I presume his full name is Zale Thompson Derka Derka Mohammed Jihad.

But then again maybe this is just workplace violence. Hey, weird things happen.

I kinda doubt it, though…a_zalethompsonGiven other things in the recent news, it would be a helluva coincidence if this guy turned out to be a Nordic Baptist who just decided it was a beautiful day to take a hatchet to a couple of cops. Assuming he really was practicing ecumenicism jihad-style, as I do assume, please sit back and join me in observing with dismay as the screeching jihadophobes, in partnership with every government on the continent, proceed to draw (and act upon) all the wrong conclusions.

For I wish to point out that this fellow fell prey to one of the classic blunders. And in NYC, he really had to go out of his way to do it. He (Yes, I’ll go here. I have no shame or sense of originality) brought a hatchet to a gunfight. He actually sought out four of the very few people on a NYC street absolutely guaranteed to be properly armed, and then he beaned one of them with a hatchet. The result was written:

“As he continued his assault, the remaining two officers then fired on the armed suspect who fell to the ground dropping the hatchet,” Bratton said. “The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.”

So it didn’t work out very well for the guy with the hatchet*. But now one of two things will happen: Either the feds will decide and the State Media will report that Zale Thompson was actually a crazed Estwing salesman and this is just random workplace violence like the last time, or he really was a wannabe jihadi and we’ll all be directed to run in circles, wave our arms and cry for more protection.

Under no circumstances will a more logical lesson be drawn, nor will it be promulgated. Because that way lies chaos, of course. Self-reliance would be a terrible thing to ask of the lowing herd. No, what this situation will call for is more government.

*Nor, as Bear points out in the comments, for the innocent bystander gunned down by the crack NYPD sharpshooters.

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The sun is growing weak…

Almost November, and the sun isn’t its usual lethal self.100_4443As the shadows lean toward the east I go to collect my laundry, only to find the thicker stuff still sodden. In two more months’ time it will have frozen there, only becoming dry when the frozen water sublimates into the very dry air.

Much as I dislike winter, sometimes I like the slow, building anticipation of it even less.

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Gun rights compromise explained


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Uncle Joel fires an M1 v*e*r*y s*l*o*w*l*y

From Forgotten Weapons, of course, though the Garand would take a lot of forgetting.

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The apocalypse may not be televised, but it will be politicized.

I recall somebody saying not long ago that the ebola scare would definitely not be politicized. I don’t recall who said that, or in what universe that person was standing at the time.

Because this is ‘Murca, buddy, and we politicize everything we possibly can. Case in point:

In America, we don’t kill the Ebola dog

"That's right, chump. You're looking at a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, the genuine article, so cute you won't need sugar on your cereal for a month just from looking at me.  "Um...why are you looking at me like that?"

“That’s right, chump. You’re looking at a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, the genuine article, so cute you won’t need sugar on your cereal for a month just from looking at me.
“Um…why are you looking at me like that?”

We’re looking at you like that, Fido, because it seems you’ve managed to become a political issue.

I know what you’re thinking. Cute dog, tested negative for the virus, good news. Right? Well of course it is. I like dogs. But that’s not really the story of the piece.

America is a compassionate nation to be sure, and we love our dogs. But even more than that, the bureaucrats in Washington love to win elections. And with only two weeks to go before the midterms, there was no way on God’s green Earth that anyone in the CDC was going to be allowed to give the order to put that dog down. The headlines would have been a nightmare and the name Bentley would, you may rest assured, have come up during a White House press room briefing.

And oh by the way, in case anybody cares in an election year, that nurse might live as well. So that happened. But this morning the news seems to be all about her dog.

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I suppose if I didn’t know about it, he’s not hurting me.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I don’t come from an especially rich background. Due to the effort of my father, I was born in Detroit and not on a crappy farm somewhere outside Moscow, Michigan. We weren’t poor white trash, in that we weren’t poor. We sure weren’t rich. I’m familiar with the demographics of a trailer park.

I don’t mention that to brag or whine, but just as prologue. Now and then in the course of any day you’re likely to encounter something that reminds you of things you saw when you were young, and as often as not it’ll be something you were just as happy to forget.

One thing I grew up familiar with was preachers on the television. I never went through a religious phase, and spent far more time listening to preachers in churches than I cared to when I was a boy, so I sure wasn’t going to spend valuable TV time on them. Still it seemed like they were always there, and as time went by and I got older I learned about some of them through sheer osmosis.

Most were innocuous enough. They weren’t hurting anybody I could see. But there were two creatures I just couldn’t stand. And they popped up with punishing frequency, like your very least favorite Jackson Five song.bakkerAs far as I could tell during all the millisecond-long periods in which I watched their show, the road to salvation lay entirely in the act of sending money to Jim & Tammy Faye. And I knew people who did it. You couldn’t argue with’em. Okay, none of my business, and those people would probably throw their money away some way regardless. But these two were as shameless as they were ubiquitous. By the mid-eighties, they were a spectator sport. Which, since I couldn’t stand the sight of them, made me hate them the more.

So I was very pleasantly surprised when Jim Bakker actually went to Club Fed for many, many counts of fraud. From that time 25 years ago, I rarely if ever gave him a thought.

And that’s why I felt like a cockroach ran across me when I clicked on a link at a Codrea post this afternoon and found myself staring at Jim Bakker’s elderly and apparently non-incarcerated phiz.

Turns out (I looked it up) he got sprung after only five years. He’s been out for decades. And you’ll have to click through to see what he’s doing for a living these days – you’ll never guess.

Also, if I ever get it into my head to buy ‘survival food’ off a TV infomercial, I’m first going to examine very closely who’s selling it.

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Lord, Mr. Freud.

I had a really embarrassing brain fart regarding those arsenic caps I was supposed to have finished last weekend. I did work on them Saturday, but due to some supply deficiencies couldn’t finish. Geiger Counter Guy was away at a trade show, so I figured I’d talk to him about it on Monday.

Then I completely forgot the whole thing.

I continued forgetting until last night, when I got a voicemail from GC Guy asking if I was ever planning to, you know, do my job. His family’s company isn’t screaming about their complete lack of arsenic caps any more quietly now than they were six days ago.

So that’s where I’ve been, and now my part of it is done. Though it seems we’ll be getting back to work on them rather sooner than usual, or at least so he says.

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A very sad commentary on our world: I honestly can’t tell if this is satire.

But I’d want one anyway, if I still had a cubicle to decorate. :) kittencalendar

If this is satire, it’s damned funny. If not, it’s…funnier.

Far too expensive, though. Six bucks for shipping? Ripoff.

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It’s a bad, bad, really terribly awful thing…

…that detail-cleaning my kitchen is so uncommon I’m actually writing a blog post about it.
100_4441And that’s all I have to say about that.

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Wait. What happened to equality?

When I read elsewhere that Gabby Giffords was on a ‘Protect All Women tour,’ I assumed it was a snarky joke. Who besides cisgender patriarchal white male jerks would ever think all women need protection? Surely at least some of them are capable of protecting themselves. Right? I mean, I know some women and would step in to lend a hand if they needed it, but …
Women around here tend to know how to use guns.

So…a “Protect All Women” tour? Some gun writer just made that up to be snarky, right?


Giffords’ organization that she created earlier this year, the Protect All Women Leadership Network, hosted the fifth day of her Protect All Women tour in Tempe at the O’Connor House.

Giffords is in the midst of traveling to nine states in nine days, also visiting Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington.

“We can lead the way,” said Giffords in her speech before opening up the discussion. “We stand for common sense. … We stand for responsibility. We can change our laws. We can win elections. Please join your voice with mine.”

Whatever happened to those annoying “have it all” women from the ’70′s & ’80′s? They were far preferable to the ones progressives are turning out these days, who seem so fragile that merely the thought of a guy like me will cause them to shatter like a crystal figurine of a…I dunno, crystal figurine. Or something.

Shit. What I’m trying to say is, I’ll help if you want, but screw you if you’re too special to protect yourself. And I’ll be dipped in liquid dog shit before I’ll make myself helpless just so you can ‘feel safe.’

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Up with the chickens…

…to feed the horses.

Everybody with a pet knows what a hassle it can be when you need to go out of town and find someone to take care of your animal(s). The bigger the animal and the more elaborate its needs, the bigger the hassle.

Good thing there’s that dependable old guy who lives in the holler and never goes anywhere, huh? So this weekend I’ve been doing a lot more back-and-forth, feeding and watering horses. That should be over now, since if the plan holds H will be back this afternoon. Sure glad I got that tire fixed, because the two days of normal back-and-forth raised blisters on the end of my stump and – unexpectedly – blew out my right knee to a moderate degree. I used to joke that if I had a left leg the right leg would be my “bad” one, but in truth I haven’t had any trouble with that knee since we put in the foundation for Landlady’s barn in ’07. So I was surprised that a few walking trips would stir it up. When all the boys were here I used to walk a great deal more than I do now.

Weather is very iffy: This is the third consecutive cloudy day, though yesterday it cleared just enough after rain to fully charge the batteries. I’m still waiting to see what the weather wants to do today. I’m gonna see if it’ll warm up a bit before going back for Monday shit-shoveling.

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Here’s something useful I didn’t know I didn’t know

From Brigid: The difference between paraffin and beeswax in candles turns out to be significant and could even be important to you.

Personally I don’t use candles, but if you do you might want to read this.

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Private to Moms Demand Attention: Armed robbery is already against Kroger policy.

Okay, now, this is funny. A guy wearing a scary mask and waving a gun around robbed a Cincinnati Kroger.

No, that’s not the funny part. In fact that’s kind of deplorable. The funny part is that Moms who Demand Attention, which as you probably know is drumming to get Kroger to ban open carry, saw this as a perfectly logical cause célèbre.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

ANOTHER ARMED ROBBERY AT KROGER: This man robbed a bank inside a Cincinnati-area Kroger yesterday. Police say he wore a grey skeleton mask and demanded cash while brandishing a semi-automatic handgun at a teller. The robbery comes only two days after a man at another Cincinnati Kroger was robbed at gunpoint in the restroom: http://cin.ci/1w8GXnq

These crimes at two Kroger stores in one week should serve as a wake up call to Kroger’s leadership to prohibit the open carry of firearms in its stores. Kroger customers should not be responsible for determining if someone in the store holding a gun is a criminal or making a political statement.

As far as I can tell, the reasoning here is that if everybody is allowed to open-carry in the store, then how can anybody know which of the gun-toting hooligans is there to rob the place and which is just doing some shopping?

Based solely on the picture from the security camera – which was posted on MDA’s Facebook link, by the way – I think the people there might have been able to discern a
subtle clue.
Really, I’m almost embarrassed to have to explain this, but it seems necessary. So here goes:

Your Uncle Joel openly carries a handgun quite commonly. If I happen to be in the local food store, I may not even be the only one. It’s that kind of place. Shouldn’t bother you. But if somebody burst into the store wearing a fright mask and waving a gun around, screaming some variation on “Gimme the money,” I might find that person rather alarming.

So to summarize:
Person wearing a gun in a holster, peacefully pushing a cart around and buying Cheerios: Not a robber.

Person wearing a fright mask and brandishing a gun while screaming “This is a robbery”: Probably a robber.

Hope this helps.

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Come back with a warrant: Not just pretty words, Mr. Director.

Governments hate encryption*. That’s a truism like ‘a cloudless sky is blue,’ but the feds were traditionally a little more discrete about acting on their hatred before the current police state demanded out loud that we sacrifice ‘a little convenience for a lot of security.’

To everyone’s shock, I’m sure, that new power was promptly abused. Quite to my shock, a couple of electronic gadget vendors not normally associated with the love of privacy recently decided that if they had to choose, they’d rather alienate the feds than their entire customer base. This seems to have sent the director of the FBI, no doubt among others, into a bit of a tizzy.

“Encryption isn’t just a technical feature; it’s a marketing pitch … it’s the equivalent of a closet that can’t be opened. A safe that can’t be cracked. And my question is, at what cost?” Comey said. “Both companies [Apple and Google] are run by good people, responding to what they perceive is a market demand. But the place they are leading us is one we shouldn’t go to without careful thought and debate.”

In a tightly moderated speech and discussion at the Brookings Institution—not one technical expert or privacy expert was asked to participate; however, several questions from the audience came from privacy-minded individuals—Comey railed on the “post-Snowden” world that has arisen since people began caring about their privacy.

At the link there’s a video of the speech Comey gave at the Brookings Institute a few days ago, but it’s over an hour long and I can’t watch it. From the excerpts, I gather I’m not actually missing much of substance. But watch it if you will, you know, if you’re a connoisseur of lame arguments.come-back-with-a-warrant

*When proles use it, of course. It’s a tool of truth and justice when governments use it.

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A roaming gun free zone?

You’ve got to give them points for consistency, I suppose. The double-plus goodthinking fathers, mothers and nannies of Washington DC determined long ago that only criminals and cops should have guns, that’s the way they like it, and that’s the way it’s going to stay while there’s breath in their bodies, court orders and bad publicity be damned.

Forced to [appear to] recant by some federal court, the DC city council passed what reasonable people would have considered an unreasonably restrictive concealed carry law. It grants all discretion for deciding who “needs” a license to the police chief, and the police chief is on record as saying that nothing short of celebrity status or multiple sucking chest wounds will ever qualify anyone as having “need.”

Living in a crime-plagued area of the city, for example, where killings have occurred or drug sales are common would not be sufficient cause for a concealed-carry permit, [DC police chief] Lanier said. Owning a home that has been burglarized, even multiple times, also would not necessarily give an applicant standing, she said, because the District has been required since 2008 to allow residents to keep guns in their homes for self-defense.

Rather, Lanier said, for concealed-carry permits, “we’re talking about a specific threat to you. If there is a threat, you have been threatened, you are the victim of stalking, you are the victim of domestic violence,” she said.

But that’s not nearly restrictive enough for the greatly-caring Lanier. No, indeed. She wants the council to go back for another slice of the pie.

She said she would like the council to consider adding provisions in the permanent bill that would ban carrying weapons inside government buildings, in parking lots and in cabs.

But the big problem is that proles with guns must be kept far from their masters at all times. Washington DC crawls with masters as a discarded chicken wing crawls with cockroaches, and they do move about restlessly. How to keep the poor special dears safe from us mouth-breathing civilians? How? How?

The bill would ban the carrying of handguns within 1,000 feet of a public event, demonstration or dignitary under police protection. Lanier said those restrictions are vital because the nation’s capital is a target for terrorists and lone gunmen who would seek to harm the president or other officials.

Yes, they’re specifically worried about motorcades. Which are not exactly rare in DC. And apparently there must be strict guidelines for ensuring that only the right people ever carry guns within 1000 feet of one. Oy.

Lanier conceded that it was difficult to provide advance notice of motorcades carrying dignitaries through city streets and said it was reasonable for gun owners in the vicinity of such events to be personally warned.

The current dispute in council, it seems, is not whether law-abiding people peacefully abiding by the law should be left in peace. No. The dispute is whether they should be warned off whenever a gun-free zone appears around them, or whether they should just be arrested on sight without being even offered an opportunity to withdraw from the precious vicinity of a public servant.

Oy. It ain’t easy being despotic.

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Damn, that was thoughtful.

Woke up this morning to a message indicating somebody had dropped $200 into my Paypal account for new tires. That was awfully thoughtful, and much appreciated. Unfortunately the Jeep, being a Jeep, bears tires that originally cost the approximate price of a sultan’s tomb. Each.
buried by money
But with two hundred bux in hand I can at least visit the tire shop in the nearest crappy little town with my head held somewhat high. Maybe I can replace the rears, which are the only ones that really (really!) need it.

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Timing is everything. :)

So yesterday, amid my troubles, a paying gig landed in my lap. GC Guy told me just a few days ago that we wouldn’t be making any more arsenic caps for at least a month. This both pleased me, because it’s the most tedious job in all Christendom, and also bummed me a bit because it’s a fairly easy $150.

Then yesterday he said April Fool, they’re completely out of arsenic caps and screaming for more, and could I start on some that very day?

For the record, the point of arsenic caps is to turn the cap of a squeeze bottle into a gadget for exposing test strips to very precisely-measured amounts of water. It takes twelve hours to convert 300 of these…1016140939aInto 300 of these.1016140941 :) Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? But there are between ten and twelve – depending on how you count it – individual modifications in each cap. Each is done by hand, and together they comprise a soul-deadeningly tedious chore. I generally break it into two six-hour days, which is as long as I like to leave the boys alone in the cabin anyway. I said I’d start today, and I did.

What’s that got to do with timing? Well…H, who lives nearby, has a big diesel pickup which chose this week to go on the fritz. And so she had an appointment to get some work done on her turbocharger this very morning. Your Uncle Joel, coincidentally, needed somebody to offer their cargo-style vehicle to take the Jeep’s tire to the shop for repairs beyond what I can do with a plug kit in the yard. Serendipity!

So now the tire is fixed and remounted, and I’m back on wheels. Which is good, because even with the new prosthetic parts walking that round trip hurts.

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A lengthy and unpleasant morning…

1015141301Tore an inner sidewall on the crappy spare I’ve been using – that’ll teach me to get tires fixed when I can, because now I’m stranded. What with one thing or another I had a nice five-mile walk through broken country which left me very, very sore. Plus the Jeep is down until I can get a tire repaired in town. Not the spare with the torn sidewall, of course: That was toast even before I drove two miles on the rim. I tried to temporarily plug the small tear with my can of “Plan C” fix-a-flat, which did no good. I hate that stuff and would never use it on a tire I care about at all.

The above paragraph made a mess of trying to make a short story out of a long one because I’m in rather a state right now. If I’d known it was going to happen I’d have worn one of those nice gelsocks with my prosthesis. As it is, I’m just kinda lame. It’s happened many times before, and I’ll get over it.

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Life sucks, and then you get cheese.

Poor Ghost.
forloveYesterday morning before shit-shoveling he vanished without notice or trace. This is very common behavior on Saturdays, when our weekender neighbors S&L are up. He’s been doing it for longer than I’ve lived here, and I’m not ever going to stop him.

You’ve noted that yesterday was not a Saturday. It’s quite a bit more rare on Mondays, and so I was a bit concerned. Still I had a good idea where to start looking for him, and sure enough S&L had decided to stay the week and work on their house.

(S&L are retired. In the case of S, that just means “Now I’ll start a business in a field I’m interested in. If I don’t get rich, at least I’m having fun.” So they’re not particularly sedentary people. This time around they stayed the week to build a big garden wall.)

So anyway, S&L were there are so was Ghost, reclining regally under a tree and supervising the work. He did not look overwhelmed with joy to see me, and I did not insist he get in the Jeep. We’ve been through this many times before.

This morning I came back with the Jeep trailer to haul off some stuff for them, and Ghost was a little more interested. S said, “We’re going to [the big town about 50 miles away] and we’ll be gone all afternoon and evening, so maybe he should go home with you.” I opened the door, and Ghost hopped in willingly enough.

But we’ve been through this, too. He gets his Jeep ride, and then trots right back to Auntie L and her wonderful kitchen. No sooner had I parked the Jeep next to the cabin than he was straining to get out. Instead, I reached for the second leash.

Betrayed! Let it be known that Ghost does the best “you suck” face in all dogdom.

But Uncle Joel does have cheese, which can heal a wounded heart. And it was late in the morning, when Ghost likes to nap in the kneehole anyway. So what the hell? He proceeded to eat his cheese and take his nap.

And three hours later when he wanted out, he’d apparently forgotten S&L were ever here. At least he didn’t rush off to the Wonderful Place.

Probably he will again tomorrow, if he hears them.

ETA: While I was writing this, Ghost whined to come back in.100_4435It’s not that he doesn’t like it at the Secret Lair. He just also loves his Auntie L. And sausage.

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Neglect thou not to subtract the tare, Joel.

I’m conducting an experiment. It’s for educational purposes only.
100_4433I borrowed this Kill-a-Watt from neighbor J. It’s a terrifically useful gadget for anybody with a roll-yer-own electrical system, and turns out to have a slightly disorienting flaw that should have been more obvious to me from the first: It draws electricity, which it duly adds to the measure of electricity drawn from whatever you’re measuring. Which throws off the totals somewhat.

Oh, it wouldn’t matter in a proper (big) electrical system. 0.1 amp: Who cares, right? Well, when you’ve got a less-than-400-watt system, those tenths add up and they’re what I’m (finally, belatedly) trying to track down. And right away I started getting weird numbers.

Plug the coffee grinder into it and read 0.9 amps: Well, that sounds about right. Plug a single CFL into it, and it tells me the thing draws 0.3 amps, which is twice what I expected. So I plugged in an automatic on/off nightlight the dogs bought me so I’d stop stepping on them on my way to the loft ladder: 0.15 amp? Wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute here. That’s the advertised draw of a CFL, and the nightlight has a single small LED. No way. It should barely register.

And it would barely register, if it weren’t for the parasitic draw of the Kill-a-Watt itself. Which I neglected to consider.100_4434Live and learn. As always.

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