Monday, December 31, 2007

A friendly economic reminder:

Stuff's not getting more expensive; money's getting more cheap.

I'm not sure if "dystopian" is the right word...

...but if it is, Bruce Sterling is out of a job.

It seems that tech support for your electric stapler is not the only thing that has been outsourced to India in the last few years.

Every now and then we get treated to the most bizarre reminders that we're living in the future.

An amazingly apt term.

Whoever coined the phrase "Security Theater" hit the bullseye with frightening accuracy. Ninety-nine percent of all the drama that has been added to our daily lives in the name of combating terrorism is of about as much use as a kickstand on a tank. There's nothing in the world as comic as the Brazil-like experience of watching grandma get probulated by the TSA agent at the airport while your Blackberry informs you that the landing gear wells of jumbo jets are disgorging non-paying passengers who happen to be named Osama. It doesn't take much of a cynical turn of mind to come to the conclusion that it's all theater designed to comfort the bovine herd who confuse prime time TeeVee with entertainment, while leaving more agile intellects to while away their standing-in-line time with the academic exercise of devising ways to smuggle the bomb onto the plane.

Previously, my favorite piece of Security Theater had been the Removing Of The Shoes ritual before boarding anything bigger or more dangerous than a Piper Cub, but it has finally been replaced with something even funnier. While driving on I-75 southbound through Kentucky the other day, I came to a bridge that had no nearby exits which could be used for easy detours. Just before the bridge were large signs warning something along the lines of "Achtung! No stopping on bridge! Bridge is monitored!" because, you know, Achmed would have to actually stop his ANFO-packed eighteen wheeler on the bridge to shut down I-75. Or something. Maybe if they took the money they'd spent on the farcical signs and cameras and spent it on something else, it could have actually prevented a bridge collapse. But that wouldn't have been theatrical at all...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Just a hunch...

...but I predict an upsurge in nice behavior towards cranky old men from waitresses across America.

Well, that was fun...

Went to the range yesterday to do a bit of shooting and to get a chance to meet Sebastian and Bitter, who were rolling through town overnight. The usual suspects were there as well: SayUncle, Les Jones, Insty and Dr. Helen. (Note how deftly I name-drop.) I brought along the Sunday Smith from last week just because the pyrotechnics are so much fun from a 3" ported .44 Magnum; nobody really wanted to shoot more than a cylinder or so, though. In all fairness, Mag-Na-Porting or no, it's not really the kind of gun with which you spend the afternoon shooting beer cans. Afterwards we adjourned to Unc's secret fortress of solitude fabulous manse in the burbs for yummy food and good conversation, plus entertainment by Unc's two adorable munchkins and Politically Incorrect Dog. It was a fun evening that left me really looking forward to the Gun Blogger Thingie in May...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Today In History: Troublesome priests.

On this date in 1170, Thomas Becket learned about separation of church and state the hard way.

Because it feels so good when I stop...

Four o'clock in the AM is no time for an alarm clock to go off; that's all I'm saying.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Yet more from the Department Of The Obvious:

Yesterday morning on the TeeWee news, the morning talking head announced that the increase in Law Enforcement officer deaths in 2007 was attributed to "shootings and motor vehicle accidents", conclusively silencing those who speculated that "eaten by piranhas", "chased off cliffs by circus clowns", or "vivisection by aliens" may have cracked the top two in the last twelve months.

The most awkward week in blogging.

So here we are, in that weird dead zone between Christmas and the first of the year... In addition to keeping up my regular output of snark, this is when I'm supposed to pontificate deeply over the events of the past year and/or toss out some Top Five/Ten/Twenty/ One Hundred lists that take up space without seeming trite or banal.

Perhaps not coincidentally, this is the time of year when I'm also most likely to be found huddled in a glassy-eyed ball under my desk, nursing writer's block with chocolate and alcohol while the bullet-riddled remains of my keyboard smoke gently on the particle board slab above me.

Quelle surprise...

Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for Bhutto's assassination. Rumors that they also owned up to the sinking of the Lusitania remain unconfirmed.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Because, you know, things just weren't chaotic enough in Pakistan already...

Washington wasted no time in panicking condemning the attack.
"Certainly, we condemn the attack on this rally," said deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey.
Off the record, he added:
"Oh, crap, things will be completely off the chain now."

Hunting for votes.

For just years now it has been customary for presidential candidates to go out and pretend to be good ol' boys with shotguns in order to cement their bona fides with the God, Guns, & Grits crowd and prove that they're worthy of sitting in Teddy Roosevelt's old office. This has led to scripted farces like Clinton's "duck hunting" in '92, and the painful sight of Kerry with a shotgun in his hands.

Now Holy Huckabee has, in the breathless words of CNN, gone hunting and actually "brought back three pheasants", demonstrating an unGorelike familiarity with at which end the bang occurs and startling the media. Their surprise at a GOP pol actually shooting something while hunting is a little puzzling; after all, didn't the Veep bag a lawyer last season? Huckabee's threat to dust with birdshot those who didn't vote for him was a new campaign tactic, however.

One wonders if Hillary is going to shoot anything while on the campaign trail (and please keep the Vince Foster cracks to yourself.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


There are apparently a lot more Rondroids out there than most punditry would suggest. Out of 131,776 voters identifying as Republican in AOL's latest straw poll, over 42k picked the Congressman from TX; more than those who voted for Giuliani and Huckabee combined.

I think some professional prognosticators may have a bit of egg on their face after the NH primaries. That state is cranky libertarian country, and the folks most likely to vote for Paul are also the ones most likely to answer a phone call that begins "Hi! I'm from XYZ Service, and we're taking a poll on..." with a click and a dial tone.

The Spirit of Giving...

Wherein Mauser Girl Claus and Abby The Black-Nosed German Shepherd go out of their way to deliver a bit of Christmas Joy to the guys stuck pulling CQ duty in the barracks over the holiday...

Yes, but can you invade your neighbor?

Psst? Wanna buy an island? How about one off the the north coast of India? Or in central Australia?

An interesting real estate venture, to say the least. This is obviously the free market's way of finding something to do with the excess cash of folks who have accidentally wound up with far more money than common sense.

The Post of Christmas Past.

A few years ago, a good friend's daughter was going to be dancing in the Knoxville Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker" and so we went to see the first matinee performance. We sat in the darkened theater as the Master of Ceremonies rattled through the usual litany of thanking sponsors and introducing the conductor and...


...I swear, for you non-Knoxwegians, that I am not making this up... the current score of the UT football game going on at the stadium across the road.

You know you're in Knoxville, the city where the area code spells V-O-L on your touch-tone phone, when the ballet EmCee keeps you abreast of the college football score.

Almost like it was scripted...

A very large kitty, which was not declawed, mauled three humans (one fatally) who were. Declawed, that is.

The situation was resolved predictably:
"They shot the tiger, and the tiger is deceased," she said.

The symbolism, which is too ham-handed for the pulpiest of fiction, was apparently lost on the audience.

The Evil That Men Don't.

I can't believe that people are getting bent out of shape over Will Smith's remark about Herr Schickelgruber. I think it illustrates a major problem, a problem that may be inherent to the human condition or may be a cultural artifact of this particular place and time in our culture. To wit, we are raised believing in self-identified Evil. From the bad guy in every movie and fantasy novel to the opponent in every video game, there is this persistent belief that Evil will be easily identifiable because it will wear a black outifit, cackle maniacally, and announce itself as such.

The world don't work that way. As Mr. Smith attempted to point out, not even the most despicable characters in this planet's history thought of themselves as Evil. Nero never said "MWA-HA-HA!" when barbecueing dangerous subversives from Near-East mystery cults. Hitler never woke up and rubbed his hands together and thought "I think I'll be Eeeevil today!" The most heinous crimes perpetrated throughout the millenia have been perpetrated by people with clear consciences because they were doing what they were doing For The Common Good.

Watch out for that. When evil comes, it won't be easily identifiable, with a hunched back and a crazed glint in its eye; it will be nicely dressed, sound reasonable, and have a great team of policy wonks and spin doctors to explain exactly why you need to climb into the cattle car, please.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


There are actually people commenting here right now.

It's Christmas morning! What kind of geek is sitting in front of a computer typing on Christmas morning?

Wait. Never mind...

Monday, December 24, 2007

...and Christmas Eve is well and truly upon us.

Time to seek out some comfort food and curl up with a movie.

This year may Santa bring you whatever it is you've always wanted. :)

Let's chat, shall we?

We'll start out talking about tires.

I have to admit that I unfairly maligned these Falken FK-452's based on price tag alone. While they're not as good as the Pilot Sports that were on the car when I got it, they seem to perform as well (thus far, at least) as the Pilot Sport A/S's that I liked so much, at least in the dry. We'll see how they do rain when I get a chance to drive in some. They have it in the acceleration department all over the Conti Sports they replaced; with the new tires it takes serious effort to get so much as a flicker from the traction control light, while the Contis had it flickering like a strobe under even moderately heavy acceleration. Departure characteristics are much more benign as well. The Conti Sports were greasily queasy at the limits of adhesion on a cloverleaf, while the new tires almost politely tap you on the shoulder and say "This is all there is, kid, are you sure you want to be doing this?" The compound is soft, yes, but should provide more life than the Pilot Sports. (There's no such thing as a free lunch in the dry traction department; it always surprises me when folks buy tires that wear like Rug-Rite carpet and then bitch because the family bus goes into lurid, howling slides cornering at three MPH in the Kroger parking lot.) Incidentally, the salesguy was talking through his hat about them being run-flats. While they are indeed stiffer of sidewall than most tires I've used, they're no more run-flat than the Goodyear Blimp.

This does, however, have another blog tie-in.

Some interesting commentary was triggered by my initial whine-fest about NTB. For starters, there was a lot of well-meaning advice about speed ratings and cheap tires and so forth. It wasn't needed, really, but the posters couldn't have known that, since I've never sat around and nattered about tires here before. Oddly, a couple of the same posters also took umbrage at my description of being condescended to because of my gender, one regular poster going so far as to label it misandry. You can't have it both ways. Think about it: If a guy had a blog where he constantly went on about his sports cars and motorcycles, would you try and explain the difference between H, V, and Z speed ratings to him, or would you assume that he already possessed that information?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Wow, and it's even still daylight out!

The Sunday Smith is up at the other place.

Ho ho ho, y'all! Merry Christmas!

Selective rage...

All these light bulb rants out there are so very confusing.

Where were y'all when they shrunk your toilet tank ten years ago?

Or when they screwed up your A/C?

Or when they stuffed a platinum-plated potato up your car's tailpipe back in '75?

They have a magic wand, kids, and they mean to use it.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The GOP is failing to thrill me...

In all this chatter about Romney v. Huckabee, we're losing sight of a simple fact: Both these guys have the charisma of a lamppost. The media has them both in heavy rotation right now because Hillary would steamroller either one (aside from the fact that they're both about as liberal as she is...) Heck, Obama could beat Huckabee in a general election, and Barack shares a name with the guy for whom we just threw a necktie party in Baghdad, an unfortunate coincidence not normally considered an electoral plus...

The only two GOP candidates who could beat Hills despite the media bias are (hawk *SPIT!*) Giuliani, because the media doesn't hate him too much, and Fred, because he's got enough stage presence to overcome media bias in a one-on-one general election. The media hated Reagan, too, but that didn't keep him from winning the last landslide election victory this country's seen.

Put all the media driven poll crap out of your mind and picture Rear Adm. Josh Painter in a one on one televised debate against the junior senator from New Yawk... Fred would beat her like a drum.

This won't happen, of course, because the GOP is going to pieces so fast that people are getting hit by the shrapnel. Between Huckabee leaving his Baptist Christmas turkey carving knife in Romney's Mormon ribcage and Pat-fer-gossakes-Robertson endorsing the crossdresser from New Yawk, the GOP seems to be putting in overtime to make sure that Bill Clinton gets to hang his toothbrush back up at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

There really is a web site for everything.

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (AP) -- Jennifer Gooch's mission was to create a simple Web site where people could go to find their lost gloves. Even if no happy reunions ever took place, she was just content to spread a little good will.

But just a month since went live, the Carnegie Mellon University art student is busier than ever. She's reunited four gloves with their owners,
Must be a really slow news day.


I'm sure there's a reason I'm up at this hour, but it gets harder to remember with each passing Saturday.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry freakin' Christmas.

Drove down to Chattanooga yesterday to take care of some business in traffic court (my first moving violation in 12 years) and spend some time hanging out with staghounds, who is an amazingly enjoyable conversationalist.

Of course, no trip to Chattanooga can go completely unmarred for me. This time it was a godawful hammering from the right rear of the Bimmer as I rolled into town. I pulled off at the next exit, sure I had an impending flat, but all four tires were sound. Hmm. Maybe it spit off a wheelweight and the wheel's just out of balance? It just got worse from there, and once I hit 55 or 60 on the interstate, the wheel was vibrating harshly enough that I was getting flickers from the traction control light, indicating that I had actual wheel hop. Not good.

I got to my friend's place, and a brief inspection at the foreign car joint down the road from his house revealed that the right rear Conti had developed a huge blister on the inner sidewall. The mechanic suggested that the local NTB near Northgate Mall (Store #662, 5327 Hwy. 153) would be the nearest tire joint likely to have a 245/40-17 in stock. So we limped the Zed Three over there, I walked up to the counter, inquired as to the availability of said size of tire and immediately got the "Just A Girl" treatment.

"I have Michelin Pilot Sports and these Falken run-flats..."

"Um, that's all you have in stock? I see more than that on your screen... You've got Michelin Pilot Sport A/S's, I liked tho..."

"Ma'am, I can't put those on your car on acount of the speed rating."

"You what? Listen, I..."

I was ready to work myself into a fairly spectacular rage. This thimble-headed gherkin was going to try and feed me some song and dance about how he had some imaginary law or store policy that would force him to sell the little lady the more expensive tire, and if he thought I was going to stand for it...

...then he was right. I was just too damn tired and stressed to argue. I was a hundred miles from home. Cold. Wet. I hadn't eaten yet. I had traffic court in four hours. I just shut the hell up and spent every freakin' penny of Christmas money I had on a couple of tires I didn't want, just because I didn't have the energy to convince this Mouth breathing yahoo that I was pretty smart for a girl.

I hope his manager, Mr. Kenneth E. Johnson II, reads this and fires his ass, though.

Merry Christmas, y'all.

Bah, humbug.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mitt is not pleased... TIME's choice of Czar Vladimir I as person of the year. "You know, he imprisoned his political opponents. There have been a number of highly suspicious murders," said Romney, "Also, speaking as last year's Person Of The Year myself, his hair is nowhere near as good as mine."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What do you call a male hen party?

The comments section of that post at Dr. Helen's has mutated into one just amazing seething hotbed of neuroses. There's enough material there for absolutely hours of mockery...

That one guy who kept going on about how he'll never get married because all of us scheming women were after his Lucky Charms, someone needs to tell him he's not in any danger. I kept expecting him to say "I don't avoid women, Mandrake, but I do deny them my essence," in a General Jack Ripper voice.

I do have to say this: "Caved1ver's" comment about an ERA ("Equal Responsibilities Amendment") to replace the discredited ERA ("Equal Rights Amendment") has made me a champion of an ESTFUA.

Politics: Heh.

"Let Thompson be Reagan."

Making the rounds. I found it over at Unc's.

Time out of mind.

Dustbury has a post up about a study of the phenomenon of time stretching during crisis situations, and relates some of his own memories involving the kind of crises that happen at the helms of motor vehicles.

From my experience, I have to say that I agree the phenomenon is almost definitely one that is generated in memory, rather than something that actually occurs during the incident. I've never been in an accident in a four-wheeled vehicle, but I have had two depart from controlled flight underneath me (an old Dodge Dart that swapped ends on a busy five-lane thoroughfare when the secondaries cut in in a tight bend and a Fiero that ground-looped several times through a crowded, rain-slick parking lot) and one near-miss (an oil slick that had the Zed Three fishtailing half the length of a freeway on-ramp while I sawed wildly at the wheel) and all three of those incidents are still available in excruciating technicolor in my mind's eye, despite the earliest one being nearly two decades old.

What makes me convinced that this is a function of memory rather than something that happens in real time during the actual event are my experiences on motorcycles. All the countless near-misses are still there in memory, suitably dilated in time, but the ones without happy endings are shockingly brief; one minute you're riding along and notice something about to be wrong and then *BAM!*, the rough hand of physics smacks you to the asphalt like a broken doll and there's almost no how-I-got-from-there-to-here involved. Like the sticker on my old helmet says: "It went earth, sky, earth, sky, earth, sky, earth, ambulance."

A guy I once knew who played football through his scholastic career described hard tackles the same way. He said that the ones he could see coming seemed to last forever, but when it was a blindside hit he went from standing up to wondering why his helmet was full of grass in the blink of an eye.

It's so Twentieth Century...

Alimony, that is.

Dr. Helen raises some good points. It's getting to where it looks silly to wave the equality flag with one hand while holding the other one out for the payoff. I think it needs to be highly situational, and very short-term at best. Else, why keep the bull when you can divorce it for free at a profit?


Okay, who's the wise-ass? Who did this? Fess up. We're going to sit here all day until someone confesses.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Internet, much like Soylent Green, is people.

Carteach0 has a post up about the connectivity of the internet prompted by his connection going dead recently:
How much of my present life is defined by my friends (and more) on the internet?
It was a very long, and mostly sleepless night. Rest would not come, nor peace.
There are folks I speak to that have become very dear to me, and I was cut off.
...and it's true. For all the YouTube flash and Amazon cash, the internet is people. It's Morse's and Bell's and Marconi's dreams of connectedness come true. It's grown from the Cold War-era experimenting of university geeks into maybe the most amazing project humanity has undertaken and every day the line between "cyberspace" and "the real world" blurs more and more.

Some eight years ago, while I was still in Atlanta, I had just started posting on a couple of internet bulletin boards, GlockTalk and TheFiringLine. I had an horrific motorcycle accident, and not only were the printed Get Well wishes from forum members a comfort, but while I was recovering and still wheelchair-bound, a guy from the boards who lived in Knoxville drove down to visit on weekends. He and my Ex and I spent those weekends playing Diablo II and chatting, and when I lost my job in the aftermath, the guy from Knoxville offered me the extra bedroom in his apartment ("Not a problem. My rent is the same whether someone's sleeping in that bedroom or not,") and a hand in looking for work here in K-town, so I loaded up my car and moved north.

One of those boards, TheFiringLine, was run by a guy named Rich, now better known as the publisher of SWAT Magazine. Rich had retired early, thanks to his amazing executive skills. Executive skills, of course, number among them the ability to Pick The Right People, and a lot of the people Rich picked to be staff on his board are probably very familiar now, even to people who have never logged onto a gun BBS in their life: Matt, Lawdog, JShirley, Don Gwinn, JPG, Oleg, the aforementioned guy from Knoxville, Kathy, and others. In the intervening years I have managed to meet many of those fine folks in real life and am proud to number them among my friends.

A few years ago, I discovered blogs and decided to try my hand at this blogging thing. Through the medium I've had the privilege of meeting many of the good people from those circles face to face: Les Jones, Say Uncle, Instapundit and Dr. Helen, Michael Silence, Kirk, Countertop, TD, Cowboy Blob. A bunch more have become friends through email. Most recently I trekked northwards to meet Roberta X and be given a gracious guided tour of Indianapolis, a tour I never would have gotten without the magic of this wonderful series of tubes called the internet.

At this very moment, somewhere some pasty-faced academic is sweating out his dissertation on the de-humanizing impact of the 'web. I think he's barking up the wrong tree. How can it be de-humanizing when it's made of people?

It was late on a recent Saturday night, I was in a poopy mood, and I had just updated my blog and toddled off to bed. As my head hit the pillow, the phone rang. On the other end were traffic noises, the muted drone of a cop radio, and a Texas drawl: "Leonard Cohen, Tam? What's wrong?"

Don't tell me it's de-humanizing.

What a wondrous digital world that has such people in it.

Military History...

I was going to blog about today being the anniversary of Hannibal handing the Legions a stomping at Trebia, but Michael Silence introduced me to another interesting piece of Military History today, one a little closer to home both geographically and sociologically:
Rosemary Bryant Mariner joined the Naval service after being selected as one of the first eight women to enter military pilot training. Designated a naval Aviator in June 1974, she became the first female military aviator to fly tactical jet aircraft, the A-4E/L Skyhawk, in 1975. The following year Mariner converted to the A-7E Corsair II, again becoming the first woman to fly a front-line light attack aircraft. She was the first military woman to command an operational aviation squadron and was selected for major aviation shore command. During DESERT STORM, she commanded Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron Thirty Four. During her twenty-four years of military service, Capt. Mariner logged over 3500 military flight hours in fifteen different naval aircraft and made seventeen carrier landings. In 1997, Mariner retired as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) Professor of Military Studies for the National War College. Several books and publications have profiled her life, including Crossed Currents: Navy Women from WWI to Tailhook, Women in the Military: An Unfinished Revolution, Tailspin, Ground Zero: The Gender Wars in the Military, The Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
She's guestblogging over at The Volokh Conspiracy.

I may have a new hero.

I guess it really wasn't the shoes, Mark.

On the other hand, after this commercial I totally had a crush on Greg Maddux.

For those of you living under rocks...

...who are unaware that there's a new "Perspectives" tale up, here's your linkage:

Start out with Deputy Lawdog, get in the ambulance with Ambulance Driver, and debark at the ER with Babs RN.

Bring Kleenex.

Books: Lurving this Terry Pratchett...

So, let's see... So far we've read Monstrous Regiment, Guards! Guards!, Going Postal, Small Gods, Night Watch, Jingo, Men at Arms, The Fifth Elephant, Thud!, Feet of Clay, Reaper Man, The Truth, and are working on Soul Music.

I must say that, though they're all fun reads, he really hits his stride stylistically about the time of Night Watch or Thud!.

Oh, and to those of you who let me go sit on the porch with a beer to settle in and read the last seventy-odd pages of Reaper Man next to the fire without warning me to bring a box of Kleenex, you suck. Running across something that deep and poignant in the middle of an otherwise normal Terry Pratchett read is like finding the ending of Old Yeller in the middle of a screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Monday, December 17, 2007


I was clicking through some old posts and stumbled across this. Damn but I'm going to miss his stuff.

I don't get it. Any of it.

Via Phlegmmy comes the ballad of the Briton who's been busted for boinking a bike.

Now, okay, that is a little freaky, but then you get to this part:
Mr Stewart was caught in the act with his bicycle by cleaners in his bedroom at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr.
In his bedroom? Assuming that it was an adult, consenting bicycle, what was the crime?

I mean, sure, humping your Schwinn is kinda gross, but gross is what your bedroom is for. Well, and your bathroom. And the dining room table. And, well, pretty much anyplace else in your house as long as the doors are locked and the blinds drawn because, hey, that's pretty much what we mean when we yell "Jeeze! Get a room, y'all!" So now this cat is going to be on the government's official Freaky Perv list for minding his own (well, and his bicycle's) business behind closed doors? Unbelievable...

Life imitates art.

The Shawshank Redemption is now playing in Elizabeth, NJ.

You'd think that the staff at the county hole would have twigged to that tactic by now.

Today In History: Flight.

On this day in 1903 in the dunes of Kitty Hawk, NC, the surly bonds of Earth were, if not slipped, then at least significantly loosened when Orville & Wilbur Wright made four flights with their Wright Flyer.

The first of the day was of 12 seconds duration. It is interesting to note that the Flyer, with its 40-foot wingspan, is only prevented by its width from being able to duplicate the 120-foot first flight, which never exceeded ten feet in altitude, in the cargo bay of a C-5B Galaxy, which first flew only 20 years after Orville's death.

What else can I say but...


The choice did not make Allan Metcalf, executive secretary of the American Dialect Society, say "w00t."

"It's amusing, but it's limited to a small community and unlikely to spread and unlikely to last," said Metcalf, an English professor at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill.

Professor Metcalf is just bitter because he's not 1337.

Smith & Wessons are cool, but...

...they are not Contrapulatronic.

No matter how big a chunk of lead a .44 tosses or how effective a .357 Magnum is against blocks of Jell-o, you have to wonder if Aether Oscillation and Atomic Vibratulation wouldn't work a little better on Bug-Eyed Monsters. Or zombies.

Boomsticks: Monday (S)Myth.

It's up.

More large-caliber short-barreled soulless steel upon which to feast your eyes.

Moebius stripper.

Note To Self: You know the little trick where you take your bra off without taking off your tee shirt? Don't do that again when you're wearing a long-sleeve tee over a short-sleeve tee or you'll wind up in a tangled mess of Escher-esque non-Euclidean geometry.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Just not feelin' it today.

So, rather than phone it in, I'll just leave y'all with the headline from yesterday's Blount County Daily Times: Man Beaten Unconscious With Shovel (I don't know why seeing that splashed across the front page kicked my gigglebox over...) and go have a lie-down.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's just a Leonard Cohen evening...


It is time, as they say, to go make the donuts.

I get through it by thinking about how early in the day it is when I clock out. Heck, some of you late sleepers might not even be out of bed by then...

Luke 10:25-37

Friday's altercation on the Q train began when somebody yelled out "Merry Christmas," to which rider Walter Adler responded, "Happy Hanukkah," said Toba Hellerstein.

"Almost immediately, you see the look in this guy's face like I've called his mother something," Adler told CNN affiliate WABC.

Two women who were with a group of 10 rowdy people then began to verbally assault Adler's companions with anti-Semitic language, Hellerstein said.

One member of the group allegedly yelled, "Oh, Hanukkah. That's the day that the Jews killed Jesus," she said.

When Adler tried to intercede, a male member of the group punched him, she said.

Another passenger, Hassan Askari -- a Muslim student from Bangladesh -- came to Adler's aid, and the group began physically and verbally assaulting him, Hellerstein said.

"A Muslim-American saved us when our own people were on the train and didn't do anything," Adler said.

Good on ya, Hassan.

Friday, December 14, 2007

In a perfect world...

...this officer would require the services of a proctologist to recover his badge.

Obviously the cop known to posterity only as "180" has a tiny weewee. More pointed criticism can be found here.

Say it ain't so, Rocket.

Bonds we knew.

Sheffield we suspected.

But Roger? Damn.

At least Maddux and Glavine won their 300 without juicing.

A strong argument for atheism:

Triticale, beloved around the blogosphere, is losing a fight with cancer.

Terry Pratchett, beloved by readers around the world, has just been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's.

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro still isn't dead.


So you wanna be a po-leece-man?

In a world where too many people in all walks of life couldn't spell "Honor" if you spotted them the H, the N, and both O's, MattG's answer to the question "What helps a police officer become better at their jobs?" is refreshing. The world could use a couple more like him.

BATFman Delayed.

Noting the BATFE's tendency to go after easy targets, like minor paperwork errors by established dealers and manufacturers, rather than hard ones like, oh, gun-running gangsters, the two Senators from Idaho have expressed their displeasure by blocking the confirmation of Michael Sullivan as the head of BATFE.

(And please note this when I say "minor paperwork errors": If you were a licensed dealer in Minneapolis, and every time you bought a gun from a local customer, you abbreviated the city as "Mpls." to fit in the postage stamp-sized blank in which you had to write their address, that's a "violation". Consider that the next time you hear about a nefarious illegal shop with "over two hundred violations".)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Work is where they bring teh suck.

*ring!* *ring!*

Me: "[Golly gosh whillikers] is that my phone? Hello?"

G: "Hey, Tamara... I didn't wake you, did I?"

Me: "No." (<---This is a lie, by the way.)

G: "J. just called in sick. Um, would you be able to come in and close tonight?"

Me: "Sure, okay... Um, I'll need to go get my laundry from the cleaners and run a couple of errands; is it okay if I come in at 7:00?"

G: "Oh, 7:00 is fine; I'll see you then. This isn't a problem, is it?"

Me: "No, no, it's all cool." (<---This is also a lie, by the way.)


On the internet, nobody knows you're a complete tool...

...until you tell them.

Trying to stir crap by making rude comments about a guy's recently-deceased wife; that's class right there, let me tell you.

In a perfect world, Mike's seconds would have already called on Tubby McMaladroit's and invited him to grass before breakfast.

Nothing personal, Mr. Chuck Adkins, but I hope you freeze in the dark.

It's such a cliche...

...but the weatherman's a big fat liar.

This is what it says at the top of the page:

Notice the hint of sun in the icon and the clever use of the word "mostly"? This would seem to indicate that there is at least part of the sky not obscured by clouds, no?

Meanwhile, here's the radar pic from further down the very same page:

Notice the big squall line blowing through under leaden skies? I can assure you that when I look out my window here at VFTP Command Central, it is not "mostly cloudy". It is not "mostly" anything. It is one-hundred percent no-doubt raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock. And my patio furniture's trying to blow away.

Screw; I'm going back to hanging a weather rock outside my window...

A domestic violence issue.

Selma Djukic, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, called it a case of domestic abuse.

"This is a tragedy. This another woman that has succumbed to domestic violence and we need to look at what kind of services are available to families who are immigrants and who are trying to make it in the Canadian framework," Djukic said.

Amazing. Absolutely amazing. What a pluperfect spokesweasel. A girl gets strangled by her father for not living up to the customs of her parents' homeland and Djukic manages to neatly segue it into a veiled demand for more government services and simultaneously play down the "barbaric custom" angle in only two sentences. How peaceful must be the sleep of those with no consciences to bother them.

You learn the neatest stuff on the internet.

For instance, it's apparently legal to hunt whiny anti-nativity scene protesters over a baited field in Ohio. Check out the elaborate blind in Willoughby shown in this post; just wait for enough picket signs to start milling about in front of baby Jesus, put a match to the touchhole, and stand back...

In comedy, this is called a "callback".


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Raving Bull.

Once upon a time, on Glock Talk, this kid registered and started a post in one of the subforums about this radical Glock his buddy had. It seems, so he claimed, that his buddy had "converted" a .45ACP Glock 21 to fire the .454 Casull cartridge. We all blinked politely for a second, and then someone pointed out to him that the Casull was not only a rimmed revolver cartridge, but also quite a bit longer than the .45ACP. He blithely replied that his buddy had "adjusted" the magazine for the longer round. It was then explained to him that aside from difficulties caused by the dimensions of the longer round, if you could magically shoehorn one into the Glock the chamber pressures and breechface thrust of the .454 would turn the G21 into a polymer-and-steel pipe bomb. His response was that his machinist buddy had, after some experimentation resulting in blowing the gun up a couple of times, "converted" two thirds of the barrel to titanium.

It was at this point that a somewhat gruff senior member explained to him that while his buddy may have converted a Glock 21 to .454 Casull in a computer game, he certainly had not done so in real life. While stories like that may impress the kiddies on a Counterstrike forum, they are unlikely to draw anything but derision from people who actually know how these things work.

Not to name names, but this may be something to keep in mind when you make a comment on someone's blog in which you claim to have used an M2 barrel to convert an H&R shotgun to .50BMG, especially someone's blog who has worked around, collected, and written about firearms most of her adult life. This fib is embarrassingly transparent to anyone with a working mechanical knowledge of guns, and probably shouldn't be made in the presence of people likely to call you on it. Just sayin'...


Oleg strikes again.


The _____ is _____ing

The Arctic is screaming.

The Media is selling.

The Governments are funding.

The Grants are flying.

This Writer is yawning.

I could have told them that.

Voyager 2 discovers solar system is bent


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I had fun with this... from Picatinny Arsenal, imagining conversations to go with it:

"Hey, Sarge, I can't figure out how to keep this M68 Close Combat Optic from losing zero when it's mounted on this .32 Hand Ejector Model of 1903 -4th Change."

"Google up that chick's blog, the one that writes about Smiths on Sundays, maybe she has something about it."

When is a private citizen not a private citizen?

Why, when the MSM want her to be a symbol of Official Authority.

Can't have folks thinkin' that Jane Doe can stop a killer all by her lonesome without the magic of a badge now, can we?

Quote of the Day:

From Marko:
The number of casualties at the site of an attempted mass shooting is usually determined by whether the gun used to stop the killer is already at the site, or whether it must be carried there in the holster of a police officer.

Girls Gone Vile.

Once upon a time, it was considered chivalrous if he held your hair out of your face while you spewed. Apparently now he has to take pictures, too.
"[They think we're] sloppy, unladylike, low class,'" she wrote in a recent instant message conversation. "[But] I've noticed when college boys do stupid things when they're drunk, they're just being boys."
No, they're being boors. There's a difference. A sloppy drunk is a sloppy drunk, no matter which bathroom they barf in.

Speaking as someone who has yelled at her shoes once or twice in the past, I must say that I'm a little baffled by anyone who would consider that to be a moment worth documenting on teh intarw3bz for all the world to see. (And some under their real names, no less! Do they think their future prospective employers won't know how to use Google? "I'm curious, Ms. Smith; do you think that sitting half naked on a toilet while pouring beer over your head makes you a good fit as an account manager at Smith, Johnson, & Jones?") When did drinking to the point of loss of self-control stop being tacky and start being Girl Power? I must have missed the memo...

Monday, December 10, 2007

I wish we had a climate around here...

Four days ago I watched the thermometer in the Zed Three hit 27 degrees as I negotiated the Cumberland Gap.

Today it's 75 degrees outside and I may have to turn the AC back on for the first time in two months.

By the weekend we'll see lows in the 20s again.

We don't have a climate here, just weather.

Today In History: Force Z.

On this date in 1941, hidebound admirals the world over received notice that naval warfare had forever changed.

The cluebat that vindicated disgraced General Billy Mitchell came when the HMS Repulse and the HMS Prince of Wales, both of them modern warships maneuvering vigorously and shooting back like mad, were sent to the bottom of the South China Sea by Japanese aircraft. It was the first time in history that a capital ship under way and defending itself had been sunk solely by airpower. It would not be the last.

Really, you have to admire the sheer gall of the man...

I mean the whole stunt of riding a train while your Samsonite takes the Benz was gigglesome, and the punchline of "I use public transport when I can." was priceless. (Here's a hint, Al: Just because taxpayer dollars somehow underwrite a Gulfstream, that doesn't make it 'public transport', okay?) But, incredible as it may seem, the cow exhaust only got deeper from that point.

He said the world cannot hope that technology alone will counter the threat, but that people must be prepared to change to way they live.

"I don't think this means we have to go back to living in caves but lifestyle change means you have to be conscious of the impact of your actions," said Pachauri.

Asked by a Norwegian youth newspaper what young people could do, Gore said every effort helps.

"A lot of them you probably know already: Changing a light bulb," said Gore. "All these individual acts are important. They all help, but they won't solve the problem by themselves unless we have changes in the laws and in treaties."
And there you have it, kids. Change your life. Make laws and treaties. Laws and treaties that will require powerful bureaucracies to administer them in order to make sure that you have adequately changed your life. And these bureaucracies will need administrators to run them. Administrators who, due to the stressful nature of their jobs, will be immune to the planet-saving regulations that we little people will be suffering under. While you're driving your depressing little shitbox of an over-regulated, under-powered car from your freezing home to your non-smoking office, your betters will be taking the train...

...from their Gulfstream to the smoking lounge of a five star hotel. Given that, who wants a crap job like shoveling out the Augean Stables at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Let that shrill cow have it; he'll be giving her orders from the UN building by 2011, anyway.

Hey, it's to save the planet. What cause could be more noble? Why are you complaining? Are you some kind of traitor to Mother Gaia?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

...aaaand it's up.

Two weeks in a row now, the Sunday Smith has actually been posted on Sunday. This may be a trend.

A weather eye.

Today's Sunday Smif will be brought to you courtesy of the fact that it stopped raining. I had two 1986-vintage guns; if the precipitation had kept up, you would have had a soulless steel gun for the second week in a row. As it is, we have a blued interlude.

To hear is to obey.

The Democrat nomination was thrown back into uncertainty this weekend as Queen Oprah ordered her millions-strong zombie army into the field to support Obama. A large percentage of these zombies actually cohabitate with other registered voters and could possibly nag them into Obama fold as well. Meanwhile, Dennis Kucinich still hasn't conceded.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Today In History: I know I use this one every year, but...

Poor Mark David Chapman; three feet to the right and he could have been a hero.

A Confederate Bimmer In Jack Frost's Court...

That was the first time I've ventured north of the Mason-Dixon line since 1994. Obviously the weather gods were aware that those are not actually "all-season" tires and were lying in wait for me. Thank goodness for traction control.

And now it's just about time to go make the donuts. More this afternoon. After I nap.

Friday, December 07, 2007

No comment.

So I'm picking up the vibe that while I was at work Wednesday some whackjob offed a bunch of holiday shoppers in a mall in Omaha using a firearm of some sort.

I assume that late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, while I was zipping North in my car, trying to stay awake by listening to Linkin Park played at 11, the news media was in a hand-wringing frenzy about it.

I also suppose that yesterday morning, while I was reading and dozing peacefully on a friend's sofa, the blogosphere was burning up from both ends of the spectrum, either decrying the "easy availability"[sic] of "assault weapons"[sic] or, on the other wing, blasting the victim disarmament zones that proved so effective (yet again) in providing lambs for the slaughter.


I have a hard time getting worked up about it anymore.

As long as we have guns, people are going to get killed with them. Note that I didn't say "as long as we have private guns"; as long as we have guns period. That's just the way it is, folks, and don't think I'm not sorry to say it.

As long as we have jets, people are going to die in flaming crashes. As long as we have busses, people are going to get run over. As long as we have rocks, people are going to get their brains bashed in. As long as we have hands, folks are gonna get strangled.

And as long as we have guns, people are going to get killed with them. This is fact.

Guns are not going away. This is also fact. Understand that. This genie is not going back in the bottle. And understand when I say "people are going to get killed with them", I don't just mean a handful of folks at a mall every now and again, I also mean a few thousand people kneeling on the edge of a ditch every now and again. Just because a gun is publically held and not privately owned doesn't mean it's never going to be used to murder someone. Or thousands of someones. Understand that.

What do you propose to do about it?

Me? I have no comment.

On the road. Again.

I'm typing this from the middle of a big flat square state full of yankees, and there's white stuff all over the ground. Oh, and it's cold as dammit.

I, however, am having a grand ol' time. :)

(I am somewhat bitter that I piddled my whole day away yesterday without making even an attempt at a snowman.)

Tonight it's back in the car and drive Southwards macht schnell, because 0430 comes awful early these days.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

If Wes Craven was sentenced to community service...

...he'd spend it coming up with Public Service Announcements like these. (Not for the faint of heart.)

Seriously, Canada, here's a new tourist slogan for you, gratis: Canada. We'll scare the crap out of you, eh?

CNN is just Your Happy News Source this morning.

1) Don't stand. Don't stand so. Don't stand so close to me. Even when we're just washing dishes.

2) How To Tell If You're In A Cult: If the guy in the pulpit starts buggering five year-olds and claims he's a prophet, it's probably a cult.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Overheard at work...

A customer stepped to the counter, and as I rang her up she asked "Wow, how tall are you?"

"Just about six feet."

"Oh, that's only about as tall as me. I didn't notice the raised platform and thought you were six-five or something."

"Bite your tongue! I have a hard enough time buying jeans as it is."

"Tell me about it. I just came to grips a long time ago with the fact that I was going to go through life with everyone knowing what color my socks were."

Heh. I am so stealing that line...

Faith Of Our Fred.

Fred Thompson, the candidate the media loves to hate, is finally drawing some MSM attention...

...for his lack of god-bothering street cred. USA Today even reprinted an excerpt from a Pat Robertson email saying "He is apparently the Great Hope that burns in the breasts of many conservative Christians? Well, not for me, my brothers. Not for me!" (To me, that's an endorsement, but I'm given to understand that some people actually take Rev. Pat seriously.) When badgered by a reporter recently about his religious beliefs, Fred replied:
"As far as faith is concerned, I have not made any secret as to where I am. I am a Christian... I have no apologies to make about my religion or my relationship to Jesus Christ or God."
...when what he should have said was "Well, Article Six of the Constitution clearly says 'no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.'" Of course, that doesn't seem to play well in Peoria these days...

Leave it to Beaver?

One of the rallying cries of the Populists who have infested both parties is the slump in the earning power of the American wage earner. For whatever reason, the modern American family seems to require two working adults. While the dollar's decline has something to do with the fact that the Cleavers can't get by on Ward's salary alone anymore, there's one other factor that everyone seems to leave out. Take this pop quiz and see if you can guess what that factor is:

1) The balance on Ward Cleaver's three most frequently used credit cards is?

2) Does Wally have an Xbox3 hooked to a flatscreen TV in his room, or is he making do with an old Play Station hooked to a hand-me-down 19" Sony?

3) In addition to electricity, water, and the telephone, the Cleaver's largest monthly bill is: a. Cellular Service, b. Cable TV, c. Broadband Internet Access, or d. Late Fees At Blockbuster.

4) The Cleaver's timeshare is in: a.) Destin, or b.) Gatlinburg.

5) June's bread maker was made by: a.) Sunbeam, or b.) Krupps.

6) The amount of money Ward loses annually playing Powerball, Online Slots at home, and Texas Hold 'Em on vacation in Branson, Missouri is: $____ (Round to the nearest dollar.)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Quote of the Day:

Lyle at UltiMAK on why non-taxpayer-subsidized lefty talk radio sank without a ripple:
And here's a hint just especially for those on the Left: We've all heard your message every day for our whole lives, as long as we can remember. You've gotten your message out, and that is your problem. A lot of people are sick of hearing it because most of it has something to do with how wrong, greedy, stupid, evil, and endangered we are-- the air we breathe is killing us, the food we eat is killing us, oil is killing us, a shortage of oil is killing us, farming is killing us, starvation is killing us, fat is killing us, dieting is killing us, carbs are killing us, disease is killing us, antibiotics, vaccines, and the drug companies are killing us, freedom and prosperity are especially killing us, poverty is killing us, the good economy is killing us but really the economy sucks, terrorists are killing us (but it's our fault) and the war against terrorists is killing us, and everything, absolutely everything, is killing women and children, the elderly and the minorities the hardest-- and how some form of socialism (government-enforced coercion) is the answer to absolutely every problem, real or imagined.

Does that about sum it up? Who needs to tune into a radio show to hear that when we hear it everywhere else every day?

More-of-the-same day in and day out nagging and finger pointing and blaming America and our Liberty for the world's problems isn't something a lot of people are going to pay money to have broadcast in their name. But you don't, and won't, get it anyway.

R, as they say, TWT.

It makes you wonder why you even bother...

I mean, you sit down with someone, negotiate terms, sign papers, promises are made and vows exchanged, you loan them money...

...and with a wave of the wand the .gov tries to tamper with the sanctity of contract.

I am reading through the relevant section of my copy of the U.S. Owner's Manual, and I'll be damned if I can figure out where this is any of FedGov's business.

The new program is being aimed at homeowners who have steady incomes and relatively clean repayment histories who could afford the lower introductory mortgage rates but cannot afford the higher adjusted rate.
I find my heart surprisingly un-melted. Buying crap you can't afford used to draw societal disapproval, not sympathy. When did "spendthrift" become synonymous with "victim"?

Of course, there's a lot of stuff about this that I don't understand. I saw, for instance, an interview with a family afraid they weren't going to be able to keep up their house payments and talking about how they were going to need help, and my first thought was to be amazed at the background of the photo: "Ditch the two car payments and that ski boat in the driveway and there's you a few payments right there..."

Where's the crazy?

Given the antics of Putin, Musharraf, and Chavez lately, isn't it about time for some high-profile Barking Moonbat to warn us that Chimpy McHitlerburton is planning to mobilize his mindless Christian Right zombies to get the Twenty-Second Amendment repealed and make him Maximum Leader for Life? I mean, Vishnu knows that there was a tiny but vocal minority of bunker-dwelling right wing nut jobs saying the same thing about President Bubba back in '99 and '00.

Or is this already being bandied about and I'm just not trolling the right part of the Pinkonet?

Democracy, Si! Pugsley, No!

Unable to stuff enough ballot boxes in time, Chavez's attempt to get the voters to remove presidential term limits allow him to be Dictator-For-Life failed by Election '00 margins. With a 56% voter turnout, the raft of constitutional amendments fell short of passing by a narrow 51-49 split. What makes this impressive, however, is that in addition to the Obvious Tyranny stuff, the referendum was packed with the typical "Free Beer For Poor Folks On Tuesdays!", and it still got shot down.

cf. Vlad the Imperiler; maybe Puglsey should have asked him for some campaigning advice.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Michael Silence says the sweetest things.

Quote of the Day:

Dr. Strangegun in the comments section on the possibility of a Duncan/Fred ticket:

I'm cranky and hungry.

Said goodbye to the Kloos clan yesterday. Did my best not to cry in front of Quinn, and mostly succeeded.

I came home and built a fire in the chimenea and had a few of Mendocino's seasonal brew, an Imperial IPA, which was very good. (Although it's no Ruination; but then, what is?) If you're familiar with Dogfish Head's beers, Mendocino's Imperial IPA tastes almost exactly halfway between 60 Minute and 90 Minute Dogfish Head. Gunsmith Bob has been trying to get me to read W.E.B. Griffin for some time, and finally just dropped a copy of The Leftenants in my lap, so I'm reading it. Shakespeare it ain't, but it's an enjoyable way to pass an evening.

Went to bed too late. Got up too early. I needed to go to the grocery store after work, but I blew it off because I was hanging on my chinstrap. Took a nap when I got home and now I have to go run the errands I put off doing earlier.

I think I'll console myself (and get rid of the owie, empty, hurty feeling in my tummy) by going to Kalamata Cafe and dining on a big ol' slab of seared ahi tuna. Back in a bit.

This is weird...

My car's gas tank seems to have grown. It only held about thirteen bucks worth when I got it, but it swallowed $36.00 of midgrade today. Yet the mileage must have gotten a lot worse, because that tank will still only take me a little over 350 miles...

You know what it's like at 0420?

Dark. And cold.

Oh, and I want to take a moment to say Love. The. Shoes!

Time to make the donuts.