Monday, January 31, 2011

Staying in touch, when the government does not approve.

If it's wrong, why does it feel so right?
These days, no popular movement goes without an Internet presence of some kind, whether it's organizing on Facebook or spreading the word through Twitter. And as we've seen in Egypt, that means that your Internet connection can be the first to go. Whether you're trying to check in with your family, contact your friends, or simply spread the word, here are a few ways to build some basic network connectivity when you can't rely on your cellular or landline Internet connections.
H/T to Mayberry.

Uh huh. And this is your business WHY, exactly?

Bloomberg gets his facts, rhetoric, and the location of his nose completely wrong. And finds some inkstained wretch willing to write all about it.
"Our investigation shows how easy it is for anyone to buy a semiautomatic handgun and a high-capacity magazine, no questions asked," said John Feinblatt, Bloomberg's chief policy adviser. "If we don't fix it now, the question is not whether another massacre will occur, but when."

The mayor is expected to show the videos at a City Hall news conference on Monday morning.

He has conducted several rounds of such stings in recent years, trying to pressure Congress to crack down on untraceable gun sales - such as those at gun shows - to reduce the supply of illegal guns on New York streets.
Because ... Phoenix gun shows are now the source of "illegal" guns in NYC? I think you should go see what your local ATF agents are up to, mistah mayah. Judging from acual events rather than your raving hoplophobia, they're a more likely source.

BTW, mistah mayah, suh: I really hate the expression "gun show loophole." you're not trying to shut down gun show sales, you want to shut down ALL private sales. That's what it's always been about. I'll sell to anybody I want, and buy from anybody who wants to sell to me. Glad we had this little talk, you pathetic parasite.

Project Gunwalker continues to fester in the shadows...

Here's two more on latest developments from what should be but isn't the infamous Project Gunwalker. Both on, both from Codrea.

Just because I'm not already depressed enough, I did a Google News search for "Gunwalker." Got seven hits. All on Examiner, all from Codrea. The newsies are nowhere to be found. Codrea talks about that very thing on that first link. If he and Mike V. at Sipsey Street weren't carrying the ball on this, there wouldn't even be a game.

Waiting for the Cold

At first light the hills appeared as if through thick fog. Possible – it never got terribly cold overnight, so it had to be overcast. But a closer look showed me snowflakes against the window. Impossible – a weather report was actually right? My world is crumbling.

The snow was just a squall and passed off quickly, but it's almost sure to be a sign of things to come. Yesterday's weather report predicted a grim week. I spent the afternoon putting back the covers I'd stripped off M's tractor, and policing tools and paneling from around the Lair site. I'm down to five clean stump sox, so I need to do some laundry this morning. It may take days for the heavy wool to dry. Last night before the light failed I hooked the battery minder to the Jeep's poor dying battery. I should have replaced that thing two winters ago – sad old thing's barely working at all now and can't hold a charge through even a little cold weather.

Propane's in fairly good shape. I want to bake some bread this morning as soon as the batteries have had time to recover, because electricity may be in limited supply if the weather socks in too hard. After laundry I'll top off all the water bottles in case we get another hard freeze. Nothing like the cold snap of last month is forecasted, but the only thing consistent about winter weather in the high desert is the ease with which it makes monkeys of weather forecasters. I got caught with my pants down last month because I was out of the area for a week. Once bitten, and all that.

For all my bitching it's actually been a dry and mild winter so far, but the single exception was a mother and I walked right into it with wide, innocent eyes. I truly desire to be better prepared this time.

The Lair project did it to me again – I'm always running into situations where I can't finish the thing I want to work on until I do something else, something I can't do because I don't have the parts or the tools or something. I've been working on the ceiling under the loft, wanting to finish that so I can hang some of the new lights I scored earlier this month. And I was almost done when it suddenly occurred to me that I was on the cusp of making a terrible mistake. I can't finish paneling that ceiling until I've mounted the posts for the loft railing, and I can't mount the posts until I've cut the four 4X6 posts and acquired eight big bolts, and drilled their mounting holes. I don't have the bolts, and I can't cut the posts because I need the help of my neighbor D and his workshop, and D can't help because he's spending this part of the winter in the hospital getting his knee replaced. Shite! It's always something.

I went and talked to his wife L on Saturday – not about the posts, that would be rude – and she said he's due out today. I should go by and pay my respects. Maybe I should bring them a pot of something just to be a good neighbor. But I've done that before and L isn't always terribly discreet about the fact that she doesn't like my cooking. I've a feeling that the last loaf of bread I brought them fed their dogs.

Speaking of dogs, I'm low on treats. And peanut butter. What I really want is a bottle of booze, but that's a poor use of funds when I absolutely must keep an eye on the propane. I've been riding into town with J every other week or so, and he's willing to drive me out to the filling station but has made it pretty clear he doesn't enjoy it. So I should save enough cash to get more bottles filled all at once, but that means pushing my reserves. Decisions, decisions.

What I should really do is abandon the Interim Lair entirely. The Lair's heating works great, which means I wouldn't be blowing so much money on propane. True, the plumbing isn't on line. But it hasn't worked here for a month, so what the hell? I could install the Plan B chair in the bathroom, set up a basin and my cookstove on that big folding table, and I'd really be in pretty good shape except for the boys. The boys have increasingly made it clear to me that that front yard fence must be moved up the priority queue. Alone, Ghost runs off but he always comes back. Together with Little Bear, they just run off and forget that last part. Then I have to drop what I'm doing and go find them. With a fenced yard they'd be comfortable – or at least constrained – enough that they'd have the time to settle down and start seeing the Lair as home. Once they do that they'll be all right.

No, we're not ready to move to the Lair. Or maybe that's just another excuse. Inertia's a bitch. I'm getting old. I just need to keep bringing them with me on work sessions, stay conscientious about keeping LB cabled up, and live with it. Right now they see the Lair as a place we visit for periods of time and then go home – that's not their fault.

LB's giving me that look that says he really needs to go outside now. Time to head for the scriptorium, post this, and get on with my day. Have I mentioned I really hate winter?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Our Moment of Culture

Yesterday I read a Kipling short story I'd never read before, called Easy as A B C.

It's an amusing little tale, I recommend it while not suggesting it'll change your life in any meaningful way. But it did finally help me understand one of his angrier-sounding poems, that I can't really say I'd ever understood before.  Turns out the poem is part of the story. 

McDonough's Song

Whether the State can loose and bind
  In Heaven as well as on Earth:
If it be wiser to kill mankind
  Before or after the birth--
These are matters of high concern
  Where State-kept schoolmen are;
But Holy State (we have lived to learn)
  Endeth in Holy War.

Whether The People be led by The Lord,
  Or lured by the loudest throat:
If it be quicker to die by the sword
  Or cheaper to die by vote--
These are things we have dealt with once,
  (And they will not rise from their grave)
For Holy People, however it runs,
  Endeth in wholly Slave.

Whatsoever, for any cause,
  Seeketh to take or give
Power above or beyond the Laws,
  Suffer it not to live!
Holy State or Holy King--
  Or Holy People's Will--
Have no truck with the senseless thing.
  Order the guns and kill!

Once there was The People--Terror gave it birth;
Once there was The People and it made a Hell of Earth
Earth arose and crushed it. Listen, 0 ye slain!
Once there was The People--it shall never be again!

So you want to kill the Internet?

Well, you can't.

I've been to Egypt, and my impression was that it wasn't exactly dripping with computer nerds. Even so, the EgyGov hasn't been able to shut them up. You think the USFeds can do better? Right.

Sorry, Barry. That ship has sailed.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I Got NOTHIN' Today.

It's been a weird day, and the blog is not with me.

So a day before my traditional Sabbath cop-out, here are funny pictures.

Friday, January 28, 2011

QoD - "Rational Economic Decisions" Edition...

As the next firearm, magazine and ammunition stockpiling frenzy begins, heralded by the announced drive for another AWB, here's a question:

Are people spending their hard-earned money in the middle of a semi-depression on extended magazines and semi-auto weapons of military utility just to turn them OVER to politicians after they ban them, or to turn them ON said politicians after they ban them?
- Mike V., Sipsey Street

See, here's the thing. I got to thinking about this after the light-hearted things I had to say about it yesterday. We've been down this road, and we know where it leads. We - those of us who give a damn - aren't gonna play any more. Politicians can ban anything they want, any time they want, and there's nothing we can do about that except vote against them next time. Maybe they're afraid of that and maybe they're not - it's up to them. But banning stuff doesn't make it go away. We've already got the guns. And the magazines, and the cases of ammo. The newsies are trotting out all the old lying arguments, hoping that all the old laws can be brought back. I don't know why it means so much to them, but that's their problem. It worked once, and after a long time people are starting to fight it back. Maybe - I don't think so, but maybe - it'll work again and they'll get their stupid laws.

The laws be damned - the only way to really get the job done is to come here and take them.

Come and take them.

I'm sure it'll be a nice speech, though.

Winter Doldrums...

Along about mid-winter, I start considering the possibility that this lone-wolf survivalist shit isn't all it's cracked up to be. I stop bitching about the weather and start bitching about life in general. I start craving veggies. It has particularly come to my attention that my laziness during the previous summer was a more bitter mistake than I'd really considered it to be at the time, because it's possible to heat the Lair to the point where it's actually comfortable. I most certainly can't make that claim about the Interim Lair which is always cold. This is my fifth winter here but the first two don't really count because I had a townie job then. The third winter was an eye-opening bitch – there were times when I was genuinely afraid I'd freeze. Last winter wasn't so bad because I was making more money and had more transport than I needed, so I could burn propane any time I wanted to and my diet was better.

This winter the Lair is like a glaring reproach. Since I can heat it up and work in it I've been spending more time there, so in that sense it's an improvement. But the things that need doing before it's really habitable all involve digging in the dirt, and the dirt is frozen. So screw that. But I recently scored a case of light fixtures and Landlady brought up a bunch of CFL bulbs, so it's suddenly more important to me to finish enough of the paneling that I can get them installed. And frankly it gives me something to do.

According to the weather reports things aren't so bad, with sun every day and temps in the forties. What the reports don't mention is that it takes till mid-afternoon for it to actually get to the forties, and as soon as the sun hits the horizon the temperature crashes. So I spend most of the day trying to keep warm. I'm encouraged, though, by how well wood has been working out as a heat source. I'm a city boy, and never heated with wood in my life. I've been in houses with fireplaces, but they're really just décor accents. It's cool to sit by a fire in the evening, and I've had some games on a hearth rug that are a source of pleasant memories, but fireplaces – at least modern ones – don't really heat a room. The Lair's wood stove is an ugly, utilitarian iron box that even the most hormone-driven couldn't find romantic, but once that iron heats up the Lair becomes most delightfully warm. This time of year I count temperature in terms of clothing layers and I sleep in a heavy coat. “Comfortable” means my toes and fingers don't hurt. It's a drag. But an hour's work with a chainsaw gives me days worth of wood that keeps the Lair in the seventies without effort. The seventies! Imagine! Walking around with not even a sweater on. It seems quite decadent. Juniper is the sweetest-smelling wood I've ever burned, and it's plentifully available, and it's free.

I do need to learn how to properly sharpen a chainsaw blade with a file, though. Juniper is full of sand and pure hell on chains. There are some consumables involved, but not a lot. That little engine sips gasoline and mix oil, and bar oil doesn't cost a lot. But chains are an expense and so is getting them professionally sharpened. Running them dull stretches them, and a stretched chain is very hard on the bar and drive sprockets. I got a good deal on a good saw, but new parts are very expensive. So sharp is good. I knew that year and a half I spent in town fixing chainsaws was going to come in handy – Even as a city boy, I'm in better shape to depend on a chainsaw than I would otherwise be because I understand the ways the saw depends on me.

The boys have settled into their winter routine, and they're hardly any trouble at all. They're happy as long as they're warm, fed and loved, and they don't insist on warm. They gave me a bit of a grumble yesterday morning: We took a long walk that paused at the Lair because I wanted to build a fire, come back and work later. When I came out they were gone and didn't answer me. I called and called, then decided to see what would happen if I abandoned them there. I walked home alone, calling from time to time and getting no answer. I had a ciggie, checked my emails, then fired up the Jeep and drove back through the wash. They met me at M's dome which told me they'd come back to the cabin, found me gone, and were working their way back home looking for me. They thought they were going to get a Jeep ride, but I'm sick of rewarding them for misbehavior. So they had to run all the way back to the Lair, chasing the Jeep, and when we got there they were oddly content to stay where they were supposed to be. Funny how that works.

Now and then I have to remind myself that as much of a drag as the winter can be I'm in much better shape than I was before. After that third winter you could have used my ribs for a xylophone. Now I've got a pressure cooker so I can cook beans even at this altitude, and when Claire split for wetter climes she abandoned a whole bunch of out-of-date canned goods I haven't even begun to deplete. I'm getting pretty darned good at bean pots. I've still got most of that chicken I canned a month ago, and right now I'm flush with butter and veggies. Last night I had a big skillet of chicken fried rice. Luxury! I've got two pounds of new yeast so the bread is behaving itself. Things could sure be worse. With the Lair's stove working I'm not cold all the time. But I'm still tired of being cold.

As I'm writing this it's about seven in the morning. I'm gonna brew a second cup, (second brew on the beans because I'm rationing coffee) cook some breakfast, then go out to the scriptorium and post it. If you've noticed there haven't been many morning posts, it's because it's too bloody cold in there to type much. I tried running a propane heater but the spare I've got uses 'way too much gas and doesn't do a lot of good anyway. So I mostly internet in the afternoon now.

More later.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Good luck with that.

There have been hints for several days that Prez Obama is planning to spread some hope and change our way. Looks like it's official - he found some political capital under a couch cushion, and now he wants to throw it away, too. Can't wait.
[I]n the next two weeks, the White House will unveil a new gun-control effort in which it will urge Congress to strengthen current laws, which now allow some mentally unstable people, such as alleged Arizona shooter Jared Loughner, to obtain certain assault weapons, in some cases without even a background check.

Tuesday night after the speech, Obama adviser David Plouffe said to NBC News that the president would not let the moment after the Arizona shootings pass without pushing for some change in the law, to prevent another similar incident. “It’s a very important issue, and one I know there’s going to be debate about on the Hill.”
Great idea, Barry. An idea whose time has come. And gone. This is for you:

Okay, Wyoming might go unrestricted. But does it have a state gun?

Because it looks like Utah will.

And since Utah's favorite son, next to maybe Joseph Smith, is John Moses Browning (PBUH), I think we can all guess which gun it will be.
As most of Utah's school kids hopefully know, the state's cooking pot is the Dutch oven, its state fish is the Bonneville Cutthroat trout and the state song is called, "Utah, This is the Place." Now, they may soon have to add a semiautomatic hand gun, the Browning M1911, to their homework on state symbols.
Okay, it's stupid. But still...Did you picture this happening back in the bad ol' days?

In Defense of Gradualism...

I'm reading a lot of negativity in the comments from yesterday's Wyoming carry post.

It's pretty much the same thing we all say every time some state or local .gov lightens up on restrictions we've grown used to: "Not enough!" "Flawed!" "Bastards didn't give us everything!"

And it's true, of course - it's not enough, it's flawed, and the bastards never seem to give us everything we want. It doesn't even matter what "it" is today, those will be the conditions under which it happens. For them to give me everything I want from them, they'd have to go completely away, appoint no new successors, and then - just to make me feel better about the whole thing - they'd pretty much have to march off a cliff into a fjord like a bunch of naked lemmings. Then I might applaud them. So please don't think Uncle Joel has popped his last brain cell and has come here today in defense of "lawmakers."

But let's take a step back.

I don't remember just when Alaska went unrestricted, but prior to that the great final goal of American pistoleros was "Vermont Carry." Remember how utterly silly and unattainable that seemed? It wasn't very long ago. Most of us were happy (I was perplexed and suspicious) that so many states were going "shall-issue." Now shall-issue laws are passé. Three states are unrestricted, it looks like there will soon be a fourth, and I hear people bitching because Vermont doesn't issue a permit for purposes of reciprocity. For people like me who came of age in the era of GCA '68 and impending total bans, it's like living in Bizarro America. How has this happened?

It has happened because while we purists were complaining, other activists were busily chipping away at the supports of gun control. It has happened because the flow of information has reversed itself: Back in the late sixties, information came from the papers and network news shows, and they were all controlled by the same people with the same agenda. Now we can actually talk to each other, and with that ability those activists have gained real power. The ones responsible for the passage of the "not-bad" gun laws we've seen in the past several years were willing, like the gun banners they have so successfully undermined, to settle for half a loaf when they had to, secure in the knowledge that they'd be back for the other half. And it works. It works for our allies, just as years ago it worked for our opponents.

I am a person utterly distrustful of anything having to do with lawmaking and activism in marble halls. I have believed without question for as long as I remember that no good can ever come of anything having to do with a legislature. If it had been left to me and the people like me, firearms would probably be as banned in America now as they are in England. Only soldiers and cops need apply.

But seriously, I look at the things activists on the state and local level have accomplished in terms of gun rights and I wonder how much farther that could be taken, in how many other directions, if only we took that little rock hammer and started industriously chipping away. Unrestricted juries? That'd be nice. Real privacy? State nullification of the more foul federal laws? Dare I whisper - Secession?

Gradualism, people. Gradualism, and getting off the backs of the people who have proven themselves on our side, not beating them up just because they didn't deliver everything we want just right all at once.

It just might be the wave of the future.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is Wyoming gonna go permit-free?

Says here it's looking good...
CHEYENNE -- Wyoming residents would be able to carry concealed guns without a permit under a bill that cleared the state Senate on Monday.

The Wyoming Senate voted 20-10 in favor of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Kit Jennings, R-Casper.

If the bill ultimately becomes law, Wyoming would join Alaska, Arizona and Vermont as states that don't require citizens to have permits to carry concealed weapons.
Sigh. What's happening to my country? In the America of my youth, shooters were a persecuted minority and every new law was a bad law.

If this keeps up, I'm going to have to re-think a number of bitter preconceptions I've drawn great comfort from over the years. You wouldn't want to make me have to think, now, would you?

Check out the purity on that one!

Yesterday Claire wrote a piece called More Pure Than Thou, in which she introduces us to the impassioned writing of some lady named ... well, I'll let her tell it.
Kitty Antonik Wakfer whacks all of us who say we support WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning, but who haven’t cancelled our Amazon and PayPal accounts or cut up our MasterCards and Visas.

She does one very good thing, which is to provide a list of possible payment alternatives — even if many of them haven’t reached the point of sustainability (and may never) and others aren’t really applicable.

But the whole piece also does one very bad thing. It implies that because she has chosen the course of boycotting businesses on behalf of WikiLeaks, others who haven’t are wrongheaded at best, and hypocrites and defeatists at worst. She rips into Lew Rockwell, Wendy McElroy, the Center for a Stateless Society, Rational Review News, and a bunch of others. Never gets around to me. But I felt the barb, anyhow.
Now it seems Ms. Wakfer is all butthurt because more online people aren't doing more to support Wikileaks and less to support ... a whole bunch of things she doesn't like. I guess I'd be on her list of not-pure-enoughs, because I've barely said anything here about Wikileaks and nothing at all about all that other stuff - nor do I plan to start just to please her. And I'm pretty sure nothing I could do would be enough anyway, because as far as I can tell she considers the most damnable sentence in the English language to be
"[W]e can't afford to do that."
Now, let's look at ideological purity, shall we? There are a million ways to compromise it. No matter how strongly you feel about the forces that sap the freedom from your life, you're allowing some of those compromises and so am I. So, I'd venture to guess, is Ms. Wakfer. Rather than reinvent the invective, here's Claire on the topic:
I would ask all the “more pure than thou” freedomistas of the world: Have you walked a few years in my shoes?

Say you’re a libertarian or a free-market anarchist. Surely, you object to paying taxes — especially for wars of aggression or government handouts. Surely you object to having a government ID number. Drivers license? Auto registration? You know darned well those are clear violations of your right to travel freely.

So tell me: Do you care enough about your principles to live without all those things? Do you refuse to file your 1040? Refuse to use an SSN or get government ID? Refuse to make your vehicle “legal” with the government? Refuse to send your kids to public school or to comply with your state’s homeschool curricula requirements? Of course, if you live by your principles on that level, it also means you can’t open a bank account, can’t travel internationally (unless you sneak), can’t hold a regular job. It means every time you drive you’ll be watching for cops and taking alternate routes in an attempt to avoid them. It means the state might come and take your kids away from you. It means you’ll be a refusnik in your own society.

But heck — You believe in living according to principles, right? So what’s the problem? If you can pat yourself on the back for closing your Amazon account and imply that everybody who didn’t follow your lead is a hypocrite, surely you’ll be willing to take your principles all the way, wherever they might lead — to prison or penury … or freedom. Or all of the above.
We used to get similar conversations in gun forums about CCW permits. The upright, law-abiding citizens among us consider it a mark of pride to possess a CCW. The pure-of-heart freedomistas love to pull strips off those people and publicly consume them, because "The second amendment ..." you know the routine. While actually agreeing with the view that a freedom-loving person might object to the requirement of having a CCW (for reasons having nothing to do with the 2A), I would often ask those people if they had a driver's license in their wallets. On the rare occasion that I got a response, the answer was, "Well, of course. You can't drive without one." Actually you can drive without a DL; the car starts right up and works just fine. But you spend your life studying your rear-view mirror, and it's no fun at all. Take it from me. So most people, even the ones who despise the CCW, don't think twice about keeping that DL up to date. Funny, that.

The bottom line is that ideologically-pure people who love to dump on those less righteous than themselves are a major, boring pain in the ass. Every one of'em's got his own Shibboleth - this lady's is Paypal, credit cards and Amazon because of their less than sterling connection with Wikileaks. But does she say a single word about the connection between income tax and imperialistic war? She does not. So maybe she's the one who isn't pure enough for me. Or maybe I think she should just go her own way, suggesting but not demanding that people take a look at the issue and make their own decisions.

Or maybe she should just shut the hell up.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I still don't get it.

There's something I've never understood. While I wouldn't say it has consumed me night and day, my lack of understanding always bothered me. I like to understand the things I wonder about, and I've always wondered what the hell World War One was all about.

Oh, sure - Germany/Russia/Austria/Serbia. Archduke Ferdinand. Got it. But how the hell do you get from the assassination of some Hapsburg potentate nobody could really have given a damn about to the frickin' Battle of the frickin' Somme? I don't expect people to behave rationally, but this is senselessness on a vast scale. Didn't these people see what they were galloping toward?

I just finished reading Dreadnaught, by Robert K. Masse. Nine hundred pages later, I still can't say I understand it. Everything seems to come down to such utter personal folly - Victoria, William II, Franz Josef, the various "diplomats" who either failed to see the swamp they were wandering into or actually planned to jump into it, for reasons that surpass ... reason.

For all its heft, this book is very limited. Masse goes on and on and on about the British and German personalities directly or indirectly involved in the lead-up to the war, but almost ignores the Austrians and Serbs and Russians who were its proximate cause. Granted that in a sense they were only pawns in a bigger game, still I would cheerfully have sacrificed knowledge of Lord So-and-so's fourth mistress to have learned something about what was going on in the head of whoever put that pistol in Gavrilo Princip's hand.

But I do at last believe I understand a little about that web of treaties trapping France and England into the war, when it was pretty clear they'd both have been happy to sit it out.

And over and over, one great omission just glares at me. "England" and "Germany" and "Russia" and "Austria" are treated as if they were people themselves, led into one folly after another by individual rulers and bureaucrats, perhaps, but still coherent entities in their own right. But the millions of people who actually fed all this were ignored, when they weren't being rounded up and armed as cannon fodder. And one and all, they allowed it. They trusted their rulers to do the wrong thing and get them all killed, as long as all the right speeches were made at the right times.

I closed the book with a lot less sympathy for those people than I had had when I opened it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thoughts about water

Our little on-going water hassle has had me thinking about strengths and weaknesses in our prepping around here.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Breaking! Fox News Hires Olbermann!


From here.

"You know what I love about Keith?"

"He always keeps you guessing. You know he's gonna put his foot in his mouth. But you never know how he's gonna get the other one in there with it."
- Lou Grant, slightly modified for subject.

Olbermann Gets the Axe...
MSNBC issued a vague, unemotional statement saying it ended its contract with Olbermann, who hosted the top rated show on the network.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The ATF do something outrageous, illegal and immoral? Say it isn't so!

Okay, I confess I've been ignoring this. Mike V at Sipsey Street has played it up every day for weeks, it seems like, and I've not paid attention. First I don't always understand what he's talking about because he's pretty close to the issues and throws unfamiliar names around a lot. But mostly, it just sounded like one of those Alex Jones-esque stories. Not that I believed the BATFinks were incapable of doing something like this, god knows. The good people of ATF have proven again and again that no perfidy, however vile, is beneath them. But this was just too good a story to be true.

Maybe you've let it slide past you, too. So for your viewing pleasure, I bring you Operation Gunwalker.

Gotta eat a little crow here...

I still think the cop acted like a jackass, don't get me wrong. But if I'm gonna rant it would probably be best if I know what I'm talking about...

I went to visit the shop I ranted about the other day, and my estimation of how much damage a woman in a large pickup can do to a shop rack with a small head start was ... more modest than reality reveals. She really slammed that sucker, and it's no wonder the other truck (a VERY expensive custom F-350) came off the rack. She damned near uprooted one of the two main supports. I'd wondered how the truck that fell could have done so sideways, into the next stall. Physics didn't seem to permit that from an above-ground hoist. But pretty clearly she was virtually under the other truck when it fell. So she was more at fault than I envisioned when I wrote my rant of day before yesterday. But the cop was still a dick about it.

While there I met the custom truck's owner, and while his truck was only (badly) damaged and not totalled, he was quite calm and constructive about the whole thing. Unlike the cop.

Whose name I was not able to acquire. The owner was clearly tired of talking about the incident. We're acquainted but not on a first-name basis, and he wasn't interested in talking to me about the cop.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It can't be said too often.

Rest in peace, Aaron Zelman.

You were one of a kind, and we need three hundred million of you.

I don't really care about Sarah Palin, but...

If she ever does become prez, whadaya wanna bet she can thank the libs?

Somebody send this link to the Ogden PD.

£100,000 bill for police spy blimp let down by weather
The blimp, which was unmanned, had a sophisticated camera mounted underneath that could swivel 360 degrees and film up to a mile away.

Unfortunately, the outer skin would rip and tear in rain or windy weather.

The blimp was given a low-key launch as senior officers insisted it was a ‘covert intelligence tool’ – despite being the size of a truck.

OMG, I know the guy!

Well, I don't actually know him, but it still hits kinda close to home. I wondered yesterday why one of my favorite daily reads was down. Now I know.

I've linked often to posts from a blog called "Dispatches from TJICistan." Turns out he was the guy I blogged about yesterday. I thought that name sounded familiar, but in my mind he's just TJIC.

Damn right.  Hope you're well, Travis.  I feel bad about missing that yesterday.  Come back soon.

BTW, read Borepatch's post about it, linked above.  It's excellent and I won't repeat it here.

UPDATE:  Thanks to a commenter on Claire's blog, here's a screencap of the horrid, offensive post.

My love of law enforcement officers...

I've implied from time to time that I'm not a huge fan of the law enforcement industry, as a whole. The truth is I've toned it down consistently, every time the subject has come up, because my views on the topic are extreme even by the standards of the people I know who largely share my other views. And that's cool; I'm definitely not here to tell other people what to think.

But an incident happened the day before yesterday that illustrates how and why I came to have the opinion I do. Yesterday I got a call from my neighbor J, who was stranded on the road and needed help. He's got a '69 Pontiac that he's been having fun fixing up, and - due to a newly-defective fuel gauge - ran out of gas. The Pontiac has made him a very regular visitor to the little repair shop just outside the little town about 12 miles from where we live, and that's where he was coming from and where he heard this story.

It seems that day before yesterday something very bad happened at the shop, something that barely avoided being something truly horrible. The owner's wife was driving a pickup into one of the shop's stalls when a large truck on the lift next to that stall fell off the lift. Onto the truck she was in. Smashing the roof flat.

I don't know what happened. Maybe (probably) the truck wasn't on the lift properly, she momentarily lost control of the truck she was in, touched the lift, and the other truck fell. Maybe a casting chose that moment to break - I had a friend whose son was killed that way. It could have been a lot of things; it's not a safe business and I should know.

What I do know is that the owner's wife came that close to being squashed into ketchup before his very eyes. She managed to see it coming in time to hit the floor, the roof pillars sort of held, and she was uninjured. They've got good insurance, and the customers and shop damage will be made good. But she was understandably hysterical, he was damned near hysterical, a customer's truck was wrecked and another badly damaged. A very, very bad day.

How could it get worse? Here's how. The truck she was driving was owned by a local cop.

Anybody would have been upset - I'm told it was a nice truck. I could understand some ranting and raving. But this guy was a cop, and that gave him access to other means of expressing disapproval. Like arresting her. Like - when no grounds for actually arresting her could be found or concocted - still having the authority to demand she go in for drug testing. The woman's a Mormon: As far as I know she doesn't drink coffee. I've met her, she's a very, very straight lady. It was just an accident and she already had enough going on in her head, thank you very much. And it wasn't even her fault, because there's no way she hit that lift - if she hit it at all, I don't know - hard enough to bring that other truck down if the truck was on the lift properly and/or if the lift wasn't defective. I've been there. These Things Happen.

But this was a cop, so let's make matters a hundred times worse just because we can.

This is my position on the subject of cops. I've said it before. I will not accept the company of a person who chooses to be paid - with extorted money - to look for opportunities to do to me what I would deserve to die for doing to him. What I would never dream of doing to him, because I have some sense of morals and ethics.

Don't come here to talk to me about "isolated incidents" and "good cops." Lord Acton, though he wasn't talking about cops, was right. An individual cop might not have chosen to act like this particular asshole did, but any cop could have. Which is why they cannot be trusted. Anybody who chooses that line of work has made the last decision that interests me - I will not abide him.

Jeez, I'm getting upset all over again just telling the story.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The ice block finally broke!

YAY! I may not have any running water here at the Landlady's property, but full pressure has been restored at The Secret Lair! Whoo hoo!

First AND second amendment violations simultaneously!

If they'd quartered some soldiers in his house while they were at it, they'd have had a hat trick.

Arlington Man Loses Gun License Due To Blog About Tucson Shooting
Police are investigating the “suitability” of 39-year-old Travis Corcoran to have a firearms license.
It's gotta be a Massachusetts thing, because half the non-liberal blogs in the country would have been shut down if the feds were doing it.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say:
  • I'm in complete agreement with Corcoran when he says “It is absolutely, absolutely unacceptable to shoot indiscriminately." The rest of the paragraph I'll discreetly let you read for yourselves.
  • I was definitely not in Tucson at the time.

Thanks, GL.

She's only trying to help, GL!

The Grey Lady links to these real world working mom tips from a lady who's done her research, interviewing Working Moms from Beverly Hills to - er - someplace else really exclusive; tips offered (I [snort] have no doubt) with completely serious intent, and has the nerve to snark! Can you imagine such gall!

My personal fave:
* Condense your spa appointments. For example, JB has a salon she goes to at the end of the day to have a facial, manicure, and pedicure at the EXACT same time. She's in and out in 70 minutes.
Hey! After a stressful day, that one has always worked for me. Of course my pedicures only take half as long as usual, so it's a natural time-saver.

The trickle rate is increasing, anyway...

We've had a couple of lovely afternoons here at the Gulch. Snow on the ground is mostly reduced to shade-sheltered patches, with afternoon temps in the mid-fifties. I've gotta hand-wash some clothes today, so of course today the wind is coming up and I'll spend the afternoon chasing laundry. :^( On the other hand, a windy afternoon will probably dry up the remaining mud.

The boys and I hiked out to the Lair site. I set a water bottle under the tap and set water to trickling, and the trickle rate had increased to the point where I couldn't just go away and come back in a few hours. So we trekked out into the wash toward the road, then climbed a hill and made a big circle back to the Lair. The boys love to range on their own, and you can stand on the top of the hill at this point and watch them bounce over and through gullies below, appearing and disappearing among the junipers, making their leisurely way back to Uncle Joel's approximate position. By the time we got back, I had a full bottle waiting. I'll pick it up later when I go putz with the never-ending paneling job. After laundry I'll have a couple of new empties to fill.

Ghost has long since gone past resigning himself to Little Bear's existence, and you could now call them friends without stretching a point too far. In certain matters there's no question who's in charge, but he doesn't insist on deference on every point the way Grampy Magnus used to do. As alpha dogs go, he's pretty laid back. Ghost has always had an almost schizophrenic personality in one sense: He was always the most independent of the dogs, preferring to go his own way and even disappearing for entire weekends to move in with the weekender neighbors. On the other hand he's a lover of routine and can be a real baby about it - on our recent trip to the city he spent five days making a pathetic spectacle of himself and never just settled down and enjoyed the adventure. Even Click the Cat handled it better than he did - as long as she knew where "her baby" was, she was perfectly content with a nice warm house and the chance to terrorize the resident cat.

LB doesn't seem to care whether routine is adhered to or not - he prefers not to be immured in the scriptorium first thing, making his view abundantly known that a morning walky is first necessary before we go to the cold dark place so Daddy can stare at his box. But beyond that, he pretty much wants to do whatever I want to do. He doesn't even object to Gitmo, though if treats weren't involved he might take a different view. I'd love to be able to take him with me when shit-shoveling, but he probably wouldn't deal well with the horses (Ghost definitely wouldn't) and when I leave him in the Jeep he expresses his boredom by eating important components of the interior. So we don't do that.

All in all we've settled nicely into the winter routine. I'll remember the late cold snap for quite a while and there's still damage to the water system that needs fixing, but I'll reserve my weather-related bitching until the next one. If you don't mind cold toes, ever-present dirt, hauling water from remote locations and a rather uninspiring diet, it's not at all a bad way to live.

Curses! Scooped again!

Just about the time I was snarking about the implementation of Kali's new anti-ammo law, Uncle was reporting that it had been repealed by a Kali court as "unconstitutionally vague."

I wasn't aware that was a bar to passing laws, but apparently someone has found it so.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Brilliant idea, sir. I'm sure we'll all be saved.

From KISS comes the story of a Utah town that claims to have found a New! Improved! way to patrol the unfriendly skies...
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Reuters) - A proposed unmanned floating airship surveillance system is being hailed by city officials in Ogden, Utah as one way to fight crime in its neighborhoods.
Because nothing says "up against the car and assume the position" quite like the Goodyear Blimp. But it gets better...
The blimp is long [52 feet long, to be precise] but narrow and moves quickly and quietly [it's electric], meaning it should be fairly undetectable, he said.
Guys, it's 52 feet long and has a 400-foot ceiling. I think it'll be detectable. They use these things as billboards, you know. Sure, you can paint it gray, but...
The blimp is being developed by the Utah Center for Aeronautical Innovation and Design at Weber State University.
Because nothing says "we need an immense R&D budget" quite like 100-year-old airship technology.
Researchers say the blimp is a helium filled balloon with a special coating of fabric developed at their center.

"The very lightweight fabric was developed in partnership with the Utah State Legislature who gave us a grant... The air envelope would leak the helium it would penetrate through so it had to be coated," said Bradley Stringer, research team executive director.
Leading, I'm sure, to the new debate in Ogden, "What's the best load for blimp?"


From the "Tell me again why you live there" department...

Yet another reason not to live in California, as if more were needed.
While the holiday shopping season is long gone, some Humboldt County residents are stocking up on ammunition for fear of a new California law that goes into effect next month placing restrictions on the purchase of bullets.

Under the law, those buying handgun ammunition will be required to provide vendors with their thumbprint, address and photo identification, with the idea that it will make the task of investigating and preventing gun-related crime easier for law enforcement.

I'm shocked. Shocked! find demands for information going on here.

A Framingham District Court judge yesterday impounded two search warrants connected to last week's drug raid and subsequent fatal shooting of a 68-year-old retired MBTA worker in his home by a police SWAT team member.


By impounding the returns, any information collected during the drug and shooting investigation remains in the court clerk's office and can't be examined by the public or press.
Who do you people think you are? If the police shot him, he must have been in need of shooting. [gavel bang] Next Case!


h/t to Roberta X

I have seen the future...

...And it has more cowbell.

I still want a .44 wheelgun, one day, if I can find it and afford it. But gingerbread is for cookies and Victorian architecture. If my pistol outweighs my M1A, I may as well carry the damned rifle. Yeah, call me a crotchety old Luddite.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pressure Pump Update...

Got an email from Landlady, saying the service company needs to order more parts before they can service the pump. So I'll still be hauling water for a while.

As of today I may be going to Plan C, because I think the outflow from M's cistern has frozen up. I've been hauling water from The Secret Lair, but suddenly it's restricting me to 2 gallons per day. Water's trickling down the buried pipe to my spigot, so when I open the tap I get 2 gallons of gush and then it drops to an unsteady drip. I left the tap partially open overnight with an empty bottle under the tap, because often letting it drip will open up a frozen line. I'm on my way out there now.

I've got all sorts of backups so it's not a problem, just a hassle I thought I had handled. But it is underscoring the lesson that when it comes to water, you need more than one plan.

ETA: Let this be a lesson, when installing a big plastic cistern in a climate where things freeze: Orient the tank so that the plumbing is on the side that gets sun in the winter. Nobody around here seems to have thought of that ahead of time, including me.

Okay! I'll go. Just stop describing me.

Clearly somebody's been peeking in my window.
You are a surly, disorganized loner with all the finely-honed fiscal acumen of a congressman after a three-martini lunch combined with the driving ambition of a tree sloth.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Modest Proposal...

Our wise, sefless public servants have suffered too long under the fear of being intimidated and threatened by syphilis-maddened hoi polloi, the unenlightened rednecks who take time from their busy schedules of beating their wives and impregnating their daughters to interfere with the work of their betters, to the detriment of the nation.

This unacceptable situation must stop.  In the wake of the atrocious attack upon the dear person of Representative Giffords, for which attack all right-thinking American subjects hold themselves in humiliation and shame, certain enlightened proposals have been put forward.  These proposals, in our opinion, do not go nearly far enough to ameliorate this unacceptable state of affairs.  More Must Be Done.

Commentator Brock Lorber has proposed a more sweeping reform measure which will at last set these outrages behind us.  We urge immediate implementation of this bold solution.

In such a place, no peasant could get within 1000' of a government official, much less carry a weapon in that close proximity. No language or symbol could be seen as threatening to wise overlords carefully bunkered in hardened, over-pressured vaults. None of the political class would have to queue up with the unwashed masses at a TSA checkpoints, as the TSA would be sequestered right along with them.
As it is, walling up the swampland known as the District of Columbia (perhaps even doming it) is the only viable solution. There, government officials – all government officials – can be safe, and still have access to their temples and monuments. Ingress and egress from the government city could be strictly controlled, requiring two safety locks (one inside, one outside) to be removed before the gate could be opened.
From government city, officials can securely and remotely administer their fiefdoms, broadcasting their directives to the proletariat via state media.
H/T to Claire.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Shite, shite, shite...

Two weeks I've gone without running water, because it was just too cold to deal with the system.  Two weeks.

When I got back from the city I noticed two things that bothered me, but 21o below zero put it out of my mind:
  • The cistern was empty.  It wasn't empty when I left.
  • The concrete under the pressure pump (which we left unplugged) was damp.
Should have stayed bothered by those things, but to be truthful I'd forgotten about them both. 

The past few afternoons have been fairly pleasant, with temps slowly climbing upward.  So late this morning after walkies I plugged in the well pump to get some agua in the cistern.  Two hours later I went back to check on developments.  Shouldn't have waited so long.
  • The cistern is empty.  Should have held 800 gallons or so.
  • The powershed is completely flooded.  Water's pouring out of the newly (not so) repaired pump.
The only good news is that now there's a shut-off valve, so I could stop any further flooding.  But tonight our gulch is gonna have its own indoor skating rink.

Shite!  Shite!

The normal activity of a proofreader is indistinguishable from...

My neighbor J told me about this yesterday...

Yike.  And I thought I had no social life in the city.  At least there were people in the office I said hi to from time to time...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Why I like sixties music...

My neighbor, in whose dining room I've sat for the past three days doing stuff for money, has one of those Sirius radio thingies. Another neighbor has one and I've long regarded it as something that exists only to annoy me because it seems Sirius has an All-Elvis-All-The-Time channel, and if Congress wants to pass laws against things why can't they start there?

But it seems Sirius also has all 50's, 60's and 70's channels, and that's the sort of thing that's been pouring into my ears for the past three days. Even without disco, I've known for a long time that I decided I was not a pop music fan sometime in the 70's. By and large, and with exceptions, 70's music sucks. It just does, it's homogenous and depressing and devoid of character. In the sixties, though, there was variety. Lots of bad four-piece combos, sure, but even they were experimenting with things that often didn't sound like the Beatles and often worked. And they competed directly with Petula Clark and Burt Bacarak (sp!) and Roy Orbison. If you didn't like something on the radio, just wait three minutes and chances are you'd get a chance to listen to something completely different.

Not exactly a life-altering epiphany, but still - It was kind of a revelation.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Yup - good day.

Ironically so, because it's a beautiful afternoon. Temps almost in the fifties, clear skies. A bit too much mud because all yesterday's snow melted in a hurry, but you can't have everything. Ironic because I spent the bulk of that beautiful day inside a well-heated house I sure could have used a week ago. But even so I made sixty bux, on top of the forty+ I made yesterday. So my pockets are rustling again, I've got some propane and gasoline and the prospect of more. Gotta go back tomorrow to finish the job, then I'm off to shit-shoveling. In the mud. :^(

I even scored a whole package of onion bagels the guy wanted to get rid of just because the "use by" date had come and gone. I told him I don't look at the date, I just want to know how stale and green they are. I loves me some bagels.

Now I've got to let the boys out of Gitmo and convince them to forgive me for all the fun they haven't been having the past couple of days.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Second the motion!

Tam opines on a proposed new law to keep taxeaters safe from us gun-hugging proles...
I have a better idea: Let's make it illegal for important federal officials to come within a thousand feet of decent people. Failing that, maybe we can make them wear some kind of distinctive garment and carry a bell so we know where they are and can stay away.

It's Got Sex!

It's snowing this morning, for the first time since I got back. Probably not very cold out; the heater isn't having any trouble keeping it livable in here. Soon I have to leave; I'm going to town for a propane and gasoline run. But I still had much of a pleasant morning to kill.

Looking for something I hadn't read before and failing, I picked up Vin Suprynowicz's The Black Arrow. Oh dear, oh dear. TBA is, in my informed opinion, the Battlefield Earth of freedom fic – literally so bad it's good. If this book were a movie, it could only be watched at drunken Saturday-afternoon parties. I find it more than a bit depressing that Suprynowicz, a man who has written excellent volumes about all that is wrong with current society, seems to believe in his inner heart that only a superhero can save us from it.

But it's all here, in breathless prose. The billionaire former rock star, Andrew Fletcher (get it? Fletcher? You know: Arrows, fletching...) – who could have been an NFL star, but made the right choice – leveraging the millions left to him by his righteously capitalistic family into a quietly vast financial empire which subsequently bankrolls the consistently successful operations of the (literally!) underground rebellion led by … The Black Arrow! Who actually makes a swooshing noise when he enters and leaves rooms. I did not make that up. I will go to my grave wondering if, in the movie version, Viggo Mortensen would have ended up playing Fletcher or Jean-Claude Renaud, the vaguely European ex-mercenary who is casually described as looking remarkably like Mortensen. It's the dimple in the chin, you know. And the Tragic Past.

Fletcher can also tell the future. Really. And need I mention his sexual prowess? Because Vin seems to think it deserves a lot of ink. His Tragic Past almost goes without saying, because it's pretty much the only thing about this character that isn't remarkable in the story – everybody here has a tragic past, except for the girlfriend he pursues so nobly, who lets him down at the end. But not to worry because his One True Love, ever waiting in the wings, has a past tragic enough for them all. Hell, even the villain has one.

(To be fair, I actually think the girlfriends are a nice allegorical touch. There's very little here that could be called subtle, but Suprynowicz lets us know his opinion of “mainstream” libertarianism in a manner that, by contrast at least, is positively lyrical.)

Oh, the villain! Dear god, the villain.

The mustache-twirler, the evil man who exists purely for the joy of being evil, is such a stereotype in bad fiction that it's rarely actually seen, like “a dark and stormy night.” It's a cliché, a joke. But our villain twirls his mustache with such cackling abandon it's almost hard not to root for the guy. He's actually the best character in the book. At least he has a plausible backstory, which alone gives him reason to feel superior to Fletcher.

Unlike other more conventionally bad fiction, TBA does possess an actual plot and the plot does hum right along. It's filled with unlikely occurrences and frequently interrupted by lengthy meditations on love and sex and politics and sex and sixties bubblegum music and sex, but it is present. Suprynowicz has done his homework here – his book contains a False Crisis and a True Crisis and a Climactic Battle and a Resolution, tick tick tick, right on schedule. And not one firearm ever uses a “clip.” The usual annoyances of bad fiction do not apply here, no, we're on to grander and sterner stuff. This is the book Unintended Consequences would have been if Ross had trimmed 600 pages of quasi-historical quacking and given Henry Bowman precognition. And a stronger sex drive. And a black mask.

And did I mention it's got sex?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On the Larry Pratt thing...

I just got this from MamaLiberty:
From David Codrea at War on Guns 01/11/11

"Mr. Pratt is contacting Fox News to correct their misunderstanding," the GOA spokesman informed him. Here's the statement:

As much as I appreciate Fox News, they misstated my position on the Wayne Smith case arising out of South Dakota. So let me break it down:

1. As I have stated all along, I do not agree with what South Dakota is doing in denying the right to keep and bear arms to alien residents. Wayne Smith SHOULD BE ABLE TO OWN A GUN!

2. Our fundamental rights do NOT come from government, the Bill of Rights or the Constitution … they come from God. Hence, law-abiding citizens should be able to carry concealed firearms as a matter of right (without permission from the government) and that is why GOA has consistently supported legislation modeled after Vermont’s successful permitless carry law.

3. Aliens living in this country still possess their God-given rights. Note, however, that within our constitutional system of government, some rights of citizenship (such as the right to vote) are fully protected only for actual U.S. citizens. This is, perhaps, where the confusion has arisen. On the one hand, I argued that aliens should not be able to vote in our country. But fundamental human rights such as the right to self-defense as embodied by keeping and bearing arms, on the other hand, SHOULD MOST DEFINITELY extend to everyone, period.

4. As for the xenophobia that some have accused me of because of the misunderstanding relating to Wayne Smith … well, that’s laughable. I’ve been happily married to a Central American immigrant for nearly 50 years -- and I fully support her right to keep and bear arms as much as I support Smith’s … and yours.

-- Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America
Well, that's not what he was reported to have said befoe, but it's what he says now. Sounds more reasonable to me, just passing it on.

Sorry for the no post thing...

Very, very cold this morning; I went into the scriptorium long enough to read my emails, then spent quite a while trying to get feeling back in my fingers. This afternoon after shit-shoveling I answered a call from another neighbor who may have another long-term gig that will, if it works out, get my weekly income up near three whole figures. That seemed a worthy cause, so that's where I went. With all the cold I'm counting the molecules in the propane bottles, and have been fretting that at the current level of expenditure I make just about enough money to pay for propane and nothing else. Once again, great timing. So Joel's a happy camper.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Why does the NYT hate America?

No, really. I want to know.
Those who had hoped to see a glimpse of the much-advertised Republican plan to revive the economy and put Americans back to work will have to wait at least until party leaders finish their Beltway insider ritual of self-glorification. Then, they may find time for governing.

The empty gestures are officially intended to set a new tone in Washington, to demonstrate — presumably to the Republicans’ Tea Party supporters — that things are about to be done very differently. But it is far from clear what message is being sent by, for instance, reading aloud the nation’s foundational document. Is this group of Republicans really trying to suggest that they care more deeply about the Constitution than anyone else and will follow it more closely?

In any case, it is a presumptuous and self-righteous act, suggesting that they alone understand the true meaning of a text that the founders wisely left open to generations of reinterpretation. Certainly the Republican leadership is not trying to suggest that African-Americans still be counted as three-fifths of a person.
So, what you're saying is that the constitution is out of date and irrelevant and should be ignored as a matter of official policy, rather than the current tacit practice. Gotcha.

Wow. Even I don't have that much contempt for the document, and I'm a freakin' anarchist whackjob.

Do I think this new republican idea will do any positive good? Oh, hell no. The republicans are at least the enemies of freedom that the democrats are. But I must admit, my first reaction when I heard about the reading was to wonder why they haven't started each session this way all along. After all, this is the document they supposedly swore to support and defend. You'd think they'd want to at least nod at it respectfully as they enter the room, before commencing to ignore it for the remainder of the session.

Surprise! Congresswoman "Shoulder thing that goes up" uses the jaw thing that goes up and down.

And dances in blood with the leg things that go back and forth.
McCarthy said she plans to confer with House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to see “if we can work something through” in the coming week.
Good luck with that, taxeater.

Gotta love her, though, because this piece of television bliss is never gettin' old...

" which point somebody called me a Marxist."

Tee hee. I love it.

Over here somebody called me a leftist the other day, which has become a recurring occurrence. I'm a little upset that more leftists don't drop in to call me a conservative, or a tea bagger or something. I won't feel as though I've truly arrived until the first accusation of fascism, but maybe that one's passé.

TJIC recounts a similar experience...
I was defending the right of hippies to burn flags. Some of them told me that they’d have to beat up any such hippie they saw. They wouldn’t choose to do it – it’d just be an unstoppable urge.

I asked “What if the hippie was open-carrying?”

Well, then they’d be able to stop the “unstoppable urge”.

I then pointed out that (a) I had just demonstrated the utility of the 2nd Amendment, and (b) they were speech censoring goons.

…at which point they called me a Marxist.

From the "what color is the sky on your planet" department...

You really can't make this shit up. But it's a helluva lot of fun to mock.
“We’ve had some incidents where TSA authorities think that congresspeople should be treated like everybody else,” he said. “Well, the fact of the matter is, we are held to a higher standard in so many other areas, and I think we need to take a hard look at exactly how the TSA interact with members of Congress.”
According to the article linked above, Rep. James Clyburn (D-Planet Zargon) said this on a major Sabbath Gasbag offering of a major cable "news" channel. On the planet Zargon, the congressvermin are held to a higher standard [than ordinary citizens? - ed.] in many areas. I'd guess it would be a nice place to visit if it weren't for that gaseous ammonia atmosphere.

Yes, I guessed at the composition of Zargon's atmosphere. But given the scent of the quote above...

Congressman Clyburn? I have two words to say to you. The first is forbidden on TUAK, but starts with the letter "F". The second word is "you." Thank you for your time.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Never heard of her.

Okay. I've recently learned that a congresscritter (and many other people, but they apparently don't matter much) got shot the other day. I wish to state for the record that:

  • I wasn't in Tucson at the time. I have two witnesses. They're both dogs, but still.
  • While I have been described as mentally unstable (it's libel!) I don't have an accomplice.
  • I don't have a MySpace page, and have never posted anything on YouTube.
  • I don't usually speak critically about religion, and - er - don't admit to smoking pot.
  • I am, I confess, really just into doing my own thing. That proves nothing. Nothing, I tell you!
  • I have never attempted to enlist in any government military force.
  • I am not now and never have been a disciple of Sarah Palin.
  • I am not a radical left-wing screwball. My philosophy is distinctly not left-wing.
  • I haven't owned a 9mm in decades, and have never owned a Glock. Not that there's anything wrong with them.

In short, I didn't do it. That's all I have to say about that.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Guess it's official: I'm gettin' old.

I know this because only old people are grandparents. And as of sometime in July, if all goes well, that's what I'll be.

Got the news from Daughter yesterday afternoon, and I'm still a bit shocky. Congratulations to Daughter and Ari the Husband!

And dear wishes that I'm a better granddad than I ever was a dad.

MamaLiberty gets the day...

...with a beautifully reasoned little treatise she left in comments here.

Rights: Life, liberty, property - these are the ONLY "rights" and
belong to all human beings.

The "rights" being discussed, such as concealed carry, are state granted PRIVILEGES, not rights - whether or not they should be. Vermont, Alaska and Arizona could easily decide to withdraw their present carry laws. Just because the legislature voted one way at some point doesn't change the fact that they consider this sort of thing to be within their authority to decide for everyone in that state. The feds will do their best to impose whatever it is THEY decide.

"Citizenship" is also a privilege dispensed by the state. A "citizen" is required to give allegiance and tribute to the state to which he belongs. The citizen is the property of the state to which he pledges allegiance. Remember: ownership equals control. We are owned by others to the extent that they control us.

It makes perfect sense for the state not to extend privileges to non citizens. What doesn't make any sense to me is the idea of being owned by the state in the first place.

Don't confuse rights with privileges granted by the state.

Groups do not have "rights," only the individuals do. And the ACLU has never been interested in anything but manipulating groups for their own purposes.

I've been very disappointed in GOA for a long time.
While I don't make it a practice to join the Amen Chorus on my own damned blog, I'll cheerfully stand aside when somebody else says or does something better than I can.

Though on different occasions I've tried to say similar things (here and here, for example) I've never said it as succinctly as that. You either believe in freedom for everybody, or you don't believe in freedom.

Somebody said "life, liberty and property" is a redundant list, because there is no difference between life and property. Life is property. That's probably getting a bit semantic, but I think the writer was making a point about self-defense and so it fits with the original topic. To claim to believe so strongly in the natural right of self-defense that you'll dedicate your life to its furtherance, but then to argue that the "right" only exists for "citizens," is to so miss a vital point as to be in a state of contradiction.

MamaLiberty makes two points that can't be too strongly stressed: First: Life, liberty and property are either natural rights or they're not - pick a position and be prepared to die on it. If they are, then they are rights for everybody - including "illegal aliens," and no matter how you otherwise feel about somebody else's legal status. Would you walk up to an "illegal alien" and stick a knife in his ribs for fun? If not, then you must believe on some level that that person has natural rights. Why are you trying to disarm that person? I'm talking to you, Larry Pratt.

If on the other hand you believe those things aren't natural rights, then you're saying they aren't rights for anybody but only privileges for a few - no doubt preferably including yourself. And to hell with you. I said something on that topic (hey! I'm getting to be quite the philosopher!) here.

The second point MamaLiberty made, I'll just point out because she said it beautifully and I've barely touched on it at all, and that's the topic of "citizenship." It's been a long time since I accepted the label "citizen," and this is why:
"Citizenship" is also a privilege dispensed by the state. A "citizen" is required to give allegiance and tribute to the state to which he belongs. The citizen is the property of the state to which he pledges allegiance. Remember: ownership equals control. We are owned by others to the extent that they control us.

It makes perfect sense for the state not to extend privileges to non citizens. What doesn't make any sense to me is the idea of being owned by the state in the first place.
And I can't add a single wordy sentence on that topic.

Thanks, ML.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hey, remember Dumbass "I'm the only one professional enough to handle a gun" DEA Guy?

It seems his neverending quest to make some money from his humiliation has hit yet another snag. And no doubt bumped the hit rate on that video even further into the ionosphere.

I love that guy! 8^D

I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around this...*

Okay, when Sebastian quotes a news item that presents an NRA flack as somehow more friendly to gunowner rights than Larry Pratt of the GOA, I can dismiss that as Sebastian being an ... well, an NRA flack. Which is like calling Neil Armstrong an astronaut; nothing really new there. But what's with this? Here's the wind-up...
The ACLU of South Dakota filed the lawsuit this week on behalf of U.K. citizen Wayne Smith alleging the state's concealed weapons law is unconstitutional. Smith -- who legally immigrated 30 years ago -- was able to get a concealed license for years, but in 2002 South Dakota amended the law, making U.S. citizenship a requirement to carry a concealed weapon. When Smith went to renew his long-held permit last July, he was denied because he is permanent legal resident, not a citizen.
Fair enough so far. But here's the pitch...
But Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt says the state has every right to restrict conceal and carry permits to citizens.

"If the guy wants to enjoy the full benefit of residing in the United States become a citizen. He’s been here for 30 years what’s he waiting for?" Pratt told

Pratt says the only reason the ACLU brought the suit is to pave the way for illegal aliens to have conceal carry permits.

"They want to make it so illegal aliens have the same rights as everybody else...every little bit chipping away," he said.
WTF? I don't follow the personalities in the lobbyist game - is Pratt so afraid of Evil Brown Peopletm that he's forgotten who fills the account behind his paycheck?

Only citizens have the right to keep and bear arms? You're gonna have to show me where that's written down, Larry. So I know what document to disdain and ignore.


* Yes, you've visited TUAK and Joel isn't bitching about the weather. We're administering pharmaceutical care, and he should be back later with a massive post concerning frostbite and frozen horseshit. Thank you for your patience as we straighten this out. It is, in fact, bloody freezing.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Taste of Pocky-Clips

Got the Jeep running yesterday, around 2. Went to J&H's, didn't so much shovel shit as pry it off the ground in sheets and chunks. Worked for an hour and a half and only finished Paolo's stall. Four heavy wagon-loads, mostly ice and mud, feet sliding on the packed snow. Fun. Gotta go back today.

New Years Eve, by delightful irony the night I got back here, it hit 21 below zero. J says he talked to this old guy in town (runs a falling-down welldigging company, and was recently elected Mayor. Mormon, of course) who says that in 1990 it hit 30 below once. But even that didn't drag on like this. It snowed a week ago, it's been bright sunshine most days since, and I'm still up to my ass in snow. This is my fifth winter here and I've shivered through some very uncomfortable cold snaps but nothing that hung on like this one. Checked the forecast yesterday and it was just depressing.

J lent me a movie I haven't seen a hundred times before – that was probably worth the trip right there even if I didn't need money and water. Last night I had two pleasant hours of watching Matt Damon kick peoples' asses. Not a movie I'd normally cross the street to watch, but who cares. If the money ever really becomes worthless, as people have been predicting any minute now for as long as I remember, we will use the damndest things for trade goods.

I no longer pretend I'm negative or neutral on the topic of whether Ghost should sleep under my blankets, it's more like “Get in here.” Gotta stretch my propane, because this is going on to ridiculous lengths. It's not bad, I've still got a bottle and a half in reserve, but no point being foolish. Little Bear's the only one who kinda likes the cold, though oddly Click doesn't really seem to mind all that much. Ghost and I are not being stoic – this just sucks.

Still haven't turned the water back on, because I don't really need it and definitely don't need more bad news. We turned off the pump and bled the pressure before we left almost two weeks ago, before the snap, so the pipes are probably fine. But J had stories of busted pipes all over the neighborhood. He put his foot through the gypsum board of his brand-new ceiling while stuffing new insulation around newly-thawed pipes in his attic. Delighted H no end – she has taken this opportunity to go to the city with Paolo. And anyway, even if the pipes are intact they're sure to have ice plugs here and there. The only part that would probably work is the Meadow House because we definitely drained that – easy enough to do because it's halfway down a slope – and I'm not turning it on until we get a thaw. I filled my empty water bottles at J's yesterday. Brought all the bottles into the Lair even though there really isn't room, because otherwise they'll freeze. They might anyway. This morning I need to wash stump socks, so naturally the clouds have rolled in and unless they part the laundry will just freeze on the line. Was thinking about begging a turn on D&L's washing machine, but by all accounts they still don't have running water either. Nobody's got an automatic dryer, of course, because hey! Desert! I'm gonna find that guy Murphy and just kick the living hell out of him.

Dumbledore was right, by the way – the best things in life are thick wool socks. For which I daily bless GL and Claire.

In a few months this will seem funny. I can't wait.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

15 Degrees

It's 11 in the morning, and the thermometer says fifteen degrees.  That's really the only thing worth saying today.  If I can get the Jeep running, I'm stealing it and moving to El Paso.

Don't try to talk me out of it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Shadow and the Hermit Woman

Shadow studied the looming crag with a critical eye, and with more concern than usual. His snares had been empty for three days,  Not much to eat was growing besides prickly pear, and that wasn't worth much. Shadow hadn't eaten in two days, and he felt weakness in his bones. Now he was nearly out of water. He really didn't feel like making this climb to the spring – but he didn't feel like dying, either. He needed to lug these bottles up to the spring, so weakness be damned.

Dog frisked around in the sand on the floor of the narrow canyon, ignoring Shadow and his troubles. Dumbass Dog. He could catch rats or rabbits any time he wanted, so Shadow's food troubles didn't concern him. He liked to drink, though. Probably he'd join Shadow up at the spring, and he'd want his share after. But he wouldn't help with the bottles.

A long winter's nap...

Last night I fell asleep right around six. I've been getting concerned about how much propane I'm burning during this extended cold snap, so I turned the heater off. Best way to get through a cold night is to sleep through it, but of course if I go to sleep early I'm gonna wake up early. Sometime during the night Ghost wanted under the covers, and I was happy to let him in. Yesterday afternoon was pretty mild, but the clouds are gone and it got very cold during the night.

There's only one way to share the bed with Ghost and that's if I'm on my side, smooshed against the wall. Click took her appointed place behind my knees, and they were comfortable as could be but I couldn't get back to sleep. My hip started hurting where my weight pushed through the pallet, and I needed to go to the bathroom. I groped for my cellphone: 11:50, and I'm wide awake. Great.

Shooed the animals off the bed, hopped to the bathroom. Lit the heater on my way back to bed. Ghost wanted back under the covers, so I smooshed around and made room. Click cuddled up with LB on the other couch. LB knew what time it was: He never stirred.

Couldn't go back to sleep: Ghost wanted in and out, in and out. After enough time had passed that the heater should have warmed up his own bench, I stopped letting him in. He didn't complain, finding that his bench was comfy again.

I drowsed for roughly a million years. When I decided I was fully awake, I saw light coming in the window. Wow, I must have actually fallen asleep at some point, because sure enough it was 6:30. Dammit, I wanted to write this morning and now half the morning was gone. I was sure I'd wake up at 3 or 3:30 and have lots of time. It's shit-shoveling day.

I got halfway through a chapter that had gelled pretty well in my head, and got to worrying about shit shoveling. Too damned cold: Maybe I can call J and tell him I'd be there after noon. Just then the phone rang, and it was J. He'd be wanting to know when I was coming.

Instead he wanted to know how I was doing in the cold, and to tell me all about his broken pipes. He said the horseshit was still all frozen in the snow – I'll bet H hasn't raked up once, and it's been two weeks which is why I was dreading this morning – and I should probably put it off till tomorrow because it's supposed to warm up. The only thing I hate worse than shoveling shit in mud is (trying to) do it in ice, so I agreed promptly. Now I had some time, and could go back and finish my chapter.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Working Title: The Hermit King

I've been having a very hard time wrapping my mind around this novel I'm supposed to be writing, but I think I finally have the beginnings of a main plot.

This is very, very much a first draft of the characters and outline. Any/all/none of this might end up as the bones of the book.

Lemme know what you think:

"Why so many people hate congress"

If Congress wonders why so many hate them, this article below may help them understand.  Millions of Americans file quickly to get tax refunds (a tax refund means you over paid and they have YOUR money to which they have no legal right......and, of course you don't get interest on the money they hold but they would charge you interest if you underpaid.)  Many use that refund as part of their financial planning - pay a tuition bill, down payment on a car or a house or just pay the accumulated unpaid day to day bills.  This does not hurt rich America or people who don't pay taxes -- this hurts middle America.

Read more:
I've never begun to understand why so many people plan their deductions so that they "get a refund," and then pretend the government is sending them free money. It really is an interest-free loan to your oppressors.

Also, I can think of lots of other reasons to hate congress. And the bureaucrats that feed and are fed by congress. And the industries that feed and are fed by the bureaucrats...

Eisenhower should have warned about the government/industrial complex.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Remember "The Silence of the Lambs?"

I'm gonna spend this winter writing a potboiler called "The Freezing of the Ass."

Scriptorium's just way too cold, I'm going where there's a modicum of heat.  The good news - and I mean THE good news - is that the solar panels are clear and there's lots of sun, so even though none of  that is translating to heat I'm off to make fresh hot bread.

Any typos in the previous should be attributed to typing with mittens.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Oy, whatta trip.

The trip itself was actually pretty uneventful.  We ran into snow in the mountains but nothing terrible, got home about five.

There's more snow than I've ever personally seen here - it's a foot deep in places.  Last night the temperature got down to fifteen below, which is a good twenty degrees colder than I've ever seen it.  Landlady drove down to the meadow house, which in hindsight may not have been the smartest thing we've ever done but there was a bunch of stuff to unload.  She was hoping for a new year's eve party with some neighbors and they all cancelled, which bummed her out and removed a major chunk of the reason she even came.  If you say you're gonna be someplace, don't cancel at the last minute - I famously have no social skills at all and even I know that.

M came up at around 9:30 and parked up on the ridge, which turned out to be smart.  To get out of the property, it's necessary to climb a very steep hill at the foot of which is a sharp right turn, which means you can't approach the climb very fast.  It's famous for putting cars into trees when there's snow on the ground, and there's a lot today.  M had a bunch of heavy stuff to unload from his pickup, including my new toilet, and so we made an elaborate plan for getting it all to his place which doesn't have that very steep grade.  I tried to start the Jeep and it just sneered at me - it still won't turn over - and so I hiked over to meet him.  We got the truck unloaded, and he told me that while I was putzing with the Jeep he'd tried to drive Landlady's car up the grade - no go.

Landlady was in no mood to be stuck.  She planned to work on the Meadow House's plumbing, but cold as it is it would be ridiculous to turn the water on and that removed her very last reason for being here.  Sit and shiver through a useless weekend, or go back to the city?  Hmmmm...

But first we needed to get her car up the hill.  With the Jeep out of action, we needed another 4X4.  So of course we called a neighbor.

Turns out there is no place - but no place - on the front of Landlady's car to hook a tow strap, so we ended up trying to tow it up the hill backward.  We got most of the way up when Neighbor's 4X4 spun out.  Coast back down.

While Neighbor broke out the tire chains, M and I went to work clearing the glazed snow off the steep road with shovels and rakes.  The whole thing, from the hike to the final success, turned into an extremely lengthy two and a half hours in the coldest weather I've experienced since ... well, a very long time.  But we did eventually get her car up the damned hill.

When I got in last night every drop of water was frozen everywhere, including the "Plan B" bottles, except for the ones we left in the Meadow house, whose insulation works quite well.  I carefully thawed the water in my teapot - frozen solid - so the boys and Click could have something to drink.  Ghost had really meant it when he spent all week agitating to go home, and refused to leave my very cold Lair for Landlady's house.  He spent most of the night under the covers with me on my couch, and for once I was very happy to have him there.  I kept the propane heater going all night, and the snow never melted on the floor.  This morning the water bottle still hadn't begun to thaw, so I melted a bunch of snow for the animals' bowl and some coffee.  When I got back from moving cars, having left the heater on low in the Lair, the animals' bowl had a crust of ice.

For the record, this sucks.

Ghost has completely bailed on me now - he's over at the neighbor's house and didn't even bother waving goodbye.  I won't see him till tomorrow.  LB is more loyal, of course, and Click has LB to keep her warm.  I may move into the Permanent Lair just because I can heat it up - what the hell, I don't have any plumbing here, either.  Thank God I cut firewood.

Welcome home, Joel!  Why did you want to be a hermit again?