Monday, September 30, 2013

It's Official, I'm A Jerk

     I have now managed to alienate just about everyone who knows me more than casually. Wish I knew how to not do that in some way that doesn't involve bottling up my reactions to situations and events.

     Oh, waaah -- people in hell want ice water, too. We get what we get and by the time we do, it's too late to change anything.

     (And who's to blame?  Society?  Hah!  My parents?  Hardly; they had three very difficult children and did their best.  My ex?  As if!  Nope, it'd be the woman who looks warily out of the mirror at me every morning, dreading another day.)

What Day Is It?

     Godsdammit, it was International Blasphemy Day all day today.

     ...And now that you have had time to sneer at the dirty, disrespectful lowlives who would establish such a thing, consider that Blasphemy Day is celebrated on September 30 to coincide with the anniversary of the publication of satirical drawings of Muhammad in one of Denmark's newspapers.

     So, now how much would you pay to stop the blasphemers?  --One man's religion is another man's belly-laugh, and a dire offense to the religious principles of a third.  It was that way long before well-brought-up Roman citizens were horrified by the blood rites of the tattooed, woad-daubed savages of Brittainia (so utterly unlike the civilized entertainments of Hippodrome and Ampitheater) and it'll keep on being that way as long as there are humans.  You can either make your peace with the fact that someone, possibly right on your block, is eating the wrong stuff, praying to the wrong $DEITY or not praying to the right one or maybe not even praying at all, or you can go out and bug him despite his objections or hound him or try to kill him or get someone else to do that for you -- bearing in mind that all of the latter behaviors cross the line of decent, civilized behavior if some other heathen tries to do them to you.

     It's a great big blasphemous world.  The only part of it you really control is yourself.

Creepy Thought

     Cro-Magnon man had a larger brain and better muscles than modern man.  Until recent times, they stood taller, too.

     In most of the places where modern humans live, the very largest predators have been wiped out or driven to the margins and this has held true in some long-civilized places as far back as we can find records.  There aren't any raptors big enough to hunt adult humans, for example, though there used to be.

     So: large, strong, healthy, big-brained hunter-gatherers, who were on the planet for a long, long time, building mostly of perishable materials--  What big thoughts did they think?  How closely did they manage their environment?  We don't know; they didn't leave us anything obvious.

     Or did they?  They left us a safer world, a world where if you know what you're looking at, there's plenty to eat in a vacant lot or forest, where dire wolves, wooly mammoths and sabertooth tigers have been rubbed out, a world where you can survive even if you're slower, weaker, dumber--

     Are we the Eloi, living in the ruins left us by giants?

Soldier (1998)

     In one sentence, it's a Kurt Russell action movie.  But that description falls extraordinarily short of the mark; the script expects, and Russel delivers, a full character arc from sociopathic alienation to genuine empathy in just over a hundred words of dialog and just under a hundred minutes of running time.

     The setting is a star-spanning, near-future civilization, if you define "civilized" loosely enough.  The set and texts both sub- and overt are rife with references to other films, notably Blade Runner and much of Russell's œuvre. At least for me, this made the background seem deeper: the flashes of "Russellized" backstory didn't remind me of the films but rang with disorienting familiarity.  (Borrowing works both ways: the child-soldier training sequences in this movie were mirrored a few years later in James Cameron's Dark Angel.)

     If you have much of a military background (or a logical turn of mind), OpFor's stategy, tactics and command structure are as laughable as the antics of heavies in a bad King Fu movie, but for sheer storytelling, the film punches well above its weight.  Bonus: nobody ever stops to point out the features of the Mk. IV/A non-McGuffin.  Sets and settings are very good and -- sadly -- the hyper-fascist future sketched in seems more likely in light of current events.  Interestingly, you could file dates and some names off and drop this film neatly into the Firefly universe without crumpling a fender.  (Or, for that matter, into H. Beam Piper's Terro-Human Future History, which has a number of parallels to the setting for Firefly.)

     This film neatly illustrates what cinematic SF can and should do: in print, the story would be at best a novella, not a novel.  It's a cracking good way to spend a sleepy Sunday afternoon; the scriptwriter and Russell put his scant lines and copious screen time to very good use advancing the arc. If you were after deeply deep subtlety, perhaps you should've chosen something with subtitles.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

OMG, Teh Fed.Gov Is Gonna Shut Down!

     Oh, Congress and the Executive, you and your sweet, sweet talk...!  Hey, maybe it will, though usually the fools whine at one one another awhile and then the budget-stoppers blink, no matter how high-handed the White House or intransigent the House.

     C'mon, what happens, really?  They close the cafeteriae in the Capitol? (Probably not.)  The United States Postal Service already tries to pay its own way and  (by gummint standards) usually comes close enough that they'll shamble on for several months without kiting checks.*  Congress already arranged to keep soldiers, sailors, airmen (airpersons?) and coasties paid.  Air-traffic controllers might start to lose out on overtime, national parks might have to make payroll directly from gate receipts and if you think Power & Light companies are gonna pull the plug on the National Weather Service, you'd better take another look at how much they rely on weather forecasts to preallocate manpower.

     Nope.  I'll tell you what happens: the same thing that happened where you work, back in 2008, '09 or '10: layoffs.  Cutbacks.  Inspiring speeches about "Doing More With Less."  Smaller enterprises will go to the wall.  --And oh, how they all will complain, because unlike those of us outside Federal employment, their pay and benefits have kept on chugging unstoppably upward, slow but steady, as the private economy twisted and wriggled like a run-over snake on a hot August-afternoon highway. 

     Besides, eventually both sides will, weasel-like, find some way to slink to compromise after a few weeks or months of blessed savings.  Maybe a nice slowdown could even help the deficit!

     Meanwhile, in the strange and twisted world of Congress, some Democrats are claiming the only reason for any opposition to the President's budget is 'cos GOP politicians just plain hate Mr. Obama (and they imply that loathing is due to the hue of his complexion).  So, how's that race card holdin' up?  It's looking a bit tattered from here.  Y'know, POTUS could be a blue-eyed blonde with a model's physique and it wouldn't make his (or her) proposed budget -- or the onrushing healthcare mess -- any nicer.  It's pretty damned difficult to make a compelling claim that "The Man" is holding the President of the United States down and, conversely, slowing up Presidents is part of Congress's job, no matter what their respective creeds, ancestry or parties may happen to be.
* And they could probably fake it well past crossing over into the red: Postal Money Orders are well-trusted,  just like the Post Office being able to print their own money.  Besides, that's what the Fed does already.  Eventually the chicken -- or stylized Federal eagle -- comes home to roost but it's a fine ride while it lasts, right?

Roast Pork Hash!

     I'd been wanting to try it ever since Fresh Market started selling little, cooked, hot pork loins; while it's not quite as good as an old-fashioned pork roast that spends all afternoon grumbling in the oven, eventually acquiring a retinue of potatoes, celery and carrots (etc.*), it's pretty darned good.

     So-- you buy one, have a bit for supper, put the rest in the fridge and then the next morning...!  Cube it up like you would for corned beef hash; dice potato likewise, and using either some fat sliced from the pork (best) or a slice+ of bacon (not too shabby, either), get some grease sizzling in the skillet or wok.  Fry the potatoes, adding whatever suits your fancy (I went with some mushrooms and tiny onions, plus a little diced carrot and radish, reserving half the latter uncooked for a topping), add the pre-cooked pork as the vegetabled begin to brown, heat through, and if you are so minded, push it all to the sides and scramble an egg or two in the center.  Yum!

     Sprinkled with fresh diced radish, it wants very little additional seasoning. I added a dew drops of Cholula because, hey, Cholula.

     Roast Pork Hash.  Give it a try!

     (On a sad note, my second-best non-stick wok got itself demoted to fourth-best this morning and the #2 and #3 spots are open.  No matter what I do, the stickingness of it is worse for frying tatties than a plain, stainless-steel skillet.  Grr.  Time for a heavy cast-iron wok?)
* Let me just point out the Oven Court of the Pork Roast is a place where mushrooms and the humbler root vegetables -- turnips, rutabagas, parsnips -- can absolutely shine. Srsly.  This being pork, even an apple can make a nice addition and one has to wonder -- a pear?  Perhaps.  But that's a feast for another day.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


     It seems likely -- a Hancock County man, already under investigation after making threats to "blow up" a hospital and harm pharmacy workers, was shot and killed by his wife last night.  Details are not forthcoming and at this writing, she's being held as a person of interest, a carefully-neutral term.  (Local government had already started legal proceedings to disarm the man under a law enacted after an IPD officer was killed by a well-armed lunatic.)

     Police are saying the dead man had "a large cache of assault weapons."  That could mean anything from a half-dozen cheap AR-15s to a collection of military rifles like Tam's -- or even a King's ransom in arms and ammo. 

     Waiting to see how this plays out but early indications are that a dangerous man was stopped by an armed citizen who happened to be his wife.  It's a tragic situation no matter what the whole story might be.

Now Are You Happy Bill Gates Retired?

     Headline from 2002:
Clickenate to embiggenate.
     The headline is real.  The story...  Um.  Who can say?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Officer Rod Bradway

     IMPD comes in for a lot of criticism from me, mostly over the steady trickle of policemen running afoul of Demon Rum.  However, it's a big police department and most of 'em are decent people.

     A good many of them rise well above that and we lost one of IMPD's best recently, shot by an aggressor hiding behind a door when Officer Rod Bradway responded to reports of a woman and child being held at gunpoint.  He saved them, but at the cost of his own life.

     Previously a firefighter, he spent some of his off-duty time officiating at High School sporting events and working with a dog-rescue program.  From media interviews and speakers at his funeral service yesterday, it is clear that he was a good man, with a mischievous sense of humor and a strong sense of community.  He was married and had two children.

     One of the good guys -- and I do hope some of the more blinkered culture warriors among us had a look at the line of people who passed by his patrol car, an impromptu memorial, leaving cards, flowers, stuffed animals or just a sad look and a nod: it was a broad cross-section of the city.

     People from every walk of life recognize a fair man, a good man, a policeman who takes his responsibilities to heart.  He will be missed.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Oh, Broad Ripple, How I Enjoy Thee!

     From the wide array of establishments serving up delicious food to the various and sundry shoppes selling varied sundries; from the Earthsmasher diesel SUV with an Earth Foist! bumper sticker to the Volvo parked beside it sporting one that asks WHO IS JOHN GALT? From the Triumph Spitfire parked outside Yats tonight to this...
Picture is large.  Click it.  Cliiiick iiit!  You know you want to.
...parked at Locally Grown Gardens, where I picked up bread, eggs, cherry tomatoes, some Fentiman's soft drinks, a pound of pulled-pork barbeque and lovely ginger coleslaw, the latter four for dinner tonight. (Not all of the barbeque or tomatoes, more of which will go into brekky tomorrow.)

     (Is the steering wheel on the left?  Are you a barbarian?  No.  No, it is not.)

Real Or Robert E. Howard?

     This isn't a painting.
    Bering Land Bridge National Preserve is -- or so NPS claims -- as real as the bones of your skull.  Nevertheless, the landscapes are straight out of a Robert E. Howard novella and I expect a dour, muscular barbarian to come tromping over the horizon, sword in hand, in every photo. Or is it a scene from Edgar Rice Burroughs's Barsoom?  "'Ware Tharks!"

     The world is not only more wonderful than we imagine, it is more wonderful than we can imagine.

"Fiat Lux," CFL Edition

     Last evening, Tam and I installed the new backyard "barn light," a  $35 gadget with a nice-looking cast-aluminum housing, ceramic (!) mogul-base socket and featuring a 65 Watt CFL bulb that lights up the back yard more brightly than we've had in a long time.

     The only functional question left is, will it shut off once the sun comes up?  It was dark by the time we finished, so it came on immediately. I should've checked last night with a bright flashlight, but I didn't think of it until after I'd put everything away including the ladder. ETA: Yes, it shut down once the sun was up.

     Tam was surprised to find that most of the overhead lights are on the same breaker as the yard light.  Like many old houses, Roseholme Cottage (built in1924) probably started out with a fusebox that had four 110V circuits (and possibly one 220V for a range).  Main floor lighting on one, basement and attic on another, two left for the baseboard sockets, and welcome to the future, Ma'am. It appears that all of the original sockets were on the shared interior wall that runs lengthwise through the entire house, separating bedrooms and bath from living room, dining room and kitchen; subsequent remodels and installation of larger electrical service (and breaker box) added receptacles on the outside walls and additional inside walls, leaving the original wiring in place.  --I need to do something about that, by and by; in the meantime, the old sockets have only a couple of lamps on them and many overhead fixtures have lower-current CFLs.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Seen On A Cinema Screen?

Hey, didn't I see this in the movies?

"We're Off To See The Pirate!"

     I don't know if he's hoping to redefine "friend of Dorothy," but undersea explorer Barry Clifford calls the gold-dust-laden track connecting two section of the wrecked pirate ship Whydah  "the yellow brick road," and he'd bet his heart and mind there's a remarkable treasure at the end of it.  In a news conference only two days prior to Talk Like A Pirate Day, he showed what he's already found at the site and it's plenty impressive.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

We Can Forget It For You Wholesale

     Oh, hooray, scientists are erasing the memories of mice.  And already, there's talk of erasing people's criminal pasts.  Yeah, sure, that'll work to change behavior -- and it's as moral and humane as a lobotomy.

     Imagine this applied on a large scale in service of any political philosophy -- in service of anything.  "Erase 'em and start over!"

     Memory erasure is a particular horror of mine.  Most of my childhood is lost to me.  Maybe it's for the best; what I can recall is bad enough. Graceless, severely nearsighted, clumsy and socially inept, I was a misfit's misfit, and hated it.  I'm less clumsy now.

     H/T to Scott at The Unwanted Blog.

Self-Defense Or Not? News Update

     I can't find the links, but the self-defense shooter at the Black Diamond nightclub who stopped a slasher won't face criminal charges.  Meanwhile, the young man who shot three opponents and a bystander in Broad Ripple will be going to court.

     Both appear to be in line with the facts: the Black Diamond situation was relatively straightforward, while events in the Broad Ripple incident were unclear.

     Please note that both shooter spent time in jail while the evidence and witness reports were sorted out.  If you want an uncomplicated life, do your best to avoid sticky situations.  Being prepared for self-defense is like keeping a fire extinguisher in the kitchen: the ideal situation is to have it and never get into the position of needing it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Back Yard Light: Fail

     It's a "barn light," a 65 Watt CFL fixture that replaced a dreadful old mercury-vapor light a few years ago, and now it has failed.  It's not the bulb; I changed that tonight and used my trusty non-contact voltage sniffer to confirm there's juice.

     So, tomorrow, back up the ladder, some back and forth with Tam to confirm the breaker, and I'll be trying to install another light.

     ...If it's not raining....

Oz, The Great And Powerful And Misunderstood

     Co-workers told me, "Oh, it's okay.  But the Wizard doesn't have much of a character arc and it fell kinda flat."

     Not sure we saw the same movie.  The Mouse did good.  Oz, The Great And Powerful is a remarkable homage to L. Frank Baum in theme and style, at times almost heartbreakingly sweet with just enough story for grown-ups added to keep it interesting.  By the time we get to the end, we can see the man Dorothy Gale meets, decades later, in the MGM movie. It's something of an ensemble film, too, with the witches and the Wizard's chance companions being more than mere supporting players.

     I think it's an excellent film and Oscar -- the Wizard of Oz -- grows quite remarkably over the course of it.  Recommended, if you still have a child's heart; especially recommended if you're familiar with the source material and modern re-imagings.

     And perhaps that's where my friends were lost.  If you haven't seen the Judy Garland film since childhood (and a pity if you've not; cultural baggage aside, it's charming), if you never read any Oz books, or Wicked and especially the three books that follow it--  Well, you may not know the place well enough for the movie to hold together.  (Too, it's possible this is more of a "chick flick," tugging at heartstrings as it does.  I don't know.  Perhaps one of you rough and tough types could tell me?)

     Lushly shot (and special-effected), nicely-acted and a quite satisfying film (the bad guys get their comeuppance and the good receive their just reward, this is Oz, after all!).  Expect to shed a tear, if your heart's not made of stone, and to gasp and cheer.  It's a keeper.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Downtown Canal

     We've got one -- a canal downtown, or a canalette -- and it was built for photo-ops:
     Wall of water
     Fall of Water
   All along the downtown canal this afternoon with Tam and the Data Viking.

   First day of Fall -- and a fine day for it.

Books: Sixth Column

     I've been rereading Robert A. Heinlein's Sixth Column (written as something of a command performance for John W. Campbell).  It's as racist as ever -- whew, WW II was over even in the Pacific, but I guess not that over? -- and it's got something else going on, too: a not-very-well-buried scathing contempt for anyone using science to fake up a religion under any but the most dire of circumstances.  Gosh, I wonder what that possibly could have been about?

     Sneaky Heinlein.

Busy Snakes

    The sign warns you: fear the well-fed, amorous Hertfordshire Adder!

     (Man, if that's what they're like in that corner of the planet, small wonder St. Patrick ran 'em outta Ireland.  Tch.)

Saturday, September 21, 2013


     I got there late, thanks to a ten-psi tire on my car, and a lot of the venders had sold most of their stuff and left for brunch.  But what was left included pretty highgrade stuff at the Greenfield Hamfest  -- for those in the know, I bought a UTC LS-33 transformer and passed up two LS-30s, as I couldn't afford to pay the seller what they're worth.  Plus I picked up a couple of huge carbon rods (spectrograph electrodes!) and this and that.  Best of all, broadcast engineering legend Charlie Sears was there, and we had a nice long chat.

     While in Greenfield, I stopped off at Highsmith Guns, which is every bit as nice as it looks on their website.  A selection of mostly-modern guns, adequate stocks of ammunition (they're struggling like everyone else to keep it in stock), plenty of archery supplies -- and a large, well-lit, sparkling-clean indoor range! (Outside, a sign points out overflow parking at the dentist's next door on weekends -- they have quite a few spaced but business was indeed just that busy when I stopped in.)

     Greenfield itself is a pretty town, mindful of its history (and native son James Whitcomb Riley*).  Downtown and the surrounding residential area is filled with well-maintained or restored 19th through early 20th-centrury buildings.

     A morning well spent!
* Go look him up and discover a poet who lived -- and self-promoted -- like a rock star!  (He did write the lyrics to Shortnin' Bread,† after all.) Heady times to be a lit'ry figure in Indiana, or even nearby.

† Which reminds me of whalesong, for reasons that will soon be made clear.  That piece is still as effective as the day it was produced. 

I'm Off To A Hamfest

    Will they have ham?  Only the radio kind, I think.  More later.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Mean People Still Suck

     Tam started it -- and this post is something of an online apology, since she took my annoyed outburst at mockery of the mockable as being directed at the mockers.

     Nope.  I'm irked at the excessive degree of polarization, especially as it is directed into criticism of the freely-chosen, harmless-to-others behaviors of our fellow citizens.  Left-learning folks do it, Right-leaning folks do it, Libertarians do it -- and for Authoritarians, why, it's their prime commodity.

     When it's obvious who threw out the first sniffing, "Well!  I never!  Such outlandish behavior/attire/expression," as far as I'm concerned they're ripe for mockery and criticism in return, by the ancient principle of estoppel: what you do to others, you cannot object to when it is done to you.  But geez-o-pete, the effort and vitriol people put into it in the first place would gag a goat.  (In the example that prompted me, someone was complaining that old ladies weren't old-ladylike enough -- blast it, if they can't be who they want to be after a long, long life, when will they?)

     Extreme polarization isn't helping.  There are times and places to do the marching-and-chowder society thing -- political conventions, political protests, revivals, etc.  But not when you're at the grocery, or having a coffee, or talking with your neighbor.  Whatever your own pet issues are, most people don't share them.  Whatever set of politicians you think are whacked-out wreckers, at least half of the people around you would disagree -- if they bothered to think about it at all, which they rarely do.

     It is -- as I am fond of saying -- a damn big world and we would all benefit by a little more nibbing out of the other person's beeswax and a little less promoting our own causes in places where it just annoys the uninvolved.

     The recent developments at Starbucks provide a nice microcosm: while it's odds-on that Howard Schultz leans a bit more D than R, I'd bet real money that until very recently, he spent little time thinking about how to limit your gun rights.  It wasn't his worry -- sure, the Bradys and Mommies were yammering at him, but as long as they said "Starbucks" in every news release, it was just more free media mentions of the firm's name.  Then the antis and the less-subtle pros stepped things up and made it his worry and lo and behold, he swatted at what buzzed around him.

     That kind of thing is unproductive.  When you go to the range, when you hunt, do you just blaze away ignoring the sights, or do you stop and think, "Where's this going?  What'll happen when it hits?  Should I take this shot?" and take careful aim.  If you won't practice your politics with the same care and discretion, do everybody a favor: shut the hell up.  --And the same is true for those folks who shuddered in horror at my shooting analogy.  It applies all across the board, Left, Right, Up and Down.

      Maybe "the political is personal."  So's relieving yourself, and we all disapprove of people who do that in public.

     Stop.  Think.  Ask yourself, "Is this ego-trip really necessary?"

Thursday, September 19, 2013

"I'll Rewire Any Child's Brain For Just $99.95!"

     There've been some ads like this one running on local TV, only slicker and even more so.

     Is your kid mentally askew?  Get him or her rewired, reprogrammed, fixed!  Pound those square pegs into round holes -- you know they'll be happier once they've been trimmed to fit, they'll tell you they are.

     Maybe it's just me but it all seems dreadfully like a Philip K. Dick future starring Earl Scheib.  Repainting Room 101 for a new century!

     Interesting links and comments here.

    Perhaps they're miracle workers.  It still scares the hell out of me.

Don't They Make A Short-Term Blue Pill?

    No, not the diamond-shaped blue pill, Mr. Obsessed!  This one--
If it lasted for just a day?  Twelve hours?  I'd take that.  Some mornings, the red-pill world is too darned much to carry.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Starbucks And Your Gun: Congratulations, Idiots.

     It appears to me that a broad coalition of gun-controllers and in-your-face open carriers have managed to change Starbuck's long-standing neutrality on the lawful carrying of firearms in their coffee shops.

     Oh, they're still standing by their observance of state and federal law; if you can lawfully carry in the location where you find a Starbucks, you can carry right up to the counter and order yourself a treat; but they're asking you -- us! -- to not bring openly-carried (or even concealed, though if you're doing it right....) guns into the store.

     CEO Howard Schultz expressed, well, annoyance about his stores being made a debating stage, citing both sides for "uncivil rhetoric" and "friction," pointing out the "disingenuous"-ness of claiming the coffee giant is a champion of open carry.

     There are times to, as it were, scare the white folk and there are times not to.  We had a major retailer that was aggressively neutral and the Bradys and the "I have a right to carry an AR-15 here!" people managed to collude, however inadvertently, to change that.  Starbuck's is still kind of neutral; they're no happier with the Mommies Against Bangety Badness than they are with Joe Tacti-cute but they're sending a clear warning: ramp it down.  Coffee shops are not the village green.

     Starbucks sells coffee. They don't sell political philosophy. Not yours, not mine, not Josh Horwitz's or uncle Wayne LaPierre's.  Like Orwell's rifle hanging over the freeholder's fireplace, our job remains what it should always have been: to see that it stays that way. Instead it's hanging by the sling from one peg.  The anti-rights types are going to spin this as a win -- and we can't unspin it with more Open Carry Theatre.  You can vote with your dollars, the same way you do with any other business and the same way you should've been all along.

     (Text of the Howard Schultz news release here, along with a round-up of gun blog posts on the issue.)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Family -- Or, Have You Ever Wanted To Drown Yourself Just To Have A Good Excuse For Avoiding People?

     I've been feeling guilty about Mom X.  A few weeks back, she was after me to attend the wedding of a niece who -- like most of my extended family -- I hardly know.  I stopped calling her.  She rarely calls me and there the matter stood.

   Quite awhile back, I was estranged my family for several years.  See, I'm uneducated and was pursuing a low-paying trade with zero stability, hanging around with terrible horrible rock'n'roll radio types, destined for a bad end, etc. etc., issues that look trivial in hindsight.  Nevertheless, it was an ugly break and years later when we got back in touch -- slowly, cautiously -- some bond was gone and for me, at least, it's never really come back.  Can't trust 'em, after all, and they've been more like overly-familiar strangers than my heart's blood ever since.

     I worry about my nieces and nephews, who seem like good kids despite having less-than-ideal parents;* we're not close, too many years lie between us, but I wish 'em the very best.  I worry about my Mom and I'd like to help her more than I have been doing -- but dealing with my family is like walking on slippery rocks at the edge of a whirlpool.  There's a gigantic, sucking maelstrom of emotional distress and dysfunction howling at my elbow the whole time and I'm not going back into it, period.  I've watched my siblings get messed up by it, I've been there myself way too much and only barely clawed my way out, and it's not worth the pain and risk to dip even a toe back in.  There's no emotional reward of fuzzy-wuzzy wonderfulness, just a lot of walking on eggshells wondering what's going to go wrong next.  If that's family, I'll take the bare-minimum RDA, please.  I couldn't cope with any more.
* Says the woman who never parented.  My sibs are-- Difficult people.  In some ways, challenged; the three of us are reflections in a fractured mirror.  But like most parents, they were well-meaning amateurs and sincerely love their offspring.

In Response To A Gun-Control Idiot

     You only need to change the object of his loathing:

     "I care about what is right and about those who are left behind."

"While I don't believe eliminating books from our society is the answer, I do believe book ownership and publishing rules have to be tightened and any criminal record or issues of mental illness or incitement to violence should exclude a person from access to either. Strict rules as to how books are stored and how people gain access to them should be part of the overall strategy. A national database pertaining to book and printing press ownership would greatly assist federal and state authorities to monitor and deal with potential problems. "

"The easily-influenced will always gain access to books no matter how strict book control may be, so the populace should have a right to literacy. Citizens have a right to read and even to publish but it is a right that comes with heavy responsibilities."

Still sound reasonable?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Navy Yard Shooter

     Spree shooter at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard?  How damnably convenient for the antis.

     Given the recent revelations about NSA (et al)  and their program of domestic snoopery, I really do wonder if they haven't got a nutjob farley-file and when prompted, the pull the pin on one.

     Implausible?  How many of you (not me! not for years*) said the same thing about the deep complicity of telcos in domestic spying?  -Of ISPs?  Of Google?  ("Don't be evil!"  Heh heh heh, shaddup.)

     It's possible -- even likely -- that the domestic intel wonks have been not farming but hunting/gathering useful crazies for years.  And using them, too.  C'mon, if you'll give LSD to unsuspecting fellow-citizens, you'll play chess with humans in other ways, too.

     (ETA: Semi-relatedly, Tam points out he went into his idiot blitz armed with a single weapon: "He listened to Joe Biden and bought a shotgun."  See?  They really do receive orders from Teh Gummint!  Also, how safe is your high-end skeet gun from the ever-reaching regulators now, d'you suppose?)
* Once you've learned even a little bit about how phone CO hardware worked for things like "metered service" -- it's even more trackable now -- you realize that a) the BS in TV shows about "tracking calls," how long it took and how difficult it was, was just BS and b) the telcos were in bed with the feds, starkers, and had been for a long time -- and they liked it there, so sticky-warm and snuggly-close to the roots of power.  But day-um, I really did harbor old hippie illusions about Google and the mom & pop ISPs, more fool me.

Defining Down "Geek"


It Can't Be Serious If Gurrrrls Are Doing It

     The headline looked kewl, "Women embrace 'geekdom' as gender roles shift."

     The story was anything but.  I clicked over, thinking I'd be reading about engineers, computer programmers, a team building Rube Goldberg machines--  What I got was a puff piece about women admitting to playing D&D or WoW.

     Um, "Hooray?"   Also, "This is new?"  --I'm no fan of such games but I got that way the same way some B_____-R______ employees dislike ice cream: I wasted much of my time in college at a crummy terminal, playing "Star Trek" or the various online offerings of the PLATO system instead of in class.

     That was in the Dark Ages, before there was 3-D television or even Amazon, and while geeky wimmin were a distinct minority, we did exist.

     Back then, real geeks did real things in the real world; an awful lot of 'em were gamers too, but for many, the real game was hacking code or designing and building wild and far-out things (and./or model railroad layouts).  I guess that kind of thing is simply not on the mental map of TV newsies; they never ran with the geeks and all they remember is the eruption of multi-sided dice when the jocks knocked over their table in the high school cafeteria.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Toe-Ow, Toe-Ow, Toe-Ow

     I have done something horrible to my right big toe.  It's not especially bent and the skin is unbroken, at least.

     Update: Swole up and purple as of Monday morning, despite the ice pack.  May have to go get this looked at. /Update

     Teva makes nice, minimalist sandals with nice tough soles and I wear them around the house rather than slippers.  I keep them way past sensible, though; hook & loop fasterners have a definite lifespan.

     So there I was, sandalled, in the basement, folding laundry, when I heard what I thought was the unmistakable squeeeeek of a door being carefully opened by a curious cat.  Hands full, I dashed towards the stairs and ran up them--

     And caught the flopping sole of my right sandal on the underside of the third step up, falling forward and jamming the big toe of that foor into the nose of the step.  I caught myself short of a full face-plant, barely, but the toe took a lot of force.

     'Cos I'm clever (and I was in the middle of finally hanging the ground mecca/grounding switch on the wall in my hamshack), I ignored it until my next trip up the stairs.  It's not liking the normal pushing-off job toes are supposed to do, not one bit.  The pain is right there at that important big-toe knuckle. So I'll be going to bed with a nice little ice pack.

     Ow, dammit.

     Oh, the "squeeeeek" turned out to be the door of the dryer.  The basement door was securely latched.  Ever since the family cat took a short, disconcerting ride in a dryer full of clothes when I was in fifth grade, I've been worried about cats and dryers.  He survived, but he was three days getting over the dizzies and he was never quite the same from then on.  (And no, I do not want to hear stories that turned out worse. Please.)

So. I Slept In

     I slept in, while Tam chortled over the hooting and posturing on This Face The Press/Meet The Nation-Week, one of those dreadful, over-lit, pundit-haunted temporary hells that dissect current events with the same degree of insight and wit as a basement huddle of cow-college sophomores in very recent possession of their first fake ID.

     It's nothing I can face unfortified by coffee and carbs, so I pulled the intervening doors nearly to and burrowed back under the covers with a pillow over my head.  When I awoke, it was all over except for the faint whiff of ersatz brimstone, a rusty and slightly bent campaign button for Mr. O---- and a few white feathers floating in the blovaited air.

     Whew! That was a close one!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

So, What's A "Bohannon?"

     Former CBS Radio newsguy John Bohannon -- a man with the kind of remarkably urbane delivery that can make a report about meth-crazed rival pizza-delivery guys duking it out to the death with screaming-hot four-cheese 16-inchers sound sophisticated -- has got a blog.  On this blog, he posts items about his current gig (hosting a jazz show on an FM station), the usual bloggy stuff and strikingly surreal snippets hammered together from leftover bits of popular culture.

     His politics, I dunno from and don't you go pick fights; he's a radio dude of a certain age, a group that generally gets to overhear too much and therefore becomes cynical about anything that slinks into public office or the popular press.  His writing, that speaks for itself-- At CBS, he worked with a crowd that knew how to put words together.  I had the good fortune to work for a CBS radio affiliate when I was way young and they were giving airtime to people who could actually work a typewriter, end up with coherent sentences afterward and deliver them on the air with all punctuation intact and no abuse of the definite article. (Mind you, a few of them did dreadful things to the clock.  Win Elliot's weekend sports reports tended to split at the seams and screech into the last seconds of his allotted time at a terrifying pace, his final words dodging the second hand like an Olympic fencer on a slip'n'slide.)

     The elders of that generation are gone now and in their place, subliterate savages crowd the inside of your TV and computer, gasping and leering.  (Your radio's probably full of dust by now, or possibly bubbling with gleeful vitriol: not my cuppa'.)  Finding a survivor still putting messages in bottles (or into Teh Innernet's series of tubes, anyway) is a happy surprise.

Saturday, Work Day

     And so, thus, I'll point you another's words: a nice article about SF writer Wilmar H. Shiras.  If you haven't read "In Hiding," or the novel that grew from it, Children Of The Atom, you should. 

     Shiras didn't write a lot of SF (or anything else) and no one has assembled a collection.  "In Hiding" has been widely reprinted but most of her later short fiction from the 1970s, mostly printed in a mag edited by Ted White, has not been anthologized.  This is a pity -- in tone and theme, she ran well ahead of the pack.

     As for me, I'm off to the cluttered tech core of starship Lupine,* to help install some new imaging widgets used by the Navs boffins, so we can experience the joy of a "live training" session before it all goes online for real a fortnight from today.  The old widgets that are going to get replaced have become quirky and buggy as well as outmoded -- but Navs knows them better than you know your own favorite shoes. The new gear does ten times as much (in only twice the physical volume!) but it's got a steep and dirty-pool learning curve: if Lulu (or whichever of our dear, dear weirdos and savants) happens to pull the wrong cord, the whole system blows itself to--  Ah, well, not an actual explosion; it reboots quickly and we've got backups but you still kinda clench up when that BSOD appears.
     (The preceding paragraph is mostly true, for certain values of "true.")

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rough Justice?

     The story is still unfolding, but it appears a rejected customer at a local nightclub in a tough neighborhood decided to vent his spleen by slicing some other customers open; one of the stabbing victim's friends took exception to this initiation of force, and shot the stabber.

     Bottom line: the knife-wielder is dead.  The stabbing victims are in hospital, expected to recover.  The presumed shooter is in custody, having surrendered to police when they arrived.  I can't get the online video at the link to play but from what I saw on TV -- calm conversation between alleged shooter and police officers -- and what police have said ("He [stabber] lashed out at the wrong group..."), this looks more like an appropriate response to a violent fool than some kind of gang squabble.  If it is the first, job well done!  Either way, perhaps it'll give the next malefactor something to consider before he tries expressing his precious frustration by initiating violence.

     N.B. My post title is meant wryly, as this sort of happening isn't "justice" in the usual sense; nope, it's the same thing you do when a rabid dog shows up and takes after folks: you stop it.  Justice is what happens afterward and we're still waiting to find that out.

Friday Fast-breaker

     I am, apropos of having to work six days (or getting to; they do pay me overtime, after all), sitting down to very nearly a Full Roseholme Brekky: a hand-cut* filet garnished with a ring sliced from a little hot, pickled pepper, a strip of bacon, fried egg, three sliced cherry tomatoes, toast, juice of choice (cranberry and V-8 for me, but serially, not mixed!) and coffee.

     It's a mood-lifter par excellence.  They can keep their polynonsensesyllabium with all the side effects ("May cause an uncontrollable urge to climb clock towers while armed..."  "If you wake up more than twice in a cheap motel with an unconscious Fuller Brush man on a mattress piled with empty corn syrup bottles, see your doctor promptly..." "Warning: Will wax whimsical!  Also, alliteration alert.").  The occasional old-fashioned breakfast cheers one up at least as well and in a much more benign manner.
* See, we start with a largeish filet mignon and slice it a bit offset.  Cook it the same way -- one centered, one at the edge of the skillet -- and the twain come out one very rare and one medium/medium rare.  The bright-red pepper is too hot for me unless I cut it in tiny, tiny bits, one for each forkful of steak,  Yum!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Weather: Broken?

     They're sayin' a low of 52 tonight.  It's about time -- I have been babying the undersized air-conditioning, which doesn't shut off during the day and has been teetering at the ragged edge of freezing up.  I've been shutting down the cooling at bedtime and going as long as I can in the morning before turning it back on.  There's still plenty of cold water draining after seven hours, and we don't keep the place very cool.

     While it is amazing the difference a small fan can make in one's personal comfort,* it's time for a change.  Even with the prospect of rain and storms, a coolish weekend sounds quite appealing.
* Interestingly, I have to be a little careful where the air hits.  A brisk breeze across my left cheek tends to trigger pain.  High-larious.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

11 September

     It's become tradtional to write some noble, patriotic thing this day, making some reference to the murdered thousands in the World Trade Center and the heroic firemen, er, firepersons who went rushing in to help, in even greater danger than they knew.

     But you know, most of those folks (other than the police and fire personnel) didn't choose to be on the front lines.  It was a loss for OpFor:* the terrorists lost 100% of their forces in that attack.  Given the likely percentages of jumped-up goatherds, child soldiers and/or refugees capable of learning to hijack and fly an airliner vs. the total number of U.S. citizens working in buildings of targetable height, they run outta dead-on-impact jihadiots long before we run out of people and buildings -- and that's assuming no passenger on any plane notices they've been hijacked.  (Have you noticed what happens these days when an airplane passenger starts making hijacky noises?  Pile-on!)  And all of that is entirely without the tin-badge Stasis we've let the pols saddle us with.

     Don't let the losers scare you -- and don't let grandstanding politicians, exploiting the situation to grab more power, scare you even more. No matter what party they're with, they need the same treatment we're givin' hijackers these days, only even more so and starting at the recall petition and the ballot box.

     Bomb-hurling nitwits, domestic and imported, have long been with us.  They're not the boss of you -- and neither are elected and appointed .gov officials.

     The latter will wave flags and wax grandiose at you all day today.  Don't let 'em mesmerize you.  They still don't have a damn clue.
* RX: "Can I call terrists 'OpFor?'"
   Tam: [Busy writing about Teh Won & Syria] "Not any more."

Exit, Stage Left

     Anthony Weiner departs much as he arrived, waving an impudent digit.  What's in a name?  In his case, entirely too much.  And yet barely enough.

     Hey, wasn't he another Mike Bloomberg pick?  --Kinda seein' a trend here.

It's A Win-Win In Colorado!

     Yes, John Morse and Angela Giron will be seeking other work, and were sent down by substantial margins.

     ...Funny, supporters of the rejected incumbents aren't talking about "democracy;" they're whining about vote-stealing and intimidation.*  At least one of incumbents had the mother-wit to recognize the handwriting on the voting-booth wall: John "all your gun belong to us" Morse tearfully admitted, "The highest rank in a democracy is citizen, not senate president," and HuffPo had the grace (or what passes for it) to stuff the sentiment right below their lede paragraph.

     We won.  The antis lost.
* This has become traditional for the election-losing side in American politics, in much the same way that a soccer player who is brushed against by an opposing player is required to fall to the ground, teeth clenched, clutching at the area that was touched.  Just as in soccer, this makes identifying actual problems a lot more difficult and undermines any real concerns.  Good job, morons.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

It's Not Nice To Mess With Mother Nature

Tam: "O-M-G!  90 degrees and people are having to shovel hail to get out of their driveways!"

RX: "Where?"

Tam: "Denver!"

RX: "See what happens when you pass anti-gun laws?"

     Inclement weather usually skews election results in the direction of the most motivated voters -- Coloradan gunnies, please be motivated.

"The Only Physics I Ever Took Was Marked 'For Overnight Relief' On The Bottle"

     It is a little-known -- and also untrue -- fact that physicist Erwin Schrödinger took up stand-up comedy as a hobby.  Was his act funny, you ask?  --About half the time, and you could never quite tell until it was over and they opened the doors!
     So, I was driving to work, wearing my "Quantum Mechanic" cap, when I looked down at the speedometer and my cap vanished.
     The day before, I was walking from the lab to get some lunch.  Had the "Quantum Mechanic" hat on.  Suddenly, this great big guy with a white beard stepped out of an alley.  He looked at me like he could see right into my soul, and in a commanding voice, asked, "You wanna shoot some craps?"
     (Man in the front row shouts, "Never happened!")
     Albert?  Albert, is that you?
     Thank you, thank you -- are you guys throwing things, or just waving?  Don't forget to tip the waitress.
     Meanwhile, in real reality -- didja know there was such a thing as Xenotime?  Yep.  Alas, it's just a rare earth, but pretty kewl nonetheless.  In solution, it often exhibits properties similar to those of thiotimoline compounds, except, of course, into parallel time rather than along linear time. Or so I've heard.  

Monday, September 09, 2013

Roadside Sign?

Bearded men
Rule Asian nation

Changing name
(Oh, consternation!)

Don't let it pass
Without a murmer

Shave Burma!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Tiny (Ish) Cabin In Montana

     Lovely home, not quite back of the beyond but you can hike there from it.  As long as the propane holds out, it's Easy Street!  --Kinda hoping they have worked out a backup way to pump water, though.

Well, That Went Well Fail

     Every time I try some off-the-shelf* "shortcut" to wood finishing, it goes badly.  Last night was no exception: I bought some stain-wiping cloths pre-soaked with super-super all in one stain and finish.

     Yuck.  Not only is it not the promised color -- more of a nasty chocolate-milk hue rather than the rich golden-brown it was supposed to be -- it also dries too quickly to smooth out and the result looks like an amaturwoodgraining job on top of the nice grain the wood already had.

     I'll have to sand it off and start over with a decent linseed-oil finish.  Luckily, it's just a single shelf, about 11" x 48".
* I've used one finishing shortcut that works: paste-type shoe polish!  Brown or light brown for general use, oxblood/cordovan to approximate mahogany or cherry, black for ebony, black and brown together for dark finishes.  It's a bit slow to dry and you want a coat of furniture wax on top.  It's not as durable as a real varnish or shellac but it works.  There are genuine color wax finishes for wood and based on my experiences with shoe polish, I wouldn't hesitate to try them. 

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Super Snoozecat!

He's not stretching, he was sleeping in this pose.

If You're Happy And You Know It, Clap Your Hands. Also, Please Help Bomb A Third World Country.

     Or else.  Hater. 

     It's mean, nasty, racist hateful people like you who are why we can't bomb Syria and show 'em why it is soooo wrong to gas people.  When you could just blow them up.  (But only officially!  Or for a cause popular among the coastal elites, which is the same thing really.)

Friday, September 06, 2013

Unicycle Madness!

     I know, I know -- let's ride our unicycles 'round and 'round a 3 km dirt/grass track through the woods -- whoever makes the most laps in two hours wins!

     Sounds crazy?  H'mm. Then I guess you don't have a unicycle.  QU-AX has video from the Waldmeisterschaft 2012, and no few of the riders are barely grade-school age (I suspect in riding a unicycle, it helps if you tend to bounce more than splat when you fall).  It looks kinda fun.

     ETA: They're playing unicycle football here in the States -- well, LA -- now!

     (I was at QU-AX's site grabbing an image for comparison in a post at Retrotechnologist).

Tin Cicada?

    We've had a few blessedly-cool nights recently.  Blessed for humans, at least -- the other morning, walking from house to garage in the chill, I noticed a couple of cicadas creeping with painful slowness.  One was right on the threshold of the entry door, and as I picked him up to move out of the way, he struggled lethargically and I could swear I heard a buzzy whisper, "...oil can...."*
* Is it just me, or does Jon Lovitz's pathological liar character "Tommy Flanagan" have more than an echo of the cinematic Tin Woodman in his voice?

A Failure In The Victim-Selection Process

     A local woman found herself looking down the barrel of a gun in her own driveway as she arrived home  Wednesday night.  Madcap hijinks ensued: "I do have a gun carry permit and I do carry a gun. I yanked over my passenger door and pulled it out and at that point, they scattered."

     Didn't even have to fire a shot.  Well done!

     Tam and I have been embarrassed to have the PR shill for "Moms Demand 'Action'" semi-local to us, up in the lily-white bedroom community of Zionsville.  This local mother shows the better side of Indy.

Thursday, September 05, 2013


Or, You Do Not Want To Hear This If You Are Not Looking At The TV Screen:

     "Anyone who's 'had' one of our chickens can tell you they're plump and juicy...."

     I swan, that is the exact read. Internal quotes and all.  Ew.  That statement, along with the latest "do not wash raw chicken" warning,* is enough to put a person clean off the pinheaded pollos.
* A close read has me thinking the main problem is giving raw chicken a shower.  A gentle bath -- no splashing! -- might be okay, after which you could powder 'em, put fresh nappies on 'en, and lay them down for a nice nap in the skillet, oven or grill.  Er, only without the diapers and using maybe salt, pepper, garlic and paprika for the powder.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

It's A Republic One-Reeler Serial, Sort Of

     I think he's got the "art movie" set stonkered.  Cory McAbee's Stingray Sam is a singing cowboy serial moved to outer space -- and not the majestic "This...Is..SPAAACE!" of Star [Trek] [Wars] (choose one) films, either.  Nope, it's a kind of beat-up, rundown, well-worn space, where bandit/escaped convict Stingray Sam has found a niche as a lounge singer in one of the has-been clubs in the has-been resorts on Mars.  It is there that the Quasar Kid, his former partner in crime, finds him and shares the news that they've both been offered a chance to pay their debt to society by rescuing a little girl who's been kidnapped....

     Intended for "viewing on all platforms," it consists of a half-dozen ten-minute episodes, which mix black and white live-action story with soft-color Terry Gilliamesque collage-animated exposition/backstory and include one song per (from metal to lullaby!).  The sets are about exactly at the level of a Saturday serial (okay, the spaceship's less busy and a bit slicker than the ones flown by Rocky Jones, Space Ranger) and effects, likewise.  Stingray himself is a reluctant hero, possibly a bit dim, and the plot is hauled along by main force, generally as personified by the entirely un-kid-like Quasar Kid.

     It's a film that doesn't take itself too seriously, that can't leave Chekov's "gun over the mantlepiece" alone for even a couple of minutes, and I thought it was fun.

     My friend the Data Viking did not; the largely as-found sets and a plot that required nearly all the characters to be idiots grated on him and he disliked the musical interludes.  (I can sympathize, as most musicals make me want to stop up my ears until the plot resumes -- still, just one "Officer Krupke" makes up for a lot.)

     So YMMV.  Is it an old-time pulp brought to the screen, or film stock best used to prop a wobbly table?  A dessert topping?  A floor wax? It's cheap enough to find out: the first two episodes are free.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Ow: The Price Of A Walk To Art In A Park?

     Also, "Ow."  I went to bed about 7:30 yesterday, let the TV make noise at me for maybe a half-hour more and then I was out, zonk!  Woke up at 11:30 and read for a couple of hours and then back asleep, right up until the various and sundry alarms at 0600.

     Y'see, it was supposed to be "cooler and less humid" yesterday, and thus Tam, the Data Viking and I walked a mile-plus to the "vintage and indie" flea market at Warmfest.*  It was kinda sticky and it just kept getting more so.

     The V&I flea was very nice, but the location was a bit ill-conceived: all manner of interesting goods, right up to a recycled-wood table that I swear was six feet by twelve, some massive art items, and the usual run of vintage and hand-made small items and clothing -- all in an unpaved, pedestrian-only space, accessed through narrow security gates.  (They were looking in purses, but not all that closely.  Further, deponent sayeth not.) On Sunday, vendor were helpfully pointing out that they do deliver -- and a few were quietly comparing the location to the market setups in the underused back parking lot of Glendale Mall, a mile or less away.

Photo credit: T. Keel, Keelophoto Ltd.
     Interesting things seen: a Coker 36" pennyfarthing, somewhat different design to my QUAX, and at National Moto+Cycle, a full 4' Rideable Bicycle Replicas version, solid tires and all:
     Do want!

     Interesting eats: Flank steak tacos -- Indian tacos, and I do mean the Subcontinent -- from Taco Lassi: beef, papaya, some interesting greenish sauce and red onion.  Yum!

     I picked up some odds and ends: t-shirtage, a nice old world map for my hamshack and some vintage office supplies.  Possibly just as well hauling anything lage/heavy home was out of the question, or I would have bought way too much.

     But it kept getting hotter and more humid and by the time we all returned to Roseholme, I was content to veg out in front of a movie.  (This one a kind of indie art-film SF serial.  I thought it was cute but when I said so, Data Viking asked if I was sure we'd seen the same movie, so perhaps my standards are serious askew.  You have to realize, I still enjoy the occasional Doc Savage pulp.)

     After DV departed, I didn't manage to stay awake for very long.  A tiring day, but a good one.
* Acronym waterboarded out of "White River Arts and Music Festival."  I was thinking when Tam first brought it up that it was named "Wormfest," after what anglers along the White River put on hooks.  But no.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Monday, Monday; Labor Monday

     Y'all know why "Labor Day" is at the far end of summertime here in the States, right?  --'Cos them there commies had done set it on 1 May in most of the rest of the world and we were havin' none of that, no siree.    So it was stuck at the other end of summer, still  at a time when the weather was good enough for rallies and speeches and dudes like Debs to make with the speeches: it was okay to have real Reds, just as long as the day was different.  Oh, and the .gov (well, then-President Grover Cleveland) was concerned the day would become a memorial of the Haymarket Massacre if they let it happen on the first of May.

     Like most of America, I'll be celebrating not by working -- or even by striking -- but in leisure.  The Knights of Labor pushed us the 8-hour day* and holidays off, and you wouldn't want all the effort to have been in vain, right?  ...One has to wonder what they would have made of the present fast-food worker's "strike."  Has anyone noticed any fried-stuff-onna-bun shops actually closed by this effort?   Succeed or not, you can bet one effect of it will be increased automation in the fast-food industry: electric burger-flippers don't hold out for higher wages and profit margins in drive-by dining are extremely thin.

     Anyway, the Data Viking is coming down and we might -- might! -- check out some local festivalization, after which a trip to the range (or a range; I'm not sure what's open today) seems in order.
* Where I work, it's eight hours-plus-the-stuff-that-fails-at-shift-end (or shortly after).  See, there's what you can negotiate or legislate on one hand, and the innate perversity of inanimate objects on the other and the machines sure do seem to hate me leaving work on time or remaining unbothered once I arrive home.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Open Carry At Starbucks

    Yes, in many states you can.  I'm not all that sure you should.

     Starbucks is delightfully, refreshingly neutral on the lawful carriage of arms in their shops.  They're happy to sell a cuppa joe to whoever's decent and has the price. I support them wholeheartedly in this and you oughta.

     I'm not convinced your long gun needs to come along.  Can it?  Why, yes, in many states, it can; and you can also show up in gum boots, supershort cut-off jeans and a chain-mail top, freely expressing yourself under the good old First Amendment.  But why?

Saddle Up The Drama Llama, Mama

     ...We're goin' for a ride.*  Or not.

     Beseems a couple of the more curmudgeonly folk in this corner of the innernets have gone a-curmudgeoning on the subject of Erin Palette-as-recently-revelated.  They ain't at all comfy with matters as they are and are gonna use the pronouns that seem right to them.


     Curmudgeons serve a purpose and a valuable one: to stand facing Change, shouting Oh Hell No and occasionally putting their shoulder to the wheel to keep it right where it is.

     This is a good thing -- too much change too fast can create a terrible mess.  I hope folks will be as polite and as tolerant of 'em as they have been of Erin.  Yes, yes, some people we like do not happen to agree with one another.  It happens.  It's okay.  Human beings are not ants.

     It'd be a damn dull world if we all shared the same views.
* "The internets got drama, mama, you don't even hafta go outside/Saddle up the drama llama, ride to the Book of Face/There's mean nasty awful stuff there/an' lots of angst to waste."  And so on.  If I could sing and had a guitar, I could be a famous artiste, if I knew how to play guitar.  Even just a little, like a ukelele.  Remember, online ain't real life, at least not 'til the P*yP*l bill arrives.