Sunday, September 30, 2012

I want this sign...

...except I would solder the button so you couldn't push it.

See more on Know Your Meme

Because I'm a rebel, that's why.

Vobis non me dux, baby.

The king's men...

So, by now everybody has probably heard about the incompetent TSA clowns letting the woman on the airplane with her loaded Ruger Elsie Pee, and how she flew all the way to New Jersey with the heater in her purse before realizing it was in there and turning said heater over to the the Port Authority cops.

A couple of things stood out about this:
The woman was in possession of the gun as she is a firefighter who is licensed to carry it. 
That quote is money. "Oh, that explains it! Never know when you might need to extinguish a house fire with a magazine or two of .380..."

There's nothing that makes a liberal reporter feel safer about a firearm than if you can show them a government paycheck stub to go with it. Doesn't matter if the paycheck stub says you're a dog catcher or a park ranger, it makes a gun okay. Of course the king's men may go armed!
The police got in touch with the Essex County prosecutor but the woman was not charged with anything or arrested because she reported the incident herself.
That's an odd turn in New Jersey, where simple possession of an unlicensed firearm is a no-kidding go-to-prison felony, a law which innocent travelers have run afoul of before. However, those travelers weren't firefighters... they were "civilians", not the king's men, entitled to be a recipient of "professional courtesy".

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Subliminal advertising...

From Aesop's Tables today...

Suddenly I craved baklava, and I had no idea why.

Tab clearing...

  • Kilted To Kick Cancer: I have been remiss in blogging about this. If you have not yet donated, there is still time. (Edited To Add: Thank you to the couple of readers who threw money in the tip jar the other day for that Carcano. I am given to understand that the rifle has gone to a good home, and your donations were forwarded to the KTKC fund. Thank you again. Cancer has been on my mind of late...)

  • Indianapolis Blogmeet Tomorrow.

  • Breakfast at Zest today. It was yummy.

The Silly Season in retail gets sillier every year...

Somewhere near the local Target there must be a singularity, because there are some weird time-dilation effects going on...

Mind you, we're not even out of September yet. I predict that within the next couple years, Frosty and Rudolph will be popping up amongst the Back-to-School aisles.

Raise your hand if you're shocked.

The useless probulators of the TSA keep insisting that they are a vital law enforcement cog in the well-oiled machine that keeps America's skies free of box-cutter-wielding jihadi hijackers, and not, as may be supposed, a pack of blue-gloved kleptomaniac incompetent perverts without the skill and dedication required to master driving a mop in the lobby of the local McDonald's franchise.

Hey, when given the opportunity to steal a high dollar piece of electronic gear like an iPad, they only do it ten percent of the time!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Check the box marked "OH, HELL, NO!"

Attention fellow Hoosiers: Don't forget that you have a chance to vote "NO" on the question of whether Justice Steven H. David keeps drawing a state paycheck this November.

This is the man who ruled that you have no right to resist an unlawful entry into your house by anybody with a badge. Take him off the state bench and put him back on the back cover of the phone book, where crappy lawyers belong.

Even if you're not the votin' kind, on the theory that you don't like choosing a master any more than you like having one chosen for you, you can still go in and vote "NO" for Justice Steven H. David and leave the rest of the ballot blank. Not even the most ardent wookie suiter could have a problem with sending a straight-up "YOU'RE FIRED!" to a politician.

Remember: Vote "NO" for Justice Steven H. David! There's even a Facebook page!

This would look sporty mounted in the fighting top.

Also from the Spanish-American War section, what appears to be a rifle-caliber Nordenfelt gun. While it would look sporty in the fighting top of a protected cruiser of the Asiatic Squadron, pity the poor bluejackets who'd have to schlep the cartridge boxes up there to service the guns...

Curator Needed, Part III...

This brave Hoosier corporal is going to be one sad panda when he caps off the single shot in his floptop Springfield, since his cartridge belt is full of .30-40 Krag ammo instead of the .45-70 required by his rifle.

Automotif VI

Seen in the parking lot of a Home Despot in Knoxville earlier this week, an Austin-Healey 3000:
The 3000, named for its 3-liter six banger, was the successor to the Austin-Healey 100, named for its 100mph top speed, which was rather a big deal for a street car in 1953.

They didn't know as much about aerodynamics back then as we do now, but they sure knew how to make 'em pretty.

Safety is a fairly modern invention: You would go through that steering wheel like a cheeseknife. At least you'd die with an eyeful of those lovely Smiths gauges.

Also seen in K-town, the Anti-Healey. The license plate reads "PLGNPLY"

Curator Needed, Part Deux...

...and then we have the longarms of the Allied Powers!

Up first is a Spanish M1893 Mauser, which is cool and all, except that Spain didn't participate in the '14-'18 festivities on either side.

Next up is a Dutch M1871/88 Beaumont-Vitali labeled as a Belgian M77(?).

Then we have a Swiss Gew. 78 Vetterli, another heretofore unknown ally in the fight against the Kaiser.

Below that is a rifle labeled as a British Enfield, although it is actually an American-made "Enfield", probably by Remington.

The bottom piece is labeled as a "US Remington 1917 Rifle". While it certainly was built by Remington in the United States in 1917, it is a Russian M1891 Mosin-Nagant, intended for the Czar's armies fighting the Boche. Several technical problems interfered with delivery, however, such as Russia not paying, then chickening out of the war, then falling to fighting amongst themselves in November of that year. Pretty much the only Remington-built Mosins to ever see Mother Russia arrived there postwar in the hands of US doughboys who used them to shoot at Bolsheviks (which is a fine and good thing to do with a rifle.)

Also, apparently it enhances the exhibit if every rifle's rear sight, whether ladder or tangent, is set vertically, never mind whether or not it is actually intended to be used in that position.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Curator Needed...

When Bobbi and I went to the Indiana World War Memorial, the trip through the museum in the basement was alternately fascinating and frustrating. Every now and again I'd run across some glitch or inaccuracy that activated my OCD like seeing a tee-shirt tag sticking out the collar of the person ahead of me in line at the grocery store: You want to fix it, but there's nothing you can do and it takes all your willpower to keep your hands to yourself.

Here's their display of Central Powers rifles from the Great War:

The top rifle appears to be a WWII-vintage Steyr-manufactured Mauser, given the turned-down bolt handle, wooden top handguard that runs all the way back to the receiver ring, and grasping grooves in the stock. The pistol grip isn't the distinctive Steyr one, so maybe it's not, but whatever it is, it isn't a WWI rifle with that bolt handle and the bolt disassembly disc in the stock. Corrected by Rob in comments: Looking at the position of the trigger guard in relation to the bolt handle, it's almost certainly a Kar 98a...

Note that the stock is "duffle cut", allowing the disassembled barrelled action and stock to fit in a Hoosier GI's dufflebag. I believe that the label should indicate that. Also it should indicate that somebody stuck that barrel band on backwards; the sling swivel's on the wrong side.

The second one down, a Kar 88, and the fourth one down, a Gew 88, might have seen service in the Great War, but the third one down is a Franco-Prussian War-era M62 Dreyse "needle rifle" that was already a wall-hanger long before Mons and the Marne. And it's mislabeled as a Gew 71, to boot.

The bottom one, an Austrian M95 that hasn't been chopped into a stutzen, kinda gave me the wantsies...

Once again, this brings up the phenomenon of "Gell-Mann Amnesia": Every time I looked at an exhibit in an area where I had some personal knowledge or expertise, I saw bunches of little flaws and errors, and yet get away from those areas and the natural tendency was to just accept what I saw as gospel truth... Why should they have been any more accurate with the other stuff?

Sneak Preview:

While I am not at liberty to say too much yet, I snapped this picture of the raw ingredients of a sexy, sexy 1911 forged frame and slide the other day. #Not_Castpian

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Calibration device...

I'd linked to an earlier version of this, but here's The Scale Of The Universe 2.0.

"Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving, and revolving at nine hundred miles an hour, that's orbiting at ninety miles a second, so it's reckoned, the sun that is the source of all our power..."

He'll probably get more than 20 pushups for this.

Believe it or not, the military has historically never been on the cutting edge of firearms safety. Going back and watching WWII training films will make anybody with a modern eye towards the subject cringe; muzzle discipline can be casual, to put it charitably, and fingers constantly stray inside of trigger guards in those pre-Rule Three days.

Watching modern footage shows dramatically improved muzzle discipline and a passing awareness of keeping the finger off the trigger, but there remains this institutional notion that one can use a totem called a "clearing barrel" to create a mythical object called an "unloaded gun" which can then apparently be handled with abandon.

I suppose that when you have hundreds of thousands of young people with what is, at the end of the day, fairly rudimentary firearms training, sometimes accidents are going to happen, especially when they take that training home while off duty and adult supervision, in the form of irate NCOs, is lacking.

However you slice it, getting drunk and then using a pistol as a tool to scare your buddy out of his hiccuping fit so that he doesn't disturb the football game is a level of incompetence so advanced that it is indistinguishable from malice.

Further, I would like to nominate the unnamed police spokesperson for the Understatement of the Year Award:
Myers allegedly "produced a handgun and while handling it in an unsafe manner, discharged the handgun striking the victim in the face," police said.
That wasn't just any ordinary "handling it in an unsafe manner", that was very nearly the Platonic Ideal of unsafe gun handling compared to which all other unsafe gun handling is merely shadows on the cave wall.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Maybe this will be moved to "Non Fiction" soon.

Today is Book Bomb day for James Wesley Rawles' novel Founders: A Novel of the Coming Collapse. I eagerly read my review copy as soon as it arrived.

Some people have complained that the books are thinly-disguised "How To" guides with a story built around them like scaffolding, and others have made note of the preachifying in books that are, after all, written by a deeply religious man. If those were absolute turn-offs, well, Founders will be like going to the zoo: Either you're happy to see the giraffes again, or you're not.

Myself, I enjoyed the book, since it included more backstory on the beginnings of The Collapse, as well as covering the adventures of characters that took place "off-screen" in the first book, thereby filling in the story and tying up loose ends neatly.

If you enjoyed Survivors and Patriots, you'll need no urging to buy this one, and if you haven't tried them, I'd at least suggest reading them with an open mind. There is much useful in there, and you get a page-turning post-apocalyptic Mad-Max-meets-Red-Dawn storyline, to boot.

To recap...

Because two-way struggles aren't confusing enough, Taiwanese Coast Guard vessels have joined the PLAN and JMSDF ships bluffing and posturing and gunboat diplomacy-ing around the disputed islands in the South China Sea, adding a potential Tuco to the already volatile mix of Blondie and Angel Eyes.

Ever one for stern admonishments, the current administration, having been delicately urged by Beijing to piss off and mind its own business, replied with impassioned urgings for everybody to play nice:
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in turn urged China and its Southeast Asian neighbors to resolve disputes "without coercion, without intimidation, without threats and certainly without the use of force".
China responded by officially commissioning the ex-Varyag, now Liaoning into service.

Don't worry, though; chances of a shooting war that sucks us in are slight, or so I read.

QotD: The Real Purpose Department

Bob Owens, explaining the real reason behind the Second Amendment, included this zinger:
This need didn’t end in 1781 when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, or in 1865 when Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, or in 1946 when the McMinn County Sheriff’s Department surrendered in Athens, Tennessee.
For those who don't know about it: The Battle of Athens.

Monday, September 24, 2012

More Interesting Times...

What with Turkey being a member of NATO and us having a president in dire need of appearing studly on the foreign policy front between now and November, the ongoing contretemps in Syria are worth keeping an eye on. I don't doubt for a moment that the administration would jump on anything they thought would be a quick and easy win with minimal casualties and a good human rights-esque "No More Rwandas" spin.

Overheard at the Book Store...

Whatever McKay's business model is, they should franchise it. I've never been there when the parking lot didn't look like they were giving dollar bills away.

They draw an oddly People of Wal-Mart crowd for a used book store, which contrasts (sometimes hilariously so) with the reliably goth/hippie/alt./nerdy staff that you'd expect to find at a mega used book store in a college town.

In there the other day, wending toward the front with a basket full of Flashman novels and back issues of MHQ, I passed the audiobooks section and saw two little old ladies poring over them. One, dressed in a teal pantsuit with a matching felt dumpling of a hat on her head (a hat that had what looked for all the world like a dead bird and a bunch of flowers affixed to one side of it,) sported the spackle-like makeup and hair dye of one determined to not go gently.

She turned to her friend and blurted, and not in her inside voice, mind you, "Edna! See if they have that Fifty Shades of Grey book!"

I am not often caught at a loss for words, but there you go.

QotD: Manners Edition.

"But the guy who owns that stove, in that crumbling little cabin, on that creepy plain of mud, I don’t know him from Adam. I don’t owe him anything except what one human being honorably owes another – which includes that I should leave his stuff alone." -Joel at Joel's Gulch
This would be a better world if more people learned the simple joys that can be derived from Minding One's Own Business and Keeping One's Hands To One's Self.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Okay, look...

There have been times when a police officer has shot somebody who was armed with a knife or an airsoft gun or whatever, and I've come across as some sort of big ol' cop apologist by saying things like "How could he have known it was an airsoft gun?" or "How many times is the officer supposed to let himself get stabbed before he can put away the pepper spray and use lethal force?"

Part of it is from a certain reluctance to engage in Monday-morning quarterbacking, but a lot of it is simple self-preservation: I'd hate to have to shoot some hypothetical future knife-wielding mugger, only to have the other team's lawyer come strolling into the courtroom with a ream of printed out blog posts featuring me whining "Why didn't the cop just wrestle the knife out of his hand?"

With all that taken into consideration, and acknowledging that it is not yet Monday morning: "Blue 42! Hut, hut, hut!"

Seriously, officer? A double amputee? In a wheelchair?

I understand it was a pretty stressful situation, and that the guy had a reputation for occasionally losing his fecal matter and rolling about the place like a combination of a rabid Ghengis Khan and R2D2, but thus far the group home staff have kept him successfully tethered to Mother Earth with a toolset notably devoid of Glock 22s. Even if you really and truly thought that the pen he was waving about was an... I don't know, an X-acto knife, I guess... was going to guns the onliest and bestest solution at your disposal?

How could you have thought that would look good?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

QotD: Wish I'd Said That Edition

In a comment over at Unc's about the pointed questions Obama was asked by Univision reporters regarding Fast & Furious, questions the US media has ignored with a vengeance, Reno Sepulveda wrote:
Yet another example of a Mexican doing a job Americans are unwilling to do.
I would have given my right arm to have typed that zinger. That left a mark.

Overheard in Gunsmithing...

re: The rear sight installation on the Smith:
Gunsmith Bob: "Oh, yeah, if you don't know about that plunger spring under there, that little disc is going to do what discs do..."

Me: "Get used for ultimate frisbee? Kidnap farmers?"

Sights again...

Got Ameriglo I-Dot Pros onto the M&P 9, too, yesterday. Again, pics were taken and a detailed post will follow.

That could have been sporty if I was unaware of the little jack-in-the-box Smith hides under the rear sight assembly by way of a striker block plunger assembly.

Mitt Romney: Threat, or Menace?

Compared to the tone in the press* right now, America's mainstream media conglomerates and prime-time pundits were on the fence about who they should support in '08.

At alone, the most favorable headline was "It's Not All Over For Romney", which was kind of a relief, because looking at the headlines at MSNBC or, you'd have thought they'd called the election already. I haven't seen the like since Nathan Lane's begging Slick Willie to scrap the 22nd Amendment.

*There's an archaic term: "Get me the phone so I can dial the press secretary."

Friday, September 21, 2012

Tab Clearing...

  • Kickstarter for a documentary film project about California gun laws: ASSAULTED.

  • Despite being kicked off Indiegogo in a fit of frothing hoplophobia, Defense Distributed has reached their funding goal for developing an open source firearm capable of being replicated on 3D printers, a sort of 21st Century Liberator.

  • Thanks to Brownells, and despite having all the mechanical aptitude and hand-eye coordination of a palsied vervet monkey, I successfully swapped out the sights on my G19 for a set of Ameriglo I-Dot Pros. I took pictures, too! There will be a post.

Wait, what?

The president reads classified security briefings (when he can be bothered) off his iPad? The iPad that was made in People's Liberation Army Western Consumer Goods Factory #347? And this seems like a good idea to somebody other than MSS headquarters in Beijing?

Oh, the networking is disabled. Well that makes it okay then.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Stehlen Sie dieses Buch.

Alert the Ministry of Irony: German anti-intellectual-property activist gets fat book deal, issues DMCA takedown notice against bootleg .pdf copies.

You can't make this stuff up. Well, you could, but you would be laughed at as a ham-handed Randian hack if you wrote that into the plot of a novel.

Because I'm a joiner...

...and also I'm stumped for content myself this morning, I'm going to steal an idea from Unc. It's totally okay, though, because he stole it from Alan.

Like Alan, I only listen in the car. Unlike both Alan and Unc, I'm too dang lazy to filter for just the past month, so it's just a list of the top twenty most played songs on the iPod, period. My list is blandly mainstream compared to theirs, and most of it can be heard in elevators or drug stores these days:
  1. "Like A Prayer" Madonna
  2. "Emotion Detector" Rush
  3. "Cantara" Dead Can Dance
  4. "Touch And Go" Emerson, Lake & Powell
  5. "Goodnight Lover" Fluke
  6. "Riff Raff" Linkin Park
  7. "The Day The World Went Away" Nine Inch Nails
  8. "Marooned" Pink Floyd
  9. "Tomorrow, Wendy" Concrete Blonde
  10. "Burn" The Cure
  11. "Ascension" Dead Can Dance
  12. "Another Body Murdered" Faith No More & Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.
  13. "Hey Jealousy" Gin Blossoms
  14. "Gold Dust Woman" Hole
  15. "Mystify" INXS
  16. "Tainted Love (Soft Cell)" Marilyn Manson
  17. "Hungry Like The Wolf" Duran Duran
  18. "Live And Let Die" Guns N' Roses
  19. "Don't Cry" Guns N' Roses
  20. "Think About The Way" Ice MC
Okay, I can understand that repeating a Madonna ditty once or twice on sunny, top-down drives can skew its ranking, but the one I don't get is the Gin Blossoms song. How did it get that high up there? I don't use playlists, everything is random shuffle, and I know I've never repeated it, because I don't even particularly like it. However, it is blandly inoffensive enough that I've probably never skipped it either when it's been served up; it's the acoustic equivalent of eggshell white paint on the walls.

The Linkin' Park thing is funny, too, because it's just a little twenty-second spoken blurb between tracks on an album, and I guess I just don't pay it any mind if it gets played by itself on shuffle.

Also, the list looks a little odd to me because I've been using the Amazon music widget on my phone a fair amount lately, and it's all full of VNV Nation, Moby, M83, Death Cab For Cutie, and The Glitch Mob.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tabs keep popping up faster than I can clear them...

  • When unemployment pays almost as much as the available jobs, work is disincentivized. Remember: If you want less of something, like tobacco or income, tax it. If you want more of something, like tobacco or unemployment, subsidize it. (And if you want proof that our government is crazy, roll those two sentences around in your head for awhile...)

  • With the evil dictator Mubarak gone, the moderate and peace-loving secular government of Egypt is now issuing arrest warrants for United States citizens for the crime of blasphemy. If the US government would like to lose all legitimacy with its citizens in one swell foop, well, opportunities like this one don't come along every day...

Tab Clearing...

Recoil, for once, was not "brisk but manageable".

The rise of the internet has seen the democratization of the gun review. Everyman is out there reviewing firearms, blissfully ignorant of decades of dull, tired cliches like "recoil was brisk but manageable" and "as long as the author did his part, the pistol was combat accurate."

Everywoman, too. Bereft of the usual cliches and writing to a varied audience that might not all have the Gunzine Decoder Book close to hand, she actually had to describe things in terms her readers would understand. I especially like this part:
In short, the pistol handles exactly how you imagined guns worked as a kid: you pull the trigger, there is a flash and a bang, and the muzzle rises a little. There is barely any kick to it, and follow-up shots are fast and easy.
That's brilliant!

I've voiced my crankily reactionary opinions on the PMR-30 before, but I'll say this: If one just has to have a plastic gun with a gas tank brim-lippin' full of hyperactive .22 pellets, one could spend a lot more money.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Overheard in the Office...

The setting: I am in the office, typing at the internets. Roomie is down the hall in her bedroom getting ready for work. The TeeWee is tuned to the Today show in there.
RX: "They've got that... that guy on!"

Me: "Not that guy?"

RX: "Yeah that guy!"

Me: "I hate that guy."

RX: "No, you love this guy."

Me: "Oh, you said it was that guy! This guy is different; I love this guy but I hate that guy."

RX: "The guy on a horse!"

Me: "Ohhh... THAT guy! He could just come in here and stand around for a while and that'd be fine. And then maybe read the phone book to me."
For bonus Tuesday morning irony points, the guy on the horse is Isaiah Mustafa and gives the coolest, most down-to-earth interview this side of Mike Rowe...

I'm sorry I made you riot.

Rolling onto his back to expose his soft belly and slightly widdling himself in shame, professional self-loather Brian D. McLaren writes
I was raised as an evangelical Christian in America, and any discussion of Christian-Jewish-Muslim relations around the world must include the phenomenon of American Islamophobia...
You know, I think we're getting to the point where "Islamophobia" (instead of, er... "misislamy"? ...which is what you probably meant) is getting to be an appropriate term to use. I do get a little edgy around people when I'm not sure if their response to "Hey, Ahmet my friend, tell me, did you hear the one about 'Why did the Prophet cross the road?'" will be to throw Molotov cocktails through my windows and drag my beheaded corpse through the street.

Actually, "Islamophobia" may not be an accurate term at all, since "-phobia" describes fear that is irrational or out of proportion, when it has been shown over and over that a fear of Muslims losing their collective $#!+ in an orgy of burning, looting, and killing in response to "insults" that might not even be sufficient do draw more than a "Yeah? So's your mom!" in response on any civilized elementary school playground is grounded in, not just historic example, but a clear-headed grasp of current events.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Interesting times...

We've got the Islamic rioting across the Middle East, Israel threatening preemptive action against Iran (who is coyly hinting at support for Syria if Western hawks intervene,) massive anti-Japanese riots in China forcing factory closures as PLAN and JMSDF warships are almost playing bumper cars in the South China Sea...

It's feeling pretty 1914 around here these days. All we need now is for something all unsuspected and triggering to happen, like maybe the heir to the throne of a senescent empire to get killed by violent militants, and we could be hearing the Guns of September!

Overheard in the Hallway...

I'm on my way to refill my coffee cup, walking down the hallway past the bathroom door, behind which roomie is engaged in her morning shower. Over the sound of running water comes the following exchange:
RX: "Pick a number between 12 and Exploded."

Me: "Tufted."

RX: "Huck did what?"

Me: "No, Tango-Uniform-Foxtrot-Tango-Echo-Delta: 'tufted'."
It can go from zero to Dada around here in about two seconds flat.

It's not that I'm scared of heights...'s just that I've decided that a nearly foolproof way to avoid plummeting to a horrible screaming death is to avoid them where possible.

For example, you could not march me to where this hiker is standing at gunpoint. You might get me to inch out there on my tummy, eyes scrunched shut and limbs a-quiver if I really really believed you might shoot me otherwise, but to stand out there? Hellz no. You could fall off! I'd rather take my chances making a play for your gun.

My palms get sweaty just looking at that picture.

Oddly, heights don't bother me much in an airplane. Maybe it's that lack of any continuous visual connection between my point-of-view and the ground that robs it of its sense of perspective.

(H/T to Bob at The Drawn Cutlass.)

But it wasn't a dream. It was a place! And you, and you, and you, and you were there!

Long and insanely detailed dream last night...

Bobbi and I were living in a house in Tennessee, in some area that reminded me of the west side of Chattanooga, with lots of vertical topography. It was a '60s ranch, something of a fixer-upper, hugely rambling, with a pool, and overlooking some interstate from the back yard and thus crazy reasonably-priced.

The ground shook like an earthquake, and Bobbi looked on her iPhone (this should have been the 'This is all a dream' alert for me, right there) to see what happened, and I ran out in the back yard and looked across the interstate to see that the very tall sign for the truck stop/gas station half a mile down the road was a twisted ball of wreckage on the ground, and all the roads around it were lined with the flashing blue and red strobes of emergency vehicles.

Apparently there was now a huge fire and hillsides were burning and Bobbi wanted to go take pictures, and so we piled into her little Hyundai Accent (now inexplicably right-hand drive) and set off.

We're driving up this one-lane elevated on-ramp towards the part of the interstate that is wreathed in smoke and I'm peering out the windshield, worried about stopped cars ahead when suddenly there's a grizzly bear rearing up on its hind legs in the middle of the road! I look over at Bobbi and she's asleep! I shake her awake and she swerves around the bear.

But then the concrete chute ahead of us is full of bears! And moose! And bears fighting moose! Obviously they have fled the forest fires in the surrounding hills for the safety of the elevated freeway. I wake Bobbi again to steer us through the slalom of battling woodland monsters, and as I do, I see this Chewbacca-looking thing go running the other way down the shoulder! "Did you see that? Was that a Sasquatch?"

And then we get to the parking lot of the local medical school/research hospital/Umbrella Corp. laboratories, and go inside and run into LabRat and Stingray and the four of us wind up running up and down deserted corridors with Beretta 92s, shooting up the weird ghost kids from The Shining and cleaver-wielding lab-coated mad doctors like a first-person shooter.

And we get to a more populated part of the place and we're trying to act all nonchalant in this lobby, waiting for an elevator alongside a bunch of people wearing scrubs, one of whom is pushing this kid in a wheelchair who is wearing a gingham dress like Dorothy and staring at me with these big creepy unnatural china doll eyes like painted glass ping pong balls. Three of them. Eyes, that is. Three big creepy eyes.

We ducked into a storage room, hoping to boost some scrubs ourselves so we could blend in better with the locals, but there weren't any in there except for a few odds and ends that would have been too small on Hervé Villechaize or would have hung off André the Giant like a circus tent. The last thing I remember before I woke up, we were looting the deserted campus bookstore for anything that might be of use...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

This will all end in tears.

So, some municipal PD in the Garden State has figured out how to scam some H&K buzzguns on the taxpayer dime. Note that if it was just shoulder arms they wanted, you practically have to post guards to keep the federal government from sneaking surplus M16s into the department armory these days, but no, Kraut maschinenpistolen are cooler, and chambered in .40, just like their duty sidearms!

With what task are they justifying the purchase of these full rock'n'roll bullet hoses? Well, the guns (which will surely be allocated amongst the 15-man department based on duty assignment and skill with the weapon and not who plays poker with the chief on Saturday nights) are needed to protect and serve... the Borough Council.
Police Chief George Becker linked the acquisition of the rifles to the recently begun practice of having a police officer at each Borough Council meeting. “We don’t know, with the way things are today, who’s going to walk through that door. It’s a public meeting and there’s 50 people in here and some crazy person wants to see how many he can take out. You see it all over the country, in schools, in government buildings; it’s in grocery stores, for God’s sake, it’s everywhere.”
I can hardly wait to see some half-trained Joisey Barney Fife cutting loose with a UMP-40 set to "group therapy" in a room packed with small-town politicians. It'll make the recent NYPD Fifth Avenue Fiasco look like a Saturday night sorority squirt gun fight.

I'd almost be willing to charge into the room waving a black-painted rubber chicken and yelling "Al's who Act Bars!" just to set him off. I figure I'd be the safest person in the room while he mows down the zoning committee and half the school board.

...and then seven cows climbed seven towers and threw up seven times...

I had a dream last night that I was working on a book project with Andrew from Vuurwapen Blog, and he came over (driving the blue Viper that Bobbi and I had encountered while bicycling in Broad Ripple yesterday; an excellent choice of dream vehicle) and we were going to the range and I didn't have but, like, a couple loose rounds of .22LR in the entire house, which is really embarrassing. Being out of .22 is almost like being out of toilet paper.

So then we drove over to Marko's place, which in dreamland was only a short jaunt away, dream geography placing New Hamster a lot closer to Indy than Earth geography. Marko had told me that he'd just got a screaming deal on an old T-series High Power, but when we got there, he'd already had the thing Cerakoted pink and was planning on giving it to Lyra for her birthday. I immediately raised two questions: First, while Lyra's very mature for her age and all, is she really ready for her own centerfire pistol? Second, DEAR GOD MAN YOU PAINTED THAT HIGH POWER PINK HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday Randomosity...

  • Free short fiction from Matt Bracken of EFAD fame.

  • I had a dream last night that was full of shooty spy action in a snowy quasi-post-apocalyptic Euro-type setting (which is odd because I have only ever been in Europe in summer,) that looked like it had been directed by David Fincher. I was using a CZ-52 with MagSafe ammunition, which is still bothering me even though I'm awake now. I actually have some 7.62x25 MagSafe around here someplace...

  • Overheard in Mama Carolla's last night: The woman at the table behind me informed her dining companion "...and penguins swallow the fish whole because they don't have a digestive system!" I'm sure I'll see her again at the polling place on election day, where she will put that awesome intellect to work on the knotty problem of exercising the franchise. At least the veal was good.

Off the shelf...

While on my last trip to Knoxville, a visit to McKay's revealed that someone had traded in their collection of Flashman novels. Huzzah! I picked up the first four and am currently enjoying Flashman itself. We're up to the part where the British under Elphinstone are about to begin the disastrous retreat from Kabul, with Flashy of course planning to leave them in the lurch as soon as things get sticky...

I cannot believe it took me this long to acquaint myself with these books.

The post in which I speak blasphemy...

It's been a while since I've been up inside a GI Colt 1911. My commercial pre-Series 70 Colt looks rough as a cob when compared to the match-barrelled, 20-lpi checkered, hand-lapped customs I'd been carrying the last several years, but even it looks like an Ed Brown next to the guts of a wartime GI gun...

When you've got to kill Tojo, you don't have time for namby-pamby nonsense like polishing out toolmarks or making sure there isn't three feet of extractor hanging out the ass end of the slide. Jeebus, the lower lugs on that thing look like they were shaped with a flint axe.

I'm still jealous.

Overheard in the Office...

RX: "Huh! The Wizard Oil bridge... It's named after the ad on the side of the old wooden covered bridge it replaced. 'Wizard Oil'!"

Me: "Do you know how many wizards you had to press to get a single 55 gallon drum of that stuff?"

More ghosts in the machine...

You know how sometimes the harmonics in the air duct can remind you of music, so much so that anybody who sits in a particular corner of the office finds themselves humming The Supremes' "Where Did Our Love Go"?
trouble; for I have had bed-linen and table-linen to purchase and make, and love of notoriety paraded them until dark through the streets of irrepressible outcrop of the brotherly feeling that filled all

where he used to play at the mell. The king did so, and when he kittens; do we see that any inconvenience results to them from this which he lay: and he went to his own house, glorifying God.
It turns out that robospam makes some pretty compelling abstract poetry at times. The two verses above are verbatim transcriptions of two separate attempts at SEO robospam, but I think they work well together as a poem.

Friday, September 14, 2012

It must be a day ending in "y".

CNN reports:
In Afghanistan, hundreds of demonstrators in the eastern Nangarhar province burned a U.S. flag and chanted "Death to America"...
Uh, in the Islamic world* the events described above are usually termed "Friday". (Thursdays they chant "Death to Israel".)
Call me when you've got some news, there, CNN.

Stories don't get much more dog-bites-man than that.

*Also Dearborn, anywhere the WTO is meeting, and Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley.

Bartender, pour me a hemlock...

...matter of fact, make it a double:

From's front page. No further words needed.

Imaginary Numbers.

I woke up this morning to hear the local news guy saying that the Dow had jumped two-hundred-and-some-odd points in reaction to the Feds injecting another kiloSagan or two of funny money into the system and promising to keep your retirement savings depreciating in real terms at least through 2015.

My first reaction to hearing that the Dow went up was that it was uncoupled from reality, and then I remembered that when money becomes worth less, the prices on everything go up to reflect it, even stocks.

Looks like Jim called it right on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Congress apparently agreed to push back any further discussion of the parlous state of our national finances until after the election, lest anybody accidentally say something that might cause them to lose their phony-baloney jobs come November.

...or are you happy to see me?

In your best Apu from The Simpsons voice, say the following phrase out loud: "Pardon me, sir, but there seems to be a monkey in your pants."

That's right, a guy got busted at the New Delhi airport with a slender loris down his trousers. He was apparently trying to board a flight for Dubai when either someone noticed his crotchal area was more animated than it should be, or the crotch fondler at the customs checkpoint got his hand fondled right back.

However it happened, they discovered he had the little fellow in there with his little fellow and was trying to get the critter, which is on both the Endangered Species and Cutest Animal lists, out of the country, an act that is strictly verboten.

Knowing the attitude of wealthy Emirates citizens towards anything that smacks of work, I'm wondering if this guy was the intended future owner of said loris, or just a hired smuggler? And if the latter, did he use the line so familiar to any cop in America: "I don't know how that got in there! These aren't even my pants anyway, they're Sumdood's! I didn't know he had a monkey in there!"

At any rate, Story. Of. The. Year.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Forget smuggling handguns from Virginia...

...or cigarettes from Quebec, the hot ticket to riches in the Big Apple as of this afternoon is smuggling Big Gulp cups from New Jersey.

They're cheap, they're legal at the source, New Yorkers are a proven market for almost any black market product you can name, and best of all, even if you get intercepted crossing the Hudson with your illicit Styrofoam cargo and the NYPD opens up on you, it's not like they could actually hit you (and the Palisades make a safer backstop for them than Fifth Avenue does...)

(H/T to The Broken Patriot.)

Bad parallel, Limey.

An English journalist for the Grauniad describes the film that has set the flightier elements in Instabilistan and Al Throwabriq off on another round of savagery as
"a really nasty piece of lying propaganda" which he likens to "a Jack Chick comic;"
News flash: There are Jack T. Chick comics that portray Catholics as deluded Satanists, homosexuals as sex-crazed rapists, and atheists as moronic thugs, and yet you don't see mobs of gays, Papists, and skeptics hurling Molotov cocktails at the Chickistanian embassy, do you?

No. No, you don't. Because the people in question are not savages. If they were anything like the way Jack portrayed them in his fantasy comics, there would be not one stone left upon another at Chick publishing. (Although he's also published one calling Muslims devil worshipers, so he may get his yet...)

Shattered dream...

It was a big and epic dream, or at least I have a sense that it was, because I awoke and had that shocked feeling that only eight hours had elapsed, but all that's left are little fragments and tiny vignettes...
  • I was wearing a light sundress and it was miserably cold and spitting sleety rain. I had to get the blanket out of the trunk of the car because the heater wasn't working...

  • The road had this weird pebbled texture, like tar had been poured over large pea gravel, and it was icy. The only way the Zed Drei was getting any traction to get up hills as it fishtailed along was that the tops of the little pebbles were ice-free...

  • I'm trying to shoot this bad guy, and do you have any idea how hard it is to get a good lead on a lateral mover in the dark while you're straining so hard to pull the trigger with the index fingers of both hands that the goofy serrations on the Glock trigger are hurting your fingertips and the light on your gun keeps getting dimmer?

  • The town was almost completely abandoned, but all the video games in the arcade still had power...

  • Our garbage man pulled the bags out of the can and they split open, and he just drove off, leaving the trash all over the street...

Help, I'm being held prisoner in a Chinese spam factory.

Found in the spam trap this morning:
held. The cruisers in his command were stationed along the Riviera, and that they might be taken away. Shall burgeon with fresh leaves, or spread a shadowing bough.

Sometimes it's almost like the ghosts in the machine are trying to communicate.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tab Clearing...

  • #IfObamaDontWin, there will be subject-verb disagreement.

  • I envision ADM Nathman being ushered into an empty room containing only a table, a chair, a Makarov, and one bullet.

  • I have, buried somewhere in the detritus on my desk, the bolt handle from an absolutely pristine Argentine 1909 Mauser carbine that I couldn't talk the customer out of drilling & tapping & putting on a bent bolt handle. I has a sad every time I look at it.

Whatever happens we have got... spine, apparently.

This is the part where we're supposed to park HMS Thunderer off the coast and start shelling their straw huts before we land a party of Royal Marines with some Gatling guns to shoot up the wog village and teach the heathens some manners.

Wait, I forgot, this is where we apologize to them for offending their peaceful religion.

I was born a hundred years too late.
Dear Mister President,

Remember: Napalm sticks to kids.

A Constituent
Welcome Back, Carter, indeed.

The big takeaway from the RECOIL thing...

The fact that internet gun dorks almost instantly turned this into a discussion about HK guns* rather than about their exploitation by a shallow and calculating publishing company that didn't even think highly enough of their intelligence to hire someone who was actually a gunnie to run their new "Maxim For Gun Owners Who Use Axe Body Spray" book depresses the living **** out of me.

*I probably didn't help.

Well, this could get sporty.

So, Japan buys some islands in the China Sea. China doesn't seem to think that they were for sale, however...
China sends patrol ships to disputed East China Sea islands
Taiwan's not happy, either, since the islands are within rock-throwing distance of Formosa.

The islands in question straddle some shipping lanes, are near potential energy finds and, perhaps most importantly, when you say "Japan" to the Chinese, they don't picture today's smilingly polite and increasingly geriatric producers of Hondas and Hentai, but rather a swarm of hard-faced killers decapitating everything they didn't rape at bayonet point. The Japanese, in turn, feel about the Chinese pretty much the way they feel about everyone else who isn't Japanese.

Two legs of this love triangle are nominally our allies, and the third has nukes and a bunch of our IOUs. Were I Japan, I wouldn't be making any moves that required Uncle Sam to hold my coat right now, given the decisive command team in the White House, where apparently people have to be practically chased down hallways and arm-barred into making foreign policy or national defense-related decisions, which will then probably be changed or modified within 48 hours anyway.

This could get interesting.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Silly, yes, but...

Over at, someone linked to a Reddit post asking the question "In a mass knife fight to the death between every single American president, who wins and why?" and, you know, the reflexive answer is "Andrew Jackson" because in modern America, he wouldn't be in the White House, he'd be in solitary confinement.

But I got to thinking, and for all his theatrics, T.R. was pretty studly, too. I mean, he gave a ninety minute campaign speech with a .38 bullet in his brisket when he was old enough to be on the AARP mailing list. He opened his speech with the line "Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose."

Dude like that takes a lot of killin'.

Overheard in the Hallway...

Roomie is wandering in and out of the hallway bathroom, getting ready for work. The TeeWee in her bedroom is playing the morning news.
RX: "Oh, no, not the Indianapolis 9/11 Memorial... You know what the Pearl Harbor Memorial was? Piles of dead Japs!"

Me: "This is going on the internet."

RX: "All I'm saying is 9/11 happened, and we need to go out and kill some Japs!"
Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

Monday, September 10, 2012

RECOILing in shrieking terror.

So, while I was feeling ookie yesterday and lounging on the futon watching The Prestige (two thumbs up and you should totally watch it super-twisty plot plus brief appearance by David Bowie as Nikolai Tesla...) apparently the gunternet was blowing up because the editor of RECOIL magazine went Full Zumbo and stampeded a whole herd of drama llamas off a cliff, saying scary things about why "civvies" shouldn't own HK MP7's.

The ironic thing is that, thanks to the vagaries of 922(r) requirements, a semiauto MP7 clone here would be dumb, awkward, overpriced and just generally turn into eventual CDNN fodder* in the same fashion as the import-neutered G36 variant, the SL8.

Sure, there'd be a handful of hardcore HK fanbois willing to shell out the dough, Form 4 them into SBR's, pester people into coming up with enough US-made parts to put on a flash-hider and un-pin the stock... And then all five of them could post pictures back and forth at each other on while rubbing themselves all over their Call of DEVGRU 4: Modern Wankfare guns, but on such a tiny demographic is not a successful business model planned. (HK has been burned by this before, see "SP89", and once bitten, forever shy.)

So it would have been easy enough to say "HK doesn't manufacture a civilian-legal MP7A1 variant because pointless, that's why," but, no! RECOIL is based out of California, and their editor, Jerry Tsai, has one of those bad cases of Stockholm Syndrome that one sees occasionally in California gun owners that apparently comes from dealing with CA DOJ for too long: He went and blathered about "sporting purposes" and then defended his viewpoint on Facebook and frankly, it's looking like RECOIL magazine is fixing to become a collector's item after only four issues unless some serious damage control can be done.

Frankly, I have no interest in reading it anymore myself (I have purchased issues from the local newsstand) as long as I know that its editorial viewpoint is that Simple Civilians like me have no business with guns whose only purpose is, and I quote, "to put down scumbags". News flash, Jerry: The Glock in my belt isn't there to open Coke bottles.

*For those who don't know, CDNN buys manufacturers' overstock and blows it out at wholesale prices. If you're looking for that special Millard Filmore Commemorative Browning Citori in 28ga that you saw on the cover of American Rifleman two years ago and can't find one on your gun shop's shelves, it's probably because all those dogs wound up at CDNN. Ask your FFL to see their catalog and  order you one, weirdo.

Sebastian sums it up with a zinger I wish I'd typed:
So I’ll help spread the word, but I just don’t think these guys are a big deal. I’m also not sure this article is going to have much of an effect on their counterstrike kiddie subscriber base. Maybe if they said you shouldn’t own an Airsoft MP7 either, it would be enough to get their subscriber based really worked up.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Overheard in the Kitchen...

Bobbi has brought home groceries from her bicycle ride. As the last item is removed from the paper sack, it falls over and is horizontal for less than two seconds before it has been occupied by a giant red tabby...
Me: "Witness the wonder of the North American hermit cat. When they outgrow their shells, they have to scuttle off across the kitchen tiles in search of a new home..."
What he was really waiting for, of course, was for anybody to reach for the sack, whereupon a paw would dart out of the opening and bat furiously at the intruder. "Defend the Fort" is Huck's favorite game.


I think today is pretty much a write-off.

Fortunately, my only Must Do chore for the day can be done in my pyjamas.

Saturday, September 08, 2012


Supernaut's CMOS battery was deader than Elvis, and somehow the settings all got zorched. Maybe I hit F10 when I should have hit ESC...

Anyhow, with a new battery and some tinkering around at the repair counter at Fry's, we're up and shambling, hopefully long enough to get a new bare-bones desktop screwed together early next month. I'm taking this as a hint that it's time to put the old machine out to pasture.

It's been an adventuresome day, to say the least...

XVIIIth Century Brain in a 10101st Century Head

So, my dead desktop has my only running copy of Acrobat on it, which I kind of need to do some, you know, work-type work over the weekend. So I'm going to drag its mortal remains to the 'puter store and see if the drive is salvageable, and which would be cheaper (or even feasible): A bare-bones XP system into which I could drop the old drive, or just getting a Winders 7 version of Acrobat for this machine.

Anyhow, I was sitting here, fretting, and not wanting to go anywhere until I'd heard back from various bosses and coworkers and whatnot via email... all while the Portable Magic Elf Box* is sitting there all charged up next to me. Derp. I guess I can just unplug the dead box and go, then...

*That would be the Android phone, for new readers. Which, you know, can get email anyplace, even in line at the 'puter store.

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today... mourn the loss of Supernaut, the valiant old 2.2GHz Pentium 4 box on which the vast majority of this blog has been written. (Better known on this blog by his alias "VFTP Command Central".)

Although twice replaced already, both proved temporary and both times the old XP box was dragged back out to soldier on, remaining powered on for the better part of nine years*.

Last night, during an electrical storm intense enough that I bid a hasty adieu to my posse in World of Warcrack after questioning the wisdom of having a copper wire running essentially straight from the wall socket, through the laptop I was using, and to my head**, the nearby power lines took a hit that staggered the wireless router, knocking me offline, and also caused poor little Supernaut in the next room to reboot.

When I went in to check on him, the Winders drive scan was hung up at 80%, so I powered him off and went to bed. This morning, despite futzing around in the BIOS, not a flicker came from the HDD light. Hopefully it's on the board and his hard drive can be rescued, but I fear that it's essentially Game Over for old Supernaut himself. :(

*As you can tell by me using the same G3 iBook from '01-'12 and driving the same car for the last eleven years, too, I tend to stay loyal to hardware, often past the point of good sense.

**Bobbi pointed out to me that, since I was playing WoW on a laptop, all I really needed to do was unplug the thing from the wall and I could have kept playing. Derp.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Same planet, different worlds...

From the alternate universe where Spock has a beard (also known as the comments section of an article at
- Here's the thing: Americans have got to make up their minds. Either they want to follow the model of the modern Western world, which is Leftist or they want to return to the short brutish lives under Rightwing regimes.

We've chosen to dismantle our democracy, and we are removing the last of our social safety nets. The Koch brothers have actually started challenging bike paths and parks in courts all over the country, and, in many areas, they are buying up public parks for pennies, as we transfer all of our public domain to corporate hands.

When Americans chose to embrace old pre-Enlightenment forms of govt over our democracy, it left us to pay the price of the stability of those Rightwing govts. Our life expectancies will fall, and, typically, people will have no real value beyond the age of 30-35. So, dying early and being replaced by the next poor generation (like kleenex) will be the natural course of things.

Left and Right are opposites. The policies of one destroys the other. They're incompatible.
Wow. Just wow. I wonder what color the sky is in that world?

I read her words and I am not sure that there can be peace between our weltanschauungen. This runs into a comment I left at Joel's place regarding that "government is the only thing we all belong to" sound bite that the more disingenuous on the right have been making hay with, despite the word "belong" being used in the sense of "I belong to the Antioch Baptist Church":
These people do not have the worldview that you and I do. The government, to them, is not a separate entity, but rather is composed of all of us enfranchised citizens. Remember: They’re down there in Charlotte engaging in a veritable orgy of democracy, proving to themselves that we all belong to this wonderful organization called the American Government, which is made up of We The People, and that ‘the system works’.
It is hard to reach a compromise with someone when, not only do you not share a worldview, but you in fact use the same words to mean completely different concepts. Where does one hire an English-to-English cislator?

Tamara's blog has two blogdaddies.

...and one of them just turned ten, which is a long time to be coming up with something to type every day, let me tell you. (Or at least I assume it is, since that's three years longer than I've done it.)

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Tab Clearing...

No, seriously, stop touching it.

A poster at INGO relates the following story:
The other day at Bare Arms in Noblesville, I was asked to unholster and show an empty chamber even though I had no magazine in my gun.
That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard of in a gun store, and believe you me, I've heard of some dumb things in gun stores. I mean, that is dumber than a Taurus Judge with mother-of-toilet-seat grips and gold controls, and that's pretty dumb, let me tell you.

The gun is just sitting there in the guy's holster not bothering anybody, and in the alleged name of safety, you want him to skin his smokewagon and coonfinger it right there on the showroom floor? That right there is just dumber than an acre of fungus. I would have looked at Cletus like he'd just sprouted an extra head and walked right out of his store, never to darken its door again.

Seriously, a gun that isn't being messed with is a gun that isn't going to go off; sitting in a holster, it's an inert object. If it's safety you're concerned about, Mr. Gun Store Man, why don't we just leave it there?

(I went to check out the store's web page. Oh, look, another little gun store open from 10-6 on Tuesday through Friday and 8-4 on Saturday. What is it with these little hobby businesses and their "Catering to the Unemployed" hours? If you are in the retail business, you need to be open when the people who can afford to purchase your wares are not at work. Notice how most national retail chains are open 'til 9PM? They didn't pull that number out of a hat, Cletus. And hire you a Shabbat Goy from 1-5 on Sundays.)

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Overheard in the Office...

All I knew about Fifty Shades of Grey was what I'd heard over lunch with friends one day, and my ignorance was blissful, but the sight of that magazine in the store and Bobbi's subsequent post made me go look up the Wikipedia article on the alleged books, which led to the following outburst:
Me: "Oh, lawd, there's a whole wing of Wikipedia dedicated to BDSM!"

RX: "Oh, of course..."

Me: "I had a roommate who was way into that once. Her bedroom had all this playground equipment crap in it... I remember it was, like, nerdy sex for LARPers? Her little friends'd call normal sex 'vanilla' in the same tone of voice that Comic Book Guy at DragonCon refers to the normal people outside the convention as 'mundanes'."
Not that there's anything wrong with that.

In retrospect, I was happier when I didn't know anything about Fifty Shades of Grey. I had no idea that America had such a pent-up longing for nerd sex.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

I wanna kick him in the junk with my carbon footprint.

There is no smug like the smug you get as you come to a complete stop on your bicycle, groceries in the basket, and yell "Hey, there was a stop sign there, you polluter!" at the guy in the Smart ForTwo as he makes a left turn through the intersection with only the feeblest of attempts at a "rolling stop".

You'd have to become a Lifetime Patron Platinum Endowment Supporter of your local NPR station or invest in a Fair Trade sustainable organic hemp farm while going door-to-door collecting signatures for "Write-In Ralph Nader 2012" or something like that to feel more smug than I did just then.

Do want!

Via email, a fan-forced camper's-sized rocket stove that uses a thermoelectric thingummy to power its fan and charge your handheld electronics.

That thing sets me all a-quiver right at some weird harmonic of prepper, hippie, outdoorsy, and gadget freak, like USB-powered recycled carbon fiber chopsticks or something.

Given the fact that we average one good power outage a year here at Roseholme Cottage, whether from ice storms or the thunder variety, plus a nearly inexhaustible supply of sticks and twigs, and I have a USB rechargeable LED Lenser M7R flashlight, I'm well down the road to rationalizing one of these things.

Plus, how cool would it be to make computer electricity with fire?

Overheard in the Kitchen...

I'm walking back from the office with the kibble sacks, having fed Rannie and Huck...
Me: "Gawd, he hits that bowl like a shark taking a surfer!"

RX: "That is one of nature's eating machines. If he was an outside cat, I don't think we'd have much of a squirrel problem."

Monday, September 03, 2012

I'm cheating... using a comment from another post as a post in itself.

Anyhow, a commenter noted "Since you apparently don't like populists..." and I replied that there are two probable reasons for that:

1. The word "populist" is so often followed by "demagogue" that it's hard not to mentally think of the latter when hearing the former. I have come to associate it with rabble just waiting for their rouser.

2. Where I come from, "common" is still used as a term of insult, ranked somewhere between "poor" and "lowdown" if I remember my taxonomy aright. I believe it to be a holdover from the days when America was still fondly imagined as the land of the Natural Aristocrat, rather than the Proud (to be a) Peasant. The latter attitude no doubt came west in steerage in the baggage of many of my ancestors.

Sorry I'm late.

I stayed up late-ish playing World of Warcrack with mah peeps last night and then slept in this morning, since this is our nation's Wobbliest holiday: The day we celebrate our solidarity with the proletariat labor force of our great Rodina by acting like striking UAW members, lazing around and doing nothing. Which is more or less what I plan on doing today.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Why I hate the internet, Part MXLVI

Here in Indiana the state government issues a thing called a "License To Carry a Handgun". In light of this information, consider this hypothetical internet conversation that hypothetically occurred between two hypothetical Hoosiers on a hypothetical unnamed internet firearms forum:
A: I sent in for my conceal and carry permit 2 months ago. How long does it take?

B: It can take 3 months. You need to have patient's.
And, you know, it's not even worth gently correcting someone anymore, because if I hear "It's the internet, not a spelling contest!" one more time, somebody's getting shot.

This is what comes of the gradual shift of the word "elitist" from an aspiration to a pejorative.

Mr. Romney, have you stopped beating your wife?

You know, you expect it from MSNBC, but from the national network shows down to the local news programs, the Party Convention-related blurbs this morning have all had an air of
"Now that the Nazis in Tampa have finished their cross-burning, put women back in purdah, and shoved grandma onto an ice floe, let's see what the Real Americans are doing in Charlotte. Bob, over to you; do you have any official sense yet on how much more the Real Americans care about the little guy than the Nazis do, or are they saving that for a surprise?"
Well, Barry still hasn't lost his core constituency: The American media.

Incidentally, there was spirited debate on Chris Matthews' propaganda half-hour this morning over who would triumph in the forthcoming Veep debates. Really? Seriously?

Look, I think Ryan's just a statist tool being groomed as the Party Hack of the Future, but he's going to be debating a drooling moron. How can there even be a question? Joe Biden would lose a debate with a pail of library paste unless he could somehow arrange to lick it off a window; if he were a Republican, not a soul in this country would even remember who Dan Quayle was, so savagely would Droolin' Joe have been mauled on late-night TeeWee for the last four years.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

...and a Wing Commander in the Royal Manticoran Space Marines.

These guys would be a lot harder to spot if they didn't always slather on the awards like Latin American train conductors. That guy's got a rack of fruit salad that makes Omar Bradley look like a Marine Corps PFC. Seriously, I've seen less impressive displays spread across the chests of entire Chilean juntas.

Maybe if he was trying to pass himself off as Air Force; I hear they're pretty free with the ribbons... I kid! I kid!

The Special Forces Ranger Flight Medic is a new twist, though. Usually they're Navy SEAL Delta Scout Snipers. (Believe me, working in gun stores, you get to know the breed pretty well.)

(H/T to Life in 3D.)

I remember when they were still pre-pullets...

Marko has a picture of a $3,000 egg.

For all that time and money and effort, it should be used for nothing less than crème brûlée. (Or perhaps a celebratory Ramos gin fizz.)

Overheard in the Hallway...

Bobbi is experimenting with making Victorian circumlocutions for common vulgar phrases...

Me: "'Yob tvoyu mat'..."

RX: "Is a Russian word."

Me: "Is three Russian words. It means... er... 'blank your mother.'"

RX: "Ah. Like 'chinga tu madre'?"

Me: "Yeah, except the Russians use it for everything, like 'aloha' in Hawaii."

Saturday morning randomosity...

  • ProTip: When you go to bed on Friday night leaving your laptop downloading a multi-gigabyte WoW patch, make sure that said laptop isn't going to go to sleep twenty minutes after you do, because there's nothing like seeing "6% Completed" on the freshly-awakened screen to start your morning off with a string of colorful profanity.

  • Off the shelf: After the Revolution: Profiles of Early American Culture

  • Remember how they said that the remnants of Hurricane Isaac were going to arrive yesterday evening and flood out Labor Day Weekend? Well, they meant they were going to arrive this evening. Sorry to all you people who cancelled your parades and picnics today. (We're apparently still a bit jumpy here in the Hoosier State when it comes to bad weather and outdoor festivities...) UPDATE: The weatherchick in the other room said it was moving at "three miles per hour". Since it hasn't quite crossed the Wabash into Indiana, that'll put it into the western Indy 'burbs sometime around lunch tomorrow.