Dec 30, 2013

I never ask my house sitter to tidy up the mess I leave her because

I just thank her, stroke her Alsatian (hoping he's not in one of his moods) and carry on. Day One is ordinarily dedicated to sloth. On Day Two, which would be today, a period known as "remedial housekeeping" begins.

Having eaten and drunk perishables down to near-zero levels before leaving,  I clean the refrigerator.  While I'm at it I scrub down cupboards and commodes, freeing my further attention for picking crap up and putting it where it belongs, or where it might logically belong in a home routinely titivated by, say, Donna Reed.

Ordinarily I would continue with the finer touches -- moistening Q-tips in disinfectant in order to clean those nasty floor corners, and perhaps repolishing  the silver eating utensils.

Unfortunately, I face an emergency. My portion of the northern plains is the X-ring for another gift from Alberta, so Martha Stewartage must wait until my ashes are hauled and the ready magazine near the fireplace is fully stocked with wood.

How cold will it be? I prefer not to say because some vulgarians among my dear readers might be moved to impure comments about rolling monkey balls and witches' equippage.

I prefer to keep it classy.

Just in case you missed it

To ABC's credit, it wasn't this morning's lede story, but it was sufficiently vital to be the pre-commercial Big Teaser at  xx:41:30 on the electric Good Morning America.

Patrick Swayze's widow has a "new love in her life."

But first...

The duck dork allows as how "they may have fired me but God didn't fire me." Voiced plus 80 per cent-screen text. The producer apparently presumes enough viewers who give a dynastic s--t  can read.

Dec 25, 2013

Merry Christmas, Friends

Dec 23, 2013

Waiting for the house sitter ...

.. and looking at the pile.

Even discounting gaudy packages, it is disheartening.

A brief case of reading and writing stuff. Another for a laptop and assorted electronics. Spare body parts, mainly reading glasses which are always eloping with my Bics. A suitcase of respectable clothes and a kit to make me presentable. A small satchel of tools. A bag of cold-weather clothes in case of stranding in a drifted ditch. Emergency food for the same scenario. Dog food. Dog water. Dog treats. Other stuff. All told maybe a hundred pounds for a very brief trip.

Once, I packed for a day in three minutes after breakfast. An Army surplus musette  bag with a can of Campbells chicken noodle soup, big enamel cup for cooking, canteen, handful of waxed kitchen matches, a few slices of Wonder bread, some just buttered, some with jam. If Mom wasn't too distracted by the little sisters, she would add cookies. A Western "hunting" knife rode on the belt, and the four-blade scout knife lived in the jeans picket.

Richie Lazear and Ron Jordison were equipped about the same, and I can't recall any of our all-day hikes down the river failing due to logistics. (Usually to Wildcat Den or Woodman Hollow, long before politicians decided they should become official wild places with a list of rules posted.)

For a while we carried a hatchet. Then we decided two rocks were fine for fine for cracking the hickory nuts. Another complication eliminated.

I know. This trip is entirely different. So are the times. So am I. But it still recalls the banal observation that we become slaves to our things.

Monk it. Move to Innisfree. Find a pleasant  cave.  Plait some nice clothes out of nettles. Say wise things to the pilgrims who come to sit at my feet.

Dec 22, 2013

The world is too far gone for irony.

A man on C-Span is named Cesar Purisma. He is telling us how to end goverrnment corruption.  He is minister of finance for the Philippines.

Sunday Symphony

1. I have been forced to speak sharply to Tam for negativity about weapons favored by patriotic old Luddites everywhere. A sad duty here in this season of charity and love, but some offenses must not go unchallenged.

2. I have created a war zone in my back yard. When I cook, I cook too much and freeze leftovers.  I accumulate too much nearly stale bread. From time to time, including last evening, space limitations make me bag it all up for the wild bunch. I generally spread it out atop the propane tank, a place which, despite valiant efforts, New Dog Libby can not reach. This morning I was entertained by a pair of quarrelome blue jays fighting for the orts as, below, a red squirrel smugly fattened himself on the stuff they scattered. Both jays and squirrel suffered a strategic reverse when my current feral cat, a big long-haired grey, arrived to take charge.

3. In days gone by, Christmas was time for intense creative energy trying to find just  the right gift. Time passes. Patience fades. I now judge the appropriateness of a present by how easy it is to wrap. If my family cares to consider this a warning, so be it.

4. You don't know much about the history of the Russian River, do you? Me either, so I was glad to pick up the paperback The Russian River (ISBN 0-553-28844 x)  and get the general drift painlessly, along with what might have been a few entertaiing and credible tales from the far western branch of the 1820s fur trade.  I muddled through,  although an early reference to a six-foot diameter Indian tent being comfortable for six or seven people pretty well destroyed its credibility.  (Sketch it out.) This is part of a "Rivers of America" series which is supposed to be a set of novels with a useful background of geographic and cultural truth. The other one I read, about the Powder River, wasn't much better. Too bad, a great idea poorly executed, I would guess because adequate writers were forced to work hastily.

5. The monkey balls are rolling loose. It's been tens of degrees below average for a long time, but I'm getting weary of Gore jibes. So Happy Holidays, Al, and I hope you can find a way to live with all that cheap natural gas coming out of North Dakota. If not, do us a favor and freeze in the dark.

Dec 19, 2013

Annoying Seasonal Lies

"Every kiss begins with a Kay."

Bullshit. A kiss begins with her sudden realization that he can build serviceable shelves.

Dec 18, 2013

Woof! Speaking of great ideas...

As previously reported in these pages, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke is retiring soon. Traditionally, we present gifts to fellows and gals who hang up their Armanis.

It is a fine tradition, and I think we should take up a collection and buy Ben a Weimariner.

When I was rich

For a glimmering moment around mid-morning I was a stock market mogul. My net worth soared by $7.53 as traders speculated that Ben and the Feds would keep on printing $85 billion* brand new Federal Reserve Cartoons  a month.

Then speculators of contrary opinion took over, and erased every cent of the gain on my eye-dropper full of a little ETF, a leveraged bond fund which is "interest sensitive." It pays a humongus dividend, but the price of the stock itself  goes up and down as often as Bill Clinton's shorts. Up when the market thinks Ben will keep printing free FRCs, down when it worries that he may cut back a little.

Fortunately, this doesn't signal complete financial disaster here at Camp Jiggleview, because The Commandant, yours truly, has just received a bonanza from the federal government led by President Obama.

He informed me that I have done such a wonderful job of retiring -- that is, becoming a lazy tax-sucking parisitical slob -- that I am to be awarded a raise in my monthly salary. It comes to $19 net, after allowing for deducts to Medicare. You've probably heard of Medicare. It's a gift from cuddly ol' Lyndon Johnson allowing me to be sick for free.  "Y'all just go ahead and stay in that hospital a while longer, Jim. We gone send the bill to your kids."

We had no money then --1965 -- either. We were financing a lot bullets to kill wogs -- mostly, but not exclusively, Vietnamese --  and on wonderful urban utopias such as Cabrini Green in President Obama's neighborhood.

Someone asked how we would pay for all that plus Jim's doctor bills. Lyndon said, "Why Hell, boy, we ain't actually gonna pay with real money or nothin'. We gone find a bunch of smart (ethnic slur deleted) boys who went to Harvard and Yale and them places and learned how to make make up money just by saying so. Y'all quit frettin'." 


Hey! You in the back. Stop singing whle I'm talking, dammit! Besides, you got it wrong. The song goes "Marching to Pretoria. Not Weimaria."


*More, actually. The 85 billion is just what they admit to.

Dec 16, 2013

Then there's the guy with the shovel and the wheelbarrow

The political class and journaloids can't seem to get over the Ryan-Murray "budget agreement."  It not only "reduces the deficit," but also ushers in a new era of "bipartisanship."

I think we plebians are supposed to see a nice little Jewish girl,. She and her husband  worry an ass to Bethlehem where she gives birth in a barn.  And they called the baby Bipartisan. Kneel and praise.

My faith is weak, so I reviewed what I know of our Constitution and  Amercan political history. No where can I find biprtisanship listed as a stated national ideal -- or even a very good idea.

It is not even very well defined.The closest you can figure it, the word means "We got caught doing something stupid as Hell, but  they helped so it's their fault, too."


Jimmy Durante raises his eyebrows in mock amazement and asks the cop, "What Elephant?"

The pachyderm of the moment is Ben Bernanke, soon to be replaced by one Janet Yellen.  For six long years, Ben has taught Janet the art of plopping flops along the parade route, then decreeing  them to be "money" or even  "weath."

She thinks she has the knack now, even finds the thought of being the head flopper and decree-er  rather exalting.  She campaigned to be ringmaster of the printing press, and His Ineptness bought it, as will his Senate, probably in a more or less bipartisan way.

Bringing us back to the Ryan-Murray deal which saves a few bucks here, spends a few more bucks there and, in the end, promises (fingers crossed) to reduce the federal deficit by $23 billion over two years, or ten, or something. 

Every little bit helps, but there's that damned elephant again. Jumbo Ben has been creating Federal Reserve Cartoons at the rate of 85 billion a month.   This arithmetic for avoiding bankruptcy does not appear promising to this obsrever.

And just how does Ben go about creating the money to pay Barack for those IOUs (to which, conveniently, the president is permitted to sign your name, and mine)?

Easy as pie, as I earlier suggested.


Dec 15, 2013

My Underpants

Getting ready to go visiting, I changed into fresh clothes a few minutes ago. It's cold, so I decided on long johns and grabbed the set on top, a high-tech, micro-fibered, odor-destroying, item. Probably thirty or forty bucks worth of  redneck lingerie which came my way, unnoticed,  in an inventory buyout.

They're camo.

Camoflage underwear?

A guy can only assume someone has identified a niche market of perv hunters who like to flash Bambi before they shoot her mommy.

Dec 12, 2013

I don't think I could get this one by the TSA metal detector.

It's in fair condition, speaking generously, because someone was more in love with his six-inch 3400  rpm coarse grinding wheel than he was with this old veteran. You can't quite call it "poor" because it still has the skinny saw blade. True, Barney ground the teeth off when he finished worrying the big blade,  but judging from the ones for sale online, a fair number of them are missing the saw blade entirely.

I'm not always too fussy about the condition of my World War Two relics, and for the $6 bid which earned this one, I'm not fussy at all. That cheap, it could pay for itself as a spare canoe anchor. Big fella, sometimes called the "giant jack knife" by the pilots who carried it. It must weigh better than a pound and measures six inches closed and 15 1/2 with both blades open.

It was one of the solutions to the survival knife problem late in the war. Colonial developed it . This one was made by United Tool Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

A fellow over on the knife forum seems to have all the other information you're likely to want.

Excuse me. I must retire to my dressing room and pare my nails.

Duelling news

I keep trying to save my friend's soul. He +tries+ to be a good anti-statist, but always get hung up on guns, and I think in his heart of hearts he's believes they  should be confiscated and converted to manhole covers. My latest effort, below,  is  generated by the Exeter, Rhode Island, gun squabble, and the congressional spat over what to do about plastic guns.

Personally, I trace part of the problem to the ready availability of The New York Times in his region. A copy can be purchased every day in undetectable cash deals, no permit required, no cooling-off period, no age limit, no restrictions on concealed -carry or  even brandishing. 


I suppose your  "Exeter Swamp Yankees" and my Iowa Hog Lot Wranglers share a passion other than oiling and stroking our barrels as we contemplate the the pleasure of our next mass murder.

I refer, of course, to our well-known study of epistemology and our curiosity about why, to certain groups, knowledge becomes valid by virtue of publication in the New York Times.

Why, just the other day my epistemology advisor, Melvin "Pigs" Dykstra, blew his nose on his sleeve and announced that he had been reading BusinessWeek lately and found (in his own quaint words), "By golly, guys, blamed if I ain't startin' to think that there's some other stuff to read and a lot of it ain't wrote by pointy headed interlecturals who genufuct or however you call it to that picture of Ol' Abe Rosenthal on their desks."

Here's what I think he was referring to:

A sample about "undetectable" guns: We’ve been down this road before. In the late 1980s, gun-control advocates tried to ban an Austrian-made Glock that was fabricated mostly from industrial-strength plastic and demonized as a weapon that would defy airport security. Congress held hearings and then passed the original undetectable gun ban. Strangely, though, the Federal Aviation Administration concluded that the Glock wasn’t really a threat at all. If screening personnel paid attention, they could detect the gun-shaped piece of plastic, not to mention the bullets needed to make the Glock lethal, the FAA said. “That was a big ‘oops’ moment,” Richard Aborn, a former president of Handgun Control, now known as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, once told me. “We made the classic mistake of failing to do our homework.”

And about self-willed guns killing  people: 

Apart from politics, dispassionate observers must question the simplistic liberal slogan that more guns equals more crime. The U.S. has seen a two-decade period during which private gun ownership has continued to soar (some 300 million firearms are now in civilian hands), while crime has diminished.


Mel's opinion got back to the Democrat who lives in his county. He flicked the dust off his Hillary button and yelled that Business Week is just another one of those right-wing tea-party rags owned by Rush Limbaugh and edited by the National Rifle Association.

That made Mel maddern a wet hen, but he calmed himself and quietly corrected the button man. He allowed as how he thought the magazine belongs to (former) Mayor Whatzizname Bloomberg who started up Mayor's Against Illegal Guns.  And who, he might have added, openly and blatantly reads (and even approvingly quotes)  The New York Times.

As an aside, I need to note that Bloomie usually doesn't quote the Times about free-for-all Terry Stops of New York City citizens guilty of EWBBB, that is, Existing While Being Black or Brown.

Dec 11, 2013


That latter-day Willa Cather I mentioned a while ago has moved her blog to Word Press. The change is reflected on the blog list. She's filed as Doris in Nebraska in honor of an old private joke.

 About 1943. Ten flinches? Perhaps he wanted to be sent off to cooks and bakers school.

No special reason

Dec 10, 2013

Nelson Mandela: A short quiz

True or False: Nelson Mandela was born, lived, and became famous in order to have an extended funeral for the photo-op benefit of every politician, has-been politician, and superannuated journalist who can elbow his way to a teevee camera.

I'm pretty sure the right answer is "False," but  you can surely be forgiven for thinking otherwise.  In other words:

 "Dear Television: 

Enough. We get it. Now shut up and permit Mr. Mandela be laid to rest with some shred of dignity.   




Dec 9, 2013

Elsewhere at the gun auction...

I semi-promised a price log, but it just wasn't interesting enough to bother with.  It was a consignment sale  apparently built around  a couple of small dealers who were reducing inventory or getting out of the business. Most of the offerings were junkish old shotguns and ho-hum NIB stuff, heavy on the Glockenpoppers and Fry Points.  In general, these WalMart--ish pieces brought less money than we've come to expect. Several NIB Glockers went for pre-Obama prices --$400-$500.

The Garand, a little better than the average example, brought $1,000. The Rockola carbine brought $750, one bid better than my top; very, very nice but with a Blue Sky import stamp.

Yours truly still spent too damned much money.  Foolishly. Why the heck does he want a Nagent? He has no sentimental ties to Tula. 'cuz it was cheap, that's why, and pretty as a Russian Lady Tractor Driver.

The nice 1953 Savage 99 was a little more defensible. Ever since his buddy in the GMA lucked into one, he' been beside himself with envy. (Fun fact: The .300 Savage round  was built to match original .30-06  military ballistics.)

The other two were junkers, one Stevens Little Krag, complete and  $20  and one non-shooting  Mossberg, bought for the price of the magazine which was needed here for the 152 -- the Mossy .22 with the flip-down fore end to make a kid feel like John Wayne with a Thompson.

(If I don't watch myself I'm going to get seriously and expensively interested in collecting boys' rifle.)

Some other stuff, too, but not worth mentioning except as they affected the total day's tab, the size of which made me grateful for friends who fed me last night.

Song of the South

There's a generation of reloaders who think the finest bullet -- serious target and hunting stuff --should cost a nickel or less.  They cringe at the Obama-era tab of two bits and up for one bullet, even when paid for in Bernanke's Federal Reserve Cartoons.

So this pleased me yesterday:

A fresh thousand of them (.224 and 55 grains)  grace the reloading shack. They set me back more than a nickel per, but way less than a piece of zinc with a hokey picture of George Washington carelessly stamped on it.

Veterans might recognize it, but it's been off the market for a long time, and youngsters might not identify it as a vintage Nosler, one of the first commercial solid base designs, meant to expand but hold together.

I included the picture to show the oddly wide machined cannulure. It was supposed to a lot of good -- reduce pressure slightly, grip the case mouth tightly, improve accuracy, reduce the national debt, and prevent the UN from admitting Red China.

Mr. Nosler called it his "Zipedo."  Love it. Zipedo doo dah, zipedo day...

Dec 8, 2013

Ho Ho Ho and maybe Bang Bang Bang

A good little boy around here is thinking hard about buying himself a Christmas present when Tom Eberle auctions off bunch of lethal weapons (pdf) later this morning.

Who wouldn't want chance to augment his fantasy command to a full squad, just in case the captain orders him to take the MG42 nest from the Nazis, somewhere in France, 1944.

His current in-place TOE arms and equips only a scant fire team -- webbing and weapons for a private, a senior corporal. And himself, of course, a young but grizzled staff who left his carbine back in the foxhole to permit greater mobility as  -- and we're talking Audie Murphy here -- he leads the charge with his 1911A.

Of course we'd wipe them out and earn two silver stars and The Medal, but a squad would be better, even if scant -- my vets plus a couple of peach fuzz draftees from the repple depple. I'd arm them myself with the Springfield Garand and Rockola  carbine which lead off the rifle section in the sale bill.

N.B. -- Yeah, it's possible that I could expand my team to seven or eight with captured German, Frog, and Norwegian stuff, but that is not part of the fantasy which compels me to blow them away with Made in America.


We'll see what the disbursing officer thinks.


I'll try to log and post the prices, at least for the more interesting stuff.  Beats working.

Dec 6, 2013

Winter havoc

Twelve below this night. And me with only one dog.

I know some of you guys don't believe us when we talk about bigass continental highs, huge, cold, sluggish ones. Almost Jack London cold;  Vilhjalmur Stefansson cold.

Take a look at the weather map, dammit. See the triangle with its point down in the Texas malarial zones? Even there around Houston shivering white guys are hiring mules named Pedro to sneak them across the border and on down to Coatzacoalcos.

Anyway, the cold high spreads up and out. By the time it hits my  sorry latitude it  spans Flyover from the Cascades to the Soo Locks and plops its butt down for a nice, long visit.

Oh sure, it goes up into Canada too, but screw those guys. Buncha foreigners.  Let 'em freeze from their heads right down to their long-gun registry. What's Canada ever done for us?


Okay. I meant to say what's Canada done for us lately?

Dec 5, 2013

As if hi-cap magazines aren't evil enough...

... now we face the threat of hi-cap -- multiple warhead? --  cartridges.

Down in Des Moines a thugnut went out in his yard and started blazing away at this and that with something that looked to Des Moines Register reporters like an assault rifle.

No one got hurt until cops arrived and shot the perp down.

Later, a police spokesman and the six -- repeat six -- Register reporters combined to produce this explanation:

Police found a semi-automatic rifle similar to an AR-15 and a handgun with the suspect in the backyard. Several gun cartridges were found in the backyard, police said. (Police Sgt. and spokesman) Halifax said cartridges for the rifle used often contain 10 or 15 rounds.

It is simply mind-numbing that a mirvel like this was developed without any of us gun freeks having heard about it.

Dec 4, 2013

A little educashun Muzak if you please, Maestro

Randi Weingarten is not all that's wrong with the United States, but if you happen to be looking for a poster girl for the fubarity of our schools,  she might be on your short list.

Randi is president of the American Federation of Teachers. She appeared on C-Span today to explain away why her 1.5 million union educators can't educate kids. As you might expect, it's because they don't get paid enough and don't get enough respect.

There's nothing unusual about that sort of nonsense from AFT or the other teacher unions.  The striking thing is this woman's analytical and rhetorical approach. In essence, she rilly rilly rilly cares, and her wise and sincere concerns are products of her autobiography.

A reporter asked a how schools might reduce bullying. Ms. Randi responded that she is gay and that makes her an extra-caring expert on bullying.

Another reporter asked about the impact of city bankruptcies on teacher pensions.  She revealed that her father was an engineer and didn't get a very good pension.

Near the end, a crusty old guy tried to cut through the crap with a question about "zero tolerance" for most everything public school drones find politically incorrect. (Jack gives Jill a little hug at the bottom of the hill and is expelled for sexual harassment.)  Ms. Randi explains she understands the issue because she can remember being a high school teacher. And because "...I sometimes close my eyes and think." ( About half right there, Ms. Randi, if you ask me.)

It's all accompanied by great body language of engaged emotion. Her head blurs from the motion. Her  neck stretchs and retracts beneath a visage well-practiced in broad, dramatic segues from smiley to frowny to amazement to just plain querulousness.

I blame public eduction for that, too. I'm all but certain her high school speech teacher told her class that the key element in exposition is enthusiasm (!).  "Say it like you mean it, kids, and everything else will fall into place." Yeah. everything except a useful contribution to an important discussion.

I repeat. This woman leads the American Federation of Teachers. It's as though we still have the student on one end of the log but sent Horace Mann off to sell insurance and replaced him with Phyllis Diller.