Better And Better

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

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Worthy words worth noting.

You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give.

E. O. Wilson

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Matt writes an email to an editorial writer:


"I know that it's popular to stir the pot, but really...

...I should think you could do it more logically.

Your implications (well, outright declarations would be more to the point) in your article "It's a Madhouse Outside The Gun Shops, Too" are that it is racism that drives the upsurge in purchases of guns. It is not; it is the fact that we have a President Elect who has a record of supporting gun bans, and claimed that the very thing that would stop him was the lack of support in congress... right before that same congress gained a majority that supports his gun-banning.

To say that it is the color of his skin, rather than the stated bias of him and his party, is specious.

I really can't say it better than Tamara, an outspokenly egalitarian gun nut [disclosure: also a friend of mine] said of your article here.

Although her remarks are good, and the comments to the post are well-put, you probably won't be interested, as there's no extremist fodder stammered out by double-digit IQ teen-aged trolls to mine for your next exercises in hucksterism and demagoguery.

But perhaps I'm wrong. Possibly you'll post references to the shocked reaction your misplaced assertions have provoked. It would impress me if you did. It would impress me still further if you were to admit that you were jumping to a false conclusion.

Best Regards,

--Matt G. "


So I wrote to Daily Press news columnist Tamara Dietrich, just now. I've little hope to be taken seriously as more than a reactionary. But maybe she'll read Tamara's blog, and realize that there is a far less vocal majority who actually have reasons (and good ones) for reacting to Obama's election negatively.

Funny thing-- I was talking to a cop from another jurisdiction just today while working an off-duty gig, and we both were marveling at what an amazing country this is, to have elected a black man just 40 years after MLK was murdered. We both agreed that this is a wonderful and impressive nation that we live in which we should all show fierce pride in.

Then my new buddy said, "So, you voted for McCain, though, am I right? Yeah, me too."

_______________________________


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Game: Name the various "Village People."

Well let's see...

There's the Indian Chief.
There's the Construction Worker.
There's the Police Man.
There's the Sailor/Serviceman.
There's the Biker/Leather Dude.
There's the Cowboy.

Oh yes! Then there's the newest addition: the Spanish Legion Soldier With Goat Mascot.

Yes, I know that the southern Mediterranean cultures are more flamboyant than most. But seriously... doesn't anyone over there say(?): "Look. Antonio. I love you like a brother, but this is beyond the pale. Too far. You're over the top. Back it up a notch or two."

Wow.

[Gauntlet cuffs? Really? Tight bloused pants and... is that a small battle axe that you're presenting along with your G36?]

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving.

I've Got A Lot To Be Thankful For.

Actually, I've a private car or two. I've got carpet on the floors which I want it on, and hardwood and slate and tile on the floors where I don't. I never wanted caviar, and while I enjoy tacking a sailboat across a lake, I'd probably bore of much yachting, so who wants a yacht? Not me. :)

In addition to that, I do in fact bear a resemblance to old Bing (well, Irving Berlin, actually) in that:

"I've got eyes to see with
Ears to hear with
Arms to hug with
Lips to kiss with
Someone to adore."

------
Problems coming up with gravy? Canned or bottled is unacceptable. It doesn't have to be hard.

Get a 3 to 4 quart sauce pan. Coarsely dice some onion and celery and crush some garlic in some butter in the pan, and saute it with the turkey neck and giblets until the onions and the meat begin to brown. Pour in a half cup of dry white wine and reduce. Pour in a can of broth, and reduce. While that's going on, pour off some of your turkey drippings out of the pan into a large tumbler, and decant the grease off the top. Discard the grease and keep the drippings underneath. Strain that into your sauce pan, and reduce some more. Be sure to fork that turkey neck to encourage the whole thing along. You will probably want to reduce a second can of broth before straining all the solids out, and then thicken with flour.

Afraid of lumps? Don't be! Just take a tall glass and a fork, and put a quarter-cup of water into it, and slowly add a couple of tablespoons of flour to the water while rapidly stirring it into the water, to make a consistent slurry, before slowly stirring it into the simmering gravy stock. Stir it in well, keeping in mind that it will thicken more after cooling. Keep stirring and simmering for at least 5 minutes to get rid of the slight pasty flavor. (15 is better, but you're probably busy. Use your eager young helper to stir, and demand that they not leave their post.) Salt and pepper to taste just before serving.

Voila! Homemade turkey gravy that you don't have to apologize to anyone over.

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Okay, friends: in 50 words or less, describe this year's turkey and dressing at your house. Baked, smoked, fried? Eggs in your dressing? Chestnuts? Do you call it "dressing" or "stuffing?" Oysters? Cornbread? Too much sage? Lemme hear your preference, and what you went with.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ruh Roh, Hraggy!

INDIA:
Overpopulated? Check.
Mass poverty? Check.
Heterogeneous cultures that polarize? Check.
Enormous political upheaval? Check.
Nukes? Check.
Cold-to-occasional-shooting-war with neighbor? Check.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again about the Subcontinent: "Tick. Tick. Tick. . . "


They've got the Taj Mahal Hotel and hostages, and have performed a widespread attack.

Expect heavy reprisals and crackdowns by the Indian government, which should cause a backlash by the people, which is exactly what their domestic terrorists want.

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Say it, Brother Paw-Paw!

Paw-Paw speaks (and well) about the "reasonable gun laws" that we're too thick-headed to embrace.

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Thinking about my friend John Shirley.


John Shirley is not as short as he likes to claim he is. (He tends to refer to himself as "a Hobbit.") He just hangs out with big guys, sometimes.


He does smile on occasion, though there is scant documentation of it.


He does love a gurkha knife.


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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ukuleles again.

The world of coolness is definitely round. Some things are so geeky that they go around the International Geeky Dateline and come around the other side as cool again.

A troupe of Brits with a significant melanin deficiency interpreting "Theme From Shaft" on the ukulele is a perfect example of this.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Webleys.

1. I want my old college roommate Bill to shoot a plate match, or even an IDPA match, with his Webley .380 2Z (.38 S&W) revolver. It was his first firearm, which he bought from my father back in the early 1990s. It has a beautiful polished blue finish, because it was a civilian police model. Bill got just plain stupid-fast in his reloads with that old break-top, using Colt speed-loaders and Ishapore FMJ. The .38 S&W rounds that he shot through it gave no major recoil for that good-sized revolver, and it was always a pleasure to shoot. But I was forever chastising him to leave the damned crossbolt safety off.

At about nearly the same time, I had purchased for my future wife an ancient old Iver Johnson with no finish on it, and I loaded up a bunch of swaged 148g HBWC loads over a little too much Unique powder for them both to have as manstopper loads. I loaded a lot of them backwards, and found that they would begin to keyhole at about 26 to 28 yards, but gave amazingly good accuracy at 20 yards. All of this came to mind the other day when I found a (forward-loaded) .38 S&W handload in my sock drawer the other day. I had found a box of pre-primed copper Western cases and loaded them up, making the high-sitting full wadcutter round in the red metal case look very distinctive. It took me back.

The .38 S&W is, compared to the .38 Special, kind of a pipsqueak round. But loaded with a soft lead bullet with a full-caliber meplat, it would not be inconsiderable as a self-defense round, and certainly blows the .380 acp right out of the water. I have a somewhat silly affection for the old round.

2. I have decided that my next gun purchase will be a Webley revolver, preferably but not exclusively a .455 of a mark prior to IV. I will probably have to accept one that has had its cylinder faced off to accept .45 Auto Rim cases.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Do you know Guy Clark?

Give him a listen.

I've got a couple of pals going through some tough times, and I think of them when I think of this song.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Plate Match Results.

I may not have covered myself with glory, but abject shame was notably absent, as well; I shot at the center of the group. And given the abilities of the group, I'll take that.

Stop plate matches are great for the shooter who wants to shoot a lot for his entry fee. Typically, they feature five stages of five strings of fire, in which the shooter is expected to, at the buzzer, draw and shoot five steel plates, ending each string by shooting the plate with the red stem holding it up. That's 125 rounds, if you shoot it clean, with a minor demand on your shoot/no-shoot consciousness. I like 'em.

I shot... er, more than the minimum 125 rounds.

I also proved that you don't have to be a freakin' psychic genius to figure out why your gun is malfunctioning; you just have to pay attention to what's going on.

It only took me three stages, encompassing nearly 100 rounds, to figure out that I had a bad magazine. :( Sure, it said "COLT" on the base plate. Sure, it looked fine. But for three strings in a row, that mag caused a misfeed in my Kimber that caused the plating to peel back on the bullet when it struck the face of the chamber. This caused the slide to fail to seat fully. In two stages, I had two failures to seat, in a single string each.

Finally I took notice, and deleted that magazine. Bingo! No Malf. After the match, I loaded that magazine and fired it into the berm. Bingo! It gave the same malfunction.

Eliminate the magazine-- eliminate the problem.

I shoulda been a fair bit higher in the rankings. The match rules allowed for two mechanical "alibis," but I didn't take any-- the Real World (tm) doesn't offer alibis.

Scruit. I'm happy enough to have trained and found a problem, and to have fixed it.

This is why we train.

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Not for sale.

For the longest time, online pal Claire used to have splashed across the masthead of her blog "Hell yes, I'm an American." Sadly, this seems like an odd statement for a resident of Mordor. But I sure as hell can empathize.

I was talking to my good friend Bill The Accountant on the phone the other night. He's realizing that his master's in Accounting isn't going to do him as much good as at the firm he's with as a master's in Taxation. So he's re-enrolled, and is on track to get his second master's in about 18 months, maybe less. I suggested that, with the results of the most recent election, more people than ever will need assistance with tax preparation. He agreed.

Anyway, he was talking about one of his tax professors, who was discussing how the goal of the tax accountant is to ethically represent his client, not by providing a tax statement with the least taxes possible, but by providing a tax statement that is as accurate as possible. A good tax accountant also can provide advice to his client, however.

Bill's professor had a client who came to her and asked about how to avoid the most taxes on his prospective income. He had done a lot of work on a device that he was about to patent, he said, and he expected a great deal of revenue from this patent, as it was in demand, and buyers were waiting in the wings. A price of $4.M was being thrown about. She advised him to move to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emerates, and give up his United States citizenship and obtain U.A.E. citizenship. You see, there is no income tax in the U.A.E.

He did just that, and saved a ton of money when his patent came in and he sold it.

"I couldn't do that," I told him.

"Sure you could," said Bill, who's no stranger to patriotism, himself. "After you thought about it, you could."

"Give up my birthright, as an American? Throw away my claim as a citizen of the greatest nation this planet has ever seen? I could not," I insisted.

"Look, it's not like the kids would have to give up their citizenship. Just you and your wife," said Bill. "And you could easily come back to visit. Do you realize how you could live over there with four million dollars? All the comforts, with paid help? You couldn't withhold that from your family. Not if you think about it."

"Nope. Not for sale. And if my citizenship were for sale, it would take a helluva lot more than $4 million," I said.

"Yeah, because you'd do it for $20 mil, right?" he jeered.

"I wouldn't even open discussions before they offered $100 million," I said with prim indignance.

"Well, now that we've established that..." he said.

"We're just dickering over the price," I sighed. I suppose it's possible that every man has one. But I didn't say I'd do it. Just think about it.

For all its warts, this nation has been pretty damned good to me. Why would I want to give that up? Men and women have died --in my lifetime-- to protect the way of life that I enjoy here in this nation. Many others have and do risk their lives to do so. Take a hard look at life elsewhere, and think about how good we've got it.

Hell yes, I'm an American.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Going to bed at 03:00 AM.

Waking up at 07:00...

To go shoot a pistol match at 9:30.

It will be freezing, and I shall probably whine a bit.

I'm shooting the Kimber .45 Stainless Classic.

More later.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Somebody oughta tell 'em.

I found this in my email box this morning:

DHL Worldwide Express
Unit 6/7, Kingsway Interchange
11th AvenueTeam Valley Trading Estate
Gateshead, Tyne & Wear
NE11 0JY

Dear Valued Customer

We wish to re-confirm to you of your certified Bank Draft valued US$600,000.00 deposited by the Heritage International lottery Company here in UK in accordance with the United Kingdom Revenue Inland Commission for immediate delivery to your home destination. You are hereby requested to contact us (DHL COURIER/DELIVERY SERVICE, for onward processing and delivery of your package with us before the expiration of your certified bank draft.

For your information, the Governing board have paid for the Delivery(DHL Standard) Charges, Tax Clearance Certificate from the Inland Revenue office indicating that you certified bank draft is free from Drug/terrorism, and Money laundering or meant to sponsor Terrorist attack in your Country. Note that these funds are freely donated to you to meet with the objective of Human Growth, Educational and Community development in this year 2008.

However, you are directed to furnish us with £400 only being Hardcover Insurance Fee, this is our company's precautionary motive in case of demurrage.

Also you are requested to confirm to us your recent contact information to which your package would be delivered to:1. Full Names: 2. Home Address 3.City 4. Zip 5.Country 6.Telephone No.

Should you expedite action, you are requested to contact our receiving officer;
Rev. Soso Maxwell
Email Address:
dhl_uk@mail2uk.com mailto:dhl_uk@mail2uk.com
Tel : +44-703-192-2512
Fax: +44-700-603-5117

You will be given a tracking number, routine way bill and the date of delivery as soon your contact with us to enable you track your package via online.

Yours Faithfully,
Nguyen Christine.
Customer Service Center.
© 2008.

I wonder if my phisherman has heard the news that DHL is shutting down its express shipping?

Well, I'm sure they'll figure it out when greedy idjit email recipients stop sending their personal information to some stranger on the Internet for the promise of the princely sum of $589.04.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Too. Damned. Early.

November 13th is too early to be putting up wreaths of holly with big red bows on your house.

What is the point of "seasonal" decoration, if it's up all year?

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Excessive sentencing?

Abraham Mar yesterday was sentenced to 99 years in prison for firing at and wounding a Harlingen Police officer with a carbine.

His family and buddies say it was too much time, for a victim of the 'hood. (Link to video of interview now dead.)

Watch that video-- I count at least 8 shots fired, rapid fire from a short semi-automatic rifle of unknown caliber.

If the shots had caught the officer in the head or neck, he would have been killed, which would have been capital murder. Instead, the officer was merely wounded. Nothing that Mr. Mar did preserved the officer's life; it was simply luck that the officer wasn't killed by his intentional act.

The lenses used on cruiser videos tend to make very close objects appear fairly distant; I would estimate that Mr. Mar wasn't 20 feet from the officer he was shooting at.

None of his friends say what he did was wrong. Huh. It's NICE not to be living in Harlingen.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The fathers of the Greatest Generation.

Even before our Greatest Generation was born, there were those who fought the First World War to the first Armistice Day. So many died, that it was sometimes called "The Lost Generation".

There are a few --a very few-- who remember serving in that war.

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Too late for work apparel, but just in time for eveningwear:

According to the Corduroy Appreciation Club, today is Corduroy Appreciation Day, on account of the fact that this date (1111) most closely resembles that fabric. "Hail the wale!" is their cry.

Oh, and there is the not so minor matter that today commemorates the end of The War To End All Wars.

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Okay, this is beyond the pale.

I don't know about art, but I know what I like.


Look, I'm a straight male, and I don't know from fashion-- men's or women's. But I know that I like to look at attractive women a lot, so I've kind of formed my own ideas about what looks good and what does not. And, honestly? I'm not that hard to please. As I say, I appreciate almost all manifestations of the opposite sex, and that's the basis for making me happy with simple outfits on women.


But some stuff my mind just rebels at. Some things are just ugly. You know it. I know it. Everybody who receives pixels on cones and rods gets it.


Uh, about those cones. . . I'm not a genius with the color palette, but some matches ain't gonna happen.


Like what, you ask? Oh, like this, which just now greeted me when I turned on my computer:


Again we find that there can be no question that the media such as MSN are rabidly in support of the president-elect's agenda, as they fawn over his family. Michelle Obama is objectively a good looking woman. But this outfit makes even people who know and care nothing about fashion (like me) cringe. "Fashion's New First Lady?" Dear lord. I suppose that bullet point "Not so fashionable: Election night outfit derided in polls" is speaking of this very picture. Perhaps. But that's not the headline. Yech.

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

____________________________

(We now return to our regular schedule of gun talk and such.)

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Update/FWIW

The Speed Strip really is a pleasant surprise. I've been carrying it daily, and virtually forget that I've more than doubled my ammo for the M37 Chief's Special Airweight in the opposite pocket.

I shall be ordering more.

See? I can admit when I had a hole in my experiences.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Monday's Earworm:

OK Go's "Get Over It."

I'm noticing a theme, which amuses me.

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Interesting point on mental health.

I was listening to a psychologist who studies the history of his field talk the other day. He raised an interesting point: Until recently, the measure of mental health hasn't been whether or not a subject is happy. (Indeed, he who is happy all the time is generally thought of as an idiot.) It was whether a person could do work. That is to say, whether that person could contribute meaningfully to the world. This standard was especially set in stone during World War II, he said, when they had to vet soldiers for the draft.

I remember reading an old Cooper's Commentaries column in which he mentioned how taken aback his wife was, upon seeing a television talk show in which a panel of guests spoke on their problem: they were not happy. Both Jeff and Janelle had been amused at this generation that believed that the absence of constant happiness constituted a crisis.

Friends, I understand about clinical depression; that's a whole 'nother ball game, which is to be taken seriously and treated like the potentially fatal illness that it is. But some folks seem to be confusing diaper rash for ebola.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Act like a grown-up, please.

First: Come Tuesday, it's very likely that Barack Obama will obtain more electoral votes than is necessary to be voted our next President. I don't like that fact. I will do what I can reasonably do to prevent that from occurring. But I have enough respect for scientific polls to believe that we had best prepare ourselves to:

---Get a grip. He's not the candidate I want, but if he is legally voted into office in good faith, there's no sense in whining about it afterward. I was most appalled by the opposition's response when W was elected. Dear Lord, what a passel of whiners. They haven't let up for eight stinkin' years. Don't snivel; it's self-demeaning.

---Come together. This is hard. I know that the guy we've tried (and will continue to keep trying, for the next three days) to keep out of office is hard to get behind, but once he's become our POTUS (perish the thought), we need to show him the respect of the office. Just as important, we need to hope he succeeds in making this country succeed. Think about that for a second. Do you hate B.O. so much, that you want him to fail as President of this nation? Because the ramifications are that our nation fails, too.

Fight the good fight. But in the event of failure, do NOT become someone who turns on his neighbor. This nation sees enough division.

_ _ _ _ _ _

Next, I've noted that a couple of my friends are having some tough, tough times with their marriages. One thing that keeps rearing its head in these deals is how immature parties in the marriages might act. (I'm not going to blame a gender, because that's specious.)

Come to think of it, it's more than just a couple of friends having problems. Not the we're-having-a-spat-and-we've-even-had-to-sleep-in-different-beds-problems, but the Divorce Is Looming kind of problems. And I've noticed some trends:

--You're not in constant bliss? You're not sure that you're In Love with your spouse, anymore? Okay. Work through it. Constant happiness was NOT guaranteed. Let me say that again: You are NOT guaranteed happiness, all the time. Are you compatible? Can you work together? Do you trust and respect each other? Good enough, most of the time.

--Do you want to succeed? This is like my second point on the election issue. If you are willing to throw in the towel rather than work to save the marriage, and perhaps make some concessions along he way, you're acting like a spoiled child.

------------
Yeah, you heard me. I said it.

Grow the hell up, people.

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