America on Wheels 
A friend of mine from Pittsburgh was passing through town and wanted to got to the America on Wheels museum so we ventured into Allentown to check it out yesterday. The museum features cars, bicycles, motorcycles, trucks (heavy on Mack, as expected), and even has some odd stuff like a bar-stool racer, a Segway, and a lawn-tractor racer. The muscle car exhibit on the second floor was impressive with some beautiful and rare cars. As expected, there is an historical overtone that helps one understand and follow the progression of wheeled-transport in America over the past 120 years or so. I didn't know that early in the 20th century, there were quite a lot of electric car manufacturers but the museum credits (blames?) Henry Ford for doing away with those by making affordable and reliable automobiles running on cheap and plentiful gasoline. The museum also has some futuristic themes as to what we may be using as fuel in 20 or 30 years with, perhaps, Air Products leading the way as a major hydrogen producer. At $7 admission for adults, it's less than a movie and much better for your brain.

After the museum, I thought a trip to Willy Joe's at 15th and Liberty would be in order. They were closed, again. What's with them being closed on Sundays and, like last year, the Saturday during Memorial Day weekend? Bah. We opted for the Yocco's on Catasauqua Road since it was on the way home. Great dogs, just as good as Liberty St. or Hamilton Blvd.

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22nd Amendment to be Repealed? 
In yet another verbal blunder, oft-bewildered BHO stated on Face the Nation that, if elected, he'll serve 8-10 years. Imagine the laughter if "crazy old coot" John McCain said this?

Interestingly, in the 109th, 108th, 107th, 105th, 104th, and 103rd Congresses, amendments were proposed* (in 109, 108, and 107 they were introduced by MD Rep. Steny Hoyer) to repeal the 22nd Amendment. There has been no bill in the current (110th) Congress to repeal it. If Steny proposes another bill and if it clears all the hurdles and passes, it is possible that BHO will serve three terms which, of course would be 12 years, not 10, if he's elected and the 22nd Amendment is repealed during his first or [if elected to a] second term. Since it seems unlikely that the 22nd Amendment will be repealed, let's cut him some slack and count 2008 as one year and add that on to a two-term presidency, that makes nine. But wait, silly me, if we take the mean of eight and ten, lo and behold, we get nine! Once again, BHO dazzles us with his repartee!

*Go to this link and type 'repeal 22nd' in the search box and be sure to check all.

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Election? No Problem. 

2008 Universal Press Syndicate All Rights Reserved.

...no problem if you have the media to carry you along, that is. I saw this comic in my local paper a few days ago and it's oh so true. It's amazing how the media goes gaga over Obama. His gaffes like saying he's visited 57 states or that 10,000 people died in a Kansas tornado, or that Arkansas is closer to Kentucky than Illinois or that his uncle helped liberate Auschwitz (the Russians found Auschwitz) go almost completely without notice from the media or, if they are noticed, they cover for him quite nicely. Imagine if McCain had claimed to have visited 57 states or that a myriad of people died in a tornado when, in fact, it didn't happen. It would be horns-a-blowin' and trumpets-a-blarin' about how clueless the man is. But, BHO has an unlimited amount of get out of jail free cards that the media always plays when he gaffes or shows his obvious inexperience on domestic and foreign matters.

Additionally, associations with nutjob Rev. Wright or domestic terrorist William Ayers or crooked Tony Rezko certainly should lead to a debate about his choice of acquaintances, but it hasn't; like the Dan Quayle-like gaffes, a free pass is issued by the press.

But, people want change, I suppose, never thinking that change can be negative as well as a positive. So, I ask people, what do you want to change? Less corruption and cronyism in Washington? Well, Obama's connections to some questionable individuals make that unlikely. Someone who is intelligent? Well, forgetting how many US states there are or hyper-inflating a recent tornado's death toll do little there, too. You want a better life for yourself? Then work harder, smarter, and challenge yourself by setting goals. Seek out government programs that help you find a better job or further your education, not just ones that give you a check and say "here you go, see you next month." From personal experience, I can say that my quality of living is more dependent on my actions than who the president is.

Nonetheless, since the media will carry Obama into November, we need not worry about his gaffes or choice of friends. The media will toss those into the ol' memory hole. Nothing to see here, move along, and when you see that man carrying Obama down the racetrack, get out of their way.

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iPhone Line Economy 

(AP Photo)

Certainly anyone who lived through the Great Depression and may have had to wait in lines for hours at a time for petty things like food or a job must be shocked at how bad this economy is today. People who are younger like me and the generation before me will remember the gas lines of the 70's and the odd/even purchasing system and the double digit inflation during that same time. But seeing that picture above of that line in Miami, well, I never thought things would come to this.

I think someone in the media should poll some of those people wait in those lines for toys like iPhones or PlayStations and ask them who they think should pay for their health insurance or what they think of $4.15/gallon gasoline. Sure, they may say that the government should cover their health benefits or they may say ExxonMobil is evil but they have no problem reverse-cadging Apple and AT&T and handing them their money, but, hey "I want an iPhone. Gimme gimme gimme gimme. Let the government pay for my health care, I just spent my monthly premium on an iPhone. I can't afford to fill my car but I can afford an iPhone and monthly service contract."

Nonetheless, people certainly have the right to spend their time and money as they please. I just don't get it, though. All levels of government do a good enough job taking my money and the best part is that I don't have to wait in line for them to do it.

If you are one of those who do wait in lines for gadgets, just take a moment to think and be thankful that today in America, images like this, only exist in statues.

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Iran Missile Launch Pic Photoshopped? 
Making the rounds on the usual blogs this morning I found this post that claims a photo released by Iran showing some missiles launching was Photoshopped. Judge for yourself.

Update (07/11): The MSM finally catches on; two days late.

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32W 
For the first time since around 1990, I actually bought a pair of pants (shorts, actually) with a 32" waist. I fit into them. I also bought two medium shirts, too. Many of my clothes are now too big for me. I guess losing 22 pounds will do that to you.

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The Fourth 
Enjoy your Fourth of July holiday. Looks like a rainy one locally; hard to say if they'll be able to fit the local fireworks shows in. I hope they can but it's too early in the day to tell.

Take a few minutes today to read the Declaration of Independence. I read it about 2-3 times a year and learn something from it each and every time.

Also, I ran across a quote today:

A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in America has not yet become an American.

- Woodrow Wilson



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I agree with Joe Klein 
Kill Your Air Conditioner

At least in part. Let's practice some restraint out there. If you read my blog you know how I feel about air conditioning.

The last thing we want is the government regulating our energy usage. Laugh if you will, but it's coming. Yes, A/C may only contribute to 4% of our energy usage but, still, cutting down the luxuries (A/C is a luxury, not a necessity in most homes; especially in the northern half of the country) is a good way to reduce some energy consumption. A little here and a little there can indeed add up.

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Google Sucks 
Anti-Obama == Spamblog? Well according to Google, it seems.

From Newsbusters: Google Shuts Down Anti-Obama Sites on its Blogger Platform

But in Google's defense, they are a business and they can do what they want. The problem is, however, that too many people, especially younger people, are overdependent on Google for their information. The attitude seems to be that if Google can't find it, it doesn't exist. And, hey, "they only censor in China at the request of the Chinese government, they wouldn't dare filter results right here in the good ol' USA..."

Riiiiiiight.

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Yaesu FT-450AT 
I decided on the Yaesu FT-450AT and purchased one. It was delivered today. I read though the manual and then hooked it up.

Some thoughts:

1. SWR comes in a little higher than on my Dad's Icom 746. The Icom was about 1.5:1. The reading on my Yaesu is about 2:1 with the same antenna. A 1:1 SWR is perfect, even if rarely achieved.
2. Don't like the fact that the microphone was made in China. Thankfully, the radio was made in Japan. Once Motorola's hand gets stronger into Vertex-Standard, I am sure more and more manufacturing will be moved there. I hate Motorola. Motorola just bought a huge share (80%) of Vertex-Standard, which is Yaesu's parent company. I wonder if they will ruin VS like they have ruined themselves.
2a. The microphone is too big and it doesn't have UP/DN buttons to adjust frequency like the standard Icom mikes do.
3. The hidden menu still works on mine. Press and hold ATT/IPO-NB-AGC and then turn it on. Then, turn DSP/SEL and adjust LEDINT1, LEDINT2, and LEDINT3 accordingly. I now have a teal display. I would highly recommend not altering anything else in there.
4. The main tuning knob is too small. It's about the diameter of a fifty-cent piece.
5. My first contact was with a guy near Panama City, FL, so it seems to work. I hope I can still hit the far western states like Colorado, Utah, and California like I could on the 746. Since the antenna is unchanged, I don't see why not, even if the SWR is a shade higher.

Overall, so far so good. I am just learning how to adjust settings to my liking. I will miss the Icom 746, though.

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Firefox 3 Download Day 
Download Day

Today is Firefox 3 Download Day. So, go ahead and download. I will download it at least three times myself. I haven't even tried the RC's for 3 yet but I will download it for my main desktop (Slackware, of course), the XP side of my wife's laptop, and a copy to keep on my flash drive so I can install it as needed.* I'll likely update the Slackware side of the laptop, too, once I give it a go on my main desktop. Jumping from 2.0.0.14 to 3 is a major version leap and apparently worthy of a full version number increment; going from Gecko rendering engineversion 1.8 to 1.9. From what I've heard, FF3 is less of a memory hog than FF2, even though I never really noticed a problem myself. Memory hog or not, it's still better (as was the case with Netscape, Mozilla, and is with Sea Monkey) than that piece of crap, bane of the Web, Internet Exploiter. And if you're using Internet Exploiter, why? Why? Why? Why?

*Not counting the download (FF3RC3 is a 7.1 MB download for Windows), install on a Windows machine takes less than 45 seconds and doesn't require a reboot. I have sat through an IE6 to IE7 update. It takes several minutes, I seem to recall around five which is after the 70MB download (that's right, almost 10x FF3RC3), and requires a reboot. What a joke.

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Veep 
The race is on for a V.P. for both Obama and McCain. I don't think Hillary will be Obama's choice and if that's the case, he can't pick a woman at all. This is where McCain can make a bold move - select a woman as a running mate. Since Obama cannot choose a woman unless she's Hillary, he's in a bind. McCain has some play here and it might work for him if he does it right. However, does he choose a conservative woman to bring back some of the conservatives or does he stay moderate and try to win over the unhappy pro-Clinton women who may not vote for Obama? Hard to say. I don't think a McCain-Clinton ticket is likely but it would be interesting. He would likely loose more conservative votes this way but may win a lot of the Hillary backers, men and woman, with this move. I think both candidates are waiting to see who blinks first, too, in order to offer a strong counter to the other's pick.

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