Wednesday, March 31, 2010


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Alot of folks do not know that I am a hobby silversmith in addition to making knives. Here is a sample of some of the jewelry and ornaments that I have made. I do not put my wares in a store because consignment is not a system that is profitable for anyone but the shop keeper. If I would put my work in a store, then I wouldn't have access to it. I always wonder what happens to the consignment work when a shop just suddenly goes out of business. I usually make one or two of a kind pieces, or work in a series.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stinson Canning Company Bath Maine

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Here is Stinson Canning Company (80 Bowery Street Bath Maine). I worked there as a sardine packer in 1986. On nice days I walked to work.
If you do a google map for 80 Bowery Street Bath Maine you can see the outline of the factory clearly as well as a giant ship at the dock.
If you zoom in closer to street level, there is nothing there except for some chain link fence, barriers, and some caution tape blowing in the breeze. No ship parked at the dock...nada. Apparently Stinson Canning Company burnt to the ground in 2007 under mysterious circumstances. I will be posting more pictures from Bath and Stinson Canning Company as I find them. It is a shame that the only thing left at ground level is this fire hydrant. It sure looks too far away from the factory to do any damn good!

Monday, March 29, 2010


I spent the weekend with my sister and on Saturday afternoon we found the Old Robinson Cemetery where supposedly my Great Great Grandfather Richard Allen Robinson is buried. This stone could be his, or someone else s. Perhaps I will learn more from my Grandmother who told me where this cemetery was located. I was shocked it is about 3 miles from where I grew up and I hadn't ever been there!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Farther Along

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I am visiting my sister this weekend and we are going to hunt down a family cemetery that we haven't ever been too. Reminds me of a tune I think I may have learned from the long gone musicians of my family. Certainly I heard this tune in church growing up. This version is pretty nice.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Crows Of Coshocton

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I am visiting my sister in Coshocton Ohio today. They seem to have an abundance of crows. Wonder what's up with that?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Foli Laka New Version

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I drum with a group and we are practicing a song called Foli. Foli is a West African word meaning music. Here is a very exciting drum group from Belgium who are named Foli Laka.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Surviving Argentina Revisited

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I follow FerFals blog Surviving Argentina. I suggest that we can all learn from him.
He has a book out by the same name and I purchased a copy of it. Still though, his blog is the real treasure. With so much tea baggage lately, it looks as if things might get violent "again" here in the US. FerFal will give you all the preparedness knowledge you might need, but it is up to you to implement the changes in your life that will make you safer. Even then, there are no guarantees!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

OSU Tunnels

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There are many tunnels under OSU and I have been in some of them. There are tunnels virtually under everywhere in the whole world so it really should not surprise anyone that they are under OSU. When SHTF perhaps we will all have to go down there. I sure hope not. Think trap door spider...and then you will be close to what is down there. I got this on a site about abandoned places in Ohio.

Where: Columbus, Ohio State Univeristy, OH

When: 1999

Status: Still there.

This will be a very short section. One of the early features on the site was the OSU tunnels. Such a simple thing brought me a bunch of attention... both negative and positive.

I worked in a campus building that happened to have a door leading in to the campus tunnels. This was way way back before the days of terrorism and homeland security, so the tunnels were sometimes left unlocked. We made several trips around campus in the tunnels over the years. The Univeristy frowns on people going in the tunnels because there are power lines, steam pipes, and water lines everwhere. I managed to get burnt, scraped, cut, etc quite a few times. I never did get many pictures, but here are two that I did get...

You can see power lines, steam lines, and more.

There really isn't much to say about the tunnels. There were roaches down there that were big enough to walk on a leash. The coolest thing about being down there was that you could hear people through the various vents above your head. If you're walking con campus and see a series of 14" vents, you're above the tunnels. Most run a very similar path to the sidewalks. Look down and you may see an idiot snooping around down there.

By the time I had graduated I knew most of the tunnels well enough to get around. I don't remember them now, so I won't be able to help you at all if you're trying to figure them out. I'd highly recommend not going down there if you're attending OSU because I believe they kill you if they catch you... or maybe they expel you, but the punishment is really over the top from what I hear.

No more pictures can be found in the gallery here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

For The Girl

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Congratulations Angie. If I were a little younger, I'd sign up too!

Monday, March 22, 2010


This guy compares the DSM 4 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) to The Malleus Maleficarum (The Witches Hammer). I have always thought so! I just have not ever found anyone with any credentials that would make that comparison!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

WikiLeaks Rocks!

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To the list of the enemies threatening the security of the United States, the Pentagon has added, a tiny online source of information and documents that governments and corporations around the world would prefer to keep secret.

The Pentagon assessed the danger posed to the Army in a report marked “unauthorized disclosure subject to criminal sanctions.” It concluded that “ represents a potential force protection, counterintelligence, OPSEC and INFOSEC threat to the U.S. Army” — or, in plain English, a threat to Army operations and information.

WikiLeaks, true to its mission to publish materials that expose secrets of all kinds, published the 2008 Pentagon report about itself on Monday.

Lt. Col. Lee Packnett, an Army spokesman, confirmed that the report was real. Julian Assange, the editor of WikiLeaks, said the concerns the report raised were hypothetical.

“It did not point to anything that has actually happened as a result of the release,” Mr. Assange said. “It contains the analyst’s best guesses as to how the information could be used to harm the Army but no concrete examples of any real harm being done.”

WikiLeaks, a nonprofit organization, has rankled governments and companies around the world with its publication of materials intended to be kept secret. For instance, the Army’s report says that in 2008, access to the Web site in the United States was cut off by court order after Bank Julius Baer, a Swiss financial institution, sued it for publishing documents implicating Baer in money laundering, grand larceny and tax evasion. Access was restored after two weeks, when the bank dropped its case.

Governments, including those of North Korea and Thailand, also have tried to prevent access to the site and complained about its release of materials critical of their governments and policies.

The Army’s interest in WikiLeaks appears to have been spurred by, among other things, its publication and analysis of classified and unclassified Army documents containing information about military equipment, units, operations and “nearly the entire order of battle” for American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan in April 2007.

WikiLeaks also published an outdated, unclassified copy of the “standard operating procedures” at the military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. WikiLeaks said the document revealed methods by which the military prevented prisoners from meeting with the International Red Cross and the use of “extreme psychological stress” as a means of torture.

The Army’s report on WikiLeaks does not say whether WikiLeaks’ analysis of that document was accurate. It does charge that some of WikiLeaks’s other interpretation of information is flawed but does not say specifically in what way.

The report also airs the Pentagon’s concern over some 2,000 pages of documents WikiLeaks released on equipment used by coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Pentagon concluded that such information could be used by foreign intelligence services, terrorist groups and others to identify vulnerabilities, plan attacks and build new devices.

WikiLeaks, which won Amnesty International’s new media award in 2009, almost closed this year because it was broke and still operates at less than its full capacity. It relies on donations from humans rights groups, journalists, technology buffs and individuals, and Mr. Assange said it had raised just two-thirds of the $600,000 needed for its budget this year and thus was not publishing everything it had.

Perhaps the most amusing aspect of the Army’s report, to Mr. Assange, was its speculation that WikiLeaks is supported by the Central Intelligence Agency. “I only wish they would step forward with a check if that’s the case,” he said.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chili Grenade

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It's the hottest new bit of hardware in the arms race - a non-lethal hand grenade loaded with the world's most powerful chillies.

Military experts in India have developed a new crowd control grenade packed with ground seeds from the Bhut Jolokia, officially recognised as the hottest chilli on the planet by Guinness World Records.

When deployed the grenade showers the targets with a dust so spicy that in trials subjects were blinded for hours and left with breathing problems.

Military leaders say it will be a major breakthrough in riot control or smoking out criminals and terrorists from their hiding places.

"The chilli grenade is a non-toxic weapon and when used would force a terrorist to come out of his hideout," said lead scientist R.B. Srivastava at India's Defence Research and Development Organisation.

"The effect is so pungent that it would literally choke them out."

01 Steel

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I have been working on my knives this spring. I found a useful review on eBay from a seller that I have purchased steel in the past.

When a steel is fairly easy to machine, can be heat treated with a torch, tempered in the oven, and yields a very hard, fine grained end product, it's no wonder it continues to remain a popular choice for many applications. The AISI O1 steel group is an oil hardening, non-deforming tool steel that can be hardened at fairly low temperatures with minimum volume change. It typically has deep hardening qualities with a fine grained structure.

Machining: Keep in mind that traditional machining, such as sawing, drilling, milling, and filing, need to be done before heat treating. After heat treating the steel is ready for grinding and polishing. (We now have solid carbide and diamond coated tooling that can be used on the heat treated steel, but this is usually only done in emergency or special situations.)

Heat Treatment Data: While the different brands of O1 steel will vary slightly in composition, they will all conform to AISI standards and therefore will all react to heat treatment with similar results. The temperatures given here are the ranges of temperatures that were acquired from two O1 steel makers and one O1 steel supplier.

SAFETY: Please remember that we're talking about using an open flame and heating metal to a temperature that will damage most things if it makes accidental contact. The quenching oil can splatter or spill and it's flammable. Your work area should be prepared beforehand for the hazards, or this can be done outside. Safety glasses, protective clothing, fire extinguisher, good ventilation, and great care is recommended.

Hardening: Pieces with sections (thicknesses) 1/4 inch or smaller should be heated to 1450 to 1500 degrees F. If you use a torch, be sure to heat the piece (or area to be hardened) evenly. I found that it will glow a cherry-red color when ready to quench. Experience will help you recognize when the temperature is correct, but some people use a permanent magnet to determine when the right temperature has been reached. The hot metal will not be magnetic at the correct temperature. Be sure it's heated all the way through. Over-heating can make the steel brittle. Heat treating done properly will also give the nice, fine grain. (Thicker pieces should be pre-heated to 1200 degrees F. Raise the temperature to 1450 to 1500 degrees F and hold that temperaure for half an hour per inch of cross-section.) The easiest way to hang on to pieces while heating and quenching is to use a heavy wire through any hole. The wire should be heavy enough not to melt through during heating. I've used old (heavy) coat hanger wire with good success. This makes retrieval from the oil quench quick and easy instead of slow and messy. Trying to hold a piece by pliers or tongs can be a real adventure and potentially dangerous (if you drop the piece, etc.). If the piece doesn't have a hole, sometimes you can put a hole somewhere where it won't hurt anything, such as the tang of a knife blade, so that you can use a wire.

Quenching: The oil quenching should be done as soon as you're satisfied that you've reached the correct hardening temperature. (except for thick pieces as mentioned above that need longer hardening times - and possibly an interrupted quenching process - using oil and air) Any light-weight oil will work - such as motor oil. Recommended oil temperature is 120 to 150 degrees F. The temperature of the steel must be quenched to 150 degrees F or lower. I have succcessfully used room-temperature oil, but of course the closer you follow recommended procedures, the better your chances of attaining the best results. Safety tip: Make sure your oil container is metal so that there's no chance it will melt. You also need good ventilation - it will smoke! The metal is hot enough to flame, but that's OK and normal. If it still flames when you try to bring it out of the oil quench, then it's still too hot.

Tempering: Any piece that's going to be tempered should be tempered as soon as its quenching is done (and the excess oil is wiped off). The easiest way to temper is by using an oven. Our first manufacturer's information tells us that O1 hardened in the manner we just described should typically be 63 to 65 Rc as hardened. They claim that tempering 2 hours at 350/450 degrees F should result in a hardness of 60 to 64 Rc. Another manufacturer provides the following three tempering schemes: 1.) 300/350 degrees F for 1 hour for 62/64 Rc - 2.) 400/450 degrees F for 1 hour for 58/60 Rc - and 3.)800/850 degrees F for 1 hour for 48/52 Rc hardness.

After the final cooling, you need to clean off any oil, scale, or dirt. A wire brush or wheel, sand blaster, or whatever's convenient for you will prepare the piece so that it doesn't clog up your grinding wheel. Hardened pieces are then ready for grinding, polishing, and finishing. They are now too hard to work on with regular tool steel tools, such as: saws, drills, files, etc. (unless the tooling is solid carbide or diamond coated - and held down firmly).

Disclaimer: There are so many variables, that your results may very well vary from what we're writing here. As I said before, the more experience you get, the more you can modify things to get exactly what you're after. This is just a rough outline to try and help beginners get started. Professional heat treating facilities get the best and most consistent results because they have the correct equipment - ovens, with accurate temperature control, timers, and lots of experience. They start out by pre-heating correctly and can follow the manufacturer's instructions accurately to the well-timed conclusion.

Having said that, myself and many, many others have used O1 in our local tool & die shops - with torches, dirty room-temperature oil quenches, and looking for the right cherry-red color to great success for many years. Talking with my custom knife making friends, I know that many of them feel that they are pursuing an art of which heat treating is just one of the many components of the overall art. To whoever reads this guide, I wish you the best luck with your projects. (Please - think of safety first and always.)

Short North

Blogroll Me!I snagged this from The Columbus Dispatch.

As recently as 1980, the Short North was known as just "the near North Side."

Cabdrivers and police dispatchers, however, were already referring to the area along High Street just north of Downtown as the Short North.

And, in 1981, John Allen named his pub the Short North Tavern.

The neighborhood - the former site of a Civil War military reunion, a major train station and the home of a circus magnate; and a showcase today for art galleries and festivals - is the subject of the first of six WOSU Public Media documentaries.

Columbus Neighborhoods: Short North will be previewed Wednesday as part of an event in the Short North and make its broadcast debut Monday on WOSU-TV (Channel 34).

"It's the largest local project we've ever done," said Tom Rieland, general manager of WOSU Public Media.

In addition to the documentaries, the project will include town-hall forums, a Web site, community storytelling events and educational materials for use in classrooms throughout the state.

Other neighborhoods to be explored are German Village, King-Lincoln, Olde Towne East and the University District.

The final segment, a special on Downtown and Franklinton, will air in February 2012, in conjunction with the city bicentennial.

At the town-hall gatherings, to take place at WOSU@COSI, the discussion will center on issues and problems particular to each neighborhood.

The site, www.columbus, will feature residents and former residents telling their stories - "very much like StoryCorps," said Rieland, mentioning a national oral-history project whose interviews are sometimes heard on public radio.

The Short North documentary covers the rise and fall of the High Street arches, first erected in 1888 for a reunion of Civil War veterans. Originally wooden, they were replaced by steel structures, torn down in 1914 and reconstructed in 2002.

The work also explores the 1976 Union Station demolition, timed to prevent preservationists from obtaining a restraining order to save the historic train station; the Romanesque-style mansion, built in 1895 by circus magnate Peter Sells, that remains an architectural landmark; and the birth of the popular Gallery Hop in October 1984.

"The transformation of what was this tough, suspect neighborhood into this incredible arts neighborhood is pretty awesome," Rieland said.

Maria Galloway, owner of pm gallery, is among the longtime Short North business owners featured in the film.

The area's success as an arts district, she said, is attributed to "some happenstance, (partly) having the right people at the right time and partly just having the right geography."

"Oddly enough, the width of the street (was a factor)," she said. "It isn't too wide. It's not a really long trip across the street - (so) you get a lot of energy when you can see what's going on."

WOSU plans to post anecdotes online for access by Columbus visitors via hand-held devices, Rieland said, and to rerun the documentaries from time to time.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Holocaust Revisited

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A few weeks ago I blogged about Granville Ohio where undoubtedly and "allegedly" many Holocaust deniers (Revisionists) live. Through Project Monarch and Project Paperclip many of the Nazi murderers were given new identities and new bank accounts and are living freely in The United States. While the subject matter of this film is not about that, it does portray the smugness on the SS officers faces when they are captured and made to view their work. Many of the German woman were surprisingly and cheerfully volunteers. This documentary was shot by Alfred Hitchcock.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Luck Of The Irish

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Last Spring a vintage flower pot was stolen off our front porch. Yesterday morning the luck of the Irish found us and we found our vintage McCoy flower pot with the dead Jasmin plant that we had so lovingly cared for still in the pot. This was two blocks from our house! We won't be putting any more expensive nice flower pots on the front porch. And of course the thieves will be free to continue stealing pots all the live long day. We did not contact the law as the law would probably go against us stealing back our own property. I put my money on the luck of the Irish!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Plastic, Benjamin!

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Written by Jan Ludwig

"Coming after You" means both your legacy of non-biodegradable plastics and that they are out to kill you. Now that the hilarious double entendre is out of the way, we can go on to our patient heroines. The nurturing, brave journalists about to be presented are patient as heroines and they succor untold numbers of unknown patients suffering from plastic-caused diseases. For you hardy men who may not care about this girly-men stuff, and pride yourselves in being out to have a good time, keep in mind that erectile dysfunction is on the rise thanks to plastics.

Our problems keep multiplying when our beloved "free market" ensures that only a few chemicals out of thousands from industry get thoroughly tested and approved before being unleashed. Why and how? Politics is a game of corruption, so those with the most money get to win almost all the time. Therefore, if there are health risks from petrochemicals, radiation such as EMFs, and climate disruption, we victims are told by the corporate state to remain dutiful and grateful. Let the experts take care of everything, and have Hope.

And what's the big bother? Wake up each morning, have breakfast on the run, get to work (if you're employed), and ingest all the while the ubiquitous plastics that seem harmless. All day long between tasks we keep fantasizing about what we really want: freedom to hike in the mountains right this minute, visit with friends and family, indulge in sex and revelry, paint or compose a masterpiece, and not have to worry about sickness, financial pressures or violence either in one's face or the wars we fund.

One can't easily deal with multiple onslaughts and play the survival game as modern consumers or dispossessed peasants, so most people do nothing about threats. After all, to take action is to go up against bureaucracy backed by the police and military. So the common people are forced to wait until they begin to starve before snapping and going on a rampage.

Since we don't know exactly when the bubble of global trade and the precarious petroleum-based food system will collapse, it is fortunate that a few brave activists, artists and journalists keep calling our attention to the destruction of life. By now most everyone has heard of the massive plastic garbage patches in the oceans. The ramifications are as little explored as measures considered to cease the discharge. Remedies are available on all levels if we open our eyes and start communicating. But we must be willing to turn our backs on much of what we've been conditioned to believe: the supreme and righteous power of technology, that governments represent the common people, and that the world we inherited will automatically be here for our descendants.

Two reporters have laid out before us all we need to know about the plastic plague's insidious invasion of our bodies, in two articles highlighted below. Steve Mosko and Amy Graff, of southern California and the San Francisco Bay area, respectively, have provided alarming statistics and valuable insight. We have increasing amounts of deadly plastics molecules in each of us, and industry makes sure this continues. As to the solutions, these reporters/researchers leave it to the individual: get the poison products out of your home, and pressure the politicians to do the right things.

But when Coca Cola and industry lobbies are scheming behind closed doors to destroy our health and torpedo legislation, as happened last year in California where bisphenol-A (BPA) was about to be banned in baby products, we are thwarted in the land of democracy. We have found out that it's really a democracy for the rich, as the recent Supreme Court decision endorsing corporate funding of elections revealed. This takes us back to my initial point: politics is a game of corruption. So the mission of progressive and radical journalism and activism is crucial: to lay out a course that recognizes the failure of modern society to cease devouring its own members. Until it ceases, enshrined in law and false tradition -- like Coca Cola advertisements confused with art -- is the Red-White-and-Blue enrichment of the blind elite fouling their own nests as well as our bodies.

Fight the plastic plague:

(1) Pressure your local and state representatives in government to ban the plastics described below, along with large retail outlets' distribution of free plastic petroleum bags.

(2) Boycott corporations such as Coca Cola that rely on trashing the planet and our health for corporate profits. Boycott petroleum to the extent possible.

(3) Talk to friends and family members about getting plastics out of their diet.

(4) Learn about the shortcomings of recycling plastic and so-called bioplastics. Better to shut down the use of plastics than to fall into the trap of picking some plastics to be alright.

(5) Donate to nonprofit groups such as Algalita Marine Research Foundation which produced the award-winning documentary "Our Synthetic Sea."

(6) Go on a fast to remove plastics from your cells.

Steve Mosko alerts us to three extreme threats that most of us ignore:

Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs)

These are in non-stick cookware and grease/water-resistant packaging (e.g. for fast foods). Ninety-eight percent of blood samples have been found to contain PFCs such as PFOA and PFOS. Breast milk contaminated with PFOA and PFOS was detected in 98% of Massachusetts women participating in a 2004 study.

The list of potential health effects linked to PFCs in human and animals studies is long and includes cancers, high cholesterol, liver and developmental toxicity, thyroid hormone disruption, and infertility.

No U.S. jurisdiction has yet limited the used of PFOA or PFOS in food-contact substances. Until then, cut way back on your "take out" meals and get yourself an iron pan and steel pot for your cooking.

Brominated Flame Retardants

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a family of flame retardants in widespread use in consumer products, including plastics for electronics and electrical devices.

PBDEs were found in nearly 100% of blood samples in a major 2003-2004 survey. Consumption of meat, fish and dairy products is thought to be a primary route of exposure.

However, it was the discovery of infant exposure to PBDEs via rising levels in human breast milk in the United States and Europe that set off a chorus of alarm about health risks to humans.

PBDEs have been marketed in the United States in three commercial mixtures, so-called penta, octa and deca formulations. Animal data link penta and octa to serious health impairments – including liver, thyroid & reproductive toxicity and especially developmental neurotoxicity.


Bisphenol-A, phthalates, and more

Hundreds of recent studies connect BPA to a diversity of problems like early puberty, miscarriage, breast and prostate cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cardiac arrhythmias and male erectile dysfunction. Harmful effects in lab animals are seen at exposure levels far below what the EPA has considered safe.

Birth defects among affluent Americans are getting more common, in part from BPA which is in almost everyone's urine. It is ironic that the main crisis in birth defects today is in Fallujah, where U.S. militarism inflicted such death and destruction that fully 25% of babies born have serious birth defects. The U.S. citizen obliviously paying taxes for such war might ask "Why do birth defects have to happen to us peaceful consumers? Perhaps Obama gives hope in solving this, too."


Endocrine disruptors can be synthetic estrogen or other substances from plastics or pesticides, accounting for feminization of fish populations, for example. Phthalates, the softeners in plastics, and chemicals in hairspray account for a big rise in the shrinking of anal-genital distance in newborn boys -- a feminization. In a lab rat study in 2001, "[E]xposure to the most prevalent phthalate ester, di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), on male reproductive system development and sexual behavior" showed "Dose-related effects on male offspring included reduced anogenital distance, areola and nipple retention, undescended testes, and permanently incomplete preputial separation." (see chart)


The European Union's banning of phthalates is progress, but the extent of the problem is endless. PVC, perhaps the most poisonous of plastics, is still out of control everywhere. These concessions to the warnings of science hint at a shocking reality that may be looming: human extinction, from one cause or another, or a combination. It's harder and harder to limit the discussion anymore.


Effort to ban BPA in California fails

In February 2009, a bill was introduced to ban BPA from infant formula cans and baby bottles and cups. In September that bill failed to pass in the Assembly. Why?

In The Mommy Files, a local mom's take on raising kids by the Bay, Amy Graff wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle on Sept. 16 2009:

A recent Canadian study found that many bottles claiming to be BPA free aren't.

In May, chemical and food industry lobbyists called an emergency brainstorming session to devise an attack plan to kill SB 797 and similar bills pending around the country.

Meeting behind doors at the exclusive Cosmos Club in Washington D.C., representatives from Coca-cola, Alcoa, Del Monte, Crown, the American Chemistry Council, the North American Metal Packaging Alliance, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association discussed a public relations effort to prolong the life of BPA.

A copy of the meeting minutes leaked to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel revealed that the attendees discussed tactics to kill BPA legislation in California.

A September 2008 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that higher levels of urinary BPA is associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and liver-enzyme abnormalities.

You know those thin heat-sensitive receipts you get everyday? BPA, baby. The warning is that one should not handle food after touching these receipts.

Serving Plastics for Dinner?
Unhealthy and avoidable

by Sarah (Steve) Mosko, Ph.D.

What do breast milk, food cans, microwave popcorn, and fast-food French fry boxes have in common with meat, fish and dairy products? They’re all avenues of human ingestion of potentially harmful chemicals associated with everyday plastics.

Although the jury is still out on what levels of exposure are unsafe, it is indisputable that we are all literally consuming chemicals from plastics daily.

Biomonitoring projects – like the 2005 BodyBurden study of cord blood in neonates and the Mind, Disrupted investigation of blood and urine in adults representing the learning & developmental disabilities community just published in February 2010 – consistently find neurotoxic and endocrine-disrupting chemicals used in common plastics among the substances routinely tainting human tissues. Although diet is not the only route of exposure, it is considered a major one.

Given that developing fetuses and young children are most vulnerable to environmental toxins, understanding how exposure occurs through ordinary diets, and how to avoid it, has become a growing societal concern.

Three constituents of common plastics that find their way into food or drinks are described below, all linked to ill health effects in humans and lab animals. In the Mind, Disrupted study, the subjects universally tested positive for all three: bisphenol-A, brominated flame retardants, and perfluorinated compounds. The variety of avenues into the human diet is surprising.


Originally synthesized a century ago as a synthetic estrogen, bisphenol-A (BPA) was utilized instead to make baby bottles, reusable water bottles, and food storage containers upon discovery that polymerization produced clear, shatter-proof plastics dubbed polycarbonates. It’s also a key ingredient of the epoxy resin that lines metal food cans and jar lids, including infant formula.

Over 90% of Americans have BPA in their urine, according to the 2003–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) of the U.S. population. Young children generally have the highest levels because they lack an enzyme that breaks down BPA. Leaching of BPA from containers into food and beverages is thought to be the main route of exposure.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set a now outdated safe exposure standard of >

Responding to the newer findings, the National Toxicology Program Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction released a monograph in Sept 2008 admitting “some concern” that current levels of exposure in fetuses, infants and children may result in developmental changes in the brain, prostate and behavior. In January 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration posted its “support” for voluntary moves by industry to both stop selling BPA-containing baby bottles and feeding cups and develop alternatives to BPA-lined infant formula cans; however, it stopped short of recommending bans on BPA or that parents change use of infant formula or foods.

Only Connecticut, Minnesota and Wisconsin have passed laws banning BPA in children’s foodware and drinkware.

Brominated Flame Retardants

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a family of flame retardants in widespread use in consumer products, including plastics for electronics and electrical devices. Because PBDEs are not permanently bonded to the plastic polymers, they migrate out into the environment.

Properties of PBDEs include resistance to biodegradation and affinity for fats, allowing them to persist in the environment and bioaccumulate in the food web. PBDEs were found in nearly 100% of blood samples in the 2003-2004 NHANES survey. Consumption of meat, fish and dairy products is thought to be a primary route of exposure.

However, it was the discovery of infant exposure to PBDEs via rising levels in human breast milk in the United States and Europe that set off a chorus of alarm about health risks to humans.

PBDEs have been marketed in the United States in three commercial mixtures, so-called penta, octa and deca formulations. Because of animal data linking penta and octa to serious health impairments – including liver, thyroid & reproductive toxicity and especially developmental neurotoxicity – domestic manufacture of penta and octa was voluntarily phased out in 2004. However, levels of penta and octa in humans continue to rise, attributable in part to widespread use of deca which can break down into other forms.

In December 2009, the EPA outlined an Action Plan to reduce human exposure to PBDEs which recommended only a voluntary phase out of deca in lieu of a federal restriction. California is among 11 states that have enacted bans on penta and octa.

However, even public health-advocacy organizations that support phase-out of all PBDEs, like Environmental Working Group, do not recommend that parents stop breastfeeding because of breastfeeding’s positive impact on other measures of infant well-being.

Perfluorinated Compounds

Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs) are synthetic polymers that find their way into food applications because they repel oils and water. They are the key ingredient of grease/water-resistant coatings on non-stick cookware (e.g. Teflon®), pizza boxes, microwave popcorn, and fast-food wrappers. The most studied PFCs are PFOA (perfluorooctanoate) and PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonate) which are known to persist seemingly indefinitely once released into the environment and consequently build up in the food web. They also persist in human tissues: The half-life of PFOA and PFOS in human blood is roughly 4-5 years, according to a 2007 study of retirees of a PFC manufacturing facility.

Ninety-eight percent of the blood samples in the 2003-2004 NHANES survey contained PFOA and PFOS. Breast milk contaminated with PFOA and PFOS was detected in 98% of Massachusetts women participating in a 2004 study. Dietary intake of meat, fish and dairy products is thought to be a major route of exposure along with consumption of foods contaminated through contact with grease/water-resistant packaging (e.g. fast foods).

Non-stick cookware, when heated to high temperatures, has also been shown to release substances that might taint foods, according to tests performed by Environmental Working Group.

The list of potential health effects linked to PFCs in human and animals studies is long and includes cancers, high cholesterol, liver and developmental toxicity, thyroid hormone disruption, and infertility.

No U.S. jurisdiction has yet limited the used of PFOA or PFOS in food contact substances.

Summaries of research on the health effects of chemicals from plastics and other industrial products can be read in the full Mind, Disrupted report.

* * * * *


The above report, "Serving plastics for dinner? Unhealthy and avoidable" by Sarah (Steve) Mosko, Ph.D. is from her website

Further reading and viewing:

The Mommy Files, by Amy Graff, San Francisco Chronicle, September 16, 2009
Effort to ban BPA in California fails

Get "Our Synthetic Seas" DVD from Algalita Marine Research Foundation

Captain Charles Moore on Colbert Report!


TOXIC: Garbage Island: a CNN documentary on a Algalita's Captain Moore heading up a sail into the Pacific Garbage Patch

Waves of disaster - why lantern fish eating tons of our polymer garbage, mistaken for zooplankton, is a disaster. By Roberta Staley, in a Vancouver, Canada publication

Materials: Controversy Brewing Over PVC in Toys, by Jean M. Hoffman, April 24, 2008

Abnormalities of Sexual Development in Male Rats with in Utero and Lactational Exposure to the Antiandrogenic Plasticizer Di(2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate

Cut down on plastic bags you collect from the supermarket, and have ready poop baggies for your poochie on walks: get reusable satchels from 4U2ReUse

See many reports from Culture Change on the Plastics Plague.

The curse of Fallujah: Women warned not to have babies because of rise in birth defects since U.S. assault, by Mail Foreign Service, 5th March 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dead Cat Bounce

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I don't like the terminology...But I think it expresses exactly where we are.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Boot Dagger Almost Completed.

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I was able to open up the windows long enough to solder the blade guard onto the knife shank. The danger is losing the temper of the blade during this process as the solder melts at approximately the same temperature as the blade is tempered. I still need to catch the other blade up to this one its twin, but the weather has turned cold again preventing me from opening necessary windows.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Prince Mongo's Planet

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This is an old story and an old photo. The story is pretty much the same these days...only he has taken up residence in Ft. Lauderdale Florida. There are no pictures of Mongos current abode on google. They have been removed. It is reported that he has painted a witch on his house and is hanging underware all over the place because the residents complained that he built a deck onto his house without a permit.

He may claim to be from another planet, but Memphis' most visible alien has stirred up plenty of trouble here on Earth.

After a series of staccato raps on the wrought-iron front door of the Castle, Robert Hodges (a.k.a. Prince Mongo) finally appears, yawning from the early morning hour. Describing his appearance as disheveled would be too generous. Half-opened, sleepy eyes peer out of his thickly lined face. His thinning, dark brown curly hair is tousled in a style that only a pillow can achieve. This is a decidedly different Mongo from the one who usually appears publicly. He is a short man, probably 5'7", with a middle-aged paunch gathering around his midsection -- likely due to his 333 years spent on this planet eating Earthling food.

Prince Mongo is an institution (though many would say he belongs in one), known for his flamboyant personality and eccentric leanings. In years past he has thrust himself into the public eye with flamboyant unsuccessful bids for political office and unappreciated antics -- like standing on the roof of his Central Gardens home and howling at the moon. Planet Zambodia's most famous Memphis resident claims that he was sent to Earth to offer atonement, redemption, and enlightenment to Earthlings and to save us from various natural disasters.

"I'm from another planet, there's no doubt about that," Mongo explains. "I'm here on a mission to save Earthlings, and I will in due time. The Earth is self-destructing and when the time comes I will save a few people and take them with me. People don't realize how much I've already saved them from. I saved them from the earthquake, tornadoes, hurricanes. I've used my energies to divert those things."

But just as quickly as he dons the "Mongo" persona, he sheds it, shifting seamlessly back into the shrewd businessman that he, in fact, is. Despite his obvious predilection for things bizarre, Mongo appears anything but crazy.

For years he has been the name behind -- and the face in front of -- several Memphis bars, though he denies ever having owned any of them. For each establishment, Prince Mongo has owned the property and then "given" the business to an employee. He claims that he is only interested in collecting the rent as an absentee landlord and occasionally being on hand to host a wet T-shirt contest and to greet guests. Nevertheless, Mongo's name has long been associated with the allegations of underage drinking that have plagued all the bars that have borne his name. He, of course, claims he is innocent of these charges.

"I have never been charged with a beer board violation," he insists. "I have never even held a liquor license in my name."

Mongo's ability to skirt the letter of the law was in evidence again recently when he added a "beach" to the front of The Castle. When the use and occupancy number at The Castle -- the number that regulates how many patrons are allowed in the building at a time -- was reduced from 451 to 88, Mongo found a way to sidestep the regulation.

"When the fire marshall came and said they had to shut us down because we had more than 88 people in here, it infuriated me," he says. "So that next Monday morning I started bringing in 800 tons of sand to put on this property. If they will only let me have 88 people inside, then I decided to give everyone a reason to stay outside. They can restrict me to having only eight people inside, I don't care, I'll just take everybody outside."

In recent weeks his current venue, The Castle, has played host to controversy, mostly stemming from allegations that the club serves alcohol to underage drinkers and that swimmers in the club's pool take dips sans clothes. Police claim that their frequent visits to the club are in response to noise complaints from The Castle's neighbors, many of whom live in the two adjacent high-rise apartment buildings. Mongo claims that he is being targeted by a group of Central Gardens residents, led by the apartment manager of one of the buildings, intent on destroying any restaurant or nightclub that attempts to set up shop in Ashlar Hall, as The Castle was originally named.

"If you are dried up and on the shelf," says Mongo, referring to his detractors, "don't put the rest of us up there with you." He continues: "I've got better things to do than listen to these dumbbells and these Hitlers who run up and down this street trying to destroy me. These people will be the first ones to be destroyed."

Mongo's current foes, however, are simply the most recent in a long line of critics. Over the years he has received waves of scorn from those who insist that Mongo's interplanetary motives are less than pure. He bristles at the suggestion that his alien talk enables him to continue to collect insurance disability checks for being insane. He is visibly offended when told that some people think he surrounds himself with young people because of sexual motives.

"That really bothers me," says Mongo. "I have never heard anyone accuse me of such a thing. I've done work with St. Jude, given them money. If that was true, then after all these years some evidence would have surfaced. I take all of that with a grain of salt. These people are always going to talk about something."

When it comes to The Castle, though, there's little doubt that Mongo does his part to fuel the controversy. And he doesn't appear to be letting up. In an ad in this week's Flyer, he "thanks" the Memphis police for protecting his patrons and promotes 25-cent beers and a trip to Jamaica.

Shifting effortlessly back into the Prince Mongo-alien-import-from-Zambodia role, he tosses out word of his next venture: "I'm about to start a Zambodian Planetology Church. It will be a very interesting church," he says with a smile.

Undoubtedly, his neighbors can hardly wait.

Largest Food Recall In History

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Prepare for what may the largest food recall in North American history

by Spence Cooper on 03/11/10 at 11:46 am

A large batch of the flavor enhancer known as hydrolyzed vegetable protein or HVP, supplied by Basic Food Flavors, a North Las Vegas food ingredient company, was found to be laced with salmonella. Thus far, over one hundred products containing the ingredient have been recalled in both the U.S. and Canada. The company produces about 20 million pounds of the food additive annually.

Michael Hansen, a senior scientist at Consumers Union, the advocacy group that publishes Consumer Reports magazine, told Bloomberg that this case may trigger the recall of as many as 10,000 products. To be sure, HVP is used in virtually everything that is packaged or canned — 10,000 products may be a conservative estimate.

Canwest News reports that in Canada, consumers could be exposed to the contaminated batch through imported pre-packaged foods or items manufactured north of the border using the ingredient.

Michael Armstrong, a quality management specialist at Brock University’s faculty of business said this case is particularly challenging because the raw material is likely considered a generic commodity. This means a food manufacturer might buy HVP from many different suppliers over time, wherever it is cheapest, and store it all together without establishing an efficient trace-back system to a particular source or batch. “It’s the kind of ingredient that’s the hardest to trace,” said Armstrong.

FDAThe FDA claims they began discussions with Basic Food Flavors regarding the firm’s intentions to conduct a voluntary recall of the HVP the company had made on or after September 17. On Feb. 26, 2010, Basic Food Flavors began notifying its customers that it was recalling all of the HVP product made since September 17.

On March 4, 2010, Basic Food Flavors — who offers the food industry 120 varieties of hydrolyzed vegetable protein or HVP — announced a recall of its entire production dating to September 17, 2009. The Food and Drug Administration is continuously updating the recall list at

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) is an MSG-like flavor enhancer that is mixed in with other spices, and added to thousands of processed foods, including chips, dip mixes, salad dressings, sauces, hotdogs, soups, frozen dinners, bouillons, gravy mixes, snacks, and ready-to-eat foods. And unless HVP is part of a flavor mix, HVP may not be listed as an ingredient on a food package.

Among some of the brand name items recalled are Quaker Crispy Minis rice cakes in tomato and basil, Family’s Best smokey bacon potato chips, Healthwise Cream of Mushroom Soup, two flavors of Pringles potato crips, kettle-style chips, and honey mustard/onion pretzels. According to Wal-Mart spokeswoman Anna Taylor, Wal-Mart’s Great Value Ranch Chip Dip, manufactured by T. Marzetti Co. of Columbus, Ohio, has been pulled from their shelves.

Easy on the BeefTwo most recently added items are 1.7 million pounds of ready-to-eat beef taquito and chicken quesadilla products from a Houston firm, and 115,700 pounds of Tornados Ranchero Beef & Cheese roll-ups, made by Ruiz Foods of Denison, Texas.

Bloomberg reports that PepsiCo Inc. voluntarily recalled about 275,000 packages of Quaker Snack Mix Baked Cheddar in the U.S. And PepsiCo has joined Procter & Gamble Co., Nestle SA and McCormick & Co. in recalling products that contained HVPthe flavor protein, says Bloomberg.

“It’s a wake-up call for the food industry as a whole to be more thorough in evaluating the safety of ingredients,” said Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia. “Big companies are putting their trust in suppliers, which is their Achilles heel.”

Dan Flynn with Food Safely News claims the food ingredient company responsible, Basic Food Flavors, relocated to North Las Vegas after encountering too many regulatory obstacles in Pomona, California.

According to FDA inspection records, managers at Basic Food Flavors in Las Vegas learned on Jan. 21st that samples taken a week earlier from their Nevada facility tested positive for salmonella, but they continued shipping their product to foodmakers anyway.

The Washington Post reports Basic Food Flavors tested surfaces near food-processing equipment throughout its plant twice in January and once in February, and each time the samples showed salmonella contamination. The company continued to ship products and to make more HVP without cleaning the plant or the equipment in a way that would have minimized contamination, the FDA records said.

“The contamination is believed to date to September 2009, meaning millions of pounds of potentially tainted HVP — all of which the company has recalled — was shipped in bulk to foodmakers over five months. Many of those companies then sold their products to other clients, complicating the distribution chain and making it hard for federal officials to gauge the scope of the problem.”

FDA spokeswoman Meghan Scott says “The FDA is reviewing the evidence in association with the current inspection of Basic Food Flavors to determine the appropriate regulatory response.”

Is the FDA serious? The appropriate regulatory response would be to shut the company down! Despite federal officials being alerted to a problem with the Basic Food Flavors by a foodmaker who detected salmonella in one lot of HVP it purchased from them, the Nevada-based company didn’t announce a public consumer recall until March 4.

Remember, the FDA does not have the authority to order recalls so U.S. food companies are given carte blanche to poison the public at will. And if one of Basic Food Flavors customers hadn’t blown the whistle on the salmonella laced HVP, the FDA wouldn’t have known about the contamination at all.

The Washington Post said Federal inspectors subsequently went to the plant within days of the complaint and conducted 14 inspections in the span of about two weeks. They documented dirty utensils and equipment — mixers and tubing coated with brown residue — and cracks and fractures in the floor, as well as standing water on the floor — all conditions where bacteria can breed.

FDA inspectors noted “standing, grey/black liquid” in the drain near the area where the hydrolyzed vegetable protein was turned from paste to powder. “We sensed an odor in the vicinity of this drain,” the inspectors wrote.

Last year Setton Farms was the center of a salmonella scare and continued shipping nuts for six months knowing some of its pistachios were tainted.

Thus far no illnesses have been reported and food officials claim the risk is low for processed foods because they’re cooked; the risk is much higher though for uncooked foods like chips and dips. But as Sylvain Charlebois, a University of Regina business professor and author of the new book Not On My Plate: managing risk and fear, points out:

“You’re dealing with a byproduct, so if companies are not recalling their product, it’s because they probably don’t have an answer and they don’t know. Why? Because most companies do have a food traceability system, but it’s not transversal, meaning that their system doesn’t necessarily communicate efficiently with the systems of suppliers or customers or clients.”

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gerber Machete Recall

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This machete that doubles as a saw has been recalled due to a laceration hazard. Machete's are one of the most versatile of the knife family. Somehow the handle can come lose when the saw part of the blade gets stuck in the wood and the other side of the knife cuts the user.
They have a modified handle with a better blade guard to replace the flawed one. Please check out this link.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Taken For A Ride

Blogroll Me!No mystery how things have gotten the way they are today! I guess you just have to live long enough to see the pattern.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Acid Test Party

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It looks like Zane Kesey is continuing his fathers work. Wish I could be there for some of that blotter art, and to see the magic bus Furthur!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Blogroll Me!My Grandmother is said to be a pack rat. She has always had everything that I asked to borrow or use. She lived through the depression. But sometimes hoarding can be debilitating. Unfortunately the folks who are in charge of her have pretty much taken everything away from her. There is not pictures of her grandchildren anymore, no angel collection. She has always been generous. I do not believe she fits the description of a hoarder. Like all things...I must start with myself. Clean up my own debris first.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


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I have been working on my parents genealogy charts this week. My grandmother on my fathers side of the family did extensive work on her linage. As far as I can tell no one on my mothers side of the family has made such a chart. I thought it couldn't be that hard. I found it tedious...but I was able to assemble a chart of sorts to start with for the OFlaherty/McKee side of our family. I lose the trail when they come to America from Ireland.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


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My Grandmother lives in assisted living. She had been asking them for years to put a park bench out in front of this nice big old maple tree. After years of her polite requests, they finally put in a wonderful sturdy park bench right out under that old maple. I was dismayed however to see the prune job they did on the maple. I don't think the tree is going to provide the relief of shade real soon...maybe never.
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Monday, March 1, 2010