Heart Cries

I composed this melody more than a few years ago, but never polished it until now. For tenor viola and contrabass.

MP3s rendered by MuseScore v2.0.3.

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Mass For Us Sinners

A few years ago, I decided to try to compose music for the Roman Catholic Mass that is singable by the common man. This is the result. I rendered the songs as string quintets (violin, viola, two cellos, and a bass), but the songs are intended to be sung. The Gloria also has a piano part.

MP3s rendered by MuseScore v2.0.3.

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The Right To Keep and Bear Arms

Recently, on quora.com, someone asked why America's gun laws are so far behind the rest of the world. I answered with this essay.

The United States' highest law, the Constitution, is far ahead of the rest of the world in many respects. It states, in part, that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The right to defend one’s self is one reason. The right to defend the people, land and country is another. But the third reason is one that is alien to almost every other land on our little planet: the right to defend ourselves against an arbitrary, capricious and/or tyrannical government. Note that the Constitution does not grant the right, because it, like every government, cannot grant rights; it merely guarantees that no government shall have the power to reduce that right. When our government interprets laws arbitrarily and capriciously—as it has more and more over the past century—we, the people, have the right to tear down the government and build another. By force if necessary.

The authors of the Constitution (the Bill of Rights) knew that the people had to be armed well enough to be able to tear down the government should it run amok. That’s why they said ‘arms’. They didn’t say muskets, swords, knives, or cannon. They said ‘arms’; and ‘arms’ is inclusive of all armaments, including ships of war, tanks, mortars, artillery, and all other manner of arms. (Aside, I don’t necessarily consider chemical weapons, nukes, and other weapons of mass destruction and mass killing to be ‘arms’.) We, the people, have the right to arm ourselves to defend ourselves, our families, our people, our property and our lands against bullies, tyrants and authoritarians. All laws that restrict that right infringe, and are thus unconstitutional.

Note that we, along with all of mankind, have the right to keep and bear arms; mankind has had that right since we first became self aware, long before the first social compact. But note that we do not have the right or freedom to use those arms as we wish. Rather, we have the responsibility, the liberty, to use our arms wisely, because all rights are paired with responsibilities. We have the right to own and transport arms. We also have the responsibility to use them carefully and properly in order to preserve civil society. And we have the responsibility to use them as necesary to rein in or replace any of our errant governments. This is the highest law of our land. It is lightyears ahead of almost every other country and nation on this planet.

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Patriots v. Liberals and Conservatives

Because liberals and conservatives think that mankind can significantly affect the climate and that environmental issues are the most important issues mankind faces, they think those issues should take precedence over everything else: standard of living, economy, rights, and the rule of codified law. When such imbalanced thinking becomes widespread, social imbalance results; and there’s plenty of evidence all around us that society is in a state of imbalance.

And right now you are asking how the rule of codified law applies to a discussion of conservatives and the environment. Well, the US and each of the 50 states are constitutional republics governed by the rule of codified law. The highest codified law in our land is the US Constitution. That document explicitly states which powers the federal government may wield. All powers not expressly allowed are reserved to the states or to the people. And since only people have rights (rights come from God, not governments; governments have only powers), all rights not mentioned in the Constitution are reserved to the people.

So, tell us all where the Constitution grants Congress the power to make environmental law, educational law, housing law, labor law, energy law, and laws in dozens of other areas. Tell us where the Constitution allows Congress to yield its sole law-making power to any government agencies, accountable or not. Tell us where the Constitution allows anyone in the executive, legislative or judicial branches of our governments to redefine our language to make the meanings of laws change over time. When the meaning of law is changed without changing the law through the prescribed method (legislative branch passes law, executive branch allows or vetos it), the rule of codified law is eliminated and we become stuck with arbitrary and capricious government. We become stuck with tyranny. And how many wars have we fought in the past 250-odd years to prevent tyranny from tearing down our republics? from tearing down liberty? from suppressing our rights? from enslaving us to the miniscule minority of elitists?

Liberals (the left wing) and conservatives (the right wing) are two forces fighting alongside the communists, fascists, anarchists, atheists and national socialists who form the main force driving this land toward chaos (where everything always changes) and, thus, toward authoritarianism (where a few thugs and bullies dictate what the vast majority of us, the people, can and cannot do, can and cannot think, where we can and cannot go, how many children we may have, and even whether or not we may have imperfect children. Liberals and conservatives are two sides of the same coin. They both work to achieve change; conservatives simply drag their feet a little, but they definitely go along with the changes.

Now, if you want to talk about patriots, OK. Patriots believe in minimal government (because some government is required to keep society functioning smoothly), maximal liberty (because liberty frees the creativity of the human mind, but we must yield some freedoms so that society will function smoothly), change (when it benefits society and our ‘nest’), and no change (when it is detrimental to society and our ‘nest’).

If y’all want to wear your fly screens, blinkers and blinders, go ahead; it is your right. But don’t assume that we who see clearly, do not blind ourselves to alternatives we might not like, and cogently reason for ourselves will placidly submit to half-baked, ill-considered, and too often treasonous ideas and plans from either side of 'the aisle’. We quiet, reasoning folks will push back once we are pushed too far.

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Feelings v. Reason

Discarding the rule of codified law (e.g., changing the meaning of law to match the changing times, and flushing the meaning of 'natural born citizen' down the toilet) is despicable and un-American. But there's no outrage about the destruction of *that* cornerstone of our republics. Both political parties strive daily to destroy liberty, freedom, and the rule of codified law; it's all that's left to them.

Apparently only feelings matter to the people and officials of the US, that all the things that made this land and our republics great are best buried under the outhouse. Reasoned discourse has no place in representative republics. Only feelings matter. Alas, feelings in sufficient numbers lead to incitement, and incitement in sufficent quantity leads to riots. And riots sure do make us look great and good, don't they?

Trump's duty is to defend and protect. If he doesn't trust the policies and procedures that are in place to keep terrorists out, then it is his duty to stop immigration until the policies and procedures are reviewed and strengthened.

Maybe instead of railing against someone y'all don't like, you should travel to Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Libya, Turkey, Iraq, Iran and all those other trouble spots and tell them to knock it off, to straighten up and fly right. I'm sure they'll listen and comply instantly. After all, you're a morally superior American.

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Last Chance For Our Republics

Some claim the recent election swung the socio-political pendulum back to the right. Hah! The last time the pendulum moved rightward was around 1776. Dem's speed up the leftward/upward swing, and rep's only slow it down, almost imperceptibly.

Read the US Constitution. Pay particular attention to the powers granted to the executive, legislative and judicial branches. There aren't that many; even the snowflakes among us should be able to bear in mind those few powers.

Then compare and contrast those enumerated powers with the acts and deeds, both accomplished and proposed, of the members of the three branches. If you're honest with yourselves, you'll find that a lot of what they have done and what they propose to do is, simply, outside the realm of the powers we gave them via the Constitution.

The sole purpose of petty political bickering like the congressional 'nuclear option' is to distract us, the people, from the true issues facing us and our republics. I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it. The primary problem we face is that the communists, fascists, anarchists, atheists and national socialists are the ones driving the pendulum leftward toward chaos and upward toward authoritarianism; they *want* chaos so they can cry, "I told you so!", seize power and impose their will on the rest of us. Their left-wingers, the democrats, have always striven for change; in recent decades, dem's have gone beyond change into chaos. The right-wingers, the republicans, don't like the way things are either and also want change; but they just can't bring themselves to undo the crappy work they're so proud of, so they strive merely to slow down the others.

In the end, the enemies of our republics and their left- and right-wingers will drive the socio-political pendulum into chaos at the left and authoritarianism at the top. The pendulum is halfway outside the normal realm now; a little further and it will pop the rest of the way. We have only one chance left to reset the pendulum to the bottom of its swing, midway between chaos on the left and stagnation on the right, and close to freedom at the bottom and far away from authoritarianism at the top. One chance only.

In summary, while all y'all should be commended for paying attention to the minor inconsistencies, many of y'all have pert near reasoned yourselves into believing the grand fallacy anyway.

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How did we fall so far?

Someone asked how we fell so far to have Trump in office. We didn't; it was a gradual slide.

The previous usurper never attained the office because he is not a natural born citizen. According to Emmerich de Vattel's "Law of Nations" which is explicily mentioned in the constitution, a natural born citizen is one born on US soil (we don't know where he was really born) of citizen parents (his father was a subject of the British crown and his mother was not, by law at the time, a citizen). The man was explicitly and expressly *disqualified* from attaining the office. But he usurped it anyway. And his fellow democrat and republican politicians let him get away with it. And he wasn't the only one. McCain was born in the Canal Zone (never US soil). Calero was born in Nicaragua. Rubio's parents are Cuban. Cruz was born in Canada and one parent is Cuban. But they were all allowed on ballots, in direct contravention of the Constitution.

Our republics have nearly collapsed because the vast majority of us, as a people, no longer care about the rule of codified law. We no longer care about anything beyond the tips of our own noses. We take what we want, when we want it. We are entitled to everything. We believe everything that is published about everything; "they wouldn't print it if it wasn't true." We let the money masters convince us that plastic sneakers are really worth $150-$200 a pair, that we should be paid $20/hr to sweep floors and flip burgers.

We've sunk so low because we no longer question anything, because someone else is always responsible for everything that happens. We've sunk so low because we've let the communists, fascists, anarchists, atheists and national socialists, and their left- and right-wingers take over and swing that pendulum as far left toward chaos and as far up toward authoritarianism as it will go, and they're hammering away at it to nudge it past that irreversible millimeter. We're surrounded by arbitrary and capricious tyranny now. Judges fabricate law where there is none. Cops impose their own law. Elected officials are in it to take whatever they can get. And none of them really care about the oaths they personally swore.

How did we get here? Because we, the people, are too ignorant, too selfish, too arrogant to care what happens to our once lauded republics. We've refused to learn that we are supposed to discern good from bad, right from wrong, moral from immoral, and divine from evil, and that we are supposed to always choose the former and ever reject the latter. We got here because we let ourselves be led by our noses to this point.

Is it too late? I fear it is. When people riot because another demican or republocrat is elected president, we've lost the ideals that bound our society together. When we let the bullies and thugs tear down our rule of codified law, we've lost the rules that prevent reasonable order from descending into total chaos.

If you want to know where we are, dig out "World At War", the 1973 TV series about WWII. Specifically, watch the episode titled, "Hitler's Germany: The People's Community 1933-1939." Pay attention to the slogans. I found it rather disturbing that the slogans used by the German National Socialists are the same slogans our national socialists are using today. I found it disturbing that we are allowing today's thugs and bullies to take over our lives, just as the German people allowed their bullies and thugs to take over in the early 20th century.

It's our fault we are here. No one else's. We let it happen.

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Climate Change

Of *course* climate change is real. The climate has been oscillating for millions, probably even billions, of years. But that's not the real problem. The real problem is that charlatans, bullies and other greedy loudmouths have conned far too many decent people into believing that regular folks through their lifestyles are fully and completely responsible for the change and must pay the bullies and thugs for it.

To think that mankind's daily living can affect the climate in a statistically measurable way is the nadir of hubris and arrogance. To claim, bellow and roar that we in the United States--where the environment is far, far cleaner than it was even 50 years ago, never mind 100 years ago--can clean up the entire planet and change the climate by taxing and regulating us into poverty is simply laughable. And it's even more ludicrous because those thugs also insist that severely taxing and regulating us will somehow magically reduce *other* countries' emissions.

Human-caused climate change is just another scheme to make con men wealthy.

We shouldn't 'foul our nest'; we should be good stewards. But kicking and shoving mankind back to the bronze age is not good stewardship. Do you really want the manure of a billion horses fouling our roads? After all, horses will be the primary mode of transportation again. Do you really want total economic collapse? It will happen when businesses close because they can no longer operate because their energy consumption causes too much so-called global warming emissions. Do you want to live under totalitarian dictatorships with no liberties, no freedoms? We're closer than most of y'all will admit.

I expect this post will be deleted forthwith. Because I dare to say that the emperor has no clothes.

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The Internet and Safety

I was just looking some info about the so-called 'SaferWeb' product. In short, it provides an encrypted tunnel between your computer and the remote system. They claim it is impervious to malware and miscreants. Alas, it won't be long before internet thugs learn to mimic it and 'replace' it. I can only assume that its promoters hope to make millions in profits before it becomes ineffective.

End-to-end encryption and tunnels are not the answer, first because their shills purport them to be 'one true' solution and second because they prevent owners of private networks from exercising their rights to prevent malware from spreading and to prevent the misuse of private computing facilities and the theft of private property (information, data and ideas).

The correct solution is to deploy independent multi-layer and multi-stage protections. These include:

  • always use a VPN technology (IPSEC and/or OpenVPN) when using a publicly-accessible network (wired or wireless) connected to you home gateway and never let any non-VPN traffic enter or leave your computer;
  • employ opportunistic encryption where it makes sense: internal host to internal host and host to gateway to prevent casual eavesdropping, and gateway to gateway to prevent organized snooping;
  • when end-to-end encryption must be required, gateways must decrypt connections, examine the data for malware, and re-encrypt; yes, this is almost the same as a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack;
  • deploy anti-malware software on hosts and gateways;
  • deploy comprehensive filtering on gateways;
  • deploy a firewall on every node;
  • do not ever use software known to assist miscreants in their quest to spread their warez; Windows Explorer is a well-know example;
  • close down all outgoing TCP/UDP ports that are not needed for normal operations;
  • limit the use of UPnP to only those hosts that must use it;

In short, examine and verify data everywhere you can, and block off data routes (ports, etc.) that you do not normally need to use.

"End-To-End Encryption", "The Cloud" and "App As Service" each has a nice ring to it. But they ring hollow.

As some will demand a disclaimer, I am the Smoothwall Express Firewall open-source project leader (2014-).

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Cheated out of a fair and honest election again

More nails in our republic's coffin. The US Constitution prohibits anyone who is not a natural born citizen from attaining the office of the President. As I've stated before, Emmerich de Vattel, in his treatise "The Law of Nations" defined 'natural born citizen' as one who is born on the country's soil of citizen parents. Because the Constitution references the Law of Nations (... The Congress shall have the Power ... To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations; ...), those who wrote the Constitution clearly read de Vattel's book and used his meaning of 'natural born citizen' to prohibit those who might have foreign allegiances from wielding the power of the executive office.

Ted Cruz was born in Canada and his father was a Cuban citizen. Marco Rubio was born in Miami, but his parents were Cuban citizens. Neither are natural born citizens. Both are prohibited by the highest law of our land from attaining the office of President. Yet here they are, campaigning for an office they cannot lawfully hold.

So once more we are being cheated out of a fair and honest election.

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Roanoke County, Virg., reverted to paper ballots

Seems the county reverted to paper ballots: fill in boxes with a black pen, carry the paper in a folder to the scanner, feed it into the scanner upside down, wait for the light to turn green, return the folder and pen to the attendant. They have a paper trail again.

I still think an electronic voting machine system can be made that

  • uses open source (freely available) software that is fully and publicly documented
  • uses hardware where all components and designs are fully and publicly documented.
  • provides a verifiable tally,
  • provides a paper trail, and
  • provides election officials and voters assurance that:
    • a ballot was cast
    • tallies for the correct candidates are incremented
    • a paper 'stub' is printed (like a register receipt)
    • the stub is verified and re-tallied by a second independent system
    • the tallies are regenerated at the election office on a third independent system from the stubs after the election has closed

All three tallies (voting machines, verified machines, and central verified) must match. If all three match, it's a good election.

If they don't, the machines are deemed to be compromised, and the stubs are manually tallied. The manual tally will be used for the results.

If the machines are deemed compromised, the software and hardware in the voting and verifier systems is audited and verified by independent software and hardware experts.

It's not Staples' 'Easy' button, nor should it be. Like any other redundant system, voting systems must have at least three independent tallies that must agree. If they don't agree, then the paper ballots (stubs) must be counted by hand.

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Seborrheic keratoses and a cure that works for me

I am a software engineer with no medical training. I write this to share what I discovered.

A few years ago, I found these lesions popping up on my skin and scalp; they were identified as seborrheic keratoses. Conventional wisdom says they can't be cured.

One time when I was trying various things to treat poison ivy/oak/sumac near an existing S-K, I happened to notice that that S-K responded to one ointment or another. I came to realize they behave a little like a wound and a little like a fungus. So I decided to try some combinations.

In the end, I discovered that a combination of three off-the-shelf ointments reverses S-Ks and makes them go away. Specifically, I mixed, in equal parts by volume:

  • triple antibiotic (Bacitracin, Neomycin, Polymyxin-B)
  • 1% HC with diazolidinyl urea (trade name Anusol©)
  • 25% undecylenate (undecylenic acid and zinc undecylenate; a common anti-fungal ointment used to treat athlete's foot)

Only the combination of all three is effective. I rubbed the ointment into the S-K and left a little extra on top--but much less than when I would treat athlete's foot. I applied the ointment daily. Generally within a week or so, newer S-Ks were gone (especially the ones on my scalp); older S-K's take longer to succumb.

To be clear, this works for me. I haven't grown a third eye or second navel, or noticed any other side effects. Your mileage may vary. Consult a physician if you aren't adventurous.

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Common Sense Windows PC 'Best' Practices

There's a thread at BleepingComputer.com, developed since 2011, that introduces Windows PC system security concepts as related to end users. Parts of it can be somewhat dense, but it is generally well written. And honest. Though it may take several readings, most PC users will gain a better understanding of the pitfalls of the internet, the types of activities to avoid, and generally how to recover from infestations of malware.

I think most non-expert Windows PC users should install a non-expert-friendly version of GNU-Linux on their PCs. Especially those who only browse the web (Chromium and Firefox are available), store personal photos and videos (there are several good viewers and indexers available), work with docs and spreadsheets (LibreOffice is very usable), and re-touch photos (gimp is quite good). The GNU-Linux user interface differs from Windows; but it isn't a completely alien, radical departure (like Win8 was). The difference is generally similar to the difference between WinXP and Win7.

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Our Future

All you who believe that any political party is better than another are either fools or traitors. Those of you who choose the lesser of two evils on ballots still choose evil.

The political pendulum has swung left and up about as far as it can go; it can only move into authoritarianism.

Communists, fascists, anarchists and atheists are the enemies of our republics, driving the pendulum to their left (which is currently upward). Democrats are their left wing, helping them as best they can. Republicans are their right wing, pretending to hold back but really helping the main force push the pendulum left (and now up).

Once we allow them to push the pendulum up into authoritarianism, there will be a period of total chaos-anarchy--with a lot of killing, death and misery. Eventually, someone with might will take over, kill a lot more, and reset the pendulum to the far right where there will be utter stagnation with a lot more death and misery. And the pendulum will again begin its swing toward chaos on the left, then toward authoritariansm on the top. Some day, the pendulum will reach the center bottom and there may arise a group of patriots who will write another new constitution and we may enjoy another brief period of enlightened prosperity.

This has always come to pass. It will again. In our lifetimes. Because the vast majority of people in this land care only about getting and keeping 'theirs': their riches, their opinions, their power, their control, their property. Virtually no one cares about the law that made our prosperity possible or the ancient Roman ideal of 'the rule of codified law' that made the law hold sway over the bullies and thugs who strive to destroy that ideal. Virtually all enslave themselves to those who shower them with empty promises of wealth and property. Time and time again.

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Natural Born Citizen

After years of search, I finally found an online reference to "The Law of Nations".

Emmerich de Vattel (1714-1767), "The Law of Nations or the Principles of Natural Law, applied to the Conduct and to the Affairs of Nations and of Sovereigns", 1758. (Original French title, "Le Droit du gens, ou Principes de la Loi Naturelle, appliqués à la Conduite et aux Affaires des Nations et des Souverains"). It was a book that many of the founders of our republic would have read and been familiar with. An online translation is found at lonang.com; go to chapter 19.

Specifically, section 212 defines natural born citizen: "The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens."

If you prefer to read the original French (in case the translator erred), download volume 1 (22MB) and go to original page 197 (PDF page 248), section 212. For completeness, here is a link to volume 2 (15MB).)

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The Pledge of Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the Lord our God,
and to the kingdom which He does promise,
one people serving Him, indivisible,
forever loved with forgiveness and grace.

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The Problem With America

The status quo is the way things are today.

Liberals/progressives do not like the status quo; they want to change it. They are the left wing of the communists, fascists, anarchists and atheists who have infested our land and our governments. They fight to move the socio-political pendulum to the left, toward their unstated goal of utter chaos.

Conservatives want to maintain the status quo; they do not like change. Thus conservatives are the right wing. They fight to keep the pendulum from moving. Alas, for them, it's a losing battle because conservatives are weaker than their opposites; the pendulum always moves to the left, toward chaos.

But no one ever acknowledges that as the pendulum swings to the left, it also swing upwards toward authoritarianism at the top of the socio-political spectrum.

In time, the end result will be chaotic authoritarianism. Near the end of some period of abject misery for the common man, someone will come along, murder the Chaotics, and reset the pendulum to the far right near the limit of absolute stagnation, but still up at authoritarianism at the top. Thus the march toward chaos will start anew.

We need sworn patriots who will grasp that pendulum and swing it back toward the true center and make it tick-tock in that vicinity, thus allow reasonable change in areas as needed yet maintain traditional (stagnant, unchanging) principles otherwise. The astute reader will note that when the pendulum is at the center of its range of motion, it is also near the bottom of the socio-political spectrum where freedom and liberty are found. Alas, if such patriots are to be found, they are few and far between.

And that is the problem.

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Farewell, Republic!

Once upon a time, there was a land of oportunity, where the poor could become rich through hard work and the rich could become poor through sloth. It was the land of the free and the home of the brave, the brightest beacon of liberty and hope ever seen. Then one stormy day, the Cousins Grim arrived. Evil and immorality covered the land as a cloak; dark times befell the place. The shysters lied, usurped power and took all the wealth from those who worked hardest for it. They kept most for themselves and their friends, and gave the rest to their fawning sycophants. Alas, that immensely bright beacon of liberty has been doused; that once-promising land shall forever hence be known and remembered as the land of the decree and the home of the slave.

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Immigration Thought

I've something to say to those who would close our country's borders. Emma Lazarus did not write,

"Keep your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
For they aren't good enough to clean our floor.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Is but worthless flotsam at our door.
Keep these, your homeless, tempest-tost from me,
for I've closed the gate and barred the golden door!"

In fact, she wrote,

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

We live in neither Utpoia nor Eden. Rather, we live in the real, imperfect world, with real, imperfect people. These united states of America and their people stand for tolerance and opportunity. If we rid this land of tolerance and opportunity, then we, the people, will be the first to lose our liberty and our freedom.

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An Ecclectic Collection of Interests

Diesel Sweeties: First 2000 Comics

Political Leanings

The Unexpected Cook

Favorite Food Recipes

Amsoil Products Sales and Related Stuff

Replacing the OEM Dodge Cummins Intake Heater Relays With Better Units

Dieselhead Event Pics


Town Car vs. Buck

20 Years of Humor

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