Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reality Check

It turns out that everything I thought I knew about the Fatty Arbuckle scandal was wrong. Names, ages, circumstances, all of it via pop culture and in every particular except the man's stage name, incorrect. And he was none too fond of the name, either.

Overheard At Roseholme Cottage

In the room where we keep the litter boxes for my cats: "Phew! It smells funny in here. [pause] Have you been feeding the cats...clowns?"

Saturday, January 30, 2010


It's an artifact; if we had four fingers, the "Hey!" would happen in different spots but even knowing that, it still catches the eye: I had, as far as I know, my first 1000+ hit day yesterday!See there, it pays to snark.

Somehow Part Of Superbowl 2012

"More than 150 high school sophomores from around the state have been enlisted as part of the so-called 'Green Corps.' The students are part of the 1st and Green initiative, which aims at encouraging Hoosiers to reduce their carbon footprint by recycling and altering other personal habits."

Is it wrong to point out that their lifetime carbon contribution would be hugely reduced if they each leapt into a blast furnace? C'mon, now, it's for the Greater Good!

But, seriously, this is part of Indianapolis' 2012 Superbowl? Man, I so hope they get the Tooth Decay booth up, too. That sports contest will never return!

This is what that Aztec Mayan[1] calendar was tryin' to warn us about.
1. I sit corrected. While they may all blur into a solid mass of pyramid-building, human-sacrificin' folk with good roads and no wheels from here, just like the Wookiee-Yeti-Sasquatch-Bigfoot-Gigantopithecus divide, it would have mattered a great deal to them; some of 'em weren't even around at the same time.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Heh. Plenty Of Time To Do The Right Thing

The Zombie Bite Calculator

Created by Oatmeal

Via Tam.

Shark: Jumped

In his latest tape to hit the pop charts (or is it "bang?" More of a fizzle, these days), the animatronic figure that claims to be Osama bin Laden scolded the United States for causing climate change.

Okay, that's it; moonbattery from the left has reached all the way around to lay hold of hard-line paternalistic authoritarians: the shark has done been jumped.

Now, can we finally bomb the creep flat and get back to important stuff -- like putting out all the little brushfires his line of nonsense helped set?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Indy Star: Hysteria And Misinformation

Dennis Ryerson thinks you're a menace.

Talk about wetting the bed after the mattress is already soaked! The Indy [Red] Star is back to bleating nonsense about gun permits, even after measures to make the list of citizens with carry permits private have passed in both chambers of the State government.

Editor Ryerson continues to sling generalities around instead of actual numbers; you see, giving you enough info to do the math would reveal the appalling silliness of his steaming rhetoric. He tries to link two unrelated items: A) a handful of fraudulent applications for License to Carry Handgun which were erroneously granted and then yanked when the dear little angels got themselves into trouble or were otherwise caught out and B) the very real need to keep any lout with $42.00 American to spend from receiving the entire list of permit holders, complete with names, addresses and other personal information.

Let's apply a mild degree of Fisk-o-lene to the matter, shall we?

He claims, "Gun owners and non-owners alike bombarded them with pleas to keep the bad guys from knowing who might have a gun in his house..." Wrong! Indiana law does not require any sort of a permit to have a gun in your house; if you can pass the Federal background check -- remember that one? The one you and the Bradys told us was The Answer? -- you're good to go.

Then we're told, "Far fewer have spoken up for the cause of open and responsible government." Yeah, 'cos making it possible to a stalker to get the home address of the person he's stalking -- who had to get a permit in order to defend themselves against him -- is "responsible government" and putting my home address out there as a gun-owner aids "transparency." I guess if'n I hand any real compassion for my fellow critter, I'd replace all my walls, cupboards, cabinets and gun safes with glass and Lucite versions!

After hinting that if Governor Mitch Daniels rilly rilly cared about, you know, things 'n' stuff, he'd veto the bill, we're treated to a veiled threat that's truly a monument to passive-aggressive phrasing: "Daniels, and lawmakers, might also keep in mind that the courts could become involved if a special area of privileged concealment is carved out of the state's existing open records laws." Dammit, he'll hold his lawyers until he turns just totally blue! That'll show everybody!

In the sole and only glimpse of actual intelligence, his penultimate thought is, "The problem is not law; it's enforcement." Um, yeah, that and people fibbing on their application; which is, O-M-G, illegal already.

But on what note does he end? Mounting to his cross, the long-suffering Journalist (who has earlier bid us be mindful that he never published any of the names and addresses of permit-holders, at least not yet...!) tearfully scolds us, "The menace is not the messenger; it's the man with the gun and nowhere to hide. For now."

Yes, you read it correctly: the Star's Editor thinks you -- and the 99.9 percent of permit holders who are law-abiding citizens -- are a menace. And probably that you're a mean ol' meanie, too, an' he's gonna tell Daddy the Governor.

Sheesh. Effigy. Rope. Tree. Some assembly required.

State Of The Ugh

The Hon. the blighted Vice-President Jos. P. Biden, only Veep to have rid the short bus to the office, on NBC this ayem: "People can expect unemployment to grow..." Hastily corrected by the interviewer, he appeared barely aware of having misspoken; perhaps, in a rare moment of candor, he hadn't.

But hey, this here's the United States; we expect our Vice-Presidents to suffer gaffitis and spew venom and his version is distinguished only by combining blindness and blandess in roughly equal measure. What about his boss?

Ah, yes, his boss. Even as I loathe his politics and policies, I've admired the man's affable charm...which he sheds every time he thinks History Is Watching, trading it in for a degree of turgid pomposity matched by few other modern Presidents.

With a narrative marked by wondering aloud at how come those awful R's won't at least relax and pretend to enjoy it, it's business as usual, as the President leads his party in whistling past the graveyard where their Senate supermajority lies. Remember, their side's held a majority in Congress since 2006 -- what have they done with it except spend and whine? Come to think of, that seems to be Congress's job description.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Starship Spotted

It may be City of Toledo, or one of the similarly-sized "City"-class freighters. Hull shape is right.

Hooray! Hatian Gov't Gets $0.01 of Every $1.00 We Donate!

So, if the other $0.99 is not goin' to the parasites humbleservantsofthepeople, where is it goin'? Why, to direct disaster relief, to pay the folks doin' the heavy liftin' and to buy and haul food, just as it should.

Now, if we could just work the same magic on our own Gummint....

This Is A Gun-Controller In Action

Oh, he failed; but state Rep. Vernon[1] Smith (D-Gary) was talkin' smack, waving a toy revolver around and posing in a gimme hat in the House today. I'd'a hit the floor when he pulled out the six-shooter. It looks like a cheapie SAA, even more so when produced unexpectedly.[2] From his bio, looks like he was in Handgun Control, Inc. from way back; are you surprised? Oh, gravitas! Oh, dignity!

1. Originally mispelled "Vermon." Oh, oopsie! Vermin? No, that's what he thinks I am. Gosharootie, it is just sooo confusing.

2. Had you or I tried that, we'd've either been stopped at the metal detectors if it showed up on 'em or tackled by Security in the gallery and spent some handcuff time either way: the statehouse has been an officially gun-free zone for awhile now and it's pretty much TSA rules. But state congressthings are special, with their own door an' no pesky searches. Gee, sure hope none of 'em ever freak out...some of them look to be kinda close already. Ey, Mr. Smith?

Apple Introduces iPad

...Heard around the starship: "Is it absorbent?" Um, rilly: not what you should have named it.

February BlogMeet?

Looking for a Sunday for the February Indy BlogMeet. Suggestions?

As for a place, how about Naked Tchopstix? Wonderful food, interesting decor, sushi if you like -- and plenty else if you don't!

Update: Looking very 21 Februaryish.

Update: Bumped.

I'm Off To See The....Dentist?

Yep. The dentist it is; I have a tooth that got married (well, it has a silver band) many years ago and the consensus is, it's gotta get a cap. Oh, joy.

My present dentist -- my long-time dentist is on extended leave, as in years -- is appallingly fit and usually has tales of hiking in the outback, climbing Denali or skydiving into Machu Picchu. Well, not quite, but I keep looking for Tenzing Norgay's descendants to show up as his dental assistants.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fried Rice!

Nothing to it -- I had some leftovers and odds and ends: "Success" brand boil-in-bag brown rice, a half-dozen or so slices of good bacon, five green onions, a radish, a nice red chili pepper, a couple of eggs and some shoyu.

Boil the rice while you chop the veggies and fry up the bacon in a wok, maybe check your e-mail, too; rinse the rice in cold water (still in the bag) and drain it. Take the bacon out and leave it to rest on some paper toweling. Pour off about half the fat, sizzle up the rice with enough shoyu (it turns darkish), toss the vegetables in and keep cookin' 'til the onion gets really bright; push it all to the sides, turn the heat up and scramble the eggs in the middle, stirring constantly with whatever you favor (I like a chopstick or bamboo skewer) and when the eggs are done, stir the rice in and add the bacon. Done!

Hot, tasty and pretty quick. Not even really a recipe but worth remembering. Tam and I made it vanish in near-record time.

Scenes From Last Week

It was a dark and misty night -- raining, in fact, one of those Winter evenings when it seems dark even under streetlights. The rain was slanting down, silver lines tangling in the wake of cross traffic. It was at the corner of 30th and College, under a red light; I was in the left lane headed North. Across from me, in the Southbound left-turn lane, squatted a massive pickup truck.

The light went green and I started forward -- and hit the brake immediately! The truck was turning left. Pity there's no turn arrow. He stopped too, just shy of mashing me to a pulp, and I skedaddled.

What is it about rain that addles some drivers?


When I arrived home, I parked in the (detached) garage. It's rigged for Winter, which means the internal shutters (heavy plywood with slide bolts) are in place on the windows and you cannot see into the back yard. As I approached the door, I could hear something talking outside. Funny, high voices. Or was it talking? It wasn't a cat sound, but it sure wasn't English. Children? No.... I wasn't going to stand there wondering forever.

I yanked open the door...and startled a pair of raccoons, swaying 'way out in the branches of a tree in my side yard and holding a noisy discussion. They looked at me, I looked back, and without even thinking, I spoke to them in the same way I talk to Tam's cat and mine, "What're you two up to? You get down from there!"

They goggled at me, glanced at one another, and scurried down from the tree just as quick as a wink. That tree's on the far side of the fence and they must have lit out for far places when they hit the ground; I haven't seen them since.

House-hunting? Possibly. Just as well they moved on; a pair of pro-level dumpster-divers living in the tree that overlooks our trash cans wouldn't be a good idea.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Popcorn Goodness

I don't think I have mentioned that I did the popcorn popped in bacon grease experiment while Tam was away. Verdict: Yum! It does pop a little smaller and harder, possibly due to the salt, but it tastes oh so good!

Also good on popciorn, in this case a batch popped in tasty olive oil: cumin! Almost a chili flavor.

The Sasquatch Full Employment Act of 2010

"Any Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Yeti or closely related species presenting itself to any government agency, shall, upon declared intent to seek gainful employment, be granted vouchers for A) depilation, B) orthotics (if needed) and appropriate footwear and C) (if needed) corrective lenses."

That'll get 'em outta the forest. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure the last traffic officer I met was a Yeti-American.

Nanny, Nanny, Nanny

Our local litter-box liner is back on its usual bleat, pressing for passage of yet another law that would limit people's freedom -- in this case, the right to enjoy a legal product in public.

HB1131 would prohibit employers from allowing smoking in any enclosed place and likewise the customers in any "enclosed area in which the public is invited or permitted." About the only places you could smoke would be -- hey, la -- casinos, racetracks. etc., thereby demonstrating that they've got effective lobbyists.

Dear Mr. Editor is all over this plan, which he thinks a a peachy way to save us hapless rubes from the deadly dangers of secondhand smoke (which are apparently so deadly just to be near that no ventilation system could do the same service -- and never you mind about all the other, more toxic fumes Teh Gummint ain't saving you from. Use drain cleaner any?).

It's the usual Nanny knows best idiocy; never mind that I and many other non- and ex-smokers find the smell of smoke so annoying that we are moved to avoid it; never mind that some bars, in the old days of smoky bars, were able to whisk the stuff away; nope, the use of a legal product has just got to be banned (and after all, the paper observes, 26 other kids states have jumped off that cliff).

Move over, drug war; scoot down, Prohibition. You're getting a new neighbor, inch by inch by snotty for-your-own-good little inch. Anyone think it will work out any differently this time?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Google-Fu? Also, Vroom!

This one's kinda sad, or maybe not: someone hit my blog via a search for "repair of hotchkiss quick firing gun." Good luck with that! Befriend a machine shop or a well-equipped gunsmith; you'll be glad you did.

I was about six pages of results in; I'm gonna hafta go back and find out if there's maybe a tutorial....

Just returned from a short scooter ride. Roads were dry (ish), temps are up and everyone's home watching a sporting event, so why not? Sure have missed riding that little percolator!

Firearms, The Root Of All Tech?

Maybe not, but imagine my amusement to learn that the time I changed out the universal joint bearings in my MGB's drive train,* I was repairing a Hochkiss Drive. Yep, same firm as made the various and sundry sorts of Hotchkiss gun, as well as some very pretty automobiles.

The French Hotchkiss et Cie ended up owning Delahaye (who also built some gorgeous cars) before vanishing forever into what ended up as Thomson SA. Sigh.
* Boy, do they ever make some awful noises when those bearings fall apart! Repair is a semi-trivial task -- no special tools required -- if you go slow and don't mind the occasional faceful of grease and/or rust.

Happy Birthday To Tam!

Happy Birthday to Tam
Happy Birthday to Tam
Please drive real careful
'Cos the roads kinda slick am.
Don't have an ETA but spect she will be back snarkin' from VFTP Command Central by late afternoon or early evening.

Update: Tam's been home for a couple of hours now -- and the stories she has to tell! Some will curdle your hair for true.

Hello? Is This Thing On?

Really should post something but I have been too busy with housework. Putting in some some time scrubbing, rearranging and throwing out what needs it is possibly the best memorial I can offer my ex's Mom, who was always impeccably neat in her person and home; not obsessively but she was someone who didn't cut corners, never put off what wanted doing, and as a result, left every place she was in better shape than when she'd found it. There aren't all that many people you can say that about.

Hooray, Heinlein!

Via Baby Troll Blog, a post elsewhere about Robert Anson Heinlein and how come some folks get all red in the face and green about the gills when his name comes up. Go. Read it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What He Said

Kevin (The Smallest Minority Kevin) links to and quotes Kipling's The Sons of Martha. I'd read it before and it always hits home: me, I'm one of her daughters:

"It is their care in all the ages to take the buffet and
cushion the shock.
"It is their care that the gear engages; it is their care that
the switches lock."

"They finger death at their gloves' end where they piece
and repiece the living wires.
"He rears against the gates they tend: they feed him hungry
behind their fires."

Yeah. But remember, dammit, I don't do it for you, I do it because that's how I'm made. That it happens to yank your irons outta the fire is merely a Mary's sons take for granted.

This Sucks

I'd like to find a more elegant headline but I haven't any.

My Ex's Mom passed away this week after a long illness. Losing a parent is a level of grief I wouldn't wish on anyone; it's well-nigh inevitable but that doesn't make it hurt any less.

Sorry, ex. I know how it feels. Your Dad's gonna need you.

I Don't Get It -- Or Do I?

If "a mind is a terrible thing to waste" and college is how one keeps from wasting it, why do a significant percentage of college students put a great deal of time and effort into an activity they describe as "getting wasted?"
On the website of a musical group -- okay, it was the Puppini Sisters, h/t to Phlegmmie -- one of them wrote that she'd recently acquired an actual wind-up gramophone...and had learned the actual meaning of the phrase "put a sock in it." You know, I've seen actual mechanical volume controls on wind-up Victrolas and that hadn't occurred to me, but it's gotta be true.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Furniture Invention

The "decliner:" a comfy chaise-lounge specially built to refuse offers from.

Liberal Talk Radio Network Goes Broke

Bye-bye, Air America. In the business world, dollars are votes; in the radio world, so are ratings. In both, you lost.

Time, Books And Dinner

Or, "I'd Post Something Longer, But I Have Been Reading."

I'd been hearing about F. Paul Wilson's "Repairman Jack" series for quite some time. Stumbled over a few in my last two used book store crawls and have been enjoying them. Unusual premise, it's as if H. P. Lovecraft had done outlines for Travis McGee novels and Lester Dent had fleshed them out -- but if you recognize all three names, you'll probably like Repairman Jack.

Unrelatedly (other than that I was reading at the time), last night's dinner was chickpeas and rice (with a dabba margarine), topped with diced carrots and celery and pickled okra. Yum! This is one advantage I'll have if the economy continues to crumble: I like rice and beans. (No, I'm not going vegan; I had three thin slices of good deli salami, too).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Audio Brilliance!

Old Grouch, in comments here: "...which reminds me: I should record the next episode of cat horkage to use as my Windows startup sound."

Oh, yeah. Totally. Be a fun celphone ringtone, too. Heh.

Turk Fisks A Fool

Yes, another self-made Second Amendment Exxxxpert weighs in and is, on the balance, found wanting. I read the original this morning and thought about going after it, but our own Turk Turon has done so far more eloquently.

The "expert" happens to be Canadian. Bashing the 'States has long been a hobby of some Canadians and it's harmless enough; as a small county (population-wise) bordering a much larger one, with (partially) shared language and similar culture, some resentment is inevitable and better they should get it out. --But just 'cos we talk the same lingo (sometimes) and spell it almost the same, just 'cos we watch a lot of the same TV shows (mostly ours, but a huge lot of 'em are filmed up there), that doesn't mean we're qualified to offer meaningful insight into one another's culture, customs or systems of government. There are deep and significant differences. I don't expect Canadians to be just like my actual next-door neighbors and for the life of me, I don't know why I should aspire to be more Canadianesque myself, either. It's more interesting when we're each ourselves. There are a lot of fine folks under the Maple Leaf flag and I'm happy to know 'em; and I suppose I should be reassured to discover you are just as well supplied with ijits as we are, too.

Who Is Scott Brown?

The (hehehehe, in your face, MassDem bosses!) Scott Brown who's a Senator from MA, that is. Where does he stand? I was willing to be he'd be fairly socially liberal and his coastie version of "economic conservative" would be a bit less Reaganesque than I'd like -- and I was okay with that: we are talking about Massachussetts, after all, a state that leans Left and they deserve to get their kind of guy. It's gravy if he'll stand up for some issues I'd like to see get stood up to. (I can't even count on both of Indiana's Senators to do that. They often cancel out). And so on and stereotypically so forth, yadda-yadda.

I was wrong. I owe Bay Staters something of an apology (still, it's not as if I'd lied like an Edwards). Scott Brown looks to be all-round conservative; as VoteMatch puts it, "Hard-Core Conservative." I don't know how "hard core" I'd rate him (he could be better on guns, for instance), but on their scorecard,* he's certainly over there on the right side. This makes the election outcome all the more interesting.

I would not be in a big hurry to read too much into it; I think he got elected on worries over the Federal health-care legislation and voter disgust at being taken for granted. And I'm okay with that; as a breed, politicians aren't generally good for much but they can, eventually, figure out which way the wind is blowing and start blowing themselves the same way. Er, did that come out right?
* Scroll down and you'll find the familiar diamond, left-right on the horizontal axis; weirdly, they have the vertical running from "libertarian" to "populist." I guess the only tyranny they recognize is the tyranny of the masses?

Speaking Of Interruptions

If this is my only new post of the morning, we may have lost power. There's freezing rain (of the "every level surface is a skating rink" sort) to the North and my lights have flickered several times this morning.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

We Temporarily Interrupt This Blog

Because a cat has horked on the keyboard. Very seriously. Cat seems happy, keyboard needs to be taken alllll apart and scrubbed. (Fear not, I've still got the Eee).

Congrats to Scott Brown of MA, btw. Now lets see what he does with it -- if the guy can yank the rug out from under the nationalsocializing of health care, I'll like him.

Newspaper: It's For The Cat

So why oh why do I keep reading it? And why do loving parents allow their innocent offspring to attend J-school when there are honest trades like repossessing cars and sweeping floors to be had?

Perhaps it's the amusing levels of nuttiness. Oh, not at the very top; the Indy [Red] Star's editor is merely a staunch FDR/LBJ Leftie, filled with smug self-assurance that he can uplift our heathen, rednecked selves (for our own good) by means of draconian law, regulation and unremitting hectoring: it's the Administrative Control Bias that infects all media, plus a generous dollop of condescension and it's as predictable as sunrise. Still, the guy can string together a sentence and even when I find his reasoning specious or deceptive, he's at least done his homework.

Some of the paper's regular columnists, on the other hand, appear to have been eating paint chips -- the old ones, with extra lead. Take today's offal, er, offering from smart-as-a-bag-of-hammers Dan Carpenter, bemoaning the horrific iniquity of adding property tax caps to the state constitution. "So what," you shrug, "This has been the bleat of those who would do good with other people's money since the debate started and Dan's to the Left of Lenin." This is true but at least Lenin could beat a pig at checkers. Mr. Carpenter doesn't even know what a "free market" is.

Our property taxes are based on "market value" assessments, which means in real life, I am paying taxes on an assessed valuation a bit over 1.4x what I paid for the house, a house presently worth 0.83x what I paid for it. The escrow for property taxes, which took a big lurch upward the year (before) I bought the place (but nobody'd seen the bill when I got my loan 'cos we pay 'em in arrears) was so large I nearly lost the house through not being able to make the unexpectedly large payments. As it worked out, instead of losing the house, I gained a boarder; but it was a near thing.

So when the Governor says of the tax-cap law (vs. the amendment), "If the statute brought certainty with it, that probably would be enough for me. We couldn't leave it subject to the whims of a judge." And the paper's leading Leftie whines in response, "Like so many of the governor's quotable toss-offs, this one begs and raises questions. What other risks of the free market shall government protect investors from?" I have to wonder what he's smoking: the "cap" only caps the tax rate.

If the free market -- as rather generously read by the township assessor -- says my house is worth more, I'll pay higher taxes; if the value of my house drops, so do my taxes. All the cap does is say it cannot be more than X percent of what the house is (supposedly) worth. (You'd think I'd be able to sell it to the State for that much if that's what they say it is worth, but noooo). Not much "protection," really, and none from the free market. It does shield me a little from decidedly coercive (that's "double-plus unfree" in Newspeak, Dan) actions of lawmakers, who can seize my house if I don't pay up.

But that's no matter to him: "There is little doubt that the electorate, given a rare point-blank shot at taxes, will endorse the caps. There is no doubt local government, which has to care for the property involved and the people occupying it, will suffer."

Hunh? "Has to care for the property involved and the people occupying it?" Since when? I paint it, I mow the lawn, I make my own breakfast. In fact, if the sidewalk out front gets funky, I'm stuck with fixing that, too. So...what, then? Sewer, water, power, gas, telephone, all pay-to-play. True, the city takes care of the road, the trash (I'd almost rather pay, as their list of rules keeps growing -- you can't even throw away a cardboard carton full of trash now: the box has to be folded flat and tied with string and the trash must be bagged, or they leave it on the curb) and police and fire, plus (some) ambulance, though the last usually results in a bill, but that's it. There are free streetlights, too -- but I pay for the one in our alley. If the city unlights the one on our street, I'd give serious thought to the $6.00 month it would take to turn it back on.

In Dan's world, things like that never happen; it's just us nasty, greedy or poor folk, awaiting the beneficence bestowed upon us by our betters -- using money they took from us under threat of losing our homes. Why not let us keep the money -- and our houses -- in the first place?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Animation. Generally NSFW. Not for children. Dark sense of humor required. I blame The Unwanted Blog.

Where Did The Morning Go?

Here it is, well past "time" and I haven't writ. Tsk.

I'm trying to research the history of Indiana's "License To Carry Handgun," possibly the oldest such permit system in the United States, but not having much luck tracking down the date it began; I remember reading it was some time in the 1930s, but have yet to find the source. All this is in support of Tam's reminder of what the "good character" clause in our permit laws (presently much-loved by the gun-fearing weenies at our local newspaper) actually meant when the law was introduced. Yeah, just guess.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Who's the sad clown?Actual cover of the actual Brady Center To Prevent Gun Ownership report. (I'm sure they'd love a link). Gee, all Fs, an' after they touted him as The Messiah, too. How it must sting.

As others have pointed out, the man's got an economy and a health care system to destroy; even with Congress to help, he can't grant all their fondest wishes in one year.

Come on, mid-terms. Come on, 2012.

Damp Undies At The Paper

The bills to keep private the personal data of Hoosiers who have a License To Carry Handgun have got the bedwetting douchebags at the Indy [Red] Star whining loud and long.

Or, as they put it, when they started publishing data about permit-holders, "We had hoped for a different reaction from the legislature." Yes, and no doubt hoped us pore, ignert serfs would just stand there and take it like dumb beasts. Guess again!

He tries to mealymouth his way through it with, "When it serves the cause of responsible gun ownership and public safety, the First Amendment value exceeds the Second Amendment cost."

Translation: Because I have a carry permit, Dennis Ryerson thinks he and his minions should be allowed to dig through my underwear drawer whenever they'd like. Wrong!

You're not the boss of me. You're not the boss of us.

(Also: "Second Amendment cost?" Geez, what's the price of me not being raped and left for dead? It's a tough world and I'd like to at least have a chance to fight back).

Indiana Firearms Freedom Act -- Again. Plus Guns In Cars

Now it's SB0416 from Senator Waterman. That makes three in the Senate, SB0200 (Sen. Walker, with Kruse, Nugent, Arnold, Delph and Yoder as co-authors) and SB0276, from Senators Holdman and Kruse. So I guess it is a movement, albeit one that's still getting co-ordinated. (All of these bills exclude fully-automatic weapons, so if you were gonna set up a garage operation to make Sten guns, you'll need to modify the design).

Meanwhile, SB0025, the "okay if locked in your car" bill is still moving, having made it out of committee with a "do pass" recommendation. Alas, it does include langauge allowing colleges to ban your gun even if you are not a student. Is this a good trade? I don't know; it can be very difficult to even know when you're on the grounds of a college or university around here -- streets run right through 'em.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I ended up at the web-site of a sho-'nuf crooner with a fine eye for lettering and fonts, which is where I came from (BTW, his fonts "Mostra" -- previous link -- "Coquette" and "Goldenbook" fill my heart with palpable desire). But I got there (after a side trip) from his altogether different hobby site; and for that, we can blame none other than Chas. G. Hill, Esq. And I don't think he even owns a horse.

Pat Robertson?

Dear Mr. Pat: The next time you set yourself to criticize the other fellow's religion, you might want to pick one with less of a revenge toolkit!

(Link shamelessly stolen from Radley Balko).

About all this business of makin' deals with Dark Side an' late-hit smiting and so on and so forth: I don't care if it was the work of Pat Robertson's G-d (who does not appear to be the same Big Guy they tried to tell us about at my Sunday School), Gaia feelin' vaporous, Poseidon, a vodoun godling feelin' frisky or the sudden release of tectonic tension; we can't do anything about those things. We can dig folks out from under, both literally and figuratively, and we can send along plenty of extra shovels, too. The G-ds can sort their ownselves out, us humans have actual work to do.

(I leave the vowel out so they will leave me alone. This $DEITY-bothering business, it gets outta hand way too easy to suit me. YMMV, but at your own risk!)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Big Day

...I'm falling asleep. Went to the Indy 1500 Gun Show (picked up .22 conversions for my 1911 and AR-15, Ciener and CMMG respectively. Walked the entire show, much of it twice after I met up with Tam and Shootin' Buddy.

...Then went home and Joanna dropped by, having been out bicycling (!!!). Tam and S. B. arrived about ten minutes later and the whole group of us went out for lunch (Naked Tschopstix!), after which I went bicycling with Joanna.

...Which was all very fun but I have walked over five miles and ridden as far; so I'll expand this post or add another after a nap.

Update: saw the term "tacticle" in use on a sign. Pretty sure that's what Army Rangers and U. S. Marines have, at least a pair each, olive-drab and MARPAT respectively. It's how you sort 'em out from the rest of the litter.

Update: I spent a little time at the table of world-famous SF writer Michael Z. Williamson and somehow missed the Strike-Hold table; there were two aisles I only got a little way down, encountered huge people-jams and gave up on. Strike-Hold demos tend to draw a crowd! (And FWIW, the local bloggers on their midwest sales team did give me a sample-sized can at the previous gun show. It's good stuff).

Update: Aside from the underwater light-bulb and electric drill at Strike-Hold (yes, it works -- you do need to refresh the treatment from time to time), the largest traffic jams were at tables selling handguns. And not the guys with a stack of slag guns, sad beaters and anodized-aluminum junk, nor the top-dollar dealer with shiny collector pieces; what slowed traffic down were tables of workin' guns from reputable makers. Sure, the old wisdom says of your handgun, "it's what you use to fight your way to your rifle," but it's also become the quintissentally American arm. Take that, IANSA and Bradys: there's a blue million of 'em in our hands and they're not goin' away.

Stargazy Pie

"We might be embedded in the pie crust, but most of us are looking at the stars!" Possibly the most interesting-looking food originating in the British Isles.

UPDATE: [/sarcasm] Also.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fate's Dartboard

I get the impression that hanging on a wall in the suite of offices Olympus Properties leases to the Fates, there is a dartboard divided into wedges of varying size, each labeled with the name of a country. The only one you can read easily from the oche occupies nearly a quarter of the board: "Haiti." It's got a lot of marked darts in it, too, none of them describing happy news.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Content At I Work On A Starship

It's a bit of history this time, the inconclusive Battle of Ganymede....

He came to still annoyed, his XM-16E in his lap, a spent casing broken and stuck in the chamber. Frickin' poodleshooter! The light was wrong and he still felt seasick. They said you got used to it but he was starting to doubt that applied to everyone. He reached for his "advanced lightweight combat weapon" — the miserable malfing toy — and winced at sudden pain in his right arm, stabbing like lightning. He looked down and felt his irritation change to a stab of fear as he saw the huge dent in the joint protector at the right shoulder of his spacesuit. Lucky I'm not dead, he thought, pushing the fear away, then raised his head to stare at the empty, icy waste before him, a maze of pressure ridges and drifts of powdered ice and and rock dust, punctuated by the starker black and white chaos of a fresh crater perhaps a hundred feet away. It was hard to judge distances, until he realized a lumpy shape in the middle distance was a spacesuited form, awkwardly sprawled face down; on the edge of the crater, other shapes had to be a helmet, an arm, possibly a torso— He looked back down at his rifle. Yeah, some luck.

Story continues at I Work On A Starship.

Roseholme Cottage's Anthem

Tam just showed it to me and the vote was unanimous:
Very Edward Gorey, no? No -- Shel Silverstein. You might enjoy his rendition. Extraordinary! (You may also be surprised just how much of his work you have heard and enjoyed).

Who Broke The Bad China?

Holy cow, I work late one night and The Great Firewall of China starts melting from the inside? Happy news: Google decides "Don't be evil" might actually include, "Don't carry water for totalitarian governments." About time.

SETI Receives First Message!

This just in: Scientists at SETI have, at long last, picked up a message beamed to us from alien life!
Dear Neighbor:

Do not throw this message away. Make copies IMMEDIATELY and send them to at least twelve nearby stars and good things will come to you.

A planet orbiting V606 Aquilae received a copy of this message 1,751 of your years ago and the inhabitants LAUGHED at it. V606 Aquilae went NOVA shortly afterwards and all life on that planet was destroyed.

The natives of a moon circling a planet in the Beta Centuari system decoded a copy of this message and promptly sent it to fourteen other solar systems. They have enjoyed PEACE and PROSPERITY ever since.

You don't want to experience the terrible thing that happened to the Aquilans. Send your copies out immediately.

Thank you,
Your concerned neighbors
I dunno. At least they're not selling AlienWay fanchises.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Indianapolis Gun Show This Weekend!

The Indy 1500 is back in town! See you there?

Seems Like Twice-Taxed

Received today -- did you get yours? --"Indiana Department of Revenue Form 1099G...Dear Recipient: If you itemized deductions on your federal income tax return and claimed a deduction for state and local income taxes paid, the amount shown in Box 2 must be reported to the IRS."

Well, damme. I guess it could be more obnoxious; they could have hired a guy to walk up, stomp on my toes and hand me the letter. And they do promise the amount won't add to my income for Indiana income tax purposes. But geesh. Skin every flint, don't they? And what do I get for it, the warm and reassuring knowledge that I'm keepin' Rep. the Honorable Andre Carson from ruining anything but the Federal Gummint and it's broken already? Feh.

More Indiana Legislature Gun Bills

Representative Mike Murphy's Handgun Permit Privacy Bill has been posted: HB1219. Bans anyone except law enforcement from seeing any of the License To Carry Handgun database. Includes "Katrina" provisions as well, very much like HB1065 and HB1070.

SB0304, "Firearms Safety Courses" could be good (remember, Indiana funds most of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation rider's class costs from motorcycle license fees, cutting an over-$300 class down to the neighborhood of $75), could be bad (required classes to exercise a Constitutionally-protected right?). No way to know right now, as the text of the bill has not been posted at this writing, not even a summary.

Update: The text is up and it's a bad one (see Nathan's blog post) and idiotic. Before you can buy or even rent a gun, you must pass a "Firearms Safety Course:"
b) Firearms safety courses conducted by the state police department under section 1(a) of this chapter:
(1) must be offered to persons free of charge; (2) may not be more than two (2) hours in duration; (3) must be conducted or offered at least one (1) time each week in all geographic areas of Indiana; (4) must be conducted after regular business hours; (5) must require a person to attend only for the duration of
the course to complete the course successfully; and (6) may not require any skills or knowledge testing in the use of a firearm in order to complete the course successfully.
It's free, all you have to do is show up and it doesn't require any skill or knowledge testing? So, ummm, what's the point? Oh, yeah, to make it more of a PITA to exercise a Constitutionally-protected right, while requiring the State Police to devote their scare resources to the program, which won't make them any more fond of gun-owners. Got it.

Local Pilferage And Badness

Saturday, we found a note stuck in our door (and what looked to be similar ones at many of the neighbors): three houses down, a car had been broken into. Nothing appeard to have been taken.

Monday morning, my car showed signs of a hasty search: contents of the center console piled on the driver's seat, ashtray out, a plastic bag in the back seat holding my motorcycle raingear* had been dumped. Door was unlocked. Footprints led up the alley to my car door and then up towards the garages of The Democrat and The Other Female Engineer.

During the day, Tam and OFE crossed paths. Someone had gotten into OFE's garage Sunday night; she'd noticed the light on, seen other worrying signs, and called the police. They cleared it and had her check for missing items: a leafblower'd been nicked.

Tam (being Tam) followed the footprints as far as she could: all the way up our alley, no turning back.

Disturbingly, I had misplaced my spare car keys Saturday. I normally lock my car. I might've forgotten to do so; the last trip of the weekend was a big grocery run with Tam and we'd made multiple trips bringing them in. You'd think our thief would've clouted my car if he'd found the keys; maybe he's just not ambitious, maybe there's no real market for eight year old, bottom-of-the-line Hyundais. Maybe he was hoping to find a garage door opener (nope!) and get access to smaller, more easily-fenced items. Anyway, I've been parking inside the secured perimeter ever since; tomorrow, I'm having all my car's locks replaced. Car alarm system may follow.


And buddy? Wrong house. Majorly wrong house.
* Also useful for outside work in wet weather.

Eagle Creek Park Pistol Range

We are now (as temperatures soar towards 40 over the coming weekend!) in the coldest part of Winter. I was going to post a screencap of the unofficial Eagle Creek Pistol Range page as evidence: the next weekend they'll be open is in mid-March.

Alas, page no load this ayem. Good news, bad news or just a glitch? I dunno. Check for yourself!

Scene At An Airport

"Elbert, you keep going through that 'bag check' line and giggling. Come over here right now and get on the plane!"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Global Cooling, Global Warming, Global Cooling

...I don't know much about climate (ask me after my 500th birthday) but can't we just all agree that the weather generally sucks and leave it at that?

No. No, we can't; now one of the Bigtime Experts is sayin' we might get us a mini Ice Age, just in time for my arthritic years. Nathan has the link, plus pithy comment of his own.

Asymmetric Response?

So, the TV had just gone off* this morning and I was barely awake when the newscaster -- the one Tamara calls "hail fellow, well met" whenever she sees him -- announced that starting soon, "Airlines will be charging extra to check your package." My first, hazy thought was Great, the Christmas crotch-bomber made air travel even worse for menfolk.

Turns out he just meant baggage. Well, foo.
* Fascinatingly, since I turn the volume all the way up so it will wake me when it comes on, the TV had "gone off" in every sense of the phrase: like a gunshot, like an irrationally angry person and (as ever) like dairy products too long on the shelf.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Google-Fu, Oh My Google-Fu

I haz it: at this writing, my blog post about my home lender is the #3 Google result for "malevolent scum." Friend Dustbury holds the #1 and #2 spots, writing about experiences with his bank. Personally, I could not be more proud.

Celebrity Deaths And Undead

I'm sorry to report the creator of Gumby has died. Art Clokey was 88.

Meanwhile, headlines about Illinois Ex-Governor Ron Blagojevitch have not died; his most recent utterance is -- I am not making this up! -- "I'm blacker than Barack Obama." O rilly? I'll take "Desperate cries for attention" for $500, Alex.

Back To Work

Look to the ant, sluggard! Or so it says. Pleased to report I haven't seen any for awhile.

Still, they are busy little creatures and I should be as well: Sunday marked the end of one of the longest vacations I have taken.

On that happy note, a glimpse at Sunday Breakfast:Yes, it's yet another variation on the theme, this one with sweet sausage, two types of mushrooms (conventional "button" and shitaake), scrambled eggs and (a few) green olives, topped with chives and diced radish. Warm and filling on a snowy morning.

This morning, The Usual: cranberry juice, coffee, oatmeal. I've got a blood orange stashed in the fridge but I'll save it for later.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Greater Depression

Two little items I've web-wandered by in the last few days:
As most of the world bets on China to help lift the global economy out of recession, Mr. Chanos is warning that China's hyperstimulated economy is headed for a crash, rather than the sustained boom that most economists predict.
Then, there's this nifty graph (late of the New York Times), found at Michael Flynn's other blog:
Forget stuffing gold in the mattress -- a couple of goats, a few chickens and a vegetable garden are startin' to look like good planning. I think we need more ammunition and primers in Roseholme's storerooms, too.

Three cheers for James Wesley, Rawles at whom we may some day look back and say, "what a Pollyanna!"

Sisyphus Was Smalltime

Sisyphus was a piker compared to 73 year old Walter Sartory, brilliant mathematician, atomic scientist (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) financial wizard (retired, he built a $14 million portfolio), social phobic, paranoid schizophrenic.

The CIA, as it turned out, was not using trained ants to spy on him. His efforts to make better contact with the real world through therapy, prescribed medication, online social forums and even, eventually, face-to-face contact were working.

So, according to police in the Kentucky town where Sartory lived, was his cleaning lady; the problem was, she was working on robbing him. Near the end of February 2009, Walter Sartory vanished; after ten days, his friends contacted local police, who checked out his house and found nothing amiss until early March, when they discovered the garage door open unlocked and no one home. From there, they followed clues to the maid service he had used and the maid assigned to his home, which lead them to Willa Blanc. She and her son are now alleged to have kidnapped, tortured, and killed Sartory, eventually carrying his body in a trash can to Morgan-Monroe State Forest here in Indiana, where they burned it. Along the way, they were involved in a traffic accident in Indiana; the accused killer coolly informed police the trash can, bungee-corded shut, contained only firewood. She had the vehicle, body-containing trash can and all, towed back to Kentucky, rented a van, loaded the trash can into it and drove back to Indiana to burn Mr. Sartory's body with the help of her son and others.

Willa Blanc and her son were arrested shortly after police found burned human remains in Morgan-Monroe; they are now being held in Kentucky in lieu of ten million dollars bail each.

And Walter Sartory is still dead. He tried to reach out -- he was reaching out! -- and attracted the attention of a heartless predator. (News stories and other information collected here).

Mornings like these, I'm not too impressed with my species.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Gun Bills In The Indiana General Assembly

in SB0025, Senator Johnny Nugent would like for you to be able to keep your gun locked in your car at work and play! Mind you, there is no provision at all for you to take it out; and that may be a fair compromise between the divergent views on this issue.

Sen. Greg Walker gives us SB0200 (and, confusingly, SB0276), the Indiana Firearms Freedom Act: "Provides that a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that: (1) is manufactured commercially or privately in Indiana from basic materials; (2) can be manufactured without the inclusion of any significant parts imported from another state; and (3) remains within the borders of Indiana; is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of the United States Congress to regulate interstate commerce." Seems to be a lot of that goin' around. Y'know, if three States do it, they'll think it's a movement.

HB1065 is a "Katrina" Bill, prohibiting the state, a political subdivision, or any other person from prohibiting or restricting the lawful possession, transfer, sale, transportation, storage, display, or use of firearms or ammunition during a declared disaster emergency, energy emergency, or local disaster emergency. It's also got an "okay if its locked in your car" provision. Representative Bischoff (D-Southeastern IN).

Conversely, HB1070 is plain "Katrina" bill, simply rolling back previous provisions allowing local regulation of firearms under a declared disaster emergency. Representative Murphy.

Senator Walker again, with SB0195, limiting access to the License To Carry Handgun (LTCH) database: "...any information concerning an applicant for or a person who holds a license to carry a handgun may be released to a federal, state, or local government entity: (1) for law enforcement purposes; or (2) to determine the validity of a license to carry a handgun," and nobody else.

On the bad side, Representatives Shelli VanDenburgh (D-near Chicago) and Linda Lawson (D-near Chicago) want to stick us permit-holders with HB1058, requiring immediate disclosure to law enforcement that we have a gun if we are carrying when stopped. I predict madcap hijinks will ensue, as Indiana LEOs are in no wise used to hearing, "Officer, I have a gun," when they make traffic stops. (In gun school, I was told to keep my yap shut about it unless I was open-carrying or about to be searched; the rationale was "less excitement." Less excitement is good. So is less unnecessary fiddling with guns, but how many LEOs are going to want to let you hang onto your sidearm once they know? This is a lousy idea all around).

I have previously mentioned Representative Peggy Welch's HB1068, which also limits full access to the LTCH database to law enforcement. Differs from SB0195 in that, "...general information concerning the issuance of licenses to carry handguns in Indiana may be released to a person conducting journalistic or academic research but only if all personal information that could disclose the identity of any person who holds a license to carry a handgun has been removed from the general information." Rep. L. Lawson's signed onto this one as a co-author along with Reps. Koch and Blanton.

...The legislature has also taken up the pressing, thorny issue of motorcycle handlebar height; your ape-hangers might someday be required to be no higher than your shoulders when you're in the saddle. This is actually an improvement: current law says 15" and no more, which makes the little fellows look badder of a** than the big guys. IMO, extremely high handlebars tend to be self-limiting, or at least select harshly for skill.

Remember, state legislators: do something good for gun-owners, get a free link! Worth what it costs, but hey, whatever.

Why Are Anti-Gunners So Violent?

Posted at the website of the hot-headed hubby of Southern Female Lawyer, who has had all the linkage she wants already, and more besides (and turns out to not be especially anti herself):
I am a woman. I train regularly with a firearm, I have a "carry permit" and I do carry a sidearm. Prior to so doing, I was robbed at gunpoint twice and stalked.

I do think the individual right (not requirement, Rob; if you don't care to own a gun, that's your right) to keep and bear arms is important.

Do you wish to punch me in the face?
(He offered to "...come over to your house and punch your f---king face in" to one commenter at SFL's blog; SFL herself, after initially being very annoyed at massive pro-gun commenting, recovered with a great deal of grace. Meanwhile, he avers, "Luckily, I live in a society where I’m not really worried about things that my size, strength or brains can’t overcome." For those keeping count, that's two assertions of brute force and three of male privilege and no kind of "level playing field" at all. Tsk, and him a former Democrat candidate for office, too. It's a world turned upside down, it is).

On his own blog, he's been editing, for his own amusement, the horrid comments left by knuckle-dragging Neandertals like me; so for my own amusement, I'll be tracking what he tries with mine. Results, if any (and not obscene), may be posted here.

Probably ought to proffer a link and so I shall did -- to Caleb's character analysis. And then it got abused, so I have yanked it.

Update: Lookie here, I don't mind twitting a guy over his less-mature utterances but the present instance is, in fact, not a bedammned arm-wresting contest; which was the gist of the point I now see I have failed to make clearly enough. My point: It's foolish to threaten to "punch people's faces in" over the Internet; not as dumb as dropping the crappy pistol you're pocket-carrying sans holster or magic good-to-go card and potting an innocent bag-boy in the process,* but still pretty dumb. Dumb as well to respond with offers to cry copper or to meet in a dark lot at midnight (or whatever); and otherhandedly, if you really think your online-debating partners are intellectually, morally and grammatically deficient, how silly is it to go editing their comments, rather than lettin' 'em stand for the whole world to see and judge?

I'm ashamed of a lot of the behavior I have seen -- and of myself, for having fanned the flames. I'm happy to stand up for what I believe and happy when others do the same; I'm not really happy when y'all (oh, yes, him too) stand up and drop trou' for what you believe.

Update: And speaking of being ashamed of behavior, both Southern Female Lawyer and her groom hubby have deleted the whole thing from their blogs, all of it, gone, poof! So much for standing by one's words; so much for having pride in one's convictions. 'Sa pity so much of it got archived elsewhere. Much like a bullet, what we post on Teh Intarwebz cannot be undone once it's been launched; far better to be sure of one's target and what's behind it before engaging the keyboard. Gutlessness is not a positive quality, no matter what side of the debate you're on. I'm disappointed. I wish I was surprised.
* The precipitating incident for the blog post that started this firkin of flounder flapping.

...Never Met A Tax He Wouldn't Hike...

(With apologies to Will Rogers, who at least knew where he stood).

The Star's Editor trusts you -- to cut your own throat. Yes, once again, the man who makes public opinion moldy (wait, wait, have I misunderstood?) is out to show us ill-educated bucolics the True Way, this time when it comes to Indiana's proposed Constitutional amendment capping property tax rates.

Yes, that's right, the local paper takes a middling-dim view of one of the best ideas to have come out of Governor Mitch Daniels' office, a freeze on what percentage of the assessed value of your house and land can be taken from you in taxes (with a couple of loopholes: first of all, the assessed valuation of your home can and will change. Teh Gummint determines "market value" every few years; this isn't sufficiently granular to track real-estate price trends and assessors appear to lay a thumb on the scales in subtle ways. Second, per the last hard info I have seen, there are holes in the cap for school funding). Nope, The [Red] Star lurves the notion of ever-increasing taxes* on our land and homes adding to the pressure already created by the collapse of the housing market. Why should Granny get to keep that (paid-for) rambling old house anyway? Some nice young go-getting couple could snap it up for a song and fix it up, while she moves into the third fridge box from the left in the alley: the bank's happy, the shiny-pretty-people are happy and there's one less dusty oldster in the way of Progress(ives)!

But let's see how wise heads frame the question: "Will the electorate make an informed, rational decision? Or will voters indulge in a reflexive jab against property taxes, regardless of the consequences?" Can the Red Leveller prevail? Tune in next week, and don't forget to drink your EugeneVDebstine! Oh, sorry, I got caught up in the moment.

Credit where credit's due; Mr. Editor notes several positive effects of the cap as presently applied, despite fretting over possible "damage to essential services." He's concerned, though, that we would be "cluttering the state constitution with specific tax policy. " Yes, clutter; clutter like, "No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken." or perhaps, "No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State." Why, that's just crazy!

At this writing, odds look good for the Property Tax Rate Cap to show up on our ballots this November. Vote for it; us eeeeebil reflexive sticks-in-the-mud are unlikely to get a second chance.
* How bad are these taxes? We pay them in (or out?) arrears; it took me just under two years to get my various exemptions and until that time, I was paying nearly three times as much in real-estate taxes every year as I paid for my car. I don't have much of a car and now you know why.

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Desurgance Of The New Deal?

So, the economy tanked and they told you, "That free-market stuff was just snake-oil; it's FDR time again!"

No so fast.

Also? Atlas Shrugged still outsellin' hotcakes and it's way too thick to be proppin' up tables.

Your Future?

Eric S. Raymond on the failure of the "educated class" and what might come after that. Introduces a group of whom I had not heard before, though I have long embraced the general idea: "Preppers."

My parents were both Depression babies and what Mr. Raymond and the Preppers are talking about is nothing new, not even his advocacy for the move to "complex adaptive behavior," including reducing personal indebtedness to as near zero as possible; they are the principles my parents grew up with, tried to teach their children and which I have attempted to apply -- not always well or steadfastly enough -- in my own life.

* * *

Sadly (if'n y'ask me) the Preppers to whom he and I have linked are running an animation atop their page featuring the utterly pernicious "Four Freedoms," to wit: Freedom of Speech (okay), Freedom of Religion (right on), Freedom from Want (say what?) and Freedom from Fear (how's that work?). Though partially redeemed by their tacking on a fifth, "Freedom through teaching others self-reliance," the first four fall recognizably into two radically differing groups: freedom of speech and of religion ask nothing of your fellows save that they let you be, but to be "free from want" requires you get out and work for it; no one owes you a job or a meal or a place to sleep. Nor do they owe you "freedom from fear" past the civility to refrain from abusing your person or property; assuming you are an adult, the one responsible for your own safety is you.

Yes, the Norman Rockwell paintings are lovely; but we must, from time to time, stop to consider what these pretty things signify or the failure will undo us, severally and each. Entitlement thinking rots the mind.

Update: Og on being truly prepared vs. buying a lot of kewl junk. Take it to heart, it's the straight stuff.

Making Friends Wherever He Goes.

Or has been. It's the charming and lovely Frank Straub; and his boss, too. Pearls beyond price -- better count your change.

Protecting The Privacy Of Handgun Permit Holders

State Representative Peggy Welch, D-Bloomington, has introduced a bill to protect your privacy, as promised.

It's the only one I have found so far.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

OMG! Breda-You-Gotta-See-It!

The rest of you, too: the briefcase of smoked meats!

Famous Scream?

Yep. They even make videos. Aiooooagh! (Has anyone told The [Flickering] Star? Could be their new motto!)

Snow Day

She keeps telling me she moved up here for the "charming" snow and not just the cheap rent on my cozy attic. If so, Tam wins the day with this: But I win the morning with this!Country ham (from my roomie's stash), sliced potatoes fried in leftover bacon grease with this and that, scrambled eggs with a touch of grilled onion, some radishes for color and vitamins and a nice cuppa coffee. All the better with snow skirling 'round the ridgepoles!

(Elizabeth Moon's The Speed Of Dark on the breakfast tray. Just finished it today. An excellent book, very different from most of her work).

...I may post some BlogMeet/BlogShoot photos later. Stay tuned.

Earning His Bags Of Dog-Product

Undaunted by us ignernt, red-necked heathens, the Indy (so very Red) Star fires back with what supposedly passes for an editorial.

In a classic case of straining to gulp down well-pulped gnats while swallering camels neat, no chaser, readers are informed that "gun enthusiasts" like Tam and I are "absolutist opponents of gun control" (hey, he got that part right!) who have no reason to be frettin' that our new (and as yet, unconfirmed -- remember, city-county counsellors, I vote and I vote hard) Public Safety Director, Dr. Frank Straub, "has come here to disarm law-abiding Indianapolis residents."

Gee, would that be the man who said we had "way too many people that own guns," and only backed down -- partially -- when his words were pointed out and complained about? Would that be the man from a state where you have to beg specific permission to even own a handgun?

(Sidebar: I think our Mayor is a decent man, though he's no gunnie; he appears to be beset by advisors taking advantage of his inexperience in politics, dazzled by the contrast between his own relative innocence and the m4d skilz of Experts From Back East. Forget them, Mayor Ballard; they didn't put you in office and they won't keep you in office, either).

And from there, our would-be molder[1] of public opinion moves on to bemoan the horror of "Indiana's lack of limits on the number of guns that can be legally bought at one time...." Tam addresses this canard.

Mr. Editor-man doesn't bother to cite any numbers; he doesn't have any: most states have no limit on the number of guns you can buy at any one time, and, contrarily, if anyone, anywhere buys more than one handgun from the same dealer in a week, the dealer's got to file an ATF Form 3310.4, which goes not just to the feds but to the local chief law enforcement officer, too, who in this instance would be, oh dear, oh dear, it's right on the tip of my....Hey! That'll be Dr. Frank Straub! Well, how about that. So there already is A Law That Does Something About That, one of those Federal laws the good Doctor says don't hardly exist, one that hands him the very data the Star wishes he'd receive.[2] (Um, it's called "research." Just because I can do mine by calling across the room, "Hey, Tam, what's that multi-handgun purchase form...?" is no excuse for a bigtime J-school grad not doin' his homework).

And we're then treated to self-congratulation over the paper's October scare-piece, in which a tiny fraction of Indiana Licenses To Carry Handgun were granted to persons who were either not proper persons to receive them at the time or got into trouble later, the vast majority of whom had already had their permits yanked (and in most examples, their personal selves tossed into the hoosegow) by the very State government The (Fabian) Star accuses of being "lax." (The original story cited 211, which as of today's bit has morphed into "hundreds," technically correct but misleading) .

The editorial closes with, "That 'change of culture' that so worries Straub's critics ought to be welcomed by those who believe in balancing individual rights and public safety." (Odd how Chicago, with its "balance" tilted way over to a stringent handgun ban, is less safe than wide-open wild-West Indianapolis. Hully gee, could the conventional authoritarian wisdom be wrong?)

Okay, you said it; how about this? Newspaper editorials inflame the reader's passions and not always wisely, as you have recently shown the police. Therefore, would it not be a proper "balancing" of "public rights and individual safety" if the Public Safety Director, or some expert in his office, received advance copies of all of The (still-Red) Star's editorial content and decided which would be proper to publish and which are best not, lest they lead to wrongdoing? Why not?

Answer me that and maybe I'll try to set you straight about the next amendment on the list. 'Til then, hands off!

"Public safety?" My safety in public is materially enhanced by the guns I own and train with.

...See you at the range?
1. Stachybotrys chartarum, I'll bet, from the way it makes me sneeze.

2. Per Tam, it most likely goes to the county Sheriff, in Dr. Straub's chain of command; so he can still get a copy. Facts: I do try to check them and will correct myself when I'm mistaken.

Risk Assessment For The Innumerate

There will still be some numbers but it's in handy poster form: The True Risk Of Airborne Terror! (No one will be admitted to the webpage during the last ten kilobytes).

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

New Gun

Sometimes I am such a pushover--! Tam and I went to shoot today and stopped by Beech Grove Firearms along the way, to look at my Type 99 Arisaka (on consignment, Imperial chrysanthemum intact, ring 'em up) and she had something to ship out...

...And they had this in the case, priced to move:5.5" long, 3.75" high and not quite an inch wide at the widest. It's a Colt Mustang Pocketlite, the single-action mate to my DAO Colt Pony Pocketlite. Slide stop pin felt okay, no wobble; field-stripped it and the locking lugs looked okay. So there it was. These little guns don't show up all that often any more and they're usually overpriced. This one isn't.

Bought it, took it to the range, did the used-gun drill: already inspected, so one round in the magazine, fire; two, bang-misfeed; two more, bang-bang; three and so on 'til I was shootin' a full magazine. One misfeed, one oops-I-bumped-the-slide-stop. Shoots to point of aim and it is controllable one-handed in my dominant hand. A nice, tiny .380.

It'll want serious cleaning and I'd like to replace the plastic guide rod with honest steel.

Now I've got to find the Colt Government Model .380, which is a scaled-down 1911 in nearly every respect -- and would essentially complete the basic set.

(PS: seen this? WANT! --N.B., call them up and ask about the price, as the paper catalog lists the basic item at $20.99, not 29.99. Has to be a typo, all the other variants are priced the same online and in print).

(PPS: The serial number is spoofed, as usual).

Newspaper Editors

Yesterday, I didn't mention the other part of the rumor about certain possible allegations made by the presumed Editor of a supposed local newspaper to a State Legislator: said Editor has accused the NRA of putting a flaming bag of dog poo on his porch.

Yes, you read it here second. Now, taking flaming canine crap to most Editor's homes or offices seems like carrying coal to Newcastle to me and I just cannot imagine the well-suited denizens of NRA HQ creeping through the shrubbery, faces blackened with burnt cork, the foul-smelling poke in one hand and a friction-taped Zippo in the other; perhaps I lack imagination.

But forget all that. There's a more important principle here. It's just my opinion but I'm pretty sure I am correct:

If you are the Editor of a major bigtime newspaper and you are doing your job properly, you ought to be finding a bag of flaming dog excrement or something similar on your doorstep at least once a week.

Gads. Mencken lived in vain.

Unfriends And Guns: Dr. Straub (Kind Of) Backs Down

Tam snarked it better than I could: seems our new Public Safety Director was taken to the woodshed over his comment that "...we have way too many guns on the street and way too many people own guns."

Front page of the Indy (Twinkling) Star today: Gun-rights backers cast wary eye on safety chief. Well, duh. Soooo, Dr. Frank Straub offers this concession to us heathens: "If people follow the rules and regulations and get guns through those,* they can they can own as many guns as they would like to own and have. I have no problem with that."

What did he not say? I've been through the article several times; it's not there. Here's another fine, gun-friendly quote: Mayor Ballard's spokesbeing Robert Vane attornalizes, "I'm aware of no effort by the administration to limit or restrict the legal possession of firearms."

Hear it? It's the hollow echo of a missing word. They're all "keep." No "bear." And bear, my friends, bear is something a police force can make plenty awkward.

This isn't all that new; the guy who taught my very first Basic Handgun class, a gun-shop owner and part-time LEO, made it clear that while Indiana does not require concealed carry, concealed made for a lot less excitement. Still, times change and one might expect our nominally gun-friendly Mayor would try to keep up. Doesn't look that way.

There's still time for another trip to the woodshed for Dr. Straub -- and Mayor Ballard, too.
* Wonder if he knows Hoosiers can sell firearms to one another at will and without State permission, as long as neither party is prohibited from possessing them? Bet not.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Freedoom Of The Press

The Indianapolis (Red) Star seems to think that A) The First Amendment trumps the Second and B) "freedom of the press" means they can should press against freedom. Word is they have been threatening a State Representative. Caleb has details.

Rep. Mike Murphy (R, Indianapolis) introduced one of the three (3!) bills wending their way towards and/or through the Indiana House and Senate to limit public access to the handgun-permit database; the other two are from Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus and Rep. Peggy Welch,* D-Bloomington. This would be the normal course of things: legislators introduce bills, Pat Bauer whizzes all over the paper they are printed on, there is debate in committee about how badly the ink has run and if the odor can be removed and how nice it was of Boss Pat to anoint it. Eventually, it may reach the floor of either chamber, where it gets walked on but someone might pick it up and bring it to a vote; or so I was given to understand from High School Civics. It has been several years and I may have missed a step, probably also involving Rep. Bauer and a bodily function. The newspaper reports all this in a more-or-less fact-based way, omitting most mentions of The Bauer save as a respected Great Leader.

And that's normal. (As normal goes hereabout).

What's not normal: droppin' a note to a politician vowing eternal enmity, telling him his bill will never receive any favorable coverage in the newspaper, not ever ever ever, nohow neener-neener. If you wanted to be, you know, the state paper of record, a marvel of journalistic probity, doing that'd be a little, well, kooky. 'Cos papers have editorial pages for opinion and news pages that are spozed to be, like, news. Only I guess not, 'cos that's the story making the rounds.

Given this news and the further info that none of the proposed bills prevent publication of data already received, I will not be at all surprised if the Streisand Effect kicks in and some paper -- possibly The (Dim) Star -- publishes the entire, complete list, names, addresses, eye color and all. Desperate for attention, starving for subscribers (if my smallest cat didn't prefer to urinate on it, I would not pay for Indy's local paper) and despite previously-published demurrals about how they sooo respect our privacy and the check will never be in our mouth but will come in the mail instead, what've they got to lose? Certainly not their ethics, which will be found, moldy, in a puddle of used bathwater in Talbot St., the named alley behind 307 N. Pennsylvania Street. Conveniently, the map notes a bankruptcy lawyer right around the corner. H'mmmm.

Me, I'm seein' to my locks. And lockwork. Sure wish I owned more 1911 and AR-15 magazines.
* Hat tip also to Rep. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, who is co-author of her bill.

State Legislators, here's the deal: if you sign onto these bills and I find out about it, you get a link! Free! For Nothin'!

2010 Already?

I. Want. My. Flying Car. So do you.

Conversation In A Kitchen

Coffee was ready. The mugs were like ice.

I'd started the process before I fed my cats and cleaned up after them: water in the kettle, kettle on, hot water in the carafe, Chemex waiting on its hot pad.

The water had boiled while Tam was seeing to Random Numbers, so she'd loaded filter and coffee into the Chemex and poured the water, then headed back to The Computer Room here at Roseholme Cottage to start up the main snarkifier.

On my next sweep through, the coffee was about brewed, so I pulled out a couple of mugs, my big orange "red" (!!!) Fiestaware[1] one and another, anonymous dark-green mug. Interestingly enough, the gentlemen who redid the kitchen here at Roseholme -- the previous owner and his father -- seem to have been of the opinion that insulation in the walls behind kitchen cabinets was nothing but a folly or indulgence and Not To Be Done. This means in Winter, we don't have to refrigerate beverages unless we want them ice-cold; when it's 10º F outside, the coldest cabinet is nearly 40º! Where mugs and plates live isn't the coldest but the two I picked were still very chilly, so I filled them with warm water and ran them in the Radarange[2] for a quarter-minute.

The "bing!" of the 'wave timing out fetched Tam; I handed her the green mug and proceeded to pick up the Chemex, only to hear a muttered, "That's not one of my mugs." I turned around and there she was, rummaging though the dishwasher (which ran overnight) for a mug from her preferred set and turning back with "aha!!" in her eyes and a dark BMW-logo mug in one hand. "What?" she asked.

I grinned and poured my coffee, opining that the green mug had nothing wrong with it.

"But it's not one of mine," Tam replied. After a short silence, she offered, "And I'm an excellent driver. Dad lets me drive on Tuesdays."

We both started giggling.
1. Of recent vintage, it's not going to kick the meter on your Geiger counter. OTOH, it's the only piece of Fiestaware I have and you can be sure I chose the color deliberately. Heh.

2. Sadly, not an Amana with the extravagant RR9 chassis, all chrome and sweeping, smooth curves. I've always enjoyed Raytheon's term for the devices, though, which followed the technology to Amana.

Monday, January 04, 2010

The Road

Turk and I saw The Road today. We'd both read the book, which is utterly harrowing; almost unremittingly bleak. Cormac McCarthy managed to find new depths in a sub-genre that most writers, critics and readers thought had been mined out by 1960. It brought me to tears more than once.

How could such a book be filmed?

I have no idea. Yet it was done: the movie is a faithful, well-cast, emotionally painful adaptation of the book. They did add a musical soundtrack...but the film would have been too terrifying and heart-wrenching to watch without it.

At the end, credits roll by on a black screen with a soundtrack behind it, a very ordinary series of sounds that, suddenly, are impossibly poignant. For me, the film was a reminder of just how short, how tragically short, "forever" is.

Go see it. Bring a hankie.

Um, Hi?

I am awake. I'm not hung over (from one beer? Puh-leeze!). But oh, did I oversleep.