Sunday, July 31, 2011

And that's more-or-less what the kitchen will look like.

Sink under the window. The corner cabinet will have one big door on a piano hinge, so I can get at the electrical when I need to. Stove to the right of the stub counter.

There won't be a fridge, unfortunately - at least not indoors. There simply isn't room. Maybe in the pantry shed, when I get around to building it. I've pretty much gotten used to living without refrigeration, though it's nice. I have NOT gotten used to living without running water. Trust a guy who's been without it for seven months now: That's one of those luxuries that's so much an improvement it may as well be a necessity.

There's just enough room to the left of the counter for a 3-foot roll-top desk and my big chair.

So you want to build a straw-bale house?

They've been stuccoing. For. Months. Seven days a week. Granted that it's a big house, but still...

They make their own stucco, from native clay and sand mixed with chopped straw. Experimented till they got a mix that wouldn't wash off.

Seriously, I don't know why she's smiling. She usually isn't, by this time of the day.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I don't get it. Can someone explain tattoos to me?

I followed this link from Robb Allen's blog, and between that and having just visited with a local lady I know, it got me to wondering. When that happens near a keyboard, it often leads to ill-considered posting.

It's not that I have anything against it, or would pass laws forbidding it, or anything like that. As with many things I don't understand, I just...don't understand. The point of it, that is. Doesn't really make it any of my business.

First, so much can go wrong. I worked with a guy who once decided he just had to have a "green man" tattooed all over his back...

And I'm sure it would have been a better idea if he hadn't been in Thailand at the time, and if (judging purely from the evidence) the "artist" hadn't been as drunk as he was. It looked more like "pile of bright green puke." My co-worker basically determined that he would never be seen without a shirt ever again, and I only learned about it by accident. Guy ended up spending a fortune - and a very great deal of pain - getting it fixed stateside. Still looked terrible.

Then there's the fact that certain tattoos seem to go in and out of style. Tribal bands, for example - I'm sure they were all edgy and cool back when, but now they're as trendy as bellbottoms - but a lot more permanent.

There's the whole aging thing. An old CPO with navy tats on his forearms might be kinda cool, in a "been-there, done-that" kinda way. But I know a lady who's in her sixties, has clearly been and done some edgy-ass things in her life, and looks like somebody left a Picasso out in the rain - if you know what I mean. It's not that attractive.

Finally there's the matter of "identifying marks," but that's just me being paranoid and anti-cop. Ignore that.

Even when I was a kid, I didn't get the attraction. Won't say I was never tempted, but I never came close to actually succumbing to the temptation.

Seriously: Ten years from now, is this guy really gonna be glad he did this?

Secret Lair Kitchen - Stage One Complete!

Tomorrow, fitting it to the cabin. After that, overhead cabinets!

Right now it looks like I might be going with a tiled countertop, which would be more work than I'd planned but look kinda nice across from the identically-tiled stove area.

It's easily the nicest piece of woodwork in the whole place.

Grandatter's already breaking all the feminist rules (I'm so proud...)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Got something done after all...

About sixty microseconds after my earlier whining post, the sun came out. An hour later I was at D&L's cutting lumber.

No pix, because around 3:30 the clouds were rolling in fast and I needed to run home and let the boys out. But I've just about completed the main (longest) part of the counter. It looks almost as though I knew what I was doing. Now it's thunderbooming like crazy, but I actually accomplished something after all.

Tomorrow - earlier start!

Unfortunately this seems to be the only way FIJA can get any press...

Man sentenced for pamphleteering
“It is prohibited for any person or group to engage in any type of First Amendment activities within the main Orange County courthouse complex grounds, unless the First Amendment activities occur within a designated Exempt Zone…”
Next person who assures me about all those "constitutional guarantees," gets it. Just sayin'.

"Resistance is futile. You will be monetized."

Facebook's Randi Zuckerberg: Anonymity Online 'Has To Go Away'

It's for the children, of course. Or something.
Randi Zuckerberg, Facebook’s marketing director, has a fix for cyberbullying: stop people from doing anything online without their names attached.
From what I've heard of Facebook, they're doing a heckuva job.

Tell me again why people submit to this? A Facebook account is still voluntary, last I heard.

H/T to Claire.


I'm supposed to cut up the wood for my Lair's kitchen today. I've been supposed to do it since Wednesday.

Monday and Tuesday were supposed to be geiger counters. GC Guy pushed it back to Tuesday and Wednesday, so there went Wednesday.

D called and said they didn't have enough electricity for the big power tools Thursday. That left today.

Today it started raining at 8 in the frickin' morning.

I still have hope for later, but this is starting to look like a wasted week, kitchen-wise.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Yeah. Oookay. Y'know, I'm just going to stay the hell away from Canton.

Via Codrea, the latest and greatest on Daniel Harless, TUAK's Law Enforcement Poster Boy of the Month.

That other videos are surfacing isn't a big surprise. Officer "Shoot you in the [bleeping] face and sleep at night" didn't pull that shite only once. What did surprise me a bit was that it's a local Canton source, and written by a guy who doesn't seem to care too much for Officer Scared'o'guns.

And then, depression set in. I made the same damned mistake I always make - I read the comments.

Yeah, now I've got multiple reasons to stay the hell away from Canton.

Why don't you just come out once and scream it?

From the "really obvious questions that people ask anyway" Department...

NSA Lawyer Questioned Over Cellphone Location Tracking of Americans: Is the government using cellular data to track Americans as they move around the U.S.?

Seems like an answer to that would be fairly straightfoward, doncha think? The possibilities are: Yes or No. Paranoid recluses everywhere would suggest the answer is "yes." The NSA's lawyer's answer will be "no." Because he's lying. (hey, he's a lawyer AND he's with the NSA. You were expecting the truth?)

But nooooo...

“There are certain circumstances where that authority may exist,” he said. His comments came after Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) asked him several times whether the government has the authority to “use cell site data to track the location of Americans inside the country.”
No, no, no! I explained this! It's a Yes or No Question. So is it YES, or is it frickin' NO??

Oh, but that's okay. Don't sweat the uncertainty, citizens. They'll get back to us on that...

Although Olsen acknowledged the possibility, he also said “it is a very complicated question” and that the intelligence community is working on a memo that will provide a better answer for the committee.
I'm gonna hold my breath until I see that memo. Starting...NOW!

Nostalgic About Pterry.

Guffaw posted a nostalgic look at model rockets this morning, that got me to thinking of ze gut old dayz.

Like him, I was into the little black powder-powered cardboard-and-balsa rockets when I was a kid. Much later I discovered that the hobby had grown a bit. High-power rockets use composite fuel of Ammonium Perchlorate and rubber, as I recall, and are powerful enough to have caused convulsions in several federal agencies - I'm tickled to say. I built several scratch-built rockets, but my all-time favorite was a kit from a company called Public Missiles, Ltd. My Pterodactyl was my first Level 2 certification flight from the Tripoli Rocketry Association, and even though the rocket itself wasn't much more sophisticated than an Estes model rocket it still gave me a proud day.

Alas, Pterry was limited. It was too big and heavy to really perform with its single rocket motor, and had no payload capacity at all which meant no avionics. After a few flights it all became routine, which just wasn't right. I was thinking of risking wife's (further) animosity by building yet another expensive rocket to replace Pterry, but then something terrible happened. A recovery system failure left me with a pile of shattered airframe surrounded by a bunch of perfectly good parts, and Pterry was reborn as Stretch Pterry.

SP was bigger and heavier, but also much more powerful. With two outboard motors to help it get off the ground, I expected a great deal better performance. The airframe was stretched to include a proper avionics bay big enough for any expansion my twisted soul and depleted bank account would allow. I even gave it a proper paint job.

Unfortunately, it never survived its maiden flight and it's all my fault. Running into some stability problems at the actual launch site, I rushed and improvised on the fly and ... shouldn't have done any of those things. What I mostly shouldn't have done was fail to consult with others who had a lot more experience clustering motors than I did. The outboards fired well before the main motor, pulled the igniter out of the main before ignition, and... Alas. It deserved a better owner.

The main motor never lit, and the rocket didn't get a whole lot higher than this. Just high enough to wreck it completely.

Shortly thereafter a bunch of moves and personal problems - and the fact that the ATF was making life as hard as possible for rocket hobbyists at the time - caused me to drift away and the rocket was never rebuilt. But sometimes I do think of getting back into it. Trouble is, it requires a very great deal of open space if you're going to do it right. Also a great deal of money. So I probably never will.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Things you're not likely to hear around here...

"This just can't be happening to me."

As Kevin Wilmeth correctly points out, 'Yes it can, Bunky.'
Those are the words of someone in Condition White. ... They were not prepared for this emergency, mentally: "[t]his just can't be happening to me" announces with crystal clarity that the speaker did not really believe it could happen to him at all. They had a tool available (not the most failsafe one, certainly, but still, a tool), but apparently did not even keep it ready for emergency use! Further, they did not keep their heads when they most needed to keep their heads, but rather did the very worst thing they could have done to provoke a predator to give chase.
As to the specific threat of bears, we don't see a lot of them here. But just last month, thanks to a forest fire to our south, we suddenly found ourselves up to our armpits in bear reports. And some of the bears were criminally impolite.

Imagine this: It's evening. You're at home, nothing at all is wrong. You're doing whatever you do while relaxing at home. Suddenly a six-hundred-pound bear comes through your glass door. What do you do?

A neighbor and casual friend found himself in this exact position last month. What he wished to do was run for his rifle, but he determined that if he did that his best-case scenario was a destructive bear actually in the house with him, something he still had a moment to prevent. So instead he attacked the bear with the weapon he had at hand, a 9mm pistol loaded with hollow points, admittedly not the first choice he'd have made given time. And instead of suffering further damage or becoming a casualty, he drove the bear off. Not an optimum solution, granted - now the neighborhood had a wounded bear to deal with. But it was an imperfect situation. I sure don't recall hearing anybody criticize the fella afterward. Point is, even in his own home with no reason in this world to expect trouble - except that it's always around the corner - he wasn't in Condition White. If ever in the same circumstance, I hope I do as well.

Did I mention the guy who did this wasn't exactly Conan the Barbarian? Size doesn't matter. Attitude matters. And staying close to your equalizer.

One thing life in the boonies will teach you is that the wolf is always at the door - or the bear, coyote pack, mountain lion, rattler, lightning strike, flash flood, stranded vehicle, killing freeze, you name it - or at least you'd better behave as if he is, because he might show up at any time. These kids were walking through Grizzly country without so much as OC spray close to hand? Their adult supervisors should be whipped. Contemptible.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What kind of right wing, paranoid, radical anarchist crazy man would consider carrying a gun in a bad neighborhood? That's just insane!

Canton, Ohio. Never been there, but it does appear that sanity is not a requirement for a job in "public service" in Canton.

H/T to Snarkybytes.

In fact, it sounds as though Canton could use a Hero!

Ian's getting weirder by the minute (I'm so proud)

My friend Ian likes guns.

Okay - you like guns. I like guns. All God's chilluns like guns. You don't understand - Ian REALLY likes guns. Ian's father is a veritable published scholar of certain types of military small arms, and Ian has embraced that interest. To a degree that teaches you, after a certain level of familiarity has been achieved, that - whatever you may have believed about yourself prior to meeting him - you're not a gun nut. That's a gun nut.

Ian has a website that lets him indulge and express his interests. I've plugged Forgotten Weapons before, and recommend it to anyone interested in such things. But in putting together The Independent Spirit there were certain rules he, Debra and I agreed to: I couldn't indulge my inner anarchist lunatic, and nobody started ranting about guns. So far that pact hasn't been officially violated since nobody's actually, you know, ranting.

(Let's be fair - Ian doesn't rant. He'll talk your ear off about the intricacies of the feeder mechanism on the 1931 Andalusian PFVC-31 light machinegun and how it compares with the similar but not identical Scandahoovian RXP-29, but he doesn't rant. That's my job.)

Buuut...the subject has come up. See, Ian has one single ambition he has not yet achieved. He's never owned a machine gun. Now contrary to popular misconception, machine gun ownership is not actually illegal under federal law. They never outlawed it, they just made it really expensive and hard. So expensive and so hard that only a rich person or a madman would indulge in it. Ian's

Another thing Ian's into is Jack Spirko's Survival Podcast. As a lark, Ian - who is already deep in the legal process of legally acquiring his very own legal machine legal gun (I'm just going to keep repeating the L-word here) - called in to the show to ask Spirko's opinion of machine guns as an investment commodity. Spirko replied to the question on the show, and Saturday night we all sat in Landlady's Meadow House and crowed as we listened. The answer was - once Spirko got over the sheer weird badass lunacy of the question - quite clearly reasoned and balanced. I was impressed.

Which is my long-winded way of telling you the link to that part of the show is here. Go listen - it's fun.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rainy Dayz

I had a phone call from GC Guy yesterday evening, setting the whole schedule back a day. So instead of geiger counters, this became shit-shoveling day. Finished up with what looked like plenty of time in the sky, but it turned out I got home just in time to avoid getting wet. Let the boys out of Gitmo and they both vanished up the driveway to harass the jackrabbits for a while. They came back after it had already started to sprinkle a bit, all happy and ready to hang out. LB has his own shelf in the scriptorium/pantry where I'll never be permitted to store anything until I get internet access at the new Lair. Ghost really prefers to stay outside unless it's too hot or actively raining.

It looks like it's gonna be thunder-boomers off and on all day, but you never know. Ghost holds me responsible and considers it bad management on my part when his happy nap is disturbed by water falling from the frickin sky, which WTF? Can't I get anything right? Water is supposed to appear in the Gitmo trough or either of two bowls, and nowhere else. This is the desert, Uncle Joel.

So it's kind of a sleepy, do-nothing afternoon with a mildly plausible excuse. Maybe with luck the wash'll run and then my excuses will improve.

Life in prison for failure to identify yourself?

Looks like that's what these cops have in mind...
John Doe, as they have been forced to call him, was arrested for trespassing after he was spotted hanging around the parking garage of the Provo City offices, looking into cars. Police told him to leave three times, but he refused and was arrested July 1.

From that day since, he hasn't told anyone who he is, where he came from, or what he was doing in Provo.

Utah County Sheriff's Lt. Dennis Harris said they are baffled. They've told him he was arrested on minor misdemeanor charges and that if he tells them his name, he would probably be let out for time served. A judge did give him a $1,200 cash-only bail, but he hasn't come up with any cash, and it doesn't look like he's made any attempt to get the money. For now, he just sits in jail.
Sounds like there's a good chance he's simply crazy as a loon, which would certainly help with the whole "obstinacy in the face of authority" thing. I've had trouble keeping silence when faced with inquisitive cops, because you have to look into the eyes of a man who can hurt you without consequence and defy him, which will make him angry. That's harder to do in meatspace than it is on an internet forum, and the need to do so in more serious circumstances is a frequent topic for pondering.

So either hats off to the guy, or best wishes for getting over that head injury. I dunno which.

Al Queda is not Emmanuel Goldstein. Al Queda has never been Emmanuel Goldstein.

In other words, now that we know the alleged perpetrator is not Muslim, we know -- by definition -- that Terrorists are not responsible; conversely, when we thought Muslims were responsible, that meant -- also by definition -- that it was an act of Terrorism.

One man's blond, blue-eyed whacko is another man's swarthy terrorist - but there are no blue-eyed terrorists.

H/T to Claire.

UPDATE: William Grigg comes up with the one cogent lesson we can definitely take from this increasingly murky mess:
...never trust an armed man wearing the costume of a police officer.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Busy day.

Yeah, sorry: I got nothing today.

Couldn't get to sleep last night. Usually in high summer we get a breeze or a shower to cool things down before dark, but when we don't the ol' box'o'tin isn't a great place to spend the night 'till the wee hours. Then when I did finally lay down my head, half the bugs in the northern hemisphere wanted to share my bed. So I overslept, of course, which was bad because I promised biscuits by 6:30 to go with Landlady's sausage gravy. So I've been running since my feet hit the floor. Though there was sausage, so I'm not complaining.

We got the injector pump off Gulchendiggensmoothen for transport and diagnosis. M and I spent a couple of hours sheathing the interior walls of M's Dome. I took my kitchen lumber to D's place, and he and I unloaded the trailer in his barn. I won't be able to start on that till Wednesday earliest, because I've got geiger counter duty for the next two days minimum.

Landlady's planning a "farewell to the building inspector" party later next month, so after unloading the trailer I set upon my duties of going around inviting neighbors who had participated in raising her house to come to the party. That got me trapped on a porch by a VERY vocally unfriendly dog, when the residents weren't home to rescue me. A couple of times there I really thought we were gonna fight before I got back to the Jeep.

Picked up my eatin' stuff and took a shower in the Meadow House, and now the dogs and me are gonna go crash. My back's bothering me again, but it was a good weekend.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kitchen in a trailer

Yike. Closer to six hundred bucks than to five, and I still forgot the drawer slides. Also, I really hope I didn't lose too many of those shelf supports hanging out the rear there.

But that's my kitchen, not counting the hardware that's in the back of the Jeep. Some assembly required.

Things that suggest you must have all the serious problems handled...

Don't get me wrong, I understand the vital importance of coffee. Coffee is very important - why, human society couldn't exist without it, because without it half of us would slaughter the other half before breakfast. Still...perhaps, after all, the concern over it can be taken too far?

And do people really pay six bux for a frickin' cup of coffee? Adulterated coffee, at that...

Friday, July 22, 2011


Something nice happened this morning.

I fell victim to a dirty trick, which got my worrying-dad muscles all in an uproar as I genuinely thought my one-and-only daughter was stuck penniless in a very foreign country. What the hell she was doing there was a question I was prepared to table for a calmer time, not that she has to answer to me any more. The immediate issue was to get her home.

Now, longtime readers will know that I'm not exactly a fountain of cash. But right now, thanks to a sudden upsurge in global demand for geiger counters, I've got a little money. Not a lot, but some. I've got one daughter, and she was a good kid and is a better adult, and if she badly needs money in a crisis and I have some she can have every nickel of it. The question, while I waited for her to return my frantic emails, was how to get it to her.

I don't actually possess the cash, Landlady does. That was a practical decision on my part, since she's most likely to be in a position to spend it at my request. And living 'way back in the sticks as I do, I wouldn't have any way to wire the money anywhere even if I did have it. So I did the only thing I could think to do, I sent a message to Landlady briefly explaining my problem and asking if she'd be willing to stand by to wire my money overseas if it came to that. She not only agreed to do that and gave me an up-to-date accounting of how much there was, she also - without even really knowing what the situation was - offered to kick in whatever extra was needed to get me and my daughter out of our (nonexistent, as it turned out) jam.

And if I'd doubted it before - I hadn't - that's when I knew I was picking the right friends. Because that was a pretty cool thing to do.

Shite, people, stop trying to save the country. It can't be saved, and doesn't deserve your effort anyway. Work on building your tribe. Some of those folks won't let you down.

"Mr. President, I don't work for you."

I heard it on the Jeep's radio while running some post-GC chores, and couldn't believe what I thought I was hearing. So I came home and looked it up. Yup, I heard correctly...

In an unusual display of emotion, President Obama angrily responded to House Speaker John A. Boehner's abrupt withdrawal from talks on a debt ceiling increase, and summoned congressional leaders to the White House on Saturday for emergency talks to plot a new course before the Aug. 2 deadline.

Washington (CNN)–President Barack Obama said Friday evening that he has told the Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress to come to the White House on Saturday morning to "explain to me how we are going to avoid default" on the nation's debt.

Wha? He can order the military to bomb and strafe Madagascar for no good reason, according to modern, progressive interpretations of that "commander-in-chief" thing. He can order his dog whatever-his-name-is to stop pissing on the White House rug. He can order a latte. I presume he can order his secretary to bring him the latest copy of the enemies list. But where the hell does he get off ordering congressvermin to do anything at all? Last time I read the constitution, and I admit it's been a while, they don't report to him.

And yet I'll bet not one of them will have the stones to stay home.

So - iPhones are evil. I knew it all along.

See a cop aiming his smartphone at you, you might want to blink your eyes real fast or something...

And if you believe this, I've got a bridge you might be interested in...

Airport body scanners to nix naked image

Uh huh. This time it isn't a lie...
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New software for screening travelers at U.S. airports will do away with naked images, addressing a major public concern, the Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday.
The TSA, which previously assured us its porno-scanners didn't show any details, couldn't save images and were virtually devoid of actual radioactivity - three claims which all proved lies - is now fixing the whole thing with a minor software tweak.


Well this sucks...

Fired up the computer to read an alarming email from daughter, apparently one she sent to a group. She went to Spain (SPAIN???) for a short vacation, got mugged, lost all her funds, and is trapped in a hotel unable to leave 'cause she can't pay the bill and is about to miss her flight. She didn't mention the baby, and I'm optimistically assuming they're not together.

Not the end of the world, true, but having traveled myself I can understand how upsetting the situation would be - you just want to go home and have the nightmare over.

I can't call her because her cellphone was stolen, and of course she's not exactly sitting by her monitor waiting for my email. Hopefully her network will combine to get her the hell out of there. I have some assistance of my own I could offer but first I have to be able to contact her and I can't 'till she sees and replies to my email. So right now I'm just sitting here feeling helpless.

Spain? Why not someplace civilized, like Haiti? I hear the Ivory Coast is really nice. Sheesh - kids today.

UPDATE: Three comments, three warnings of a scam. You were all correct. I was born at night but not last night: I wouldn't have sent money without voice contact with Daughter. But I just got news she's nowhere near Spain. Somebody hacked her account. All's well.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Oh yes oh yes - Timing!

Spent most of the day making geiger counters, and GC Guy says when we run out of GM tubes there'll be at least a two-week shutdown while we wait for more. That will free up time for working on the Lair, which I badly need. Then when I got home I got a call from my neighbor D, who wants me to come over tomorrow and look over the bill of materials for the Lair's kitchen. Seems he's finished his drawings. If I can wrangle a way to go to the big town this weekend for lumber, I could (conceivably) have an entire kitchen by the end of next week.

Yeah, that's absurdly optimistic. But not impossible. This sucka's coming together! Yes!

About those CFLs - Now this would be a funny sight.

H/T to Wendy McElroy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Must we use the enemy's propaganda?

Look, I firmly believe that the impending incandescent lightbulb ban is corrupt, presumptuous, stupid and wrong-headed an act of government, okay? I'm on board as opposing it. Really.


But there are so very many GOOD reasons to oppose the ban. Is it really necessary to screech Every! Single! Time!

...As if somehow the fluorescent tubes we've all smashed in our garbage cans so we could get the damn lids on, DIDN'T contain mercury. And never hurt anybody.

Because seriously, every time I read that I want to go look at the header and ensure myself I'm not reading something from NPR.

Responsibilities of a Resident of the Police State

If you don't read Claire's blog, you're missing something good. Oh, sure, she always talks about how she's getting out of the Freedomista-mongering business, but she can never make it stick. And in among meditations on the wonders of dog-themed canape dishes she suddenly launches forth with industrial-strength screeds such as these. Not groundbreaking material for some of us, in fact Claire even concedes a lot of us have heard it - and said it - many times before. But it's always so much more beautifully said when she says it.

Also, it's easy for an old lunatic like me to forget that not everybody's at the same level, as far as thinking "it" through. "It's" not about voting, and "it's" not about shooting. Er...yet. It's not really about the police state at all, and maybe we help our would-be masters along by making it about them. Comes down to it, it's about us. Always was. Hey, who'd really DIE without Nancy Pelosi in their life? And who decided she had to be there?

Anyway, go and read. You'll thank yourself.

UPDATE: Part Four.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kitchen! Handled!

Ever since we first put up the frame on The Secret Lair, my neighbor D has mentioned a number of times that he'd like to help me put in the kitchen counter and cabinets. But he and his wife L are VERY busy building their straw-bale-and-earthbag house, and I don't like asking for something I can't return - like very skilled and time-consuming work - from such a busy man.

But late last week he heard I was putting in a temporary sink stand so I could finish the plumbing, and he looked me up and gave me hell. So I said, "Okay, I'm ready to build the kitchen." And he said, "Okay! I'll meet you at the cabin and we'll take measurements."

And we did. And today he showed up with conseptual drawings for my approval. And now he's working on detailed drawings and a shopping list. His idea is that I'll do all the work; he'll just give me drawings so complete I CAN do it myself with his (impressive) tools. Seems to me drawings that descriptive would be more work than just doing the thing himself, but I'm along for the ride at this point. One gets the impression he enjoys this sort of project, and is tired of plastering straw bales.

Good news: I actually have the money to just buy the stuff and build the thing. How often does THAT happen? Bad news: I put my breaker box and inverter in a very stupid place. But I'd have to tear half the house down to change it now, so that's just where they have to be.

Hey, you know "Tit-for-Tat" lady?

They dropped the felony charges and let her go.Might still get hit with some misdemeanor, but at least she's not looking at "sex criminal" for the rest of her life. Guess somebody decided they didn't want to see it on the news every day for the next six months.

I think her life as an air commuter is probably over, though.

H/T to Walls of the City.

I'm going to kick that dog when I see him again.

So yesterday I hung around all day, never lifting anything heavier than a beer bottle. It's one of those back things where everything's fine until you turn just the right way, and then all of a sudden your spine is the only thing in the universe, but this morning I was feeling some better. I put off shit-shoveling yesterday, so this morning I had to do it and had better hurry, because it was pretty clear there would be morning rain. This morning I sopped up and slogged to the manure pile with five heaping wagon-loads of lovely filth, all mixed with mud from the preceding rains. Stopped, only a little over half done, when it started to rain. Went home, let the dogs out of Gitmo before they drowned - because it never seems to occur to either of them that the same roofs sheltering them from the sun might also work for rain. LB instantly shifted into overdrive, ran for the wash ignoring my calls, and I haven't seen him since. Back smarting like it was on fire, wanting nothing but a chair, I didn't exactly chase him.

He'll be back. And then I shall kick him.

Just a sudden thought...

To those who still put their trust in the "political process:" We've been voting the bastards out of office since 1800, you know. When should we expect them to leave?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Holy Mixed Feelings, Batman.

I'd heard they were in trouble, but didn't know one of the great love/hate objects of my life is almost officially dead.

Borders' Seeks Approval To Liquidate

When Borders and B&N stores started opening everywhere, I rejoiced that these great book palaces were becoming popular when the sort of bookstores I grew up with had pretty much all withered away. And I spent many happy hours in them, browsing and writing and drinking coffee. But it did seem to me that their actual inventories were pretty limited, and they dedicated an awful lot of floor space to tchotchkes, coffee table books and other junk. If I really wanted a particular book I generally had to order it, and their on-line inventory was not very good. Hell, they wouldn't even order Claire books. If I have to do so much of my business with them by special-order, I'm better off at Amazon - that'll definitely have what I want.

I dunno. They always struck me as a good idea badly done. But the book palaces are still one of the things I miss.

We're doomed.

Courtesy of Balko, this example of our Brave Boyz in Blew just doin' their jobs:
EL PASO- A man in West El Paso is claiming he was thrown in jail last week in retaliation for warning drivers about a nearby police checkpoint for speeding.
Escobar says he was jogging back and forth at this intersection in West El Paso, giving people a heads up about a speed zone when the officer handcuffed him.
I remember when I was young, it was considered simple driver etiquette to flash your lights at oncoming cars after having passed unscathed through a speed trap. Never got arrested for it - not that I hung around to ask the officer's opinion. In this brave new world, of course, any activity that might arouse the ire of Officer Friendly is likely to get you arrested - if not tased and beaten up. So at first I paid little attention, for any police story that doesn't involve blood, broken furniture and dead dogs is just another day in the life of a citizen.

Alas for me, I made the mistake of reading some of the comments. Here are just the first pertinent three:
The police officer had every right to throw him in jail, it's called "Interference with public duties." And for the people that are justifying his actions- I know you think you're above the law and all, but if you would rather the police go easy and let people do whatever they want and get away with it, maybe you should go back to Mexico.
I seriously dont understand people now a days. I think all of this is money hungry and specially this man. Funny how this man is running in a residential area and if he had wittnessed a kid getting runned over, his complaint would have been that they are always speeding and there is never a police unit there to slow traffic down. Maybe him being taken to jail for that was a little to much but then again, what hes still doing right now shows how bright he is thinking his case is going somewhere
I sincerely hope that next time this stupid fool is "jogging" in his neighborhood he gets run over by one of his arrogant, above-the-law fellow Westsiders. Then he is probably going to sue the Police Department for not doing their job and protecting his lousy hide.
Yeah - this isn't going to end well.

One wonders if all the lamppost decorations are going to be former government employees, and feels a bit less sorry for all those Tories who were abused in the late unpleasantness between the colonies and the Crown...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I naturally assumed it was a parody.

As a parody, it's pretty funny. If offered with serious intent, it's possibly the most stupid and insulting thing I've ever seen.

Since a government agency is involved, it would have been safer to go with stupid and insulting.

Click for embiggenment.

I can't believe this won't come down off facebook before the end of the weekend, so here's another link.

As far as I can tell, the Navy was serious when it posted this, er, poster. I know nothing of the person behind tumblinfeminist, the blog that started this, but am prepared to believe that she actually meant it seriously. So lemme 'splain something to the Navy and to the person who dreamed up the poster. A man prone to sexually assaulting other people will find this poster amusing - but unlikely to affect his behavior. All other men - and do I really need to say it's the vast majority? - are likely to be deeply offended. If you can convince them you're being serious. I've followed this particular rabbit hole down as far as it apparently goes, and the woman responsible seems devoid of any sense of humor (not to mention being utterly obsessed) on this subject. So yeah - offended. I won't be buying a whistle any time soon.

This is just stupid.


ETA: I just learned the definition of the word (if it is a word) "cisgendered". It seems I'm a "cisgendered privileged male." So just go ahead and disregard everything I said above, because other synonyms are bigot, racist, and homophobe. Also, as far as I can tell, rapist. Maybe I should get a whistle.


And I was in such a good mood.

Trying to finish backfilling my apparently infinity-capacity septic pit. There were a couple of piles of dirt in unfortunate locations, unnecessary for the leach trench (which of course is already mostly filled), so I've been wheelbarrowing it to the pit to fill the driveway side. Uphill, naturally. And everything was going fine - I was tired and sweat-soaked but gettin'er done. And I grabbed the barrow handles and gave a shove, and something went *sprong* in my side, and...

Oh, how I wish this project were done.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I think this is my very favorite book.

The Cosmic Computer, by H. Beam Piper. On a rainy afternoon, I'm as likely as not to turn to this old chestnut.

Despite its E. E. Smith-level title, the story is unorthodox by contemporary scifi standards. But what I really love is the characters. Piper did wonderful things with characters in his best work. Like this exchange between Conn Maxwell, the hero, and his father...
"Conn, I noticed that after Kurt Fawzi started talking about how long it would take to get to the Gamma System, you jumped right. into it and began talking up a ship. Did you think that if you got them started on that it would take their minds off Merlin?"

"That gang up in Fawzi's office? Nifflheim, no! They'll go on hunting Merlin till they die. But I was serious about the ship. An idea hit me. You gave it to me; you and Klein Zareff."

"Why, I didn't say a word..."

"Down on the shipping floor, before we went up. You were talking about selling arms and ammunition at a profit of two hundred sols a ton, and Klein was talking as though a bumper crop was worse than a Green Death epidemic. If we had a hypership, look what we could do. How much do you think a settler on Hoth or Malebolge or Irminsul would pay for a good rifle and a thousand rounds? How much would he pay for his life?-that's what it would come to. And do you know what a fifteen-cc liqueur glass of Poictesme, brandy sells for on Terra? One sol; Federation money. I'll admit it costs like Nifflheim to run a hypership, but look at the difference between what these tramp freighter captains pay at Storisende and what they get."

"I've been looking at it for a long time. Maybe if we had a few ships of our own, these planters would be breaking new ground instead of cutting their plantings, and maybe we'd get some money on this planet that was worth something. You have a good idea there, son. But maybe there's an angle to it you haven't thought of."

Conn puffed slowly at the cigar. Why couldn't they grow tobacco like this on Terra? Soil chemicals, he supposed; that wasn't his subject.

"You can't put this scheme over on its own merits. This gang wouldn't lift a finger to build a hypership. They've completely lost hope in everything but Merlin."

"Well, can do. I'll even convince them that Merlin's a space-station, in orbit off Koshchei. I think I could do that."

"You know what it'll cost? If you go ahead with it, I'm in it with you, make no mistake about that. But you and I will be the only two people on Poictesme who can be trusted with the truth. We'll have to lie to everybody else, with every word we speak. We'll have to lie to Flora, and we'll have to lie to your mother. Your mother most of all. She believes in absolutes. Lying is absolutely wrong, no matter whom it helps; telling the truth is absolutely right, no matter how much damage it does or how many hearts it breaks. You think this is going to be worth a price like that?"

"Don't you?" he demanded, and then pointed along the crumbling and littered Mall. "Look at that. Pretend you never saw it before and are looking at it for the first time. And then tell me whether it'll be worth it or not."

His father took the cigar from his mouth. For a moment, he sat staring silently.

"Great Ghu!" Rodney Maxwell turned. "I wonder how that sneaked up on me; I honestly never realized... Yes, Conn. This is a cause worth lying for." He looked at his watch. "We ought to be starting for Senta's, but let's take a few minutes and talk this over. How are you going to get it started?"
Conn Maxwell goes off-planet to school for six years and comes back something of a leader-of-men, which in turn is something his dying little community badly needs. The very first person to notice this about him and react to it is his own father, who signs on to the conspiracy even before he really knows what the conspiracy is. He just trusts his son.

I like that.

...And in the epic budget battle between republicans and democrats...

...The Omnipotent State wins!

Yeah, I'm shocked. Shocked! How could the heroic republicans, in whom we had all placed our last, uncritical trust...act like exactly what they are?
Reporting from Washington—
Republican leaders in the House have begun to prepare their troops for politically painful votes to raise the nation's debt limit, offering warnings and concessions to move the hard-line majority toward a compromise that would avert a federal default.
I am reminded of the tale of a virtuous young woman whose "Don't! Stop!" will always become "Don't stop" before it's necessary to take heed of the discouraging plea. In the next political era, the peace-loving democrats will quibble but in the end reluctantly allow themselves to vote for invading Siam, or whatever the hell lunacy the next administration comes up with. Assuming the Dollar survives long enough for there to be a next administration, or a next invasion. Those military contract don't pay themselves, you know.


If the government jumps the shark...

...can we cancel it?
The exact same agencies that would be charged with enforcing the [anti-"gun trafficking"] proposal are currently under investigation — and may eventually face felony charges — because they broke existing laws and participated in widespread gun trafficking. To borrow from a reader, the federal government is using federal agencies to break federal laws so that same federal government can impose more federal laws on the people that did not break the law.

It is Orwellian in its absurdity, and yet entirely real.

Everybody complains about the weather TSA, but nobody does anything about it.

Until now.
Police say she squeezed and twisted the agent's breast with both hands.
There's no word why she touched the agent.
*Snicker* No, but I'll bet I can accurately guess.
Mihamae now faces a felony count of sexual abuse.
Hm. I guess she didn't 'act professionally and according to proper procedure.' That does seem to make all the difference in whether you're prosecuted or given a medal. Or maybe it's the color of your uniform?

H/T to Sipsey Street.

Friday, July 15, 2011

How I spent my summer vacation...

Half days on geiger counters until Wednesday, when GC Guy's company finally confirmed a 200-unit order. We went into high gear, and today we closed all 200 and boxed them up for shipping.

That's GC Guy, testing units before closing up the cases.

And that's what 200 geiger counters look like, ready to ship.

There's a possible 1000-unit order hanging over our heads, but hopefully it'll hold off a week or two so I can get some work done on the cabin. Looks like there are kitchen-related developments in the offing, so I really hope I get some time away from GC Central. It's not like I need the money right now...

This could be why I'm no longer married...

...I laughed my ass off, but I'm pretty sure my ex wouldn't have found this funny.

Seen, along with quite a few more, here.

Guess we should have let it tip over.

Hey, remember last year, when we were informed that with the influx of military people posted there, Guam was in danger of tipping right over and capsizing?

Looks like we should have let it happen.
A push for war reparations and a crisis over national debt collided in Washington D.C. on Thursday, causing the concerns of local leaders and fiscal conservatives to clash.

In an emotional hearing before a House Natural Resources subcommittee, Gov. Eddie Calvo said the federal government had an obligation to provide reparations, even 70 years after World War II.
WHO invaded Guam in WWII? Who subjected the people there to "forced labor, family separation, incarceration, execution, concentration camps and forced prostitution"? And which country spent its own people's blood to end that? And WHO'S supposed to pay reparations?

Wow. I don't get many chances to speak up tor the good ol' USA, but this is a Well, "stupid" comes to mind...

H/T to TMR.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Yeah, I got this "tactical" thing down.

This is a beat-up, rusty Marlin Limited Edition Model 6081. It happens to be the only .22 rifle I own. It was in fine shooting condition (except for being beat-up and rusty) until I lent it to my son-in-law a little over two years ago. He wanted to kill a rabbit during their visit. Got one, too.

But Son-in-law carries a curse. Two times in my life I've lent him a gun, and two times the sights have been screwed up when I got it back. The first one was definitely not his fault, just one of those bizarre things. This time he lost the little wedge that goes under the rear sight, and I kept meaning to find some way to fix that. So it sat in a closet for quite a long time.

Lately I've been jonesing for some rifle shooting, but I still haven't gotten around to cooking up reloads. So I dragged out the Marlin this afternoon and took it to the wash. At twenty-five yards:

Yeah, that's a little low I think. So I tore the cardboard cover off a package of tactical cigarette papers, folded it up, and shoved it under the sight.

Way too high at first, but I expected that. I just kept pulling the cardboard out until the bullets walked down to where I wanted them to...

And of course the job isn't done until the Tactical Duct Tape has been applied.

...Okay, so it's kind of hillbilly tactical...

Hm. For some odd reason...

...the Pima county SWAT team seems to think it needs some positive ink. Maybe a pangyric to their professionalism and rigorous training will help counteract certain ... other news items.

Naw. What you guys need is a theme song! And some really heroic visuals. Here's one that hasn't been used in a while...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hey, I have a question for some of you...

Y'know how sometimes you just miss things that have actually been in the news for an embarrassing time. So could anybody tell me: When did the "White House Briefing Room" become the "James Brady Briefing Room?" Has it been like that since the Reagan shooting, and I just never noticed?

Minor point, I concede. But I was just wondering how long it's been like that. Because it's suddenly irritating.

Okay, you can argue with a few of the choices...

I seriously question the wisdom of such a heavy package with so little ammo. I can't imagine how such a thing would balance. And I would personally feed myself to zombies rather than be seen carrying any firearm with that Polish bayonet. And the whole idea is kinda suspect, because if you're really going to remain so ready-to-rumble that you're 24/7 within grabbing distance of the thing, why couldn't you stay within grabbing distance of a proper BOB instead?

Still...He had me at the 550-cord sling. That's kind of a cool idea.

So you want "medical professionals" more in bed with the Fedgov than they already are?

Give a man serious power over other people, and to some extent he will start trying to force those people to live the way he wants them to. I'd do it, and so would you, and probably neither of us are normally big on telling other people what to do. Give medical hall monitors - who'd love to be able to tell other people what to do - access to a federal program with enforcement powers, and we'll see one hell of a lot of this:
Today, in the States, a pair of Harvard scholars writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association advocate stripping away the custody rights of parents of super obese children. They're for real!

"Despite the discomfort posed by state intervention, it may sometimes be necessary to protect a child," said Lindsey Murtagh, a lawyer and researcher at Harvard's School of Public Health. The study's co-author, David Ludwig, says taking away peoples' children "ideally will support not just the child but the whole family, with the goal of reuniting child and family as soon as possible." Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Harvard-affiliated Children's Hospital, said his eureka moment was when a 90-pound, 3-year-old girl entered his obesity clinic a number of years ago," reports Lindsey Tanner at the Associated Press.

It's for your own safety.

Just keep telling yourself that while you watch your daughter being molested. can contemplate it while sitting in jail.
A Clarksville mother allegedly lashed out at airport security agents Saturday when they attempted to pat down her teenage daughter.

In an arrest report, police at the Nashville International Airport said Andrea Abbott refused to allow security guards to pat down her teenage daughter. Police said Abbott feared her daughter would be "touched inappropriately."

Authorities said Abbott eventually allowed the pat down but then tried to take cell phone video and started yelling when authorities asked her to stop.

Officers charged Abbot with disorderly conduct. She was transported to the Metro Jail. Her bond was set at $1,000.
Don't resist authority, citizens! Your masters know what's right. Who knows where the next terrorist bomb will be hidden? It could be inside your own child, and won't you feel foolish for resisting then?

Larken Rose on "Limited Government"

Seen here.

There are a lot of people who consider themselves freedom advocates, who, with righteous zeal and indignation, vehemently rail against the injustice, corruption and oppression "government" continually spews forth. However, many of those same people, when they hear someone suggesting life without the monstrosity called "government," will immediately go into turbo-backpedal mode, insisting that some "government" is needed, that we need to work to fix the system, and that we need a good "government," that just does good stuff, and protects us, and so on.

The situation is a lot like a battered spouse, who is given the opportunity to escape her abuser, but who insists that she can't leave, that he really loves her, that she needs him, that the relationship can be fixed. Such a response shows that, as much as the abuser is a nasty scumbag, there is also a serious problem in the mind of his victim, which enables the abuse to continue.
People who fetishize the constitution won't enjoy this essay. I urge them to read it anyway - and to please at least think about it. It can't hurt you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"The sky is falling! And it's all THEIR fault!

I don't know why I'm spending so much time writing about the Big O.  He's a foul, lying, theft-fueled lowlife politician, and more than that we really don't need to know.

On the other hand I love a good snark, and he's just making it too easy lately.  Here's what I got this afternoon: (The management strongly advises TUAK readers with weak hearts or nervous constitutions to leave the room for the remainder of this post, as the information revealed herein will be very, very frightening)

Obama says he cannot guarantee Social Security checks will go out on August 3*


There: That's better. Carry on, citizens.

*Yes of course he's lying.

We may be ignorant rubes, Barry, but we're not stupid. And we worry about YOU.

H/T to GunRights4US.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Forget the Lair - I shoulda built an ark!

It's been raining without pause for two hours, and shows no sign of slacking off.  I thought it rained a lot yesterday afternoon, but that was just a little drizz compared to this.  Most monsoon rains are just squalls, but this time the clouds came overhead and just stopped.  The boys and I have been hiding in the barn waiting for it to stop, but it looks like they're just gonna have to get wet.  If this rain extends very far east of here it'll fill up the canyons, and then I'm gonna have to disappoint GC guy in the morning because it'll cause the year's first flash flood and we'll be stuck here a little while.

But my only real concern is the gully behind the Lair.  If it floods and empties into my (not yet completely backfilled) septic trench, it's gonna undo a lot of work.  Bother - I just got that toilet working.

Well, I appreciate your honesty. Not, you know, a LOT, but...

"If re-elected, I will deliver massive, job-killing tax increases."

Note to self: Fire speechwriter.

*SNORT* He said "Manual Hummer Cocker"...

I've been enjoying what Ian's doing with his Forgotten Weapons site.  He's getting better, smoother, faster with his informational videos, such as the most recent on the Mannlicher 1901 carbine.  Old oddball firearms really aren't a passion of mine, but I always wanted an SBR of my very own.  Maybe one day I'll move far enough from government (or government will move far enough from me) that I can scratch that itch without begging permission.

Hey!  If you can't plug your friends, what good are they?

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Running a little low, I looked for some matches last time I was in a town. Yeah, I also carry Bic lighters but when you just want to start a fire (I was nowhere near Arizona at the time!) nothing beats the good old-fashioned strike anywhere kitchen match.

And all the store had available were these...

It got me to wondering, that's for sure.

Considering that they consist primarily of vegetation, which generally doesn't have a lot in the way of volition, I'd have thought a forest would find it pretty difficult to be responsible for much of anything. Yet here was documented evidence that "responsible forests" were involved in the making of these matches.

So what are these forests responsible for? Could it be ... the horrible deaths of the Tunguska Event? That was never adequately explained, you know. And an estimated 80 million innocent trees were blown down in their prime.

Yes, you heard it here first.  For one of the great atrocities of Russian history: Diamond Matches -

They're sad pandas. Real quiet, too.

So if I hooted something about crushing your enemies, driving them before you, and hearing the lamentation etc., that probably wouldn't be polite discourse. Would it?

Don't Be Evil.

You guys really ought to take this down and come up with a slogan you actually originated. You're pulling money out of the pocket of the person who thought it up.


*I posted this review at WND, but since I HIGHLY doubt I was the first to do so and the product is showing no reviews, I just thought I'd reprint it here. That's a pretty low thing for them to do, but maybe they figure since they're the good guys the rules don't apply. Trouble is, when it comes to the left-right faux-fight the "good guys" are so bad that the "bad guys" don't seem much worse by comparison.

They should work on that, if they really care. The world could use some good guys, and WND used to be a place where even Claire felt comfortable writing. Not so much now.

Here's the original, BTW. Available here.

UPDATE: Seems WND did the right thing. Good for them.

Friday, July 8, 2011

I've already got mine, Barry.

Just so you know. And may I say, Barry - if this is true - that it's about frickin' time. We've been expecting you to pull this shite since the moment you were inaugurated. Probably should have done it while you still had some political capital to blow, though, doncha think?

Money quote...
The reforms, which are being crafted by the Department of Justice, come after a series of meetings with relevant stakeholders in the Second Amendment debate. But in a nod to the difficulties of getting legislation through a Republican-run House of Representatives, only executive orders or administrative actions -- and not an actual bill -- are expected to be handed to Congress.
I love the smell of napalm on representative republics in the morning!

If only symbolically, this is a depressing day.

So maybe today the last Space Shuttle will launch and do...something expensive. Maybe tomorrow, who knows? Depends on the weather. And parts breakage. And whatever. What is certain is that when it goes, that'll be the last Shuttle launch ever.

As far as the STS is concerned, good riddance. Should have happened a long time ago, and rid us of the damned embarrassing boondoggle that much sooner. But I keep getting blindsided by the irony that this leaves NASA, the great white hope of the 'sixties, with no manned program AT ALL. NASA couldn't even build a Saturn rocket now if it wanted to, because they managed to lose all the damned plans. Some years ago NASA came up with a brilliant plan to "reverse-engineer" sixties tech from old junked parts, because attritional brain-drain had gone so far as to lose all knowledge of how they built heavy-lift spacecraft in the first place. Yeah, that's progress. And these are the people I used to idolize.

When I think about what they squandered - what WE squandered by leaving it to "them" - I want to weep. Back in the sixties we were all gonna grow up living in the asteroid rings and wearing silver suits. Even then we should have known better. If NASA had been in charge of westward expansion they'd still be expensively experimenting with ways to get highly-trained professionals across the Mississippi. Briefly. And they'd now be reluctantly admitting that they no longer have the capability to build a Conestoga wagon. In my wilder flights (hah!) of antigov paranoia I wonder if it wasn't planned that way - if NASA wasn't the National Spaceflight Prevention Agency all along. After all, why should "they" want "us" in space? It might get a little difficult to keep track of the taxpayers.

What'll NASA do now? Who gives a damn? It won't help us. After fifty years, the vital question of what space is even for, besides elbow room, hasn't even been seriously addressed. Whatever it does, it'll be for the benefit of military aerospace contractors and political log-rollers, not for us. Nor should we expect it to, because "they" are not "us."

So now, with the last of the Space White Elephants, I feel sad. And depressed. And betrayed. And just a bit of schadenfreude. And sad. It's too late for me, but will my descendants ever get into space? Not if NASA - and anyone associated with it - has anything to say about it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Does your mouth move when you Tweet?

Did Obama lie about White House salaries in Twitter town hall?

Sounds like a silly question, doesn't it? If the subject came up at all, the answer is probably...

During his Twitter town hall, Barack Obama wanted to let Americans know that his administration feels the nation’s economic pain just like everyone else. Why, his staff — well-paid as they are, with 21 of them making the maximum $172,200 per year — haven’t had a raise in more than two years, ever since Obama froze federal salaries in the first few months of his term:
Which part of this statement will turn out to be a lie? Answer: How many parts are there?
So who’s telling the truth? Hint: it’s not the master of Hope and Change. First, not all White House salaries were frozen for two years. Obama froze salaries of White House staff making over $100K two years ago, but the across-the-board federal freeze that impacts the rest of the staff didn’t take place until January 2011. That’s how economic adviser Matthew Vogel got an 82% pay increase (of $59,000 to $130,500) in 2010. Vogel wasn’t the only one to get his income nearly doubled, but given how the economy has performed over the past two years, this particular raise seems … less than justified.

The freeze didn’t make much difference, anyway. The staff got raises through a nifty little dodge: job title or description changes. In some cases, though, the dodge got a little more sophisticated. Michael Gottlieb quit his post of special assistant and associate counsel, only to take the job again — at a 14% increase in pay, from $114,000 to $130,500. Nearly everyone remaining at the White House has had a pay increase over the last two and a half years.
Clearly, it depends on the definition of "increase."

QoD: "I'm afraid that simile is a bit too apt. You'll have to come with us" Edition

"Roger Clemens goes on trial for lying . . . to politicians. Which is a bit like putting a woman on trial for flashing her breasts at a stripper." - Balko

I guess you can't un-notice a bimbo.

Is it bad that I never heard of ... um ... that broad. With the trial, and the dead kid. Yeah, that one ... before yesterday?

I think it must be bad. Because in hindsight, it felt really good. I wish I could go back in time and feel it some more.

Oh, yeah. I'm livin' the dream now...

It's summer in the desert. Also the Monsoon has well and truly begun. All that means if you want to get some hard work done you'd better get it done in the morning before it gets too hot and/or stormy. So I was out at the Lair site at 5:30, because I've got a lot of backfilling to do and the tractor can't help with this.

The fittings on the septic barrels are all glued in place. My first attempt at this, with 2-part epoxy, ended ignominiously the first time I left the barrels in the sun. Silicone sealer seems to work a lot better, but until I get them fully buried I'm still covering them with a tarp to try and keep the direct sun off the joints. There wasn't any trouble with the glue this morning, so that seems to be working. I had to chase one small leak when I tested it, but that wasn't because of any melting.

Big holes - lots of dirt. I got a lot done this morning, and hopefully will finish the pit, at least, by sometime this weekend. The trench from the cabin to the pit is filled, except for one part where I need to dig ANOTHER trench for run-off from the gully behind the cabin.

My leg has been improving, but all this digging isn't helping with that. Now I hurt very much and am gonna peel off my leg and try to give the sore a break.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hey, guys. Looks like we were wrong when we made fun of that Libya war thing.

It seems the Big O is just trying to save us all from Hitler.

Yeah, I'd doubt it too. But it was a republican senator what said it, so I guess it must be true. Huh? I mean, a republican would never lie...
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned on Tuesday that Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi is "serious" about attacking European cities in order to pressure European officials to cease their airstrikes against Libya.

"He actually means it," Graham said of Gadhafi. "Hitler meant it. He means it."
Hot damn! The New Hitler will attack, just about the time M's got his WWII Jeep back together. We can hit the beach in style!

Oh...wait. Seems there's plenty of Hitlers we'll need to conquer...
"There will never will be economic prosperity in America if the world is in the hands of evil people who will make it very difficult for us to travel and trade and do business," he said.
Wait. "Evil people who make it difficult to travel and trade and do business?" Is Graham declaring war on his own government! Stop the frickin' presses!

TSA looking for a way out of all those "groping" stories?

I see here that there's a new thing we should be AFRAID! BE VERY AFRAID! of.
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government has warned domestic and international airlines that some terrorists are considering surgically implanting explosives into humans to carry out attacks, The Associated Press has learned.
The U.S. government? WHO in the U.S. government? The writer apparently doesn't know.
People traveling to the U.S. from overseas may experience additional screening at airports because of the threat, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

"These measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same activity at every international airport," TSA spokesman Nick Kimball said. "Measures may include interaction with passengers, in addition to the use of other screening methods such as pat-downs and the use of enhanced tools and technologies."
How do you "pat-down" somebody for a surgically implanted bomb? Palpate his liver - to see if it's there?

Would that actually work? Sticking a bomb inside yourself, I mean. I'm reminded of the "Butt-Bomb" ass-assin of a mere two years ago - that didn't work so good. They say he packed a whole pound of moldable explosive up his ass, stood right next to his target, ... and didn't kill anybody but himself. There's lots of tightly-packed meat in there, and you'd need a pretty big bomb to overcome it enough to be a real threat - to anyone but yourself.

But that's mere logic - we're talking about the TSA. And since that is the topic, I naturally think it's probably all a nefarious plot.

Could it be TSA honchos are getting tired of all the "groping" stories? That 95-year-old lady with the diaper isn't going away soon, and they never seem to run out of little kids getting molested in front of surreptitious cameras. They started the "Enhanced pat-down" thing just as a way of horrifying people into shutting up and going through the porno-scanners. I guess that hasn't worked out all that well for them. Maybe now they're floating a "new threat" that will provide the excuse to force everybody into the scanners?

War On Guns - Notes From the Resistance Radio

While I'm plugging stuff, check out David Codrea's new radio show. It's pretty unique (in my experience, at least) to hear a real gun-rights advocacy show on broadcast radio.

Ian's solar power project - the video.

If you're interested in solar power at all, check out Ian's new video at The Independent Spirit. He got his working over the weekend.

Which is a complete coincidence. This "Ian" character is not M, and he's not standing in the powerhouse of M's Dome. I deny any and all such insinuations.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I don't believe I missed this!

Congratulations, Wyoming activists!

Oddly, the development doesn't seem to be getting much press.

Okay, it's not that odd. But I'm surprised it isn't all over the gun blogs.

I don't listen to Obama speeches...

...but I keep hearing about how lately he's been hating on people who have "corporate jets."

Is he suffering some tragic brain tumor or something?

"Dominate. Intimidate. Control."

Did you enjoy your Independence Day, citizens? Good! Now back to your ritualized humiliation...
The transition to a police state will not come about with a dramatic coup d’etat, with battering rams and marauding militia. As we have experienced first-hand in recent years, it will creep in softly, one violation at a time, until suddenly you find yourself being subjected to random patdowns and security sweeps during your morning commute to work or quick trip to the shopping mall.
...thanks to TSA Chief John Pistole’s determination to “take the TSA to the next level,” there will soon be no place safe from the TSA’s groping searches. Only this time, the “ritualized humiliation” is being meted out by the serpentine-labeled Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) task forces, comprised of federal air marshals, surface transportation security inspectors, transportation security officers, behavior detection officers and explosive detection canine teams. At a cost of $30 million in 2009, VIPR relies on 25 teams of agents, in addition to assistance from local law enforcement agencies as well as immigration agents. And as a sign of where things are headed, Pistole, himself a former FBI agent, wants to turn the TSA into a “national-security, counterterrorism organization, fully integrated into U.S. government efforts.” To accomplish this, Pistole has requested funding for an additional 12 teams for fiscal year 2012, bringing VIPR’s operating budget close to $110 million.
Forget Orwell. Vin Suprynowicz is starting to look like a prophet*.

H/T to Sipsey Street.

* Yeah, I know I lampooned it. Doesn't mean he was wrong.

UPDATE: What am I thinking? Can't have "Papers Please" Nazis running around without posters! Nazis are all about posters!

After I've betrayed the revolution...

...and made myself president-for-life, Internal Security is gonna be looking for some people.

Just got M's truck limping running again. Took over an hour just for the part where we swapped out the superannuated spark plugs. It reminds me why I was so anxious to get out of wrenching.

It occurred to me, about halfway through, that this could explain my relative placidity toward political figures during my Mr. Suburban Man phase. I was too fixated on my desire to murder the engineers responsible for under-hood packaging in their beds to worry very much about government.

Now that it's nice and hot, I shall go a-shit shoveling.

Monday, July 4, 2011

On the Meaning of the Holiday...

Kevin Wilmeth:
The Fourth of July is not the day the Constitution was signed or ratified.

It's not even when the Bill of Rights (and with it the legitimacy of the Constitution) was ratified.

It has nothing--nothing--to do with self-congratulatory, chest-thumping military displays.

It has nothing to do with any sort of flag.

It has nothing to do with faithfulness or loyalty to your government.

In fact, if you read the document that the Fourth actually celebrates, you find some interesting things, including:

* This is about declaring that a people are ultimately independent from, and therefore above, their government.
* This is about declaring the right to revolt against a government that has stopped representing its people.
* This is about people willing to stand up and become military targets of their own government.

These folks were revolutionaries. They were secessionists. They were seditionists. No doubt King George considered them "terrorists" and "traitors", guilty of "treason" toward the duly constituted authoritah of the time.

And we celebrate the Fourth of July today, not only because they stood up and said, "we've had enough of your abuses and are no longer subject to your rule", but then had the moxie to fight back when George called them on it.

Think about that. These people opened fire on their own government, when said government came to take away their stockpiles of unlicensed, unregistered, long-range, (better than) military-style arms. They organized and fought a guerrilla insurrection rather than continue to endure a government that did not serve, reflect or benefit them. And, perhaps to the surprise of everyone including themselves, they prevailed.

QoD: "That could have been phrased...better" edition.

"I've got power and you've got shit!" - M

This is...really bad.

My loving daughter, knowing I loves me some Queen, sent me the following link in the mistaken belief that I'd enjoy it.

Funny: Before now I always thought she was cooler than me. Maybe motherhood is already having an effect.

I assume it's not some sort of parody...

For those of you too young to know what they're covering so badly...

M just walked through. It seems he's familiar with Vitamin String Quartet (it must be a "young people" thing) and he says not all their covers are as lame as this one. I'll just take his word for it...

Perceptions and expectations can change dramatically...

...over time, given dramatic changes in circumstance.

What seems a great hardship at first becomes normal. What seemed a convenience so normal as to be virtually invisible becomes something miraculous.

I haven't had a flush toilet in going on five years, since I moved here. I haven't had running water since winter, when ice damaged so much of the Interim Lair's plumbing it simply wasn't worth fixing. I regarded it as incentive to build and move, and decided to leave it that way.

Every time I've encountered a "real" toilet for the past few years, I've wanted to stand and marvel at its elegant simplicity. This morning I went out early to backfill my septic pit while it was still cool. First I had to fill the barrels with water, and while that was going on I stood in the Secret Lair's tiny bathroom and flushed the toilet. Over and over. It never stopped seeming marvelous to me.

When it does - and it will - I'm going to miss that feeling.

When it got too hot and I got too tired to dig any more, I wandered over to M's Dome where M is industriously stringing cable for his power system. He got the AC side working yesterday. I remember the wonderful feeling of running a tool for the very first time on power you've more-or-less conjured from thin air. This morning he connected his PV panels to the system, and it all woke up. Of course he has a much more elaborate and intimidating system than I do, so there was a lot more to do to get it working right. Three manuals worth of things to do, in point of fact. But his joy was the same as mine last year, when he threw the switches and it didn't quite but may as well have said, "Good morning, Dave." Sunlight hits the panels, and electrons flow through household outlets. Not a power pole or utility company in sight. Nor any monthly bills. Independence Day!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

It works!

I may have implied, here and there in posts about The Secret Lair, that in matters of building stuff I'm not exactly Bob Vila. That implication is correct. Hell, the first time I tried to hook up the cabin electrical to power, the inverter exploded. Wonder the whole place didn't burn down. Damn it, Jim, I'm a writer - not a contractor.

Hence my pleasant surprise every time something goes right...

I've got my very own flush toilet!

The apocalypse may be televised after all.

M is setting up his solar power system this weekend (pix to follow below) and I've been going over to help him with the bits that need two sets of hands.

Along the way he showed me some of the old tools he inherited from his grandfather. Many of these are familiar to me,, I saw them in a museum someplace.

"Somewhere around here I've got his old chest drill," he enthused.

"Ah. Good. After the apocalypse we'll need that." I looked at M's new solar panel rack, with its six gleaming panels. "BWAAAAHAHAHA!! No we won't!"

ETA: M'll probably be doing his own piece on the system installation at TIS (M's a good friend of Ian), so I won't say anything about it here. But here are some pix of the expensive bits...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Great Moments in Technology

So you're broke down on the side of the road, in a place most people would call the middle of nowhere without blushing. There's nobody around. There's nothing around.

The car's owner has called AAA for a tow, and you're sitting against a tree whittling and waiting for the tow truck.

Your companion is fiddling with his electronic belt gadget and complaining that the internet access here really sucks.

If this strikes you as an incongruous thing to say, you may be getting old.

"Cover of the Rolling Stone," Updated

Found here:

Cover of the Rolling Stone

(with apologies to Shel Silverstein, and Dr. Hook - original lyrics, mp3)

Well I'm an ex-V.P., without a Ph.D.
Idolized everywhere I go
I preach of disaster and show slides about warmth
For a hundred thousand a show*
I write Congressional bills and I got media shills
And lobbyists I can phone
But though I'm a fixture, I can't get my picture
On the cover of the Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone
Wanna see my picture on the cover
Wanna buy five copies for my mother
Wanna see my frowning face
On the cover of the Rolling Stone

To meet a desperate need I wrote a brilliant screed
Of just seven thousand words
A work of style and great importance
Like they had never heard
You'd think I would get a front page spread
'Cause my face is so well known
And so it enrages to be in the back pages
Of the stupid thankless Rolling Stone


I got a lot of over-zealous Greenpeace groupies
Who swallowed all my lies
I got an Indian railroad expert
Who's sharing in my Nobel Prize
I got land and jets and mansions and cash
And an Oscar of my own
And I keep gettin' richer but I can't get my picture
On the cover of the Rolling Stone


* Yes, that's his price.