Sunday, February 28, 2010

Last Man

This afternoon, I have a funeral to attend, a milestone of sorts. A sad one: the last of my father's siblings passed away last week, a younger brother.

Even as it happens, it's difficult to imagine, the last one gone -- there were ten children in his generation; three I never knew, who died young, but the others I can remember as well as if they were right here. They're not; memory is all that's left. The house they grew up in is a vacant lot. Last time I was by, the little commercial building their father had built still stood, as do most of their nearby houses, the homes I remember from my childhood; but there's no one I know in any of them. It was a little neighborhood of relatives all within walking distance for a short, sparkling while, but Time's arrow flies inexorably onward and all we are left with is what we can carry in our minds.

Update: Yes, it was wrenching. In keeping with recent custom, there were plenty of photos of the deceased, many of them with my late father standing right next to him.

As the service neared conclusion, a fellow slipped in behind me, whispered, "There will be a little breeze," and opened the window. This was not a mystery for long, as the preacher informed us there would be "military honors." I'd seen the honor guard outside when I arrived (late; work had me on the phone). Rifle salute, followed by taps, right there in a parking lot along the main highway through an Indianapolis bedroom community -- I do love this state.

My (little -- 6' 5" is little, right?) brother looks more like Dad every time I see him; he doesn't have the thick, jet-black hair but he has sure got the bone structure. And that's a good thing. His son resembles him, which is even better. We come and go -- genes linger.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


It's earwormed me, so why not share? Finnish Harmonica Ragtime: Sväng!
It's all Mike Flynn's fault.

Gun In Your Car? Knifed In The Back

Looks like Indiana House Dems are tryin' to weasel out of the guns-locked-in-your-car bill; in their heart 0f hearts, they want you defenseless going to and from work. Some chick gets killed by a stalker, I guess that's just funny as all hell.

Link goes to Caleb; Caleb's gotta linked list of Dems with high NRA ratings and suggests y'give a call, drop an e-mail, maybe send 'em a candygram:


It might not work but at least it'd get their attention.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Bayh-Bayh, Evan

He said it. He truely did; in re partisanship and gridl(hurrah!)lock in Washinton, the pixieish outgoing Senator huffed, "It's testosterone poisoning; it's not our fault."

Yes, Evan says (male) biology is destiny and he appears to believe masculinity is regrettable. Did he pick up the wrong prescription?

That's it; I'm officially proposing repeal of the 19th Amendment. Increasingly, it is obvious that you poor boys aren't strong enough to stand up for yourselves when us wimmenfolk can vote.

Guns In Parks: Tabled

Faced with what they believe is a hard decision, the City-County Council's Parks & Recreation Committee blinked: the motion to make it legal for permit-holders to carry their guns in city parks has been tabled.

The Usual Concerned-Citizen Quotes have been dredged up by the media, even as they tapdance around the fact that Indianapolis city parks can be dangerous and that criminals are not deterred from carrying and using weapons by a sign quoting a city ordinance; nor do they mention that (just as in National and Indiana State Parks), it's still illegal to shoot (other than in self-defense); you still own every bullet and everything it touches. Nope, what we get are quotes from nitwits who say, "If I saw a gun on someone's hip and they weren't in a police uniform, I'd be scared." --I'm sure IMPD's detectives thank you, ma'am and I do wonder how you behave when you see a citizen open-carrying outside of city parks? Shriek and scurry?

It's been legal to carry your weapon in Indiana State parks since 2006; note that bloodbaths have not ensued.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder; y'see, city parks are, generally, in the city and a large proportion of park visitors are African-American. Could it be our esteemed Mayor and Council are frettin' 'cos there might be black folks with guns in the parks? Hellooo? If a citizen passes the background check, that pink card that says License To Carry Handgun is the only color the City need notice.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Our Legislators

The boys and girls we pack off to the state capitols: many of them mean well, or at least want to be perceived that way. Sometimes it goes wrong -- even when I agree with their vote.

Take, for instance, State Rep. Charlie Brown's statewide smoking ban; he's out to send it back to the State Senate, 'cos he doesn't know enough history to understand Prohibition. Nor does he read the newspaper carefully enough to see how well The War On (some) Drugs is doing. And him from Gary, IN, too; you'd think he'd look up from his pressing duties from time to time.... But never mind.

One of the other Reps got up to 'splain why he wasn't gonna vote for it: "I cannot support this measure. I can't support telling the men and women who died for this country that they can't allow smoking at their VFW hall even if they want to."

Yep, you heard it: he's concerned about dead people not being allowed to smoke. Brave dead people; folks who have earned our respect...but, um, not really (ohplease$DEITYnosmokingzombies) smokers.

Talk slower, Mr. Representative; talk slower and consider making notes beforehand. kthxbai.

Gun In Parks

[CUE overly-dramatic fanfare: da-da-daaa!] Indy [Red] Star soiling its drawers again; plus, Not Understanding The Process.

Yes, the Star's panicking itself again over an ordinance that would allow persons with a License To Carry Handgun to do so in city parks without risking a fine. (And that's all it is, a fine. What's your life worth? At least a thousand bucks?)

Our timid former-Marine Mayor has pinky-sworn he'll veto such an awful, awful thing if it comes to his desk -- heavens forfend an honest citizen should be able to defend him or herself from attacks in the parks; Mayor Ballard would much rather see me raped and strangled on the Monon trail than carrying an icky-poo ol' gun. Makes me wanna throw up. I used to like the guy, too. He must seriously want to be a one-term Mayor.

But let's ask the Experts about armed self-defense: David Mason, of Hoosiers Concerned About Gun Violence* tells us, "There's no crisis in our community that requires people to be carrying guns in parks." Oh, really? David's another guy who thinks it's a lot more moral for you to get whacked in the face with a 2x4, beaten and robbed by "underprivileged youths" than have even a slight chance to say "NO" and back it up. You first, pal.

The best line, though, goes to Republican Councilwoman Susie Day, who airily tells us of this ordinance, "You can't just say, 'Here's a proposal.'" Funny, I thought that was how the City-County Council was supposed to function...

This ordinance was proposed by Councilman Ed Coleman, the only Libertarian on the Council; I do believe a lot of the office-holder reaction is more about wanting to show him who's boss than any concern for the issues. Certainly all sides are willing to throw you under the bus without a chance to defend yourself, and would happily add Ed.

The measure comes up for a hearing tonight at the City-County building. A public hearing. Better speak up!
* Because "Hoosier Bedwetters" was already taken.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's Still Snowing

Hmpf. Hmpf. Also, I need a new coat; I have finally worn out my Gander Mountain fake-sheepskin-lined denim ranch jacket. Will we ever see nice weather again?

This And That

...I was ready to take down the "Snowventures" banner, 'cos the snow has been melting...until this morning, when the melting stopped and we picked up another inch of the stuff.

...If you have noticed I was posting a little less recently, it may be because I have been working more; after five eight-hour days of removing dead wires from the computer floor at The Skunk Works on my part, and several helpers adding at least 40 more hours of effort, it is, you guessed it, barely started. It's the Alice's Restaurant theory: the boys figured they were not gonna have to pull out any unused wiring for a long, long time. Guess what? Time's up! In related news, I am the cause of much resentful muttering. Awww, too bad.

And on that note (laaaaaaaaa!), I must depart.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Unlettered Morons

...They're in my televison; today, one of them -- on a national network! -- remarked to a weatherforecaster, "Kurt Vonnegut wrote The Man Without A Country, but you're 'the man without a cold front,' ha ha ha..."

Um, no. Most people with what passes for an education will recognize The Man Without A Country as a short story by Edward Everett Hale; some may recall Vonnegut's A Man Without A Country, the author's last book to be published while he was alive and of which one critic wrote, "Unfortunately, whereas Vonnegut’s insights about humor, humanism, aging, and art are touchingly tender, his political ideas tend to fall flat and sound immature. Indeed, while Vonnegut devotes many pages to criticizing George W. Bush as President, he adds next to nothing to our collective perception of the current political milieu in the United States." Ouch.

Guess which one Mr. Network Guy was most likely to have seen laying 'pon a coffee-table, no doubt as bona fides of the proper sort of Bush-loathing, and would have thought of as something surely familiar to all the proper sort of people? Geez, d00d, let it go, willya? --Or at least get the title right.

And A Gracious Good Morning To You, Too

Much quieter this ayem, as Tam's off for a breakfast meeting; our paths will cross when she arrives back home as I rush out, hopefully on schedule.

I woke up to two cats, mine, sitting outside my bedroom door. They'd been fed, but were apparently irked at not receiving their proper morning ration of people. Though they both prefer to sleep on my desk (in the space once occupied by the boiler and pistons of a CRT monitor -- wasn't that how they worked?) , neither one can make the leap even with a step at the half-way level, so returning them to their perch requires human intervention. The usual first-shift cat-lifter having departed early, they were pretty insistent I get up and get on the job!

Monday, February 22, 2010


And on E-Z terms, too! ...Okay, my furnace guys are not the cheapest in town -- or the most expensive, either -- what they are is honest.* They know what they're doing and they don't pad their time: the igniter was dead, a $75.00 part. Tech cleaned the burners and checked the furnace over, too; that plus the new part took a half-hour...and we have heat! (Butler M-K. They're good guys). Looking at their website, I should'a got a service plan: a flat fee for a year's service, includes parts and would have been less for just this call. Don't know about you, but I average one furnace repair per Winter.

The house actually stayed decently warm (above 50) for over 12 hours with no furnace. 'Way, waaaaay back when I first moved in, the Data Viking helped me with a huge attic (Tam's room) insulation project; what was up there was old and falling down. We put up nice, new stuff plus a vapor barrier. It has definitely helped.
* Butler M-K has always dealt square, even at my old place, where I'd lose heat when dead birds would clog the draft inducer, a miserable and often smelly problem to fix; they charged nothing but the time and carried the avian carcass(es) to the outside trash, thank you. Compare this to the outfit Roseholme Cottage's previous owner used, who billed him over $100 for a fifteen-minute visit to "replace" a raggedly old permanent filter...and did not touch the filter; same funky thing with holes in it was still there when I moved in. Moral of the story? A) Always check and B) honesty wins.


His sleep number is 007 -- licensed to kill in his dreams!


Woke up late and wrapped in more blankets than usual, awakened by a Tam who was also in more layers than usual: the furnace seems to be no worky!

It may just be a wonky thermostat; it's an old-fashioned type, with actual physical contacts on a bimetallic element and it no longer goes "sproing" when adjusted back and forth past room ambient. On the other hand, the blower works; and with that, we're at the limit of what I'll do with a gas furnace when I can afford to hire an expert.

Called 'em, a local outfit I've used for years, and they're sending a tech out. 'til then -- brrr!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

February BlogMeet

A grand time! New faces! Details and links to follow....Okay, who do we have here? Clockwise from front left:
Caffeinated Guy, shown in close-up at left. (it's a link) See what comes of revolver shooting?
Shootin' Buddy (blogless. He won't do your taxes, either. Bummer).
Old Grouch
Hagbard Celine (who updated his blog to get a link. I'm so mean).
Shermlock Shomes
The Jack (winner of the "new guy" award, a magnifying turtle. No, really).
The space occupied by Roberta X (note tactikewt cammo purse -- digicam kawaii?)
PA State Cop, winner of the Cup of Turonistan (a small penknife) Anybody who posts a link to a bio of Jack Churchill is worth reading!

Much talk of music, guns, politics, shooting, guns, motorized vehicles of all sorts, injuries, The Scourge Of The Hooved Rat, what guns are good for 'em, and so on. Enjoyed fine Japanese/Korean cuisine. Talked more. Old Grouch and I both got green-tea mochi and shared with neighbors: it's addictively good!

So, we're left with three questions: where/when shall we have the next Indy BlogMeet? (21 March, the Indy 1500 Gun Show weekend?) -- And will you be there?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lib Rag Pushes Pop Star Over Working Pol

Like that's a surprise, right? Still, the headline made me snigger: "Indiana Dems Need Populist Mellencamp, Not Blue Dog Ellsworth."

Hey, look, Brad Ellsworth is a fairly standard-issue Blue Dog Dem; the Bradys loathe him and NRA gives him an "A." He looks to be something of a social conservative; he put in 23 years in an Indiana Sheriff's department, finally winning the top job, and he has been a career politician ever since. There are certainly issues on which he and I are far apart and I'd rather see a Libertarian in his Congressional seat, or a Goldwateresque Republican -- but he's not an idiot; he works at his job and we could do worse (Andre Carson, I'm lookin' at you).

On the other hand, John "Cougar" Mellencamp's road nickname was "the little bastard;" he's worked hard at his job, too, but it wasn't exactly law enforcement or politickin' -- it was making music that would get played on the radio and MTV. Cute, but not really a survival skill. And while nobody has ever called him stupid* -- not to his face, at least -- he's not the guy you'd go to for help with your homework.

So, you tell me, you're trapped in a pit with rabid lobbyists and ravenous Grande Dames from the League of Women Voters; you can pick one (1) politician to help you from the two listed above. It's gonna take one speech and two math problems to get out. Which would you pick?

See, that's why you are never gonna be Editor at The Nation. Saved, from a fate far, far worse than death.

Seriously, is there something in the water there? Do they serve paint chips in the snack bar?

Update: Constitutional scholar Mellencamp on that pesky ol' First Amendment and horrawful meanies like you an' me...
“I don’t think people fought and gave their lives so that some guy can sit in his bedroom and be mean. I don’t think that’s what freedom of speech is,” he continued. "Freedom of speech is really about assembly — for us to collectively have an idea. We want to get our point of view out so we can assemble and I can appoint you to be the spokesman. That’s freedom of speech — to be able to collectively speak for a sector of people. But somehow it’s turned into ‘I can be an a****** whenever I feel like, say whatever I like, be disrespectful to people and not be courteous.’ It’s not good for our society. Not being courteous is not really freedom of speech."
Unh. I'm feelin' queasy. Well, thanks to Newsbusters anyhow.
* Oops! Freepers have done so already. Possibly from their bedrooms, meanly.

Hang Together, Or Be Hanged Seperately?

Found at the Travis McGee Reader, in re Tea Partiers, The Constitution and Standing for Something:
Discussing the lower-temperature matters first might lead to greater clarity on where they stand on the crucial point: Government by laws which do not offend the Constitution and which are administered by men and women who take their oath of office seriously and literally.
My own thoughts? Too many people read history like a comic book, the Founders and Framers as a bunch of verdammit plaster saints, all in warm'n'fuzzy agreement with whatever we ourselves are warm'n'fuzzy about -- and that ain't so. Those folks were all over the map on a whole lot of issues, especially up close and personal items like religion an' wedlock*

They put in the hard work to figure out the big, important notions they had in common -- and the other big, important things with which no government ought to be meddlin'. The small stuff? Not so much.

Here's ya some small stuff:
● Who's sleepin' with who, an' if the State otta bless it. (This insanity can be traced right back to the indignant reaction to old-time LDS practices, a reaction which is playing out badly to this very day. What? You thought I was goin' someplace else? Stay outta people's private lives).
● Where the President was born (as opposed to, for instance, payin' attention to the crazy BS he's pushin'). Who cares? It could have happened in a log cabin deep in der Heardtland or he could'a been hatched out in a Soviet biolab and his policies would still be just as objectionable.
● Whether terrorists are criminals or criminals are terrorists. Ft. Hood or an Austin IRS office, we can all agree it was some bad, bad stuff, done by bad guys who should be deader than they are. (Y'know, when I get strep throat, I don't look into the motivations of the strep, I simply kill it off ASAP before it gets worse. Just sayin').
● If the holiday display on the courthouse square might make somebody feel all left out or offended.
● If the holiday display in your neighbor's yard might do likewise -- you know, those neighbors, the ones that dress funny or talk funny or go to services on the wrong day?
● And so on and so forth.

We have a FedGov with a bad case of overreach and State Gummints likewise. It's not gonna fix itself and I very much doubt blowin' stuff up will work, either; all that does it make the Feds look better than havin' stuff blow up, which they are though not by as much as they think. It is time to find common ground and find it fast; as a bunch of fragmented, hyphenated this-and-thats, those of us inhabiting the vast, frustrated midsection of the continent and economy are just a noisy rabble; as obedient cogs in our respective and all-too-alike Parties, we go unheard. The Tea Parties, so far, have functioned as a new "Big Tent," a megaphone for lost-in-the crowd voice crying out to be left the heck alone by Our Masters in the Capitols.

Don't lose that voice to divisiveness over goofy nonsense.
* Take, for a single example, the bespectacled Franklin, who somehow never quite got 'round to actually marrying the woman history records as his wife. Most of those great men -- and they were indeed great -- show evidence of quirks a lot of folk'd be up in arms about nowadays. There's a lesson there, if we will but heed it.

Bad Choices In The News

Item: the Alabama tenure shooter bears a certain scary resemblance to the television-commercial actress who (at least in the commercial) gets goosebumps over a certain dark chocolate and peppermint candy. ...I'm not sayin' it's crazy to enjoy candy but, umm, there's a limit.

Item: the murderous moron who flew a light aircraft into the building housing his local IRS office: don't you wish someone had taken just five minutes to explain to him about truck-portable EMP devices? After all, if it saves even one life, who cares about those dusty ol' computer files?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Base What?

Mentioned In Engineering: A digital volume control that "goes to eleven" doesn't actually go up very far.

(Of course, this assumes steps of equal size; if the overall range is the same, it merely has poor resolution; on the other hand....O$DEITYMYLIFE...!)

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Woke up about 12:45 a.m., worked six hours or so, came home, ate, napped for a half-hour, showered and went back in for another six, plus or minus. I'm beat.

The Next Indy BlogMeet

BlogMeet? It will be this Sunday, 21 February 2010, 3:00 pm at Naked Tchopstix in Broad Ripple. Links and other such amusements and trifles to follow -- see at right.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Interesting Contrast

--Don't read too much into it; I don't care what folks wear as long as they don't scare the horses.

That said: On the one hand, we have U. S. Winter Olympians competing in uniforms specifically designed to minimize drag. On the other hand, U.S. Olympic athlete Johnny Weir.

Further, deponent sayeth not.

I Work On A Starship

New content at I Work On A Starship, as The Battle Of Ganymede concludes. Here's a sample:

Sudden movement caught his eye; he looked up in time to see rocks, dust and ice hanging in the middle distance, then starting a lazy fall back down as the ground underneath shook. He missed the flash of movement to his right that could have been two men carrying large packs. They didn't miss the glint of reflected light from his faceplace and ducked behind a truck-sized rock.

Story continues here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Progressive Reporting: The Inside Scoop

A Progressive "media outlet"/blog/yackety-schmackity, words on Teh Innernet/whaddevvah down Atlanta way (the one in GA) recently let a reporter go. Well, tough breaks, kid; it's a cut-throat biz.

But why'd they fire him? That's the interesting part:
...because he held on to the notion that there was an objective reality that could be reported objectively, despite the fact that that was not our editorial policy....
Yep. That's what Mr. Charlie Editor-man said: his editorial policy features disbelief in objective reality. And aims to share it.

Guy like that, you'd like to take mountain-climbing, let him get a finger-breadth of "objective reality" under one boot an' then ask him if he'd rather have that dull ol' reality or the sincere progressive belief he was standing on a nice, wide scaffold to hold him up.

Huge tip of the hat to The Unwanted Blog, which you should go read. And maybe buy something from.

Update: same editor quoted above, in comments after his bona fides as an Authorized Journalist are questioned: "As far as my education, I have two masters degrees, one in sociology and one in public administration. I would argue these degrees have allowed me to see the interconnection between social policy and people’s lives, and to have a comprehensive social and political theoretical perspective..." [My emphasis.] So, it's the degrees, hey, and not the education that earned 'em? In. ter. est. ing. Not. Oh, and -- insecure much?

Indiana "Do Not Call" List

Indiana sends out updates periodically and the deadline to get on the list for the next one is midnight tonight. If you're not on the "don't bug me" list and you wish you were, sign up today!

Do Not Eat The Yellow Snow

Press Center, Winter Olympics: the washrooms use reclaimed "graywater" to flush the toilets; it's more than clean enough for that purpose but it isn't potable.

Okay, not such a bad idea. But they have signs up over each and every toilet, warning you not to drink the water!

My informant is male; he reports that at times, he was a bit, er, worried, as someone would walk up to use the urinal next to his, read the sign, and start laughing like mad while doing his business....

Look for pix of the signs to show up on the 'net -- he says everyone was pulling out cameras and camera-phones. Kinda unnerving.

Um, Canadians? Guys? The world's press thinks maybe some of you have to be reminded to not drink outta the loo, or perhaps that you think reporters need the reminder (h'mm, y'may have a point there). Geesh, I sure hope they don't visit Maui next.

Update: Thank Uncle Jay for on-the-spot photography! Also, the more I think about it, the more I have to believe it's the journos they fear will do as dogs do.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Smaller, Faster...Louder?

Tam points out the current, 5th-gen "nano" size of a popular, portable, personal music/video/whatever storage and playback system is tinier than ever and now includes a speaker!

...My opinion of this revoltin' development is that they waited until it was this small to add a speaker so that when the person next to you takes it away, turns it up all the way and installs it in that most sunless and dank part of your body, it won't do so much damage on the way in or require medical intervention to get back out. Hey, I could be wrong -- but you might wanna stick with earphones just to be on the safe side, 'kay?

$PERSONAL MUSIC DEVICE prices keep on dropping. I'd say they're almost inexpensive enough to be used as prizes in Cracker Jack® boxes but those prizes aren't what they once were. Hey, it still tastes just as good -- and it's not loud, either.

Olympics II

...Do you have any idea how weird it is to turn on the TV and see a long shot with a "LIVE" bug, showing what appears to be the exact same dome demolished here in Indy in 2008?

Oh, noes! There are more pups from the same litter:
RCA Dome
BC Place
The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (H'mm, structure supported by nothin' but a whole lotta air, named after a politician? Wowza, who'd'a thunk it, evar?)
Pontiac Silverdome
Carrier Dome (that pup may have a different Papa: the vertical sides look striped!)

The RCA Dome was the youngest of the lot and the first to go. Perhaps we didn't feed it properly?

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I had to sit through TV coverage of the opening of the Winter Olympics last night and I really oughta blog it.

I should have live-blogged it. Oh, don't get me wrong, it was a good production with nice effects and choreography and if the music and speeches were a little over-inflated at times, well, that's traditional for these events.

NBC's Tom Brokaw, responding to another reporter's comment that there are more people in California than all of Canada,* sniffed that the Canadian economy was more robust than that of the U.S., too. Hey, if it's all relative, Canadians are even more better off than Russians! (Srsly, Tom, WTF? Could you not just let it be about Canada, British Columbia, Vancouver?)

Reminded once again that Canada is the only European county you can drive to from the U.S. and the only one with a frontier. And it's the nicest European country, too. Sure, not actually on that continent but really, that's a minor thing.

Maybe it was just the U.S.-network coverage, but I did not hear a lot of French in the opening ceremonies; were I a Francophone Canadian, I would have been vexed. OTOH, there was way lots of Donald Sutherland talking and he is one of the men I could sit and listen to for hours. So, win for me; you, not so much if you grew up talkin' French.

A possible glitch at the very end, when it appeared four supports were supposed to rise out of the floor to surround the Olympic cauldron and three did; it was pretty smoothly handled by the "ignore it and keep moving" approach. What else are you going to do?
* I had no idea there was a competition. Is there a prize? Does it not involve fighting over Soylent crumbs?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Business Idea For The Coming Economy

Now: Check-cashing outfits like Check Into Cash, "Walk in with a check, walk out with cash!"

Once Our Pals In D.C. have whacked us back to barter: Chicken To Cash! "Walk in with chickens, walk out with silver or gold coin!" (It takes a lotta chickens per Krugerrand).

If it wasn't for the hunger, shortages, grinding poverty, upsurge in crime and civil unrest, I'd be cheerin' the filthy rats on; but I'm pushin' middle age and I have elderly relatives who already lived through one Depression, so let's please all vote as if it counted and try to put the collapse off for at least a little while. Also, I need some time to get the henhouse* built.

[singing] "...the all-new original, wholly non-digital Chicken-To-Cash...!" [/singing] Eat your eleven-herbed'n'spiced heart out, Colonel.
* Oh fer great Ghu's sake -- "henhouse" is another word Blogger and Firefox think I made up. Where do they think eggs and chicken dinners come from? Do they think Mr. Tyson synthesizes them? That's it, I'm raisin' ducks instead; the eggs are better to cook with anyway and I can claim they just wandered in.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Two key members of Congress have developed legislation that seeks to address some of the most serious concerns about the high court majority's decision to reject more than one hundred years of law and precedent in order to give dramatic new political power to already-powerful corporations -- along with other groups that have fewer resources and less ability to influence the elections, such as labor unions.
[Emphasis mine] Will you be surprised if I tell you that one of those "key members" is that stomach-turning worshipper of Leviathan, Chucky Schumer? Quite the "member" he is, too.

An' gee, those pore, powerless labor UAW, or the Administration's bestest buds evar in SEIU. Oh, heavens to Betsy-wetsy, how will they manage to get word out? I dang near swallowed my chewin' gum; or I would have if I was chewing any.

There isn't enough political speech; anything that gets more of it out there, I'm in favor of.

Name Those Tunes

Radio formats have names -- not just the generic ones, like "Top 40," Beautiful Music" "AOR" or "Modern Country," either; the outfits what thunk 'em up give 'em nifty brand names, like Burkhart/Abrams "Super Stars," which is the original mass-market AOR format, or "Jack" which is supposed to be like loadin' up your $GENERIC DIGITAL MUSIC DEVICE with tunes and pluggin' it into the radio station.

So, on my $GDMD (which happens to be a pawn-shop iPod), there is a weird assortment of semi-easy-on-the-ears but somewhat skewed stuff -- from Concrete Blonde to Raymond Scott, mixmaster layerings of Herb Alpert and old-school rap (this actually works. Don't ask me why or how), lush Lori Line covers of soft pop, Zero 7, Ace Of Base, a piece of music hammered out of Dan Rather newscasts, the Ditty Bops, Donovan Leitch, Glen Miller, Steely Dan, Pink Martini and on and on; it actually works as background but it's a bit...h'mm. Day-Glo® plaid? But oh, brother, do I gotta name for it: ...Don't think I'll get many takers, though.

Update: Discovered there's a documentary in the works about the brilliantly inventive Raymond Scott! Kewlness.

Filibuster Oh The Tragedy

Who loathes the filibuster? Senate Democrats, of course!

It seems yet another of the President's nominees was blocked the other day, a fellow who would have sat on the National Labor Relations Board, which would be one of the many heapin' helpings of FDR's alphabet soup that besets this country. SEIU (remember them?) President Andy Stern is outraged, since the guy was more or less in his pocket; Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (Socialist/Democrat-People's Revolutionary Sodality* of Vermont)(just kiddin', I know you Vermonters allll love 'im -- and he is, therefore, just what you deserve) went so far as to confer with respected greybeard Walter Mondale (he's still alive?), and tells us, "He said it was just inconceivable to anybody at that time" that it would be abused as it is now, Leahy said. "The reason the filibuster rule has been supported all these years is people have used it responsibly...this is unprecedented."

Now this would be the exact same Walter Mondale (D-Outer Space) who led the charge to make ending filibusters easier, "reforming" Rule XXII way, way back in 1975 (before there was VOIP or even gravel) to reduce the number of Senate votes needed to choke off debate from two-thirds to three-fifths. Back then, The Mondale loftily informed us proles, "...the Senate will be able to deal with the pressing problems of America in 1975. This reform will make the Senate more efficient, more democratic and more effective."

At least I think that was a small "d" in "democratic." It's hard to be certain, as his is the Party that, cheered on by the odious Woodrow Wilson in 1917, first moved to put an end to unlimited debate in the U. S. Senate in 1917 with the original mod to allow cloture on a two-thirds majority. (Flip side, they're also the Party that used filibuster to slow down or stop passage of Civil Rights legislation).

But hey, not to worry; a "more efficient" and "effective" Senate that can stifle debate in its cradle will be able to make the trains run on time -- and you, too. All aboard?
* The moronization of America, Part Whatever: neither Blogger nor Firefox's spellcheckers recognize "sodality" as being in a word, not even in the most common and limited sense of a Catholic fellowship. Sigh.


Talking idly the other day -- the general topic was the dizzying variety of, and colorful names for, freeway interchanges -- I found myself muttering, "There's a word for everything..."

Nope. Wrong. See, there's no word for having a word for everything; so it blows up right at the starting gate. Oh, well.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

O.M.G. Custom-Printed Fabric!

Spoonflower: what happens if you cross print-on-demand with textiles. Wondrous! They're running a steampunk fabric contest, too.

H/t to The Steampunk Home.

Just Like Sex Offenders?

The good ol' [Red] Star picks the letters it publishes with exceeding great care; with online responses to their various and bigoted anti-gun, anti-gunowner editorials running about six pro-gun to one anti, what showed up in the print edition was solidly against freedom....and entirely unconnected to reality; in part, the writer frets:
If the law is changed to no longer allow access to these records [...] what other open records will also be challenged? Probably several, including the sex offender public records.

Yeah, 'cos a person who voluntarily got fingerprinted, filled out a seriously nosy form (it is a felony to give inaccurate info therein) and passed a State Police background check is just like a convicted sex-criminal, hey?

No. Let's review: sex-offenders have committed a crime. Handgun carry-permit holders have not. While there may be some question about the degree of offense and suitability of the punishment for some sex criminals (drunk guy caught tinkling in an alley, etc.), it is in no wise the same sort of thing as the legitimate exercise of a genuine -- if severly circumscribed -- civil right.

How would this play out if you had to get State approval to practice your religion in public? (Let us not ignore the violent potential of religions; in Europe alone, from the Reconquista to the Reformation, the toll is appalling). Would the same writer be fretting about how protecting the privacy of Lutherans, Jews and Unitarians would lead to challenges against a public record of sex offenders?

Your baseless fears do not trump my inalienable rights.

Update: Ever notice how there's a lot of overlap between the crowd who wants carry-permit records open to any mook who can afford the copy fees, the gang that wants "Lost and Stolen" laws that criminalize gun owners who don't report gun-thefts promptly and the ijits who use stolen gun stats as an argument for more gun control? Yeah, that's how it works -- enable the crime, punish the victim, use the crime to argue for tighter control; lather, rinse repeat.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Not. Getting. It.

Y'know how the classic British or American tourist is depicted visiting foreign lands, shouting at the locals who don't speak Englsh ('cos they really do, everyone does, right? So they must be ignorin' him), utterly certain the furriners can make a decent cup of coffee or tea, a real hamburger and/or bangers and mash, they just refuse to do so out of some nasty spite?

Turns out our President is one of those guys. In evidence, let us turn to his plans to have a nice sit-down with those unruly wogs Congressional Republicans, looking for areas of common ground where nationalsocializing health care can move forward, by asking questions like, "...How do you guys intend to reform the insurance market so that people with pre-existing conditions for example can get health care? How do you want to make sure that the 30 million people without insurance can get it?"

Ummm, riiiight. Or, as Tam and Ron Paul are wondering, where's any of that authorized by the Constitution? But, you know, maybe if you keep yellin' louder, Mr. Obama, those folks with the temerity to pretend they don't believe exactly what you believe will drop the act and jump on board your cattle-car. But you should not be bettin' on it.

Monday, February 08, 2010

All Kidding Aside...

...It is supposed to snow like nobody's biz overnight, so I'm hittin' the hay. Don't look for a long post in the morning unless I am very lucky with the digging-out.

I've got another chapter for the "Battle of Ganymede" flashback over at I Work On A Starship almost done and hope to post it soon. Struggling a bit with my characters, especially the citizen-soldier Edger officer. He's a nice guy, at least by his own lights, and skilled at what he does but he's just not command material.

Resolute, We Marches On

...Snowmageddon II (The Yetipocolypse) is tentatively slated to begin late tonight (barring what, cancellation due to inclement weather?); accordingly, I cite this photo from Saturday that we of Roseholme will fight it on the sidewalks, we will fight it in the alleyways, we will fight it even unto the streets and we will never, never surrender! --Um, never surrender except to go indoors and eat more French Toast in order to stay strong for the struggle, of course. (If I look a little bulky, that's four layers. At least one too many: I nearly burned up, shoveling snow).

Update: some folks like the crime scene tape scarf! But do me a favor: go to Tam's, use her link, and order it from there. Won't cost you any more and it helps keep the lights on at Roseholme cottage!

Next Thing You Know, They'll Call It A Movement

Tea Partiers get positive press mention -- and for the right reason. That freedom of the press thing, sometimes it surprises me.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Sunday, Oh, Sunday

...And I did not post this morning. With reason: the long-absent Data Viking once again visited this fair and pleasant land, arriving at a fine morning hour and we did raid the used-book stores of the South side (Books On Sale and Book Nook, at Hwy. 31 and Stop 13 Road and nowhere on the innerw3bz). I picked up several more Repairman Jack novels and some other odds and ends, and he managed to find a half-dozen tomes not in his vast private library. Came home, picking up some wonderful grub at Locally Grown Gardens along the way: salmon on a bed of herbs and exotic salad for him and an open-faced hickory-smoked barbecue sammich on fresh, homemade whole-wheat bread for me, 'cos it is the weekend. Considering the astounding salad his salmon was nestled in, I think he may've got the better deal, though the hog & sauce is definitely world-class.

After that, a grocery expedition, 'cos it was needed; and thus I am only now posting.

I have been reading Bruce Sterling's Distraction between times and I b'lieve I shall go back that. Book report may follow.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Too Good Not To Quote

"Obama lied. NASA died!" --Slogan on signs waved outside Kennedy Space Center.

Tam has recently made much of asking wottinell a limited government is doing in the space exploration biz and it's a good point. Better'n good, actually (Though were the Feds doing orbital-slot grants, we might see some huckster buildin' a railroad... Not gonna happen like that: Feds drank the UN Koolade). Still, I'm sorry enough to see the agency that put men on the moon -- and made it look so routine, people got bored with it (Bored with it?!) -- get shoved out of puttin' people in orbit that I'll happily post a link to a story like this.

For the near future of U. S. orbital spaceflight I'm bettin' on SpaceX's Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 booster. They already have a deal with NASA to make unmanned supply flights to ISS -- which will also be a proving ground for the manned version. I will not be surprised at all if Blue Origin or one of the other low-key outfits pops up one day with a big surprise for us, too.

On The Broadripple Ice Shelf

I've got to get out there and shovel some of this. It kinda stuck to stuff:Please to note the pitter-patter of little postman feet in the foreground. "Neither rain nor snow..." And our guy takes it seriously!

Back yard, more of the same. Note the stockade walls of Fort Bobbi, all snowed upon:Oh-my-life: I worked an early shift yesterday and was pretty happy: it was setting me up nicely to rise at oh-dark-thirty today and get to the Indiana Historical Radio Society meet early (for once). Cancelled due to snow; just as well, lotta the more-interesting members are folks of an age I'd worry about in a snow this heavy. But still, darn it!

Dear Representative Witling

Received a glossy self-promotional flyer from my Fed'ral un-Representative Friday. Hey, he did ask.

Which Book Is Whose?

Of course, a nice thing about Roseholme is that either of us could be reading any of them. Who bought which one is pretty obvious. (Any of 'em look good to you? Go to Tam's blog; hit the link. Shop. Enjoy!).

Friday, February 05, 2010

Barry Goldwater On Gays In Uniform

...Lifting the ban on gays in the military isn't exactly nothing, but it's pretty damned close

Everyone knows that gays have served honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar. They'll still be serving long after we're all dead and buried. That should not surprise anyone.

But most Americans should be shocked to know that while the country's economy is going down the tubes, the military has wasted half a billion dollars over the past decade chasing down gays and running them out of the armed services.


I served in the armed forces. I have flown more than 150 of the best fighter planes and bombers this country manufactured. I founded the Arizona National Guard. I chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee. And I think it's high time to pull the curtains on this charade of policy.

What should undermine our readiness would be a compromise policy like "Don't ask, don't tell." That compromise doesn't deal with the issue - it tries to hide it.

We have wasted enough precious time, money and talent trying to persecute and pretend. It's time to stop burying our heads in the sand and denying reality for the sake of politics. It's time to deal with this straight on and be done with it. It's time to get on with more important business.

The conservative movement, to which I subscribe, has as one of its basic tenets the belief that government should stay out of people's private lives. Government governs best when it governs least - and stays out of the impossible task of legislating morality. But legislating someone's version of morality is exactly what we do by perpetuating discrimination against gays.

When you get down to it, no American able to serve should be allowed, much less given an excuse, not to serve his or her country. We need all our talent.

If I were in the Senate today, I would rise on the Senate floor in support of our commander in chief. He may be a Democrat, but he happens to be right on this question.

He wrote that during the Clinton administration. My emphasis. His words. You no like? Go argue at his grave.

Local Paper Salutes Mayor's Support Of Gun Ban

Yes, the timid dears cowering under desks in the [Red] Star's editorial offices are cheering our Mayor's most recent misstep. The paper could not be more pleased to see him promising to veto a proposed city ordinance that would allow law-abiding permit-holders to carry their firearms in city parks. They even go so far as to chitter against allowing weapons in State parks, a change over two years old that has resulted in zero (0) problems.

...And all this under a proud quoting of the First Amendment. Only one that matters, Mr. Editor? Keep dreamin'.

Gee, it all hearkens back to the old days when the city paper fretted over removing the ban on "negros" in the parks. They predicted ruination then, too.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Just Like The Dinosaurs And Dyna-Soar

Remember that, er, thing? The type of thing that maybe probably wiped out the dinosaurs? The kind of thing that flattened a big patch of Tunguska? The thing you thought somebody was watchin' out for?

You know, meteors. Asteroids. Flying rocks.

It's like this: do you own a telescope? 'Cos NASA's not looking. Oh, Congress told 'em to, even set a deadline and everything; but I guess they forgot that NASA doesn't have bake sales, 'cos Congress didn't then allocate any funds for the job.

Is it NASA's job? I dunno; me, I'd as soon that pay NORAD extra an'; had them do the lookin'; we know they can watch Earth-orbiting widgets and some of that skill set has got to be transferable. But hey, whoever, I'd sure sleep better if someone was looking.

Maybe we should have a bake sale.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Keep Your Underpants On and STFU

...Huge long discussion (er...) over at Atomic Nerds about repealing the military's DADT policy. While the argument is forming along predictable lines, I am appalled by a factiod mentioned in the comments: very high pregnancy rate among Naval personnel serving about ship. (Er, female sailors, let us be clear they're not puttin' any weird meds in the Navy joe* or nuthin').

My thought on that? Bring back flogging. Add mandatory paternity testing and make 'em two-fers. And ditto for the other services.

I do not care what sex you are, nor even what sex(es) you go for; my hard-earned tax dollars are not there to pay for you to play hide-the-salami aboard ship, in a combat zone or anywhere of the sort and especially not on Uncle Sam's time. Even if you don't use a salami to do it. Get a room next time you get leave! (I'm not sure what the deal is for married couples but I'm bettin' there is some demarcation between "home" and "everywhere else on base"). Knock it off! I'm bettin' there is a rule against it already --And I'm bettin' "DADT" is the actual thing done in such cases, too.

Srsly, you're worried about gay lesbian bisexuals "ogling" and "gettin' it on?" There is entirely too much of it bein' done amongst all soldiers, sailors, airmen (airpersons?) and Marines already. Doggone it, I thought the guys (and gals) were supposed to ride the camel into town -- or do without. Gads. Have they all lost the use of their hands?

(On the original subject, see Abby. Actual, you know, soldier, who would be in a position to know).
* Navy coffee: nicknamed after a former Secretary of the Navy, who made 'em stop serving wine. Widely rumored at the time to be having saltpeter added to the coffee to cut down on on, ahem, what was I just on about already? Yeah.


Radley Balko posted a tune from YouTube Friday. It was haunting and vaguely familiar. As the first verse played on, Tam said, "Why don't you listen to the original?"

It's "Tomorrow Wendy," and the notion of "original" proves elusive; Mr. Balko posted the songwriter's recording but the track most people have heard is Concrete Blonde's atmospheric take. I kinda like 'em both, which may not speak well for my mood; but as a piece of art that captures a moment and a feeling, both versions are outstanding work.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Mayor Ballard Vows To Veto Guns-In-Parks

Yeah. Just what it says: one of the City-County councilmen has proposed citizens with carry permits shouldn't be banned from our city parks (and that alone should tell you it's Ed Coleman, who we should buy lunch for or something). The Mayor wants to make it unhappen.

What's at stake here is a pre State preemption ordinance forbidding the carrying of firearms in Indianapolis city parks (except the pistol range at Eagle Creek Park, of course). See, when we got preemption, the legislature was concerned that people...well, some Gary, Indiana might be able to buy and carry guns, and so they grandfathered all existing city and county-level restrictions;* and if you think I'm accusing the Legislature of that time of the kind of damfool racism that disarms law-abiding members of a minority while doing nothing to stop criminals of any hue, you'd be right. But they did it and we're stuck with it until the State Congressthingies revisit the issue or city councils change their own ordinances.

Our increasingly-RINO Mayor hath sworn a solemn oath to slay the beastly notion of letting licensed citizens carry their guns in Indy parks, 'cos he's like, wanting to be a one-term mayor. Or maybe he feeeeeels guns are all creepy. (Um, I thought he was in the military. USMC? Oh $DIETY please no; but yes). Heck, maybe he'd just like to see me get stomped flat in a city park; who can say? Money shot quote from the Indy [pinko] Star:

“This never comes up in any forum I ever go to,” Ballard said of the issue. “I’m putting out what I hear from the people.”

Except there is a poll at the Star, presently running at 71% in favor of permit-holders being allowed to carry in parks (criminals already are -- why should they get special treatment?) and only 29% against the idea. The citizenry hath spake, Mr. Mayor, and they're sayin' you're full of it.

Your move, pal. The electorate's watching.
* This resulted in rules few people know about and fewer obey, like the ban on concealed carry of handguns in the town of Speedway; per the rules, open carry is okay for permit-holders. Will the next Speedway police officer you meet know that? Don't count on it!

Goin' Broke

I am not, as readers may have noticed, particularly gifted when it comes to handling money. It doesn't help that I deeply distrust large institutions and nearly always find interaction with them frustrating at best.

This is a plain ordinary whine, not a bleg. I don't have a tip jar. I do this blogging thing merely to amuse myself -- if any of you enjoy it, that's gravy.

All that said, it's looking like the lowest part of my home-ownership trajectory is upon me and there is a lot hanging on how accurately I can keep my checking account balanced. It is likely to approach zero sometime in the next ten days; I've got a check for my Arisaka (I was going to take it off consignment; instead the shop sold it while I wasn't looking. I made a profit and that's okay) to run by the bank and I have a few outstanding bills. I'm not gonna be able to do my usual brute force trick of roundin' 'em all up to the nearest $10 or $20 and getting them all overpaid in the first week of the month. I may not have all of them paid by the due date. This is a source of no small stress. (It also would not be happening if the malevolent scum with whom I have my mortgage would recalculate my escrow based on my actual taxes; but they have the legal ability to do that later and will not be budged).

So if I am a little meaner-snarking and less cheerful than usual, that'd be why. And yeah, I've got a budget and I've seen this coming; but I have been a little improvident and now must pay the price. It's not the fall, you know, it's the sudden stop when you hit bottom....

New York Ph.D. Confirmed

It's official. The City-County Council has confirmed Dr. Frank Straub as the new Public Safety Director with only one dissenting vote. Libertarian councilman Ed Coleman shares my concern about Dr. Straub's attitude towards the ownership and carrying of guns by private citizens.

Okay, we've got 'im; now we'll have to watch him closely.

Speaking of people watching the Public Safety Director, has anyone heard anything on the topic recently from Sheriff Frank Anderson? UniGov rode roughshod over the good Sheriff after IPD and MCSD were merged to form the GIMP IMPD and he appears to have been pretty thoroughly squelched. And no wonder: local guy who made good, Federal marshal who brought the Indianapolis Baptist Temple standoff to a bloodless conclusion vs. an out-of-towner with a lot of classroom cred and a history of spatting with the city government that hired him -- it would not look so good for the new guy. (For the record, our Sheriff is a Democrat; he's also a man with extensive actual police experience and the wisdom to apply it. Do I always agree with him? No. But you've gotta like a police official who works to keep the body count low).

Monday, February 01, 2010

Our Local Paper Loves Jackboots

Or at least that's the impression given by today's hagiography-disguised-as-news. The Indy [Red] Star does simply -- and simperingly -- dote on gun-banner, drug-warrior, social engineer and fire fan, Dr. Frank Straub.

As for the doctor himself, why, he thinks crime could be driven way, way down by a combination of midnight basketball and compassionate understanding -- like his "aggressive" three-week program in White Plains to "bring together police officers and at-risk youths to help them understand one another's culture." As opposed to, you know, Actual Police Work, out where it's dangerous and "the other guy's culture" consists of sticking a gun in people's faces and asking for funding; breaking, entering and taking; rifling parked cars and unlocked garages; and other such cries for help and compassion at taxpayer expense. (Or cries for a hickory shampoo, but I suppose applying negative reinforcement to unwanted behavior does not exhibit a sufficient measure of treacle-y caring).

Dr. Straub goes up for a confirmation vote this evening, 7:00 p.m. (camo-d00d, that's 1900 hours) at the City-County Building, public assembly room. Please remember, our delightful CCB is gun-, knife-, handcuff key-, etc.-free -- but not opinion-free. We can do better than this disarming New York Ph.D., starting with a guy who understands Indiana's culture -- or who is at least willing to learn -- instead of someone who promises to import wholesale the failed programs and policies that have made the Northeast unsafe, unfree and gettin' worse.