Monday, May 31, 2010

Hoosier Hashcat?

Natural prey of the over-20 tomcat: Roast Beef Hash. I had not fully realized this until breakfast today.

Memorial Day

...Local Paper leads, of course, with auto race results; the TV network on my alarm clock was interviewing surviving WW II WASPs, a group that kinda got shoved under the carpet after the war (to the extent that you can do that to Jackie Cochran, anyway, which turned out to be rather a lot when a majority of the women fliers were after the "Mrs." rating).

Not a whole lot about the fallen. It's become trite to refer to all the lost warriors of all our wars as "heros." Some even meet the cinematic criteria; most of 'em would have told you they were just doing their job, attention on the task at hand, "heroism" the farthest thing from their thoughts. They were there to do what needed to be done and fell in the doing -- and, movies and novels aside, that's heroism.

You and me, we're not a network or a newspaper; we can take a little while to stop and remember; we can pause to acknowledge their effort and sacrifice.

If you do nothing else this Decoration Day, at least stop, step back from the grill and ponder the meaning of this day.

Update: stopped by my father's gravesite this afternoon. He was a Naval Reservist. Three years and I still feel a pang. I still miss him. Should have brought a flag.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Scoot Over, Flatt & Scruggs

Yeah, it doesn't look like a banjo but don't be fooled:

I'd pay money to hear her sit in on Foggy Mountain Breakdown.
But you've got to admit, you didn't expect this:

The banjo/lute thing is called a pipa. It's kewl.

I Work On A Starship: New Content!

Back to the main narrative at last, with a revised and expanded Chapter 1. We join our intrepid young heroine as she departs Lupine for the rugged pioneer city of Aberstwyth Port, on the former Far Edge planet, Frothup:

...[A]s soon as the squirt-booster is clear of the ship and the 'Drive field, it drops just like a rock, heat-shield end first. The feeling is precisely one of being in a vehicle that is pushed off a cliff, which is pretty much what just happened.

Continued on the far side of the linked text!

What Price To Hold The Puppy-Wuppy?

If the Royal Family are the nation-state equivalent of a purse dog -- ornamental creatures of no practical use, doted on by the owners who support them -- then Fergie's terrible indiscretion is to have sold off chances to hold a pampered Pomeranian (or some other dust-moppy doggie). Who cares?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My Clothes Know The Way Home

Does your skirt (or even utilikilt) know where Santa lives? It would if it was the NorthSkirt!

Wearable tech-art usually turns out to be a watch with buttons too small to press or a too-Mod light-emitting-diode-covered minidress that weighs 30 pounds with sharp connections in places you'd as soon not get zinged. Not so this time! Soft circuits and good material choices...well, go see!

I like.

I Work Onna...

...Planet With Too Many Telephones. Yesterday was my birthday (I was twelve again. And why not?). Family and friends all called to wish me a happy, which was sweet of them.

My employer had, in their own sweet way, decided to give me the gift of overtime: three days in a row of early-early, 0430 to 1300 shifts. Started yesterday.

So anyone who found me spacey or curt on the phone, sorry! I was later than you thought. ;)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Web Wander

Start at Bletchley Park; turn on Y-Stations at the interchange and head straight on to Beeson Bump, where the way forks; one side to the mysterious Bathicnus paramoudrae, which we know only from the trace fossils left by its burrow: Pot Stones. The other fork, of course, leads to Dew Ponds and hence to Air Wells, an erroneous conclusion made working reality by modern plastic.

It's simple, really; and it would only confuse you to learn I actually began it at The Chap. Their prime avatar looks a bit like Bob Dobbs's long-lost English cousin, no?

...Now, as long as there's no Bathicnus in the tub, I'm off to ablute and then for afters, honest striving.

(Thanks to Jenny)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Big Wheel Keeps On Turnin'

The wonderfully-named and faded nearly to nothing then reconstituted by great effort League of American Wheelmen (LAW), the nation's very first bike gang (in the XIXth Cent., pedalling high-wheeled "pennyfarthing" ordinaries) became, some sixteen years ago, the prosaically practical League of American Bicyclists.

H'mm, tenor of the times an' all that; what's one more advocacy group? (All the other kids do it, after all). Still, I'd be sad if that were the end of it.

Luckily for me, it's not: ladies and gentlemen, I give you: The Wheelmen!

They're my heros. I'll be watching this bunch closely; they look to be a prime source of material for Retrotechnologist.

(Staghounds, you know this is all your fault, sending me that antique bicycle book...!)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Here's a secret: I've been short-tempered the last four days. I'm walking around with a broken tooth. #10 (Ms. Left Maxillary Lateral Incisor t'lesser folk than you, my readers) kind of fell apart during flossing. The damage is all on the side that faces my tongue. It's all sharp edges and it hasn't been nice.

I'm off to the dentist's this morning to have that looked at, treated and possibly even fixed. What fun!

Oh, well, he's competent, personable and handsome. The chairs are comfy, too. If I could figure out how to read while they have three hands, a drill and some freaky-lookin' Implement of Torture The Healing Arts in my mouth, it would be mostly win -- though no cake.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Aw, Jeepers--

That rascally Galileo; see, he should'a never worn so short a skirt if he wasn't lookin' for, you know, action.

Elsewhere, my assertion that the Roman Catholic Church "punished him for bein' right" was supposedly refuted. Among the arguments? Why, that insiders -- Church officials -- warned him not to publish, or at least to soft-pedal what he wrote, lest the public be inflamed. And he foooooolishly plowed right ahead.... Askin' fer it!

Here in the modern world, that trick is known as Prior Restraint. It's generally held to be indicative of an unfree press, of a regime in which the free exchange of ideas is banned or restricted. (Someone will claim this only counts if it's the government going it. Guess what entity was the government in that place at the time?) It's a bad thing.

Galileo was indeed a tactless fellow, consistently so; anyone who knew him, knew that. This is not just cause for house arrest -- all the more so at a time when telephones and to-your-door pizza (let alone mouse-click shopping and weren't even on the horizon.

I predicted this line of argument; it comes up every time. I take no pleasure in having done so.

What people love, they will justify. It's no real favor to call 'em on it; they're only gonna be offended. Little Junior may be a monster some of the time but Mom and Dad love the wretch all the time.

In The News

On the TV this morning, two stories; the first, the recently-released FBI Uniform Crime Report, showing an overall downward trend (5.5% less, a much larger step down than previously), even stronger in big cities (down 6.9%). Two unrelated stories and a commercial break later, a prepackaged piece outta of Texas builds on an NSSF report that women account for 48 percent of the students in their First Shots classes.

...No connection, of course.... Criminals would never, evar deign to notice their intended victims were becoming more and more interested in fighting back.

(And all this in a recession, a time when the "experts" were predicting an increase in the crime rate).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Criss-Cross-Pollinating Utilities

It's madness. Madness!

The phone company wants to sell me cable TV. The cable company wants to sell me landline phone service and search engines are pushing their own browser.

Next thing you know, the gas company will be selling me water and sewage services!

...Okay, blast you, okay. I'll adjust. But if ever I see a Power & Light company service truck with tinkling bells and an ice-cream freezer on it, that'll be the last straw, dog-gone it, the very last straw.

Unpossible In The Carribean

Jamaica has had a near-total civilian gun ban since 1974. Possession of even a single round can result in a lifetime in prison. The laws are harsh and rigidly enforced.

Here's how well they work. A story datelined today: Gunfire, Fire Bombs In Barricaded Slum. The headline is, if anything, an understatement. It's an AP (spit) piece, so I shan't quote from it; worth reading, despite the source. You can track the history back and it's the same story, over and over: Dave Kopel, a decade ago; the reminiscences of a daughter of privilege, from around the start of the ban. --It's the same story, that is, except it's worse every time.

At the bottom of a hole, Jamaica just keeps digging.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hit That Horse Again

...I drug the dead horse in myself, too. Despite knowing full well the horrific tale of Miguel Servetus,* I got into an argument about religion.

For the record: I don't care what you believe or how you believe it, as long as you don't use it to push other people around. Whatever it is you believe in, I don't; not because I think it is evil or necessarily wrong (just unprovable) but because whatever it is in you that responds to the thrilling tales spun by preachers and the various and sundry rites and rituals of your faith, I haven't got. (I can't dance, either). It's like being tone-deaf or totally colorblind.

All I have to go by is the output of the process and the effort invested; I will point out that even for most people so inclined, time spent in work is greater than that spent in religion by roughly ten to one and the work produces a hugely larger tangible result.

Most of the religious appear themselves to be made very happy by their practices and no sane, decent person would begrudge them that. If they'd all treat others as they wish to be treated, it would be a happier world.


Given my 'druthers -- and in this place and time, I am free to follow 'em -- I'd rather invest my time in science and technology. How you -- peaceably! -- spend your time is your own business. My approval is not required and my censure is meaningless, especially if you're certain $DIETY is on your side.

Still -- how many meals has religion fed you and how many has science and technology? Can you prove your figures? I believe in what I can measure; it may not be better (doubtful) but it's all I have to work with.
* Slow-roasted. Go read the linked article, wonderfully written by a 19th-Century theologian with a low opinion of all the principal players.


Oh, am I ever. --I was feeling a little lousy Friday; started out better Saturday but went downhill and by the time I was at work (we all get extra shifts in May, there's a lot going on at the Skunk Works), I felt like the walking dead -- joint aches, chills, spacey.

Just barely made it home, napped, was awake a bit and then back to sleep, alternating chills and feelin' overheated. Eight hours later I was up, a bit better but still just...drained. Sore all over. I ate breakfast and napped.

And here I are. Moderately better but not real better. I dunno what this is but it can stop now. I'm gonna go soak in the tub. No, you can't help.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Frikkin' Replicants

From the Wall Street Journal, via The Unwanted Blog: "Scientists Create First Synthetic Cell." Greaaaaat -- soon, they'll be making artificial annoying neighbors, like the ones across the street who have screaming arguments every night.

Interesting sidelight: "To set this novel bacterium—and all its descendants—apart from any natural creation, Dr. Venter and his colleagues wrote their names into its chemical DNA code, along with three apt quotations from James Joyce and others." So, does this mean we can look forward to hearing, "Dammit! Your copy of Lord Of the Rings got into the bread and now it's all green and fuzzy!" or, "Lysol? But I was growing spare copies of my Chem textbook in those socks!"

A Good Morning

Well, good-ish. Better than they've been running: I have time to make an Actual Breakfast and hope to change the oil in my scooter. Kind of a big deal, since it's a four-stroke redesign of a two-stroke Vespa engine.

After that, if the weather holds, scooter-riding errands! Hooray!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Knoxville: Center Of The Universe?

Perhaps this belongs at Retrotechnologist; I may cross-post it there.

In the aftermath of the big Dayton Hamvention, I have learned that century-plus-old semiautomatic telegraph keymaker Vibroplex has been sold (Mitch, the previous owner, may've retired) and has relocated to the new owner's hometown.

To Knoxville.

Knoxville, Tennessee. The city my roommate visits several times a year. The city where I get most of my gunsmithing done.

I'm startin' t'think the place has even more goin' for it than I've been hearing.

Congratulations to Scott Robbins, W4PA, the new head honcho in charge of one of the oldest names in communication. He's already expanded the product line to include some of the harder-to-find parts and accessories.

Naw New Content At I Work On A Starship

My little trip to Officer's Country, revised and completed; as ever, the quote is a link to the story:

I really shouldn't have even mentioned the CLASSIFIED, let alone any clues to the size or the hinting at what trades are involved in building one; but good luck assembling your own and even more so considering that the — but never you mind. It's somewhere between the size of a fridge and a Freightliner and when tickled properly it folds up space like your Mom does a bedsheet and that's all you need know.

Also, I have finally got past the section that was holding me up on Frothup: Dropping In. As much fun as it is to ride a squirt-booster down, rhapsodizing about it for a page-and-a-half? Not such a good idea.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Slant Much? Climatologist In The News

Remember ClimateGate? Remember the (highly questionable) "hockey stick" graph? Seems some elected officials do, too; but when Virgina's Attorney General thought it merited a closer look, here's how it was covered:
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, in a blatantly political move to help strengthen his support among the right wing for his bid to become the next governor, is causing uproar in the science community by investigating climate scientist and former University of Virginia professor Michael Mann.
That's from a blog but I keep finding the same " a blatantly political move to help strengthen his support among the right wing..." line over and over, handled as a straight statement of fact.

Yeah. He couldn't possibly be concerned that they've been playing fast and loose with the numbers, doing the Chicken Little dance to get funding while real issues -- poverty, hunger, unwelcome groping by politicians, looming national bankruptcy and even that thing no politician, no matter how noble or depraved, can ever bring him or herself to do, leaving people the hell alone -- languish, ignored. Oh, hells no.

Hold yer damn opinions but have the decency t'own them.

Oh, and by the way? The sky is not burning.

It's Only Spelled "Newspaper"

It's pronounced "just going through the motions:" today's edition of the Indianapolis Fish-Wrap And Simulated Intelligencer arrived in a nice fat bundle that turned out to contain only ads -- including a scarrrrry flyer from Gander Mountain, guns & all -- and the "fluff" sections. No news. No editorials. No additional rolled-up bundle of brightly-inked newsprint on the front lawn (when we still had paperboys, not all that long ago, it was a point of pride to 'em to put the paper on your doormat). Nuthin'.

I wonder if they finally cut back to one (1) editor, plus a part-time stringer coverin' the City Hall/Statehouse beat, the ad department and a janitor? Heck, they can get college interns to work for free and send that last reporter home, too.

Or maybe they ran another anti-self-defense piece, making their case for denying civil rights to citizens and are tryin' to dodge being taken to task over it yet again? --No, it can't be; they're not that clever.

Hey, Mister -spit- Editor, I'm payin' you for catbox liner. You're not deliverin'. The Wall Street Journal is just as absorbent, y'know.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Quick Food Note

Popcorn made with white truffle-infused olive oil is even better than I had hoped. Downside (only not really): the kitchen's going to smell like that for awhile.


My Spring Break: One Day In Images

...I could be blogging on politics -- Rand Paul won, Arlen Specter lost and yet another Congressthing got caught with his hand down someone's pants (I say we just just give up, add "illicit sex" to their duties, and run a charity drive every year to pay for counseling for their spouses). Yes, I could be --

But I have a whole passel'o'pix and I might as well do something with them.

Off we go to the Broad Ripple Art Fair: closest free parking is for bicycles -- that's mine over against the fence. First sight of the fair.Glimpse of the first section. Art, tinfoil hat, what's not to like?Even under overcast skies, this glass glowed. On a sunny day -- look out!
"Mr. Popuarity"He's on a vase. The other vase dwellers want to do something about that. ...Man looks kind of taxpayerish, doesn't he?
Love these -- shapes, colors, textures.
These on the other hand: the size of a small dog, stunning technically, and if it it moves, I am so outta here.Srsly, isn't this the sort of thing that sticks itself to starships and has to be chased away or scraped off at the next stop?

And there's a day at the fair. See how much better that is than anything that comes from Our Dear Leaders in DC?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Hysteria Continues: The Paper, Our Guns

They've buried it so deep, you can find it from their own website, but a search engine winkled it out: local columnist (Karl, are you sure that's got a "l" innit? Vlad?)* Fran Quigley, "an attorney working on local and international poverty issues" (and living, you betcha, like a monk) and a longtime foe of your right to self-defense, he thinks guns are just icky.

As far as he's concerned, a legal gun show, filled with law-abiding citizens, is exactly the same thing as a guy gettin' gunned down in an alley off Washington Street; he's sure the "guns in your car at work" bill will lead to carnage...and cites a looney who ignored a current work rule against it in proof. Yep, a State employee had a bad review an' fetched a shotgun...a day later; and we can see that a rule askin' him not to sure dissuaded him -- or, wait, Fran, didn't it only mean his intended victims hardly had a chance? Laws and rules don't stop ijits who think addin' a felony charge or six is a good way to fix a bad review; they only stop the law-abiding.

It's a lesson Fran doesn't want to learn. Enjoy your bubble, pal, and your air-conditioned office, too. How's that "poverty issue" lawyering pay, anyhow -- and just how many starving people could your day's pay feed? But it's not enough for you that they go hungry, you want 'em to be disarmed, too, and everyone else along with them. Friends like you are why the poor don't need enemies.

Columnists like you are why the paper's goin' broke.
* Originally, I was asking the Internationale set if the word had otta have a "r" in it. --Looky here, gaijin, they're pretty much the same sound. It's not like you hear the diff 'tween "th" in "the" and "theater;" or even enunciate it, some places.

Shooting Back -- With A Camera

Hey, he pointed one at me!Turk Turon, shooting what turned out to be a video clip, on the Monon trail.

H'mm, wonder how that works.... Sometimes, pretty well. Other times, not. Look out! Pow, right in the ear.

This is all en route to the Broad Ripple Art Fair. Kind of a grey day, but the weather was nicer than it looks.

More, later. Right now, I hear the ol' fire bell ringing. You'll see.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Just Put The Mind Down And Back Slowly Away, Lady

I know I sorta promised to post stuff tonight but I'm still so tired, I'm on pattern-recognition overdrive.

Rilly and truly; I was in the euphemism, touching up my coiffure (or something), when I had the sensation (oh, horrors!) of being watched!

The creepitude. The awfulness -- but where? Where? Then I saw it, on a shelf at eye level: the Angry Purple Samurai!

What have we done to annoy him so? How can we fix it?

And why is he on a can of air freshener?So I think you can see why I'll try again, tomorrow. Hey, at least I got the images out of my camera.

Monday! Monday?

...And I'm headed out the doooor. Had a wonderful breakfast at Taste and hoping to post photos, BlogMeet report, etc. this evening!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I'm Exhausted

...Came home from the BlogMeet and took a nap. It was a very good BlogMeet, with all the regulars, including Greg, who was at the very first one, all those (two) years ago! Details will follow.

I have no photos from it. (Grrrr) My camera batteries went the way of all cells. But there are some out there.

We did do a small BlogShoot in the morning; I have now shot a Colt revolver and despite Tam's claim the cylinder roates the wrong way, I liked it -- a little Detective model, with a very smooth trigger.

Finally had a chance to try out the Ciener .22LR conversion kit for my Argentine 1911A1: works like a charm and it was easy to install. Very soft-shooting and at seven yards, the sights were spot-on. Nice!

And that's it for now. I have a date for breakfast and he's stopping by early-ish, soooo: I'm for the snoozin'

Gooood Morning To...Me!

And to you, too.

Another big day in the works: Bit of a breakfast to start, followed by a bit of target shooting at Eagle Creek Pistol Range: a BlogShoot, hooray!

This afternoon, the big Mayversary II BlogMeet. Mmmmm, Belgian food, good company, fun!

But first, I shower -- and no, you can't watch.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

O Wotta Day: Tired Much?

Soooo... Turk Turon and Shootin' Buddy both visited today, bicycles in hand. Advance!

Gee, where did we go? --Quarter-mile walk for brekky and the same back home; bicycle dash up to get cat medicine (and some White Truffle Garlic Olive Oil [oooooo, pity the popcorn made with this, for it shall be devoured] plus this'n'that from a new place we found -- they even have Black Cherry Balsamic Vinegar!) for about eight and a half miles, plus or minus. Some customer-duuuude in a bike shop we stopped by noticed Tam's hat and... But that's her story to tell.

Cat medication procured and returned home (it must be kept cold), another call-it-a-mile up to the Broad Ripple Art Fair, where we walked and walked and walked, experiencing much art (and fine craft) in the process. My "alpha geekette" T-shirt was much admired by members of the Writer's Center of Indiana, from one of whom I obtained -- for a donation to the Center -- an "Instant Poem" (Just add water, apply as needed) , one I quite fancy and hope to scan for later posting.

Other wondrous Items Of Art were also purchased, including a triptych of bookish, philosophical, studious, scientific birdmen (which I shall not scan but might photograph obliquely), a work that might've delighted Dali. Hoped to find a link but his Etsy shelves are bare. John Charbonneau's the artist -- a man with an usual eye.

I'm not sure if a handmade, fresh-dried catnip pillow counts as "art," "craft" or simply "great," but one artist had them (and lavender sachets as well, trimmed in cloth roses). A great hit with the cats, the catnip scent evokes such good memories for me -- catnip grew in shady areas around the house were I did most of my growing up -- that I was a little tempted to keep it for myself. Tommy and Slinky's enjoyment of it seemed to be even greater than my own.

Another pleasing discovery: there's a fair supply of quality, handmade furniture to be found at quite affordable prices; made of solid wood by, by golly, artists, what we saw was a pleasure to hand, eye -- and in the case of the bentwood chairs, fundament as well.

There were several turners of wooden bowls, an artform with results from skilled hands ranging from the "merely" eye-pleasing right up through astounding examples that stopped me in my tracks.

Bowls, fine furniture and attractive, functional kitchenware were not the only things made from wood at the Art Fair -- these spoke to me! Do have a look; per an interview proudly posted in her booth, the artist once told her husband she'd fancy a bandsaw over a wedding band and he was happy to oblige. Folks like that, we need more of.

There was more -- much, much more! -- but the day was waning and my companions were feeling hunger pangs; so back down the trail we went, to the warm and friendly embrace of the Broad Ripple Brew Pub, for libations (pear cider for me!) and comestibles; then to home and here I am, fondly contemplating bed. Sleep will be my artform tonight.

Photos will follow, but not tonight. Turk's found a few.

Spectacles, Ridiculous

President Obama referred to the "ridiculous spectacle" of oil company execs playing "who's got the blame?" in hearings before Congress; he complained "...The system failed."

"System?" "Spectacle?" I gotcher silly pantomine, bub: a bunch of lawyers -- and not very good ones, or they'd be busy chasing ambulances, gettin' crooks out of jail and contesting wills -- haulin' a bunch of MBAs and other lawyers on the carpet to look into an engineering problem, both sides pretending they actually understand the physical problem and the possible fixes. Yeah. Good luck with that, boys. And I'd like to know what "system" of law and regulation the President thinks will keep things from occasionally just breaking, or from being broken when some ijit's asleep at the switch.

The only good news is, since the corner-office lads are busy hobnobbing with Congress, they're not so much hobbling the real efforts of actual, aha!, engineers and techs to do something useful. Bad news, Congress will surely attempt to "fix" things: "Ooo! Let's regulate it even harder!"

Hey, Senator, shouldn't you be makin' laws about the minimum permissible size of toilet bowls, the maximum number of toothpicks a diner gets for free, or somethin' equally pressing?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Back From Dayton

...The Dayton Hamvention, that is. Walked, I dunno, all day. Twenny miles? More? Lots. Saw mondo kewl stuff, including (I think) the same Millen Variarm VFO and QST-article original version I saw last year. (A Grant for the homebrew, a Franklin for the Millen, c'mon, you know you want it -- I can't carry 'em). Telegraph keys are being sold for cash again; at one point, collectible keys were moving in swap or not at all. Make that Ca$$$h: a rare key I long for, the "73" Ultimate big, good examples in the $750 range; Mecographs, another WANT!, $450 and up. Ouch! But those are genuinely fair prices for rare and wondrous artifacts.

Saw Tom Perera and Gil Schliemann, key collectors extraordinaire; Gil had two rare Martin Autoplexes.

Photos and a more complete report later, probably at Retrotechnologist. I've spent the day in Geek Heaven and I am fair wore out.

Serifs, Tropical Island Paradees, Discuss

(Or is that "Parodisi? Probably not. Sigh. So long since Latin class, so very little retained).

I will admit right now, this is a filler: gripping as the news of the day might be, I am on my way to the Dayon Hamvention even as you read, unless I'm there already. Or at least I sure hope I am!

Turk Turon and I fell to discussing fonts the other day -- hey, look, do I criticize what you do for small talk? -- and the subject of serifs arose.

He figured it had something to do with a writing instrument of yore; I opined the Romans were the first to use them and they carved 'em in stone. (Casual Roman handwriting, on the other hand -- you think your penmanship's bad? Ha! At least by modern standards, ha! Cicero's grocery list, you could not have read even if he wrote it in English which he couldn't've and would not even if he did; he had people to do that for him).

Turns out, we're both right, probably:
...broadly but not universally accepted: the Roman letter outlines were first painted onto stone, and the stone carvers followed the brush marks which flared at stroke ends and corners, creating serifs.
Emphasis mine. How 'bout that.

Meanwhile, possibly near the Seychelles (though not collecting seashells on the sneschal's seashore), one finds the Serif Museum on the so-called Virgule Islands of (where else?) San Serriffe. Better known (at least outside the U.S.) for their hard-charging Rugby Union team, the Kwotes, these beautiful islands may well be at the leading edge of typographic and font historiography and preservation, and deservedly so.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Billboard demands a job from the President. Pretty funny, kid -- but that's not his job. Well, other than hiring for a few jobs in the White House and nearby. (Would any of you have experience at Solicitor-Generaling? It's indoors work; some part-time may be available...).


"NA NA na NAAAH na! Your name is Ish-mael!"

"Waaah! No it izzint, no it izzint, that's just what they call me. You whales are mean. I'm gonna tell Moby!"

I picture it as a cross between Tiny Toons Adventures and Moby-Dick, with pint-size versions of the narrator, Ahab (the ringleader and occasional bully), and Queequeg (a child but, of course, adult-sized); the Peaquod would be a wrecked rowboat stuck in the sand and Moby Dick? Their nanny, of course, on whom they play no end of pranks....

Supporting cast includes the other characters from the book -- Starbuck, Stubb, Flask, the remainder of the harpooners (armed with slingshots? Peashooters?), etc. and a flock of unruly whale calves. (Or would that be a pod?)

Madcap hijinks ensue.

Horribly, it would probably even work.

Bonus: In every episode, they lose Bulkington!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How To Stop The Rain

You know how washing your car, firing up the lawnmower or -- most powerful of all -- getting out your motorcycle* can make it rain?

I have found a complimentary magic. For awhile, I wasn't sure I could manage the hardware, let alone the spells; Tam remarked, as we loaded up The Hottest Needle Of Inquiry, my '06 Hyundai Accent, "This can only end in tears." It certainly wasn't anything I'd done from scratch before: Guttering.

Alas, among the many charming features of Roseholme Cottage, up there with genuine barn-red alligator paint and skewed doorframes, was a stretch of roof outside the back door that lacked a gutter, right where the runoff dripped on your head and splashed up on the foundation (now charmingly mossy; I am pretty sure a dab of charming bleach and some charming scrub-brush work will fix it up). It'd been bugging me and the neighborhood Home Improvement Emporium does have all the parts....

So today I got ambitious. It looked for awhile as if it wasn't going to work. You'll notice there's rather a lot of slope. I'm pretty sure I can adjust it if there are problems. It's not as if the tools are especially exotic! I did forget one teensy thing: I kind of overlooked downspout supports. There's a fix for that. (2x2 is tacked to the trim with drywall screws, the bodger's helper. It'll hold 'til I pick up the proper brackets tomorrow). At least I did remember to install a nifty extension tube-thing (not shown), to carry the runoff across the sidewalk and away from the foundation!

...And the magic? All day, it threatened rain. Rain was forecast for this evening -- and we'd already had a lot the last few days, which was one reason I was in a rush to hang the gutter. Since it's been up? Not a hint of precipitation!

H'mmm, I may have to keep a little guttering handy. Just in case.
* Motorscooters count for this, possibly double points.

Tuesday, Already?

The paper is bleating today about how the local (i.e., Downtown) economy will be "hurt" if the Pacers (I believe they claim to be a basketball team) depart...which they are threatening to do unless the City stops making them pay their own way for the use of Conseco Fieldhouse.

(Conseco, as locals know, was the firm run nearly into the ground by high-flying idiot alleged scamster discredited fiscal wizard Steve Hilbert; one of his "wise investments" was the purchase of naming rights when the city built a new basketball palace) .

Actually, the Pacers ownership is making regretful, oh-gee-sure-hope-we-don't-have-to noises, which is especially pitiful coming from multi-billionaire mall moguls. Y'know, I sure hope the City Gummint understands they didn't earn all that money by being actually wistful, but I doubt they do; unwilling to play real poker (for keepsies an' ever'thing), worried by surveys (that don't take into account the effect of higher taxes to support the [losing] team, or dropping such taxes if only they'd leave), the City will probably give in.

When is a basketball team like a mugger? When they're extracting money by means of threats. The differnce is, sports franchises do it in broad daylight, in public, where the victim could tell 'em No without having to draw on 'em-- and ought to. Just sayin'.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Strange But True

- The Wikipedia page about Mass Drivers does not mention Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, despite a section specifically about possible use of mass drivers as weapons. At least the page for TMIAHM does link back to the mass driver page.
Update: Tim Minear's movie screenplay is online!
Update II: I have now read it. It's good. I don't think Hollywood will make it.
Update III: Wikipedia page now links to "mass drivers in fiction."

- It only became Mr. Sinatra's My Way after a buddy got it for him, second-hand: the tune was not written for Frank Sinatra and was first a hit in France for another singer, with entirely different lyrics. Paul Anka penned the lyrics we hear sung badly at karoke bars for what Sinatra had planned as his final album.

PSH Over Firearms At Our Paper?

Who could have predicted it? Zounds!

Yes, like clockwork; as predictably as the Reasoned Discourse that breaks out whenever antis are challenged, my city's own Fishwrap And Sports-Franchise Booster -- er, what, what's that? Oh, it's still called "The Indianapolis Star," just like it was a real newspaper for grownups an' all. Anyway, they are frettin' over firearms in Indiana, especially here in Indianapolis (still trailing Chicago in firearm deaths, despite that city's bigtime illegalization of handguns in a state that regulates guns in every way Our Mr./Ms Editor could want, to no discernible effect).

Let's get out the Big Mean Fisking & Mockery Machine and see what this individual's on about.... (You'll have to wait on the link, as the piece is not posted yet: paying customers first! 'Sup now).

After praising efforts by police to "zero... in on the most crime-ridden neighborhoods and known worst offenders" (well, duh -- and you mean they haven't been? What's up with that, was the previous plan that everybody gets their fair share, 0.25 Terry stops and 0.1 dynamic entries per year?), Our Dear Scribe then avers that despite the "reticence" of some unnamed generic public safety officials about "the notorious weakness of Indiana's gun laws" (Notorious to whom? And remember, now, this is the state where if you take one step -- one single step! -- off your own land with your own handgun and you don't have permit, you are committing a felony, unless the gun was unloaded, "in a secure wrapper" and you were transporting it to buy, sell or get it repaired) -- where was I? Oh, yes, those "reticent public safety officials," who were just patting the hand of the poor, timid Editor, assuring he, she or it that the ease with which criminals lay a-holt of "illegal firearms"* is the main reason nearly 50 Hoosiers (or perhaps this figure counts Indianeapolitians alone; he's not clear. Slept through that class in J-School, did we?) have been killed by gunfire thus far in 2010 -- and every last one of them a deacon of their faith, pure and guilless as the driven snow, with lives filled with Good Works ahead of them, cut down at the very threshold of sainthood by -- oh, sob -- guns! Not, if you please, by wicked men wielding guns, or even noble men in the process of defending hearth, home, family and fortune. Nope, 'twere the gun what done it. So much better if their enemies had merely shoved their victim's sweet heads under the workin' bits a steam hammer to be beaten to a bloody pulp, I guess, or only hacked out their beating hearts with an obsidian knife; anything, so long as it didn't go bang!

But -- bravely suppressing a single, crystal tear of pure moral outrage -- the dear, sweet, loving Edit-thing insists, "...the problem doesn't stop with illegal firearms.*"

...And proceeds to launch into a shopping list of civilian-disarmament whines and wishes. In order:

- "...limit the number of guns that can be lawfully purchased at one time." Like the one-gun-a-month laws that have been shown in several states to not reduce the use of firearms in crimes; I believe Virginia's is up for repeal. Such a measure also short-circuits a Federal effort you'd think the writer would favor: buy more than one handgun from the same dealer within a few days and the dealer has to fill out ATF Form 3310.4 and send copies "to the designated State police or the local law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where the sale took place." Jeepers, wouldn't that help 'em find, you know, folks doing big, fat straw purchases?

- "...the Indiana general Assembly voted to seal off the public records of gun permits." (License To Carry Handgun records, actually). The paper, as I have previously reported, managed to find a handful of baddies who -- at the time they were issued LTCHs -- had done nothing that would disqualify them under State or Federal law. How, you might ask, did the paper identify these miscreants? Why, because they subsequently did commit acts that disqualified them! And lost or were in the process of losing their carry permits. Yes, the system worked -- but because there are no tea-leaf readers at the Indiana State Police (where they check one's criminal record when applying for an LTCH), the paper wants to "fix" it. Ah, Precrime: interesting science fiction but it didn't work out well even there.

- Accuses (praises!) police of "not being Second Amendment absolutists." Gosh, Mister or Miz Editor, what if they stop being First Amentment absolutists, too? Will you still sing fondly of them when they come getcha after your next gripping expose of favoritism, crime or corruption within IMPD?

- Admits law enforcement will "have no shortage of weapons to confiscate...within the limitations imposed by loose state laws." So what's your beef?

- "Of course, getting guns out of the wrong hands is only part of an ambitious strategy of heading off crime before it happens..." (h'mm, just addressed this) "...A few ounces of prevention from the Statehouse would be welcome." I can only gather from this statement that taking guns from the right hands would be the other part of Dear, All-loving Editor's "ambitious strategy. "

Ambition, indeed. C'mon, then. Take them. Molon Labe. Just you try.
* Whatever that means -- from context, not NFA weapons lacking a tax stamp. Maybe it means "illegally-possessed?" But that would mean blaming the poor, innocent victim-of-society who is pointing the thing at one's face and demanding free money, oh dearie me no, no, no.

As Day Breaks

...Not that it's like, actually broken, or even malfunctioning, but still, some mornings ya gotta wonder! I was looking for inspiration and all I found was eejits -- this guy, for example, who thinks Big Gummit is what we need to keep us safe and tuck our widdle selves into bed at night.

Then there's the Prez's first-round draft selection for the Supremes, tough-looking and a bridge-builder by reputation; her judicial notions are something of a mystery but the consensus thus far is that she'd have a move quite a bit to get as far left as Justice Stevens. (Ed R. quite rightly takes me to task, pointing out that most of what even the pundits think they know about her judicial inclinations is conjecture) . So that's just a wait-and-see and may not even be a bad surprise. (Radley Balko points to evidence she's bad news. So much for any happy thoughts).

And those are the big stories of the day -- other than the next try at capping the broken oil well in the Gulf. I wish 'em well in that effort. Darn it, I need that stuff for my car! Save the shrimp for cocktail sauce! Can't we use a few of the zillions of Federal laws to stop up the leak? Surely the Congressional Record and the Code of Federal Regulations are printed on something fluffy and absorbent, aren't they? They couldn't be that blind and improvident, could they?


Oh well.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

"The Strangest Night Of My Life"

I first read it years ago; never linked to it, for fear of offending decorum...but it is just so dreadfully funny that I couldn't hold out forever.

The story begins, more or less, like this: "... Mary said "mmph?" from under the covers, as I took a second glance out the window. I saw a man hiked up on his tiptoes, leaning against my truck. "He's pissing in my gas tank!" I declared. "What?" said Mary, not quite awake. I ran downstairs...."

Things don't much improve from there.

Sunday Potpourri

...Tam and I did Major Grocery Run yesterday morning, then stowed our hard-won loot and had Indiana Indian Buffet Lunch. One of the world's great cuisines -- face it, tandoori chicken is miles better than any other take on the fowl! It'd been, for some reason, years since I'd had any. And there were two chick-pea dishes, cold and warm (I dote on 'em, no idea why but -- yum). I usually fail at describing the dishes, let along naming them; lamb meatballs in a delicious sauce stood out, along with a marvelous vegetable curry, but it was alllll good. Excellent rice, too! Highly recommended; they have the buffet Saturday middays, possibly other times as well.

There's a little new content at Retrotchnologist and the next stage of the process will be performed shortly. Updates will follow.

Noticed in the paper that stencil-cutting printers have become quite inexpensive. Sure, it's one more Kewl Art Thing that now anyone can do -- but it makes a handy way to permanently label things a lot handier. (I stencil major electrical components, using good enamel or lacquer paint: it doesn't fade or fall off and now when you refer to " Panelboard 11" or whatever, everyone knows which one it is. Downside: be wary of things that make sparks!). This also may explain why I am suddenly seeing more stencilled graffiti. My special kudos (and condemnation) to the vandal who's doing a two-part alien face. Nice concept, good execution -- now scrub it off, ya lowlife.

And it'll be off to Mother's Day this afternoon for me.

Irradiated Beef!

Oh, maaaan, I wish we had it around here: irradiated ground beef! Asuming you follow normal food-prep standards, you can now cook burgers to any done-ness (or lack thereof) you like, with no frets over what the next few hours might bring.

Between that and shelf-storage milk,* there's some mondo-kewl things out there and more on the way, thanks to, you know, Science. And it makes hippies cry! Win. (Money quote: "Whether you're a meat eater, a vegetarian, or waiver somewhere between the two, this renewed push for food irradiation should concern us all." D'ye suppose they sell "vegetarian waivers" at the same counter as carbon credits?)
* Despite which, I still stock and generally prefer powdered milk. It's low-fat, I like the taste and it keeps well-nigh forever. What's not to like?

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Primaries, Devisited

Damme if there are not still folks pointing out (in comments to the earlier post) that Indiana has "open primaries" and besides, our lawgivers can't possibly have intended to make it difficult for voters to switch parties when they enacted the (unenforceable) law obliging one to vote in the primary of the party that received a majority of one's votes in the preceding general election. (See also Mike Kole's analysis).

Y'know what? I 'spoze you're right. Yes; you're right. And if I was plannin' on becoming a Republican voter, it would have made perfect sense, morally, legally and logically, to go help pick a slate of senile, gun-hating retreads loyal GOP stalwarts for the big Fall races.

But I ain't a-gonna. The party that gave us two budget-eating wars, the USA PATRIOT Act, social welfare in the Medicare Prescription puzzle-maze, "No Child Left Behind" and similar meddlesome folderol is not my party and I see no sign it is going to get any better. Barry Goldwater is dead -- and they only ever listened to him about half the time, anyway.

Last election, I voted mostly from the Libertarian Party's slate of principled loonies and weirdos. In my opinion, if you cared about this country instead of winning elections and shrieking "na na na naaaa nah" at the Democrats, you would have too. Because of the party affiliation of the candidates I voted for and because I intend to continue so doing, I have no business -- none, zilch, zero -- voting in the Pachyderm primary.

Speaking of Democrats.... Why, yes, that party's office-holders do generally appear to be worse than their Republican counterparts, in just exactly the same way that being half-hanged, drawn and quartered is worse than a lethal injection; but the end result is the same.

I will support (or at least vote for) the occasional Republican, sometimes for entirely pragmatic reasons. Don't confuse that with being a member of the party.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Mad Mike Unleashes

...And turns his wrath upon smokers. Man, that's gotta sting. Some original thoughts in there -- and do please note he's not sayin' there otta be a law.

Mayversary BlogMeet!

3:00 PM SUNDAY, 16 MAY

Everyone's invited: Bloggers, blogreaders, friends, family, fans and hangers-on


Brugge -- wondrous food! -- 1101a East Westfield Boulevard, Indianapolis, IN (at the intersection of Westfield and Westfield, just past where the trimaran monorail crosses Oxymoron Prospect).

(This is standing in for artwork I have not yet found time to create; thought I had best get something posted).

I Need This?

So, this morning Tam tells me, when I wander into the Computer, Command & Control bunker here at Roseholme, fresh-won cup of coffee in hand, "You got blog all over you!" (And for a perfectly logical comment, too -- chronotemporal stability is everyone's business). Being slightly more vain that a cat, I went to look and -- yet again! -- Amazon's Scariest Pick popped up in the sidebar:
Yes, it's a Monkey Peeler. Eeeeeeeee! All right, where's the chunk of software thinks I have some dark, deep-seated urge to peel monkeys, and what band of whackjobs is actually sellin' the hardware to do it with? Man, that is just so wrong.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Jeepers, I'm Tired

That is all.

Indiana Primaries And Me

It's little known and unenforceable, but Indiana's primaries are, by law, for party members only; and they don't mean third parties, either. (Recognized third parties hold nominating conventions instead -- separate and supposedly equal, I guess).

Per State law, if you voted in the previous general election here, you may only vote in the primary of the party for which you cast the majority of your general-election votes; conversely, if you are a new voter when the primaries roll around, whichever party's primary you vote in, you're obliged to vote for a majority of their candidates come November.

Effectively, it means I can't vote in our primaries. I've come under mild criticism for this elsewhere, in part because, thanks to the secret ballot, compliance cannot be checked. Short of deliberate self-incrimination, there's no way to be caught.

Be that as it may, ever since I started voting again, I have found myself voting for Libertarian candidates. Last time I did blink at the last minute and voted for John McCain (wish I hadn't; but Barr didn't seem any better) and formerly perennial LP hopeful Andy Horning, who was running as a Republican that once-and-final time, but otherwise, color me Wookiee.

So I didn't vote Tuesday. I should have gone to the polls and asked for a School Board ballot; found out I could at the last minute.

There are those who think I should have voted a full ballot -- after all, who'd know, and perhaps I could push the GOP in a more libertarian direction. This pragmatic attitude overlooks two little items: 1) I'd know; 2) a party's actual members ought to be the ones influencing its direction and picking its candidates. I am not a fan of the "big tent" theory of political parties; too many issues get lost in the crowd. There's already a political party with a platform very close to what I believe and it's the Libertarian Party.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Mom X

Update: Mom X is doing much better. She will stay in hospital overnight and if she's doing as well in the morning, she'll be able to come home.

Seems the doc had diagnosed her increasing shortness of breath as "athsma" and "allergy," but more symptoms rang in and she headed for the hospital. Umm, it was not exactly caused by the pollen; she's had heart trouble for awhile now and things had gotten themselves in one of those situations where an adjustment in meds is called for. One of those situations one must not leave untreated, in fact.

So they've treated it and made the adjustments and (wary of the wrath of my niece the nurse!) are monitoring very carefully.

By sheer chance, she's under a mile from the specialist hospital. It was awfully nice of them to build it so close!
So, I had a post of some sort mostly worked out and I'm pretty sure it was going to be interesting.

--Whatever it was about. I was only half-awake when the entire thing was dashed outta my head by a short phone call:

"Bobbi? This is Niece Nurse." (Eldest daughter of Sister X) "I'm calling from Heart Hospital. Gramma X went in last night--" (while I was only two miles away. What, my cell was on vacation, maybe?) "--she's okay now, sleeping, but they want to run some tests after she wakes up."

Nurse-talk for, "Your Mom maybe had a heart attack and I've been too busy riding herd on the nurses, doctors and anyone else within range at this hospital where I'm not on staff to call family members until just now; the docs wanna go poking around with a heart cath next." Given that my oldest niece is a Nurse-Practitioner with the soul of a Marine DI, a will of steel and a soft, soft heart, I have not the least doubt Mom X is getting the very best care that hospital can give -- or else!

Nevertheless, I hope y'all will 'scuse me while I zoom over there.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

May BlogMeet

...I was a little sleepy when I wrote this originally, but that sleepy? I meant, Sunday, 16 May.

(Bumped to top)

How does 15 16 May sound? Yes, it's the Broad Ripple Art Fair weekend...but hey, that just gives us all someplace to hang out beforehand!

Weather and Art Farriers* permitting, I am leaning towards Brugge -- but I'm open to suggestions.
* It is possible I've misinterpreted something here. Also I prolly ought not plan to bring a forge & anvil. NO MOTHER I AM NOT SWEARING. Sheesh.


I got to sleep in, having a late shift this evening, and went from alseep to gathering chives and scallions in about as long as it takes to put on sandals and a robe.

...And from there, directly to the kitchen, do not stop, do not pass Go, do not collect e-to-the-x dollars....

Because the end result is corned beef hash, touched with a little Montreal Steak seasoning, laced with green onions and cooked up with eggs atop, sprinkled with fresh-snipped chives and just a haunt of cheese: breakfast as it should be et!


Noted In Passing, With Interest: prime suspect in the Times Square Idiot Bomb, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen living in the Nutmeg State -- though he'd just come from a visit to (Our Good, Good Friends And Allies) Pakistan and was boarding a plane back there when nabbed. Fun as it is to gloat at the Gang-That-Couldn't-Shoot-Straight-ness of it all, I will quench it in order to point out that an ijit that wants to blow stuff up only needs to be lucky once to look like an evil mastermind.

On the other hand, much like the foiling of the Detroit Underpants Bomber, this is yet another example of J. Average Random Guy noticing something hinky and doing the right thing.

And on the other other hand, a string of even failed attempts has an effect on the aggregate mood of the citizenry; I just don't think it's quite the effect these fellows -- and the mullahs who maul their tiny minds -- are expecting. Y'keep on sowing the winds, sooner or later something gets spun up.

Monday, May 03, 2010


Had trouble getting to Blogger this morning. Installing new warp drives? Using solvent to try to get Red Chinese censors out? Dunno.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Hasn't Babysat Recently

In a conversation in which an historic sniper came up, I remarked to Tam, "Sniper no sniping!" and was rewarded with a puzzled look. This sort of thing happens so rarely (usually I'm the one wondering wotthe..?) that I thought I'd better mark it.

One of us works with folks who have young children -- coworkers who will use the original phrase term in circumstances like the borrowing of a single-example tool. It has become an incantation.

A Tragedy

A teenager is arrested after (allegedly) shooting and killing his younger brother, possibly by mistake. It's a tragedy all around.

...But local police are not blaming the weapon: "Police say this is a wake-up call to many parents. Whether they're gun owners or not, they need to warn their kids that if they find a gun to tell an adult and leave it alone." Gosh, that sounds kind of familiar. Doesn't a large (N) national (R) organization (A) offer an education program with just that message at little or no cost?

Didn't happen in time here; the father says "he never thought to teach his kids gun safety because he never imagined they would get a hold of one. 'He shouldn't have had a gun in the first place. I just don't understand.'"

I don't want to downplay the situation; this is indeed terrible. But the shooter, "'...had taken a firearm from the home of an incarcerated relative and it was while this 16-year-old was handling this weapon that it discharged, striking his brother in the head,' said Sgt. Linda Jackson, IMPD." Shouldn't happen and won't happen are not the same.

Educate your kids. Please. And it wouldn't hurt to try to get Eddie Eagle in more schools; kids are exposed to careless, ignorant gun-handling all the time in films, in videos, sometimes even by friends and relatives. A little real information -- yes, even Eddie Eagle's basic, "IF YOU SEE A GUN: STOP! Don't Touch. Leave the Area. Tell an Adult." -- might help tip the scales.

I've read of opposition to the program from the antis, presumably on the basis that if the NRA is for it, they're agin' it. So here's the question: If it prevents even one tragedy, isn't it worth it?

The Times Square Idiot Bomb

(Latest news. Looks more and more like a setup -- "non-explosive fertilizer?" What is this, a supersized flaming bag of bulldoodle? I have really got to finish that foil-covered baseball cap).

Just in time for May Day -- well, they missed, but that's par for the course; even NYC's Mayor Bloomberg took time out from entrapment schemes for out of state gun shows to notice. After NYC's Finest (and in these situations, they are: here's a van an SUV slewed in, hazards on, smoke pouring out, going "pop" and "boom" with flashing light inside, and they run towards it!) and heroic NYC firefighters (bravery score, tied with NYPD) had cleared the area, they sent in a bomb-handling robot and popped a window for a look. Hizzonner reports,
Inside, they discovered three canisters of propane like those used for barbecue grills, two five-gallon cans of gasoline, consumer-grade fire works — the apparent source of the “pops” — and two clocks with batteries, the mayor said. He said the device “looked amateurish.”
Y'don't say.

It's practically a setup. There doesn't appear to have been any attempt to aerosolize the inflammables in advance, so you'd get more blowtorch than boom, more sound and light than fury. Oh, it would have hurt people dreadfully and might have sprayed burning gasoline over a wide area to horrific effect; but at this time, it looks more like the work of majorly delinquent juveniles than any terrorist, homegrown or imported. Whoever did it had seen enough movies that they'd swapped plates on the van SUV; but I wonder if they remembered the VIN? Assuming it was readable, there've got to be some interesting conversations going on about now. ...And that's before I get out my second-best tinfoil hat and commence theorizin', which I don't have to do 'cos the professionoids on the innerwebs are already doing it for me.

Oh, and for the Swiss tourist who wondered, "It makes me scared to know how close I was to being blown up. This is life in New York now?" Where have you been all your life? Leaving out muggers, footpads and vending machines that take your money but refuse to vend, didn't you ever hear about the way unoccupied vehicles had a tendency to go all 'splody in polite, civilized London for well over a decade? Nothing about WTC '93, sarin gas in Japanese subways or Timmy and Terry's OKC child-killing rental van truck bomb in '95? You are not safe and you never have been; it's a great big world, filled with great big powerful things and as long as you like central heating, travel by other than shank's mare, the wonders of electricity, plenty o' food and clean water, then bad guys and morons (lotta Venn diagram overlap there but let's not fool ourselves it's 100 percent) are gonna have ready means to do you -- and other innocents -- terrible harm. And what you can do about it is, keep your darned eyes open and know what you're looking at. Help when you can and know when to call for help -- like whoever it was (a freelance handbag vendor!) pointed out the Times Square Idiot Bomb did.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

In Honor Of May Day


Here's why you don't frikkin' throw bombs.* Made a right damned mess, didn't it? Empowered a lot of ijits, didn't it? And it was one of the first demonstrations of the now-old saw that in any movement, the informer is prolly the guy urging you to blow stuff up. (The preceding link is wrong; I probably intended this one).

Morally, one may respond to force with force. One does not initiate force.

(* 24 Aug 2010: This is totally the wrong link. I have no idea what I'm pretty sure the "Haymarket Riot" link in the update above is what it was supposed to be, but a link to ICC whinging about law-abiding citizens exercising a Constitutional right in all likelihood wasn't it.).

Pro-Freedom, Pro-Market, Pro-Business

All the same, what? Poe-tato, pah-tahto,...raspberry? Turns out there's a significant difference. H'mmm. That kind of explains the Indiana Chamber's deceitful* hatin' on the guns-in-your-own-car law, too.

I'd like to claim I found this all by myself, but 'twere Radley Balko pointed me there.
* Their Prez, Big Cheese and head mouthpiece keeps talking about "guns in the workplace;" in this, he is, shall we say, shading the truth to the same degree an elderly stripper wears eye shadow and about as attractively. The law lets you keep your own personal firearm in your own personal vehicle; Mr. Employer has every right to insist it remain there as long as you're on his turf and his dime, same as he ever did. He can prolly even insist you keep it out of sight.

You Do What On The Weekends?

So, I wore my shiny-new Rocket Racing League T-shirt to work yesterday. (Thanks, M! You're the best!) One of the higher-ups noticed and was surprised anyone else was aware of it yet. He said, "You know, I'm very much involved in that..." and, skipping the details because it's pretty new and high-security, it turns out he's a critical member of the team that does them!

That discovery led, in turn, to being pointed at a number of fascinating links -- like this one:Pretty kewl, hey?