Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Short Hiatus

Due to a ginormous amount of school work and paperwork that I have before me, I won't be on the blog for a couple of days. Look for me about Wednesday.

OkayLuvYouByeBye.

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Distraction: Anthropology of policing

A guilty pleasure that I ran across recently is Hulu's webhosting of the first two seasons of Adam 12.

The Jack Webb-directed police procedural was set in what was then modern-day Los Angeles, in 1968. My father started police work about this same time. Radio cars were still a fairly new thing. Portable radios were almost never carried by officers. Intermediate force options were limited to hand-to-hand techniques and the batons that they took off and put back on their belts as they entered and exited the cars. Uniforms looked great, partly because they were worn without vests. One pair of handcuffs each. 6" K .38s carried in drop holsters on pivots with minimal retention. The patrol car in the first episode was a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere 383. No cell phones. No mobile video. Book-in apparently took minutes.

Police work was different, then. It's fun to watch it to compare the differences between then and now, and between big city policing with a tall command structure, and little podunk towns with a very flat command structure.

I watched this show as a little bitty kid, about the time it went into syndication (1975). I can't deny that it probably was part of the conglomeration of things that affected my subconscious, factoring into my eventual decision to become a police officer.

Officers were expected to be knowledgeable and courteous to the citizenry. Professionalism was the highest goal. Service to the uniform was tantamount to service to the community. Thus the ideals were ones that any officer can still appreciate.

Fun stuff, which tempts me away from writing the paper I'm working on. But oy! Their pat-down and handcuff procedures drive me nuts.

(Scroll down to the bottom of the page to look through the forty-eight 25 minute episodes.)

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Heard at a bedside table:

My wife's 25 year old clock radio finally died, and she just purchased a cheap new one. It actually had a pretty decent giant green LED display, and she was acquainting herself with how to use this new clock radio made since Reagan's first term. After setting the time, she began checking the radio for available stations. A surprisingly strong signal came from first one and then another radio station, each broadcasting fast-paced accordians and croonings of men singing in high tenors about their amor for their damas, mujeres, and chicas.

"Well this cheap thing is defective," she snorted in frustration. "It only plays Mexican."

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Checkers Speech, again.

Did anyone else have a flashback when they heard Hillary Clinton say:

"I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind
of greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down
to get into the vehicles to get to our base."


Because I thought back to Richard M. Nixon's Checkers Speech, when he said:

Then, in 1942, I went into the service. Let me say that my service record was not a particularly unusual one. I went to the South Pacific. I guess I'm entitled to a couple of battle stars. I got a couple of letters of commendation. But I was just there when the bombs were falling.
It later turned out Tricky Dicky hadn't seen any action, as a supply officer in the South Pacific.
But that was just a tiny part of his amazing speech, in which Nixon was running for his political life. He was tapdancing, and quickly. Eisenhower was about to drop him from the ticket as his running mate, and Nixon was performing an end-around, appealing to the voters. Those who say Nixon was ignorant in the use of television and broadcast seem to forget that he was simulcasting this speech on television and radio, for the first time ever.

But what worked for that shady (Republican) man did NOT work for a shady (Democrat) woman, over half a century later.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

97 years ago today.

On this date, the United States Army Ordinance adopted Colt's .45 acp semi-automatic pistol as the official service pistol. This was after beating out Savage in 4 years of trials, culminating in a 6000 round endurance test in late 1910, in which Colt's pistol reportedly demonstrated zero malfunctions to Savage's thirty seven. Designer John Moses Browning was in attendance at the proving grounds for the trials, which ranks in my top 20 of places I'd go to visit if I had a time machine.

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps followed suit two years later. For 74 years, the Model 1911 remained the main service pistol for the U.S. Military, before a movement for standardization to a NATO cartridge saw the adoption of the M9 (Beretta M92F) in 9mm, an older cartridge that the US military had rejected in 1903.

Currently, there is a resurgence of demand within our military for the 1911s, and several units are receiving them, though the main service pistol remains the M9.

It is good and proper that we celebrate this anniversary, even though it is yet 3 years shy of its century mark. For there are still people living who were alive then. A few might even remember back to that time, when a peacetime military made a good decision.

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If elected, I promise...

...to appoint a House Select Committee to investigate why, while seasoning my egg sandwich to go, it takes 5 pepper packets just to result in what appears to be the leavings of a constipated fly, while a single salt packet yields enough NaCl to cure a freshly-killed moose.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Scare tactics and anti-news.

My heart is supposed to go out to Patricia Guererro, because she went from $70k a year to food stamps, and now can't figure out what she's going to do.

She's already burned through her savings to help make ends meet, and is drawing unemployment checks. She has had to take extreme measures to pay for her interest-only mortgage of $2,500 a month. In fact, her mother moved in with her to help pay the bills.

You know what? I am disgusted. Disgusted that she can't do the math, suck it up, and sell the house. No equity? Ditch it anyway. If she moves into a $1000/month apartment, she saves $18,000 a year, right there.

It doesn't say what industry she was in. It may be that the same necessary market correction that's dumping people out of their sub-prime mortgages is also popping the bubble on the west coast that has uneducated security guards making better than $50k.

CNN ran this story, nationwide, as news.

Eek.

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What a great list.

List of firearms.

Why hadn't it occured to me to look for this before?

Remember when, a couple of years ago, Wikipedia kinda sucked? They seem to be past that, for the most part.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

One does what one must.

"Whew, it's muggy," says the kindly older woman behind the counter as I walk up with my to-go cup of coffee.

"I noticed that, too," I say, plunking down my cup on the counter as I reach for my wallet and she shakes her head and walks away from the register. "The thermostat by the coffeemaker reads '76.' Why not turn it down?"

She grabs a broom and comes around the counter, sweeping the floor. "Those girls at night may feel free to change the thermostat, but I'm not going to break the rules. I'll ask the manager for permission to turn it down when she comes in. If those girls at night were working like they ought to, they'd stay warm enough," she sniffs with disdain.

"Why don't you just take your jacket off?" I ask, gesturing to the warmup jacket that she wears unzipped over her uniform shirt. I point to the coffee again with my brows raised, and she dismissively waves me away from the register.

"I, uh, keep my stuff in the pockets," she says, looking carefully away. "I think I'll sweep outside, where it's cooler." The store is empty.

Huh.

Interesting.

I watch her carefully. Blue jeans. Untucked uniform shirt. Light warmup jacket. Wristwatch on left wrist, so I begin to watch her right hip as she moves around while sweeping. I don't see anything. Well, with all that loose clothing, I wouldn't. And maybe she wears it appendix carry. Or cross-draw.

She busies herself sweeping the walk near the front door. I know she can feel me watching her, and I know that it makes her nervous. This is a lady who follows the rules scrupulously. I am pretty sure that this convenience store chain wouldn't allow concealed carry by their employees.

I open my mouth to ask, and then close it.

It's impolite to ask a lady about her underwear. I was just curious, anyway.

I smile and wish her a good morning.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Murderous rage.

"Is Keisha there?" the voice on my cell phone asks.

"There is no one named Keisha who has anything to do with this phone number," I tell the guy on the phone. "I've had this phone for 8 months, and I don't know a Keisha. Please stop calling m-..."

[click.]

I work deep nights.
I have children.
I have to keep my phone on.
I have taken to turning off the house line, and leaving the cell phone by my head while I sleep.

I've been getting calls from these people for the last month, asking for Keisha. I'm sure she had some problem paying her bills, and somehow they got my number from her. Mistake? Past owner of this number? I don't know. But I have 300 minutes a month on my cheapo cell plan, and they get about 10, right now.

They also wake my butt up in the middle of my sleep during the day.

And nobody answers when I call the number back on my house line to request that they stop it.

I'm on the Do Not Call list.

There is a pink tint emanating from the edges of my vision.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

PawPaw reminds us...

...that "'Specialization is for insects.'"

I think we need to toss in to his list "Changing a tire."

Perhaps we should add in:
--Give a concise report of the meaning and subtext of a novel, and
--Handle weapons safely and competently.

Years ago, we would have said that these are things a man should be able to do. Nowadays, I believe that the bar has moved to encompass all adults.

Can your kids do these things? If not, why not? What's your schedule and method to train them to do them? Don't expect your school to do it-- if they cover a third of the items on the lists, you should count yourself lucky.

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When did I lose track?

The new spring pistol match season begins this week.

Oops. I'm about out of ammo.

Time to reload some .357 Sig.

Oops. I'm out of brass.

Time to check around. Nope. I got nuthin'.

I called the good-good people at Dillon Precision, dialing their excellent 800 number from memory, even though I haven't called those folks in 10 years. I had memorized their customer service number the first time I ever saw it, about 20 years ago: 800-223-4570.

I identified myself and asked about .357 Sig brass. The tech named Mike (not the Mike at Dillon; the other guy) apologized and explained that they had, at present, NONE in stock. (At this point he asked if I still lived at an address that I haven't lived at for 9 years. Nope. Ah. That's why I haven't been receiving the Blue Press.)

He referred me to another distributor, Powder Valley. I called them, and they reported that 100 pieces of unprimed brass would cost $23.46. That's twenty three and a half cents a case. Plus shipping. Dayum. Was there a reduction in price for a larger order? Well, it's $112.59 for 500. That's 22 and a half cents apiece. For 1000 pieces, it would be $220.68. That's still over 22 cents apiece. And at that price, they only had 20 bags of 100 left.

What the hell is going on?

Even with money coming in, the product isn't available. The good folks at Dillon frickin' Precision can't even come up with a 100 pieces of this very common brass, at any price. 13 years ago, I bought 1000 pieces of primed new Remington .45 acp brass --shipped-- for $125.

Yeah, I learned a lot about the economics of ammo pricing a year ago from Dave here, (thanks, Tam), but this still boggles my mind. There is demand. Why isn't there supply?

Copper and tin and zinc and nickel are expensive, but not nonexistent.

Somebody is missing a bet.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tres cool

Yesterday morning at about 6:11, I was at the local fire station talking to a paramedic when my cell phone alarm went off. I checked it, and said, "Holy crap!" and ran to my patrol car. The paramedic, who was underdressed for the chilly morning he was smoking a cigarette in, shrugged and went back inside.

I dug out my binoculars, and thought about driving off to a better, darker spot. 6:12 no-- 6:13. Too late. I didn't want to miss it. I leaned back against the paramedic's pickup, and leaned my head back, looking to the northwest.

It turned out that I was looking too far north, for it was a flash out of the corner of my left eye that drew my attention more westerly, in time to see the International Space Station, docked with the Endeavor (STS-123), rising overhead to 87 degrees declination before descending east toward the gloaming horizon. The sun beyond the horizon caught the 200+ mile-high orbiting docked duo, and made them brighter than I ever would have guessed. Before they made it to their maximum height, I was tracking them with my cheapo 7X35 binoculars, and could easily see the pinched spot in the middle between the craft, with one side being considerably larger than the other. I had seen the shuttles pass over, before. I had seen many a man-launched satellite pass by. But I've never seen anything like this. It took about 4 minutes to pass over, at its speed of over 17,000 mph. Docked together, the two craft were undoubtedly a significantly larger spectacle than the "mere" sight of the ISS alone.

Worth watching. Go here to check on when it will be visible from your location.

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Sleeping long.

I've always said that that you need more sleep when you work nights and sleep days. I've been adjusting to deep nights for a couple of weeks.

Yesterday morning I ended my night shift, returned home to my empty house*, and called a buddy. He and his wife had some errands planned today, and invited me to come along for lunch in their new car. I went along, and we enjoyed a beautiful sunny spring Saturday with blue skies and a high about 70 degrees. We had some Asian food, and came back to enjoy a beer and conversation on the back porch. Not wanting to wear out my welcome, I started for home.

On the way home, I thought, why not, while in town, stop for a six pack of good beer? The German deli in town offers a fine selection, and I chose Belgian white, and Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. (They let you mix six packs there.) As I was checking out, a girl before me walked in and ordered a Reuben sandwich before going to pick out a six pack of IPA. (No, Tamara was not visiting. I looked twice.) I stopped. Why hadn't I remembered that they made them there? The cook said he could get me a Reuben out fast. He did.

Good lord. I can't remember the last time I ate a sandwich that good.

After one IPA, I sat down in my bed to check email, at about 19:30 hours. I had been up for about 26 hours. My belly was full. I had a beer in my belly.

Sometime after midnight I woke up and folded the laptop and put it in the floor.

At a little after 09:30 this morning I woke up. 14 hours? Really? I wouldn't have thought it possible.

- - -
*Wife and kids left Friday to visit relatives for Spring Break/Easter.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

5-HTP

What do you know about 5-Hydroxytryptophan, beyond what I've read on Wikipedia and About.com?

How about dosages for treating chronic headaches in a 70 lb nine-year-old girl?

Feel free to email me, or just put it into comments for everyone to see. But please, cite your sources, and don't just quote the common articles back to me; I've read them.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

A word on "gouging."

My friend Tamara points out that Indiana has created a law against gasoline price gouging.

While I was at the gas station the other night, the clerk was complaining about the high prices, and how "somebody oughta do something."

Friends, I'm going to say it again: "gouging" is a made-up concept, put forth by people who would prefer to see some socialism.

Do you want a command economy?

Look. If I have a product, you you want that product, and I invested a lot of trouble and money into getting that product, why shouldn't I get to decide what I want to sell it for, in a manner that makes me the most profit?

To say that "the government oughta do sumpin'" is to fail to understand a free economy. You want the oil companies to keep selling? Well, it's got to be profitable for them. Oh, you want our government to subsidize oil companies? Well, shucks-- we've already done that, and that amounts to the same thing, anyway.

It's a global economy. Within a very few years, China will be consuming as much oil as the US. Well, everyone's using oil, and has money to spend to purchase it. That means the price of a gallon of petrol will rise.

Supply stays constant but demand increases: price goes up.
Supply decreases and demand increases: price goes up RAPIDLY.

This is not a new concept, people.

Do we need to work on methods of conservation? Sure.

Do we probably need to make special arrangements in bona fide emergencies? Sure.

But the simple fact that prices have gone up does not constitute an emergency. It just sucks, is all.

That is all.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Haiku #11: Vernal Equinox (nocturnal 2008 mix)

But it doesn't feel so right.
Noon bright is moonlight.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Good for sleeping through.


Sleeping during the day generally stinks, but if you have to do it, I recommend a good thunderstorm.

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Comes now the rain.


About 4 inches today. Sheets.
I know I've mentioned this before, but if you haven't tried it yet, try to find a local car wash that uses Rain-X in place of wax. It's utterly amazing. Secret: you don't have to wipe it dry after applying-- just rinse it.

This is good news to me, as it means that I can apply it even during the rainstorm that made me seek it.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Throwing things.

I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again.

I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again. I will never trust Blogger's "Auto Save" feature again.

I reckon I just lost 1500 words, with hot links, of a decent post.

I KNOW better.
I KNOW to save it into a WordPad file before submitting.

Damn it.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

"Why did you run?"

In Texas, a first DWI is a mere Class B misdemeanor, the lowest charge above a citation-worthy Class C. If caught, you will go through some mild setbacks, and then you're released with little if any stigma, sadly. Everyone knows this.

Yet some try to run, illustrating how alcohol will fog your brain to ludicrous proportions.

A drunk in an old pickup is going to try to outrun sober cops.
Who are in well-kept pursuit vehicles.
With radios.
With backup.

Riiiight.

A very recent version of this involved a drunk weaving down the highway at just above the speed limit, with an officer known very well to me assisting another agency's lone pursuing patrol unit. Said assisting officer joined in with the pursuit/fail to yield, announced that he was taking the call (i.e.: the responsibility of informing Dispatch of the location, direction, speed, and specifics of the driver's actions), put the microphone down, and took an audible (heard by mobile video, not on radio) sip of coffee, before the pursuit began to heat up. Yawn.

When the drunk overestimated his ability to also physically run while intoxicated, and bailed out of his vehicle only to be tackled by the primary unit's officer, my very good friend assisted with handcuffing the resistant drunk. And, like he has every time that he's ever put hands on a running suspect, our hero asked this question: "Why did you run?"

The question is ubiquitous in the business, even if the pre-Miranda answer is of dubious value in court. But it's as natural to utter in that circumstance as it is to say "Ow" when stubbing one's toe, or "ahchichi" when burning one's self in Japan (aren't interjections fun, when mixed with anthropology?).

It's not just that we want to make our case. It's that we want to know. Why would you run? Why would you swerve in an out of traffic, eventually doubling the speed limit? What could possibly be worth running through intersections at speed, endangering other people? We just really want to know. Thus, the precipitant phrase at the bottom of every pursuit-ending pig pile that I've personally participated in was: "Why'd you run?"

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

A: Why Me? B: Eww!

I am UTTERLY confused as to how in the hell such a search brought up a 15 month old photo of my belly after taking a sim round.

And, Mr. Pervert in Birmingham? Go away.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Triple-take headline

I read the headline three times, checked the URL, and re-read this story before believing it.

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That's behavior I'd expect from Ginger. . .

...but not from sweet little Mary Anne!

I could deal with her toking a doob at her birthday party, but driving while impaired is unacceptable.

I half-expected to read:

"Authorities confirmed that, as part of her plea deal, Ms. Wells was able to work off part of her charges by acting as an informant in a buy-bust, at a remote clandestine lab operated by a man identified only as 'the Professor.'"

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Le Morte d'Barbie

My elder daughter looked out the window at the early spring sun shining on the remnants of snow in the corners of the yard yesterday afternoon, and said, "You need to take me shooting."

Damn. She's right.

59 degrees. Good sun (but with clouds on the horizon). I had no excuse. Time to take the kid shooting.

First, a trip to Hell, to acquire better ear protection, better eye protection, and more ammo.

Then, I put together targets for the range.

Old vegetables? Check.

Paper plates marked with different letters of the alphabet in different colors?* Check.

Cans? Check.

My nine year-old hollered as we started out the door: "Wait! One more target!"

She came to me displaying an older, more coarse, female doll, naturally denuded of her Mattel-supplied couture. "I have to shoot this Barbie," she said.

I looked to her mother. "Please," she said. "I've been telling her to throw that doll away for weeks. She hates it. The hair never looks right. She pulled its head off the other night."

Okay.

Off to the range.
_ _ _

"What are the four rules of gun safety?" I asked as I stopped the car and turned off the ignition. We were at the range. "In any order."

"Uh..." my daughter began. Fine. I'd give her five seconds, and then start the car again. No skin off my nose.

3. . .

2. . .

"'All guns are always loaded!'" she blurted out triumphantly.

"And?" I asked.

"'Never point a gun at anything you're not ready to immediately destroy!" she shouted.

"Next!" I commanded.

"'Always be certain of your target and its backstop'," she quoted, confidently now. I knew she remembered the last one, so I didn't push her.

"And finally, 'Never put your finger in the trigger guard until the moment that you're ready to fire,'" she said.

"Why are these rules important?" I demanded.

"Because they prevent tragedies," she said simply.

"Good enough. Let's get out of the car," I said.
_ _ _

I took out the biggest .22 I had. I put foam plugs in her ears, and put electronic earmuffs over those, turned up full blast. If I had something to say to her, she damned well better hear me.

I put on youth-dimensioned eye protection over her eyes.

I had her load the magazine with some CB caps that I'd bought for warm-up, and had her shoot some soft drink cans that I tossed out on the ground.

Oops. CB caps, out of a full-sized rifle, with doubled hearing protection, meant that she had NO feedback. After a magazine of her asking me if it had gone off while she perforated a Big K can, I switched to Long Rifle rounds, and a smaller rifle.

The smaller rifle is an old Marlin Model 80G that was my mom's father's, and was used to dispatch many a skunk that was on its way into his hen house in Alamogordo, NM. It's got the old brass bead front sight and a shallow notch rear sight, which were de rigueur in the 1950s and 1960s, but doesn't yield the best of sight pictures. It requires that I re-explain sight pictures to my daughter. This particular copy was unfortunately mistreated by someone, between its purchase sometime around 1960 and the time that my great uncle passed it on to my mother and me in the late 1980s. The bluing on the barrel has largely been replaced by what would charitably be called "patina," and the stock gives witness to treatment one might behind the seat of a pickup. But it's handy, and light, and my daughter likes it for that reason. She merrily began slapping the swinging plates and cans as I called them out for her.

Then the rain came. Not much, but the sprinkling turned to a thin drizzle, and you could see that it was going to get heavier. (It did-- we got about 2 inches last night.)

"Time to go, sweetie," I said. "I'm sorry."

"Daddy, can I please shoot the doll? PLEASE?!?" she begged.

Well, I'm not one to be pestered, but I had said that she could bring a reactive target with her to shoot. I had brought a rather tired potato that had a bad hoe mark on it. Last time we came, my daughter made applesauce of an old mealy apple that was getting wrinkly. Reactive targets make shooting fun, and while fathers have for many years traditionally shot up items of produce "to show what happens," --supposedly in an important lesson into understanding the power of a firearm and the responsibility that entails (which is a good and noble goal, and I'm not knocking that)-- mostly, we just like to shoot things, too.


So, in the rain, my daughter put up the unfortunately doomed Barbie doll.

She backed up about 15 yards, and shoots the doll. The hair moved. She shot again. The hair moved. "Are you shooting for the head?" I asked.

"Yeah, I wanted to see it fly off," she grinned.

"We're getting wet," I said. "Shoot it in the middle."

Sigh. "Okay," she said, and put a bullet through the abdomen of the Chinese-made, nude doll. In her haste to smack it again, she didn't set the bead into the shallow notch, and shot over it, as seen in this crappy MP4 video that my obsolete camera recorded without sound. video
She shot it again, making pieces fall out of the sky. She went to one significant piece that had landed to the side, and laughed as sherealized that the piece that she was picking up was the plastic doll's butt.

"Pick 'em all up," I said. "Leave no pieces out here."

She wanted to shoot it again, so I handed her my mother's Model 36 that I had picked up her house last week, to clean for her. My daughter put 5 rounds of .38 Special 110g Winchester Silvertips into the mess that had once been the doll. Given that she had never fired a double action revolver before, I thought that she did fairly well. I squeezed off a round or two as well, and we picked up and left as the sky really opened up.

It was destructive.

It was questionable.

It was fun.

I think she's hooked.

_ _ _

*"Red!" "A!" "Blue!" "C!" Call out a number, and have the shooter put a hole through it. It's a fun divided attention game.

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I don't care that you don't care for what he's saying...

...but isn't it marvelous the way that Dennis Miller says it?

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Hummus.

I don't care if you think that the Middle East is made up of nothing but terrorists, you're going to have to admit that the food is good.

2 cans chick peas/garbonzo beans
3 Tblspoon tahini
1 Lemon (juice of)
2 Tblspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Dash Cayenne pepper powder
Dash Salt
4 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed.

Boil the chickpeas. They never soften them enough at the cannery. Once they begin to crush easily, drain them, cool them, and put 'em in your cheap food processor. We got ours for $10 US from the GoodWill store. You might save some of the bean broth.

Put in the tahini, lemon juice, salt, garlic, and pepper.

Process it untill it has about the consistency of thick dip. Every time it looks too coarse to mix, pour some bean broth or olive oil in.

Serve in a shallow bowl with a splash of olive oil in the middle and a dash of cayenne on top for garnish.

Eat with wedges of pita bread, or flour tortillas.

NOTE: You will need to adjust proportions to taste.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Winter came today.

While moving my mom last week, I nodded toward the blooming fruit trees planted along the road and said, "Poor pear trees-- they're buying into the false spring. They'll pay for that, and dearly."

Mom clucked at me and said, "Those aren't pear trees, and besides, it's been a mild, warm winter. They may make it through with their blooms intact."

In my 30-sumpin' years of growing up in N. Texas, probably half of the Texas snow that I've seen fall fell in the month of March. Sure, it rarely sticks, but March is typically a rainy month in Texas, and when a cold front marches down from the north and collides with wet Gulf air, we get snow. My brother's birthday is on the 23rd, and I've seen it snow plenty after his birthday. Every time this happens, people freak. Out.

It is Texas.

It is not supposed to snow, I suppose, ever.

Folks, it's not that hard to remember two whole years ago, is it?









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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Graphing the ungraphable.

Some years ago, I very much enjoyed listing to the This American Life episode "Numbers"-- audio essays about "people trying to use numbers to describe things that should not be quantified."
[Matt G loves This American Life, which you can listen to for free at their site.]

By way of Tamara, I find PHSChemGuy, who displays genius, in graphing the lyrics of the sounds coming over the radio. Tamara linked my fave, but I'm also partial to: and also:

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Excuse me, ma'am? But your arse is showing.

John Ritter's widow is suing for $67M because her husband died.

She's suing the doctors who treated her husband when he had a heart attack.

She's suing the doctors who diagnosed him as healthy months or years before he had an attack that caused his aorta to burst.

She's implying that her husband was improperly rushed during the treatment of his attack, when he asked for a second opinion, and the doctor told him that there was no time.

Hm. Given that he crashed on the way to surgery, the doctor's opinion seems to have been borne out, yes?

Here's the thing (and I know that I've said this before and in different ways): We --all of us-- are going to die. I don't care how much money you have or that you spend on preventative care; you are going to pass on, at some point.

You will cease to be.

Expire and go to meet your maker.

Be a stiff.

Bereft of life, you'll rest in peace.

If you're not nailed to a perch, you'll be pushing up daisies.

Your metabolic processes will be history!

You'll be off the twig.

You'll kick the bucket!

You will shuffle off your mortal coil, run down the mountain, and join the bleedin' choir invisible!

You will become an ex-parrotperson!*

And that ain't the doctor's fault.

So if you don't mind, Widow Ritter, unless you can show that the doc's sliced your late husband's healthy aorta by accident, or left a piece of cutlery in his thoracic cavity on an earlier occasion, please cover your arse, and quit shopping for settlements and jacking up malpractice rates across the country (and my medical bills), so that you, an out-of-work actress, can be "set" for the rest of your days.

It's rather unbecoming, actually.

____
*Deepest respects to John Cleese, et al.

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Just a friendly reminder...

...that if your boyfriend, or even a voice representing itself to be God, tells you that you have to murder your family, the best thing to do is to dump him, and move on.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Iranian president: "Nobody likes the U.S."

"Nobdody likes them," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told reporters --and anyone who would listen-- on Sunday. "They're so unpopular. I don't even know why you hang out with them."

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Ooh, that could turn out VERY badly....

Apparently, Elizabeth City State University decided to do an emergency response drill.

With students acting as unwitting participants.

A security officer comes in waving a gun, and holds a class hostage.

No, no! It's okay-- the gun is fake.

No, it's FINE-- the students were notified... by email... a week in advance.

Here's the problem. The universities spam your email address.

*I* am enrolled at a university, and they have an alternate email address of mine. I say "alternate," because they constantly send me updates about lectures, concernts, art exhibits, traffic updates, famous alumni, etc. I check it about once a week, to clear out the crap.

If you send me an email on Wednesday that a drill will be conducted during classes in the upcoming week, then the actual drill might look like this on a Monday class:

Professor: [Lecturing] "...so you'll want to keep your dive mask clear as you interlace the reeds...."

College Security plainclothesman walks in pointing a gun at the professor: "I'm gonna shoot you! Get down on the ground!"

Me: Bang, Bang.

CSP: Plop.

Professor: "Oh my Gawd! Don't you check your email?"

- - -

Oops.

Interestingly, they used red guns, but still convinced people that they were going to die.

Well, given the odd colors that guns come in, one might believe....

But I think that you could wave a stapler around, telling people that you were going to shoot them with it, and people would believe you. It's about attitude, and aggression.

Reckless of them to do.

---

H/T to Breda.

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I forgave someone, today.

No, not him.

He can go to Hell.

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