Wednesday, December 30, 2009
As often happens in life, and one comes to expect the unexpected, or should, after 50 years of life on this planet, things didn't quite go as planned with the Glock 20 rental. After arriving at the place and looking for the Glock 20 they said was for rent on their website but not finding it in the case, I asked one of the guys behind the counter. He said they used to have a Glock 20 for rent, but they had trouble getting ammunition for it, so they stopped renting it. That sounded a bit bogus to me--why not just keep it on hand until more ammo showed up?-- but I took it in stride. Although they had quite a few other guns for rent, including AR15s, I wasn't really interested, so I left. That was on Monday.
On Tuesday, the family went to Legoland. If you've never been to Legoland, please don't bother. Tickets for adults were $67 each and a kid's ticket was $57. Now, the prices might have been easier to swallow IF the park had something worth seeing, but it didn't, unless you count sculptures made out of Lego parts as worth paying to view. The rides, such as they were, could only possibly appeal to children under the age of 10, and that's being generous.
Man, I feel a dull ache in my nether region.
Today, it's off to Sea World; I feel another drubbing to my wallet coming, but at least Sea World has the potential, from what I've seen, to come close to justifying its ticket price.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Nothing profound here, just an observation on how secure you should feel with government in charge of your security. Yup, big G's in the house, so you can switch off and leave the responsibility for your precious (to you) life up to them. With protection like this, I may not even need to renew my CCW. BTW, here's a photo of the (thankfully) incompetent would-be airplane destroyer's skivvies (who happens to be Muz, it must be noted). From the looks of those drawers, he succeeded in blowing up something tubular, just not the fuselage he was focused on.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
We finally got going late in the morning yesterday, after a breakfast provided by the late Ray Croc's brainchild. The funny thing is, I was hungry again about an hour later. Not too many nutrients, apparently, in that food-like substance.
Yesterday's time out was spent entirely at a botanic gardens, at my wife's "suggestion." (Isn't it funny how women cleverly call their wants "suggestions," when in all actuality they are really imperatives? That's just the darnedest phenomenon.) The botanic gardens were well planned and executed, but...a WHOLE DAY!?!? C'MON!!! Then, after sundown, the garden was lit with festive holiday lighting, strung hither and thither in various areas, and the garden consumed another chunk of our lives, 'bout two hours worth. Oh well, the wife was happy and our boy enjoyed doing things boys enjoy doing: things he shouldn't do.
After taking a wrong exit back to the motel, followed by a stop at a liquor store (wife's "suggestion"--I don't drink), we made it back to the room, ate convenience store burritos, surfed the net, disciplined the boy (for the umpteenth time that day), and finally went to bed.
On the bright side, it looks like San Diego has several indoor gun ranges which rent guns. I plan on using a fraction of my time here to check it out and, maybe, rent a Glock 20 to try. Somewhere down the road, in the hazy future, I may just get around to buying a Glock 20 10mm for camping and hiking, at least that's the justification I am using. But I've never fired the 10mm, so I'd like to try it first to see if it should even be on my wish list. I've fired a .44 Magnum before, whose recoil I didn't care for, so I'm hoping the 10mm is a notch or two below that. More on this subject as it develops.
I'd better sign off now and get everyone up, for my wife has more plans for the day.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
I must be getting old, 'cause I am beginnig to dislike car trips of more than one day's duration. In my younger years, I loved travelling by car on long trips, but no more. More than anything else, I guess it's the boredom. Sure, I downloaded tons of podcasts and music to my iPod Nano, but even that gets old after a few hours. (Cripe! How spoiled we modern folk are, complaining about a trip that can be measured in hours instead of weeks or months.)
We arrived in San Diego on Christmas evening and checked into our motel. As it was already dark, we couldn't see a whole lot of the city, but I doubt it's much different than most other big cities. I'm finishing this post on the morning of Dec. 26, so that assumption may change; we'll see.
It's off to the shower now, followed by, I hope, a good breakfast somewhere. Of course, that' assuming I can get the rest of the family up and out before lunch begins being served at every eatery.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Sitting here in a Phoenix motel room,* my family sleeping soundly nearby, it occurred to me that a timely wish for any reader of this blog, such as it is, is in order. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
*More on this later, I hope.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Should you be so inclined, please read the following piece on how video games can actually improve one's life rather than waste it. My comments are interspersed.
Real-Life Benefit of Video Games: Video Games May Improve Visual Skills, Researchers Say
By Bill Hendrick
Dec. 22, 2009 -- Regular video game users learn to process information faster and more accurately when they’re playing in virtual worlds and in real-life situations, a new study says. [Is speed necessarily a benefit in and of itself? I guess it is when you need to jump out of the way of a bus, but it is not a prerequisite to thinking; in fact, speed can be a detriment to sound thinking/reasoning skills.]
Researchers say they found that avid players get faster in their games of choice, and also in unrelated laboratory tests of reaction time. [Which proves what?]
The study is published in the December issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science. [Ah, psychology, the slick pseudo-science that's too often used as an excuse for bad behavior. It has some utility but, like most labor unions, it's gone way beyond its purview.]
Matthew Dye, PhD now of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and formerly at the University of Rochester, and colleagues say they reviewed existing literature on video gaming and found some surprising insights. [Oh, do tell!]
For example, they say they found that contrary to conventional wisdom that avid gamers become less accurate as their speed of play increases [Less accurate in what, filling out a job application, taking a test?] players don’t lose accuracy and they get faster. [What a relief!]
They say this likely is a result of gamers’ improving visual cognition with repeated playing of games. [Undoubtedly.]
Playing video games enhances performance on mental rotation skills, visual and spatial memory, and tasks requiring divided attention, say the researchers, including Shawn Green, PhD, now a post-doctoral associate at the University of Minnesota, and Daphne Bavelier, PhD, in the department of brain and cognitive sciences at Rochester.
Other reported insights - that training with video games may serve to reduce gender differences in visual and spatial processing and thwart some of the cognitive declines that come with aging.
“In many everyday situations, speed is of the essence,” the authors write. “However, fast decisions typically mean more mistakes.” [Exactly! That's because fast decisions without the concomitant needed thought time to back them up often turn out to be wrong.]
After reviewing existing literature on gaming, they conclude that there is evidence that “the very act of playing action video games” increases speed of play and accuracy. [Let me get this straight: If you practice something, you'll get better at it? This is groundbreaking research!]
“Video gaming may ["May." Translation: "We're not sure, we're just hypothesizing. We need grant money for more research. We have to justify our existence somehow."] therefore provide an efficient training regimen to induce a general speeding of perceptual reaction times without decreases in accuracy of performance,” the authors say. [But "accuracy of performance" is not the same thing as accuracy of outcome. You can perform every step of a given task perfectly and still reach an incorrect conclusion. What a bunch of rot this all is.]
As the gamers got faster, they maintained their accuracy in lab testing of reaction times, the authors say.
Contemporary examples of games mentioned in the study include God of War, Halo, Unreal Tournament, Grand Theft Auto, and Call of Duty, all of which require “rapid processing of sensory information and prompt action, forcing players to [make] decisions and execute responses at a far greater pace than is typical in everyday life.” [That's because typical, everyday life rarely needs the fast reaction times a video game demands. What it could use is more well-reasoned thought.]
They say more studies of speed and accuracy on video games “will certainly be promising avenue of research” in the future [not to mention a way to stay (dubiously) employed.]
So, in essence, researchers found that video games actually make a person more perceptive of the physical things occurring immediately to and around him. Great. What about conceptual skills--higher order thinking--the only thing that makes humans really different from animals. (Animals perceive, humans conceive.) Something that improves one's ability to perceive and react is not bad, up to a certain point, but it merely allows one to function better at an animalistic level. I fail to see how video games can help a person take his now-improved perceptual skills and use them to enhance conceptual skills, such as seeing through the nonsense of both the Democrat and Republican parties.
Video games, like a lot of what we (mindlessly) do, are not the bane of human existence, but they don't really enhance it much either. They are a distraction at best, and an impediment to thought at worst, if only for the reason that they usurp time that could be better spent reading (deeply, not superficially), learning/doing, pondering, and reaching conclusions.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
The night before last, my wife said something to me which surprised me to no end. She had to go do a favor for a friend in the evening and, due to a sudden illness with our son, I was unable to join her. So, being a concerned husband, I retrieved a holstered .38 snubby and asked her to take it. At first, she refused, not seeing the need for it, and (here's the kicker) because, "I haven't been trained on how to use it," she said. But I insisted and she finally relented and took the gun. I haven't seen her since.*
On the one hand, she was correct about not wanting to take the gun because she lacked the training with it. (This, I can assure everyone, was not due to a paucity of effort by me over the years.) But on the other hand, she has gone to the range with me, although it's been at least five years since our last trip together, so she has fired guns before. I believe what familiarity she's retained since then might come in handy should she ever have to use a firearm for self defense, but I know her level of skill is essentially non-existent.
The trick, as it's always been, is to convince her of the need to take some formal training. I believe I'll look into a gift certificate for a concealed carry course (several are taught locally). While I know that the training received at most courses is minimal, especially when it comes to fighting with a handgun, it might be the gateway drug to more inclination towards training. Who knows?
In the area of self defense, my wife is very traditional: it's the man's job to protect home and family. But stories are legion about situations where that didn't work out too well because the man was at work, the woman was away from home, the man was incapacitated, etc. Getting her to see it's okay to take responsibility for her, and our son's, safety is going to be, and has been, a challenge. Wish me luck.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
She's a lesbian, and that's all that matters. No mention is made in this brief puff piece, designed to show how progressive Houston is when it comes when it comes to sexual orientation, about what this woman's politics might be, although one could probably guess. No, it's the fact that she's a lesbian, no doubt quite liberal, that matters. Symbolism over substance, what a triumph for modern man.
Houston voters may elect openly gay mayor
Dec 12, 2009 (7:56a CST)
HOUSTON - Voters are deciding Saturday whether Houston will become the largest U.S. city to elect an openly gay mayor.
The runoff election pits City Controller Annise Parker against former city attorney Gene Locke.
Parker is a lesbian who has never made a secret or an issue of her sexual orientation.
But in recent weeks, anti-gay activists and conservative religious groups have endorsed the 61-year-old Locke and sent out mailers condemning Parker's "homosexual behavior."
Meanwhile, gay and lesbian political organizations around the country have rallied to support the 53-year-old Parker.
The thing that's always irritated me about homosexuals is that they are a "gay" (a word which I despise because it's a verbal sleight-of-hand trick calculated to lessen homosexuality's overwhelming weirdness) doctor, or a "gay" lawyer, or a "gay" fill-in-the-blank. If, as homosexuals claim, their sexual orientation doesn't/shouldn't matter in whatever goal they are reaching for, why make it the foremost part of one's identity? Because, if the truth be told, sexual orientation does matter, especially to them. When a homosexual reaches his goal, this somehow equates, at least in his mind, to some kind of validation by the heterosexual community, something he desperately craves, mainly because, deep down, he knows his sexual orientation is against the laws of nature. If a homosexual reached his goal without making an issue of his sexual orientation, then he would have been elected purely on the merits/demerits of his arguments, ideas, etc.; his victory would be hollow against the backdrop of his wider identity, homosexuality, because there would be no concomitant validation of his personal lifestyle.
None of the above should be misconstrued as meaning I believe homosexuals should be persecuted. As long as it's voluntary, people have a right to do as they wish with each other. People have a right to be wrong in this country as long as they are not infringing on another person's liberty. I just don't want/need to hear about it.
Friday, October 30, 2009
The following story is the first I can remember of an adult being killed by coyotes, although I've read more than a few stories about adults being threatened/attacked by the little prairie wolves.
Toronto musician dies after coyote attack in Cape Breton
Taylor Mitchell, an up-and-coming singer-songwriter from Toronto, died this morning after she was attacked by two coyotes while hiking in Cape Breton Highlands National Park yesterday.
"[The victim] was airlifted to the QEII hospital in Halifax, where she died of her injuries early this morning," Sgt. Bridgit Leger of the RCMP said in an interview.
Officers with the RCMP detachment in Cheticamp, N.S., responded to a 911 call placed around 3:15 p.m. yesterday. When they arrived on Skyline Trail, a popular hiking route in the park, they found two coyotes attacking the young hiker.
Read the rest of the article here.
What a sad end to a life that just barely begun. The article goes on to say that the area where she was attacked is a popular hiking venue, so I'd assume she probably felt safe in going there. But nothing is certain in life and this young woman paid the ultimate price for not heeding, or perhaps not knowing, this. I'm not going to go into my usual spiel about having some type of appropriate protection with you at all times, for that would be redundant and out of place just now. Besides, the wise already know it.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
One of the most ironic ideas I’ve heard over the last six months is that President Obama is swinging this country towards socialism. I’ve actually read more than one story where people are hopping mad because they believe Obama is taking America from freedom to socialism in one fell swoop. I’d just like to ask these people where they have been. You don’t go from freedom to socialism (fascism is actually closer to the mark, but I digress) without either one of the following two conditions being met: brute force, as from an invading army (or a domestic army/government gone bad); or because your country has been heading that way for a while anyway. America falls under the second condition, and it has for the last century +.
The Johnny-come-latelys to the (correct) notion that America is already far down the path towards socialism belie their own ignorance every time they open their mouths to blame Obama for our present course. While they are spot on in their assessment of the current President’s intentions, a Barack Obama could not have been elected without the gradual acceptance over the generations that government should insinuate itself more and more into virtually every aspect of the daily lives of Americans because it somehow knows best.
The Tea Party movement was a great display of (some) Americans waking from their decades-long slumber, but it is doomed to failure, ultimately, because it has no real philosophical underpinnings, at least none that I’m aware of. To make it a lasting force to be reckoned with would require it to transcend the usual Democrat vs. Republican partyism and take the moral high ground by stating that nearly everything the government is involved in is anti-liberty, anti-individual, and wholly socialist.
Unfortunately, the same people in the movement today will go back to sleep if the next election cycle produces a Republican majority in Congress, and two years after that, a Republican president. This might slow the run towards socialism to a crawl, but it certainly won’t reverse it, because Republicans, both the elected and the electorate, like big government. Big G brings perks Republicans like (the War on Drugs; a big-stick military; pilfering the productive for the benefit of the retired, etc.) that a government hemmed in by a pesky, adhered to, document of limitations on its actions (such as the U.S. Constitution) wouldn’t/couldn’t. (It’s only in how to use Big G that Republicans differ from Democrats, not in the notion that it shouldn’t exist in its present form.)
Obama is not dragging this country down the path to socialism; all he’s done is merely taken over the controls of a freight train headed that way already. Sure, he’s nudged the accelerator forward a bit more than a Republican might have, but we were going that way anyhow. Those who think everything was hunky dory, or at least tolerable, before Obama’s election have no clue about how much of the problem they really are.
(BTW, I am well aware that the Tea Party movement is not only made up of disgruntled Republicans, so please don’t take me to task for coloring it as such. But I believe disgruntled Republicans form the nucleus of the movement. On another note, it’s nice to see some Ayn Randism has infiltrated the movement [see photo above], as that can only be a good thing.)
Friday, October 9, 2009
I was in my local gun store a few days back, the first time I've been there in about a month (I'm actually pretty bored with acquiring new guns; for my needs, what I have is plenty--sorry if I've offended the gun whores, gun rags, and gun marketers out there with my sacrilege), and I actually heard a customer telling the clerk that "any [hand]gun that doesn't start with a four [I presume he meant caliber] doesn't have enough knockdown power." [Emphasis mine.] He said this while looking at some type of Ruger automatic, I believe.
I know I shouldn't be too hard on him, for he was just parroting what he's likely heard for years from various puffed-up pontificators in the gun world. Handguns don't have "knockdown" power. If they did have this attribute, they'd be unmanageable to shoot, at least for more than one shot. In fact, I really don't care all that much that he apparently puts so much faith in his statement; to each his own. It's just that I'm willing to bet he also believes that anything sub 40 caliber is somehow substandard, which is definitely not true.
Oh well, people labor under illusions and false assumptions every day, hence the Democrats in power today (but it would be just as true if the Republicans held the reins). I just thought those of you in the know would find his comment entertaining.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Decades ago, back when I was a wee lad of six, Uncle Jim, my mother’s brother, came to live with us for a few months at our rented house in Detroit. My father was in the army and stationed in Germany, so he was out of the picture for the time being and Uncle Jim was the man of the house, more or less.
To say Uncle Jim was a ne’er-do-well would pretty much be accurate. At the time he came to live with us, he was unemployed by choice, not because the economy was bad. The economy in Detroit at that time was humming and there were plenty of good-paying jobs around for those who wanted them, it’s just that Uncle Jim didn’t want them. He seemed to be happy hanging around the house, smoking cigarettes, drinking beer (more on that soon), and pontificating on the world’s problems. I think my mother and father tolerated this because he was an adult male presence while my father was away.
One night when my mother was out, Uncle Jim was tasked with babysitting my brother and me. My three-year-old brother was already in bed and I was in the kitchen talking to Uncle Jim about something, who knows what at this point, when the subject of Uncle Jim’s .38 snubby revolver came up. I asked him if I could see it--by this time, Uncle Jim was several beers into the night and his judgment was no doubt impaired--so he went and got it from his room. I had never heard a gun’s report before, so when he asked if I wanted to see it fired, I enthusiastically said, “Yes!” I clearly remember him sitting at the end of kitchen table, me on the opposite end of the table, and taking aim at the cabinet door under the sink. I also clearly remember jumping at the sound as the gun went off and stubbing my toe on the table leg. That thing was LOUD!
Looking at the cabinet door, I spied a small hole in its center. By this time Uncle Jim had put the snubby down, at least that’s how I remember it, and I walked over to the cabinet and opened it. There, just inside the cabinet, lay the lead slug. I picked it up—I think it was still warm—and gave it to Uncle Jim. * After that, my memory fails me, except I do recall that my mother was extremely mad at Uncle Jim for what he did, although at the time I couldn’t understand why.
Eventually, my mother, brother, and I joined my father in Baumholder, Germany, and left Uncle Jim and his .38 snubby behind. The snubby will reappear again in my childhood, as will Uncle Jim, but more about that some other time.
*I strongly suspect, although I can’t be sure, that the ammo in that snubby was topped with the old, ineffectual 158-gr. lead roundnose bullet, which likely explains why the slug stopped right after if got through the cabinet door. .38 +P rounds hadn’t been invented yet (this was in 1965), and who knows how old the ammunition was in the gun. Uncle Jim bought the gun sometime in the 1950s, I believe, and I would not be surprised if the ammo dated from the same time as when he purchased the gun, and who knows if the gun was new when he bought it.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Hey, it's been a while since I lasted posited any thoughts here, so let's go.
A trip to the range yesterday for an IHMSA match (don't ask how I did; I've shot worse and I've shot better) allowed me the chance to fire a few rounds through my beloved Glock 19, which only increased my respect for the pistol.
This session, I didn't focus on any self-defense drills. Instead, I shot only for accuracy--something the Glock 19, at least this particular Glock 19, has in abundance--and to chronograph two factory loads. No, it doesn't possess the same level of accuracy as my Thompson-Center Contender G2, but it was easily able to put rounds on a 9-inch steel gong at 25 yards from a bench. This gives lie to the idea still floating around out there that Glocks traded accuracy for absolute reliability; as far as I can tell, my Glock has both.
I chronographed two different Federal factory loads, the older Hydra-Shok and the newer HST, both non +P, both 124 grain bullets. The results were eye opening. The Hydra-Shok averaged 877.2 feet per second (FPS), with an extreme spread (ES) of 278.4 FPS, and a standard deviation (SD) of 116.7 FPS. Any way you slice it, these are anemic loads for self defense, and their shot-to-shot consistency was erratic. To think that I actually carried this round this summer for an unwelcome self-defense encounter...
Next, enter the the Federal HST round. Now we're getting somewhere. This is the first factory round out of any gun I've ever chronographed that actually beat what the factory said it would do. On the box, the factory said the round would get 1150 FPS, but I averaged 1477 FPS for five shots, with an amazingly low ES of 3.93 FPS and the SD was 1.73 FPS. I've never seen this kind of shot-to-shot consistency out of any ammunition, factory or handloaded. I'm still not sure how this ammo bested factory specs. by over 300 FPS, but I trust my chronograph; and don't forget, these are non +P rounds. As an added bonus, the increase in recoil from the Hydra-Shok to the HST did not seem to be large at all, especially when looking at the substantial increase in velocity from one to the other.
Armed with the above information, I now know which round my Glock 19 will be carrying: the 124-grain 9mm Federal HST. Anything else would be uncivilized. By the way, I ordered this ammunition from here. They sell them in 50-round boxes for the same price as the 20- to 25-round boxes sold in gun stores. I ordered three boxes of them back in March, during the ammo-buying frenzy, and it took five months to get my order filled, but now that things are starting to get back to normal on the ammo front, I hope a patron won't have to wait nearly as long.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Just in case you haven't seen this, here's yet another story that adds credence to the fact that guns can save innocent lives.
NY shopkeeper who defended store recounts shooting
By VERENA DOBNIK
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- The sidewalk outside the Harlem store still was smeared with blood Friday, and the glass on the door still was blown out.
Above the entrance, someone had scribbled the words, "Abandon hope all ye who enter here."
Less than 24 hours after a deadly showdown at the shop worthy of a Clint Eastwood script, Charles "Gus" Augusto Jr. entered his store - oblivious of the inscription taken from Dante's "Inferno."
The 72-year-old wholesaler of commercial restaurant equipment had been up all night, questioned by police about how he'd drawn a shotgun and killed two of four armed robbery suspects who entered his Kaplan Brothers Blue Flame store Thursday afternoon.
Two of the young men died on the street. Two remained hospitalized in stable condition with gunshot wounds.
When they walked in at about 3 p.m. and confronted Augusto with guns, "I didn't want to shoot them," he said, sitting bleary-eyed in his dusty, windowless warehouse, with a fly swatter hanging above his head.
He said the bandits drew their handguns, yelling, "Where's the money? Where's the money?"
They pistol-whipped a worker and waved a weapon at a cashier's face, he said.
"There is no money," Augusto said he told them. "Go home."
Stashed away nearby was the 12-gauge shotgun he bought decades ago and said he had never used since a test-fire. He reached for it when he sensed one of the men was about to shoot, and pulled the trigger once.
"I hoped after the first shot they would go away," he said.
When they didn't, continuing to menace his employees, he fired again, and again.
Police said one of the men collapsed and died outside the door, just feet from a Baptist church.
"He died in the hands of God," said a neighborhood resident, Vincent Gayle, pointing to the blood-spattered pavement by the church. "But what goes around comes around."
Another fatally wounded suspect managed to cross the street, leaving a trail of blood before he collapsed. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital, police said.
More blood led police to the other two suspects, who were arrested and taken to the hospital. Charges against them were pending.
Police said Augusto didn't have a required permit for the weapon used in the headline-grabbing shooting the Daily News called a "Pump-Action Ending."
But he was a victim, police said, and no charges had been filed on Friday.
"I'd rather not have done it," Augusto said, "and I'm sad for those mothers who have no sons."
On Friday, pedestrians were still sidestepping pools of blood along Augusto's block on West 125th Street, a short walk from Bill Clinton's Harlem office.
Reactions to the shooting were mixed.
Frida Rodriguez called it "a sad day" for the neighborhood.
Augusto "was defending his work, his business, so you could perceive that as being heroic," she said. "But on the other hand, these kids [*] died."
The shopkeeper was coy when asked whether, with his shotgun confiscated, he had a backup.
"I'm not going to tell you that," he said.
I hope Mr. Augusto walks away from this without so much as a slap on the wrist, assuming this piece is accurate, which is always a crap shoot when dealing with the media. It sounds like Mr. Augusto is a decent man who reluctantly was forced to do what he needed to to protect his employees, which is commendable. May he be a symbol of hope to all New Yorkers who have had their rights to self defense with a gun suppressed for many, many decades.
*This is one aspect of the story I take real umbrage with. These were not "kids," regardless of their ages. Kids don't commit armed robbery and threaten lives, criminals do, and these males were nothing more than criminals.
Monday, July 20, 2009
About eight blogs are on my list of places to visit regularly, with a few more thrown in to peruse when I have the time/inclination. One blog I read frequently is The Munchkin Wrangler, written by a guy named Marko who is also an author. The blog is well-written and Marko's logic is sharp and refreshing, and I usually agree with most of what he says. In a recent blog post, however, I think Marko may have let his emotions override his logic. In that post, Marko advocates the death penalty for a former cop and true scumbag, Feliciano Sanchez, because he used his badge/authority to get a woman to give him oral sex during a traffic stop.
While I believe Marko is entirely correct that this slob should be punished severely, making this a capital crime is over the top. According to the article, the maximum penalty for the crime is 10 years in prison; this is not nearly enough time. Life in prison without the possibility of parole, yes, definitely, but not 10 years; 10 years is too little and killing him is too much.
Marko's real, quite legitimate, beef seems to be with the violation of trust this public servant has commited, a crime that disgusts civilized, thinking folk. Punishing it with more than a slap on the wrist should be a priority for the state, not only because it's morally right, but because the state's credibility is at stake, or at least what's left of it. Keeping their agents (cops, tax assessors, teachers, etc.) on the straight and narrow should be priority one for the state, and making an example out of this fool via life in prison would go a long way towards that end.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Now here's some outside-the-box thinking that makes sense:
Calif. Assembly Bill Would Legalize, Tax Marijuana
A state legislator is reviving the debate about legalizing marijuana as a way of raising money for cash-strapped state and local governments.
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, introduced legislation Monday, that if approved by the California Legislature, would put pot on the same legal footing as alcohol — legalizing its sale and having the state tax it.
Under AB 390, adults over the age of 21 would be allowed to buy marijuana from licensed sellers, and driving under the influence of it would be prohibited.
Ammiano said massive eradication efforts have failed [YOU THINK?!?!] to make a dent in this underground industry, so it's time to bring what he calls "a major piece of our economy into the light of day."
His proposal, which has been endorsed by some law enforcement officials, would tax all pot sales at a rate of $50 per ounce.
Ammiano called it "simply nonsensical" to keep marijuana, the state's top cash crop, unregulated and untaxed in light of the state's massive financial problems.
"With the state in the midst of an historic economic crisis, the move towards regulating and taxing marijuana is simply common sense," Ammiano said at a news conference at the state building on Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco.
I in no way advocate drugs or their use, including alcohol, but neither do I wish to prohibit them from the people that want them. As long as a person is not directly endangering others by their use/abuse of drugs, they can mainline Drano for all I care.
Of course, this isn't going to get even close to being signed into law. Too many drug warriors, those beefy, brush-cut boys in paramilitary garb who think they somehow aren't civilians, et al, not to mention idiot politicians, have a vested interest in keeping the already-lost War on Drugs going. So precious, dwindling resources will continue to be wasted on a lost cause.
It impovrishes the imagination.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Handguns Looks at the Iconic 1911
This week on Handguns, available on Sportsman Channel, we are going to examine one of the most iconic semi auto pistols of all time - the 1911. This simple and revolutionary design was created by John Moses Browning between 1904 and 1911. It was so successful that the design is still used toady. In Hot Shots we look at the S&W SW1911 9mm Pro. This multi-tasking handgun would be great for competitive shooting, law enforcement, concealed carry and home defense.
Wow! How do they keep coming up with these innovative ideas for shows!? Man, a feature on the 1911 pistol, who'd a thunk it? The programmers at this channel are certainly earning their pay. With fresh ideas like this, I may have to consider having pay TV reinstalled in my home.
I am not looking forward to 2011, the centennial of Browning's 1911. What's American Handgunner magazine going to do for that? They already have some form of the 1911 on practically every issue's cover (yawn). Would someone please take a sample of J.M. Browning's DNA, clone him, and let his copy design something that, finally, supersedes the 1911? (Oh, wait, you mean Glock's already done that?;) My mistake.)
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Perhaps time has passed me by, but I would not say the following is a description of a "hero."
McNair was shot and killed on the Fourth of July by his girlfriend, 20-year-old Sahel Kazemi, who then shot herself in the head.
Police escorted McNair's wife, Mechelle, and his mother, Lucille, into the stadium beforehand. Near the end, a handful of people surrounded his mother and his sons, waving them with fans and programs and giving hugs.
Did you see the problem? This sports "hero," as he is being called, was with his paramour, who shot and killed him. An adulterous relationship, something the MSM tiptoes around, and this guy's supposed to be a hero? He may have been good on the playing field, but off of the field he was a weak-willed jerk.
When it comes to sports "heroes" in general, I find "it is hard to care about grown men...playing children's games for TV," as Rory Miller said. Look, jocks, and other entertainers for that matter, don't tend to be the brightest bulbs, especially the ones who are good enough at their game to make a living at it professionally. They are not generally well-rounded individuals, only excelling at a small portion of their lives and giving in to their baser instincts and wrecking the rest of it. These folks deserve no fawning or reverence, but they get it nonetheless by a lot of dolts.
Admiring this Steve McNair guy for his accomplishments on the field is fine, but that's it. Let's call this one as it really is: A fine football player who wouldn't keep his pants up and who got zapped for his poor decisions/adulterous ways. Hardly the truth I'm ever likely to see from the MSM, but wickedly accurate.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
While I don’t have a lot of personal experience, thankfully, with crime, I have had a few incidents occur in years past that you might benefit from knowing about. Here’s one.
Way back in 1986, on New Year’s Eve, I was returning home from someplace lost in the recesses of my memory. It was an hour or two before 1987 was to begin and my car suddenly went dead, totally kaput. At the time the road it died on was a somewhat lonely two-lane highway on the outskirts of the city. (Now, it’s a major six-lane artery surrounded by thousands of homes and lined with dozens of businesses, but I digress.) With the remaining momentum of the car, I pulled off to a side road, locked the car, and footed it to a 7-11 store about a half-mile away. From there I called my dad, who came to pick me up and we drove to take a look at the car. Neither of us could figure out what was wrong with it, so we decided to wait until morning to fiddle around on it. My dad asked me if I wanted to tow it back to the house, but I said, “No, it’ll be okay here until morning.” (You, no doubt, see where this is going.)
The next morning my brother drove me to my car and I found it not quite in the condition I left it. The car’s windshield was broken, its mirrors were ripped off, the instrument panel was covering cracked, a side window was smashed, and the turn signal lever broken off. The culprit(s) was apparently trying to get at my radio/tape player, but was thwarted by a clever (I thought) trick I employed when I installed the player a few years earlier (I keep my cars for a looong time). What was this trick? A short, stout piece of electrical wire tied to the back of the player and through two small holes I drilled into the firewall, rendering the unit practically impossible for a smash-and-grab thief to lift. Unfortunately, it also had the unintended consequence of infuriating the would-be filcher who, I am certain, took out his frustration on my car. The radio was saved, but at a price of more than five times its value when compared to the damage done to my car.
When I got my car back from the repair shop, the first thing I did was to untie and remove the wire. I didn’t want lightning to strike twice; I’ve learned my lessons. What were those lessons?
1. Be aware that crime can happen at anytime, practically anywhere, and that you are not immune.
2. Make value judgments as to what you are willing to lose; in other words, leave easily-taken fall-guy items for the low-lifes.
3. Listen to and follow through with good advice about preventing crime. (Had I listened to my dad, this could have been avoided, and my net worth would be about $500 more, or greater with interest, today).
4. Crime, and criminals, suck.
I hope this helps you, or someone you know, from repeating my mistakes.*
*I realize that macho wisdom says to he*l with giving any kind of quarter or reward to criminals, but I have the distinct impression that those who say this are too imbued with Hollywood's scripted versions of how encounters will go down to see reason. Sure, there are things worth defending, but inanimate objects are not usually among them. Giving up a small thing to protect the bigger, more valuable thing doesn't make one a loser, but a winner. You were able to put one over on a predator; that should be cause for celebration.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I can't fathom that anyone would be surprised at the apparent chicanery going on behind the recent Iranian presidential election. What is especially surprising is how the Iranian people themselves could be hoodwinked into believing that they have any real say in their government. Free elections are instruments of change only for the relatively free; sham elections are an attempt by totalitarians and tyrants to lend themselves authenticity and credibility.
To the Iranian people: I guess it's time for another revolution, eh? Just be careful next time who you hook your wagon to. Sure, the Shah had to go, but who took his place? That's right, another cruel tyrant. You're about as dumb as the French who overthrew a corrupt monarchy in the late 18th century and then turned right around and installed a dictator, Napoleon, into power. Never forget that great line from the rock group the Who: Meet the old boss / same as the old boss.
In practically every nation it seems to be that the MO of the populace is to exchange one government for exactly the same type of government and then expect different results. It must have something to do with the human psyche; one example is an abused daughter that grows up to choose an abusive spouse because it's a familiar, known quantity that fits the patterns she was raised to believe are normal. Now, extrapolate that thinking to a national scale and you'll get the picture. It takes a truly strong, independent people to go in a completely new direction, which is why the American revolution was so rare and wonderful. Unfortunately, Americans no longer have the sense or stones to see the mess they've made and take a truly new path. I expect that kind of locked mindset from foreigners; I am ashamed of it from Americans.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Here we go. How coincidental is this news story, you know, with more government meddling into healthcare in the offing? Not very coincidental at all. This is part of what will likely become a blitz of stories by the MSM meant to soften resistance to what will essentially be ever-increasing controls and restrictions on healthcare. Isn't teamwork, in this case the MSM and government, great?
Medical bills underlie 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies: study
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor Maggie Fox, Health And Science Editor
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Medical bills are behind more than 60 percent of U.S. personal bankruptcies, U.S. researchers reported Thursday in a report they said demonstrates that healthcare reform is on the wrong track.
More than 75 percent of these bankrupt families had health insurance but still were overwhelmed by their medical debts, the team at Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School and Ohio University reported in the American Journal of Medicine.
"Unless you're Warren Buffett, your family is just one serious illness away from bankruptcy," Harvard's Dr. David Himmelstein, an advocate for a single-payer health insurance program for the United States, said in a statement.
"For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection," he added.
The United States is embarking on an overhaul of its healthcare system, now a patchwork of public programs such as Medicare for the elderly and disabled and employer-sponsored health insurance that leaves 15 percent of the population with no coverage.
The researchers and some consumer advocates said the study showed the proposals under the most serious consideration are unlikely to help many Americans. They are pressing for a so-called single payer plan, in which one agency, usually the government, coordinates health coverage.
"Expanding private insurance and calling it health reform will fail to prevent financial catastrophe for hundreds of thousands of Americans every year," Dr. Sidney Wolfe of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen said in a statement.
About 170 million people get health insurance through an employer but President Barack Obama says soaring healthcare costs hurt the economy and force businesses to drop medical insurance for their workers.
"Nationally, a quarter of firms cancel coverage immediately when an employee suffers a disabling illness; another quarter do so within a year," the report reads.
Obama told Congress Wednesday he was open to making mandatory health insurance part of the overhaul.
Neither Congress nor Obama are considering the kind of single-payer plan advocated by Public Citizen, Himmelstein and his colleague Dr. Steffie Woolhandler.
"We need to rethink health reform," Woolhandler said. "Covering the uninsured isn't enough.
"Only single-payer national health insurance can make universal, comprehensive coverage affordable by saving the hundreds of billions we now waste on insurance overhead and bureaucracy."
The researchers studied 2,134 random families who filed for bankruptcy between January and April in 2007, before the current recession began.
They used public bankruptcy court records and surveyed 1,032 people by telephone.
"Using a conservative definition, 62.1 percent of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical; 92 percent of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5,000, or 10 percent of pretax family income," the researchers wrote.
"Most medical debtors were well-educated, owned homes and had middle-class occupations."
The researchers, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said the share of bankruptcies that could be blamed on medical problems rose by 50 percent from 2001 to 2007.
Patients with multiple sclerosis paid a mean of $34,167 out of pocket in 2007, diabetics paid $26,971, and those with injuries paid $25,096, the researchers found.
I'll paraphrase P.J. O'Rourke here: If you think U.S. healthcare is expensive now, what 'til the government gets involved to make it more affordable.
I believe that government intervention at all levels is already the reason healthcare costs have become so outrageous. To drink more of that Kool-aid is asking for even more problems.
This subject, more than anything else the government does, reminds me of the wisdom of the saying "Government: A disease masquerading as its own cure."
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
A few years ago I submitted this memory of a family ordeal to another site, where it still remains posted. I guess it's about time to publish it here. Perhaps you'll find it interesting and instructive.
Way back in March of 1977 I learned firsthand the awesome, frightening power of nature. Up until that time, I hadn’t really experienced anything scarier than a thunderstorm. The lessons learned that day stayed with me, and to this day I don’t play chicken with Mother Nature.
After spending a little over three years in Germany, my father had rotated back to the States. His new, and final, assignment was Fort Carson, Colorado. After arriving at JKF airport in New York City, we proceeded via taxi through New York city to New Jersey to pick up our 1975 Plymouth Duster we had shipped weeks earlier. Of course, the weeks of sitting had resulted in a dead battery--an inauspicious beginning. After getting that taken care of, we were on our way to Colorado.
The trip was routine. Living in a military family, you get used to long, often boring, car trips. My two brothers and mother did their best to adjust to hours of sitting while my father drove. Around the third day of the trip, we found ourselves nearing our destination state, Colorado. While listening to the radio, however, we heard that I-70 was closed near the Colorado/Kansas state line due to weather. Since my father had planned on getting to our destination, Fort Carson, by early evening (it was then early afternoon), he decided to turn off of I-70 and go around the roadblock. This was a decision that nearly killed our family.
Turning south from I-70 onto highway 27, we headed for what we thought was an alternate, safe route. After a short time on highway 27, the wind started picking up and small wisps of snow (called snow snakes out here) began to appear on the pavement. A few more miles brought a steady, wind-driven snow, but visibility was still acceptable. Within the space of just a few subsequent minutes, however, all hell broke loose. We were being hit broadside by a genuine Kansas blizzard that made me think 17 years was all I was going to get on this earth.
Visibility had dropped to no further than the hood of our car. To this day I don’t know how we kept from running off the two-lane highway; divine intervention must have had a hand in it. There was really no way to turn around, and sitting still wasn’t an option, so we kept creeping forward for what seemed an eternity. If you have never been in a blizzard, it is difficult to imagine the sheer terror of being disoriented, blind, and surrounded by bitter-cold wind and snow.
Finally, mercifully, we made it to a small whistle-stop of a town named Sharon Springs, Kansas, thirty miles due south of I-70. Waist-high drifts were already forming up against anything that impeded the wind-driven snow’s progress. As I recall, Sharon Springs consisted of nothing more than a few houses, a gas station, a diner, and a motel, but it looked like a heavenly oasis to me. I remember begging my father to stop in the town, fearing he might have had a notion to continue. He assured me that there was no way we were going to continue. We got a room in the motel (we actually had to dig our way IN to the room because of the drift against the door), ate in the diner, and had a fitful night’s sleep.
The next day, the storm had passed and the sun came out. Looking outside, there was very little snow on the flat-as-a-pancake Kansas fields surrounding Sharon Springs. Against buildings, however, snow was drifted all of the way to second-story roofs. The contrast was amazing! Since there was almost no snow on the roads, after one last meal in the diner, we proceeded to our destination.
What were the lessons learned here? One, when an area is closed due to weather, do not try to find an alternate route into said area. Find out more information and then go home or find a safe place to stay. Two, don’t underestimate the weather and/or overestimate your ability. Three, keep your wits about you in a bad situation; they are really the only chance you have of surviving.
I hope I have been able to convey the seriousness of respecting nature’s weather whims. Although we often like to think of ourselves as prepared for any eventuality, the best preparation is to not get into a dire circumstance in the first place. No amount of survival gear we could have carried (had we even known about survivalism then) would have saved us if we had stalled on the highway. Had we stalled, we would have been buried alive under 20 feet of snow.
Please, for your own sake, as well as the sake of your loved ones, learn a lesson from my family’s ignorance and respect the weather.
Monday, June 1, 2009
According to an e-mail I just read, it looks like Knight Rifles is going belly up. I don't own, nor have I ever fired, one of their products, not being too terribly interested in black powder guns at this point in my life (especially in-line black powder guns, which I consider a travesty, but to each his own) , although that could change someday.
This latest casualty of the times started me thinking about the hunting firearms industry as a whole. When you stop to think about it, aside from the collector who feels compelled to acquire multiple guns in multiple chamberings, how many customers can the hunting firearms industry count on? The average hunter, unless he is a habitual shooter, looks at his rifle as a tool, a part of the total picture of hunting, a means to an end. He has little need for a slew of rifles, even if he can afford anything he wants. It's my position that this type of customer makes up a substantial part of the hunting firearms market. So, in good economic times companies like Knight rifle can depend upon the collector to keep them in business, but when things turn downward, collectors cut back and average hunters already have their guns, so the whole market for hunting guns sours.
Realistically, once you have a good deer/elk rifle, you don't really need much else if you're a big-game hunter. Barring theft or act-of-God destruction, and assuming reasonable care and maintenance, you could hunt with that same old friend from womb to tomb and likely never wear it out. Gun companies know this, which is why they continually come up with new chamberings that do little more than gild the lily and goad folks into buying their latest and greatest offerings. A wise person/hunter sees through this barrage of advertising and turns a blind eye towards it. Perhaps this, coupled with a severe recession, had something to do with Knight Rifles's demise.
P.S. When Remington stepped into the AR15 field, I wondered about the wisdom of the move. Now, however, I realize it was a good decision for the company's survival. To the best of my knowledge, Remington was heavily tied to the hunting firearms field, which has been static for some time. By encompassing the red-hot black rifle market, Remington is able to stay afloat and not end up like Winchester. A shrewd move, I'd say, even if the world doesn't need another AR15 maker/marketer. (The world could use a few more ammo makers, but I digress.)
Thursday, May 28, 2009
You may have noticed a tapering off of blog posts recently; a good reason exists for this phenomenon: We're moving! That's right, the 357s are voluntarily downsizing and moving to another home. This one will be more centrally located in the city (although it will be farther away from my work...how'd that happen?...oh, yeah, a one word explanation: wife) and exactly 1,000 s.f. smaller.
So, I've been busy moving stuff that we could mostly live without to temporary storage. It's amazing the amount of useless items one woman can accumulate in eleven years at one house. Of course, I've accumulated a fair amount of things too, but mine all have a purpose.
Anyway, I've got to get going. I have to run another load to the storage unit, although I'm tempted instead to take a detour to the dump.
So, I've been busy moving stuff that we could mostly live without to temporary storage. It's amazing the amount of useless items one woman can accumulate in eleven years at one house. Of course, I've accumulated a fair amount of things too, but mine all have a purpose.
Anyway, I've got to get going. I have to run another load to the storage unit, although I'm tempted instead to take a detour to the dump.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Call me cynical, but the first thought that muscled its way to the front of the line in my mind wasn't, "How sad that people died and had property destroyed in this storm." No, it was, "I wonder how much money this is going to cost the USA?" Heck, I don't even know if the US government will be sending "aid," a euphemism for tax dollars, but I'd be (pleasantly) surprised if it didn't.
Isn't it awful that a human being can't feel at least a bit of compassion for a disaster without thinking about how much he'll be fleeced for it? But that's the kind of reaction the US government has wrought with its innumerable instances of largess to folks who should be their own government's concern. Thanks, FedGov, for making me so callous.
By the way, notice the term "global warming" used below--this must have been a slip-up. I thought the new term for this is "climate change," since global warming now may or may not be happening. But since adopting the phrase climate change, the totalitarian-at-heart environmentalists can now have all of the bases covered no matter which way the wind blows, or at what temperature. Neat, eh? Also, isn't it frugal of this "reporter" to tie two different things into one news story? By piggybacking the holy grail of the environmentalist movement, global warming/climate change, onto a tragic occurrence, the environmentalist message gets more exposure.
One other thing: the Indian government should be able to afford to help its people, with all of the programming jobs and 1-800 help number jobs that have gone there from the US, their tax base must have risen in recent years, giving them more capital to work with for such contingencies.
Millions displaced by cyclone in India, Bangladesh
By Sujoy Dhar Sujoy Dhar
KOLKATA, India (Reuters) – Cyclone Aila has displaced millions of people in India and Bangladesh, only a fraction of whom have access to food and drinking water, officials said on Wednesday.
The cyclone has killed at least 210 people in the flood-prone region, though officials said the death toll could rise, and rescuers have struggled to reach millions still marooned.
Cyclone Aila hit parts of coastal Bangladesh and eastern India on Monday, triggering tidal surges and floods.
Officials say more than one million people have been displaced in India's Sundarban islands in West Bengal state alone, one of the world's biggest tiger reserves and which is already threatened by global warming.
Heavy rain triggered by the storm raised river levels and burst mud embankments in the Sundarbans delta, destroying hundreds of thousands of houses and causing widespread flooding in the eastern state, and triggered landslides.
Global warming experts say rising sea levels have seen the fragile Sundarbans lose 28 percent of its habitat in the last 40 years.
Nearly 2.3 million people have been displaced and tens of thousands have moved to government shelters in West Bengal, the aid agency Save the Children told AlertNet.
As water levels slowly recede, hundreds of thousands of families who sought refuge in shelters, schools and other buildings are now returning to find their homes either washed away or submerged in water. [Man, that's some crackerjack reporting! What else would one expect from a flood, clean floors and windows?]
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Does it ever end? I suppose it will someday, but for now the attitude of the current idiot administration/party in power, as opposed to the last idiot administration, seems to be "in for a penny, in for a pound." They can't wait to display the depths of their economic illiteracy to the world. Check out the following hyper-moronic plan to stimulate U.S. auto sales.
Obama, lawmakers agree on "cash-for-clunkers" bill
Tue May 5, 3:49 pm ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and Democratic lawmakers reached agreement on Tuesday on a legislative proposal designed to stimulate U.S. auto sales, which have fallen to near 30-year lows.
The one-year plan crafted by members of the U.S. House of Representatives would offer vouchers worth up to $4,500 for owners to replace their less fuel efficient vehicles for models that get better gas mileage.
The goal of the "cash for clunkers" legislation is to sell 1 million vehicles.
"By stimulating consumer demand for new vehicles, this proposal will directly benefit domestic autoworkers and automotive manufacturers, which have arguably been hardest hit by the current economic downturn," said Rep. John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat and staunch industry ally.
House Majority leader Steny Hoyer has embraced the proposal and said in an interview with Reuters in April that the measure would be acted upon quickly once proposed.
Why only $4500 towards a new car? Why not give the things away to everyone (citizen and illegal alike) and make those factories really hum?
Truthfully, I don't really care anymore. As someone I read recently said, it's all the Democrats' baby now; they can't blame the impending fiscal ka-boom on those worms known as the Republicans, who stand for nothing except a different version of big government. In fact, I implore all idiotic ideas be not only proposed, but adopted, thereby hastening the day of reckoning.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Update: SHUT THE HE** UP ABOUT THIS MEDIA-DRIVEN NON EVENT!!! It's obvious to anyone with half a functioning brain that this is NOT the population-reducing pandemic that's been predicted for decades by sci-fi writers and epidemiologists, at least not yet. If the virus goes into hiding, morphs into something more deadly, then resurfaces during the next cold-and-flu season, we'll have something to worry about. But those are BIG ifs. In the meantime, try to refocus on how we're all getting bent over a barrel by a government run amok, elected by a people who are willfully deaf, dumb, and blind, for this flu thing is most assuredly an attempt to distract you from the real epidemic: venal politicians and the idiots who elect them.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
This story, unlike some break-ins, had a happy ending. It also happens to have occurred in my city, which is not known as a particularly violent place to live.
A suspected burglar is under arrest Saturday morning after police say the homeowner took security into their own hands.
Colorado Springs police say they were called to 3295 West Woodmen Road on a report that a person armed with a knife had just broken into the caller's home. The caller told police they had used their gun to fire a shot at the armed suspect and the suspect had run away.
Police and K-9 units found the suspect in the woods with non-life threatening wound to his lower leg. He was transported to Memorial Hospital and arrested after he was released.
The suspect, Ricky Hatcher, was booked into the Criminal Justice Center for Felony Menacing.
Police say the homeowner and Hatcher may have known each other. Police say the homeowner is not facing charges pending further review by the District Attorneys office.
I've got to make sure my wife reads this. (For some reason, and I could be wrong, but I have the feeling the homeowner involved is a woman, mainly because it's written using variants of they which, as any decent writer knows, is not correct grammar.)
George Will recently penned a piece opining on the the proliferation of denim wearers and, most importantly, the philosophy behind this several-decades-long phenomenon. You can read it below, along with my comments, of course.
By George F. Will
Thursday, April 16, 2009
On any American street, or in any airport or mall, you see the same sad tableau: A 10-year-old boy is walking with his father, whose development was evidently arrested when he was that age, judging by his clothes. Father and son are dressed identically -- running shoes, T-shirts. And jeans, always jeans. If mother is there, she, too, is draped in denim. [James Howard Kunstler called it the infantilization of the American adult male, although it goes for American adult females too.]
Writer Daniel Akst has noticed and has had a constructive conniption. He should be given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has earned it by identifying an obnoxious misuse of freedom. [Sorry, George, but that's going a bit too far. Freedom means putting up with slobs who have no idea that's what they are, but I kind of get your drift.] Writing in the Wall Street Journal, he has denounced denim, summoning Americans to soul-searching and repentance about the plague of that ubiquitous fabric, which is symptomatic of deep disorders in the national psyche.
It is, he says, a manifestation of "the modern trend toward undifferentiated dressing, in which we all strive to look equally shabby." Denim reflects "our most nostalgic and destructive agrarian longings -- the ones that prompted all those exurban McMansions now sliding off their manicured lawns and into foreclosure." Jeans come prewashed and acid-treated to make them look like what they are not -- authentic work clothes for horny-handed sons of toil and the soil. Denim on the bourgeoisie is, Akst says, the wardrobe equivalent of driving a Hummer to a Whole Foods store -- discordant. [True.]
Long ago, when James Dean and Marlon Brando wore it, denim was, Akst says, "a symbol of youthful defiance." [Now, since practically everyone wears denim, kids have to show youthful defiance by wearing their baseball hats cockeyed, or having tats or piercings.] Today, Silicon Valley billionaires are rebels without causes beyond poses, wearing jeans when introducing new products. [Yeah, I've noticed this over the years. They try so much to be some kind of iconoclast, but they end up looking like they're trying too hard and merely appear foolish.] Akst's summa contra denim is grand as far as it goes, but it only scratches the surface of this blight on Americans' surfaces. Denim is the infantile uniform of a nation in which entertainment frequently features childlike adults ("Seinfeld," "Two and a Half Men") and cartoons for adults ("King of the Hill"). Seventy-five percent of American "gamers" -- people who play video games -- are older than 18 and nevertheless are allowed to vote. In their undifferentiated dress, children and their childish parents become undifferentiated audiences for juvenilized movies (the six -- so far -- "Batman" adventures and "Indiana Jones and the Credit-Default Swaps," coming soon to a cineplex near you). [Yes! YEEEESSSSS!!! Oh, and let's not forget the worship of sports teams and all of the piggish behavior that seems to entail.] Denim is the clerical vestment for the priesthood of all believers in democracy's catechism of leveling -- thou shalt not dress better than society's most slovenly. To do so would be to commit the sin of lookism -- of believing that appearance matters. [If appearance DIDN'T matter, then why is the media and pop culture filled with images of so-called beautiful people? Of course appearance matters, which is why every mother's son and daughter ought to do their best to look neat, clean, and well-dressed at least a couple of days a week.] That heresy leads to denying the universal appropriateness of everything, and then to the elitist assertion that there is good and bad taste. [In other words, it leads to the "Who are you to judge?" mentality which, when embraced, leads to more and more boorish behavior, dress, and attitude. It leads to mindless lemming-like conformity and a suppression of thought, and that's NEVER a good thing.]
Denim is the carefully calculated costume of people eager to communicate indifference to appearances. But the appearances that people choose to present in public are cues from which we make inferences about their maturity and respect for those to whom they are presenting themselves. [This is so true. If you dress casually, what does that say about your attitude and thoughts about your audience? Not much in my book.]
Do not blame Levi Strauss for the misuse of Levi's. [I don't.] When the Gold Rush began, Strauss moved to San Francisco planning to sell strong fabric for the 49ers' tents and wagon covers. Eventually, however, he made tough pants, reinforced by copper rivets, for the tough men who knelt on the muddy, stony banks of Northern California creeks, panning for gold. Today it is silly for Americans whose closest approximation of physical labor consists of loading their bags of clubs into golf carts to go around in public dressed for driving steers up the Chisholm Trail to the railhead in Abilene. [Bwaahaha!]
This is not complicated. For men, sartorial good taste can be reduced to one rule: If Fred Astaire would not have worn it, don't wear it. For women, substitute Grace Kelly. [Hmmm, I hadn't thought of it that way, but I guess that's as good a milepost as any to start from.]
Edmund Burke -- what he would have thought of the denimization of America can be inferred from his lament that the French Revolution assaulted "the decent drapery of life"; it is a straight line from the fall of the Bastille to the rise of denim -- said: "To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely." Ours would be much more so if supposed grown-ups would heed St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, and St. Barack's inaugural sermon to the Americans, by putting away childish things, starting with [but not limited to] denim.
(A confession: The author owns one pair of jeans. Wore them once. Had to. Such was the dress code for former senator Jack Danforth's 70th birthday party, where Jerry Jeff Walker sang his classic "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother." Music for a jeans-wearing crowd.)
Bravo!, George Will, for bringing up this topic. Too bad it will fall on deaf ears, or those that do hear your message will miss its point entirely and dismiss you as a snob. Oh well, pearls before swine and all that.
By the way, one of my favorite things to do is to put on a pair of casual chinos, dress shoes, a dress shirt (no tie), and a sports coat and shop for a few things at Wal-mart. The looks I get from the slovenly dressed there, which comprise about 95% of shoppers, are priceless. It's all great, good fun, and my little slap at the ignorant, boorish behavior and dress that has become the norm in America.
P.S. I own more than one pair of jeans, but I don't wear them every single day. I also have other forms of dress and I believe I'll be wearing those forms more and more in the future so as to differentiate myself from the rabble.
P.P.S. No doubt some of you will say, "I don't care what others think of me." Yes, you do. Would you rather drive a shiny, new, paid-off car, or an old beater? Be honest. Have you ever checked your nostrils in a mirror to see if there is anything there that shouldn't be? Sure you have, because you care about what someone might think of you should you have dried snot ringing your nose. Don't give me that tact; try it on someone else. If you truly don't care, then forget this post and go in peace like the slob you've likely always been.
Monday, April 13, 2009
I didn't even know he was still alive. Well, I guess he's not anymore.
The shooting world lost one of its best-known names last week. Former Los Angeles County Deputy Jack Weaver, 80, died Tuesday in Carson City. Weaver, for those of you not familiar with the name, is the man for whom the Weaver Shooting Stance is named.
After experimenting with a variety of shooting stances and modifications, Weaver decided the best position for reaction shooting was simple: two hands on the weapon, gun up a foot or so above the vertical centerline of the body, and head slightly dropped. This gave him what he called a "flash picture" of the target. It also gave him the 1959 "Leatherslap" gunfighting title. As he explained "it looked kind of stupid, and everybody was laughing at me, but it worked."
After three years of losing to Weaver, Guns and Ammo writer and legendary shooting expert Jeff Cooper proclaimed the Weaver Stance "decisively superior" to anything else. In fact, Cooper incorporated Weaver's stance into his Modern Technique of the Pistol.
On Saturday evening, I spoke with Weaver's son, Alan, about his father and learned that this last year of his life had been one "of a rock star" after American Handgunner published a story about Weaver and his stance in its May issue. "All last year," Alan said, "Dad got letters, videos, patches from police departments and shooting clubs, tons of mementos that made him realize that people did remember him and his contributions."
We all remember Weaver's contribution to shooting -every time we take a two handed Weaver, or modified Weaver or whatever you call it.
Like or loathe his stance (I kind of like it), he did help move accurate handgun shooting to the point it is today.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Which came first, a population of dolts or a press that reports such drivel?
LOS ANGELES – Miley Cyrus and alter-ego Hannah Montana have double-teamed their way to another No. 1 box office debut.
Cyrus' "Hannah Montana: The Movie" opened this weekend with $34 million in ticket sales. The big weekend follows Cyrus' first-place premiere last year with her 3-D concert film.
The movie is a big-screen installment of the Disney Channel series about a teen living a double life as an ordinary high school girl and pop star Hannah.
"Hanna Montana" drew $17.3 million on Friday for the biggest opening day ever for a G-rated live-action movie.
"Fast & Furious" fell back to second place this weekend. The street-racing thriller pulled in $28.8 million to raise its domestic total to $118 million.
I see America's greatest achievements rapidly fading in the rear view mirror.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Here's a little poem I stumbled across that I thought others might like. Take a gander and see what you think.
The Battle of Blenheim
Robert Southey (1774-1843)
It was a summer evening,
Old Kaspar's work was done,
And he before his cottage door
Was sitting in the sun,
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.
She saw her brother Peterkin
Roll something large and round,
Which he beside the rivulet
In playing there had found;
He came to ask what he had found,
That was so large, and smooth, and round.
Old Kaspar took it from the boy,
Who stood expectant by;
And then the old man shook his head,
And, with a natural sigh,
"'Tis some poor fellow's skull," said he,
"Who fell in the great victory.
"I find them in the garden,
For there's many here about;
And often when I go to plough,
The ploughshare turns them out!
For many thousand men," said he,
"Were slain in that great victory."
"Now tell us what 'twas all about,"
Young Peterkin, he cries;
And little Wilhelmine looks up
With wonder-waiting eyes;
"Now tell us all about the war,
And what they fought each other for."
"It was the English," Kaspar cried,
"Who put the French to rout;
But what they fought each other for,
I could not well make out;
But everybody said," quoth he,
"That 'twas a famous victory.
"My father lived at Blenheim then,
Yon little stream hard by;
They burnt his dwelling to the ground,
And he was forced to fly;
So with his wife and child he fled,
Nor had he where to rest his head.
"With fire and sword the country round
Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childing mother then,
And new-born baby died;
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.
"They say it was a shocking sight
After the field was won;
For many thousand bodies here
Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.
"Great praise the Duke of Marlbro' won,
And our good Prince Eugene."
"Why, 'twas a very wicked thing!"
Said little Wilhelmine.
"Nay... nay... my little girl," quoth he,
"It was a famous victory.
"And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win."
"But what good came of it at last?"
Quoth little Peterkin.
"Why that I cannot tell," said he,
"But 'twas a famous victory."
Note: Prince Eugene: François Eugene de Savoie-Carignan, a brilliant general who aided Marlborough in defeating the Bavarians and French at Blenheim, Bavaria, August 13, 1704.
Ah, the folly of war. Too bad this bit of wisdom isn't learned by every child in grade school in America. Nah, that couldn't happen, it might give the little darlings nightmares, although many seem to watch movies with vicious characters and graphic, violent action at far too young an age with scant parental supervision.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
the police are only minutes away."
Anyone who's been around the self-defense arena for very long has probably heard this little truism more than once. The Binghampton shootings reinforces the dead-on veracity of this maxim. In a statement by Police Chief Joseph Zikuski on the shootings, he showed that sometimes the police are MANY minutes away.
The chief defended the time it took officers to go into the building — an hour to 90 minutes.
"If some crazy lunatic decides to pick up a gun and go someplace and start shooting people, I really don't have the answer how long for us that could prevent anything like that," Zikuski said.
"What I will tell you is that the police did the right thing," he said. "We have procedures and protocols."
Remember this the next time someone exhorts you to leave your own self-defense to the police and just dial 911. Procedures and protocols are fine, usually, but sometimes exigent circumstances dictate actual thought over mechanized rote.
Oh, by the way, Chief, I do have an answer on how to, at the very least, keep the body count down: responsible armed citizens. Had someone in that facility been armed, although no one can guarantee it, I'd be willing to bet things would have turned out less favorably for the murderer. But, with the average resident of New York state rendered helpless by governmental decree by not being allowed to be legally armed, a tragedy occurred instead.
No one can predict what will make a weak mind snap. The best we can do is be prepared to take defensive action when it happens, be that defensive action running away or defending yourself with a weapon, especially a firearm.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Yup, this proves it: Anyone who is a gun owner and is concerned that the Obama administration is hostile to the private ownership of guns is only a hair's breadth away from a mass shooting. Or so the following report would love for you to believe (by implication, of course).
Police official: 3 officers killed in Pa. shooting
By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI, Associated Press Writer
PITTSBURGH – A man opened fire on officers during a domestic disturbance call Saturday morning, killing three of them, a police official said. Friends said he feared the Obama administration was poised to ban guns. [Okay, so are a lot of people, what does that have to do with what a disturbed individual has done? Nothing, of course, but it helps to associate in weak minds that gun ownership, concern about confiscation, and (especially) insanity are somehow linked.]
Three officers were killed, said a police official at the scene who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Police spokeswoman Diane Richard would only say that at least five officers were wounded, but wouldn't give any other details. [My condolences to the families of the officers killed and wounded.]
The man who fired at the officers was arrested after a several-hour standoff. One witness reported hearing hundreds of shots. [The implication here being that the assailant fired hundreds of rounds. But what if it was the cops pouring in the rounds? It wouldn't be the first time.]
The shootings occurred just two weeks after four police officers March 21 in Oakland, Calif., in the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001. [The day when a lot of police officers died and not a shot was fired. Forgot that little detail, didn't you, you Brady and VPC shill.]
Police did not immediately release the gunman's identity, but his friends at the scene described him as a young man who thought the Obama administration would ban guns. [Would that they could, believe me.]
One friend, Edward Perkovic, said the gunman feared "the Obama gun ban that's on the way" and "didn't like our rights being infringed upon." Another longtime friend, Aaron Vire, said he feared that President Obama was going to take away his rights, though he said he "wasn't violently against Obama." [I'd say this young man, aside from his time-out for insane behavior, had a better grasp on things than many folks.]
Perkovic, a 22-year-old who said he was the gunman's best friend, said he got a call at work from him in which he said, "Eddie, I am going to die today. ... Tell your family I love them and I love you." [Eddie, being a heterosexual, was naturally repulsed.]
Perkovic said: "I heard gunshots and he hung up. ... He sounded like he was in pain, like he got shot."
Vire, 23, said the gunman once had an Internet talk show but that it wasn't successful. Vire said his friend had an AK-47 rifle and several powerful handguns, including a .357 Magnum. [Ewww! "Powerful handguns." No attempt at shading/influencing there, right Mr. Reporter-man?]
The officers were called to the home in the Stanton Heights neighborhood at about 7 a.m., Richard said. [The gunman was an early riser.]
Tom Moffitt, 51, a city firefighter who lives two blocks away, said he heard about the shooting on his scanner and came to the scene, where he heard "hundreds, just hundreds of shots. And not just once — several times." [What!?!? So Moffitt heard hundreds of rounds fired several times? Does this mean close to a thousand or more rounds were fired? This makes no sense, the ignorance of this witness is abundantly apparent, and his statement can be dismissed as unreliable.]
Rob Gift, 45, who lives a block away, said he heard rapid gunfire as he was letting his dog out.
He said the neighborhood of well-kept single-family houses and manicured lawns is home to many police officers, firefighters, paramedics and other city workers.
"It's just a very quiet neighborhood," Gift said. [I guess the point of including Gift's statement is to show this wasn't some inner-city neighborhood filled with drug houses. Plus, it shows that those darn, dirty gun owners just can't be trusted not to fly off the handle and start popping people, even in good neighborhoods.]