Friday, June 29, 2012

Is that so?

According to this article at The Justice Department (headed by Eric Holder) will not be prosecuting Eric Holder, who earlier this week was found to be in contempt of Congress, because in the opinion of the Justice Department (headed by Eric Holder) Holder did not commit a crime when he chose to ignore a subpoena issued by Congress to produce documents needed to investigate (among other things) the murder (very definitely a crime) of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry with weapons illegally sold to straw buyers acting on behalf of the Mexican drug cartels at the insistence of BATFE(IEIO) which is part of the Justice Department (headed by Eric Holder) and against the wishes of the gun shop owners who were ordered to do so by the agency that regulates their industry and can shut them down on a whim if they don’t play along, in an operation called Fast & Furious (whoever thunk this one up wasn’t very swift – and I’m furious over it) that senior management (Eric Holder) should have known about from all the emails about it that he claims not to have read (which is part of his job as head of the Justice Department). But there’s no conflict of interest here…

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Holder held in Contempt

On a roll call vote of 255 to 67 H.Res 711 passes with 17 Democrats voting in the affirmative.

Niki Tsongas 5th District, Marxistchusetts voted No.
The rest of the Marxistchusets contingent either voted NO or failed to register their votes.

Details of the roll call here. See how your congress critter voted.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Explaining Fast & Furious

I have not seen a better explanation anywhere.

H/T to Attorney Evan Nappen for sharing this video over on Facebook.

BTW: If the ad before the video is the Martine Luther King tribute university ad – watch that too. It is also worthy of your time.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Forgot to mention…

Things got a little “entertaining” while I was across the street using their facilities. There I was minding my own business, sitting there with my knees up next to me ears in this antique of a bathroom that hasn’t been updated in the 35+ years I’ve been going to this flea market, when all of a sudden a pipe burst in the wall behind me! The way the flooding was traveling across the floor I couldn’t tell if it was my side of the stall wall or perhaps in the next stall over. I managed to hitch up my pants legs enough to keep them out of the almost instantly two inches deep flood, finished what I was doing and made a hasty retreat.

Well, at least we made it home in one piece. Then we went out for dinner at Applebe’s. Now I’m ready for a nap.

Gawd! What an awful day!

We just got back to the house after spending the morning engaged in old fashioned American capitalism. The flea market “hoovered” today! It was car show weekend up the street and both fields were full of venders. There were also shoppers a plenty. But the only cash that changed hands was between the flea vendors and the owners of the fields. It costs $25 for a space at Shirley’s flea. We took in $9. No, that is not a misprint.

I’m taking next weekend off to fall back and regroup.

There must be a more effective way to make all this stuff go away. At this point, a roll off is looking better all the time!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Blogger Interface

I just discovered that you CAN go back in time! At least as far as which Blogger Interface you use. When you first log in you should find yourself on a page listing your various blogs and a reader thingy that I never use. At the top right of your blog list is an icon with a picture of a gear. Click that. A menu will appear that will have as one of its options Old Interface. Click that. Voila! Time travel!

You are welcome! * bows *

Moderation, not Reasoned Discourse™

The Eclectic Dragonfly has just switched to Moderated Comments because the Word Verification widget “hoovers” so badly. It used to work. Then they fixed it…

What does this change mean?

You will no longer have your visual acuity challenged by having to retype some ridiculously screwed up jumble of text to prove you are a human. It also means I will have to wade through a pile intellectually challenged of spambot crap to sort out the real comments from the dross. More pain for me – hopefully less of same for you. Also, it may take a while for me to get around to approving your comments. Please be patient! I will get to it – eventually…

My comment policies are very libertarian – like my politics. I’ll approve pretty much anything you want to say provided there is no personally identifiable information about thee, me or any third party. I will not allow threats of violence, slander or liable. The occasional cuss word doesn’t bother me. Just keep in mind that anybody can read what you write and it may come back to you at the most embarrassing of moments. In general, as long as you keep it legal within the intent of the Framers of our Constitution and suitable for polite conversation among friends, we should get along fine.

Friday, June 15, 2012


It amazes me the things I find in my sitemeter listings: "Search Words: bathroom powered by blogspot" I wonder what they were actually looking for! On second thought maybe I don’t want to know… OK, so why is this not formatting the way it should?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

This is really starting to get old.

Beep! Beep! Beep!

‘Huwah?  Wtfisthat?’  I slowly blink my eyes open.  ‘What time is it?’  I look at the ceiling where the projection clock is supposed to be showing me the time.  It’s dark.

Beep! Beep! Beep!

* deep sigh *  ‘Again?’

I have no idea how long the power had been out before the beeping finally woke me.  The battery powered clock in the bathroom said it was ten minutes of three.  Very AM.  Next priority was to call the electric company to report the outage.  Then I restrung the extension cord from the inverter to the fridge.  I’d used solar power to run my string trimmer over the weekend so the cord wasn’t in place as it usually is.

Note to self: Buy a dedicated correct length cord that can stay in place and free up the 100-footer for other use.

With the power company notified and the fridge all happy on the solar system I went back to bed. 

After a little while the beeping stopped.  That meant that our Vonage phone system was dead.  We might still have cell coverage – provided the outage didn’t go to the cell towers…  I was already back in bed so I didn’t bother to check.  Calling 911 if things really go pear-shaped presupposes that you have working telephones.  Personally, I think it’s a much better plan to be able to take care of yourself and only call in the cavalry once the immediate threat is neutralized.  I’m digressing again.

Mum called a few minutes ago, while I was writing this very post as a matter of fact.  She mentioned that the light in the fridge dimmed when the compressor came on while she had the door opened.  The peak output of our inverter is just up to the task of handling the startup draw of the fridge.  Adding the little light bulb’s draw from the door being opened is almost more than the inverter can handle. 

Oh, the power came back on about two hours and fifteen minutes after I discovered it was out.  I just haven’t switched the fridge back to the grid.  I thought it prudent to make sure the grid would keep working for a while first.  I’ll switch it back when I get home from work tonight.  Meanwhile, I know the groceries won’t be going bad on us.

I have a bunch more of those solar panels on hand now and I can install them whenever I have the time.  I’ve also got a new charge controller that can handle way more input power than my full set of panels will produce once installed.   But even before I get all that done I may need to look into upgrading my inverter.  Then I’ll want more/bigger batteries.

All in good time.

The funny thing is that when I mentioned our early morning outage to my boss, he said one of his kids called him at work yesterday to report that the power was out at their house.  It won’t take much more of this for me to start questioning the stability of the power grid…

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

For free? Really?

I just this second hung up on a robo-call that promised a free cruse for two to the Bahamas if I just complete this short 30-second survey.  Sorry, Charlie, I didn't just fall off the turnip truck!

[shakes head and goes back to reading...]

Crisis – Challenge – Opportunity

So I mentioned going to a real estate seminar over the weekend.  I don’t think I mentioned how much of a stretch it was financially getting there.  I managed to find a way to afford the 3-day – but I used up most of the buffer in my checking account to do it.

Then I decided to go for the advanced training.  Now there’s simply no way I could come up with the scratch to pay for even the least expensive package deal.  They are all four figures.  CORRECTION: Looking at the paperwork again, the package deals are all five figures!  After reviewing our finances and even deciding which bills we could put off paying for a little while, Mum and I agreed on a way that we could do the least expensive single module.  With some cash from Mum and splitting the rest across my checking account and two credit cards we came up with the three grand we needed right away. 

Now the night before, while I was putting together a spreadsheet to work out if we could even come up with the initial payment I called the 800 number on one of my credit cards just to find out my available balance.  The answer was ‘some but not much.’  After getting the information I needed I said “While I have you on the line, is there any way you could help me out by increasing my limit?  I have a purchase coming up and I’d like to put it on this card…”  This is an exercise everyone is supposed to do during the lunch break on Friday.  I was in no shape to do that then because I was having a hypoglycemic crisis at the time.  The Friday session started at 0900 sharp and lunch didn’t come along until ten past two.  That’s just too damn long for this diabetic to go without eating!  The trouble is that I could also out stubborn a mule and I’d paid dearly to be at this seminar.  I wasn’t about to split early for lunch and miss anything.  I spent the Friday lunch break trying not to go into diabetic shock.  But I digress...  So anyway, my credit card company offered to up my limit by about 30%.  That was enough for me to feel comfortable with the initial payment.  I almost fell off my chair when Rick said we’d need to find the balance within three weeks! 

I almost said no.

Reluctantly I agreed with the terms and went through with the deal. 

Then Tuesday morning Mum called me at work with a crisis: One of the cards was rejected.  OMG!  I’m back to dear in headlights for a minute.

Okay let’s try to turn this into a challenge.

I dove into my computer and checked the banks web sight.  No sign of a problem.  Nothing’s posted and nothing is showing as rejected.  I called the 800 number on that card and drilled down through their phone tree until I managed to actually find a human.

Pro tip: Often saying “Operator” or pressing “0” will shortcut the phone tree and get you to an actual person.

After explaining what I was looking for the CSR found that there was an item that had been rejected that morning.  The name sounded right but the amount was for four thousand dollars instead of four hundred.

Now before anyone goes jumping to contusions’ that they were trying to rip me off – let me state for the record that I have been known to double-clutch on my keyboard from time to time.  An accidental extra zero when keying in a number is an easy thing to do.  In this case it self corrected by there not being enough available to cover it anyway.

I told the bank what I surmised had happened and the CSR agreed with me that that was the most likely cause.  I made sure that when the correct amount was entered that it would clear this time.  It would.  Good.

“Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

“As a matter of fact, there is.”  (I bet you can see where this is going…)  “Is there any way you could increase my limit?  I have a purchase coming up and I’d like to put it on this card.”

“As a matter of fact, we may be able to lower your interest rate too while we are at it!  Let me connect you with someone from our loan department…”


After going through essentially a new full application the very pleasant person from the loan department said that I should have my new limit in place in seven to ten days as soon as I fax in my latest pay stub.


I called Mum to pass on the good news and to get Rick’s number so I could let him know what had actually happened.  Once I got Rick on the phone and explained the whole thing to him he was all apologetic and said it would be fixed immediately.  Problem solved.

I called Mum back to tell her and her call waiting beeped.  It was the bank.  She gave them my number at work and the phone rang here almost as soon as she came back on my line.  It was an actual loan officer this time.  She said that after reviewing my credit score and based on my payment history I was all good to go.  Instead of seven to ten business days it would be “seven to ten minutes.  I am checking off the things on my computer to increase your limit” even as we speak.


This card did lower my interest rate as the first CSR thought they might and my limit was increased by a full 60%!  I now have enough wiggle room on this card to cover the balance for the course I’d signed up for right now today!  As Rick said on the phone when we talked “The technique really does work.”

Oh, one more thing…  The loan officer invited me to call back in six to twelve months to repeat the process!

Next up is to learn some investing techniques that I can make work to make the payments on my newly expanded cards…

Stay tuned.  This should be a fun ride!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Busy(er than usual…) weekend!

Mum and I went to another 3-day Real Estate seminar over the weekend. 

I’ve heard them described as “trying to drink from a fire hose.”  So far at every one I’ve been to that has been the case.  There is simply far too much information to retain it all.  If you go bring a fresh legal pad and take copious notes!

I’ve been to others in the past.  Robert Kiyosaki’s had a lot of mindset and motivation along with a little technique.  Not enough to actually go out in the field and do anything.  You have to buy the ‘advanced course’ for that… ($$$$-)  They all sell advanced courses. 

Cherif Medawar’s commercial real estate investing seminar, while exciting, was also incredibly intimidating to me.  Not the teaching method which was much like Kiyosaki’s.  But the whole concept that I could invest in commercial real estate and not be taken to the cleaners!  I see so many commercial and industrial buildings sitting vacant - often for years.  I couldn’t swing even a months holding costs!  Maybe once I’m established.  But certainly not as I’m just stating out.  They had a lot of great techniques and ideas at the 3-day, but I wasn’t in a position to sign up for any of the advanced classes.  Add to that, I’m just not ready to play in that market.

I did get a couple of vital things from attending Cherif’s seminar: I learned how to calculate a mortgage on a pocket calculator.  Many seminar companies give out a “free gift” for attending their workshops.  The one we went to this weekend for instance gave everyone who attended the evening ‘sell ‘em the 3-day’ event a digital camera.  Not much of a camera, mind you…  Cherif gave everyone who attended his 3-day workshop a student grade HP 10bII financial calculator.  That’s the calculator we learned how to use during the workshop.  I have mine in my shirt pocket even as I’m typing this, now several years later.

This weekend’s 3-day, put on by Dean Graziosi’s organization, was a little different.  We stuck to smaller residential real estate.  That’s a market I can wrap my head around.  And there was a ton of great information.  Some motivation but far more technique and resources. 

Time on my lunch break is running out, so I’ll have to cut this off here.  But I want to add one last point before I go:

I finally feel like I’m ready to move forward.  Let’s see how far this path will take us!

Updated to add some links.

Monday, June 4, 2012

In case you were wondering: This is what Justice in America is supposed to be about

Hat tip to weer'd for bringing this to our attention.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

More Steadicam: the JR

The goodies I ordered came in so I spent the evening playing with my Steadicam JR.  The first order of business was a little clean up.  It had been stored in it’s camera bag for several years.  I removed the Ricoh R-808H Hi8 camcorder that was on my JR when I bought it used from a friend who used to work for what was at the time one of the best local mom & pop camera shops around.  Sadly, those are now a thing of the past.  Or so it would seem.  So is this camcorder.  It’s so old that the only thing I can find spending just a couple of minutes Googling the make and model are a ton of sites selling replacement batteries. 

After replacing the cork and cleaning up the connections in both battery compartments it was on to the tough part.

Mounting and balancing a camera on a Steadycam JR is not easy!

To work properly all Steadicam systems need to be properly balanced.  My rig came pre-balanced since I bought it used.  Mounting my fairly new to me Sony DCR-TRV310 NTSC camcorder was more of a challenge than I expected!  It took most of the evening to get everything to work together to the point where the camera actually floats the way it is supposed to.  But I finally got it.

Even this camera is old.  According to they first offered it on September 4, 1999.  Right about the time the Moon was supposed to have been blown out of Earth orbit according to the timeline from the even older TV show Space 1999.  Both the “new” camera I just mounted on it and the Steadicam JR itself are discontinued by their manufacturers.  I don’t really mind not having the absolutely newest gizmo on the block.  This camcorder works better than the one it’s replacing and the JR still works.  Even it’s monitor still works after sitting unused for so many years.

Digging around in the JR’s camera bag I came across an unopened regular 8 video tape that works in the Sony camera even though it really wants Hi8 or maybe Digital 8 tapes if such a thing even exists.  The camera came with two Hi-8 tapes from the yard sale I got it at.  It was actually free since they didn’t have a charger for the batteries.  I bought one through Amazon that does the trick quite nicely.  So with a charged battery and a fresh tape it was finally time to play.  Most of what I shot tonight consisted of fine-tuning and testing.  I did a little flying just to get back in the swing of it.  I didn’t actually shoot anything I’d be inclined to share.  But I did prove to myself that the “new” camera works mounted to my Steadicam JR.

To give you a better sense of what the JR is all about here’s an extended clip from the video that came with these rigs.  Enjoy!

I will post some video I shot myself with this rig eventually.  As soon as I have something worth sharing…