Friday, November 30, 2007

With her dad's old .38

First, go read this one at Shooting the Messenger. Fits quotes the Brady Campaign:
While there are still many unanswered questions about the circumstances, one fact is undeniable: Sean Taylor’s tragic, untimely shooting death is the latest example that in America no one is safe from the scourge of gun violence.
Now let's tie this in with this post from The War On Guns.
The rejects suspected of being maniacs with murder in their evil hearts will, however, still have full unrestricted access to utility knives, fuel oil and fertilizer, and gasoline and matches, as well as be allowed to move freely throughout society.
Here's the truth: no one on Earth is safe from the scourge of violence. The medium used to commit an act of violent aggression against another human is irrelevant.

Keeping in mind the previous two links, examine now the case of Maria Pittaras (scroll down to "Man Shot Dead...").
Robert J. Metz made it a point to know most everyone in his neighborhood, beeping his car horn whenever he drove by anyone who was outside.

If somebody was building something, the 47-year-old construction worker was there to offer advice and often lend a hand.

But his happy-go-lucky demeanor masked a mental illness that was slowly consuming Metz, relatives say.

Maria Pittaras, 28, was something of an enigma in the neighborhood. She moved to the Turtle Lakes subdivision at the Pasco- Hillsborough counties line about a year ago, just around the corner from Metz and his wife, Carolyn, Pittaras' father recalls.

Neighbors didn't see her outside much; she did most of her real estate-related work from home. She kept her yard immaculate and occasionally entertained friends with outdoor barbecues, neighbors say.


Sometime before 2 a.m., Metz donned a dark mask and gloves, grabbed a knife and crawled into his neighbor's home through a window, sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said.

Metz crept into the bedroom as the woman slept, jumped on top of her and held the knife to her throat. She grabbed her .38-caliber pistol and fired two shots, striking Metz in the neck, Doll said.
So what do we have here? We have a man with a mental instability who tragically stopped taking his medication. However, he still had the mental capacity to wear a dark mask, disguising himself. He even had the forethought to wear gloves so that he would not leave fingerprints. It is not hard to speculate that his choice of a knife--rather than a gun--shows careful planning, because a knife makes no noise that might awaken the neighbors late in the night.

We can't say for sure what would have happened if Ms. Pittaras had not been armed with her father's gun, but it isn't hard to imagine that she would have been murdered, or raped, or both.

But she did have a gun, and she is still alive.

By the way, the weekly newsletter from USCCA is free for everyone to subscribe to, not just members. Follow the link above to read the latest issue and sign up.

The last great act of defiance

This one from LOLTHULHU cracked me up. Not because of the caption, but because of the picture itself. We got the tough guy poking itty bitty holes in something with his .38 (or possibly .32) revolver. And you know, preternatural entities are like icebergs: the biggest part is what you don't see. The girl in the back is probably better off, since she's about to cast a spell so there's a good chance her sanity loss will render her unaware of the coming doom. Poor Jimmy Olsen in the front is already caught--if he's lucky he'll be dead before that shantak comes sweeping down from the moon.

This is a perfect example of not carrying enough firepower. But then you never really can, in these situations.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Phone problems

I'm not using phone problems as an excuse for lack of blogging. I've actually been occupied with something else. However...

It would have been 14 years ago or so, when my old dog Baloo (r.i.p.) was a puppy, and he chewed things. One 0f the things he chewed were the phone wires outside the house. I repaired them myself, and the phone has worked fine since then, until a few days ago. Today the phone was totally dead so I checked the wires and the repair has finally fallen apart. I just spent about an hour working on it again but there was still no dial tone so I gave up and called the company on my cell phone to request a tech to come out here and fix it for real. My cell doesn't work in the house, so I was outside making the call. As soon as I walked back inside, the phone rang (WTF?).

Well, a tech will be here tomorrow anyway to replace the line with some new stuff, hopefully. But right now it's working, and I got connected at my usual 40K+ speed for dial-up.

UPDATE: Pretty good service from Verizon. They got here when they said they would, and did the job. The technician they sent cracked me up. He told my wife the problem was due to "exposed wires." No, you big dummy. I exposed the wires when I made the first repairs. I needed it to work so I could use the internet and my wife could handle her Avon orders. It would have been stupid for me to wrap everything back up just so you could unwrap everything the next morning.

Technicians. Just because they get paid to fix things, they think they're experts or something.

I guess they didn't care for the slide show

The Department of Justice visits for 39 seconds.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A white sports coat, and BRRAAIIINNNSSSSS!!!!

From San Antonio Daily Photo.

The miniature art of David Kucer

It is important to place David Kucer’s work into an historical perspective. Miniature firearms were the invention of the Renaissance. Their appearance coincided with the acceptance by the aristocracy of the wheel-lock. Wheel-lock arms were complex and costly, their manufacture requiring highly specialized and advanced technical skills. What was true of full scale firearms was equally true of miniature wheel-lock guns which were made in the 1500s and early 1600s. Miniature firearms were the most extreme test of the abilities of the virtuoso metal-smiths. They equaled in their demands upon the abilities of their makers the most intricate and delicate achievements of goldsmiths and jewelers. In addition, they were an extension of Late Renaissance and Mannerist fascination with small scale works of art such as the bronze statuette, plaquette, and medal.

In his notes for the catalogue of the Kucer exhibition at the Royal Armouries of H.M. Tower of London, Howard L. Blackmore refers to Michael Mann of Augsburg (he died c.1630), who made both miniature caskets and miniature firearms. For artists like him, the careful making of miniature arms was an extension of a whole, complex field of decorative arts and applied technology. There was in a sense no real separation of art and science; they were part of the same phenomenon of human development.

It is appropriate that in the Royal Ontario Museum, David Kucer’s miniature firearms were put on display contiguous to masterpieces of Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque silver and goldsmiths’ work, to which they are in no way inferior.
Lots more info and pictures at David Kucer Miniature Arms.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cthulhu Christmas

A fuzzy tree ornament for $39 from NifNaks.

Too much money for a stinkin' tree ornament, but cool anyway.

Via Under Vhoorl's Shadow.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Top of the G00gle again

For what does "Murolces odro suvon sitpeoc tiunna" mean?

A while back I saw a meme somewhere about posting five phrases that can be G00gled that shows one's blog for the first reference. I thought it was interesting, but didn't feel like spending time hunting down these hits for this blog. So I've just been cataloging them as they turn up. Next time that meme goes around, I'll already have some fodder.

So this is what "progressive" means

Investigate the Media busts the San Francisco Chronicle and their practice of covert censorship:
Suspicious, I then took the following steps: I deleted the "cookies" that SFGate installs on users' computers to identify who they are, then logged out of my account, and then revisited the same thread on my own computer. As I suspected, the comment was no longer visible, replaced by the moderator's notation "This comment has been removed by SFGate." Then when I logged back in to my account, and viewed the thread as "me" again -- the comment was once again visible.

I also confirmed this by viewing the comment thread using a different browser (Firefox) which did not have any SFGate cookies installed yet, and on which I had not logged in to my account. Sure enough, the comment appeared as deleted; while exactly simultaneously, using my original logged-in browser (Safari) the comment was not deleted.

In other words, whenever I viewed the comments thread as "myself" (i.e. logged in under my account name, which in this case was "jimjams"), my comment remained visible; but whenever I viewed the comment thread either anonymously (i.e. not logged in) or from a browser with no SFGate cookies or (most importantly) from some other computer, then my comment was gone -- deleted by the moderators.
Sounds bad enough, but it gets worse. Read the whole thing.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Here's something I never thought I'd see

One of my poems translated Norwegian, maybe? I'm not sure.

You have to scroll down, at Fordításaim.

UPDATE: It's Hungarian. See comments.

This is the school my kids attend

From Wilson County News:
Students at La Vernia Primary School raised more than $2,000 to help send care packages to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan this holiday season.

The school’s Parent-Teacher Organization held a penny drive from Oct. 24 through Nov. 7, with a goal of raising $1,000. Students donated more than $2,000 to support the troops.

La Vernia Primary School teachers used the experience to practice their students’ math skills. Students counted pennies, worked with place value, and graphed their totals. The class on each grade level donating the most money won a prize from the PTO.
Yes, it's a public school, and far from perfect, but when I read things like this I am thankful that I haven't had to deal with some of the public-school-crass-stupidity horror stories I've heard about schools in other parts of the country.

And now I know where my pocket change kept disappearing to.

That is certainly odd...

Cryptomundo posts a trail camera photo that appears to show a raccoon atop a wild hog. Looks like another coon is in the background. Maybe he's waiting for the hog bus to pick him up.

Follow the link to also see a photo of the world's worst hunting dog.

Authorized journalists doing research

With G00gle, of course.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thursday night Winamp

Yes, I like Annie Lennox's voice. I also liked Eurythmics back in the 80s.

Four-day weekend this week. Nothing to do for a couple of days now but take care of the kids, so I might get some extra blogging in.

The newest version of Winamp (5.5 beta) is pretty cool. It has a new function that automagically retrieves the album cover art and displays it in a special little window. If it can't find the cover art, you can still put it in manually. It saves the cover graphic in the folder where the file is that you retrieved it for. Here's a screen-cap of what it looks like, on my machine anyway. I collapsed a bunch of the windows that I don't use.

So far I haven't found any bugs in this beta version.

Work this week was...interesting. The most interesting part was that it was so hot that I nearly ran out of water two days in a row. Tuesday was pretty tough, because I did two routes in the Five Palms/Old Pearsall Road area, and down there the meter lids are these big, heavy oval things instead of the the smaller round ones that are found almost everywhere else. I have to put them back in with my hands, instead of just kicking them back into place, and my right hand especially (which did most of the work) was really hurting by the end of the day. But of course, that kind of work helps increase my grip strength, which is always a good thing.

Wednesday I got kind of peeved. I did a route and a half around Burbank High School. I had never done the meters at the school before, and they were right at the end of everything. Schools are always bad places to have to hunt down meters; usually the maintenance staff there don't even know where all the meters are (and this place was no exception). So I thought I'd be finishing up and starting my weekend at about 1:00 PM, but it took me until 1:40 to find all the meters (40 minutes to hunt down 6 meters). I finally found the last two on the back side, and by that time I was, shall we say, quite cross. My crossness was exacerbated by the handheld trying to tell me that they were located in "front." So changed it to "rear" and then spray-painted the full address right next to the meters so the next poor newbie who gets stuck with that route can find them more easily, in theory. So if you drive down Burbank Loop and see "1002 Edwards" written on the pavement in neon blue spray paint, that was me.


Somehow I find myself far out of line
from the ones I had drawn
Wasn't the best of paths, you could attest to that,
but I'm keeping on.
Would our paths cross if every great loss
had turned out our gain?
Would our paths cross if the pain it had cost us
was paid in vain?

There was no pot of gold, hardly a rainbow
lighting my way
But I will be true to the red, black and blues
that colored those days.
Would our paths cross if every great loss
had turned out our gain?
Would our paths cross if the pain it had cost us
was paid in vain?

I owe my soul to each fork in the road,
each misleading sign.
'Cause even in solitude, no bitter attitude
can dissolve my sweetest find.

Thanksgiving for every wrong move
Thanksgiving for every wrong move
Thanksgiving for every wrong move
That made it right

--Poi Dog Pondering

Hard to believe

KDKA in Pittsburg reports:
To get people to sign up, the military gives enlistment bonuses up to $30,000 in some cases.

Now men and women who have lost arms, legs, eyesight, hearing and can no longer serve are being ordered to pay some of that money back.

One of them is Jordan Fox, a young soldier from the South Hills.

He finds solace in the hundreds of boxes he loads onto a truck in Carnegie. In each box is a care package that will be sent to a man or woman serving in Iraq. It was in his name Operation Pittsburgh Pride was started.

Fox was seriously injured when a roadside bomb blew up his vehicle. He was knocked unconscious. His back was injured and lost all vision in his right eye.

A few months later Fox was sent home. His injuries prohibited him from fulfilling three months of his commitment. A few days ago, he received a letter from the military demanding nearly $3,000 of his signing bonus back.
Horrendous. Somewhere out there is a bureaucrat who desperately needs a severe beating.

Via Nobody's Business.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Students for Concealed Carry on Campus got some airtime

On NPR this morning. Only a couple of minutes, but they were focused on the movement going on at nearby Texas State University in San Marcos (previously known as Southwest Texas State University). Just thought I'd mention it.

Check out their website, if you haven't yet, at

UPDATE: Here's a news report about it, via NRA-ILA.

A recipe even I can't screw up

Someone at work gave me this recipe and said it was from Weight Watchers or something. She had made the low-cal version for our Thanksgiving meal at work and it was great. I made a non-low-cal version tonight and it's also great. But if you don't like pumpkin, then don't bother.

Pumpkin Fluff

One can of pumpkin filling (15 oz.)
One tub of Cool Whip (12 oz.)
One box of Vanilla Pudding mix (small box that makes "4 servings")
Pumpkin spice to taste

Mix all ingredients together and whip them thoroughly. Allow to set in refrigerator for a couple of hours, if you can wait that long.

You can get the "lite" or "sugar-free" versions of the Cool Whip and pudding if you want.

Slather the resulting stuff in a graham cracker pie crust and serve like pie, or use as a dip with graham crackers, or just eat it out of a bowl like pudding.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Project Aiko:
Aiko is the first android to mimic pain, and reacts to it. This technology can be beneficial for people born with or who have undergone amputations. This is the first step toward a life-like mechanical limb that has the ability to feel physical sensation.
There's also a Project Aiko blog. Aiko was designed and built by a robotics enthusiast in his basement.

(And the answer to that is no, you perv).

"It's worthless as a forensic tool."

For 40 years, the FBI used a "forensic" technique which has now been discredited as completely worthless.

Evidence of Injustice:
Aside from eyewitness testimony, some of the most believable evidence presented in criminal cases in the United States comes from the FBI crime laboratory in Quantico, Va. Part of its job is to test and analyze everything from ballistics to DNA for state and local prosecutors around the country, introducing scientific credibility to often murky cases.

But a six-month investigation by 60 Minutes and The Washington Post shows that there are hundreds of defendants imprisoned around the country who were convicted with the help of a now discredited forensic tool, and that the FBI never notified them, their lawyers, or the courts, that the their cases may have been affected by faulty testimony.

The science, called bullet lead analysis, was used by the FBI for 40 years in thousands of cases, and some of the people it helped put in jail may be innocent.


For years, the FBI believed that lead in bullets had unique chemical signatures, and that by breaking them down and analyzing them, it was possible to match bullets, not only to a single batch of ammunition coming out of a factory, but to a single box of bullets. And that is what the FBI did in the case of Lee Wayne Hunt, tying a bullet fragment found where the murders took place to a box of bullets the prosecutors linked to Hunt.
Emphasis mine. And this is pure fantasy.

It's a long article, but worth reading the whole thing.

Via The Real Gun Guys.

What a dork...

I think this pretty much proves that Huckabee is barely registering on the clue-o-meter.

How much money did he spend to create what is essentially a Saturday Night Live skit? (But mercifully shorter).

Oh Chuck, you should have stuck to roundhouse-kicking people in the face.

Monday, November 19, 2007

How can you judge for me what I should hear and see...

I got nothing to say today. But I ripped a few more cassettes. Frozen Ghost is another one that most people (around here, anyway) have never heard of. I must admit this is the only album of theirs I have, and I guess it was their first. They have some good lyrics, and good harmony vocals. Oh yeah, and the saxophone. It's hard to beat the dark burnished gold of a tenor sax with a mighty shimmering wall of midi in the background, in my opinion.

Kojiki is the only Kitaro tape I have, but I also have several of his CDs and records.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I can agree with that

The Rogers Indicator of Multiple Intelligences
created with
You scored as Musical/Rhythmic

You are sensitive to sounds in your environment, enjoy music and prefer listening to music when you study or read. You learn best through melody and music. People like you include singers, conductors, composers, and others who appreciate the various elements of music.















Seen at numerous other blogs of late.

Punk Electronica

I had a total blast from the past today. I was going to try and rip a few more cassettes, but got derailed when my Flatt & Scruggs tape broke (bummer), and I managed to tape only one side of Emmylou Harris' Thirteen when I noticed some cassette drawers that I hadn't looked through yet. Inside I found some of my "missing" tapes: Husker Du, Frozen Ghost, Grant Hart, and the Boomtown Rats. I also found an old tape of stuff I did back when I used to play with synthesizers.

Oh man, I miss those days. Someday I want to get some modern equipment and do that again. Back then I was convinced that I had wasted a lot of money on that stuff for no good reason, but looking back now, the fun I had was worth it.

I still have everything. Both synths need to be worked on by someone who knows what they're doing, because they've both gone a little funky. The digital piano is fine, and the drum machine probably works but it would take me a while to figure it out again because it was pretty complicated (owner's manual? yeah, I'm sure it's somewhere). As for the old sequencer I used, it was obsolete when I bought it, which was why I got a good deal on it, and I don't plan on kludging around with that thing again.

I also got immense enjoyment from creating new sounds, or figuring out how to mimic sounds that I heard in various songs. I came up with some pretty sweet patches on the Korg Poly800II. I used to have a notebook of them all, who knows what ever became of that.

So I've been ripping that old cassette and making some mp3s so I can listen to them now and then.

I've been banned

From everywhere, it seems:
The world wide banning of all Alan's from public buildings will come into force during the new year, said a politician with ambitions to being the king ruler of the world.

Mr Alan Allen, of the preserving Alan Society in Basildon said: 'This is political correctness gone mad. It is alright for the Zebedes, and Zachariahs, but do all the country's Alans really want to go the same was as the country's Abigails. Nothing much was said when that happened, because there are more Alans in the country, but what about all of the Brians, Beths, and Chriss, soon to be kept in their own homes for all eternity. Where will the money for the enhanced security come from, then, eh?'

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Schmidt Sting Pain Index

From Wikipedia, via Meine Kleine Fabrik:
The Schmidt Sting Pain Index or The Justin O. Schmidt Pain Index is a pain scale rating the relative pain caused by different Hymenopteran stings. It is mainly the work of Justin O. Schmidt, an entomologist at the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center. Schmidt has published a number of papers on the subject and claims to have been stung by the majority of stinging Hymenoptera.

His original paper in 1984 was an attempt to systematise and compare the hemolytic properties of insect venoms. The index contained in the paper started from 0 for stings that are completely ineffective against humans, progressed through 2, a familiar pain such as a common bee or wasp sting, and finished at 4 for the most painful stings. In the conclusion, some descriptions of the most painful examples were given, e.g.: "Paraponera clavata stings induced immediate, excruciating pain and numbness to pencil-point pressure, as well as trembling in the form of a totally uncontrollable urge to shake the affected part."
And follows with a listing of various stings on the pain index. Interesting. We have some little wild bee or wasp out here that I got stung by once, and at the time I thought a grassburr had poked me through my pants leg. I only realized I had been stung when I looked down to pick it out. I was stung so often by honeybees as a kid that their sting now is mostly just an annoyance. On the other hand, a red wasp sting will make me sick. I get nauseated and feverish, and the initial sting feels like someone stabbed me with a red-hot ice pick. Scorpions affect me similarly, but not as bad. I've never been stung by a yellowjacket.

The problem with fire ants, of course, is that a bite from a single one isn't much of anything to worry about, but you don't usually get stung by only a single fire ant.

Just a thought

In the years that I've been blogging, I've noticed that there are several gunbloggers who are also ham radio operators. Someone should organize a Gunblogger Net. It might be enough to get me to go active again.

I would have to get my rig worked on, because it went funky a few years ago. Or maybe buy a new one. But still.

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace

This is a show that's easy to miss, but funny as heck. From Wikipedia:
The premise of the series is that in the mid-1980s, Garth Marenghi and his publisher Dean Learner made their own TV series on a shoestring budget. Set in Darkplace Hospital in Romford, East London Garth Marenghi's Darkplace tells of the adventures of Dr. Rick Dagless, MD, as he fights the forces of darkness while simultaneously coping with the pressures of running a modern hospital.

In reality the series is a deliberate send-up both of the horror genre and of 1980s TV production. Action series such as Blake's 7, Doctor Who, The A-Team, The Sweeney, cult drama Twin Peaks and various American medical dramas are also obvious influences, and the comedy relies partly on familiarity with such programmes. More obscurely, Darkplace makes reference to Lars von Trier's "haunted hospital" TV series The Kingdom (Riget in Danish), which was later remade by Stephen King for an American audience as Kingdom Hospital. Much of the show could be taken as a parody of King's work (with the flying staplers and other deadly inanimate objects of Hell Hath Fury, for example, being a fairly direct parody of King's Maximum Overdrive and similar works).
Catch it late Friday nights on Cartoon Network, during the adult swim segment. The funniest thing about it isn't the flying staplers, it's the dialogue. Especially the behind-the-scenes commentary.

The official website is here.

Why read Pratchett?

Marko asks for a good reason to read the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett. Here is the comment I left.
I don't know if I can clearly explain it, but I'll try.

doesn't write in a conventional "serious" mode. Therefore, his
descriptions of things: people, places, ideas, attitudes (many of these
being fantastical things), are not constrained by the limits of "serious"
writing. His humorous fantasy style allows him to slip outside the
usual methods of description, and takes the reader outside of the
conventional methods of understanding.

Even if he is only describing a wet rock, you will see it in a new and different way.

That's my take on it.


The Agitator writes on Ron Paul Derangement Syndrome:
My colleague Dave Wiegel calls it "Ron Paul Derangement Syndrome," and there certainly seems to be something to it. Here you have a Republican running for president who's actually serious about downsizing the federal government, who gives a damn about individual rights, and who understands that big government overseas breeds big government at home, and reaction from the Beltway right is to dismiss the guy with eye rolls, patronizing lectures about "seriousness," and lame ad hominem attacks.

A monopoly on wealth

GordonUnleashed points to some reports that the offices of the Liberty Dollar have been raided by federal agents and everything was stolen confiscated.

In 1999 the Treasury Department reviewed the Liberty Dollar and stated that it was not illegal as long as it was not printed with the words "legal tender."

Apparently they changed their minds.

Via New Liberty Creation.

UPDATE: The Liberty Papers takes a look at the other side: how the Liberty Dollar can be viewed as a money-making scam, but not as big of a scam as the "legal" Federal Reserve.

Saturday Morning Random 20

Peter Gabriel - Lead a Normal Life
Rocket Man - Kate Bush
Styx - Jonas Psalter
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians - Little Miss S.
The Benedictine Monks Of Santo Domingo De Silos - A Solis Ortus Cardine
Moe Bandy - Till I'm Too Old To Die Young
808 State - Empire
Rick Derringer - Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo
Guess Who - American Woman
Olivia Newton John - Please Mister Please
R.E.M. - Bang And Blame
Pink Floyd - Dogs
Alison Krauss - When You Say Nothing at All
Roy Orbison - The Only One
The Doors - Do It
Alison Krauss - I Will
R.E.M. - There She Goes Again
Graeme Revell with David Darling - Claire's Theme
Neil Young - Someday
Warren Zevon - Boom Boom Mancini

Oddly Alison Krauss-heavy, since I have only one of her CDs. But then, you can never have too much Alison Krauss.

I have been slacking off in my vinyl/cassette ripping this week, but maybe I can do a few albums today.

Not surprising

Which Discworld Character are you like (with pics)
created with
You scored as Rincewind

You are Rincewind! Greatest survivor of all times! But a rather inept wizard. You seem to be going from bad to worse, without slowing down. Rather miserable with your luck, the luggage that follows you around offers little comfort.



Lord Havelock Vetinari


Commander Samuel Vimes




Carrot Ironfounderson


Gytha (Nanny) Ogg




The Librarian


Esmerelda (Granny) Weatherwax


Cohen The Barbarian


Via LawDog. That's not a very good picture of Rincewind, imo. For one thing, he didn't have a hat. He lost it (cough).

Friday, November 16, 2007


For Cowboy Blob's caption contest.

Winamp tonight

No random 20 tonight, because I got a new CD. The Screen Behind the Mirror by Enigma.

The Astounding Goat-Trees of Morocco

But seriously, Oddee has an interesting article on 7 Incredible Natural Phenomena you've never seen. The goats pictured climb those trees because they really really like the fruit which grows there.

And learn how to tie your shoes...

David Codrea has created an excellent satirical BATF(U) recruitment slideshow using Toufee.

If it doesn't display correctly in your browser, you can also view it directly at Toufee.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Apparently I'm a Level 2 D*ck

Because speaking the word "irregardless" in the range of my hearing is the aural equivalent of poking me with a sharp stick: it's sure to cause an unpleasant over-reaction.

9 Words That Don't Mean What You Think at Cracked.

Yes, I know I've been linking to them a lot lately. But then when I was a kid my grandmother used to buy me Cracked magazines for my birthday. So there.

Odd bumper sticker

Today I saw one of those bumper stickers that had a picture of a handgun with the words, "If guns kill people, do pencils misspell words?" I've seen these before at gun shows, but this one was slightly different.

I did a double-take when I noticed that the handgun pictured was the Le Mat Revolver.

An odd choice to illustrate a bumper sticker, but then I suppose the average bumper sticker reader wouldn't notice it anyway.

Picture filched from James, whose post on the Le Mat turned up in a G00gle images search.

But he's only enforcing existing laws

Red Pills posts a long commentary on Michael Sullivan that every gun owner should read.
The joke about Sullivan hiring anyone as a policy adviser is that Sullivan’s policy has been fixed since he first started out as a DA: Go for the maximum charge for just about every offender. Sullivan refuses to cut plea deals (though Tom Finneran managed to get one), instead demanding that his prosecutors pile charges on a defendant, often using previous convictions at the state level to trigger higher mandatory-minimum sentences and boost the severity of the federal charges.

This approach has created friction between Sullivan’s office and federal judges, who find his philosophy mindless and demeaning not just to defendants but also to attorneys, judges, and Lady Justice herself. In 2004, two federal judges offered rare public rebukes of Sullivan’s tactics. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf castigated Sullivan for tying up the courts with penny-ante street-crime cases , and U.S. District Court Judge William Young hammered Sullivan’s office for evincing “a moral code more suited to the alleys of Baghdad than the streets of Boston” and adopting a mindset that “reveals such callous indifference to innocent human life as would gag any fair-minded observer.”

Sullivan has often said he doesn’t care if he annoys judges; by his reckoning, the more cases you’ve gotten to trial, the more successful you’ve been, so he’s just kept on pushing more through each year, in the process racking up some of the longest average sentences of any U.S. attorney in the country. But beyond drawing the ire of jurists, Sullivan’s methods have also insulted his own staff. U.S. attorneys working a case typically arrive at a plea deal they feel adequately punishes the defendant while at the same time avoiding a lengthy, costly trial. They then bring the proposed deal to a supervisor for approval, and it continues up the chain from there. Sources say that previous U.S. attorneys, from Bill Weld to Donald K. Stern, took the position that their employees had some idea of what they were doing. Under Sullivan it’s been different. Prosecutors have labored to find what they feel is an appropriate resolution to a case, only to see their agreement rejected out of hand by the boss months later, with an admonishment to go back and seek the maximum charge. Former staffers say the practice has had a disastrous effect on morale, leaving the rank and file to feel they’re merely cogs in Sullivan’s machine.

And when those cogs squeak, sources say, they sometimes find themselves removed from the picture.
So be prepared to be treated like someone who committed murder with a stolen gun just because you wrote "Y" instead of "Yes."

He's only enforcing existing laws. Remember that.

More on Sullivan at The War On Guns.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Department of (In)Justice

Art or Bioterrorism: Who Cares?
RU: According to the CAE defense fund FAQ, you were originally charged under prohibitions on biological weapons, but a grand jury instead handed down indictments related to "wire fraud" and "mail fraud." And then it also states that the terrorism charges could come back to haunt you.

I wonder how your attorneys are coping with all this. Are they simply trying to get across the absurdity of the whole mess, or are their any legal fine points?

SK: What they have been arguing in motion hearings is that the Department of Justice is making an absurd interpretation of the mail fraud law. The DoJ has thrown away its guidelines (which state my case should not be prosecuted) and interpreted the law in a way that is unique for my situation. [emphasis added -- ed.]

My co-defendant Bob Ferrell and I are the first citizens to ever be indicted for mail or wire fraud because we supposedly broke a material transfer agreement. The “defrauded” parties do not believe we did anything to harm them — the crime is a DoJ fantasy that they hope to prove. We’ll see at trial if rationality prevails.

If it doesn’t, the case will set a precedent that will mean that the Justice Department can drop a major felony on someone for filling out a warranty card incorrectly and mailing it. This will be a major tool for them. Talk about being able to pick off people at will!
Man's wife dies of heart failure. Responding "authorities" see "suspicious stuff" mainly because they're a bunch of ignorant punks so they send him through hell.

But he did nothing wrong. Certain "authorities" are embarrassed about how bad they screwed up, so instead of apologizing, they ruin his life just to teach him his place.

Notice the emphasized part above. Remind you of any other famous government agencies?

Via The Agitator.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More Zombie News

5 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Apocalypse Could Actually Happen at Cracked.

Read the whole thing, and don't say you weren't warned.

Don't tase yourself, bro!

Except we don't know for sure if it's a "bro" or a "sis," because of course unless a civilian bystander is videotaping it, we aren't worthy of such information.

Wis. officer accidentally Tasers himself:
A police officer has been reprimanded for accidentally discharging a Taser, causing an injury — to the police officer.

Madison police released a report Monday on the July 31 incident, without revealing the officer's name or gender. The department said the Taser accidentally discharged during a standard checkout procedure.
Good to know that Tasers can discharge themselves just like guns, without the handler being responsible in any way. As long as the handler is an Only One, of course.

Via The War On Guns.

Principal brief filed in Fincher case

It can be downloaded here.
The principal brief has now been filed on Wayne's appeal. The brief was filed in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals by Quentin Rhoades of Montana as pro bono counsel with the assistance of Stewart Rhodes of Nevada.

The Government's response is due within 30 days. There will then be opportunity for rebuttal argument.
Via The War On Guns.

(This is yesterday's news but I was out of it yesterday because Bloglines was down).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Something for Veteran's Day

Read the whole thing at Liberty For All:
He sighed heavily as he sat on the bench next to the chest and from his vest pocket he pulled a Garcia Y Vega, snipped off the tip of the cheroot with his Cold Steel Gunsite knife and lit it, inhaling deeply the smooth acrid smoke. His eyes glazed over somewhat as he began to reminisce his youthful days as a combat soldier in the jungles of Southeast Asia and the band of brothers that were his and were now, no longer. He began to feel a great sadness and sense of loss as their faces materialized and then vanished from the walls of his memory.

Again he sighed deeply, and took another long draw from the cheroot. Suddenly it dawned on him that dusk was fast approaching on this cold November day. The early evening breeze from the nearby mountain had begun to blow cold, its icy fingers penetrating to the very marrow of the old veteran’s weary joints. He groaned and with a sense of urgency he pulled a soft cloth from the chest. Quickly he unwrapped the cloth from around the cheek rest for his Bushmaster. As quickly as his finger joints would allow he attached the cheek rest to the stock of the rifle. Quickly, oh so quickly, he pulled an oddly shaped appendage made of black plastic from the chest and attached it to the ejection port of the rifle. It was a brass catcher. Last but not least he withdrew several of what appeared to be long metallic boxes. He shoved one up into the magazine well of his rifle, pulled back the charging handle and then released it. The bolt flew forward with a resounding “clunk.”

Beautiful and macabre

Check out the art of david ho.

Especially look at the one in the top row, fifth from left.

That's the commercial stuff. For the full gallery, go here.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Murolces odro suvon sitpeoc tiunna

There was one night in college when I would have gotten a lot more sleep if I'd had Goldwave and its simple "reverse" button. Rigging cassettes to play backwards took hours, but at least it gave me full authority to call b*llsh*t on the PTL Club.

One night, it was a Friday or Saturday or I wouldn't have stayed up because I had a music theory class at 8:00 AM every weekday, my room-mate and I couldn't sleep and despaired of anything to watch on TV and saw this one episode of the PTL Club. It was back when the Bakker's were still married. We watched it because they were talking about alleged "backward satanic masking" in rock songs. Well, I was already a compulsive taper. Whenever I bought a record, the first time I played it, I recorded it to cassette. Then I listened only to the cassette to protect the record from damage and wear. So I had plenty of blank cassettes, and between myself and my room-mate we had a fairly respectable record collection and had many of the songs they were talking about. When you record to cassette, the magnetic information is transcribed all the way through the tape, you see, and although the sound quality is degraded on the reverse side, it is still intelligible, although it helps to turn the treble way up to make it more understandable. My blank cassettes were the kind that were put together with actual screws. So you just tape the songs you want to hear backwards, then open the cassette and laboriously rewind the tape so that the reverse side becomes the "outside" that runs across the play head in your tape deck. Thus you get to hear everything backwards.

But now with software like Goldwave you just select the bit you want to hear backwards and hit the "reverse" button. Handy.

One of the main songs they were picking on was "Snowblind" by Styx, from the Paradise Theater album. Although we listened to it backwards many times, neither of us could ever hear anything that would indicate a "backward masking." I thought it was significant that they were focusing on an anti-drug song. All of this nonsense was what led Styx to create the Kilroy Was Here album, which does contain one obvious and intentional backward mask. Just before the song "Heavy Metal Poisoning" James Young speaks the words "Annuit coeptis novus ordo seclorum" which is recorded backwards.

So without a proper segue, here's the Saturday Night Random 20. Load the entire mp3 collection in Winamp, randomize the list, and here they are.

1. Jimmy Smith & Dr. John -- Only in it for the Money
2. Three Dog Night -- Black and White
3. Tonight -- George Michael (from Two Rooms, the Elton John tribute collection)
4. Shawn Colvin -- Shotgun Down the Avalanche
5. Elvis Costello -- But Not For Me
6. Angelo Badalamenti -- The Nightingale (Twin Peaks soundtrack, vocals by Julee Cruise)
7. The Residents -- Devotion?
8. Sean Washburn -- Between the Heartbeats
9. Acoustic Alchemy -- Playing for Time
10. Suzanne Vega -- Knight Moves
11. R.E.M. -- Don't Go Back to Rockville
12. Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper -- Wash No Dishes No More
13. Bela Fleck & the Flecktones -- Shocktime
14. 1919 Fruitgum Co. -- Special Delivery (from a compilation of Bubblegum one-hit wonders)
15. Bill Monroe -- Doghouse Blues
16. Stanley Turrentine -- Sugar
17. Midnight Oil -- Blue Sky Mine
18. 10,000 Maniacs -- Hateful Hate
19. The Who -- Baba O'Riley
20. Pat Metheny -- Solar

The cell jammer

The Mini Phone Jammer is a perfect gift for the would-be cell phone vigilante. Kills cell phone communications in a 5-meter radius for $149. More powerful versions available for more $$$.

Back when I worked as a pizza delivery guy, the majority of employees in the kitchen wanted the radio on one of those stations that I absolutely could not tolerate. My only escape was getting out and delivering pizzas, but when I was stuck in the kitchen it was intolerable.

I bought a cheap FM wireless microphone kit and made myself a small "Mr. Microphone." I tuned it to the correct frequency outside in my truck, then stuck it in my pocket and ran the antenna wire down my pants leg. As long as I was within about 10 feet of the radio, it knocked the signal out. It was hilarious to see those people constantly fiddling with the antenna to try and pick the signal up again. They were so dense they never seemed to figure out that it only happened when I was near the radio.

I also had fun driving around singing along with classic rock on KZEP with my little wireless mic.

But of course...

What American accent do you have? (Best version so far)


People used to hate Southern accents but now everyone wants one.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

However there is of course a wide variety of inflections collectively known as "southern."

I remember when I was trucking driving, after spending several days up north, I would cross down into Kentucky and suddenly hear people talking normally again, even though the Kentucky accent was really nothing like my own.

And there are a wide variety of accents in Texas. And if you grow up in/around San Antonio, you will pick up certain Tex-Mex inflections and words unless you're just stone deaf.

Via Ride Fast.

But originality costs extra

Make yours here.

Via RCB.

The wallaby menace

This is old news, but I couldn't resist mentioning it when I saw it.

Wichita is considering a species-specific ban on wallabies. No kidding.
A municipal judge ruled the wallaby was technically exotic and therefore illegal, according to a city memo. But because the ordinance is too vague, the judge said Skippy could remain with Freed.

During a workshop on Thursday, the City Council plans to discuss a proposed ordinance specifically banning wallabies. The city contends wallabies carry diseases and do not make good urban pets.

Freed disputes that assertion.

Kay Johnson, the city's director of environmental services, acknowledged the animals are cute when they're babies. "But cute doesn't necessarily mean it's right for the city," she added.

She said the city did not know anybody in town had a wallaby until Freed's escaped.

Thus far the wallaby menace still threatens the citizens of Wichita.

A new tag I'll have to start using

Just so I can chronicle interesting search hits.

This one is, "The Herschel impact crater is strange. It's a 130-kilometer-wide (80-mile). It constitutes."

I guess that's the limit of a Google search string. This one is really flattering, because I'm the only search result. I would have thought that at least the article I referenced would also be in the results, but apparently the original article is no longer there.

So much for Japan's low murder rate

This is one we hear about occasionally from the forced disarmament crowd. Cases like this may explain why (use BugMeNot):
Photos of the teenager's corpse show a deep cut on his right arm, horrific bruising on his neck and chest. His face is swollen and covered with cuts. A silhouette of violence runs from the corner of his left eye over the cheekbone to his jaw, and his legs are pocked with small burns the size of a lighted cigarette.

But police in Japan's Aichi prefecture saw something else when they looked at the body of Takashi Saito, a 17-year-old sumo wrestler who arrived at a hospital in June. The cause of death was "heart disease," police declared.

As is common in Japan, Aichi police reached their verdict on how Saito died without an autopsy. No need for a coroner, they said. No crime involved. Only 6.3% of the unnatural deaths in Aichi are investigated by a medical examiner, a minuscule rate even by nationwide standards in Japan, where an autopsy is performed in 11.2% of cases.

Forensic scientists say there are many reasons for the low rate, including inadequate budgets and a desperate shortage of pathologists outside the biggest urban areas. There is also a cultural resistance in Japan to handling the dead, with families often reluctant to insist upon a procedure that invades the body of a loved one.

But Saito's case has given credence to complaints by a group of frustrated doctors, former pathologists and ex-cops who argue that Japan's police culture is the main obstacle.

Police discourage autopsies that might reveal a higher homicide rate in their jurisdiction, and pressure doctors to attribute unnatural deaths to health reasons, usually heart failure, the group alleges. Odds are, it says, that people are getting away with murder in Japan, a country that officially claims one of the lowest per capita homicide rates in the world.

"You can commit a perfect murder in Japan because the body is not likely to be examined," says Hiromasa Saikawa, a former member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police security and intelligence division. He says senior police officers are "obsessed with statistics because that's how you get promotions," and strive to reduce the number of criminal cases as much as possible to keep their almost perfect solution rate.
Via Reformed Chicks Blabbing.

It sure makes you think...

Or maybe I should have said, "It sure makes you ruminate."

Manson, Washington:
A Michigan couple is lucky to be alive after their minivan was hit by a falling cow on Sunday.

According to a report in the Wenatchee World newspaper, Charles Everson, Jr. and his wife Linda were driving on Highway 150 about one mile east of Manson in Chelan County when a cow fell about 200 feet off a cliff and landed on the hood of their minivan.
Another one of those weird things. If they had been driving a little slower or a little faster, the cow would have missed them. A flat tire or an extra cup of coffee that morning, and the cow would have missed them. Or maybe they were driving a little slower or faster than usual, or maybe they did have a flat or an extra cup of coffee, and that's how they got to that exact point at that exact instant. And if they had been going just a hair faster, it would have hit the cab instead of the hood, and they would now both be dead.

It reminds me of one of my fundamental laws of existence: "Do nothing wrong, get screwed anyway." But they did survive unharmed, so maybe it's "Be thankful for that which you do not understand."

Or maybe it's just: "Next time a bug splats all over your clean windshield, be thankful that it wasn't a cow."

Hail Eris.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Propaganda Posters for the New Police State.

Via The Club Above.

How do I join?

Got a search hit for "anime fans for the 2nd amendment."

Once again, I'm at the top of the search results.

"One black cop's view"

A good rant written by a black police officer at Liberty For All:
If you are a uniformed Police Officer of any rank and do not fully, and honorably support the pre-existing God given rights enumerated in the 2nd Amendment, you are a disgrace to your Badge and your oath of office to protect and serve. The citizens of the United States of America deserve better than you. You should not be allowed the honor of public service as a sworn peace officer of the law. Taking a contrary, selective position to the Constitution means you are not following the supreme law of the land and are, in fact, endangering the safety of yourself, your fellow officers, and the public you are sworn to protect. This dishonor is increased if you support any (so- called) “Police Fraternal Organization” that aligns itself with groups seeking to infringe, limit, or destroy the 2nd Amendment (Such as “Handgun Control Incorporated,” etc). This dishonor is increased if you support any State or Federal Attorney General, Legislator (Politician); or local Government body that have de facto reneged on their sworn oath to “Protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic.” For these individuals (by endorsing “gun control”) have become the “domestic enemies” embodied in that oath.

You need BRAAAIIINNNSSS to read this blog

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Uberti DVD Catalog

Since I have an odd compulsion that drives me to read small print, this is something I just noticed in a gun mag ad.

You can get a DVD catalog from Uberti.
The new 2007 DVD catalog contains detailed information on the entire product line and all of the new products currently available from Benelli, Franchi, Uberti, Stoeger and Stoeger Books. This exciting DVD is over 60 minutes in length and contains action videos of the products, interactive presentations, printable PDFs of all the 2007 catalogs, links to all of the Benelli websites and much more.
Sounds good just for the "action videos." And it's free. The only catch is you have to live in the continental 48.

Petzal: Part of the problem

I once had this guy on my blogroll because he seemed to know what he was talking about when it came to the technical aspects of guns, but dropped him because when it comes to gun politics he seemed either clueless or deliberatly misleading.

He recently posed some questions to Fred Thompson, one of which was:
4. Of the Republican candidates, only Mike Huckabee seems sympathetic to gun owners. Of the others, who would be the worst President for gun owners? Who would be the worst Democrat?
Only Mike Huckabee seems sympathetic to gun owners?

Petzal is either flat-out stupid or flat-out lying. Either way, he's part of the problem.

For a complete fisking, see Red Pills.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New definition of "gun extremist"

Over at The View From North Central Idaho.

I've gone to the range with a NAA min in .22 LR and an M44 in 7.62x54R. Does that count?

Via Uncle.

If you squeeze my lizard I'll put my snake on you...

Now come on. How can anyone not like a song that starts with those words?

I'm not sure what I was thinking when I bought the Motorhead tape. I think I was thinking, Hey, Lemmy used to be in Hawkwind, so let's try this out. Unfortunately, my musical pursuits were steering me in another direction, and I didn't have unlimited funds to buy everything I wanted.

So this is the only Motorhead album I have, but I really like it. Someday I'll get some of their other stuff, I promise. This tape was always part of my essential road music. I'm sure everyone has a special collection to listen to while driving, and this was in mine.

The Toad tape was purchased because I had a bunch of their CDs and noticed this older album on a clearance rack.

These are on the docket for today, and maybe something else later. I'm going to try and work my way through my cassette shelf before I go back to ripping vinyl.

It occurred to me today that it might be amusing (for me, at least) to make some posts about albums in my collection that I do not intend to rip. There are several that I just don't know why I ever bought.

I'm stumped

I can tell when people are hitting some of my posts from email accounts by checking the "visitor paths" with Statcounter. So I can see which posts people are emailing to other people. It happens sometimes.

However, some of my recent posts about my audio ripping are getting emailed around, and I have no idea why. I can't see how they would be interesting enough for anyone to bother emailing them to someone else.

But, as usual, thanks for the traffic, whoever you are.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Always carry enough gun(s)

Photography by Phillip Toledano.

See the ceiling raining tears...

Ripped these from cassette today. Also I did the old record that I don't want to ID until I get it uploaded. Fortunately it wasn't a full-length album, so it shouldn't be too big of a job. I'll probably do it this weekend.

You know what I really like about the Furs? The way that saxophone is always lurking in the background, occasionally leaping out for flashes of brilliance. I also like the raw, fuzzy edge to their sound. I might have to pick up more of their stuff sometime. I think I have only four albums altogether (2 cassettes, one record, one CD), but I'll have to check the shelves again to be sure.

Oh, the horror!

This is just wrong. Which is probably why I laughed until my eyes watered.

Monday, November 05, 2007

I used to think that everything was fine...

So I finished Styx today. Well, I still have Caught in the Act but I'm not going to rip it. (I know the Kilroy picture is from the CD cover, but that's just because that's what they have at Amazon. I have it only on vinyl).

I found a file host that I can probably get away with stashing some mp3s at. I have one old record that I'm going to upload there once I get it ripped, but I'll let it be a surprise. It's not the kind of thing you can buy at Amazon, or anywhere else for that matter. I'm sure someone out there will get a kick out of it.

Also, I brought some CDs in from the truck that I've been driving around with for a while so I could rip them. CDs go pretty fast, so I should get them done tonight before I hit the hay.

The Best of Warren Zevon
Jimmy Smith -- The Sermon , At the Organ, and Christmas Cookin'

Yeah, that last one has been riding around in the truck for a pretty good while. About a year now, I'd say.

I might also mention that since I started using, I've been getting every Jimmy Smith CD they have. For some utterly bizarre reason, they don't have Back at the Chicken Shack. This is really weird because it's like a seminal Jimmy Smith album. Fortunately I have it on vinyl, so I'll probably get around to ripping it pretty soon. It was actually slightly expensive for a record, because it's an original printing and still in excellent condition. I think I paid $15 for it close to 20 years ago.

Taser Background Checks

I just learned that the Taser corporation requires sellers to perform a background check on customers for certain models of Tasers. The online form to do so can be seen here. Note that critical personal information must be given to the Taser seller.

Do you need to do anything special to sell Tasers? you ask.

Surely, you jest.

So...Taser requires a potential purchaser of specific models to give their name, address, driver's license number, and social security number to the yahoo who became a Taser dealer.

Further...there is a separate registration for those with a concealed weapons permit, requiring the potential customer to turn over their CWP number.

(NOTE: The Texas CHL is a concealed handgun license, and the state of Texas does not recognize it as a license to carry anything but a handgun).

For one other model of Taser, the customer is allowed to perform a background check on himself, for whatever that's worth.

Kind of puts a kink in the "I will control my own destiny" ads that Taser has been running in some gun mags. It might be difficult to control one's own destiny when you have to give such sensitive information to some guy who happens to sell Tasers. Of course, Taser sellers are not required to keep records nor are they constantly threatened with action from the ATF if they forget to cross a T. You might as well give your SSN to the cashier at Walmart.

Let me make this perfectly clear...

I got a search hit for "looking for cassette with I've Never Been To Me."

I do not possess any version of any recording of that song.

Thank you.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

More from the collection

The kids took over the stereo today so I continued ripping a stack of CDs that I had already grabbed the info for from FreeDB. Not quite finished yet, but if I can make it to the bottom of the stack tonight, here they are.

Deep Purple -- Deep Purple and Perfect Strangers (plenty of vinyl of theirs to rip, too--one of my favorite bands)
The Cult -- Electric (Love is much better, I have it on vinyl, and also an older one from when they were still called "The Southern Death Cult" which, interesting).
Pink Floyd -- Obscured by Clouds
The Monkees Greatest Hits (still looking for a source for the Michael Nesmith solo piece "Fly the Eldorado to the Moon," which is one of my favorite songs that I've never actually owned a copy of).
Traveling Wilburys Vol. I
Two Rooms -- A compilation tribute CD of various artists doing Elton John songs. I bought it just to have Kate Bush doing "Rocket Man."
The Residents -- God in Three Persons
Bob Mould -- Black Sheets of Rain (I have several Husker Du vinyls to rip also, but I seem to have misplaced both of my cassettes of Husker's "Candy Apple Gray" and a Grant Hart solo job that I don't remember the title of--maybe they went to whatever alternate dimension that also swallowed my Mott the Hoople cassette).
Best of the Kentucky Headhunters
Dan Fogelberg -- Greatest Hits
Marc Cohn -- eponymous (I especially get a kick out of "Silver Thunderbird").

My CD ripping program is freeware called AudioGrabber, if you're curious.

Unexpected find at Dollar General

Had to stop by the DG today for a few groceries and found a basket full of cheap CDs. Among them the All Music Guide: Classic Jazz Solos. A pretty good collection of exactly what it says.

BTW, I've also found pepper spray at Dollar General.

Here's an update on CD ripping since yesterday, if you are still curious what my music collection looks like.

The Pretenders -- Get Close
Styx -- The Grand Illusion
Shriekback -- Oil and Gold (I'm still looking for a CD of Big Night Music)
Toad the Wet Sprocket -- Coil and Dulcinea
Emerson, Lake & Powell -- eponymous (I'll have to rip Brain Salad Surgery from vinyl)
Fish -- Internal Exile
Peter Gabriel -- Security
808 State -- Ex:El (Not sure why I have this one, except I think I bought it mostly to impress the girl at the record store--looking back, if this is what she liked, she probably wasn't worth impressing. I'll give it another listen and maybe delete it).
Fleetwood Mac -- Greatest Hits
The Residents -- The King and I (I never noticed how sado-masochistic Elvis' songs were until I heard this collection)
Jimmy Smith -- Dot Com Blues
Scorpions -- Love at First Sting
The Screaming Blue Messiahs -- Totally Religious (still looking for a CD of Bikini Red)
Poi Dog Pondering -- Wishing Like a Mountain and Thinking Like the Sea
Uriah Heep -- Demons & Wizards and The Magician's Birthday (I have some obscure vinyl of theirs to rip as well)

Still have a few Styx records to digitize, and then I think I'll start on the Psychedelic Furs.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

More fragmentary fiction

Over at The Last Ancient House I've posted another fragment based on a very explicitly detailed dream I once had. No sense in cluttering up this blog with it. If you want to read it, it's at To Be Like Those Who Are Truly Dead.
Almost everyone died, for a little while. The few who lived thought it was the end of the world. Sometimes now it's easier to believe it was the beginning of hell.

And here I am again, almost out of ammo and the sun coming up. I can feel them gathering, moving on the other side of the wall. They are drawn by the warmth of my flesh, by the beating of my still living heart. I can feel them like the brush of cold scales across my skin in the darkness, like the vague movement of a shadow in the night, like the chill of a winter wind down the back of my neck.

All the best freaks are here...

Ripped the first two songs only off this one today (studio versions of "Lady Nina" and "Freaks") because I don't have them on any other album. This is just a 5-song EP, not a full album. The last three songs are just live versions of previously released studio versions.

I continue to lament a mistake I made when I had to restore the computer several months ago. I thought I had backed up all critical downloads that I couldn't replace, but I missed a few mp3s. One of them was the epic (16 megabyte) recording of "Grendel" by Marillion. So if anyone out there has that song and wants to burn me a copy, I'll be willing to pay a few bucks for it. At least postage and the cost of the CD. I had managed to finally download the whole thing back when I was using KaZaa.

Strike that. I just figured out that it's included on B-Sides Themselves. That solves that problem.

Once Fish left the group I pretty much lost interest in them. I did get Seasons End, but never kept track of them after that. Fish without Marillion is better than Marillion without Fish, in my opinion. I have two of his solo albums.

After ripping that short piece of vinyl, I went back to CDs for a while, but I'm not going to hunt down the album art for all of them because the process is much more automated and I can go through them a lot faster. But so far today the talley is:
The Moody Blues' Greatest Hits
The Pogues - If I Should Fall From Grace With God and Hell's Ditch
Crosby, Stills & Nash (eponymous first album)
Roger Waters & Ron Geesin - Music from the Body
Fish - Sunsets On Empire
The Residents - Double Shot (mini CD)

I'm going to start looking into getting a USB hard drive just to store my mp3s on, and perhaps other important files the next time I need to do a restore on this machine.

As for the mp3s ripped from vinyl, I am also going to back them up on CD so I don't have to go through all this again.

"Weird as a public service"

Cryptomundo points to an interesting article about forensic scientist and DNA expert Irv Kornfield, who often does DNA tests of unidentified animals. "Kornfield does weird as a public service."

I like this part:
Kornfield gets after students to be more skeptical. At the start of Introduction to Forensics, he asks them not to violate copyright laws on class materials. They sign an agreement, seal it in an envelope, sign the outside, pass it forward.

Then he scolds them.

Don't hand over your DNA (their saliva on the envelope) and signature so easily! Question authority.

The first cut won't hurt at all...

Back in the mid 80s or so I had relatively few expenses and relatively large income. I bought a lot of albums. On the unusual day that I didn't work several hours overtime, I'd drop by the local Hastings and buy a handful of albums. I bought a lot of stuff without actually knowing what it would sound like, because back then they didn't have digital copies that you could sample for free. I did seem to have a sort of sixth sense when it came to picking stuff that I'd like, still do I think. This is one that I bypassed several times before I decided to go ahead and buy it.

I don't know how this album ended up at that store. I saw it appear one day, but it was the only copy there. After I bought it they never replaced it on the shelf. It was just kind of odd.

Turned out that this became one of my favorite albums. Propaganda continued (maybe continues) to release albums, but back in the olden days there was no way to even find out about them and what they were doing. Someday I'll have to order some of their other stuff and see if it's as good as this.

What's it like? Well, heavily electronic but not machine-like, and not exclusively electronic. They use human drummers instead of drum machines, for one thing. They're from Germany, but their English accents are much better than, say Nena, for example. The main lead singer (female) has a beautiful alto voice.

Been a while since I heard this one. Look 'em up at Amazon and you can probably listen to some samples.

It's a coyote

The hairless beast found in Cuero this past summer is a coyote.

I'm glad that they are going to continue investigating this animal, however. They are going to try and figure out exactly why it was hairless. If it's mange, that's some serious mange.

Strange in San Antonio also has a link to a related video, but I'm on dial-up and it's too big for me to download, so I haven't seen it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I think I lost a little SAN when I saw this...

It's true. People will drink anything that has alcohol in it.

Today's vinyl ripping

I got in some vinyl ripping today with no one around to bother me. I came in late to this game and therefore have only the RCA re-releases with the really lame cover art, but these are all the original album covers and are far cooler.

I'm still going to get the four-CD set of "The Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings," but this will hold me for now.

Imagine this...

What if Elric of Melnibone talked like Foghorn Leghorn?

Well, you don't have to imagine it. It's already been done.

Oh, the things I wouldn't know if I didn't have the internet.