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Believe it or not, this is a Google Maps shot of my Mom's place from the road.  The original is 3D.
When I was learning to ride a bike on this hill, who would have ever guessed how things would change in 60 years?

Saturday December 1st 2012
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Today is a rest day for me again.  Offering on the boat wore me out, along with an excess of good wine the other night.  We are still at minus 12 C and it is a little cool for being outdoors.  Light snow drifting down and it has been a perfect morning for writing.  I'm in one of those moods.

>> "Feed any colonies that may come anywhere close to running out during a dearth
>> generously, and well in advance.

> Some would say the successful beekeeper doesn't need to feed if only the
> surplus is removed. Removing honey and then replacing it with sugar and
> water is a questionable idea in some beekeepers minds.

Thanks for bringing up one of the most prevalent stupid and unsubstantiated ideas circulating in the "losers" set and a nagging notion that can easily infect newcomers.

Remember, I am writing for people who wish to be a commercial success and have to an easy, happy time of it, not someone who wish to suffer, worry and pursue an idealistic course regardless of cost -- and in spite of the abundant evidence that such notions are rubbish.

We have been over and over this here topic here on this science-based list and have never managed to reveal anything more than idealistic and somewhat theoretical reasons not to feed, while we have repeatedly outlined and examined the good -- and sometimes urgent -- reasons for feeding and the apparent lack of any detectable harm when the proper procedures are followed.

Just to reiterate:

* Millions of colonies worldwide thrive on sugar feed.

* Unfed colonies often die.

* Colonies which are adapted to withstand dearths are often not productive. I know. I have had some.

* Honey flows are unpredictable, and dearths occur unexpectedly.

* Commercial beekeepers are constrained by economics and must act in their own best interest and feeding hungry bees is in their best interest, regardless of what reasons caused the condition.

* Sugar feeding can provide a significant profit advantage over honey feeding under some circumstances.

* Some honies are not ideal for wintering and some are toxic and thus must be removed.

* It is sometimes necessary to remove honey to lighten the hives for transport

* Many beekeepers cannot predict how much honey it is safe to remove from hives and cannot keep reserves of honey in comb because it granulates hard or is subject to damage from other insects.

* The economics of sugar feeding in spring and fall in some locations is compelling due to improved colony health, better populations, and better survival.

* Build-up for pollinating some crops cannot be achieved reliably without intensive management and feeding.

* There are many more more reasons.

Again, I am writing for aspiring winners, not aspiring losers. Those who wish to not feed bees are entirely welcome to refuse to feed. In all matters, some people refuse all evidence and do things the hardest possible way. Some do so because they cannot understand and some because they will not understand.

In my extensive experience, I have seen it proven again and again that if you don't have a trust fund behind you and you want to ship honey by the truckload, not by LTL, and you want strong healthy bees all the time, not just when you are lucky, feed your bees when they need it.

Whether to feed when the bees don't really need it is another matter, but in my experience, those who use feed to stimulate and manage their bees are a consistently more successful economically than those who do not.

There are some interesting environmental and economic externality arguments that can be made against excessive sugar feeding, but the need to feed starving bees trumps them IMO.

Follow and imitate the winners, not the losers -- unless you want to be a loser. Many people actually do chose to lose, and the extreme examples are sleeping on the sidewalks in prosperous cities due to an inability or refusal to understand the obvious opportunities around them.

There are various degrees of winning and losing. Subsistence is the goal of many, and they somehow manage to live at exactly that level regardless of how good or bad things are around them, but others aspire to more.

For my bees and myself, I want more than subsistence.

 

To those who asked and those who wondered, a recent BEE-L post I wrote was circulated to another list, but no attribution. Some were concerned.

I was asked and did give permission in advance, and as it worked out, I was glad there was no attribution. I would have been embarrassed by one small addition that reversed my meaning and runs IMO dangerously counter to what I was actually recommending.

Apparently the idea of _eliminating_ dinks is sufficiently novel to many that it was misunderstood. I apologize for not being clearer and will try to be very clear here.

I said,

> * Keep the colonies healthy and treat or eliminate any which are not.

Added to that was the statement that in beekeeping, that means requeening.

Maybe sometimes it does, but I said what I meant and no more. I deliberately said "eliminate", and that is how professionals operate. Bob says to eliminate the 'dinks' over and over, to a largely uncomprehending audience, it seems. Eliminate means eliminate.

Beekeepers often try to save everything and sometimes lose all as a result.

Besides the fact that the worst 20% of the hives cause 80% of the work, a fact which by itself should justify drastic action, we should _not_ try to requeen _hopeless_ colonies. We should shake them out -- or if they appear to have some disease we don't understand and which appears to be contagious -- we should destroy them. STAT.

If I had followed that sound commercial practice instead of observing and nursing that one bad colony all summer, then watching the malady spread in fall, I would likely not have suffered the devastating fall/winter loss a few years back. I knew better. For the sake of one, all was lost.

The above is not to say that we should not treat, combine or requeen apparently healthy colonies, but it these measures do not work, the dud colonies must be eliminated without delay, or quarantined, for the sake of the rest. 

 

> In the case of Canada, as I understand it, the
> main crop of canola honey granulates rock hard, and bee winter poorly on
> it. Thus it needs to be removed and replaced with cured sugar syrup if
> there is no fall flow.

This can be true, but today's canola honey is much better than the old rape honey that way. That is not to say that canola honey can't still sometimes be a huge problem for the bees, and even more so the extracting line. The speed and degree of granulation can be unpredictable.

For winter, regardless of the hive weight, Alberta beekeepers usually "top up" the stores in the brood boxes with sugar so that the bees have good clean liquid stores during the coldest weather when granulated honey is like concrete and in spring when the populations are reduced and vulnerable. The fall feeding also brings the lighter hives up to wintering weight.

The problem with predicting how much 'surplus' can safety be taken, and a problem which is less than obvious to a small operator in a less severe climate is that doing so requires and ability to predict the future, and our futures vary wildly from year to year with no warning.

Flows here can be as much as 30 lbs a day and honey must be removed efficiently and routinely, ideally once a week.

The honey MUST be removed when it comes in. If not, within a week or three, the honey may become too hard to extract. I had several thousand boxes like that one time. Never again.

Commercial honey removal and extraction is a high pressure system requiring reliable equipment, co-ordination and careful management. If it fails, the hives plug, honey granulates, and the results echo for a year or more into the future. A few of the enduring effects are excess burr comb, glued up brood boxes, supers and frames, reduced brood rearing, poorer wintering -- and swarming if the season is still early.

Of course we don't get 30 lbs a day every day or even two days in a row, and we don't know when this will happen or how long it will go on.

Sometimes the flow starts in June, and is continuous, and sometimes there is little surplus until August. Sometimes the flows are all over August 20th and sometimes they continue heavy into October. Regardless, the job is full-on removing honey until things slow.

Beekeepers here only pull down to the brood chambers, which are usually doubles, but sometimes singles, however, these boxes may be full of brood and have varying amounts of honey. If the season tapers off, the broods can be quite heavy, but if it stops suddenly, they can be light.

There is no way to predict unless it is a really bad year, when they are light all along and there may be no crop to remove. At such times, feeding is mandatory, but financing it may be tough.

So what I am saying is that the best operators drive right down the middle of the possibilities and take the most riskless choices they can see.

Generally speaking (for Bill), the adverse effects of failing to remove honey in Alberta are worse than the effects of removing too much -- as long as the option is there to feed heavily and promptly the moment the supers are off and hives seem light.

And, yes the fear of granulation complicates things.

Tonight, I received word that I have bought the boat, subject to my inspection and approval.  A new adventure begins.  It is a bit intimidating, but I have researched the boat and the charter business and have reasonable confidence that it can't be too much less profitable than my little bee business has been lately.%, then stalled.

I have to push back the edges of my comfort zone from time to time or it will shrink and smother me to death.  This last year has been hard, with Ellen being ill and needing me around.  I had grown used to travelling and living at scattered locations around North America.  Staying here, even in this pleasant cocoon of a home during the cold of winter is unhealthy.

This afternoon, I decided to bite the bullet and update one of my main computers to Windows 8, so I ran the tool and paid online.  The download took three hours and the computer went to a purple screen for hours and was purple until bedtime. 

The computer continued to be quite useable behind the screen during installation, by cycling through programs and desktop with the Windows key or Alt + Tab, but progress seems to have stalled.  When I looked behind the purple screen, I saw a runtime error.  Apparently C++ was faulting.  I dismissed the message and progress continued.

In a soldier's stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I'd become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
Robert Zimmerman

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Sunday December 2nd 2012
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I've had indigestion since California, and have been eating Tums constantly.  That is unusual for me.  I'll have to be careful what I eat and avoid wines, and see if that cures it.

The purple screen was still there in the morning (I had left the computer in my 'always on' power setting). The progress was zero.  I considered rebooting, but figured I should look deeper first.

I then checked behind the purple and found the same fault message again, hidden back there.  I dismissed it and the install continues.  I wonder why M$ hides the desktop during the install, even though the message informs the user that the computer may be used during the process.

The install ran an hour this morning and got to 90% before it stalled again.   I have my task bar set to auto-hide, so if I don't get behind the purple screen the icons are not visible.  For some reason, the auto-hide feature has always been flakey and when a full-screen app is running, the task bar will not respond to the cursor at the screen edge.  A press of the Windows key is required to lift it into sight. 

Going behind the purple, and looking at the task bar, I saw the message icon again, and sure enough it was the same message.  I dismissed it again and the process continues.  At this moment, the machine is rebooting itself.  My fingers are crossed.

After a few reboots and error messages, Window 8 is running fine, but the hard drive is running non-stop while the system tunes itself and indexes.  

The first thing I did was install Classic Shell, which, after setup, turns the Win 8 default user interface (left) back to something closely resembling the Windows 7 desktop (right), complete with a start button. 

I really have no use so far for the formerly named "Metro" interface or the "Metro" apps -- and now I see that, for some reason, the Synergy pointer and keyboard cannot reach the Metro apps home or the Metro apps -- but I did want the improvements and stability the new O/S brings.  So far, so good.  Synergy even works now, after a few reboots, so I still have Synergy integration between all my three machines on the desk.

Well, I guess that the machine is back to normal.  I had to reinstall several pieces of software, but that was not unexpected.

When you go into court you are putting your fate into the hands of twelve people
who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty.
Norm Crosby

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Monday December 3rd 2012
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The Win 8 machine gets a bit weird every so often and has to be rebooted.  I get some error messages, but it mostly works OK.

I have a lot to do today.  The past week, I've been studying furnaces, vents, water heaters and gas piping.  Now I have to consult with the suppliers and contractors.  I also have to get ready to go east to visit Mom.

I managed to get the weather station software running again.  It took a reinstall with Admin privileges and a reconnection through My Backyard Weather to get my Wunderground page working again.

I went out and cleared most of the driveway, but the blower was still cycling and I was getting tired, so the south portion did not get done.  It is down to minus twenty tonight, but warmer weather is promised for the morning.  We'll see. I really don't want to wake up to fog.  I have a one-hour highway trip to make before dawn.

I'm a philosophy major. That means I can think deep thoughts about being unemployed.
Bruce Lee

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Tuesday December 4th 2012
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I was up at 5:30, packed, and drove to Airdrie, where I met Mike at the shop and he drove me to YYC.

A few hours later, I was in YYZ and had a 2-hour layover before flying to YSB.

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought.
Basho

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Wednesday December 5th 2012
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I awoke early and spent the day out around the town. 

I began by visiting Harri.  Last time I was in Sudbury, I had ordered  a ham VHF radio for delivery to his address so he could set it up for me.  Then I went to Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire, and BestBuy to research various things which I have been thinking about.  Being in a city presents opportunities that are not close by at home.  Here, I can drive a few minutes and walk into large stores.  At home, I have to drive at least a half-hour to reach a limited selection of stores.

I have a good TV, but only use it for Netflix, but Netflix has a limited selection of programming.  Cable TV is not available in Swalwell, but can receive a number of on-air stations.  Satellite is available, too, but a waste of money for the amount we would watch it.   My problem with TV generally is that commercial TV channels, with few exceptions, are unwatchable due to the amount of annoying and insulting advertising that peppers the programming. 

I have been thinking that a PVR might be the solution to the problem, but am having a problem finding clear information, so I looked at what they offer at BestBuy.  They have only one unit, and that one is branded for the local cable provider.  I continue to investigate.  I need one that will work for on-air broadcasts.

At Canadian Tire, I was hoping to get the van undercoated.  Sudbury winters are extremely hard on vehicles.   I have not had this van undercoated in the past, but should have.  I'm seeing some rust now. 

I had phoned around and found the recommended place is booked up for weeks ahead and that this is the only place that does walk-ins.  They do, but their gun had just sprung leaks and they were shut down.  Maybe tomorrow.

A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather
and ask for it back when it begins to rain.
 Robert Frost

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Thursday December 6th 2012
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Today, Mom and I go to Linda's first thing, then plan to go out for lunch.  I also hope to get that undercoating done.  I have yet to look at my boat.

Mom and I visited Linda and then went for lunch at Perkins. While I was at Linda's, Bill phoned to say that he had managed to get in for undercoating and that I was in line, too. The van has not been driven on salty roads and should have been well washed down over the summer, so I wanted to be sure to get the undercoating on before the snow hits again.  Today was cool and breezy, with a hint of snow in the air, so I did not want to delay.

After lunch, I dropped Mom off at home, and then went to Canadian Tire to see about undercoating.  Bill's van was still in the shop, and they took mine in, too.  Shortly after, I was able to drive Bill's van to his place and I visited there with Bill, Faye and Brenda until the shop called.  I then picked up the van, drove to 1207 and slept an hour before supper.  A light snow was drifting down.

I sent off the deposit cheque for Cassiopeia today as well.  I had been carrying it with me and forgotten to mail it.  If all goes well, two weeks from today, the deal should be completed and three weeks from  today, she goes on her first charter under my ownership.

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.
Kurt Vonnegut

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Friday December 7th 2012
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Beekeeping Basics is a 100-page basic beekeeping overview from Penn State. Download it free at http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/agrs93.pdf

I met Mom for lunch at Eddy's, did some shopping, some laundry at Green Star, then met Bill to drop off his tools which had been in my van since the last visit.  We went to see Harri for a few minutes and picked up the files to administer the VHF/UHF radio I bought.

I returned to 1207 for supper, then Bill and I went to the Astronomy Club meeting at Laurentian U.  We arrived a few moments late and it seems there was a problem getting he presentation working.  Several fellows were working frantically at the computers that run the presentation projector which projects onto part of the dome.  They kept playing with the resolution settings, for the projector.  No matter what they did, it showed a blank windows desktop with only three icons, and, of course everyone had a better idea than the next guy on what was wrong.  This went on for a half-hour.

I kept out of it.  These days, everyone who can turn on a computer is a Windows expert -- they think. After a half-hour, I realised that they were trying to find the Windows task bar so they could run their presentation. 

"OK", I said, "This system is locked down in kiosk mode and you won't be able to break it".  They realised I was right, gave up, and sent for a laptop.  When it arrived, the presentation would not run on it, so we had an ad hoc alternate program to fill the meeting.

After all, this is a university planetarium.  Their presentations must work when the prof walks in, and they can't have the presentation computer open to fiddling by everyone who wants to change the setup -- or to pranks or sabotage.  My guess is that it has kiosk software Deep Freeze or something comparable installed to protect it from unauthorized meddling.

Pizza was served midway through the meeting, and I had a small piece.  I know, by now, that eating pizza sometimes affects my sleep, and I found out later this one did. 

As far as I can figure, I am sensitive to some tomatoes, roma tomatoes, I think.  I love pizza, but if it has the wrong sauce, my sleep is restless afterwards.

Laughing at our mistakes can lengthen our own life.
Laughing at someone else’s can shorten it.
Cullen Hightower

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Saturday December 8th 2012
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It is snowing outside today.  Bill and I had planned a walk and it is still feasible, but I am hoping the weather clears a bit first.  I spent the morning researching kites again.

Political correctness is tyranny with manners.
-Charlton Heston

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Sunday December 9th 2012
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I see that this machine BSODed last night. The Blue Screen Of Death is unusual these days.  I wonder what is up.  Can't be good. 

I'll have to back everything up ASAP.  That may mean buying a Terabyte portable USB drive at Costco, as I don't have anything handy here at Mom's.  I'd better make a drive image.  Last time this PC's HD cratered. at 6 months of age, I had a huge job restoring the software after they replaced the drive.  I never want to have to do that again.  A disk image makes the job simple, as long as the image is a good one.

 Ramsey Lake froze over last night.  It'll be a while before it is thick enough for skating, though.

I see that the weather at home is moderating again.  That is good. It'll give the bees a chance to shift around a bit.

Hi,

>... Canadian Netflix however the US side is much better. It is possible to
> get the US Netflix in Canada by using a VPN which will give you a US IP
> address.

Actually, I was down in Laguna beach for a week recently and noticed that my Canadian account does work there now, with the US content, rather than the Canadian selection. 

A year back, it didn't.  I used to access my son's US account (that I set up for him when I was down there) from Canada using witopia.net's VPN.  After a while, though, it got to be a hassle.

I had to use a separate browser for that account due to cookies being confused if I tried to use the US and Canadian accounts on the same browser, and also after a while the history would get to be a confused jumble of my history and the grandkids' selections.

I'm not sure how much better the US Netflix is, but the selection is different. Also with a US IP,  the US, Hulu and other services are available that we can't get from Canada, and a fair bit of YouTube content is restricted from Canada as well.

> You current Netflix account will work in  the US so it won't be any more money for Netflix.

True. The $7.99/month is not a bit consideration, though.  One DVD rental costs almost that much.

> there is a small monthly charge for the VPN and there are different providers. You
> can get Hotspot http://www.hotspotshield.com/en  to see the difference in
> content, but I would create a restore point before installing it because
> it installs browser plugins and such.

Hotspot Shield used to be ad supported. I tried it years back and decided I don't like their model and restrictions. They have changed, though, as I noticed last time I checked.  My son-in-law uses their paid iPhone version which is cheap and works well for him. I looked into an Android version and they did not have it yet at that time.  Maybe now?

For years I used witopia.net's VPN, which IMO is the best, with IPs all over the world. At that time, I was travelling with a PC and using public wifi a lot, so wanted the security of a VPN. Now I use 3G and the need is less.

I also quit using VPNs since -- unless the router solution is chosen -- all my PCs would need a subscription or the one on the VPN would be unreachable on my local networks. That would make using Synergy impossible.   Synergy is an absolute essential for me.

Also, If I chose the router solution, my location would appear to be somewhere far away and all the location based searches, etc. would be distorted.   My searches for local data would return Los Angeles, Detroit or Hong Kong results and my personalized searches would be confused.,

So, not needing the security aspect too badly, and having 9 internet active devices in use daily, including TV, iPad, Tablet, 2 phones, and 4 computers, plus visiting devices, I have chosen to go without a VPN at present.

> I would not recommend [Hotspot Shield] as a long term solution for this reason but
> flashing a cheap router is. Depending where you plug your computers in would yield
>  Canadian IP or A US IP.

A second router might be a good idea. witopia.net sells one or I could flash one as suggested. We use wifi throughout the place, so changing to US location while at home would be as simple as dropping one router wireless connection and connecting to another. That device would be isolated from the rest of the home for the duration, though.

As for my phone, which is my #2 device of choice for Netflix, I could subscribe to a PPOE confection through witopia.net or other outfits, but then I wonder if the 3G location feature and GPS would have to be turned off whenever I was pretending to be in the US?  Mightn't these features give me away, regardless of what the IP happened to be? Don't know.

The TV does not send location info beyond the IP, and neither does the router or PCs, so they would not squeal on me. The phones, the iPad and the Tab are the only problem there.

> I hope this helps you, I have gotten so much from your site I would Like
> to help you with something and you may not be-aware of VPNs to the US.

Well, you got me thinking about it again. I had decided it was not worth the hassle, but things are constantly changing and need reexamining...

> Here is the starting point for the NETFLIX USA.
>
> 1.__Get a APPROVED router from
> http://strongvpn.com/easy_setup_routers.shtml
> 2.__Get a VPN OPEN account
> 3.__Then just do the DDWRT setup from STRONGVPN setup and your rolling.

I see I can flash an old router. Unfortunately, the WRT54RG is not listed. I have one kicking around. The WRT54G is, though.

I'll have to give it some consideration.

I think I'll post this. I'm sure it is of interest to many.

Thanks.

allen

(Later) I see HotSpot Shield now supports Android.  Maybe I'll give it a shot on my phone.  They also mention compression.  That might pay off, assuming the load on the phone's processor does not prove to be a problem.

I see at Google Play, that there are other competing VPNs now.  Anyhow, I'm installing this one to try it. 

(Later still) It would not set up, so I uninstalled it and gave it a one star review.

(Even later)  I tried Tigervpns on my phone, too, and it does not connect.  I'm guessing that my ISP is blocking VPNs of this sort.  I think witopia may have one that will work, but I wonder if it is worth the bother.  I have a lot of studying to do this week and am running short of time.  I am buying a boat and need to brush up on my technical skills.  Most people don't realise it, but handling a boat of any size requires more study and is far more complex than driving a car.

I've crewed and skippered boats like this before, but never owned one.  Actually, Cassiopeia is a bit larger than the last one I chartered.  Being docked at Granville Island, in the heart of Vancouver, we'll be crossing some serious sea traffic lanes coming and going from our moorings on the way out from English Bay to open waters, so I need to be sharp. Here it is on Google Earth > Cassiopeia.kmz

I've been shopping boats for 10 years now and this one finally got me.  I bought a smaller, trailerable boat earlier on, back in 2007, and have used it a lot, but it only weighs 3,500 lbs, is only 23.5 feet long, and has a 9.9 HP outboard motor.  This boat masses  20,282 lbs, is 42 ft 7 in overall and has a 54 HP inboard diesel. This yacht is a salt water vessel I could sail to Hawaii or Tahiti without much worry.

The purchase is not complete yet, though.  I still have to do a personal inspection, sail, mechanical, and hull inspections with hired professionals, and a sea trial.  The deal could still fall through.  To date, I have not even set foot on Cassiopeia.

The reason I settled on this boat is that it is already in charter with the premier British Columbia charter firm and has an established track record of earnings.  It should pay its own way for the next five years.

I have no idea how much time I will have to use it myself, and a boat like this can cost between $12,000 and $20,000 a year to tie up, maintain and insure, even if it is not used.  I see a lot of boats sitting in marinas unused and wonder about their owners.  I figure to make this a business, and maybe even make a few dollars.  I'll also have a boat I can take away for as long as I want if I have the time and it is not booked into charter for that time slot.

I could just charter when I want a boat, but the charter experience is different.  For one thing, a boat like this is designed for a group of people.  It has three cabins and two heads (washrooms).  If I charter, then there is always the awkward question of who pays what, and who is skipper.  The question is not just academic.  On a boat, the skipper has legal duties and is in command.  I've been on boats where this was not clearly understood by all, and the results were not pretty.  On a boat, there is often no time to debate a course of action and someone must be in charge.

Also, if I own a boat, my guests are guests and if they want to contribute, they can.  Not everyone I might want to invite aboard can afford to pay a share of a charter fee, which might run $4 or 5K a week in peak season, and 3.5 in shoulder season.

*   *   *   *   *

I met Bill at BestBuy and picked up a 2 Terabyte USB hard drive for backups and a TV tuner for PC while I was at it.  We took a hike from there down to Barry Street over the rocks, to look at the new development underway and to get some exercise.  The wind was quite bitter, but we had a good walk.

Then I returned home and started the backup.  Soon it was time to go to Jacquie's for supper.  There were eight of us for dinner.  I was probably the second youngest.

The backup completed successfully as far as I can tell.  I installed the TV dongle and it works quite well.  There are still three broadcast channels on the air here in Sudbury.

Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.
Bernard M. Baruch

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