Saturday, April 30, 2011

When things get strange at the neighbor's house.

Sigh. Situational awareness - I hazn't got it.

Yesterday evening I looked out my window and was struck by what I didn't see, which was the tower and wind generator that fed 'tricity to my weekender neighbors S&L. S&L weren't around last weekend, so that would have to mean they took it down nearly two weeks ago and I never noticed the change in my skyline, or it fell down and they didn't know it yet. Alas for my self-esteem, turns out it was that first one. I went over to check and the tower was lying on its side in a very neat and organized way, and the generator was gone.

S&L's wind genny is a perfect case study for why I don't recommend wind generators - at least not of the conventional design. They're expensive, they've got lots of moving parts, they only work as advertised in heavy wind ... and they have a bad habit of flying apart in heavy wind. S&L's is six years old, not at all a cheap model, and has needed major repair twice before in its life. This time, out of warranty of course, the bearings grenaded and that was that.

I can't say I'll miss it. On VERY windy days, the thing sounds exactly like a big truck trying to lose speed on a downgrade with a jake brake. Which is why at the very least I really should have noticed its absence yesterday, when we had a very, very windy day.

My first clue that S was already on top of things was when I saw him and his brother M putting up a rack for solar panels. 8^)

Before I left I went inside to say hi to S's wife L. I'd left the boys home, because if Ghost goes there and sees that they're there he won't leave for the rest of the weekend. It seemed likely to me that S&L already had their hands full for this particular weekend, and dumping Ghost with them seemed potentially rude. But L (and L's Shih Tzu, oddly enough) really enjoy having him around, and she said, "Where's Ghost? I miss him!" And when I told her he hadn't made the trip, she wanted to come to the Property and get him. So Ghost got a Jeep ride instead, and I won't see him till this time tomorrow. LB and I spent some quality time at the Lair, just him and me.

Carl Bussjaeger's got a new blog!

With free books! Check it out.

Saturday "AWWW!"




They still haven't named the little guy.

You know what I can't watch?

I can't watch those home-made videos of people getting hassled by cops. They're like kiddy porn to me: I can't bring myself to click on the link.

Something about them just makes me terribly uncomfortable, and I can no longer bring myself to watch them. Maybe it's guilt over the fact that I'm watching this person do this terrible thing with such impunity - and I'm not killing him for it. This isn't the world I wanted to live in.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Helpful Hints from the Hermit

Actually it was Landlady who clued me in to this. One kitchen gadget I always wanted but never thought about getting when I actually had opportunity was a rolling pin.

I think about rolling pins every time I need to, you know, roll out some dough. Then I just start looking for anything cylindrical and normally settle for a soup can or something. Landlady found that those religious candles so common in stores around here (non-Catholics call them "Jesus Candles") work perfectly. We keep them around for other purposes, and I hadn't thought of putting one to this use. But having now tried it myself, I can testify that they work great.


Yes, the Jesus Candle - not just for labor saving prayers to saints anymore!

Yow, Mas is not feeling the love!

In a recent BHM column, well-known gun writer and never-lets-us-forget-it former cop Massad Ayoob opined on last year's dramatic uptick in police deaths:
It is a horrible year for police line of duty deaths. This past weekend alone, at least three cops in different parts of the US were murdered in the line of duty. Much of the emphasis of this year’s training was on Officer Safety and Survival.

The general consensus of police, military, and national intelligence is that it’s only a matter of time before this nation experiences an incident reminiscent of Beslan or Mumbai: armed, trained, committed terrorists massacring the innocent with automatic weapons and explosives.
Trouble is, while fatal cop shootings were up considerably last year, by far the greatest increase was in traffic related deaths. I dunno what that's got to do with Mumbai.

But that wouldn't have been so bad. Then Mas went on to stick his foot in his mouth - and judging from the reaction, a mighty tender part of other people's anatomies as well:
At a time when we need more, better-trained and -equipped cops than ever, we’re seeing police layoffs, hiring freezes, and budget cuts.

For the private citizen, what all this is saying is to be prepared for disaster. Remember Hurricane Katrina, just six short years ago. In a nation where there are only about 800,000 cops to serve an estimated 320,000,000 citizens, it’s absolutely true that when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.
Yo, shouldn't have brought up Katrina there, dude. Among gun owners, Katrina is remembered not so much for the hurricane itself, or for how helpful the cops were to the good folks of New Orleans. Commenters left him in no doubt about that.
When I read, “Remember Hurricane Katrina, just six short years ago” memories flashed through my head of an old American woman being brutally disarmed by a California Highway Patrol officer who volunteered his services for the storm. The illegal confiscation of hundred personal firearms by the National Guardsmen and local LEO’s from American citizens that even today have not all been all accounted for. The murders of the American people on the bridge by police officers, who just last month they were finally convicted of.

No, Mr. Ayoob, I am not proud of the police officers we have today. I am fearful of them which is not the way we should live in America. They are armed to max like SWAT teams and almost totally militarized in appearance and mannerisms. Law enforcement needs a total overhaul starting with the BATFE and the TSA.
This went on for some time. At last Mas put us all in our places...
My goodness, the cop-haters seem to be out in force this week…
Aaaand that didn't have the quieting effect he may have imagined that it would.
And *why* do you think people hate cops? Or do you even care what the “little people” think?

Cops think what they’re doing to innocent citizens is *right*. They think the laws they unquestioningly enforce are legitimate. They think anyone they ever meet, under any circumstances, who is not a “brother in blue”, *must* be guilty of *something* if they can just find it.

And if they can’t find it, they plant it, to excuse their actions.

I’m far more afraid of police than of whatever they’re supposed to be “protecting” me from.

Cops still think they’re the *good* guys. But we’re the ones who are “nuts”?
Things went downhill from there. A wonderful time was had by all.

If anybody finds a pair of raggedy green cargo pants...

...I think they're mine.

Wind started coming up yesterday evening. Not bad, nothing to worry about. Woke this morning to a mega-windstorm. Suddenly remembered I had five pairs of pants on the line behind the barn. Went to get them: I had NO pairs of pants on the line. Found four. (Note to self: Faded "desert camo" is lousy camo for around here. They were the first ones I spotted, and even the jeans were harder to find.) Scattered to hell and gone. Still missing that old pair of green Cabela's.

ETA: Found them. Other side of the ridge. Stuck in a juniper.

If you threaten my life and kill my dog...and I don't give you free food...is that a "human rights violation?"

Because Jimmuh Carter says it is. Seriously.



So here's the deal, as seen from my cave in the high desert. There's this country called South Korea. It's run by the usual bunch of statist kleptocrats - kinda like here, but with Koreans. More factory riots, less Hillary Clinton. Then there's this other country called North Korea which is run by an alien master from the planet Looney-Toons. He has to keep his people at least half-starved, because he knows damn well that otherwise they'll notice the lamp posts need decoration. If NK has lamp posts, which I don't know. Probably the NK people have eaten them with fish sauce by now. If they're allowed near fish. Which I don't know.

Anyway - the crazy guy from NK keeps doing things like declaring "holy war" against SK and threatening it with nuclear weapons, and sinking their ships for no apparent reason. Everybody in the world except people who still think Joe Stalin wasn't all that bad recognizes that the NK government is one of the most oppressive in the world, and treats its own people abominably.

Yet somehow it's all America's fault. According to a former American president.

Wow. Doesn't this old guy have keepers, or something?

Obligatory Team America clip (NSFW):

In This Spot...

Is the post where I say everything I have to say about the Royal Wedding.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why are you so frightened of us?

I can't remember how this got in my tabs or I'd hat-tip the link. But heres a former cop instructor with a column in a cop-oriented website, offering tips on how to deal with concealed-carrying "citizens." Most of the article is really kinda useful, because the writer spends the bulk of it showing the signs cops look for, when they're looking for your gun.

Of course I'm only going to quote parts of the column that make cops look bad in my eyes, because that's me. But this column is actually, by cop standards, not really all that down on "citizens" (He uses that word a lot, as if he's not one) who carry guns. By cop standards, the column is really quite even handed. But the use of language is revealing.
As the ‘right to carry’ spreads across the United States, many law enforcement agencies and police officers express their unease — and for some, outright alarm — at the idea of citizens carrying concealed weapons.

In an effort to disseminate useful information that would be of benefit to law enforcement, let me talk about this issue from both sides of the fence so to speak.
The 'right to carry,' officer? You mean the right to carry, right? Because there is one, whether you like it or not.
Philosophically, I support the right to carry for anyone who can exercise the responsibility for proper care and awareness.
I'm not sure if he's contrasting "philosophically" with "practically," because he doesn't say. But I'll give him his due - his criteria for who should be carrying guns is more liberal than any other I've seen an agent of government use. Problem is...
I have found, by and large, that citizens who do carry concealed are very pro-law enforcement and would be very willing to come to your aid if you were in the middle of a fire fight. This can be good and bad but I try never to forget that they are supporters of law enforcement, not felons. This is a BIG difference.
Officer, I'm very anti-law enforcement and would probably let you stew in your own juice if you were in the middle of a fire fight - unless you took my side in one, which I can't see happening. And I'm not a felon. Sorry about that.

The notion that cops shouldn't hassle gun owners because gun owners might at some point help out a cop, is not a very good reason.
...when you make a contact with a CCW, proning them out wouldn’t be my first option without digging a little deeper.
That's darned white of you.
Off-duty cops have a bad habit of not really concealing the gun well. They don’t seem to mind that it will show or that people may notice and take alarm. After all, they are cops and not bad guys right?

Lawful concealed gun carriers also feel as if they are the “good guys.”

I once had a driver/bodyguard for a foreign dignitary during a car stop come out of the car quickly and come rapidly my way while reaching behind him to his right rear waistband. I had already drawn my weapon at that threat indicator, and when I commanded him to stop he was suddenly acutely aware of his faux pas.

He was in a hurry to get the dignitary to a meeting and wanted to establish his bona fides with me ASAP. In his mind, he was a “good guy” and didn’t realize what he had done when reaching for his wallet while rapidly coming out of the vehicle toward me.
Note the use of quotes. "Good guy." "They feel as if they are the 'good guys.'" "In his mind, he was a 'good guy.'" Of course they're not good guys, because if they were they'd be cops. They're civilians. At best, they're citizens. Makes me crazy.

I suppose I should be happy he didn't call us subjects.

The stuff you do...

Woke up this morning and it was well below freezing for the first time in a couple of weeks. Naturally GC Guy called and asked me to come over to make a tray of geiger counters, finishing off our supply of meters. I don't know why, exactly - he didn't want to do it on Monday or Tuesday, but then the weather wasn't FREEZING then, so there was no reason. Grr.

Hokay, I wasn't expecting him, so I told him I wouldn't be there till nine because I already had something to do (and it's bloody freezing.) What I had to do was wash some clothes. It's been a busy weekend, and I don't want the laundry thing to get out of control again. Now washing my clothes is a bit of a project right now, even though I got the washing machine working, because it's pretty terminally on the fritz. As soon as you supply it with water, it starts to fill. Even if it's not turned on. Even if it's not plugged in. It just fills. And when it's done filling, it overfills. Which is why it was flooding the barn. Which is why, in true redneck fashion, I hauled the sucker outdoors. So I run a hose to it, put the dump hose in a length of 1 1/2" pipe, plug it into an extension cord, and do my laundry outdoors. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the water in the hose hadn't frozen, so I was in business. This procedure works okay for now, as long as I remember to turn off the water after the last rinse fill. Once that was done, I left the machine to finish things up by itself and spent a few hours building geiger counters.

Got a call from my neighbors D&L while I was there. They're both recovering from various injuries and needed some help moving a new tub in the house they're building. So I grabbed some lunch, hung out the laundry, and drove over there to move their tub.

On the way home I went through the wash to the Secret Lair to unload the VERY LAST PARTS, I SWEAR, that I need to finish the septic system. Still too cold to voluntarily work outside - at least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. But I did need to stop at the new apple trees and give them a good watering, because after the trouble we went to in planting them I'd do that in a hurricane.

Then I stopped at our new reloading shack and loaded up all my .44 brass. Still haven't decided what I'm going to do to get the Taurus actually working - probably ship it back to Taurus, since my neighbor J has done that and found it a pleasantly hassle-free experience.

Came home and let the boys out. They've been so good about the Gitmo thing, really. They could bust out any time they want (Magnus and Fritz used to do it routinely, including massive property damage) but they just hang. Of course when I get home they consider it my duty to end the incarceration. And I guess so do I. And LB, he just want to hang with Dad. He goes where I go, finds his favorite sleepy spot wherever that is, and causes me no trouble at all. I know he's just lulling me into a false sense of security before he runs off to Nebraska. again. But it's kinda sweet while it lasts.

Strangling kittens on the off-chance that they too might be terrorists

Yes, of course - unlike Stewart - I object to the feds giving money away. I suspect that if I did even a modicum of research I'd learn that "first responders" have health care plans that would make the "royal family" ill with envy. And even if they don't, I don't want the feds giving them money. But then I'm not in congress, so it doesn't matter what I think.

Anyway, when Stewart is on I think he's really funny. And he's got this guy's number pretty good.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Solari had her foal, but...

...as with so many things involving Solari the World's Most Nervous Mare, it didnt go well.


Not entirely her fault. She had a rupture, the baby tried to come out through her ass, and while H got him straightened out and he was born okay, then there was a five-hour trip to the city for vet repairs. Solari can find trauma in an ill-timed gust of wind. This really was quite traumatic, and she has completely rejected the foal. So completely that when H tried to encourage her to nurse him, she took a bloody chunk out of H's arm. So now H is on light duty as well. It's been three days, and poor Solari is still walking kinda funny.


Here's the new little guy. This is the best of a bunch of bad pictures; the light in the stable was causing all sorts of trouble and he's not very cooperative. Name TBD. He's the very last of Paulo's line, healthy and active if not especially well configured. Unlike Gaia, who's only now starting to decide that getting attention from people isn't all bad, this little guy has no problem with people at all. In fact he'll nurse on anything given a chance, and gave me a bad moment when he stuck his head between MY legs.

Fortunately Gaia's mom Tory seems perfectly willing to nurse him. She doesn't have enough milk for two, so he's mostly being bottle-fed and that will likely continue. But at least he'll also be raised by horses.


So Gaia's got a little brother! Welcome to the Gulch, little guy.

Just because what you're doing isn't illegal doesn't mean other people are gonna put up with you.

Westboro Baptist Church goes to Mississippi - and loses.
Most of the morons never made it out of their hotel parking lot. It seems that certain Rankin county pickup trucks were parked directly behind any car that had Kansas plates in the hotel parking lot and the drivers mysteriously disappeared until after the funeral was over. Police were called but their wrecker service was running behind and it was going to be a few hours before they could tow the trucks so the Kansas plated cars could get out.

A few made it to the funeral but were ushered away to be questioned about a crime they might have possibly been involved in. Turns out, after a few hours of questioning, that they were not involved and they were allowed to go on about their business.

Yeah, I know - I never have anything good to say about cops. But...heh.

H/T to Aliceaitch.

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's a tank rack! It's a storage shed! It's a target stand!

I don't know where they came from, but here on the property there are two big fuel tank racks. Probably seemed like the sort of thing that ought to come in handy someday.

Four or five years ago M covered the biggest one with corrugated tin and used it for storing Jeep parts. The Jeep project has since migrated elsewhere, and the "shed" has blown over twice. Plus Landlady was making sounds indicating displeasure.

So we stripped away the tin, and M came up with a new application. He had some pre-drilled squares of armor plate, and a little chain. Sounded like our inconvenient tank rack might make a pretty good target rack. So we used Gulchendiggensmoothen to carry it out to M's range. Reactive targets on a 500-yard range, anyone?




Now we just need a little more chain...

I emerged squalling from the nether regions of a human female. She seemed upset at the time.

"...the circumstances of your birth"? What does that even mean?

"...Form DS-5513 asks for all addresses since birth; lifetime employment history including employers’ and supervisors names, addresses, and telephone numbers; personal details of all siblings; mother’s address one year prior to your birth; any “religious ceremony” around the time of birth; and a variety of other information. According to the proposed form, “failure to provide the information requested may result in … the denial of your U.S. passport application.”

Good thing I didn't want a passport anyway.

Small, familiar damage alarms...

...started going off the moment I put on my leg and started hobbling around this morning. It's been a busy weekend. I'm gonna be lame for the next couple of days, no way around that.

We planted three apple trees this weekend. The process was rather...involved.


First, dig some big-ass holes (previously completed.)


Next, fill the bottoms of aforementioned big-ass holes with partially-rotted juniper. We decided to call this step "cleaning up the neighborhood."


Haul much horse shit and rotted straw from J&H's, a little over a mile away. We hauled about six trailer-loads, plus what could fit in Gulchendiggensmoothen's bucket on each trip. Lots of horse shit - it's a lot like dealing with the government. Except in this case, it's vitally important to remember your goggles because the wind is always blowing in your face when you dump the bucket. Thank god for hot and cold running water.


Fill the holes. Horse shit alternates with dirt. Some bales of rotted straw that once skirted the old fifth-wheel also found their way into the hole.


Before we could actually plant trees, it was necessary to arrange for water. We tee'd five hundred feet of flexible hose into M's Dome and walked it out to a point between the two widely-spaced holes. There's something wonderfully symbolic and Biblical about all this - bringing flowing water to parched regions, and all that. I like this part. But by this point in the weekend I was feeling distinctly un-godlike. In fact, I was feeling like a physically damaged old man. But we soldiered on.



Seems like a paltry result for all that work, doesn't it? Gad, I hope they grow. I certainly plan to water them faithfully. M kept reminding me, "Think about the brandy."



With their other hands, M and Landlady put the fake vigas on the Meadow House, which is the final touch before stucco. Stucco is due soon. Alas.



M did all this, and was raring to go this morning. I feel like something dried on the pavement after being run over by all eighteen wheels of each truck in a convoy. Ah, to be young again.

So! How'd you spend your weekend?

Friday, April 22, 2011

When the cops do it, that means it isn't illegal.

Or does it? Only the "legal" system knows for sure. Or not.

Coming To a Patrol Car Near You!

Without an arrest, search requires probable cause—the officer must have some reasonable basis for believing that a crime has been committed, and that a particular search will turn up evidence relevant to that crime. It’s hard to see how cellphone data could be relevant to a traffic stop. Instead, searching cellphones looks more like a fishing expedition: Having gotten access to you with a traffic stop, officers are just looking around to see what they find. That’s explicitly forbidden by the Constitution, and with good reason. Letting government officials snoop on anyone they choose, for no particular reason, is a bad idea.
"Look, fourth amendment, schmorth amendment. If you don't consent you must be guilty of something, and that's grounds enough for a search warrant. So save us both a lot of trouble, okay? You don't have anything to hide, do you?"

I've actually had that conversation with a cop.

And this is why the government needs a monopoly on force.

And authority to arbitrarily decide what's right and wrong, and who gets busted for being wrong.
Just because something is wildly popular doesn't necessarily mean it is victimless. And just because criminal conduct doesn't affect everyone doesn't mean it affects no one. There are plenty of victims of (allegedly) illegal online poker, starting with the desperately-short-of-cash federal and state governments which are deprived of all the taxable revenue ($3 billion, say the feds) from the now-suspected operations. And just ask casino and horse racing executives what they think of the way online poker operators have taken advantage of Congressional fecklessness on the topic.
Victimless crime, you say? There's no such thing as a victimless crime! That's the government's money, and the government wasn't getting its legitimate cut! And what about the poor competition, who had paid good money for government protection from competition and wasn't getting it? Huh? What about them?

And of course the main thing, even more important than money. Power!
As costly as those cases can be, prosecutors pursue celebrity liars because high-profile investigations and the resulting trials are still a relatively cheap and effective way of reminding the masses of low-profile liars out there that they still can get in big trouble when they swear to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" and then don't. This doesn't make us "safer" in the sense that it shields us from a bullet or a scam. But it does make us "safer" in the sense that it seeks to shore up the accuracy and reliability of our nation's justice systems, both criminal and civil, which I suggest are the bulwark to all of the rest of government.
They bust the big scofflaws to keep the little scofflaws in line. The little scofflaws have become so vast in their numbers that putting them (us) all behind bars would be impractical, even if it were possible. There's be nobody left to build the prisons. So they build a bigger prison, made of fear rather than concrete and iron. And they call it "justice."

Sleep well, citizens. Obey.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I work harder for other people than I do for myself.

It's true. Left to my own devices I'm comically lazy. Can't get a damned thing done. Put me with somebody else, and I always end up tired. And dehydrated. And a bit sunburned.

Hey! My first sunburn of the year! It must be spring at last.

My neighbor J has been screwing around with fencing for his extended yard for over a year. It's gone through a few different permutations, none of which ever came near completion. But recently he scored a whole bunch of used chain link fencing and posts, and it built a fire under him. So today, since nothing was happening on the geiger counter or hole-digging fronts, I went over and helped him set fence posts in concrete.

Lots of fence posts. That's all I have to say about that.

And then...depression set in. When I got my .44, the only ammo M could find was a box of Blazer. I don't know if you're familiar with it - I wasn't - but it's got aluminum cases and says right on the box that you shouldn't reload it. To make sure you don't, it's Berdan primed. I went through most of the box and the pistol gobbled them up fine - no problems at all. Then three weeks ago my neighbor picked me up a box of ammo that, judging from the price, was machined out of pure platinum. And the pistol stopped being reliable in double action. Three out of five rounds, it just dimpled the primers. Single action, it worked fine. That wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but I refused to panic. I knew I was going to reload for the pistol, so let's see how the reloads behave.

Well, yesterday my .44 dies finally arrived in the mail. So today I worked up all my brass, loaded a round, fired it just because that was the first shootable round I'd reloaded in several years, then loaded five more and stepped outside.

Click.

Clickclickclickclickclick

Shite. Zero for five, double action. Single action, they all went bang just fine. I've got problems.

(And yes, before somebody suggests it, I do know how to seat a primer. But thanks for asking.)

On the good side, this is the first time in my life I've had a reloading shack where I could test-fire ammo without even stepping outside. (yes I DID open the window first.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One of these days, Alice...

After I've betrayed the revolution and become president-for-life, I'm coming after everybody who ever uttered a declarative sentence involving the phrase "no expectation of privacy." They're goin' to the wall.

I know, it's simplistic and possibly even brutal. But anybody who can say
"There should be no expectation of privacy on the part of somebody with a driver's license."
with a straight face just shouldn't live on the same planet with me, and this is the only planet I can find with liquid water.

This isn't the railgun you're looking for...

...but it's cute. Ever so well packaged, and it'll be my very first choice if a bunch of toy planes and old cell phones take me on one by one. Widely spaced. Not because it's the best choice, just 'cause it's cool.



Courtesy of S.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Had a bit of excitement this morning...

...or at least the boys did.

Ghost's got a few different "trespasser" modes. When he stands and barks, he's just telling the world - and maybe a few passing scent molecules - who owns his ridge. When he barks and charges off the ridge to the meadow, he's got a specific trespasser in mind but doesn't really plan to do anything but mark territory. But when he growls and disappears like he's shot from a gun - then he's clearing the decks for action. That's what happened this morning. My first notice of this was when Little Bear went crazy. LB was cabled up in the yard and very unhappy at missing the fun, which told me Ghost was chasing something specific and unusual. I was pretty unhappy myself - Ghost used to do this sort of thing from time to time, but then he had a pack of big dogs behind him. Ghost was the most aggressive of the old pack but also the smallest, and I saw more than one creature willing to mix it up with him who changed their minds when they saw the mastodon herd galloping along behind. The last time, it was a big cat. I don't mean a housecat.

And I wondered, as I searched the distant junipers for sight of him: Should I unleash Little Bear? He really wants to go. But I don't trust him to behave sensibly - or to come back promptly afterward.

I returned that shock collar I borrowed quite some time ago. It was a useful experiment, but LB's been so good about staying in the yard lately as long as I'm vigilant. Maybe I should get him a collar and let him off the cable more. He's two years old now, still an idiot but maybe I'm coddling him too much. Ghost could probably have used some backup this morning.

Sure, it's cool. But let me set one to fire down my driveway and watch everybody get their panties in a bunch.



$%^&ing Government gets all the good stuff. I just get the bill.

"I'm trying to think of a creature less suited to live here..."

"...and it's just...not...coming..."




GC Guy's mom came for a visit, and brought her slavering beast. As you can tell from the background this isn't the actual dog - I didn't have a camera with me. But it looks just like this, except a deeper shade of copper.

Her name is Dolly. She hurts her feet on the rocks. She promptly got sick unto death from some form of toxemia, probably (vet speculation) from eating mouse droppings. Heaven knows she couldn't have eaten the entire mouse, because I don't think her mouth opens that wide. Fortunately a round of antibiotics took care of it.

I've got some other friends with a Pomeranian, and he thinks he's an axe-handle wide across the shoulders. But this little thing - cute, sure, but I don't know...

Fortunately they've sense enough to keep her indoors.

Monday, April 18, 2011

And now New Hampshire?

NH Senate Considers Ending Gun Permit Requirement

Gad, this is getting fun to watch!

Another Windy Day.

GC Guy got replacements for the messed-up geiger counter cases he's been waiting for for weeks. That put us back in business for Friday and much of today. Then we ran out of meters. We're just about set to run out of GM tubes. In an amusing aside, GM Guy's dad may have a line on a bunch of Russion GM tubes. Problem - their supply is limited and they're 20 years old, having been warehoused since some Russian plant turned them out post-Chernobyl, but couldn't get them into geiger counters before the bottom fell back out of the market. I feel like I'm vicariously living other people's disasters.

The boys weren't too upset about getting out of Gitmo early, but it's just too bloody windy to do much that's fun. Ghost keeps coming into the scriptorium and whining at me. In the good news/bad news department, it's beginning to appear that we don't have a busted pipe in the barn as I suspected. No, instead my washing machine is on the fritz. I've gone all winter without the blessed thing, and having tired of that I ran a hose to the barn and hooked the machine up to it. No connection with the barn itself, right? So imagine my surprise when the barn flooded again. Hm - that sucks. I've got to tell you, if you're thinking of the off-grid life and wonder what appliances are most important? Washing machine. Definitely.

I think tomorrow I'll have time free to actually do something with the Lair. Don't know if I'll actually accomplish anything, but it's been on my mind.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Firstfruits

Found some bolts and got the single-station press fastened to the counter. Then I wanted to load something. Anything. My .44 dies haven't come yet and the only caliber I had a whole bunch of components for, I didn't have a pistol to shoot! Bother.

But I loaded up five cautious rounds for M's .45 anyway. Just so I could say I did.

Elections should matter more than they do, Nancy. That's the whole point.

And also one reason* why I refuse to have anything to do with them. Left wing - right wing: Same stinking carrion bird in between.

But Nancy seems to think we'd all be better off without those annoying elections.



Elections would be okay with her, if only we all had "shared values" - which I take to mean that everybody outside the camps claims to agree with Nancy. It's all those horrid people who disagree with her who screw things up.

Personally I think we'd all be better off without Pelosi around to tell us what to do, but since it seems impossible to vote her out of office - and even if Californians did they'd only get another one who looks just like her (gag) - then I really don't know what she's bitching about, wanting to further downplay the importance of elections. As if they matter at all now.

H/T to Mayberry's New Site.

*"Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods." - H.L. Mencken, and that ain't ever gonna change even if we could get rid of Nancy and her ilk.

Funny you should mention that, guys.

I got a couple of comments saying I should watch what I say about the tractor. You were right, and I wasn't superstitious enough.

No, nothing really bad. Just in checking fluids, I found myself right out of hydraulic fluid. So I guess there's no digging till I fix that.

The tractor's running great, though. It's a great tractor! The love of my life! REALLY! (sob)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The desert contains, among other things...

...a very great deal of dirt. I feel like I've dug it all up, and am wearing quite a bit of what I dug. And I'm only half done. I've barely begun hauling horse shit. I've said it before and I'll say it again, those are some awfully big holes for planting apple trees in.

The good news is that as long as I don't let it run out of fuel, Gulchendiggensmoothen is handling all this with aplomb. Since M brought it home last autumn, this is the longest it's run without breakdown. I'm hoping we've got past the Old Tractor Blues and will get some mileage out of it now.

Awwww, gee. That's a shame.

Went out early to bleed the tractor's fuel lines and get him running, so I could spend happy hours digging holes. Almost got it, too, but then the battery started to drag. So I brought the battery home to charge it.

Gosh - that'll take hours. What a shame. Guess I'll have to go play with reloading stuff now, because it'd be a crime to waste a pretty day like that.

Friday, April 15, 2011

But we knew that.

TSA security looks at people who complain about ... TSA security
Washington (CNN) -- Don't like the way airport screeners are doing their job? You might not want to complain too much while standing in line.

Arrogant complaining about airport security is one indicator Transportation Security Administration officers consider when looking for possible criminals and terrorists, CNN has learned exclusively. And, when combined with other behavioral indicators, it could result in a traveler facing additional scrutiny.

CNN has obtained a list of roughly 70 "behavioral indicators" that TSA behavior detection officers use to identify potentially "high risk" passengers at the nation's airports.

Many of the indicators, as characterized in open government reports, are behaviors and appearances that may be indicative of stress, fear or deception. None of them, as the TSA has long said, refer to or suggest race, religion or ethnicity.

But one addresses passengers' attitudes towards security, and how they express those attitudes.

It reads: "Very arrogant and expresses contempt against airport passenger procedures."
Damn. Once again, I'm a terrorist. I must just be doing it wrong.

Happy Tax Day!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Become a hero to the Homeland! Get paid big bux!

All you gotta do is sell out your boss.

Yeah, this is the way I want MY government to encourage people to treat each other.
Recently, a small town accountant tipped off the IRS that his employer was shorting the government on taxes. He was rewarded with a big fat check for $4.5 million (minus a 28% federal tax withholding, of course).

(...)

US Senator Chuck Grassley, a key sponsor of the 2006 bill that beefed up the IRS Whistleblower Program, couldn’t be happier: “It ought to encourage a lot of other people to squeal,” said Grassley when commenting on the case.
Land of the free, home of the Stazi? Please not while I'm alive.

The writer makes an excellent point:
Long-time politicians like Grassley who have been in the nucleus of power for so long are exactly the sort of people who are responsible for decades of mismanagement and horrendous fiscal decision-making. And now, after running the government into the ground, what is their solution?

Turn people against each other. Breed mistrust. Incentivize suspicion. Reward cannibalistic witch hunts. George Orwell couldn’t have scripted it better.
Yet why shouldn't they think it works? People keep voting them back in.

No work today!

Got a call from GC Guy, who'd been threatening me with more yard work in lieu of making geiger counters. It turned cold and windy, far too much so for discretionary work outdoors. A man after my own heart.

Oh, my conscience will probably drive me to fill Gulchendiggensmoothen's tank and make at least a token effort to re-start him later. But for now, it's time for walkies.


Who's a handsome boy?


And there's my buddy Ghost...


...who, despite occasional protests to the contrary, has long since decided that LB's not so bad to have around after all. Ghost loves him a good running game, and LB never turns him down.

It's not exactly February cold, but far too blustery today for a serious walky unless there's better reason than any that came to mind. But the boys have been so good about the Gitmo thing that it'd be a crime not to indulge them when nothing else is doing.

Ban Assault Clippers!

Heh.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Brady Campaign: Keeping It Classy Since 2001



Where can I get some of those targets? Though I do agree that clips should be forbidden by law from assaulting people.

Aren't speeches supposed to have semantic content?

Rather than just words? I now know that Obama thinks it's very important for me to pay for other people's health care and for bombing far-away brown people. I also know Obama thinks taxpayers aren't being raped hard enough. But I already knew that. I was looking for some specifics - silly me - and all I got was argle-bargle. He's gonna save four trillion dollars, surprisingly planning to deliver this miracle over a period that exceeds his maximum term in office. How? He really doesn't say, but it's not by cutting any of the things government shouldn't be doing. No doubt the same way he saved or created all those millions of jobs a while back.

I deeply regret my uncharacteristic decision to read the transcript.

And...more wind.

GC Guy's component woes have still not come to an end. He asked me to report for duty this morning, and we ended up hauling garbage. Which isn't exactly what I signed up for, but there it is.

Good news is that I got a (paid!) ride to town out of it, which means I'm now the proud owner of five gallons of diesel for Gulchendiggensmoothen. Then we actually did some paying work, finishing up 300 ammonia testers for his company. But by the time I left the wind was blowing again and I was getting tired and stump-sore, so the tractor gets a visit maƱana. Here's hoping the wind isn't pushing all that dirt back into the hole in the meantime.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dig we must.

So this morning I drove M's tractor to shit-shoveling, scooped the manure pile into better shape, then filled the bucket with the first load we'll need for fruit trees. My mission: To dig the first hole of three, for three trees.

M's instructions were explicit: Each hole was to be eight feet cubed. I was verbal on the point that an eight by eight by eight hole would make a respectable storm cellar, and seemed excessive for an apple tree, but that's what he wants. He's been doing a lot of research on soil amendment, so maybe these will work out better than Landlady and T's first attempts did.

Getting the tractor to anywhere from the property can be harrowing because there's a very steep grade on the road and the last time I rode the tractor up it, it kept doing wheelies. That big backhoe is too much weight. So this time, I made a stop at the wash first and scooped up a bucket of sand and rocks. That did the trick. Dumped it at the top of the hill. The second issue to deal with is that, though I have lived a long and sometimes adventurous life, I have no experience with a backhoe. You know the guy you've watched at construction sites, who makes the backhoe look like it's one of his own arms? I'm not that guy. And I was correct in my surmise that it's not as easy as he makes it look. On the other hand, it's basically just digging a hole: It's not as hard as he'd probably want you to believe, either.

I may have to turn in my guy union card for admitting this, but it's really not my favorite thing. I worked on that hole for hours, gradually improving my speed and technique, and thought the noise and vibration were going to make my head fall off. I think next time I'll bring some earmuffs and see if that helps. At six feet I ran into rocks, which slowed matters somewhat, but finally achieved an eight-foot depth. Then I started widening the hole, which went substantially faster.

And then I ran out of diesel. Sigh. I'll bet it's gonna be a bitch to restart: I'll probably have to bleed the whole system again. But M did bring me some fuel cans, so now I have to get into town and fill them before I can continue.

But the really good news is that there's running water at the Meadow House, and I lit the water heater before I left this morning, which means by now there should be HOT running water there! Which means this afternoon I get my very first real bath since late December. Covered with grit as I am, the timing is pretty good.

Monday, April 11, 2011

"An Armed Society..."

Here's an article I wrote in the Libertarian Enterprise about nine years ago, concerning incidents that happened years before that. Maybe you'll enjoy it.
Aware that I was trespassing, that I was shabby and completely out of place, I began to retreat. But one man approached and asked if he could help me. He didn't ask it in the usual way that really means, "what are you doing here?" He asked it as if he might actually be willing to help if the request were reasonable. I said I had just followed the sound of the guns, and he asked if I wanted to join them. The suggestion was ridiculous to me, but he was serious. He offered me the loan of a shotgun. I recognized the gun from my reading on such things. It was worth more than my car.

Scaring the White People in California...

Here and there I've had a thing or two to say about the approach California activists have taken toward the open-carry movement, in which they seem to believe that scaring the white people will somehow cause California lawvermin to change their entire legislative history and suddenly act in gunowners' favor. Not gonna happen, I said. And the above-mentioned vermin wasted no time proving me right.

So this comes as no surprise. But the fail embodied in this article - on both sides of the argument - just burns.
The proposed law by State Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, a Democrat from Pasadena, is a response to a growing "open carry" movement. Open carry activists have held meetings at coffee shops and restaurants across California with their unloaded handguns in their holsters in accordance with current law.
And earned themselves a world of hassle from one cop after another, most of whom are not of the opinion that such unmutual behavior is legal - or should be.

But of course all the hassle that brave activists bring on themselves (and I do think they're very brave indeed - just not doing their cause any favors) is not enough for some people. Like anybody from the Brady Bunch:
"I'm very concerned about the open carry movement. It seems to be expanding," said Suzanne Verge of the Los Angeles chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Which is like a mosquito being 'very concerned' about my choice in insect repellent - she shouldn't expect me to share her concern.

But seriously, some of these people cross the "please don't be on my side" line.
"The terrorists are coming and they'd just love to see us disarmed," she [not Suzanne Verge] said.
Which is just tinfoil-hattish enough to get quoted by Southern California Public Radio, to bolster the opposite view from the one the speaker thought she was advancing.

And the cops! Oh, god - the cops...
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck supports banning the practice, which places police officers in the position of determining whether someone on the street has a gun to commit a crime or is simply exercising his or her rights.
...Which is of course exactly the reason that police also wish to ban the possession of automobiles, pipes, baseball bats, trenchcoats... Because those things 'place police officers in the position of determining...' what, exactly? Since when was that a cop's business? In my perfect world cops would not exist would involve themselves in the activities of their contemporaries only when those people were harming other people by breaking mala in se laws. But here in 1984-Land, they're somehow empowered to determine your intent in demonstrating possession of some article or other.

Gad, I'm glad I don't live in California anymore. Not that the attitudes expressed there are uncommon elsewhere.

Will somebody please tell me...

Why are so many people clicking on my blog to look at a picture of the Nissan Cube? Why would anyone ever want to do that?

Look at the car, that is - not visit the blog, which is a very fine and potentially enlightening thing to do. 8^}

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I must lay flowers on the grave of Alexander Cummings.

I am convinced that the greatest creation of western culture is the flush toilet. I stand - and occasionally sit - in awe at its simple elegance, its ability to make one of life's most noisome byproducts simply go away, at the press of a small lever.

Truly, a marvelous invention. I accelerate my efforts to possess one of my very own.

HPAV Gulchendiggensmoothen is back in action!

Replaced the missing fuel system part, and he started up as if he hadn't just spent a whole winter's hiatus. Just before M left, we used the bucket to load a big cell tower battery into his pickup. We've been gradually moving them to the city for salvage.


In the next couple of weeks I'm contracted to start digging holes for fruit trees and import horse shit, so I'll be re-learning how to use the thing.

We had a good weekend's work and play. We got the plumbing system fixed, and it doesn't even leak. Got the tractor running. Poured a whole bunch of concrete and laid two courses of block on M's Dome. The curved wall is almost done!


Got an old RV cleaned out and all our reloading gear/components moved over there. I've got to level it and get the interior laid out, but this old trailer's got perfect bench space - plus we can set up a shooting bench and target stands right outside. We may finally get some use from M's chronograph.

A good weekend! Now I'm very hungry and stump-sore, plus the boys are mad at me. So I'm gonna make some lunch and make it up to them.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lousy weather, good day.

The wind blew hard all night, then harder and colder this morning. Along around 10 it started to snow. It's still snowing, and the temperature gets lower by the hour. It's around freezing now, and overnight I suspect it's gonna be something of an ordeal.

That's okay, though - we got some work done on M's wall this morning, spent some happy time at a gun shop, then came home and got water running in Landlady's Meadow House! YAY! My fears that something bad had happened to the pressure pump have proven unfounded, which is super duper excellent. Also, once some JB Weld has a chance to set up, the tractor shows signs of actually wanting to start after sitting most all winter. Uncle Joel's happy!

Ghost and Little Bear celebrated by running off. The temperature headed toward freezing with white-out conditions, I bloody well let them. They eventually came home - Ghost was freezing to death, LB was white with snow and comfortable as a winter dog in winter. He wasn't particularly thrilled about coming inside, but they both got a good rub-down and now he's all bedded down with Click, who has gone back to remembering that she's his mom. I've got bean stuff in the pressure cooker, and M and I are gonna watch a movie and get down.

When we got together and looked at all the reloading stuff we (mostly he) had, it occurred to us that we were actually in pretty damned good shape to get our reloading act together with a minimum of outlay. So at the gun shop we dropped about $200 on components and toys, and I have a new project that's actually interesting and fun. Both of us used to do quite a bit of reloading but stopped for various reasons. With my series of moves several years ago I lost or gave alway most of my gear, but M's actually in pretty good shape. He's got a new .45 Colt, I've got a new .44 Special, both of us use a lot of .45 Auto, and it's time to set up a reloading shop. We've even got space! So that's the new happy project. Once we/I work out the kinks with pistol ammo, we'll start getting serious about working out new loads for our respective .308 rifles. I used to have a good load for my Browning but now don't even have the notes, and he's got a Savage that will probably do well with something similar.

If the weather cooperates tomorrow we'll be doing more concrete. Whether or not it does, we want to get the tractor moving and use it to move a new target stand to the wash. A couple of weeks ago M brought some armor plate for reactive targets. If we can get it set up, and start reloading, we can both get back into shooting. He used to be one hell of a shot and I used to be pretty good, but practice tells and neither of us have done much practice in the past couple of years. Hopefully that will be changing over this next summer.

M's Video!

My friend M's hoping to win a video contest on something called getrichslowly.org. Y'all might recognize the house project. I think he's got a pretty good shot! What do you think?

Friday, April 8, 2011

QoD - "Violent Logic" Edition

If it weren’t so deadly serious I would find it quite amusing that anti-gun activists get all bent out of shape and claim they feel threatened when millions of people peaceably carry concealed firearms in public every day. Yet they advocate passing laws that would mandate those same peaceable people give up their defensive tools at the point of a policeman’s gun and claim we are the ones threatening violence.
- Joe Huffman

Yeah, I know it's a cliche'.

Is this the hope, or the change?
The Obama Justice Department produced a 14-page document Thursday justifying President Obama’s war in Libya. The document claims: “The President had the constitutional authority to direct the use of military force in Libya because he could reasonably determine that such use of force was in the national interest.”

The Justice memo fully embraces the President Bush administration view of Executive Power and directly contradicts then-Senator Obama’s 2007 statement that: “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” On March 27th, Obama’s Defense Secretary admitted that Libya did not pose an actual or imminent threat to the United States and “was not a vital national interest to the United States.”
Meet the new boss...

The sad part of all this is that nothing will change in two years. No more than anything changed two years ago. Jimmy Carter was voted in as a reaction to Nixon/Ford, and that was the last time an American president actually tried to swim against the political tide. That poor silly fool actually tried to change things, and it destroyed him. And what was his last effective action? Dead soldiers in Iran - what a surprise. Then we got Reagan (Lebanon/Libya/Panama/Grenada), who 'great communicated' the country to stop worrying and start loving the military-industrial complex again. Followed by that worthless apparatchik Bush I (Kuwait/Iraq), and couldn't-keep-it-in-his-pants Clinton (Iraq,sorta/Yugoslavia), and where-the-hell-did-this-rube-come-from Bush II (Afghanistan/Iraq), and now Obama (Libya/TBD).

Here's another cliche': "The more things change..."

Sandblasted Me

Oh, I should have closed the lid on my laptop before I left this morning.

A good high desert windstorm really sucks the moisture out of you. And deposits tons of grit and sand and ick that may have been in Mexico earlier this morning. Maybe this is their way of thanking us for Gunwalker.

Since I'm temporarily out of the geiger counter business, it was time to catch up on my shit shoveling. So I had promised and so I delivered, but I didn't count on a windstorm that kept sweeping the shit off the fork before I could get it to the wagon. That kept trying to push my wooden leg out from under me. That made me just want to find a nice solid wall to hide behind for the rest of the day. Three hours, and I feel like I just walked the Mojave on my knees.

This is a major one, and no day to work outside. But M's coming up tonight and was really hoping to use his tractor; lordy, I've still got to fix the fuel system, but I'm not even sure I can get the engine hood off without major damage. Next time I find a sheltered spot to park it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"I know this is fiscal disaster and all, but..."

"I'm sorry - that's just frickin' hilarious."

Last week I told you how GC guy's delight at being able to order components by the pallet load turned to anger and disillusionment when the pallet went awry. And further awry. And then got lost entirely...

Well, yesterday he got a call from the freight company. The pallet was due that very day, sorry for the delay, blah blah. The timing was excellent: Without that shipment, yesterday was the very, very last day we could build geiger counters. In fact I only worked half a day yesterday.

This morning I get to the site and GC Guy's got all the furniture piled in the center of the room, and he's getting ready to staple up insulation - something we haven't had time to do previously.

"Uh...no cases?"

GC Guy spun to face me, and I didn't know if he was going to laugh or set fire to the place. "Do you know what those *&^%s sent us? One thousand, six hundred and eighty cases, all with the wrong logo molded into them. They're useless!"

I didn't want to laugh. I mean, not right in front of him. But sometimes self control just isn't enough, y'know? And anyway, we're almost out of a lot of other things besides cases - that was just the first count to go to zero. We've gotta get our supply train in place if we're gonna do this, and this failure wasn't really the disaster it would otherwise have been.

So we spent the day insulating the new building, and we're out of the geiger counter building business for a while. Color me heartbroken.

$%^&!! Owls!!

Haven't had much in the way of chances to visit the Secret Lair, even though the weather's moderated and it's been on my mind. Went there this afternoon for the first time in a couple of days to fill some water bottles.

Seems I wasn't the only visitor. I'm guessing owls, or maybe hawks. From the size of the dumps I wouldn't be surprised by a roc, or maybe a flying dragon or two.





I'll put up with a lot to live the way I want to live. But damned if I'm gonna stand still for this. I've got some veneer I can cut into strips, and then I'm gonna pound a whole bunch of wire brads through the strips and nail the strips, brad points up, to the porch roof supports where those birds have been roosting. I mean, that's just rude.

Government shutdown?? OMG!! Gloom! Despair! Shadenfreude!

Whatever shall we do? Here in my hole in the ground I've recently learned what everybody else probably already knows all about - THE GOVERNMNENT'S GONNA SHUT DOWN!!11ZOMG!!

If only.


Of course, remembering last time when "Mr. Newt" thought he could win big points over Clinton by forcing a "shutdown" and got his political ass handed to him instead, the big question really is - Who'll Get Blamed?

Well here's a shock - it depends on who you ask. Conservatives have their answer, liberals have their own. None of these many polls I glanced at asked the real question, and I suppose none ever will:

Why do we need ANY of you bastards?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Here's a nasty little trip down memory lane.

I was a dealership technician for several years, into the middle 'eighties. In my first dealership, being low guy on the stick, I got sent to school to learn how to service Oldsmobile diesels. Little did I imagine the horrors to follow - in the small Texas town where I wrenched, two big oil well service companies bought whole fleets of Delta 88's with the miserable things. Which meant I practically specialized in keeping them running.

From the article:
The ideal gas laws tell us that as a volume of gas is compressed, its temperature goes up, and, in the case of a diesel engine, it's compressed until the diesel fuel in the combustion chamber ignites. This leads to much higher compression ratios and combustion chamber pressures than is present in a gasoline engine. Typically, diesel engines have more and stronger head bolts to compensate for the diesel's higher cylinder. The Oldsmobile diesel, however, maintained the same 10-bolt pattern and head bolts as gasoline engines', so that common production tooling could be used for both the gasoline and diesel engines.

In the field, this proved disastrous. The insufficient head bolts stretched or broke and led to head-gasket failures. Once the head gasket was breached, coolant leaked into the cylinders, and because clearances in a diesel engine are so tight, invariably this lead to hydrolock and severe engine damage.
Yeah, that was one of the more expensive things that could go wrong, but the list of possible failures was extensive and sometimes comical. Like the fuel injector pump: A proven Roosa Master design, almost identical to a pump John Deere tractors had used for decades. Bolt them to the Oldsmobile, and the failure rate was better than 100%. Why? The pump is supposed to be liquid-cooled, sure, but on the Deere it's bolted outside the block. The brilliant Oldsmobile designers buried it inside a deep cavity in the intake manifold, with the air crossover, air filter housing and engine hood to make sure it got no air circulation at all. Then they routed the fuel line in such a way that by the time fuel actually reached the pump it was supposed to cool, it was practically ready to boil. We had infinite problems with those pumps, which took hours to swap out.

More horror stories below the fold.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Funny you should mention that, Mike...

When two guys sit around in a stuffy barn wiring stuff together all day, they get to talking about weird stuff.

GC Guy wanted to know why, since I'm pathologically and passionately negative on the whole subject of government, I don't have anything against religionists - even of the most enthusiastically evangelical stripe.

I answered something like this: "People who show up uninvited on your doorstep can be annoying, no doubt about it. And yeah, their message sort of boils down to a threat, that I've got to get right with god or he'll kill me. But the difference between them and a government agent is that they're willing to leave the violence up to god - they don't bring it themselves. To their way of thinking, they're really just trying to be helpful."

Then I come home and see this. Here's perennial presidential candidate Mike Huckabee saying, “I almost wish that there would be, like, a simultaneous telecast, and all Americans would be forced–forced at gunpoint no less–to listen to every David Barton message, and I think our country would be better for it. I wish it’d happen.”

Uh huh. Rotsa Ruck with that 2012 thing, Mike. Maybe it depends on what the meaning of "almost wish" is.

Clueless in Chicago

Okay! Here's a guy who's been mayor - for just the longest time - of a city with some of the strictest handgun regs in the country, a city which also vies annually for Murder Capitol of America. The State of Illinois finally considers the possibility of joining the twentieth century, handgun-wise, and what does Mayah Daley have to say about it? Aw, you already know...
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is criticizing state legislation that would allow gun owners to conceal and carry their weapons. Lawmakers in Springfield are considering a bill that would permit gun owners over the age of 21 to apply for a concealed carry permit.

Speaking out against the legislation, Daley invoked the assassination of Martin Luther King, Junior.
As I recall, MLK was murdered by a guy with a rifle. But what the hell - incongruity has become a trademark of anti-gun whiners from sea to shining sea. Why should Daley be different?

Concerning Geiger Counters...

I got a question in the comments about how one would go about acquiring one of the geiger counters I've been talking about so much for the past month.

Well...the company I've been working for is here, and they do advertise them on the link. The price has skyrocketed in the past month, and isn't going anywhere but up. Part of this is pure greed and opportunism, and part is because just when we started ordering parts in bulk a lot of THOSE prices took a big jump. These are very good, simple meters, not very robust but in every other way an excellent choice - but the price has gone up to $350 and some places is selling for much higher. They're sold under a number of different brand names, but they're all made in a secluded barn in the desert.

If there is substantial interest among TUAK readers, I might be able to help. I also might not - right now we're suffering severe parts shortages and there's no way I can skim any off the top because we can't satisfy the demands of GC Guy's company. But that situation might ease in the next couple of weeks. Until the panic, GC Guy sold them under his own name on Ebay, and if I can get him to sell me the makings at cost, I could possibly get some at a TUAK price of something under $150. I say IF - no promises at this time. There's no way I could make this a regular thing on the blog, because that would be pulling the rug out from under a friend and benefactor, but I'll look into the possibility of a one-time offer if there's any interest out there.

What do you think? If a number of readers are interested, I'll see what I can do. I will warn you up front that, due to my peculiar living arrangements, delivery times are likely to be ridiculously long.

Monday, April 4, 2011

QoD - "Suffer Not the King" edition

If George Washington knew you were Tweeting about the British royal wedding, he'd snatch the iPhone from your hand and kick your ass.
- Tam

Some days just don't go so good.

Woke up and it was 24 degrees outside. Ate some breakfast stew and popped a cap off a tooth. Went to GC Guy's, suffered through his Monday-morning meltdown, and spent seven hours straight wiring together the guts of geiger counters. The REALLY bad news is that I'm getting good at it.

I hate winter. And geiger counters. And sobriety.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Click is acting very strangely.

It's impossible in two separate and very important ways, so I'm not suggesting it, okay? But she's acting like a cat with a new litter of kittens.

Seriously, I think my interpretation of her disappearance a few nights ago was all wet, because she's done the same thing every night since then. She only comes in to eat. She doesn't cuddle with Little Bear any more. In fact she's kinda jumpy around him. Actually, she's jumpy around everybody. She doesn't even sleep on the sunny spot in the afternoon. She spends all her time in the barn. This isn't normal.

A litter is impossible. I'm thinking maybe a rat ranch. It's gotten out of hand and is requiring all her time.

Three Years Ago Today.


The place is still running, T.

Wow, that's timing. Thank you!

Just this morning I was wondering whether I should send forth a bleg for the IP funds to keep TUAK going a few more months. Then I logged on and got an email from Landlady, saying such funds had just arrived!

Thank you very much!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

How much does it cost?

The other day we talked about Obama getting an award for (snicker) transparency in government - in a closed meeting.

Now I hear a number of the "transparency" efforts that did take place are about to go.
One government official, who requested anonymity because they didn't get permission to discuss the topic, said funding will begin to run out on April 20 for public sites IT Dashboard, Data.gov and paymentaccuracy.gov. The source said OMB also is planning on shutting down internal government sites, including Performance.gov, FedSpace and many of the efforts related the FEDRamp cloud computing cybersecurity effort.

The official said two other sites, USASpending.gov and Apps.gov/now, will run through July 30 but go dark soon after.

"We need at least another $4 million just to keep USASpending.gov operating this year," the official said. "We are looking at a pass-the-hat approach, but it could be challenging to get that done in time."
Okay - assuming you already control the information these websites are supposed to make public, how the hell much money does it take to run the lousy website that posts the numbers? Millions? Tens of millions? Huh?

I wanna be a government when I grow up. Imagine the wealth you can piss away!

It's actually...hot!

I'd gotten so used to being cold all the time. Lately I've only been cold in the mornings. Gradually it became an important question whether I had enough t-shirts, rather than sweatshirts, to get through to the next shot at a washing machine. Today I started OUT in a t-shirt, and having just come back from a long walkie with the boys I'm actually sweating. In a t-shirt. I should be near death from hypothermia.

It feels really weird.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Would you like to know something I learned today?

"Hot Redheads" is a very common image search term.

Very, very common.

Oh, this is so wrong.

GC Guy's Wife went to the big town about fifty miles away today. She asked if there was something she could pick up there for me. Half joking, I told her I needed a belt holster for a .44 snubby.

She called me from a gun shop for more details. That's the kind of people I live near. 8^)

Anyway, she did find an Uncle Mike's that just barely fits the Taurus, so that's cool till I find something I like better. But I also asked her to pick me up a box of cartridges. She called back a few minutes later: "Are you SURE you want me to buy this?"

Check out this fiscal horror:



Am I saving the brass? Yeah, I think I'm saving the brass. :^(

Wow, Click gave me a terrible scare this morning.

It's one of those things where you wake up and immediately something's wrong. In winter, Click always sleeps with me. She doesn't spend the whole night there, because she's a nocturnal hunter. But in the morning she's always there. If she isn't, it's cause for alarm.

This morning she wasn't. I got up and looked all around for her. I was sure I'd seen her last night before I turned in, but maybe I misremembered that and she got stuck somewhere else. I'd been down at the Meadow House in the evening: I looked there, no Click. I looked in the barn, the powerhouse, the Jeep. No Click.

That's not good. Night is the time of most danger, and if she was gone there wasn't one single earthly thing I could do about it except feel bad. I gave up, and wondered how I'd phrase the email in which I told Landlady another of her animals was missing and presumed dead.

I put the boys in Gitmo and gave them their treats, preparing to go fiddle with geiger counter-related activities. I trudged back to the Interim Lair, my ears perked for the sound of a certain cat's squeaky little meow. Several times this morning I thought I'd heard it, but it was always my plastic foot squeaking. But this time I heard it standing still in the yard. I looked around and she came trotting toward me from the direction of the barn. I couldn't find any wounds, but she seems agitated and unhappy.

I suspect she had a close call too far from the lair and spent some hours hiding from an attacker that missed her. I'm just glad she's alive. She's very smart, unlike my departed tomcat Butch, and what doesn't kill her will very likely make her stronger. Right now, before going to work, I'm gonna open a can of special cat food for her because I'm absurdly glad she's alive.