Monday, October 26, 2009


Last week the battery in my Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) died.
It was four years old, and over a year out of warranty so I complained little.
In checking on the company website for a replacement battery, I was encouraged to buy a whole new UPS as the newer ones use less power, have better batteries, etc..
And.... they will buy back my old UPS as a trade-in.
I did some checking and decided to buy a new one.

But I knew that there was a wiring problem with the house receptacle that my old UPS was plugged in to.
The ground was not connected to the earth ground of the house.
So before I could plug in my new UPS, I had to fix the wall receptacle.

I knew that the only solution was to rewire this receptacle.
From the main service box.
It was a project that I had been putting off for four years, but I knew had to be done some day and this was the ideal excuse to do it.

So.... I went to the giant house-stuff store and bought 100 ft of house wire.
The scheduled day for the project was Friday.
So, after my weight workout, I set about re-wiring my bedroom receptacle.

My service box in in my utility room, so I stated from there, feeding as much wire as I could up into the slit into my attic.
Then it was up into the attic (with my work light) to find the new wire, get my aging body over to it (with a combination of duck walking and crawling on the edges of the ceiling joist/trusses).
Once I got hold of the wire, I had to pull it through the attic to my bedroom wall.
This involved crawling/duck walking down the center of the attic and reaching around the truss supports as I pulled the wire along.
This was a good core workout.
Too good.

Finally, I found the bedroom wall plate and the hole where the wires were run down into the wall to the receptacle.
I pushed the new wire into the hole (fortunately it was large enough to accept another wire).
Then I climbed down from the attic and cut a 2 inch by 2 inch hole in the wall next to the receptacle.
This was to help me find the new wire.
With a small mirror and my flashlight I look for new wire in the wall cavity.
No see.

So I cut over another two inches.
Still no wire.
I cut the sheet rock two more inches and look again.
No wire.

This time I expanded my slit over two more inches and up by two more inches.
And when I poked in my mirror and flashlight, Voila!, I see my new wire a few inches above my slit.
My wall hole is now big enough for me to stick my arm into the wall, grab the wire and pull it down to the wall box.
Into the box it went.
I pulled enough through to give me enough to work with, stripped off about 9 inches of the outer sheath, and stripped about an inch off the ends of the black and white wires.
I bent them into a hook shape, slid them under the screws and cranked them tight.
(I had turned off the breaker to this receptacle earlier.)

Then it was back into the attic to pull the slack out of the wall.
This amounted to about a foot or two, at most.
Then back down out of the attic and into the utility room to pull a little slack.

Then I had to rout the new wire through the holes cut into the rafters in my utility room over to the service box.
That was a good shoulder workout.
Too good.

Once I got it to the service box I did a rough measurement of what I would need to attach the wires inside the box and cut the wire.
I routed the new wire into the box and stripped off about 12 inches of the outer sheath.
Oh, and I turned off the main power breaker.
Now there were only two little places where I could get shocked.

I stripped the wire, put the ends in the appropriate holes, and tightened the screws.

With that wire.

I flipped on the breaker.
I listen.
No arc welding noises.
No sparks.
This is good.
I go into the bedroom again and with my DMM (Digital Muli-Meter) and my handy-dandy, all-in-one socket tester, I check the receptacles in the box.
Voltage reads good, hot to neutral (122vac), neutral to ground (0 vac), ground to hot (122 vac).
But now, instead of it reading "hot/ground reversed", it reads "open neutral".
How can this be?
All I did was add a ground wire.
Oh, well.

Since my stereo/entertainment center is wired similarly, I decided to re-do the receptacle for it in a similar manner.
And today was the day.
Since I had not killed myself in the previous exercise, I was encouraged to proceed.
I found the breaker to the living room receptacle, flipped it off and went through the same process,(poke new wire up into attic from utility room, climb into attic, pull more wire into attic, poke wire down through wall hole, climb down from attic, cut hole in wall, look for wire, etc)
After a couple of wall hole expansions I found the new wire and re-wired the receptacle.

I repeated the wire pulling service box measuring, cutting, bending, stripping, bending, inserting, screwing, etc.

Flip breaker on.
No noises.
No sparks.

I test.
Same deal.
Good voltages, but "open neutral".
AND when I plug my stereo into the receptacle and turn it on, strong 60 Hz hum in my speakers.
Not good.

It took me almost exactly four hours to wire two receptacles.

Time to call in someone who knows what they are doing.
I made the call, but they have not yet come to look at the situation.

(I tested many -not all - other receptacles in my little house and NONE of them read correct.
So I have a problem. Since many of them are "not right" in a similar way, I suspect something is not right in my service box. Wee shall see....)

Stay tuned.

In God we trust.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Everything is fine.
I have been busy working out four days a week.
I have been working to finish an analysis of a book by D.S. Warner, "Bible Proof of the Second Work of Grace".
I got inspired to build a few small accessories for my desk, workshop and gym.

My desk got a new elevated book stand so that I could put my big Strong's concordance next to my computer keyboard.

My gym got a couple of guides (for lack of a better term) to go on my barbell so that it cannot slide to one side during a certain exercise.
This problem is the result of some imprecise workmanship on another part in my gym.
Engineering change requests/orders are in process to correct this problem.

My workshop got a new and improved box in which to store my wood scraps.
This project came about while trying to build my desk stand.
I got frustrated trying to find pieces of wood of a certain size by digging through the big bin that I had all my wood scraps in.
All my little leftover pieces were all piled together in one big box.
So, methinks, why not build a storage container that allows my scraps to be divided by size?
Good idea, my other self says.
So, off I go to my quadrille lined paper to deeziin my new box.
After some measuring, cutting and glueing, I now have a new, sub-divided box for my wood scraps.
And I can see at a glance what I have of each size of wood.
Woo hoo.

More soon.

In God we trust.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Doing the Math and the Moves

Today is Thursday.
Since I have decided to return to a four-workouts-per-week schedule, today is a workout day.
And since I am continuing with the plan that I paid $40.00 for a few months ago, the Monday and Thursday workouts work that same areas of the body, to wit: arms and legs.

The exercise I dread/hate the most is lunges.
They wear me out.
Today was lunge day.
I was not looking forward to this session, or at least, the lunge part of it.

But I have successfully completed my lunge tasks for the week.
The math works out like this....

20 pound dumbbell in each hand = 40 pounds.
Partial body weight (66%) raised and lowered each rep = 110 pounds.
That equals 150 pounds total weight each repetition (for each leg).
One set equals 20 reps for each leg = 40 reps per set.
Total sets performed = 3.
3 set of 20 reps = 60 reps per leg.
That equals 120 reps combined for both legs. (20 x 3 x 2)
120 reps x 150 pounds = 18,000 pounds lifted.

That, my friends, is a lot of weight.
The largest total load of any of my exercises.
Even more than squats lately. (175 + 110 x 21 x 3 = 17,955)
When I finished my last set, my heart rate was about 150 bpm.
But I have a very strong heart, it seems.
Within a minute my heart rate was down to about 120 bpm.

It is amusing to watch myself try to walk after these sessions.
I can barely stand up unassisted, let alone walk.
After each set I stumble/shuffle to my computer in the room next to my gym room and log in my results.
And rest for a couple of minutes.
Panting like an old man trying to lift weights, oh, wait....

Speaking of math...
Look at the new healthcare tax bill making its way through the U.S. Senate this week.
It contains a new tax on every medical machine or appliance sold in the U.S..
It contains a new tax on health insurance policies that contain extra benefits.
It requires every taxpayer to buy and pay for a health insurance policy, whether you want one or not.
If you do not, you will be fined.
Since the new health care tax will be administered by the Internal Revenue Service, failure to pay your new healthcare tax/premiums will amount to tax evasion.
You can be sent to prison for tax evasion.
Your health care is free in prison.

But since almost half of the doctors in the U.S. will retire/quit if this new plan is passed (see previous post), it will take longer for people to see a doctor.
More people will die waiting for urgent care.
Since more people, who pay taxes/premiums, are dying, less money will be coming in to finance all this wonderful healthcare that there are not enough doctors to provide, so the cost of the healthcare that the survivors must pay for will go up more.

Until the last guy living will have a healthcare bill of 5,000,000,000,000 dollars. (that's trillion)
When he sees is bill, he will pass out and die from shock.
End of the problem.

I predict there will be a mass migration of medical personnel to the Mexican border in the next 5 years.
I predict there will be 20,000+ doctors all along the U.S./Mexican border where you can get any procedure performed at a discount price. (cash/charge; no insurance accepted)

In God we trust.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A Fun Time Was Had By Most

I attended the Saturday session of the 43rd Annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention in Athens, Alabama this past weekend (since most Saturdays are on weekends...)
It was good to hear the pleasant sound of acoustic instruments in the open air again.

I have been attending this event off and on for many years.
Even when my former pastor banned such attendance by completely misunderstanding what goes on here.
Since I had seen the kind of "competition" that took place, I continued to come.
I knew the intentions of the minister were good but misplaced.
I did attempt to correct him in a brief private meeting with him, but he would not relent.
So I ignored his pronouncement.

This year, as in several years in the past, a theme or trend emerged during the course of the festivities.
One year it was the year of the kids.
Several bands and individual young people showed up with exceptional talent and took awards for their playing skills. (including a blind 14-year-old fiddler who blew the walls out with his skills)
Two young men who now play in Ricky Skaggs' band "Kentucky Thunder" were among those young players - Andy Leftwich (fiddle) and Cody Kilby (guitar).

This year it was the year of the girls.

Four of the five finalists in the Junior Fiddler division were young females.
And they were exceptional musicians.
I would have hated to be a judge and have to decide who among them was the best.
And a girl won that category.

There were at least two young females in the flatpick guitar competition, as well.

The same was true of the Bluegrass Band competition.
Yep, an ALL GIRL band tore the house down.

The group is/was the Ward Family from Columbia, Tennessee (they have a website...)
Pay attention kuz you may be hearing more from these ladies.

Although there seemed to be fewer teenagers this year than in years past (it fluctuates for reasons I have yet to understand), there were plenty of contestants from that age group.

A one-handed dobro player and band.

Friday, October 02, 2009


45% Of Doctors Would Consider Quitting If Congress Passes Health Care Overhaul

Posted 09/15/2009 07:09 PM ET

Two of every three practicing physicians oppose the medical overhaul plan under consideration in Washington, and hundreds of thousands would think about shutting down their practices or retiring early if it were adopted, a new IBD/TIPP Poll has found.

The poll contradicts the claims of not only the White House, but also doctors' own lobby — the powerful American Medical Association — both of which suggest the medical profession is behind the proposed overhaul.

It also calls into question whether an overhaul is even doable; 72% of the doctors polled disagree with the administration's claim that the government can cover 47 million more people with better-quality care at lower cost.

The IBD/TIPP Poll was conducted by mail the past two weeks, with 1,376 practicing physicians chosen randomly throughout the country taking part. Responses are still coming in, and doctors' positions on related topics — including the impact of an overhaul on senior care, medical school applications and drug development — will be covered later in this series.

Major findings included:

• Two-thirds, or 65%, of doctors say they oppose the proposed government expansion plan. This contradicts the administration's claims that doctors are part of an "unprecedented coalition" supporting a medical overhaul.

It also differs with findings of a poll released Monday by National Public Radio that suggests a "majority of physicians want public and private insurance options," and clashes with media reports such as Tuesday's front-page story in the Los Angeles Times with the headline "Doctors Go For Obama's Reform."

Nowhere in the Times story does it say doctors as a whole back the overhaul. It says only that the AMA — the "association representing the nation's physicians" and what "many still regard as the country's premier lobbying force" — is "lobbying and advertising to win public support for President Obama's sweeping plan."

The AMA, in fact, represents approximately 18% of physicians and has been hit with a number of defections by members opposed to the AMA's support of Democrats' proposed health care overhaul.

• Four of nine doctors, or 45%, said they "would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement" if Congress passes the plan the Democratic majority and White House have in mind.

More than 800,000 doctors were practicing in 2006, the government says. Projecting the poll's finding onto that population, 360,000 doctors would consider quitting.

• More than seven in 10 doctors, or 71% — the most lopsided response in the poll — answered "no" when asked if they believed "the government can cover 47 million more people and that it will cost less money and the quality of care will be better."

This response is consistent with critics who complain that the administration and congressional Democrats have yet to explain how, even with the current number of physicians and nurses, they can cover more people and lower the cost at the same time.

The only way, the critics contend, is by rationing care — giving it to some and denying it to others. That cuts against another claim by plan supporters — that care would be better.

IBD/TIPP's finding that many doctors could leave the business suggests that such rationing could be more severe than even critics believe. Rationing is one of the drawbacks associated with government plans in countries such as Canada and the U.K. Stories about growing waiting lists for badly needed care, horror stories of care gone wrong, babies born on sidewalks, and even people dying as a result of care delayed or denied are rife.

In this country, the number of doctors is already lagging population growth.

From 2003 to 2006, the number of active physicians in the U.S. grew by just 0.8% a year, adding a total of 25,700 doctors.

Recent population growth has been 1% a year. Patients, in short, are already being added faster than physicians, creating a medical bottleneck.

The great concern is that, with increased mandates, lower pay and less freedom to practice, doctors could abandon medicine in droves, as the IBD/TIPP Poll suggests. Under the proposed medical overhaul, an additional 47 million people would have to be cared for — an 18% increase in patient loads, without an equivalent increase in doctors. The actual effect could be somewhat less because a significant share of the uninsured already get care.

Even so, the government vows to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from health care spending to pay for reform, which would encourage a flight from the profession.

The U.S. today has just 2.4 physicians per 1,000 population — below the median of 3.1 for members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the official club of wealthy nations.

Adding millions of patients to physicians' caseloads would threaten to overwhelm the system. Medical gatekeepers would have to deny care to large numbers of people. That means care would have to be rationed.

"It's like giving everyone free bus passes, but there are only two buses," Dr. Ted Epperly, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, told the Associated Press.

Hope for a surge in new doctors may be misplaced. A recent study from the Association of American Medical Colleges found steadily declining enrollment in medical schools since 1980.

The study found that, just with current patient demand, the U.S. will have 159,000 fewer doctors than it needs by 2025. Unless corrected, that would make some sort of medical rationing or long waiting lists almost mandatory.

Experiments at the state level show that an overhaul isn't likely to change much.

On Monday came word from the Massachusetts Medical Society — a group representing physicians in a state that has implemented an overhaul similar to that under consideration in Washington — that doctor shortages remain a growing problem.

Its 2009 Physician Workforce Study found that:

• The primary care specialties of family medicine and internal medicine are in short supply for a fourth straight year.

• The percentage of primary care practices closed to new patients is the highest ever recorded.

• Seven of 18 specialties — dermatology, neurology, urology, vascular surgery and (for the first time) obstetrics-gynecology, in addition to family and internal medicine — are in short supply.

• Recruitment and retention of physicians remains difficult, especially at community hospitals and with primary care.

A key reason for the doctor shortages, according to the study, is a "lingering poor practice environment in the state."

In 2006, Massachusetts passed its medical overhaul — minus a public option — similar to what's being proposed on a national scale now. It hasn't worked as expected. Costs are higher, with insurance premiums rising 22% faster than in the U.S. as a whole.

"Health spending in Massachusetts is higher than the United States on average and is growing at a faster rate," according to a recent report from the Urban Institute.

Other states with government-run or mandated health insurance systems, including Maine, Tennessee and Hawaii, have been forced to cut back services and coverage.

This experience has been repeated in other countries where a form of nationalized care is common. In particular, many nationalized health systems seem to have trouble finding enough doctors to meet demand.

In Britain, a lack of practicing physicians means the country has had to import thousands of foreign doctors to care for patients in the National Health Service.

"A third of (British) primary care trusts are flying in (general practitioners) from as far away as Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Switzerland" because of a doctor shortage, a recent story in the British Daily Mail noted.

British doctors, demoralized by long hours and burdensome rules, simply refuse to see patients at nights and weekends.

Likewise, Canadian physicians who have to deal with the stringent rules and income limits imposed by that country's national health plan have emigrated in droves to other countries, including the U.S.


April 15 th of 2013 was my last year to work for HR Block. I disliked the corporate pressure to make us call customers to try ...