Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Quelle Surprise

Show of hands, who was stunned by this story: "FBI Agent Infiltrated Christian Militia."

Remember the first rule of Fight Club? If your anti-gummit whatever has more than three members, it's nearly certain one of 'em's a Fed or talkin' to 'em. Three or less, chances are only two out of three.

Early evidence is this time it was a good thing. But 'tis wise to remember the criteria for Caesar's wife -- and/or the rule alluded to above.

Got Power? Storm Season's Coming

Having made it through another Winter without an extended power outage - I grew up in the country, where this is noteworthy -- I still find myself thinking of emergency power.

You can pick up a little gas*-engine genset for not much, depending on how ambitious you are; if you want to run the air-conditioner and dryer, that'll cost more, ditto handy features like autostart and a transfer switch. They run. They're noisy and it's a lousy idea to refuel 'em while they're running.

Or you can go old school. Ever hear of a Lister Cold-Start Diesel engine? Me neither, not until a reader sent me a marvelously gadgetary link. Upshot: it's a 1929 design, slow-revving and well-suited to stationary applications. Well-executed examples have very long service life and, once you've chased the bugs out, they just run and run.

Downside? Well, the weight-to-horsepower ratio is shockingly bad. And if you're going to assemble one from a barebones engine and generator, it is a learning process. But as one Floridian found it, it pays off, and in far more than simply electricity when the hurricanes howl. Read. Enjoy. Admire!

Semi-related, the alcohol-burning desk fan:


Can't afford. But do want.

* Petrol, that is. You can get LP/NG versions, nifty fixed thingies that live outdoors in an unobtrusive metal housing -- but will the heating-gas be on when you need it?

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Media's Eye Chart

...Look, if ijits are fixin' to kill a cop and then blow up attendees at his funeral, that's a Problem, a Crime; but the kind of bigtime coverage I am seein' over a poorly-baked scheme that was nipped in the bud and is bein' widely condemned even by other camo-clad campers is a bit olber* the top -- unless you've seen The Modern Reporter's Eye Chart:Clears that right up, dunnit?

(Lawnorder take on the whole thing from Sebastian, here. Put me down in the "you do not blow up people who aren't initiating force against you" column. Ya wanna be the good guy? Then you don't get to throw the first punch and you most certainly do not target innocents -- and there is a level on which J. Average LEO, expecting only ordinary crime, misjudgment and malfeasance, is as innocent as a lamb).
* Similar to "over the top" but now with 99% more frothing-at-the-mouthness!

"Militia" Arrests In Midwest

Funny, the lamestream media ran the story right after talking about Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express -- no subtext there, right?

A wire service reports a whopping three (3!) arrests. Some "militia!" There are hints of "gun charges," whatever that might mean. The ever-reliable Telegraph(UK) shows a pic of a guy in a dark uniform with a slung AR-15ish-looking rifle -- no, wait, that's a Michigan State Trooper. Looks like someone in Chicago got nipped, too.

Media-noise aside, the targeted individuals appear to be members of a Christian militia called "Hutaree" and it appears that when they rang up the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia to share the news, the reply was along the general lines of "and you are...?" SMVM has their own news release posted on their top page, which may point to a little more info than the LSM is sharin'; looks like there may be more who-why-how forthcoming later today, likely elsewhere.

I predict scare headlines on the front pages -- and the real story, if it shows up at all, buried in the back pages. Somebody got 'em a full-auto without touchin' all the bases? Someone made threats? Dunno; we'll find out, though it may take diggin'.

Let me just say that I disapprove of threats. It's not good tactics.

Seems like old times. Canaries, coal mines, overreaction and shiny, shiny jackboots; funny, he don't look like Mr. Clinton.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What Lunatic Puts A Stellar Observatory Underground?

Tycho Brahe, that's who. On his own private island, no less.

Infernal Devices, A Novel Neglected

K. W. Jeter's Infernal Devices may be the first intentionally steampunk novel. (Update: in style and tone, I mean; the word had yet to be coined). Chock full of bizarre clockwork innovation, with a hero who understands it all scarcely better than you, it's more romp than adventure. I don't know why it isn't mentioned more often. Came along too early? Published in the dim, dark days of '87, when celphones were as big as your shoe and your shoes probably cost under $100.00 -- American.

For real-life steampunk, two different sources have recently recommended Michael Busby's Solving the 1897 Airship Mystery; several other books address the same topic and the consensus seems to be there is something to it.

H'mm, Tam's even got a handy Amazon link for such things....

Is It Weirdsday Already?

First, I stumble across a fellow who may have flown a heavier-than-air vehicle prior to -- though less controllably -- than the Wrights. In a twist right out of a Gothic novel, there's even a secret contract between Wright descendants and the Smithsonian, promising that institution will never accord others credit for the first flight!*

After that, my wander took a turn for the strange; in the late 1800s, the American West and Midwest saw a series of airship sightings, at a time when nobody was -- openly! -- in the airship business. It is widely reported in Ufologist publications but rarely gets more than cursory coverage, as it doesn't quite fit; the vehicles are cigar-shaped, for one thing, and the technology described is (in most cases) very much of the time.

Enter the notebooks of Charles August Albert Dellschau, self-proclaimed draughtsman of the Sonora Aero Club. Found in a town dump in Texas and drawn and painted in an exuberant "outsider" style, they seem to chronicle his involvement decades before with a reclusive group of early airship pioneers in Sonora, California. Of course, there's not a shred of evidence for it outside his books....that is, none if you don't count the reported sightings. Of course there's a book out now. Merely a little Fun With History? Time-blurred recollections of actual events? Harmless lunacy? Hey, I just link to it. Kinda reminds me of my own Hidden Frontier.

Which reminds me, there'll be an update soon at I Work On A Starship.
* In fairness to both parties, the contract appears intended to address the museum's shameful partisanship for Professor Langley over the Wright Brothers, even after they had succeeded while he failed. And I should point out the Wright Brothers well-established primacy in the understanding and implementation of controlled flight, from just-barely in the original Flyer to their later designs, moderns constructions of which are highly flyable. Their (early) competitors either lack or have only rudimentary control surfaces and linkages to allow the pilot to move them; after Kitty Hawk, word got 'round: suddenly everyone had learnt how to do things...the Wright way.

Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage Comic Strip?

Oh yes it is! --Difference Engine, eat steam your heart out!

PS: I have got to get me one of these!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood

Mr. Eugene Robinson, that is. It's a scary place, it is. Filled with threats of violence; why, a fellow left a coffin on Congressman Russ Carnahan’s lawn, he did (except he didn't). Columnist Robinson, an active member of a racially-exclusive organization, informs us dull proles that when Sarah Palin uses a crosshairs symbol to indicate the districts of Democrat Congressbeings up for reelection this year from areas that went Republican in the '08 Presidential contest, she's not marking GOP-winnable elections (even though that is what she wrote right there on the graphic) but is up to Something Sinister.

"Let's not pretend anymore," he warns us gravely, "that the tea party movement is harmless." (Harmless to whom, sir, and in what sense of the word? It harms a political career to fail of election, does it not?). Certainly we can all recall when their thugs in paramilitary attire -- one carrying a nightstick! -- took up station at a polling place in Philadelphia... No, wait, that was the New Black Panther Party. Well, then, how about when one of their politicians trashed the First Amendment and informed his constituents they weren't the boss of him? Um, hold on, that was Indiana Democrat and freedom-loather Baron Hill. Okay, then how about those unruly window-smashing thugs? --Even the current -- and yes, Eugene, actually wrong -- brick-throwing ijits are pikers, smalltime when stacked up against anti-WTO (anti-G20, Gn, whatever) protesters right here in the U.S. Well, then, what about packing meetings with thugs? Ooops, that was the Left-supporting SEIU, who don't even play nice with other unions. You want to stand there on the Left and lecture me about harm?

And through all that, where was Mr. Calming Voice Of Reason? --Silent, except when he was blaming conservatives. But Oh Dearie Me, let 'em stand up and speak up and he's all for crushin' them quick, before they get outta hand.

See ya at the voting booth, Mr. Robinson. I'll be the one in line to vote wearing the Gadsden flag of the several. Y'woke us up.
An interesting sidelight to all this: YouTube's havin' troubles; the vids I can find but won't play are the during-the-fight coverage of Kenneth Gladney getting beat up by SEIU enforcers and the handheld amateur shots showing both New Panthers in Philly. If the Baron Hill stuff goes she-no-play too.... Gee, that's a nice matched set of noids!


This is what passes as acceptable work by a budding journalist these days; and with so dim an understanding to their own fave, the First Amendment, we shouldn't be surprised they consider the remaining nine beneath notice.

But at least it prompted a correcting letter in response -- better to have published that and left the opinion piece on the editor's desk.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Just read that Buddhist philosophers tell us that in the moment, nothing seems more important than what's before us at the time.

Right now, I think that may be the most profound insight I've yet encountered.

"Dear Congressman Underhand"

Tips on contacting your Congressthing:

"You miserable so-and-so" --Okay
"I hope you are severely beaten by syphilitic mandrills flailing barbed whips" --A happy thought but Not Okay
"Your [vote/comments] on [issue] has cost you my vote" --Okay
"And my minions have redone all your topiary in rude shapes" --Not okay; likely actionable
"You should be ashamed to show your face in [district]" --Okay
"There's a pie aimed at it if you do" --Not okay during Reagan administration and still not okay. Actionable.

From what I read in the papers, you're simply nobody among D.C. Democrats unless you've received threats* (and Republicans are gettin' 'em, too). Don't give 'em ammunition. Especially don't give the media yet another excuse to paint the American public as an unruly mob in need of governing from above. Be polite, be firm and GET OUT THE VOTE! Remember, they can't throw you in jail for that -- yet.
* As we all know, no politician anywhere has ever received threatening calls or letters before now; Congresscritters were never jeered in public nor greeted by angry signs and angrier shouts. Oh my doodness gwacious no. I'll be over in the corner, hurling not rocks but my lunch back up.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Next "Right?"

Why, you've an inherent right to broadband internet and broadcast TV -- you're owed that! Except it might not be high-definition TV, as the FCC seems to think wireless broadband is the way to go and wants to grab up 120 MHz of bandwidth everywhere to do it. 120 MHz? That's twenty (20) TV channels! One way they'll get room is to scrunch local TV stations into half-channels, which doesn't leave enough room for high-def. C'mon, you knew it was just a fad, like color or stereo sound.

But hey, access to political ads and Presidential news conferences is a right! It's free! Shaddup an' eat yer lotuses.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Window, Rooftops And Lines In The Sand

So, Congress has infringed on you and me, badly. Lots of people are upset -- and they should be!

But what's this idiocy about smashing windows? First of all, such vandalism is a half-witted kid trick; second of all, from just whose pockets is the price of a new window gonna come? Congressman Traitor? Bzzt! Wrong. But those are just side issues: the third thing is, are you gonna go do that just 'cos some guy on the Internet -- who doesn't seem to be anywhere near any busted glass his own self -- tol'ja it was a good idea?

While I hope it never gets to be vote from the rooftops time in this country -- we haven't run out of soapboxes and ballot boxes yet! -- the man who tells me it is had damn' well better have a rifle in one hand, a ladder in the other and some shingle-grit under his fingernails. There's a word for the guy who preaches violence from well behind the lines; a couple of words, actually, and it's a coin toss between "coward" and "agent provocateur."

Don't be rushed to take a step too far; Congress already has and we do, still, have ways of rubbing their nose in it and givin' 'em the old heave-ho that don't get you a trip to a Fed'ral lockup.

It's a time for signs, for speeches and letters and serious, serious organizing; a time to regroup and plan for elections. It's a time for the states to take the matter to court -- and bless 'em, they are, in significant and growing numbers.

Our backs are not quite against the wall. Let's not be in a hurry to get there and let's not be hooligans along the way there, either.

This is a fight easily lost on the evening news. Don't make it easy for the other side!

Update: Unk says similar.

Double-Plus Good

...I'm not going to link to it but the Leftiest local columnist in our metropolitan fishwrap puddles up his column-inches today A) arguing the new health care plan is a wonderful compromise, a boon to all and a burden to none while also telling us dull plebes that B) it is largely symbolic and nowhere near as good as what the rest of the world has, especially Europe. All at the same time!

When writ large, it's called "antinomy." At this level and this blatantly, it's doublethink, pure and simple.

Something Wonderful

Details to follow later at Retrotechnologist. Right now, it's all about temple-splicing over there.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

BlogMeet Photos

...Mine didn't turn out as well as I would have liked. (How about yours?)I'm hoping no one will be too offended by my ill-timed snapshottery!

April is another month: any suggestions for locations/dates? I'm considering the Canal Bistro but open to suggestions.

Four Headlines

The front page of our local birdcage liner is graced by four headlines: two tout "health care reform," one bleats of the Final Four basketball playoffs hosted in our publicly-funded arena, and the fourth? It notes another swelling wave of home foreclosures.

....Not that there's any connection, 'ey, Mr. Editor?

Monday, March 22, 2010

On Nationalsocializing Also

What PDB said.

Nationalsocialized "Health Care"

Well, the House voted and it (barely) passed. Now we're stuck with it -- and with all the rotten deals that went into getting the votes in both chambers. (Is it any wonder the Feds are going broke? --H. L. Mencken suggested a long lifetime ago that Congresscritters bribed the public with stolen goods; now they bribe one another with them). Raise taxes during a depressio, oh, sorry, Senator, recession.

Tamara's concerned about economic collapse and civil unrest. Me, I'm just as worried about dull acquiescence.

Our Senate is notably corrupt; the Executive rules by decree. Crowds protest and are ignored or slandered. We are living in one of those times of which historians, safe within their carrels, will write with glee. They're no fun at all to live through.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


1500, Indianapolis: I'm in! --At the Broad Ripple Brew Pub with Tam, Og (& the Two Horsemen), Joanna, Nathan, Shermlock & Mrs. Shomes and Brigid.... So far.

1516: Jack, followed by Sevesteeen & Co, and on their heels, Mad Saint Jack (not to be confused with the preceding Jack). The mad saint says he espied Tam outside the gun show. He also may have brung a typewriter!

1524: Jerry's here!

....Much talk of voting; voting in Congress an' votin' Congresscritters out.....

1540: Mr. & Mrs B have been here for awhile already...someone else is down there with them, too.

1839: Home: I have photos and will post later. Dozing off: two hard ciders, a looooong walk through the gun show carrying 725 rounds of assorted goodness and an early morning with Officer Tam ("Senior Chief Technician X, you are the most disorganized, grabastic human being in the entire history of the species! If this compartment was filled with raw oxygen and there was an uncontrolled spark, you would be late catching on fire!") are taking their toll.

Two Plus Two Equals Five

So I headed into the shower A) Mildly earwormed by "Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter," possibly the first Mockney pop-hit in the 'States and a bit of a surprise success for handsome-cute Peter Noone and his band; and B) hearing Tam's exclamations of delight and shock at the armed-alien antics of the pistol and mantis shrimp.

Given that, it should come as no surprise that I emerged from the shower singing "E-P-A, please save the snail-y darter..."


Big Day

Gun Show, BlogMeet... It should be fun. Time I was gettin' ready, already.

See you at one or the other -- or both?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Maurice LaMarche, Even Kewler!

Maurice LaMarche, it turns out, is the inventor of International Talk Like William Shatner Day, 22 March. Also, he's got some dynamite incidental commentary. Warning, Adult Language:
Found here, but I got there by way of JayG.
Maurice LaMarche has his own YouTube channel. Ooooooooo.

Geekery, Punnery

Only at big medium-wave and longwave radio transmitting sites with guy-wired towers will you find coils tuning the guys* and guys† tuning the coils.
* Wires.

† Engineers, some of whom may, in fact, be gals.

Gun Show Sociology

Thanks (?) to working an early shift Friday, I was able to go with Tam to the Indy 1500 Gun and Knife show yesterday. There was a surprising crowd for a Friday afternoon and it looked to me that most tables had a lot of browsers and shoppers. Of political stands, there was no dearth: the Indiana Libertarian Party, the Indianapolis Tea Party, Marion County Sheriff Candidate Bart McAtee, the charming and eminently well-qualified Congressional candidate Dr. Marvin Scott (who is running against disastrous 7th District Rep. Andre Carson). Dr. Scott was there, in person, shaking hands, making eye contact and both talking and listening; he'd get my vote even if he wasn't running against The Nephew Grandson.* I'm quite sure the Republican Party was around, too; the local GOP usually goes for understated table decor, preferring to let their individual candidates be the stars.

Most vendors and other table-holder were getting a lot of attention but not all of them were. There were two really not doing so well: the guy selling Nazi flags and T-shirts, and Mayor Ballard's table (sans Hizonner himself, just a couple of worried-looking volunteers with nothing to do).

Not to put too fine a point on it, the brownshirt souvenir stand did have a few "edgy" types checkin' out the merchandise, while at Mr. Mayor's lemonade stand, the sign-up sheets were bare and the piles of handout stickers never diminished. It's a lesson. A lesson learned? I don't think so.
* Mr. The Hon'ble Representative Andre Carson's primary qualification is, of course, that he is the nephew grandson of snoozing Congressbeing the Hon. Julia Carson, who was a real threat to the republic, the citizenry and democracy in general when awake; it was to the 7th District and the nation's benefit that such occasions were rare. Oh, he's also a Muslim, which allows the other Reps to say, "Some of my best friends are..." and thereby prove how broad-minded they are. Sadly for us -- though happily for his family and himself, I am sure -- he has not inherited his aunt's ancestor's ability to slumber peacefully through Congressional debates and votes.


Sure, they make much of space ranger Buzz Lightyear™ and his motto, "To Infinity And Beyond!" But does anyone ever mention his talented younger brother, interior designer Butch Lightyear and his motto, "To Bed Bath & Beyond™?"

Friday, March 19, 2010

Chiding Indians

So, the Commonwealth Games are comin' to New Delhi and it's the usual sweep-the-dust-under-the-rug, hide-the-steamy-novels fire drill. You know, knock it off with the spitting, don't whiz in the alleys, no starving to death around the nice hotels, that sort of thing.

Per the Hindustan Times: "'We want to change Delhi's public culture, their behavior toward each other and to that they are courteous,' Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit said at the Delhi Tourism Conclave Thursday."

Umm, er...(I'm so goin' to Hell for this)...Ma'am, at the risk of bein' accused of cultural insensitivity and in light of English still being among the official languages of India, you might, uh, well, possibly consider changing your last name. Just a thought.

The Nation: Still Not Getting It

So used to top-down enterprises -- so happy with the notion that it is their default template -- goofy-Left oldstream media 'zine The Nation wavers between sigh of relief and sneer over Glen Beck and Sarah Palin declaring, "violence is not the answer." Right there on the Teevee, too, so you know it must be super-truthy.

So it is, but they're not the bosses of nobody.

If y'ask me, determining if violence is the answer kind of depends on the question. Certainly the currently-looming nationalsocializing of health care calls for "soapbox" and "ballot box" rather than "cartridge box," but I'd advise the hard Left to not confuse a rational (i.e., non-Weathermen) approach to politics with pacifism. The days of sendin' 'round a few Feds to shoot mothers and burn down homes "compounds" fulla kids are over. Just sayin'.

PS: be sure to read the comments for some funhouse-mirror madness from the Left!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


The name showed up in an unusual place -- details at Retrotechnologist!

Friendly Tip

Here it is, free for nothin' and worth every cent:

When you are asked to help on a project in which your employer has three (3) days of on-site help (and not one second more) from the supplier, a project in which your immediate boss and his department head had determined and specified every functionality they need weeks in advance, do not go to some effort to trip up the implementation of those functions while lecturing all around you about how that sort of thing is unnecessary, always causes trouble and, based on your Decades of Experience in The Business (within +/- 5 years of everyone else working with you, buddy), Must Not Be Done. Especially do not when earlier versions of most of the stuff you're warning against were already in use for at least twenty years and have been much-missed by the operating staff in the two and a half years after being removed.

That would be the same operating staff that looks at you, aghast, as you deliver your pronouncements about How Things Are To Be Done, even though you have never done any of them yourself.

And really don't do it when your boss is standin' behind you, listening. 'Cos it took me a lot of work to get him in the right place at the right time.


That is all.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Am Joe's Slinky-Cat's News Paper

So, my subscription to the local paper ran out and I missed the notice, mailed as it was in the same envelope as all their other "sign up for eternal automatic payments and we'll luuuv you forever" whinings.

Paper stopped showin' up, I called, learned the Awful Troooth, renewed online the next day (I think -- it took three tries just to get my e-mail address updated), and waited. Paid for a year in advance. That was three days ago. Still no paper.

Called this morning. No humans in that department (they come strollin' in about ten and depart all dog-tired at five -- wanna bet it's an hour lunch, too?) but the automated system tells me, "Your account has a hold placed on it." No why or wherefore past that.

Yeah, good job, Indianapolis Star & Pravda (no, that's unfair, Pravda is a good little scandal sheet these days). Dog-gone it, I've got a little cat here that dislikes peeing on the freebie papers! (Too much color on the page, we think).

Guards? Guards?

He's got armed guards outside his office. He's got Security in his parking lots -- but he doesn't want his employees to have their legally-owned firearms locked and hidden in their own legally-owned cars when they park in his company's lot.

Y'know where John C. Lechleiter, President, Chairman, CEO and Priest-King of the Eli Lilly empire hasn't got anybody minding the store, let alone watching the watchmen? At their big drug warehouse in Enfield, Connecticut, that's where. Seems a little somethin' has turned up missing. $75 million in "little somethings," in fact.

Yep, in the same week we lost Mr. Phelps, reporters are invoking Mission: Impossible to describe the caper, which involved scaling walls, slicing open warehouse roofs, etc. etc., though without that pesky "evading guards" stuff.

I'm sooooo impressed. Luckily, there's already a song about this level of corporate schizoid behavior -- hit it, kids!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Missing The Phrase And Not Figuring The Speech

A real headline from Real Clear Politics:

"LBJ, Obama and Hiding Sausage Recipes"

Look, maybe it's just me, but that headline sure does look like they're talkin' about recipes for hide-the-sausage, which I most fervently hope nobody holding court in the White House is fixin' to do to the Republic. There are even more appalling spins to be put on it and you should feel free to do so; as a matter of delicacy and taste, I shall not.

Turns out, not in so many words (though perhaps in a metaphor invisible to the writer), it's a not-quite puffology piece on the conflict between St. Obama the Transparent Reformer and Mr. Get-It-Done-Chicago-Style President Obama. Hey, whattaya know, arm-twisting and backroom deals don't go well with openness an' keepin' the public informed. And the losing side is the same as ever: you and me.

Not exactly news but I do grin wryly (maybe with some pastrami and mustard?) when yet another media booster sees that particular light. Meet the new boss, kiddo, same as the old boss. Fooled again, weren't you?

Overheard On Teh Tooooobe

"Pseudonami." Used in metaphor as if it meant "tidal wave."

I'm stealin' it for snark. See? There is a use for morons.

Emperor Brainard

First, he built their own Central Park with Caracallan Baths The Monon Center in the middle and it hemorrhages money.

Where once there were simple four-way stops, he gave the plebes traffic circles.

Next, in rebuilding the town center, he cloned the Pantheon and it is a financial black hole.

He found Carmel, Indiana a city of brick and clapboard; he will leave it a city of debt.

Politicians: a group who cannot be trusted with money or power, let alone both at once. Either give 'em the purple-trimmed toga and Imperial laurels, or chuck 'em out; this in-between, Nero-in-a-sportscoat stuff is just grating.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Coincidence? Not!

Map of states with more bars than grocery stores (red) and vice-versa (gold)(From Strange Maps)

Map of states with very restrictive handgun laws (red) and freer states (other colors): (From

See? Defenselessness drives people to drink. QED.

Monday Uplift

So many frightening and terrible things have come from California -- I do not mention the dire name Pelosi -- that it is important to remember neither the state nor its residents are all entirely wicked. Take, for a shining example, the Kingdom of Boomeria! Or, What Would Happen If A Science Teacher Ran His Own Country....

Sunday, March 14, 2010

March BlogMeet

Broad Ripple Brew Pub, 3:00 pm!

Elephant Hatchery

No, really! --I was looking for the Bugatti hood ornament, a beautiful image which has a sad story behind it.

Vision! Vision?

I've heard a lot of people claim rail travel sucks.* It takes a rare visionary to apply the principle.
* You'll not hear it from me. In the U.S., if you have the time and they go where you're headed -- rather major caveats, those -- the cheapest seat for long-distance train travel beats first class air six ways from Sunday. Bigger, better seats, more room between them, and none of this "no moving about" nonsense. Why, sometimes there's even a snack bar in addition to meals! You might not even have to take off your shoes to board; I'm not certain.

This Just In

CNN reporter: "Tomorrow will be different from today!""Today is a very different day from yesterday!"* They're even using the line in a self-promotional ad. What's next? "Sun rises in East, a CNN Exclusive!" "Water is still wet -- and we've learned it runs downhill!"

Tautology News Network? I'm not impressed.
* Correction from Tam.

New Content At Retrotechnologist

All about the recently-cleared workbench!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What Goes Around Comes Home To Roost

It seems the never-met-an-Authoritarian-they-didn't-love Editor and staff (all the other ones, too; all three of them) of the Indianapolis Star may be -- probably are -- headed for a fingerprint-based, accurate-to-the-second timeclock system called "Kronos." The original-style Kronos is the figure we know as "Father Time." I sure hope the manufacturers haven't confused the modern, extra-crispy one with Cronus. Could get ugly.

Next time y'all "thumb in" to write and run an editorial touting biometric ID or bemoaning yet another bit of Big-Brotherism, remember, Mr. Editor, y'did it to yourself.

A Thing Mr. Obama Won't Do, Plus Zen Politics

Our president won't legalize pot (and let the useless remove themselves legally). --I thought that was one of those thing the social Right warned he would do and the goofier Left (hey, dad-rat it, gimme back that bagga chips, you!) looked forward to. Well...

Marijuana legalization – for any purpose – is a nonstarter in the Obama administration,” said Mr. Gil Kerlikowske, Federal narc-emperor, former semi-gunless police chief and anti-gunner. You can't find your bong? Gil can't find his gun! You'd think it would be a match made in heaven, but no. "Drugs're baaayd," he drones.

We do learn one Exciting New Fact: "Smoking marijuana can result in dependence on the drug." OMG! Next they'll be tellin' me alcohol use can lead to dependence, or maybe even smoking! (Attributed to "what 'science' has found so far." So, not real science, then? Scorn quotes? What, polio vaccine and celphones not good enough for ya?).

Elsewhere, another piece frets that the Tea Party movement might not have room for social conservatives. (Wha'? I thunk it was a mix of Libbytarians and Calvinistical folks!) Hey, buck up, meddlesome wing of the sosh-cons, it looks like the President's makin' room for yez!

Color me poppin' popcorn; if things start to sort out into Those Who Would Run Your Life "For Your Own Good" (real scorn quote) and limited-gov't people who figure morals are your own biz if you don't harm others, I'll be a happy camper.

I don't think we're there yet. For the first time in my life, I wonder if we might be able to get to there. Political parties mutate over time, outlive their founding issues; ask the Whigs or the Dixiecrats. Change is the only constant but sometimes things build up and change comes rapidly. We may be living in one of those times.

Otta Post Something

Tam beat me to this morning's newsprint outrage. The same paper that carries said column is still printing only anti-gun letters; you go to their website and the pro-gun side is overwhelmingly represented and not by slickly coached letters, either. Somehow they never find any space in the print edition for 'em Funny, that.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Clean Workbench!

For the first time since I moved in, I have the top of my (electronics) workbench clear. I still need to sort test gear and power and set up a soldering-iron control (I like a solid-state diode for little ones or a light bulb for the big ones, 100W and up), but it's a beginning. Who knows, I might even post a photo and maybe a schematic over at Retrotechnologist!


Of course I'm liking this. We need more of it. In RL.

Speaking Of Underground

Rochester, New York's has does not have fnord might have fnord an interfnordesting feature.

Friday Breakfast

Pancetta, bacon, Emmenthaler Swiss, eggs on bagel or rye. Wash that down with coffee and a tall glass of juice, there's no better breakfast!

Post Soon

Cooking panchetta and eggs. Back later.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tommy Cat Update

High blood pressure -- way high, 180 -- and hyperthyroid. The vet's got our local compounding pharmacy working on the meds and it'll be ready tomorrow. He starts with the thyroid stuff first and his BP med a few days later.

The patient himself bore up well under his trip for super-accurate BP check today. He's been eating and is getting around fairly well. Still has unsteady moments but I think he's better.

Thank you for all your good wishes!

"Regulate" Means "Facilitate"

Things Wikipedia Taught Me, part whatever: In an article on tribal sovereignity, I stumbled over this assertion:
"Regulate, historically means facilitate. Therefore, the Congress of these United States was to be the facilitator of commerce between the states and the tribes."

It's backed by this cite:
"Black’s Law Dictionary, regulate meant that Congress should in principle assist with Commerce disputes between the States, but did not grant Congress the power of law to inflict criminal penalties, Article 2 of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 by Thomas Jefferson."

H'mmm, "A well-facilitated militia," then? In-ter-est-ing. So, if McDonald goes our way and there were also to be a proper understanding of the meaning of "militia," probably requiring the Supremes to ring in, does that mean all the able-bodied males of military age, at least, will have their militia aspirations facilitated by Congress?

Toss them eggs in the chicken-counter! Don't hold your breath. Still, one can dream.

On a sobering note, same article cites the reason I think Andrew Jackson was a sonva-B (albeit a tough one), Worcester v. Georgia. YMMV. --But there's plenty of jurisdictions now where, prejudice-wise, you'd be way better off bein' Cherokee than a gun-owner. MA, for instance, which is where this wander started. Bear it in mind.

Educational? Seems Apt

Someone hit my blog via a search engine; backtracking, I found this link. Oh, yeah!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Portrait Of A Day

We'll start with this:It doesn't look like much and I'm sure it's not good for you -- but who cares? A little thick-sliced bacon, a bit more panchetta*, nearly two slices of Italian spiced deli beef, mushrooms, a leek, an Anaheim pepper and three eggs; cook per my Secret Recipe and enjoy!

After that (and a shower), I turned to my scooter. I'd had The Flying Percolator perking yesterday but the season's first rain, a gentle shower just enough to bring all the Winter's yeeech to the surface, does not constitute proper conditions for the season's first ride. Today, unexpected sunshine and the need for a shopping trip added up to an excuse to ride. Rode out, gassed up (had to wait on a gosh-awful commotion of emergency vehicles) and headed onwards to Tarrrr-dzhey. Or towards; approaching the next major intersection a mile up the road, traffic slowed to a crawl and flashing lights and cross-parked police cars told where the ambulances had been going. I ducked through back streets and picked up the next road to my destination, a looong block East -- and still found a car on its roof in someone's front yard not very far back towards the blocked intersection. Don't know any further details, though it was the sort of thing that impels one to mutter a prayer just-in-case and served as a reminder not to take operating a tiny two-wheeler too lightly.

...Shopping served as a reminder of just how much cargo that two-wheeler will safely carry: a month's supply of paper toweling plus various odds and ends, for example. You have to be careful of sail area, though.

Returned home in a good mood to hear, as I put up my helmet and gloves, "You'd better get back here." Tam was in the computer room with my cats (who live there). Tommy, the oldest, was walking in circles and seemed weak on his left side, unsteady on his feet and a little distressed. He turned 20 last October.

I called the vet and begged an appointment soonest, thinking, sadly, it was only two days ago that he snuck into my bedroom and found a nice patch of sunlight to nap in. The vet couldn't find time for my elderly cat 'til an hour on; after getting him calmed down and comfortably settled, we bicycled out for a quick newspaper run (for the smallest cat) -- she doesn't like the free papers but she'll use 'em. Tommy was no worse on our return, for a relief.

Off to the vet, then. There's blood out for testing and she looked him over thoroughly. So far, it doesn't look like a stroke and his blood sugar is okay. They gave him subcutaneous fluids (old cat, usually a little dehydrated) and have promised to call with results in the morning.

And there's a day. I've been keeping an eye on him. He wasn't much interested in dinner tonight and complained loudly when he got off my desk (his bed) and found he couldn't get back up. Dozing now, poor old guy, and purring softly to himself when petted.

Think good thoughts for him, if you will. He's a nice old cat.
* Asked for "A quarter-pound of pancetta." Received "About a pound..." Thought Oh Why Not. Do I mumble that badly?

A Nation Government Of Paranoid Hobbits

Or maybe they're just more forthcoming about it now; but it certainly appears that the Brits were deadly serious about ensuring Airstrip One would remain usable if the Cold War had gone hot: case in point, the vast hidden shelter known as Burlington. H'mm, perhaps it helps motivation if you've actually, you know, had bombs fall?

Update: After more web-browsing, changed title: seems Her Majesty's Gummint promis't civilian nuke shelters. And then never built any. Better/worse than the minimal fallout-only "shelters" in the U.S., mostly located inside the areas that would be wiped out by a nice big USSR nuke? Eh, about the same if needed.

Oh, No

I pick on local media a lot and more so the more prominent it is. I'm often critical of them (or, more usually, some aspect or slant of the story they've covered), but I don't wish them ill. The paper is the biggest source of blog posts for a number of reasons but local TV stations get their share. One I've linked to for a number of stories over the years is WTHR.

That station lost Jim Tellus, their General Manager yesterday. Suddenly. Unexpectedly. He wasn't especially old and he was one of those people you never heard anything bad about; a guy who, by all accounts, did his job well and ran a profitable business while being decent to those around him. In the highly-competitive world of broadcast media, where stations and channels struggle for slices of a steadily-shrinking pie, such people are rare. My condolences to his family and his employees.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Third Bicycle Expedition

To the Mall Of Madness; or near it, at least. Had to do a little shopping and grab a little lunch. Not as sunny today but still warm. Well, warmish. Warm enough.We have in Broad Ripple one (1) extreeeemly Roman house, perhaps a restored vestige of the original vicus at Indiolaudnum.* Or not; but isn't it kewl? And with that, I head for home!

--Actually, there was a lot of handing the camera back and forth. I'm not photogenic the way Tam is!
* So that's why they call it "naptown!"

Oh, Yeah?

Tam joins the general shark-jumped mockery of mainstreaming tattoos (link on through to the photo and comments at Robb's!) and comments, "I couldn't think of anything that wouldn't look retarded on an old lady, plus I'm allergic to pain, so I skipped the whole tattoo thing."

Oh? How about a simple one reading, "I went to a tattoo parlor and all I got was this ink," then? :)

(N.B.: I am myself uninked, though I'd consider a telegraph key with a banner reading "ZUT"...maybe. Or not. Yeah, I think I'd chicken out)
*ZUT means "CW Forever!" ["CW" referring to radiotelegraphy]

"The Z-code was widely used by the military on both CW, RTTY and land-line TTY circuits. The U.S. Coast Guard radiomen (a rating that no longer exists in the USCG) were a tight-knit group (the entire USCG itself has fewer members than the NYPD has police officers, BTW), and with the demise of [radiotelegraph] code in the Guard, ZUT was adopted as the unofficial Z-code signal for those who loved CW."

Our Paper: Unbiased, Hard-Hitting

...Yessirree: unbiased unless it is private enterprise; hard-hitting unless Teh Gummint is at isue. But don't take my word for it:And yes, the headline at the left is over the very same story most of us saw pointed to as an example of the runaway growth of government.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Second Bike Ride Of The Year

My second bicycle ride, Tam's first of the year, since day before yesterday, I bopped over to The World's Smallest Kroger (really) and then to YuppieMarket for some groceries. Today was a nice sunny day and Tam was rarin' to get on the road:The sunny skies, the happy, innocent smile... We decided not to take the Monon Trail (a city park) because-- Well, because. Plus, the streets were inviting:Ah, downhill! But there's uphill, too, complete with a better view of Tam's bike and some nifty Broad Ripple houses: It was about here the batteries in my camera died -- too much flash photography the night before! I'll be posting that, later.

It was a good ride, all the way over to the big super-duper market and a stop for Chinese food on the way back. I came home and took a nap, which is one of the nicer features of being on vacation.

P.S.: Wondermark has bike-locking advice.


Yesirree, Bub, it's the home of the very cradle of liberty! Why, people there got more rights than you can shake a stick at (and some do). And it's where you can walk into the range an innocent and -- without raising your hands or saying a word -- walk out a felon.

The gun-banners don't think MA's gun laws are tough enough. "Too lax." So lax my purse commits multiple felonies under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 269, Section 10(h)(1) every time I go shooting. Or it would if I lived there, which I won't.

I'm glad there's folks on our side in the state still and I'm glad they're on the job. It looks like a long, uphill slog.


I'm off this week. All week, with any luck. So, of course they are hot-testing the big genset at the Skunk Works North Campus. Could be loud.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

More L. Neil Smith

There appears to be a new another L. Neil Smith blog. Love 'im or scratch your head, there's only one and that's probably more than we deserve. His novels have done libertarianism more good than any number of soapboxers.

Found At The Br-dy Website

This factoid (under "overview"): "Two states, Wisconsin and Illinois, do not require a permit to carry concealed handguns in public while two states forbid the carrying of concealed handguns."

Emphasis mine. Homework: they ain't doin' it. Kids, that's right bad advice up there. Don't follow it; the gun-banners want to get you in trouble.

As we all know, the two states are actually Vermont and Alaska. Vermont's been that way since almost forever; funny how it is one of the safest states in the Union, hey?

Also wrong: Indiana listed as a state that allows open carry without a permit. Not true for handguns and a good way to learn about criminal justice system from the inside. I'm startin' to think the misstatements are deliberate. And/or evidence of mental disease or defect.

GOP Wonks, Reporters: Getting It Wrong Again

Some Republican pols are positioning themselves as, well, outsider-nerds (including Indiana's own Mitch Daniels, a man held in mixed regard but not, thank Fates for a wonder, stupid) and the GOP's analytical marooooons have gone back to the dynamics of Jr. High to interpret the phenom. Up in Michigan, the prez of a polling outfit who found their local Visigeek office-seeker polled 'stonishin' well blathered, "The folks who are passionate NRA members, I just don't see them partying with nerds."

Bzzzt! FAIL! In fact, Gov. Daniels is an NRA nerd. A motorcycle-riding nerd. And, yeah, a bit pencil-necked. Not a real dashing, dramatic guy; nerd-like, he goes in and does his job. He doesn't always do what I'd like him to do. He's a nerd who doesn't get beat up; a nerd who rides and shoots.

And there are too many folks out there, advising politicians and reporting about them, who don't have any room in their worldview for such people. It's not just that they don't get Ron Paul or Ross Perot; they're derailed at any set of characters more complex than the ones on the funny pages -- and I suspect even Rex Morgan, M.D. is too deep for most of 'em.

Welcome to the Planet of NRA Nerds, d0000000ds. You're gonna be dazed a lot.
* Or just the Stupid Half of The Party. C'mon, they both take your money and spend it, largely on things of which you disapprove; for most of 'em, it's only a matter of degree and rhetoric. Take notionally-Republican NYC Mayor Bloomberg, for instance. Please. Far, far away. Is it better than bein' the Evil wing? Maybe marginally. But not consistently. Voters keep sweepin' out Party N's crooks an' replacin' 'em with Party M's crooks, hoping for better but getting pretty much the same ol' dance. Maybe it's time we woze up.

Steam Engines?

Not just any sort: Swash-plate steam engines! What's that? Go see! Scroll down and play the videos; the operating mechanism is fascinating and uncommon. Crazier than an elbow engine! Internal-combustion axial engines -- swash-plate and kin -- have done serious work in places like torpedoes.

More conventionally: the largest hit & miss engine I have yet seen, in one of the odder applications. And you've gotta love the starter!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Indy (Red) Star Panics

The Editor of our local paper doesn't give a fig for your safety and he's not ashamed to misstate, overstate or leap from high atop steaming heaps of twisted logic to make his point, either. It sure is a good thing they don't yank newspaper permits for abusing the truth (I'll get back to that) or he'd be lookin' for a new line of endeavor for sure.

Yep, it's the Gun (kept out of sight) In Your (locked) Car At Work law. As promised, the Star has yet to say a single nice thing about it. 'Cos, you know, it's not like their offices were in an iffy neighborhood....

In our prior exciting episode, I made passing mention to "exemptions" and mentioned the most glaring, a Federal limitation covering certain attractive-terrorism-target facilities. There are others: schools from daycare through universities, certain utilities and even, in a bizarre late addition, employees who drive the developmentally disabled in their personal vehicles (which would seem to be extending area covered way past any employer's parking lot). Prisons are included, too, though note that most law-enforcement types are okay[1]. Rather than admitting they are the result of Federal limits, lobbying and appeals to emotion[2], the newspaper tries to spin these exceptions to claim the idea behind the law is flawed!

Exactly backwards; it's the exemptions that are the flaws. The Fed limits, there's no getting around at the State level (wake up and get on that, Dick Lugar! What, no?).

The entire editorial is a bouquet of horse-muffins; lines like "guns.... They often go off by accident." (Say what? No, it takes a finger on the trigger. Guns are actually designed that way, to require a deliberate sequence of actions before "going off." Which you would know, Mr. Editor, if you knew enough about firearms to actually contribute to the discussion in a meaningful way). Workplace shooting incidents (highly visible but statistically insignificant) are mentioned -- not mentioned is the vanishingly small number of them in which the shooter had a permit[3], which is a prerequisite to having a gun in your car at work in Indiana[4]. And, of course, the paper trumpets their "discovery" that some people issued gun permits had a previous history of rough -- but not disqualifying -- behavior and of that already tiny group, a few got themselves in more trouble and lost their carry permits as a result. They claim this disproves the wisdom of allowing at least some Hoosiers to have the means to defend themselves on the way to and from work, that limiting our individual civil right to keep and bear arms is a matter of "public safety." This is a lie; legally-owned guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens save lives millions of times a year in this country.

Now I'm back to "permits to exercise a civil right." In a shall-issue state like Indiana, gun permits are issued on a basis that objectively checks your past behavior for disqualifying behavior; there's no guessing or intuition, either you're okay or you've been felonious or domestically abusive and if either of the latter two, no go. The state presumes you'll keep on bein' good and if not, guess what, they revoke your permit. While the mechanics are somewhat onerous (down to the Police Officer Station for paperwork and fingerprints, money changes hands -- rather a lot for a lifetime permit -- and there's a looooong wait while the Indiana State Police yank your records to see if you've been naughty or nice), it's not especially bad compared to any state but Vermont or Alaska. So, you get a permit to exercise a Constitutionally-protected right, you lose it if you do criminal things.

Imagine the outcry if the same procedures applied to the First Amendment; let's take The Press as our example: Mr. Editor shuffles off to Police Headquarters, where he fills out a form: Name. SSN. Address (You Must Notify Within 30 Days Of Any Change). Has he ever been convicted of slander? Libel? Has he been sued for giving bad advice (I meant to write "Never mix household ammonia and scouring powder," not "always...")? Is he still beating his wife? There's a stern warning on the form that giving incorrect information is a felony, so he wracks his brain for old speeding tickets and suchlike. He gets fingerprinted. He hands over two sizable money orders and he goes home. And he waits. And waits. And waits. Weeks, months later, he receives a little pasteboard card he has to cut out himself. There's a warning included: he must have it on his person any time he is writing or publishing or he can be charged with a criminal offense! And if he gets in trouble even once -- one teeny slip like callin' a United States Senator a closeted homosexual without indisputable proof, or exposing damaging truths about someone who's not a public figure -- he'll lose his permit and may never even be allowed in the same room with a newspaper again.

And that, for the Editor of the Indianapolis Star, is how a right that he frets is not sufficiently limited works. How damned much more subtle prior restraint do you want? --And will it keep others without a Press Permit from spray-painting slander and libel on the side of buildings? From putting up gangsign and/or urging violence? I'm thinkin' not. Mr. Editor, he's just not thinkin'.

The bill is headed off the Governor to sign. He's got an excellent track record on gun rights, voting in the General Assembly was overwhelmingly in favor of this measure; let's hope Our Man Mitch remembers who butters his bread.
1. Okay, experts; we know civilian workers at prisons still can't (lawfully) have a gun in their car at work, but what about the guards and LEO-ish admin personnel? Do they get a, um, reach-around?

2. "Kerwin Olson, who warned lawmakers that a gun left in a car transporting children like his 15-year-old son, who has autism and Down syndrome, could have tragic consequences. 'I would plead to you, as a father with a vulnerable son, please do not allow firearms in those vehicles that transport my son and other children like him,' Olson told lawmakers. 'The thought of a firearm around my son, his friends and his schoolmates is horrifying.'" Even one locked in a box? Even one in a concealment holster on the driver's belt? Kerwin, your son is handicapped and that's unfortunate, but that doesn't mean
you aren't an idiot yourself. There are already laws penalizing being sloppy with dangerous items around children and mental incompetents. For some reason, they are not applied to keep you and the General Assembly separated, which I find a horrifying thought. I certainly hope the vehicle transporting your son is never carjacked.

3. It's way easier than typing "License To Carry Handgun" every time and not even all gunny Hoosiers recognize "LTCH," let alone the out-of-state furriners or those from even farther away amongst my readers. Thus, "carry permit." Cope.

4. There are darned few ways to transport a handgun in Indiana without a carry permit; you have to be buying it, selling it or getting it fixed; it can't have any ammunition in it and it must be "securely wrapped." I don't see any wiggle room for a stop by the office in that. YMMV, INAL, AMORC

Friday, March 05, 2010

Guns In Your Car!

Crow has never tasted so sweet. The Indy (fishwrap) Star scooped me; who know, it just may help to have boots on the ground at the Statehouse instead of relying on the legislature's website, crazy as that sounds. Of course, they've got all the positive quotes 'n' comments after the jump and all the negatives ones on Page One, above the fold. You stay classy, (Red) Star!

The measure made it through the Senate 41 Yeas to nine (9! read it and weep, Bradyites!) Nays. It's headed for the Governor, who is expected to sign it.

And here's an interesting item: way, 'wayyyy back, I had noticed the bill including language exempting facilities regulated by the Department of Homeland Security's anti-terrorism standards, which the paper points out just happens to include Eli Lilly; this means the hypocritical liar concerned citizen at the head of that firm was whining about a bill that wasn't going to affect him. D00d, hire better lawyers.

Also on the pants-soiling side of things, the president of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Kevin Brinegar, vows to fight the law "all the way to the bitter end," claiming it infringes upon the rights of employers; he believes if your last name is "Inc.," your rights trump the rights of those pesky little flesh-and-blood peasants. It might be nice to contact the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and try to calm their misinformed panic; after all, it's hard to get the urine stains out of a thousand-dollar suit.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Guns In Your Car

In the Indiana General Assembly, the House thinks it's a fine idea; they voted 75 to 20 in favor. Meanwhile, in the Senate? Stuck in committee. I don't have a good feel for the folks they've got looking at this but I'm not hopeful.
Update: wrong, wrong WRONG! They passed it!

Indy (Red) Star: Free Market Bad

Carrie Nation with a keyboard, the local catbox liner's recidivist editorialist Andrea Neal is worried not only about the scourge of rum[1] but another True Horror:
By law alcohol is a regulated product ... but the way we treat it in Indiana is coming close to laissez faire.
[Emphasis mine] Yes, the paper once again demonstrates the Authoritarian Control Bias of modern American mass media ("Government control is goooood") at the very least, with more than a pale-pink tinge of disapproval of free markets.

Boiled down, her notion is that it's just terrible that you can buy beer, wine and hard liquor at a wide variety of locations, not just "package stores," most of which still have that delightfully Soviet screw-you monopolist ambiance and convenience from the days when they were almost the only game in town[2]. She thinks it's a horrible, awful shame you can buy the Distilled Demon (or even beer and wine) at a nice, well-lit grocer's or drugstore and even trots out an old canard in support; the free market comes at a diresome price, she huffs:
Studies show an increase in violent crime -- assault, domestic battery and armed robbery -- in ZIP codes with high density of alcohol licenses. Property crimes are higher too.
A) Which studies would that be? Cite or shaddup. B) Correlation is not causation; it's a sad fact you find more stress, more crime and more liquor stores in poorer neighborhoods. But fear not, Poor Guy; a six-pack of Bud may be your only escape but Ms. Neal's here to make it even harder to get! --She also wants to know if you've stopped beating your wife. C) Freedom includes the freedom to be a screw-up, drunks will get their booze and I'd as soon it wasn't wood alcohol from Sterno fuel; on the other side of the counter, freedom darned well also should include the freedom to sell a legal product to legal buyers, legally, without having to go hat-in-hand to beg an artificially-scarce permission slip from a board of bureaucrats who've never bought and sold for a living, ever. D) I'm not even gonna touch on the covert racism in "Studies show...."

Then there's this nice bit of "don't know much about history...:
The words [the rationale for Indiana's alcohol laws] sound old-fashioned, but there's more than Prohibition-era thinking behind them. We limit access to alcohol to protect children and to reduce side effects such as drunken driving, alcoholism and domestic violence.
Um, no, dear; that was the Prohibition-era thinking. And, just so's y'know? It didn't work out that way. But hey, thanks for playing.

History: lather, rinse, repeat. And this one's a twofer!
1. No word yet on her opinion of buggery or the lash.
2. If I recall, Indiana pharmacies have long been able get permits to sell alcohol; until the last decade or so, most only stocked a very limited selection behind the counter. Correct me if I am off-base.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Leave Starbucks Aloooone!

Okay, I'm not about to climb under a sheet with a webcam to moan and cry (besides, I don't wear as much makeup as Christopher Crocker) but neverthestill:

It hit the papers today and there's one one logical reaction: Brady's, leave Starbuck's alone! Why are you trying to force -- one of your fave words when it comes to permitting citizens to exercise a civil right, innit? -- force Starbucks to pick a side, when the best-case outcome is that it will tick off half their customers?

Why lean on a chain of coffee joints to sign up on a side? Starbucks doesn't vote. Most of their stores are small; in states (49 of them, Paul Helmke, are y'skeeered?) with some provision for the carrying of loaded handguns by law-abiding citizens, it makes no sense for a store smaller than most living rooms to tell the guy or gal who is perfectly okay keeping and bearing arms on the sidewalk outside the store that they can't come in and pay high prices for a decent cuppa Joe; what's twenty feet closer to the cappunchino machine gonna do?

It's funny this just popped up today; after all, the dialogue has gone on for weeks. (Bradys: Waaah! Guns baaaad. Starbucks: Shaddup, you! We Sell Coffee. If a customer's not breakin' the law, we will sell 'em some.) Y'know why they are pushing it now? One word -- no, two: Otis McDonald.

See, it's lookin' pretty good for him and not so hot for Chicago's gun-banning ways. So they've got to raise a stink; and how better than by riding on the coattails (not to mention the rump) of a widespread and very popular coffee seller? Starbucks has beaucoup name-recognition, after all.

So far, the Brady ploy is backfiring. I fully support Starbucks desire and right to sit this mess out. It's not their fight; they're here to sell coffee to anyone who'll buy -- and why not?


Just as you have been, I've been following McDonald in the news and on the blogs. The early reports bode well, though I confess to a little discomfort at Alan Gura's schooling of Justice Sotomayor even though he was right. It's not as if she ever was or will be a friend to the Second Amendment and cultivating her does us no good, but she and her peers take their elevated positions very seriously.

It may not matter; even the usual anti-rights sources indicate a high probability of five votes for incorporation, possibly more depending on the delicate balance between "keep" and "bear" that frets some of the more liberal Justices. ...Can't hurt that Chicago's attorney walked all over the Supremes far more rudely, either.

Whatever the decision, considerable latitude for draconian regulation will remain; Mr. McDonald has no doubt already studied Washington, D.C.'s registration and permitting process and if the Court agrees that the intent of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments was not that he be left with no defense other than a shotgun, thousands of his fellow-Chicagoans may soon embark on the same voyage of discovery.

But say it goes the other way, what then? Same as winning, at least in IL: Back to the grind. There's only one (1) state left that absolutely forbids the bearing of arms and despite wide popular support outside Chicago and a remarkably strong gunnie community, there's a lot of work still to be done.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Lilly Exec Lies About Guns-In-Cars Bill

The bill that presently seems stalled in the Indiana General Assembly, the one that'd let you carry your gun to and from work as long as you kept it locked in your car? John C. Lechleiter, President, Chairman, CEO and Priest-King of the Eli Lilly empire loathes it -- which he is free to do -- and is tellin' lies about it in the newspaper, which is kinda dirty pool. Or at least not accordin' to Hoyle.

You see, the bill specifically shields employers from anything that might go wrong from letting you keep your legally-owned gun locked in your legally-owned car in their legally-owned parking lot; he claims instead that, "A corporation can be held civilly liable for violating the law as written, but also civilly liable for any injury or damage resulting from the use of a firearm on its property." Oh, really? Funny; that's not what the bill says. The bill protects corporations from being sued over "injury or damage resulting from the use of a firearm on its property."

Of course, the good, the great, the so very honorable (more so than you or I, of course) Mr. Lechleiter also believes the rights of a corporation trump the rights of individuals -- a belief much easier to hold when you're the fellow in charge. Just ask Louis XIV of France, "L'Etat, c'est moi." Or "...the corporation;" as Clair Wolfe was fond of pointing out, they all wanna be governments when they grow up.

He's got one vote, same as you. Better use yours -- his has a hemi!

Update, from the comments on the news(ick)paper's site: "I say again, why are their armed guards on the 13th floor protecting Mr. Leictleiter? Why am I not afforded the same protection? And, why does he need armed guards if he forbids guns on the Lilly campus? It's obvious he doesn't believe his own tripe." Yep, Mister you-shouldn't-carry-a-gun has his very own armed guards. He can be protected by a gun...the gal that mucks out the executive washrooms and walks out to her car in the dead of night to drive home, though, he wants her defenseless. For the chilllldren. Ass.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Where Wookiees Come From

Or possibly where they go; like so many parts of English-speaking culture, it is found in England. There, in (or surrounded by) the parish of St. Cuthbert Out,* you will find the village of Wookey Hole. Presumably, the furry, libbytarian sapients make their homes in the manner of Hobbits, though undoubtedly with higher ceilings.

How I found the place hangs a tale; you see, I was looking at Roman Engineering starting with bridges (some are stunningly lovely), got onto dams (there's a few left, mostly with silted-up reservoirs, wandered-away watercourses, or broken; all three, in some cases). This led to Roman mines and the Dolaucothi Gold Mines especially, from there to the lead mines at Mendip, from there to the caves likewise, and thenceward to....Wookey Hole. Ahh, they're a fiendishly subtle lot, they are.

Best side trip was here; even the articles I can't read well have fascinating photographs!
* As opposed to, of course, the parish of St. Cuthbert In. --He's not the patron of housecats, is he?

This Just In

Roseholme Cottage is down to our last butter knife! --Well, until Tam runs the dishwasher. I blame the bagels. Or maybe the rye bread.