I’ve really got to move that camera…

Several days of leaving the game camera alone, and this is the most exciting thing that passed in front of it.

Lots of cattle, and when the cattle are common it seems nothing else ever is. In that very location I’ve seen bobcats and roadrunners and deer and elk, but not when the cattle are around. Just cattle, rabbits and an occasional coyote.

I’m going to try something completely different.

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Once again Ian’s invincible collection comes through…

You ever read one of those clueless books where the author has a character draw a revolver and click off the safety? And you thought…aw, you know what you thought.

Yeah, Ian’s seen those books too. But in answer to what you muttered to yourself, Ian comes up with four examples of revolvers that actually do have manual safeties without ever leaving his gun room…

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Why do rednecks wear shirts with the sleeves cut off?

My background is kind of redneck. My own personal upbringing, to the extent that I can tell because nobody ever told me anything when I was a kid, was sort of redneck-once-removed. I myself was a bookish white boy from Detroit but my father came from a shithole Central Michigan farm. And though (gods know) he never talked to me about it, I kind of got the impression he escaped from a shithole Central Michigan farm.

So though there was never a completely rational reason I absorbed certain attitudes about certain things, like to this day I think card games are vaguely sinful but couldn’t begin to tell you why. Then there are informal modes of dress that used to put me off. For example, this guy…

For a while, even though I never paid attention to his act this guy was inescapable on TV and I never liked the looks of him. He pulled off the redneck stereotype too well, and I reacted to it negatively. No logical reason, I just didn’t like it.

So I’m sitting here in the Secret Lair folding work clothes hot off the clothesline, and…

Yeah, I’ve got three or four of them. I even know when it started: A few years ago I tore the sleeve on an old light flannel shirt, hated to get rid of it, and sort of needed a summer gun burqa to throw over a t-shirt for going to town. That’s all I used it for at first, but then the next summer or two it seemed all my t-shirts were, um, shrinking in the wash. Yeah, that’s what was happening. And tight t-shirts are not comfortable in the desert summer heat. So I gradually started wearing that sleeveless shirt instead, and … damned if it wasn’t the most comfortable thing I owned for the weather conditions. There’s a sort of air-flow thing going on you don’t appreciate till you give it a try. I started looking for opportunities to cut the sleeves off old shirts, and once the farmer’s tan modified so I stopped sunburning my shoulders it worked out really well.

That’s not important or anything, I just think it’s funny how your attitude can change. I wouldn’t wear shirts like that, not because they’re redneck – I’m not ashamed of being redneck – but because I thought they were low. Y’know? Like, I’m always trying to plot the precise boundary between redneck and white trash, and making sure I don’t stray too far to the wrong side of it.

:) I just gradually decided that that line isn’t how you dress when you’re all by yourself in the middle of the frickin’ desert.

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Well that didn’t take long at all.

It’s supposed to get hot today, and I wanted to get the work in the sand out of the way before it did.

But first I had to finish laundry – my work clothes have piled up in the past week and a half or so and I left them to soak in the tubs overnight.

Then I could load the generator, saw, drill and assorted hand tools into the back of the Jeep and head out to the wash.

I hauled the target stand the rest of the way out of the holes, stuck a shovel in the first one to dig it out deeper, and immediately offended one of the local residents.

We’ve got like four varieties of toad out here, this is the most common. Except that there are no frogs I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between this and a frog. It didn’t appreciate having a shovel dropped on it, though, and I learned that they can excrete poison like those South American toads you hear about. Not sure that its back being all wet shows up in this picture, though.

Here’s something else I never saw before…

This chunk of sandstone fell off the cliff a very long time ago. I walked near it to take a picture of the target stand and noticed it was covered with ants, which seemed odd…

These ants dug their galleries in the layers in the stone. I never saw that before – not sure what it does for temperature control but it ought to be worlds better than having your nest flooded every time it rains.

Anyway, the target stand. I was there to repair the target stand: I dug the mounting holes deeper, dropped the stand in, then just drilled and mounted back braces. The whole thing leans slightly back on the braces now. Filled in the holes for all the good that will do, cut off the extra and I was done. It’s quite a lot firmer than it was.

Since I can now use my full-power tools away from the cabin inverter, it went really fast and didn’t wear me out.

Now I need something to clip targets to. Chicken wire would probably be perfect but I don’t have any. I have some wire mesh but I’m saving that for concrete work this summer: I need a pad for the back stairs and another for the bedroom furnace propane bottles (Did I mention I have one of those double RV regulators now? I’ve got everything to install it except the little individual bottle hoses and they’re not expensive, I can get’em locally.) so I don’t want to use that up. Maybe some stock fencing? I’ve got a lot of old stock fencing.

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My “aww” moment for the morning…

Saw this at Wendy McElroy’s place, and kind of took it as a sign


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It’s been a very mild June so far, but that’s over now…

Supposed to get into low three figures today and tomorrow. Yesterday was well into the nineties. It was nice to sit out on the porch in the evening rather than swelter in the cabin. Even though there wasn’t much evening breeze to cool things off I just opened all the windows and let the ceiling fans work while I sat out with the tablet ‘pooter and the bugs.

Sort of took a day yesterday. I needed a domestic day anyway…

…and my back is still killing me though since it’s not getting better there’s no point sitting around being miserable. I can be just as miserable while I work. I’ve been painting off-and-on for more than two months and I’m nowhere near done, really ought to get back to it today before the paint coagulates in the cans but I woke up this morning thinking there’s something else I need to tackle first. Remember this?

Yeah. That’s just embarrassing and I need to go fix it. I let it lay there because it happened right in the middle of the porch project, and it mocks and humiliates me every time I drive by.

Two ways have been discussed to get it to stay confidently vertical in the crappy ground I have to work with: I can brace it from behind on the talus and sort of have a quad mount – that’s clunky but simple and ought to work. Or I can break up the concrete plugs, drive pipes deep into the ground and (after cutting the feet off the angle iron) slide the angle iron down into the pipes. That sounds more elegant and effective, I have a pipe that would work, and I figure if I cut the pipe to lengths and then smash one end of each piece flat I can drive them into the ground with a sledge without the pipe filling with silt. I like that plan a lot.

UNFORTUNATELY my now-chronic back pain thinks it’s the stupidest idea it ever heard of. It’ll be three weeks in Monday since something quietly went sprong in my back, the pain comes and goes but the condition is not improving, and there’s no way I’m effectively swinging a sledge any time soon. I’ll be days physically recovering from one grave digging and that’s not nearly so concussive. It just won’t work.

So…I’m back to this.

I’ve still got a bunch of angle iron left from cutting up that fuel tank stand. I’ll take the plywood off the target stand to lighten it up, then get it more or less vertical, brace it from behind, drill and bolt the braces to the stand, then cut off the excess. I don’t like that solution as well but it’s something I can probably accomplish as opposed to a better plan I can’t do.

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Well, the good news is I’m going to be very rich…

Recently received the following email, with exciting news…

Hello and good day.

My name is Edward, and I am contacting you for partnership by
reason of the significance of your Nationality, which concerns
claim/transfer of Approximately 21 Million US D0llars ia a fixed
deposit account left by a deceased Boss and Friend for onward
sharing between you and I in a ratio to be agreed.

Kindly get back to me as soon as you receive this email for
complete details as time is of the essence giving that we have
less than 2 month period to achieve this.



Can’t wait! So jazzed. I understand there will be some small enabling fees, but after that nothing can possibly go wrong.

Seriously, I’ve heard that people actually fall for this shit. They also say you can’t con an honest man…

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Moving on…

Neighbor D really didn’t want to drive his backhoe all the way to Boot Hill anymore, but the shovel-and-tamping-bar method of digging a scavenger-proof grave big enough to hold LB was threatening to put me in traction so he relented yesterday morning and we got it finished with a minimum of further fuss.

I’ve permanently added him to the sidebar…

…and in the fullness of time he’ll have a stone like all the other major pets…

Only unless Landlady talks me out of it LB’s will read

Little Bear
Jeep Hog and Babe Magnet
Cats loved him, Coyotes feared him

(Yeah. We’ve got our own genuine and increasingly weird graveyard)

And then I’ll get on with life.

I’ve spent the past few days learning just how much room a dog half the size of a bull calf takes up in the life of a desert hermit in a tiny cabin. I keep tripping over how the things I do involved him – damned near everything did – and to be brutally honest not all the changes are for the worse. When the time comes, and it probably won’t be long, I’ll probably get another dog. I think I’ll find that on balance I prefer to have a dog around. But I’ll aim toward a smaller and hopefully less maintenance-intensive dog.

Which doesn’t mean I didn’t love LB, because I sure did. But it does seem, upon reflection, that life had become all about taking care of LB.

Thanks very much for all the comments and offers of support. I do appreciate you guys. We’ll be getting back to our regularly-scheduled program before long.

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I’ve lost Little Bear.

If it seems like I haven’t been around much except for spacefiller posts it’s because I’ve been dealing with bad things. Just before the weekend LB’s bladder infection came roaring back and he suddenly became very sick. He stopped eating three nights ago and sort of went in and out of coma, fading away. He passed away overnight.

He was my very first dog. I’d cared for other dogs before he came along, but never raised one from a puppy and you could say that in him were all my sins remembered – I didn’t know what I was doing, and maybe his life would have been a little more ordered if I had. But all in all he seemed to have a happy life.

I’ve got to load him up for his last Jeep ride now. Boot Hill is hard clay and I worked on it off and on all yesterday but I blew out my back, so it’s been hard going. But we’re getting there. I’ll put him in Landlady’s barn where it’s cool and probably get him buried this afternoon.

Sorry, I’m not in a very good mood and I have a lot of work to do. Anyway, regular readers knew LB from when he was a puppy, so he probably doesn’t need eulogizing here.

Later, maybe.

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Bother. Stupid bird.

I’ve been tied up with stuff for the past few days, stuff I’m not prepared to talk about here just yet. But by way of actual progress I am still hoping to finish the cabin trim this week. So look who decided to interfere…

I’d have been absolutely delighted to host that bird and her offspring, say starting next week. But noooo…

Now what am I supposed to do?

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Doya ever wonder, “Where are all the ‘Concealed weapon holder stops crime’ stories?”

I’m not surprised at the lack of them, to be honest, for a couple of reasons…

a) If I were ever forced into that situation and could possibly fade away without my involvement becoming known I would do so, and so I expect would any sensible person. Too many people would want my head, probably including every responding cop.

b) On occasions when it does happen and the “civilian” gun owner is known to the cops and the press, the impulse of most “news” outlets would be to kill the story. After all, we’re very authoritatively told about the “good guy with a gun” scenario, “This has never happened. Data shows it doesn’t happen.” And those who control the “data” would like to keep it that way*. Look what happened with the mass shooting in that Texas church last year. For some reason CNN didn’t seem interested.

But millions of good people walk around armed these days. It’s getting harder to hide all the times when those weapons justifiably come out from under concealment. Here’s a rather extreme example…

‘Hero’ customer kills gunman during wild rampage at Tumwater Walmart

This is a wild story – seriously, a pull quote can’t do it justice – about a guy who apparently decided he was having a very bad day and it was time to go Machine Gun Kelly on a whole freaking bunch of people. When he started shooting people in a Wal-Mart parking lot with not a cop in sight, multiple armed customers put him down.

Good luck sweeping that under a rug, News Industry. Maybe you can get some kids to agitate for store parking lots to be gun-free zones. Then nothing like this could possibly have happened, right?

*To quote the immortal Iowahawk, “Journalism is the practice of covering a story. With a pillow. Until it stops moving.” I would add a caveat about Trump and anything having to do with Russians and/or hookers, but that would only complicate the aphorism.

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Prediction: Quiet and near total non-compliance.

New Jersey To Gun Owners: Hand Over Those Magazines Or We Could Throw You In Jail

The law, signed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday along with five other new gun laws, gives New Jersey gun owners who currently possess ammunition magazines exactly 180 days to either surrender their ammunition magazines, permanently modify them to only accept up to 10 rounds, or transfer them to somebody who is allowed to legally own it such as those living in most other parts of the United States.

If someone in New Jersey is caught with a magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds after the deadline is passed, it will be considered a crime of the fourth degree which carries up to 18 months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines or both.

“Those things? Yeah, I had some but I sent’em all to my cousin in, um, Kansas. Yeah. That’s the ticket.”

And I’m sure so did every carjacker and armed robber in New Jersey. Place must be a paradise of peace by now, I’m quite certain of it.

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No, it’s not…

I’d heard of these but never saw one. It’s really not much of an issue out here in the sticks…


The writer at Ace of Spades points out that this is wrong on pretty much every possible level…

Per Federal Statutes domestic terrorism is described as:
(5)  the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that–

(A)  involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

(B)  appear to be intended–

(i)  to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(ii)  to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion;  or

(iii)  to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping;  and

(C)  occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

It appears to me that an organization that I belong to has been libeled. I’ve been defamed as a terrorist, without charge, without trial, without conviction. It appears to be a prima facie case and the NRA should sue the bejeebers out of madpac.com and billboard companies who lease out the space.

This will not happen, of course, for one of the two main reasons I’m not an NRA member. They’re good with keeping politicians on the teat, not so hot at crushing our enemies, driving them before, er, them, and hearing de lamentations of dere wimmin.

But “The NRA is a terrorist organization” clearly is libel against every member of that organization.

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First real rain in almost 3 months…

Started raining a little after one in the morning and just kept it up most of the rest of the night.

Supposed to be rainy and cool all day today, then clear out tomorrow. Don’t know about tomorrow, but it sure looks like “rainy and cool” is the plan for today.

ETA: Raining again. And since I’ve waited six weeks for it to happen, of course I had to go out in the rain like an idiot to see the new gutter working for myself – like gravity was going to fail just because I built the system of trays and pipes using it.

But sure enough…

Water goes down the gutter and into the downspout there – and dammit! That end cap still leaks, I need to do some research because caulk AND flex-tape have failed me…

…Neatly into the underground pipe…

Then streams tamely into the drainage ditch to go where it will. Be free, little water molecules! Be free! Just stop making a whole bunch of mud in my walking space, okay?

Except for that one leak, the gutter receives the Joel stamp of approval.

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Evolution of the Lair

Ben said in a comment, …

I’m not sure what your original concept for the Lair included, but I’m betting that it’s nothing like what you have today. Perhaps in a future post you might want to contrast that original concept to today’s evolved version.

…and I had to think about that for a few minutes, because there never really was all that much in the way of an original concept. Just sort of a wistful thought. It wasn’t much more than mental masturbation, since I couldn’t imagine how I’d build anything superior to the RV trailer I was already in. I’m not a builder.

In the beginning it was really all Ian’s doing. Continue reading

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You hit like a girl.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

Long-time readers know that old Uncle Joel likes him some Led Zep. The band broke up when John Bonham drank himself to death died.

Possibly he’s been reborn…

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WeCan.vote. Just add lies and money, some assembly required

This is actually a month old and seems to have sunk without a ripple, but it’s a textbook example of NY ad execs (pretending to be children, yet, like Facebook stalkers) trying to build a Potemkin “grassroots” campaign to scare politicians into line.

Codrea has details at Oathkeepers:

So who is “WeCan.vote”?

“The initiative was created by three adults—Danielle Clemons, Frank Garcia, and Giulia Magaldi, all of whom work hold [sic] creative posts at top agencies in the advertising world,” the “report” continues. Checking their LinkedIn profiles, they all work for New York-based ad agency Droga5

Advertising professionals trying to manipulate public opinion on guns…? We’ve seen that before plenty of times. Recall that Million Mom March founder Donna Dees-Thomases represented herself as just a mom who got involved, despite being a CBS publicist and the sister-in-law of a close friend and advisor to Hillary Clinton. Similarly “stay-at-home mom” Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action “had a 15-year career as a communications executive for both public relations agencies and Fortune 500 corporations.” Likewise, former Brady Campaign President Dan Gross “was the youngest-ever partner at the JWT advertising agency.”

And we’ve seen the “pros” at work, from McCann New York featuring children having a sex toy battle, to Saatchi & Saatchi rewriting history with the Founding Fathers adding an “as long as people aren’t being dumb-asses” qualifier to the Second Amendment, to Grey doing “hidden camera interviews” for a “public service announcement, and leaving unmentioned that the supposed subjects having their minds changed on guns were identified on filming permit as “actors.”

This is never going to stop. Coastal city wanna-be “elites” trying to dictate terms to flyover-country deplorables, I swear it’s like being surrounded by ducks trying to peck you to death.

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Cute: Complete

Introducing the new, improved Secret Lair!

Weather permitting, I’ll get back to painting trim next. The house paint BB paid for in April is holding up nicely, so I’ll be able to finish the trim and that little triangle of west wall over the addition, and then I’ll move to the solar panel rack and the woodshed. The Lair will look so nice I’ll probably be guilted into cleaning up the yard.

After that, I’ll turn my attention to a concrete pad and steps for the back door and finally figuring out how to get non-improvised weather sealing around the thing. Clearly something I did with that door was not standard practice. And that’s really all the building plans I have for this summer.

Today was mostly domestic chores.

Remember this stuff? I haven’t dragged this out for almost two years, but it still works fine. Naturally since I had laundry on the line it actually rained today for the first time since March. But just enough sprinkling to get me scrambling to close the Jeep windows and haul the stump socks in off the line – of course as soon as I did that the rain stopped, but it could have gone either way. If I’d assumed there would be no rain there’d have been a downpour. So now I’ve got damp stump socks on a towel on the bed – it looks like the thunder has stopped, so I think I’ll move it out to the table on the porch. :)

Yes, I live in a desert. Deserts are made of dirt.

And I got bread baked. And during chicken chores I checked through Landlady’s house and cleaned out her mousetraps, and watered Neighbor L’s plants. So I’m all caught up, and work-wise it’s been a good day.

Man, my back is sore today, though. Not so bad yesterday and I slept well, but I woke up sore and it didn’t go away while I worked like usual. I’ve been creeping around like a crippled old man all day.

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Okay, I need a domestic day…

The weatherman says I’m in for some actual weather which basically means I may have one nice day left. And I’m really in painting mode here…

We did get a little front come through at mid-day yesterday with random shotgun-blast gusts of wind and maybe 22 drops of rain per acre, but then it got clear and still again. So I was able to do my second coat on the porch railing, and I do hope to actually assemble the whole thing today. But…

…That’s the last of my bread, so I need a baking day, and…

Neighbor L is out of state for two weeks, which means I’m on my own for laundry. I’m unable to buy new stump socks last month and this, so I’m no longer ahead of schedule on the Acquire New Stump Socks project, and I’m running low. With the possibility of bad weather over the weekend, letting myself run dry on clean spares would be the perfect way to bring a heavy monsoon down on my head. Murphy is out there. Waiting. And hand laundry is going to take like two hours out of my day right there, in addition to chicken chores and going to Neighbor L’s to water plants and doing all the other usual stuff that keep the wheels on.

Guess what I’m saying is that while I do hope to finish the porch railing today, it’s not going to be a painting day even though my weather window might be closing for a while. I need this day for other things.

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Speaking of gun-grabbing (censored,) be prepared to lie to your doctor.

AMA backs common-sense measures to prevent gun injuries, deaths

The “common-sense measures” of course involve a list of specific things to be banned so extensive I can’t list it here, so I’ll just summarize it as “pretty much everything.” Except laws enabling domestic partners, casual dates and more-or-less random strangers to get you banned from owning guns – complete with knocks on the door and confiscations. Yeah, that ought to damp down all that rampant suburban violence right there.

Except for cops, of course. Government still gets guns.

What this has to do with the practice of medicine is a bit mysterious to me, but then I never went to college so I guess I should just relax and accept the judgment of my betters. Anyway the AMA has been an enemy for a long time, so it may be meaningless: If they had the pull to get their law passed they’d already have done it.

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