Saturday, December 15, 2012

How Many More Children Must We Sacrifice On The Altar Of The Second Amendment?

How many children must die to protect the profit margins of the gun manufactures?
My position is this.  Repeal the 2nd Amendment.  Abolish all fire arms.
I know there are a lot of reasons not to, but I have 27 new reasons to do so.   Add these names to the 2,500 children that are killed every year.
Why keep the 2nd Amendment?  What is its purpose?  The primary reason is to give the citizenry the power to overthrow the government.  When it was written the citizens had the same weapons as the military, muskets.  While civilian metal workers could make military grade cannons if necessary.  Today, I don’t think you are going to produce an M-1 Abrams tank in your garage.  If you lined up a million citizens armed with AR-15’s against a single Army Division, I wouldn’t bet on the citizens to win.  So we are not going to overthrow the government by force of arms.
There is the argument that guns are necessary to protect our country from invasion.  See the above argument.  If our army cannot protect us from an invasion, then the civilians are not going to either.
Another argument is, “If guns are outlawed, then only outlaws will have guns.”  This will be true for a while, probably many years, but eventually the guns will be wheedled out of the general populous.
Then there is this argument, “There are 300 million guns out there, you’ll never get them all.”  To which I say, “When have Americans run away from a task because it was too hard?”
Then there is the hunting argument.  Maybe when hunting provided 10-30% of the family calories, but I doubt hunting provides a hundredth that now.  There is a reason for farms, it raises the most calories for an acre of land.  The wild stopped being able to support the general population about 300 years ago.
There is the argument to protect your home.  This one is valid, except than when a home of an armed citizen is invaded, the odds are actually better the home owner will be killed by his own gun then successfully repelling the invader.  It has to do with the mindset.  Law abiding, sane citizens are not mentally prepared to do violence.  The home invaders are.
And I love the argument, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  Yes, but how many atrocities like these school shootings could have occurred without firearms?  I can think of only one in the last century.  It’s not the person, but the guns make it possible to kill that many people at one time.
I know repealing the 2nd Amendment is neigh impossible, so can we amend it instead to read.
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people, except those persons capable of committing atrocities, to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Notes on what we did right:
Got ice six hours into the power outage. 

Kept the freezers shut.  They still had ice-cubes and frost 36 hours later.

Iced down perishables either in the refrigerator, or in coolers.

Had plenty of LED Flashlights on hand.  With power usage of a LED about 3% of incandescent bulb, none of them ran down in 36 hours.

What could have been better:
Take a shower before the emergency.  You never know when you’ll be able to take one again.

Don’t start a load of laundry.  Whenever the power goes out, you are stuck.

When the power went out, “Countdown, 71 hours till total social anarchy.”  This wasn’t so funny 36 hours into the outage.

“All he had to see by was the light of his Blackberry™,”  Reported by the BBC.

From the BBC reporting on the blackouts, “All these Americans are tweeting their news of the storm.  Who are they thinking is receiving them?  Are they expecting some overseas journalists to repeat them on the radio?”

I got in my car and looked at the GPS unit, and wondered if it was effected.  And if you don't know why this is funny, then I am not going to explain it to you.

And waxing poetic.  And the hand of God cleansed the earth of the election signage, removed power to the robo-call centers, and made all commercials unreceivable.  Peace reigned, but his people knew it not.

Monday, October 22, 2012

What am I supposed to think about this?

A succession of signs by the local shooting range.
Week 1
Live Pigeon Shoot.
Week 2
Live Turkey Shoot
Week 3
Running Deer Shoot
Week 4
Canned Ham Shoot.

I didn’t think the skeet thrower could handle a 5 pound Krakas.

Another Sign:
Huge Kid Sale!  Along with a bit of substantially smaller text that might explain how they can sell children.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The World’s Best Show for Twenty Bucks

Discovered a gem of a theater last night. A theater like no other outside of Disney.  The Dickens Parlour Theater, in Millville, DE.  Website:, it is in Millville Delaware, near Rehoboth. It is a small, 50 seat theater where a different magician performs weekly. The stage was beautifully decorated like a main stage of an old style theater.  Gold leaf trims the stage, comfortable seating, while the staff, headed by Rich Bloch entertains and amuses you.

Before the show you can have dinner which we didn't know about, and afterwards you can have dessert, which we did. The dining area is tastefully decorated with interesting devices including an antique music box with a 3 foot diameter interchangeable music disk, and a fortune telling machine.  While you are having dessert, the magicians, both staff and guests, tour your tables and perform for you. We were lucky in that the visiting magician, Shawn McMaster,, had a relative sitting at our table, so we got a lot of extra attention. 

We had a wonderful time, and went back to the matinee the next day.  This was in the Parlour room.  This is hidden behind a secret door which is disguised as a bookshelf.  A very intimate setting as there was seating only for about 12 people.  Once again the stage was set like a Victorian era sitting room, and adorned beautifully with gold leaf.  A contrast to that, and behind the stage curtain, was a teleportation machine that seems to be fully functional.

It was wonderful having interactive fun with the magicians.  I look forward to visiting again next time I am in the Delaware shore area. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Eulogy for Philip W. Gardocki

“Duty, honor and perseverance," these are the words I would use to describe Philip Walter Gardocki. He was my father.

So what kind of a man was my father? In many cases, I only have to look in the mirror. We shared many mannerisms. All our clocks must be in synchronized. We both sing "Guinevere," when doing mundane tasks. We shared a number of "catch phrases", can run pi out to a dozen places,  and we both take a child like joy at solving strange problems.

Unnamed, but much appreciated
sailor plays a mournful taps.
The last problem we worked on involved measuring the diameter of a large artillery shell amidships on the USS Olympia, a pre WWI Light Cruiser docked in Philadelphia. The shell was secured to the wall and was immovable, and next to a gun that clearly was too small to fire it. In the end I used my belt to get the diameter, placed it on the slats of deck, then I pulled out my pen knife which had a 4" ruler on it to measure the slats.  Did you know that in year 1880, a 2x4 was actually 4" in width? Now its three and a quarter inches if you are lucky.  After that it was just a matter counting the slats and doing the math.

He was an amazing man; he would routinely ace Jeopardy, and was definitely smarter than a fifth-grader. And he fielded calls from each and every one of his grandchildren on various subjects ranging from the Bible, history, social studies and languages, of which he spoke at least seven.

To be sure my father had a lot of thorns. He could be abrasive, loud, and unforgiving. This same man placed fresh flowers in front of the Blessed Mother, every week, for 18 years, never missing a week. And when the going got tough, his sense of duty, honor, and perseverance has few peers. On many cases, when called to action, my father stepped forward, going above and beyond what was socially prescribed.

In the mid 1950s he heard the countrys call and volunteered to defend this countrys freedom. He spent 6 years in the Navy on board the USS Alamo, a ship he only out lived by 3 months. And for 50 years we thought he was just an Engine-man, albeit a brilliant one. He was the second youngest man to be promoted to Chief Petty Officer* in the post-World War II Navy. But only in the last two years he revealed that he was not just an Engine-man, that was just a cover, he was a spy and interpreter of communications between the Soviet Submarine Fleet and their home base. He mentioned once that he held up the sea trials for 3 days of the USS Nautilus, our nations first nuclear submarine, because he lost track of the Soviet Sub that had been assigned to follow her.

My first response to these revelations was that he had read too many Tom Clancy novels. But the proofs he offered quickly convinced me of the truth of the matter.

“Duty, honor and perseverance," fast forward to the late 90s, events were occurring that necessitated my sisters children to have a new home. My father, who was just about to retire, and with a new wife and family, stood and said, "We will take them!" And with perseverance, year in and year out, he made the drives, arranged the outings, made sure all the supports were there, and he never told them, that he was proud of them all, every one. 

*Though we now have evidence that it might be Chief Warrant Officer.

“Duty, honor and perseverance," now that those children are grown and seeking their own paths, he is still helping others, by diligently supporting his sister and his mother.
We are comforted knowing that he is in heaven, for he held every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Corporate Chutzpa

Is this one  of those major ironies in life, or was it just corporate chutzpa?  While I was working for Siemens, a corporate missive came down the pike.  It started off as follows, “Respect, Integrity, Communication, and Excellence.”  And stressed how important it was to live up to these ideals.  Then it was mentioned that these were in Enron’s mission statement.   Remember Enron?  They went bankrupt after treating the customers like stupid clowns, made deals that were impossible to keep, lied about it, and then failed.  The Siemen's missive ran on stressing on how important it was to live up to your ideals.  Then the missive unveiled the new Siemens mission statement.  Part of which read:
Values: Highest performance with the highest ethics
Responsible: Committed to ethical and responsible actions
Excellent: Achieving high performance and excellent results
Innovative: Being innovative to create sustainable value

My thought immediately ran to the worst scenario, “What the hell is going wrong with Siemens?”
Within a year the news was breaking in Europe, that Siemens had been regularly bribing foreign governments to obtain lucrative contracts.  It was a major scandal in Europe, eventually costing them over a billion euros, but barely a ripple of attention here.
When someone is loudly saying “trust me”, that is when you have to be most on your guard.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Life is too short

Life is too short for some annoyances.

One annoyance is Windows Aero-Snap.  This feature decides  that where you put your document or form on the screen is not where you intended, and instead expands it to the entire screen, obliterating the carefully arraigned views you had of other documents.  First problem in dealing with this gremlin is what is it called?  Microsoft used to call this process "anchoring", but no, this one was named by marketing as "Aero Snap".  And how do you stop it?  Is it in some Windows options?  No, it is in your mouse properties.

  1. Click the Start button to open the Start menu.
  2. Type mouse in the Search Files And Programs box.
    1. OR Control Panel  "Ease of Access Center"
  3. Select Change How Your Mouse Works from the list of items that are found.
  4. Select the checkbox for the option "Prevent Windows From Being Automatically Arranged When Moved To The Edge Of The Screen".