Friday, April 30, 2010

Make it stick

I've played around with JB Weld a few times but never before done a large project with epoxy. My most recent endeavor was fixing a “modern” auto key: they have tiny computer chips embedded within the plastic, so if the plastic ring part breaks (has happened to us 3 times now), you can’t just drill a new hole into the steel key and have it start your car. Maybe it’s due to the dry air…I just call it bad design. At $100 a pop, I wasn’t about to buy extra car keys. So after sanding the broken area, I drilled a tiny hole on each side of the key, and inserted a short length of twisted wire bicycle cable, anchored with a drop of JB Weld in each hole. Bingo: the key stays on the ring, and it looks kinda cool, too. Take that, you modern key selling pirates.

After purchasing a box of Marine Tex, I realized I was in a different ballpark. You don’t want to mess around with this stuff…without being thoughtful. All the lessons my Dad taught me 20+ years ago came flooding back: (1) don’t use the same tools for scooping out resin and catalyst, (2) read the instructions, (3) have all your tools and clean-up stuff ready to go, (4) make plenty of extra…and be ready with extra projects to fix with the left-over. And so forth. You don’t want to be a doofus by blowing the job, which could get much more expensive than the cost of the epoxy.

Once the job was complete, I pondered the art of epoxy. Like welding, it’s a true art and one which is coming to a close in this post-modern world. Like hunting and farming. I encourage you to learn another skill and teach it to your kids. Like sharing the Gospel, it won’t be a fruitless endeavor for both you and the recipient.

Monday, April 19, 2010

235 years ago

While at school out East, I took a winter's field day to Concord, crossed the North Bridge, and tested the ice on the creek. Yeah, I got my toes wet. I recall thinking it isn't much of a creek, across which a shot was heard 'round the world. But numerous times since, I've wondered how quickly I'd have scrambled up and down its banks with a musket on my shoulder...

"The battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War.[8][9] They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy (present-day Arlington), and Cambridge, near Boston. The battles marked the outbreak of open armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and its thirteen colonies in the mainland of British North America.

About 700 British Army regulars, under Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith, were given secret orders to capture and destroy military supplies that were reportedly stored by the Massachusetts militia at Concord. Through effective intelligence gathering, Patriot colonials had received word weeks before the expedition that their supplies might be at risk, and had moved most of them to other locations. They also received details about British plans on the night before the battle, and were able to rapidly notify the area militias of the military movement.

The first shots were fired just as the sun was rising at Lexington. The militia were outnumbered and fell back, and the regulars proceeded on to Concord, where they searched for the supplies. At the North Bridge in Concord, several hundred militiamen fought and defeated three companies of the King's troops. The outnumbered regulars fell back from the Minutemen after a pitched battle in open territory.

More militiamen arrived soon thereafter and inflicted heavy damage on the regulars as they marched back towards Boston. Upon returning to Lexington, Smith's expedition was rescued by reinforcements under Lieutenant-General Hugh Percy. The combined force, now of about 1,700 men, marched back to Boston under heavy fire in a tactical withdrawal and eventually reached the safety of Charlestown. The accumulated militias blockaded the narrow land accesses to Charlestown and Boston, starting the Siege of Boston.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his "Concord Hymn", described the first shot fired by the Patriots at the North Bridge as the "shot heard 'round the world," even though it was not the first shot of the war.[10]

God, please bless these United States of America!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Our state of health

Here is the best summary I've seen about the practical impacts of the new Health Care law. We are free to think either, "It's the right thing to do," or, "It's socialist," but it is worth knowing specifics...

Here's are two samples:

"Tax on Home Sales. Imposes a 3.8 percent tax on home sales and other real estate transactions. Middle-income people must pay the full tax even if they are “rich” for only one day – the day they sell their house and buy a new one."

"Tax on investment income. ObamaCare imposes a 3.8 percent annual tax on investment income of individuals making $200,000 or more and on families making $250,000 or more. The new tax is not indexed to inflation, so more people will fall under it each year. Seniors on fixed incomes and people with IRAs and 401(k) plans will be hit particularly hard."

How do you think that's going to affect homeownership, the real estate market, individual investing, the economy? Just remember, a government discourages activities by taxing them. Hmmm.