All posts by cryptosmith

Writer, educator, and consultant in cyber security; author of three books.

Rail Travel Fail

Riding a train instead of an airplane always seemsrailroad crossing sign with big X like a great idea. But railroad travel remains a half-century behind all other forms of passenger travel.

I’m going to the Boy Scout Jamboree this summer, and Amtrak stops at the Prince, West Virginia, station. This is within driving distance of Mt. Hope, site of the Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. But I can’t quite make it work.

The rail industry assumes that train riders are either traveling locally or are willing to do a lot of research and planning. Train travel also requires a super-flexible schedule and creative baggage management.

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The Exodus

Dave Barnhart's Blog

Frans Francken I. Hans skola: Den rike mannen och Lazarus. NM 429
I have seen your religion, and I hate it.
I have heard your doctrine, and I loathe it.
Take away your empty praise songs,
your vacuous worshiptainment.
Your mouth is full of religious words,
but your proverbs are salted manure.

“The sick deserve to be sick.
The poor deserve to be poor.
The rich deserve to be rich.
The imprisoned deserve to be imprisoned.”
Because you never saw him sick, or poor, or in prison.

“If he had followed police instructions,
if he had minded the company he keeps,
he would not have been killed,”
You say in the hearing
of a man hanging on a cross
between two thieves.

“People who live good lives
do not have pre-existing conditions,” you say,
carving these words over the hospital door:
“Who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he was born blind?”

“It is the church’s job, not the government’s,”
say…

View original post 850 more words

Stamps Worth Using

Four postage stamps on envelopes ready to mailI got tired of modern postage stamps. They were so bland and predictable (more flowers! more historical figures! more landscapes!), and the mere act of sticking them on a letter seemed like wasted effort.

But see what we have here! A Scout with a pony tail! The Starship Enterprise! Reprints of heavily engraved 19th century classics! I love this stuff. Even the 24c Inverted Jenny, though it’s a $2 face value.

Delta Airlines’ April Meltdown

North Central - Republic Airlines goose logoThis is a brief report on our experience with Delta’s epic meltdown over Palm Sunday weekend (April 7-10).
 
We were rebooked 4 times and rescheduled at least a half dozen times between midnight Friday and our ultimate arrival at about 3am Monday morning. Our original flight was supposed to arrive Saturday afternoon.
 
The final bit was that our bags were on the wrong flight and I had to pick them up after the morning flight came in. I asked the baggage lady if it was the worst she’d seen. She said, “No, it was worse when Northwest and Republic merged. Before computers.”

[Update: Delta sent us each 20,000 miles as an apology.]

Typical Troops, Atypical Scouts

SunriseAbout 1 in 8 kids these days have a “special need” or “invisible disability” or something else that poses a challenge in traditionally structured situations like school or Scouting. In ages past, a Scout leader could expel or “ease out” a Scout that presented behavior problems or otherwise didn’t “fit.”

It’s important to talk about how we will work with kids in the normal troop environment with special needs.  ADHD, autism down syndrome. Leaders need tips on how to handle kids, their parents and medication. 

Continue reading Typical Troops, Atypical Scouts

Respect For Friends Who Transition

I’ve found it challenging as an aging baby boomer to confront gender transitions. I posted some of my own “lessons learned” during the Transgender Day of Visibility. My suggestions won’t necessarily help traditional cisgendered people understand, but it might help minimize blunders.

Here are some things I’ve learned about gender transition:

Continue reading Respect For Friends Who Transition

For kids with ‘something’

I’m always looking for better ways to understand invisible disabilities with an eye towards helping Scouts and Scouters succeed in the movement. This one is pretty general, but it gives me some food for thought: The Ultimate List of Gifts for Sensory Seekers, from Mama OT’s blog.

I especially like that the second paragraph warns of overstimulation. There’s a tendency to think that if “a little of X” makes things good, then “a lot of X” makes things better. It’s important to know when and when not to indulge.