was waitin for it, it was only a matter of time

 . . . until someone with national reach made the observation. 

Chicago alone is giving us a big enough body count every month to match the Newtown shooting.  But Chicago's death toll is not as shocking to the MSM because---wait for it---

"Obama Only Cares When “Vanilla” Children Get Shot"

a whole boatload of racism is implicit in that view. When will that racism be challenged? 


The mess that has been left

It's bad enough that since the atrocity, retailers and manufacturers have tightened their sphincters of supply of blasters and their expendables. 

It's even worse that most people I know are only now, with the supply tightening and prices rising, placing hard orders for the blasters and expendables.  "Know where I could get an M4?"  Me:  "I used to.  Probably gone now, for twice the price you could have had two weeks ago." 

All I can say is "I've got mine."  Now I have to put up with primers going for $.04 apiece. 

Meanwhile, the NRA EVP holds a press conference, and some wank interrupts/heckles it.  Nice attempt at a "national conversation."  Instead, as Larry Correia explained so succinctly, it isn't a conversation, it's a lecture.  Many think LaPierre rocked the presser---after looking over the release I'm not so enthusiastic. What about Fast and Furious?  What about government attempts to increase violence, and cement its association with private firearms ownership and commerce, on our Southern border? 

Meanwhile, and in a spirit of sincere national dialog rather than dismissing anti-gun writers out of hand, have a look at Cahan's post:

Repealing drug laws would do more --  much, much, much more -- than banning assault rifles (a measure I would agree is quite appropriate); barring carrying of concealed handguns in public  (I'd vote for that in my state, if after hearing from people who felt differently from me, I could give an account of my position that fairly meets their points and doesn't trade on tacit hostility toward or mere incomprehension of  whatever contribution owning a gun makes to their experience of a meaningful free life); closing the "gun show" loophole; extending waiting periods etc.  . . .  we are entitled to make policy on the best understanding we can form of how the world works so long as we are open to new evidence and aren't otherwise interfering with liberties that we ought, in a liberal society, to respect.
 The "if after hearing from people who felt differently from me" part is what thoughtful people call dialog.  Or a conversation


'cuz they want your stuff, man

The belief that wealth consists not of ideas, attitudes, moral codes, and mental disciplines but of definable and static things that can be seized and redistributed is the materialist superstition.
Tom Bethell paraphrasing George Gilder

Many of us free-marketers have unconsciously understood this.  The left disparages the notion of physical property as crass materialism not because they disdain material goods, rather they want us to loosen our grip on them, so they can seize those goods for themselves.  They confuse material things with wealth, they confuse money with value and love with sex, and are eager to equate spending with revenue, just as they wouldn't understand the difference between blood and saline if they were colored the same. 


Roissy done it again

"big revolutions are seeded with the polite vengeances of individuals"

Another QFTD from Roissy


Something the NYTimes actually can do right

A package arrived from Numrich---er, Gun Parts Corp---today.  A pack of 1911 magazines. 

Instead of styrofoam dunnage, the box was packed with crumpled pages from the New York Times. 



another pithy explanation for last week

Dreams, visions and wild hopes are mighty weapons and realistic tools.  The practical-mindedness of a true leader consists in recognizing the practical value of these tools.  Yet this recognition usually stems from a contempt of the present which can be traced to a natural ineptitude in practical affairs.  The successful businessman is often a failure as a communal leader because his mind is attuned to the "things that are" and his heart set on that which can be accomplished in "our time."  Failure in the management of practical affairs seems to be a qualification for success in the management of public affairs. And it is perhaps fortunate that some proud natures when suffering defeat in the practical world do not feel crushed but are suddenly fired with the apparently absurd conviction that they are eminently competent to direct the fortunes of the community and the nation. 
Eric Hoffer, The True Believer:  Thoughts on the nature of mass movements


Grow a pair . . . of labia?

It seems that many of our fellow Americans have indeed voted as if their lady parts depended on it. 

Unfortunately, I would have sworn that many of those fellow Americans didn't have lady parts on whose behalf they voted. 

I guess I was mistaken. 


post-election wrap-up

It is Mlle. Sklodovska's first night of the new junior smallbore season.  As I was driving her to the range, she asked, "Who won the election?"

"Mr. Obama has been re-elected."

Hmmmm.  "Is that a good thing?"

I thought for a second.  "Not optimal." 



I might have failed to tell you that on neighboring Farflung Silos AFB, the base exchange has installed a firearms counter and does land-office business in blasters.  Not just yer plain-jane duck-hunting NEF break-open shotguns and bolt .22's either.  They seem to lean hard on pocket blasters and Black rifles.  Quite good prices on everything Springer.  And I never knew how pretty a Ruger 77/44 was until I saw one there. 

I walked past that counter the other day with FrankenBoy in tow, and noticed a family crowded up to the counter.  Dad talking to the dealer, one or two offspring units in a stroller, and Momma in faux-stretch-leather pants handling a S&W M&P. 

Double-take:  she was slowly, deliberately turning the pistol and looking straight down the barrel. 

words that I wish were more common

I heard a guest on a radio talk show last week use a word that I wish I heard more often:  'whence.'

Which is proper usage:  "let it go back from whence it came" or "let it go back whence it came"? 

Other words that should stage a comeback: 

  • disabuse
Commenters, by all means chime in. 


Invisible War and PPACA

Today we watched the film Invisible War, which detailed the problem of sexual assault in Uncle Sugar's services, and how assaults persist in spite of the sexual assault prevention programs Uncle has launched against it.  This film is not for weak stomachs.

My takeaways:
  • the typical sexual predator claims 300 victims in a career.  I'm torn on the idea of trying to treat this as if it were a public health problem, using motivational posters and briefings.  In fact, this film brutally rips the current SAPR/BIT/SHARP programs as ineffective at best, or PR distractions at worst. 
  • the film's showcase assault survivors bear the scars of the assault, but even worse scars from the coverups and declined or bungled investigations after the fact.  It's worth asking whether these survivors would have recovered and continued purposeful lives and successful military careers if the commanders had investigated and prosecuted the assaults more vigorously.  What do we know about  survivors whose perpetrators have been prosecuted fully?  The film shows that most perps get weak punishment, assuming that the perps were guilty.  I will not support abandonment of presumed innocence. 
  • the survivors had peers, both male and female, who supported them and encouraged them to report the assaults and seek justice, as well as peers who tried to persuade them to stay silent.  The latter will always bend in the direction of the wind.  Commanders and enforcers make the coverup possible, thus making future assaults inevitable. 
  • something is genuinely dicked up with the Feres doctrine.  There's a reason I'm not a lawyer and the preceding sentence shows it. 
I don't want to rob this film of its power, but much of the film shows one of the assault survivors battling the Veteran's Administration for coverage of injuries from the assault.  Watch just these passages if you want to see what your life will be like when Obamacare is fully implemented.  That's what they want for all of us. 


Why do feminists assert nonsense that intimacy is terrifying to men?

When all you have is a lack of options, the world looks like a mandate.



when I send a text to the wife telling her to check the batteries in the butterfly, I mean check the batteries in the remote, too. 

Has anyone fielded a Bluetooth-enabled toy that can be controlled through a smartphone?  I wonder. 


Self-reassurance, or affirmation statement?

About a year ago, a new family moved in across the street.  A divorced head of household, her son with a girlfriend, and a daughter with two sons of her own, the elder of whom is bright, energetic, and over here with our two sons every day.  Others appear, or stop appearing, randomly. 

The said head of household has been revamping the landscaping and cleaning up trees and so forth.  She visited the other day, asking to borrow tools for the effort.  Sainted wife offered our stepladder and a telescoping pruner. 

At one point during a lull in the conversation, she said, "I don't need a man."  That struck me as rather queer.  Did she mean she didn't need a man to handle the landscaping that has utterly dominated her spare time for the entire summer?  She said it at a moment that I thought my sainted wife might not have heard it, almost that it was calculated so.  In retrospect, I found it somewhat offensive. 

I said, "well, you don't need a man until you need a man," meaning that it's easy for a woman to say she doesn't need a man, when she can borrow the things that tend to be available through a man from someone else's man. 

Since then I 've been thinking of about better  comebacks I should have offered, so she didn't think I was trying to hit on her, for example.  "None was offered," for example.  Please suggest your own comebacks in the comments. 

"Not until you need a ladder from one." 

"Is that an affirmation statement, or a self-reassurance?"

"Is that why you don't keep one around?" 

"'How's that working for you?" 

"Of course not, the world's your oyster, Toots." 

Eric Hoffer: where to start?

Due to recent reviews of the Longshoreman Philosopher's biographies in American Spectator and Reason, I've now got a yearning to read him.  Which would be best as a first read, one that has the most relevance for today's situation? I have to make a good first cut, considering other demands on my time. 

Amazon reviews are positive for The True Believer


another "I'll be damned" moment

It has been maybe two years since the last time I tried to teach Frankenboy how to ride a bicycle.  That time ended, er, poorly, with him tumbling ass-over-tincups off the bike, rolling on his shoulder and scraping a patch of skin from his leg.  A neighbor lady out in her lawn saw the whole thing, and the boy's uncontrolled crying and howling, and thought I was some horrible abuser.

Since then, a neighbor boy has moved in and spends almost every waking hour at our house, goofing off with our two boys.  He rides a bicycle.

Frankenboy thinks he wants to build a gokart or soapbox racer or some such out of discarded bicycle parts.  I tell him it's a lot less work to learn to ride a regular, ordinary bike.  The fear from the memory of his last painful attempt wells up.  "A cart won't fall over."

So I make him a deal.  Learn to ride a plain-vanilla upright bicycle down to the community pool and back, and he can disassemble one of the older 12" bicycles for parts.  A 20" has been sitting in the garage, with cardboard piling up over it.  We get it out and air up the tires, figure out which gears the derailleurs will in fact shift to, and he straps on his safety equipment.

He and neighbor boy disappear.  I go back to working on a stubborn Coleman stove that won't shut off.

A few minutes later, I notice that a few minutes have transpired, no sight of son or neighbor boy.  The neighbors' cars are gone, a good sign the boy is too.  So my son is alone, on a bicycle, or maybe under one, maybe with a severly angulated extremity. Dunno. 

Hmmmmm.  I start walking in the direction of the goal of his heart, his way to getting parts for a cart.  The pool.  I keep walking.  Halfway there.  Did a psycho grab him?  Did some teen roll over him in a Crown Vic? 

Then swinging around the distant corner, there is a figure clad in bicycle helmet and knee pads, and the old combat boots and kneehigh wool socks I had given him earlier this morning (he now wears my boot size, at age 12).  Doggedly pedaling a 20" bike that is too small for him.  Keeping it upright.  Pedaling faster than he should because the derailleurs are stuck in 1st on the front and 3rd on the rear.  A smile from ear to ear. 

I guess then we go shopping tomorrow for a 24".


They are average—that’s why they’re so deadly

Stock up on flashlight batteries and canned peaches, Citizens.

Roissy is a regular read.  Time to start reading what Roissy reads.  

Quote from the recent past

The village may have replaced "the state," and it in turn may have replaced the fist with the hug, but an unwanted embrace from which you cannot escape is just a nicer form of tyranny.

Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism

I'd eat it every night if I could, until I got bored with it

Viet Q, montgomery, ABQ



Saigon restaurant, San Mateo in ABQ


A reminder

A fascinating story at the Heart Mountain internment camp site.  Sad, angering. 

little chores around the house

My favorite camp axe, an Estwing with a hammerhead, is going on 30 years old, and was beginning to show its age. The chrome finish is worn away, showing pitted steel. As I was browsing an oldtimer's page about restoring old Coleman camping equipment, there appeared a technique to remove rust and prep the metal surface for a newer finish.

The oldtimer described how to immerse the metal part in a weak solution of trisodium phosphate, with a separate electrode of the same metal as that to be cleaned (discarded steel banding in this case). Put positive voltage on that sacrificial elecrode, and negative on the part to be cleaned. Flow direct current through it for a loooonnnnng time, and the rust will be pulled off the part. It worked nicely enough that some steel wool got the whole axe looking uniformly black and rust-free. Then an old slow-cooker heated up some Brownell's zinc parkerizing solution. After that, Johnson paste car wax rubbed deep into the pores; she looks beautiful.

The camp stove that prompted me to look up the Coleman restoration page got less elaborate treatment. The drip pan was pretty rough with some rust and food drippings, but they came off easily. Garage floor cleaner (probably phophate in there too) got most of the crap off, and I tried Rust-oleum's galvanizing spary paint. Gorgeous.

But the burner will not shut off. New generator is on there, but I need to replace the packing in the fuel stem assembly. Replacement packing parts are on the way.


The Burden of Perishable Skills

One of the recurring topics of conversation between the Missus and me is, "Why do we never have enough time?"  Granted, we're busy people, with a regular -- and sometimes overloaded -- work, exercise, and competition shooting schedule.  We're both NRA Certified Firearms Instructors and Range Safety Officers.  I "volunteer" as a Steel Challenge Match Director and we'll both soon be official USPSA ROs.  I'm an ARRL-qualified "emergency communications responder", for the lack of a better term.  (ARECC Level 1, for those that are curious.)  We like being outdoors and we work to stay fit in order to hike to the Colorado back country and snag a 14'er or two each year.

Admittedly, when we're feeling overwhelmed, we can simply let one or two things go until we're back to treading water.  No problem.

Except 'letting something go for a bit' doesn't solve the core issue: many of these activities involve perishable skills.  It's not so much the activities themselves that consume a lot of time, but the maintanance of the skills required to perform the activities competently that requires serious time commitments.  This is a very recent realization, discovered amidst some soul-searching I've been doing in an effort to combat/overcome some burn-out problems I've been having.

So let's do a brief run-down of these perishable skills that the Missus and I must maintain:
  • Shooting
  • Krav Maga
  • Morse Code
  • Motorcycling
  • Physical Fitness
Anyone that is intimately familiar with the shooting sports is well aware that the associated skills are extremely perishable.  People serious about armed self-defense -- and even middle-of-the-pack competitive shooters like the Missus and me -- know the importance of routine, focused, and deliberate practice.  Even at this level, we're talking at least one trip to the range and a couple dry-fire sessions each week.  We shoot a weekly Steel Challenge match (Remember: that's competition, not practice!) and a couple of USPSA matches each month.  Toss-in the peripheral activities related to this -- designing stages, cleaning guns, reloading ammo, and driving -- we're talking a significant time commitment just to maintain one perishable skill.

We started taking Krav Maga classes in the fall of 2011.  We did this for several reasons, the explanations being beyond the scope of this post.  Much like shooting, the skills acquired thru sweat and blood (literally) are hard-earned -- and easily lost.  We took off some time from Krav during the month of April and our return in May was an eye-opener.  Yeah, we remembered this technique and that set of moves, but we were rusty, slow, and weak.  One run thru a very simple knife defense drill and it was clear that my counterstrike couldn't have knocked over a glass of milk.  We're currently taking off the month of June in order to get past some conflicting scheduling and we know our return to class in July will be . . . . . humiliating humbling.

The Missus and I are also ham radio operators, licensed General Class and Extra Class, respectively.  I got my license back when Morse code was still part of the General exam, so I was obligated to learn it.  I taught myself and managed to ace the exam.  Granted, 5 words per minute (WPM) wasn't a huge hurdle but it was a proud accomplishment, nonetheless.  I've since worked my way up to 15 WPM and practice Morse code three or four times a week.  If I skip practice for a couple of weeks, it shows -- and badly.  Again, a perishable skill.

Motorcycling isn't like riding a bicycle; once you learn the basics, you're not necessarily good to go.  There's as much -- if not more -- art and instinct to negotiating 75 MPH highway traffic as there is to the simple act of moving forward on two wheels.  I've logged well over 100K miles on various motorcycles in the last 25 years and I can tell when I haven't ridden for a month or two.  I'm not quite as 'in tune' to the ebb-and-flow of traffic.  Not quite as smooth and confident.  Not quite as alert and cautious.  I'd like to see the numbers comparing motorcycle accidents to miles ridden.  I'll bet it's heavily skewed towards the one-50-mile-ride-a-month crowd.

Physical fitness is not so much a 'skill' as it is a 'state of being'.  But like any skill, it's just as perishable.  When I was in my mid-30s, I was a CATx USCF (now USA Cycling) road racer with aspirations to tackle the RAAM.  I trained like a fiend, grinding out 200 to 300 miles each week on my trusty Litespeed.  Due to changing circumstances, I had to give up that kind of training schedule after a couple of years.  Backing-down turned to backing-off turned to abandonment.  Six months later, I could barely pedal 35 miles.  Since then, I've never been able to maintain a focused workout regimen for more than 12 months.  Something always comes up -- work, family, etc. -- and I have to drop the program.  Getting back into the groove gets harder each time, doubly so as "50 Trips Around the Sun" looms near on the horizon.

Coupled with the fact that these skills need to be addressed on a regular basis, I have the problem of being a goal-oriented person.  All of the things I mentioned above involve "journeys", not "destinations" -- and I find most journeys to be tedious and distracting.  The goal, the end-game, the finish line is what I strive for.  Check a box and move on to the next thing.  But none of those things have that.  Intermediate goals?  Yes.  Ultimate goals?  No.  So I get bored when there's little or no apparent progress toward a destination.  I also find much to mock in the 'continual improvement' mindset that's so prevalent these days.  I'm sorry, but everyone has a plateau -- and once you reach that, you bump into The Law of Diminishing Returns very quickly.  Who has the bandwidth for that?

So I'm always gonna' be a mid-pack shooter, a 'P' level Krav student, a 15 WPM Morse operator, a 125-pound bench presser, a 25-mile-weekend bicyclist, and a 200-mile-a-month (if I'm lucky) motorcyclist.  Yes, I find it frustrating to try to find a balance between these demanding activities.  Yes, I find it frustrating to continually revisit weak spots that I have worked thru in the past.  Yes, I wish I could find an end-game to all these things, wash my hands of them once-and-for-all, and enjoy the freed-up time and money to pursue other things.  But, no, because they're perishable skills, I will not give them up.  I've worked too hard to gain what little competence I have in them.  And, paraphrasing Heinlein*, I'd rather be good at several things than great at one thing.

This is my burden, even if I don't always bear it well.


* "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

Robert Heinlein


scary watershed

This week seems to have been a watershed moment, and not a good one. In 3 airports, two Wally Worlds, and many other public places, it sure as hell appears that female obesity has firmly established itself.

Non-scientific, subjective, but just so: I've seen scores of mother-teenage daughter pairs traveling this week, and in the majority of them, the mother is slimmer than the daughter. It crosses apparent boundaries of class and ethnicity.

this in spite of riding the same plane today as the Golden Girls.

Could it be that I'm on the backside of thirty? I don't think so.



Just finished: The American Revolution by Wood.

Now reading: Goldberg's Liberal Fascism.

Next up: either Strauss's Emergency, or Baze's The Road Home.


not bad

Ordinarily I don't watch any TV sports. However, there's a pretty good film on ESPN Classic about steroids, bodybuilding, and the Law.

Bigger, Stronger, Faster.


Buying American

Am recently on a jag to buy American more often. Seems to me that I'd rather spend $100 to hire an American to repair an older chainsaw, than $100 to buy a new chainsaw made elsewhere. The $100 spent in town on American labor to fix an older piece is likely to stay in town.