Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Baby Steps

I've started my first guitar build today. It's actually only a partial build. I bought a cheapie Kramer Baretta clone a couple years ago, and although the neck felt pretty good, the body was routed so poorly that it's essentially unusable. So, I'm going to build a replacement body, modify the headstock slightly , and re-use all the hardware that came with the guitar. It isn't the be-all end-all custom build, by any means, but it's meant only to be a learning experience. Eventually, I'm going to build a Les Paul Custom, but we'll start with a replacement body for now.

So on with the show!!

Here's the wood that's going to be my Kramer Klone:

Yup, that's right, it's a 2x12, actual species unknown. This first attempt at a body is going to be for practice, and I don't have any illusions that it'll be professional quality, but it's my go at it. So, I don't really care if the wood is generally unsuitable for a guitar build. It's all about *my* technique at this point, not the wood itself.

No pics of cutting a couple chunks off the end of the board, ripping the pieces with the table saw, or gluing the resultant pieces together. We'll start with bandsawing the body out:

Here's the first rough draft. As you can tell I screwed up pretty badly inside the lower horn, but since I'm not worried about making an exact replica, I'll just scoop that out a little deeper when I clean up the outline tomorrow.

Stay tuned -- more baby steps to follow in the next few days! 
And that's life, from my guitar-building position.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

XL and DBD - "It's All Over (for Sodom and America)"

I used to listen to this album all the time.  It was Christian rap-metal... before rap metal was cool.

And that's cool music... from my position.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A few days late, but better late than never....

This year we began a new tradition in the Montgomery household.

Every year, on Independence Day (not, mind you, the Fourth of July, but INDEPENDENCE DAY), we will read the Declaration of Independence.

This year, I read it to Julia, "translating" some of the harder spots and pretty much skipping over the list of particulars against King George.  As she gets older, though, we'll do the whole thing.

So here it is, in all its glory - The Declaration of Independence of the united States.

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James
Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tactics vs. Strategy

Tactics are how you win the battle.  Strategy is how you win the war.

Yesterday, we suffered a tactical setback in court.  In the end though, it's only tactical.  The strategy, the long term goals and objectives, have not changed.

Julia's mother can score cheap points occasionally.  We might not have a fully favorable court decision.  That's okay, though.  In the end, the question is whether Julia will have a solid, healthy relationship with Tera and me when she's 30...50...70.  Will we have a loving, caring relationship with our as-yet unborn grandchildren?

When your strategy is sound, you can afford to lose a skirmish here or there.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A rare two-fer

Remember how I said I rarely cut and paste?  Well, here's a two-fer.

Sarah Palin's latest Facebook post:

For many of us, the arrival of Easter means the arrival of a new season of joy – of Easter parades, Easter egg hunts, chocolate bunnies, and sweet Peeps topping off a family meal. Some may wonder why we merrily celebrate at a time when we’re remembering Christ’s crucifixion on the cross. And there is something to that. Good Friday is, after all, about God who became Man, dying on the cross for our sins. And yet we celebrate Easter Sunday, and we are right to do so.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This one verse sums up the miracle that is the Easter season and helps explain the celebration. Yes, Christ died for us, but in the end Easter isn’t a season of sadness. Ultimately, the story of Christ’s rising from the dead three days after the crucifixion is the story of the triumph of hope over despair.

Hope is one of America’s unique virtues. Hope makes us dream and achieve the seemingly impossible. It’s who we are, and it’s why we’re able to always believe that our best days are yet to come, both for our families and for our country. Easter time reminds us that we have every right to believe that this hope is based on time-tested truths and a solid foundation.

On behalf of the Palin family, I wish you all a peaceful and reflective Good Friday and a blessed and happy Easter Sunday.

- Sarah Palin

When was the last time you heard a politician talk that way?  This is guaranteed to make liberal heads explode, and I'm okay with that.

And that's life, from my position.

Christ Went To Hell........for me.

I don't often quote or cut and paste from other sources, but today I will.

Jesus, after He was crucified, went to Hell. For me.

This is from John Calvin's writings about the Apostle's Creed:

But we must seek a surer explanation, apart from the Creed, of Christ’s descent into hell. The explanation given to us in God’s Word is not only holy and pious, but also full of wonderful consolation. If Christ had died only a bodily death, it would have been ineffectual. No — it was expedient at the same time for him to undergo the severity of God’s vengeance, to appease his wrath and satisfy his just judgment. For this reason, he must also grapple hand to hand with the armies of hell and the dread of everlasting death.   A little while ago we referred to the prophet’s statement that "the chastisement of our peace was laid upon him," "he was wounded for our transgressions" by the Father, "he was bruised for our infirmities" [Isaiah 53:5 p.]. By these words he means that Christ was put in place of evildoers as surety and pledge — submitting himself even as the accused — to bear and suffer all the punishments that they ought to have sustained. All — with this one exception: "He could not be held by the pangs of death" [Acts 2:24 p.]. No wonder, then, if he is said to have descended into hell, for he suffered the death that, God in his wrath had inflicted upon the wicked! Those who — on the ground that it is absurd to put after his burial what preceded it — say that the order is reversed in this way are making a very trifling and ridiculous objection. The point is that the Creed sets forth what Christ suffered in the sight of men, and then appositely speaks of that invisible and incomprehensible judgment which he underwent in the sight of God in order that we might know not only that Christ’s body was given as the price of our redemption, but that he paid a greater and more excellent price in suffering in his soul the terrible torments of a condemned and forsaken man.

And that's life, from my eternally grateful position.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Health Care Bill Outrage of the Day

Did you know that the recently passed health care reform bill contains a mandate that establishes the framework to eventually require all Americans to have a microchip implant?

But hey, don't take my word for it.  Read it here in the bill:

Final Health Care bill text

You'll have to scroll down to around page 1000ish.  It's Title V, Section C.  Here's a synopsis:

(g)(1) The Secretary shall establish a national medical device registry (in this subsection referred to as the ‘registry’) to facilitate analysis of postmarket safety and outcomes data on each device that— ‘‘(A) is or has been used in or on a patient; ‘‘(B)and is— ‘‘(i) a class III device; or ‘‘(ii) a class II device that is implantable, life-supporting, or life-sustaining.”

(emphasis mine)

Now, just so you know, a Class II device, according to the FDA, is an implantable microchip.  Again, don't take my word for it, read it here:  FDA guidelines

"But," you say, "there's no requirement to actually GET a microchip, only a requirement to create a registry for them."  Right you are.

But, microchip implants are pretty rare, outside the odd pacemaker.  Why would Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid put a requirement for a national registry, complete with full compatability and information sharing, into the bill if they didn't see it becoming more widespread, and dare I say it, eventually required?

In response, I can only quote Sarah Palin.  "Don't retreat.  RELOAD!"

That's life, from my Constitutional position.