Jan 30, 2011

Yes, Travis McGee was that good

And we have it on excellent authority, courtesy of the Harvard Business School Alumni Review. It offers a letter to John. D. from an admirer:

Dear Mr. MacDonald, Would you please send me Travis McGee?…. I have read all the books you wrote and I am desperate because there are no more….I am distributing your books here in Europe, and everybody is deserting everybody because nobody will sleep with anybody when they have a new book of yours.”
(Marlene Dietrich, 1975)

Younger readers may wonder, "Whoozat?"


Jan 29, 2011

Hoplophobe hoot

This guy is news editor of the Grand View University newspaper in Des Moines. He is presumably unarmed, but terrifying. In a piece bemoaning  the recent  Iowa shall-issue law he writes:

I don't agree with police officers being able to shoot when they feel necessary but at least they are trained.

So, Devlin, you don't agree officers should shoot when, for instance, they desire to inhibit a crack-rattled 250-pound thug coming at you fast with a Louisville Slugger?

Of, if a cop makes a mistake, that the unnecessarily dead should be comforted because the bullet in his brain was not fired by an untrained amateur?

I suppose it's possible to believe that I cherry-picked the item, looking for the worst possible paragraph. (We've all written some stinkers, haven't we?)

No, down a little further:

The exception to carry guns should rely solely in law enforcement and military because I have never heard of a purely positive outcome after one has been fired.

What's been fired? A lawman? A National Guard PFC? (See Wagner's advice to high school freshmen on making referents clear.)  And, setting aside the tortured syntax, do you intend to spend your journalism career making universal pronouncements based on things you personally have or haven't heard?

Or what you hope, without actual thought?

I hope the clean background checks are enough to categorize people as sane enough not to incite a shootout with other gun carriers.

I see.  You hope shootouts are limited to folks with guns shooting it out with folks who have no guns. 


Ladies and gentlemen, we all have bad days, and maybe Dev was suffering through one, manifested in marginal literacy and more than marginal incoherence throughout the piece. 

On the other hand, we might be dealing with the error President Obama committed Tuesday night when he told congress and the world that every youngster "should have access to higher education."


H/T to Between Two Rivers where, by the way, there is yeoman work in keeping track of local efforts to gut the shall-issue law. 

Johnny, stop reading that. Right Now!

Crack history students at Westfield High School in Fairfax,Virginia, have a simplified task. They are to learn from teacher handouts, their private previous knowledge, and one, repeat one, book. 

The  teachers' rules are worth quoting. The reporter writes:

What did surprise some Westfield students and their parents was a sheet titled "Expectations of Integrity" included in the materials handed out by the three (advanced placement)  World History teachers. Their No. 1 rule discouraged random outbreaks of curiosity:

"You are only allowed to use your OWN knowledge, your OWN class notes, class handouts, your OWN class homework, or The Earth and Its Peoples textbook to complete assignments and assessments UNLESS specifically informed otherwise by your instructor.''

Perish the thought of fertile young minds polluted by, say, a wander through Commanger's Documents of American History or Gibbons' take on the last centuries of imperial Rome.

Reporter Jay Mathews was taken aback and asked the  boss about it.

Westfield Principal Tim Thomas told me he will decide soon whether these rules are okay. He couldn't say much on the record, but gave me the impression that the teachers, who did not respond to my request for comment, were only trying to be fair. Some students have more help and resources than others. They should not be allowed to use materials classmates cannot get. 

We're indebted to the Tweaker at  Where Sometimes Things go Bang  for this find and for the pertinent "Just make sure no child gets ahead."


I'm rather sure the publicity will move the teachers to hem and haw, "That's not what we meant."  I will then suggest they surrender their licenses to teach until such time as they have successfully completed a remedial course in basic expository writing. 


It is a bread riot, period.

The street warfare is domestic reaction to domestic sin, namely theft of the nation's resources by Mubarak's apparatchik.

The Muslim Brotherhood is undoubtedly pleased at the prospect of a Cairo power vacuum, but when 10 million mothers are too malnourished to produce breast milk, it takes no cabal of turbaned Pat Robertsons to create a certain amount of anger.

Yes, it may contribute to four-dollar gas in Pleasantville, but there is nothing the inept American foreign policy machine can do about that. What Hillary, President Obama, and USAID can profitably do is shut up.  Except for issuing a statement suggested by my buddy Joe in during a similar foreign goat grope some years ago. "We are sorry for your troubles and wish you all the best of luck. Have the last man standing send us a telegram. We'll be pleased to deal with him."

Jan 28, 2011

The January thaw is here. It began yesterday and will persist until this evening's  dinner hour,  topping out at 33 torrid degrees in mid-afternoon, then yielding to the next Canadian import. Tuesday and Wednesday night will be  somewhere in minus-six range. Around here the rustics abbreviate that as OFAGDSF. That is, "Oh fooey, another gol-danged scrotal  freezer."


I have an inconsistent philosophy about weather moaners. When others over-gripe about a few little feet of snow and a bracing Alberta breeze,  I'm often prone to huff that they should shut up or move to Arkansas. When I do it it I am merely exercising my First Amendment right to bitch. Use it or lose it.


The firewood stash is much diminished  but more than adequate for remaining season.  It is no longer a neat stack, and I've used a little more than I planned, probably because some of the ash wasn't as dry as I thought. Still, I should carry over a couple of months' supply to the  winter of  '11 and '12. This is known as a budget surplus, and I usually have one, confirming my long-held belief that I am morally superior to those in or seeking public office.


Being a somewhat weather-driven man, I naturally read the  Washington Post reports of the end of the world yesterday.  That led to a mischievous Bing search for the Capitol's fool-proof plan for evacuation in response to nuclear attack.  If you need a giggle as badly as I did, do the same.


This is the sort of thing you get from a fellow who feels compelled to write something but who has absolutely nothing to say. Please love me anyway.

Jan 27, 2011


Some news guy says, "They're getting rid of color terror alerts and replacing them with emoticons."

Fed Notes by the Number

...and with continued apologies to Ray Price,

"Troubles by the score...".


Stocks scared us witless, so we took our serious money out of equities and parked it in good old gummint bonds. I mean, they're guarandamnteed by the feds, right?"

Yes, Ben warrants the fed numbers, but neither he nor Tim nor Barack will touch the question of what your bond proceeds will buy. The private money gurus are increasingly at pains to point that out, almost as a matter of daily routine.  For instance:

Two reasons to be wary about bonds now is the inevitability that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates and the growing likelihood that some states may default on their debt.

Find what irony you will in another of Stacy's observations:

And, if you’re looking for an alternative bond investment, Lyndon points to corporate and utility bonds, which he feels, are “safer than treasuries and munis these days.”

That is, while the Government of His Obamaness and all of his plans for your prosperity are so much unicorn methane, that evil ol' private sector might just hand you a gas mask.   

(I'll pass for now on commenting on that sentence about muni default. It's just too depressing. Besides, I don't own any  bonds backed by the full faith and credit of the California Commission on Condor Restoration.   Illinois, either.)

Baby ballistics

The well-known instigator Tam has me sweeping brass from the living room floor -- .22 Super Colibri brass, to be exact. It is a way passing a few moments of dull winter.

As promised, I dug out the box I thought I'd filed in the "Miscellaneous" corner.

(There are four corners in this gun room. They are labeled "Will shoot," "Won't shoot," "Miscellaneous," and "Other."  But I digress.)

I stuck one in the BL22, stepped to the deck, and let fly. Of such simplicity is fun created.

The Colibiri descends from the old BB and CB short "caps" for .22 rimfires. It's purpose in life is shooting in places where conventional wisdom,  and sometimes the law, say there should be none. 

It looks a lot like the defunct .22 Long -- a Long Rifle case stuffed with a 29-grain bullet. The small difference is that the Colibiri uses a 20-grainer.  The big one is that there's no powder behind the bullet, just a hot priming compound giving you about 500 fps, a low pop instead of a bang, limited range and penetration. However, my lashup buried the bullet to its depth in soft wood 30 feet away, so the Four Rules apply.
The North Wind doth blow, so I plot for comfort. I will block the front doors open,  fire out the door, over the deck, across some 20 feet of drifted back yard, into a target, using the  shed as a berm.

The  target? One of those ridiculous little shovels with a four-inch blade and a foot-long handle, sold in better WalMarts everywhere as "roadside emergency tools."  (I gaze at it and  speculate on my probable need, to, some day,  inter a small budgie bird, at roadside, in an emergency setting, in soft earth. More is beyond its capacity. But I digress. )

Ram the handle into the snow and the blade makes a nice aiming point. Hit it and it moves a little.  I make it move 20 times or so, bare-handed and bare-headed in January. Grinning all the way, even at something like eight cents a round, counting the tax.

I can't really comment on accuracy other than that, offhand, I got consistent minute-of-useless-shovel groups according to my examination of the hit marks -- faint smudges of lead.


The Calibiri, left, next to a .22 Long Rifle.

The box warns that you should fire these rounds only through a hand gun because, it says, the charge may fail to drive the bullet all the way through the rifle barrel. Then, if you fire a full-power round behind it you'll wind up with Elmer Fudd's barrel  after the wabbit stuck his finger in the muzzle.  I report this at the command of the TMR Legal Review Section.

Jan 25, 2011

If you brought absolutely nothing to it, Obama's speech was a great one. He hit the buttons. It was inspirational and, just as his pre-address spinners promised, visionary.

If, on the other land, you listened with a bit of history in mind and a knack for translating poli-speak into English, you heard a call for a massive new public works program and tossing another few billions or trillions at the schools. You heard the patent absurdity that every American youngster "should have access to higher education."  Meaning, among other things, that decent plumbers, electricians, and carpenters will be even harder to find.

But at least he wants us to "invest" in high-speed rail. I didn't understand whether that comes before or after we rebuild our "crumbling" bridges which, as you'll recall from the news,  dump hundreds of Innocent Americans into our rivers and canyons every day.

More later, maybe. Right now I'm mostly inspired to get back to 1905 and see what else Bradley has to say about  The Imperial Cruise.

An excuse in advance

It's almost time, and I'm warming up my electric teevee for the big speech. In preparation I read the CNN preview and came across:

"It's very much a thematic, visionary speech," said the senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak more candidly ahead of Obama's address.

Translated to ordinary English,  this means the president hasn't much of a clue about what he will actually do.

... and you say tomahto

I was really pulling for the Illnois Supreme Court to stick it to Rham.  Now I'm not so sure.

Running second is Carol Mosley-Braun. That would be former Senator C.M-Braun, D-Nigeria. I can't think of another Chicago pol who makes Emanuel look so acceptable.

Let's call the whole thing off.


EDIT: (sigh) I just got called a racist for the NIgeria crack. Here's the reference,  Braun cluelessly schmoozing Abacha  and his kin.

Battle of the Goodbods

Michelle finally has her name up in lights. All America gazes at the marquee. "Bachman Rebuts!"

Meanwhile, Sarah reloads.

It's an American Idol spinoff. Swimsuit and complexion judges will be required to award the relatively elderly Mrs. Bachman an eight-year seniority handicap.

It's going to be a strange primary season.

Jan 24, 2011

Tomorrow evening's forecast

Windy with a 90 per cent chance of dingleberries.


If anyone can recall a State of the Union Address which had the slightest effect on the way in which we permit The Regulators to misgovern us, I should be glad to hear about it.

Jan 23, 2011

That's where the tall corn grows

One of the nice things about Iowans is that we're quite a little holier than others,  especially in keeping our boot on the neck of the rum demon.


My first "important" by-line beat was covering the Iowa Senate. Like a good little journalist I was religious about getting to know all the senators, often over a beer at one of the lounges handy to the  Capitol.

But not with one of them, a wizened little old Republican who always carried a Bible. We met in the cafeteria where I had coffee -- a drink he found suspect but tolerable for reporters, a notably pagan bunch, anyway. He sipped juice while I posed the usual questions-- main issues this session, his personal take on legislating, his political plans, and so forth.

It occurred that his senior priority was saving his fellow legislators from the evils of drink. Only then could they, without hypocrisy,  begin bunging kegs and smashing bottles, dumping the whole alcoholic shebang into one of our deep rivers.

"Why," he said, "Jim, do you know that some of these fellows  drink beer at lunch and then come back and vote  on bills?"

I suppose I replied something like, "Do tell?" and stifled the impulse to note that I'd never seen much difference between a soused politician and a sober one.

He made a lot of floor speeches on the subject and didn't have many Capitol Hill friends.  I lost track of him when I went east to cover other politicians, many of them also reliably tipsy, often entertainingly so.

When ever I thought of him I assumed he just was a final throwback to the Hoover days when the Methodists, Missouri Synoders, and the Farm Bureau unquestionably ran things around here. Silly me.


Fast forward to 2011 and the latest from The Golden Dome down in Des Moines.

Democrat State Senator Brian Schoenjahn (D-Arlington) has introduced a bill that would make mixing any alcohol with caffeine a criminal offense.  Simple possession of such drinks would land a person in jail for 30 days and bartenders who mix caffeinated cocktails would cost their employers their liquor licenses permanently.  

It's about time. Who knows what sin is generated by that splash of Kahlua in youafter-dinner coffee. And as everyone knows, it is the Tullamore Dew in a cup of Folgers which is responsible for the downfall of the Celtic race.

I don't intend to turn the TMR into an "Iowa" blog, but this one looks like fun, and I'll try to remember to report its progress. Meanwhile, I simply bask in the purity of  thought surrounding me.

Just missed it

It takes a temperature of 20 below to trigger the B&B rule in this area. When invoked, B&B grants license to Bitch and Brag, that is, to bitch about the  cold and brag about how comfortably you are surviving it because you're, like, real smart.

Officially, it's -19 the airport right now. Unofficially it's -17 at  the homestead.  So b'ing and/or b'ing would be wimpish.

Nevertheless,  I am instructing the butler to add another log.

Jan 22, 2011

Guns and booze

One of the OMG arguments attending the new Iowa shall-issue status pits the pure of  heart against the provision allowing concealed and open carry in bars and restaurants. It is not one of the easier areas of the debate.

I do my own drinking unarmed, and I confess I'd be a shade nervous about sharing bar space with an excitable woman packing a belly full of tequila shooters and a Lorcin in her cleavage.

It would be more comforting to be absolutely sure there are no weapons in the joint. (Say, isn't that a unicorn angel watching over us?)

However: I'm less concerned about a  packing citizen who went through the CCW process. He, or she, has a clean background and has been exposed to at least a rudimentary education in firearms safety and responsibility. And if he values his CCW permit,  as almost all of us do, he will be very careful not to abuse it.

The real worry is the thug with a rap sheet who walks in with a bad attitude and a stolen Glock in his boot.  No change in the CCW law, or any law, will deter him because he is a criminal, and criminals, by definition, flip the bird at laws.

Just for the record, and for what it's worth, the new law allows you to have a drink or two while carrying, but when you hit .08 blood booze the permission stops. 


Jan 21, 2011

Say, while he's up there schmoozing with Immelt, shouldn't the president bow to an honorable chapter in  General Motors history?

Shouldn't he publicly thank the company for its millions of short-barrel, high-cap, assault weapons?

Per capita, the great divisor

That previous post was, of course, based on today's news-cycle story as defined by Mr. Gibbs. Obama is heading for upstate New York to huff his pride in General Electric's $755 million contract with the Chinese.

The deal has been years in the making,  but never mind that. If a little unearned  credit sticks to His Obamaness, well,  heck, that's okay with him, 2012-wise.


A five-buck Chinese calculator is  the most useful device in existence for analyzing political rhetoric. For instance, if Mr. Obama used one to divide  $755 million by 308 million, he would discover the largess he sorta created amounts to $2.45 for every man, woman, and child in America.  (Assuming of course that the whole shebang is pure profit.)

I don't know about you, but, by cracky, my Escalade is gonna be a white one.

Barry's neighborhood organization v.2

America's most successful organizer of neighborhoods south of the Blackstone Hotel may be laying the groundwork for a career move. Up until Mayor Daly gave him permission to be a U.S. senator, HIs Obamaness  made a living on street corners, haranguing  the welfare class to stick it to Duh Man.

His priority seems to be shifting to making sure Duh Man loves him, maybe even enough to reserve a nicely upholstered chair for him somewhere in the Wall and Broad neighborhood upon his retirement from government service, in, one hopes, 2012.

He has appointed General Electric Boss Jeff Immelt to head up a new federal Chablis klatch called the "Council on Jobs and Competitiveness."

This replaces the old Obama  Economic Recovery Advisory Board, whose demise remains unlamented even among the 769 Americans who were aware of its existence. (This number includes the 466 payrollers who earned their livings typing memos and pouring wine for said council.)

AP paraphrases Obama's thought processes this way: "Obama, in a statement after midnight, said the council's mission will be to help generate ideas from the private sector to speed up economic growth and promote American competitiveness."

(When I say dimwitted things, I try to do it in the wee hours, too, Mr.President.  So I do not criticize your timing.)

Well, I probably won't be appointed to the council, but I generated an idea anyway, andI hope it's okay with you if I say it:  Mr. President,  call your favorite congresspersons and economic advisers and invite them on a pleasant golf vacation, preferably at that nice Ulan Batar course. Check your voice mail every couple of months. If we need y'all, we'll let you know.


The old council held the usual conglomeration of successful union bone crunchers and government has-beens, but it was dominated by NGO guys who made their bones running conglomerates with hefty government contracts and/or selling one another repos to protect their Singapore pickle-futures positions.

It's a lock that similar parasites will run the new council, which is a shame. Because among all the names with even the remotest chance of getting to stir their coffee with White House spoons,  not one will have the balls to address America's First Orator thusly.

"Sir, like most of Washington's stupid meddling, this council and -- more to the point -- its premise are a bull on Ex-Lax.  Governments don't create jobs. Governments create positions for slugs and thugs who get off on extorting citizen's honestly earned wealth, then (a) passing it  around among themselves and (b) using the residue to buy voting blocks. Me? I just discovered my parents were married, so I quit."

All by itself, that wouldn't be enough to make it morning in American, but it would reveal a tinge of orange just peeking over the eastern horizon.

And if that ain't professor Von Mises' own ever-lovin' truth I'll kiss Geithner's inflationary arse at the Bureau of Printing and Engraving and give you a full day to announce the festivities to all your Acorn buddies.

Jan 19, 2011

What, if anything, happens in their minds?

All across Iowa, local governments are tinkering with ideas for gun bans for public buildings. It's a reaction to the new shall-issue law. Up in Dickinson County, the hoplophobes didn't get far.

A county supervisor named Paul Johnson introduced  a resolution to post no-guns signs at the court house and other county buildings. And he sure wanted you to know he is passionate about this.

"I will err on the side of going overboard as opposed to not going far enough," he told the board.

This sublime logic of  Johnson's statement was lost on the other four supers, and his measure died for lack of a second.

I think more than one of his constituents grins at image of Supervisor Johnson madly treading water next to his row boat and screaming (passionately, of course)  that he was only trying to do good.

It helped that County Sheriff Greg Baloun calmly reported to the board the ban would be unenforceable short of setting up a TSA-style security gate at every door.


Fifteen below.

This makes me cheery because the season is so far advanced I can speculate that this clipper may be the last nasty one of the winter.

(See the midnight grave yard; hear me whistle.)

Jan 18, 2011

Cowboy fantasies

It's the summer gun, a Browning for the plains days when a tee shirt, scabby jeans,  and tennies are your basic tactical outfit.

The  July sun glints from the can some slob dropped. Your pleasure is in making the glint jump, 15 times without reloading if you're perfect with your long rifles, 22 times with shorts, a fire power haiku .

The BL22 comes from Japan, precisely made to occidental specifications and as smooth a lever gun can be. It hangs on the living room wall, in deep winter a constant reminder that the world will awaken again.

The real cowboys would have loved its action, quiet for the breed and speedier than anything they knew with its 33-degree lever throw. 

In my 1960s hippie-dippie garb I would never be mistaken for a cowboy. That is a problem only for others.  The Browning in hand, I am Rory Calhoun, and the womenfolk back in camp tend the dutch oven in perfect safety.

Haiti Cheri

The teevee pundits are all over themselves wondering why Baby Doc came home.  The dunderheads. Two simple explanations cover it.

1. He's run through what he stole prior to 1986 and needs to replenish the numbered accounts.

2. Not even the French could stand him anymore.


And isn't it weird to think that if the cheering throngs who greeted him at Port au Prince put him back in power, it might represent an improvement on what those poor bastards have suffered in past  quarter century?
I don't know how I feel about the California future, the coast cracking off and sliding down the continental slope when San Andreas burps again, brush fires taking out everything up to 4,000 feet.

Or the latest revenge of the Cosmos, the central valley flooded by Noah V. 2. (No kidding, the geologist mentions 40 days.)

On the surface, ridding ourselves of the California SSR menace seems like a fine idea.   But  the silly place has long attracted otherwise perfectly sensible Midwesterners*, and a fellow hates to think of them so badly inconvenienced. Life is full of moral quandaries.


*It is long suspected that these transplanted flyover-country folks -- along with the swarthy illegals -- perform whatever useful work gets done out there.

Tan me hide when I've died, Clyde

Nothing like good chuckle to lighten an arctic morning.

The kangaroo stomp, at Brigid's place. 

(Besides, it is about the correct length for an internet video -- 12 seconds.)

Jan 16, 2011

Sunday Mission

It isn't usually this bad, although it will never win a New Yankee Workshop award for compulsive neatness. Too many late fall projects -- plus the tendency to toss stuff into the shop just because I can't immediately think of a better idea -- have left it in this chaos. I couldn't put my hand on a  two-inch C clamp if my life depended on it. 

And so to work. The Knipco is drinking kerosene, and in a few minutes it should be warm enough to turn to out there.

If I post an "after" picture today, you'll know I was diligent. If not, you can ask me which book I decided I must read immediately.

Ahhhhhh, that's better

For two days the wood stove has been cold, and for no better reason than pure, cussed laziness, the Commandant's Quarters at Camp J (home of the Northern Expeditionary Force) has been heated to 78 degrees with propane, the first time this season the little gas furnace has been on.

It made me feel unmanly. No man ought to secure comfort with no more effort than twisting a knob. So, as of 0906 local, the  flames dance and a ready supply of wood is on the hearh.

Yes,  I feel much manlier.Thank you for asking.

Jan 15, 2011

With or without a Glock,

it takes no wild flight of imagination for me to visualize how hideous I would look in a red g-string, so I guess I'll need to continue my non-violent approach to disciplining congressfolk.

Jan 14, 2011

It probably will happen

My pal Fred is salivating over the prospect of of some guy on a copy desk penning the headline, "Democrats Take Aim at Gun Lobby for use of Weapons Metaphors."

Another wheel barrow of bank notes, if you please, Mr. Bernanke

A guy who has made his bones in the commodity business, Jim Rogers, is worried. He doesn't  think we're necessarily on the road to a Mad Max world, but, then again, he isn't sure we're not.

Jim stares at $3.15 gasoline, $4.35 copper, and $6.40 corn and says the prices will go much higher. Maybe by enough to make us think a little more seriously about governments falling and street riots by the hungry.

Some governments and some politicians might respond by blaming speculators for rising prices. He used the example of how exchanges in India will sometimes be forced to shut to cool down rising commodity prices. “But every time it happens, prices go higher and higher. That’s the reaction of a simple-minded politician,” he said.

(If  "simple-minded politician"  is hate speech designed to move some loon to start shooting, well, I sure do apologize. And imagine how the Left would get after us if we proposed that our money be backed by something more glittery than an Obama turn of phrase.)

Jan 13, 2011

Lucky John Wayne

Maureen O`Hara Photo

Just warming up my morning, here, folks. The weather also requires wolverine fur, mukluks, and a certain ration of uisge beatha   

Iowa top cop: Law, schmaw

It's no longer news that Iowa has has just become a shall-issue CCW state. A little less known is a Dec. 29 letter from Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, D, telling local officials they have authority to forbid firearms on local public property.  Two things stand out.

(1) --  Miller's letter shunts aside  a broad state pre-emption statute and advises local officials to get around it by using criminal trespass laws to prosecute a CCW holder paying his property tax over at the court house. That, in turn, conflicts with another law exempting  public property from criminal trespass laws.

(2) -- The Miller letter cites a single legal precedent for his opinion, a similar 2003 letter written by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.

Down in Sioux City (Woodbury County), they're not quite buying it yet.  Yesterday the supervisors defeated a motion to ban CCW holders from carrying on public property. The news could be better. The vote was 3-2 against the ban, but at least one of the supers said he might change his mind if someone could offer a better means of enforcement. That's a coded message meaning country taxpayers should fork over a little more for metal detectors at court house doors.

Jan 12, 2011

About time someone in the MSM said it

Congresswoman McCarthy notwithstanding, this fellow thinks a rape of the 2nd Amendment doesn't look too likely in the near futue.

Democrats have been so spooked by the issue, party members and gun-control advocates say, that few are willing to push hard for tougher laws. Several days after the Giffords shooting, Democratic leaders in Congress have yet to weigh in, and President Barack Obama has also been silent ahead of his arrival in Tucson.

We'll soon be seeing polls claiming public opinion favors tighter laws, especially on the "high-cap" issue. That spike will flatten quickly.

Well, it made ME laugh

My buddy John says:

"A 9 mm is a .45 set on 'stun'."

Jan 11, 2011

Reloading Note - Bullseye

Random Acts of Patriotism features a photo of a maimed revolver which appears to have been destroyed by a massive loading bench error, possibly a double charge of powder.

Reloading is as dangerous as negotiating the on-ramp of an urban freeway. So you say to yourself as you unlock the reloading shack, "Let's be careful in here."


Bullseye powder is almost as old as the 1911.  Over its 98 years, it became almost the de facto standard for, among other things, .38 Special target loads.   You capped  three grains (or a little less)  of it  with a 148-grain lead wad cutter for cheap and pleasant afternoons at the range.

The problem lies in its almost non-existent bulk. Responsible amounts all but disappear in the case, and six grains amputates a thumb as it destroys your Officers Model Target.

I still use it once in a while for a number of plinking loads. But I treat it like a pet cobra, My most religious practice requires a very bright  flashlight.  Charged cases are neatly aligned in the loading block and carefully inspected -- not glanced at but inspected -- one by one,  in a regular order. Anything that looks even slightly unusual is dumped and recharged.

It isn't fool proof. A double charge is not necessarily obvious, but it should be apparent if your attention isn't diluted by memories of your first girl friend or a  bacon sandwich or something.

Most other powders are bulkier. Overloads are more apparent. But in my shack, the flashlight routine is used on them, too. I am pleased with my opposable thumb and desire to keep it attached.

Please pardon the preaching.

Jan 10, 2011

Now, again please, what did you say I couldn't say?

The TMR had planned a little Bing work to illustrate that we anti-gummint types do not hold exclusive rights to vivid speech.

No need. Kurt beat me to it.  

Nothing much needs to be added, except maybe His Obamaness's pledge to keep keep his boot ready for neck-stomping.

Mental health

Analogies prove nothing.

With that out of the way, let the debate about who's mentally ill and who's not tip its hat to an historical  observation.

In the fullest flowering of 20th Century tyranny -- Hitler's perhaps excepted -- a favored method of  of human control was to dump inconvenient people into psychiatric hospitals, Lubyankas with white-coated attendants.

Here we go again

A guy wishes we could let some of the Tucson dust settle before we begin what I suppose will need to be an epic defense of rights guaranteed by Amendment Two.

Not that our adversaries will take a deep breath and do a bit of thinking . The most usual of suspects, Carolyn McCarthy,  is on the home stretch to orgasm with her new opportunity to decide what sorts of rights should be sacrificed in the wake of the Tucson madness. Right now.

Good politics, there, Congresswoman. Your plan to get your new bill filed today or tomorrow represents a sterling example of trying to draft carefully thought-out legislation.

And then, in the same Politico report,  there's:

Pennsylvania Rep. Robert Brady, a Democrat from Philadelphia, told CNN that he also plans to take legislative action. He will introduce a bill that would make it a crime for anyone to use language or symbols that could be seen as threatening or violent against a federal official, including a member of Congress.

Which is ill-advised unless we decide we must indict a certain high federal official for promulgating a symbol of death -- officially defined as such by federal authorities --  from and in the White House.


Photo credit:


Jan 9, 2011


1. The shooter had no political philosophy in any meaningful sense of the term. He was an emotional pimple and finally squeezed himself. The consequences are tragic.

2. The blaming of the gun is not so much muted as delayed.  The media is still in its obligatory "Oh, how 'horrific' stage."

3. This is useful. Without  the minute-by-minute expressions of  ratings-building abject grief, we proles might think it only mildly annoying that the guy murdered  a little girl, an apparently unobjectionable political operative, a judge, and three old folks.

4.  Our opinion leaders will get around to the full-force horror of the armed citizen, per se,  before too many more hours have passed.

Stay tuned.

Jan 8, 2011

Hi Ho, HI Ho

Off to the first 2011 loophole, a little c. 100-table production in sovereign state of Minnesota.  No big personal agenda for this one other than a bit of good-ol'-boy comradeship and junk-box snooping.

' course, I'll be strapping on the money belt. A fellow never knows when he'll run across another $850 Python.

Actually, I do need some small stuff -- pilots for the old Pacific trimmer,  a magazine release mechanism for a Winchester 69, a better magazine spring for the Marlin 38. I can hear it now, "Rotsa ruck, Jim."

Do I hope too highly that there's an issue 1911 frame, preferably Colt? Those lonesome slides and barrels are starting to get on my nerves.   Finding one would be  the neatest brazen act of loopholism I can think of.

EDIT: Nada.

Jan 7, 2011

G'day, Mate. Have a House on Me

The Down-Under bankers seem to be following the U.S. mortgage model. Y'all can afford any kind of McMansion you want. Trust me. After all, I'm a banker.

To achieve that modest goal of palaces for peons, they've come up with a clever new trick to (a) make would-be borrowers feel richer than they are and (b) to make their ugly (that is, unpayable) mortgages look like AAA investments.

To do so they're telling potential borrowers, "You don't really pay the rent you pay.  It's really part of your savings account, so we'll loan you more."

(The link takes you to a longish explanation of Canberra's latest whim, and, like Mythbusters, it should carry a preview line, "Caution, Economics content." But it's still worth the read for anyone interested in money as Charmin.)

Vintage and exotic gun porn in .32 ACP

Or, as the auctioneer announced it, 7 and, uhhh,  point 65 caliber, causing just enough confusion  in the country crowd that the gavel fell at $60, tickling the buyer to no end. At least it looks something like the Browning that inspired it.

It's a Model 1916 Astra patent, made by Esperanza y Unceta in Guernica, up in the Basque country, probably prior to the first great depression, the one  before this one. Nine in the magazine.  The barrel is marked "Hope," creating a certain insecurity about the confidence of the makers in its objective utility.

The apprehension was unfounded. The new owner might even have gone up to $100 on pure speculation that it was one of the good Spanish pocket pistols, and he would have won the bet.  Frittering away a remarkable sum of money running factory ammunition through the new toy, he experienced no malfunctions  and minute-of-thug  accuracy over the length of an average living room.  Or, as he remembers the session that cold afternoon,  groups of about four inches at about 25 feet from an F150 hood rest.

It hasn't been shot since, not so much because he agrees the .32  is a little light for heavy situations, but because of the reloading hassle. It tosses brass to Hell and gone, making the tinies hard to find. And he can never get used to placing the bullets over the neck with a pair of tweezers.

But it's nice enough to keep, and he'll probably pop for more practice ammo. Who knows when he'll need something small enough to slip under his cummerbund?

Workin' on the Railroad

Due to a particularly acute bout of sloth yesterday, I woke up this morning to a pile of embers in the wood burner and an empty wood box. This sent me outside to snag an arm load of  snowy billets from the pile, and that for some reason got me thinking about a recent chat with a friend -- a railroad buff --  who now works in the small city where I spent my boyhood.

Me: "When I was a little kid we could see poor Fort Dodgers carrying gunny sacks down on the tracks east of the Illinois Central depot to gather coal-car spillage. The railroad dicks left them alone."

Him: "I've heard about that. Now they'd just run down to the welfare office."

Yes, many of them would.

Then I wondered what we could say about the obvious statist objection that some people would, by superior strength or diligence or intelligence,  get more coal than others. Who would regulate the coal recovery workers in the named of fairness and equality?

The best answer I could conceive at this early hour is the coal pickers themselves, resulting in some ramshackle homes being warmer than others.

It isn't quite as cruel as it sounds. The very old and the incapacitated  always seemed  to get heating fuel. Might have been friends, churches,  Boy Scouts, Oddfellows -- all sorts of compassionate people feeling compelled to recognize the commonality of interests in helping one another, even before we sold our souls to the redistributionists.

Only those who suffered too many bouts of acute sloth were frozen out, rendering to Darwin his just due.


You don't have to use this small personal recollection to arrive at any grand macro conclusions about the way we do things in these latter years. But if you want to, it's okay by me.

Jan 6, 2011

Just a quick note about what I watched on my electric teevee a while ago.

The Fox news kids worked themselves into an orgasmic state guessing who would be the new White House press secretary.  They actually seemed to believe it matters.

Jan 5, 2011

Bigger and Dumber

Roberta is doing a nice little riff on the Goldwater/Reagan line, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have."

Recalling an Iowa story from about five years back.

State law at that time permitted slot-like gambling devices about everywhere, and a few of them turned up in ice cream shops and the like, prompting a holy outcry about teaching our children to gamble away their lunch money.

The gambling interests, however thug-like the breed may be, followed the law and invested millions in the machines. The political storm moved the governor to call for banning them everywhere, leaving that segment of the gambling industry twisting in the wind.

The guv's most cogent public comment on the matter was, "The Government giveth and the government taketh away."

Such pearls of wisdom elevated him to high national office where he is now the man in charge of takething away your money and givething it  to the likes of Monsanto, the Farm Bureau and assorted other ag interests hiding behind the sacred purity of the American family farmer.

I suppose it is okay, though, because as previously reported by the TMR, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack developed unimaginable agricultural expertise growing cherry tomatoes in a five-gallon bucket on his deck when he was mayor of Mount Pleasant.
The north Pacific blue fin tuna weighed 754 pounds and sold in Tokyo for $396,000. 

The record-setting price translates to a whopping 95,000 yen per kilogram, or about $526 per pound.

Or, in other words, about the same price  Bernanke, Geithner, Obama, and the ethanol mafia  have in mind for a pound of bacon.

Jan 4, 2011

Caring for your pregnant woman

It's the 13th  in a long list of ways to avoid horrible death, written by a Maine state bureaucrat who is a sure bet to wind up in congress.

H/T Tam

Not to be a copper bore again, but the stuff is selling at another record-- $4.40+ a pound. Lead has hit $1.17+, and this all combines to send me to town for another two or three Federal 550 bulk packs.

I'm already over my locked-away strategic reserve target, but a guy can never have too many rounds in the plinking can when there's every reason to believe that .22 LRs at less than 4 cents a round  are about to become history.

Jan 3, 2011

From the Poop Deck

You want to learn about lewd? Make an appointment.  I'll teach you lewd. Like a real sailor. Like the talk that got talked in the forward bos'n' locker on the USS Henderson.

Captain Honors of the Bird Farm  Enterprise? Hell, Mate, when it comes to lewd he's a brown-shoe flyboy (crudity whose referent is a WAVE's most private regions). He's Ozzie Nelson playing to Oscar Wilde.

Now, maybe the New Navy isn't the place for scurvy-arsed shellbacks who can still whip out a long splice blindfolded on the fo'c's'le at Beaufort 10 while belting out a chorus of On The Good Ship Venus.

So maybe Captain Honors  should have read to the crew from the Collected Wit and Wisdom of Joe Biden.

The main thing that really gripes my briny butt is the generality of the shave-arse  media lubbers screaming for his keel-haul. Who the eff are they to be evaluating anything saltier than whether the Lohan wench ought to spend another week in rehab?  Bunch of flotsam from Miss Porter's Country Day School, and they ought to shove a bung or something into their gaping polliwog chow holes.


"First we set sail for the Canaries..."

The Tea Party Goes to Work

Joe Scarborough is leading a not unintelligent discussion of raising the debt ceiling this morning. It covers some of the reasons why Washington's credit limit will be raised by at least enough to let your grandkids redeem those federal savings bonds you've been buying them all these years.

And of course to put gas in the cabinet officers'  limos, support a million and more more  otherwise unemployable androids in the bureaucracies, hire the curviest office drones for congressleches, and pay farmers to refrain from growing food.

The Obama Wing of economic stupidity is correct about one narrow point.  Government must protect its FICA score by desperation measures. It must borrow more long-term money to head off immediate default which, aside from robbing your grandkids of their college nest egg, would piss off China to no end.

Scarborough got some general agreement that the debt-limit debate could generate that storied "adult" moment in congress. The critters might say, "Yep, if we keep trying to buy some  peoples' votes with other peoples' money, we're shortly going to get our adult members caught in the wringer."

So let's watch the action on "reducing discretionary spending."  Let's immediately and scornfully dismiss the political posturing for what it is.

The critter to praise will be the first one who  votes against a new interstate highway spur in his  home district.


Publish Post

Jan 2, 2011

You meet the nicest people around here.

A good Texas cop named Matt   -- Better and Better -- is now on the TMR blog roll.

Death of a City

You know all you need to know about Texas -- that big braggart of a state where everyone goes around armed with a handgun, threatening peaceable citizens, and shooting up the town every boozy Saturday night.

And you know all about Mexico, that gentle southern neighbor where disarmed peasants go humbly around, doffing their sombreros to the damas, smiling "manana, senor," and donating their pitifully few small pieces of silver for a new bell for  Santa Maria's Cathedral.

Ahem. It isn't the guns. It is the politicians.

Massacres, beheadings, YouTube videos featuring cartel torture sessions and even car bombs are becoming commonplace in Juarez, where more than 3,000 people were killed in 2010, according to the federal government, making it among the most dangerous places on earth.

El Paso, by contrast, has had three violent deaths — and one was a murder-suicide.


The piece concentrates on citizens'  flight from a city I once loved.  It's the drug violence, of course, but the most frightening and revealing passage is about the federales' effort to figure out just how many Juarez people have fled.

Now, the Mexican army and federal authorities are going door-to-door, conducting an emergency census to determine just how many residents have fled.
Many people, however, refuse to answer their questions for fear authorities are simply collecting information about neighborhoods so they can begin extorting residents — just like the drug gangs.

Mexico is a failed country because it has been corruptly governed since September 16, 1810, and because its people have no tradition of standing tall and telling its dictators du jour to go the Hell. And because of the "war on drugs"  --  lost the instant it was declared.  When unworkable and unenforceable laws create a market so skewed that drugs easily command 100 times their pharmaceutical costs, the war lords are in control. No level of horribly expensive DEA macho can alter that.

RTWT, if you please.

EDIT: Link fixed -- to AOL reprint of disappearing AP original. Thank you, Billll

Home to The Big Chill

The kids and their kids treated me to a fine Christmas celebration over on the river. The weather for the 340-mile drive home wasn't nearly so accommodating, but at least it was diverse, beginning with rain, then fog, then sleet,  then snow. Sort of a mishmash including the worst of everything.  (Think Obamacare, here.)

So the trip took a little longer than usual, but the real shocker came when I opened the living room door. It felt chilly. A  thermometer check revealed 31 degrees. Some dumdum had set the thermostat on the new electric heater a little too low.  The good news is that the water didn't freeze, and that's a big bullet dodged. An armload of dry oak soon produced a comfy 75.

A standout gift came from a lad named Ryan who wrapped a surplus ammo can for me.  As one of the revelers said, "He knows his grandpa." I was touched and promised the boy I would use it  only for .45ACP, never desecrating it with a less noble caliber.


Onward and upward tin 2011. May you thrive. May we all survive to heap another year of scorn on the statists of the right and the statists of the left.