Sunday, July 31, 2011

Why this morning's post was delayed...

The tale of "Bobbi & Tam's Big 0mygod30 Adventure" can be found here. My rants about hospitals will come later.

Well wishes for Mom X are appreciated.

What is this I don't even

Uh, to get back to the, uh, the warning that I received... You may take it with how many, however many grains of salt that you wish... That the brown acid that is circulating around us is not specifically too good. Uh, it's suggested that you do stay away from that. Of course it's your own trip, so be my guest, but please be advised that there is a warning on that one, okay?
(I found it here. Where he found it, I'm not at all sure.)

Missed opportunity.

You know what grinds me to a halt? The curb-stomping that the word "enormity" takes at the hands of the illiterati these days.

"Enormity" does not mean "big", Mr. Science Fiction Author. Every time your character leans against the porthole and gazes out at the "enormity of the universe", I want to beat you to your knees with an unabridged dictionary. Enormity refers to monstrous wickedness: Your hero can gaze in wonder at the enormousness of the red deserts of Mars and in horror at the enormity of the cannibal feasts taking place thereon.

Enormity, however, is such a perfectly cromulent word that the rare chance to use it properly in a sentence should never be missed. To wit:
Those of you in business for yourselves can speak with aplomb on the sheer immensity of regulatory compliance and how it strangles the provision of goods and services in America.
You know, Bill, "enormity" would have worked perfectly there.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Like you and me, only famouser.

Apparently some cops in North Cackalacky had a "Take A Hair Band To The Range Day" recently. When the video footage of over-the-hill rockers shooting up the scenery hit the local news as a human interest story, wedged between the adorable puppies up for adoption at the pound and Mrs. Johnson's prize-winning gardenias, some viewers must have had their memories jogged by the sight of needle tracks amidst the tattoos and thought "Hey, don't a couple of those guys have felony records?"

Why, yes. Yes they do.

Having violated the first rule of committing federal felonies, which is "Don't have them videotaped and broadcast on television," Tommy Lee and Brett Michaels found themselves the subject of BATFEIEIO scrutiny*. (Unlike Marky Mark, who handles guns on camera all the time without the Funky Bunch of Investigation ever showing up on set and disrupting filming...)

The websites where people go drool and blather over celebrities are apoplectic. How dare this silly law be applied to rock stars? These are the very same kind of people, mind you, who were aghast that that Loughner weirdo got his hands on a gun. Now, had the police dragged J. Random Crackhead out there and let him play with M4s and AKs, what do you bet we'd be hearing a different tune?

Laws, even dumb ones**, are apparently for the little people.

* Which is kind of funny. Apparently they committed the wrong kind of felonies. If they'd been committing the right kind of felonies, the BATFE would have given them guns.

**...and yes, I think felon-in-possession laws are stupid. If the guy can't be trusted with a gun, then he can't be trusted with cars or gasoline or chainsaws or kids or oxygen and needs to be locked away from decent people. If he's safe to walk the streets, he's safe to own a gun.

Friday, July 29, 2011

QotD: Regulatory Bedwettery Edition.

From the Adaptive Curmudgeon:
My last encounter with “Californicated warnings” in their native habitat was a few years ago. I’d ridden all day through the homage to air pollution and illegal immigration that is the San Joaquin valley. I stopped at a mechanic’s shop for an oil change. On the door was the list of things known to California to cause cancer. It included everything but sunshine and metric wrenches.
You should go read the whole thing; it's pretty darn funny.

Your Comment Is Awaiting Moderation

Regarding MKS's cavalier press release (which is, interestingly, somewhat tamer than the version posted here) in response to the RFID thing, I commented:
Good point. Too bad you couldn’t make it without being a rude jackass.

I’ll not be purchasing any MKS products, since the corporate culture is one of rudeness to customers. I’d be too afraid that warranty claims would be handled with the same cavalier attitude for customer satisfaction.

I’ll be sure to let my 100k monthly readers know my feelings out there in “blogger land”
Look, I don't have any irrational RFID-phobia; there's one in my housecat, for Bastet's sake. I understand how handy RFID chips are in the manufacture and distribution of things, (and I'll bet you Kahr's wishing they'd used them right about now,) but if a customer doesn't want their junk to be "pingable" then that's their business.

Way to shoot yourself in the foot, there, MKS. I'd suggest firing the asshat that wrote that presser, but it was probably a senior executive, which means your corporate culture is as rotten to the core as the Canton PD's.

I know I'm not your target market, but I'd actually considered buying one of your Chiappa rimfire 1911's. Thank you for helping me reach a decision on that purchase; I believe I'll take my business elsewhere.

Who's the police chief there? Tammy Wynette?

The now-infamous Officer Harless of the Canton, OH PD has apparently lacked adequate adult supervision for some time now.

This guy had better hit his knees at night and pray he never actually has to shoot somebody, because he has thoughtfully provided even the most wet-behind-the-ears graduate of Draw Tippy Turtle U. Law School everything he or she'll need to convince a jury that Harless was a murder just looking for a place to happen.

You'd think that even a fairly callous "us v. them" department would have tossed him out of the sleigh long ago, if only for calculated liability reasons. Every time he clocked in, Canton was in danger of a massive lawsuit for the next eight hours.

It's like the opposite of true.

The headline reads:
Congresswoman: Norway gunman touted lax US gun laws
The only parenthetical reference to any "US gun laws" from the whackjob in the body of the article is as follows:
Had to buy through a smaller US supplier (who again ordered from other suppliers) as most suppliers have export limitations…
Which is not "touting" and strikes me as rather the opposite of "lax".

So, what? Are they that much more expensive in Norway?* I'm pretty sure that Norway doesn't have any magazine capacity limitations. There were some Norwegian members at The High Road and The Firing Line with some pretty slammin' gun collections, including cool pieces like short-barreled HK G36's and the like, which they loved to post pictures of during the dark years of 1994-2004.

People talk endlessly about "lax" US gun laws and "tough" European gun laws as though we were talking about monolithic entities, but Norway's gun laws are, on balance, no tougher than New Jersey's, and a resident of Massachusetts would shed tears of joy to swap his state's gun laws with those of, say, the Czech Republic.

This is just more chattering of nonsense by people who lie awake at night worried about the kind of guns that have shoulder things that go up.

* Ah. I know now. It's a Mini-14, for which factory 30-rounders are not at all common and, for all I know, impossible to find in Norway. They're none too common stateside, either, unless you go mail order.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tab Clearing...

  • If he charges into burning buses in his free time, can you imagine what he's like when he's on duty?

  • The meme that won't die: Ma & Pa Kettle are going to put down their Tea Party signs, pick up their Kalashnikovs, and "make common cause with" Al Qaeda to overthrow the government. Seriously? Dude, what color is the sky in your world? "zomg! The racist militia is coming!" Look, pal, if your team hadn't passed the ADA, then they wouldn't be able to get their L'il Rascals up the stairs into the National Guard armory and we'd have nothing to worry about on that front.

  • $insert_superlative_here photographer Robert Langham has a book out on photography that's not about f-stops and shutter speeds but about, you know, pictures, and how to take them good. (Plus, he once called me "one of the best bad photographers I know", which was sweet of him, actually.)

  • The toilet paper of the future will be colorful, at least.

  • Monster Hunter Alpha rocked so, so hard. If you haven't read it yet, you're missing out.

Signs and portents.

Dustbury has published photos of Robb Allen's secret compound.

Dreyses and Dragons...

I just finished reading Marko's short story, "Ink and Blood", published in (at? You kids and your electronical publications...) Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

It was mondo creative. It's got fountain pens and needle guns and magic and 19th Century Germany and adolescent romance and... well, just read it for yourself.

Just think: In a world where magic had to be written down to work, the fountain pen would have had the same impact as Hiram Maxim's most famous invention did in ours...

Overheard in the Office:

RX: "Cthulhu porn. You know it's out there. Rule 43."

Me: "You mean Rule 34."

RX: "Right. Well, what's Rule 43 then?"

Me: "There's always some poor dyslexic who can't find his porn on the internet."

Does it have ads for Spatula City?

There are two trends in retail today. One is the humongous box store that carries everything from groceries to snow tires, and the other is the little shop that focuses laser-like on a single product category, like batteries or printer cartridges.

Similarly, magazines can cover wide-ranging topics, like Wired, or they can be very, very specific.

Like talking to a wall. A small and insignificant wall.

So, there's this corner of the blogosphere populated by gun blogs, or blogs that are at least sometimes peripherally about guns. There are a few dozen of these active at any given time, and they have a pretty vibrant and active subculture of commenters and readers that get together for various meetups and range trips and whatnot.

Then there is the, for lack of a better term, "antigun blogosphere", which consists of four people whose combined daily traffic barely adds up to a slow hour at SayUncle and is made up entirely of Google spiders, people who were searching for jade jewelry on Bing and landed there by mistake, and gunbloggers there to argue.

I guess the latter must be fun, because folks spend an awful lot of time doing it, but I don't understand why.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How many scientists does it take to grow a pun?

With a knick-knack paddy-whack, clone a dog that glows...
That's a long way to go for a pun, Mr. Korean Scientist. Anyhow, time to wok the dog. Now all I need are a few pointers...

Your hair is beautiful...

It was hot and muggy like the inside of a sauna in Broad Ripple today, but the top had to go down on the Zed Drei while I was running errands, because I think it might actually be a criminal offense to have the top up on a roadster while Debbie Harry sings "Atomic"...

Tab Clearing...

  • Holy cow, I found the nexus of crazy on the internets. Falling down that rabbit hole sucked hours out of my day; hours I'll never get back...

  • The Blame Game that happens after some whack job's cheese slides right off his cracker is both amusing and a little frightening. If someone had smoked Dubya, would the media pack be baying on the trail of Gabriel Range? Are they just bitter that, no matter how much incitement they sowed, not one nutter stepped up to the challenge?

At least as accurate as tea leaves or sheep entrails.

The televisor this morning is all-of-a-sudden crammed with Dickie Lugar commercials consisting of footage of him walking with Reagan, sitting with Reagan, talking with Reagan, and pretty much everything short of actually swapping spit with Reagan.

I'm not sure what exactly it signifies when Indiana's state weathervane wobbles to the right, but it must mean something.

That explains rather a lot, actually.

City Councilman Allen Schulman of Canton Ohio goes a long way to explain the conduct of Officer 'Roid Rage by demonstrating that in Canton, the culture of arrogant douchebaggery flows right from the city council top and trickles all the way down through the police department:

Can you not hear the crazy coming out of your own mouth, Allen? You do realize that most states have had these laws far longer than Ohio, right?

I especially like the part where you said you were in favor of "reasonable" gun control laws. Judging from the overheated hyperbole that had just been pouring out of your cakehole, you wouldn't know "reasonable" if it got up in your face and hit you with a stick.

All day I face the barren wastes...

So far this July, the official rainfall total for Indianapolis is about a third of an inch, with no relief in sight. We're on pace for the driest July since they started keeping record here.

Hauling water to the veggies is turning into a twice-daily chore. It would be really sweet of Mother Nature to water the lawn, though.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gun Dream #1:

I dreamed that I was going to take a two-day pistol class from Todd G. The cool thing about the class was that the range was located at a huge amusement park that was nothing but roller coasters, with a replica of every great roller coaster ever; like a roller coaster hall of fame... So I showed up two days early and spent a couple days riding the most awesome roller coasters. (This was a long, or at least long-seeming, dream.)

The first morning of the class starts out with a safety talk and whatnot, and I'm having trouble getting all my crap out of my range bag: hearing protection, a couple of extra mag carriers... I was shooting a Glock, for some reason... Probably because I've been thinking about getting a G19. And I can't find my ammo can; I'm thinking that maybe I left it in the car?

Anyhow, for whatever reason, I was standing there holstering up when the first string of shooters was stepping up to the line, which is decidedly not cool. And this guy pulls Todd aside and is talking to him and glancing at me, so I walk over and say "Hey, if he thinks I just pulled a safety violation, muzzled somebody or whatever, and he's not cool with me shooting on the same range as him, that's okay. I understand. I can put my stuff away and just watch. Or, you know, go ride roller coasters some more."

So, yeah, I DQ'ed myself for a possible safety violation in my dream last night rather than argue with some imaginary dude in my dream.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I was all grumpy this morning...

...but then the Rescue Squad showed up, and suddenly the afternoon turned awesome!
Me: "I think I'm going to order this 'charcuterie plate'. I'm not sure what a charcuterie is, but it says something about sausage and cheese, so... Hang on, let me check my magic internets phone..."

D: *consults her portable magic elf box* "It says here that 'charcuterie' means smoked meats... like sausage..."

Me: "Okay, I am so there."
I even ate the whole slab of pâté. I had no idea that smooshed goose entrails could be so yummy.

Wait, wait... that's a yiffemism, right?

I need help with 4 Down on today's crossword. What's a four-letter word for "unwanted sexual encounter"?

And how did I miss that whole "tiger suit" thing back in February, anyway? Looking over Representative Wu's résumé, I'm surprised he hasn't heard from any Massachusetts talent scouts yet, 'cause this guy's got the chops for the Kennedy AAA farm team.

Speaking of bloody shirt waving...

Found in my email news alerts this AM:
We were reminded again that a gun in the hands of a true believer like Breivik is still the greatest weapon of mass destruction of them all. We are conditioned now to think of terrorism as planes flying into our buildings, or explosions in the London subway, or a stupid little amateur trying to blow up a car in Times Square. All it still takes is one guy with a gun.
This from a newspaper writer in New York. It amazes me that anyone who could stick their head out the window and notice a gap in their skyline could still type that with a straight face.

Based on the numbers, I think box cutters are still the heavyweight champs.


As Unc says, "I do this to entertain me, not you."

And it just doesn't feel very entertaining at the moment.

I need to write some stuff for pay, I need to write some stuff for the Arms Room, and I can't really think of anything funny to write for VFTP right now because I'm just not in a very funny mood.

Maybe later.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Over it.

It rained a mile or so to the east.

It rained a mile or so to the west.

Our sky darkened up, and the wind gusted hard; you could hear the thunder and smell the rain... but the drought continues in Broad Ripple.

I am so over this weather. I'm turning in early. Maybe it will rain while I'm asleep if I'm not watching the sky constantly...

That was kinda cool...

Pedaling home from Sam's Gyros with dinner in the basket of the Broad Ripple SUV, I heard a horn beep behind me as I cut through the parking lot of the Fresh Market. Was that a "Damn!" or a "Tam!"...?

The safest thing on a bike when there are cars about is pedal faster! So I did.

After cruising up the alley and putting the bike in the garage, Roomie met me in the kitchen, saying "Hey, Brigid said she just saw you at the Fresh Market?"

Sure enough, moments later, Brigid was at the front door with Miss D., The Fearless Cross Country Aviatrix from A Wing And A Whim! How cool!

We sat around and chatted far too briefly, but that was maybe the neatest little coincidence of the month. :)

I'm feeling psychic...

Seen at Wikipedia this morning:
As of 24 July, the investigation to determine the cause of [Amy Winehouse's] death, which is described by police as unexplained, is still open.
Have Detective Chief Inspector Clouseau-Smythe give me a call; I've got a few of those psychic-type tips for them.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A question:

I have been informed that these pistols are spittin' images of one another. What say you?

The heat...

Did anybody here ever watch the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Special that aired briefly on FOX in '96?

There was a skit that had a black guy pushing his son in a shopping cart through the grocery store and expounding on racism. It went something like this (and bear in mind that it's been, like, fifteen years...):
See this? This is Cap'n Crunch. It's white. Now, here's some Cocoa Puffs. What's the bird on the Cocoa Puffs box say? He coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs! Got that? He coo-coo! He crazy! It's racist!

Now, here we have some white rice... See how calm it is? And here's the brown rice. What do they call the brown rice? Wiiiiilllld rice! It's brown, so it's wiiiiillld! That's racist.

Oh, here's the wine. This is white wine. You know what you're supposed to do with white wine? Keep it in the refrigerator; keep it cool. This is red wine, the darker wine. You're supposed to keep it at 'room temperature'. And what room is that? The kitchen. And what's it like in the kitchen? It's hot. Damn' hot. Hot like the ghet-to! That's racist!

And now we come to the olives. Here's the green olives, the light olives, and they get kept in a glass jar, where they have a good view. Oh, but here's the black olives! And where are they kept? Locked up in the can! That's racist!

See? You're black! You're coo-coo, you're too wild, and your black ass needs to stay sweatin' in the ghetto 'til they lock you up in the can! That's racist!
For whatever reason, this skit has stuck with me enough that when I step outside on a day like today, I involuntarily think "It's hot. Damn' hot. Hot like the ghet-to!"

Blasts from the past...

Recently the iPod in the car started playing... wait, is that the theme from House? It sure sounds like it. But the theme from House doesn't have lyrics! And do I even have that particular Massive Attack album?

No, as it turns out, but I do have "Teardrop" on a compilation album.

And then it played "God of 42nd Street" by Saigon Kick...

Obviously the little gizmo was in a '90s kinda mood.

Smile, you're on candid camera.

I'm sure everybody's seen the video of the cop in Canton, Ohio acting like a complete tool during an interaction with a CCW permit holder, right?

Matt G was unimpressed (to put it mildly.) LawDog is less than amused hisownself, and by "less than amused", I mean "disgusted".

Bobbi had an idea for an educational campaign that will resonate with anybody who ever spent five minutes in a pediatrician's waiting room.

Dave Hardy waxes lawyerly.

Personally, I think that any cop that plans on still doing the job in five or ten years should get used to the idea that his or her every action, from roll call to end of shift, is being recorded. At the rate technology is going, I'd bet that wearable wireless remote-recording cameras will be a fact of life in law enforcement sooner than we think. Do your job like your grandmother was watching.


In response to the posts here and here about some new way Glocks are allegedly going 'splodey, by detonating loaded rounds in the feedway when someone's trying to "unload and show clear" at the end of an IPSC or IDPA stage, either due to the extractor or the ejector contacting the primer:

Any Browning-pattern pistol can do this. You don’t even need an extended ejector. 1911s were doing it back when Gaston was still making curtain rods and folding shovels.

If the live round doesn’t fully eject because some goober has his hand over the ejection port to prevent his valuable 23¢ investment in a round of FMJ lest it get dirty by hitting the ground, and his hand slips or he runs the slide back and forth and back and forth, it is possible for the extractor or ejector or even a corner of the ejection port on some designs to bust the cap and fill his hand with shrapnel from the casing.

Don’t try and catch the round you’re ejecting. Don’t put your hand over the ejection port. Keep your hand away from it and let the round fall on the ground. It will be there when you get ready to pick it up, I promise. (And if it’s not, you can just buy another one.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Monster Hunter Alpha is shipping!

Guess what I just ordered? I am so stoked!

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #54: Bayard 1908 .380ACP

Long before George Kellgren was hawking little pistols, and decades before Larry Seecamp was even born, the Belgian firm of Anciens Etablissements Pieper was selling the diminutive little Bayard 1908: A hammer-fired straight-blowback pistol available in .25ACP, .32ACP, or .380ACP.

The one in the picture is a .380 (although the .25 and .32 were the same size and, in fact, were identical except for the barrel, magazine and the dimensions of the breechface.) It's about the same in height and length as the P3AT, although a little wider and obviously heavier, since the only way to manufacture a firearm back then was to take a block of forged steel and machine away everything that didn't look like a gun.

In general layout, the pistol resembles a chopped-down FN Browning 1900, with the recoil assembly positioned over the barrel, although the internal mechanics differ, not least in that the gun is hammer- rather than striker-fired.

It's an interesting artifact from an earlier age when a gentleman could purchase a pistol through the mails, slip it into his vest pocket, and travel the world with not much needed in the way of a passport or papers, other than the kind that spend.

Atlantis is down safely...

...and government astronauts are now officially reduced to bumming rides from the Russkies.

Private astronauts can buy their tickets here.

I'll not lie, though; NASA sure picked a poignant date to pull the plug.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

That's pretty cool.

I've been doing the blogging thing for a few years now, so this shouldn't have caught me by surprise...
But, once I owned the thing, I was like, huh, guess I ought to learn about this. So, I started doing some internet research. That research led me to Tam’s place, View from the Porch.
...and yet it did.

I remember various columnists and/or cartoonists (Lewis Grizzard, Berke Breathed) that I followed all the way through high school and into college... It's weird to think that I've been doing this blog long enough that other people see it that way.

(And to reader "jetaz": I didn't grow up around guns, either, and it was a high school US Government 121 teacher that caused me to register to vote and buy a Ruger 10/22 on the same day, too. :) )

"No, no, those are my time-travel trousers!"

Daily Pundit had a blurb up on the iconic Jaguar XK-E this morning. Maybe one of the best-looking automobiles ever made, and certainly on most car buffs Top Ten list...

They were already over a decade out of production when I graduated high school and therefore, if not "vintage", at least "old", a thought which crossed my mind as I backed the Zed Drei out of the garage past some of the local high school-age kids doing whatever it is that high school-age kids do in the alley on summer vacation these days.

It's hard to say which shapes are going to age well in any given automotive generation, but one thing is obvious: No matter how often one designer or another has tried to change the paradigm, "long hood and short deck" has hung on like stylistic grim death pretty much since Stanley Steamers had a decent share of the market.

QotD: The Wrong Lizard Might Get In Edition.

From Joel at The Ultimate Answer To Kings:
We've been voting the bastards out of office since 1800, you know. When should we expect them to leave?
I laughed. (It wasn't an entirely cheerful laugh, though.)

The thousand-and-first cut.

While a common staple of firearms fora on the internets is discussion of some fantasy scenario where the federal government waves a magic wand and declares all privately-owned firearms illegal and then "Blue Helmeted UN Troops" (usually Bulgarians, for some obscure reason, although Gauloises-puffing Frogs are also popular) come door-to-door, confiscating guns, and then our heroes can't go to work on Monday because they're too busy saving the Republic! Hooray!

On the federal level, actually, gun rights in the U.S. have been making grinding progress in the right direction since the nadir of '94, with the anti-gunners not having a single real national legislative or judicial victory to show since then.

Things are more divided at the state level, with most states moving in a direction of more liberal firearms laws, while others continued to become more draconian and hostile to gun ownership after 1994.

In those states, owning a firearm is a pain: the types of guns which can be lawfully owned are tightly circumscribed, and permission to own guns at all has to be sought and paid for via the mechanism of a Firearm Owner's ID Card or similar permission slip. The business of selling firearms is difficult even beyond the paperwork-laden nightmare imposed at the federal level, with all manner of extra state-level fees and regulations imposed on the small businessmen that operate gun stores.

The whole process, while ostensibly for public safety, has the end result of making gun ownership and shooting and buying and selling such a pain in the tuchas that, more and more, people say "Why bother?"

And so the number of legal firearms owners in these places drops, reducing the number of people who see guns as anything other than tools of criminality, which makes further tightening of regulations easier, which cuts down on the number of legal gun owners even more... Until you wind up here, and not one single Gauloises-smoking Blue Helmet was required. And you still have to go to work on Monday.

Not feelin' it this morning.

Maybe later.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #53: Remington 51

A Remington Model 51 in .380ACP. Designed by John Pedersen, this pistol went on sale in 1918. For its time, it looks like a frickin' raygun.

It fits the hand very nicely, too. Allegedly, Pedersen spent a lot of time having people squeeze chunks of clay to get the grip shape and angle just so.

Perennial favorites...

Jay G. has a post up asking about your favorite "go-to" guns, defined thusly:
Now, I don't mean what gun you would go to in the event of a home invasion, or to carry, etc. I mean the one(s) that manage to find their way into your range bag on a regular basis, even if they don't build muscle memory on your carry gun or train your shooting for bullseye.

These are the guns that are just plain fun to shoot.
Well, I don't know about "find their way into my range bag", but there are two that never actually leave my range bag: My Ruger 22/45 and my 4" K-22 are just as much a part of my normal range bag gear as my hearing protection or my first aid kit. The only time they can be found somewhere other than the bag is when they're being fired or cleaned. The fact that they build muscle memory for my carry gun is just gravy.

Also, my Marlin Papoose is a ton of giggles to shoot. Unsurprisingly, it stays broken down in its little case in the trunk of my car. I mean, you never know when you may want a .22 rifle, right?

So, yeah, there're at least three guns that go to the range with me every time I go.

No, you're not going to melt.

Summer has come to the Midwest, catching the local news media by surprise like it does every year. First, there's the ritual startle when gas prices go up around Memorial Day. Then the traditional head-scratching when they drop and then go back up around Independence Day.

Now we are having the traditional heat wave. This one's above average so far for Indianapolis, but not in any danger of setting records; Hoosieropolis gets an average of nineteen days per year with 90°F+ and we've had fourteen so far, so we'll probably be over the average by a few days this year.

But to look at the news, you'd think this was something that had never been experienced before. "Coming Up Next: How to keep your children safe in the heat!" blared the local station's teaser.

How to keep 'em safe? Yank 'em away from the X-Box and shove 'em out the front door! This is great weather for little Billy and Suzy to sweat off a bit of that pudge. Kids do it all Summer long in Tampa and Houston, so quit making it sound like stepping out the front door is an invitation to instant heatstroke if not sudden thermonuclear death.

Monday, July 18, 2011

It's important to keep our priorities straight.

"I wonder how the debt limit negotiations are goi... OMG! Thank heavens that Cheap Trick's okay!"

In other news: Ice Station Zebra II!

Jackboots and labcoats...

Boy, the Food & Drug Administration has been strutting their regulatory stuff lately, haven't they?

I mean, no sooner do they get regulatory authority over cigarettes than they demand that the tobacco companies change the names of their products, tell them what color to make the logos, and then order them to print pictures of cadavers on the boxes.

Raw milk raids, the atrocious Food Safety Act, and now the decision to crack down on purveyors of natural nutritional supplements? These clipboard-wielding Pointdexters are flexing their regulatory muscle like a young Ahnold in a banana hammock. (And if that doesn't impress you, then they'll just sic their very own machinegun-toting federal SWAT team on you. Sieg health!)

At this rate, everybody's going to be so busy stockpiling 100-watt bulbs and glucosamine tablets that they won't have any room for ammunition... Which might be the plan, actually.

...and it's a bargain. (For a given value of bargain.)

Good red-dot optics have come a long way in the last decade or two. They used to be fussy, fragile things that went on the fritz unexpectedly while eating batteries like popcorn. Now you can leave them on for years and they're practically tougher than the guns they're bolted to.

The problem is that the good ones are expensive. About the price of a decent AK expensive, or half the tariff of a good AR expensive.

Aimpoint's new-for-'11 PRO (Patrol Rifle Optic) is basically their older Comp M2 sight (adopted by the military as the M68 CCO) with new circuitry for the dot, giving a 30,000hr claimed battery life, and the whole package, mount and all, looks like it'll have a street price a lot closer to four bills than five, which is a relative bargain in this market segment.

I really like my Comp ML2, but that 30,000 hours of battery life sure does look cool. That's... hang on, let me pull off my socks... like more than three years. You could just leave it on and change the sight batteries when you change your smoke alarm batteries.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Overheard in the Kitchen:

Bobbi has just served up her patented breakfast-in-a-wok into two bowls.
RX: "There's chopped fresh carrot over there if you want to sprinkle some on top."

Me: "No, thank you. I like carrot, but I just can't associate it with breakfast food, for whatever reason."

RX: "Well, it is 12:30..."

Me: "So you're saying the sun's over the carrot yardarm?"

I did not know that...

  1. Space probe Dawn has gone into orbit around the asteroid Vesta. Unlike every space probe before it, which were all just free-falling through the solar system like pachinko balls depending on trajectories and inertia and suchlike, this one will orbit its target for a year taking pictures and doing science-y stuff, and then it will fire up its little ion drive, going to three-quarters impulse power, and head off to go orbit a different asteroid. That's pretty cool right there. If you're going to set my tax money on fire, do it with an ion drive, okay?

  2. There is actually a plant whose toxic sap is a folk cure for removing warts and actinic keratosisises? Really? And I paid $90+ for a tube of goo to do the same thing? As fair-skinned as I am, I am seriously considering ordering some seeds online.

Place holder...

While this morning's post finishes its gestation, have some tab clearing.

-...and gloom. (Plus, it's still all Bush's fault!)

-Smith & Wesson already have an app for that. (Also, minus 10,000 points for victim-blaming. An app that tells students to "Wear a burkha when you leave your dorm room. And don't go out at night" is not how we cut down on campus rape.)

-On a lighter note, preliminary photos from Bobbi and Tam's Excellent Adventure.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

On brain drains and foot voting...

Samizdata has an interesting post (which links to other interesting posts) on the current state of world migrations and what it says about where they come from, as well as where they go.
The UK features in the top ten both for migration in and emigration out. That is a telling fact, is it not?
I think a detailed breakdown of those numbers would be interesting. A nation that steadily swaps newly-minted physicians and software engineers with imported cab drivers on a one-for-one basis is destined for trouble down the road.

(And before anybody can slap down the "That's racist!" card, I would note that yes, the cabby's kid may indeed become a physician or software engineer himself, which will do his homeland no good if he immediately lights out for better prospects elsewhere, to be replaced on the census rolls by yet another imported cab driver.)

Overheard in the Hallway:

Me: "I swear, this Obama guy is the biggest threat to American civil liberties since... since George W. Bush!"

RX: "Isn't that the name of the job both men held? 'Chief Threatener of Civil Liberties'?"

Friday, July 15, 2011

How? With a pair of pliers and a blowtorch?

With the Fourth Amendment curled up on the floor and spitting teeth, the DoJ turns its attention on the Fifth, claiming it can force you to decrypt your laptop.

How timely, given that I'm currently reading The Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice.

They're just gonna shoot the hostage anyway...

So Obama held a gun to grandma's social security check on TV the other night.

Which is funny, because a bunch of us have been trying to point out that there's been a great big cannon pointed at it all along. As Brian J. Noggle puts it:
It would be a good exercise in imagination for those who receive these giveaways to think about what they would do if those benefits actually stopped. And I don’t mean “stopped” in the sense of “went on furlough for a couple weeks or months, only to come back with additional sugar to make up the shortfall.” I mean, what if the Tea Party people are right and this rate of expenditure is unsustainable and eventually the huckster’s constant motion machine falls to a pile of gears and pistons. Then what will they do?

The free money pipeline's getting cut off one way or another, sooner or later. The only question is do we want to try and dead-stick this bird in, or do we just let it fly out of control and do a Texas Lawn Dart?

Summertime in SoBro, Part VIII...

While I'm trying to think of a real post, look! Pictures!

The view from my table on the patio at The Aristocrat yesterday, looking south toward the intersection of 52nd & College. If you look kinda left of center, just to the right of the pub's sign, you can see the giant green garden trowel across the street that serves as the sign for Habig's Garden Center. The thing in the background on the left right that looks like a section of spear-pointed wrought iron fence is actually the freestanding bicycle rack to which the Broad Ripple SUV is chained.

The view of my table on the patio at The Aristocrat yesterday, looking down toward blackened mahi-mahi and a side of fries.

You might be in Broad Ripple if your local dedicated gourmet doggie grocery store delivers. Also note the trellis of grape vines in the curbside landscaping in the foreground labeled "SoBro Vineyard".

Clever marketers that they are, City Dog, the gourmet doggie grocery across the street, sponsors this doggie way-station just outside the patio at The Aristocrat. The box contains complimentary doggie treats. Organic, no doubt.

You'll note that the strip of landscaping which contains the SoBro Vineyard is also an official wildlife habitat. If you turned right at that light, you'd be at the Indonesian restaurant Bobbi and I dined at just the other week.

A couple doors down from The Aristocrat is National Motor + Cycle Co., which builds replicas of early 20th-century motorized bicycles, air-cooled V-twins and all. Do want!

After lunch, I browsed the used CDs at Luna and took the Monon home, stopping off for a ginger beer at Locally Grown Gardens along the way. And that's what I did on my summer vacation.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Overheard on the Phone:

RX: "Hey, I've got to go by my mom's and change out the screen on her door, but you should know that the West Coast Tacos truck is in front of the Fresh Market..."

Me: "Cool! Thanks! Gotta run!"

I don't know what the secret ingredient is, but dang those things are good. I got there just in time to be the last customer of the day...


Picking up saganaki for dinner last night at Sam's Gyros, 54th & College Ave. Yum!

Overheard in Many Gun Stores:

Sales Clerk: "Please stop pointing that gun at me."

Cletus Johnson: "It ain't loaded."

Sales Clerk: "Yeah? Well the one on my hip is, and having guns pointed at me makes me very nervous."

Magazine Fed Up.

Michael Z. Williamson has a pretty droll rant up about the Garand. I largely agree with him, too; I think the Garand is thought of a little overfondly. Sure, I'd rather have a Garand than a Mauser Kar.98k, but I'd rather have an FN-49 than either.

I only had one involuntary twitch while reading his post: Everybody always refers to the Short Magazine Lee Enfield as having a "detachable magazine", which I guess it technically does, in that there's a catch that can be operated to release the magazine from the gun, but that's not how the rifle was used. They were reloaded or topped up through the top with stripper clips, just like any other halfway-decent bolt action service rifle (which categorization, you'll note, neatly excludes the Lebel as well as any rifle using Ferdinand Mannlicher's annoying en bloc clip-loading system.)

As anybody who's wandered gun show aisles in despair for more than fifteen minutes knows, the British made 17,000,000 Enfield rifles of all patterns and 17,000,001 magazines for them, and that old guy wants too much for it, and the follower's all rusty, anyway.

As a matter of fact, since the relentlessly class-conscious British officer's corps was sure that the average Tommy couldn't be trusted with anything more complicated than a spoon lest he injure himself with it or lose it, SMLE magazines were actually chained to the rifle like a mitten on a string, at least until the urgency of wartime production caused such fripperies to be discontinued.

(The magazine situation isn't quite that bad, although I would caution against most aftermarket SMLE mags. I have a pair of extra mags, one for each of my Enfields, but they're more by way of spare parts than for reloads.)

(H/T to Bayou Renaissance Man.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This is my dubious face...

You know how when Oleg puts up a picture of some nekkid chick holding a weird antique gun you've never heard of, some smart aleck always chimes in with "Wait, there was a gun in that picture?" Yeah, this is kinda like that...

Breda put up a post about Sarah Palin on the cover of Newsweek and, for contrast, included a picture of Barack pedalin' his bicycle.

Of course, the first thing I looked at in the whole post was the presidential velocipede. It was too small for him and the tires were awfully low on air, but that's not what caught my eye. What caught my eye is that it appears to be an older Trek 7000, their entry-level "hybrid" bike. I find it odd that even self-unemployed bloggers in Broad Ripple go a step up from that, but maybe you don't need a lot of bike if all you use it for is photo ops and, judging from the lack of frivolities like lights or a water bottle cage, that's probably all it gets used for.

BHO: "Smithers, I need a bicycle for campaign photo ops in case I want to talk about fitness. SWPLs like bicycles. Go fetch one."

Memo To Politicians: So many of you have lost the knack for acting like Normal People that when you try, it just makes you look like a doofus. (cf. Any campaign trail hunting trip. Unless you're Dick Cheney and actually bag a lawyer...)

The real Triangle of Death...

And this one actually does involve wheelbarrows of cash, to boot!

QotD: Yeah, What He Said Edition

Iowahawk on Twitter yesterday:
I want govt out of my bedroom. I also want it out of my office, den, garage, toilet, refridgerator, and light sockets.

Crusaders in the legislative branch...

Laws that are "Anti-" something are usually written by people who hate or fear that something, and are therefore clueless about it. This leads to the classic example of laws that criminalize bayonet lugs and shoulder things that go up, and which specifically ban the AR-15 by name, but make no mention of the XM-15...

It would therefore not surprise me to find out that Pennsylvania's liquor laws were written by some Carrie Nation type who had never run a business more complicated than a lemonade stand. How else to explain this tidbit from Sebastian?
There is even a Mexican restaurant I know in the area that gives out margaritas as a scheme for filling tables. If you do not have a liquor license as a restaurant, it’s perfectly lawful in Pennsylvania to give liquor away. You only need a license to sell it.
Come to think of it, this theory goes a long way towards explaining the prudery exhibited in some of the bedroom regulatory legislation out there.

Who needs a Legislative Branch, anyway?

The BATFE announced a plan to cut down on gun smuggling to Mexico. (Personally, I wish they'd stop gun smuggling to Mexico, but I understand that going cold turkey is tough, so maybe they can cut back as a first step.)

Under the proposed regulation, FFLs in border states will need to fill out multiple disposition forms for semiautomatic long guns, akin to the asinine Form 3310 for handguns, notifying the BATFEIEIO that someone has purchased a bunch of guns.

Because notifying the feds that somebody's buying a bunch of guns has worked so well thus far...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Do you know who designed that gun?

Digging through the bowels of VFTP Command Central's hard drive, I found this pic of me shooting the BAR at the LuckyGunner BloggerShoot...

(Dear FTC: No, srsly, I was rummaging around through my documents folder and found this. LuckyGunner didn't pay me bupkis for the link, or suggest it to me in any way. If you got to shoot a BAR, you'd put up piccies too. D'you know who designed that gun?)

Look, when they say "drop it", you probably should.

So a guy in Evansville, Indiana got a little sideways on some intoxicant or another and, along with a friend, was trying to break down a neighbor's door.

Understandably, the neighbor called 911.

When the cops arrived, our doped-up protagonist took a few pot shots at them, then ran back towards his own house, where he promptly cut his foot open climbing through a window and then shot himself in it with his pistol. (As an expert criminologist due to having watched several episodes of COPS during baseball rain delays, I could have told you that he would be barefoot. Possibly shirtless as well.)

Surprisingly, the cops did not let him call "Olly olly oxen free!" just because he'd gained the security of his domicile and tagged home base.

When he emerged on the front porch, they yelled "Drop it!" and he didn't drop it, so they dropped him.

As it turns out, the object he didn't drop was a cordless phone.

You know, once the bullets start flying, people are probably going to be a bit excitable, okay? Once you start shooting at the cops, you can't just say "Hey, I was only funnin' ya. Prank!" and expect everything to go back to status quo ante. If you want to call Time Out, you need to do exactly what the other very keyed-up dude with the gun, the one you were just shooting at, says.

Or you could get shot.

I'm normally a little critical of the whole cult of officer safety, but given that this guy had opened fire on police officers less than an hour before, I've gotta say that I can kinda see where they're coming from on this one.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Even if you don't win, you win.

A charity called Kara's Hope is raffling an engraved Ed Brown Centennial Edition 1911 and a complete Galco 'gator holster/belt/mag carrier package, with the proceeds to benefit babies with HPE.

Tickets are $40. If you win, you get a sweet custom 1911, and if you don't win, you've helped out a good cause, so you win anyway. What've you got to lose?

An apology... the farmers of Central Indiana:

After an unusually damp Spring, more like Seattle than the Circle City, I planted cantaloupe, tomato, cucumber, and red pepper starts, which action appears to have functioned like the inverse of washing my car, shutting the rain off as if with a switch.

Sorry 'bout that. :(

Scoring easy points.

Joel notes that the Diamond Match Company sources its wood from responsible forests. Reading this on the package obviously makes the NPR-listening demographic feel better about buying them, since no sequoias were harmed and no Spotted Owls were made homeless to make their firesticks.

My corn last night came from responsible corn fields, too; no old-growth corn was harmed in harvesting it.

As anyone who's driven past miles of Georgia-Pacific loblolly farm knows, cutting down on paper use to Save The Trees is like giving up peas to Save The Vegetables.

Catching up...

It's been since... May? ...that Brigid and I had met for lunch, so it was a treat to catch up with things over nachos at the Brewpub yesterday. We planned range trips, we ate nachos, we commiserated over poor Barkley having to wear the Cone of Shame...

(And apparently I strolled clean past Kerry when I was walking through the door? My fusiform gyrus must be on the fritz again. D'oh!)

Shadows got long and it was time to head home and...

If, on two consecutive days, you spot two different Jaguar XK150 Fixed-Head Coupes, you might be in Broad Ripple...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

...the faint hum of the carrier wave.

I know I'm supposed to write something here, but I've got bupkis. Seriously, my head is emptier than a PETA booth at a Ted Nugent concert.

Hopefully I'll think of something before too long. Feel free to chat amongst yourselves.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Summertime in SoBro, Part VII...

This morning I needed some props for the gladiolas in the bed around the tree in the front yard, as they've started to bend double under the weight of their blooming flowers, so I saddled up the Broad Ripple SUV and headed out, while Roomie headed off for the Indy Hamfest.

My first stop was Good Morning Mama's for breakfast. I ordered the "Papa's" (delicious homemade corned beef hash and eggs) and a side of applewood-smoked bacon. After a leisurely breakfast spent enjoying yummy food and The Great War and Modern Memory, I hopped back on the bike and rode on down the way...

I arrived at the neighborhood garden shop shortly after 0900, but it still hadn't opened, so I turned the bike towards home (enjoying the use of the Monon Trail, since SB292 went into effect last week), but stopping at Locally Grown Gardens for a delicious Fentiman's Ginger Beer.

I wound up getting my garden stakes at $big_box_home_improvement_store, which made me sad. Maybe Habig Garden Center will put their hours on the internets soon...

Summertime in SoBro, Part VI...

Broad Ripple has plenty of exotic native wildlife.

For instance, we have lyin's...

...and we have jaguars...

You're in the Army now... only maybe not...

Prior to WWII, the peacetime US Army had about 175,000 men in uniform (by comparison, Wally World can field slightly over eight-and-a-half times that many troops...) so even if you wanted to quit your dead-end job selling pencils from a tin cup on a street corner and launch an exciting new career polishing shoes and cleaning rifles, they might not have had an immediate opening for you.

Fast forward to 2011 and the announcement of the latest unemployment numbers and... oh, hey! We're bringing the boys (and girls) back home!
The Army and Marine Corps are getting smaller, and now there's a nearly year-long waiting list just to get into boot camp, no matter which branch you want to join.
Now, I'm all in favor of a troop draw-down, but all those people getting out are going to be entering the highly-competitive selling-pencils-from-a-tin-cup market, and at the same time, there will be that many fewer positions for folks looking for three hots and a cot, a highly-marketable skill (like helicopter door gunner), and the GI Bill.

Friday, July 08, 2011

When CNN is more government than Government.

I flicked on the TV in Roomie's bedroom to a local network affiliate at T -9 Minutes. They still hadn't cut away from Ellen DeGeneres. So I flicked over to CNN.

I was hoping for a loving closeup of Atlantis while a voice-over recited cool facts about the Shuttle Program:
  • "The three main engines produce more CO2 than 127 Senate filibusters."
  • "One Solid Rocket Booster has a carbon footprint equivalent to the nation of Indonesia."
  • "The exhaust plume at liftoff is large enough to incinerate ten and a half federal office buildings."
Instead I got half a screen devoted to a distant shot of the Shuttle while the other half was devoted to the real stars of the show at CNN: Various media talking heads basking in their own importance, reminiscing about their memories of the Shuttle program and what it meant to them.

Cursing, I scuttled to the big screen in the living room and managed to get it tuned to NASA TV at about T -5:15, and was treated to the loving closeups I wanted and the quiet chatter of NASA's actual launch dialog. And as an added bonus, once Atlantis was too high to track from the ground, they cut over to the camera on the external tank. I watched until the main engines cut off and the explosive bolts fired...

Watching that ship float gracefully up off the tank and out of view in glorious living color on a big screen TV in dead silence was one of the coolest things I've ever seen on a television screen.

I blame TV.

"He knew something, but when they put him on the stand, he refused to answer any questions. He got off on a technicality."

"They found the body right there in his house, but his lawyer said they didn't have a warrant or probable cause or something. He got off on a technicality."

Folks, the Bill of Rights is not a "technicality". The very mechanisms that keep some hypothetical jackbooted thug from wandering through your front door and rifling through your unmentionables drawer whenever they get the urge are the same ones that mean occasionally somebody who is guilty as sin is going to walk. Like some game of Constitutional Jenga, every prop you knock out of the structure to make it easier to catch the guilty makes it that much more likely that the whole edifice will collapse right on top of you, (if it hasn't already.)

The price of the Bill of Rights is that people are going to say things you don't like. The price of the Bill of Rights means that sometimes people are going to get shot accidentally or on purpose. The price of the Bill of Rights is that sometimes the guilty are going to get away with murder.

The reason the police have to dot every "i" and cross every "t" when they rightly go after Mario Mafioso or Suzi Scumbag is so that they have to dot every "i" and cross every "t" when they wrongly come after you.

Every law you pass to make it easier to get the bad guys winds up being used against the good guys. Every one: RICO, The PATRIOT Act, all of them. If you hand the government a hammer, it's only a matter of time before they stop pounding nails and turn around and crack you in the head with it.

We ignore that at our peril.


Yes, I'll be watching the last launch of the Shuttle Program today. Don't come over all wookie-suit on me: I own autographed copy number 463 of Kings of the High Frontier; I know what a bureaucratically-crippled, politically-logrolled white elephant the whole Shuttle program was from the start...

...but I'll get a little choked up all the same.

If you're going to steal money from me at gunpoint, promise me you'll use it to do cool stuff like shake the ground with thunder and punch holes through the sky.

Such a very California way to die.

An 83-year-old Northern California woman has died after being hit by a skateboarder moving at 15 to 20 miles an hour, police said.
Now, the kid ditched his board in an attempt to not hit her, and, to his credit, he stayed with her instead of punking out and running off, but here's the part I don't get:
The teen has not been charged in the incident, but detectives are investigating, Capitola police Detective Marquis Booth told CNN.
Now, if I'd mowed her down with the Zed Drei, you'd better cool believe I'd have been charged with something, and I would have been lawfully using the street, on the way to an actual destination, not just arsing about on a kiddie toy made from a piece of wood and surplus rollerskate bits. She's just as dead as if Junior had bunted her into the Great Beyond with an irresponsibly-driven Camaro, which would have caused outrage, but an irresponsibly-ridden kiddie toy gets an "Aw shucks, it was an accident and boys will be boys"?

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Summertime in SoBro, Part V...

I was sitting on the front porch, watching the drizzling end of a summertime thundershower water the garden, when Roomie came home from work and burst through the front door:

RX: "The Scratch Truck's at 49th and College right now! Do you want to go?"

Me: "Uh, Okay?"

RX: "Ever had a 1/3rd-lb. burger with bacon marmalade and Gorgonzola, cooked to order?"

Me: "Let's go!"

So we went.

The Scratch Truck is an example of the modern upscale food truck. Everything is cooked to spec right there, the menu is limited and rotates from week to week, and the food is delicious. Seriously. One of the best burgers I've ever had. Plus, I was supporting classic entrepreneurship: Dude gets laid off from his regular gig, and starts an awesome new business.

While waiting for our food to be cooked, we wandered across the sidewalk and ogled the cool bike chained to the equally cool bike rack outside the Upland Brewing Co.'s tasting room:

Before you know it, we were called over and handed two boxes of delicious food to take home and devour. And it was good. You should try it if you get the chance.

Hardware and software...

Every now and again on internet gun forums, a thread on "Self-Defense Preparedness" comes up and posters launch into loving checklists of all the stuff they carry with them every day.

The gun, the backup gun, the backup backup gun, the knife, the other knife, the "impact device", the pepper spray, the holster, the belt, the multitool... Everything gets catalogued in excruciating detail by brand name and model number, down to the type and grain weight of bullets in the backup backup gun.

Marko used to read these threads and crack wise: "Imagine the clatter that guy's gonna make hitting the ground when some dude sneaks up behind him at the ATM and caps him in the back."

Not that there's anything wrong with hardware per se, but it's good to have some software upgrades, too. You know, so you have the correct drivers installed.

Well-known trainer "SouthNarc" is famed for his software upgrades. Here's an article-length .pdf of his "Managing Unknown Contacts" presentation, worth it alone for the section on "pre-assault cues". I definitely want to take a class from him, given the glowing recommendations he's received from Very Smart People...

50,000 people have made Mr. Tire Iron very sad...

...and there's only one way Mr. Tire Iron is going to get cheered up again.

I realize that millions of people have been filling the voids in their own lives by hanging on every nuance and plot twist of the Casey Anthony trial as though it had any real bearing on their day-to-day existence. And despite the fact that the American media and their viewing public gave a jeering thumbs-down to Ms. Anthony, the jurors stubbornly found her Not Guilty.

Denied their spectacle, the audience flew into a social media rage, piling up 50,000 signatures to pass a federal "Lost or Stolen Children Law".

Because, you know, that's what we really need: another federal felony. This seems like a good idea to somebody?

The level of outrage here is a little creepy to me, too. Do I think Ms. Anthony killed her daughter? Based on what little information on the case I've been unable to avoid, I'd say "Probably, yes," but you can't hang somebody for probably killing someone, and that's the way it should be.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The "I" in "ICD-10" doesn't stand for "Internet".

If your eyeballs are turning yellow, you need to be talking to your doctor, not Google.

You're welcome.

Rollin' the change...

I'm pretty ambivalent on the "dollar coins" issue. I generally don't carry a lot of small-denomination folding money with me, and so Ed's post resonated with me.

But, then again, I've waited tables, and have had a lot of friends who were bartenders and shoe models, so Weer'd's post did too.

Thinking it over, I reckon Elmo Iscariot has the answer here. Inflation has outrun our current denominations to the point that the penny is practically useless, the nickel not much less so, and the quarter carries about as much weight as a paper George Washington did when I was in high school (where I earned the princely sum of $3.15 an hour at Kroger's.) needs to suck it up and admit that our century-old currency model has finally been outpaced by inflation.

Seriously, I cashed in a 12oz. coffee can's worth of assorted change the other day; a weight of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters that outmassed any long gun I own; and the fifty-something bucks I got back wouldn't have covered dinner for two at a moderately swank restaurant, or bought two-and-a-half cases of name brand cola had they not been on sale...

Who didn't see that coming?

Apparently at an ABATE rally protesting motorcycle helmet laws, one of the participants had the rear tire of his bike hit a slippery patch of irony, pitching him over the high side and onto the front page, dead of head injuries that would have been prevented by wearing a helmet.

You can't make stuff like this up. Well, you could, but people would accuse you of being formulaic and unrealistic.

Personally, I'm pretty religious about wearing a helmet, and a full-face one at that, when I'm on a motorcycle. Just like I fasten the seatbelt on the car before backing out of the driveway, and feel weird just sitting in the car without being belted in, I won't ride around a parking lot without a motorcycle helmet.

I washed out the front tire one time on a rain-slick interstate at ~60mph, and the resulting get-off netted me a busted thumb, broken rib, and a cracked shoulder blade. The helmet I was wearing, which I still have, looks like somebody hit it a good lick with an angle grinder at the spot that would have been my left cheekbone had there not been polycarbonate in the way. That would have hurt, and it would have changed an accident that got me basically some bumps and bruises and a few days off work into skin graft city.

But I don't think not wearing a helmet should be against the law. People should have the freedom to create and manage their own risks. When the state gets too worried about my health, it makes me nervous. Why do they care if I get hurt or killed, anyway? Down that train of thought, everything starts to get pretty Matrix-y...

(And yes, despite being a seatbelt and motorcycle helmet user, I never wear a bike helmet. Like I said, we should have the freedom to create and manage our own risks...)

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

It can happen just like *that*.

How many of you carry a blowout kit in your range bag? I do.

How many have had formal training in how to use it? I haven't. I need to remedy that. I mean, I have some exceedingly rusty basic first aid training, but it would be nice to get some specifically related to treating gunshot wounds.

Why? This is why.

Did you see how fast that happened? But he kept his head, called 911, and even had himself patched up by the time the paramedics got there. That's impressive. I hope I never find myself in that position, but if I do, that's how I want to react.

She's kinda got a point...

Lauren Spierer, an attractive young white woman from Westchester County, New York, which is practically the center of the civilized world, went off to college in the howling wilderness of Bloomington, Indiana, where the natives, called "Hoosiers", barely speak English and aren't more than three generations down from the trees.

About a month ago she went missing from everyplace but my television screen, where she has remained non-stop as both local and national news showed constant footage of the dogs and helicopters and scuba divers and thousands of volunteers that turned out every day for weeks, leaving no Monroe County stone unturned. This morning, an unidentified body was found near Fall Creek in Indianapolis (which is where I'd go look if I wanted to find a dead body, myself; I'd imagine the pickin's are usually pretty good there,) and they practically broke into the non-stop coverage of the Casey Anthony trial to tell me all about it, because it might be her. Or it might not.

Meanwhile, Morgan Johnson is still missing. But he's not from Westchester County, and he's a dude. And black. So the reaction from the media and the community at large has generally been "Meh." No dogs and helicopters and thousands of volunteers and national news coverage for Morgan. His distraught mom has actually filed a complaint.

The whole thing's almost enough to make me agree with the Huffington Post.

UPDATE: The dead body in Fall Creek turned out to not be Lauren, but rather an unidentified African-American woman. The press, predictably, lost interest almost immediately. I don't know whether to laugh or cry...

Monday, July 04, 2011

Book Reports:

Read over the last couple of days:
  • If you liked Them, by Jon Ronson, (which is totally worth it for the description of sneaking into Bohemian Grove with Alex Jones) then you'll want to read his latest: The Psychopath Test, a look at crazy people and the crazymaking industry. You know, the one that has expanded the DSM from a thickish booklet in the fifties to the NYC-phone-book it is now, chock full of all the new ways to go nuts invented in the last fifty years.

  • I also read Matt Bracken's latest, Castigo Cay. And when I say "read", I mean straight through at one sitting. It's that kind of a page turner. Sort of OhJohnRingoNo's Ghost meets J. Neil Schulmann's Alongside Night. The pacing rockets along like a blacked out 38' Cigarette boat headed for the Florida coast at 3 AM. I read it until I couldn't stay awake any longer, and then woke up and finished it before sunrise.

Slow start...

Happy Independence Day to all of you people inside my computer!

Just got back from Locally Grown Gardens with a couple of bottles of Fentiman's Dandelion & Burdock soda, one of which I am sipping now. I also purchased a dozen eggs laid by local free-range chickens that get weekly aromatherapy sessions and shiatsu massage treatments. I feel very Broad Riparian.

We're going to fry some up along with a bunch of bacon, which will make me feel very American, perhaps American enough to head over to the local fireworks stand and see what they've got in stock...

EDIT: I have no idea what they feed those chickens, but these eggs are delicious!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Overheard in the Office:

Me: "'Hey, yutz! Guns aren't toys! They're for self-protection, killing dangerous or tasty animals, and keeping the King of England out of your face!'"

RX: "And you wouldn't want the King of England up in your face!"

Me: "Especially not King Charles."

RX: "Eeww! With that dangly thing!"

Me: "That's his chin, Bobbi."

Summertime in SoBro, Part IV...

If this street scene doesn't give you that proper SoBro flavor, nothing will:

From left to right across the street is an aromatherapy joint, Salon Rue 52, and Indie Bike (purveyors of naught but cycling apparel.) To the right, out of the picture, is LUNA music, an independent record shop ("Proudly Serving Indy's Hipster Community Since 1994!") On this side of the street is Garuda Indonesian restaurant, which was yesterday's lunchtime goal.

It's a fairly new joint, and Bobbi had heard good things about it from a coworker, so we went to check it out. I had a tofu spring roll appetizer and the beef rendang, and left stuffed, without even finishing my noodles. You are not shortchanged on the portions, and the food is delicious. The service is prompt and courteous. You should eat there.

After lunch, we ran an errand to $big_box_home_improvement_store, where Bobbi was picking up some stuff to patch missing mortar in the basement's block walls. She was grabbing a trowel and tubes and bags of this'n'that. "Should we get a grout bag?" I asked.

"I don't know, I think the trowel would do..."

"Hey, I've no clue; I've never repaired masonry." I replied, "Maybe we could ask one of the dudes that works here about grout bags."

She looked doubtful, and said "I'd rather ask the internet."

At which point I whipped the ever-handier Portable Magic Elf Box out of my pocket and spoke into it: "repairing masonry using a grout bag." Shazam! We went ahead and bought one, since it was only five bucks.

Walking down another aisle, Bobbi's... er, t-shirt drew the intense concentration of one of the employees, who then noticed "Hey, there's a rifle on your shirt! And a knife in your pocket! And one on your belt!"

"Actually, that's a Leatherman tool on my belt," replied Bobbi, momentarily nonplussed.

"Did you hear what they just did in Ohio? You can carry guns into sporting events there now. And bars!"

"Uh, you can carry guns in bars in Indiana, too."

He looked like he didn't think that was a very good idea. "Really? When did..." It was at that point that I had to bite my lip to keep from saying "You know where else you can carry guns in Indiana? $big_box_home_improvement_store." But I didn't want to have to title this post "We Was Banished From The Woolworths". Besides, I thought it was pretty funny that I was having this conversation while wearing an INGO hat.

And then we finished our shopping and went home, and everybody lived happily ever after. So far.