Monday, April 30, 2012

Sigh - my cat is broken.

It started before we even moved into the Lair last November. For years, every morning I had to watch where I stepped because Click would often spread mouse innards all over the floor overnight. She brought all of them in from the outside, which is not how it would work in a perfect world, but I dared not complain: With the MouseMasticator on the job, no rodent would ever dare actually invade my home.

Then, late last year, she abruptly stopped doing it.

She put on a lot of weight. She took to hanging out with Little Bear day and night. She even wants to snuggle. Not just share body heat, she's always done that. No, she wants to nuzzle and buzz and have her head rubbed.

Who are you, and what have you done with my cat?

One of the things I've always liked about Click is that she's still alive, after something like eight years. She's got survival in a coyote-rich environment down. I don't know how she learned it, though I assume several near-death experiences were involved. The question is, how to pass that on?

Quite some time ago Landlady suggested that after I move, and before Click gets too old, I need to get her a kitten. The theory is that she'll pass on, if only by osmosis, the extremely rare trick of getting old in the desert. I haven't gotten around to it, not because I think it's a bad idea (though in the kitten's last moments on earth she might not think it was such a fabulous idea) but from a scarcity of kittens.

But a few days ago I pulled out my big chair to sweep around it and found - mouse droppings. INDOORS. Click is taking retirement far too seriously. This is unacceptable.

I need a new cat. Female, adaptable, and preferably about half feral. Must do well with dogs.

Opinions expressed in this video...

...are those of the video's producers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of TUAK, its staff or management. None of whom have ever owned a Glock.

We just thought it was funny.

H/T to Laura.

Oh - Bama, what have you done?

Here's a meme with legs...

H/T to Claire.

UPDATE: Of politicians and exploding cigars, and when you know you should have let sleeping dogs lie.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"An anomaly in the crotch area"

Since we're talking about crotches and Clinton's out of office, you already knew this was a TSA story, right?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

If it's a good idea, why should you force people to do it?

Here's this NPR advocacy piece. It opens with a typical horrifying anecdote about an Alabama family that got caught in one of last year's Spring tornadoes.
Lisa, his wife, peered up into the swirling sea of debris and saw her son, Noah, floating above her — high above her, Lisa says: "I actually saw him up in the air, stuck up in it, being tossed around as high as the power lines."

Noah was twisting, churning, flying through the air, held up high by the tornado's angry winds. And then, Noah remembers, "the wind just immediately stopped, and I was going down headfirst, and then I think my helmet just cracked."
Yeah, they'd stuck a baseball helmet on their kid's head before heading for the ... shower stall, which was the closest thing they had to a tornado shelter. (ed note: The shower stall doesn't seem to have helped much.) The helmet, however, may well have saved Noah's life.

 I've lived in a tornado zone. I spent four years in the Texas panhandle, and tornado warnings were routine this time of the year. One storm in particular, I will remember clearly until my dying day. I thought there was a good chance that would be my dying day. It didn't occur to me to put on a helmet, but it wouldn't have been a bad idea. A little dorky, maybe, but still.

Hey, I think wearing a helmet on a motorcycle is simple common sense. In the incident that cost me my left leg and the remainder of my girlish laughter, my helmet was smashed. I think motorcycle helmets are a very good idea. I just don't think common sense needs a law.

And of course I did mention this was an advocacy piece, right?
The CDC website tells motorcyclists to wear helmets because they save lives; ditto for bicyclists. But if a tornado is bearing down? The CDC recommends people use their hands to protect their heads. It makes no mention of a helmet. For three months we tried to interview someone from the CDC, but the agency would only email a statement, which said: "The scientific evidence from helmet use during tornadoes is inadequate to make a recommendation." This has angered safety advocates such as Russ Fine. "I think their silence is deafening," he says, "and I'm embarrassed for them — terribly embarrassed for them."
Why is this so important to "safety advocates?" If they think helmets are a good precaution for tornadoes, why aren't they spreading the word - and the helmets - on their own? Why do they need the CDC?

The two other CDC-related issues the article mentions are seat belts and smoking. I think seat belts and quitting smoking are good ideas, too, and I'm a smoker. But those were two issues the CDC did decide to involve itself with, and now they're so surrounded with intrusive nanny laws I hate the sound of them.

Here's an idea: If you think something is a good idea, do it. If it turns out to actually be a good idea, spread the word.

If you think it's such a good idea that everybody should be forced to do it at the barrel of a gun, go to hell.

Now I'm very hungry. And tear-stained.

Dig We Must...

Bother. I'm going to end up digging out more of the hill beside M's Dome.

I've been industriously filling up the trench around the Dome, finally making perceptible progress. In fact as I approached the tight turn behind the Dome, I was making really good progress. Until I found myself with the bucket hitting the vertical face of the hill going in, and reeeeally wanting to scrape the dome itself coming back out. Hm.

Between the bucket and the backhoe, Ol' Gulchendiggensmoothen is actually rather long. Now I'm thinking it doesn't want to make that turn at all.

Guess we'll work it out. I'll push more of the hill into the hole if I have to, but I truly don't want to have to.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pray for Bo!

Offered without comment, excep(SNORT) Er, except for(choke, hee, heeheehahahaHAAAA...)

Winter is no longer welcome.

So yesterday afternoon I got a call from my weekender neighbor L, who phoned to tell me Ghost was over at her house. This being Thursday, it came as more of a surprise than usual. Ghost often spends weekends with them, because ... well, sausage, that's why. He always seems happy to see me again.

Anyway, for some reason that made it seem like a good time to go over to Landlady's house and watch a movie. She's got this big hard drive full of entertainment, which she offered to lend me but I can't run my 'pooter at night right now. Ghost will put up with LL's house for about an hour, then starts with the in/out whine. It's annoying. But Little Bear doesn't mind joining me, and about halfway through this movie I noticed that it was raining. It had been sunny when we started, but this is the season of unpredictable weather. Anyway, we went back to the Lair well before sundown, and it was already cold. On Wednesday the temps were pushing ninety, but yesterday after the rain it was in the mid-fifties. Got home just in time for more rain.

Woke up this morning, 33o. Barely fifty indoors. I could have started a fire, but I just got that whole area cleaned up inside and out. So like an idiot I spent almost five hours bundled up indoors like frickin' Nanook of the frickin' North, waiting for the sun to heat the Lair.

Yeah, I used to do it all the time, but that was when propane cost money and putting on layers didn't. I've got plenty of firewood that doesn't cost me anything but chainsaw maintenance and labor. Just lazy, I guess. One thing I hadn't appreciated about heating with wood is what a mess it makes, and I'm tired of dealing with it for now.


I don't usually go for slogan T-shirts, no longer being sixteen. But...yeah.

Ian's would look good with his tactical kilt.

So you bought a whole fleet of cars, and then you ... forgot you had them?

I can understand. I do that with plumbing parts all the time.

Never did it with a car before. Certainly I'm pretty sure I'd remember 300 cars.

But then, I use my own money so it doesn't count.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Maybe TSA really is making us safer?

Via Claire, I see this snippet about one of TSA's latest outrages...

In her terror, Isabella tried to run away rather than face a full body pat-down, which unsurprisingly enraged the TSA officers further.

One officer even told the girl's mother that the airport would have to be shut down and every flight cancelled if the four-year-old did not co-operate. They also apparently described the little girl as a 'high security threat'
This one's got everything: Hysterical little girl chased and abused by uniformed thugs. Hysterical federal agents loudly threatening to make everybody in the airport suffer for her "crimes." Absurd accusations about handguns inside teddy bears.

I love it. I mean, I'm sorry for the little girl and her family. But consider the education this kid has received in return for her parents' tax dollars! Do you think she'll ever, in the rest of her hopefully long life, make the mistake of believing "Mr. Policeman is your friend?" So she's probably safer as a result of TSA's selfless efforts, in any case.

I think what's called for here is a reality TV show! Yes! All the drama of "Top Shots" without the annoying fake conflict. Real-life consequences for violating ludicrously arbitrary, poorly-defined rules. No need for sets or expensive actors, no shortage of outrages to exploit for their entertainment value. The government would actually serve a useful purpose for once. And it would be so easy for the producers to sell the concept to DHS, since our intrepid protectors seem to have no sense whatsoever that they're pissing people off in wholesale lots.

And no matter how over the top the junior-league Gestapo gets in fondling small children or forcing mothers to drink their own milk, the show can never jump the shark. Can't be done. Why not? Because it's all proper procedure, of course!

'TSA has reviewed the incident and determined that our officers followed proper current screening procedures in conducting a modified pat-down on the child.'

I've actually had moments like this.

Thank God for the boon of spending my youth in a pre-YouTube era. I may have been an idiot, but there's no documentary evidence of how BIG an idiot.

Every YouTube Response Video Ever -- powered by

Be Careful What You Say...

...If you don't want people to know what you're really doing.

Stroke of the pen, law of the land. Pretty cool!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I gotta get me one of these.

It would go well with Claire's gift:

And so much more specific and polite!

(BTW, Claire: In the end I couldn't bear to put it on a pole outdoors. Hell, even I'd steal such an awesome sign. So it has place of honor on my Wall of Kitsch.)

H/T to Mr. Completely.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

So she wishes we'd earn more so we can pay more?

Nancy, I've gone to some lengths to earn less. Much less. You and your sort are one of the reasons for that.

Tell you what: I'll promise to earn more, if you (and all your buddies) promise to go away and never come back. I don't even want a Christmas card. But I won't do it for the purpose of paying more.

And payroll tax? Whazzat?

Hail, Knight of Disgusting Practices, Pt. 3

So this is the spring I'm going to give it a try.

Oh, I know it'll come to nothing. Look up "Brown Thumb" in the dictionary and I'm pretty sure my picture is still there. And even if something grows the rabbits'll probably get it, though they do seem to ignore melons.

Everything in my meadow slopes toward the wash, of course: I'm basically on a little shelf between the wash and where a couple of ridges come together. So I bermed up the downslope sides of this experimental little garden patch, where I've been dumping my woodstove ashes all winter. Now I spread the ash and a whole bunch of nice, seasoned goat manure. I've got a few bags of potting soil left over from starting the seeds, and it'll go in there as well. Spade it all in, and I'm ready to go. With the patch bermed with dirt left over from the septic pit dig, I can flood the whole thing. And I've got plenty of straw to keep the evaporation down.

So I picked up the manure yesterday after shit-shoveling, and made one leeeetle mistake. I dumped yesterday's shoveling into the Jeep's trailer, and of course that's all horse shit. Some of it still warm from the horse.  I just did it in the spirit of waste not want not, but I'd forgotten something important...

Yeah: Ghost was in there roughly six picoseconds after I turned my back, yesterday evening. And of course he unerringly found the right place to roll...

I will never understand why some dogs enjoy doing that.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Must be Spring...

Weather's getting weird. Yesterday we had our first thunderstorm of the year: Not a cloud in the sky in the AM, and by four you wanted to avoid standing under junipers because the lightning was scary. Did the same this morning, now it's clouding up again. Wonder if we'll get any rain?
Baby Alexandra was having a good time, though...

Bringing the war home

I thought the terrorists were supposed to do that to us?
Ten years of association have given "detainee" the synonymous meaning in America as those to whom no rights apply – especially in prison. It has been long in use in America, habituating us to link it with a condition in which random Muslims far away may be stripped by the American state of any rights. Now the term – with its associations of "those to whom anything may be done" – is being deployed systematically in the direction of … any old American citizen.
Where are we headed? Why? These recent laws criminalizing protest, and giving local police – who, recall, are now infused with DHS money, military hardware and personnel – powers to terrify and traumatize people who have not gone through due process or trial, are being set up to work in concert with a see-all-all-the-time surveillance state.
H/T to Claire.

Right! For the record, today's the day...

...the great ice age starts. Future generations of our scattered, nearly exterminated species will curse my name. In some simple, degenerate dialect.

Yes, I've put the stovewood back in its crib and cleaned the tiles. The apocalypse will likely arrive before lunch.

Tomorrow I plan to bag up the coats and woolies. If that doesn't bring an ice asteroid down on my head, I really can't imagine what would.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

It's a start...

ONION: Every Potential 2040 President Already Unelectable Due to Facebook

Hee. Unfortunately the prez isn't really the problem here, but still. It's a start.

Now let's see if you computer guys can invent some social medium that will disqualify any potential members of the bureaucracy from attending the "right" schools ... or maybe from developing aggressively elitist views...

Hmmm. iProstitute? FaceWeed?

Or, maybe...hmmm...MyHermit!

H/T to Carl.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

This kind of job drives me nuts...

You think you're done, right? And then you wash off the dust, and find you're not done at all. This thing apparently spent most of its time with the sun on its front, because the clear coat was just bubbling off it there. And every time I thought I had it feathered down and paintable, it turned out I'd just opened up a whole bunch more unfeathered transitions.  So I finally just burned through a whole bunch of sanding disks and took it all off.  Time consuming, but I finally got paid.

I put damn near ten hours into this thing by the end.

Say Hello to STASI for me...

I feel so much %#I@ING SAFER...

METRO launched a national BusSafe pilot program last Friday that saturated its system and resulted in quality arrests, making transit safer for passengers.
You wanna guess how many of those arrested passengers felt safer?
a synchronized, counter-terrorism exercise
What were the "quality arrests" for during this "synchronized, counter-terrorism exercise?" Since this was a TSA boondoggle, we should be justified in assuming that all those "quality arrests" were for terrorism. Seems like a lot of terrorists to be gathering in Houston all of a sudden, but who knows what those nefarious ragheads will do next, hey? Thank God for...wait...
Law officials performed random bag checks, conducted sweeps with our K-9 drug and bomb-detecting dogs, and assigned both uniformed and plainclothes officers at transit centers and rail platforms to detect and prevent criminal activity. terrorists, then. What a shock.

This VIPR thing gets under my skin in a way that the original TSA airport security theater really didn't. First, there were "security" checkpoints at airports for years before TSA came along, so everybody had gotten used to the sight, and although I used to fly a lot on business those days were pretty much done by 9/11. So from a purely personal viewpoint, though of course I love to hate TSA it never really impacted me very much. And of course VIPR is also unlikely to do so: Since the whole idea of VIPR is to put the fear of government into non-air travelers, they'll stick to high-visibility targets.

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.

Yet here we are.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Hee

Hey, I've eaten some things you can't find on the average restaurant menu, and under the necessary circumstances I wouldn't turn my nose up at well-cooked dog. I just think it's hilarious that this is the thing some Dem chose to chase Romney with, and there it was, in one of Obama's loving memoirs, ticking like a small smelly bomb, just waiting for the right moment...


Fired up the blog this morning to find that the posting interface had completely changed to something more reminiscent of Wordpress. I don't find Wordpress's interface an improvement, frankly, but I didn't have a strong opinion on the matter until I previewed my post and found that all my paragraph breaks were gone.  I like to compose on the HTML window, and for some reason the NEW! IMPROVED! HTML window doesn't see a reason for para breaks. You can see them right there, but they're not actually there.

I hate Blogger. Used to be I only found it annoying and it would still be so IF THEY'D JUST STOP "IMPROVING" IT!

Too busy to get old, too old to get busy...

Ooooh. Six hours I spent on that thing. Back hurts.

My neighbors have this old horse trailer they've been rehabilitating. It's one of those situations where they bought a big, elaborate trailer perfectly capable of hauling a ridiculous number of horses to any conceivable event and all but living out of it for the duration - and then discovered that what they mostly needed was just a little, bare-bones trailer for one or two beasts, simple and easy to hitch and unhitch and haul. Having spent all their money on Trailerzilla, they are now slowly rehabbing the small "fixer-upper" trailer that they actually use, which they bought for a song and a lot of work and aggravation. They replaced the plank floor, hired a local guy to reweld a bunch of rusty bits in danger of falling off, and now they're getting ready to paint it. That's where I came in: They hired me to do all the sanding.

Six hours. Honest ones, too: From ten to four, I used their nice Milwaukee orbital sander with no more than a couple of brief smoke breaks. I was proud.

I was also, as always happens, put in mind of the fact that this new life of mine contains aspects more suitable to a young man. Such days tend to send me into meditations on Social Security, its pros and cons, and the extent to which a person can bend his principles and still sleep at night. Claire outed me yesterday as a birthday boy, and yesterday outed me as a birthday boy who's starting to get, as the saying goes, 'too old for this sort of thing.'

But them's the breaks. The purpose of the exercise is to see how inexpensively I can happily live, and whether I can satisfy my money needs with local cash gigs. The answers are "quite inexpensively" and "mostly yes." But those gigs generally involve actual labor, and some of them hurt this old man. Not complaining, I knew the job was dangerous when I took it, Fred. Just stating the fact.

Not at all sure I'm done with the trailer. I've got to go back this morning for shit-shoveling, and I hope he's ready to point out deficiencies at that time so I can finish it up and not have it hanging over my head.

 Oh, and getting paid would also be wery nice.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

In lieu of my usual "Interesting Times Day" post...

Read this instead.

Believe it or not, I have to go sand down a horse trailer now. Considering my history with whirly power tools, I'd just like to say it's been nice knowing you.

I suppose I could look it up, but...

...I don't want to.

Just what does "vaginalistic" mean, anyway?

And cooties? Really, Sarah?

"I'm glad we're spending billions to keep airplanes soup-free."

In Re: What we were talking about yesterday...

The TSA Blog: Spending your money to educate you on the idiocy of government since ... whenever it started.
Chicken Soup for Your Pants? – Officers found a can of soup in a Las Vegas passenger’s carry-on bag. When told that it couldn’t go through because of the liquids rule (it was more than 3.4 ounces), the passenger said they would put the soup in their checked baggage. But when the passenger returned to the checkpoint, officers saw that the passenger had tried to hide the soup in their pants. No soup for them.
I feel safer now.

Check the comments. No matter who you are, no matter how complacent: If you fly or (increasingly) travel at all, you probably already hate the TSA. Good!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spent my money, took my car...

Today's song in my head makes a little more sense than usual. Not my very favorite Led Zep by any stretch, but the weird time signatures always interested me.

Even when I was a teenager I preferred bands whose lyrics I could actually understand, but for Led Zep I made an exception. Here it's forty-odd years later, and I still agree with Young Me.

The truth has to speak itself.

From Velociman:
At an even greater level, however, this is a huge civil service problem. Moreso, it is a socialist state model problem. Once the civil servants began earning more than their private industry counterparts they ceased to become our servants, and became our bureaucratic taskmasters. Especially given their immunity from consequences, and the ability to embezzle and otherwise convert huge sums of monies. If you steal a million dollars from your company you will be caught. If you steal it from a nonsensical federal government agency you will eventually be caught by an agent of another nonsensical federal government agency, who will split the profits with you.

Citizens by and large have forgotten that a civil servant is nothing more than a fucking retard we have obliged with a wage-earning status so as not to have to support them on the dole. Once they achieve a status greater than driving a metro bus they should be foisted back upon the real world, there to fend for themselves. Or given jobs in the penal system, where they can provide a public service and teach inmates nonviolent criminal activities.

If the Secret Service is this corrupted our federal government as a whole is naught but a cyst upon the body politic in need of a lancing. Which we knew anyway. Hell, the vaunted Secret Service turns out to be about the same type of screwhead loser you find in the BATF and the Forest Service.
This is the best thing that can happen, and I hope it shows up a lot more.

As far as I can tell, there are three kinds of people:

- People who think this is the best of all possible places in the best of all possible worlds, and thank you God for the blessings of government

- People who think the government would be fine, just fine, as long as it "reforms" itself

- Me

I, of course, am completely, totally, and in every other way correct in everything I think, say and do. So my position, being correct, requires no deconstruction. Those other guys, though (shakes head sadly) ...

People who think believe nothing could ever be better than it is, because goshdarnit "I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free!" - How do they know that? The evidence is against them. But anybody can justify anything in his own mind, if he just twists the facts a little. That way he can live comfortably in the place he's in, where if he actually thought about his situation he'd get all uncomfortable and when does that get fun? So people don't think.

People who think "reform" is the answer ignore the long, impotent history of reform movements. At some point an idea that gets tried - over and over - either proves itself efficacious or ... the other thing, whatever the opposite of "efficacious" is. The notion that government is willing to, or even could, reform itself is absurd in the face of all the broken promises along those lines. But sure! Go right ahead. Reform some more. I love the smell of betrayal in the morning. But I won't be fooled by it.

So I do confess, when I heard about that Secret Service detail getting caught in a Marion Berry-esque situation, and that GSA thing that's still unfolding, I laughed out loud. I loved it. There is no better way for the truth about the inherent corruption of government agencies - any government agency - to come out than for the agencies themselves to reveal it.

Now if only people were watching.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Everything old is new again...


Are they really going to go there? Is the election this lame already?

Full Disclosure: Way back when, my older brother had an old BMW...

...very similar to this, except that his had rigid saddlebags and a very unfortunate 'sixties highway fairing that did nothing at all to improve the bike's lines...

(ahem) anyway, the point of the story is that Brother also had a small dog named Fang who loved above all things to go on long road trips with us, tucked away more-or-less safely in the right saddlebag (cover removed) right under my hand so I could hopefully reduce the effect of any impulsive action on his part. He seemed to understand that, while wind in your ears and mouth is a very good thing, jumping out would be a very bad thing. Passing motorists who noticed at all reacted in one of two ways, without exception: Hilarious laughter or outraged horror. And maybe Brother and I were being bad dads, but you'd never in this life have convinced Fang of that.

Which is why, though I'm on record as being nothing even remotely resembling a Romney supporter, I just can't wrap my mind around the Dems' latest campaign issue.

Move along, nothing to see here...

Unless you like being angry, in which case this won't be news to you. You probably already know.

And of course if you don't like being angry, if you like believing that the good people of the federal government are on your side, citizen, and when they do inexplicably evil things it's only because they've got more information, well, then this won't be news to you either. La la la, I don't hear you...
Justice Department officials have known for years that flawed forensic work might have led to the convictions of potentially innocent people, but prosecutors failed to notify defendants or their attorneys even in many cases they knew were troubled.

Officials started reviewing the cases in the 1990s after reports that sloppy work by examiners at the FBI lab was producing unreliable forensic evidence in court trials. Instead of releasing those findings, they made them available only to the prosecutors in the affected cases, according to documents and interviews with dozens of officials.

In addition, the Justice Department reviewed only a limited number of cases and focused on the work of one scientist at the FBI lab, despite warnings that problems were far more widespread and could affect potentially thousands of cases in federal, state and local courts.

As a result, hundreds of defendants nationwide remain in prison or on parole for crimes that might merit exoneration, a retrial or a retesting of evidence using DNA because FBI hair and fiber experts may have misidentified them as suspects.
And there's your answer, of course, right in the first few paragraphs of this long and detailed article. We wouldn't want people getting the idea that all those lies we've been told about the Big G's awesome and infallible forensic power is ... rather less than true, as it turns out. Better that a few members of the flock spend their days trapped unjustly behind wide doors that cast narrow shadows, than that the whole flock lose faith in its shepherd.

After all, what are sheep for? If you can't shear'em, you butcher'em. And they'll go right on believing you're there to protect them, even as the knife falls.

H/T to Firehand.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Requiem for Comet's Nads...

So I got a call from H this morning around nine. I'd planned a fairly mild day, mostly around wood cutting. If the temperature came up somewhat, maybe I'd bake bread.

H: Hey, Joel! Can you come over and clean the stalls today instead of tomorrow? The vet's coming to give Comet his little operation and it would be good if we could get the flies down some.

Me: Sure, I can do that. When's he coming?

H: In about an hour.

Um...Okay, so I'm suddenly in a hurry. Get the boys to Gitmo, hurry over to J&H's. They want Comet's shelter cleaned first, and put down new bedding. I wasn't expecting any problem since Comet's not normally too bad about messing up his shelter, but I hadn't reckoned with the two days of nasty weather. Comet apparently spent the weekend watching porn and munching Doritos indoors, because his shelter was a reeking pit from wall to slimy wall. Really, now: If you had a ten-gallon bladder, wouldn't you step outside to empty it?

But no. So all his old bedding had to go, and since straw really fills up a shitwagon fast that meant several trips back and forth just for that one thing. Being a day early, I was expecting an easy session but it was not to be.

Worked out well, though. Saturday when Landlady was here she brought me payment someone had mailed her for a gig I finished a couple of weeks ago so I had money in my pocket and was pretty anxious to spend it on gasoline and propane*, both of which I'm a little low on. J planned a trip to town this morning, and needed some help at the feed store anyway. So now I don't have any money, but I do have fuel and some munchies. Everything sorts itself out if you relax and let it, while keeping your eye open for opportunity.

And yes, I've had a better day than poor li'l Comet. When we got back from town he was in the round pen getting some help to walk off the last of the anesthetic, and he did not look like a happy boy. He's now officially (and in every other way) a gelding.

*Man, I remember the last three winters when I burned propane for heat but never knew when my next cop-free ride to town was going to happen. I went cold many a day just because I had to make that stuff STREEEETTTCCHH. Now I only use it for cooking, and life is much finer. When I'm short of firewood, I always know where to go pick it off the trees. It's more work, but far less anxiety.

I feel much better now.

"Would you pay your taxes if there wasn't a gun to your head? Like this one. ... I find that if you just close your eyes and imagine that it isn't there, Presto! Taxes are voluntary."

Saturday, April 14, 2012

That's disconcerting.

Cold, cloudy and windy today. It snowed this morning and I pretty much expect it to snow tonight. Landlady came up to visit her property, unloaded, loaded, and headed right back to the city: Who gave it permission to still be winter?

As she often does, she brought goodies including my very favorite coffee in the whole world, Trader Joe's House Blend. So after she headed back I got to the Lair, ground up some coffee and set it to brew, and then mixed in some cocoa and sugar. And I was sittin' in my sittin' chair in my bitsy cabin down in a holler a skillion miles from the grid, listenin' to the wind and watching it push smoke out through the front door of my woodstove, and sipping mocha when it hit me: I'm such a yuppie!

So I went outside naked and brained an elk with a rock. Me not yuppie.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Essential skills for life...

Today's lesson: How to Wash your Chicken.

Sentences I never expected to hear, ever ever: "A lot of people write in asking how long before the show they should wash their chicken." And petroleum jelly? Really?

Taking notes, Landlady?

Actually, I suppose this shouldn't have surprised me as much as it did. Not all geeks are gun geeks, as we were just discussing the other day.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ol' Hard-Knocks Barack

If this shitepoke didn't exist, it would be necessary for The Onion to invent him.

Obama: We didn’t have “the luxury” for Michelle to not work

The Big O's version:
And once Michelle and I had our girls, she gave it her all to balance raising a family and pursuing a career. And something that, could be very difficult on her, because I was gone a lot. Once I was in the state legislature, I was teaching, I was practicing law, I’d be traveling. And we didn’t have the luxury for her not to work.
Vs. (a part of) the actual record:
In 2005, when Obama began serving in the U.S. Senate (and his daughters turned 4 and 7), he and his wife were earning a combined annual income of $479,062. Barack Obama was paid a salary of $162,100 by the U.S. taxpayers, and Michelle Obama was paid $316,962 to handle community affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center.
And according to Wikipedia,
According to the couple’s 2006 income tax return, her salary was $273,618 from the University of Chicago Hospitals, while her husband had a salary of $157,082 from the United States Senate. The Obamas' total income, however, was $991,296, which included $51,200 she earned as a member of the board of directors of TreeHouse Foods, and investments and royalties from his books.[
And of course that's just what they claim. I dunno, Mr. President, sir. A million a year will buy a certain amount of luxury - y'know, if you plan your budget carefully.

After a while it just gets too weird.

I still owe M a lot of dirt-moving on his Dome, and it's past time to get back to it. But that slope was scaring the life out of me. It wasn't so much the ascent, because Gulchendiggensmoothen has no trouble climbing any grade with a bucket of dirt to weigh down the front. No, the problem was backing down the grade with the bucket empty, because then that big, too-heavy backhoe causes him to do the Twist like there's a Chubby Checker record playing somewhere.

I spent a couple of sessions doing exciting things with the tractor and my heartrate and not making much progress toward actually moving dirt. Finally it occurred to me: You've got a grade that's too steep, and you've come to this conclusion while in the saddle of a powerful machine designed to move dirt. Y'know what, Joel? Why the hell don't you spend a morning reducing the grade? Don't you think that might help?

Well, maybe it would at that. Of course it took me three hours to do what S the Road Guy could have accomplished in fifteen minutes, but that's the difference between us. I may not have experience, but I've got time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Please, oh wise one! Explain to me, your humble servant...

How does taking everybody's money away "grow the economy?" Is that a new thing buried in a Keynes book somewhere, and just recently unearthed?

And who came up with that dumbass phrase "grow the economy," anyway?

And what is that blonde groupie on? She flyin', man.

I've found something nice to say about Obama.

So Mitt the Wonder Romney is going to give a speech at the NRA convention, it says here. Well, they deserve each other.
“we have all the laws we need” in regard to gun control

“I believe in the second amendment, I’ll protect the second amendment. I have guns myself.”

“Not going to tell you where they are. Don’t have them on myself either, all right,”
I'm convinced. All that talk about supporting the AWB was just etch-a-sketch pandering to the left.
“I’m not going to describe all of my great exploits. But I went moose hunting actually. Not moose hunting, I’m sorry, elk hunting with friends in Montana. I’ve been pheasant hunting.”
Mitt Romney: Missing the point, and doing it badly.

Y'know what? There really is one good thing you can say about Obama. It's not very good, you understand, and he mostly lies about it. But at least I know what he believes in.

I wish he didn't believe it, and I sure as hell wish he didn't have the power to do anything about what he believes. But at least I know what he believes.

All I know about Romney's core beliefs is "Romney for President." Good enough, this is not.

QoD: "You've got it backward" edition:

As I work on my taxes, that half of Americans don't pay Federal income taxes becomes less abstractly and a lot more viscerally wrong.
I see that a different way.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A sign of the season

It's been a couple of weeks since water froze here overnight. Afternoons have been positively hot. The boys are seeking shelter under the Lair. Clearly it's time to put up their automatic waterer.

If it seems a little, um, chewed, that's because it's a veteran of the time J&H tried their hand at keeping goats. But it still works just fine.

If TUAK stops being updated starting tomorrow, it's because of the ice age I just inadvertently caused. Sorry about that.

"My god! It's full of geeks!"

Okay, so it seems there's this photography-related fellow who, apparently never having visited any other sort of forum, became distressed at the tone and trajectory of many a thread on camera forums. He wrote what he thought was an over-the-top post, describing what a forum thread about hammers might look like, if hammer fanciers were just like - as it turns out - everybody else.

Author’s note: This little post got a lot more attention than I had expected. The most interesting thing to me is that it’s now been reposted to forums involving gun collecting, coffee tasting, audiophiles, automobiles, computer programming, videography, racing bicycles, and (I should have known) various tools. All of whom identified with it. So I guess I learned today that it isn’t just photographers who act like we act. Apparently it’s people.
Yes. Yes, it is.

I didn't have the heart to go look and see if there really are hammer forums. But if I were a betting man...

For a second there, Lady, I thought you were going to tell me something profound.

Seen here:

This isn't the big news I'd hoped to find when I followed the link.

Seriously, my big problem is that I can't overcome 50-odd years of muscle memory and learn how to comfortably shoot a rifle left-handed. By comparison, using my left eye with the pistol was just a matter of practicing enough to remember to do it under pressure. Without really realizing I was doing it, I'd gradually developed the very bad habit of closing my left eye so I could find the damned sights.

H/T to Robb Allen.

This is why we must leave science in the hands of trained professionals. Like politicians.

See, this would never have occurred to silly ol' me.

Arizona bill declares women pregnant two weeks before conception

That's a little overwrought, but not completely inaccurate.
On page eight of the proposed amendment to H.B. 2036, lawmakers lay out the “gestational age” of the child to be “calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman,” and from there, outlaws abortion “if the probable gestational age of [the] unborn child has been determined to be at least twenty weeks.”
And I'm sure it's meant to make things easier for lawmakers to figure out, if it's meant for anything at all and isn't simply an ignorant oversight. Otherwise the "date of conception" becomes a law says/she says matter, and we can't have that.

But to the extent that it exposes "lawmakers" as the stupid, intrusive meddlers they are, I'm very much in favor of this law. And that may well be the last opinion on the subject of abortion you'll ever read here.

H/T to the Travis McGee Reader.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Is today a "day of action?" Not holding my breath, but whatever.

Aw, Jeez. Bring it on, Huey Newton.

Slightly NSFW, completely full of shit:

Went through this bullshit back in the sixties, in Detroit. These two haven't even filed the serial numbers off the old rhetoric.

It makes me very tired.

"I'm talkin' about that blonde haired, blue eyed, sometimes brown eyed Caucasian walkin' around with a mindset, a demonistic mind and the nature to do evil and brutality." Yeah, no racism there.

Look, brutha. May I call you brutha? Because seriously, I almost feel I know you. Your bullshit is so very familiar. You want a race war? How about we do this: How about we fence off a few thousand acres of useless fed land. You NBP guys can enter on one side, with your guns and your artillery and your canned peas. On the other side, we can have any Aryan Nation limpdicks that want to play. Then you guys can have your little race war, and the winner gets to wear a solid-gold colander on his face and rule the wasteland. Won't that be cool?

That way the rest of us can just get on with our day.

UPDATE: Damn, YouTube make video go bye-bye. Oh, well.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Here's a sign of the times I could have done without...

Proper Etiquette for When You're Under Arrest

Maybe they should teach this in high school. It's amazingly easy to be a criminal in the Brave New World - I do it daily, and so do you.

Things that make you go "I need a new job."

Florida police pose as giant bunnies to catch illegal drivers



"Here's your assignment for Easter. The city's short of cash, which means we're short of cash. Go out there and get us some cash."


"Seat belts, Patterson. They're not just a good idea, they're the law."

"But Sarge, I..."

"Don't forget your giant bunny head, Patterson."

H/T to Carl.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Oh, great. Now I'm hungry.

A trip down memory lane...

Many, many moons ago when I was a vocational ed teacher, I had a bootleg VHS copy of this little gem. I used to play it on the first day of my four-week class on automatic transmissions as a break from my "Clarke's Law"* monologue**.

As a demonstration of the point I was trying to make, it rarely got a laugh.


*"Any technology, sufficiently advanced, is indistinguishable from magic."

**'People don't understand how transmissions work. By the end of this course, neither will most of you.' (paraphrased - I wasn't quite that mean.) In the early eighties there was a deplorable trend among high school career counselors that, when they determined a student to be too stupid or unmotivated to do anything useful, he should fare forth and become an auto mechanic. This almost never worked out well for anybody, and became a huge factor in my job satisfaction as a post-secondary teacher.

You might have wanted to check the history of that phrase, Senator. You're being too honest.

I'm not a weather expert, but I'm pretty sure I could find historical evidence that cars don't cause tornadoes. Lying senators*, on the other hand, can be proven to bring on all sorts of evil.

"Your money or your life" is a phrase normally spoken with a gun out and pointed. This video doesn't really break with that tradition.

H/T to Craig.


*Little Bear has pointed out that 'lying senators' is oxymoronic. Allow me to amend that to 'senators in the actual process of lying.'

Friday, April 6, 2012

Returning borrowed things...

Last fall I was looking for something in Landlady's barn, and came upon these brackets somebody had tossed in a corner. And at first I couldn't quite figure out what they were. Took a minute or two before I realized I was looking at the expensive parts of a stovewood rack. Just add 2X4s.

Well, I used them all through the winter but they didn't belong to me. Landlady's got her woodstove in and working now, and I've been delivering stovewood for it but it was about to get out of control. So it was time to move that useful puppy back where it belongs.

I'm working on something a little larger and more elaborate for the Lair. That little rack is fine for a working supply, but it's not up to storing more substantial supplies. This winter I mostly cut wood as I needed it, never remaining much more than a week ahead. That worked through this mild winter, but it's pretty poor practice as a rule.

Introducing, um...

Officially, her name is Alexandra Anastasia, or possibly Anastasia Alexandra, I can't remember. If they don't come up with an everyday name before long, I'm just gonna call her "Double-A."

Six days old today, and quite a cutie.

Ghost might figure it out. Little Bear would die of thirst.

Cool idea, though. And it reminds me I need to set up their automatic waterer...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I have a confession to make...

Last time she was here, Landlady was wearing this shirt...

And after I'd walked past her like a dozen times without commenting on or even noticing the shirt, she finally stopped me and pointed it out.

And I didn't get the reference.

To her, of course, it clearly and obviously referred to her favorite rifle:

And to me it only looked like the sound I make when I'm shooting at a metallic target on a bad day.

It's bad to be a dork. It's worse to be a dork who can't shoot.

Youch! TSA goons handed portions of their colons by federal judge...

Doesn't he know whose side he's on?

United States v. $35,131

The agencies that manage law officers create profiles of suspicious people. Ignoring for a moment that they include contradictions – like he rushed or he was very early, he looked the officer in the eye or he evaded loohng him in the eye – the Joneses displayed no suspicious behavior. At every step they were candid if imprecise. They were traveling as a family, in normal dress, and remained polite and calm.
A lack of leadership at the agency allowed this. Its mission statement – which none of the officers could recall at the trial – is to serve the American public with vigilance, integrity, and professionalism. They displayed none of these. The agency says that integrity is its cornerstone; that its officers are guided by the highest ethical and moral principles. A gang of armed security officers bullied this family – a family who cooperated with the officers to their detriment. Our homeland will not be secure by these rascals. They played agency games, abused the people they are to serve, and violated their oaths to support the Constitution.
Oh, I'm sure it'll be overturned on appeal or just forgotten in the shuffle - these people will never see their money. But I do wonder where this judge was on the day Bureaucrat School covered "We're right, you're wrong, so just comply and maybe we won't kill you." He's getting it wrong.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Obama's got the Dem nomination tied up, but Talkin' Joe should maybe worry...

With headlines like this, who needs enemies?

Joe Biden glad as heck he never had a 'real job'

The dog was arrested for assault on a police officer.

Cop tries to shoot dog, shoots other cop instead.
Authorities say Minneapolis police were assisting the Department of Corrections with a fugitive warrant at a nearby home. We're told the suspect fled out of the back door followed by two pit bulls. Officers, feeling threatened, fired at the dogs and a bullet struck a veteran officer in the leg.

Pit bull before being written up in shooting report

Pit Bull after being written up in shooting report

H/T to Balko.

But is it gunfighting, or is it just gaming?

Here's Caleb at Gun Nuts Media, telling me everything I think I know about shooting is wrong.
So how come there are so many people in the shooting community that still cling to techniques from 50 years ago?
Um - I dunno. 'Cause they work?

I learned to shoot handguns defensively in the late '70's, which is somewhat after one-hand point shooting from the hip and somewhat before anyone had ever heard of a Picatinny rail. Yeah, Jeff Cooper was the king but I never met him, my instructor was a former Marine lifer and (then) current VIP security - um, these days they like to be called "contractors." He went on to get killed in Mozambique, which vindicated his bona fides if not his combat techniques. He claimed to have killed people with everything from hand grenades to helmets, and never gave me a serious reason to doubt it - look up PTSD in your dictionary and you may see his picture, 'cause he was a little out there. With a handgun, he was frickin' awesome. No call signs and macho jargon, no bullshit, just solid, simple stuff and lots and lots of reps. And a certain amount of drinking, but that's a different matter - I did see a guy injured in knife training because they were using actual knives, but nobody ever brought up "trust shooting." There wasn't a balaclava in sight.

I say all that because when I got interested in competition shooting, I found myself compelled to unlearn a bunch of stuff in order to make points. Since I was most interested in shooting as a martial art rather than a sport, it gave me the strong impression I was moving backward. The equipment was all different, and that was just a symptom of the fact that the techniques were, too. I distrusted them. I remember learning the difference between cover and concealment painfully by getting killed on his jungle lanes again and again. And again. Looking at competition shooting lanes, there appears to be no difference. That's just the one example that comes to mind.

I guess what I'm saying is that I was taught techniques that assumed the target would also have a gun. In competition they always stressed speed and accuracy, which are certainly good things. But you can't get "killed," so there's no effort to avoid it.

Now of course in the intervening decades I've never fired a shot in anger, or in fear. So I really don't know whether what Caleb extolls as improvements in techniques are actually improvements, or just improvements in how to score in competition. Which is not the same thing at all.

So I'm not saying Caleb's wrong - maybe my techniques are as obsolete as horse cavalry. I'm quite certain he could outshoot the hell out of me, because I don't practice enough. But if these "improved" techniques were developed in competition, I don't trust them for actual gunfighting more than the ones I already learned. So why change?

Ho hum, another flying vaporware car.

I WANT MY FLYING CAR! I'm not getting any younger, goddammit.

This thing would never work around here, unless/until somebody invents a 4X4 gyrocopter. And I'll bet it's scary on corners. But the folding prop looks pretty cool, not that I'm interested in that many moving parts on such an essential mechanical device. They don't call the thing holding it on the "Jesus nut" for nothing.

Supreme Irony

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Not exactly according to plan...

Just the last time we got together, M asked me if I was planning to try and plant something this Spring.

"Yeah," I said. "I've got it all worked out. I'm gonna berm up a little patch downhill from the leach field with that extra dirt. I've got a big pile of horseshit I'll work into the dirt, then I can flood the whole thing. Then I'll plant that Navajo corn you brought."

Then I got to wondering: I haven't actually seen that Navajo corn since I moved. Did I leave it in Landlady's barn?

Yes. Yes, I did.

Why, oh why didn't I bring my camera?

Pictures at a later time, but Spirit finally decided she was done being pregnant.

The new foal is a little girl, and I hope she stays the way she is because she's by far the friendliest born in the two years I've been shoveling shit for J&H.

Spirit, on the other hand, has definitely found something she cares about. Like "Stay the hell away from my baby." You ever have a 1500-pound* mare come after you, teeth exposed and grinding, ears back? Gives you new respect for that "know your path of escape" rule. Well, I guess she worked hard for it...

*wild-ass guess

Being told no is part of growing up.

I want to tell these parents no.

Park Slope parents back ban on ice-cream trucks in Prospect Park to avoid screaming kids
Overprotective Park Slope parents have declared war on a treasured rite of spring: an ice cream in the park.

The icy rebuke of the time-honored tradition erupted on the Park Slope Parents online group when one mother described her son’s meltdown in Prospect Park after she put the ixnay on a acksnay.

“Along with the first truly beautiful day of the year, my son and I had our first ruined day at the playground,” the poster named Sarah somberly recounted. “Two different people came into the actual playground with ice cream/Italian ice push carts. I was able to avoid it for a little while but eventually I left with a crying 4-year-old.”

I have, on occasion, left a public venue with a screaming toddler under my arm. I recall disliking the experience very much. I don't recall ever trying to get the thing my kid was screaming for banned, but maybe that's just me.

H/T to Balko.

Lord, Mr. Freud...

From an Ann Arbor Craislist ad:
Transportation Security Officers (Ann Arbor)
See the individual you are in a vital position for our security firm where you implement security-screening procedures that counter deadly or dangerous objects from being smuggled onto an aircraft. Be part of a imperious security team protecting airports and skies as you proudly establish your future.

Minimum Qualifications:
1. You must be a U.S. Citizen
2. You are required to have a high school diploma or equivalent

PT, full training
• Location: Ann Arbor
• Compensation: $17 per hour
• Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
• Please, no phone calls about this job!
• Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
PostingID: 2926913263

And of course when you click on the link...

Seen here.

Is it bad...

...that I've got a whole drawer full of hoodies? That I find them very warm and fuzzy and comforting?

Does that make me a bad person?

These are the sorts of things I'd worry about, if I didn't find them so stupid.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Return of winter

Very cloudy and windy. Inverter crying like a girl, satellite connection very slow. Can't stay, gotta go, maybe more later.

Meantime, check out this very weird thing Ian found.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Guess they decided debtor's prison wasn't such a bad idea.

From Wendy McElroy,
The popular Eagles song Hotel California released in 1977 has a line that says, “You can check out anytime you like but you can never leave.” Thirty-five years later that song is becoming a reality.

"All your base are belong to us."

No wonder religion is on the wane. Who needs a theoretical devil when you've got the very real IRS?

You know what I hate?

I hate Tracfone.

No, I really do. They keep changing the rules.

Okay, I admit some of this is my fault. 3/31 is not the optimal time to notice you're due to lose service on 3/31. It's been telling me that for three months, after all. But who the hell pays attention to orders issued by a telephone? It's my phone and I'll ignore it if I want to.

Unfortunately I'll also take the consequences for doing so. Reality suits me, even when it bites.

Going to town to buy more phone time was not my first choice. Tracfone has a perfectly good website (Okay, the website sucks, but it's there) and it is theoretically possible to buy time on it. It's been a long time, but I've done it before.

The site is slow. The checkout procedure is niggling and complicated and they want all these frickin' numbers. I don't recall that it ever demanded that I "register an account" before, though. Give them name and address? Hell, I don't even HAVE an address, and what on earth would they do with it anyway?

I made something up.

Apparently they can check that. They were not amused.

By this time I was getting ... well ...

I turned off the computer, which I had been shouting at for quite some time.

This was a tactical error.

The boys - especially LB - have this Pavlovian thing, which has annoyed me for years. When the computer is turned off, it emits a distinctive BEEP which sounds like nothing else in their lives. It means "Daddy is about to stop facing away from me and staring at the box. Maybe we're going to do something more fun now."

The boys - especially LB - respond to this with excitement. I was in no mood to be exciting to dogs.

I did something bad. The boys found it exciting, but not in a fun way.

They started dancing and skipping and "Harooo"-ing. I leaped out of my chair and roared at them. "It is not my job to keep you little bastards entertained! Lay down and shut the **** up!" I'm afraid I said this rather loudly.

Daddy/Uncle Joel NEVER yells at the dogs. They did not know how to cope with this. Ghost cringed. LB cringed and wet himself right on the spot. They were both clearly convinced they were about to become greasy patches on the cabin floor, and that somehow they had done something to deserve this. I'm sure they couldn't imagine what, not that it mattered. What mattered was that greasy patch, and how to avoid becoming it.

What you've got to understand is that I have a terrible temper. I have had a terrible temper since I was a boy. Since I was a scrawny boy, it used to get me beaten up a lot. It was real easy to start a fight with me and I always lost. I didn't start trying to control it until I got my growth, because the one fight I got into and won, I put the guy in a hospital. Cops were involved. Winning fights wasn't as much fun as I'd imagined. Then when I became a dad and my daughter was a toddler, she had an uncanny ability to get under my skin. She won't believe this because sometimes I was a real bastard of a dad, but I really worked on my temper. I was a dealership mechanic. I didn't look it, but I was very strong when I was younger and an uncontrolled temper was just not a good thing. For much of my life, things tended to get broken in my vicinity.

In the last several years, I've mellowed out a lot. I rarely lose my temper, I rarely yell, I never hit. Or grasp, or tear, or gouge, or squeeze, or bite.

So of course I felt terrible about having lost it this time, which did not improve my mood. There was now only one thing left to do, other than just let the damned phone expire and become useless. I've got reasons for never doing that. I had to sneak into town, but my superstitious bit was now convinced that karmic balance demanded the evening end with me arrested and Landlady's Jeep impounded. I told my superstitious bit to shut the hell up.

So I got into the Jeep and drove to town. All the useful stores are on the other side of this town, but I wasn't willing to push karma that far if I didn't have to. Turns out the convenience store on my side of town sold Tracfone minutes. Did that and got my ass back out of town.

LB licked my face when I got back to the Lair. He never licks. I'd scared my baby boy.

I hate Tracfone. It's easier than hating myself.