Sunday, December 28, 2008
Pakistan hunt for blast survivors
Rescuers in Pakistan have been working into the night to search for survivors in the rubble left by a car bomb at a school being used as a polling station.
At least 33 people died in the attack during a by-election in the north-western district of Buner, on the edge of the restive Swat valley.
The bomb destroyed the school, trapping people under the rubble. Two police were among the dead and 15 hurt.
The Taleban say it was in response to an attack on their fighters.
Children killed in Afghan attack
A suicide bomber has hit a government building in eastern Afghanistan, killing 16 people, 14 of them children, local police said.
Suicide blast kills 6, wounds 36 Afghans
KHOST, Afghanistan (Reuters) – A suicide bomber killed six people, including four children, and wounded 36 others in the southeastern Afghan province of Khost on Sunday, a provincial official said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, part of the worst spate of violence in Afghanistan this year, itself the bloodiest period since the militants were overthrown in 2001.
Is this really the way to get things changed? Look, muz dudes, this terrorist bombing stuff ain't working (okay, Spain was an exception), so how 'bout trying a different tack? Doing the same thing over and over and over again, year in and year out, is getting old and you have all become just a parody of yourselves. No one takes you seriously and more bombings just reconfirm your perceived status as a bunch of ham-handed, cloddish, dolts.
Take a tip from an American who has watched the ploy I'm going to tell you about work for decades in America and you'll have a better chance of accomplishing your goals, whatever they are (it's difficult to tell anymore with all of the smoke and body fragments everywhere): re-cast yourselves in the role of the victim. That's right, it's just that simple. Play your part well, with all of the insincere sincerity you can muster, and you'll eventually have the world eating out of your hand and smooching your hairy backside. Then, hire a stable of legal whores (lawyers) to carpet bomb and clog the world's courts with your petitions of woe and you're well on your way to whatever it is you're striving for (Israel's destruction?).
Of course, this method is not as exciting as blowing up men, women, and children, but if your goal is to achieve your goals, it's the only real chance you have. Good luck, and may the force, or whatever it is you believe in, be with you.
P.S. The photo above is not from any of the bombings of the news blurbs above. It's from yet another terrorist bombing, this one being the attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan on 6-2-2008.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
According to this story, the Bush administration is throwing an 11th hour lagniappe to gun owners in the form of reversing a quarter-century-old federal rule that essentially banned the carrying of loaded guns in national parks.
Good, GW, now what else do you have in your sack of gifts for the folks who were instrumental in electing you not once, but twice, to the White House? Anything?
As might be expected, the gun banners are predicting catastrophe once the new ruling is enacted. I especially love the following quote by career politician Dianne Feinstein:
"The Reagan-era rules have stood the test of time and make our national parks safe for all who visit them," [emphasis mine] Feinstein said. "The Bush administration changes will make our national parks more dangerous and will upset the delicate balance that exists between park visitors and wildlife."
Well, not quite safe for all, Miss Ruling Elite. Check out this link to a story from back in 2000 about some brutal murders in Yosemite National Park. Your precious gun ban didn't help those four women, did it?
Regardless, this is a good thing and it looks like I know where I'll be spending at least part of my summer next year: in one of the National Parks here in Colorado...finally.
By now, you've no doubt read/heard the story about the Wal-Mart 34-year-old employee who was trampled to death by customers clamoring to get into the Long Island, New York store for smokin' Black Friday bargains. I'm not going to go into commentary about how I can just imagine the fat cows/great unwashed squeezing through a portal to retail heaven and letting nothing, least of all a fellow human being, stand in their way. No, instead I'm going to relate my experience, albeit a small one, with a crushing crowd.
My father being in the military, I attended high school in Germany in the 1970s. He was stationed about an hour outside of Frankfurt, Germany and all high school students were bussed to the big (well over 1,000 students) American high school in Frankfurt. Three buses ferried the students from our small town, Butzbach, to school. When the buses arrived in the morning, groups of students would pool around the door to each, and that's when the fun began. Kids were so intent on getting on the bus first that those in the front were pushed by those behind them, who were in turn pushed by those behind them. This added up to a lot of pressure and I was unlucky enough, once, to get caught in the middle of this mass. It hurt! The ordeal went on for only a few seconds, but it seemed so much longer, and I recall not being able to take a breath because of all of the weight pressing in on me from all sides. This episode taught me two lessons about crowds I've never forgotten: One, people shed any sense of personal responsibility while in them, which makes crowds extremely dangerous. Two, avoid them like the plague if at all possible.
For what they're worth, my condolences go out to this man's family. Here was a guy just trying to make an honest buck and he gets the life squeezed out of him by "bargain" hunters. Although it's too early to know whether any of the perpetrators who directly caused this man's death will be held accountable for their actions, or if they can even be identified, I'm sure I speak for all decent people everywhere when I say the following: may whatever you bought that day bring you only the deepest grief and misery.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
First, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! We all have at least a few things to be thankful for, so make sure you take stock of them and give thanks to whatever higher power you believe in, if any.
Second, a quick range report. 'Twas a day for male bonding, with my brother and one of his sons, along with this blathering blogger and his son, all spending a couple/three hours at the range. After quickly reviewing the rules for gun safety with all present, I chronographed some .38 Spl. handloads built around the first bullets I've ever casted (I'll need to do some more testing), and then we just engaged in some informal plinking.
The guns involved were a S&W 617, S&W 19, NAA mini .22 Mag., Marlin 1894 in .38/.357, and the venerable SKS. Oh, yeah, one other gun put in an appearance: my brother's Hi-Point .40 S&W. (Despite its somewhat low reputation, the Hi-Point shot quite well, having only one FTF that I know of, and hitting the target accurately. I'm not sure how much he paid for the gun, but I know he bought it used, so he must have gotten it for a relative song and dance.)
One thing I am thankful for on that outing was the sparking of my son's apparent interest/enjoyment in/of shooting; in the past, he didn't seem to have much interest in shooting, so I didn't push him. But on that day, things were different. With his eye and hearing protection on, I gave him the basics of sight alignment and trigger manipulation and then he fired a cylinder of .22 LR out of the S&W 617 (with me directly behind him) and he LOVED it! I thought he'd be done after that, but he instantly asked to shoot it some more; I gladly obliged his request. I don't want to read too much into this, but I have the feeling that come next summer I am going to have a new, dedicated shooting partner. By the way, he also fired a couple of rounds of .38 Spl. through the Marlin 1894 rifle, which he enjoyed.
After the firearms shooting was done, my brother and his son had to leave. We bade them goodbye and then my son and I headed over to the archery range. (See above photo.) With his little kid-size compound bow, Sasha's (his given name is Aleksandr, but we call him Sasha) first arrow was just outside of the bullseye at 10 yards. After that the hits were sporadic, but he kept on trying anyway. You can view an incredibly cute video (is that my bias showing?) of him here on You Tube shooting his bow.
I managed to get some practice in with my bows, and I believe I'm finally getting the hang of my new Martin Savannah long bow. Of course, whenever I'm at the range time flies faster than anywhere else in the world and this day was no exception. We reluctantly packed all of the gear away and hit the road for the forty-mile return trip. Sasha dozed off and I was left with my thoughts and impressions of the day. I was quite happy and content.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
"Paulson pulling more tricks to bolster US economy"
Finally, an honest headline about the parlor games and sleight of hand tricks that are being implemented to maintain the facade of never-ending growth and good times. I saved it, so here are a couple of excerpts I find particularly telling.
"With the economy showing further signs that it is headed into a steep swoon, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is pulling more tricks out of his bag to try bolster the country's battered financial sector."
"To revive the economy, President-elect Barack Obama has said a top priority will be working with Congress to enact a stimulus package with the goal of creating 2.5 million new jobs over the next two years. Analysts believe such an effort will require spending between $500 billion to $700 billion, a figure that would be on top of all the money being spent to stabilize the financial system."
Ah, the old stimulus package, as if the economy somehow just forgot to work and needs to be prodded to get back to business. You know, if it wasn't for the wisdom of governments here and abroad, concepts like an economy just couldn't exist. At least that's apparently the thinking behind the philosophy of government stimulus (aka interference). Oh, and that 2.5 million new jobs should really help alleviate the pain of the 10 million+ jobs that will be lost over the same period.
Will governments ever learn? I doubt it. It's not in their nature to let markets operate independently, only insuring that force or fraud are not present (something they haven't been doing, which is part of the reason we're in our present pickle). If they did that, people would soon see that very little government is needed to live a full, productive life, and where is the advantage for politicians and bureaucrats in that?
The only way the US government will stop (temporarily, at least) is when it has so thoroughly bankrupted and discredited our economy and, by extension, itself, that it has absolutely no more credibility with anyone anywhere in the world, much less its own citizens. Will our present crisis lead to that apocryphal event? I do not know, but it looks to be a good start.
Good luck in the future. I'm not going to let this stuff bother me because, as I've always said, "living well is the best revenge" (on your enemies). With that in mind, I believe I'll steal a few hours and head to the range to try out some new loads I made up (range report to follow, if I go).
Saturday, November 22, 2008
As is often the case in life, intelligence is no guarantee of making the right decision. Take the debate on the automobile industry bailout for example. I've recently heard more than one otherwise intelligent person pontificate that the government should give money to that ailing industry, but only with strings attached. Those strings would include governmental oversight that the industry was using the money correctly and somehow, via the wise hand of the governmental guidance (BWAHAHAHA!), miraculously seeing the light and changing the deeply entrenched, decades-long, error of its ways.
Note to the power brokers in DC, aka elected politicians and appointed bureaucrats: Why would you want to complicate your life like that? And who are you to give advice to anyone on the judicious use of money and organizational management? You've been spending more than you bring in for many, many years, so you have absolutely no standing to be giving advice to anyone. Let me help you to make your collective lives easier so you can concentrate on what you do best: bamboozling enough of your constituents to win your next term.
Okay, here's what you do, political creatures. Let the auto industry sink or swim on its own without one penny of taxpayer money. No special committees, commissions, or agency need be created to direct or give advice to the industry. This will free up plenty of time to hire prostitutes (male or female, as your preference dictates), diddle pages (male or female, as your preference dictates [right, Barney?]), make the party circuit, play in bathroom stalls, perform clandestine dope deals, fight the war on drugs, lard unneeded bills with pork (gotta keep those porkers at home happy), polish your lies, secretly siphon off ill-gotten money (taxes) for personal use, incite class warfare and envy, curry and grant favors to industries who kowtow to you, and generally be the log-in-the-eye slobs, sybarites, and sycophants you've always been.
That's a lot of activity and we are all only given 24 hours in a day, so don't complicate your life by taking on tasks that another system, the free market, can handle; you'll need your time and rest for the above exhaustive pursuits. Enjoy your life now, for if there is one after this, you likely won't. Don't worry, the free market excels at taking care of businesses that have become bloated and inefficient as a result of bad decisions. Let the free market take that wheezing, sweating, obese industry for a trip to boot camp and watch the lean, mean fighting machine that returns. That's right, the industry will survive in one form or another, perhaps not in Detroit, but it will survive. The phoenix that arises from the ashes will be able to compete with any other car maker on the planet. And the best part is you won't have to lift a finger for any of this to take place.
Sound like a deal? Good! Now get on out there, tiger, and pursue the illicit activities you were bred for!
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Although the following excerpt from this essay by Chuck Baldwin deals with guns, a big reason it caught my eye, the rest of the piece dissects the rotting corpse of conservatism. Hence, it's well worth a read.
"Then there was the pathetic attempt by the National Rifle Association (NRA) to scare gun owners regarding an Obama White House. Remember that John McCain is the same guy that the NRA rightly condemned for proposing his blatantly unconstitutional McCain/Feingold bill. McCain is also the same guy that tried to close down gun shows. He even made a personal campaign appearance for a pro-gun control liberal in the State of Oregon a few short years ago. In fact, the Gun Owners of America (GOA) gave McCain a grade of "F" for his dismal record on Second Amendment issues. Once again, Chicken Little-style paranoia over Barack Obama rang hollow when the alternative was someone as liberal as John McCain."
Gun owners had no viable friend as presidential candidate this time, but they talked themselves into believing McCain was their man out of desperation. See where it got them? As the differences blur between the two parties and they slowly meld into one, who can gun owners turn to? Basically no one, at least no one with a snowball's chance in heck of being elected, at least at this point in history.
The best that can be hoped for is Obama doesn't do too much more damage to our already perforated second amendment and the Republican party once again stands as a true alternative, rather than a pale imitation of, the Democrats. Like Baldwin, I am not too optimistic of that outcome.
Of course, even if the Republicans do thoroughly revamp their party and turn it into the antithesis of the Democrat party, that still doesn't guarantee success. Why not? Simply put, the American electorate won't stand for their politicians telling them the truth. Can you imagine a revamped Republican standing up and telling folks we are profoundly broke as a nation, we have to rely on borrowed money just to meet our day-to-day living expenses, and if he is elected that will all stop and everyone will have to tighten their belts and live within their means? He'd be lucky if his share of the vote reached double digits.
Americans can't stand the truth. They want lies, the bigger the better. They want, collectively speaking, something for nothing. I don't see this changing until...well, ever, actually. If/when the two main parties show themselves for the bumbling meddlers they are and everyone finally gets the message, do you really think American voters will turn to someone offering the only viable way out of the mess, liberty and freedom? If you think they will, you're far more optimistic than I. They will almost assuredly go for a fascist or semi-fascist who tells them too much liberty is a bad thing and what's needed is ever-more control from the top. He/she will make big promises (big lies) which the something-for-nothing American voters will eat up and beg for more. If you doubt me, please explain to me how we got to the point we are.
Something-for-nothing Americans, including "The Greatest Generation," with their demands for Social Security/Medicare, have ruined this once-great republic. I only see a bleak future, with the possible exception of a few head fakes here and there that won't last long.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to buy a ticket for tonight's state-sponsored lotto drawing.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Just some of my ramblings:
Congratulations on bamboozling a majority of the American public and getting yourself elected. I'm talking, of course, to the Democrat party/Obama, but I could have used the same line had the Republican party managed to get McCain elected.
Okay, on to the issue that really concerns me: gun control. I realize the following will be giving them (Democrats who want to control/restrict gun ownership) LOTS of credit, but what if they don't start out of the gate with a new, non-sunsetting Assault Weapons Ban? In fact, what if they don't even introduce any new anti-gun legislation at all during Obama's first term?
Hey, it could happen.
This might very well make those who have been warning of Obama's anti-gun streak look like the boy who cried wolf, lulling people into a false sense of security and weakening gun-rights organizations. Then, during a second term, when he doesn't have to worry about getting re-elected, Obama and a Democrat congress can hack and hew at the second amendment with gay abandon.
But, of course, they're probably not that smart, so we'll soon be sweating out whether another, more inclusive, AWB will pass. See what reliance on only Republicans has gotten us? As power goes back and forth over the years between the Dems and Repubs, more and more of our rights are suppressed/lost. This is an insane fight that will eventually have only one outcome: a total suppression/loss of gun rights by American citizens.
I don't have any magic answers. The republic is dead, and I'm not saying that just because of the recent election; I've believed it for quite some time.
The one hope we might have, not only as gun owners, but also as Americans, is that both the Dems and Repubs so thoroughly discredit themselves by destroying what made America exceptional, its liberty, not to mention its economy, that even the dimmest-bulb voter will look for a better alternative. Of course, things have a long way to go before we get to that point, if we ever do, probably generations, so I doubt any of us will live to see that happen.
P.S. As I stated before, although I can't remember if it was on this blog or on someone else's blog, let's all hope that Obama and friends are kept so busy putting out fires caused by the financial meltdown we're experiencing, and will continue to experience after the honeymoon is over, that they don't have much time to put together much in the way of a new AWB.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Practically everyday I’m almost struck dumb by the schlock that passes for news reporting. Here’s a sampling of the inane headlines (just the headlines--the stories behind them are another matter), with comment, I saw today on my start-up page.
"US campaign enters final weekend": A headline tailored for those unclear on the concept of a calendar.
"AP: Obama aunt from Kenya living illegally in US (AP)": I don’t understand why this was reported by the obviously pro-Obama press, unless it is an attempt to appear as if they are objective. If so, it ain’t working.
"Boo! Revelers celebrate the spookiest of holidays": So very newsworthy. I fully expect to see a headline reading “Millions of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving,” on, wait...THANKSGIVING!
"Indian police question Muslims for Assam bombings": Well, duh!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I know it's cynical of me to say this, but I actually hope that economic conditions continue to worsen. Why? Simply for this reason alone: Every time the fed/congress makes a move that is ineffectual in improving the US economy, which essentially means every move they make, they further expose themselves as the charlatans they are. Eventually, even the thickest US citizen will come to see that those in DC are nothing more than the equivalent of "that man behind the curtain."
No one person, group, or country can evade reality forever. Reality states that consuming more than you produce is, eventually, a one-way ticket to ruin. In fact, the only possible way one can consume more than they produce is by taking it from another who has produced more than they can, or care to, consume. This is the state of our economy today. We, as a nation, are consuming more than we produce. The way we can do this is via foreign investment of around two billion bucks a day in promises to repay with future taxes. Without that daily infusion of money, we wouldn't be able to function in the way we have been conditioned to expect. Take it away and things get ugly fast. Reality will reassert itself and demand to be heard, and its message will be this: Live within your means or perish.
This does not mean that I think credit and borrowing are bad, for under the right circumstance, they are not. The right circumstance means one would use that money in a way that helps to produce more income, such as when a business buys a piece of equipment that makes them more productive. If the loaned money won't help one become more productive, it shouldn't be asked for. Borrowing should not be looked at as another income stream, as it is with the US government, and too many US citizens, today. Using borrowed money to finance consumables that produce nothing but an obligation is irresponsible, immature, and immoral.
It is impossible to get something for nothing in this universe, but that's exactly what the electorate has come to believe, and it shows via the representatives they elect and keep in office. Somewhere along the line, this something-for-nothing fantasy will answer to reality. I believe we are seeing reality's preliminary questioning of the fantasy now, with a full-blown interrogation to follow.
All of the babble we are hearing today about this or that financial shenanigan is merely obfuscation for the undeniable fact that we have violated the key principle of living within our means and not spending more than we make. Until we, as a nation, face our profligate ways soberly, the kindling for the eventual fiscal meltdown will continue to pile higher and higher and make the coming conflagration more and more destructive.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Yesterday, I made my more-or-less monthly 40-mile-each-way sojourn to the range for some R&R. This time, I dragged the chronograph along to clock a new load I bought for my S&W Model 642, the slickest little carry revolver ever devised. Earlier in the week, I had purchased a box of Federal .38 Spl. +P 158 gr. LSWCHP ammunition, the so-called "FBI load," and I was anxious to see how it performed in the little snubby. (Of course, the 642 wasn't the only gun I took, but more on that later.)
I've usually carried and fired loads with lighter bullets in the 642, namely 110 gr. and 125 gr. But, although I've known about the FBI load and its real-world efficacy for years, I've never tried it. That changed yesterday. The good news is also the bad news in that it is at least, or seems to be, a notch above, in terms of power, rounds with lighter-weight bullets. The good news part explains itself; the bad news part is that it also ups the recoil a good bit. Not to unmanageable levels, mind you, but it is pronounced, and it makes this round a load best practiced with in 5-10 round sessions.
Other than that, it performed beautifully. Hitting accurately at 9 yards (offhand) and clocking at an average of 805 fps, which I thought was pretty good considering the 1 7/8" barrel it went through. The velocity, by the way, was not much below the other load I chrono'd, the Speer Gold Dot .38 Spl. +P 125 gr. JHP. The Speer load, for the one round I was able to measure (my chronograph was acting funny at that point) went 828 fps. Granted, that's not an average, but it's probably in the ballpark of where that load generally shoots. With a less than 30 fps. difference, I believe I'll begin carrying the FBI load; I just feel more confident with that heavier bullet. One other downside to the FBI load I just thought of, and it's a minor one, is that it leaded the heck out of my barrel, but a little elbow grease, Rem-Oil, and Chore-Boy copper wool will take care of that.
The S&W Model 19 I own shot my softball .38 Spl. reloads (3.0 grs. Clays, 154 gr. LRNFP, WSP) with typical aplomb. It really loves that load and puts it on target almost in spite of me. The fact that it's such a mild-mannered load probably doesn't hurt either, coupled with a trigger that's the best on any gun I've ever fired. I recently had some custom gun stocks (aka, incorrectly, as grips) made for the gun from Herrett's Stocks, Inc. that fit me like a glove and make the gun feel like an extension of my hand, which is as it should be since I sent them an outline of my hand and they fitted the stocks perfectly to suit me.
I also put 50 rounds through the S&W Model 617 10-shot .22 LR revolver. This gun is always fun to shoot, mainly because it's accurate and non-taxing regarding recoil. In the past, I've put over 450 rounds through it in a day without tiring. (The only reason I stopped was because I ran out of ammo.) I bought the gun new and I've since put over 6700 rounds through it (I actually keep count) and I hope to put several times more than that through it before I pass it on to my son.
Finally, I toted along the quintessential working man's semi-auto centerfire "battle" carbine, the SKS. I put only 20 rounds through this gun, but that was enough to remind me of how infinitely practical both the gun and the 7.62x39mm round are. The gun is as tough as a tank and, though it does not possess tack-driving accuracy by any means, its accuracy is acceptable. Plus, although prices have gone up since I bought mine, they are still a great bargain.
After the firearms shooting was done, I promptly made my way over to the bow range where I quickly discovered I had left my bowstringer at home. DRATS! It wasn't a total loss, however, as I was able to string the low-poundage recurve I had via the step-through method and use that for practice. The other bow, though, was too expensive to try that method with (if you mess it up, it can ruin your bow) and I left it alone. I only got serious about archery this summer and it is a close second to firearms shooting in terms of enjoyment. One area where it exceeds firearms is in its simplicity. I'm sure I will vacillate between the two sports in the future, but I can't see forsaking one for the other. They are both such fun.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I'm not sure I understand the purpose of the organization ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). Is the purpose to register a bunch of folks who are too clueless to find out how to become eligible voters? If so, how well versed could they be on the mechanics of how our government is supposed, at least in theory, to work? I submit probably not well versed at all. If a citizen is not concerned enough to figure out how to get themselves registered to vote, then it's probably not all that important to him and he should be left alone, for a citizen with a vote who is unaware of the purpose and content of the U.S. Constitution, the proper functions of the three braches of government, and basic history, is a dangerous person indeed. Their voting becomes tantamount to throwing a cocked revolver into a playpen full of curious toddlers.
We already have plenty of uninformed voters. I'd venture to say the majority of registered voters have little to no clue as to the purpose of government in a free country, so why do we need to add to that group by getting still more of the same?
I heard an ACORN representative on the radio two days ago decrying the fact that the U.S. has the lowest number of registered voters in the Western world. So? Somewhow, ipso facto, this is supposed to translate into what? Discrimination? Repression? Unfairness? Today, unlike in the receeding past, I don't believe anyone in this country who is motivated enough to do so would be barred from registering to vote. So, with that in mind, how can an organization like ACORN, which takes more than $30 million from the government to function, fill any legitimate purpose? Truth be told, it can't and doesn't, unless inflating the voter rolls with more people than we already have who are likely to vote for the candidate who can promise them the most loot from someone else's pocket can be deemed a legitimate purpose.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Can anyone say anything about Hugh Hefner other than, "What a complete moron."?
Playboy Hugh Hefner back on the market [and what a catch he is] after splitting from 'No 1 girlfriend'
Playboy tycoon Hugh Hefner is nursing a broken heart after his "No 1 girlfriend" [concubine] Holly Madison walked out on him.
The 82-year-old said his failed efforts to have a baby with Madison [There is a God!], 28, contributed to the split.
Despite the 54-year age gap, Hefner said he had "planned to spend the rest of my life [1-36 months] with Holly", adding that he was "down in the dumps" about the break-up: "I was road kill a couple of weeks ago." [Only a couple of weeks ago, Hugh? C'mon, you've looked like road kill for at least a couple of decades.]
He explained: "We tried to have a baby earlier this year and it didn't work out. She became very depressed." [Depressed that she couldn't use a baby as an angle to get a piece of your millions. No doubt there are millions of guys who'd gladly oblige her desire for a child, but a lot of them are just working stiffs, if you'll pardon the expression, who don't have millions. So, this isn't about a baby at all, but really about moolah.]
Hefner saw the writing on the wall last month [via trifocals?] when he admitted that their relationship was going through a period of "transition", explaining: "I don't think anything lasts forever. I love [as if you have any conception of the word] her very much but, you know, she wants very much to get married and have children. That isn't very much on the cards for me. So there has to be a certain reality there." [Reality? Give me a break. You want reality, Hugh? Here it is: You are an obscene, self-centered person and you always have been. In your heyday, you ran around bleating about how sexually repressed everyone in this country was and how they needed to loosen up. Well, you certainly helped usher in a looseness in sexual morals, and what a stupendous, crushing failure it's been. But, of course, you would never take any of the blame for that. No, you're still too busy trying to tap every maple tree in the forest, with the aid of Viagra, to notice the lives your poisonous philosophy has helped to destroy. You are a joke, a clown, a pig, and it's time someone called you out on it.]
However, he does not have to contemplate singledom just yet. He still has two other live-in girlfriends [Girlfriends? Look, they're prostitutes, plain and simple.], Kendra Wilkinson, 23, and Bridget Marquadt, 35, installed [like an appliance?] at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills. Hefner has scaled down his coterie - a few years ago the mansion was home to no less than seven Playmates.
And there is no shortage of [gold-digging] women queing up to replace Madison.
The multi-millionaire said: "There's been moments that I've been down in the dumps about all this, and Mary (Hefner's personal assistant) told me to cheer up and pointed out that there are girls lined up outside the front gate. At my age, that's hard to believe [ditto], but it seems to be true.
"It's a big house and I'm not going to live alone. I'm definitely not going to live alone." [Have you contemplated a live-in assistant, Hugh?]
Lest anyone think that jealousy led me to post the above, rest assured that it was not, and is not, my motivation. In fact, I couldn't care less what HH does. But when this nonsense is splashed across the news by the infotainment industry when far more pressing and serious stories cry out for in-depth reporting, I feel compelled to comment. So some old, pruned-out millionaire is able to plow a bunch of furrows far less than half his age. This is newsworthy? Just like HH himself, the news industry has become a mere parody of itself.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Over the years I've purchased and un-purchased a fair number of guns. Here's a breakdown of some of those guns, in no particular order, along with a few words on each.
Armalite AR180B: For many, many years, I resisted buying any type of AR rifle, mainly because I didn't personally see the need for one. Finally, I bought one. I owned the AR180B for a little over two years and, while it was a decent gun, I just never made a connection with it. I've shot other AR rifles, including the military version while I was in the army, but I just don't see the big deal about them. I wonder if the big thing about them is the fact that they are at the top of every gun-banner's list, and therefore people want them not so much for the gun, but so that they can have one before some idiot socialist/communist puts the kibosh on all sales. There are better, IMHO, and not so overpriced, guns for hunting, varminting, casual plinking, and, arguably, self-defense, than the uber-popular AR. SOLD.
Savage Model 10: This gun was bought to use for varminting, something I never got around to doing. I really liked the caliber it was in, .22-250, but I never shot the rifle enough to work up a tack-driving load, although I was getting there. SOLD.
Charter Arms Bulldog Pug: No, this wasn't the original CA Bulldog, the gun made infamous by that whack-job David Birkowitz, aka the Son of Sam. This was the stainless steel version that came out, IIRC, somewhere around 2000 or so. The .44 Special is a fine cartridge, but I can't say the same for the Bulldog Pug. The only ammunition I could get it to fire reliably was the Blazer load with the 200-grain HP (Gold dot?) bullet. Pretty decent accuracy, as I recall, when it did fire. By the way, I did relay the revolver's shortcomings to the buyer. SOLD.
Ishapore Enfield: This is the only gun I've ever sold for more money than I bought it for. Not a whole lot more, mind you, but I did make a few bucks. This gun was chambered for the 7.62x51mm or .308 round. It was a no-nonsense, tough-as-nails design that could easily do 2-2.5 MOA with iron sights, and probably a lot better with a scope and/or better eyes. It was HEAVY, probably around a good nine pounds, minimum, and it was a hoot to shoot. Although I don't regret selling this one, I must admit that I miss it from time to time. SOLD.
Ruger Blackhawk: Two of 'em, in fact. Both were in .357 Magnum, and one had an extra cylinder to convert it to 9mm. I know a lot of folks love these, but I just couldn't find a thrill in them. They were well made, just like all of Ruger's guns, but boring. I just don't get the whole single-action scene, not that it should stop you from enjoying it if that's what you like. SOLD.
Stoeger Coach gun: This was a 12-ga., side-by-side, double-barreled shotgun that was pretty cool to shoot, but which I had no real need for, especially in light of the fact that I have a Remington 870. The 20" barrels and the short overall length made it quite handy to wield, but it needed to go to another home. SOLD.
CZ75 and CZ75BD: Yup, I had the early CZ75 9mm pistol, and the later version with a decocker. They were both fine guns, as are all CZs, but once the Glock 34 came to town, the CZs became obviated. I also had a .22LR conversion slide from CZ that went. SOLD.
CZ527: I'm still not sure why I bought this bolt-action .223, but I did. A well-made rifle that I never got around to wringing out. I traded it at the gun store for something else, but I can't remember what. TRADED.
Springfield Armory M1A: The most expensive gun I ever bought, and will ever likely buy, I had this gun for about a year before I let it go. Unfired(!). SOLD.
S&W Model 625: I'd always been attracted to the idea of shooting semi-auto cartridges in a revolver, in this case .45 ACP. I finally bought the 4" version when it came out 5-6 years ago. While this was a nice gun, it didn't fit my hand well. It went to a good home with a Denver cop I was acquainted with. SOLD.
S&W Model 25: This was in .45 Colt and it was a version from the 1980s. 'Twas a good gun, but I traded it at the gun store for a gun that was much better for me: the wonderful S&W Model 19. I've never regretted the swap. TRADED.
Kahr MK40: A solid, dependable handgun, but too heavy for carry. I can't remember if I SOLD or TRADED it.
Glock 36: To the best of my knowledge, this is Glock's only single-stack gun. It's chambered for the .45 ACP. I didn't like the perceived recoil, plus it was not an easy-to-carry gun, so it went bye-bye. SOLD.
Glock 26: For those who like, and can carry well, a subcompact 9mm, this is the model to beat. I liked everything about it save for its bulkiness, which did not comport with the way I like to carry. I also had an Advantage Arms .22LR conversion slide for this gun that the same person bought. SOLD.
Well, THAT was cathartic.
I'm finally getting my group of guns down to a manageable, usable level, a place where it should have stayed. But you know what they say about a fool and his money. As I alluded to in an earlier post, I think I've finally wised up and the gun industry will have to make due without my dollars, but there are plenty of other up-and-coming marks, so I'm sure their future is secure, barring an unConstitutional government fiat, of course.
Kel-Tec P3AT: Oops, I almost forgot this one. This was an okay little mouse gun, but it was quite picky about what ammo it liked, as are many small auto handguns. It was definitely concealable, but the .380 ACP cartridge did not lend me much confidence. The gun went to someone else who wanted it, and I haven't missed it one bit. SOLD.
Friday, October 3, 2008
If you have even the slightest sense of history and a working brain in your head, the following story could not be a surprise to you.
Credit markets to Washington: Bailout isn't enough
By MADLEN READ, AP Business Writer
The credit markets finally got a bailout bill, but the stranglehold hasn't let up — a troubling sign that lenders and investors believe the package will only be a baby step in the long road to economic recovery.
The credit markets, where companies go to get cash loans, have seized up since the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and in anticipation of the $700 billion plan initially voted down by the House. The House passed a revised version of it Friday following the Senate's approval earlier this week, but anxiety about its effectiveness kept demand for Treasury bills high and nearly nonexistent for other types of debt.
Overall, market participants have begun regarding the rescue plan as a medicine for what's ailing the financial system, but not a cure-all.
"At best, we can hope that it stems some of the more intense risk from the credit crisis. It prevents things from spiraling out of hand here," said JPMorgan Chase economist Michael Feroli.
Some are worried, though, that the plan will not work at all.
"Nobody knows how it's going to succeed," said Howard Simons, strategist with Bianco Research in Chicago. "It seems the American public had better sense than Wall Street and Washington — the American public said, don't throw good money after bad."
The Treasury will buy banks' risky mortgage-backed assets in an effort to alleviate investors' worries about the institutions' solvency and free them up to do more lending. Even if those efforts succeed, the effects will be far from instantaneous, and borrowing could remain very expensive for some time. With the economy in such a weak state, lending to consumers and businesses will still appear risky until certain factors — particularly employment and the housing market — improve.
To paraphrase an old Carpenter's song (I guess all Carpenter's songs are now old): "We've only just begun, to give." I wish I could offer some sage advice, but I'm fresh out. Just be ready for one hell of a ride over the next few years, or decades.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Three cheers for Lee's Liquid Alox! If you are a reloader, you've likely at least heard about this concoction, if not used it yourself. LLA is a bullet lubricant that helps keep lead smearing out of a firearm's barrel when using lead bullets driven at sane velocities. Since I've only used it for lead bullets pushed to moderate speeds (approx. 750-850 fps) in the .38 Spl. cartridge, that's all I can authoritatively comment on. Prior to using LLA, I would routinely have to scrub lead--lots of lead--out of the barrels of my revolvers after firing them. The lead bullets I used were commercially manufactured and had hard lube in their lube rings, but that lube might as well have not been there for all the good it did.
Somewhere along the line, I got the idea to use LLA on my bullets to supplement the lousy lube that already came on the bullets. Since that time, I've had absolutely zero leading problems. As an added bonus, LLA couldn't be simpler to use: just take an old plastic container, place a couple of handfuls of lead bullets inside, shoot a squirt or two of LLA on the bullets, and swirl the container until they're all coated, which doesn't take long. Then, put the bullets on a piece of wax paper and let them dry overnight. After that, they're ready to load. Simple, eh?
I have heard that LLA has its limitations, mainly when bullets get much beyond about 1200 fps. Past that speed, leading can/will occur. But, since I don't plan to shoot lead bullets at that speed (that's what jacketed bullets are for), LLA suits my purposes just fine.
One other use I've read about for Lee Liquid Alox is as a rust preventative. Although I haven't used it for that purpose, I can see how it would work well in that role, and not just for guns. Anything metal that you might want to put into long-term storage could well benefit from a coating of LLA. Of course, you'll have to clean it off once the item is taken from storage, and that will take a little work since LLA dries somewhat hard, but the item should be in fine, rust-free shape afterwards.
If you haven't tried LLA, do yourself a favor and get a bottle. It's relatively cheap, about five bucks for a 4-oz. bottle, and it lasts a long time. I've coated about 1500 bullets so far and less than half of the bottle is gone.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Do you remember in high school the nerdy kid who was so desperate to be accepted by someone, anyone, that he eventually was adopted by a group of folks who used him, mercilessly, for comic relief? But, craving some kind of companionship, even if it was twisted, the nerdy kid put up with the put-downs, lies, physical abuse, etc., just to have "friends."
If you don't, that's okay, because there is a group in our nation today that is the embodiment of that nerd: U.S. gun owners. That's right. Although they've been repeatedly shown disrespect and been taken for granted, they keep on giving their support to a Republican party that hasn't done them any favors. The Republican party treats gun owners like the friend they're embarrassed to have. Sure, they talk a good game in private, but in public they don't particularly want to be seen together.
Why? Well, the Republican party (I know there are individual exceptions, but I'm talking about the actual party apparatchik), like all politicians, are first interested in getting in and staying in power; everything else is secondary and open to negotiation. To do this, they believe, they cannot appear too strident on any issue, so they straddle the fence and never really do much of anything to actually help roll back the onerous tide of oppressive gun laws that have appeared over the last century. People like this are fair-weather friends, at best, and mortal enemies if/when push comes to shove. Still, gun owners cling to these nabobs and defend them like they're their best, and only, buddies.
Want proof? Look at the McCain campaign for president. Before he announced a running mate, gun owners gave little more than a yawn about his run, mainly because they sensed/knew, correctly, that McCain was/is no friend of theirs. But after the addition of Mrs. Palin to the ticket, why, by God, suddenly everything changed. Now, everything is hunky-dory and gun owners are acting as if all is right with the world.
But not so fast, American gun owners. Just like the recent government bailouts of insolvent financial institutions, which did nothing to change the actual crap-like quality of said institutions, the basic Republican party credo that gun owners will always back their party because, "Who else are they going to vote for, the Democrats?," is still in place. With an attitude like this, it's no wonder the Republican party can and does court the gun vote, but in actuality does nothing to deserve it. The Republican party does not respect gun owners, and why should it? No matter how many times they're abused, kicked, ignored, etc., gun owners always slavishly come back to lick the hand that beats/ignores them.
I have little reason to believe that the choices gun owners make across America this November will contradict me. Do you?
P.S. Can you guess which person represents gun owners in the photo above, the tall lady or the dwarf? (Hint: It ain't the tall lady.)
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Here's an excerpt from the Hurricane Ike saga.
Economic damage from Ike may be less than feared
By DAVID KOENIG and ELLEN SIMON, AP Business Writers
Sun Sep 14, 12:34 AM ET
A small change in Hurricane Ike's course just before it crashed into the Texas coast Saturday may have spared the state and the nation from significantly worse economic damage...
Damn! Better luck next time, newshounds. I know you were hoping for catastrophic destruction and a high body count, but they didn't happen. Darn that old Mother Nature! Oh well, we still have plenty of time left in the hurricane season.
In the meantime, reporter-folk, I suggest you put at least as much effort as you did reporting on Ike into reporting on how the American taxpayer is being forced to bail out institutions that, because of stupidity and outright venality, are fiscally and morally bankrupt. Sure, it's not as fun and glamorous as tracking a storm, mainly because it takes what many of you seem to lack, a modicum of intelligence, but its economic damage will be many times what any hurricane can muster. If you really want to report on economic damage so deep and wide that it'll hamstring America for decades, you'll find it there.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Are you surprised at the following piece about the ignorance of the average American voter? I know I wasn't.
5 Myths About Those Civic-Minded, Deeply Informed Voters
By Rick Shenkman
Sunday, September 7, 2008;
One thing both Democrats and Republicans agreed about in their vastly different conventions: The American voter will not only decide but decide wisely. But does the electorate really know what it's talking about? Plenty of things are hurting American democracy -- gridlock, negative campaigning, special interests -- but one factor lies at the root of all the others, and nobody dares to discuss it. American voters, who are hiring the people who'll run a superpower democracy, are grossly ignorant. Here are a few particularly bogus claims about their supposed savvy.
1. Our voters are pretty smart.
You hear this one from politicians all the time, even John McCain, who promises straight talk, and Barack Obama, who claims that he's not a politician (by which he means that he'll tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear). But by every measure social scientists have devised, voters are spectacularly uninformed. They don't follow politics, and they don't know how their government works. According to an August 2006 Zogby poll, only two in five Americans know that we have three branches of government and can name them. A 2006 National Geographic poll showed that six in ten young people (aged 18 to 24) could not find Iraq on the map. The political scientists Michael Delli Carpini and Scott Keeter, surveying a wide variety of polls measuring knowledge of history, report that fewer than half of all Americans know who Karl Marx was or which war the Battle of Bunker Hill was fought in. Worse, they found that just 49 percent of Americans know that the only country ever to use a nuclear weapon in a war is their own.
True, many voters can tell you who's ahead and who's behind in the horse race. But most of what they know about the candidates' positions on the issues -- and remember, our candidates are running to make policy, not talk about their biographies -- derives from what voters learn from stupid and often misleading 30-second commercials, according to Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
2. Bill O'Reilly's viewers are dumber than Jon Stewart's.
Liberals wish. Democrats like to think that voters who sympathize with their views are smarter than those who vote Republican. But a 2007 Pew survey found that the knowledge level of viewers of the right-wing, blustery "The O'Reilly Factor" and the left-wing, snarky "The Daily Show" is comparable, with about 54 percent of the shows' politicized viewers scoring in the "high knowledge" category.
So what about conservative talk-radio titan Rush Limbaugh's audience? Surely the ditto-heads are dumb, right? Actually, according to a survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, Rush's listeners are better educated and "more knowledgeable about politics and social issues" than the average voter.
3. If you just give Americans the facts, they'll be able to draw the right conclusions.
Unfortunately, no. Many social scientists have long tried to downplay the ignorance of voters, arguing that the mental "short cuts" voters use to make up for their lack of information work pretty well. But the evidence from the past few years proves that a majority can easily be bamboozled.
Just before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, after months of unsubtle hinting from Bush administration officials, some 60 percent of Americans had come to believe that Iraq was behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, despite the absence of evidence for the claim, according to a series of surveys taken by the PIPA/Knowledge Networks poll. A year later, after the bipartisan, independent 9/11 Commission reported that Saddam Hussein had had nothing to do with al-Qaeda's assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, 50 percent of Americans still insisted that he did. In other words, the public was bluntly given the data by a group of officials generally believed to be credible -- and it still didn't absorb the most basic facts about the most important event of their time.
4. Voters today are smarter than they used to be.
Actually, by most measures, voters today possess the same level of political knowledge as their parents and grandparents, and in some categories, they score lower. In the 1950s, only 10 percent of voters were incapable of citing any ways in which the two major parties differed, according to Thomas E. Patterson of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, who leads the Pew-backed Vanishing Voter Project. By the 1970s, that number had jumped to nearly 30 percent.
Here's what makes these numbers deplorable -- and, in fact, almost incomprehensible: Education levels are far higher today than they were half a century ago, when social scientists first began surveying voter knowledge about politics. (In 1940, six in ten Americans hadn't made it past the eighth grade.) The moral of this story: Schooling alone doesn't translate into better educated voters.
5. Young voters are paying a lot of attention to the news.
Again, no. Despite all the hoopla about young voters -- the great hope of the future! -- only one news story in 2001 drew the attention of a majority of them: 9/11. Some 60 percent of young voters told Pew researchers that they were following news about the attack closely. (Er -- 40 percent weren't?) But none of the other stories that year seemed particularly interesting to them. Only 32 percent said that they followed the news about the anthrax attacks or the economy, then in recession. The capture of Kabul from the Taliban? Just 20 percent.
Six years later, Pew again measured public knowledge of current events and found that the young (aged 18 to 29) "know the least." A majority of young respondents scored in the "low knowledge" category -- the only demographic group to do so.
And some other statistics are even more alarming. How many young people read newspapers? Just 20 percent. (Worse, studies consistently show that people who do not pick up the newspaper-reading habit in their 20s rarely do so later.) But surely today's youth are getting their news from the Internet? Sorry. Only 11 percent of the young report that they regularly surf the Internet for news. Maybe Obama shouldn't be relying on savvy young voters after all.
Americans, in general, really do deserve the government they have. Blaming politicians for the country's ills overlooks the fact that those same pols mirror perfectly the wants and wishes of the electorate. It's no secret that the average American can tell you more about pop "culture" and sports, neither of which has any direct affect on their lives other than what they allow them to have, than they can about things that directly impact their lives, such as government fiscal policy.
Assuming the above piece is true, and I have no doubt it is, we are doomed, doomed!, I tell you.
To the right, you are viewing a photo of a Muslim man doing one of the following: displaying his sentiments towards the West; using his fingers to represent the WTC; or answering the question, "What is your IQ?" I'm betting on the latter.
Since I'm only able to get around to this heaving, wheezing example of a blog about once a week now, I did not post on Sept. 11 to commemorate that black day in our history. But I wanted to go on record as having observed the day personally; it seems as if I'm the only one who even remembered it in my sphere of daily associates, my wife excepted. I hope I am wrong about that.
The events that happened on 9-11-01 to this country still haunt me, as they should any sentient being who is a citizen here. They also left me with a permanently jaundiced eye towards all things having to do with Islam and the Middle East in general. I don't trust anyone who is associated with or practices that religion/social system, and I never will. Perhaps that's a character flaw on my part. If so, it's one I can live with.
Anyway, I hope you took at least a few moments out of your day on 9-11-08 to remember that tragic day of seven years ago when America was collectively sucker punched by what was/is essentially a feral child.
Over the years, I've been continually amazed by the number of people who do not carry any type of timepiece. Often I wonder to myself, "What is the deal with these creatures? Do they not have jobs, appointments, or some other event in their lives that demands promptness? How can they possibly function in a modern society that is inextricably bound to the clock?"
I have worn a watch on my wrist since I was at least 13 years old. It's become such a part of me that I'd feel naked without it. How anyone can comfortably exist today without one on their person is a mystery I've yet to solve. Yes, I realize that there are more clocks around than ever: they are on cell phones, in cars, in malls, etc., but there are still many instances when one is not in plain view and a personal timepiece would be good to have.
Perhaps it is I who is all wet on this issue. My wife, for example, has received a couple of watches from me as gifts over the years and yet she just will not wear them. But this does not preclude her from getting to appointments on time. If I were to try that, I'd feel constantly off balance and carry just a hint of unease all the time (no pun intended).
Could it be that I'm making a big deal out of nothing? (Well, I guess that could be it, this is a blog after all.) Maybe, starting next summer, when school is out, I will try to go without a watch for a week and see if I can get used to it. I'm going to feel like an irresponsible slouch, I know, but in the interests of research, I'll try it.
My palms are already sweating just thinking about it.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
The word addiction has been thrown around a lot concerning America's dependence on imported oil and it's a word I take umbrage with. The idea/philosophy behind this word comes directly from the environmentalist camp and it is used as yet another way to disparage 'merica and capitalism. Let's examine the word a little more closely.
When someone is addicted to something, they are at the point where continued use of the substance has gone beyond whatever perceived value they ever received from it and it is now detrimental to their health. Although we depend upon foreign oil to an astounding degree, we are still getting at least incremental benefit from it in the form of a relatively productive economy (at least until fairly recently). That's not to say there isn't a LOT of waste, for there surely is, but using the word addiction smacks of gross, not to mention intentional, hyperbole.
One thing I'd like to ask the know-it-all experts and environmentalists is this: Could you send me tonight's lotto numbers? I mean, you pontificate (always in retrospect) on how the world should have known better than to become dependent on the single most powerful fuel source man has ever discovered that's also relatively safe and easy to use, one that saves thousands of man-hours per gallon, so you should have an inside track on the seeing future, right? You can't? Bummer.
Look, the point of all this is not to fall for the semantic infiltration of the environmentalist movement. Just like the misnomer "assault weapon" the anti-gunners have successfully insinuated into everyday parlance, environmentalists are using the word addiction to subtly skew the argument away from honest intellectual discussion and towards their bailiwick, obfuscation and emotionalism. Since no right-thinking person wants to be fingered as an addict, they will of course listen to environmentalism's pitch, and perhaps more than a few will be swayed.
In and of itself, this probably wouldn't be that big a deal, especially if it was confined to a small segment of the population. The problem is, it's not. The reason I am even posting on this is because I heard a snippet of some speech Obama gave recently where he was apparently chiding America's "addiction" to imported crude. This means that environmentalism's philosophy has reached, and been internalized by, the very person who could well be the next president of the United States. That means environmentalism would have a big, fat thumb on the delicate scale that balances individual rights and governmental abuse of those rights, and you can bet that thumb won't be on the side of the former.
Incidentally, I have no big love or hate of petroleum. It's a commodity that helped pull and propel the world world into the modern era, but if its heyday or peak has been reached, so be it. It was a hell of a ride while it lasted.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Ready for an old-fogey moment? You’d better be, ‘cause here it comes.
Unless you are literally blind (and maybe adding the word mercifully wouldn’t be hyperbole for this particular subject), you can not have failed to see the insane proliferation of so-called body art, aka tattooing, that has shown up on America’s collective epidermis over the last 10-15 years.
I was reminded of tattooing’s pervasiveness, not to mention its unattractiveness, yesterday when I went to the Colorado state fair. You couldn’t swing the proverbial dead cat without hitting at least six people of both sexes with varying degrees of epidermal-embedded ink. One young woman, who was quite attractive otherwise, had some type of scroll work splashed across her chest, which she proudly displayed via her low-cut blouse. From the distance I first spied her she looked to have a hairy chest. (I don’t know about you, but, to my mind, women should have hair in only two places, and the chest ain’t one of them.) In addition, I saw many, MANY “tribal” armband tats, pictures, words, and indistinct--for lack of a better term--somethings, all permanently affixed to various arms, backs, chests, ankles, and necks.
It was ghastly.
Why do people do this to themselves, especially women? Say it, spell it, say it with me people: It’s ugly, U-G-L-Y, ugly!, as Mr. Kunstler points out in his latest 17-min. podcast (#29). I’m not sure about some of his theories as to why indelibly marking oneself has become such a cultural phenomenon today, but it’s fun to listen to him slam on the whole tattoo-nation thing anyway.
Even though I find the whole idea of tattooing distasteful and primitive, I don’t believe anyone should pass a law prohibiting it, not that I have heard anyone actually contemplating doing so. I’m too libertarian for that. This works both ways, however, and I believe employers should be, without fear of prosecution, free to deny employment to any person wearing a tattoo if they so choose.
Finally, I understand that to be young is often to be dumb and possess a herd-like mentality; I was both dumb and herd-like in my younger years concerning bell bottoms and longer hair. I’m just glad I could easily alter my appearance with a change of clothes and a haircut. I feel sorry for the folks with it-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time tattoos who, ten years hence, will not be able to change their look. (Yeah, I know about laser removal of tats, but that’s an expensive and, from what I’ve seen, less-than-perfect solution.)
I can magnanimously give a pass to those under 30 who permanently mark themselves and chalk it up to the indiscretions of youth and the aforementioned herd mentality. But what completely poleaxes me are the people who are in their 40s and 50s I see sporting fresh tats. Huh? If I could make one statement to them, it would be this: “Look, you are NOT young anymore. Get over it. You look ridiculous. Do you raid your daughter’s/son’s wardrobe too? Since you seem to think you’re so young, let’s add an additional three years to the age you can begin collecting retirement. How do you like that?” (As you can see, it’s a good thing I’m not invested with absolute power.)
Oh well, this tat thing too shall pass. Upcoming generations are likely to look at today’s tatters as hopelessly out of touch and hideous, especially after a few decades have taken their toll on skin and ink.
P.S. Did you notice the misspellings in the photo above?
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Have you ever felt like a dupe? Come on, admit it, it's okay, we've all been duped from time to time in one way or another.
One good duping I remember getting was when the Republicans took control of both houses of Congress back in 1994. I thought things were going to change for the better towards smaller government and more personal freedom. Yup, as much as I'm chagrined to admit it, I actually thought this. What a dupe!
Another duping I received began about ten years ago and has only recently subsided. After a long absence from guns/shooting, I got back into them/it in a big way. While I'll have to admit I learned a lot and found a few keeper guns, it's mostly--but not entirely--been a waste of time and money. (Sorry to you hard-core gun-guys/girls for the blasphemy.) The biggest lesson I've learned is to find what works best for me and stick with it, marketers and 'Net know-it-alls be damned. For example, after trying three different small autos for carry, I eventually sold them all in favor of a snubby I already owned, and which I still use. (I could go into a diatribe here about the slavish emphasis on autos as carry guns so many folks hold, due, I believe, directly to the gun rags and 'Net commandos/keyboard cowboys, but I won't at this time.)
When I look back on the times I've been duped, though, I have no one to blame, ultimately, but myself. Sure, it would be convenient to lay it all at the feet of the marketers, 'Net know-it-alls with thousands of posts (I wonder how they find time to become such experts when they're stuck behind a computer for so many hours a day), gun gurus, politicians, etc., but I know I am the real cause for getting duped. Wishful thinking, ignorance, naivete, and a lack of reasoning, all personal faults of mine from time to time, combine to form poor decisions. Now that I've stepped back from guns somewhat, although I still enjoy owning and shooting them, I can see the mistakes I've made; I won't repeat them.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
After giving the subject quite a bit of thought over the years, I've finally come to the conclusion on what to do with my carcass once I'm no longer in need of it: cremation. I want no ode to human vanity, AKA a grave with headstone, to stand in mute testimony to my former existence; my son and, I hope, future grandchildren will be my living memorials.
I came to this decision in the time since my mother died of cancer in 2005. While visiting her grave, I began to notice the many graves from the early part of the 20th century that had undoubtedly not been visited in years, perhaps decades. The folks to whom these graves meant something, close blood relatives, had likely passed on themselves, leaving a forgotten plot and marker.
This is not the fate I want for my mortal remains. One thing I have taken a bit of pride in during my life is knowing when to vacate a given place, in other words, knowing when to leave and not wear out my welcome. After taking my final bow, I'd really like not to leave my clutter behind for future generations to deal with. Just fire me up, spread my cremains at a location of my choosing, and get on with life. If, on occasion, I am remembered fondly by those who've loved me, what more can anyone truly wish for?
Of course, all of this is contingent upon still having a supply of relatively cheap energy. If energy costs become prohibitive in 35-40+ years (I hope I won't need this service any sooner), it might be cheaper just to leave me out in a field somewhere. Oh well, only time will tell, and that's just part of the adventure of life.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
While listening to The Phil Hendrie Show last week, I heard about Democrat Senator John Edwards' marital infidelity story before it broke nationally. Phil had the reporter from the National Enquirer who ferreted it out on talking about it.
Okay, great, so this dude screwed around on his cancer-stricken wife. Is anyone really surprised by this, other than his most rabid supporters, and folks who just fell off of the turnip truck? (One thing I'll bet you is that the DNC is thanking whatever, if anything, it is they pray to that Edwards didn't win the nomination.)
Finally, this isn't a Dem. or Rep. issue. It is, first and foremost, a character issue, and it illustrates how little of that precious commodity our ruling elite has. (Of course, all ruling elites throughout history have acted like this, which is exactly why the United States shouldn't have one.) Now, lest any of you Republicans begin to feel smug, don't forget about Republican Senator Ted Stevens' recent legal problems. No, he hasn't been convicted of anything, yet, but I can't believe he is without blemish.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Short of residing under a rock for the past few years, you could not have failed to notice the constant streaming of news pieces on Iran's nascent nuclear program. At first, the pieces were not all that frequent. Lately, though, they seem to be reaching a fever pitch. I don't know if this means Iran is closer than ever to having nuclear capability, or if there's nothing more interesting to report on but, regardless, we are being inundated with stories of Western threats and Iranian defiance.
I have a simple solution for all of this threat/defiance garbage: The West should bow out of the issue and allow Iran to continue with its nuclear weapons program unfettered. The prospect of an Iran with nuclear weapons does not excite me but, short of another war in a region of the world renowned for backwardness, poverty, totalitarianism, illiteracy, outright idiocy, racism, misogyny, and holier-than-thou piety, practically all of it institutionalized and canonized, and none of it worth one drop of American blood, I don't see how it can be stopped.
There are two things, however, that the United States could do that might very well lend stability to the entire region. First, take the short leash off of Israel by allowing it to do, without comment, what needs to be done to ensure its security. If that means a preemptive strike (Nuclear? Israel has never publicly acknowledged having nuclear weapons, although it's widely believed, perhaps wrongly, that they have them.) on Iran, so be it. Second, clearly state, sans all ambiguity, what the US response will be if Iran ever does use its nuclear weapons, whenever it actually develops them, against another country: annihilation so total, via nukes (of course), that cartographers will leave a blank space on future maps for where Iran used to be.
Tangentially, a third option actually exists, at least for those with a decidedly libertarian bent, and that's to bring all US troops home from everywhere around the world, discharge 90% of them, fix our own crumbling country, and let the world tend to its own problems. But that would mean facing our own faults/problems and finding (uncomfortable) solutions to them, and we all know that's not going to happen. No, the US seems to find it easier to insert itself into others' messes than to clean up its own, a behavior it will continue until it no longer has the wherewithal to do so.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
After thinking about this for a time, I've come to the conclusion that just firing this fool is not enough punishment. He should be brought to trial for abusing his authority/position, and get jail time if found guilty. Making a cautionary tale out of his actions might get that certain small percentage of cops who are nothing more than criminals with badges to think twice before indulging in nefarious activities.
Too harsh? Not really. Just as a cop's word carries more weight in court than the average citizen, so too should his actions. He'd better be a shining paradigm of virtue at following the same laws he enforces, in both spirit and letter, or else his actions contrary to the law should carry a greater force against him. Even the hint of impropriety by a cop should be grounds for intense internal and public scrutiny.
Now, for you cop apologists out there who think I'm advocating hamstringing a cop's ability to fight crime, or just ragging on cops in general, nothing could be further from the truth. Even though I have problems with some of the chores the police are tasked with doing by politicians, I do recognize their worth as an organization. But examples of poor behavior such as this need to be dealt with not only swiftly, but severely.
Friday, July 18, 2008
As always, one should read a news story with a jaundiced eye; I found this one to be entertaining, especially the outcome. Ah, those wacky civil servants.
Daytona Beach cop fired for demanding free coffee
Fri Jul 18, 5:53 AM ET
An internal affairs report says a Daytona Beach police officer demanded free coffee and tea from a Starbucks and threatened employees with slower emergency response times if they refused.
Lt. Major Garvin, a 15-year veteran, was fired July 8. According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Chief Mike Chitwood says Garvin recently failed a polygraph test that he insisted on taking.
The coffeehouse's employees claim that since June 2007, Garvin had visited the store as many as six times a night while on duty. Besides demanding free drinks, workers complained that Garvin also cut in front of paying customers.
A telephone listing for Garvin could not be found.
Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press.
One presumes he supplied his own donuts.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Savor it, for it is rare.
Release denied for dying Manson follower
By DON THOMPSON, Associated Press WriterTue
Jul 15, 10:58 PM ET
A follower of Charles Manson who stabbed pregnant actress Sharon Tate to death nearly 40 years ago but is dying of brain cancer in a California prison was denied compassionate release Tuesday.
The California Board of Parole released its unanimous decision on the release of Susan Atkins hours after a 90-minute hearing, during which it heard impassioned pleas from both sides.
"Obviously, it was too hot of a potato for them to handle," said one of Atkins' attorney, Eric P. Lampel. "Of course we're disappointed. There's no basis for denying this." [Certainly not. Sure, she participated, directly and indirectly, with the murder of numerous people, including an unborn baby boy less than a month away from birth, but that was long ago. Let bygones be bygones. Sheesh. What part of life sentence don’t you understand, mouthpiece?]
Lampel filed a motion July 10 with Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Wesley asking for his client's release no matter what the parole board recommended. No hearing has been set, [nor should there be] Lampel said after the hearing.
"We're going to be able to make the case in court. We'll take it to the next step," he said after being informed of the board's decision by The Associated Press. [I wonder how much booze this guy must guzzle so that he can live with himself.]
Atkins' doctors and officials at the women's prison in Corona made the request in March because of her deteriorating health. She also has had her left leg amputated and is paralyzed on her right side, her husband [This begs many questions, chiefly: What the hell kind of loser marries a convicted murderer (as if that’s not enough) with no hope of parole? And why the hell should convicts be allowed to marry at all?], James Whitehouse, told the California Board of Parole Hearings.
Whitehouse, also acting as one of Atkins' attorneys, had argued that his wife was so debilitated that she could not even sit up in bed. He told the parole board there was no longer a reason to keep her incarcerated.
"She literally can't snap her fingers," he said. "She can put sentences together three or four times a day, but that's the extent of it." [Yeah, well her victims can’t even do that.]
He said doctors have given her three months to live. Atkins, in a hospital near the Southern California prison where she was housed for nearly 40 years, did not attend Tuesday's hearing.
The request for compassionate leave generated opposition from relatives of the victims, the state corrections department, Los Angeles County prosecutors and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"Those kinds of crimes are just so unbelievable that I am not for compassionate release in that case," Schwarzenegger [finally showing some sense] said Tuesday before the parole board issued its decision.
Atkins, Manson and two other cult members, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten, were tried for the 1969 cult killings of Tate; Leno and Rosemary La Bianca; and four others. Tate, the wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski, was 8 1/2 months pregnant. [The boy, had his life not been stolen, would be turning 39 in a few weeks. Instead his remains share the same coffin as his murdered mother's.]
Sharon Tate's sister, Debra Tate, the last surviving member of her immediate family, sent a letter to the board opposing Atkins' release.
"She is a cold-blooded woman who to this day has not displayed any remorse," wrote Tate, who lives in the Los Angeles area.
The defendants maintained their innocence throughout the trial. Once convicted, the women confessed to the killings during the penalty phase.
On the stand, Atkins recounted her role in stabbing Tate, who pleaded for the life of her unborn baby. Atkins claimed she was on LSD [taken voluntarily] at the time but did not apologize for the crime until a parole hearing years later.
Her brother, Steve Atkins, told the parole board Tuesday that he and his sister had been abused as children. [If true, that's very sad, but you didn't make a habit of murdering pregnant women did you, Stever? Your c-word of a sister chose her path; let her follow it to its end.]
"After Susan got in with Manson, she was lost to me," he said. "Please let us be with Susan in private in her last days, to pray with her and give our last good-byes." [No.]
The defendants were sentenced to death, but their terms were commuted to life sentences when the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily ruled the death penalty unconstitutional. Manson and the two other women remain in state prison. [The next best place for them to an unmarked grave.]
Atkins has spent 37 years in the California Institution for Women, where she has been held longer than any other female inmate in state history. [A record due to be broken shortly after she kicks by Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten.] She was transferred to the hospital in March.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said that's where she ought to remain. In a letter to the parole board, Cooley said the nature of Atkins' crimes alone should rule out any release. [Only an over-educated idiot, Eric P. Lampel, for instance, would not agree.]
He noted that after Atkins stabbed Tate, she tasted her blood [!] and used it to write the word "Pig" on the victim's door.
Los Angeles County prosecutor Patrick Sequeira said the board made the right decision because of the crime Atkins committed. He said he informed Debra Tate and two other relatives of the victims.
"They are both relieved and pleased with the decision," Sequeira said. "It obviously doesn't take away the pain for them."
He said it's unclear whether a Los Angeles County judge can consider the compassionate release request from Atkins' attorneys without a recommendation from the parole board.
Compassionate releases are rare in California, with just 10 of 60 requests granted last year, Corrections Department spokeswoman Terry Thornton said.
Atkins' medical treatment and paying for prison guards to watch over her has cost state taxpayers more than $1.4 million since March, according to the corrections department.
Atkins, 60, has been denied parole 12 times. [You'd think she'd have gotten a clue after the first couple of denials. Of course, she doesn't really think she has a chance, this is just her way of being a PITA to the California penal system and, by extension, the people of California and good folks everywhere. Anyone who commits murder, is convicted, goes to prison, and then who asks for parole, especially multiple times, is not worthy of parole. I don't believe she is one bit remorseful. A truly remorseful person would understand and accept their punishment and not ask to be excused from it. May she stay incarcerated until immediately after her last breath.]
By the way, if I recall correctly, I heard she got religion somewhere along the way in the pokey. Good for her. Perhaps God in Heaven will forgive her. Here on earth, in that respect, we are somewhat imperfect.
Monday, July 14, 2008
I found this blog post too good not to share. Give it a look-see and draw your own conclusions. Not that I'm an expert in any way, shape, or form on most of what he speaks to, but I am aware enough of basic economics and life in general to detect a rotten smell.
What seems to be the one word you most often hear associated with cars? If you guessed style, luxury, comfort, or even affordability, you guessed wrong. No, it’s performance.* This is the overriding consideration, or so we’ve been told, of a car’s worthiness. Performance today still means how fast can you accelerate from a dead stop to 60 mph, or how much cargo (usually a boat or gargantuan travel trailer) you can haul. With the new paradigm of ever-higher fuel costs, though, performance will shortly take on a new meaning: How far can you get on a gallon of gasoline/diesel?
I’ll be the first to admit that the new definition of performance is not nearly as sexy as the old, but things change. Shift a few years into the future and I can see a scenario where a young Lothario is bragging to his intended conquest of how little he has under his hood and how far it gets him. She, being duly impressed, decides to give him a spin.
Crazy? Science fiction? Preposterous? Perhaps. But politicians aren’t the only ones who can flip-flop; entire methods of living can too. Only those ignorant of history can argue the point.
The attitudes amongst the masses towards what performance means in an automobile are changing, but they are doing so slowly and grudgingly. Slap a couple of more bucks on the price of a gallon of gas and watch how quickly juvenile notions of speedy, fire-breathing performance evaporate. Even true juveniles, as opposed to those who are still in adolescence at 30, 40, 50, 60, etc., will not be able to evade reality for long owning a car that may zoom from 0 to 60 in an amount of seconds equal to the fingers on one hand, or have the ability to pull double duty as a barge tug, but that gets only a pathetic 21 mpg/city (with a tailwind) and costs $100-$150 to fill. When we get to the point where the choice is either walking or taking a car that chugs along steadily, but slowly and economically, we will have reached the era when the old definition of performance is quaint and outdated.
*Or so it seems to me.