Ed Burns Personal Blog

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Municipal Negligence Strikes Again

Municipal Negligence Strikes Again

Those who know me well are aware of the City of Altamonte Springs water main break that occurred on 2013-01-14 and did over $100,000 in damage to our house. I attribute that event to negligence on the part of the city, but due to the doctrine of sovereign immunity we were unable to seek damages from the city. Well, municipal negligence has struck again, and this time it's personal (injury).

Before I continue, I realize there are people with much more severe bike accidents and that mine is really quite mild by comparison. I mean no disrespect to those who have had more serious accidents.

At around 9:45 pm Saturday night 23 May 2015 I was returning home from a mind-clearing bike ride. I was riding east on the north sidewalk of SR 414 between Bear Lake Road and Eden Park Road, as shown in the picture. It was dark and this stretch of sidewalk has no streetlights.

Right about where the red X is in the picture above I collided with a heavy metal boring tool that had been left in the sidewalk without any warning sign or sidewalk closed sign in my direction of travel. The boring tool is shown here in a picture I took on Monday 25 May 2015.

I was thrown clear of the bike and landed about five feet from the boring tool, as shown above. You can see where my u-lock landed. I retrieved it when I took the pictures. Thank God for the fact that my impact zone with the ground was entirely sand, presumably because the boring tool had been used to remove the sidwalk. I landed mainly on my right shoulder. More on the injury later. Here is a picture of the approach to the boring tool relative to my direction of travel. Note the absence of a warning sign.

I observed that I was unable to roll my bike due to the damage sustained to the front fork, shown here.

I stashed my bike in the front loader scooper shown above and retrieved it later. As I was walking home in my battered state I noticed that the approach from the other direction does have a warning sign, shown here. If such a sign had been present in my direction, I would not have had the accident.

Now, to the injury. I went to the Emergency Department at Florida Hospital Altamonte. Several xrays were taken and revealed no bone breakage or shoulder dislocation. The diagnosis was "rotator cuff injury, sprain of shoulder, right". The good Lord was watching over me that night. It stands to reason that the law should provide for a warning sign on both directions of travel on a sidewalk, but perhaps one is sufficient. In any case, I consider this negligence on the part of the contractor doing the work.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Les Miserables 3

There is a certain state of inert asceticism in which the soul, neutralized by torpor, a stranger to that which may be designated as the business of living, receives no impressions, either human, or pleasant or painful, with the exception of earthquakes and catastrophes.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Les Miserables 2

This is Jean Valjean's brilliant soliloquy when he percieces Marius is keen on his Cosette. Best father-daughter protection rant ever.

" What does he want? A love affair! A love affair! And I? What! I have been first, the most wretched of men, and then the most unhappy, and I have traversed sixty years of life on my knees, I have suffered everything that man can suffer, I have grown old without having been young, I have lived without a family, without relatives, without friends, without life, without children, I have left my blood on every stone, on every bramble, on every mile-post, along every wall, I have been gentle, though others have been hard to me, and kind, although others have been malicious, I have become an honest man once more, in spite of everything, I have repented of the evil that I have done and have forgiven the evil that has been done to me, and at the moment when I receive my recompense, at the moment when it is all over, at the moment when I am just touching the goal, at the moment when I have what I desire, it is well, it is good, I have paid, I have earned it, all this is to take flight, all this will vanish, and I shall lose Cosette, and I shall lose my life, my joy, my soul, because it has pleased a great booby to come and lounge at the Luxembourg." Then his eyes were filled with a sad and extraordinary gleam. It was no longer a man gazing at a man; it was no longer an enemy surveying an enemy. It was a dog scanning a thief."

I thank God that, having only sons, I will never have to feel Jean Valjean's parenting pain personally.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Les Miserables 1

This series contains tiny passages of Les Miserables that are too big for twitter yet too savory not to call out.

"Father Fauchelevent was an old man who had been an egoist all his life, and who, towards the end of his days, halt, infirm, with no interest left to him in the world, found it sweet to be grateful, and perceiving a generous action to be performed, flung himself upon it like a man, who at the moment when he is dying, should find close to his hand a glass of good wine which he had never tasted, and should swallow it with avidity."

Because I appreciate a glass of good wine, and am also a recovering egoist, this passage spoke to me.


Monday, November 12, 2012

A Twitter Based Method for Congressional Activism

Speaker of the House John Boehner seems to me to be an important guy regarding avoiding the fiscal cliff. If only he would reneg on his Grover Norquist promise, we might be able to avoid destroying lots of the wealth of our nations “makers”. Our nations “takers” don’t have much wealth to begin with, so, relatively speaking, the fiscal cliff will only make their bad situation marginally worse. Unfortunately, Rep Boehner has no legal obligation to listen to me, or anyone else outside his constituency. I’ve already written to my reps, and I urge you to do the same.

It occurs to me that one can do more. Here is a manual mashup that could potentially result in an email being sent to Rep. Boehner from one of his actual constituents.

  • Visit < http://boehner.house.gov > and click on “District”. This gives you a helpful map of the Rep’s obviously gerrymandered congressional district.

  • Note the names of the counties and plug them into a site like < http://www.unitedstateszipcodes.org/ >. This will give you the zip codes corresponding to the counties of Rep Boehner’s gerrymandered district.

  • Run over to a site like < http://localchirps.com/ > and plug in a zip code. You will see a list of tweets originating from that zip code.

  • Pick one that looks open to such a solicitation and tweet your humble request.

With a little luck and some open-mindedness, a real, honest-to-goodness, contact from an actual constituent might be sent. Legally speaking, that should carry more weight than other kinds of contacts. If you are offended by the intrusiveness of this method, I remind you that marketers have had access to this kind of data for at least the last ten years and have been effectively using it. Don’t you think it’s fair that non-marketers have get in on the fun?

Now, if I had some time, I’d automate this using a mashup service like < http://www.mashups4jsf.com/ >. Anyone care to take this and run with it? I need to get JSF 2.2 completed so I can’t spend time on it right now.

I just wrote to my reps to ask them to compromise to avoid the fiscal cliff

Inspired by Jonathan Chait’s article in the liberal media, I decided to write to my representatives in the People’s House. I urge you to do the same. You can find the website of your rep by visiting < http://house.gov/representatives/find/ >. For reference, here is the text I wrote to each of them.

    Dear Rep Mica.

    President Obama’s re-election is certainly a mandate. Several conservative pundits predicted that Romney would win with ~330 electoral votes, and went on to call that number a “landslide”. Well, Obama won with more than that, so, by the conservatives own words, Obama won by a landslide. That said, I am writing to you as my representative to urge you to reneg on your signing of Grover Norquist’s pledge and compromise with President Obama to avoid destroying so much wealth by going over the fiscal cliff.


    Ed Burns

    Dear Rep Adams:

    President Obama’s re-election is certainly a mandate. Several conservative pundits predicted that Romney would win with ~330 electoral votes and went on to call that number a “landslide”. Well, Obama won with more than that, so, by the conservatives own words, Obama won by a landslide. When I sat down to write both you and your colleague Rep Mica, I was relieved to discover your name is *not* on Grover Norquist‘s tax pledge. This gives me some hope that you will honor my request, and those of my fellow constituents, and compromise with President Obama to avoid destroying so much wealth by going over the fiscal cliff.


    Ed Burns

We need to build on the momentum of this election. I don’ know anything about the opinions of the true tastemakers of the conservative movement, but it stands to reason that they could conclude that “not far enough to the right” is the reason for their loss. If that is true, then we need to remind them all the more that we want compromise, not intransigence.

Monday, July 30, 2012

How Much Is Enough? Enough to get sick and pay for care.

This text is a letter to the editor at the Economist based on their 21 July 2012 issue.

I read your review of the Skidelsky's "How Much is Enough" with great alacrity, eventually purchasing the book. I have long felt that quality of life data must be factored into a company's share price, and into the GDP. I look forward to reading it, but I must point out that in America, we are forced to save much more than is required to lead the "good life", as the authors put it, as a bulwark against a bankruptcy causing health care event. In the absence of a system such as the recently Olympics-lauded NHS, this money, which could otherwise pumped back into the economy, is saved for an event that, hopefully, will not happen.

Ed Burns

Altamonte Springs, FL

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Miami Marlins will host the Phillies six times in the 2012 regular season

This being the inaugural year of the Miami Marlins and their new stadium, I'm planning a road trip down from my home near Orlando to see them host my Phillies.

The Marlins host the Phillies six times throughout the season. Here are the dates.


Monday 9th
Wednesday 11th
Thursday 12th


Friday 1st
Saturday 2nd
Sunday 3rd

Friday 29th
Saturday 30th


Sunday 1st


Monday 13th
Tuesday 14th
Wednesday 15th


Monday 10th
Tuesday 11th
Wednesday 12th

Friday 28th
Saturday 29th
Sunday 30th

Now I just have the pleasant task of planning the trip!