always locate it.

With Windows 7, you can search for a file if you know its name, but you can only search within the file if you first open it. If you know that much, who needs a search option?

As my previous blog entry shows, I may get involved in demonstrations and protests, but only if I recognize a slight possibility of achieving a desired end. Microsoft doesn't listen to anybody, especially a nobody like me. Even the voices and pens of a million somebodies who write blogs and forums or scores of computer gurus who print articles in computer magazines fall on deaf ears in Redmond.

So just consider this a warning to all who are thinking of downgrading to Windows 7.


June 4, 2010

Dr. Brett Mills of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, southeastern England, believes that intimate scenes of animals such as sexual activity, giving birth and dying, breach the animals' rights to privacy. His criticism was directed toward the BBC documentary series, "Nature's Great Events."

The BBC series follows animals such as polar bears, African elephants and humpback whales during epic annual events.

Mills argues that animals have a basic right to privacy, and that filming their most intimate moments violates this right.

Mills' report was published in the April 30, 2010 Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies.

Let's hope this idea is embraced by the general public, film makers and the media. Since these "experts" believe that man is simply a higher animal on the evolutionary ladder, they would hopefully agree that films showing sexual activity and death among humans should also be banned.

Not knowing about the intimate moments of animals would be a small price to pay to rid society of films that are full of sex and violence.


June 19, 2010

Because I don't want to overload my T.E.A. Party website with pictures, here are a bunch of photos from today's rally at the Salem County Fairgrounds. You can read the blog here.


June 21, 2010

Pumpkin is the second puppy that we are raising for The Seeing Eye. We hope that our puppy will someday become a companion and guide for a blind person. Although it is difficult to part with a dog that you have come to love, it is not much different from watching your children leave the nest to live with another person. In both cases, our careful and loving training will assure that the new partnership will be harmonious and successful.

When we get a puppy from The Seeing Eye, we also get a catalog of explicit instructions on how to care for the puppy. One rule is that we always carry a plastic sack to pick up after our puppy when it "eliminates" or has "park time" (TSE terminology). If we failed to do so, our entire neighborhood would be up in arms and rightly so. Who wants doggie excrement on their front lawn, sidewalk or - perish the thought - on their shoes! It's not just The Seeing Eye's rule, but the law in most places. Even it it wasn't required, common courtesy would demand it.

Although a fully trained guide dog is allowed to go almost anywhere people go, our puppies are not permitted on beaches. In most cases, there would be no problem, but some people just can't believe that a dog can hold it in as long or longer than humans.

For geese there are different rules - or rather none whatsoever! The only rules pertaining to geese are directed at the people who are fed up with their pooping and destructive activity. Flocks of geese that have gotten too lazy to fly south in winter and north in summer are now permitted to ruin public beaches and pollute the water in New Jersey. We human beings are forbidden to swim, but the geese can do whatever they like. They can tear up your lawn, pulling the grass out by the roots. And then they can walk around your house and poop on all your sidewalks. The poop is eventually tracked into your house and onto carpets.

The whole country is alarmed about the current Gulf oil spill. People are demanding of BP and the government that the pollution be stopped and people be reimbursed for damages caused. But these same idiots, who would not hesitate to swat a housefly or mosquito, get irate if anyone wants to do something to curb the goose population. They promote free condoms for school kids, but are opposed to giving birth control pills to geese.

I would like to figure out a way to collect all the geese in our area and deposit them on the lawns of the environmentalists. Trapping them is illegal. Does anyone have a suggestion?


June 23, 2010

My Monday blog (see below) got me into some hot water with readers. Sometimes I write things from my momentary gut feelings without taking the time or effort to consider the consequences. What I wrote probably stems from my second childhood. When I was a kid, I ripped one wing off a housefly to watch it's reaction. Someone told me that it would only be able to fly upward until it reached outer space and died. My experiment didn't have the same results. The fly just gyrated on the ground until I put an end to its misery with my foot. I have killed many flies since that time, but I never intentionally mutilated one to see how it flies.

In my heart I am an environmentalist. I wrote a blog about the plight of turtles in Malaga Lake that was reprinted on the front page of our local newspaper. We not only have a dog, but we keep a lovely yard and garden, feed wild birds, and have millions of pet mosquitoes. They are so tame, they will eat out of our hands - or any other part of our bodies. They are amazing creatures. Have you ever examined one under a microscope? Still, when they come as uninvited guests for a meal, I chase them away. People who try that may receive the same treatment. If the mosquito manages to steal part of a meal before I notice it, I don't hesitate to retrieve that meal by force. I am more lenient with people.

I only shot one squirrel in my entire lifetime. After looking down at the lifeless creature, I said to myself, "Ralph, don't you feel like a hero?" Today I enjoy watching squirrels, but not in our garden. They bury acorns all over the place and they (acorns, not squirrels) grow into oak trees that I have to tear out by the roots. But please don't conclude that I have anything against oak trees. I love them and we have a dozen large oaks in our yard. When they get old and feeble like me, I cut them up and burn them to keep warm. Many environmentalists don't like that because it makes large carbon footprints. They would rather burn old, feeble people like me. Getting back to the squirrels, I have never observed a squirrel digging up an acorn, but they do dig up flower bulbs and other plants in our garden. That is why I don't have guilt feelings When I run over a squirrel. I am just one of their natural predators.

I need to set the record straight about geese. They are majestic creatures that have just as much right to live here as I do. In fact, they were here first. There just isn't enough room for all of us. Someone sent me a URL of a goose-lover website on which a woman in South Jersey presents an interesting argument. In response to my and other people's opinion that there are just too many geese, and to my suggestion that they be fed birth control pills, she replies, "312 million humans versus 6 million geese? That's one Canada goose for every 52 humans. How can we say that there's an overpopulation of Canada geese when human numbers far outweigh geese numbers?"

Bees are also wonderfully created creatures, and extremely beneficial. Would the goose-lover lady contend that there should be an equal number of people and bees? What about flies and mosquitoes? I may be prejudiced, but I think humans should receive precedence over animals and plants in matters of life and death, but not necessarily in numbers. On the other hand, I believe that our Creator gave humans a responsibility to care for other forms of life. That concept seems better to me than Darwin's survival of the fittest. Geese are no match for people, so by Darwin's standards, they would not have a chance.

Regarding geese, I concede that there should be an equal number of people and geese on the beaches at our local lakes. Right now, there are hundreds of pooping geese but no people. Now remains the question of how to resolve the inequality.


July 2, 2010

Many people took advantage of the Cash for Clunkers program, giving the automakers favorable statistics - and then auto sales slumped.  When the government offered an $8,000 tax credit for home buyers, many grabbed at the opportunity, helping to boost the number of real estate transactions. The momentary boost soon turned into a slump in home sales. Government bailouts and "stimulus" handouts had the same temporary effect on the economy.

Obama, Pelosi and Ried know that they are running out of options to create artificial, temporary gains in the economy. Many financial experts predict that 2011 promises to be a much worse year than 2010.

George W. Bush's tax cuts expire on Jan. 1, 2011. The personal income tax rate will go from 35% to 39.6%, the dividend tax from 15% to 39.6%, capital gains tax from 15% to 20% and estate taxes from presently nothing to 55%. This only pertains to federal tax increases. State and local tax rates will spiral in similar fashion.

Bills such as Cap and Trade and Health Care will lead to higher prices and interest rates. The already bloated government is adding more people to its payroll with every passing day and that means more government regulations and interference in private business. Many will close shop or opt for early retirement rather than deal with these added burdens.

People will cash in their IRAs and 401Ks without penalty in 2010, and after paying the taxes, roll them into Roth IRAs that provide after-tax income. The two wealthiest Americans, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, already hold the bulk of their wealth in non-taxable "unrealized capital gain" funds. People with money will find innovative ways to protect it, but the rest of us had better start canning and cutting firewood.


July 2b, 2010

A New Jersey man is trying to sell a professionally prepared 9-foot hammerhead shark. He paid a taxidermist big money and then discovered that the shark wouldn't fit in his house.

That got me to thinking about the word, "taxidermy." The word is composed of two Latin terms, "tax" and "derm." Taxidermy is the process of extracting everything inside the skin (derma) of an animal in order to make a life-like image of a lifeless creature.

That pretty well describes what politicians do to citizens, especially in New Jersey. They extract everything until nothing is left but a lifeless body.

The new Republican Governor Christie promised to change that but so far he hasn't reduced taxation. In fact, we can expect to pay more taxes. I laud Christie for trying to cut the deficit, but he is doing so at the expense of the citizens. Seniors won't be getting property tax rebates and communities can expect less help from the state, but the state government dinosaur has not been affected. There are at least as many government employees and agencies as there were under Governor Jon Corzine.

When we decided to retire in New Jersey, friends and even strangers asked if we were insane. People and businesses are leaving this state by the thousands - annually. Why on earth would we choose to retire here?

I am beginning to wonder myself.

In 1960, a new 3-bedroom house with a single bath and crawl space sold for $15,999. It was identical to 50 other homes in the development. We purchased that house 43 years later for $110,000 and people said we got a bargain.

In addition to sales tax on the purchase of our home, we've paid the government about $27,000 in property taxes in the last 8 years. How much sales and property tax previous owners paid is a matter of conjecture, but it is clear that the government got the real steal!

Most readers know that I try to earn a few dollars fixing and selling small sailboats. I buy a sailboat and trailer for $150 and the government takes 7% sales tax and charges $120 just to transfer the titles into my name. New Jersey imposes a $45 penalty if I don't transfer the title within 30 days. I plan to sell them for a small profit after fixing them, so the next buyer will have to shell out more sales tax and another $120 for transferring the titles. In order to use the boat, one must shell out $75 for a boating safety course and pay the registration fees!

Nine states have no income tax but New Jersey has one of the highest. Although many affluent people and businesses are moving out of New Jersey, Democrats are pushing to tax them even more. The so-called "Millionaire's Tax" would simply send more of them packing, and many of them are employers. Employers normally have higher incomes than employees. When an employee is laid off, he or she gets unemployment compensation. The employer gets nothing. If the employee calls in sick, he or she gets sick leave. None of that is available to employers. If sales slump or customers default on payments, the employee can sleep well but not the employer. It amazes me that New Jersey Democrats want to bite off the hand that feeds them. The argument that money received from such taxation would be used to give property tax rebates to seniors is typical Democrat propaganda. They take thousands of dollars and give back a hundred to show how generous they are!

The government shouldn't take the money from seniors in the first place. Property taxes should be frozen when a person goes on Social Security. Seniors cost the state almost nothing and are economically beneficial in every way. They have no children in school, don't use highways as much as they used to, seldom get into trouble with the law, and they purchase everything they need in local shops. Doctors and medical institutions thrive on seniors!

But politicians are not only greedy, they are typically ignorant about how a healthy economy functions. That is understandable, for most politicians were pampered in wealthy homes and got law degrees which taught them how to work the system to their own advantage. They learned to defend criminals and find loopholes in the law, ideal preparation for a corrupt political career.

Politicians certainly know nothing about the plight of retirees who are attempting to make ends meet on Social Security income. They will retire with generous retirement and health plans paid for by taxpayers. Even if they only serve one term, they are assured that they will never need worry about finances.


July 12, 2010

I get an average of 2-3 emails a day from people who hit my websites. I don't bother responding to spammers or people who want to pay me to add a link to their site, but I do reply to most serious enquiries. For today's blog, I decided to share excerpts from a few typical emails just from the past week.

7/11/2010 I was looking at sailboat plans and things for my son who will be a senior and is wanting to build a boat... I saw an ad for one for sale for $100 but it needs, mast, sail, and who knows what else. The ad said the hull is in good shape but needs those parts. Do you know where I can get parts?

7/9/2010 We had a tough time in Long Island sound this past weekend... there is a split between the hull and the deck... Can you recommend a place where we can get plugs?

7/8/2010 I have two little girls, 5 and 8... my 5 year old runs the jib lines already and the 8 year old either holds the tiller or the main sheet for me. Had them out tonight. Hopefully by the time they have boyfriends they will know how to sail!

7/7/2010 I have a 1974 Kolibri ...Its previous owner was the Anglican archdeacon of the local diocese who sailed quite a bit... Our wind is very flukey and non existent in the summer sometimes. Can I sail with the main or is the boat difficult to tack without a jib? I have an Aquacat as well and sometimes I have to sail it backwards to get round although it is a lot of fun.

7/6/2010 Hi Ralph, Thanks so much for the updates on the Picnic 17's... I've just about finished the restoration of mine that I got back in February. It should have gone to the landfill, but I rescued it instead... It came without a centerboard... info on the dimensions and installation of it would be appreciated. If not, I believe I can improvise.

7/4/2010 I enjoyed reading your pages about the Koralle Jr and was hoping that you can offer some insight about the mast step on an Echo 12... It does not look safe and I am concerned that I would have the same experience as you of having a mast punch through the bottom of the boat... I would value your experience in this type of repair.

I just got off the phone talking with the owners of a Picnic in Wisconsin. They asked about adding a spreader to the mast. I have made many friendships - literally around the world through small sailboats. An Italian recently wrote asking for the dimensions of a rudder - in Italian! I copied the message into a translation website so I could read it. Then I translated my reply into Italian on the same site, substituting centimeters for inches. Life of a retired missionary can be quite fascinating!


July 12b, 2010

The Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey ruled today that DUI suspects who do not speak English must be provided instructions in their native language.

This is just one more proof that our government is on the side of criminals and outlaws instead of American citizens. The next logical step will be to require medical personnel to be able to communicate in every language. Street signs, restaurant menus and sales catalogs will also have to be in all languages.

It would never enter a politician's mind to expect non English-speaking people to learn enough English to understand basic laws and street signs.

Democrats especially, are opposed to such "unfair" requirements. They call it profiling, which they claim is evil. So they pick on the police and other hard-working, tax-paying and law-abiding American citizens. That is not considered profiling.


July 16, 2010

A casino was shut down for the second time in the history of Atlantic City casinos. Several years ago all the casinos were shut down because New Jersey had no budget. This time, the air conditioning in four casinos lost their cool and went on strike. No AC in AC! Trump put up a sign in the lobby, a-peeling to patrons, "Please bare with us..."

I didn't hear if the "us" included Donald Trump, or if the request to "bare" was accepted by many of the guests. Most casino patrons lose their shirts, but not willingly. This time Trump is losing after closing its doors.


July 23, 2010

We recently purchased a 19-year-old Honda Accord. I should have talked to other owners first.

I knew when I bid on this car that it needed work, but it only had 81,000 miles and looked great. After minor repairs we drove about 3,000 trouble-free miles and then the weather turned hot.

The first time I parked our Honda in the hot sun, it refused to start. Nothing I did would convince the Honda to start, so I gave up. A few hours later, it started as soon as I turned the ignition switch. It happened again a short time later, so I went online and searched the forums to see if someone else had the same problem.

Not just one or two, but many owners of Honda Accords built in the early nineties complained about the same problem and begged for some knowledgeable person to advise them on a fix. Some of these poor souls had been to Honda dealers numerous times and gotten half their cars replaced, but the problem persisted. Others had taken their cars to a shop or dealership and were told that they could find nothing wrong. The car started just fine.

One forum guest asked a friend who is a Honda mechanic about the problem. He just grinned and said, "I hear that complaint from Accord owners a zillion times when it gets hot."

A couple of forum gear-heads knew what the problem was but I can't get excited about their suggestions on how to deal with it. The reason these cars won't start in hot weather is because an Atlanta-based supplier of the main relay module used cheap solder. When it gets hot, it expands and closes contacts, shutting down the fuel pump. The module is located under the dash on the firewall. Heat from the motor also seems to contribute to the problem.

That reminded me of an earlier visit to the forums when I was trying to figure out why my transmission warning lamp was blinking. Several forum writers indicated that installing a new TCM might solve the problem. It seems that a certain supplier in Atlanta used cheap solder in the transmission computer module - and also the engine computer module.

The helpful gear-heads on the forums suggested opening all the windows and waiting until the inside of the car cools down. One forum user said he slams the door a couple of times, and if that doesn't help, he lies on his back and beats a screwdriver handle on the relay. That sometimes works.

I could order and install a new main relay module, but several forum users did that and discovered that the new relay also reacted unfavorably to the heat. We have had numerous back-to-back heat waves already and the forecast is for more of the same.

I can hardly wait until it gets cooler!


August 3, 2010

Yesterday we learned that GM (Government Motors) landed the prestigious prize for the "most stolen auto" in America. The award goes to the Cadillac Escalade and not only gives GM free advertising, but also assures GM of increased sales. Everyone knows that car thieves only steal the best!

When we lived in Europe, I owned a German Ford that received the Automobile Club award for being the most difficult car to steal. Professional car thieves were hired by the auto club to pick locks and start new cars from major European car makers.

Our car had been leased before we bought it and it only had one ignition key, so I asked our local Ford dealer for a duplicate key. The key was not flat like most keys, but round with notches on all sides. The dealer picked up my key, looked it over and handed it back to me. He then wrote a number on the order form. I examined the key to see where he had found a number or other identification, but could find none. Curious, I asked about it. He explained that you only need to count the notches on each side of the key. The next day I got the key, and unlocked our car door, but couldn't start the engine. The key fit fine, but when I turned it, nothing happened. I went back inside and shared this information with the dealer. He pointed to a little red spot on the head of the key and said, "You need to program this chip." I asked how I could do that and he said, "You need the red programming key that came with the car." I told him that we never got one and he shrugged, "You need to install a new computer."

I tried to get a red key from Ford in Cologne, but they too wanted to sell me a computer.  I asked other dealers, the touring club and an auto-electric shop, but all said there was nothing I could do to code my new key without installing a new computer. That would cost about $1000, so I decided to be careful not to lose our only key.

One day, I read in the newspaper that our Ford model was among the most commonly stolen cars in Europe. Many of them wound up in Poland. I went to a Ford dealer and asked how that was possible. If thieves bought new computers, the factory could trace them and get them thrown into jail. He got on the phone and started calling other dealerships, asking about this. One mechanic said that the thieves knew how to code new keys without the red programming key. In fact, he had learned how they did it and could do it too. I paid him a visit and had my key coded in a few minutes.

Who knows, perhaps the Cadillac Escalade is just easier to steal.


August 5, 2010

Paulsboro, Gloucester County, New Jersey

While United States Army Colonel George Gallenthin is serving his and our country in Afghanistan, his wife Cindy is fighting to save their 68-acre farm from greedy politicians - for the second time!

Back in 2003, the county tried to take Gallenthin's property using eminent domain because of what it called "blight." The Gallenthin's fought the case until, four years later, the NJ Supreme Court ruled in their favor by an unanimous decision.

The Gallenthin's had spent a small fortune on lawyers, but thought the issue was finally settled.

But the county, led by certain politicians, simply designed a new scheme to take the Gallenthin's property. The master plan was changed so that a road to the port would lead through their farm. For the second time, the Gallenthin's are fighting to keep their farm from being taken by eminent domain. Their personal property was set on fire and they have been shot at, but George and Cindy refuse to give up their farm.

A hearing was scheduled for this morning at 10:00 AM, in the Gloucester County Courthouse,  in Woodbury. George Gallenthin is in Afghanistan, but Cindy Gallenthin and her lawyers were not alone. The courtroom was packed with friends and supporters from all over Gloucester County and surrounding areas. All seats were filled and about a dozen others stood for the proceeding. I was also present.

I can't share all that was said in the courtroom, but in the end, Judge Curio reluctantly decided to transfer the case to another court.

To be continued -- and we are still watching!


August 6, 2010

For the past 15 years, I have been paying doctors to kill me, one piece at a time. They have been successful, for which I am thankful.

I decided to write this blog for those who don't know anything about skin cancer. When I was first diagnosed as having skin cancer, I immediately started thinking about how and where I would like to be buried. The only question I had was how soon it would happen. In our modern society "cancer" is an acronym for "incurable disease that kills people." Skin cancer is different from other types of cancer.

When my dermatologist finds a suspicious looking spot, she takes a biopsy and sends it to a lab. If it turns out to be skin cancer, I get a call to come back and have the spot surgically removed. Normally, it is basil cell cancer, a type that is on the surface and can be easily discovered and removed. Nearly everyone gets these when they are older.

This morning I have an appointment to get a basil cell cancer spot removed. Having been through the process literally dozens of times, The nurses don't need to tell me how to treat the wound. I have it memorized.

If the cancerous cells go deeper, they are called squamus cell cancer. I have had a few of these too, but like the basil cell, it stays in one place and can be easily removed.

The melanoma is the skin cancer that can be deadly if not discovered soon. So far I have not had any melanomas. These are the skin cancers that spread through the blood stream affecting other organs. If caught in the early stages, even a melanoma can be contained. That is why everyone should be aware of the early signs. There are many websites and your doctor can give you a pamphlet with details, so I won't go into that here.

One of these days I may write about the false information that the sun is the primary cause of skin cancer. If you spend a lot of time indoors or have red or blond hair, you should be more careful in the bright sun. Sunburn, like all other burns, is always to be avoided. The sun is not dangerous, but rather a good deterrent. I attribute my own problems with skin cancer to the Chernobyl nuclear accident. I unknowingly got a lot of bare skin exposure from radio-active and cesium-filled clouds that drifted into Austria.


August 16, 2010

As I wrote on August 5, the Gallenthin/Gloucester County Emminent Doman case was moved to another court. I received word this morning that the hearing would take place this afternoon at 2:30 PM in Mt. Holly. That was a quick re-scheduling! They probably hoped that fewer people would show up. I had other plans, but dumped them and drove an hour each way to the Burlington County Courthouse. There were fewer guests this time, but most seats were filled. Judge Hogan heard lawyers from both sides and said that he would decide on the matter by the end of the month. I hope I understood correctly. He did say something about a vacation, however. The lawyer for the county was very soft-spoken and I could hardly understand a word he said. Of course his words were not intended for us to hear.

To be continued.


August 21, 2010

Someone said that a retired missionary should have something to say about the current debates over Obama's religious beliefs and building a mosque near Ground Zero.

I view this as one of few positive developments since Obama took office. Americans are beginning to ask questions about faith, beliefs, confession, religion or whatever else they call it. Until now it wasn't important enough to discuss. Even those who claim to be religious seldom cared what others believed.

As long as people didn't take their beliefs too seriously, a person's faith was considered a private matter. Occasionally, a Jim Jones would poison 600 of his followers, or children would be rescued from a polygamous commune, or a deranged man would kill kids in an Amish school house. Then people talked about religious fanaticism and fundamentalism. Since 9/11, there has been a lot of discussion about radical Islam, but even George W. Bush was careful to proclaim that a person's religious beliefs were not being questioned.

Suddenly all that has changed.

The majority of Americans are opposed to Muslims building a Mosque near Ground Zero. There are many other mosques in New York City and during Ramadan (right now), Madison Avenue is blocked due to overflow crowds of Muslims praying in the street. No one is upset about that, but Ground Zero? Never! It is not Muslim beliefs that are under fire, but the desecration of holy Ground Zero.

Pollsters reported that 18% of Americans think Obama is a Muslim and the White House Press Secretary felt obliged to declare that the President is a Christian who prays every day.

When I bow my head in a restaurant and ask God to bless the food, I feel a hundred eyes staring in my direction, wondering what kind of a religious fanatic I am. In these times, you never know what is in the food you eat. God's blessing of the food just might save your life! Only yesterday, a billion eggs were recalled due to salmonella contamination. We had a dozen of the recall eggs in our refrigerator. Now, will you quit eating eggs or start asking God to bless your food?

In that same restaurant, I hear people praying out loud, "My God!" or "O, my God!" No one stares at them or thinks they are weird.

Like most other Americans, Barack Obama prays every day. Whether Christian or Muslim, as long as he doesn't take his faith too seriously, Americans will be forgiving.

And God?


August 23, 2010

In my last blog someone might have gotten the idea that I am not opposed to Muslims building a mosque near Ground Zero.

I believe in freedom of religion and that includes building a mosque, even near Ground Zero. But I am also for equality.

Muslims - not just "radical" Muslims, but all good Muslims without exception - are opposed to freedom of religion. Occasionally, you might run into a professing Muslim who doesn't take his religion seriously, who believes in freedom of religion. But he or she won't say so publicly for fear of becoming a victim of sharia law.

As long as Muslims don't believe in freedom of religion, they should not be granted the right to practice their religion in America. It stands in direct opposition to our Declaration of Independence, US Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Barack Obama claims that Muslims have a legal right to build a mosque next to Ground Zero. On the other hand, he insists that Israel not build anything whatsoever in its own nation - not even a school!

Muslims have historically built monuments to their triumphs of conquest such as St. Sophia in Istanbul and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Millions of Muslims around the world applauded and cheered when several of their number brought down the World Trade Center and breached the Pentagon. Did you see or hear many Muslims protesting the slaughter of thousands of innocent people?

Or how many Muslim leaders voiced protests to the following atrocities?
1972, athletes were kidnapped and massacred by Muslim extremists at the Munich Olympics.
1979, the US embassy in Iran was taken over by Muslim extremists.
1983, the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by Muslim extremists.
1985, the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked by Muslim extremists. A 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair.
1985, TWA flight 847 was hijacked in Athens, and a US Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by Muslim extremists.
1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by a Muslim extremist, killing 270 people. When the Lockerbie bomber was recently released, he received a hero's welcome in Libya.
1993, the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by Muslim extremists.
1998, US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by Muslim extremists.
9/11/2001, four airliners were hijacked by Muslim extremists to attack the World Trade Centers, US Pentagon and the other intended targets.
2009, 31 people were wounded and 13 American Soldiers murdered at Fort Hood by a Muslim extremist.

All this violence was perpetrated in the name of Allah. I have only heard a few denials of involvement by leading Muslims, but no apologies or accusing of perpetrators. Nor has any Arab nation relaxed its oppressive laws for people of other faiths.

Muslim leaders of several Arab nations openly deny Israel's right to exist. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas recently vowed that not a single Jew would be permitted to live in a new State of Palestine.

President Obama no longer mentions "freedom of religion" in his speeches but refers to "freedom of worship" instead. Other members of the administration, such as Hillary Clinton, have also switched to this rhetoric. No nation in the world forbids worship, but many outlaw or strictly curtail the freedoms of certain religious groups. Unless the tide changes, this is also coming to America, but the Muslims need not fear. They are already being granted privileges that Christians and other religions are denied.

Polls show that nearly three fourths of Americans are opposed to a mosque being built near Ground Zero. Nancy Pelosi's response was typical. On Wednesday, she told a KCBS reporter, "And I join those who have called for looking into how is [sic] this opposition to the mosque [is] being funded."


September 4, 2010

If you are on Social Security:
Your U.S. House & Senate voted not give you a S.S. Cost of living raise in 2010 and 2011. You can expect at least a 3% cost of living increase and who knows how much Obama-care will cost us! Our 2-year LOSS is at least $1,600 or $3,200 for husband and wife (more than two monthly S.S. checks!).

The U.S. House & Senate voted themselves $9,400 and $10,600 raises during this same two-year period - a mere pittance compared to what they are already getting paid!

In November, 2010, you and I can fire many members of the Senate and Congress.

If the next batch of politicians is no better, we can vote them out too, but they just get added to the long list of ex-politicians who receive exorbitant retirement and health care benefits.

Fortunately, there is something we can do about the retirement and health plans.

It's time for Amendment 28!

"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators or Representatives. And Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States."

Don't vote for anyone who will not promise to fight for this amendment!

Even if you are not yet on Social Security, your day is coming!


September 9, 2010

Pastor Terry Jones of Florida is getting a lot of publicity these days. His declared intention to burn a bunch of Qurans on 9/11 threatens to ignite a third World War, but he doesn't seem to care about such trivialities.

Historically, it has usually been devout Christians who had to endure derision, contempt, persecution and even death for their faith. There are of course some incidents of Christians performing acts of desecration and violence against those of other faiths. During the reformation, radical protestants stormed Catholic churches and destroyed images and paintings. In the counter reformation, Catholics confiscated Bibles and publicly burned them. Like the inquisition and crusades, these are chapters of church history that most Christians would rather forget.

In my opinion, a public show or demonstration of contempt for someone else's religious beliefs is improper. That doesn't mean we have to agree or even be silent about differences; but mockery, desecration and violence have no place in a civilized society, and certainly not among Christians.

Someone might argue that Jesus threw dishonest money changers and sellers of sacrificial animals out of the temple, but it is okay to clean your own house. In fact, the Christian's gospel demands each and every follower of Christ to repent, seek forgiveness and leave his or her wicked ways. We are also commanded to admonish each other as Christians. The prophets repeatedly called on Jews to forsake and destroy their own idols and warned of false teaching. The same is true of the New Testament apostles. Nowhere in the Bible are we instructed to make converts by force or to destroy that which others consider holy.

Having said all this, I am convinced that there is another reason why Reverend Terry Jones is getting so much press coverage. There was a hint of it in a statement made by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Council on Foreign Relations. She said, "It is regrettable that a pastor in Gainesville, Florida, with a congregation of no more than 50 people can make this outrageous and distrustful, disgraceful plan and get the world's attention, but that's the world we live in right now."

I am deeply disturbed by those last nine words.

Liberal Democrats in Washington have been working hard to push through their agenda while they still control the Federal Government. Over Labor Day weekend Barack Obama blasted Republicans for slowing or stopping their steam roller, but with Democrats controlling all three branches of government, it is obvious that many Democrats are also dragging their feet. Obama has cleverly bypassed our Constitution by appointing scores of czars, but a dictatorship is not yet possible as long as we have free elections, freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

The so-called "Hate Crimes" bill was invented as a tool to silence religious dissenters who oppose gay marriage and abortion. Censoring the Internet and forcing talk shows and religious broadcasters to give equal time to the "other side" are also goals of the liberals aimed at silencing opposition.

Almost 40 years ago, another whacko religious leader named Jones gave 900 followers poisoned Kool Aid. There was no campaign to outlaw Kool Aid. But mark my words. Liberal Democrats are going to milk this Terry Jones Quran burning event for all its worth to get legislation passed that will limit our freedoms. Hillary and the Democrats are not at all happy with "the world we live in right now." Obama promised change and it is coming at us fast!


September 28, 2010

It has been alarmingly quiet lately concerning the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), sometimes called Law of the Seas Treaty (LOST).

Many boaters hit this website, but few have ever heard of this UN treaty that would affect not only them, but nearly every other American.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) comprises 320 articles and nine annexes, governing all aspects of ocean space, such as delimitation, environmental control, marine scientific research, economic and commercial activities, transfer of technology and the settlement of disputes relating to ocean matters.

Basically, it would be a gigantic step towards the formation of a one-world government. It would give the United Nations control of nearly three fourths of our globe. Its powers would supersede national government powers, and because America would be expected to carry a large part of the cost of this governing body, American citizens would be taxed without congressional representation.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have vowed to give ratification of this treaty high priority. That alone should make us suspicious.

To date, 160 nations have signed the treaty, but the United States has not ratified it for economic and security reasons. As stated above, it has been alarmingly quiet lately concerning UNCLOS.


October 18, 2010

Historically, America was at the forefront of the industrial revolution, but the United States is rapidly becoming the first "post-industrial" nation on the globe. The pace at which this is taking place is frightening.

It was America that showed the world how to mass produce everything from telephones to automobiles and airplanes. It was the great American manufacturing base that crushed Germany and Japan in World War II.

Not long ago, America could out-produce the rest of the world combined. Today this is no longer true.

For a while, it looked like we would lead the world in technology, but we now lag far behind other nations. In 2008, 1.2 billion cellphones were sold worldwide. Not one of them was manufactured in the United States. No TVs are manufactured here. Syntax-Billian produced Olevia flat screen TVs in Arizona from 2006-2007 when it failed. In 2001, the United States ranked fourth in the world in per capita broadband Internet use. Today it ranks 15th. Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975. Asia now produces 84 percent of printed circuit boards used in electronic products.

Americans certainly out-consume the rest of the world. Our nation has become bloated and spoiled. We consume everything in sight, yet produce little.

This can only continue by creating debt. We have already created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world in an effort to maintain our high standard of living. The current rate of increasing debt is not sustainable and the bubble will soon burst. Unless the deindustrialization of America is stopped and the process reversed, our children and grandchildren will have nothing. And they will hate us for betraying them and squandering their subsistence.

Do you know what our biggest export is today? Waste. Yes, trash is our number one export!

The United States has closed 42,400 factories since 2001, and about 75 percent of those factories employed 500 or more people. The United States lost 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs (5.5 million) between 2000 and 2009. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the U.S. will lose another half million jobs in 2010.

In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of U.S. economic output. In 2008, it represented only 11.5 percent. As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million of 305 million Americans worked in manufacturing. The last time less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941, with a population of only 133 million.

Employment at foreign affiliates of U.S. parent companies increased 30 percent between 1999 and 2008. During that same time period, employment in the American-based parent companies declined 8 percent.

Dell Inc. has announced plans to dramatically expand its operations in China with an investment of over $100 billion over the next decade. Dell is closing its last large U.S. manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in November, 2010, costing 900 jobs.

Ford Motor Company recently announced the closure of a factory that produces the Ford Ranger in St. Paul, Minnesota. Approximately 750 jobs will be lost.

Consumption accounts for 70 percent of the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP), half of which is spent for services.

Between July, 2009 and July, 2010, the U.S. trade deficit with China rose 18 percent. The United States spends $4 on Chinese goods for every $1 that the Chinese spend on US goods. One prominent economist is projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.

The latest U.S. Census Bureau says that 43.6 million Americans are now living in poverty, the highest number ever for this nation.

The deindustrialization of America is a national crisis. Mid-term election time is fast approaching. It is important for everyone to vote. This is a civic duty as well as privilege. It is more important now than ever. Look over the ballot in advance and check out what the candidates stand for and against. Check their track record too. Every vote counts!


October 29, 2010

The media is full of news about bullying, the latest government and media gig designed to take away the practicing Christian's right to free speech. First it was "hate speech" and now it's bullying.

Okay, okay, I cry too when a kid commits suicide because he or she was bullied. I am always sad when someone takes his or her own life. And I get angry when people take the life of others, whether in a criminal act or a government sanctioned "procedure."

What really upsets me also riled Jesus - hypocrisy. All this hype about hate speech and bullying is aimed at Christians who dare to speak out in protest of immoral and unethical acts. Jesus was tortured and crucified for doing exactly that. True Christians (the kind that speak and act; not the wimpy variety) have always been persecuted and killed for their faith. Millions of Christians were slaughtered in Russia because they stood in the way of Stalin. Millions more were killed by Mao in China. The few Christians who had the guts to stand up to Hitler were also killed. There is not a single nation with a Muslim majority that offers religious freedom and if they could get away with it, Christians and Jews would be eliminated.

America has, until now, been a rare exception to the rule. Many of the settlers who came to this country and fought for our freedoms were Christians who fled persecution in Europe. They insisted on freedom of speech, freedom of religion and other freedoms that are seldom enjoyed in other lands.

Some would argue here that Christians have done their share of murdering. I agree only if it can be proved that those who disobey the teachings of Christ and oppose his faithful followers are truly Christian. We lived in Europe and I am a student of church history, but space doesn't allow me to expound on the atrocities committed in the name of the "Christian" church.

Even before he was elected President, the Senator from Chicago announced his intentions to fight for the "rights" of gays, lesbians, and transgenders. He has always fought for the "rights" of women to have their babies killed if they don't want them. His sympathy towards anything Islamic is quite obvious. Obama makes no secret of his crusade to make America socialistic, and he is determined to silence anyone who criticizes his views or opposes his aims.

The things politicians throw at each other in their attack ads are pretty bad, but since everyone knows that politicians are liars, no one takes them seriously. That is not bullying or hate speech. The names that liberals call conservatives and conservatives call liberals does not constitute bullying or hate speech. That is just the American way of life.

This blog is a good example of hate speech and bullying. People reading this might be driven to kill themselves.


November 1, 2010

We attended the monthly meeting of the Greenwich Tea Party Patriots this evening.

About 300 packed the hall, so much so, that the next meeting is scheduled to be held in a larger hall. One of the speakers mentioned that the media says we are angry. There was laughter at that remark. We may be angry, but when others take notice, that is news that makes us happy.

When one considers all the dirt that liberals have thrown at the tea party - elitist sneers and smears, lies, mockery and ridicule; it becomes clear who is angry! Hey, we are enjoying the party!

Come join us in making America what it was founded to be! I suspect that those Boston patriots threw empty boxes overboard and their fellow patriots in Greenwich burned empty boxes. When they were finished, they probably had a party.


November 3, 2010

On the morning after the 2010 election, I want to make an observation for what it's worth.

I have said before that "politics" is made up of two words, "poly" (which means "many") and "ticks" (blood-sucking parasites). Big government is traditionally parasitic in nature.

Having said this, I need to state that the only alternative to politics is chaos and I prefer politics. People who follow my blog know that I am a conservative and that I am against big government. History has proven over and over, that government is only capable of making good decisions when it stays small and close to the people.

Obama got a lot of flack for using the word "enemies" to describe political opponents. He later admitted that he should have said "opponents," but I think Obama was right the first time. The main difference between an enemy and opponent is the manner in which differences are addressed. The way this election campaign was fought was anything but civil. Both Republicans and Democrats view political campaigns as wars in which one side wins and divides the spoils as victors.

In war, the ends justify the means. Harry Ried's campaign managers watched Chris Christy win the gubernatorial race in New Jersey and decided that it would be necessary to run a negative campaign against whoever opposed Ried in 2010. It worked.

The donkeys and elephants are seldom in agreement, but they are united in preventing political competition. If you voted, and I hope you did, you probably noticed that those not listed in the two columns normally haven't the ghost of a chance to win an election.

It is high time to get rid of the two-party system. In my opinion, we need to form a new "non-party." It might be called the "write-in" party. In Alaska, a candidate whose name is difficult to spell won in a write-in campaign.

Across the nation, a non-party that is still called a party, had the greatest influence in this election. The tea party movement, which didn't exist two years ago, was so strong that the GOP felt compelled to get on "board" and ride the wave all the way to the beach. Even some Democrats tried this tactic.

If another organized political party comes into existence, it should be kept small and subject to established rules of the people (in our case, the US Constitution and Bill of Rights).

When politicians ignore or defy these documents, they should be voted out or impeached. Obama calls the Constitution a "living document," and in doing so, he declares war on the American people. Liberals are very adept at constructing nice-sounding terminology for despicable acts and situations. Dare common citizens declare our laws to be "living documents" which can be changed or ignored at will?

When major parties ignore and even defy the Constitution, it is time for "we the people" to take back our nation. The Revolutionary War and Civil War are painful reminders that freedom has a price, but America needs to figure out how to form a good government without declaring war.


November 22, 2010

Under Obamacare, doctors must have systems in place to electronically record each patient's visits and prescriptions by 2015. That information is to be shared with hospitals, other doctors and, most importantly, the federal government.

Those who change over early reap a bonus but "so far, neither the promise of incentive nor threat of punishment is enticing a large number of New Jersey doctors to make the big switch" (from a front page article in today's Gloucester County Times).

One of my doctors said that it will cost well over $250,000 to initiate the system and no one knows how much it will cost to run and keep updated. Doctors fear that it will reduce the number of patients they can handle and express concern that electronic records are more vulnerable to hacking and invasions of privacy.

The GCT article claims that the measure will eliminate "the headaches of deciphering handwriting." "Doctors can speak into a microphone and the notes will appear electronically in the file." AARP-NJ legislative director Douglas Johnston is quoted as saying, "...integrating medical records like this can help prevent life-threatening mistakes... It will literally save lives."

We are familiar with the technology that will help prevent life-threatening mistakes and save lives. We switched from Verizon to Vonage several years ago and are very happy with Vonage. The only exception is the electronic conversion of voice messages to text. When someone leaves a message on our computer, it is nice to get the text version along with email, but we always listen to the recording. Failure to do so could cause life-threatening mistakes and even death!

A friend named Joan left a message on our Vonage answering service. She invited my wife for a lunch date. In the text version, it was John who called! My brother left a message that began with the greeting, "Hi Ralph and Verna..." The text version said, "Hi Ross Barnett..." There was nothing unclear about his voice, but apparently Ross and Barnett are more common names than Ralph and Verna. If names of people are difficult to transcribe, just imagine what it will be like when the doctor gives a prescription for medicines into a voice translator!


November 23, 2010

Many air passengers are upset about the new full-body scanners. If you don't want a TSA agent to see your nude body, the only alternative is an even more invasive pat-down. Try that anywhere else in our society, and you can get shot or taken to court!

Because of a few Muslim suicide bombers, many thousands of law-abiding citizens must be embarrassed and inconvenienced. The horror stories you hear from passengers reveal a new form of terrorism.

I prefer profiling as a solution. It may not be politically correct, but we all do it all the time.

If I get ripped off in one big-box chain store, I avoid all of them. Our daughter once got sick and vomited after eating a McDonalds hamburger. It was a long time before she would consume another. Maybe she still hasn't.

I once got my hair cut at the mall. A woman cut it. I have nothing against women cutting men's hair. My present barber is female and she does a great job. But a friend told me he would never let a woman cut his hair. He allowed it once and vowed, "Never again!" That is profiling, but I don't have a problem with it. The woman in the mall who cut my hair also did profiling. When she was finished, she held a mirror up to the back of my head and asked if it looked okay. I replied, "I don't care how it looks, but it has to please my wife." While I was paying her, a hulk of a woman entered the shop. She was about six-foot-three and had the build of a football player. The hair dresser turned pale and asked, "Is that your wife?" That too is profiling.

Actually, there is a simpler solution to airline safety, but our government doesn't like simple solutions, especially when they come from a tea-partier and are cheap.

They should make a reinforced concrete room that each passenger enters. After the doors are closed, a special device scans for explosives and detonates them. It would be a win-win for everyone, and there would be no profiling. If a would-be suicide bomber enters the booth, you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter an announcement comes over the PA system, "Attention standby passengers, we now have a seat available on flight number..."


December 6, 2010

Motorists have become great sources of income for cash-strapped communities. Video cameras are located at many intersections and in other places where people are likely to do something that can turn a profit.

My brother just received a ticket in the mail from Washington DC for going 37 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone. Photos were included from three angles. It was broad daylight with no other cars in sight, but it cost him $125.00.

I was taking visitors from Europe to Kennedy International Airport and had to cross the Verazzano Narrows bridge. Halfway across the bridge, a sign informed motorists who wanted to get on the Belt Parkway (to the right of the bridge) to use the left lane. I turned on my signal light and looked for an opening, but the lane was already filled bumper to bumper with commuters who knew this route by heart; and that was all their hearts knew. I slowed to a crawl, hoping for a break but there was none. Motorists behind me were honking their horns angrily. I finally saw a gap and changed lanes, but at the end of the bridge, a policeman directed me into a special parking area filled with cars of other offenders who, like myself, had unknowingly crossed a double line. I think that cost $150.

The ex-Mayor of Glassboro filed a complaint and got reimbursed for a traffic light violation. He timed the yellow light with a stop watch and discovered that it was set for 3 seconds. New Jersey state law requires a minimum of four seconds. Now all others who got tickets may demand refunds!

Many motorists have written letters to the newspaper recently, complaining about such tactics, traffic light cameras in particular.

I wrote the following letter to the Editor of the Gloucester County Times which was printed in the Sunday paper.

To the Editor:

I would like to suggest a cheap alternative to red-light cameras at intersections.

It is not my idea, but from the little Alpine republic of Austria. The Austrians build a couple of dollars worth of extra electronics in all their traffic lights to make the green phase blink several times before the light turns amber.

You can see the blinking from a distance and bring your car to a gradual stop, thus saving brakes and gas.

I lived in Austria for many years and I never heard of this causing any problems for motorists. Even the tourists like the idea. There are fewer accidents and fewer traffic tickets.

The latter is probably why other governments won't adopt the idea. When Austria joined the European Union, the EU said that the nation must conform and do away with the blinking green lights.

Austria fought and won.

Ralph V. Harvey



December 16, 2010

I recently purchased a Kindle Reader from which has revolutionized my reading habits! Before I talk about the Kindle, however, I want to say something about digital books.

Back in 2005 I was looking to purchase all 10 volumes of Spurgeon's sermons in hardback form, but in my search for the best price, I ran across Samizdat not only offered the books I wanted, but 10,000 other books for only $139! They were in digital format on three DVDs. The DVDs included everything from cook books and children's books to classical literature in several languages. I was skeptical when I ordered the set, but astounded and pleased with what I got! My mother was a descendant of the Cooper family which included William Cooper, founder of Cooperstown, NY and the prolific American writer, James Fennimore Cooper. I was enthralled to get all of his works as one of many bonuses!

I have been carrying this gigantic library around in my laptop case ever since. I not only read, but copy and paste parts for inclusion in other documents. I can search the DVDs just like my computer hard disc. The DVDs came with an offer to purchase updates at any time for about one third the cost of a new set. I took advantage of the offer in 2007 paying $90 for three DVDs which now included 12,467 books. I gave my original set to a friend. The DVD set now offered includes 23,416 books on 4 DVDs and costs $149, but I can still update my 3-DVD set for the same price! You don't get many bargains like that anymore!

Here is my assessment of the Kindle in one word: fantastic! And I don't use that word freely, nor do I receive remuneration for recommending the Kindle. I am not familiar with the other digital readers on the market, but in reading forums and talking to owners, the Kindle seems unbeatable.

I authored and published a book in 2005. It cost over $5,000 for 500 copies - paid in advance. I found that I could sell my book for the Kindle Reader with a lot less hassle and at no expense whatsoever. I purchased a new Kindle Reader for $139. It took only minutes to set up my account and a few hours to prepare the book for Kindle. I plan to offer two more books  through the Kindle Store.

First, I will share what I like and then what I dislike (yes, there are a couple of negatives).

The screen is easy to read - almost like paper. I can read for hours with no eye fatigue whatsoever. The screen is not backlit so you need light to read it. This feature has other advantages. You can read in the bright sunlight. The Kindle uses very little energy. When you turn the pages, it uses minute amounts to rearrange the "ink" and a little more to power up the Reader. You can charge it from a receptacle or the USB connection of your computer, but that is needed only once every month or two.

I like to read in my La-Z-Boy recliner and books tend to get heavy after a while. The Kindle weighs only 8 ounces fully loaded with hundreds of books! Speaking of books, I can read the digital books I got from Samizdat or shop for others in the Kindle Store without getting out of my La-Z-Boy. I first loaded KJV and ESV Bibles from the Kindle store. The KJV was free and the ESV cost 99 cents. Both loaded via the built in wireless in about a minute. Most books (including mine) are sold to provide royalties to the author and profits for Amazon, so you can expect to pay between $3 - $10 per book.

With the 5-way menu button, you can navigate to different parts of the book or switch to other books without losing your place. Next time you open the book, it opens to the same place. You can also click on hyperlinks to footnotes, create bookmarks and write notes.

Amazon gives you a special email address with which you can send any document to your Kindle. I emailed my 278-page book and it arrived formatted in my Kindle within seconds! After some tweaking, I repeated the process to be certain that everything was fine. Then I posted it for sale.

Now come the really juicy morsels. With the wireless you can browse websites, but it is only black & white and you can't write and send messages. For seniors and those who have trouble reading small print, the Kindle allows you to make the type as large or small as you want. If you are totally blind, you can let the Kindle read to you. It has built-in stereo speakers. If you have trouble sleeping, just load my book, relax and close your eyes. You will soon be sleeping soundly! Or load your own mpeg music and listen while reading. If your spouse objects, use earphones!

Now I will share the negative things.

The keyboard and menu button are much too small for a man's fingers. A woman may have pointed fingernails that can peck and scratch, but we men are always biting our nails. Turning pages in either direction is easy, but typing a search is laborious, like typing on the computer keyboard wearing gloves. The Kindle is difficult to hold in your hand without accidentally tapping a key or button. I made a lightweight holder for mine (see photos) so I can hold it in one hand. Perhaps I should get it patented and sell it on!