Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Kinetic Totems


Danse Macabre by Patrice Hubert.

One last Halloween-ish post for the day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Guns Magazine

It looked like I managed to get the last copy of the most recent issue at Walmart today. Not another one to be seen anywhere on the shelves. Grabbed it in between Dremel cutting wheels and a Mountain Dew.

I'll have to go ahead and subscribe. It'll be cool to have all of 2006 on a CD (their bonus offer).

Little Orphant Annie by James Whitcomb Riley

Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at git you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!

Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz jist his pants an' roundabout:--
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!

An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' jist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!

An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!

Something a little creepy for Halloween. This poem and the accompanying illustration of spectral goblins with clawed arms as long as their bodies scared the snot out of me when I was 4 or 5 years old.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Friday

The battery in my truck bit the dust today. It still has voltage but no amps for cranking. So I'm gonna have to be juggling vehicles for a couple of days until I can get a new battery in it, which is going to be made more difficult because the screw on the ground terminal is proving impossible to loosen. I'll probably have to cut it off and replace it, which means I'll also have to find a new screw.

However, I recently learned I have a personal holiday that I have to schedule, so I'm going to be off this Friday. I plan on going to Bullet Hole and getting in a long overdue range day. So if any San Antonio area bloggers want to see me miss a silhouette target at 7 yards because it's been so long since I actually fired a pistol, here's your chance.

UPDATE: Thanks to a Dremel tool and a drill I got the bad screw cut off/drilled out without damaging the terminal. New battery tomorrow. It's hard to take care of stuff like this when I have to work all day. And I've been doing the Dominion this week. It takes at least three days to do the Dominion and Crownridge combined. I'm hoping that tomorrow I get a normal route and the guy I've been helping just finishes it by himself. Anyway, there's no early finish time when you're on the Dominion.

UPDATE UPDATE: One $80 battery later, and the truck is ready to go again.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Olympic training, Chinese style (sort of)


Link.

Note picture #8 in the slideshow at the link. They are carefully training their stewards in all matter of tiny details, and yet they appear to be training them to use the "dead fish" handshake.

Try not to spend too much time on picture #3.

Sunday afternoon top 10

Rules: load the entire "My Music" folder into Winamp, randomize the list, and here's the first ten:

1. Toad the Wet Sprocket -- Something to Say
2. Kitaro -- Kaleidoscope
3. REM -- I Believe
4. Dead Can Dance -- Yulunga (Spirit Dance)
5. Suzanne Vega -- Stockings
6. Acoustic Alchemy -- On the Case
7. Keola Beamer -- E Ku'u (Morning Dew)
8. Lynyrd Skynyrd -- Tuesday's Gone
9. Jimmy Smith -- Come On Baby
10. Midnight Oil -- Mountains of Burma

Meet your friendly neighborhood homegrown terrorist



Details at The War On Guns.

I don't know if this would turn out well on a t-shirt, but I think I'm going to try it out.

Disturbing news about Kucinich

At The Plain Dealer:
Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich has seen a UFO, writes Shirley MacLaine in her new book, "Sage-Ing While Age-Ing."

Kucinich, she writes on page143-144 of the book, "had a close sighting over my home in Graham, Washington, when I lived there. Dennis found his encounter extremely moving. The smell of roses drew him out to my balcony where, when he looked up, he saw a gigantic triangular craft, silent, and observing him. It hovered, soundless, for ten minutes or so, and sped away with a speed he couldn't comprehend. He said he felt a connection in his heart and heard directions in his mind."
Yes folks, it's really true. Kucinich hangs out at Shirley MacLaine's house.

[Shudder...]

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I hate working on Saturday

There's a Halloween party tonight, mostly for the kids, but I let my wife take them. I'm just too burned out. Also I pulled a muscle in my back lifting a heavy meter lid. I guess I wasn't standing at the exactly the right angle or something.

So the comic I posted previous to this popped into my head today in between my sullen plottings about what I would do if I became supreme overlord of the multiverse. I thought it was funny.

Then we had to move a sofa today after I got home, and that didn't help a whole lot, but we have a new(er) sofa now. Played the Illinois Howl files for my dad and he says they're wolves. Maybe, maybe not.

But that put us on the topic of odd animals, and I learned that there have been increasingly frequent sightings of coatimundi in the area.


That's pretty cool.

Blogger's Halloween

Friday, October 26, 2007

Luck is a lady whose smile is as cold as a stone...

Tonight's vinyl ripping. I still enjoy listening to the old albums like this now and then. I really like the pipe organ on "I'm O.K." Lots of fantastic synthesizer work on this album, too, back when all the synths were still analog.

The Illinois Howl

The Blogsquatcher (cool blog name, btw) tries analyzing some recordings of what is being called "The Illinois Howl."
These recordings, gathered over a period of two months in the spring of 2006, have some very interesting characteristics.

Skeptics who have heard the files have said that they were made by coyotes. I don’t think that’s the case and I want to use this space to show some of the reasons I don’t think so.
I'm very familiar with the sounds of coyotes and these are definitely not the sounds of coyotes. I'm thoroughly unfamiliar with wolf sounds so can't comment on that.

The sounds remind me of that Bigfoot documentary-style movie that came out in the 70s. What was the name of that movie, anyway? Remember the sounds the 'Squatches were supposed to make? It started as a very low growl, and then ascended into a higher-pitched howl. I used to imitate it at night to scare my sisters.

Of course, Bigfoot watchers, or whatever they're called, are claiming these are Bigfoot noises, of course. I'll not comment on that. I have an open mind, but I try to keep the screen door closed.

Anyhow, whatever made those noises was loud enough to stir up the neighborhood dogs, as can be heard. It would certainly be a creepy sound to hear at night when you have no idea what the origin is.

Via Nick Redfern.

What of Radical Edward?


I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel series to Cowboy Bebop that takes place another 10-20 or so years in the future (from the series perspective) and be focused on the adventures of an adult Ed. The other characters need not be involved. Although if pressed, I would say that Jet and Faye have by that time both quit bounty hunting. Jet becomes a private detective and Faye becomes a school teacher at an orphanage on Earth. As for Spike, no one knows...

FYI, if you haven't watched the show: Ed is a girl. She's a very talented hacker.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Grumph

I played around a made a special Halloween header, but there doesn't appear to be any way to embed it in the template. So if you want to see it, go here.

Here's my take...

Fits asked Is Christianity good for the world and points out a few "isolated instances" of so-called "Christian" atrocities.

Preemption aside, these are isolated instances which are recognized as not Christian behavior and are condemned by the Christian world at large.

The difference between Christianity and Islam is very clear. And here it is.

Christians are taught to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself."

Furthermore Christians are taught to "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation."

Whereas, Moslems are taught to go into all the world and kill everyone who doesn't agree with you, unless they submit to becoming slaves to their Moslem masters, in which case, it's still okay to kill them if you feel like it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Is this the reason, deep in our minds...

This night's work. Having some technical difficulties with this ancient stereo console. I could use a new turntable.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cinders

Yeah, I'm suffering burn-out, as I mentioned to El Capitan at the mini-blogmeet the other day. I'm still reading all my favorite blogs, I just don't have much to say myself.

I have been trying to think of some stuff for Cowboy Blob's Halloween contest, although I don't know if I can top Helen Thomas as Elvira.

And, the digitization project is continuing, slowly but surely. Here are the latest three.




King Tut's death may have been solved

At The Independent:
The mystery behind the sudden death of Tutankhamun, the boy king who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago, may have been finally solved by scientists who believe that he fell from a fast-moving chariot while out hunting in the desert.

Speculation surrounding Tutankhamun's death has been rife since his tomb was broken into in 1922 by archaeologist Howard Carter. X-rays of the mummy taken in 1968 indicated a swelling at the base of the skull, suggesting "King Tut" was killed by a blow to the head.

More recent studies using a CT medical scanner, however, revealed he suffered a badly broken leg, just above his knee just before he died. That in turn probably led to lethal blood poisoning. Now further evidence has come to light suggesting that he suffered the fracture while hunting game from a chariot.
A lesson on the perils of road hunting.

Monday, October 22, 2007

More utterly weird "Halloween" costumes

Cracked has another article on bizarre Halloween (so they say) costumes, this time from Germany.


This is not the funniest one. Actually I think the "socialized medicine" guy is pretty funny. No, I chose this one because it's totally creepy. I mean, if flying monkeys suddenly became real, and I saw a real flying monkey, I would just start shooting. In fact, I might just drop everything and dedicate my life to the complete elimination of flying monkeys. I think I might have had a run-in with some of these during a previous life on an alien planet or something. I don't know. There's just something fundamentally wrong with the concept of a flying monkey.

If I saw a person wearing this costume, I'd probably settle for just knocking him down the stairs or something.

Do it, Bill, do it!

Just joining in the fun of pointing out how Obama is a totally clueless dipwad.

Doesn't it look like Richardson is about to smack him upside the head?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Mini-Meet Pix

Baboon Pirates posts a report on the mini-meet, including pictures. With faces covered to protect the guilty.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Blogger mini-meet

I enjoyed myself today, and it was fun finally seeing a few faces behind the blogs. The best part is, now I can put one of those "bloggers I've met" things on my sidebar like all the cool bloggers have!

IN UR CORNRZ

My contribution is up at LOLTHULHU.

I had originally sent in a different picture with the caption, but he had a much better picture of a Hound of Tindalos than the one I used, so he put my caption on the other picture.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ruger SR9

Via Shooting Wire:
At the stroke of midnight yesterday, Ruger turned up an area of their website that may change how firearms are introduced to shooters. Rather than the long-accepted practice of offering previews and private showings to magazine writers months in advance (so as to allow the months of lead time necessary to get their writing and photography ready) Ruger stayed mum, shipping writers' guns out a day in advance of their announcement.

Interestingly enough, The Gun Cellar in Hoover, Alabama - the FFL where my gun was shipped - told me they pre-ordered their SR9s based solely on pictures - there were no advance pistols available.

Appropriately enough, this new rollout concept has been called "Red October." Like like the movie of the same name, the launch was synonymous with an unexpected change - although I wouldn't characterize the introduction as a sneak attack.

It truly was a novel idea - after hearing the "buzz" about a new shooter, shoppers would walk into a gun store - and there, in all its newness would sit the new Ruger SR 9. No months of waiting, no hoping the final product would resemble the prototypes in the magazines, just an announcement that a new gun was -gasp- available.

It truly is a new paradigm in firearms marketing.
And here it is.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I don't understand it, but I'm pretty sure I just lost some SAN...


Cracked has an article on totally weird Japanese costumes. They say they're Halloween costumes, but, you know, you never can tell.

The Idiot AJ* in Dallas

UPDATE: Looks like I was wrong, sort of. Instead of pulling the race card, she pulled the gender card. But hey, there's still plenty of time.

Everybody already knows about this, I suppose. I haven't watched the video because I'm on dial-up and downloading videos takes a while. Also I've already read enough about it that I think watching it would be a waste of time.

So here's my take: this pathetic excuse for a woman is just another celebrity idiot savant. Not much of a celebrity, I admit, being only a TV news hound in Dallas, but still. Her skill is reading a teleprompter and looking like she knows what she's talking about. Notice I said looking like, because like all celebrity idiot savants, she actually hasn't the slightest clue as to what is right and what is wrong, or what should be done and what should not be done. She has this fatal character flaw in common with all the other celebrity idiot savants who assault our consciousness every day. To her, this was just another grab for attention, and she was so caught up in her own arrogance that she couldn't see she was going to get hammered for it.

I hope she has learned now, but I doubt it. I expect her to pull the racial card on this one. In fact, I think her actions are probably racially motivated, but that's just my hunch. I have nothing to back it up.

My prediction: A year from now she'll have her own talk show on Univision, specializing in how the evil bolillos persecuted her out of her job.

Also: she is not the only one at fault. All those other people who were involved in approving this story are just as at fault as she is. She is only the scapegoat. The entire management of that station should all be fired.

UPDATE: A couple of weeks ago this imbecile was awarded "Broadcast Journalist of the Year honors from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists." And now:
NAHJ wrote the station manager late Thursday urging that Rebecca Aguilar be reinstated "for the sake of good journalism and maintaining your newscasts' credibility in the local community and national journalism community."
There's a shocker. I expect LULAC and La Raza must be working themselves into a mighty fine lather right about now, and we'll be hearing from them soon, as well. If NAHJ were really paying attention they would know exactly how the "local community" feels about her. But they are obviously dedicated to supporting someone based solely on her racial heritage rather than her actual ability or talent.

Via A Keyboard and a .45.

*AJ = "Authorized Journalist."

Jacket art


Guess the jacket art. Reward? You don't need no stinkin' reward! Okay, how about a link.

ANSWER:

Who are you trying to kid, Rick?

Houston Chronicle:
Gov. Rick Perry's endorsement Wednesday of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for the Republican presidential nomination sparked renewed speculation that Perry is seeking a spot on the ticket as a vice-presidential candidate.
I've never been entirely comfortable with Perry as gov, something about him just didn't sit well with me, even though he appeared friendly to the CHLers. He lost me for good with all that Trans Texas Corridor nonsense, but this is just mind boggling.

Seems like he's been drinking the "Giuliani is the only viable candidate" kool-aid. He's probably been living in Austin too long.

Via the Pistolero.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Guess the jacket art

This might be fun. Or not. I'll post a clip of the cover art for every record/tape I record to digital. See if you can guess the album from the jacket art. The first one doesn't have much art to speak of, so it'll be either easy or impossible.


This one was slightly more convenient because it was from cassette, so I didn't have to run the pop/click filter on it.

ANSWER:

A lost salt found...

My wife just called and said she found McCormick's Hickory Smoked Salt at Big Lots. "They're two dollars each," she said, "how many do you want?" This stuff usually costs around $5 a pop.

This is the salt that they discontinued. Eventually I'll have to figure out some other brand to use, and actually mail-order it. But for now at least, I can keep making my jerky with my original ingredient.

I think of you, and let it go...

A long time ago I bought this thing called an iMic. I played around with it a little but never did anything serious with it. Today, in a task that was way more strenuous than it should have been (still kind of woozy from that flu shot), I dug out some patch cords and messed around with an old Zenith stereo and my computer and got everything to work.

Now I can begin digitizing my vinyl collection. This is a very time-intensive job, but what the hey, I need something to do when I get burned out on blogging. Also, I have a lot of records that I haven't listened to in a long, long time.

So I record the records using Gold Wave, which I also use to normalize and filter the pops & clicks, then break the big one-side-of-an-album .wav file into the individual songs, save them to mp3, and set the tags with MP3 Tag Tools. No, it doesn't have sparkling digital clarity. But who needs cold, brittle digital when you can have that warm, fuzzy analog?

Today I just grabbed one off the shelf that was easy to reach to start with. Considered a one-hit wonder in the United States, Nena is nevertheless an international (and especially German) star who continues to record music and, if I recall correctly, writes children's books. And besides, 99 Red Balloons is not my favorite song from this record. My favorite is one called ?, which makes it quite difficult to Google lyrics for. I could understand everything she sang except one line that I wasn't sure of, but I finally found it. The English translation of the German lyrics is not the same as the English lyrics of her English version, if you can follow that.

My mind makes up ideas
That I forget too fast
How do I know when it begins
No one can tell me
What could be the best
Hey that's one thing I'd never miss
I look around and try it out
I don't know which way to go

Today I'm coming
Today I'm leaving too
And tomorrow it's gonna be all over
Maybe I'll stick around
Come bother yesterday
Today I need a love that never ends

You drive your car too fast
You're just traveling around
I haven't seen much of this world
No one can tell me
Who the greatest is
Hey, that's one thing I'd never miss
'cause I really know so well
What will be the best for me

Today I'm coming
Today I'm leaving too
And tomorrow it's gonna be all over
Maybe I'll stick around
Come bother yesterday
Today I need a love that never ends

And it ends with a one-and-a-half-minute saxophone solo of such wistful joy that it always chokes me up a little. One of my aborted projects from days gone by was to put together a mix tape of pop songs I liked featuring the saxophone. This song would have been on it.

When I get around to putting together my mix CD of The Official Soundtrack of the Blogonomicon, this will definitely be on it.

Lyrics thanks to Nena Fanwebsite.

Nice pumpkins


From BBC.

Mini Texas Blogmeet!

El Capitan has organized a mini-blogmeet in the burgeoning metropolis of Lockhart, Texas. Just a hop, skip and a jump from my home QTH. I plan on being there. Follow the link for details & location.

I'll be sure and bring a pipe (or two), in case some of y'all start firing up the stogies.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Argh...

Now that I'm a real employee of an actual municipal utility company instead of a red-headed bastard step-child of one contractor, my life is apparently more valuable and I rate a free flu shot.

(Note: This is not a stab at my current employer. It is a stab at my previous one).

Free for me, anyway. I suppose ultimately the rate-payers of San Antonio paid for it. So, thanks.

I've never had a flu shot before. I've heard it can sometimes make the recipient sick.

Well, guess what.

The Omnipotent Rudy G.

Seen at Shooting The Messenger:
R. GIULIANI: "Honestly, in most respects, I don't know Hillary's experience. She's never run a city, she's never run a state. She's never run a business. She has never met a payroll. She has never been responsible for the safety and security of millions of people, much less even hundreds of people."
Amazing. Rudy made himself personally responsible for the safety and security of millions of New Yorkers who he had a large part in disarming--ensuring they could not be responsible for their own safety and security. So he personally watched over each and every individual to make sure they were safe and secure.

Or did I misinterpret something here?

Joining the Tribe

UPDATE: Email I just sent to Jeff.
I had sent in a photo to be included on the site. However, I would now like to request that it not be added. I don't want to appear in the same group with that idiot with the red bandanna.
For what it's worth.


Just sent this pic in to People of the Gun. I don't do poses well, but I guess it gets the message across.

I couldn't come up with a decent stance that would both show the gun and the "Republic of Texas" logo on the t-shirt.

My daughter took the picture.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Unbelievable Rudy G.

Anyone can make flash movies with Toufee.com

Having problems getting this one to work right. The music keeps looping even though it's not supposed to. Right click to stop the music when the show is finished, or mute it while the show is still going. Otherwise, if I can't fix it I'll delete it.

url

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Crazy Sam

I think I have been somewhat remiss in not mentioning that my favorite (or should I say "favourite") Canadian blogger Samantha Burns has begun blogging again, after taking some time off for other pursuits.

She's taken a new direction from her previous blogging. She's now trying her hand at editorial cartoons. Her artistry may not be super-spectacular, but seeing as how it's infinitely better than anything I could draw, I don't have much room to complain. Anyway, I like it.

Roundups and Carnivals

Falling behind...

I am getting behind in keeping up with blog reading. I still check all my most tip-top favorites, but I'm having a hard time keeping up. Real life, and all that. Also, I've been putting together some raw materials for another slide show. It takes me a lot of time, even though it's going to be short. I might make two versions, one "wide screen" with sound and another "tower" style to fit a sidebar, with no sound. I'll have to see how they come out.

The most onerous part of this one is that I've been extracting audio sound bites from videos. Which means I've been doing some sound editing and listening to freakin' Giuliani's monotonous drone over and over again all morning. Yeesh. I think I need a nap.

The Party of Pragmatism

Joe Carter writes on The Pragmatic Party of Death:
Still, I am shocked that Republicans are willing to signal their utter disregard and disrespect for social conservatives by considering Giuliani as a tenable candidate. They used to think we were a force that had to placacted. Now, they have gauged our resolve and realized they can treat us with impunity since we will set aside our principles in the name of pragmatism.
His article centers around abortion, but all the points he makes could be equally applied to the so-called pro-rkba movement.

An interesting acquisition

An aunt of mine found a shoebox full of gun stuff in her garage that she thought she'd gotten rid of years ago, after her husband had died. She took it to my dad, who is one of our two family gun nuts. He said he had no use for it (except for a couple of boxes of .22 shells) so he passed the box on to me.

Inside is about 100 plastic practice shells and projectiles in .38. This is the kind of practice ammo that is loaded with only a primer. I actually bought some of these a while back but never got around to buying the primers for them. Said shoebox also contains several hundred such small pistol primers as are required. They're old, but they were kept in a fairly controlled environment and should still be good.

Also inside was a smaller box of 30-40 .30 carbine cartridges, and what I assume is a magazine for an M-1 Carbine. What is it, a 30-rounder? 25? I didn't load it fully, just put a few shells in the top to confirm that the .30 ammo went with the magazine. The magazine was left unloaded, and the spring seems to still be in perfect condition.

I have no use for the magazine or the .30 ammo. I suppose I can sell the magazine for a few bucks, and I'll just give away the ammo since I have no idea if it's factory or reloads--also it's probably nearly 30 years old. It should still be good enough at least for someone to use as reloading components. (Not that I think ammo has an expiration date. It's just that, although my uncle was a very intelligent, even wise man, and I don't think he would have created any dangerous reloads, I can't personally vouch for how this ammo may have been loaded).

If you're wondering what happened to all my of uncle's guns, well, they were sold after his death. The only one that I know of now is the Ruger old model Single-Six with a 10-inch barrel that my dad bought from my aunt, and which he still has.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Where all those lolcat jokes really come from...

Michigan man with pellet gun saves skunk

A skunk who got his head stuck in a salad dressing jar was saved by a Michigan police officer - from a safe distance.

The skunk, head in jar, wandered into a police station parking lot and was spotted by Officer James Kellett.

Kellett wanted to help, but was wary of the skunk's spray, The Saginaw News reported in its Friday edition.

So, naturally, he grabbed a pellet gun used in hunters' safety courses and shot at the jar from a safe distance.

The shots cracked and shattered the jar, leaving a glass collar around the skunk's neck. With its head free, the skunk ran off.

'I didn't want to use deadly force, and it is a residential area,' said Kellett. 'The way he was when he took off, he was able to eat, breathe and spray - and do anything else skunks like to do.'
Via Metro UK.

The Copycat Effect

Those of you who faithfully--or even agnostically--read this blog probably recall me linking to Cryptomundo on occasion. The blogger there, Loren Coleman, is a foremost authority on one of my sub-hobbies, cryptozoology. What you may not know is that Mr. Coleman has published a book (at least one that I know of) and has another blog on an entirely different matter.

The Copycat Effect keeps track of exactly what it says: the copycat effect in serial killings and mass murder. His observations on the most recent school shooting in Cleveland is here.

Disgusting

So today I bought myself a Mountain Dew so I'd have cold drink while waiting for the bus to drop off the kids. I took about two swallows and realized that something was horribly wrong. It was all I could do to keep from running around the parking lot shrieking, "The aftertaste! The aftertaste!" Instead, I steeled myself and trepidatiously inspected the label. It was as I feared.

I had purchased diet Mountain Dew by mistake.

I honestly don't know how people can stand to drink diet soft drinks. Every one I've ever accidentally sampled (this has happened before--the most notorious instance involving diet 7 Up), every one, I say, tastes like some kind of toxic by-product from a glue factory. With bubbles.

P.S. "Trepidatiously" is apparently not in the dictionary, but it should be.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

not much

Thanks to everyone who left comments on the slide show. I'm going to stick with Toufee and try to make more of these things (it's easy and it's free). They have some pretty good upgrades to their service coming down the pike.

Also, I noticed the white screen problem on some other slide shows, so it's not just me. I did email their support about it, but haven't heard back.

There probably won't be much activity here for a couple of days. Long days and being worn out from work just makes me want to go to sleep watching TV.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Skelamingos

I've never understood why anyone would want to put plastic pink flamingos in their yard. But I could go for these.

Seen at Seventh Avenue.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Force

Flash movies are fun to make at Toufee.com

Special thanks to Armed and Safe for plenty of link references and the Tench Coxe quote. Also thanks to The War On Guns for the slideshow idea. I didn't use slide.com because there didn't appear to be a way to upload custom music for the slideshow, but I'll take another look and see if I missed something.

I'm seeing a minor problem with this slideshow. I get a white screen that flashes very briefly between each slide. I don't know if this is because I'm on dial-up or what--in any case, I can't figure out how to fix it. If anyone else sees it too let me know. I might try making this slideshow again with off-line software that I recently downloaded.

url

UPDATE: On 15 November this post was noticed by several other blogs, and the hits are just pouring in. I just want to say thank you to everyone who has linked to it.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Hunting safety concerns in Wisconsin

Brian Dorrington, spokesman for Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital (Milwaukee) says:
This year is no exception, and the need for practicing hunting safety cannot be over-emphasized.
So he's talking about hunters negligently shooting themselves or each other, right?

No. Apparently their primary concern for hunter safety is that hunters keep falling out of trees.

In one sense, this amuses me a little. In another sense, I realize it is deadly serious. I spent more than my share of time (in my opinion) in rickety tree stands when I was younger. As I grew older and came to suspect that I was not as immortal as I had previously thought, I swore off tree stands. Fortunately, I never fell out of a tree, but there were times when every creak of the wind made my stomach churn a little bit.

Send Conoco a message

Conoco-Phillips "Pleased" to Have Federal Judge Disarm YOU at the War On Guns.

In the "property rights vs. civil rights" argument, I realize some people are torn. Some people think property rights trump all other rights.

They are wrong.

The ultimate right is the right to life. If the right to preserve your own life is taken from you, nothing else matters. Many libertarians say that eventually, if enough people refuse to be employed at such a workplace, the problem will work itself out. The employer will have to change his discriminatory policies to continue to exist.

In other words, if the best job you can get--or the only job in your small town--prohibits you from defending yourself, and you work there anyway, then you deserve to have your rights stripped from you.

Employers should not have legal authority to strip their employees of a fundamental right.

2007 Ig Nobel Awards are out

The BBC has a list of this year's Ig Nobel Award winners.

FYI, this award was created by a science humor magazine called The Annals of Improbable Research to "celebrate the unusual, honour the imaginative - and spur people's interest in science, medicine and technology."

Among this year's award-winners are chemist Mayu Yamamoto for developing a method to extract vanilla fragrance and flavoring from cow dung, a team of linguists from the University of Barcelona for showing that rats are unable to tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and somebody speaking Dutch backwards, and a team of...somethings or others...from the National University of Quilmes, Argentina, for discovering that impotency drugs can help hamsters to recover from jet lag.

Note to the authorized journalists at BBC: AIR is a science humor magazine, not a science magazine. I think there's a big difference.

Full details at AIR.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Been working

Did a little more fence work this morning.

But mostly I've been using an online service called toufee.com to create a Flash slide show.

I didn't want to say anything much about this project in case I decided it was too much work and gave it up. But it looks like I've done about as much with it as I can and I'll be posting it pretty soon. Seeing something like this come to fruition is exciting, and I'll be trying to think of topics for further such projects in the future.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Blog evolution meme

So Hammer tagged me for this meme. I guess he assumed (correctly) that I this is a meme I would enjoy being tagged for. I'm supposed to pick out 5 posts that chart the evolution of this blog.

When I first began this blog, I had no idea what to do with it. At the time I thought I'd just do a clip-blog of things that I thought were interesting or important. An all-linky-no-thinky kind of blog. For the first little while I did pretty well, making 52 posts in about a month and a half.

In looking back at the old archives, I have surprised myself. I was doing then about what I'm doing now. For example, here's one about NASA doing some apparently under-handed data mining, followed by a post linking to the Michael Moore debunking site Bowling for Truth and another about how guns are mis-portrayed in movies.

But then I ran out of steam. I was languishing in obscurity and it was no fun just writing for myself. The rest of 2004 saw sporadic and sparse posting. I did continue to read other blogs the whole time and my blogroll was constantly growing. I just didn't say anything myself. Sometime during this hiatus I discovered the gunbloggersphere. Wow. People were using their blogs to advocate the right to keep and bear arms. Why hadn't I thought of that? Suddenly I had a focus and a reason for doing this.

This post definitely marked an evolution in my blogging, because it was the first time a post of mine was noticed and linked to by another blogger: Lest Darkness Fall. This was also the first time I saw myself on someone else's blogroll. I had arrived. By the way, LDF has been silent for a long time now. I hope you're doing okay.

(This is a two pipe post). I just noticed that in June 2005 I posted twice about anti-self-defense stuff going on at Virginia Tech, here and here. They are not pertinent to the evolution of this blog. I just thought I'd mention them.

Somewhere in here I started contributing to the Carnival of Cordite (RIP). I think this was the first such post.

Things kept plugging along pretty much the same for some time. I moved over to Eponym. And then...

The Guns of Hellsing. I could not then, and still can't believe the traffic this single post generated. It was part of the Carnival of Cordite. Several other bloggers and discussion forums linked to it. Numerous anime websites linked to it. Every single person in the whole world who Googled anything having to do with Hellsing checked it out. Since I had limited bandwidth at Eponym (5 gigs per month), it was wiping me out. I went through two weeks worth of bandwidth in about 3 days. I got a huge rush from all the traffic, but it was going to take me offline for weeks if it didn't stop. I finally resorted to deleting the post from Eponym and reposting it over here. This is still the king of all my posts. Nothing else has ever even come close to touching it.

The next notable evolution in this blog came with my first photoshop. This kind of thing is, for me, the most fun I have with this blog. I wish the muse would visit me more often so I could do this kind of thing more frequently. My p-shopping skills are not that great, but I have a lot of fun with it.

So that's four posts. I should do one more to fit the meme. Uh...well, sometime in there I started trying to do more humorous/satirical stuff like this. I also started recounting some personal experiences, like this.

And then I had to come back to Blogspot. It seems that everyone bailed out at Eponym, and left the lights on. Occasionally a bulb burns out, but there's no one there to replace it. So it seems that I've not changed all that much since I started this thing. Blogging about things that I think are interesting, important, or just plain weird, to include RKBA and other fundamental rights, strange stuff, humor, H.P. Lovecraft and pipe smoking.

So what does the future hold? Probably more of the same, but I do have a couple of new things in mind. Just this week I started on something that will be new for this blog, but it could be several days or even weeks before I finish it because it involves another learning curve.

I never tag anyone for these memes but if anyone reads this and wants to join in, leave a comment and I'll link to you.

I was sure it would be the middle finger...

You Are the Thumb

You're unique and flexible. And you defy any category.
Mentally strong and agile, you do things your own way. And you do them well.
You are a natural leader... but also truly a loner. You inspire many but connect with few.

You get along well with: The Middle Finger

Stay away from: The Pinky

That's actually so right it's spooky. The "natural leader" part is a weird thing. I seem to somehow keep getting myself into leadership positions even though I don't want to, and I think I'm terrible at it.

Seen at Tall Cool Drink of Water.

Digital Forensics

Here's an interesting interview with Hany Farid, Proving That Seeing Shouldn't Always Be Believing:
Q. Why do scientists need to know about this?

A. Because not long ago, researchers from South Korea had to retract papers published in Science because the photographs used to prove that human stem cells had been cloned were effectively Photoshop-cloned, and not laboratory-cloned. There have been other recent cases, too. And today, in science, more and more, photographs are the data. The Federal Office of Research Integrity has said that in 1990, less than 3 percent of allegations of fraud they investigated involved contested images. By 2001, that number was 26 percent. And last year, it was 44.1 percent.

Mike Rossner of The Journal of Cell Biology estimates that 20 percent of the manuscripts he accepts contain at least one figure that has to be remade because of inappropriate image manipulation. He means that the images are not accurate reflections of the original data. Rossner estimates that about 1 percent of the papers have some piece of image data that is downright fraudulent.

Doom, I say

JPFO's Innocents Betrayed is part of a college course

A letter from a teacher at JPFO:
This fall all classes have seen the film in its entirety. One student who believed people should not own guns is now challenging that notion. She was amazed that genocide and defenseless citizens = murder and oppression. When juxtaposed with Susanna Gratia’s tale in that tragic day in Killeen, Texas- this student saw the light that people have the right to defend themselves. She is not comfortable with wholesale gun ownership, but she is now at least listening.

What has amazed me are the numbers of students who see me at the end of class who are comfortable with the message that self-defense is a right. Further, women seem to get it. Two young ladies (18 years old) in class this week believed they had the right to protect themselves. One young man thanked me for showing a film that didn’t malign gun ownership. The rest of the class commented about the somber tone and how it made them think about our government in comparison with other nations.
The letter was written by a college professor who has made the DVD part of the Global Issues course at Georgia College and State University.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Another unexpected search hit

Someone Googled the entire subject of this post.

FYI, it's from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.

In the convoluted pathways of my mind, it seemed appropriate for the post.

Computer ignorance from Hollywood

CRACKED has a hilarious list of 5 Things Hollywood Thinks Computers Can Do:
The aliens in Independence Day were not only thousands of years ahead of us technologically, but also were an entirely different species. Therefore, Goldblum’s feat was the equivalent of colony of baboons in the Congo hacking into CitiBank using tree bark and clumps of their own feces.
And they're dead-on about Sandra Bullock.

The not-so-noble savage

Child mummies 'fattened up' before Inca sacrifice:
Their deaths were terrifying, and Dr Wilson believes they were meant to be. "The logistics of getting the children there needed imperial organisation," he said. "We believe there was some measure of the Incas demonstrating their power to the colonised: obey, or this is what will happen to you."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

No revolver, though

JPFO is marketing Goody Guns, a cookie cutter shaped like a semi-auto pistol.

Each one comes along with a few other goodies. I think I'll have to order one of these.

Taser Registration

As far as I'm concerned, since the Taser is a self-defense device, it is an "arm," and therefore should be protected as an arm under the Second Amendment.

Apparently the Taser company doesn't think so. This page can't be linked to directly. To discover this fine print, you have to go to the Taser website, click on the appropriate page to go to the C2 (the "civilian" model, since "civilians" don't deserve the same level of protection as "law enforcement"), click on "buy now," and then click on the text description. Here's the screen shot of what turns up. Look toward the bottom for the bad news.


So, not only are you forced to register it before it can be activated, you have to pay another $9.95 for it. After registering, the customer is given an activation code which will enable the device.

No, I'm not planning on buying a Taser. But this is something people should know.

And if you think this registration information isn't going into a permanent database, you're fooling yourself.

P.S. I've been instructed that this is an "extreme right viewpoint." I don't see it, myself. I thought it was more of an "extreme ability to defend oneself without ending up in a database" viewpoint.

It's funny because it's true

I don't know how many times I've done this very thing.

Summer of Lovecraft

A website to help generate interest in a geek Lovecraft movie at Summer of Lovecraft:
This site is dedicated to the feasibility of developing, financing, producing and distributing a feature film aimed at the "geek" market. The themes of H.P. Lovecraft are echoed in “Summer of Lovecraft”, a feature-length sci-fi/horror film that explores (and satirizes) rebellion, rural dystopia, intolerance, atavistic guilt, the inevitability of fate and the arrogance of humanity. The screenplay is based in part on the works of H.P. Lovecraft and in part on the lives of its authors. The intent is to produce an feature film and series of comics based on the characters and situations in the screenplay. This website is here to prove to the people with the money that project has 'legs'. "Summer of Lovecraft" has been shopped around to several different studios, investors & distribution companies, all of whom have shown interest... but none has ponied up the cash so far. Problem is, none of them seem to think there's a market out there for a film like this. We're here to prove them wrong. If we prove there's a market, they'll invest, plain & simple.
Well, I would watch it.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

"If Erlenmeyer flasks are outlawed, only outlaws will have Erlenmeyer flasks"

Wulf of Atlas Blogged has accidentally found a really stupid Texas law.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Psychedelic Crick

Francis Crick, the Nobel Prize-winning father of modern genetics, was under the influence of LSD when he first deduced the double-helix structure of DNA nearly 50 years ago.

The abrasive and unorthodox Crick and his brilliant American co-researcher James Watson famously celebrated their eureka moment in March 1953 by running from the now legendary Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge to the nearby Eagle pub, where they announced over pints of bitter that they had discovered the secret of life.

Crick, who died ten days ago [2004-07-28], aged 88, later told a fellow scientist that he often used small doses of LSD, then an experimental drug used in psychotherapy, to boost his powers of thought. He said it was LSD, not the Eagle's warm beer, that helped him to unravel the structure of DNA, the discovery that won him the Nobel Prize.

Full story here. Old news, but I just discovered it. Interesting, if true.