Thursday, January 31, 2008

When you say "tomato", I hear "the whole damn garden".

Whenever I hear someone talking about slashing pork out of the federal budget, I nod in wholehearted agreement. This makes them smile and feel happy that I agree with them.

They probably don't realize that "pork" translates in my head to "everything the .gov does that it didn't do before 1929."

Must read post of the day:

Tyranny in Red Tights.

Robb Allen guest-blogging at The Line Is Here just absolutely slam dunks one.

Non sequiturs.

I just love talking on the phone with the parents of toddlers. Where else can you get delicious stuff like the following?

Me: "Where did all your shiny new Trotskyite commenters come from?"

Marko: "I don't know. I must have been linked someplace where... Hey! Get out of the bucket! Lift your leg out of the bucket! No, don't stick your head in the bucket!"

Me: "I'll just leave you to your parenting, then, shall I?"

MMmmm.... Pizza.

Italian sausage, green olives, and jalapeƱos. A couple of twists from the garlic & crushed red pepper spice weasel.

Yum.

Day Off...

Successfully slept in past ten, but awoke to icicles hanging from the ceiling of the bat cave so it took another fifteen minutes to convince myself to come out from under the covers.

I've managed to piss away a good three hours surfing teh intarw3bz, but it's high time I go foraging for food. Also, my paycheck needs to be moved from the building it's in now to the bank across the street. Back in a flashski.

Breaking News: Billions of foreigners lose access to porn, MySpace.

A cut in an undersea cable has caused billions of terabytes worth of data to gush into the warm waters of the Mediterranean. Seabirds coated in sticky YouTube videos are washing ashore on Egyptian beaches, and environmental scientists say the gooey slick of zeros and ones could spread as far west as Malta.

Meanwhile, downstream of the leak, the vast series of tubes that is the internet has lost pressure. Billions of people who speak strange foreign languages can no longer download porn or find soulmates on Match.com. Sub-Saharan Africa and mainland China have been particularly hard hit, as the 419 Scam and Fake eBay Auction industries were entirely dependent on the internet for their normal function. "We are going to try going to snail mail," said Joseph M'bekebeke, Nigerian minister of commerce, "But we don't know if American senior citizens will be as gullible in regards to badly handwritten letters as they are to badly typed emails."

According to experts interviewed on Thursday afternoon, the data hemorrhage will continue to pollute the pristine waters of the eastern Mediterranean for at least another week. No word yet if Google or Yahoo are expected to help fund the cleanup.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Normality question:

Does anyone else religiously separate the pre-'82 pennies from the rest of their change and hoard them? Or am I weird?

This isn't funny.

My birthday was, what? Fifteen minutes ago? And I wake up this morning to discover that I... um... how to put this delicately? I will be shopping for food high in fiber content today, which is something I've never really done before. (Payback, no doubt, for all the times I made fun of bran-muffin-eating codgers and codgerettes.) Also, it's cold in here and the joints in my right elbow and wrist have this weird, kinda stiff, slightly hurtie feeling when I move them suddenly. I expect that from the various extremities held together with baling wire, but none of the breaks to my right wing have involved joints.

I'm not liking this at all.

Omigodomigodomigod!

zomg!

SPACE FOOD STICKS ARE BACK!





.

Rights and responsibilities.

That which is rewarded becomes more common. That which is not stopped, goes on and on. Acquiescence is tacit approval.

Say "No" and mean it.

Losers.

This is the eighth presidential contest since I've been sentient enough to really understand them, and I have to say that it's official: devolution happens. What else can I call it when I find myself pining for a Dole or a Mondale? Not that I think either of them was such a fantastic candidate, mind you, but I look at the fields both parties are offering this time 'round and I've given up on wanting a statesman; now I'll happily settle for a responsible adult.

On the upside, it looks like Rudy the RINO has taken his ball and gone home. On the downside, the Manchurian Candidate is picking up quite a head of steam. Not only is he an authoritarian jackass with only a passing acquaintance with the Constitution, but he's almost guaranteed a stomping in any head-to-head debate with either of the Democrat front-runners, who'd leave him looking like a doddering, red-faced, frothing loon.

Not that it matters to me, of course, since the only GOP candidates I could have held my nose and pulled the lever for have either already dropped out or are trailing so far back that they can't even see the pack from where they're standing. So it looks like I'll either be going fishing on election day or making a protest vote of some sort.

And before you even think about puffing up and sputtering something about "Are you just going to give Hillary the White House?" just put a sock in it, because it wasn't me, brother. It was all you idiots who put candidates out there that got tied up in pointless jackassery like rearranging the 'gay marriage' and 'flag burning' and 'stem cell' deck chairs after the USS Conservative had already hit the iceberg. Your typical Republican these days is worried more about what's printed on the money than where it comes from or what it gets spent on.

That's it. I'm done. No more "change from within". A pox on you and your Grand Old Party. We've grown so far apart that I'd be as well off lecturing the Democrats on gun rights and laissez faire economics as I would be convincing the GOP to keep its hands to itself.



EDIT: Unc is only slightly less disillusioned than I am. So is J.P. Sartre.

EDIT II: Word of the Day: Electile Dysfunction.

I feel kinda... invincible.

I tried some of that new Neuro Fuel beverage, and I did seem to feel peppier to the point of tachycardia afterwards. It's hard to say, however, how much of that boundless optimism and concomitant hummingbird heart rate was from the Neuro Fuel and how much was due to the 22 oz. NOS I had slammed about fifteen minutes prior.

I'll have to try and drink the Neuro Fuel in a direct scientific comparison with a nice frosty bottle of Placebo Blast in order to get any conclusive results.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

You're doing it wrong. Still.


Either he's looking for a picture of a Malibu Canyon veranda in a torrential downpour, or he's our idjit browser of the day. Given his location, though, he may just be an ESL surfer.

Confusion to our foes!

Hils to Bill: "Give me back those pants!"


*snerk!*

(H/T to Breda.)

Baby, it's cold inside.

I should probably call the propane folks.

And the link at CNN said...

School shooter could go back to prison
...and I'm thinking "Wait! 'Back'?!? He was out? What in the hell was he doing out? And what do you mean 'could'?"

I realize that he was "only" thirteen years old when he helped mow down five people in cold blood, but isn't the "mowed down five people in cold blood" part more important than the "he was only 13" part? I mean, there are some things from which you just can't reform.

What does that sound like in a parole hearing? "Hey, yeah, I mean, I know I shot those children and that teacher from ambush, but I was feeling a little kooky that day. I'm all better now and I promise I won't do it again."
And somebody buys that! Instead of saying what they should in response, which is "That's nice kid, shut up and put on the blindfold. And hurry up with that cigarette, these guys got jobs to get to after they're done here."

Monday, January 28, 2008

Time Machine.


Smith & Wesson
Springfield, Mass.

Dear Sirs,

I have just read Mr. Twain's excellent new book,
A Tramp Abroad, and it has given me a zest to go traveling. Prudence would dictate procuring a Sidearm for my safety before entrusting myself to the gentle ministrations of Heathens in foreign parts, but I do not wish to encumber myself with a Belt Pistol. And yet I would prefer a revolving pistol of more Substance and Striking Power than the small revolvers of .32 calibres sold for the Gentleman's pocket. Accordingly, would you be able to advize me of the nearest dealer to my abode likely to have one of your .38 calibre central-fire Number Twos in his stock so that I may examine one before I make a Purchasing Decision?

Cordially,
J.Q. Public
Erehwon, Arizona Territory
28 January, 1881


The revolver that Mr. Public, citizen of the soon-to-be-incorporated town of Phoenix AZ, would eventually purchase was completed at the Smith & Wesson factory on April 28th, 1881. On that same day, a young miscreant by the name of William McCarty was shooting his way out of the Lincoln County jail in New Mexico, killing deputies Jim Bell and Bob Ollinger in the process.

While the revolver sat in a box being shipped out west, President Garfield was shot by a lone assassin; the famous Sioux chief, Sitting Bull, surrendered to U.S. government troops; and the first public high schools opened west of the Mississippi. On the day that Mr. Public went to purchase his revolver before setting out on his wanderings, the news in the Arizona papers was of "A Desparate Fight Between Officers of the Law and Cow-Boys" in the vacant lot by the OK Corral in the boomtown of Tombstone.



I know the gun pictured above was made in 1881, but I won't know where it actually shipped or its exact date of birth until my factory letter comes back from Springfield. Until then, I'm free to let my imagination run wild, and 1881 is an exciting year in which to let your imagination off its leash. "Why do you like these old guns, Tam?" Why, indeed.

Sometimes you go to a gun show and come back empty-handed, and sometimes you come back with a handful of history.

Frost and Fog.


The actual View From The Porch, 8:15AM, 1/28/08.


.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

It's all posted and everything...

The Sunday Smith is up at the other place. An unusual stainless J-frame this time.

It's Fun Show time!

There's a Fun Show in K-town today!

Now that I've done my work-type stuff for the day and taken the piccie for the Sunday Smif, I'm off to get eyeball prints all over everything.

Back in a bit...

Just not a morning person...

While 0530 isn't anywhere near as bad a donut-making time as 0430, it's still no walk in the park. Also, people shouldn't be up at this hour on a weekend, unless it's to go catch a fish or something. I'm pretty sure there's something in Deuteronomy about it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Current job got you down?

Looking for something more exciting and rewarding, with good medical bennies and guaranteed overtime?

Able to work in a MS-DOS environment? Drive a forklift? Field strip an AK-47?

Do you have what it takes to work site security for supervillain lairs? If so, Arachnid Security has a career opportunity for you!



(Big big curtsy to RobertaX.)

So very very very very very very...

...very very very very very very wrong.

(Hat Tip, I guess, to Doug.)

The right to defend yourself doesn't end on Applebee's doorstep.

"Oh, Tamara," you say, "you're just being paranoid. Why would you need to carry in a restaurant? It's not like when you're sitting there minding your own business in some West Knox eatery you're in danger of stopping a bullet from a random crazed gunman."

Right.

Anyway, wouldn't it have been nice if someone would have saved the taxpayers the cost of the overnight manhunt and just popped the Hooter's Shooter right there?

Here's more on Tennessee H.B. 702 and the right to self defense at Applebee's, including tips on how you can get involved.

Look what I didn't get for my birthday!

Pretty cool though, huh?

Colt Walker revolver. A Co. #53. Sharp gun. Displayed in the Texas Gun Collectors Association “Parade of Walkers”. Formerly in the famous Paul Sorrell collection. Very nice and rare Walker! $155,000.00


Old Colts in general have gotten pretty crazy, but Walker Colt prices are completely off the chain.

Geeking out.

Prompted by this post over at Snowflakes In Hell, I decided to give Google Analytics a whirl.

zomg, the concentrated geekery! More numbers and charts and graphs than I know what to do with, and seemingly endlessly configurable.

I give it a week before I've broken it somehow.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Chatty Cathy.

I talked to Mom and, later, my Sis in the ATL, Marko in frigid NH, and my Uncle in the departure lounge at DFW today. Narrowly missed Oleg's call from the 'Ville. Phone's been set on the charger cradle like three different times. I don't think that reclusive li'l ol' me has done that much telephonic nattering in one day ever in my entire life.

To paraphrase P.J. O'Rourke...

...if only I'd had a bit more foresight, I could have checked out ten years ago in a big ball of flaming Porsche. It would have been so dramatic; children would have strewn flower petals, grown men would have wept.

Now I have to stick it out to the end of the show so I can see how it ends. Le sigh.

OMG! That is one drop-dead sexy...

...toaster?!?

That's a hell of a thing to wake up to.

The ad banner atop my page this morning said "I Retired At Age Thirty Nine!"

Yeah, well, apparently I'm going to work at age forty, you smarmy little toad.

Battle Hymn of the Decline of the Republic.

Mine eyes have seen the horror of the voting of the horde,
They have looted the fromagerie where the guv'ment cheese is stored.
If the war's not won by the commercial break they grow so quickly bored
Their vote counts as much as yours.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Quote of the Day:

"The founding fathers were wise enough to keep the government out of religion, but not wise enough to keep the government out of education." -Les Jones


I submit that the Founding Fathers simply couldn't imagine anything so ridiculously far-fetched as compulsory, tax-financed kiddie farms.

Less than 24 hours to go...

...'til Black Thursday.

There is no joy in Mudville...

...Mighty Thompson has bowed out.

Way of the Gun.

Happy birthday to the Mozart of the Machinegun, the Rembrandt of the Rifle, the Picasso of the Pistol, the Chopin of the Shotgun, John Moses Browning. With 128 firearms patents to his name and having single-handedly invented half of everything to do with modern firearms, we'll never see his like again.

Were he alive today, he'd be 153. And we'd have frickin' death rays.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

CNN officially puzzled.

CNN- "All we said was that voters who are both rhythmically-gifted and penilely-challenged are worrying their nappy little girl heads as to which token they should blindly support," said a spokesperson, "I don't know why everyone's in such a tizzy about it."

Two hours in, still 300 down.

Looks like they're partying like it's 1929 up in NYC.


UPDATE: Bit of a rally. If this keeps up, we may even finish the day a point or two on the right side of twelve grand. I'm not holding my breath, however.

I'm not believing this...

I'm watching some conservative bloggers starting to make "Well, maybe McCain's not so bad..." noises.


Folks, answer me this: On any Bill Of Rights issue, how does the Manchurian Candidate's position differ significantly from Hillary Clinton's? I mean, hello? McCain-Feingold, for gawdssake?

The Rondroids enjoy their little jibe that "Fred Thompson Is Just George Bush With A Deeper Voice". In that vein, McCain is just Clinton with a better relationship to the military.

I swear, I sometimes think that if the devil himself ran as a Republican, I'd hear some conservative pundit on the internet say "Well, he has a chance of winning, and think of the Supreme Court nominations!"

That's clever.

Clever blog name of the day: The Sunsphere Is NOT A Wigshop.


(Everybody knows it's a homing beacon for UFOs, anyway.)

I saw the link this morning at Michael Silence's blog, but I'm pretty sure Les Jones mentioned something about it at Friday's blogger shindig thingie. I've slept since then, however.

Let the pants wetting continue.

So other markets around the world responded to Wall Street's power dive by tanking themselves. It was quaint watching folks try to preserve an air of salesmanship in the midst of it:
"A gloomy U.S. climate has affected the global markets. Even if those markets recover, it will take some time for the recovery to reach India because today's fall has been so drastic," said Jayant Pai, of the Mumbai investment company IL&FS Ltd.

Still, Pai and others suggested that the declines could lead to a buying opportunity.

"The sell-off today takes us close to the bottom," she said.


Do you like that part I put in bold? I think they get fired if they don't say that. "Well, yes ma'am, the ship does appear to have struck an iceberg and broken in half, but don't worry! This as bad as it's going to get. Can I interest you in a Daquiri?" Meanwhile, NYC road crews have been erecting yellow "Danger! Falling Brokers!" signs up along Wall Street.

The top three headlines on CNN.com this morning?

Monday, January 21, 2008

An auspicious week for them, too.

Happy Birthday to Bitter Bitch over at the Bitch Girls.



(27? You kids don't know how good you have it these days! When I was your age mutter mumble something rocks and garble blog posts on abacuses mumble, and we were grateful!)

I never interpreted it that way...

One of the headlines in today's paper said something about "Obama, Clinton realizing 'dream'".

I must have missed that part of MLK's speech: "I have a dream! A dream that one day little white Yale law school grads can run for high political office with the benefit of millions in shady campaign contributions."

"Wear very comfortable shoes."

NRAhab is going to SHOT.

Note the advice he gets.

Huck, Part II:

Remember, kids: The last time we had a populist moralizing evangelical in the White House, we gave away the Panama Canal...

So that's where it went.

All that snow they kept promising me? Kit has it all. And then some.

What's in a name?

Despite claiming responsibility for 20,000 deaths, he still isn't being taken seriously by other ex Liberian warlords.

Gee, I can't figure why that would be, General Butt Naked.

Holy Huckabee!

It was good to see the Huck take a stomping in South Carolina. This guy is starting to scare me as much as any of the Democrats. There is nothing like a candidate who thinks that what "we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards" to make me appreciate the Second Amendment, 'cause a president that talked like that would make me want to use it. I haven't heard a creepier statement from a national political figure since Pat Robertson said that a national "spirit-filled police force" would be a swell idea. Yeah, that's what I want, a van full of geheime staatspolizei down at the end of the block praying for god to tell them which door to kick in; that'd just beat a search warrant all to hell.

On the other hand, that means the Manchurian Candidate won, which means that a sizable percentage of voters in South Carolina are dumb enough to think that a hawkish Democrat would make a swell GOP candidate.

UPDATE: Marko tries a little experiment in comparing Amendments and Commandments.

I should be careful what I whine about.

Yesterday I was whining about 16*F. This morning I'm pining for the balmy airs of yesterday, as the outside temp craters in at 11*F. Br-r-r-rr!

And before all you tundra-dwelling Yankees start telling me what cold really is, let me remind you that houses up there are generally built, or at least heated, with that in mind. I'm living in a far-from-airtight, indifferently insulated, rebuilt cabin. On a nice, cold, lake. With the only in-house heat provided by a propane-fed baseburner in one corner of a room that is probably 60'x20'. No heat in the bedroom at all except for a quartz space heater. And the bed's against two external walls.

Thankfully Mittens decided last night that, rather than her usual spot by my shoulder, she'd prefer to sleep on the pillow with me, so I had one self-heated, vibrating ear muff. It's still cold in here this morning at VFTP Command Central, though, halfway across the room from the heater. Lowe Alpine leggings under sweat pants and a tee shirt under a turtleneck, and I'm still chilly. Perhaps if I had a heart, rather than relying on convection to circulate my blood, I wouldn't be so cold.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I almost missed it!

I almost forgot!

It's Tellthemday!

Got phone calls to make. 'Bye!

"A very serious carry revolver."

In 1995, the S&W Performance Center did a limited run of 400 3" round-butt Model 13 revolvers, known as the "PC-13". Described in the SCSW as "A very serious carry revolver", Marko and I developed a very serious case of gun lust from the description alone. The fact that they were so rare made them even more enticing. One day back in '01 we were discussing the gun show that would be opening the next day and what we hoped to find there. "I might find a PC-13!" said Marko.

"Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt," I retorted.

Guess what?

Oh, the Sunday Smith is up, by the way.



.

C-c-c-c-c-cold!

Sixteen degrees outside.

And they're only those little bitty Fahrenheit degrees too, not great big metric ones.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Something wicked this way comes...

I'm pretty stoked about tomorrow's Sunday Smith. I'm just sayin'...

I got yer "Just A Girl" right here.



w00t!

I don't think I could do it that fast.

Oh, by the way...

In case you can't tell from the timestamp and my sunny demeanor, it is indeed time to go make the donuts.

Again! They did it to me again!

Two days ago, it was supposed to snow all last night and into today.

Yesterday, it was supposed to start snowing this morning and intermittently all day.

Now they're calling for "a chance of PM snow showers".

We haven't had enough snow on the ground for a snowball fight since 2003. If I'd known that, I'd have stayed in ATL. *grumblegrumble*

Friday, January 18, 2008

Weather. And lots of it.

Sixty degrees one day, twenty the next, dry, then humid and rainy, then dry again...

Any wonder that my nose sounds like a coffee percolator when I breathe, and that the joints and bones in my face are creaking and popping like a sub approaching crush depth wheddever I blow by doze?

Karma can be a bitch.

Derrick Kosch, 25, of Kokomo, IN displayed an amazing lack of gunhandling skills on Tuesday when he blew his own... er, wedding tackle into pink mist during an attempted stickup of a Village Pantry convenience store.

Bet he won't have the balls to try that again!

Medical Care Reform Now!

According to this CNN article, one in four heart attack patients has to wait for fifty minutes or more in the ER to see a doctor. This is unacceptable. If we adopt a more modern and progressive system, we can get our numbers up in no time. (Plus it would cut down on the number of Canadians who come down to use our hospitals, eh?)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wet firecracker.

Once again that wacky Appalachian winter weather lets me down.

Yesterday the K-town media was abuzz with "Snow! Snow! Cry 'havoc!' and let slip the salt trucks of war!" Radio stations had reporters on location at the DOT outposts explaining how brine sprays work. DeeJays were promising to have the most up-to-date school and business closing lists first thing in the AM. The National Weather Service was calling for a one-to-three inch accumulation of the white stuff down here in the valley. I went home, and it was sleeting mixed with snow as I got ready for bed. I wore my pyjamas inside out which, as every third grader from Macon to Charlotte knows, helps the snow stick to pavement. I left the porch light on when I went to sleep, because...

...I sprang out of bed at 4:59 in the AM and half-pattered, half-skipped across the apartment to look out the window into the pre-dawn dark and see...

...a wet, sullen drizzle falling into puddles on the ground.

Dear National Weather Service: You suck. Again.

Today In History: Mel Gibson Kills The English, Part II

On this date in 1781, Mel Gibson killed a whole bunch of Englishmen and won the Battle of Cowpens single-handedly.

Opie tasered, Aunt Bea hit by stray MP5 round. Film at 11.

Marko has another outstanding post up, this time on the politics of SWAT. Go read "Playing SEALS and Robbers".

Stupid memes...

Okay, raise your hand if you've wasted more than 45 minutes of your life playing with that stupid album meme. No one? You're a bunch of liars; I know I pissed away most of Monday evening. I did wind up saving my most plausible looking result:


Obviously you can find this album in the New Age section at your local music joint, or in the World Music section, next to the aromatherapy crap, at your local Crystals & Unicorns shoppe.

(Why am I bugged that Firefox's spellchecker knows "aromatherapy"? After all, it knows "phrenology", too...)

Oh, grow up!

Look, if you tie your kid up with duct tape because he won't root for your favorite football squadron, the police are going to send you to bed without your supper.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Life, like children, can be nasty, brutish, and short.

Courtesy of Matt (who found it via LabRat) we find the Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Disclaimer.

LOVE IT!

Sometimes the zombies are real.

Two women holding two babies are gunned down in a house in Indianapolis. Two men are seen fleeing the dwelling. The sheriff vows to "track [them] down like dogs". Pleas are made for information in the case. Neighbors gather round. Buried in the story is some further information, however: Police had been called to the residence three times in the past year. One of the victims had been arrested for passing bad paper back in '02. And the most incriminating bit:
A set of scales, several weapons, a safe and one pound of a what is believed to be marijuana were found in the house, Talley-Sanders said.
Well.

The tragic victims here would be the two innocent babies, whose mothers apparently felt that an environment of petty crime and thuggish men was a swell place to bring up children. Would it be hopelessly cynical of me to suggest that a child brought up in that environment would have the odds stacked against their being the high school valedictorian and eventual pillar of the community?

I say we blame the guns. Or maybe poverty. Not the state that pays people to live in a human zoo and rewards apathy and hopelessness with monthly checks in the mailbox.

No, lets be blunt here: If you advocate the perpetual welfare state and its accompanying perpetual war on some drugs, and vote for candidates who support them, then you might want to use cold water when washing your hands this morning. It gets the stains out better.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Define "religious nut".

In Alphecca's post on the Shiflett case, a commenter noted
"the guy sounds like a religious nut (10 kids in a mobile home, “recite bible verses” ???)"
Last I checked, religious nuttery was still legal in this country. Hell, if Shiflett had shaved and combed his hair, he could have won Iowa.

How come...

...I know nothing about doctoring, lawyering, accounting, or network managing, yet every doctor, lawyer, accountant, and network manager knows more about the gun business and guns in general than I do?

"Why don't you post on the gun boards anymore, Tam?"

Because when someone makes an idiotic remark there, I can't just say "You're an idiot. Shut up. Grownups are talking here." Here, I can. And have. And will.

Today In History: Job Insecurity.

On this date in 69AD, Otho became the second emperor during that party-down year of betrayal, assassination, rioting, and civil war known as The Year Of The Four Emperors.

Understandably bitter after his wife divorced him in order to do a spot of mistressing for Emperor Nero, Otho whiled away his time as governor of Portugal building up cash, favors, and resentment. After a decade of working up a good grudge, he hopped aboard the first coup attempt to come along, that of Galba, governor of Spain.

Galba passed over Otho when it came time for naming a successor, so Otho paid to have Galba and his shiny new protege whacked by the ever-reliable Praetorian Guard. Otho then proceeded to display his emperoring skills, which mostly seemed to have been learned by watching Nero. He managed to simper and fop about Rome for almost three months before the legions on the Rhine, dragging Vitellius along as a figurehead, arrived in Italy to pick up any stray Imperial crowns that might have been left lying about. On their arrival, Otho obligingly offed himself, leaving little more than a wide spot in the road of history.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Small world.

So I'm telling a co-worker about the movie I went to see over the weekend:

Me: "It was called No Country For Old Men; it's based on a novel by..."

V: "Cormac McCarthy. I know. He lived in Louisville just down the road a piece, near us. I have three of his books autographed at home. His wife was from England; she was a real sweet lady."

I did not know that.

100,000 miles down.

Six years and four months. That's how long it has taken to put 70,000 miles on the Zed Three. I bought it as a three year old used car with 30k already on the clock, but other than routine maintenance, the car has cost nothing in repairs. Well, there was the cost of replacing the back window after a certain BMW convertible owner who will remain nameless (Hint: Rhymes with "camera") decided it would be cool to motor around with the top down one 25 degree night. It's on its third set of front tires and fourth set in the back. The A/C still blows cold and hasn't needed recharging. It doesn't use any oil. Gas mileage is running about 21-22mpg around town, 28mpg on roadtrips, which is down from the 24/30 I used to get. I should probably get that secondary air pump replaced. The top shows signs of having spent the last half-decade plus outdoors, and will probably need re-skinning in the next couple of years. All in all, I can't ask for a more satisfying ownership experience; I wonder what the next 100,000 miles will bring?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tonight! Live at the Mudville Colosseum!

With their guitarist fresh out of rehab and the drummer having successfully pleaded down his charges to Simple Battery and Public Lewdness, the band Old Settler's Association is kicking off their American tour in support of their sophomore album, Mile In His Moccasins, tonight at the Mudville Colosseum...



What a fun meme! The rules can be found here.

Overheard in a car...

...driving home from the movies:


Gunsmith Bob: "That sure was a great movie. The Coen brothers just keep getting better and better. It's hard to believe this movie was made by the same guys who made Raising Arizona."

Me: "Hey, I liked Raising Arizona!"

GB: "Oh, but it had the guy in it. With the awful. And the bad actor."

Me: "Nicolas Cage?"

GB: "Yeah. He couldn't act like he was on fire if you doused him in gasoline and threw him a match."

It's Sunday! You know what that means?

That's right! The Monday (S)Myth is up!

Go Team Me!

Matt pointed out that VFTP passed three quarters of a million hits sometime this morning.

Wheee!!

1 Million in '08!

But enough jumping up and down and squealing. I have a revolver to photograph, it being Sunday and all.

When did this start?

What is happening to the roadsides of America? I mean, I don't mind a little white cross to mark the spot where a loved one zigged when they should have zagged, but it's not just little white crosses anymore. Now it seems like every other telephone pole and tree trunk on some of the more enjoyable back roads is festooned with enough plastic flowers, ribbons, and shiny bits to make it look like a Filipino jitney bus has crashed into a roadside shrine to Our Lady Of Guadalupe, Patron Saint of Chupacabra Victims. Driving down some stretches is like motoring through Graceland on the anniversary of Elvis' demise, except tackier.

Maybe my twinging is caused by the fact that my personal aesthetic is Nordic-severe strained through the uptight cheesecloth of Midwestern Lutheran. I mean, I don't even like pinstripes on cars, and I'm actually physically allergic to glitter. Maybe it shouldn't bother me that it looks like a gang of itinerant Santeria cultists have been making sacrifices to the god of telegraph poles all over the highways and byways of this fair land. But it does.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Movie nigh... er, afternoon.

Went with Gunsmith Bob to see No Country For Old Men. Absolutely outstanding; the Coen brothers' best work yet. Matt did not steer me wrong with his excellent review.

I want to get back out West Texas way again now.

Leaving the theater we ran into young ColtCCO and I got to meet his girlfriend, which was nice. The post movie consensus was four thumbs up.

It bears repeating.

Roberta X claims she hasn't been abducted by aliens. In her comments section, I said:
Getting picked up by little green men isn't all it's cracked up to be. You want to go to the intergalactic mall. They want to play with the probulator. Next thing you know you're cracking little green skulls with your tire iron and demanding to be taken home right this instant.

Hmm. Kinda like half the dates I've ever been on, when you think about it...

Fight Tha Power!

Academics For The Second Amendment still needs donations for their amicus filing in D.C. v. Heller. Not only is it patriotic and The Right Thing To Do, it's tax deductible!

Every time you chip in a dollar, it makes Dianne Feinstein cry.

You know...

...0400 isn't anywhere near as bad when you haven't been closing all week.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Some other things from the dull economy post:

A few other factors from recent discussions with various friends:

1) As more folks start cashing in 401k's, they are going to be taking tax hits on this money that has been tax-free up to that point. Given that the AARP is such a powerful lobby, what are the odds of pressure being put on Congress to forgive taxes on withdrawals, too? What will this do to revenues at a time when the whole Social Security system will be on the brink of collapse? Fire up the printing presses!

2) Yes, most of the mortgages that are likely to go into foreclosure are concentrated in a few states, and no distinction is being made about how many of those are held by "flippers". Still, what are the odds that whole blocks in some places like California or Florida could wind up vacant and up for sale? How prevalent can vandalism get in a neighborhood like that? Will we hear about "crack blocks" instead of "crack houses"?

I'm no expert and this is all idle speculation. Feel free to set me straight in Comments...

My only objection to them...

...is that pink guns are so 2007. ;)

On Hils playing the girl card.

Go see "Hailey's Non-Reciprocal Law of Sexism".

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hard rain gonna fall...

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The question for many economists is not if the U.S. economy will fall into a recession. It's whether it already has.

The formal recognition of a start of a recession probably wouldn't come for at least six months if not more than a year, as official judges from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) pour[sic] through various economic readings.

Usually I'm an optimist. By the mid-Eighties, I was no longer scared of the Russian Bear. In the early Nineties I won money from pessimistic baby boomer friends by covering bets on the Gulf War (although I'd guessed two weeks to Baghdad; the Army beat the point spread.) I'm generally not a doom 'n' gloom kinda person, but I have to disagree with pdb's sanguine take on the economy. I think our only hope in the near future is that things will just be Carter-in-the-70s bad instead of Roosevelt-in-the-30s worse.

My reasoning is based on a confluence of several different factors: First, the foreclosure pig hasn't passed through the mortgage python yet; we won't know how bad things will really get until the bulk of the loans reset to their shiny, higher rates early this year. Second, more and more baby boomers are due to start cashing in on their retirement funds here in the near future, because they won't take fifty shares of IBM at the Piggly-Wiggly. Thirdly, energy and metals prices are high and climbing higher due to increased worldwide demand and a sagging dollar. Fourthly (and hopefully lastly) is that the minimum wage is due to climb this year because a bunch of cretins in congress think you can just wave a legislative wand and magic everyone rich, not stopping to think that the money to pay the burger flippers has to come from some place (HINT: Laid-off burger flippers and more expensive Big Macs and we're all right back where we started, except less of us are working.)

Now, provided that nothing else happens, we should just see a nice 70s-style recession. Unfortunately, there are plenty of things that could happen. China could mess with our money by selling off dollars or floating the Yuan. A liberal Democrat or big-government Republican could get in the White House and, with the active help of a Democrat Congress, start pulling levers left and right trying to play FDR. A destabilized Pakistan or an especially cranky Iran could cause a more general war in the Place That the Oil Comes From. Any one of these things (or more than one) could really tip things off the rails.

So, this is uncharted territory for me, this 'not being optimistic' thing. I think I'll take up vegetable gardening.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Books: More Discworld...

I'm just finishing up Witches Abroad, the first Discworld novel I've read featuring the witches. I think I have a new hero. I want to be Granny Weatherwax should I ever have to grow up...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Happy birthday to you...

...happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday dear Snowflakes In Hell!
Happy birthday to you!"

Un-freaking-believable.

Get down on the floor! Get down on the floor or I will shoot you! Now take two aspirin and call me in the morning!

Totally, absolutely, out of control. Is it time yet, Claire?

(H/T to SailorCurt.)

The actual view from the porch...


Mornings this time of year often provide amazing colors here on the lake, as the soft, gold-tinted light of dawn comes over the ridge behind the house, leaving the near shore of the lake in shadow and lighting up the far bank. Add a touch of mist for that "soft focus" look, and you're almost expecting an elven ship to glide by.

It's usually a bass boat, though, with Elroy instead of Elrond.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Look, I know it's a cheap shot...

...but it's so easy that I feel compelled to take it:

(CNN) -- The U.S. military reported Monday on a "significant" confrontation involving five Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats that "harrassed and provoked" three U.S. naval ships in international waters over the weekend.

U.S. military officials said the incident occurred Saturday night in the Gulf of Tonkin...

Sorry! Sorry!

But it was such a gimme...

Sometimes one wishes that international politics could be as clear cut as a mugging in a back alley: "Goblin "A" pulled a gun on Good Citizen "B", who drew her own piece and smoked the bad guy." Instead we get all this posturing and saber rattling that makes it look more like the Jets versus the Sharks.

Now that you mention it...

"When you hear the presidential candidates carrying on about democracy and freedom, do you ever wonder what they would be saying if they had been born into societies with different values? ... What if Hillary Clinton had gone to Moscow State University and married a promising young apparatchik?"


When you get down to brass tacks, isn't that pretty much what happened?

(H/T to Kevin.)

Random political stuff...

1) Look, I know that the old "Actor != President" thing is almost a mantra with the lefties, imprinted on their hindbrains by their conniptions during the Reagan years. It was a little disingenuous with Reagan, seeing as how he spent eight years as governor of a large, populous state before unpacking his stuff in the White House; it's not like he just wandered off the set and into the Oval Office.

It's a lot disingenuous with Thompson, who was a high-powered attorney in Tennessee and Washington DC for twelve years before being asked to play himself in a movie. There's also the minor point of his two terms as a Senator. But no, to every liberal pundit he's an actor playing at politics. Even if that were actually the case, I don't see the problem. Maybe certain people don't like the idea of politicians who've actually had jobs before, instead preferring professional glad-handers who've been sucking at the taxpayer teat since they graduated from college.


2) Why do candidates who proclaim themselves to be "The Candidate For Change" never tell me what they're changing, or what they want to change it into? Changing what? Their socks? My laundry detergent? The economy into some over-regulated brontosaurus? The lack of specifics gives me the creeping willies.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Beat the clock!

The Sunday Smith is up at the other blog, and it's still Sunday!

Go Team Me!

TeeWee alert.

If you watch the show Crime Wave on the History Channel tonight, you will see my vintage Smith & Wesson M&P and my Remington Model 11 riot gun (I think they borrowed my .38 Regulation Police, too) being used by the good guys and baddies alike. Also visible will be some hot BAR action.

If anybody has mad frame grab skillz, email me a piccie...

(Heh. Google will now be associating ColtCCO's blog with "hot bar action". :D )

Rain, rain, go away...

...so I can take pictures of a Smith today.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Dilemma.

I got bupkis in the way of sleep last night (forced my eyes closed at ~11PM, they popped open again at 0215 and I couldn't get back to sleep 'til three, just in time for the alarm clock to go off at ohmygod o'clock in the AM.)

Here's the quandary: I am hanging on my chinstrap, so do I try and take a nap, even though it will probably have me wide awake 'til 11 again if I do? Or do I try and tough it out 'til bedtime, even though I'm practically seeing things that aren't there because I'm so tired? The complicating factor (you know there has to be one) is that I have at least one "must-run" errand for the afternoon.

This swing shift stuff both blows and sucks at the same time, a feat heretofore thought impossible.

Grumble!

With the sound of the verdammt alarm clock still ringing in my ears, I am off to make the donuts. You kids be good; I'll see you after noon.

You Visigoth, you.



It means "ruined", okay?

Friday, January 04, 2008

ELECTION WARS: Attack of the Clowns.

LiberalCCW offers up his views on Decision '08. Hilarious.

Flying jalopy.

NASA is having more problems with the STS, which qualifies for antique vehicle license plates here in Tennessee. Considering that the Plymouth Reliant was the Motor Trend "Car Of The Year" in the year the Shuttle made its maiden voyage, this is perhaps unsurprising. Maybe the carburetor is stuck. Whack it with a screwdriver, it worked on my K-Car.

1,000 words.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is why we're screwed, in 1,000 words or less:



Yes, you're reading it right. On CNN this morning more people were interested in who got custody of Britney's kids than in who got custody of "The Button".

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Me 'n' him both.

Chris Muir gives Fred some love.

In a perfect world, Chris; in a perfect world...

Oh. My. Gawd!

So that's why On*Star is so damned popular!

OnStar: Hello, OnStar.
Customer: Hi, I have a problem.
OnStar: How can I help, sir?
Customer: I’m…umm…27, and still a virgin.
OnStar: How old are you really, sir?
Customer: Twenty-nine?
OnStar: Sir?
Customer: Thirty-six.
OnStar: [partially off mike] Holy shit!
Customer: [muffled crying]
OnStar: OK, sir, I need you to stay with me and listen very closely. I’m going to ask you some diagnostic questions to pinpoint the problem. Do you own action figures?
Customer: Yes.
OnStar: And if your Grakthorian Troll with +12 charisma and 170 hit points were to be attacked by a gelatinous cube, what would you do?
Customer: I would don my cloak of invisibility and bypass the cube to enter the dungeons of Dalagdon.
OnStar: I think I know the answer to the next one...


I don't care who you are, that's funny!

(H/T to Dustbury.)

2007: The Year In Snark.

A retrospective look at The Year That Was is such a gimme that every broadcast and print outlet does it in January in lieu of generating new content. This gives writers and editors a chance to sleep off their New Year's hangovers and still get a finished product out.

Not one to miss a trick, I give you my no-brainer look back at the last 365 days of mockery here at VFTP:

In January we showed a surprising lack of tact or sympathy for bridge jumpers and their accidental audience in "It's Raining Men". February was the month of the Great Presidents' Day Massacree; my most-linked contribution to the Jim Zumbo Auto de Fe & Weenie Roast was "Can Open. Worms Everywhere." In March, the Evel Knievel bus incident in Atlanta triggered a rant on "The bubble-wrapped life."

Any month where you can use the line "Amazing how many tales of Kennedy heroism involve wrecking your vehicle and swimming for help," as well as make fun of a sordid tale of sex and drugs and double-wides is a good month, and April was good. The fifth month had My reaction to the Frog reaction to the Sarkozy win, as well as the phrase "self-immolating neolithic goatherds". In June, I made fun of R2D2, Knoxville's Robot Redlight Revenooer, because he was a screwup.

"It's a thing of beauty..." made me laugh in July, while August's yuk-fest was thanks to the lefties and their desire to form a union for bloggers. In September I patted myself on the back for my Clinton health care spoof "I want my, I want my, I want my docs for free," and nobody linked. Ya ungrateful bastiges, do you have any idea how hard it was to work "Noam Chomsky" into those lyrics?

October was full of juggling chainsaws and steer rasslin'. In November, I pondered on The Last Temptation Of Mohammed. I thought the ultimate post of the ultimate month of '07 was "Leave It To Beaver?" but Technorati says it's "The Internet, much like Soylent Green, is people."



You know something? With all that searching and pasting and linking and reading, it would have been easier to write something fresh. I think I'll do that.

I'm surprised they stuck it out this long...

Having shown a level of persistence that is rare in multicellular organisms, the lawyers that have been trying to win Britney Spears' custody battle finally abandoned their sisyphean task.

"Britney Spears' child custody lawyer"... Boy, there's a job for you. That's like being "Hitler's P.R. guy" or "Getting a date for Quasimodo" or "Shirley MacLaine's therapist" (tell me that last one wouldn't qualify for danger pay.)

Speaking of which, given the prominence of certain figures in the national media over the last years, I think American girls are ready for a new doll: Totally Dysfunctional Barbie. She comes with a bottle of Jack and a bag of blow and none of her outfits have underwear. Instead of Ken, you get the choice of three different boyfriend dolls: the prissy movie star, the abusive rock legend, and the boneheaded jock. Barbie's Fashion Mall is kind of old fashioned looking these days (plus, the escalator was a bitch to get working right) so instead there's Barbie's Rehab Center, where she and Skipper can hang out and dictate tell-alls between movies and concert tours.

Happy birthday, Professor...

January 3rd is the birthday of the late Professor Tolkien, painter of the backdrops of my teenage imagination.

C-c-c-c-c-cold!

Right now the external thermometers are reading a balmy 13* Fahrenheit here at Casa de Tam. You can't actually see your breath in the corners of the house farthest from the propane heater, but it feels like you could. I moved a small electric heater into bathroom just in case; nobody likes burst pipes. The CFLs in the overhead light fixture don't generate much waste heat; I'll admit to leaving a floor lamp with three big halogens running all night to take the edge off the cold in the corner near VFTP Command Central.

Pretty ice fog all along the lake though; it's left the bushes and trees all glittering with a coating of fairy frost.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I laughed so hard my face hurts.

Worst Movie Ever.

(H/T to PDB.)

Dear Immigrant,

As a native of this fair land, let me offer an unsolicited pointer. If you are going to incinerate your son-in-law, daughter, and their child, you need to come up with a more American-sounding reason. It's not that we're particularly unused to gruesome murders in this country, but saying that you killed someone because they "were the wrong caste" makes people uncomfortable and may make them think that you'll next start dancing about with a bone in your nose or eating kittens or some other strange foreign custom. To show that my heart's in the right place, here are some suggested reasons that have a more "Non-Imported" ring to them:

1) "He was a fan of (Pick One: Jeff Gordon/the White Sox/the 49ers)."

2) "I told him not to buy a Ford, but he wouldn't listen!"

3) "He served light beer with the Christmas turkey."

and, finally, if you just have to tell them the real reason, at least make it sound more American:

4) "He was lowdown, no-'count, white trash!"

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Soup's on!

Finished with the Sunday Smith. Today's subject is a beautiful Model 19-5 Combat Magnum from 1988. I hope my prose is as pleasing to the mind's ear as the gun is to the eye.

Post called on account of rain.

So I need to write the Sunday Smith thing.

It was raining Sunday morning, and with this week's gun being a blued one, it was ixnay on the outdoor photography. It had cleared up by the time I got back from the gun show and running assorted errands, but by then it was also darker than a mineshaft. Yesterday was New Year's Eve. So you'll get your Sunday Smith on Tuesday. And you'll like it.

Happy 2008, folks.

May it be a good one.