Aug 31, 2009

Travis McGee in Los Angeles

"...Other ridge areas, lower and brushier, were clotted thick with houses, According to demand, I could imagine each of those far houses was taking up at least a million dollars worth of of barren real estate. In a sane world it would be worth fifty cents an acre, but there it is, status symbol land, rock and brush, ridges and galleys, fires and mud all the way to Pacific Palisades. The highest houses get to see pizza signs and the night sea beyond. ... When San Andreas gives a good belch, they can start again at fifty cents an acre. "

"A Deadly Shade of Gold," P. 305 of the Fawcett Crest printing, a late one, c. 1995. Travis is observing the view from near Cal Tomberlin's mansion high in the western LA county hills.


Enough fires like this week's and we won't have to wait for the tectonic burp. Assuming sentient beings really need to live in the tinder zone, I suggest they tell the green freaks to pee off, that they're going to clear the brush even at the cost of inconveniencing your occasional rattlesnake and degrading the habitat of whatever sand rat happens to be fashionable lately.

Aug 30, 2009

Quote of the Day

"I'm starting to think that Jefferson would look at the current state of affairs and say, "What are you waiting for?"

By reflectoscope over at Tam's place in reference to the government crackdown on an old Korean woman bent on undermining our society with undocumented kimchee.

A Franken-Gun

Miscegenation may produce the most beautiful human beings imaginable.* The same does not apply to firearms.

Its minor caliber notwithstanding, the purebred Mini-14 is a fine and sightly representative of the battle rifle as we understood it ca. 1939-1963. It stands tall in its Class As of walnutite and steel. It is a pleasure to shoot, an aesthetic adornment on any wall.

But mate it to the various Buck Rogers wet dreams, and it becomes ugly -- oily ugly, like the bald guy with the pencil mustache slipping out of the XXX theatre and stabbing you with an inviting leer.


*Honolulu offers luscious examples, but you do not want to go there anyway unless you lust for cynical services at Tokyo prices.

Aug 29, 2009

Travis McGee, futurist

" I get this crazy feeling. Every once in a while I get it. I get the feeling that this is the last time in history when the offbeats like me will have a chance to live free in the nooks and crannies of the huge and rigid structure of a an increasingly codified society. Fifty years from now I would be hunted down in the street. They would drill little holes in my skull and make me sensible and reliable and adjusted.
"I am, to put it as bitterly as possible, a romantic. I know a windmill when I see one, by God...".

The Quick Red Fox, p.96 of the early Fawcetts

Aug 28, 2009

...and another thing about Europe:

A European sorting his nuts and bolts and wrenches is engaging in only the most rudimentary forms of thought -- eight millimeters comes before nine millimeters so this goes here. (Places wrench appropriately.) Indeed, Diane Fossey's buddies could do as well.

An American engaged in rationalizing his workshop is a tour de force of complex calculation. Lessee, the 5/8 is here so I need a the 11/16 on the next peg, no, wait, i probably better save room for the 21/32 I use on the Kubota thurble bypass and....

Maybe that's why as kids we could always pick up a little change following Brit sports car down the road, collecting parts.

It's little wonder that dullard Europe is defined as that place which screws things up badly every generation or two and whistles for Uncle to come on across the Atlantic and pull its metric nuts out of the fire.

I am typing this with greasy fingers, by jingo.

Aug 27, 2009

"Kennedy to Lie in Repose in Boston..."

No, actually. Not in Boston. Not anywhere else. Nor, for that matter, in any bodily position.

(It's a current AP headline on a piece that draws on Lincolnesque imagery to further sanctify a Massachusetts politician who recently died.)

Aug 26, 2009

Sen. Ted Kennedy, RIP

May we memorialize and inter Senator Kennedy with more dispatch and greater dignity than is usual when celebrities die. In due course, when the ceremonies are behind us, will come the time for objective evaluation of the man's actual accomplishments and sins. Meanwhile, we can do worse than try to observe Mark Twain's etiquette for funerals.

"Do not criticize the person in whose honor the entertainment is given...

"Listen, with as intense an expression of attention as you can command, to the official statement of the character and history of the person in whose honor the entertainment is given; and if these statistics should seem to fail to tally with the facts, in places, do not nudge your neighbor, or press your foot upon his toes, or manifest, by any other sign, your awareness that taffy is being distributed.

"If the official hopes expressed concerning the person in whose honor the entertainment is given are known by you to be oversized, let it pass -- do not interrupt...

"Do not bring your dog."

Aug 25, 2009

You mean I can't have the Kimber right this second?

I credit the peelegs over on one of the sillier Yahoo message boards for alerting us to this encouraging report on the tempering of instant gratification.

The word "layaway" is emerging from the linguistic graveyard, and those of us who've been around for a while can remember our parents in the pre-credit-card days putting things on "layaway." You fork over part of the cost and the store holds your item until you pay it off. This frustrates the infantile demand to get what you want when you want it, but it also yields the sublime grown-up satisfaction of owning things which are paid for before they get inside your house.

Course, the PAbs over at the ACG board find all this frightening. Credit, even if used stupidly a la Bush and Obama, increases the value of their investments which depends on easy credit and circulating pieces of paper which they can, for a time, pretend to be money.

Fa'a Samoa* -- Tales of the South Pacific

As my buddy John says, "Oh, this will end well." (John has been known to express himself sarcastically on rare occasions.)

The government of Samoa has decided to shift from U.S.-style driving to the abominably wrong-sided, wrong-headed, left-wing British system as also employed in New Zealand and Australia.

A Samoan citizen who just bought a new car with the steering wheel where it belongs opposes the switch and has formed a new political party to challenge the national government in Apia. (As a lawyer, wouldn't he just?)

It is, of course, vital that His Obamaness the President and Dame Hillary ("I Ain't Bill") the Secretary of State quickly map out a United States strategy on this crisis in the South Pacific. We cannot afford to wait. At a minimum the Pentagon should rev up the complex to again produce all those wonderful jungle-war toys we knew and loved in Nam.

*A Samoan phrase trotted out ad nauseum to explain to Westerners that Samoa doesn't give a good goddam about what anyone else thinks.

Aug 22, 2009


1. On the south shore of the big lake is an ancient restaurant called the Gingham Inn. We do not eat there often enough, and when we do I keep forgetting to order the right thing. Last night we fixed that, and I am again reminded that a proper chicken fried steak is undoubtedly what God has for dinner.

2. The Dog Days of summer are a sultry misery to all Midwesterners. Except this year. For the eighth or tenth time in the Premier Summer of the Obama, I am burning wood.

3. Hedge apples do, in fact, repel spiders. Science be damned.

Aug 20, 2009

DHA, fish oil, and American geniuses

High-level thinkers have ranked the states for braininess.

Washington, D.C. is included in the study and, lo, is the brainiest because Washingtonians eat lots of fish to achieve DHA-enanced status.

So ends my lifelong awed admiration of high-level thinkers.

DeeCee fish-oilers elected Eleanor Holmes Norton to Congress. Prosecution rests.

Aug 19, 2009

Trading with the Enemy

I'm invested in a company which just signed a hefty ($60 million-plus) contract to "upgrade" the California driving license process. The market hasn't reacted, and everyone is asking why.

Hell, it's obvious. California is going to pay us with warrants, bales of medical pot, and autographed pictures of Maria Shriver.

Aug 17, 2009

Trained Professional at Work

The sheriff of Polk County is very sorry that a departmental policy was "not well understood" and led to the wounding of a 3-year-old girl.

A deputy took his shiny cop car to a community gathering in a Des Moines park, threw open the doors, and invited all the little kids to crawl around in it. PR and community relations, dontcha know?

The sheriff said the deputy just didn't understand that leaving leaving a shell in the chamber of his racked shotgun, in plain view and easy reach of the tykes and pre-pubes, might be considered slightly stupid in addition to violating departmental policy.

I love it. Maybe it reads: "It is the policy of this department that no shotgun placed in the reach of tiny playful hands shall have a live round in the chamber."

Witnesses say the deputy was chatting with someone while a pre-teen boy was fooling with the gun just before the toddler fell. The boy disappeared. The toddler was not too badly hurt and is out of the hospital. The cop is on administrative suspension with pay. The sheriff is leaning toward lenience for Deputy Friendly because he's a "a very good employee; long-term, senior person, ... who feels terribly about what happened."

My butt hurts.

Aug 16, 2009

Obama's Grandma

A politician gets even more revolting when he hauls out personal tragedy to illustrate his Christ-like nature.

President Obama raises his Grandma Toot to prove he is too compassionate to back a health-care provision requiring "death panels." He says the death brought him searing pain. I believe him and empathize. However:

Item: No one believes, Sir, that you're backing unsubtle death panels as an immediate goal, so stop diddling the straw man, eh?

Item: To dip a maudlin toe into the story of your grandmother's death simply reminds us that you are credibly thought to believe euthanasia is useful economic tool, just one whose time has not yet come.

Item: Everyone understands you would oppose death panels for your loved ones. The question is, what might you do about ours? Rulers do tend to spare their own, don't they?

May I refer you to a Congress which finds itself horrified at the thought of having to live under the laws it passes for the peasantry. You have your boys on The Hill write themselves specifically in to your new health care scheme, and I'll rethink my opposition.

Aug 14, 2009

Cowboy Obama in Montana

The AP did a preview of the Obama Montana trip and included a description of the locals for him. There's a tone here of people-whose -existence-is-to-be-regretted."

"Democrats have made recent election inroads in the (mountain west) by successfully courting independents, Republican crossovers and conservative-to-moderate loyalists in their own party. But it's these very voters — gun owners, civil libertarians, private property advocates — who seem to be turning away from the president across the country because of deep-seated concerns about expanding government and soaring budget deficits."

About 233 years ago a little strip of geography along the eastern coast of North America spawned a population of gun owners, civil libertarians, and private property advocates. They tried a small experiment in limited government which grew and worked out quite well for a long time.

I wonder what sort of experiment lurks in the collectivist heart of those those who would demonize, or at least marginalize, such individualists.

Aug 13, 2009

His Holiness Rick Santorum

Santorum is bringing his sanctified self to my state this fall. He claims it's just a howdy-do visit and has nothng to do with the sweet strains of Hail to the Chief coursing through his aural equipment.

Rick, I can't be there. That's the week I Armor-All the lawnmower tires. Besides, I've pretty much decided not to support anyone who routinely reminds me he has God's unlisted number.

Aug 11, 2009

Town Hall

She's an English teacher in New Hampshire and she decided to slip the President a softie: "If we had better mental health care, what would our society be like?"

And His Obamaness lacked the wit and the truthfulness to respond: "Well, there would certainly be a different kind of people in public office."

Aug 9, 2009

Self awareness

You're a gun freak so all your ice picks have been converted to firearms assembly aides by bending them into weird shapes. So you abuse a knife in order to chip ice for a couple of Sunday Cuba libres.

This post comes with an added bonus attraction

Aug 8, 2009

Gun pron and good guys

Kevin reports that the good guys have outflanked the hoplophobic FeyPal, meaning you can enter the raffle for a dandy 1911 clone on line. The details are at The Smallest Minority, where you'll also find some graphic images of a Para in various stages of dress. Viewer discretion is advised.

So is buying a ticket or two. It's a Soldier's Angels project.

Better men

I wonder if the texting dotcomers of twittering America could produce even ten divisions of men of this caliber from the mill run of its citizens.

This D-Day collection has a number of June 6, 1944 photographs most of us have never seen.

These things are moving. I especially like picture number 44, a D-Day anniversary shot that captures the irony of which mid-century Americans were capable even after ten years of depression and three of slaughter.

We owe the MSM, specifically the Denver Post, for putting this collection together, and my buddy Al in Rhode Island for alerting some of us to it.

Aug 7, 2009

...its ugly head

Senator Martinez tosses in the towel, and Governor Crist gets to name a replacement.
The guv is getting plenty of advice, including this:

"U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said she hoped Crist would appoint a Hispanic to follow in Martinez's footsteps...". (AP)

What a racist, bigoted thing to say, Ileana. You imply that Hispanics need opportunistic appointments because they are too dumb or too lazy to get out there and lie, cheat, and steal their way into office, just like the pallid politicians.

Oooooh, That Smarts

The feds say we must do away with children's books published before 1985 in order to avoid the carnage we used to experience when kids licked the lead out of the ink in "Lassie" and similar tomes. Surely you recall that the near-zero survival rate of literate 10-year-olds a generation and more back. Who can forget the mass funerals of pre-teen innocents in the wake of "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish." The bodies were stacked high in the corridors of children's libraries everywhere.

Aug 6, 2009

Sex and the Shooter

A prime cause of Mr. Sodini's gory shootup of the health club women was unwanted celibacy. Or so cops, shrinks, and media would have us believe. It's reasonable. I think many of us would become irritable after nearly two unlaid adult decades.

Okay, so we need a new common-sense law. Any citizen unserviced for an unreasonable interval is hereby required to undergo a therapeutic trip to a cat house. And, yes, Obamacare will cover it.

I mean, like, Dude, if it saves just one life....

Aug 5, 2009

Cheaper .22 LR

An impulse struck me to check ammo availability as I was passing the local WalMart, and I feel like a prospector seeing color in the pan. Wally W. here is selling Winchester 36 grain coppered hollow points for $16.97 per bulk pack of 555. A few weeks ago in Davenport, Iowa I bought a box of Remington 40 grainers, about $26 for a pack of 525. So Remington cut its bulk-pack count by 25 rounds and Winchester boosted its by five. The marketing titans battle.

The WM clerk said he had "quite a lot" of the Winchesters but wouldn't elaborate. I bought two packs, bringing the strategic reserve to 5,000, and probably should have bought more. Probably will, come to think of it.

Aug 2, 2009

So long, Good Dog.

Moose, RIP.


A certain 13-year-old demonstrates good form and good judgment. Offered the opportunity to shoot anything in the patriarch's gun room, he immediately chose the sublime U.S. Carbine, Cal. .30, M1.

It didn't end there. The young shooter and the old combined to put a few hundred rounds downrange Saturday afternoon, calibers ranging from .22LR to .30-06. (The latter were from an impressive Savage 110 which may get some Jeff Coopering if I can find a long-relief scope I like.)

The lad is not fixated on firearms. That's good. But he likes them and respects their potential for both good and ill. That's better yet.