Back to Back Issues Page
ing Tips & Tools Monthly, Issue #88-Redwoods
May 15, 2014
May 15, 2014

Redwoods Being Desicrated

There is apparently a new moneymaking hobby going around but it's costing us all. I don't know if you saw the story run recently on CNN.

A few years ago I got the chance to visit California redwoods and this is sacrilege.

(CNN) -- Tree poaching conjures up the lawless Amazon jungle, but America's magnificent redwood forests now face a piecemeal but steady assault by poachers too, California officials say.

Thieves are cutting massive chunks from the base of the champion trees, which are the tallest on Earth and are up to 2,000 years old. While state officials say the damage is far from any Amazonian deforestation, they do rank the desecration alongside elephant tusk poaching.

Under the cloak of darkness, bandits are poaching the burl from the old-growth redwoods in Redwood National and State Parks in California, and that lumpy feature from the tree base is then sold for thousands of dollars to make furniture, bowls and even souvenirs, officials say.

"We've seen a peaked increase (of theft and damage)," says Candace Tinkler, chief of interpretation and education at the park. "Unfortunately I feel that it's more than we can keep track of."*

* Prepositionally Speaking..

Ending a sentence wit a preposition is a practice up with I will not put to paraphrase Winston Churchill.

Tinkler compares the theft to elephants being killed for their ivory tusks. She has been with the parks for three years and has noticed a spike in thefts during her tenure, she said.

"The distribution goes beyond what we could have imagined. There's a black market for this stuff, and it goes well beyond California borders," she said. What makes the poaching so distressing is that the burls are crucial to the survival of the redwoods, whose towering forests block out the sun and draw tourists worldwide.

When a burl cutting occurs, a lot of the bark is damaged or removed, and that bark is critical to protecting the redwoods from insect infestation and fire because the material is flame-resistant, Tinkler said.

"When you take away the burl and leave an open scar, it's similar to me having a major cut on my leg and I left it exposed," Tinkler explained. "Now I'm exposed to other infections."

To combat the poachers, officials at Redwood National and State Parks in northern California have closed an eight-mile drive through the forests at night. The California Department of Parks and Recreation said smaller pieces of poached burl can sell for hundreds of dollars, and the larger chunks can fetch thousands. Taking the burls from a state park is a crime, and their size determines whether the crime is a misdemeanor or felony, the Humboldt County district attorney's office said.

The burls provide unique and beautiful patterns for coffee tables and bar counter tops, and smaller pieces can be used for knife handles. But such a defacement of a forest distresses rangers.

Redwoods are on many 'bucket lists'

The Redwood National and State Parks comprises 133,000 acres of forest, coastlines, prairies, rivers and streams. Approximately 40,000 acres are old-growth forest and are a big draw for international visitors who consider a drive through the park a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Ranger Mike Poole, who works in the public information office at the park, receives numerous calls every week asking about the redwoods, located along the California coast north of San Francisco.

"One of the things I hear a lot is 'seeing the redwoods is on my bucket list,'" Poole said.

That's why protecting and preserving these behemoth beauties is a mission that rangers take very seriously at the park, which the United Nations labels a World Heritage site.

"We're one of those places that we have around the world that everyone thinks is precious enough, important enough, rare enough, that we need to protect it for the future," Tinkler said. "It's not just a crime against us as Americans... it's a crime to everyone."

Change of Tack? No Just Seeing Reality

Politics and religion are not topics you would normally expect to find in a newsletter on scale modeling but there is just too much happening these days.

I just might be the last voice you hear on these issues and I can't take that lightly.

Giving politics a share of your time will help you keep track of what is happening on earth. Your relationship to religion determines how we will live our future.

Both are more than hobbies to many, that is why a part of this newsletter, they need to be discussed.

Despite the fact I believe we are getting closer and closer to the end of this world I think there are things I need to consider about my writing.

Obviously everybody I reach is not a Christian and has no intent of becoming one. That does not mean I should doubt what God intends for me.

I have been a writer most of my life and there are a few things that I have learned.

Sure, I've got the right to free speech and that means I can put about anything I want into print.

1. But even scripture says just because we can do something doesn't mean we should do something. My intent is not winning everyone over to my point of view. 2. I try to remember to hold my beliefs with confidence, but also with humility. I can't say I have never held that I'm right and everyone else is wrong. I am trying to hold to my beliefs with confidence but also with a humility that says “but I could be wrong”.

3. I need to stop pretending that one political party has a monopoly on Jesus-ness.

When Jesus stood before Pilate, he declared that the Kingdom he came to inaugurate– the Kingdom you and I are tasked with building– was something that was “not of this world”. We must remember that the new culture Jesus came to establish is radically different from anything a worldly empire has to offer.

As such, neither dominant political party in America does a very good job at standing for the cultural principles of Jesus. When we marry Jesus off to a political party, we combine Kingdom with empire, and miss the fact that Jesus came to replace empire with something so very different.

Time to unplug Elmers Glue Bottle

I had this tip for model railroaders trying to lay down some decent looking track ballast.

I used the watered down Elmer's with minimal satisfaction ( read I created a mess).

This idea appealed to me as it allowed me to recycle an Elmer's Glue bottle. I finally settled on 8 oz. “Elmers Glue” bottles with the twist open cap. The best thing about them was the flow was very controllable from single drops to a decent stream. I was still frustrated by the lack of wetting even with dish detergent in the mix. Drops would fall and disturb the nicely arranged ballast or scenery material before eventually soaking in.

I recently read about wetting the materials with alcohol before applying glue. Magic happened and ballasting became more of a science than an art. I guess I saw that an eye dropper was used to apply just the right amount of alcohol so that’s how I did it for years. It was a slow process – do 12-18” of alcohol, apply glue, repeat.

I needed to speed up the alcohol application.the I read about using a second glue bottle for the alcohol. A sudden thought hit me (“Ouch”). I wondered if the glue bottle could also be used for alcohol? It worked perfectly and Allowed me to adjust the flow of alcohol to cover a lot of track or scenery very quickly and smoothly.

Sure wish that idea came along 20-30 years ago.

What's "Politically Correct" when new PC craps Out?

It is getting more and more difficult to keep my "cool" (that's hard for a 75-year-old) when I have to filter my conversation through a politically correct fumigator.

You will notice a stereotypical "Politically Correct" person often appears self-righteous and judgmental. Keep in mind that this, like any description of a stereotype, is a generalization of a particular group of people and is not to be taken as the absolute truth for all people supporting "Political Correctness".

1. So what does "Politically Correct" mean? It's a term that is left wide open for generalization, leaving each person with their own self minded definition. Say what you mean. Do you want the freedom to condemn things you don't like or understand? So be specific. Don't use catch phrases that truly aren't showing a self righteous person how to behave. If it's morally right, then it's right, no matter what political flavor.

2. If you are confronted by a Politically Correct person, first consider what truth there may be in their statements. Such a person is most likely to leave you alone if you show awareness of the issue that concerns them. Also, you may learn something interesting that changes your view of the issue. If that happens, thank the Politically Correct person, call it consciousness raising and make it clear that what convinced you was reality based rather than that they just shouted slogans at you.

It does not mean you have to be convinced on everything they believe in if you come to agree with one thing the PC person explained.

3. If the Politically Correct ideas are incorrect in your view, you can attempt to return their snap judgments back on them by using logic. Many "Politically Correct" ideals are based on a one-dimensional view of life. Debating the issues directly while avoiding ad hominem arguments (personal attacks) and basing your points on reasonable exceptions to their ideas may help the Politically Correct individual understand there's more to the issue than the obvious. Not flaming and insulting your opponent can help keep these discussions more amicable.

4. Politically Correct individuals may be attempting to impose the entire agenda of their personal convictions on other people. Be blunt in reminding them that there are other valid ways of looking at issues, and that the Politically Correct way may not be the best way.

5. Politically Correct people are often activists. It is important that you hold them accountable for their maverick ideas in public forums, such as meetings, conferences or rallies, and to offer other ideas for group consideration.

Pin Vise Great for Delicate Operations

I have a Dremel, why get a pin vise?

the pin vise, or twist drill is a handy tool for drilling small holes in durable parts or shaving the circumference of a hole in a fragile part to make a mating part fit better. The vises are really a form of handle with an adjustable throat or collet (the vise part) most often used as miniature drills.

Actually there are many modeling uses for this tiny hand powered drill that can't be accomplished with its electrical "big brother". With a wide variety of tiny drill bits, you can hole anything from plastics, to wood, plaster and even metals. One thing I have been wanting to try is adding flexibility to my figure modeling using small, .125 magnets in place of glue to attach arms to say model sailors. The idea is to use a pin vise to drill a hole (not all the way through) the body's arm socket and superglue a magnet.

I have a variety of arms, some with swords, some guns, some holding rope others that can depict a sailor climbing foot ropes. Drill each with an eighth-inch hole. A magnet in each makes them easily swapped on a torso for different applications.

Pin vises make excellent holders for reamers, wire fit twisting and miniature round file.

The Ant and the Grasshopper 2014

Caught this online the other day and it seemed to fit my mood to a "T".

Just my 2 cents …..

Personal Responsibility vs Entitlement ~ This is a cautionary tale, which is a PERFECT description of WHY Socialism DOES NOT & NEVER WILL WORK in a free society:

Here are two versions of the classic Aesop’s Fables, The Ant & The Grasshopper modernized and adapted to express today’s social and cultural situations in more relatable way …..

Two Different Versions ~ Two Different Morals … ???

OLD VERSION: (the original and Classic Aesop’s Fables) The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool. He laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.


Be responsible for yourself!


MODERN VERSION: (Original Adaptive Author unknown [*see Note listed below ..... ] & Adapted further by 1SG)

The Ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool. He laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper see’s the Ant all comfy and cozy in his nice warm house and angrily calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.

CBS, NBC , MSNBC, PBS, CNN and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America and the world are stunned and outraged by the sharp contrast:.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor Grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on all the morning shows with the Grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’.

The Progressive organization, Occupy America, arranges for demonstrations in front of the Ant’s house where the news stations film the group singing, ‘We Shall Overcome’, while Rev Jeremiah Wright has the group kneel down to pray for the Grasshopper’s sake. President Obama condemns the Ant for being part of the 1%, saying “He didn’t build that!”, then blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus and the Pope for the “poor” Grasshopper’s plight, while saying this is a perfect example of WHY he believes in redistribution of wealth. “At some point, you have enough and must be made to give your fair share.” he says to a receptive and cheering crowd.

Meanwhile Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid hit the morning shows running, exclaiming at every opportunity that the Ant had gotten rich off the back of the 99%, like the “poor” Grasshopper. When Nancy and Harry got back to DC, they immediately co-sponsored a new bill to be called the Grasshopper Fair Share Act which called for an immediate and retroactive tax hike on ALL of those the evil “capitalist” one per centers, like the Ant, to make them pay their fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The Ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated through eminent domain by the Government Green Czar and given to the Grasshopper as governmental Section 8 housing.

After his last Court appeal resulted in upholding the lower Court’s decision allowing the Green Czar to take his house through Eminent Domain for public housing and the rest of his personal property through the RICO Act, the Ant was so disgusted by the entire situation he left the court room muttering to himself about a complete breakdown of the Courts, not following the Constitution and abuse of the intent of Eminent Eomain. He was last seen at the train station buying a ticket to some Gulch in Colorado, but was never to be seen again.

The story ends as we see the Grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the Ant’s food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the Ant’s old house, crumbles around them because the Grasshopper doesn’t maintain it.


BREAKING NEWS: The Grasshopper, originally made famous as the poster child in the fight for fairness that resulted in quite a few bills being successfully passed to right the wrongs of the 1% against the 99%, was just found homeless and alone in the gutter of an alley, dead from an apparent drug overdose. The government house the Green Czar had given him is now condemned and abandoned and was recently reported as being taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize and ramshackle the once prosperous and peaceful neighborhood. With the exception of some little Gulch town in Colorado, the entire Nation is on the verge of collapse, taking the rest of the free world with it.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote in 2012, the choices made now really DO have REAL consequences.

I’ve sent this to you because I believe that you are an ant! You may wish to pass this on to other ants, but don’t bother sending it on to any grasshoppers because they wouldn’t understand it anyway!



the grasshopper joined the Muslim Brotherhood and saying this organization has issued a Fatwa declaring all ants are actually Jewish.

Hundreds of the Green bearded university students hopped around the Washington Monument protesting the ants disputed nuclear program. They formed a grasshopper chain and denounced the Jewish army for having such weapons.

Meanwhile, the ants were berated by the US Secretary of State for the collapse of the Palestine-Jewish peace talks.

*ORIGINAL Adaptive Author UNKNOWN:

NOTE: While I’ve changed & adapted this quite a bit to reflect many situations current to today, this is actually an amended version of an emailed version of this story, the original adaptive author was not credited in the email, therefore that author is unknown to me. If anyone knows who the original adaptive author is, please let me know and I will gladly credit him/her/them immediately.

It's Just A Snapshot

Let’s imagine that a computer chip had been placed behind your ear, and it records everything that runs through your mind for a whole week: every secret thought, every deed, and every word that comes out of your mouth.

Then all of your friends and family are called together and all of your thoughts are displayed on a big screen for them to see. How would that make you feel? Embarrassed? Ashamed?

That is just what will happen on the day when God requires you to give an account for everything you’ve said and done for your whole life. All of your secret thoughts will be laid before Him. You are in big trouble.

Until Next Month

Back to Back Issues Page