Sunday, September 30, 2007

That's dope, man...

Say Uncle has been documenting Google's anti-gun discriminatory practices (more here), which don't make sense anyway because they sell gun-related ad space.

If you can get past the irony of the top-most ad without spewing your favorite beverage on your screen, look down at the bottom-most item. You can see that they have no problem selling ad space for drug paraphernalia. Look at this animated gif of the device in action. That's a dope pipe.

I personally would not hold their running such an ad against them. If someone wants to toke the sacred herb that's their business. But running such ads, and running perfectly legal gun-related ads, and then blocking gun-related websites from displaying such ads, is not only "Evil," it's stupid. It makes no sense. It also smacks of misrepresentation. They sell gun-related ad space, but they don't allow websites to use adsense if that website's text would cause such ads to actually be displayed. That's dishonest. More than that, it's crooked.

I'll be honest, my adsense balance is up to about $50, and when it gets to $100 I'll get my first payout. I've been running them for several months (starting on the other blog) and I don't want to waste what I've accumulated thus far. Once the payout happens, I'm out of it unless they change their policies by that time.

If anyone has any non-discriminatory alternative to adsense, let me know. I would still like something on here that would generate a few pennies so I could occasionally buy an extra box of ammo or a pro-RKBA t-shirt or something.


I'm going to have something at LOLTHULHU. The webmaster over there said it might be a while, because he has a big backlog of submissions and he's been "spacing them out." I'll have to see if I can think of another one before then.

Her real favorite Bible verse...

This one's for David Drake.

A sobering morning

UPDATE: Here's the news report. Which, knowing the Express-News, may or may not be entirely accurate.

UPDATE 2: And here is the report from our local county newspaper. See if you can spot spot the bias between the two. Hint: our county newspaper is more accurate.

Arrived at church services this morning and the first thing I learned was that an elderly member of our congregation went to the aid of his neighbors, who were victims of a home invasion. This gentle, quiet elderly man was forced to use lethal force with a firearm to protect himself and his neighbors from the invaders.

One of the home invaders died. The other escaped, but was caught later and is now in custody.

I realize that in some parts of the country, such actions would have been frowned upon, but not here. It was obvious that this man was heavily preoccupied and more quiet even than usual, but he was there. It was up to his wife to let everyone know what had happened, because he wouldn't speak of it.

A prayer was led. Some parts of it: "We thank you, Lord, that [name redacted] had the courage to help his neighbors, and that You kept him safe and unharmed. We pray for the grieving families of the one who died, and we pray that somehow, somewhere, this will be a lesson that there are consequences for choosing a life of violence and thievery."

It was the first time I had ever heard such a prayer. I only pray that if I am ever forced into such a situation, my heart is not so hardened that I don't feel grief for the one who died, or for his family. And I hope I have the courage to pray for them, not to curse them.

I think I can help on this one

I got a search hit for "shocked and stunned script monty python." The phrase "shocked and stunned" was used by a Python, but it was not on Monty Python. It was Eric Idle on The Rutles.

Sunday Vintage Pipe Ad, 1906: The Everklean

Another example of the gimmicks people go to to sell pipes. This one had an aluminum tube inside the shank/stem to prevent the smoke and moisture from contacting the actual inside of the pipe. Disassemble, clean the tube, and reassemble. Many years later Falcon, Kirsten and others would drop the pretense and simply create an aluminum-stemmed pipe.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Gate and the Key

In keeping with my unannounced custom of posting some Cthulhuian graphic every weekend, here is an artist's rendition of Yog-Sothoth. I don't know who the artist was, since the site I found it on didn't credit him/her either.

Yoggy is one of the more interesting Outer Gods, to me. It is the only one besides Nyarlathotep to have more than one form. It's other form is known as 'Umr at-Tawil, or Tawil at-'Umr. In this latter form it appears to be humanoid and is capable of interacting with humans in a not totally malevolent way. It is also said to be "coterminous with all time and space." It seems ripe for use in Lovecraftian sci-fi, yet seems to me to not be exploited for such use as often as it could have been.

The above graphic is not entirely accurate to Lovecraft's original description of it as being "a congeries of iridescent globes." Still, it's a pretty good picture, I think.

This is nitpicky...

But we gunbloggers are always picking out errors made by the MSM regarding guns.

Everyone has (I'm sure) already read about the guy who was walking around a college campus with a Wolf .50 caliber in-line muzzle loader.

I have read a couple of other gunblogs already in which this rifle is referred to as a "musket." I feel compelled to point out that this gun is not a musket. It is a rifle. A musket is a smooth bore--the barrel has no rifling. The Wolf muzzle loader is a modern in-line rifle--with a rifled barrel.

If we are going to be nitpicky about gun errors in the mainstream press, we should be wary of making the same kinds of mistakes ourselves.

The longest ride

From APEM - World Student Press Agency:
It was the last ferry back from the island to Mackinac city. Nearly 100 Ron Paul supporters were waiting on the dock when they were surprised to see Mayor Giuliani appear with his bodyguards walking toward the ferryboat. The crowd started cheering Ron Paul’s name and Mayor Giuliani’s smiling face suddenly turned thunderstruck. Informed that it was the last ferry, Giuliani ended up boarding with those Ron Paul supporters and took the “longest” ferry ride in his life.

The ferryboat was going like the wind, cleaving the waves on the Great Lakes in the inky darkness, as if the Black Pearl in the movie Pirates of Caribbean. Giuliani was “hiding” beneath the window in the captain’s cabinet, with bodyguards standing around him to block the sight. The crowd kept cheering Ron Paul’s name again and again all the way, for almost 20 minutes, many of them were calling their friends and family to give them the play-by-play.

When the ferry reached Mackinac City, Giuliani went out of the captain’s cabinet with a cheering face and offered to shake hands with passengers sitting in the first row but they were reluctant to do so. Afraid of Ron Paul supporters’ enthusiasm, Giuliani got off the fore of the boat, instead of taking the normal path at the stern.

Also on board were FOX News reporters who covered the whole ride with their vidicon, but it wasn’t put on air.
Pretty funny. He has to hide behind his bodyguards because the other passengers were chanting a different candidate's name. What a wimp. And he thinks he can be President?

Via New Liberty Creation.

People of the Gun

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

A photo I've posted before on the other blog, but I thought with the current meme running around the gunblogosphere it would be a nice time to repost it. The gun is a Hi-Standard 9-shooter in .22.

One of us is an...

Turned up at a reptile center in Pennsylvania. Two heads, six legs, and a combined tail. I suppose it must be excreting its wastes from somewhere, or it would be dead by now.

The people there are trying to think of a name to give it, but they are all really lame. The obvious name would be Pushmi-pullyu, but then I doubt that any of them have actually read Doctor Dolittle.

Via Metro U.K.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Dream blogging

Occasionally I have very realistic, detailed and sometimes what I would even call "epic" dreams. I've never talked about them in public before, but since I don't have anything else to write about, this is one I had last night.

Most of the dream was very confusing and disjointed, as if something had happened to cause me to have amnesia. I understood that I was no longer where I was supposed to be. Something had happened. I was found by a friendly good Samaritan wandering the streets with a small box tucked under my arm. He took me in and took care of me. Through the haze I had the idea that I was in a foreign country, but fortunately this man could speak English.

My condition slowly improved and I started putting some pieces together. I understood that I had somehow been shifted through space and time because of something called the "Deely Incident." I don't know exactly what this was, except that this "incident" is what had put me out of time.

One day the fuzz in my mind finally seemed to clear up, and I picked up a newspaper that my benefactor had brought home. I couldn't read it, but I could tell that it was written in German, and the date on the front page was 1938. I was in Germany.

I was immediately overwhelmed with fear and sadness, not for myself, but for the man who had looked after me. He was young, and looked like a very young Dennis Hopper but clean-shaven and with short hair. I apparently knew who he was, or more accurately, who he would become. I checked my little box that had been found with me to make sure everything was still in it. It contained a Bible printed in 1981 and a checkbook with modern dates written in it, along with a few other items that would have been anachronistic in 1938. Since I knew what was going to happen for the next 70 years, I was pretty sure I could fend for myself, but I was leaving for the States.

I told my care-taker I was leaving. I didn't tell him any details about what I knew would be happening in the next several years, but the last thing I said to him was, "Look, you have to get out of here--out of Europe--and go to America. If you don't, you will die." I walked out of the house, and that's when I woke up.

I wonder if anyone else ever has dreams like this. Maybe I'll try recounting one or two others, if I can remember them well enough and if anyone is interested.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

If you write it, they will come...

The Blogonomicon second rule of blogging: No matter how absurd, nonsensical, or obscure you might think something is that you have written, eventually it will be a search hit.

I just got a search hit for "zombie pumpkins."

"What is it to die, but to stand naked in the wind and melt into the sun."

This is just utterly mind-boggling. It seems some people aren't satisfied with standing atop the world's tallest mountain. Some of them must do it buck nekkid:
Nepalese mountaineering authorities are reportedly outraged that people were ditching their clothes on Mount Everest, which is worshipped by some villagers.

President of Nepal Mountaineering Association Ang Tshering told AP that following last year’s record by a Nepali climber, who claimed the world's highest display of nudity while standing on the 8,850m summit in temperatures about minus 10 degrees Celsius [emphasis added--ed.], restrictions should be implemented.

“There should be strict regulations to discourage such attempts by climbers,” Tshering said.

Tshering also said that villages had also complained to the government about the “obscene” behaviour.

Thousands of climbers had reached the mountain’s summit since it was first conquered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.
I say let 'em do it. And then usher them directly toward Darwin's Queue.

Restrictions? Man, that's funny. If negative 10 degrees C doesn't discourage people from disrobing, will a new law? BWAH HA HA ha ha ha...(choke, sputter). And who's going to enforce it? They're going to have to find a whole new breed of bureaucrat who is tough and/or stupid enough to stand at the top of Everest and hand out nudity citations.

The law of the slippery slope demands that eventually mere nakedidity will not be enough. I can hear it already: "Hey baby, want to summit with me?"

UPDATE: To respond to comments. Climbers start out in "groups," more or less. However, by the time they leave the last camp to try and make the summit, the men are getting separated from the boys, so to speak, and the groups tend to straggle out. It's just about an imperative that summiting occurs no later than about 2:00 PM (IIRC). Any later than that, and the climber won't be able to make it back to camp before dark. Get caught out on that mountain that high up after dark, and you are dead. At this point, climbers can't afford to do anything but get their butts up and back down. Anyone who needs help will likely only get it from their guide and their Sherpas. If the guide and/or the Sherpas can't get to them, it is very unlikely that any other climbers will have the experience and fortitude to help anyone else. By midday the line of climbers is so spread out that most of them hit the summit alone.

Also, "help" doesn't always mean help. There isn't a whole lot that can be done for someone who is running behind, except to catch them and turn them around before it's too late. If they stay out too late, like I said, they are dead.

I was being completely facetious about having sex at the summit of Everest. That high up, the body ceases to function correctly because of lack of oxygen. At that point, oxygen bottles keep you alive and conscious, but that's all. There's no extra oxygen for doing anything besides going up and coming back down. Your metabolism can't even work correctly, and for the last couple of days you probably haven't eaten anything other than a few pieces of candy because your body simply can't process food due to oxygen starvation.

Any slight bit of extra weight is discarded. That's why the path to the top is littered with empty oxygen bottles. The weight of an empty bottle or two or three could slow you down enough to get you killed. There has been a movement (of sorts) to discourage this to reduce litter. Some of the more experienced climbers will pick up an empty bottle or two to try and reduce litter, but a large-scale clean-up of the summit is just about impossible. It's the most extreme environment on earth, and any little thing can get you killed. A very few, very experienced climbers have summited without oxygen, but it is not possible to do so for the average climber.

No one is going to "steal" someone's clothes to prevent them from getting naked at the summit. It would mean more weight to whoever took the clothes, and it would be a certain death sentence to whoever was left exposed. No one is likely to want any "reward" because taking the clothing from someone would certainly cause one death (the naked person's), and possibly two (your own).

For plenty of details about what it's really like to climb Everest, I recommend Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer.


I just had to look up "defenestration." I've read the word before, but I was never clear on what it actually meant, except that it must be something bad.

It only means, "the act of throwing someone or something out a window."

That's one word that sounds a lot worse than its definition. I always thought it had something to do with disembowelment.

Something for cat haters

Cat math:

And for cat-haters who also hate bagpipes:

Both from The Second Official I Hate Cats Book by Skip Morrow (published 1981).

I am not a cat hater, in fact I like cats (I like bagpipe music too), but this book is funny. My wife picked it up at a used book store yesterday. It took me only a few minutes to flip through, but I was laughing the whole time. I'll probably post more of them sometime when I run out of anything else to say.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wednesday Vintage "Gun" Ad, 1947: Beech Bonanza

Actually an ad for the Beech Bonanza airplane, it uses the comparison with the Colt revolver as an "equalizer." I snagged this one from the internet, and whoever uploaded it cropped it too close--that's not my crop.

Oh yeah, and Walter Beech was obviously a pipe smoker.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Where's my cash?

Why didn't the rest of y'all tell me we were supposed be getting paid for this? That's what Laura Washington says:
Through organizing, the Internet, and plunking down plenty of cold hard cash, the gun lobby has proven it is ready for primetime. Meanwhile, its opponents are languishing in the wee-hours of late-night local cable.
I know I'm small potatoes, but man, I figure my "lobbying" should worth at least a couple hundred bucks.

Saved by the cell phone

More about Giuliani and his cell phone escape technique at Red Pills:
Last April 9, NewsMax reported that Giuliani was attending a roundtable discussion with heavy-hitter Republicans at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City. Two of the three co-hosts were CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

One participant started to ask a question about Iraq.

“In the middle of the question, Mayor Giuliani’s personal cell phone rang, and he answered it,” a participant said. “At first, I think people thought he was kidding. But then he just started talking, and without looking up or saying anything to us, he just got up, left the room, and never came back!

Everyone waited about 20 minutes, and then the room started to break up. It was bizarre behavior.”

Monday, September 24, 2007

Genes no longer the center of the genome universe

At The Boston Globe (might have to use BugMeNot):
For half a century, the core concept in biology has been that every cell carries within its nucleus a full set of DNA, including genes. Each gene, in turn, holds coded instructions for assembling a particular protein, the stuff that keeps organisms chugging along.

As a result, genes were assigned an almost divine role in biological "dogma," thought to govern not only such physical characteristics as eye color or hair texture, but even much more complicated characteristics, such as behavior or psychology. Genes were assigned blame for illness. Genes were credited for robust health. Genes were said to be the source of the mutations that underlay evolution.

But the picture now emerging is more complicated, one in which illness, health, and evolutionary change appear to be the work of almost fantastical coordination between genes and swaths of DNA previously written off as junk.
"The picture that's emerging" of how living cells actually operate and evolve "is so immensely more complicated than anyone imagined, it's almost depressing," Rigoutsos said.
The more we know, the more we don't know. A pattern that will continue, I daresay, until we finally realize that what we don't know is indeed infinite.

As usual, read the whole thing.

Got your papers?

Read the whole thing at Papers, Please!:
In a series of recent publications in the Federal Register, the Department of Homeland Security is proposing a comprehensive new system of surveillance and, perhaps more important, control of both domestic and international travelers.

The proposed new rules, which are currently open for public comments, would require that:

1. All would-be international travellers to or from the USA (even US citizens crossing the U.S.-Canada border on foot) would have to have government-issued ID credentials

2. All would-be passengers on international or domestic flights to, from, over, via, or within the U.S. would have to have both government-issued ID credentials and explicit case-by-case prior permission from the DHS to the airline to allow each passenger to board a plane.

The proposed rules would enforce the requirements for papers and permits through default provisions that would:

1. Require all air travellers to show their papers (”government-issued photo ID”) to airline staff on request of the DHS, under penalty of denial of transportation.

2. Forbid any airline from issuing a boarding pass to anyone, or allowing them to baord a plane, unless and until the airline received individual permission (a “cleared message”) authorizing that airline to allow that specific person on that specific flight.
Got that? It goes from "anyone can fly unless they pop up on the 'no fly list'," to "no one can fly unless they are on the 'allowed to fly list'." Read it all for more details and even more bad news.

Via The Club Above.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Caves on Mars

From NASA:
NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has discovered entrances to seven possible caves on the slopes of a Martian volcano. The find is fueling interest in potential underground habitats and sparking searches for caverns elsewhere on the Red Planet.

Very dark, nearly circular features ranging in diameter from about 328 to 820 feet puzzled researchers who found them in images taken by NASA's Mars Odyssey and Mars Global Surveyor orbiters. Using Mars Odyssey's infrared camera to check the daytime and nighttime temperatures of the circles, scientists concluded that they could be windows into underground spaces.
Run across the entrance first, and see if any fireballs come out.

Sunday Vintage Pipe Ad, 1932: Kaywoodie Drinkless

The Kaywoodie Drinkless was the bottom of the ladder in the Kaywoodie hierarchy. It was the cheapest, and therefore billed as "the everyman pipe," because it was cheap enough that every man could afford one. If it wasn't good enough to become a Drinkless, it became a Yello-Bole. I have some Kaywoodies, and they are good pipes, but I must say that this ad is playing somewhat fast and loose with the "facts."

To begin with, the "secret alloy" is aluminum. It may have been slightly alloyed with something to harden it up just a little, but basically it's aluminum. As for the "460 degrees centigrade at the bowl," this is a little misleading. The only place where the temperature is going to approach that high is at the exact point of the char: a very thin line where the tobacco would be glowing red if it were not covered by the already spent ash higher in the pipe. Even only a matter of millimeters lower at the bottom of the bowl where the air hole comes in, it's much cooler than that already. The fitment does not have any magical temperature reduction properties, except that it does trap some moisture.

"Rock Ambera" is Bakelite that was colored to vaguely resemble amber.

The best thing about these old pipes is that they had a screw-in stem so it's safe to remove the stem while the pipe is still hot and run a pipe cleaner into the shank to sop up any excess moisture.

And if you get hold of an old Kaywoodie, don't take a hacksaw to the fitment. Leave everything intact. Some people complain that it's impossible to run a pipe cleaner down the stem during a smoke, but like I said, it's perfectly safe to unscrew the stem while the pipe is still hot. Cutting off the fitment is just mutilation.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Saturday Night Poetry: Nemesis by H.P. Lovecraft


by H.P. Lovecraft

Through the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber,
Past the wan-mooned abysses of night,
I have lived o'er my lives without number,
I have sounded all things with my sight;
And I struggle and shriek ere the daybreak, being driven to madness with fright.

I have whirled with the earth at the dawning,
When the sky was a vaporous flame;
I have seen the dark universe yawning
Where the black planets roll without aim,
Where they roll in their horror unheeded, without knowledge or lustre or name.

I had drifted o'er seas without ending,
Under sinister grey-clouded skies,
That the many-forked lightning is rending,
That resound with hysterical cries;
With the moans of invisible daemons, that out of the green waters rise.

I have plunged like a deer through the arches
Of the hoary primoridal grove,
Where the oaks feel the presence that marches,
And stalks on where no spirit dares rove,
And I flee from a thing that surrounds me, and leers through dead branches above.

I have stumbled by cave-ridden mountains
That rise barren and bleak from the plain,
I have drunk of the fog-foetid fountains
That ooze down to the marsh and the main;
And in hot cursed tarns I have seen things, I care not to gaze on again.

I have scanned the vast ivy-clad palace,
I have trod its untenanted hall,
Where the moon rising up from the valleys
Shows the tapestried things on the wall;
Strange figures discordantly woven, that I cannot endure to recall.

I have peered from the casements in wonder
At the mouldering meadows around,
At the many-roofed village laid under
The curse of a grave-girdled ground;
And from rows of white urn-carven marble, I listen intently for sound.

I have haunted the tombs of the ages,
I have flown on the pinions of fear,
Where the smoke-belching Erebus rages;
Where the jokulls loom snow-clad and drear:
And in realms where the sun of the desert consumes what it never can cheer.

I was old when the pharaohs first mounted
The jewel-decked throne by the Nile;
I was old in those epochs uncounted
When I, and I only, was vile;
And Man, yet untainted and happy, dwelt in bliss on the far Arctic isle.

Oh, great was the sin of my spirit,
And great is the reach of its doom;
Not the pity of Heaven can cheer it,
Nor can respite be found in the tomb:
Down the infinite aeons come beating the wings of unmerciful gloom.

Through the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber,
Past the wan-mooned abysses of night,
I have lived o'er my lives without number,
I have sounded all things with my sight;
And I struggle and shriek ere the daybreak, being driven to madness with fright.

"A mountain walked or stumbled..."

The Giant Cthulhu, another one by Cyril Van Der Haegen. Follow the link to see how the painting was developed. Inspired by N.C. Wyeth's The Giant.

Excellent perspective on this one. The impression of overwhelming height is something I attempted to capture in words when describing a form of Nyarlathotep in my story Nyarlathotep's Lament.
I cannot describe what he looked like. Part of my mind went into hiding, refusing to witness what stood above and before me, towering into the sky, scraping its topmost parts against the stars, howling soundlessly into the void of outer space. Another part of my mind whirled with a bizarre reverse vertigo from the intense height of the thing. The earth shuddered beneath its weight, bending to fit strange dimensions that it was never meant to fit. Rainbows of unearthly hues rippled through the air as the titanic alien violated reality. My mind was utterly consumed with the awesome immensity of the thing.
Successfully describing such awesome immensity is something I've tried in more than one story. I don't think I've adequately succeeded in doing so just yet.

And I've re-written that story about a dozen times. I still am not really satisfied with it.

I'll just keep the coin in my pocket

Tam put it very well:
This is the sad impasse your party has come to; if the best thing you can offer me on election day is the gun-grabbing mayor of NYFC or the governor of Taxachussetts, I don't see any reason not to stay home. Don't ask me your tired "Would you rather see Hillary as president instead of Rudy?" questions because the answer is that between the two, you might as well flip a coin from where I sit. This ain't a high school football game, sport; I'm not waving pompons for the guy just 'cause he's wearing the jersey.
Exactly. There was a time, a long time ago, when I considered myself a conservative, although I never thought of myself as a Republican. I don't think of myself as a conservative anymore, although that may be because the Republicans have hijacked the term and it no longer truly means "conservative" any more than "liberal" truly means "liberal." I'm just the crank who everyone rolls their eyes at when I go off on something.

Let me tell you something. If it turns out to be Guiliani against Clinton MkII in the general election, I hope Hillary wins. If she does, it's going to be terrible. It's also going to wake a lot of people up. It's going to be either the worst or the best thing that's happened to this country in a long time.

Compromise and "settling for the lesser evil" may be how politics works, but that doesn't make it right--only accepted. And I don't accept it anymore.

Blogging note

The reason I have two adsense things in the sidebars is because the one on the left was installed with Blogger's widget. The one on the right I installed manually. I just want to see if the ads feed any differently between them. Curiosity, that's all.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The case for open carry

Spanish fashion designer Andres Sarda has unwittingly made a very strong argument for open carry.

See what I mean?

(Since I don't post these kinds of pix on my blog, you'll just have to follow the link).

Not a joke

Crisp, buttery, compulsively irresistible bacon and milk chocolate combination has long been a favorite of mine. I started playing with this combination at the tender age of six while eating chocolate chip pancakes drenched in maple syrup. Beside my chocolate-laden cakes laid three strips of fried bacon, just barely touching a sweet pool of maple syrup. Just a bite of the bacon was too salty and yearned for the sweet kiss of chocolate syrup. In retrospect, perhaps this was a turning point, for on that plate something magical happened: the beginnings of a combination so ethereal and delicious that it would haunt my thoughts until I found the medium to express it--chocolate.
From Voges Chocolate. Bacon and chocolate is probably not my thing, although I'd try it if the opportunity arose. However, I am quite fond of dipping bacon in honey. I'm also very partial to ham dipped in honey. In fact, I'll dip meat of any kind in honey unless I'm physically restrained.

Via meine kleine fabrik.

Public Service Announcement

Cowboy Bebop is back on Cartoon Network.

Click for the big graphic, sized for wallpaper.

The right place at the right time...

Worked a rough neighborhood today, on the west side. Not a bad route, except for the dogs. I was working my way down Romero street when I came to a house where an old lady was lying on the ground and when she saw me, she said, "I fell down..."

It was one of those "I've fallen and I can't get up" things. It might seem funny on television, but it's not funny in real life. She was lying in direct sunlight. It wasn't as hot today as it has been, but it was still plenty hot enough to badly dehydrate someone who was lying helpless in full sunlight.

I reached over her fence, took her hand and pulled her to her feet. She thanked me profusely, and I just said "you're welcome" and went on my way.

But it made me think. So many little things can affect where you are, when you are. If I hadn't had trouble working my way up General McMullen earlier that morning, I might have been going a lot faster and already passed her house before she needed help. Or if I had managed to leave the office a little earlier, or...lots of other little things.

I just said a little prayer of thanks that someone was there to help her when she needed it.

Later on someone else gave me a cold Big Red when I got to their house, so I guess my karma was working.

And I only had to stare down two loose pit bulls, so it wasn't a bad day.

Also, I found a house with a Dogo. Man, those suckers are huge.

Zombie Pumpkins

Yesterday my son was drawing pictures of jack-o-lanterns. He starts celebrating Halloween early, which I can understand.

So up he came, walking one of these paper pumpkins across the desk like a kid does, and making some kind of weird roaring monster noise.

"Look, Daddy! It's a zombie pumpkin!"

"A zombie pumpkin?"

"Yeah, see--he's missin' a eye!"

A weird kid after my own heart.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tainted Science

An interesting article from the Wall Street Journal claims "Most Science Studies Appear to Be Tainted By Sloppy Analysis":
These flawed findings, for the most part, stem not from fraud or formal misconduct, but from more mundane misbehavior: miscalculation, poor study design or self-serving data analysis. "There is an increasing concern that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims," Dr. Ioannidis said. "A new claim about a research finding is more likely to be false than true."

The hotter the field of research the more likely its published findings should be viewed skeptically, he determined.

Take the discovery that the risk of disease may vary between men and women, depending on their genes. Studies have prominently reported such sex differences for hypertension, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis, as well as lung cancer and heart attacks. In research published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Ioannidis and his colleagues analyzed 432 published research claims concerning gender and genes.

Upon closer scrutiny, almost none of them held up. Only one was replicated.

Statistically speaking, science suffers from an excess of significance. Overeager researchers often tinker too much with the statistical variables of their analysis to coax any meaningful insight from their data sets. "People are messing around with the data to find anything that seems significant, to show they have found something that is new and unusual," Dr. Ioannidis said.
Read the whole article. Lots of thought-provoking stuff.

The Cult of the Global Village

So what do you do when most sane people have dismissed you as a bunch of communists, socialists, victimization apologists, dhimmis, and enemies-of-freedom-in-general?
This group can speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind the scenes on whatever actions need to be taken. Together we will work to support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict, and inspire hope where there is despair.
Answer: you declare yourself an "elder of the global village" and wait for all the other authoritarian nannies and their mindless sycophants to gather.

"Support courage where there is fear." Yeah. Take a look at the list of "elders." Is there anyone on that list who advocates actually empowering individuals to fight back against those they fear?

"Foster agreement where there is conflict." By doing everything we're told. End of conflict. Right, Jimmy?

"Inspire hope where there is fear." Guess what. I have plenty of hope, and you bunch of goons aren't part of it.

As for "working both publicly and behind the scenes on whatever actions need to be taken," well, there's not much I can add to that.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Yo ho ho, he took a bite o' gum-gum!

Cowboy Blob reminded me it's Talk Like a Pirate Day.

So here's a couple of One Piece pix, me hearties!

I have studiously avoided the entire lolcat phenomenon...

But this is more like it.

See more at

Thanks to both Baboon Pirates and Cowboy Blob.

Wednesday Vintage Gun Ad, 1940s: Marlin .30-30

Another old ad with a brief hunting tale included. From World War 2 when this ad encouraged the reader to turn in old brass to help the war effort.

Click for a larger version that is readable.

Lovecraft and guns

Lovecraft liked guns. He cherished the collection of rifles and pistols he had inherited [from his grandfather, Whipple Phillips--ed.] and added to it a series of .22 rifles, which he took into the country to shoot. Laws against carrying and shooting firearms were fewer and laxer then than now. Lovecraft later said that he had become quite a good shot until, around 1910, eye trouble forced him to quit. "The lore of hunting allured me, and the feel of a rifle was balm to my soul; but after killing a squirrel I formed a dislike for killing things which could not fight back, hence turned to targets..."

Later, Lovecraft sold or gave away the entire collection piece by piece, save for one flintlock musket, which he kept as an antique.

from H.P. Lovecraft: A Biography
by L. Sprague De Camp

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A fate worse than death

The author of the blog Nobody's Business recently tried to adopt a dog. He was not allowed to because he has two children under the age of 12. Since no one else wanted to adopt this dog, it was killed. Full details at The SPCA Killed My Dog.

Apparently the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals doesn't know the definition of "the society for prevention of cruelty to animals."

Sometimes odd things happen

I had a route today that finishes at the Alamodome. It was grueling. A mere 322 meters took 5 1/2 hours. Sheesh. But the last meter was in a big vault, and it was too deep for me to reach in and clean it by hand. Yes, it was too dirty to read. Rubbing at the dirt with the meter hook didn't work, and although the vault cover wasn't hot enough to fry eggs on, it was way too hot to touch. It was starting burn me through my jeans, even. So I thought to myself, man, I really need a tissue or cloth or something. I was just about to walk back to my truck to get a Kleenex when I suddenly noticed...something.

A used-up fabric softener sheet was sticking out of my pants leg. What the...? Apparently it had gotten stuck in there when the pants were last washed, and didn't come out when I put the pants on this morning. It had slowly been working its way down the pants leg all day. So I stuck it on the meter hook like a cleaning jag and cleaned off the meter so I could read it. That was pretty weird.

And if you're thinking I still got off light because I was done in 5 1/2 hours, no. I still had another 200 to do on another route right next to that one. This was the hardest day I've had in a long time. So now, counting my last job, I have read gas, electric and waters meters all in that same area. I hate that place. No matter what you do there, it sucks.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Where can I get one?

The "Reuger 9mm" with a "75-round clip." "Fresh hollowpoints" not included.

It would make concealed carry slightly difficult, I'd guess.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

"...something was amiss..."

Caracas, Venezuela:
A Venezuelan man who had been declared dead woke up in the morgue in excruciating pain after medical examiners began their autopsy.

Carlos Camejo, 33, was declared dead after a highway accident and taken to the morgue, where examiners began an autopsy only to realize something was amiss when he started bleeding. They quickly sought to stitch up the incision on his face.

"I woke up because the pain was unbearable," Camejo said, according to a report on Friday in leading local newspaper El Universal.

His grieving wife turned up at the morgue to identify her husband's body only to find him moved into a corridor -- and alive.

Reuters could not immediately reach hospital officials to confirm the events. But Camejo showed the newspaper his facial scar and a document ordering the autopsy.

Sunday Vintage Pipe Ad, 1934: Granger Tobacco

Like other Granger ads of this era, pipe smoking is portrayed as something that is enjoyed by the entire family. See other examples here and here.

I've never tried Granger, and I don't plan to. Since it's an old-fashioned burley with some unidentified "flavor" added, odds are I wouldn't like it. This is still a great example of magazines ads from a bygone era, the like of which will never be seen again.

If anyone ever sees me holding a pipe like that, you have my permission to slap me.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

So that's how it happened...

The Birth of Cthulhu by Cyril Van Der Haegen.

Seriously, check out his site. Especially if you're into macabre and fantastic artwork. Or should I say "phantastic."

Oh yeah, and parts of the site are probably NSFW.

A corny tribute

A corn maze of the late Gerald Ford at Gull Meadow Farms.

Amazing (hee hee).

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Grotesque and Sublime

Art by Kris Kuski. More at

Early morning grumble

This afternoon I have to attend a three-hour dog attack seminar.

On the upside, it means I'll be doing less actual work today, and we are allegedly going to be paid overtime for the three hours.

On the downside, it will be a complete waste of time. Learning how to wear dog armor and get attacked by trained attack dogs who are trained to attack an armored extremity is not going to help with being unarmored and defending one's self against untrained, wildly vicious street dogs.

These seminars are all for appearances. Nothing else.

UPDATE: Well, at least it wasn't boring. I didn't learn anything that I didn't already know, as far as handling dog attacks out in the field. I did learn a couple of bits of dog trivia that were interesting, though not really what I could call useful. For example, the Rottweiler was originally a cattle dog. Also the chocolate Lab has a much higher pain tolerance than yellow Labs. While the yellows were bred for retrieving waterfowl (which I knew), the chocolate was bred for jumping into icy water and retrieving fish nets (which I didn't know). I also learned about a breed of dog I had never heard of before: the Presa Canario. They were almost unheard of in the U.S. until they became infamous in this incident. (Apparently this trial was big on CourtTV but I never watch that channel). The lady who taught the class was extremely critical of the media in this case, because she believed that it was wrong for them to publicize all the results of the dogs' autopsies. It seems that the male dog involved had consumed 4 1/2 pounds of the victim. When this got out, it immediately created a high demand for this breed. (It just goes to show what I've always said: people are slime).

I also got to see an Argentine Dogo in action. That is one scarily impressive dog. The one they had originally came in on a drug boat. She said such a boat was seized off Florida which contained two tons of cocaine and 40 Dogo puppies.

So it wasn't boring, but three hours for a couple of trivia items is still a waste of time. And it was a real drag having to hang around until 5:00 when on a normal day I would have been out of there at 1:45.

One other thing. The German Shepherd she had would have been dwarfed by the Shepherd that mauled me a couple of years ago. I think the one that got me must have been crossed with something else much bigger. That sucker was huge.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

That's because you're an idiot

Full-scale, blithering, utterly irrational PSH in Albany, NY:
"I was surprised and disappointed that this was a prize that was given away," he said. "We shouldn't send mixed messages to kids that we give a replica of a firearm."
Especially sensitive--he says--because one 15-year-old murdered another 15-year-old. Well, golly gee, Jimmy, even a backwoods hick like me can see that this isn't a gun problem. This is a gang problem. That's what you call teenage thugs running loose in the street shooting at each other and usually taking out innocent bystanders in the process.

And it's all the fault of a vaguely gun-shaped water squirter.

On more thing. Since when does your position as city councilman grant you the authority to steal toys from children? Or does that fall under your purview as "lifesaver?"

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wednesday Vintage Gun...from 1956, anyway

Not an ad this time, but a letter to the editor in Outdoor Life that I thought was interesting. I also thought that I had already posted this, but it wasn't in my "uploaded" directory so I guess I haven't. Click for the big version that should be readable.

Memento Mori: The Bone Church

From Curious Expeditions:
It is easily the best manifestation of Memento Mori in the world. The meaning of Memento Mori, "Remember that you will die" is impossible to forget in a room centered with a chandelier composed of every bone in the human body, and then some. To look up at the swooping strands of jawbones and sections of spine is to be one with the feeling of Memento Mori.

The 40,000 skeletons within Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic welcome you with, quite literally, open arms. D and I travelled to the Czech Republic and had the pleasure of seeing this truly unique sight in the flesh, or bone, as it were. Known to most as "The Bone Church", unlike your every day ossuary, the Bone Church is not merely a home for the deceased. Instead of resting eternally in neat piles, the bones of the dead have become the medium of some of the world's most macabre art. In addition to the splendid bone chandelier, the ossuary displays two large chalices, four baroque candelabras, six enormous pyramids, two monstrances (a vessel used to display the Eucharistic Host), a family crest, and is topped off with skull candleholders, statues of angels holding skulls, and festively looping chains of bone at every corner like crete paper at a birthday party.
So I've gone through a bunch of newsfeeds and blogs and can't find anything that I can add something new to or say something insightful about. Maybe I'm suffering burnout. So forgive me if I start wandering down some shadowy paths into other areas that I think are absolutely fascinating.

Follow the above link for more info and more pix. This amazing ossuary (how about that, the spell-checker doesn't know "ossuary") is not just a collection of bones, but a monument to the human skeleton as an artistic medium. And it was begun 800 years ago.


Joe Zawinul died yesterday.

Zawinul was one of the founding members of Weather Report and a fantastic keyboardist who wasn't afraid to mix electronics and jazz. Some jazz purists didn't care much for Weather Report, but what do they know.

The M1. I think that's a Korg, isn't it?

I ain't afraid o' no bloody Pew!

My pirate name is:

Dirty Sam Flint

You're the pirate everyone else wants to throw in the ocean -- not to get rid of you, you understand; just to get rid of the smell. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network
Flint! Now that's a name for a pirate. 'Twas Flint who buried the treasure on that blasted isle, and left a trail of bones from those who dug the hole.

Seen at Parallax Adjustment.

My wife didn't buy me this outfit for nothing.

The ultimate nannyists

L. Neil Smith writes about a group of liberal fascists who call themselves the "National Initiative for Democracy" at NI4D: DANGEROUSLY STUPID OR STUPIDLY DANGEROUS?:
The gist of the thing is that they want to pass a law, add another amendment to the Constitution, giving "the people" power to end-run Congress and create new legislation -- new laws -- directly. I can see how this might seem like a good idea at first. Humorist P.J. O'Rourke once suggested that the first six-hundred people in the Manhattan phone book could do a better job running the country than Congress ever has. But wasn't it Robert Heinlein who observed that "Vox popula, vox dei" is best translated as "How did we get into this mess?"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yes, I know what today is...

But I have nothing new to say about it.

Here's the link to what I think is my best post on the subject, from two years ago.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Can I get that on a t-shirt?

By Kevin Tuma.

Via Liberty for All.

Saxet gun shows

Just noticed that they're planning on having a gun show at the Freeman Coliseum next month.

I was wondering if they'd pick the old coliseum since the convention center was torn down. It's not nearly as long of a drive as the Alzafar place, either. I still might go there, though, just to get a gun show fix.

Schedule here.

Curious Convergences

I've been poring over my usual blogs and newsfeeds and can't come up with anything clever or provoking to write, myself.

But sometimes various bits of contemporary culture collide and the result becomes somehow quite interesting.

Loren Coleman writes: Is Bin Laden As Tall As Bigfoot?
The sixth anniversary of 9/11 is here. It seems like the right time to consider: Is bin Laden as tall as Bigfoot? For this is a serious consideration of a subject few would rather make fun of by just reading the headline and not the blog here: What happens with eyewitness reports of height? The parallel between the alleged stature of Osama bin Laden and Bigfoot, two topics that do not make me laugh, is remarkable.
I have a feeling Charles Fort would get a kick out of this short article. A brief examination of how perception can sometimes overshadow fact.

Parody State Quarters

Parody state quarters by Daniel Carr. New York might be the best one.

Via Snopes.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Roll d20 SAN loss just for looking at the picture

An especially bizarre artistic interpretation of Great Cthulhu. A 1600-pixel-wide version is here.

Via UVoD.

New Liberty Creation

I stumbled across an interesting blog today. is dedicated to spreading the good news of new creation in Jesus Christ. Part of this agenda is exploring how the ideas of liberty and freedom are integrally tied to this concept, and of tearing down faith that people have in the false gods of government.
Some especially interesting recent posts are Christianity has been hijacked by terrorists parts one and two, and Americanism, The National Religion of the United States.

PVC Target Holder

I've been planning on one of these, but in my own mind couldn't think of a way to secure the target to the stand. I don't know why I didn't think of strings. Just a mind-block, I guess.

Here are some plans for a simple, cheap and portable target stand made from PVC.

Sunday Vintage "Pipe" Ad, date unknown

No, this is not actually an ad for pipes or tobacco. It's an ad for what appears to be a hemorrhoid cream. I just think it's cool because it portrays a linkboy lighting a gaslight with his clay pipe. Or maybe he's taking advantage of a gaslight to light his pipe. Hard to say.

Snagged from eBay, as you can see.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Oh wow, I think I just experienced a negative reality inversion.

By now I'm sure everyone has heard about the woman who was kicked off an airplane because her attire was allegedly too skimpy.

The thing that amuses me is that Michele of Reformed Chicks Blabbing appears to be defending her, while Fits of Shooting the Messenger is castigating her.

I personally have no opinion on the subject, because 1) I am a married man, and am therefore no longer interested in women, and 2) skinny blonds don't do much for me. Sort of puts me in mind of an albino flamingo, actually.

UPDATE: On the other hand, buxom brunettes with long, straight black hair...uh...what was I talking about again?

I wanted to be a programme planner, but unfortunately I have a degree.

Interesting. From BBC News:
The BBC has scrapped plans for Planet Relief, a TV special on climate change.

The decision comes after executives said it was not the BBC's job to lead opinion on climate change.

Celebrities such as Ricky Gervais were said to be interested in presenting the show, which would have involved viewers in a mass "switch-off" to save energy.

The BBC says it cut the special because audiences prefer factual output on climate change. Environmentalists slammed the decision as "cowardice".


[Said an unnamed BBC spokeswoman:] Our audiences tell us they are most receptive to documentary or factual style programming as a means of learning about the issues surrounding this subject, and as part of this learning we have made the decision not to proceed with the Planet Relief event.

Instead we will focus our energies on a range of factual programmes on the important and complex subject of climate change. This decision was not made in light of the recent debate around impartiality.
I would be surprised and impressed if they did switch to "factual style programming." Not factual programming, mind you, but factual style programming. Still, that's a start.

Maybe they just realized something.

Or maybe they just realized that promoting a mass switch-off would be bad for ratings, if that mass switch-off included switching off the telly.


So I guess if you're a reloader, you could call it "Chamferin' Around".

Via Say Uncle.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Dan McKown in the news again

Since I haven't seen anyone else mention this. I'm sure everyone who reads this blog knows his name, but in case you don't, he was carrying a concealed pistol the day an evil maniac shot up a mall in Washington (state). He hesitated before shooting and was badly wounded because the shooter did not hesitate. He's still a hero in my book.

McKown recently testified in the Tacoma Mall shooting trial:
"I prayed a very unappropriate prayer – 'God let me shoot this guy before he shoots somebody else'. I thought I was dead," said McKown.
Not so inappropriate. Praying for strength to stop a force of evil is never inappropriate.

The shooter survived. Many of his victims did not. Dan McKown will likely be partially paralyzed for the rest of his life.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

So much for "Leslie"

The headline says "Venezuela to ban stupid names." No. It should read: Venzuela to ban names that some socialist government bureaucrat thinks aren't socialist enough. But then it's from Metro UK so what should I expect?
Thinking of naming your baby Hersony, Nohemar - or even Superman?

Such odd names might be turned down by the civil registry if Venezuela approves a bill barring parents from giving their children 'names that expose them to ridicule, are extravagant or difficult to pronounce,' or that raise doubts about whether a child is a girl or a boy.
Nobody's business. Although I suppose if you name your kid Fire you can't take him into a crowded theater.
The new bill proposes to create a list of traditional names that could be offered to parents 'as a reference' to provide options when they are registering their child's birth. It says the list would have 'no fewer than 100 names' and would grow over time.
"Fidel" and "Ernesto" are at the top of the list, I'm sure.

What most people don't know is that this is directly related to a traumatic odd-naming experience in Hugo Chavez' own past.
UPDATE: As of September 13, they have apparently changed their minds. The Venezuelan government is concerned about "the right to liberty?" Now that is odd.

More Pratchett Wisdom

God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of his own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players, to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.

--Terry Pratchett

That's one expensive rubber stamp

The classification process cost us $8.2 billion last year:
Among the findings from the report:

Businesses enjoyed a no-bid process for 26 percent, or $107.5 billion, of the federal government's business last year.

President Bush has issued at least 151 signing statements challenging 1,149 provisions of laws passed by Congress. Before 2000, presidents had signed fewer than 600 statements over the nation's 211-year history.

The Defense Department has more than doubled in real terms the amount it spends on classified weapons acquisitions since 1995. While the number of classification decisions actually dropped by 10 percent to 231,995 last year, the number of documents related to each one of those decisions ballooned to 20.3 million, up by 43 percent.

And those figures do not include the untold number of documents that are locked away by federal agencies in categories known as "pseudo-classification." These are unclassified documents that government bureaucrats deem too sensitive for public consumption. There is no oversight of these categories to ensure that the documents should be removed from the public domain.

The report also found that the Bush administration has invoked a legal tool known as the "state secrets" privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court.

Between 1977 and 2000, administrations used the privilege 59 times. Over the past six years, the White House has invoked the privilege 38 times, more than double the rate of administrations during that time frame.
That emphasis is mine. Read it all, but take your Tums first.

Who says retirement causes boredom?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Blogging notes

I installed the old favicon. You might have to reload the site or delete your browser's cache or something before it shows up, but it's working with Firefox.

I'm going to be posting some of the more high traffic posts from the Eponym blog over here. I'm going to post them with their original dates, so they probably won't show up on the front page or the RSS feed, but if they do, I'm just posting them for the archives.

I don't think I'm going to be joining any of the big blogrolls this time. However, there are still a few things I need to add to the sidebars.

R.I.P. Global Warming

Interesting essay by Alan Caruba called The Year the Global Warming Hoax Died:
When did the global warming hoax die? Historians are likely to pinpoint 2007. It will take another decade to insure it cannot be revived, but the avalanche of scientific studies and the cumulative impact of scientists who have publicly joined those who debunked the lies on which it has been based will be noted as the tipping point.

It took some forty years to unmask the Piltdown Man hoax that began in 1912 alleging that the skull of an ancient ancestor of man had been found in England. Any number of British anthropologists unwittingly contributed to the hoax by confirming the authenticity of the skull until it was found that the jaw of an orangutan had been cunningly attached. The unmasking of “global warming” has taken less than half that time.
Maybe he's too optimistic. Once people dedicate themselves to a religion it takes a lot of work to dislodge them. And of course NPR will still be flogging the skeletal remains of something that may have once been that horse for decades to come.

A good read, anyway. Sort of a collection of "nails in the coffin."

Xrlq debunks Snopes

Snopes appears to be working for Hillary. Or at least doing their best to cover her ***.

Bias at Snopes is not something new. Insane Troll Logic noticed it more than two years ago.

Letter to the editor response

I finally got a response to the letter to the editor that I sent in regarding the August 28 ammo buy. As I feared, my letter was sent too late to appear in the paper for that week. They could have printed it the following week but by that time it would have been too late.

However, the editor did invite me to write a follow-up letter, so I guess I'll need to put something together about activities on that day. I think it would be best to focus on the "hordes" of protesters that didn't actually show up for the protests.

So now I'll have to start combing through everyone's recent archives to gather the information.

My local paper is a weekly that covers the county I live in. I don't count any San Antonio papers as "local" because I don't live there.

Unlike most big-city papers, our little paper is focused on small town and rural happenings and is quite conservative in nature.

Wednesday Vintage Gun Ad, 1940s: Western Super-X Ammo

Western Super-X in .22 Long Rifle hollow point: the solution to the Evil Woodchuck Menace.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Thanks, Blogger!

They fixed my blog so I don't have to word-verify my own posts anymore. I think Scribefire will work now. This is a test post.

Interesting visit today

Monday, September 03, 2007

Cthulhu Milhouse Ftaghn

At Far Out Shirts.

Interview with Michael DeBose in USCCA Magazine

If you're not a subscriber to Concealed Carry Magazine, beg or borrow a copy because there's an interview in it that should be read by everyone. Even better that it be read by those who think self-defense is wrong.

Mark Walters, who writes the regular "The Ordinary Guy" column for the magazine, interviewed Representative Michael DeBose of Ohio. DeBose had a solid record of being against individuals carrying a handgun for self defense, and voted against Ohio's concealed carry bill twice, before it became law.

He was recently the intended victim of an attempted mugging, and it changed his mind.
Well to be honest with you, I'm not promoting guns quite honestly. I voted against concealed carry twice but when this happened--someone points a gun at you and you feel hopeless and helpless and you want some way to defend yourself and your family--then your perspective changes. Any person who has a gun pulled on them has walked in my shoes. Quite frankly, I don't want to experience that again. I don't want them to either. It changed my views in that I'm only dealing with me. I can't tell other people what to do and I'm not encouraging other people to do something that I'm doing. I'm only dealing with myself. It's in my best interest to get a gun.


I would like people to understand one thing. Don't judge people by what they do or what they don't do. Until you've walked in that person's shoes, you don't understand what brought them to that decision. This decision has been a personal one. I'm not after anyone to be a copycat and I'm not going around starting trouble with a gun. I'm not going around asking people to get out of my way and like I'm some type of bully. The only thing I'm saying is that you have to have an equalizer on the street. These streets are dangerous. There are killers and they're equal opportnity murderers. These people are mean-spirited and they're evil. You have to have a way to get their attention to let them know that you're not playing with them. Bottom line is, personally I'm not taking it anymore. We have to take our streets back. We have to take our neighborhoods back. I'm not moving. I'm not going to leave the area. I'm not going to run and I'm not going to stop taking my walks because I need the exercise. So I'm going to continue to do what I was doing and nobody's going to stop me from doing it.
Also worth pointing out is that he says "I got hammered in the papers." But on a personal level, he has "got more support than negative publicity." That is, person to person he's had a lot of support on his decision, but the media was against him. His local paper wouldn't even print any letters to the editor that supported him--even though he knew such letters were being sent in.

There are also a couple of things worth mentioning in the epilogue to this interview. Jim Irvine of The Buckeye Firearms Association organized a concealed carry training class for DeBose which also included "a group of his associates, friends and neighbors."

Also, Cor-Bon donated "several thousand high quality rounds of various calibers used during the training class."

The final word:
Rep. DeBose and his wife have since applied for and received their Ohio CCW licenses.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


Via The Militant Libertarian.


Nothing to do with meerschaum this time, but this:
It was as if someone had poured tons of coffee and milk into the ocean, then switched on a giant blender.

Suddenly the shoreline north of Sydney were transformed into the Cappuccino Coast.

Foam swallowed an entire beach and half the nearby buildings, including the local lifeguards' centre, in a freak display of nature at Yamba in New South Wales.

One minute a group of teenage surfers were waiting to catch a wave, the next they were swallowed up in a giant bubble bath. The foam was so light that they could puff it out of their hands and watch it float away.
No, it was not due to human pollution of the ocean. It was something natural that just happens sometimes. Follow the link for all the details and some cool pix.

Via The Agitator.

Drive faster, Grace...

For David Codrea's Hitching a Ride with Grace photoshop suggestion. This is really the only photo I have of myself that's easily GIMPed. Taken when I was posing for one of those old-timey photos dressed as a Civil War-era soldier. Back then I wore glasses only for reading. And I don't have a photo of myself with a pipe.

I couldn't resist adding a little something extra.

Barbecue time again

I got volunteered to barbecue tomorrow. It seems even my dad was impressed by my barbecuing skills, so he wants me to smoke up a bunch of meat for him.

So I went to H.E.B. yesterday and got one of those combination scraper/brass brush thingies and just did a major clean-up on the old New Braunfels Smoker. I just now finished cleaning it up in time for it to start raining hard. Lately the rain has been sticking to the late afternoon, so I'm hoping I have some non-rain barbecue time tomorrow morning. If not, it's not like I haven't barbecued in the rain before. Shoot, I even barbecued in a freezing rain once. They're forecasting a 70% chance of rain tomorrow.

I also stocked up on some mesquite and hickory chunks. I have eaten meat barbecued with oak, and I'm sure I will again, but I won't be the one to smoke it. I much prefer mesquite. I smoke it on a mixture of about 2/3 mesquite and 1/3 hickory. I've also used pecan wood before, and it was nice. It has a much mellower flavor than mesquite. I think next time I do chicken I'll try it with pecan. I haven't tried any fruit-tree wood yet, but I've heard good things about apple wood.

UPDATE: On the menu for today: beef shoulder roast, pork roast, pork ribs, and a sausage made by the local meat market.

UPDATE 2: Success! Also on the menu were mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, zipper peas and pinto beans with butter cake (chocolate icing) for dessert. Whew. Also while tending the smoker, I did a thorough reaming and cleaning of my old Wellington pipe. It really needed it. Once put back into condition, it reminded me what an excellent old pipe it is.

No "back-ho" jokes, please

If you haven't already seen this collection of vintage album covers at Dark Roasted Blend, then by all means go check them out. There used to be a few used book & record stores that I would haunt in which I would go through the old albums just to look at the covers. Some of these shown at the link are funny, some are just odd, and some show how times have changed.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Alien Puerto Rican goat suckers in Texas

I suppose someone out there might be waiting for me to comment on the alleged chupacabra that was recently found near Cuero. It has something to do with Texas, and I've made no secret that I'm sort of a minor cryptozoology buff.

I don't for a minute believe this is anything but a canine with a horrific case of mange.

The person of interest says she thinks it's Chupy because her chickens weren't eaten, just killed, and "all the blood was drained from them."

Dogs will do that. I have witnessed dogs killing for fun--and put a stop to it, but not before several livestock were killed. And, well, when a chicken is mutilated by a dog it tends to bleed out, you know.

The picture accompanying this article isn't very good, only the head. I saw a full body picture somewhere else several days ago and immediately thought it was probably a fox.

Of course, I'm still looking forward to reading about the results of the DNA test they're planning on.

I'm thinking that the wildlife biologists should start studying why these kinds of cases of very bad mange are getting to be more common.

The unspeakable deeps

The feeling of wetness at meine kleine fabrik:

In 1928 the naturalist William Beebe described his experiences as a helmet diver in the book Beneath Tropic Seas. Beebe felt that our existing terrestrial vocabulary was an inexact and at times unimaginative instrument for gauging the world beneath the waves. For example, he wrote: "I know the exact shade of a certain feathery sea plume, but resent having to refer to it as zinc orange. Yet I am always pleased when I detect salmon, or pearl-grey or ultramarine." Beebe struggled to present an accurate and poetic account of the fantastic visions presented to him by the ocean realm, but he was not the first.


During the fall of 1957 an unusual find was made at Cornell University in upstate New York. Professor Thomas Eisner, a young faculty member who was working in Roberts Hall and had begun to explore its musty corridors, found a series of locked antique wooden cabinets. Through the dingy glass windows were visible hundreds of delicate and unusual sea creatures, all the more extraordinary because landlocked Ithaca is several hundred miles away from the closest tide pools. Eisner, now recognized as a founder of the field of chemical ecology, and his graduate student Roger Payne, who later discovered that Humpback whales sing songs [endnote 1], picked the locks with a paper clip and were absolutely mesmerized to find that the highly detailed ocean invertebrates, including octopus, squid, pelagic snail, and sea cucumber, were made of glass. Altogether, 570 creatures had been-well, how had they been?-fashioned by someone, for some purpose. But why? And when?
Another item that reminds me of Lovecraftian things.

The beauty and detail of this naturalistic artwork is also amazing. Check the link, there are more pictures and lots more information there.

Got my buckshot

The FedEx guy showed up around 9:00PM Thursday night. What a job, to be delivering ammo way out here in the boonies so late at night. He had his hazards flashing as he came down the driveway, which I thought was kind of strange. It's not like he was parking in the driveway at 5:00AM or anything.

Anyhow, the .410 buckshot is a sleek-looking load. Makes me want to get a motorcycle and a derringer so I can go bear hunting.

I need to do some patterning tests now. For the record the .410 is just a single-shot H&R. The 20 gauge is a Mossberg pump.

Why a 20 and not a 12? Because I bought it for dove hunting, and I can't hit a flying dove--well sometimes I can. The 20 is much cheaper on the wallet when I don't have much chance of hitting anything anyway and I can bang away all day without tenderizing my shoulder.

I was once told that I'd be able to hit more dove if I put in some practice, but I think it's because the doves around here can go between.


The Firearms Coalition is going on the offensive:
The Firearms Coalition has drafted legislation which would restrict any federal funds from going to any college or university which prohibits employees and students who may lawfully possess and carry defensive weapons off campus from possessing and carrying those weapons on campus. We call it HELPS, the Higher Education Lawful Personal Security Act and we believe it could be passed in the 110th Congress.

There is absolutely no way to keep armed and dangerous criminals and lunatics from bringing weapons onto a college campus. The forced disarmament of employees and adult students does nothing but reduce the likelihood that there might be someone with a gun in the right place at the right time to stop criminal violence and save lives. Disarming law-abiding adults, who happen to be employed by, or attend a college and who lawfully and safely carry defensive firearms when not on campus, is not just irrational - it’s downright criminal.

It’s past time for the gun rights movement to stop pussy-footing around and take a strong, public, and principled stand. We know what’s right and sensible and we need to act on that knowledge.We must stop playing political games, by the politician’s rules, at the cost of our children’s lives. The United States Congress has the power to stop federal funds – including research grants and student loans – from going to schools with disarmament policies – whether those policies come from the school itself or from state government. The people have the power to force Congress to take such actions.
I'm sure there will be plenty of nay-sayers who will declaim it as a waste of time. But if you get enough people hammering at a brick wall long enough, eventually something's gotta crack.