Go see Lincoln and listen

Go see Lincoln and listen

A common refrain heard during our social media outbursts is what the founding fathers wrote, intended, contemplated and spoke. For some resorting to the refrain, it must be an easy way out – to deflect to those whose words we hold dear but are afraid to read. For others, resorting to the refrain might be tough, knowing that everything we hold as our own guiding principles is countered by the very words written by the founders. I love traveling to Washington DC. During the many years working as a government contractor, and recently, heading to DC as a part of a lobby effort for one thing or another I hold dear. Throw in the two family vacations to the nation’s capital, I probably have 30-40 trips down. On most, I’ve tried to follow a routine – dinner...

Clubbing the Patent Trolls

I just wrapped up a very full day meeting in Washington with several Senators and their staff on the issues surrounding patent reform.  This day was coordinated by the Application Developers Alliance, an advocacy group I connected with in December around the time of the House vote on the Innovation Act (House Bill 3309).  Before I go further, political correctness stalwarts as well as trolls themselves are calling for the name trolls be dropped and Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) be used instead. I will use the term troll instead… it is not only the industry standard name, it also labels these entities accurately. Imagine receiving a letter like - Dear CEO – you owe us $1000 per employee at your company for each networked scanner that emails scanned...

My article in the DSM Register on the Net Neutrality ruling

This article appeared in January 19, 2014 issue of the Des Moines Register’s Business section. It is encapsulated here and the original article is here to discuss my opinion on the recent Net Neutrality ruling by the DC Court of Appeals.  ————————————————————————————————————————————————————- Like many homes, Internet services enter mine via cable connected to a Mediacom box. It’s the same cable that provides me with telephone and video service. But...

if corporations really have personhood

So, the Des Moines Register published a view about corporate personhood. The SCOTUS may rule on Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby and allow Hobby Lobby can exercise its religious rights. As ludicrous as I find this claim, I wonder about the resulting lawsuits because… 1. if corporations have personhood, what is the corporation’s sex? 2. if the sex is female, and the corporation creates a subsidiary, does it have maternity rights to no longer fulfil its corporate duties? 3. if one corporation is male and it wants to merge with another male corporation, can it do so in states that don’t permit same-sex marriage? 4. since euthanasia of humans is not permitted, can you no longer take a dying corporation off life support (go from Chap 11 bankruptcy to Chap 7...

A wee yomp to the remotest pub (the Old Forge) in Great Britain

A wee yomp to the remotest pub (the Old Forge) in Great Britain

Unique tourist locations, sometimes disguised as tourist traps, can sometimes expose one to special places.  I had one such experience during a Whisky exploration trip to Scotland. As a part of our week-long trip across the country, we dedicated a day for a trip to the remotest pub in UK, the Old Forge, located in the tiny town of Knoydart. The town is accessible by walking across 18 miles of Munroes, Corbetts and Glens. Though scaling these peaks and valleys would earn us the real right to enjoy a pint at the old Forge, we took the easy way. The easy way entailed taking the early morning Armadale ferry (~7:30am) from the Isle of Skye to the port of Mallaig. Visitors on the mainland can drive to Mallaig just the same, but since we happened to be on Skye and...

Planning a trip to Islay

Islay, or the Queen of the Hebredes, is a magical little island for many reasons. Known worldwide as the source of such peaty malt whiskys as Laphroaig and Lagavulin, Islay history reaches far deeper and broader. It is not an island all about whisky, and even for the staunch whisky enthusiast, it offers opportunities for an amazing vacation. I first visited Scotland in May 2012 primarily to visit the distilleries of Laphroaig and Lagavulin on Islay. After spending the 90s drinking the “Indian” favorites of Johnnie Walker, Glenlivet, and Chivas, adding Dalmore, Balmore, and Glenrothes, I’d been introduced to the intense taste of Lagavulin by my friend Kraig in early 2000s, and finally I’d found a way to get to Islay. The resulting experience...

Machines need TLC too….

My 11-year old snowblower began making harsh, jerky movements during its most recent use. Though I ignore the jerkiness for a bit, knowing oil etc. were freshly checked and replaced, I made a mental note to check it out once done. I was dismayed to find, once back in the garage, that the metal beneath the auger blades was ripped-up, bent, broken, and destroyed. The shave plate was still there but the body behind it was gone. I had to make a decision on whether to buy a new snowblower and trash this one, call a repair shop and spend a couple of hundred bucks and wait two weeks, or just slice off the metal and hope for the best. Being American in the 2000s, I was heavily leaning toward the first option. It was then I remembered my neighbor’s son who had asked...