Casey Anthony Trial

The not guilty verdict is disturbing on so many levels.  But it really seems to say volumes about the intellectual condition of our people.  People, the reason for a jury to to make sure we do the right thing.  Use your common sense.

Scott Adams is right,  “People are idiots”.  And  “never underestimate the stupidity of the general public”.

Here is what I think.

The little girl was killed, obviously.

Mom, was responsible for the little girl and keeping her safe.  She should have been found at least guilty of manslaughter.

No proof she did it you say?

Well, she never reported the girl missing and actually made up lies to explain the girls absence for a month!  The only reason to lie about something like that was either she did it, or was protecting someone else who did it.  If she was protecting someone,  let her take the rap if she does not want to tell what really happened.

How the girl died does not matter.  Say it was an accident.  That is still manslaughter when parents are negligent.  Does not matter if it was a unlocked pool gate or an unlocked gun.  She had duct tape over her mouth,  does that sound like an accident?  Or does that sound like mom drugged her to keep her quiet while she went out?  And the drugs were too much and killed her, by accident.  The difference between accident and intentional is the difference between murder and manslaughter.  Who does not know that?

We throw the book at people who have done little or nothing wrong and let the murderers go free.  What would happen if we put all the NOT-guilty people in jail and let all the murderers go free.  Exactly what is happening now.  The US is the worlds leading jailer just behind Russia and South Africa.  And yet,  the serious crimes go unpunished.  Look it up,  look at the statistics,  percentage of people, percentage in prison or on parole or probation.

Are the really bad guys too dangerous to go after?  Cops all trying to live to retirement?  Much safer to bust good citizens and put them on probation to shake them down every month?  This is an ugly trend.



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Happy Independence Day 2011

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Radio Field Day 2011

It’s Field Day!  The second most wonderful time of the year when the field day aardvark leaves new radio equipment and other surprises for all the good little radio operators up on the roof or at the base of the antenna tower, all over the world.

Well, that is, after the commercialization of the holiday.

The true meaning of field day is to get out, away from home and operate a portable or mobile amateur radio station and talk to as many stations as possible,  hopefully a few far away ones.  Extra points for solar or alternative energy use.

Radio is a fun hobby that can be inexpensive if you learn how to build all or some of your own equipment.  Communication can be by cw (morse code), single side band  (voice) or any of the many new digital modulation techniques such as PSK-31.

Last year the most distant station with which I exchanged QSL cards with was a New Zealand station, from the car with SSB on 20 meters (14 Mhz) at lunchtime.

Happy DX’ing.


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Energy Star (Green) Appliances

At work there are two “energy star” appliances in my work space.  There is a big printer and also a copier.  The idea is most of the time they are in a standby mode so they save energy by not turning on and heating up until needed.

So when something is sent to the printer, the printee walks over to it and watches for the printed pages to emerge.  The display on the printer indicates the printer is warming up.  Also it says tray 3 is out of paper.  Actually it must be printing from drawer two because eventually it does print and the paper could not be coming from drawer 3.  But it takes a long time to turn on and start working.

Sometimes, if it has been inactive for a very long time it goes completely off line and people will stand there for a few minutes until they realize they have to also press a button to wake it up.  Most times the printee  will give up and decide to come back later.  They walk away, soon after, the printer comes on and prints out the document.

Then, printee 2, a coworker prints something else, without noticing the extra document they pick up both documents and walk away. Printee 1 comes back looking for the document they printed.  Finding nothing they head back to their desk to try again.

The copier is the same except a little worse.  You walk up to it and press a button to wake it up.  No response. So press another, and another, finally it stirs.  Something is happening.  Put the original in, press print, nothing happens.

Copier display cheerfully says, “please wait, warming up”.

Put the original in again, press print, still nothing seems to be happening.

Then the display says “scanning can begin while the copier is warming up”

Run the original through again.  Still no copies coming out.  Then with no warning it turns on and prints 3 copies.  Only wanted one,  so two go in the trash.

The thing about these appliances is not just that they waste time and paper, but they make people crazy.  There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for them to come on and being unsure of what the status is, pushing the wrong button and turning them off, or printing too many pages.

I remember the movie office spaces, the printer that they took out to a field and destroyed with baseball bats.  I could see that happening.  When I watched in the movie it was funny, but not very true to life.  With my recent experience though with the new energy star appliances it seems more likely and understandable.

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Repair is recycling

In the 80’s electronic devices were repairable.  The only reason not to repair was if the device was obsolete and no longer needed.  Given enough time old junk turns into valuable antiques.  I remember Dad kicking himself for discarding a Victrola record player years after we remodeled the house and he cleaned out the side porch.

At NavComSta Stockton  and most Navy bases there is an organization called the DRMO or Defense Re-utilization and Marketing Organization.  They get all the discarded equipment, furniture and  electronics no longer needed by the command.  It would be collected on pallets and auctioned off to the highest bidder.  The electronics was melted down for the precious metals it contained.  Electronics of the time contained tiny amounts of gold and silver and even platinum.

Even today at work we collect equipment that is deemed “beyond economical repair” and it is sold, by the pound, as scrap.  Given time and money it could be repaired,  but sometimes it just takes too long and costs too much.

We claim we recycle, we are increasingly aware of environmental sustainability.  But electronics is increasingly disposable. People get a new phone every year.  Boards are cheaper to replace than to repair.  And the skills to do that repair are becoming increasingly rare.  Electronics is heading in the wrong direction, environmentally speaking.

There used to be books and magazines devoted to repair of various electronic devices like “Sams Photofacts”.  They actually would collect the schematics and parts lists for various radios and TV sets and publish them in a softcover publication.  Repair shops of the time had drawers and drawers of them.   Owners manuals had parts lists and schematics in them.  Some really old sets have a schematic glued to the inside of the cabinet.

There will always be new and exciting electronic devices,  but at the same time the AM/FM radio from 1970 would be as good, maybe better than what could be purchased new today.  Vacuum tube guitar amps are all the rage today.

Repairing something never intended to be repaired can be a fun challenge.  I remember when I had more time than money,  taking apart an electric radiator fan motor, un-sticking the stuck brushes, and putting it back together.  It was crimped shut, had to file down the metal crimps to get it apart, then beat them back to mushroom out again to seal it up.  It lasted as long as the car did after that and it did not go in the landfill.  Probably saved $100.

Repair IS recycling.




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Joe with Troop 42, Eagle Ceremony

Joe was awarded the rank of Eagle this weekend by Troop 42, White Lake, Michigan.

Joe and Mr. Mike McCoy June 2011

In Troop 42 the boys cook and invite the adult leaders as guests for meals.  Fuel is wood or charcoal, no gas stoves except for back packing.  On night hikes we hike by natural light only.  Flashlights stay in pockets for emergency use only.  No bright lights in camp, old fashioned oil lamps and firelight only.  Fires are not for warmth, we dress correctly to stay warm.  No cotton clothes in cold weather.  The boys cleanup the campsites and leave it cleaner than they found it.  Fires are put out with copious amounts of water, ashes are stirred then drowned again.  And on weekend camp-outs, every Sunday about 10,  we have church.  This is the program that Joe could not get enough of.

Eagle Project 2010

Joe with his sherpa at Philmont

Winter Camping Jan 2007 Lost Lake

Jan 2007 Dog Sled Camp

Cooking two turkeys out doors Nov 2006


Construction Lost Lake 2005


Building a new shower house at Lost Lake



Feb 2005 Gizmo Camp


Great Wolf Lodge 2004


Patrol box, Eagle Patrol 2004


June 2004

Note fire buckets by all tents.

2004 Pat Cavanaugh and Joe at a weekend camp

Climb Kalamazoo 2004


Loading the trailer, summer camp 2004

Note:  Packs are larger and heavier than boys.

2003 Silversides Campout Cub Scouts

2002 Family Camp Lost Lake


2001 Cub/Parent Weekend Lost Lake

Selling Popcorn 2000


1999 Pack 175

1999 Tiger Cubs


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Joe selling the Catyak


Joe is selling the old Catyak.  Great boat for kids to learn on.  Will not capsize.  Hull is made of a tough polymer material much more durable than fibreglass.

Does not point well.  In heavy weather it needs more rudder.  It now has a new mostly white sail (white with red and blue trim), original CATYAK sail.  Also has a Harken block on it.  I think the orange sail is still with it.  May have an additional white sail still in the package to sell separately.

Watch out for the dock!



CATYAK on wheels






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Tom DuByne

Mr Tom DuByne, taught high school chemistry  and physics at Haslett High for 40 years and has passed away at the age of 74 on 2 June, 2011.

Mr Tom DuByne Chemistry/ Physics Instructor 1938-2011

He was very professional,  very smooth teaching style.  Always had a full  lecture ready to go.  He was a friendly, patient and pleasant person.  Liked to use colored chalk.

Some days we would come in the classroom and there is this big complicated drawing on the chalkboard, all different colors.  He must have spent hours on it and then it gets erased.  Should have made photos of that chalkboard art.

Mr DuByne taught by objectives.  When he first explained about teaching by objectives I had never heard of such a thing.  It was the way the military taught, he said.   At the beginning of each chapter he would read the objectives, or have us, take turns reading the objectives.  Each objective was a statement outlining the skill or ability you are expected to obtain by study and instruction.    And each chapter had 10 or 20 objectives.  He was a great teacher.  Chemistry is a difficult subject.  He also taught physics.

His classes were fun,  he was funny, he made science interesting.  I remember him speaking about entropy.

He would start with a practical example like ” It takes energy to clean up and organize my workshop.  But without that applied energy everything degrades into chaos”.  Something like that.

He had medical issues such that he was not able to be in the military.  No kneecap, his kneecap was missing from birth.  He did sometimes complain a little about that.  Just had to avoid bumping into things with it.  But I think that it bothered him a little, not to have any war stories.   Just the way he spoke of it.

Here is a link to his facebook fan club site

Obit from LSJ: Tom DuByne 74, of Haslett, retired Haslett High School science teacher, died Friday. Memorial services 11 a.m. Tuesday at Presbyterian Church of Okemos. Arrangements by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, East Chapel, East Lansing.

Rest in peace, Mr D.

Thanks to Chad Spawr for the newsletter with the news from Haslett.



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Memorial Day 2011

Owen Brucker Abbey served in the US Navy with the Seabees (Electricians Mate) during WWII.  In his 1943 Bluejackets Manual he recorded his unit as 140 NCBN PLT3 CO “B”.

Owen B. Abbey



Bootcamp was in Great Lakes. Then combat training at Camp Lejeune. And another base in Rhode Island. Then to Port Hueneme for deployment.

Bootcamp Group Photo, EM1 is on lower left






He was deployed to the South Pacific and spent time on Los Negros and Manus Islands.    He wrote frequently, was lonely, and sent all his earnings home.  He made some extra money cutting hair and with photography.  Shown in photo below climbing a palm, stringing wire. On the back he wrote “High as I go”.

"High as I go"

He survived the war and bought property in northern Michigan around Half Moon lake and operated it as a resort. Later he worked for Oldsmobile as an electrician in Lansing. While working there he purchased the house that I grew up in on Lake Lansing.  He died in 1962.

Dad said he did not talk much about the war.  I was born in 63.

The story of the SeaBees is told in a book entitled “Can Do” by William B. Huie (ISBN 1557503796). “Can Do” is the motto of the SeaBees.  It is a great read.

During the early part of the war, civilians were employed to construct bases.  When civilians are captured, the paychecks stop, family starves.  In creating the Seabees, the Navy recruited skilled construction tradesmen, already trained in a trade, to build bases, and fight when necessary, toward the goal of sustained combat operations in Japan.  They were building a road,  across the Pacific to invade Japan.  They build, they fight.

The Seabees logo is a bee carrying a tommy gun, a wrench and a hammer.

They were able to build bases with few resources.  They invented a thing called the pontoon that made the D day invasion possible.  They supported the Marines with hot food at the front and even digging foxholes for the wounded.  They went ashore alongside the Marines, sometimes before or shortly after.  They filled the bomb craters in runways as fast as the japs could bomb them.  They constructed new runways in record time using natural materials and steel “marston mat”. 

They were part of the greatest generation that fought and won World War II.  And I look forward to burgers and dogs this weekend, rather than fishheads and rice, thanks to them.

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Towel Day

I missed it!

Towel day is a holiday to honor the author of the “The Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy”  Douglas Adams, a guy who really knew where his towel was.

May 25th was towel day.

On towel day carry a towel everywhere!  Mark your calender and spread the word.

Happy belated towel day!


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