Aug 30, 2010

Roger Williams

Something in a guy's Celtic soul, which has been marinated in more than 200 years of Appalachian hill and holler culture,  makes him a sucker for the maudlin. Personally, I can even get into "The Green Green Grass of Home" which offends my George Shearing side.

About this time of year it is Roger Williams. Even without the molasses-jug lyrics,  "The Falling Leaves"  tops the goopiness scale, and I wish I could get his damned piano version to quit earwigging me.


I am working this gray morning in front of the big south window, noticing that the cottonwood leave are definitely yellow.

Roger Clemons

Roger played baseball. If he took steroids, he violated a private agreement with his boss. Not a crime.

He told Congressman Waxman's nosy committee he didn't take steroids. Congressman Waxman disagreed, and Roger is about to go to trial for lying to Congress,  a crime that could send him to federal prison for 30 years.

Please do not let this confuse you about federal law. Lying to Congress is  felony. Lying in Congress is a hallowed American tradition.

Even if he did take muscle juice, all Mr.Clemon's had to do was first get elected, Then he and his congressional collagues could have rubbed Pinocchio noses to their hearts' content.

Aug 29, 2010

Dear Blanche,

You must be smarter than that, having a BA and all, so we assume  you think Joe Bob is too dumb to understand how earmarks work and will vote for you because you got Washington to pretend it was giving New Hope free money -- $13,811 for a nice new police car.

Heaven hep y'all  if Joe Bob figures out that somebody had to send that $13,811  to President Obama and Senator Lincoln before they could send it to  New Hope.

And the guys who paid will be humping to get it back from their Sen. Santa Claus.  So if Joe Bob does get that job over at the turpentine plant, the feds will be nicking his paycheck, dime by dime, week by week, piling up some more free money to buy a new cruiser for Barney over there in Mayberry.

Senator, why don't  y'all  just stick  it in your earmark?

BAD Geek. Bad. Go to your Kennel!

Eschewing scatology is noble, but some things demand strong language.

First the USNA decides American naval officers don't need to practice celestial navigation. Then Morse Code is declared a quaint historical relic. But the OED?

This shit has got to stop.

Aug 28, 2010

Otherwise at the loophole...

A buddy got a fine deal on a Marlin Model 92 offered as a "parts" gun. It was missing only the butt plate, and you make a mistake to underestimate this man's stock-making and general restoration skills.

I was less lucky and settled for a good Lyman 358495 mold (147 -grain wadcutters), a GI . 1911 magazine, and a funky old .22 gun belt,  solid, but  missing its buscadero style holster. It  looks keen hanging next to the spurs.


If I ever decide  to reload 9mm Eurowimp,  the  Lyman bullets will let me enter the caliber wars about whether 9mm Parabellum  using 147 grainers is a "good defense load." I will undoubtedly  straddle the fence and prove it is OK in Europe, but not here. Then I'll get to quote Colonel Cooper again. "If you shoot a European he will sit down on the curb and cry. If you shoot an American he will shoot back."

Adrenalin Rush

A guy I know fondly  went to a loophole today where a serious collector of arms of the American Revolution inspected an oddball  $130 flintlock pistol  my pal  had sloppily hung on a wall for five or six years.  Just another neat-looking old gun.

Gee, he never noticed that Schuylkill Arsenal mark on the wood and had forgotten that arsenal  got out of the small arms business in 1812  after assembling and staging the possibles that  Captain Lewis and Captain Clark requisitioned for their march on behalf of early U.S.imperialism. 

A direct L and C connection all but certainly doesn't exist. For one thing, it is a sea service design.  On the other hand,  a connection to the  era and place is all but a lock, and the Schuylkill mark, if validated, would also prove U.S. martial/naval connection. 

Just before swooning he confided to me that the old .69 smooth bore beater goes directly to the vault while he makes enquiries of  those auction houses where the auctioneer wears a dinner jacket.  

Last thing he said before hitting the fainting couch was, "Hey Jim, Go over there and ask them girls what color cars they want."

Even the remote possibility is fun.

He said.

Aug 27, 2010

Roseholme Cottage

I swear,  the stuff coming out of that place qualifies it for a place on the National Registry of Historic Sites, Freedom and Good Sense section.

Always good for us libertarian pests, but Roberata scores 100/10x  on this one.

Show Time

We'll be in Sioux Falls tomorrow for one of the better loopholes in the country -- the Dakota Territory Gun Collectors Association Loophole. This is not  their biggest show of the year, but it's always an interesting one with hundreds of classic levers and SAAs along with more modern shootery. I have no plans to loophole anything, though I really should  because my recent efforts to annoy Senators Harkin and Schumer haven't been effective,, i.e., no subpoenas whatsoever in the mail lately.

Maybe I'll find a a beat up 12 gauge double  I can bubba up like the single that came out of the shop last week. That should be twice as provocative, raving dangerous,anti-gummint  gun fanatic-wise.

It is just so hard these days  to be recognized as a leader in the counter-revolution.

Aug 26, 2010

Understanding politics

Government: A milk cow with 320 million tits.

Aug 25, 2010

Sleeping with the Enemy

The time came recently to adjust my financial risk tolerance upwards.

The exchequers of His Obamaness have finally abandoned all but the most pro forma pretense that the American dollar still represents a significant unit of actual value.  One result is that a still marginally solvent man has watched his interest income decline to zero or so near as to make no difference. 

Why should banks and businesses  pay 5 or 6 per cent interest on (once) safe CDs and notes when Ted and Ben are there at the Federal Reserve window, cheerfully  shoveling out free greenbacks to every dense dingbat with a corporate business card?

So it's back to working the market with the modest goal of replacing a  few hundred dollars a month lost in the bubble, a cauldron aided and abetted, if not  almost totally caused, by idiotic decisions on the Potomac. A smirking nod to the clowns  who  believed they could afford McMansions on a McSalary.


If you're going to invest, you study. You become slavish to the protracted fairy tale usually known as the  "financial press." Part of this morning's work is research on an evil companion to statismCogent Communications, COGT, NYSE, $8.74.

This investment  service has a spiel on COGT and a couple other "underpriced" stocks which reads in part:

Facing another day of red ticker symbols, I went looking for some stocks that appear to be trading well below any sort of logical level. When the market stabilizes and logic returns, it's these oversold names that are often some of the strongest rebounders. It happened in 2002 and again in 2008, when many stocks traded below book value or for not much more than the cash on their balance sheet. Increasingly, the summer of 2010 is feeling like one of those blue market periods. So let's look at some of these ultra-cheap stocks. (My emphasis.)

So here we have a published financial advisor who ignores two painful realities  any battle-scarred investor understands deep in his bones.

(A) Published corporate balance sheets often contain lies that make a politician look like Diogenes.  One stock in which I am interested, ID, claims a book value of several dollars a share. Read the actual balance sheet, strip out the "good will" and the "intangibles"  and you're left with a piece of paper representing a negative value.

(B)  That cash on the balance sheet is tissue paper merely superficially resembling the money we used to have in our wallets. Thank you Ben. Thank you Tim. Et al.


However, it's my view that COGT, for other reasons, can be bought now and profitably traded. After all, it's a growth industry --  fingerprinting citizens to help government keep track of the evil you do, such as making fun of congress and presidents, past and present. 

(Looking in mirror: "Hi, ho.")

If it will help you think less harshly of me, I promise to continue investing in today's version of the French peasants' gold horde -- primers, lead, powder, bricks of .22, and "value packs" of 12 gauge. I already have a lot  of canned tuna and chicken.

Bloggery note

The Unwanted Blog has been added to theTMR blog roll. It is worth your time.

Root Hog or Die

Most of us, even my fellow raving libertarians, are somewhat more compassionate than that toward  unfortunate people -- at least the poor who give productive living a diligent shot.

The Unwanted Blog offers a suggestion. We end the food stamp program on grounds that it is routinely abused. (I venture to add that it is also part of the federal and state Full  and Lucrative Employment  Program for  otherwise unemployable bureaucrats.)

He suggests we offer actual food instead, namely the "meal loaf" made famous by Lockup for bad guys who won't behave even in prison. It is a complete meal all done up in a blender. Think of ham hocks, peas,  bread, a spud, and your dessert brownie  all happily homogenized and served at  armpit temperatures. Your coffee is poured over the whole shebang.  Why not? The Hope is to Change hunger to good nutrition, and the meal loaf will do it.

Which provides the peg for a story.


Marv M.and I were undergraduates at a northeast Iowa university*  where we pursued BAs while always working at at least two jobs.  I tended bar, worked in the college electrical shop and made a pittance teaching scuba. Still, tuition, books, rent, interminable fees, and the cost of keeping my '56 Ford on the road kept me broke. OK, so the occasional coed played her pocket-emptying part, but, hey, a man must be part of the passions and actions of his times, right?

So I can't imagine that one spring day I trotted on down to Olson's Sporting Goods on the bank of the Cedar River and bought a WW2 Polish Radom for about $30  (sigh). **  I suppose I was motivated by being, for one of the few times in my life,  a walking gun-free zone.

Mr. Olson was a kindly soul who made a fair living  is his sprawling river bank shop selling hunting, fishing, and camping gear. He also rented boats and had a scuba compressor.  The benches along his sea wall were routinely occupied by bank fishermen, trying out his bait, drinking his beer and pop and tossing the empties into the black water. All this began to coalesce to our benefit  when he grumped that one of his rental customers, trying to replace a shear pin, dropped a ten-dollar prop into the Cedar. (Why didn't the a**hole row back and let me fix it here?" )

He wondered if  I'd be willing to dive for it for half the value, my 15 minutes as Travis McGee. Sure.

I didn't find it, but mucking around in the silt revealed the most amazing trove of pop  and beer bottles, worth a solid  five cents each anywhere fine beverages are sold.  Air was a dollar tank,  and at depths involved -- around ten feet -- a tank lasted well over an hour. So the the profit margin was good. We mined that lode four or five times, Marv tending a line for me and hauling up booty, me working the rocks and mud by feel.

A typical dip yielded 100 bottles and  more, call it five bucks after air expense. Five dollars would swap for a couple pounds of fat  hamburger, a can of tomatoes, a big onion,  and two boxes of Creamettes, with a little beer change left over.***  That was the year I learned to cook Hungarian. That was another year  in which we didn't often go hungry.


If this sounds like a BS pitch for retroactive nobility, so be it. It happened, and I have taken the lesson seriously to heart. In fact, it colors  my views on social justice to this day, even to modifying my opinion about  meal loaves for the poor.

Anyone who goes diving for deposit  bottles in order to make  goulash can still get food stamps.


* -- Actually, it was a pretty good college with pretensions and eventually  became a half-assed university.

** -- Buying a 9mm in those days carried the perceived risk that you might have trouble finding ammunition for that oddball Eurocaliber.

*** --  For those who find this unbelievable, remember that it was in the days before Lyndon Johnson read John Maynard Keynes and learned he could hide the cost of the Vietnam War and his Great Society by installing a Borg-Warner overdrive unit in the presses. Later presidents have, of course, giggled with delight at their inprovisations on the theme.

Aug 24, 2010

Strictly personal: Sadly, a good dog has been taken from a loving family down Texas way.  RIP, Pup.

"Just a piece of paper"

Do you suppose Bush II actually said that?

Never mind. He's gone, replaced by worse.

I wonder what His Obamaness  will have  to  say in about three weeks -- on Sept. 17 --  in commemorating the  signing of the Constitution of the United States.  I'm pretty sure he regards it as a starting point for negotiating his ambitions, but of course he can't say that, can he?


A Republic, Sir, if you can keep it.

Save the MSM, keep pot illegal

1. Using pot is usually  one of the stupid things people do, and I personally oppose it.

2. This does not mean sucking a joint should be a matter of concern to our elected masters.

3. However, I must withdraw my endorsement of de-criminalizing pot use on grounds that it would destroy the news operation of a nearby radio station. The penny-ante pot busts are about all that happens within the station's reporting competence and/or journalistic ambitions

4. It is tempting to wheel out a line at the expense of the cops who  get off on issuing these breathless press releases every time they  find a kid with a baggie of ditch weed, but they are, in fact, doing what they're paid to do.

Aug 22, 2010

One shot

You begin with a  $30 junker, sound but showing the scud of a half-century living on spikes driven into the barn beams and rattling around in trunks.  Who knows what meals it put on a plank table? What thugs it deterred? It has earned its makeover.

Just a couple of hours later you have a nice, clean handigun with an ideal barrel -- just long enough to be legal, plenty short enough to annoy  Senator Harkin. The stock finish is Johnson's Paste Wax over the steel-wooled original. The metal  is tacticool, smoothed with  100 emery and coated with flat black Krylon. Okay, it is still a $30 gun, but it's a non-ugly $30 gun of greater usefulness than before. It will probably live semi-permanently in the F150, along with the Cattaraugus 2250, a handful of 00 buck, and a box of No. 4s.


We're amidst a summer that makes Papua New Guinea look arid, and it is trying to take its toll of  my knives, most of which live in a wood case in the loading shack.  I got tired of wiping them down daily and tried a coat of engine fogging oil from a spray can. It seems to be working excellently.

The stuff dries to a rather  stiff coat, so I would be reluctant to use it on the working parts of firearms unless I wanted to bench strip them when Autumn brings drier weather.

Aug 21, 2010

The Inevitabilites

I don't know anything about death except that it's claimed too many people I love.

About taxes I know a little more, starting with my forced study of economics as it was understood by Keynes speaking through Paul Samuelson as taught by an academic  drone too dense to know why you pour piss out of a boot and too lazy to do it if he did. My education continued as a taxpayer who also had the professional  fortune to rub elbows with politicians, high and low.   To a man and woman  they loved the power to tax. They differed only in the power groups they wished to buy off.

Until an unlikely libertarian utopia flourishes, they're necessary to a limited extent. Defend what borders are needed. Support a court system of final resort. Enforce laws prohibiting the  initiation of violence including the  intellectual equivalent of violence, which is fraud. (You'll note the steal from Ayn Rand on the last point. No apologies; it is a thought too little discussed)

If there is one economic point to be drilled into the still educable  souls we run across, it is this:  Somewhere between most and all of our troubles result from the decision of governments that their taxing powers should not be limited by actual utility, that they should use their extortion  power to create social justice.

Pass this along to some statist redistrbutionist you know. If he can identify the politicians qualified to define "social justice," I shall recant.

Aug 18, 2010

Quick Take on the Zombie Threat

I am not sure we do our libertarian selves a great favor in perpetuating and laboring the Zombie metaphor. If and when TSHTF,  the enemy will be healthy and well-dressed hordes (three regiments per horde) of  lively anti-Constitutionalists.

It was fun for a while, like knock-knock jokes.

Aug 17, 2010

The Lethal Leaden Stash

(That's the book John D. never got around to writing.)

The pot has been hot off and on for two days, and a couple buckets of wheel weights are now potential lethality. This pile is the last of about 120 one-pound ingots produced in time swiped from catching up on mowing and trimming after the two solid weeks of rain.

Combined with the pre-existing inventory, this new batch represents enough processed metal to take care the bullet needs around here for years, so  I can stop being a  foundry monkey. It is well worth the effort, but it is unpleasant work. Actual bullet making is more fun.

The WW mix is laced with linotype and 50/50 bar solder to  approximate Lyman No. 2 alloy.

The first few bullets cast from it look pretty good; they're 230-grain RNs  from a Lee mold and some Lyman 200-grain SWCs that I've always liked.

Wildlife in the Heartland

Froggy Went  Courtin' and He did Ride...

If you're old enough,  that will make you think of Burl Ives. So stop humming and ponder  this  endangered species  --  once endangered, at least, according to one of our senior local ecological worriers.

About four years ago Miss Jayne spent the better part of a summer enhancing her reputation for rilly rilly caring  by ragging us  unmercifully about the fate of the little jumpers.   It seems she discovered that we mere humans were driving them to the fate of the Dodo.

In the first place there weren't many of them any more. Worse, we were turning them  into mutants. Frogs with two heads, or five legs, or the back ones misplaced so they bumped their butts on landing.

That sort of  horror. She pleaded with us to "do something." Or stop doing something. She didn't say exactly what, so we were confused.

(Well, yeah, Miss Jayne's dire warnings moved me to quit running  them down and injecting them individually  with PCBs and  DDT and farm chemical residues. But that hadn't  been all that much fun lately anyway, and advancing age meant I wasn't quick enough to catch all that many of them.)

Something bigger did occur, though, because neither she nor anyone else has been publicly bemoaning the death of the leopard frog population recently, and today I can personally testify  Camp J is flush with spotted hoppers.*

I swear that I am severely slowed in lawn trimming by having to shoo the little jumpers out of the mower path.  This one landed in a leaf pile under the  old burr oak on the east fence line. He held still for the picture, and I suppose that's his way of showing gratitude for the part I  played in saving him from the  great Jaynestinction. However we did it.

I feel so proud. I almost feel like kissing one and seeing if it turns into a senator from California.


*Or, as we sometimes call them, "bass bait."

Aug 16, 2010

Self suffficiency

Insight from Joel on owning your own soul and the limitations on personal independence.

The  old Mother Earth News  would have sought his writing and printed it in the department it called "Report from  Them That's Doing."

Aug 14, 2010

Quote of the Day


It's often been joked that you can ascertain someone's politics by asking them how they feel about prayer in public schools. If they say (1) "I'm against it!" you have a liberal; (2) if they say "I'm in favor of it!" you have a conservative; (3) and if they say "Public schools?!?" you have a libertarian. (Enumeration  added.)

No. 3 may be wrongheaded (though I agree with them),  but at least the view reflects thoughtful observation. Nos. 1 and 2 are from zippitydoodahs who just like to hear their knees jer

Me and Matt Helm

Me and Matt won the Cold War, he with his pre-war Colt Woodsman, me with my Rollei  spy camera.  He used Winchester Super Speeds. I used Tri-X pushed to 1000.  Matt covered me while I  gathered the secrets of Lubyanka and  vanquished the Red Foe. The reason we haven't whipped the Islamonazis yet is the unobtainability of  proper film.

Aug 13, 2010

The local energy level is about equal to the Rangle ethical quotient.

With temperatures around 90, humidity often 95 per cent, and rain every 18 hours,  a man just isn't inclined to violent exertion.

So y'all just go on ahead and mock His Obamaness and ridicule the posturing apes in public office all by yourselves. I'll join you later.

Aug 10, 2010

Irritate authoritarians, read Staghounds

It's here, a very nice, very entertaining,  explanation of why the "ballot whores" and their hired hands almost always make a mess of things.

If nothing else it will remind you of a  Supreme Court decision yclept  Kelo. Like the Korean War, it's a case -- a lesson -- too easy to forget.

But there's a lot more, including a cheerful vision of challenging  Barack and Michelle to estimate their annual toilet paper consumption.

Stephen Slater

Okay, so he's an effeminate effup. It's still hard not to sympathize with him and to engage in the futile hope that someone will horse whip the woman who set him off.

On the other hand, I've met more than a few stews who made +me+ want to hit the slide.

The main downside here is that this guy is likely  to go on Maddow, impress a producer somewhere,  and proceed to a long career as a media pest.

Aug 8, 2010

Uff duh, such an auction.

If my head weren't so sweaty I'd have someone take a picture of me in my brand new Stetson, the  "Duke" model, and I'll be damned if it ain't, Pilgrim.

If I weren't so tired I'd go out in the shop and saw some more wood on my  big old cast-iron, 14-inch Delta band saw, which definitely isn't brand new, except to me. Which is good because it is a Delta. Let me explain:

There are two kinds of Delta tools. There are those, like this one,  from a generation-plus ago when the company still competed with a few other American tool makers to see who  could build the sturdiest, most trouble-free, most easily repaired, most elegant and straight-forward machines in the world.  The other kind come from the same firm which, in  about the 1980s,  discovered that "Delta" was  also an oriental slang term meaning  "built with celerity out of toad shit and tinfoil" -- and decided to bow to the Wisdom of the Mysterious East.

(The saw needs a cleaning after a few years in a barn, but with the barn swallow spoor brushed off and plugged in for a test, she ran quiet and straight and true. Errr, $55 with a couple spare blades,  if you must know.)  T'   hee.

Or if I weren't so tired I would go unload and stow the 200 pounds or so of lead and (no-kidding) Linotype metal.  Runs about ten cents pound out here in Bucolia.

Winchester and Federal primers were about a buck a deck, and Winchester Silvertip bullets in .308 and 125 grains were similarly given away. Not to mention the  Lyman mold handles I mentioned needing in a bleg a while back.

I feel so blessed. :)

Aug 7, 2010

Crime Fighting (Oregon Style)

The health cops and their elected bosses are on the ball in Portland where they found a seven-year-old girl assaulting the public health with an unlicensed lemonade stand.  An inspector tried to close her down.  Some nearby citizens reacted antisocially. The germ-fighting Dick Tracy had to get on his wrist radio and call for backup.

Much later, one of Portland's  elected scum detected a certain popular discontent with the idiocy. He  apologized to the little girl and her mother, but he was careful to defend his Microbian Knights for just "following the rule book."

I wonder how much open carry might do to encourage our masters' little minions to get their goddam noses out of the rule books and exercise a little common sense; to think  before opening their  noxious, gaping, tax-fed, mouths to harass seven-year-old girls who will  contribute  more to the world  before they are old  enough to vote than the bureaucrats will in a long lifetime of  tax-trough slurping.

The rule book needs a little help  itself, a good man or woman with a gross of blue pencils.

(Try to simply read through the sophomoric, fatal,  search for the cute in the AP piece.)

Not a dry heat

It's been several days since I unlocked the gun place and ran an  eye over blue steel and walnut. Too long; a scuzzy white fungus was getting a good start on the oil-finished stocks,  leather slings, and knife sheaths.

I caught it in time to avoid damage, and the lesson is learned.  Since Providence chose to make us live in a perpetual steam bath up here this summer,  a weapons wipe every couple of days is on the schedule.

How humid? Day before yesterday 94 per cent.

Aug 5, 2010

The Internet is Safe

I've always worried about the internet gnomes knowing all about my private stuff and thoughts and what I want to buy and like that.

Never happen. Amazon is an alpha gnome of "targeted" advertising,   and he or she just sent me a long pitch for "college essentials."  i-Thises and e-Thats.

The last time I bought a college essential it was made by Smith Corona and I got it in a store where the owner knew my name and threw in a little kit of stuff to clean the keys.

Stupid internet. Almost got a notion to post my SS as a gesture of contempt.

Aug 3, 2010

Second Warning

The AP is again reporting the annual compilation of  auto thefts by model. The top of the list is the "blinged-out Cadillac Escalade SUV, a favorite of A-listers like Tiger Woods...".

I have previously, in this space, recorded my decision that bling is a silly and unnecessary word which should be avoided. I now note that I have already spoken sharply to the mainstream media about this, and my patience is not  inexhaustible.

Aug 2, 2010

We are supposed to be comforted?

In Atlanta today President Barack Obama tells the VFW: ""But make no mistake, our commitment in Iraq is changing — from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats."

If I were one of the tens of thousands left in uniform in that godforsaken hole, I would be petrified because I can name the supreme leader of dipomats in one bar: Hillary Rodham Clinton.