At some point, when I’m making a total ass of myself in public…

…I like to think a friend would think enough of me to tell me to shut up and sit down while an ounce of dignity remains.

By that standard, I must conclude that Shannon Watts has no friends.

The Ruger 8400 is a .22 rimfire bolt action rifle, mechanically identical* to the one I learned to shoot with in my early teens. But this one has a pistol grip and a barrel shroud and a shoulder thing that looks suspiciously like it might go up (it doesn’t) and therefore it is EEEEVIL. Also it’s black, and Shannon, that’s racist as hell.

I recall when people with loud opinions on subjects about which they’re completely ignorant were objects of ridicule. I was often that person growing up, and got laughed at a lot. I deserved to be. But Michael Bloomberg pays Watts large amounts to publicly display her ignorant bigotry, and so her views on what should be banned are totally to be taken seriously.

*ETA for full disclosure: not identical. The old Cooey didn’t have a magazine.

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Stupid cattle…

I spent most of yesterday huddling inside, waiting out a windstorm. When I passed the driveway signs this morning I found the Dog sign lying full-length on the ground. I think the wind just finished knocking it down after an itchy cow dislodged it a couple of weeks ago.

Nighttime temps are still well below freezing so there’s not much point in worrying about it right now but I’ll make a note to bring home a sack of posthole cement next time I’m in town.

Stupid cattle. It’s always something.

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Taking back “liberal”

I have a philosophy of sorts, but I’m not a philosopher. I suppose the world needs them, though it’s hard to see why: Philosophers tend to be either deadly dull pedants or – if a government sees an advantage in enforcing their views – downright deadly. See “Marx.”

But I, like I suspect most people who actually have a philosophical position, wish I could brew my views down to a single label. Trouble is, labels don’t stand still and history often gets in my way. For example I think of myself as an anarchist but never use the label out loud because at no time in its history did it mean what I wish it to mean. The first people to use the label were naive socialists at best, bomb-throwing nihilists at worst. The many painful ironies committed in its name in this generation make me steer well clear of it but in my own imagining it’s the perfect label for what I do. I don’t want the world to burn, I just want to live without rulers.

Another word I used when I was young, even though by that time it had another practical meaning than the one I assigned it, was “Liberal.” To me it meant leaving others to do as they will, not throwing arbitrary restrictions on people as long as they’re not doing active harm – and even then keeping the restrictions as minimal as possible. Of course the word hasn’t really meant that in my lifetime if it ever did. But it would be a great, simple label.

This comes to mind this morning, as on my second cup I read this piece called Reclaiming “Liberal”:

… though there were people calling themselves liberals for most of the 20th century, they were actually progressives still clinging to a few liberal points (but willing to compromise on even those in order to establish their social engineering schemes and/or “beat” their so-called “conservative” opponents). Then, less than a generation ago, the term “liberal” was unceremoniously dumped as the progressives finally embraced being just a different flavor of authoritarian, one committed to licking the boots of “experts” while their opponents preferred to lick those of preachers (and both loudly proclaim their love for cops and caging people by the millions).

Well, if they’re not going to use a proud old term (whose memory they insulted by misusing it for a century anyway), I’m going to.

A lovely thought, with which I have a lot of sympathy. But it won’t work well for her. As with us wistful anarchists, she’s going to get tired of having to explain herself every time she opens her mouth.

h/t to Claire.

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Incoming fire always has right of way.

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Now, that’s a redneck workaround.

Since Spring 2015, when a new bunch of cattlemen decided to refurbish the old cattle watering station in my part of the desert and run a bunch of cattle here, I’ve occasionally had to choke down thoughts about the expressive uses Howard Roark found for dynamite.

There was a well already on site, but due to some sort of geological anomaly it’s very shallow – little more than 50 feet – and the water would not normally be considered potable. This cattle operation, for reasons of its own, decided to spend the money to have a deep well drilled on higher ground and installed a solar-powered pump they clearly intended to run at all sunlit hours.

Having spent that money, they then tried to nickel-and-dime things. First they tried to patch the existing concrete tank, which wasn’t made very well to begin with and had been quietly returning to the earth for I don’t know how many decades. That really comically didn’t work.

Then they brought in a big plastic tank, but didn’t want to go to the trouble of connecting it electrically to the well pump. So they just ran a pipe from the overflow to the extremely leaky concrete tank. Which ran its water out over the ground day after day for three summers, wasting I don’t know how many thousands of gallons of water to say nothing of the incredible muddy mess it made of the watering station.

That last part was none of my business but I really resented a bunch of outsiders coming here and pumping the damned aquifer dry just out of penny-pinching laziness. At least they had the decency to switch off the pump during the winter months when they don’t free-range cattle.

The cattle returned last month, and I’ve been waiting to see when they’d turn that damned pump back on. Happened a couple of days ago, but they made a small modification to their overflow pipe…

They connected an extension to the end of the pipe that used to pour into the concrete tank…

…and routed it into the old well casing. So they’re pumping water out of the aquifer and into the shallow well. I’m not a geologist but I imagine in the fullness of time most of that water will find its way back into the aquifer. So I guess that’s better than pumping it out onto the ground to make a mess and evaporate.

Last summer the kid who’d been managing the cattle in this area – whom I had truly grown to loathe – quit amid ironic complaints about how deplorable the desert dwellers were. Actually he quit in the face of outright death threats he had more than earned – not everybody out here is as, um, civilized as I am. His replacement has so far shown himself a lot more mature and easier to get along with. Hence the pipe extension, I suppose.

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Google keeps trying to save us from ourselves.


Google tried censoring ‘gun’ shopping searches. It backfired

Early Tuesday morning, Internet shoppers started noticing and documenting the digital gaffes. Users received error notices when they searched for glue guns and water guns, toy guns and airsoft guns, nail guns and nerf guns. The algorithm is apparently so strict that even the color “burgundy” triggered an error…

This set off something of a parlor game on social media. Turns out, adults don’t like it when faceless bureaucrats try enforcing arbitrary restrictions — federal, corporate, or otherwise.

Casey “Stable Genius” Smith found that Google now censors “Laguna Beach.”


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Tam gave me an answer…

So a few days ago I asked a question about something called an Amazon Dash button…

…do these things do what I think they do? Do you buy these for $5 each, one for every regularly expended commodity, and then when you want more you just push this button and AMAZON AUTOMATICALLY SENDS YOU MORE???

I raised the subject of possible complications arising from unauthorized button-pushing, and Tam – who it seems does have a few of the things – agreed that there can indeed be issues…

I was in the kitchen one evening a couple months ago, right before the cats’ feeding time, when Bobbi called out from the office. “I think Huck just ordered some Cascade pods!”

See, one of Huck’s attention-seeking behaviors in the ramp-up to dinner time (especially during these four months of the year when dinner is an hour late) is to knock shit off desks near the humans…

:) It seems cats actually can order things from Amazon, if gifted with sufficient enabling technology.

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I like it

I don’t do slogan t-shirts. But I did when I was younger, and wouldn’t have been ashamed to be seen in this one…

nobody needs an ar-15

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The No-Longer-Pink AK Project…

The Pink AK had its very brief moment in the sun a long time ago. Ian and I painted one up and presented it to Landlady as a joke…

…and she hated it. It has spent the intervening years in the farthest, darkest corner of the most ignominious closet she could find. Recently, given the news that I was looking for a wooden AK buttstock, she handed it to me and suggested I do something not-pink with it. Anything at all, as long as she never had to gaze upon it again. I was given to understand that large hammers would not be considered out of reason.

Well, it wasn’t the rifle’s fault. So as soon as the weather moderated a bit I made plans to just make the pink go away.

The original plan involved Landlady’s barn, but it takes a long time for it to warm up this time of year and the morning dawned without wind. So I screwed a couple of cuphooks into the woodshed’s lintel and got to work.

I immediately made two mistakes.

Even though I sprayed carefully the cheap-ass primer from the local hardware store sagged and dripped like a sonovabitch.

Plus I forgot how all-pervasive that pink was. We shot the pink paint on the rifle as soon as the parts kit hit the receiver, before it even had a firing group. Without stripping off the wooden furniture I was never going to get rid of it all. This was not going to be a quicky “let’s paint it camo.”

So this could take a while. But the Pink AK is pink no more.

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At last I can go outside and play.

Tomorrow’s supposed to be gorgeous. Today I’ll settle for much milder than yesterday.

Mid-fifties in the shade makes it shirtsleeve weather in the sun, of which today there’s lots.

Wanted to work on filling in the sewer pipe trench. I’m attempting to use the old pipe as a poor man’s culvert, allowing me to cover the pipe where it crosses the gully draining ditch. Taping together the three sections of pipe and sliding them all under the pipe didn’t work – it would have required me to dig the whole thing 2′ deeper than it already is. I may regret not doing so come the next heavy monsoon, but the consequences will be mild. I ended up just using two sections, and now the ditch is filled in. Fixed the bridge and put it back in place anyway, to remove any stress that foot traffic would otherwise put on the very shallowly-buried pipe.

Meanwhile, I worked on the first and simplest phase of the Great AK Repainting Project.

Because that’s just not what an AK is supposed to look like. Tomorrow the Pink AK gets its first all-over primer coat.

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Oh, that works much better.

The forecast (the same one that promised no snow yesterday, as the snowstorm began to taper off) says our cold snap should be ending today. Just in time for that new thermostat to fix my one complaint about the bedroom’s space heater.


The thermostat will now not only maintain a temperature – the old one would do that – but you can even select which temperature to maintain! I love technology.

And now winter will end. :) Hey, timing never was my strong suit.

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This is weird. You know how they say scent is the key to memory?

Sometimes I think song is the key to memory.

Presented for your consideration…

I swear I don’t even understand why this song was ever a hit. In fact Guess Who only had one song I still consider worth listening to, and this wasn’t it. But it happens that this song’s ubiquity on the radio coincided with an event in my life that stuck in my memory. Almost the one thing when I was growing up that wasn’t a hand-me-down, as irony would have it.

When this song was a hit, I was happily crushing my scuba certification classes. And it was no picnic arranging for transport and tank recharges, I can tell you. I was just a 16-year-old redneck kid in love with breathing underwater.

You ever try to get over that? That sensation of taking your first deep breath after the water has long since closed over your head? Sweartagod you’ll remember the song that was last on the radio at the time…

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Ban the massacre of machine gun magazines? I agree, Congressperson!

A machine gun magazine is a terrible thing to massacre, and I’m against it. BTW, CNN considers it polite to practice reading your lines until you can speak them as if not reading.

On a more serious note is “comprehensive background checks” new antigunspeak, or am I just behind the times again? Sounds like the old “universal background checks” the dems were selling a few years ago, which would outlaw practices I definitely don’t plan to stop, er, practicing.

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The forecasters persist in their confidence that it absolutely won’t snow today.

I think they all have great futures in the intelligence industry, or possibly the Pentagon.


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Women can’t carry guns.

CNN says so, and they’re experts.

My god, it’s all so simple now. What a fool I’ve been! Of course only mass murderers can carry guns in schools. This is humiliating. Why didn’t I see it before? It’s impossible for women to carry guns! So we should just relax and learn to love the omnipotent police state.

Now if only I could explain all those gun-carrying women I know…

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Your wiring instructions were impeccable…

And got me off my ass to install that new thermostat.

Hopefully this will fix the only complaint I have with the space heater, which is that I never really know what the bedroom temperature will turn out to be first thing in the morning.

This morning in addition to the regular chores, LB and I went up the bumpy road to the plateau to bring the game camera to a place that gets little human or bovine traffic.

There I’ll leave it for a week or so, and we’ll see if we can find where the actual game went.

I’ve kind of put off doing this because in addition to the fact that it’s off my usual rounds it raises the scary prospect of losing the camera. Every juniper and rock looks like every other juniper and rock in the boonies, and when you’re not familiar with the area you might find yourself picking a spot you can never quite find again. I wouldn’t be the first person that’s happened to.

In this particular case, I chose a place I know I can find again. But before I dare go further afield I need to know I can solve that problem.

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The happiest time of the month…

Is when Dad “empties” a peanut butter jar.


Bliss out, LB.

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So you want Congress to “do something.”

Look, kids, I’m sure you’re all heartfelt and sincere and all about your wish that that crazy bastard hadn’t had that rifle. Honestly I might have been too in your position, though even at your age I wouldn’t have fallen for all the subsequent bullshit you did.

But now that CNN is done with you and once the democrats have stopped busing you around to photo ops and talk shows and you’re sitting back to watch the legislative process steamroll and disarm into helplessness all the people who didn’t shoot up your school, there are a few things you’ll need to know.

Bear has kindly offered to explain those things to you.

A bunch of teens in Florida skipped school and went to Tallahassee to demand more of the same gun control that failed to save their classmates. Like petulant two year-olds, they whined and screamed when they weren’t given what they want when they want it.*

In short, they failed their civics class.

OK, kids. Here’s the down and dirty on what your teachers should have taught you about how the legislative process works…

David! Take the Tide Pod out of your mouth!

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Liquid refreshment, and a stay of execution

For a few years now Big Brother has been sending me monthly care packages that usually include an envelope of green paper. These pieces of paper can be used in exchange for certain essential commodities, did you know that? I know, right? It’s silly, but there it is. And the care packages have been regular to the point where their arrival is usually followed promptly by a trip to town in which all my empty gas cans and propane bottles get filled up. And so it was this morning.

The galvanized garbage can used for chicken pellets at the Big Chickenhouse was right at empty this morning, which meant I also had to make a decision. All the hens had completely stopped laying eggs even though the days are getting longer and they’re finished molting, so one of two things was going to happen: They were either going to resume making with the cackleberries or they were all going into the freezer sans heads, feathers and viscera. The decision point was when my scoop scraped the bottom of that barrel. And that was today.

And guess what?

So it’s beginning to look like they’ve won another summer of life. Actually they’ve been ramping up production for the past few days and I’d already decided to give them more time to think it over, but hilariously today was their best day in months.

Which meant I needed to do some heavy lifting.

Brought some firewood to Landlady’s house, and #100 of pellets to Landlady’s chickens.

Keep it up, ladies, and nobody gets hurt.

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Okay, I hereby officially decree…

…that from now on until next winter, the nights will be warmer.

I set the bedroom thermostat wrong – again – and spent the wee hours in that miserable half-shivering fugue state where you’re too cold to fully go to sleep but too asleep to get up and fix the problem. Should definitely have set the thermostat lower on the wall.

I did bring a better thermostat back from the Big Town almost two weeks ago – but got intimidated and put off the project when the wiring instructions left a lot to be desired. I’ve only got two wires to connect, but on this new thermostat there are half a dozen posts to choose from. Keep meaning to look up the answer, I’m quite sure it’s in plain sight on some how-to site. But I’m only reminded to do it at 3 am.

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