Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Financial Meltdown

All I can say, is when there is blood in the street, it's time to buy some stocks.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

PETA is on Crack

Another reason PETA needs an anal-cranial inversion:


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Lawsuit in the Making:

The definition of “natural born citizen” might weigh heavy on the minds of the Supreme Court Justices later this year. If John McCain wins the election this November, this very phrase, may be the basis of a lawsuit by the Democratic Party.

Article II of Constitution mandates that the President be a natural born citizen, but fails to define this phrase. The origin of this phrase is said to be from a letter by John Jay to insure loyalty of both the generals and then later the president. Traditionally this meant that the citizen must be born a citizen, and this traditionally meant born in one of the States, and not another country.

The issue we now face is that John McCain was born in the Canal Zone in Panama. While the territory was owned by the United States by treaty, it was not even a territory or Commonwealth with a civilian government. It was under military rule, not a civilian government. Additionally, the law that granted citizenship to persons born in the Canal Zone to American citizen parents retroactively did not enter into effect until well after John McCain was born. This situation varies significantly from Al Gore or Barry Goldwater, who were born in Washington DC and the Arizona Territory respectively.

John McCain was not granted citizenship via statute until well after he was born, although it applied retroactively. The question for the high court will be whether the fact that John McCain was born of US citizens on a military installation is consistent with the idea of natural-born citizen, or whether they will take a more literal view of having to be born in the United States proper.

I would think that the court will find that John McCain fits the spirit of the law and that most Americans will accept such a ruling. He was a citizen by all meaningful definitions and was not a citizen of another country, and therefore should be eligible for the Presidency.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New Navigator

I got a new toy for my birthday, a GPS navigator for my car. While I’ve had a GPS system in my car since 1998, I finally came into the 21st century by getting one with a street map on it. My old unit was a hand held Garmin that was good for boats and hiking, but its mapping was just a primitive screen with a track history overlay.

The new unit is an AVMap Geosat 5. www.avmap.it/index.php?swt=01&lng=en-us It does everything a GPS mapper needs to do. Additionally, it came with software and a cable to interface with my amateur radio so that I can beaconing out into the world so that people can track me if they so desire (you can too at this website: www.findu.com/cgi-bin/find.cgi?call=N1ZZZ-9). The GPS will even display other hamsters in the area who are beconing, and even worse, you can set it to follow a certain station. This would be a good thing in emergency communications.

The first big test as a navigator is when I drive from Wilkes-Barre to CT to see my parents. I know the route already, but we will see if the GPS and I agree.

Lastly, since it does talk to you with a female voice, I think we need to name it. I am open to any suggestions for a name.

Opening Day for Oysters

It was just before dawn on the first of September. September is the first month with an “r” in it since April, and so the oyster flats were officially open to shell fishing, and we didn’t intend to miss the first low tide of the opening day of the season.

While my mother sat in the middle thwart of our 13 foot rowboat, I let go the bowline and my father started the small outboard motor and let go of the stern line. We slowly made our way to the channel and up East Creek in Cutchogue, NY towards Cutchogue Harbor where the nearest oyster beds awaited us.

The creeks have a speed limit of 5 mph to limit the eroding effects of boat wake on the salt marshes, so I made use of our slow transit by trolling a fishing line for snappers, the juvenile bluefish that put up a deceptive fight considering their small size, but got only a passing strike.

The water was calm, with a mist of fog rising from the placid waters. The snapping turtles popping their heads up out of the water were the only things disturbing the water’s surface that morning as we made our way down the creek.

We pulled into a cove on the bay, since all of the shell fishing beds in the creeks are closed, and my parents got out of the boat. I couldn’t go shell fishing because I didn’t have a permit, but after I got the boat anchored to the shore, I took a walk around the beach.

My father, ever the intrepid explorer, went deep into the mud flats at the head of the cove, where the water flowed from the marsh into the sea, and started to collect the largest oysters he could pick up. He said it was like shooting fish in a barrel, and soon had eight and a half dozen oysters.

Oyster fishing, along with collecting mussels, is a much simpler process then clamming. The oysters and mussels are attached to the marsh grass, along the roots, and are usually exposed during low tide. They are sometimes buried in the mud away from the shore, but usually along the mud flats still exposed by the fallen tide. Clams on the other hand, are usually found in the mud well in the water, and require a rake and some skill to harvest them.

What shocked me was that we were the only ones gathering oysters. I have discussed this with my parents and I believe that it is a sign of the population of Cutchogue now. Gone are the old locals, replaced by summering people from the city, who have no knowledge or desire to go shell fishing. I think it is easier for them to go to the local fish market and pick up a dozen oysters then trudge around in the smelly mud at low tide. Perhaps Labor Day wasn’t the best example of this theory, but I still find it fascinating that we were the only ones out there.

Since the tide was now dead-low, and we had all the oysters we needed, we decided to head up the coast of Little Hog Neck (also erroneously called Nassau point) , and see if we could catch some snappers. I took the helm at this time, and slowly motored out of the cove. We caught a couple very small ones that we threw back, and commented that they were in general, small for September. I did hook a surprise however; a sea robin. I didn’t quite get it into the boat, but got it far enough out of the water to know what it was. I had never seen one except in pictures, and had only heard of my grandfather catching one once. They are an ugly, orange fish, with large fins and are generally useless.

After puttering around for about twenty-minutes, we headed back to the creek where we managed to hook four decent sized snappers so my mother would have a nice seafood lunch.

We got back to the dock and I went off to pack, while my father spent the rest of the morning shucking his oysters for his oyster stew. It was a good morning getting back to the roots of North Fork living.