Sep 30, 2012

The national casting couch

The first presidential "debate" airs in three days and a wakeup. For some reason it reminds me of a passage in one of W.E.B. Griffin's "The Corps" novels.

A sergeant is herding a batch of Marine recruits from a New York rail station to Parris Island. He explains that they are not to screw around lest he have their asses.  That's necessary, but this noncom is one of the petty tyrants who enjoys it too much. His dignity depends on humiliating others. He ends his harangue with the usual "Any Questions?" A recruit raises his hand.

"Why is your hand up, Asshole?" he demands.

"You asked if there were any questions, Sir," the recruit replies.

"I didn't mean it."  He turns and stalks off "quite pleased with himself."


A desire sings in the soul. Would that vast revelation descend on the American electorate. No matter what His Ineptness says, no matter how Dufus Romney retorts, they do not mean it.

There will be no debate on which aspirant is most likely to  competently administer the  affairs of the federal government.  There will be an audition for the role of father, protector, best friend, jovial uncle, seer, Santa Claus, and spiritual leader.


Another line from some old novel or movie sticks with me. An aging starlet walks into a producer's office, lays the audition script on his table, and says: "I want this role and I'll ball anybody I have to to get it." It's a useful concept to keep in mind Wednesday night.

Sep 29, 2012

Saturday vintage skin show

Inspired by TCM's wee-hours showing of the 1940 "Pride and Prejudice."

I suppose there are those who would question the macho quotient of a guy who thinks Jane Austen was a genius -- and a funny one at that. So be it. If it gets out of hand I'll post a self-portrait shooting an assault rifle or something.

Miss Garson played Elizabeth in the tale, which, on a sub-level, is a fine treatment of what happens in a society which deems it vulgar to earn money but quite refined to marry or inherit someone else's.

The photo is, of course, a promo for some other movie.

Sep 28, 2012

It come a-gusher!

In Merreye Olde, a big-time oil trader named Steve Perkins got smashed, went back to his office and bought about seven million barrels of oil -- price be damned. It happened in the wee hours and woke the snoozy overnight oil markets with a collective WTF?.  Reactive panic strained global order desks.  "Buy, dammit, buy!"

International  oil prices spiked. The market didn't calm until it became apparent that one of the Masters of the Universe screwed up while in a well-oiled state. Steve's company lost millions. He was fired, fined, and invited to seek another profession.

It happened about three years ago, and I didn't catch why it is again timely enough to rate a mention on CNBC this morning while I was trickling charging my nervous system with the first cuppa. But I'm glad it did because it reminded me to be pissed at the lunacy of rational markets when they come under control of irrational men.

It seems to me that there are about three ways to become irrational. One is to be born stupid. Another is become ignorant, generally through intellectual laziness. The third is to get drunk, either on a nice single malt or on daydreams of personal power and riches -- or both.

Now: Since TMR readers are men and women of lively minds who are quite comfortable making logical connections between seemingly disparate events,  it is to be expected that some of you will read about oil hustler Steve of perfidious Albion  and think about money hustler Ben of our own Federal Reserve System. One shrieks "Buy!" and the other howls "Print!" Each in his own way turns the economies of the world into a game of seven-card no-peek stud played by nincompoops with a deck of 51. Or 53. Everything wild except deuces, jokers, and one-eyed jacks.

I don't feel like typing a long rant on confluence of these lunatic notions, but if you care to, you have my full endorsement. Personally, I'm off to pursue more immediate challenges related to distorting world oil markets by splitting and stacking a fresh load of sustainable, renewable biomass.

I will, however, leave you with a reminder, courtesy of Mr. Grey:  "Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice."

Sep 26, 2012

International macroeconomic query

I'm not getting enough free stuff and wondering if it is okay to go out to the road and protest just as I am. Or do I have to learn to speak Greek or Spanish first?

Sep 25, 2012

How to write a roadie report

A small sample from John MXL,  just back from two-wheeling the Appalachian wilds:

My seat is approximately 47 years old.  The bike's seat is approximately 22 years old.  Before the next long trip one of them is going to be changed.  I'm betting on the bike seat.

Wish this man would post more.

The morning mail

I've never  registered as an official RNC alumnus, so I don't know how I got on the has-been mailing list there at the Eisenhower Center. Maybe they checked old expense accounts. Maybe they dug into the bar tab archives at the Capitol Hill Club (good place to have a drink with guys in nice suits and the cute interns they brought). 

Anyway, they found me and figured out that, as free help, I might pump the Romney GOTV drive by a vote or two.


Every phone call and door knock is crucial to achieving our success...
As alumni of the Republican National Committee, you're fully aware of how important volunteer activities are to achieving our goals. And that's why we're asking for your help ... Over the next six weeks we need to reach out to as many potential voters as we can.

We appreciate your support!


Reince Priebus
Chairman, Republican National Committee

It's nice to be remembered, Reince, and I share your distaste for His Ineptness the President. But no, thanks.  Because Mitt, among a few other little things which don't really add up to a GOP interested in small government, free markets, foreign-adventure restraint,  or individual sovereignty. 




If you can't get the malty good stuff my neighbor makes, or the excellent porter from my son-in-law's basement brewery, try the  Marzen from the Leinenkugel family plant up in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. A six-pack came my way as a gift last week. It's new to me, and I'm impressed.

It's a middling-dark brew in the light heavyweight class that feels substantial on the tongue. Comfortable in the mouth, you might say, and I think that's because the Leinenkugels have learned restraint with hops.

Leading to my morning rant. Brewers of the world: You can not improve mediocre beer by tripling the hops. (I'm thinking mainly of Sam Adams here.)

I omit discussion of those who train the horse to go in a brown bottle, toss in some  cherry syrup or lemon peels, and call their ad agency.

Sep 24, 2012

Hello, Monday

Cheerily in front of a small fire on a 37-degree morning, I attended to Dr. Nancy Snyderman, she of the whip-me shoes and the MSNBC gig.

She praised Mayor Bloomberg for killing the Big Gulp. "That's what leaders do ... it's a matter of public health."   Yes. When Americans are fatter than a Somali goat boy the Republic is lost.

So do your part. Find some dude drinking a  Dr. Pepper and shoot him. Pour encourager les autres.


Over on CNN the newsies offered an insipid campaign analysis. Who's "better" on gun control, Obama or Romney?  Not even CNN could root out a difference.  They both detest armed proles but, having counted us, find silence expedient. Of course if His Ineptness wins, he'll have a lot more flexibility.

The highlight turned out to be an allegation that Americans, collectively, possessed  guns at a rate of 88.8 per hundred. Okay, I'll scarf up that credibility enhancing "point-eight" and merely observe that makes us 11.2 guns-per-hundred shy of the optimum.


The motivation to rant hatefully --  meaning usefully --is still low. I dislike being insipid, but, dagnabbit, it's just too hard to hate when you're feeling spiritually obese.

Lessee, among other things...

--K and D delivered a weighty home-grown watermelon  last night, and I offered a fine fat "Oktoberfest" Marzen in thanks.

--My oldest friend, resident of one of the large eastern communes for many decades, visited. We continued the political debate begun when we were in junior high, back in the Coolidge administration or thereabouts.  As the curtain fell we agreed that things are badly f*cked up. (N.B. He  isn't fat, but he's sturdier than a rural Ethopian, so I suppose the good MSNBC doctor could find something horrifying about his Body Mass Index.)

--I'm idling away some spare time with a great rarity -- a readable college text book. Can't remember where I picked up Kent Steckmesser's The Westward Movement ; A Short HIstory,  but I'm glad I did. The chapters on the Rocky Mountain fur trade are stunningly well written and exasperatingly free of the usual college-professor mistakes. He's even careful to lay out the evidence that John C. Fremont would be a "whodat?"  except for (a) having married the boss's daughter and thereby (b) acquired the money to hire Kit Carson and Tom Fitzpatrick to take his hand and lead him around the American West.

Sep 23, 2012

An 1866 firepower gallery

The Henry rifle:

A pepperpox:

File:Pepperbox tula3.jpg

And an 1861 Springfield:

File:Springfield 1861.jpg

Firepower (a little retro)

A.D. 1866 really wasn't so long ago.  Even a Boomer might have heard Grandpa tell stories of the old-timers he knew, guys who were in their prime when White America hadn't quite finished stealing the Redskin West. If he were poor or ludditical, that same pioneer might have lived out his life with a cap and ball rifle, maybe the Model 1861 Springfield he carried home from the War for Southern Autonomy.

But the winds of change were blowing. A few repeaters were on the market in 1866.

That was the year when Washington decided to see if its troopers could swipe the Powder River Country from Red Cloud and his  Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho pardners. Turns out they couldn't, though not for lack of trying -- trying in the sense of, say, the Keystone Kops trying to take down a large Mexican drug cartel.


Late in July Lieutenant George Templeton led his motley detachment of 29 men, three women and a child out of Fort Reno. Destination: the site the still-unbuilt Fort Phil Kearney, 60 miles northwest  along the Bozeman Trail. Among his crew were a civilian named Captain Marr, lately of the Missouri Volunteers, and Army Chaplain David White.

About half way, at Crazy Woman Creek, the rightful owners rose from the their hidden positions and charged the little batch of invaders who were mostly armed with those '61 Springfield's. In the end, all was well, but just by a hair and with a little help from advanced technology. Let Dee Brown make the points:

In the first attack, "Captain Marr, who had a Henry rifle, a sixteen-shooter,  used it with wholesome effect on the running Indians, and stopped two of them permanently."

The Sioux withdrew to regroup and charged again. This time they wounded Chaplain White slightly ("more angered than injured"). He mounted a little counter attack of his own and returned to the his lines shouting. "Ravine clear down as far as the creek."

"All seven charges in his pepperbox had gone off at once, killing one Indian and frightening the others into flight."


"Powder River Country" is  a loose descriptor, but it's not too far wrong to think of it as most of northeast Wyoming  from the Big Horns almost to the Black Hills.


Mostly from "The Fetterman Massacre" by Dee Brown, 1962, ISBN 0-8032-5730-9. Chapter IV.

Sep 19, 2012

Vintage home-made gun porn in 12 gauge

In 1913, Taft was president, the Uruguayan Air Force was founded, rapists in Washington decided they had the power to tax your income, and Riverside arms patented my gun.

Chances are it's provenance is common.  A Depression farmer sold a couple of fat hogs, , went to town, paid the village hardware merchant about $15, and took her home.  After an appropriate period of admiration around the deal table in the kitchen, it went on two nails over the back door with a box of 12-bores handy, probably No. 6, but maybe No. 4. That was about the only ballistics discussion that interested Zeke -- which was best for pheasants, jump-shooing mallards, and discouraging city-slicker strangers messing around the home place.

Sometime later he benefited from the Ever Normal Granary and took his subsidy check back to town for a fancier gun, probably a double, maybe even a pumpgun. The old single moved to the barn for  rapid response to rats, foxes, chicken hawks, and skulking strangers.

Every once in a while he noticed the pigeon decorations and brushed them off with a gunny sack. He got along in years, slowed down, didn't get out to the barn much. His kids couldn't be bothered, and the ol' one-shot moldered away until, about  Y2K,  it turned up at the memorial service most cherished by too many of his survivors -- his estate sale.

It brought $30 from a fool who just likes walnut, however cracked and dinged, and blue steel, however rusted and pitted and scarred. He'll fix her up and shoot her, but mostly he just likes folk-guns and their propensity to stir his muse to perfectly plausible stories of the past.


This one was bad enough to demand rule breaking. The metal suffered a wire wheel. The walnut was heavily sanded and linseeded, cracks epoxied, deep dings filled with walnut sanding dust and glue.  The innards were scrubbed with gasoline before cursory polishing. For no better reason than whim, the barrel was bobbed to 18 1/4 inches, turning her from full choke to straight pipe.

(Twelve or 14 would have been handier or at least cooler, but our man had a personal connection to Vicki Weaver of Coalville, Iowa, and Ruby Ridge, Idaho. Fear moves him to obey even pointless laws. Wimp.)

Before the final finish --yes, flat black from a rattle can -- the question of sights arose. The solution was "no."

The plausible story of the future is a 3 a.m hipshot requiring minute-of-thug accuracy down his short, dark hallway. Sights would be superfluous, maybe even dangerous, maybe snagging the flap of his union suit.

He knows the odds of any such thing happening are all but prohibitive, but just in case, nothing better at hand...

There is no such thing as a boring gun.

In lieu of 911

If I were a guy bent on a little housebreaking or other mayhem, I think I'd stay away from Cindy's lair. You know, Jinglebob's Cindy, out in cow country. :)

Sep 18, 2012

Domestica -- ammo and other incendiaries

-- The wood faerie returneth. My cup of renewable, sustainable biomass fuel runneth -- rilly rilly runneth -- over. My city man has just delivered a small load of bucked elm locust and plans to bring another. The stuff is unsplittable, but I can cut it short and burn it like chunks of coal.  I am this morning grateful to the administration of my village, Smugleye-on-Lake.

-- September song: With the windows still open to a light breeze, a small fire furnishes a corner of warm comfort amidst all the fresh air.

--Maybe the good mood is a hangover from the long evening in Reloading Central. The Redding B3 powder measure -- a sturdy cast-iron '40s or '50s relic -- is back online and throws IMR 3031 in dependable charges.  Besides...

--The Pacific case trimmer, of similar vintage and brutishness, has been tidied up and is ready to work as soon as I find pilots in .223, 257, 6mm*, .357, and .45.   I've never used it, and there was bonus delight in finding that standard RCBS shell holders work fine. Besides...

--  Several hundred rounds of brass have been resorted into several containers which match one another in size, style, and color. Enough of this kind of neat-freak compulsion and I'll be ready for a  Better Homes and Gardens spread.  Disclaimer: it happens seldom.  To wit:

-- The living quarters are a disaster. When BH&G is finished in the loading shack, a visit from the Hoarders film crew is more than possible. Example:It is not gracious to use the Stihl chain saw manual as a trivet. Gotta find my apron.


*That's .244  in real money, by jingo.

New faces

A couple of additions to the blogroll.

Stainles of Sportsfiirngs caught my attention by reporting his pleasure in finding a Skeeter Skelton book. Anyone who likes Skeeter is to be admired even though memories  of his gun-journalist home, the old Shooting Times,  arouse my disgust with with the current crop of news-stand firearms rags. (My carbon-fiber reinforced polymer is way cooler than your wimpy ol' plastic!)

Welcome, too, to Stephen, an  entertaining fellow who seems to be a genial an/cap for all seasons. Guns, food, bikes, camping. All the good stuff.

Edit to add one more good guy: Mojave Desertrat who this morning suggests that the Kate exposure really isn't all that big a deal.


I had read a lot of Skelton before hooking up with an AP colleague in Denver who  became a mulie hunting buddy.  (How ya doing, Bob K.?)  A Texan, he knew Skeeter at least slightly, and may (damn a fading memory) may have gone shooting with him a time or two.

Sep 17, 2012

How much does a Kwee cost?

"Quantitative Easing" -- or "QE" -- my butt.  The Fed loves the locution because it rings of careful policy crafted by the wisest of the wise.

Wrong, Bunkie. It is a pure and simple dilution of every dollar you have accumulated. It is money-printing.

So "QE" deserves a twee name. I nominate Kwee. As in, "Last week the Fed imposed Kwee 3 on the liquid wealth and productive forces of America."

Kwees are cute, also expensive as Hell. Permit me to take you back about four years, to a TMR report Dec. 4, 2008, when the the federal government was only thinking about bailing out every thuggish and incompetent business in sight.


As of the time the Mr. Coffee wheezed itself full today, wholesale gasoline needed to decline just 29/100ths of one cent (about the value of a Pelosi promise) to be below $1 per gallonAnd a pound of lead now trades at 45.5 cents


The corresponding  prices today are about $3 for wholesale gasoline and around $1 for lead.  The difference is what it cost you to permit the politically connected money barons to enjoy all the rewards of capitalism but none of the penalties. 'course if your personal income has doubled or tripled in the past three years and 10  months, you probably aren't all that upset. Show of hands, please?

Pronunciation aid: "kwee" rhymes with "Weimar."

Sep 16, 2012

The Sunday Slasher

The very bright lad has some prepper tendencies. In the course of studying one "survival expert" he was persuaded to buy a Mora, hawked as the "best survival knife." A few weeks passed and he found eye and spirit offended by the garish plastic handle and the space-age polymer sheath. He wondered if Gramps might find time to reduce the ugliness. Sure. 

About 90 per cent complete, reflecting the notion that a blade is worth little if it can't be controlled, hence the outsize grip with admittedly unattractive palm swells. Looks bad, feels good.

This is the first experiment with a steel butt plate in the Shops of Camp J (tm). The  thinking is that a "survival" knife may be called on to function as a  crude hammer. 

And since we have a butt plate, why not use it to retain four wax-dipped  matches, virtually weightless and out of mind until a fire becomes crucial when all easier possibilites are absent?


The plate, hacked from a heavy old gate hinge, is attached, ground to a crude fit on a wheel, then trimmed to the wood profile on a one-inch vertical belt sander. It looks nice polished, but it will rust. If circumstances permit it will be hot-blued, otherwise painted. A question in my mind: Should it be flourescent orange for findability at the cost of ugliness?

I'll return the black tactical coal-tar sheath to the lad for whatever use he may make of it, but the knife will live in the heavy beef hide, similar to this but I hope without the stupidly misplaced copper rivet. The hole in the grip and the two little notches in the blade -- just forward of the handle -- might make it possible to lash the the knife to a shaft. I personally have never needed a makeshift spear, but who knows?

Notes and asides:

1. When someone offers you "the best" whazzis,  you're being flimflammed. There's no best survival knife, gun, or piccolo. A designer imagines the jobs the tool should do in various situations and builds accordingly. The honest ones will concede that they have created a compromise and not necessarily the optimum one for the situation you might meet.

2.  The matches hidden in the handle may or may not work. Moisture might destroy them despite precautions. Swelling might make them impossible to extract.  They are a last shot, in extremis, hope. If they added significant weight or complication, they would not exist.

3. The little blade notches weaken it. Heavy prying might easily snap it. Is the risk worth the ease of making a spear? Beats me.

4. I don't disparage knives from Mora. The steel seems proper, and the price is right. I tried to find one of the older laminated blades and couldn't.

5. The knife won't quite float, but it comes close enough to neutral buoyancy that you might be able to snatch it back before it dives to the bottom of Lake Nungusser. Wrist thong through the hole? Awkward but worth thinking about if you're lost in a watery place.

6. I hope the young man never learns the limitations of this thing.  Having to "survive" in the woods is almost always a result of bad procedure. My own  backwoods misadventures testify to that, in every case reflecting incomplete planning or inattention. The best survival tool is between the ears and should never be stashed between the buttocks.

Sep 15, 2012

G' morning, fellow anarchists

With all the world crises going on, a fellow really ought to get busy with a careful analysis.

But I don't feel like it. Not even a short take on Topless Kate, a crisis that could rekindle the ancient Anglo-Gallic wars. (Since I haven't watched the news  about our president this morning, I don't know whether the Frogs and Brits are currently our enemies or allies or what. But I'm pretty sure the last thing we need is the Coldstream Guards assaulting Brest.  What a bump in the geopolitical road that would be.)

So I'm just playing with toys, namely a new three-volt cockroach by Nikon. If I get it figured out I'll send y'all some pictures of stuff I didn't build, like the pile of sustainable, renewable biomass, or perhaps the new knife abuilding (by someone who isn't me, of course) for a beloved survivalist grandson.

Or maybe not. I just found a dozen nightcrawlers left over from the last fishing jaunt. Shame to let them go to waste, eh?

Sep 13, 2012

Party time in Dubai

Our friend Joel has been there, and his recollection of riot day is well worth a read. As are the comments, particularly one by "Buck."

There's no particularly sexy money quote, but the entire thing is a useful reminder that our leaders keep dinking around in a culture whose bases they do not understand -- except possibly as a series of crises which they can manipulate for  domestic electoral purposes.

See also: Identity group politics.

Speaking of goat ropes...

While the Mideast burns, your federal government reminds you that you have an inalienable right to a goat, even if you can't afford it.

A goat enthusiast is capitalizing on the drought which killed much of our nice grass but left some ugly weeds.  Forget that icky 24D. Get a goat.

(Goats) will eat grass but they really prefer things like vines and rose bushes and poison ivy, things that give us problems.” For Iowans who are interested in eco-goats, the federal government has programs to help pay for fencing and watering facilities."


I haven't provoked any local bureaucrats lately; shame on me. This may be my chance.  Imagine their surprise when I request a special-use (eco-goat) permit from the governors of my village, Smugleye-on-Lake. These are the guys who last achieved statewide recognition by making it a criminal act to feed a stray kittie.

Well of COURSE I feel like shooting some wogs. And YES, I think the Marines en route to the Shores of Tripoli should be issued live ammo and given permission slips to defend themselves.

Now, if someone will explain just WHICH Egyptians and Libyans and Yemenis need shooting, we'll be ever so grateful.

Meanwhile, I believe I'd tell President Mursi that because of his failure to operate a civilized government we're planning to reduce our annual $1.3 billion Cairo bribe.

Arab Spring. Vive la revolucion.  I see no way out for us unless we get busy with high-speed rail.

Sep 11, 2012

For some reason I'm not too cheerful this morning. Don't know why. The weather is suburb. I have hunted and gathered about all the renewable, sustainable  biomass I'll need for the cold months ahead. A naggy problem with Rusty Red, the  F150 wood hauler has been found and fixed at no cost, right here in the Camp J motor pool.

Maybe it's just a piece of undigested roast beef degrading my emotional innards, part of a rump which, by the way, costs upwards of five bucks a pound in these days of drought, the warp-speed money press, and the ethanol mandate.

Aha. That's it, and if I gotta be a little grumpy I have a right to suck away at your happiness, too.

Bernanke is probably about to screw with our money again, and even some of the world's big bankers are going public with warnings. Printing money willy-nilly is a heck of a lot of fun, they admit,  but it's a little like Wild Turkey. Too much and you find your soiled self collapsed in the weeds, wondering what the Hell happened.

we think we will get on-going synchronized QE [quantitative easing]. Central banks will have to print more money and this will continue to drive up inflation expectations." 

Yeah, the Fed bosses are meeting this week to decide how much more of your savings account they should steal by tapping the keyboard a few times to create  more magic money. 

They'll tell us Thursday.  All the experts say they will QE3 us. The guru in the above cite says they should do something far more intelligent: nothing. Fat chance.

Sep 10, 2012

The Smoky Mountain Railroad

We're in the middle of  the annual Clay County Fair hype. "The World's Largest County Fair"  is interesting enough and I occasionally wander though it. But local radio covers the damn thing with all the scope and intensity usually reserved for something like al Queda landing a regiment or two in Manhattan.

I forgive them for two reasons. First, the summer people are gone and the fair brings a better class of tourists* to the area. True,  they say "shucks" a lot and really seem to like corn dogs. On the other hand they generally don't get drunk and vomit on the sidewalks.

Second, the fair is home to the very large Smoky Mountain Railroad model layout. I know there are a few rail fans in the TMR readership, and you can take a peek at it here.

It's probably interesting even to non-buffs for the craftsmanship and historical content. The thanks are due to a great rarity -- a genuinely nice guy who got wealthy in the radio broadcasting business -- the late Ben Saunders of KICD.

*Or, as we think of them: "Spending Units"

Sep 9, 2012

The Sadness of the Federal Reserve Cartoon

The loophole dealer and I suffered an irreconcilable difference of opinion, so the Victory Model lives elsewhere. I am newly  stuck with a small but still worrisome quantity of the green paper mentioned in the title.

Still, a good little show. The commerce was not frenetic, just active enough to make me look forward to immediately embracing my pillow.

Sunday catchall, loophole edition

The 50-dollar Winchester 97 has a new home. If my negotiating skills are up to it, the proceeds will cover most of the adoption fees for a 1940s SW Victory Model. it's tight but maximally ratty on the outside.

Previous owner Bubba had a nice big power grinder. He use it to worry off the hammer spur so he could quick-draw from his OshKosh bibbies. While he was at it he lost  the lanyard ring.

Another previous owner was a Nebraska sheriff's department .These fellows autographed it in hesitant cursive with an engraving pen and added  a warning: "Range Use Only."

The original owner was the U.S. Navy. Hence the attraction. If $200 will do the deal, it's mine. Maybe a tad more.  We'll see.


It's a pleasant little 60-table show, and the new operator-- a one-man operation --  is learning about promotion as as he goes. All of us local gun freaks are supporting him. We've been without a snow for three or four years, and we miss them.


I'm running slow this morning, haven't even showered yet, much less grabbed another box of junk and a couple of bait guns for the table. I blame the pure animal pleasure of setting in front of a little fire on the first really chilly morning of the season.

Life is good .

Sep 8, 2012

It isn't often I wake up with Rachael Maddow,  just the occasional Saturday morning when the electrical teevee happens to be on Channel 63 as I click the power button. That usually happens only on mornings of lazy and lethargic grumpiness.

What the Hell.The primary alternative is Fox News, similar lies, only in shorter sentences and smaller words. Not worth the effort of  another clicker punch.

So Rachael and I communed for a few minutes as Miss Folger trickle charged my  heart.  I wasn't too surprised that she was analyzing the Romney and Obama campaigns, nor that she was operating from a V-word base, although she didn't use the word. Takeaway: Republicans hate women.

Then, on a lighter note, she shifted to her closer, the cocktail of the day, mixed on-camera, right before your very eyes, accompanied by the sort of coy giggling you often see in a high school girl about to commit her first venal sin. (That's the sort of thing I always associate with girls who like boys. But I digress.)

Which brings me to my segment closer: The Rachael cocktail is made of cognac, grenadine, lemon juice, and champagne. I submit to you, my fellow Americans, that anyone who accepts political advice from a woman who hustles crap like that should be instantly and permanently disenfranchised.


There is nothing like waking up with the Maddow woman to make a guy relish the thought of a nearby loophole.

I'm about packed, taking just enough stuff to justify having a table. The idea is to buy, not sell, so I'll have to listen to other lies today.

"Jim, this gun comes with quite a story behind it...".

As Skeeter Skelton once remarked on the subject. "Great. But how much is it without the story? I already heard a couple-three Rachaelwhoppers today."

Sep 7, 2012

The Public Vagina

If we must talk about it, I suppose we have to call it something, and vagina is technically accurate. Furthermore it is more, errr,  value-neutral than the four-and-five-letter synonyms of the locker room. So vagina it is as we chart the American future.

Get used to its ubiquity.  It has already begun to take root as a base for grammatical compounding. Such as "vagina-gogue," an offering in the National Review (of all places) by Michelle Malkin. She's furious at  Code Pink for fielding members dressed up like vaginae.  While I can't work myself up to a Malkin level of shrieking neocon rage, I too find it distasteful.

On aesthetic grounds, the costumed Pinkers resemble the female part only in the sense that a Salvador Dali clock resembles a clock. Certainly Dali had a First-Amendment right to draw slack, droopy, off-colored timepieces.

The ladies -- and a man or two, I gather from the news photos -- are similarly protected. Just as Stanley Kubrick was in gluing misshapen codpieces to his young thugs in "A Clockwork Orange."  If we want freedom of speech we learn to accept occasional ugliness along with, as in this case, the stupidity of vagina-as-political-tool.


The Pinkers and those who, like Malkin, take them seriously represent our failure persuade the masses and their political masters to raise their eyes about three feet -- from the national pelvis to the national brain.

I don't know if abortion is murder in the civil sense. I don't know if it is right or wrong to turn females into a financially protected or privileged class on the basis of their special health-care needs. (Or males for theirs.)  I do know that braying politicians are burdened with identical ignorance although they have struck electoral gold in pretending otherwise. Take a poll on "social issues." Count the votes. Plurality equals morality. Morality requires a law.

Mr. Obama, Mr. Romney, and all of your acolytes:  The world you aspire to rule is roiled by potential tragedy which might -- just might -- be tamped down by intelligent political effort. The problems are neither vaginal nor penile. They are economic, military, and organizational.

It is undoubtedly a futile dream that between now and November 6 you would elevate your focus, up from  the Y to the center of reasoning.

The fact that you won't makes some of us crotchety.

Sep 6, 2012

Softly, softly, cache monkey

The AP is carrying a rambling but interesting review of Asian monkeyshines. It concentrates on squabbles about which nations own which guano piles in the western Pacific.

It is refreshingly free of explanations that Hillary Rodham is there, on the job, and carrying solutions to Oriental angst such as the Korea-Japan spat over the Dokdo Islands. This strategic treasure in the Sea of Japan is about half-way between the disputants. It is made up of 46 acres of rock which, at last report, was home to a Korean octopus fisherman, his wife, and a handful of ROK cops.

"Korea and Japan have a bitter history  (says The Associated Press)   ...  Thumbing one's nose at Tokyo has long had substantial cache for millions of Koreans.

Uhh, look. A Rocky Mountain fur trapper hid his plews in a cache. A girl I knew in Yokosuka sometimes stuck a flower in her hair. That gave her a certain cachet.

I know. Spell-check is cheaper than an editor.

Shooting up the cow pasture

The new Remington 760 got its first workout as a Camp J resident yesterday.

As a matter of biology, I report that even a middlin' load of 125 grains at something like 2900 feet per second makes a guy wish for more padding than one layer of tee-shirt cotton; a .30-06 round from a seven and one-half-pound rifle is tolerable, but it gets your attention. (For comparison, a Garand weighs about ten pounds.)

We fired at 80 yards in K's pasture from an improvised shooting bench -- a log dressed with a Vietnam poncho liner and a horse blanket if you demand precise descriptions -- and produced groups just shy of respectable.  That is, a bit over two inches up to a lamentable four-plus.  Allow what you will for unfamiliarity and  a stiff and fluky crosswind.

Observations: The trigger is fair at best, gritty, creepy, and a bit heavy, even for a "hunting" rifle.  Working the action requires an authoritative attitude. If you wimp it, the extractor won't snap over the rim, and you'll lose your trophy terrorist because your rifle is out of battery. To be fair, it's a virtually new rifle, and more rounds might smooth things.

The early Redfield 3x9 reminds me of the difference between excellent optics and the mediocre Oriental crap on most of the scoped rifles around here. Suddenly, your right eye is 20 years old again. On the other hand, I wish it had click stops. I also wish the right-to-left adjustment actually moved the groups left.  Oh well, I'll view that as a challenge to my problem-solving skills.

Overall, it's an attractive woman of the kind you take to good restaurants. But you're reluctant to propose marriage.

I think I'll put it on the table at our small local show this weekend, just to see what it's worth as trading stock.The asking price will be exhorbitant as a sop to the  deeply held conviction that  it is always wrong to sell a gun.  

Sep 5, 2012

The bankers and politicians of Europe are as desperate as our own Ben Bernanke  and his assistant, Barrack Obama. The Germans, for instance,  just finished trying to sell  5 billion Euros in IOUs. Investors  left more than 1 billion worth  of them on the table.

(You'd think the Germans would be better at printing and peddling funny money, what with all their practice back in the good old Weimar frolic. But I digress.)

German money bosses say they'll try to sell the leftovers later, but it looks to me like the orphan Eurotoons could be destined for the "free"box at the garage sale.

Why not? They're like Bernanke bucks. Renewable biomass.

Paging Ed Newman

How 'bout that? You can buy a gizmo to charge your telephone with tiny little pieces of wood, but "wood" is not good enough for marketeers hustling the Bio-Lite.  They insist:

"Fuel (is)  Renewable biomass"

Elegance like that  shames me. For all these years of timber-felling and and maul-swinging, I've missed the opportunity to sound edgy and hip, aquiver with a passion for keeping Mother Earth all scrubbed up; virginal, you might say, although there's an oxymoron to overcome there.

So I reform and report Camp J is at present supplied with nearly three cords of renewable biomass for the wood renewable-biomass burner.

In fairness, the Bio-Lite copy writer does translate for  the benefit of English speakers, confiding to us that  "biomass"  is "(twigs, pine cones, wood pellets, etc.)"

The gadget costs a hundred-nine bucks, but that includes a thermally actuated electrical output to a USB connection for your mobile i-Whatsis.

If you can live without the "thermoelectric generator (TEG)" you can save about a hundred-twenty-nine  bucks with a No.10 can and a set of tin snips. Fueled with renewable biomass, it will boil up your Arbuckles just fine.

H/T to Tam who is hosting a funny discussion on the subject. Some want. Some are skeptical. To each his dag-nab, blue-eyed own.

Sep 4, 2012


Oh, ya got trouble, right there in River City, and that starts with Tee and that rhymes with Camaree and that stands for rat out your neighbor.*

Mason City commissars stand proud this morning, glowing with the knowledge that they have made every citizen an instant block captain. Thank you, Smart Phone.

See-Click-Fix” lets people report quality-of-life issues and request city services though an online and mobile interface. Residents can send in complaints about things like garbage, junk cars, weeds and other neighborhood nuisances. 

Which takes the ancient art of back-fence bitching to a high official level. Either keep those damned petunias watered or face the SWAT team. After all, "quality-of-life" is a fairly broad term, isn't it?

I suppose most of you recall the 1984 passage in which Smith's neighbor kid went to the Thought Police to report his father for insufficient adoration of Big Brother. In Mason City now, the little bastard can do it instantly from the comfort of his bean bag chair.


*For younger readers: Mason City produced Meredeth Wilson who produced 76 Trombones  set in a Mason City pseudonymously called River City. Professor Harold Hill blew into town on a moral crusade to get the youngsters out of the pool hall and into band uniforms. He turned out to be a charlatan. His offspring remained and were elected to high city office.

Sep 3, 2012

I'll have the baby back ribs to start

Then a bacon cheesburger with center-cut prime rib on the side.  For dessert bring me a large bratwurst with chili sauce.

The halls of academia say turning vegetarian is not all that healthy.  Amazing.

"I was absolutely surprised," said Dr. Dena Bravata, a senior research affiliate at Stanford and long-time internist who began the analysis because so many of her patients asked if they should switch.

I'll bet the 99 per cent of us weren't very surprised.  We've long suspected that letting a quadruped begin the process of converting alfalfa to protein is the most efficient way to go.

...and a Beefeater martini while we're wating please.

Facepalm, Hillary

Happy Hillary-Rodham is on the beach, half a world away from Washington, celebrating the latest triumph of United States diplomacy. To be precise, she pressured the government of the Cook Islands to come up with some big SUVs, ones grand enough for Her Secretary of Stateship.

The government owns three small SUVs. That always seemed to be plenty for its job of governing some 11,000 folks.

Hillary sniffed. Her attendance depended on big, impressive SUVs.  Which she got.

If she were the kind of person who said "Thanks"  her gratitude would be to a put-upon Cook Islands official named Robert Graham. For a heady time the fate of the Eastern Hemisphere rested on his shoulders. He reports:

"We are a really small island and they're wanting these really big SUVs," Graham said. "We have tried our best to accommodate and help."

It might or might not impress Mrs. Clinton that her regal transport is a gift of the private sector. The resourceful Mr. Graham scrambled to persuade a number of  islanders to loan their oversize personal vehicles for the grand occasion.

A big white one fell to Her, guaranteeing Her comfort even if mischance forced her to completely circumnavigate the island of Roratonga -- a daunting trek of nearly 20 paved miles. I hope the people of the Cooks don't hate us, but if they do, I'll understand.


So what the heck is the Clinton woman doing in paradise anyway?

I'm glad you asked. She's representing you and me at a gathering of the Pacific Islands Forum. That's an organization of Pacific governments  who get together once in a while to hash out watery issues.

Her presence is being spun as a crucial element in United States security in the western Pacific -- heading off the Yellow Peril. The Los Angeles Times sets the stage:

"The tiny South Pacific islands and atolls known as the Cook Islands have rarely been more than an afterthought to the world's great powers. Yet in their intensifying contest for influence in the Asian Pacific region, the United States and China are seeing new value in far-flung outposts that until now were coveted more for pearls and sunsets than geostrategic importance."

(Aside No.1: We all know of the "Bad Hemingway" contest. Is there one for "Bad Michener?")

(Aside No. 2: Rarotonga is some 5,000 miles from the Chinese mainland, and if you ask me that's an implausibly long way to fling a far.)

Fully granting that we need to keep an eye on China's jealous eye for oil treasures beyond her 200-mile exclusive economic zone, Hillary-in-Paradise hints at another purpose.

American wars in the Middle East have about outrun our gullibility for nation-building propaganda, so maybe our leaders are shifting targets in the War to Divert Our Attention from the Economy.

Maybe Hillary and His Ineptness are discovering that it is crucial to American security to develop a ring of U.S. client states from Pitcairn to the Yalu. Deploy a few divisions and a handful of carrier flotillas. Build some schools. Send over some Harvard PhD to advise on governing. If absolutely necessary, bomb a few wogs.

Nothing stops us except the cost, but, what the Hell, we can always borrow it. In this case, though, probably not from China.

Sep 1, 2012

Adventures at the ammo bench

The Remington 760 (couple-three posts down) inspired me to hit the loading room yesterday and wade into the fat supply of .30-06 cases. It took me more than two hours to finish a measly 61 rounds, and that was starting with cleaned and sized commercial brass.

Part of it was the Lee Auto-Prime. I love that system, but mine is showing its decades of wear and sometimes wants to malf in one way or another.

Primers set,  I learned that my old Pacific powder measure hates DuPont 3031. I simply could not make it throw charges consistent within two or three grains. No amount of cleaning or tweaking helped enough to make me comfortable. (I've remarked before that I'm a frightened old lady about guesswork at the reloading bench.)  

So I took the Lee dippers from the cabinet and found one that held 49.5 grains of 3031 -- close enough to the 50 I wanted under  the 125-gr HPs. (Speer book muzzle velocity of about 2950 fps).

It's nice to build a round of good .30-06 for less than a quarter, but one-half round per minute on prepared cases is not something to be proud of.  Time to pick up a new Auto-Prime and tear down the measure to see if something inside is the problem.


And there's a hole in my .308 bullet supply. Plenty of 110 and 125, and quite a lot of 220. I'm thus prepared for elf terrorists and elephant-scale terrorists. But I have nothing really correct for your normal, everyday, 38-regular terrorist. 

Girl porn. Money porn.

(1) One hundred years ago "September Morn" was finished and won an award from the critical Frogs of the Paris art industry. It was, however, considered no big deal, just another workmanlike oil by a guy who liked representational naked girl images against a sorta-impressionistic background. It might have sold for a few hundred francs, then spent time a bourgeoisie parlor until, eventually, an American tourist found it in a Left-Bank stall. He hung it in the rec room to surprise his wife, Prudence, who surprised him with "It goes or I go."  That's why you, you aging roue, might have scored it for fifty bucks at a garage sale down the street.

It didn't happen that way because of Duh Mare. "September Morn" was sent to a Chicago art dealer who put it in his window. Mayor Carter Harrison Jr. hit the ceiling* and filed indecency charges against the dealer. The dealer won the case and "September Morn" won instant fame.

A little later it found its way to a New York art shop and shocked another public titter. You've heard of him, Anthony Comstock, over-seer of public morals as a special agent of the Post Office. He threatened legal action, but by this time he was in his 70s and forgot to follow through. His bluster added to the fame, and the Paul Chagas painting now lives in the Metropolitan Museum of  Art.

I guess that means it isn't obscene.

(2) As this year's first September morn dawns, public titter and one one-per center  Ben Bernanke is just back from beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I read that it was a very nice gnome convention, and all the world's central bankers joined in a happy group giggle as Ben told them he still had his tools but intended to keep them zipped in for a little while longer. But just a little. He winked and nudged that   he was just letting the wine breathe for a bit, maybe until the next  FOMC meeting. Then he would flop them out and boy won't we have a ball. All the other bankers there dialed up their brokers and doubled their stakes in green-ink manufacturers.

That's obscene.


There's a logical reason to consider the big banker meeting in the same small essay as "September Morn." Jackson Hole is in the Tetons.

*Speaking of roofs, supposing a modern Mayor Carter Jr. happens to be in the Sistine Chapel. Supposing he happens to glance upwards. What the Hell does he do. Arrest the Pope? Sue Michaleangelo's estate?

Welcome, September

Hands are clothes.