Japan’s Whaling Policy Under Scrutiny

Commercial Fishing Hyped as “Scientific Research”: Hogwash

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith

Japanese whalers pull in a catch
Japanese whalers pull in a catch
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This article was updated on 06/12/21.

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The Japanese are known for all manner of odd things — quirky cartoons, kinky schoolgirl fetishes, and more. But by far the most odious is their continuing tradition of slaughtering whales. Certainly, the Japanese consume their fair share of seafood, but their whale meat consumption is significantly down in the aftermath of WWII so it hardly justifies their current hunting tradition. Then why?

What is the Japanese Fascination with Slaughtering Whales?

So why do they do it? Japan has set its 2021 catch limit for large whales at 383, the same as last year, in line with calculations to avoid a negative impact on cetacean resources, according to the Fisheries Agency. Note the use of the specifier “large.” This catch is not for the meat and it is probably not for perfume (ambergris is produced by sperm whales and valued as an ingredient for women’s perfume for some reason).

No, the Japanese Fisheries Agency says the annual slaughter is really, “research for the purpose of studying the ecological system in the Antarctic Sea.”

Wow, didn’t see that coming. But then hey! I’m not a highly-paid Japanese press agent, right? This takes fake news to a whole new level.

According to Yahoo News,  “Under the International Whaling Commission (IWC), to which Japan is a signatory, there has been a moratorium on hunting whales since 1986. Tokyo exploits a loophole allowing whales to be killed for ‘scientific research’ and claims it is trying to prove the population is large enough to sustain a return to commercial hunting.”

Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds like crappola in all its glorious splendor. Harvard International Review says, “whale meat from such “scientific” expeditions has been sold commercially, a practice that has regularly generated controversy for the country. In fact, the Japanese government began to subsidize its whaling industry during the years of its “scientific research”, and as a result of government purchasing, public schools have even served whale meat from these expeditions in lunches.”



The History and Future of Whales Slaughtered by Japan

The Japan Whaling Association is said to have begun around the 12th century. However, Japanese whaling as carried out on an industrial scale began in the 1890s when Japan started to participate in the modern whaling industry, at that time an industry in which many countries participated. Japanese whaling activities historically have extended far beyond Japanese territorial waters and even into whale sanctuaries protected by other countries. So nothing about their behavior is benign or even scientific and it is not in the realm of national sovereignty, it’s an international issue.

They also go so far as to claim that opposing their practices has nothing to do with being green. Ironically, they call their activities “capture surveys.”

Today, Japan is on board with Norway’s arguments on its own whaling activities. The thin argument is that it’s entitled to continue whaling because of the place whaling holds in its cultural heritage, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. The whale meat from these hunts is consistently sold in shops and restaurants, which negates the “scientific” justification. To take the charade further, it is showcased at an annual food festival that, in some cases, features the butchering of a whale for onlookers.



As far as the future is concerned, Japan claims that as it is simply conducting ongoing research on whale maturation. It affirms that in the absence of “verified” non-lethal sampling methods, whales will continue to be slaughtered until the feasibility of non-lethal techniques is established. It seems that the motto of the Japanese whale slaughtering industry is, “We must eliminate them to find out how to conserve them.” That sounds like Nancy Pelosi, also a windbag.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Homemade Oatmeal Flax Seed Bread Recipe

Mixing ingredients for oatmeal flax seed bread
Mixing ingredients for oatmeal flax seed bread


I can safely state that one thing I cannot tolerate is store-bought white bread. It’s full of crap ingredients and air. If I can’t buy some good stuff, I just prefer to make my own. The good thing about homemade bread is that I get to control the ingredients.

So, that being said, here is the recipe for the oatmeal flax/chia seed whole wheat bread that I baked today. I like to pair it with a bowl of Panamanian-style ceviche but it works fine by itself or toasted. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Flax/Chia Seed Whole Wheat Bread Ingredients

  • 1 cup organic milk
  • 1/2 cup steel cut oats
  • Enough whole wheat flour for mixing and kneading
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup flax seeds
  • 1/8 cup chia seeds
  • 2.25 oz. pecans, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • Rapid-rise yeast

Assembly and Baking

  • The oats are not as as processed as the instant kind so mix them with the milk and allow them to soak for an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Mix in the yeast, egg, seeds, bran, pecans, and enough whole wheat flour to where you have to turn it out and knead it.
  • Knead the loaf, adding flour, until you have a proper consistency. The more you knead it, the better texture it will have.
  • Butter the loaf pan and press the dough down into it.
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  • Let the loaf cool on a rack.
  • Enjoy!

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Economics & Consequences of Illegal Aliens

Both Illegal Immigration and the Willy-Nilly distribution of Work Visas Have a Dramatic Impact

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith
RIP America
RIP America
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This article was updated on 01/28/21.

No one can dispute the fact that Donald Trump was whisked into office on a wave of fly-over America. Not left-coasters, not right-coasters, but the average American who has lost his and her job due to exporting production, importing foreign talent, bad trade deals, and illegal immigrants.

Yes, illegal immigrants are felons. Sneaking into another country is a crime. I’m not making a moral judgement here; how can you fault a man or woman who just wants to provide for family since the rabiblanco government in Mexico makes no concessions for their own poor and downtrodden? It is the encouraging system that is at fault.

The Economic Effects of Illegal Immigration

America has almost always encouraged immigration. Where would we be without the Irish and Italians? Not in the prosperous position in which we find ourselves.

But those Irish and Italian emigrants came in according to the law, embraced the country, and assimilated to the point that some never taught their children the old-country language.

The problem with the illegals today is that for the most part, they don’t have those same goals. They come here illegally and suck up tax-payer provided public services (emergency room medical, food pantry access, public transportation, etc.) without giving back to their hosts.

The problem is that after working under the table or under a fake or stolen social security number, rather than pumping wages back into our economy, they send it back to their home country as remittances which does nothing to stimulate or sustain our economy. The center will not hold.

According to CNN, “Last year, Mexico received $27 billion in remittances — a record high and far more than what the country got from its oil exports, $18.7 billion, according to Mexico’s central bank. The vast majority of remittances sent to Mexico come from the U.S. and they support millions of low-income families in Mexico.”

This is money that should have been spent in the country that is providing all the services that the illegals willingly consume.

I’m all for hard-working people but not when their prime motivation is sucking my country dry in order to make theirs more prosperous.

Americans Won’t Do that Work

How many times have you heard this bovine excrement canard? Most likely, many times! Complete liberal nonsense. Who do you think did all these jobs before the Rio Grande got an express lane?

Point in case: I am a veteran and went through a 4-year carpentry apprenticeship. After that I worked as a commercial journeyman carpenter for 20 or so years. Today I can’t even buy a job framing or hanging drywall. Why? Because I have a real social security number and can’t afford to work for $5/hr.

The same is true in many other industries. But the authorities, especially those on the Democrat side of the aisle will not address it. Why? I don’t know; ask them that after they explain why they can’t be bothered to fix the VA hospital problems.

When I say authorities do not think that I am casting stones. This encompasses both the Republicans, the progressive Democrats, the RINOs (can you hear me John McCain?), the whole kettle of rotten fish.

How About the H-1B Work Visa?

This one is all over the map. Silicone Valley says they need them because there are not enough Americans. Total bovine excrement, again. It really all boils down to the paycheck. You can say whatever you like about how great these employers are but their bottom line is more important than their loyalty to our citizens and the country that has provided them such a great work environment. And social media platforms like Facebook are making things worse by banning conservative voices and promoting posts that glorify Antifa and BLM.

Many companies have not only sought to import foreign workers and sponsor their H-1B work visas but force American employees to train their replacements prior to being fired!

Disney, that standard-bearer of the American entertainment industry, is one of the worst offenders. The New York Times states, “About 250 Disney employees were told in late October that they would be laid off. Many of their jobs were transferred to immigrants on temporary visas for highly skilled technical workers, who were brought in by an outsourcing firm based in India. Over the next three months, some Disney employees were required to train their replacements to do the jobs they had lost.”

“I just couldn’t believe they could fly people in to sit at our desks and take over our jobs exactly,” said one former worker, an American in his 40s who remains unemployed since his last day at Disney on Jan. 30. “It was so humiliating to train somebody else to take over your job. I still can’t grasp it.”

Even more ominous, some tech and energy workers here in Houston that I have talked to have been told that they had two termination choices. Either train your foreign replacement and get your severance package or just walk away with nothing. Some choice.

No wonder we elected Donald Trump. And no wonder Congress members on both sides of the aisle are throwing dirt on him and trying to block his every move. He threatens their jobs in the good old boys and girls club and all the insane perks that that entails. These are just some of the economics and consequences of illegal aliens and work visas.




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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Delicious Pizza Margherita Recipe

This Classic Pizza Boasts Minimal Ingredients and Classic Taste

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith © 2022

A homemade pizza Margherita baked and ready
A homemade pizza Margherita baked and ready
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This article was updated on 02/18/22.

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The pizza Margherita is something of a minimalist pizza pie (in my opinion). That doesn’t mean you can’t tweak it by adding anything that floats your boat.  Word has it that in June of 1889 Neapolitan pizzamaker Raffaele Esposito created it to honor the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. He garnished it with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil to represent Italy’s national colors as they are on the Italian flag. In case you wanted that bit of trivia.

Despite the simplicity of the recipe, there are a number of variations. For example, some recipes call for the basil to be added after the pie is done. I prefer to put it under the cheese before baking so the herbs’ flavor cooks into the cheese and sauce. Your option; no judgment here.

Optional Pizza Making Equipment

If you really get into making your own pizzas, I recommend:

My well-used pizza stone
My well-used pizza stone
  • A pizza stone. This is essential if you want top-notch pizza. A good pizza stone does wonders for your crust development because, unlike a baking sheet, it’s completely heated before the pizza is placed upon it. and that, my friend, is how you achieve a crisp and chewy crust that you can’t get out of a box. As you can see above, mine has some serious mileage on it.
  • A pizza peal. This is one of your best friends when using a stone. The one in the image below is typical. You build the pie on it, you transport the pie on it, and you can cut the pie on it. No muss, no fuss.
My pizza peal
My pizza peal

Pizza Crust Considerations

You basically have two choices. If you have the time and inclination, make your own. Check out this pizza crust recipe. If you are pressed for time, simply buy a crust in the grocery store. Don’t go for the really cheap ones. You get what you pay for.

The good thing about making your own crust is that you can add in just about anything—herbs, flax seeds, you name it. Use organic ingredients whenever possible. If you don’t have issues with glutin, toss in a teaspoon. Glutin is a wheat protein that holds breads together.

Pizza Topping Ingredients

  • 7 roma tomatoes. You can use the big slicers but the romas are much more economical. Slice ’em or dice ’em, or blend ’em.
  • Mozzarella cheese. How much you use is up to you. Slice it about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick and place it randomly (see the video in the link below under Preparation to see what I like).
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil.

That’s pretty much it for the basic ingredient list. Have fun with it and throw on anything that suits your fancy.



Preparation

This is very easy. Spread the tomatoes out evenly leaving about 1/2 inch around the edge “naked.” Add the basil. Add the cheese randomly. Watch the video. Have patience; it takes a while to load.

Bake that Baby

Preheat your oven (with the pizza stone on an oven rack) to 500 degrees. Slide your pie off the peal onto the stone. Bake it until the dough is crisp and browned and the cheese is golden and bubbling in spots. This will usually be from 13 to 16 minutes; just keep an eye on it.  Let it rest for about 5 minutes and then slice and enjoy!

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Why is the Democrat Left so Angry?

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This post was updated on 07/30/20.

Joe Biden's attitude; systemic, arrogant anger
Joe Biden’s attitude; systemic, arrogant anger

The mainstream left, since President Trump’s election, would be better described as the alt-left. Even previously reasonable citizens have jumped on the crazy bus. These people acted normally when President Obama was holding sway, signing constitution-adverse executive orders and playing hooky to hit the golf links. But now that the tables have turned, the alt-left has reduced itself into a saliva-slinging frenzy.

Just Can’t Accept Hillary’s Defeat

I was surprised when none of these Saul Alinsky wannabes didn’t let a single sigh escape their collective mandibles when it was shown that Hillary effectively stole her nomination by rigging everything against Bernie Sanders in collusion with the DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Neither did they cry foul when it was revealed that she gamed the system by having the debate questions spoon-fed to her beforehand. Neither did they cry foul when it was revealed that her “foundation” skimmed the donations meant for starving Haitians. She also dipped into those funds to pay for Chelsea’s wedding. OK, I could go on and on but you get the idea. The bottom line is, “Elect me because I’ve got a vagina, I’m entitled, and it’s my turn.”

But she lost. Forget the left and right-coasters; fly-over America spoke.  The electoral college has been much bemoaned. Middle America want its jobs back. They want off Obama food stamps and free cell phones. They want their dignity.

The problem now is that the activists (many professional activists paid by George Soros) are still looking for that free meal ticket. Supposedly from the party and philosophy of “inclusiveness, diversity, and respect for the rights of others,” they feel that it is OK to destroy public property and physically beat the crap out of people that don’t march to their brown-shirt tune. Antifa thugs relate to the Democrat party today just as the KKK did when they were the party’s enforcers.

When All Else Rails, Resort to Vulgarity

Conservatives may be a basket of deplorables but the Anti-Trumpers on the left enjoy getting down in the the pit of verbal excrement and have a good roll.

Case in point: Mark Roberts, an Oregon independent congressional candidate, caught fire with his canard calling the First Lady a “hoebag” during a bizarre series of Tweets whilst feuding with Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. One must wonder if he kisses his mother with that foul mouth.

The first lady Melania Trump’s spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said in a statement to CNN, “This is just more hypocritical intolerance from those who oppose her husband’s administration. To say such ugly words about a mother, wife and our First Lady is not just a pathetic attempt at getting himself in the news, it is disturbing and despicable.”

What Can be Done in Government?

Unfortunately, not much. The geriatric Democrat party (Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi exemplify this in their state of senility) is still being marionette-string-controlled by the likes of Pelosi and God-help-me feces-for-brains Chuck Schumer. The average Democrat seems now willing to toss them on the dung-hill of historical have-beens but there isn’t really any new talent to replace them. These guys have been around since the Democrats sponsored the Ku Klux Klan and their heels are dug in. 

Face it, they are mad, mad, mad. The leftists don’t want jobs. They don’t want their neighbors to have jobs. They are not interested in safe neighborhoods. They don’t care about social justice unless it is their particular flavor (otherwise they will beat your ass, especially if you are wearing a “Make America Great” hat). What they really want is more free stuff, paid for by someone else. Their new rallying cry is, “Socialism now! Everything is for free!”

Wake up America. Have some self-respect, and for crying out loud, pull up your britches, yo. Nobody wants to see your ghetto boxers. The Democrat left continues to be angry.




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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

8 Tips to Improve Your Home Security

This post was updated on 07/10/20.

Home security is more important than ever. Gone are the days when we could leave the front door unlocked or the garage door open. This is precisely the reason why selling alarm systems and surveillance cameras is such a lucrative business.

There are other methods to foil the bad guys both before and during a break-in or home invasion. Rather that complacently thinking, “It will never happen to me,” consider the following tips. Forewarned is forearmed.

  1. Protect your home from burglars by securing the garage. This is a prime spot for not only grabbing your stored stuff, but there is usually a door leading into the home that is not as secure as the front door.
  2. Ensure that you have defensive “tools” for easy access in all areas of your home. You might keep your pistol by your bedside and that’s great. But keep in mind that you won’t always be able to get to it in an emergency when Billy Badass is blocking your way. Place cans of wasp spray in various locations. They shoot a fine stream for about 20 feet. A shot in the eyeballs will stop the most unruly crackhead. A stun gun or taser in a bathroom or kitchen drawer might save the day.
  3. Have plenty of exterior lighting. Whether you opt for always-on or motion sensor lights one thing is for sure—no crook likes to be seen. They would rather move on to darker environs.
  4. Got a back porch but no guard dog? Put out a big water bowl and chain-on-a-stake anyhow. The very idea of a dog being present is enough to make many crooks move on.
  5. Make it look like your home is always occupied. If you are going to be away, have your neighbor pick up your mail and newspaper daily. Put your interior lights on a timer.
  6. If your circuit breaker box is outside, put a padlock on it. This will prevent crooks from putting you in the dark before they invade.
  7. Don’t stash a door key under the mat, over the door trim, or in one of those obviously “fake rocks.” Crooks are hip to all these amateur tricks. If you must stash a spare key, be more imaginative. Why not put it in a medicine bottle and actually bury it? It’s not like you will need it very often.
  8. Install a Ring Doorbell to alert you to movement at your front door.

 


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North Korea’s Missile Program and the Maniacal Kim Jong Un

Article updated on 08/08/18

North Korea has been ramping up their ballistic missile program at an ever-increasing rate. Not only has it been launching more missiles than ever before,  it has begun concentrating on longer distances (see the graphic below). This seems to be Kim Jong Un’s pet project, allocating more and more money to the program while more and more of the citizens starve. Clearly, this man is irrational (and it’s not just that goofy haircut).

North Korea’s Current Missile Arsenal

The missile and payload arsenal has been growing rapidly. The most recent nuclear test took place on last September 9th and yielded an impressive 30 kilotons which is double the force of the “Little Boy” bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. It has also developed a bomb that is small enough to fit inside the nose cone of one of it’s missiles.

It’s missiles include the following:

  • Scud B/C/ER – short range
  • KN-02 – short range
  • Nodong (the jury is still out as to whether the developers were having a chuckle at Kim’s expense) – medium/intermediate range
  • Musudan – medium/intermediate range
  • KN-14 – Intercontinental
  • KN-08 – Intercontinental

Kim Testing President Trump’s Will

One of Kim’s trademark moves is saber-rattling. The problem is that his particular method involves not only hysterical and low-brow ineffectual insults (for example, “Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest.“) but also action.

This just goes to show that pundits are wrong when they compare Kim to Vladimir Putin. Yes, they are both cold-hearted tyrants but where Putin is an experienced thug Kim is still just a dangerous kid, paranoid rather than adventurous.

The graphic above shows how quickly the program has accelerated since Kim took over from his late father. In particular, Kim Jong Un has pledged to deliver long-range missiles capable of striking U.S. cities. Although President Obama basically gave him a pass and let it go. To his credit, he did employ cyber and electronic measures but the results were minimal. A maniac like Kim simply doesn’t respect any non-physical measures.

It remains to be seen how President Trump will handle the situation.Just before the inauguration of Trump he seemed to taunt Pyongyang in a Tweet declaring that North Korea’s plan for building intercontinental ballistic missiles “won’t happen.”

Did he over-speak or will he put his money where his Tweet is? Time will tell but judging from his propensity to honor his campaign promises, Kim would do well to tread softly. He might find himself receiving a prostate exam with the tip of Trump’s boot. In a battle of nerves, Trump will win.

The Sheer Lunacy that is Kim Jong Un

There is a reason North Korea is often referred to as the “hermit kingdom.” Very few can leave and nobody except religious missionaries and undercover photographers want to go there. This is national sovereignty on steroids.

One of the ways that Kim keeps his subjects loyal and perhaps even worshipful is through propaganda that showcases his lunacy. He claims to be an expert mountain-climber. Can you imagine? He casually scaled the 9000-foot high Mt. Paektu outfitted in only an overcoat and and leather dress shoes. Before sunrise!

Quite a sailor! At age nine he  raced the chief executive of a foreign yacht company visiting North Korea and “won sensationally.” He could drive a car by the age of three. Look out NASCAR!

He was born on Mt Paekdu, the most sacred mountain, in a log cabin. This cosmic delivery caused rainbows to appear, a bright star to shoot through the sky, and (oh my) the seasons immediately swapped winter for spring. Kind of makes the three wise men a bit lame. The truth is that he was born in a guerrilla camp in Russia.

He invented the hamburger, could speak like an orator at age three, and wrote 1500 books and six full operas between classes at university.

Clearly, we don’t need this bonehead to have his finger on the big red button.

Is Kim Jung Un Mentally Stable?

That is really the question, isn’t it? He is either off in the head or clever. Not only is his position with the U.S. wavering, now his position with South Korea is in flux. He has recently called the South “incompetent.” Excuse me but which economy is vibrant and which is in the proverbial toilet?

Since his meeting with President Trump Kim’s has shown some intent to denuclearize. He has shipped some G.I. remains home. Either he continues to make good on his word or he faces further sanctions and continued ostracization from the civilized world.

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Springtime is Roof Inspection Time


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The roof of your home, whether a shingle or metal roof should be inspected, and have repairs done if needed, twice a year. The time corresponds to the season. Specifically, during the spring and during the fall. This is especially important in areas that experience snowfall. I don’t get any snow (well, maybe once every ten years).

These inspections grow increasingly more important the older your roof is. I have found that shingle manufacturer’s “guaranteed lifetime” are wildly optimistic and are basically a marketing tool.

Some Considerations During a Roof Inspection

The fact is that composition shingle roofs don’t last forever. What that means is that right after installation you shouldn’t have any issues but as time goes on you will have more and more. At some point it will make more sense to just bite the bullet and replace it.

  • If you are knowledgeable and know what to look for you’re gold. If not, have a reputable roofing contractor determine if you need a new roof or shingle repair.
  • If you do need a new roof and decide to do the job yourself you will need to know how to estimate how many shingles you will need.
  • On the other hand, if you are going to farm the job out it is important to know how to select a roof contractor. The industry is notorious for fly-by-night contractors. This is especially true if you need a new roof because of damage from a hurricane or other natural disaster. Some contractors flock in from out of state and take advantage of folks that already have enough to worry about. These contractors are often called “storm chasers.”
  • For minor damage repair such as fixing shingles, in many cases the average homeowner can do it himself. Just be sure to follow all the safety rules. I’m certainly not suggesting that you climb up on the roof if you don’t know what you are doing.

I hope you found this information helpful. Your roof might just be the most important component of your home. After all, if it goes, everything below will be exposed to the elements.
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Do Transgender Athletes Have an Unfair Advantage?

by Kelly R. Smith

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Some effects of testosterone

This article was updated on 09/30/20.

Regardless of what we might think of transgender bathroom policies or how gender-shifters should be affected by many other social issues, sport is a particularly sticky area. Sports performance is indeed affected by hormones, muscular structure, heat tolerance, and even height.

It’s no secret that this gender issue is huge in the Olympics. In particular, testosterone levels in women, transgender or natural, affects performance. Take the 25-year-old South African woman Caster Semenya for example. She is a natural woman but has an intersex condition. This means she possesses the anatomical sex characteristics of both males and females.

By definition she is hyperandrogenous. Her body provides much higher levels of testosterone than the majority of other female athletes. It follows that this builds greater muscle mass and bone mass which permits her to run faster and train harder with fewer sports injuries.

Should She Compete against Men or Women?

This introduces a moral dilemma. Semenya dominates the 800 meters. Certainly many factors allow her to do this but it is irrefutable that her higher testosterone level gives her a clear advantage. In fact she is built like a man—broad shoulders, narrow hips, very muscular, and even a masculine jawline.

This brings us to the moral question; if her competitors took testosterone supplements in order to even the field it would be considered doping. Semenya isn’t doping but does she have an unfair advantage because of her condition? Since her testosterone is abnormally high for a woman, more like a man, should she compete against them instead?

To address that question, at one point track’s governing body, the IAAF, placed a ceiling on testosterone levels in female athletes. When that happened her running performance came somewhat down to competitive levels and the common speculation was that she began medically suppressing her testosterone production with supplements in order to meet the requirement.

Since the IAAF removed the ceiling she has become virtually unbeatable once again. Depending on one’s personal outlook, it’s easy to draw a conclusion about what is “fair” and what regulations should be in place.

High School Sports are Affected Also

Recently, a transgender wrestler named Mack Beggs from Euless Trinity High School has been easily dominating the girl’s field at a competition at the Berry Center in the Cypress-Fairbanks school district.

Beggs was a girl but is now a transgender boy taking testosterone. Ironically, he/she wanted to compete against other boys but the University Interscholastic League rules force Beggs to compete as a girl instead. If that’s not a case against illogical wrongheadedness, what is? Once again testosterone is a huge factor. The really sad thing is that some of those testosterone-lacking girls were probably hoping for, and training hard for, a sports scholarship.

So, what’s right and what’s wrong? Where should the lines be drawn? Each of us has to decide for ourselves.

Update 02/28/20: A Missouri state legislator has introduced a bill that would ban transgender high-school students from competing on teams that do not match up their original biological sex. Speaking at a state education hearing on Tuesday, GOP State Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin said, “It is a known biological fact that males are born with categorically superior strength, speed and endurance. It has nothing to do with any other issue than trying to create a fair playing field.”


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.


Tips for Your Wood Shop or Hobby Area

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Various Wood Working Tools

Do you have a wood shop or hobby area? Most people locate theirs in the garage, basement, or external building. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that is never any lack of tips to improve your work flow and end product. Here, in no particular order are some of my favorites.

  • Know your lumber grades. Too many people over-spend needlessly. The go-to guys in the industry is the National Hardwood Lumber Association.
  • Make a water level. This simple device does things that a four or two foot level can’t do, like transferring benchmarks around corners.
  • Use the right wood glue for the job. They’re not all the same. They are very specialized today.
  • Explore the wide world of metal and hardwood for woodworking jigs. There are a million jigs out there to make your projects easier, safer, and more accurate.
  • Learn about all the methods of woodworking joinery. Some work better than others for specific job. Some are more decorative than others. One of my favorites is the dovetail joint.

These are just a few wood shop tips to make your projects more enjoyable and productive. Got any of your own? Share them in the comment section!
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