Friday, September 15, 2006

Building a Canoe - The Final Chapter

Well, the boat is finally done. It's been finished for a while, but I was too lazy to get it on the blog. Here it is, at home. Susan did the stenciling and designed the decks. I learned a lot about woodworking and boatbuilding doing this. And, I got to get a couple of new tools for the project.

The second picture is the boat on the water. I wanted something that handles like an Old Town Canadienne and this canoe didn't disappoint me. Moderate initial stability that firms up, tracks without a lot of correction and turns nicely when leaned. Our next trip in it will be up to northern Michigan to paddle the Pine River when the fall colors develop. I just can't wait to see how it handles on moving water.
 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Building a Canoe #4

Well, here is the exterior of the hull after putting on the fiberglass and epoxy. Susan inked the pattern on the hull after final sanding and before glassing. The only work left on the exterior is the final wet-sanding and varnishing, but I am going to finish the interior first.

The hull is ready to come off the forms, and am building a couple of cradles to set it on. So, I will finish the final wet-sanding and varnishing later when the interior is fiberglassed.

Yesterday went to Owl Lumber and decided on mahogany for the gunwales and teak for the decks and thwart. Seeing some of the wood there gave me ideas for another boat. I wonder what purpleheart would look like as an accent strip?

The work so far has been great fun and I'm learning a lot about woodworking. Just seeing the quality woods available is impressive and further convinces me that for great looks and function there is little that matches building something from wood or other natural materials. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Building A Canoe #3

I Finally finished stripping out the hull. Made a lot of mistakes, but next time will know how to cut and form the strips better and shape them to the complex curves at the bow and stern.

Now comes the real tedious part, the fine forming and sanding before glassing the hull. But then, that is good, relaxing, work to unwind after a day working to pay the bills.

Now am thinking about the gunwhales, seats and perhaps a Navajo pattern along the hull. Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 17, 2006

Building a Canoe #2

Here it is. Making a little progress as I strip the hull. It looks like I will be finished with this soon and be able to begin sanding in preparation for applying the fiberglass. I'm making a lot of mistakes along the way, this being my first strip-built boat. But it is still fun and I'll have a nice looking boat nonetheless.

Using Northern White Cedar with one strip of Western Red Cedar as an accent. I'm thinking of using Cherry and Ash for the gunwhales. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Fun With 3D

For those interested in stereo photography, this card was made using Pokescope software. Usually I use a Stereo Realist camera, but this was done with my digital camera in two exposures. Pokescope's alignment and cropping make freehand stereo pairs practical.

Anyway, this is a figure for Dia de los Muertos by Guillermina Aguilar. I haven't been to Oaxaca yet and hope to get there and visit the Aguilar shop. That family makes some inspired and fun pieces that are humorous, whimsical and thoughtful. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Demonstrating That Islam Is Evil

Of course I view Islam as evil along with all the other world's religions. After all I'm an athiest. Be that as it may, the recent riots by muslims over the cartoons published in Europe clearly show how evil, intolerant and filled with hatred the members of that religion are. To speak otherwise is to lie about the real nature
of islam.

Those cartoons are offensive and show islamic hatred of all other religions by justly mocking its semi-literate, ignorant, founder. Mocking religion is not confined to islam as Serrano's Piss Christ demonstrates. And, as much as I may find Piss Christ or the Jyllands-Posten cartoon of muhammad offensive, we all have the right to ridicule superstitious beliefs. How is it that evangelists were not rioting in the streets of America when confronted with an image that would be akin to showing muhammad covered in dog excrement? And while I detest evangelicals, I must admit that they demonstrated a little bit of tolerance towards a view that was hostile towards their religion.

What is particularly odd is that while the muslim world demands respect for their religion, they have no tolerance for other beliefs. It is actually unbelievable that islamic practices are not prosecuted according to "hate crimes" law. Perhaps muslim apologists will try to point out the good that their religion accomplishes, but actions do speak louder than words. Those were not christian Danish grandmothers demonstrating a love for humanity who flew passenger jets into the world trade center towers.

I would have a different view of islamic religious tolerance if there was evidence of it. Not only are fellow muslims, especially women, treated animalistically by religious authorities in the islamic world, particular hatred is shown christian or baha'i missionaries in Saudi Arabia and Iran. My speaking about islamic benevolence towards other faiths will not happen soon since muslims continue to prove that the basis of their religion is a hatred of all that is not islam.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Building a Canoe #1

I've had enough feeling grouchy about the dismal state of America, so decided to do something positive for myself. I've decided to build a 16 1/2 foot Peterborough to use on the small streams of Northern Michigan. Here are the stations set up on the strongback, ready for the rest of the work. I've gotten some Northern White Cedar and am busy ripping strips and preparing them.

It's a great way to relieve stress, though right now I have a lot of sawdust and not much to show for it. And, like anything I imagine that there will be mistakes to be made that, as the builder, I'll be the only one to notice (I hope). Still, at the end of all the work it will be nice to be able to paddle a unique cedar-strip boat.

The prospect of enjoying the nice rivers we have around the Great Lakes is one reason that the inconvenience of having to keep my car out in the cold is only minor. But then, like building the boat itself, the experience-intensive act of canoeing makes this all worth it. Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 06, 2006

Outrage Just Isn't Enough Anymore

Haven't thought to write in a while since railing at the abuses of my government and the religious war on science just would add one more voice to the chorus. Then, Pat Robertson proclaimed that Ariel Sharon's stroke was a punishment by God. This is merely the latest in his hate-filled pronouncements of our creator's thoughts. Robertson has no proof that he knows the mind of God any more than he could prove me wrong when I say that I spoke to the creator today and she told me that Robertson is an unethical weasel destined for the 8'th ring of Hell. Anyway, I am disgusted by remarks that give voice to religious thought more in tune with our barbaric history than the ethics of human value.

It is sad that Robertson's remarks are not vigorously challenged except for a few tepid rebuttals that what he said was un-christian and a perversion of religion. That got my attention because Robertson has always been clear that his thoughts come from the Old Testament, the foundation of many religions. His pronouncements have always been christian and religious. I am convinced that his remarks, rather than a corruption of western religious thought, is precisely what religion is all about; hatred of nonbelievers, intolerance of non-religious thought, and a call to slavishly subjugation our thoughts to authority. Religion is profoundly moral in the sense that it makes judgements of right and wrong. What I object to is the debased, primitive, ethics of Robertson's religion. He sure likes those moral ten-commandments but doesn't say that the punishment for transgressing any of them is death. Ah, such a loving creator, to advance the cause of hatred in our world.

That is the problem when one really sees what serves as the foundation for Christianity, Judiasm, and Islam. Wow! Those books are chock full of hatred. After all we have the bible to thank for two millenia of atrocities against innocent people acused of being witches, heritics or scientists. The koran is even better, with a frenzied hatred of nonbelievers on nearly every page. It is unfortunate that in America we talk of a war on terror when in actuality it should be a war on an islam that seeks to kill all nonbelievers. But then to accept the reality that the islamic religion is at war with us we would need to examine our christian and judiac roots and I think people are afraid to confront the issue that all religions are about the hatred of outsiders. We would rather live under an umbrella of faux tolerance than recognize that Pat Robertson is indeed a very religious man.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I’m Betting Against America (The U.S.A.)

Railing against an unregulated globalization hasn’t done me any good, so I decided to look out for my own best interests and begin investing in foreign stocks. Two fundamental ideas spurred me to this:
"The creation of wealth is still associated with robust manufacturing.
"Nobody ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American public."

While I am employed in manufacturing, more and more of my countrymen seem to behave as if jobs in a service economy, selling hamburgers to each other, is the way to create a prosperous and healthy nation. Am I missing something? I think not. I see how manufacturing adds value, and that value not only goes to shareholders but contributes to the good wages and benefits enjoyed by skilled workers. Contrast this to the grim zero-sum game of service jobs where very few are enriched by the work of many low-paid drones. Wealth is created by shifting the business risks of maintaining benefits and a livable wage to the society in general which then must support public programs to rectify the deficiencies created by service employers. A service economy cannibalizes already created wealth and I don’t know of any society of cannibals that remained healthy.

With government policy that discourages support for manufacturing in the U.S.A., it makes more sense to invest in low-wage, high-value foreign manufacturing. Especially now, before foreign workers are educated to the point where they question why they are receiving so little of the value they create. But then, I guess that stupidity is not exclusively an American trait. So, with American companies shifting the value added manufacturing jobs overseas, I am betting on an ever increasing loss of real wealth-creating work in the U.S.A..

Perhaps if American’s were well educated they will see the risk in becoming consumers, rather than producers of wealth. Gone are the days of the shrewd American who was canny while giving the impression of bemused ignorance. Today, the stupidity goes to the core of a preponderance of my countrymen. How else may one explain the lack of critical thinking when 44% of Americans hold that creationism is a legitimate explanation for the fact of evolution and natural selection does not explain the variety of life. And these are the people with the technical power to drive advances in American manufacturing? Don’t bet on it: I’m not!

Monday, February 07, 2005

Conservatives And The Destruction Of The Public Good

I am fascinated, watched the ascendency of right wing policies in these United States. One of the most destructive ideas that underlies much of conservative and republican-party thought is that the private sector is more effective and successful in providing a good life for americans than any public activity driven by an elected government. Strange, though, that evidence is conspicuously lacking and even more puzzling is that people buy that claptrap despite the evidence of their lying eyes.

The economics of private ownership and free enterprise is amoral. The private sector makes decisions bsed on profit and loss only and the benefit that accrues to any of us is economic and based solely upon the utility we have as workers and purchasers of goods and services. The consequence of this, as we in America are experiencing, is a grotesque race-to-the-bottom where public good is held hostage to cheap, animalistic, labor, whether brought in through unsecured borders or through the use of foreign manufacturing. This being so wildly successful in generating obscene profit that any idea of public responsibility or creating a good life for citizens through public action is disturbing to the very rich.

Consequently the public discourse of the conservative right is aimed at creating negative, anti-public sentiment. How else to explain the insane hatred of all those programs, like social security, that are designed to promote social good? Franklin D. Roosevelt created the middle class in less than one tem in office but republicans have been trying to destroy those programs for sixty years. If succesful we will continue into a mean future, the only industrialized nation without a national health program, basic protection for its workers, and held hostage to the whims of a right wing that seeks to destroy societal cohesion.