Sunday, June 30, 2013


     I haz one.  In fact, I had one for quite awhile -- in a box in the living room.

     One of our little problems here at Roseholme Cottage is that Tam and I have the contents of a large apartment and a slightly larger house, all in one fairly small cottage.  As neither of us is much of a housekeeper, the result is...chaotic.

     And "chaotic" is being very generous.

     Result, I had to build a shelf to hold the new printer, which was slow going.  Got it done awhile ago, then it took two weeks to find time to put the printer on it and get my computer to recognize the printer.

     With that done, I grabbed every chapter of the current novel-arc ("Frothup: Dropping In") at I Work On A Starship,* stuck them (and one more chapter you haven't seen yet) into a single file and printed it out, to proofread and summarize and -- with any luck -- to build a timeline.

     When it comes to writing, I have a number of problems.  The most basic is proofreading; I repeat words when writing instead of using modifiers, I type the wrong words ("for" and "from" get swapped, etc.) and make plain typos, which I often fail to see on rereading -- I'm reading what I intended to type!  Worse, I lose plots; I had (some) notes for "...Dropping In," but lost 'em.

     Worst of all, I write very slowly; this is mostly due to a lack of time.  At one point, I was doing all my fiction writing at the lunch counter across from work.  They ran steam tables and getting food was fast and effortless.  Alas, the place closed about a year ago, and when it reopened this May--  There's no question the food is (generally) healthier, even the nice lean burgers they fry up on demand, but the place only has one speed and that's dead slow.  I can eat there, but it takes so long to get food (even if you grab something already made from the cooler, it takes for-darn-it-ever to pay for the stuff), there's no nice, leisurely 25 minutes of writing -- and if I brown-bag it and eat at work, I'm never (ever) not interrupted.  Evenings?  Maybe.  Tam's been all alone with the cats most of the day, though, and has much to say, a lot of it more interesting than whatever it was I was gonna write.

     But maybe, with a wide-margin print-out in front of me and a pencil in hand, I can start to get somewhere.

     (Readers, I am always open to *proofreading* suggestions for IWOAS.  Editorial suggestions, on the other hand, are received with great skepticism unless accompanied by bona fides. Or offers of money.  Cash is always nice, certified checks are just almost as good.  And there's always PayPal.)
* And about IWOAS: While I have set several stories in and around the War, you'll note that they do not fit very well with the general storylines found in mil-SF.  While I can read that stuff and some of it -- Marko Kloos, Heinlein, Scalzi more often than not -- is quite enjoyable, I really get quite irked at the plucky hero who starts from nothin' and comes out on top.  Real people in real wars are not all that much that way; Horatio Hornblower was a wonderful character, especially in the original, but he's been done to death and cyborged back way too many times. Ed Rasimus's two books on his tours in Vietnam offer a look at the reality, or as much as that prone-to-understatement gentleman cared to share.  If I do even half as well in my made-up universe, I'll be happy -- and if nobody reads it 'cos it fails to fit their expectations, I don't care.  I don't write for a living; too many good people, all of them better writers than me, have died trying that.)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Everybody's Weakened By The Workend

     And with luck, this will be my first non-working weekend in a long, long time.  What do I have planned?  --Nothing.  Nothing at all.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Chronic Pain? You're Hosed

     No, even more than you were already.

     --Blame it on the War On (some) Drugs.  If you're on meds for chronic pain, expect delays: one big drugstore chain has started double-checking prescriptions for often-abused medications and doctor's offices -- already in a paperwork crunch, already being "run lean" by the P.C.s and hospitals that operate most of them -- can't keep up.  Result?  Both addicted talk-show hosts and chronic pain patients are having to wait a longer time, days in some cases, for prescription refills.

     If you have chronic pain, better get refills while you still have a couple day's supply -- and get ready for one more entity all up in your business, asking personal questions of you and your doc.

     As someone who has (comparatively mild) chronic pain, and who has had worse and been on the stronger stuff for it, I will once more point out the obvious: in general, these drugs are not addictive when they are taken for pain; it's after the pain is gone and the patient has some left that the trouble can start: without pain to dull, a Vicodin (etc.) has pretty much the effect of a couple of highballs, a nice warm glow.  (The stuff'll stop you up worse than a block of government cheese, too, a side-effect rarely mentioned).  It can be insidious.

     Is it so dire a threat that making your great-Aunt with trigeminal neuralgia writhe in pain for two-three days is an okay price?  As it turns out, neither the pharmacy nor the drug warriors much care.  Caring isn't their job.

     Naturally,  the news report managed to dig up one (1) case of an actual abuser being actually caught by an actually suspicious pharmacy -- and what's the modern mantra, class?  "We all have to be punished for the bad acts of individuals."  Guns, drugs, impoliteness, doesn't matter; somehow Paula Deen, Adam Lanza and Rush Limbaugh are everybody's fault and we have to stay after and write "I will do as I'm told by my leaders" on the blackboard  five thousand times to keep it from happening even more. Hasn't worked in the past but hope springs eternal in the shriveled hearts and tiny minds of social engineers.

     (Me, I gave up the prescription stuff long years ago; I didn't like being mentally fuzzy or the other effect and OTC stuff worked almost as well.  Recent developments have me swapping ibuprofen for acetaminophen, which is not quite as effective; I keep a log of how much/when and take it very sparingly, which means, yeah, I'm hurtin' rather more than I'm used to.  Seems to be a lot of that goin' around, all of a sudden, but at least mine's by choice.)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Paula Deen

     Somewhere in hell, Lenny Bruce is laughing at us, bitterly.

     As a society, we keep loading up that Chekov gun and hanging it back above the fireplace with a great big sign on it, "Hands Off! Danger!" and it works just as well as those "NO SPITTING" signs that make a lot of folks want to spit the second they see 'em.

     Bruce thought we -- that's all of us more-or-less civilized humans, with our varying accents, skin colors and damfool political notions -- ought to get together and drain the power from the word, but it's probably too late.  Attempts to reclaim it as an in-group word have, rap artists notwithstanding, just point a bigger spotlight at it.  Nope, for a non-African American public figure (at least and ya shouldn't get too damn' comfy with it no matter where your ancestors were hauled off from), having ever provably said "the n-word" is just the same as being caught in bed with an underaged partner,* period.

     There are plenty of disparaging-outgroup words but only one with so much power.  It didn't get there overnight and it's not going to turn back into just another dreadfully rude term polite grown-ups don't say in a hurry, either.

     At this point, it doesn't even make any difference what you think about it; there it is and we're stuck.  Like the punchline to the joke where the guy goes to his doctor and says, "It hurts when I do this," my advice is the same: then stop doing that.
* The rule used to be "A dead girl or a live boy," but we hold pols to a sterner standard these days...though, notably, still rather more lax than the standard one applies to friends, neighbors or the fellow who runs the corner service station.

DOMA Demise

     Good -- and, as Sebastian notes, bad, too, because they went and invented some more specialness to do it -- the Supremes have, at least, kinda decided the Feds haven't got any excuse to go regulating marriage.

     IMO, any time government gets told "hands off!" that's a good thing.

     It is also (and also IMO) a good thing if this drives a wedge between the religious ceremony/bond of marriage and the civil contract called marriage.  They're not the same. Americans are a bit axle-wrapped about it, as we inherited the institution from a nation with a State Church; it wasn't much noticed until some states of the union decided they'd better keep couples of differing "races" from marrying, and while they were at it, people too closely related -- and, in many U. S. states, "imbeciles," too.

     Is that a legitimate interest of the State, or of a state?  I'm not seeing it.  Churches, sure, religions have all kinds of rules about who can, can't and must get wedlocked, and they don't all jibe with one another, either, which is fine, since (at least in the U.S.) their authority extends only to the adherents of their religion.

     The usual worrywarts have come out of the woodwork, down from their pulpits and out from under rocks, asking--
     "What's to stop cousins and siblings from marrying, then?"  --Hell, I dunno.  "Decorum and good taste" is probably out and if they lack socially-normal ingrained abhorrence of inbreeding,* they probably are reinforcing recessives already.  So the question is really about your right to not be squicked by social deviates; you're fine if they've got to sneak around.
     "What's to stop polygamous marriages?  Group marriages?"  Bloody-minded prejudice, if you asked the LDS at the right point in history, and that probably motivated by fear of being out-earned and out-bred.  Also, these days we have plenty of TV shows demonstrating the pros and cons of one version of polygamy -- I wouldn't sign up for it on a bet.  But there's no rational basis at all to limit wedlock to only two people.  And we've got lots of divorce lawyers who'd welcome the work. (Man, they'd get fat on it!)
     "How about an adult marrying a minor or horse?" (or "...a chair?" etc.)  Aha!  That, there's a basis to deny: none of those entities can give meaningful consent or enter into a binding contract.

     Somehow, when the Framers, Federalists, anti-Federalists and worried states adopted the First Amendment and the courts applied it, they overlooked marriage.  It's well-past time to separate Church weddings and State-licensed marriage.  Let the religions have their lovely ceremonies and oaths, and let the civil contract stand apart.  Participants pick one or the other or both.

     ...Just think, I haven't even mentioned things like inheritance, income tax (you got your marriage, now you get the IRS marriage penalty: pay up, L/G/B suckers!), the mutual power of attorney and protection in court spouses get that non-officially-espoused partners do not. Sure, homosexual couples can sort of get most (but not all) of that now with the help of an attorney, a lot of spare time and a few thousand bucks; but in the crunch, when one partner is in a coma or whatever, it's just a license to sue, not the nearly-sure thing the legally-married get.

     Now the ongoing debate goes to the states.  Gonna be interesting for awhile.  Gonna be real interesting and probably nobody will like the compromises that spring up.  The base on both sides will be all fired up and the papers and broadcasters will get lots of copy and images.  --Might even get louder than the gun debate, or at least be more of a debate; there's less astroturf, I think.

     (For the few who will continue to maintain It Is Just A Conspiracy By The Gays To Ruin Christianity?  Sure; sure it is, you are so very right, just the same way the Jews run the banks and media, Freemasons run the world, all African-American people are stupid, all Republicans are child-labor-exploiting plutocrats, all Democrats are bloody-handed Stalinists, all Asians are sneaky math geniuses, women conspire to hold men subservient, the Patrarchy keeps womyn down and the Moon landings were filmed in the same vast soundstage where they faked the Zapruder film.  Look up "prejudice."  Look up "blood libel," and stop spouting that crap while telling me how some of your very bestest and most dearest pals are queer, Jewish, Masons, black, party-line voters, Asian, women, men, rocket scientists and small-time sportswear magnates who owned 8mm film cameras. You make me want to puke.)
* Which puts them right up there with some New World Royalty. Old World, too, depending on how close cousins you count.  The Hapsburgs and Romanovs clearly didn't count all that well.  And didn't the ancient Egyptians...?  Historically, it hasn't worked well, though, tragically, failure happens over a long timebase until the unlucky winner comes into the world daft or chronically ill through no fault of his or her own -- but what if they gene-tested everyone, and refused marriage to any breeding pairs if the odds were bad enough for their offspring?  Would that be okay, or an overreach?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer Samba? Bossy Bossanova?

[Set to a familiar tune]

Fat and pale and kind of pudgy
The accountant from Dulth goes trudging
And as he stumbles and kind of fumbles, goes, "Unhhhh..."

When he talks, he always mumbles
A man who cheats and sweats and bumbles
And as he stumbles and kind of fumbles, goes, "Unhhhh..."

Yes, and he sunburns so badly--
How can he not know he's blistered?
Yet each day on his slouch to the sea
He scratches just like he has fleas....

Pudgy-soft and smudgy and so pale
The accountant from Duluth is just like a whale
And as he crumbles and itches and fumbles, goes "Uhhhhh...."

Oh, can he tell they're all laughing?
Please swap the rum for some sunblock!
I think he's actually sizzling--
But he sneaks 'round a corner to pee
And then he's betrayed by a sneeze!
Fat and pale and kind of pudgy,
The account from Duluth is always judging
And when he does so, he frowns, he knows he's a clown.
But he refuses to see...
No, he just won't see...
He'll never see...
He'll never see...

Umm, What?

     Update on local choirboy and Indiana Black Expo shooter (nine injured!) Shamus Patton, passenger in a car that fled police?  Here's the latest -- see if you can fit these three sentences together:

   "Officers found two guns, ammunition and ski masks in the car."

   "Patton was free from prison on reduced time from an eight-year sentence in the shooting of several people during the 2010 Black Expo."

   " criminal charges will be filed."

     I'm havin' a little trouble with it.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Overheard In The Home Office

     [Looking at statues on the Johnson Wax campus]  "...Y'know, 'Jesus's Pants Giraffe' would be a great name for a band..."


     Decorum prohibits the naming of names.

     Someone was having trouble parsing the Nakomis statue.  Maybe another angle would help?

Broken News: Marijuana Bomb At Federal Courthouse In Indianapolis

     You're safe now.  The police blowed it up real good a little before 5:00 this morning: a "suspicious backpack" found outside the Federal courthouse.

     Contents, "fireworks and marijuana."  The alert news-consumer will note the absence of any sort of container, like, say, a jam tin or pressure-cooker and, at least per the reports, no shrapnel, either.

     A security guard found the backpack about a quarter 'til three this morning.  In a possibly unrelated incident, a small group of teenagers were seen in the immediate area not long before it showed up.  (Teenagers: Threat Or Menace?)

     IMPD Bomb Squad and the Feds are still wrapping up their investigation at this writing, and one might speculate they're feeling like a large breakfast would be really groovy.  Or even just a bag of chips. 

     See, kids?  Drugs are bad (mmm-kay?) and fireworks are dangerous: they'll make the police blow up your backpack!

     Scoring on this one:
     Act of terrorism: Fail.
     Act of political theater: Fail.
     (Possible) act of teenage forgetfulness with a bag of Illegal: Fail.

     Update: And, later on and up the road at the Minton-Capeheart Federal Metaphor, more fireworks, this time as a "mysterious device" that showed up in a small-items bowl at an X-ray station.  They blew it up, too.  My first thought, at the initial report that "...a woman was being held in connection with the device," was to wonder if Tam had anything to do with it.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Exhausted -- Or Wired To Tired, Anyway.

     If this post gets a little gibberishy, I have a very good excuse.  The best.

     See, since I woke up around six ayem Saturday, I have not slept.  Other than a quick nod in front of the TV while breakfast (canned corned beef hash) was sizzling, at least.  I'm eating brekky now.

     Why?  It's a long story; I slept like a tired, tired thing, Friday-to-Saturday, 11 hours!  --And I had to work an overnight shift, Saturday-to-Sunday.  Alas -- of course -- there wasn't Nap One in me. I did manage a nice, long, relaxing and half-awake soak in the tub (if I had a hot tub or a lap pool, I'd be a semi-aquatic mammal) but that was all.

     The work was one of those necessary but dreadful things: a live generator load test.  That's live as in, "at oh-dark-thirty or a little earlier, we started up the megawatt generator and while the facility was in full, normal operation told the automatic switches to go kerchunking from perfectly good Power & Light power to our very own hand-knit power, with on a pathetic few tens of kilowatts of heaviliy-loaded UPSes to try to carry the building over the switch.

     Naturally, madcap hijinks ensued; one gigabit ethernet switch simply curled up and bade this world farewell, a score of computers crashed (none super-critical but most of them darned annoying to lose), the opper-poppers began pipping instead of popping and in general, four, eventually five of us danced our way through a merry fire-drill of fail, reboot and try again.

     It was serious.  Matters stretched well past the cat's breakfast time and with Tam away at class, I could only imagine the mayhem Huck was committing, trying to get fed.  Eventually we got it all done, or done enough, and I stumbled home, to feed the cats, open up a can of goodness (Mary Kitchen brand, still edible), pour a mug of tea and sit dizzily down here at the computer to relate the tale to you.

       Really, all it's missing is QueeQueeg's coffin and a peg-leg sea captain dragged to the bottom of the sea by a dead or dying whale.  Call me--  Tired.  Or Sleepy.  My breakfast is et and I'm ready for sleep.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Quick SF Film

     Grounded.  Okay, okay, it's not the most linear of science-fiction films; in fact, it's a bit open-ended and does things with the narrative you wouldn't tolerate in a novella or a long-form movie.

     But if you have seven and a half minutes...?  Well worth it.  The opening sequence is very much the kind of thing I see with my mind's eye, looking at the semi-War between NATO and the Edgers.

     Best of all?  The parts that didn't happen inside a computer were shot with ordinary DSLR cameras.

     There's interesting times ahead for filmmaking; the hardware keeps getting smaller and cheaper and less and less in the way of telling the story.  Distribution...?  I dunno; movies have been trying to figure that out for a good long while now and it's making fortunes for accountants and attorneys.  Me, I don't care how they handle it or who pays whom for what, as long as they do so in a way that keeps films at the movie-house and auteurs and artists hard at work and well-paid enough they don't quit -- if only they'd make more films I'd like to watch!  (Hint: There's a boatload of H. Beam Piper out there that wants filmed.)

That Was...Refreshing?

     Left work Friday after half a day to go have a minor, non-routine medical procedure,* drove home in nasty rush-hour traffic, had a tiny snack and went to bed about 1900.  Other than a short bout of wakefulness around midnight, I slept until Huck started his "feed me!" routine around 0600.

     Well worth it, too.
* Details will not be forthcoming.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Not A Real Air Crash (Sequester Sequester FNORD! Sequester)

     So, a week ago, we're told, a couple of jets "nearly missed" one another near New York City's LaGuardia Airport, coming possibly as close as one hundred feet to one another "while turning away from one another."

     And it's all the fault of those ding-dang Republicans and their heartless sequester, and never you mind about any fed.bux spent on First Lady safaris or Congressional perqs: unlike air traffic control, those things are Off Limits when it's time to spend less.

     How, exactly, do you fix this with money, anyway?  One of the pilots involved was cleared to land at JFK -- and did not carry out that landing.  Nope, he did something on his own initiative.  Possibly without making sure ATC knew he was doing it. (Which is not too clever, considering the visibility in a big plane and many small ones is about like a semi-tractor or a big passenger bus [1], if not worse and not to mention the inadvisability of doing unexpected things with an airplane over NYC.) Assuming the air traffic radar was working, assuming the big, fancy (and probably out-of-date; some are dreadfully old but the guiding philosophy is to use older, highly reliable tech, the sky being the original Blue Screen Of Death[2]) computer was running, assuming the controller was awake, it's a glitch; when you got in that plane, surely you understood it is not without risk.  The sky is big, but over a busy airport, it's not all that big.

     There was another close call in the air.  Civilization got away with it again -- just like happens every day.  (Or did it happen?  How many millions of people with smartphones and cameras in the Big Apple, and there's no video?)

     Is world.  Is not safe.
1. Or a train.  Hey, you know what happens when all the engines on a passenger train fail?  They open the bar!  And send another engine out.  The visibility thing, however, is worse than my examples imply: our thinking isn't quite set up for freedom of movement -- and intersecting traffic -- in every direction.  Flying an airplane is fundamentally different from operating any other means of mechanized travel.

2. This may be unfair.  At one point not all that long ago, it was claimed there were still all-vacuum-tube components on some parts of the Air Traffic Control hardware, and they were not including RADAR tubes.  I don't know if it's still true -- one hopes not -- but if a low-emission 6J6 or 12AT6 caused that "near-miss," you'd think someone from NTSB or Congress would be holding it up at a news conference already.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Homemade Pork Tacos (A La Roseholme)

     Okay, homemade from leftovers, some deli-counter roast pork that I'd made for dinner the previous day, stir-fried with a seasoned rice-quinoa mixture and some organic frozen veggies.*  There was only a dab of that, so I sliced even more pork into it this morning and put the back in the freezer.  Nuked with a very generous dollop of mild chunky salsa -- season to taste! -- it made more taco filling than I needed.

     You just put a goodly amount in the warmed taco shell (or soft taco wrapper), top with diced fresh vegetables (I used cherry tomatoes, yellow bell pepper and celery) and perhaps a little cheese, adding hot sauce if you'd like.  After being frozen and thawed, the pork roast is about pulled-pork texture.

     Not very fancy (and authentic?  Oh, hells no) but hey, it's trash night and I had just bought new sheets and was washing them.  No time left for anything more complicated.  The little cooked-sliced pork roasts from the grocer's usually make three or four meals.
* There's a trick to this.  Those microwave-in-the-bag rice dishes are yummy but high in salt; if you add fresh or frozen-unsalted vegetables about 50/50, you can get the salt-per-serving of the mixture down to something reasonable and not miss out on any flavor.

Ruining It For Everybody, Especially Himself

     Three years ago, he shot up Indiana Black Expo, injuring nine people and avoiding killing them only by chance.  Arrested and charged as an adult (he was 18 at the time), he was sentenced to 8 years in prison. He served less than two; he was in a "community transition program" and yesterday, he was in a car trying to outrun the police.  It worked about like you'd expect and when the car was  stopped, he was among those who fled on foot and were caught.  Among his fellow passengers, a young man of 18, carrying two loaded handguns.

     He's back behind bars now, facing a newly-limited future.  He seems to be determined to fail; at this point, the only person who can haul him out of a life of crime is himself, and his track record augurs ill. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mom: Off To Rehab

     Mom was moved to rehab yesterday afternoon.  Nicer than a hospital, and way fewer people with infectious diseases.  She'll be getting used to daily life in a neck collar, which ain't as easy as you might think.

     Downside, the place she's at is nice but it's a worse maze than the hospital!

"I Am Ready To Fly Without Coming Back"

     Valentina Tereshkova, age 70, still space-happy: "I would enjoy flying to Mars. This was the dream of the first cosmonauts. I wish I could realize it! I am ready to fly without coming back."

     Yep, the first woman in space and Elon Musk: same dream.  Y'know, this outer-space stuff, it just might catch on.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Columbus, Indiana: City Council Still Has BB Guns On The Mind.

     Two kids -- 2 -- play Stupid Gun Tricks with real-looking BB guns; now the city keeps coming up with BB-gun bans for the under-18 setOver and over.... I suppose they can't issue the little darlings parents with even half a clue or any backbone; and oh, heavens, the horrors if there was any kind of "gun safety" class in school where a little peer pressure to not be morons with projectile weapons might be developed.

     So, ban 'em.  Yeah, that'll keep the junior-hooligans-in-training from pointing 'em at passing traffic, won't it?  And if BB guns and genuine-bATFe-defined firearms are both verboten to the under-18s, what incentive do they have to stop at airsoft?

Attentionize: Local Media

     "Signalize" is not a word.  Oh, and the Miss USA crown has already been won.

I'm Anonymously Famous

     Yes, I am.  And I weigh more than I want to.  More bicycling, less Broad Ripple dining.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mom Update

     As of Sunday evening, new bruises, aches and areas of concern were still showing up.  I'll be heading up to the hospital later.

     Readers have suggested one of the call-for-help pendants for her and it's looking more and more like a good idea.

Overheard On Air Force One?

     "All I hear in the press all day is how great Snowden did this, or how wonderfully Snowden did that.  Snowden, Snowden, Snowden!"

    I still think Snowden's a walking dead man but perhaps I underestimate the's willingness to grind down a man in jail and in court instead of just rubbing him out..  As for what he's done, it's almost certainly a crime (right up there with the three felonies a day most folks average, just doing normal activities); but didn't Mr. Obama's Administration sail into office promising to be "the most transparent in history?"  In that case, Edward Snowden's done 'em a favor, the equivalent of the bum with a bucket of water and rag ambush-cleaning car windshields at a stoplight.  --Yeah, window-cleaning urban outdoorsmen aren't popular, but that seagull-splatter's not gonna clean itself, no more than the Feds ever will, no matter who's lurking in the Oval Office like a rat under the White House floorboards or how "transparently" they go about the sordid business of governing.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

How Tough Is My Mom?

     The call came in late Saturday afternoon.  I was asleep at the time, having laid down 'cos I didn't feel so hot and found sleep had been lurking in the mattress like an octopus under a flat rock.

     Its tentacles were still wrapped around me when my cellphone started ringing.  I struggled awake, but too late.  The CALL button will show a list of calls mad and received and the last one was--  My Mom's number.  Huh.

     I hit CALL again and it rang once.  Mom picked up with, "Hello."

     "Hi, Mom.  How are you?"

     "Not too good.  I fell and hit my head on a cabinet on the way down.  It's bleeding quite a lot and I don't think I should try to stand up by myself."

     "Have you called 9-1-1?"

     "Well, no.  Do you think I should?  I was hoping you could come up--"

     "I'm on my way, but I want you to call 911 as soon as I hang up, okay?  Please!"

     "Well, okay."

     It's about ten minutes to her house, driveway-to-driveway.  I dug around for my glasses, frantically moved things from the small weekend purse to the big general purpose one, grabbed a hoodie, put on shoes, headed out the back door, came back in for a garage door opener, got to my car, called both siblings and a nephew on the way and made it in five.  The crew from the local firehouse was there already, had her on a backboard and in a neck brace "just in case" and were cleaning up the blood, of which there was rather more than you might think. (One ambulance, one fire truck, what seemed to be a blue dozen physically-fit and incredibly helpful young men.  They've been there before, once when we had to break in, and they know the drill.)

     After making sure where they were taking her, I finished the clean-up (light-tan carpet -- not a whole lot I can do in the way of emergency medical treatment but I could at least prevent that from worrying Mom!) and followed.  My sister was already at the hospital and my brother showed up soon after.  Nurses, docs, clean-up, a really fine staple-job on her injury, medical history, hands-on checking for additional injury: the usual drill, including CT scans and X-rays--

     "Mrs. X?  I'm Doctor Eeeyar and Dr. Wu* is working with me today.  We've gone over your X-rays and it looks like you'll be staying with us awhile."


      "Yes, you've broken your C2 vertebra and a pretty good job of it, too." 

     "Oh, my."
*  *  *
     Let's review: My Mom fell, cut her scalp badly, broke her neck, scooted and crawled six feet to get a dishtowel to apply pressure to the wound, hauled herself another six feet to yank a telephone from the breakfast bar, called me, left a message, and answered calmly when I called back.  She's been conscious, calm and managing a lot of pain through the entire ordeal  --She's 82.  Do not cross her.
*  *  *

     Back in the ER, it was sounding grim.  They'd paged in the on-call neurosurgeon and were using terms like  "unstable fracture" and double-checking for numbness and muscle control while they were finding her a room in Neuro ICU.  C2, or the "axis," is an important part of the machinery; it's what your head pivots side-to-side on, with broad bearing surfaces and a little "pin" at the front that engages C1.  A common C2 injury is known as a "hangman's fracture;" it's what happens if you don't wear your seat belt and catch the steering wheel under your chin in a collision.  Or so Wikipedia told me at the time.

     It was therefor upsetting when the neurosurgeon bustled in, grinning, as jovial as St. Nick.  He ran a few more simple tests and explained she'd broken the dens or odontoid process -- that little "pivot pin" I mentioned earlier -- and that for breaks like hers, 99.99% of the time all it took to treat it was three to four months in a neck brace. No fun, but way better than neurosurgery, which is why he was smiling. (Neurosurgeons frequently labor against appalling odds; something that can be treated without huge risk to the patient is probably quite a relief.)

     After a few more hours of hospitaling (increasingly like the kind of rigamarole my friends who served in the military describe as "hurry up and wait"), Mom was in a better neck brace and had been moved from Neuro ICU to regular Neuro; they'd got her some better pain meds and she was finally relaxing a little.  I returned home about 2:30 this morning, having difficulty recognizing familiar intersections on the way.
* Not their real names.  Dr. Wu, just starting residency, was the very image of "Rannie Wu" other than slightly shorter hair and an absolutely sunny disposition.  She's also the doctor I want stapling me up if ever I have to be: patient, careful and quick.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Grumpy, Grumpy

     Antigunners protested Thursday along the Monon Trail in Broad Ripple -- actually, on the comfy deck at Westfield & Westfield, presumably because, hey, comfy deck; it's not a high-traffic area. Tam says it was a dozen, plus or minus.  Local media (the one or two who noticed) claim "nearly thirty."  Whichever, they look to be a grumpy lot.

Hillbilly Music that Isn't

...Sung by a guy who wasn't a hillbilly:

He was a Brit. The late Lonnie Donegan, the King of Skiffle.

Donegan taking on "Rock Island Line" twice -- 1970s style and more traditionally. Either way, it's a long trip from the 1934 John Lomax prison recording.

(How is "Tom Dooley" not Hillbilly music? I suppose it is; skiffle isn't. While there was indeed a real Tom "Dooley" (Dula), who did indeed hang for a murder he either committed or deliberately took a fall for in North Carolina in the 1860s, the various forms of "doule" are Scots terms for a place of hanging, as in "Doule tree." Art, life, hillbillies and Scots/Irish/Gaels: small world.

You May Have Noticed

...That "the next Indy BlogMeet" area is blank.

     It's no secret that I have been trying to get out of scheduling these events for quite some time -- even though I enjoy them (though with my declining hearing, they are something of a challenge), and the overwhelming majority of the attendees are fun folks indeed, there are down sides.

     Ever since we had an outright white-supremacist type show up at one, all smiles and sidling remarks about "those people," and not get found out (as more than merely a jerk) until after the event, I've been reluctant to have open meetings; I have no interest in facilitating the recruiting efforts of such scum and would as soon spare our local pubs and eateries the bother of hosting public confrontation.  I went to invitation-only for the next few BlogMeets, which was not entirely satisfactory.

     Recently, I had someone try to "win" a disagreement by attempting to divvy up mutual friends, the majority of whom are closer friends to that individual than to me already.  I won't play that game; bedamned if I will put friends in the position of choosing up over issues they have not themselves raised and may not even have strong opinions on.  Nope, instead I will bring to an end any situation where they might feel obliged to choose.  That includes, at least for now, BlogMeets.  Tam K. can set 'em up if she feels so inclined, or whoever else wants to.

     Racist scum are bad enough; clique battles are the last straw.

     Peer pressure won't work on me.  I'm not very social or sociable and there are something like 4,000 books filled with friends lining the walls of my dining room.

     (ETA: I will probably do one (1) BlogMeet during the 2014 NRA convention in Indy, because I'd like to do that; but please note that attendance will indicate nothing other than an interest in firearms and blogging.)

     (Fuzzy Curmudgeon, please e-mail me, I need to return your book.)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Blood Libel

     It is surprising to me -- perhaps it should not be -- that this vicious myth survives; as recently as 2005, some 20 members of the Russian Duma presented it as fact.

     Interestingly, similar sweeping libels are still applied against other minorities and are still promoted as absolute truth by people who one would expect to know better.

     There's a very simple yardstick for determining the truth of such talk: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."  Not to mention an extraordinary degree of skepticism in evaluating.  Remember, the simplest (and most directly personally beneficial) motive is usually the actual motive for people's actions, and vast conspiracies are only the stuff of spy novels.  (Sorry, Mrs. Clinton!)

     Is the NRA fomenting insurrection?  Are homosexuals out to destroy your marriage?  Is every swarthy cabdriver a mad bomber and lying to you as a matter of religion? Does Rush Limbaugh run the Republican Party? Probably not.  On the other hand, George Soros and the Koch Brothers are indisputably political activists with their own agendas and if money talks, they're plenty loud.  See how this works?

     (Edited: I had typed "poof" instead of "proof," with the expectable result in Comments.  Extraordinary, indeed!)

This Is Why We Can't have Nice Things

Rannie the cat loves on them.
     She was especially fond of the foam packing and flocked holder for the fancy screwdriver set.  I convinced her to go elsewhere.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

People Are Annoying: Anti-Gunners In Indy

     Organizing For Action, right here in Broad Ripple, this Friday, from 11:00 a.m. to noon, at the Monon Trail near the intersection of Rivera and Westfield (or Westfield and Westfield, depending on how you score it.)  This is the same corner Brugge is on.

     They're trying to press Representative Susan Brooks to support the House version of the failed Universal Background Checks bill.

     Looks like a nice time/place for an Open Carry event.

     (So, the first comment is some dimwit urging a physical assault against the antis.  Um, NO.   Lookie here, commenting is a privilege provided for discussion, not a place where you can urge violation of basic moral principles -- the Non-Aggression Principle -- or incite felonies.  People have a right to express their opinions in public, even when they're totally wrong and/or stupid; they do not have a right to attack one another.  If you don't agree, go away; my blog is not for you.)

Adventures In Stubborn


     So true.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Off To The Doctor

     Wish me luck -- I have to see a specialist for a nagging health issue, the details of which I shall not discuss.  (You'd thank me not to.)


Monday, June 10, 2013

Saturday Brunch

Tam had a burger.  The burger nearly had her:

Me, I went with a nice omelet.
Eggs, Smoking Goose ham, mushrooms, cheese.  Yum!

Thought Experiment

     Try this one on for size:  A hypothetical couple of citizens -- let's call them Howie and Fatima Ali, devout Muslims from Kansas City, sponsors of a Little League team and a Cub Scout den -- have an ice cream shop.  A skinny kid wearing a T-shirt and jeans, hair in a kind of bowl-cut, sits down at the counter and orders a banana split.

     Howie starts to make one, then turns around and has a closer look.  "Hey!  You're a girl!"

     "Umm, yeah.  So what?"

     "We don't serve unescorted females here."


     "It's offensive to our religion."

     She leaves in a huff and Howie's peeved, too.  She files a lawsuit under her state's Public Accomodation laws.

    Howie and Fatima go to the press, talking about how this lawsuit and the Public Accommodation law itself are part and parcel of the ongoing assault against their religion.  Look at all the good things they do!  Besides, they point out, theirs is not the only soda fountain in town.  She could've gone to another one.

*  *  *

     Are Howie and Fatima wanting their religion pandered to?  Is the refused customer a jerk to sue over a dessert?  Should the law require businesses open to the public to refrain from discriminating for anything except sanitation and safety?

     Personally, I'm not too comfy with such laws -- though the older ones, which use sweeping language calling for the same goods and services to be made equally available to every customer, are not without merit  -- but I'm totally against nasty surprises; if you aren't going to serve dogs, Irishmen or Unitarians, you should damned well hang a sign on the door and accept the lost customers, organized boycotts and occasional sidewalk picketer as the price of following your inner light[1] or religious strictures[2].  Nevertheless, as long as such laws are on the books, I'm opposed to handing out special exemptions to them for prejudiced behavior, even when motivated by religion.

     This is of slightly more than academic interest to me.  Blue-eyed blonde that I am, I'm the result of a mixed marriage.  There's no way to be sure just what "race" the 19th-Century ancestor was who gave my dad jet-black hair, dark hazel eyes and an olive-to-red/bronze complexion, though Native American and African-American are about equally likely.  (He resembled Saddam Hussein!)  Growing up, when we went on vacation, there were places where my very fair mother and very not-fair dad got sidelong looks and substandard service, businesses that were "just closing" at odd times when we walked in the door.  That kind of thing sucks and even a little of it leaves a mark. (And, BTW, if you have a problem with my more-than-one-drop?  Get lost.  Now.)

     Comments are off.  The only debate that needs to be had is the one you have with yourself.  How would you handle it, were you Howie and Fatima or their customer? What if you were an onlooker?
1. However dim it might be.
2. Ditto.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Blogroll Deletions


     The Tireless Agorist, who managed seven months before he got too tired to continue.  Sisyphus, people!  There's no winning;  Leviathan will triumph.  But if it can be delayed even a second, made even a smidge less easy?  That's worth doing.  Just try to remember the Republic is over; it was wrought well and our Empire is still less nasty than ancient Rome's in many ways.  This will change.  It's changing now.

     Atomic Nerds.  They stopped writing. (Something about "...having a life...?")  I've stopped linking.  If they write again, they'll be linked again.

     Dr. Strangegun hasn't blogged since 2010.  I think this is unfortunate.

     Hecate's Crossroad, silent for 18 months.       .....ditto....

     The Shootist, a year of dead air.

     And I have a special offer: anyone who wants off my blogroll, send me a note.  Happy to oblige.


     Worked super-late last night, filling in for a vacationing co-worker (Ooo!  Overtime -- and the IRS is there to ensure the cake is a lie.).

     Didn't quite manage six hours sleep and I feel like I used to on mornings-after when I was young, stupid and drank to excess.

     Is there some age at which working swing shifts gets easier again?  ...Didn't think so.

I'm Sorry

     But I've had to spend too much time and effort dealing with what appears to me to be plain crazy.  I blame no one for this but myself.  The particular topic is one -- or two -- I usually avoid.  I didn't this time and my good opinion of my fellowman has been thereby diminished.  By my lights, some of you are annoyingly crazy.

     I grew up with "annoying crazy" and sometimes it spilled over into violence.  I grew up with people and topics I had to tiptoe around and as soon as I was old enough and had a job -- age 19 -- I moved away from it.  You don't really have to be thrown across the room or be held against the wall by a hand at your throat too many times before figuring out it should not be happening and the experience has made me over-cautious around some kinds of behavior.  (It's also made me very defiant, right up to the level that has my fight/flight on full alert.  This is bad headspace and I don't like being in it.)

     The original version had a long digression about my personal philosophy or lack thereof, but it's not worth discussion.  It is a very small and trivial part of my life and I like it that way.

     I have renewed my resolution to hold most relationships at arm's length or even farther and to keep them as formal as possible.

     Comments are closed on everything but the H. Beam Piper posts.  Off-topic comments will be deleted.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

H. Beam Piper: A Biography, A Review

     John F. Carr has done a remarkable job of piecing together the life of SF writer H. Beam Piper.  It could not have been easy to do. Piper himself was not much help, as he enjoyed spreading tall tales about himself, from claiming he loathed his first name, "Horace" (it was Henry) to suggesting he'd actually drifted over from a different timeline (along with multiple generations of ancestors?).  Indeed, published biographical blurbs contradict one another on details as basic as his day job.

     Carr picks his way through the underbrush to reveal a man remarkably like his heroes.  Unlike many writers, H. Beam Piper is pretty much the guy you'd expect after reading his fiction.  He was also no overnight success, spending twenty years writing fiction before selling any of it.  Slick as his writing was, he struggled with ideas and execution, frustrated by a self-defeating habit of leaping into the writing before he'd worked out the plot. (A-hem.)

     More than a "writer's story," Carr's well-researched biography shows the reader who Piper was in real life, getting inside his personality as much as that very private man made possible.  I enjoyed most of the book except for the ending, but that's not Carr's fault: Piper's life ended badly.  His finances were never good (nor his money-management) and after his day job had come to an end, he struggled to make a living writing.  When his agent died suddenly, leaving his affairs in disarray, Piper was literally starving.  Too proud to ask for help, he shot himself when he was 60 years old.

     I recommend the book as well as H. Beam Piper's body of work.  While some of the latter is a little dated -- many of his male characters seem unable to refer to women as anything but "girls" and there's a whole lot of smoking* and pencil/paper/film/tape/slide rule use that feels quaint as a Model T -- conversely, his work includes a lot of strong, competent females and the occasionally-clunky details are easly to overlook or even fix.  If you like hard SF along the lines of Campbell's editing or Heinlein's fiction, Piper deserves a look.

     The bio is a bit pricey ($45, American) and I read it courtesy of the generosity of Fuzzy Curmudgeon in loaning his copy. I've ordered my own; it deserves a place on my shelf next to the bios of Verne, Lovecraft, Russell and Heinlein.
* OTOH, if there was a way to smoke without the stench/mess/heath risks, would I take it up again?  Possibly.  So it's just a reflection of modern bias and smoking really shouldn't make a story feel dated -- but it does.

Friday, June 07, 2013


     Here's SF writer, gun collector, sword collector H. Beam Piper.
     Now take a look at some pictures of SF writer, gun collector, swordsmith Michael Z. Williamson

     Mind you, they don't write that much alike despite sharing several themes and a certain similarity of outlook, and Mr. Williamson is considerably more married* than the late Mr. Piper ever was.  But still...!  One suspects a covert government lab, possibly run by someone who was hoping for yet another Little Fuzzy sequel -- and got metal-poor lizards instead.
* In terms of both duration and offspring.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

"Libertarians," The Pure Evil

     Yep, nothing worse.  Why, those libertarians are holdin' conservatives back and helpin' the lib'rals--  Or so says one of my friends.  I guess I owe him a link, but not a fight: there is no prize to be won.  The cake is a lie.

     We can disagree without loathing one another, or at least I can.  So I'm going to.

     Fair warning: I'm not really a "libertarian."  I'm a g-ddammed anarchist; I think governments are just Huns and Visigoths in nice suits, wielding obfuscatory language and fines instead of swords and axes.  In the real world, most people police themselves; they're no better than they have to be to get along, but 99% of their actual "getting along" has nothing to do with laws and regulations.

     We already live in anarchy.  There's not a cop at your side every hour of every day, and you darned well act like it, don't you?  Speeding, blowing though empty four-way stops, turning right on red when the sign says No but nobody's there to see--  You probably don't steal, though you may carry a pen or notepad home from work sometimes and never count it theft; and you'll lie when you have to; you didn't really forget Mom's birthday, you had to work over.  Probably.  And you'll use illegal drugs, too, or at least a majority of you will at some point in your life. 

     The ketchup company isn't refraining from putting paint in that bottle of red goo because there's a law against it -- they know dead guys don't buy more than the one bottle and food companies that make people sick stop making sales.  (Dunno about you, but "Made in China" is still a warning on foodstuffs for me).

     But much as I'd like to see the useless deadwood of Senates and City Councils go to the wall, to help batter down the walls at NSA and put their tapes to the torch, to see wild dogs howling in the wretched ruins of the White House, to see Congressthings forced to get real jobs, it ain't a-gonna happen.  Too many of the rest of you see Government as a security blanket and you'd be dreadfully unhappy without it.  Weirdly, that, too is a part of anarchy: I gotta live in the middle of you people and that means I have to go along with some of your crazy stuff.

     Okay.  But I don't have to dance with your strawmen, and the best one I've seen yet is when my friend spins the notion that "harm" is too subjective to ever fairly define...and then uses it to ride his hobbyhorse of opposition to gay marriage right over the horizon of logic.  You see, he claims it's all A Plot To Destroy Religion -- 'cos gay people could do that, right? Some fraction of less than 10% of the population are gonna pull down the cathedral, probably using rainbow ribbons...?  Ummm, no.  Not all by their lonesome; you religious types have them outnumbered, something like 6 or 7 to one.  And the only force-multiplier they might use is Government (oops!) and it's First-Amendmented right out of that game -- or it least it is so far.  (See, now, without Government--  Ahem.)  This may help 'splain why, if you've just got to have this "Government" teddy bear to sleep tight, you had better be watching it like a hawk: it bites.  Like a child or a spirited horse, it will always test its limits.

     My friend thinks libertarians believe everyone either wants to be just like 'em, or should be made to be.  I disagree.  Most people are no better than they have to be -- but the forces that make them that good are primarily social and economic, not the result of laws and regulations.  Who affects you more, your spouse and your boss, or your Representative and your Mayor?

     Most people are already personal anarchists -- they just aren't so confident about everyone else being safe to be around without a whole bunch of Official Rules, Official Rulers and Official Rule-Enforcers for them.  I have sad, sad news for you: the neighbors don't have a cop following them around, either, and they're probably crazier than you are.  Still, you want 'em ruled: Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, you want there to be some laws so other folk abjure evil and embrace good, and you don't make any secret of it.  I'm pretty sure you're only a "libertarian" for yourself, and perhaps not even that; some people delight in being ruled. 

     As for "harm," you have no promise you won't be offended, even at the most basic and deeply personal level (geez, go read the Erin Palette bit about the Navy-SEAL-turned-woman for a whole Greek chorus of the offended and offensive,* on all sides); nor is your safety something you can delegate to others.  The real issue is "rights."  Any Government or other body that starts talking about some *positive* right you have to some nifty thing, they're only going to be able to give it to you if they take it away from someone else.  No, the only real right you have is the right to be left alone -- in your church or your marriage; and if your church don't like your marriage, why, they can leave you alone, too, and you're obliged to abide by it.

     This isn't rocket science.  It's way harder: it's learning to stop meddling.  Few manage; they're no better at it than they have to be, same as they are about anything else.  You want to live in a better world?  Start with yourself.  Then move on to the neighbors and remember, don't push.  I get into politics, but mostly 'cos there's nothing good on TV. I don't think we'll vote our way outta anything but I'm sure not going to let the rest of you cast your ballots without casting one right back at you.  I may just gore your electoral ox; you may gore mine; we'll get over it.
* And how clever is is it to get all upside a Navy SEAL, even a retired one, over anything, ever?  Do you know what they do for a living?  


     Yes, it was today.  No, I didn't forget -- but I'm not qualified to do much more than stand there with my mouth open, amazed that anyone would willingly do that.

The First Play-By-Play Man

     In fact, he probably invented the idea.  And he was a Hoosier.

    ...It was The Big Game -- and not a home game for his school's team.  The year was 1903.  University of Michigan student,  Indiana resident (and part-time telegrapher) Floyd J. "Jack" Mattice had already dreamed up (and sold to Western Union!) the notion of having sports-knowledgeable telegraphers transmit moment-by-moment scores and high points directly, instead of waiting on copy from print reporters and now he'd come up with another idea: a long-distance telephone line.  He'd describe the game to the other students back at UM as it happened.

     Bell Telephone installed a phone booth on 40-foot poles along the sidelines at mid-field and a direct line back to the auditorium UM. Shortly before the game began, Mattice climbed up and placed the call--

     But remember, this is 1903.  Electrical amplification is still several years away.  Backstage, ten more sports-fan students were listening in on telephones, each one in turn memorizing a few minutes' play and rushing onstage to relay it to the audience, and then back to his listening post as the next "sportscaster" took over, on after another.

     It was a popular notion.  At UM, the practice continued until radio broadcasting took over in the 1920s.  As for Mattice, he had another career; you see, he'd arrived at college already a member of the bar.  After graduation, he went home to Rochester practiced law, serving a couple terms as county prosecutor.  Even that wasn't enough -- during WW I, he went to work for the Bureau of Investigation's* office in Indianapolis and then at the U. S. District Attorney's office.  He went back into private practice a few years later and then served in various posts with the city, then back to Federal work during WW II, ending up as a prosecutor at the war crimes trials in Japan.

     Still, inventing sportscasting probably made more people happy than any of his legal work.  He retired to Rochester and passed away in 1971.  He maintained a lifelong interest in telegraphy and if you've ever wondered about the curious number of attorney/sportscasters (Howard Cosell, for instance), while I don't think Mr. Mattice can be blamed for it, he was certainly one of the first examples.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Stupid Gun Tricks!

     Simplest one in the book: Felon in possession.  Decides to take his semi-auto AK-47 for a walk at 0230.  As in "a.m."  Neighbors call police (but think it's a shotgun -- and so very not rabbit season in town, or duck season either).  Of course, upon sight of the po-po, he drops it and runs....  Yes, he's in the jailhouse now.

     No word if he was sporting the COPS-mandated lack of shoes and shirt and it has been chilly of nights, but one can hope.

     (Bonus Parenting Tip: Your children steal from you?  Shame them.  ...Worth a try, I guess, though I'm not sure they're showing much remorse.)

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Lineman's Tale

     Tam and I did not see an IPL lineman maintaining streetlights last night; we won't say where it was and we haven't any photographs of it -- and here's why:

     Hypothetically--  The streetlight out front of Roseholme Cottage -- actually, in front of a neighbor's place -- had been ailing: it wouldn't stay lit cycling through start-up only to flicker out and begin again, over and over.  I'd meant to call Power & Light but someone must have beat me to it.

      Tam, reading on the porch, tapped on the window last evening while I was finishing up my radish sandwich.  When I looked out, she pointed to a big P&L boom truck parked next to the streetlight, jacks down.  "He's going to fix the light."

     I came outside to watch.

     "It's just the one guy," Tam said.

     "Yup.  Power linemen are like Texas Rangers: one problem, one lineman.  One night at work, I watched a guy swap out insulators on a 14.7 kV line on very tall poles, working from the ground with a 'hot stick.'"

     "What if the boom falls over?" (Jokingly.)

     "It won't.  And nowadays, they're insulated; all the controls are hydraulic."

     While we spoke, he'd ridden up, popped the photocell off the top of the light, lowered the bucket to open the diffuser, remove the old lamp, install a new one and raised the bucket slightly to plug in a new photocell (they have a twist-lock connection and a nice thick gasket to keep the weather out), holding his hand over the top until the new lamp came on, all with never a wasted motion.  Tam was holding up her iPad, framing possible photos and the lineman watched her as he rode back towards the ground.

     I gave him a smile and walked out to thank him.  He'd parked the boom and raised the street side jack by the time I was at the sidewalk.  As he came around the truck, he asked, "Are you trying to get me in trouble, taking my picture?"

     "What?  Oh, goodness no!  Thanks for fixing the light.  ...Why would you get in trouble?"

     He grinned, "You'd be surprised.  One of the guys took a dead animal off the line in a customer's back yard, a neighbor put a picture of it on Facebook and he got suspended for three days when the Company saw it."

     "Well, we won't do that.  --Hey, the light out back by the garage hasn't been going out during the day.  It's just on all the time.  Do I need to call that in?"

     "Is that a light you pay for?"

     "Yes, it is."  (Seven bucks a month.  "Private" streetlights are a heck of a deal and most Power & Light companies are happy to put them in, even along the street.  If they don't have to set a pole, installation's cheap.)   "Um, if it's not a problem to look at it....?"

     "Naw, I'll just run back there next.  There's an alley, right?"

     "Yes.  Thank you!"

     "Just don't get me in trouble."

     Again, hypothetically; I'm not saying he was ever there, we haven't any pictures and nobody can prove anything from what I've written.

     But it's a heck of a thing when a guy can get in trouble for doing his job well. 

Monday, June 03, 2013

You Had Mixed Emotions About Commies Vs. Nazis?

     There were guys with a way higher level of exactly that, right in the thick of it and some few of them remain -- an NYT article worth reading, pointed out by NAVIGATOR.

     (And this, this is why we do the Memorial Day thing.  Not for the generals.  Not for the politicians. Not for abstract ideas.  Not even so much for love of country; we do it for those who stepped up, who went and did the thing and died in the doing.  A lot of them had only the choice between cowering and standing up; do you know what you'd do when standing off and feeling smugly superior wasn't an option?  Do you?)

Envy Me

     For I am enjoying thin-sliced zingy radish on buttered toast.  Why, it'll make you forget all about those watercress sammiches!

     (This is also good with a layer of thin-sliced hard-cooked eggs.  And maybe a quick zotz of something spicy.  ...OMG, I just realized one could make wasabi butter!)

Tam's "Mini" BlogMeet

     It was not so mini -- nearly a dozen of us gathered at BRBP:
     Tam took the photo, so she's not in it.  Names/faces may not match but here's the best my notes have, starting at lower left and proceeding clockerwise (or anti-widdershins): Periodic Emma, TBeck, Mr. B, Midwest Chick, T (or K?) at the end of the table and K (or T?) barely visible behind Old Grouch, followed by Fuzzy Curmudgeon, The Jack and Yr. Crspndt.

     Tam and I had biked to the gun show, walked the entire show (saw some cute items but still don't have cash for an S&W Bekaert .22 target revolver, which is what I want, that and an H&R 999, which never ever shows up at the Indy 1500), biked back home at a high rate of speed and then on to the BlogMeet.  I stopped and changed bicycles, there being no reason to not ride the high-wheeled Ordinary, and was therefore a bit late.  Things were well underway by the time I arrived, the usual three or four conversations shifting and drifting.  It was a fine time -- Mr. B handed me a singing kitten birthday card [ETA: provided by Old Grouch] that must be heard to be believed!

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Sunday Morning Grab Bag

- What's a Nappenneeno?  Tam's supposed to tell you.  (Also about toroidal CVTs, which we got onto when I found a hemispherical-intermediate 90-degree CVT on an antique drill press at eBay, a gorgeously insane item that would send an OHSA inspector into gibbering fits.)

- Fried ripe tomatoes: Actually pretty good.

- Zenith.  It's a movie.  If you overlook the preposterous hype of the Amazon-downloadable tagline, "Blade Runner meets The Da Vinci Code," and accept that this is a film shot on a budget consisting of a stale peanut-butter sandwich and loose change found in sofas, it's an entertaining, paranoid ride, featuring a shadowy conspiracy that's managed to gene-mod everyone into permanent happiness...which, absent any contrast, has become a dreadful apathy.  They've also dumbed-down the language in what appears to be a Sapir-Whorf hypothesis-inspired effort to limit even abstract thought about unhappiness.  But who or what is "they," what exactly did they do and how'd they do it?  A son and his father are on their track, a lifetime apart.  Weirdness, voice-over narration, some artsy (i.e., mood lighting and chestal nudity only) sex scenes, well-chosen music: not a "big" movie and not for those who like the plot all wrapped up and tied in a bow, but a solid striver's "B" and a healthy nod to Philip K. Dick.  Not for the kids, though.  (Criticism -- one character references The Milgram Experiment; could have gone on to the Stanford Prison and Asch conformity experiments to further explore/explain human susceptibility to manipulation.  Those bother me; there's a a Terrible Secret in them and if it ever gets really unlocked, look out Orwell.)

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Everything Is Ducky For The Weekend

     ...Everybody's growing some webbed toes....

     Maybe not; but it's eight o'clock, there's a gun show in town and it's raining with a dull and steady persistence.