Monday, April 30, 2012

Tab Clearing...

QotD: Gentlemen's Blood Edition

From Roger, The Real King Of France:
I will argue that this toxic atmosphere was far better than the "comity" we now suffer. No law passed without a fight is far preferable to the nanny state. If the Bladensburg dueling grounds were still active, a whole generation would today have no clue about the names Pat Leahy, Ted Kennedy, or Chuck Schumer.
Perhaps we could get legislation through exempting elected officials from the laws against dueling?

Oceania still at war with Eastasia.

Despite the end of the "War on Terror", I still have friends in Afghanistan, I still got Porn-O-Scanned at the airport, and little kids still get scared by the monsters in Scooby Doo reruns.

Leon Panetta (who, in some kind of bizarre game of political checkers, inexplicably wound up as my Secretary of Defense,) came out the other day and admitted that there was "no kind of silver bullet" available to expunge a noun from the language, but if we just kept giving them billions of dollars and a few more of our civil liberties, they'd try real hard to eradicate it, at least by right after the next elections.

Just wait! Vote for us! We'll fix it!

Eyes without a face.

Those Guy Fawkes masks are so last decade. The new hotness? Dazzle camouflage for your mug.
Called CV Dazzle (short for "computer vision dazzle;" more on the name later), Harvey's project is a provocative and largely theoretical response to the rise of surveillance cameras on street corners and face-detecting technology that's been incorporated into social networking sites like Facebook and Flickr.
There are cameras everywhere now, and more and more of them are connected to the intertubes, and when you combine that with the fact that digital storage media has become so cheap, it will eventually be likely, (and sooner than we think), that there will be a central biography of your life, based on cameras, GPS readings, credit card transactions, recordings of phone calls, tracking of your vehicle, et cetera, all on your very own personal DHS hard drive.

Spoof it wherever you can.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I'm mysteriously going to start talking like this.

A massive European satellite the size of a school bus that has mysteriously stopped communicating with Earth has been spotted by another satellite in orbit.
"Mysteriously stopped communicating with Earth"? Oh, you mean it broke. I'll note that the satellite was from the ESA, so the first thing I'd do is check the list of subcontractors for the usual suspects, such as Lucas, Renault, or Fiat.

This must be one of those things related to price tags: A Kia Rio is broken down on the side of the road, while a Mercedes SL500 has "mysteriously stopped running." My desktop computer gets a broken power supply, but a Cray XK6 "mysteriously fails to power up." Your Taurus Millennium is a piece of junk, and my Kimber Pro Raptor II is experiencing "mysterious failures to feed."

(H/T to Unwanted Blog.)

You want the cute? You can't handle the cute!

Puppies generally tend towards cuteness, but Marko wasn't kidding when he said that Henry was pretty cute even for a puppy.

There's a step up to the hallway at the back of the house that is dachsie territory, and said step has about a ten-inch riser, which is to say 'over a dachshund's head.' Guinevere, Henry's grandmother, is slowing down a bit and tends to take it with a hop and a bit of scrabble, while her three children clear it on the run like cruise missiles in terrain-following mode.

Henry, on the other hand, will try to emulate his mother and uncles by charging headlong at it, only to wind up chinning himself on the step two or three times as though he were trying to catch Bob Saget's attention. I will try to capture this on video. If I do, you will say "Awwwww," because you won't be able to help it.

Saturday, April 28, 2012 Childhood illusions crushed while you wait!

Unc is engaged in the process of home wine-making, strictly for domestic consumption and which will in no way ever enter the stream of interstate commerce, except in a vague Filburn-ish sense. His daughter notes that he could make money, were he to sell some of it. He tells her that the .gov has declared that to be illegal.

The money quote?
At seven, she then says So, you can’t just make stuff and sell it? I said to her that if you did, you’d be breaking the law. After a few seconds, she says that’s stupid.
Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings...

"This Public Safety Director's from New York City!"

Indianapolis's Public Safety Director, Frank Straub, imported from New York with promises to clean up Indy's streets and take a new broom to the IMPD, apparently forgot to bring his bristles and is being sent packing.

It's definitely for the best. A guy who believes in the dangers of firearms in the hands of people who don't have badges and shiny low-quarters to go with them just wasn't going to be a good fit in the land of the $100 lifetime carry permit and stiff state-level preemption laws. I guess when the only play in your playbook is "get the guns off the street", maybe you weren't such a lucky draft pick after all.

There was a jingle, too...

I dreamed I met my roomie at an indoor range to do some shooting. It was the only indoor range I've been to with a dirt floor.

I'd forgotten to bring any .22, so I went to the counter to buy some. They were out of all CCI except for shotshells and CB Longs and Green Tag and suchlike, and completely out of Winchester and Federal. I bought the last carton of Remington Yellowjacket, leaving a couple forlorn cartons of unplated Remmie deuce-deuce as the only cheap ammo they had. The guy behind me in line was peeved.

Anyhow, in Dreamlandia, we were about to be invaded by $RANDOM_DREAM_FOREIGN_ARMY_WITH_ACCENTS and the government was trying to urge citizens to form themselves into armed neighborhood militias and resist even if the army got overpowered.

The catchy name for these that they came up with was "Zombie Squads", which I'll bet even Hussein himself would agree sounds a lot cooler than "Saddam Fedayeen". There was even a Public Service Announcement with a catchy jingle extolling the virtues of joining your neighborhood Zombie Squad. Now I have an earworm from a song that doesn't exist outside my head...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Overheard at Castle Frostbite:

Quinn: "It's snowing!"

Marko: "It really is?!?"

Tam: "Oh my god, it's snowing. Wait 'til I tell the internet!"

Marko: "I'm not joking when I call this place Upper Cryogenica."

The impossibility of parody.

Two years ago, Brian J. Noggle joked about starting an Urban Chicken Rescue Organization, to take care of the little egg factories that had been purchased by well-meaning yuppies who discovered that anything much more maintenance-intensive than a Pug or a Prius didn't fit well with their lifestyle, no matter how many eggs it laid.

Today, the difficulty of parody in this modern world has yet again been illustrated, as Poe's Law comes to Portland.

My guy triangulates. Yours is a weathervane.

The last time I came out to New Hamster was in 2010, and the timing of the trip caused me to have to go down to the City-County Building and vote early, since I would be on the road on election day. This time around I had to go down and vote early because I would not be in town for the Hoosier primaries.

Having almost single-handedly successfully thwarted Santorum's appearance on the ballot in IN by being one of the eight petition signatures he failed to receive, I proceeded to nobly throw my vote away by ticking the box next to Doctor Wookie himself. I also voted for what's his face... that Not Dick Lugar guy.

Downticket I stuck with what research I had done, avoiding people who were incumbents or who thought the greatest perils facing our nation right now had more to do with the gays and the 'bortion than with the fact that we are flat frickin' broke and spending ourselves into oblivion on stuff that would make Thomas Jefferson choke the living $#!+ out of us, were he only alive and possessing 600,000,000 hands.

Granted, this will have about as much effect on the process as bailing the Titanic with a teaspoon, but, like the Sudoku puzzle in your in-flight magazine, it's something to do while you auger in.

Meanwhile, at the national level, it appears that someone turned Mitt upside down and gave him a couple vigorous shakes, exactly as predicted:
For Republicans and certain presidential nominee Mitt Romney, the best defense appears to be a good offense on issues and themes being pushed by President Barack Obama and Democrats.
In recent days, Romney has come out in favor of steps also advocated by Democrats to hold down interest rates for federal student loans and renew the Violence Against Women Act.
This is my shocked face.

Status update...

Impolitely glancing over shoulders at the airport yesterday, I gleaned that all the cool kids nowadays will snap a picture for a check-in status update of "zomg totally at the airport" in 140 characters or less, while only a complete nerd would actually sit down, break out a keyboard and hash out "1) Here we are at Reagan National, spending a two-hour layover in the midst of the seething mob of aberrant humanity that is Concourse B..." Complete sentences: a dying art.

I will say that, as far as any airport could be said to be "nice", Manchester airport is. I was greeted by Marko & Munchkins, bribed the kids with a dinosaur book and plush baby seal that wags its tail (tiny plush tee ball bat not included) because I know how to buy friends, and then we boarded the minivan and drove past the end of my cell phone coverage and off the edge of the map to Castle Frostbite.

I almost don't have the heart to click on and find out what's happening out there that needs mocking, but that's my job, so...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Longest Day

1) Here we are at Reagan National, spending a two-hour layover in the midst of the seething mob of aberrant humanity that is Concourse B, while our luggage exists only as a cloud of probabilities, which will not collapse into one state or another until I actually lay eyes on the baggage carousel in Manchester.

2) I will note that the multi-terabyte Flash-heavy entry portals for these airport Wi-Fi networks were not designed with a netbook with rather less proccessing power than a Suunto watch running Eebuntu in mind. On the upside, I didn't have to watch the ghey mandatory commercial video at IND because no Flash.

3) Remember when Washington DC was such a backwater that it was practically a hardship posting?  Now it's replacing NYC and LA as the center of the nation's fiscal gravity field. The guy the place is named after would be positively ill. Short final at Reagan is a pretty sight, though...

4) What does it say about the state of the nation that I was moderately surprised to find that some humorless functionary hadn't appended my name to the no-fly list for no better reason than my constant harping on the fact that the TSA is a worthless sack of bastards who accomplish no function other than turning millions of taxpayer dollars into annoyance and frustration?

Bored KindleBlogging

Arriving at the airport early for an 0930ish departure will make you REALLY early for an 1115 departure.
The old Blogger interface's WYSIWYG post window was incompatible with the Kindle Fire's browser. The new interface carries on that proud tradition.

Not my day...

Proof that the universe hates my guts:

I arrive at the Indy airport to find that the puddlejumper to Cleveland has been canked. United sends me to US Airways, for a flight connecting through DC.

Except US Airways can't find the reservation.

After it gets ironed out, I go through the Porn-O-Scan, and cool my heels for ten minutes while they decide if they want to mess with my Glock or not. (Glock: The disposable pistol for travelers! If you wind up diverted to NYC you can just say "Screw it" and ditch the heater without regrets.)

I get to the concourse and note that my phone is down to about 30%  charge and the charger is in my checked baggage.

Boot up the Eee and discover that IND has managed to ghey up their wi-fi access since 2010, adding all kinds of mandatory ads and crap.

Further, the New! Improved! Blogger interface is no longer compatible with the Eeebuntu version of Firefox I'm using. It wanted me to download Chrome, but Chrome wouldn't install.

So I'm typing this on a screen layout that looks like a Dadaist version of a web form, and now I'm just going to start clicking the cursor randomly around the screen and hope one of these pixels is hiding the "Publish" butto

QotD: Chariots of the Gods Edition

Seen in a list at Adaptive Curmudgeon's place:
38. The world will not end. It’s a calendar carved on a rock by people who didn’t have enough technology to make an electric toaster…get real.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

You keep using that word...

Here's an interesting sociology project!

The following paragraphs were fished from the spam filter here at VFTP Command Central by our elite team of sewer commandos. They obviously originated in China, and I am betting that they were carefully written in Chinese with the aid of some translation software. "Self-Reliance Day" is obviously meant to be "Independence Day", now referred to amongst the vulgarians as "The Fourth of July". (It's okay, the paragraphs have been carefully stripped of links to black-market viagra, internet porn, and Christian Louboutin knockoff shops by our highly-trained link strippers, all former fugu chefs; you can touch them now.)
Traditionally, Self-reliance Day time is frequently related to parades, bbqs, fireworks, carnivals, festivals, a picnic, concerts, baseball games, politics events, community speeches and private gatherings. Today, most Americans continue to honor the custom and commemorate the respects of our Promise of Self-reliance. But will it be nice to bring the zest into the special event of our country's independence?

Outlined below are great tips and listing of homemade presents to commemorate the birth of freedom of the United States of America.

Wear a loyal home made shirt showing the flag of the usa, the Stars and Stripes style. You might create your own shirt using fresh paint or use emulsion paints for a better look. If you don't have much time, there are a lot of shops that offer imprinted t shirts. You could make one for yourself and provide some to your family and friends.

While wearing your customized loyal shirt, go to historic places and monuments. Especially locations that creates an ambiance of freedom and historic pasts. Honor ancient monuments of great People in america who fought, die and lived with an recognition of doing some thing ideal for our nation.

If cooking food and baking is the expertise, why not produce freedom goodies for everyone. Produce Stars and Stripes cookies, sweets with the United states banner, design desserts subsequent Granddad Sam's cap or portrait and thousand other kinds. Request your friends and family to commemorate your day of independence in your yard and barbeque grill some hamburgers, pork, meats, American sausages, marshmallows, surf flags, sing patriotic song and turn on some shines.

Produce homemade medals, records or rock monuments and keep people who you believed created an impact to enhance the lives of Americans. Fashion a brief speech using what they do and give them the name InchExcellent AmericanInch. I highly recommend this if you have friends or if someone in the family is on Navy blue or if there is a battle veteran. Awards can be given to public slave or someone who required the name of America in success.

Fireworks are also part of the Self-reliance Day time celebration. If you're good at it, create a pyromusical fireworks show for the entire community to see. Use excellent loyal songs as the music activity. Of if you are not too good at it, buy sparklers and enjoy lights all of them with friends and family. You may even produce battery operated sparkless shines with star style for the children.

Create hairpieces or costumes from the revolutionary time period and also have a outfit celebration. Produce a perform and amuse everybody. Be a musician and function people with drinks and food popular in those days.

This day we don't just celebrate our Self-reliance but we also celebrate the lives of people that died battling for what we're encountering now. They fought with fervor and honor. So, we should benefit from the freedom they had provided and celebrate this Fourth of July with a blast.
There is obviously a very different cultural mindset at work here, if you take your time to pick through all the implications contained therein.

Overheard in Roomie's Bedroom:

The TeeWee has come on with the morning news...
Me: "Did you hear that? Somebody kidnapped a four-year-old out of a St. Louis hospital, and he was next on the list for a heart transplant. Part of the BOLO was that he was wearing a drug-injecting medical backpack with only 24 hours worth of heart dope in it. What kind of monster..?"
RX: "A pervert."
Me: "Or a congressman."
As it turns out, it was the far more common and prosaic non-custodial parent sort of thing. Classy! Folks, can y'all at least wait 'til the kid gets his new ticker installed before you pick him up by the ankles and try to beat each other over the head with him? Thanks, that'd be great.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tab Clearing...

Overheard in the Hallway:

Me: "Man, E.B. Misfit is still going on about Bush & Cheney. I thought the human rights violations going on right now were happening under a new Commander-in-Chief?"
RX: "Yeah, but he didn't start them. That was Bush. And you can't just stop! I mean, if you just stopped raping babies, then the whole baby-raping industry would collapse!"

(Incidentally, 450 million rounds. Any real threats out there probably laugh when good guys get distracted by BS...)

...and then you wake up in a bathtub full of ice...

I sometimes jokingly refer to my local gun store as "Death Camp Guns & Gear" because it's practically across the street from the Amtrak repair yard in Beech Grove that the Reynold's Wrap yarmulke crowd insist is a secret FEMA extermination camp, based on a video that went viral amongst the conspiranoiacs on the internet years ago.

No matter how many times this rumor gets proven to be the ludicrous pack of nonsense that it is, it keeps popping up like mushrooms in a cow pasture, and fertilized by much the same stuff.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Only someone who is barely multi-celled and dumber than Jell-o could look at all the evidence and still believe that it is a secret FEMA death camp.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The war of all against all...

Weaponizing the office...

Overheard in the Hallway:

Me: "The reason I'm more worried about tornadoes than FEMA death camps is because the government can't afford to pay the union labor to build the death camps."
RX: "It's a sad day when a government is too broke to exterminate its own people."
It's a good thing the government can't use illegals; they'd build death camps for cheap, but they might not be code-compliant.

Tab Clearing...

The heart of the matter...

So, two hot-button topics that are sure to get a rise out of a wookie-suiter like me are torture and internal passport checks... er, I mean, "enhanced interrogation techniques" and "intermodal antiterrorist checkpoints". As Joel sums it up:
But I grew up indoctrinated with the notion that there are two main "tells" for a police state - the bad guys. One is torture: The good guys never torture people. America, of course, crossed that river several years ago.

The other is internal checkpoints. "Your papers, please" is a sign that you're living under SecPol, and no longer in the Land of the Free. The bad guys do that, the good guys would never dream of it.
Yup. Watch any of the old war movies or spy shows that were weekend UHF (ask your parents, kids) rerun staples when I was growing up, and you can tell when the good guys are behind enemy lines and in deep dookie when you hear one of two phrases: "Your papers, please," or "Ve haff vays of making you talk."

Unfortunately, it seems that America, a land where you could walk down the street without worrying about ever hearing those two phrases (unless you were guilty of certain heinous crimes like being swarthy in public) is as quaint a historical relic as those Saturday UHF reruns.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Joe Versus Mad Anthony's Bones.

So I'm reading the Wikipedia article on the movie Joe Versus the Volcano, which I have always loved, and noticed that there was a link to "flibbertigibbet", a word introduced to my vocabulary by the movie.

Apparently, in addition to being ye olde slange terme for "scatterbrained chatterbox", Flibbertigibbet was also a character in one of the local legends surrounding Wayland's Smithy, a barrow tomb in England, where some of the remains show signs of excarnation before interment.

What is excarnation, you ask? Why, the removal of the flesh from the bones so that only the skeleton is buried.

While this sounds like something that only heathen savages would do, General Mad Anthony Wayne, for whom a tenth of everything in Indiana is named, expired on the road home from Detroit. He was buried in Erie, Pennsylvania, but his remains were dug up and boiled down to the bones which were carried in saddlebags along what is now US 322 in Pennsylvania to the family plot on the other end of the state.

Apparently the General's ghost wanders the verge of the highway on his birthday, January 1, looking for stray skeleton bits that may have bounced loose when the horse hit a pothole.

The standard response on the internet...

...when faced with a total case of writer's block is to say "Look! A cute cat video!"

The thing with Huck is that, being a cat, he doesn't associate being asked to do something with getting a reward for obedience; he just realizes that when he flips on his back, a snack is produced, so any time you're in the kitchen and he's feeling peckish, you'll hear the basement door start thumping against its jamb as Huck is intently somersaulting away, looking up at you expectantly between reps, wondering why you aren't breaking out the treat bag.

Video courtesy of my roomie.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A day in the life...

This morning I met commenter Global Village Idiot at Iggle Crick so that one of his squaddies could get some time cramming for marksmanship quals with my M&P15-22. His daughter was along for the ride and had a blast with the deuce-deuce M&P carbine and my Mk III 22/45. What can I say? I'm an enabler...

Then I met Brigid and PA State Cop for a sort of micro-blogmeet lunch out on the west side at Claddagh Pub in Plainfield. As a result, I horse-traded into the first Glock I've owned since 2004.

Got home, puttered around the house, and read a few more chapters in Voodoo Histories.

And now I am going to give in to the pillow's siren song...

3000 Miles to Roseholme

Driving down to Knoxville, I went via Nashville. Despite being almost exactly a hundred miles longer, it had the important advantage of the highway being intact the whole way there, a feature not shared by I-75 South.

I had planned on coming home via I-75, but Shannon showed up in the gunsmithing shack yesterday morning with a cheery "You're boned. Someone flipped his eighteen-wheeler across the median of I-75 just south of Mt. Vernon, Kentucky. The whole interstate's closed 'til at least noon." so it was back through Memphis again.

Somewhere around Crossville, I overtook Wesley Strader, apparently a professional stalker of the wild bass. Perhaps Walmart could use some of their sponsorship dollars to send him to a fancy driving school, where they teach things like "When a car is overtaking on the left, that's not your cue to speed up and keep them from getting back in the right lane." I will say that from Crossville all the way to the eastern outskirts of Nashville, Wesley was a dedicated, albeit frequent, user of his turn signals.

It had been a while... late '07? ...since I'd been on the Nashville-Knoxville stretch of I-40. I note that the giant U.S. flag that flew on the hilltop on the north side of the highway around mile marker 299 has been replaced with an equally huge, auto dealership-sized, Third National. at some point between then and now. Someone's not feeling as patriotic as they used to, apparently.

Cops were, like usual, few and far between, unlike my recent experience on I-40 in west Tennessee. On the eastbound trip I saw one pair of county mounties in Crown Vics parked in a conspicuous location on the median, probably shooting the breeze. I prefer this form of highly visible display to skulking in the bushes with a laser. I doubt they were paying much attention to passing traffic, but if your front bumper had given a big ol' mens rea nosedive, it might have caught their eye. I rolled past with the cruise control set at 69.5 kias, (78 mph ground speed according to the GPS.)

On the return leg, there was one Black and Tan with a guy pulled over up on the plateau. That's comes to one po-po sighting per hundred-'n'-fifty miles of interstate. Not much for 'em to do in the ticket-writing department, anyway; it was pretty tranquilo out there.

My clever plan to avoid the flipped semi in the median was foiled by an idiot who flipped his pickup and camper trailer into the median about fifty miles south of Louisville. I got there early enough that the back-up was only about a mile-and-a-half of clutch-melting stop 'n' go. I can only imagine how bad it got after I squeezed past.
I chewed my steering wheel in half as all the minutes I'd carefully whittled off the "ETA" on my GPS came ticking back, one at a time, like Chinese water torture, while I sat and fumed, immobilized in traffic.

Eventually, I got past and proceeded to make up for lost time, only to hit Indy in time for Friday rush hour. Joy.

I am so glad to be home.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Can I see your license for that keyboard?

Arizona reporter Kellie Mejdrich writes that she obtained an Arizona CCW permit over her lunch break and it only cost her a c-note, despite the fact that she had never handled a firearm before in her life. (I should point out that she's saying this as though it's a bad thing.)

She points out that now she'll "be able to carry that concealed weapon into restaurants that serve alcohol, most national and city parks, near schools — and 36 other states that recognize [her] permit."

I will point out that the keyboard on which she's exercising her First Amendment rights, which is practically identical to the one used to write The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Mein Kampf, is legal in all fifty states and she didn't have to show any license (or proof of the ability to think clearly) before setting down at it and letting fly in public.

What media bias?

Here's a guy who injured himself with his Remington Model 11-48. The forensics lab that tested it said it would discharge when dropped on the butt with the safety on or off. They also measured the trigger pull at ~39 ounces, which is awfully light for a factory trigger; so light, in fact, that I'm going to go out on a limb and say that that was not the factory trigger pull weight and that somebody had gone to "lighten it up" with an Arkansas stone.

Speaking to gun safety in general, there's a reason that hunter safety courses since the days of yore have cautioned against things like climbing up to the deer stand with a loaded weapon: A lot of mechanical safeties are fairly recent inventions. S&W revolvers didn't get hammer blocks until WWII. Colt 1911s didn't have firing pin safeties until the Series 80.

Complaining that a 1920s firearm may not have been drop safe when you were actively ignoring two or more of the Four Rules of firearm safety is like complaining that you drove your Ford Model A head-on into a brick wall and the airbags didn't deploy.

Paw-paw's treasured heirloom shotgun may have been built before the first product liability lawyers slithered onto dry land and, as a consequence, might not be as insensitive to rough handling as GI hardware or newer commercial firearms. Remember that the most important piece of safety gear is the trigger nut, and it should always be torqued to proper specifications.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

...and, like clockwork:

Oh, CNN, we can always count on you for the stupid!

Seriously, have you people looked at the sales numbers of First-Person Shooters? If these things turned people into killers, you would need hip waders to keep the hemoglobin out of your hightops while perambulating the streets of America .

Plus, this meme is tired. Really, really tired. So tired it's narcoleptic.

Relax, you kooky squares; the kids are alright.

Brace for the stupid, gamers.

The headline article at reads
Anders Behring Breivik, who admits killing 77 people in Norway last summer, used a video game as training for his shooting spree, he testified Thursday at his trial for homicide and terrorism.

He played the game "Modern Warfare 2" for practice, he said.

Breivik, who boasts of being an ultranationalist who killed his victims to fight multiculturalism in Norway, also went through a period of playing the game "World of Warcraft" up to 16 hours a day, he testified.

World of Warcraft? Seriously? I mean, he certainly generated plenty of aggro, but there was a distinct lack of fireball-casting going on, so maybe that portion of his alleged digital boot camp didn't quite pay off.

A very Epicurean sort of day.

A trip to McKay's and lunch at Calhoun's yesterday with friend staghounds. Always a pleasure; a couple hours browsing the stacks, yummy BBQ, and conversation that leaves my brain feeling all stretched out and relaxed, like it's been doing T'ai chi.

Dinner last night at Brazeiros or, as Gunsmith Bob calls it, "The Meatening". It's like a movie title: Highlander VII: The Meatening. I can see Sean Connery and Clancy Brown dueling atop some ruined tower in a thunderstorm with big skewers of picanha, pausing only to bite off chunks of delicious sea-salt-crusted top sirloin. I know better than to be decoyed by the salad bar and sides: The objective at a churrascaria is to pack yourself with enough rare beef that you have to be rolled to the car.

Sexism isn't cute, even with floral trim.

Writes one Kiri Blakely:
As the prostitute scandal continues to rock the Secret Service, one thought has been running around my brain like a mouthy schoolgirl: Why aren't there more (or any?!) female Secret Service agents? The reason there should be more is simple: Women don’t get into trouble the way men do.
Well, Ms. Blakeley, as it happens, there are female Secret Service agents, and have been for decades. Considering that there were women on Reagan's detail, it's probably safe to say that there have been women guarding the president longer than you've been alive. A woman was named deputy director of the agency in 2004, during the administration of that horrible macho cowboy, George W. Bush.

But it's your assertion that screwing up on the job is somehow a uniquely male trait that leaves me agog. Did you think before you typed that? Of course you didn't. Apparently you live in such a bubble that you couldn't even imagine who'd find such a statement objectionable.

Please, stay off my side.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Jan folds.

Arizona's Republican Governor Jan Brewer, who dismayed Democrats by never meeting a gun law she didn't like, finally met a gun law she didn't like.

She vetoed a measure that would have allowed Arizonans to pack their heaters in publicly-owned buildings, such as city halls and libraries, on the grounds that the only way the bill allowed these buildings to remain posted as no-toting-zones was to install metal detectors and secure lockers so that legally-armed patrons would have a safe place to park their gat while they went in to check out their books. (Because handling loaded guns for safety in the lobby is always a good idea!)

Portland Tea Party.

Apparently only TSA screeners are allowed to look at nekkid folks at the airport, because when an Oregon man attempted to give the entire crowd waiting in line the same view that the blue-gloved security minions had in the Porn-O-Scan booth, he got arrested for disorderly conduct and indecent exposure, rather than being given an award for being a patriotic citizen who was just trying to prove that he wasn't carrying anything on board except a few extra pounds and a Not-Gonna-Take-It-Anymore attitude.

Mr. Bare It All For Safety, we salute you with today's Real Men Of Genius award.

On the road again... very briefly.

Yesterday I pulled off the Interstate in Bowling Green, KY, grabbed a burger at the Hardee's drive-thru, filled the tank at the gas station across the street, and then wolfed down the burger in the driver's seat of my effete little German rollerskate with its tiny, ridiculous watch-winder of a "motor", parked almost right under this sign:

That's right, my bitty car, all six of whose cylinders displace less than one bank of a proper small-block V-8, was parked at the corner of Corvette Drive and Duntov Way, right across the street from the throbbing epicenter of American horsepower: the Corvette Assembly Plant. I slunk back onto the highway before the Zed Drei was crushed under a falling lug nut.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

No, really?

Just in case you were deaf, illiterate, and in a coma for the last couple of months, a Chicago lawyer and a Minneapolis law prof writing for CNN would like you to know that the "Trayvon Martin case [is] also about guns."

Gosh, thanks, guys. I'm not sure I would have picked up on that from the hundred thousand other media talking heads trying to tell me the same thing.

EDIT: In comments, Sean points out that the gun stuff is just collateral damage; the actual target looks to be ALEC, a conservative lobbying organization.

Do want.

So I'm over at Days of our Trailers, reading the NRA Convention recap, and he mentions an ATI StG-44 copy in .22LR. How had I missed this?

Now, I've been pretty good about divesting myself of everything other than working guns and the investment stuff in my collection, and this manifestly falls into neither category, but I have a completely irrational wantsies for it. And I mean badly. I couldn't want it any harder unless it had a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Our long dark night is over.

'Nukyular'; it's pronounced 'nukyular'.

I wonder if he can see the Falklands from his front porch in Hyde Park?

Wanna bet?

So, when I mentioned that I had re-read Tom Kratman's novel, Caliphate, the other day, a couple of people asked what I thought of it.

I find it an enjoyable read. I mean, it's an SF/Mil/Espionage thriller, not Tolstoy; you're in it for the pew!pew!pew!, not the transcendental insights. It's probably the most polished and tightly-written Kratman novel I've read thus far (I have not read his A Desert Called Peace series or his latter two collaborations with OhJohnRingoNo,) but it's unlikely to transcend the genre-fiction ghetto and become assigned reading in your college lit class, unlike a certain novel by Famous Science Fiction Writer Margaret Atwood*.

I will note, however, that the story, which takes place in a dystopian future, mostly in a Europe under sharia law, has been decried as exaggerated, far-fetched, ham-handed, and demeaning to Muslims. Would anyone care to bet the amount of overlap of those critics on a Venn diagram with people who found The Handmaid's Tale to be prophetic, direly accurate, "a powerful, frightening warning - a must read"? Yeah, thought not.
*In case you didn't get the joke, Atwood used to about stroke out when described as a "science fiction writer". Apparently she doesn't anymore, but one can hope.

The needle on the record of history keeps skipping.

Chris Ex Machina offers thoughts on Argentina's renewed bluster on the Islas Malvinas Falkland Islands.

The Argentines have probably noticed that the Brits no longer have the long-range Vulcan bombers that hit the islands in the Black Buck raids or the Victor tankers that refueled them on the way. Similarly, all but one of the HMS Invincible-class STOVL carriers in the Royal Navy have been mothballed or scrapped, and the remaining one has been de-clawed, since the Fleet Air Arm is utterly bereft of the stars of what may soon be referred to as the "First Falklands War", Sea Harriers.

To put it bluntly, the British no longer have the ability to project power across a hostile shore over transoceanic distances.

And does anybody think that Obama would back Cameron over the issue the way Reagan did Thatcher? Yeah, me neither. As a matter of fact, a shooting war on British soil, (even if it is British colonial soil,) to which the US responds tepidly to its treaty obligations would make NATO look pretty toothless.

Thank you, one and all...

...even you, little Lithuanian SpamBot!

At some point this morning while I wasn't paying attention, the odometer here at VFTP rolled over the 5 million visitor mark.

Thank you one and all for stopping by and reading this stuff. I hope you laugh as much reading it as I do writing it. :)

Historic Firsts.

Scandal erupts as, for the first time in history, the United States Secret Service's Presidential security detail is busted procuring hookers for themselves.

"Uh, Blue Three, this is Blue Six. Bareback requests two blondes and a redhead. Uh, and pick up some more Nembutol for Pixie while you're out."

Lost me.

Indiana RINO Senator-for-Life Dick Lugar is going all out with the attack ads against Richard Mourdock in the primary. This guy's got an ad budget the size of the Big Three automakers', Budweiser's, and PepsiCo's combined, and so my ears are full of the steady drone of all the muck getting raked.

It's not working.

The attacks are weaksauce: His attendance was spotty! (Good! This country could use more gone-fishin' and less governin'!) He claimed too many deductions on his taxes a couple times! (Sounds like a patriotic American to me.) His investments as state treasurer lost the state pension fund $7 million! (I don't know if you've been keeping up with current events, pal, but everybody's 401k took it in the shorts a couple years ago. It's part of the reason you're about to be out of a job, sport.)

Look, you can run ads claiming he was spotted buggering dead boys at high noon down on Monument Circle, and I wouldn't care. You don't seem to grasp that Richard Mourdock possesses what is, in my opinion, the single most important qualification for Senator from Indiana: Not Being Richard Green Lugar. You're fired, Dick; hit the showers.

At this point I would vote for the mouldering corpse of Saddam Hussein over Lugar; heaven knows that he comes about as close to meeting the residency requirements.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Overheard in the Office:

RX: "Who scrubs the toilets in Galt's Gulch?"

Me: "I dunno, I guess you scrub your own toilet. Or pay somebody to do it for you."

RX: "You mean there wasn't a genius toilet scrubber who turned his back on the world?"

Me: "That's going on the internets."

Tab Clearing...

  • A very insightful and much-needed reminder that everyone is not Just Exactly Like Me. That's part of the reason I make myself watch one or two MSNBC talk shows on weekend mornings as well as reading web stuff from SoCons and foreign policy hawks.

  • The downside of being a firearms hobbyist is that firearms are a very mature technology. Real, honest novelty is a rare thing in this business. I've seen only a handful of truly novel guns in the last thirty years. It can be argued that, other than advances in materials and manufacturing techniques, there has been nothing new under the metallic cartridge sun since the '30s.

  • Perhaps the driest bit of humor I've seen all month. A line so dry that I didn't melt into laughter, I sublimated.

Because we're scaredy cats, that's why.

So, the other morning I'm hearing Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, and Ed Rendell, career tax leech on the Body Politic, going at it over gun control, and Ed asks Alan "why would any law-abiding citizen need a magazine with thirty-three bullets in it?" with the sort of smug smile that usually gets wiped off faces by the butt end of a pool cue in any blue-collar Philadelphia bar. Alan blinks and stammers back something about... um... maybe, like, when we're target shooting at the range, we don't like to reload a lot?

Why do we never close the deal on this one? Why do we never respond "Well, Ed, I need a magazine with thirty-three rounds in it because when smug, officious, overreaching petty tyrants and their tame enforcement thugs come trampling up my herbaceous borders, they rarely do it in onesies and twosies"?

Or, better yet, give him the real reason: "Well, I need a magazine with thirty-three rounds in it because f&#$ you, Ed." Seriously, where does he get off thinking how many "bullets" are in my magazines is any business of his? Vobis non me dux, Ed; you ain't the boss of me.

That's why I own guns in the first place: To make sure nobody, from the mugger on the corner to the King of England to some washed-up political has-been from the Keystone State can come force me to do things against my will without me at least having a chance to shoot back.

QotD: Wipe That Smile Off Your Face Edition.

In a you-need-to-go-read-it überpost, Kevin sighs
I don't think "our best days are still ahead of us." I'm in very good company. I'm aware that Cassandras have been proclaiming the downfall of civilizations since time immemorial, but as Billy Beck once observed, "Sometimes they're right."
Kevin doesn't seem very sanguine about the near-term future, and neither am I, truthfully.

What disturbs me is how many of the "I bought a Century Arms AK and a case of ammo; let's get it on!" crowd talk like they're looking forward to this because, I don't know, it means no more mortgage payments, or they won't have to go in to work on Monday. ("Yeah, boss? I'm not going to be able to make it in. I'm kinda pinned down by enemy fire and... WOLVERINES!")

Hey, Sparky, go do a Google image search for "Civilian taking a dump in a frozen shell crater in Sarajevo, 1995." Does he look like he's having fun? 'Cause that was frickin' Yugoslavia; they had to go steal guns from the army to get their civil war on. If the lid ever comes off this pressure cooker for realz, it's gonna make Yugoslavia look like a Sunday school picnic.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Today In History: The _th Battle of ______.

On this day in history, a bunch of guys were wiped out by another bunch of guys in Adrianople...

Which isn't much of a distinction because "Battle of Adrianople" has a disambiguation page at Wikipedia. The battle in question is the one where a bunch of Hungarians handed a good old-fashioned Hun stomping to some EU crusaders under Baldwin I, the latter having ridden out from the then-NATO fortress of Byzantium Constantinople Istanbul, not the other half-dozen historically significant battles that took place on the same godforsaken pied-à-terre.

Real Estate ProTip for residents of Edirne, Thermopylae, Megiddo, et al: If your town has to be referenced in history as the "__th Battle of ___________" with a Roman numeral involving "V" or higher, then maybe it's time to sell out and find a new place to lay your head, Hurricane Annie.

First principles.

In comments at Marko's asset forfeiture post, somehow things have drifted into the known unreliability of drug dogs. They are vulnerable to alerting on their handler's suspicions instead of what they smell; they can be deliberately caused to alert; they don't speak a word of English and so people's lives and fortunes hang by how well a guy claims he can tell the difference between "Yup, that's cocaine, boss," and "I'm bored, can I have a biscuit? Squirrel!"

Suppose the handler was pure as the driven snow, had a Dolittle-like ability to talk with the animals, and Rover's senses performed exactly as advertised: It is still a statistical impossibility for $12,000 in American paper money to not contain traces of dope. Dope-residue-as-probable-cause is just a license to confiscate.

Forget the dog. The dog is a Red Herringhound.

Suppose instead of the dog, they’d used one of dozens of chemical dye tests and found dope residue on the money. Does taking Fluffy the Crotch-Sniffing Four-Legged Fourth Amendment expert out of the picture make it any more right?

(HINT: No.)

Overheard in the Office:

Bobbi is playing a video clip while researching a post...
Talking Head: "Allen West accused 80 Democratic members of Congress of being members of the Communist party. Is this the direction the Republican party wants to go?"

RX & Me (simultaneously): "Well, are they?"
When you have Congresswomen from your party go to help out with the sugarcane harvest in Cuba, you're gonna get accusations like this.


Slow start this morning. Hard to brain. Here's a joke in the interim:
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?

A: The Republicans hate women!
Sorry, been watching MSNBC this morning. It seeps in.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tab Clearing...

Overheard in the Office:

So I'm over at, looking at a video of 19th Century French military revolvers (Hey! I have one of those!) when I see a link to Allegheny Arsenal, and I'm down a rabbit hole of wondrous things I had no idea I needed until this morning.

I mean, seriously, I'm not sure I can go on without a couple rounds of British WWII incendiary .303 ammo, and I'm showing Bobbi some other gadgets they have listed...
Me: "Huh. A British military galvanometer."

RX: "Oh, one of those ones in the wooden box? Those are neat."

Me: "And a British military voltmeter. This looks newer, maybe WWII. Thirty bucks."

RX: "Did they say what the meter scale or range is?"

Me: "It's probably calibrated in Imperial Volts anyway."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

QotD: Worst Come To Worst Edition

And if all that fails? Screw it, we can cross the streams.
Robb Allen, on coming to terms with his inner political Ray Stantz.

The meme that wouldn't die.

All over the TeeWee and internet, people are still talking about Zimmerman "disobeying" the 911 operator. Zimmerman did not "disobey a 911 operator", even if such a thing were possible.

The 911 operator asked Zimmerman if he was following Martin. Zimmerman replied in the affirmative. The 911 operator said, and I quote: "We don't need you to do that".

My roommate says "I'm going to the kitchen, I'll bring you a Coke."

I reply "I don't need you to do that."

She brings me a Coke anyway. Has she "Disobeyed My Orders"? According to every talking head on my television screen she has, and the meme is penetrating my frickin' computer now.

Besides, the whole concept of "disobeying the orders of a 911 operator" is ludicrous on its surface. Last I checked, the 911 operator is not in my chain of command. That's like "disobeying the orders" of your plumber. (Similarly, if your plumber suggests that it might not be a good idea to flush the toilet right this second, you'd be well-advised to take his suggestion under consideration. I'll bet George wishes he had.)

Who thought this was a good idea? Seriously, who?

Asset forfeiture, I mean? Especially when it was decided that the department conducting the bust got to keep a measure of the dough.

Look, it is a precept in Loss Prevention that, out of any ten employees, one or two are never going to steal from you because they don't steal, and one or two are going to steal because they're just crooks, and, of that six or eight in the middle, the way to keep them from stealing is to do two things:
  1. Make it difficult for them to do so.

  2. Make it hard for them to rationalize that it's not really stealing, because you owe them.
Most people, most employees, most everybody is neither scrupulously ethical nor inherently unethical. Man isn't the rational animal, he's the rationalizing animal, and if he can rationalize that it's okay for him to do wrong because the people he's doing wrong to are in the wrong themselves, he'll do it.

Combine asset forfeiture laws, the War on (Some) Drugs, and the fact that the paper money in circulation is practically all tainted with traces of dope because Americans obey drug laws the way they do speed limits, and you've basically legitimized and incentivized corruption. Good job, Mr. Tough-On-Crime.

(Oh, and as municipal budgets shrink, look for more and more financially-strapped departments to be too busy engaged in fiscally remunerative narcotics enforcement to do much about that guy that broke into your house. I seem to recollect a potential rewriting of forfeiture rules in, I think it was Washington, that caused a police chief to protest that a huge chunk of his department budget came from dope-related seizures. Chief, if we only want X dollars of policing in a given year, that's not your cue to give us X+1 by seizing the difference.)

One in the "W" column.

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is one of those egregious "there oughtta be a law!" pieces of legislation so common in modern Washington. Written on a highly technical topic by people who can't turn on their own Blackberries without paging the IT Department, it came out sufficiently garbled that it was more of a federal prison sentence with a universal adapter attached than anything you'd describe as a "law". (There's always, of course, the possibility that this was a feature, not a bug.)

Whatever we're paying that Kozinski guy, it's not enough.

I wonder where the shoulder thing that goes up can be found on a computer?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

RINO hunting.

So Dick Lugar's face is all over my TeeWee screen this morning, including a memorable shot in this video, at about the 1:20 mark, where he's toddling toward the camera with his single fastened jacket button giving him a sort of Baby Huey air, and his rolling gait and happy, open-mouthed grin combine to remind me of my baby-sitting days, as I think "Oh. my. gawd. Our senator has filled his drawers."

Meanwhile, in a post at Bobbi's blog, she points out that even the Democrat challenger has a better grade from the NRA than F-rated Lugar.

Immediately, the "No, no, I walked into a door, and besides, the Republicans really love me" contingent speaks up, implying that better a vote for Republican Richard than a filthy Democrat, even if the Republican in question has crossed the line more times than a Tijuana coyote, including breaking ranks faster than a marching band member with the trots on the Sotomayor and Kagan nominations, but, hey, he's wearing the right color jersey for the Single Party Voters.

"We're in some real pretty $#!+ now, man!"

So, realistically speaking, the best likely outcome for gun owners in the upcoming presidential election is we get the ex-governor of the state with some of the worst, most restrictive gun laws in the nation as president. That would be the good outcome... well, okay, the less bad outcome. The even worse outcome is a Barry O. with no re-election worries; sure, he'd have a Congress with oppositional-defiant disorder, but all our regulatory agencies are belong to him.

Thus begins what appears to now be a quadrennial event, much like the Olympics: The Election Year Hoarding Festival! Fearing that a re-elected Obama is going to sign an executive order repealing the Second Amendment on November 7th, people who slept through civics class are snapping up guns and ammo like it's 1999.

Folks, I'm disappointed. If you're doing this and you've just turned 18, you get a pass. If you just got into guns in the last year or two, you're excused, too. Go on. Y'all can go on; go get a Coke or something. Just shut the door behind you, because this is for people who've been into guns and shooting for four years or more.

Okay, is it just those of us who've been shooting since '08 or earlier? Yeah? Good...

Then why in the name of Mars Pater did you wait 'til now to stock up?!?

You were around during the circus that was gun shows after Election '08 and you're just now waiting to stock up on magazines and buy that extra AR? You experienced the Big Ammo Drought and you've allowed your reserves to drop so low that you feel compelled to go make a panic purchase? We all know what this does to prices and availability. We've been here before.

The stuff does not go bad. It's like canned goods: It keeps for a long time, so when it's on sale, buy it cheap and stack it deep and use it on a First-In, First-Out basis. (Usually the best time to buy it cheap is a few car payments after one of these hoarding binges, when people get eager to unload a few cases of 7.62x39 that they splurged on, in order to pay bills.)

BONUS!: S&W adds another production shift at the plant. But, you know, Americans are turning away from guns. The Antis told me so.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stop me if you've heard this one...

The chairwoman of the Democrat National Committee has come out and accused Republicans of being unpatriotic scoundrels, putting politics before country and talking down the economy in hopes of spurring their election chances:
Republicans looking to defeat President Barack Obama in November’s general election are rooting for the American economy to fail, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee said in an interview Sunday.
You're new here, Ms. Wassermann Schultz, aren't you? No, no, wait... I'm pretty sure you were around for the '04 election and Kerry's "Misery Index"...

All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again.

EDIT: In other news, it looks like Rick Santorum may have pulled his face curtain. That's okay, I couldn't and wouldn't have voted for him in May's IN primary, anyway, because his campaign was too grabasstic and disorganized to get onto the ballot. I'll be voting for the wookie in the primary.

Overheard in the Office:

RX: "Dinosaurs didn't have a space program."

Me: "How do you know they didn't?"

RX: "Because they aren't still around. Bill Clinton had a space program, and he's still around. Barack Obama has... uh... a space program that somehow involves reaching out to the Muslim world..."

Me: "I can think of a program of outreach to the Muslim world involving rocket ships."
I'm always cranky and xenophobic on Tuesdays.

Things I Don't Get, #355,401

Remember at the end of Python's Holy Grail, when the cops show up and arrest Arthur and a bunch of his knights, and one of the bobbies yanks a guy's shield away with a brusque "'Ere, that's an offensive weapon, that is"? Remember that?

Well, Canada's got some sweeping body armor ban coming down the pike, which is one of those things I just don't get. Think about it: Why would a loving and benevolent government want the people it claims to be protecting to be easier to kill?

Every time I hear of some jurisdiction banning body armor, I want to grab my copy of the criminal code and run into the street waving it around and yelling "IT'S A COOKBOOK!"

Elite Team Fighter.

Somebody in a forum asked which "elite" outfits were still using 1911s. There was a little discussion, and I realized that this is a line of thinking that I have gotten very out of touch with over the last several years.

I mean, it used to be a Very Big Deal to me that I was carrying zomg teh exact same pistol as FBI HRT! Now I'm carrying a gun just like the one issued by... by... um... I don't know. Or care, really.

Seriously, when I was carrying a Glock 29, you better cool believe that I could inform you that the Kentucky State Police issued 10mm Glocks, and it was a constant point of contention on gun forums to debate which brand of pistol was used by more militaries or police forces.

Maybe the Mall of America's elite Food Court Team 6 issues the M&P 9? Whatever; it's all good.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Locavore-ive Breath

Elsewhere on the intertubes, I find myself explaining the seeming dichotomy of me being willing to hoof over to Locally Grown Gardens on foot to get eggs from the local hippie commune, and yet still make fun of the patrons of the organic whole breakfast food shelf at the supermarket:
I pay double grocery store cost for local free-range eggs from Locally Grown Gardens, not because they're local or because I care about what the chickens were fed or whether giving them aromatherapy every day reduced their carbon footprint, but because a chicken that runs loose and eats bugs lays eggs with thick shells, orange yolks and a white with more flavor than tapwater.

On the other hand, "the rich flavor of natural whole grains" in 90% of Nature's Whole Organic Goodness Breakfast Gruel reminds me of why baked goods always involve salt and/or sugar, and we don't just crop the stuff off the stems in the field with our mouths like ruminants.
The fact that most of those eggs are usually only a couple days out of the chicken is just a bonus.

That's, like, a lot in people years.

"I'm doing this cool new thing called 'blogging'. It's really obscure; you've probably never heard of it."
Charles G. Hill at celebrates sixteen years of logging his travels on the Web.

All mimsy were the borogroves...

Having had the word verification turned on for so long, I'd actually kinda missed the 'bot-generated word salad they use to try and spoof their way past the Turing screens in the spam filter. Check out this fragment of Vogon poetry I dug out of the spam comment trap this morning:
When traveling, it's not without exception important to prevention together. Let Mom imbibe the kids unified heyday while Dad enjoys a by a circular of golf. The next time Mom should remit in the spa while Dad and the kids relish in some pool time. Splitting up allows each progenitrix to utilize a much needed destroy b decompose during journeys time.

Planning is anyone of the most leading aspects that you whim lack to consider when you are traveling. Score steadfast that you without exception make it at least an hour and a half up front your take a run-out powder so that you cause sufficient time to manage yourself situated. This will eschew to convey you cordial of mind.


Instant that you've gotten a hardly tips on making your excursion affair a achievement, you can go flip with confidence. Apply these time-honored tricks of the calling and pass them on to those who may be accompanying you on the journey. One wish better from being more aware of and aware.

[link excised]Cheap Ray Ban glasses[/link excised]
I'm envisioning tanks of Cylon Hybrids in Shanghai, murmuring endlessly...
FTL system check diagnostic functions within parameters repeats the harlequin the agony exquisite the colors run the path of ashes fifty-two percent of heat exchanger cross-collateralized with hyper-dimensional matrix upper senses repair ordered relay to zero, zero, zero, zero, Christian Louboutin Replica...

Overheard in the Office:

I'm reading a post at Popehat about a legal setback suffered by the food nazis of the CSPI via the dismissal of the anti-Happy Meal lawsuit of their willing cat's paw, Monet Parnham-Lee. Any time those Gladys Kravitzes take one in the "L" column, it's a win for freedom.

Out of curiosity, I went and looked up the Center for Science in the Public Interest at Wikipedia. The article contained a picture of a medium-sized office building rather grandiosely captioned as "CSPI Headquarters in Washington, D.C." By this, of course, they mean that the fourth window from the left on the third floor is CSPI headquarters.

Clicking on the picture takes you to the page containing the photo, where the caption is a little less disingenuous. I started reading off some of the tenants out loud...
Me: "Wow, look who all has offices in this building! CSPI, Environmental Defense Fund, National Bank of Pakistan, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Population Reference Bureau, the Rendon Group... Luddites, Malthusians, and provocateurs... it's like bipartisan supervillain headquarters!"

*I lean over until my mouth is right over my turned-off cell phone, laying there on the desk...*

Me: "That's where the truck bomb needs to go."

RX: "Great, now you can never buy diesel fuel again."

Sunday, April 08, 2012


Still can't brain.

Have the dumbs.

Smart people talking at roomie's blog.

Go there.

Happy Whatever Spring Festival You Celebrate!

So we're right around the weekend where Jews are celebrating Passover, neo-Pagans are no doubt engaging in some (carefully re-created/long-held in secret folk custom) affair or other that most likely involves being naked in the woods, Christians are commemorating the day when Christ rose from the grave and walked the Earth in search of human souls, and all of America builds elaborate shines to sugar-crusted marshmallow baby chickens.

Whichever of these applies to you, may it be enjoyable.

(Sorry for the feeble amount of content, my brain's not been working right this weekend. I blame my relatively low-carb diet and sleeping in the last two mornings; I think that by the time I dragged myself out of bed and sat in front of the computer, my blood sugar was through the floor.)

Saturday, April 07, 2012

But I don't care about the kind with racquets, either.

Unc asks, apparently in regard to the Masters' kerfuffle:
I’m guessing most women (as in an overwhelming percentage of) don’t care about golf one way or the other.
I don’t personally know anybody, setter or pointer, who gives much of a damn about pasture pool one way or another.

They could spice it up by incorporating some of my ideas:
  • Let golfers try to disrupt other golfers' swings by assaulting them with their clubs. Your caddy would be allowed to try to ward them off with your own clubs.

  • There should be a par time from tee to hole that requires at least a mild jog to avoid going over. You can attempt to trip other golfers along the way with your club.

  • The obstacles as they exist are too lame and easily avoided. I'm thinking a ditch and abatis clear across the fairway, and perhaps some barbed wire around the green. Rattlers would liven up the sand traps.
If this catches on, you should hear my ideas to liven up curling.

QotD: Rite of Spring Edition

All the signs of spring are in the air: Flowers blooming, grass growing, birds singing, Congress bloviating over the need to Do Something About Gas Prices.

The Adaptive Curmudgeon noted that, like Christmas decorations, it seems to start earlier every year lately.
Looks like a dozen years of generally earlier onset of “gasoline psychosis”, albeit with a brief remission in 2011. Only time will tell what will happen in 2013 but if trends continue it’ll be somewhere between early April or mid/early March.

Of course, Congress could learn that gasoline, like everything, is subject to market forces. Ha ha ha…I’m just kidding. Bet on an outbreak of cluelessness in April 2013 and you’ll probably have called it a year in advance.
(Italics and implied facepalming in original.)

Friday, April 06, 2012

...not even a mother could love.

I had no idea that the Indy Red Star had actually penned a "Leave Brittney Lugar alone!" editorial. I wish one of their three remaining subscribers had pointed it out to me when it was still fresh so that I could have fisked it.

I mean, I don't want to come across all Pauline Kael, here, but I've yet to hear anybody, of any political persuasion, have a nice word to say about the man in my presence. How Lugar continues to get reelected is one of the more baffling mysteries of my adopted home state.

(h/t to Shermlock.)

Mother Gaia's gone all Sibyl.

I would like to apologize to all the gardeners of central Indiana for the freeze warnings last night and tonight.

I cannot tell a lie: I put all my fleece pullovers and long-sleeved tee shirts away on Tuesday, figuring that after a week or two of highs in the 70s and 80s that it was safe to do so. Sorry 'bout that. My bad all 'round.

Tab Clearing...

  • While I doubt the sky is the same color in Mr. Granderson's world as it is in mine, I have to admit that some of his suggestions in this column made me go "Hmmmm..."

  • I do not like malingerers, nor either do I like frauds. Neither does friend Ambulance Driver, as this post will so richly attest. Slip'n'fall thespians like the one in his tale are what made my dealings with insurance companies such a pain when I actually had bones hanging out of my leg. Negotiate settlements for too many "soft tissue injuries" and even multiple compound fractures become suspect, I guess.

  • To those of you who hit the tip jar recently, many thanks. It would have been a Ramen-flavored month after my excessive exuberance with the Smith. I'm going to take a group portrait of it with the other domestic pocket pistols today if it gets warm enough. There's an interesting story in there if I can figure the right angle, about how all the US gun companies got into self-loaders and all save Colt got out again by the end of the twenties and America was revolverville for another thirty-plus years.

  • Since Jay G didn't turn into a pillar of salt, I'm going to toy with turning off the verdammt word verification as well. If I'm not buried under waves of spambots, it will be good riddance. (ETA: It took less than twenty minutes for the first Cyrillic bot-generated spam to hit the filter...)

It's not about the Benjamins.

Humans are not rational animals. Oh, sure, we pay a lot of lip service to logic and reason, but we're suckers for ceremony and symbolism. Ultimately, it's about all about feelings.

Every time gas jumps ten cents, somebody trades in their perfectly functional Accord and goes thirty long into hock on a Prius that, even were gas to double in cost, would not have a prayer of paying for itself in fuel savings before it, too, gets traded in.

People browse the organic breakfast food shelves for the muesli that tastes most like authentic sawmill floor sweepings, because that's how you know it's good for you. It's not food, it's a hair shirt you eat. When you're doing penance for not going jogging this morning or for having that extra martini last night, it's not supposed to taste good.

Likewise, wind turbines are not meant to actually be an efficient way to supply the power grid, rather they're prayer wheels for New Age iBuddhists, their whirring blades drawing white guilt from the atmosphere and pumping it safely underground. This is why they put them out in farm fields in the country and not, say, off Martha's Vinyard or out on the back nine, in view of the clubhouse: What good is a shrine if you don't have to make a pilgrimage to get to it?

Thursday, April 05, 2012

QotD: Probulation Edition

Because it's my blog and I can have as many Quotes of the Day as I want:
If they can’t keep a cell phone out of a septuagenarian’s high-security prison cell, they can’t keep anything out of anywhere.
Point this out to your seatmate on your next flight if they're one of those drooling nitwits constantly opening their piehole about being glad for all the security that's supposedly keeping them safe from the guys with the Semtex Underoos.

And as for Charlie's guards? They should just be glad he was more interested in dialing 1-900 numbers then he was in getting his hands on a Kel-Tec.

QotD: You Can't Crowd-Source Smarts Edition

Michael Z. Williamson and Cory Doctorow were on the same discussion panel at a convention. Oddly, they were not instantly annihilated and every atom of their beings converted to pure energy, which caused the scrapping of several current theories at CERN. Anyhow, the discussion turned to "crowd-sourcing", which is awesome for lots of things, but, um...
Doctorow, however, said, and I closely paraphrase, "Maybe we can reach the day when someone says, 'You bring those rivets, and I have some girders, and we can build a skyscraper.'"

Really. A crowd-sourced skyscraper.

I verified that he wasn't talking about funding for said edifice, but actually building it as a crowd-sourced project.

I said I'd even let him have the corner office in the top floor. I don't intend to be within a trigonometric ratio of it, and will add a safe distance for rebounding debris.

He tried to compare the internet and web infrastructure. This fails, in my opinion, because that started as a government, in fact, Defense, project, and has numerous very well-heeled players. I have a website hosted on a friend's bandwidth but neither of us would be able to do so, even with the help of a million geeks, without someone to provide a combination of capital and knowledge. I asked, "And how often does your browser crash?"

He actually said, "My browser doesn’t crash because I use Firefox."
I don't know where to start with this, other than to observe that not only does Cory Doctorow imagine futuristic fantasy castles in the sky, he gets his mail delivered to them.

I'll also note the irony of wookie-suited anarcho-libertarian Mad Mike Williamson being considered the conservative voice on the panel. Maybe they were afraid that if they invited Kratman, he would show up in Hitler drag and start goose-stepping around the stage or something?

Lastly, am I imagining that Mr. Doctorow implied that someone of Mr. Williamson's political views was obviously an Explorer user? I could just be inserting that subtext myself, because, you know, only squares would use IE or vote to invade Iraq.

News from the dark side of the moon...

Any of y'all ever watched Current TV? That's Al Gore's network for people who are fed up with the pervasive right-wing bias of MSNBC, for those of you who weren't aware of its existence.

If you weren't aware of it, don't feel bad, because according to the ratings, neither was anybody else. I mean, it's been on the air since 2005, and I never even noticed it 'til a year ago or so. The star poodle of their prime-time act, the recently-fired Keith Olbermann, had viewership numbers that could easily be equalled if every man, woman, and child in Salem, Oregon watched their local public-access channel to see the Cherry Queen crowned at the State Fair.

More people were listening to late-night entertainer George Noory warning them about reptiloid aliens than were listening to prime-time Authorized Journalist Olbermann warning them about Republican congressmen. That's gotta suck. If he wasn't such a thoroughly unlikeable person, you'd almost feel sorry for him.

Speaking of thoroughly unlikeable douchebags, have you heard about what happened when Keith was actually expected to ride in the same car as one of the 99%? This guy was such a colossal douchebag that the only guy they could find to fill his spot in the lineup was Eliot frickin' Spitzer.

Think about that: If the only person on the planet douchier than you was a politician who had been hounded from office, basically for excessive douchiness, it'd be time to sit in the garage with the car running and the door closed and have a long talk with yourself. Of course, Olbermann probably owns a frickin' Nissan Leaf or something, so he won't be able to do the right thing.

Ah, Spring in Broad Ripple, when a young man's fancy...

...turns to strolling nekkid along the Monon Trail apparently.

Also: Dead guy in the canal!

What gets me is that my first thought on hearing that there was a stiff bobbing around in the canal was "Ew! Citizens' Water runs the canal; there was a corpse in what could be my future drinking water!" That's a pretty silly thing to get all squicked about, because anybody who's looked at that canal knows that, depending on how you feel about waterfowl feces, a dead body is probably among the more appetizing things to be found bobbing in it.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

QotD: A Series of Annoying Tubes Edition

Regarding the Arizona legislature's contribution to the inane fad of "cyberbullying" legislation, Ken at Popehat writes:
You've been swept up in the moronic and thoughtless anti-bullying craze and consequently passed a bill that is ridiculous on its face, a bill that criminalizes annoying and offending people on the internet. That's like criminalizing driving on the road.
Man, if insulting people on the internet is against the law, this whole blog is nothing but evidence to be used against me in court. "Annoying and offending people on the internet" is pretty much my raison d'être.

This man obviously has an internet connection.

If somebody else bought a different gun than you, it might mean that you bought the wrong one. But you wouldn't waste your hard-earned cash on the wrong gun, so that obviously means that the other guy bought the wrong one. And is a (stuck-up gun snob/idiot cheapskate), to boot!

In a discussion elsewhere, someone pointed out that it was the same on camera forums and bicycle forums and...

Think about it: Joe Schmoe wants to get a bicycle. He does his research, determines how much he can afford, heads down to the bike shop, chats with the sales clerk, sits on a few bikes... and then invests $800+ dollars of his identity into a chunk of aluminum, steel, and rubber.

So when he gets on the bike forum and someone tells him his Crankrailleur 2000 is garbage and he should have bought a ShockStumper 750, what's he supposed to think?
  • He was too dumb to do his research right?

  • He's not rich enough to buy a decent enough bike to get into the club?

  • He was so gullible that he let the salesman talk him into a bad purchase?

  • The other guys on this forum are just stupid snobs who don't know a good bike when they see one and spent too much on their worthless crap?
When people are arguing guns, it's not the guns that they're defending, but their own self-worth as demonstrated through the quality of the decisions that they've made.

(h/t to ToddG)