Oct 30, 2011

Sunday morning catch-all

1. The Roseholme girls are still enjoying their new Toro leaf blower. Mine, on the other hand, quit Thursday. Just up  and died while blowing heartily. I suspect a bad switch or  broken internal wire. I am resolved to make one half-hearted attempt to worry the plastic cover apart and repair any obvious problem.  One-half of one hour is dedicated to this mission. On the 31st minute the sucker either blows leaves or goes landfilling. Aside: You'd think an $80 machine would last longer than 13 years, even if it did get frequently rained on.

2. A pal and I spent yesterday morning at the fine little Windom loophole.  I bought nothing worth mentioning, but wouldn't have missed it for the world. Many classics. A ton of military stuff from webbing to Garands to 1911s. Two of the .45s stood out. One definitely original -- no hint of arsenal work, smooth metal and much blue still present -- carried a $1,250  ask. It made me go "hmmmm," but in the end I passed. Probably a mistake, but I'm already a  little over budget for lethality this this month.

3. On Dawn Patrol this morning,  New Dog Libby caught a walleye. It hadn't been dead too many days. Nevertheless, I am experimenting with breath mints in her drinking water.

4. The new Iowa Poll on the presidential caucuses is out. Cain and Romney lead in the low/middle 20s Good Doctor Ron Paul is third with 12 per cent. Other members of the Romney-Cain Bokanovsky Group are at 8 per cent or less. This poll has historically been as good as they come in measuring caucus-goer sentiment  but, in the end,  no poll does much more than quantify the effects of recent noise coming out of our electric teevee sets.

5. There an ash of opportunity down on some nearby homeowner association property, and the weather is so nice I think I'll go get it this afternoon. I'm a bit short on firewood. Finders-keepers.

Oct 29, 2011

Irish eyes got bleary

So, Padraig. So Brigid -- me brothers and sisters of the old sod -- you've got yourselves a new president, have ya?

And doesn't our own Associated Press say the Mike Higgens ya behinded is "a veteran left-wing politician, poet and human rights activist, ... pledged to lift the spirits of a struggling nation."


And ain't ya the fools, ya babblin', ballad-singin'  bog trotters. By Jayzus, Mary, and Joseph ya can lift your own spirits if ya open your bleedin' eyes and notice that your pockets are empty as the head of a Limey leftenant but you're still spending like the lairds who stole Ulster.

Ya didn't need a rhyme-prating, warmed-over socialist now did ya? And what it was ya needed was a fokken certified public account,  didn't ya now? And don't I -- son of sons of Leinster pike men -- call it gobshittery?

You're supposed to fleece American tourists down around Blarney Castle, not kiss the fokken rock yourselves and vote in the bloody arses who french it every day.

Oct 28, 2011

Say, is that ol' 4th Amendment starting to breathe again?

I told you Iowa was still free soil, more or less. Free-ish, anyway.

A cop stops you for some piddling offense. He resolves that and wonders, "Now, you don't mind if I go fishing take a quick look in your car do you Sir?"

You nod "okay" because Officer Friendly, what with his big pistol and creaky leather, club, Mace, and all can look pretty intimidating. And he seems nice enough. He asked nicely and called you "sir," didn't he?

Then he found that pinch of pot you must have forgotten to take out of the pickup. You're busted, cuffed, and in for a ride to town because you didn't say, "No thanks, Officer." After you think about it in the tank for a while you realize you  were flim-flammed and decide to take it all the way to the the state supreme court. You did, and

Justices in a 5-1 decision stopped just short of instituting new rules for Iowa law enforcement agents but strongly signaled their view that traffic stops on the side of public highways are “inherently coercive” and therefore can give rise to improper pressure on motorists to agree to vehicle searches.


They ruled the search illegal and the "evidence" therefore inadmissible. They said:


Iowa police officers would do well – but are not yet required – to warn motorists that they don’t have to let authorities search their vehicles during minor traffic stops, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled this morning.


The dissenting justice said:

(a) He didn't want to handicap the police. (He's apparently fine with handicapping the Constitution and the citizens whom it was created to protect -- from the police, among others).

(b) His view is closer to the federal government's opinion.  (Good God, man, you consider that a virtue?)

---

Note to the motorist involved here: Glad you won it. Now get off the pot. Stoners tend to screw up their lives at a higher rate than folks who can handle reality.

ALERT! Emergency Grips Nation; Senators Vow Action

The Big 12 crisis escalated sharply this week when Louisvile (a Kentucky school of sorts) became suspected of sabotaging University of West Virginia plans to join the conference.  It quickly became a matter of vital national interest .

The GOP follies, hog lot editon; Iowa Caucuses 2012

It's all set, gang. Florida and Nevada hang their heads in repentant shame, meaning  the Iowa Caucuses will not be held on Christmas Eve: The schedule:

January 3 -- Iowa caucuses

January 10 -- Hew Hampshire primary

January 21 -- South Carolina primary

January 31 -- Florida primary

February 4 -- Nevada caucuses

---

Those of you with a bent for history will wish to note that Iowans caucus on the anniversary of Martin Luther's excommunication by Pope Leo X, leading directly to development of of the church basement dinner and, ultimately, invention of the crock pot.

In New Hampshire,  Republicans will vote on the date of Thomas Paine's publication of "Common Sense." They will choose Mitt Romney, proving that Paine's literary effort ultimately came to nought.

The South Carolina vote celebrates the birthday of John M. Browning, PBUH. He deserves better.

The Florida geezers will interfere with what should be a solemn commemoration. On January 31, 1606, the English executed Guy Fawkes  and his buddies for trying to blow up King and Parliament.  C'mon, Your Lordships. Should have been noll prossed or, at worst, tried as a simple misdemeanor.

The Nevada caucuses occur on the date Benjamin Palmer patented the artificial leg. This is politically important, leading as it did to a  Chicago development where Democrats were inspired to patent the artificial vote.

Oct 27, 2011

John M. Browning, economist

A fine internet  perk is running across things far more valuable than what you were  looking for. I was Binging for an insignificant detail about John M. Browning and found a passage about him at age 13 or so.

A freighter stopped by his dad's gun works and gave John M. a "high-quality shotgun" which had been smashed up. The boy set out to renew it. His first efforts fizzled.

"Finally the idea came. A good idea starts a celebration in the mind, and every nerve in the body seems to crowd up to see the fireworks. It was a good idea, one of the best I ever had, and so simple it made me ashamed of myself. Boylike, I had been trying to do the job all at once with some kind of magic. And magic never made a gun that would work.* I decided to take the gun apart, piece by piece, down to the last small screw, even though [the] parts that were mashed and twisted together. And when I did, finally finishing long after supper that night, the pieces all spread out before me on the bench, I examined each piece and discovered that there wasn't one that I couldn't make myself, if I had too. If I had been in school that day, I would have missed a valuable lesson"


---


*Or an economy, either,  he surely would have said if someone had asked him.


---


I probably would have found that less striking if I hadn't just reviewed the magical incantations about the Greek bailout.

---

Thank you Ron Shirtz











Oct 26, 2011

The Keystone Pipeline

I am undertaking a study of the Keystone Pipeline controversy. When you do something like that it is a good idea to examine the basic mindset of the opponents. 

I conclude that pipeline naysayers know that a candle of biodegradable soybean wax is a near-perfect accompaniment to a romantic dinner with Jean Seberg. 





A series of logical steps takes them from there to belief it is also useful for powering Consolidated  Edison's dynamos.





Oct 24, 2011

Who's winning? Ron Paul. That's who

A  report on Iowans' contributions to presidential candidates through mid-October:


Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney led the Republican candidates in contributions from Iowa. Paul garnered more than $77,000, while Romney pulled in more than $67,000.

Gee, you'd think the leader, who outpaced the runnerup  -- a man with a much better haircut -- by better than 12 per cent,  might have rated his own little paragraph.

The other GOPers shared $110,000. Obama collected $200,000

Oh, go ahead and close the damned post offices. See if I care.

Pokey, my RFD postman,  comes by every day but Sunday.  I get the mail about twice a week. It's a gift.

I haven't achieved that self autonomy of Travis McGee who once told us that the true test of independence was throwing away mail without looking to see who it came from. He adds that women never achieve this satori. "They always have to look."

So do I most of the time. Such as this morning. A complete list of USPS leavings since last I trudged the 80 yards to the box

-- A sincerely personal  birthday card from my state rep, bar coded.

--  A Capitol One come-on for a high-limit, high-reward credit card, promising in the large print that I can buy everything I want and fly free in the bargain. I didn't read the agate because I suspect that, depressingly, it says I have to pay it all back.

-- A J.C. Penny announcement that as an "amazing customer"  I can earn discounts and  "points" for spending a lot of money over two separate shopping days. I amazed Mr. Penney by getting a credit card last year (two minutes, at the  checkout) and buying a couple-three hundred worth of Christmas gifts strictly for the 15 per cent discount to new credit slaves. I amazed him further by walking directly from checkout to customer service and writing a check for the balance due-- the prices less 15 per cent. Haven't been in the place since. A human accountant would find this an amazingly good reason to jerk my Penney plastic. His computer programmers may eventually get around to it.

--  A spritely brochure from Congressman Steve King warning that my president is balancing the budget (bullshit) on my back and those of my fellow old farts. King, a small-government conservative, awakens my fear that I might not get as much free shit as I want unless I call to thank him for being a great small-government conservative who makes my neighbors pay for my health care.

--  A  dignified letter from a regional funeral outfit, offering me the chance to "pre-plan" my departure ceremonies. I reject this instantly on grounds of  linguistic asymmetry. The single alternative is to post-plan the party, and, despite some formal training in logical processes, I can't think of how this could be effectuated.

-- Two more reminders that it's open enrollment season for insurance switching. These get pitched unopened.  Even if AARP and United Health Care aren't lying very much, I don't figure the free shit I'm already getting from my neighbors, thanks to small-government-conservative Congressman King,  can get much freer.

-- A cable/net connection bill. Check for rate increase (yep, but small). Then pitch it. Thank you Autopay.

-- The local shopper from last Wednesday which I should read in order to identify the good auctions occurring last weekend.

Oct 23, 2011

The lesson of the standing willow

When a comely lady  distracts you as you install a fresh chain on your Stihl, you might might put it on backwards. You will discover this when you try to fell the middling-size willow that's leaning too far over your driveway.

No, moving to the other side of the tree is not a solution.

Connected Nation and your human right to get the Travis McGee Reader free and fast.

Take a hundred Iowans.*

Ask them about their internet connections. You will be told -- or at least an outfit called Connect Iowa says you'll be told -- that 37 of them lack broadband. Round the numbers and call them the deprived third.


This amazes me because more than a year ago my president announced an end to the horror. Some  $7 billion in economic recovery money  was being printed --strike that  -- was being dispatched to ensure that very Montana line camp had instant  access to freakysheep.xxx.  (Okay, If you insist on quibbling, His Obamaness  took Charlie McBiden out of the suitcase and spoke through him. But you must admit you could see presidential lips moving.)

The underbuzz in the Connect Iowa report is a wail of anguish about our poor deprived rurals stuck with something between zero and 56k downloads. To be fair, however,  the group did ask the 37 "why?" and published the answers.


"(Shrieksperson Amy) Kuhler says the largest reason given for not having broadband access was they didn’t feel it was relevant and they didn’t need to have access. ...16% said they didn’t have a computer, 15% said security was an issue, and 10% said broadband was too complicated to figure out. "


That is,  they don't want it.

That leaves just seven bucolic souls out of a hundred who might want to get your blog megabytally but can't.

So, of course, "Kuhlers says they will use the survey results to address some of the connection issues."  Translation: We intend to soak you for the money to buy high speed for Gus Porcina, 85, who lives over on Hogpoo Creek.


I wonder if Connect Iowa has really pondered the  amazing free-market truth revealed in its own study:  "Kuhlers says the top reason Iowans gave for using broadband is they realized it was worth the cost." 


---


Why so many words on what might seem a minor topic?

Because Connect Iowa is a bucolic appendage to the national Connected Nation, which is coy about who's paying the propaganda bills. I mean, good shriekspeople like Amy don't come cheap.

In a profile prepared for journalists, Connected Nation poses as one of its "Frequently Asked Questions" "How is Connected Nation funded?" it cryptically responds that "Connected Nation is primarily funded through public-private partnerships." It provides no details of what exactly the partnerships are or who they are with.


I am winging it here,  based on some personal experience with these 501c(3) oufits who  "partner " their tax-free donations with your compulsory tax donations.  Often, a private firm or trade group  wants a nice income, but can't  actually sell products. They could, however, give them away if they could solve the cash-flow problem that creates. And they do, quite creatively. They lash together a "non-profit"  and hire Amy et al. to create the illusion of a pressing social need. And doesn't government exist solely to meet pressing social needs? 


Ergo,  government must buy the product and give it to the customer, making it free. What a good idea, especially if that  part about the seven billion dollars sort of slips your mind.




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* Let me pick the hundred, and I mean the statement quite literally.



















Oct 22, 2011

Hey! Which way is there, and are we almost there yet?

A jealous rage has gripped me ever since the more dependable truck took up residence at Camp J.  Most of my peers own vehicles equipped with magic boxes they call GPS. I had none. Action was required.



It is one of the large, heavy old Airguides with many good features. The only bad one  is the difficulty of mounting without drilling ugly holes in the more dependable dash board. That is temporarily solved with gaffer's tape. The primary delights are: (1) Absence of a shrill old crone yelling at me to turn right or left or park the SOB and go back to driver's ed. (2) Knowledge that the satellite where the magical Turn-Left-NOW! witch lives will likely fall from the sky before Gentle Gaea changes her magnetic corset.

---

It is possible to go too far in adapting perfectly good retrotechnology to land-borne vessels. But it would be fun to try.





Yes, THAT Kelvin.




For precise navigation, of course, a speed input is necessary.


Still, I am willing to concede that the bitch in the electronic box arranges for my buddies to get lost with far greater precision than is possible for me. For instance, there was this time in Sioux Falls when my pal followed her directions to the digital letter en route to a big loophole festival. We ended near a sheep pen, in a Superfund site I think, not too far from the state prison. There were no guns to loophole in the immediate area, but we knew within  three yards just where we were. Lost. At.














Obama lite sidebar; the Candy is Dandy guy

The snippit  in the previous post is from Nash's "Kindly Unhitch That Star, Buddy." It's funny in a laid-back 19 30s/40s sort of way. Like a lot of other Nash stuff, it extends some Mencken ideas in rhyme and meter so atrocious you will at least giggle.

In a sense, Nash the poet (or scribbler of doggeral to academic anals who don't like him) parodies poetry.

Obama lite

Yes, that's a confusing headline. Obviously it refers to someone other than Obama who, himself, has set a liteness record which ought to send all competitors scurrying.

I speak here of  "lite "only in the mental and moral senses. The president's ambition is heavy beyond belief. That is, he wishes to continue being president. Outsized ambition is depressingly common. As the great sociologist Ogden Nash reported, everybody wants to be a wow.


...all the little process-servers hope to  

    grow up into great big bailiffim and sheriffim.


One lite competitor who won't scurry is Mitt Romney, subject of a short and cogent item in the Washington Examiner.


Writer Douglas MacKinnon offers samples of Romney policiy differing from Obama policy in ways detectable only by advanced science using the most sensitive instruments. If at all.

And then he wonders:

Are you kidding me?  Is anyone in the GOP paying attention to what is going on here?  Is the Republican establishment so desperate to hold on to its power that it will continually look the other way as a chameleon-like candidate not only dreams up the ideas used by far-left Obama White House, but praises one of the people most reviled by the conservative movement?


The short answers to "Are you kidding me?" and "Is anyone in the GOP establishment paying attention...?"  are "no" and  "no."  They are also the long answers.
.

Oct 21, 2011

Silence Citizen!

1 -- -- I probably wouldn't  like this woman. For one thing, I'm suspicious of people who write  dramatic "diaries" obviously meant for publication. Nevertheless:

2. -- I would hate existing in a nation where people like Amy do not exist or where, worse,  the thugs of The Power have succeeded  in cowing them into obedient silence and cheerful submission.

3. -- Assuming Amy reported accurately in her personal journal, she was detained, harassed, mistreated, and arrested ("disorderly conduct") for the crime of reciting The Fourth Amendment as the TSA in Albuquerque prepared  to backhand her groin.

Tam and Popehat (H/T to each) write cogent takes on the outrage. But one more angle, if you please:

By the time the following dialogue took place, airport cops had handcuffed the woman (before arresting her and without Mirandizing her) and taken her driving license and other possessions. Officer Friendly and his fellows were just going by the book.


Amy: "I wasn't under arrest. You had no right to take anything from me. What if you(r) book doesn't follow the Constitution, the highest law in the land?"
Cop:  "It's not that big a deal.* It's for everyone's safety. We don't want to take the risk. You don't have to fly you know. You give up your rights when you fly."** 
 A quick review: This woman did not refuse to submit to a privates-probe by  the on-duty federal groper. She did not propose to physically resist any part of intimate search by a stranger. All she did was recite the Constitutional basis for her opinion that -- while she might have to be felt up -- she damned sure didn't have to approve of it.


---


* -- If the cop really believed that, we're in even more trouble than we thought because he didn't come up with the Constitutional analysis on his own. He was regurgitating settled policy as handed down by the Inner Party.  When O'Brien is authorized to distinguish between trivial rights and important ones,  the Constitution becomes a quaint relic of the world before Oceania.  


** -- So, as we walk along the street, we are citizens. But a mysterious occurrence takes over when we are aloft, making us, instead, subjects. Not by law, but by decree. See Inner Party, supra.










   

Oct 19, 2011

Not even Huey Long could have come up with this

Let's suppose I sell you a nice early Travis McGee paperback for two dollars. Then, within a month, I sell you another one for cash, real cash -- two singles,  40 nickels, whatever.

In Louisiana, that makes me a criminal.


Anyone, other than a nonprofit entity, who buys, sells, trades in or otherwise acquires or disposes of junk or used or secondhand property more frequently than once per month from any other person, other than a nonprofit entity, shall be deemed as being in the business of a secondhand dealer.


A secondhand dealer,” the law continues, “shall not enter into any cash transactions in payment for the purchase of junk or used or secondhand property.”


The idiots who enacted this aggressive tyranny are glorying in the notion that they have solved copper-theft problems.  If a few hundred mothers nabbed for selling their kids' outgrown toys and clothes are sent to jail, why, that's  just the price we pay for law and order here in the Land of the Free.

"You in charge of gettin' dem pitch forks, Rabidoux. Me'en Evangeline gonna make up da torches."


---


It 's beyond merely obvious what this means for us loopholers. You find the two-dollar guard screw you need at the parts dealer's table. He, and you, are required to complete the transaction by check or money order or, perhaps, credit card.  Government must have its paper trail.

Who loves this, Baby?

Well, the BATFE-I-E-I-O, TSA, and the rest of the homeland security apparatchik of course. Restoring small-ring Mausers is an obvious terrorist threat.

But if it isn't giving the IRS ideas I'll kiss your arse in Preservation Hall and pay for the videographing.

(H/T my favorite member of the military/industrial complex.)

From Iowa With Love, 105 mm at a time

Some good ol' boys associated with Rock Island Arsenal -- but on the free side of the Missisippi -- are offering The Hawkeye. It's another upgrade of the venerable M119 howitzer, mountable on a light truck.

It has all the smart aiming digitals, but the key seems to be a very soft recoil system friendly to its little ride -- keeps the dirty side down while the three-soldier crew maintains a six-rpm fire rate. It's supposed to make shootin' 'n' scootin'  practical.

Geekery Note: Jane's International Defence Review has a more complete take on this thing, but I don't subscribe and can't link directly to the article.

An addition to the family

John MXL is a man too great to let le deluge interfere with a a long motorcycle trip -- or to let the statists off scot-free. Welcome to the blogroll, Sir.

Vegas expressions

Santorum looks like someone just ran over his dog.

Cain looks like Uncle Wiggly reading a hasenpfeffer recipe.

Oct 18, 2011

Why I am not (quite) broke yet

Too much time yesterday was spent in trying to work up enough rage to  cremate a Keystone Pipeline story in the Washington Post. I'll get to it, but the mood this morning remains too mellow.  It's probably the creature comforts as raw weather sets in.



---

Years ago a friend gave me a shirt, a thick, bright red mixture of wool and coal-tar derivatives, and it is still the treasured wardrobe king from October through March. It is just out of summer storage.

I sadly observed that it is missing a button. I regretted that I had no appropriate replacement in the button locker. I declined to drive to town to purchase a card of usable buttons for $x.99. So I called up my econometrical spread sheet on my electric computer and computed a viable alternative.







Even allowing for electrical costs; even carefully considering wear and depreciation of the drill press and bit,  it is an optimal fiscal solution. Thank you,  Mr. Bernanke.

N.B. Should the chosen cent bear a date earlier than 1982, the AlGorerithms  are significantly altered and you should go to town and buy a button.

Oct 16, 2011

Recommended

Kurt is doing especially well the past few days. There's a poll on which you can vote for Dr. Paul.  He does a very clean dissection of Mittens Romney.  He has a good report on another TSA act of FUBAR which I missed.  (Grandma hassled for bracelet charm.)

Go read, if you please.
.

The S&W 645 makes me feel so tactical

I almost wish I lived close to a mall so I could dress up ninja and impress some girls wearing tattoos and chewing gum.

The SW is home, admired, and tested.



I expected one magazine and got four -- plus one of those high-fashion black nylon pouches that holds two spares back and forth instead of up and down. Tacticool.

I already had the tactically-tooled leather holster --  made it decades ago to a "speed scabbard" pattern for GI .45s. . It holds the Smith nicely but will benefit from a small  sight cutout. I needed to do that anyway for the GI here that carries adjustable Micros.

The field test:

-- Functioning was perfect with everything I tried, including semi-wadcutters. (The 645 is said to be a garbage disposal unit -- if your junk ammo won't work in anything else, shoot it in the Smith.)

--Excuse-wise, this gun hasn't been shot enough to wear off the proprietary Smith and Wesson burrs. It's rough, especially the DA trigger. The SA pull is nothing to brag about either.

--I am pleased no one witnessed this tryout session.

-- I consider the  hood of a pickup a bench rest analogue. So lean across, get a good two-hand hold, squeeze off factory loads carefully. Gotta see where the gun shoots, don't we?

--In my hands, all over the damned place, that's where. At 50 feet a string of five scattered low left over a good seven inches. I can fix the impact point. I can't even identify yet how to fix myself. Flinch? Jerk? Total cognitive breakdown? Motor skills eloped with O'Reilley's daughter?

--Repeating the hoody position with a load of home made 200-grain SWCs at a peppy 850 fps or so,  the results were better by about half an inch. It isn't the gun, nor the ammunition.

--Switching to the combat mode,  I moved in to 30 feet, took a Weaverish stance and banged off eight as quickly as I could reacquire the target -- a sheet of typing paper. Three in the kill zone,  two possibles, two that would have made him mad, and one clean miss. A couple of repeat strings had similar results.

Excuses: New gun. Very windy (the flimsy target holder moved a little).  Distracted by cows mooing in the nearby pasture. Libby emphasizing that I was making entirely too much noise. Lost concentration worrying about CERN failure to find Higgs Boson.

Proper reaction to excuses: Bull Roar, James. Go practice.

Crime in the Capital? Not a chance.

I lived in Washington-on-Potomac when Mayor Barry was in control, so I am shocked that Vincent Gray, current mayor of our federal city,  is under suspicion of criminal wrongdoing.

After all, the government of the District of Columbia is under the ultimate oversight of the United States Congress which, like the district itself, is heir to a two-century  tradition of truth, justice, and selfless public service.

As to former Mayor Barry, he seems to be doing right well for himself, having been fully  rehabilitated in federal prison. The later accusations of drunk driving, stalking,   tax cheating, official corruption as a city council member, and  a few other peccadilloes are undoubtedly the work racist liars in the Tea Party.

Oct 15, 2011

Why we're broke

We shouldn't let Baby Huie chew our bullets.  Eating lead is a bad idea. It might damage his brain. That would make him too dull for any profession except politics.

So we certainly applaud our governments' drive to keep Huie lead-free and smart. Except, maybe...

The grant is for $2.45 million. Local taxpayers will be extorted to the tune of another $2 million. If you total that and add a few hundred thou left over from the earlier HUD $3 million grant  -- plus whatever local tax bite that one "leveraged" -- and you get something north of $6 million. But let's be conservative and say it's only $5.5 million.

Peanuts, of course, if it preserves enough Huie brainpower to permit him to prosper as a vinyl siding salesman.

Or maybe not. All that money permits the county health czars to tidy up 142 homes in the next three years.

Time for the world's most useful tool for politico-economic analysis -- a five-buck pocket calculator.

Lessee. Five and a-half million divided by 142 equals, ta-dahh,  $38,732 dollars per house. And 39 cents, to be precise.

---

Okay, but it's for the poor and therefore righteous, right?

"Funds from the grant are available to assist homeowners whose income is less than 80 percent of the median family income and landlords whose tenants’ incomes are less than 80 percent of the median family income. "


The median family income in this state is a little more than $60,000 per year, apparently meaning you can heist your neighbors for a new paint job even if you gross $48,000.

---

Yeah, even our official state health masters say you can pretty much eliminate Baby H chewing lead paint chips by repainting with latex. 'course  you must use obscure techniques known only to practitioners of that mysterious profession known as (shhhh) "painters."

---

H.L. Mencken: "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats."









  



Oct 14, 2011

Because the judge said I can, that's why (with gun porn)

A district court judge has cleared me to own a pistol.

Naaah. I'm not in the system. His Honor is overseeing an estate and has yes/no authority over the selling price of an adequate little pest control device made by Smith and Wesson in the 80s. I petitioned for a 10 per cent reduction in the reasonable asking price, and a writ of acceptance was issued.

It's the minty stainless steel spawn of the Model 59 concept, and after inspecting it I conclude Dan Wesson's descendants learned something about making DA semi-autos (only) after issuing the 59.

Besides, it's in a more noble caliber. Besides again, the magazine holds just eight rounds, so maybe Senator Boxer will start returning my calls.



(Sister ship pictured. I collect my 645  tomorrow.)
Good morning. Our TGIF celebration today begins with a pop quiz about plastic guns. True or false:

1. At $450 to $600-plus, Glock pistols, often referred to as "plastic crap,"  are horridly overpriced. T  F

2. At  $450 to $600-plus, Glock pistols are are correctly and fairly priced, right down to the penny. T  F

---

Because we at the TMR have no desire to diminish the students' self-esteem  nor to stifle his, her, or its creative thought, there are no wrong answers.

If you answered "true" to question No. 1 and "false" to No. 2 you have brought to the examination a firm sense of fair play, a concern for the consumer, and the understanding that market forces are a cruel burden on ordinary people with women and minorities hardest hit. While you may believe  that, in theory, producers are entitled to a fair profit, you also understand that the people as a whole, operating through their elected and appointed officials, must be the judge and jury of of what is fair.

On the other hand,  if you answered "false" to question No. 1 and "true" to No. 2, you are not an economic nitwit...

...because the price of guns is not very directly regulated by government, Pitmann-Robertson and trade regulations notwithstanding.  The regulations are primarily an effort to control the availability of weapons directly --"thou shalt not."  Efforts to do that via artificially high prices -- special taxes -- pop up routinely. They generally fail. The NFA taxes are an exception.

--With loose, or preferably no,  price regulation,  guns, just like those killer salt shakers and culturally insensitive Halloween costumes, sell for exactly the correct price -- a figure established solely between the fellow who wants to buy and the one who wants to sell.

---

This is one our periodic attempts to direct the attention of Rachael Maddow and similar dimdippitydoowops to the concept that a freely negotiated  price is part of a very accurate information system without which no economy can function.

I particularly include among Rachael's cronies that group of tax-sucking "neighborhood organizers'"   and "consumer advocates" who want, among other things, to organize and control our markets because, hey, let's face it, that's one of the neatest ways of organizing and controlling people.

Thanks anyway,  but  I'll just have to go along with Mr. Rothbard who suggests that, left alone, we can do a pretty damned good job of organizing ourselves.

Oct 13, 2011

Now THAT sounds like fun

Officials and bankers in Cleveland are financing a novel way of attacking the housing "crisis."

Blow up the houses.

Might be a nice pilot project for certain distressing buildings along the Potomac.

If you follow the WaPost links to the bureaucratic bases of this innovative program, you'll find The Leaders plan to use some of the newly vacant land for "storm water management."  Great idea -- puddles.
.

Dear Diary

Okay, Jim, you have been entirely self-indulgent for too long.

Save for a few .30-30s and those pounds of  military .30-06, every case in the loading shack is full of powder and lead. The shack itself is so neatly reorganized  you'll never find what you're looking for. You've had your jollies  burnishing steel and shining stocks with walnut flavored  MinWax. You even went to Southern Archery yesterday and popped $21.35 on a string for the Ben Pearson recurve. (Highway robbery, but that's another story.)

But  in two full weeks you haven't contributed one damned thing to the Revolution, to saving the Republic  from the Republicans, the Democrats, and Heartbreak of Sorosisis.

Back to the grindstone.

---

There's a new Reuters/Ipsos poll reported this morning. Mitt leads, followed by 999 Cain. But guess who's third. Guess who's ahead of Perry, Bachman, Gingrich, Santorum, and the other famous occupants of the Fox-approved neocon asylum?

Ron Paul, that's who. The crazy old doctor-coot from malarial Texas. The one who keeps yapping about the Constitution and  going on and on about the necessary and useful functions of government as opposed to wholesale vote buying financed by exorbitant taxes and currency inflation.

Yes, I understand there is as much chance of Paul occupying the White House as there is of me shooting a thousand-yard Camp Perry score of of 100- 9x, offhand with my Model 94.

That ain't the point.

It took us more than two centuries to become competitors with Greece, Ireland, and Malawi as the world's most laughable economic basket case.  No single politician, not even Paul is going to lead us out of the malaise in a term or two.

But an idea can, and  at this horrid point in the American saga, Paul is the most effective purveyer of the underlying notion of liberty and a decent shot at general  prosperity.

Send him your spare change.  Wear one of his gimme hats or tees.  Every time the subject comes up in your circles,  politely wait your turn to speak and then explain calmly and professionally why he should get more votes. I suggest this wording:

"Because he's the only one not totally full of shit." 

Oct 11, 2011

Re-imposing myself on the world:

1. It hurts my head to think of the big story, the U.S. Congress proposing to require China to revalue the yuan to a level we like, so:

2. I take refuge in the weather which requires a small predawn fire but which also makes a stroll around the grounds comfortable in a flannel shirt and Ron Paul gimme cap.  We're short of rain. Otherwise October, 2011, has been as idyllic as an old Disney film.

3.  The head cold has been made tolerable by a lifestyle adjustment. Relating to other humans exaggerates the symptoms. Relating to one's lethal instruments of doom soothes them. That explains some very clean guns in my terrorist vault and also the addition of 197 new rounds of  reloaded .45 ACP (200-grain SWC, 6.x grains of Unique to drive them about 875 fps, peppy but far from max). The remaining chore is to fill the 40 rounds of .45 Colt brass  I discovered. With no big bullets on hand, I'll stuff them with the 200 SWCs and enough something to make them go super-whoosh.

4. A peripheral reloading matter: I'm about out of bullet lube. That makes me wonder how I would go about acquiring the squeezings from Al Sharpton's hair.

5. (Back to 1) -- Could someone please tell the senators that there's a more logical target if they want to get all snitty about currency manipulation? Ben is handier, and, besides, he doesn't yet have his own aircraft carrier.

Oct 10, 2011

Still metabolizing

Just to confirm that your TMR author is still alive and in recovery from a trip, a medium-nasty cold, some highly welcome guests, and an uncontrollable urge to spend time in the reloading shack, I pass on this wisdom from local radio. It's  helping the government save us all from fiery doom. Fire Prevention Week, doncha know.

"This year's campaign focuses on preventing the leading cause of home fire--cooking, heating, electrical equipment, candles and smoking materials."


I'm having a helluva time thinking of anything that doesn't cover this side of rubbing two Girl Scouts together. Shows you what happens when government functionaries and reporters decide to "focus."

Oct 7, 2011

Smith & Wesson tries again.

The Grand Old Company puts a happier face on it, but the truth is that S&W can't build fences anyone wants to buy. Seems the gates don't quite close, the posts aren't straight, and the finish wears off the first Thursday after installation.

Sorry. That may not be quite accurate, but a guy who +finally+ made near-new SW 59 work right can be forgiven for the speculation.

Anyway, SW can't make a dime on its "Perimeter Security" business, so it's trying to sell it. The PR department hopes you don't remember its hyperflack of  a couple years ago, promising the new fence business would make you rich if you bought some SWHC.

Last month the company fired the boss by kicking him upstairs to become "vice-chairman of the board of directors. "(Please.  It's impolite to giggle.)

The new boss has been running the firearms end of the business and says SW needs to concentrate on its -- cliche alert --"core competency." Uh huh.

I'll believe they're competent when they bring back the Model 25.

Spengler Didn't Know Jack Schidtt About the Decline of the West

I see by my electrical teevee that some pitcher for some team dramatically struck out a guy named Rodriguez who batted for some other team. According to the report, this sends the pitcher's team to the "American League Championship Series." Note the date of the event: October 6.

This explains 21st Century American lassitude and its secret application for a loan from the IMF Third-World Bailout Fund.

When the Universe was a finer place, the World Serious* was history by early October. We didn't call it the "September Classic" for nothing in the days when America could make radios and steel pistols; the era when we chose our wars more carefully and could, in general, win most of them with reasonable dispatch.

A nation abandons cherished tradition at its peril, and I suggest President Obama  order a return to the diamond game as God intended it. Sixteen teams,** two leagues, no goddam "divisions,"  and 154 games plus the Series which, in case I haven't mentioned it yet, dammit, should be played in September.

(At the same time he might also outlaw television, although that might raise Constitutional questions.)

That's change you can believe it.

---

*Thank you, Mr. Lardner, and while I'm here may I mention that if you and your buddy Mencken were still around, things would be a whole lot better.

**I mean, what the Hell ever gave anyone the idea that Tampa, for instance, was "major league?"

Oct 6, 2011

Herding the Elephants Update -- Iowa Caucuses 2012

Bumped up for convenience again, and including an  adieu to Ms. Palin:

Also, it's nearing the time to create a cleaner list -- retaining only those candidates still twitching with residual life. It's high on the to-do list for a time when our northern plains weather is less lovely.

----


(Bumped up, just for convenience.)

Even dedicated political geeks have a hard time keeping track of all the White House hopefuls trying out their pickup lines in Iowa. For one thing, it is hard to find a complete list of the serious, semi-serious,  and loony  trying on overalls and looking for a comfortable hay-bale perch.  So, here's an alphabetical list of these statesmen as culled from published sources, but I haven't gotten around to ferreting out all of the more obscure dimwaddiedoowops yet. 

---------------------

--Michele Bachmann, 55,  congresswoman, Minnesota


--(OUT) Haley Barbour, 64, Mississippi governor (Dropped out April 25)


--John Bolton,  63, former ambassador, Bush II's point man in Iraq. (Dropped out September 26.) 


-- (OUT) Herman Cain, 66, Godfather's Pizza. (Dropped out -- "suspendd campaign"  -- December 3


-- (OUT) Mitch Daniels, 62, Indiana governor (dropped May 21)


--John Davis of Grand Junction, Colorado, lumber yard owner, builder (added May 3)


--Newt Gingrich,  68, former U.S. House speaker, Georgia


--(OUT) Mike Huckabee, 56, former Arkansas governor, Fox teevee star (dropped May 15)


--Jon Huntsman, 51, former Utah governor,  ambassador to China


--Gary Johnson, 43, former New Mexico governor (added April 22)

--Fred Karger, California, GOP politcal consultant, openly gay. (Added August 14)

--(OUT) Thaddeus George "Thad" McCotter, 45,  Michigan congressman (added June 24, dropped out September 22.) 

--Judge Roy Moore, 64, disrobed, two-time loser for Alabama governor  (added May 19)


--Sarah Palin,  47, former Alaska governor, VP candidate 2008 (Out. Withdrew   Oct. 5.)

--(OUT) George Pataki, 66, former New York governor. (Added august 25 and dropped August 26) 

--(OUT) Rand Paul, 48, Kentucky U.S. senator (if  his dad opts out).  (Dropped April 26 in anticipation of Ron's formal "in" announcement)


  
--Ron Paul, 75, Texas congressman, former LP presidential candidate


--Tim Pawlenty,  51, former  Minnesota governor (Dropped August 14; withdrew after Ames straw poll)


--(OUT)  Mike Pence, 52, Indiana congressman (dropped May 15)


--Rick Perry, 61, Texas governor, (added June 19)


--Buddy Roemer, 68, former Louisiana governor


--Mitt Romney, 64, former Massachusetts governor


--Rick Santorum,  53, former U.S. senator, Pennsylvania


--( OUT?) John thune, South Dakota senator. (Dropped from list,with reservations, May 21)


--(OUT) Donald Trump, 65, businessman, casino operator, teevee star (dropped May 16) 

-0-

The list will change, and I'll try to keep it more or less up to date.

EDIT: May 5:Red ink identifies those who bailed after having been considered players or possibles.  I thought of just deleting them, but that seems so cold.

EDIT: John Thune was Xed out May 21. He said in February he wouldn't run, but the weasel words(not planning at this time, etc.)suggested he desired begging. No one has  begged yet,  and he hasn't been spotted scouting our hog lots, so TMR crosses him off with the caution that things are silly enough that he might change his mind.)


Michele at Grinnell, The Voiltaire Perspective

I'll be glad to join a protest against the kind of culture which allows people like Michele Bachmann  to be taken seriously as secular leaders. I'll wave a sign against empowering the Morals Police. I'll chant slogans against  requiring kids to be taught that creationism is an exact science.  If the weather is nice I'll join a nude flash mob opposing foreign adventurism,  nation-building, and the designated hitter rule.

Those kinds of statist stupidites ought to be the subject of protest, 24/7/365, in one way or another.

But the wholesale creation of a new generation of Cotton Mathers is not  very directly Michele's fault.  If she panders to the dimdippitydoowops who make up the Neocon Right, she is merely reacting to market forces in her industry,  just like Barack Obama does on the flipside of the same political racket.

I will not join a protest designed to shut her up, and I like to think that even if I were one of  a starry-eyed liberals infesting the city of Grinnell, Iowa, and its famously  collectivist college, I would have retained enough respect for Amendment One to shut up and let her prate.

---

Both sides handled the aftermath stupidly if media reports are anywhere near accurate.. Bachmann's Iowa handler,  Danny Carroll,  claimed, almost certainly falsely, that the pumpkin farm gathering was always intended to be a strictly private fundraiser. The students claimed, almost certainly falsely, that they had gathered to listen respectfully to Bachmann's remarks.

Michele mingled with the visitors who coughed up $25 to be there, strolled around the  farm quickly, and left.  But not before feeding a goat, speaking of pandering.

Oct 5, 2011

Theological Question

This comes to mind after bantering with my daughter about Midwest  church-basement cuisine.


"Were there any Lutherans before there were crock pots?"

Why we're broke

A couple of Des Moines cops drew a crucial crime-fighting assignment. Armed with tactical video equipment, they deployed to the Ingersoll Theatre to watch the old-timey burlesque show -- like the one your great grandpa snuck into after telling Great Gram he was heading for Oddfellows Hall.

The infiltrating Only Ones  had orders to capture evidence of exposure of a nipple or "anything below." They got it.

As one of the dancers tells the tale, she was doing a classic balloon dance when a Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction victimized her. A bubble accidentally  popped, giving the leering audience a flash of pastie.

The cops left. They "reviewed" the tape for a long time. (Stop smirking). They  returned to write the citations. The dancers will talk to the ACLU. Our courts are bracing for the Trial of the Century.

I don't know about you, but this assault on public titillation certainly fills me with a renewed appreciation for my government's dedication to, at any cost, shielding me from impurity.

---

Des Moines city fathers promised that their new robotic speed and stop-light cameras would compensate for their rape of the  14th Amendment  by freeing police for more vital duties.  Voila.
.

Oct 4, 2011

You know you're gun freak when:

You discover that you use more auto-polishing goop in your brass tumbler than on your vehicles.

You discover it when the knock-around mini-van looks like it ought to be sitting in front of a taqueria  in a land where English is not the native tongue. This thing hasn't been washed since the summer of '10 and not even much rained on since June. So wash it. It looks so much better clean, why not slap on a coat of polish?

The shed, where last year I distinctly recall seeing three of four jugs or partial jugs of the stuff  was bereft. Guess I didn't keep track of how many times I raided it in order to create an eye-burning sheen on my .45 ACP reloads.
---

Related frugality check. Long ago I checked the price of specialized magic brass polish from Midway or Brownell's or someplace like that. For the same money you could get the polish or a brick of .22s. So I wondered how car polish would work, especially since I get if for about a dime a pint in dollar boxes at auctions.

The short answer is "identically."  So gimme a brick of those Winchesters, Mr. Vendor.

That level of cheapskatedness sounds pretty compulsive, and perhaps it is, but practiced over a period of time it enhances the ammo stock and even the pistol racks.

Caution, terrorist content: IIDs

The TMR Legal Review Section requires the warning, never mind that we used to demand that every Campfire Girl be adept at creating and handling Improvised Incendiary Devices.

You could do evil things with them, as you could with your fingernail clippers,  but the intent is to start small comfort fires when things are cold and wet.  And, importantly, to do it for free.

These things always work and give you a fighting chance to ignite even damp wood. The paper serves as a sort of fuse, giving you time to get your hands out of the way before the match heads blow.

The raw materials:




Melt the old candles. Low heat is safer. Dump in your freebie matchbooks. Let them soak a while. Fish them out and lay them on paper.


Like this, only sloppier. You want the paper wax-infused.  I sloshed these through  warm wax again after I tore them apart.



Store a few of them in old zip-locks too grimy for food. Include a couple of untreated matchbooks wrapped in plastic film. A bag in every vehicle, your bugout bag, and whatever back packs, range bags, etc. you ordinarily use.
You are welcome.




Will Success spoil Erin Bolster?

Let's hope not. Any 19 25-year-old beauty who will aim her horse at a charging grizzly to save a little boy is a woman you young guys should be fighting to court. You just have to trust  Providence that she's looking at her Letterman gig as a lark rather than a ticket to celebrity hood.

Any mention of this Montana story also requires a nod to Tonk, an 18-hander that, around here, would be referred to a a BFH.

Oct 3, 2011

Smartening up the kids. Yeah, right.

Governor Branstad is within hours of a high-level dog and pony show to flash his new education reform plan -- my state's seventh such attack on ignorance in the past few years.

Okay, Governor, I'll be watching for you to tackle this one, a true story from a buddy who operates an eleven-employee business requiring workers who have at least rudimentary literacy and an atom or two of technical competence.

She hired a fresh hand, provided a little training, and sent her off to do some simple work. The newbie -- a product of previous education reform -- came back to ask "How do I find three-quarters of an inch on the tape measure?" 

---

My reform plan: Consult Charles Darwin.


Oct 2, 2011

Gruesome is in the eye of the beholder

I popped in on a couple of friends and found them cutting up one-half of one cow. Stop calling me  a bullshipper. This sort of thing happens in my circles,  and New Dog Libby, for one,  finds it  wholly acceptable. Fancy city pooches rarely get a chance to plow into the juicy remains of an entire cow leg.

Indianapolis blog meet

I was fun to be there with a select group of mostly Indianapolis writers. RobertaX has the complete report. 

Bobbi is utterly charming. You already knew that from her writing, but face-to-face confirmation is always a bonus.

Tam was AWOL, playing with her guns, never mind that I slaved over a hot cruise-control for 700 miles in hopes she'd be one of the good folks I'd meet.

---

It was part of a much longer trip, and I have a note or two to pass on about motoring in America, but I promise to spare you a report on what I did on my vacation.

Oct 1, 2011

The Tyranny of the Happy Camper

Well, of course I rate a place at the table. We're camping. You're cooking. You wanna hurry it up a little?







Shot while packing

Iowa taxpayers thoughtfully provide a scenic site for a returnee to retrieve his empty hi-cap 9mm  from "locked storage" and slap in a magazine heavy with protective pills.  The photographer memorializes the time and place (hard by the I-80 bridge) with his SW59 securely in his waistband.

Foreground is Hawkeye Free Soil. On the far side of the Mississippi River lies enslaved and disarmed (but I repeat myself) Illinois.