Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pathetic Form Letter From The Governor

My youngest son, Max, is interested in politics and history and wrote a letter to Governor Kitzhaber.

Dear John Kitzhaber
My name is Max, I live in Philomath, Oregon. I am 9 years old. And I want to know what it is like being a governor. Have you ever met Obama? Are you rich? Have you ever been in a limousine? Was it tough in the election? Have you ever been a mayor? For me it is really confusing for me  and I want to learn it from a governor because they know what to do and know a lot of things from the government. Someday I want to meet you and shake your hand and maybe even take a picture.
Max Carter
We expected a form letter in return as we doubted the Governor would actually read Max’s letter. What we got was as pathetic an example of a form letter as I have seen from a public official.


April 14, 2014
Max Carter
25360 Oak Lane
Philomath, OR 97370
Dear Max,
Thank you for your interest in the state of Oregon.
First of all, I would like to personally thank you for your interest regarding the great state that I serve, Oregon. Holding the position of Governor gives me many responsibilities to the people who elected me. This, position affords me a few privileges, my favorite one of which is being able to wield the power of my office in a way that positively influences Oregon’s future.
Between you and me when I am not governing, I visit Oregon’s various bodies of water because I am an avid fisherman and whitewater rafter. My plans for the summer are to spend as much time with my family as possible and to continue supporting the state of Oregon however I can.
The State of Oregon flag is very unique because it is the only State flag that has a different image on each side. On one side is the state shield and the founding date, 1859, while the reverse side has the state animal, the beaver.
Oregon is famous for having the deepest lake in the United States and the 9th deepest lake in the world, Crater Lake. Stretching 1,943 feet deep, Crater Lake is the oldest National Park in the United States, and the only National Park in the State of Oregon. We are also famous for having the smallest park in the world; Mill Ends Park in Downtown Portland is 452 square inches.
More interesting facts about Oregon include:
• State Bird: Western Meadowlark
• State Fruit: Pear
• State Drink: Milk
• State Tree: Douglas Fir
• State Dance: Square Dancing
I hope this information helps describe our beautiful State of Oregon. I have also included my favorite recipe. Good luck on your school project. Again, thank you for contacting me.

So the main problem is that it’s pretending to be a personal letter from the Governor. Max saw through that after reading halfway through and exclaimed that it was BS. It addressed none of his questions, answered others that were not asked, used the phrase “Between you and me” when it was not between the Governor and Max but a phrase written to every single child who mails a letter to the Governor. There was no favorite recipe enclosed, which was both insulting and weird in its promised inclusion. And of course it wasn’t a school project, but something my kid did on his own. 

The Governor isn’t Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, He’s a real person who could have his office send a form letter stating that he’s too busy governing the state to reply to every letter, but here are some of his favorite facts about the state. I sense that nobody actually even scanned the letter (I enclosed the original and a transcription) to see what it contained. Perhaps the Governor’s office is understaffed, or perhaps they just don’t care about children who express an interest in politics.

This letter and whatever procedure they follow in replying to letters in the Governors office is broken, amateurish, and introduces a distrust and dislike of government when an opportunity was given to introduce civic pride and a sense of participation. I expected better of Oregon, which is known for politicians who seem to be engaged with their constituents.

I’ll see if my state representatives can pass along my displeasure, but I’m not counting on anything changing. Several friends of mine think I’m making a big deal out of this for no reason, and I understand that if you are cynical, you wouldn’t expect anything more than this token of correspondence. But I live in Oregon and I expect better as I’m not cynical about our local government. Or at least I wasn’t.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Reechet Ratchet

The battery in one of our cars was dead so I grabbed the correct socket & ratchet to remove it for charging. When I returned them to the toolbox It occurred to me that people might like to see a few pictures of my 1/4” driver collection. DSCF2360DSCF2361 I love these driver handles as you can snap a ratchet into the end.DSCF2363 I have a weakness for tiny ratchet drivers. Tiny wrenches too, but that’s a post for another time.DSCF2364 The largest 1/4” driver is one I rarely use. I have no idea where I bought it. It’s unconventional as it isn’t a ratchet, but is more of a 90 degree drive. Rotating the handle turns the driver. On mine it was really rough so I decided to disassemble it for repair/cleaning.DSCF2365 DSCF2366 Here’s the patent.DSCF2368 It can be used as a drive adapter as well.DSCF2370 DSCF2371 DSCF2375 The handle is threaded into the body and the lock nut, uh, locks it in place. It also sets the backlash for the gear and pinion. The lock nut was on too tight and I had to use the vise-grip chain wrenches. You can see that one slipped and wiped out the knurling in a short section. DSCF2377 DSCF2381 Pressing out the guts.DSCF2383 DSCF2385 The problem isn’t anything more than dried up old grease. It was easy to clean off with some oil, a steel brush and a dental pick. DSCF2389 Cleaned parts look almost new.DSCF2392Lubricated and reassembled.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Fixing A Brand New Parris Toy Kadet Trainerifle


It was Max’s Birthday yesterday and we bought him a few gifts. He’s at an age where he still enjoys playing with toy guns and is developing an interest in history, so I bought him a Parris Mfg. Kadet Trainerifle. A bolt action is a lot more fun than an automatic anyway. I had a similar rifle with a gold coloured wood bullet (anyone know what brand it was) in the 1970’s as a child, until I left it on top of the family car one afternoon after playing and my dad drove off on an errand…I was a little unhappy when I found out what had happened, but it was my fault entirely.
The Parris Kadet Trainerifle is ugly as sin and poorly made (no surprise considering how inexpensive it is) but he was having a lot of fun with it until the trigger guard came loose this afternoon. So he asked me to fix it. Which I did.

DSCF2309 The loose trigger guard.DSCF2312 First thing was to remove the cam lock screw that holds the bolt in, thinking that it would allow access to the trigger assembly.DSCF2313 I don’t know what or why there is that plastic around the screw head.DSCF2315 Made in China (to a price point).DSCF2317 Maybe if I remove this I can access the trigger.DSCF2318 Nope.DSCF2319 So it looks like I need to pry up the two nails.DSCF2321 Notice that the mechanism isn’t flush to the stock.DSCF2324 I pried up the trigger assembly. Note the use of some cardboard to protect the stock.DSCF2325 The clicker mechanism. It is well made, comparatively speaking.DSCF2328 Pulling the trigger…DSCF2329 Snap!DSCF2331Two crappy ring shank nails with bend heads. DSCF2333 The trigger guard was bent back into shape but wouldn’t fit into the slot?DSCF2335 It’s wider than the slot, so either the bending die used on the assembly was worn, thus curving the floor and making the slot less wide, or the trigger guard die is worn and the tab is too wide. In any case this is why it came loose, because they twisted it to fit it in. DSCF2337 I filed the tab down and now it fits. I massaged the shape a bit.DSCF2339 At first I was going to straighten the nails and reuse them.DSCF2342 The assembly rocks in the pocket in teh stock. DSCF2345 So out came the chisel.DSCF2346 I put some ink on the edge of the assembly and pressed it into the stock, it left a black mark where it was contacting the stock, so I knew where to chisel.DSCF2348 Now it fits flush.DSCF2352 I decided to use some machine screws as wood screws. They may loosen over time but will be better than the nails for now.DSCF2353All done.DSCF2356 Back in action.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

A New Cord For An Old Saw, Using A New Tool

DSCF2295We bought this Dewalt miter saw back in the mid 90’s and it’s worked quite well all these years. I don’t use it a lot though and when I went to use it I noticed that the cord was a bit decayed.DSCF2290 See the green? That’s Oregon for you. Store something in an open carport and nature tries its best to reclaim it.DSC04306 DSC04307 As you can see the cord insulation is decaying. DSC04299 It was relatively simple to open up the handle to access the cord connections. Three different sizes of Torx screws, which irritated me.DSC04309 The new cord, found it in a box of crap I bought at that estate sale…DSCF2286DSCF2285 DSCF2284 Along with this Ideal cable stripper which I had no idea what it was until I Googled it.DSC04314 DSC04315 Of course I took it apart to see what made it tick.DSC04316 It sort of scribes around the jacket and the vee holds the cord against the blade with spring pressure. This is less finicky than using a knife or shears as it can result in you nicking the wires’ insulation or even cutting all the way through, which is bad.DSC04317 I thought this was all it did, but it will also apparently split the jacket if you pull it axially along the cord. I guess I should have read the instructions. (.pdf)DSC04318A couple of lugs were crimped and the saw is as good, and safe, as new.