Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vote Something First!

The Second Amendment Foundation's 2008 Gun Rights Policy Conference is running with the motto "Elect Freedom!" this year.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure Freedom got enough signatures to be on the ballot in most states this time 'round.

Can't keep a good man down.

Rustmeister, proprietor of Rustmeister's Alehouse, was attacked by his appendix the other day. He's pretty tough, so his appendix didn't stand a chance. Get Well wishes may be delivered here.

Squeaky has the whole story.

So far past ugly...

...that it's approaching cute from the other direction.

Today In History: It's all in the PR.

On this date in 1932, a plurality of German voters decided that snappy uniforms and cool torchlight rallies (that would no doubt have featured monster trucks crushing Citroens, had monster trucks been invented yet,) were the wave of the future.

After all, if the guy for whom you're voting is a good enough speaker and waves his arms a lot while Wagner plays in the background, it's easy to overlook the things he's actually saying, like "Kill all Jews!" and "Look out, Poland! You're goin' down!"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Open me! I am teh s3cur3 f1l3!

I rarely open email attachments or click on links in emails unless I:
A) Know the sender personally and trust their computer acumen.
B) Can see that the link goes to a real website I recognize, or trust that the attachment is something they generated themselves and are not just passing on via a link from their grandma's chain email glurge.
This policy has served me well since I first started dialing up bulletin boards in the '80s.
More from Ted at Bore Patch, a certified computer security dude...

Ripping right along.

Yet another stack at my elbow today. As there was yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that...
  • Belly, Star
  • The Cranberries, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?
  • Guns N' Roses, Use Your Illusion I
  • Crash Test Dummies, God Shuffled His Feet
  • Crash Test Dummies, The Ghosts That Haunt Me
  • Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine
  • Nine Inch Nails, Closer To God
  • Nine Inch Nails, Further Down The Spiral
  • Nine Inch Nails, Sin
  • Nine Inch Nails, And All That Could Have Been
  • Various Artists, Re-Covered In Nails, A Tribute To Nine Inch Nails
  • Crystal Method, Community Service
Yeah, I kinda went through a Trent Reznor fangirl phase. Does it show? I also actually like the Crash Test Dummies, and was appalled to find out that it was considered tragically un-hip to do so. Oh, well...

A moment of reflection.

LabRat ponders the things she's learned from her first year of blogging.

When hippies attack.

I have a bicycle, albeit a crappy one. I ride it pretty much every day. (I'd ride it a lot more if it had an ashtray and a beer holder, but that's neither here nor there...)

Living where I live, in an extremely bicycle-friendly neighborhood, in an era of $4/gallon gasoline, I'd have to be crazy to not ride a bike. I mean, seriously, the nearest grocery store is only a couple blocks away; it would be silly to take the car unless it was, like, twelve degrees outside or peeing down rain.

Apparently, because I have a bicycle, I need to wrap myself in spandex and grow a martyr complex. I need to gather in huge mobs, block streets, and act like some kind of weirdly self-righteous, anorexic, granola-breathed biker gang member; a heck's angel, if you will, and terrorize yuppie commuters in little Japanese cars. (I wonder what would happen if the frustrated and cut-off person had been named Billy-Bob and was driving a jacked-up 4x4 instead of an Impreza?)

Now that I know all the stuff involved, maybe I'm not ready to be a cyclist. I'm apparently entirely too laid-back, for one thing...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Quick question...

Merely for household research purposes, who here knows the lyrics to "The Minstrel Boy" by heart? A yes or no will suffice.

That's odd...

He must have been getting those special "conservative food stamps".

Hey, buddy, thanks to your four page manifesto, now the whole country knows you're not only a psycho, a coward, and a loser, but you're also dumber than a bag of hammers. Nice work there, sport.

Oddly enough...

...they never warn you about the lethal dangers of an infected papercut from reading the newspaper.

I wonder why? It's gotta be at least as big a killer as radon or West Nile virus.

Some Gun Myths. (#1 in a series)

Myth: You need to lower and flare the ejection port on your G.I. 1911 for reliability.

Fact: Mostly, you need to lower and flare the ejection port on your G.I. 1911 if you reload so that case mouths don't get dinged during the ejection cycle. If you don't reload, you probably don't need to worry about it. If you're customizing a G.I. gun, though, and ever plan to sell it, you should have the port lowered and flared before refinishing because people expect to see a lowered and flared ejection port on a customized gun. They think it makes it more custom and reliable or something and will pay you more money.

"Thanks, mom!"

So, yesterday the local cat box liner ran an editorial in support of H.R.2102, a proposed law that would provide legal protections for non-disclosure of sources by journalists.

This morning on the editorial page they printed a reader comment supposedly left on the online version of the piece:
"I feel confident that these members of the press take their jobs seriously and would not take advantage of this law. They realize they have an obligation to the public to print news as honestly and unbiased as they can."
Check the IP address on that "reader"; it's probably the editor's mom.

Help a brother out.

Surely somebody who reads this blog has experience running night-vision gear behind a magnifying optic.

Frank James has a super neat-o stealth hog hammer project that has run aground due to problems with groups wandering unpredictably when shooting with the PVS-14. By daylight, the thing shoots like a house afire with just the Zeiss optic, but when he puts the see-in-the-dark gear behind it, point-of-impact heads off for parts unknown.

Is it a basic incompatibility between the magnifying optic and the NOD, or what?

Redefining "fishy"...

So, if you were a banker down in the Texas borderlands, and a guy kept coming to you with deposits of huge sums of dirty, crumbling paper currency, and his stories about where it came from kept changing ("It was an inheritance." "We found it in an old rotted tree." "The wife won a couple of bingo games." "There was a Mexican leprechaun at the end of the rainbow.") would you be a little suspicious?

Yeah, well, so's the .gov.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Overheard near the TeeWee...

Today reporter, interviewing Richard Branson regarding SpaceShip Two: "Is it safe?"

Me, yelling at TeeWee: "Who cares? It's safer than the Mayflower was!"

Today In History: How not to say "Thank You".

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

On this day in 1932, President Hoover ordered the United States Army to evict the Bonus Marchers, a mass protest by unemployed World War One veterans in Washington, D.C.

Under the overall command of General Douglas MacArthur, U.S. troops with drawn sabers and fixed bayonets used tanks and primitive riot-control gas to disperse the protesters, burning their camp. There were fatalities, and a public outcry, but the incident tends to get glossed over in modern history texts, and that's a shame.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Indy Blog Meet Report...

...tomorrow, y'all. Suffice it to say that a good time was had by all.

I'm going to go sit in the shade with a bottle of Victory Brewing's Hop Devil. I'm getting to the denouement of Household Gods by Harry Turtledove and Judith Tarr. It's my second time through, and it's every bit as cool as it was the first time.

Instead of Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court, think California Liberal In Marcus Aurelius's Rome. If you like historical fiction, it's a grittily real look at a California lawyer, a good single mom and teetotalling SPCA member, who makes the mistake of wishing for Calgon to take her away to a time when life would be better, simpler, and less sexist, like ancient Rome. She wakes up in the head of a 2nd Century tavern keeper in a frontier city, and the first thing she notices is the smell...

Very grown-up conversation #187,432:

Overheard in the hallway...

Me: "So, really, Han Solo or Wolverine?"

RX: "Han Solo would win. He'd shoot first."

Me: "Yeah, but Wolverine would totally pwn him. He's the best there is at what he does, and what he does best isn't very nice."

RX: "But Han Solo is roguishly handsome."

Me: "So's Wolverine!"

RX: "Pffft! He's an over-muscled freak."

Me: "You weirdo."

Thus are great and weighty issues debated.

Another eclectic day at the ripping office...

Another random handful of CDs, and they don't come much more random...
  • Iron Maiden, Live After Death
  • The Moody Blues, The Other Side Of Life
  • Moby, Ambient
  • Army Of Lovers, Massive Luxury Overdose
  • Mötley Crüe, Dr. Feelgood
  • Ministry, The Land Of Rape And Honey
  • New Order, Republic
  • Cathexis, Exempli Gratia
  • Led Zeppelin, the fourth album
  • k.d. lang, Ingenue
  • Information Society, Hack
  • Love And Rockets, Love And Rockets
With well over a week's worth of music on the external HDD now, there's a better than even chance that if I play the music on "shuffle", I'm going to say "Wow! I haven't heard that song in ages!"

Remember that lawn?

Yeah, that lawn. The one I said I was going to mow on Friday...

Well, one thing and another, it didn't get done. And then I woke up on Saturday morning with Suzy Sunshine, the weatherperson who makes me feel hypoglycemic, informing me that it was 79 degrees outside and 96% humidity, so I gave it a miss yesterday morning. And then I went to the movies yesterday afternoon.

Guess what I'm about to have to go and get done.

On the upside, at least the neighbor to our right hasn't mowed hers yet, so I'll get to feel smugly superior to somebody.

WTH am I doing awake?


Went with a friend to the new Batman flick yesterday. The three-word film review?

Go. See. It.

Just, uh, leave the kids at home. It's a pretty grim movie, like Frank James said, and not just visually. Then again, that seems to be the trend. We got to the movie theater Just In Time, which means that we had to sit through only half an eternity of animated popcorn tubs flying into Death Star-sized trash cans and finger-wagging announcements about cellphones (which the boorish audience probably didn't have time to sound out anyway, judging by the evidence,) before the eleventeen trailers of coming attractions started up.

My movie companion pointed out that every single coming attraction was seriously short on romantic comedy, puppies, or rainbows; it was all SWAT teams, global conspiracies, alien invasions, and grim death. Hollywood's in an apocalyptic mood of late.

Maybe when their messiah gets elected they'll cheer up and we'll have some whistle-while-you-work musicals with show tunes like "A Boy And His Hybrid Tractor" or "The Hills By The Seaside From Where The Wind Turbine Farm Can Be Seen" to keep us happy on the collective farms...

EDIT: Link added after Charles at Dustbury demonstrated Epic Win of a Rogers & Hammerstein nature this morning.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

...utbay otnay ootay ightbray, if you know what I mean.

If you get so all-fire vexed at your cantankerous lawnmower that shooting it seems to be the only solution, don't get your super-illegal non-tax-stamp-having Title II sawed-off shotgun out to do it, okay? Just use a .22, and you might get off with a misdemeanor, like "discharging a firearm inside city limits", instead of a stint in Federal PMITA Prison.

(H/T to reader Stephen via email.)

Where do you draw the line?

Now, I have no problem with a bit of snobbery. I don't mind paying a little more for craftsmanship. I like noting little details that indicate an item was made with pride in a job well done: joins that are almost invisible, lines that are true, corners that are square, stitches that are even. I don't mind paying a little extra for an exotic material if it enhances functionality, or even if it is just pleasing to the eye without impeding functionality. But there are times even a gear snob like me gets thrown for a bit of a curve. Thursday's Style section in the local cat box liner had an article on "When luxury goods are worth it," and it led off with a Be&D python skin bag that was priced at... $1,930.00.

For a bag.

That you put stuff in.

They explained how carefully stitched the suede lining was, and even showed a picture of the interior of the handbag, which made it quite apparent that there were no gold bricks, freezer bags bulging with uncut cocaine, or bundles of Ben Franklins lurking in the bottom that might account for the price. Neither was the python skin currently attached to a live 28' albino retic, which would, again, go some way towards explaining the nosebleed sticker. Can you imagine putting a used hankie in that thing? Me neither. I'd wind up stuffing it in the trouser pocket of the nearest bystander and explain, "I'm sorry, I can't put snot in my $2,000 purse." I'm sure he'd understand.

Like I said earlier, I like to think I have an eye for nice stuff. I've shelled out serious change for bags or belts or shoes or whatever before. But... $1,930.00? I've got to hand it to them. It takes a lot to set off my "WTF?-o-Meter", and they've done it.

The cure v. the disease.

So the TeeWee commercial for Ambien CR, in the hushed, rushed, and breathy disclaimer towards the end, says something along the lines of "Ambien CR may not be right for you. Side effects can include sleepwalking or driving episodes followed by amnesia. If you experience this, talk to your doctor."


How's that work? You come to, blinking in an amnesiac stupor, in your car under the "Welcome to North Dakota" sign and you're surrounded by cops with drawn guns yelling "Get out of the car! Drop the gun! Why'd you kill him? Put your hands up!" and you're stammering "Hey, maybe Ambien CR isn't right for me, guys! Hold on, I need to call my doctor!"

Friday, July 25, 2008


Just not feelin' it today.
Still have the lawn to mow.
At least the plumber finished quickly.
Even the CD ripping is dull this afternoon. Dipping a random handful out the box netted me some dance compilation stuff like Natural Born Techno and Countless Random Impacts, The London Symphony Orchestra playing Beatles tunes, and a best of Billy freakin' Joel collection. The only good things I've listened to today have been Holst's The Planets and the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?
In the spirit of the former, and to provide a bit of culture 'round this dump, Tom the Impaler provided a link to this video:
Oddly, I think Henson would approve. Beethoven might, too, if you explained to him who Beaker was.

Speaking of "undue political influence"...

[T]he International Olympic Committee banned Iraq from competing because of what it says is the government's political interference in sports.
The pond scum at the IOC let East Bloc countries compete all through the Cold War, they let Iraqi athletes compete when they were almost wholly-owned by the dictator's kid, but now, now they're going to trash the olympic dreams of some athletes because of, well, let's face it, political influence, a topic the IOC is very familiar with.

I'm sorry for the athletes, but the IOC has finally succeeded in ruining the Olympics for me. I wouldn't tune in to watch if they brought back the pentathlon and promised me that the ghost of FloJo would be back to compete in Track & Field. Between the well-documented legacy of bribery and corruption, the history of toadying up to genocidal geriatrics, the acting like extras from a bad Dynasty re-run, and now this latest slap in the face to athletes... well, scroo'm.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Because it made me chuckle again...

A fake gun board thread rerun:
Newbie1: "What do you guys think of the BlastOMatic 2000?"

Tamara: "Well, the design seems like a good idea, but we've stopped stocking them after having to send eight of the last ten we sold back for warranty work. I'd recommend against buying one, or at least waiting to see if the pending recall solves the problems."

DeAtH aNgEl 007: "Dude, my older brother has one and they ROCK!"

RONIN DragonClaw: "I used one when I was in Force Recon. They issue them to all SOCOM units, but you'll never read about it in the press because it's Black Ops."

Old Cuss: "Heay newbie1! Come over to Blastomatic fan forums! Its' my new EZboard sight!"

DeAtH aNgEl 007: "Dude, all the clerks at my gun store are so stupid! They didn't even kno that BlastOMatic was coming out with a version of the 2000 in 9x25 Dillon! There's been a thread up about that at BlastOMatic Fan Forums for two days now! God! When are they going to hire somebody who knows anything!"

Newbie1: "So, y'all think it's a pretty good gun then? 'Cause I read your posts and ordered one."

Tamara: "Screw this."

C'mon. Raise your hand if you've been in one of those threads. (Unless you're the fake SpecOps guy whose unit carried Desert Eagles because they were secret squirrels and could pick anything they wanted. If you're that guy, I don't want to hear about it, and you need to stop being that guy.)

Cats do not love like you and I love.

So, I may have mentioned RobertaX's two geriatricats. There's Tommy, an elderly and cantankerous old gent who can't understand why there are all these young wimmen cats around that don't listen to him. He walks around muttering to himself a lot and dotes on RobertaX.

Then there's Slinky. If Slinky were human, she'd be about 4'10" with blue-rinse hair and glasses on a string. As it is, she's a three pound, 18 year old, bobble-head cat. Just the sweetest natured thing you'd ever wish to see.

Tommy and Slinky were used to being home alone during the days when their mommy was at work. Now they have a servant human around to keep them company. Tommy's not too demanding; you'll get an occasional "Mmraawhhp!" from him to let you know when his food bowl is empty, he can smell other cats, or the universe is generally not up to his standards in some mysterious way or another. Other than that, he sleeps.

Slinky, on the other hand, has completely taken to having a person around. She used to climb assorted boxes and shelves to get up on RobertaX's desk to sleep during the day. Then she realized she could make a little half-hearted effort at getting up and mew piteously until I boosted her onto the desk. Once she knew I had the point, she abandoned even the half-hearted effort. Now she just walks to the desk and looks back and forth between me and it, mewing and waiting to be picked up. If I'm not in the room, she'll come find me and we do the whole "What's that? Little Billy's down the well?" production until I follow her to the office and place her on the desk.

Her other foible involves the litter box. It has to sit on a rubber mat and be surrounded with paper because sometimes little Slinky would daintily squat her hindquarters over the edge of the box. So, since it's in sight of my desk, if I saw her step in during the day and squat wrong, I'd reach over and shift her hindquarters until they were positioned within the box. She'd blissfully go on about her business.

She got used to her bathroom servant pretty quickly; now she'll just step into the box and, as soon as all four feet are inside, wait a second and then let loose without even hunkering down, assuming that the hand from the sky will position her properly. Which isn't so great if the hand from the sky isn't in the room.

So, in return for all my solicitude and genuine affection for this slightly befuddled little dowager of a kitty, how am I repaid? About halfway through my second absolutely delicious roast beef sandwich she steps into her litter box and walks out to the middle of it and... makes the nastiest smelling little pile conceivable, then looks at me and mews to be replaced on her desk.

Thanks, Slinky, love ya too...

Mmmm. Lunch.

Sitting in my lap right now is a plate.

On this plate are two sandwiches.

Divided between those two sandwiches is a half pound of absolutely divine roast beef; pink and tender and fresh off the slicer. Also six slices of aged Swiss cheese. Also a dollop of horseradish sauce. All between four slices of passably decent seeded light rye.

All couldn't be righter with the world for the next twenty minutes or so...

Everybody's an expert.

KdT offers his opinions on rifles.

Perhaps he'd like to hear my opinions on supermarket loyalty cards. After all, I own and use several of them quite proficiently, and I've read about them, so surely my opinions are every bit as valid...

I hate to single Kim out like this, and it's mostly because his post happened to cross my line of sight while these thoughts were percolating in my brain, but this is one reason I've shied away from intarw3bz gun boards so much; everybody's an expert, and nobody's opinion counts for more than anyone else's. Any enthusiastic hobbyist can hang out a shingle and profess their expertise.

As time has gone by, the list of people whose opinion on guns to which I give any serious consideration has gotten mighty damn short. After all, if I know more about the topic than you do and have more hands-on experience than you do, why should I listen?

Still ripping.

In my now-almost-obligatory morning stack of CDs:
  • Fluke, Risotto
  • Rush, Vapor Trails
  • Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti
  • Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures
  • Camouflage, Meanwhile
  • Alice In Chains, Dirt
  • Beck, Odelay
  • Ozzy Osbourne, Tribute
  • Mike Oldfield, Tubular Bells
  • Orchestral Manouevres in the Dark, Orchestral Manouevres in the Dark
  • Jane's Addiction, Nothing's Shocking
  • Jesus Jones, Doubt
  • Nine Inch Nails, Demos & Remixes
  • Depeche Mode, Songs of Faith and Devotion
The Nine Inch Nails quasi-bootleg CD was purchased back in the height of my Trent Reznor fangirl days, probably late 1994. It still has the $30 price tag on it, from back when $30 would fill your gas tank and still let you go eat at Outback if you skipped the beer. I don't recall ever buying the OMD CD. That's weird, but in a pleasant way. Odelay was a Christmas present from my boss back when I worked at the airport; he was a huge Beck fan. Vapor Trails is, along with Counterparts, the only Rush album I never really warmed up to.

In the grip of her muse.

Breda waxes rather poetic this morning...

Today In History: Glub!

It's really among the unlikeliest places for a tragedy.

I mean, there you are, on a large modern ship, tied up to a wharf on a river in the middle of a huge city, on a nice July day on your way to a pleasant lake cruise and a company picnic... Under those circumstances, who expects that they're about to become a victim of one of the worst maritime disasters in U.S. history, while still tied up at the dock, no less?

845 souls gone, just like that, on a summer day in the middle of a city, right out of nowhere. Gives me the creepin' willies, let me tell you.

Life in nerd central.

So, we're getting ready to go to the grocery store. RobertaX has a little notebook out and is jotting stuff down. I'm wandering around the house and calling stuff out as I think of it.


"Got it."

"We need cat litter."

"Already wrote it down."

I get ready to head out the back door, calling over my shoulder "Don't forget the list!"

I gain possession of the document at the supermarket and nearly pee myself laughing because, of course, across the bottom, under "Bread", "Breakfast Meat (sausage prfrrd)", and "Eggs" is "Liszt (Franz prfrrd)".

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

To upgrade or to replace? That is the question...

This week's column is up at LowEndMac.

With the pending Official Obsolescence of PowerPC Macs, what's an old Mac junkie to do? Part of me wants to sell a kidney to buy a used Intel Mac Mini, and part of me wants to upgrade my current G4 Sawtooth to a faster CPU and a full 2GB of RAM, and part of me says that if I save my pennies carefully I might be able to afford a used TiBook and an iLamp (which are my current dream computers because they're so frickin' cool.) What to do?

Ripping along...

Okay, now the CD ripping project has gotten into the obsessive stage. On the upside, there's only a few more of these posts to suffer through...
  • Dinosaur Jr, Where You Been
  • Depeche Mode, People Are People
  • Die Krupps, Enter Sandman/One
  • Enigma, The Cross Of Changes
  • The Clash, London Calling
  • Front 242, Tyranny For You
  • Peter Gabriel, Us
  • Peter Gabriel, Secret World Live
  • Front Line Assembly, Millennium
  • Guns N' Roses, Use Your Illusion II
  • Guns N' Roses, Sympathy For The Devil

FWIW, way back in the day, when I first saw the AT&T long distance commercial with Peter Gabriel's "Come Talk To Me" for a soundtrack, I was actually pained for a moment. I thought Et tu, Peter? I was going through my obligatory early-20s hippie phase at the time... I think that's what has helped me laugh so much at Bono's Mr. Earth Day performances. Your protests at G8 meetings get taken so much less seriously when you ride in a chauffeured Bentley to your waiting Gulfstream, you twit. It's got to be hard to keep preaching socialist ideals when you keep cashing those royalty checks.

I've come down with it.

I seem to have caught the Happy Flu from Dustbury.

Mailing a musket.

Well, we're off to see if folks at the UPS Store realize that a replica Civil War front-stuffer is not a firearm and is therefore perfectly legal to ship...

  • Points in my favor: Nothing looks more harmless than an old sidehammer muzzle loader. Lots of people don't even realize that they actually work.
  • Points against me: People can occasionally be dumber than dirt and stubborner than union mules.

Expect a followup report in an hour. Ish.

UPDATE: I love living in American-occupied America, where you can walk into Mailboxes Etc. with a Pattern 1853 Enfield replica under your arm and the guy behind the counter says "Wow, that's a beauty!" before boxing it and shipping it without so much as a blink.

Today In History: Moving pictures from outer space.

On this day in 1962, a little ball not quite three feet in diameter, spinning high above the Earth's surface, relayed the first live television broadcast across the waters of the Atlantic.

What a rip...

While I'm thinking about what to type, here's the stack of discs on the desktop this morning:
  • Sir Mix-A-Lot, Mack Daddy
  • White Zombie, Astro-Creep: 2000
  • Front 242, Front By Front
  • Massive Attack, 100th Window
  • Moby, Everything Is Wrong
  • EMF, Schubert Dip
  • Rush, Signals
  • Rush, Roll The Bones
  • Rush, Presto
  • Soundgarden, Superunkown
  • Soul Asylum, Misery
When I moved, the CDs tightly filled two boxes slightly larger than longneck beer cases. I've given up trying to have any rhyme or reason or "Hey, that looks good" to the day's ripping efforts; now I'm just grabbing a handful out of each box and trotting back downstairs to the office. I think I'm about half done...

I hate it when this happens.

It's coming up on 8AM and my usual wells are dry. CNN had bupkis other than a story from Louisiana that's more depressing than snark-worthy. I mean, how did that go? "He's stopped twitching; drive-stun him a couple more times"?

I took my morning smoke with the local cat box liner's editorial page, which is usually worth a guaranteed rant, and was barely able to raise my internal temperature past "tepid". Sure, our local pinko whined about the stupid Republicans and capitalists not taxing fat rich people enough to buy more cops and take all the guns away from people who didn't have the proper accessories, like badges, big hats, and shiny boots. But we're all stuck here in podunk old Indianapolis, which is not San Francisco no matter how much Dan Carpenter complains about it, so what're ya gonna do?

We're now only ten minutes from busy time here at VFTP, and I still haven't found anything worth teeing off on. This sucks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Just a little note...

...from Evening Me to Morning Me:

If you don't finish answering that email you started last night, you'll feel like a heel all day long.

Holy. Crap.

Les Jones has the Photo Of The Year, baby. Worth a thousand words...

I wonder which Tennessee Pol drives that particular Suburban-in-a-Codpiece?

Things you should remember to not forget.

  1. The Gun Nuts: TNG kidz are on tonight at 11PM, and they'll be interviewing the president of the VCDL.
  2. This Sunday all the cool kids in the Indy area are going to be hanging out again. We may have a hookup for some corn, too, since we know a guy in the biz.

That is all.

Still ripping along...

Since I've been noting random samples from the big ripping project, and it makes for easy blog fodder, here's today's selection sitting at my left elbow:
  • Pet Shop Boys, Introspective
  • Pink Floyd, Echoes
  • Pink Floyd, The Division Bell
  • Pink Floyd, The Final Cut
  • Ultravox, Slow Motion
  • Vangelis, Heaven and Hell
  • Vangelis, Blade Runner
  • Green Day, Dookie
  • Emerson, Lake & Powell, Emerson, Lake & Powell
  • Sex Pistols, The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle
  • Joe Walsh, The Confessor
  • Yello, One Second
Should be a good, eclectic day.

I sure do wish I was better at writing while music was playing. I know lots of writers who actually do their thing while wearing headphones, and I just can't get into that headspace. If I've got music going, there's the overwhelming temptation to actually actively listen to the music and not the words in my head.

I've got Heaven and Hell playing while I type this, and it's not going too badly, but this isn't really writing, you know, it's more... "keyboard diarrhea", if you will.

EDIT: God, I had totally forgotten that part of Heaven and Hell was used as the theme music for Cosmos. Wow, that takes a girl back... What an awesomely good piece of music.

My fellow Americans...

...why are so many of you such idiots?

Some bright spark in the Letters to the Editor section of today's cat box liner was opining that when the Messiah leads us to glory come November, a rational energy policy could be passed that would...

...are you ready for this?

..."[end] the use of fossil fuels in 10 years".

May I suggest that you, sir, are a bleedin' idiot and should keep your piehole respectfully shut when grownups are talking?

Are you seriously suggesting that in the space of a decade we could replace every moped and chainsaw, every combine and bulldozer with their equivalents from the Segway catalog? That the coal-fired powerplant that provides the juice to run the refrigerators in the organic produce section of your local Tofu-Mart be supplanted by some solar cells? That the big diesel generator that provides the emergency backup power for your Aunt Millie's respirator down at Sisters of Mercy General be replaced by pink unicorns farting moonbeams through the blades of wind turbines?

What about air travel? Are we just going to shut that down? After all, solar-powered jetliners are nowhere near ready for beta testing, and you couldn't get anywhere by human-powered flight unless you look a lot more like Lance Armstrong than I suspect you do. How about the trucks that deliver your hemp clothing to the head shop? What do you think those should run on? At least the Navy won't be too badly impacted; after all, most of their really important ships don't run on fossil fuels at all, unless there were some really strange glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs we don't know about.

Of course, you don't mean "doing away with fossil fuels" at all, really, do you? You mean "doing away with icky fuels that don't make you feel all smug and green", right? Because otherwise you'd be begging your Congressman to bring home a nuke plant in the next pail of pork from Washington. After all, a nice reactor has about the carbon footprint of a Prius and is as friendly to photogenic Arctic critters as can be, plus it has the added advantage of actually working, unlike all the fantasy technologies touted in the badly mimeographed handouts you got at your last Earth Day rally.

Probably someday fossil fuels will run out, and maybe they won't; to definitively make either claim is to be, as scientists put it, "talking out your butt without all the facts", but I think our best bet to prepare for the former eventuality would be to come up with a technology that converts stupidity and self-righteousness into kilowatts. You could run a small town off the average newspaper editorial page.

Will someone explain this to me?

Mears said the man had been distraught after his wife told him she would be ending their relationship, and he waited in her off-post apartment until she came home late Thursday night.

When she arrived, Mears said, he stabbed her twice and forced her to drive with him to Las Vegas, Nevada.

How does that work? "I love you so much, honey, and I hate to think you're leaving, so I'll stab you a few times, and then we'll go have a honeymoon in Vegas." I mean, WTF?

Some folks sure do have a strange way of showing people that they love them. Whatever happened to, you know, flowers and a box of chocolates? That would probably get the message across to me better than shivving me in the ribs.

Monday, July 21, 2008

On the difference between "Perfection" and "Adequacy".

Many modern pistol designs are quite adequate right out of the box.

If your pistol is "perfect right out of the box", it says more about your expectations than it does about your pistol.

Things to do today:

1) Mail a musket.
2) Restock the supply of Gnaw Bone. (Don't believe the idjits at; I heart Gnaw Bone.) Preferably do this via bike to test out my awesome new luggage rack.
3) Write. A post about my fun weekend for here, and Mac stuff for LowEndMac.
4) Keep reading Hannibal.

Hm. I should probably squeeze some food-type substance in there someplace... Oh! The deli at Marsh is now selling little packs of sliced hard salami and provolone, all in the same zippy pouch! Add some bread and you're rollin' for lunch. Yum!

Today In History: The Germans are coming!

On this date in 1918, the Germany attacked America!

Well, the Kriegsmarine attacked Massachusetts.

Actually, one U-Boat shelled and sunk a tug off the town of Orleans on Cape Cod, and took a few potshots at the surrounding environs for good measure. Some U.S. Navy seaplanes showed up, some bombs were dropped, the sub gave it up for a bad idea and slunk off to do more normal U-Boaty-type things such as torpedo merchantmen, and everybody involved professionally in the matter seemed a little embarrassed about the whole incident.

Of course for quite some time afterward, every trick of light, loud noise, or low-flying seagull along the east coast was reported as a Jerry submarine.

Incidentally, the U-Boat attack on Orleans was the first time American soil had been fired upon by foreign troops since the War of 1812.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle Rip-off continues...

'Nother stack of CD's being ripped this morning:
  • Rush, Grace Under Pressure
  • Rush, Exit...Stage Left
  • Rush, Counterparts
  • Rush, Moving Pictures
  • Rush, Different Stages/Live
  • Rammstein, Mutter
  • Rage Against the Machine, Rage Against the Machine
  • Prodigy, Fat Of The Land
  • The Police, Every Breath You Take: The Classics

I like Rush. Does it show?

We have officially seriously exceeded the capacity of the iPod nano. Now I have to learn to do playlists and that kind of nonsense.

(PS: I hope TD is happy with the post title on more than one level. I'm feeling rather clever about it.)

Fashion Victims or, "To think that I saw it on Mulberry Street"

Scenic downtown Broad Ripple yesterday was a feast for the senses. The sense of snark, at least...
  • To the guy on the WalMart MTB: You're not fooling anyone. Team Cadillac would have sponsored you a snappy bike to go with the logo-slathered bicycling jersey. They would probably have provided a training regimen to help with the beer gut, too.
  • To the grown man in flip-flops in public: Footwear makes a statement. Yours says "I'm going jail by the end of this episode of COPS." Why do the people who look most likely to need to flee the police wear the attire that's the most ill-suited for the purpose?
  • To the kid on the silly motorcycle: Rear swingarms are extended by a few inches on drag bikes for a reason. The reason is "to lengthen the wheelbase, which helps keep the front wheel down on hard launches" and not, as you might have supposed, "to look cool in rap videos". The cartoonishly extended swingarm on your R1, however, which places the rear axle actually aft of the taillight, just serves the purpose of making you look retarded.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

There goes my second career as a farmer...

We are well past the Fourth of July, and a pachyderm would not need protective goggles to stroll among the four (!) surviving corn plants.

"Corn as high as a Boston terrier's eye by the twentieth of July" just doesn't have the same ring to it...

On the other hand, it looks like I'm going to get a second bloom out of the Delphinium, and I'm pretty stoked about that. One of the surviving Nemophila has broken out in bitty pale blue flowers, too.

Overheard in the hallway...

Yesterday morning I came back in the house off the front porch where I had been reading. As I went through the catlock between the front and back halves of the house, I had to pass the bathroom, where RobertaX was getting ready for work.

Me: *sniffle*
RX: *looks over and notices tears on my cheeks* "What's wrong?"
Me: *holds up copy of Terry Pratchett's Reaper Man*
RX: "Oh! Sad book?"
Me: "No, not sad at all. It's the opposite of sad, actually. The ending just always takes me this way. It's kind of silly, really; I mean, this is like the third time I've read it..."

Today In History: Top heavy.

Naval architecture in the Sixteenth Century consisted of a lot of "TLAR" engineering ("That Looks About Right") and "Has it sunk yet? No? Put more cannons on it then."

On this date in 1545, during an engagement with the Frog navy, the 91-gun Mary Rose, pride of the English fleet, took a sharp turn, heeled in the breeze, and started shipping water through her lowest gunports. She capsized quickly and sank like a rock, with the anti-boarding netting draped over her ensuring that most of the soldiers and sailors crowding her fighting decks went down with her. Not that the soldiers would have been doing much swimming in armor, anyway, even the few that could swim.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A blogiversary.

New Jovian Thunderbolt is celebrating with a candle in a cupcake. Get there quickly and congratulate him before the rest of us have eaten all the good hors d'oeuvres.

Like a slow-motion train wreck...

I'm ripping Van Halen's Best Of, Volume I right now, and listening while it rips.

We're currently at "Dance The Night Away", which means we're about two tracks from where the train veers off the rails, three tracks from where the cars start to pile up, and five tracks from where body parts start hitting the ground. You'd think time would dull the pain, but it never gets any easier to watch...

UPDATE: Dave's ego has just decided to "Jump". Here's where it starts to sting a bit...

UPDATE II: It finished ripping while playing "Why Can't This Be Love?", allowing me to eject the disc with a clean conscience and sparing me from the insufferably smug and socially conscious "Right Now". Thank Shiva. Next disc: Bloodletting, by Concrete Blonde.


SayUncle on carry permit holders.

The pot makes harsh statements about the kettle.

Nancy Pelosi (Commie-CA) got catty in a CNN interview on Thursday:
"God bless him, bless his heart, president of the United States -- a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people on the economy, on the war, on energy, you name the subject,"
Damned skippy, Nancy. About the only way Bush's popularity could sink further would be if he were elected to Congress. That's gotta suck, having a lower approval rating than Lame Duck George.

It always sounds so fake and cheesy when a Californiyankee says "bless his heart", Nancy. Just stop. You can't do it right.

The gem of the interview may have been when she got all defensive about the sudden unpopularity of her stance on drilling for oil:
"Thirty-three million acres offshore are allowed for leasing," she said. "And we're saying to them, use it or lose it. You have the opportunity to drill there. When you have exhausted those remedies, then you can talk about something else."
I'm reminded of the old gag about the guy looking for his dropped wallet under the streetlight half a block away from where he lost it because the light is better there. They're not drilling there, Nancy, because that's not where the oil is, you twit.

Today In History: The Evel Knievel of Chappaquiddick.

On this date in 1969, Ted Kennedy launched his car into the waters of Poucha Pond and walked off leaving Mary Jo Kopechne to drown alone. The night's activities simultaneously launched a new subgenre of political humor.

Apparently if you live in Massachusetts and your last name is "Kennedy", you really can get away with manslaughter and not even have it mess up your senatorial career.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Just so you know...

...Led Zeppelin's rendition of "When The Levee Breaks" is why rock and roll was invented.

It is to rock what Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is to music in general.

I'm burning, I'm burning for you...

I'm about a quarter of the way getting the CD collection into iTunes. Today's burns:
  • Simple Minds, Live In The City Of Light
  • Marillion, Misplaced Childhood
  • Madonna, The Immaculate Collection
  • Metallica, Metallica, aka The Black Album
  • Moby, I Like To Score
  • Led Zeppelin, Early Days and Latter Days
  • Robert Miles, Dreamland
Compilations and radio pop; the alphabetic middle of the collection is where the pedestrian stuff lurks, I reckon...

Which is your favorite Discworld novel?

And why?

Considering it was because of my friends on teh intarw3bz that I started reading Terry Pratchett in the first place, I'd be interested in knowing the answers to this question.

I've been re-reading through a core selection of my favorites over the past week or so; Hogfather, Thud!, Witches Abroad, and now Reaper Man. When I finish Reaper Man, it's probably time for trip #3 through Night Watch.

It's hard to pick a favorite from that list, but his best stuff (to me anyway) shares a common property, in that you'll be reading a typical light, humorous Pratchett novel up until the last twenty-five or thirty pages, and then the continental shelf drops off under your feet and you find yourself in unexpectedly deep waters. Hogfather may have been the best at that:
"The sun would have risen just the same, yes?"
"Oh, come on. You can't expect me to believe that. It's an astronomical fact."
"Really? Then what would have happened, pray?"
...but I'm not sure. Picking a winner would be tough. I'd like to see your choices...

He was a couple balloons shy of genius.

When attempting to ice yourself in a confusing fashion so that it looks like a murder and your spouse will get the insurance money, you should try and pick a method that hasn't been used on CSI recently. Or at least use a few more weather balloons so your revolver won't be found in a cactus thirty yards away.

Today In History: They must have used MapQuest.

On this day in 1203AD, crusaders from France and half of Northern Europe, accompanied by Venetian troops, stormed Byzantine Constantinople.

They had set out to kill muslims in Cairo the previous Summer and only missed by 800 miles and a whole religion. Perhaps if they'd stopped and asked for directions?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

For those who didn't catch it live...

...the latest episode of Gun Nuts:TNG, with special guests Breda & Tracy, is available for download here.

You can't reason with crazy.

For the three of you who haven't read it yet, Brigid offers her thoughts on trying to negotiate with the mullahs.

Meanwhile, in Nimbyville, South Dakota...

...residents are complaining to each other about the high cost of gas while waiting for the "Stop The Refinery!" committee meeting to start.

Maybe they think that the gas fairy drinks crude from the well and pisses fuel into the tanks of their John Deeres.

Today In History: Trinity.

The list of days on which the course of history changed is a short one, and no matter how that list is reckoned, July 16, 1945 belongs on it.

On this date sixty-three years ago, the first man-made nuclear fireball rose above the desert sands near Alamogordo, New Mexico

Musical Interlude...

That's Joe from The Featherless Biped.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Want a chuckle?

Down at the bottom of the page I saw an ad by someone called "Placeboes Are Us". I couldn't resist the click, and I wasn't disappointed...

Cooler than cool.

One of the greatest privileges of my life has been being on the staff at The Firing Line. I have met so many amazingly cool people thanks to that connection: Matt, John, Byron, Art, Al, Rich, JPG, Oleg, Denny, Scott, Gunny, and... and... jeez, I'm probably leaving out a half-dozen more by just riffing this off the top of my head. Every last one was as cool in Real Life™ as I expected from knowing them via their 'net personae. I can't tell you how many times I've wondered what magic fluke allowed l'il ol' me to be included in that crowd.

There're a few that, due to various reasons of distance and/or scheduling, are still just words on a screen or voices on a phone to me.

Thanks to the magic of the Golden Ticket, that number will be reduced by one come August. I am so totally stoked!

The back yard awaits...

...a good mowing, but I think I'm going to go pedal around the block some first and see if it stirs up my creativity. After I shift the laundry. Whee! What an exciting life I lead!

Meanwhile, here's the random "Overheard in the Hallway..." post from this morning:

Me: (pacing up and down the hallway, thinking out loud) "Yadda yadda blah blah something political random assertion blablabla."

RX: (In bafroom getting ready for work) "Really?"

Me: "Well, I don't know for sure. Actually I'm just talking out my butt."

RX: "Your voice sounds the same as it always does."

Me: "My butt has remarkable acoustic properties."

Tonight, LIVE!

My totally awesome pal Breda will be the guest on Gun Nuts: TNG. Only losers and hippies will fail to listen in.

Still trying to thinky, so have some more linky.

You know who must have the coolest bookmarks in her browser? LabRat at Atomic Nerds. I swear she probably has a separate folder titled "miscellaneous random fascinating stuff".

She tossed this one out in a recent comment here, and I've been reading it off and on for the last day.

Maybe he gets a "Godalanche"?

You know who I feel sorry for in the whole blogging scenario? Glenn Reynolds.

I mean, who can he get all excited about a link from? I guess he could link to himself, but Helen would probably look at him funny if he came dancing into the kitchen, whooping "Whee! Look! An Instalanche!" Besides, I'm not sure if Tennessee has repealed those old Victorian laws about linking to yourself or not...

Even more on Security Kabuki.

A plethora of outrageous links are to be found here at Bore Patch. My favorite? Singling out his four year old son for the "wanding and shoe removal" ritual.

Maybe they'll just have all fliers wear the Taser Bracelets soon.

Today In History: Crusades.

On this day in 1099, in a final push of bloody street fighting, crusaders finally stormed and took the church built over the site of the Prince of Peace's tomb in Jerusalem, accompanied by the usual medieval amounts of wanton slaughter, blood flowing in the gutters, looting, and rapine.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Y'know what would be totally awesome?

If my bike rack had arrived today. That way I could pedal down to the post orifice.

Alas, it has not, so I will have to take the Gaia-despoilin' Bimmer. With the top down. I'll try to feel all tore up about it, Al, I promise.


Wasabi Soy Cashews from the Fresh Market are the bomb diggity shizznit.

Just a light dusting of flavor crystals that don't overwhelm the essential yummy cashew goodness.


The end times are nigh.

The bubble-headed talking noggin on the TeeWee just said that People magazine paid eleven million dollars for the first pics of Brangelina's spawn.

That is perhaps the dumbest, most vacuous, silliest thing I have ever heard in my entire life.

If you pay eleven million dollars for a photograph of a still-living human, you should do a half-gainer into the Soylent Green tank without being pushed, simply out of shame.

More on (rhymes with "moron") Security Theater.

More proof (as if it were needed) that the lunatics are running the asylum.

A Cult of Split Personality.

In a meeting with the editorial board of the Indy Star, Jesse Jackson was quoted as saying "I'm a fervent supporter of the Barack campaign, both the messenger and the message..."

It would take a smartass with a lot more self-restraint than I have to not retort "Yeah, but which message and which messenger?" This cat's got more faces than Eve, and more positions than the Kama Sutra.

Jesus wept, you half expect interviews with the Democratic candidate to begin with the question "And which Barack are we talking with today?" like something out of Sybil.

Overheard In The Living Room...

TV Show Narrator: "So how did these seabed rocks wind up hundreds of miles inland and two kilometres in the air? Subduction."

Me: "How's that work? 'Hey, baby! Wanna come way inland and see my fossils?'... Oh, sUBduction. Sorry, my bad."

Today In History: Bastille Day.

On this day in history, the French set off massive fireworks displays, and hold parades and other festivities to celebrate my mom's birthday.

Happy B-Day, Mom! I hope it's a special one!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mowing redux.

Thanks to the front that blew through last night, the humidity has dropped off to nothing (comparatively speaking) and it's struggling to top eighty degrees out there. I'm going to kick back with a bottle of beer and a copy of Thud! by Terry Pratchett and wait for the front lawn to get mostly in the shade, then barber it. Then I'm going for a bicycle ride, because I'm cool like that.

Oh, and Memo to Mr. & Mrs. Jack La Lanne at the grocery store bike rack: The matching helmets were cute as dammit, but wearing bike clothes covered with corporate logos when nobody is actually sponsoring you makes you look something of a twink. Also, there should be an age limit on spandex that tight; if I'm too old for it, you certainly are.

EDIT: And what's up with the bike helmets that have the little ducktail spoilers on the back? Are those supposed to generate downforce to help hold you on the banking, or something?

Given my impeccable fashion sense...

...the next time I go to the mall, I'm wearing a bag over my head. Just in case.

The skies are still friendly, it's the terminals that aren't.

As I have mentioned elsewhere on teh intarw3bz, I will be driving to Norfolk in August despite the very generous offer from one blogger to throw some Frequent Flier miles my way.

This is a matter of pure cussedness on my part. When people ask me if the steel rod in my shin sets off metal detectors, I like being able to answer truthfully "I don't know." (That's right; I haven't been through a metal detector since August of 2000.)

I love flying. I love airplanes. I loved it when my dad worked for Eastern when I was little and we flew a lot. I remember flying on a Delta L-1011 to see my grandparents; my first trip by myself, with a big book about commercial airliners open in my lap and chatting happily with the flight attendants and anyone else who'd listen about how cool this all was. I still have that book someplace, with my seat marked in yellow highlighter. I loved hanging out the window of a Cessna 172 with a camera back when I worked in aerial photography. I loved standing on the ramp and watching our 310s roar up the taxiway through fog so thick you could barely see their lights. I love planes. But I won't go to the airport anymore. Not with the farce that flying has become. Two-hour waits for a ninety-minute flight. Inane security procedures. I'll drive instead, because my car won't grope me or steal stuff from my luggage.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


As an indication of how much I'm looking forward to playing with the lawnmower tomorrow, I've been saving a big can of Red Bull for use as liquid motivation.

It's going to be a sauna out there, I just know it... (And it's been two weeks since I mowed the back yard. There could be VC hiding in the bad bush out by the back gate and you wouldn't know it 'til you tripped over them...)

Incidentally, whoever wrote the ad copy on my radish seed pack was full of it. "Ready to harvest in 20 days," my hind foot.

"Dear [Decision Maker]."

Dear [ Decision Maker ],

I just found out that the evil Chimpy McHitlerburton administration is considering allowing loaded guns in national parks. How can this be? When I visit our national parks, I expect them to be safe and serene and full of beautiful wildlife, like bears and cougars and escaped rapists. But allowing guns in our national parks could change all that. Please don't turn off the force field keeping the icky guns out and the magic unicorns in!

Right now, firearms must be unloaded and put away, but still can be legally transported in such a fashion that the illiterate peasantry won't misuse them. (You know, for things like self-defense.) Assertions that firearms cannot be possessed or transported in national park are simply false. So why the rush to change the regulations? The law is reasonable, and it keeps visitors safe from being traumatized by the sight of nasty firearms in the hands of the hoi polloi.

I urge you to keep the current regulations and not open up our national parks to loaded weapons in the hands of law-abiding permit holders. The only people who should have guns in national parks are people who have the proper accessories, like shovels, gloves, tarps, and rolls of duct tape. Thank you for considering my views.

A. Bedwetter

Fun with Airsoft.

So, back in the day when Marko and I were roomies, I got my first electric airsoft gun, an HK MP5SD3 at a local gun show.

I was working at Montague Gunsmithing at the time, and we took it into the back room at the shop to try it out, since we had a pellet trap set up back there on which we could hang targets. I loaded a mag, hung a target, and ripped off a couple of short bursts. "Whoah! This is cool!"

"Hey, let me try it," says Marko.

At the time, I didn't know you weren't supposed to recycle pellets, so I handed it to him, saying "Sure, just let me go downrange first and pick up a couple of those pellets before you shoot." I strolled down towards the target and bent over to scoop up some of the little plastic BBs. As I did so, I thought to myself "Oh, no. I'm down here bent over with my butt in the air, and I just handed him a loaded... OWWWWW!"

With as much dignity as I could muster, I strolled back to the firing line with my hand held out. "Gimme the gun, dude."

"No way. You'll shoot me with it."

"We live in the same apartment. I know where you sleep. Heck, I know where you shower. You can take it like a man now, or from ambush later."

*sigh* "Okay, here."

I'll say this for him, he's a mensch; he didn't even flinch.

Good times, good times. :)

BDS and BDS.

Everybody knows about Bush Derangement Syndrome and its hilarious side effects, but nobody ever talks about its complement, Bush Defense Syndrome. One of the symptoms of the latter has lately been to say "What problem with the economy? The economy is strong under the Dear Leader!"

Uh, yeah. Maybe not so much.

Get up, stand up!

Fightin' tha power in Mordor Chicago.

If we were the other side, we could call that a million people.

(H/T to Unc.)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Oh, fudge.

Looks like the Para Shooty Thingy at Blackwater is the same weekend as the Indy 1500 in August. I need to make some emails and phone calls and explain why I'm not going to be able to make it to the Fun Show.

I guess "I totally have to get some training from Todd Jarrett that weekend" is an acceptable excuse.

This week's column is up... LEM, in which I come dangerously close to fangirlishness.


The transfer of the CD library to iTunes continues. Now burning:

  • Drivin N Cryin, Fly Me Courageous
  • Duran Duran, Decade
  • Frontline Assembly, Gashed Senses & Crossfire
  • L7, Bricks Are Heavy

We've totally outgrown the iMac's internal HDD, and so now we're thanking miscellaneous deities who hold the consumer electronics portfolio that Fry's had that acomdata 150Gb FireWire drive on sale stupid cheap last month. (I think it was like $50 or $60. I remember when 100Mb was fantastic, now you can get 150Gb practically as the prize in a Cracker Jack box...)

Seeing red...

It's an ad promoting dressing like a circus tent. The caption says: "You won't be able to stop them, but you can protect yourself. He who created you knows what's best for you!"

This just sets me off in so many ways, beyond the obvious two-way sexism that implies that women are responsible for rape and men are animals with no control over their base instincts.

If I have to wear something to protect myself, it's going to come from Milt Sparks and Springfield Armory and not Omar the Tentmaker, thank you very much, and we'll put the first part of that assertion to the test.

You know, I try to control the surge of bigotry that comes when I see stuff like this. I try not to think "Just take off and nuke the site from orbit; it's the only way to be sure..." I'm trying hard to be the shepherd, but things like this make me feel like the tyranny of evil men...

(h/t to Bitter at The Bitch Girls)

Today In History: Litterbug.

On this day in 1979, the hamlet of Esperance in Western Australia fined the United States Government $400 for littering.

Despite having Uncle Sam dead to rights (I mean, nobody else was dropping flaming space station debris across the Southern Hemisphere at that moment) Esperance has been stiffed on the fine to this day. They should put out a bench warrant.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Poking the bear...

Their calendars must be all messed up in Tehran, 'cause mine says that Obama doesn't get inaugurated until January 20th of next year. Then they can build all the nukes and test fire all the missiles they want and Jimmy Carter v2.0 will talk to them about it and maybe boycott their Olympics. (If they ever have an Olympics in that godforsakenbesotted corner of the earth. I'd imagine the women's swimming events are slow as molasses from the high-drag swimwear.)

Okay, that is made of awesome.

It turns out that this place in Alaska called Lituya Bay has had monster tsunamis in the past. I mean really monster.

It's a long skinny bay, two miles wide at the widest and 720ft deep, that narrows down to a channel only 33ft deep where it connects to the ocean. The inland end of it has cliffs and mountains 2,500ft to 6,000ft tall looming over the waters. On July 10, 1958, there was a bit of a slosh in this giant bathtub: three thousand vertical feet of cliff face and glacier, weakened by the nearby Fairweather Fault, slid into the water on the inland end of the bay, triggering a tsunami 525m high.

That's "m" as in meters. In other words, if you could have parked that longtime standard for height comparisons, the Empire State Building, on an island in the middle of the bay, the wave would have overtopped its radio mast by more than two hundred feet, like something in a Goretopian environmental fantasy movie.

I don't care who you are, 1700ft+ waves are just cool as dammit.

Overheard in the office...

Me: "Illinois has a gas SWAT team now."

RX: "Huh. What do they do?"

Me: "I dunno. 'Waste tax dollars' would be a good guess."

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Gotta get typin'...

I have a thousand words to conjure out of nowhere in the next hour or two.

In the meantime, go 'way down to the bottom of the page. In the row of ad buttons is one for "squishables". You should check it out; it's just all ate up with teh kewtness. (I mean, if you think big adorable stuffed animals are kewt, that is.) There's even a big giant stuffed octopus that would be fabulous for you-know-who. :D

Back in an hour. Ish.

Oh, yeah!

My left arm hurts just looking at that picture.


I'm totally going to have to get me some of that...

(H/T to Jed.)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

It's enough to make a gear snob cry.

Tokarevs, bogus Segway copies, and stylin' knockoff Uncle Mike's drop-thigh rigs.

Chicom SWAT or Food Court Team Six? You make the call.


Holly at The Pervocracy has a wicked sense of humor when it comes to dismantling Cosmo every month, but she was just over-the-top hilarious this time 'round. It was tough picking the money quote, but here's a good one:
I'd been with my boyfriend for a year when I told him that I'd been faking orgasms the entire time we'd been together. It really hurt him, and he got mad. We haven't broken up, but we also haven't had sex for weeks. What can I do to make him want me again?
"Dear Cosmo: I lied constantly to someone who trusted me, then threw his sexual insecurities in his face. I'd like to experience no consequences. Can this be arranged?"
You'll laugh so hard you'll cry. Promise.

Tonight. Eleven o'Clock.

Tune in to Gun Nuts: The Next Generation live! There will be a special bit from Michael Bane talking up the much ballyhooed ParaOrd Blogger Shooty Thingie!

You should listen live; it's a much more cheerful show than Gun Nuts: Deep Space Nine.

Be there, or be square!

Today In History: I want to believe...

...that people aren't this gullible.

On this date in 1947, radios and newspapers announced that a Venus-shaped weather balloon full of swamp gas and crewed by a migratory flock of birds had crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, flattening a large circle of crops and scattering its mysterious cargo of cow rectums all over the place.

Monday, July 07, 2008

It appears Para does want me...

...after all.


This will all end in tears, I just know it.

So, the Thirteen Bean Soup is underway. I think I've got the "simmer" part down pat with the beans and the ham. In a couple of hours, we''l find out if this is an episode of I Love Lucy or of Julia Child & Company.

Blood in the streets. And the cubicles.

For a week now, Floridians have been legally able to keep guns locked in their car on their employer's property while at work. Our man reports from the front lines.

Not suitable for younger viewers or those with sensitive stomachs:

This pistol makes the Baby Jesus cry.

That is just uglier than the back side of a mud fence on a rainy day.

(...and note that I like case-coloring, but if you're going to case color the whole damn gun, then the small parts should be nitre-blued or rust-blued, not polished and engine-turned. That's like wearing plaid and polka-dots at the same time. *shudder*)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Mysterious devourers...

The nemophila in the flower pot are fine (other than occasionally being sat upon by squirrels with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.) The two I transplanted out in the weed bed around the tree in the front yard are fine. The last lone straggler up against the foundation by the house? Well, it got mysteriously shorter over time as something nibbled it away, until the other morning it was just... gone.

This mysterious predator of nemophila obviously can't fly, climb, or jump to the flower pot, and won't trek across the front yard to the weed bed, only lurking in the shadow of the house. I blame the prolific little sow bugs.

We're the only ones tactical enough...

I don't know when, exactly, it started.

I do know that by the mid-'80s, any reasonably well-informed Soldier of Fiction reader knew that the British SAS did an annual exercise involving real live bullets flying about as they "rescued" real live members of the royal family sitting amongst cardboard bad guys. This became the de rigueur thing to do for any unit that prided itself on its innate awesomeness and elite-itude. Not having a royal family handy, the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team would happily "rescue" any old visiting VIP's in a live ammo shoot-ex, one-upping the Brits by using NVGs and doing it in the dark.

By the turn of the millennium, civilian attendees at some weekend gun camps were standing next to targets that were being shot at by their fellow weekend gun campers, supposedly to "inure them to incoming fire" or something. At some level, a healthy respect for the business end of a firearm and what it can do to human flesh had been lost.

The world got an awful reminder on the last weekend in June, when a team of elite French para marines turned a public demonstration of a hostage rescue into a "How Many Of The Four Rules Can You Break At Once?" competition, Team Category.

For whatever reason, perhaps dramatic effect, the troop laying down full auto mag dumps from his FAMAS rifle as suppressive fire was doing it right at the crowd. When his first mag, which was full of blanks, ran dry, he dumped it in a fast mag change and slapped a second magazine into the weapon, ripping it off downrange as well.

Only the second magazine wasn't full of blanks.

I've never gotten a close look at the Blank Firing Adaptor on a FAMAS, but apparently it was sturdy enough to cause much of what went downrange to fragment. Even so, 17 people wound up hospitalized for one moment of idiocy.

The Four Rules are devised so that at least two must be broken to put holes in something you don't want to. In this case it was Rule One ("All guns are always loaded,") and Rule Two ("Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.")

The Four Rules are the Four Rules. No matter how tactical you are.

Today In History: Holy war, Batman!

The Holy Roman Empire had been minding its own business, ruthlessly crushing uppity Protestants in Germany and otherwise keeping to itself, when some nosy Swedish king just had to play buttinski.

On this day in 1630, Gustavus Adolphus landed with both feet (and a thoroughly modern army) in the middle of what was destined to be known as the Thirty Years' War. What had been a one-sided stomping turned into a bloody see-saw that raged across the continent and largely depopulated Germany. So savage was the conflict that for the next two centuries, Europe reduced war to an almost kabuki-like exercise of ritualized meetings off in conveniently out-of-the-way battlefields.

What the heck...

The unofficial VFTP motto ("Meat is murder. And murder tastes good.") is now available on a t-shirt.

What a shock...

As predicted, Electric Boobs are a big, big hit with Google.

There is just something very surreal about someone sitting down at a device that is very nearly the pinnacle of human engineering, the triumph of the Post-Industrial Age, connecting to a globe-spanning network of databanks containing the sum total of human knowledge and, able to ask any query they want, typing in the words "Electric Boobs". O brave new world, that has such people in it!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

From crazy to commercialized in a quarter century.

In 1982, a lunatic with a dream tied a bunch of weather balloons to an el cheapo Sears lawn chair and flew into history and big trouble with the FAA. In an experiment that had more than a whiff of beer about it, Larry Walters made it to 15,000 feet and square into the airspace of Long Beach Airport before shooting himself down and winding up in some power lines and the national news.

Today, with GPS, corporate sponsorship, and a parachute, an otherwise sane-appearing Oregonian named Kent Couch made it 230 miles and across the Idaho border using a highly refined flying lawnchair. He got applause. Larry Walters, with no parachute, or even a seatbelt, got a $1500 fine.

Blowout continues!

As always at VFTP, our loss is your gain! Now available for your perusal and purchase is a fine Fowler Custom Knives Fat Boy Tanto. Happy bidding!

Garage sale, part deux.

Over at eBay, I am selling off another knife. This time it's a John Greco bowie. No reserve; auction ends in five days. I know someone can give it a good home.

And I thought the Atlanta PD had PR problems...

While I lived there, the Atlanta Police Department often went out of its way to prove it was a real big city PD with a scandal or two. Now in my first few months here in Indy, the IMPD has come down with a very telegenic case of quis custodiet ipsos custodes, providing a bumper crop of proof that it, too, is almost ready to join the elite ranks of the LAPD or NOPD.

First, three officers get arrested for shaking down drug dealers for money and dope, then a narcotics cop sells a couple of heaters to one of his confidential informants who is also (whoops!) a felon. Now we get a patrolman and his wife running the best little whorehouse in Greenwood. Whee!

Chinese internet users up in arms respectfully annoyed over fake photo.

Millions of internet users all over China got all protester-ish about an obviously faked tiger photo. Or at least they did until there was a mysterious outbreak of modems getting run over by tanks.

Today In History: Operation Citadel.

On this day in 1943, German forces in Russia jumped off into the attack in what would go down in history as the largest tank battle ever. Over 2,500 German tanks and 800,000 troops were involved in the attack along a 28-mile front in the Kursk salient. Unfortunately for their plans, the Soviets had been ready and had prepared the battlefield thoroughly. Within days, the German advance had bogged down in belts of minefields, anti-tank gun positions, and Red Army counterattacks. Not until operation Desert Storm almost fifty years later would the world see armored warfare on this scale.

Friday, July 04, 2008

I love to ride my bicycle...

So, I bought a bike today. A cheapie from Wally-World, using the theory that I often used to advise people interested in taking up a new shooting sport: You want to get into shooting sporting clays (or whatever)? Don't blow a mint on a Perazzi. Buy a used Remchesterberg shotgun and see if you like it first. There's nothing worse than blowing a ton on a new hobby and finding you're no good at it or it bores you, and now you're stuck with a gigabuck's worth of gear you don't need. (I also bought a cheapie WalMart bike because I'm poor, but that's a whine for another day...)

Anyway, we took a four mile spin on the Monon Rail Trail and, despite not having been on a pedal bike in, oh, twenty-two years or so, I had a great time. I guess it's true that you never really forget how.

RobertaX did up some steaks & shrooms with corn on the cob and lovely tossed salads for dinner and we watched The Man Who Knew Too Little, which she hadn't seen and I'm always up for watching again. It's a brilliant farce, with one of the cleverest scripts in movie history.

And now I'm going to put myself to bed to the gentle susurrus of fireworks outside, which will lull me to sleep with the soft sounds of Stalingrad in early 1943. It hasn't been a bad Independence Day at all.

The definition of insanity.

Sen. John Warner (Idiot-Va.) is calling for a study on the efficacy of reviving the 55MPH speed limit. He claims that studies show that the National Maximum Speed Limit, or "NMSL" (rhymes with "numbskull") "saved 167,000 barrels of oil a day, or 2 percent of the country's highway fuel consumption, while avoiding up to 4,000 traffic deaths a year".

What he doesn't mention is that the NMSL also bred a generation of scofflaws, turned once-respected highway patrols into revenue-collecting jokes, spawned the radar detector and CB industries, and gave us awful Burt Reynolds/Dom DeLuise movies, C.W. McCall songs, and vanity plates saying "55HAHA" & "PU55Y". I think four thousand human lives per annum is a small price to pay for never having to watch another Cannonball Run with eleven long-hair Friends of Jesus in a chartreuse Microbus.

For a good start to your Independence Day...

...go read the poem "Yanks" that Marko has posted up this morning. If you don't like it, you must be some kind of godless commie hippie.

I woke up in Bizzarro World...

As I usually do, I awoke to the dulcet tones of the TeeWee wafting through Roseholme Cottage. However, this morning something was wrong. This couldn't be the right planet, or maybe the date was wrong; maybe it was 4/1 and not 7/4.

I could swear I heard the Today Show doing an upbeat piece on... on Iraq? And then it segued into, into... that can't be! They can't be saying good things about nuclear power! Maybe I've been wrong about the religious thing after all, but in that case this is a very low key, very understated heaven. More Presbyterian than Baptist.

Happy Independence Day, America!

Happy 232nd Birthday!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Things at which you shouldn't laugh...

...but you do anyway:

Poor Tommy the Geriatricat is running up and down the hall at top speed, pursued by the poo demon. He gives me a panicked glance every time he passes and I'm trying to catch him so I can help him, but I'm laughing so hard that I can hardly breathe. The way he ground loops on the hardwood floor every time he tries to reverse course just puts the cherry on the cake of the whole thing.

I'm answering emails, does it show?

In case you were wondering at the lack of posts.

In other news, I went outside for a cigarette, came back in and sat down to resume typing. Some minutes later, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked down and this horrendous, gigantic, green and yellow and black furry caterpillar had just crested my left boob and was continuing upwards. Towards my face.

I was a bit... um... startled.

The cats may not reappear for a while.

It may be another couple hours until I put up another post. In the meantime, visit Robert's shiny new blog, Blackfork.

Today In History: Smallest Car Show Ever.

On this day in 1886, Karl Benz unveiled his Patent Motorwagen in Mannheim, Germany.

Attendees of modern car shows wouldn't have recognized the scene. Parking was free, there was no awful traffic around the venue, and not one booth bimbo was hawking car wax by suggestively rubbing a fender.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Go listen to...

...the podcast of everyone's favorite Shooty Whippersnappers, if you haven't already done so. I'm given to understand that some sort of end zone dance re: DC v. Heller is on the menu.

What an afternoon...

1) No sign of the HVAC guys.

2) If I had a dollar for every email I REALLY NEED TO ANSWER RTFN, I could afford to gas up my car twice over. *

3) I'm not a sickly individual, which makes me much crankier on those rare occasions when I actually do feel pooky. Like right now; my head would hurt less if I slammed it in a fire door. Repeatedly.

4) Did I mention that there was still no sign of the HVAC guys?

(Oh, and...

Dear Roomie,

If you're reading this, I've figured out why Tommy wouldn't come out from underneath your bed this morning.

He was scurrying stealthily around the edges of the office. Under your desk. Under your chair. Hug the wall to the food & water dishes. Under my desk... When he went under my desk, I was afraid he might be trying to "stake a claim" to the subwoofer, so I gently nudged his bottom with my toe.

He inched reluctantly to the edge of the shadow of my desk, then made like a black spot of paint on the floor, all hunkered down and two big eyes staring at the ceiling. WTF??? Ah! The ceiling fan. Mighty tomcat does not like the spinny object on the ceiling.

I stood up to turn it off while he was in the room. Deprived of the shelter of me in my chair, he slithered over towards the litterbox, almost running head-first into it because he wouldn't take his eyes off the ceiling. He crouched behind the box until the fan wound down and, once it was safely still, climbed in, did his business, and wandered off down the hall cussing up a storm about strange spinning things on the ceiling.
He's not at all cool with ceiling fans.

Mystery solved,
Yr. Roommate)

* If I haven't answered your email, it's because either I really love you or I thought your question rated a very thoughtful serious answer.

Some emails are easy for me to answer:
"What year was my Smith made?" "1967."
"Does the Blastomatic 2000 suck?" "Yes. Big rocks up off the ground."

It's the tricky ones that give me trouble.
"Wow, Tam, we haven't seen each other in years! How are you doing? I didn't know you had a blog! I love your writing! Are you doing a book? Here's $10 for your tip jar!"
I can't just answer that with a "Yes", so I think to myself "Self, what we will do is finish writing this morning's blog posts, go have a cigarette and a cup of coffee, do this week's LEM column, fold laundry, and then give this missive from a dear friend the attentive and heartfelt answer it deserves." Which means that a month from now I'm curled up in a fetal ball, guilting myself half to death over the bajillion emails I haven't answered. One morning I'm going to do nothing but write people back. It will be easy to tell which morning this is, because I won't post anything on the blog 'til I'm done...