Jan 28, 2007

Four new speakers.

The initial reaction from SWMBO is that these have a fairly low WAF.

"You're crazy."

I got these off eBay for $10 each, but I had to drive to north of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a snow storm to get them. They are Frazier 7 auditorium speakers, made in Dallas by Jack Frazier. Jack was a friend of Paul Klipsch, and a former partner with a Mr. May who went on to become one of JBL's top engineers.

Sitting on the deck in the near-freezing temperature, I played a lot of tunes through these today: Some Gospel, 14th century military marches, Country Joe and the Fish, Leo Kottke, Turtle Island String Quartet, Bruce Cockburn, some Dixieland.

These things sound really good. They are such an odd design, I'm not sure what they are supposed to sound like. They do sound sound a "little" like a Klipsch Heresy, but not quite so forward. Better bass, but nothing to write home about.

My wife said I was trying to lure all the aging hippies in the neighborhood over to the house this afternoon. But she really liked the way they sounded!

I'll do a comparison inside soon, just to get an idea what I'm dealing with. Right now, I know I've got some great party speakers, that's for sure!

Jan 22, 2007


These are pictures of ice crystals (snow flakes) that Wilson Bentley took in 1908. Starting in 1885, Bentley took over 5000 pictures of ice crystals, each obviously distinct. They clearly show the incredible complexity and variety of Creation.

Call it what you want – Intelligent Design, Creation Science, Creationism, or Dumb Luck – but even the casual observer is stunned by the repeating but unique manner in which "nature" plays itself out. Even the snowflakes, even the birds of the air, and even the hairs on your heads.

Today marks the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal. I'm not a supporter of abortion "rights", but neither am I a supporter of man-made laws against abortion. I believe that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare". The alternative, in our media-hyped, sex-up culture, is just too horrendous to consider.

But consider this. The creative power that makes every snow flake different... what has it accomplished in a zygote or a fetus? The miracle of life to be rudely yanked away as a convenience to the Baal of our American Culture?

Jan 19, 2007

The Attorney General of the United States believes that habeas corpus is a priviledge granted by kings and presidents, but not your right.

ALBERTO GONZALES, U.S. Attorney General: "I will go back and look at it. The fact that the Constitution — again, there is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution. There is a prohibition against taking it away. But it’s never been the case, and I’m not a Supreme —

ARLEN SPECTER, U.S. Senator (R-Penn.): Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. The constitution says you can’t take it away, except in the case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus, unless there is an invasion or rebellion?

GONZALES: I meant by that comment, the Constitution doesn’t say, “Every individual in the United States or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right to habeas.” It doesn’t say that. It simply says the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except by —

SPECTER: You may be treading on your interdiction and violating common sense, Mr. Attorney General.


Polishing his image.

-Photo copyright The Dallas Morning News

Texas Governor Rick Perry is rumored to have his sights set on becoming the 2008 GOP Vice Presidential nominee. For his 2nd Inauguration Black-Tie Gala Ball, Governor Perry had his friend and contributor Ted Nugent (now a Texas resident) perform.

All those people who accuse the GOP's leadership of being insensitive about racism just don't get it. And obviously, neither does Rick Perry.

Note: Ted isn't really missing his front teeth, that's just the shadow of the microphone he's wearing. However, I have to admit that it does compliment the rest of his costume quite nicely.

Out goes the Magic Smoke.

Heard a crash in the house on Saturday. With three felines prowling the indoors, "crashes" aren't uncommon, but upon inspection, I couldn't find the cause (just two innocent looking cats, and one VERY innocent looking one... a.k.a. "The Suspect").

On Sunday, I turned on a system that I play on Sunday morning while getting ready for church (it's tuned to a station that warms me up for worship). The broadcast at that time is a recording of a church service from the previous week. They have been having some technical problems with their mix, so it has been sounding pretty poor lately, as it did Sunday. I didn't think twice about it.

When I went back into the office to turn it off before leaving for church, I noticed two things: the sound was REALLY bad, and only coming from one speaker, and I smelled electrical smoke. The smoke was coming from the outboard speaker switching box.
Shut everything down, cursed (yes, even on Sunday), and vowed to investigate further at a later date.

Yesterday, I started the search. One channel blown on my Harman/Kardon Citation 12 amp (DC output of 23VDC on one channel... 100+VDC on the other!). Fried speaker selector switch (QES) circuitry. Fear of fried VCs on the EPI 150s. Tracked the line down to the speakers.
And there it was. A wall plaque had crashed to the floor, collecting a framed picture on the way down, hitting the speaker wires for the EPIs and unplugging one lead. So, for the 35 minutes that I ran the amp in such an unbalanced condition, it died, and cooked the switch box as well (which apparently gave up its life for the EPIs).

The plaque is a wooden cutout of a rooster, with his feathers made of hundreds of different types of nails and brads (my late uncle made it). The speaker's wires broke its fall.
I'm trying to decide if I want to try and get it fixed. I've got the service manual in hand, and so I may drop it by the Korean-immigrant TV/Radio tech shop nearby (their minimum is $50, NOT $150). It was a nice amp, but the cost of repair is probably going to outstrip it's value.

As for the house-tigers; the guiltier they are, the more innocently they behave post event. Great fun!
It's possible that one of the cats did the dastardly deed, but this was hung in a pretty inacessible location. Declawing limits the little buggers' ability to spring from object to object. So I doubt it, but like I said, he looked a little "too" innocent in my book. The cat is probably innocent, and I've got a new 35 pound door stop.

And here ends my sad story.

Jan 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, June.

Just thought you might like to see a photo of where I come from (literally... on a couple of levels).

This is a shot of my mother, Freda June Taylor Summer, taken in about 1971. We had just finished putting the horses back into the pasture after she and my sister had been on a ride. This was shot on our small piece of land in Grayson County, Texas. Situated on a bluff above the Red River, our property was right on the historic Preston Trail.

Of all the remarkable folks who travelled down that trail into Texas (one of the earliest entries into Texas was the Red River ford at Coffee's Fort, just a couple of miles down the road), none were greater in my eyes than June Summer. A believer of the first order, she would be 87 today. She passed into Paradise in 1988 at the age of 68.

Thanks for everything, Mom. Especially for the prayers. I know you're pleased with your great grand-daughter and namesake.

Jan 8, 2007

January the 8th.

Jimmy Driftwood was a high school principal and history teacher who loved to sing, play instruments and write songs. Mr. Driftwood wrote many songs, all for the sole purpose of helping his students learn about this battle and other historical events. But this song turned out to be so popular that it won the 1959 Grammy Award for Song Of The Year (awarded in 1960 for musical accomplishments in 1959). Johnny Horton also won the 1959 Grammy Award for Best Country And Western Performance for his recording of this song. "The Battle of New Orleans," is about a battle in the War of 1812, and it became one of the biggest selling hits of 1959. The words were written to correspond with an old fiddle tune called "The 8th of January," which is the date of the famous "Battle of New Orleans".

Narrative by Jimmy Driftwood:

“After the Battle of New Orleans, which Andrew Jackson won on January the 8th eighteen and fifteen, the boys played the fiddle again that night, only they changed the name of it from the battle of a place in Ireland to the “Eighth of January”. Years passed and in about nineteen and forty-five an Arkansas school teacher slowed the tune down and put words to it and that song is The Battle Of New Orleans and I will try to sing it for you.” (*Note -- two minor revisions were made for classroom use)

Well, in eighteen and fourteen we took a little trip
along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans,
And we caught the bloody British near the town of New Orleans.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, I see'd Mars Jackson walkin down the street
talkin' to a pirate by the name of Jean Lafayette [pronounced La-feet]
He gave Jean a drink that he brung from Tennessee
and the pirate said he'd help us drive the British in the sea.

The French said Andrew, you'd better run,
for Packingham's a comin' with a bullet in his gun.
Old Hickory said he didn't give a dang,
he's gonna whip the britches off of Colonel Packingham.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, we looked down the river and we see'd the British come,
and there must have been a hundred of 'em beatin' on the drum.
They stepped so high and they made their bugles ring
while we stood by our cotton bales and didn't say a thing.

Old Hickory said we could take 'em by surprise
if we didn't fire a musket til we looked 'em in the eyes.
We held our fire til we see'd their faces well,
then we opened up with squirrel guns and really gave a yell.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, we fired our cannon til the barrel melted down,
so we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round.
We filled his head with cannon balls and powdered his behind,
and when they tetched the powder off, the gator lost his mind.

We'll march back home but we'll never be content
till we make Old Hickory the people's President.
And every time we think about the bacon and the beans,
we'll think about the fun we had way down in New Orleans.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin,
But there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go.
They ran so fast the hounds couldn't catch 'em
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
But there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.