Sunday, May 18, 2014

My 1984 RZ 350

I bought this baby from my good friend Frank Merlo.  Dressed in red and white livery, it was the last 2-stroke to be street legal in the U.S.  This was my first real street bike, a twin cylinder, water cooled,  perimeter framed screamer that rocketed me through my youth.

I remember one day, coming out of the toll booth at the Delaware Gap on rt 80.  to my left was a Porsche 911.  I don't remember much about the driver, other than he must have been the sporting type, because we both got on the throttle hard, and didn't let up.  I had the weight advantage, but he had horsepower in spades.  I tucked in behind that red white and blue bikini fairing, stretching those twin throttle cables as hard as I could.  He could have easily bested me on the top end, we both knew that, but instead we spent an enjoyable 30 minutes trading places both of us running at speeds north of 100 mph.

I eventually crashed that bike, following my friend Steve up a mountain in Watchung.  I loved that bike so much, I bought a second one (also used) and enjoyed that one for years to come.  Eventually, in 1988 I succumbed, and sold it.  I still have dreams on occasion of visiting my grandmother's garage and finding my old RZ under a tarp.

Friday, February 15, 2013

If Your Only Tool Is A Hammer...

I want to discuss (and by discuss, I mean post my opinion) on a rather polarizing topic.  Gun Control.  There, I said it.  Any time anyone mentions this subject, it seems that tempers flare, and normal, intelligent people start ranting and raving.  That's not entirely fair. Idiots rant and rave too.  But I digress...

Here's the thing.  In light of recent mass shooting tragedies, politicians have taken it upon themselves to do something.  Everyone agrees, something must be done, however, it's my firm belief that we're asking the wrong people.  If you ask a politician to do something, he will make a law.  That's just what they do, it's not their fault, it's to be expected.  Just as if you ask a carpenter to build you a garage, he will build it out of wood.  If you ask a mason to build you a garage, he will make it out of stone.  If you ask a politician to build you a garage, he will make garages illegal.  If your only tool is a hammer, all of your problems look like nails.

Here's why making laws to try and stop mass shootings won't work.  The perpetrators of such crimes have already decided to break the law. What's one or two more laws, when the perpetrator is most likely not going to come out of this alive anyway?  Making certain weapons illegal is not going to stop them from being available. Look how well that worked with drugs. or hookers. Both of those are illegal, and both can be had on a dark corner in any city in America.  

What about the laws that they come up with.  In New York, a magazine can only hold 7 bullets, so you are breaking the law if your weapon holds 8 or more.  How does this save children? and the counter to that "Why would you need more than 7 bullets?"  Well, perhaps, in most cases you don't.  Until you do.  Say, you're home, and someone breaks in with the intent to harm you and your family.  Maybe there's more than 1 assailant, maybe there's 2 or 3.  Would you be comfortable with 7 bullets?  In that situation, with adrenalin flowing, your aim may be off and you may not be able to fend them all off.  I'm sure you'll be happy to stop and reload.  They'll wait, right?  Those 7 bullets will last you the 20 minutes it takes for the police to arrive, right?

I think it's telling that the people who are calling for gun control the loudest, surround themselves with guards who are armed with weapons that they would make illegal for citizens to own.  It shows me that they're more important than we are, and that their safety is paramount, while ours isn't.

Background checks.  I think that background checks are reasonable.  Just as I think that voter registration is reasonable, but for some reason there are a lot of Democrats that seem to think that's unconstitutional.  How about a compromise?  People have to register to get a gun and to vote. Waddaya think?

Let's talk about the 2nd amendment.  
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed
 Well Regulated Militia.  Nowhere does the 2nd amendment talk about hunting, or to use Joe Biden's words, "That malarkey"  It's clear that the House and Senate approved words were talking about defending the state. And by state, I mean the people that made up the state, private citizens.  You and me.  Now, there are some who will counter with "Well, they didn't have bazookas when they wrote The Constitution, and they wouldn't want citizens to have military weapons."  To that, I say, "I kinda think they would." Don't forget, these gentlemen had just finished a pretty bloody war with England.  They didn't say "Let's not use our muskets, because the British Army has those. We private citizens should use bows and arrows or something less lethal."  The Founding Fathers weren't idiots.  They knew that the musket would not remain the zenith of weapons technology, and therefore didn't limit the Bill of Rights to say so.  They wanted the people to be able to defend themselves.

The bottom line is, I'm against government taking away my freedoms.  Any of them.  I am fine with background checks, I don't want to allow felons or people of unsound mind access to weapons, but I don't want to give all of my rights to the government. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

From the Hitting the Nail On The Head Dept.

Scott Adams, often described as the man with his finger on the pulse of corporate America, once again hits it out of the park. Last Friday's Dilbert strip hit a little too close to home...

Saturday, May 31, 2008

What does it take?

If you've read this blog, then you realize that I have a daughter, Sara. Sara is the apple of my eye, she really makes life worth it, and if I had it to do all over again, I'd pick her every time. Not having a son, however leaves me with some pearls of wisdom that may not be directly applicable to my heiress.

Thank God for the internet.

Here is a list of things that I believe necessary for one to claim membership into the kingdom of manhood. The list is (for now) in no certain order. I may get around to sorting and editing it later as time permits, but in the interest of providing information in a timely manner, I am publishing it as a work in progress.

1) Know how to change a flat tire.
If you drive (or try to drive) a car, you should know how to put a spare tire onto your car. Just because you carry a cellphone and have AAA on speedial (RAC for those of you in the UK) doesn't let you off the hook. If you get a flat while driving your girl somewhere, you better get out, and make it look like you know what the hell you're doing. Nothing says wussie like being stuck at the side of the road, waiting for some guy named Sam in a tow-truck to show you his butt-crack, smile at your girl and overcharge you for something you should know how to do. It's only 5 friggin nuts fer Christ sake!

2) Know how to drive a car.

That's right. DRIVE. I'm not talking about managing to get your Mom's mini-van from point A to point B. I'm talking about Driving. Use your turn signals, don't tailgate people, and if someone behind you is going faster than you are, get the hell out of the left lane. While you're at it, learn how to drive a damn stick-shift. If you can't, you may as well tuck your nut-sack up between your ass cheeks and pretend you're a girl. And for the love of God, pay attention when you're driving. I saw some asswipe doing a crossword puzzle on Rt 46 the other day, newspaper propped on the steering wheel as he was travelling at 50mph. What an Asshat. Don't be that guy.

3) Don't dress like an idiot.

I really don't have much sense of style. I do know, however that the top of the pants, you know, the part with the belt loops, are made to be worn ABOVE THE FRIGGIN ASS. Nothing makes you look like more of a moron, than shuffling around town with your pants halfway down.

4) Get a Job.

If you're independently wealthy, this still applies. And not some cakewalk job at Daddies company either. Go out into the world, and earn your own living. Learn how to deal with an asshole boss, and if you are a boss, learn how not to be an asshole. Don't expect something for nothing, earn your money. And know your worth.

5) Be able to fix things.

Nothing says "Turn in your 'Y' chromosome" more than being stymied by a blocked drain, unlit pilot light or malfunctioning small appliance. If you're family is freezing and can't make toast because of your inadequacies, you may as well hang it up. And don't give me that bullshit excuse that it's not worth your time to fix the toaster, that you make more per hour than it costs to fix it. If you were really working right now, what the hell are you doing trying to make toast? Get back to work!

6) Know your limitations

the converse of #5. Don't go taking on jobs that are too big for you. Electrocuting yourself trying to change a light switch because you're too damn stupid to turn off the power is just plain stupid. And if that cute nurse knew how you really hurt yourself, you wouldn't stand a chance with her.

7) Learn how to handle a gun.

Yes, I said it.  Firearms are just like any tool. Learn how to use and care for one, even if you never plan on owning one.  I'm sure that my left-leaning friends will disagree, but someday you may have a family, or  something else worth protecting, and you should know how to protect it.  Fortune favors the prepared.

8) Learn stuff.

Don't be ignorant. It's not attractive. If you are interested in something, learn all you can about that subject. You like photography? Learn what an F-Stop is. Do you enjoy woodworking? Learn about the tools and techniques involved. In short, make yourself useful. If you're not into sports, that's fine but you should still learn enough to be able to converse with people about them. Sometimes it's good enough to not look like an idiot. It's always better to not *be* an idiot.

More to come...

Saturday, August 04, 2007

HP - Phone Home

A few months ago, we were in Costco and saw a HP PhotoSmart C6150 all in one Printer, scanner, copier, fax with wifi, media reader and all kinds of bells and whistles . Whoohoo, color us impressed, so we snapped it up to take the place of our aging Canon i560.

The printer has been great. At first I was kinda worried about the small ink cartridges, but so far so good. I like the scanner, and it's got good linux support - important for me, not so much for Laura who only uses windows. Anyway, as I said, we were happy with the printer. Then I installed an Endian Firewall on our network. It's a nice, easy to use firewall based on Smoothwall. I downloaded the CD image, and pressed an old PIII 600 into service checking packets and denying access to the baddies. Anyway, I am getting to the point, I promise.

Tonight, I was perusing the firewall logs, and I noticed that the IP address I had assigned to the printer was making http connections to

From - 38 packets
To - 38 packets
Service: http (tcp/80) (ulogd[1177]: SQUID) - 38 packets

Hold the phone, that's a routable IP address. Why is my printer making outside connections? So I did a whois on that IP address, and it belongs to HP.

chris% whois

OrgName: Hewlett-Packard Company
Address: 3000 Hanover Street
City: Palo Alto
StateProv: CA
PostalCode: 94304
Country: US

So I go look into the Squid logfile on my firewall and see that the printer keeps connecting to
Hmm, ain't that intrusive. Well, thankfully, I can ban my printers IP address in the new firewall and stop that nonsense.

Thursday, February 15, 2007