08 April 2015

Here are three more Kendas owned by Patrick McCarthy: The first one is obviously from his middle, Psychedelic Period, the one with which I'm most familiar. I believe the third one is also from this period. The second one is not so easy to date.

25 February 2015

Human Overpopulation and Climate Change, a Rant

Living in South Florida and having grown up here in the 1950s and '60s, I've seen so much of its beauty, both natural and early structures, destroyed to make way for the proverbial parking lots and concrete monstrosities. For decades, scientists have been warning about climate change. We've simply continued with the destruction of our natural resources and open spaces. At the same time, of course, we continue to destroy our environment, by displacing everything natural (forests, grasslands, rivers, wildlife), polluting it (air, lakes, oceans, rivers, etc.) and killing it (wildlife). There are forces at work that are actively trying to demonize attempts at controlling human population, which is the root cause of most of our environmental and societal ills. These forces are ideological (idiotic, actually) in nature and do not fit in with modern reality and science. After decades of being warned about the upcoming disasters caused by climate change, many of these ideological types (politicians, religious figures) still deny the human factors involved in the present cycle of global warming. Only in recent times have some of this ilk begun to address the possibility that we have placed ourselves and our entire world in danger and are attempting to stave off the long term effects. This is both a blessing and moronic. Blessing because these people have finally begun talking about the situation. Moronic because it's already too late and actions should have been taken many years ago. Mother Earth cleansed itself nicely for millennia until such time as the plague of humanity overpowered its ability to renew itself. We've destroyed vast forests which not only sheltered our wildlife, but created oxygen for our use. We've built tall concrete structures which block our sunlight. We've dammed rivers and destroyed huge swathes of ecosystems to create more and more electrical power for the growing population. We've uncaringly used our rivers and lakes and oceans as cesspits. We've dug up the metals and minerals and fuel sources our huge population requires to exist in modern times at the cost of rivers and huge areas of land laid to waste. While I am not afraid of nuclear power, per se, tons of spent fuel, radioactive for centuries to come, are being buried deep underground out of sight, but still a possible danger to all of us in the future. We have vast piles of waste deposited near every population center, masses of poisonous materials that are, again, placed out of sight. The more modern (?) of these are set up to monitor escaping gases and liquids which might poison us, but what of all those that are presently leeching these substances into our air and water tables? We burn other waste materials and add to our air pollution and cause acid rains to fall onto our forests. Back to climate change itself: I recently read an article in the Miami Herald about our local and state fearless leaders meeting to dream up solutions for sea level rise here in South Florida, one of the most vulnerable areas in the United States. They want to spend billions of dollars on seawalls and jetties and raising buildings that they do not already plan to raze. They are concerned with the salt water intrusion into our fresh water supplies, which are underground for the most part. Having seen the destruction of South Florida's natural beauty over the decades and seen what it was like even before I was born, I've often fantasized about the huge hotels, having been built right on the oceanfront, tipping over into the Atlantic Ocean due to a hurricane or the ocean eroding the underpinning of the structures. It was a satisfying image, frankly. Now that this is becoming more of a reality to these political types, they want to preserve their legacies and their riches for at least as long as they and their descendants and rich friends live down here. The truth of the matter is that the ocean's rise will not be put off by anything we can do. The only thing we'll be able to do is move away from the expanding oceans to higher ground. This will only have the unfortunate consequence of packing us into denser population centers, as well as taking over more wildlife habitat. Since more and new diseases are expected to move in with the change of climate, a denser population will, of course, place us in danger of the rampant spreading of same, i.e., epidemics. Hurricanes and other weather patterns are expected to be fiercer with climate change, which will cause much loss of life and property. Tsunamis will be much more of a threat, as well. We will lose many more animal species, as well. We humans will be packing ourselves into smaller areas in some cases and expanding our territory into new, pristine areas of the country (not that there's much left) and displacing wildlife, much of which we need to survive ourselves. {We are already killing off our bats, bees and butterflies and other beneficial creatures.} Climate change alone is already destroying wildlife habitat, although we're doing a fine job of that, ourselves, and we're contributing to the warming of the planet while we're at it. Natural changes to the climate have occurred since the Earth was formed. These changes occurred over thousands of years, allowing humans and plants and animals to adapt (evolve) to the changes. Only since we have begun the massive destruction of our resources and the huge amount of waste and pollution we generate have these changes sped up to the point where the changes are noticeable in our lifetimes. This is not going to allow for any kind of natural adaptations. Humans and wildlife, alike, will suffer greatly. Climate change is real and upon us. It cannot be stopped, but it can be reversed, over time, by reducing the major, human causes; i.e., overpopulation. Humankind is a rapidly reproducing virus that has struck the Earth and must be controlled if we expect to preserve the world somewhat as it should be and as we know it.

30 September 2014

A Few New Leather Creations

Since posting some of my leather creations, I've made a few more worth sharing: This first one is the Leather Maverick or Gambler's Hat,like my own, that is now for sale on Etsy. The leather for this hat took on an aged, very rugged appearance when dyed. This is a small leather notebook cover, not yet dyed to a customer's specification: This last is a pair of Adult Amusement items, wrist or ankle restraints.

20 September 2014

Children Not Being Taught the Basics

I just read an article in the 7 September 2014 Miami Herald entitled "Teach Kids to Do More Than Click", written by Pam Allyn. In it, she describes how children are not being sufficiently taught how to write by hand and are too dependent on the use of computers. I can well relate to her feelings on the subject because I, as an Engineer, have had similar thoughts on teaching the use of computers before being taught the basics of physics, mathematics, chemistry, et cetera. Since Junior High school, I have printed almost everything I ever write by hand. Not even my signature comes out smoothly. I have to think about where to move the pen at times. On the other hand, people can nearly always read what I've written. I pulled out my old slide rule, some weeks back, to see how much I remembered about using it. They are accurate to three decimal places and, if one knows how to use them, they are as quick to come up with an answer as a calculator and they do not require electrical power to operate. I can still remember the very basic uses of my slide rule, but I'd have to bone up on some of the other functions, logarithms, exponentials, trigonometric functions, et cetera. If we were to have a natural or man-made catastrophe and lose the use of computers, we would be in sad shape, since so much of our "knowledge" is gleaned from asking the computer for answers. I wonder about this every time I see a demonstration of state of the art scientific equipment - usually computer programs or computer-controlled operations - and I know that few of those using them know how they actually work and do not know how to do the same tasks without them. Whether using a slide rule or a computer, one must know how to set up a problem before the computer can come up with an answer. Computers are wonderful and valuable tools, but they must be put in use in educational settings after students are taught how to do everything by hand and by researching the hard way, with books and other forms of educational materials. In college, one of my classmates had bought the very first $500 HP scientific calculator. One of our professors took note of this and asked the class to vote on whether this fellow could use his calculator while we continued using our slide rules. We voted to allow him to use the calculator, but he still had the lowest grades in our class. Again, if one does not know how to set up a problem, the computer or calculator is useless. Ditto for the slide rule, but most of us never used slide rules until we enrolled in a technical curriculum, in our case Electrical Engineering. One friend of mine, who was a Physics major (as was I in my Freshman year), was given a failing test grade, once, because the teacher thought he was cheating. He simply wrote down the answers. He had not written down the steps in which the answer would be obtained, as most of us would have done - and he kept the steps in his head and used the slide rule to come up with the correct answers. Generally speaking, and other than playing computer games, I do not believe children should be using computers for technical school work, until perhaps their seventh school year. Professional educators and parents should seriously consider the often detrimental impact on children's education of having them use computers too soon. Maybe they'd prefer to have computers in a classroom setting even later in the educational process.

09 September 2014

Ben's Blog: Visit my Shop on

Ben's Blog: Visit my Shop on

Primarily meant for my leather creations, I've added separate sections to my shop for leather, wooden items, miscellaneous vintage items, vintage vinyl LPs and, finally, Leather Goods for Adult Amusement. For those interested in seeing what I offer - and this changes often - my shop on is entitled "ArnoldsLeatherGoods".

06 September 2014

North Miami High School, Deceased Alumni

The link, below, leads one to a listing of, among other things, my high school classmates who have passed away. I only discovered this because I'm on the reunion committee and we're trying to find lost classmates and to determine those who have died. The link is: I am adding as a JPG the listing of my own school and class year: 1969, North Miami High School in North Miami,Florida. Should anyone know of others who have died and belong on this list, by all means get in touch with me or add it to the list yourself. We had a graduating class of about 1,100 and we didn't know everyone by name, but I've already spotted some classmates that I did know and never got to see again. [For those interested in checking on their own high school classmates, this site covers any high school information that is entered onto the site. The link just happens to be to my own high school.]

19 August 2014

Visit my Shop on

In recent months, I've been listing some of my Leather Goods for sale on I then added some vintage items ( prior to 1995 ) and then even more in the form of dozens of old LPs of various types. I have perhaps hundreds of these old LPs obtained from a neighbor. Many were his mother's and date back to the 1950s. I even added some wooden boomerangs that I'd made, some years ago. Etsy, for those who do not already know, is set up for people to sell handmade items and/or vintage items. Anyone with items you've made or with vintage items you'd like to sell, this is a good place to do it. For those who might be interested, my shop on is entitled "ArnoldsLeatherGoods".