Dec 30, 2012

Et voila. The Kharmic cycle renewed

It still 72 degrees, but I am warmer. It takes either a theoretical physicist or a metaphysician to explain that.

Note: While I can't imagine a reader dense enough consider  the TMR  a how-to manual, you never know, so:

This is not the way to run your fire. All that dancing flame has but two purposes. (1) to get the hardwood going and (2) to make a pretty picture for the internet.

It's the soft squaw wood burning with open drafts, extremely hot. Watch it with a hawk's eye and the same sense of terror Senator Feinstein reserves for shoulder thingies that go up.

In a few minutes you'll see the week-long fire you want, two or three hard logs on a red-hot bed, the logs themselves barely aflame. I report this at the command of the TMR Legal Review Department.

A fire-free funk

The little gas burner, running about half-speed, issues a hissy warmth, and the thermometer on my desk registers 72 degrees. I shouldn't be cold enough to require a jacket over a sweater over a shirt, all topped by my blaze orange hunting cap.

My wood fire is dying, down to a few smoldering embers, marking my hours of depression on a dead winter night. On the other side of the big window it approaches zero,

Still, 72 degrees? Such a swelter would have moved my ancient Gaelic fathers to throw wide the door to the thatched-roof drystone hut.

It must be as Yogi said: "Half  of this game is 90 per cent mental."


About once a week the ashes pile high, and you must haul them out. There is no workaround. You let the fire expire, get the special shovel, and carry it three times across the room, out the door, and along the deck. A deft toss deposits them in a pile.

Meanwhile, you briefly live like most other civilized Americans, with fossil-fuel heat, available at the twist of a knob. If you're me, you hate it. There is something inherently, atavisticly, wrong with comfort so easily won.

A thousand generations of human experience calls it good to loll by fire light and fire warmth. Hearthside is where a man bathes in a feeling of competence; he has mastered nature's cold by personal sweat, personal creativity. How do we praise highly enough that first human who reasoned that if he piled his wood around the fire pit he had a wind break, the first faint conceptualization of a house?


I could do that man, or woman, more honor by  getting up from the goddam computer and taking care of the fireless fireplace right now. But it's still dark, and the magic of the propane fairy is marginally more attractive than stumbling around in the outside night, dumping the dross and assembling kindling and squaw wood for a fresh blaze. I'll do it after sunrise, a couple of hours off. By eight o'clock three or four  large, dry, oak splits will be combustifying happily, and life will again be balanced.

Dec 29, 2012

In passing...

In a sane nation, "Contempt of Congress" would not be a crime. It would be a Pulitzer Prize category.

Dec 24, 2012

Brass Monkey Report

Christmas Eve day dawns just as I remember the season from my extreme youth. That was before Ayn Rand and Ronald Reagan warmed up the globe in order to flood the homes of women, children, and minorities in Newark and Miami.

One of those stubborn, damnable Arctic high pressure systems has clamped its fat and frozen behind on the northern plains. If the 30-day forecast is any guide at all we'll remember this December/January as the two moons of the shrivled scrotum.

Dec 21, 2012

Jesus wept.

And so does the ghost of Thomas Jefferson.

The President of the United States, presiding over what could be a calamity in the American economy, summoned the television cameras  in this hour and advised our congress to have some egg nog and Christmas cookies to improve their attitude.

If that doesn't prove his mental bankruptcy I'll kiss Rudolph's arse under the tree in the White House Blue Room and sign a model release.


Folks, I can't get too teary-eyed about Warren Buffet forking over a little more every April 15. But I also can't report that higher taxes on anyone will have the tiniest effect on the impending national bankruptcy.*

Not one cent of any new tax extortions will be applied to the deficit or the debt. Any fresh revenue extracted from productive use by private citizens will be used as an excuse to borrow more in order to facilitate vote buying from His Ineptness on down to the lowliest back-benchers in our legislative chambers.


 *I don't refer to the made-for-teevee drama which we're calling the  "fiscal cliff."  That's a small pimple on the national butt. The reference is to the long-term, unannounced, devaluation of the United States dollar as a concious, planned policy of the political masters.

Even Amazon still loves me

I've ordered from Amazon maybe three times, total, but they keep on humpin' even though by now they've written me off as a 2012 seasonal sucker.  This morning's in-box was at last free of pitches for their Bavarian village snow globes and so forth.

But the Amazing database remembers that I'm weird for one-inch, high-grade, cloth-backed,  sanding belts which are again on sale and, to boot, qualify for Free Shipping (!).

Guys, I'm just a tinkerer. I mean, if I had contract with Bushmaster to polish assault rifle parts I'd be more likely to lunge at today's irresistible offer. But the ten-pack I bought last year lasts me quite a while, and I'll let you know when the stash gets low.


And on the subject of internet commerce, here's a plug for the Laptop Battery Store. I needed a fresh one for the old MacBook. The  LBS price was right ($55) and It was in my hands on the third day after the order -- even with the cheapest  ($6) USPS shipping option.(And if you're reading this, it works fine.)

The gummint loves me again

A reader relayed to me a notice saying the TMR was banned from the Department of Defense  computer system "for operational reasons."

I'm now informed that it has been reinstated.

Damn. Damn. Damn. I was soooooo proud of myself.

Dec 19, 2012

Judge Bork

The title should be Justice Bork, but United States senators could not abide the idea of confirming a man that much smarter than themselves.

Judge Bork's message in his confirmation hearing was: "The orderly process of law, under the Constitution, is infinitely more important than the outcome of any given case, no matter how the case crumbles your political cookie. It is high time you guttersnipes started honoring that principle."

A moral man. RIP.

Joe Biden to the rescue

Tuesday: No one knows who His Ineptness will put in charge of raping modifying the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Gun maker  stocks plunge.

Wednesday: His Ineptness appoints Joe Biden as national gun control czar. Gun stocks open more than 4 per cent higher.

We can't expect a break like that every day, folks, so march on. Make them prove the blame for murder falls on the people who didn't kill anyone.


(Dead-cat bounce remarks cheerfully considered.)

Dec 17, 2012

Newtown and Elian Gonzales

If they can try to drive the debate with heart-rending -- if not entirely logical --  visual symbols, so can I.

What debate? Why, the one insisting that only the Only Ones be permitted modern weapons.

Dec 15, 2012

Newtown and Roger Ebert

Turk Turon found an apt contribution to the  discussion in an interview of Roger Ebert.

NBC asked the movie critic about the effect of violent movies on things like the Columbine murders:

In short, I said, events like Columbine are influenced far less by violent movies than by CNN, the NBC Nightly News and all the other news media, who glorify the killers in the guise of "explaining" them.


Newtown and Reuters

I get blue when learning of tyke death, whether singly or in wholesale lots. Under the influence of emotion I offer only poor analyses. So on Newtown, I want to restrict myself to nibbling around the edges for  while.

We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics," Obama said in apparent reference to the influence of the National Rifle Association over members of Congress.

Let's parse that into two word-sets -- everything before "Obama said" and everything after.

The president is to be excused. His words are ritual. Both ends of the boat are sinking so we all must bail. We must end the manifestations of evil which are part of Mankind Stew. And we must be bipartisan. The Prominent Class is conditioned to so remark, not unlike the retail clerk's "Have a nice day."  So I leave him alone on that and recognize that he, too, undoubtedly was sad.

The rest of it quietly illustrates an ugliness of journalism. In what was presented as a workaday spot news report, the reporters assume the misty robe of the Oracle. They reveal to us a meaning which only they have the wisdom to discover.  The president used only three operative nouns in his sentence. Not one of them referred to the National Rifle Association, nor weapons of any kind. His sentence would have been perfectly appropriate and pertinent had the tragedy been a fire.

But two decided he meant the NRA and implied he was noble to do so. They wrote it.  Someone copy read it. And at least one senior editor cleared it for world wide distribution on wires of a once-great news service. It was, in fact, Reuters' opening salvo in the war to shift blame from the man who murdered to those who did not.

Dec 13, 2012

It would reduce the caterwauling if we could agree that Susan Rice was not opposed as an African-American, nor because she is a woman, nor because she is a combination of the two.

She fell from grace because:

(1)  She knowingly created lies about the events that killed four Americans in Libya, including the ambassador, which is immoral and probably illegal, OR

(2) She knowingly relayed the lies of her bureaucratic seniors, which displays the character flaws mentioned above, OR

(3) She relayed unchecked information from dubious sources, which would include those senior to her in the pecking order or from the nation's intelligence apparatus. This would indicate naivete at best and deep ignorance at worst.

But perhaps I am wrong. If so, it is deeply shameful that racist America still rejects the idea of a chief foreign policy officer who is of African descent, female, and named Rice.

Thursday morning thumbnails

I'm working my way up to some major rants. But on this nice winter day TMR is in a preview mode. So here are the trailers::

--1. We already fell off the fiscal cliff. Pedants will insist on knowing just when we tripped. I'm still working it out. The earliest reasonable date in January 20, 1961, when the poseur John F. Kennedy promised the world that the United States of America would be pleased to bankrupt itself to put a Weber grill and a gaggle of Harvard lawyers in every back yard from Vietnam to Kaphukistan. (bear any burden, pay any price et al. oratorical nonsense).  The latest likely date is around the time Bill boffed Monica to celebrate passage of the revised  Community Reinvestment  Act, requiring banks to lend to people who could not  possibly repay and probably wouldn't if they could.

(The fall was often pleasant in in its early years  --  floaty, you might say, something like riding a very good hang glider, rising in vagrant thermals which mask the sure triumph of gravity.  Updrafts are rarer lately, and the descent accelerates, much like Poe's increasingly frantic prose as the Red Death approaches the ballroom door.)

--2.  We become broker by the day because we continue to do incredibly stupid things, large and small. One of the small ones is roiling my psyche lately because I drive by it daily -- a million-plus worth of "trail." It skirts the edge of my village , relatively harmlessly in the highway ditch for a while, then through a patch of wild land purchased by private citizens a decade ago and turned over to the Iowa DNR in order to save it from a housing development. The federal DOT, Iowa DOT, and local taxpayers are now financing a noticeable rape of that land. Some of the greenery will grow back, of course, but not on the paved strip which, by the way, is built to a standard just shy of that required to support Peterbilts. We wouldn't want a road bed failure to endanger the the strolling mom and her perambulator.  The significant point, however, is that hardly anyone actually uses these things.

--3. Kwee 4. The first one moved me to counsel  accumulating copper pennies; the second to acquiring large stocks of ammunition; the third to laying in pints of whiskey for barter. This latest QE persuades me we might as well just drink the whiskey.

Dec 11, 2012

Cory Booker's $33

Here's how you do it next week, Cory:

Ten pounds of rice and beans at a buck a pound. Seven cans of vegetable/meat soup at a buck each. A gallon of milk for four dollars. A one-dollar head of cabbage. Seven apples at fifty cents each.

Bingo. You didn't starve, and you have seven dollars and fifty cents left over for Twinkies, Rollos, and Perrier. If you were a decent human being, however, you would reserve part of that surplus for a thank-you note to the poor freeken  schmuck who paid for it.

Dec 10, 2012

Thus endeth our morbid text

Two straight posts on death or near-death?  C'mon, Jim, the TMR worldview  isn't that dependent on inspiration by Edgar Allen Poe. Joy is still to be found, and for some of us, pretty ladies help ease the burden of existence.

Even if you find them in movies like (let the morbidity continue)  Anatomy of a Murder.

Ha! You lechers thought I was going to put up a shot of  Lee Remick's skin falling out of very little, didn't ya? I decided on Our Miss Brooks instead. Me and Hollywood loved her as a semi-frumpy comic and a supremely competent character actress, but she also had her come-hither moments.  


What's that? The voices of the lowest of the low ring out in anger? O.K., but I warn that Rick Santorum is quite displeased with you.

Cold Sweats in the Night

I don't know if it is every father's nightmare, but it's mine. I am out shooting  with my children or grandchildren. Something goes wrong, and I  shoot one of them.  No consolation is possible, not from friends, not from the total of the world's priests, preachers, philosophers, and grief counsellors. And it probably wouldn't have helped for a DNR cop to announce to the world what a lucky SOB I am.

It happened a couple of hours south of me Saturday. 

The 18-year-old son is badly hurt but expected to survive what is reported as a partial load of pheasant shot in the back of his head.  Conservation cops don't know what happened but speculate the father "may’ve lost his footing going through cover and in the act of tripping, the gun misfired or fired ...".

Misfired? Come on, Officer. The result of a "misfire" on a pheasant hunt is a frustrating "click," nothing worse.

The same game cop then moves to a safety homily, displaying all the human sensitivity of Genseric turned loose among the daughters of Rome:

" ...the shooting likely would have been fatal if the pair had been deer hunting and he had been hit by a deer slug."

Thank you, officer. Us stupid civilians would never have thought of that, and who gives a damn about adding a little bit to a father's feelings of horrified guilt.

Dec 8, 2012

A James Dean - ish happenstance

The older gentleman, 68, has died, and I have no intent of making light of that, but there is a point of interest.  According to local radio:

"The ... Sheriff’s Office says (he) was driving a 1936 Ford eastbound on 190th Street when the vehicle left the road and several times, ejecting (him). (The probable "rolled" was dropped.)

A '36? Like this?

Or more on this order?

To a child of the  '50s.these things were the cat's meow, and we -- a few of us, not including me due to insolvency -- stuffed them with the damnedest monster engines imaginable. No one in my circle ever actually saw it, but there were reports that someone in our area had crammed a LaSalle V-12 into  chopped and channeled tail- dragger version.  If true, he was king of the drive-in picture show.

Anyway, I'm sorry it killed you, Sir. But some in your generation would have saluted the cool  and classic  manner of your demise.

Dec 7, 2012


"Class, can anyone tell us what happened on this day in 1941. Yes, Sarah?"

'The Japanese kamikazes bombed General MacArthur."

"And can you tell us why?"

"Because we wouldn't sell them any oil or steel because they were yellow people."

Very good, Sarah. Now, pay strict attention class. I have the decorating assignments here for the homecoming dance..." 

Dec 6, 2012

Strange signals in the air

New Hampshire Public Radio alleges that the world has only one broadcast station run by criminals and one by psychiatric patients.

Isn't it just like government radio to get its facts all screwed up? They forgot Fox News and MSNBC.


Hat tip to Blaine Thompson on Facebook. He's the man who runs Indiana Radio Watch, a must-read for area media types and interesting to radio freaks everywhere.


(Oh hush, please. I +know+ cable is technically not "broadcasting.")

Dec 5, 2012

Dave Brubeck

The classic four, taking five, c. 1958.  On Sunday afternoons Dave Brubeck and these three jammed at The Black Hawk, in San Francisco, at Turk and Hyde -- introducing a 17-year-old sailor from the corn fields to the absolute delight of "cool" jazz. He made Amerian music less crude.

Paul Desmond, Brubeck, Joe Morello, Gene Wright.

It's Closing Time Blues

RIP, Sir.

The Perils of Pauline

Relax, Pauline. You're not going over the cliff. You are the succulent trough from which our Masters slurp, and they're smart enough -- just barely -- to keep you breathing.  Certainly they'll rip your petticoats and rape you a little bit,  but in due course you'll up and around, fattening yourself for the next episode. Which will end like this one, music at crescendo, another drama under the glaring Kliegs, and the most egregious case of political ham-acting since Marc Antony delivered extemporaneous remarks over the corpse of Caesar.


It's fun to watch the posturing, like an evening at Bedlam, but it's too easy to have moments of taking these apes seriously. Resist that. Pay attention to the fine print projected hazily on the scrim:

"What liars these political things be." 

For those lacking time or motivation to follow the link, the historical evidence shows governments as perpetual payday loan clients.  Give them a new dollar and they will spend it, plus some -- $1.04 to $1.80, depending on how you slice and dice the survey data.

Dec 4, 2012

Gun porn, incomplete

Too late, after I locked them back up, it occurred to me that that I was one gun shy of hilarious vulgarity.  There's 38 on top, descending to 22. The shot needs another 38 below, but I don't feel like  re-opening the safe.

The Police Positive is sort of a B-cup  D-frame -- in .38 Colt New Police, equal to .38 S & W. There's no real difference, but originally there was an up-front variance. Colt got caught with its pants down in the revolver ammo wars of a century ago, so it stole the .38 Short Wimp. It gave up when no one was fooled by the cosmetic difference, a flat bullet rather than the sensuously curved Smith and Wesson nose. 

It's 1918 vintage. Someone  later dressed it in beautiful Colt OEM walnut bloomers. They would be lovely adorning any of six or eight other D-frame models, just not this one. Anyone with proper hard rubber care to swap?

There's a small stash of .38 SW here, but I'll probably want to shoot  more than that. I can reload with the .38 Special dies (albeit possibly with some crimping challenges). The .357* cast bullets will work well enough,  and in extremis for brass I can trim .38 Special cases to fit. (Probably, anyway.  I haven't looked into the rim-thickness question yet.)

The Hi-Standard Sentinel is one of those comfortable mid-grade guns that just "is" -- not special, no particular history or other distinction, but a kick to shoot. We pulled onto K's personal air strip on the way home and ran a few cylinders offhand just for the pleasure of listening to the noise and watching dirt fly around the only handy target, a corn husk 20 - 25 feet off. I nailed it a time or two double action and figure I scattered the rest over a dinner plate area. A big dinner plate.

But Jim, you damned fool, you already got enough guns and, besides, you ain't made of money.

Quite true, but let me explain it this way: "Bugger off."

Alternatively, take the $xxx Federal Reserve Cartoon  price and calculate how few zillionths of a nanosecond it will take Ben to create xxx new ones out of thin air.  He can't make Colts or even Hi Standards at all, even if we give him a 3D printer.


*The .38 SW caliber spec is .361.  The Brits designated the round .38-200. It used a 200-grain bullet which gave Tommy's leftenant leisure for a spot of tea before it became time to see if his projectile had yet struck the Hun.

Dec 2, 2012

The latest gun market report

At a small country auction this morning in Northwest Iowa:

 Mossberg Model 185D-B 20 ga. bolt action, 2 3/4" chamber;  $160

Winchester 3030 Model 94, used very little; $900 and note that this was recent production, routinely available NIB at near half the hammer price.

Marlin Model 19G, 12 ga. pump shot gun w/long barrel;    c. $125

Marlin Model #37 -22 pump rifle; $210.  I dropped out  at $150 due to condition; the butt stock was too trashy.

Colt DA 32  (sic) w/case & US issue holster, was Jim's dad's WWI issue;  $500.  My "sic" was sic.  It was a .32 Colt, an old 4-inch Police Positive,  and undoubtedly a POW rather than an "issue" revolver. The holster was issue but too long for this piece and likely intended for the earlier GI Colt .38.

Colt Huntsman 22 long rifle, auto;  $500. Arguably reasonable, but I considered the condition to be low-average and the price too high for a shooter.

Rohm 22 Magnum Model 66;  $160. Junk in any condition, and this one was about average.

Ruger .22 auto .22 long; $310. A routine Ruger Standard, 6-inch, which are all over the loopholes here at c. $210-220.


I believe I mentioned that our agripersons stagger under the load of Obama/Bernanke/Congressslug cash and tend to get somewhat "excitable" when  under the thrall of a good auctioneer offering blue steel. I apologize for the poor characterization and should have written that they get galactically freeken hysterical.  


This is what happens when a guy yields to his tender feelings and starts pandering to an orphan. (And also when the auto-fuzz feature on his new three-volt Nikon Cockroach goes into action.)

And this is what happens when her yowling snaps the patience of visiting Hungarian Royalty, to wit, Her Royal Visla-ness, Buda.

The delinquent cat disappeared for a while. The dog was unhurt. I assured Buda's retainers, my heir the Lady-in-Waiting and and her esteemed husband, the  Footman, that no mentionable harm was done and that I, myself, had not totally lacked a similar impulse.


All in all it was something of a favor. That was the last truly ugly window in the Great Room of the Commandant's Quarters here at Camp J, headquarters of the Northern Expeditionary Force. The incident will move me to direct the Base Maintenance Section of my G-4 to redesign it.

Meanwhile, a little more Gorilla tape stays the winter gales.