Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Horror! The Horror!

     Caleb (a fellow who does not take his own faith lightly) posted an article on a gun store/range owner deciding to ban all Muslims from her business and why that's not just silly and prejudiced, but highly likely to land her in Federal court on civil rights charges.

     Cue the predictable outrage!  Including that old chestnut, "No member of $RELIGION can ever be a good U. S. citizen, because their first loyalty is to their faith."  That one goes way back to before the founding of the United States -- see, for instance, John Adams' 1765 A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law, or note that John Jay argued that holders of public office should be required to renounce their allegiance to [a foreign religious leader].  He got it, too, though the legislature weaseled by genericizing his highly specific objection.  And that same group remained a target because of their supposed un-American loyalty through at least the early part of the 20th Century.

     Oh, but wait, those presumptively disloyal believers weren't Muslims, they were Catholics.  And we know that Catholics never, ever (cough, IRISH REPUBLICAN ARMY, cough) engage in terrorism to achieve political goals.  What's that?  Just a few?  A disaffected group?  Soooo...nobody in Boston ever passed the hat for the Provos?  What?  That still doesn't count?  Hmm.

     There you have it.  If all Bs are members of set A, does it therefore necessarily follow that all As are members of set B?

     Caleb says no.  I say no.  Logic says no. The Civil rights Act says our opinions (yours, too) are moot: operators of places of public accommodation don't get to discriminate against people on the basis of their religion.  Dang, didn't I just read some stuff about that in a Constitutional Amendment?  And the Bill of Rights passed in the face of severe doubts about the Americanism of members of a specific religious faith.  How'd that work out? Nation collapse over it yet?

     Some shortsighted jingoist is going to whine, "B-b-but, you're so dumb, Bobbi: they'll just use our freedoms against us!"  So, better to do without, simply rip out that part of the First Amendment, scribble over it, throw it away?  Stop being Americans ourselves?  Miss out on the chance to do what we do best, win over the decent majority with freedom while slapping the provably bad 'uns around, and substitute ruthless repression instead?  --Doesn't sound like my country, but it does remind me of a few, and things didn't go so well for them. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

I, For One, Will Welcome Our New Robot Overlords

     But for now, I have to finish up this mess.
     Yargh.

     Doin' the work a robot won't touch.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

In Praise Of Sunday

     I think Sundays are a darned good idea.  A day to think about things you might not otherwise think about?  Brilliant!  A Sabbath to keep seems wise; maybe you don't use Sunday  -- Sautrday Saturday, variously defined, is a popular choice -- but settin' a day aside to not follow the usual routine is good idea even if you're as tone-deaf to religion as I am.

     Tam's "Sabbath" is the political chat shows and Inside Indiana Business, providing a level and slant of punditry (as opposed to raw news) she doesn't get the other six days -- and it keeps her blood pressure up, too.  For me growing up, my family had a nice breakfast, church, a huge big fairly formal "Sunday Dinner" lunch, games and/or outdoor play in the afternoon and no TV (other than Dad's sports) until the very light, leftover-based supper, most unusually served on TV trays, watching the Wonderful World of Disney (tm) or the like.  Other people, other observances, but it's a step off the track of the other days, especially the five work days.

     Me, well, I'm workin' this Sunday, just like last week but with slightly better hours.  This posting is canned, automated.  So you go have a good Sunday for me; I'll have one some other time.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

I Got Nothin' For You

     It's been fun and interesting, these last few years, as a kind of semi-sorta-insider to the right wing of the Parties of Treason, but it's starting to turn my stomach, in much the same way that my day job's insight into the glittery media leftthink tends to put me off my feed.

     Sure, the Left is bad and -- at present -- a lot more real-world (as opposed to ideologically or potentially) bothersome, but both sides want to police other people's lives and both sides claim it's for the greater good.

     And the whining--!  My word, the damnable whining about people, lives and parties y'all don't like; I'd almost rather the strident blame-bleatings of the Left than the whining of the Right -- and both parties can't actually stand to look the naked First Amendment in the eye.  Like John Ashcroft trying to drape over the exposed boobies of poor, blind Justice, they keep pleating and folding and pinning, muffling a corporation here, swaddling a dirty book there, trying to make sure the other side's rich guys (and poor ones, too) can't get a word in while trying to make a megaphone for their own men of wealth and prestige (and a few of the huddled masses, brung in for emotional appeal).

     (Oh, and aren't they always 95% men?  Hey, "men's rights" whiners, I might be able to listen to you without giggling if the demographics in the Halls Of Power came anywhere near matching the ones in the hospital nursery.  They don't.  It's so staggeringly uncorrelated in favor of male power and male privilege that only the most self-pitying of adult children could even begin to complain about Teh Menz gettin' pushed around by Teh Wimmenz.  Nope, sorry, here's the issue: you are losers.  You failed as human beings and that's why you are single and still living in Mom and Dad's basement.  Where you will probably reside all the rest of your days.  Unlike most men -- and most women, too -- you won't face up to it.  Sucks to be you.  Srsly, if you're a  men's-righter, go away.  I don't want you around. Go, and take the strident feminists with you.  The grown-ups have work to do and y'all are in the way.)

     Then there's the tattling, "Senator X said so-and so!  President Y smoked the dope! Mr. Justice Z is a mean ol' poopyhead!"  The media does it.  Opposition politicians do it.  You do it.  Hey, guess what?  They're flawed.  It's no surprise when they have a skeleton or ten in the closet.  Nobody wants those jobs without being deeply flawed -- workaholics, people with so much to hide they figure they'd better help write themselves clear of the laws, attorneys with no knack for wills, contracts or litigation, weirdos who have never really felt loved or secure, philosophical whackos with an ax to grind: our government is mostly made up of people who couldn't function in a real job.  Some of them are plenty bright, plenty useful when kept on task; others help keep the chairs warm. The actually functional ones only do it as a part-time job.

     Nearly all of them think of the Bill of Rights as something to be read closely and weaseled around.  It will not surprise you that most of them have law degrees.

     The dear old Bill of Rights, a cornerstone of the republic.  The First Amendment has always been my favorite. Oh, the Second is nice, too, and there's a lot to be said for the Fourth, the Ninth and even the silly old Third; but if you take away my guns, I'll just sneak up behind you and clonk you over the head with a rock or a hammer or whatever, and if you quarter soldiers in my house, their appointment with Mr. Rock will happen by and by, too.  The State may seize me and search me, but they can't rummage around inside my head and come up with anything more useful than a pint or two of pinkish-gray goo  -- and that's kind of what the First Amendment is about, not just freedom of the press but freedom of belief, not only books and churches and free assemblies of hoi polloi but free thoughts. The First Amendment hasn't got any real friends, just nitwits who want to climb in its lap for a photo op, then knife it in the back when they stand back up.*

     In particular both parties are out to tear it down.  They recognize it for the obstacle it is and want it whittled down.  I haven't any use for them and I have no use for you either, if you are still waving that donkey-and-elephant flag, convinced you can only vote for the least-awful choice of dysfunctional losers and convinced the only good freedom is Party-approved freedom.
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* You'll notice that sub-screed didn't address the Ninth Amendment.  There's a reason for that: it and the Tenth have become mere historical footnotes much like this one, tiny, insignificant.  The rot appears to be spreading. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Dead Air!

     Not the kind you'd notice, or not much.  Not that I noticed, either -- I killed a wireless intercom system used for a very critical purpose while relocating a different and even more critical wireless audio system, which acted up and I had to fix it, and then I went to microwave my lunch. 

     The nuking had just reached the point where the machine goes BEEP!  when the paging system came alive: "We need an engineer immediately!"

     Uh-oh.  As soon as I found out what was dead, I figured I had done it and after trying the easy stuff -- cycle the power, look at the front panel (where the little lights are going blinky-blink just like they were happy) and listen to the audio going in (A-OK!) and via the receiver (dead as a snake mashed on the road~~~) -- I got to do Stupid Ladder Tricks, moving an antenna from the far end of the very thin coax back to a transmitter.  Hey, that worked.  My boss was on the scene, too, and when he and I moved three more, they all worked, too; but from page to fixing took from 4:50 to 5:15 p.m. and they needed 'em at 5:00 straight up, so I guess it was a good thing I had moved one already, earlier in the day: it kept working and the users shared that one channel until I had the rest fixed.

     Did I mention the darned things are mounted twelve feet up in the air?
Click to embiggenate
     Yeah, that made it even more fun.
  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wednesday Dinner

      It's South Bend Gumbo: Kielbasa, some left-over pork roast, about a third of a baked chicken, plus a potato, a red onion and a handful of carrots sauteed in the sausage grease. Pour over a can of diced tomatoes, a can of okra-corn-tomato mix, add the left-over meats (cut up) and enough chicken stock to cover; simmer until it smells good.
     Tastes good, too, which it had better, since it's lunch the next day and dinner the next night as well, possibly over rice.

     (Why "South Bend?"  Look in their phone book -- let's just say you can always find kielbasa and cabbage up there, possibly even at convenience stores. Not sure if they have drive-though take-out pierogis or potato pancakes...but gee, what a great idea if they did!)

Reminder: Wear Your Seat Belt

     Especially in South Carolina.  Yes, the link goes to the sad video of a man shot and injured by a former Trooper Of The Year and now former trooper, in the opening moves of a routine traffic stop over not wearing a seat belt.*  The state policeman is now facing felony charges.

     They fill young cops up with cautionary tales -- real-life cautionary tales.  They make them understand the stakes while skimming over the odds, and then this happens.

     What nobody does is give getting-stopped lessons to those of us who don't wear badges.  If Officer Friendly is your friend, why wouldn't you park your car and get out, empty-handed, to greet him as an equal?   

     Yeah, no.  Officer Friendly may live just down the block but on duty, he's the sharp pointy end of the State (or County or City) and he's been told a hundred times about the LEO one state over who stopped a hopped-up bank robber for a burned-out taillight and stopped a bullet for his troubles.  His heart is pounding and he's got not just a gun but a whole bat-belt of violence, and a radio linked to the full weight of lots more where that came from; behind that, a bulldog prosecutor and judges and juries inclined to listen harder when a cop talks.  You're not meeting as equals, no matter how much both of you might wish it.  There's tremendous tension on your interface and nobody is more aware of it than that solitary officer walking up to your car.

       Sometimes things break under tension.  J. Random Peaceful Citizen -- you and me, or at least me -- is the most fragile component in this transaction.

     I hate knuckling under.  I loathe having to bend the knee.  --I like getting shot even less.  One of the best ways to increase the tension in a traffic stop is to proactively get out of your car.  Sure, in the right circumstance, it can seem like a natural thing to do, but it's a really bad idea.  Another bad idea: making any but the slightest motion without checking with the policeman who stopped you.

     The guy that got shot did both.  Does that make the shooting his fault?  I don't think so.  The South Carolina State Police and the local prosecutor don't seem to think so, either.  J. Random Citizen doesn't encounter the police very often; he or she does dumb things.  That's normal.  Officers are supposed to deal with it appropriately.

     Not all of them do.  Stay in your car.  Shut off the engine.  Keep you hands in plain sight and stop fidgeting.  I'm not saying open the window wide, nor volunteer for a search.  Indeed, there's a point where, "Am I free to go?" becomes an appropriate question -- but understand you're facing not only a person (as fallible as yourself) but a system.  Don't provoke it needlessly.  Don't get out of your car unless told to do so. (Where do you stop complying?  I don't know.  Ask your lawyer.)

     (What's the percentage of shootings like this vs. the percentage of policemen shot during what should have been routine traffic stops?  Here's a hint: this made the national news.  "Trooper Shot In Traffic Stop" rarely gets past the state or regional borders.  And for every one of the latter, how many stops that happen without a hitch?  Tens of thousands?  Hundreds of thousands?  Aim to be one of those.  Don't like cops?  Then lend your efforts to Cop Block, share the locations of speed traps, record it when you see police doing dodgy stuff; a traffic ticket isn't a real good time to be pushing back.)

     "Never get out of the boat."  Or at least not while the policeman is walking up to ask for your license and registration.
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* In Indiana, you cannot (AFAIK) get pulled over on the sole offense of not wearing a seat belt.  Now, if you have a light out, don't signal, go even a little over the limit, then they can pull you over and add "failure to wear a seat belt" to your other offenses.  So this stop wouldn't even have been a stop. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dibs!

     I made my bed (it's sheet-changing day) -- then left the room for just a minute:
     Too slow! Tam's cat called dibs.

     (She did move when I added a quilt.  Came back later to sleep next to me.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Holy, Holy Hole-y

     Unholy, more like, with holes in 'em: my jeans.  Worn clean out between the back pockets at the base of the spine, where there's a funny little bit of spinal column or coccyx or whatever, a bit dished in the center and raised at the edges.  This answers the question, "If we put her in double-front work dungarees with durable knees, now what part wears out first?"

     Rats.  I've got to mend them, Carhartt having discontinued women's double-fronts because they're fools, or maybe too few of us do the kind of work that calls for 'em, and "so there" to all those lady geologists, archeologists, paleontologists, zoologists, botanists, electricians, plumbers and heavy-equipment operators.[1] Sure, us distaff types may only spin up[2] to ten or twenty percent of the total number of "persons who need heavy work trousers,"[3], but let's see, everyone times, oh, 0.2 for number of workers-needing-this-workwear, times 0.2 for female workers: 0.276 billion, subtract ten percent for the "can't wear slacks" wimmens not counterbalanced by fellers who don't wear trews and we're left with, roughly, a quarter of a billion.[4]  You'd think even just the Western Civilization part of that'd be enough of a market but no.

     I'd write more, but I've got to go sew a patch on the seat of  my slacks.
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1. I'd include custodiatrice and charwomen, but too many of them are represented by SEIU and I'm sure the limousine-commies in charge will ensure they're all issued proper People's Uniforms, no doubt at taxpayer expense

2. That's a joke, y'see?  Distaff, see?  --And if you thought that was funny, wait'll you find out that when one sort of weasel goes "pop," you're at the end of your thread....
 
 3. As a contralto, "britches" is one of my three possibilities and perhaps the best, the other two being "witches" and "b!tches."

4.  And thank you, Enrico Fermi.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sunday Lunch

     Or maybe it was dinner -- I went to bed soon after, having worked a super-early shift.  The Mexican Pulled Chicken Sandwich at Twenty Tap, which uses a nice, spicy mole sauce rather than barbecue.
     It was delicious and spicy indeed.  I should have eaten more of my fries -- in an hour or so, the chicken and the mole got together and raised a ruckus that antacid barely quieted.

     Would I have it again?  I would; it just needs a little more buffering. Maybe a bit more guacamole, too.

Reading: Simon Morden

     Some of his novels -- the "Metrozone" books I'm reading right now -- won the Philip K. Dick award and I can see why, but Simon Morden's work reads more like a collaboration between Raymond Chandler and William Gibson. Possibly with the occasional bit of dialog from Yakov Smirnov.

     Set largely in the remains of London ("the Metrozone") in a much-damaged future that can be read as either dystopian or literally post-Apocalyptic, the first book introduces an appallingly determined, incredibly talented Russian refugee in the process of finishing up a Physics Ph.D., collaborating on a Grand Unified Theory of Everything, and, incidentally, saving the city.  Or most of it.  Madcap hijinks do ensue, most of it moving so quickly that you won't have time to wonder at what happened to your disbelief, trussed up and hanging over an abyss.

     While one reviewer complained the themes and plot "would have been more suited to a graphic novel," I doubt any artist could match the pictures Morden paints inside your head.  His action sequences (at least in the nearly two books I've read so far) are as good as any of Larry Correia's and that's not something I say lightly.

     Good, solid SF, like it seems they don't make so much of.  Equations of Life, Theories of Flight and Degrees of Freedom were all published in 2011, followed by The Curve of the Earth in 2013.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

"I Am Not A Number! I Am A...Dishwasher...?"

     Dishwasher?  Why, yes--  Tam had listed the dishwasher's state as "0," meaning empty.  But I just couldn't leave it alone:

     Then she loaded the thing and started it:

     Eventually:
     ...And there's a weekend afternoon at Roseholme Cottage.