09/02/2012 Leave a comment
The beam is sanded and prepped.
Let's see what's out there.
08/26/2012 Leave a comment
I finally gritted my teeth and looked at the water damage on the forward side of the bulkhead.
The beam and headliner have severe rot to the point of being useless. I won’t even be able to through-bolt the partner because of the rot. At this point, my temporary fix will consist of lots of West System, 3/8″ lags, and then a restoration of something solid on other side of the bulkhead.
From the looks of the split in the beam, it’s been there a while. While there’s no wear, the wood appears oxidized – darker – than a fresh split would appear. Also, the leaks around the mast root and subsequent rot in the wood below it seem to have been there for quite some time.
So, one step at a time. Patch the main beam crack. Clear out any rotted material and restore that area. Then, when I can drop the mast, I will replace both beams and the forward section of the headliner.
08/19/2012 Leave a comment
The main structural member for the cabin is cracked.
I discovered it when I removed the old plastic clinometer so I could clean it up or replace it with a new one. I’m not sure if the crack occurred recently (as in, within the last 10 years) or if it has been there for a while as a result of being dropped from a TraveLift prior to my owning it. It’s not really important at this point, but I want to replace it eventually, and patch it in the short term. Fortunately, I have a nice stock of mahogany pieces saved up and was able to find a suitable piece for use as a partner. Once I have it cut to size and properly rounded, I plan to inject some West System into the crack, jack the beam back into alignment, and bolt the partner into place.
Updates on progress will follow.
08/19/2012 Leave a comment
I’ve been toying with restoring my 1967 Coronado 25 ever since I bought her in 1992, but I never got past the tinkering stage, opting instead to go out for day sails, perform basic maintenance to keep her afloat, and hang out with friends in the cockpit on a warm evening.
It’s gotten serious, though. I started out simply wanting to restore the original cabin configuration, which the previous owner had undone by cutting the galley in half and moving it from the port to starboard side, thereby also taking up the nice seating area with fold-down table that serves as a double-berth. Now, I want a nice little cruiser that my wife and I can take off in for a few days and be comfortable, at least until I can move up to something a little bigger.
Step 1 was to strip the cabin back to its baseline. I wanted to restore the original galley, the remaining half of which I had long since replaced with my own configuration. I stripped the port side down to the liner and found enough mahogany to build the face frame that matched the original galley size and configuration. What I didn’t know, however, was how the blasted thing was held in. I didn’t see any tabs, blocks, or screw holes in the liner that might have given me a clue, so I contacted the previous owner to see if he could remember. I am awaiting his response.
04/04/2011 1 Comment
It’s all the non-smokers’ fault.
When a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-300 suffered a five-foot gash in its fuselage April 1, causing an emergency landing and some shaken up passengers, no one thought to blame the lack of a smoking section on the aircraft for the accident.
You see, in the days of in-flight smoking, some of the smoke got sucked to the outside through any micro-cracks in the outer aluminum skin of the fuselage. These micro-cracks were early indicators of fatigue in the metal and warned maintenance crews that it was time to replace that section of the skin. All inspectors had to do was remove a portion of the aircraft’s headliner, and they were able to see the cracks by looking for nicotine stains that lined them. Smoking bans on flights deprived the inspectors of a traceable dye and made micro-cracks invisible.
It makes you wonder how many times second-hand smoke has saved the lives of airline passengers.
04/03/2011 Leave a comment
If I were inclined to dismiss or even try to bury the message of a play, I could no doubt find a great number of flaws with it, especially in light of the subjective nature of criteria by which theater and other arts are judged today. By the same thinking, if I want to encourage what a play has to say, I will be willing to overlook some of the aesthetic or technical issues that bedevil it, especially if they result from attempts to push the medium beyond anything previously done.
Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark is one such example. It is technically ambitious and visually stunning, with story and songs that inspire and transform, and powerful performances by the players. The preview I saw had one obvious technical issue that held up the show for all of two minutes and caused no injuries, fires, or widespread destruction, much to the disappointment, I’m sure, of the show’s critics. And yes, there are some script issues that are still being worked out, but I hope they will not change the meaning of the show that I saw.
Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark plays out the internal struggles of the superhero’s now-familiar origin, but it takes a new twist. Peter Parker’s conflicts are played out in a mytho-psychological realm that draws us up from the street level and into the ethereal space among the towers of the city, where gods, superheroes, and arch-villains do battle as proxies for the parts of our own psyches that we cannot – or dare not – name.
Figuring prominently in the story is Arachne, the mythic rival of Athena who was condemned to life as a spider for daring to challenge the goddess to a weaving contest in which she clearly was the winner. As the mystical source of the power that flows through Parker following the bite of an irradiated spider, Arachne embodies the psychological concepts of the Shadow, the Anima, and the Devouring Mother all in one, an archetypal trinity that pulls the strings in Spiderman’s life and eventually forces upon him the most terrible of choices. How each of us handles this choice in our own lives determines whether we become fully self-realized adults, or remain forever enslaved to our emotions, our appetites, and the gifts bestowed on us by others.
What makes the play powerful, and possibly sets it up as a target for reviews that seem determined to close the show before it even opens, is that it is ultimately uplifting, inspiring, and redemptive. These are qualities that many critics cannot tolerate in their theater, since people leave not only singing the songs, but wanting to be better people and take responsibility for their own lives. Today’s critics have developed an unfortunate taste for theater that tries to tell us we are horrible people, and we need to be chastised or shaken up by the arts in all their forms. What Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark does instead is wake us up and show us what it is possible for us to, as the song says, “Rise Above”.
S:TOTD is not without its weaknesses. Its biggest narrative flaw, in my humble opinion, is the “Geek Chorus” – four kids who are creating a tribute comic that becomes the play. While apparently put in place to validate some of the less mainstream elements of the Spiderman legend by giving us volume, issue, and frame references, they ended up distancing the audience from the characters and the story by interrupting to explain that which needed no explanation, or by foreshadowing events to shield us from the shock of their unfolding. Rather than being immersed in a compelling story, we were protected from it – or rather, it was protected from us. I hope that in the month when it is being retooled, this issue is addressed.
I will go to see it again after it opens, partly because I want to see how it was changed from what I saw in the preview, and partly because I simply want to see it again. Theater that encourages and ennobles us is rare, and I hope many people have a chance to see Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark, and be likewise lifted up by it.
02/13/2011 Leave a comment
In my last post (Can We Reclaim Our Industrial Legacy?), I recounted how we arrived at a time of rapid technological development for NASA and for U.S. industry. Yes, we were “heads up” on the Microelectronics revolution. From the veteran of the electronic industry, Bell Labs, to the start-ups like “Four Phase Logic,” to the stalwarts of American industry like North American Rockwell, Motorola, and Texas Instruments (TI), microelectronics flooded the industrial plains. Laptops, hand calculators, and Liquid Crystal Screens had been developed and integrated in the early 1960’s by North American Rockwell Industries, but lack of corporate interest induced them to sell the rights to Sharp Industries of Japan.
NASA’s and DoD’s drive to procure needed space and military electronics led to early cooperative efforts with Rockwell, TI, Motorola, RCA and others, inducing industry to invest in research and development that also found its way to the commercial markets. This investment was made possible by tax laws that favored industrial R&D over the long term without requiring immediate product rollouts.
In the early 1970’s, the U.S. electronics industry was on a path of extending the technology booms even further – leaving the rest of the planet in the dust. But, alas, that was not to be. The resignation of Present Nixon and the subsequent turnaround of power in the Congressional elections soon after led to a significant change in the “Industrial Infrastructure” as viewed by the wielders of federal powers in Washington, D.C. – the Congressional Committees.
Industrial Taxing and Spending
To understand what they did, we need to review a little industrial tax history. Until 1973, U.S. companies were allowed to charge industrial research and development off as an investment asset whose value was to be gained in some future product. Accounting boards composed of U.S. accounting houses generated the policies regarding these taxes. Peat Marwick International, for example was a significant participant. Now known as KPMG, the firm is an International Auditing house headquartered in Switzerland.
To maintain an orderly accounting methodology throughout the world, Generally Acceptable Accounting Practices (GAAP) were developed by these auditing groups to provide guidance to tax auditors. These matured into another set of advisory statements created by “non-profit” boards largely populated by personnel from “profit” auditing housing such as KPMG. These advisory statements are called Financial Accounting Standard Boards (FASB) statements for tax auditing guidance. On occasion U.S. congressional leaders would participate with no official status.
In 1973, congressional banking committee members and chairpersons decided that the FASB statements should not be merely advisory but have the power of tax law. This is usually attributed to the Senate Banking Committee chaired by Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT). FASB 1, issued in 1972/1973 by the new “nonprofit” board, announced its organization and authority. FASB 2, written in 1973 and adopted in October 1974, issued a pivotal but obscure tax rule change adopted by the Senate committee. The new rule charged U.S. industries to cease declaring research and development as an asset and begin expensing R&D within 90 days. This simple change caused a loss in the asset line and effectively gutted the bottom line as long as R&D continued. Now, all FASB statements, generated by international auditors, have the power of the Senate Banking Committee behind them. In the world, for the most part, the United States companies are the only ones compelled by congressional edict to follow that rule.
The second blow to untargeted industrial R&D came in the form of the Mansfield Amendment, also issued in 1973, which forbade government agencies from investing in defense R&D that did not have a specific military application. Industry was essentially cut off from government investment by edict, and from its own investment by tax law, in the kind of R&D that brought new technologies to market. Instead, existing technology was simply improved in smaller increments, at the cost of leaps in technology.
Who Got Hurt?
The Electronic Technology, Information Technology and Pharmaceuticals are the largest industries in the United States, outstripping all other technologies in dollar sales by nearly five to one. As a result, they were the companies most significantly affected. Further, it is interesting that the software industry was granted waivers, stressing that only pure research in that industry is expensed; development into a product is allowed as an asset; in the electronics business it all must be expensed. This highly favored the asset value of software companies.
Considering the life cycle product curve for both software and electronics, software spends significantly less time in pre-product research and more time in application development than hardware, which spends years in the early research cycle and far less time in the product development phase. For example, a Microsoft-like company benefits much more than a Motorola -like company; thus, the FASB 2 is more punitive on our electronics and Information Technology industries than our software industries. Note that pharmaceuticals suffer the same as electronics.
From 1974 until 2011, Industrial R&D and cooperative government investments have severely diminished, as have our major industrial research laboratories, while software companies have flourished.
Thus, we have an international auditing consortium dictating how U.S. businesses are taxed and the Senate Banking Committee is their enforcing arm.
This is not the end of this fiasco. In our next piece, we will show the almighty power of a U.S. president to further contrive to put U.S. industrial infrastructure in its “proper place” as servants of the planet. I call it “Technological Justice”; i.e. make certain that U.S. industry does not exceed the global technology, and level the technological activity until there is global uniformity.
More on this next time…