Apr 30, 2012

Social solecisms

After the awards ceremony, we had a family lunch at a Des Moines brew pub. One of my heirs and assigns had just accepted an academic award and shaken hands with the  governor and with Lieutenant Governor Kimberly Reynolds.  She was generally unknown until  Gov. Branstad picked her as running mate. My son idly wondered, "Where did she come from?" I replied helpfully, "Out of left field."

Then, never one to shut up at opportune times, I noted that she's at least the third consecutive female loot gov because we found out that if we put "them" there we never have to give "one" an important job.

I'll probably try not to say that again while sitting at a table with three lovely and liberated ladies. :)


(Turns out she's the fifth.)

Apr 26, 2012

Vintage Gun Porn in Progress

You would never do such a thing to a U.S. Springfield Model of 1903 today. Once upon a time, though, the gun world was tripping over them. In the 50s they traded for $20 or so, and every would-be gun smith in the country "sporterized" at least one.

In its original 1941 form it would have been a classic relic of a wild time in American history, the year we knew we would certainly have to fight Nazis and Fascists. And maybe Japanese.

It was the year when our recruits outnumbered our rifles. We turned to the private arms industry. This example, in the 3,1xx xxx range, was built by Remington on machinery from Rock Island Arsenal which had been in cosmoline for more than 20 years. It was still a 1903 in every important respect -- machined steel, walnut, no short cuts. Over the next two years the 03s evolved into the 1903A3 -- around serial number 3,300,000.

The barreled action came to me a number of years ago, already kitchen-tabled beyond restoration. Over the years I've ground, polished, and rebarreled  with an unissued 1944 High Standard tube. (Shortened to  22 inches.)

The auction-bargain stock is by Bishop, a utilitarian model, laughingly sold as "semi-inletted."  Indeed, by a distracted high school dropout swinging an Estwing.

But all yields to work, sharp chisels, and judicious use of Accraglas. You don't forget the evening the action slipped snugly into place and, at last, stayed right where it was as you tightened the stock screws.

Perhaps the walnut was not too utilitarian. A certain amount of figure appeared as the heavily oversized stock was trimmed, and it demanded an old-time finish. I used a few coats of warm and thinned linseed oil, rubbed in with the hands, then let it dry for a long time, days or weeks. I finished with plain old Johnson paste wax, as many coats as I have patience for. This one has about a dozen. When it gets smudgy a wipedown restores the subdued glow. When it gets thin it's time for another coat or two.

The pictures fail to do justice to last week's bluing work by a genius named Jeff.

It's not quite done. I'm unhappy with the aftermarket safety and will replace it. I haven't chosen the sighting system.  The Redfield peep would be in keeping with her heritage, but, then, so would the Weaver K4. We'll see.

(Click photos to enlarge.)

The TSA: A fun place to work

Francesco Canesco is probably no more of a terroristic threat to you, me, and the Republic than any other congressperson. And even if he is, his sins are not of the sort that can be uncovered by twiddling his willy. The TSA does not get this.

Rep. Canesco says a TSA agent at the San Antonio airport became too friendly with his privates, so he pushed the groping hand aside and accused him of assault. The federal cop said, "No. You assaulted me." Supervisors calmed the whole thing down.

A week later the incident was repeated, and we can forgive even an elected official for complaining that he's been placed on the TSA list of those who must be palpated often and deeply because:

The TSA has a history of bearing grudges against commuters who issue complaints against the agency. A mother who was detained in a glass cell by TSA agents in Phoenix in 2010 said the incident was retribution for a previous complaint regarding confiscation of her breast milk.

In full fairness, we shouldn't overlook the possibility that pervs of the homosexual persuasion are over-represented in the San Antonio TSA corps and that they simply find  Congressman Canesco very hot. That's the price of fame and beauty, Congressman.

Anyway, it's all something to think about for the next time you put your 12-year-old grandson on a flight to San Antonio.

CNBC enlightens us this morning about the oil market. Production is lately stable, and so is demand. We Yanks are actually using quite a little less, and China's economy is said to be slowing enough to dampen demand in the Middle Kingdom.

So why the still goofily high gasoline prices ($3.70 in my neighborhood)?

The CNBC expert reminds us we're being extorted to the tune of 15 per cent by "geopolitical" concerns.  He probably pulled the number from a sunless region, but the underlying point seems correct. People who buy, sell, and use oil are scared witless that AIPAC will be able to rent the United States armed forces in order to spend a pleasant few months bombing Iran, Syria, and Egypt. Maybe Lebanon and Jordan, too, just in case, y'know.

It might not hurt  to send a nice letter to your congressman suggesting that United States aims may not be perfectly aligned with those of the Tel Aviv politicians. If you can enclose a nice campaign contribution -- say, a sum requiring two or more commas -- it certainly would help.


This also argues for building the Keystone pipeline. Canada is a relatively benign little country, well-oiled but with no desire to blow up all of our Christians. Its outrages run to the order of the Toronto Blue Jays and Giselle McKenzie, and we can certainly live with that, can't we?

Apr 25, 2012

So, your horrified mate in the next cubicle has given up hamburgers. Not only will the ammonia used to clean up pink slime kill him, the added hormones  are likely to shirvel his penis or grow an extra toe. Something horrible, anyway. The electric teevee told him so.

Jinglebob has had enough and decided to pass along a point or two. Among them, in reference to those killer hormone additives to cow food:

One Birth Control Pill contains the same amount of estrogen 
as 125,000 lbs of beef from an implanted steers.

As to gassed pink slime, there's about there's about twice as much ammonia in your MacDonald's bun as in the cow patty itself.

There's a good deal more there from our buddy at the live-moo end of the beef business. It should reduce the anxiety you feel from broiling a small sirloin to go with your Saturday morning eggs.

Point and click ammo

DirtCrashr went to the range to learn more about pistol handling when your world goes sour. Well worth a read, even the part about his flowered tactical Hawaiian combat shirt. :)

This snippet got to me:

Ammo OALs have been all over the map, loads found backwards and loads found empty and loads found mixed: half a box of .45 and half 9mm. Some good stuff remains: Black Hills, Hornady, Fiocchi...

I always hate reading stuff like that because when I use a factory round it's likely to be from the "value" (read: cheap) shelf. I was raised to simply trust  ammunition makers; to believe that the odds were prohibitively against a  bum primer or missing powder. In truth, I can recall virtually no ammunition failures, which may prove only that I don't shoot enough.

I don't doubt that more and more crap is getting through some makers' quality control systems. After all, in a world where Austrians get rich by melting down two-litre Coke bottles and casting them into $600 pistols, any outrage is possible, even probable.


EDIT: I meant to include a suggestion that you scroll down a couple-three posts at the Crashr's. Seems our Man in California is rediscovering the beauty of steel frames and walnut handles. Why, next thing you know he'll be reporting that linseed oil is almost as good as Hoppes when  you and your pals get together for aromatherapy. :)

Ammo OALs have been all over the map, loads found backwards and loads found empty and loads found mixed: half a box of .45 and half 9mm. Some good stuff remains: Black Hills, Hornady, Fiocchi...

Apr 24, 2012

Why we're broke

A hot bulletin from local radio announces a "stakeholder meeting" for one of our boondoggles good works in-progress -- an official "Glacial Trail Scenic Byway."

Some 36 miles of interesting little roads wander through counties just south of me. The scenery is pretty, but of course no citizen has ever noticed that because they're unofficial, both scenery-wise and byway-wise.

The Rules clearly specify that commoners require government guidance to recognize pretty things, and at all costs they must not be left to their own devices in determining that a lonely, twisty, potholed, two-lane tarmac is the optimum route for driving to where they wish to be.

In case you can't make the meeting, permit me to summarize: At least three concerned people will "present." The official sign will be unveiled. A "light" meal will be served. (No, I don't know what's on the carte, but an entree of pureed dandelion blossoms is one of the likely candidates.)

Anyway, the announcement got me wondering. Who pays?

A Binger revealed that you do. Shocking, eh?  This particular extortion mechanism is a federal  Department of Transportation sub-bureau assigned to turn country roads into astounding national treasures. It seems to pay 80 per cent.  I also wondered who gets to decide. And what the criteria are.  Why, the federal experts on pretty things do, of course, and the criteria seem to be a little loose.

Our definition of "scenic" reaches beyond breathtaking vistas. All of America's Byways® are "scenic", representing the depth and breadth of scenery in America--natural and man-made panoramas; electrifying neon landscapes; ancient and modern history coming alive; native arts and culture; and scenes of friends, families and strangers sharing their stories.

I see. Wonderful. By that measure my driveway qualifies. It's in rough shape and doesn't go much of anywhere. Anciently,  the native Americans certainly trod it. Wildlife still does,even if you don;t count New Dog Libby.  The man-made panorama is stunning, vehicles parked organically, a lawn tractor resting naturally where it ran out of gas under a majestic cottonwood, the tenacious red cedars struggling for the sun from the pile of glacially deposited granite boulderettes.

It is indeed a candidate, and I hereby apply for funding to bring it to world attention as the Camp J 200-Foot Scenic Byway. I can probably get it all arranged for $100,000 -- signs. maps, advertising, PR counsel-- even including my own modest salary. Please forward your share, 80 big ones, and I'll get on it immediately.

'course, if you insist on a breathtaking panorama of electrifying neon signs, that will be a little extra.

Apr 23, 2012

Waiting on Ron Paul in WalMart Aisle 7

The good doctor says on Facebook he'll be guest host on CNBC's "Squawk Box" this morning starting about 6:30 EDT, e.g. now.

While I'm waiting, I'm watching  CNBC cover the scandal of WalMart bribing Mexican thugs, i.e. almost everyone high in that godforsaken government,  for the right to do business down there. 

A certain astonishment is evident in the teevee men and women doing the reporting, which suggests to me that they're more than a little parochial.  

The decision-making process for engaging in commerce -- large or small --  in Mexico is quite simple.

--Shall we do business South of the Border (yes or no)?

--If "yes" find out who there needs bribing, gather up the cash, and send it.

Apr 19, 2012

Working at the outermost boundaries of human thought...

I first heard that phrase decades ago from the lips of Kingman Brewster, president of  Yale. I was a a working-stiff reporter, and Connecticut Bureau Chief John Armstrong sent me over to interview him about a Yale tuition increase.

The charming Dr. Brewster explained that the new and complicated tuition structure would actually save money for the students even as it fattened Yale coffers.*  Besides, even if it didn't, it was a small price for student access to professors "working at the outermost boundaries of human thought."

I filed a report including but short-shrifting that bit of puffery and concentrated on trying to explain what the incredibly dense set of new tuition rules would actually mean to Yalies. But I never forgot about all that ivory tower outermosting, and I have since heard it repeated verbatim by academic after academic -- usually when they were in their fund-raising mode.


Now it is quite a long way in both time and space from Brewster-at-Yale to little Buena Vista college down in Storm Lake where a Ph.D'ed lady decided to outermost think about overdosing her students with coffee.

The study began Monday afternoon and after a couple of hours, the students began showing the effects of excessive caffeine ingestion and were taken to Buena Vista Regional Medical Center in Storm Lake. Medical authorities estimate the students ingested about 6,000 milligrams of caffeine.

A dose becomes a threat of  (sic) body functions at about 6,200 milligrams. The students remain hospitalized for observation. University Dean of Students Doctor Meg McKeon, in a University-wide e-mail, said the administration is very concerned and is conducting an investigation.

I don't usually think in milligrams, so I looked it up on the internet. The caffeine content of a cup of coffee varies from roughly 95mg to 200mg. The high-end concentration seems to be about what speed freaks use when they can't get hold of their meth contact.

So, Ms. Professor fed the kids the equivalent of some 30 cups of high-test Arbuckles in about two hours? Enough to send them to the emergency room.

Pardon me for suggesting that the outermost limits of common sense were violated. And for suggesting that, in addition to the suspension, this outermost thinker ought to be kicked soundly and repeatedly in her outermost ass.


*Dr. Brewster, needless to say, was a Keynesian.

Apr 18, 2012

... or even above the fold

Fox news hired Dick Morris this morning to tell us who should run under Romney.

Rubio, he said. No one else.

The Fox chatterer said, but, but, but, Rubio isn't experienced. He's just a first-term senator...

Blowing up cows and stealing the hookers' rubbers

Sometimes you shouldn't read below the fold.

In the high Colorado Rockies a bunch of cows sought winter shelter in a cabin and froze to death. Their frosted corpses are worrying the game wardens who are thinking of  converting them to pink slime via dynamite or C4 or something. It's a big controversy. Fer krissake.  Since they're still frozen, why not get local radio to announce "Free beef; first-come, first served; don't forget your rechargeable recipro saws."

In New York the guardians of our morals have been confiscating the working girls' condom inventory. It's evidence, don't you know, that they intended to profit by  violating  the Seventh Commandment as it is interpreted by the pure souls in Albany and Gracie Mansion. (if you dare utter "Huh? Spitzer? Weiner?," you are a cynical anti-government sorehead and should lose your free-speech rights.)  The hooker-rubber controversy is costing millions, generating ill-will among the joy-for-pay set,  and stimulating the AIDS contagion. How about a moratorium, say for ten years, on all government cervix oversight? If it creates a hole lot of trouble we can always return to a program of sex-by-official-permit only. (Yes, whoredom can be a sleazy empire, just like New York politics.  If that's important to you, you should, in fairness, agitate to outlaw both.)

And don't even get me started about a few million the feds spent on a top-to-bottom study of gay men's penis sizes.

Maybe the Victorian-era British Colonial Ministry had the long and the short of it. Perhaps some countries are not ready for self-government.

Apr 16, 2012

Pistol-packin' Pippa

Lay that pistol down, Babe...

What is it about leggy but not very bright Brit royalites that gets them into so much trouble when they go to Paris?

To be fair, Pippa herself is not accused of waving a semi-auto around in Paris traffic. It was her pal, the guy driving, who is said to have "jokingly"  pointed the pistol at the paparazzi. Still, the Fleet Street tabs have pretty much convicted her of unseemliness while in the vicinity of a firearm. I think that's an actual crime in the Sceptred Isle, but it may be merely a social faux pas in La Belle France.

Thank God for the Surete. We will get to the bottom of this.

Peril from the skies

My proletarian birds, mostly blackies and robins, have fled in panic.  Perched in a high burr oak branch hanging over the guest cabin, watchful as a sober Secret Service agent, the predator lurks -- or did until I scared him off trying for a photo.

It's a sparrow hawk. They're not uncommon in the woods and fields around here, but this is the first time I've spotted one hunting the Camp J grounds.

I hope he hangs around. This is one of the years when I need to trim up the no-mow zone, and he'd be handy for helping control the creepie-crawlies displaced by the tidying --  the field mice, the occasional garter snake, and maybe even the  village zoning czar whom I believe lurks there, fiddling hopefully with his video camera.

Apr 15, 2012

Tam strikes again

Pocketa, Pocketa, Pocketa, Mr. Mitty.

It's just you and a couple of girls heroically engaging the 82nd Airborne and at least one MEU, the ladies with their right-way Smiths and wrong-way Colts, you with whatever banger that most tickles your tactical gonads.

After many adventures you are victorious. America is restored to liberty and prosperity, and the Fred Waring Singers warble Over the Rainbow as the females vie for your heroic affections.

The reality might vary a smidgen from that.

What disturbs me is how many of the "I bought a Century Arms AK and a case of ammo; let's get iton!" crowd talk like they're looking forward to this because, I don't know, it means no more mortgage payments, or they won't have to go in to work on 

It is one thing to expect an Obama or Romney or successor to fiddle away America's last burning days. It is something else to hope for it, even with oodles of charged magazines, a basement full of canned tuna,  and 50 MREs in the bugout bag.

The odds do not favor our run-of-the-mill Armageddon Arnie as the alpha warlord in a real world of total collapse, his daydreams to the contrary notwithstanding. I suspect about the best he could hope for is being the sergeant in charge of burning the civilian corpses.  (Put the little kids in this pile, Corporal. Stack the rest over along the creek. Send a detail for kerosene. And detail a private bring me my gas mask.) 

It could come to that, and to ignore the possibility is foolish.  Preparation -- the equipment and supplies and attitudes to preserve the people you love -- is not foolish. But that is plan B or C or Z.

Plan A is to keep scrabbling, even if it means continuing to vote. To keep talking, even if it means discourse with statist idiots. We might even win. Meanwhile we can always side with that old poseur Winston Churchill. During the leadup to the Suez crisis he was chided for not being sufficiently belligerent and replied:

"To jaw-jaw is better than to war-war."

A little Sunday side trip into radio

You don't have to be a Hoosier to like Indiana Radio Watch. You just have to be an unreconstructed radio freak. Blaine Thompson probably knows as much as anyone about Indiana radio as it is now and as it was back in the 8-pot-Gates days.

The periodic email report always includes at least one thing I find interesting. This morning it notes that the little station  WBZQ in Huntington, about 20 miles southwest of Fort Wayne, has been sold. So what? Little stations change hands like used Chevys.

Because the price was 75,000 Bernanke-inflated dollars.

So what if it was just one step up from a coffee-pot operation, putting out 500 watts until sunset, then 13 after dark -- yes, only about twice what your old Cobra CB exhaled before you wired in the illegal linear amplifier?

Only a generation ago a station like that would have grossed maybe $100,000 a year.  (For perspective, that amount of 1970 money would have bought you about 20 new Corvettes, loaded. )

The rule of thumb held that an AM radio station was worth about two times its gross revenue. Real estate was extra.

So comes the end of my denial. AM radio IS dead.  Bury it beside the Yankee dollar.


(Blaine would be glad to put you on his mailing list, but I don't care to publish his email address. He's on Facebook.)

Apr 14, 2012

Et voila!

Oh, it's Brother Jimmy's turn to throw the bomb...

And while we're at it, why not flag the assault craft?


Once upon a time an anal SCUBA diver criticized my diving flag because it was out of proportion. "To be official it has to be five by four by one."  Five  units wide, four high, one as the white-stripe dimension. I thanked him profusely, of course,  though I somehow forgot to ask my wife (RIP) to resew it. Despite the omission I used it for many more years and somehow escaped being hamburgerized by an Evinrude. Just lucky, I guess.

I suppose this ancient memory comes because of a morning mood which demands that I do something frivolous. So I think  I'll paint an anarcho-capitalist flag on the west end of the big propane tank. I know I have plenty of black rattle-can paint, and if there happens to be a can of yellow, it'll be a done deal shortly after the dew dries.

Unfortunately I don't know the official proportionals of the AnCap banner, so I'll welcome advice from anyone who does. In fact I solicit it. How could any friend of real liberty live with the notion that his flag fails to meet the legal standard?

Apr 13, 2012

Your papers! Quickly!

After a couple of months of technical problems, The World's Greatest Travel Blog is back with a summary of bureaucratic crap you need to deal with if you want to visit some far and exotic place --Toronto or Tijuana, for instance.

Apr 12, 2012

Adventures in consumer land

1. The ammunition shortage has boosted the price of Federal 550 packs  of .22LR by a buck, to $19.97. Similarly cheap-skate, hundred-round, 12-gauge value packs are still $22.97, however. My Armageddon stash was already at the goal, but I bought a little of each on general principles.

2. Also at WalMart I discovered that Velcro is available in "MilSpec" camo. (Of course I didn't, and it is unkind of you to even ask.)

3. At the Government Motors dealership, a computerized spare key for the More Dependable Truck set me back a litlte over thirty dollars. I inquired as to the procedure for disabling the furshlugginner anti-theft system and was laughed at. To which I replied that it is a theft enabling system for GM dealers.

4. Appropos both vendors, the Velcro from WalMart was necessary because  of a Government Motors design error. The MDT has a bench seat with a flip down console with a generous tray for holding junk. The tray has no cover, meaning when you flip it up all the crap falls generously to the floor behind the seat.  (Good thinking, Mr. President.) The libertarian solution is an old clip board, painted to match the stylish black of the factory plastic, hinged with black Gorilla tape, held closed with Velcro dots.

It's nice to be back home.

Minnesota vice, Volume 2

A schedule conflict will keep me away from another big extra-Constitutional money grab by Minnesota's Finest. The perps here are the fish and game cops whose arms lockers overflow with hundreds of guns, along with bows and fishing gear.

They got them by accusing guys of breaking laws and confiscating their property prior to any criminal conviction. Citizens found not guilty can probably get their property returned if they're willing to spend the time and money necessary to jump through enough hoops.

I have no doubt they set aside the hot merchandise they'll find useful in their duties. The rest are sold to the highest bidder. I don't know which state government slush fund the money fattens, but it's probably a safe bet that the original MDNR confiscators get a nice cut to keep the line officers motivated.

If you care to be a party to this kind of thing on April 28, here's the dope. 

And even if you won't aid and abet the civil forfeiture thugs, wouldn't that be a nice time and place for a good ol' libertarian rally? Some short and cogent speeches about the real RICO menace, the one fomented by governments who think a certain line from the Constitution, Amendment Five, is a quaint relic.

(No person shall) ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


My state's  motto is,  "Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain."  We do the same damned thing.

Minnesota vice

Marko has a pretty definitive report on Moorhead, Minnesota, cops trying to rob a sore-footed waitress struggling to feed her five kids.

You'll recall the lady was given $12,000 by a mysterious customer who called it a tip and refused her effort to return it. She reported it to the cops who took her money and told her she could have it back in three months if no one claimed it. Three months passed and it  suddenly became "drug" money which they would keep in their cop-toy fund. They offered her a $1,000 bribe to shut up, roll over, and play dead. She hired a lawyer instead, and the cops had an epiphany. Maybe it wasn't drug money after all, even though it drew sniffy interest from their Constitutional consultant Fido.  They returned her  money to her.

Which is probably the end of the story. But it should not be.

Somewhere in the Moorhead police bureaucracy is at least one command-level cop who decided he could get away with robbing this woman and gave it his best shot.  The criminal offense that leaps to mind is attempted grand larceny, though I suppose it's a bad idea to hold our breath until we see Officer Swindly indicted.

Apr 10, 2012

Thirty More Seconds Over Tokyo

Navy pilots in the age of Mach-Incredible to train on B-25s, Billy Mitchells.

And raising the old USS Hornet should not be beyond our 21st Century technological skills.

In a just world this would be a component of the US/Japanese dialog about the balance-of-payments situation.  It may do little,  but it can't hurt.


And if anyone dares call this wasteful government spending, I will hurt him with my petty officer cutlass.


(h/t to my man in the military-industrial complex.)

The pregnant virgins of Arizona

It  would no longer take a man, men. We are to be redundant. Pregnancy would occur when the Arizona legislature says it does.

(The bill to round pi to 3 remains stuck in committee.)

Apr 9, 2012

I am she

An honest libertarian writer serves best when moved by hatred, despair, and bile.  His highest moral function in a statist society is to scream at  the looters, Attila and The Witch Doctor. His every essay should be a simple, logical, variation on the theme of "supercalaphuckyoustatistscuzuareobnoxious."

Any day when he fails to verbally horsewhip a pewling collectivist tyrant is a wasted day.

But this one is just not feeling it.  For reasons he can not fathom life has lately been a series of warm fuzzies. Nothing moves him to take up arms and unfurl the black and yellow flag. Maybe too many spoons full of sugar have deballed him, created a literary diabetic.

He hasn't noted that Zimmermann is probably an idiot but not a racist murderer -- nor its corollary, that Sharpton rates an eternity in that hottest Hell reserved for  the most fraudulent journalists. He has savaged neither Obama nor Romney. He has failed to document recent justifications for rebuilding the Tyburn gallows to honor the Weimarites Bernanke and Geithner.

He can only hope that the sense of mission will return. Perhaps soon. Perhaps this weeks struggles with the income tax forms will stoke the fires of rage. They usually do.


'Ave you ever seen  The grass so green? Or a bluer sky?

Screw you, Bert. This crap has got to stop.

Apr 8, 2012


What a bright and cheerful  daybreak here in Camp J country.  My Easter finery is laid out for dinner with the C family, but at the moment I look more like a cobbler and smell quite like his work shop.

It just seemed like a nice  morning to finish a small project. You've seen the renewed blade, salvaged from a USMC KaBar which appeared to have been discarded on Guadalcanal in the autumn of 1942 and dug up during the last Bush Administration. But the sheath -- a Jedidiah Smith pattern :) -- got its final dose of neatsfoot oil this morning. It awaits delivery to an exceptional young man.

Apr 6, 2012

A Saturday Morning Ramble

My week is out of balance. Let me explain.

Life around here is pretty random. True, I get up early every morning and dress for success with a crystal vision of the productive and goal-oriented day ahead. The clarity always persists at least through the second cup of Folgers. At that point alternatives seem to present themselves and, as a man of small character,  I find myself too willing to entertain program changes.

(For instance, the Tuesday agenda required re-shingling a leaky part of the roof. But it might not rain for a while. Therefore there was no important reason not to stuff my fanny pack with cheap .22s and the Colt Huntsman and go afield in search of dirt clods which needed busting. This sort of thing improves soil tilth and is thus an environmentally responsible action, but I digress.)

Just one point of iron routine governs the schedule. Friday night "fish," a gathering of old friends for a drink or two and something to eat. We're all more or less retired these days, and Friday fish is about as close as most of us get to discipline and structure in our social and professional calendars.

So imagine my disorientation this morning. It is as though Earth's magnetic polarity shifted overnight as predicted by the Mayans or Jimmy Swaggert or one of those authorities. We canceled Friday night or, rather, we voted to hold Friday on  Thursday. That was yesterday, of course, so this is Saturday morning, confirmed by the stock markets, which are closed.

A taxing cerebral proces leads to intellectual understanding that, in fact, Saturday won't arrive until tomorrow. But the notion can not be assimilated into the spirit, so I remain  doomed to a purgatory of temporal disassociation.

Why would we subject ourselves to such confusion? Because of a Holy Day, that's why, combined with a business decision by a nearby Elk's Club.  These Elks own a fine building and up until a few months ago contracted the restaurant space to someone who put on a Friday night buffet and poured an honest drink. It became uneconomic. We were forced to cross the club off our rotation list. We missed it.

But the Elks decided on a special offering for Maundy Thursday as the day appears  on the Gregorian Calendar which has pretty well won the Easter Date wars around here; at least we hear nothing about bloodshed with the Julians in these parts.

They advertised chicken and ribs, and we bit. I, in particular, bit hard and long and irresponsibly enough to be happy for the reserve supply of bicarbonate of soda in the Armageddon-prep locker.  These guys apparently produced the feast themselves. We know they served it.

I am tempted to use all-caps to announce that they know what they're doing. The fellow on the broaster was a fowl artiste, and the rib man had a full understanding of the world's most sublime method of acquiring severe heartburn.

In due course I waddled to the cashier's counter where the money Elk wondered -- I think sincerely -- if I felt as though I had obtained full value for my twelve dollars (including the bourbon).  I assured him of my pleasure as he watched me write the check for fifteen. He seemed to find the amount odd and muttered something about twelve out of fifteen. "No, no, That's for the server, or your program, whatever." The smile returned . He took the check and dropped the "change" in a jar. That money, plus the night's chow and booze profits, would finance scholarships in his town and mine.

Well, maybe things are a little hickish out here in the heart of Flyover, USA,  but (a) that was a damned nice libertarian thing for the Elks to do and (b)  not a hundred people on the entire planet ate better than we did last night.

And that's what I wanted to tell  you this Saturday morning.

Apr 3, 2012

Carry enough gun

The Oakland outrage led this morning's CNN infotainment as chesty anchor girl  Solecism O'Brien (BA, Harvard, 2000)  interviewed the Oakland police chief.

"We understand the weapon  was a 45 millimeter handgun," she said.

"Yes, the shooter was a dedicated wildcatter and handloader," the chief responded. (Okay, I made that part up.)

Apr 1, 2012


Sir, If you had a son it would undoubtedly take after the Old Man.

(March 27, 2012, in a wild corner of the Camp J wilderness.)


I confess this photo is staged. The macho pickup/camper and the manly John Deere 318 were placed for a reason. Namely, I need the Chuck Norris points after having, and I swear this is true, made drapes. I really haven't had all that much trouble with tourist ladies hiding in the bushes with binoculars, hoping I'll change shirts or something in the wide open living room, but you never know.

In further defense, I created the curtains in a way that would never occur to a cute fellow in the lime green jumper and yellow ascot.

It is perfectly possible to create window-treatment elegance with a vintage flannel sheet printed with what someone (maybe the fellow mention supra) believed to be an authentic American Indian motif. It merely requires pinking (blush) shears, a Stanley 30-foot tape measure, a stapler, and a roll of Gorilla tape. The latter two items help fabricate the tunnel through which the curtain rod goes.

N.B. Above the window hangs a nicely scoped .30-06 in further testimony to my masculine status. It was cropped out, however, too black,  because my three volt cockroach by Canon couldn't solve the contrasty light problems.