Saturday, January 30, 2010

I totally missed this...

I've just learned that Claire Wolfe, my all-time favorite freedom writer, has a new blog at Backwoods Home.

Claire is awesome. I lost a small part of my every day when she shut down her old blog. Glad to see her doing it again.

Sadly True

Thursday, January 28, 2010

More snow

It rained yesterday afternoon, turning to snow sometime overnight. Never got cold enough to freeze the ground, and this last installment has soaked the clay enough that the roads are getting really slick. Probably be impassible in 2-wheel-drive after the melt. Landlady's due tomorrow night or Saturday, and I think we may have to leave her car at the county road and shuttle her in with the Jeep.

During our morning Walky, LB finally answered my speculations about whether he's capable of catching rabbits. He wasn't happy about being called away before he had time to snuff up the last of the bloody snow, and snuck back while I was on the powerhouse roof cleaning off the solar panels. But the scene of the crime was only across the meadow, and he obediently came back when I called so treats all around. It looks as though worming him is just going to have to be a monthly thing from now on.

Speaking of treats - That growth on LB's paw has been diagnosed as a fungal infection of some sort, probably from a small wound I couldn't see through all the fur. Vet says it isn't dangerous, but I have to treat him with ointment and give him antibiotic pills three times a day. This is cutting severely into my cheese stash. This morning he spat the pill out of the cheese, then went back to it and apparently figured, "It's vile, but what the hell - he said it was a doggy treat" and ate it down anyway. He's dumb as a box of rocks and even more useless than that, but I love him.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On Doggie Bribes...

With the passing of Fritz, our five o'clock Snacky Time tradition came to an end as having no further practical use. (I only started doing it because it made dispensing meds easier.) Also since I'm down to two relatively young dogs I'm suddenly having behavior issues I rarely had to deal with before, like running away. I've found a jerky-like substance cheap at the dollar store that both dogs like, and have taken to carrying some in my pockets so I can reward them like performing dolphins whenever they get something right.

Just to show that I've probably been anthropomorphizing the dogs far too much, I resisted taking this tack because it seemed rather demeaning to them. I know I'd resent that kind of treatment. The dogs' reaction, of course, has been "Demean us! Demean us!" And it's been getting good results.

I really do need to find more human friends.

Unusual Rules for Happy Living

Never give Mama Goat a happy scratch until you have finished cleaning out her stall. She will decide you are her best friend, follow you into the stall, and refuse to leave.

Addendum: Shooting Mama Goat in the head is a career move. Resisting strong temptation is good for the character.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dogs. Can't live without 'em...

...Can't shoot them in the head.

So it's Sunday evening and things are settling down in the lair. Ghost can't settle down with them, a sign I should have interpreted more carefully than I did even if I got it wrong. He wants to go outside, nothing unusual, just wants to bark at the coyotes. So I let him out. I hear him barking in the meadow, I hear him barking on the slope. All perfectly normal for that time of the day.

Then I stop hearing him bark. I stick my head out and call, wait, no Ghost. Not perfectly normal, certainly not optimal, but not so unusual I'm ready to summon the Marines. Wait a while, call, no Ghost. Repeat. Nothing.

I'm starting to think in terms of mounting a futile search when there's a knock on my door. The shades are down and LB, my totally f*cking useless single remaining watchdog, doesn't alert at all so I figure it's W. W is the only person who could conceivably be knocking on my door after six in the evening unless the caller is carrying a warrant and backed by tacticops in the bushes, and I'm not expecting that guy right now. Must be W, so I just open the door.

It isn't W. It's D, my neighbor from a few miles down the road. He raises his hand, looks embarrassed, and says, "I've got Ghost in the truck." Ghost has reached a new milestone in his budding career as a pain in my ass - now he isn't waiting to be led astray by the more irresponsible dogs in the pack, he's just going off and doing it himself. At night.

Ghost! The one I thought I could (sort of) depend on to stick around - if not the yard, at least the property. Gyarr!

See, I'm just winging this whole "dog nanny" thing. All my experience is empirical and all my predictions are based on assumptions which often prove unfounded. In this matter I've been working on the assumption that dogs are creatures of habit, that the thing they're used to is the thing they like, that if you can trust them to do a thing you will be able to continue to trust them to do that thing. Now I'm starting to think that Magnus and Fritz were creatures of habit because they were older dogs and never all that adventurous in the first place. Ghost, when he was young, was a wanderer. For the past two years he stopped doing that. Now I'm thinking maybe he was restrained in his behavior by the older dogs, now both gone. His behavior is increasingly not so restrained.

This morning dawned the coldest I've seen in weeks. Per routine, as soon as Uncle Joel begins to stir it's time to go outside and take care of some long-delayed business. I hop to the door, which is frozen shut, pry it open and the dogs shoot out like cannonballs. All according to routine. Ghost normally stays out only a few minutes and then wants back in - LB sometimes takes a little longer but never goes far first thing in the morning. This morning, of course, they both vanish.

Time passes. Call and call. More time passes. No dogs. I suit up like an astronaut, figuring that if a few minutes of calling bears no results I'll be taking the Jeep to D&L's, making my second apology in less than twelve hours for not restraining my wayward dogs. As soon as I step outside, Ghost comes around the corner of the lair like everything's fine and wants inside. No LB materializes at my call. I start to move away and Ghost pops out of the lair. "No!" At the tone of the command, I assume, Ghost rotates mid-air on his own axis and disappears into the lair. One down.

Just about that time I hear W's dogs raising hell inside his nice warm lair. LB's on their porch inviting them out to play. Did I mention it's frickin' cold? I'm swaddled like Nanook of the frickin' North and still slowly freezing solid, and he's trying to get a stickball game started or something and doesn't come at my call. I offer slow dismemberment as an option, and he trots on home as if that sounds like a good idea. Now they're both curled up inside like nothing's wrong.

What the hell am I going to do with these guys? I'm actually getting into a situation where two dogs are more trouble than four were. Arithmetic shouldn't work like that.

In an hour or so I have to call the vet and make an appointment for LB who's got some sort of growth on his paw. I don't know what it is - at first I thought it was just a random wound, then maybe a festering spot around a cactus spine or something. It doesn't seem to bother him at all, he barely licks at it, but it's getting bigger and more pronounced so to the vet we go ASAP. Unless I disembowel him first, which would moot the whole vet thing.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Quote of the day, again

"I am a sinner, who does not expect forgiveness. But I am not a government official."
- Mr. Wolcott, serial killer. Deadwood

Friday, January 22, 2010

Quote of the Day

Seen at Tam's place, where it did not originate:
Cows are more afraid of a barking dog than a booming gun, which explains their position on the food chain.
I can testify that this is true. I have fired pistols and rifles in an attempt to drive off cattle before the dogs got involved and received nothing for my expense and effort but a stupid look. (Well, technically a cow is incapable of looking at anything any other way, but let that go.) Introduce a barking dog, which by itself couldn't actually hurt the cow, and the result is either fight or flight depending on the mood of the cow. Just saying. Even rabbits are smarter than cattle, and they're food too. I assume this is the result of selective breeding, because I cannot imagine how any species that stupid could have survived in the wild long enough to be domesticated.

I understand the logic of open range laws, but live every day with their disadvantages.

Finally got a respectable snowfall

It was six inches at seven this morning, and three hours later it's still coming down hard. I just got my satellite connection back, and may lose it again before I finish this post.

Little Bear loves the snow, and he's in heaven at the moment. Despite my (and Ghost's) inclination I'll probably have to trudge out for a Walky just so he can get his tunneling-in-the-snow fix. For Ghost, a little of the white stuff goes a long way. He and I are in agreement on that, though at the moment he might add a codicil about staking LB out in the hills for the coyotes 'cause he's being a real pain in the ass when all the adults want is to watch the snow through the window of our nice warm lair.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Now THIS is funny.

Courtesy of The Grey Lady, The Day ObamaCare Died!

While I was waiting for my slow connection to load the whole thing I thought, "Wow, this is almost as good as a Paul Shanklin parody." Turns out it is Paul Shanklin, so there you go.

Nostalgia doesn't get prettier than this.

I can't indulge in a fit of sixties folk-music nostalgia without at least one nod to the high priestess of cool hippy songs. Gad, how this lady made me wish I was ten years older in the mid-sixties.

And speaking of unpleasant political figures...

Huh! Did we just dodge a bullet?

Because if we did, I've gotta admit it surprises the hell out of me.

A (rare) word about politics

Okay; I don't generally talk about electoral politics here, because ... well, damn. I only mention steaming piles of dog poo on the blog because they're a regular part of my life here. Electoral politics is far more distasteful and I've gone to some lengths to make it not a part of my life.

And yet as a spectator sport it's better than pro wrestling, and right now the two opposing teams have got themselves in a bit of a bind. The Dems are tanking in the mercurial public perception far too early for the disasters of the late GOP dominance to have been forgotten. The American attention span isn't quite that short. Normally when one party's numbers crash, the other party's numbers corresponding rise. Not happening at the moment.

Matt Welch over at Reason said yesterday,
[T]he tragicomedy of American politics is that each party looks pretty freaking awesome when compared to its counterpart. As bad as Bush was, Obama may well be worse. As rotten as Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are, just remember Trent Lott and Dennis Hastert. Now reverse the party affiliations and repeat.
It's been that way for decades at least and always seemed to work for the parties. But at the moment the pendulum seems to have stopped swinging.

Obama's campaign motto wasn't "We can do all the same things, even more expensively!" but that's the way he's governed, with the enthusiastic backing of Congress. There's nothing very unusual about that, but the bad consequences usually take at least two years to kick in, permitting the forgetful electorate to convince itself that the New Bastards are somehow different from the Old (current) Bastards. In this case the consequences just sort of carried on, and the Parties are revealed as nothing more than a muddled bunch of entrenched bastards with nothing to choose between them. That's not supposed to happen. There's no savior waiting in the wings.

If there were a third party this could get interesting. But there isn't, and most congressional (and virtually all senatorial) voting districts have long been structured as so safe for one party or another that the two-party paradigm may as well be etched in steel. At least that's the way it's supposed to work. That undistinguished oaf who ran for Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts was so sure the dems had a lock on it that she didn't even bother to run, and the voters handed her an unthinkable outcome - they gave it to the other undistinguished oaf. That was so not supposed to happen that the dems didn't even seem to notice it happening until a day before the election. That was fun to watch, in a gruesome sort of way.

The only positive outcome I can imagine from all this would be if a much larger part of the electorate shook off the programming and realized that the left wing and the right wing are both attached to the same stinking carrion bird and stopped encouraging the bastards. That's so unlikely as to be incontheivable. The misconception that elections (between the same entrenched parties, world without end) are the only way to affect the course of the country is as unchangeable in most people as the respiration of oxygen - it'll never go away until something truly monumental happens to change it, and I can't imagine what that could be.

EDIT: Speaking of reactions to the Massachusetts election, W clued me in to this last evening:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I've died and gone to Kentucky.

My new part-time shit-shoveling gig is working out well so far. My neighbors have tried various ways of making money from goats. The original plan was meat and milk. This was reduced to milk only when it turned out they couldn't bring themselves to slaughter goat kids. Then the "milk" part went away when selling goat milk turned out to be more work than the money was worth. Now they just raise boer goats and sell them to other people who want boer goats. Exactly why there's a market for that, I don't know. But there is.

This guy has the Best Job Ever. He gets paid to lay around and occasionally screw a lady goat. Why can't my species be like this?

Oh, yeah. Because most of his siblings ended up between pita slices. Never mind.

Baby goats actually manage to be cuter than kittens, IMO. It's a shame that they grow up to be...well, goats. Also that they're so damned tasty.

The lady goats also have a pretty easy time of it, given that (again, unlike my species) they seem to regard childbirth as just another day in the life.

This is Luna, a five-month-old puppy who's feeling very put-upon right now. She's a Pyrenees mix, definitely going to be extremely large and advertised to be extremely aggressive with strange animals that come around to molest the flock. She's supposed to identify with the goats as her charges, and maybe when she's grown she will. But right now she's just a puppy who doesn't understand why all the other dogs get to live in the house, sleep on the furniture and get hugs and cuddles while she has to live with the goats. Since my principal programming is "dog nanny," I seem to be unable to leave this situation alone which means she gets a good wrestle after I've cleaned up whatever goat pen she's in. It also means that after TSHTF, I'll be the only outsider she'll actually assist in stealing goats. Heh.

The neighbors have three horses, a Stallion From Hell who's currently away for some sort of training, and two mares. The mares are sweethearts; I actually wish they were less friendly so I could get my job done without them carrying off the rake. But I confess I'm not looking forward to the return of the stallion. He's an unmanageable bastard.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Song in my Head...

W and I spent most of the day traveling today, and he practically begged me not to blog about today's Song In My Head because...well...

Introducing the white, white sound of the Seekers, circa 1968!

I don't know why this happens. I wake up with a melody in my head, often something I couldn't possibly have been thinking of because there's just no context. I didn't remember the title, or any of the words, or anything. Just this thing rattling around from my childhood. It's really frustrating. If I'm having weird, Seeker-related dreams, I wish I'd at least have the decency to remember what the hell they are.

On a more enigmatic tone, my YouTube crawling reminded me of a one-hit folk combo from the same period that recorded a song I never understood though it resonated with me at that age. Er...also, that smile at the very end definitely factored in my dreams at the time.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I'd be thinking, "Whoo Hoo! Free Gun!"

I mean, y'know, considering that technically I paid for it and all...

Since the customs enforcer apparently didn't want it any more, and all...

Oh, I know. Leave other people's stuff alone, or turn it in at the Principal's desk.

But still, this gets under my skin. First we have this emanation from the flock:
“I can’t even express how that makes me feel,” [the lady who discovered the pistol] said. “They are supposed to be here to protect us.”
Yeah - lady? They're not here to protect you. They're here to protect Uncle Sugar's cashflow. A customs agent is the moral equivalent of an IRS agent, which is not the moral equivalent of a tapeworm because the tapeworm doesn't have a choice about being a parasite. 'Kay? Also, I don't give a damn how anything 'makes you feel,' but you really should get over your irrational fear of simple machines.

Then the brief article finishes with this howler:
So far, customs officials have not explained how a highly trained agent could commit such a serious security breach.
It is vitally important, citizens, that you remember at all times that the thugs employed by selfless agents of our beloved protectors are virtually superhuman in their talents, their vigilance, their dedication to your safety and security. They are ninjas in business suits, and they think of nothing all day long but of keeping you in your place making you ever more safe and secure.

In fact they are ordinary people, if on an evil path, and sometimes they leave common items in bathrooms. As someone who wears a handgun most waking hours, I am aware that when you try to use the throne without unholstering your pistol it has an unpleasant habit of dragging your pants to the floor with an unsettling thud. Therefore I unholster it before dropping trou, and therefore I sometimes forget and walk out of the WC without it. I generally don't go far without noticing that it's missing, and so far this has never happened in a public washroom, but still. Wear a pistol every day, and you will forget it's there. Or not there. Or whatever.

"Highly trained agent," my ass.

Yes, I know...

I haven't been around here much lately. I just knew the day would come when I'd find myself apologizing for that, which is one reason I hesitated to even start blogging just over a year ago.

When I started TUAK I'd been living completely alone for a little less than five months. Winter was coming on and it promised to be a dark, cold, lonely time. TUAK was my way of sending out a 'voice from the wilderness' - a voice I felt free to speak because I really didn't think anyone would hear it. Paradoxically, the very fact that TUAK has found a loyal audience has both obligated me to go on writing when I didn't feel like it, and constrained the things I felt free to say. Some of you have become real friends of the blog, and to feel like real friends to me. But a person doesn't become a hermit because of his great people skills, you know? The more I get to liking someone as a person, the more I care what he or she thinks of me and so the more I become afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing - which causes me to edit every word and action, which in turn generally screws up the relationship. And so the very thought that I feel friends out there has caused me to put a muzzle on it.

So, you see, it's all your fault. Heh. Yeah - marriages have foundered on that thought.

There's also that small matter of having a life, which by any meaningful measure I didn't a year ago but really do now. I'm not hugely busier than I was then, but the things I'm busy with really do take a lot more of my mental time and leave less for sitting in my quiet lair and rambling on a keyboard.

I hate it when a blog I enjoy goes silent because the writer runs out of things to say, but it happens and it's no one's fault. I have things to say, but I've been having trouble overcoming the desire to not say it. Lately I've been depending on "linky no thinky" posts, and that's no way to do it but it's what I'm reduced to. It's the easy way out. I've spent too much of my life depending on the easy way, and it offends me now.

I'm not sure if any of this makes sense. I'm just trying to explain where I've been that's been keeping me away from the keyboard.

"A good crisis"

I've been doing some freelancing, and while researching a different matter came upon this golden oldy from our Good Shepherd, Rahm Emanuel...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Your morning dose of overbearing nanny

Via Tam, this bit of incredible horseshit:
NEW YORK – City health officials have battled trans fat and high-calorie fast food. Now, they're taking on salt.

The health department planned to release on Monday draft guidelines suggesting the maximum amount of salt that should be in a wide variety of manufactured and packaged foods.

The recommendations call for sizable reductions in the sodium content of many products, from a 20 percent drop in peanut butter to a 40 percent decline in canned vegetables.
Not just in NYC, you understand. These clowns want to tell General Foods how much salt they can put in frickin' Cheerios.

And why have they decided that Nanny needs to be so overreaching? Simple!
...simply asking the public to be more careful about what they eat hasn't worked...
Remember how we all laughed when the crazy "slippery slope" theorists said smoking bans would lead to this? Naw, we said. People have more sense than that.

Uh huh.


This has been an incredibly mild winter so far. Very cold overnight, but day after day of sunshine and afternoons in the high forties - even scraping the belly of fifty. This has severely disrupted my plans to cocoon the winter away, since you can maybe sit and read through one glorious day but a whole series of them? Blasphemy.

So yesterday, as soon as the carbon dioxide had melted back into the atmosphere I took the new tarpaulin I'd bought at the hardware store and went to the cabin site. Pulled up a big table and hauled out all the interior siding I'd neatly stacked inside. This took maybe twenty minutes, after which I'd planned to get to work on the insulation for the front wall. Trouble is, about halfway through the process I noticed that I didn't seem to have any dogs.

All last summer, whenever we worked on my cabin or M's dome, the dogs would just find shady trees to lay under and keep us company. They didn't run off even once, and that will sort of lull you into carelessness. So yesterday I called and called, and nobody came back.

I had a sad notion as to where they'd gone. They've been a bit pissed with me mornings, because Walky Time has been pushed back every day until such time as the lakes of frozen ammonia dissipate. Yesterday they were particularly militant about it, and so when we went to the cabin they apparently decided that just wasn't walky enough and took matters into their own paws. Ghost in particular has been going through some changes this winter; he used to be by far the most peripatetic of the dogs but since Magnus and Fritz got older and just wanted to sit around he had started to act much...older. It wasn't just that he stopped wandering off: He became dour and grouchy. But now his only full-time canine companion is Little Bear, who is to say the least neither of those things. Ghost was a long time warming up to Little Bear, but now they've become quite close and that has had one unfortunate side effect. Ghost now has a friend he can go on walkabout with. This wasn't the first time, though it is the first time they've disappeared from a build site.

So I (rather angrily) laid down my work and hiked back to the property to get the Jeep. I figured they'd probably gone to D&L's place to play with their puppy, but in case I was wrong about that I'd drive through the wash and see if I could flush them out. They can't resist the Jeep, and as I've said this wasn't the first time. As soon as I climbed the ridge my cell phone caught a signal and buzzed at me. The voicemail confirmed that Ghost and LB had, in fact, arrived at D&L's. Sigh.

I've been more draconian about putting them in Gitmo when I can't directly supervise them, and LB has become much more philosophical about being tied out rather than allowed to wander free, so it's been a while since they've pulled this stunt but they keep finding new venues for mischief. In a way I'm not sorry to see Ghost lightening up, 'cause he's just way too young to act like an old dog. But right now he's acting like an irresponsible puppy. Here there be monsters, and it's my job to protect the boys from them. Sometimes they make it harder than it needs to be.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Adrift, we are adrift in languid, lapping wavelets of stupid

Good news! The "goodbye kiss" terrorist has been apprehended! No federal agents were kissed in the tense showdown preceding his arrest.

Bad news! Nobody can find any really heinous crime that he committed.
According to a statement from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Mr. Jiang would be charged with defiant trespass. He was issued with a summons and told to appear in Newark Municipal Court.

It is a “petty disorderly persons offense,” said Paul M. Loriquet, a spokesman for the Essex County district attorney’s office, explaining that such an offense did not qualify to be prosecuted in federal court and only carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail.
Good news! Given the enormous disruption that TSA's absurd over-reaction to Mr Jiang's innocent action caused, our brave and concerned masters have determined that he must be punished! Punished, I say!
In an interview on Saturday, Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, of New Jersey, said he was hoping that the United States attorney’s office would consider bringing federal charges because the penalty Mr. Jiang is facing, “is hardly noteworthy and would not discourage people who want to break through the perimeter.”

The senator said the trouble the security breach caused far outweighed the punishment: 1,600 people stuck in the airport for six hours; flights delayed and an “incalculable” loss of money. And then for five days after the incident, New Jersey law enforcement officials searched exhaustively for the man caught on a grainy surveillance video, one which Sen. Lautenberg had released on Thursday.
Bad news! In a truly shocking development, logic and proportionality have left the building and nobody of any consequence has noticed their absence.

Actually, you insufferable moron er, Senator Lautenberg, sir, thirty days in the slam for ducking a cattle-chute barrier to kiss your girlfriend seems kind of excessive, and would certainly at least give me pause - but then I've never been that romantic. Granted that, if Jiang had been a crazed jihadi with a Semtex waistcoat, the penalty might not have been much of a deterrent - but then neither would the prospect of becoming a rapidly-expanding pink mist, so maybe your [redacted] guard should have stayed at his [redacted] post, no? Well, no of course not! We must concentrate on keeping the herd in line, so since there's no law on any books to punish this unruly fellow to the extent you think appropriate, let's just make something up. Is it because there are no lampposts in Mordor-by-the-Potomac that this guy still has a key to the Senatorial washroom?

And speaking of disproportionate penalties, what has become of the one person here who actually committed an offense that could have resulted in harm?
Mr. Jiang was able to step past security last Sunday when a guard, identified by a law enforcement official as Ruben Hernandez, left his post. The guard has been on administrative leave since Tuesday, and he faces disciplinary action...
So they gave him a paid vacation. Well, that's all right then.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Well, it was a nice day for it.

Uncle Joel has a new gig. Since come spring my tenure as paid nanny will come to an end, I've been dropping words in ears that I'm looking for more work. A couple of freelance writing jobs have resulted and it would be nice if that grew into something bigger, but writing isn't a dependable income. A couple of neighbors with livestock have found the more menial chores getting away from them and asked if I'd like a twice-weekly job shoveling goat and horse shit. It's close, so it sounded good to me.

Today was my first day on that job, and they failed to mention that by "getting away from them" they meant there were several large goat pens that hadn't had a detailed cleaning in something like a month. So my 1-2 hour job stretched to five. Oy.

Mucking stalls isn't completely new to me; I shoveled up after horses and sheep when I was a kid and never found it completely unpleasant. Goats are a novelty, though: Goats seem to consider their horns an integral part of their daily interactions. The one male they keep isn't an unpleasant soul, for a goat, but he was a little difficult to work around. When we were getting acquainted he reared up and wanted to butt heads with me, a privilege I politely refused. He kept trying to get involved in my duties, and when I attempted to dissuade him he taught me a trick I didn't know boer goats had in their repertoire. With a cunning twist of the head they can hook you with those backward-pointing horns, and from there they pretty much get their way. The horns don't look terribly formidable, but I learned to respect his and after that we got along better - which is to say I was more likely to get my way. They're strong, but suckers for a twist of the collar. One thing a few years with a pack of desert dogs has taught me down to the bone is the need to stay on top. Never let'em see you sweat. It works with horses, too, (not the collar thing, but the attitude) but I already knew that. I just wasn't always very good at it.

Anyway, I'll be raking up after the animals twice a week so it should never be as bad as today. But right now Uncle Joel is very tired and sore. At least the weather was nice.

It never fails...

Most winter mornings are pretty laid-back affairs, especially since the electrical system grew up and stopped needing to be changed, fed and burped first thing. I get up, let the dogs out, dress in a leisurely fashion, let the dogs in, and then sit and read with my coffee and ciggies until it seems warm enough for walky time.

But let there be an actual schedule, let there be something I actually have to do or somewhere I have to be at a particular time, and every possible manner of hell breaks out simultaneously. The water line from the cistern freezes, which causes the pressure pump to run continuously, which causes the power to shut down while I'm attempting to satisfy a jones for pancakes instead of my usual quick-n-easy fried egg on toast. The generator doesn't want to start (COLD!) and when it does the noise alerts W who wants to discuss why we've no power after a week of sunny days. The phone rings twice, which is more than the quota for a week. All the unnatural activity stirs up the dogs, who want to go out/come in/go out/come in/to infinity and beyond. And can I find my hat? I can not.


Friday, January 8, 2010

"Little did he know what awaited him..."

"...when he called 911 that day."

"What convinced us is that he admitted he took the police to the guns," said juror Darci Baker-Spicer of Bremerton.
So 20 years ago, when he was a teenager, Luke T. Groves committed an act of burglary at a local school. His felony conviction for that crime carried a lifetime ban on possessing or "controlling" any firearm, but state law did not require that he be informed of that prohibition. The state never denied that he was not, in fact informed.

In November of last year, he came home to find a broken window in his house. He called 911. First mistake.

In response to a question from one of the "responding" police officers, he said that his wife had a pistol and a rifle. Second mistake.

In response to a request from the police, he led them into the bedroom and showed them the guns - a .380 pistol and a .22 rifle. Third and last mistake.

He did all this in the wide-eyed trust that, since he had done nothing wrong, he had nothing to fear. His trust didn't save him from being led away in handcuffs. Oh, yeah, the cops never did learn (or even try to learn) who broke the window. But they got their man, all right. Hooah!

Groves was charged with being a felon in possession of firearms. In his trial, his defense was forbidden to enter certain facts into evidence, such as that the guns belonged to his wife who had owned them before they were married over seven years ago, that he was never informed that he wasn't allowed to even be in a house that contained firearms, and that he was a firefighter certified in the use of high explosives. None of that was relevant.
To convict Groves, jurors had to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of three things: that he knowingly had possession or control of a firearm; that he is a convicted felon, and that the crime occurred in Kitsap County.
As is so often the case in our world-class "justice" system, the charge was narrowly tailored to fit only things that were beyond contestation, whether or not the "crimes" were actually a danger to any person or property. The jury being so hamstrung, and kept so ignorant of any other facts, the verdict was predetermined.
"What convinced us is that he admitted he took the police to the guns," said juror Darci Baker-Spicer of Bremerton.
I must say that Groves' wife, now a single mother, is an understanding soul.
"They did exactly what they were told to do," she said.

But she still can't understand her husband is in jail because of guns she owned before they even met.

"I did not become a felon by marrying him," she said.
But hey! All's well that ends well, right?
She'll soon head to the local Department of Social and Health Services office to apply for benefits on behalf of their 4-year-old daughter, Sophim. As a child of an incarcerated parent, the state will pay for housing, Besherse believes.

If you're in a really masochistic mood, check out the comments below the story and learn why this sort of madness will never, ever end:
Well, gee, maybe this criminal should have considered the ramifications for his actions, and the fact that he'd face life long consequences of his actions. Why the surprise at being held accountable?

What part of 'no guns' is confusing? No guns means no guns. Dude gave up that right when he chose to become a criminal. Those of us who don't commit crimes and get convicted of them are good to go.

His wife's decision to marry and associate with known felons has consequences. If you want to bring that into your home, well, you brought it into your home, no one forced her to sleep with a thief.
I've said it before, and no doubt I'll say it again: Mr. Policeman Is Not Your Friend. And neither are the idiots who support him.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Beam me up, Scotty...

...there's no intelligent life down here.

Goodbye kiss provoked Newark airport scare
The security scare that shut Newark airport for hours and delayed thousands of passengers was caused by a man who slipped into a secure area to give a woman one last goodbye kiss, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

H/T to W

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

From the land of our new insect overlords...

Huh. Man, those alien probe things really sting. But I've been beamed back down to the planet now, and normal broadcasting should recommence.

Actually I blame my landlady - she lent me a set of all four seasons of Battlestar Galactica, most of which I'd never seen, and I've been on a sleep-deprived marathon ever since.

Friday, January 1, 2010

What a year!

This entry was supposed to be told all in photos, but there are just too many. Last night and this morning I spent hours going over photos taken over the past year, and there were...well, a lot. I added a lot of memories this year, good and bad. I lost Butch the tomcat, Fritz the kopkruncher and Magnus the magnificent. I gained Little Bear the...large. Two old friends, M and W, moved in. I somehow managed not to completely alienate Landlady. We got M's well working and built the subway station. We built M's pantry/powerhouse and got his dome up. We finished the shell for the Secret Lair. We (well, W, but I helped) got the electrical system actually working. We smoked a generator and added a better one. Newer friendships were consolidated, with D&L, S&L, J&H and others.

All in all we made quite a lot of progress this year, through frustrations and triumphs, arguments and agreements. Not all of it shows: I find myself sitting in the same place as when I started this blog over a year ago, looking out through the same ice on the same windows. Sometimes it seems like we could have done more, and I suppose we could have but who's to say?

It's been an interesting year, and not always in the sense of the old proverb. I miss my missing boys, but that's karma I suppose. Two steps forward and one step back, but we're still on track. It's proving to be a hell of a ride. Thanks for being along on it with me.