Squirrel, 32 paces

Little bastard and its little bastard friend have been teasing me through the window for the past hour, playing in the garden enclosure. But then the third time they lured me to the door, this one had an attack of inattention or possibly hubris.

Then while I was walking toward the squirrel this young cottontail all but came out and asked what was going on. I was not in a mood to swap gossip with rodents.

Of rabbits there will never be a shortage. But I have to kill 2 or 3 more squirrels minimum this summer before I have any hope of getting the chicken feeder back exclusively into the use of chickens. Seymour’s no use at all.

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I came to mock, but on second thought…

I’ll settle for merely reporting.


My first thought was to ridicule, but then it occurred to me that I’m the last person in the world who should be doing that.

I kind of miss that gig.

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A minor bout of nostalgia here…

…just short of making another big change.
The Interim Lair, in all its deteriorating glory. Judging from the shadow and the detritus this picture was probably taken sometime late in 2011, shortly before it was abandoned. Just can’t understand why Landlady was so insistent I get it the hell off her land.

And that’s the same site this morning. Seems kind of lonely. But not for long. Rotate 180oContinue reading

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Huh. Who knew? You can tell the Secret Lair is not a disguised madrassa…

…because it’s got a satellite dish.



No, I didn’t know it made a difference, either. But it turns out satellite dishes are sinful.

Iran destroys 100,000 satellite dishes in morality-driven crackdown

As part of its widespread ban on illegal devices, Iran collected and destroyed 100,000 satellite dishes and receivers on Sunday, at a ceremony in Tehran, AFP reported.

Reza Naghdi, the head of Iran’s Basij militia, holds that the devices are morally damaging. AFP quoted Naghdi as saying, “The truth is that most satellite channels… deviate the society’s morality and culture… What these televisions really achieve is increased divorce, addiction and insecurity in society.”

One million Iranians, he added, had already turned in their satellite dishes voluntarily.

Some Iranian politicians, such as Culture Minister Ali Jannati and President Hassan Rouhani, have openly stated that the ban is useless and counter-productive, as most Iranians are in violation of this law.

And that’s the rub, isn’t it? A rational lawmaker – to the extent that’s not an oxymoron – would say “Never pass a law you know will be widely flouted.” For an example of why that’s an extremely bad idea, see Prohibition. It’s possible this is why our would-be masters in Washington have never quite gotten around to outlawing “civilian” firearms, even though so many so obviously want to do just that. It would spark a really dangerous form of widespread civil disobedience, and despite the pelosis, boxers, clintons and schumers that chitter about infesting the place, slightly wiser heads have so far prevailed.

But there’s another school of thought when it comes to outlawing sin. Sometimes pointless and widely-flouted prohibitions can be said to work in the lawmakers’ favor. This was famously expressed by Ayn Rand…

“There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

I’ve never been a Muslim, but I have spent long (long, long) periods in contact with some of the more joyless flavors of Christian. And among them, you do get the impression that prohibiting practices you know are going to be privately practiced anyway has a certain point.

Example: Did you know oral sex is sodomy, which is forbidden by God, even in a righteously sanctioned hetero marriage bed? Yeah, believers, it’s not just bad when those evil homos do it. Forbidden, but great fun and widely practiced.

You might wonder, what’s the point of forbidding it if you know they’re going to do it anyway? The point is guilt. You can’t rule innocent people, but you can crack down on criminals. So a government that’s running short of any other sort of legitimacy needs lots and lots of criminals. Keep otherwise honest people feeling guilty and in need of constant expiation, and you can keep some sort of control over them.

And so it is, it seems, with this modern/medieval form of Islam. Makes you wonder why the preachers think God wants people to be backward and bored and unhappy.

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Hermit Joel and the Case of the Snooty Houseguest

This is the second time Ghost has been forced to come and stay with LB and me since moving out to the Wonderful, Magical Place where S&L exist to clean his quarters and bring him smoked pork sausage wrapped in cheese or some damn thing.

Ghost is staying at the Lair now and causing no trouble, but he wishes it to be known that this is not his home. In fact the whole thing is so obviously beneath his lofty standards that it hardly requires comment.

Yesterday during morning walky he peeled off and disappeared, and I figured he probably went back home and I’d have to go pry him off S&L’s porch. But he did eventually come back to the Lair, went directly underneath without comment, and stayed outdoors until the afternoon thunder rumbles. Ghost is afraid of thunder offended by loud noises intruding upon his august meditations.

Then he went along with afternoon walkies, found dinner barely digestible, and went out again until twilight. He never more than glanced at me the whole time. For all practical purposes, except during meal and scary times like thunderstorms and night, he has moved under the Lair.
This is more than mildly offensive. If it was something as simple as dogsitting somebody else’s dog for a week, I would understand and put up with it cheerfully. But Ghost lived with me for most of his life. He is capable of at least faking affection. I’ve seen him do it. When Landlady comes for a weekend visit, he stays with her very happily. He likes Landlady. But for the most part, I’ve never been more than the nanny to him.

Maybe what’s pissing me off about it is that most of my human relationships have ended up the same way, which leads me to wonder if it isn’t something I’ve done wrong. I know that’s the case with the humans, there’s no point in denying it. Nobody ends up a hermit in the desert because of his great people skills.

Hell. At least LB still likes me.

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I thought I’d seen all this guy’s funny songs…

Gets a little TMI at the end there, but the trip to the uncomfortable place is funny.

Actually as I approach old age this is one reason I’ve gradually come to favor revolvers…

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Hey, remember the ozone layer?

When I worked in the back shops of auto dealerships, we were supposed to use an elaborate vacuum device to suck up all the R-12 refrigerant before opening up AC units for repair. This would prevent the CFCs from rising into the stratosphere, destroying the ozone layer, and … I dunno, give us all cancer or make us sterile or bring back Godzilla or some damn thing. I was never clear on that.

What I was clear on, was that I never worked in a dealership that actually possessed one of those vacuum thingies. So the actual method of draining the chlorofluorocarbons from auto AC systems was to open a valve and wait for it to stop hissing. If CFCs are bad for the ozone layer and the ozone layer is essential to human life, I’m arguably a worse monster than Mao.

Of course as the preceding brief video points out, volcanic eruptions are also supposedly very bad for the ozone layer. Yet Gaia has not forbidden them. It’s confusing to me, but I’m only hoi polloi.

Smarter people than me, of course, were not fooled. After many years of propaganda, the first big international climate protocol actually succeeded in getting a substance generally banned from use and in 1987 chlorofluorocarbons stopped being manufactured for use in refrigeration and air conditioning devices. They were replaced by a large class of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) which didn’t work as well but had the virtue of sort of working and not reacting with atmospheric ozone. Some thirty years later, “climate scientists” claim there’s some evidence the so-called ozone hole over Antarctica is closing – even with all those pesky volcanoes.

Feel safe yet? Don’t.

Kerry: Air Conditioners as Big a Threat as ISIS

Yes, noted climate change expert John Kerry tells us we must be afraid – very afraid – of … hydrofluorocarbons.

Secretary of State John Kerry said in Vienna on Friday that air conditioners and refrigerators are as big of a threat to life as the threat of terrorism posed by groups like the Islamic State.

Kerry said that most of the substances banned in the Montreal Protocol have increased the use of HFCs and claimed that the coolant was thousands of times more potent than CO2. He added that the increase of HFCs has lead to the trend of global climate change.

“The use of hydrofluorocarbons is unfortunately growing,” Kerry said. “Already, the HFCs use in refrigerators, air conditioners, and other items are emitting an entire gigaton of carbon dioxide-equivalent pollution into the atmosphere annually. Now, if that sounds like a lot, my friends, it’s because it is. It’s the equivalent to emissions from nearly 300 coal-fired power plants every single year.”

Yes, Americans, it doesn’t matter what you do. Unless and until you give over complete control to your betters, you’re all going to die screaming.

Or maybe Godzilla will die screaming, I’m still not clear on…

Of course it would be a lot easier if our betters could only keep their stories straight:

Valerie Jarrett Scolds American For Drinking Beer During A Heat Wave

Jarrett, a longtime friend of Obama’s and one of his closest advisers, offered other tips on how to prevent heat stroke, including not leaving the house and sitting under air conditioning.

Which will be difficult, with the secretary of state trying to get the last working refrigerant globally banned…

(Hey, you know what some ‘environmentalists’ want to use as a replacement for HFC? Carbon dioxide.) 😈

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“You say shit like that, and then everybody will buy into it.”

So “Common sense legislation so our children will be safe” is understood to mean “ban all the guns except the ones I control,” which you mustn’t say until you can do it. Makes sense, and I think we all knew that.

Saw this at Uncle’s, so of course you’ve already seen it if you care. But I thought it was funny to hear somebody come right out and say it.

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I did not know this, and it’s rather interesting. Also ew, this is the creepiest thing I’ve read today.

Scandal: Hollywood Spends Decades Scripting Hillary Presidency

The Hillary Clinton propaganda machine has been hard at work leading up to her presumptive presidential nomination. Entertainment media have been littered with a multitude of TV shows, movies, children’s books, and even songs inspired by the Democratic candidate.

It’s typical for the media to get involved in a campaign during an election cycle. But in the case of Hillary Clinton, the media have been laying the groundwork for her ascendance to the Presidency since the early 1990s.

TV shows and movies with Hillary-based protagonists? Gospel songs with Hillary lyrics? Children’s books? Dozens of children’s books???
I haven’t seen any of this, but that’s meaningless. I still don’t know what Miley Cyrus does for a living.

Is it so? Is the whole zeitgeist polluted with Hillary propaganda? Geez, we are doomed.

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I get paid in cookies

Aches in all my joints and pain in my stump are my lot for the day. Having wrapped up some things this morning, I plan to spend the afternoon in a chair or even taking a well-deserved nap.

Saturday I was supposed to help D&L take down the stock fencing that separated their horses Bud and Coal in their big corral. Then they told me no, instead we need to pay you to come Sunday and help with some, er, more extensive modifications.

I shivered in fear: A few weeks ago they bought a whole bunch of these thick rubber floor pads to lay down in the horses’ stalls. You know how level a floor has to be before that’s going to work? This is a dirt floor the horses have been pacing into trenches and packing down hard for years. This was not going to be fun. This was not going to remotely resemble fun. But it was an offer I couldn’t refuse, because it’s D&L and they’ve laid so many obs on me over the years I’ll never in life catch up.

So I showed up bright and early*. We moved the horses, took up the fencing** and got it stacked behind the barn, leveled the dirt floor***, hauled in twelve incredibly heavy pads, figured out how to get the jigsaw connections on the sides of the incredibly heavy pads to actually connect, figured out how to cut out sections of the incredibly heavy pads to accommodate the roof columns (Never never try to do this with a circular saw), got the necessary stock fencing back up****, got the very nervous horses squared away… Continue reading

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My theory: New Zealand’s PM is out of his tiny mind.

Possums, stoats and other introduced pests to be killed in ‘world-first’ extermination programme unveiled by PM

They say they want to kill every rat, possum and stoat – which I think is a pig – in all New Zealand. I say you could carpet bomb NZ with napalm and not exterminate the rats and possums. Not so sure about the pigs.

Okay, I had to look up what a stoat is. Turns out to be a sort of weasel, rather like a ferret. Maybe it is a ferret.

My prediction: At best this extermination program will fail ignominiously. At worst it’ll wipe out a lot of things besides rats, possums and weasels.

Their spoken reason for this jihad is to save native species. Any extermination program that could rid a subcontinent of Norway rats is absofrickin’lutely guaranteed to kill every last kiwi first.

No, Mr. Key. You’re stuck with the rats. You can keep the weasels down by putting a YUUUGE bounty on them and marketing the hides. To convince people to hunt out the possums, you’ll need a really good incentive. I suggest forgetting the poison, traps, napalm and air-dropped nerve agents, and just broadcast Alabama possum recipes.

Maybe you should give this one a miss…

h/t ML

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When the law is whatever one person says it is, there is no law.

There’s only danger.

“I’m here basically to make sure I don’t become a felon,” Argov said, during a protest outside the Statehouse Thursday evening.

In light of her recent actions, Massachusetts fudds are not finding their attorney general’s assurances that she *probably* won’t prosecute anyone owning guns that were legal last week and are illegal this week very … assuring.

For her part, Maura Healey seems to be disregarding that rule about eating the whitebread citizens last.

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Well. I feel safer.

Of course I haven’t gone near an airport since 2009, and didn’t get on a plane that time, so I can afford to just munch popcorn and enjoy the show.

Almost Half of All TSA Employees Have Been Cited for Misconduct

Perhaps even worse? The outcomes of these misconduct allegations. Findings from the six-month-long investigation show that from fiscal year 2013 to 2015, the number of investigations opened and closed decreased by 15 percent and 28 percent, respectively. TSA increased the use of non-disciplinary actions by almost 80 percent, while it decreased the use of disciplinary actions by 14 percent. Put simply, this means the TSA has offered fewer (and lesser) punishments, and has instead sought to treat the misconduct with “more counseling and letters that explain why certain behaviors were not acceptable.”

Translation: It’s not only pervasive, it’s completely out of control and they don’t know what to do about it.

I’ve never seen a private factory or company with discipline problems this severe, but if I ever had I’d have predicted its imminent collapse.

No doubt DHS will throw more money at hushing up any further such articles. That’ll fix the problem.

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Hey, you know how the terrorists are always saying, “If you don’t have a gun or a bomb, use a car?” Well…

(shrug) Turnabout’s fair. Also, yay Teutonic engineering!

Syrian refugee, 21, hacks PREGNANT woman to death with a machete and injures two others before hero BMW driver runs him over, in latest attack to shock Germany

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Oh, Uncle Joel is very tired and very sore.

Just spent seven and a half hours on a job that was supposed to take half that. and the last hour of it we were racing a thunderstorm that took its dear ominous time building up. And now it’s just breaking, so I’m going to unplug the ‘pooter.

Tell you about it tomorrow, if I can remember that far.

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What’s wrong with this picture? And also, how glaucoma has made Rifleman Joel shoot like a little girl.

Nothing: If you assume I didn’t just fire 5 rounds at it from 25 yards and completely miss the backboard.

Somebody had this Russian red dot screwed as far skyward as it could go, and it took a while for me to figure out how to unscrew it. Turns out that turning the adjustment bezel was only turning the adjustment bezel, not really adjusting anything. Got it figured out at last, got it zeroed at 25 yards but still rather high at 100, but then I was too overheated and losing the light. Only then, getting everything home and cleaning up, did I learn that there’s a special tool to easily accomplish what I had been painfully doing with a couple of optician’s screwdrivers. So I expect the final step to go more easily.

It really is a cool optic, but it sends me back to the issue that the scout scope had put off for a couple of years: I should really be learning to shoot a rifle left-handed. My left eye, thanks to kind and generous readers, is in very good shape after glaucoma meds, cataract removal and lens implant. My right eye has had all the same stuff done to it but the glaucoma damage is more severe. I can get by with a scoped rifle but not with iron sights. This red dot works well enough for me in full light, but it bounces a low-power laser off reflective, lightly-shaded glass and as soon as the ambient light falls I can’t see the target through the glass at much more than 50 yards. If I go left-handed, everything’s great again.

But in sixty-odd years of life I always ducked left-handed shooting and now I’m paying for that hole in my training. You can shoot a pistol right hand/left eye easy, and I’ve been doing it for nearly ten years while never seriously asking why my iron sight rifle skill was going to hell. You guys saved my left eye, which is unfortunately the wrong eye for Rifleman Joel, and now I have to make it count by finally dragging out the .22 and putting enough rounds downrange left-handed until it starts to feel normal.

ETA: I started doing this three years ago with a pellet gun when I was just flat out of .22 ammo. Unfortunately it was a really old pellet gun, and after less than a thousand rounds it gave up the ghost. I have acquired some .22 since then – again from the generosity of readers, it’s still not sold around here – but around then someone sent me the scout scope for my AK and I didn’t take up the training again. Now I really need to get serious about it.

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Milestone at Landlady’s house

After a setback a couple of weeks ago when we got it hooked up and the pressure regulator leaked, the manufacturer sent her a replacement regulator (and also a replacement for the oven door handle that was bent right out of the box) and this morning we went to work. We were hampered by lack of a correct fitting and some confusing instructions, but eventually we got the thing piped in and re-jetted for LP. The Meadow House has a genuine fancy kitchen stove now!

Is that not completely Russian in its “Is rifle. Is not supposed to be stylish” badassery? This WASR 10 has a scope mount on the side of the receiver, and somewhere or other Ian found a Russian red dot that fits it. So he sent it up to see how it works on the WASR. Gonna wait till things cool off a bit and there’s no danger of spooking neighbors or their horses, then try to sight it in at the range. So far the most I can say is that the mount does fit the receiver, and I can see the marking (Is Russian optic. Is elaborate series of lines, not stupid bourgeois dot.) in sunlight without cranking up the current until the aiming point is just a big vague red blur. So that’s good.

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When you’ve got a big dog who can’t be let off the leash, sometimes you’ve got to stop what you’re doing and go for a walkie. And LB and I were just coming into the yard from the mid-day walkie when he saw something that needed chasing and started surging against the leash. If I’d seen it in time, I might have let him go.

By the time I saw it, the squirrel was under the Jeep and just deciding that the only available direction was up. It disappeared into the works.

I opened the engine hood and there it was. It gave me a disgusted look, went below, and met the marauding Little Bear. It came right back into the engine compartment and I lunged at it.

Briefly and for only the second time, I had a really good shot at the squirrel but it would have involved firing large caliber pistol bullets into the Jeep’s busy bits. Even in my rage at the bulletproof squirrel this seemed like a bad idea. So I waved my arms and said “Raar,” and it headed back down the transmission hump.

Where Little Bear, bless him, was getting seriously into the act. Clearly LB hadn’t figured into the squirrel’s plans because there was a great disturbance in the force followed, unfortunately, by one of those stand-offs where a terrified squirrel chitters and a frustrated dog barks. Meanwhile I stood off with a pistol in my hand and hate in my heart, hoping the squirrel tried to make a break for it.

During this phase, LB was literally tied to the Jeep…
…and he was doing his best, but we had reached stalemate.

So I decided that what we needed here was a Jeep ride. LB really didn’t want to come out from under lest his prey escape, but he’s easy to coax inside under any circumstances. I slammed it into 4-wheel and we took a bumpier than normal trip through the wash. Normally I’m solicitous of the very worn suspension, but in war sometimes you have to risk breaking things.

We got far out to the mud hills north of the big horseshoe in the wash, stopped, and hoped for a shot at a traumatized squirrel as it staggered away. I don’t know why I thought that was going to work.

Failing to catch a sight we bumped and bashed back to the Secret Lair. I threw open the hood, and…there was the squirrel.

It was wedged under the intake, looking much the worse for wear, rather like a kid who regretted having pressured his father into letting him take that ride on the big-people roller coaster. It faced away from me and didn’t at first respond to the opening of the hood. Then it looked behind it, sort of sighed, and squeezed back down the transmission.

LB was already under the Jeep and I expected a commotion, but this time there was no reaction at all. “Little Bear, he must be sitting on your back.” Nope. The squirrel had sussed out the squirrel-accessible places under the chassis, and LB was out of contention.

So I’m gonna call that encounter a draw. I did not succeed in killing the squirrel, but I did at least manage to temporarily make it hate life.

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Fauxcahontas, Payday Loans, and…the Post Office?

This isn’t consumer protection, this is a gangland takeover.

Okay: Raise your hand if you’ve ever used the services of Payday Loan. No? That’s because you’re an upstanding, respectable citizen with a decent paycheck and a bank account. I, on the other hand, (ahem) haven’t been any of those things for going on 20 years. And since I fell on hard times in California, where the Franchise Tax Board can and absolutely will hoover up the contents of your bank account if you piss them off, even when I had a paycheck I found myself looking for ways to do without banks. Continue reading

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Okay. Having now heard snippets of Trump’s scary speech…

I believe these guys gave us the final word on the whole matter, 20 years ago.

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