Be polite, be professional…

…but have a plan to kill everyone you meet. Words to live by. Here’s the sad story of two idiots who forgot the first two instructions entirely, and can’t really be said to have had a firm grasp of the third.

Both suspects were arrested, including the driver of the car, ABDULLAH NASSIE ALRIFAHE, Defendant herein, who was found to have a suspended driver’s license.

In an inventory search of the car, officers found a loaded AK 47-type assault rifle, another rifle, several assault rifle magazines and large quantities of different ammunition (including shotgun shells), discharged shell casings and BB ammunition. Also found were several cell phones, computers and electronics equipment including drone parts. Bomb Squad personnel called to the scene noted that the variety of the ammunition and large quantity of BBs and electronic devices could be used for bomb-making.

Defendant was found not to have a valid permit to carry a pistol in public and to have been previously convicted of the same offense in December 2016.

Except for the guy’s name and prior conviction and the electronics stuff, that sounds – er, more or less exactly – like me and the Jeep on any given day. But the cops didn’t roust these two guys for the problematic contents of their car. That came later. They originally rousted them for being a couple of dicks.

Minneapolis police were flagged down by a citizen in the vicinity of the intersection of 44th and Humboldt Avenues North, Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota. The citizen, Witness herein, reported the following.

He had walked by a parked car with two men inside who threw food wrappers out the window. When he confronted the men, they at first ignored him; when he paused to get the car license number, the men got out of the car, called Witness a “nigger” and made gestures indicating one or both had a handgun.

Officers tried to calm the situation but the men continued to yell at Witness and resisted officers’ attempts to control the situation.

And it went downhill from there, with the inevitability of a dropped cannon ball. These two clowns were apparently so proud of being very bad men, they wanted the world to know. Didn’t work out well.

So if you’ve got something to hide, it might be a good idea to hide it. Don’t draw attention to yourself just because you think you’re cool. Fonzie is cool. You’re just a sinister jihadi innocently transporting a bunch of weapons and suspicious-looking junk. Act like it.

Hey! Maybe I should offer a training course in sneakiness? Then quietly bury anybody who shows up for it…

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Before a government can use land, it must first steal it.

Fortunately, this one has all those guns and lawyers.

DOJ Budget Ramps Up Funding for Eminent Domain ‘Land Acquisition’ in Potential Effort to Clear Way for Border Wall

There’s no reason whatever to click that link, the title covers the content. But I made the mistake of scrolling down to the comments, where I was reminded once again that there is no Freedom Party. There’s just two acknowledged flavors of leash-lovers.

Looks like the wall is going to happen…MAGA
Despite what the msm and the brain dead trolls say Trump is getting a lot accomplished despite the fact that he is fighting the dumbocrats, the media and his own party…
Is there anybody left that HASN’T tried to fight Trump? Step right up and take your best shot. Our fearless leader will deal with your stupid asz in a minute.

Yeah. Uh huh.

“Please, Mr. Trump, sir. Be all awesome and take other people’s land so you can protect me with a big wall. And Real ID would be nice, too, and don’t neglect to put real teeth in E-Verify. Because if people can move around or hold jobs without government permission, the terrorists will win, or … we can’t be free, or … how does that last line go again?”


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Huh. Why didn’t I think of that?


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People lived here a really long time ago…

…and they broke a lot of pots.

Really, it must have been annoying as hell. Considering that now, 700-odd years later, it’s not really all that unusual to walk along and stumble upon a potsherd that some elk or cow or ATVer hasn’t long since ground into gravel, the people who used to live here must have paved the place with the things.

And it’s a little weird when you think about it. Ancient Indians lived here long, long ago…

…and they were litterbugs. :)

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Russians have hacked my Paypal account…

…possibly in collusion with DNC and white house staffers. AG Sessions, zealous enough in his prosecution of every other non-republican-donor thing on earth, shows a suspicious reluctance to investigate Paypal’s sudden propensity for crashing my computer every time I try to log on. Has no one at Paypal ever smoked marijuana? Or perhaps Paypal is the latest ATF conduit running guns into Mexico and blaming it on me? How do the Saudis fit into this sinister puzzle?

I found half a rabbit in my driveway last night during the evening walky, suggesting a Hillary connection that frankly makes my blood run cold. What did that bunny know, and why was it trying to contact me? If I disappear, avenge me.

I have received a mysterious communique from notorious hacker group Landlady Dot Com indicating that shadowy “generous donors” have inserted $187 into the account. Is this a false flag operation? Some sort of honey pot entrapment scheme? Or just some nice people helping old Uncle Joel buy some damned gasoline? How high does this conspiracy go?


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That’s my stomping ground…

100_1800If you zoom in you can see the out-of-focus roofs of Landlady’s house and barn shining in the sun. Can’t really see anything else, this camera has its limits. This is taken from most of the way up the ridge east of her place, approximately where I parked to move rocks yesterday evening.

When you can sit on a rock on a hillside and look out at both your neighbors for miles around – and feel a little crowded – you might be a hermit. :)

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Complimentary road maintenance, no extra charge

100_1805 The road up the ridge hasn’t been maintained in a while. The road guy used to grade it, which was a damned funny sight, but now it’s down to shale all over and he doesn’t waste time on it. There’s this one interlude that isn’t too uneven and isn’t too steep, but it was covered with big jagged shards of shale. I just got new tires in February, for the first time in I don’t know when, and I’m more solicitous of their welfare than this. So on the way down this evening LB and I paused while I cleared a bunch of rocks off that part of the road.

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Apparently it is now illegal to defend yourself in the UK?


Q589: Are there any legal self defence products that I can buy?

The only fully legal self defence product at the moment is a rape alarm. These are not expensive and can be bought from most local police stations or supermarkets.

There are other self defence products which claim to be legal (e.g. non toxic sprays), however, until a test case is brought before the court, we cannot confirm their legality or endorse them. If you purchase one you must be aware that if you are stopped by the police and have it in your possession there is always a possibility that you will be arrested and detained until the product, it’s contents and legality can be verified.

However, accepting there is a lot of concern about street crime, we can try to clarify matters a little by putting forward the following points.

* You must not get a product which is made or adapted to cause a person injury. Possession of such a product in public (and in private in specific circumstances) is against the law.
* There are products which squirt a relatively safe, brightly coloured dye (as opposed to a pepper spray). A properly designed product of this nature, used in the way it is intended, should not be able to cause an injury.
* However, be aware that even a seemingly safe product, deliberately aimed and sprayed in someone’s eyes, would become an offensive weapon because it would be used in a way that was intended to cause injury.
* Any products bought from abroad have a greater chance of being illegal.

I had no idea what a “rape alarm” might be, so I looked it up. Apparently it’s just a handy portable gadget that makes a really loud noise.

So I’m good then. :)



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Running on empty

Went up to and across the plateau yesterday afternoon with Little Bear to feed a couple of horses, carefully noting the mileage up and back. On the far side of that is a mesa on top of which is one of the three coolest houses in the known universe, access to which is granted via a steep and scary driveway dug – legend has it – out of the side of the hill by hand and mattock over years. The guy lived in a livestock barn down on the flat while he finished building the road to the site where he planned to build his house, and then again while he built the first wing of the house. The house, now apparently finished, is not to be believed. It’s one of the wonders of my world. There will be no close photographs of it here, but it’s a temptation.

I have to climb that mesa three times this week – I have to climb the ridge six times – which is why I was interested in the mileage. I have X gallons of gasoline, there are Y miles back and forth between the Lair and the job. Divide the number of miles by the number of gallons, and the product of the equation would be comforting if the trip were on level ground. Of course the trip is not on level ground, and the Jeep has a teeny little inconvenient peculiarity: It won’t climb hills when it’s almost out of gas. Poorly designed fuel tank, I guess: The pick-up tube comes out of the liquid, the pump sucks air, the engine quits, and there you are. If the hill you just died on happens to involve a narrow road there’s nothing to do but back down carefully until you can turn around or reach a level bit. Without power brakes. While Little Bear helpfully stands directly in your line of sight. I know these things from experience.

I’m pretty sure some of last night’s dreams involved that very thing happening while I was halfway up the ridge to the plateau. That steep driveway would be worse, really; it’s narrow like you wouldn’t believe and has no switchbacks where you can stop and turn around.

It’s situations like this that almost but not quite make me want to question certain important life decisions. Almost. Not quite.

And anyway it’ll be fine. It involved lining up stacks of quarters, but I have in my pocket enough money to fill a jerry can with gasoline this morning. And that golden liquid, when poured into the Jeep, will remove the last of my uncertainty about whether I can get back and forth enough to do the job and get paid.

I’ve said it before and of course this will come as no surprise to regular readers anyway but I’ve always been a bit of a ne’er-do-well and this isn’t my first experience with being broke and out of gas. There was a time, when I was much younger, (and I say this with no pride) that I never left home without my Arkansas Credit Card…

…but that was a really long time ago. I’ve grown since then. Also there are no cars around to steal from anyway.

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The road not taken…



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I’d say it’s too late to be “becoming” anything…

Two links I saw right next to each other, with no apparent ironic intent…

From the Los Angeles Times: Chelsea Manning, who served 7 years in prison for handing U.S. secrets to WikiLeaks, to be featured in Vogue, sources say

Please tell me he’s not going to be on the cover in a bustier*. Please.

From Fabius Maximus: America is becoming weird. Here are some recent examples. [Ed: fascinating read.]

It is absolutely too late for America to “become” weird. Weirder, maybe. But I’m no longer convinced that’s a good thing. I think maybe we should aim at ‘having achieved peak weird, we’re shoving the pendulum in the other direction. We’ve amended the constitution to forbid actors, reality show hosts and former presidents’ spouses from running for president. We’re bringing back gray flannel suits.’

Yeah. I’m old. I don’t recognize that place out there anymore, and sometimes it’s more alarming than entertaining. In case you didn’t know, Chelsea Manning is a (trigger alert) Continue reading

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So I said to myself, “Don’t forget to swap out the camera batteries…”

I have a new paying gig this week. It’s a very simple one, just feeding some animals and watering some plants, but getting to it is not a small matter. And I’m almost out of gasoline, so I have to arrange the beginning of the week carefully.

See that hill with a sort of saddlehorn on the right? That’s part of a ridge running to the east of Landlady’s place, and on the other side of it you don’t go back down; it’s the edge of a big plateau.

And getting to the plateau is a bit of an adventure. Until recently, when a generous reader made possible a new set of tires for the Jeep, I avoided the upper part of this road…

…because things get rockier and narrower and steeper, the switchbacks get sharper, and life just goes to hell for a while unless you’re a natural-born rock climber. Unfortunately at this point the batteries – which I knew this morning were nearly dead – went dead so that’s it for the photo safari.

And I felt like such an idiot. I packed carefully for this trip, because the Jeep is getting kinda used and any time I drive up to the plateau I need to face the possibility of walking back down. So I had water and tools and a rifle, and I remembered to bring the camera, but I forgot fresh batteries for the camera. So yeah. Idiot. Not really sure this camera can do justice to the view anyway, but seriously this place I’ll be visiting several times this week is one of the most photogenic places I know of around here.

Still need to plan carefully. I poured the last of my stored gasoline in the Jeep before leaving, and I don’t have enough folding cash to fill one more can on Monday. I’ll need to raid the change box to make up the difference, but if I burn off the last of my gas and money in the first half of this week I’ll make enough cash to top off on gas and propane next weekend. Paying gigs have been pretty slow around here lately, I’m afraid, and I’m down to nothin’. In fact just last weekend I got an envelope containing $30 from a reader, and if that hadn’t happened I’m not sure how I’d have been able to take this gig because $22 of that went into a gas can. But this’ll take some of the pressure off, so it’s very good timing. Synchronicity is still on my side, though sometimes it waits till we’re down to the wire. :)

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President Trump still has the virtue of not being Hillary Clinton, but…

I don’t like him this much.

Trump’s Israel Visit: Major Security in Jerusalem, Bethlehem

JERUSALEM — You’ve heard of armored vehicles for world leaders and A-list celebrities. Now President Donald Trump is about to get an armored hotel suite.

A huge security operation has been launched that aims to envelop the president and his 1,000-person entourage during his visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem next week.

Trump’s accommodation during the second stop on his trip will be a bomb-proof, poison gas-proof and bulletproof hotel room built to withstand the collapse of the entire building, according to Sheldon Ritz, operations manager for Jerusalem’s King David Hotel.

“The presidential suites have independent air conditioning in case of a gas attack and are built to withstand a RPG [rocket-propelled grenade],” he said of the super-luxurious suites that cost around $5,700 per night. “But still the U.S. is bringing rocket-proof glass to put in front of the window.”

“If the whole hotel blows up the suite will come down in one piece, so maybe a few broken bones, but they will be alive,” said Ritz, adding that the King David would become a “mini White House.”

In order to prevent explosives-laden cars from ramming the hotel, two buses full of heavy equipment will be placed at the entrance to the main road. Balloons carrying infrared cameras will float above the building while bomb-spotting robots will lurk in sewers beneath it.

I don’t even want to hear the figure of how much this cost. Couldn’t he just stay in the White House? Why on earth would we want him in the middle east anyway? He’s only going to say something stupid and start a war. Which we’ll have to pay for. They say he’s a billionaire but you can bet he’s not picking up the tab for any of this shit.

trump dead twitter

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QoD: “It’s just a reality show now” edition

Once you’ve formally announced to the public that their decisions simply do not matter, and that a niche subculture of the country gets to exercise an extra-constitutional veto on any decision they don’t approve of — once you’ve made it plain that America is a government with a nation, not a nation with a government — what exactly is it that binds the people to a government that cannot in any way be described as “their” government?

The way this is developing it won’t end with peasants storming the Bastille but simply slinking off to do their own thing, with a single-finger salute to the government their fathers were willing to die for.

I’m the only one I know, but I can’t believe I’m the only one. At some point it simply becomes too expensive for a self-respecting person to be a citizen anymore. Of wealth, of credulity, of patience – you simply run out. What are you supposed to do then? Lay down and die? Screw that.

Our would-be masters forget, I think, that we’re only medieval peasants while we agree to believe that we are. There is no estate system, there’s only “us” and “them,” and “they” are becoming annoying. We’re not held to the land by anything but our own preferences and habits. We’re not afraid of excommunication and hell. There are no city gates we have to talk or bribe our way through – so far. Conservatives will rue the day they got suckered into shouting for border walls, but even then there’ll be all those drug-runner tunnels. If the government ever actually scrapes up the mojo to build that wall, we will live to see the day the tunnels are used for all sorts of things.

We can get up and leave occupied territory any time we want to. Greater numbers will remember that at the point where it becomes worth the price of leaving. At the point where it has been made too taxing to stay.

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Everything in the Secret Lair is connected.

But not to the Internet. That would be stupid.

Click to Embiggen

Click to Embiggen

Hee…I have trouble enough keeping the damn laptop connected. This new tablet a generous reader sent me never would connect at all. Can’t imagine what I’d have to do to connect my toilet or coffee maker. Or why I’d want to.

Have I told you the story of the first “connected” house I ever saw? There was this guy, he was definitely not in my usual social circle but I knew him through this rocket club I was in at the time. He had a place in the Mojave not far from Lucerne Dry Lake where we used to – and as far as I know where they still – launch big entertaining rockets.

He was some sort of effects technician in Hollywood during the week, made good money, and was a long-time computer geek. So when he built this new house it was the most logical thing in the world to include a server room and connect all his household appliances and infrastructure to an internal network.

Then, the story goes, he picked up a computer virus somehow and his expensive new house became uninhabitable. This was almost 20 years ago, around the turn of the century, and I never heard if he ever got it fixed. I would have been inclined against the “Internet of Things” for obvious reasons anyway, but that guy taught me all I’ve ever needed to know about the concept. There’s nothing wrong with a “dumb” thermostat, and if I had a toaster it wouldn’t need a computer.

A morning bit o’wisdom from ol’ Luddite Joel.


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Our leaders are clearly superior, which is why we should give them all the deference they deserve.

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Anybody here got a good dog biscuit recipe?

Regular readers know it’s been many years since the Lair saw a loaf of storebought bread. My bread is infinitely cheaper and tastes a great deal better than storebought, and the ingredients are easily available, and it’s not like I’m pressed for time. It took years to finally get it right since I’m not a trained or talented baker, but now I can’t imagine not baking my own bread.

But I am a victim of tunnel vision, which fact sometimes kneecaps me in the oddest ways. Little Bear goes through a box of dog biscuits every couple of weeks and would cheerfully double that if I let him. I was just now lamenting that to myself when it finally sank in that dog biscuits are baked goods – and presumably don’t consist of unobtainium. If clueless old Uncle Joel can bake his own bread, cookies and biscuits, why not doggie treats? LB will cheerfully accept anything baked if I call it a treat – or even if I don’t – and if he doesn’t suspect I’ve hidden a pill in it*.

So I typed “dog biscuit recipe” into a search engine and surprise! There’s like a million of them. Looks like I’ll be needing a cookie cutter…


*LB isn’t the sharpest knife in the rack but he knows when I’m trying to pill him.

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Okay, so a couple of days away from the Internet…

Perfect time for it. The bell curve for “typical” spring weather in the high desert is fairly wide, and we’ve spent the past couple of days ‘way over on the low side marked Lousy. So I’ve just been cocooning in the Lair, accomplishing next to nothing except the inescapable agrarian chores that pile up when you’ve got chickens and made up your infrastructure from some paper cups and string. We got a windstorm overnight that woke me up because it wanted to be sure I knew how scary and destructive it was, followed by heavy rain. Right now I see heavy clouds (probably) moving away over the horizon. I’m all wrapped in a heavy hoody while I wait for the first cup to brew, but it’s not that cold, high thirties maybe. I’ll probably start losing layers as soon as the sun makes an appearance over the ridge.

Or maybe not. Spring weather does what it wants. Either way, there’s not a lot going on at the Gulch this week so far.

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Well. Now for the first time I kind of believe Trump is colluding with Russians…

…because Putin says he’s not. :)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump had not passed on any secrets to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a meeting in Washington last week and that he could prove it.

Speaking at a news conference alongside Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin quipped that Lavrov was remiss for not passing on what he made clear he believed were non-existent secrets.

“I spoke to him (Lavrov) today,” said Putin with a smile. “I’ll be forced to issue him with a reprimand because he did not share these secrets with us. Not with me, nor with representatives of Russia’s intelligence services. It was very bad of him.”

Hadn’t even heard of this latest kerfuffle (are presidents not allowed to talk to Russians now?) but if Putin says it I’m inclined not to believe it. So now I’m totally with Schumer and Waters in calling for Trump’s immediate impeachment and ritual disembowelment or something. ‘Cause ‘Merka.

Sheesh. I step away from the internet for one lousy day and Oceania is no longer at war with Eastasia? How’s a guy supposed to know what to shout at the 2-minute hate?

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The book is way better than the cover.

I’ve been stuck inside most of the day, as another half-week-long Spring storm meanders through. We had lightning and thunder this morning, lots of cold wind, on-and-off rain that probably won’t amount to much but has gone on all day.

So this week I finally got to my Larry Correia festival, starting with my personal favorite series, the Grimnoir Chronicles.

It’s a lovely mash-up of noir and alternate history and magical fantasy, set in an early 20th century in which people have started sprouting magical abilities like they were X-men, apparently (but not really) through evolution. It’s been going on for almost a century and has had an effect on history, to say the least.

It’s got genuine Correia characters, characters you can actually give a damn about, that keep you interested and entertained. It’s got an intricate, complex and fairly consistently logical plot. It’s got dialogue you won’t see in a Twilight episode…

She was an odd one. Thin, gawky, with hair like wet straw, and the strangest grey eyes he’d ever seen. She held out one little hand to [Sullivan] in greeting. He took it, surprised that she had calluses that would make anyone running a pickax at Rockville proud. “You look just like your brother, only not evil. Sorry about murdering you.”

“Attempted murder,” he corrected her.

“On, no, you were totally dead when I found you under the magic jellyfish,” she smiled. “Good thing you followed me back. I’m Sally Faye Vierra. You can call me Faye.”

Sullivan and Faye are the principal protagonists, and I won’t give away any details but Faye is worth the trip all by herself.

Sullivan, though a fully-fleshed character, is one of the weaker points – since I’m praising Correia characters I may as well damn one with faint praise – because he’s a bit of a cliché. He’s a fairly recent Great War veteran, a very recent convict in a fedmax prison, he’s basically a perpetual warrior, and he’s got every reason in the world to be PTSD’d into palsy. But when you’re the hero, jumping at shadows and yelling at girlfriends doesn’t play well so Sullivan does the traditional noir hero thing: he broods. It doesn’t ruin the story or anything, but it is kind of noticeable. Now and then we have to pause for a few pages while Sullivan broods over some imagined self-fault or a comrade he failed to save at some point. It gets a bit predictable.

Having said that, I still enjoy the character and in fact all Correia’s characters. He’s good at everything that goes into escapist fiction but I especially love his characters. They’re real people, with genuine arcs – or at least really great death scenes. Sometimes more than one to a character. I would go so far as to class Correia as the best, most consistent currently-working fiction writer I know of. Admittedly it’s a small pool. I will go to the extreme, ignore my pounding heart and declare that in this one thing, character development, Larry Correia is a better author than Robert Anson Heinlein.

If I’m not struck dead in the next ten seconds, there is no god.

But Grimnoir, especially the first volume, does have one shortcoming that bugs me every time I pick up the book. What – oh what – is with this cover?

Seriously. Sullivan looks like a punk. Delilah, the petite beauty that – one way or another – stops every man in his tracks here looks like young Barbara Streisand. With a handful of magic poo or something, I don’t even know what that is. The other two covers are awkward, but this one is distractingly dreadful. Just saying.

But getting back to the kudos – Larry Correia is the greatest living producer of rainy-day escape lit I know. And he knows his guns. And he’s basically a libertarian, if I’m a little unclear on whether he’s tipped over the edge into freedomistahood. I own every book of his except the collaborations and love them all but my favorite is the Grimnoir books. If you like escapist fiction at all and haven’t checked him out, you really ought to. Start with Hard Magic or Monster Hunter International. You might not go out and get more if it’s not your cup of tea, but I promise you won’t find it time wasted.

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