Palm Trees in southern Florida

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Declaration of Independence


The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

President of Congress

1. John Hancock (Massachusetts Bay)

New Hampshire

2. Josiah Bartlett
3. William Whipple
4. Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts Bay

5. Samuel Adams
6. John Adams
7. Robert Treat Paine
8. Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

9. Stephen Hopkins
10. William Ellery


11. Roger Sherman
12. Samuel Huntington
13. William Williams
14. Oliver Wolcott

New York

15. William Floyd
16. Philip Livingston
17. Francis Lewis
18. Lewis Morris

New Jersey

19. Richard Stockton
20. John Witherspoon
21. Francis Hopkinson
22. John Hart
23. Abraham Clark


24. Robert Morris
25. Benjamin Rush
26. Benjamin Franklin
27. John Morton
28. George Clymer
29. James Smith
30. George Taylor
31. James Wilson
32. George Ross


33. Caesar Rodney
34. George Read
35. Thomas McKean


36. Samuel Chase
37. William Paca
38. Thomas Stone
39. Charles Carroll of Carrollton


40. George Wythe
41. Richard Henry Lee
42. Thomas Jefferson
43. Benjamin Harrison
44. Thomas Nelson, Jr.
45. Francis Lightfoot Lee
46. Carter Braxton

North Carolina

47. William Hooper
48. Joseph Hewes
49. John Penn

South Carolina

50. Edward Rutledge
51. Thomas Heyward, Jr.
52. Thomas Lynch, Jr.
53. Arthur Middleton


54. Button Gwinnett
55. Lyman Hall
56. George Walton

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Earth Day

I like sunsets so I put one here.

It's Earth Day again. I remember the first one in 1970. 

I was in high school at South Torrance High in Torrance, California.  It was the 11th  grade.  Smog was real in those days.  From where I lived you could no longer see the big Union Bank building a mile away.  Brown air.  
Even I could see that it was getting worse.

Anyway, back to the first Earth Day. We all sat on the lawn while people wearing gas masks talked about the air quality, talked about life tomorrow, talked about nothing I remember, sitting here 50 years later. I do remember that the weather was nice....

My family moved up to the SF Bay area that Summer.  I did my final year (graduated in '71) at a high school in Marin county. It was some time before I made it back to SoCal.

Fast forward 10 years. I'm in the Coast Guard doing a water temperature patrol down that way in a 
(HU-16E) airplane.  We're coming back from San Diego, heading for San Fran along the coast. I sat in the radio man's seat to fix a sandwich from the box lunch.  I look up and see this brown wall in the distance.  It's well out to sea, it's the Los Angeles smog. After I fix the sandwich I look up and we are in the brown...

Jump forward another 20 years after that and I'm driving down in the LA area. 
Son of a gun, there are mountains all around Los Angeles!  It really looks good!

This is from the Santa Monica pier a year or so ago.
It's the only picture of mine that I can find
that shows mountains in the distance
in the SoCal area.

I had been in that area from the summer of 1966 until the summer of 1970 and I was not aware that there were mountains!

It took awhile, but the California smog rules did what they were supposed to do. I was (and still am) impressed!

With the world closed down I guess a lot of people all over are getting to see what their world looks like when the pollution has had some time to settle out.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

'NASA is Hiring' Brings Up the Old Dream.

I read a lot science fiction when I was younger. Going into space was always in the back of my mind, as I grew up in the 60s.

When I went into the Coast Guard, I went into aviation with space in the back of my mind.

Later, when they were looking for Mission Specialists I looked and I realized that I didn't meet the requirements and I really didn't want to go back to school.  
Turns out my actual life was enough.

I thought the dream was gone.

NASA, through the trees and across the water

Still, when I read this morning that NASA was hiring again, I had to take a look at what they needed, just in case.  

The other day I was reading about the rocket SpaceX is building in Texas - this is exciting stuff!  Get a job there even sweeping the floors and you'd still be part of it.  They are making history there!

I guess the dream is never really gone.  I still read science fiction.

This is central Florida

Friday, January 31, 2020

The RV Refrigerator

One day out of the blue we started getting a strong ammonia smell inside the RV.  It was the smell of our RV absorption refrigerator giving up the ghost. There was a small amount of yellow residue on the bottom of the burner too.

Off to the internet for a little troubleshooting, some Youtube "how to" viewing and some shopping. We ordered a new cooling unit (~$500 delivered) from

In the meantime, we needed to keep food cold! The answer was to put ice into the two drawers that sit on the bottom of the fridge. This turned the fridge into an ice box - the drawers controlled the melt water and the ice kept things cool.

The videos made a DIY cooling unit swap look do-able, so a decision was made!

We ordered the new cooling unit, which took awhile for them to make & get shipped to us on the west coast.

The cooling unit in the box

We picked it up, loaded it across the back seat of the Camry and took it to the RV, which was in Santa Cruz, where we were staying.

This is the view from the top of the cliff that
was a 5 minute walk from the RV park we stayed at.

Watched two different videos on YouTube, as the cooling unit came with no instructions. We laid the box on the bed to get the unit out. The fridge was pulled and laid between the couch & the dinette (table down). 

The fridge ready to be worked on in the RV.

I took lots of pictures, swapped it over, put it back together and slipped it in its hole. That did take all day so we used it as an ice box that night and finished first thing in the morning. Taped up the old one & took it to the FedEx office.  They scanned the (included) label, gave a receipt with the tracking number and off it went.

About the actual job. Nothing was real heavy, more awkward. Two of us did fine. Fitting the cooling unit back in the refrigerator took a little finessing but it was well within my capabilities. We saved well over a thousand dollars when you think about just having the refrigerator replaced.

It's nice having a working refrigerator!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

San Francisco & the Cable Cars

We stayed in the SF Bay Area for a week. That was time to do a little tourist stuff, visit friends and pay respects to family members who have passed on.

The Golden Gate Bridge from the SF Side

One day we went into the City. 

Golden Gate Bridge from the Larkspur Ferry

San Francisco
We took the ferry in from Larkspur, we rode the cable cars, we rode the street cars & we walked. We did tourist stuff!

Once we arrived in the city, we caught a cable car on Market Street. I had not been on a cable car since the mid-1970s. When we got on I thought about my great-grandfather.

That's a cable car on the left, there is a cable under the
tracks that pulls the cars along.

It seems my great-grandfather was riding on the outside of a cable car in 1902 and fell off. He hit his head and died within days of the accident.  I thought about this when I got on the cable car!  I didn't ride standing on the outside either....

When I last rode a cable car back in the 70s, I was unaware of my family history with the machines so it was just fun.

San Fran after the 1906 earthquake - my grandfather was there for that. He said the
ferry boats leaving the city would only take gold or silver, no paper money.
With that in mind when I was born, he made a frame to hold five silver
dollars so I'd never be too broke to take a ferry from the city.

We had a good day! Fisherman's Wharf, the seals at Pier 39, the cable car museum, clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl not to mention riding the cable cars. Then we took the ferry back to Marin County.

Clam chowder in a  San Francisco
sourdough bowl. It was good!
The cable car museum houses the cables that move the cable cars. It's free and well worth the time

Sea lions enjoying the day

Fees! I'll mention this because it's useful.
 We paid $7 each for our first cable car ride, but while on it the operator told us about the MuniMobile app. That was a deal! For $12 (ea) you can buy a pass that allows you to ride any SF public transit for the whole day! The passes stayed on the phone, all I had to do was show them, that saved us $$ as we took several cable car & bus rides that day.

It costs to go into the city via bridge, but leaving is free. The Bay Bridge takes cash or the local electronic transponder. The Golden Gate Bridge doesn't take cash, it's all electronic! If you're not hooked up they will send a bill to the address linked to the license plate. You can go online and take care of it before you cross, or after if you don't want to wait for the bill in the mail.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Gravestone Or Not?

My blogging has gotten way behind my reality.  I'll get to "here & now" but it won't happen today.


The past few years I have gotten interested in my genealogy.  Finding my great-great-grandparents' resting places left a mark on me.  We found the Besse family in Santa Cruz, Calif & the Milroys in Bellefontaine (pronounced "bell fountain"), Ohio.

Samuel H and Martha (Boynton) Besse,
Santa Cruz California

It sounds odd, but it wasn't until I actually saw the grave markers that I felt that I actually had people back then. It was no longer abstract.

Robert and Catherine (Boyd) Milroy,
Bellefontaine Ohio

I've never been really concerned about what to do with my remains after I run out of time on this earth.  The last few relatives I'd dealt with had their ashes scattered and that seemed good enough.

Then I thought about how I felt after finding the marker for my great-great-grandparents who passed in 1883... that marker took them from being an abstract thought to actual people in my past.  If my ashes were scattered in the Pacific ocean no one would be able to have the revelation I did 133 years later.

Things to think about...