Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Well, good folks, here we go again, I’m moving this blog one more time … here’s the new URL

December 7, 2005

After being disappointed in the overall performance of WordPress’s efforts here, and I know they’re doing the best they can but still, but still I’m trying to run something close to a professional personal/business website and WP here has been more aggravating to use that I thought at first blush it would be…anyway…I’m taking my blog totally in-house where “I” can control things better, so please bookmark the new URL for it:

http://hkentcraig.com/blog/weblog.php

…and hope to see you there!, Yours, Kent

Oh, a quick PostScript: if you’d like to trade links, email me

November 4, 2005

Just a quick note to say if you have a blog and/or website and would like to trade links, just email me at kent@hkentcraig.com and I’ll be happy to oblige!

In praise of accidental high literature & poetry

November 4, 2005

Got somehow fooled this morning (again!) into opening what I thought was a legit piece of email and of course it was a piece of spam but the skill and cunning required to get it past the GoogleMail/GMail spam filters (I forward all mail sent to my kent@hkentcraig.com and other similar email addresses to my main Gmail account so that the universe-class firewalls and filters that Google provides for free can do their job) was a true work of art.

I’ve mused on this topic before within the bowels of my personal sections of my website in Spam-Poetry where I harvested random bits of text-fluff from the taglines of spam designed to try to get past spam filter gatekeepers and compressed them like so many bits of curddled milk into something resembling a block of cheese-poetry which actually is pretty amusing to read, but the filter-fooler-tagline this morning in that silly bit of ethereal horsedung just somehow struck me as near-high-art in short story writing skills, so I present it to you my dear reader unedited:


The chieftain appeared to doubt the wisdom of the enterprise, not being able to understand how the boy could expect to succeed; but he graciously issued the required order, and by the time Rob reached the city gate he found a large group of Tatars gathered to support him, while the entire camp, roused to interest in the proceedings, stood looking on. Rob cared little for the quarrel between the Turks and Tatars, and under ordinary circumstances would have refused to side with one or the other; but he knew he could not hope to recover his electrical machines unless the city was taken by the band of warriors who had befriended him, so he determined to force an entrance for them

Without hesitation he walked close to the great gate and shattered its fastenings with the force of the electric current directed upon them from the tube. Then, shouting to his friends the Tatars for assistance, they rushed in a body upon the gate and dashed it open.

Just shaking my head…

November 2, 2005

CEU’s, the actual purpose of licensing laws, etc.

November 2, 2005

‘Had to take a CEU/Continuing Education Units “class” this past Saturday to make sure I could renew my Master’s licenses for next year and doing so again mildly pissed me off that I had to be there as it has each of the past four years since the “State Board”, OKA
The State Board Of Examiners Of Plumbing, Heating, & Fire Sprinkler Contractors”

of which I am license holder #07492 (feel free to look my license up in the online register at the website) and proud of those hard-earned and hard-kept licenses but, maybe even because of the fact that I’ve pulled literally hundreds if not in the thousands of permits over my 28 years as a licensee of The Board and have never had a single, solitary complaint filed against me for any reason by anyone, not by any homeowner, business owner or municipal inspector just sticks in my craw that I had the pay the $100 for Michael Harlow’s CEU credit course, Michael being an old acquantence whom I really like both professionally and personally but still hated being forced by The Board to attend his class (

click here to go to his website for NC-based mechanical Master’s exam prep courses and CEU’s)

just because, just because (Michael is one of many offering said CEU classes).

The State Board originally began requiring CEU’s because: 1) there were too many complaints by the public against too many licensees concerning the level of quality of work being done, 2) all other state licensing boards began requiring CEU’s of their respective licensees, and 3) it was a way of sifting out those licensees who had their licenses for reasons other than actually being in the trades.

There’s also a restraint of trade issue here.

Pennsylvania, a larger state with a more diverse population base and demographics, doesn’t license plumbing or heating contractors, not at all, yet the quality of their plumbing and heating work in their buildings is every bit as good or better than North Carolina’s. Why? Because, and this is true of NC as well, they have very tough but fair municipal inspection departments that ensure that all work installed is in complete accordance with best trade practices and all current mechanical codes.

If Pennsylvania doesn’t need to license its plumbing and heating contractors, why does N.C. or any other state need to?

The logic behind NC licensing laws is “to protect the health and safety of the public by ensuring a minimum competency level of those in the trade”.

Yet I say again…if Pennsylvania, whose state pure food laws were the model for the FDA’s way back when, doesn’t need to license its mechanical contractors, why does any other state or local municipality?

It all boils down to the fact of a handful of the chosen few using the power of the state to protect their vested economic interest by using licensing laws as a vehicle to restrain the free flow of trade. If licensing of contractors is required, there will be fewer licensed contractors and therefor less competition for those already in the marketplace.

That’s why I’ve always encourage those I mentor to get and keep as many professional licenses as possible even if they have no intention of actually working in a given field, because it’s the nature of things and human beings to make requirements for licensing harder and harder over time so those licenses will only become more and more valuable.

Not wanting to go off a libertarian rant, I’m conservative and/or Republican, not libertarian, the result of any licensing law of any profession or trade must be weighed in context with the fact that any time you have a barrier to entry of any profession, higher prices for the consumer will result. This is an unarguable fact.

Would you want your doctor to be unlicensed by the state? Probably not, but you wouldn’t care if your watchmaker wasn’t. Don’t laugh.

During the brief time that N.C. had a “sunset commission” that was created to review and mark for extinction all state licensing boards that truly had no other purpose save pure restraint of trade and protecting the vested economic interests of those currently in it, I also happened to have a small watch and clock repair business on the side (this was the early/mid 70’s, and that business eventually grew into my company which became a national firm doing scientific and medical equipment design/repair/systems consulting) and to make a long story a little shorter, helped fuel the demise of the-then state licensing board for watchmakers. I’ll never forget my first wife’s uncle Seth telling me that if he hadn’t been “grandfathered in” (allowed to obtain a license based upon many years prior experience, prior to the licensing law for watcmakers taking effect), despite the fact he grew up in the jewelry and watch repair business and had 50 years experience, there was no way he could pass the mind-blowlingly difficult exam that the watchmaker’s board had put in place just to keep new competition out.

And does licensing of watchmakers do a single thing “to protect the health & safety of the public”? Me don’t think so.

Hello to all & the dance begins again, again

October 25, 2005

I write these small words with some hope and some dread as well because the last time I tried to do a semi-conforming-to-protocols blog the time and energy I spent on it just about drained me dry. However, with WordPress’s many cool and time-saving features, I hope that the entire fifteen minutes of free time I have per day typically will be better spent documenting and archiving my thoughts and life on the front end instead of having to deal with those blackhole issues on the backend. If WordPress is anything like what I think it is, I can simply write/blog/document/expouse/etc. and let them do all the work…Cool!

 The one thing I won’t do is force myself to the discipline of trying to post something every single day like I did when I hosted my first blog on my own website (http://hkentcraig.com for the main welcome page, http://hkentcraig.com/index2.html for the main personal category pages where the good stuff is accessible from) but I will post frequently, sometimes every day for a week and sometimes only once or twice a week, depending on what I have to say if anything.

You know, it’s strange how despite my having taken the links off to my old blog posts on my personal site, that a couple of months’ archives are still in the top ten of pages accessed, and it’s been a full year now since they were posted. Such is the apparent power and weird allure of blogging, which is why I sought out (asked for) and was granted a WordPress blog account.

Look for a slightly eclectic mix of commentaries on tech, society, popular culture that I personally like or dislike, local restaurant kills and bills, stuff peculiar to North Carolina and Southern culture, more local stuff about local issues to the Cary/Raleigh/Apex and Research Triangle Park N.C. area, business-related stuff including whacks about sub-topics dealing with senior-level project management which I’m the world’s leading navel lint picker expert on for the mechanical (HVAC/heating/ventilation/air conditioning/plumbing) contracting field by acclaimation and the fact that I have been the Contributing Editor For Project Management for “Contractor” for since 1998 (http://www.contractormag.com, the devilishly handsome fellow on the left-hand navbar is the one and only me, click on the link for my most recent column), oh well, you get the idea, I’m eclectic and a bit eccentric at times but almost never boring and am constantly living life…enjoy, my friends, and share a virtual beer with me as the dance begins again, again.