Pragmatism and the gun debate

I would like to comment on my observations about what I see on Facebook with regard to the reactions to the most recent school shooting in Florida. Although it appears that there are two factions (I’ll call them Pro-Gun and Anti-Gun so that we’re all clear on who is who) there is a third faction. I’ll call them the pragmatists. I believe that I am in the pragmatists group – to me guns are an inanimate object incapable of independent action, but if you’ll show me data that demonstrates taking some specific action with respect to guns will eliminate a specific problem, I’m keen to take that action. But you had better have the research.

Continue reading “Pragmatism and the gun debate”


Well what a surprise. It turns out, ignoring evidence can lead to an unacceptable outcome.

Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. You saw the evidence every day during the primaries. Evidence that indicated your candidate is, and always has been a racist. But you chose to ignore it. Not a game changer for you. You even bought in to the idea that the evidence was “fake news” so that you didn’t have to feel so conflicted about it.

Now, you see. The man just defended Nazis. The same Nazis that over 60 million people died to eliminate from our world’s politics, just 70 years ago. What a mess we are in.

What should you do now? Well you cannot un-vote your candidate. You’re going to have to live with it. As we all must. But you can decide to live differently:

1. Develop a healthy respect for evidence. Seek it. Validate it. Use it to help shape your ideas and actions. And stop calling it fake news.

2. Teach your children about hate. Make sure they know we are all equal on this planet. Also, make sure they know that not everyone knows this, and what that means for them.

3. Reconsider your voting habits. Do you validate the candidates on your ballot? Does your vote really represent your core values? Based on the available evidence?

4. Make a list of your beliefs and seek evidence for each. Not anecdotes; evidence. Then ask yourself if your beliefs are supportable by the evidence you’ve found. Be willing to adjust your list based on your discoveries. It may be humbling, but it doesn’t actually hurt that much.

5. Be willing to admit to yourself when your judgement has failed you, and change course. You don’t have to admit it to the world, but you owe it to yourself.

The Scourge of the Pacific Northwest

Blackberries. I’ve been fighting them here for thirty years. I’ve sprayed them. I’ve chopped them. I’ve hired folks to pull them out by the roots. And every year they come back with a vengeance.

Take a look at these two samples that I extracted from the jungle this morning.

These were both cut very close to the ground. As you can see, they are quite large. The thorns are razor-sharp. The green version was alive, while the brown version was dead.

The green vine’s main trunk was growing up through some tree branches, arching over toward the ground about forty feet away. Where the other end touched the ground, it had taken root there as well.

Each branch off this main chute was doing the same thing – arching over and through other plants, and rooting at the other end. You cannot pull these out through the branches they have entwined through. You have to cut everything up into bite-sized portions.

The brown vine died off a couple years back. They are very hard – like a stick coming up out of the ground. This is why you don’t spray them – even if they die off, they are still a big problem.

We’ve had the entire back lot cleared several times. But the crows eat blackberries and then bomb our yard with a package of perfectly fertilized seeds, and we’re off to the races again.

To cut these fat vines, you need the best Stihl gas powered weed whacker, equipped with a brush cutting blade. Or you can go slower with a large pruner, but that takes a LONG time.

Olympic Mountains from Renton

So I wanted to get some photography in today, and I saw the Olympics when I was out and about, so I went to my local spot (the baseball field behind the middle school up the street from our place) and snapped about seven shots to stitch together for this image. I’m not particularly pleased with it – would have been better if it had been in the morning instead of noonish, but that’s when I was ready. Enjoy.

Olympic Mountains
Olympic Mountains from Renton Washington.

Z-Lux Les Paul Neck Pickup Test

OK I have never, ever used the neck pickup on any Gibson. I’ve just never been able to get the sound in my head, no matter how I twist the knobs. Until now. The Z-Lux gives me all the help I need to finally get “that tone” – the one in my head.

Here is the setup on the Z-Lux and Airbrake.


And here is the 6 minutes of just non-musical wanking.

Z-Lux Slide Breaks

I needed some slide breaks for a project I’m working on, so I set up the recorder and did a few. I’m using my PRS which is set up for slide and tuned to open-E. I ran that into my Z-Drive and then into the Z-Lux. I have two clips here. They are not really music, just some slide breaks that I hope to use later on. Thought you might like to hear what the Z-Lux sounds like with this setup.

First clip is fairly dark – here are the settings:

IMG_0643 IMG_0644

Second set I changed to the cleaner channel on the Z-Drive and brought up the treble a bit on both the Z-Drive and the Z-Lux:


Hope these work for my project… 🙂

Why do we need an HOA?

Why do we need an HOA (Homeowners Association)?

Note: The following are my opinions and do not necessarily represent the views of any specific HOA or its board of directors.

The title above is a question I hear often in my neighborhood. The other one is “What do we actually get for the dues we pay?” I think it would help to understand a little history here.

Back in the 1980’s, developers got the idea to bundle some kind of community asset in housing developments. This made the development more appealing. The asset may be a pool, a community club, a park, a greenbelt, or whatever seems appropriate for the size and location of the community.

The problem is, if you have a community owned asset, unless you set up some rules, you’re going to have problems with some of your neighbors. You go to use the clubhouse and it’s all trashed from the last user. You want to enjoy the pool but one of your neighbors has invited his entire extended family to have a wild party at the pool. Or one of your neighbors volunteers to let his homeless family member pitch a tent in the greenbelt. Continue reading “Why do we need an HOA?”

On Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day, and I am remiss in waiting so long to initiate my take on it. After all, the day is nearly done. But I’ve had my epiphany, and I must share it.

As I sit here watching veterans recall their experiences, and reading all of the news articles about the day’s events, one thing really hits home with me. Think about the context of the past several months’ events. We’ve had essentially riots over race issues, the Supreme Court pondering LGBT marriage, states such as Alabama and Indiana passing hate legislation – and it makes me wonder: Whose freedom were those veterans fighting for?

If you respond, “Americans’,” then I have to ask, “Are blacks Americans? What about Jews? Are Gays Americans? Can Muslims be Americans? What about Buddhists? Can Christians be Americans? Atheists? Mormons?” Think of your favorite group – what does it take for them to be the Americans that our veterans fought for?

Because you see, if you think there are folks here that don’t qualify, you’re disrespecting the sacrifice those veterans made in the name of freedom. That’s right – if you are pro veteran but anti-blacks, you’ve missed the whole point of their sacrifice. If you think Gays should not have the same rights as the rest of the country, you’re missing the entire point of the fight. Every time you see a flag-waver who is also spreading hate, you should stop and recognize that this person has no clue why our veterans fought and died for freedom. Because freedom is for every American.