Saturday, December 31, 2011

Newt Gingrich

Top Ten Reasons I am supporting Newt Gingrich for the Republican Nomination.

10 - As Speaker of the House, he actually balanced the budget of the United States. Yes, there was probably some shuffling of accounts, but when Newt was Speaker was the closest we have been since WWII to having a balanced budget.

9 - He's not Mitt Romney

8 - Newt had the balls to actually shut down the nonessential portions of the Federal Government. Sure Clinton helped, and actually it was mostly Clinton's fault, but Gingrich got the blame. Therefore, by all rights he gets the credit as well.

7 - He's NOT Mitt Romney

6 - Newt is a Historian by trade, not a lawyer. This is obvious when you listen to him speak. he actually understands the background of the things he talks about.

5 - Again, he's not Mitt Romney

4 - Did I mention that he's not Mitt Romney? Because that's pretty important.

3 - Oh yeah, he's not Rick Perry either.

2 - Newt is the one person who can clearly articulate a philosophical basis for why everything the democrats have been doing is not only wrong from an outcome based approach, but from a moral and ethical standpoint as well. And let's face it, watching Newt in a debate with Obama would be kind of like watching Mike Tyson beat up your 8th grade bully. Satisfying and a bit disturbing at the same time.

1 - And most importantly, he's NOT MITT ROMNEY.

If somehow Mitt does manage to get the nomination, that means that we get 4 more years of Obama, and an economy that is starting to make the Carter malaise years look like "the good old days."

Mitt is the guy who couldn't beat the guy who couldn't beat Obama. He's the guy who is actually less attractive to the base than McCain. (remember McCain lost due to low voter turnout among republican demographics) Frankly he's less exciting that Bob Dole, and that's really really hard to do.

Mitt simply can't win. And even if he could win, having a large government, anti-gun, big business crony capitalist, nanystate Rebublican in office is not measurably better than having a large government, anti-gun, big business crony capitalist, nanystate Democrat in office is it?

Open legged Seated

The "Field" sitting position.

For competition use the Crossed Legged position is greatly preferred, as it is the most stable of the seated positions. For field shooting, or informal target shooting, the open legged position is almost as steady, and allows for a much greater field of regard. Useful when shooting multiple targets instead of a single bull.

Note how the subjects elbows are forward of the knees, locking in support. By repositioning the feet one can change the natural point of aim.

Rifle is a Remington Model Five (made by Zastava), and yes I really should add sling swivels and a model 1907 sling.

Bonus points to the first person to correctly identify the revolver.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Still in the Dark

In a little noticed provision of the latest spending bill, the Republicans mannaged to block any expendature of money to enforce the ban on 100+ watt incandescent lightbulbs.

Again, this does not actually repeal the law, it just makes it illegal to spend money enforcing the law. While this does count as a victory for common sense, it still strikes me as a rather small one.

Since the law was set to go into effect in 2 weeks, most manufacturers of such bulbs have already moved their production oversees, so while you may be able to buy lightbulbs, you won't be buying ones made here.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

P rated Tires

I soooo HATE P rated tires. Seriously, what's the point in tires for an off road viehicle than can have holes poked through them by little rocks?


Anyone have anything bad to say about the Cooper ATRs? I'm going to pull the Goodritches off and upgrade to either Coopers or Nittos.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Harrier Time

Ate Breakfast at the Flight Deck Cafe this morning.

Weekends they have a buffet for about $9, and the kids are something like $4.50. Bacon was great, biscuits and gravy were outstanding, potatoes were the worst potatoes ever. *sigh*

The nice thing about the Flight deck is that there are usually some .mil aircraft parked right outside the window, since it's in the building that serves as the general aviation terminal.

Today we had Harriers and C-130J models.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Genessis Bow

The girls have been doing 4-H shooting sports for a while now. Mostly they have been doing compound bow and air rifle. The bows are fairly neat. Mathews built and designed them for the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP).

Genesis Bow

Single cam with an idler wheel. Adjustable draw weight from 10 to 20 lbs. Zero let off.

Only real issue so far has been that daughter the eldest is left eye dominant. Right handed, but left eyes, just like her Opa. *sigh*

Shooting right handed she was doing pretty good, if "good" is defined as hitting the wrong target. Ended up asking the instructor if she should shoot left handed since she is cross dominant.

Last meeting they had 3 or 4 left handed shooters but only one left handed bow. *grumble*

Ended up buying our own off of E-bay. Even if she outgrows it it will get some more use, since the boy child also appears to be cross dominant. In fact the younger daughter was teaching him how to shoot it this afternoon.

As for firearms, looks like I'm going to have to buy a .22 caliber lever gun...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Aggregate good

Keen insight from Aretae, burred in comments.

There is NOT a common good. There MAY be an aggregate good...what is good for Abel,Baker,Charlie,and Dennis, but bad for Eddie and Frank may be worth "2 points" of good. And, if it's only 1 point of good each for ABCD, and 5 points of bad each for EF...that may not even be true. But it sure ain't in the "common good"...

Nothing the government does is good for everyone, someone always suffers from any government action.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The dreaded PO401 Code

The mustang was sporting a "Service Engine Soon" light for several weeks; I finally decided to take care of it this weekend.

Go to Checker (or whatever they call themselves now) and get the code read. Code = PO401.

Hmmn I don't recognize that one, and the Checker dude knows nothing about cars. Seriously, I had to show him how to use the code reader. I tell the guy "no worries, I'll see what the internet has to say, that is why god invented Google." Took him a second before he realised it was funny.

The interwebs say this is the EGR valve insufficient pressure code. They also say that dispite the name of the code. It has nothing to do with the actual EGR valve, but is either the EGR solenoid, or more likely the DPFE sensor.

Car runs perfectly, so most likely the sensor.

Wait two weeks to get around to going back to the parts store. Buy DPFE sensor. Explain to parts guy what a DPFE sensor is. Tell guy, no not the EGR solenoid, the Differential Pressure Feedback EGR sensor. *sigh*. "just type DPFE into your computer ok?"

I get the sensor and it looks identical to the old one, only twice as big. Hmmn. Well, the plug is right, and the pressure lines are the right diameter... If it doens't work I can always return it.

Install in about 2 minutes (bare hands no tools needed) and a day or so later the light went away.


Though I really wish the auto parts stores would hire someone who knew something about auto parts.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Applied Chemistry

From NPR, a tale of disolving two Nobel prizes:

Niels Bohr story

I think it would have been easier to electro-plate the gold onto a substrait, then plate silver over it. (after all mirrors in a physics lab are pretty innocuous), regardless it was a clever way to hide the gold.

I still prefer the "heavy water in the beer bottle" story though.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Back from DC

Well I'm back from visiting Ft. Belvoiur and DC. Initial thoughts: people in DC drive worse than in the SF Bay area. Second thought, these guys have some of the worst signage, and worst designed interchanges of just about anywhere.

Got done with the army around 10:00, and my flight wasn't until 17:00 so I took the opportunity to hit the Smithsonian. The air and Space museum hasn't changed much since the lat time I was there 15 years ago, basically proving that we have been stuck in low-earth-orbit for decades now. (and we can;t even do that anymore) Blew through that museum in about 2 hours, so I hiked over to the Natural history museum for an hour.

The Natural History museum is pretty nice. Wonderful mineralogy collection, and they have a newer exhibit on "human origins" that was at least well put together. The Home Diamond is surprisingly unimpressive.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Feast of Crows

Feast of Crows
Music & Lyrics (c) Mark E. Horning
9-12-2011: 6/8 time - strum

All on command –Now let the gulls fly
'till the shafts are so thick that they blot out the sky
Where the shafts fall - watch the foe writhe and die
....And none shall feast but the crows

/Dm - G Em/ C - Dm E/D C G E/ Dm CBbA Dm/

Fire one volley and fire two more
then fire at will at the foe in the fore.
Pull aim and fire – let the shafts soar
....Like an Eagle that feasts among crows

Hear the pipes thunder and hear the drums roar
We'll fight here again as we've fought here before
The wages of sorrow are the wages of war
....And they fly on the wings of the crows.

We fight for our families and fight for our land,
And we fight for our freedom, but we understand,
The only victors when the blood stains the sand
....Are the vultures, coyotes, and crows

So whisper your prayers, for if our friends we die
Fate is unkind, so this could be goodbye
But we'll see them in hell ere the sun quits the sky
....And leave out their bones for the crows

So here is my gift, it's a full cloth yard long
And it leaps from my bow with a heart full of song.
Those who would conquer, please know you are wrong
....And give my regards to the crows.

Instrumental break

All on command –Now let the gulls fly
'till the shafts in the air nearly blot out the sky
Watch the foe wither and watch the foe die
....Where none shall feast but the crows
....None shall feast but the Crows.
....No, none shall feast --- just the Crows.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Gibson raided - Again

Looks like the Feds have nothing better to do so they have taken to raiding guitar companies. This time over an apparent Lacy Act violation.

You see, according to the Feds, it is illegal to import plant or animal products if doing so violates the law in the country they came from. Indian law says that exported wood must be "finished" and no thicker than 6mm.

Gibson is accused of importing wood that is 10mm thick.


Story HERE.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I Don't Know

This is the argument that Penn Jillette makes as to why he is an Atheist and Libertarian. Others have posted part of this, but the key item here is the difference between Democracy and a Republic:

I don't believe the majority always knows what's best for everyone. The fact that the majority thinks they have a way to get something good does not give them the right to use force on the minority that don't want to pay for it. If you have to use a gun, I don't believe you really know jack. Democracy without respect for individual rights sucks. It's just ganging up against the weird kid, and I'm always the weird kid.

Read the whole thing HERE.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Unincorporated Man

The counterpart for education would be to "buy" a share in an individual's earning prospects: to advance him the funds needed to finance his training on condition that he agree to pay the lender a specified fraction of his future earnings. In this way, a lender would get back more than his initial investment from relatively successful individuals, which would compensate for the failure to recoup his original investment from the unsuccessful. There seems no legal obstacle to private contracts of this kind, even though they are economically equivalent to the purchase of a share in an individual's earning capacity and thus to partial slavery. - Milton Friedman, The Role of Government in Education

So begins The Unincorporated Man, by Dani Kollin & Eytan Kollin. You know when a book begins with a Friedman quote it is going to be interesting, and not exactly light reading. On that promise the Kollin brothers deliver.

The Kollin brothers that Friedman's idea and run with it, exploring the consequences of such a system. Just as micro-loans to the third world are perhaps the best way to help third world farmers and entrepreneurs, would not buying stock in such folks be even more beneficial.

This is the grand idea, would not owning stock in others thus harness the mighty engine of enlightened self interest? War would suddenly become unprofitable for example. You certainly don't want to go around shooting people you own stock in after all.

The down side is naturally that your investors expect a good return on their investment. Now as you save you can buy your stock back and get more control over your life, but as you become more successful your stock will naturally rise in price...

Enter into this world one Justin Cord, wealthy industrialist who had himself cryogenicly frozen when dying of cancer. He's from 300 years in the past, and older than the concept of personal incorporation. He IS the Unincorporated Man.

4 out of 5 stars. 5 for concept and 3 for execution. Lots of reviews say it reads like Heinlein, but it really doesn't. (Varley reads like Heinlein.) This novel reads more like someone tossed Asimov and Rand books into a blender but poured out the resulting mix while still a bit lumpy. It starts out well and ends well, but slows down quite a bit 2/3 of the way through.

And yes, I know this review is late, and everyone else read it last year. I picked up my copy at last year's CopperCon, (signed by Dani & Eytan) but these days it seems I only read while on business trips, and I haven't had to travel for the new job until last week.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Charter Arms - not vaporware - maybe

So remember way back when (December 2008) Charter announced they were building a revolver that took rimmless cartridges:

Well it looks like they have finally (maybe) built one or two.
Early guns are in the .40 S&W, which I have no use for. Still waiting on the .45. And , as always, moon clips are a feature not a bug, so a moon clip enabled version would be preferable.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Minor home repairs

Drained the water tank at the old house and installed a catch pan under it. Not easy. Took 3 hours to install that stupid $9 part.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


A bit humid and sticky. Nice breeze, but you have to be outdoors for that. Just finished helping my dad install a new microwave. Took a bit of work, as we had to modify the kitchen cabinets to prevent the microwave from being too close to the cooktop.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

SCOTUS gets another one right

The US Supreme Court just struck down the matching funds provision of the so-called "Clean Elections" law in Arizona. It's a good first start. The whole thing is blatantly unconstitutional as it forces people to fund the campaigns of those they disagree with.

Standard 5-4 split. I don't need to lay out who voted which way, because everyone knows how the court breaks on these issues.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Fascinating discussion over on Volokh over the use of unalienable vs. inaliable in the Declaration.

As far as I'm concerned it's "inalienable." It's a Latin root and therefore should have a Latin and not Grmanic prefix.

Besides, while the printer may have used unalienable, every copy in Jefferson's own handwriting uses the proper Latin form.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


From Eric over on TheGunCounter:

Evil and highly intelligent means showing some form of rational behavior and predictability. Evil and stupid means they can come up with anything at any time no matter how weird, crazy and destructive it is. It's the leftist version of "hold my beer and watch this!"

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rolling Thunder

Currently reading Rolling Thunder by John Varley.

Quite possibly the best Heinlein novel not written by Bob Heinlein. The main character is named Podkyne. Yes that's right.

I like Varley's sense of humor as well, from page 197:
I finally read the book my parents stole my name from, Podkayne of Mars.
What a Horrible book! What a mean old man! He spends the whole book getting you to like this sweet little airhead, and then he does terrible things to her. Don't you hate it when an author does that? I'm not reading any more of his books I promise you.

HA. Foreshadow much ?

Monday, May 16, 2011

QOTD - El Neil Version

There is a war going on, after all, between the so-called "dominant culture"—for which read the Parasitic Class—and the American Productive Class that clothes, feeds, and houses this country and much of the world and generally keeps the whole thing running.

The Parasitic Class decided for themselves long ago that we, the members of the Productive Class, should keep our places, work hard, turn over all our money to our "betters", and shut up.
-L. Neil Smith

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The question isn't whois going to let me;

it's who is going to stop me." - Ayn Rand

That quote probably embodies the spirit behind the new Atlas Shrugged movie better than anything from the book actually.

The director and producers didn't have a studio, didn't have actors, didn't have a distribution network, didn't have any of the normal resources required to make and distribute a movie.

They did it anyway. And it's good.

Other than Armin Shimerman I didn't recognize a single actor in the movie. And it didn't matter, because they were good. Taylor Schilling does a great job as Dagny; Graham Beckel (he's had bit parts in Castle and Battlestar Galactica) is outstanding as Ellis Wyatt.

The pacing is a touch slow, but it's meant to be an epic, so that expected. The score is outstanding. Frankly Elia Cmiral deserves an Oscar for the score. He won't get it, but he deserves it.

The biggest problem with the movie - it's "Part 1" of 3. Much like The Fellowship of the Ring, it feels unfinished. And of course it's a rather depressing film because it is only the first 3rd of the book. The movie ends on the iconic scene of Wyatt Oil's burning fields.

I left it as I found it
Take Over
It's Yours

I've always loved that scene...

At $10 million to make the film, and earnings of $2.5 mil in the first week (with only 299 screens) I predict that this movie will be a modest success under the traditional criteria; i.e. it will make it's nut.

On the other hand, we are talking about a book that 50 years after it was published is number 1, 2, and 3 on's political literature best seller's list. (1 and 2 have different introductions, 3 is the audiobook). Thus I predict over 1-million sales of the DVD when it comes out.

I also predict that this is the movie that, like Silence of the Lambs did for Jodi Foster, will make Taylor Schilling a star.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Patriots day

19 April - Lexington and Concord.

Keep your powder dry everyone. I find that little brass cylinders sealed with a primer on one end and a bullet on the other are excellent at that purpose.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

New Expedition

Ended up buying a 2003 Expy. This one is 3 years older than the other one we looked at, but actually has fewer miles by a few thousand. Blue/Tan with cloth seats, 4WD, Heavy Duty Tow package. Goodyear Wranglers with pretty decent tread left as well.

Oh, and the dealer did not try to blatantly screw us. He put on new front brakes (including brand new calipers), and we ended up paying about $3000 less than we would have been willing to pay for the other one.

Friday, April 15, 2011

BAG Day Delta Elite

Today is April the 15th. Everyone knows that the 15th of April is Tax Day. It is also BAG day. (Buy A Gun day).

It is of course important to keep up these important civic traditions. I therefore give you the BAG day Delta:

BAG day Delta

BAG day 10mm

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Did NOT buy a new truck today

So I was all set to buy a used 2006 Expedition. Decent shape, ok mileage, pretty much everything we wanted except it had the light duty towing package instead of the heavy one and it had leather seats :-(

This is AZ, Leather is HOT.

Anyway Dealer is asking $13K, and I know he won't come down much. I offer $14.5K out the door. Plus he has to fix the CD player and DVD player. This was actually about $150 too high. Basically I was asking him to eat his .doc fee.

He comes back with an extra thousand in "super secret" fees.

I say fine. I'll give you your asking price, just fix the broken stuff.

Sales guy says we have a deal.

Then my wife looks at the paperwork and it says they will fix the electronics and we will pay their cost. Um... NO. Oh and he also wants to charge us for the cost of tinting the windows.

So I tell the wife to give the phone to the manager. He makes a bunch of excuses. I finally say something allong the following:

Let me get this straight, I'm offering you your FULL asking price as advertised. I'm offering to pay ALL the Taxes, and your doc fee, and you want ME to pay to fix items that you advertised as present in the viehicle and working?!?!

"Well I'm already loosing money one this deal"

Too bad, we're done.

I intend to call the BBB or e-mail them on Monday.

Regardless, the folks at Certified Benz and Beamer are a bunch of crooks and weasels, don't buy from them. (In fairness, I think the sales guys are fine, its the manager who is a crook).

Edit to add: Found the BBB complaint form on-line. Look like they have 4 complaints about advertising and sales practices in the last 12-months. No wait... make that 5.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Guns Guitars and a lousy day

So I had saved up quite a bit of "fun" money. I was thinking about a new Guitar. I've been really enamored of the new BreedLove American Series guitars, and since Breedlove recently got bought out, there is a good chance that this series will be temporary.

Last night I saw that Elderly had a used on in stock for abut $250 less than new, and the deep concert size is a sweet body size.


Alternatively I'd love to have a smaller bodied 12-string, either a Concert or OM size. I thought really hard about buying that guitar from ELderly, but in the end decided to give it a day or so because I planned to go to the fun show on Sunday.

I got up early and picked up my friend Scott. We managed to hit the show about 20 minutes after opening, so there was almost no line to get in. Decent sized show, 4 fair pavilion halls plus some tents.

Now there are only one or two things that I was really interested in: A Dan Wesson 22 Revolver, a nice .45 acp revolver, or a decent 1911 in 10mm.

Wandering the show I found a very nice 1955 Smith and Wesson .45 acp target revolver. Now, I wasn't 100% certain that the gun was not originally chambered for .45 Colt and cut down for moon clips, but I made a note of it. The fellow was asking $650 which I think was probably a pretty nice deal.

Later on I found a Colt Delta Elite at a dealers table for a bit over a grand. I laughed a little bit. Then I saw the Argentine surplus Sistema Colt he had with a price of $750 and I just shook my head.

In the same hall I saw another Delta Elite, this one priced at $850. That's not a great price, but it's certainly a fair one. I grabed the guys card and made a note of the price.

A bit later I saw another Delta Elite, this one priced at $800. Better yet this was a private sale so no paperwork and no sales tax. Made another note.

After we ate we were getting about ready to leave. I kept thinking about the Delta. I went back to look at it and the guy offered to let me have it for $750, the exact same price as that Breedlove I was thinking abut.

I've wanted a 10mm for a long time. I'm looking it over and it looks ok. The barrel has been swapped out for a match style barrel but again that is ok.

This is the Delta Elite:


I was feeling a touch of buyer's remorse because I really do prefer a GI guiderod and bushing, but the price was good enough that I was willing to overlook that.

I take it apart and clean and lube it at Scott's place. Looks clean inside, not abused at all.
I get it home and go to load it and the cartridges won't go into battery.

What the...?

Take it apart again. Drop a cartridge into the chamber. Wont go in. Think about it. I grab a 40 S&W cartridge. Perfect fit.


Some idiot, and probably the guy before the guy I bought it from, converted a Colt Delta Elite, one of the finest combat handguns in existence, from the mighty 10mm to the .40 S&W. Most likely this was to shoot IDPA or IPSC where a 40 could give you a slight advantage over a .45 or 10mm. (1 more round than the 45 and softer recoil than the 40)

I suppose it could make a nifty pin gun as well. (Pin Gun = gun for shooting bowling pins off of a table). It is NOT however a ten mike mike. I wanted a ten mike mike.


I'm extremely frustrated right now. I've already listed it on our local gun board (with a completely honest listing) and will be happy if I can get out of it what I paid. Otherwise I can fix this. It will probably cost about $200 in new and used parts but it is recoverable.

I'm still pissed though.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


One of the orange trees that was dieing finally got to the point where we ripped it out last weekend. I let the kids play in the hole for a week then went tree shopping.

Since we have 19, count them 19 orange trees left I thought we ought to put in something different so I went on the hunt for a Grapefruit tree.

I went to 4 nurseries before I finally found a Red Grapefruit tree at Lowes.

Special plug to SummerWinds Nursery though:

They had a huge selection of fruit trees, including pluots, low chill nectarines and peaches, as well as the new low chill cherry trees. They also had several multiple budded plum trees, some as many as 5 on one tree.

Guess what followed me home...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

FEED Review

4 out of 5

FEED has been sitting in my backpack for several months in the virtual "I really need to get around to reading this" pile. I'm glad I did. It's quite well done.

FEED starts out somewhat slow, but that is to be expected for the first novel set in a new universe. It does after all take some time to get the reader up to speed on the way things work 20 years after "Rising Day". Once fleshed out though, the book becomes a fairly fast paced romp.

Several of the negative reviews on Amazon have centered on the fact that the book is not really about fighting zombies. True. The zombies are mostly background material, they are the reason for the story, not the focus. One might as well complain that they were mislead because they thought that Huckleberry Finn was going to be about the river.

Primarily the book is about the rise of new media over the old in the post-zombie-apocalypse. Those complaining that it was more about blogging than zombies should take note of the giant RSS feed symbol on the cover.

It's about living in the post zombie rising world, not about the zombies. Says so right on the cover: Good news: we survived; Bad News: So did they. Seriously Hello People, pay attention here.

McGuire does an excellent job of world building and of characterization. She does fall short a bit in the plotting department, as the bad guys are way too obvious, and I thought she telegraphed the ending pretty early. A little better plotting would have earned this 5 stars.

Spoiler Alert: I knew Seanan was going to go with the Podkayne of Mars ending by page 3 or 4. Now other than Heinlein, I can't think of anyone else who has used that ending, so most readers might not be expecting it. And of course I mean the original ending to Pody, not the sanitized one the publisher forced on Heinlein.

The odd thing is, I've known Seanan since high school, so when her characters go into expository mode they speak in Seanan's voice. It's a particular voice unique to Seanan. Using a pseudonymn is silly. The book is written in Seanan's voice, style, and particular sense of humor; there is no point in pretending otherwise, even if Mira Grant is an open pseudonym.

And don't worry, there are enough zombies to go around.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Over on The Gun Counter Chris
When you have a choice, you should choose not to support evil.

We were talking about specifically about DeBeers, but it works on any level you want it to.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Up to Four with Wyoming

Wyoming just became the fourth state to join the constitutional carry bandwaggon.

Gov. Mead signed the bill today, and the new law goes into effect in July. Arizona welcomes Wyoming to the club.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dancing skyclad befor the alter of Free Trade

So my anarcho-capatalist Libertarian friends continue to prance nekkid before the holy alter of Free Trade, see HERE

And yes, they are correct in that tariffs stifle growth, and economic growth (in the end) trumps all. Of course, corporate taxes also stifle growth, as do consumption taxes, construction taxes...

I still maintain that if you are going to tax, it's far better to do it on imports than on corporate profits. Tax corporations too highly and they just move offshore, tax imports to highly and people might pay more, but they start making stuff here.

Now maybe, just maybe, my friends are taking the long view. After all, if you pursue unrestrained "free" trade with China, eventually you have no jobs left, and thus no taxpayers. That's a rather long term method of starving the beast, and it's awfully rough going, but I suppose it would work out in the end.

Competition wise, it's not the wage difference either, it's China's refusal to float their currency, and the stifling regulations we have here. OSHA, EPA, Sarbanes-Oxley etc. are not designed to destroy American industry, that's just a "beneficial side effect". In fact, pretty much anything a government does is BAD for the economy, bad for growth, and bad for jobs.

Regardless, I did my part to support international trade this afternoon:
I needed some stakes to stake my trees, so I bought some steel T posts at Lowe's. They were lousy quality, but it was all they had, and of course they were made in China.

I also needed a new lamp for my bedroom (also made in China)

I also found some lightbulbs (China again) but I put them back and found some different bulbs made in the U.S.A. (sorry guys)

As an aside, how did that happen? I thought these days we just sat around in a circle and sold each other financial products.

Anyway, for those who actually WANT to buy stuff made here, Sylvania still makes light-bulbs in Pennsylvania., so shop accordingly.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Rising

Leprecon is May 6th through the 8th.

Seanan will be our Music Guest of Honor. Because Seanan is our guest, I have been tasked with writing at least 2 zombie themed songs before the con.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Thought for today

Today's thought on the Budget:
"We have finally run out of other people's money."

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tree planting

Lemon tree very crispy and lemon flower is dead,
Lemon tree, there's no saving, so I'll dig it up instead.

Global Cooling managed to get my Eureaka Lemon tree. Fortunately it was less than a year old (and I save my tree receipts). Lowes gave me my money back, but had no citrus in stock yet, Home Depot did though.

Ended up buying a Meyer Lemon. Now the Meyer lemon is not a true lemon, rather it is a rather slutty citrus that climbed in bed with a mandarin sometime back in history. Still they are very popular, though a touch sweater than a true lemon.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Made this for the filk last night.

4 cups sliced apples (I used apples and pears)
1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and juice from a lemon

Mix and dump in a 9x9 baking dish

Mix 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup oats and 3 tbs butter with a pastry cutter and sprinkle over the top.
Bake @ 350 for 45 minutes.

Friday, January 21, 2011


From Stuckinmassachusetts :

The Bill of Rights is a sum-total package; we take all the freedoms enumerated therein or we take none of them. For far too long both the left and the right have viewed the BoR as a buffet, where some rights are added to the dinner plate with gusto while others are left to languish - or worse, removed entirely from the menu.

Well said.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Regular readers here know TJIC, a frequent commenter here. It looks like the jack-booted thugs in Massachusetts are after his guns due to his somewhat inflammatory, but constitutionally protected free speech.

Some details from Borepatch.

Let me explain this in little words to the Arlington Massachusetts PD: expressing an opinion that the entirety of congress is a bunch of traitors that have violated the constitution and ought to hang by the neck till dead is NOT a threat. It's protected political speech.

It may be outrageous, or inflammatory, or even incorrect (after all, I can't think of anything the Gentleman from TX 14 has done that is traitorous or anti-constitutional) but it is nonetheless protected free speech. Taking TJIC's property without due process is a violation of his civil rights under color of law.

If they can do this to Travis, they can do this to you if they decide they don't like your politics. Remember the bumper sticker from the Clinton Administration: Is your church BATF approved? Same thing, different scale.

If you write a blog of any sort, or state a public opinion of anything, you are TJIC
We are ALL TJIC.

And the Jack Boots all were polished,
and the uniforms were neat
they all were so polite that day - they smiled so bright and sweet
they looked just like they boy next door, they did it all so well
they looked a lot like you and me...We did it to ourselves.
-J. Bethancourt

Monday, January 17, 2011

Oil Change

I think I just remembered why I don't change my oil any more and PAY someone else to do it.

The local place up the road give me an oil change and a car wash for $36 +tax. Unfortunately they close at 18:00 and I normally do not get home until 18:00. This really needs to be done before the weekend. That's ok, I can change my own oil right? It's not like it's hard, just annoying. Besides, I need to return a gas cap.

Go to the auto parts store. Hmmn, oil costs a LOT more than I remember. I always use either Valvoline or Castroil, doesn't matter because they are priced the same. So lets see, 6 quarts of 5W-30 and an oil filter comes to $30 +tax.

Get home, try to get the old oil filter off. Fail. Get giant pair of channel locks. Succeed in poking a hole in the filter but not otherwise budging it. Hmmn, I could reach it better if I took off the front tire. Jack up front of truck, remove tire. All right now I can get on this thing. Suceed in poking second hole in filter...

I know I've got an oil filter wrench around here somewhere. Nope.

Big-assed pipe wrench? Actually worked.

20 minutes later I've got it done, other than some new stains on the driveway.

Hey, I think I remembered why I pay someone else to do this.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Why Americans Hate their Government - ADEQ Edition

A week ago I got my viehicle registration renewal form in the mail. It included the dreaded note : Emissions Check required.

This was expected actually.

In Arizona you have to get a smog check on your viehicle every two years if you live in either the Phoenix Metro or Tucson Metro area. Basically then, 90% of the population has to put up with this BS.

Step one; Drive 12 miles to the smog check location. Burn 1 gallon of gas in the process.

Millage of the truck when we started the smog check : 122,766 miles

Step two; Wait while the guys at the smog check place drive your car on the treadmill for the IM147 test. Here is the fun part, the operator has to drive a particular acceleration profile. If you miss the profile they have to try again.

My truck is a stick shift. My truck is a stick shift equipped with Fords old 300 CI in-line 6 cylinder engine. (all torque, no horsepower)

Guess how many times the guys had to drive the profile. Hint, it was more than 3 and less than 5.

The truck passed the emissions test with no trouble otherwise. After they run your car on the treadmill you get to

Step three: check to make certain your gas cap makes a good seal on the tank.

One of my gas caps failed. *grumble*

Pay $28 for the privilege of having your car tested.

The rest of the steps we shall leave unnumbered.

Drive 12 miles to Checker Auto. Pay $9 for a new gas cap. Drive 12 miles back to smog check place. Burn 2 gallons of gas in the process.

Wait in line. As expected, they have to do the entire test all over again, because the computer won't let them simply retest against the failed portion.

Run the profile. Miss the profile. Several times. Finally one of the guys figures out that the DOS computer is not talking to the Windows computer. (yeah the computer that measures the exhaust components for NOX and hydrocarbons is running DOS)

Back truck out of test land and into adjacent test lane.

Rerun the test about 12 times. It finally passed when the supervisor held the measurement probe against the exhaust pipe. Apparently the problem was fairly straightforward:

My exhaust was too clean. Yup, the hydrocarbons were coming in at 6 out of an allowed 25, so the computer kept rejecting the data as too low.

Finally they get to test the gas cap again. Pass - no surprise there.

Mileage when done testing 122,812 miles. Subtract out the 24 miles to get to Checker auto and back and they ran my truck for over 20 miles on the stupid treadmill.

In their defense, the technicians were very professional and apologetic about the whole thing, and worked very hard to keep the lines moving for everyone else.

Oh, and there are big signs stating that "enhanced testing is the result of Federal Law"; i.e. don't blame us, it's the Feds fault. Of course it's really jointly the Fed and ADEQ's fault for having such a poorly designed procedure.

So let's see, not counting getting there and back, we wasted about 50 miles of driving, 3 hours of my time, and a quarter tank of gas because my gas cap did not quite seal properly.

This is why we hate our government, because the whole process is inane and stupid. And since the test is over, I'm sure my readers can guess which cap is back on my rear tank.

On Tucson

From one of my local firearms forums:
Tucson is Phoenix's little sister, you know the one that never shaves her legs, want's to save whales and free the illegals, and shows up to family events with a Tofu casserole smelling like pot. - Gunslinger808

So spot on there I'm not even sure if it's funny or not.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Saturday we got our granite installed in the kitchen. Thus Sunday I spent cursing the sink and plumbing hookups. After 3 trips to the hardware store, I got it reassembled and working.


Shopping tip of the day

Midway USA has Browning hi-power mags on sale. The good 15 round Mec-Gars. If you need hi-power magazines now just might be a good time. What with the gun grabbers preparing to dance in the blood of the slain and all.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

More Guitar Geeking for TJIC

Joe Bethancourt just posed a youtube video of him playing the cedar/rosewood Breedlove I talked about the other day.

I think he has it tuned down to double-drop-D. Sounds like it at any rate, I can't see his chording hand well enough to know for certain.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tonight's BBT

Sheldon plays a theremin on tonight's Big Bang Theory.

Why do I suspect this will lead to a run on theremin sales?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Today is 12th night, and I am feeling way too crappy to take down Christmas decorations.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Just got back from Fiddler's Dream. Double concert set featuring Joe Bethancourt and Leslie Fish.

Was nice. They held it in the fellowship hall since they needed the extra room. Joe bright 3 guitars (C.J. old Maple Martin 12, a 000C Martin Signature series, and a Cedar/Rosewood Breedlove.

He had the Breed tuned down to double drop-D, and it had some serious low end growl to it.

Les played Monster.

Joe played one song by a local called "Confederate Souvenirs" that was simply an outstanding example of songwriting. Picked up a couple of Joe's CDs since I have all of Leslie's already.