Showing posts with label Viable Alternatives. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Viable Alternatives. Show all posts

Feb 14, 2014

Much evil and confusion exist in our world. The center may not hold. I understand my duty to explain it all, but sometimes it's better just to go outside with your dog.

Feb 7, 2013

Officer Friendly - Really

Somewhere in Douglas County, Colorado, there's a cop who should be promoted to high federal office.

Schools there are understandably worried about a copycat of the Aurora or Newtown breed.  As usual there was a lot of talk about new programs, maybe useful, maybe  not, but certainly budget-busting. Then came some one's flash of brilliance.

Every once in a while in the course of a shift, it seems, the patrol officer must take care of his paperwork. The practice had been to pull over at some handy place and do the reports.  The anonymous genius, said, "Hey. Why don't we just have  our guys do the reports in a school parking lot?"

The little kids get accustomed to blue giants with guns and probably feel quite a little more secure. The cops are that much more familiar with school layouts. Their  frequent presence should help deter all sorts of slime -- from the random kid-groper to the armed warpies bent on a celebrity farewell party.

Cost? Roughly nothing.

C'mon, media. find out who this cop is and make him famous.

Jul 17, 2012

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,

May 6, 2012

Sinful Sunday Thought

I have a small project in mind. Strictly speaking, it requires a building permit. Even more strictly, the  building permit will not be issued without a variance because I live in a "nonconforming structure." That is, my little house, on about  one and 1/4 acres, sets only 30 feet from the rear property line. The Smugleye-on-Lake Commissariat requires 35 feet. No credit is given for the the 200 feet of grass and trees in front of the house even though the greensward fans out to a generous 310 feet along the road.

It costs $200  (actually, about the cost of the project istelf)  to beg for a variance. Nonrefundable.  The zoning czars and the variance czars will get around to saying da or nyet in a matter of mere weeks or months.

So, since the project would change no footprint, would be unnoticeable to neighbors,  and could probably be done without alerting the zoning checka, I'm thinking just going ahead and pleading ignorance or something if my victimless crime comes to official notice.

But that isn't the sinful impulse.

One of the village council commissars peddles used cars. After the customer agrees to the deal, he tacks on a "documentation" fee, that is, he makes the sucker pay for his paperwork. (light bulb in the text balloon)

I write up the variance request, cut the check, fill out the long building permit form, and let the SOL bureaucracy play with itself until the issue is settled. I then surprise the Smugleye Politburo with a dun, my documentation fee. "Net 30 days; 1 1/2 per cent per month on the unpaid balance thereafter...Thank you for your business!"

I respond to nothing they say, just keep sending "Past Due!" notices and, when the fun of that wears off, file a small-claims action.  That costs $30, and -- even with the variance fee -- it strikes me as cheap thrills. -- even if I don't slip a tip to a reporter friend known for her weird sense of humor.

Mar 4, 2012

Speaking of civil discourse...

Ron Paul finishes second in Washington and the local press reports;

 Attending his first caucus at the Labor Temple in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood, Dillon Smith, 31, vowed to write in Paul's name no matter who is on the ballot in November...

Good for you, Dillon. And it isn't a "wasted" vote. It is a statement of enlightened disgust, of which we have too few.

"I would rather die than vote for any of the other candidates," said Smith,...

That may be carrying things further than necessary. You could just move to another country, like maybe Malawi, where all of our over-the-hill celebrity sex sirens lived and adopted babies during the eight years of the Bush Administration.

... because the country needs someone who will "basically slit the throat of the federal government."

Attention all aromatherapy clinics in the Los Angeles-Frisco corridor!   Surely you understand that Dillon is speaking metaphorically and has not demanded ventilating any actual human jugulars.
Five neighbors who showed up from his precinct also supported Paul and voted 6-0 to elect Smith as a delegate to an upcoming legislative-district convention.

On the other hand, you never know. If I were a thug bent on violence, I think I'd avoid taking my jugular to Seattle's Belltown neighborhood.

Feb 24, 2012

Vote for Larry Correia

It's a fearful confession to make on this Blogovia street corner, but I rarely read science fiction. Even Heinlein. (If you catch me quoting him, it just means I clicked over to BrainyQuotes to cherry pick a piquancy in support of a point I made lamely.)

I have nothing against the art form, and I may be the poorer for not liking it.  But to me it's like goat milk; however lovely it may be, I am sufficiently pleased to know others enjoy it.

Nevertheless, I'm more than than okay with Larry simply from reading about him and sometimes visiting his blog. He's one of us and quite capable of penning any one's quote of the day, e.g:

You can click that for guidance on how you, too, may  "tell stuffy literati types to go screw themselves."

H/T Tam

Feb 19, 2012

New girl friend

It's been sickish around here for fully a week. Just a cold, bad enough to slow a fellow down to idle speed plus maybe a  hundred rpm or so. Yesterday I gave up and took to my bed -- couch, actually -- with the electric teevee on. The nap lasted close to 18 hours, broken only for the demands of biology,  human and canine.

It ended around 2 a.m with a cheerful awakening, the bugs either in retreat or on a tactical stand down, leaving me with an appetite an an attitude tolerant enough to actually focus on the flat screen where I saw most of:

Among Giants, c. 1998, from the Brits and featuring an actress to whom I've never paid attention.  She's an Aussie lass named Rachel Griffiths. Here she is Gerry, also an Aussie, a rock climber who hooked up with a crew of tower painters working in the  British Moors.  I spare you my plot summary. You can always Bing it if you want. But I foist upon you my view that Ms. Griffiths is a woman to behold, even though the skin magazines wouldn't be terribly interested. Not quite enough chin, nothing-much hair, an ordinary figure. So the attraction comes from what? I don't know and probably couldn't articulate it if I did. Probably just something unusually alive in her which the cameras can't help but catch.

In any case, I wish to thank Australia for producing her and the British film industry for bringing her to my  tellie.  For the latter it represents a great leap forward from The Barnicles of Wimply Street.

If you happen to be in my neighborhood, Ms. Griffiths ....


Feb 15, 2012

Bear in the Air*

Joel finds himself somewhat worried about new FAA regulations which could arm every Barney Fife in the nation with his own sky spy surveillance system -- straight optical, thermal, and, when the technology is ripe, x-ray for seeing through your bedroom curtains.**

Me too, but it may be an opportunity for some tech-savvy lad to start working on a new, affordable,  man-portable air defense system. I'm thinking along the lines of a smart .22LR, 36-grain hollow point. With the proper digital internals  -- fire and forget --  it would be just the thing for neutralizing  cop-snoop-robots with a takeoff weight of six ounces, including the camera. I claim naming rights: The TMR Fourth Amendment Special.  (C'mon. It isn't that much more linguistically awkward than, say, the .22/.30-30 Ackley Improved.)


*Objectionably young readers may not get this. It's from the 1970s era of the national 55 miles per hour speed limit. which (a) turned every driver in America into a criminal and (b) almost single-handedly created the CB radio industry. "Breaker breaker one-nine, Bear in the air mile post 69 makin' eights."  It meant a cop in a Cessna 150 was up there, timing youIt sounds best drawled out in Tennessean.

**Rick Santorum would love this X-ray bit. Seems the weather in Joel's desert empire  is miserable, giving him time to point out gaspers like this. Rick proposes to use this presidency to improve your sex life, apparently by making sure you get less.

Feb 7, 2012

Loophole AAR (or) I chickened out

My God How the Money Rolled in. Quite a lot of my junk found new homes. Same with the dealer leftovers I was liquidating.

And I recall promising if the junk moved as well Sunday as it did Saturday, I would buy something deadly enough to make Boxer -Pelosi hearts go glurg.

The vision materialized late in the loophole when a dealer friend offered me an outstanding deal on two pretty old Browning Nomads. I thought about the new Bernanke/Obama/Geithner cartoons in the mad-money fund, sighed, thought about a family opportunity, and concluded, "Naahhh."  Could the end of my adolescence be drawing nigh?


The manner in which the dealer junk moved interested me. Young guys bought the bubble-packed accessories -- tactical scope covers, P85 magazines,  anything painted camo, almost any macho thing you can plug-and-play.

Graybeards -- guys who obviously knew how to read a mike, which end of the screwdriver to hold, and what actually makes a cartridge go bang -- bought the swivel sets, odd reloading gear, and scope mounts.  There were only a few of the latter, and that makes me a little sad. It sort of confirms my feeling that the  country is becoming wanna-buy instead of can-do.


it's hard to say enough about how well the Emmett County Ike Walton league runs this little show.  For one small instance: when I checked in Friday afternoon, the Ike-in-charge made sure the table location was satisfactory; he was willing to move things around to make sure we were happy. Then, about four of his club partners traipsed out to the truck and carried in most of my gear for me. I don't recall that ever happening before, and this is a public thank-you to them.

Dec 31, 2011

The Montezuma Two-Step

Our hunk of Interstate 80 has three great qualities.

First, it's a rapid way of getting out of Iowa, albeit by the least interesting route available. (Eastbound, it also ejects you into the maws of Illinois SSR commissars.)

Second, it is America's most incontinent-friendly route.  In the 1950s and '60s, someone was having a sale on pissoirs and palaces to house them, and we planted them wholesale.  At the posted speed limit you are never more than 27 minutes from  relief. Back when our sappy official motto was "A Place to Grow ," a legislator grumpy about the cost of maintaining the "rest areas" said we should change it to "A Place to Go."

Third, it takes you within a few miles of Montezuma and (Mystery Revealed!)...

Where you may sit in a somewhat sterile front area, wander through the catalogs, and fill out your order.

And where you may peek through a window at, but not fondle,  Brownell's goodies.

And after your order is quickly processed by an extremely pleasant and efficient Iowa lady, you get to put your new essentials into your Homey Roller, bow to the Temple of Shooty Mammon, and be on your way to less interesting places.

It isn't as much fun as rummaging through Herter's during it's year-long quitting -business sale, but it's warmer than mail order, and you are permitted to discuss things with actual humans who are blessed with good sense. For example, I wanted a pint of magic cold blue, but they were out of the pint-sizes and had only the little four-ounce bottles at a roughly 50 per cent higher unit cost. I wondered if Brownell's might agree to sell me four 4-oz bottles at the pint price.  A quick phone call from the aforementioned nice lady to her boss yielded an instantaneous "yes," and she seemed as pleased as I was.

Good folks there in Montezuma. Stop by and say hi when you're in the area.

Oh. And, in case we Iowa taxpayers didn't afford you enough places to pee, be advised that Brownell's also offers gratis urinal access. Free Markets to the rescue again.

Dec 11, 2011

Sidebar on my youthful loves

The courtship of Margie did not prosper.

Not long after classes began in September, she entered into a relationship with with a much older man, guy by the name of Rex, about 16,  who had curly hair and one of the coolest cars around. Funny,  I can't remember if it was a c. '50 Ford two-door or a '50 Merc. Either way, it was lowered in back and had frenched headlights.

The blow to my self-esteem was devastating, and riding past her house on my Whizzer* brought no solace.

I yearned for a better world, a nation governed by men devoted to fairness and equality, a power structure which would have required Rex to share and share alike. Imagine, a law giving me ownership of that rod --and hence, presumptively, claim to the company of the lovely Margie  -- on alternate Saturday nights.

While it comes too late to spare me a life of regret, it is heartening that the egalitarian forces of President Obama are working so hard to spare other stricken lads such pain.


Note from a former exploited child

When 14-year-old Margie Rabbit walked out of the girls' changing room at the Expo Park pool, wearing the daring two-piece suit, I was pleased to have been a victim of human trafficking.

I belonged to a crew of young teens under the thumb of a slaver who hauled us from  field to field where we toiled in the hot sun, cleaning corn and cockle burrs from the soybeans for the profiteering ogre who owned the land. No sooner had we satisfied one such parasite than the crew master trafficked us off to another, hoes chopping and machetes swinging.

I was free to quit only if I was willing to forgo a Saturday afternoon ritual, the ceremonial distribution of envelopes containing money.

I hated the work. On the other hand, it was my best opportunity that July for wherewithal to invite  Margie for Sunday swims and hamburger-and-malted dinners afterwards. All on me. Damn the expense.

It's funny how easily the capitalist power structure was able to exploit my weaknesses, and I, for one, welcome the social advances  of the 21st Century where  
agents of my government conspire to spare young men such inconvenience and   (Dare I say it?) indignity.

It's from Stranded in Iowa, and for my money the post of the week, at least.

Dec 2, 2011

Survival food

I mean survival both before and after the SHTF. I mean biscuits. Home-brew biscuits as what's made back in the hollers where there ain't no bizkwik.

And I mean it a a small tool for financial survival for small households even before the politicians force us to create a Madd Max world.


Now, I'm not an aggressive food snob. I tolerate grocery-store bread just fine for toast and sandwiches.   Some are even pretty good. Around here we can get real Amana bread, excellent especially in the black and rye versions.

Unfortunately the actual cost is about double the shelf price because one person can eat about a half loaf before even the best commercial stuff begins to get that obnoxious musty odor and taste whereupon you convert it to very expensive bird feed. I like my downy woodpeckers and nuthatches just fine, but damned if I'll support them at something like a buck-fifty a pound.

So I make what grandma called scratch biscuits. And do it with minimum hassle, I make the makin's in quantity based on a typical old recipe:

2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt (scant)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda (a little less if anything)

That's the dry stuff. Stir it all together in a huge bowl, then:

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons shortening, preferably lard but a nice transfatty elixer like Crisco will do

Toss the fat into the dry goods and play with your food with both hands for a little longer than seems like fun, until you produce a crumbly mix.  (This business of "cutting in" with some sort of special instrument is tedious nonsense.)

1 cup milk

You already  heated your oven to about 350, so all you have to do now is stir in the milk. (It's okay to make a hole in the flour  and quickly! pour in the milk if it makes you feel more like Emeril and Alton and them.)

Stir it all up and hope you have a very sticky product -- just this side of runny.   Add a litttle more milk or water if you don't.

Take your rolling pin and place it on the floor as a dog chewy. Then take a big spoon and drop dollops of dough on your greased pan. (Any kind of pan will do, but cast iron lends a certain down-home, coon-hound, and 12 gauge-hammer-double panache to the process.)

Pat the dollops slight flat and bake for ten minutes or so. You'll have about eight biscuits, or a little over a day's worth for one.


Now, sharp-eyed readers have been wondering why a "huge" bowl was specified. It's because no one with a life wants to do all this every day.  You are going to quadruple or quintuple the recipe so you have to do it only once a week or so. Seal the extra dry mix in a plastic bag. It keeps a long time in your cupboard without going rancid,  longer in your ice box. Face it. It's Bisquick only better and cheaper and fresher.

Leading us to the question of extended storage against the era when life has become ungridded. Just leave out the butter and lard and it should keep more or less forever, until you've developed your butter-churning and hog-fat-rendering skills.

Further annotating the SHTF considerations: Dry milk can be mixed with the other dry stuff  and the biscuits will not be too repulsive. Or you can make the dough with water, ending up with a sort of fancy bannock which you can learn to like.

Back to the present: These things are good and amenable to refinements. For instance, add sage to the dough if you intend to grace biscuits with turkey gravy. Shredded cheese is good, either mixed in the dough or melted on top. Likewise a little sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, chili powder.  You can also substitute wheat or rye flower for part of the white. They'll just be a little chewier.

Come to think of it, it's all but impossible to screw them up which, I suppose, is why I make them.

Nov 29, 2011

What gun for grizzlies?

My pardner John swears by the Beretta Jetfire in .22 short. Since you never hike dangerous bear territory without a buddy, he reasons than when a furious old silvertip charges you can shoot  your trail-mate in the kneecap and stroll nonchalantly back to the truck. He seems to suggest an in-law as the ideal companion in these circumstances

Citizen of the month award

In lieu of a handy cop,  a guy can always try direct action.

Dennis Giehl was pulling up to his house. He saw a couple of strangers backing his other car out of his drive. He chased the apprentice criminals down. He took the car away from them. He whipped them both when they decided to contest his decisions.

Police finally arrived and the 47-year-old Dennis was pleased to turn the thuglets, 14 and 15, over to official gummint control. 

(When the parents get around to suing you for effing with their children's self- esteem, drop a note. We'll try to put together a little legal defense fund. Meanwhile please accept a "well-done," Sir.)

Nov 25, 2011

Over the river and through the loophole to...

I await arrival of the house-sitter and her irritable German shepherd.

The pile of shootie stuff is stowed in the camper. It will be my first gun show presence as a "vendor" in quite a while.

The quotation marks around "vendor" are used advisedly. More  accurately  stated it is an enthusiast who let things get out of hand  and desires to clear out a few more-or-less "parts" rifles,  trade one dandy Winchester 88 in .284 for more militant types of iron, and, most importantly, shed about three cubic feet of goodies. Things like vintage taxidermy supplies, a Flaubert lock, A Winchester '06 bolt, dies for calibers I've permanently abandoned, an old Herter's press.  

If you're a pack-rat gunny, you'll understand.  You acquire and acquire when prices are right.  Or when you've taken temporary leave of your senses. Every few years you reach a decision point. You either put up a Morton building or peddle stuff.

Of course, there's always the danger of  further acquisition at any loophole, regardless of what side of the table you're on. A man of strong resolve and sterling character can resist. I'll let you know how I do.


Note to self: Don't forget the black Sharpie.

Nov 24, 2011

Land of the Hoosier Hip --Occupy It

In Indianapolis exists a neighborhood called Broad Ripple. It is a Hoosier iteration of classic hip scenes of other cities (Old Town Chicago in the 60s; Greenwich Village in the 50s, etc.). People, mostly young, go there for eating, drinking, meeting, and a sense of  the pleasant side of urban living.

This creates an attraction for the other side of city life, the rapist, the mugger, the robber. No surprise. The underbelly parasites are always attracted to money and other-sex comeliness.  They have made looking for love, or arugula, or whatever, a somewhat hazardous thing to do in Broad Ripple after sundown.

In reaction, a movement has sprung up to "Occupy Broad Ripple with Guns." It's more benign than it sounds. Adult people are to quietly stroll the nightlife area this Saturday night, carrying openly and legally.

There seems to be a dual intent. (1) Remind the thugs that they do not own the streets, even when Officer Friendly is absent and (2) spread the word to revelers how they, too, may bear arms for effective self-defense by jumping through a few regulatory hoops.

I am decidedly wishy-washy about public demonstrations of any kind, and even more firmly ambivalent about open-carry events. But at the very worst, OBR seems like something that should do no harm and may do some good.  The mugging class  tends to prefer swimming in a pool of docile, surprised, and unarmed victims, and it's always good to dissuade them about your neighborhood. So have at it, Hoosiers. If I were there I'd probably join you.


Roberta has a good little essay on the matter, including a riff on the predicable outcry of the ubermeek that Broad Ripple is about to be taken over by gun-slinging skinhead racists. She's taken care of that nonsense. There's no need for repetition here, but it  did give me an idea.

I've always appreciated a retort to the soaked-Pamper Left whose idea of rational discussion is to shout "Nazi!" at libertarian thinkers, particularly armed ones. "We're not the Nazis, Binky. We're the guys hiding the Jews."

That thought occurs just as much of America prepares to storm the big boxes in search of cheap but neat Christmas gifts.

An alternative worth thought?

There is an organization known as Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.  You need not be Jewish to belong. So if you're stumped for something for Mr./Ms. Hard-to-Buy-For, how about a gift JFPO membership?  At $25 it's cheap enough, and it lasts a whole year which the gizmo from WalMart probably won't.

Oct 19, 2011

From Iowa With Love, 105 mm at a time

Some good ol' boys associated with Rock Island Arsenal -- but on the free side of the Missisippi -- are offering The Hawkeye. It's another upgrade of the venerable M119 howitzer, mountable on a light truck.

It has all the smart aiming digitals, but the key seems to be a very soft recoil system friendly to its little ride -- keeps the dirty side down while the three-soldier crew maintains a six-rpm fire rate. It's supposed to make shootin' 'n' scootin'  practical.

Geekery Note: Jane's International Defence Review has a more complete take on this thing, but I don't subscribe and can't link directly to the article.

Sep 16, 2011

Anda vun anda two ...

Scanning obscure bulletin board property-for-sale classifieds takes you to interesting places.

"2 br 1 bath home ...  new furnace and added insulation ... very cute with some updates ... perfect for a starter home or small family ... in Ringsted IA. Desperate need to sell ... $19,500 and offering $3500 cash back after closing. Willing to accept other offers. " 

My inner Donald Trump says you could walk into this home with $10,000 and wave good-bye to the previous owners in about ten seconds flat.Then you'd live with a bunch of Ringsted Danes. They founded the place in the 19th Century, and Wiki reports:

The St. Ansgar Danish Lutheran Church was organized by the city's original founders in 1882. In 1894, due to a theological debate about the word of God and activities such as dancing, the Danish Lutheran community was divided into two groups nicknamed "Happy Danes" and "Sad Danes" ... "Happy Danes" did not believe dancing was sinful. 

This dreadful theological schism persisted for a century and a quarter, but if I know my Lutherans the  jihad was effectuated mostly by refusing to shake hands except at weddings, funerals, threshing bees, and other solemn occasions. In any case, ecumenical harmony was restored four years ago when the warring dancers and long-faces officially reunited.

I haven't discovered if the union sanctions dancing, but if it does you might want to check out the house. A guy could do worse than spend his days living cheaply   and prancing the Dansk polka with happy Danes.  

Aug 26, 2011

More on Ben's Big Day in Beaver Country

Once in a while even the financial press gets things right. For instance, a report on what Fed Boss Ben might say in Jackson Hole this morning:

Economists said that the recent weakness in the economy stems from structural issues like foreclosed properties and an unskilled pool of unemployed labor that are immune from monetary policy stimulus.

Nailed it. The pool includes those famous young men who speak Ebonic, not to mention equally untalented alabasters, many with cool PhDs in, like, English Lit. (You want fries with your Bullwer-Lytton?)

If Washington and the state capitals leave things alone,  foreclosed properties will in due course become unforeclosed. They will  again trade briskly at their market value. If this means $40,000 for a six-bedroom stunner with lots of granite and travertine, so be it.

The pool of chronic unemployables  is a tougher problem,  but we might start by repealing minimum wage laws as they apply to apprentice arrangements.

We might also start by worshipping a damned good mechanic at least as much as we do a mediocre professor of Sanskrit.  

Mr. Goodwrench can thrive in the free market.  (He can read Marlowe in his spare time if he's so inclined.) 

But In 99 cases out of a hundred, the professor shares a trait with the welfare queen; like her, he can wax fat only at the public trough.