Monthly Archives: October 2004

Election 2004: Tweedledumb vs. Tweedledumber

Tweedledumb or  Tweedledumber?I gotta say, when I hear someone screeching with religious fervor for either Bush or Kerry, I just shake my head at the poor, blind dupe: yet another sheeple led to the info-slaughter by Big Media working in cahoots with Big Gubmint to create the illusion of a real choice. From a Libertarian perspective, Bush and Kerry look like Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber. Choosing between Bush or Kerry is like choosing between Lucifer or Satan.

Remember: voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil. Voting for either Bush or Kerry is really a vote for the Boot On Your Neck Party.

Most Americans are libertarian to the core but they just don’t know it. Once most people learn about what Libertarians stand for, they immediately identify with us. Liberals are losers who believe the gubmint (i.e., you and me) owes them something for nothing. And conservatism is dead–it’s been taken over by a cabal of neo-cons chasing some utopian dream about waging democracy on the middle east.

So, why haven’t you heard more about the Libertarians? It’s not for lack of trying! Big Media spikes coverage of third party candidates. Yes, candidates–plural. Although Libertarians are the largest of the third party movements, there are other significant third parties. Who Are the Third Party Candidates?

The Demopublicans and Republicrats have colluded to exclude the third parties from the debates. The Libertarian Party of Arizona filed a lawsuit on the grounds that taxpayer money is being used to fund what is essentially a private debate that favored the R’s and D’s. Watch the REAL Presidential debate: Badnarik (Libertarian) vs. Cobb (Greens). (If you’d rather download the audio-only for your MP3 player, you can get it here.)

And I don’t buy into this crap that voting for a third party is “wasting a vote.” The only vote wasted is the one not based on principle. Send a message to the Beltway Bandits: vote Libertarian.

The Punk Yard

I’m up well past midnight working on the website, reading the latest news while Sirius Left of Center (Channel 26) cranks out new and classic punk rock: Dead Boys, Black Flag, Joan Jett, Blondie, Pixies and more, one right after the other. All high-energy, hard-driving cuts. It’s a show on Sundays from 11 pm to 2 am called The Punk Yard.

Satellite radio: rockin’ your world.

Oodles of Googles

Have you heard about the new Google Desktop search utility? It’s a cool new download from Google that let’s you search your entire hard drive for pictures, web pages, email, MP3’s, documents, or anything else you’re looking for. No more of those frustrating searches using the cloddish file search feature built into Windows in a futile attempt to find that letter you wrote to Aunt Mabel last year. You download this free, nifty little program from and install it. After it indexes your hard drive, you’ll find that letter to Aunt Mabel in less than a second. Oh, and it gets better…

Google has integrated it into its regular web search. So, let’s say you’ve installed the desktop search program and you go the Google homepage to find a recipe for chocolate-covered cockroaches, just like Momma used to make when you were a kid. Well now, in addition to the web page and image searching, you’ll see a tab to search your desktop right there. So if you’re not finding what you need on the web, you search your desktop and, BAM!, there’s that forgotten recipe for chocolate-covered cockroaches that yo Momma emailed you two years ago.

After I installed this handy utility and was playing around with it, I took a step back and was blown away at how Google has become such an essential, even indispensible part of my internet life. Here’s a list of all the Googlets that I use:

  • Web Search: Google is, hands down, the killer search engine on the web and it’s the one I always trust to give me the best results when searching the web.
  • AdSense for Search: I use Google’ site search as part of its AdSense program. This search utility gives excellent results for on-site searches. As I continue to add content to this website, I find myself increasingly relying on this site search to find things that I wrote last month, last year, whenever.
  • AdSense for Content: This is Google’s revenue-sharing ad program where you place context-relevant ads on your site and has been an extremely significant source of revenue to keep going. So, if you see any interesting Google ads while you’re here, feel free to click away and check ’em out!
  • Blogger: This website is published and powered using Blogger. It makes publishing updates quick and painless. You don’t need to buy a webhosting plan because they’ll even host it for free. (I do use a separate host for this website because it gives other benefits like file sharing and email addresses that I wouldn’t have otherwise.) And it’s so easy to use, even my 12-year old daughter maintains a blog. “Push-button publishing for the people.” But, in addition to standard text publishing, Google provides tools for multi-media publishing such as…
  • Audioblogger: This free service lets you make spoken audio posts to your blog. I can be on top of a mountain and phone in an audio post from the summit. Or, sometimes I just call up with a weird noise and write a goofy story to go with it. It gives a whole ‘nother medium to create with. And, of course, no website is complete without pictures. Google has this covered, too…
  • Hello BloggerBot: Yet another freebie that let’s you quickly and easily publish photos. You just pick select the picture on your hard drive or CD that you want to upload and BloggerBot does the rest: uploads it, resizes it, makes a clickable thumbnail that opens a larger view of the picture, does all the HTML for you and then publishes it all to your site. It takes what used to be a tedious half hour task and reduces it all to just a couple clicks and few seconds.
  • Google Toolbar: This is like a Swiss Army knife for your browser. I’ve used this toolbar since it came out over a year ago and use it constantly. I like always having a Google box available right there in my browser for quick searches. The popup blocker initially was extremely effective but the new generation of popups are getting good at faking it out. The other feature it has is a built-in Blog This button that let’s me make posts to my blog on the fly when I’m surfing and come across something noteworthy.
  • Deskbar: Not to be confused with the Desktop Search that I started out talking about, this is a separate utility that goes into the Windows XP toolbar and adds Google search, a dictionary, a thesaurus and other reference utilities to your desktop. The results all open in small, built-in mini-browser. I use the dictionary and thesaurus functions a lot when I’m composing posts.

There are lots of other Googlets but I’ve only listed the ones that I use most often to illustrate just how much my work on the web depends on Google in some way. If anything happens to Google, I’m screwed. I also do a lot of Yahoo’s but I’ll save that for another post.

Come git me, Mother, I’m through.

Satellites Are Out Tonight

I’m trying to write a new pearl of appliance repair wisdom to post but I keep getting distracted by the good jams they’re playing on Sirius. So, I figure I’ll just go with the flow and write about satellite radio.

If you haven’t checked out satellite radio yet, do it now. You get about 120 channels of music, news, and talk for a just a few bucks a month. The music is CD-quality and 100% commercial free. I subscribe to Sirius because that’s what Wilbur sells at the local Radio Shack here in New London. I’m a little irked at Radio Shack Corp., though, because they just started offering a web-only $20 rebate on Sirius Orbiter receivers. This is a weenie thing to do because it undermines the local Radio Shack store owners. Mostly I’m annoyed because I want $20. Hey, that’s more than a case of Tuckerman’s Pale Ale!

Some of these names can be confusing so lemme clarify some things. Sirius is the name of the satellite service. Orbiter is the brand name of equipment sold by Radio Shack that lets you receive the satellite service. I suspect that Orbiter is one of those Radio Shack-only brands because I’ve not seen it offered anywhere else.

Anyway, I have the Sirius Orbiter boom box set up downstairs at my main workstation. So, most every night, when I’m down here working on this website, I’m jamming on one of the Sirius rock channels. Sirius has 17 rock channels but, in the evenings, I’m usually tuned to Jam_ON (channel 17) where Adam Foley is cranking out the good jams from 7 pm to 1 am every weeknight. When a particularly good jam comes on, such as Derek and the Dominoes Jam IV, I plug in my Sennheiser HD497’s and turn it up without disturing Mrs. Samurai sleeping in the bedroom directly above me.

If you’re a talk radio junkie, there’s a whole lotta yakkin’ going on in the Sirius talk channels. The talk genres tend be mostly from the Republicrat and Demopublican camps–same old brain-dead, party-line fecal matter; nothing very thought provoking. The one minor disappointment with Sirius is the lack of alternative talk shows from libertarians and free-market thinkers. It’s not like there’s a shortage of libertarian radio personalities. I download libertarian and free-market shows on the web for my Rio MP3 player all the time. Three of my faves are:

But, since I mostly use Sirius for its music, and I have good online sources for my libertarian propaganda fix, Sirius’ shortcoming in this area is a trifling thing.

Bottom line recommendation: get Sirius satellite radio. You’ll be glad you did.

How to Search The Appliantology Group

For over two years now, The Appliantology Group has been hosted at MSN Groups. Despite some minor limitations, it has proven to be a popular and salubrious format for the AG. The lack of a site search, however, is a glaring shortcoming. As posts have been added and answered at the repair forum, it has turned into a colossal database of appliance repair information with no way to search it…until now. I’ve found a way to search the group using Google. Here’s how to do it:

  • Go to Google’s homepage.
  • Enter in your search term followed by appliantology, all on the same line.
  • You’ll be presented with pages of your search results, all from within the AG.

Let’s take a ezzample. S’ppose I have a problem with my Whirlpool gas dryer. I might use a search term such as Whirlpool gas dryer no heat. To search the AG, I’d go to Google and enter the following search term: Whirlpool gas dryer no heat appliantology. That search gives 21 results, shown here.

Seek and ye shall find!

Hillstomping Update, Mt. Osceola

It was such a pretty Autumn day up here in New Hampster that I just had to take m’boyz on an easy hike up Mt. Osceola. It’s one of the NH 48-4,000 footers and we had planned on hiking it earlier this summer but the trailhead was infested with people. This is one of those rare hikes in the White Mountains where you’re rewarded with magnificent views for very little effort. From the trailhead to the summit is just over three easy miles and the views, well, words only cheapen it. You can get a glimpse of what it was like from these two pictures below.

On Mt. Osceola--click for larger view
The Boyz on Mt. Osceola. That’s the Tripyramid mountains in the background. (I had the date set wrong on my camera–pardon the crayon correction.)

East Osceola--click for larger view
Looking at East Osceola and beyond from the expansive summit of Mt. Osceola.

This was the 15th-4,000-footer for my little Samurai guys. I’ve already hiked all 48 including many during winter and several of my favorite peaks multiple times. I’m hoping to complete the 48 again with my little Samurai guys before my back gives out completely.

I was recently diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis, which is essentially advanced arthritis in the vertabrae. No doubt this was a result of the ruptured disc I had four years ago. The sciatic pain in my right buttcheek and foot has been ratcheting up lately so I finally had an MRI and just got the results. The good news is that this is usually treatable without surgery but, if surgery is required, it is very effective at clearing it up. The bad news is that, until I get it under control or have surgery, it hurts like hell to hike these mountains. So I gobble Vitamin I (ibuprofen) and just suck it up. Then, when I get back home, quaffing a few brewskis helps blur the pain.

Local Color

Gettin’ purdy up here in God’s Country. Was up on Mt. Kearsarge yesterday feasting my peepers on a prime crop of autumn foliage below. Check it out:

Autumn view from the top of Mt. Kearsarge.

We’re lucky that we ended up settling down up here in New Hampster. S’ppose, for ezzample, that I ended up in New Jerbel, several states south of us. New Jerbel, like my native Gawga, are both good places to be from, but not to be in.

Yep, I grew up in Gawga, loved it so much that I quit high school when I was 17 and joined the Navy, primarily so I could live somewhere, anywhere, outside of Georgia. Compared to being a teenager in Georgia during the 70’s, being a teenage sailor in the U.S. Navy was a liberating experience.

I’ve always been deeply conflicted about the Southland. I respect the Confederacy, believe they exercised the right of legal secession, just as any state or group of states today could because the Federal gubmint is merely a creature of the states, not vice versa. But Lincoln, the Anti-Christ of presidents, turned this concept of constitutional Federalism on its head. Think about it: 13 British colonies, the lawful property of the British crown, rebelled against their king and we properly revere those men as patriots and Founders. Yet, when the Southern states declared they were withdrawing from a Union into which they had voluntarily entered and lawfully seceded from Congress, Lincoln gave them four years of fire and sword ending with Sherman’s march to the sea. If you condemn the Southern Secession from the Union, then you must be consistent and condemn the American Revolution. I applaud both as righteous struggles against tyranny. The South just happened to lose their struggle so history wrote them a different story.

To call the Southern war of Secession a “Civil War” is to mindlessly parrot government propaganda. In a civil war, you have two parties fighting for control of the same land. Russia and France had civil wars. The South didn’t want to take over the North, they simply wanted to be left the hell alone from Yankee meddlers and burdensome overtaxation imposed on them by the more populous Northern states. We don’t allow the phrase “Civil War” in our house–that conflict is properly referred to as the War of Yankee Aggression.

Although my ideological roots are Southern, my genetic roots are far removed. I am a second generation American of Scots-Irish and Greek extraction. It’s my Greek heritage that makes me an alien in the South and, ironically, much more comfortable in Yankeeland. Southerners tend to be very conformist. The Southern pecking order is that the best are Baptists; Methodists and Presbyterians are tolerated; Catholics are instruments of Satan; and Greek Orthodox, such as myself, well, we must be Zeus-worshipping pagans ‘cuz whoever heard o’ such nonsense. I actually had one of my school teachers tell me this!

And then there’s appearance. “True southerners” have straight hair, parted on the side, and preferably blue eyes. Kinky headed, dark-haired, brown-eyed, glasses wearing guys like me were accused of being Jewish (*gasp*) and never had a chance of being one of the true “good ol’ boys.” In high school, while the good ol’ boys played football and stuffed Skoal in their mouths, I usually hung out with the Jewish kids, talking about politics and playing chess.

So you can see how I’m deeply conflicted over the South. On the one hand, I fervently believe that the South had, and has, the right to secession as does any state or group of states. On the other hand, growing up in the South was just one long cultural and social gulag. I was treated better as an enlisted sailor in the U.S. Navy, an instrument of Yankee power, and felt more a part of it than I did any part of the South in all my years growing up there. Would you like fries with that serving of irony?

I’ve always thought of myself as a Southerner; I’ve come to realize that I am not. I am a Yankee who, through a quirk of fate, happened to grow up in the South and, in so doing, acquired some uniquely Southern notions about federalism and state’s rights.

Today, I see Yankees doing what Yankees have always done–meddling in other people’s affairs and telling people how they ought to live. We saw this in Waco, Serbia, South America, and most recently, we see it in Iraq. The world is full of bad guys, always has been, always will be. And until one of those bad guys threatens our vital American interest, it’s not worth expending American blood and treasure chasing some neo-con utopian dream of “waging Democracy” on people who haven’t the first clue about what self-government is all about. We used to know what self-government was before we became vassals of Big Brother through things like the Income Tax, Social(ist) (In)Security, gun control, fiat currency taken off the gold standard, and the Patriot Act.

Just as the over-reaching ambitions of all historical empires precipitated their demise, history will show that the current war in Iraq marked the beginning of the end of the American Empire. And then, like the Phoenix rising out of the ashes, the South shall rise again. Not the geographic South, but the Southern spirit of independence, decentralized government, and local control.

It’s pretty damn amazing what you can see in Autumn leaves. Enjoy the foliage!

Mailbag: Dishwasher Drain Air Gaps

Mike wrote:

Hello fellow Navy vet w/ WI ties!… Dishwasher discharge air hose air gap – can I remove or relocate it? The air gap module takes up one of the 4 holes in my sink and I need all 4 holes to install my new Moen kitchen faucet. I need to get rid of this air gap from that hole! Are there any options to rid myself of this problem yet still be in code? HELP! Thanks

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

Message sent from IP:

Ahoy, mate! Check with your local plumbing codes to see what the specific requirements are for drain hose air gaps in your neck of the woods. In some areas, codes allow looping the dishwasher’s drain hose in a high arc up under the countertop as an alternative to installing an air gap. It’s also worth noting that you can plumb it anyway you want in your own house. The only time the plumbing code is a consideration is if and when you go to sell your house. But as long as you’re doing the work on your own house, you can do whatever you want with your property.

In my au fait opinion, air gaps are over-rated and too often installed when they’re not needed. And, you know, I’ve never seen a dishwasher actually suck water up from the drain hose. Sometimes, I suspect they get installed only to add to the cost of the job (if contracted out) or because the code requirements are not clearly understood.

For example, in a dishwasher that drains into a sink pipe before the p-trap (see Figure 1), the open sink drain serves as the air gap thus eliminating the possibility of getting poopy water sucked back up into your dishwasher. The dishwasher can drain directly into the sink’s trap if you don’t have a disposal. Replace a section of the sink drain’s tailpiece with a dishwasher tailpiece, which has a short T-shape nipple that connects to the dishwasher’s drain hose. Cut the bottom of the sink’s tailpiece with a hacksaw or tubing cutter and connect the new tailpiece with slip nuts and washers.

A common dishwasher drain hose scheme that doesn’t use an air gap is to run the drain hose from the dishwasher’s waste outlet to a tee above the sink’s drain trap or to a dishwasher inlet on a garbage disposal (sealed with a “knockout” plug that’s removed for a dishwasher hookup).

Air gaps aweigh!

The Samurai’s Dojo

Many Grasshoppers have written inquiring about the Samurai’s house. Here are a couple pictures of the Samurai’s dojo that should fullfil these voyeuristic requests.

The Samurai’s home from the outside. Plenty of fresh outside air inside the house is one of the secrets of Samurai’s good health!

A peek inside our family room–pardon the mess!

Voices Inside My Head

As many of my faithful grasshoppers know, the Samurai has been developing an appliance that reads thoughts and converts them into audible sound. The appliance is called a Mental Sensory Transducer and is based on the work of Ingo Swann, the pioneer of Remote Viewing. Now, for the first time, we can directly listen to someone’s thoughts as they occur.

I’ve just completed the first round of prototype tests and the initial results are very promising indeed! Here is a recording I made using the Mental Sensory Transducer of my thoughts while on an appliance repair service call. Let’s listen:

this is an audio post - click to play

All of us here at Samurai Labs International are very excited about the possibilities for this new appliance to promote World Peace. I expect that very soon the CIA will be contacting me to develop several production models for them–imagine what a powerful weapon this will be in the war against terrorism! Soon, I’ll be cashing out of this appliance repair rat-race and riding that golden parachute to Easy Street. See you on Hollywood Squares!

The Samurai’s Martial Art of Appliance Repair

The Samurai’s service van for his day job.

A peek inside the back of the Samurai’s service van. Lucky you!

Dr. Samurai makes housecalls with his appliance medic kit.

A rare and privileged peek inside Dr. Samurai’s bag o’ tricks.

M’main tool roll. 86.4% of the repairs I do are made using tools in this most excellent tool roll.

Digital and analog multimeters. I prefer an analog meter but use the digital when I need the extra capability it offers such as current and temperature measurement.

Three essential wire working tools: cutters, strippers, and crimpers.

Illumination of the work area is critical for both diagnosis and repair. While perfecting the craft of the appliance repairing arts, much of which takes place in dark, moldy, sometimes scary places, I have become a connoisseur of portable spot illumination devices, sometimes referred to as “flashlights.”

Much appliance work is done on your knees. If you don’t protect them, you’ll be getting knee replacement surgery by the time you’re 50.

Appliantology Repair Forum Moved


By popular demand, the world-famous Appliantology repair forum will be closed down at its current location at ezBoard and moved to its new home. This change is effective immediately.

The spokeswoman for, Kujira Mifune, reports that loyal Appliantology Grasshoppers from all over the globe have flooded the Samurai International Headquarters in New London, New Hampshire, with emails, letters, faxes, and origami asking that the repair forum be moved back to its old home at MSN Groups. Samurai Appliance Repair Man called a meeting of the board of directors to consider the matter. The Board unanimously decided to move the repair forum back to MSN Groups as requested and to shut down the repair forum at ezBoard. Sanjuro Takimashe, CFO, noted that ezBoard charges a bandwidth-based fee to host the forum which costs hundreds of dollars annually whereas the extra storage fee for photo hosting at MSN Groups is only $30 per year.

Summary: The Appliantology repair forum has been moved to here.

Click here to add the Samurai School of Appliantology to your My Yahoo page.
Add to My Yahoo

TIP: You can get the latest posts at added to your My Yahoo page. Just click the “Add to My Yahoo” button above.

Now Hear This

The Samurai finally gets hip with the MP3 player revolution. I’ve been wanting to get an MP3 player so I could download and listen to two of my favorite radio shows: Coast to Coast AM and the Phil Hendrie Show. As an online subscriber to both of these shows, I get access to both streamed and MP3 archives of the shows. I used to listen to the streams but got tired of being stuck to the computer if I wanted to hear the shows. The solution: an MP3 player.

Rio Cali Sport:  the Samurai's MP3 playerAfter much hand-wringing over which player to buy and one false start, I ended up buying the Rio Cali. The first player I bought was an Apple iPod. Several things annoyed me about it: the LooneyTunes software did not mesh with my brain, the rechargeable battery drained quickly, it was heavy, expensive ($250), and that damn menu wheel drove me insane. I returned it. I had given up on the whole MP3 player thing when I happened to see the Rio Cali Sport in a Radio Shack at the mall in Concord. It was everything the iPod wasn’t: intuitive to use, lightweight, runs for 18 hours on a single AAA battery (even longer if you use rechargeable NiMH batteries), and over $100 less than the iPod (you can buy ’em for $110 at Amazon). It even has an FM tuner which I use in conjunction with my Sirius satellite radio rig in my van–more about that later. It comes with 256 MB of flash memory which, for my use, is usually more than enough. You can buy an SD card and double the memory for about $25.

The Rio has turned out to be the perfect solution and has even opened up a whole new world of online radio shows to me. If you have an MP3 player and you’re looking for talk radio content to add, here are some sources I’ve been enjoying:

  • Bush/Kerry in '04:  heads they win, tails we lose.The Harry Browne Radio Shows: Harry Browne, a past Libertarian presidential candidate (for whom I voted in the last presidential election), does two excellent radio shows: one is about libertarian philosophy and issues and the other is about investment advice. Both are great listening.
  • The Weekend Interview Show with Scott Horton: A libertarian talk show featuring thought-provoking interviews with prominent libertarians, classical liberals, and traditional conservatives.
  • Ludwig von Mises Media Archives: This is the motherlode of libertarian and free-market teaching. A vast collection of scholarly treatises on all sorts of topics from a free-market, libertarian perspective.
  • WebTalk Radio Show with Rob and Dana Greenlee: An informative and entertaining show about the bleeding edge of the web’s technological evolution.

  • Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church Music Ministry
    : A great collection of some beautiful Orthodox Christian music. I love Byzantine chant and this is the only music I have loaded on my Rio.

Most people probably get an MP3 player to listen to music and the software that comes bundled with ’em is definitely geared toward that. But setting up and maintaining your music library on an MP3 player is a tedious and colossal waste of time, something of which I’m always in short supply. The last thing I wanted to do was eat up more precious time dinking around with music files. I use my Rio to listen to radio shows and lectures. For music, I use Sirius satellite radio. I figure it’s worth a meager $12 a month to have professional DJs put together a great line up of rock n’ roll music for me. (You can get a complete Sirius radio channel guide in pdf format here.) If you’re unfamiliar with satellite radio, check out these articles in the
Crutchfield Advisor
and Wired News for some good background information.

So, I’m sitting here at my computer after midnight, writing this post and jamming on one of the 17 rock channels on Sirius–commercial free! If a song comes on that sucks, I just flip to one of the other channels where, inevitably, I find a song I like and then I go back to pecking on the keyboard. Sometimes this keeps me going until the sun comes up.

But the other cool thing about Sirius is that I have a great selection of news and music, with perfect reception, for those long commutes to the White Mountains. For example, from my home in New London, New Hampshire, it takes two and a half hours to drive to the Wildcat Trailhead on Route 16, south of Gorham. Driving to the Mahoosuc Range in the North Country is at least a three hour drive. Flipping around on Sirius makes the trip seem shorter.

Ah, Classic Vinyl just started playing BTO’s Let It Ride. I’m gonna grab a brewski and kick back a while. Later.