Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

No celebrations here. This is a night like any other, to me, except that I get a day off work tomorrow. Here are some Shriekback lyrics to end the year.

Our time has come, age of the hammerhead
This is our mission, to be the daleks of God
Too late for silence, too late for anything
It's all too much for me, its roots go down too deep for me

A punishing fire, an animal frenzy
These hammerhead people know what danger is for
You let them in and now they're everywhere
If it's mineral or vegetable it's back a little up a little

Shout, push, hammerheads, bold and resolute
Marching, balancing, in too far to go back
Yes, yes, hammerheads, swimming, kissing
We are big and clever and we don't know anything


Purification by immersion in our filthy demon seed
We know the only things you like are paranoid sex and childish greed
Our own worst enemies, they hollowed us out of wood
Look at all the grease inside us, gonna get us this time but good
Whether we pull it out or push it in it all ends up the same
You know a hammerhead is a hammerhead by any other name

Shout, push, hammerheads, bold and resolute
Marching, balancing, in too far to go back
Yes, yes, hammerheads, swimming, kissing
We are big and clever and we don't know anything

Onward hammerheads, bright and dangerous
Jumping running in the field and factory
God save hammerheads, keeping going
We are sleek and special and we're sure of something


Blessed are the apemen
Blessed are the shit kickers
Blessed are the jack hammers
Blessed is the big damage
Blessed are the faith healers
Blessed are the moon walkers
Blessed are the snake people
Blessed are the heat seekers...

Shout, push, hammerheads
Yes, yes, hammerheads

Shout, push, hammerheads, bold and resolute
Marching, balancing, in too far to go back
Yes, yes, hammerheads, swimming, kissing
We are big and clever and we don't know anything

Onward hammerheads, bright and dangerous
Jumping running in the field and factory
God save hammerheads, keeping going...

A what now?

Got a G00gle hit today for the search string, "raccoon stinger."

Anybody know what they're getting at? Because I sure don't.

Who really got punked?

Ha ha! So the Ronulans got punked. Ron Paul was never excluded from any debate, because the "debate" never existed. But...

There's a really big but here.

So in fact it was a hoax perpetrated by Big Head DC. But then the MSM picked it up. It was broadcast all over the news media. It was accepted as truth. Ron Paul supporters--understandably--got really upset.

But it was all a joke so everybody can laugh now.

No, the ones who really got punked are those who think this was no big deal, that it was all pretty funny, actually. And here's why.

It has shown the difference between those who want real debates, those who are interested in the freedom to voice opinons and ideas, and those who are interested only in maintaining the status quo and perpetuating the meaningless debate theater that we are subjected to every four years.

UPDATE: Oops. The punkers get punked?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunday afternoon Winamp

You're probably thinking I've lost my mind. My daughter got a double-CD set for Christmas, one of "Hannah Montana" songs, and the other called "Meet Miley Cyrus." I've already heard all of the former on the TV show, so I thought I'd give a listen to the other CD. The music isn't all that spectacular, and I think the album is weakened by a lack of ballads. The final song, especially, called "I Miss You" (and which she sang a few seconds of on one episode) was perfect for an acoustic ballad, but it was popped out like all the rest. Still...

Miley Cyrus seems to be an honest Good Kid, with a dad who has been through the pop star wringer and learned his lesson, so he's sticking around to try and keep her from screwing up, just like a dad should do. She also has a good natural voice. One thing that irritates me to no end with these teen (and sometimes older) girl pop stars is that they all sing through their nose. Even though she's still young, her voice comes from her gut like it should, not from her sinuses.

And I must say I am thankful that my daughter has chosen music stars like Reba McIntire and Miley Cyrus instead of someone like the Sp**rs sisters.

It will be interesting to wait and see how Cyrus turns out as she and her talent become more mature.

Firearms owners are safer than ever before


The National Shooting Sports Foundation has published its Industry Intelligence Reports for 2007 (*.pdf) and news for the hoplophobes is not good. This is information that comes from the National Safety Council put into an easy-to-read-and-understand form with lots of visuals such as the above. Worth saving and printing and making a part of your information arsenal.

Teach your daughter how to handle a gun, but keep her away from cheerleading.

via Greg Perry at Lew Rockwell

Sunday Vintage Pipe Ad (date unknown): British Buttner Pipe

Another weird gimmick pipe that I don't have a whole lot of information on. Apparently it had a porcelain bowl that fit inside a ceramic ring which screwed down into a bakelite bowl. No briar on this pipe. It would probably clean up nicely with hot, soapy water.

Now that I'm trying to get back into the swing of things, I'll try reviving my vintage ad posts.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A morning's work

I managed to clear out the camper-trailer so that I can put my reloading station in there. I still need to steam-clean the seat cushions, wash the curtains, and sweep and mop the whole thing out, but the major work is done.

Also put on 2 pounds of habanero jerky this morning. I thought the last batch was a little mild, so I put more spike in the sauce this time. The "mild" one is still too hot for anyone in my family other than myself and my daughter, but I thought it was a little tame.

UPDATE: The jerky turned out even better this time. I tweaked the temperature setting a little on the dehydrator.

Also, I'm trying out a slightly different blogging strategy. Since I do more reading on weekends, I'm saving up the more frivolous posts that aren't particularly time-sensitive so I can spread them out during the week instead of cramming everything into the weekend when the traffic slacks off anyway.

And finally, when I was cleaning out the camper this morning I found my machete! I found the blade a long time ago (30 years or so?). I cleaned it up and sharpened it way back when, and my dad fitted part of an old axe handle for a new handle. The handle is long enough that it can be wielded two-handed if necessary, and it's pretty big. I always thought it looked more like a scimitar than a machete.

A Texas tiger

Another tiger makes the news, this time in Texas:
Sanitation crews in Dallas made a shocking discovery after they received a call about a dead animal on Christmas Day.

A female Bengal tiger was found dead when the crews searched a wooded area near Interstate 35E and Overton Road. A city spokesperson said the tiger was shot several times.

The animal, which was declawed and wearing a make-shift leash, was taken to the Dallas Zoo.

A necropsy, the animal version of an autopsy, was completed at the zoo early Thursday evening. The tiger was estimated to be around one-years-old and weighed about 180 pounds.

Shell casing were found in the tiger's chest and face. In all, there were five bullet entries.

Chuck Siegel, deputy director of the Dallas Zoo, said he believes the tiger may have become more than the owner could handle.

"I find it very, very disturbing to see the nature of the collar-leash, which looks more like a bicycle cable than anything else," he said. "And this rusted wire, which is tangled around the [leash], is obviously very hazardous."

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and the United States Department of Agriculture are investigating the incident and searching for the owner of the tiger.
Leave it to the "authorized journalist" to screw up something as simple as "shell casing were found..." Good grief, man, you got the both the facts and the grammar wrong in one breath.

Tigers are not pets. Neither are bobcats or cougars. They are wild cats. If you want to keep a declawed domestic cat, that's what the domesticated cat is for. Life is not a Disney movie nor a Ralph Bakshi cartoon. Even a declawed tiger was too much for the bastard who "owned" it. If it still had fangs it was still a killing machine--still a big predator that was built for killing and eating other animals. And to a tiger, a human is just a tall skinny monkey with funny-tasting fur.

via Cryptomundo

Friday, December 28, 2007

And doubt continues to hammer away at the new religion

In other words, we don't really know what is going on:
But things cannot be that simple. The fact that the global temperature has remained unchanged for a decade requires that the quantity of reflecting aerosols dumped put in our atmosphere must be increasing year on year at precisely the exact rate needed to offset the accumulating carbon dioxide that wants to drive the temperature higher. This precise balance seems highly unlikely. Other explanations have been proposed such as the ocean cooling effect of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation or the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.

But they are also difficult to adjust so that they exactly compensate for the increasing upward temperature drag of rising CO2. So we are led to the conclusion that either the hypothesis of carbon dioxide induced global warming holds but its effects are being modified in what seems to be an improbable though not impossible way, or, and this really is heresy according to some, the working hypothesis does not stand the test of data.

It was a pity that the delegates at Bali didn’t discuss this or that the recent IPCC Synthesis report did not look in more detail at this recent warming standstill. Had it not occurred, or if the flatlining of temperature had occurred just five years earlier we would have no talk of global warming and perhaps, as happened in the 1970’s, we would fear a new Ice Age! Scientists and politicians talk of future projected temperature increases. But if the world has stopped warming what use these projections then?
Maybe that Alan Caruba guy was right.

Related: Top 10 Climate Myth-Busters for 2007.

The big dogs

Saw this at San Antonio Daily Photo. A sticker on a crosswalk sign. If it's hard to read, it says: "If you can't run with the big dogs keep your ass on the porch." This is the sort of imperative that would immediately prompt me to tell the speaker exactly where he could stick his opinion.

Big dogs disease. We're awash in it. It's what makes people give up before they've even tried. If you can't be the best, don't even try is a more accurate rendition of this anti-proverb. Why should I waste my energy working at something if I'll never be the best? Too often we mistake award for achievement. Award is what we receive for being the best. Achievement is what we get for trying, and quite often, failing.

Life will never be perfect. All the little things that make up our lives can't be perfect. The whole point is to work at it, to fail, and to keep working at it.

If you are reading this, and especially if you are a regular reader of this blog, it is likely that you are not a big dog of the blogosphere. I certainly am not. But the achievement is to continue in spite of the fact that you'll never be the best.

Am I saying that everyone has something worth hearing? Of course not. But even crass idiots can serve as an example of how not to be for the rest of us.

Don't let big dogs disease get you down. Because the work itself is an achievement.

At last, I have found a worthy ringtone

At Calls for Cthulhu. Just follow the link for a roughly 750kb mp3.

via Rustmeister

What the...

The old Eponym blog exceeded bandwidth this month! And I don't even post there anymore. Must have been that big burst of traffic from Stumble Upon.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Petticoat Duel

Curious Expeditions posts an interesting article on dueling, including this account of a duel between women:
The most famous of these female duels is the 1792 duel between Lady Almeria Braddock and Mrs. Elphinstone, regarding a comment over Lady Braddock’s true age. The ladies dueled first with single shot pistols. The duel came within a foot of fatal when Mrs. Elpinstone’s shot went through Lady Braddock’s hat. Despite the calls of their seconds (every principle duelist must have a second, a sort of right hand man - or madame, in this case) to cease and desist, the determined ladies switched to swords. A short round of fencing ensued, and Mrs. Elphinstone was wounded in the arm. Through her pain, she agreed to write a letter of apology. Honor restored, the ladies curtsied and headed home.
Over a comment about her age. Sheesh.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

problem

Anyone have any idea why Blogger suddenly decided to squish my header graphic down to 750px wide for no apparent reason? I can't fix it.

UPDATE: Apparently I fixed it. But neither the problem nor the fix makes any sense. Just another reason for me to be p*ssed at Blogger. I have to find another service. Even if I end up paying again.

"Ubiquitous use of biometrics"

From WaPo:
The FBI is embarking on a $1 billion effort to build the world's largest computer database of peoples' physical characteristics, a project that would give the government unprecedented abilities to identify individuals in the United States and abroad.

Digital images of faces, fingerprints and palm patterns are already flowing into FBI systems in a climate-controlled, secure basement here. Next month, the FBI intends to award a 10-year contract that would significantly expand the amount and kinds of biometric information it receives. And in the coming years, law enforcement authorities around the world will be able to rely on iris patterns, face-shape data, scars and perhaps even the unique ways people walk and talk, to solve crimes and identify criminals and terrorists. The FBI will also retain, upon request by employers, the fingerprints of employees who have undergone criminal background checks so the employers can be notified if employees have brushes with the law.
Raise your hand if you can think of a group of perfectly law-abiding people who have undergone criminal background checks and turned a complete set of prints over to the FBI, and who employers or others may want to be able to identify.

If you can read this article without your skin crawling, you must be dead. Another particularly heinous passage jumped out at me:
In the world's first large-scale, scientific study on how well face recognition works in a crowd, the German government this year found that the technology, while promising, was not yet effective enough to allow its use by police. The study was conducted from October 2006 through January at a train station in Mainz, Germany, which draws 23,000 passengers daily. The study found that the technology was able to match travelers' faces against a database of volunteers more than 60 percent of the time during the day, when the lighting was best. But the rate fell to 10 to 20 percent at night.

To achieve those rates, the German police agency said it would tolerate a false positive rate of 0.1 percent, or the erroneous identification of 23 people a day. In real life, those 23 people would be subjected to further screening measures, the report said.
Twenty-three people per day, who, under current guilty-until-proven-innocent standards of combating "terrorism," would likely have their lives ruined. Sure this was in Germany, but if you think our own Only Ones would be any different, you haven't been paying attention. And get this:
In 2004, the Electronic Privacy Information Center objected to the FBI's exemption of the National Crime Information Center database from the Privacy Act requirement that records be accurate. The group noted that the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2001 found that information in the system was "not fully reliable" and that files "may be incomplete or inaccurate." FBI officials justified that exemption by claiming that in law enforcement data collection, "it is impossible to determine in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely and complete."
Translation: Everybody's guilty. Deal with it.
"The long-term goal," Hornak said, is "ubiquitous use" of biometrics. A traveler may walk down an airport corridor and allow his face and iris images to be captured without ever stepping up to a kiosk and looking into a camera, he said.

"That's the key," he said. "You've chosen it. You have chosen to say, 'Yeah, I want this place to recognize me.'"
Those who don't choose it will be dealt with.

via The Liberty Papers

Congeries

I have another one up at LOLTHULHU.

Monday, December 24, 2007

God rest ye merry


A little more Christmas cheer

Oberlin, Kansas:
A postcard featuring a color drawing of Santa Claus and a young girl was mailed in 1914, but its journey was slower than Christmas. It just arrived in northwest Kansas.

The Christmas card was dated Dec. 23, 1914, and mailed to Ethel Martin of Oberlin, apparently from her cousins in Alma, Neb.

It's a mystery where it spent most of the last century, Oberlin Postmaster Steve Schultz said. "It's surprising that it never got thrown away," he said. "How someone found it, I don't know."

Ethel Martin is deceased, but Schultz said the post office wanted to get the card to a relative.

That's how the 93-year-old relic ended up with Bernice Martin, Ethel's sister-in-law. She said she believed the card had been found somewhere in Illinois.

"That's all we know," she said. "But it is kind of curious. We'd like to know how it got down there."

The card was placed inside another envelope with modern postage for the trip to Oberlin _ the one-cent postage of the early 20th century wouldn't have covered it, Martin said.

"We don't know much about it," she said. "But wherever they kept it, it was in perfect shape."
The card above is not the card in question. It is part of my digital collection of pipe-smoking Santas from 1914, which would make it also 93 years old.

We have had a great Christmas Eve. I ran the kids outside for a while to keep them from getting cabin fever, and we've been watching some traditional Christmas shows, drinking hot chocolate, and just having fun.

Giant prehistoric armadillo fossil discovered

"When we collected this fossil, we had no idea that it would turn out to be a new species," said lead researcher Darin Croft of Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. "We knew that it would be an important specimen, given its completeness, but it was only after careful comparison to other known species that we realized how unusual it was."

The new species, named Parapropalaehoplophorus septentrionalis, belongs to a group of now-extinct mammals called glyptodonts that are most closely related to modern armadillos.

Unlike armadillos, which sport some jointed, movable plates, glyptodonts were armored with mostly immovable plates. And while P. septentrionalis weighed about 200 pounds (90 kilograms), some of the largest members of the group tipped the scales at 4,000 pounds (1,814 kilograms).

Yow. That could take out a Lone Star beer truck with no problem, I'd say.

Hi Paul!

Oh, and Merry Christmas, if you can take enough time off from your futile screeching to enjoy it.

Yow

My old Eponym site is getting a 'lanch. That Monday bar is as of 10:30 AM. Somebody did a StumbleUpon for one of the Christmas vintage pipe ads.

UPDATE: Closing in on 1,200 hits at 1:40 PM. Odd, that just an old Kaywoodie ad would get that much attention.

That site still gets three times as much daily traffic as this one does.

This is the first time I've gotten a big burst of traffic from one of those kinds of sites.

Lies of utter desperation

Basically we don't have any gun control laws in this country.

--Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign
As heard by Shane of Walls of the City.

As already pointed out, this is a lie. It is an blatant, unmitigated lie. Some people think that all lies contain a kernel of truth, but not this one. This is absolutely false, untrue, and without any basis in fact or reality whatsoever.

It's also funny.

This is a lie of utter desperation. Helmke and his ilk are so lost in the darkness that they aren't even trying to mislead the ignorant anymore. They're just spewing into their own echo chamber of paranoia and trying to make themselves believe their own verbal vomitus.

I'll post only one item of evidence that this is a lie: handgunlaw.us. Start following links from there and see how many laws you can find that tell me where I am legally allowed and where I am not legally allowed to defend myself against a violent attack.

Oh Paul, you're so pitiable. If you hadn't dedicated yourself to making me defenseless I might actually feel sorry for you. But as it is, you just disgust me.

via Ride Fast & Shoot Straight

Jerky

My Paypal account is getting low, so I'm going to try the jerky on ebay business again. I've never had any trouble selling my habanero jerky on ebay, I just never got very enthusiastic about it. I used to sell jerky at a former place of employment, for cash, which was much more enjoyable.

I was going to mix up four pounds today, but I ran out of sauce, so I was able to do only 1 1/2 pounds of habanero, and I turned another half-pound into my original recipe, which has cayenne and sage. So do I want to go to HEB for sauce today? I hate going there on Christmas Eve or even Thanksgiving Eve. I know it's going to be a madhouse.

Anyhow, I should be able to whip up four or five pounds every weekend until I get a good stock built up. I always vacuum-seal it, so it lasts for a long time. The longest I ever let it sit was six months. I think it tasted even better having had a chance to age a little.

We wish you...

Recommended Christmas reading:
The Rifle at A Keyboard and a .45.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

It's full of mercy

Conservative Scalawag has found a pic of a replica of Wolfwood's weapon. From the anime Trigun.

Last five played

Okay, I read it in two places, so here's a random five.

Jimmy Smith -- 8 Counts for Rita
Prefade Listening -- Jazzy Jim
Loreena McKennitt -- Celtic Christmas
Big Audio Dynamite -- If I Were John Carpenter
Des'ree -- You Gotta Be

Christopher Walken's Twelve Days of Christmas

At Cracked.com:
May the two beautiful turtle doves, enclosed, enliven your Second Day of Christmas. I have recorded their mournful songs on a compact disc, also enclosed, so you will understand why I found it necessary to smother them.

Christmas Facts Meme

Read this at A Trainwreck in Maxwell and since KurtP didn't tag anyone, I'll volunteer to play along.

1. Wrapping or gift bags? Wrapping. But my wife takes care of most of this.

2. Real or artificial tree? Artificial. I'm philosophically opposed to killing trees for decoration.

3. When do you put up the tree? Thanksgiving weekend. The kids put it up this year, mostly. I stood it up and they decorated it.

4. When do you take the tree down? Probably right after New Year.

5. Do you like eggnog? Not really. It's okay. My favorite cold weather drinks are: hot toddy, hot buttered rum, or hot spiced wine.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? This would be a tie between the Fort Apache I got when I was 8 and the Daisy BB gun I got when I was 12.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No.

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Probably socks.

9. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail, but my wife does that.

10. Favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Carol or any iteration thereof, like Scrooged. I really like that animated version they used to show every year when I was a kid.

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Once again, my wife does most of this, and generally buys something here and there all year long in preparation for Christmas. By November, it's pretty much all done.

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? The white fudge that my dad's wife makes. Reuben's tamales are pretty good, too.

13. Clear lights or colored? Colored.

14. Favorite Christmas song? Same Old Lang Syne by Dan Fogelberg.

15. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? Travel, unfortunately.

16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Yes. And don't forget Chet.

17. Angel or star on the top of your tree? Star.

18. Open your presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Christmas morning.

19. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Having to travel on Christmas day instead of just staying home and letting the kids play with their new stuff all day.

20. What do you leave for Santa? The kids leave milk and cookies, and sometimes cheese. Santa likes cheese at our house, especially sharp cheddar.

21. Least favorite holiday song? Anything with chipmunks or barking dogs.

22. Do you decorate your tree with any specific theme or color? No.

23. Favorite ornament? Favorite ornament? Is that even possible? I made a flashing Christmas tree with a tree-shaped circuit board and a bunch of colored LEDs that I think is pretty cool.

24. Family tradition? Going somewhere else instead of staying home--a tradition I really hate, and which I threaten to break every year.

25. Ever been to Midnight Mass or late-night Christmas Eve services? No.

Vintage Christmas Gun Ad (date unknown): Crosman Pellguns

Click to enlarge. I don't know the date on this one, but I'd surmise it's from the 60s. I'd like to know exactly when Crosman dropped that odd term "pellguns" and just started calling them air rifles.

Reloading

We had an early Christmas celebration at my dad's place yesterday. The best thing about this is always, to me, getting a few hours to talk with someone who I'll just call C.

C is not technically related to us, anymore. He was an in-law by his first wife, who passed away when I was a small child. But he has remained very close to us and he is one of my favorite people. I don't make friends easily, and I don't usually sit and talk at length with anyone, but C is different. He is also much older than I, and has so many stories to tell that I'm sure I'll never hear them all.

Anyhow, we share an enthusiasm with guns and shooting. I mentioned to him that I was thinking about getting into reloading, and he said he could probably help me out. First I need to decide where I'm going to put the stuff, and make sure it's a secure place so the kids can't get into it.

We have a small camper-trailer here that is currently just being used for storage. All I need to do is take the stuff out and cram it in our real storage shed, and I'll have a reloading station.

He said he has spare stuff of everything I'll need to get started. All I need to get are the raw materials themselves: brass, primers, powder, bullets (brass is already covered). Also included will be some lessons on proper reloading and a "test" to make sure I'm doing it right before he hands all the stuff over to me.

As I told him, first I just want to reload practice ammo in .38/.357. Then later on, when I've had some experience I'll try loading up some hunting ammo designed just for my .357 rifle.

But I have one question that I forgot to ask. Do powder and primers need to be kept in a tightly climate-controlled environment? I mean, how badly can humidity damage the powder?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The cyber cold war

At Times Online:
Today’s report, commissioned by McAfee, one of the largest security firms, identifies China as the country most active in internet-enabled spying operations and attacks but says 120 other countries are using the same techniques.

Defence departments across the globe are already rewriting manuals for a future of digital warfare. The US alone has recorded 37,000 attempted breaches of government and private systems in 2007 , and a new unit at the US Air Force, staffed by 40,000 people, has been set up to prepare for 'cyber-war'.

On Tuesday, Andrew Palowitch, a senior adviser to the Pentagon, said that military officials had conceded that attacks had reduced the US military’s operational capability.

NATO said that all 26 of its member countries have been targeted by some form of cyber-attack, and that the threat posed to national infrastructure was now so serious that more than 10 of its own agencies were working to protect against further incidents.

Officials were reluctant to point the finger at individual Governments, but said "state parties" were suspected.

"The definition of security is changing," a NATO official said. "National infrastructure is critical - politically, economically and commercially, and now that we know these kinds of attacks are happening, there is an increasingly push to give the issue a higher profile on the political level."

The UK Government has been criticised for not paying sufficient attention to computer-based threats since merging the National Hi Tech Crime Unit with the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

James Brokenshire, MP, the Conservatives' spokesman on e-crime, said: "The Government remains in denial over the seriousness of the situation. Specific funding for computer crime teams was cut off by the Home Office earlier this year, and the Government’s latest crime law doesn’t even define computer misuse offences as serious, when salmon poaching apparently is."
So busy has the "UK Government" been in turning their people into cattle to be herded that they can't see where the real threats are. One could change "salmon poaching" to "banning toys that look like guns" or "outlawing knives" and it would mean the same thing.

Arrogance: 'twas ever thus.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Great Cthulhu is reduced to this...

The Cthulhu antenna ball. Five bucks from wyrdimages.com.

Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice represents the Midnight Sun and Solar Power communicating with the human spirit and its drawing in and concentration into the heart of each individual, the incarnation of the spirit, spiritual fire coming down and making intimate contact with the Earth.
Thus, on this day four years ago, Blogonomicon was born.

But seriously, I think was just bored and had been reading some blogs so I thought I'd give it a go.

Well, I tried taking a break from blogging but it didn't stick. Mostly, I think, because I get too much information from reading other blogs, and I just couldn't cut off such an invaluable source of information. As for the future of this blog, I expect it to be the same sort of whimsical, haphazard blogging that it has been. There are many other bloggers who are better at incisive political commentary, much better at fisking the enemies of liberty who are always out to abolish our fundamental rights. Although I support those bloggers and read them regularly, it just isn't in me to do that kind of thing. Most bloggers pick a single topic to focus on, but to do so would bore me. So I'll probably just wander around and post things that interest or amuse me, and of course sometimes things that infuriate me. I'm not going to go to any extra trouble to hunt down something interesting every day, so I may have spells of inactivity, but that doesn't mean I've stopped. If you find this blog interesting enough to continue reading, then I'm glad to have you along for the ride.

Revising Kucinish

David Drake has noticed that someone has been revising the Answers.com page on Dennis Kucinich. A paragraph about him having carried a handgun has been removed, as has a paragraph about his support for reinstatement of the "Fairness" Doctrine. Follow the link for all the details.

The pizza sauce conversation

So I've been suffering from a cold all week and last night I took some NyQuil and passed out. My wife comes home and tries to engage me in conversation.

This is always a mistake.

It's an even bigger mistake this time, since not only am I three-fourths asleep, I'm also half-stoned on NyQuil. She had bought a pizza earlier yesterday. I met her at her place of employment, took the leftovers home and had them for supper.

Eleven o'clock at night. In she comes. "What did you think of the pizza?"

What? I'm asleep. I'm sick. Let me sleep.

"What did you think of the pizza?"

"They forgot to put sauce on it."

"It's not supposed to have sauce."

"You ordered it that way on purpose?"

"No, that's how it's made."

"It should have had sauce on it."

"No, it's a breakfast pizza. That's why it had the chopped up scrambled eggs on it."

Those were eggs? "They still should have put sauce on it."

"Eggs don't go with pizza sauce."

"Are you kidding? They never heard of huevos rancheros?"

"So you didn't like it."

"It didn't have sauce."

I'm pretty sure that's how it went, and then the NyQuil took over again and I lost consciousness. If I can stay awake long enough tonight, I'll have to ask her if we actually had this conversation or if I only dreamed it.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Governmental Hypocracy

So, it's okay for California to pass all kinds of unconstitutional laws regarding firearms, but they can't pass their own fuel standard laws.

You know, it's too bad there's no Environmental Amendment to the Constitution. Then everyone could ignore it just like they ignore the rest of the Constitution and California could do whatever they wanted.

I know I'm supposed to be taking a break, but I couldn't pass commenting on this. Also I know that word in the subject is spelled wrong--it's a pun.

Tricks for truth

Via JPFO, An Easy Way to Get the Truth:
This is my method of flushing out the two-way rhetoric of elected officials; I send a response immediately complimenting them on the decision to follow my wishes, even though they have not so stated. In the past, about 50/50, they come back emphasizing their neutral position with more pandering, patronizing rhetoric or, hopefully, a stated position. A reversal of the game they like to play with us. I sent an email and called on the phone, requesting his opposition to Michael J. Sullivan.
Follow the link to see what happened.

Texas Winter Haiku

winter yesterday
winter again tomorrow
but today, summer

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Christmas Do-Over

He was crying as he came through the door. Not just crying. Wailing uncontrollably. His sister said he had cried on the school bus all the way home. It took me some time to sort things out.

It was "Secret Santa" day at school. It was a day when donated items were sold for one dollar each to give little kids a chance to purchase cheap Christmas gifts for their families. He had left home that morning with three dollars in his wallet. Enough for one gift each for his sister, his mommy and his daddy. He had been talking about it all week.

But when the teacher announced that it was time to go to Secret Santa, he was in the restroom and didn't hear it. No one at his table bothered to participate, so he didn't even realize anyone was gone from the classroom. Then suddenly, to a six-year-old boy who really has no concept of time, the day was over. It was time to get on the bus, and he realized he had somehow missed Secret Santa. His world came crashing down.

No, it would not be important to most people. But it was the most important thing in the world to him. And I was reminded of a vow I made to myself several times when I was a child and I was ignored by adults because I was "just a kid." I will never forget what it's like to be a kid.

I must have told myself this a dozen times before I was ten years old.

"Don't worry about it. It's not important. You're just a kid."

I will never forget what it's like to be a kid.

"Don't bother me now, I'm busy."

I will never forget what it's like to be a kid.

"You don't know what the real world is like. You're just a kid."

I will never forget what it's like to be a kid.

There are times when even a small child must be allowed to suffer for his mistakes. A mistake created by his own carelessness or maliciousness would be one to suffer for. But what lesson would be learned here? I know what I would have learned.

"Have all good intentions of doing something nice for someone else and get screwed anyway, just because that's how things work out sometimes." My only conclusion, therefore, would have been: "Well, then, there's no point in trying to be nice to others anyway." Dropping the "you're only a kid" bomb on him would have certainly been the first introduction of cynicism to an innocent, good-hearted boy. A boy who once found some sunglasses that he decided were "motorcycle glasses" and tried to give them to the first biker he saw. A boy who once shared his lunch with a friend who had forgotten to bring his.

Yes, there are times when even a small child must be allowed to suffer for his mistakes, but this wasn't one of them. This time he gets to learn that sometimes there will be someone to help you stand back up, help you dust yourself off, and help you get another shot.

So last night we went to a local store, where the items cost more than one dollar each but were worth it to restore his faith in doing goodwill. So my gift won't be a surprise, and he wasn't able to get me a coffee mug with a snowman on it as he had planned. But still, the world was right again, and Christmas was saved for my son. My son, who is smaller than I but has a much bigger heart, and who reminded me of the the vow I made to myself many years ago.

Friday, December 14, 2007

This & that

I finally made an update at The Last Ancient House, this one a short story called "Lamentry." This story is part of the collection in the book advertised in the sidebar. It's been long enough now that I don't think it will matter if I put it on the web. This is another Lovecraftian western, a classic gunfight tale which doesn't end the way most classic gunfight tales usually end.
"Honey, you look like you could use some company," she said, all smiling and as pretty she could be.

"I don't think so." It was all the stranger said, but his tone of voice had the finality of a grave in it.

Lovey was not to be discouraged. "Oh, come on now, honey," she said, then leaned over and whispered something right in the stranger's ear.

Suddenly he had hold of her wrist and pushed her away, forcing her to leave his knee and stand on her own feet. A look that some believed was only frustration, but others later said might have been fear, shifted across her wide blue eyes as the stranger pinned her with his dark, one-eyed glare. They stared at each other for a few seconds, then the stranger said, "Well, if that's what you really want."

They went on upstairs to the stranger's room and no one thought anymore of it, it was just the usual day's business at the Silver Dollar. It wasn't more than ten minutes before everyone heard a shriek from upstairs, then another, and the general hubbub of the saloon ceased as everyone listened to doors slamming and Lovey screaming something that no one could understand. Tess Harper, who shared a room with Lovey, went up to talk to her and came back down in a few minutes for a bottle of whiskey, saying Lovey just needed something to calm her down. Lovey calmed herself down, all right. She drank herself senseless that night. Tess wasn't able to get much sleep, either. Lovey just kept moaning to herself in her sleep, things like "red hungry eye," "darkness," "black stars," and curiously enough, "buzzards." Tess wasn't able to make heads or tails of it, but whatever happened in that stranger's upstairs room, Lovey didn't want any part of it. Apparently she'd earned herself a couple of those gold coins, though. She bought a seat on the first stagecoach to Abilene the very next morning, and no one in Lamentry ever saw her again. As for the stranger, he never said anything about it. The next day he was just playing poker and drinking whiskey as usual.
In other news, I'm going to take a break from blogging. I've already pretty much forsaken it for several days now. I'm going to use my time to read some actual books, and maybe do some writing or something else creative. I'm pretty much burned out on all the "linky no thinky" type of blogging I've been doing. If I can't come up with something more or less original I'm just not going to say anything.

P.S. But if you find I've left a comment at your blog early in the morning, it's because I'm still checking a few while I have my morning coffee before I leave for work.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The straight dope

Remember back in October when someone negligently shot himself in both legs while at work?

JR of A Keyboard and a .45 has actually spoken with the man and figured out exactly what happened.

This is something an "authorized journalist" will never do. Click on the link and read the whole thing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'll say it

Let it not be said of the presidential candidates that they've never done an honest day's work.
Yes, I'll say it. If cleaning glass doors was Huckabee's worst job, then he never did an honest day's work. Give me a break.

I actually feel some affinity for Hillary now. At least she had an honest horrible job. One that I certainly wouldn't want to do.

Huckabee should have spent a few months chunking watermelons (or hauling hay, or stacking sacks in a feed mill, or castrating pigs, or etc. etc.). That would give him a whole new perspective on cleaning doors.

The more I hear about this guy, the more I'd like to punch him in the nose.

Five little stones

The MSM kept insisting that the armed woman who stopped the church shooter in Colorado was a security guard. They just can't stand it when someone without a uniform and a badge uses a gun in justifiable self defense.

But then bloggers like Call Me Ahab uncovered the truth. The woman was a member of the congregation who had armed herself and volunteered to provide security.

Security Guard: 'God Guided Me And Protected Me' (via Shooting the Messenger):
"There was chaos," Assam said, as parishioners ran away, "I will never forget the gunshots. They were so loud."

"I saw him coming through the doors" and took cover, Assam said. "I came out of cover and identified myself and engaged him and took him down."

"God was with me," Assam said. "I didn't think for a minute to run away."
So we have a woman armed only with a handgun taking down a monster armed with a rifle.

And the giant came tumbling down.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Putting the lid on the bottom

All American Blogger talks about Gun Free Zones and the Ketchup Bottle:
Let’s switch gears for a second and consider the ketchup bottle. For years, the ketchup bottle would sit on the shelf and gravity would draw all the ketchup to the bottom of the bottle. Then, when a person needed some of the condiment, they had to work to get it out of the bottle. Finally, someone said, “Why don’t we just flip it over and put the lid on the bottom?” Now, the ketchup is there when you need it. Why didn’t they think of this before? They were trained in a particular way of thinking, and they had to move themselves away from it.
Unfortunately, the most effective form of this paradigm shift is when some anti-self-defense nitwit gets mugged or assaulted. They usually change their minds about it, then. Still unfortunately, their propaganda creates converts to the Cult of Victimhood faster than reality can administer the individual cluebat.

Well, I understand the "Cthulhu" bit

What do you see here? A demure anime doll with a cute, cuddly Cthulhu doll? That's not what I see.

I see an utterly terrified and helpless Cthulhu in the hands of something so huge and inexplicably horrendous that even the Great Old One is paralyzed with fear.

Link here.

Via Under Vhoorl's Shadow.

In case you need a little dose of humility

Check out Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age.

The entry about John Kennedy Toole does make me feel a little better:
John Kennedy Toole won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel, A Confederacy of Dunces, a year after it was published. Unfortunately, he had committed suicide twelve years earlier.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Omaha and the Copycat Effect

Loren Coleman has a new article up on the copycat effect and the recent Omaha mall shooting.
As I point out on this blog on December 6th, the Omaha mall shooting came exactly one calendar month after the school shooting in Finland, which was exactly one calendar month after the school shooting in Cleveland, Ohio. The last three months, remarkably, therefore, have had precisely four weeks to the day between each of these dangerous Wednesdays.
Lots more at the link.

"Thinking outside the box"

Oh man, that's a great pun. I wish I had thought of it.

This is a selection from the 2008 Coffin Glamour Calendar at cofanifunebri.com, an Italian coffin manufacturer.

Vote for the 2007 word of the year

At Merriam-Webster Online.

I voted for Pecksniffian. Hee hee. I look forward to using it soon.

I don't think Monty Python ever made any Cthulhu jokes

But I'm at the top of the search results for "Ftaghn monty python."

Bikes

The kids are getting bicycles for Christmas this year. Shiny, new bikes. A purple one for my daughter and an electric blue one for my son. Thirty-eight dollars each.

I got my first bike when I was six, the same as my son is now. It was a Christmas gift from "Santa Claus," but it was obviously used. Used hard and put up wet. I think it had belonged to a co-worker of my mother. It had originally been red, or blue, and someone had painted over that with blue, or red. The paint was so flaked that I never could figure out it's real color. And it was huge. It was an enormous adult's bike, and I was a small child. I was afraid it would fall on me and crush me before I ever managed to mount it. I didn't even try to ride it. Maybe my parents were disappointed, I don't know, but I don't think they paid anything for it anyway. It stayed in the barn.

Time went by. We moved across the highway and a few miles farther away from town. The bike came with us. I grew up a little.

When I was 11 or 12 years old, I was spending the weekend at my grandparents' house along with a cousin who is a year younger than I. A different cousin, who was not there at the time, had left her bicycle there. A kid's bicycle. Neither of us knew how to ride a bike yet, so we decided we would use that bike to learn. We took turns riding that bike to the end of their driveway and back for several hours that day. By the time we were finished, we could ride a bike.

When I got back home, I broke out the old Christmas bike. It still looked like junk and the tires were flat. But I had a pump that my dad had bought me so I could air up my basketball, and I used it to pump up the bike's tires. And then I got on and took off. I remembered my dad asking me when I learned to ride a bike, and I told him about the previous weekend.

A couple of weeks later, I sanded most of the paint off of that bike and repainted it with day-glo orange spray paint. You could see it coming for miles.

I had a few spectacular crashes on that bike. For one thing, the brakes didn't work that well. Also the balance was off and it felt like I was always trying to steer a little to the side just to keep going straight. Later on, my mother mounted an extra seat above the rear wheel so I could strap in my youngest sister and take her for rides.

The cousin who that kid's bike belonged to passed away last year. I don't think she ever knew I learned to ride on her bike.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Zombie roaches and their wasp masters

Zombie roaches at National Geographic:
The venom blocks a chemical substance called octopamine in the cockroach's brain that controls its motivation to walk, the study found.

Unable to fight back, the "zombie" cockroach can be pulled into the wasp's underground lair, where an egg is laid in its abdomen. The larva later hatches and eats the still living but incapacitated cockroach from the inside out.

"The whole thing takes about seven to eight days, during which the meat has to be fresh," said study co-author and neurobiologist Frederic Libersat of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Be'ér Sheva, Israel.

"If you kill a cockroach, it rots within a day."

The mature wasp emerges from the bug victim's body after about a month.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Curious

Screen cap from Popular Mechanics. I thought it was amusing.

LOLOTH

They breed in the sewers, you know

Today, while working, I saw a dead iguana. That was a fairly odd thing to see lying in the street. It must have been over two feet long, including the tail.

A good neighbor

From The Modesto Bee:
While in the hospital, Lucas was handcuffed to his bed and wore leg irons, Singh said. Around 4 a.m. Thursday, the deputy watching Lucas stepped away from the room. The reason he left remains under investigation and his name has not been released [naturally! --ed.], Singh said. When the deputy returned, he found an empty bed.

Lucas, who was naked, had slipped out of his handcuffs and pulled out his intravenous line. A small blood trail showed the door through which he left, but officers were unable to find him, Singh said.

Modesto police received several calls from residents about the escapee, who briefly gained access to a home in the 400 block of West Orangeburg Avenue, said Modesto police Sgt. Ray Coyle. As Lucas left, a neighbor tackled him. He sat on Lucas in a front yard until police arrived.
The "neighbor" is 80 years old.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Gun Control and the Supremes

L. Neil Smith writes on Gun Control and the Supremes:
Thirty years ago or so, I predicted that, if the Supreme Court ever rules against the Second Amendment, that will be the end, not of the Second Amendment, but of the Supreme Court. It should be clear now that, without the rule of law -- without a legal government -- there's no need for a Supreme Court. All that we have left is a dictatorship, running on terror and brute force. Maybe that's what those currently in power actually want, but the age in which an arrangement like that is stable has been over for quite a while. It is most likely to come to an end more quickly than its proponents anticipate, and also very badly.
As usual, read the whole thing.

Via JPFO.

Related: Bill of Rights under Bush: A Timeline via The War On Guns.

Huh...

I note this morning that Haloscan is whacked. I was going to leave comments at two different blogs, but...

For El Capitan: I used to use Wildroot when I was a kid.

For Fits: Holy cr*p, that's nasty-looking!

UPDATE: Make that three. For the pistolero: Kevin Fowler has been getting a lot of airtime on KNBT lately. I've been singing along with "Long Line of Losers" on the way home almost every day.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

No way

In the flurry of pink gun news we've all been reading lately, I got a search hit today. Someone in Wisconsin was G00gling "pink xd40."

Interesting that it came from a state without concealed carry. Perhaps also interesting was the employer of this person. (Shame, shame, shame--surfing from work).

Not just China anymore

Mexico too:
It is being reported that a type of Mexican candy is being recalled throughout Texas.

According to state health officials, the syrup candy was found to contain high levels of lead, which can be very dangerous if ingested in higher than recommended levels.

San Antonio-based Villa-Mex Imports Inc. is asking any consumer who may have purchased the candy to throw it away immediately. It was sold in retail stores state wide.

The candy in question resembles dark brown syrup sold as "Barrilito" _ named for its little glass barrels with bright yellow labels.
Via Strange in San Antonio.

Monday, December 03, 2007

You don't say...

William Shakespeare

Misery acquaints a zombie slayer with strange bedfellows.

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:


William Shakespeare

Let's carve him as a dish fit for the cthulhu ftahgn,
Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds.

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:


William Shakespeare

Yond' Cassius hath a lean and hungry mi-go brain cylinder.

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:

Via A Keyboard and a .45.

I'm going to outlive you all...

No doubt about it.

Via Ride Fast.

Gun stuff for Christmas

Today's Shooting Wire is about some gun stuff that might make good gifts. Just thought I'd mention one or two of them. (By the way, I sometimes use the blog to help remind myself of things. It seems to work better than just adding it to my already bloated bookmark list).

Birchwood-Casey's Muzzle Magic Foam is something I've gotta try. I've always just used hot, soapy water to clean up my Hawken, but this stuff sounds like it would be easier. I think it would also work a lot easier for field cleaning, if for some reason I couldn't go straight home to clean the gun.

The other thing is the Little Sure Shot gun rest. Looks like a cool gadget, especially if you're like me and aren't all that accomplished at off-hand shooting.

I already told my mom to just get me ammo this year. Heh.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Another comment on Winamp 5.5 beta

This newest version seems to be "smarter" than previous versions. Last night I listened to Marillion's Clutching At Straws. There are a few times on this album when songs segue smoothly into each other, with no silence between them. With previous versions of Winamp, the ripped mp3s were played with silence inserted between each song, no matter what. But when I listened to the ripped mp3s last night, it correctly played the segues where they belonged, and inserted silence between songs where it should have been, just as if I had been playing the CD.

I'll have to listen to Misplaced Childhood and see if it works on that. On this album, there are no breaks between songs at all, except the break between "side A" and "side B." It was originally released on vinyl. On the live double album La Gaza Ladra, the entire Misplaced Childhood is performed without a break. Forty plus minutes of non-stop music. It's pretty cool.

Yes, it is also playing Childhood correctly, a smooth segue and no silence between songs.