Sep 24, 2011

Hat tip to the healers

A good lad is recovering nicely from the healers' cuts, and he thanks all of you  who sent kind thoughts.  As do I.

Dr. Skilsaw discovered a Meckel. He did the necessary repairs and thinks his work will put an end to  a long spell of unexplained stomach pain and anemia.

Sep 21, 2011

Why we're broke -- bonus report

Iowa education bureaucrats are in the midst of their annual back-to-school group whine about needing more tax money. They want a 7 per cent boost to maintain educational "quality" at the three state universities.

Meanwhile, down at Iowa State, quality is also on their minds. Prexy needs new downstairs carpet in his prexial mansion. Not just any carpet  mind you. His feet must touch nothing less than the finest wool from superior sheep. The tab is $90,000 from foundation funds usually thought of as a source of scholarship money.

But it's all okay because image is involved here. We sure as Hell wouldn't want to be throught of as a bunch of trailer trash hicks with plain old nylon rugs.

"(Regent Bruce) Rastetter said, “And I think we all know, and having been to events, that the residence of the presidents of the university are really important in terms of fundraising, in terms of highlighting student scholarship, in terms of dignitaries and people that come here, that’s one of their first images of the university.”

If that doesn't tell you most of what you need to know about the shallow-brain dimwittery involved in running our public schools I'll kiss you arse under the campanile and give you leave to invite the entire membership of the AAUP. 

Why we're broke

Give your favorite U.S. Department of Justce bureaucrat a cookie, but not just any cookie. His taste has become too refined for Kraft and Keebler's.

Nothing less than than a $10 cookie will do. At least as long as you're paying. Muffins are a little higher for Holder's Horrors. They're  about $16. Coffee to wash  it all down comes to about 8 bucks a cup.

All told, Justice spent about $121 million on  posh "conferences" in 08-09. Those were Bush years, but auditors say the guys and gals are still satisfying their sweet teeth at a half-buck or so per empty calorie.

Which brings us to the Obama plan to soak millionaires. If he gets his way we first find 121 dudes earning one million per year and take it all, every penny. That will cover the  top cops' cookies and muffins, so we'll be well on our way to meaningful fiscal reform.
Please cast good thoughts into the air. A young man I love is ill, and the reasons are not clear to doctors. Exploratory surgery is planned.

Sep 19, 2011


I finally got around to working up a redundant locking system for the camper. The tail gate  is up as far as it will go, to an angle about 30 degrees short of vertical where it makes opening the door impossible.  It secured there with a chain and padlock contraption.

(Those of you with RV experience know that their factory locks can be defeated with a powerful wish.)

It won't even slow down a pro, but it should discourage your casual miscreant looking for easy wherewithal to acquire pharmaceuticals.

As a bonus, the license plate is visible, robbing Officer Friendly of a reason to stop me because he's bored and wants to practice his consent-search spiel.

"Why, yes, officer, I do mind you just looking through my vehicle ."


This would have gone much easier if the camper were on inch shorter or the bed one inch longer.

Sep 18, 2011

The Hog-Lot Vespa

Damn, but we loved these things. Never mind that old fuddies called Doodle Bug a gateway drug, leading to Whizzers* and, for gawdsakes, even to tearing around on big Harleys in leather jackets and greasy short-bill caps with impure women  grasping at your chest.**

Wish I'd been there yesterday.

The bug in the picture is an exception. Most of them looked more utilitarian, and a fair number of the ones in my village bore unmistakable marks of home craftsmanship using scrap-yard parts.


* What? You wonder what a Whizzer is?

** Guilty, Your Honor, but I plan to start repenting quite soon.

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.  

Sep 15, 2011


An old man I admire must attend to some business in the Mysterious East, namely near the valley of the Ohio River. So he's mounted the camper on the pickup and is tidying his affairs to permit  a little roady across four states -- more if the gypsy urge remains strong and the house sitter is available for an extra few days.

He would anticipate pure delight, motoring along blue highways awash in fall color except for one thing. To get where he's going means traversing enemy territory, Illinois.

Meaning that on the free side of the Mississippi River he'll need to pull over,  unload his side arms (one business, the others recreational),  lock them in something and stash the locked boxes in the locked camper. While he's back there he'll also case the Mossy turkey gun and carefully separate it from the 00 buck.  Next comes prayer that he'll have no contact with armed loyalist forces and that, if he is, the polizei will be familiar with national innocent-passage laws.

He has one other Illinois-crossing regimen. On the free side he fills the tank, lays in a supply of junk food and a thermos of coffee. And he pees. The objective of course is to make the treacherous crossing without spending a single cent, or even stopping. To be seen loitering afoot in that people's republic is to open one's self to suspicion of collaboration with Rahm toadies.

(Five years of having an office at 188 West Randolph Street will do that to a guy.)

Fortunately,  Illinois is skinny, and the likely route re-encounters the  the protection of the American Constitution after just 200 miles. If the  damned place was any wider he'd forget the whole thing and go back to Montana instead.


Sep 14, 2011

Why We're Broke: The Prick Factor

Next time you write a check to your government, rest assured part of it will support pricks. You knew that of course, but confirmation is always nice.

The University of Iowa gouges Iowans mostly, but , like the others, it wins its share of federal pork, and the art department is spending to display daintily  decorated casts of John Holmes pork. 

Standard disclaimer: I don't think artists, however untalanted or merely twee, should be censored.  I just object to being ordered to support them.

The display is titled The John Holmes Prick Parade,  and, to be fair, a university flack says they put up a sign at the door warning that you might want to think twice before taking the kiddies in.

U of I spokesman Tom Moore said ... the university has guidelines about what is deemed tasteful and appropriate for its art students to produce, and this project falls within those guidelines. “There is no attempt to censor an artist as long as they meet those guidelines,” he said.

May life spare me the experience of having to view -- much less pay for -- art which fails the University of Iowa's high standards of taste.

The lady who who created this tasteful exhibition said she saw an original casting of the Holmes Memorial  and got to thinking about how a body parts come to commodities. Apparently she hasn't taken biology yet or she would have understood that the life sciences confirmed ages ago that, yep, male members are ubiquitous enough to be  to be called commodities; they come one to a customer and, if demographers are to be believed, are rather widely shared with The Others.


I know.This is low-hanging fruit and I should be ashamed of myself.

Sep 13, 2011

World Premier! "The Virgin Whine."

Of course it is the whine which is chaste, not your author who is marking the approaching autumnal equinox with a domestic report, his first weather pee'n'moaner of the season.

The woodburner was getting ugly, loaded with paper and plastic trash, waiting for a morning just like this. I lit it off and it blazed nicely for about 15 minutes. The bitch is this: It felt way too good.

Sep 12, 2011

And you probably shouldn't even carry a weiner in your pocket in their territory

Somebody saw a cougar down in Iowa City, and one of our vigilant public servants was ready with wisdom -- things you and I would never think of. Misha Goodman, director of the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center, reminds us to

...walk in pairs in the areas where the sightings occurred and to not let children walk alone in wooded areas, particularly at sunset. If a mountain lion is spotted, Goodman said to stay at a distance and to never feed it.

We should all tattoo that on the backs of our hands.


Our crack DNR isn't quite ready to admit citizens actually saw a cougar this time. They are  "investigating."

In the past few years the DNR has finally conceded that a few cougars may have taken up residence in our fair state. Before that they usually said people were mistaking deer for the big cats.  The argument eventually colllapsed when DNR learned that even us civilians know that hardly any deer have five-foot tails.

Slam fire

Blessings on thee, Mr. Browning. This morning I'm grateful for your most elegant shotgun, the Ithaca 37, particularly the one which took up residence in the Camp J arms vault yesterday afternoon.  The 37 is alleged to have the fewest moving parts of any pump shotgun.

The old girl suffers from a mild case of patina, and her walnut benefited from severe scrubbing and a couple of coats of brown MinWax. While her debutante glow is irretrievable history, she still pleases me in the wake of her cleanup -- something like a dowager who never missed her day at the gym, beginning about the time of the Tet offensive.

I've owned a couple-three of these things but never  tried the slam-fire function which made her desirable to certain police forces. It will be a way of getting rid of a  handful of loose 12-gauge orphans  in a delightfully  noisy manner.


The adoption fee was quite reasonable. The lady who brought her around "just wanted the thing out of my closet."  The perfectly functional  Stevens 84D came mostly as lagniappe.  (Bonus knowledge, new to me: Remington .22 rifle magazines  from the middle of the 20th Century work fine in  at least some of the same-era Stevens.)


The same source will be bringing around a SW 27, about unfired, in the factory wooden box. Pant. Drool.

Sep 11, 2011

My 9/11 offering

This photo provided by the National Championship Air Races shows Heather Penney in front of the race jet "Ragu Grace", in Reno, Nev.. Fighter pilot Heather "Lucky" Penney didn't have time to be scared. There was a hijacked commercial airliner headed to Washington, D.C., and she was ordered to stop it. On Sept. 11, 2001, Penney and her commanding officer were ordered to stop United Airlines Flight 93 from hitting a target in the nation's capital. But they didn't have any missiles or even ammunition. So Col. Marc Sasseville decided they would use their own planes to bring it down.  (AP Photo/National Championship Air Races, Tyson Rininger)
Aloft in a fighter without ammo, Lt. Penney was quite prepared  to  launch a kamakazi strike against UAL 93.

(A wide departure from the traditional  Women With Clothes On offerings, but (a) she is attractive and (b) I think the photo suggests a nobility lacking in the shot just posted of  our Narcissist-in-Chief.


(Credit National Airway Race Shows via

Who's the fairest?

Even more fun than golf.

(Credit the Weekly Standard)

Sep 9, 2011

Absent With Command-Approved Leave

The TMR G-2 (Intelligence) section has credible but non-specific information that this position will be abandoned for short period. This interregnum will permit the principle  G-3 (Operations) section to undertake attacks on other high-value targets. Unconfirmed reports suggest this will include rectification of recent lamentable housekeeping lapses, anemia in the ready firewood stocks, and, directly quoting confidential informants, "weather too damn nice to spend banging on a keyboard."

Sep 8, 2011

Maybe we are more or less alone

I don't know how long Guffaw has had this up. I just noticed  it -- his blog lead:

"The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty – and he is usually an outlaw in democratic societies."  H.L. Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun, Feb. 12, 1923

I'm always happy to discover a Mencken paragraph I either never read or forgot about. Well chosen, Sir. 

Ron Paul and the Great Debate

Sir, please spend whatever it costs to hire a good television coach. And pay attention when he explains the difference between television and the Shakespearean stage.

The images on tiny screens in millions of homes are fatal to the man who uses the broad gestures and large body language of live theatre. The rhetorical arts you learned in high school 60 years ago are deadly when teevee cameras zoom in. The shoulder lunges, in particular, say "crazy."

McLuhan and his followers illustrated how and why television is a "cool" medium requiring a "cool" approach.

It gags a man to suggest that you study the teevee style of Perry and Romney, but you should. Their relative mastery of television makes their bullshit sound almost plausible. Imagine what the approach would do for your message of recognizing reality and engaging in logical thought processes.

Sep 7, 2011

Slinging lead

An hour and a-half with Ken in his west pasture embarrassed me.

It was time to sight in a couple of freshly scoped .22s and shoot the cob webs out of a decrepit Mossberg semi which I don't recall ever firing. The Mossberg -- a cheap pawn shop buy three or four years ago  --  ran like a champ.

The name brands sucked. With the Ruger 10-22  it was a magazine problem, and I had no spare with me. The Winchester 74 jammed every third or fourth shot -- stovepipes, failures to feed, failures to eject. I honestly didn't think its innards were that cruddy.

Shame kept me in the shop all evening, nearly full disassembly and scrubba dub dub on the Winchester. Fixed the Ruger mag and, since I was already smelling nicely of Hoppes No. 9, cleaned heck out of it, too.  Both are again combat-ready if a few rounds into the Armorer's Log* in the loading room are any guide.

I cleaned the Mossy too, but that was merely a gesture of gratitude.


*I spent my early life looking for a Philosopher's Stone, then finally wised up and settled for an Armorer's Log.

Sep 6, 2011

Hey, for a little extra we'll make your new pistol work...

Trying to separate you from your last dollar is not an ambition exclusive to government, and ToddG bench strips one of the private-enterprise schemes

The gist is  that a $700+ handgun (the Sig Classic) ought to work fine right out of the shipping carton, without need for a $200  "action enhancement package" by the same company that sold it to you in the first place. But you should read the whole thing.


The comments include a bit about a personal tic, ramp polishing. I routinely do it to virtually every semi I acquire. Sometimes it's unnecessary, but sometimes it improves feed reliability. It isn't something you need to pay a gunsmith for if you're adept enough to strip the pistol and self-disciplined enough to live by the Two Great Rules.

(1) Remove metal by the depth of only one atom and (2) changing any angle by more than one-fiftieth of one degree is an official screwup.

The goal is to smooth the cartridge/weapon bearing surfaces, not to second-guess the engineer who designed it. We're not fixing a design flaw. We're rectifying manufacturing processes dictated by company accountants.

I use an appropriately sized dowel and crocus cloth or a felt wheel chucked in a Dremel and loaded with jewler's rouge.  (Dremel grinding wheels and coarse abrasives should be locked away until the job is done.)

H/T Tam

Sep 5, 2011

Quote of the Year, 1866; The Preacher's Gun

(or: What the Hell? Firepower is firepower.)

Chaplain David White was with a motley detachment of  34 soldiers and civilians trying to make it  from Fort Reno to Fort Phil Kearny on July 20, 1866. Red Cloud of the Oglalla contested the passage at Crazy Woman Creek on the Bozeman Trail.

It was a running fight until the outnumbered  white guys (with three women and two children)  finally dug in on a knoll, still pestered by Sioux fire.

The Reverend Mr.  White was slightly wounded -- more pissed off than hurt. He grabbed his pepperbox  and charged down the hill with one Private Fuller. Gunfire ensued, then quieted.  Fuller and the padre returned to the perimeter shouting they got "two of them devils."

Dee Brown reports:

"All seven charges in his pepperbox had gone off at once, killing one Indian and frightening the others into flight ." 

Sep 4, 2011

The village flea market

This is the last big weekend for fleecing tourists and the traditional time for a big flea market not far away..

I conferred with one of the flea dealers. We had a frank and cordial exchange of views about his table full of reloading stuff.

I have more gear than I need, but a fellow can always use components, can't he? Like about 750  Hornady and Sierra bullets,  .223-.257-308  in a variety of weights and shapes. I fear I would have overpaid at $45 except for getting the 600 primers as langiappe.

Why, yes, now that you ask. That probably is a smug expression on my face.

Fashion note; why the man travels light

Brigid launched one of those memes -- What's in Your Wallet?  or purse or whatever. Her interesting assortment is deadly with its Taurus and amusing with a Milk Bone and a pitch pipe. Her lab is trained to attack on B-flat and come to heel on C-sharp?

The comments are funny. (I bow most deeply to the only fellow who noted that he routinely carries bail money.  Even if you never do the perp walk, you learn early in life that cash solves all kinds of problems; not plastic, not checks, just cold, hard Federal Reserve Cartoons.)

Still, the whole thing is depressing because she -- in a damned sexist fashion, if you ask me  :) -- short shrifts ages of discrimination against the males of the species. We  are forbidden to carry purses on pain of GLBT suspicions.

Yes, I know of the  "man-purse" style. Screw it. A purse is a purse, and if John Wayne sported one even he would draw snickers.

It is impossible to tote even minimum daily essentials without spoiling the lines of our Wranglers.  To wit:

Hang a pistol,  spare ammo, and Leatherman on your belt. Pocket a knife, billfold, money clip, flashlight, keys, Zippo, notebook, binoculars, whistle, compass, and copy of the Constitution. Your jeans hang low enough to earn a  chest bump  any rappers' convention. Sitting down becomes impossible or at least a pain the ass.

A long time ago some kind designer tried to solve the problem with a "fanny pack."  I have a couple, including one in  camo, but I never wear them in civilization.  And I bear a grudge against  whatever fashion czar officially decreed them the certain Mark of the Dork.

Nice little backpack? C'mon. I ain't no matriculant at Miss Porter's Country Day School.

Sep 2, 2011

"Isn't this a nice dining room? Now let's see the master bedroom, but first I want to show you my Glock."

The headline is "25 per cent of Realtors armed."

On the face of it, that falls about 75 per cent short of the ideal number, but it's a start. Two problems exist, however:

A male house huckster is more likely than his female colleague  to be packing. That defies logical analysis of risk. And the survey counted carrying a knife as being armed. At least by TSA standards a fingernail clipper counts, so the the actual preparedness level of our crack housing counsellors is in question.

Too, I would listen with an open mind to a rebuttal centering on the notion that, as a class, they're too stupid and/or venal  to be trusted with lethal instruments. I mean, somebody persuaded the part-time Starbucks' baristas they could afford six bedrooms with an ocean view.

Actung! All laws haff been complied with. You vill now remoof your..

The Land of Wagner is having its own financial problems. Solution? Tax the free-lance hookers.

Germany's first "sex tax meters," from which prostitutes can purchase a ticket for 6 euros ($8.72) per night, will ensure the tax system is fairly implemented, a (Bonn) city spokeswoman said.

It isn't as though city fathers are insensitive to the Johanns' needs. Some of the proceeds finance official "consummation areas." 

Minitru in Canada relents

Canadian radio listeners may once again listen to a  pop song around for 26 years..

Canadian radio stations can resume playing Dire Straits' Money For Nothing* after a ban on the song was lifted.
The 1985 hit single was taken off the airwaves in January after a listener in Newfoundland complained about Mark Knopfler's use of the word "faggot".
His lyrics were deemed to be in a breach of a human rights clause in Canada's broadcasting code.
The offended Newfie bitched to official Ottawa censors. The Goodsing Committee sat around for eight months listening to the faggot song before deciding "faggot" was okay since it was meant as satire.  Besides, the word appeared only once  two or three times in an eight-minute piece, so it had "context."

I dunno quite how to interpret all this, but maybe you should check with your barrister  before tweeting a faggot to Ontario in 140 characters or fewer.

 Personally, I  like to toss a short faggot into the fireplace every once in a while.

*No, Ben Bernanke didn't write it, but can you blame me for checking?


h/t John of the GMA

Sep 1, 2011

And the world's tallest midget is...

The MSNBC weather guy just reported breathlessly, "Irene will be the costliest Catergory 1 hurricane in history."