The Wrecking Crew

The link below will download the PDF story of The Farm Wrecking Crew. A short part of the introduction is copied below that link.

Note – in terms of the timeline of Farm history, most of this story ties in with or follows Cliff’s blog entries below:

Photos in here are taken by various Farm photogs and non-photogs including D. Frohman, D. Stevenson and other – used with permission when possible.

Martha and I started out as members of the West Virginia Farm, a small satellite operation with approx. 40 brave souls hacking basic survival out of the hollows of the Mountain State. A good friend from Philadelphia, Andrew Stein, had also come out to WV and joined with our efforts.

In early 1972, it was decided that the main Farm (TN. Farm) would purchase an additional 750 acres next to the existing 1,000 and that the WV Farm residents would move south in an attempt to consolidate a larger workforce and better connected community. In April of 1972, we packed up a few buses, cars, pickups and a U-Haul and headed down to the Motherland.

Upon settling in, various job offerings were made available via a bulletin board. I chose to start working at the Soy Dairy, which fit well with my introverted character, as our crew consisted of only 3 full time milkmen. This turned out to be an enjoyable gig and, of course, I was able to stay well nourished on soy milk and eventually other products which we created such as soy ice cream, soy yogurt, soy shakes and soysage (upset stomachs aside!). The job had other benefits such as being able to listen to the Farm Band practices, which took place in a tent adjacent to the Soy Dairy.

After a few months at the Dairy, Andrew approached me and asked if I wanted to join a new crew he had just become the “crew chief” of. Although there had formerly been a Salvage Crew, Andrew had the energy to take the effort to a much higher level, so I was excited to become a part of the newly christened Wrecking Crew. The idea was simple – we needed vast amounts of materials for tent floors, community buildings and houses and the best way for us to get them was by recycling old houses, barn and commercial buildings. We did this by taking them apart from the top down – piece by piece.

New ebook on Quadcopters and Drones for hobbyists – published!

My new ebook has been published at Amazon:

This is some of what I have learned starting out in the hobby and writing the new blog at

Please spread the word. Thanks!

The new ebook has been published on Amazon!

The new ebook has been published on Amazon!

A common sense discussion and opinion on the Gun Culture and the 2nd Amendment

As you have probably noticed, the recent mass shootings have once again brought the gun control debate back to the news cycle. In light of all the misinformation and propaganda being thrown about, I decided to put down some thoughts, opinions and…yes, facts, into a post! First let me state my qualifications – or lack of such! I am not a lawyer. I am not a constitutional scholar. BUT, I have been an avid amateur historian since I was 8 years old, having devoured the entire world book in the few years following and MANY tens of thousands of pages since. Much of my reading involves the actual words of the founders of this country, as well as the events of the Revolution as well as many events that have followed. Adams, Washington, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, etc. are all personalities I have read extensively on. I also have read quite a bit on the writing of and the amending of the US Constitution.
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Review – Corsair Trimaran Sprint 750 sailboat

Prior to the summer of 2012, I sailed a small sloop – a Precision 18, which I reviewed here on this blog. I sold this boat earlier this year and purchased a Corsair Sprint, a 24 foot trimaran based on the famous Farrier “f-boat” Designs. The boat hit the water on July 3rd, giving me plenty of time to learn the ropes. Following are my first impressions of the boat.

Sprint 750 at Mooring in RI

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You and your IP Address…

Well, my wife asked me to explain this to her, so I figured maybe some plain English would help others also.

The subject of internet protocol (IP) addresses has come up among some friends – due to someone claiming that they were able to track them down (confirm that they were the perps of an action online) based on their IP address. Rather than directly address that question, let me put it in broader terms so that internet citizens understand what is – and what IS NOT – probable or possible.

For a simple proof-of-concept, go to this site:

If all is working well, you will see your public (current assigned) IP on that page – AND, a map with a location as close as humanly possible to your house. Does it pinpoint your town? Your neighborhood? Your block? Your house?

To answer the first basic question – can someone, outside of law enforcement or your cable/telecom company, trace your IP to your house?

The answer here is a BIG FAT NO. They cannot. You see, IP addresses are doled out on a temporary basis from your provider out of a big block which they own. They change – sometimes often – sometimes less often. BUT, these temporary addresses are NEVER assigned to a person or an address. That’s why we call them “temporary”. You simply borrow them.

So, where can these “temporary” (also called dynamic) IP addressed be traced to?

This depends. They often can be traced to a large telecom facility somewhere within a couple miles of your location. Perhaps it would be your town – perhaps not. My IP currently points to a town about 60 miles away, which is where my cable provided (Charter) has a large facility. At another location I frequent, my IP points to the next town over – about 12 miles away by road.

Are there any exceptions to this rule? My friend/brother/father/son is a hacker and claims he can do tricks to find out exactly where an IP comes from?

Short answer – NO. Unless your friends works inside the cable company office or has special advanced employee access to their records, they cannot map your IP address to your house.

Longer answer – some businesses have “fixed” IP addresses which they pay more for. They do this in order to provide services (like a web server or other services) from their own networks. Fixed IP numbers can often be traced to a COMPANY, but still not to a location or a person. For instance, an IP which is owned by Apple or Google may be in use in one of hundreds or thousands of their offices – and/or it may still not point to their facility, but to the “upstream” provider who assigned (sold) them the fixed IP address.

Even longer answer – Even law enforcement does not have direct access to who has a particular IP. This can only be looked up afterwards…..usually only with a specific type of serious request or court order to the cable or telecom company. IF you’d read a story about someone being tracked down for file sharing or a virus being unleashed, it was after MUCH investigation. In order to do so, law enforcement has to get the court order and provide the cable/telecom company with the IP and EXACT TIME AND DATE in question. This is because, as mentioned before, IP’s change. So the person who used this IP last month may be different than the one today…..or even different in one hour or one day!

How about my cell phone? How does that work with IP addresses?

Your cell phone runs on TWO different networks. It has a wireless connection which you may use when around your home….which ties it to your local wireless router. When you are doing this, your cell phone is exactly like your computer.

But it works differently when you are in the car and out and around. In these cases, it again receives a VERY temporary IP number…it likely gets a different one every couple minutes as you roam from tower to tower. So, again, unless your cell phone provider is in on the action, no one can find exactly where you are located.

Does every computer have a unique IP number?

NO WAY. In the case of most homes and offices and even small businesses (small hotels, etc.), the entire building has ONE public IP number and there could be dozens of devices showing on the internet as being from the same IP number. In theory – and sometimes in fact – hundreds or even thousands of devices could have the same IP number.

OK, I think I get it. Tell me, then, how does some of this super snooping I read about in the news happen?

Ah, I thought you were gonna hit me with that one! Well, it turns out that the IP number is only one part of the equation. As I mentioned, that could get law enforcement to your house or a stranger to your town or a 50 mile radius. But how can law enforcement track you down when you sent that virus from the local Starbucks?

Quick discussion. Firstly, every single phone and computer and internet connected device DOES have a unique number inside it! Yes! No one told you about this yet? Well, here it is. In fact, many devices, like your phone,likely have a NUMBER of unique ID numbers inside them. These go by various names – the most well known being a MAC address. Suffice it to say it is possible for the experts to trace these down in many ways.

Anything else of note?

YES, glad you asked. GPS is your enemy! Well, it’s like fire- it can be your friend or your enemy. Newer devices like your cell phone or android tablet often have GPS chips inside of them – that is how they know where you are located VERY CLOSELY. That’s how google maps can find you with almost pinpoint accuracy or how “friend finder” apps work.

BUT, in most cases you have given your phone or tablet express permission – often called “allow location services” to use GPS and cell tower triangulation (don’t ask!) to map you. In theory, no regular person, hacker or computer expert from the outside can see into this data to locate you.

Thanks for listening!


Military School – my experience at Valley Forge!

Note – this story is in full as a PDF at this link :Part_3military – maybe scratch

Straighten up or we’ll send you to military school” was a common threat in the relatively well off Philadelphia suburb where I hail from. I’d heard my parents mention it regarding my older brother, who was often in trouble for weed, running away and other assorted 60’s rule breaking. However, I was still only 13 years old, and the idea that I would be dragged away to put on a uniform and parade around with a rifle seemed near impossible.
At the time I was hanging out with a crowd of guy friends who I suppose were somewhat typical of the time – at least typical in the upper middle class environs where I lived and went to school. Some were semi-greasers, who liked fast cars and mooning out the window of cars driven by their older brothers. Others were rich kids with divorced parents, who had too much freedom and too much money….or, maybe just enough to get in a LOT of trouble!
We were slightly under the age of drinking and drugs, and also not yet very interested with girls, so we came up with our own entertainment, which was usually vandalism. This involved “cool” BB and Pellet guns which we would use to shoot out everything from street lights to car headlights to picture windows. Sure, this behavior was most definitely wrong, yet the adrenaline rush we got was amazing! It was a high it itself when a streetlight broke and we went running.
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Steve McGarvey – a “cops cop” and Medford Citizen, R.I.P.

Being a boater (sailor) myself, I often think of my friend Steve McGarvey, who was a former Medford Police Captain and avid boater himself. Some of you may know him, but in any case I think it important to remember him – and to learn the lessons of his passing.

Steve McGarvey

There are various online stories on his passing, including one which I will quote extensively – these stories tend to disappear after a few years and I want to make certain Steve is remembered.

Our family lived in Medford from 1978 to 2004, a period when Steve rose up through the ranks at the Police Department. Starting out as a Patrolman, Steve quickly became a Sargent and, in 1995, became the Chief of Police. Steve was a local boy – having graduated Shawnee in 1972. Folks who knew have said that he wanted nothing out of life except to be a cop-and a good one.

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