Saturday, December 31, 2011

279.5 GHz

You'd think that today's post would be a doddle, right? Just cut and paste a bunch of random whatever from the previous 364 days and Bob's your uncle, no?

I've got naught but the hum of the carrier right this second, but stay tuned! Something's bound to come to me in a moment!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Fractured Fairytales.

Perhaps attempting to break into screenwriting, and having noted a trend in popular entertainment, my roomie pitches fresh reboots of even more classic television series.

If they were popular the first time around, imagine how good they'll be when injected with some arch humor and modern sensibilities!

Brave and crazy...

So Tehran's latest round of threats didn't surprise me. Big talk sells well in that neck of the woods: Kha... Qa... Ghaddafi had his "Line of Death" in the Gulf of Sidra, Saddam Hussein promised "the mother of all battles" to anyone foolish enough to contest his annexation of Kuwait. To cut ice over there, you've got to talk smack like a GOP presidential speechwriter on a mean drunk.

But anyhow, this threatening the whole world with the closure of the Straits of Hormuz thing... I'm wondering what the whole background is?
  1. They really are crazy and aren't afraid of getting a heaping helping of regime change. (As we saw in Libya, threaten oil supplies and even the Frogs get bellicose. There'll be no problems forming a Coalition of the Swilling here.)

  2. This is saber rattling intended to make them look butch for their domestic audience.

  3. Vladimir Putin, who is sitting on oil that doesn't need to pass through the Straits of Hormuz, handed them a brick and said "Go on, throw it through the window! I dare you, chicken! Don't worry, I'll cover for you."
Hopefully nobody is going to decide that A Short Victorious War will focus group well between now and November.

I suddenly realized I was in the wrong aisle...

"You will find that vampires are not nearly as frightening as they used to be. Where they once haunted forbidding castles atop distant mountains, these days they hang out at high schools, trying to pick up impressionable teenagers. They rarely turn into bats anymore, and sunlight just brings out their inner glam rocker."
If, as a reader, you were told twenty years ago that a book was "fantasy", you knew that it would contain elves and dragons and made-up place names that sounded vaguely Welsh. There would be a magic sword, a dungeon, and a scary Dark Lord whose shadow over the land had to be eliminated by means of a quest, often involving tossing something small into someplace inaccessible, because 90% of genre fiction (like 90% of everything) is derivative, unoriginal dreck.

Nowadays, if someone tells you that a book is "fantasy", it is best to ask if it is "urban fantasy", because the latter, despite the similar-sounding genre name, is not at all the same thing. Sure, it may contain an elf, but if it does, she's a bisexual wiccan detective elf who owns an occult bookstore in Miami and only increases her psychic powers through knockin' the boots. People who would rightly be ill at the thought of necrophilia suddenly find it a turn-on if the corpse is still walking around, has fangs, and looks like Robert Pattinson.

Why this is called "urban fantasy" is not entirely clear to me. I mean, kindly old professor Tolkien's work contained quite a few scenes set in the large city of Minas Tirith, and we don't call it "urban", perhaps because he resisted the urge to have a werewolf jump out and hump Eowyn's leg. And the settings of the books in the "urban fantasy" section don't seem to be, on average, any more urban than any other genre. And they're certainly read and enjoyed in the country and the 'burbs as much as the city.

Anyhow, if you want to know if you're in the part of the bookstore that has elves and dragons or the part with supernatural soft-core Mary Sue, just look around at the covers of the books. Do they all feature a goth-y chick with her back turned, a tramp stamp, and an athame (for you squares, that's an elaborate dagger found mostly at head shops and wymyn's book stores) clenched in one hand? Then here be no dragons.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Overheard in the Office:

RX: "Huh! 'Brainless and faceless fish discovered.'"

Me: "Awesome! Let's vote for him!"


The cheek of the man is unbelievable.

The classic exemplar of "chutzpah" has always been the young man who murders his parents and then begs the judge for mercy on the grounds that he's an orphan.

No more, however. The new benchmark for chutzpah is Eric Holder, who has solemnly announced that more police officers were killed by 'illegal guns' in 2011 than in the previous year. 2011's total was 173, at least according to Mr. Holder. (It would have been 174, but Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December of last year.)
Holder said “too many guns have fallen into the hands of those who are not legally permitted to possess them,” in explaining the increase.
"Fallen into"? "Fallen into"? Is that what we're calling it now? Look, Eric, if I walk up and hand you something, it has not "fallen into" your hands, okay?

Either Holder is dumb as a stump or he is setting himself up to be the most courageous Washington fall guy since G. Gordon Liddy, and since I can't imagine Eric Holder holding his hand over a fire just to show people how tough he is, I know which way I'm betting.

(H/T to Unc.)

QotD: Now Say You're Sorry Edition

"Once again, (Paul) Christoforo makes it clear that only powerful people — people who can hurt him or help him — are people who deserve decent treatment. Christoforo is not a marketer who is remorseful for treating a customer badly. He’s more like a career purse-snatcher who is remorseful (and terrified) because he snatched a purse from the elderly mother of a local mafioso." -Ken at Popehat.
It's a good post, and worth reading in its entirety, (duh, it's Ken,) if only for the warm schadenfreude engendered by the loving description of a clueless douchebag willfully sticking his hand into the Cuisinart of internet opprobrium.


With Wisconsin's CCW law passing, Illinois is looking mighty lonely, and rumors abound of other states that might be sidling up to what we used to call "Vermont-style" carry, but now call "Constitutional Carry" because it's easier to say than "Vermont-Alaska-Arizona-Wyoming-style" carry.

More cases are wending their way through the courts, attempting to widen the breach created by Heller and McDonald. Restrictions on NFA weapons at the state level are dropping in a state-by-state advance reminiscent of the march of shall-issue CCW. People not normally given to flights of pollyanna-ism are speculating on the likelihood of moving suppressors to Title I.

The other side is down to Keystone Kops shenanigans in the desert and petulant signing statements. They've been playing defense since 1994 and taking a beating. We're winning, but it's hard to overcome the bunker mentality, and that makes it hard to act like winners. It's almost reflexive to cringe "Oh, my 30-round magazine has a legitimate sporting purpose," instead of "It's my right to own an AR-15 because screw you."

We're winning. We have the ball. They haven't scored in this half. Hell, they haven't even had a first down.

We're winning.

It's time to start running up the score.

If you want to see a winning attitude, (and can stand profuse and gratuitous dropping of "F-bombs",) this is it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Meatless Wednesday...

Via email, take a look at this S&W picture and tell me what's wrong...

When you get a postage stamp printed upside down, it's unlikely to blow the heck up when you try and mail a letter with it.Link

Overheard in Roomie's Bedroom:

TV Announcer: "...a mystery writer whose novels combine homicide and humor..."

RX: "Yeah, 'cause dead people are so funny."

Me: "Depends on who they are. Like Nazis, for example. Dead Nazis are frickin' hilarious!"
Dead Commies, too. And Nazis and Commies killing each other in great windrow heaps is better than watching the Three Stooges in a custard pie fight directed by Sam Peckinpah!

First real snow of the year yesterday...

...and it was slushy and icky. Great big wet flakes that had been preceded by a mix of rain and snow.

And I had to get a letter to the post office to have it priority mailed.

This is the second winter since I have learned to trust the traction control, rather than feathering the pedal at the first sign of wheelspin. I must grudgingly admit that Robby the Robot is pretty good at getting just enough power to the pavement, although the strange, bogging sound from the engine is really hard to live with.

(And, of course, it doesn't provide much help with cornering, which is best done gingerly. I imagine trying it on slicks would be worse, but not terribly much.)

An important distinction:

NewJovianThunderbolt makes the obvious parallel between the photos of afro'ed, wide-lapeled Baby Boomers hiding in the bottoms of shoeboxes across America, and the "Duck Lips" infesting Facebook pages of Millennials.

There are a couple of important distinctions, however, in that there is always the offhand chance that the Boomer with the 'fro was actually sober at the time and, unlike data on the internets, he can burn his photos so that they will never, ever be seen by a prospective employer or romantic interest. Photos on the 'web, like bad tattoos, are forever.

I feel bad doing this, but...

There's a thread going on at about bad advice people have received as beginning shooters. From there, I found this gem of a link, regarding the Hi-Point carbine:
I served for 21 years in Air Force Intelligence and have carried a few weapons in that time and nothing has felt so well to shoot as this Carbine it is just a great weapon.
Wow. Where to start?
  1. Firstly, while I thank you for your service, sir, I would have to point out that it is difficult to imagine a military career path involving less contact with firearms that doesn't require the service member to be ordained or hold a medical degree. This is going to color the weight I attach to your recommendations.

  2. Secondly, if you display your Hi-Point carbine in a mail-order vertical sword stand intended for showing off pawnshop katanas lovingly machined from a single layer of 440C in the time-honored traditions of Pakistani sweatshops, it really really distracts me from anything you were saying, much the same way having "I'm a big ol' dork!" tattooed across your forehead would.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New tunes.

The appearance of the iPod on my personal gadget horizon some years ago changed the way I listened to new music. Rather than buying a new CD and listening to it immediately, I would buy it and rip its contents into the churning stew of my iTunes library, where its individual chunks would bubble to the surface in the "Shuffle" feature's own good time.

Hence, me driving down the road a few weeks ago and hearing a track that caused me to think "Oh, wow, that's beautiful... That's got to be Moby..."

And it was...

...and in that short time, it's become the 23rd most-frequently played track in my iTunes library.

You are the weapon.

Mama said knock you out:

video platform
video management
video solutions
video player

The place had been robbed before and the clerk was keyed up and had already made up his mind to resist. When the dude came in with the hoodie and bandana and what appeared to be a pistol, the clerk coldcocked him as soon as he was within arm's reach.

As PDB once noted, better a pointed stick and a furious anger than a death ray and the soul of a rabbit.

This is a little embarrassing...

The top fifteen most-frequently played tracks on my iPod*?
  1. "Like A Prayer" by Madonna
  2. "Gold Dust Woman" by Hole
  3. "Cantara" by Dead Can Dance
  4. "X-Ecutioner Style (ft. Black Thought)" by Linkin Park
  5. "The Day The World Went Away" by Nine Inch Nails
  6. "Marooned" by Pink Floyd
  7. "Limelight" by Rush
  8. "Tomorrow, Wendy" by Concrete Blonde
  9. "Think About The Way" by Ice MC
  10. "Capital G" by Nine Inch Nails
  11. "Gas Panic!" by Oasis
  12. "Los Rancheros" by Adam & The Ants
  13. "The Ballad of John and Yoko" by The Beatles
  14. "One Way Or Another" by Blondie
  15. "Whatever (I Had A Dream)" by the Butthole Surfers
That's a nice, solidly eclectic list, with nothing that would really risk my cool... except for the rather glaring bit of bubblegum right at the top. What can I say? It's a fun song with the top down on a sunny day and probably gets "Repeat" a lot under those circumstances (perhaps to the consternation of the car behind me, as I wave both hands in the air while singing along with the gospel choir in the chorus...)

*Huh. While stumped by "Rancheros" and "Butthole", Firefox's spellchecker knows "iPod".

Monday, December 26, 2011


I have got a ton of stuff that needs to be written up at The Arms Room, to the point where I've just wanted to curl up under the covers and whimper until it goes away.

Despite this problem-management technique never having worked before, it's still my primary response to crisis situations, for whatever reason. It's not so much "procrastination" as it is throwing my towel over my head so that the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal won't be able to see me and will maybe go away. But that poor blog doesn't deserve to languish like this, and so...

Anyhow, there's an adorable little Mauser 1910 that needs photos taken of it, a preliminary look at a T&E Boberg XR9-S (which will be getting a full-length review in Concealed Carry Magazine,) and closeups on my two Pedersen guns, a Remington Model 10 and a Remington Model 51. And there's bunches more where that came from.

It looks like we'll have good picture-taking weather today, at least.

Trickling stream of consciousness...

Of all the scenes in all of Bob Heinlein's works, one of the vignettes that is most prominent in my memory is from The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (the first part of the book, where it was a cool SF novel, not the latter half, where it devolved into omphaloskepsis,) when the protagonist is attempting to explain to a character with a bad case of entitlementitis why, in a lunar habitat, air isn't free.

This was recalled to mind by Joel's post on the occasional drama involved with ensuring a steady supply of water when one is living way out past where the buses don't run.

Which in turn called to mind the classic Fritz Leiber story, which I hadn't read since the seventh grade, "A Pail of Air".

Luckily, that's a name that sticks with you, even *mumble-many* years later, and a quick googling revealed that it was available on Baen's free library! Hooray!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Oh, hooray! There's reindeer sign all over the roof and a blood trail leading towards the alley. I think I got one or two!

Merry Christmas from all of me on the VFTP management team to all of you folks out there in readerland!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The white zone is for loading and unloading paddy wagons only.

If you're on your 114th lap through the passenger drop-off and pickup area and there's still no sign of grandma, this might be why:

(H/T to Joel.)

Dear Smith & Wesson,

You know I love you, right? I go to sleep cuddling my plush stuffed Horace Smith doll. The backs of all my notebooks are covered in loopy cursive reading "Mrs. Tamara Wesson". We're still going out.

But there's something I need to talk to you about.

It's about your new plastic "Bodyguard .38" revolver. I don't mind the plastic. Whatever. It's not like the black anodized aluminum Airweight in my coat pocket is oozing 19th Century tradition, either. And the idea of a built-in laser on a pocket revolver from the factory is kinda cool, especially since I had to go aftermarket and add a Crimson Trace unit to the one I'm carrying.

Here are my beefs:
  1. The "ambidextrous cylinder release", which is "ambidextrous" only in the sense that it's just as awkward and fumble-prone with either hand. Plus, the amount of wiggle and play in it just doesn't fill me with confidence. The latch may not actually be flimsy or fragile, but it sure feels that way.

  2. The only way you could have put that laser activation button in a less-accessible place is if you'd put it in a locked box two rooms away from the gun. The switch needs to be activated by gripping the firearm, so as to avoid the whole "Hang on, Mr. Bad Guy! Time out to turn on my laser!" thing. I haven't seen such a poorly-thought-out control placement since Insight came out with that positively moronic laser that fit in the rear sight notch of a Glock; the "On" button might as well have been in Albania for all you could access it in a hurry on the draw.
"Ambidextrous" and "laser" should be more than just advertising buzzwords. They should be useful and helpful and not just going through the motions to check boxes off on a brochure.

If you want me to consider purchasing your new product, you're going to need to click on this link and copy what you see on the blackboard five hundred times.


Very strange.

I am obviously awake. I can see stuff. The lights are on. I am sitting up at my desk and making words appear on the screen...

But I can't seem to brain this morning. Have the dumbs. More coffee.

It would suck to feel like this all the time, although I understand you get a cool purple t-shirt.

(It actually seems to be an asset rather than a hindrance in many career fields, such as media commentator. I wonder if MSNBC is hiring?)

Friday, December 23, 2011

I can see by my sitemeter...

...that the cubicle farms of America suffered massive post-lunch attrition today.

Let me leave these two notes here, at they've given me ideas for posts:
I want to riff off both of those, and they'd get lost if I tried to bookmark them.

Anyway, I'm off to the store to buy everything I'll need in the consumables department for the weekend. Back in a bit.

The other John.

I was trying to think what it was I found so impressive about John Pedersen's firearms designs, which seem so oddly baroque when compared to their more familiar Browning counterparts, and then I hit on it: See, Browning would design a gun and sell it to a manufacturer, who would then have their patent attorneys go over it with fine-tooth combs and patent every distinctive trait they could find. Since Browning's designs were so often groundbreaking, it was hard to come to market with, say, a blowback-operated autopistol, or a slide-action shotgun, without stepping on a Browning patent held by Colt or Winchester...

Which is when Remington would call in John Pedersen, the Ginger Rogers of firearms designers, who did everything Browning did, but backwards and in high heels...

Other than the Ithaca 37, on which he collaborated with Browning himself, none of Pedersen's designs are still with us, but they didn't have to be great and enduring firearms. They only had to endure until the patents expired...

Happiness is a warm gun...

Everybody knows that the Snuggie is the Official Uniform of Depression, but what to do when you're sitting on the couch, wrapped in a fug of despair and fuzzy pink microfibers, looking like you're waiting on the mothership hiding behind Hale-Bopp, and the gun in your lap at which you've been obsessively staring for hours is too cold to pick up?

You purchase your pet piece a polyfiber pistol Snuggie of its own: Introducing, the Gun Snuggler!

(†I'd be depressed, too, if I owned a S&W Stigma.)

(Yeah, the dude is obviously trying to make fun of gun owners, but I am capable of laughing at myself because I have a sense of humor, which is apparently not required to join, or even helm, the Brady Campaign...)

Overheard in the Office:

Me: "What? Vegetarians protesting holiday-season promotion of reindeer pate?"

RX: "♫ Rudolph, the red-nosed entree! ♪"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The worst thing in the world.

I have been driving the same car for over ten years now. I've pretty well got it down cold. I can even reset the clock, without needing to consult the owner's manual, in about a minute while keeping one eye on the road. (Now there's an unexpected downside to the digital era...)

But heaven forbid I ever vary my shutdown routine one little bit...

See, the Zed Drei has the classic Detroit-style "organ stop" headlight knob on the dash to the left of the wheel: Pull out one click for parking lights, two clicks for headlights, and twist to dim or brighten the instrument panel. When I get out of the car normally, I operate this switch with my left hand, but when I'm un-assing the car in a hurry, I'll pull the keys from the ignition with my right hand while my left is operating the door, and hit the headlight knob with my right hand in passing on the way out.

Apparently, BMW considers this to be the Worst Thing You Can Do in this automobile, because, should you commit the grievous error of removing the key from the ignition while the lights are on, rather than a warning beep or chime, the car lets out a noise used in science fiction movies to signal a warp core breach. It would probably cause a U.S. Navy veteran to look around for the button to SCRAM the reactor. It triggers, even after a decade, the same reflexive spinal-level twitch you'd get from the sound of a running Husqvarna being lobbed into a playpen.

I hate that noise. Which I guess I'm supposed to, since I believe you would need to be deaf to leave the lights on in this car.

Pronunciation protip.

BabyTrollBlog points out the difference between "cache" and "cachet".

An easy way to remember how to pronounce the first one is that, in order to help a midget on the lam from Prague, you've got to be able to cache a small Czech.

Back on the chain gang.

North Korea can't produce enough food to feed itself. As a matter of fact, they are probably net importers of just about everything from wheat and potatoes to weapons-grade plutonium. So what do they have to export, other than commando hit teams and failed ideology?

North Koreans.

That's right, the Socialist Worker's Paradise of North Korea is apparently engaged in shipping "contract laborers" to the Gangsta's Paradise of Putin's Russia (and let's not kid ourselves about whose Russia it is: Putin's hand is so far up Medvedev's ass that Dmitri can't blink unless Vlad waggles his fingers; I haven't seen ventriloquism that bad since my fifth grade talent show,) where they toil in Siberian forests for their country's supper.

Yellow slavery. Wow. Boy, if that doesn't make you want to put on your Che shirt and wave your Little Red Book around, I don't know what would.

Schrodinger's economy.

In 1945, we took a bunch of industrious Jerries, plopped them down in the middle of a bombed-out wasteland, and gave half of them copies of An Inquiry into the Nature and Cauſes of the Wealth of Nations and the other half a few crates of Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto. Then we closely observed the first group and let the second group toil away to create socialist paradise in secret.

After forty-five years, we went to grade their papers. The first group turned in this:

And the second group turned in this:

So it should not come as a surprise that, when the same experiment is repeated, the result is the same. The Hyundai Genesis and Equus are, by all reports, spectacular automobiles. I'm not sure what the Nork auto industry is like, but I'm sure they're every bit as deft with cars as they are hotels.

(H/T to The Adaptive Curmudgeon.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

QotD: Denying Darwin His Due Edition

Advancing the theory that people drive like idiots because we do everything possible to allow idiots to drive, to the point where we have transformed the modern automobile into a driving prosthetic for inattentive, self-absorbed simpletons with the nimble reflexes of tree sloths, Adaptive Curmudgeon writes:
"There is circuitry to protect the batteries of people who can’t figure out how to turn the headlights off. Think about that! We are sharing the road with people who can’t operate a light switch. Laws against cell phones won’t help you with people that can’t handle an on/off switch."
Word. You should go read the whole thing. And not just because he said that I was awesome in his opening paragraph.

It's a blackboard jungle out there.

If you are a Hoosier, you might like to know that there are efforts afoot in the state legislature to get rid of Indiana's silly and archaic prohibition on automatic-opening knives.

If anybody can explain to me why a knife that opens with the push of a button is somehow more dangerous, more of a threat to civilization, than one that opens with a flick of the wrist or one that is already open because it doesn't fold up at all, I'm dying to hear it.

Please contact your state senator and tell them that they need to get behind SB 0006, and stop being prey to silly superstitions left over from 1950s teen movies.

It's that time of year.

The skies are gray. The days are short. I'm far from home. There are a million things I'm forgetting. I'm behind with work, both work-type work and housework. I'm snarling and snapping at friends, saying and writing things I shouldn't. I'm being unreasonable. I want to stay curled up under the blankets.

If you're one of the dozen or two people I've pissed off in the last week or two, I'm really sorry.

Maybe I need to take a communication sabbatical and spend a few days sitting in front of a UV lamp and mainlining vitamin D.

Get me the President on line one...

I know how he can fix the employment thing and slash air pollution in one stroke, plus throw a bone to the "reduce our dependence on foreign oil" crowd as well as doing something about all those obese people Michelle's always going on about: Replace all private automobiles with sedan chairs.

Seriously, think how many people could instantly find employment carrying other people around. As a sop to the #OCCUPY_MOM'S_BASEMENT class warfare crew, you could even mandate that everybody has to do one month of sedan chair duty for the less fortunate every year. Run a commercial showing a couple CEOs lugging a single mom to pick her kids up from day care and those votes are in the bag.

It would cut down on traffic congestion, and it would encourage everybody to move out of those icky McMansion-riddled suburbs and back into arugula- and culture-filled cities where they can be more easily found by their local ward heeler. Plus, it'd be a finger in the eye of those sanctimonious greener-than-thou Europeans at the next UN eco summit in Monaco or Tahiti or wherever they're holding the next one. Exceptions, of course, would have to be made for government employees on important official business, like firemen and policemen and congressmen. Oh, and foreign diplomats.

This is so right in the wheelhouse of some members of the current administration that I'd be kind of surprised to find that a rough draft wasn't already in existence on the back of an envelope on the bottom of a drawer in the West Wing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Please don't drive 88...

Straight from the horse's, uh, mouth at
Your item arrived at 7:35 am on December 20, 2011 in BROWNSBURG, IN 46112. The Postal Service expects to deliver the item on Saturday, December 17, 2011.
I can hardly wait to see the mailman pull up in one of those funky-looking DeLoreans with all the pipes and hoses and blinky lights. Except... Hey, wait, shouldn't he have been here already?

Overheard in the Hallway:

RX: "You know how you stop a charging elephant?"

Me: "You take away his cred..."

RX: "Well, it's sure not by electing him to Congress, I can tell you that."

Overheard in the Kitchen:

RX: [From the other room] "Hey! You need to come here and look at this!"

Me: "Hang on!"

RX: "Oh, you're in the kitchen."

Me: "Yeah, I'll be there in a minute! I've got a double handful of coffee apparatus!"

RX: "That better not be some kind of euphemism!"

The sincerest form of flattery...

It's easy to tell what the aspirational cars are in Japan; just look at the output of Japanese designers, who are not at all shy about using tracing paper.

In the sixties and seventies, other than the Ferrari 275-esque Datsun Z-car, most of Japan apparently wished they were in Detroit. Sedans almost invariably looked like miniature caricatures of Studebakers and Dodges and suchlike, and things sometimes got as blatant as the early Celica sports coupes, which looked like somebody had left Larry Shinoda's Mustang drawings in the dryer for too long.

In the eighties and nineties, the target moved to Germany, with the RX-7 being a xerox of Porsche's 924 and most small passenger sedans aping either BMW or Mercedes. Witness the similarity between the mid-'80s Sentra and the 3-series Bimmer, or the Civic and the C-class Benz. (The odd one out here would be the Miata, which was a loving homage to a British roadster 20 years in the grave at the time of the MX-5's debut.) The most recent generation Toyota Camry looked like it could have been penned by Chris Bangle after he'd received the severe blow to the head he so richly deserves.

So the look of the new Nissan Maximas puzzled me... That is, until I saw one at a traffic light in Broad Ripple the other morning with a Jaguar XF behind it in line and an Aston Martin parked at a nearby curb. Ah. Of course.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tab Clearing...

  • I will refrain from pointing out that, even in his younger and more heroic days, Captain Euro had a decidedly non-Mediterranean look about him. Mark that down as foreshadowing if you wish...

  • While dismayed, I am unsurprised.

  • Sometimes a new theory comes along and I'm dubious. Sometimes a new theory comes along and sounds like it might be plausible. And sometimes I read a new theory and think "Well, derp. Why didn't I think of that?" Bear in mind that, given a lot of fossil evidence uncovered in the intervening years, the portrayal of the velociraptors in Jurassic Park is now almost as quaint as the lumbering, tail-dragging T. rexes of my childhood. (H/T to Steve Bodio.)

Perhaps not thinking this all the way through...

Taking a sports medicine approach to medieval armor, researchers perform an exhausting study and reach some surprising conclusions. F'rinstance:
There was another major tradeoff for the defensive shield armor afforded its wearers, the team discovered. Fully encased in metal, muscles in the chest wall that help with respiration would have faced additional resistance, causing soldiers to take faster, shallower breaths. “Being wrapped in a tight shell of armor may have made soldiers feel safe,” said Federico Formenti from the University of Auckland, one the study’s co-authors. “But you feel breathless as soon as you begin to move around in medieval armor, and this would likely limit a soldier’s resistance.”
Hey, doc, you know what else makes you feel breathless and take fast, shallow breaths? A spear in the guts.

"Misinformed" != "Doesn't Agree With Me"

I like to rag on Fox news' morning program, Fox and Friends, for the way it just positively sucks the IQ right out of the room. I mean, sure, all the little people in my TV do nothing but lie to me, but at least most of them have the courtesy to do it polysyllabically.

And I'm not a big fan of most of the Fox stable of talking heads, but I also don't love to hate them the same way I do with the far-left Axis of Smug, Matthews, Maddow, and Olbermann, and so I don't watch them in the same picking-at-scabs way I do the pinkos. That and Fox doesn't run them at cock's crow of a weekend morning, which is about the only time I actually watch the TeeWee. (Instead they run an extra-vacuous version of their regular morning show, if such a thing can be imagined.)

But as far as actual news-type-news goes, they're much of a muchness with other news channels. The bias has a slightly different tilt, that's all.

So I found this article to be side-splittingly funny, but probably not in the way they wanted it to be:
The study also found that Fox News viewers were less likely than MSNBC viewers to be able to identify Mitt Romney as the GOP's leading presidential candidate (although to be fair this might be the fault of this year's underwhelming Republican talent pool).
That's because the only places where Mitt Romney has been the GOP front runner so far in this race have been in the polls taken inside Chris Matthews' head. Romney's record in actual surveys of real live people who aren't MSNBC television commentators looks like the Atlanta Braves' record in the World Series: An awful lot of second-place finishes. Hell, there is a good chance that Romney will be trounced by Ron Paul (R-Kashyyyk) in the upcoming Iowa caucus!

As a bonus, the graphic isn't even from Fox News Channel, but from a local Fox affiliate. (The Fox network doesn't even have a national news department.) This would be like me putting some local broadcast Channel 13 guy's gaffe on the air and using it to prove that cable news channel MSNBC was a mess. I understand that it takes a little bit of knowledge to understand that the Fox network, your local Fox affiliate, and Fox News Channel aren't the same thing, but isn't part of being a liberal being really, really smarter than me?

He's not so ronery anymore...

...not with Benny and Joe and Adolf and Idi and Muammar and Saddam to keep him company.

Looking at those last three names there makes me realize that it's been a pretty fair decade for dead dictators.

Myself, I think it's a damn shame when a tyrant dies of natural causes. Although, I guess "torn apart by an angry mob of his victims" would be a sort of 'natural cause', and one I could heartily endorse.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Feeling generally well-disposed to the world... I should be, because Bobbi's breakfast effort this morning was of the sort that leaves one still feeling full come lunchtime.

Yum. I may have mentioned how happy I am to have a Fresh Market right around the corner?

Eat your spinach.

I am typing this by the light of fluorescent bulbs. We didn't buy them to save the earth, we bought them because the 4-bulb overhead light fixture in the office here at Roseholme Cottage is lit most all day and well into the night. Even running sixty watt bulbs, that'll spin a meter, and when combined with the waste heat of as many as three computers, it can get pretty toasty in summer, so as the last round of incandescents burned out, one by one, they were replaced with their CFL equivalents.

I've been using CFLs for exactly that reason nearly as long as they've been around; the chandelier at my old crib chewed through 100W bulbs at a ferocious clip until I switched, and then the same four 100W-equivalent CFLs ran day and night for years, never needing replacement. (There are other places where I prefer incandescents, like for cozy little bedside reading lamps, or lamps that only go on and off rarely, like closets or the basement. Mostly, though, I prefer the choice of buying the bulb I want for the job I need, and the more choices, the better.)

I felt kinda cool and leading edge, and then the government announced that it was going to make everybody eat their CFL spinach. Suddenly, people who expose themselves to possibly harmful levels of noise and stand around breathing heavy metal vapors for a hobby dug in their heels and whined "They have mercury in them!" People who make fun of others for knowing the difference between beige, ecru, and eggshell were saying "I just don't like the quality of the light!" (perhaps unaware that 2700K CFLs have been available for years.)

It's much the same with fuel economy. I loved commuting on my Suzuki RF; not only would it out-accelerate a Ferrari, but it would also out-mileage a Civic, which was kinda important to me when my daily round-trip commute was 100 miles. Of course, the most important thing in a vehicle for me is performance, for others it's seating capacity, or how much trailer it will pull, but with all other things being equal, why wouldn't you pick the one that did it cheaper?

But no, Nanny Gov wants everybody to eat their fuel mileage spinach, too, and so otherwise-sane people brag about what crappy fuel economy their cars get. Hey, you want to know what wastes gas even faster than a Ford Earthf*cker? Pouring it on the ground and setting it on fire. If Ford released the Earthf*cker Gaia Edition tomorrow, that performed in every way identically to the original except for getting 25% better fuel economy, these people wouldn't buy it because apparently efficiency is effete and for hippies or something.

You see it with everything: People talk about preparedness and "grid down" and stuff like that, and what could be more prepared for grid-down than having a small wind turbine or solar array (or both) to back up your generator? But no, the government wants you to eat your "clean energy" spinach, too, and so that becomes verboten.

When are the nanny staters going to learn that there's a wide swath of the American public who are going to do exactly the opposite of what you tell them, because Americans don't like to be bossed around? The fastest way to encourage Americans to do something is to ban it. The fastest way to get them to stop doing something is to mandate it. We just don't like being told what to do.

And you know what? When the world started treating me like an adult, I found out I liked spinach just fine. As long as nobody was standing over me making me eat the stuff, because you still ain't the boss of me.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

L'esprit de l'escalier...

Ooh! I captioned it wrong the first time...

For the Visigoths among you: The punchline, decoded.

Rare events...

It's a rare thing for Leviathan to willingly return even the tiniest freedom, once it has snatched it away. Now that us light-bulb hoarders feel a little silly, Congress, why not get frisky and crush the black-market toilet industry by letting people decide how much of a flush they want all on their own?

This is why we need a House of Repeal.

I had certificates for a free class...

If you're going to be taking a shooting class, be an informed consumer: What is on the curriculum? Why is your instructor qualified to teach this? To whom has he taught it before? Do you know anybody with a reputation you trust who has attended his classes and recommends them? Is it something you really need (or even want) to learn in the first place?

Bizarro World.

It is amusing to read the comments sections of sites that are, if not diametrically opposed, then at least entirely orthogonal to my worldview.

For instance, check this commenter at Talking Points Memo:
Isn't it called projection when a person suffering from delusions tries to pin his delusion on others? I wonder if this "man" when he claims threats to his life, harbors the delusion that he is the righteous TPartier who will rid the world of the one person the right blames for all of the problems in this country or in the world, now and back to the days of Adam and Eve.
Yeah, those kooky tea-bagging right-wingers are obsessing over one guy, blaming all the problems in the world on him. Next thing you know, they'll probably make a movie about assassinating him or something.

I believe you were saying something about "projection"? Sister, if you look up irony in the dictionary, you'll find that they use your comment as an exemplar.

This is what it's come to: All politics in America is reduced to a pair of six-foot-tall third graders standing in a sandbox and chanting "I know you are but what am I?"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tab Clearing...

  • Colt Woodsman .22: You know who designed that gun? That's right.

  • I have the sudden urge to buy a Ruger double-action revolver, and a plastic one at that. I've never felt that before. It feels a little dirty. I don't know whether to give in, or to go hold my K-22 Combat Masterpiece until the feeling goes away.

  • Cœur de Poulet: If Robert the Bruce showed up in Scotland today, he'd get four years in the gaol for that snickersnee of his.

  • Being in New York from Sunday to Thursday, it's going to be hard for him to claim protection from the "safe passage" provisions in FOPA '86. Where's H.R. 822 when you need it?

I'm impressed.

The other day, I had that awful feeling of standing in the middle of the dining room here at Roseholme Cottage and feeling like I had nothing to read. (Folks who have been here are chuckling at this point, because that's very much a "Water, water everywhere, nor any drop..." thing.)

I saw Bobbi's copy of Hard Magic on the shelf, and I remembered I'd told her I'd read it, so I sighed reluctantly and picked it up...

It is at this point, I must make a confession: I read and enjoyed Larry Correia's Monster Hunter books largely because I was 'in on the joke', as it were. I'm fairly certain I posted in the thread at from which the quote on the frontispiece was taken. Hell, I know the guy who wrote that quote; I've sold him a bunch of guns over the years and last saw him at that Awerbuck carbine/pistol course... Anyhow, I read those books not because I give two rats' farts about vampires and werewolves and suchlike, but because they were part of the Lore of my Tribe, so to speak.

And they were easy to read, too. Larry Correia is a writer of remarkable competency. I don't so much mean dazzling plot complexity or artful and creative use of the language, but rather the more prosaic skills that make a book readable: The skill of keeping a plot moving along without bogging down in unnecessary detail or suddenlyhavingabunchofstuffhappen because the back cover is getting too close. The skill of writing dialog in a fashion that doesn't make you have to retrace a conversation, trying to figure out who said what.

Sure, the dialog is often anachronistic and sometimes cheesy. Sure the plots and situations may be over the top. But this is (and you can see the critics' air-quotes of derision) pulp fiction, and claims to be nothing else. Larry may write pulp, and proudly, too, but his pulp is some of the most polished and clearly-written stuff in Baen's current stable of authors this side of Lois McMaster Bujold. No mean feat considering he's been at this a relative eyeblink compared to most of them.

So, yeah, anyway, I'm not into monster books, normally. I'm also not into "fantasy", whether of the swords'n'sorcery or the newfangled "urban" type and I don't care much for the handwaving involved in 'magic'. Nor do I like "noir", or detective stories. And I don't care at all for steamdieseltechnopunk, or whatever you call those stories where everybody's flying around in blimps and wearing goggles at each other.

So to say that Hard Magic is not exactly in my literary wheelhouse would be an understatement, but I had promised, and I wasn't reading anything else at the moment...

I finished it early the next morning and immediately picked up the sequel, Spellbound, and finished that in one lick, as well.

See, Larry writes stories about people. People with complex drives and goals and motives, who don't always categorize easily into 'heroes' and 'villains'. People you care about. The fact that they're people that run around on top of a zeppelin shooting teleporting ninjas with shotguns is just a bonus.

It's a genre-defying storyline, and probably one of the more original I've read in a long time. It's got the magic thing, sure, but it's also well-researched alternate history, with a sort of superhero flavor... Imagine a prose version of The Watchmen, but with fedoras and Tommy guns, and a supporting cast that runs from Buckminster Fuller to Black Jack Pershing. And the thing with shooting the teleporting ninjas on the dirigible with shotguns, which will make you realize that, no matter how highbrow your tastes, sometimes you need to just shut up and eat your awesome.

Hurry up with the next one, Larry.

Overheard in the Kitchen:

Me: "Owww, ohhh..."

RX: "What's wrong?"

Me: "My ankle hurts. It keeps buckling."

RX: "That's because it's Quadruple Witching Day; that often happens to people on Quadruple Witching Day. You know, we should come up with a version of astrology, but based on Wall Street events."

Me: "They already have. It's called Wall Street."

RX: "See? I know! That's why it will work!"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Meet the new boss...

Remember: Voting for John McCain is just more of George Bush's war on the Constitution, with its indefinite detentions of anybody the government suspects of terrorism...

How's that Hope & Change workin' out?

If Michael Moore had an ounce of integrity... (AHAHAHAHahahaha! ha! hee! heh. Sorry.) ...If Michael Moore had an ounce of integrity, he'd douse himself with gasoline and set himself on fire in front of the White House in protest. I know it would take an awful lot of gas to soak Mike, but he's a multi-millionaire one-percenter, so he can afford it.

Don't worry, though! We get to pick another new king soon, and he'll fix everything! *HEADDESK*

(H/T to WRSA.)

I keep trying to think, but nothing happens.

I've got a big old post in my head that just won't come out, no matter how much I shift and fidget and pace.

I want to talk about holsters.

Also I want to write about John D. Pedersen.

Also I've been ruminating on various military handgun philosophies. For example, people decried the move from the M1911 to the Beretta M9, but look at the M9: It's still a great big hoss of a pistol, holding 15 rounds of what is, in the grand scheme of things, one of the more potent military pistol cartridges of the last century. Now compare that to, say, the Makarov, which is little more than a badge of rank by comparison. Both America and Russia have histories of people riding around on horseback shooting at each other, and yet we shy away from bitty little handguns and they don't...

Weird bout of insomnia last night...

...had me up and roaming the house between strange dreams.
  • A vast underground city, and I was in some corner of it that looked like an unfinished basement, all uneven dirt floors and bare cinderblock walls. I was there for an IDPA match that Robb Allen had invited me to, and I was thinking, "Man, this ceiling's awful low... double up on the hearing protection for sure."

  • A huge cruise ship that departed from this little seaport at the end of a long fjord, and the thing was, you could board it by strapping yourself to an experienced skydiver and tandem-parasailing down onto the deck from these towering cliffs that loomed right over the water at the entrance to the fjord, where it was barely wide enough to accommodate the ship. The person I was with talked me into doing this, which was no mean feat because I do not like heights, Not One Little Bit, so I kept my eyes closed the whole way down until I was safely at poolside on the fantail.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Since it's illegal to hunt lions with a sharp rock...

...danger seekers these days need to get their adrenaline fixes in ways our Pleistocene ancestors wouldn't have imagined (and would have freaked right the heck out and made up stories about flying demons and stuff if they had imagined it.)

That's some amazing, amazing stuff right there. My palms get damp just watching some of it.

(Seen at Kevin's.)

QotD: Selective Blindness Edition.

It's my blog and I can have as many quotes of the day as I want, so neener.

From Larry:
[R]emember kids, it is Republicans that are racist and don’t care about civil liberties. Sure, the Democrat’s greatest hero took something like a hundred and forty thousand men, women, and children, ripped them from their homes with no due process or evidence of guilt, confiscated all their homes, property, and businesses, and then interred them in desolate camps in the desert for several years.

The same media that has an absolute come apart over civil liberties because the Bush administration water boarded a couple of terrorists, picks FDR as their Man of The Century.
Being Larry, it goes without saying that you should go read the whole post.

This is why I am a misanthrope.

Driving has gotten worse in my lifetime. People like to do stuff behind the wheel other than actually operate the motor vehicle, and in addition to the old standbys of coffee & donuts, applying makeup in the rearview, and futzing with the stereo, we've added GPS screens, cell phones, and now handheld internet access (and, given what most people do with one hand while they're on the internet and the fact that they have to hold the phone in the other hand, what are they using to turn the steering wheel?)

The answer to the problem, of course, would be to use common sense, but that has, apparently, gone the way of the common passenger pigeon. Instead, people are so afraid that they won't be able to do the right thing without some guy in shiny boots standing over them with a pair of handcuffs making sure that they do it, that they plead for yet another law, a law against cell phones:

The irony of this law being enforced by a guy carrying a pager, a cell phone, a two-way radio and playing Solitaire on the laptop bolted to his transmission tunnel while he keeps one eye on the readout of his radar gun is duly noted.
Tuesday's recommendation, if adopted by states, would outlaw non-emergency phone calls and texting by operators of every vehicle on the road.

It would apply to hands-free as well as hand-held devices...
I would further note that using a hands-free cell phone is no more distracting than talking to an actual passenger, so when the 2019 Buicks from Government Motors come from the factory with ignition interlocks connected to ball gags, don't say I didn't warn you.

When are we going to just admit what's happened, and change the national motto from "E Pluribus Unum" to "Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?"

*checks year on calendar* Thank Shiva, I'm over halfway done. I'm going to go smoke another cigarette and see if I can't speed things up a little.

QotD: Oh, Grow Up! Edition

Answering the (rhetorical) question "How old should someone be to have the right to defend themselves?" in the comments section at Marko's, Rauðbjorn responds:
You’re old enough when you decide to take on that responsibility for yourself. It’s one of the hallmarks of adulthood. An adult who relies on others to defend him is just a grown-up child.

Overheard in the Hallway:

The morning bustle is ongoing at Roseholme Cottage. Bobbi is getting ready for work. I'm setting up another pot of coffee. And we're both riffing loudly on the old Pepperidge Farm commercials.

RX: "Remember a time when a woman had no more right to vote than any other common farm animal? Pepperidge Farm remembers!"

Me: "Remember a time when a trusty double-barreled shotgun was all that kept the Zeta Reticulans from swoopin' in and stealin' a good man's chickens? Pepperidge Farm remembers!"

RX: "Remember a time when, if a man wanted to know the future, all he had to do was cut open a chicken and scatter the guts? Pepperidge Farm remembers!"

Me: "Remember a time when a man with a pair of horses, an enclosed wagon, and a willingness to violate the Mann Act could go far in life? Pepperidge Farm remembers!"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Obviously this proves we need tighter gun con... wait.

No doubt he got the Kalashnikov and the grenades from an American gun show. They told me you could do that on Law & Order.

Someone check the serial number on the AK with BATFEIEIO. It might be one of theirs.

Paging Kreskin...

Nosing around in the archives yesterday, I found something droll...

It didn't take any great amount of foresight to make this prediction:
My Amazing Kreskin Prediction? Look for a Glock 2.0, with modular grip and ambi slide stop/mag release within five years.
That was February of '06, and the "Gen 4" Glocks were released four years later, with interchangeable backstraps and reversible mag catches. I missed on the slide stop.

They're still going to lose some business over the pull-the-trigger-to-field-strip issue, though, as liability-shy departments will go to guns where you don't need to do that (that's a big feature in the sales spiels of guys from S&W and SIG, you'd better cool believe.)

Explain this to me:

How come the party of small and non-intrusive, Constitutionally-limited government is endlessly obsessed with what people stick in their bodies, into what orifices it gets stuck, and who does the sticking, and then they go accuse the other team of trying to create a "Nanny State"?

I mean, isn't that what Nannies do? Run around saying "No no no no no! Don't put that in your mouth! Spit that out right now!"

Truth is better than fiction...

Surely you've heard the old "NASA spent millions developing a special pen that would write in zero gravity, but the Russians just used a pencil!" saw. It's one of the modern Aesop's fables about government waste and bureaucratic inefficiency that gets repeated so often that it's just accepted at face value as gospel truth.

Wouldn't you like to know how it really went down?

Yay, capitalism!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Where's Chewie?

Chewie the Purse Wookie was at a blogmeet this past weekend:

The photo is borrowed from Brigid, who has several more at her excellent writeup. More blogmeet coverage can be found from OldNFO, my roomie, Mr.B, and Midwest Chick.

Also, I won a fabulous hat, comrades!

Overheard in the Office:

Me: "Wait, what? 'Gingrich A Favorite Among Evangelicals'? They want him to pledge 'that there will be no moral scandals in a Gingrich White House.' Sure! He'll promise you a pony, too!"

RX: "Two ponies in every pot! And an abandoned wife in every garage!"

Since no self-labeled big-C Conservative in their right mind would vote for Romney, watching the gyrations and rationalizations as the more conventionally appealing candidates (at least to the Evangelical wing of the party,) drop away is definitely interesting. Having to hold one's nose is never pleasant.

While the God Squad and I don't see eye-to-eye on... well, any social issue, actually, I'm surprised to find them endorsing a guy who seems pretty secular in his day-to-day life and would appear to only make the socially conservative mouth-noises to court the fundamentalist vote. Me? I don't like him because he thinks that government can solve problems, which is rather like swallowing the spider to catch the fly.

EDITED TO ADD: I just figured out what it is I'm feeling here. Watching Gingrich try to appeal to the Values Voters crowd gives me the exact same sensation I had when law'n'order social conservative Bob Barr ran as a Libertarian: "Here is a man who will bite the head off a live chicken to get your vote." When somebody wants something that badly, it gives me the creeping willies.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tool-using apes.

Marko shows off his field-improvised neck knife.

Some people get all clutch-the-pearls at the sight of a knife, which strikes me as utterly bizarre. How come H. habilis could see the utility of keeping a sharp rock handy, but the concept seems to elude H. cubiculum? Hardly a day goes by that my pocket knife doesn't see use: opening letters, opening packages, breaking down boxes, trimming loose threads on clothing...

With a modern compact flashlight, a small butane lighter, and a halfway decent pocket knife and/or multitool, it's possible for any casually-dressed person to have a good chunk of the "Scout Outdoor Essentials" on their person at all times. (I keep the rest in the trunk of the car...) Being able to fend for one's self, if only long enough for help to arrive, is just part of being an adult.

Overheard in the Hallway:

Roomie is showering, preparatory to a hard day sweating over starship engines. Heading for another cup of coffee, I walk past the bathroom door, singing loudly in a horribly off-key falsetto...
Me: "...there'll be much mistletoeing and pirates yo-ho'ing and drinking of beer!"

RX: [From inside running shower] "'Voluptous furlings drinking beer'?"

Me: "What?!?"

RX: "Did you say 'voluptuous furlings'?"

Me: "What? No, I said 'pirates yo-ho'ing'. How did you get 'voluptuous furlings' out of that?"

RX: "Oh, thank God, I thought you were going to start yiffing."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

By their fruits ye shall know them...

I was looking at this mess at and forcing myself to repeat the words "Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act" in my head to see if I could get it to parse, but nope, it still sounds like gibberish.

Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank, a pair of career tax leeches on the cursus dishonorum, neither of whom has soiled their patrician hands with an honest day's work in their life, are going to bring sense to financial markets and look out for the well-being of the little guy? Yeah, right. Let's try some other equally likely-sounding pairings:
  • Marx & Engels' Comprehensive Guide to Investment Planning

  • The Gacy and Dahmer Show: Fun & Easy Cooking With Kids!

  • The Jack T. Chick School of Molecular Biology
Oh, and another federal agency out of the bargain, just full of sinecures and pensions to secure, petty fiefdoms to expand and vigorously defend, and, no doubt, their very own SWAT team.

Tab Clearing...

A bill to protect the value of π in perpetuity...

Remember about a year ago, when I teed off on the inanity of the EPA's proposed farm dust regulations?

I want you to ponder this: We have reached a point on the civilizational senescence scale where our lawmakers have to gather to pass legislation to prevent the imperial bureaucracy from declaring control over the way the wind blows the dirt.

The fact that this even needed deliberation in the halls of congress should be a warning. This way lies madness. We are only a few years away from horses as senators at this rate (we currently only allow their hindquarters to serve, not the whole horse. Yet.)

Friday, December 09, 2011

Magic beans would have been easier to justify.

Like a steam-driven rights-violating machine whose boilers are fueled by sweating stokers shoveling the taxpayer-looted Bernanke Bucks by the bale, the Department of Homeland Security grinds on, producing nothing of value in return for all that stolen pelf except the occasional golden punchline.

Like the latest from Michigan, where taxpayers who grudgingly forked over their dough and were promised a little Homeland Security in exchange, instead found out that their hard-earned money had been used to buy sno-cone machines. At better than twice the going market rate.

While I'm sure that some explanation will be tendered pointing out that double redundant, milspec, EMP-hardened, flat black, radar absorbent sno-cone machines are obviously going to be more expensive than the kinds used by simple civilians, I think that a more likely hypothesis is that this is just the typical parsimony and thrift you see when people are allowed to spend other people's money.

Hey, hey, ho, ho! DHS has got to go!

Overheard in the Office:

Me: (Idly flipping through the Big Book Of Bullets) "Huh. '.10 Eichelberger Long Rifle'..."

RX: "What?"

Me: "You take store-bought .22LR, pull the bullets, dump the powder..."

RX: "But it's a rimfire! How do you get the priming compound...?"

Me: " the primed cases through a series of sizing dies..."

RX: "Yikes!"

Me: "...and then you seat your..."

RX: "Matchstick."

Me: "...7.5gr .103" spitzer bullet over not quite two grains of AA9, and launch that sucker at over 2100 feet-per-second."

RX: "Yes, but what would you do with it?"

Me: "I bet it would $&#@ up a mouse."

RX: "Yes, but so would a darning needle attached to a length of dowel rod, and it would be a lot more sporting to hunt them that way. I believe fat Hermann was the last hunstman in Europe to take a mouse with the traditional darning needle attached to a length of dowel rod. It just seems like something he'd do."

Sympathetic magic ...

The local news weather crew has been on the air since 0400, keeping snowmageddon away with their LIVE! SNOW TEAM COVERAGE!

Camera crews and reporters have been dispatched to protect all major intersections and freeway junctions from the threat of snow with their hawklike scrutiny, and so far it appears to be working, as the solitary snowflake that landed outside my window quickly died of embarrassment.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Gordon alive, or Adulyadej dead!

Dear God, see what happens when you mothball your battleships? Next thing you know, every tin-penny wog monarch on the planet feels free to imprison Americans for not kissing royal arse.

Is this what we shot all those damned redcoats for? So some foreign king can charge an American citizen with lèse majesté?

Teddy Roosevelt would have landed marines already. That fascist Wilson would have sent Black Jack Pershing at the head of a column of cavalry. (Er, metaphorically, at least, since Thailand's rather a swim, even for a cavalry horse.) Heck, even that yuppie farmer Tommy J would have had the U.S.S. Constitution delivering broadsides in the mouth of the Chao Praya by now.

Laying hands on a sovereign citizen is every bit the act of lèse majesté that calling Rama IX a great big poopy-head is. Americans don't bow to kings. (Ahem! Barry! Stand up straight, dammit!)

Quis custodiet...

It's good to see that sometimes the watchers are getting watched.

One measure I've always used to tell the good cops from the bad ones is to see how they react to the idea of crooked police officers. If they come over all "Well, you know, it's a tough job and..." and hemming and hawing and making excuses, then I know they're very different from the lawmen who get all red in the face and talk about crooked cops with the kind of barely-reined-in revulsion most people reserve for baby rapers.

Looks like the officer at the linked article managed to run into one of the latter.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

All aboard the failtrain...

Over at yesterday, I ran across this:

Wait, is there a mag in that gun when he's jabbing the dude in the throat?!?

(And what's with the throat jab with a pistol, anyway? You crush somebody's larynx with a muzzle strike, and they're very likely going to croak. If you want to croak somebody with a pistol, I can think of a much easier way to do it, and if you don't want to croak them, then you don't have any business punching them in the throat with a pistol. Especially a loaded pistol)

I am kind of appalled to find out how numbed I am at the sight of students doing the downrange "trust your buddy" drills. It seems that standing next to the target is just routine now in certain circles. My (only slightly tongue-in-cheek) prediction is that really "hardcore", "renegade", "leading edge" trainers will have people holding targets during "trust your buddy" drills by this time next year.

And what's with this little waltz drill around the 3:15 mark? What exactly is that accomplishing? "I've got this guy grappling at arm's length, so I'm going to pull my heater out with one hand and hold it out where he can grab it easily and try shooting at something else while he's still squirming around and resisting in my weak hand."

The pièce de résistance, however, was the throw at the end: "Okay, come at me, bro! No, first put your foot right there..."

I have learned a new rule, though: If the trainer you're thinking of using advertises his business by photoshopping his face into video game artwork, this should be a clue to seek training elsewhere.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

QotD: Only Commies Wear Thinking Caps Edition

In the middle of a gem of a post, Ken at Popehat lets fly this zinger:
"The government could have offered a point-by-point refutation of Bryan Gonzalez’ spur-of-the-moment comments, but that would be missing the point. The War on Drugs is not a Socratic dialogue; the War on Drugs is a harried dialogue with your five-year-old: because I said so, that’s why." - Ken @ Popehat.
You should go now and read the whole thing.

If they can get a sex angle in there somehow...

Attractive White Woman Walks Into Airplane Prop. News Directors Across America Spontaneously Orgasm.
So far, the Today show has devoted a whole frickin' segment to the Texas chick who strolled right into a spinning prop, after devoting only a ten-second blurb before the previous commercial break to dozens of funny-talking brown people getting blown up in Kabul, presumably because none of the latter had ever done catalog work for department stores.

No word on how many elderly folks got their wrinkly asses robbed or raped in the ghetto last night, but stay tuned for air times for the forthcoming Lifetime movie, Propelled To Glory.

Overheard in the Office:

Me: "The Taliban is condemning the suicide bombing..."

RX: "What? Did they not touch first base or something?"

Me: "They're saying it's outside forces trying to divide Afghanistan. 'Somebody set up us the bomb.'"
"Trying to divide Afghanistan"? Hey, kids! Here's your chance to use "tautology" in a sentence today!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Tab Clearing...

Overheard in the Office:

RX: "You know, Carrie Nation looks just like J. Edgar Hoover: same bulldog jaw, same mean little face squished into the bottom half or her skull. She could be Hoover's mother.... Which would explain rather a lot, when you think about it.
When I look at her, I always think of a Pekingese in a black Mother Hubbard. Not that there's anything wrong with dogs in dresses."

Me: "Especially if they're playing poker."


The uplifters are at it again.

The lame duck Indianapolis city council is meeting tonight and on the agenda is a proposal to strengthen the city's workplace smoking ban. Currently exempt are bars that admit people only over 21, cigar bars, private clubs, and fraternal organizations, bowling alleys(?), and designated smoking hotel rooms.

The GOP-run city council wants to extend the ban to bars, bowling alleys and all hotel rooms, and their proposal would only allow existing grandfathered cigar bars, clubs, and fraternal organizations to continue being hazy, while all new ones will have to be smoke-free.

The Democrats on the council are opposing the ban, not out of any sense of overreach, but because they think it's the GOP's way of trying to short circuit the total ban of all smoking in all workplaces that they themselves intend to ram through when their shiny new majority gets sworn in after the new year.

Now, it doesn't much affect me directly: I don't bowl, don't go to bars, and don't belong to any private clubs, so I pretty much only smoke at home these days, but when I heard some of the arguments being put forward by those overcome with, as Mencken put it, "the old lust to lift 'em up", the only thing that saved the TV set from getting Elvised was the fact that it wasn't mine.

My favorite was the earnest plea to think about the employees who "have to" work around secondhand smoke all day. Because you know how press gangs of bar owners are all the time kicking in people's doors, dragooning them off to work, chained to the taps in those smoky Satanic pits.

I would submit, alternatively, that there are so few workplaces that allow smoking these days that maybe the employees in those places deliberately looked for someplace to work where they could take a puff without getting rained on. Not that that would worry the do-gooders, because at the end of the day, nobody who is really earnestly engaged in Doing Good worries about the feelings of those they're helping. It's not really about the helpees, anyway.

Does this look like the face of somebody who's really concerned about others?


Overheard in Roomie's Bedroom:

The TV is tuned to the local news. The weather radar shows a line of rain stretching diagonally northeast from Dallas through Indianapolis and on towards Cleveland. It's obviously colder behind the front...
Me: "Huh. It's snowing in the panhandle..."

RX: "Is that supposed to be some kind of euphemism?"

Me: "What? No. It's just snowing in the Texas panhandle."

RX: "Oh, good. I was afraid it was and it was just too obscure for me to get it. 'They were snowing in the panhandle all last night'..."

Me: "Hoisting the mainsail. You know... grouting the bathroom?"

RX: "That one sounds gross."

Me: "They spent all their time braiding light bulb filaments, eh? There's a typhoon in Australia."

RX: "That sounds like a polite way of telling someone that they're peeing on their shoes. 'Hey! There's a typhoon in Australia, if you know what I mean.'"

Sunday, December 04, 2011

[citation needed]

Scenic Valentine, Nebraska got its corn husked by an alien storm?

Huh. The things I learn at Wikipedia...

Across the fields of mourning...

I watched the local morning news to catch the weather forecast, then flipped the channel over to the lefty documentary channel, Current TV, which is usually good for some lulz, while I worked up the energy to get out of bed.

There, on the TV screen, big as life and twice as gross, was a dude lying amidst the ocotillo and the prickly pear looking a little mummified in his Adidas and blue jeans. Something had been at his face, most likely vultures. I couldn't help but blurt aloud "Yup, that's a bleepin' dead guy, alright." Hell of a thing to see before breakfast.

I had stumbled across a documentary that seemed to take umbrage at the vast attractive nuisance in America's lower left-hand corner, otherwise known as the Sonoran Desert, which is turning aspiring construction workers and fruit harvest technicians into human raisins at a pretty good clip, apparently. That is, when it doesn't get them shot for trying to tenderfoot their trespassing way through a desert that is jam-packed with raping, looting, beheading, drug-smuggling banditos locked in a turf war like something from Martin Scorsese on acid.

Now, normally, if the pool in your back yard was drowning neighborhood kids at a rate of a few hundred or more a year, you'd put a fence around it to keep the blighters out and hang a "trespassers will be eaten by piranha" sign on said fence and be done with it, but the guys doing the documentary did not strike me as being in the pro-fence camp. Further, since we've already put fence in most places that are easy to get to, that leaves the unfenced spots out in the middle of hell's back forty as the only lightly-monitored crossing places.

The film crew drove south and hooked up with a coyote in Altar to smuggle them back across the border somewhere in the middle of the Arizona desert, which I am pretty sure is not an authorized port of entry. I'm not, however, clear on the legalities involved, especially if you're breaking the law for the sake of Art and Truth as though you were working for Michael Bloomberg.

Anyhow, what I learned from all this is that hiking for days in the desert with just a couple gallon jugs of Gatorade between you and a really convincing Amenhotep IV impression is incredibly stupid and dangerous. You would think that this would be blindingly obvious, but apparently it's not.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Notes From The Other Side:

Morning breakfast of sackcloth and mortification, watching Rachel Maddow and the first half of that dude they have on after her, whose name I can't remember.
  • It struck me this morning that Rachel Maddow is like an exact photographic negative of Rush Limbaugh, rotated about the political axis. The same smugness, auto-back-patting, and "Can you believe those morons on the other side?" schtick. It would not at all surprise me to find that she was consciously aping him. It's obviously a successful business model.

  • You know that line from Cool Hand Luke? The one that goes "There's some men you just can't reach"? Yeah. I think it would be, not only pointless, but actually impossible for me to talk politics or economics or much of anything other than sports, food, or the weather with Rachel. Actually, given my favorite sports and our mutually incompatible beliefs about whether the weather is being actively sabotaged by Republicans or not, we'd have to stick to food.

  • The new dude seems like a nice guy. Definitely, however, a member of that tribe of h. saps that is, like a Prius, incapable of venturing off pavement. Contrasting these docile, soft and toothless creatures with what you'd find in a deer camp or foxhole, I fear that speciation is well underway.

  • The panel on the new guy's show, three liberals and a token metrocon from National Review Online, and I could all agree on one thing: WTF, GOP? SRSLY, WTF?

"Why do you watch this stuff, Tam?" Because I don't generally watch network news and I spend my days on the internet in a political echo chamber. I don't want to wind up as cluelessly insulated as Pauline Kael.