My Rite to Bear Arms in America

October 22, 2014 By: erik Category: Photos, Politics, USA, Videos

Marga - Colt .22 HuntsmanDespite growing up in the American South, I’ve never liked guns. Loud noises annoy me, I grew up in a Liberal household where guns were shunned, though rarely spoken about, and, as an intellectual matter, they – pistols, at least – are clearly designed to kill humans, which is something I feel pretty strongly against. Add to that the fact that America has a “gun problem”, where every day of the year you can read about people killing each other, often by accident, with unattended guns. Plus, I’ve generally been averse to hobbies, like scuba diving, skydiving, motorcycling, bungie jumping, etc., where the first objective of the activity is “try not to die”. Firearms have just never had any appeal to me.
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Buying A Christmas Tree

December 13, 2013 By: erik Category: Offspring, Partying, Photos, USA

Decorated Christmas TreeI think my parents normally buy their Christmas tree around mid-December, but this year, I requested that they do it a little early, during our visit with them. As good hosts, parents and grandparents, they obliged. It’s been years and years since I took part in the Christmas tree selection process with still-alive firs in a lot. My wife, who hasn’t had a real tree since she was a little girl, and daughter also enjoyed the experience. The trees at the lot were so fresh that they still had unmelted snow on them from the night before up on the mountain.
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3D Printing and Legislating Object Ownership

December 18, 2012 By: erik Category: Geeky, Musings, Politics, USA

Solidoodle 3D PrinterOver the past few years, the technology of 3D printing has shown itself to be a complete game changer. In a few very short years, with the initial investment of a printer, it will be possible to download physical objects. The plastic molding industry is going to be the first to feel the pain but eventually all manufacturing will be at risk. I expect to be a grandfather before complex electronics can be printed at home, but a wide variety of knickknacks and general household replacement items will be coming sooner, e.g. already you can download and print replacement knobs for a variety of items.
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Do NOT pay more than $14 for your ESTA Application!

October 01, 2012 By: erik Category: Complaining, Fighting Stupidity, Internet, Marketing, Scary, Travel, USA

Department of Homeland SecurityIn preparation for our upcoming trip to the United States, I was double checking that everything is in order. After last year’s ESTA debacle, I want to be 100% sure we have my wife’s immigration approval number before leaving for the airport. So I did an internet search for ESTA to search for her approval number. What I found is a system of websites designed to scam unknowing foreign travelers out of their money.
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Hey, Obama, My 3 Year Old Wrote You A Campaign Slogan

September 26, 2012 By: erik Category: Funny, Offspring, Politics, USA, Videos

USA Flag
Dear President Obama,

No doubt you are missing that mindless chant of Yes We Can that your followers could repeat incessantly during your 2008 campaign. It was brilliantly open ended. If what “we could” do was elect the first African American president, then yes, we could. But now so many of your promises turned out to be harder to accomplish than expected, so you certainly can’t use the same slogan for re-election. Fear not, however, dear leader, for my three-year-old has written a new slogan for you.
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Open Letter To Opponents of ObamaCare

June 29, 2012 By: erik Category: Complaining, Politics, USA

Dear people who oppose ObamaCare,

I’m curious about your thinking about possible solutions to the messed up US healthcare system. One starting assumption that leads directly to opposing ObamaCare is that healthcare is not a right, that poor people should not be given healthcare and allowed to die simply because they are poor. If you agree that only the wealthy deserve to be healthy, then you are a cruel, inhumane person and please stop reading this letter.
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Paper or Plastic: Cash Is Dead

April 16, 2012 By: erik Category: Complaining, Musings, Spain, USA

Fourteen Thousand EurosI just got back from a ten day trip to the USA in which I ran a bit of an experiment: I never carried a single dollar or cent of US currency on my person. All my transactions were electronic using a debit card, even the extremely cheap ones like buying a $0.99 bottle of water from a convenience store. None of the cashiers even batted an eye when I pulled out the plastic for such a tiny purchase. In Spain, I suspect they would refuse your business if you tried to pull a stunt like that.
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Pickin’ and Trimmin’ – A Barbershop Documentary

December 13, 2011 By: erik Category: Music, Reviews, USA, Videos

Pickin' and Trimmin'In 2007, Matt Morris, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, directed a short film about a barber shop near where I grew up. One of the owners of the shop, David Shirley, the well spoken gentleman with the full head of white hair in the movie, is the father of one of my best friends and guitar mentor, Phil Shirley. The movie does an excellent job of capturing a dying southern American small town bluegrass culture.
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The Economy and Elections

October 12, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Musings, Politics, USA

How Humans VoteA few years ago, I came to the realization that modern two-party democracies are like pendulums. Just as gravity will pull a pendulum down towards the center, building up enough momentum to push it to the other extreme, so human voters’ innate human ability to find something to be upset about will pull their votes away from one party and build up enough momentum until the other party has a majority. Rinse and repeat.
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¿Cómo ESTA?

June 29, 2011 By: erik Category: Politics, Travel, USA

ESTA logoTo travel to the United States this June, we packed our bags and got our passports in order. We were concerned with how well our two year old, Nora, would do on our long journey (it ended up being 23 hours from door to door). In all the hubbub of travel organization and packing, we totally forgot about another two-year-old: the ridiculous Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) law enacted by the terrorist paranoid (paranoia = terrorist win?) United States that requires non-residents to fill out an application over the internet and pay a small fee of $14 to be allowed to enter the United States. It’s hard enough to find cheap holidays abroad without your destination country trying to extort money from you. Our first flight was from Bilbao to Lisbon, our second flight was from Lisbon to Philadelphia, and our third flight was from Philadelphia to Charlotte.
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