Friday, September 30, 2011

How to know when you've got too much time on your hands...

Daughter sent me this. :-)

Yes, I'm a wuss. So?

Got the shit-shoveling done. Got the bathtub moved. Got to gimping worse than I have in years.

Told Customer I'd be there tomorrow to work on her wood. Just can't cut it (HAW!) in a woodlot today. Today I've got a date with a book, a bathtub and a bunch of epsom salts.

Inside You - Hand of Blue...

Available as a T-Shirt. Just sayin.

Sometimes the Intertubz really creep me out.

Landlady sent me a cartoon that would have been funny, if I'd known what it was talking about...

I hung onto it, swearing I'd try to learn what the hell "fourwhere" is. Now I know, and I wish I didn't.

It stretches ahead of me like a long, black road...

I didn't get a lot of woodcutting done yesterday. Spent an hour and a half cutting logs and piling trash, went back to the customer's, emptied the trailer, and then fate took a hand.

She'd gone to town early, I left my dull chains with her the evening before and she dropped them off at the saw shop. She came back with a new fuel filter for her tractor, which was acting up. When I got to her place she'd just finished installing the filter, and the tractor still didn't want to run well. Uncle Joel, as everybody knows 8^{ used to be a mechanic. So I spent most of the rest of the day trying to find what was wrong with her fuel system.

No fuel blockages anywhere. Nothing apparently wrong with the injector pump. It came to light that the troubles began right after she'd added fuel from a new vendor in town. So we drained all the fuel out of the tank and fuel system, blew everything out with compressed air, put it all back together, filled it with older fuel from her barn, bled the system, and the tractor ran fine. Bad diesel, though there was nothing obviously wrong with the sample I drew into a Mason jar.

Went to town with her around three. I've gotta start getting my chains sharpened by somebody who knows less about his business - the first thing he said was, "Stop letting your chain come off the bar!" He not only knew it had happened, he knew how many times. I sharpened a lot of chains when I worked at that shop, but never got that sort of expertise.

Today I've got shit-shoveling, then have to go to D&L's to help D move a 300-pound iron bathtub. Then it's back to cutting juniper. This three-day woodcutting job bids well to stretch into the weekend. AND I learned that Monday at least I've gotta work on geiger counters. The money's good, I'm not gonna say no. But it's not getting my kitchen finished.

This "hermit" business is turning out to be too social. And busy.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Things to do today:

  • Go to woodlot
  • Cut wood
  • Fill trailer
  • Go to customer's yard
  • Empty trailer
  • Go to woodlot
  • Cut wood
  • Fill trailer
  • Go to customer's yard
  • Empty trailer
  • Change chain
  • Cut wood into 16" billets
  • Go home
  • Let dogs out
  • Clean chainsaw
  • Take shower
  • Fall into bed
  • Wake up
  • Experience pain
  • Curse mother for bearing you
  • Repeat

The good thing about juniper is that you can cut all the wood you want and never actually harm a tree. The bad thing about juniper is that most of the wood you cut is trash - it takes a lot of cutting to get a trailer full of usable logs. The other bad thing about juniper is that it's so tangled - you've really got to wade in to get at those usable logs. The OTHER bad thing about juniper is that the wood is so full of sand it's hard as hell on chains. I dulled two of my three chains yesterday, which means today is unlikely to be a full day.

Actually that last one is one of the GOOD things about juniper.

Got a nice big pile, though. Customer said if I can do that again I won't need three days to get everything she wants. Which is good, because Uncle Joel is getting too old for this shit.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chainsaw Man!

Okey Dokey. Here's where Uncle Joel proves his rugged outdoorsman creds. In other words, I'm doomed.

I really dunno why I've been putting this off. Last summer I spent five days in this same woodlot, or sawing and splitting what I'd cut. This year it's only three days. Piece of cake.

For a twenty-year-old. Truth is I hurt myself worse than I thought I had last Friday, just walking across town. I'm still hobbling around, and time's up.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Little Bear here. Dad's been busy today, so I thought I'd take a moment for a word.

Yeah, I let myself out of Gitmo and booted up his laptop. I'm not half as stupid as he thinks I am. Between you and me he's not half as smart as he thinks he is, but the charade keeps him happy. A happy Dad is quicker with the doggy treats, y'know? So Ghost and I just go with it.

Anyway, I want to thank everybody who responded to the tip jar bleg. I had to help Dad with the HTML coding, because he had this horrible .gif he was going to use. Between me doing most of his computer work and Ghost constantly having to explain Jean-Paul Sartre to him, I swear sometimes we wonder why we keep him around. Then we remember we have no thumbs, which pretty much gives him the can opener monopoly...

I digress. I need to clean the drool off his keyboard and put myself back in Gitmo before he gets home. Thanks very much for all the responses!


Goldman Sachs Rules the World

...and at least has the decency not to insist that's a good thing.

"I appreciate your honesty. Not, you know, a lot, but..."

H/T to Claire.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A License to Be.

The "right to work" is universal. Don't let me stop you, go and work.

The right to get paid for it is between you and an employer or customer. Not universal, because it involves a contract. But still something that should only be between you and the person/people you're contracting with. In a sane world, nobody else would get a vote.

Progressives would certainly not agree with this. Elizabeth Warren, or whoever the talking head is this week, would trot out some clause in the "social contract" that puts the Benevolent Government in a position to make final decisions - and rake off huge percentages from all parties.

Conservatives don't agree with it, either. Oh, they'll say they agree with it in principle, but It's Not That Simple. That's why we need Benevolent Government, to create explain the complications. Just ask congressvermin Lamar Smith (R-TX), and he'll tell you that the sky will just fall down and break like a china plate if the federal government doesn't arrogate to itself absolute final veto power over whether you're allowed to hold a job.

Don't believe me? Check it out!
On Wednesday, September 21, the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to send Rep. Lamar Smith's (R-TX) Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 2885) to the House Floor. Now the rest of the House of Representatives will get a chance to debate this monstrosity.

The Legal Workforce Act, if it becomes law, will mandate universal use of a massive new workplace regulation called E-Verify, an electronic employment verification system designed to weed out undocumented workers. It would require all employers to feed the identity information of every prospective employee into a federal database that verifies the information with the Department of Homeland Security and state DMVs.

If the worker is cleared for employment, as happens 95.3% of the time, then that employment is legal. If the worker is not cleared to work and a tentative nonconfirmation (TNC) is issued, the worker and his employer then have a certain amount of time to contest the decision or identify and correct errors and inconsistencies in the worker's identification. If the worker is unsuccessful in contesting the government's decision, he is issued a final nonconfirmation (FNC) which means the worker MUST be fired.
Of course they don't mean YOU, citizen! No, it's those evil brown people, from whom you need to be protected. You don't want them taking your jobs, do you? Who'll watch out for you? Just give ol' Lamar this one little power - or never mind, he'll take it for himself - and then you can be sure that everybody in the whole country will have proven their legal status. And then everything will be all right. Government lists always work out well, you know that.

And you don't have to worry that the list of things that can get you that "Final Nonconfirmation" will grow. Or if it does, it'll only be for bad people. You know, like sex offenders. Or drug users. By the way, is your drug-free certification up to date? Or people who haven't paid their taxes. Or vehicle registrations. Or E-Verify fees. Or didn't buy Federally-approved health care vouchers. Or violated the Social Contract in some other way. Evil people. You don't have to worry, just obey the law and you'll be fine.

A license to work is a license to eat, to find shelter, to raise a family. I can't imagine anything more sinister than this "Legal Workforce Act" that doesn't involved barbed wire and gun towers. And those things are at least more honest.

May your chains rest lightly upon you.

"Patriotic Americans" are selfless egalitarians, or something.

That's what Fat Mike seems to be saying - The true beauty of Obamacare is that it'll make us all equally squalid. It's not a bug, it's a ... you know.

A very brief search on Michael Moore's net worth puts him at $50 million. I don't know how accurate that is, but it's pretty much a slam dunk that he's not planning to wait in line for cheeseburgers or arterial shunts. So, does that mean he's not a "patriotic American?" Or just that he's the only one who gets to define that term?

Seems only fair. Rob Reiner already got his own tax. So Michael Moore should be appointed to decide when or whether you get health care. After all...he cares!

H/T to Carl.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Creepy things I saw on a sunny Sunday morning

This is very, very creepy. It's beyond creepy - this thing would weird Cthulu out. I gather it's part of a Prius ad, which makes me want to find the Prius factory and burn it down before it spreads. No, fire is too iffy - stand off and nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure. Not only will I never buy a Prius, I will never approach one lest this...thing pop out. Seriously, this thing makes clowns look positively benign. That ain't the way I'm goin', I'm savin' the last round for myself.

Somebody seems to have started her very own meme. I somehow doubt that was her intent. Should probably look up the original quote or something, but who cares? Elizabeth Warren, whoever you are, keep the hell away from me. You creep me out.

You know what I'm afraid of? China dolls - I hate'em. My ex-wife, when she was still my wife, started a collection just to spite me. I told her they'd better stay in her room, because I was gonna hunt any that slithered out of there with a baseball bat. Probably just an overdose of horror movies when I was a kid, but I swear I do not understand why women seem to find these things attractive. Afraid of a harmless spider, but they'd actually turn their backs on one of these and not imagine it was coming for their carotid in the dead of night. Guh! After I delete the file I'm gonna reformat my hard drive. Just in case. This one is probably Elizabeth Warren come to haunt me.

UPDATE: That Godfather/Warren gag is starting to get around, and some people are crediting me. It's true I didn't credit it but that's because I lost the tag and couldn't remember where I saw it. I am not the creator. I'm not generally that creative.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

All they want is a quiet place to raise their children!

I've got this stove, that's allegedly jetted for propane. It's been squirreled away in the barn for a couple of years, and before I move it to the Lair I need to plumb it for a hose and small propane bottles.

I've always known there was at least one rat's nest in there. Rats like dry, quiet, enclosed places. This was the perfect dry quiet enclosed place. Also when I moved it out of the barn I saw a suspiciously large amount of vegetable matter hanging out the back.

So I wasn't surprised when I opened the top and saw a nest, though the magnitude was impressive:

The actual oven was clear of everything but a spiderweb or two. Not enough room for a rat to get in there, I guess. But when I opened the bottom drawer...
Yeah. I almost feel bad about disturbing such splendid work. But it's mine, and they've used it long enough. Took forever to get it all cleaned out.

Can we come out of the bunker now?

So I guess that big satellite fell already, and they're pretty sure all the pieces have already hit the g

Friday, September 23, 2011

Whew. I always feel like I dodged such a bullet...

Uncle Joel's papers are not in order. Haven't been for over ten years, but since I got nailed back in '08 it's been an issue. Consequently I've gotten into the habit of not going into town very much and almost never by myself. Mostly I bum rides. But I got into a situation - I've had a wood cutting gig hanging over my head for over a month but kept putting it off. Guy wants it done, I promised to do it next week, but wrecked two of my three chains doing something stupid.

NOTE: If you're gonna cut up a tree that's already down on a rocky slope, chain it behind your Jeep and haul it someplace that's not a rocky slope. Your chainsaw will thank you.

Anyway, I had to go into town. Nobody was going, or at least nobody willing to wait half an hour at the saw shop. So I had to do it by myself, and it had to be during the day on a weekday. This breaks three of my three rules for going to town. I always get a case of nerves. Plus I don't even OWN the Jeep, and sort of have this silly rule about endangering equipment that doesn't belong to me. Fortunately the side of town that's closest to my part of the desert would be the wrong side of the tracks if this town had tracks. Cops don't go there much, and getting into it and parking the Jeep is relatively risk-free. Unfortunately the saw shop is outside town, all the way on the other side. So Uncle Joel went for a nice long legal walk. My stump is not thanking me for this. But that's nothing - what bugs me, after 3+ years of living like a hermit, is the perceived risk and the sensory overload. I'm not used to all those cars, all those people. And the driving part does things to my blood pressure. Still, I'm home, it's quiet, the boys are out of Gitmo, have had their run, and will give me a couple hours to decompress and maybe even get some work done. All's well.

Thanks very much to all of you who clicked the shiny new Tip Jar button. Replies have been sent.

This sums it up nicely.

Click for Embiggenment

From here.

It's turned into a busy day. Got back from shit-shoveling, and now I've got to sneak into town and take a long walk to get some chains sharpened. Then I need to get back on this writing project I'm maybe a third done with, but at least that parks me at the 'pooter. Later.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

All Righty, Then!

I come back this afternoon to find lots of comments to this morning's bleg, none of which told me to go to hell. So I've added a tip jar button. Thanks for the responses!

Time to have a talk about longevity and money.

This is very uncomfortable to me.

Almost exactly a year ago I announced that TUAK would be going dark, because it had lost its sugar mama and I couldn't take up the slack. To my shock and delight a good friend of the blog ponied up enough money to keep me online for months. She did it again since then. When that money ran out I was working a nearly regular job and have been paying for it myself.

But life is change, and a number of things are changing. People have all the geiger counters they want, my income has gone back to "irregular" status, and in the very near future I will be required to decide whether to move the whole infrastructure to the Lair - which means signing up for another 24-month obligation - or shutting the whole thing down and bumming wifi for email. I am not comfortable about my ability to sustain that first obligation. And I am not going to ask my one (very generous) contributor to do it for me.

I said at the time "To ask people to make sustained contributions for a little 200-hit-a-day hobby blog would be absurd." To be honest I still think it kind of is. Certainly with my numbers, putting up Google ads or something would not be a significant help. On the other hand, I have tangible proof that not everybody finds it absurd.

So I'm opening comments to see what regular readers think. I don't have a paypal account and don't plan to get one, but I can start and post an email addy specifically for people who want to make contributions. I do have a person willing to handle the account, but I'm not going to broadcast the contact info for that person. These contributions would be used for the account, and for no other purpose. So not a lot of money would be needed. Uncle Joel does not need or want other people to pay for his beans, rice, or bullets. The person handling the account has proven utterly honorable and reliable over several years - I would (and do) trust her with a great deal more than a few hundred bucks.

I've got a few days before I have to tell Landlady what I'm gonna do, so tell me what you think.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I never understood why anybody would want this.

OnStar radio commercials try hard to make surveillance sound like a good thing, but apparently even they can't spin this...
Navigation-and-emergency-services company OnStar is notifying its six million account holders that it will keep a complete accounting of the speed and location of OnStar-equipped vehicles, even for drivers who discontinue monthly service.

OnStar began e-mailing customers Monday about its update to the privacy policy, which grants OnStar the right to sell that GPS-derived data in an anonymized format.

By this standard it's just barely possible I'm not white.

Warning: Bad Language and Stupidity.

I knew a guy in Oklahoma who had distilled his racism down to one very simple, easily-digested polarity: There were Indians, and there were non-Indians.  If you weren't an Indian, you weren't shite.  Just to tweak him I pointed out one time that most "Indians" lived in India and didn't even know what a Choctaw was.  He got kinda bent outa shape...

But srsly, I used to have to put up with this shite in Detroit.  Blacks can't be racists because they're victims of racism.  Whites can't be anything but racists, because they're beneficiaries of racism.  If there's logic in there somewhere I keep missing it, but I'm pretty sure logic isn't the point.  Still sounds racist to me, but I'm open to rational explication if such is possible.

My first thought was, "Gotta be Photoshopped."

Click for Embiggenment.

Is he a narcissist?  Of course he is.  ALL politicians, like all actors, are narcissists - virtually by definition - or they wouldn't be in that field in the first place.  But there are rules.  Politicians follow the rules in self-defense.  Like schooling your facial expressions to eliminate gestures that are normal in context but make you look like an idiot in a photograph - they just don't do it.  So yeah - Obama's a narcissist.  But is he an idiot?

The evidence mounts, because apparently it's not photoshopped.

H/T to Codrea.

Really foreign conflicts...

This probably doesn't sound as silly to Canadians as it does to me, an ol' American cedar rat who just heard of it. Ethical oil/conflict oil?  What the hell is a Lush store?  I gather they don't sell booze. 

The writer goes on about it like I'm familiar with the background, which I'm not, and that always produces a piece that's pretty much incomprehensible.  What does a soap store have to do with it anyway, and why would it object to oil sands?  No answer.  It's like watching two opposing Catholic theologians go at it over some point of doctrine even God doesn't care about - you know this is vitally important to them, and in an earlier century somebody'd get burned at the stake over it, but I'm pretty sure it's not going to have much of an effect on how my day goes so I just get to watch and chuckle.

I used to hate nights like that...

I've always heard they come more often when you get older.  You just wake up - no reason, nothing wrong, you're just awake.  And maybe you'll be able to go back to sleep in an hour and maybe you won't.

So I woke up, and the late crescent moon was just rising which put it somewhere in the wee hours.  From my first month here the moon always seemed more significant somehow, as if it were brighter than anywhere I'd lived before.  I can't really see how that could be true,  but it is so that with no coronal light from cities - "light pollution," as some call it," the night sky is quite vivid.  When the moon isn't in the sky the Milky Way is spectacular.  So it could have been the moon that woke me, I don't know.

Sometimes I'd have nights like this when I lived in the city, and it always got on my nerves.  Like it was an inversion of nature or something - it's night, I should be asleep.  And I knew I'd be a zombie the next morning, because that ol' alarm clock didn't care if I'd gotten a full night's sleep.  But I go to sleep early here, usually, so even at 1:30 in the morning I'd already had the best part of a night's sleep and if I was awake, I was.  No big deal.  Maybe I'd go back to sleep in an hour, maybe not.  Didn't really matter.  Ghost wanted out, of course, because when Uncle Joel gets up that's what he wants.  And Little Bear, who's not allowed out at night because he doesn't always come back and he's very hard to find in the dark, figured it was time for his full-contact belly rub.  Click saw no reason a little thing like my wakefulness should disturb her own nap, for which she wanted a bed-warmer but I wasn't required to be asleep to fulfill that function.  So I lay back down and read for an hour, during which at some point Ghost wanted back in.  And then I turned out the light and tried to go back to sleep, but just drowsed off and on.  And of course then I did sleep until bright sun hit my eyes.  And so of course now I'm two hours behind schedule, but the schedule is never very important these days.

It's a bit annoying because I really was planning to be at the Lair first light - I've still got a little final digging to do and that's best done before it warms up.  But no big deal.  Hardly the first time I didn't do something on the "to-do" list, and I kinda like nights like that now.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sometimes, under the influence of tequila, something will seem like a good idea...

Which is why they say the ancient Macedonians would never make a serious decision until they'd discussed it both drunk and sober.  Smart people, the Macedonians...

Oh, all right.

Gerber Freeman Hunter.  Carried it for about two years now.  It's not all tactical and stuff, and the hard stainless is a bit difficult to get a good edge on, but it holds it well.

Yes, every day.  Right now, in fact.  Not in my pocket, though.

Mall Ninjas of the World, Untie!

For some reason I haven't been able to figure, this old post got some attention yesterday.  It drew a lot of hate when I first put it up almost two years ago.  I need to find some new way to enrage people, 'cause it's funny as hell when that happens.

Anyway, scroll down to the last three comments and check out the big brass ones on Kumar!  The world is safe in his keeping, HOOWAH!  Assuming his head doesn't explode, which would be a tragedy.

Gotta go: Us pacifist girly morons got shit (of a different sort) to shovel.

Monday, September 19, 2011

There's something about a baby...

I dunno - maybe it's a pheremone thing.  Babies to which you're not related are just babies.  You may find them cute or you might want to drop-kick them, depending on your mood and their activity of the moment, but you'd never throw yourself into a fire to save them, or - more to the current point - publicly behave like a complete idiot for their entertainment.

Give it a touch of blood relationship, though, and there seems no depth to which you won't sink.  I did it with Daughter, and judging from the one picture I've seen of me as an infant my father was prepared to be photographed doing it with me.  So here's Son-in-law Ari using higher technology to do the same thing with Granddatter Kaelyn.

She's not really saying anything, Ari.

A Public Service from TUAK!

In an effort to save you time and effort, we here at The Ultimate Answer to Kings have provided you with a handy new button for reporting our seditious editorial staff directly to the Obama Campaign. This button will continue to reside on the left sidebar until it creeps us out too much or results in actual arrest.

While dumb ol' Uncle Joel doesn't possess enough tag-fu to connect the picture above to the link since Blogspot changed everything around again, the one on the sidebar is perfectly functional.

Please use it in good health. Remember, the name is Joel. For those visiting from the Obama Campaign or Secret Service dumb enough to take this seriously, that's spelled L-I-T-T-L-E B-E-A-R, and here's my latest mug shot.*

Thank you for your kind attention.

H/T to WHD, via Carl.

*He's gotta be good for something.

Alternate solution: Big piles of actual horseshit.

Problem! There are too many unemployed Americans, and America doesn't pump enough oil to satisfy its own needs.

Solution! Hire more people to pump more oil.

Problem! There's a Snail Darter/Spotted Owl common lizard in the way.

Solution! Stomp, shovel, shut up Stack large numbers of government bureaucrats on the fringes of the oil fields*. Lizards will flock to the resulting clouds of flies.   They will then eat and breed happily on their enhanced habitat.  Everybody's happy.

Less attractive Violent Solution: Use piles of actual horseshit, rather than the kind emitted by bureaucrats.

*I don't know if Sand Dune Lizards are an endangered species, but government bureaucrats are definitely not.

Wow, fear really is the mind killer.

You can tell because the "people" who paid for this billboard - and the theoretical people who might take it seriously - clearly have dead minds.

Here's a hint: Many people "may not" use deadly force, in the sense of being forbidden by law to do so. See: England.

But anybody can do so. If this frightens you so badly you'll avoid places where it can happen, I strongly suggest locking yourself in your cellar for the rest of your sad, meaningless life. Dig a cellar if you don't already have one. Warning: Shovels can be used as deadly weapons, and you wouldn't want to be one of those people who can use deadly force. Therefore you must dig your cellar with a blunt teaspoon.

Or - you could just decide not to be a wimpy dumbass. Today. Just say to yourself, "I will not be a wimpy dumbass today." Then see how you feel about it tomorrow.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Until Uncle Joel gets his ass in gear, nappy time.

I've barely done a thing this weekend, while Landlady was visiting, but Ghost had a full time. In and out of Mom's place, dashing around keeping the evil ravens away. Ran off twice to S&L's, got one nice long walky up the canyon. Busy, busy, busy.

Now I need to get off my ass and run a few chores, but I almost hate to bother him. Of course once he figures out the Jeep is involved he'll get with the program fast.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I've got way too much class to do this.

So pretend somebody else snuck onto the blog and did it.

This is, BTW, my all-time favorite Weird Al song.

This is actually a pretty clever idea...

...except that sealing it would be a problem, and UV degradation on those plastic bottles would be a real bitch. I give it a year. Still, as a concept it rivals "light tunnel" illuminators I've seen, and they work great. Might try it on the pantry shed.

Friday, September 16, 2011

"I vividly remember giving this back to you!"

So I said as I handed an expensive four-DVD set back to my neighbor J. He texted me last night about it, and I immediately replied that I had returned it to him a long time ago.

He immediately replied right damn back that no, I had not.

I was extremely certain about this. I was also completely wrong, as I learned when I finally admitted the possibility and went looking for it. Sometimes I mean to do something so firmly that I later remember having done it, even though I never did. Between that and anxiously waiting to learn whether the latest iteration of a writing gig that has not gone well was at last acceptable to a customer, the fact that the Lair's kitchen has sat un-worked-on all week, and a few other things I've let myself get worked up over, I was closer to a panic attack this morning than I've been in many years. None of it was really important, but the accumulation was getting to me.

I even finally got my Lehman's order this afternoon! So I'm feeling better now. Got J back his damned DVDs, got a nice acceptance from the customer (a massive monkey off my back,) got a few other little jobs done here and there. Still haven't gotten the kitchen worked on, though.

No blog for you.

I'm busy this morning. And already an hour late for the business. And bugged about something. And concerned about something. And generally not very funny, or informative, or whatever.

Go read this instead.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

In at least one area, I'm "The Guy." It seems.

Got a call from my neighbor D. "I need to put a new voltage regulator in my generator. Can you come help?"

D&L have laid so many obs on me over the years that if they needed somebody to prance naked down Main Street waving a pink feather boa, I'd have to work very hard to find reasons why I'm not the guy for the job.


Since I spent a year and a half fixing generators when I first came to the desert, I really was the guy for this one. And I really do owe them big time. So I got in the Jeep.

But I admit I was a little surprised by the request. D can do anything, and much better than I can. He's a fantastic finish carpenter. He builds houses - large, elaborate houses - with bags of dirt and bales of straw. He makes his own stucco, fergoshsake. He's an artist.

And replacing the voltage regulator in a Champion generator is, like, two bolts. You adjust the output voltage with a little screwdriver. It's nothing. He acted like I'd presented a proof for a Unified Field Theory.

Flattering. Also a little perplexing. But it was good to be able to do something for him, for a change.

So, if I say something like "This makes President Obama appear to be a creepy, paranoid douche..."

Is that an attack?

Yesterday while avoiding work I saw what seemed like six dozen snarky references to something called I went there and couldn't tell what the hell it was about. I was supposed to report attacks, or something. I guess.

Anyway, they must have watched enough attacks because now it's gone.

This morning I finally found an explanation. This is, like, the third website the Obama campaign has set up so we can fink on our neighbors for saying nasty things about The Big O. seems to be gone, but is still there should you feel the need.

Say what you will about the republican candidates - I can't think of much that's good - at least they don't seem to do things like this. Which is good, because it's creepy. Doing it three times is really creepy. And demonstrates a certain problem with the learning curve.

Here's a very annoying parody:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We applied the cortical stimulators, but ... were ... Dammit!

I'm having a frustrating time with a project. Keep charging off in the wrong direction, and it isn't what the customer wants. One time-consuming draft after another shot down.

Clearly it's time for a walky. We haven't been doing walkies much lately. Truth is we haven't been doing walkies at all, because Uncle Joel is always too sore. But the wash has run twice in quick succession, which means the Kettle must be full of water, which means the boys can go for a nice swim and there's plenty of time to dry off before bedtime. They've been really good about all the confinement they've endured lately.

Let's go! When they were sure I wasn't kidding about the walky thing, they charged off like Obama had just decreed everything must be done at a dead run from now on. Up the wash to the canyons! Up the little canyon! Ghost took a right turn at Albuquerque, followed by LB, and they both disappeared over the rim for a while. Let'em run.

When I got to the Kettle I was disappointed: The water apparently picked up a big load of sand somewhere and dumped it all right at the bottom of the fall, so that what should have been a nice deep pool was just a fringe of water surrounding a mud pile. It might take decades for it all to wash out. That's a drag. But when the boys returned they didn't seem to mind. Ghost's face lit up like he'd just learned the true meaning of Christmas really is greed, and with a running start he dove right in. LB was right behind as usual, and even with the Kettle in its pitiful condition they managed to spray water on rocks everywhere. Headed back after they'd had their fun.

I've got a little trick I pull on them when they get too independent. They wandered off on the wrong side of the wash and wouldn't come when I called, so I went off my track, found a comfy rock, and waited quietly. If they follow my scent I can't fool them but if they just assume they know where I'm going I get to watch them trot off in the wrong direction. Then they have to figure out where I went. After five minutes or so I watched them trot together in the direction they thought I'd gone, and they disappeared over the wrong ridge. Took them a while to circle back, and when Ghost finally found me he walked past like he'd known it all along. LB was a bit more demonstrative that he doesn't like that game very much.

We were almost back home when Ghost saw the inevitable rabbit in need of chasing. Galloping noises, disappearing in the distance! They didn't stay gone long this time, though, and LB was waiting for me in the Scriptorium (where there's a nice big bowl of water) when I got there.

Now it's back to the project, hopefully with a clearer head and less frustration.

This actually makes me glad I don't have medical insurance.

I get hurt, I bandage it or sew it or splint it or just wait to get over it. If none of those things will suffice, I get some money together and find somebody else who can sew it or splint it or tell me I'm gonna have to get over it. I don't worry too much about medical codes. Before this morning I was only vaguely aware that such things as medical codes existed, and didn't care at all. Now I think they're vastly entertaining.
Today, hospitals and doctors use a system of about 18,000 codes to describe medical services in bills they send to insurers. Apparently, that doesn't allow for quite enough nuance.

A new federally mandated version will expand the number to around 140,000—adding codes that describe precisely what bone was broken, or which artery is receiving a stent.

It will also have a code for recording that a patient's injury occurred in a chicken coop.
Some doctors aren't sure they need quite that much detail. "Really? Bathroom versus bedroom?" says Brian Bachelder, a family physician in Akron, Ohio. "What difference does it make?"
Parts of this article had me wondering if I were reading The Onion by mistake, rather than WSJ. I can only assume that somewhere out there is a government bureaucrat with a genuine - if expensive - sense of humor...
Some codes could seem downright insulting: R46.1 is "bizarre personal appearance (see code)," while R46.0 is "very low level of personal hygiene (see code)."

It's not clear how many klutzes want to notify their insurers that a doctor visit was a W22.02XA, "walked into lamppost, initial encounter" (or, for that matter, a W22.02XD, "walked into lamppost, subsequent encounter").
Code V91.07XA, which involves a "burn due to water-skis on fire (see codes)," is another mystery she ponders: "Is it work-related?" she asks. "Is it a trick skier jumping through hoops of fire? How does it happen?"
There are 312 animal codes in all, he says, compared to nine in the international version. There are separate codes for "bitten by turtle" and "struck by turtle." (See codes.)
And of course, the inevitable bit of summation by understatement...
U.S. hospitals and insurers are bracing for possible hiccups when the move to ICD-10 happens on Oct. 1, 2013, even though they've known it was coming since early 2009.
Really? Ya think there might be possible hiccups? I wonder what the code is for that.

Srsly, RTW hilarious T.

Why Open Carry?

This is as good a reason as any.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Acts of Unauthorized Commerce


Spent the morning at the computer, on a paying gig.

For all his impulsiveness at other times, LB will keep me company for hours in the Scriptorium and never make a peep. He appropriated one of the shelves we moved in there for food storage, and that's just his place. He's good company when I'm on the 'pooter. In the next room M's brass tumbler was putting the final polish on some .308 cases, giving me frequent opportunities to play when I was supposed to be working.

And it occurred to me, as I was sifting walnut hulls out of my cases: You can find a free market in just about every conceivable commodity - even writing services! ;^)

Citizens as Targets - the only way to train.

When the local police beat reporter knows more about SWAT than the chief or sheriff, you have a problem. Combine that lack of operational knowledge with the slightest mistake during a SWAT operation and now you have a huge crisis as well as a disbanded tactical team.

SWAT teams, even the better ones, are going to make operations errors. The key, then, is getting everyone up the chain of command familiar with SWAT operations. That especially includes the PIO, who gets to talk to that crime reporter.

Team commanders must raise the profile of their teams. Stay active. Yes, I mean do warrant service and drug raids even if you have to poach the work. First, your team needs the training time under true callout conditions. If all your team does is train, but seldom deploy, you will end up training just to train. You need to train to fight. You already know that.

Second, make SWAT familiar to senior police staff. Everyone fears the unknown. Don’t let SWAT be that unknown. Make deploying SWAT something that is routine, not something only done after much hand-wringing. “Oh, no! You mean we have to call SWAT? Oh, I don’t know, I just don’t know. Really? Call SWAT? Really?”
Amazing. Seriously, RTWT. This should be spread far and wide.

H/T to Balko.

It finally happened.

Going on five years I've been out here, and I never got stuck on the wrong side of the wash while it was running water.  Before last night.

My own damn fault, too.  I could see the raging thunderstorm out over the canyons, it wasn't keeping itself a secret.  But conditions were perfect for a sneak expedition into town, and once the idea got its hooks into my mind it wouldn't go away.  They opened a Subway a few months ago, and I loves me some Subway.  And a grocery run wouldn't go amiss.  And it was Sunday night, when all but a token watch of cops are home in bed.  And it was raining, and cops need a good reason to get wet.  A better reason than li'l ol' me, anyway.

That's my justification, and I'm sticking to it.

So yeah, I snuck into town.  Got some gas, groceries, and a nice big toasted sandwich.  And then I snuck out of town.  Drove through the desert toward home.  Through the various washes, all nice and dry.  The moon was up but covered with thick clouds, and it was really dark.  The headlights seemed to cover an area about ten inches in front of the Jeep, illuminating nothing but raindrops.  Scared a big owl off a fencepost, damn near ran over any number of rabbits.

Down off the neighboring ridge, around the turn, toward the wash, and - what's that movement?

No time to stop.  Stopping would have been the very worst thing to do, once I was committed.  No time to throw the Jeep into 4-wheel.  There didn't appear to be a lot of water, but that wasn't much of a comfort.  Driving through any water at all without recon is strictly against my rule because you do not know how much road has washed out, and so you don't know how deep the water is.

But I didn't see it before I was committed, because I didn't stop to look.  Which I most certainly should have.  All the other washes were dry, but that's meaningless because this is the crossing closest to the canyons.  Which is where most of the water comes from.  Stupid.

I got away with it, which is why I'm here typing this instead of down in the wash trying to find the Jeep and rehearsing my excuses to Landlady.  "Honest!  This man stole the Jeep at gunpoint and drove it right into the flash flood!  I'm completely innocent!"  As it happened there probably weren't two inches of water, though from the look of the wash this morning that wouldn't have been the case if I'd stopped in town to eat that delicious sandwich.

Which was, everything else having been said, really delicious.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pardon My Dust

I've made some progress on the interior of the Lair lately, and thought it was time for another guided tour. Haven't done that for a year or so, not that there was much change to see in the meantime. Spent all spring working on the septic, and when does that get fun?

No, I haven't forgotten about it.

I'm just not going to talk about it.

What is there left to say? And how many of the billions of words that have been said, have been lies? Do you know? Neither do I.

Hell of a foul memoriam, and I won't add to it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

End Game, Frequently Interrupted.

There's a project I've had in mind for the Lair for over a year. I kept putting it off. I was a little scared of it, because if I screwed it up I'd ruin some expensive 4X4s. It was always safer to put it off.

I knew I was in the end game yesterday morning, when I just casually did the damned thing. I cut up some 4X4s for the loft railing banisters, cut an angle in the bottom end of each one, then took a drill press and drilled and countersunk the holes for the carriage bolts that'll hold'em up there. Then this afternoon, among other things, I drilled the holes in the loft joists and mounted the banisters. No problem. If I can build a set of kitchen cabinets with a little lot of coaching, I can cut and drill a few boards all by my big-boy self.

Today was supposed to be for building the two kitchen drawers, which I still need to do. But it rained all night (I mean ALL night) and never cleared up at all this morning. By the time I was done with shit-shoveling it was clear the sun might not shine all day long, which put my neighbor D's solar-powered workshop off limits. But that was okay, there was lots to do. I now have all five banisters up on the loft, and the upper kitchen cabinets have their very own electric light with switch. With the banisters up and bolted tight, I can finally finish the tongue-and-groove ceiling under the loft. With the ceiling paneled, I can finally finish the lighting. The point being, a bunch of roadblocks have been passed, and I'm on the last scary mile before I'm actually - after years! - ready to move into the Lair.

No, of course it isn't finished. It may never be finished. There's loads left to do, but nothing that can't be done while I'm in it. And it's all looking so doable now, that all I want to do is do it. Don't care about geiger counters, or wood cutting, or ... well, or any paying gig. And paradoxically right now I've got more paying gigs at one time than I have for years. And I really need to keep those people contented and happy with Uncle Joel or we could go back to the glory and wonder of living on $30/week.

$30/week can be done, and is good for a few fringy bragging rights. In all other senses, it sucks. So I need to get my head out of the cedar and pay attention to my paying gigs.

So - You're gonna go away and leave us alone, then?

With the nation’s economy in a particularly rough patch and his own re-election prospects in doubt, President Obama told Congress it’s time to “stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy.
Because, Mr. President, if you're interested in that you could just go back on one of your epic vacations - and take everybody else in Washington with you. And then just not come back. Ever.

We'll be fine, really. Thanks for your concern.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Huh! That's different.

Man shoots two police officers breaking into his room: Jury acquits.
Was he justified? Absolutely. He did what any reasonable person would have done in that situation. Our system of law recognizes the unquestionable right to defend one’s self and one’s home. The law says that you may respond with force when you reasonably believe the use of that force is necessary to defend yourself against the imminent use of unlawful force. In other words, you don’t have to wait to defend yourself until after you’ve been assaulted. You can take action to prevent it. And that’s exactly what Kenny was doing. He was trying to prevent being killed or seriously injured.

What about defending your home? What’s the law say about that? The law says that you can use force to terminate another’s unlawful entry into your home. In this case, clearly Kenny thought there were intruders in his home attempting to harm him and his family. He was hearing a family member screaming and faced with his door attempting to be busted open. Thus, Kenny was justified in three ways, defending himself, his family and his home.

The law doesn’t say you have to ask who’s kicking down your door before you take action to repel them from your home or prevent them from harming you. The law also doesn’t say you have to warn them before you shoot. And you certainly don’t have to call 911 when you think your life could be over in a matter of seconds.
H/T to Unc.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Good Day at the Secret Lair

Finally had one of those mornings where I actually accomplish everything on the list.

First I wanted to cut some firewood before it got too hot. This is something I need to be getting myself into the habit of doing. I'm surrounded on all sides by free wood, but it doesn't wish its way into the stove.

Got both layers of underlayment cut for the kitchen counter, plywood and cement board. Now I can lay tile any time I want, though I'll need to con somebody (J, probably - I dropped an unexpected ob on him this morning*) to help me move the generator to the Lair. The Lair's inverter will run any powertool except a circular or table saw, and the tile saw is a table saw. This picture is peeking down at it from the loft.

This may have been my greatest scrounging hour. This is the best design of cast-iron kitchen sink I've ever encountered. I simply can't think of a way to improve the design, and it's all mine. I've been hovering over this one like a broody chicken for two years, lest M wander off with it. I wanted a picture of it in place, but GAWD is it heavy. It's going in that hole once, and once only. I heaved it up to the counter so I could mark the cut, got it down without dropping it, and it'll stay right where it is until after the tile is set.

Yes of course the Lair has a gun rack. More than one. Why do you ask?

* I was busily churning out sawdust this morning when my cell phone rang. My neighbor H's baby horse Comet got himself hung up in a juniper with a bunch of dead limbs. He got himself loose without serious injury and will probably take it as a learning moment, but H got all over her husband J to cut out all that dead wood and neaten up the tree. Now J jointly owns a chainsaw with our mutual neighbor D&L, so he went over there and got the saw. Happens I know all about this saw, because I helped them get it ready for service out of the box and I'm the only one who's ever put any serious hours on it. Anyway, he brought it home, read the instruction manual carefully (No, J isn't what you'd call a chainsaw kinda guy) and proceeded to flood it beyond all hope of starting, by the numbers. Now, since J had insisted on paying half the expense of this not-inexpensive chainsaw last year and has yet to get a moment's benefit from it, he wasn't looking too good in front of the wife. He called me, hoping I could quickly pull his chestnuts out for him. Since I also run a Husky, our sparkplugs were compatible and I swapped them and got his saw running while he cleaned his plug.

I told him, when the saw revs once and dies, that's it trying to tell you it's ready to start: Turn off the choke and start it. The manual seems to have left that step off the numbered starting procedure.

Little Bear found a way to keep himself entertained...

Landlady spent all weekend cleaning up the Big Doghouse, preparatory to converting it to a chicken coop. She hauled out a whole bunch of accumulated garbage, pulled up half the pallet-based "floor," strung track lights. Left things very neat.

Maybe it was something about the "neatness" part that offended Little Bear...

Step One: Scent rodent intruder. Step Two: Dig under floor to find intruder. Step Three (if required) remove wooden obstacles to proper hole.


Clearly Ghost isn't above getting in on the action, his idiot nephew having done all the hard work...

For the first time in his life LB didn't even want to come out of Gitmo today. He had unfinished business. And I've got a bunch of shoveling to do before I can put them back in.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Another Migraine.

Strange day.  The sky cleared around eight o'clock, and from the fringe of cloud to the south it looked like I might have several hours of bright sunshine.  That meant I might be able to finish edging the kitchen cabinet doors for the Lair.  So around 9:30 I headed over to D&L's to use D's table router.  Sure enough I got that job done, but halfway through I was struck by one of my trademark migraines.

They never used to involve an actual headache, just a lack of ability to focus my eyes and form actual conversational words.  But like the one I had in May, this one had all that and a headache like the worst hangover I ever had.  It came on suddenly, and I don't know why.  Shit-shoveling went great this morning, and D's earthbag workshop is as cool and dim as you can imagine.  But I wasn't a third of the way through edging the doors when I started seeing everything through this weird veil, and my head really hurt.

Got the job done, and then I needed to crawl around under his tables with a shop-vac to clean up all the sawdust.  Then I gathered all my plywood scraps and headed to the Lair.  Migraine or no migraine, I want to start work on my counter!  Given time it always fades to the point where I can work, at least.  So it's actually been a productive morning.  I got all the doors edged, got plywood laid out and cut for the whole counter, dragged in the big cast-iron sink and heaved it onto the counter to get the counter marked for the sink hole, and scraped off all the old caulking.  That's as far as I got when the thunder-boomers rolled in.  Ran home and let the dogs out.  They went for a run, came back like gooboys.  Now LB's crashed on his shelf, Ghost is in and out with the rain, and I'm wishing this damned headache would go away.

Good productive morning in spite of the pain, but I'm really not convinced any of the preceding was very coherent.  Probably won't know till I re-read it tomorrow.  My eyes are having trouble focusing.

I really must find a way to carry a camera with me...

I'm on the blog's third donated camera.  You may have noticed I don't post as many photographs as I used to, and this fact is directly related to the fact that the third camera has survived longer than the previous two.  The first camera was a gift from a dear friend in Texas, not specifically connected to TUAK.  It died after only a few months.  The second was a gift from Grey Lady, and was specifically donated to TUAK.  It lasted longer, but died the same way.  Both had mechanical zoom lenses that did not take well to the dirt that collects in the cargo pockets of my pants.  The third camera was a gift from Claire before she moved back to the Pacific Northwet, and she made me swear a fell oath that I would be more careful with it.  I have, too - it still works perfectly.  Mostly because I don't carry it around.

Unfortunately that means I miss photographic evidence of some of the weird things that happen here.  So I don't expect you to believe I have a neighbor who cleans her tractor with a toothbrush.  Even though I really do.

I'm gonna get some of that grey deck paint, and pour lots of sand in it, and...

Rained this morning, in the wee hours.  A bit chilly, a lot humid.  Everything was wet, and natch the animals were driving me out into it well before daylight.  Click and LB had some sort of vomit competition last night that clearly went on into the wee hours - LB disgorged enough half-digested dog food for me to have molded another dog out of had I so wished.  I did not so wish.

So Click was out of food, and I was out of paper towels for cleaning up vomit, and out to the pantry I went.  Filled up Click's food canister, grabbed a roll of towels, went back to the Interim Lair, placed meat foot unsecurely on the wet boards, felt it slide, tossed flashlight and burden aside because I was going to need both hands in about a microsecond, doormat coming up to meet my face ... "Huff!"  I hate when that happens.  If I suddenly lose the support of my right foot, my left one is no help at all.  Now my wrist hurts, which is no way to start the day, but at least my face doesn't.

Cloud cover's breaking up, but I suppose there's no point going to D&L's to use their table router after shit-shoveling.  It'll just cloud up again as soon as I get there.  So instead I'm gonna bring back one of the 4X4s I squirreled away in M's Dome, so I can cut it up for banisters.  Gotta get busier.  I don't need the cabinet doors as much as I need banisters for the loft railing.

Busy morning planned, and I hope in a good way.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Yes, Sir! One Dictatorship of the Proletariat, Coming Right Up!

If my name were Jimmy Hoffa, I'd have changed it by now. Corrupt, thieving bastard.*
"We got to keep an eye on the battle that we face: The war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what? They've got a war, they got a war with us and there's only going to be one winner. It's going to be the workers of Michigan, and America. We're going to win that war," Jimmy Hoffa Jr. said to a heavily union crowd.

"President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let's take these son of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong," Hoffa added.
This was a warm-up speech for Obama. Obama spoke right after Hoffa, so presumably he heard what Hoffa said. I've seen no record that he disavowed it. Which kinda settles the whole "socialist" issue.

H/T to Sipsey Street.

*Yes, I am from Detroit.

One good thing about living on solar power during Monsoon...

...It can make for some short work days.

I've been waiting for days to finish the doors and shelves for The Secret Lair's kitchen. Need to get there around ten in the morning, to give D&L's batteries a chance to charge, but there needs to be direct sunshine because the rule of D's workshop is no heavy power tool use if the input voltage drops below fifty. This morning looked good and I thought I had plenty of time. I needed to cut about 2/3 of my pieces to final size, then run all the door edges through the table router. I got as far as cutting the last wood, looked up at the big LED display on the way, and just about then the first clouds of the leading edge of the afternoon storm crossed in front of the sun. The voltage immediately fell to like 49.2 volts. I just sighed, grabbed a broom, and started sweeping sawdust.

Had a nice talk about tile countertops with D&L, though. I thought I'd have to go to the big town about fifty miles away for metal edging, but D's got a great idea for using some really hard pallet oak he's been hoarding. So I'm basically set to go, except I'm not sure I've got enough plywood for the underlayment. Landlady offered me a sheet of OSB, which which she's got maybe half a dozen left from building the Meadow House. But every experienced person I mention that to starts shaking his head before I finish the sentence. "No, you really want plywood there." So I'm going to see if I can scrounge enough to piece it together: It doesn't have to be all one piece. Cement board goes on top of the plywood, then tile on the cement board. Gonna look kick-ass, and I'm in a fever to get'er done BECAUSE!

I still need four things before the Lair is Officially Habitable:
  • Running water and drainage in the kitchen
  • A functioning oven and stove (in a pinch I could go with my cookstove, which I've been using for over a year anyway)
  • A cat ladder to the loft (to avoid the unpleasantness Click and I had this past February)
  • A railing on the loft.

Everything else is aesthetics. And issues of storage, which will be a problem for an ongoing length of time but is not a show-stopper. I'm getting there!

Some people think we need stronger Repeating Gitbox enforcement, but...

Out there they didn't enforce the law. They were the law.

Seen (though I don't pretend to really understand it) at The Adaptive Curmudgeon. Address all puzzled inquiries to him.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

"We should rename it HPAV Gulchenf*ckinbroken."

Gulchendiggensmoothen has not yet agreed to end its digging sabbatical. Lemme 'splain.

No, is too much. Lemme sum up. The injector pump mysteriously went south. M and I unmounted the pump and he took it to the city. Two weeks and much money later he got it back rebuilt. He could get no more information than "something inside was broke." Remounted the pump, and while attempting to bleed the fuel system the (always been a problem) starter solenoid welded.

Dismounted the starter. M took it to the city. Two weeks later he came back with a new solenoid. Put new solenoid on starter, remounted starter. He'd forgotten a couple of little parts that broke off while we were messing with the pump and the starter.

This weekend he brought all the missing little parts. We connected the return lines for the injectors and finished wiring up the starter. Spent an hour chasing diesel leaks. Attempted to bleed the fuel system. "Now I'm not getting anything at all! What the hell? Check the tank." "You must be kidding, it can't be out of fuel." "Check the tank." "Okay. (checks tank) Tank's empty!"

It went on like this for quite some time. The key cylinder (always been a problem) gave M no end of trouble, trying to get the starter to crank. Time to replace that, fer shur. At last, though - success! When the tractor decided to start, it ran smooth and sweet. But... "Give it some revs!" "I can't! How come the throttle doesn't work?" Because for no apparent reason a clip on the throttle linkage had broken off and the link wouldn't stay on. Wire that into place. Running great now.

"Okay, let's put the battery tray back on." While M was doing that I walked around the tractor - "What's this laying on the floor?" I reached over and picked up the unfamiliar part. It was the end of the shut-off cable, which had broken clean in two for no apparent reason other than it was time for that to break now.

So! Good news: Gulchendiggensmoothen runs. Bad news: Gulchendiggensmoothen needs a new shut-off cable and a key switch before it will run.

In our next exciting episode, the hydraulic system will probably crap out.

All this work and expense is to permit us to backfill the dirt around M's Dome, a job that is no closer to even starting than it was this time last year. When you're up to your ass in alligators, it can be difficult to remember your original objective was to drain the swamp.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

This sort of thing makes me crazy.

Carl Bussjaeger has been keeping an eye on the developing case of Daniel Harless, the other Hero of Canton. For those who don't follow Stupid Cop Tricks, Harless is a Canton, Ohio police officer who has a private little policy when it comes to "civilians" having the temerity to legally carry guns on his beat. He screams obscene abuses and threatens them with death. At least three times, it turns out, on video.

That's a bit much even for the sweep-it-under-the-rug cops, and it's barely possible Harless will receive something besides his current paid vacation. But not for a while, it turns out.

A disciplinary hearing for a police officer who threatened to execute a driver has been postponed until Dec. 1 at the request of the union, which says the patrolman has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Police Department’s internal affairs division recently completed an investigation into Patrolman Daniel Harless’ behavior in three police cruiser videos and found he violated three department rules in each of those traffic stops.

This shite makes me crazy. PTS F'ing D? How did this loser get so traumatized? Looking in a mirror and recognizing what he sees? Laying awake nights worrying about getting what he deserves?

QoD: "If you wrote this in a story nobody'd buy it" Edition

[T]he Government has employees who were willing to suit up with guns and bullet proof vests to raid a guitar factory in Tennessee. Go ahead…name something they wouldn’t do.
- The Adaptive Curmudgeon

Friday, September 2, 2011

I'm going to town.

I'd love to bring you true enlightenment, but all I can do is maybe brighten your day a bit.

Remember the TV commercials of the late sixties, offering all those brilliant solutions to all those nonexistent problems? Actors seemed not to have much practical sense.

And of course we must not forget the day Our Nation's Capitol was attacked by the Dreaded Earthquake. Sent by terrorists, no doubt.

Finally, Tam reminds us that long ago, in a galaxy far away, there were also Spaniards with an overdeveloped sense of vengeance.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I was in such a good mood. Had a really productive day planned. Got some of it done, but it was in the face of impediments.

First! Go cut wood, play with chainsaw. That went reasonably well at first. There's a dead juniper, killed by the dozer driver that cut M's new driveway. M wants it out of there, because it's right where the loader needs to go to backfill his house and transform it from M's Dome to M's Earthbermed House. I want the firewood. Synergy! Saw works like a champ, no surprise since it worked like a champ last year. I got maybe a dozen cuts done and the chain started burning wood. Didn't really pay any attention to see if the saw shop sharpened the chain like I asked them to. Why would you service a chainsaw and not sharpen the chain? Elementary. Well, it turns out I've got two new chains and one really dull old one.

No problem, I wanted to go down to the Lair and lay out tile for the kitchen counter. My great fear is that I don't have enough tile, and I'd like to know that now.

The good news is that I've got enough tile. The bad news is that if I lay it out on a diagonal like this I've got a lot of tile-cutting in my future. Not a surprise, of course, but the Lair's inverter won't run a circular saw which means hauling the generator to the Lair. I'll probably do it this way anyhow, because I like the way it looks.

But look! Sunshine! And it's almost ten, which means I can go to D&L's and cut out my cabinet doors and shelves. Except I couldn't, not really, because their system isn't recharging very well. The sunlight vanished within twenty minutes of my arrival, system voltage dropped below fifty, and that's my cue to turn off the power saw. Clouds rolled in real good, thunder started booming, and it was time to clean up and head home to let dogs out. Only got half a dozen doors cut and nothing edged. Much more to do and I was really hoping to do that today. Bother.

LB thinks he's faking me out. He loves to go for a run when I let him out of Gitmo, but I forbade it for so long he really thinks he's getting away with something when he sidles out of reach and then goes on afterburner toward the wash. I really don't care as long as he comes right back, and he's been pretty good about that. But it's probably bad to let him think he's being disobedient even when I don't mind. Dog psychology - high school doesn't teach it.

Click has ended her predator sabbatical, and I guess she wanted to celebrate. This morning I found an unidentified internal organ in the middle of the floor, no sign of the rest of the body. This afternoon I got home, let the dogs out, watched them disappear into the wash, and went into the Interim Lair for a smoke. There were Feathers! Every! Frickin' !Where! She'd caughter herself a big Mexican Jay and had herself a little party. I'm gonna be cleaning up feathers all evening. I swept the mess out the door, just as she rounded the corner from the barn. She looked at me like, "What you doing with my bird?" To which I replied, in rather angry tones, "Your bird is over there." Cat psychology is much simpler - she just didn't give a shit what I thought.

So anyway - now I'm back in the scriptorium a good two hours before I wanted to be. But I beat the rain, LB and Ghost are all bedded down with Uncle Joel and ready for a quiet afternoon, and I guess I should just relax and enjoy.

Winter Security Plan...

Freshly serviced chainsaw. Three sharp chains. New can fulla stabilized mix gas. Lots of mix oil, lots of bar oil. Priceless.

Speaking of which, in addition to keeping me warm this winter the little girl's gonna make me a little money this autumn.

ETA: See also The Adaptive Curmudgeon's Ode to a Chainsaw.

Ending Fast and Furious might make a dent...

If you're ever in the offices of the Washington Post, stay away from the water cooler. Spiked with Koolaid, apparently...
The real scandal here is America’s refusal to curb the flow of gun traffic from the United States to murderous cartels in Mexico. That failure stems from National Rifle Association pressure on Congress to keep the ATF weak and from President Obama’s reluctance to confront that political obstacle. Instead of dishonestly explained personnel moves offered in futile efforts at appeasement, the administration should push to have its director nominee, Andrew Traver, be confirmed — or at least be given the courtesy of a hearing. And it should make the case that the bureau needs far more resources and stronger laws, including a firearms trafficking statute, to make a dent in the massive illegal gun trafficking along the southwestern border.

An Excellent Retirement Plan

Click's been cultivating her personal monster for over two years now. She don't have to worry about the freelance monsters in her old age.