Sunday, July 14, 2019

Fun With Headlines

Haven't read the article so feel free to tell me I'm guessing wrong:
Pinkerton: Why the Democrats Would Rather Fight Each Other Than Trump
For the same underlying reason the Scots claim they never lost a battle: If both sides are Scottish, then the winner is always a Scot.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Fun With Cartoons

The comic strip Shoe is in reruns and has been for some time now. Included on the site, at no extra charge, is the work of an editorial cartoonist who seems to not view the president favorably. Usually his stuff has all the subtlety of an Antifa rally, but here's one that lends itself to multiple interpretations:

Imagine if you will, that President Harris has named Eric "Duke Nukem" Swalwell to be her Disarmament Czar. Imagine that he starts out near home base, in Alexandria VA, demanding complete and total disarmament of the citizens. Imagine that he is unhappy with the level of compliance from the citizens, and rolls out his trademark move. Imagine the reaction of the Never Trumpers, shown here in the foreground.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Suppressors - How Well Do They Work?

The folks at Ammo To Go have run some tests on suppressors with both pistols and rifles and published the results here. Spoiler: Rifles don't get noticeably louder or quieter with changes in barrel length, and everything gets about 25 dB quieter with a can. Nice, but only the .22s get below the hearing damage level.

While barrel length doesn't seem to make much difference on the rifles, I have noticed that shooting PCC class in IDPA that the pistol caliber carbines are enough quieter than the pistols that the shot timers sometimes have trouble hearing them. Add a can, and they could become quite user friendly. Alas, no PCCs were tested.

One might note that in the case of the Virginia office shooting, the use of a suppressor on a .45 cal pistol likely had no effect at all on any ones ability to hear the gun and locate the shooter.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Visit Colorful Colorado

This could work out. Fly in to DIA, arriving in the morning, and without leaving the airport, do a pub crawl, visiting no less than 6 micro breweries and sampling their wares, top it off with a nice Bacon Gooseburger (maybe at Chick Fil A?), then take a nice nap in a VIP lounge, and catch a late afternoon flight home with a bag full of souvenirs.

Could be a fun day.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Killing Geese

Not like they lay golden eggs or anything, just poop all over the place. As migratory* birds, they are protected so us peasants aren't allowed to thin the ever increasing herds ourselves. We'd even get a ticket if our dogs were to bag one on a walk, so the only check on the population is the coyotes and foxes who are woefully outnumbered.

Denver, being exempt from federal game laws, has decided to trap some geese and feed them to the growing homeless population as gooseburgers. Yummy, I guess. On the bright side, the homeless population should increase to accommodate the supply of geese, but on the down side, the homeless population will increase to match the numbers of geese and human poop will replace goose poop.

Not everyone has thought this all the way through, either:
Sure, killing geese gets rid of them in the short term, but they just come back, says Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of ecology and biology at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Yo! Prof! It's called a renewable resource! With a well staffed agency, led by some schmott fellow like you, at a nice 6-figure salary, we could manage the homeless and goose populations here to achieve a stable balance.

*They seem to have forgotten how this is supposed to be done and simply stay here pooping on golf courses and sidewalks all year round.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Independence Day

Best one around here in years. The firecrackers in my neighborhood sound like a major firefight and the street is hung with a really thick pall of powder smoke. A really noisy message being sent to all government agencies around here: It's independence day and instead of cowering indoors or in the back yard with sparklers, people are out front in the streets with the really colorful, noisy stuff.

A celebration of individual liberty and a big FU to the forces of darkness. Brings a smile to my face.

Gun Sales Still Strong

Here we are in the summer doldrums and the unusually high gun sales noted last month continues pretty much unabated. Could this be Trump waffling on silencers, the Pelosi House proposing massive gun control, or a reaction to Antifa getting the go-ahead from the Portland police? Or could there be something else going on?
We are now outselling the Hillary Panic of 2016. Harris is currently expected to get the nod from the Dems, and she has promised to begin confiscations in her first 100 days, the constitution be damned. Makes for a great stump speech but I don't think it would get very far in the real world.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Vox Calls For Armed Resistance

Vox is suggesting that it's time the left began arming themselves against the < insert insult here > right by way of being prepared to defend themselves.

James Hodgekinson was just a warm-up? All those cops the BLM people shot don't count either? Keep your CCW permit current and buy more ammo.

Will It Run 9 - Carbs

Mikuni carbs are fairly complex and the ones on the Virago are the worst I've seen. Someone took them apart at some point and had a couple of very small parts left over at the end. Idle mixture screws are normally a simple screw with a pointy end and a spring to hold it in place once you have (mis) adjusted it to your own personal preference.

I will note that my 84 Honda Sabre still has the anti-tamper covers from the factory installed on all 4 carbs and the engine runs fine. The Yamaha's screws are located deep down a hole where you might well not even notice them, then covered with a plug. They also include a washer and an O-ring along with the spring which must serve some fairly important purpose or they would not have been included. The O-ring and washer were the leftovers on both carbs.

The main jet needles have been through one model change and 2 revisions so I ordered 2 of the latest versions. Needles were ordered 6/23 from Omaha, and the o-rings 7/1 from Seattle. I can't wait to see which one gets here first.

Friday, June 28, 2019

The Democrat Platform

Things I've noticed over the years:

The Dems adopted the DFL platform which was pretty much the CPUSA platform back in the 30's. The abject failure of those ideas over the years has never been a reason to change, so they simply lie about what they plan to do. This results in the Dems winning elections whenever they can find a candidate with good hair and no voting record who can lie with a straight face. This election will be no different.

In the debates, which they presume the Reps will not be watching, they put forth what they want to do. So far we have
  • Tax increases.
  • Gun confiscations.
  • Slave reparations
  • Decriminalize illegal immigration.
  • No more deporting of illegal immigrants.
  • Abolish the private health insurance currently held by over 150 million Americans.
  • Give free health insurance to illegal immigrants.
I'm sure there will be more, but since they don't like to talk about it you'll have to follow their pontifications while they're on the stump but make no mistake, these items ARE the party platform whether they write them in officially or not. Note no mention of the debt. Oh well the Reps probably won't mention it either.

The SCOTUS has ruled that gerrymandering is strictly a state issue so look for lots of it post census. Some states have laws limiting this but you know no legislator worthy of his baksheeh would sponsor such a thing. Maybe a popular referendum if that's permitted.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

QOTD - Bernie

In an editorial in today's WSJ Bernie opines:
"His (Trumps) policies coddle fellow oligarchs while leaving ordinary people at the mercy of the free market."
And he wants to be president, assuring us that Socialism will work this time with himself at the wheel.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Best Idea Yet

Dave Burge has a suggestion for schools trying to figure out what to do now that Robert E. Lee Sr High is no longer PC. In an effort to help with the exorbitant cost of changing the signage and the mascot, here are some suggestions:

Bruce Lee Dragons 
Christopher Lee Vampires 
Brenda Lee Apologists 
Stan Lee Marvels 
Spike Lee Joints 
Stagger Lee Knives
 Sarah Lee Calories 
Tommy Lee Sextapes

Lee Van Cleef was also suggested and I will propose they become the Lee Van Cleef Badasses.
How about the Lee DeForest Tubes?

I'm sure there's more.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Apropos of Nothing

But possibly related to my impending geezerhood, I went out today for a medium length bike ride. 25-30 miles. There is a spot where University Blvd passes under I-25 where the sidewalk consists of a narrow strip of concrete with 6 inch curbs on either side of it, and includes a 90 degree turn at every spot where it proposes to cross a street. The streets it crosses are the on and off ramps to/from the freeway and the short bit (4x4 square) has the sharp turn to access it. On the other side, this is repeated, in one spot with a 120 degree right turn to be started before tour bike has completely cleared the off ramp. Off the concrete is a dropoff into the weeds which will require you to pick up your bike and place it back on the pavement.

I suppose I will recover from the scuffed knee eventually.

I have done rides like this 2 or 3 times this year already and had no real problems from them but today my knees are taking the rest of me to the Hague to be charged with crimes against humanity

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Gun Fun

Must be one of those specialty rounds for the 12 ga:
This post is a test.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Will It Run 8

Always something. Tried to take it over to a friends and only made it 2 miles before the engine died with a dead battery. Seems the voltage regulator was also kaput. Got a replacement which arrived NIB and 2 days earlier than predicted, put it in and the problems seemed to go away. NOTE: The VR has to dump about 6 Amps of current when the battery is fully charged and gets too hot to touch very quickly. Probably gets too hot to work shortly after. The original mount was a bracket on the rear of the engine case, right next to the exhaust collector can. Good thinking.

I built a new bracket with a big finned heat sink and mounted it on the opposite side from the exhaust system. This seems to be working. the regulator is running much cooler and the engine seems to like having a full shot of power to the ignition.

Side view
Rear view. Big fins. Lots of air.

Need to put 5 miles on it around the 'hood to prove it is now ready for prime time. The neighbors will be somewhat annoyed, but tough.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Reducing Gun Violence

Here's an idea that's guaranteed to work. First off I will state that it depends on your definition of gun violence, and I'm using the lefts definition which is that anyone found dead as a result of a bullet is a victim of gun violence. Stay with me here.

Here is a study of gun deaths in my state, and here

is a breakdown of the reasons. Click to enlarge. Note that here in Colorado the number of gun deaths ascribed to suicide seems to be about 75%, which is somewhat above the national average.

Recently our legislature has proposed to set up state-sanctioned "shooting galleries" (pardon the pun) where druggies of every type could go to use any drug they wished with state agents standing by to give first aid in case they look like they may have overdosed. This got voted down when it was suggested that the first such park be located across the street from the capitol building. My variation on this sort of overlaps the physician-assisted suicide idea in that id eliminates the physician who, after all, is supposed to be primarily interested in keeping you alive.

If you're feeling despondent, simply drop by one of these new offices, and pick up a single-use Fentanyl  kit which consists of a sterile syringe with a lethal dose of Fentanyl in it. Cost to the state should be near zero as the municipal police evidence lockers likely contain enough to go around. Take this anywhere you like, and shoot the whole thing. Voila! You're dead, and the death is not attributable to firearms. Instantly, the gun death rate is reduced by 75%.

Of course there will be abuses. People will pick up their free kit and only use half of it. The junkies will still be there, but the drug dealers will be severely impacted by the low-cost competition, driving some percentage of them out of business, plus it seems reasonable to expect that some percentage of the free dope users will eventually OD anyway. This should reduce the overall homicide rate as well without as many dealers competing for the best sales locations.

Is this a win-win or what?

Friday, June 7, 2019

NICS Checks - A Meaningful Record?

People like to proclaim "New Record" every time NICS check numbers exceed the previous year by some small amount, without taking into consideration that with the population increasing, the numbers can be expected to go up regularly.

Last month however, the numbers took a significant jump, putting May ahead of every May so far by a generous margin and ignoring the traditional trend of declining going in to the Summer:
Not sure what might be causing this, maybe more disposable income among the population (possible), maybe increasing expectation of violent revolt (unlikely). or something else. Theories, anyone?

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Will It Run? 7

It turns out that the gas tank filler necks across the various models of Virago are similar enough that the caps are interchangeable. Sort of. The standard flip-top cap will click into place in the under seat tank if the neck hasn't been bunged up too badly. If it has, one must obtain Yamaha special tool, # XV535-GT-RT-O1, or gas tank reshaping tool #1.
Yes, I know, this looks like a carefully bent screwdriver with a broken handle
but notice the careful shaping and polishing. There must be at least 5 minutes of careful thought and artisanal work in this. It reaches under the catch ring in the filler neck and pulls it back out so the fingers on the cap can engage it. Sort of an inverted pry bar.

And here it is:
Somewhat oval but with the edge pulled back out.
Voila! the wrong cap, but it snaps right in!

Whatever, it works. I also removed the remaining pint of gas from the tank and while the engine would run on it, it smelled a bit gamy. Fresh gas and I'm pretty much done. Got the plate and insurance so now it's off we go.

My variation on the song is that the motor sounded fine until it quit running with a flattened battery after 2 miles. The charging system is still not working.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Trump Acts On Mental Health

President Trump set up appointments at Walter Reed hospital for mental health evaluations.

Reps Pelosi, Waters, and Lee failed to show up.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Will It Run? 6

Removed and reseated the carbs, this time using YamaGoop (r) sealant, and noting that while the intake spuds are almost identical, the operative word here is almost. The last fellow got the back one on the front and vice versa and got the clamps on wrong as well. All this seems to have eliminated an air leak in the intake so the motor runs much smoother now.

I installed the new stator and a replacement turn signal relay, and while the system voltage is now consistently in the 12.5 range, the turn signals are completely inoperative. Oh well. The final assembly leaks no oil and runs smooth.

Speaking of oil, since I needed to replace it anyway, I got oil and a filter and had at it. The filter is removed by first removing 3 screws on the right side and getting behind the cover. All 3 screws are different lengths, and all 3 were in there to the point that a cheater bar was required on the allen wrench. The first 2 came off with a scary pop as the threads broke loose, and the 3rd one gave me a wallered out screw head. No sweat, I'll drill the head out. Which I did after ruining 2 otherwise nice drill bits. A Cobalt bit from Ace Hardware finally did the job. The recalcitrant screw turns out to be an M6 x 95mm Socket head.

Ace Hardware doesn't have anything this long. Neither does the bigger, fancier Ace. Nor does Fasteners Inc who normally have everything. As it happens, neither does the Yamaha shop although they say they can order the screw from New York. The friendly local motorcycle salvage yard didn't have one either but they did have one about 5mm shorter which turns out to get me about 3 turns into the threads. By 3 PM Friday it looked like my last hope was a metric specialty shop conveniently located on the opposite side of town. Maybe Monday.

Last things to address are the gas tank which had the egg-shaped filler neck, and the front tire which refuses to seat on the rim. If I can beat the tank back to some semblance of round, I believe the flip-top cap the previous owner bought will snap in and out and do the job. This will be tricky. I may farm the tire job out and attribute this to laziness.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Return Of Spring

It got all the way up to 70 degrees today, so I celebrated by riding a 28 mile loop on the local trails. The hobo jungle between Hampton and Dartmouth is still there. Some of the encampments are expanding into split-level dwellings with tasteful driftwood siding to set off the blue plastic tarps. Some of these folks are obviously unemployed architects.

The confluence of Sanderson Gulch and the Platte river is being upgraded to a flagstone lined mountain stream motif to about a block back from the river. If anyone ever visited there, they would certainly be impressed.

The rest of the gulch up to Heart Failure Hill is as usual.

Heart failure Hill is reached by going West on Jewell to Kipling which isn't a bad ride. Alternatively you can go North on the Kipling trail to Jewell, which will make the name seem quite apt. Note that going South on that stretch of Kipling Trail is quite exciting in that it's easy to reach 30 mph going down, narrow trail, limited visibility, and as you go under the tunnel, there's a narrow 90 degree right hander with a decrepit chain link fence on the outside to help break your plunge into a small creek about halfway down so the heart failure is possible both ways although accompanied by abrasions and contusions on the downhill side.

Civic improvements to the Bear Creek trail at Wadsworth include two telephone poles with perches on top big enough to sit 2 golden eagles in the prairie dog town there. Should be some great bird watching opportunities here this year.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Will It Run? 5

I may have spoken too soon. Driving around the block seems to flatten the battery, and a voltage check shows battery voltage lower with the engine running at high speed (12.4V) than when the motor is shut off (13.6). The book says I should be seeing 14-15V with the engine spinning in the upper rpm ranges.

Repeating the input voltage check with the original voltage regulator in the circuit gives the exact same results so it looks like I don't actually need the replacement unit and I can put the original one back into service which will get rid of the kluged up installation job

A resistance check on the stator wires gives readings way off what they are supposed to be and the recommended solution is to replace the stator. These things range from $30 brand new to $120 used on e-Bay so I'm thinking $30-$50 including gasket or pull mine over the weekend and see if the local salvage yard can help me. The part looks to be common across several models, but that wouldn't be the first time someone had told me that in error.

The backup thing to do is to visit the local Yamaha dealership and confirm that the part is in fact common. They also have a way of confirming my suspicions that XV535 bikes are made mostly from unobtanium by NASA contractors using space-certified parts.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Will It Run? 4

Well yes. It runs and I drove it around the block (3 x 3 block) today to prove it. Now it needs some minor stuff like a new turn signal relay and to figure out why the headlight doesn't work. The lamp that came with the bike seems to be undersized for the retainer ring, and the other one I picked up is way over sized.

The last bugaboo seemed to be a pair of hopelessly fouled spark plugs although cleaning out the float chambers and jet passages can't hurt. The insides of the carbs looked quite clean.

Runs nice, sounds nice, and even idles thanks mostly to having the right switches on the handlebars. Makes me wonder if the original voltage regulator is in fact good after all.

At this point I could get insurance and a plate for it. Only problem is that the DMV is closed for the weekend.  Oh well, Monday. Meantime I can work on the petty details.

UPDATE: Seems the headlight lens for this thing lists for $127 and the turn signal flasher/relay assy is $163. Seems awfully steep for relatively ordinary parts. They also seem to route a lot of the rest of the harness through the flasher relay widget so simply switching to more common parts is a bigger deal than it should be.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Will It Run? 3

I got the left hand switch set today and hooked it up. It sort of looks like it won't work completely until I've cleaned  it out as the switches feel like they've been lubricated in tar. Nevertheless, I get spark, fuel pump working, and starter function so I'd say I'm pretty close to hearing it run. If only the tiny battery was a bit bigger.

Top to bottom: H-L beam, Turn, Horn. Horn does not work yet.

Top to bottom: Run-Stop, Fuel tank on/reserve, Starter

Bloody damn cold in the garage too. The passing polar vortex left 3" of snow (officially) and got the temps down right next to freezing. Currently in the mid 40's and projected to stay there until Friday when we'll see 70's. Springtime in the Rockies.
The right turn signal switch gets me flashing on the right front and left rear. The left hand switch gets me a plaintive buzzing noise from the general area of the signal relay. I'm not seeing this as a big problem. The headlight still doesn't work under any circumstance. I need to soak both switches in some sort of solvent, then lube them with conductive silicone oil.

The fuel pump comes on with the key and there is now an odor of gasoline in the garage so it's going somewhere. A squirt of ether got me a couple of pops but no sustained running so there may be petrified fuel in the carbs although I was assured that the bike ran last year.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Springtime In The Rockies - Fine Scottish Morning

The Pedals and Pints group* has scheduled a bike ride in my neighborhood, coinciding with the arrival of the latest cold front that has dropped feet of snow on the Sierras. At start time it's to be 52 deg and overcast while we have out warm-up beer at Blind Faith Brewery. We then take off riding the uphill part South along the Platte river to Living The Dream overlooking the Platte Valley. By 3 PM we have only a 15% chance of rain for the return trip which might end at Locavore or might end at Jackass Hill Brewery which at least is on my way home.

If I get home soaking wet and freezing and thus die of pneumonia, I'll post about it.

*Happily combining the pub crawl with the urban bicycle tour. A fun group.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Will It Run? 2

Found the right hand switch set and that's on the way. The gas tank cap I got with the bike fits almost every Yamaha ever made, the exception being the one I got. Finally found the part number for the right one: Price = $182. It can be had for as little as $112 if you search but gee, that seems a bit steep for a gas cap. It also seems that when someone got the bike and found he had no key, he used the screwdriver on everything, leaving the filler neck slightly egg shaped. If he would only come around and bring that screwdriver, I could show him one more place where it could be used.

Money For Nothing

I was riding my bicycle along the Platte a couple days ago and discovered a brand new hobo encampment along the river. These things are becoming more and more common as Denver works hard to outdo Seattle in its welcome to ihe professionally indigent. The sight of one fellow with his shopping cart piled high with bicycle wheels finally set me off and got the wheels to spinning so here, to the tune of Money For Nothing, is my tribute to folks who make their living sponging off the rest of us:

Now look at them yo-yo's that's the way you do it
You camp by the river in a little tee pee
They ain't workin' that's the way they do it
Money for nothin', welfare checks for free

Now that ain't workin' that's the way they do it
Lemme tell ya them guys ain't dumb
Maybe get a blister on your little finger
Maybe get a blister on your thumb

Wage slave or salary man workin for a living
Gotta be there 9 to 5
We gotta build disposable doo dads
You need 'em badly, gotta make you believe

See the little beggar with the shopping cart and cardboard
Yeah buddy that's his own beard
That little beggar got his tarp tent and camp site
That little beggar works 2 hours in a day

Wage slave or salary man workin for a living
Gotta be there 9 to 5
We gotta build little plastic doo dads
You need 'em badly, gotta make you believe

I need a sign that'll tug at your heart strings
All I'd need is a Sharpie and a box
Look at that hobo, standin in the median
He's got a bit of Merlot in a little paper box
And he's down there, what's that? Bottle of Mad Dog?
Suckin' on the bong like a chimpanzee
That ain't workin' that's the way you do it
Get your money for nothin' get your checks for free

Wage slave or salary man workin for a living
Gotta be there 9 to 5
We gotta build disposable doo dads
You need 'em badly, gotta make you believe

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Will It Run?

In the spirit of numerous You Tube videos, here's my Will It Run project.

I had about decided that my 84 Honda V65 Sabre was getting to be larger and heavier than I wanted to horse around any more. Driving to work on the freeway was a treat, but I don't do that now, just run back and forth to the hardware store. So here's this 87 Yamaha Virago 535 at the bargain basement price of $400. Looks to be nearly all there, and allegedly ran last year but currently having some electrical problems. Complete with a clean title. Just what I wanted, having been a motorcycle mechanic in the distant past, this should be a relatively easy fix.

Not bad for a 32 year old bike, no? The "clean" title turned out to be in the name of the original owner when the bike had but 2 miles on it and the finance company had released its lien, so it was clean. The owner had even gone so far as to sign off as the seller and whomever got the thing had never bothered to transfer the title. Fortunately they had also not bothered to sign anywhere either so I'm the second owner. The title formats have been changed several times since this one was issued, and the wife was convinced I'd be lucky to get out of the DMV without handcuffs, but it went through although it did take more than average amount of consultations with higher ups.

Spiffy aftermarket seat and handlebar grips and a headlamp dangling from the wires. Should be no big deal to get up and running, right? Closer inspection, after I got it home, revealed that the fuel pump was a NAPA aftermarket unit attached to the stock wiring harness but not turning on. Also the original ignition switch had been turned with a screwdriver, the key having long since gone missing, and cut out of the harness leaving 3 short wires peeking out at me. It also had 2 cables hanging out with large connectors on them and no obvious connection points.

So far I've found out that the handlebar switches are from a larger/later model Virago and while the cables plug neatly into the rest of the harness, the pin assignments do NOT match anything which is why the ignition module begins humming when you signal a left turn. Also the wiring on this is unique to 87 and 88 only in this displacement so finding a workable set of switches could be difficult.

The gas tank, which looks stylishly small, turns out to be only a cosmetic shell. Notice no gas cap. The actual tank is under the seat. The cap is missing, and the neck looks like it was resized a bit with a hammer.

Shorting a wire to the starter spins the engine over smartly so that's good although there's no spark or fuel pump running. Wires for that are routed through the handlebar switches which pretty much don't work yet.

Found a left hand switch set at Sunshine Motorcycle Parts and it's on the way. Still need the right hand set. Spares that came with the machine included an ignition switch with key and the wrong connector, the handlebar switches from the wrong model Virago, and grips that fit way too loosely.

More as it develops.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Fun With Headlines

Who writes these things anyway? This one was too good to not mention. From The Wash Post:

Washington Post: Cory Booker ‘Stands Athwart’ the ‘Pitchfork Populism’ Against Big Tech

Visualizing Mr. Booker athwart a pitchfork, I have to admit, brings a smile to my face. Story here.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Plant Life

Can't all be sturm und drang now can it? I've got a couple of Juniper trees in the back yard and one of them is producing some interesting fruit. Normally all one sees on those trees is the little blue berries that are reputedly used for making Gin, but this spring one of them produced some large black  nodules with soft spikes on them. About 1/2" diameter, plus the spikes.

Today the nodules have "hatched" and the black spikes have turned into orange bananas, albeit, rather small ones. Here's the side of the tree:

That's a petal from the apple tree next to it
You can see a blue Juniper berry in the upper left. 
Here's a close-up of one of the fruits:
The center is about the same color the original spiky ball was

Here's a close-up of a large one, just about to pounce.

I've never seen my tree do this before, so any ideas? If you eat a bowl full for breakfast, do you gain super powers or just turn into Groot?

Update! Ask and ye shall find! This is Cedar (or Juniper)-Apple Rust Fungus which grows on the Cedar (and Juniper!) and spreads to the Apples within a few hundred feet. Harmless to the Juniper, it degrades the quality of the fruit from the apple although the apples are still OK to eat.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Highlands Ranch Shooting

The school in question is only about 4 miles from me, about the same distance as Columbine so I'm beginning to wonder if there's actually something in the water around here or if we just have an abnormal population of whack jobs in the general population.

As of right now, little enough is known that a detailed story isn't possible BUT unlike most of these things, both shooters are in custody and only one person is dead so detailed information may actually be forthcoming.

So far Gov. Polis has not issued a carefully prepared statement calling for more gun control, but I expect that will happen very shortly if not today.* What is known about the shooters is that the 19-year-old male (the adult) is a vehemently anti-Trump liberal, and the 18-year old (the juvenile ) is a female in the process of transitioning to becoming male. Both of them sound like perfect candidates for the Red Flag process which becomes effective(?) in January of next year, maybe.

Frankly I see this as confirmation of my own personal theory on gun control, namely that if we simply disarm and prohibit gun ownership to all Democrats, we can at a single stroke, reduce mass shootings like this by about 95%. Given the political proclivities of criminals in general, this in theory would also nearly eliminate gun-involved violent crime. In practice however, as criminals tend to ignore the laws anyway, that aspect would probably go on unchanged.

The good news is that the male shooter was rushed, knocked down and disarmed by one of the students at the school. This is consistent with what I've been told about dealing with a shooter when you have no weapon of your own and retreat may not be a viable option. A gun is a distance weapon and is hard to aim when you have multiple assailants piled on top of you trying to disarm you. I hear the hero here is planning to join the Marines when he graduates. Sounds like he'll do well there.

UPDATE 1: Sure enough, later this same day I got a form letter from the Giffords group calling for more gun control and asking for money. No mention of any mental health issues of course as that might cut in to their voter base.

Update 2: Seems the local politicians set up a "vigil" for the one dead student in order to press their anti-gun agenda and lo and behold, most of the students dragooned into attending didn't buy in to the narrative and walked out, put off by the use of Kendrick Castillo, who died defending his fellow students, as a prop. Amazingly prominent pols and anti-gun groups were able to attend a next day event:
The event also featured two Democratic politicians, Colorado Congressman Jason Crow and Senator Michael Bennet. Moms Demand Action, a group that advocates for gun control legislation, also had representatives at the event.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Colorado Gun Laws - Monkey Motion

RMGO is announcing that they have found a loophole by which they can get our Red Flag law annulled. It seems that any law wending its way through the legislature must, if requested by a member, be read in its entirety on two separate occasions in each house in which the request was made, otherwise it doesn't count so to speak. RMGO claims this request was made in not one, but BOTH houses, and the bill was never read and is thus void.

The opposition claims the request was not correctly worded so the reading was not actually required. Who knows, they may be right. If not, then the law goes away for a bit. If it does, the first item on the agenda when the legislature re convenes will be a by-the-book passage of the bill that will closely resemble the knighting of Danny Kaye in the Court Jester. If we're lucky, the process will happen in the capitol building and not in the Dank Shaft hearing room of the Lost Superstition Mine Building between 12 AM and 6 AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

In any case I expect no opposition will be tolerated and the elapsed time to signature will be a new state record.

Of course if it distracts the legislature from other mischief, then good, but I doubt it will delay anything very much.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Gun Sales - NICS

Here's the April update with no surprises at all really:
Just the normal post-tax-rebate dropoff. A new record for April? Sure, but the curve normally creeps upward year-on-year.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Advice in a Red Flag State

Colorado's red flag law is one of the most poorly written in the country and disclaimers to the contrary notwithstanding, seems to allow anyone to "Red Flag Swat" anyone anywhere in the state, anonymously and without fear of retribution. In that light, here's a snippet from the Colo RKBA newsletter that looks like it was taken from an advisory to Jews in Germany in 1938 or blacks in the civil rights movement in the late 50's:

1) Your status as a gun-owner/concealed-carrier needs to be a secret. Most relatives, co-workers, neighbors, even friends don’t need to know. Don’t talk about specific guns you may own, particularly military rifles. Maintain a low profile. Find other things to talk about!

2) Guns you own need to be adequately secured, and always out of sight. Ammunition boxes, loose rounds of ammunition, gun magazines and other literature, holsters, rifle magazines, accessories, etc need also to be kept continuously out of sight. Casual visitors to your home, office, car should never see any of that!

3) Get rid of gun-company/ammunition-company/pro-gun organization decals, patches, logo clothing, hats, bumper-stickers.

4) Watch your language and general demeanor, in public and in private! Don’t do, nor say, things that are likely to be interpreted as threats. Don’t make threatening comments, even when directed at a third party who is not present.

5) Don’t become involved in family, nor neighborhood, spats, particularly those involving marriage issues, child custody, etc. Be very good at minding you own business!

6) Don’t invite people you don’t know into your home, including police officers (unless they have a warrant). With your door remaining closed and locked, you can talk with unknown/uninvited visitors through a microphone.

7) Keep the subject of guns and gun issues out of casual conversation. Talk about guns only with people you know well.

8) Gun-organization literature, flyers, etc need to be shredded immediately after you finish reading them. Tear off address-labels on gun magazines and shred them too. You don’t want your residence address associated/connected with guns, nor gun-organizations.

9) When carrying concealed, assure guns, magazine-carriers, etc remain discretely out of sight. Open-carry, even where technically “legal,” is a really bad idea (except perhaps in extremely remote places)!

10)  Don't make enemies! Be a polite, civil, pleasant, courteous person. Don't inject yourself into other people's business

American gun-owners have no friends among Democrat politicians, particularly those currently aspiring to be president, and they would all like nothing better than to make “examples” of some of us, welding the illegitimate power of their new “red-flag” laws.

The sinister “knock-on-the-door-at-midnight” is coming for some.

Don’t be “that guy!”

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Political Science

Looking through an interesting post at Armed and Dangerous on the topic of the definitions of fascism, socialism, communism, and to a lesser extent, capitalism, I came to a conclusion which explains a number of things, primarily why lefties keep telling me that capitalism and fascism are the same. RTWT and don't skip the comments.

So the definitions of all ----isms is a socio-economic system in which harmony pervades the relationship between the governed and the governors, and happiness and prosperity are found everywhere. This seems to be the bedrock definition of all ----isms. To the extent that this happy state of affairs comes up short, the ---isms are obviously being implemented wrong, and someone is found to be at fault for this, and must be corrected/reeducated/arrested/eliminated. When the whole edifice collapses, it's then an example of the ----ism not being implemented correctly, or not "real ----ism".

Or as Robert Heinlein said:"Bad luck".

Goes a long ways toward defining why I went into engineering instead of the softer sciences since I have a lot more faith in the calculated breaking points of materials than I do in the durability of theories built on guesswork regarding human and/or divine nature.

Tangentially related: If you want to depress yourself* get up one spring morning to find a late cold snap has arrived with temps barely above freezing, settle down to read Indian Country by Schlichter, then periodically take a break from his dystopia to check the news.

*Don't know why anyone would want to unless you need some inspiration to sit down at the bench and run off another several hundred rounds of ammo.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Laws And Stuff

It's not just me, even Scott Adams has noticed the dearth of actual news lately. Aside from stuff happening in France, England and Sri Lanka, there's not much of note going on domestically. The NRA is having their annual board meeting and gun show this weekend, but they're currently tied up in internal bickering that the media can't seem to make heads or tails of, and several more people have announced their candidacy for the Donk nomination for president. So far, Hillary isn't one of them.

On the better news front I heard from Dr. Rob Natleson, a con law expert, on two items recently passed here, the National Popular Vote law, and our Red Flag Bill. He assured us that neither of them would stand up to legal scrutiny as soon as they get to the right court.

The NPV measure is in violation of a couple of items in the US constitution which means the 10th circuit would be ultimately hearing that one. Problem is that no one would have standing to go to court until someone won the presidency who would normally have lost the electoral college vote under the old rules, so there's a land mine that's likely to remain buried for a long time.

The Red Flag law would be subject to challenge as soon as it's applied to someone and would be heard in the Colorado courts. The problem with that is that the Colorado Supreme court would likely uphold a law re instituting slavery if it had been passed by Dems. They are currently looking at our magazine ban law and I expect they will uphold that easily.

Colorado has, in effect, 4 branches of legislative government, the Governor, the Senate, the House, and the people. If the first 3 branches pass something the people don't like, the people can demand that law be put to a referendum to be held at the next election. The professional pols don't like uppity peasants, so they add a clause to almost every piece of legislation they pass stating that the legislation is critical to the safety and well being of the people. This exempts the legislation from the referendum process. Needless to say everything down to adjustments to parking ticket fine amounts is critical to the public safety. Somehow they left this off of the NPV law. At this point it looks like it will be petitioned on to the upcoming ballot.

The Electoral college is currently set up to slightly over represent states like Montana, but makes up for that by over representing California. States get 1 EC vote for every representative they have, and they get 1 Rep currently for every 750,000 warm bodies regardless of what sort they might be including convicts in jail and non citizens currently residing in the state. Cali has 5-10 million (depending on who you talk to) illegal aliens who, although they aren't supposed to vote, are represented in the US House and on the E.C. This doesn't seem entirely fair to me, so I asked the good professor about a possible fix.

Back in the day when all this was being discussed, the issue of representation came up and the northern states noted that assigning reps on the basis of raw population alone effectively gave the slaves several representatives, none of whom were elected by the slaves. This led to the 3/5 compromise which kept the slave states from running the show in the house with reps they got from non-voters. When the slaves were freed and declared to be citizens, this became moot but I suggested bringing this back with respect to non citizens. I was assured that this proposal would NOT fly. It would cost Cali, and probably Texas and Florida  3-5 seats each but those would be allocated to other states who would be glad to get them.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Planet Of The Apes - The Story Begins

Transplanting human brain development into monkeys.

At least it's currently confined to China. Should any of the "uplifted" monkeys get shipped to the U.S. the field of candidates for the Dem presidential candidacy would immediately become a lot more crowded and accusations of speciephobia will be bandied about.

Might be fun to see what happens if you give this treatment to the great apes. Some of them already can use sign language to communicate and teach it to their offspring. The ability to give a coherent stump speech is all that stands between an Orangutan and the White House or at least a House seat.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Duke Nukem Enters Dem Presidential Race

In the form of Eric "Turn in all your guns or I'll nuke you" Swalwell.

He's working on a catchier slogan. I told him that here in Colorado, all our illegal weapons are hidden in an underground bunker located under the state capitol building. If I thought he was telling the truth, I'd likely be backing his campaign but since he's a Dem, the odds of that are vanishingly small.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Colorado's Red Flag Law - Abuse Potential

When writing laws, the lawmaker, especially the sponsors, should consider not only what the new law purports to do, but what it can do if it's abused. Any law that can be abused, will be and we've all seen examples of this.

The Colorado red flag law follows the usual format of letting a list of people including disgruntled co-workers, spouses, acquaintances, and any policeman to request of a judge that someones gun rights be suspended. No firm evidence is required so reasons range from crazy ex to spiteful ex. Somehow I can see the state issuing a standard form which anyone can fill out against anyone else, and hand to any policeman. The cop is now in a position where the accused may or may not be dangerous, but if he does nothing and the accused kills someone, it's his butt that gets fried. So Officer Friendly dutifully passes the paper on to a judge, passing that buck up one notch. The judge may believe that the accusations are complete BS, but like the cop, he doesn't want to be the scapegoat, so he signs off on the confiscation of the guns.

Somehow I can see the trial/divorce lawyers guild coming up with a boilerplate form for a client to fill out and hand to the police. Something like this:
Click to enlarge. The accused now has 2 weeks to prove to the judge that he/she isn't dangerous to anyone. Good luck with that. I admit to adding the check boxes in the supporting observations area* but I'm sure someone will be able to help the accuser put things in that are less obviously B.S. Is this abuse of the law? Sure, but what was the point of it if not to ease the process of disarming the populace?

O.K. I admit to writing the whole thing. I apologize in advance if this thing shows up on some law firms letterhead.

March NICS Checks

Behold the expected jump in gun sales as we get our tax refunds. Since these came as slight increases in paychecks over the last 12 months, the refund checks may be smaller. Still, it looks pretty normal at this point.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

QOTD - Terrorism

Fount this at No Lawyers - Only Guns And Money:
From Made by JimBob who posted it on Instagram.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Constitutional Amendments

In addition to the proposed amendment limiting the U S Supreme court to 9 members, which I had heard about, it seems that Sen Rubio has introduced another one limiting terms of congress people to 3 in the house, and 2 in the Senate.

Since both of these require a 2/3 majority in both the house and senate, I imagine we'll see small elephants fly to mars first. Still, it's a nice thought. Next time you're writing your senator or representative, add in a request that they co-sponsor these bills.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Constitutional Amendments

This seems like a popular topic for the Donks running for president, all 20,000 of them. They are offering to support amendments to do away with the electoral college, revise the definition of "speech" to exclude "hate speech*", repeal the second amendment, term limits for supreme court justices and all variety of other stuff.

Sen Rubio (R-Fla) is proposing to permanently fix the number of judges on the supreme court at 9 so as to thwart efforts by the opposition to pack the court. This seems like a good start. Drop him a line and encourage him in this. While you're at it, ask him for one establishing term limits for members of congress.

*Hate speech, like assault weapon, means whatever a judge thinks it might mean. Generally anything someone doesn't like.

More Colorado Law

As the Dems continue to ram through anything their management in N.Y. and Cali ask for, one of them is actually noticing that their party may be becoming a bit overbearing. A bill to abolish the death penalty was introduced and run through the Senate without even notifying all of the Senators, including Sen Fields who lost a son to a couple of thugs who are currently occupying death row here.
But Democrats were just getting warmed up. A bill to abolish the death penalty was introduced without even consulting Democratic Senator Rhonda Fields – whose son was murdered in 2005 by two men currently on death row. Fields, rightfully upset, tweeted to her party leadership, “No conversations with victims like me who have been harmed. Voters and victims’ voices matter. What’s the rush?” The disrespect Senator Fields has had to endure by this process is simply inexcusable.

This is rich as Mrs Fields was the Representative carrying the magazine capacity limitation bill in 2013.  Then the Dem controlled legislature didn't care what Coloradans thought and whooped the thing through even though it ultimately cost them 2 seats in the Senate. Taking one for the team is acceptable as we all know that the republicans will never get the state trifecta and even if they did, they wouldn't roll back anything.

So screw us then, screw you now. How's those shoes fit, Rhonda?

Colorado Gun Laws

Our new AG, Phil Weiser (D-Boulder) has opined that any sheriffs who have a problem enforcing our new gun confiscation law should immediately resign.

Someone needs to ask him if Attorneys General who refuse to enforce laws relating to elections, immigration, or drugs should also resign or are they above those laws once you get to that position on the food chain.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

NPV Litmus Test

Here is a reference to a Twitter discussion on the National Popular Vote. If the Dems were really serious about this they would hold their party primary on one designated day nation wide, winner gets the nomination, but why quit there?

Show us you're open to diversity. Let anyone on the ballot who can raise some minimum amount of money toward their election, say $10 million, put that much money into a pot, and again, winner take all.

Even better: Let anyone vote. Citizen or not, D or R. Allow on-line voting from other countries. Who cares. The winner will most likely be selected in advance by the party central committee who will coincidentally be in charge of counting the votes. Someone with experience in vote  counting should be in charge, say Rham Emmanuel. Unless he decides to run as well in which case Robert Mueller gets the job with the proviso that he announce the winner within 2 days of primary day and any ballots arriving after the announcement will be immediately incinerated. No foot dragging. Likewise for all other ballots. Electronically cast ballots will be given the Bleach Bit treatment and the devices recording them will be shredded.

A couple of campaign managers will die of natural causes, and Hillary will get another shot at Trump. Sound fair?

Question The Pols

Always a good idea to ask pols questions, the more embarrassing the better.

In the NZ shooters manifesto is a bit that says that his choice of weapons and tactics was made with the hope that it would spawn more draconian anti-gun laws in the United States, increasing friction between U.S. citizens. We should clearly ask all pols running for office if they intend to support the N.Z. shooters aims if they are (re)elected. It's always good to know whose side the weasels are really on.

I know some people including the N.Z. PM oppose using such a criminals name in any context, but...

Calling a gun grab law "Brenton's Law" or referring to any of them as "Brenton's Laws" might possibly embarrass a lawmaker into withdrawing it or at least watering it down.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Springtime In The Rockies

Should have stocked up on Cinnamon rolls yesterday. Today it's 32 deg (not bad) Snowing (3-5" of heavy wet stuff) Wind 40 mph with gusts predicted to 70 mph!) continuing all day, Power has been flickering for the last couple hours and given the legendary reliability of that in this sort of weather, I've decided not to try to do my taxes. News is reporting 20-30 areas where it's already out.

I broke down and ordered a couple of Pro Mag 15 round mags for the Hi Point which arrived yesterday afternoon, just in time for me to toss them in the range bag and head out for an IDPA match at the local club. Yes, I know you're supposed to test your equipment before the match, but what the heck, it's just a club match and after 4 years of production, the bugs should be worked out.
This is a quick match with 2+ stages*, one a drill type thing and the other more like a regular stage. Space limitations mean that our stages are frequently abbreviated and last night the "long" stage was 13 rounds**.

What the heck, I loaded one mag up to 15 and shot the stage. Worked flawlessly.
For the low light version, I got 3 shots off and had some kind of jam. Hard to tell with the lights out but felt like a double feed. Cleared it and went on. Cost me some time, but other than that still smooth. I finished 6th out of 20 shooters so I'm not complaining. Very much.

I plan to make some time and try some practice on the 5x5 qualifier using the large new mags. My experience is that if you're going to have trouble with a mag, it will be in the first couple of rounds so 5 round strings using the top 5 of the 15 loaded.

* We set up 2 stages, frequently under 18 rounds each, shoot both stages separately, then either combine them into a super stage or shoot the longest one in low light. Or both. Last night we shot the long stage with the lights out.

** 13 rounds is a baseline number. It assumes you get through the whole thing with no makeup shots required.

Monday, March 11, 2019

QOTD - Party Platform Summary

Found this at Ace Of Spades:

"From what I've been able to tell from news reports, here is the Democrats' 2020 campaign platform in a nutshell: 'We hate you, we *really* hate Jews, we hate babies, we hate America, and we want you to starve. Now give us all your guns.'"
Pretty much sums them up don't you think? Here they also want to give our votes away to New York and California, where they favor letting illegals vote. Good thing for them the papers all support this platform.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Irish Democracy Catching On

Since my last post on this topic, more counties have joined the movement to let the State legislature know that they do NOT represent 100% of the population here.

So far, nine counties including Fremont, Custer, Montezuma, Otero, Weld, Moffat, Sedgwick, Kiowa, and Rio Blanco have passed resolutions that make them a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary County.
El Paso county, which includes Colorado Springs, is also considering such a measure.

This from the Conservative Firing Line an online conservative news outlet. They also report that the idea is becoming more popular.

UPDATE: 10 down, 12 more considering

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Gun Sales - Slow Start

According to the FBI NICS check numbers, we are starting the year off at a rather modest rate:
NOTE the text under the upper graph needs updating. 2018 is final. 2019 is a projection, and this early in the year it doesn't mean much.

At the rate we're going, we'll see a drop in annual gun sales to very nearly what we saw in 2017, about 17,719,000. This is out of place with historical numbers which follow a similar shaped curve with a modest annual increase. Also some freaky jumps when it looks like some new draconian gun laws are about to be passed. Pelosi &Co are certainly ramming several of them through the House, but I guess the nations gunnies have great confidence that either the Senate or the President will save their bacon. Looking at the way the votes are shaping up on the presidents border emergency proclamation, I would say Don't Get Cocky. Those politicians in DC will switch their vote at the drop of a poll so keep the heat on. Remember an e-mail to a Senator is easy to write, and will likely only be looked at by an aide and the position will be noted with a tic mark in the appropriate column, so if you can't write deathless prose, don't let it bother you. Your position will be noted and tallied.

As a famous Senator whose name I forget, once said: "When I feel the heat, I see the light." So keep the heat on.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Science Marches Onward

Mice have been given "night vision" by injecting nano particles into their eyeballs. This works in the near infrared and persists for some 10 weeks. Rumor has it it helps red color blindness as well.

Also we now have yeasts that produce the cannaboids (sp?) found in pot. Not only that but there are a bunch of these and depending on how you treat the yeasts, you can get all the ones we know about and some we haven't seen before. No telling what the new ones do but there's a near limitless supply of hippies out there who will happily volunteer to try the stuff and tell you what happened.

One company says it has modified yeasts to produce opioids as well which would have a major impact on the drug biz as opium and its relatives might now be produced directly in beer brewing carboys in peoples basements, eliminating the growing and shipping business which accounts for most of the expense of production.

Redefining The State Lines

As a prelude anyway, the passage of onerous gun laws in several states has led to the announcement of certain of their counties as "2A Sanctuary" counties in which the questionable gun laws would not be enforced.

In Illinois, this is coming to mean that counties outside of Cook are declaring their independence from rule by the gun grabbers in Chicago. In states with a large metropolitan area, this is becoming more the norm. In Washington, the Seattle-Olympia corridor is distancing itself from the southern and Eastern parts of the state, and Eastern Oregon is following suit.

In New Mexico the southern half of the state is moving away from the northern half, and here in Colorado, as many as 4 counties either have declared or are considering declaring themselves as 2A sanctuaries.

This is a perfect example of why the founders disdained the democracy as a worthwhile form of government. In its own strange way it produces an example of why some states actually need to be broken up. If, for example, New York were to be divided into Southern NY (NYC and Long Island) and Northern NY (the rest of the state) the Senate would retain the 2 Dem senators from SNY, but pick up 2 Republican ones from NNY. Same sort of thing in other places with one big city and one big state.

For me it would mean that I wouldn't have to move to Texas or Oklahoma to get away from the Denver-Boulder Blissninnies, Just down to Colorado Springs.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

QOTD - Basic Economics

This from Sal the Agorist
So what we need to do is first elect a commie, then take him out and shoot him, then abolish his regulations, then enjoy the fruits of our labors.

Oh wait...

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

I Told You So

At some point I expected the robots to begin replacing the talking heads employed in their thousands by every media outlet in the world. At least the TV outlets, although I don't see why internet outlets that feature podcasts couldn't do the same thing. I know I have a face made for radio and a voice made for the keyboard.. Now a Chinese TV station has a cute female news reader in what  might be advanced beta test mode. She is the latest step after they put forth a couple of male versions that were reportedly less advanced.

The day when Kent Brockman had to sit behind a fancy desk and try to look sincere while reading bullshit are coming to an end. Now an AI will seem to sit behind the desk and rattle off the most outrageous stories without ever cracking a smile or expressing any emotion at all. Of course that feature can be added later. A contemptuous sneer or a look of swelling pride and admiration will soon be programmable depending on the story or the political party of the subject.

This can be done in a messy cube farm by former newspaper writers who took the advice and learned to code or more likely learned to use the software GUI. No fancy studios will be required, and interviews with real people will be conducted remotely, cutting back and forth from the perfectly dressed "news anchor" and the interviewee, wherever he or she happens to be when the interview happens. Think of the money the media outlets will save not having to keep celebrities on the payroll.

Sitting in a bar at 5 PM watching the news, people can make a drinking game of listening for mispronunciations of words resulting from the autocorrect function of the text writers computers putting a wrong word into the script.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Colorado's Red Flag Bill

The Donks, having obtained the glorious trifecta here, will almost certainly be passing a so-called Red Flag Bill enabling the state to confiscate firearms from people for whom the "preponderance of evidence" suggests some sort of bad outcome if they continue to have access to them.

The most notable difference between Colorado’s proposed law and what other states have implemented: The measure mandates that a lawyer be provided to the gun owner at the first hearing on whether a seizure order should be extended. The sponsors also want to provide the gun owner a longer period to be able to petition the court to re-examine their case, as other states have done.
Garnett and Sullivan hope that those two elements serve as ample due process protections — a major concern for Republican lawmakers pushing back against the red flag concept. A false or malicious effort to have someone’s guns seized, under the bill, would be subject to criminal prosecution.
The descriptions in the linked article make the process sound a good bit more reasonable, and I sincerely hope it is. Past experience observing the difference between legislative intent and judicial action does not encourage. The bold text bits are elements that sorely needed to be included to mitigate abuse. 

This bit is bothersome:
Also, if a person whose guns have been seized wants to ask the court to reconsider once a long-term protection order is issued, they must show proof that they are no longer a significant risk. In 2018, the burden of proof for every hearing was on whomever was petitioning for the guns to be temporarily taken away.
Proving a negative has always been regarded as impossible. How small a risk is considered significant? How do you assign an objective value to it?

First rule of writing legislation: If a law can be abused, it most certainly will be abused. Maybe sooner, maybe later, but with the certainty of the sun rising in the East.

The last time the Donks used their trifecta superpowers against gun owners here resulted in 2 recalls and a forced resignation to avoid a rollover of control in the Senate. Threats of a rerun have already been issued.

Here's another less than charitable look at the bill from the Independence Institute.

Update: Added second article link.

The Search For Immortality Drugs

Another study is claiming at least partial success on the road to creating an immortality drug or at least a cocktail that slows the ageing process. Having worked in the medical industry, I can tell you it's never going to happen.

The FDA process for approving a drug requires a double blind study over the expected duration of a drugs use and a careful statistical analysis of the results including bad side effects and ultimately, mortality. Thus if you have a drug that imparts immortality, you must set up a double blind experiment in which half the subjects are given the drug, and half are given non dairy creamer or something. All subjects are carefully monitored, and any ailments contracted are noted, and the ultimate outcomes are recorded.

As soon as all the subjects have died, the data are compared, and safety and efficacy is determined. Of course if half the subjects never get sick or die except from misadventure, waiting for the end of the experiment is going to literally take forever. Hence, the drug will never get approved. At least not by the FDA in this country.

Medical tourism will become popular. In England and Canada, the NHS will give you the preliminary exam and prescription but the wait time to get into the hospital will quickly exceed 110 years. In Mexico you can get the stuff on any street corner, right next to the taco stand. Try to avoid the "misadventure tacos." Also the pills made from non-dairy creamer and Fentanyl.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Fun IDPA Stage

This one is called Evil Roy and comes in 2 versions. The setup is 3 targets on a single stand, about 2 inches apart front to back. Target #1, nearest the shooter is, of course, a no shoot.
Next two back are threats mounted on limited motion swingers. #2 swings out to the left, and #3 swings out to the right. Both of them move just far enough to expose about half of the target, then immediately swing back behind the no-shoot and stay there. You get about 1 to 1-1/2 seconds to shoot both of them. Twice each.

The rig is triggered by a plate mounted above and behind the target stand.

On signal, you shoot the plate and get your sights on whichever side you think gives you the best vantage, then it's 2 shots on each of the disappearing targets.

Fast? Oh you betcha. I think only 2 of us out of 20 actually got off all 5 shots to complete the stage. Par time was about 3-4 seconds. The best shooters averaged about 8 points down. Everyone else was down around 14. Considering that if you missed everything including the no shoot, the worst you could do was -20, this is a very tough stage.

This week we saw the same setup but with 2 plates. Shoot 1 plate and the opposite side target pops out. Shoot the other plate and the other target pops out. Just as fast, but you only have to shoot one of the varmints at a time. "Good" is under 10 seconds and 2-3 points down. About 1 shooter in 5 got into that group.

Fun Stuff.

Monday, February 11, 2019

National Inventors Day

Today is National Inventors Day as observed in the United States, so I am encouraging all you inventors out there to roll out your latest and greatest
and show us what you've got and tell us how it's going to help save/conquer/destroy the world. Help carry on the traditions of Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and Gyro Gearloose.

U.S. Popularity Overseas

We keep getting told that the U.S. under Trump is universally despised outside our own borders. Some fact-checking reveals that this is not so.

At a festival in Tuscanny, Trump is portrayed as a sort of God-King and in a favorable manner:

There is video of this here. The time on the video is in hours but be of good cheer, the part you really want to see in in the first 3 or 4 minutes.
This is impressive. It should be preserved and saved for use at the 2020 Republican convention. The video is in Italian, so I don't understand a word, but the size and animatronics are impressive.  Dazi Vostri means Your Duty in Italian. The body, arms, head, and eyes all move.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

AOC's High-Speed Rail To Hawaii

Perhaps we could bring Elon Musk in on this as the basic infrastructure looks just like his Hyperloop scheme to get people from the suburbs of LA to the train station in mere minutes.
Submerged freeway. More at the link, so click it.
Submerged tubes containing high speed rail and hyperlink facilities will certainly do the trick. On top of that, the floating support pontoons up on the surface can be enlarged to carry service centers, rest stops, scenic overlooks, and in a financial coup, a couple of Chinese air and naval bases, the leases for which can go towards funding construction and maintenance.

We can be assured that the PRC outposts will not be used as a basis for the Chinese to lay claim to the Eastern Pacific as territorial waters or a claim that Hawaii should become a province of China.

It's one of the things I liked about being in engineering: Nothing is impossible. Now let's talk costs.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Small Pickup Trucks

The Chinese have seen the niche and leaped to (almost) fill it. This one is a  bit under sized but as they say, might be suitable for localized work.
There are 2 articles on this citing different prices ranging from $5000 to $8950.
Presumably the U.S. model will have door coverings. Vehicles like this are legal on the streets if you have the red triangle on the back and they are limited to 30 mph max. With a 75 mile range, I'm guessing they use lead-acid batteries. Probably uses the same tires as the Harbor Freight trailers which limits the thing to 45 mph max anyway.

Note the rather Spartan dashboard:
I guess you need a smart phone if you want the deluxe package. Either the photo is backwards or this is an export model intended for Japan or Australia.

If they show up it might be fun to fit one with one of the Subaru 22hp V-twin motors from Harbor Freight.

Details here and here.

Gun Law - The New Approach

Got an email today from a former elected politician who was wounded by a deranged gunman, celebrating the change of leadership in the House:
  Amazing. Just amazing. Thanks to the work we’ve done together over the past several years, the House just concluded its first hearings on gun safety in almost a decade.
You demanded change last November, and we got it. Finally, we have a Congress that is willing to stand up to the gun lobby.
Standing up to the gun lobby seems to include prohibiting anyone with opposing views from testifying at their hearings including a sitting member of the house who was also shot and injured by a deranged gunman. That both deranged gunmen were Democrats who passed the very sort of background checks that Giffords & Co are pushing doesn't seem to matter.