Thursday, September 30, 2010

Overheard in the Kitchen:

So I'm stirring my pot of breakfast chili and singing to it...
Me: "Umami! Umami! You're my favorite flavor of all!
I like you better than salty, and even better than sweet!"

RX: "See, that's why we can't keep straight MSG in the house, because you'd eat it right from the shaker."

Me: "You can get straight powdered MSG?"
It's the truth. I probably think about a rare steak with a side of fried eggs slathered in Worcestershire sauce the way most people think of a banana split piled with fresh strawberries and chocolate sauce.

Gold! It's not just for paranoids anymore!

Apparently weirdo goldbugs have taken over Eurozone banks and are wandering the corridors at the UN building.

And remember: You're standing on the quarterdeck of the U$$ Dollar, and that's not the sea level rising.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Did you ever hear the one about...

...the Grumman test pilot who was shot down by 20mm cannon shells that he'd fired hisownself?

That's right, in one of my favorite strange-but-true aviation stories, an F11F Tiger kinda sorta rear-ended its own bullets.

Well, that'll make Halloween easier.

Person A: "You don't seem to be wearing a costume. What are you supposed to be?"

Me: "I'm a Force of Darkness. Can't you tell?"
That's a big step up from "Minion of Evil"...

(H/T to Sebastian.)

Overheard in the Hallway:

Wafting from the bathroom, where roomie is getting ready for work:
RX: "That's what those two-tone emergency sirens are actually saying: 'Spi-der! Spi-der!' That's why whenever one goes by, all the little spiders stop what they're doing and look up. And then when it's gone past, they start to bark."

Me: "They what?!?"
Barking spiders? It must be the hairspray fumes or something.

"...Empire Day, when we try to remember the names of the people of the town of Sudbury who died to keep China British."

Coming up this Sunday, Germany will apparently repay the last of its Versailles Treaty obligations, putting an end to the trench warfare that has apparently been continuing in dusty ledgers across Europe long after the guns fell silent (and then got noisy again, and then fell silent again...)

I wonder if the Frogs ever got around to repaying all the money we lent them during the Great War?

An analogy about noses and faces springs to mind.

In Europe, millions have taken to the streets, marching in favor of free stuff and unsustainable government spending, as long as it's spent directly on them.

Meanwhile, here in Indianapolis, UAW workers at the GM stamping plant downtown refused to take a 50% pay cut, choosing a 100% pay cut instead. Solidarity forever, baby.

So, just how wide is his stance?

I'm sorry, but anybody so obsessed about the fact that the current student body president of their old alma mater is gay that they'd risk their career by going all Stalk-y Smurf, writing and maintaining a rambling anonymous blog railing against the evils of gay cooties, is probably tormented by their own strange desire to hang around bus stations. If you know what I mean.

Were I a Michigander, I would be mortified. Not so much at the content of the blog, because it's a free country and you can hate whoever you want to, but by the form and style... or rather the complete lack thereof. The idea that someone with such a complete lack of facility with his native tongue had risen to a position of power in my state government... I mean, this guy graduated from law school? Are his legal briefs also liberally sprinkled with ALL CAPS and "scare quotes"?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It must be that time of year...

Metrocon Monthly, as it occasionally is wont to do, remembers that there's an Amendment squeezed in there in the space between the one about Freedom of Speech and the one about No Soldiers Bunking on Your Futon...

(H/T to Sebastian.)

A second helping of monster-slayin' goodness...

It appears that Monster Hunter Vendetta is now in stock and shipping from Amazon.

Hooray for machine guns and dead(er) zombies!

Systemic flaw.

The biggest problem with voting is that people generally go to the polls for one of two reasons: Either to tell other people what to do, or to take their stuff.

The kind of people you'd actually want as neighbors, the kind that aren't a pack of thieving busybodies, either trudge to the ballot box because some half-remembered high school civics teacher told them they were supposed to, or vote by defensive reflex in the hopes that, say, Darth Vader will be a more benign overlord than Cthulhu, or just give the whole thing up as a bad idea and do something productive on election day, like cleaning the gutters.

You can rail against pork until the... er, pigs come home, but the flaw is built into the system. The people most likely to vote in the first place are the ones most easily bribed. You can complain all you want about the ever-burgeoning number of laws but, frankly, if you keep electing lawmakers, guess what's gonna keep getting made?

This is the part of the post where I am, by internet tradition, supposed to offer my brilliant and incredibly simplistic solution to the problem, but you know what? I'm stumped.

News from the dark side of the moon...

On what planet do you, when your son's girlfriend won't hand over her Percocet, feel justified in throwing acid in her face?

Whatever planet that is, I'm glad I don't live there, because the natives are frickin' scary.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Nancy Who? Mysteries.

Mobocracy is bad enough when the mob in question knows what they're doing. When they're utterly clueless, it is flat terrifying:

And I realize that the video in question was targeted to make Obama voters look bad but, really, I have no doubt you could have grabbed some from the Dead Elephant Party whose ignorance was every bit as appalling.

(H/T to GunRights4US.)


They turned summer off like a switch.

Went to sleep with the windows open at Roseholme Cottage last night and awoke to a distinct chill in the air. Forty-somethin' degrees and dry as an old bone.

It's been darn near drought conditions here in central Indiana this past month or two, and there's a burn ban on. The ragweed pollen has reached the point that even someone as nonreactive to it as I am is beginning to feel a mite sniffly. Some rain would be nice.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I wonder if RCBS makes reloading dies?

From Jim at The Travis McGee Reader:
I trancribe with exactitude from the auction bill:
"Mauser ModelK98K 709 mm rifle."

The USS New Jersey, by comparison, sports wimpy little 410mm naval rifles. I'll bet that Mauser needs a thick recoil pad...

(The Mauser is, of course, 7.9mm...)

This goes so far past Wrong that it circles clean back around to Right.

I sat through the entire video in slack-jawed wonder...

(H/T to Dad's Deadpool Blog.)

Pet Peeves..

The fact that you reek wreaks havoc with my olfactory senses.

Despite the rain, I will give you free rein to reign over the kingdom.

I will run you over with a tow truck if you do not toe the party line.

It's one thing to see these mix-ups on the intertubes, but in the era of the HAL 9000-model spell checker doing double duty as an "editor", they have crept into print media, too, and this just frickin' appalls me.

Now having vented, I feel much better, thank you. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

Equal rights... most of the time.

Some knucklehead launched a wall-o'-text rant in the comments section at Marko's blog that began with
I love how “conservatives” screech when asked to pay their fair share...
When you hear "fair share", you know you're going to get a spiel with the semantic content of a lecture from Charlie Brown's teacher; a bit of inchoate resentment rolled up in a crispy layer of class envy and sprinkled with a faulty grasp of economics.

I felt compelled to respond:
I love how preschool the phrase “fair share” sounds. Do you want the crusts cut off of your “fair share”?

Who determines what’s “fair”? You? Teacher?

Okay, we’ll take the check and split it evenly 300,000,000 ways. Oh, wait… You say that little Billy Gates should have to pay more than you? Your “fair share” is smaller than his?

I love how “liberals” are all about “equal rights” every goddam day of the year except April 15th.
Only tangentially related, if you are going to vomit forth an internet tirade on how stupid and retarded your (conservative/gun owning/Tea Party/Sarah Palin/whatever) opponent is, you'd best bring your grammar-and-punctuation "A" game. There are very few things that peg the irony meter like being called a moron by someone who can't spell the word correctly.

...and then I seduced Agent Mulder!

Via Dustbury, I was led to this wonderful paper on the phenomenon of the Mary Sue character, both in and out of fan fiction: Too Good To Be True: 150 Years Of Mary Sue.

What turned it into a lengthy and fascinating time sink for me is that I've never watched, for instance, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Highlander: The Series (or any of the Highlander movies apart from the first, actually, since There Can Be Only One,) or the various Star Trek spinoffs after the one with the bald guy as captain, so every time I encountered an unfamiliar character or series, I turned to that handy black hole on the internet: Wikipedia.

And it is flat amazing the time and effort fans of these various shows have put into their respective chunks of Wikipedia. There is probably a larger and more detailed web of articles on the TeeWee series Highlander than there is on the actual Scottish Highlands. It is just unreal. Literally.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Games people can't play.

Kids these days... They can't even play Ultima IV!

I'll confess to never having gotten into the Ultima games myself. Richard Garriott's nom de geek ("Lord British") was just too twee for me. I did like the fairly straight forward hack'n'slash of the Wizardry series, but beyond that, computer role-playing games were not much on my gaming radar outside of the SSI gold box AD&D adaptations and the eventual rise of the Baldur's Gate series.

(H/T to Popehat.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

QotD: Get Bent Edition.

Joel decided to offer his answers to what's-her-face's 20 Questions.

My favorite part was probably this (Joel's answers in italics,) but it's all good:
4. Do you believe that I and people with whom I work intend to ban your guns?


5. If yes to #4, how do you think that could happen ( I mean the physical action)?

The question is incoherent. "Banning" requires no physical action at all, and is quite simple to do. Even Clinton managed it. If you mean confiscation, well, there you've got a problem. Were you really coming to me for suggestions?

I lose 25 cool points...

...and gain 100 nerd points for having let out an actual, audible squee when I read this.

Suddenly the universe makes a lot more sense.

Ignoble Gesture.

Feeling the winds of time starting to blow colder, Baby Boomer Michael Kinsley at The Atlantic shows his true generational colors by making it All About Him.

Apparently the Baby Boomers shouldn't let their parents get away with doing something all monumental and heroic, like saving the world from Hitler and Tojo, without trying to top them by leaving an even bigger and better gift for subsequent generations to look upon and despair.

Joe Klein at Time thought that a suitably Ozymandian generational monument would be the legalization of marijuana, since maybe the only thing in the universe of more lasting significance than not being gassed in a Nazi death camp is a good spliff. Kinsley demurred:
As the Boomers’ parting gift to the nation, it’s like giving your mom a baseball mitt for her birthday. Klein fantasizes stoned 80-year-olds toking away their golden years. Legalized marijuana may be a good idea and is probably coming anyway. But rocking on the front porch (I mean rocking in a rocking chair) watching the cars go by and uttering an occasional “Oh wow” will not strike many as the equivalent of fighting and winning World War II.
Instead, Kinsley offered a more responsible and grown-up gift that his generation, which is now older, more sober-sided, and spends more on Metamucil than mary jane, could leave to those of us poor benighted souls who were too not born to lie about being at Woodstock: A giant new Death Tax to pay down the national debt.

Thanks a lot, Mike. It's good to see that you Boomers have finally got the hang of selflessness and altruism. May I suggest an alternate gift?

Die, hippie.


James Bond, your... uh... bra is ready.

In these preparedness-crazy times, you just knew that sooner or later somebody was going to introduce tactical frilly underthings:
The Emergency Bra is an example of a public risk management tool that can provide a person with a critical time window that might be sufficient to escape from life threatening environments.
That's right! In a pinch you can just lift, and separate yourself and a friend from noxious fumes and even airborne iodine-131 particles. Is Victoria's Secret that she can't offer you protection against WMDs? Makes you wonder what's so wonderful about a Wonderbra, eh?

Save yourself and the tatas! Be the first kid on your block to own an E-Bra!

(I will admit that there has been the occasional hot summer day when I might have just taken my chances with the radiation...)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cat therapy.

Those who have never had a cat with some genes from the oriental breeds may not have heard it, but that particular strain of cats tends towards talkativeness.

When Rannie is around a person whose attention she is attempting to cultivate, there is a constant, subvocalized stream of chirps and chortles and purrs. It was welcome last night to have her taking advantage of the open catlock door, and cycling back and forth between Bobbi and I with her litany of "Interrogative? Exclamation! Selfsatisfiedcontentmentselfsatisfiedcontentmentselfsatisfiedcontentment... Interrogative? Lick... lick... lick... nibble. Exclamation!" and then she'd hop down and be off.

That was very, very welcome.

You've probably seen it already...

But this is too beautiful to not link it here:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Working Stiffed
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Human, I guess, but only technically.

One of the scariest things about vampires, werewolves, and zombies is that they're human-shaped. You could be fooled by one before realizing, too late, that it was a monster.

If you were the children of Ebyan Farah, you wouldn't find out until too late that the monster was your mother.

Apparently, 28-year-old Ebyan wanted to go spend the day with friends and, rather than getting a sitter, she herded her five children into a 2'x6' closet and blocked the door shut with furniture. Trapped in this indoor D.I.Y. Black Hole of Calcutta for ten hours, two of the children died. I guess it's a good thing that Ms. Farah didn't decide to make her visit a sleepover.

The three survivors have been placed in the custody of Child Protective Services and best of luck to them in growing up sane after this.


Met Shootin' Buddy for breakfast at Cafe Pretenchou.

Tried the newest addition to their Namesake Omelette list, the "California Dreamer": Avocado, cheddar, sour cream, and jalapenos. Two thumbs up!

A truly freak shooting.

A St. Louis man was hit by a bullet when he was taking out the trash.

Any big city cop or EMT can tell you what a fluke this is. Hardly any gunshot victims were actually doing anything, let alone anything constructive, at the time of the shooting. In fact, it has been ascertained that "not doin' nothin'" and "just standin' around, mindin' my business" are the two most dangerous activities in a city, especially after 1:00 AM.

(H/T to Brian J. Noggle.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sigh. I don't mean to be so maudlin...

Twice now today I've come in from the front porch and the first thing my eye noticed was "Oh, crap! I've left the catlock open!"

Except that there's no reason to keep the door between the front and back halves of the house closed anymore. No Mittens or Slinky or Tommy... Rannie has the run of the place now. My poor strange little chatterbox of a cat; she'll be working double shifts trying to be affectionate enough for a while.

Late night bad news.

The phone rang last night at about 2:30 in the AM.

0230 phone calls are never good news, and this one sure wasn't.

Tommy held on about long enough for Bobbi to get there.

It's been a long night.

"You want I should freeze or get down on the ground? Mean to say, if'n I freeze, I can't rightly drop. And if'n I drop, I'm a-gonna be in motion."

The father of Erik Scott, who was gunned down in front of a Las Vegas Costco for the crime of... uh... well, the LVMPD isn't really clear on that, but they'll think of something, apparently has a blog. It makes for interesting reading.

Sebastian smells civil rights lawsuit. At the very least.

I'm not normally a big crusader for tidiness, but...

I believe I have previously mentioned my distaste with the roadside memorial; specifically the ones that always get encrusted with plastic flowers, stuffed animals, photos, and votive candles and are only a headless chicken and a couple of vévés away from being a full-blown Santeria altar. Please, folks, if I ever shuffle off this mortal coil in some gruesome roadside fireball, don't anybody use it as an excuse to get down and tacky with their inner velvet Elvis and turn the site of my demise into a shrine to Our Lady of Crap I Won From That Claw Machine You Put Quarters In.

Anyhow, apparently Illinois is going to start selling roadside Voudoun shrine starter kits. You gotta draw your own vévés, though.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Overstepping bounds...

Guns & Coffee details the Madison, WI police biting off more than they can chew.

My favorite line from the Wisconsin Carry Inc. press release:
8 Madison Police officers arrived and demanded ID from our members. As Wisconsin is not a police-state, Wisconsin law does not require you to provide identification to an officer unless you are operating a motor vehicle.

2 Wisconsin Carry members, in consideration of their legal rights politely declined to provide ID and were handcuffed, detained, and issued citations for obstruction.

Wisconsin Case-Law clearly states that refusing to give your name is not grounds for obstruction.

Good luck with that one in court, Mr. Policeman... ("As Wisconsin is not a police-state..." Ouch! That's gonna leave a mark!)

We've taken the starch right out o' them terr'ists!

Meanwhile, in sleepy Lafayette, Indiana, where the big crimes recently have involved bank-robbing taxi passengers and renegade bovines, the main downtown parking garage was shut down by the discovery of mysterious sigils dribbled on the floor in lines of powdered starch!

County emergency management deployed a hazmat team, and the structure was closed.

Initial guesses by un-named Hoosier cynics, mostly revolving around Purdue University LARPers laying Glyphs of Warding on "compact car only" parking spaces, proved to be wrong when it turned out that the garage had hosted an unauthorized after-hours parkour race, rather than a coven of Al-Qaeda operatives laying out anthrax lines in satanic patterns...

Send everybody's paychecks where?

Yeah, if this latest proposal in The Place Where Great Britain Used To Be doesn't set someone's warning bells to ringing, it pretty much tells me everything I really need to know about that person. Tests don't come much litmusier.

EDIT: As I halfway expected, comments are trending towards "Boy, I'd like to see them try that here! We'd tar & feather 'em! We'd fetch a rope!"

Right. You mean like we did to them when they passed income tax withholding back in WWII? We sure tarred and feathered and hanged those politicians into shape and made 'em repeal that law!

You let 'em hold X% of your paycheck now and remit you what they say is your due once a year. What is the real moral difference with letting the whole thing pass through their sieve before reaching you?

When did they move Massachusetts to Mars?

Your tax dollars at work in Cambridge have gone toward hiring an artist that introduced, among other things:
3. a redesigned parking ticket envelope that introduces a series of yoga postures for giving and receiving parking citations. During his residency, Peltz learned that the aim of the Department of Traffic, Parking and Transportation was to maintain flow in the city, which led him to imagine a more peaceful exchange between Parking Control Officers and drivers being ticketed. This new envelope will be put into circulation and delivered with all parking citations, beginning in September.

You need to click on the link; there's a picture of the envelope in question. It's the most bizarre thing I've seen so far this week, and I live in Broad Ripple for heaven's sake.

Let me guess... There's some kind of competition with Berkley here, and the prize is a lifetime supply of free-range tofurkey patties?

Huckabee?!? Really?!? Have y'all learned nothing?

I cannot tell you how dismayed I was to see that the "Values Voters" had Governor Cornpone as their #2 choice for president in their little straw poll. Really. This guy is like a bearded Spock version of Bill Clinton who doesn't like abortion.

Don't you people remember what got us into this mess? Everybody was up on the fantail of the USS Grand Old Party, playing shuffleboard and rearranging the stem cell and gay marriage deck chairs while the stokers down below were shoveling great big bundles of $100 bills into the boilers as fast as they could, and things got so bad that the Democrats took Congress running on a platform of fiscal responsibility! The people who think that money is something you give to community organizers, union leaders, and Robert Mapplethorpe were appalled at your profligate spending! Remember that? Get your heads out of your arses, people, and keep your eye on the ball. It's. The. Economy. Stupid.

Small government. Constitutional government. Low taxes. Save the other stuff for the tent meetin'.

I need a word for something bad that rhymes with "O"...

So some of the workers were apparently questioning Pharaoh during a televised "Town Hall Meeting" yesterday, even ones claiming to be from smack in the center of his liberal base. Also, I noticed that the newscasters on the TeeWee this morning are back to giving out the death totals for Afghanistan in the same faux-worried tones traffic reporters use when they see something godawful strewn across the interstate.

So... "Yo, yo! BHO! How many kids have you brought to woe!" Does it scan?

I swear, it's like they put a bean in this guy's cake, and the rain has not fallen upon the crops, and so now the king must be sacrificed. If the guy weren't a smug collectivist whose nearly every view is diametrically opposed to my own, I'd almost feel sorry for him. What did these people think he was going to do? Wave a magic wand and the Skittle-crapping unicorns were going to show up to dispense Hope and Change? Oh, wait... That was kinda his campaign platform, wasn't it?

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's because he seems familiar.

The Irritable Architect links to an article on how Barry's poll numbers are still teh awesome in Europe.

Of course they are.

In Europe, people are generally inured to the idea of a self-replenishing political class who go to the Right Schools, hang out with the Right Crowd, say the Right Things, and go on to descend the ladder of the cursus dishonorum, from intern to aide to secretary to provincial apparatchik to Minister of Defense, before finally moving on to something really important, like Secretary of Children's Welfare or Assistant Ambassador to the United Nations Development Fund for Women. Barry fits right into that mold, having made government a career and never having soiled his hands with the sort of filthy lucre that results from an honest day's work.

While we here in America are gradually moving towards a similar technocratic political class, we still have enough dark horse Captains of Industry, ex-jocks, war heroes, and entertainment celebs getting elected to keep the American myth of the Self-Made Man in politics... well, if not "alive and well", then at least still on life support.

Fingers crossed for kitty...

Tommy is Slinky's daddy. He's about a year older than her. Since she left, he's been listless and a more than a little lost, as though he'd aged another couple of years in a week, just lying limply and forlorn and needing to be carried from his food and water to the litter box and back. He's at the vet's right now.

Please keep him and Bobbi in your thoughts.

Creepy reading.

While I was lying on my bed of pain this weekend, I spent the awake hours reading Chechen Jihad by Yossef Bodansky. What a thoroughly dispiriting piece of reading.

The Chechen region started off, during the breakup of the Soviet Union, about exactly as nominally "Muslim" as I am "Baptist". Once the shooting started and the outsiders began marching to the sound of the guns and the insiders needed something to use to give themselves a "brand identity", things went from secular to sharia in five years.

Watching that transformation happen around you has got to be creepy; that is, if you manage to keep from getting caught up in it yourself. One minute your neighbors are making cuckoo clocks and BMW's, and the next thing you know they're punching the time clock at Auschwitz and you just know somebody's got to stop and think, every now and then, in between loading the people in boxcars, "Hey, whoa... How did we get here? When did all this happen?"

Do you know what else there's a market niche for?

A good-quality, reasonably priced .22LR self-loading pistol.

Smith & Wesson offers either the very nice and very expensive Model 41, or the extremely shoddily constructed Model 22. Don't get me wrong, the Model 22 is very accurate for the price, and is a common entry-level rimfire target pistol, but they just don't hold up well over the long run.

In an effort to remain price-competitive, Browning has cheapened up the Buckmark so much over the years that I have a hard time recommending current ones. Plus, the idea of a gun whose grip panels are used to retain important mechanical components doesn't jibe well with me; especially in a budget deuce-deuce autoloader that might spend time under truck seats and in tackle boxes.

The various little "clone guns" like the P-22 and the Mosquito and suchlike? The zamak-and-plastic construction gives me serious worries about life expectancy. When I say "good-quality", I mean a pistol you can shoot every weekend for your entire shooting career, and then your grandkid can shoot every weekend over theirs. Similarly, I haven't run into too many really high-mileage Beretta Neos's.

Bill Ruger built his entire business from this market niche, but with the replacement of the Mk.II by the Mk.III, the whole concept of "good-quality and inexpensive" took a hit. I mean, by the time you've fixed the atrocious trigger by junking the magazine safety, you've got time and effort in the gun that could have been as easily spent on shopping for a used Mk.II. Or a Colt Woodsman, for all that.

Now, mind you, this isn't some kind of codgerette-like pining for glorious blued steel and walnut; I'm talking about something that could be retailed in the $300-$400 range, so aluminum, and possibly a polymer gripframe, would obviously have to come into play. I just want something that has a decent trigger and no internal components that give up the ghost in 5,000 rounds or less; something that fits in the price niche between the budget autos from Browning, Smith, and Beretta and the serious .22 target pistols.

Y'know, or Ruger could just fix the trigger on the Mk.III by ditching that magazine disconnect. And monkeys might fly outta my butt.

Oh, and speaking of .22's, you know what always got on my last nerve when I was slinging guns across the glass? Seth & Jared (or Jethro & Cletus) would be standing in front of the revolver case and one would point at the S&W 617 and say "Lookit that! It costs just as much as the .357 Magnum next to it! They must think we're stupid!"

"Sir, it's pretty much the same gun..."

"Yebbut, it's just a .22!"

Because, you know, if you drill a smaller hole in the barrel, you can shave hundreds off the price tag. Hey, it's got more metal in it; by that logic it should cost more!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

This must be that "singularity" thing all the nerds go on about:

Deep-fried beer.

Don't mess with Texas, indeed.

(H/T to Guns and Coffee.)

That was perhaps the most bizarrely detailed dream I have ever had.

The other dream I had last night was really, really weird and recursive.

I dreamed that I woke up, here, in Indianapolis in 2010, and the whole html/world-wide-web thing had been a dream. No Tim Berners-Lee. No web addresses on everything. No Amazon. No YouTube. No, you can't haz cheeseburger. The word "meme" was still an obscure bit of jargon that had never been insidiously spread from mind to mind by means of weblogs, because there weren't any of those, either.

I mean there were computers and modems and whatnot but it was all still dialup bulletin boards and Usenet newsgroups and ASCII porn, just like in the old days. I was trying to explain to the in-dream Bobbi that, no, for the last fifteen years or so we'd had pictures and even streaming video. Can you imagine trying to explain the rise and fall of awful blinkie-text- and animated-.gif-strewn GeoCities homepages to somebody in a dream?

Anyhow, there was still a blogmeet today, but it was not the same crowd as... did any of y'all ever go meet a bunch of people from a dialup BBS back in, say, the late '80s? Let's just say that the crowd trended even weirder than your average group of bloggers these days. The scarf-and-fedora wearing Doctor Who nerds were the normal end of the group and things got progressively dorkier as you went down the row of tables at the Applebee's until you got to the twitchy kid in the corner that was being looked at askance by even the guys debating the grammar of Hamlet in Klingon.

I was so pleased to discover that I hadn't actually woken up after all.

Entertain me, with a side of fries.

You know, while I made fun of Lady Gaga's goofy fashion statements yesterday, I didn't make fun of what she was doing.

Lady Gaga had not been summoned before Congress to give any kind of special expert testimony on the desirability of repealing or retaining the current "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the military. Instead, she merely announced her opinion on the topic to her fans on her web page, and asked them to contact their representatives, as she herself was. For me to condemn that action would be, not to put too fine a point on it, the height of hypocrisy.

Look, the only topics on which I can speak with anything remotely approaching authority are a very few firearms-related ones; on everything else, I'm talking out my arse as much as... oh, say, Meryl Streep on the topic of Alar. The difference being that I, like Lady Gaga, am doing it on my own web page and not, like noted biochemist Meryl Streep, as some kind of "expert witness" in front of a Congressional subcommittee.

Anyhow, back to entertaining you guys. Would you like fries with that?

Feeling better...

...although still a little light-headed and disoriented. Everything culminated last night with me lying there unable to sleep because the right side of my occipital lobe hurt. Now, to the best of my knowledge, you aren't supposed to have pain receptors in you brain proper, so I feel that this is clearly a warranty issue.

Then, after I'd finally drifted off, I dreamed that I had traded all my guns for SMLE Mk.I's and old British top-break revolvers. Nothing against either of those, but I'm glad that was a dream.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

...and you kids get off my lawn!

I think it's good when the youth of America take an interest in the civic institutions of our great nation, and actually try to make their voices heard by calling their representatives rather than by their more usual method of getting their nose pierced and then busting a Starbucks window and setting trash cans on fire.

However, noble as your motives may be, being mostly famous for running around with AR-15 upper receivers strapped to your boobs when you're not actually wearing dresses made of raw meat is a little damaging to your attempt at projecting an air of concerned gravitas and political maturity. I'm just sayin'. And turn that crap down! What are you kids listenin' to, anyway?

Friday, September 17, 2010

I feel awrful.

Didn't sleep well at all last night.

Most of the day I couldn't concentrate. I was light-headed, vaguely nauseous, and had no appetite.

I napped on and off on the futon, but Rannie was feeling extra solicitous and kept head-butting mommy and chirping and chortling her concern, which made getting any serious shut-eye a chore.


I hope I feel better in the morning.

I smell a market niche...

Bluesun has a question about cases for Kindle e-readers or, more specifically, the companies that manufacture them. (Except "manufacture" is such an ugly and industrial word. Say instead "responsibly and sustainably craft"; it has more fiber):
Why is it that it seems that nearly every company that makes cases for these things are "environmentally conscious" and "donates to buy land that is environmentally threatened" and makes the case out of "hemp and spun gypsy monkey turds?" Is there some sort of a prerequisite that I missed somewhere, that to own an e-reader you have to be a concerned hippie, who's sole motivation for buying one is to prevent trees from being hurt?
I see a market niche for, say, MagPul.

Things I Don't Get, Part the Whateverth,

So it turns out that the chick in Portland who was the victim of the acid attack was also the perpetrator.

That is nutty, right there. What possible cranial malfunction could cause you to want to permanently disfigure yourself with acid in order to get fifteen minutes on the local news, in between the weather report and the commercials for Bob's Discount Siding Warehouse?

I realize that "Being On TV" is the great aspiration of a disturbingly large part of our populace, but couldn't you choose a less painful way to do it and one that didn't cause small children to flinch at the sight of your face for the rest of your life? I guess you have to put forth a little more personal effort if you don't have a kid you can stash in the crawlspace while telling the local Five-Oh that he was kidnapped by a runaway weather balloon, but it shouldn't cause actual physical pain.

Here's a conundrum...

How come some of the very same people on my side who spend a lot of their time pointing out that AR-15s and semiauto AKs and the like are just "sport utility rifles" and totally constitutional for a citizen to own then turn around and lose their feces over the police having AR-15s because it's "paramilitary"?

I mean, would it have been better for, say, Lafayette's rogue cow to get shot by something with a wood stock?

(EDIT: Let me make it clear that I'm talking about rifles here. If you want to call M-113s, Ma Deuces, camouflaged fatigues, and helicopter gunships "paramilitary", I'm right there with you.)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Overheard in the Hallway:

RX: "Remember, ballot access in Indiana is kinda weird and tied to how many votes someone gets for Secretary of State, so if you like the Libertarians, you kinda have to vote for their Secretary of State candidate."

Me: "I imagine I'll probably be voting for lots of Libertarians anyway. Except for Congress, because Dr. Marvin Scott isn't too bad for a Republican and has a shot at winning, and Andre Delenda Est."

RX: "Oh, yeah; Andre has to go. To give him his due, he seems smarter than his grandmother was."

Me: "That's damning by faint praise. I've seen things growing on a damp piece of bread that seem smarter than his grandmother was."

I hate the very idea of voting. The fact that there are basic human rights that have been left to the the vagaries of snout-counting strikes me as a very basic flaw in our entire system of government. November should consist of a few dull Cincinnati dragged unwillingly to the meanest of public service by a handful of loyal followers, whereupon they will look out their office windows for a term and pine for the day when they can get back to doing something meaningful with their lives.

I have been, in the past, an only intermittent and unenthusiastic part of the electorate. However, now that the rowboat is going over the falls and nobody seems inclined to pull over to the side of the stream and let me out, I feel compelled to stick my oar in the water again. After all, these things keep getting won by the people who bother to show up. (Quick: Name your County Commissioners or City Councilmen!)

My biggest worry is that, in times of national crisis, when nobody's working and everyone's afraid the currency will blow up, people want to vote for someone who promises to make the trains run on time without ever asking where exactly those trains are headed.

Tied up with red tape while the room fills with red ink.

Thanks to a generous reader, I just finished Papa Married a Mormon, which is the recounting of the author's family history on the Utah frontier in the latter half of the 1800s. In it was one quote, spoken by an older brother to his younger sibling who'd traveled from Pennsylvania to join him out in the West:
"I didn't travel thousands of miles to get away from Papa's and Mamma's preaching, only to have you take their place. I don't honestly know if you can make the grade out here or not. We are an uncivilized, unprincipled, immoral and irreligious people, not counting the Mormons. The one thing we cherish most is our individual freedom to live any kind of life we choose, and if we choose the road to Hell, we don't want anybody trying to save us. Tou try to live another man's life in this country, Tom, and he'll take yours. You try to reform one man or one woman, and even if you succeed, all other men and women will hate you for it."
Imagine for a moment that you are sitting down with a group of average Americans from, say, the first decade of the 20th Century. And you try and tell them that, within the lifetime of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the federal government would regulate by fiat everything from the size of their toilet tanks to the chemical composition of the paint on their child's bicycle. The ones that didn't think you were joshing would laugh you out of the room.

As the Silicon Graybeard said in a recent post:
We are strangling in a bureaucracy with a Code of Federal Regulations that has grown like a bacterial culture. A nation that was founded by a constitution that fills about 14 printed pages in today's technologies, passes financial reform bills that go over 2000 pages, health care bills that go almost 3000 pages, and more. Each bill creates hundreds of new regulations, which are so poorly written they have to be refined by hundreds of court cases. The court cases effectively create new law and new regulations. Since congress is in session every year and passes at least one new law every year, the total number of laws and regulations increases without limit and everything eventually becomes illegal.
We need a House of Repeal.

Professional driver on a closed course. Seriously.

In my dreams I drive like that everywhere. Like, to the grocery store and stuff. It must come from being all cautious and polite behind the wheel when I'm awake.

(H/T to Peter.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"It's coming right for us!"

The latest from the mean streets of Lafayette, Indiana:
Shortly after, the heifer was found running wildly along the banks of the Wabash, said Lt. Jim Taul of the Lafayette Police Department. Four officers armed with shotguns and AR-15 rifles responded.
When's the last time your city PD went all tactical to take down a rogue cow?

Further, I challenge you to read the following line from the news report and keep a straight face:
Taul said it appeared that the heifer was going to charge at officers, who were able to get onto a nearby island.
I've been chased by a ticked-off cow before, and I can only imagine the chaos Bessie could cause on a city street if she had a mind to, but something about that deadpan delivery just hits me right in the funnybone.

I mean, if you're a journalism grad working the desk at a small-town newspaper and find out that the local po-po had to go all SWAT on an "uncooperative heifer", you thank your lucky stars, because this is an opportunity that only comes along once in a lifetime.

That was strange.

I skipped dinner last night and woke up plenty hungry. Bobbi fixed oatmeal, which took away the owie, empty, hurty feeling in my tummy, but I still "felt hungry" and a little light-headed. While I was out running errands, I picked up a French Dip sammich at Arby's, and the light-headedness went away. I must have been short of some key nutrient or another that is found in au jus but not in oats.

I still haven't tried one of those Double Down things from KFC, but that probably would have hit the spot really well, too. I was kinda craving one, and looking for a KFC, but the car turned into Arby's on autopilot. Perhaps it was a fat and grease deficiency.

Everybody has different nightmares, I guess.

I had a dream that left me shaken last night.

I dreamed that I had made some blatant, awful spelling or punctuation error right smack in the middle of my top post, and I couldn't fix it. Everybody was laughing at me.

This is obviously some strange variant on the "public speaking while naked" dream genre.

This just keeps getting better...

The TeeWee news this morning interviewed someone who was at the scene when IMPD officer Bisard decided to play drunken bumper cars with his cruiser. The gentleman being interviewed, whose car had been struck by one of the motorcycles Bisard sent flying, shared a wonderful new tidbit of information:
Griffith says the ... officers asked him to submit a breath test.

"They just want to make sure everyone at the scene was not intoxicated and it's standard procedure," he said.
Apparently standard procedure for everybody at the scene except the actual, you know, drunk driver himself, provided his car has the right paint job. Good work, men.

Oh, yeah: Fire Frank Straub.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Misery loves company, they say... let me share this particular earworm with you:

The most annoying thing about this particular tune is that, to the best of my knowledge, I only heard it once in the wild. It was probably another ten years before I used teh intarw3bz and the search words "church", "logic", "sin", and "love" to track down the song that had been intermittently stuck in my head for nearly a decade.

(You young kids may not realize this, but before Al Gore and Bill Gates invented Google, the only way to find out the name of some song you heard on the radio or the artist who recorded it was to go sing it for a record store clerk. For those of us who can't carry a tune in a bucket and are terrified at the thought of singing in public, a lot of songs were forever unknown.)

(A record store is kind of like, but in a building, and instead of the "Genius" feature, you had Jack Black and Todd Louiso.)


Some medals are handed out for making your bed right every day. This isn't one of them.

Reading Medal of Honor citations can leave you awestruck. Witness the one for Henry "Red" Erwin:
He was the radio operator of a B-29 airplane leading a group formation to attack Koriyama, Japan. He was charged with the additional duty of dropping phosphoresce smoke bombs to aid in assembling the group when the launching point was reached. Upon entering the assembly area, aircraft fire and enemy fighter opposition was encountered. Among the phosphoresce bombs launched by S/Sgt. Erwin, 1 proved faulty, exploding in the launching chute, and shot back into the interior of the aircraft, striking him in the face. The burning phosphoresce obliterated his nose and completely blinded him. Smoke filled the plane, obscuring the vision of the pilot. S/Sgt. Erwin realized that the aircraft and crew would be lost if the burning bomb remained in the plane. Without regard for his own safety, he picked it up and feeling his way, instinctively, crawled around the gun turret and headed for the copilot's window. He found the navigator's table obstructing his passage. Grasping the burning bomb between his forearm and body, he unleashed the spring lock and raised the table. Struggling through the narrow passage he stumbled forward into the smoke-filled pilot's compartment. Groping with his burning hands, he located the window and threw the bomb out. Completely aflame, he fell back upon the floor. The smoke cleared, the pilot, at 300 feet, pulled the plane out of its dive. S/Sgt. Erwin's gallantry and heroism above and beyond the call of duty saved the lives of his comrades.

Today In History: It all depends on who you ask...

On this date in the year 81, Domitian took over the reins of the Roman Empire from his older brother, Titus.

The traditional historical narrative has Domitian as a bad seed; maybe not a Nero or a Commodus, but plenty bad, nonetheless. Of course, as the Wikipedia entry points out, pretty much all the surviving first-hand accounts of him were written by people with axes to grind and, of course, later accounts are based on the primary stuff, and so on and so on. Imagine trying to piece together the Bush and Obama years two millennia later with only Michael Moore and Ann Coulter as primary sources.

The cards were stacked against Domitian ever growing up to be a popular extrovert. His mom and older sister both died when he was in his teens. Meanwhile, his older brother was commanding a legion in his dad's armies. While Vespasian and Number One Son were conquering foes, putting down rebellions, and winning civil wars, Domitian was left in Rome under the care of his uncle.

When civil war flared in the Year of the Four Emperors, Domitian and his uncle were effectively behind enemy lines in Rome, half an empire away from Vespasian and Golden Boy Titus and their legions. After a running street fight between his uncle's bodyguard and the troops of Emperor Vitellius, 18-year-old Domitian saw his uncle cut down like a dog and only escaped himself by scampering off down alleyways in drag.

Then dad and older brother show up with the troops, everybody gets all imperial, and Older Brother becomes, in effect, co-ruler with Dad, dating exotic foreign queens and given triumphal parades while Domitian is given a token military command, which he muffed, and then is shunted off into a series of makework offices and sinecures, twiddling his thumbs and nursing a grudge.

When he finally became emperor himself, he largely ignored his old man's political cronies and army buddies in the Senate and ran the empire directly from his office in the palace, and he had no qualms about having senators tried and executed if they got too far cross-threaded with him. It's notable that his tenure was longer than his dad's and brother's combined, and the economy got healthier and the people didn't seem particularly upset about him, while provincial armies were slightly less revolt-prone than average. Domitian was an aloof, prickly individual, who never let anybody get really close (unsurprising, given his childhood,) but he definitely made the sedan chairs run on time.

In the end, though, he was put down by a palace conspiracy. The Senate immediately installed one of Domitian's dad's old political buddies in his place, and then sat down to vote his name off the monuments and write unflattering biographies. Or at least so says this theory. It's certainly a plausible one.

Overheard in the Kitchen:

Me: "I'm not sure where on the pig pancetta is from. It might be like what the Brits and Canuckistanis eat; back bacon*."

RX: "Back bacon! Back Donner and Blitzen! Back Bacon! Back Newton! Back Galen!"

It gets fairly nerdy here at times...

*Incidentally, pancetta is good, wholesome pork belly. And now we've learned something. Thank you internets!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Nothing personal, Chief...

...but given the track record of the IMPD* of late, I wouldn't trust them with a burnt-out match, let alone Orwellian automated license plate scanners.

Dammit, if you want to ask for my "papieren, bitte," at least have the common courtesy to come up and do it to my face, rather than letting R2D2 carry your water for you.

When I heard they were getting new high tech equipment, I sorta hoped it'd be BIID's on their Crown Vics, not robotic computerized snooping technology.

Oh, and Fire Frank Straub.

* IMPD = I Must Patrol Drunk.

Isn't this where I came in?

History doesn't repeat itself - at best it sometimes rhymes.” -Mark Twain

So the gaffe-prone alpha male Texan with a controversial service record, view of the government as benevolent rescuer at home, and an aggressive foreign policy is out, and has been replaced with the skinny, cigarette-smoking, paranoid political apparatchik who promised us peace with honor and is obsessed with the enemies out to destroy him.

My question is, now that Richard Milhous Obama has replaced Lyndon Baines Bush, when do we get to the wage and price controls part?

Overheard in the Kitchen:

Me: *warbling off-key* "Salt! Annnd pep-per!"

RX: "I can't get over the fact that you put salt on corned beef hash." *shakes head and walks off*

Me: "Cholula! Cholula! I love you, Cholula!... I can't get over the fact that I'm apparently singing to all the condiments this morning."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hardware geek stuff...

I know I forgot to talk about hardware geek stuff from the Carbine & Pistol class last week...

Handguns: I didn't pay much attention. There was a guy shooting an FNP-9 and one USP that I saw. Maybe a third of the class had 1911s of one type or another and the balance was Glocks with an XD or three. The only really noticeable problem I saw came from a 1st-Gen G22 with vintage "non-drop-free" mags that were causing feeding issues. That and my Para's balkiness with the 115gr Cor-Bon.

Magazines are wear items. If you are actually shooting the gun (and I assume that people who take the time to go to gun school are putting rounds downrange when they're not at school,) don't get married to your well-used 20-year-old mags; when they get worn enough to cause issues, toss 'em.

Carbines: The FNP-9 shooter was running a SCAR and there were two guys shooting 7.62x39 AKs; the rest of the class was shooting ARs of one type or another. One was an Armalite carbine in .308, and the rest were all 5.56 guns. Setups varied from iron-sighted 20" A2 patrol carbines to a shorty borrowed from a local SWAT cop when a shooter's optics went toes up and his irons wouldn't zero.

Carbine gear failures, oddly enough, occurred at both ends of the financial spectrum: There was the guy with the half-fast Y-comp installation who launched his brake into the berm on day one. Shortly after that, his budget Chicom red dot went to join its ancestors in electronic heaven, and he finished the course running his irons. The guy who had to use the borrowed gun had to do so because his EOTech ceased operations late on TD1, and his backup irons, which were decent, name-brand units (Midwest Industries) would not zero on his carbine. I never did hear what the exact problem was, but all the travel in the sights would barely get the thing on paper, so something was messed up. I guess it's better to find that out at class than on the street, but wouldn't it be even better to find it out when you zero your weapon before class?

To be continued...

"I am COMPLETELY out of ammo. That's never happened to me before."

Went to the range for a little shooty therapy this morning.

There was a very sparse covering of .22 on the bottom of my rimfire ammo can, and so I dug into my emergency back stock of unplated .22LR and dumped in another 400 rounds. I still managed to use up every round in the can. I spent a fair amount of time with the 22/45 doing press-outs, as I want to be up to speed for the AFHF class in a month.

After running a few cylinders through the K-22, I depleted some of my stock of .38 Special, too, as it had been a while since I got in any serious amount of DA revolver shooting.

Not to sound all whiny and needy (or any whinier and needier than usual, at any rate,) but if anyone felt a burning desire to contribute to the Starving Artists' Ammo Fund in that open guitar case on the sidewalk to your right, it surely wouldn't be taken amiss, since this upcoming class is probably going to wipe out my carefully hoarded reserves of .45ACP FMJ.

"This is my Webley-Vickers 50.80."

ToddG talks about the strangeness of the "monkey see, monkey do" phenomenon sometimes observed at shooting ranges, and most often visibly expressed in terms of a shooter's cyclic rate. This would be where Shooter A comes into the range, perhaps to work on his split times or whatever, and Shooter B two lanes over, hearing the rapid gunfire, starts shooting way faster himself, even if he's not hitting the target at all.

This phenomenon happens a lot, as anybody who's spent a moment examining the walls, ceiling, and floor of a public range could tell you.

This isn't strange at all, at least according to a theory I first heard from Shootin' Buddy. Think about pretty much every internet firearms forum you’ve seen:

Sure, the posts may start differently:

I pulled out my (rare and expensive) pre-ban HK91 with ACOG/suppressed Mk.23…

I fired my (loud and fiery) Mosin M44/2″ .357 stoked with handloads…

I shot that (amazingly skillful) .25″ group/6 second El Pres…

But they all end the same:

…and everyone was looking at me.

As best I can tell from reading the internets, the main reason for owning and shooting firearms is to receive the silent adulation of strangers at the range.

Feeling a little adrift at the moment.

Yesterday passed in a kind of numb blur. I poked around on the internet and, next thing you know, it was getting on towards bedtime.

Bobbi had been napping because she had to go in to work for a bit after midnight, and she was getting up as I was going to bed. Seeing her putting coffee on threw me into the morning routine more or less on autopilot. I topped Rannie's bowl up with kibble, opened the cabinet where the canned geriatricat food was kept, pulled a can out, divided it onto two plates like I do every morning, and dissolved into tears when I realized what I'd done.

Every day for more than two years, while I've sat typing at this desk, I was always looking out the corner of my eye to see if a tiny, three-pound cat needed help getting in the litterbox. For two years I've kept an ear cocked for the sound that meant that Littlest Cat was ready to be lifted up to the desk now, please. What time I've spent writing was in the interstices between acting as home health care aide for an elderly cat, and I suddenly feel only half-employed.

I need to get out of the house for a bit.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


...for the lack of content.

Little Slinky the cat passed away this morning.

Roomie's pretty torn up at the moment, and I've felt better myself.

Nine years later...

Seeing the gaping hole at Ground Zero this morning pissed me off.

It's as though nine years later there were still wrecks adrift in Pearl Harbor.

Y'know, at least the Muslims seem to want to build something in NYC. Would there even be a controversy about their little building if it was being built in the shadow of a giant, gleaming, quarter-mile-high middle finger, instead of two blocks away from the National Embarrassing Vacant Lot and Monument to Red Tape & Inefficiency?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Best of the best...

For a while I'd been wondering how to get the perfect mix of tunes onto my iPod for driving.

The playlist I'd been using for almost a year was done by simply having iTunes automagically shove everything genre'd as "alternative" into a playlist and manually adding a few favorites to it. This was pretty okay, as it featured all my stuff by REM, The Clash, Alice In Chains, Beck, No Doubt, and whatnot, plus a few selected rock standards.

Ultimately, though, it left a lot of songs for which I'd just hit the skip button, so I decided to get all mathematical...

My total library had twenty-seven-hundred-and-something songs, of which ~700 were on my "car" playlist. If I went through the whole collection and picked no more than one song in four, I'd be good to go.

So I sat down and laboriously scrolled through my entire iTunes library and manually picked the 25% that were favorites, be it the Linkin Park song I'd just downloaded from iTunes or the Bad Company tune I used to play on my '67 Dodge's 8-Track on roadtrips two decades ago.

Only, whoops! This turned out to be somewhat more than 4GB of music, since most of the "alternative" songs were three-minute ditties, while my hand-selected favorites contained things like the fourth movement of Beethoven's 9th, which clocks in at considerably longer than that. So back I went to the playlist, trimming again, and trying to get it down under 4GB indicated...

You can see what happens next: When I tried to copy the new playlist to the iPod, it curtly informed me that I'd neglected to account for system overhead, and my 4GB of music wouldn't fit on my 4GB iPod Nano. And so occurred a third round of culling...

The upside, though, is that there's not a song on my car stereo now that I don't really like. Oh, sure, I may still hit the skip button, but it's because I'm not in the mood for the proffered tune, not because I don't like it...

How art thou made of fail? Let me count the ways...

I'm not sure if I can figure out which aspect of the little-girl-in-street 3d decal emplaced by Sanctimonious Canadians Against Transportation bothers me the most:
The way it trains attentive drivers to cheerfully run down small cartoon children, or

The way it will cause inattentive drivers to suddenly swerve into telephone poles when the illusory child suddenly looms from the pavement in front of them?
At the same time, however, it earns my grudging respect for the way it uniquely combines finger-wagging scoldery, morbidness, and velvet-Elvis tackiness in nearly equal amounts.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Important safety tip:

No matter what you saw in the movies, you can't shoot your buddy "just a little bit".

Some people are so dumb you wonder how they don't starve from forgetting which end of the spoon goes in their mouths...

(H/T to Billy Beck via email.)

Just not cut out for a life of crime.

In the sleepy burg of Lafayette, Indiana last Friday, one Sheryll Adams woke up in her room at the Tippecanoe Villa assisted-living home and asked her friend if she'd like to go shopping at WallyWorld. Her friend answered in the affirmative, and Ms. Adams summoned a taxi.

En route to the Walmart, the taxi driver was requested to make a stop at the bank. He did so, and Sheryll toddled in and apparently robbed the joint before... you guessed it ...toddling back out to the cab and continuing her shopping trip with her friend.

Her life as a criminal mastermind only lasted a few minutes before the po-po pulled her getaway cab over. Since she had stuck up the bank armed with nothing more dangerous than harsh language on a slip of paper, the arrest was uneventful, but probably somewhat startling to the cabbie.

Who says all the fun happens in big cities?

You know you're a gun nut...

...when your first thought on seeing this post at Kevin's was to wonder what James Paris Lee had to do with some artsy photo of a meat grinder.

I mean, sure, the rifles based on his design turned a bunch of Jerries to sausage at Mons and First Wipers, but I don't see where the wrenches and tulips come into it.

(Why do I suddenly have this urge to go fiddle with the volley sights on my BSA Mk.III?)

Wait, what?

Mechanix gloves are tactical now?

Dammit, I've been using a pair of black Mechanix gloves as my trash-hauling/lawn-mowing/random yard-work gloves since I moved to Roseholme Cottage over two years ago. I just bought 'em because they were comfortable and in a nice, low-key black color instead of vomit yellow or covered in little flowers, and this whole time I've been looking like a specops poser and nobody told me?

Thanks a lot, guys.

(And I wear the 5.11 boots for the ankle support. Really. And the side-zip thing is kinda convenient.)

Missing the point.

In a piece about how the flaming ball of wreckage that is the real estate market may not yet have stopped bouncing and rolling its way to the bottom of the cliff, The Washington Post quotes a dude who completely misses the point:
"That's a powerful cocktail working against the housing recovery," said Mike Larson, an analyst at Weiss Research. "There's going to be a long-lasting psychological hesitancy for ordinary buyers to believe again in the dream of building wealth through homeownership."
That's what got us into this mess in the first place, you cretin! Buying a house is merely exchanging cash for a dry place to keep your stuff; it is not a magic "wealth building" slot machine. Nowhere is there written a guarantee that the value of your bungalow will increase faster than inflation and the cost of repainting and shingle replacement. If you want to actually generate real wealth, you need something more than some dirt with a box on it.

I grew up in a town full of corporate gypsies for IBM and HP, among others. If people were going to be there for only a year or three, they'd rent. Heck, if it was just a one year hitch, married men frequently wouldn't even move their families, choosing instead a 1 br. in one of the "No Kids Allowed" apartment complexes that were still legal back then. Yet at the height of the boom, people would buy a house fully expecting to realize a profit in three years or less, which should have set the Dutch Tulip Bulb Analogy warning bells ringing in minds of even the most reckless of gamblers, maybe even congressmen. And yet we have people looking back and viewing that as a normal state to which we will hopefully soon return!

(H/T to SurvivalBlog.)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

New post up at the other blog...

More self-loading pistols from the olden days.

(With a great big photo.)

Good, honest work.

I played around with the edger in the front yard today, working up a glow perspiration sweat. The curb in front of Roseholme Cottage coincides with a low spot in the gutter, and wants to fill with dirt (which then sprouts grass,) and so today I laboriously shoveled about half of it into a trash can, intending to drag it into the back yard and spread it under the hackberry tree in a spot that was half-heartedly graveled by a previous owner and is gradually returning to lawn.

Do you know how heavy half a trash can full of dirt is? I think I'll wait and do the other half tomorrow.

And now, courtesy of a generous reader, I am going to finish reading Eats, Shoots & Leaves while disposing of a frosty pitcher of ice water on the veranda.

Oh, look...

...another gas-piston AR upper. How innovative.

I'll give this RRA unit some props, though, in that it uses a proprietary bolt carrier, like the ZM Weapons Yankee Hill Para TTR.

Look, if you've just gotta have a gun with a piston in it so your friends will know you're cool, get a gun designed from the ground up to use a piston, not some kludge affixed to a Stoner-type bolt carrier assembly that was never intended to have a foot-long lever torquing it from the top.

What a beautimous day!

I just finished a couple miles' round trip on the bicycle to the grocery store. That makes probably fifteen miles for the week so far; if I keep this up, I might accidentally get healthy.

It was another gorgeous day for riding, made even better by the fact that they've slathered fresh stimulus on the road down by the Kroger. It had sat all prepped and scarified for a week or so, making for teeth-juddering pedaling.

That rear basket was the smartest bicycle dollar I've spent other than upgrading from the Wally World Special to the Trek. Because of its rear "suspension" (and I use the term loosely,) the Wally World bike just had that Nashbar cantilever thingummy to which you would bungee your groceries and pedal gingerly homeward while hoping they didn't squirt out from under the elastic cords.

If the weather was like this all the time, my car would rust between uses. (I once had a car that rusted between uses, but you expect that with a '79 280ZX.)

Strange Search Terms...

An early favorite for today's winner...


I am oddly comforted by the fact that, however garbled this person's thought processes may be, at least they can spell.

Why NASA must die.

Because they're pissing away money on crap like this while Danish hobbyists are launching rockets; the Chicoms are gearing up to build Moonbase Alpha; the Mojave, CA Yellow Pages have a whole section for "Space Flight, Commercial"; and even the Iranians are working on man-martyr-rated boosters.

(H/T to TJIC.)

Kind of like flying, but with all the fun sucked out.

Borepatch reminds me of the good ol' days, when I used to go out to Hartsfield to watch the planes taxi around from a comfy, air-conditioned perch in Concourse E.

And he reminds me of the bad new days, when the only way flying could be more degrading is if they actually shackled you to a U.S. Marshal, instead of just treating you as though you were shackled to one.

I'll bet shipping myself as "Live Caged Monkey! Handle With Care!" via a FedEx cargo jet would be a somewhat more pleasant and streamlined travel experience.

That was weird.

I dreamed I was at a gun show, and I was walking the aisles looking at stuff, carrying my McCann Puffin Magnum knife and a Ruger Super Blackhawk that I was trying to sell. Who knows where the Blackhawk came from, but anyway...

So I run into Kirk from Fun Turns To Tragedy!, who wanted to buy the knife. He had apparently gotten a job at a super-secret Area 51-type compound for the Military-Industrial Complex, so I needed to mail it to some permanent address for him.

Now I'm left wandering the aisles with just the Ruger .44. As I'm browsing over a table full of Colt Lightnings and top-break Smiths, up walks frickin' Charlie Rangel, right in the middle of my dream, and asks to buy the hogleg. I'm all like "Charlie Rangel? At a gun show?" And he's making noises about how he likes guns just fine himself, but they should be kept out of the hands of the wrong people and blah-blah whatever.

I figured this was my only chance to get these particular tax dollars back, so I let him take advantage of the ol' gun show loophole right there. But I spent a good long time checking his ID.

While I was dickering with him, somebody bought the Colt Lightning I'd been looking at.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Bzzt! Thank you for playing! Try again later!

Coming on the heels of an 8-year run by Democrat Bart Peterson, Indianapolis Republican mayor Greg Ballard's election was hailed by some as the beginning of a new era in Indy politics. I mean, here was a local mayor who rented tables at gun shows to pimp his bona fides...

Since then, he has jacked taxes, flung money at sports teams, and hired an anti-gun Public Safety Director from frickin' New York, of all places.

Having sidled out on a limb and sawed his base off behind him, one wonders what'll happen in '11. Me? I'll be throwing my vote away on whatever unelectable loon the Libertarians offer for a candidate, I reckon, unless (for starters,) Greg fires Frank Straub and sends him back East to pester Empire Staters.

Rule One: You must look cool.

Unc points out, correctly, that "tactical" used to mean "black and expensive".

It should be noted, however, that foliage green is the new flat dark earth which is the new coyote brown which is the new black.

Make the appropriate notations in your fashion guides.

Three Easy Steps.

The new router at Roseholme Cottage claimed installation in three easy steps:

Step 1. Connect router to modem.

Step 2. Plug router into wall socket.

Step 3. Futz with network settings on VFTP Command Central. Curse some. Try again. Curse some more. Reboot VFTP Command Central. Curse. Turn on eMac. Strangely, six-year-old Mac sees new network just fine without any action on user's part other than hitting the "On" button. Curse Bill Gates specifically. Futz with one more setting on VFTP Command Central. Curse. Start pulling pages, finally. Go to bed in state of exhaustion.

I'm the only one in this room *hic!* enough...

In Ohio, gun owners are working to overturn the prohibition on CCW permit holders toting in Buckeye state restaurants that serve alcohol.

The usual bunch of thumb-suckers, crybabies, and wet blankets are rallying to block the move, and coming up with the usual grab-bag of hilarious quotes to back their case. For instance, when it was pointed out that under current Ohio law it was peachy keen for the Five-Oh to have a beer in Hooters while strapped, the Buckeye State Sheriff's Association countered with was OK for officers to be in bars because they are better trained.
Okay, then. I did not know that they had a special course on "getting liquored up while going heeled" at the police academy. I'm impressed. Maybe they could share the course syllabus with us here in Indiana so we could make it mandatory for IMPD officers.

Ever-widening ripples.

As everyone knows, IMPD* Officer David "Tipsy" Bisard gained his notoriety by allegedly ringing the cherries with an 0.19% BAC after mowing down a few motorcycles with his cruiser.

The problem is, that notoriety is now having an effect on a lot of other things he had previously done as a police officer: For instance, Officer "Bottles" Bisard was the first responder at the notorious Hovey Street murders, and the defense attorney for the dirtbag accused of the slayings cannot believe the early Christmas present he's had dropped in his lap. To wit:
According to court documents, Bisard alone saw the bodies before they were moved by EMTs and photographed. The original positions of the bodies, the defense claims, is critical to the case and is evidence they need to dispute the anticipated testimony of one of the prosecution's star witnesses. A witness to the murders and how they occurred.

Un-frickin'-believable. "Blotto" Bisard's credibility as a witness is more or less completely destroyed, no matter what brave noises the prosecutor is making.

*Which now stands for "I Must Patrol Drunk".

Monday, September 06, 2010

Have I mentioned... much I love the freedom that modern computer tools have given to amateur filmmakers?

Witness the genesis of the rocket jump:

I laughed 'til it hurt. :)

(Props to Linoge.)

Minor tragedy...

The wireless router at Roseholme Cottage seems to have transmitted its last packet. (~6 years from a Linksys BEFW11S4 for those keeping score.)

Off to the local Staples...

Do-it-yourself felonies!

Some guy on the internet shows how to make your very own shotgun for the low, low price of only $10,000 and 10 years in Club Fed!

Protip: Do not post pictures of your felonies on the intertubes.

(H/T to Unc.)

A holiday which I don't really understand.

Saturday was apparently International Bacon Day, as in "Remember to eat some bacon today, because it's International Bacon Day!"

To me this is somewhat like saying "It's International Oxygen Day! Remember to use some oxygen today!" I kind of understand what they're trying to say, but I don't really grok it in its fullness.

Great news from the Ministry of Plenty!

Great news, everybody! The unemployment rate is going up! All glory to Big Brother!

Do these people have any idea how creepy that kind of blind loyalty looks like from the outside? It's like seeing someone trying to put a positive spin on the molestering priest scandal out of love for their church. It's always better to call a pig a pig, especially if it's your own pig, than it is to smear L'Oréal across its kisser in an attempt to pass it off as something it's not.

(H/T to Divas For Geeks.)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

*pop!* versus *BOOM!*

While I was out today, I saw some folks out walking dogs you could have put a saddle on. A couple of mastiffs, a great dane, and suchlike.

They were friendly puppies, but it made me suddenly start rethinking my choice of a .32 H&R Magnum revolver as my fanny pack/coat pocket gun while cycling. A 158gr LSWC-HP +P would have been a lot more comforting than a 100gr SJHP should Cujo have decided to go ballistic...

And it was done.

Breakfast at the Red Eye, pedaled some thirteen+ miles, and lunch at the Brew Pub, (honey-smoked turkey, applewood bacon, and brie on sourdough, washed down with a pint of the house IPA...)

The weather is positively gorgeous: Low 70s, low humidity, severe clear, not a cloud in the sky. The kind of day that just makes you grin like an idiot and wave at complete strangers.

There are two bicycle shops right on the Monon. Only one is open on Sunday. Does this make sense to anyone?

Look, the people who can afford to buy stuff in your shop probably work for a living. When do most people work? That's right, Monday through Friday. This means that they are out riding their bikes on the busiest bike trail in the city on what days? That's right, Saturday and Sunday.

So for half of the heaviest traffic days on the Monon Trail, (which runs within 100' of your door, remember,) you are closed.

Are you attempting to cater to the unemployed? Because that doesn't strike me as the soundest of business models.

Fall is in the air.

After a stifling August, I woke up to a 50°F breeze wafting in the window at Roseholme; the coolest it's been in Indy since May. The guy on the TeeWee was talking about college football, and the local station was pimping its annual Coats For Kids drive.

That's about it for another summer, then, at least by the rituals of my people, and it makes no nevermind if the astronomers say different.

A good day for a Broad Ripple breakfast and some cycling on the Monon, followed by a late lunch at the Brew Pub, no?

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Overheard in the Office:

RX: *thumbing through my latest issue of SWAT Magazine* "EMA Countdown mags?"

Me: "Yeah, that's what I want: more moving parts in my magazines. Can they figure out a way to make it run on frickin' batteries, too?"

RX: "That's what I thought."

What do you get when you cross Colonel Sanders and Mother Theresa?

Brian J. Noggle wonders what will happen when the "Raising Chickens In Your Backyard" fad peters out:
Ergo, when their circumstances change, when they get tired of them, or when they reach the end of the hens’ productive years, people are going to need to get rid of these damn birds. Are they going to slaughter them? Of course not! They’d just as soon slay their bichon frise or lifestyle accessory only child.
Where a hippie sees a problem, a capitalist sees a profit opportunity.

"Hobby", "obsession", to-may-to, to-mah-to...

There’s something awe-inspiring that happens at the intersection of “Neato!” and “Get A Life!”

Somewhere I have a modeling magazine that I had to buy because the cover claimed that there was an article inside about a guy who'd built a 1:72 replica of the USS Enterprise (CVN-65, not NCC-1701), accurate to the smallest detail, down to researching which squadrons and a/c were aboard on a given day in the mid ’80s…

"No way!" I thought. "1:72? That'd be, like, fifteen or twenty feet long. It would take years. You'd need a special room in the house just for the model ship!"

The thing indeed does take up an entire room of his house, which has its own separate HVAC system to keep it at the optimum temperature and humidity.

As you view it, your mind wants to shout “WOW!” and “Seek help. Now.” at the same time…

You just can't get away from political ads these days.

I'm reading The Strongest Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq, and enjoying it. The author is obviously passionate about his subject and has spent plenty of time in Iraq, so I'm assuming that he's not talking out of his butt.

I'm learning a fair amount, too. you'd think that with a war going on right in front of my virtual nose, I'd be all aware of at least the locations and dates of the major battles and such, but I was surprised at how much I hadn't encountered before. In retrospect, it makes you wonder how anybody alive in, say, '41-'45 even heard about the China-Burma-India theater of the war, especially in the absence of CNN and the internets.

However, it felt like about once per chapter or so there was a forced campaign ad for John McCain. Seriously. Everything would be flowing along nicely when suddenly, apropos to the narrative or not, would come a quote from Sen. John McCain, (R-AZ).

I checked the publication date. Ah. 2008. That explains it. Can't blame the author for having strong feelings on that topic, I guess.