I bin practicin’.

Purely for the benefit of those of you who pointed out earlier that Uncle Joel’s revolver style needed work

Hey. I am from Detroit. So after seven months of intense training, I think I’ve finally got the look down.
Funnily enough, I can’t hit squat anymore…

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Wait, wait. You people just outlawed carnivorism.

Here comes a link from Landlady to further damage my calm…

State Supreme Court Finds Dogs Are “ Sentient Beings,” Not Mere Property, In Landmark Ruling

[T]he court granted legal significance to the dog’s “ sentient ”—his capacity to experience feelings, and pain.

“It is really a landmark ruling,” says Attorney Lora Dunn of the Animal Legal Defense Fund—which filed an amicus brief in this case, on behalf of the winning side. “In this specific context, the animal sentience matters.”

Find me an animal, from an earthworm to a gorilla, that can’t feel pain.

“A landmark ruling?” That’s a scary ruling. “Feelings and pain?” By that definition, the rabbits currently infesting my yard and the pork currently warming my stomach are or were sentient.

I recognize that the word has such wide meaning as to be essentially meaningless. But as far as I can tell, the Oregon court just outlawed meat-eating. And for that matter, the ownership of all animals.

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Your own portable safe space

I don’t claim it’s a serious thing, because I don’t know and really doubt it. On the other hand, life in general has increasingly come to resemble parody. And it is an actual thing.

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This is probably a little silly…

When I cleaned out Former Neighbor J’s place last year, most of the contents ending up at the local thrift store, I found a spearhead threaded to go on a painting pole. FNJ had gone through a ‘primitive weapon’ phase a few years back, with throwing axes and spears and that sort of thing. Judging from current Ebay prices he actually paid around $30 for this dumb thing. I could never have brought myself to do that, but free has a quality all its own. I brought it home and screwed it on to my longest painting pole, because of course I did.

There wasn’t any particular plan, I just like sharp pointy things and also I had a notion that it might be a better anti-snake-in-the-yard weapon than a shovel. But no yard snakes presented themselves as test subjects, so the sort-of protospear gathered dust in a corner until a few weeks ago…

…when I started having bull encounters on walkies. This is a scary situation: You can’t just shoot them, except in the last extremity, because to do so would bring down the law and thousands of dollars in criminal liability. I would basically need the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to be standing right there as witnesses – and willing to testify on my behalf, which since I’m a gentile is not ensured – for a successful self-defense plea. The cattle have all the rights. This doesn’t prevent me from using my gun to hurry cows with calves along, just shooting to make noise. But gunfire doesn’t usually impress bulls. And when they’re mating – and they’re mating lately – they’re pretty foul-tempered beasts.

I wanted something I could use to fend them off. Something non-lethal, unless things really got nasty in which case it could become increasingly lethal. Something long. Pointy. Which could also be used as a walking stick. Because walkies.

I wanted a … well, I wanted a spear. With a cane tip.
While in the bigger town about 35 miles away on Thursday I bought a cane tip, which by complete happenstance fit the pole perfectly. Tried it out on walkies and noticed for the first time that the pot-metal finial on the paint pole with the threads is only pressed on, and wouldn’t have impressed Clovis Man as a proper spearhead mount. So I went to the hardware store yesterday, bought a few bolts/washers/nuts, drilled and tightened and dremeled, then painted the whole thing green because I pretty much paint everything green.

Forward! To the Paleolithic!

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You kids today. In my day, the Internet was called “Books.”

Wishing to experiment with some loads using a brand of powder I’d never heard of before this month, every dead-tree reloading manual I own let me down.
Fortunately I could download the needed data, and even more fortunately that tablet somebody sent me lets me actually take it up the ridge to the reloading shack.
Me so 21st century. I just thought it was funny, is all.

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Look who’s coming back to the Lair!

I’m waiting for a phone call from S&L who are going back to the city for a week to house-sit for their kids, and Ghost isn’t coming.

Ghost is a drama queen about strange houses in strange places, and will devote himself to whining you into submission until you agree to immediately pack and go back home to the desert where you belong. So … as I knew must come some day … they’re not taking him. Which means we’re going to see if he’s content to slum with Little Bear and Uncle Joel.

He gets one – uno – free pick-up at S&L’s. But I’m not going to spend the whole week worrying about where he’s gone to. The second time I have to go get him, he’s going to Gitmo. I’ll stick LB in there for company and visit them twice a day, but I’ll be damned if this next week is going to be all about how the universe isn’t being run to poor tragic Ghost’s specifications.

Yes, I’ve already developed something of an attitude about this. Frankly, my life has proven simpler with Ghost not in it. I didn’t ask him to move out in the first place, and I’m not interested in having the accommodations I provide critiqued by a dog. I didn’t put up with it indefinitely from a wife. So he’s only provisionally welcome back.

ETA: He came in readily enough, sniffed around, ignored LB, and immediately wanted back out the door. “No, go lay down.” Bypassing his bed which I’d dragged back here from Landlady’s he huffed into his old Safe Space.
We’ll just have to see how this goes.

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At least somebody’s taking advantage of it…

I don’t know if the #armthegays thing is getting takers in any significant numbers or not. Hope so. As of about three days ago there were more than 1000 volunteers, but I haven’t found any sign that any of them are getting customers.

There’s this, though…

Huge LGBT Turnout For Free Gun Courses Surprises Shooting Range Owners

It was a unique offer by the Shiloh Shooting Range in northwest Harris County [Texas], just days after the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Shiloh offered free gun classes to the LGBT community and hundreds of people responded.

“We learned gun safety,” said Jared Anthony. “We learned that it’s not … it’s a big responsibility. If you do carry, it’s something that you do need to take seriously. You are providing … you’re providing a service to the community really.”

Anthony was one of the more than 300 people who responded to Shiloh’s offer of free concealed carry classes. The calls kept coming.

“They’re not necessarily what we’ve been told and we’re not necessarily what they’ve been told,” said Shiloh owner Jeff Sanford.

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Three and a quarter tons

The garbage haulers finally got around to picking up that big dumpster I filled in last month’s paying gig. They weigh it on a truck scale before dumping it, since the renters are charged for content by the ton, so I now know that that big dumpster contained 3.26 tons of garbage when I left it.
That works out to something a bit over 25 pounds for every dollar they paid me. Which I gathered in widely-scattered locations over 40 acres. No wonder they were so happy with me.

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I wouldn’t limit it to democrats, but otherwise yeah.

Congressional Democraats Sitin
h/t Kentucky

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Y’know, I think it’s finally starting to grow on me.

There are many (many many) like it, but this one is mine.

There are many (many many) like it, but this one is mine.

I’ve never really had a reason to hate it, except pure bigotry against Communists. It’s really a much better pistol than it has any right to be. It’s completely reliable and – given it’s basically a Walther PP ripoff* with a fixed barrel – surprisingly accurate if you can find those bitsy sights. My dislike for the Mak was visceral, it was never based on reason. Odd that I never behaved that way toward AKs.

Anyway – since I just bought ammo for the thing for the first time in several years, I guess it was on my mind. The Mak is lighter than the .44, less in the way, and when you fire it the sky doesn’t fall down – like it does when you fire the .44. So when I came out of the cabin in the evening and found a running rabbit that had been snooping around underneath, and I decided that some old-fashioned Gun Violence must occur forthwith, I went inside and got the Mak. It was already loaded with those little (relatively) cheap FMJ round nose bullets. Went outside, carefully walked around the small shed where I last saw him hippity hopping, and then something happened that, if I told you, would sound like one of those stories.

It involved multiple rabbits, now deceased. Funny: I’ve had that gun for almost ten years, and only just now noticed how nicely it points one-handed.

Thing is, since Ghost moved out LB doesn’t want to spend time alone in the yard. I can throw him out, but he won’t do his business – he just sits and mopes until I let him back in. So the damned rabbits are taking over the yard, and despite my distaste for killing animals I don’t plan to eat (and I’ve tried wild rabbit, yes, and really don’t consider it worth the bother of butchery in normal times) I’m going to have to start killing them until they remember that I’m the human and therefore dangerous to live near. Otherwise I’ll have them under every building in the place. One of them already died under the cabin and stank me out a couple of weeks ago. Not going through that again.

It’s just funny that I chose to start the jihad with what I would have considered the least appropriate handgun I own. No, of course I’m not throwing over the .44 in its favor; that way lies hubris with a bear or something as nemesis. No. But I don’t dislike the Mak as much as I used to. Truth is, it’s quite a good gun for the money.


*One of my favorite Neal Stephenson quotes goes approximately “Ask a Soviet engineer to design a pair of shoes, and you’ll get something that looks like the box they came in. Ask him for something to kill Nazis with, and he’ll become Thomas Alva Edison.” In this case the Soviet engineer(s) just took a good thing and made it heavier and uglier. They didn’t screw with it in any of the usual American ways that would have ruined it.

I still want a better front sight, though.

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Score, sort of

Well, they didn’t have a pouch that would fit my knife, but they did have three different kinds of 9mm Mak ammo. So it wasn’t a wasted trip.
100 rounds of Serbian ball – seems like only yesterday our elected representatives were dropping lots of HE on Serbia, and now we’re buying overpriced crappy small arms ammo from them. What a woild – and 25 rounds of lovingly crafted artisanal ammunition, individually hand-carved from blocks of solid platinum with tools of purest meteoric iron by selected virgin Polynesian priestesses of the god Hor-Na-Dy. Or so I gather, from the price. In fact, for what I paid for that little box of ammo I’d damn well better have opportunity to shoot something really dangerous with my FrankenMak before I die, or I’m going to feel like a failure at life.

D really likes ice cream. I’m indifferent toward it but had a cone of butter pecan just to be polite, and now learn that I really do seem to be developing some sort of lactose intolerance in my old age. So I’m going to go lay down for a while before evening chores. LB says hi…well, no he doesn’t. He’s sacked out under the window trying to catch a breeze.


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I expect a complete emotional breakdown later…

Not really, I’m not quite that much of a snowflake and anyway this has never proven stressful before. But I am doing something a bit unusual this morning, I’m taking a half-day jaunt to the bigger town about 35 miles away more-or-less purely for the hell of it.

And also to see if I can score some 9mm Makarov ammo, since this town I’m going to happens to contain one of the only two decent gun shops in the whole region. Considering how many guns and gun-toters there are around here, I’ve always been perplexed by the lack of a gun store on every corner. There’s probably a perfectly good explanation, like “Nobody’s got any money,” but it’s still sad. Reloading components in particular are very difficult to come by. Common ammunition calibers are often lacking – I’m not at all certain I’ll score today. I’d be shocked if there were any .22LR on the shelf, though thanks to a couple of generous readers last year I’m not out of .22. Still don’t plink as promiscuously as I used to, but who does? At least now every shot isn’t a small step toward Mad Max world of crossbows and pikes.

Also hope to score a new pouch for my folding knife, because this…
…is about to fall completely apart and so far attempts to make my own have been pretty pitiful.

Finally, it’s really clouding up! We had a passing shower yesterday, today we might actually get one of those thunderstorms they’ve been promising. So I’m calling moratorium on the computer for the rest of the morning at least. Hell, last time I used it to look outside there were congress critters sitting on the floor – protesting themselves, as far as I could tell which is pretty sense-free even for congress critters – and basically partying like it was 1968. I expected Jimi Hendrix at any moment, maybe a little CCR, and the scent of sandalwood and low-grade weed. If that’s really the big news of what’s happening in the world, I don’t even need to know.

Anyway. Later.

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“Your bourgeois logic has no effect upon me. I am impervious to it.”

I may have to get myself one of those “Twitter account” thingies. This looks like fun, and it can’t be more of a time-waster than video games.

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Are you serious? Are you serious?

The country is in the very best of hands.

Y’know … I finally think I have an inkling of what was going through the minds of the people who defended the Kent State shooters. This is a great day.

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Taking weirdness to extremes…

I think I’m going to call her Adie.
Short for Arrested Development. And when I cull out the other defective/unproductive hens, I think I’m going to let her live. Why not? She doesn’t eat much, she doesn’t have hardly any meat on her bones anyway, and she likes me. Which makes her very unusual among chickens. Follows me around pecking my leg and demanding to be picked up and carried. Hates it when I ignore her. All the other chickens love it when I ignore them.

Now, a suburbanite with a backyard flock wouldn’t find that the least bit weird. A lot of them don’t cull chickens at all, I’m told. But I have to admit I’m a little shame-faced about it.

At least I can console myself that I’m not this guy. That’s taking chicken-related weirdness to a level I do not plan to explore. Can you imagine what his deck looks like?

18th century mariners used to routinely bring chickens along because eggs. But they used cages and didn’t make pets of them.

h/t Landlady

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Where have you gone, Efrem Zimbalist Jr? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

Hey, you know that guy who shot up that gay nightclub in Orlando? And how his wife was maybe an accomplice? The FBI didn’t want to disturb her in her grief, you know, because she’s Muslim and all and they’re kind of touchy. But finally the Bureau thought maybe they should have a little chat if she could find the time.

But now they can’t find her.

Perhaps the department needs more funding, that always seems to do the trick.

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When the Wicked Witch of the West looks happy, that’s when you get scared.


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What’s the word for something that happens twice a decade?

The Jeep’s oil change interval isn’t quite that bad. But it’s pretty bad. I need to have the money, need to remember to get oil and filter while I’m in town, need to have the want-to (and you spend several years wrenching in a dealership back shop and see if you don’t develop a real aversion to working on cars)…

…finally just say screw it, the first thing that’s happening this morning while it’s cool is I’m changing the oil in the Jeep.

So that happened, for the record. No, it’s not the first time. But I do confess it doesn’t happen often. And so to breakfast.

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Ode to a refrigerator

Ian put a fridge in his cave a few years ago and bid me help myself, but except for a luxury or two and my bulk yeast I never used it much before this year. This is my tenth summer here, I’ve mostly gotten along well enough without a refrigerator, and I saw no need to change.

Maybe I’m getting old, or maybe I’m getting smart, I’m not sure which. This past heat wave has reminded me of the one time I really hurt myself since moving here…

Three years ago we had a very hot June, I was doing a lot of work outside, and didn’t really pay any attention to how much water I was drinking. It’s easy to forget; just because you’re dehydrated doesn’t mean you’re thirsty. And when it gets hot, everything gets hot – every surface you touch, every breath you take, even the well water in the cistern. Which is already so full of calcium it’s nearly crunchy. The only thing worse than hard water is hot hard water. I’d nearly stopped drinking water at all by the time I collapsed.

It wasn’t the weakness and dizziness that made me call for help, though I had plenty of both. No, it was that kidney stone I passed. I’ve occasionally wondered how close that painful little thing came to saving my life – I had next to no measurable blood pressure, and the doctor couldn’t see if I had any blood in my urine because I couldn’t raise any urine. Man, that kidney stone hurt out of all proportion to its size and importance though…

Anyway, that was three years ago and I’ve paid a lot more attention to my drinking water since then. I’ve got a whole water-drinking infrastructure, developed around plastic bottles. And this is the delivery end…
Normally I religiously empty at least one of these things into myself daily. Not well water, filtered water I laboriously haul from town every week. In a summer heat wave like this one, I work on drinking more like two. And it’s a sort of work, too, I have to think about it, remember to do it.

Trouble is, by afternoon what’s left in that bottle will be hot to the touch. That’s when it gets hard to keep chugging. But this year (last year, really, but this is the first year it’s really been put to use) I got a second bottle just like it and stuck it in Ian’s fridge.

So early this afternoon I’ll refill this one, haul it up to Ian’s place, and bring the cold one back. It’ll also be warm by bedtime, but then I’ll fill it back up and let the night cool it off.

I’ve also got veggies for a cold lunch, and I’m even freezing meat these days! And a nice big block of ice for the chickens. I’m becoming an aesthete! I’ll have to change my name to Gersh, or Dylan or something. Maybe I can sew up a camo bow tie later. Get one of those girly 9mm pistols, or maybe an AR…

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Things that make me embarrassed…

And yet I’m blogging about it…

You know that time you accidentally spilled a 5-gallon jug of water in your car, transforming it into a sort of iron pond? (a steaming iron pond, given the temperature.)

And when you’d found and pried out the drain plugs and cleared the floor of maybe pounds of sand-now-mud, your car was actually cleaner? I mean seriously better than it was before the accident?

Yeah. That’s when you know you’ve achieved Peak Hermit. Or peak something, anyway. Maybe not something good.

Yeah, it’s a Jeep. It’s supposed to occasionally flood or you’re not using it right. Hence the drain plugs. What disturbed me afterward is that it’s the first bath the Jeep has had since I don’t know when, and except for some wetted gear it genuinely left things better off. I’m guessing Gersh Kuntzman never has days like this.

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