So about Star Wars…

I’m jumping off of the Star Wars bandwagon.

I don’t want to see 28 other story lines in this universe. I don’t want Han Solo’s back story movies. I don’t need explanations of how the force works, or why the Rogue squadron was so important.

I do understand that I may have to turn in my geek card but that’s a consequence I’m willing to bear.

I’m in the camp that there are 3 Star Wars movies. Two really really great ones, and one that lost it’s way trying to sell toys. They have not been edited from the theatrical versions.

For me the franchise ended in 1983.

Pulling the wool over my eyes now.

Always buy good tools

A few minutes ago an old Navy buddy of mine sent me this picture with a message that just said “memories”.

He remembers something I’d sorta like to forget. This is a picture of my first car. I’m sure it’s not the same one, but the color and everything are the same.

One of the many lessons my father and grandfather taught me was to always invest in good tools. A crappy drill will fail you in the middle of a project and a bad screwdriver can strip the head off of a screw of a critical part in a flash.

It should have come as no surprise to me then at 18 years old when I bought a crappy tool to use as my primary transportation. The 1992 Geo Metro was, even with it’s 60 miles to a gallon of gas… a complete piece of junk. I bought it from a dealer who repossessed it with 4000 miles on it (imagine having your Geo repossessed!!!). Seemed like a steal.

My father, a very very patient leader of his hard headed teenagers, tried to get me to buy a turbo charged Volkswagen Jetta Diesel. Had I followed his advice, that Jetta was the kind of car where the interior would have rotted away before the engine gave out and I would have probably had it for many years.

But nooooooo

I wanted to make my own decisions and my father wanted to let me. He CO-SIGNED for the loan on a piece of crap. In the 3 years I owned it the engine was rebuilt TWICE! Once when my Dad was driving it the distributor cap just fell off, fasteners and all. When I went to trade it in to buy a Jeep in 1996 the used car dealer didn’t even want it.

I did eventually learn my father’s “only good tools” lessons and my toolbox is full of only Craftsman and Snap-On tools. 

My current car was purchased for the same price as my first car: $8200 and this time I paid cash. That was 12 years and 200,000 miles ago. It’s a car with good bones. A good tool.

That’s the only kind of tools I buy any more.

Influence of the next generation

Not everyone who successfully impacts the hearts and minds of one generation will carry that currency of influence into the generations that follow. -Neil deGrasse Tyson in Reflections on Carl Sagan’s COSMOS

Defiance

I don’t know why this never occurred to me before, but “the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night, that the flag was still there” is about defiance. The kind of defiance you need when liberty is paid for with blood. The kind of defiance you need when what you believe is not what the people in charge believe. And then I remembered that the song was originally called “The Defiance of Fort McHenry”.

You know how you can learn facts but not understand the lesson? I’ve been to Fort McHenry a number of times, served my country in the military and am a father. You’d think I would understand. I’ve been alive over 14000 days and just now I feel like I really get that song.

What prompted it was a couple lines from a book “But the lights of an illuminated American flag were still right there in the front window. They were the lights of a Patriot, and they still shown defiantly, just as if he were still here. Mikey would have liked that.”

Something about that made the whole thing click for me.

Philip Zimmerman on why he wrote PGP

This is actually from 1999 (updated from 1991), but I love this part:

The right to privacy is spread implicitly throughout the Bill of Rights. But when the United States Constitution was framed, the Founding Fathers saw no need to explicitly spell out the right to a private conversation. That would have been silly. Two hundred years ago, all conversations were private. If someone else was within earshot, you could just go out behind the barn and have your conversation there. No one could listen in without your knowledge. The right to a private conversation was a natural right, not just in a philosophical sense, but in a law-of-physics sense, given the technology of the time.

Read the entire piece here.

Oats

Whoever came up with the idea of selling oatmeal at fast food places as a genius. And yes, Starbucks is fast food.
What’s the food cost for a 1/2 cup of oats and some flavoring? Like 4 cents. I’ll bet the cup they serve it in costs as much as the food.

I don’t understand why you’d pay $3 for this on your way to work. You know you can grab a packet of instant oatmeal out of your pantry and bring it to work right? Microwave it in your coffee cup. It’s probably about 15 cents that way.

Paying $3 for something that takes you 30 seconds to do for 15 cents sounds like something the government would do.

That’s a violation of my privacy


via Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

Saying “I hate politics” is wrong

America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. – Fictional character Andrew Shepard from “The American President”

Over the last month, we Americans participated in an election and about half of the country was disappointed in the outcome.

What I heard in my social circles the loudest was:

“I hate politics”

“My vote didn’t count”

“Neener neener, my guy won and yours didn’t”

“My guy lost, but the whole process is corrupt.  I don’t even want to be part of it any more.”

I could go on, but you get the point.

Whining and complaining about the endless argument.

Me vs you

The ability to have that argument out in the open is what freedom is all about. Countless lives have been laid down to give you the ability to have that argument.  Saying you don’t want to participate is certainly part of the freedom that the sacrifice of others has bought you. But that’s the wrong attitude.

Saying you don’t want to participate in the process says you don’t want to honor that sacrifice.

We live in a place and time where one voice can change the hearts and minds of thousands. You are FREE to do it.

You’ve been given in a gift.  Try to remember that if you’re still here, then SOMEONE ELSE paid for your freedom with their life.

It’s practically your duty to participate.

Stop whining and fight for what you believe in.

A conversation with Ray Bradbury

Things that you see when you’re 3 and 6 and 10 and 12 wind up in your fiction in your 30s…

It’s the little things

We use a Keurig at the office. I’ve resisted getting one at home because I have a hard time with the massive amount of waste for a single cup of hot beverage.
Cameron at our office volunteered to collect, take home, separate the tops from the cups, remove the coffee and put it in her garden, and recycle the tops and cups separately.  Just how much of a difference does it make in a 10 person office?

She had this to report from the first few weeks of doing this:

 In one month’s time, we’ve kept close to 300 K cups and 50 cream cups out of the landfill–in a year, that will be enough plastic to fill 2 large rolling trash cans.  Not to mention composting close to 30 gallons of coffee/tea waste.

The lesson here is simple but powerful…. if you see something that needs to be done, do it.

Cameron is my hero today.