Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I won't freeze this winter.

A worrying expense has been resolved today, and I don't think I could have made a better deal.

It's been on my mind for some time. I need a chainsaw, because I need to be cutting wood for winter. Heaven knows there's lots of wood to cut, but using a bucksaw on juniper is ... well, not a very inviting prospect.

My first year and a half out here, I worked at the local saw shop fixing chainsaws and generators. It was very educational, and one of the things it taught me was that if you heat with wood you need a good chainsaw. You can't buy them at Home Depot, and they don't come cheap.

Chainsaw manufacturers go in and out of business, even though the names may live on. McCulloch, for instance, used to be the saw the big boys use. You can still buy McCulloch saws, but now they're junk. Ditto Poulan and of course (Yuck) Homelite. Nowadays, if you really depend on a chainsaw you want a Stihl or a Husqvarna. Pricey when new, and around here used ones don't come up for sale often.

Last month when Claire and I made our trash/water/propane/gasoline run, MK at the saw shop had an older Husky 55 on the rack and it looked like it had really been babied. Oh, I wanted that saw but it was on consignment for $300. MK won't dicker on consignment goods, and though I had that much cash I needed it for cabin stuff. I fondled it and walked away. But this month we came back to the shop (which is also where you buy propane in the little town nearest where we live) and sonuvagun that saw was still there. So I asked MK if he'd consider a layaway. I've seen him do it before, and he knows me. He agreed, as long as I paid it off within three months.

We poured a little mix gas in it and that saw purred. I checked the automatic oiler - worked just fine. The bar's a little worn, but otherwise this saw might have come right out of the box. New it would have cost me eight or nine hundred dollars - impossible.

After I paid him $100 and we wrote up the agreement he said I should take the saw with me instead of waiting till I paid it off. "I know where you live," he said, "and I know your place isn't fireproof." Heh - what a kidder.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Object of the Game

In the Detroit public schools I attended during the sixties, gym teachers had a sadistic little game that they liked to watch boys play. The game was called Dodgeball. You might remember it.

The teacher would divide the class into two groups on either side of the room, and each group would take a turn throwing an inflated rubber ball at the other. The object of the game, of course, was to hit someone with the ball, preferably with pain, and the one who was hit was out of the game. Each team generally consisted of a few mutant jocks who could throw the ball like it was shot from a cannon, and everyone else. “Everyone else,” of course, was the preferred target while it lasted. Guess which group I was in.

What this game was supposed to teach us, I never did understand. I suppose the lesson was that if you’re bigger and stronger, you win. But I already knew that.

At first I dealt with the game the way all the other smaller, weaker boys did: The object of the game, for us, was to get hit in some painless way early so you can sit out the rest of the sadism. But that solution did not satisfy me. I like to win.

So I found a loophole.

The game of Dodgeball had a seldom-invoked rule – At least it was seldom invoked in Detroit: If you caught the ball, the one who threw it was out of the game. I wasn’t particularly athletic, but the ball was large and they were after all throwing it right at me. Catching it turned out to be easy, once I overcame the instinct to dodge it. And so the bigger boys, the ones with the savage smiles and the mutant arms, eventually learned that if they wanted to keep playing their sadistic game they’d better not throw the damned ball at me. And that was all I wanted from them: Around me, the only way to win was not to play.

Once in a great while I'd be one of the last two standing. The other one, of course, would be the biggest surviving mutant on the other side. And then I would do the cruelest thing I could think to do. No, I didn’t catch the ball. He expected me to catch the ball, he expected to lose. The gym teacher expected it as well, and he was my real target. I didn’t care about the boy; he was just another jock.

I would wait until he threw the ball at my chest, avoiding it if he went for my legs and waiting for the chance. This could often go on for some time, because he knew by then that to throw it at my chest or head was to lose. He’d throw it at my legs, I’d dodge out of the way and either let the ball bounce back to his side or lob it off to one side so he had to scramble to retrieve it. I couldn’t throw the ball hard enough to have any hope of actually hitting him, so I didn’t try.

Finally he’d get frustrated and throw one high. I would line myself up with the ball as if to catch it. And then I would sidestep it, reach out my hand and let it brush my fingers as it passed, then walk off the boards. Enjoy your victory, asshole.

This used to annoy the hell out of the teacher. And that was the object of the game. ;^)

*YAWN* It's not corruption when WE do it.

Here's another denizen of the Obama inner circle who got caught "forgetting" certain matters the IRS considers important...
WASHINGTON -- A former top official for a huge New York union who is now the White House political director failed to disclose more than $37,000 in income from the union last year, it was reported yesterday.

As the former public-affairs executive for Service Employees International Union Local 1199, Patrick Gaspard earned $37,191 in carried-over pay while on the White House payroll.

He failed to disclose the income on financial-disclosure forms, Politico reported. Where arrangements for payment by a former employer must be listed on the form, he checked a box indicating he had nothing to report.
I can't even think of any good snark. Man bites dog, I guess.

When the president (or his minions) does it, that means it's not illegal. Maybe that's the spin, or perhaps the old reliable "Mistakes were made." Either way, no way Obama's critics are going to let go of the obvious Obama/SEIU linkage:
Gaspard is a key player in the Obama White House, which maintains deep ties to labor unions, especially the service-industries' union. He worked for nearly a decade for SEIU 1199 before joining Obama's campaign.

H/T to Tam.

J&H lost a horse yesterday...

Roxxie, H's favorite saddle mare, suffered a terrible accident yesterday and had to be put down.

H took her for some sort of training, leaving the trainer with specific instructions not to work her in the round pen because Roxxie was a bitch about that. The trainer disregarded H's instructions. Roxxie threw a fit, went out of control, and badly broke a leg.

I've mentioned Roxxie before; she's been in an uncertain mood for a few weeks. Not really knowing much about horse psychology, I tentatively chalked it up to the other two mares in her string being pregnant when she wasn't. Either way, I treated her with kid gloves because she was just never in a mood to be trifled with. I'm just there to clean up manure, not to make friends with horses that don't welcome it.

Funny: Claire and I were just talking yesterday about how fragile horses are. I understand the attraction of keeping them, but the expense and worry involved are really daunting. And now suddenly I get word that Roxxie is dead, when last I saw her she was, well, healthy as a horse. A poorly-coined phrase if ever there was one.

Poor pretty girl. I won't really miss her, but I never wished this on her.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Next up: The Robert C. Byrd Ninth Circle!

Oh, the legacy this great man leaves! It'll take decades to replace all those signs!
In his over forty-eight years (!) in the United States Senate, Senator Byrd has achieved a pork record that is second to none. From the Robert C. Byrd Expressway to the Robert C. Byrd Freeway; the Robert C. Byrd Institute to the Robert C. Byrd Federal Building (both of them), Senator Byrd has truly left his mark on West Virginia --- and the federal budget. (And let us not overlook the proposed Robert C. Byrd rooms in the U.S. Capitol.) It would be appropriate to erect some kind of monument to his century-spanning resume --- except that he already did so himself.

And now, a word from those who cry for the children...

Heh, heh...
Violence Policy Center Legislative Director Kristen Rand issued the following statement:

"People will die because of this decision. It is a victory only for the gun lobby and America's fading firearms industry. The inevitable tide of frivolous pro-gun litigation destined to follow will force cities, counties, and states to expend scarce resources to defend longstanding, effective public safety laws. The gun lobby and gunmakers are seeking nothing less than the complete dismantling of our nation's gun laws in a cynical effort to try and stem the long-term drop in gun ownership and save the dwindling gun industry. The 30,000 lives claimed annually by gun violence and the families destroyed in the wake of mass shootings and murder-suicides mean little to the gun lobby and the firearm manufacturers it protects.
This is the best...oh! oh! This is the best line ever written in the English language, if you like turning words on their widdle heads...
"It is our hope that Chicago's citizens will follow the lead of the residents of the District of Columbia--who were stripped of their handgun ban in the wake of the Supreme Court's June 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller.
'The citizens' of DC are 'stripped' of their gun ban! Dig it! Like anybody asked the citizens whether they wanted to continue being forbidden to own an object. Yes, I remember with a sad little sigh the day I was stripped of the company of my evil stepmother. Gosh, I miss her...

Oh, there's so much to say. But it's all snark against VPC in particular and gungrabbers in general because I don't really care about the actual decision of five of the nine Nazgul, so I'll keep it to myself lest others prefer to celebrate.

But as Tam said,
Is there any wine sweeter than the tears of Mayor Daley?

ETA: Helmke's take on this is precious. Reminds me of a couple of kids playing "war:"

Kid 1: I shot you! You're dead!

Kid 2: Am not! You missed!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Please don't let it be about race.

Hey, look. I'm a white guy from the East Side in Detroit. When I was six we moved to the deep south where I got to soak up some Jim Crow attitudes, and then we moved back to Detroit when I was a teenager, just in time for the '67 riots. Try getting all that out of your system. I've got race fatigue. Arguments about race make me very tired.

Which is why I've practically been putting my hands over my ears and going "LALALA" every time I hear anything having to do with the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case. "Please," I thought. "Please, whatever you do oh god please don't start acting like a bunch of Black Liberationists. That's exactly what nobody needs right now."

This fellow J. Christian Adams says he was until very recently a voting rights lawyer in the "justice" department, but quit in protest over...oh, let him tell it.
On the day President Obama was elected, armed men wearing the black berets and jackboots of the New Black Panther Party were stationed at the entrance to a polling place in Philadelphia. They brandished a weapon and intimidated voters and poll watchers. After the election, the Justice Department brought a voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party and those armed thugs. I and other Justice attorneys diligently pursued the case and obtained an entry of default after the defendants ignored the charges. Before a final judgment could be entered in May 2009, our superiors ordered us to dismiss the case.

The New Black Panther case was the simplest and most obvious violation of federal law I saw in my Justice Department career. Because of the corrupt nature of the dismissal, statements falsely characterizing the case and, most of all, indefensible orders for the career attorneys not to comply with lawful subpoenas investigating the dismissal, this month I resigned my position as a Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney.
Now the story of the voter intimidation, the federal case against the Panthers and its abrupt dismissal at the highest levels of the "justice" department has been around a long time, of course, and I'll admit that I didn't believe it could possibly be just primal racism. There had to be a better explanation: Nobody who attains the ranks of President and Attorney General, no matter how corrupt the process, could conceivably be so stupid as to do something like this out of "our turn now" racism. I literally did not have that low an opinion of Obama and Holder.

But unless this guy Adams is just lying about who he is on the pages of the Washington Times, I have to take his word for what went on and accept his interpretation of it:
Citizens would be shocked to learn about the open and pervasive hostility within the Justice Department to bringing civil rights cases against nonwhite defendants on behalf of white victims. Equal enforcement of justice is not a priority of this administration. Open contempt is voiced for these types of cases.

Some of my co-workers argued that the law should not be used against black wrongdoers because of the long history of slavery and segregation. Less charitable individuals called it "payback time." Incredibly, after the case was dismissed, instructions were given that no more cases against racial minorities like the Black Panther case would be brought by the Voting Section.
I don't know; what other spin can you put on that? But when the screaming eventually gets going about things this administration has done, I really, really don't want it to be about race.

Poor Little Bear

He left me a major odoriferous gift this morning, but it wasn't his fault.

Twice during the night LB woke me scratching on the door screen and wanting out. Since he never ever does that, I really should have listened. Instead both times I told him, "go lay down," and both times he obeyed. Then he apparently just let nature take its course. Explosively, from the evidence. I can't get mad at him, because he did try. Repeatedly. And the floor needed washing anyway.

Again, twice this morning he has demanded to go out and then refused commands to "Come," instead choosing to rush down the slope. Both times, if I hadn't gotten impatient with him I'd have saved myself the trouble of yelling because he stopped on the slope and practically bent himself in two trying to evacuate something that wasn't there to be evacuated. I've had days like that, and sympathize.

Considering what a close eye I've kept on him because of his propensity for community activism, I have a hard time believing that he ate something bad. He did have a little of my yogurt yesterday, and it's possible...

Well, anyway. Given that I still blame my inattention for Fritz's death, I've practically got LB on suicide watch now. If he's getting sick, we'll camp in the vet's office until we get a serious diagnosis and not "We'll have the blood test results sometime after the funeral."

But it's probably just something my canine vacuum-cleaner ate.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

One Thousandth Post!

I've been meaning to clean out some duplicate drafts, because the thousandth post was coming and I didn't want to miss it. Darned near did, too: According to a newly-accurate count, the Nissan Cube post was #1,000.

The 'pooter and I will have cake later.

TSA scores another PR coup!

So this lady's trying to get through security to catch her plane. She's struggling with a fussy 4-year-old. Also she's an amputee. In these days of "heightened security measures, what could go wrong?

Regular TUAK readers know that I am an amputee. I don't build my identity around it, as this lady Peggy seems to have done to some extent. I don't consider it a "disability," though I suppose it certainly can be. But you know, she's absolutely right to be infuriated.
I don't think that the general public understands how personal a residual limb is to the amputee. It is on par with one's genitals. I simply don't remove my liner in public exposing my limb, and I was humiliated by the request.
I don't know if it's quite 'on par with genitals,' but I can imagine that for a woman it well might be. I don't mind it when people see my prosthesis, because for a guy there's actually kind of a cachet about it. (Probably not so much for women.) Hell, when I was young and doing a lot of diving in Florida, I used to prance around in swimming trunks. But I am extremely reluctant to ever let anybody get a glimpse of my stump. (She calls it a "residual limb," because even the word is ugly.) That's not cool, it's just a deformity. We hide our deformities, for purposes of survival. It's an instinct. I can well imagine (and no sexism is implied or expressed) that it would be ten times worse for an already stressed-out woman.

Having said that, if you're really going to try to fight terrorism by screening unlikely passengers for plastic sporks, it would be absolutely ludicrous to ignore prosthetic limbs. It's where I'd put my bomb. If, you know, I had one.

Nor is that revelation new to security screeners. Hell, one time in Saudi they made me take off my leg, put it on the conveyor, and hop one-legged through the metal detector. But even there they didn't make me expose my stump.

Yeah, this lady's right to be mad. I hope her story gets spread far and wide.

H/T to Breda.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I've got a new "ugliest car I've ever seen!"

Yes, forget the Pontiac Aztec. That's just got an unfortunate sense of style. Now comes the Nissan Cube!

I can only assume that in Japanese, "Cube" (no doubt pronounced "Koo-Bay" means "exciting, dynamic shape." Because otherwise, why would you give a car such a dumb name?

But this is truly a cube - albeit an unusually asymmetrical one. The thing with the single rear roof pillar: It's genius, I tell you!

I used to work for Nissan, way back when. I decided a long time ago that "Nissan" is Japanese for "stupid marketing strategy," and they truly based their entire business model around it. Remember the Infiniti G45? Released at the same time as the first-generation Lexus, which looked and drove like somebody at Toyota had used tracing paper on a Mercedes ad, the G45 was a raucous, over-powered, poorly-slung abortion of a sedan with a marketing campaign that involved rocks and streams. Nobody knew what Nissan was even trying to sell until they finally unveiled the car, and then (wisely) nobody wanted it. Remember the "three-sedan strategy?" Of course you don't! Why would you? Nissan: Good cars, rotten marketing. Bad enough back when the home company let Nissan USA do its own US marketing, but lately it's just been ... breathtaking.

But this one: This one is a masterpiece. I can see, in my mind's eye, American marketing execs in a conference room, surrounded by posters of this new...whatever it is, eying the suspended ceiling grid and wondering if it would support nooses.

Seriously, this thing would be ugly in the dark.

I've got to go to town today...

So in lieu of the enlightenment and wisdom for which you came, here are some funny pictures.


"Truth is, I'm not specifically interested in an armed society. What I want is a free society."
- George Potter

Amen. And we agree that the latter is impossible without the former.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Are we all supposed to carry around guns now?"

Here's a guy who has filed a $10M lawsuit against his local police department, because they didn't prevent him from getting shot. No, no, I know what you're thinking - "the police aren't obligated to protect individuals," and all that. True. But this guy...well, read the story.

Money quote right here, demonstrating that even five rounds in the center of mass don't always get the point across:
“You’re supposed to run into a police station, and they’re supposed to help you,” Gerdak said. "If they can’t help you, then what? Are we all supposed to carry around guns now? I feel like nobody’s protected.”
Well, it's up to you, Bubba. But you might want to at least consider the idea because you did get one thing right. Nobody's protected. At least nobody in our political class.

H/T to Codrea, king of the "only one" story.

"You don't need a gun to protect your kids."

Leaving us with the nagging question of what you do need, because these ladies are loaded for bear. And apparently quite deranged.

I watched it twice. I still don't know what they're trying to tell me.

Seen here, via Tam.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Every Teenager Has Moments Like This.

Part of reaching adulthood is growing out of it. Peter Singer doesn't seem to have managed that.

In the June 6 NYT, our world-famous philosopher and infanticide proponent asks the question that at least occasionally crosses every 16-year-old mind: Should This Be the Last Generation? If he can still ask that question at his age, we can only hope he hasn't contributed to the current generation.
So why don’t we make ourselves the last generation on earth? If we would all agree to have ourselves sterilized then no sacrifices would be required — we could party our way into extinction!

Of course, it would be impossible to get agreement on universal sterilization, but just imagine that we could. Then is there anything wrong with this scenario?
Yes, Peter. There is. Our species would be extinct. That's a big red FAIL on an epochal level, and I'd rather give it a miss if you don't mind.

Singer's been around for a long, long time and if it weren't for the fact that he's allowed near impressionable young people I'd consider his continued existence at least worth an occasional hoot. He's a long-time animal liberationist, popularized the term Speciesism, and generally takes "the greater good for the greater number" to the extreme of including every individual being on the planet - while still dealing with the human race as a collective, of course. So since our species' continued existence will hurt other generations unborn, if only because we're omnivores, we should gracefully and voluntarily submit to extinction.

Yet I notice that he's still here, year after year. I guess he's too important to go first.

H/T to The Grey Lady.

A License to Live

I start my day in the land of the formerly free to the news that Fremont, Nebraska has awakened to the dire threat of aliens among us. They're taking our jobs! They're ... I don't know, ogling our women or something. I suppose they've taken the enlightened view that simply authorizing police to shoot brown people on sight might have an unintended consequence or two, so they've done the logical thing: They've simply decided to oppress everybody equally.

Yes, in the sylvan hamlet of Fremont it is now necessary to obtain a license from the city if you wish to rent a place to live. Presumably a white person speaking English with an American accent and clutching a handful of paper properly in order will have no difficulty paying the fee and obtaining the license - for now. But watch out, you alien critters! Your days of running around loose - or at least having a roof over your head - in Fremont are numbered, amigo!

I feel much safer now.

This is coupled by a requirement that employers use the federal E-Verify system to ensure that all prospective employees, not just the brown ones, are in the country legally. This is a perfectly wise move and will prove consequence-free for everyone, because everybody knows the federal government's flawless record dealing with lists.

People who are so irrationally concerned about "illegal aliens" that they would hand this sort of power to unaccountable and proven incompetent/corrupt/power-mad governments just amaze me. Do they truly believe these restrictions will only be used to oppress the brown people that repel them, and never have any blowback on their own lives? Don't they have any sense of history at all? Can't they think of any other uses a list like E-Verify could be put to?

People who think that it would be good to prevent other people from getting employment or a place to live unless the government has vetted them for "legal" status have handed the government all the power it needs to issue us all a license to live.

Since I'll be living in their dream world too, I curse them for it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Of the strange ways I find to make women mad at me...

Landlady: "I've got a bone to pick with you."

Me: "Uh oh. What'd I do?"

Landlady: "When I come up here with (a guy she sometimes catches a ride with), I have to listen to Tom Clancy books on tape. I can live with that. But when I ride up by myself, I'm looking for blessed silence. Usually I get it. This time it was the @#$!ing Hero of Canton, all the way up."

I've had numerous complaints about my taste in "song in my head" posts. And it's true I only post the horrible ones, because I find them funny.

But because we don't want to cause any damage, the management staff here at TUAK hereby provides the following special offer to our valued readers. If at any time a linked "music" video causes incurable earworm and/or mental distress, please contact us at once and we will immediately refund the cost of your subscription in full. We also hereby issue the following Public Service Announcement:


Example below:

We are skilled professionals, highly trained in the handling of these toxic materials. Don't try this at home.

YOUCH! How to abruptly end a military career!

When you're the General-Who's-Going-To-Save-Us-All du jour, there are things you don't say in public. Hint: Whispering it down a well at midnight is too public. Especially "with a president who puts a premium on message discipline and loyalty." One of Obama's toadies got caught yukking it up about the Boss with his toadies, and now ye shite will hit ye spinny thing.

H/T to Sipsey Street.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Well, the cat's out of the bag now.

Here at TUAK Central I often speak of my neighbor W. I must now confess to you that I made W up. There is no guy named W. W is not a guy.

My neighbor is actually the well-known-in-certain-circles writer Claire Wolfe, whom I have had the privilege of calling friend for several years.

Since both she and I blog, that has raised occasional issues. For example I couldn't ever photograph her dogs, because two of them are pretty distinctive and lots of people know what they look like. The only one I could ever photograph or even talk about was Beauty - whose name isn't Beauty - because she looks like every other Australian Cattledog on the planet.

But I'm now free to tell a story I've wanted to be able to tell for years. I could never say just how I ended up in this particular patch of paradise because Claire is directly to blame, and the first rule of Claire is that what you know about her whereabouts stay with you and nobody else. But I have direct permission to tell this story, and so now I will.

"I find your lack of servility disturbing."

Y'know, I'm all in favor of this, since mass impeachments followed by tar and feathers seem to be out of the question. Hey, incrementalism is good, even if (since this is coming from congress) I don't really believe a word of it.

But what's with the rash of dumbshit law names, straining to come up with "cool" acronyms?

ETA: Have you noticed how many photos there are lately in which Obama really doesn't seem to be having a good time anymore? Kinda reminds me of Carter. In four years that poor clueless clod went from toothy grin to old and tired.

Respect My Authoritah!

Always remember - The law is the law. Follow it blindly, subjects.

Shadow and the Water Well

Here's another Shadow story, if you liked the first one.

Nobody dies in this one, and Shadow doesn't even pull a knife on anybody. It's what you'd call a story with a moral - and Shadow's morals, though strict, are pretty simple ones.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Napolitano opened her mouth, and unto us she spake...

"We just need a liiiiitle more of your freedom, and then you'll be safe."

H/T to Radley Balko.

Kenny the Kingsnake, and other adventures in desert living

Off and on through this early part of the summer I've spotted a fair-size kingsnake in and around the barn. Unlike rattlers, kingsnakes are to be encouraged in barns and even under houses, not only because of their voracious appetite for rats and mice, but also because they consider rattlesnakes prey animals. Exactly how they pull that off I don't know, but I've heard it from several quarters. So I just named this one Kenny and left it alone. It's not a friendly guest, but a relationship doesn't have to be friendly to be mutually beneficial.

On the other hand, Kenny is still a snake and so there are places you don't want him to go. I was unaware that he'd gone into one of those places sometime Friday, when nobody was looking.

Landlady came in Friday night after I was in bed. Yesterday morning she came over for coffee and informed me that she had spent the night in her car, because there was a great big snake in the barn apartment. It went behind the bookcase when she tried to shoo it out, and refused to leave. Could I please do something about my snake? Suddenly it was my snake. So I went looking for Kenny, but he'd split sometime during the night.

Unfortunately while I was doing that, I took my eye off the ball - or rather off Little Bear. LB took mere seconds to gather up his two closest friends and disappear into the desert.

Now, this disappearing act has been the subject of quite an ethical dilemma for me, for some months. The dogs know where they live; they'll eventually come home, and rewarding their bad behavior by chasing them down and giving them a Jeep ride (which they love) isn't really helping. But their most common destination is D&L's place, a couple of miles away. D&L don't want the dogs there, and I can't just ask them to put up with my pooches until they come home on their own. Shooing them away doesn't work, because D&L have dogs of their own with whom my dogs love to play. So I must go get them. And it absolutely doesn't help to hit or even yell at a dog who just ran joyously to you when you chased it down. All you can do is bring it home and confine it.

But this time the dogs didn't go to D&L's. Or S&L's. Or J&H's. I don't know where they went. I eventually had to come tell Claire about this, and she was understandably annoyed. It's always my dog that gets us into this, and I'm supposed to keep him under control. So now we're both out trolling the desert for dogs, when we already had a busy morning planned, and it's not getting the day off to a good start. I was just checking D&L's for the second time when Landlady texted me - the dogs had come home on their own from wherever they'd been hanging out.

Yesterday was shit-shoveling morning. Paulo the Stallion from Hell has been much more consistently mellow lately, because two of his three mares are pregnant and that apparently chills a stallion out. The mares, on the other hand, have been in an uncertain mood. Roxxie, in particular, the one unpregnant mare, has been positively hostile. My duties as an Equine Excrement Engineer require me to drag my shitwagon through pretty much every part of their one-acre corral (I can't call it a pasture, since it doesn't contain a single blade of grass) gathering up their offerings. There's one corner near the front I call the "swamp" because it's where the horses seem to prefer to empty their fifty-gallon bladders. It's a low spot near the (electric) fence, and a fellow can feel just a bit hemmed in there - especially when there's a mature mare staring him down with her head down and her front legs spread, daring him to shoo her away from the spot where he really does have to go with his manure fork. Look, lady, I'm just cleaning up after you. Could you give a proletarian a break here? If this is some sort of class struggle, you're already in the upper class. But I have never successfully reasoned with a horse. Eventually waving the fork at her gets it done, but you do want to watch her after you've pissed her off. Thing about a horse - both ends can get you.

Then it was work on Landlady's new house. When I got back from the Shitfields of the Desert, she was already on the roof installing scuppers to get water off the roof and it wasn't going well. She'd been at it for a couple of hours in the hot sun, and she was in the sort of mood that makes you treat a lady like a big bottle of mercury fulminate. This is great - three ladies in murderous moods and it's still nowhere near noon. This is why I became a hermit, right here.

Claire and I got to work on installing windows, and things started to go better. The dining room, which is at the very front of the building and has a fantastic view, sports four big windows. Naturally, since neither of us was completely sure what we were doing, it seemed perfectly logical to start with the biggest, heaviest windows. There was a flaw in that logic somewhere, but we didn't see it at first.

Anyway, we spent the afternoon installing six of the house's nine windows, and after a brief encounter with the learning curve it went really well. Except that in the afternoon the wind comes up. The last three windows were on the windward side of the house, and for that reason we hadn't cut the OSB away from the window frames. As soon as I attacked each frame with the Sawzall, wind started whistling through the hole. This had the effect of whipping all the sawdust right into my face. The last cuts on each frame have to be kind of persnickety. You can't just hack away at it from the inside, because you'll always angle the OSB away from the frame which makes it kinda hard to screw in the window frame afterward. But it's hard to make precise cuts - with a sawzall, which isn't exactly designed for precision anyway - when your eyes are all full of sawdust. It's a hassle, and you need to go slow to get it right.

By the time we got the sixth window tacked in, it was only about 3:30 but we were all ready to quit. Landlady got the shower, of course, it being in the barn apartment. But cold water felt really good by that point. I felt like solid sawdust inside and out, and spent a blissful ten minutes or so washing my head with cool water from the cistern.

We'd just got situated on the new house's porch with ciggies and a box of Claire's fine supermarket wine when S&L quit work and came over. We sat chatting on Landlady's breezy porch while the shadows lengthened. Little Bear, still in disgrace, was cabled up to one of the porch pillars. He's only ever been tied out in my yard, and there he knows the limits he can move. Here he hadn't figured out that the same limits applied. So when S&L came he tried to launch toward the truck with the other dogs and got a rude surprise when he hit the end of the cable. He didn't try that again, but he still got a nice walky when we all decided to troop out into the boonies to show S&L the progress on The Secret Lair. Then they bid us adieu, and we three had a late supper and retired.

So no post yesterday, but not because nothing was going on - precisely because quite a lot was.

Friday, June 18, 2010

This is ... Humbling...

Can you tell the exact hour in which Tam linked to something on your sleepy little blog, Joel? I knew you could.

And I was actually having a pretty good day, reader-wise, because my friend Claire (I can call her my friend and neighbor now, since she came out of the closet and is no longer "Uncle W") linked to me yesterday. But then ... Tamalanche!

My bloviations on TSA...

A commenter left a note on my TSA post earlier today. To be fair I don't think she was defending the TSA, but rather the right of government employees to collective bargaining. But since I can't abide anything that even sounds like a defense of TSA, it got me all het up anyway. I'm just prejudiced like that.

In my non-accredited opinion, the success of the 9/11 hijackings that caused the TSA, among other outrages, was the direct result of policies arising from that incredible string of airliners being hijacked to Cuba in the late '60's. It became almost routine to fly from New Orleans to Atlanta via Havana, and hardly anybody got hurt. Government (and airline) instruction to passengers was "Sit back, don't resist, and enjoy your all-expense paid trip to Cuba. You'll be fine." That's exactly the advice most passengers followed on September 11, 2001. Only they all ended up in the middle of buildings. That advice didn't work so good that time.

A sensible revision of the policy might have been, "If you see someone savaging a stewardess with a box cutter, you might want to consider doing something about it. Please use frangible ammo." But no, clearly more of the same is called for here - deeper, harder. To ensure that we all get to play Kitty Genovese during the next murderous hijacking, our Beloved Leaders have hired 40,000 mouth-breathers to relieve us of anything that could remotely, even ridiculously, be construed as a weapon before permitting us on board any commercial aircraft.

This is incredibly insulting. Submission to this absurdity is ... well, it's infantile. I despise it, I despise the people who inflicted it on us, and I despise myself on the rare occasions when I am forced to endure it. Because what I want to do is stomp that fat swine who's patting me down into gooey paste on the floor - but I don't. I raise my arms and turn around like a good citizen.


Thank you. Tantrum managed.

Stupid Cat is Stupid.

Note for future generations, if you live to reproduce: When you just watched a doe (literally!) kick the living crap out of a dog that weighs as much as she does, clawing said doe's nose is ... not an optimal tactic. 'Kay? The doe's got a fawn. The doe looks at you and doesn't go all, "Aw, cute kitty playing with my baby." Nope.

H/T to Unc.

"Who's in charge here?"

As far as I can tell, getting oil onto the shore is the objective...
"The Coast Guard came and shut them down," Jindal said. "You got men on the barges in the oil, and they have been told by the Coast Guard, 'Cease and desist. Stop sucking up that oil.'"

A Coast Guard representative told ABC News today that it shares the same goal as the governor.

"We are all in this together. The enemy is the oil," said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Dan Lauer.

But the Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.
And just going on board and looking for the damned fire extinguishers was completely out of the question?

Also, may I say as a slow-satellite user that I really hate news sites with video that plays automatically? Thank yew.

Conversations that usually don't happen...

W: Joel, why are you carrying that big axe?

Me: I wanted to take a kink out of my driveway, but had to negotiate right-of-way with a tree first.

W: Oh. Okay.

Oh, this is rich.

I've got to start a "get a load of this" tag, because lately I'm inundated with laugh-out-loud "WHAT??" stories. To wit:
Indianapolis - If you're flying out of town today you might see protestors at the airport.

They started picketing Thursday in several spots around Indianapolis International Airport, handing out pamphlets.

They're at airports across the country as well.

The union American Federation of Government Employees represents 40,000 airport employees of the TSA nationwide.

They're pushing for an expansion of collective bargaining rights, the ability to negotiate a better deal between the union and employers.
Tam, as usual, said it better than I could if I devoted the morning to the task:
That's like being picketed by your own body lice.
Seriously, is there any government agency anywhere as intrusively, obtrusively, obviously and ... I don't know, protrudingly useless as the TSA? They who stand in the breach, keeping the Republic safe from Grandma's itsy-bitsy sewing scissors and your bottle of water? We're just recovering from the avalanche of stories about TSA's latest insult, the porn-o-scanner, and now they're "threatening" to strike? Srsly?

Please! Go on strike! Go now! I'll proofread your signs. (you'll need that.)

Take the drones at the DMV with you.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Get a load of this.

I'd hat-tip whoever I first read this from, but TUAK must be the only site on the Interwebs that hasn't blogged about it yet. This bit right here is just precious:
The NRA must preserve its ability to speak. It cannot risk a strategy that would deny its rights, for the Second Amendment cannot be defended without them.
'Cause everybody knows that the NRA is the only organization out there defending the 2A. [cough]GOA, JPFO, SAF, ETC.[/cough] So it's got to cut sweetheart deals for itself or...or...well, it just has to, that's all. It's got an exemption from Schumer's treasonously unconstitutional law that Just Happens to fit one gun rights organization, leaving absolutely everybody else in the path of the bus. Sweet.

As Claire said,
[T]he NRA has made sure that it’s oh-so-special provisions ensure that some other, smaller, tougher political gun groups, like Gun Owners of America (which just happen to be growing while NRA members increasingly desert), are muzzled while the big old NRA gets to continue peddling its message of “compromise, compromise, compromise.”
I hope they choke.
Look, I know NRA does stuff with its money and congressional clout that the other, smaller organizations can't do. It's good that there's one group more-or-less on our side that some congressvermin are actually afraid of; it really is. But more and more, they seem more interested in being powerful than being right.

Jayne is a girl's name.

Heh. M sent me this, and got my morning off to a good start.

"It's my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of son of a bitch or another." - Mal Reynolds

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Here's a free story.

I've wondered for some time how people get parts of a long post to appear "below the fold," and finally got around to researching the code. So partly I'm posting this just so I can play with it.

A couple of years ago I started on a series of short stories, mostly having to do with a half-mad desert hermit named Shadow. I ran out of ideas and interest before it developed into anything like an anthology, and they've just been cluttering up my hard drive since then. Here's one of the better ones.

Note: This story is not for children. It's got bad language, violence, and a rather gruesome funeral.

It's called "Shadow and the Hermit's Funeral."

The Hell??

Okay, both my regular readers know that I don't get my panties in a wad over illegal immigration. "The law is the law" and all that...yeah, yeah.

But...This isn't acceptable.
The drug cartel violence coupled with increased crime along the Arizona/Mexico border has prompted Arizona officials to place signs along a heavily-traveled and known smuggling route leading from Mexico to the state’s capitol of Phoenix.

Signs went up a couple weeks ago along the southern side of I-8 between Casa Grande and Gila Bend Arizona. The region is about 80 miles north of the Mexican border and it warns American citizens of the dangers of hiking in the area.

Mexican drug cartels appear to control large areas of Southern Arizona, according to the Pinal County Sheriff.
Obviously this sort of thing is out of the normal line for a county sheriff's department. Sheriff Babeu had one of his own people ambushed and killed* several weeks ago, and he's yelling for federal troops. Since that would actually be useful, the feds are of course turning a deaf ear.

I'm wondering what's going on at the state level. This would be an excellent chance for the Arizona National Guard to get some live-fire practice, but for all I know they're all in Iraq. Which in turn bids me wonder: Where are all those gung-ho militia types I used to hear so much about, now that they're needed?

And of course a real wacko could make a pitch right here for drug legalization, which would make the whole "violent drug cartel" thing moot overnight. But that's crazy talk. We'll have none of that here. Let's just close off part of the state instead.

We could call it "Cartelistan."

*ETA: My bad. That deputy wasn't killed.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Life and death in the desert

I shared a pleasant lunch with a friend today. He brought chicken, and I brought rice. I'd just gotten off pulling all the old wire out of the new Secret Lair, and replacing it with the ruinously expensive Romex I bought in town yesterday. Since I had so much, I made some improvements I'd wanted before but didn't feel like pulling all that old, stiff 10-gauge wire to do. So all was well; I lost a morning's work, but ended up with better than before. Not that I have a way to power it at present. But still, I was feeling pretty good about the day.

The conversation took a strange turn. A fellow had made a strange, rude jest some time ago, and I had answered not at all in jest that, if his jest were true, my response would be violent and destructive. My friend, with whom I was sharing lunch, had been present at the jest. He raised the subject - or maybe I did, I don't remember - and he spoke of ropes and trees. I said no, that wasn't my style. If it came to personal violence, I'd cut his throat in the middle of the night. I'm too old and lame for confrontations, if I can avoid them.

Not that it would ever come to personal violence. The 'violence and destruction' I spoke of wasn't against the jester himself, or even his property. But it's a long, personal story and probably irrelevant. It's just that I won't be betrayed or cheated with impunity.

Now, none of that is really good blog fodder, and I wouldn't mention it except I was spending this afternoon reading some Kipling and came upon something that reminded me of the conversation. It's curious how different sorts of people can interact, and never really understand one another at all. Sometimes that failure to communicate can get you killed. When in doubt in the desert, it's always best to be polite.


By Rudyard Kipling

Who knows the heart of the Christian? How does he reason?
What are his measures and balances? Which is his season
For laughter, forbearance or bloodshed, and what devils move him
When he arises to smite us? I do not love him.
He invites the derision of strangers—he enters all places.
Booted, bareheaded he enters. With shouts and embraces
He asks of us news of the household whom we reckon nameless.
Certainly Allah created him forty-fold shameless!

So it is not in the Desert. One came to me weeping—
The Avenger of Blood on his track—I took him in keeping.
Demanding not whom he had slain, I refreshed him, I fed him
As he were even a brother. But Eblis had bred him.

He was the son of an ape, ill at ease in his clothing.
He talked with his head, hands and feet. I endured him with loathing.
Whatever his spirit conceived his countenance showed it
As a frog shows in a mud-puddle. Yet I abode it!

I fingered my beard and was dumb, in silence confronting him.
His soul was too shallow for silence, e'en with Death hunting him.
I said: "'Tis his weariness speaks," but, when he had rested,
He chirped in my face like some sparrow, and, presently, jested!

Wherefore slew I that stranger? He brought me dishonour.
I saddled my mare, Bijli, I set him upon her.
I gave him rice and goat's flesh. He bared me to laughter.
When he was gone from my tent, swift I followed after,
Taking my sword in my hand. The hot wine had filled him.
Under the stars he mocked me—therefore I killed him!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Well, that "rule of law" thing...

It's really more of a guideline.
Democrats are vowing this fund will be tightly crafted and used only for oil-spill payments. But only last week Democrats on Capitol Hill wanted to siphon money out of the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund—established in 1986 and funded by oil taxes to help clean-up spills—to pay for their extension of unemployment benefits. The history of such government funds is that they are always raided for politically favored purposes.

Trip to Town...

It turns out, after I pulled all the wire in the Lair and began connecting my first set of outlets, that the wire I scavenged is no damned good. I worried about that a little, because we used some of the wire from the same source in M's Dome and it was all corroded between the strands. But the roll I had seemed in much better condition, and like an idiot I didn't check it carefully enough.

It's not a big thing; it's a small cabin and replacing all that wire probably won't take but a couple of hours. But it's annoying as hell. Fortunately it happened today, when W and I were already planning a trip to town and I had a humongous shopping list for plumbing parts. So I added a roll of Romex to the list. What really got under my skin was the amount of wire I had to buy. 250' of Romex cost $62 and change, and I thought, "Hell, I don't need half that. Surely there's a 100' roll here somewhere." And there was, too. They wanted $55 for that. At the price difference, I sighed heavily and bought the bigger roll. It'll come in handy sometime.

All in all I dropped almost $200 at Lowes, which is nearly a third of my total net worth. I didn't worry about it too much, because I finished a third job which should net me a fair amount. Then W started jonesing for some red meat, and we went looking for a steakhouse. Found a nice one, got ourselves all sat down like real people, and then boggled at the prices. I don't remember the last time I spent twenty bucks on one meal. I could feed myself for a month on twenty bucks, if I really had to. But I figured, what the hell? So I bypassed the special and had myself a plate of genuine ribs. Good, too. Not sure it was worth $20, but still good.

W needed to go into Wally World, and since Little Bear just scored another pair of sandals I did too. I've always been paranoid about Wal-Mart, because I've heard so many stories about how unfriendly the stores can be about guns. So every previous visit I've made sure I had an IWB holster and an overshirt with me, but this time I dropped the ball. But again: What the hell? The worst they can do is ask me to leave. So now I can testify from personal experience that it is possible, though your mileage may vary, to walk around in a Wal-Mart with an open .45 and not have anybody hassle you. Maybe it's a local thing, I don't know.

About the time we were ready to leave town, those ribs started working on me. I'm not used to a lot of rich food. There's a big gas station on the outskirts, and W pulled in there. As has happened in the past, I ran afoul of an unintended (I assume) consequence of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA mandates that at least one stall in any public restroom must be big enough to land a C-130 in, just in case somebody with a wheelchair needs it. This means the typical benjo has only one of them, and Finagle's Law (The Perversity of the Universe Tends to a Maximum) states that when you really, explosively need that single stall, it will be occupied.

I really hate congress. But on such a beautiful day, I refuse to let them get me down.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Well, this is ridiculous.

This is my first and only complaint. To date.

W and I have had some issues with our internet provider. We've got satellite service, which means our monthly download limit is...well, limited. Hasn't been a big problem up till now, but all of a sudden I'm watching what the provider says we're downloading go up and up and up to the point where we're about to lose the service we're paying for, and neither he nor I is doing anything unusual. Even if some demented freeloader were creeping up to our ridge with a wifi laptop and downloading Lost episodes, he wouldn't get away with it because the uber-router is encrypted. I'm not sure why it's encrypted, given our physical isolation, but this is W we're talking about. He encrypts pancake recipes, just on principle.

So anyway, W checked out his own (Linux) computer for something that might cause the browser to run in the background or something, and then he did the same to my own (Linux) 'pooter. He found nothing wrong, specifically, but did comment, "Wow, man, you've sure got a lot of cookies. You need to change your settings."

"Cookies," to me, are confections you make with flour and chocolate chips. I have a vague idea what they are, but really they don't mean anything to me except "vaguely bad from a privacy POV." I like being able to open forums without signing on, but then over the past year or so I've pretty much gotten away from web forums anyway. The only setting I could find on Firefox that concerned cookies was pretty much an on/off switch. So I set it to block all cookies, and (hopefully) cleared all the cookies in memory.

Sometime later I tried to open my own blog. I expected to have to log back on.

Blogger wouldn't let me. I got some sort of nastygram about how my cookie function had to be enabled. I went back into the settings and attempted to add my own blog (and, just to be ecumenical) to the "exceptions." I tried to log back onto the blog.

Blogger wouldn't let me.

I don't like being told what to do, unless I'm getting paid. I especially don't like it when an inanimate object - my own property, no less - starts issuing diktats as to what I'm allowed to do. I will now attempt to explain to my computer, calmly, that I do own an axe.

ETA: Okay, looks like the axe won't be necessary at this time. Having logged onto Blogger, and so presumably planted a cookie or ten on the 'pooter, I closed the tab and then went back and disabled cookies, having first made sure the exception was in place. Then I opened the blog again, and was still logged on. So I guess that satisfied the lack-of-privacy gods. For this site, anyway.

Still haven't figured out why our provider thinks we're downloading craploads of...whatever it thinks we're downloading.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

You make that sound kinda ominous.

So you're losing the "global war," making it necessary to fight all those enemies you made overseas right here at home? Or do you maybe have a different enemy in mind?

H/T to Sipsey Street

"Obstructing Government Operations," Oh dear, oh dear.

A rafting guide lost a 13-year-old girl when his raft flipped in white water. He couldn't find her at first, finally did locate her after the Trained Professionals had arrived to save the day, jumped in and pulled the girl to safety as was his responsibility.

Of course he was promptly arrested. How exactly he 'obstructed government operations,' I'm not sure. The government "rescuers" were still perfectly free to inventory and set up their expensive gear and go through the motions of their by-the-book "rescue." Snodgrass didn't "obstruct" them in any way. He just made them look bad, which I suspect is the real crime here. But what delighted me about the story was his boss's completely repentant attitude. Not:
"To jump into water and navigate a river in a swiftwater rescue is common. You get into the river and swim. You have to do it," Branford said. "The fact these guys don't understand that is disturbing. Making contact immediately with your victim is essential. It's not about who is in charge. It's about the safety of a 13-year-old girl. You are going to do everything in your power to insure the safety of your guest, and if that means in Idaho Springs you get arrested, well I guess we'll just get arrested."
I wish I had a "freedom outlaw of the week" award at TUAK, but I can't find one such story per week. Still, Huzzah!

Friday, June 11, 2010

More (and less) tactical than thou...

I've been aware for some years now that my tacticool elevator doesn't even go near the top. I consider it a sign of my continuing development as a human being that this no longer bothers me. Very much. All the time.

Some tacticoolity (Tacticoolness? Tacticoolination? Supertactifrajalisticexpialidocous!) just really doesn't make a lot of sense. Some does, even when it isn't very "cool."

Take "tactical" pants, for example. Truth is that if they came in solid colors (at decent prices, in the same quality as surplus, and maybe without those blousing ribbons on the bottom) I'd wear nothing else. They're very comfortable, roomy, cool, and far less susceptible to wearing out the thighs than jeans. But what's available online for good prices is all surplus, which means you're pretty quickly demoted to the redneck faded camouflage ghetto. "Camouflage," on a townie sidewalk, is anything but. But for bashing around the boonies, where fashion doesn't mean a damn thing, there's absolutely nothing better than surplus.

"Tactical" vests - just a fashion statement, as far as I'm concerned. I knew a guy in California whose full-on "tactical" getup looked like he'd just come from an ad shoot. He looked like a recruiting poster for the unorganized militia, in his tailored MOLLE vest and hydration system. I looked like something that had fallen off a truck and rolled down the Interstate for 20 yards, in my VN-era web gear w/chunky belt canteens. It was kind of embarrassing. But after a few hours in the Mojave he was suffering and peeling off gear, and I wasn't. So who was tactical and who was "tacticool?"

This comes to mind - as so many posts of this sort do - after reading a forum thread about flashlights. Geekdom comes in so many varieties, on so very many topics, that I really should stop being startled when I encounter it on what seems a very prosaic and non-controversial topic, like flashlights. Yup, there are flashlight geeks. They are passionate on the topic of flashlights, which to me is like getting worked up about spatulas. Sure, everybody's got one. But who'd really spend $200 on one, or get all concerned about how many features it has or wax all superior about "cree rings," whatever they are? I just want it to light up when I push the button. Every single time.

I kept my mouth shut on this thread, being all too aware of how very uncool I am. Yes, I do carry a flashlight all day. But it's not a cool flashlight. It's not spiky or dull green. It has one setting! (Loser!) And I'm almost afraid to mention in this company that I bought it to replace my (Oh, Pa-lease!) Mini-Mag.

I did buy a semi-cool flashlight once, he blurted in his own defense. I bought a Streamlight "tactical" flashlight guaranteed in writing to burn out retinas at 600 yards. The guarantee was useful, since I mailed it back to the manufacturer twice. It used those CR123 batteries that cost like Niflheim if you don't buy them in bulk, and it killed them with monotonous regularity. Every time I needed that flashlight, it didn't work. I hated it. I went back to the Mini-Mag.

Which really wasn't as bright as I needed. One day while in a Costco about two years ago buying bulk staples, I found a flashlight I didn't really have a lot of hope for.

This is a Leatherman "Monarch 500." No, I don't think Leatherman makes it; it's made in China and only sold at Costco. The styling left me completely cold. I knew the Velcro on that oversized holster flap wasn't going to last. I didn't know anything about LED lights, and didn't trust them. But the Mini-Mag really wasn't getting it outdoors, I needed to do something, and this was 30 bucks. So on a whim I tossed one into the basket.

That was over a year and a half ago, and now it never leaves my belt. No, it doesn't look cool. Yes, it's got "cree rings," not that I care. I didn't buy it at BLACKHAWK!!!111ZOMG, or however that dumb company spells its name this week. And it doesn't even any spikes to whop the mutant zombie bikers with. I ended up cutting that stupid flap right off the holster, when the Velcro failed after the first month. But the 3 AAA batteries (oh, how outré!) need replacing about every nine months and give you plenty of warning. The shiny case turns out to have the advantage of letting you find the damned thing after you juggled it into some rocks, and dropping it on rocks doesn't seem to harm it in any way. It's just a good, solid, basic flashlight.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Okay, this is starting to make me mad. So let's go over it again.

I'm seeing all these snarks from people who are frightened by firearms, suggesting that a person with an AR-15 is carrying a big gun to compensate for his small ... endowment.

This cannot be the case, as I will now proceed to demonstrate. Kindly pay attention.

This is a big gun:

And this is a big gun.

This is a really big gun.

Here's an absurdly big gun. I just can't imagine what horrifying deficiency this poor guy must be compensating for. a wee-wee. Hint: It's the only one that comes in pink.

Now, for my compensating needs I prefer the first rifle above. It's long, heavy, solid - it has that old-fashioned heft the ladies like, and shoots projectiles whose weight is measured with three digits. I wouldn't feel undercompensated with the second one, but plastic stocks just feel --- I don't know, circumsized somehow. Y'know? The third and fourth examples, those are for guys with some serious self-image problems. I'd suggest therapy - and a job in investment banking to keep themselves in ammo.

But an AR? Naw. A guy who's carrying an AR is clearly very self-secure. He's probably a porn star or something, because that's the only way he could ever get away with such a wimpy little rifle. So seriously, my hoplophobic friends, you need to get your terms right.

I have no explanation for the Hummer. Maybe he just borrowed it while his Prius was in the shop.

Note to the barely employed...

Your employer(s) will definitely give you that "should we be calling the cops on this guy?" look if they catch you singing this song out in the middle of their shitfield.

Just sayin'.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Private to Freedom Outlaws...

This is something I should have said when I linked to Claire Wolfe's great post on the subject a couple of days ago.

Just as you can't be a proper boy scout without your own copy of the Boy Scout Manual, how do you ever expect to be a freedom outlaw without:

Available at fine underground retreats everywhere. Or...well, it's available here, anyway. I've got this book and it's a very fun read.

Smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo...

...Don't tell me I've nothing to do.

Last week was wood-cutting, for which I got paid. This week it's been mostly trash-hauling, which should wrap up tomorrow. Today was the worst, since I already got all the fence-wire and big crap out of this big dog kennel that a neighbor had filled with years worth of crap. What few plastic bags he'd used had long since succumbed to UV, and a lot of it had sort of composted and gotten really compacted. Of course this was just a paradise for the rats: In places the rat crap was as thick as the garbage.

Four hundred pounds of it, by the truck scale at the landfill. And it had to be taken out of there pretty much one tin can and broken beer bottle at a time. I covered the whole thing with a big piece of plastic that needed to go to the dump anyway, and then held that down with a cat-cradle of old straw bale twine. Hey, it's a living.

With my other hand I'm also getting stuff done on the Lair. Yesterday morning I finished all the ceiling insulation, just in time to get Landlady's big ladder back to her. I've a little left to do on wiring, and then I'll work in earnest on the wall insulation. For a brief, shining moment I thought I might have enough fiberglass matting that I wouldn't have to use old clothes as wall insulation, but that no longer looks like a winner. But still, there'll be a lot less old clothes in the walls than I thought, and at least that ceiling is done. Now all I have to do is figure out how I'm going to cover it.

Now this is activism.

I saw this at Wendy McElroy's site.

A fellow named Brian McCrary was upset about a notorious speed trap in Bluff City, Tennessee, and got a chance to do something about it. The geniuses at the Bluff City PD let the domain name for their website lapse, and McCrary, a network designer, grabbed it.

And so was born:

The new, improved!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

If you're supposed to be the good guys, act like it.

So on Sunday there was a big demonstration at the pathetic hole in the ground where the World Trade Center used to be. The demonstration was to protest the proposed construction of a big mosque two blocks away, which a lot of people think is a deliberate slap in the face to Americans attacked by Islamic extremists you-know-when.

Maybe it is - I don't know. That mosque has gotten huge press, and I can't make up my mind whether the insult is deliberate or not. At best it's certainly a damned tone-deaf place to build a mosque. But the one thing I do know is that it's none of my business, and not what this post is about.

What the post is about is an incident that happened at the demonstration. Seems there were two Egyptian guys present...
At one point, a portion of the crowd menacingly surrounded two Egyptian men who were speaking Arabic and were thought to be Muslims.

"Go home," several shouted from the crowd.

"Get out," others shouted.

The protesters [became] so angry at what they thought were Muslims that New York City police officers had to rush in and pull Nassralla and El Masry to safety.
Problem is, those guys weren't Muslims, and they were there for the same reason everybody else was...
In fact, the two men – Joseph Nassralla and Karam El Masry — were not Muslims at all. They turned out to be Egyptian Coptic Christians who work for a California-based Christian satellite TV station called "The Way." Both said they had come to protest the mosque.

"I'm a Christian," Nassralla shouted to the crowd, his eyes bulging and beads of sweat rolling down his face.

"I flew nine hours in an airplane to come here," a frustrated Nassralla said afterward.
All of which reminds me that there were 9/11 victims who weren't killed in the WTO, or the Pentagon, or UA Flight 93.

There was Balbir Singh Sodhi, killed on September 15, 2001, in Mesa, Arizona. Sodhi had the misfortune of being dark-complected, dressing in an odd manner, and getting in the way of a drunken shithead who bragged he was going to "kill the ragheads responsible for September 11." Well, I guess you could call Sodhi a "raghead," since he was wearing a turban. But not only didn't he have anything to do with 9\11, he wasn't even a Muslim. He was a Sikh, which...well, I've never exactly figured out what sort of religion Sikhism is, but it definitely isn't Muslim.

The same day, a New Jersey guy named Waqar Hasan who was helping his brother with a new convenience store in Dallas was shot dead for being a Muslim. At least he actually was one, though again completely innocent of any involvement with 9\11. Since his wife and four kids were in the country on his business visa, they damned near got deported.

The same murderer who killed him also killed Waqar Hasan, an Indian guy. And in between the murders he claimed to have blinded a Bangladeshi. Very discriminating. If you're brown, you must have been responsible for 9\11.

There were more, lots more. This lady made a list. And of course there were thousands of times more incidents of harassment and threats by people who didn't really plan to kill anybody.

And believe it or not it still goes on. I know a guy in the town near where I live whose reason for not voting for Obama (In fact he hates the guy) is that "He's a Muslim. Everybody knows that." And he's got signs up all over his store to the effect that if you're a Muslim you should get out before he reaches his gun. And I'd be surprised if there are even any Muslims in that town. I think he just enjoys hating people.

Thing is, it's okay to be mad about 9\11. Even I was mad about 9\11, and I'm the least nationalistic person I know. But it seems to segue so easily into mere racism.

When I was a little kid, I was taught that Americans were the Good Guys. Growing up, I believed it. We didn't do shit like imperialism and institutional racism. (Well - we did, but not on a national level.) Now, okay, I'm all grown up and I've known for a long, long time that those exceptionalist myths weren't true. I expect the people in my country's government to act like a bunch of shitheads. But I like to think my fellow Americans who had the sense not to go into government jobs are better than that.

I really do like to think that.

Monday, June 7, 2010

This is beautiful. Read this.

I read it this morning, but this morning didn't get off to such a great start and I wanted to read it again later, more carefully.

A few days ago I took Claire Wolfe's name in vain and mentioned the concept of the "freedom outlaw." You may or may not have known what I was talking about.

Well, here's the explanation.

I liked the conclusion so much I've put it in my sidebar. Not that I'm a fanboy or anything, because, urm, I'm a rough, tough desert rat and don't, urm, do fanboy stuff.

I dunno, maybe they're BLUE or something...

How come when cops get them, they're "patrol rifles?"

And did whoever wrote the town's official justification for this have a straight face at the time? The world may never know...
"As the largest local police agency located on Interstate 40 between Nashville and Knoxville, Cookeville may prove to be the site of future terrorist acts if the projected surge in terrorism occurs.
I wondered what special circumstances would make Cookeville, Tennesee such a mecca for terrorists in the coming apocalypse, having never heard of the place myself. It turns out there's reason to worry...
Cookeville is a city in Putnam County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 23,923 at the 2000 census. The 2007 Census estimate of Cookeville's population is 28,901, and the combined total of those living in Cookeville's ZIP codes in 2000 is 55,448. It is the county seat of Putnam County and home to Tennessee Technological University. It is recognized as one of the country's micropolitan areas
Oh. Well, that's okay then. Still not sure what a "micropolitan area" is, but it makes sense that the cops should be armed to the teeth because I'm sure the terrorists will just flock there when the SHTF. "Patrol rifles" for everybody!

Well, There's your problem right there...

Just a day in the life at Mordor-By-The-Potomac:

A. The President establishes a commission to promote deficit reduction.

B. The commission promptly demands a bigger staff and budget.

Irony isn't dead. But if we keep kicking it it'll die sooner or later.

This is how to lose your job and become an office legend, simultaneously.

And not in a good way. (Warning: Bad Language.)

Full disclosure demands that I admit I've had moments like this. Not into a live microphone during a TV newscast, but...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

We did something really decadant and hedonistic today...

We ran our air conditioners.

It's been pretty hot for the past few days, but today was a scorcher. W and I both live in old RVs, which are equipped with air conditioners we never use. I've been here going on four years, and didn't even know if this one worked. But we were starting to sweat by eight in the morning. After breakfast at S&L's it was really hot. We've had some problems with the electrical system, which has prevented me from using it to fill the cistern so I needed to run the generator for a few hours. After that we both thought, "Who's really gonna die if we plug the genny into the power system and cool off the trailers?"

So that's just what we did. After a few minutes I was pretty sure mine had crapped out, but then the compressor gave an anguished groan that made me wonder if the rooftop unit was going to burst into flames, and the AC started gushing cool air! Quick! Close the windows!

It looks like our heatwave is ushering in the Monsoon. We got one abortive cloud column in the south yesterday that dissipated after a couple of hours, but when it did the same thing today it nearly covered the sky - bringing some welcome shade. I don't think it's going to rain yet, though.

Borepatch: Arturus Rex

Over at Borepatch there's this very thought-provoking post called Arturus Rex in which he parallels the (devoutly to be wished) fall of the "Progressive Agenda" with the fall of Rome, with the part of the Barbarian Hordes being played in this production by various state governors:
But that's not what makes me optimistic. Yes, the Elites are weak; that's not enough. It needs local barbarian chiefs to decide that it only takes a small step, to gain local advantage. We're seeing this already happening. a dozen governors telling the Fed.Gov to get stuffed about firearms laws, and that the Interstate Commerce Clause doesn't apply to commerce purely within their state.
And I was really getting into this cool, erudite article, really extremely interesting and I recommend it.

Until he had to go and spoil it for me, right at the very end.

But we have to get out and vote, to reward this sort of decentralizing effort and punish business as usual. That's why it's so critical to vote incumbents out. Voltaire said it a quarter millennium ago: Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres.

In this country, it is wise to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others. Replace "kill" with "vote out" and "admiral" with "Senator", and you've got the words, and the music.
This, I don't buy. And for my rebuttal I offer an incident in much more recent history than the fall of Rome, the cynical betrayal that was the Contract With America. Meet the new boss! Same as the old boss!

Now if he means concentrate on State politicians, to encourage the ones who thumb their noses at Washington and punish/remove the ones who don't, he might have a point. I agree with what appears to be his premise, that the apparently growing States Rights movement is a very interesting and possibly even positive development. But I'm continually perplexed by obviously intelligent and thoughtful people who still (bitterly?) cling to the fantasy that we're going to vote our way out of this, when time after time we see that the right bastards are every bit as hard on our liberties as the left bastards, and vice versa. Was Newt Gingrich easier to love than Tom Foley? Or George Bush than Bill Clinton? You'd have to be awfully right-wing to answer in the affirmative. There's not a one of them that's worth a trip to a voting booth. And even when you go to the polls to vote against one of them, as so many people do, all you get for your pain is another one that looks just like him.

No, I'm sorry. Fascinating post, but I just don't buy the conclusion.

ETA: Now, if we could vote for "None of the Above," and if he gets the most votes he WINS, I'd be there early and often.

I LOVE this holster!

After five days in a woodlot and at the sawbuck, my pistol really needed a good cleaning even though I never fired a shot. I was too wasted to do it last night, and didn't plan on taking the time this morning because W and I are supposed to have breakfast at S&L's. So, since I was dressing up in "real people" clothes anyway, I decided to carry my frankenMak instead. I don't really like the Mak, because I'm more comfortable in the boonies with a 1911 than with a snubby little .380 that was designed for shooting uppity proles in the head at close range. But then, we weren't going into the boonies and the biggest thing I was likely to encounter was a rattlesnake. So what the hell?

Anyway, then W told me I had the time wrong and there was another hour before we had to leave. So I pulled the tools out of my range bag and went to work.

Then I went to clean the holster. This is that cop holster (Glock brand? Does anybody know if Glock made/makes leather goods?) I got at the flea market a few months ago. The belt loop is held out away from the pocket by a very stiff piece of folded leather, and it's a real crumbcatcher. Now it was all full of twigs, dirt and sawdust I couldn't dig out of there. But it turns out it's held on with three screws and comes right off for cleaning. If you ever open carry you've got to get one of these; it is the best 1911 holster EVER.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Okay, since sometime around the early '70's, ...

Roy Clark has played the definitive - if rather flashy - Maleguena.

The question has been, how the hell does he do that?

Here's how.

He does it by being fast like a freak with his right hand, and having the tips of all his left fingers replaced with coatings of pure unobtainium.

But other than that there's no trick at all. Anybody could do it.

Don't believe it? Here's a terrible bootleg video of him doing the same thing years later, with an acoustical twelve-string...