Monday, October 31, 2011

Grumble. Looks like I'll have to wait for the paperback...

J. D. Tuccille has announced his new book, High Desert Barbecue, which looks like a lot of interesting fun.

In fact I've been waiting for it with such anticipation I was ready to violate my "No Kindle" rule when he said the paperback is still in production. Alas I use Linux and am emphatically not a computer geek, and when I looked to see if anybody had done a free Kindle reader for Linux I ran into my old nemesis, Linux Explainer Guy. "It's simple! All you need to do is [learn Serbo-Croatian or whatever the hell language the explainer just lapsed into so that you can follow his instructions, which are probably perfectly clear to him and God but make no sense to me.]" Linux Explainer Guy kept me away from Linux for years.

But I'm gonna buy the paperback, because the book looks great and I've always enjoyed Tuccille's blog - except that he doesn't post enough.

ETA: Spoke too soon. The trade paperback is available from one vendor now.

Cat Ladder

Like the loft ladder, the cat's ladder moved around a lot and took different forms in my head. The problem was that there's just not enough wall space anywhere for a conventional pole-and-shelf ladder. Finally I decided to go with a series of little shelves, and that made everything quite simple.

The tape marks the upper corners of where the desk needs to go.

I used pallet wood for the book shelves, since I didn't have anything else. It's funky, but it works. Bookends are coming this weekend, courtesy of my Amazon spending spree. No, I didn't get the fancy ones.

And from the "people throw away the damndest things" department, here's a perfectly good - I mean perfectly good - DVD cabinet. What were they thinking?

In the next day or two my neighbor D's gonna come over and help me mount the drawers and cabinet doors. I hope at the same time to get the oven moved in.

I'm still stuck for drain plumbing for the kitchen sink - need a bunch of stuff I don't have and haven't been able to get to town. The water works fine, but right now the sinks are draining into a couple of five-gallon buckets. Other than that, the kitchen will be fully functional before the end of the week! This afternoon I'll be trying to restore a couple of cheap bedroom dressers to service.

Nearly ready to move in for the winter.

"A Painful New Era of Self-Reliance"

That's not exactly what Barry said, but it's not far off.
“The one thing that we absolutely know for sure is that if we don’t work even harder than we did in 2008, then we’re going to have a government that tells the American people, ‘you are on your own,’” Obama told a crowd of 200 donors over lunch at the W Hotel.

Writers at The Onion must weep when they see things like this. Where could satire possibly go from here?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

M's Dome is gonna make an old man of me.

 The point of the exercise is to move the dirt from here...
 To here.  Simple enough, right?  Sure.

Except those piles of dirt were excavated from the hillside several years ago, and they've pretty much decided they like being piles of dirt.  You can't just ram the bucket into the side of a pile.  You have to pull it down with the backhoe first.  That's actually the easy part...
 Except for the rocks.  Most of the time you can convince a rock to get into the bucket, and then it joins the dirt as part of the fill.  This morning we started with a rock that wasn't no way going into the bucket.  Nor could I move it by hand.  I don't know what it weighs, but certainly a few hundred pounds.  I wouldn't have been happy dropping it into the fill anyway, because with my luck it would pound the dome and damage the concrete.  So I decided to tow it out of the way.

Naturally, I'd left my tow strap out of the Jeep.  So I went home and got it...
 The bucket rolled it off the pile, but that was all I accomplished.  Couldn't get it into the bucket, couldn't get it to follow the tractor on the strap.
 Wasted a good deal of time trying, too.  So finally I did the sensible thing and used the Jeep.

To my surprise, it gave me no further trouble.  I towed it out of the way in one try.  The second rock went into the bucket with no trouble, and it's now back where it started years ago.

I promised this morning that I'd give it three honest hours on the tractor, because really I've been putting the job off.  Some jobs are easy, like digging holes.  Digging holes with the backhoe is just good noisy fun.  But moving the dirt up the hill and dumping it into the hole brings out the worst in Gulchendiggensmoothen, and all the bouncing around, popping wheelies, slewing sideways without warning and for no apparent reason, well, it works on old Uncle Joel's nerves.  It makes for a long three hours, and my heart gets to racing till all I want is to find a shade tree and a glass of bourbon. 

Without the tractor.  Trust me, on my worst day I'd be firmly convinced that tractors and bourbon do not mix.  I feel the same way about chainsaws, and chainsaws don't even scare me.

The afternoon's rather more sedate project: Putting together the shelves for Click's cat ladder.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Got to thinking about Magnus this afternoon.

And what a good mentor he was to the puppy I never told him I got to replace him, because the Great One was going downhill pretty fast and only had about six months to live.

Early May, 2009
It's post-Snacky Time. Nothing to do but sit and read, but it's too hot to go in the lair so we sit outdoors. The temperature in the shade is not unpleasant, and the lair shelters us from the wind. Ghost has dug himself a hole to curl in over there; Fritz is in his favored position at the foot of the porch. Magnus observes with fanatic, monomaniacal fervor as I consume a pot of soup. Click watches the world from the highest shelf of the cat-tower. Little Bear gives up his manful attempts to get somebody to play with him, and commences chasing his own tail and learning why we don't chew on cactus. All is right with the world, and it'll go on for hours until the dark drives me indoors. Aaaah.

I finish what I want of my pot of soup and set it down for Magnus to take his tithe. Little Bear has not yet learned (or does not yet respect) The Prime Directive. Earlier we had a game of "No, Stop," as I lightly punished him for chewing on my chair, then rewarded him for refraining from doing so. Now Magnus commences his own version of the lesson. Little Bear stumps over to the pot on his stiff little puppy legs and pushes his head into the pot next to Magnus'. The upper lip of the great jaws curls, exposing fangs of Jurassic magnitude. A low growl heterodynes into an oscillating, "is this the hill you want to die on" snarl, but no real violence is meant. A head as big as and heavier than the puppy swivels, knocking Little Bear away from the pot. Little Bear does not understand, or perhaps understanding does not agree. He stumps back to the pot. Lather, rinse, repeat. At last he faces away from the pot, pouting. Magnus now leaves the pot, gently knocks the puppy off the porch (onto Fritz, who dares not complain) and proceeds to lick his head. Lesson given and reinforced, he turns back to his pot of soup. Fritz, who tolerates the puppy's existence but not his overtures, now seems to notice that Little Bear is lying on him full-length. He growls and shifts, dumping the puppy to the ground. Little Bear stumps off to look for fun elsewhere, then lies down and abruptly falls asleep.

This is my world. We don' need no steenking television.
Peace Through Strength, Joy Through Snackies
Rest in Peace, Grampy Magnus.

It works. Oh, it works. Everything about it works...

There are advantages and disadvantages to testing a gas appliance outdoors. After nearly incinerating myself, my RV and my dogs (the cat would have escaped) earlier this month, I was understandably reluctant to install this old stove in my highly flammable new Lair until I was quite confident there would be no ... incidents. Yesterday I confirmed that the cooktop works just fine, but I put off testing the oven. Confined spaces, propane and flame still make me skittish.

But this morning I had to do the deed. And as far as I could tell I could not get the oven pilot to light. Actually took a few minutes before it occurred to me that with the sun shining directly into the oven it might be a little hard to tell. You'll be happy to know I resisted the temptation to check it by feel, but I did tear a page from my notebook and stick it in there. And the paper caught fire quite nicely, which meant it was time to stand back, turn this little dial right here...

Flame! Silent, almost invisible in the light, beautifully devoid of drama. I've got an oven again. Now I've just got to drag it to the Lair, drill a hole in the floor for the gas line, slide it into place, and we're in business.

Today I'm cutting the shelves for Click's cat ladder. She's gonna like it there: with the kitchen cabinet top almost exactly in line with the loft, it'll be like having her very own jungle gym.

Quote of the Century

# "Keep it from falling into the wrong hands"? It's a government database! It's starting out in the wrong hands! I don't know if you were keeping track in the 20th Century, dude, but Governments out-pointed Nigerian 419 Scammers by several hundred million to zero on the big International Dead Guy Scoreboard.

Argh! They sent my new red taffeta bustier to the wrong house! that gets my hit count up.

So this morning I got an email from a person. In a place. And it said,
...right up front, I want you to know I'm not judging. But I just got a package delivered from NY Lingerie addressed to me. I didn't order anything from them. But I have -- for obvious reasons -- questions on whether you ordered anything from them. Again, not judging. Just let me know whether or not to open, and we'll never discuss it again.
Oddly, it never even occurred to me at the time that sending a package from a place called "NY Lingerie" to somebody else's house might raise ... certain questions ...

These are the problems you have to deal with, preferably ahead of time, when you work through a mail drop.

It's just long underwear. Really.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Didn’t care what the polls said when I was told everybody thought I sucked. Still don’t care.

Poll: Most oppose assault weapon ban
(CBS News) A new poll indicates that more and more people now [admit that they] have guns in their homes, and that America's attitude towards gun-control may be shifting.
I personally possess no firearms at all. None. You can quote me. I never met that guy at the bottom of the page, just copied the picture from somewhere.

Um...Joe? You're not allowed to keep doing it after, you know...

Biden says he enjoys being VP so much he may never quit.

Well, not in those exact words, but...
"I'll make up my mind on [whether to run for prez] later," Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview with CNN's Candy Crowley. "I'm in one of the, probably the best shape I've been in in my life"

I'm doing pretty well. I'm enjoying what I'm doing, and as long as I do, I'm going to continue to do it," he said.

Betcha didn't know TSA has a theme song!


Finally! I've been trying to find the plumbing parts I need to connect my oven to small propane bottles, and finally worked it out! Haven't tried the oven itself, but so far the only problem I've found is the left pilot light doesn't ignite. That, I know I can fix one way or the other.

Thing's stood in the barn for years, and I've just taken it on faith that I could get it working. In the past couple of weeks I'd begun to doubt that, but now we're cool. If the stove works there not much reason to believe the oven won't, which means once I get moved in I can take up baking again! That's a way to make winter much more pleasant.

This dog is gonna kill somebody in his sleep...

And somebody's gonna deserve it.

H/T to Robb Allen, with whom I agree that the zombie thing is done to death - no pun intended.

ETA: Completely spaced on the fact that Landlady sent me a similarly disturbing pic, just this morning...

Hard frost

First of the year, and rather late for it. Could this portend a mild winter? Gee, I wonder what that would be like...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Holy eulogistic metaphor, Batman!

Substitute "freedom" for "the Cubs," and this is pretty much the way I hope to go out. Celebrants will need to fill in the details for themselves.

and then one thing led to another
and soon I'd discovered alcohol, gambling, dope, football, hockey, lacrosse, tennis
But what do you expect,
When you raise up a young boys hopes
And then just crush 'em like so many paper beer cups.

Year after year after year
after year, after year, after year, after year, after year
'Til those hopes are just so much popcorn
for the pigeons beneath the 'EL' tracks to eat.
He said "You know I'll never see Wrigley Field, anymore before my eternal rest.
So if you have your pencils and your score cards ready,
and I'll read you my last request."

Tell us how you really feel, Barry!

50 pound slab of blue ice falls off Air Force One narrowly missing “Occupy Las Vegas” protesters

LAS VEGAS - A group of several dozen “Occupy Las Vegas” protesters camping on Clark County land located under the final approach to Runway 19 at McCarran International Airport today narrowly missed being injured when a 50 lb. slab of “blue ice” reportedly landed within feet of their tents.

According to witnesses, the slab fell to earth seconds after Air Force One passed overhead while landing.

H/T to Tam, who asks the obvious question:
...if you soaked a field occupied by Occupiers in urine... how could you tell?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Meanwhile, on the planet PETA,...

PETA lawsuit contends Seaworld keeps whales in slavery

No, seriously. Stop laughing!
Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is accusing the SeaWorld parks of keeping five star-performer whales in conditions that violate the 13th Amendment ban on slavery.
The suit, which PETA says it will file Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Diego, hinges on the fact that the 13th Amendment, while prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude, does not specify that only humans can be victims.

Occupy Washington finds a couple of suitable spokesvermin

Rangel wants wealth redistribution, says rich didn't sacrifice for war
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday called for the redistribution of America's riches and hammered the wealthy for benefiting from a war effort fought by the poor and middle class.

Citing statistics that show 1 percent of Americans now own 42 percent of the nation's wealth, the lawmaker representing Harlem said: "There is something wrong with that formula."

Rangel offered no specific remedy for adjusting those figures during his comments on the House floor but argued further that the wealthiest 1 percent have the added benefit of not needing to get involved in military service.
But that's only the beginning. For a proper soap opera you need more than a villain. You need a victim! This fella has one for us:
Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) spoke after Rangel and argued and the U.S. as a nation is not broke, even though the federal government is broke. the U.S. is effectively keeping the federal government broke by not taxing the wealthy, he said.

"Despite what you hear on TV, despite what you hear on Fox News today, taxes as a percentage of GDP today are at a 60-year low," Murphy said.

Murphy said taxing the top 1 percent more is a needed step because the income of the other 99 percent has remained mostly flat over the past several years, while the income of the top tier has increased sharply.
Get a load of this. Congress doesn't have enough money to waste because "the U.S." is keeping it broke. That's a new one on me. Forget "for the children," that's so 20th century. Our Brave New Mantra must be "FOR THE CONGRESS!"

Spent the whole morning charging around...

...seems like I should have accomplished something, and I can hardly think of a thing. Got some stuff moved to the Lair, spent some time moving dirt at M's Dome, that's about it. Where'd the morning go?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This is the most peculiar political advertisement I have ever seen in my entire life.

I truly couldn't believe it was put out by the Cain campaign. I'm still not sure I believe it.

Okay, now you're making me mad.

Don't Mess with Lynchburg!

“We are entitled to more money from the only industry in the county – Jack Daniel’s distillery,” said Charles Rogers, a 75-year-old retiree and self-described “concerned citizen” of Moore County – home to Lynchburg and Jack Daniel’s.
The article points out that almost 60% of the price of a bottle of Jack is already taxes. And it's not cheap whiskey.

Grr...From my cold, dead liver, you bastards!

H/T to Robb Allen.

Sometimes I guess you're supposed to procrastinate.

So on the new location of Gitmo Poco's big gate there's a space between the latching post and the wall. Couldn't be helped: The space is X big, the gate is Y big, and the remainder comprises a hole in the fence. Not big enough to string more fence, just a little smaller than the width of a concrete block. So I figured, we've got blocks and we've got cement, and we've still got some rebar. How hard can it be?

Not hard at all, actually. It went right up. But I should have thought it through a little more, and taken a little more time. If I'd set that first block on its concrete pad and then let the pad set up, there wouldn't have been a problem. But that felt like procrastination, and procrastination is what I always do - which is why I get so little done. So I felt quite virtuous and pleased with myself for doing it all at one time.

The column waited until I was completely done, and it was totally filled with cement, before it started to lean over.

Look, I've only ever built one block wall in my life, and it isn't rocket surgery. Okay, the wall I built looks like crap but it isn't going anywhere. Of course I had the luxury of building that on a nice solid foundation. With this one, I just pounded in some iron stakes and poured some concrete in a hole. And a single column doesn't have any other blocks to hold it up. So it leaned. Fortunately it started to lean while I was still standing there, and fortunately the rebar was too long so I had something to tie a line to, and fortunately it was leaning away from the fence so tying a line from the rebar to the fence gave me something to pull against, to get the damned thing level again while the concrete sets up.

Yes, that block second from the top sticks out at one corner. It has to, so you can latch the fence. I take comfort in that ancient middle eastern proverb, "Stucco hides a multitude of sins."

But still, I thought it was funny that this time procrastination would have been the right thing to do.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Check out the irony on this one.

Officials Use Ruse At Wolcott High To Clear Halls For Drug Search
School officials told me it was a routine lockdown drill, the kind that schools are required to do.

"We wanted to practice,'' said Superintendent of Schools Joseph McCary. "We said there was a lockdown with an intruder inside. Doors are locked, shades are drawn and the lights are turned off and students are told to move to a corner of the room."

"After 10 minutes we say this is a drill and at that point we started a search for drugs,'' McCary said. "We are providing a safe and secure nurturing environment."
You lie to them. You scare the crap out of them. You search their stuff with dogs, like the school is a prison. This is "nurturing?"

Mr. McCary, maybe you should try being "abusive" for a while.

ETA: A belated welcome to visitors from The War on Guns! Take your shoes off & set a spell.

Ah, Twitter. Is there nothing it can't do?

To ruin your life, that is?

Here's a funny story about a politician, and for once it's not scandalous. Just embarrassing and really, really public.

French minister invites 13,000 Twitter fans to bed

That would be extraordinary even for a member of the French government, if it were true. Alas, the real story is less spectacular.
France's industry minister, Eric Besson, caused much mirth on Wednesday when a flirtatious private message meant for his wife was sent as a public tweet, to his 13,000 followers.

"When I get home I'm going to bed. Really tired. With you?" he wrote before pressing "send" on Wednesday to his almost 15,000 followers.

Realising his mistake the minister quickly deleted the message ten minutes later, but not before it had been retweeted around the web, with much commentary.

"When Eric Besson proposes going to bed, it's to 13,000 followers. That beats DSK" said one of his followers in a reference to the former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

The intended recipient of the message is not known, although it was probably his wife, Yasmine Tordjman.
I've said it before and no doubt this won't be the last time: Why do people saddle themselves with this embarrassment-waiting-to-happen "social networking" shite?

Times when you really want a SWAT team...

1. The bust is in a Denny's.

2. The subject is a 74YO woman, unarmed, less than five feet tall.

3. The crime is the attempted sale of a piece of government-claimed dust.

Criminy, those poor, heroic cops and the dangers they expose themselves to for our safety. I hope they had a Predator drone over the site, in case things got out of hand.

H/T to Alphecca.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sending Standard & Poor's to Room 101

European Union wants to pass a law against bad news...
This week alone has seen a ratings downgrade for Spain as well as a threat by agencies to review France's AAA status -- and the markets have taken notice. Once again, it would seem, ratings agencies are making things difficult for European countries.

Now, the European Union is considering doing something about it.

European Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier is considering a move to ban the agencies from publishing outlook reports on EU countries entangled in a crisis, according to a report in Thursday's issue of the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper.

In an internal draft of a reform to an EU law applying to ratings agencies obtained by the paper, Barnier proposes providing the new EU securities authority, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), with the right to "temporarily prohibit" the publication of forecasts of a country's liquidity.
Oceania is fiscally sound. Oceania has always been fiscally sound.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Now listen carefully.

The Secret Lair Has Running Water. The Secret Lair Has Running Water.

The Brown Dog Likes to Ride in the Jeep. The Brown Dog Likes to Ride in the Jeep.

That is all, message ends.

I really, truly, passionately want these kids to stop calling themselves "anarchists."

The Organizers vs. the Organized in Zuccotti Park
It began, as it so often does, with a drum circle. The ten-hour groove marathons weren’t sitting well with the neighborhood’s community board, the ironically situated High School of Economics and Finance that sits on the corner of Zuccotti Park, or many of the sleep-deprived protesters.
Here's a hint. If it's got a "collective," it ain't anarchy. It's just an wannabe government waiting for a strongman to come along and start the terror.

Also, if you want to beat a frickin' drum all day and night, take yourself out someplace where you won't bother the sane people. Don't assume everybody likes it as much as you. I don't shoot my rifle in your back yard, don't beat your drum in mine.

Friday, October 21, 2011

One step at a time...

Got the sink in place and all caulked into place. Onward!

Tell me again, the one about how it's just a few bad apples...

I never get tired of that fable.

Balko tells the tale of a politician who pissed off an entire police department - because she wouldn't do the wrong thing.
Doorley said she thinks her prosecution of corruption within the Greece Police Department and the decision not to prosecute Emily Good, who was arrested while video recording a police traffic stop, thwarted her chances for law enforcement support.

She said during her endorsement interview that she was questioned at length about the DA’s decision that Good had not committed a crime.

What is it with banana bandit rulers and blinged-out guns?

And then when the end comes, they never have the cojones to use the damned thing.

Must be a symbol. Like, "This absurd gold-plated gat symbolizes my power over you, which is actually held by all the thousands of regular guns at my command." Or something like that.

In the end, when they can no longer count on others to do their killing for them, all they can do is die. Just like regular people.

Little cat meets big cat, puts faith in technology. Win!

Zeus the Cat knows what a sliding glass door is for, and when it's good to be on the right side of it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I'm pretty sure I'm not pregnant, but...

I'm either nestbuilding like crazy or just having a materialism backlash. I actually spent several minutes admiring this cute set of bookends...

Got the grout cleaned up, and tomorrow after shit-shoveling I'll try to set the kitchen sink in place without smashing the new tile. That's pretty exciting, but I was almost as happy about how high my firewood pile is getting. Cleaned out the woodstove and laid a new fire, even though it was too warm to actually light it. Spent some time just sitting and admiring.

I've often joked that the longer this cabin-building thing takes, the fancier it gets. But $40 bookends really are going too far.

One thing's for sure: After shivering through last winter in the RV, Landlady's got nothing to fear about me trying to stretch this thing out through another winter. I wanna remember what it's like to look out through a window at winter from someplace warm.

Three things left to do before I can move in: Finish the plumbing, finish the shelves (because Click will want her cat ladder to the loft) put up the front hard fencing so I have a safe place for the boys. And I have to move soon enough that I can meet the deadline for getting the Interim Lair off Landlady's property. That in itself might be quite a trick: What do you do with a horribly clapped-out 25-foot RV trailer? There's talk of Craigslist, but I think you need a registration before you can get a license plate. I've got a neighbor who actually cut a house trailer up with a Sawzall and hauled it to the dump piece-by-piece, but in addition to the work involved I've a feeling the weight fees would make that a very unattractive option. Midnight drop-off at the junkyard? Decisions, decisions...

We can do this the easy way, or we can do it the hard way.

I've passed this tree at least 500 times. Some time in the past it lost its last rooting to erosion, fell down and went boom, and then just quietly lay there curing in the sun and waiting to meet a woodstove. Every time I pass I send welcoming thoughts its way, inviting it to my firewood rack. Every time, it rudely ignores my overtures. At some point, patience must give way and even such an urbane fellow as I must take offense.

Never offend a guy with a chainsaw, if you're immobile and made of wood. Today it got its comeuppance. It'll take a few sessions, because I had other things to do and don't like to work hard. But it's already starting to see things my way.

Where have I heard this before?

Somehow it all seems so...familiar...
"Somebody sees something somewhere and we want them to be responsible citizens, report that and let us work it through our processes to abet the concern that they had when they saw something suspicious," said Paul Armes, TSA Federal Security Director for Nashville International Airport.
Hm. Yeah. I'd swear I've heard all this before...

Ah! Got it! "You cannot trust your neighbor, or even next of kin! If Mommy is a Commie, then ya gotta turn her in!"

H/T to Coordinated Illumination.

Second Verse, Same as the First?

So Ka ... Kha ... Ga ... Gha ... that guy who used to rule Libya is dead. Okay, no tears here at TUAK. So whadaya wanna bet...
"We confirm that all the evils, plus Gaddafi, have vanished from this beloved country," Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said in Tripoli as the body was delivered, a prize of war, to Misrata, the city whose siege and suffering at the hands of Gaddafi's forces made it a symbol of the rebel cause.

"It's time to start a new Libya, a united Libya," Jibril added. "One people, one future."
I doubt very sincerely that all the evils have vanished from Libya. I'd consider the proclamation "A new America, a united America, one people, one future" a very chilling one, no matter who made it. Coming from these guys, it's a guarantee of trouble.

Anybody want to take the other side of a bet that we'll be shelling out tax money to fight a war against the evil, bloodthirsty "freedom fighters" of Libya within a decade?

A couple of good links

The American Nightmare that is Civil Asset Forfeiture, by Wendy McElroy. Tells the sad story of the Caswell family of Tewksbury, Massachusetts, life-long motel owners who made the mistake of cooperating with local police to keep crimes from being committed in their motel rooms.
On his Fox News television show, Judge Andrew Napolitano asked Russell Caswell, “What’s the worst thing that happened in that motel ... that has the police trying to steal it from you?”

Caswell answered, “I paid the mortgage off.” By this, he meant that he acquired a real asset that the government coveted and could seize.
Mr. Policeman is Not Your Friend. Especially not in this brave new world where your property can commit crimes without your participation.

A Consensual Mass Hallucination, by Silver. What is the origin of money? How does real money differ from what we use now? Just how screwed are we?
Happiness is not the same as freedom. A sweeping, unfair generalization about America today would be “fat, dumb, increasingly unhappy, and less free every single day.” You can be poor and free, rich and a slave. (I’m aiming for rich and free, but that’s another story.) As a nation, we’re rich compared to most of the people on the planet, and we’re slaves. There are reasons we have come to this, and the nature of our money is one of those reasons.
Good stuff - I recommend it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Grouting the Counter

Clearly need to let it set up more before I can finish cleaning it off, but I got most of the overflow off and it looks pretty good. Then I'll seal it, and put the sink in place. Once the sink is in place so I know right where to drill for the drain I can finish the plumbing.

While I was waiting for the grout to set up I pulled apart some pallets to play with the shelving. Since I don't have any one-inch lumber but I do have several stacks of old pallets, I played with the idea of using pallet wood for shelving. The distressed wood doesn't look badly out of place, but lord it's miserable to work with. I've a feeling I gonna end up investing in some lumber - when I can get someplace that has it. The one hardware store in town doesn't have any 1X8s.

Grandatter's Latest Hit

I see she's getting past that generic newborn "I think this whole 'birth' thing was a bad idea" look.

What color is the sky on your planet, Sen. Reid?

And who do you think pays for all those "public-sector" jobs you think we need more of?

So the only thing wrong with this country is that there aren't enough people on government payrolls? Really?

Oh, but we do, Joe. We do.

Biden: ‘I Wish’ Jobs Bill Critics Knew What It Feels Like to be Raped, Robbed

“I wish these guys who thought it was temporary, I wish they had some notion of what it was like to be on the other side of a gun, or [to have] a 200-pound man standing over you, telling you to submit,” Biden told a crowd at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia on Tuesday, adding, “Folks, it matter, it matters.”
He is determined that we will all have a better chance to get that notion, since as far as I can tell Joe's vision of the "Jobs Bill" has to do with hiring more cops and nothing else. And they will be only too happy to show us what it's like to be on the wrong end of a gun, or to have a 200-pound man standing over us, telling us to submit.

I, for one, am gratified.

Top Income in U.S. is...Gasp!...Wash. D.C. Area
Federal employees whose compensation averages more than $126,000 and the nation’s greatest concentration of lawyers helped Washington edge out San Jose as the wealthiest U.S. metropolitan area, government data show.

The U.S. capital has swapped top spots with Silicon Valley, according to recent Census Bureau figures, with the typical household in the Washington metro area earning $84,523 last year. The national median income for 2010 was $50,046.
Oh, but they do so much for us! Think of the daily drama, the soap opera schadenfreude, the slapstick comedy! They make us laugh! They make us cry!

Indeed, if not for our selfless public servants in Mordor-by-the-Potomac, would we even find anything to talk about? Sometimes it seems not. Surely they're worth whatever their employers choose to pay them!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

They'll steal anything that's not bolted down...

...Actually the bolts don't seem to matter...
Blow-torch toting brothers stole a bridge in western Pennsylvania and scored over $5,000 by hawking the scrap metal, police said.

Benjamin Arthur Jones, 24, and Alexander Williams Jones, 25, both of New Castle, Pa., are accused of breaking up the 50-foot steel bridge with a blowtorch in September and selling 15 1/2 tons of its scrap mental.
Okay, I hate a thief. I'm on record as hating thieves. But (*snort*) you gotta admit (*chortle) that takes cojones...

No brains - Pretty sure somebody's gonna notice you suddenly acquired fifteen tons of salable scrap right around the time the bridge vanished - but lots of balls.

The Odd-yssey of Gulchendiggensmoothen

Or, things that happen when I didn't bring a camera.

Okay. It's almost eight o'clock in the AM. I've got all these fenceposts to move to the Lair, and they're still capped with concrete. One of them I can barely even lift. I'm sure not carrying them. I need to get the tractor back to M's place. I need to shovel shit, and it'd be nice if I could bring more of the shit to the pile for later planting. This calls for an intricate plan.

Put boys in Gitmo Poco. Load fenceposts into the front bucket. Take the tractor into the wash, and drive it to the Lair.

The Secret Lair has two vehicle entrances, and I don't recommend trying either of them without a 4X4. One involves a quite steep plunge off a ridge, and the other only takes you to the wash. The tractor has no trouble with the wash, but I wouldn't try driving it down that grade on my drunkest day. So through the wash, up the driveway, dump the posts. Drag them close to where the front fence will go.

While I'm here, the backhoe will help me finally finish moving that last bit of dirt into the septic trench. Maybe an hour and a half with a shovel, less than ten minutes with backhoe. Gad, I love this thing when it's running.

Now to do something weird. Though the Lair is only about two stones' throw from M's Dome and the road to J&H's, it's physically impossible to get there from here in the tractor. Since right now I really need to go to J&H's, the only available road is the long, long loop of the wash. The nice thing about the wash is that it's fairly flat. The bad thing is that it turns a short trip into a very long one because nowhere is it straight. Check fuel: It would be very embarrassing to run it out of fuel that far out in the wash. Then drive and drive and drive until I intersect the road again. One mile as the crow flies, several by the only practical path.

Shovel shit. In this case, shovel it right into the bucket. Say bye to H, then off we go again. I don't think my butt will ever stop vibrating. Get to the manure pile on M's property, dump horseshit, park tractor. Walk home.

Now I've gotta get lunch and a little rest, and go right back to the Lair. But at least it won't be in Gulchenrockenshaken. Enough of that for one day.

Monday, October 17, 2011

This is...

...I don't know what the hell this is. Damned sad, in any case.

Hey! You rich kids do realize they won't just tax you, right? Yeah...okay, that's what I thought.


Question: On which of these thirty days did Tam link to you?

When you put it that way, it does sound kind of silly...

...But thanks for keeping an open mind.

H/T to Balko.

When future anthropologists ponder the end of American civilization...

...I suspect the phrase "Officer Safety is Paramount" will figure largely.

H/T to Carl, who has more and better comments than I can think of right now.  Though I do wish people would give the zombies a rest.

Note for future generations...

If you ever want Ghost to come to you Right F'ing Now, just fry up a couple of slices of Spam.  I guarantee he'll drop his otherwise pressing business and come running.  From as far away as Nebraska, if necessary.

Give him some at my funeral, and maybe he'll think of me for a second.  Maybe not.  Just so you know, he'll take it any way he can get it but really prefers it fried.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sometimes I think I carry this "hermit" thing too far.

I meant to move out to the boonies. That wasn't a mistake, and though there have been times when it's been less than entirely enjoyable I've never wasted a second regretting it. This is where I belong.

And yeah, I knew there would be a substantial sacrifice of physical comforts. I don't have the money to do it "right." If I did, believe me I'd do it that way. I'm not, by nature, an ascetic. This was the only way I could get what I most wanted in life, which was peace and quiet, peace of mind, a maximum of physical freedom in a decidedly unfree world. In short, in the life I've built for myself here, for the most part authority figures leave the crazy guy with the beard the hell alone. Yes, I've had some hassles. Yes, there were a couple of times when I wondered if I wasn't going to freeze to death, and no, that wasn't in the original plan. Yes, it would be nice to be able to go grocery shopping any time I want to. But all in all, I haven't paid a single price I feel the least bit bad about.

Now: With that so-serious buildup, I'll bet you didn't guess this post was going to be about Pinky and the Brain*.

Three winters ago, my daughter sent me a box set of Pinky and the Brain DVDs.  That was my first winter alone here, and it was a long, cold one.  Pinky and the Brain were a big help in getting through that.  Not just because the cartoons are hilarious, but because they were a pleasure that she and I shared 'way back when and I enjoyed the memories.  A couple of weeks ago I dug out that box and watched them again, and got to thinking that winter's coming on and there are a lot of other episodes: There must be other box sets.  I looked on Amazon, and sure enough there are three in all.  I wanted the ones I don't have.  I can afford them.  I've even got a piece of plastic right here that would enable me to buy them.

Calvinist Joel raised his righteous fist and roared, "Are you mad?  Think of the wheat or rice or oatmeal or propane or ammo that could buy!  Will you waste your surplus on such fripperies?  What next?  Ruffled shirts?  I remind you there are things the Lair requires!"

To which I replied, "I like Pinky and the Brain."

"Surpluses are for saving for emergencies!  The day will come when you will rue such a calamitous decision!  Rue, I say!  Rue!"

And it occurred to me that I had gone too far.  I had become so used to doing without shinies that I had come to view them as some sort of sin.  I had become an ascetic.

And that's when I logged onto Amazon.  I may be a crazy hermit, but I am not a crazy hermit ascetic, and I'll buy a frickin' DVD if I want to.  And three or four used Barbara Tuchman books.  And a new multitool, goddammit, I've been wanting to replace my PST II since I damaged it on M's Dome over two years ago.  Calvinist Joel can go straight to hell.

*If you don't know about Pinky and the Brain, you should take immediate steps to rectify that. You're missing out on one of the great things in life.  Here's a sample:

Here's proof that we're not a government.

Landlady said she wants to close Gitmo, and so we closed Gitmo. Tore it right out of the ground, in fact.

Well, most of it. As proof that after we've betrayed the revolution we'll be twice the government the old one ever was, (If I escape Claire's guillotine, that is,) we're raising in its place TWO gitmos! Yes! Gitmo Poco (on the old location) and Gitmo Nuevo! (at the Secret Lair.)

Seriously, Landlady's talked about building a big chicken coop where Gitmo and the Big Doghouse currently are for just the longest time. For almost as long I hoped thought she was kidding. Not so, it seems. We tore out all the fencing except in the rear, moved the big gate to a new location, and I'll be moving all the surplus material to the Lair and fencing in the front yard so the boys still have a safe place when I'm not around.

More work. Yay. But I was wondering how I'd accomplish that fence thing, and now I know. I'm also desperately thankful that Gulchendiggensmoothen is behaving himself, because digging fenceposts out of their concrete graves would have been a hellacious amount of work by hand. With a ginormous backhoe, it's just good noisy fun. Although (private to Landlady) it turns out there was a conduit right next to that middle post in front. Operative word is "was." I think the wires go to the old fifth-wheel.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thanks, Guys!

The TUAK Financial Manager, L. Lady, has informed me that from contributions received I'm good to go for internet access for the next eight months. That was a response I didn't dare hope for, and I am eight months in your debt.

Commenter Kel sent his in a rather larger box than normally required for FRNs, because he threw in a little bonus...
Every dime of the money contributed is in, or on its way to, an account specifically designated for my ISP. I don't promise to share the Rebel Yell with them, though.

Here's to you guys! You're the greatest.

Friday, October 14, 2011

"Learn from history?" Don't be ridiculous. History can't even talk.

This won't end well...
(Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Friday he was sending about 100 U.S. troops to central Africa to help and advise government forces battling Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army rebels accused of murder, rape and kidnapping children.

Obama -- who once denounced the LRA as an "affront to human dignity" -- made clear the troops would serve as trainers and advisers in efforts to hunt down rebel leader Joseph Kony and would not engage in combat except in self-defense.

In a letter to Congress, Obama said the first U.S. forces arrived in Uganda on Wednesday and would be deployed to South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo "subject to the approval of each respective host nation."
Hm. Well, if they're only Military Advisers, I guess no harm can come from that...

A couple of pieces of good news...

Weekend before last, Landlady moved a full-size refrigerator into The Meadow House. I promised to take the little fridge she'd been using out to the barn, but asked if she'd mind if I tried something at the Lair first.

The Lair's solar panels and batteries are all scrounged, and I have no faith in them. The Lair also has half a dozen kerosene lamps, though the few times it's been tried the electric lights have gotten through an evening/morning just fine. I wanted to torture-test the system with a load that would go through the night, so I dragged her little fridge out to the Lair, plugged it in and left it there overnight. To my pleased surprise, it was still working when I went out there after shit-shoveling. Which means my thoughts about getting myself a little dorm fridge aren't as outrageous as I feared they might be.

After re-loading the fridge into the Jeep, I drove to M's place with my heart in my boots. Yesterday I was moving dirt when the tractor showed signs of running out of fuel. I shut it down as soon as I could find a level spot, filled the tank, and the tractor would not start. Would not try. This was a big surprise, because since M got the injector pump rebuilt Gulchendiggensmoothen has never run so well. Starting it always used to be a big production, but lately it's been starting very well. I hoped it had just run out of fuel at the injectors and needed bleeding, but I didn't have my wrenches with me. So today I brought the wrenches with me. When I tried to bleed the pump, fuel squirted out right away. Not a good sign. But I moved the battery tray out of the way, bled the injectors, and got bubbles out of all three. Then when I cranked it with the fuel lines tight, it started immediately. That's very timely, because tomorrow Landlady's coming up and wants to tear out part of Gitmo. I'd a lot rather move the posts with a backhoe than with a pick and shovel, and now I'm back to believing that'll happen.

That's what I'm talkin' about!

I've only been to the BALLS launch once, several years ago, and it's still a cherished memory. BALLS is like Knob Creek for high-power rocket geeks. It's held annually at Black Rock Dry Lake in Nevada. Black Rock is the biggest, most featureless patch of real estate I've ever experienced and it's perfect for big rockets. The government hates these guys. Tripoli Rocketry Association fought a decade-long legal battle with ATF after the feds reclassified ammonium perchlorate as an explosive (it's not) and then gave everybody hassles over magazine inspections and licensing rules. Of course F-Troop handled the matter in its usual ham-handed way, and TRA eventually won in court which is the only reason the hobby is still practical.

I know of one similar altitude attempt, and it failed for the same reason - it definitely got to very high altitude, but the recording altimeter didn't. That flight wouldn't have been certified anyway because of safety violations - you're really not supposed to let a 20-pound stainless steel dart (the second stage) come in ballistic without even a nod toward a recovery system. That was quite a long time back, but apparently now there's a big cash prize and that's always a lovely incentive.

Anyway, this is very cool.


I see from Claire that my old friend Silver has a new blog on the Mises site.

I first "met" Silver on the TMM forum damn near ten years ago. We met once in meatspace (for an extended weekend, and if I described it you'd call me a liar to my face) and he's been a friend of TUAK from its inception. The only thing I've got against him is that he's substantially smarter and more educated than I am. Substantially. If there's anything about economics he doesn't know, he ... well, actually I doubt there's anything about economics he doesn't know. He puts his money where his mouth is, and it seems to come back as more money. That's the best endorsement of an economic theory I know.

He's now on the blogroll, and you really should check him out.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I just saw the damndest thing...

It must be time for giving birth around here for the kangaroo rats. I don't have a better explanation for why all of a sudden there are rat holes dug everywhere, and sometimes in the damnedest places. High-traffic areas, where no sensible creature the size of a rat should ever build a home.

We've got a lot of kangaroo rats around here. I dunno which variety they are, but I'll go with whichever is the least "endangered," okay? Anyway, a few minutes ago two baby ones were severely endangered. I don't know what their item was, but they might have been scared out by the jeep passing right over their burrow.

I spent some time at M's Dome, then swung by the Lair to perform a little electrical experiment and pick up a couple of things. On getting back to Landlady's property I hung a right to the valvehouse above her new house, because I need to install an electrical outlet in there for a heat-tape. That valvehouse has been a common freeze point every winter since I've lived here, but it didn't really matter before last year and wasn't possible to fix before the year before that, so there wasn't anything to be done. But now there's reason to keep it from freezing and enough electricity to get the job done. So an outlet is called for. I'd already dug a short trench and drilled through the foundation, but I didn't have any wire or tools I needed to re-route some existing wire. Brought those back with me, and set about running wire when I heard a rhythmic squeaking noise I didn't recognize at all. I looked around - nothing. I walked out onto the plaza, and now it sounded like it was coming from where I'd just been. I looked all around, and the sound just didn't seem to have a source.

Finally I looked down, and I was practically standing on the source. Two tiny black-and-white rats were outside a burrow, perfectly still and apparently unafraid of me, except they were both wheezing in unison and that was the sound I'd been hearing. Right at my feet.

I just stood there and stared - I'd never seen anything like it. Suppose I could have and maybe should have killed them, except what's the point? There's millions of them, we only go after the ones that come into our homes, and with Click around the only ones I see indoors are dead so I didn't have anything special against them.

I was just staring at them, when I saw movement at the mouth of the burrow. An adult rat stuck - her, I suppose - head out, looked at me, looked at the babies, and then darted far enough out to grab the nearest one and disappeared back inside. I walked back to where I'd been working to give her a little room. A moment later she came out again and grabbed the other one.

I will never know what that was all about.

Yeah, like you need more...

Reasons to be Glad You Don't Live in California!

I heard about (and kinda/sorta predicted) the Empty OC Ban. I heard (and blogged) about the Fourth Amendment Ban. I completely missed the "long gun registry."

Must say, though, that the logic is impeccable - by Moonbeam standards...
“Since the state already retains handgun purchaser information, I see no reason why the state should not also retain information pertaining to the sales of long guns.”
Oh, the sins that have been committed in the name of that dialectic. Since there's already one in a hundred Californians in prison, I see no reason why the state shouldn't imprison them all. More that it already does, that is.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I found it!

There's a quote that gets kicked around a lot: "You can't conquer a free man, the most you can do is kill him." I was pretty sure Heinlein said it - because between him and H. L. Mencken they've got all the good aphorisms tied up - and I sort of remember reading it. But for the life of me I could never remember where. And I was pretty sure there was more to it.

Finally found it this morning, quite by accident.

"I began to sense faintly that secrecy is the keystone of all tyranny.  Not force, but secrecy ... censorship.  When any government - or any church, for that matter - undertakes to say to its subjects, "This you may not read, this you may not see, this you are forbidden to know," the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; Contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free.  No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything - you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him."
- Robert A. Heinlein, "If This Goes On ---"

Paul Simon is rolling in his grave. Yeah, I know he is, but this'll kill him.

Not to mention that the song writer kinda forgets all those hundreds of others killed by the "Fast and Furious" criminals, but still...

Okay, I'm done being a purist dick for now. On with it!

H/T to Sipsey Street. These folks have actually been churning out parodies.

Way to exercise self-reliance there, Mr. Cleaver...

Couple lost in corn maze calls 911
Getting lost in a corn maze is supposed to be fun.

But it turned into a nightmare for a Massachusetts couple who got so lost that they had to be rescued by the police.
I feel better about myself now. I may occasionally set fire to my home in comically moronic ways, but I have never had to be rescued from a corn field*.

H/T to Unc, who correctly points out that corn rows can be walked through, in a pinch.

*Okay, full disclosure: I did once have to be rescued from a corn field. But a truck was parked on top of me at the time...

"...a very simple rifle to make..."

Ian's latest video at Forgotten Weapons details the construction of a sweet little rifle I couldn't have forgotten, since I never heard of it. But it does indeed appear to be a very simple rifle to make - if you're capable of making rifles.

I paid to send guns to Mexican cartels, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!

Naw, that's not what it says. Actually I don't wear slogan t-shirts much - just a matter of taste. But I confess I'm tempted by this one.

Another run of the Gunwalker t-shirts is available, for a limited time only, from this guy. An imposing specimen, isn't he?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Claire Wolfe is a Sellout! A Fake! A Fraud! A Charlatan!

No, seriously, it says so right here.
While we all look for those who can do, to do, more, you hide in your cave claiming deadly disease.* Sellout, fake, fraud and charlatan are words that come to mind. What a disppointment.(sic)
Of course, if anybody's looking to Claire, as one of those who 'can do,' to 'do more,' I question whether they've actually read a word she ever wrote.

Hint: The subtitle isn't "179 Things I'll Do For You 'Til the Revolution."

Sigh. Kids today...

More pix at CriticalMass.

Y'know, I think the OWS kids need a theme song. All good protest movements have a theme song.

I suggest this one...

The Song in my Head...

Is pretty good shit-shoveling music.

Need to get into more of a Nugent mood, though, if I'm gonna enjoy getting bashed around on that tractor.

Yeah, I know. I'm being a purist...

...and maybe a bit of a dick. But I checked, and the word "licensed" still does not appear anywhere in the second amendment.

H/T to Robb.

Reasons to be glad you don't live in California (Sorry, Buck)

Governor Brown Vetoes Fourth Amendment...
California Gov. Jerry Brown is vetoing legislation requiring police to obtain a court warrant to search the mobile phones of suspects at the time of any arrest.

The Sunday veto means that when police arrest anybody in the Golden State, they may search that person’s mobile phone — which in the digital age likely means the contents of persons’ e-mail, call records, text messages, photos, banking activity, cloud-storage services, and even where the phone has traveled.
Since this is Governor Moonbeam, there's no particular reason to assume he actually had a rational reason for doing this. Perhaps he muttered something about a "solstice" that the reporter failed to catch, or just possibly...
Brown’s veto also shores up support with police unions and the Peace Officers Research Association of California, a police union that opposed the legislation and recently donated $38,900 to Brown’s campaign coffers. “Restricting the authority of a peace officer to search an arrestee unduly restricts their ability to apply the law, fight crime, discover evidence valuable to an investigation and protect the citizens of California,” the association said in a message.

That support would be key if Brown decides to seek a second term.

In the last year alone, at least seven police unions donated more than $12,900 each to Brown. Those unions, including the California Association of Highway Patrolmen and the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, had given Brown more than $160,000 in combined contributions.
Ah, there it is. Yes, California politics. Just like Chicago politics, only ... more like that.

Monday, October 10, 2011

You know you're in trouble when even Hitler thinks you're an idiot...

H/T to Sipsey Street.

Y'know, one of these days I'm gonna get a chance to actually see this movie.  There's no way I'm getting through this scene without giggling, no matter how dramatic it really turns out to be.

Oh I'm glad I'm not a front end loader driver...

 Gulchendiggensmoothen started his life as a workmanlike general-purpose tractor.  Then to accommodate the ginormous backhoe, "they" (I don't know if it's a factory job or not) added a sort of superstructure that raised the center of gravity a couple of feet.  Between that and the weight of the backhoe, he's no fun to drive on anything but level ground.  We don't have much of that here.  I think a jet pilot, or maybe a roller coaster addict, might enjoy this job more than I do.

But I'll give him his due, he's running great at the moment.  Leaking from every orifice, but running great.

 The current job is to transfer the large piles of dirt in front of M's Dome...

...Back to their original position, which will cover M's Dome and convert it to M's Earth-Bermed House.

And all I can say about that is that it's going to be a lengthy process.


I like knives.  I've got more knives than I use, and only money keeps me from collecting art knives.  Back before I was married I had a modest collection, but of those I only retained a couple of old Gerbers and they're not technically art knives.  A neighbor recently bought a couple of knives from this guy, and started an itch I may just need to scratch.

Art knives are expensive.  Art knives with real pattern-welded steel are very expensive, and for very good reason.  How this guy can sell his for such low prices is a bit of a mystery - I suspect a person who actually tried to use these knives on an EDC basis would be disappointed.  But then they're not really meant to be used.  I just like to hold them up to the light and look at them, like Chief Dan George's rock candy.

My neighbor likes Bowies, but I think maybe this one is my favorite of the current crop...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

An Earthshattering "FOOP!"

I'm still combing crispies out of my hair and beard, as it appears my head was a bit closer to the fireball than it seemed at the time. At the time, I was rather too busy to worry about the condition of my facial hair.

I put a new filter on my heater yesterday morning. There wasn't anything obviously wrong with the old filter, but it had gone through two winters. I had a new filter, so it seemed reasonable to replace it. That was basically my last reasonable heater-related action for the entire day.

I'd say I don't know what I was thinking, but the undeniable truth is that I wasn't thinking at all. And when dealing with flammable gases one must always think. It almost cost me my trailer.

I noticed at the time that the new filter did not screw on to the fitting right. Not cross-threaded, but once screwed all the way on it wouldn't tighten. I resolved that I must correct that before installing the heater, but it was early in the morning, I was really just taking pictures for a TIS post, and didn't get around to actually re-installing the heater until almost sunset. By then I'd forgotten all about the filter threads.

Now, that's just Joel being Joel - I don't often remember by lunch what I had for breakfast. The really unforgivable thing was that, as I was working the igniter to get the air out of the hose, I SMELLED PROPANE.

NEVER, NEVER DO FIRE-RELATED THINGS WHEN YOU SMELL PROPANE. I know this, but apparently I didn't know it as far down in my bones as I should have. Bet I do now, boy.

The pilot lit, and I turned on the first burner. It didn't look right - there should be no actual flames. I just thought "That doesn't look ri..." and was actually reaching for the valve to turn it off when the cloud of propane in which I was standing ignited.

The next few minutes were somewhat busy. I ran outside, chasing the dogs and cat in front of me, turned off the gas at the bottle, and ran back inside to fight fire, if any. There was. There were in fact two secondary fires in addition to the residual propane still burning from inside the heater casing. The heater was quickly dealt with - and miraculously undamaged - but I saw flickering light coming from under the oven. I tore open the access door, grabbed a dish towel and put out the cheerily-burning linoleum. I stopped my lurid swearing long enough to wonder what that rustling sound was - it sounded a lot like fire, but I couldn't see any additional fire. I opened the bathroom door - apparently that propane cloud had been impressive - and found an old pair of pants I'd left draped over the tub, burning enthusiastically. I don't know what those pants were made of, but I'm sure glad I wasn't wearing them at the time. I grabbed them, ran to the door, and pitched them out onto the dirt. Where they burned completely.

It took longer to settle myself down than it did to clear the trailer of smoke. I'll take it as a learning experience that shouldn't have been necessary, but they say nothing concentrates the mind quite so well as being shot at and missed. The threads on the new filter are indeed messed up, right out of the box. The old filter seals just fine. I'm going to test the whole thing - extensively - outdoors before moving it back indoors. Even then it'll be a while before I'm comfortable around it again. Even though the whole misadventure was my fault and not the heater's.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A painful new lesson in heating technology

Literally painful. But since I owe The Independent Spirit a post in the worst way, you'll have to go there to read about it. Sorry 'bout that.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Okay, so it's not perfect. That's how people will believe I didn't get somebody else to do it. But I took my time and did it carefully. Impediments were overcome, success was achieved.

Step one: Let's have some heat! It was about forty degrees in the cabin, and that was after giving the morning some time to warm up. Yes, a bird got in there a few months ago.

Step two: Lay the tiles for the easy side out on a table.

Step three: Mix mortar. Oops! I don't have a drill that'll run this mixer paddle! Visited three neighbors before I found a half-inch drill.

This is going well. On to Step four: Do it again on the hard side. This time I had to go back and borrow the tile saw again, which I shouldn't have returned so quick in the first place. I either neglected to cut out two pieces or lost them with exceptional skill even for me. Considered calling it a day, but ... naw. Slowly! Carefully! This is the confusing part.

Ta da!

Mislead ≠ Lie, when you're in the government

H/T to Sipsey Street.


Woke up at 4 and the cool indoor/outdoor thermometer Landlady gave me said it was 36 degrees outside. Not a lot warmer inside. Really, truly need to get the heater working in the Interim Lair, but that doesn't matter right now. Heh - there's a woodstove in the Secret Lair and that's where I'm supposed to be anyway. So my weather excuse became a weather incentive. I'm taking the laptop because it's my only source of tunes. Also I need the picture I took of the counter, so I can get the tiles set right - about a quarter of them are custom-cut and can only go in one place. Gonna lay them out on a table before I start. I've got to fire up the stove to warm it up in there anyway, because the tile mortar won't work at this temperature. Sky's still socked in, if it tries to rain it may snow instead. If it does rain it's gonna be miserable.

I may never come back. It's October 7, and already I'm reminded how much winter sucks.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yucky. Yes, it's a word.

And a perfect word it is to describe this miserable day in early October. Woke up to wind and cold. Got a late start on chores, but I did get the tractor running again. Added fuel and hydraulic fluid, but unfortunately I forgot to bring antifreeze and it turns out we needed some bad so I didn't actually RUN the tractor very much. As it turns out that's just as well, because the storm clouds rolled in just as I finished cutting the last of the end pieces for my kitchen counter. It started to rain pretty good while I was cleaning the saw. The last time I saw the mixing paddle for my drill was when we were spreading waterproofing on M's Dome last summer - I looked and looked but couldn't find it. It was cheap plastic and pretty much falling apart anyway, so when I returned J's saw I borrowed his mixer.

Except for mixing the mortar, all the work remaining on the tiles occurs indoors, so weather will not be an excuse. I'll have to come up with some new excuse, since I've only done this twice and if I foul it up it's going to be an expensive mistake. I tend to procrastinate on those jobs, but there's really no way I can justify not plowing ahead.

Just pressure-testing the ol' cerebral arteries*...

Now he's at the frickin' united nations...
Speaking on the government's role in diet and health last week, Bloomberg told the UN General Assembly, “There are powers only governments can exercise, policies only governments can mandate and enforce and results only governments can achieve. To halt the worldwide epidemic of non-communicable diseases, governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option. That is ultimately government’s highest duty.”
Really, Bloomie? That's government's highest duty? To 'make healthy solutions the default social option?' If you put Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot in a blender** and formed the resulting slurry into a single world leader, he still wouldn't be totalitarian enough to pull that off. But lord, wouldn't he have fun trying. And what precisely is an 'epidemic of non-communicable diseases?' Other than a contradiction in terms, that is?
Earlier in his address Bloomberg lauded the past dietary efforts of NYC, “In 2009 we enacted the first restriction on cholesterol-free artificial trans fat in the city’s food service establishments. Our licensing of street green card producer/vendors has greatly increased the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods with high rates of diet related diseases. And we’ve led a national salt reduction initiative and engaged 28 food manufacturers, supermarkets and restaurant chains to voluntarily commit to reducing excessive amounts of sodium in their products.”
Yeah, like the State "engaged" me to "voluntarily" get my papers in order a few years ago. So that I wouldn't have to suffer those punishments again. "We only want you to comply, Joel." F*ck you. And vendor licensing 'increased the availability' of fruits and vegetables? I'd love to see you back that claim with figures.

Gad, what paternalistic bullshit.

*This is the last time I hat-tip Tam for that line. I'm totally filing off the serial number and claiming it as my own.

**Yeah, I know. Gooey. It is a pleasing mental picture, though, doncha think?

Wow! Cold!

Actually it's probably no colder than yesterday, which was pleasantly cool. But yesterday there wasn't the 40 MPH wind I woke up to this morning. Didn't even get out of bed till almost 7:30, just because the blankets felt so good. Guess I shouldn't have sent the hose for my propane heater south with Landlady, huh? I may have to cobble something up.

Anyway, now I'm wrapped in layers of sweatshirt and watching clouds race by outside my window. And it suddenly occurs to me that we're probably not more than two weeks from the first snow of the season. Which means I should get my ass in gear and go work on tiles.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Busy day.

It rained all day yesterday, which didn't bother me because I was stuck all morning doing geiger counters. Figured it'd dry out a bit overnight, so I moved shit-shoveling back to this morning.

Then it rained all night. Got a late start because I really wasn't sure it was done raining, but when it cleared up I had no excuses. Oy, I hate shit-shoveling in the wet, that wagon gets filled with as much mud and water as horseshit, and hauling it up to the manure pile - over and over - is just no fun.

Normally that would have been all the work I cared for in a day, but today I had a couple of things I was anxious to get started on. So down to M's Dome I went.

Tractor started right up! Got some filling done - even at the shallow end that hole's deeper than it looks in the picture. Worked for a bit less than an hour, stopped for a ciggie and to check fluids...

And the tractor wouldn't start! Wouldn't even crank. WTF? I figured maybe a battery cable had worked loose...

What's going on with the positive post? I'm pretty sure that wasn't like that before...

Ah. Well, that's bad. We've been using two different batteries on the tractor, since we've been cranking it so much lately. This one is a bit too tall. I guess we're done with this for the day. Off to the Lair!

I laid out tiles for the counter before, but just to make sure I had enough tile. Now I had to figure out how this was really gonna work, and start cutting the edge tiles. After two hours I was finally convinced it was gonna work. I've still got some cutting to do, but the bigger edge tiles are cut. I'm ready to glue stuff down! I do wish I had one more big tile, it'd look better that way. But I don't, so this is the way it's gonna be.

Now I've got the second tractor battery on the charger, and the boys are out of Gitmo and taking themselves for a walk. They'll ... probably come back. They've been really good about that. But I'm never completely sure they will, till they do.

In Schumertopia, cops and soldiers and VIP security goons would have lots and lots of guns.

States find a reason to love firearm manufacturers.

The Confederate Yankee found it deliciously ironic that even Chucky Schumer could find something nice to say about gunmakers, when there were bucks involved...
In New York, Senator Charles E. Schumer issued a news release in May praising Remington after it agreed to move a factory from Maine, bringing with it 40 to 50 jobs.

The release made no mention of Senator Schumer’s record supporting gun control. Instead, it said Mr. Schumer had “led the effort in Congress to repeal the law that limited competition for small arms contracts, so that Remington can now compete for small arms contracts with the Department of Defense.”

But there's nothing ironic about it, or even inconsistent. Schumer isn't against guns, after all, quite the opposite. He's against you and me having guns. But governments and security goons can't make their own guns, any more than they can make anything else except deprivation and misery. So he knows he needs the gun makers, and is no doubt delighted to lure one to his own state - as long as it confines itself to "small arms contracts" ... with the government.

I don't think I'll believe we're really winning until I see a few of those manufacturers refuse to do business with the government. But that's a looooong way off. Those guys know where the big money is, alas.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Here's an eagle that's never gonna be able to show its face in an eagle bar, ever again...

Where'd he go?  I know I saw that bastard gull around here somewhere

Ow!  Dammit!  Knock it off, don't you know who I am?

Found here.