Showing posts with label Luddites at large. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Luddites at large. Show all posts

Aug 3, 2014

Hey Ms. Yellin...

I gotchur "2 per cent" inflation hangin' cuz I still still use a dangerous incendiary in a Zippo.

Observe the one on the right first, a gift late last year. The receipt was in the bag, about four bucks,  plus tax.

Now look left,  please, for a couple of pertinent points. The 57-cent price is an obvious hint that something has changed. I find it more compelling that the Ronsonol folks once had enough confidence in price stability to paint the price on the can itself.


Leftie has a bar code, dating it no older than the early '80s. It is probably newer.

You can pick your own year, do a little arithmetic, and calculate the depth of the Federal Reserve Board long-standing lie that "inflation is tame."

(The easy way is an adaptation of the  rule of 72;  price divided by  annual price increase equals the number of years necessary for the price to double.  At 2 per cent annual currency devaluation, a few ounces of fluid at 57 cents would, after 36 years, cost $1.14. )

Even easier to digest: The 7 per cent sales tax on the new plastic-pack Ronsonol was about 28 cents. So the tax alone, now,  would have bought a half can of the product then. (The anal who wish to quibble over the odd penny and the 4 or 5 per cent c. 1984  tax on 57 cents are free to do so and will be enthusiastically ignored. Likewise the the additional half-ounce in the new packaging.)


Fer cryin' out loud, Jim, how the heck did this tickle your muse on such a  fine Sunday morning?

Glad you asked.

I've spent a couple of days massaging fiberglass to make permanent a "temporary" (read "slapdash and ugly and not too effective") repair on the leaky Texson camper  roof. This sort of thing requires acetone. So I rooted around in the place where I store volatile chemicals. No  acetone.

But I found the Ronsonol can, nearly empty, and noticed the price.  All else followed because I am lately most interested  in the scope and depth of lies by politicians and public-tit economists.

Despite everything, however, I am incredibly pleased with myself because among the flammables and explosives I found a long-forgotten sealed gallon of Holiday gas stove fuel and noticed its label claim to be a "naphthalene product."

So is lighter fluid, so I dunked the Zippo in it. Worked fine.  I topped off both Ronsonol cans.

Somewhere in the majestic vastness of American law this simply must be a criminal act, at least an OSHA or hazmat offense. So I apologize for an illegal act of personal inflation amelioration.

Please don't put no choke hold on me, Officer Dan.

Mar 29, 2013


Jan 5, 2012

Lego Arms, Inc.

And while I'm skulking around Broad Ripple, peeking in Roseholme Cottage windows, Tam offers a worthwhile take on the perils of plastic glued to what the Glock factory alleges to be guns useful right out of the box.

She grumps about coal-tar sights. My disgust goes a little deeper. Plastic is for covering bowls of leftover chili.

Nov 30, 2011

For all you Chevy Volt haters...

It took  a few decades, but General Motors has managed to recreate the pyrotechnic potential of the Ford Pinto. You'll all recall the little pony was reputed to enjoy exploding its gas tank in relatively minor crashes.

The piece also justifies its existence with a single sentence:

"As Robert Bryce points out in his book Power Hungry, electric cars are the "Next Big Thing. And they always will be."

Oct 22, 2011

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

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

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


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

Yes, THAT Kelvin.

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

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

Feb 25, 2011

Elmer Fudd to the rescue

We don't have as many hunters as we used to, but plenty of us still lurk in the forests, plod through the brome, climb for bighorns, and (masochistically, if you ask me) sit on our damp and frozen arses in dark swamps, waiting for the ducks to fly at sunrise.

How many? The official USFWS guess was a little over 12 million licensed hunters in 2006.  Other estimates run much higher, But even if you accept the government guess and then cut it in half, we field more than six million armed men and women who at least think they know something about field craft and shooting.

That just happens to be roughly the number of souls in the armed forces of the largest four foreign military establishments combined.

I wonder if the Pentagon has war-gamed this?

Yeah, I know invasions a la June 6, 1944, are the archaic visions of grouchy old Luddites. On the other hand, when General Dynamics, Rockwell International, and other merchants of highly technological  death start demanding payment in gold, even I with my sporterized 1903 might start looking militarily viable.


North Korea and Russia, 1.1 million each, India 1.3  million, China 2.3 million.


(h/t Alan.)

Aug 28, 2010

Otherwise at the loophole...

A buddy got a fine deal on a Marlin Model 92 offered as a "parts" gun. It was missing only the butt plate, and you make a mistake to underestimate this man's stock-making and general restoration skills.

I was less lucky and settled for a good Lyman 358495 mold (147 -grain wadcutters), a GI . 1911 magazine, and a funky old .22 gun belt,  solid, but  missing its buscadero style holster. It  looks keen hanging next to the spurs.


If I ever decide  to reload 9mm Eurowimp,  the  Lyman bullets will let me enter the caliber wars about whether 9mm Parabellum  using 147 grainers is a "good defense load." I will undoubtedly  straddle the fence and prove it is OK in Europe, but not here. Then I'll get to quote Colonel Cooper again. "If you shoot a European he will sit down on the curb and cry. If you shoot an American he will shoot back."

Aug 22, 2010

One shot

You begin with a  $30 junker, sound but showing the scud of a half-century living on spikes driven into the barn beams and rattling around in trunks.  Who knows what meals it put on a plank table? What thugs it deterred? It has earned its makeover.

Just a couple of hours later you have a nice, clean handigun with an ideal barrel -- just long enough to be legal, plenty short enough to annoy  Senator Harkin. The stock finish is Johnson's Paste Wax over the steel-wooled original. The metal  is tacticool, smoothed with  100 emery and coated with flat black Krylon. Okay, it is still a $30 gun, but it's a non-ugly $30 gun of greater usefulness than before. It will probably live semi-permanently in the F150, along with the Cattaraugus 2250, a handful of 00 buck, and a box of No. 4s.

Feb 20, 2010

Making a Home Unsalable

Brigid reports photographically on turning a powder measure into a lamp. Since her ranch is on the market, that leads to a funny discussion of the predicament shooters face when they decide to sell their homes. I've been there, and it isn't fun to get your butt all culture shocked by suddenly having to deal with the general public and a particularly objectionable subset of it -- the dreaded real estate peddler.

They +always+ insist that you change your house around to a sterile nothingness that would bore even a Nebraskan. I guess the idea is that any personality evident in a home scares the bejeezus out of house lookers, and that even a hint of gun grizzardry sends them screaming madly for their mommies.

So, as the photo suggests, I'm in trouble if I ever decide to leave Camp J. The "good" weapons are vaulted up, but I have a hard time living without reminders of the American frontier close by. For as long as I can remember I've had a lever gun hanging purdy in the living room, and sometimes a six-shooter keeps it company.

What you see is what's current in my Cowboy Corner, though I must apologize for the bland white behind the BL22 and the 94. The drywall is doomed, firmly scheduled to be replaced by honest pine very soon.

A very naughty two-word response is available for house peddlers and tire kickers who find it useful to tell me all this is offensive. (Actually, I need to trot it out for a couple of cousins every once in a while, too. It is a family curse that too many of my extended kin get their ideas -- decorating, manners, politics and all -- exclusively from Redbook, HGTV and Oprah. )

(APPENDIX 1: The framed item left is a copy of a Kentucky land warrant for direct ancestor John __________, a three-percenter who earned it as a soldier in the Virginia Continental Line. The stuff hanging is another self-conscious coup-counting device -- credentials from national political conventions and junk like that. The little revolver is one of Bill Ruger's early products, in the family for 41 years.)

Nov 19, 2009

I'm afraid I must insist

that you go immediately and read the work of the lady Kevin was quoting. (See previous post here.) Be certain to check the third comment on Patricia's spoof. It proves that P.J. O'Rourke, while correct, was too parochial when he wrote, "The defining trait of the American left is sanctimony." He should have added, "Canada's too."