Jul 31, 2012

Go Ahead, Fed, Make My Day

The Bernanke Cloven meets today.  I'll bet Ben doesn't know he is serving me, personally. He will continue the unacknowledged QE3 and further promise to keep interest rates low -- effectively zero -- for at least three more years. The two  moves are different approaches to the same scam, creating money out of thin air and pretending it is wealth.

And that helps me make a decision on spending some savings on a new capital asset. Why?  Because up until now I've always had to calculate interest on money I think I want to spend -- interest paid or interest earned.

Let's assume my little adventure costs $10,000, just to ease the arithmetic.  The money would come from a "risk-free" account paying one-tenth of 1 per cent or $10 per year or 83 and one-third cents per month. Poor as I am, I can safely ignore that.

Over my adult years, interest available to Joe Sixpack ranged from about 4 per cent up to an amazing 10-or-15 per cent  as the Carter debacle wound down. About ten years ago, $10,000 commanded something like 5 per cent, sometimes 6, depending on how carefully you shopped around for your CDs and other "safe" investments. That meant that the first cost of spending $10,000 was the $500 or  $600 interest you lost. Call it $50 a month. Or call it a box of high-grade .45 ACP every week.

In  any case, call it significant because, even at that late date in our economic history , Americans retained some faith that their government was attempting to manage our currency  in a grown-up manner.

Up until approximately that point, we generally agreed that money was supposed to be worth something. We operated as though there should be some rational correspondence between the value of the dollar you hold today and the same dollar in your pocket one year from today. Misadventures such as Jimmy Carter  and the savings-and-loan fiasco were viewed as aberrations. If that meant things like letting the seventh-largest bank in the country go bust, so be it.

The surest evidence that your savings represented actual wealth was the fact that people would pay for the use of it.

No more. The United States dollar is a deathbed case as a store of value. An apt comparison is a duplex in the heart of defeated Detroit. Neither commands a dime for its use, and a fresh coat of paint won't change that.


So, if everything else seems right, I'll spend because it seems stupendously foolish not to.

Meanwhile I'll listen raptly to the Great Debate as we choose our leaders for 2013 and beyond. The suspense is mortal. Was His Ineptness born feloniously in Kenya or merely ineptly in Hawaii? Did Mitt insult both the Brits and the Palestinians?  Should we ban high-capacity  magazines or gay marriage?

Jul 28, 2012

Piscine Porn (Olympics)

In blythe recognition of the swimming events.

Ann Blyth

Not attracted to scales? Okay.

Ann Blyth

Compiler's note: I could find nothing doing justice to this woman. Where were the talented studio still photographers?

So much for American exeptionalism

In London, Yi Siling of China shoots her way to The Gold, ahead of silver and bronze winners from Poland and somewhere else in China.

American daughters of Dan'l Boone and Sgt. York failed to place in the 10-meter (about 33 feet in real  money) shoot.  A shaken Pentagon has declined comment.

A word about the weapons.

Looks just like my Daisy Red  Ryder would if I  hired the staff of Tiger Balm Gardens to customize it.

Jul 27, 2012

The Guns of London

Roberta notes that the Olympic shooting events begin today. England quakes as homies, colonials, and foreign wogs alike take up arms. Why, those rifles and pistols are capable of penetrating objects out to at least 10 meters (about 33 feet in real money) .

Alert the authorities.

A Tramp Abroad

Mitt, you doofus, when you're a guest in another man's home you do not remark that the drapes need cleaning.

The proper answer to Fleet Street representatives is: "As a guest in your  country I am inspired by the achievements of the great British people and their leaders. Any nation which turned back Napoleon is capable of whatever is necessary to ensure a successful Olympic celebration."


1.  It is acceptable to surreptitiously cross your fingers while delivering the statement.

2.  Do not mention Dunkirk.

Jul 26, 2012

Is blogger.com striving to become the new Detroit? Another long-timer deserted, and again I waited too long to note his forwarding address on the sidebar. It's fixed now, so you can get to Guffaw in AZ from here. When you do you'll find, among other good stuff::


Tam broke out her dissection kit and went to work on Bill O'Reilly* for an idiotic comment about ammunition stashes and the crack government anti-terrorist machine.

A commenter made the point that only Hulk Hogan could carry 6,000 rounds of ammunition, the hoard Aurora Red allegedly possessed. Good point.  (O'Reilly said it was 60,000 rounds. Never mind. Who depends on teevee personalities for facts anyway?)

Too lazy to do the arithmetic, I walked out to the shack and weighed a 20-round box of .257 Roberts, loaded with c. 70-grainers,  the closest thing I have to the usual AK47 rounds. One box equals a little more than one pound. Hence 6,000 rounds of 7.62x39 hefts out to quite a bit more than 300 pounds,

Even a better figure of a man than that scrawny-ass loser could handle an ammo load of, at best, 50 or 60 pounds in addition to the weapon itself, the gas mask, the grenades, the body armor, and the tactical Barlow.

If he wanted more at hand for extended mayhem he'd need a pack animal.

We must therefore rally behind common-sense laws to restrict deadly donkey trafficking . If this makes it more dififcult for law-abiding citizens to buy and sell Bill O'Reilly, remember: It's for the children.

 Even tighter restrictions are needed on small, easily concealed burros.


*The facts force me to qualify this. I am speaking only metaphorically. More's the pity.

Elmer Fudd sells out

You can sometimes make very close guesses about a man from his auction bill, and you might enjoy peeking at the material side of one who has lived a  Heartland version of American dream.

He was hunter, fisherman, and handy home craftsman who bought good gear and kept it polished and running. Guns, rods, reels, tools, boat, pickup, ATV.

He was also quite good to Mrs. Fudd.   He bought her the nicest new appliances and a perfectly respectable Impala, red with a moon roof.  He permitted her to own and use carnival glass and even lawn figurines. If that isn't evidence of  saintly forbearance I don't know what is.

Over on his side of the property he kept his Fudd stuff, and he kept it well. A Winchester Model 70 in 7mm Remington Magnum. That's probably the tool involved in the moose antler mount although it  might have been bagged with his Remington 742 in .30-06 (a rifle in which interests me only  because three spare magazines have been rattling around in my junk box for years). A .22 and a 12 gauge round out his arsenal. It's modest by our standards, and it lacks the ninja  firepower most of us  worship. (What? No pistols? No hi-cap AK-47s?).  But it served his purposes, and it's reasonable to assume he correctly dismissed any stray thoughts about a serious zombie threat there on the outskirts of Elmore.

The home place is also under the hammer, a nice big house on four-plus acres of timber. That got my attention to the point of a careful inspection via Google maps.

In the end, "no."  I'm happy here even though I sometimes wish for a tad more land. The Fudd estate, at a little more than four acres,  qualifies on that score, but, like Camp J in Smugleye-on-Lake, it is inside a city  limit, meaning I couldn't pace off 100 yards and build a berm. Couldn't test new hand loads from a bench on the deck.

Besides, Fudd Acres is in Minnesota, and I have my pride.

Jul 25, 2012

Attention, whores:

The Lookout (Yahoo! "News") pleads:

Please send a photograph of yourself in front of your home holding a sign with: how much your home was worth when you bought it its current value. Let us know where you live, when you purchased your home, the number of members in your household and how your mortgage has affected your life. What decisions have you made as a result of your purchasing and paying for your home?

I'll pass, Yahoo, but I doubt it will make a noticeable dent in your response rate.  There's no shortage of people who think the whine is an excellent  coping mechanism.  

 Besides, if you want another tear-jerker series, you can come around and take your own gawddam pictures. 

Jul 24, 2012

Living on the south side of a big lake sometimes has charm enough to make up for the tourist hordes. A stiff wind across the bay gives  Camp J a current  temperature of 76 against the official government reading of 87. May it so blow through the next two days --  a period of duelling weather prophecies.

One official gummint "point" forecast says the heat will subside Thursday. The other one predicts 90-plus until Friday. Gee, it really surprises a guy when his government disagrees with itself.

(I live on the border between two NWS forecast offices, and they're always bickering between themselves about the cusp forecast.)

Jul 23, 2012


Joel has moved, and I just got around to fixing up the sidebar here to reflect his new blog address. It's still named The Ultimate Answer to Kings.

Why we're broke, except for Utah

If Utaht you saw the national MasterCard go a little more over limit recently, you were right.

It somehow came to the attention of the National Science Foundation that things can get a little dry in Deseret. Nice catch, and a perfectly good reason to shovel an extra $20 million  in "research" money to the considerable spawn of Joseph Smith. Utah tax-troughers are giddy with the intellectual challenge. For instance:

"Most of Utah's precipitation falls as snow. As a result, the project will focus on how changing mountain snowpack affects water supplies for the state's growing communities, officials said."

We anxiously await the results of this research, and I submit that we'll all need Valium to cope with the shock of learning that when it snows more in the mountains, Utah gets more water. Another $20 million might extend our knowledge to undertanding that less snow produces less water.

Please notice the words "focus" in the quotation above and "specifically" in this one:

"It will look specifically at watersheds, infrastructure and technology."

if we parse it out we face a single-minded concentration -- which is the meaning of "focus" in this context -- on mountain snow and equally laser-like aiming at "watersheds, infrastructure, and technology."

A definition or three adds clarity:

--Watersheds: Every gawddam valley and divide in the state, from the beautiful Bear River to the tiniest dry wash down south in the multiwife kingdoms.

--Infrastructure:  Farms, roads, power plants, bus stations. buildings, airports, ski lifts, temples, brine shrimp warehouses, railroads, visitors centers.

--Technology: Everything with a 110--volt AC connection and/or a battery. Such an an iPod to message  Orrin Hatch that $20 million may not be enough to "focus"  on and "look specifically" at all that stuff, so send more money and if you do we might vote for you again.


it's a jobs program for a few academics, government "public information" specialists,  assorted bureaucrats, and journalists who turn a pretty good buck uncritically  passing along thin rewrites of federal, state, and local government gobbledygook headed, "For Immediate Release!"

But, on second thought, perhaps I err. After all, we have the governor's explanation that it is, ta-da, a public/private partnership.

Gov. Gary Herbert said. "This public-private collaboration among so many educational, industry and government partners in tackling a key factor in long-term economic growth and quality of life is another example of our state's can-do approach."

If you want to interpret that as a promise the swag will be divvied up among all  varieties of looters, why, I guess I sure won't editorialize against you.

Jul 22, 2012

Seen four, seen 'em all

I'm reminded by my teevee that Ted Turner is not to be totally despised. Flashing through the channels on a brief hydration break, I stopped at TCM because, there on my screen, were Marilyn Monroe AND Jane Russell in some '50s moom pitcher show. Perhaps 90 seconds later I clicked it off in favor of going out again to the mid-day sun where I am sawing an old blackboard into ten-inch squares. They will replace the badly broken tiles under the wood burner.

Close call. Both Jane and Marilyn. Right here in my living room. But the decision stands, a reflection of my character and work ethic. And if any of youse guys  mutter something like naaaah or advancing years, I won't like you any more.


I'm getting to like "hydrate." It sounds a lot more cool and tactical than "drink."

Oh, what horrific Candy

You haven't seen my three little essays on the Batman massacre. Two of them are in draft, desperately seeking focus. The other one has been dismissed to the ether as utter bullshit.

But you can see this one because it has Candy Crowley in it. I knew Candy Crowley, and if name-dropping doesn't justify a post, nothing does.

Candy was on local teevee, reading news to a medium market.  Off duty she occupied her time being an insufferable bitch. Let it be said, however, that she was a gorgeous insufferable bitch, and that would account for Ted Turner calling her up to the majors. She's been there ever since, a nice fit with the CNN view that if it ain't Left it ain't right. And I suppose that helps account for her continued presence, post beauty.

Sic transit hourglass. I mean, just figuratively speaking. But teevee pandering endures forever.

I caught a brief snatch of her this morning as she interviewed John McCain.* She was being shocked and horrified that the Aurora killer was able to purchase (and here her jaw drops, her eyes go wide, and she enunciates ever syllable precisely) six. thou. sand. rounds. of. am.mu.ni.tion. car.tridges. ov. er. the. IN.TER.NET. !

She didn't approve of the drum magazine, either. Or the "bomb-making supplies." Taken altogether, she thought that we must find a way to spy out everyone with 6,000 rounds,**  a big  jammy magazine, and/or a small tank of propane.

Candy, you twit, did it ever occur to you that you might reserve your public display of injured horror for that which you know something about?

At the simplest level, the internet is the worst possible place to equip yourself for terror. There's a paper trail, the credit card, the IP address, the delivery records. You can get everything you need at WalMart or Farm Fleet Supply. Walk in. Pick up what you need. Pay cash. Walk out.

And the "tear" gas. We need to track people who buy gas or its percursers.  I know it may seem a bit tyrannical to put everyone guilty of possessing a gallon of bleach and a quart of ammonia on the no-fly list. But it's for the children.


**I don't remember what McCain said. It doesn't matter.

**Put your hands down. They are watching.

Jul 20, 2012


It isn't hugely important , and some people will find it insensitive to bring it up so soon after the Batman massacre. But, since reporters and editors get paid to relay  coherent information:

CNN has said several times that the shooter was armed with "an AK-47-type weapon, and a rifle, and two handguns."


Mayor Bloomberg is, quite unexpectedly, not worried about an appearance of insensitivity. He was immediately in the papers and on the air with his standard demand that police confiscate the firearms of everyone who did not shoot up a theatre last night.

Jul 18, 2012

Espresso Justice

And yet another tale of what may happen when impetuous young men meet a wise old philosopher.

"Don't none of you [expletives] move," one of the teens reportedly yelled at the cafe patrons. One "teen" was swinging a gun, the other a bat.

One of the (expletives) in the internet cafe was Sam Williams, 71, philosophically armed with a .380 handgun. He chose to move despite the instructions to the contrary.  When he and his pistol quit moving, the 19-year-olds were chastened, not to mention bleeding.

Local officials say they probably won't charge Sam with a crime for protecting himself and other (expletives) people in the cafe. That's good as far as it goes, but I see no mention of either a gold medal or compensating Sam for the expended rounds.

Jul 17, 2012

I think Lyle on the Joe Huffman site would be the last to advise a shooter or reloader to depend on intuition. And also the last to advise against ignoring those vague feelings. He paid attention to his own "something feels a little wrong"  hunch and avoided a blown Model 94, maybe worse.

It's worth a careful read, especially if you shoot reloads.

Not a gunchick

She's a pretty blonde woman. She's married to a close friend. She thought she would feel safer with a handgun in the house.

Up here on the lake she feels secure enough, but she gets nervous in winter when they return to their gracious old neighborhood in the heart of a big city. There, the Vandals aren't far from the gate.

After chatting about it for years, her husband led me to believe that she now definitely wanted a pistol and enough training to use it in an emergency.  He's a veteran hunter but claims he's never fired a handgun. She  has never even held one.

So far it sounds like a routine exercise in introducing a neophyte to the world of practical defensive shooting. Ground School 101 to outline the concepts --, practical, legal, moral. Discussion of the available hardware. Hit a good gun shop to let her handle steel and select a few possibles. Then some range time with a pro who knows what he's doing. (EDIT: I don't mean me.)

It was more complicated because Mrs. Pretty is well into her 80s. She thinks she might not be able to kill and would shoot him in the leg.  This is not a promising student.


Nevertheless I thought about it for a while, then, when the subject came up again, decided to lend my  smallest DA, a ported Taurus .357 snubby,  on condition that no ammo would be allowed in the same house. She would handle it and dry-fire it for a couple of weeks. The idea was to introduce a bit of reality into whatever mass-media-derived notions she harbored about pistols. Mrs. Pretty's husband, the hunter,  would  "supervise."

It turned out just as we expected, and the lady is no longer interested in late-life  handgun education. Her man returned it to me a few days ago. "She's says it's too heavy but  I think she's just afraid of it."  We agreed that if she had second thoughts down the line -- unlikely --  we'd put something different in her hands, probably a .22 rimfire, K22-ish.


There's no cosmic lesson here,  but if anyone cared to interpret the exercise as a reason to teach our daughters about shooting, I would be the last to argue,

Jul 16, 2012

They're coming to take me away, ha ha

I do not hate crazy people. If I did I'd lose half my friends including, possibly enough, myself.

In fact, if you ask me, the trouble with American politics is that we have too few crazy people. Worse, the loonies we have aren't crazy enough.

Rand Paul, for example.  He'd rather be president, of course, but he thinks that, at best, he might have to settle for No.2. This accounts for the semi-libertarian lip prints all over the Romney carcass.  At least he'd get to live in the Naval Observatory and look through the cool telescopes when ever he wanted. Besides, there would always be Chief Quartermaster to tell him to the split second what time it is, meaning he could swap his Rolex for a semi load of Brylcream, effecting a personal economy.  All this is only a little bit nuts. In fact it is quite common across the governing class -- from Obama's outright statists to neoconniest thugs of the Republican "right."

That's why I am supporting Randi, our newest United States senator. And no, it isn't just because she's an attractive woman. It's because I admire spunk, and appointing yourself senator in a wacky American alter-government seems spunky to me. It's also because The Republic  of the united States of America occupies ground in that delightful no-man's land where genuine genius mates with stupendous delusion.

These guys are mostly libertarian/ancaps writ large, albeit with a discouraging quotient of Pat Robertson prating. They claim to believe what most of us believe. Pro-gun. Free markets. A little more federalism,, etc.

However, the political philosophical underpinning seems  to be a notion that American government(s) were legal up to about 1870 when somebody or something else took over. As nearly as a guy can tell from their site, they served some legal papers on Obama or Holder or one of those guys and thereby became our de jure government .

These guys really like to stick "de jure" into their prose at every possible opportunity. I approve. "De jure" sounds rillyrilly intellectual. I mean it's Latin, and you can't get more intellectual than that. In fact, the news about Randi reminds me I've been meaning to practice my own Latin more religiously.

So postus endus cuz it's time to turn on airem conditionem. Hottern Hellica here, and that's de facto.


Jul 12, 2012

The Honey Trap or, "Why We're Broke"

Iowa again; no apologies.

Even in Hicksville a fellow can find excellent evidence to counter the widely accepted fallacy that government officials are occasionally smart enough to pour piss out of a boot.

I suppose this one caught my attention because a certain number gives me something in common with a big Iowa DNR enterprise. Calculating my income and outgo for last year, I wound up with an operating profit of $4,230.*  Coincidentally, so did the DNR owned and operated Honey Creek Resort.

There's one slight difference. I am not in hock for $30 million, meaning I don't have to stick a gun in my neighbors' ribs and lift the interest payment on $30 million from their wallets.

A few years ago DNR commissars got together with dullards in the legislature  and Governor Tom Vilsack.  There's no hard evidence they were smoking, drinking, or injecting mind-altering substances at the party, but you can be forgiven for harboring suspicion because, collectively,  they decided they were experts in the resort business. A flurry of architecting and market studying and public relationing followed. And borrowing.

In 2006 Honey Creek Resort opened its mortgaged doors down on Lake Rathbun, itself a government invention. (The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ignored the banjos and throttled the unobjectionable little Chariton River. I don't really know why. The best guess seems to be a Corps of Engineers desired to economically stimulate itself by giving the Corps of Engineers something new to  manage, but that's a subject for another essay.)

And the Honey joint has been sucking on taxpayers ever since. Even the DNR admits it and in a left-handed way concedes there is no exit strategy.  New DNR Boss Chuck Gipp:

Some legislators have argued Honey Creek should be sold. Gipp says the state should keep it. “At this point in time, unless there’s somebody that comes along and is willing to pay what the worth of what that facility is, we’re not going to sell it at 10-cents-on-the-dollar. That would be foolish,” 

Mr. Gipp, incidentally, is a conservative small-government Republican. He was in the legislature when the Honey Creek Dacha was approved. He voted to sign my name to the IOU. If he's embarrassed that the asset is now worth 10 per cent of the debt, it doesn't show.

As I say, it's only a little Iowa issue, but, 'course, if you root around in your own state's forays into enterprises requiring several sentient neurons, who knows what you might find. Thirty million here, thirty million there -- pretty soon you're talking about enough money to send a First Lady on a couple-three vacations.

*An estimate. If an audit proves it unreliable, I claim the same poetic license His Ineptness gets when he reports, oh, say, the unemployment or inflation statistics.

Jul 11, 2012

F**king deafie?

A deaf man says he was clearing  airport security at Louisville when TSA agents (1) robbed him of his candy (2) laughed at him for being deaf and (3) called him a "fucking deafie." He reported it on his blog, then, according to Reason magazine, got to thinking about the TSA's well-known lust for revenge on anyone who questions the way it executes its holy mission and took the post down.

I will suffer all the Godwin jeers anyone cares to hurl in order to pose a question.

In 1938 or so a German Brown Shirt got quite a bang out of taunting Jewish humans as "fucking Juden." In 2012 American TSA agents get off by ridiculing deaf humans as "fucking deafies."   What distinguishes the  the American from the Nazi?

Reserving the right to edit my views if I'm wrong in taking the report at face value, I hereby withdraw a semi-apology I once wrote for endorsing those who think Thomas Jefferson is spinning in his grave, justifiably screaming, "What's taking you so long?"

My Pants Fell Down (and other laments)

1. A vast lethargy has overcome Camp J and all who inhabit it. As Commandant, I can take comfort only in the fact that I seem to recline, motionless, a little less than New Dog Libby. And it isn't even hot.

2. Today's duty Wranglers were well-fitted when new, and my mirror image (full-frontal disgust) reveals no substantial chassis changes. Further, the belt fastens in the same hole as it has for a very long time. Further further, the jeans were barely burdened. A thin sheaf of small bills, the Buck Squire 501,  and one pair of 14-inch Diamond channel-locking pliers. Yet my pants fell on the short walk from the shop bench to the hose bib. Only reliable elastic on my shorts prevented revelation of gross cleavage to revolted passers-by. (Boxers or briefs? None of your damned business.) I conclude that my butt is shrinking. I am unable to assign meaning to the fact.

3.  The wardrobe malfunction occurred as I was fixing a hose connection. The outrage leading to the entire incident was almost  -- but, alas, not quite -- enough to get my heart started. Upon investigation I discovered the washer inside the plastic 37-function nozzle from WalMart (I suppose) was likewise plastic. Meaning that after one months use it would seal fluids only at and above the viscosity level of hot asphalt. Replacing it with a Luddite's rubber, I tried to work up enough ill-will to avenge myself by finding the guy who decided that melted Sprite bottles could be turned into sealing washers and shoot him. Couldn't.

4. And that made me feel guilty about something else. This is but the second post of July, A.D. 2012.  Meaning I have gone days and days without trying to ridicule  the Court of His Ineptness, without sprinkling even a little scorn on the 535 congresssslugs and zoning administrators and  like vermin. What a sad dereliction of muh sworn duty.

To bring this all together, I must note that meaningful social comment here in the Age of AmSoc requires deep feelings of hatred and bile combined with a willingness to engage in what, in other circumstances, would be unforgivable lapses into vulgar, thoughtless, and cruel means of expression.

Guys, I just can't do it lately, so I'm all like WTF!? Is my reservoir of  noble muckraking venom in my ass which, as I mentioned above, seems to be shrinking?

(If so, does Obamacare cover it?)

Jul 7, 2012

Winchester 1897

We begin with the gun, a Findy Sickle piece, celebrating its 111th birthday this year, born only three years after William Randolph Hearst started the Spanish-American war in order to allow Teddy Roosevelt to become president.

Winchester Model 1897, serial number C158xxx, one of about one million examples of this design from the brain of John M. Browning, PBUH. It is long-tomish with a 32-inch barrel, full choked in 12 gauge. (Boys, ya wanna see my bran' new goose gun?)

I've owned a few of them over the years, generally picked up as lagniappe  in multi-gun swaps or from folks who just didn't care to have rusty old guns cluttering the place. I bought them cheap, enjoyed them for a little while, and swapped them off. The only real attraction for me is the connection with my earliest days in the field, the times before I was allowed to carry a gun, that awkward stage when a little  boy was trusted to walk along in the line of  party-hunting adults as a sort of bi-pedal pheasant flusher, actually cheaper than a good dog because the folks were stuck with feeding me anyway. A fair number of the adults carried Model 97s. The majority, armed only with single-shot H&Rs  and the like, were jealous of the six-shot firepower. We bare-handed kids were even more so.

One other thing. I loved the exposed hammer, and I still do -- on any firearm -- despite their snagginess and mostly mythical safety flaws.The ability to see at the briefest glance that the gun is ready or not ready to go bang is part of my personal   security blanket.


(Isn't that a whole lot of wind about a common old gun, Jim? Especially one pretty well clapped out from a century of rattling around in duck boats and Model-A trunks?)

Yeah, I guess so, but it gives me a chance to bloviate on the transaction which brought her to the Camp J Armory.

We were at Cabela's in the northern Minneapolis slurbs. It's sort of a tradition when the family gathers in St. Cloud. We never buy much, but I do like wandering aisles and marveling at how many thousands of dollars folks are urged to spend in pursuit of the simple outdoor life. (Remind me to report on the absolutely indispensable $75 walking stick one of these days.)

This time, Number Two Grandson and I went directly to the gun section. The first thing catching my eye was the '97, and I idly checked the price tag. Ahem. $99?? I can make a buck on that. Or maybe, at that price,  it would be nice to grace the wall under the Maynard Reese (Nine Travelers --Canada Geese  708/950.)

I took it to a clerk who popped the trigger lock so I could see how bad the action was. The forearm was chipped, and its screws to action bar were missing. That's it. It would go bang. I frowned disgustedly anyway. The clerk said, "Maybe we can do something about the price."

Eh? Dicker in a Big Box?? I will be damned.

So I pretended to examine it in greater detail, sighing knowledgeably while finger-tapping the deeper dings.

"Well, if $70 will buy it, I'll take it."  Clerk and gun disappear for a couple of minutes.

"Seventy is fine."

He directed me to the computer  where I entered the 4473 information, permitting the Cabela's Bureaucratic Compliance Officer to check me out with Eric Holder and, not so incidentally, with all of the credit bureaus. Cabala's is smart. The same information that squares me with the BATFEIEIO justifies me with the usury industry, but I didn't think of that at the time.

The paperwork was cleared and I reached for "money" in the form of Federal Reserve Cartoons. Mr. Clerk stopped me. "Sir, you have been pre-approved for a Cabela's Visa card. "

"No thanks."

"But it comes with a $20 gift certificate."

"Uhhh,  does that mean I can deduct the $20 from the price of this gun."

"Yes sir. It does."


And that's how I walked out of a giant super store with a $50* Model 1897 Winchester and a brand new credit card with a limit astronomically high  considering my unimpressive personal circumstances.  In this narrow matter, I am even smarter than Cabela's because the plastic is and will remain TDY in a forgotten drawer corner.

Minor gunsmithing to ensue, followed by a nostalgic bout of scattering small pieces of toxic lead around the countryside. It's okay. No condors in these here parts.


*(Plus, of course, $3.50 for the state which, I am convinced, will use the money to further its efforts to persuade every Minnesota driver he or she is operating the only vehicle on the road.)