Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Overheard in the Office:

Me: "Whoa!"

RX: "What?"

Me: "Well, I was gonna search for 'desktop Stirling engines', but I only got as far as typing 'desktop st...' into Google and the third or fourth thing down in the list was 'desktop starships' which was pretty much like 'Look! A chrome-plated baby wolf!'"

Springtime for Hitler.

Charles "a Nazi behind every bush" Johnson was "fairly sure" he had spotted "a neo-Nazi flag" in the Tea Party throng in DC.

Colonel LeRoy Reeves was unavailable for comment.

(H/T to Rebellion.)

This little piggy went to market...

...and I'll bet he wishes he'd stayed home...

Farmer Frank looks like he's having entirely too much fun with this feral hog thumping business. I've got to try my hand at it.

Unexpected side effect.

With all the news of the flooding in Rhode Island, it's the place names that are having an odd effect on me. I keep expecting to hear about eyeless tentacled horrors washed out of the storm sewers...

Night Dragon didn't eat Moon Maiden...

...or whatever the sort of idiots who believe in that kind of twaddle thought was going to happen.

Causality is still functioning normally, at least in the universe in which I'm sitting.

Color me unsurprised.

Dog bites man.

So, somebody got a cap busted in them at the corner of 36th and Meridian:
Police say the victim, later identified as 23-year-old Deandre Clay, who was a passenger in a white 1995 Chevrolet, was shot by a lone gunman as the vehicle rolled to a stop on 36th Street.

Witnesses described the suspect parking a tan or gold late model four-door vehicle on the south side of the street, walking west and approaching the Chevrolet.

Witnesses told police the suspect shot Clay.
I am going to go out on a limb and guess that one or both of the men were involved in the unlicensed independent pharmaceutical business.

A quick check of the Marion County Murder Map will show that getting a cap busted in one's ass is a not terribly uncommon occurrence in the vicinity of 36th & Meridian. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if one lived on the north side of town and wanted a cap busted in one's ass, that would be as good a place as any to go get it done, although I'd imagine that participation in the unlicensed pharmaceutical trade, membership in certain neighborhood youth organizations, or being where one doesn't belong late at night are all risk multipliers.

Less than unforeseen.

The Russians are reacting to the Moscow subway bombing by promising to crack down in Chechnya:
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow would "restore order by the use of force" in the region, as part of its "quest to eliminate terrorists and bandits" there.
Predicting this, of course, would have been about as difficult as guessing in which direction the sun was going to rise this morning.

If I had to guess which country was most likely to take the path of systematic genocide as a terrorism fix, Russia would be my candidate. They've killed their own people in boxcar lots within living memory and, unlike Germany, haven't had to deal with fifty years of international tongue-clucking and scolding because of it. (Not that caring what others think has ever been a defining characteristic of Russian leadership anyway.) The Chechen separatist strategy doesn't strike me as very bright, poking this particular bear with this particular stick.

Ev'rybody look what's goin' down...

I don't know what it says for the tenor of the times that my unconscious thought when I click on first thing in the morning lately is "I wonder if anything burned down last night?"

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

'Tis the season...

The top was down on the roadster today.

Sitting on the porch, I watched a fellow Broad Riparian pedal by on her fender'n'chainguard-equipped City Bike, a loaf of French bread in the handlebar basket, canvas grocery bags on the back, and daughter trailing behind on her own bike.

Out in the blogosphere, Xavier has started bicycle commuting again.

I have the urge to get the cycle out of the garage and go feel smugly superior to Prius drivers in the checkout line at the Fresh Market.

Sniff test.

Some people seem to be inveterate food sniffers. Everything they pull out of the fridge has to get whiffed before use.

I rarely do this, probably because so many of my favorite foods and condiments, like pastrami, sauerkraut, horseradish, Emmentaler Swiss, all smell like salt & vinegar flavored gym socks...

Questions from the heartland:

Reader Chronos is, like me, trapped in the giant Slough of Despond that is the dwelling place of everyone not in Manhattan or within line-of-sight of the Hollywood sign. He writes:
My howling savage of a daughter just got inducted into the National Jr. Honor Society.
I wonder if they will take away her pin if she tells them she is going to go to the range to celebrate?
The short answer is no. They will not believe she actually lives out here. They think we burned all the intellectuals and everybody else who wears glasses on a huge bonfire built of copies of On The Origin of Species and old Masterpiece Theatre videocassettes and lit by a flaming baton tossed by the Ol' Miss homecoming queen, all after a big public auto de fé in the infield of a NASCAR race.

God bless your heart, Mr. Robinson...

Syndicated invertebrate Eugene Robinson is filling his Depends® over the whole "Hutaree" thing:
It is disingenuous for mainstream purveyors of incendiary far-right rhetoric to dismiss groups such as the Hutaree by saying that there are "crazies on both sides." This simply is not true.
Bear in mind that this is coming from a guy who considers Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh a purveyor of "incendiary far-right rhetoric."

Anyhow, Robinson (who made his bones, remember, covering the Patty Hearst case,) goes on to state:
There are aging radicals in Cuba today who got to Havana by hijacking airplanes in the 1970s. Left-wing radicals caused mayhem and took innocent lives.
But for the most part, far-left violence in this country has gone the way of the leisure suit and the AMC Gremlin. An antiglobalization movement, including a few window-smashing anarchists, was gaining traction at one point, but it quickly diminished after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. An environmental group and an animal-rights group have been linked with incidents of arson. Beyond those particulars, it is hard to identify any kind of leftist threat.
Ah, yes, the '70s... The good ol' days of cruising the burger joints, listening to Rage Against The Machine 8-tracks in my AMC Pacer... What planet is this knucklehead living on? I know, I know: "Planet Media", which consists entirely of coastline and where the view of the rest of the universe is through a reality distortion field that makes the one surrounding Steve Jobs look like a mild case of static cling by comparison.

"Hard to identify..."?!?! Look, you simpleton, those aging leftist radicals didn't all wind up in Cuba; some of them stayed in Hyde Park and hobnobbed with future Presidents. This understandably irks a few people.

QotD: VAT-a-tat-tat!

From Krauthammer yesterday:
American liberals have long complained that ours is the only advanced industrial country without universal health care. Well, now we shall have it. And as we approach European levels of entitlements, we will need European levels of taxation.
We're just gonna have to cut this goose open and see if there are any more golden eggs up inside there...

I know you are, but what am I?

CNN is making insinuations about the intellectual horsepower of the Tea Party roadtrippers, which is pretty funny coming from an organization that can't count past a couple dozen.

The absolutely inchoate rage engendered in media types when anything becomes popular without their blessing is just hilarious.

Remember, it's easy to see what their world looks like: Just turn on prime time TeeWee. Three quarters of everybody lives in New York City, and the remainder live in LA. Between the Hudson and the Hollywood Hills lies a thin belt of suburban mobsters in New Jersey, and then a vast gray wasteland filled with howling savages and extras from Deliverance, where snakes are handled and anybody with skin darker than #D2B48C tan is in danger of the weekly lynchin' bees. Also, there is no arugula.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cover your right eye before reading...

...the MSM reporter's eye chart.


Alligator mouth and hummingbird butt.

James Cameron on AGW "deniers":
I want to call those deniers out into the street at high noon and shoot it out with those boneheads.
Well, okay, Jimmy. Say when.

(H/T to Thunder Tales again.)

Book delay.

I should have been posting stuff, but instead I sat on my front porch and read The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century.

I have to say that, despite crystal-balling a few wars and a grim prediction on the effects of the "birth dearth", it's a downright sunny view of the future compared to a lot of things I've been reading lately, especially since it doesn't involve fighting corpse-eating rats over cans of Van Camp's in the weed-choked rubble of a balkanized America.

Note from the range:

I experienced a strange malf with my Mk.III 22/45 yesterday.

Towards the end of the range session, the trigger began to behave oddly. The break was mushy, and the round didn't go off. I ran the bolt, and got the same thing. I ran the bolt twice more, emptying the mag, and the gun refused to discharge on either try; it felt as though the gun wasn't staying cocked, and the primers showed no marks, although something must've been happening to reset the trigger.

When I removed the magazine and reloaded to continue trying to diagnose it, the problem disappeared. I suspect the mag safety.

Who here has successfully disabled the infernal device by replacing lockwork parts with Mk.II bits?

I've slept on some nice mattresses before...

...but never that nice.

Thanks for the morning LOL, Brian. :)

Live, from the U.S. Das Kapital building:

I give you the Senator from Montana:

That's Montana Senator Max "Rummy" Baucus, apparently having another "in vino, veritas" moment. While it's good to see that Ted Kennedy's public intoxication torch has been well and truly passed, the guy's sentiments are downright disturbing. If this is what he's willing to slur into a mic under floodlights, then imagine what goes on in the back rooms of his pickled cerebellum.

Jesus wept, people! I thought you Montanans were all hairy-chested and independent and 'Murrican 'n' everything out there? Your senator sounds like the love child of Cynthia McKinney and Vladimir Lenin! Can you not do something about him?

(H/T to Thunder Tales.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Heathen sports...

Apparently some sporting contest is about to come to its conclusion here in Hoosierville. The natives are restless because some local Grave of Academe here within rock-throwing distance of Broad Ripple has accidentally wound up in the semidemihemiquarterfinals.

Despite the fact that the game in question was invented by a native Canuckistani and therefore involves round bacon and dribbling the ball with your gizzard, I am still hopeful that our hometown boys will win the Vince Stanley Cup Series by three field goals and a chukkar.

Shooty Goodness weekend update...

So it may have been pee-pouring down rain at Wildcat Valley, but the firing line on the steel critter range is covered, and I am here to tell you this: There may be more fun firearms-related activities than mowing down hordes of steel chickens, pigs, turkeys, and rams with a Smith & Wesson M&P-15/22, but there aren't many.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Funny, I thought you'd be taller. And, well, bluer.

Ben at Kick Him, Honey linked to a fascinating piece about a photographer who has done an art book entitled Alter Ego: Avatars and their Creators, full of photographs of real people and their online gaming avatars, complete with short interviews with each subject about how they chose that avatar.

That'd make an interesting read.

If I could talk to the animals...

...apparently I'd hang myself. Or at least I would if I talked to them with an English accent:
A researcher published an article Thursday that attempts to explain why veterinarians in Britain appear to be four times as likely as the general public to commit suicide.
Veterinarians? Really?

Well, I guess having to put kitties and puppies to sleep would be a real downer, and there's easy access to phenobarbital. But on the other hand, there are plenty of kitties and puppies that don't get put to sleep, and I'd think helping them would be pretty gratifying.

(Incidentally, while reading around on the internets during the writing of this, I stumbled across the Wikipedia article for "captive bolt stunners":
With cattle, goats, sheep, and horses, a penetrating stunner is typically used since it destroys the cerebrum while leaving the brain stem intact; this results in a more consistently reliable stun, and ensures the animal's heart continues to beat during the bleeding process.
Huh. So we don't actually kill the critter with the bolt thingy, so much as just rob it of its ability to compose poetry or solve quadratic equations while it stands there bleeding out. Fascinating!)

Thank you, $Valued_Customer!

Burger King is apparently stealing customer's souls in Brazil.

A for effort.

If you wanted to say something to somebody, you could use a method as vague and impersonal as a cell phone text message in clumsily-abbreviated TXTSPK, or you could be as creative and personal as sending them flowers or a severed goat head.

However, if you choose one of the latter methods, you should probably include a little card putting the message in context, such as "Happy Valentine's Day!" or "Do you know where your children are?", otherwise the recipient may just be baffled as to what you are trying to say:
"The only thing I can assume," Shellow wrote, "is that someone was trying to get my attention on a lovely summer day and was unable to locate his or her copy of the yellow pages."

Blast from the past.

I read The Eagle Has Landed back in... was it middle school? Anyway, it left a strong impression on me and I was always kind of saddened by the ending; Colonel Steiner was too sympathetic a character to wind up like that.

So it made me happy to discover that there was a sequel: The Eagle Has Flown. And that it was a good read, too; fast-paced and filled with plenty of buckles getting swashed and derring being done. And I heartily approve of the ending.

(From a gun nut perspective, you just have to grin and bear it when a load of birdshot from a fowling piece sends someone flying over a balcony railing, "silencers" make guns whisper-quiet, or a S&W Victory Model gets stuffed in an ankle holster.)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Same planet, different worlds.

When I go to the range every weekend, I generally have two ammo cans in the trunk.

One of them is full of .22LR rimfire ammo and the other is whatever centerfire ammo I plan to be shooting that day. Sometimes there are two or more cans of centerfire. Each ammo can generally has around five hundred loose rounds of ammunition stored therein, except the rimfire can, which rarely has less than a thousand.

And this is if I'm going to the range alone. If I'm going with Shootin' Buddy or my roommate or friend Caleb, that number is doubled, what with there being two of us and all. On those mornings when Shootin' Buddy shows up and my roomie is out of bed early, all three of us have our ammo cans full of BBs in the vehicle and you can do the math from there.

Which means that if a certain CNN reporter got a look in the trunk, he would lapse into spastic PSH at the very sight.
Federal agents seized 2,880 rounds of ammunition found inside an SUV...
2,900 rounds? Piker.

Lord, I hope they never see what I'm taking home from a gun show or they would really lose continence...

Down the black hole...

You know you have crossed the regulatory event horizon and are heading for the bureaucratic singularity, from which not even the most energetic particle of common sense can escape, when there are specific federal government guidelines for conducting security inspections of service monkey's diapers at airports.

I will note that they are not allowed to touch your monkey.

This is becoming security theater, as directed by Fellini.

I'm sure special TSA instructions for probulating midget circus clowns are next.

(h/t to Shermlock Shomes.)

The State of the Gun Blogosphere:

Some guy talks to two other guys about gun blogs. Lists some.

Reinforcing Failure.

Pay way too much for your house?

Convince a lender to front you half a mil for a 2-bedroom cracker box with a beautiful view of the interstate and gang tags on the trash cans, despite an actual work history involving an extensive collection of name tags and hairnets and a string of addresses that makes Kane from Kung Fu look like the Rock of Gibraltar?

Are you a lender who was dumb enough to give millions of dollars to Flippers-watching idiots, or a financial institution who thought that buying jillions of bundled mortgages on shoeboxes only a tremor and a mudslide away from being beachfront property was "secure"?

No fear!

It's still not your fault! Consequences are so mean and un-American that we think you shouldn't have to face them.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Taking a left turn near Albuquerque...

When the going gets weird, the weird turn homicidal:
The couple met up on the trails Monday and started drinking, police said.

"She had decided she needed to go to the restroom," Albuquerque police cheif [sic] Ray Schultz said. "The male had asked if he could watch her go to the restroom."
Short form: Wiccan gets drunk, pees, gets naked, stabs boyfriend to death with head shop athame. Also, there was allegedly some tying-up action with a rope at some point in the sordid tale.
"This is a time of Wiccan holiday, being the solstice [sic]," said Schultz. "We're still investigating to determine if that had something to do with this particular homicide."
Yeah, they were engaging in an ancient rite worshiping Bud Weiser, the forest spirit in charge of being noisily ill in the woods. I'm sure that's somewhere in chapter nine of The Golden Bough.

I am not going to pretend that this makes any kind of sense to me, but I will note that nothing like this ever happens on Law & Order.

(h/t to ctone.)

On the difference between "nerd" and "geek"...

A geek(ette) uses solder and brass tubing instead of scotch tape.

"I don't wanna be no stinkin' repo man..."

I dabbled extremely briefly in the automotive repossession field, just long enough to get some interesting stories to tell, but I got nothin' like this one:
Shortly before 4 p.m. Monday, a man seeking to repossess the 2001 Ford Expedition of 28-year-old Krystal Gardner arrived at her home in the 10000 block of Landsdowne Drive in southeast Dallas, police said.

And then things went rodeo.

First, Krystal-with-a-K, noticing her truck backing out of the driveway and deducing that its departure may have something to do with her lack of payments, lobs her toddler through the open back window of the SUV. Apparently at some point in her 28 years on the planet she'd become familiar enough with the Texas penal code to learn, among other no doubt fascinating tidbits, that trying to repossess a vehicle with somebody inside it was agin' the law.

Once the baby hit the back seat, Repo Man throws the Ford Leviathan into park and bails from the vehicle, to be greeted by a 15-y.o. gentleman exiting Krystal's crib with a shotgun in his paws.

The yoot, whose last name differs from the owner of the land yacht and whose reasons for being present at the scene are not adequately explored in the news clipping, set off two rounds from the fowling piece: one into the air and the other into the leg of Mr. Repo Man. At this point, before things could get even more bizarre, Johnny Law showed up and order was restored.

I must confess to some surprise when I checked the satellite photos of the area on Google maps and none of the houses on the street appeared to have axles.

(H/T to Bob S.)

This deck chair would look so much better over there.

Certain members of the GOP are now worried that Obamacare funds might be spent on Viagra for baby rapers. This is like... like... like something that strains my store of metaphors relating to a complete lack of a sense of proportion, that's what it's like.

Only a Republican senator could be thinking about boners at a time like this.

The congregation's that way, reverend.

Marko tees off on Social Security.

Frankly, anybody of my generation who ever expected to see a single red cent of Social Security is, not to put too fine a point on it, a little thick. This time bomb was built into it from the start.

They're going to try to buy some time by amnestizing every illegal they can get their hands on next, like they have in Europe, just watch.

It's the big one, Elizabeth!

I had to get a screen cap of this:

Surely that was a mistake and the intern who typed the headline has had his press pass ceremonially ripped from his shirt before being drummed out the back door and into the streets, never to work in journalism again.

Fear and Loading.

So Sarah Palin made the mistake of using "reload" in a Tweet yesterday, perhaps since "redouble your efforts" or "step up the fight" would have used too many characters.

As a result, the chick on the Today Show this morning, who was busy passing notes the day they covered "metaphor", was in the throes of full-blown Type 7 PSH, apparently convinced that Sarah's toothless cousin-humping minions were about to batter down the studio doors and lynch everyone who could read with their own neckties.

Then she asked Senator McCain what conservative lawmakers had to say about all this, like he'd know.

I missed what happened next because I went for more popcorn.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

You know you're a gun nut when... realize that you have close to 1,000 rounds of .32ACP on hand...

...150+ of which are jacketed hollow points.

I am totally ready for the uprising of the midget zombies.

I am the weapon...

...or I was at least.

Yesterday's lunch has finally worn off.

I took six big jalapenos, each the size of a child's fist, halved them, spooned the halves full of seasoned feta cheese, and baked them for a bit.

That was a big ol' plate of crispy hot fresh peppers, let me tell you; I spent the rest of the afternoon in a capsaicin miasma.

I thought about going for a walk on the Monon Trail south of 38th Street afterward, in hopes that a would-be mugger would jump out of the bushes and I could burp in his face, because it would have made this stuff look like Evening In Paris by comparison.

You're telling me it's a "right", right?

Phil at Random Nuclear Strikes is confused by the way that the rhetoric of Obamacare doesn't match the mechanics:
Not in the most leftist history class was I ever instructed that fines could be levied upon “Rights”.
Clearly there is more in the works...

Nothing's too trivial for a law.

Fake pee is now a no-go in the Volunteer State.

I mean, if you were planning on getting any.

I know I feel safer.

(True Fact: When I first saw the blurb at Unc's, I thought it was referring to AdBlue diesel additive...)

Your USRDA of nannyism.

Don't get me wrong, I loves me the food at Panera Bread, but standing in front of that menu, with its sanctimonious listing of calories right next to the prices, bathes me in a reeking cloud of smug I could only equal by inhaling directly from the tailpipe of a Prius.

Thanks to the new health care bill, though, everyplace is going to be like that now.
Ask and get more info: If you ask, a restaurant has to tell you the sodium, fat, fiber, protein and carb count of its items. The new law aims to make restaurant food conform with labels used on packaged food sold in grocery stores.
Yeah, I'm going to love standing in line behind somebody who's pestering the minimum wage part-time ESL student of a cashier at Burger Barn to know the precise fat content of their Triple Bypass Bacon 'n' Bleu Cheese Burger...

If I wanted to put up with this kind of crap, I'd have moved to Seattle.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Raj of ages.

Having had it recommended to me by eleventy-three different people, I am finally reading The Peshawar Lancers by S.M. Stirling.

It's a novel setting for a tale, sort of "The Far Pavilions goes steampunk"...


I just dug into a book on warfare in the mid-to-late 19th Century (well, technically into the early 20th,) hoping to add more data on my "Age of Rifles" project, but was disappointed.

The book (The Art of War: Waterloo to Mons,) is greatly concerned with geopolitics, strategy, logistics, and operational-level information, but barely kisses the tactical implications of the technological changes that came with the industrial revolution. I had hoped for a little more data on the sharp end, but perhaps Sandhurst instructors aren't paid to be concerned with fiddly details.

Plus, only a certain type of very stuffy English professor can take one of the more colorful eras of warfare, when huge armies of brightly-clad men with large mustaches ran around getting blasted to pieces by 19th Century weapons while using 18th Century tactics to fight wars for 17th Century reasons, and make it as dull as watching paint dry.

Talking points.

The front page of the Indianapolis Cat Box Liner yesterday had Smilin' Nan and her gavel under a headline saying, in a font only marginally smaller than the one used to announce moon landings or the sudden appearance of glowing craters where Japanese cities used to be, "LANDMARK MEASURE".

Dead center on page two was a photo of the big weekend rally in DC for immigration reform.

On the editorial page was Fran Quigley wringing his soft, sweaty hands about undocumented immigrants being denied their basic human rights, like subsidized education and health care.

Do you see a pattern?

Should have seen that one coming...

Cherokee County authorities are looking for a 56-year-old French national living in Woodstock who they said has been trying to buy a 5-year-old child on the Internet.

Police said investigators went to Patrick Molesti's Woodstock home last Thursday with a search warrant...

I mean, if you were just picking suspects out of a phone book, wouldn't he be your first choice?

I'm no Calvinist, but if anything I've ever seen smacked of predestination, this would be it.

(H/T to Unc.)

Today In History: If this be wookieism, make the most of it!

On this date in 1775, Patrick Henry donned his wookie suit and addressed the Virginia House of Burgesses:
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
He was, of course, sat down and told that grownups were hammering out improved compromise legislation with the King and that they were certain to pick up more friendly seats in Parliament in the next election cycle.

Wrong pedal, dummy.

So you go to move your boss's car, and it rockets into a stone wall, crumpling the front end like an accordion. Hmm. A paint touch-up pen isn't going to cover this up, and your boss is sure to be mad when he notices it.

But wait! Your boss's car is a Prius!
A housekeeper was driving the car at the time of the accident. She told police the vehicle accelerated on its own as she eased forward down her employer's driveway, causing her to crash into a stone wall on the other side of the road.
Except investigators can often get to the truth of these things even without "black box"-type data from the car's computer (which has been capable of finking on you for a long time in some cases; Caddy mechanics, for instance, have known if their customers were speeders for almost twenty years now.)

In this case, however, there was no need to resort to esoterica like examining brake light bulb filaments under a microscope to see if they were carrying voltage at the time of the wreck; the little Japanese hybrids are only slightly less computered-up than the Joint Strike Fighter. Local po-po and NHTSA investigators whipped out the electronic Ouija board for a seance with HAL-san and, sure enough,
there was no indication of brake compression as the car headed toward a stone wall. Rather, the accelerator was pressed 100 percent...

Now that the reports are all filed, however, what does our heroine claim?
Marraccini said that he spoke with the housekeeper about the findings of the investigation, but she remains "very passionate about her statement."
Well, of course she does. To do otherwise would be admitting that she was either a liar or a klutz in front of millions of people. It wouldn't surprise me at all if her memory had edited the whole experience by now to the point that she actually really does believe she was stepping on the brake.

Monday, March 22, 2010

QotD: 1984 edition...

Dirtcrashr in comments here:
In a One-Party state (like California for example) the "Stupid Party" is just a fig-leaf for the perpetual war between Oceania and Eurasia - or if you throw in Ron Paul, East-Pluto.
Now we are all in a One-Party state - like East Germany, the Deutsche Democratik Republik - another One-Party state that called themselves "Democratic."
His internets is in the mail.

On universal adaptors...

Dear America, I own your ass...

...or at least pay for its maintenance now, so drop the Doritos and get in line for the nicotine patches, alkie!

Too bad it would be lost on the audience...

Marko muses on the new airport scanners; lively discussion erupts in the comments. Some good points are made by both sides, and an appearance is put in by Marko's favorite troll, to boot.

My suggestion?

If you absolutely must fly, use those plastic Fisher-Price letters to make a placard that says "Do it to Julia!" and wear it under your shirt.

Lilies gilded; reasonable rates...

Xavier shows off his S&W Model 649, freshly back from a makeover at Clark Custom Guns.

Yeah, I'm just a little jealous...

News from another planet.

From La Paz, Bolivia: Purse-Snatching Insurance.

I'm not sure what I think about this. I mean, it's a novel response to what appears to be a real problem, but it doesn't do anything to strike at the root of the thing, which is that the certain element who considers purse-snatching to have an acceptable risk/reward ratio is apparently not being deterred by either the law or the possibility of resistance from the victim.

Somewhat tangentially, I wonder which would be the stronger deterrent to crime: A 1-in-4 chance of getting caught and having to face the justice system, or a 1-in-10 chance of attaining room temperature at the scene of the intended crime?

"Honey, come in here and watch the death of the republic!"

Okay, that's a little hyperbolic, but I couldn't resist watching the House of Representatives advance the progressive ball first kicked off by Teddy Roosevelt another 10 yards downfield, in much the same way I can't resist looking at a car balled up and on fire on the side of the interstate.

Sweden with NASCAR, that's what they want.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Overheard at the Gun Show:

An older man and a woman were manning the "Veterans For Ballard" table at the gun show as I walked past it today...

He: "Hello!"

Me: "Is Mayor Ballard going to let me carry my pistol on the Monon Trail yet?"

She: (obviously embarrassed) "He doesn't seem real popular for that here today."

I'll say. It was Sunday afternoon and they had all of two names on their signup sheet. I didn't check to see if it was just some wisenheimer signing up as "Sarah Brady" or "Seymour Butz".

I wish I had some of them there "layers of oversight".

The number of errors in this article is truly annoying...
On July 1, gun owners can keep a handgun in their car at work, as long as it is properly registered* and secured.

"Manufacturers now, on new guns, they ship a gun lock," said Burg.

The lock will be required† on all guns sitting in workplace parking lots. But the new law is not getting a ringing endorsement from the business community.

If you do that in an 8th grade school paper, you get an F; if you do it at a local media outlet, they just run that baby.

Hire some fact checkers, people.

* Neither guns nor their owners are registered in this state, contrary to what you heard on Law & Order last night.

†Bzzt! The gun must be locked in the vehicle to meet the letter of the law. If you want to festoon your heater itself with cable locks, chains, and then duct-tape it inside a shoe box riveted to the floorboard, that's peachy, but all the state cares about is that you locked your car door.

A long, strange trip...

So, yesterday we were talking about aircraft carriers and submarines. And this caused me to try to look up something about the 688 boats on Wikipedia.

Of course, I accidentally wound up on the page for the game 688 Attack Sub first, but luckily it had a hyperlink to the actual page for the Los Angeles-class subs.

I found the factoid I was looking for, and saw that there was a linkout to the Type 093-class attack subs of the People's Liberation Army Navy. That article mentioned that the new Chicom sub might be using an asymmetric propeller. Weird. There was no article for "asymmetric propeller". There was one for "asymmetric", but who doesn't know what asymmetric means? So I went to the article for "propeller" instead.

Huh. I knew cavitation was a big deal with boat propellers, but I didn't know that it caused little bubbles that imploded with such force that they eroded the metal. Or that dolphins actually had a speed limit more imposed by cavitation than by their shape or strength...

But that was nothing to the fact that there were critters that used the effects of cavitation like a Klingon sonic disruptor, to stun or kill their food. This was maybe the most awesome thing I've learned all week:

That's the pistol shrimp. He's the cute one in the family. His scarier-looking brother-from-another-planet, also armed with sonic disruptor technology, is the mantis shrimp:

Eccentric-looking thing, ain't he? Apparently they make great pets.

YouTube, by the way, is apparently absolutely littered with "My mantis shrimp versus _______" deathmatch videos, which are kinda creepy in a George R. R. Martin's Sandkings sorta way, and I say this as someone who fed live rats to a ball python.

For what we are about to receive...

"Don't do it for me. Don't do it for Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid," he said. "Do it for all those people out there who are struggling."
That's right! You tell 'em Barry! Do it to for The People! You can tell The People want it by the throngs of cheering crowds gathered on the Capitol steps, urging the passage of this bill.

Oh, wait...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

All the changing seasons of my life... Part Deux.

The 42-kiloton Russian VTOL cruiser Kiev, launched in 1972, was the terror of Tom Clancy novels and the boardgame Sixth Fleet when I was in high school.

Now it's a floating theme park. In China.

By comparison, CVN-65 USS Enterprise, "The Mobile Chernobyl", should have at least two more deployments in her before she heads for retirement sometime around her 50th birthday.

The Chinese may have other plans for the Varyag, however...

Of course, like nuclear subs, an aircraft carrier force is not something you just whip up out of nowhere. There's a lot more to it, especially in the fields of crew training and doctrine, than just possessing the gear. You could hand me the most accurate rifle on the planet and I'm not going to step out on the grass at Camp Perry and win a President's Hundred tab.

Speaking of aircraft carriers, here's a picture of the now-decommissioned USS Forrestal with the VSTOL carriers HMS Invincible and Spain's Principe de Asturias, as well as a giant floating can of whoopass:

VSTOL carriers are just tiny by comparison with the bird farms.

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #51: Europellets, 1907-12.

Once upon a time, it was not considered unseemly for a gentleman on the continent to acquire a pistol for his vest pocket...

Dreyse M1907, Frommer Stop (1912), and FN M1910, all in 7.65 Browning, aka .32ACP.

I feel an Arms Room post comin' on...

Springtime approacheth.

The croci are in bloom in Broad Ripple, even if cars are still atop the ice elsewhere.

I've got some gladiolus bulbs to plant around the sunnier side of the tree this weekend; I'm thinking if my delphinium has survived another winter, they'll look pretty cool together.

Fun Show Report.

The Indy 1500 Fun Show is in town this weekend. Bobbi and I took a preliminary pass-through yesterday afternoon; we'll probably go back at least once more. (If you've never been, it's huge; way too big for one day if you plan on examining things in detail or doing any comparison shopping.)

I picked up a trinket: It's chambered in 7.65 Browning and has forward cocking serrations, despite being almost a half decade older than the oldest M1911. Guess what it is. Ready? Go!

Friday, March 19, 2010

This week's gaffe...

Joe Biden, bless his heart...

(h/t to Breda.)

"Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms."

If you want to see nature's cleanup crew in action, Robert at Blackfork Blog has turned an automated deer camera to a slightly grislier function: Dead Cow Cam.

Really neato, albeit in a creepy, "sure glad it's not filmed in smell-o-vision" sorta way.

All the changing seasons of my life...

Yur subz r rusted. kthxbai.

If you entered adulthood, as I did, in the mid-to-late '80s, you perhaps remember the DoD's scaresheet, Soviet Military Power, which contained grainy spyphoto pics of the Russkie's newest submarine, the Typhoon-class.

Well, you don't need grainy spyphoto pics to get a good look at the villain of The Hunt For Red October anymore; now you can just go to the intertubes...

Lions and tigers and bears. And wolves. And kangaroos. And face-eating monkeys.

Since we're on the subject of Mother Nature hating her some joggers...
Mr Striegl, 25, was running up Canberra's Mount Ainslie during his lunchbreak yesterday and did not think twice when he spotted one of the resident roos nearby.

The bushland reserve in the nation's capital is popular with joggers and cyclists, and assaults by the marsupials who share the mountain are rare.

Mr Striegl was knocked unconscious and remembers little about the attack...
Actually, the slavering attack kangaroo probably saved him by knocking him out before he jogged into the territory of the drop bears.

What gun for 'roo, anyway?

(h/t to reader Tarb.)

Idaho: Famous for mountains, potatoes, and wookies.

While Barry is still feverishly stumping for the My Great Big Legacy Health Care Act of '10, most recently by holding hands with Dennis "The Red Menace" Kucinich, the Idaho state legislature has beaten Congress to the punch with the "Get Bent, D.C." Act of '10, which the governor of the Gem State has already signed into law.
"[E]very person within the state of Idaho is and shall be free to choose or decline to choose any mode of securing health care services without penalty or threat of penalty."
Hard not to see where that one's aimed.

Meanwhile, apparently running over a list of federal installations in their state and finding that not one of them is named "Sumter", the Idaho legislature returned to the paper front and is now mulling the passage of HB 633, a "measure that would allow Idaho citizens to pay their state taxes with an official state silver medallion."

When I read stuff like this, I've half a mind to pack up my wookie suit and head for the Bitterroots.

(h/t for the latter story to SurvivalBlog.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Jogger vs. Wild.

No this isn't about a Californian getting eaten by a puma or a Canadian folk singer getting killed by coyotes...

This time it's about an Alaskan getting eaten by wolves.
Colleagues said Candice Berner was determined to experience Alaska
Well, sounds like she experienced it, alright; all up close and personal-like.

What I want to know is how come the same person who would never walk alone through a dark alley in New York City will go and "experience" the wilderness by themselves without so much as a dull butter knife to their name. I've got news for you, hippie: If you live in the backwoods of Alaska, once you step out your front door, you are no longer the top link on the food chain.

The money quote on the whole "X-Games Culture meets Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" phenomenon comes from Chas Clifton:
No one goes to the gym expecting to be eaten.
Nature is not "red in tooth and claw" because of the Nerf padding.

Help a brother out...

Robb Allen wants to use his code-writing powers for good. Even better would be to use his powers for good and turning a profit at the same time, although he'd consider that just an added bonus. He needs ideas, though, so go help him out:
Any ideas for software that would improve your life as a gunnie? Consider this a brainstorming session – no idea is stupid or too far out there. I just need to get ideas going. Doesn't have to be a money maker though.

This could be your chance to have somebody program that shooty app you've always wanted!

Welcome to the future.

So the local news was running a blurb on the travel warnings for spring breakers in Mexico this morning, warning them to stay within one block of the beach, while camera footage showed an Acapulco swarming with grim-eyed, black-uniformed men with slung German assault rifles.


If you had told me when I was in high school that, in order to take spring break in Mexico, we would have to remove our shoes before boarding the plane, walk through a machine that used fancy rays to let an hourly-wage security guard examine our crotchal areas in black & white 3-D, get frisked to make sure we weren't carrying anything as dangerous as a plastic spork onto the plane; that once on the plane they would charge us to use a blanket and we could only get up and pee at designated times under penalty of law; and that when we got to Cancun or Acapulco, there would be so many HK-toting Federales standing on street corners to protect tourists from the ongoing war with the narcotraficantes that it looked like Mardi Gras at Checkpoint Charlie, I'd have asked you who won the Cold War.

We're living in the dystopian future of a Bruce Sterling novel.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spy photo:

This just in from my undercover mole:

According to a little birdie, Tiger McKee, who was a padawan learner under Clint Smith before setting off on his own and starting Shootrite Firearms Academy, is collaborating with Red Jacket Firearms of Louisiana on a special AR carbine with the Tiger McKee stamp o' approval.

It allegedly has a Sabre Defense lower, Les Baer upper, A1 buttstock, pencil barrel, Daniel Defense fixed rear BUIS, and a carbon-fiber handguard with a single stubby chunk of rail at the for'd 11 o'clock position, rather than a whole rail farm, since you don't need twenty-nine-and-a-half linear feet of picatinny rail to put a flashlight on your heater. Rumor has it that the gun is also sans the mostly useless "forward assist" and sports an all-up weight of less than six pounds.

My mole snapped a blurry closeup of the receiver:

I'm not entirely certain why my mole didn't snap a picture of the whole gun, but I am not complaining.

You will note that, in true firearms industry fashion, the gun is not named the "Snugglebunny Cuddlekins" or the "Family Protector", but rather the "KATANA". Oh well. You can always put electrical tape over the name if it makes you feel like an anime dork, 'cause otherwise the specs sound pretty schweet.

Not my fault...

If my productivity is shot, it's all the fault of the reader who hit my Amazon wish list and sent me a copy of Working IX to V: Orgy Planners, Funeral Clowns, and Other Prized Professions of the Ancient World. I laid into that and it gave me a hankering to lose myself in the giant multi-century metaphor that is Rome.

So when I finished it, I dug through the attic looking for my copies of Lindsey Davis' wonderful Marcus Didius Falco novels (think "Sam Spade in a toga"...) I couldn't find the first one, Silver Pigs, so I tucked into #2: Shadows in Bronze. Davis spins some of the most compelling historical fiction, stuff that puts you right on the streets of the Eternal City during the reign of my favorite emperor, Vespasian. It doesn't hurt that her characters are compelling and the ongoing love story between her protagonist and his senatorial crush, Helena Justina, is handled with a deftness not often found in fiction. (That, by the way, is the definition of good fiction to me: A fun story can only partially redeem cardboard characters, but three-dimensional characters for whom the author can make me really care? I'll come back just to read a book about them doing laundry together.)

Having finished that, I held off on the third book in the series and instead went to Half Price Books and picked up a copy of Justinian's Flea: The First Great Plague and the End of the Roman Empire, which I'd been meaning to read for a couple of years now.

So, uh, regular blogging should resume later this afternoon, when I tear my nose out of the book...

Awesome quote of the day:

From Denise McCluggage, who was racing professionally while Shirley Muldowney was still in bobby socks:
Her favorite car is a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta in which she won the 1961 Sebring GTIII.

"It was not only my only car; it was my only thing. I had a Ferrari, and that was it," she said.
That's frickin' awesome; walking the Earth like Kane from Kung Fu, but with a Ferrari.

Death From Above...

Wow, just when I thought "Torn Apart By A Killer Whale In The Middle Of An Amusement Park" was going to be a strong front runner for Bizarrest Death of '10, along comes one that knocks it into a cocked hat.

Apparently a guy was flying his Lancair, a small low-wing single-engine plane, back north from Orlando when he started having engine problems. And by "engine problems", I mean the kind that sprayed oil all over his windscreen and caused the propeller to land somewhat earlier than the rest of the aircraft.

Now at the helm of a somewhat ungainly 3,500lb glider, he called an emergency and began looking for somewhere to set down. Upon realizing that his glide angle wasn't going to get him to Hilton Head airport, he settled for the next best thing: A strip of Hilton Head Beach.

Meanwhile, one Mr. Jones, taking his vacation in Hilton Head, SC, was jogging down the beach with earphones in. I'm not sure what he was listening to, maybe Johnny Winters doing "Bad Luck Blues" or "Bad Luck" by Social Distortion... Anyway, what he was listening to isn't important. See, I don't think the earphones were a big factor, because a plane with a missing prop and a seized engine doesn't make a lot of noise as it comes gliding out of the sky and lands on your head from behind.

I'd say he's got the award for most unusual checkout of the year pretty much sewed up unless someone manages to get tied up and bludgeoned to death with hard salamis by circus midgets between now and December 31st.

(via email.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The cycle of the seasons.

Primitive societies mark the turnings of the year with special festivals: planting, harvest, the returning of the birds from wherever they went to for the winter.

We should have modern equivalents, festivals celebrating the last lawn mowing, the first running of the air conditioner, that sort of thing... Today, for instance, would have been the Festival of The First Time The Top Went Down On The Convertible This Year.

Overheard in the Dining Room:

RX: "What is a 'Flexitarian'?"

Me: "Somebody who thinks that vegetarianism is all cool and hip and green and trendy, and wants to be part of that club, but doesn't actually want to quit eating meat. So they eat lots of vegetables and a little meat..."

RX: "In most countries do you know what they call someone who eats lots of vegetables and a little meat? Poor."

Life, Liberty, and High-Speed Porn.

Like a photographer without a camera, or a mechanic who doesn't own a car, Kelli Fields is a webmaster without high-speed Internet access.

By day, the 42-year-old uses a broadband connection at work to update a university's Web site, which she built and codes from scratch.

But when she goes home at night, the rural Midwesterner struggles with a dial-up Internet connection so slow, she does chores to pass the time while Web sites load. Her high school-age son is so fed up with the glacial pace of their Internet connection that he asks his mom to update his Facebook page from the office.
So naturally I'm expected to pony up and cover her piss-poor planning. Cue Sally Struthers: "Poor Kelli only has a 56k internet connection, but for just eighty cents a day, you could provide her with clean running broadband. We'll send you a picture of your webmistress..."

Rather than her using some good old-fashioned American gumption and initiative and moving to a new home where she can actually do her intertubes work or her springing for a satellite service, I'm expected to reach into your children's future paychecks to finance her lack of judgment and motivation.

I hope she doesn't decide to become a swimming instructor, or I'll wind up having to buy her a frickin' pool.

(And her kid can just piss off, okay? Most of the world is surviving just fine without a Facebook page. Eat your broccoli, do your homework, shut your piehole, and get offa my lawn.)

Look, running broadband to Two Mules, Montana is not profitable at this time.

Do you know how I know this? Because, were it possible to make money running broadband to Two Mules, someone would have already done so.

So if we do run .gov-mandated broadband to Two Mules, it will therefore be a constant little hemorrhage of red ink from now until the heat death of the universe, because once it's there, it will become a Right. And fifty years from now, when we're all downloading satellite signals into our modem implants, the Last Citizen of Two Mules, 96-y.o. Kelli Krabapple, is still going to have her old-fashiond fiber cable so that she can forward awful glurge email spam to her relatives, and our grandkids will be stuck with the squillion-dollar a year maintenance tab to keep her antique cable modem running out on the lone prairie.

Today In History: That's Mister Little Boots to you!

On this date in 37AD the increasingly weird and reclusive Tiberius, Rome's second emperor, choked on his last cookie. Officially the death was of natural causes, however there was a young man present who had enough means, motive, and opportunity to keep people speculating for millennia.

The young man in question had been fairly constantly humiliated by the paranoid, syphilitic codger. His mother and brothers had been imprisoned, exiled, and died from the old coot's creeping paranoia. He had spent six years as a virtual hostage in the hermit emperor's bolthole on Capreae, witness to enough bizarre stuff that Gore Vidal and Bob Guccioni would gross people out with it on the big screen in the hedonistic 1970s. He was named as joint successor in the emperor's will. Oh, yeah, he had motive and to spare...

The young man in question was Tiberius' grand-nephew, son of the rock-star general Germanicus: young Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus. An army brat, the nickname hung on him as a child by his dad's soldiers has stuck with him to this day: Caligula. He reportedly hated it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Keeping things in balance...

The Yang: Rode my bicycle to the grocery store...

The Yin: ...for a couple pints of gelato.

QotD: Mad as hell, and not going to take it anymore...

Joe Huffman on why gun owners have a right to be angry:
Constantly lying about the law, firearms, and gun owners has a tendency to make gun owners angry. If they don't want us to be angry they should stop lying.

Of course I agree, but then, since I'm an uncivilized, ignorant, illiterate, pickup-driving, bible-thumpin', backwoods-dwelling Republican bumpkin who engages in unlicensed loophole transactions of unregistered assault weapons at gun shows with my fellow neo-Nazis, you'd expect me to.

How is a whale like a canary?

So I finally went and read the article about the sushi bar that got raided for serving up fillet o' Moby Dick. I made it about four paragraphs in before I nearly had a cerebral event...
Prosecutors charged Typhoon Restaurant Inc., the parent company of The Hump, and one of its chefs -- Kiyoshiro Yamamoto, 45 -- with the illegal sale of a marine mammal product for an unauthorized purpose.

While it is considered a delicacy in Japan and some other countries, meat from whale -- an endangered species -- is illegal to consume in the United States.

The misdemeanor charge carries a federal prison sentence of up to a year and a fine of up to $200,000 for the company, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.
There is just so much wrong there that I don't even know where to begin.
  1. The only hook the feds have on which to hang their hat here, assuming they still gave a rat's ass about the Constitution, is the commerce clause. Since the whale had presumably been involved in commerce with a foreign nation, it could have been contraband since I'd assume that no duties or tariffs had been paid for Willy.
  2. Illegal to consume? Illegal to consume? You point out to me where in the Constitution that the federal government thinks it has any business telling people what they can or cannot "consume". Even during Prohibition it wasn't illegal to drink alcohol, you overreaching petty tyrants, and they at least had the common courtesy to amend the founding contract rather than just pull some BS new law out of their butts. What any citizen of this great nation chooses to stick in any orifice of their bodies is not even the slightest legitimate concern of the federal government. Mind your own business, you pin-headed pack of jumped-up Chamber of Commerce boosters and refugees from the back cover of the phone book. We sent you people to Washington to get you out of our hair, not to tell us what to put in our mouths.
  3. A Federal misdemeanor? Really? You mean in between its legitimate functions like declaring war, signing treaties, hanging pirates, and establishing post roads, the Federal government has time to throw individual citizens of the sovereign states in the pokey for misdemeanors? And this makes sense to someone?
Jesus, what a mess we've made of this thing. It was such a neat little setup for a country we had and we have effed it up so thoroughly that the Federal government can put people in jail for eating meat from the wrong species. Jimmy, Alex, Ben, George, we broke it; we're sorry.

CORRECTION: Looks like I nearly had a cerebral hemorrhage this morning for nothing. Apparently neither the heavily fact-checked reporter nor their layers of editorial oversight at CNN has access to Google. The relevant portion of the U.S. Code is here: 16 U.S.C. § 1372. No mention of misdemeanors or eating. Given how ignorant they are about firearms and firearms law, I don't know why I expect them to be any better informed about any other topic.

Vacation, all I've ever wanted...

So roomie was on vacation last week, leading to a couple of observations:
  • Vacationitis is apparently contagious. I found myself sleeping in a lot, too.
  • Coffee consumption at Roseholme Cottage doubles during vacation.
  • The only thing harder than going from Standard Time to Daylight Savings Time is going straight from Vacation Time to DST. Bobbi, like me, appears to be quasi-nocturnal by nature; left to my own devices, my day would run from noon to 4AM or so. It felt like the alarm clock went off at 0300 this morning.

Try to remember not to forget...

(Graphic stolen from Bobbi.)

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! Be there!

Also, it's fun show weekend. Anybody else planning on attending the Indy 1500?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Considering making a sale...

Would anybody be interested in an ultra-rare S&W Performance Center 627 V-Comp with a 3" tube? So rare that its particular SKU isn't even listed in the SCSW3E?

These pre-lock V-Comps were supposedly designed with input from Jerry Miculek; they were sold with a special serial number prefix, and the gun in question is #0001.

I'm not dead set on selling it, but it's kinda become the odd duck out in my collection and the right offer would make me turn it loose.

E pluribus queror.

So the Texas Board of Education voted 10-5 to teach history instead of a textbook full of free-floating multi-culti anti-American self-loathing guilt.

Naturally, this displeased a lot of people, especially those in the booming free-floating multi-culti anti-American self-loathing guilt industry. They were quick to fling accusations of the "C-word"* and issue condemnations of the new syllabus:
Board member Rick Agosto, a Democrat, said the contributions of Hispanics and other minorities were shortchanged, and he graded the new standards "one jalapeño out of five."
Incidentally, he also graded them one-and-a-half bowls of collard greens out of five, two tubes of lipstick out of five, three kielbasas out of five, three-and-a-half matzoh balls out of five, and four pints of Guinness out of five.

What an amazing tool.

* "Conservatism". Duh!

Paging Orson Welles...

Bad broadcasting idea in Georgia (the one with satsivi, not the one with grits):

On Saturday night, the pro-government Imedi TV in Georgia broadcast what it called a "simulation" of what a fresh invasion would look like. And the broadcast ended with a note that the events in it were not real.

However, the show did not run any on-screen notes during the half-hour broadcast to alert viewers that what they were watching was not real.

Viewers were alarmed.

I'll say.

I mean, if local TV were to do the same thing, broadcasting, say, a two hour special bulletin on an ongoing invasion from Illinois, I'd be throwing an entrenching tool and a rifle into the car to go dig in along the Wabash and help turn back the hordes from the Land of Lincoln before the second commercial break.

I know it makes me lose Hoosier street cred...

...but I like Daylight Savings Time.

For one thing, it shuts my winter blahs off like a switch. I know that it's just a bit of horological legerdemain, that we're sawing an hour off one end and gluing it to the other, but six thirty is just a damned depressing time for the sun to be setting and somehow calling that time "seven thirty" instead makes everything better.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Flashback: Half a prophet...

My post from 9/07: Right scam, wrong scammer...
Now look at that Clinton, that's the way you do it
You play the class war on the ol' tv
That ain't campaignin', that's the way you do it
Health care for nothin' and your docs for free
Now that ain't campaignin', that's the way you do it
Lemme tell ya that gal ain't dumb
Maybe look righteous waggin' a finger
Sure to get a vote from some bum.

We gotta worry 'bout Middle East countries
Immigration and trade treaties
We gotta balance the fed'ral budget
And that don't play on soundbite tv.

See the little Clinton with the earrings and the makeup
Yeah buddy that ain't her own dough
Givin' away other people's money
Always makes for a real good show.

We gotta worry 'bout Middle East countries
Immigration and trade treaties
We gotta balance the fed'ral budget
And that don't play on soundbite tv.

I shoulda learned to play th' Class War
I shoulda learned to court them bums
Look at that mama, she gonna promise free insurance
Votes? That's gonna get some.
And she's up there, whats that? Socialist noises?
Bangin' on the wealthy like Noam Chomsky
That ain't campaignin', that's the way you do it
Health care for nothin' and your docs for free.

We gotta worry 'bout Middle East countries
Immigration and trade treaties
We gotta balance the fed'ral budget
And that don't play on soundbite tv.

Now that ain't campaignin', that's the way you do it
You play the class war on the ol' tv
That ain't campaignin', that's the way you do it
Health care for nothin' and your docs for free
Health care for nothin' and docs for free.
Who'd have thought Barry would beat Ms. Inevitable way back then?

What's playing on WTAM...

Just because I haven't done it in a while, here's the current top 10 most frequently played tunes in my iPod...
  1. "Viva la Vida" Coldplay
  2. "The Great Destroyer" Nine Inch Nails
  3. "New Dawn Fades" Joy Division
  4. "Left To My Own Devices" Pet Shop Boys
  5. "Galileo" Indigo Girls
  6. "Bleed It Out" Linkin Park
  7. "The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning" Smashing Pumpkins
  8. "Get In The Ring" Guns N' Roses
  9. "No More Tears" Ozzy Osbourne
  10. "The Card Cheat" The Clash

What pattern there is here, I have not a clue.

Hahahaha... ow.

A sadly un-strained metaphor:
A congressman and his constituent were walking in the woods when they came upon a metaphorical bear...
Click on the above to read the whole thing. Brian J. Noggle has encapsulated the entire problem in a nutshell.

We need mandatory expiration dates. Or a House of Repeal. Something.

Just this morning, sometime conservative Charles Krauthammer inadvertently put his finger on it (or his foot in it) in his column "Hail the change of chiefs":
True, the rotation of power inevitably results in stops and starts and policy zigzags. Yet for all its inefficiency, it in the end creates a near miraculous social stability by setting down layers of legitimacy every time the opposition adopts some of its predecessor's reforms -- while at the same time allowing challenges to fundamental assumptions before they become fossilized.
No, you thimble-headed gherkin! That is exactly the problem! Look, I understand how a GOP loyalist like yourself is all sad right now, and you're thinking that when life gives you lemons, you should try and make lemonade, but when life hands you turds, you don't sit down to a steaming bowl of dog crap soup with a smile on your face, okay?

The Republicans come to power by railing against the excesses of the Democrats. Then when they get in, they let the status quo remain ante rather than risk upsetting any applecarts. In turn they create their own excesses, which the Democrats rail about to get themselves elected, but then never repeal, instead letting the status... Are you getting the 'lather, rinse, repeat' picture here?

It's government by sedimentation, each new election cycle depositing a fresh layer of laws to be upheld and bureaucratic fiefdoms to be protected atop the structure already existing. Unless someone brings a dredge through, this river's going to silt up completely.

This isn't a pendulum, it's a ratchet, and it's going to continue getting tighter 'til something gives.

I wonder if she's kin to Lawdog?

The police blotter from Unalaska, AK, written by a Sgt. Shockley, makes for some pretty droll reading:

Suspicious Person/Activity – Officer attempted to resolve a complicated situation involving several people in two different states, a vehicle that may have been stolen three years ago and then sold several months ago, and a vehicle title that had never changed hands. Resolution pending additional information.
Ambulance Request – EMS personnel offered medical care to a trembling, drunken man with a bloody nose and the word “LOSER” written on his head. The inebriate refused care.
Assault – A man who was demonstrating how to properly position and drive a knife in order to achieve a fatal stab wound was kicked in his knife hand by an onlooker. When he confronted the kicker about the dangers of such actions, the kicker began punching him about the head and torso. Witnesses confirmed the victim’s story. David Aaron Meeks, 39 yoa, was arrested for Assault IV.

(vie email.)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Light my way.

When I first started carrying a flashlight, I found it was a handy thing to have around. I mean, sure, I liked the whole "fanged ninja flashlight of tactical doom" that was my Surefire Z2 with its GG&G "Tactical Impact Device", but what I used it for was the things for which you'd usually use a flashlight: illuminating darkened pathways, not stepping in doggie land mines in the pasture, finding stuff that had rolled under my car seat...

The problem is that it was like using a howitzer to hunt rabbits. Eleventeen jillion eye-searing xenon-fueled candlepower was a bit of overkill for a lot of applications, and that bulb would suck the electrons out of those expensive lithium batteries like a shop vac in a Dixie cup. So I started keeping a second flashlight in my turse or a vest pocket; a little Streamlight TwinTask 1L.

Brighter than the little light on my keychain, but not bright enough to leave me blinking with its glare in the dark, it's nice and small and best of all, it uses the same CR123 cells as my big light. I've been using it for five years now, as recently as about an hour ago (to go look at the downspouts), and haven't managed to break it yet. I couldn't be happier with it.

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe...

I was reading a post over at New Paltz Journal which referenced Chris Hedges. Now, Hedges is one of those people whose name rings a bell, but whose oeuvre and my regular reading don't make for much of a Venn Diagram. So I Googled him. And was instantly transported to Bizarro World...
Popular institutions, from labor unions to political parties, have been destroyed or emasculated by corporate power. And any form of protest, no matter how tepid, is blocked by an internal security apparatus that is starting to rival that of the East German secret police. The mounting anger and hatred, coursing through the bloodstream of the body politic, make violence and counter-violence inevitable. Brace yourself. The American empire is over. And the descent is going to be horrifying.

Those singled out as internal enemies will include people of color, immigrants, gays, intellectuals, feminists, Jews, Muslims, union leaders and those defined as “liberals.” They will be condemned as anti-American and blamed for our decline. The economic collapse, which remains mysterious and enigmatic to most Americans, will be pinned by demagogues and hatemongers on these hapless scapegoats. And the random acts of violence, which are already leaping up around the fringes of American society, will justify harsh measures of internal control that will snuff out the final vestiges of our democracy.

I wonder what color the sky is in his world?

Is there something seductive about feeling persecuted? I remember sitting in the Baptist church I attended in my youth, listening to Chick Tract "Last Generation" stuff and feeling all righteously persecuted, and never stopping to think that there was hardly a place on this planet where I was less likely to be persecuted for Christianity than the northern 'burbs of Atlanta.

You might be a jerk if...

Caught in the act at his local Walmart on Wednesday night, Ralph Conone admitted that for months he'd been punching children on the backs of their heads with his keys in his fist, Columbus police said yesterday.

The 68-year-old grandfather also told them why, police said: He got a kick out of it.

What kind of wiring fault does it take to cause you get your jollies rabbit-punching random toddlers at the Walmart? I mean, seriously...

Ruth Conone said that her ex-husband, who is retired from the Ohio Department of Development, has no history of this behavior, but she said he needs help with mental-health issues.
Ma'am, that is a strong front-runner for Understatement of the Year.

(H/T to Unc.)

Big Hit Movie.

Complete with Big Hit Movie Trailer.

Simply brilliant.


I had the strangest dream last night:

We were sitting under the awning of the sidewalk cafe across from the airfield when we heard the big jet on final. Despite having been built to satisfy imperial ambitions years ago, the weed-straggling airport here hadn't seen much of anything bigger than a puddle jumper in a long time, and the sound was unexpected enough to cause me to bang my shotgun against the cafe's rusty wrought iron railing as I leaned awkwardly out to see what was making the roar.

It was one of those Soviet Airbus knockoffs, and not an Aeroflot one, either, as the mottled gray paint and the pods under the wings for flares and chaff made abundantly clear. And it was obviously about to land here.

It was moderately unsettling. I mean, we had as much right to be here as the Russkies did, of course, but despite our blue passports, my partner and I were here pretty much on our own hook, and that was definitely a Very Official Soviet plane.

It landed hard and short, reversing thrust and piling on the braking, and then, rather than taxiing off, it turned a one-eighty and, with flaps still dropped, powered down. That was weird.

The plane might as well have been invisible to the locals, the adults at least, inured as they were to the comings and goings of the various pawns and rooks of the great game, but a few of the younger ones ran across the dusty street and pressed their faces to the chain link. My partner was staring at the Airbuski, stroking his chin in thought, and I kept one eye on the plane myself as I went back to my tea.

By the time we were ready to leave some fifteen minutes later, the plane was still sitting silent and alone in the middle of the uncontrolled field's runway, which was decidedly odd. Most of the urchins had wandered off as we strolled out onto the street ourselves...

Another jet. Loud. Looking up, we could see a second Russian heavy, flaps and gear down, suddenly adding power and veering off as it saw its twin parked smack in the middle of the tarmac. A pair of MiGs, tiny in comparison, jinked to avoid the plane they'd I guess been escorting as it rose and proceeded to orbit the field absurdly low. There was still no sign of life from the freighter on the strip. Its mate passed one last time over our heads, low enough that we could see the dirt and grime on its underbelly, and then, trailing the fighter planes like chicks behind their momma, it turned back north.

"What was that all about?" I wondered aloud.

"Beats hell outta me," muttered my partner.

With the sky once again empty, the Airbuski suddenly popped its forward cabin door open, and a rope ladder unspooled to span the long drop to the ground. Then nothing again for what seemed like a long... Wait, a noise. A single, muffled... was that a gunshot?

My partner walked over to the gate in the fence without another word, pushed it open, and moved out at a trot toward the plane. Given a choice between standing like an idiot by myself or running across a couple hundred yards of open field like an idiot with someone else, I opted for the latter. The company was better.

As we got to the bottom of the ladder, we could hear what sounded like wailing from inside the open hatch. It sounded like someone was giving a housecat a rough time of it up there. My partner was reaching for the ladder, but I got a hand on it first.

I swarmed up it, not knowing what to expect, and feeling kind of idiotic. My head was almost level with the hatch before I realized that climbing into a foreign military aircraft, even one in apparent distress, with an ugly short-barreled shotgun slung over my back was not likely to make me look like the Welcome Wagon. I was too high up to ditch it now, though, especially with my partner halfway up the ladder below me.

If I didn't know better, that sound was babies crying. On a Commie cargo jet?

I risked a peek over the lip of the hatch and, sure enough, right there inside it were two blanket-swaddled shapes lying on the cargo floor and howling their little lungs out. The plane looked otherwise empty, its webbing seats stowed against the sides of the fuselage.

I clambered through the hatch and looked towards the cockpit door, which was ajar. I could smell gunpowder. And blood. Unslinging my shotgun, I nosed through the door as my partner entered the plane.

There was just one guy in the pilot's seat, wearing a colonel's uniform. He was dressed for a day at the office, not for the flight line, and he was deader than Elvis. The Krink he'd used to put a bullet in his own chest lay between his feet.

He'd wanted to get his kids out so bad that he took the first chance he had. Knowing they'd come after him for what was in his head, he decided to put a stop to that the only way he could.

We picked up the kids and split before the cavalry could return...