Seen on the street in Kyiv.

Words of Advice:

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

“The Mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” -- The TOFF *

"Foreign Relations Boil Down to Two Things: Talking With People or Killing Them." -- Unknown

“Speed is a poor substitute for accuracy.” -- Real, no-shit, fortune from a fortune cookie

"If you believe that you are talking to G-d, you can justify anything.” — my Dad

"Colt .45s; putting bad guys in the ground since 1873." -- Unknown

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"The Dildo of Karma rarely comes lubed." -- Unknown

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

* "TOFF" = Treasonous Orange Fat Fuck, A/K/A Dolt-45,
A/K/A Commandante (or Cadet) Bone Spurs,
A/K/A El Caudillo de Mar-a-Lago, A/K/A the Asset., A/K/A P01135809

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Signalmen! Fly Flags WHISKEY ALPHA HOTEL!

Armstrong: 'Lynching one man' won't solve doping issue.
Disgraced cyclist claims he is doping scapegoat for generations of cheaters.
Call the Whaabulance.

Tell them to take this exit:

Armstrong isn't a scapegoat. He lied, repeatedly, under oath. He sued, for libel, people who told the truth. He didn't just go along with the program, he was one of the fucking leaders. He was doping up to his gills and proudly proclaiming how he was winning clean and honest.

Only now that it has come crashing down around his ears, do we get the sporting version of "I vas chust following orders, meine herren."

Hey, Lance?

Your Latest Computerized Time-Sink

A punch-card version of Google.

It'll return the first eight hits and then kick you over to a version that isn't fifty years old.

And if that isn't enough for you, try your hand at a virtual slide rule, with more of them here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Killer In Your House?

Your cat.

Or so some researchers claim.

I'm rather skeptical. Their estimate of the size of the feral cat population in the country is 55 million, plus or minus 25 million. That is a hell of a margin of error. Their estimates as to the number of birds they kill varies by a factor of two (23 to 46 per cat per year) and by nearly a factor of three for small rodents (129-339/cat/yr).

I did see a cat kill a bird once. The cat was walking across a yard and some birds were dive-bombing it to try and drive it off. The cat didn't seem to be paying them much heed, but as one of the birds swooped in, the cat twisted around, knocked the bird right out of the air and dispatched it.

My cats over the years have confined their killings to stuffed toys, ping-pong balls, feathered toys and laser dots. Oh, and sometimes the occasional bug that got inside. George (of blessed memory) was really good at that.

Nice to Know That Bob Costas Thinks That I (and Likely You) are Insane

His definition of "insanity" is roughly: "People who don't agree with my stance on guns."

Hey, Bob, you're a guy who makes a fortune from a professional culture of violence, so go fuck yourself. You make a hell of a lot of money announcing games in a sport where it is likely that a lot of the players are going to be suffering from early-onset dementia before they turn forty or fifty. Yeah, you seem to have a problem with it, but that doesn't stop you from collecting a whoppingly large paycheck in the process.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Apropos of Nothing in Particular

Yet one of the lines did foretell the creation of Fox News...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Being Filthy Rich Would Have Its Advantages

Just the thing for personal transport.

One of these would be an acceptable substitute:

That's the Velocity V-Twin. The kit costs $110K, and that is just for the airframe. No engines, radios, instruments, or interior. It's pretty fast and it probably drinks less gas then a Cessna 400 (or whatever the hell they call those things now). Time you add in engines, props, a nice interior, and all of the IFR bells and whistles, probably looking at $200K and that assumes that you do all of the work. More likely $400K for a "builder-assisted" airplane.

Sure would be cool to fly one. But much cooler to fly a Mossie.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

The F-14:

The F-14 was a classy airplane. Designed for incredibly long-ranged air defense, towards the end of its operational life, they were flying "air to mud" missions.

The Navy retired the F-14s because they said that they were maintenance hogs. That may be, but I've felt that the real reason was that by only having one airplane type flying almost all missions (the F`nA-18), they reduced the complexities of supplying parts.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Shorter Catholic Church: "Life Begins At Conception. Unless That Will Cost Us Money. Then It Doesn't."

Canon City, Colorado (CNN) -- Life begins at conception, according to the Catholic Church, but in a wrongful death suit in Colorado, a Catholic health care company has argued just the opposite.

A fetus is not legally a person until it is born, the hospital's lawyers have claimed in its defense.
Ah, don't you just love the sulfuric stench of religious hypocrisy? For you know that the hospital would fight any requirement to let physicians do abortions there, because their stance is life begins at conception.

When it is convenient for them to do so, they'll say "No, it begins at birth. But only when we've screwed the pooch. Then a fetus is just a meaningless mass of tissue."

Look, I get it. The lawyers are doing what they are supposed to be doing: Asserting every defense they can for their client.

But this defense flies in the face of everything that the Catholic Church has said for the last 40 years. I wouldn't be surprised if, all of a sudden, they find a way to settle this,

And yes, it's really scummy of them to have gone after the grieving widower for the Catholic hospital's legal fees. But let's face it: "Scummy" is where they live.

Drones and Other Military Stuff

I watched The Rise of the Drones last night.

First off, I don't know what one calls using drones to kill people. "Combat" doesn't fit, for the drone driver has no skin in the fight. The biggest risk that they face is being in a car crash going to and from work. Look, I don't ascribe to the notion that there is something honorable and chivalrous about armed combat. The idea is to win and if winning means you shoot the guy in the back or blow him up from a distance, that's winning.

But there is something disquieting about whacking a guy on the far side of the world.*

Second, does anyone really think that drone technology isn't going to be used, not only by the bad guys, but by the really bad guys? Stalkers, for one? Or take a small fixed-wing drone, put a few pounds of explosives into it and fly it into the car of the guy you want to kill?

Third, forget outdoor privacy, now. Not when they can put a drone 3+ miles up that takes video at 6" resolution over an entire city and they can store the video forever.

A laughable moment was to see the drone drivers wearing flightsuits. There's no reason why they couldn't all be wearing dresses and heels. And maybe they should, for it's no more a physically-demanding job than being a telemarketer.

This made me smile:
A woman who is married to a female Army officer has been named Fort Bragg, N.C., spouse of the year even though an officers' spouse club refused her membership.
A big F.U. to the bigots in the Ft. Bragg , even if they did just change their minds.

There has been a lot of stuff about the Pentagon removing barriers to women serving in combat. They have been, all along in the Wars of the Chimperor, because the soldiers needed women with them in order to be able to search female suspects. So women have been there, carrying rifles shooting and getting shot.

Fact is that a lot of women won't be physically qualified to serve as infantry soldiers, but those that can do the job ought to be permitted to. Historically, the inclusion of women in ground combat forces was only done because there were not enough male cannon fodder, but times have changed.

And maybe it is time to amend the Selective Service Act so that everyone has to register.
* Anyone who said that insurgents were cowards for using command-detonated IEDs should be knocked to the ground and stomped on. For obvious reasons.

Caturday; Adoption Edition

Lots of cats need a home. If you can, please open yours to one.

That cat looked so much my Gracie (peace be upon her) that it almost broke my heart not to bring her home. But I just can't.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Man. Those Heaters are Expensive!

If you thought a professional grade .45 from Wilson was expensive, at $2,920, then you ought to get a load of what a "GI" .45 from Cabot Guns will set you back: A cool $4,750.

I don't know. For that, you could buy ten Rock Island .45s and leave them scattered about so that you'd always have one handy, and still have plenty left over for ammunition.

On the other hand, I have no idea what a Korth revolver sells for, probably easily north of $5,000. Ten years ago, list price on one was $4,700; their price listing now only says "POR", which is German for "if you gotta ask, go buy a Smith & Wesson".

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Shorter GOP: "If We Can't Win Fair, We'll Win Foul."

Basically, the GOP has a plan to gerrymander themselves into winning presidential elections. The popular vote would matter even less than it does now, especially in states that went for Obama but have Republican-controlled legislatures.

So even if a Democrat has 52% of the popular vote, they'll rig it so that the Republican would win.

So if they can't steal the election or buy the votes they need, they'll just rig the game. Because they can't quite think of a way to come up with a platform (or candidates) that can win on a national basis. Screw Hispanic, Blacks, Asians, women, and every other group they can't win over, they'll just write them out of the game.

The GOP has to be about the most despicable pack of thieves and criminals outside of a Goldman Sachs boardroom.

All you folks on the left, you had better re-think your aversion to guns and black rifles. You may find a need for them sooner than you think. These bastards are going to steal your country from you.

Happy Birthday!

The Opportunity Rover has finished its ninth year on Mars.

Just like the government: Come up with a three-month project and it goes on for over nine years.... Just kidding.

It's pretty damn impressive. Still pretty young, compared to Pioneer 6, and the two Voyagers.

Shorter New Mexican Lawmaker: "In Order to Protect Women, We'll Force Them to Carry Rape Babies to Term."

That's the rationale, all right. Forcing women who were raped to carry the babies of their rapists is "protecting women". So they'll make it a felony to have an abortion after being raped and the fig-leaf for that is "preserving evidence".

I'm pretty sure that the technology exists to get and preserve the DNA from the dead embryo/fetus after a D&C. So this bill is just another pitiful attempt to punish women for being raped.

Maybe the legislator who came up with that bill ought to emigrate to Pakistan or some other 3rd/4th world shithole that regards women as chattel.

Anti-Oxidants-- Nah

If you have been buying antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-catrotine, you might want to save your money for more important things.* For not only does it seem that they don't do anything to prevent cancer, they don't do squat to prolong life. They may even shorten it.

On the other hand, eating foods rich in them may help. Which means that the old wisdom about eating a healthy diet still holds water.

Oh, and the crap about how you may live a lot longer if you sort of semi-starve yourself? Fuggedaboudit. It's more crap. Sure, you shouldn't eat massive portions, not unless you're burning up that level of calories. Eat sensibly, but eat.
* Like ammunition. Crimus, people, nobody is seriously proposing banning that stuff. Slack off the hoarding bullshit! [Morons.]

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ban Cats?

Some clown* in New Zealand is advocating eradicating cats because they are an invasive species which has harmed the environment.

Any bets as to which invasive species has done the most damage to the ecosystem in New Zealand? Here's a hint: It isn't Felis catus. It is a certain species of bipedal primate, which can often be found making stupid public pronouncements.
* My apologies to professional clowns (and their subspecies, congressmen).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Now Is the Time to Address the Deadly Menace Posed by Light Sabers

I base that on a blog entry I read the other day which called for the banning of .50 caliber rifles. The sole evidence of the criminal potentiaal for such rifles was that the writer had seen the movie "Shooter".

Riight. Let's ban things based on their uses in movies, shall we? So we might as well ban the ownership of phasers and light sabers. Not that any of those things exist, but they were dreamed up by some writer, and as we all know, we now have reasonable facsimiles of the communicators from ST:TOS and the tablets from ST:TNG.

And transporters, what a menace those things are. They disassemble you, blast your atoms into nothingness, and then reassemble an exact copy elsewhere. Split the beam and you can get two copies of the same person: It happened to Will Riker!

If irrational fear is the basis for discussion, then I want the right to own a rifle powerful enough to take down a charging pack of Spinosauri.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"Nobody Can Be That Good. Nobody."

Those were the words spoken by Chicago Cubs manager Jimmy Wilson, when he saw the performance of a rookie outfielder who was playing for the St. Louis Cardinals.

The rookie was Stan Musial. He was that good. He was so feared in Brooklyn that, when he came to bat, the fans would say: "Here comes that man again." And so he became known as "Stan the Man." He played for the Cardinals for 22 years.

Besides being one of the greatest baseball players ever, he was widely known to be a genuinely nice man. Without fanfare or publicity, Musial would visit children in hospitals while on road trips, because he thought that maybe he could cheer them up a little. He was a gentleman in a profession where such is not expected.

Stan "the Man" Musial died yesterday. He was 92.

Update: Earl Weaver, one of the great managers, died Friday night. He said that his epitaph should read: "The sorest loser that ever lived."

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

An IAF 707-tanker:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The S&W Model 10

Everything that you need:

Nothing that you don't.

This is a straight Model 10, a "no dash" model. Those were produced between 1957 and 1961. From the looks of the internals of the cylinder and barrel, this one was carried a lot and shot very little.

I am going to get a Tyler t-grip adapter for it and that's all. Or a BK grip.

Then I plan to take it to a PPC match and have some fun going up against the 1911 fanboys.

James Bond is Probably Crying

Walther is making its PPK/s with a zinc frame.

I've always thought that zinc/zamak to be the hallmark of the sort of cheap-ass "throwdown" gun that a cop might carry in his back pocket to justify a bad shooting.

Correction: Only in .22. But still....

Say Goodbye to the Nudie Rape-o-Scanners

The TSA is pulling all of the nudiescopes because the manufacturer can't rewrite the software to blur the images.

The scary thing is that a majority of Americans were fine with the idea of a digital strip-search. Because they swallowed the TSA's propaganda "we need to look at your naked body to keep you safe". Even though they didn't.

Something to keep in mind: All the government has to do is keep saying "we can keep you safe if you only give up (insert specific liberty here)" and people will say "fine, take it away."

Caturday; Shelter Edition

If you don't have a cat in your life, please consider going to an animal shelter and finding one.

The cat you adopt will be grateful for a home. And your life will be immeasurably enriched.

Do it.

That is all.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Gun Control Negotiations

There is no such thing as unilateral negotiations. Gun owners are being asked to give up some of their rights in exchange for what? What do I, as a gun owner, get out of the deal? As far as I can see, nothing, which isn't a compromise or a negotiation, it is a sacrifice.

Will the gun control side commit to saying what they recognize as being legal to own without quibbling language? Will they recognize the validity of concealed carry permits? Or when the next clown goes into a school with a few .38 revolvers, with they then go after "those evil assault revolvers"? If another Charles Whitman takes a high perch and starts picking off people with a scoped rifle, will they go after bolt-action centerfire rifles as "sniper weapons"? (The DC snipers used a Bushmaster rifle, but they could have done what they did with a bolt-action Savage rifle.)

"We're going to take some of your shit, but we won't take all of your shit this time around" isn't a negotiation. In the 1986 gun control bill, which banned the future manufacturing of automatic weapons (machine guns) for the civilian market, gun owners got the right to be able to personally transport their weapons from one place where it was legal to have to to another, irrespective of the laws in states inbetween. So if a Vermonter wanted to drive to a match in Virginia, he or she then legally could.

What is on the table, this time from the other side? Anything? How about removing silencers from the original NFA in `34, so we can shoot at a range without both needing double hearing protection and without disturbing the neighbors?

Negotiations are "give and take". All I hear from the gun control side is that the discussion is how much they want to take. What are they willing to give? Until I see something, I support the NRA's stance of "not only hell no, but fuck no".

Butt-Ugly; Airline Edition

American Airlines' new paint job.

Nowhere near as classy as their old ones:

Even the later one wasn't terribly shabby:

The new paint job blows chunks.

Shorter Obama Administration on Petitions: "We Are so Tired of Dealing with You Proles!"

The threshold for a response to a petition is now 100,000 signatures in 30 days.
Remember you have just 30 days to get 100,000 signatures in order to get a response from the White House.
It was 25,000. But it would seem to me that they just don't want know what we think about the issues of the day. It takes actual work on the part of some minion to answer the petitions. They want to appear to be open to our opinions, without having to actually be so.

Which is to be expected. Nobody is going to be voting for Barack Obama again, he is term-limited out. You think he really now cares what you think?

Their next step will probably be to take out a restraining order against the American people, because they clearly don't really want to hear from us, thankyouveddymuch.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

If Banksters Shot Up a School......

....then the Obama Administration would levy a fine against the bank itself, ask them not to do it again, and then give the banksters' guns back to them.

Because banks are too big to punish.

But It Wasn't OK When Chimpy Did It.

Do you remember when George W. Bush would give speeches using soldiers as backdrops and props?

Bush would speechify about how his plans for endless warfare would keep us safe, and all we had to do was not object to his Administration's gutting the 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and 14th Amendments of the Constitution. And liberals, myself included, went batshit at his use of soldiers as political props.

So now comes Obama and he wants to chip away at our rights and liberties under the 2nd Amendment, and see what he uses for his backdrop:

If it was disgusting when Bush did it, it is disgusting when Obama does it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Weak on Geography; Barnes & Noble Edition

The map display at a Barnes & Noble store:

NYS Stupidity

I won't get into the stupidity of the current NY gun law on magazines, but the law on ARs that was just signed by Gov. Cuomo is just dumb.

The law, as I've read of it, bans rifles with detachable magazines and "one military feature". So you have an AR that currently has a flash-hider, bayonet mount and a pistol grip. You buy a thumbhole stock and then you either grind off the bayonet mount and unscrew the flash-hider (only on 20" or longer barrels, please) or, you just buy an upper assembly without those things.

You now have a weapon that probably won't require registration.

Because it is all about optics: Doing away with scary rifles.

But if you have a M-1 Garand with a flash-hider and a bayonet mount, you're cool. because Garands don't have detachable magazines.

Side note to Remington, Kimber, and any other company that manufactures firearms or ammunition in New York State: It is time for you to move. There are plenty of other states where your business would be welcomed.*
* For example, where I live is firearms friendly (shall issue), there are good roads, railroad access if you need that, a local junior college that could partner with you for training, a decent city an hour away and a local airport that can handle light jets (and whose runway is planned for expansion). You want more details, send an email to me (the address is in the sidebar) and I'll get you the contact information for the local industrial development folks.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Headline You Don't See Every Day

Stolen Train Crashes Into Building in Sweden

A woman stole an empty commuter train from a depot Tuesday and drove it to a suburb of Stockholm where it derailed and slammed into an apartment building, officials said.
"The Taking of Stockholm 123"?

Civil Disobedience and Aaron Swartz

There has been a lot written about Adam Swartz, including no shortage of blog posts. I didn't know the guy and, frankly, I had never heard of him before he committed suicide. It is arguable that his prosecution was akin to using a flamethrower to kill a gnat and maybe the President should fire the U.S. Attorney in Boston.

Prosecutorial discretion is supposed to mean something. Threatening Swartz with 30+ years in jail for what was a victimless crime was a hell of an overreach. Maybe Ortiz should go do something more suitable to her temperament.* And MIT deserves all of the brickbats being tossed their way.

It is probably fair to say that Swantz engaged in an act of civil disobedience. He had a point: Scientific research that is funded by government grants should be available to those who paid for it (us). But it isn't and he allegedly broke the law in downloading it.

Civil disobedience is a time-honored tool for effecting change. But the Baretta Rule applies: "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time."
* Like clubbing baby seals or being a school administrator.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Murder: Just the Facts, Ma'am

You can, if you desire, take a look at the FBI's uniform crime statistics for 2011 and previous years. If you look here, you can see what weapons were used in homicides from 2007 through 2011.

Except for a category listed as "other guns"[1] , the type of firearm least likely to be used in a homicide is a rifle. Any by "rifle", that's all rifles. That's everything from a black-powder Sharps up through the latest civilian variant of the M-4 carbine.

You are more likely to be beaten with a blunt object, knifed, or be punched and kicked to death than you are to be killed by someone wielding a rifle.

Which means that the entire debate in Washington about Evil Black Rifles is just bullshit. It is about a horrific event, certainly, but it is by no means about the things that are most dangerous to children.

Because it is all about the optics and, yes, the agenda of some people and news outlets.

NB: Commenters, please, note the House Rules on comments. Play nice. A couple of comments are skating close to the edge.

NB2: Comments are now closed.
[1]Other than handguns, rifles or shotguns, that is. Artillery pieces? Mortars? Smoothbore flintlocks?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A Vulcan bomber takes off.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Death Star Petition

And the White House response.

I knew that NASA had a program to encourage commercial spaceflights to the ISS, but I didn't realize the resultant acronym: Commercial Crew and Cargo Program = C3PO.


These things are called "squirmels". One of them is Jake's favorite toy. You should be able to tell which one.

Bella is this week's guest star.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Держать Меня за Пивом, и Все Это Смотреть!

Which should be Russian for "Hold my beer, y'all watch this".

One of the two men in the "zorb" was killed, the other was badly hurt.


The Cowardly Broadcasting System

This was the opening sequence for the CBS-TV mystery show "Elementary", it is a bit of a Rube Goldberg-type machine.

But if you go look at the opening chapter in the latest episode (available here), you will see that they edited down the opening sequence to the point that it makes not the least bit of sense. They did that in order to remove the revolver and any hint of blood.

Which is a bit ironic, really. The episode titled "M", the latest as of this writing, opens with a killer who hangs his victims upside down and then slits their throats. That leaves an impressive pool of blood on the floor, which, as you can see, is not edited out of the show.

Neither is one stabbing, but at least a gun wasn't used.

Fucking cowards.

Motor Racing

Well, kind of:

The Double-Secret No-Fly Zone

The cops in Darlington, SC arrested a glider pilot last summer for violating a "no-fly zone" over a nuclear plant. The pilot, age 70, spent nearly a day and a half in jail before he was released.

Here is the thing: There was no such "no-fly zone". The cops made it all up. They lied about the facts and, after finding out that there was no national security violation, the cops charged him with breach of the peace (a catch-all charge that translates to "we know you done something, we ain't sure just what").

The cops in Darlington County knew they had fucked up, because the charges were dropped in exchange for a promise by the pilot not to sue them. Which is not only extortion, it's likely an ethical breach by the county prosecutor.

What a fucking country we live in.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Difference Between a Lion and a Bankster

If you rescue a lion, he will be eternally grateful. If you save a bankster, he will only stab you in the back.
American International Group Inc. (AIG) said it has a duty to weigh joining a suit by former Chief Executive Officer Maurice “Hank” Greenberg that claims the insurer’s 2008 U.S. bailout was unconstitutional.
Let's recap, shall we? AIG was going under in 2008 because those greedy morons had underwritten the junk "collateralized debt obligations" that were based on subprime mortgages. We, the American taxpayers, through our government*, coughed up close to $200 billion to bail those fuckers out.

Sure, a lot of that has been repaid or recovered by the Government selling the stock it took from AIG. But that was by no means a sure thing over four years ago, when we rescued those thieves from their own folly.

And now, AIG is going to complain that saving their dead asses was unconstitutional? That'd be like a drowning man suing thelifeguards because he didn't appreciate the way that they saved his ass.

The next time the banksters need a rescue (and mark my words, there will be a "next time"), we would do well to apply other methods:

Update: After much public outrage and mockery, AIG decided not to get involved with the lawsuit. Probably means that the guy involved will sue them, too. Screw him.

Update II: As suggested in the comments, read Matt Taibbi's take on this story. I have one quibble, though: The headline used for Taibbi's piece should have deleted the sixth and seventh words.
* The Bush Administration.

OK, Let's Go There.

I have seen, more than once, this argument: "The Second Amendment was ratified in 1791. So it applies to flintlocks, not assault rifles."

OK, let's do that. The Second Amendment applies to weapons like this:

And the First Amendment would, therefore, apply to these forms of media:

It gets better than that, for the Fourdrinier* paper-making machine wasn't invented until 1799. The first one was built in England in 1803, one wasn't built in America until 1827.

It's a false argument. The First Amendment applies to technologies whose theoretical bases weren't understood in the 18th Century. The courts have had no problem with applying the Fourth Amendment to search technologies which didn't exist in 1791. Methods of punishment that were perfectly OK in 1791 are probably going to run into trouble under the Eighth Amendment.
* Yes, I know that the machine is named after the stationary firm which paid to have it built, not the inventor.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Damn You, Marko!

I was going to give the gun thing a rest for a few days. My next (metaphorical) shot was going to be about real estate; riffing about couples with one kid who buy 12,000 sq.ft. homes in places like Westchester (NY) and Fairfield (CT) counties. Or the 22 year-old spawn of a British tycoon who bought a 123-room mansion in Los Angeles for $85 million.

Because, seriously, who has a need for that? Who needs a car elevator in a private home?

Why does a single person need more than 900 square feet of living space? Two people, 1,700 sq.ft., and an additional 400 sq.ft. for each additional person. Why does any single-family home need more than a quarter-acre in land? After all, there is no Constitutionally mandated right to live in a McMansion. Think of the benefits of cutting down on exurban sprawl, saving open space, making residential areas more amenable to service by mass transit, so on and so forth.

At least that's what I was going to expound upon. Until Marko beat me to the punch. With a much better post, I might add, which you should go read.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Where the Hell is Tippy-Toe, Louisiana?

Turns out that it was just another mondegreen. It's "Thibodeaux". I never knew that.

I also wondered what kind of name was "Duck Millsouth"-- it's "Doc Milsap".

Shorter Depardieu: "Russian Caviar and Vodka is Worth the Move."

Because he is denying that he accepted a Russian passport because he is a tax evader.

Other than native KGB FSB assets who have been arrested and then traded to the Russians (or who fled to Russia), I can't think of anyone offhand that I have ever heard of who wanted a Russian passport, not since the idealism of the Bolshevik Revolution was washed away with the blood from the Great Terror, at any rate.

(Why the title.)

Sports News That No Rational Person Should Give a Shit About

At 5 a.m. on Sunday morning, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr stepped before reporters’ microphones at a midtown Manhattan hotel to announce they had reached an agreement on the framework of a deal to end the owners’ 113-day lockout of the players.
Somebody would have to meet the legal definition of "rabid" in order to care about the NHL anymore. Those momzers seem to spend more time either on strike or being locked out than they do grabbing the blue line (or whatever the hell they do in that game).

First, there ought to be a law that hockey can only be played in outdoor stadiums. With no artificial cooling of the rink. It is a winter sport and it has no more legitimacy in being played in southern California or Florida than Mitt Romney has to call himself "unemployed". You don't like being cold, go watch basketball.*

Second, any sport where the TV announcers have to show you where the damn thing they're bashing around is shouldn't be watched on TV. Pay attention, if you really like it.

Third, they might as well face up to what the NHL thinks the fans really want and make the players skate in full suits of armor and carry appropriate weaponry. An axe-fight on ice might be pretty interesting television.

It is time to pull the plug on the NHL. Hockey should go back to being played by kids on frozen ponds.
* I feel the same way about football. It should be played in outdoor stadiums in cold weather in places like Pittsburgh, Chicago, Green Bay and Duluth. Indoor football stadiums are the handiwork of Lucifer. It's a fall and winter outdoor sport. Suck it up, Cupcake.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Gunnies, Get Off Your Asses!

It is all fine and dandy to write and whine on blogs and fora about what the Obama Administration is going to try to do to restrict our rights to own guns.

But it counts for nothing unless you do something about it. This Administration is planning on trying to move faster than we can respond.

So you had better, in the next few days, get off calls, e-mails or faxes to your congressman and senators.

Do not send a letter to their DC offices, for the Post Office is still screening and irradiating everything that is mailed there. Your letter won't arrive until it is all over, which is just what the gun control crowd is hoping for. If you must send a letter, mail it to the local offices of the congressman/senator.

Do it. Do it now. If you do not, then you will bear a partial responsibility for whatever restrictions are imposed.

(And a letter to Wal-Mart won't hurt. Neither would joining the NRA.)


To Absolute Zero, and Below!

It now seems that absolute zero (0°K, −459.67°F) isn't so absolute after all.

It is apparently possible to go down into the minus-°K range, where the rules of commonly understood thermodynamics don't function.

I don't pretend to understand any of this. But it is, nonetheless, fascinating.

The Great Jack Daniel's Whisky "Milking" Caper

It happened 90 years ago at the Jack Daniel's distillery in St. Louis.* When Prohibition went into effect, the distillery still held a thousand barrels of Tennessee Missouri whiskey.

A prominent local politician got President Harding to appoint a crony as the chief revenue agent for the city. The chief then gave the job of guarding the distillery's warehouse to a politician's brother. Over a period of weeks, a gang of bootleggers "milked" over 31,000 gallons of whiskey though a hose into waiting trucks.

Of course the theft was eventually discovered. Not all of the revenue agents were corrupt. And as can be expected when more than one person is in on a crime, one of the perps squealed.**

The eleven conspirators were convicted and sent to Leavenworth. They rode there from St. Louis in a private Pullman car. Crowds gathered at railroad stops along the way to cheer them.

(More here.)
* Tennessee went dry in 1910. Jack Daniel's moved its distillery to St. Louis. After prohibition was repealed, the company moved back to Tennessee, though they had to wait for Tennessee to repeal its own prohibition laws in order to restart operations.
** George Remus.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Stupid Damn DoD Has the Institutional Memory of a Gnat

The Department of Defense, Google and some other companies are working on a ground-based radionavigation system to supplement GPS. They're acting as if this is some Great New Invention and they are calling it "Locata".

I guess they've forgotten all about LORAN-C, which the frelling Coast Guard killed off three years ago. So these new guys come along with what is essentially LORAN-D and buckets of cash get shoveled their way in order to develop the very thing that once existed.

The bind moggles. Maybe if I conjure up a new national security requirement for dial telephones, the denizens of Fort Fumble will pay me a few billion dollars to develop such things.

The View From a Window Seat

As seen from a passing 737:

New York City, or at least part of it.

Westchester County Airport (KHPN), NY:

Marietta, Ohio:

Pretty shitty country for tank warfare:

A wind farm under construction, somewhere in the Alleghenies. You can see the circles along the ridgeline where the new turbines will be installed:

Caturday; Wild & Crazy Guy Edition

Jake rang in the New Year in style:

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Word of Caution to Gospodin Depardieu

In case you haven't heard, French movie star Gerard Depardieu is now a Russian.

He should keep in mind that Russians, even very wealthy ones, who displease Vladimir Putin tend to wind up in the Gulag. Or dead.

Update: Seems that Depardieu is not the only washed-up French actor who wants a Russian passport.

Update II: He now has his Russian passport. It would be fun to see what happens when Depardieu hands his Russian passport to a customs officer at Sheremetyevo Airport and the border cop finds out that the fat slob standing before him knows not a word of Russian. Since the word is that the Russian customs officers are about the only ones that are nastier and even more suspicious than their American counterparts, it could be a serious YouTube moment.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dear Heifers Who Use the Bathrooms in Airports

Look, I understand that you don't want to plop your butts on the toilet seats in airports. Sure, they all have dispensers with paper butt-shields that you can put on the seats, but maybe that technology is beyond your mastery. Or maybe you have a fear that the seat-germs are going to launch themselves through the paper and onto your ass.


But please, for the love of whatever deity you hold to, if you are going to squat over the seat, can you at least lower your ass to an altitude somewhat below SRB separation?* And then, can you at least have the common decency to wipe your piss from the seat?

Because otherwise, it is pretty damn nasty for the next person to use the stall.**
* 146,000'. OK, I'm exaggerating a tad.
** Earlier today, I used the bathroom at BWI, the one just to the right of the output from the TSA groping station. The stall I walked into looked as though someone had set up a garden sprinkler. There was piss on the seat, on the floor, and on top of the little kotex-trash can. It was pretty goddamn disgusting.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Restraining Orders Are Made of Paper

They will not protect you against a former partner who is determined to kill you.
Donna Kristofak was terrified and letting the court know it. John S. Kristofak, who was her husband for 19 years, had been arrested six months earlier as he chased her in a Wal-Mart parking lot. In his car were a butcher’s knife and what police called “a suicide note.” ... Late Saturday morning, Kristofak allegedly entered the garage of his 48-year-old ex-wife’s East Cobb home and stabbed her once in the upper torso, according to a warrant. She died later at a hospital.
I'm not going to say that she'd be alive if she had a gun. Guns are not magical talismen and it is possible that she could have shot him four times and he still would have lived long enough to kill her.

But she had no chance at all without one.


Signs That It Is Not a Bad "Fiscal Cliff" Bill

Nobody likes it. Not the Left, not the Right.

And the bill itself has been christmas-treed with miscellaneous crap. One of the provision is an outright gift to the nursing home industry, as it repealed a provision of Obamacare that encouraged home-health care over far more expensive nursing home care. So you have to wonder who got some graft contributions for that one.

The bill fixes little, though. It does kick the can down the road a few months. Which seems to be about the best that we can hope from those fucktards in Congress.

I'm actually somewhat surprised that a deal was reached. Both sides can claim some sort of mandate on behalf of the voters, for the Teabagger congressmen largely hail from gerrymandered seats.*, ** They are only vulnerable to challenges from the even nuttier Right. Some of them may pay for this in 2014. They know that, which is why there will be less incentive for them to reach any deals as time goes on.
* Not that the Dems would not have done the same thing if they controlled more statehouese in 2010.
** Not that I'm completely against congressional dysfunction. Hell, I'm counting on it to sink Feinstein's proposed gun-confiscation legislation.

Bombs Away, So to Speak

Spanish CL-415 firefighting aircraft.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Quiet Hero Gone

John Sheardown, 88, has died.

During what is known as "the Canadian Caper", Sheardown housed four of the six American embassy workers who were on the run from the Iranians.


A story about being in the LA riots without a gun.


You can find similar stories about Hurricane Katrina. Or you can read how Mayor "No Guns For You" Bloomberg turned Staten Island into a looters' paradise in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

I have a relative who was in LA for the riots. See, he moved to LA from one of the Dixie states. When he moved there, one of his new neighbors came over to brief him on neighborhood things. The neighbor told the tale of a local miscreant who had a penchant for breaking into houses, with the lament that "nobody has been able to do anything about him." Relative asked: "Has anybody tried shooting him?" Miscreant never bothered him.

So fast-forward a few years. Relative has made friends with the family across the street. His counterpart in that family occasionally gave Relative some good-natured shit about how Relative owned guns and Neighbor won't have a gun in his house.

Riots broke out. The rioting came within a few blocks of the neighborhood. Relative still had to go to work; he carried some flavor of a 1911 with him. At Relative's house, he loaded his other guns (a couple of shotguns and an EBR) and put them where he thought they would be useful.

Neighbor came over and asked "can we stay with you?" Because everybody knew that calling 9-1-1 would result in either no response from the cops or even a busy signal.

After the riots were over, Neighbor learned to shoot. And bought weapons.

Maybe civil order only breaks down every so often and maybe less often than one might think. But when you need a gun, you probably really need one, in the same way that when you need a fire extinguisher, there isn't time to putter on over to the local hardware store for one.

I sincerely hope that you go through life without ever needing either a fire extinguisher or a firearm. Hope, though, is not a plan.

What is your plan?