Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Overheard in a solipsist's heaven:

"Cut it out, Mom! You're destroying my credibility, here!"

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"Now y'all fight fair..."

On this date in 1899, the first Hague Convention was signed.

Most notable of that peace treaty was Article 23 of the REGULATIONS RESPECTING THE LAWS AND CUSTOMS OF WAR ON LAND, which declared that it was simply not allowable "To employ arms, projectiles, or material of a nature to cause superfluous injury."

This also led to the following declaration:

The Contracting Parties agree to abstain from the use of bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core, or is pierced with incisions.

Now, you can shoot someone with a bigger and more powerful weapon, of course, but you just can't make it expandable. That would hurt your enemy too much. We here have the first documented case of an agreement to just shoot your enemy a little bit. Which, of course, is fallacious. Combatants from signatory nations could shoot shoot their enemies as much as they wish... just not with expanding projectiles.

The no-expanding-ammo rule is often misattributed to "the Geneva Convention[s]." Just like hearing a 2nd grade tattle-tale girl declare that "you're not supposed to," and "you're gonna get in trouble, 'cause Teacher says you can't do that," you'll regularly hear people assert every rule of war as being enforceable to all nations, under "The Geneva Convention." [sic]

For reasons that I don't understand, the United States generally adheres to this provision of the Hague Accords, even though it wasn't a signatory power of it.
The present Declaration is only binding for the Contracting Powers in the case of a war between two or more of them. It shall cease to be binding from the time when, in a war between the Contracting Parties, one of the belligerents is joined by a non-Contracting Power.

Even if we were to abide by the Accord, we could use expanding ammunition when in hostilities against a non-signatory country.

Friend Stephen A Camp has convinced me that the 9mm would be a very fine self-defense option... if one were to use adequate expanding ammunition for it. That, however, is not the case for our servicemen carrying M9 pistols with 115g FMJ ammunition. What a shame that we impose such silly limitations even on our servicemen's defensive arm. One wonders why.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Oh yeah? How the hell do you know?

Tamara wrote an amusing yet profound little vignette of an example of why she's found herself withdrawing from many public firearm fora as of late, due to the the unfortunate nexus of the Information Age and the Age Of The Common Man.

Dad responds in agreement, and elaborates quite well.

In the field of firearms, I note some common threads:

1. Seems like everyone loves and recommends the gun that they own or owned or have been issued, and have had satisfactory experience with.
2. Just about everyone who has extensive experience with given firearm will assign its qualities to every other specimen of the type.
3. Generally, people will mistake being an expert with a single specific type of weapon (and most likely, a single specimen thereof) with being an expert in that entire genre. I.E.: "I know all about the Glock 31, which makes me an expert in duty pistols."

I'm quite certain that such foolishness is found in other fields of study, but it seems most pronounced in the study of guns, which gets people all caught up in mysticism and pride issues.

When you find a genuine possessor of knowledge on a topic, take the time to verify it, and then rejoice and be sure to do others a favor by identifying that person properly. If more experts were allowed to speak to the subject of their expertise, and more people would shut up and listen, this world would be a better place, wouldn't it?

I've got a lot yet to learn from Dad and Tamara, both. Among others.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Take heart-- you're better off than you think.

PhotoShop Disasters is one of the funniest sites I've seen in a while. It also makes you feel a little better about the world around you.

People don't look like those in magazine advertisements, friends. If you're attempting to achieve beauty by those standards, you will always fail.

But that's okay... so do the production artists:

You should look skinnier.

You should have more graceful arms.

Your waistline should be bulge-free.

Men should look less craggy. (or, apparently, less masculine?)

Even your lawn should look better!

Funny, funny stuff. And a lesson for those who have unconsciously been comparing themselves to what they see in popular publications, and found themselves wanting.

It's not all just fun and games, though. There are some interesting strategic implications to debunking photoshopped pics, too.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bad night to be hammer-murderers.

You know, the sooner we implement sensible carpentry tool control, the sooner we'll have peace in our time.

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"Ooh! He gives me the tingles!"

Just like LawDog, I'm no huge fan of John McCain. Oh, I respect the hell out of him, especially the fact that he's willing to attack his own party on occasion, to do what he thinks is right. But he's not ideal.

But I must say, the man is not just getting the short end of the stick-- he's not even getting to see the stick, with regard to media coverage. To say that the media are fawning over Barry Obama would be a HUGE understatement. We are just over 3 months away from the national presidential election. Think of how uneven the coverage is, at this point. My lord, you'd think Obama was running against Fred Thompson.

See this little montage of media swooning over Obama. Think to yourself-- back where you come from, back in the day, wouldn't Tucker Carlson have gotten his ass kicked?

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Subpoena duces tecum

Hey, all you process servers and defense attorneys! Listen up:

If you want your witness to show up for court, and provide that valuable testimony and documents, don't piss him off.

Don't lie to him to get him to show up and be served.

Don't lie to him to get him to show up at court when he is served.

Don't serve subpeonas that don't follow the rules as outlined by your local jurisdiction.

Don't serve subpeonas one business day prior to your court date.

And don't drop off your bogus subpeonas and expect them to be served on your account.

While getting subpeona'd is a pain the arse, I don't dodge them. That said, I don't feel the need to teach defense attorneys how to do their job, either. Just because you put the word subpeona at the top of your paper, doesn't make it one that you can enforce.

That said, I'll dutifully show up in court to provide testimony, if I have to. It's part of the job.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Don't think about an octopus.


Clear your brain. Think of anything but octopi.

Yeah, it worked about that well for me, too. :)

Online pal Breda seems to have this thing about octopi, and before reading about it, I frankly never much considered the little guys.

But, now, when I see something posted or published about them, I have to look. I mean, the first thought that goes through my head is: Is this going to be another demonstration of how creepy those little molusca can be?

And then my thoughts turn toward the realm of: And would it freak out Breda?

After seeing the videos linked in this Slate article, though, my thoughts kind of turn toward: Maybe she has a point.


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54 years and some months and days ago, a brave man took a stand.

No, this is not an anniversary date. But back in March of 1954, a man who happened to make his living as a journalist voiced an editorial, and risked his career. He said, of a popular senator:

His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between the
internal and the external threats of Communism. We must not confuse dissent with
disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that
conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in
fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if
we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not
descended from fearful men. [...] We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the
defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot
defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of the junior Senator
from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given
considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He
didn't create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it -- and rather

Don't forget these things. They are yet true. Oh, swap some pronouns here and there. Maybe swap the threat of "Communism" with the newer threat of "terrorism."

Don't you forget: declaring something "good," "bad," "patriotic," or "hating our freedom" doesn't actually make it so.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Short range day.

Yesterday afternoon, Dad and I went out to the range in the height of the heat of the day, to shoot a brand new Colt .45 Model O, to test Winchester Silvertips out of his Super .38, and to sight in an old Marlin .22 semi-auto with a scope.

Usually, we can't help ourselves, and end up shooting much, much more. But as the heat approached 100 degrees, and it had been 6 weeks since I had mowed out there, we reached a point where we realized that we would have more fun if we got a cold drink, instead. We were done in 2 hours, which, without either of us having ANYplace that we had to be, is just about a record.

I must be getting old.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

"A jar of whiskey for my drunken friend!"

The Fed is bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Removing market forces and corrections helps us... how, exactly? In the long run?

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Note of clarity.

There is something very pure about the pitch of the cry given out by the nerves around a fresh wound to the body, no matter how insignificant. A half-dollar-sized blister formed against the side of my left heel yesterday from an ill-advised walk in new shoes had a new-fangled silicone plaster applied to it, but during sleep, I managed to scrape both plaster and blister off of my foot. I sat up in bed, having gone from deep sleep to immediate awareness in a scant second.

After treating the wound with scissors, 91% alcohol (oh yeah. Feel the burn.) Neosporin, and band-aids, I realized that I was up, and that there was no fighting it.

I got to thinking about pain.

Spider Robinson makes the superb point that one of the most damnable things about pain is that the body will continue to alert you to some injury or irritation, even when there's nothing you can do to alleviate it. Dammit, there needs to be an "Off" switch. Or at least a snooze alarm. There are people who live with constant pain in their lives, and have treated it the best that they can, and will die with that pain... but can't make it stop.

Well dammit, that's just inefficient, is what it is.

As the pain of my relatively insignificant (self-induced, through stupidity) wound faded away, I thought about the worst pains I had ever felt. The worst was when, as a 5 year-old, I fell from an 8-foot height from an oak tree, and broke my right radius and ulna, and dislocated my elbow. My parents insisted that the bones be set by an orthopedic surgeon (I'm now grateful for this, as the evidence of the break is almost imperceivable), and that night I spent sleepless as the swelling caused my arm to fill the thin expansion cut in the plaster cast.

The most pain for the smallest wound? Dental pain. I simply can't think of anything else, until it's cleared up.

Small glass shards in the foot are over-achievers in the injury-versus-pain ratio, too.

My wife, awakened by my self-ministering, told me that the worst pain she's ever felt was childbirth. She had an epidural halfway through our second child, and given the pain that I observed, I was so thankful when the medication filled her spinal cord. She said that the second place was when a poorly-applied root canal (thanks a whole frickin' lot, Monarch Dental) came loose in her jaw.

Now, an hour and a half later, the pain is virtually gone. It was just that square inch of skin being ripped away that made the peripheral nervous system ganglia sing for a bit.

Maybe I'll take a nap, in a bit.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Cowtown Cop

Cowtown Cop has been added to the blogroll at right.

I'm liking what I'm seeing, and he has excellent references.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

For the first time in 6 weeks,

...Tamara has a new post up in her Arms Room blog.

A very good post.

On a very good, overly-neglected blog.

Which I will not stop nagging about, thankyewverrahmuch.


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Responsibility (Ex-Spouse and Children mix)

Our San Antonio correspondent Sabra writes a damned compelling little collumn on the rights you give up, when you walk out on your wife and kids.


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The joy of saying what's on your mind.

I know that I've said it before, but...

...I love this guy.

That is all.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Among those things that I hate:

Extraneous apostrophes.*

*Mild NSFW warning.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

"'Why not?'"

PARIS, France (AP) -- Ingrid Betancourt has reiterated that she does not believe her freedom or that of 14 other hostages was bought with a ransom to their Colombian rebel captors. But she suffered so much, she said, that had a ransom been paid, "why not?"
Because, you daft bimp, paying your ransom means that there's more incentive for others to be kidnapped.

Well, I suppose that people say things that they'll later regret, when they're emotional.

But I should think that this, along with her amazingly Francophile comments, will probably discount her from future elections. I mean, surely the Columbians aren't aren't going to follow the Peruvians, who elected a president with loyalties that resided outside of the country he governed?

And if I were a Columbian, I'd feel a little pissed to find out that Pugsley* was interfering with our internal matters, making deals with terrorists.

*H/T to Tamara for this term for Hugo Chavez.

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Pickin' and Grinnin'

My wife and kids and I arose at 06:00 and went with my mom to go pick blueberries again this morning. Mom got a couple of quarts, and my wife and I picked enough to bulge out seven 1-quart storage bags well beyond their normal capacity, plus a pint or so that we ate fresh right away.

My girls picked about a quart of blackberries, too. We froze those, putting them on a pan single-layer and freezing them before bagging them for storage.

We are now set for some pies, cobblers, crisps, muffins, and pancakes, on the blueberry front. Sadly, that constitutes barely a taste, on the blackberry front. I grew up eating blackberry pies during summertime, and without black, I'm blue.

We were pretty hot from our jaunt through the patch in the sun, and were mighty glad that we had been waiting when they opened at 08:00. It was, for the second year in a row, the weekend that the berry farm held a fundraiser for the local VFD, and they had a bounce house, hamburger sale, raffle, and other stuff available to spend your money on for the VFD.

After about an hour, Mom was getting tired and needed a place to sit, and there was a booth to pay a buck and get 4 baseball throws at a strike zone net set about 50 feet from the table. I told Mom to sit in a comfy camp chair there, ostensibly to watch me throw. They had an older radar unit set on a folding table, and a bored guy with a clipboard took down your name and fastest throw. I knew mine wouldn't be much-- I had badly stressed my rotator cuff last winter on a slip on the ice on a slick bridge. But what the heck? A buck ain't much. My first throw was inside, but I was gratified that my last three throws, thrown as hard as I could get 'em, were well inside the strike zone. Yeah, yeah, I know-- it wasn't full regulation distance. But gimme a break-- I never played the game. I was also gratified that my top throw was the fastest on the clip board.

I returned to picking, and chatted with a guy and his son who were nearby. He asked me about the pitching thing. He nodded in agreement when I laughed that it's harder than one might think to get the speed over 50 mph. When our conversation drifted to college days, and the maroon-wearing Aggie found out that I had attended UT Austin for a year, I knew that he would be going to the pitching booth before long*.

When I checked by the booth an hour and a half later, I found that he had taken two turns to try to beat the Teasipper... and had failed. It's a sad day when 51mph takes the cupie doll, friends. But it's my cupie doll, so I'll bear it proudly. :)

*I have never understood the fervor with which the Aggies hold up that rivalry.Even stranger, it is oft extended to the friends and family of Texas A&M alumni, against their fellow Texans. People that have never set foot on A&M campus will damn those "'Sips". Meanwhile, most of my friends that attended UT have always sort of viewed A&M as a respectable agricultural and engineering university, with nothing for them to be ashamed of.

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Friday, July 04, 2008


232 years ago today in Philadelphia, a bunch of very smart men signed up to declare independence from the Crown monarchy of Great Britain. While their reasons were varied, they were right to do so.

But make no mistake-- they were betraying their government. They did so openly, by signing the Declaration Of Independence, but they were nonetheless violating loyalty to the Crown.

Betrayal is a dirty, dirty word. There's nothing appealing about it. It absolutely should, to honorable people, create unease. The only time that it's acceptable is when the betrayed has incontestably already betrayed the betrayer.

Their action was brave, in that they signed it. Their action was necessary, in that they were at the wrong end of stick, with regard to supply lines, taxation, and rule-making. Their action was correct, in that it launched what is arguably the greatest nation that this world has ever seen.

They were right.

But they were risking so much, and more than just losing a war. They were risking historical judgment of their actions.

We are blessed that they are now considered heroes.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Overwhelmingly, the response is that readers update edits.

That's really good to know. I was worried that some of my dunderheaded typos were making it to every one of your readers, and that you thought of me as a plain fool, and had documentation to back up your conclusions.

Ha. I can cover my tracks.

...Sort of. Zeeke42 gave the single most* helpful comment, saying:

"I get the fixed version on Bloglines. At the top of the post, it says: "UPDATED 5 hr 42 min ago POSTED 5 hr 59 min ago"


I think that I'm going to sign up with Bloglines. Why not Google? Because I have two logins with them, and that could get messy.
*Everyone's comment was helpful, and I thank you all for posting them.

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Question... does this look unedited?

I realize that I'm the worst self-editor in the world. It is nigh-impossible for me to see my own typos, because my brain just fills in what I meant. I KNOW what I meant to say.

So I fire off these little posts without rereading them, and while looking at my blog later, I see egregious mistakes, and then go back and edit them.

My question is posed to you all out there who use auto-readers, which collect posts from your favorite blogs for you to read in a digest daily: does your reader show the edited update, or does it show the original, typo-riddled post?

Here. We'll try an experiment. When I hit "publish" originally for this post, the word after this paragraph will say, in capital letters, "damaged." I will wait a few minutes, and edit it to read "fixed." Tell me what your reader shows you. Thanks.

edited at 12:18 pm CST

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Oh! So that's what y'all were talking about.

The nice thing about the world that we currently live in is that I can watch a show that everyone's been talking about at my leisure. . . in theory.

In theory, I could just set my digital video recorder to record it, and watch it later, but I haven't bought one yet. Been meaning to, but I haven't.

In theory, I just order it on DVD as soon as it comes out. But that's usually after the season's over, and the hubub about a show dies down, and I forget. Also, I'm bad about forgetting ever to visit the NetFlix queue, which for some reason my wife has control over. (You don't want to even know what assaults have been launched against my manhood by that misstep.)

So, the other day, it was a strange confluence of events when I happened to be making my wife some coffee while she was loading up more Dawson's Creek episodes (ack! Hack! Blech!) up to the queue of DVDs to be mailed to us, and she said, "Anything you'd like me to stick on here?"

I panicked. I almost never had been asked. My mind raced, and I grasped for the name of a show that I'd heard was good, but had never seen. Best make it a series... I might not get this chance for a while (I kid, I kid-- my wife is very gracious. Aren't you, my love?).

"Uh, I've heard that show Firefly was good... could we put it on?" I said as I brought her a cuppa.

Well, that sounded girlie enough, I guess. It passed muster without inspection.

Yesterday, the red envelopes came, and we watched the pilot to the science fiction western libertarian flick.

Visually rich. Nice little plot. Good characterization. Clever lines.

Well, better late than never. (Firefly was cancelled after 14 episodes in 2004, and a movie, Serenity, came out the following year.)

What fun. I'll save the movie for last. Something to look forward to.

But I ask you: in a market that can support umpteen seasons of drivel, how is it that a show with an Emmy award and two Hugo nominations couldn't seem to get a second season? Are we hurting that badly for another reality show? For another frickin' medical drama?

This is (in part) why I don't watch TV anymore.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Bait and switch

"But those aren't the terms that I was promised," I said pointedly into the phone.

I was short of sleep, having just gotten up from 5 hours of day sleep after working 15 hours. My wife needed me to confirm with Spirit Cruise Lines what date we were going to go on our first little cruise. The woman had just given me two dates that were not on the list of dates that we had submitted as being available, from Galveston, TX. She also said that the only rooms available were luxury sea-view staterooms with substantial price upgrades. "Can you find another way?"

"The certificate that you signed says 'subject to availability,' sir," came the snotty reply. I dreamed of a device or magical power that would let me take hold of that tongue through the phone line. Okay, I'll admit it-- I was cranky.

In my sweetest, most reasonable, "Let's Solve This Together" voice, I asked, "Can I get you to send me a copy of that certificate, then, please? I fear that this trip may not be possible."

My scanner is in storage. And, no, I didn't run down the street to make a copy. Sue me. I'm a bad record keeper. I didn't have a copy of The Certificate. I wanted to read the text on this almighty document, that apparently countermanded what I had been told verbally by Silverleaf people.

"Sir, I can't resend the certificate."

"You can't resend the certificate? Or you can't rescind the certificate?" I asked.

"What?!?" she was clearly not happy with me. Well, I suppose that the feeling was becoming mutual.

However, I pushed on. "Did you mean that you cannot "resend"-- R-E-S-E-N-D-- the certificate, or that you cannot "rescind"--R-E-S-C-I-N-D-- the certificate?" I enunciated very carefully for her. You know, like you would to, say, a retarded chihuahua. Which is hard of hearing." (I was cranky.)

"Sir, I'm quite sure that you understand the conversation that we're having right now," she said, peevishly.

"Actually, no, I'm not. That's why I'm asking you to clarify, so that I, the customer, can get the full picture. Now, back to the predicate. 'Rescind,' or 'Resend?' The way you pronounce the word, it's a homonym. And, as with "raise" and "raze," these two words have vastly different meanings. Well, not as different as raise/raze-- that's one's just ridiculous. Now, I can understand that a phone person might not have the power to revoke a contract, but to be denied the power to even forward me a copy of it, which almost seems the more likely thing that you're saying, makes little sense to me."

"I can't send you another copy," she said testily. Almost as if she felt insulted. "Look, if these dates won't work, I can refund the money that you've put down."

"Aha! In fact, the powers do apparently fall along counter-intuitive lines," I said. "Very well, may I speak to a supervisor?"

"All complaints must be made in writing," she said. "And the supervisors can't be reached by phone."

"Wow. It's good that y'all have planned for success," I said. "But whoever said anything about a complaint?"

"Well, I just figured..."


I hung up. I really should have gotten some coffee in me before attempting that call.

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