Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Advice For Those Who Would Ply Me With Cookies

    Not all Fudge Stripes are created equal.
     If Ghu had intended for us to eat tiny little miniature cookies, he would have made us tiny little miniature people.*  "Cookie" indicates a certain size range, generally between "old-style silver dollar" and "dessert plate."  Please make a note of it.
* And I do not mean ordinary little people size.   Oh, hells no, these mutants were made for some critter about 1.5 Barbies tall.  Possibly the sneaky-sized Sasquatches of Saskatchewan, but they aren't h. sap. and can rarely scare up the price of store-bought cookies.  Plus, Immigration won't let 'em into the States 'cos they haven't any paperwork.

Yes, Here It Is

     At long last, battered but unbowed, fresh from a tour of the South Seas, the High Seas, the Caribbean Islands and the Crowned Heads of Europe, I present with pardonable pride...
The Box Of Mystery!
     I have no idea why.  There's nothing inside but some clockwork-patterned paper lining the bottom. With a bit of work, it should make a nice place to keep my ElectroVoice V-1 ribbon microphone, recently repaired.  But that's for a different blog.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"Temperance" Cold 811's

     In amateur radio parlance, a "cold 811" is an alcoholic beverage sold in long-necked bottles, looking vaguely like an 811A power tube

     So a Temperance version would be, yes, a soft drink.  A couple of brands I hadn't seen before showed up at Locally Grown Gardens, where a full cooler of obscure sodas goes quite comfortably with their selection of local, seasonal, organic produce and eggs, and various high-end imported staples like spices, oil and vinegar.  (And if Ron stocks it, you can be sure it's the real deal, not hype: the staples he stocks are what he uses in the baked goods and other tasty food he sells.)

     Avery's Birch Beer is water-clear, lightly carbonated and has a full, rich flavor akin to sassafrass.   Avery's puts up everything from seltzer (in old-fashioned siphons!) to watermelon soda and they've been at it for over a hundred years.

     Orca Beverage Soda Co.'s Jersey Creme is a smooth and mellow cream soda, bursting with vanilla.  Remarkably pleasant.  It's difficult to find really good cream soda (ever since Mason's clear was edged out by Red Pop, at least) and this is the best I've had in years. Orca bottles (and/or distributes) a large number of classic brands.


Have I mentioned I'm On Vacation This Week?

     I am.  Thus the late posting.  I'm catching up on sleep!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sunday: A Visitor, Range Day

     The greatly-welcome Data Viking e-mailed last week -- he had some free time, wanted to stop by, and did I want to go to the range?

     Oh, heck yes!  I'm always happy to see him, and he's an excellent shot.  He doesn't shoot often, but his grandfather was a very well-regarded gunsmith and he just about grew up with a .22 in his hands. 

     He had a .22 on hand when he showed up yesterday, too, but it was .22 Winchester Automatic!  He'd found a box of ammunition for his Winchester Model 1903 rifle, that company's first semi-automatic rifle.  His has a safety, so it's not one of the first 5000 but it's pushing a hundred years old.
Per Tam and the Blue Book, you're looking at about $800 of nice rifle.
     It doesn't look like a centarian.  That's a right purty shootin' iron.

     The Model 1903 and .22 Win Auto were designed together.  It is an interesting cartridge, coming in at the low end of .22 LR energies, pushing a slightly-heavier bullet at slightly-slower speeds, subsonic.  In practice, this means you line the sights up, press the trigger and the rifle makes a quick series of metallic sounds as it cycles with a mild "thump" at the start, and a small hole appears in the target.  It's as quiet as a suppressed .22 pistol!  The rifle is softer-shooting than an air rifle, despite the cartridge being as suited for small game as .22 LR.

     The sad news is, nobody but nobody seems to be loading it and the ten rounds I shot were a bit over ten dollar's worth of ammo at current rates.  But if you have a chance?  Try it.  You'll like it.

     As it turned out, the Data Viking had another .22 along, too.  He handed me a small blue box and said, "Have a look."
     It's the rebooted Whitney Wolverine!  I'd admired them at gun shows when Olympic Arms first brought them back, but never had the cash when they were available and in recent years, they stopped showing up.  Olympic still makes them, but you need to find an Olympic dealer to get one, and even at that, it's usually got to be ordered in.

     He had.  I congratulated him on it and said I looked forward to trying it at the range.  "Oh," says he, "I have one but I didn't bring mine -- that one is yours."

     Knock me over with a feather!  He knew I'd admired them (there is no more science-fictional of guns, for one thing; and they have a very good rep for  hand-fit and accuracy, for another) and when he discovered there was an Olympic dealer near his father's new home, he'd ordered a brace of them.  That's a real friend!  I thanked him profusely but hardly adequately -- it really is a splendid gift.

     How is it to shoot, you ask?  Fun!  It is as accurate as my Ruger Mark II with the Tactical Solutions upper, despite the shorter sight radius; felt recoil is less, despite the lower weight.  It's a genuine "tack driver."  It does have a weakness: the magazines are tricky to load and tricky to get seated.  If you look closely at the photo, you can see three little stick-on pads on the base of the mag, factory installed so the nominally flush-seating magazine can be fully seated.  Even with that, it's best to give it a good smack and then a downward tug to make sure.  The other issue is feeding -- I eventually worked the ten-round magazines up to reliably feeding seven rounds.  I suspect they'll get happier over time.  But here's the thing: even with those issues and plenty of other options--
L-R: Colt, S&W K-22, High-Standard, Iver Johnson, Whitney Wolverine
--I kept going back to the Wolverine.  It's that much fun.  It really is something of a ray gun: you line up the the sights and zap!  Right where y'pointed.
     Target includes several revolver shots, too, and you can blame the flyers on the shooter, not the sidearm.

     After shooting, we returned to Broad Ripple for refreshments at Fat Dan's Deli (including Angry Orchard hard cider, yum!) and a walk past the bike shop and "junk store" -- except they weren't there any more!  But not to worry, both had moved across the Monon trail to new digs.  Reclamation is a actually an art/vintage/antique place and can be counted on to have interesting items; they've got less space than they had.  The bike place has about doubled the size their shop, with a nice mix of new/old and parts.  They had a couple of tandems Sunday.  (Tam and I may be back to check those out today.)

     It was a grand day!  Thanks, DV -- thanks 10X!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

"Wrong Is Right" Is...History?

     Hey, try this on for a film: a tabloid-esqe reporter has access to major world leaders; there (may) be a plot to take out a Middle-East Arab leader who's got weapons of mass destruction and plans to use them against the U.S. and Israel and (after some terror-type explosions in malls, etc.) he does appear to commit suicide.

     ...Or does he?  Oh, meanwhile, there's an even scarier outfit taking over the dead leader's country, and now they (probably) have the bombs ("pocket nukes," the size of a large briefcase).  Oh! --Aiding this terrorist group, a turncoat U.S. citizen.

     Reporter gets all tangled up with the CIA and his pal the President of the United States, a plain-talking Texan who just happens to have a slender, well-groomed professorial African-American woman for Secretary of State Vice-President.

     As the complicated plot wends along, there's a lot of patriotic fervor and concern about this unstable Middle-Eastern nation...which, it turns out, has planted the bombs somewhere in the U.S. 

     ...The location turns out to be hanging from a flagpole atop the World Trade Center. Yeah, two big skyscrapers that aren't there any more?  Only the bombs are found and defused just in the nick of time, war is declared against Middle-Eastern Nation, and the troops roar in, on live TV.  But who was it really planted the bombs?  Could it have been...the CIA?

     What?  Some pinko anti-Bush film?  9/11 Truther retconning?  Hey, plausible -- except the film was released in 1982!

     I'm not kidding.  Wrong Is Right is a kind of a spoof starring Sean Connery as the reporter, in a world where TV news has gone...well, very much the way it has gone.  It'd kind of like to be Dr. Strangelove but lacks that film's savage bite; the director gets entranced with a very tricky plot -- what is the CIA up to, anyway?  Did they set it all up?  Part of it?  "What's good for United States is right," the as the top spy tells Connery.

     In the light of subsequent history, this film makes for very strange watching.  I caught it on one of the over-the-air digital subchannels, either THIS or Antenna TV.

     I dunno -- I remarked to Tam, "It's as if The Secret Rulers Of Everything saw the film when it first came out and thought, Oh, why bother thinking up something original -- let's just do this.  Nobody'll notice.  So they did and we didn't." But that's just psuedoparanoid silliness, right?  Right?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ah, Breakfast!

     The most important meal of the day -- heck, what other meal do you willingly climb out of a nice, warm bed for? -- and occasionally delicious!

     As I type this, I'm digging into a genuine Roseholme Cottage Country Bowl of fridge-emptying goodness: Fried diced tatties, eggs, bacon, deli roast beef that's had a quick trip though the skillet (wok), sliced cherry tomatoes, poblano and red bell peppers, diced radish and a little carrot.  Except for the potatoes (and carrots), most of the veggies are barely cooked, just enough to wake 'em up; the potatoes and tomatoes both got a dusting of some spice mix called "pasta sprinkle" with a vague Italianate flavor.  It all worked out just right.

     Best of all: none of the protein or veggies were involved in public scandal and none of 'em assaulted each other.  Breakfast blogging might not be as exciting but you don't feel the need to scrub down afterwards.  Win!

     Edited To Add:  There were some sliced cherry tomatoes with the pasta sprinkle on 'em left.  I grabbed a couple and they were amazingly good; the  spice mixture harmonizes perfectly with the tomato -- basil, possibly marjoram, rosemary, a hint of garlic.  I shared them with Tam.  My Mom gave me the pasta sprinkle when I visited a few days ago; she'd bought it at one of the bulk-spices stores of which we have several.  Must find out where!  (And tell her about this application for it.  She avoids salt almost entirely and this stuff on tomatoes would appeal to her.)

Friday, July 26, 2013

You Know What I'd Like?

     I'd like to wake up and listen to the news without hearing, "...Anthony Weiner..." and yet another tale of shennagans more suited to a sex-obsessed teenager and not a very clever one at that.

     At this point, I suspect his real kink is getting caught out and having to grovel.

     It's not just him, he's merely one of the most flagrant.  When this is the caliber of man the political system attracts, you've got to start wondering if there's something rotten about it as well as them.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dedicated To The "Smoke In Your Car Or Outside The Fence" Rule

     I don't smoke but some folks do, and many businesses, no longer happy with the "outside, eight feet away from the door" rule, are not even providing segregated facilities for smokers.

     Yeah, yeah, vile habit, reeks, etc.  So's not brushing your teeth, and yet they don't run those creatures out.  Anyway, I was wondering if an umbrella counts -- after all, you own it, just like your car - and what a motorcyclist is supposed to do for a smoke in the rain:

Is that a panatella in your bumbershoot,
A Cohiba in your parasol?
Is that a panatella in your bumbershoot?
Don'cha know it's against the law?

Is that a cheroot 'neath your umbrella,
While you're sittin' on your Yamaha?
Is that a panatella in your bumbershoot?
Can't'cha see it's a dreadful flaw?

     Later: Tam tells me, "No, they're just happy to be here." Oh, dear.


     This T-shirt.  (Tab defaults to the boy's shirt.  Hmpf.)

     They have a space program, you know, but they're uncertain about survival at the blistering speeds of 25 mph and above.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Nota Bene: Know "Froe"

     "Batonning" is yuppie-prepper for "using a froe."

     Geez-o-peet, how often do you people have to reinvent the wheel -- and make it hexagonal?  Looky here, the froe was designed to be hammered into a log and rive off sections, all day long.  If it's too old-fashioned for you, spend $1.298 for a darned hacking knife (link is to a slightly nicer-than-average one, so here's a budget-friendly version), also designed to be whupped on, albeit on a smaller scale.

     Most of the skills a prepper/survivalist/outdoorsperson needs were bog-ordinary activities a generation or three ago, and most of the tools and techniques are either still around or at least written down in books.  The old-timers had learned some things moderns have missed, like, "Don't hammer on hardened steel, chips fly off and lodge in your eyes."

     If you wanna abuse wood, go here, drool all over the very very nice hand tools and maybe learn something.  They built Mount Vernon with that kind of stuff, you know, and Mr. Washington thought it turned out right well.  Every clever high-end tool you will find there has a simpler antecedent -- but use some common sense when simplifying.

     "Batoning."  Hmpf.  If my Dad caught you boys doing that stuff with a good knife, you'd'a met shoe leather where you sat down, and in a hurry.  It ain't right.

Rejected Political Slogans

     The most-visible (ahem) candidate for NYC Mayor: "More Weiner, more of the time!"  Or "Taking more off, 'cos I'm a moron."   (An TV pundit just now claimed "'s about competence. He was more equipped to be Congressman..."  OMG.)

     Y'know, I expect pols to be arrogant, vain, obsessive -- and discreet.  Wibur Mills proved the last expectation on my list was wrong.  The Anthony Weiners and Eliot Spitzers of this world are just maintining the repugnant tradition.

     In other news, do you realize that if the Royal Baby had seen its shadow, the British Monarchy would have been over in six months?  True fact!  Um, truth-ish.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It's Not Just Illegals And Green-Carders Doing Jobs American's Won't Do

     Nope, they're going after a core American competency and making most citizens look like pikers at it: cheating the IRS.

     One of the local stations here in Indy dug into it last year and when the story broke, it was an eight-day wonder, complete with whistleblowers, happy cheaters, mountains of dodgy paperwork and somber government officials, soberly promising There Will Be Reforms and asserting how They Would Do Better In Future.

     So, being an usually diligent newsie, the reporter went back this year for a follow-up.  He probably expected a nice, short bit on how the great improvements were proceeding but that's not what he found.  Nope: the situation is not much better.  (Yes, yes, I was shocked -- shocked -- to learn such things were still happening, just like you are).

     Y'know, when non-citizens are doing a better job scamming the IRS than folks who grew up here--  Well, it's some kind of a sign.  Kind of cryptic but a sign, nonetheless.

     (Edited to replace "Geen" with "Green" in title.  Can't find my r's with both hands, I guess.)

Monday, July 22, 2013

There Is Chortling From Across The Room

     ...As Tamara realizes the ADHD media have been totally distracted by the Royal Baby.  "Trayvon who?"  (If they thought it would get you to watch, TV pundits would gin up anguish over a potato.  How come they never get called on it by the people they exploit?)

     I remember when they covered news.  Is a new addition to the House of Windsor anything more than a minor human-interest story here in the States, or are they still hopin' we'll join the Commonwealth?  (I thought we ran them all off to Canada?)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

It's A Morning Of Race-Baiting!

     At least it was on Meet The Press; the TV goes on automatically and I was too sleepy to change the channel.

     "Stand Your Ground" laws are being especially hard-hit, despite Florida's never having been invoked by George Zimmerman as a defense against being charged with second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin; and the possibility of a civil rights case is bruited about with grim determination.  --Yeah, good luck with that; whatever else you might say about him, Zimmerman's history argues strongly against his being racist.  And as for "Stand Your Ground," Florida's law appears to provide disproportionate benefit to African-Americans who shoot someone in self-defense. --Unless you believe, as some writers appear to, that the lives of perpetrator and intended victim are of equal value.

     The media and their howling dogs are by Ghu determined to have 'em a nice cluster of riots -- and it's starting to irk 'em that the rest of us won't take the hint.

     Dream on, jerks.  I think people are starting to get tired of being jerked around.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

...Ge-orge Buuuuush....

     Headline, The Register, 18th July 2013:
   "Ex-prez Carter: 'America has no functioning democracy' with PRISM
    Former President Peanut Farmer rebukes Shrub"

     Yep.  Who's in the White House of this malfunctioned democracy of a republic right now, and why ain't Jimmy's words rebuking him?

     Remember, kids, when democracy breaks and somebody notices, it's George Bush's fault even if he's retired and painting pictures of doggies at the time.

     Meanwhile (and as the graphic at L. Neil Smith At Random indicates), we've had a Presidential term-plus and some 2447 days of Dems having enough votes in Congress to close Gitmo, repeal the Patriot Act and stifle the Department Of Homeland Security, and generally fix some of the worst excesses of the Bush years and so far they've...done nothing.  Bupkis; and I remember it being real, red-hot stuff done (single-handedly!) by a Very Bad Man they were fixin' to fix, first thing, you just fill that ballot out and drop it right here, NEXT!  And they got in and didn't roll back any of it, not one iota.

     Funny, that.

     That must be Bush's fault, too.

Really, It's A Backwards Reaction

     So, the President chimes in on the George Zimmerman case and, ignoring the one donkey-in-the-room question of why he does so, Mr. Obama actually makes a couple of valid points, one intentionally:

     "...[T]he African- American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn't go away..."  True, as far as it goes; the wider truth is that everyone's viewpoint is based on past experience, on family stories, on our shared and individual narratives.  That's where demagogues and inspirational leaders (or do I repeat myself?) find the strings to work our emotions and ignoring it is foolish.  --But it's one thing to take past history (your own and other people's) into account and a different and very sad thing to be ruled by it.

     And his unintentional point?  That most people don't evaluate risk well, fretting over small chances and missing huge threats:

     "There are very few African American men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me -- at least before I was a senator"
     Let me break it down for you, possible threat by threat:
     Pedestrians:  Statistically, unlikely to harm or rob you.
     Men:  Statistically, unlikely to harm or rob you.
     African-Amaricans: Statistically, unlikely to harm or rob you.
     U. S. Senators: Start the draft, start wars, create new regulations and raise taxes.  And it's always the intent of a majority of them -- often, a supermajority.  When you see a Senator, lock your damn door!

      Senators are dangerous.  But I suppose that's another lesson people will never learn.

Friday, July 19, 2013

FAA Reminds Us It's Naughty To Shoot At Drones

     ...And yet it's somehow not naughty to go zooming around in a remotely-operated model helicopter, snooping on people and blowin' 'em up if the .gov suspects them of Badness?

     Hey, if you want your gummint to be respected, start acting respectable.  Geesh, they used to at least care enough to fake it.

     And you, over there with the double rifle?  You better remember that what goes up eventually comes down.  Mind where you engage that insect, please!

     Me, I wanna invent the sticky-net parachute shotgun shell. It's a kinder, gentler shocking awe.

Idiots, Idiots, Idiots

     The Usual Voices on both sides are predicting -- and/or calling for -- some kind of "race war" over the Zimmerman verdict.

     I'm not seein' it.  There have been a few riots in  few cities, in which the primary harm has been done by persons with something on their minds other than the perceived injustice of the criminal justice system.

     But any time the TV cameras talk to real (non-celebrity) people who are not in the process of looting and/or burning, even people who deeply, sincerely loathe the verdict in the Zimmerman trial, you hear something else: they talk about non-violence; they urge people to call or write politicians, to picket, to urge action that, while I might not like it -- for instance, pressing DOJ to go after George Zimmerman over a supposed civil rights violation -- consists of working the system, not tearing things up.  If you don't believe me, go watch the interview the Trayvon Martin's parents; I disagree with their read of the trial and verdict in every respect but they're specifically urging non-violent action.

     Nobody in their right mind, nobody not criminally-inclined and/or glory-seeking (Rev. Sharpton, I'm looking at you, along with a handful of conservative and progressive bloggers) thinks that violence will improve matters -- no matter what they think of as an "improvement."

     That's a notion people may be able to come together over.  The criminal trial is over.  Hate the result or be relieved at it, we now have a chance to do what didn't happen in the precipitating incident: let's all talk.  That's got to be an improvement over repeating the tragedy of errors that led to the trial in the first place, no matter who you think made the first mistake.

     From where I stand, it looks like a whole lot of people of a whole lot of hues and political inclinations feel the same way.  A majority of people.

     'Cos the only thing any "race war" creates is losers.  Haven't we got enough of them already?  Isn't it better to argue than to burn?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

No More Tinfoil Hat! No More HAARP!

     I hope you're happy: they've pulled the plug -- well, the diesel fuel line -- on HAARP.  No more tornadoes, no more tsunamis, no more earthquakes, droughts, super-wet weather, nuclear-plant hiccups or alien landings: it's all spinning down to a dull, dreadful, sharknadoless calm.  Yep, ring in the Millennium!


     Oh, and why are we going to be HAARPless?  Because the big gensets that run the thing don't run clean enough to meet the latest EPA standards and they didn't budget for upgrades.  Uncle Sam's own enforcers shut his own experiment down.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


     Or however you spell it:

     Dinner from Yats: "Special" Jambalaya, meaning: "It has done cooked down gooood, sell this last bit off and start over," half & halfed with Red Beans and Sausage, over good rice with kiss-the-baker French bread with some kinda seasoned butter: OMG good!

     Hating on the Caps Lock key:  D00ds, it has done been there since before WW I.  Did you only just now notice?  Don't make the years of struggle have been for naught!  The thing is RIGHT WHERE IT SHOULD BE.  ;)

     Riding the Highwheeler in Cicada-Silencing Weather: Hey-la, there's a better breeze higher up and little temptation to over-exert.

     Cicada-Silencing Weather?  Yes.  Yes it is.  It's like 95 for temp and humidility and what happens is, some cicada gets himself all swole up with wonderfulness, climbs to a high place rated for Loud and bursts into song:

For maybe twenty seconds and then takes a deep breath of mostly hot water and ends on a strangled-sounding:

     Silence reigns until some other half-witted faux locust gets up to his own good spot, thinking, "I'll show 'em how it's done!" and crashes and burns in the exact same way.  Poor little gnomes don't have much more than a Z-80 to run on, you know, and all the software was burned into the PROMs a long time ago.

View From The Office

     I'm sittin' in here, just minding my own business, eating breakfast, when Tam walks in with her plate, gives me a narrow look and growls, "Racist!"

     Roberta X: "Wha--?"

     Tam: "Just wanted to make sure you got your fair share.  I already got mine this morning, starting with the Attorney General."


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fear Me: I Have Become Mighty

     ...For I have a Unicomp Model M "buckling spring" keyboard!

     So far, so good, though it doesn't quite have the takkatakkatakka clickativeness of an old Chicony.   The keys are about where my fingers expect them to be, though, and the keycaps are smallish and concave, the way Ghu and IBM intended them to be.

     I have been dealing with the Applesque flat squares of the Acer keyboard ever since I moved over to that machine and my typo rate has never gone down.  The arrow keys on it aren't where my hand thinks they should be and the letter keys are harder to find.

     This one is an improvement, at least for me.  The clicking may drive Tam mad.  Time will tell.  Muwhahahahaha!

     ETA: It's already started to drive her nuts.  Yow.

Evil Party/Stupid Party, 1924

     (Found here.) Hoosier-born radio commentator Elmer Davis, in 1924: "The only visible difference of any sort is that the Republican party seems to contain a slightly higher percentage of crooks, and the Democratic party of fools."

     The fool/crook balance tips this way and that but the upshot remains the same: we're governed by the evil and the stupid. And if we don't like 'em, we can replace them with the stupid and the evil!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Interesting Local Reaction To Zimmerman Verdict

     Some local black pastors are seeing this as a teachable moment, an opportunity to address anybody-on-black violence, pointing out that picking just one high-profile case far away to get worked up over is overlooking the broader problem as well as the problems in one's own neighborhood.

     Yeah, a lot of the people quoted in the linked article aren't pleased with the verdict.  Unlike the empty-yet-talking heads on most of The Toob, they know it's not the end of the world -- and that there are problems far more pressing, right here in town.

     Maybe it's not as easy to look right down the block but it's likely to make more of a difference in the long term.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Indoor Gun Range On Indy's North Side?

     Maybe.  Maybe -- Point Blank, out of Cincinnati, Ohio has set their sights on a site in Carmel, where the ambitious Mayor (Jim "après moi le déluge" Brainard, of Palladium infamy and R(hino)) doesn't like the idea, no siree, not one bit.  Discussion at INGO and there's a petition in favor of the new range here.

     I'd sure like to see a range on the North side.

Indy Hamfest

     The biggest amateur radio swapmeet in Marion County! Tam and I went yesterday and left before making a second walk-through; I was all worn out.  So much so that I napped after unloading the car and only got up for supper.

     It was a great hamfest.  After many years at a smaller venue, they are back at the Marion County Fairgrounds and there were a lot of new sellers.  I did manage to pick up a few items and will have a post about them later, probably over at Retrotechnologist.

     Interestingly, the Marion County Fairgrounds are posted "No Firearms."  As the Fair is run by a private non-profit, they can do that; it has the same force as such signs at private business: if caught, you can leave or be charged with trespassing.  However, at least one retired LEO an INGO member spoke with suggested being caught carrying at the fairgrounds would rate a trip to the lockup.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

George Zimmerman: Not Guilty. Now What?

     Started as a mess, ends in a mess.  Even unsympathetic TV pundits note that Mr. Zimmerman is facing an uncertain future, given the amount of hostility expressed towards him.

     Me, I think it was [based on the available facts] the right verdict -- even though I still question his judgement in following a guy he thought was sketchy.  Remember (as the outraged masses will not), the bar for conviction is set very high.  O. J. Simpson's case looked a lot worse, and he was found not guilty.  (Count on that to go unremembered, too.)

     The sun will come up tomorrow.  Will it rise above smoking wreckage?  Too soon to tell.  There are places where I wouldn't want to be right now.

     I hope you're not in one of them.  I hope I'm not, either.

     For those convinced George Zimmerman should have been found guilty, I offer Blackstone's Formulation.

     ETA: I am  proud of my fellow citizens.  Local TV had a series of short "man on the street" interviews and  the one common thread among respondents was the burden of proof: the prosecution hadn't shown beyond reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was guilty.  And it was people with opinions either way, persons of every hue, saying that.  Coverage from outside the courthouse was not lacking in "outraged masses," and they didn't engage in violence, either.  The media seem disappointed; me, I'm impressed.

Downtown Indy Goes London

    Yes, they're Keeping The Public Safe By Peeping: we've got a zillion (approx.) new surveillance cameras downtown, just in time for Indiana Black Expo -- er, the City says "No offense meant, folks; after all, it's for your own safety!"  Yeah.

     'Scuse me if I seem skeptical.  This strikes me as one step back from riding around in a squad car with the windows rolled up and the A/C and two-way radio both going full blast: now police can be even more removed from where bad things are happening, staring at a wall of monitors from a comfy chair!

     As for safety during Black Expo, I have more faith in the barely-mentioned foot patrolpersons and the Ten Point Coalition, the latter being a group of concerned adults armed with little more than high-visibility vests and the determination to keep things calm.

     It's impossible to control violent persons or render aid to their victims by watching it happen on TV.  It's a lot better to -- yes, I'll say it -- "nip the problem in the bud."  Just 'cos Barney Fife said it doesn't mean it's wrong.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Read The Preceding Post

     I'm fresh out of notions this morning, other than a real can of fermented worms that will require an überpost if I ever decide to open it.

     Plus, I was sick most of the day yesterday (sinus) and thus find myself a bit behind this morning.

     OTOH, the gun-controller outrage over being made into a zombie target is wholly popcorn-worthy.  Why, you'd think they didn't appreciate the recognition!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Oh, Those Bleeding Zombies

     --I can't remember where it was I first read about the "Violence Police Center"* getting all panty-knotted over the Zombie Industries Gun Control Lobbyist bleeding zombie target, the original ads for which featured a photo of some real-life gun-control lobbyists in the background.

     Stranger does have a nice piece about a Congressthing feeling the butthurt, but that's not the story I remember. 

    Be that as it may.  "The Brady Center"* To Prevent Self-Defense or whatever they go by these days -- Handgun Control, Inc. in a domino mask -- has decided, a day late and ten dollars short, to join in the manufactured outrage.  With that fine sense of who to target that has so distinguished the group, they've drawn a bead not on Zombie Industries, but on But wait, it gets better: "...[W]hile Amazon may not sell this particular model from Zombie Industries,[....] We call on Amazon to drop Zombie Industries, quickly."

     Yes, that's right: You can't buy the Gun Control Lobbyist bleeding zombie target through Amazon.  As a matter of fact, none of the "bleeding zombie" targets are mainline Amazon products and most (other than a non-zombie .mil/leo training target) aren't even fulfilled by them.   The Bradys, tone-deaf as ever, have missed the fine print, possibly on purpose.  Once again, they've gone howling down the wrong well.

     Gun control groups: they're holographically wrong.
* Scorn quotes.  FWIW.

The Jewel In The Imperial Crown/Like A Hole In The Head

...Where the British East India Company actually had a Thuggee and Dacoity Department.  On further investigation, alas, it was not a catering function but instead devoted its attention to the suppression of such activities.

     Man, for just a minute there, what an image....!  After all, EIC and later the Raj had their fingers in just about everything else.

     And here in the States, we've got Congress.  The only Department that (is supposed to) make them toe the mark is you and me  -- we're not as successful as the EIC was at controlling bandits.  And about the only spice we get is spicy tales of Congressional misdeeds in the tabloid press.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

John D. MacDonald On "Reading For Survival"

     A conversation between Travis McGee and Meyer you've probably never read -- which you should: Reading For Survival.

     You might not agree with MacDonald, speaking through his characters.  He may rile you.  He may even be wrong in places.  But it's a dozen pages long and it'll make you think.

Good Eats!

     This evening after work, I picked up some cold deli baby back ribs from the corner grocer, plannning to heat 'em up and add some kind of sauce to dip them in  -- but what kind?  The usual barbecue would be too heavy for this heat....

     Looking at the various condiments and suchlike and after reading the ingredients, I decided to try chimichurri, which is what gauchos slather on grilled meat.  (Or so they say.  If you'd rather think of it as the Argentine answer to A-1 or Worcestershire sauce, you wouldn't be wrong.)

     Oh, wow, does that ever work!  Blended very nicely with the smokey ribs and went well with the big salad.  Tam liked it, too.  It's worth trying if you never have.

New Jersey: What Happens When Only Police Have Guns

     Why, they shoot people, of course.   Out of state, over trivialities.

     From Turk Turon.  This story's about a month old -- but the information and outrage is long-lasting.  New Jersey: now exporting the fail.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

AR+PA: About My "Illegal Gun" Question

     Bob Gelinas, President of AR+PA has replied to me.  Quoted in full; I asked him to define "illegal gun" and here's what he has to say:

Great question.  And you're right, we need to do a much better job of defining a lot of terms and expressions that people commonly use – so we're all on the same page of understanding.

As we've used that expression - "illegal gun" - we are using it in the most generic sense.  That is, we absolutely believe that no inanimate object in and of itself is either good or evil.  We're using that phrase to refer to illegal human behavior in the context of guns.

Basically, an "illegal gun" is any weapon in the hands of someone who isn't legally allowed to have it.

That can mean stolen guns, smuggled guns, carried guns without legal sanction, etc.  The gun isn't bad.  But the person holding it might be.

I don't think anyone was referring to military-class weapons outlawed from civilian use, e.g. grenade launchers, mortars, and such.  Even fully automatic weapons, sawed off shotguns, silencers, etc. can be legally owned, if the proper procurement laws are followed to obtain them.  But if those laws aren't followed properly then those type of weapons in unlicensed hands represent illegal possession, so then technically making them "illegal weapons."

To be clear:  we especially don't believe any inanimate weapon system should ever be declared "illegal" by the federal or state government simply based upon capricious and arbitrary factors such as purely cosmetic features, ammunition capacity, etc.  As I said.  It's a tool, just like a hammer is a tool.  A hammer can be used to build homes or as a weapon.  A nail gun can be used for the exact same.  Either is an instrument of whomever wields it, nothing more nor less.

I hope that helps.  And please feel free to share this information with anyone you know who might have a similar question.

     Further comment is left to you, the reader.

The Air Conditioning Is Officially Hosed

    As in, "him no cool."  Nope, not hardly.  It started to fall behind last evening and, thanks to an unusually warm and humid night, has never caught up.

     The coil doesn't appear to be frozen but we may be low on working fluid.  The HVAC man has already been called and should arrive just in time to keep Tam from going to lunch.

     Me, I'm going to enjoy a nice, tepid-to-cold shower and get ready for work.

     (Gimme several K and I could fix this -- the duct layout is singularly addled, with outputs all near the center of the house, just off the doorways to most rooms, while the return is on an outside wall in the dining room.  This might have made sense in 1924 with a low-burning coal furnace without a blower but it's marginal for modern heating and unsuited to cooling except by brute force.)

Monday, July 08, 2013

From The Land Of Troll Bridges

"I keep buyin' 'em goats and buyin' 'em goats, and they just keep--  I don't know.  I don't want to know."

     Grimm fairy-tale sentiment -- or the modern voter, grimly approaching the ballot box/tax time?

Like Daylight Savings Time, Only With Police Officers

     The Mayor of Indianapolis has a Bold! New! Plan! to address what's shaping up to be a violent summer: he's taking cops out of Community Resource work and putting them in squad cars! 

     Yes, that right, the LEOs who have been doing the Officer Friendly bit, standing in for the beat-walking policemen of yore (which the city can no longer afford and hasn't had for years), are gonna be responding to crime now, showing up in a blaze of light with sirens screaming--

     After the crime has been committed.

     Okay, if this was a comic book or even a Sherlock Holmes story, we could expect the crime rate to get way better once Moriarty or the Joker had been rounded up.  I'm not so sure applying a bigger bandage is gonna work here.

     The city has no plans to hire more police; the policeman's union thinks they're nearly, oh, 700 patrol-persons short.  They might be high -- no, numerically, I mean -- but they've got a point.  You don't get more police by shuffling around the ones you already have.

     And you sure don't get better or happier ones that way.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah...

....Sky-blue sunshiny courtesy phone t'you, too.

     I can't seem to get enough sleep any more, and I slept for a darned long time.  Oh well.

     Here's a pastime for you: the Ouvrages du Libron, where a canal crosses -- well, intersects -- a muddy, silty river with a tendency to flood, canal level being (on average) only slightly below river level.  Solve it, without detour, locks or aqueducts.  French engineers did, twice, and the present solution is well past its sesquicentennial and still going strong.  Give up?  Have a look!

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Hey, Peter, What's An "Illegal Gun?"

     C'mon, Mr. Big Expert, define it.  You're against 'em, so you must know what they are.

    Tell me, please, what constitutes an "illegal gun?"

     Peter Vogt, founder and un-elected Chairman of the Board of a self-defined "NRA alternative," except it's a for-profit enterprise which does not extend voting rights to members, pretty much the opposite of NRA, keeps saying, "I am against illegal guns," but he won't say what that'd be.  Un-taxed full-autos and short-barreled shotguns?  AOWs-without-record?  Visible concealed-carry sidearms in his state of residence (Texas, where the sight of a legally-carried handgun, like the sight of a Victorian ankle, is considered shocking and A Matter for the Police)?

     Guns for anyone except him and his friends?

     Thanks to Bitter and Sebastian, who've been all over this nest of vipers.  Look, you want a gun rights organization with a big tent, you've got the NRA; if you want a nice commercial pro-gun outfit, try GunUp.  If you want Astroturf?  Peter Vogt's American Rifle and Pistol Association, Inc., just like ASHA before them.

     Personally, I think you could swap 'em even for a bucket of warm spit (or whatever) stole off John Nance Garner's porch on a hot August day, but maybe that's just me.

     Some days I weep for Texas; but it's a big state and it had rattlesnakes aplenty from Day One.  What's one or two more?

TJIC/Jennifer Warrantless Gun Seizure And The Big Picture

From a comment at Tam's:

     "What I found particlarly ironic in MA was that it was the starting location of the American Revolution where firearm ownership was the essential tool in winning our freedom from an oppressive government."

     Ironic?  Ironic?  I see it as prime evidence of a government learning from history.  First you disarm 'em, then you lean on 'em: the British did it wrong way 'round in the 1700s and look what happened!

     Don't think those smarmy lawyers and rabble-rousers you've elected to office (can't help it; they're all the two parties run) slept through History class.  George Orwell was Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm; Huxley couldn't tell Soma from Shinola.  Boots in faces?  Drugs?  Why bother, when gradual loss of freedom and widespread engrossement in increasingly trivial entertainment -- Twitter, Facebook, sports, gossip sites, "reality" TV, bullcrap elections with barely-differentiated candidates -- will do it for you?  How many ships have the Kardashian's faces launched and will the Vikings and Rams go to battle over Who Will Be America's Next Top Singing Model With Talent? Can you say that in 140 characters? Obama, Romney or vanilla?  (And don't go blowing me any smoke about how Mitt would'a saved us all; he'd'a  spatted with Congress and done whatever NSA/FBI/CIA told him he'd better be doing, like all his predecessors since the Feds started running snoop squads.)

     You know what you are not gonna see in this country?  Radical change in the direction of more personal freedom, ever.  Nor will it ever come to civil war.  If you want to be more free than you are right now, pack up and move to a state that does better than the one you're in, and if you can't find any better, tough.

     You can stand and fight (if you pick your battles) and even win sometimes on some things.  But the war is lost and has been since around 1904; the only question is how long it will take before the runs everything.  For our own good.  For the children.  To stop Terrorism and Tooth Decay.

     Haven't we always been at war with Eastasia?

I'm Awake!

     But not for long.  I slept in some way that knotted up my back and my plan, just as soon as I finish tea, toast and ibuprofen, is to either get horizontal or into a hot (bath)tub with Epsom salts, or maybe the former followed by the latter.

     I'm way too big and gawky to make this "fragile" stuff work, dammit.

     PS: I had a high-traffic day yesterday, woo-hoo!  But I'd rather TJIC and Jennifer had had an undisturbed 4th  and I'd had the usual holiday slump in blog-visits. 

Friday, July 05, 2013


     Broad Ripple sounded like a combat area last night, though the color flashes and thick black powder smoke looked as if the battle was between Civil War soldiers and Discworld wizards.

We made our own fun:

And what fun it was!

 Now, if someone can only tell me how to fix the rotation I already fixed in Paint....  I fixed it!  But I had to cheat.


     After yesterday evening's news, I'm just got.  Agog.  Boggled.

     The town where it went down, by the way, is famous for being the bloodiest spot of the first day of the American Revolution, where Colonials harried retreating Crown forces.  It's also the birthplace of a meat packer named Samuel Wilson, the model for "Uncle Sam."

     The ol' boy must've been weeping yesterday.  --Now TJIC is a reg'lar foot-in-mouth kind of guy; he's got strong opinions and he's not averse to sharing them.  And the last I heard, MA prided itself on a long tradition of free speech.

     Well, almost free.  Kind of free.  Free-ish, unless you talk smack about politicians or the po-leece.  (Republican Presidents presumably exempted.)

     I've got my gripes with IMPD but they look like angels compared to what TJIC and Jennifer have had to face.

     Gah.  MA sux.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Jackbooted On The 4th Of July

     In Massachusetts, natch-o, cradle and grave of liberty.  TJIC and Jennifer: TJIC having recently got his FID card back, an infringement like an IL FOID, and applied for an LTC (that'd be a carry permit), received instead -- today -- a visit from the police, who are as we speak removing firearms from the home.  A warrant, they did not have, but advice of counsel, etc. and so on, IMO translated reading, "Do you want to spend tonight behind bars?" has led 'em to make nice.

     Tam's on the phone with Jenn as I write this.  There is much tweeting and retweeting.  Tam's blogging it.

4 July

     Today's the day when I'm supposed to commemorate the formal launch of one of the few successful revolutions in all of history.

     One of the most successful and, at least in the home country, poorly understood.  It was not a war won by winning battles, it was a war won by avoiding too-expensive losses.  It was not a war won by beating the the Crown's forces to their knees but by making continuation too costly for them (at the time, they had other troubles, elsewhere).  It was won, in fact, by refusing to give up, even though it appeared unwinnable over nearly the entire course of the war.

     And, much as we'd like to think it was fought for the very highest ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independance, it was mostly fought to get the Crown's hand out of our pockets, to get the Crown's men out of our homes, and to generally be left alone.  --Or are those the highest ideals expressed in the Declaration, after all?

     The document this day marks the adoption of was not at the time and has never been a part of the actual law or foundational documents of the States, united; it is not The Law Of The Land.  If you're after the first of those, you want the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, used for four years prior to ratification in 1781.--Some perpetuity: it was replaced a dozen years after first use.

     Along about 1787, either the established by the Articles of Confederation was too puny to work, or it hadn't grabbed enough power to satisfy the social engineers, depending on who you believe.  The reality appears to be both and motivated more by pragmatism than idealism: things were falling apart and a baker's dozen of squabbling States stood no more chance against the Great Powers of the day than it had in 1776.  Thomas Jefferson being safely out of town, the drafting of our present Constitution began, ostensibly as a "revision" of the Articles of Confederation.  Instead, the delegates threw them out and started over.

     That is the first example of what came to be a classic pattern for popular revolutions: the old order is tossed out, there's a relatively brief period of great freedom, followed by a consolidation of power or formal reordering.  Best case, there's just the one and things get back on track; worst case, um, see French Revolution.  It appears inevitable; perhaps it's just theory hitting reality and the only variable is the size of the splat.

     If so, we were fortunate; but no luck runs forever and I'm half-convinced we have already passed the point where future historians will draw a line, saying, "Here the Republic ended; here the Empire began."

     It's still a good place, compared to most, and a great life, compared to most.  The present and the past that led to it are worth celebrating.

     That past is worth remembering and worth analyzing.  What happened?  Why did it work?  What did they get wrong?  What short-term compromises lead to long-term failure?

     What did it all mean and what does it mean today?  Something more than "BANG!" and a puff of bright sparks and colorful smoke, I hope.

Fire Sleepworks

     Darn right it does.

     Never did drop off until the crackling, whistling, booming trailed off, along about 0130, but then I dropped way off and didn't claw my way back up 'til just now.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

"Well, There's Your Problem, Lady!"

     Reading a well-written Bruce Sterling article on getting the most from a writer's workshop -- and not writing like an ijit -- I tripped over this:
    Just-Like Fallacy.  SF story which thinly adapts the
trappings of a standard pulp adventure setting.  The
spaceship is "just like" an Atlantic steamer, down to 
the Scottish engineer in the hold.
       [Emphasis mine]  See, there's the problem with your damn' spaceship/steamer: get that darned Scot outta the hold (where she is likely checking the cargo from the Auld Sod for volatiles and consuming same) and back into the engine room!

      Mr. Kipling, your imitators have much to answer for. Mr. Sterling, on the other hand, didn't grow up in a steamship world;* he's excused on grounds of being otherwise highly competent.
* I'm reminded of a recent recording of a 1930s Raymond Scott swing tune, "Reckless Night On An Ocean Liner" -- yes, the pun's intentional -- that, while a very well-recorded performance by very talented musician, fails because they don't seem to have caught on that the underlying beat is the sound of a small marine steam-engine (like the SFX used in Afrcan Queen, scaled-up).  As a result, the lower-quality '30s recording, with Scott leading the band, beats it hands-down.  Thus doth time make fools of us all.

Wrong Holiday, But...

     ...Sometimes it's nice to be reminded that shock-pop in the manner of Lady Gaga isn't the only direction to go.  There are places on this Earth where "weird" has been carefully nurtured to a level Gaga and her ilk can only envy:

     Such as, of course, Japan.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

July The Tooth!

     L. Neil Smith likes to point out today is the actual anniversary of the unanimous approval of the Declaration of Independence by the representatives of the people.  They didn't manage to all sign the thing until 2 August.

     Me, I just say, "Nice try, Mr. Jefferson!  Nice  try, but it didn't work; they started nibbling away at it before it even hit the ground."  Still, we gave it a heck of a run.  One heck of a run.

     History lesson: "Some colonies held back from endorsing independence. Resistance was centered in the middle colonies of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware."  And, as Tam just remarked, "It still is."

Monday, July 01, 2013


     Da-yum.  Is "Party City" running TV ads featuring a Stars & Stripes Gimp Suit on the TV (in front of children and everything) in your town, too, or is Indianapolis just uniquely weird?

     I mean, really -- I live in Broad Ripple.  I see more odd individuals and things before lunch than most people see all week and I'm still telling you, that's freaky.

     Possibly appropriate for our times, but still, it ain't right.

Secure The Border! --The Illinois Border

Sorry, guys, but your Governor's a frikkin' menace.  Also, he thinks he is The Law.

Skynet Sez...

I'm wearing my "Bombs" T-shirt as I write this.  Tsk.