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, A/K/A Dementia Donnie

Sunday, November 30, 2014

More Thoughts on the Taurus Derp Gun

(Earlier posts)

Another thought came to mind about the Derp Gun:*  It doesn't look that much like a gun. It kinda sorta looks like a pepper spray (or other gas) projector.  And that might get people shot.

One of the good things about a traditional gun is that it looks like a gun.  The bad guy who you've had to draw on knows that you have a gun and it's pointed at him.  A lot of bad guys have a deep-seated aversion to contracting a sudden case of bullet wounds, which is why confrontations often end with the miscreant beating feet.

If, on the other hand, the bad guy doesn't recognize your gun as a gun, you might end up having to shoot him.  Which, for you, isn't exactly a good outcome (though better than what it could be). Better for you if he runs away.**

* Writing three posts about a gun that is a toolroom prototype might seem a bit much, I suppose. But a term such as "Derp Gun". is too much fun not to use.
** If he shits his pants and screams, even better.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Boeing Dreamlifter:

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Fix Always Was In; Ferguson Edition

Sure, this is all one big coincidence, right?
The Ferguson police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown has resigned, his attorney said Saturday...

What You Never See in a Vampire Movie (With an Update)

A water-bomber to soak the legions of the undead with holy water.

It'd only take a few minutes to bless the water in the airplane's tank.

And then "bombs away" on the undead.

Based on this, a story about such a fight.

So Much to Be Pissed Off About

There just is. Uber's strong-arm tactics. The VA willingly allowing a terminally-ill vet to die in pain because they were afraid he could become addicted, after it was the VA's piss-poor care that made him terminally-ill. Wingnuts crowing about the fairness of the Ferguson grand jury, when it was obvious that, from the start, the investigation treated the cop as a crime victim. Wingnuts who were noticeable silent when Bush and Cheney planted newspaper stories justifying the Iraq War (both before and after) and who are now upset that Holder has done some of the same to justify the "Fast and Furious" mishegoss.

Thing is, I'm getting tired of being pissed off. Doesn't anyone realize that what it takes, now, for a cop to be held criminally liable for shooting someone is to put them face down on the ground and then shoot them in the back? Doesn't everyone know that the "eggshell plaintiff" rule doesn't apply to cops?

Hasn't anyone realized by now that assuming the presidency is akin to putting on the One Ring? They all become enchanted, if not trapped, by their power and they only seek to expand it.

Meanwhile, store economists have missed have missed the underlying lesson of Black Friday: "The shopper coming out for those deals is very disciplined," according to a guy at Indiana U. named John Talbott, pointing out that shoppers are not making impulse purchases like they once did.

No fucking shit, Sherlock. People don't have the disposable income that they once did. Even with minimal inflation, wages have been stagnant for a very long period of time. Oh, it might be high cotton if you sell real estate in the East Hamptons or high-end cars, but for many models of cars and trucks, inventories are rather high.

But there is just so much to get outraged over and my tank is getting low. And frankly, I don't know what to do. There is a goodly percentage of people in this country who are just fine with cops gunning down non-whites. The people at the top mostly seem to embody the mindset of the Bezoses and Sandbergs who say, in essence: "I got mine, fuck you." Shame, protests, votes, riots, all seem to do nothing. The Democrats are inept, the Republicans are venal. Most of the people who seem to want to be president in `16 are unfit to run a town of 35. (Quite possibly, the worst thing we've done is to scrap the "smoke-filled room" method of nominating candidates. The primary system seems to generate a candidate based on the "Who's the Biggest Bozo", but that's a subject for another time.)

So I'm probably going to tone it down for awhile. Lots of people are still at it, plenty are in my blogrolls, so if you need to get pissed off, go there.

They Won the Internets for This Headline

Masturbating Passenger Causes Premature Landing For Virgin Flight

The contest is closed.


That is the bed of a 110lb dog that has been commandeered by an eight pound cat:

"Cats rule!"

Friday, November 28, 2014

Who Ya Gonna Call? Tankbusters!

An attack aircraft that the Pentagon is trying to get rid of has been deployed to the Middle East to take on the Islamic State.

A squadron-sized element of A-10 Thunderbolts arrived in the region during the week of Nov. 17-21, according to the Air Force. The aircraft were previously being used in Afghanistan.

I can't imagine the Zoomies ever doing this with their precious F-35 Turkeys.

Black Friday

The one day of the year in which it is pretty much legal to trample children and old folks.

Because It's Friday

A Decauville railroad.

Decauvilles were narrow-gauge light rail. The tracks could come pre-fabricated, like giant Lionel-type segments. The tracks could be laid very quickly. The Decauville system was widely used for constructing railroads for moving ammunition, supplies and cannon fodder up to the trench lines during the Great War. Possibly the very first internal combustion locomotives ran on the Decauville trench railroads, as steam engines created too much smoke and thereby attracted the unwanted attention of German artillery spotters.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Thanksgiving Tradition

Alice's Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie:

When I lived in the Boston area, WBCN played this song every Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

For those of you traveling today, I hope you had (or are having) a safe journey.

Happy Thanksgiving! Please praise your cook(s), even if the food is borderline toxic. They undoubtedly worked hard to bring the meal to fruition.

(Even if they didn't work all that hard.)

The Web-Enabled Crock Pot..Um, Really?

Yes, you can buy a wifi-enabled crock pot, which was a story on CBS Sunday Morning.

$130 seems like a lot for a crock pot, considering that is several times the price of a regular crock pot.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Taurus Derp Gun, or "Why Be Skeptical?"

One of the "selected gun writers" who got to go on a boondoggle to shoot a pre-prototype version of the Taurus Curve published his review.

"Fawning" isn't the term I'd use. More like "fellating". The reviewer got to shoot a pre-production prototype on a "video range" and he said he had no problem shooting 12" video plates at seven yards.

Right. As opposed to shooting at real targets? Why do I suspect that he could have fired the thing at his foot and Taurus's range would have said the equivalent of "nice shot, me boy"?

The other thing is that the gunwriters seem to have the short-term memories of end-stage Alzheimer's patients. Do they not remember the debacle surrounding the Remington R51; a gun which the gunwriters fell over themselves to praise when they got to coonfinger and shoot the pre-production models in 2013? Don't they remember that the production guns were so fucked up that Remington recalled all of them?

The professional gunwriters also similarly fawned over the Colt All-American 2000, which was yet another gun that didn't make the translation from toolroom prototype to production model. With a bit of searching, I'll bet that you can easily find other examples-- anyone remember the Bren Ten?

I'll stand by what I wrote a week ago.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Blogging will be light due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. of A. Other than the three serial posts, I don't have anything queued up for your reading pleasure.

Surf the blogroll and spend time with friends (and family, if you can stand them).

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

No noise, this week, but where else are you going to see a turboprop-powered B-17?

From the titles, that footage was shot in July, 1970. That turboprop B-17 crashed the following month during the pull-up of a drop run, killing both pilots and destroying the airplane.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fifty One Years

Over half a century since the assassination of President Kennedy, a killing that continues to echo to the present day.

I was in grade school then. A half-a-century in the past, to me, then, might as well been during the Bronze Age. My grandmother was just starting high school back then. Rose Kennedy hadn't had her first child.

"WBCN: We're the station that gives Rose Kennedy a reason to live." -- that was a promo during "The Big Mattress" morning show in the early `90s. Of course, Rose Kennedy is long dead, now, and so is WBCN. There were businesses back then who timed their morning coffee breaks so they could listen to the "Mishegoss" segment during the Big Mattress.

But I digress.

Fucking time does fly.

Benghazi Always Was Bullshit

The House Intelligence Committee spent two years and untold millions of dollars to ultimately reluctantly conclude that there is nothing there. Which is why they released their report late on a Friday, when the traditional news media pays less attention.

No doubt that they reached that conclusion with extreme reluctance. Because any other finding would have been a weapon to use agains the Clinton campaign.

But don't worry, folks. The hard-core Wingnuts will, no doubt, not be deterred from screaming "Benghazi" at every turn. Because they've never been deterred by facts.


Jake in "Ops Normal" mode:

In human year equivalents, Jake is in his upper 80s. As I write this, having taken that photo about ten minutes ago, he is asleep and his paws are twitching. I have little footstools by a chair he likes and the couch, so he can more easily get up and down. There is a set of cat stairs at the foot of my bed.

And now I'm trying to type one-handed while I rub his belly. Because my phone beeped and woke him up.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Because It's Friday

A South African Garratt:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things; Drone Edition

U.S. aviation regulators are investigating three reports since Nov. 16 of drones flying close to airliners near New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Pilots on a JetBlue flight told the Federal Aviation Administration they spotted a drone as they approached JFK yesterday at 1:50 p.m. local time, the agency said in a statement.

Crews on two flights nearing JFK, one operated by Delta and the other by Virgin Atlantic, saw an unmanned aircraft shortly after 8 p.m. on Nov. 16, according to the statement.
Drones have been flown by hobbyists for decades, only they were called "radio-controlled model aircraft". R/C planes were, at first, all scratch-built and expensive in either materials or time or both to build. Their owners did not fly them at any great distance from where the planes were launched.

But now there are quad-rotors and other drones that don't look like models of aircraft. They carry cameras and are flown, not for the joy of flying them, but as camera platforms. Most of the drones don't have any readouts back to the operator, other than maybe a video signal. The operators don't know how high they are flying them and a significant majority of them don't seem to care.

Two morons in New York City recently flew a drone into the airspace commonly used by light aircraft following the Hudson River. That they didn't endanger more aircraft than they did was due to them flying their drone at night.

One of these idiots is, sooner or later, going to fly a drone into a collision with an airplane. And then, all of the foot-dragging and caution of the FAA in hesitating to allow drone flights will be seen as being justified.

Can Microsoft Become Even More Evil?

They're working on it. They've deployed the first generation Dalek:
Microsoft has become one of the first companies to deploy autonomous robot security guards.
I respectfully submit that anyone who doesn't believe that these things won't eventually be outfitted with weapons is seriously delusional.

I would not at all be surprised to learn that the wifi network that these things connect to is named SkyNet. Because Microsoft is that frigging tone-deaf.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Look! Up in The Sky! See the Spy Up in the Sky!

The Justice Department of the United States is acquiring data from mobile phones by using devices known as "dirtboxes," which are deployed on airplanes.

The high-tech operations, reported by the Wall Street Journal, targets criminals and suspects. However, a huge number of innocent people are also being affected, according to sources that are familiar with the matter.

The U.S. Marshals Service program, which gained full functionality around 2007, controls Cessna airplanes from no less than five airports in metropolitan areas, with a range of flight that covers most of the population of the United States.
The ACLU is not amused. And neither should you be.

I would ask how long are we going to tolerate indiscriminate government snooping on Americans, but it seems to be that the answer is "forever". Once party X or candidate why gets into power, they drink the NSA/FBI/Stasi Kool-Aid and nothing ever changes.

Yep, Watch Those Republicans Stand Up for the Constitution

But only when they can see a way to score political points. When it comes to principle and the rights of everyone else, not so much:
The Senate on Tuesday blocked a bill to end bulk collection of American phone records by the National Security Agency, dealing a blow to President Barack Obama's primary proposal to rein in domestic surveillance.

The 58-42 vote was two short of the 60 needed to proceed with debate. Voting was largely along party lines, with most Democrats supporting the bill and most Republicans voting against it.
There is a possibility of a longer game here, in that the NSA's legal authority to collect phone data ends in June.* Maybe those opposed to the NSA spying on all of us plan to just stop it then, but frankly, I don't think that's the case. The GOP is loaded with people who have no objections to a police state, as long as the fuzz don't get in the way of the top 0.01%'s ability to amass even more money.

On this vote, all but one Democrat voted to stop the NSA's bulk collection of Americans' telephone calls. All but four Republicans thought that the NSA's bulk collections is just peachy.
* Rand Paul says that's why he voted to let the NSA keep on spying on all Americans, for now.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Taurus Plumbs the Depths of Derp

Their idea is a curved pistol to better fit the bodies of right-handed shooters. In the "professional gun press", expect to read the usual laudatory reviews (given to most advertisers).

The gun has no sights. The end of the barrel is apparently cut at an angle, which usually plays hob with accuracy, but what the hell, the damn gun has no sights. Taurus painted a crosshair on the back of the gun so you can do what, I don't know. The G&A article claims that accuracy is OK, because they can keep it on minute of thug at five yards. A S&W Airweight can do much better at longer range and it's probably a dollars-to-doughnuts bet that a professional gunwriter can shoot better than me.

This gun must be intended for those who felt that a LCP was too bulky. Which is who, exactly?

Taurus also curved the handle of their View, a gun that seems to be unpopular as hell, given that the gun that my LGS got in last summer is still on the shelf in one of the display cases. Meanwhile, S&W Airweights and Ruger LCRs come into the store on the Brown Truck of Goodies and go out the door in the hands of their customers.

Damn, there has to be a middle ground between the gimmickry of Taurus and the ossification of Colt.

Hammers are Useful Tools, and So is Prof. Turley

After two Washington law firms backed out of earlier commitments to represent House Republicans in their legal challenge, House Speaker John Boehner hired Jonathan Turley on Tuesday. Turley is a George Washington professor who is an expert on constitutional law and well known to cable TV viewers as a legal analyst.
Oh, Turley thinks that he is standing up for the Constitution, but make no mistake about it: The Republicans in the House don't give a flying fuck about the Constitution. They surely didn't care when George W. Bush's Administration was trampling all over the Constitution. There wasn't one peep from them when Bush's administration arrogated powers to itself or issuing lots of Executive Orders.

Not a single damn word.

And as far as the claims of the Wingnuts that Obama is a tyrant governing by Executive Orders, that's just bullshit. Ronald Reagan issued far more Executive Orders, but you'd have to look pretty damn hard to find a conservative who is lambasting Reagan for that (or for tripling the national debt).

No, this litigation is more akin to the Menendez brothers begging for mercy because they're orphans.

You'll Be Wanting Some Brain Bleach

Can't say you weren't warned.

Monday, November 17, 2014

You Don't Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind is Blowing; Ferguson Edition

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Monday ahead of an expected grand jury decision in the case of Michael Brown.
While, meanwhile, the cops in St. Louis County continue to obfuscate and lie:
[Chief Jon Belmar of St Louis County] the police chief leading the response to protests over the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has been accused of dishonesty by demonstrators after denying that officers shot at them with rubber bullets and claiming that only criminals were teargassed.
Reporters were teargassed. Clergy were teargassed. People standing in their yards were teargassed. All of that is a matter of record.

And the cops were shooting at people, including those who where only exercising their First Amendment rights, with rubber munitions. That Chief Belmar is hanging his hat on the distinction between "rubber balls" and "rubber bullets" is pettifoggery to an unseemly degree.

Springfield Armory: The Derp is Strong With You

From here

Really, guys? Labeling the grip as the "grip zone"? Did they label the sights as the "eyeball zone"?

And what is with the picatinny rails on the holster and the magazine carriers? There is another photo in the gun review which shows the magazine loader clipped to that holster in such a way that the magazine would fall out, a bit of derp only exceeded by HK's memorable catalog cover.

As for the review itself, well, "fawning" would be an understatement. The writer calls the XD-mod 2 his favorite subcompact 9mm by far and then, a paragraph later, says that he doesn't own one. Which is kind of like me saying that my favorite prop-driven fighter is the Spitfire Mk.IX.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

I was trying to find a video of a Hansa HB 320, but the only ones I can find are of a derelict being moved by truck.

So here's a A380 departing in winter.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

War and Peace

You probably know that one has to serve on active duty in the American military for twenty years in order to retire with a pension.

But do you know the last year that you could have joined the armed forces and had a career wholly in peacetime?


Using VA eligibility dates, there was less than four years between World War II and the Korean War, less than nine years between the Korean War and the Vietnam War and then fifteen years before the Gulf War.

Going by the VA, the Gulf War has been going on for the last twenty-four years. Which means that 1990 was the first year that one could have joined up and then spent one's entire career during a time of war.

At the current pace, the Gulf War period won't end anytime soon. Which means that soon, it will have gone on longer than it did for us to mobilize, beat Germany once, demobilize, reduce the Army to almost a token force, then rearm, mobilize again and beat the Germans a second time.

Which, when put that way, sounds somewhere between pathetic and depressing.

Colt is Dying?

Colt is going to default on its bonds.

I have mixed feelings about this. I've owned at least one Colt for almost all of my adult life (currently have a Government Model, a Gold Cup, a Detective Special and a AR-15). The 1911s are Series 80s and I can't say anything bad about them. The firing pin block might not have been the best solution to the "drop...boom" problem, but it works.

But here is the sad truth about Colt: They've been riding on their past glories for far too long. They pretty much make three guns for the civilian market: The 1911, the AR-15 and the Single Action Army. For every one of them, there are lots of competitors that make the same damned gun and, in some cases, both better and less expensive.

Colt has done a lot of stupid shit over the last few decades. RUMINT is that the reason Colt discontinued all of its double-action revolvers was that they ran the tooling and machinery into the ground. Colt signed onto the Clinton "smart gun" initiative, sparking a consumer boycott. They tried to jump into the Wonder-Nine era with the All-American 2000, which was a major piece of shit. Colt hasn't really done anything innovative (other than the aforementioned A-A 2000) since they bought Eugene Stoner's AR-15 design from Armalite 55 years ago. They've had labor unrest. The recurring incompetence of Colt's management has been enough to earn several Ph.D.s for business scholars.

Colt also hitched its wagon to military/LEO sales for its rifles. The military is largely immune to the siren call of new-model consumerism.[1] Once a war winds down and the Army finds itself with enough rifles in its armories to more than equip everyone, they're not going to place large orders.[2] The last great convulsion in military small arms took place over fifty years ago, everything since then has been a matter of evolutionary tweaks. Armies don't buy on that basis until what they have in their racks wears out.

Most every other gun maker sells some guns that you can't get anywhere else, maybe somewhat similar, but not exactly. You want a classic DA revolver in .41 Magnum, you're buying a Smith & Wesson. You want a heavy-caliber Single-Action, you're buying a Ruger.[3] The other gun-makers also innovate, which is why you can see modern cartridges coming out from time to time labelled ".XX Ruger", ".XX Remington" or ".XX S&W". The last new cartridge that came out expressly designed for a Colt product, to my recollection, was the .38 Super.[4]

Colt has been riding on its past glories for longer than most of my Dear Readers have been shooting firearms. Maybe it's indeed time to put the old pony down.
[1] Special forces operators notwithstanding.
[2] Not that Congress would let them if they wanted to.
[3] You want a revolver that might not work, buy a Taurus.
[4] It has been over a century since the introduction of the last cartridge that had the word "Colt" in its designation.


The boss of a B&B takes a refreshing water break:

There was a water dish with nice clean water, but she preferred to lap up rainwater from a trough in a set of log steps.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Because It's Friday

Brazilian steam.

The bit with the station gates was pretty odd.

It's Harder to Buy You a Federal Judge, Don

Donald Blankenship, a former chief executive of Massey Energy Co, was indicted on Thursday on charges he violated federal mine safety laws prior to the April 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners at the company's Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia.
Blankenship spent a frigging fortune buying contributing to state judges' campaign funds, including $3 million on one state supreme court judge that got the attention of the Supremes.* As much as it was possible to do, Blankenship owned the politicians in West Virginia.

But it's a little harder to get to a federal judge.
* Back before they ruled that money = speech.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

C'mon People, You Know How Hard It Is to Re-Mark Those Expiration Dates??*

Wal-Mart is trying to crack down on boosting grocery sales.

The underlying issue is that Wal-Mart apparently would need to hire nearly a quarter of a million more workers in order to have enough people on the floor to do what needs to be done.

Or they could pay them more. I keep hearing stories that whenever a new big-box store opens in a town, one can almost count on the first people showing up at the hiring fair to be current employees of Wal-Mart.
* There was a sitcom back in the `80s that was set, in part, in an office. A vendor would come by periodically, selling snacks from a small pushcart. At one point, the vendor tells people that they need to buy the wares "because I'll have to re-stamp those sell-by dates."

I don't remember the series, but somebody will. I have faith in you, Gentle Readers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Terminology is Puzzling

Saw this ad in a buy/sell section of the Book of Ugly Faces:

For sale: ZBT cymbals. 5 cymbals, good condition. just stick marks and light scratches from normal use.

14" Hats
16" Crash
18" Crash
20" Ride
I thought that all cymbals went "crash". I had no idea that some were wearable, or that some could be used for transportation.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Book Pricing?

It doesn't make any sense to me.

Take a look, for example, at Why We Lost. List price is $28. Amazon sells the hardcover ("dead tree") for $20.97 and its Kindle price is $14.99. Barnes and Noble* offers it for $21.47 and for the Nook, it's $15.49.

Are the printing and distribution costs for each hard copy book really only about six bucks? That's what the difference between the E-book and the real hardcover price would have one believe.
* Barnes and Noble's motto: "You Can Always Get It For Less From Amazon."

Armistice Day

The guns fell silent right now in 1918.

Every establishment that is having a "Veteran's Day Sale" should be picketed. For reasons that I've written about in other years.

We seem, as a nation, to be on a rough cycle to have a really stupid and pointless war every fifty years or so. It would be nice if our leaders over the centuries were capable of some modest understanding of the long-term costs of war. The shattered families. The poisoned soil. The devastated economies. The echoes of all that reverberates for a very long time, long past the point that people read about the causes of a war, scratch their heads and wonder what were they thinking.*

Maybe the Great War would have happened anyway. The Slavs wanted to be free of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. There would have been some other incident, sooner or later, that would have caused much butthurt to the Hapsburgers, who would have then attacked Serbia, thus drawing in everyone else into a continent-wide charnel house.**

It was still a stupid war and, based on the number of casualties and wrecked nations, it might have been the high-water mark for stupid wars.***
* As far as I know, the VA is still paying one Civil War pension, almost 150 years after that war ended.
** Too bad alliances weren't written on the terms of "if you're attacked, we'll come to your aid, but if you start a war, it's on you."
*** So far.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Imagine a Starless Night Sky

Other then possibly a moon or two, or other planets, a completely dark sky, with no stars to shine down. Only a few faint smudges of distant galaxies might be visible to the eye.

Would they even dream of life elsewhere if there were no stars to see?

There may be worlds like that.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Great War

A series of BBC documentaries on the First World War.

It may only have been British propaganda about the war and winning that kept the British Empire from crumbling and falling apart immediately after the war's end. It would have been completely understandable if there had been a revolution in England following the war, once it became apparent to even the causal observer that so many British lives had been so callously wasted by the generals. That so many men had died and more had been maimed for the rest of their lives because of a war that had been fought for reasons bordering on sheer insanity and which had itself been waged with criminal stupidity.

But lessons fade over time. If they hadn't, then maybe our own nation would have been more skeptical when our own government began pounding the drums of war over a dozen years ago. Maybe the British themselves would have been more skeptical when their government, at times, took the lead in fabricating the rationale for war.


Sunday Morning's "Moment of Nature"

I once knew people who watched CBS's Sunday Morning for the nature photography at the end of the show. I once watched the show most Sundays. Then I drifted away from it, preferring to sleep in or go flying.

Recently, I've been recording and watching the show. It seemed to me that the nature segment at the end was a lot shorter.

Today I timed it. 40 seconds. I don't know how long it was back in the day, but it was longer than that. Probably at least a minute and a half, if not two minutes.

They might as well show a still photo and get to the commercials faster. Assholes.

Heh. Heh. Heh. Tech Edition

Look closely at the middle guru on the left.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A Blanik L-13 with an experimental jet engine:

Blaniks are aerobatic. All were grounded in 2010 for metal fatigue and in-flight of the wing. Some rather expensive modifications were developed, but the gliders were rather severely limited as to lifetime flight hours. There are a couple hundred or so in the US.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Border Patrol Agent Shocked to Discover That It's Illegal for Him to Kill People

An off-duty Border Patrol agent has been arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting a 27-year-old man in southwestern Riverside County [CA], authorities said.

John Demery, 40, was arrested in connection with the shooting death of Adam Thomas about 12:45 a.m. Saturday in the 41100 block of Toledo Drive in east Hemet, authorities said. The victim had been shot multiple times.
The Border Patrol has earned a reputation of being an out-of-control agency which operates outside of the Constitution.

Guess that guy forgot that the Border Patrol's power to murder people and get away with it only applies when they are on the clock.

The Next Time You're At a Mall, if You See a "Bath and Body Works" Store, Do This One Thing

Walk into the store, go maybe halfway into the place, then turn around and walk back out.

This is why:
CHESTERFIELD, Mo. - The idea was to teach a group of special needs students, from Fort Zumwalt North High School, life skills through a scavenger hunt in the businesses of Chesterfield Mall.

"Advocate for themselves, ask questions, make purchases, document some of the information they found," explained Principal Joe Sutton. "The hope was that this would be a real positive experience."

And it was, educators say, until they tried to enter Bath and Body Works.

"The manager of the store said that he didn't want to serve us," Sutton said.

According to teachers, the store's manager said sensors at the entrance of the store track the number of people who come in and that is compared to the number of purchases made.
It's not the first time that this has happened. Each time, the students were there to practice shopping and part of that practice session was to buy shit from the stores. But the managers spazzed out and wouldn't let them enter the stores.

So go in, walk around, and leave. Together, we can monkey-wrench the shit out of their metrics.

Because fuck those guys.


Pretty crappy cell phone "cat selfie" of Jake snuggled in my lap and under the blanket.

He seems to have picked up a cold. He's sneezing a bit. But there's no discharge from his eyes or his nose and his third eyelid isn't showing any. He's eating OK. So I'll just watch him for a bit. My vet said that cats can catch colds and since I volunteer at an animal shelter, I could have brought it home.

I've boiled off a couple of pots of water to try and bring up the humidity a little and I'm not turning down the thermostat at night. Hopefully that'll make him a little more comfortable.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Because It's Friday

A Robey cross compound steam engine

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Where Will Scott Brown Move Next?

Vermont, New York and Connecticut all have Democrats defending Senate seats next election. New York might be tough, but Bobby Kennedy (MA), James Buckley (CT) and Hillary Clinton (AR) were all elected to the Senate from New York.

Savvy realtors in those states might want to reach out to him. He might be in the market for buying a new house.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

If You Think Things Will Change Much, Remember the First Rule of Politics

"I'll do unto you, like you did unto me."

The Senate will remain as dysfunctional as it was, the House will remain as batshit crazy as it has been. Only now, President Obama will start vetoing shit.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Contrarian View: British Physicist Brian Cox is Either an Idiot or a Publicity Hound

The Internets is going agog over that dude dropping a bowling ball and a feather in a large vacuum chamber in order to show that Galileo's idea that objects accelerated by gravity fall independent of the object's mass:

In order to think that this is something special, you'd have to forget that the same experiment had already been done forty four years ago, on the surface of the Moon, by Astronaut David Scott during the Apollo 15 mission:

Yes, some photogenic Ph.D. reran the experiment for television, with better photography and inspiring background music. Big fucking deal.

Shorter Ferguson PD on the No-Media TFR: "Warn't Us, Boss!"

Update on this post: The St. Louis County police chief denies that he asked for the TFR. Not only that, but the cops are claiming that the FAA forced the TFR on them, that it wasn't their idea, nosiree.

The chief's characterization of FAA managers as "a couple of air traffic controllers" will probably offend both the FAA brass and the real scope-jockeys.

I fall back on the point that I asserted in the previous post: The operating assumption is that the cops are lying.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tomorrow Can't Come Soon Enough

Between the attack ads on TV and now the teleslime, this can't end soon enough to suit me. I'd dearly love to be able to leave the TV on during a show and go to the kitchen without being subjected to how Candidate X is a Commie AntiChrist or how Judge Y just lives for the day when he can release a child molester to live next door to you. One of the TV stations I watch has viewers in three states that have hotly contested elections, which means that the ads are nasty.

So nasty that if somebody said something along the lines of what their opponents are saying about me, I'd seriously consider going and giving them a nice hickory shampoo.*

And now there are the robocalls from some idiot's campaign for state senate in a state that is five state lines and a time zone away. Because the local morons aren't annoying enough.

Tomorrow can't come soon enough. And this prediction is probably spot-on.
* Or a polite social visit with a brace of flintlock pistols.

Millenials Suck by a Three to One Margin

The Special Snowflakes don't plan to vote: A Harvard University Institute of Politics poll released Wednesday found only 26 percent of millennials — 18 to 29-year-olds — definitely plan to vote. A vote is indeed like a snowflake, in that a single snowflake doesn't seem like a big deal.

But with enough snowflakes, you can shut down an entire region.

Voting is like that. With enough votes, you can change who's running things. And if the people you elected don't change things to suit you, you can fire them next time around.

When someone complains about the way things are, ask them if they voted. If they didn't vote, then tell them to shut the fuck up.*
* Or, if they are incredibly annoying, punch them in the throat. Keeping in mind, of course, that violence is not the preferred option. Unless you're talking to a Randian.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Toljaso, Ferguson TFR Edition

Remember when the FAA imposed a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over Ferguson and some of us thought that it was there to keep those pesky news helicopters away, so the cops could more easily get away with whatever fuckery they had in mind?

That was exactly the reason for it. The justifications proclaimed at the time were bullshit. Not only were they bullshit, the cops kept clinging to their bullshit until it was clear, even to them, that the truth was coming out.

Here's a general rule: Whenever the police brass make public pronouncements on any topic in the news, every word they say is a lie, including the conjunctions and the articles, until proven otherwise.

The Witness Protection Program's Days Are Numbered

Technology will kill it off. Mass facial recognition programs are coming, if not already here. Iris and or retinal identification will eventually be possible at a distance.

The facial recognition part could be fixed with extensive surgery. But they're not going to fix the retinal ID part. I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes illegal to wear sunglasses in some places.

Once that happens, all it takes is somebody who is able to tap into the networks and create an alert for the person they're looking for. And let's face it, wiseguys who have turned informer aren't going to settle for living in a cabin off the grid.

When My Analog TV Quits, I'll Buy Another One

This is why: It didn't come with (or need) a privacy policy that was a long as a Russian novel:
The amount of data this thing collects is staggering. It logs where, when, how, and for how long you use the TV. It sets tracking cookies and beacons designed to detect “when you have viewed particular content or a particular email message.” It records “the apps you use, the websites you visit, and how you interact with content.” It ignores “do-not-track” requests as a considered matter of policy.

It also has a built-in camera — with facial recognition. The purpose is to provide “gesture control” for the TV and enable you to log in to a personalized account using your face. On the upside, the images are saved on the TV instead of uploaded to a corporate server. On the downside, the Internet connection makes the whole TV vulnerable to hackers who have demonstrated the ability to take complete control of the machine.

More troubling is the microphone. The TV boasts a “voice recognition” feature that allows viewers to control the screen with voice commands. But the service comes with a rather ominous warning: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.” Got that? Don’t say personal or sensitive stuff in front of the TV.
Yes, my laptop has a camera and a microphone. But I can deal with that:

The red arrow is pointing at the mic, the green arrow is pointing at the camera. Under the black electrical tape, there are a few layers of tissue covering the mic. A piece of white card stock overs the camera. If you have one of those damned spy-in-a-box TVs, you might want to look into doing the same.

Except that a microphone and a speaker are basically the same technology. Sound-powered phones use the same part as the transmitter and the receiver. It's probably rather easy to do that for a computer.

They're Probably a Drug on the Market, Anyway

The "special snowflakes" can get mightily tiresome.

Teatards' Hope for Revolution (and "Fuck You, Wordpress.")

BadTux posted an entry about the Wingnuts' hoping that things like the Bundy Ranch Bozos and the PA Cop-Killer will lead to a violent revolution and why they're so wrong about that.

I tried to leave a comment, but I couldn't. Seems that there is something going on with Wordpress that you can't leave comments unless you have a Wordpress blog. Or unless you give Wordpress the ability to access your Goggle+, Facebrecch or Twitter data. I have a Wordpress blog, but it's more of a placeholder for when Google's Blogger is cranky (or I get pissed off).

So, if you're read BadTux's entry, this is my comment to it:
What they're hoping for is a sort of revolutionary positive feedback loop, with a cycle of violence and repression that eventually leads to enough people being pissed off at the government to join them. They're thinking of either the Revolutionary War or the Civil War as role models.

Problem there, of course, was that in both wars of rebellion, it was the rich leading the way. It was many of the rich merchants who were losing money because of British tax and trade policies. It was the rich who owned plantations that were worth squat without slaves.

This time around, the 1% is on the side of government. Because they've pretty much bought it from top to bottom.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

An Il-96 of Rossiya Airlines, and supposedly part of the Russian Special Flights Squadron.

The Special Flights Squadron, though nominally a civilian entity, would appear to be the Russian analogue to the USAF 89th Airlift Wing. This particular aircraft is not one that is apparently used by President Putin, as those aircraft have the Russian crest on their tails, superimposed over the flag insignia.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Tell Me Another One; Amelia Earhart Edition

The essence of TIGHAR’s report this week is that the piece of aluminum was a patch replacing a navigational window. News photos at the time show the shiny patch on the side of Earhart's Electra, which was installed during an eight-day stopover in Miami.
Their evidence happens to be a patch of aluminum that was allegedly used in a field repair? Of all of the aluminum used to skin an Electra, they find the one piece which can't be matched up to Lockheed's blueprints for the airplane?


TIGHAR's really excels at, so far as I can see, separating fools from their money. You'd be better off placing a deposit for a Moller Sky Car.


Dispute resolution in late 2004: