Monthly Archives: May 2003

Lesson in Liberty: What is the Matrix?

Don't Tread on MeGreetings, fellow Coppertops. The Matrix is Caesar! (Not that I’m obsessed about it or anything…ok, maybe a little.)

The plot was far more “Brave New World” than it was Christian. The Matrix itself was a representation of government creating a tightly controlled world for its citizens, most of whom had no idea they were slaves. That the Matrix was mechanical was a parallel to the cold, impersonal bureaucracy of gubmint. The agents were amusing parodies of faceless bureaucrats, officiously lording their power over us–I immediately thought of IRS Special Collections agents. To complete the analogy, the movie even depicted the parasitic nature of government, literally sucking the life out of people, while giving them a sense of security and comfort to keep them docile and enslaved.

The world of the Matrix was not simply an illusion. It was very much reality to the citizens–if you died in the Matrix, you died for real. It was real, but not a full Reality; it was just a very narrow segment of frequencies on the infinite spectrum of created Reality.

Some citizens had the nagging desire to know the true nature of the Matrix–a metaphor for yearning for Liberty (some would say a yearning for Truth–both quests lead to the same place). They still had the power to make choices, even the choice to leave the Matrix. The red pill that Neo took was, after all, just a mental construct within the Matrix but represented his declaration that he is a free man.

And then there’s the question of what freedom Neo and the others actually gained. The freedom depicted in the movie was grimy, looked like a jail, and had boring food. The movie presents a Hobson’s choice: be a comfortable slave for Big Bro or be “free” sucking gruel in a tin prison and smelling really bad. Is this the Liberty that Christ offers us? I gotta say, if I didn’t know better and was given the false choice as presented in the movie, I’d keep my job as an Energizer bunny for Big Brother.

Neo could be considered messianic only in the Jewish understanding: God’s chosen mighty warrior coming to free His people by waging war against Caesar using the power of his own strength and intellect. Of course, as Christians, we recognize this as an image of antichrist. Compare this with the real Christ: after He made it clear that He would not lead an army against Caesar, the Jews quickly went from shouting “Hosanna!” to “Crucify Him!” The antichrist messiah leads his people to a phony liberty which turns out to be just another prison. The real Messiah leads His people to true Liberty, revealing the full spectrum of the Reality continuum (mental, physical, and spiritual). Neo is an antichrist.

Live Free or Die!

Mailbag: Reparar la Electrodomesticos Americanos

Jorge wrote:

Hola a todos los colegas del mundo

Soy un tecnico radicado en Buenos Aires ARGENTINA y me dedico a reparar toda la linea blanca de electrodomesticos americanos (USA)

La pregunta puntual a los miembros de la lista es la siguiente

Alguien sabe de una pagina tan buena como esta pero en CASTELLANO?

Un saludo a todos desde Bs As y gracias por su tiempo

Jorge Schmidt

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

Thank you, Jorge, for your thought-provoking email. I offer the following comments in the hopes you might find them helpful.

If one examines postconstructive desituationism, one is faced with a choice: either accept the textual paradigm of discourse or conclude that government is capable of truth, but only if nihilism is invalid; otherwise, art is impossible. Thus, Debord’s model of cultural capitalism holds that culture serves to reinforce outmoded, sexist perceptions of art. The subject is interpolated into a predeconstructive theory that includes narrativity as a paradox.

It could be said that the premise of the deconstructivist paradigm of reality holds that government is a legal fiction, but only if language is interchangeable with sexuality; otherwise, we can assume that art is capable of social comment. The subject is interpolated into a predeconstructive theory that includes language as a totality.

So, in summary, the answer to your question is ’27’ but only on Thursdays.

By the way, I don’t speak or read Spanish, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Mailbag: Recharging an RV (propane-powered) Refrigerator

Robin Briggs  wrote:

Could tell me where you find the ammonia mixture to recharge a RV gas refridgerator. We are repairing the coolant unit.

I Thank You very much for your help

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

Both the volume and strength of the ammonia mixture in propane-powered refrigerator cooling units are custom made according to formulas from the manufacturer. The concentration of ammonia and the volume of the entire amount of mixture are designed to give optimal performance from that cooling unit.

The mixture is "cooked" by letting pure anhydrous ammonia bubble through a column of aqueous-ammonia and chromate (a rust inhibitor–makes the misture look bright yellow) until the desired concentration of ammonia is reached. This ammonia concentration is measured in units called baumé (it’s a French unit of measure for specific gravity) using a hydrometer that floats in the column of liquid. As more ammonia is bubbled through, the density of the mixture decreases and this density change is measured by the hydrometer. When the correct baumé is reached, the mixture is now a refrigerant and is ready to inject into the cooling unit.

After injecting the refrigerant into the cooling unit, the head space is charged with pure hydrogen gas. The required hydrogen pressure varies, but it’s usually in the range of 250 to 300 psi.

Of course, none of this should be undertaken until the original leak has been located and welded shut. More information on repairing your cooling unit here.

Have fun!

Mailbag: Gas Oven Won’t Fire Up (Redux)

--- Larry Cagiwa  wrote:
> I just read "gas oven that's not firing up".  Does
> this troubleshooting apply to an oven that ignites
> (can hear the click,click,click) but doesn't fire
> (no flame from the burner). We've had multiple
> technitions replace parts with the same result.  The
> trouble shooting guide refers to "polarity".  I
> plugged in a tester and the correct lights light up
> (meaning the wiring is fine).  I'm not sure if it
> checks polarity.  Any help would be appreciated.
> Thanks, 
> Larry Cagiwa
> _______________________________
> The above message was sent when you were offline,
> via your LivePerson site.
> Message sent from IP:

The article you’re referring to explains how to troubleshoot gas ovens that use what’s called "hot surface ignition." But this is a very good question because it’s a point of confusion for lots of folks. So much so, that I decided it needed its very own Appliance Tip of the Day to ‘splain it to folks. Check it out.

Appliance Tip of the Day: Gas Oven Ignition Systems

appliance tip of the day archive

Oh boy, it’s frozen pizza night…except the oven won’t fire up. If your gas oven isn’t firing up, the first step in fixing it is figuring out what type of ignition system you have. This Appliance Tip of the Day will ‘splain all that to ya.

The two types of ignition systems used in gas ranges today are:

  1. hot surface ignition and
  2. pilot flame ignition.

Click the links for pictures of each type. The ignition used on your range will be one of these two types. What’s the difference? Hang with me a moment and I’ll ‘splain it to you.

Hot Surface Ignition

Hot surface ignition systems use what’s called an ignitor. Common flat ignitors look like this. The heart of an ignitor is the carborundum material at the end. That’s the gray part, usually in a protective cage, attached to the ceramic base. The carborundum is a very fragile material that gets very hot and glows bright orange when you run a electrical current through it. The carborundum can also be round but most are flat.

The ignitor is wired in series with a special part of the gas valve called the bi-metal. As the ignitor heats up, it’s resistance drops allowing more current to flow through it and on to the bi-metal in the gas valve. As current flows through the bi-metal, it heats up, too, and it’s designed to bend. When the bi-metal bends, it opens the port allowing gas to flow through. This gas flows to the oven burner tube and out some special holes drilled in tube right next to the ignitor. Since the ignitor is really hot, the gas bursts into flames, igniting all the gas in the burner and you happily go about your bidness of baking a frozen pizza.

As these ignitors are used, they develop little itty bitty cracks in ’em that increase the resistance of the carborundum. Eventually, the carborundum won’t pass enough current to open the bi-metal in the gas valve so no gas ever squirts out. So, the only way to really know whether the ignitor is bad or not is to measure the current flow through the ignitor when you turn the oven on. Lots of gory details about that on this page.

Pilot Flame Ignition

The other type of ignition system used is the pilot ignition. Within the the world of pilot ignition ovens, two types of pilot flame systems are used:

  1. the pilot flame is either always on (called a “standing pilot”) or
  2. a spark lights up the pilot flame when you turn on the oven (called a “spark-assisted pilot”).

If your oven is a pilot ignition system, how do you tell which type it is? Good question, grasshopper, now you’re thinking! First, look at the pilot assembly in your oven. They come in various shapes, some common ones are shown here. If you see a pilot flame with the oven turned off, then you know you have a standing pilot system. If the pilot flame only comes on when you turn on the oven, then you know you have a spark-assisted pilot ignition system.

In both types of pilot systems, the purpose of the pilot flame is the same: to heat the sensing bulb, which is attached to the gas valve, and to ignite the gas in the burner tube. The sensing bulb lives in the pilot flame. The flame needs to heat the bulb up enough to tell it to open the gas valve. Several things can go wrong here that keep this from happening:

  1. The pilot flame may not be hot enough, usually because the flame is yellow instead of pure blue or is too small. The cause for this is usually a dirty pilot assembly. The pilot assembly would either need to be cleaned or replaced.
  2. The sensing bulb may not be positioned properly in the flame. You can’t heat the bulb properly if it’s not in the pilot flame! The sensing bulb needs to live in the upper third of a pure blue pilot flame–that’s the hottest part of the flame.
  3. The sensing bulb itself may be burned out. It happens. It’s a integral part of the gas valve so, no, you can’t just change the sensing bulb separate from the gas valve. Life’s never that easy, is it? How do you tell the sensing bulb is bad? Well, figger it out by process of elimination: if the pilot flame is good and doing what it’s supposed to do, then the sensing bulb is bad.

“Hey, what do you mean, ‘if the pilot flame is doing what it’s supposed to?’ I thought the pilot flame was just supposed to be a purdy blue flame.” Well, that is an important part of what it’s supposed to do, but that’s not quite all of it. The pilot flame moves around and does different things according to what’s going on with the oven. With the oven off or with the thermostat temperature satisfied, the flame just stands there looking purdy (in a standing pilot system).

But when you turn on the oven or the thermostat calls for heat, the pilot flame gets bigger and jumps down so it can heat up the thermocouple bulb. This extra gas to increase the pilot flame size comes from the thermostat. This is important to know because it leads to a couple of fine diagnostic points:

  • If the pilot flame jumps upwards or just gets bigger, but doesn’t shoot down, then you need to replace the pilot assembly.
  • If the pilot flame size does not increase or jump down when turning on the oven thermostat, then the problem is the thermostat not sending enough gas to the pilot assembly. It’s also possible that the pilot gas supply tube has a hole in it somewhere.

One final point on the spark-assisted pilot ignition systems. The spark comes from the spark module–the same module that sends spark to your surface burners to light them up. If you’re not getting a spark when you turn the oven on, then there are several possibilities:

  • There could be a problem with the switch in the thermostat. You can confirm this by doing a simple continuity test of the thermostat contacts. If you don’t read zero ohms when you turn the switch on, replace the thermostat.
  • The spark module could be bad. You’ll need to measure the voltage at the oven terminals of the spark module when you turn on the oven. If you get 120v but no spark, it’s probably a bad spark module. Replace it.
  • Could be a bad spark wire or broken electrode. Feast your Vulcan squinties on that stuff. Maybe get real fancy and use your ohm meter to measure continuity from the spark module end of the wire to the electrode tip. Use your imagination. Go crazy…sort of.

If you’re still confoosed and need more help, post your question in the Samurai Appliance Repair Forum. And, Hoss, be sure to include your model number.

Awwite, go bake you some pizza!

grasshoppers sitting with the master visualizing the different types of gas oven ignition systems

To learn more about your range/stove/oven, or to order parts, click here.

Mailbag: Gas Oven Won’t Fire Up

--- jared wrote:
> Oven broke:
> My Tappan (model 12-1062-30)automatic pilotless
> ignition oven stopped heating. I disassembled it to
> find what looks like the oven igniter assy that
> promptly glows but does not "fire-up" the oven. 
> Does this need to be replaced?  Or could it be
> something else?   Thanks for your help,  My daughter
> can smile again once we can toss pizza back in the
> oven
> Cheers
> Jared
> _______________________________
> The above message was sent when you were offline,
> via your LivePerson site.
> Message sent from IP:

The ignitor may be bad. But before you just cross your fingers and change it, you can find out for sure by measuring the current draw of the ignitor using a clamp-on amp meter. This page explains the current draw specifications for the ignitor and where to measure it. If you need help on how to use a clamp-on amp meter to measure current, this page will help with that.

Once you confirm the ignitor is bad, you can order a new ignitor here using your model number.

Mailbag: Refrigerator Runs Constantly

--- Ron wrote:
> My refrigerator runs constantly.  The temps in both
> the freezer and frig are where they should be, but
> it never shuts off (except when it is in defrost
> mode I think).  I was going to replace the
> thermostat or the controller.  Your pick?
> _______________________________
> The above message was sent when you were offline,
> via your LivePerson site.
> Message sent from IP:

You have correctly identified the two possible suspects: the defrost timer and the cold control. If you’re sure the refrigerator cycles off for defrost, then the cold control electrical contacts are sticking. Replace it.

If you’re not sure the fridge cycles off for defrost, then it’s easy to test. Locate the defrost timer on your fridge and turn the knob until you hear a big click. This is defrost mode. Then wait approximately 21 minutes and 37 seconds for it to come out of defrost mode and start running again. If it doesn’t, then the defrost timer is bad. Replace it.

The Story of O

Awwite all you cool grasshoppers, go grab you a beer and the Samurai’ll tell you a story.

Once upon a time, in a place that was once called the "land of the free," there was a big ol’ company called Dupont. Now, Dupont made a thang that we old timers held near and dear to our hearts and that was R-12, a refrigerant used is just about every type of refrigerator ever made, including beer coolers. But Dupont had a problem: their patent on R-12 was about to expire and everyone else and their Momma was gonna start making it, too. Well, it don’t take a rocket scientist, like yours truly, to figger out that once this happened, the price of R-12 was gonna take a nose dive.

Now, Dupont, being a company with lots of money to throw around, paid off a bunch of fancy-pants scientists and engineers at these high-dollar universities to show that R-12 was bad and needed to be banned. So these fancy-pants university types cooked up some numbers showing how all them nasty little molecules in R-12 was eatin’ up the orzos in the atmosphere…er somethin’ like that.

Anyway, Dupont goes and presents all these high falootin’ studies to one of the fourth branches of the gubmint, the EPA. The EPA said, "Hmmm, we can’t be eatin’ up all them little orzos like that there. Gubmint has to do something about that!" So they came out with a big ol’ riot act of new regamalations where they said everyone what works on beer coolers has to have a new-fangled recovery unit to catch all them bad molecules.

Well, I didn’t know no better and besides, I didn’t wanna hurt them little orzos ‘cuz, heck, they ain’t never done nothin’ to me. So I lined up with all the other suckers, er, I mean, tradesmen and plunked down a bunch of money for a fancy new recovery unit.

Funny thang happened though. When the EPA got into the bidness of regamalating refrigerants, their prices all went sky high. So the cost to replace the compressor on your average beer fridge went from $150 to, oh, say $400, once you figger in the higher refrigerant cost and a refrigerant recovery charge. Well, at that price, people were just hauling their old fridges off to the landfill and buying new ones. Lots of good fridges piling up in landfills today. But, hey, the gubmint knows what’s best ‘cuz they’re here to help!

Meanwhile, Dupont is back in bidness, happily raking in the big bucks selling it’s new line of R-12 replacement refrigerants. Ain’t gubmint great? I think everybody awwta own one!

And so the gubmint and the big shot corporations who benefit from their regamalations all lived happily ever after.

The End

I can tell you that my recovery unit makes a reeel spiffy footstool in my workshop ‘cuz that’s all I ever use it for. Never even used it once. Wanna buy one cheap?

Hodji’s Liberty Buzz

Here’s Hodji’s latest Liberty Buzz:

Look, if the Libertarian Party, the should-be beacon of Constitutional Liberty in this country, can’t even get it right, then how can we possibly expect more from the sheeple? Ilana Mercer refines the Samurai’s theme of McLiberty in her latest article. And Jason B. Romano give a good rigorous treatment to the problems with a state-run defense system.

"Homeland Security" or "Gubmint Security?" You decide.

Other people can see it, even the frikkin’ Germans see it. Why can’t we?

Meanwhile, back in the doghouse, the trotskyite neocon dogs are salivating for some Syrian meat.

Ok, so which was it: self-defense, a preemptive strike or responding to an immediate threat?

Might as well face it, you’re addicted to drug warz.

Should a mall be able to kick out people who are walking around with anti-war t-shirts? Should a restaurant be able to deny service to black people? If you answer ‘no’ to either of these questions, you need a good primer on Free Speech, Free Association, and Private Property.

I love paying taxes. Yeah, giving money to pornographers so they can distribute condoms, mailing Socialist Insecurity checks to fugitives…what, you didn’t know you were paying for that? Oh yeah, all that and lots, lots more!

Speaking of taxes, I didn’t know that most of what I’m paying for in a cold, frosty mug of beer is gubmint bureaucracy. Now they’re starting to hit me where it hurts!

Can you say "Hail, Caesar?"

Your Slave in Liberty,


Mission Report: The Samurai Aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln

The Samurai chatting with the President on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln--click to listen.Regular students of the Samurai School of Appliantology know that the CIA frequently calls on the Samurai for special assignments in signal processing and counter-intelligence.

Although prohibited from telling you at the time, the Samurai was on-assignment aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln when President Bush made his famous carrier landing. To the right, you see a picture of me chatting with the President on the flight deck. My mission was to monitor all signals to and from the ship during the president’s maritime photo-op and to identify anything unusual. During President Bush’s speech, broadcast to bizillions of people all around the world, the Samurai detected a highly anomalous signal hiding in the high frequency sideband of the broadcast transmission, just within the subliminal range of human perception. I’ve stepped the frequency down into the normal hearing range. Let’s listen:

Powered by audblogaudblog audio post–click to listen

Libertarian Appliance Repair

After browsing through the Samurai School of Appliantology, many of you are left wondering, "Just what does all this Libertarian propaganda have to do with fixing my dryer?" Why, everything in the world, my dear grasshopper! To help you see the connection, my good friend, Lee Browne, on the the Left Coast, wrote this pome that’ll ‘splain it to ya:


Appliances should feel
Free to do
What they like
With whom and who.

They should not
Worry about
What you think
And whether you shout.

They should run
When they choose
And then shut down
And leave no clues.

It’s up to you
To try to discover
What is wrong
And how to recover.

This poem shows
The firm connection
Between Libertarian
And flaw detection.

You see? Simple, da?