Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Day Obamacare Died...

Drove My Chevy 'Cross The Levy...


Re: No Re-Bar In Haiti?

Stealing Steeling Safety & Prosperity

A couple of things have bothered me the past couple of weeks as I have watched the TV news footage and look at newspaper photos of the damage and desperation after the earthquake down in Haiti.

I'm not talking about looking at things from the standpoint of being a God fearing Human faced with unbelievable amounts of carnage and death. What I'm talking about this morning is a subtle point which to the layman could be easily missed when in passing you see all of the scenes of death and destruction and suffering...

UNLESS you can take the time to clear you mind and see the details beyond the humanity and mortal horrors you're seeing.

Excuse me if I am wrong, but I'm pretty darn sure that I haven't seen much if any structural steel reinforcement---what we call "re-bar"--in the concrete walls and floors and ceilings in most of the photos of the collapsed buildings in Haiti be it a Cathedral or a "Palace" or a peasant's home on the side of a hill.

I guess it's just my "Forensic Injuneer" senses activating when I see something that has broke and hurt/killed someone.

In my considered Redneck opinion, I say that the people of Haiti, sitting on a known seismic fault line (which is beyond most of the indigenous population's control) and building everything out of hand mixed and hand poured concrete or cement or whatever they call their "cast and precast masonry construction methods," without secondary steel tension reinforcing, are the victims of a horrid infrastructural framework which could have done nothing but lead to eventual failure and disaster.

Any second year engineering student which has taken Statics and Dynamics and Deformable Bodies and a couple of quarters of materials science knows this to be a fact.

I ask myself..."Where do they go from here?"

I've spent a good deal of time in South Florida, the Florida Keys, the Bahamas and the Caribbean and have always been envious of the solid concrete construction methods covered with stucco and tile.

Problem is, that in practice these methods as implemented originate with the "tabby" form of primitive concrete fabrication also used here in Coastal Georgia and Florida in the 17th and 18th century by colonial settlers who, faced with limited wood resources (or in Georgia trees so huge like the giant "Live Oaks" so as to be unsuitable for being used for construction of anything smaller than a navy sailing ship keel.)

Salty water and sand and limestone in the form of ground up sea shells and bits of ancient coral reef fragments make a lovely fireplace or impromptu footing for a patio gazebo and is fairly stable when the wind blows at hurricane force.

But when the ground starts jumping up and down and shakes five feet from side to side things aren't worth a crap unless there is some steel inside, in the form of high strength rods buried somewhere there in the middle or a couple of inches in from each surface.

In the end it's all a reality of simple physics...readily understood today.

And yet it doesn't take new and improved and ever more intrusive "building codes" to drive home this grim realization...but that seems to be the only rationalization and realization and solution I keep hearing tendered by the idiot talking heads in the newspaper and TV news blurbs.

All of that said, my problem is...

What can we do about it all?

Passing a new building code won't undo the destruction which has already been done, and raising the cost of construction to meet codes like those in Atlanta or San Francisco or Knoxtown or on the gulf coast in Panama City Beach Florida today in Haiti-- a country which can't afford running water and indoor toilets--is counter-productive if implemented in a typical government induced heavy handed fashion.

Earlier this morning I wandered over to the Habitat for Humanity Website trying to see what they were up to, but all I see is platitudes and requests for money to send down to Haiti.

I'm proud to tell you that I'm not sending the government and country of Haiti one single dollar until I see some resolution to change what has been going on down there over the past TWO HUNDRED YEARS.

Encouraging poor people to live in mud stucco huts while they produce generation after Generation after GENERATION of little humans in squalor, without any hope of financial success and a lifestyle above abject poverty unless they escape to the US or get a job in major league baseball of the NBA is not in my mind a good use of my time and effort and currently limited financial resources.

Falling back on my experience as a volunteer project manager with Habitat for Humanity, I would, however, enjoy the opportunity to help design and build some sort of shelter or home or condo or abode of any/every other description which is feasable for erection in this geographic situation.

I guess it's just a little too soon to get started with the implementation of that sort of effort until the dust settles. It would be cool to come up with some idea besides government trailers like FEMA foisted on the Katrina Victims, but maybe that's the way to go.

Hey, that's it...let's put all of those used and new left over government trailers which were misused and abused three and four and five years after the hurricane onto a boat and ship them down to Haiti.

You and I have already paid for them with our tax dollars, and selling them for scrap is an inferior resolution to GIVING them to someone that actually deserves them and could put them to good use.

Works for me...

How about YOU?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thirty Days In The Hole Overnight In The Basement

Wrestling With My Own Inadequacies...

So after ignoring PLC Panel #2 a.k.a. "Eva" for about 24 hours (Ava arrived at the job site in the midwest yesterday morning), I wandered back down into my basement about midnight last night with a new resolve to conquer my mental programming demons.

I managed to avoid fooling around with the "beach chair sled project" and the endless balsa wood model airplane project and the scale model wooden canoe debacle and, with one eye cast on Fox News and the other on the laptop monitor, nearly seven hours later here I am with substantial progress made toward having the Beta version of the hardware/software for my Horner Touch Screen PLC based blow molded PET bottle panel (HTSPLCBBPETBP for short) ready for shipment.

Right now the target ship date is MONDAY, but things could change if the last 1% of the software effort takes as long as it did on the last epic saga.

Basically the new has worn off the fun I found in my initial panel design/programming efforts, and now I just want to get this thing finished, packed in a box full of foam peanuts, and launched toward Maryland so someone will start writing me a check in the next year and one half.

Of course having started a company in 2009, spent a bunch of money on government mandated fees and licenses, the obligatory office supplies and the materials/hardware needed to actually build something to sell, but not collecting one thin dime in the process (did I mention working about 500 hours in the past three months?), my guess is that my only reward will be the added government benefit of having to file a Federal and State tax return for the Business in addition to doing taxes for me and Pat and the Turbo Pup.

Isn't that just a lovely howdy do?

Meanwhile, in other news, just as it pissed me off that Obama was younger than me when he was elected president, it thoroughly pleases me that Senator Brown graduated from high school the same year I did--1977.

Isn't it nice to see the mongrel bitch Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's transition from Pit Bull to yapping ShitsuShiz'Su puppy this week as a result of the Senatorial Election results in Massachusetts?

Dingy Harry Reid and Dick "Turbin" Durbin and Mad Jack "Eyebrows" Murtha and Barbara Boxer can pretty much kiss their cushy government jobs goodbye in November if the current trend of public opinion continues.

All I say is that the stupid "Moderate" Republicans better keep their pandering butts in line or there could be some more shake-ups in 2012 if they give us three more years of "reaching across the isle" acting like tax and spend Dems.

Ok, I got all of that off my chest and onto my keyboard...I feel like reading the Newspaper and taking a nap now.

Y'all have a LOVELY day...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hayseed Bohemian Rhapsody?

Burt Reynolds & Ned Beaty Beware...

"That's right there is funny...I don't care who you are..."

--Larry "The Cable Guy"


I'm just back from YouTube...and there's More...


Excessive Scrolling Causes Heartburn

Internet Form Induced Late Night Insanity...

Does anyone but me get chafed when, in the process of filling out that final form you always have to do in order to buy something on E-Bay or Amazon or Paypal, you get down to the part where they ask for your "Country" and instead of having "USA" or "United States of 'Merica" at the top of the list you have to poke at the scroll bar and slide down the "computerized world tour" all the way from Albania to the bottom near Zimbabwe to find the name of the place where we all live?

I find that many if not most companies--even those solidly situated here in the good old US of A--today use web forms which insist on placing our country's name at the bottom of the list rather than at the top.

So what's up with that?

Add to my petty ill "formed" aggravations the realization that in the past couple of years since we moved from Georgia to the Turbo Pup Compound here on the banks of the Mighty Tennessee River I'm also forced to scroll down past Alabama and Florida and Georgia to find Tennessee on the "State" list.

Alabama and Georgia and Florida appear when you first hit that blank on the form, while Tennessee is stuck down there with Texas and the Mormons in know?

And inevitably I manage to screw up both the country and the state at least once in my haste and have to hit the back arrow once I get to the checkout page because I don't want to send industrial electrical parts to Uganda having paid for the overnight FedEX on my Debit Card.

And now finally I have to admit the truth....because all of the above aside what really got me going on this topic this morning was that while punching in my personal information into a Web Site page selling of all things "wiper seals" for these stupid expensive valves I'm getting paid to re-build, when I got to the DOB blank on the form I had to watch 49 numbers go by...from 2010 down to 1959...before I could hit "Enter" followed by the "Tab" key.

(In a few more years it will be quicker for me if they put 1900 first and the current year last on the list I guess.)

In closing, wandering back to my initial "Country Listing in the Internet Form" complaints, on second thought I have to admit that I can sorta kinda see the rational of foreign companies or domestic companies with huge foreign market share including us (the US) at the bottom of the list, but if all you sell is parts for old Chevy Camaros and Ford Mustangs, Crotchless overalls from the "Frederics of Hooterville" Dutch Quaker Lingerie Collection, or those stupid fake fireplaces made by the Pennsylvania you really think the Austrians or Australians are going to come clamoring to your Internet doorstep with a credit card number in hand???

Thereby causing me to have to wear out my mouse button finger scrolling around looking for the wealthiest part of North America in your list of countries???

Think about it people...

In the mean time, I have to go put a new water pump on my Camaro, then jump in the shower before donning my new overalls in time to sit in front of the bay window waiting for the UPS driver to deliver my ventless electric fireplace with a real hand made wooden cabinet.

Talk to y'all later...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Seen This?


CNN & MSNBC Anchors Committing Suicide

"Tea Bagged" Out Of Office...

Generally you have to duct tape me to a chair and take the TV remote control away from me to make me watch CNN (or any other legacy product from Ted Turner's former media empire) or MSNBC.

Thus I spend about five minutes each year watching either network unless I'm stuck in a "departure lounge" at the airport or sitting in a bar/restaurant where the idiot kid bartenders think people want to watch the drivel spewing out of Anderson Cooper's retarded mouth.

Tonight I made an exception to my viewing habits and, after Scott Brown's US Senate victory in Massachusetts, I turned over to CNN see what the tone was like.

I don't believe I've seen a group of people with sadder, longer faces (and poop stains on their skirts and pants) in the past 25 years.

These people were in disbelief, and still, in the moments following the loss of what I call the "Kennedy Memorial Life Guard Chair" instead of an actual "Senate Seat," they're turning their attention to how Obama and the Obamamaniacs can continue to ram the current stinky smelly pile of crappy legislation down the voters throats or up our behinds.

It's going to be real damn interesting to see what unfolds over the next couple of weeks in the US House and Senate relating to continuing along the path of the past year or shifting gears/changing tracks in an effort to avoid a giant negative landslide in November.

If you're not paying attention or you're just hiding in the closet afraid to say anything, I hope that this will be a wake up call to all of the people out there that just wandered to the voting booth last year after hearing jingoisms and slogans and voted for what was sold to you as "Hope and Change."

Based on what I've seen so far, all I can do is "Hope for a Change" else the last few decades of my life could end up being a hellish existence in a foreign country...that country being the one I grew up in and was stolen from me and my family.

Think about it...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Put That Sucker In A Box...

And Shipped That %$#@#er Down The Road...

If you read this blog you probably know what I'm talking about this afternoon, and if you don't you probably wouldn't care or won't understand.

Time for a half bottle of Bourbon and a Cigar, if you will excuse me...

Thanks For Reading

Another Dubious Milestone

Monday, January 18, 2010

More People I Want To Be More Like...

Hey...I Can DREAM...Can't I?

The ultimate Ladies Man:

"...don't mess with my Belovid Ramona..."

and the Ultimate salesman:

"Mr. Douglas...have I got a deal for you..."

Absolutely No Comparison

RIP Dr. King

(We all got the short end of that political stick today I'd say...)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Obscure Musical Stuff I Know

And Things I Think That You Should Know Too...

Have I mentioned that I spent a good deal of my life with a Trumpet in my hands a long time ago?

Probably not, because I never really mastered the instrument beyond a tolerable level of competence although I played it through junior high, high school, and into college in the GT Naval ROTC band.

In fact, the first time I went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans I was actually IN Mardi Gras, trumpet in hand, as our band was invited to march and play in three major parades--Bacchus, Edymoyn and Poydras (I think)--on Canal Street and in the Superdome.

Any way, today I currently own an old Holton B flat trumpet and a cheap Chinese Fluglehorn like Chuck "Feels So Good" Mangione plays, but best intentions aside they spend most of their time in their cases these days as my lips have lost their finely tuned pucker as a result of disuse. (By disuse I mean that talking and eating don't qualify for keeping your skills using an instrument with a mouthpiece in tune...)

I also have a real Australian Didgeridoo, a genuine Hawaiian Ukulele, and a whole box full of Horner and Lee Oscar Harmonicas laying around in my office at any given time, and I can make strange noises with my armpits and wet my hands and make funny fart like sounds and wait a minute...I lost my train of thought here...


...I've got it...

...I know, what I was saying was that I consider myself to be sort of a musical person on and off through the years, and I pride myself in carrying fairly high standards when it comes to the music I listen to because I find silence or the roar of a power tool to be vastly superior to much of the stuff put out on CD since they stopped making 8 track tapes and vinyl records.

Any way, I've been working on singing the Blues when we do our karaoke nights out the past half year and you already saw the Elvis Presley's "Tryin' To Get To You" and some other stuff I've put up here in the past.

Tonight I present for your enjoyment a man I greatly admire--Big Joe Turner --who's career spanned 60 years from the 1920's until he died in 1985.

As I understand it, Big Joe started out singing without a microphone or electricity in taverns and juke joints and a result became famous not only for his singing but for belting out his lyrics at a HUGE volume, with no amplification.

I'm a fan of his work and if you Google him or go to Best Buy and check out the blues section you'll be surprised of the volume of his work and the songs he did that other people like Elvis covered in later years.

Here's a couple of links to YouTube showing Big Joe doing what he did best at the Apollo Theater in about 1954:

...then about ten years later in 1965:

And if you haven't had enough, listen to this:

I find it to be comforting to find stuff like this recorded for posterity on YouTube...maybe some day a hundred years from now people will see me singing Big Joe's hits at the local karaoke bar...

Then again...Probably not, but that will be all...for now...

Can I Get Any More Lazy?

Professionally Frivolously Distracted...

Oh...I don't know...where to start blithering this morning...

I'm sitting here looking at the boxes and giant bags of packing peanuts laying in a pile in one corner of the shop, but I've been paralyzed the past day and one half trying to get the final details checked off the punch list on these PLC Panels, and even with hiring a software programming consultant last week I managed to go backwards on Friday and Saturday because he did the revisions in version 9.0 of the Cscape software and I was running version 8.8 on both my computers.

And did I mention that my customer asked for some changes on the second panel that required "free" software and hardware revisions and the associated delay so we could make both panels match each other since they were both still laying here in the building?

And of course as usual with the downloading and updating of new technical non-consumer software, it was generally a pain in the butt requiring me to do cartwheels and mental hand stands and back flips before getting things back to normal...a couple of extra unplanned hours when it was all said and done.

Just now when I thought I was "home free" with regard to shipping things out on Monday my Infrared Sensors seem to have lost their collective minds and so when I get through writing here I'm going to have to take a hammer and beat the crap out of everything go back through the calibration process and see if I can make the temperature readings make sense.

Apparently I'm smart, but inevitably not smart enough many times when I'm allowed to wander off in the business world and start selling things I sometimes shouldn't be allowed to get involved in I guess.

Do me a favor and hang up if I call your house and in a fit of entrepreneurial fever offer you some sort of new super duper gun or a hand grenade or a new slimming, form fitting Kevlar/Spandex/Nomex fire proof bra and/or girdle for your wife or Grandmother.

Somebody save me from myself...


(did I tell you about my new Rogers' Turbo-Sonic Hydrodynamic Pulse Doppler Laser Nippleometer?)