Friday, December 31, 2010

A Career In Engineering

People (students) have asked me if going into engineering is a good idea in the great scheme of things. I always answer in the affirmative. It's a great place to exercise your creativity, and generally make the world a better place. At Listverse, I found a set of explanations of the origins of words, and relating to engineering is the story of Thomas Derrick:

A Derrick is a lifting device designed for moving large objects. They are used widely in engineering, and are also used to drill for oil and gas reserves. Thomas Derrick was a hangman in Elizabethan England. Derrick was a convicted rapist who was facing the death penalty. In an event that could be straight out of a spy film, Derrick was offered a pardon by the Earl of Essex, if he worked for the state as an executioner. During his time as a hangman, he designed a new system with a topping lift and pulley, as opposed to the rope over a beam method. Derrick executed over 3,000 people. One of whom, rather ironically, was The Earl of Essex, the man who pardoned him.
Some days at work are arguably better than others. I've had bosses who made me consider spending some time developing a death ray.

Click the link, and check out the other 9.

Gun Stuff

Did you know that your average EBR will fit into a 3/4 sized electric guitar gig bag with room to spare? The gig bag comes with backpack straps for hands-free carrying, and the accessories pouch will hold enough ammo to deal with the zombie apocalypse. Typical price is $14-$25.

One caution, the tactical accessories on your EBR should be limited to a small to medium sized scope and maybe a flashlight, although the flashlight can also live in the pouch. If your rifle is fitted with headlights, tail lights, turn signals, and a winged lady hood ornament, all bets are off.

Update: Starting the new year off with an Uncalanche! Thanks Unk, and it can only get better from here on out.


Of a sort. It is to laugh when you hear someone from the "diversity at any cost" coterie suddenly begin bleating for " intellectual purity" in our institutions of higher (?) learning.

Time To Write

The new congress convenes in about 3 weeks, and it's important they hit the ground running. Already there's talk of the senior Republicans going all squishy and reaching across the aisle. It's time to remind them why, exactly, they got tossed out in the 08 elections, and why they're miraculously back in, at least partially, now. Stretching out the time frame for reforming a regulatory agency is a way of doing nothing and claiming to be doing something. The e-mail below is an example, and could be used to ask for large budget reductions for any runaway regulatory agency such as the EPA, DOEd, Interior, FCC, etc.

As always, don't forget to add the line requesting the BATFE be abolished.

Dear Rep. XXX:

I have been reading that legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is to be considered in the upcoming session. I also hear that the Republican party may be getting soft on the notion of reigning in a regulatory agency that serves primarily as a cash cow for committee members.

Now is the time to take a firm stand on this and other budgetary issues, and de-fund and phase out F&F in as short a period as can be arranged, preferably not more than 2 years.

Runaway regulatory agencies are a burgeoning problem, and F&F is only one of several. As a cost-saving measure, please also support or sponsor legislation abolishing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives as they serve no useful purpose, and have become the embodiment of the jack-booted thug.

The Republican party has about 6 months in which to show they are serious about budget and economic issues or go the way of the Whigs.

Yours Truly

Thursday, December 30, 2010


It looks like we're going to get our first snowfall of any consequence tonight, and I spent yesterday cleverly prepping the ol' snow blower. Of course I now that the snow is falling, I find I need one more part.

You know you're in trouble when you type the name of your tool into Bing, and get a whole page of references to antique farm and garden equipment shows and collectors.

I did, however, discover that by cutting a small hole in one of the guards, I can reach a critical bolt with a socket wrench on an electric drill, and voila! electric starting. I think all gasoline-powered lawn equipment should have a receptacle for a rubber ball or something on a shaft to be used to start recalcitrant equipment after months in storage.

Frontiers In Science - The Brassiere

Some time back, shape memory foams were developed by NASA to make helmet and seat liners that better fit the user. Later these materials found their way into commercial mattersses that molded themselves into whatever shape you put onto them.

They have the property of expanding and becoming relatively more rigid when heated, keeping in mind that we're talking about foam rubber here, which is none too hard to begin with.

An Australian has hit on the idea of incorporating this stuff into bras, which will custom mold to whatever shape is put into them, and by expanding with temperature rise, becomes a push-up with excitement or sport bra with exercise.
The bra boosts the cleavage when it detects a rise in body temperature, said Nielsen.Such as when a woman gets a little flushed when she gets excited. It can kind of do some of the flirting for you," he said.

Moreover, if a woman is exercising and it detects a rise in body temperature, it can expand to offer more support when needed," he added.
Get the whole story here.

Somehow I have a vision of this thing causing a B-cup girl to seem to grow to a C-cup upon spotting a nice piece of beefcake walking into the room.

Parting Shot

Just when you thought you'd seen the last of the outrages the lame ducks hit us with, or tried to, there's one more thing. As soon as the congress officially left town, the president hits us with a basket full of recess appointments.

You would think that a Democrat president, with 59 loyal boot-licking lackeys in the Senate, and 2 or 3 RINOs who can be bought without too much trouble, could get his appointments through the committee and onto the floor where they'd be whooped through on a party line vote.

You'd be wrong. This pack of bozos are so distasteful that even the 111th congress wouldn't approve them. Dirty details here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Global Warming

There are a whole groups of folks with logical constructs that runs along the lines of

1. We are not wrong!
2. The sun is rising.
3. The earth is warming.
4. Unless we get massive taxpayer funding, we're all gonna die.

Metaphorically speaking in general. Pointing out that if you wait a few hours, the sun will be setting is futile. See step 1, which is not negotiable. Here's a fellow with an astounding 85% success rate at predicting long term weather patterns:

This sort of reasoning is popular among economists too, but the presence of one on every virtual street corner differing only in the details of step 2 has reduced their value.

What is needed is a derisive and catchy descriptor that can be used at a moments notice like a bucket of cold water on a wicked witch. Chicken Little is good, but a lack of studies in classical literature has reduced its effectiveness. I blame the teachers unions.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Economy, The Future

As the department of labor announces that "long term" unemployment will have a new definition starting next year, to extend the range covered from two years to five, the Conference Board, apparently a business group, announces that consumer confidence has fallen to yet another record low. "Unexpectedly" too.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I haven't seen any crowing in the news about how Christmas sales have ridden in like the cavalry and saved the economic day.

After a while one begins to wonder if the sun rises unexpectedly in the East every morning for some of these people. Still, their unblemished record of being wrong is not encouraging with regards to prospects in the upcoming year.

Speaking of the upcoming year, it's time for everybody to toss out a piece predicting events in the coming year.

1) The Broncos will not go to the super bowl, never mind winning it.

2) Kim Jong-Il will die and a coalition of generals will make his kid disappear, then begin resolution talks with the South OR Kim Jong-Il will die and the next chapter of the Korean war will break out. Obama will remain scrupulously neutral.

3) At some point, countries in the Euro zone with growing economies and not too badly out of balance budgets will decide that they don't want to support the spendthrifts. To that end, a national version of bankruptcy will be established, with Italy becoming the trustee for Greece with a warning that if anything goes wrong, both countries go to France. Spain will be turned over to Germany and a sternly worded letter will be sent to Portugal warning them to toe the line or join the Spaniards. O.K. this one's a long shot.

4) The drug war in Mexico will spill over into the U.S. with a major battle and high body count. Obama will remain scrupulously neutral.

5) The Supreme court will strike down Obamacare and the FCC's Net Neutrality. Both 5-4.

6) Unemployment at the end of the year will still be above 9%.

7) Despite being one of the biggest black holes for money in the state budget, the Light Rail project will not suffer any significant setback.

What do you think?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mayors Against Illegal Guns

As a group, they seem to be having a good deal of troubles of their own. But say, if I was an elected politician, and I had a closet full of legal, moral, and ethical shortcomings, I'd be opposed to letting my constituents have guns too.

One of them might decide I needed shooting, and heck if I was the judge, I'd probably agree.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

This about sums it up doesn't it?
Actually, this model could work out fairly well. Everybody gives everybody else something imaginary, everybody gets a good laugh and a nice meal, then the day after, everybody goes out and gets themselves the one thing they really wanted at a deep post-Christmas discount.

I imagine giving all my readers a coupon good for the motor vehicle of their choice. My readers can imagine giving each other a coupon good for free gas and insurance for 1 year.

Now, everybody go out tomorrow and buy that book of the collected works of Geffory Chaucer you've always wanted.

Merry Christmas.

Quote of the Day

It's gotten so cold in Merrie Olde England that one has to travel to central Alabama to find temps so warm here. There is an explanation, though:
The gulf stream is blocked with the oil spill that BP created. This has been confirmed by several scientist here in the US. It will have a devastating effect on the US east coast and parts of Europe, including the UK for years to come.
Found on Jammie Wearing Fool, a comment on a Daily Mail article Here.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Rule By Decree

With the loss of the House, and a significant weakening in the Senate, the president is no longer able to get anything he wants the old-fashioned way, in enacted legislation. Fortunately for him, the legislature has voted itself largely irrelevant anyway.

Unelected bureaucrats in any of the myriad agencies the congress has created are empowered to make "rules" which carry the force of law, sparing the congress the embarrassment of having to argue and vote on them out in public.

The president gets to appoint a majority of the people sitting on these boards, thus we have a 3-2 split in favor of the D's at the FCC which just voted 3-2 to impose net neutrality on the internet. I had thought the net was doing fine with little or no control at all, but what do I know? The U.S. Congress, and at least one federal judge thought so as well, but so what?

The process of pulling a rogue agency back in line is difficult, especially if you don't have a veto-proof majority in both houses. Stroke of the pen, law of the land, at least until the next guy can get in and change it.

Same deal with the EPA which has decided that CO2 is a dangerous pollutant, and is planning to issue "rules" soon which should largely shut down both energy production and oil refining in the U.S. by late next year.

If it weren't for the swell parties and free jet airplanes, there would be no reason for the legislature to actually hang out in Washington at all. The President can simply have his appointee at the Just-us department find a friendly federal judge to order that something he wants be done, then have the 3-2 majority of the directors of the appropriate agency decree that it be done to his satisfaction.

Anybody see anything wrong with this?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Missile Defense

So the Iranians are setting up missile bases in Venezuela and giving Hugo Chavez permission to use them as he sees fit. Meanwhile, back in Washington, the U.S. advantage in missile defense is being traded to the Russians for something, maybe a draft pick to be named later. What's going on here?

Look a bit deeper, and it all becomes clear. The Iranian missiles can reach only the southern parts of the country, and Barry does not see Ahmadamnjihadi as an actual enemy. So as long as the threat is only to the redneck red states, the policy is "The enemy of my enemy is my friend".

Makes perfect sense.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bottle Rockets

Tis the season to be providing your kids with fun toys, hopefully of the type that foster an interest in science and technology. Also without your having to polish your negotiating skills with the local constabulary. In that spirit, here's the method for turning a 2-liter pop bottle into a fun demonstration of propulsive science.

The easy method is to start with a clean, dry 2-liter bottle, with the cap. Drill a hole in the cap. Diameter is not terribly important, but 1/4 at a minimum, and 3/8" at a maximum seem to work best.

Get the Isopropyl alcohol (IPA), and pour 1/4 to 1/3 of a capful into the bottle. That's capful, not cupful. screw on the cap, and shake the bottle a few times.

Lay the bottle on a smooth surface, pointing in a safe direction. Using a lighter, applied from the side (hot exhaust!) hold the flame to the hole in the cap until the vapors inside the bottle ignite.

With a loud whoosh, the bottle will propel itself up to 30 feet downrange. Squeeze the spent bottle a few times to refresh the air inside, and attempt to re-ignite. Spend the next 15 minutes arguing weather the initial shot was too rich or too lean. Refuel and repeat.

For you wannabe rocket scientists with access to machine tools, enlarge the hole in the cap to .81" and make a real rocket nozzle:
The bottle cap goes on over the right end. Debate endlessly weather this actually makes any difference to the flight characteristics.

Use IPA and air only and you won't damage the bottle beyond some wrinkling caused by the heat. Eventually you'll want to replace the bottle with one that still has a straight center axis. We have tried other flammable liquids but not noted any difference in performance. IPA is easy to come by, and easy to handle.

Builders assume all risks, so if you figure out how to blow this up, don't come crying to me. Remember: IPA and air only.

Fun With Ethanol

Thanks to Popular Mechanics for this little fun with chemistry trick. I had no idea that ethanol mixes could be convinced to spontaneously separate simply by adding a bit of water to the mix.

Or that the trick is easier if you add more ethanol to the mix, as the government is proposing, in spite of evidence that it causes higher pollution, increases our dependence on foreign oil, increases fuel consumption, and inflates our grocery bills.


"Obama orders breastfeeding policy for federal workplace"

Geez, not only no layoffs, but a benefits package above and beyond the call of duty. I feel I'm doing good to get free coffee.


IOTW has a piece noting that the most searched terms, in terms of definitions include the words "austerity", “pragmatic,” “moratorium,” “socialism,” and “bigot”.

With the high levels of sophistication I put into this blog, I can't see any of my regular readers having any trouble with these words at all, but, as the caterpillar said, "Who's to be the master, you, or the word?" So here are the definitions, as interpreted from the point of view of the government, or their mouthpieces.

Austerity, N. The practice of keeping wage increases down to 6% in the face of a 25% increase in staffing at our agency.

Pragmatic Adj To completely sell out your principles in return for enough pork to improve your chances at re election.

Moratorium N The practice of stopping all services normally provided by an agency. Ex: Policing of the border by the DHS.

Socialism N A practice covered in Washington by the DADT doctrine. At present, only Bernie Sanders is out of the closet. Identifiable globally by the number of people dead as a result of implementation.

Bigot Adj. Anyone who disagrees with the speaker. Widespread overuse has devalued any impact the word once had.

You're welcome, pleased to be of assistance.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The State Of The Nation; Holiday Humor

Andrew Klaven has a 9-minuter video up on PJTV that has to be one of the most entertaining things I've seen this year.

What would the New York Times sound like with even a tiny bit of honesty added?

What did Tim Geithner really say to Joe Biden in their discussion of the U.S. financial condition?

What is the future of the TSA, and the people it serves?

Great entertainment to brighten your holidays.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Quote of the Day

From Joan Peterson, board member of the Brady Bunch to prevent gun ownership:
It's just natural to want to shoot someone when you don't agree with them or have a beef or you're drunk and can't quite think straight.
In all fairness, I believe she may have been speaking a bit facetiously, but only just a small bit.

Me? I'll be at the Tanner Gun Show tomorrow selling NRA and CSSA memberships and maybe my last 3 t-shirts.

Auspicious Signs

Roger, the real King of France, reminds me that the upcoming congress will be the first in 64 years in which no member of the Kennedy family will be seated.

It's a start. Most of the remaining troublemakers are in their 70's and should be "retiring" over the next 20 years or so.

There's also a comment regarding groundhog day that I found fairly amusing.

Intellectual Levels

Maybe I need to work on my vocabulary, or something.

Results by reading level for site:


Just making up a few bits of obfuscational vocabulary should do it. It works for some of the others.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Legos and Christmas Cheer

Since it's Legos, it must be safe for work, and it certainly expresses my feelings toward my fellow man, or at least a sizable number of them.

Now, wasn't that fun?

Shamelessly swiped from Firearms Blog, although I seem to remember seeing it in a couple other places as well. F.B. has info on where the accessories came from so you can order up several sets for your in-laws kids.

Update: Unfortunately, this format seems to be a bit narrow, or the you tube format is not adaptable somehow. Full width here.

Update 2: Aha! I've figgered it out, and didn't even blow up the blog.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Future of Transportation, Data

I should have seen this one coming: A device that plugs into your OBDII receptacle, communicates with either your iPhone or Droid, and reveals your cars innermost secrets. Even allows you to reset the "check engine" light.

Now you can call your mechanic, and he can see instantly what's wrong with your car and, since you have the same data, he's limited to offering to repair what's actually wrong.

Also the teenagers worst nightmare: If you take the car over 55mph, or hold the throttle to the floor for more than .15 mile, the car calls your folks and rats you out. Worse yet, add one of those key-fob cameras to the mix, and when you bring your date home, her daddy will be waiting on the porch for you, shotgun in hand.

While the first part sounds like a much-needed advancement to automotive technology, I can remember when the latter part would have been greeted with horror. Today, for some reason, it doesn't seem like all that bad an idea.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Future of Transportation, Coal

Hot Air has a bit on another coal-powered car. It's small, natch, has 3 wheels, which makes it a motorcycle in many states, and runs on compressed air.

Top speed is 40 KPH and range is 150-200 Km which puts it firmly in the same range as a golf cart, but not as good as the Tuk-Tuk.

They also put the single wheel up front, which is a disaster waiting to happen. They didn't go into what it was made of, but fiberglass, one layer, seems to be a good guess. As a motorcycle, that's one more layer than you usually get, and in the winter I appreciate all the layers I can get.. No big battery is required, but a middling sized one would be required to run things like headlights and maybe a heater.

I suppose you could turn this into a hybrid by adding a small contractors compressor in the boot, running on gasoline to pressurize the tank.

Is There A Santa Clause

There might well be, The AG from Virginia has taken the government to court over the constitutionality of Obamacare, specifically weather the government has the authority to require the citizens to purchase something they may or may not want, and the betting is leaning toward 'no'.

Due to the great urgency with which the bill was cobbled together, a key phrase was left out. This one insists that no matter which parts of the bill may be later found unconstitutional, the rest of the thing stands, like a shambling zombie with one or more limbs missing.

An appeal is expected whatever the outcome, and the government will be expected to argue that, in accordance with Wickard v Filburn, since the air the citizens breathe must have passed over another state at some point, the citizens who get sick and seek health care are engaging in interstate commerce and are subject to federal government micromanagement.

My early bet is a 5-4 decision in favor of the citizens.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Marching Forward

Note the new addition in the left-hand side bar. A sparkly-new search tab that will find whatever you're looking for on this blog. Type in things like "squirrel trap" or "2 bore" or "Swedish model" and find the post(s) you were looking for.

O.K. so I'm easily entertained.


Since everybody else has weighed in on this, I feel the need to pile on. Over at Samizdata, there are multiple arguments over the finer points of international law, the applicability of the U.S. first amendment to everybody in the world. and weather Manning and Assagne actually committed crimes.

Manning stole the information, and Assagne received it and distributed it, presumably to his own benefit. In most places, even disregarding what exactly was stolen, this would land both of them in jail as thief and accessory.

The information included intelligence sources and methods, which results in sources drying up, frequently in pools of blood. Definitions vary, but in several states, actions that result in a murder render the participants accessories to murder, significantly elevating the seriousness of the charges.

My observation is that 90% of the information is stuff that anyone could reasonably conclude, which suggests that our State department, in spite of fancy trappings, isn't half as clever as they'd like us to think. Sandmonkey provides observation from the middle east and notes that the average tinpot dictator in that part of the world is more worried about the Iranians than the Israelis.

That Assagne is still alive and well tells me that nothing was revealed about the Russians that everybody didn't already know, and that the CIA is in the same league as the State department.

A Day At The Range

As a member of a hunting and fishing club, one of the things we have to do is routine maintenance at the range. On a recent weekend, this involved mowing the weeds and cleaning out the shed in which the pistol match gear is stored. The range itself is out on the eastern prairie of Colorado, which is home to a variety of wildlife, ranging from deer, to coyotes and prairie dogs. And mice. Lots of field mice.

The pistol range is a largely barren area, about 50 yards in diameter, with backstops to the East and Southeast. In the center are tables, sturdily made of 4x4’s and 2x4’s about 3 ft square. There are also a few chairs. The shed is 10 x 10, and about 75% full. It sits up on bricks, which means it provides a great shelter underneath and inside for rabbits and mice. Lots of mice, who build nests, reproduce prolifically, piddle and poop on everything, and chew everything not made of metal. Needless to say, they are not popular with the range boss, so rodent control was on the agenda.

Outside, this involves moving some barrels and watching R.B. do his version of some obscure rodent-stomping dance to shouts of encouragement from the club members. There were 7 mice under that barrel, and R.B. got every one of them, eventually.

Next was the inside, which we rendered barren, and discovered a mouse nest the size of a football in the framework halfway up the inside wall. As the nest was moving, R.B. swept the whole thing into a bucket, and took it outside to the center of the range, between two tables, and before an attentive audience, upended it onto the ground. Out runs one mouse, easterly.

He zigs, he zags, he avoids 3 stomps, he reverses course and runs between R.B.’s feet, back to table #1. R.B pursues around the table. Mouse breaks cover and runs south, avoiding more stomps, and making it under table #2. R.B. pursues around the table. Mouse breaks cover and runs south, getting under the chair ahead of the boots of doom. R.B. lifts chair, which exposes the mouse, but this sets R.B. off balance for an accurate foot move. Mouse makes it back to table #2.

At this point, the mouse has avoided about 10 attempts on its life, and some of the spectators are beginning to side with the mouse. The single-minded pursuit and fancy foot work of the R.B. has not gone unnoticed however, and I overheard someone speculating as to how this might be how persons of pallor do the Bugaloo. Dancing with the Stars could be in his future, although the footwork was more akin to Riverdance.

R.B. moves table #2, and the mouse breaks for table #1. He evades 2 more attempts, but the third one connects, flattening him quite thoroughly. Possibly a bit too thoroughly, as the residue proves slippery, and R.B. loses his footing, sliding part way under the table, and barking his shin on a 2x4.

To thunderous applause, he is helped to his feet. In recognition of his superhuman effort, he was ceremonially awarded both ears and the tail. It was suggested that the Fastest Mouse in Colorado be mounted and presented, until it was noted that in his present condition, he was probably beyond the skills of even a talented taxidermist.

Between the 10 or 12 of us doing the cleanup, we had probably brought 20 or 30 firearms of various calibers and types, but no one was carrying while working. Besides, where would be the fun in that? The things you see, as they say, when you haven’t got a gun. Or a camera, I might add. You had to be there.

Death and Taxes

Obama has now appeared on TV and grudgingly admitted that Bush was right, and unless Bush's tax policies are continued, the economic recovery (?) is at risk.

He even went so far as to bring an ex president on stage with him to back him up. To be really effective, I suppose it would have helped if the ex president had been Bush. Actually having Clinton endorse the Bush tax cuts was a nice bit of symbolism, since the Bush cuts were put in place to get the economy out of the doldrums brought on by Clintons last big tax hike, and having Clinton endorse them is a tacit admission that raising taxes is generally a bad idea.

Actually, since they've been in effect for 10 years now, we should probably be referring to them as the Bush tax rates, and the impending Obama tax hike, back to Clintonian levels.

Meantime, back at the ranch, the congress is addressing the proposed tax bill with the gravitas we've come to expect from the biggest collection of self-absorbed porkers in the known universe. The bill is, on the extreme left, being reviled as a wholesale giveaway of the governments money to the folks who actually produced it in the first place, without acknowledging this at all. The more pragmatic among this band of thieves is imagining it will pass no matter what, and are hanging pork on it like ornaments on a Christmas tree. Subsidies galore, from high-speed rail to ethanol.

Some have suggested that the real conservatives should sit back and let the radicals have their way, as this will allow the cuts to expire at the end of the year. Everybody with a job will immediately see a reduction on their paycheck, and investors will be rewarded for buying tar, feather, pitchfork, and Tiki-torch futures. Come Jan 20, when the blowhards re-convene, the now republican majority house will be able to introduce legislation making the cuts permanent.

Here's where I can imagine this getting to be fun. The 2011 Senate will have a 53-47 Dem majority, but there are as many squishy D's as there are "moderate" R's. Additionally, the tax increase, if not dealt with, will still be there in 2012, when 19 of the 33 Senate seats in play currently belong to D's. Keeping the higher tax rates is a recipe for extinction, so it passes the Senate.

Would Obama sign it? Good question, notwithstanding the certainty of another "shellacking" if he doesn't, but members of the "reality-based" party sometimes demonstrate a tenuous hold on the concept. Still, if he's reminded often enough that he actually endorsed them, I'd give about 60% odds he'd sign.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

All The News

It happens that another newspaper group has decided that there's more money in suing people than in trying to furnish news. The model for this line of thought is Righthaven, who owns the copyright tights to everything a national group of birdcage liner producers publishes, and will sue for big bucks if you so much as quote a single line on a blog.

My thought on this is that pointing out bias and errors in the MSM is too much like shooting the proverbial fish in a barrel, and as long as a blogger never runs out of material critical of a paper, the blogger will prosper, and the paper will bleed subscribers. Lawsuits are a great way to stifle criticism, especially if the blogger doesn't have the deep pockets of a paper.

To that end, another group, MediaNews Group, has gotten on the bus. Their membership includes the local rag, Pravda On The Platte, so no more subsidies from casa Billll for them.

For local (to me) news, may I recommend Complete Colorado, which styles itself after Drudge, but specializes in Colorado news.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bringing Home The Bacon

This picture was found over at Grouchy Old Cripple, who is more fun than his name suggests. Originally thought to be the result of some Cajun mistakenly training the wrong animal to be his hunting retriever, one of the commenters suggests that this is an Australian Salty, which would explain the rather aggressive practice of fetching the pig from up on dry land.
To me this looks like an opportunity for a twofer, pig in the smoker, and spiffy new luggage, including gun case. I understand lizard tail cooks up well too.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Insert Your PAC Here

Got a PAC with tons of money, and need a name to make bribing congressmen seem legit? Press the button below and get a catchy name:

Or maybe you have a rock and roll band that needs a helping hand in the name department. Hmmm, catchy line there.

I got Main Street for Kodos.

Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.
H. Simpson

Source = Sunlight Foundation

Quote of the Day

Thanks to Gateway Pundit for pointing this one out:

“Do we want to extend those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires at a time of huge deficits. I would argue vociferously we shouldn’t.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., shortly before the votes.
The votes in question were on weather the Bush tax cuts should be allowed to expire, and to what extent. The quote may require some translation.

"Do we want to let the people who create jobs in this country to keep their money and use it for such at a time when the government is spending money even faster than we can print it? I would argue vociferously we shouldn’t."

Unlike the climbing unemployment rate, this was not exactly unexpected.

A Better Mouse Trap

I didn't invent this, but there's a good story behind it. Seems that way back when, the Lockheed Corp. was acquiring a brand new building out in a relatively undeveloped area. When the building was finished, and the employees moved in, it turned out that the building was infested with mice, who had lived well off the construction crew's lunches.

The company announced that poisoned traps would be placed, and the problem would be quickly solved, but this being Southern California, some of the employees objected. The company, being out of ideas, announced a contest to design a humane live trap, and this idea won, being quick and cheap.
made from a plastic bucket, a bit of coat hanger wire, a strip of aluminum with a hinge made of wood glued to the bottom, it's pretty simple. The brown circle out on the end is a blob of peanut butter stuck to the bottom. The mouse runs out on the plank, overbalences it, and is dumped into the bucket.
The plank resets itself, and waits for the next mouse.

The traps worked well enough to fill to 2 inches deep over a weekend, and the mice were taken outside, away from the building, and dumped.

From what I heard, they weren't taken far enough away, and promptly came back. At this point, they ceased to be "cute" and were dealt with more harshly. Adding 3 or 4 inches of water to the bucket will prevent the mice from returning.

You have to be sure the mice have a way to get up to the plank in the first place, but they can climb anything rougher than the plastic bucket, so this shouldn't be a problem.

I suppose the variation on this for the mechanically challenged, would be to use a bucket with a lid, and place a plastic funnel in a large hole in the lid, having cut the bottom off the funnel to leave a hole big enough to pass a mouse, say 1-1/2". Make sure the bottom of the funnel is 4-5 inches from the bottom of the bucket to keep them from jumping out.

This works best when you have large quantities of mice to deal with, and is a bit bulky for catching one or two, but it does work, and will catch multiple mice in a single night.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Election Shenanigans

As the magnitude of the defeat they took in the last elections slowly sinks in on the Donks, the mechanisms they usually use to pull out a narrow victory in a closely contested election shift into overdrive.

Normally if a candidate is losing by only a few votes, i.e. under 1%, a bag or two of undiscovered ballots can usually be found in the trunk of an abandoned car in a seedy neighborhood, surprisingly producing enough votes to put the endangered candidate in to office. Recently this has been extended to finding 2 whole machines which had somehow eluded the election commission in Queens, which added 80,000 votes to the totals.

Additio9nal sleuthing has turned up some 120,000 more ballots form unnamed locations which, while not affecting the outcome of any election, proved to be a big boost for the left-wing candidates.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Law and Order

In Oregon, they do things differently. The City of Portland has passed five new gun laws which they are sure will make a big dent in crime there, notwithstanding a lack of evidence to this effect where they've been tried elsewhere.

My favorite is one, unique to Portland, forbids persons convicted of gun crimes from hanging out in areas with a high gun crime rate:
Three ordinances would hold adults responsible if their gun gets into a child’s hands, penalize gun owners who don’t report the theft or loss of a firearm, and designate shooting hot spots and allow the city to exclude certain gun offenders from them.

While the theft reporting and child protection laws have been passed in other major cities, criminal justice experts say the exclusion zones that would restrict gun offenders from areas designated as high in gun violence would be unique to Portland.
As long as I find it impossible to do this kind of thinking, I can see I'm never going to make it to high political office.

Taking the idea to it's next level, they could forbid known criminals from frequenting high crime areas, and thus reduce the crime rates in the seedier parts of town. Of course this would cause the crime rates in otherwise crime-free areas to rise, but as long as the overall crime rates stayed at politically acceptable levels, one assumes the town councils jobs are safe, which is what matters.

Just think, you would be no more (or less) likely to be raped, robbed, or murdered in Portland if you lived in the public projects or a gated subdivision. The next best thing to utopia.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gun Fun 6

Here's what you can do with two AR pattern rifles, some hydraulic brake line, several beers, and time on your hands. Think of it as the AR 2-step.

Here's what you can do with your 10-22 if you fancy the roaring 20's look or the WW2 GI fashion.

Which makes me wonder if one couldn't mount multiple 10-22's in a row, with the bolt of the first connected to the trigger of the next down the line. Each pull of the first trigger would fire the succession of rifles one time each, and depending on the delay from one gun to the next, a modest repetition rate on the first gun would be indistinguishable from a really high-rate machine gun, although no gun in the assembly fires more than once from a single pull of the trigger of the first gun.

Any semi-auto rifle with an exposed bolt would work for this, and they don't even have to be the same make or model, although some would empty their magazines sooner than others.

Somebody build one of these! Or if you have 3 or more vaguely similar .22's, send them along to me, and I'll put it together in my copious spare time.

Federal Pay Freeze

I've sussed it. It just came to me why there's a federal pay freeze, and it has nothing to do with saving money.

Remember the story about the fellow who left the factory every evening with a wheelbarrow full of straw? The guards suspected him of stealing, and searched the straw carefully, but found nothing. Eventually they offered him amnesty if he would tell them what his plan was. He said:"You fools, don't you see? I'm stealing wheelbarrows!".

So here we are again, after story after story mentions the mind-boggling increase in federal workers making six-figure incomes, and by implication, the even greater numbers of federal employees enjoying unprecedented fat paychecks.

You fools, the pay freeze is to prevent their pay from being cut!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Political Science

That and your MBA. If you read Machiavelli's book, The Prince, you'll find it contains everything you would expect to learn getting your MBA with the exception of the finer points of accounting.

If you have higher ambitions than just becoming a captain of industry, give this a read. In 14 pages, it covers the bases fairly well. Don't worry, the print is big, and in several cases, it doesn't cover the whole page. No names are mentioned, but the actions called for may strike a familiar note.

It brings to mind a book by Mack Reynolds called Trample An Empire Down, published in the 60's I think. Worth a read, and available for under $2, about the founders of a political movement whose slogan was "What's in it for me?". Imagine the Tea Party going over to the dark side. Quite humorous.

Black Friday Deal Of The Week

The Brits are selling one of their aircraft carriers, this one a small one set up to launch STOL fighters like the Tornado. The ad describes it as complete except for engines and generators. Here you are, 17.000 tons of pure class.
Be the envy of your yacht club or other social group.

Maybe the Argentinians could buy it.

A quick check values the boat at $336/ton or $5,712,000.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I'm not a big fan of golf in general in spite of having built a mortar chambered to fit a golf ball, but here's a story. In New Hampshire, some duffer hit one from a questionable lie, bounced the ball off a yard marker, struck himself in the eye, and lost the eye.

Now this is indeed unfortunate, but he sued the golf course for having a yard marker in front of his badly-hit ball. He lost.

And here I thought the only thing that could make golf interesting would be to stock the water hazards with alligators and insist that players retrieve their own balls. Besides, waiting 4 years for a court decision lacks the immediacy of watching someone get dragged under on the back nine.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Getting in some trigger time with temps ranging from 45 to 60, and no wind. Humming to myself some tunes from CZ Top and Buffalo Springfield Armory.

Don't know how I did, but I had a good time doing it.

The Winter Storm Warning* kicks in at noon tomorrow. "'tis a privilege to live in Colorado".

*Second and third opinions are readily available ranging from scattered flurries to 1-3 inches. It's enough to shake your faith in the quality of information you get from the government.

Global Warming

The last vestiges of the great climate hoax are at last unmasked.
Ottmar Edenhofer is one of the really big cheeses with the IPCC, and in an unguarded moment, committed a gaffe (he told the truth) that exposes the climate doomsayers as frauds and thieves.
First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy.
The next time you hear someone wailing that the sky is falling and the earth is warming, the proper response will be to begin looking for a rope and a tree.

H/T to Power Line read the whole thing there.

Friday, November 26, 2010

On Holiday

Work has been stressful of late. I've been on vacation this last week, doing some tinkering and puttering. Look for something on the Lockheed Mouse Trap, and a bit on the internal workings of the 4095 carbine.

IDPA-type shoot tomorrow. Should be around 30F at the start and 55F when we get done. I'll see if the rest improves my standing.


A newly-elected state senator,Kent Lambert will be introducing an Arizona 1070-type bill in the upcoming session. I applaud the sentiment, although I have doubts it will get very far. The senate here is still controlled by the Dems, and the new Governor is the former mayor of a sanctuary city.

Still, it won't hurt to call your Senator, as soon as the new batch gets seated, and ask for their support on this.


Stuff your gut with tons of food,
Then collapse while muscles pound.
Don't say Thanksgiving is the reason,
You eat this way all year 'round.

Mad Magazine, late 50's

Mad Magazine, a major literary influence on many of us when we were impressionable kids, published the above bit of doggerel as part of a longer piece, sort of a set of calendar headings, minus the actual calendar. Today I remember only two of them, October and November. The rest must have been less inspiring.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Decline of Western Civilization

Or as goes Egypt, so goes everybody else. Found this piece at Sandmonkey some time back, and just re-discovered it.

I for one think it’s the worst thing that ever happend to us, because it deprived us of a whole generation of “Old wise men”. You see, men go through life thinking with their penis, and when they hit a certain age where their “drill sargent” doesn’t “stand at attention”, they start using their other brain, you know, the one above their necks. That’s why we used to have old wise men to counsel us; and now we have Viagra dads.
The drug that destroys the wise men whom we used to rely on for leadership and, well, wisdom.

Sandmonkey is a great source of observed wisdom about the middle east.

North v South

Before the dustup starts, here are the pre-game statistics.
Found at

Not mentioned here are artillery tubes. I have been led to believe that the Norks have a large number of them, dug in to hardened positions, and many of them aimed at Seoul.

Be a shame if some of those 63 subs started not coming back from missions though.

All The World Is Crazy...

Saving only Thee and Me, and of thee I have some misgivings. As the saying goes.

I'm sure you've all seen the article decrying that one in five of American citizens has a mental disorder. Of course when you read the article, it turns out the definition of "mental disorder" is pretty darn broad, to the point you wonder how anyone escapes the stigma.

Now here's a study that gets a bit more narrowly focused, specifically on sociopathy.
…Four percent of the global population is made up of sociopaths, Dr. Martha Stout, psychologist and clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, tells us in her book "The Sociopath Next Door." That means one out of every 25 human beings has no conscience, no sense of right or wrong, no empathy, no ability to understand emotion – no soul. Worse, while they can mimic emotion, they see other humans as mere pawns or saps, to be used for their benefit or amusement, or both. Add that to the fact that science now is questioning whether there is any difference at all between sociopaths and psychopaths, and that those with narcissistic personality disorder also have some of the same characteristics (an inability to care about anyone but themselves), it means that "evil" is all around us, even at work…
There's a support group for people like this. To join, look in the phone book under "Government"

H/T RKBA DUF Daily mailing.

Getting On The List

As easy as it is to get on to a government "list" of suspect people, I would think that anyone who hasn't by now has no call at all to call himself a "free thinker", or whatever people who disagree with the government call themselves nowadays.

Reputedly, a memo has come down, from J-Nap herself stating:
It labels any person who “interferes” with TSA airport security screening procedure protocol and operations by actively objecting to the established screening process, “including but not limited to the anticipated national opt-out day” as a “domestic extremist.” The label is then broadened to include “any person, group or alternative media source” that actively objects to, causes others to object to, supports and/or elicits support for anyone who engages in such travel disruptions at U.S. airports in response to the enhanced security procedures.
So quit complaining, drop your pants, and do the antler dance* through the gate.

*An SNL reference. Look it up.

I Was Right

Since forever I've been telling people that they should let their kids go out and play in the dirt. In the case of very young kids, this will likely include ingesting some of it. My position is that the immune system is like any other system in that you either use it or you lose it, which manifests itself in the form of asthma and other diseases of the habitually sterile.

Now there's a research study from Australia suggesting that a bacteria commonly found in dirt can actually make you smarter as well.

Little girl: "Have one of these cookies I just baked."

Little boy:" This cookie tastes like dried mud."

Older child, to boy: "See, you're getting smarter."

H/T to Bayou Renaissance Man for this one. The rest of his article describes a technique from Africa to 'replant the garden' as it were, of a depleted supply of intestinal flora.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Global Warming

Scientific American has run a survey on global warming among its readers.

Most of them think it's bunk.

The survey has disappeared from S.A.'s pages, but it's here.

Gun Fun 5

If you could only have one gun, and you wanted to be sure it was the right gun for everything from plinking tin cans to dealing with rabid zombie elephants on crack, what would you choose.

Stymied? Fret no more, Smith and Wesson has the answer to your problem here.
Click the link and get the whole skinny. Then go get your eyes checked.

Turkey Day

Here's a bunch of Mad Scientists out to cook a turkey in record short time. 30 seconds to be exact.

And what do you know? Parts of the bird were, in fact, edible. It's important to know just how much thermite to use.


So the North Koreans shelled a South Korean island, for no apparent reason and are declaring this to be a great victory. As there is no actual response from the South, I guess it is. The usual reason for the irregular fits of childlike behavior from the Norks is that they're out of food and/or fuel. The multi-nation conference that inevitably follows such an outrage usually ends with the Norks promising not to do whatever it was again without provocation, and everybody else giving them large quantities of food and fuel.

In the somewhat further distant past, having your neighbor lob artillery shells over your border was the clarion call to call up your reserves and break out the plans for rectification of the border. I distinctly remember the ROK marines in Viet-Nam as being among the baddest bears in the woods there to the point that the Cong went out of their way to avoid them.

The current leadership in South Korea has announced official outrage and has promised quick and harsh retribution.

If the North does this again.

The current leadership in the South is evidently not an ex-ROK marine.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Constitutional Amendment

Yet another one is proposed, and to make sure it goes nowhere, it's being proposed in the lame-duck session. This one would allow the states to repeal federal legislation bu having 2/3 of the state legislatures pass a resolution calling for the repeal of the legislation in question.

The proposed amendment reads: “Any provision of law or regulation of the United States may be repealed by the several states, and such repeal shall be effective when the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states approve resolutions for this purpose that particularly describe the same provision or provisions of law or regulation to be repealed.”
This one is particularly innocuous in that getting 2/3 of the state legislatures to agree that the sun rises in the east is difficult enough.

I believe I can see another problem. Let's say the congress passes the Onerous Imposition Act of 2011, and the people begin a run on pitchforks, torches and rope. The state legislatures immediately begin passing resolutions: Be it resolved; the OIA of 2011 should be repealed. When the count gets close to 30 states, the Act's sponsor introduces legislation amending the Act called the Onerous Imposition Act Reform bill of 2012 which replaces the 2011 act with the 2012 act, and the states efforts are back to square one.

The efforts of conservatives would be better spent circulating petitions at the state levels to get an amendment limiting congressional terms enacted.


You know the policy's bad when it's principal supporter finally admits it. In an era when the obvious solution to failure of a government policy is to raise taxes and try it again, only harder, here's no less a celebrity than pope Al admitting defeat:

* U.S. ethanol consumes about 40 pct corn crop

* Impact on food prices "real"

U.S. blending tax breaks for ethanol make it profitable for refiners to use the fuel even when it is more expensive than gasoline. The credits are up for renewal on Dec. 31.

Total U.S. ethanol subsidies reached $7.7 billion last year according to the International Energy Industry, which said biofuels worldwide received more subsidies than any other form of renewable energy.

"It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol," said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank.

Sure ethanol has only about half the energy content as refined petroleum, and sure, diverting 40% of a basic food staple to produce it causes food prices to skyrocket ( about 8%/year depending on what it is) and taking money away from people to subsidize this leaves people with even less money to spend on increasingly expensive groceries, but if it keeps a politician in office, it's worth it, no?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Had Enough Yet?

Ambrose Bierce defined grapeshot as the only proper counter argument to socialism, and this was a long while back. He was right then, and is right now. Here's a rant, a shout to the heavens of "Enough!", that should be an inspiration to us all, complete with links and references.
I am tired of being told to sit down and shut up.

I am tired of being told what I can and can not say.

What is “acceptable”, while my ideas and values are mocked and trampled.

Enough. I have had enough.
It goes on at some length, and is well worth reading. Remember this one the next time the left demands discourse or compromise. Remember too that when a socialist is down is when you get the best leverage from your foot when you kick him.

Pope Condones Condoms

Under certain narrowly defined circumstances, the details of which I have no interest in.

Way back when, following the introduction of the birth control pill the Pope opined that it would be forbidden under some strict reading of the official Vatican party line. A woman of Italian extraction was interviewed, on the streets of New York about this, and was quoted as saying "He's-a no play-a da game, he's-a no make-a da rules!"

I could have the details wrong, but I remember the line quite clearly.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Oleg Volk is trying to acquire another suppressor. He already has two, but the government wants him to jump through the same hoops, and pay the same (exorbitant) fees as before. He thinks this makes no sense.

The rules make perfect sense. They keep the peasants down, and they bring in money for the government. What else did he think they were for?

H/T to Robert.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Compare and Contrast

On the right, you sometimes hear a discussion over when it's finally acceptable to take up arms against the oppressor.

On the left, you sometimes hear a discussion over when the army should be used to impose utopia.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I am not anti-religious. I think most religions provide a genuine service to humanity by teaching morals and ethics to a level currently forbidden in, say, the public schools. Additionally, many of them sometimes provide us with much-needed, uplifting entertainment in the form of esoteric doctrine.

Sometimes one of them will go above and beyond the call of duty in the entertainment department, sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse.

In an example of "Crusading by Proxy" the pastor of an otherwise unremarkable Baptist church announced he was going to publicly burn a Koran, and in the ensuing riots, Muslims killed some 20 of their own coreligionists. Had the pastor killed 20 Muslims himself, he'd have gone to jail.

Fred Phelps and his flock at the Westboro Baptist Church are:
1) Independently wealthy and able to travel all over the country.
2) Deeply religious, as far as pastor Phelps' teachings go and
3) Batshit crazy.

Bring popcorn, beer, and brats, it has the potential to become quite entertaining.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Winter Motorcycling

Harry's Roamers Turkey Run was not as well attended as it had been, probably due to the early morning temps in the low 30's. My daughter gamely decided to give it a shot anyway, and showed up wearing tight, low-cut jeans, to go with her 2-layer jacket. Turned out her gloves were perforated leather, too. Fortunately, I had noticed some of this and had tossed a pair of sweatpants into my saddlebags.

14 miles later, we're at the start, and she decides that this will be way too cold on her sport bike, but probably tolerable behind me, behind a big touring windscreen and engine radiator, and decides to participate as a passenger. I tape the directions to my tank, and off we go.

Try to imagine how hard it is to read directions while riding a big bike up a winding road, with a passenger poking you in the ribs every time she thinks I'm getting too close to the edge or something. Cheeze! you'd think I'd never done this before.

Some 60 miles later, we found that while the turkeys had eluded us, she had won a size petite, lavender-ish rain / weather suit, which she said was warmer than the sweats on the trip home. She finds the color tolerable, and as it happens, it's her size, too. It helped, I suppose, that by the time we started home, the temp was up to a balmy 44F. Overall, a good time.

TSA Theater

Here the Japanese release their inner Benny Hill:

Feel safer now? H/T to Viral footage, who got it from Ace.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


A lawmaker in Virginia is proposing to release a new license plate dedicated to the Tea Party:
A nice effort actually, as it colors the whole plate as the Gadsden flag, the unofficial banner of the Tea Party.

I don't know how they do it in Virginia, but in Colorado, if you get a vanity plate of any sort, you get to pay $25 extra up front, and $25 extra every year at renewal time. It's like paying the people you disapprove of the most for taking too much of your money $25/yr to say you disapprove of them.

I'll stick with the little bumper sticker.

New Epidemics

Actually these are old epidemics, but why now?

In England, they're having a resurgence of Rickets, caused by a lack of sunshine, brought about not by global warming, which might be expected to prevent this, but by overly protective mommies who won't let the kids out of the house without a generous soaking in SPF 10,000.

I blame overly protective mommies for the increasing number of asthma cases as well. You moms need to toss your kids outdoors early and often, with the admonition not to come back until dinner time. Let the 6-year-old be the 2-year-old's overseer. This will insure that everybody will be exposed to, or ingest their MDR of dirt, which will serve to strengthen the immune systems. Immune systems are like any other system: Use it or lose it.

Of course there are exceptions to this. There is an ongoing movement among the tinfoil-hat brigades that insists that vaccinations cause autism. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc. Still, if you put on a lab coat, your credibility goes way up with graduates of the public schools, and you get people to go along with this. Coincidentally, we have a budding outbreak of whooping cough in California. I had sort of been hoping that some sort of disease would break out that targeted people with a tenuous hold on reality, which would be devastating on the coasts, but I suppose if the contagion gets bad enough, people will start asking questions.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mens Health

It now appears that soaking up the sun, drinking red wine, having frequent sex, and eating big juicy steaks is the key to a long and happy life. At least up to the point where you die of a massive coronary while boffing your partner. In any case, it seems like an improvement over kicking the bucket malnourished and unappreciated.

I'd volunteer for the research study, but with my luck, I'd be assigned to the control group.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Here's a piece from F.T. suggesting that we can expect higher food prices soon, on account of bad weather.

Now this brings back memories of the cold war era, when no amount of covering up could hide the fact that the usual state of grocery shelves in the Soviet Union was: Empty. Being unable to hide the fact, the Russians would blame the recent bad weather. This led to jokes about the Soviets ability to control the weather as they had had up to 70 years, depending on when you heard this joke, of "bad weather".

Yesterday I saw a graph showing the change in price of several commodities, from soybeans and corn to silver and gold. Today, of course, I can't find it. Rates varied, but the average for the past year was in the 8-10% range. Looks like that there "global cooling" is really hitting us hard.

Or it could be that the governments fiscal policies are causing the money to become worth less and less. Quantitative Easing is highfalutin economist speak for paying your debts by printing more money. Unfortunately, this has the effect of making the money worth less, and since prices go up much faster than your paycheck, the effect is equivalent to a big tax increase.

Looks like it's going to be a long cold winter. La Nina, or QE2?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Phoning It In

The Brits are working on an app for your cell phone that can detect bacterial infections. They're starting out setting it up for STD's but if you can detect one sort of infection, you should be able to test for many others.

Just lick the touch pad, and if it's really Dengue fever, the phone automatically calls an ambulance. Or if it's something more interesting, it calls a haz-mat team and notifies the morgue.

Next up, obviously, will be genetic screening. You lick the touch pad, and your info is stored. Someone else licks the touch pad, and you know right away if you really should be making those child-support payments, or if you're too closely related to be dating. This could be especially helpful in places like rural Arkansas.

The possibilities boggle the mind.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bowling Pin Shoot

I love it when we can go out to the range in early November and enjoy 78 degree temps, no wind (for a change) and hunt the wily wild bowling pin.

One of the shooters was 10 years old. His dad had fixed him up with a Beretta 9mm which demonstrated a predeliction to not cycle. It either needs a softer spring or livelier ammo, but the easiest fix, and probably the best one was to fit the kid out with daddy's .45. It was a bit of a handful for a small kid, but you could see him getting better with each table. By this time next year, he'll have his own .45, and the rest of us will be toast, except for our resident Finn, who can clear a table of 5 pins in under 5 seconds.
After the match, we got out the pin tops and let the kids have a go at them with .22's.
Here he is with the Ruger Mk 1, which is almost as old as the geezer behind him. He finds the pin tops to be great fun. Not surprising considering the big recoil drop from the .45. I suggested letting the kids shoot pin tops with .22's against the adults, but got overruled. Probably just as well as I believe he would have embarrassed several of us doing this.

The other youth was a cute little pixie, 9 years old, who helped me keep score and acted as my gun moll, refilling my speed loaders for me. She had shot a .22 rifle, but had never handled a pistol. The Mk 2 was a bit of a handful for her, but she gave it her best shot (!) and picked off her first pin top.
All together now: Awwww...
She'll grow into the grip size and gun weight, I'm sure.

BTW: Neither of the kids is that tall. In order to prevent ricochets from going over the berm, we set them up with a platform made from a couple of cinder blocks for them to shoot off of. It makes them about 9 inches taller.

Thanks to Don for the nice pictures.

Musical Interlude

Here, this is sort of like Bullwinkles "Poetry Corner" where you knew in advance that some great work of prose was about to get the verbal equivalent of mag wheels and a quick flame job.

I like M4GW. The Weird Al's of climate change. Besides I liked the original song, too.

H/T to Moonbattery.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tea Party Platform

David over at Blue Carp has a post defending Libertarians, in advance, just in case a Big-L candidate draws off enough votes from a Republican to give the election to the Donk. Until the Libertarians become big enough to field a serious candidate, they would be better served by working within the Republican party to pick more acceptable candidates at the primary level. This is the position the Tea Party finds itself in, and who do you think went further towards realizing the Libertarian agenda of small, limited government?

That said, the Republicans owe it to their constituents to support the popularly selected candidates wholeheartedly. As the line went:"Sure she's a witch, but she's our witch, and we want her in office." Yes, I know, fliers happen, as when David Duke, a lifelong Democrat and Klansman, couldn't get the party to back him in the governors race in Louisiana, so he ran as a Republican, the party having no significant presence in the state to stop him at that time. Someone has to make the call whether to strongly support someone who might be a weak candidate, or to let a whack job sink or swim on his own. Michael Steele? Hah!

If ever there was a chance to get amendments passed, or at least on the ballot, for things like a runoff between the two top vote-getters in the event no one draws over 50% (state level), federal congressional term limits, or a federal TABOR, now would be it.

Is there a window for circulation of petitions, or can we start now and turn them in in July of 2012? Not being much of an activist, I'm not familiar with the procedure.

Any Libertarian, or starting now, Tea Partier worthy of his rhetoric should be out there, clipboard in hand, gathering signatures. Polls indicate that federal term limits are favored by some 75% of the voting population, so this should be easy, yet I never see such a proposal. Certainly the public is ready to impose some limits on the government.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gunney Report

The October postal match results are up.

First in class, 4th overall. Could have done better, I'm sure, but sometimes you have an extraordinary long and tiring day, then you get to shoot a bulls eye match.

This was also one of those targets that after putting forth your best effort, you discover your scores are wayyy lower than you thought they should be, and wonder if you should embarrass yourself by sending it in. The theoretical perfect score on this one was 60. Best score entered was 17. Think you can do better? Give it a shot.

Next, and last match of the year is at Cheaper Than Dirt. Zombies!

The Morning After

So how did the elections go? Depends on who and where you are, I guess. Did the Republicans kick ass? Sometimes. Did the Republicans live up to the tag "The Stupid Party"? Yes, and they lost in places they didn't have to on that account.

Voters didn't seem to be overly interested in candidate Heffalump's assertion that he could run Sen. Donkmeyer's bazillion-dollar boondoggle better than Donkmeyer. That said, keep in mind that Repub promises to repeal anything the Donks have passed in the last 4 years, is so much smoke. To repeal anything at all, a party needs a majority in the house (check) a 60-vote majority in the Senate (Bzzzt!) and a sympathetic president (Bzzzt!). Absent a sympathetic president, they need 66 votes in the Senate to override the veto (Bzzzt!).

The very earliest those stars could possibly align will be January, 2013. There's also the assumption the Repubs can grow a real spine and keep it until then. I'm not holding my breath.

Are they knights in shining armor, riding to our defense? Maybe. As far as I'm concerned, they're on probation. If I don't see some real effort in the next six months, the Tea Party can begin making plans for a real convention, with real candidates, running on real issues, with a take-no-prisoners attitude.

SIL, who is a Republican of sorts, has been complaining that she couldn't vote for some conservative candidates who really could have used the support, because they came across as less than perfect in some way or another. I have informed her that in 40+ years of voting, I believe I've voted FOR a candidate exactly once. The rest of the time you have to pick the weasel you expect will do you the least damage, hold your nose, and pull the lever.

Colorado is still a blue state, notwithstanding a 1-seat republican majority in the State house, and having flipped 2 U.S. House seats. We have a solidly Democratic majority in the State Senate, and a pro-illegal alien, anti-gun governor. Who, by the way, gets to pick the replacement for a recently retired liberal Supreme court justice. If anyone out there is looking for work, may I recommend Texas?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Election Advice

Got your bag of salt handy? Here goes:

There are several questions on the ballot this year, but one of them, Amendment Q, draws my attention. This one says that the legislature should busy itself, in its copious spare time, with finding an official emergency backup location at which to meet should the current location, in the center of Denver, become unavailable.

So let's say that the legislation making Colorado an official sanctuary for UFO pilots becomes law, and a couple of illegal aliens (they have warrants out on them on their home planets) while attempting to land, step on the wrong pedal ( happens to Toyota owners all the time). The resultant surge from the engines reduces the capitol building, and several nearby government buildings to a glass-lined pit, several hundred feet deep.

Let us further speculate that this happens as the Governor is giving his State-of-the State address, and every parasite for miles around is in the chamber to hear it.

What's our hurry to replace this?

Vote NO on Q.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Science Marches Onward

We all know that when a new technology comes along with great promise, and an equally great price tag, there's nothing like a widely sought-after application to bring the price down to the point than the ordinary citizen can afford it.

Photography, comes to mind.

Now, in the field of stem cell research, it seems that ordinary fat cells, available everywhere, can be run through the white-lab-coat version of the Waring blender, and turned, in some part, into stem cells. These accommodating little fellows will cheerfully turn into whatever they find themselves next to. In Japan, that means boobs.

Here, the demand for breast augmentation is high enough to drive a rather large industry, implanting bags of gel. Think what the demand would be like if this procedure involved only transposing some excess bum to the balcony, and letting it grow. 100% organic, as it were.

They also suggest it will work on whatever needs a boost, like kidneys and hearts. Get it to produce brain cells, and the zombie chow industry takes off, making it practical to keep them as pets. Or factory workers.

Film at 11, which in this case probably means 2011.

Vibrations Slow Bone Aging

A study just out suggests that subjecting your body to a regimen of periods of vibration will slow bone aging, which takes the form of softening or porosity. Sources for this therapy cover the gamut from riding a Harley-Davidson to holding a purring cat in your lap.

I favor the motorcycle version myself, having subjected myself to this sort of vibration since I was 17 or so, I can attest that the bones in my head are as solid as ever.

A well-sheltered scientist does this sort of experiment by vibrating mice periodically, and comparing them to non-vibrated ones. Shaken vs stirred. An enterprising doctoral candidate could take this up a notch by offering the denizens of a biker bar a coupon good for a free beer in return for a quick bone density test.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Proofread Your Ballot

Reports are now in of voting machine irregularities in Nevada, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

In Nevada and N.C. the machine accepts your selection, then changes it to favor the Democrat. In New Jersey and Penn. the internally collected vote total doesn't add up, although one vote per machine is probably less than the total of bogus absentee ballots sent in.

When voting on a touch-screen machine, carefully proof-read your selections before pressing the "VOTE" button.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


In the face of the impending Fimbulvinter, let me put in a plug for a local event with a great long glorious history: Harry's Roamers Turkey Run.

This thing is now in it's 54th year and features turkeys as prizes in an old-fashioned poker run.

For anyone not familiar with the event, this is similar to a sports car rallye, with nebulous directions to 5 stopping points at which each participant picks up a random card. At the end, the best poker hand wins, so it's as possible to win with a mo-ped as a Boss Hoss.

The date for this is November 14th, and the inside joke is that the turkeys will be out in the weather riding motorcycles around Denver on that date. I have ridden this thing in weather ranging from the mid 70's to the mid 30's, and it was fun every time. Except maybe for the rain.

Start at Quincy's Bar & Restaurant, 14011 W. Quincy Ave. Doors open at 8:00 with breakfast available, including Bloody Mary's. $10/rider, $5/passenger, and a good time will be had by all. Ride starts at 10:30, and ends at 3:00.

I'll be there.


I took the empathy test. I probably should have stayed away. I love humanity, it's people I can't stand, and it isn't getting any better with age.

Your score: 17
0 - 32 = low (most people with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism score about 20)
33 - 52 = average (most women score about 47 and most men score about 42)
53 - 63 is above average
64 - 80 is very high
80 is maximum
Support mental health, or I'll kill you.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why We Win

Justice Scalia has been observed instructing newbie justice Elana Kagan in the fine art of trap and skeet. This, I suppose is the higher-class version of "come on out to the range. The first box of .22 is on me." which is only a step away from being a crack dealer only without the unpleasant consequences.

Of course it may not work.
Here's a liberal, obviously enjoying himself immensely, who still doesn't want the peasantry doing the same.

Global Warming

I'm for it. It was comparatively balmy this morning at 6:20 when I took the motorcycle in to work. 1 hour later the temp dropped and wind and heavy rain hit. By 4, the sun had come out, but it was colder than when I rode in in the morning. 14-24" in the high country, too. Hello, Broad Ripple? Here's your long range forecast.

Weather wonks
are calling for an unusually cold winter, followed by a cold summer, followed by the return of the ice sheets to Wisconsin.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Gun Fun

Went to the club IDPA-style* shoot. For those of you unfamiliar, it's best described as Dungeons and Dragons with live ammo.

One course of fire involved walking between two barrels, some 8-10 yards apart. There are 6 targets on one side at distances from 2 yards to 5 yards, and 2 no-shoots mixed in to keep you on your toes. You start at one barrel with the target group on your weak side, and at the signal, walk to the other barrel, placing one shot per target as you walk. You must be moving as you shoot, and using your weak hand only. Upon reaching the other barrel or firing your sixth shot, your time is noted, you reload, and walk back, this time strong hand only, and finally one more walk with the weak hand.

I drew the short straw and went first. I was told I did well on this, and was also told that this was attributed to my use of a Czech pistol from the cold war era which was reputedly at its best shooting prisoners as the guards walked by.

In keeping with the theme, I named the course the Feliks Dzierżyński memorial stage, after the man who made the practice a routine.

Global Warming

Over at Q&O, pundit Billie Hollie is noting that the media are blaming the Dems assorted problems on an "adverse political climate". Finally, something relating to climate that can, in part at least, be blamed on global warming.

Rational people have suspected all along that there might be something wrong with blaming todays weather on yesterdays trip to the grocery store in an SUV, and the massive dump of e-mails and cooked books from the climate poo-bahs themselves only confirms the suspicions.

While this is certainly not the Dems only source of the current out rush of faith, it's certainly a significant contributor. Without the fig leaf of AGW theory, Cap & Trade is exposed as the giant tax on energy use, to be imposed on everybody, that it is.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Micro Stamping

An OK legislator has introduced a bill to fund a study into incorporating microstamping into firearms presumably at some point in the future. The NRA has come out in favor of the study. This has some of the more rabid gunnies (and here you thought I was bad) panties in a knot.

I think the study would be useful in that it would let the Dem legislators vote for something that would likely do no harm, if done honestly, and still be able to tell their constituents they're doing something.

Again, done honestly, with close adult supervision, the study would conclude that microstamping is a colossal waste of time and money.

On the other hand, I was at a pistol match today, and to judge by the enthusiasm with which the spent brass was being policed, I'd guess that most of the shooters would pay a bit extra for a mod to their guns that would imprint their names and addresses along with a message like "if found, please return to Fred Gunnobbler, 40 Smith Ln, Freerange CO, 80380".

I mark my brass by painting the rear red using Dykem metal marker, which sticks well enough that it's the last thing removed in the tumbler. This serves a double purpose as I shoot 9x18 Makarov in my CZ, and reload using 9x19 (Luger) brass I find at the range. I trim the cases back 1mm to do this, and if they were used to reload 9x19, would probably yield less than satisfactory results.

Interesting Poll in Colorado

Interesting poll results out that raise some questions. I don't know who Magellan Strategies is or who they're working for. Some of their methodologies are here. It was a robo-call poll of likely voters, which lends some credibility to the results.

Magellan Strategies Releases Colorado Governor Survey

Hickenlooper (D) 44%,
Tancredo (C) 43%,
Maes (R) 9%,
Other, 2%

Does that include the 6000 bogus registrations the local SEIU just got caught with?

For every one caught, some others get away. What do you suppose the margin is on this?

In a hotly contested election, the Republican will need to win with 3% margin to keep the Dems from finding lost boxes of ballots at the last minute and making up the margin. Chicago is famous for this, and Colorado is not, but successful techniques will be implemented where needed.