Month: January 2014

Changes in the Catholic church

So today an interesting thought came to me.

I went through Catholic schools here in Providence from 1970 to 1982. This was in the period just after the finalization of the Vatican II accords. It was a very liberalizing set of things. Plain clothes for priests and nuns, liberalization of the theology, and civil action for the better on the part of religious orders. Even the communion changed – now the host would be laid in your hand and you could sip the wine. Prior it just used to be a wafer dipped in wine placed on your tongue. Confessions could now be done face to face – that was somewhat horrible for me. But the best part – is the Catholic schools started getting seriously subversive. I go by things we did in grades 1 through 8 and then high school and there’s a definite subversive thread that wends through all of it.

But I believe Pope Francis has invoked another Vatican council. So it’ll be interesting to see what comes of it. We could see another span of near 20 years of liberalization of the church again. Still not enough to ever get me to come back to what I see as a church based on complete fiction, as all of the churches are. And life is much better without having to drag myself to mass every Sunday to hear a priest drone on about something or the other.

But here’s the thing. What stuck with me is those very subversive principles. Love one another is a pretty good scheme for life, so too do right by your brother, etc. Just the whole god thing turns me off. That and dragging myself to church service even if they do start at 10AM now.

Got my new Baofeng Radio

It’s actually a B-580T the twin of the GT-3. Bit of a bear to program in that you have to enter the receive and transmit frequencies. I’m about to do a master reset on the radio again.

I’m just downloaded the Chirp software. And I ordered the programming cable for the thing.

I would have linked the videos I posted but I could only post them to Facebook – for some reason YouTube video uploads don’t work from my phone even when I turn on WiFi. So I’ll just have to put it in words here:

1) Once you install the belt clip, it’s not a terribly easy time to re-install the battery pack. Minor engineering flaw.

2) The one that really kills me – the radio has settings for offset spacing and direction. But to commit to memory you have to do it twice, first for the receive, then for the transmit. Stupid – why have the ability to determine the offsets and directions then?? it does work fine for VFO mode though.

3) The display is pretty unreadable without the backlight.

4) I like the flashlight but I do have a flashlight app on my phone too.

5) The voice isn’t Chinglish but proper English now. Yippee!

6) Doing a master reset on the radio cuts off the voice. I do leave key beeps enabled.

7) The screen printing on the keys is horrid. I’ve already managed to rub off the numbers on some of them.

I did manage to sell my KST V6 for only $5 less than I paid for it. Not bad – so effectively the Baofeng only cost me $20. I guess I can’t complain too much.

Great Atheistic Songs

I’ll start of with XTC’s “Dear God”:

Then of course there’s the Pet Shop Boys  with It’s a Sin: Gay and Atheist – hooyeah!

And from Porgy & Bess here’s “It Ain’t Necessarily So”

When I think about it, there’s been a lot of music that questions the existence of God and concludes that it’s just a creation of man. Amazing.

The Myth the the Koch Brothers influence can’t be traced

I believe it can. It might take a federal warrant or two to  do it, but every single dollar that they shell out it can in fact be traced.

All you need is someone in the Department of Justice with the intestinal fortitude to follow through.

Put it this way, nearly every dollar transits a bank these days, some way or another. And you can get a detailed running of an account online at most banks. So it’d be a fairly trivial matter to trace the so called ‘dark’ money. You just need the manpower to do it.

Yet Another Radio

Yes, another one. I already have a Yaesu VX-7R which is a quad band radio. Pretty cool but I really only use 2m and 70cm for the most part. Then I have a dedicated 1.25m radio if only because the VX-7R is limited to 300mW on 1.25m

But I’ve always been interested in the Baofeng radios. The successor to the UV-5R was recently introduced, the GT-3.


I like the feature set that the GT-3 has – it improves upon some of the shortcomings of the UV-5R most notable the display, the manual, etc. The specifications are also pretty good – it’s got a more sensitive and selective receiver in it.

But the best part – $45. Seriously – Iove that the Chinese are starting to eat into the market that the Japanese had held for years. And consider too they’re doing it at a serious discount. The Japanese radios were never cheap. My VX-7r was $350.

Why I think the next American Revolution will start in North Carolina

First of all the people in North Carolina aren’t happy with their legislators. I don’t live there but have relatives there and I can understand the unhappiness. To the point where they have regular Moral Monday protests at the NC State House.

Then there’s the marches over the alleged suicide of Jesus Huerta in Durham, NC. To the point where police are definitely running scared.

You even have the protestors in Durham calling for defending themselves. It’s going to get VERY interesting if the Durham PD doesn’t come clean about the circumstances behind Huerta’s death. I mean come on, kid is cuffed behind his back. How does, in the words of the medical examiner, the kid take out a gun and shoot himself in the mouth with an exit wound at the back of his skull???? That’s a definite one for the physics books. And what’s even more suspicious is that the in car video system was TURNED OFF or at least that’s the excuse the PD gave and I’ve got a bridge I can sell you.


Where USPS can’t find a PO Box that exists

So I’ve been trying to send a piece of mail to a PO Box in Cranston, RI. Shouldn’t be too difficult. My zip is 02909, the PO Box is in 02910. By pure numerical order it’s right next door.

But get this – the destination post office REJECTED it saying Addressee Unknown. Uh – the PO Box was CLEARLY printed on the envelope. But the routing is weird – it went 02909 –> 02904 –> 02907 –> 02910. That’s some pretty inefficient routing guys! But better note the top few lines – Shrewsbury, MA! that must be the mail piece coming back to me.

I think the problem is the 02907 facility – it sorts mail for 02905, 02907 and 02910. I think they’re mistakenly marking it in some way as non-existent even though according to USPS web site the PO Box exists in 02910. Submitting complaints online gets my LOCAL post office calling me explaining all this. There is obviously a problem in the sort chain though.

And the only reason I have the tracking is the last one I sent using regisered/return receipt requested. So I get full track on it.

Come on USPS – my next tactic is to send a parcel with track. That should be interesting to see if there’s any difference in their sorting – in fact I know there will be. But if it gets to the PO Box I just start sending Priority flat packs from now on.

But all of this sort of exposes something I hadn’t really thought about. The modern post office is just slightly a cluster fuck.

January 25, 2014 , 11:08 am

Processed through USPS Sort Facility


January 24, 2014

Depart USPS Sort Facility


January 24, 2014 , 4:25 pm

Processed through USPS Sort Facility


January 23, 2014 , 10:42 am

Addressee Unknown


January 21, 2014 , 8:53 am

Out for Delivery


January 21, 2014 , 8:43 am

Sorting Complete


January 21, 2014 , 8:07 am

Processed at USPS Origin Sort Facility


January 21, 2014 , 8:02 am

Arrival at Unit


January 19, 2014

Depart USPS Sort Facility


January 18, 2014 , 10:50 pm

Processed at USPS Origin Sort Facility


January 18, 2014 , 11:14 am



Why I advocate for the legalization of recreational use of marijuana

First of all I’m not a pothead. My choice of intoxicants is of the C2H6O variety aka ethanol.

But here’s the thing – we in the U.S. have spent billions of dollars per year on drug interdiction, imprisonment and rehab over the past 30 odd years. Plus the fact that marijuana incarceration is pretty high.  The total is somewhere in the trillions of dollars. That is all money that could be put to better use.

I see marijuana, in it’s pure state, as no worse and actually better than alcohol and in some ways better. I’ve never met a belligerent pot user, but have met more than a few alcohol intoxicated individuals who really shouldn’t be drinking.

Now, the benefits of completely legalizing it for adults:

1) The cost of interdiction, prosecution and incarceration are reduced dramatically.

2) The tax revenue – you can slap a 20% tax on the stuff and people will still buy it. Just look at Colorado for the proof of a potential windfall revenue model.

3) The combined benefit of the 20% tax on product plus the reduced cost of all those listed in my first point make it so legalization of recreational marijuana is all positives with no negatives.

4) The purity of the product can be REGULATED by the states. No mixing fillers in, no additional psycho-active compounds added, etc.

I have written the chair of the Judiciary Committee in Rhode Island, Rep. Edith Ajello as well as my state Rep. John J. Lombardi and Senator Paul V. Jabour with pretty much the arguments above.

Part of the problem with Weather Sleuths on Facebook

Is that they take each new update as gospel. Here in Providence the initial forecasts were 2 to 4 inches. Then it got bumped up to 6 to 8 inches, then 8 to 10 inches and finally 10 to 14 inches.

But here’s the thing – for all the storms we’ve had in the past five years – most have been WAY off target for total accumulation amounts. I think there was that one MAJOR storm we got last year, the one where our power was out for four days where they correctly predicted the snowfall amounts.

But past few storms the chicken little, the sky is falling, and the White Death from The Sky folks have been predicting snowmageddon to the point of nausea. And I keep telling them – you have to look at the overall pattern instead of the individual elements in the set. Because if you look at the pattern – the forecasters have been WRONG more often than RIGHT.

I did note that WX1BOX The Taunton Skywarn group (Amateur Radio related!) on Facebook didn’t post jack shit. It’s probably because I’ve called them out on the sky is falling nature of their posts in the past.

Anti-Vaccination camp suffers a blow

Seems the author of the paper in the Lancet – he made it all up. There is no correlation between MMR vaccine and autistic disorders.

So I posted it on Facebook – and I get the anti-vaxers coming back with “The mercury needs to go.”My rebuttal was that if you eat fish, you’re likely getting as high a dose of mercury from that as you are from the vaccines. And that the potential neurological damage from the mercury is small compared with the damage from getting disease.

Plus you have to look at the correlation between decreases in violent crime and the elimination of lead from the gasoline supply in the 1970’s.

But here’s a good breakdown of the debunking.