Oct 30, 2013

The Gore of the Season to ye, Mate

The Smugleye-on-Lake village zoning inspector dropped by to make sure I wasn't making wind without a permit or something.  New Dog Libby took exception to his manner. One thing led to another.




Oct 29, 2013

Another Willa Cather

Out on the Nebraska plains, not too far from me, an old friend is joining the blog world

Light NEAR the End of the Tunnel

(On the TMR blog roll)

She's  Doris of the life-time team of Doris and Gene (RIP). Together they battled the markets, the weather, and gummint in an effort to create your BBQ back ribs.

She probably wasn't personally as hands-on with the cattle as, say, Jinglebob is. But you can bet your Prius she knows which end of the cow makes a moo and which a splat.

In her spare time she became a rather well-published writer, not to mention acquiring a mother's interest in C-130 war birds.

Drop over and welcome her if you please.


Warm

The concrete picnic table on the Utulei beach was ugly and uncomfortable, so uncongenial that it simply had to be a relic of United States Navy rule over  American Samoa. Nevertheless, I began my working days there, in company with island society, Governor Coleman; his indispensable sidekick and my best island friend, Pete Fanene (RIP);  a few traditional chiefs; and assorted bureaucrats, hangers-on and suck-ups of high station and low.  The caste system notwithstanding, traditional Polynesia presents itself as a rather egalitarian community.

Gossip circulated. Hangovers were nursed with canned papaya juice and styrofoam cups of lukewarm Nescafe. The governor would hint at what he was thinking about today. His listeners often enough responded with what he should be thinking about when he eases himself into the executive chair behind his acre of desk.

Further description is unnecessary for the reader familiar with the regular morning coffee-shop klatch in every small town and city neighborhood in America. Only the local color differed, palm trees instead of utility poles, coral sand under foot rather than potholed tar, and nearly all the men wearing skirts.

---

The main island of Tutuila lies a little more than 14 degrees south of the Equator, firmly in the realm of the southeast trade winds. Which is to report that it is year-around mild on the skin of a palagi who grew up in the continental roaring 40s,  a thousand miles and more from any tempering ocean, where avoiding frostbite was a primary concern for months of every year.

So it took me a while to become accustomed to the occasional picnic-table observation, "cold this morning" as the Samoan man gathered his lava lava closer about his knees and buttoned his aloha shirt to the neck.  Lord yes, it must be down to 67 or 68 degrees. Mighty unusual weather for July in the other hemisphere. But near the end of that year-long contract I did get used to it and would agree in classic Heartland understatement, "Yep. A bit  nippy."


---

The pleasant recollections dropped full force on me this morning as I tempered the oak fire with a sprinkle of water and threw open some windows and doors to get the temperature of my quarters back down to something under 85.

(Friends complain that my place is often overheated, and perhaps it is. If I feel like defending myself I use the excuse that my blood was thinned by too many hundreds of  mornings breakfasting in jungle shade to music of mynah birds.)

But 85 degrees in here is excessive, and even New Dog Libby got grouchy, abandoning the foot of my bed for the cooler wood floor of the kitchen.

I blame a new-found feeling of wealth, untold riches. You see:

The jury-rigged log splitter functions as designed! (A writer is allowed one exclamation point per 10,000 words, and I make no apology for employing this month's quota here.)

It works better, in fact, and in the remaining 10 minutes of daylight after beta testing was completed yesterday, I laid in perhaps four days worth of old cured burr oak, perfectly sized for my small firebox.

By hand, that would be the labor of a couple of hours or more at the added expense of an ibuprofen or two and the occasional wound dressing. The mechanical ease of letting Archimedes'  thinking meet my fuel processing needs leads to the rich feeling that I have won a significant battle over the fossil-fuel thugs who enjoy impoverishing humans such as I, citizens who wish merely to retain an acceptable core body temperature even as the winter Alberta wind eyes our homes with evil intent.

---

And to think they laughed when I sat down to play the hydraulics.













Oct 28, 2013

Spot News

ABC News breathless headline which may be news to someone:

U.S. Spy Scandal Grows 

And the sub-head

   Obama Unaware for years.

Surprising exactly who about anything, please?


Oct 26, 2013

Packrattery to the rescue; interim report

Its engine died a few years go, and the  old home-made log splitter* has been a yard decoration ever since while I refined bulky cellulose into fuel with a six-pound maul.

Then, last week, my buddy from down the road, a man who owns an International Harvester M**, stopped by to wonder if we could jury-rig "my"*** splitter to his hydraulics. In theory, a lot of screwing around and head-scratching, but no conceptual problem, just run new hoses from the M's hydraulic pump to the splitter valve.

For one of the few times in my life, "in practice" seems to be hand-in glove with "in theory," better, in fact.  For less money than I expected and after only one trip to the farm supply store for hoses,  I have test-fitted all of the new  plumbing. Result:  we're just a few dabs of pipe-thread compound away from beta testing.

(Or, as the NASA Apollo 13 engineer said, "Looks okay to me, Percival. Let's give her a whirl.")

Packrattery? Yes, because it both dishonorable and a pain in the butt to keep running to town. A man is supposed to have the junk he needs..

There were sundry needful items in the box labeled "misc iron pipe stuff" that worked, topped by a lucky find elsewhere.  I absolutely had to have a 3/4 to 1/2 reducing ell. None in the aforementioned box, but in desperation I checked another one labeled "odd brass crap."  Eureka. (We don't intend to operate it submerged in salt water, so galvanic corrosion should be a minor annoyance at worst.)

If it works I'll post a picture of a big  new woodpile. If it doesn't, I'll deny having written this post.

---

*Built in the 60s or 70s by my pals K and B, based on a humongous I-beam salvaged from a road grader and allegedly including parts from a B-29.

**For my urban friends, that's a tractor, the cat's meow of high tech agriculture when introduced in 1939.

***Actually, title still rests with the builders, but I have hopes of negotiating a relatively long-term lease.






And mark it "urgent" please

I see that a fellow named Venter has published a new book explaining that we can do about whatever we want with biology these days. Specifically, he supposedly explains his procedure for remotely reading a genome, translating it to digitalese, and sending it via email. The idea seems extensible to actually duplicating the organism -- or at least its DNA --  on your 3D printer if you're tired of using it to make terrorist pistols.

Some where, some one must have a molecule of






















Send it along, please.








Oct 24, 2013

Officer Friendly strikes again

Nothing looks neater than a big Harley with an assault rifle strapped on, unless it's the driver cop himself,  all decked out in leather, ballistic nylon, and a hi-cap .40 by Glock. The contrast of Officer Charlie McCoppy in tacticals with a peaceful school yard simply adds to his patriotic, law-and-order aura as he strolls around friendly-like, cautioning sternly against reefer madness.

It is a wet dream for some suburban clown who manages to get himself hired by a militarized police force taking its tactical and strategic cues from the same movie and television fantasies as the tyke who beat the "failsafes."  

You see, some little kid, probably raised by a flat-panel telescreen, fingers the unattended "AR-15" and makes it go bang. A bullet "disintegrates" and scatters itself or something hot and hard (pieces of the Hawg?) into the wee ones.

That no one was badly hurt signals more of divine grace than of a cop and his bosses possessing, among them, perhaps three functioning neurons.  The bracket was secure according to the company that sold it so why bother to unload while Officer Friendly does DARE business?  He feared the perceived threat that  some some third grader forgot to take his ADHD medicine and might throw an eraser?

Attribute whatever irony you like to the final AP graf:

The shooting occurred while police visited the school for Red Ribbon Week, an annual national event that features a series of activities designed to raise awareness about drug and alcohol abuse.

How about another-colored ribbon week designed to alert kids to the danger of Keystone Kops abuse? I suggest one event for the affair. Governor Brown and Mayor Bloomberg lead a panel re-explaining why the police are the only ones qualified to carry weapons.





 

Oct 23, 2013

Oct 22, 2013

Bitch Bitch Bitch

It's been a little negative around here lately. No apologies, the provocation has been extensive, even without mentioning the thieving admirals and generals.  I even got to thinking I was wimping by saying only once that the shutdown revealed the puerile pettiness of Obama and all who wield power in the federal zoo.

But everyone needs a breather, so herein is one of the constructive solutions which will be the hallmark of my campaign to be your president.

My first legislative proposal from my Oval Office will be a resolution to repeal the 26th Amendment. With too few exceptions to mention, young citizens who have not reached their 21st birthday continue to confuse their procreative urges with ratiocination.

I expect the first tweet will hit the air within three seconds and moan "If'n I'm old enuf  to fite i Am old enuf to Vot."

I'm ready:

 "By golly Joe Bob that's a good point. Thank you, and as commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States, I hereby issue then following order: "No person under the age of 21 shall serve in United States armed forces."

It's a start.

Oct 21, 2013

Obama's Headline; Obama's Woman

The headline -- Obama: "No Excuses" -- for the Mack Sennett comedy of  his Obamacare signup is easy to dissect. It's Keystone Kops because you and your unicorns are running it with a primary aim of making yourselves feel good because you have "done something." I suggest you turn the web site design and administration over to the next random geek kid you see walking past 1600 Penn.

The woman in your morning speech is more profound and a better analytical tool. Among other things, it relieves us of ever again having to apologize for attacking you with no better evidence than a personal anecdote, made up or otherwise.

His Ineptness  claimed he "got a letter from a woman" who is just shy of orgasmic delight that he solved all her problems. She says her kid has ADHD and the "meds" (his word, the situation being too urgent for the full three syllables) cost $250 a month, plus frequent doctor visits. Then there's her own tendinitis, cost unspecified by the Obama teleprompter. But she did gush her gratitude to the president for insuring her for only $169 a month.

Figure it out. $250 plus doctor bills plus tendon treatment plus whatever other ills to which she may fall prey will be the responsibility of an insurance company which, on the face of it, begins its relationship with her (a) at the point of a federal gun and (b) with an assured loss of $81 dollars per month, plus....

If the Obama tale is true, and since you never heard of a medical insurance company going broke,  you may wonder how it works, who picks up the rest of the tab for this giddy woman's problems. Got a mirror handy?  




Oct 17, 2013

Eric Holder, Defender of Freedom

Eric Holder has decided to be  a nice guy and let a fellow publish part of his book.

Or maybe Eric figured the ACLU would win, making the AG look even more like a statist fool.

President Obama's top cop said BATFEE Agent John Dodson "may publish the book but that a few parts of will be redacted for law-enforcement reasons. The book, "The Unarmed Truth," is scheduled for publication in December by Threshold, a conservative imprint of Simon and Schuster."

It's about Fast and Furious,of course. Only a slobbering anti-government libertarian would offer to bet that redacting some parts serves the law enforcement function of  making General Holder look good. Or not so bad, anyway.

---

And in a late-breaking development, one of the teevee networks is saying "we" let some guy take a lot of hand grenades over the border for the Mexican drug bosses. Very possible, of course, given our weak grenade control laws -- the loophole allowing unrestricted frag traffic at American gun shows.






Oct 14, 2013

It's not shut down enough

Washington creatures of the green paycheck are supposed to be home playing canasta and and writing indignant letters to the editor of the New York Times.

(The Tea Party won't let me keep on doing good for my fellow Americans and, besides, I haven't been able to afford any Nouvelle Beaujolaise ever since Paul Ryan laid me off.") Or some variation on that theme.


There must be a loophole though, and I don't mean the one for gun shows.

We've just learned that  Washington, approaching its third closed week, is still taxing you and announcing more free money for farmers. Specifically, the Potomac Powers are forking over a quarter-million to help pay for alcohol pumps for our private gas stations.They'll let you -- and in time force you -- to run 30 per cent corn squeezings through your Honda.

Quarter-Million? "Peanuts," you say.  Well, maybe you're right. Chicken feed like that wouldn't even pay for the first five minutes of Michelle's next vacation.

---

"Free money?" Sure. If Klem makes a product and Barack tells his potential customers they *must" buy it, an artificially high price is set. The difference between that price and what the customers would willingly pay constitutes free money for the producer. Sorry to seem condescending, but a number of people don't seem to grasp the point. c.f.:"ethanol mandate."

EDIT TO CLARIFY: The quarter-million is for Iowa only; other states will be similarly blessed, so maybe the total will be enough to get Michelle to Hawaii, although it probably won't cover her greens fees.


Oct 13, 2013

Enduring the gun show loophole

It's hard to be bored at a gun show. but we're managing it. Maybe the fine weather is keeping people outdoors. Maybe the promoter didn't promote well. Maybe folks already have all the guns they want.

Dunno, but my entire gross proceeds so far are represented by a single-action .22 from Germany -- better than an RG but a couple of parsecs shy of a Colt.

(Pretty enough and only forty-five bucks because it wouldn't stay cocked and the cylinder wouldn't rotate. Putting the trigger spring back where it belonged fixed the cock problem, and a new hand spring will put the rest in order. It will still be a POS, but a functional POS, and for the price that's about all a guy can ask. I see it living in an old sock under a front seat, like a spare Linus blankie.)

---

My co-conspirators at our three tables had just about the same level of excitement. Our traffic averaged four or five tire-kickers an hour, but Sundays are usually slower so perhaps we won't have to keep up the frenetic pace today.

The real disappointment is the dearth of anything very interesting. A guy gets tired of being surrounded by professional FFLs trying to move Glockszenklones and plastic assault rifles all dolled up in pretty pastels.

And I'm really getting tired of my junk boxes. I just threw a bunch of plastic grocery bags in the van. They'll rest beside the over-flowing totes with a notice that you can fill one up for, I dunno, ten bucks, maybe five, certainly less in the final hour. Or maybe some other hobbyist is as bored with his miscellaneous goodies as I am. We could exchange stuff on a pound-for-pound basis.

---

I knew this government shutdown would lead to tragic times.









Oct 11, 2013

Berry beer lovers unite

I suppose libertarian readers agree that the wrong side won the Whiskey Rebellion, and just maybe they'll suggest that a new one -- about  beer this time  -- would not be amiss.

It's that durn gummint shutdown, again. Bad enough that most of the "essential workers"  still on the job seem to be the ones carrying guns and given the power to haul your sorry hooligan butt off to jail for taking an unsupervised -- and therefore illegal -- walk in the woods.

But now they're screwing around with your constitutional right  to an on-demand growler of gooseberry ale touched by a dash of dandelion pollen and a smidgen of Gatorade. That is, "craft" beer hustlers are facing their own barricades. Because there's evidently only one employee left in the TTB, a surly sort whose job it is to tell reporters it's closed and slam down the receiver.

The TTB? I'd never been very aware of it either. Thanks to the shutdown I learn it is the special Treasury Department bureaucracy in charge of giving permission to make beer, including stupid beer marketed to gushing neo-hippies who think a handful of sugar-steeped nettle leaves might improve a pint of Harp.

You will have gathered that I am less than thrilled with berry beer and all other variations which might be devised by Rachael Ray, but I will defend to the death Brucie's right to brew it and your right to drink it, even when the TTB agents of Eric Holder and Barack Obama are taking a paid vacation and therefore can't issue permission slips.

The job of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is detailed here, and you may be amused to learn your congress has given it the powers -- among many others -- to deny a boutique beer license if it doesn't like the label attached to the bottle.

If someone will endorse taking a Claymore to this tentacle of our squid government, I shall editorialize in favor.











Oct 9, 2013

Welcome, Janet

I see by the news His Ineptness is anointing you as the new Ben Bernanke. Savor it.  I am Janet Yellin Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System of the United States of America. 

Rolls trippingly from the tongue and carries a nice salary, $199,700 per annum, about a 20 grand raise from your current gig as second banana to Ben. Plus, I hear, the servant will wheel a silver service of fresh orange juice into your office each morning promptly at ten.

So I'm happy for you. It is much more promising than your rumored backup ambition to be corporate spokeswoman for Victoria's Secret.

TBC on a more serious note, but I wanted to lose no time at all in tendering  congratulations and wishing you every success.



Jim Chee, policy analyst

You don't go to Tony Hillerman's Sgt. Jim Chee for your political insights, at least not on purpose. So it's fun when you just happen to run across one.

Jim is working on a homicide on the Navajo reservation. The FBI is claiming jurisdiction and getting in the way of honest police work. He explains it as a life lesson to his young and lovely deputy, Ms. Bernadette Manuelito:

"It is a political law. Like physics. ... When a federal agency gets into something, the number of tax-paid people at work multiplies itself by five, raw number of hours taken to get it done multiplies by ten, and the chances of a successful conclusion must be divided by three."


Oct 8, 2013

Shutdown side bar -- Mrs. Obama is more equal that others

Not all .gov sites are dark.

Michelle's is up and running. It's a must read. Where else can you see her as sexy hip-hop stunner in one frame, then gushing about healthy federal chow (which the kids won't eat) in the next.

I'm gonna take your ball and go home

It is the soul-sliming pettiness of the thing, the "shutdown."

A paid vacation for a million bureaucrats has consequences, some of them probably bad, some perhaps good, but most as unremarkable as that bland tan paint you slap on the wall because you can't decide on a real color.

Beige is too neutral for fun television, so you have to create drama. 

"No, goddammit, you may not walk up to the Vietnam wall and shed a tear for your dad who died there because the Tea Party closed America." 

"And stop whining about all the black dot.gov sites.  Can you fools not see that permitting access to historical data bought and paid for years ago corrupts the nation?"

When a national administration spends hugely to erect steel barriers long the sidewalks meandering through open-air memorials, you know you are being governed by snit-fits. The teevee loves it. So do grandstanding politicians from the left, right, and muddle.

The same occurs when the world's greatest wire service defines the impact by caterwauling with a Kansas farmer who doesn't know what to do because he isn't getting the latest breathless crop-yield predictions from the USDA. Should he go short or long on wheat futures? He doesn't know because his vacuum head has no mental resources other than the federal government's guess about how much grain will be grown in America, Argentina, Greece, and Tierra del Fuego.

It has gone beyond the silliness of the absent park tour guide -- the kid in the Smokey hat in front of Lincoln's statue, explaining that cuddly ol' Abe freed the slaves.

It has become the dangerous confluence of a leader's snake-handling pentecostal oratory wedded to power on a national stage populated by chanting citizenoids massed in front of the Department of Treasure edifice. "Whadda we want? MORE. When do we want it. "NOW."  And forevermore.

---

Making all necessary allowances for "studies," does this help explain it?



Oct 4, 2013

Sixty bucks worth of gun porn, anyone?

Okay, let's start with Asian.











Ho-hum. Another old Jap. However:


A Type 99 or 38/99 with three kanji but no mum, ground off or otherwise. Smooth bore. A  school-boy trainer, never meant to fire live rounds except perhaps as an overly complicated seppuku tool.  It came my way for $40 at an auction two weeks ago, and since it isn't a "gun" I feel free to loophole it out at the local show next weekend. Maybe an even-up swap for a SW 25? Naah, probably not that much.



Switching to mature Americans:


















Boooooring. Old Winchester 1897 12-gauge tubes. But wait!



The little word on the right, just forward of the 20-incher's extension -- "cyl" -- spells factory original r-i-o-t.  Numrich would sell me one for about $275 if they had one. The other barrel, 26-inch full, would be upwards of $150, again if Mr. Numrich had one.

The Winchester tubes came at five bucks each, so if you are keeping track, I'm ten dollars shy of the $60 mentioned above. That's accounted for by:

--A take-off Remington 700 barrel in .222 Remington, with sights, grading somewhere between "damned good" and "near mint."  I'll put it out, but finding a reasonably priced 700 short action would be more pleasing than a sale. That was an excellent round, and I forgive it for grand-siring the .223 McNamara-Stalemate.

--The world's ugliest Mossberg .22 barreled action which I'll price at three or four times cost and probably sell. If you have ever been on the vendor side of the table, you may have been asked, "Gotta bolt for ________ ?" Often enough, it's a Mossy.

Sometimes going to an auction brings out my venality. No, actually I mean my spirit of entrepreneurship, my patriotic desire to stimulate the economy.



Oct 2, 2013

Shortest shutdown question yet:

If the government is closed, have we furloughed the Presidential Protection Detail of the U.S. Secret Service?

---

Edit to add on Thursday evening:  With the fracas in the White House/Capitol corridor today, the comment above may seem ill-advised. This blog has no Memory Hole, so I'm letting it stand as the off-the-cuff mockery intended. I add only that the TMR has a long history of opposing unprovoked violence against politicians and people.  
.

Another shutdown horror; Smoky Bear goes silent

It's a sane report on our October drama. It includes this line:

"The shutdown will keep park rangers from giving tours at America’s national parks, monuments and historical sites. "

That is true, but if it is important we are truly screwed.

I've listened to my share of  government ranger talks, often enjoyed them, occasionally learned something.  It is difficult, however, to view their absence as a signal that all is lost.

Let's consider Yellowstone, the, errr, icon, of our natural beauty bureaucracy. The ranger will tell you it's a big volcano still deciding when to erupt. That explains the geysers and natural hot tubs and the pretty lake's habit of sloshing water from one end to the other, as when you tilt a dish pan.

He'll also get to the wildlife lecture. Buffalo are big and hairy and can be dangerous. The grizzly might prefer a peanut butter sandwich but gladly settle for a bite of your privates. If you hear a buzz it's a good idea to look for a snake. Throwing rocks at the marmots is considered declasse.

In other words, he offers information which is new to the illiterate or, more likely, the bleating sheep dependent on being led to green grass by an all-knowing government shepherd, those ignorant of public libraries or the lacking foresight to type "y-e-l-l-o-w-s-t-o-n-e  w-i-k-i" into the search box.

Mr. Ranger is, therefore, a special needs instructor for those Americans who spent their classroom time doodling duckies and hot rods and -- having learned from President Clinton that he wears briefs -- spend the rest of the hour speculating what kind of undies the teacher is wearing. And I submit to you, kind reader, that stilling ranger's remedial tongue is not be confused with the final collapse of the Republic.

---

It is a tiny pebble, of course, in the big debate which is generating all the frantic  (mostly) teevee bloviation. Glue together enough little rocks, however, and you begin recognizing a  mountain, sculpted to look like an over-reaching, over-bearing government.












Oct 1, 2013

A coprolite by any other name...

The Affordable Health Care Act is to be preferred over Obamacare. Jimmy Kimmel proved it.

Would it be vulgar to observe that self-government doesn't work very well unless the governed take their heads out of their asses from time to time?

ETA: --   H/T to my man in the MSM