Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

"
If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"
Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wait, What?

Over to Bing. Damnit.

Google has allegedly begun censoring its shopping search engine to exclude firearms and any accessories related to shooting.

I say "allegedly" because I just plugged ".45 colt ammo" into Google Shopping and got results. On the other hand, "colt 1911" had no results.

Look, Google is a large corporation and as such, they are both bound to both be full of idiot managers and they are free to set whatever stupid policies they want. We all should know, by now, that Goggle's "don't be evil" motto is nothing but eyewash.

But neither you nor I or any of the other gunnies out there have to use them. Search engines thrive on being used, or, as one term has it, "eyeballs". Maybe it is time to consider to start to deny some of those eyeballs to Google.

Another thing: If Google is going to start censoring its shopping results, how long will it be before Google starts telling its bloggers what they can and can't write about? Blogspot is a Google entity and that makes Goggle the publisher of all of these blogs. And before you start bleating about the First Amendment, the law is clear on this: Publishers have the right to control content on their publications. Google can say "no blogging about guns", just like Fox New, an agitprop arm of the GOP, can tell its anchors "never say anything good about a Democrat".

Friday, June 29, 2012

Farming and Predation

Marko is having a little trouble with foxes eating his chickens. A friend of mine buys her eggs from a local farm (really, a "hobby farm") where they have free-range chickens. Or they did, until the coyotes or foxes came shopping for food.

Decades ago, there was a farmer who was running dairy cows. A man lived down the road who worked in town. He had two dogs, German Shepards. There wasn't a leash law in that county; the man let his dogs run free during the day while he was at work. When he came home each day, the dogs were lazing about the yard.

During the day, however, the dogs got into some mischief. One of the things that they would do is go over to the diary farm and chase the cows around the fields. The farmer was none too pleased about that, since agitated cows don't produce as much milk.

The farmer complained to the dog owner, who told him: "Can't be my dogs, they don't chase cows." The farmer thanked the man for his time, apologized for bothering him, and went back to the farm.

Three days later, the dogs were chasing his cows. The farmer shot both dogs with an old .32-20 Winchester that had been passed down from his grandfather. He then fired up his backhoe, dug a trench and buried the dogs. He said nothing to anyone about it.

A week after that, the dog owner came by and asked the farmer if he had seen the two dogs. The farmer said: "Nope, sure haven't, hope you find them. Well, I did shoot two German Shepards last week who were chasing my cows, but they couldn't have been your dogs, because your dogs don't chase cows."

Oh, Cable News, What Would We Do For Humor Without You to Mock?

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
CNN & Fox News Report Supreme Court Decision
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In the next segment, watch Romney's performance.

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Health care is a real problem for Romney. Jon Stewart might be the first one to point out that the Republican idea is to keep all of Obamacare that is popular but trash the provision that pays for it. And Rmoney has to do all this without breaking down and admitting that the Massachusetts health care plan, or Romneycare, that he signed into law as governor, was wrong. For Romney didn't just sign the bill, he was deeply involved in negotiating its provisions. Romney pushed for the individual mandate:
"With regards to the individual mandate, the individual responsibility program that I proposed, I was very pleased that the compromise between the two houses includes the personal responsibility mandate. That is essential for bringing the health care costs down for everyone and getting everyone the health insurance they need."
Every other governor who has ever run for president has done so by touting what good things they did in their home state and how they can do that for the rest of the country. Romney is the only governor that I can think of who has been saying, in effect: "This is what I did as governor, I promise that I won't do it as president."

Hell, if Rick Perry had adopted that sales pitch, I might have considered voting for him. Come to think of it, that's sort of what Bush did in practice, as well. He came into office proclaiming that he would be a bipartisan president who would work with both parties, as he did as governor, and then he morphed into a batshit-crazy "my way or no way" wingnut.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

This Just In:

BREAKING NEWS: Supreme Court rules that ER visit and stitches will be free for all red-blooded American conservatives who slash their wrists today.

Reason #1,847,953 Why Not to Listen to Pundits: Obamacare

For they were all wrong:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the controversial health care law championed by President Barack Obama in a landmark decision that will impact the November election and the lives of every American.
Every pundit and prognosticator that I heard was talking about whether the Supremes would throw out the individual mandate or toss the entire bill. John Boehner was telling his minions not to dance too much when (not "if", "when") the decision came down. Oxy Boy was telling people to get ready to celebrate. The New York Times was blathering on how badly the Administration had misjudged things.

Who's dancing now?

Update:  Certainly not this idiot.

"Stand Your Ground" Does Not Mean "Go Looking for Trouble"

Not even in Texas.
Retired Texas firefighter Raul Rodriguez, armed with a handgun and video camera, had claimed he was standing his ground and had no choice but to use deadly force when he fatally shot his unarmed neighbor after confronting him about a noisy party.

A jury decided otherwise Wednesday, sentencing Rodriguez to 40 years in prison for killing the neighbor, Kelly Danaher, a 36-year-old elementary school teacher.
I think the minimum time in Texas is 50% of the sentence, so Rodriguez is still going away for a long time.

Recycling for Military Uses

During the Civil War, the South had far more difficulty than the Union in supplying their forces. One of the items that the Confederates found in short supply was potassium nitrate, one of the components of gunpowder. A chemist in the South figured out how to extract potassium nitrate from urine. His name was John Harrelson.

The Southerners began a program to collect human urine. That led to considerable merriment on both sides of the battlefield:
John Harrelson, John Harrelson, you are a wretched creature,
You've added to this bloody war a new and awful feature,
You'd have us think while every man is bound to be a fighter,
The ladies, bless their pretty dears, should save their piss for nitre,

John Harrelson, John Harrelson, where did you get this notion,
To send your barrel around the town to gather up this lotion,
We thought the girls had work enough in making shirts and kissing,
But you have put the pretty dears to patriotic pissing,

John Harrelson, John Harrelson, do pray invent a neater
And somewhat less immodest mode of making your saltpeter,
For “tis an awful idea, John, gunpowdery and cranky,
That when a lady lifts her skirt, she's killing off a Yankee.

John Harrelson, John Harrelson, we’ve read in song and story
How a women’s tears, through all the years, have moistened fields of glory,
But never was it told before, how, ‘mid such scenes of slaughter,
Your Southern beauties dried their tears and went to making water,
No wonder that your boys are brave, who couldn’t be a fighter,
If every time he shot a gun he used his sweethearts nitre?
And, vice-versa, what could make a Yankee soldier sadder,
Than dodging bullets fired by a pretty woman’s bladder.

They say there is a subtle smell
That lingers in the powder;
That when the smoke grows thicker,
And the din of the battle louder
That there is found to this compound
One serious objection;
A soldier can not sniff it
Without having an erection.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

TSA: More Despicable Every Day

New tip for travelers: Do not travel with the cremated remains of your loved ones. For the TSA goons will open the container, spill at least a portion of the ashes on the floor, and then laugh at you while you try to recover what you can.

Note that the TSA is saying that its thugs did nothing wrong. Which it pretty typical for any group of cops in Soviet Amerika, even unarmed glorified airport mall cops. For it is only when some uninvolved citizen captures such arrogant fuckery on video that anything is ever done, if even then.

(H/T)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Romney the Corporate Rapist

Over the weekend, two long stories came out that set out, in detail, how Mitt Romney and Bain Capital raped, plundered and burned companies. They bought a majority stake in the companies and then forced the companies to hire themselves as "consultants" for very large fees.

So as the companies went down the drain, laying off thousands of American workers, sending those jobs overseas and amassing massive debt, Bain Capital took out massive "fees".

If the company was one of those few that survived the rapacious ministrations of Romney's Bain Capital, Rmoney and Bain made a fortune. if the company eventually went under, Bain made even more mney.

The wholly predictable thing is this: Bain Capital under Rmoney made a practice of shuttering American plants and sending the jobs overseas. Only now that he is running for president, Mittens is going around decrying offshoring American jobs.

By the way, has anyone noted that Mittens hasn't held down a job for the last six years? He's kind of young to be retired.

(H/T for the last)

Update: He's also trying to get other Republicans to lie about the economic conditions in their states.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Caturday

Jake, napping on his favorite chair.


Still and quiet feline form,
In the sun, asleep and warm.
His tail is limp, his whiskers drooped.
Man, what could make this cat so pooped?
-Calvin, of Calvin & Hobbes.

I couldn't find that particular strip, so this one will have to do.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Airplane Days

If you know of an airport that has a restaurant on the field, it cam be a great place to watch airplanes. This is a sampling of the airplanes at KDXE this morning.

A brace of Piper Cubs. The left-hand one is a traditional J-3. The one on the right, I don't know. It has an electrical system, powered by a little wind-driven generator.


A T-Cart L-2. They were primarily used as artillery spotters during WW2, though there. The Germans hated them with a passion, almost as much as they hated the P-47 "Jabos". Or I think it's a L-2. The squared-off bottom of the rudder is throwing me.


A pretty early-model Cessna 140.


A racer of some kind. That's a gyrocopter behind it.


A Cessna 195 in Army paint. The Army flew them as LC-126s.

Friday, June 22, 2012

K-22 Masterpiece

Otherwise known as the Smith & Wesson Model 17.


I was in a local gun shop awhile back. They had a K-22 in their used gun case for $600. I swallowed hard and walked away.

See, I bought a K-22 over thirty years ago, new, for about $200. I shot that gun a lot. For I was a member of a local indoor range, which meant that all it cost me to shoot at any given time was cartridges and targets. I'd stop at the range on the way home from work, maybe three times a week, and shoot for a half-hour or so.[1]

Later, when I was back home on my folk's farm,[2] I kept that K-22 handy. Between plinking and pest-control shooting, that revolver worked well. Then I moved to the PRMA[3] for a few years, where they also frowned on handgun ownership. I loaned the K-22 to a college kid who was serious about becoming a better shooter, but he didn't have a decent gun to work with.

A few years after that, someone broke into his place and swiped the K-22, among other stuff. I've thought about replacing it, but then I recently looked at the MSRP for a new one and gasped. The online gun auctions aren't significantly cheaper for used ones.

Replacing that K-22 is an itch that I'm not going to scratch.

UPDATED: Three years later, I scratched the itch.
_____________________
[1] Of course, if the base cops had ever searched my car, I'd have been screwed. The Navy positively frowned on having weapons on the base.
[2] The farm was Dad's retirement project. The difference between my father and a real farmer, like Frank James, was like the difference between me and a 25,000 hr airline pilot.
[3] Aka the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Not Your Grand-dad's Model Railroad

The "Miniature Wonderland" in Hamburg, Germany:



I'd have expected this level of, well, eccentricity from the British. It's pretty damn amazing.

Rmoney- Detached Patrician Elite

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Mitt Romney's Champion Horse & Stephen's Dressage Contribution
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Keep watching to the point where Rmoney would seem to suggest that his wife is doing smack.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hollywood Is Full of Morons; Special Effects Edition

This is a screenshot from the trailer to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter:


You likely can see the problem. If not, this is what the Washington Monument looked like in 1860:


To sum up quickly, the cornerstone was laid in 1848. Construction stopped in 1854 when the Know-Nothings[1] got all bent out of shape because the Pope donated a commemorative stone to the monument.[2] Construction didn't resume until 1879; the monument was finished in 1884 and dedicated in 1885, about two months before the 20th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination.

During Lincoln's presidency, the stump of the monument was what was there.
_____________________________________
[1] The intellectual ancestors to today's Tea Party.
[2] Before 9-11, one could walk up or down the stairs in the monument and see the interior commemorative stones.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Two Centuries Ago

War was declared against the British in what Americans call the War of 1812. The declaration of war was a partisan affair in itself, the Federalists did not back the war.

The war itself revealed the folly of Thomas Jefferson's program of building gunboats rather than men-of-war, as the gunboats were swept aside by the Royal Navy, which pretty much controlled the seas, to the extent that they could. In that pre-radio, pre-telegraph time, news traveled as fast as a man could-- privateers roamed the seas and decimated the British merchant marine. The Royal Navy, for its part, was able to land forces and carry out raids pretty much at will, extorting tribute from coastal towns in exchange for not burning them.

On the whole, it is probably fair to say that the United States entered a war for which it was not at all prepared and under a very dubious set of assumptions.[1] As a result, the Americans pretty much got their asses kicked, other than in single-ship fights and on the Great Lakes. Fortunately for the Americans, as far as the British were concerned, the War of 1812 was a sideshow, as they were engaged in a death-match with Napoleon's France.[2] By the time the British thought that they had finished with Bonaparte,[3], they were rather tired of fighting large conflicts (the rich were fed up with paying war taxes) and the Americans had gotten better at land conflicts.

The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent on Christmas Eve, 1814. Due to the slow speed of communications, there were battles for months afterwards, including the Battles of New Orleans and Ft. Bowyer.[4]

The enduring after-effect of the war was the demilitarization of the Great Lakes.
____________________________
[1] Sounds familiar.
[2] The Americans were essentially co-belligerents with France in the next-to-last Napoleonic war, which was the first that Napoleon lost.
[3] The War of the Sixth Coalition.
[4] The news of the treaty came just in time to stop the British from following up on the Battle of Ft. Bowyer with a planned torching of Mobile, Alabama.

Bloodless Coup

In Egypt, the armed forces granted themselves more power. The Egyptian military took power over its own budget, removed itself from civilian control and assumed the right to write the state constitution.

Observers who looked deeper than the superficial glances of most coverage in this country had long noted that the removal of Hosni Mubarak as president of Egypt changed little. The Egyptian military has been a power unto itself for many decades, arguably since the British were kicked out nearly sixty years ago.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Why Sweat Greece?

I don't understand what the big worry is about Greece. Oh, sure, I know that their economy is a mess, they've made a national sport out of tax evasion and most of their governments since the Junta have been pretty fucking corrupt.

But still. The gross domestic product of Greece is $300 billion or so. That's the GDP of Maryland. Three hundred billion is less than half of what we throw at the Department of Defense. That's about the yearly revenue of BP, give or take a few oil spills.

The EU has a GDP of over $17 trillion. Greece is 1.7% of that. If the fucking Europeans could get their collective shit in one sock, they could weather a Grecian collapse without breaking a significant sweat.

Hell, the global GDP is probably over $65 trillion. If the financial wizards let a default by the Greeks bring the world's economy crashing down, then they really all should be stood up against some walls and shot. For they will be revealed as a bunch of brainless chickens. (Which is insulting to chickens, as even they would seem to have more sense than the collective mass of banksters.)

Sherlock Holmes: "The Adventure of the Yellow Face"

What struck me most about the story was that it was published nearly 120 years ago. Even today, in some quarters, the ending would have been considered scandalous.

I imagine that there were periodicals in this country which refused to publish the story when it was offered to them.

Friday, June 15, 2012

GOP Senators Give Oral Sex to Banksters

Jamie Dimon, the Chief Bankster at JP MorganChase, testified at a Senate hearing this week regarding his bank recently blowing $7 billion dollars on the same time of bullshit bets that wrecked our economy in 2008. The GOP senators fell over themselves in their rush to demonstrate their fealty to the banksters.

Jon Stewart, of course, does the best coverage of it. The Daily Show broke it into two parts, so here are part one and part two.

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bank Yankers
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The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bank Yankers - Jamie Dimon on Capitol Hill
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Little Putins

These are politicians who have adopted Vladimir Putin's method of dealing with term limits. What they do is serve in the state house of representatives until they hit the term limits. Then they shift over and run for the state senate and they serve there, well, until they hit the term limits. Then it's back to the house and the cycle repeats itself.[1],[2]

In a way, it shows the anti-democratic aspect of term limits, for the Little Putins are popular enough with the voters to be returned to office time and again. The only thing that term limits do is somewhat reduce the power of those politicians as they cannot amass seniority. But they can, in a way, for they are the ones who have the experience to master the rules and procedure of their legislative body. Then they can exert outsized influence.

What it comes down to is that term limits are an anti-choice provision, a belief that the voters don't know what they are doing. Which is probably true, since term limits are often enacted by referendum.
____________________
[1] Or they serve a term in a local job, such as Killer of Dogs, until they can run again for the state house. Unless they end up serving a term in the big house.
[2] If the politicians have lots of money, they can buy enough influence to override term limits, as Billionaire Mike did.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fifty Years Ago

During the night of June 11, 1962, Frank Morris and two brothers, Clarence and John Anglin, broke out out of Alcatraz. They were never seen again.

Did they make it to shore? The Mythbusters tested the raft (parts one, two and three), concluding that they could have made it safely to the Marin Headlands.

My gut feeling is that most career criminals would, if they got free, eventually commit more crimes. Morris was certainly smart enough to figure that out, I don't know about the Anglin brothers.

Still, imagine if, a few years from now, an elderly man who is dying tells his doctor to have the cops run his prints after he dies, and it turns out to be one of the three escapees from the Rock. Most people would probably cheer for him, including cops.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Rmoney's Ideal HR Department


From Non Sequitur, of course.

Spaying and Neutering

It has worked so well in parts of Oregon that they are flying in animals for adoption.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

School Administrator "Doesn't Want to Overreact"??-- zOMG, STOP THE PRESSES!!!1!

It's true. Some kids put some goats onto the roof of a school and the principal doesn't want to "overreact to the incident".

Somebody want to tell this guy that he is violating the Most Holy Code of School Administrators? Overreacting is what they do!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Transit of Venus

In 1882. The movie was made from a set of photographs, which were taken every two minutes during the transit.

An Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age

Smith & Wesson Model 19.


This particular weapon is a Model 19-4, the last variant made with recessed cylinders and pinned barrels.[1] This is a target model and it is very accurate.

This revolver dates back to the time when concealed carry was permitted in very few states.[2] Civilians purchased handguns for target shooting, hunting and home defense. Handguns tended to be larger, as larger meant less recoil. Other than J-frame Smiths, Colt Detective Specials and PPKs,[3] I don't recall there being much of a selection of concealable handguns.

Automatics tended to be either .22s or Colt 1911s. Revolvers were preferred because they were less messy, they didn't throw brass casings hither and yon. That was of special interest to those who reloaded their own ammunition.

The 4" barrel Model 19 was popular with police, as it was not as heavy to carry as a heavy-frame Model 27.[4] Legend has it that the stainless steel variant, the Model 66, was used for a time by Navy SEALs, because that model was resistant to the corrosive effects of salt water.

The knock against the Model 19 was a reputation for developing cracked barrels with aggressively-loaded .357 cartridges. The Model 19 was built on the Smith & Wesson "K frame", which was designed originally for .38 Special revolvers. Fitting a .357 magnum on a K frame may have been, for the time, pushing the limits of metallurgy.

Smith & Wesson introduced a slightly heavier frame for its .357s in the early 1980s, the "L frame". Still, the Model 19 remained in production until the end of the 20th Century, the Model 66 continued on for several more years.
______________________
[1] S&W made that change to its line of revolvers in the early 1980s to cut costs.
[2] CT being one of them.
[3] PPK and PPK/s probably sold more for the tie-in to a certain fictional spy, than anything else.
[4] The Model 27s and the less-expensive Model 28 were built on the "N-frame", which originated with the famed "Triple Lock" .44.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Zero 3 Bravo

If you are a pilot, you may have heard of the book Zero 3 Bravo, by Mariana Gosnell. The book was her account of flying her Luscome, N803B, across the country in 1977.

The airport she flew from, Spring Valley Airport, is long gone. It was sold off to developers ("developers" being one of the most evil words in aviation) in the 1980s.

As of a few years ago, Mariana Gosnell still owned 03B, though I don't know where she kept it. She died early this spring.

Tailwinds forever, Mariana. May N803B fly on.

That Had to Hurt Some

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Caturday; Guest Species Edition


At least the camel was smart enough to point its ass into the slipstream.