Friday, September 14, 2012

For Robin's Care

My wife, Robin, suffered a devastating health challenge this past Summer and spent 11 days in the hospital. It was something we weren't adequately prepared for as we've gone without health insurance, working for the day we could afford it. Fortunately, we were able to get most of Robin's uncovered hospital bills reduced by more than half, but the expense is still beyond our present means. Robin is now on a health plan that covers most of her costs going forward, but there are still more expenses that aren't covered by her plan.

We found as a viable way to raise money for our medical expenses. We ask that you consider donating on Robin's page to help us reach our goal. The figure is very high and that's because we are dealing with two issues, Robin's heart condition and rectal cancer. If you feel so moved, please share this weblink with friends, and loved ones to help spread this around. Also, please keep in mind that no donation is too small. It will be accepted with all of our gratitude.

We've already been blessed with an outpouring of love and support as we've gone through this process. Robin has made some good progress already and we are confident she will survive this challenge and come out of it even stronger than before. However, we cannot do this alone and your support means the world to us.

Thank you for taking the time to read this message and we hope that you join in helping Robin through this battle.)

Friday, August 05, 2011

Broadlight Lamp Refurbishing

Today, I embarked on my first foray into making lamps. After reading more than halfway through "All About Lamps Construction Repair and Restoration" by Frank W. Coggins, I couldn't resist the urge to see how I could take a wayward fixture and make something different and hopefully more beautiful of it.

I started out going to a thrift store, run by the Vietnam Veterans of America. They had a nice assortment of lamp bases and some detached shades. I found a very nice white lamp base that was $2 below the asking price of similar lamps. The reason? It was missing a harp, the framing piece that stands a lampshade over the bulb and socket. The cord looked a little old and tired. It also had a turn knob for a switch and I was hankering to change that to a pull switch.

I also bought a lampshade, a rather dainty old-fashioned one that I thought might go well with this lamp (I turned out to be wrong - my opinion). The shade sported flat sections with a wavy bottom side lined with a rather lacy strip to fancy it up and give it an old-fashioned look. I thought it might work with this lamp because of the angles of the lamp corners and gold floral patterns on the ceramic.

I went to a couple of hardware stores to get the new parts I needed. The first was a pull-chain socket. Next was a harp, cord wire and an AC plug. Not only was I going to wire up the lamp at the socket, I planned on giving the lamp a brand new cord and wall plug.

The original lamp had what appeared to be the bottom part of a harp assembly. Without a full harp, there was no hope of fitting the shade or any other shade on this lamp. The question, however, was what size. At the hardware store there were four different sizes - 8 inches, 9 inches, 10 inches or a foot. A foot seemed way too big and 8 and 9 inches seemed a little small. It really came down to choosing between 9 and 10 inches and I elected the latter. I thought about buying both and trying both on for size, but that seemed to be a lot of work as I found out later, so I went with the 10 inch harp.

Once at home I took the original lamp apart, unscrewing the assembly at the top. When it came loose, I discovered the big white ceramic piece came loose from the brass bottom. What held it all together was a long pipe through which the cord ran from top to bottom and out of the bottom through a hole in the side. The pipe, sometimes called a 'nipple' in lamp-making jargon was threaded at both ends. A small nut at the top held it in place and once loosened, another nut at the bottom came loose.

The first thing I had to do from there was remove the socket assembly and disengage the wires. Once that was accomplished, I could remove the harp bottom and the old cord. One of the problems I encountered was that bottom brass piece was sealed off with green felt. I had to cut it away so I could retrieve the nut that fastened the nipple at the bottom. I will have to consider replacing the felt at a later time, but for now, it seemed to be in the way of my project.

Next, I threaded the new cord through the bottom piece on up through the nipple, which ran through the main body and the upper assembly. At the very top, I split the two sides of the wire, about three inches from the end. I used a tape measure and a felt marking pen to mark the three inches. Then I marked each strand at 5/8ths inch and used a wiring tool to strip away the rubber wire insulation from the strands, exposing brilliant copper wires.

One of the hard parts for me was twisting the copper wires to bring them together. It seemed that no matter how much or how thorough I twisted those wires, they always seemed to want to come off and fray. following the directions from this video I tied the two wire strands in an underwriters knot, then connected the wires to the socket terminals. I took great care to ensure that the ribbed strand was connected to the silver terminal and the smooth strand connected to the brass terminal. Sometimes it's not so easy to see because the the strands, when pulled apart, creates a ribbed bevel in the smooth strand. You have to examine the strands carefully to notice the additional ribs on the grounding strand. Connecting the copper wires to the terminals posed its own challenges. After they've been twisted to form a solid strand, you have to form a hook-like shape to fit it around the terminal screws and sometimes, the copper strands don't want to stay together. I struggled with that for a little bit and with the help of a very short flat head screw, I was able to tuck the exposed wire into place and screw down the terminals very tight.

The lamp assembly was now finished, but there was one more task - adding the AC plug to the other end of the cord. I went through the same process of splitting the two strands of the cord and stripping the insulation. Then I attached the exposed copper wires to the proper terminals inside the plug unit. This piece was rather easy as one side of the plug housing opened up on a hinge. Then you could just lay down the wires, attach them to the terminals, making sure the ribbed side attached to the silver terminal and the smooth side attaching to the brass terminal. I closed plug assembly and screwed it together.

The lamp was pretty much complete and ready to plug. All I had to do was place the lamp shade on the threads at the top of the harp, plug it in and admire my new creation. However, one small piece was missing - the finial. The finial is a decorative, closed nut that screws onto the top of the harp, thus fastening the lampshade to the harp. The new harp I had bought did not come with a finial. What was I thinking?

Just for proving sake, I borrowed a finial from another lamp and got the completed look. Here is the finished product:

I felt a lot of pride knowing I put this together. Then my critical eye took over, as well as my wife's. We placed the lamp in our bedroom and looked at it in different positions. We also tried different bulbs to check lighting intensities. What we found a little off was that the shade was too small. We felt the shade should cover up the assembly above the ceramic body. However, you can see the sleeves, nuts and socket assembly from many angles. The only thing we'd like to see is the body and the pull chain. Proportionally, the shade and lamp body seemed mismatched as well, although the shapes, of themselves, seemed pleasing. Together, they don't quite work, but this is just a first effort. Revisions will be made and this lamp will definitely look better once we've made some changes.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Article on Gluten Free Dieting

This article from Yahoo News makes some good points about gluten-free diets. Debbie Johnson's book, "Fun With Gluten-Free/Low-Glycemic Cooking" shows you how to make meals that are not only without gluten, but the heavy glycemic (sugar) element so prevalent in gluten-free diets.

Monday, March 14, 2011

This is Gluten-Free AND Low-Glycemic

There are lots of cookbooks that show you how to prepare meals that are gluten-free (no wheat) for the gluten intolerant and there are cookbooks for diabetics who need to eat meals that are low in sugar. This eBook, by Debbie Johnson, author of the best-seller, "Think Yourself Thin," combines both. "Fun With Gluten-Free/Low-Glycemic Cooking" was written with the idea in mind that people who have health challenges ought to be able to enjoy delicious, easy to make meals that won't spike their blood sugar or flare up wheat allergies.

Some of these recipes are so simple and good that you don't even have to be diabetic or gluten-intolerant to enjoy them and benefit from them. My personal favorite is the Carob-Mint Brownies on page 96, in Chapter 5, Delectable Desserts. These brownies do not taste like carob, not that that is a bad thing, but Debbie's combining of Carob powder, ground Chicory root, Vanilla extract and Peppermint oil creates a flavor that's identical to Chocolate without it being real Chocolate.

So, if you need some health-filled ideas of what to make for breakfast, lunch or dinner or even snacks for the road, try this eBook, Fun With Gluten-Free / Low-Glycemic Cooking, by Debbie Johson

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, November 23, 2008

End the Fed Photos

Here are the photos from End the Fed, Nov. 22, 2008 in San Francisco.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You Can Only Truly Win By Being Right

At the meeting of a liberty-minded political action group this week week, we were visited by a couple of men who had just won their elected seats in the county. One of them was a seasoned political operative who had been in the county for a number of years and in other places around the country.

He made an interesting statement. Many of us embrace constitutional and libertarian ideas, so in his enlightened wisdom, he said something to the effect of, "Libertarians, I love them, God bless them, but you can't win elections by being right all time." It was an extraordinary statement. On one level, he echoed Ed Griffin's conclusion that we have to come to power before we can implement our ideas. In a practical sense this holds true. Lenin preached this and many others. However, in that statement, also lies the seeds of corruption.

The first job of the politician is to get elected. The second job is to stay elected, somewhere, sometime after that he must get around to carrying out the ideas and wishes of those who voted him into office. The challenges are fierce. The opposition is vicious. The temptation to form questionable alliances, make compromises and backroom deals is very persuasive. The activity of staying in power can become so all-consuming that it seems the issues, voters care about most, never see the light of day. The politician gets caught in the game of the lesser of evils and he becomes evil to his own end.

"Libertarians can't win by being right all the time." Says who? When do we get to the business of the people? How long must it take? How many elections and re-elections do we have to win? How long must the voting public put up with the political games and shenanigans before their business is addressed? Why can't we win because we're right? Or better yet, Can we win by being right?

Ron Paul, the congressman from Texas has won 11 terms to represent his district is an example of winning by being right. What does that say? He's a constitutionalist, a libertarian, a Republican. He fights fair and his ideas are based on logic, an understanding of history, economics and the foundations of this country. He does what he says he's going to do. He votes his conscience and is frequently the lone voice of dissent in Congress. He has more principled integrity than any other member of congress, the senate and the executive and judicial branches combined and he wins elections. Maybe the key to winning elections and getting our voices heard in Washington and Sacramento is by being right. Maybe this is what is needed to turn around our country.

Maybe the key to making genuine changes in our government is to communicate the right message to enough people. What good is winning elections if the right ideas are never implemented?

The GOP in this last election cycle lost the presidency, and a majority of seats in Congress and the Senate by promoting a message of big government, aggressive wars, violating civil liberties and corporate bailouts and budget deficits. It completely abandoned the foundational principles of its own party's roots. It lost the election by being wrong on all of these issues and now efforts are being made to find better ways to communicate, without changing the essential message, without bringing the GOP back to its core principles. Maybe it's time to be right for a change. Maybe voters want to be right about who they elect to represent them.

If we keep electing wrong individuals who have wrong ideas, how can we ever expect anything to go right?

Libertarian Michael Badnarik once said, "If I give you a choice of at 45% chance of lethal injection, a 50% chance at the electric chair and 5% for escape what are you going to vote for? The electric chair because you are likely to win? What are you going to vote for? Escape!
But it's only 5%!
I don't care! It's the right thing to do!"

My conclusion is being right on the issues and the candidates is the only way to really win in politics. Winning for the sake of winning ensures the voters continue to lose.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mike Ledeen wins the first ever Rufus T. Firefly Award

Announcing today's and the first ever Rufus T. Firefly Award for notable antics by politicians and other related folks. Today's award goes to Michael Ledeen, notable neo-con, former scholar at American Enterprise Institute and currently at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Thomas DiLorenzo at reported on Ledeen's rather "Strangelovian" speech at Hillsdale college regarding the threat from Iran.

The latest issue of Imprimis, published by Hillsdale College, highlights a speech urging war with Iran by neocon Michael Ledeen, who was instrumental in getting the Bush administration to lie us into the war in Iraq. Iran "is a country where lies and deception are a way of life," he says. Ledeen should know.

From The Broadlighter

We at the Broadlighter would like to congratulate Mr. Ledeen for his accomplishments in keeping America safe for Democracy, while our Constitutional Republic gets relegated to the dustbin of history's horse and buggy era.

Labels: , , , , ,