Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Friday, December 08, 2017

Wow. Just Wow.

4K, 100,000 frames per second. Lightning like you've never seen it before. Go fullscreen.


Transient from Dustin Farrell (www.dfvc.com) on Vimeo.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Lois Lerner is Frightened

The news is reporting that former IRS executive Lois G. Lerner and her deputy Holly Paz want their testimony in the Tea Party targeting investigation sealed because they're afraid of public reaction should the information be released.

They should be afraid. Everyone sitting in a seat of power in a government office should be afraid of pissing off the public. "Tar, Feathers," as Instapundit puts it, should probably be employed somewhat less than metaphorically from time to time, so as to reduce the possibility of "Rope, tree, some assembly required."

At least some of the corrupt Illinois politicians end up serving time.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Wow. Is This Thing Still On?

I see it's been awhile since I posted here.  Sorry about that.  Not intentional.  Lots to write about, not much interest in actually writing.  Maybe after Thanksgiving.  Thanks for visiting.  Read the stuff on the sidebar.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Bleg and Gun Raffle:

This year I was a first-time attendee of Blogorado, and fell in love with the Farm Fam.  One of their own - well, I'll let Old NFO tell the story:
Gun Raffle!!!

I know this is a lousy time to ask for money, but one of our extended Blogarado family is in need. FarmFam’s daughter-in-law, Andi, 33 and the mother of two small boys, suffered a stroke in mid August. Unfortunately, it wasn't diagnosed correctly for two weeks, delaying treatment.

She's facing a year to 18 months of physical therapy to get back to full function.

Therapy costs are running $200-500 per session, and she needs therapy once a week. Andi has not been able to afford health insurance, because she her husband own a small business that makes too much money for them to get assistance with health insurance, but not enough for them to be able to afford health insurance, and raising two boys.

Any help will be much appreciated, as Andi has begun physical therapy, and without health insurance she has to pay the full cost of every session.

In order to help her out, we are doing another gun raffle to try to help her with her therapy. One change from what we did for Tam is to run this through a Go Fund Me, https://www.gofundme.com/andrea-keenan-medical-fund, so that the money is immediately available to her for her therapy. One IRS change is that Go Fund Me $$ are now counted as income for the family, so we are shooting for a goal of $25,000 to offset the tax burden they will be hit with.

Here are the ‘rules’ $10 per chance, $50/6 chances, $100/12 chances, etc. Make your donation to the Go Fund Me above, and copy your donation receipt to 4anditherapy@gmail.com. This will count as your entry into the raffle. If you have already donated, we will accept prior donations to the Go Fund Me.

The raffle will run from now through the end of November, with the drawing to be held 1 December via a random drawing program. First number gets their choice, second gets their choice, etc.

The raffle packages are-
1. Taurus .44 Magnum pistol


2. Ruger MK-II bull barrel .22


3. Custom sub-MOA AR-15 - BCM 18” SPR Mk 12 upper with PRI carbon fiber handguard, BCM BCG, all Wolff springs except buffer. KNS anti-roll trigger pins, JP Enterprises Silent capture buffer and spring, Magpul PRS stock, Magpul MIAD grip, Norgon ambi mag release, Teal Blue Bravo Ambi Bolt catch, AeroPrecision lower with 45° safety, Harris bipod adapter for front rail, full length top rail, BUIS front sight, Gissele SSA-E trigger, BCM gunfighter charging handle.


4. Remington 870 Express pump in 20ga


5. Chinese copy of a 12ga coach gun


6. Springfield Range Officer .45 with 7 magazines and custom holster


7. Springfield Range Officer 9mm with 7 magazines and custom holster


8. Lawdog’s personal Rock Island 1911 9mm, reworked by Joe Speer with 6 magazines


9. A ladies package consisting of a ring (late-Victorian-style design with either high-quality glass or mid-grade garnet stones. The mount is jeweler's metal, size 6 3/4 or 7). A unicorn necklace, late 1980s-early 1990s James Avery sterling silver charm on a silver chain. A coin necklace, an 1904 Indian Head penny, silver dipped in a gold-plated mount with a gold-plated silver chain. And a handmade necklace and earrings from Phlegmmy.

10. Signed copies of Lawdog’s, Peter Grant’s, Dorothy Grant’s, and JL Curtis’ books

11. TBD (other possible packages are being discussed)
All guns will be shipped FFL to FFL for winners. Pictures of the various packages will follow in the next couple of days.

Thank you in advance, I know she will appreciate the help, and this will take a little pressure off the family!If you can help out, please do. These are good people.

EDIT:  Updates to the prize list and raffle status are being maintained by Old NFO.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Picture Dump - Cars & Coffee, 10/14/17

The second Saturday of every month, one of the high-end strip-malls in Tucson holds "Cars & Coffee" where, for a couple of hours, anybody can bring their car and show it off.  There's a wide, wide variety of vehicles at these things, but this month there was the largest turnout I've yet to see - at least a couple hundred cars.  Here are some of the highlights:

First, the exotic:





Then the classic:






Next, the unusual:







And, finally, something I've never seen in the wild before - An aluminum-bodied, right-hand drive AC Cobra:




There were also of course Camaros and Mopars, Golf GTIs and Subaru WRXs, BMWs, Porsches and Ferraris and more Mustangs than you could shake a proverbial stick at.  It's a good show every month, and gratifying to know that there are still a LOT of young gearheads out there interested in going FAST, along with us old farts who can finally afford the cars they dreamed about in their youths.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Motive

When I first heard of the details of the shooting spree in Las Vegas, my immediate thought was of Matt Bracken's Enemies Foreign and Domestic.  My second thought was of the University of Texas, Austin tower shooting.  I was not alone on either thought.

Well, preliminary reports are that there were no obvious brain abnormalities.

Mark Steyn recently received a missive from one of his fans on the incident, and in keeping with letting other people say it better than I can, I recommend you read what he had to say, but I will offer some excerpts:
This man amassed (rough figures) 24 guns in the hotel and another 19 at his home - 42 guns in total. He spent some $100,000 on buying them. The guns at his home are one thing but he also spent days filling his hotel room with more weapons and ammunition than he could ever conceivably use along with an array of advanced modifications and accessories.

Everything brand new. And very expensive. And mostly entirely redundant. Representing in effect an enormous waste of money and time and risk.

Except that is in the realm of generating massive publicity. Guaranteed massive publicity.

Yet despite having gone to enormous lengths to achieve that goal we are asked to believe this same man never troubled - never took the most elementary steps - to speak to that publicity. Indeed left behind no trace of anything that might demonstrate indicate or even hint at his motive or motives.

That would appear to make very little sense.

We would argue the opposite - that it makes absolute sense.

Because this gentleman did not simply fail to leave behind a motive; He took substantial trouble to ensure that no motive could be found - or attributed to him. All of which can lead us to only one conclusion:

It has been said that 'the medium is the message'.

In this case that is the literal truth. There is only one plausible motive for what this man did. And here it is:

This man wished to telegraph to America in graphic form the hard irrefutable evidence that guns and gun ownership and the ease of gun purchase in America are an evil and must be controlled. On that hypothesis everything now makes sense.
On the question of why the shooter scoped out other venues first, but ultimately attacked the Harvest Music Festival:
The people he chose to kill supports the hypothesis on 'guns'. Country and Western fans are virtually guaranteed to own or at least to defend the ownership of guns. By a certain logic this provides the gunman with two sound moral positions (because it is not beyond possibility he has a conscience):

First - While killing a very large number of innocent people is an horrendous crime it is nonetheless entirely justifiable - in moral terms - if it causes a restriction on guns. Because such a restriction would - it is widely held - save innumerable lives in the long run. There is no evidence for this but it is still a widely and passionately held belief.

Second - Since the people he is shooting are actively or passively defenders of guns and an obstacle to gun control they are by definition responsible in part for all the people who have been and continue to be killed by guns.
You see it in almost every story - "We may never know the motive." "The motive remains a mystery."

I don't think there was any kind of conspiracy involved, but I can't disagree with this assessment. It's almost as if he was shouting "How DARE we be allowed to be free!"

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

"This is Public. Please Share."

John Ringo, author of many books I've enjoyed greatly, posted something on Facebook I'm going to reproduce here.  The title of this post comes from it.

Other than that, I have no commentary:
A Theory on Las Vegas

I may be the only person in the 'pundit' world who can put what we know about the Las Vegas shooter in perspective because I've dealt with something similar before. My personal take, at this point, is 'homicidal psychotic break, rationale currently unknown, possible pharmacological.'

To debunk a few of the recent urban legends and prolapse some of the stupider arguments:

ISIS: Nothing in his electronic trail indicates any contact with ISIS despite their claims and some rumors. Nothing.

'There were multiple shooters/he was a patsy!': All the guns in the room were registered to Paddock. He was covered in GSR and even had burns on his hands from hot barrel/rounds.

'He was antifa killing Republicans!': Nothing in his electronic trail indicates the slightest political affiliation or interest. Nothing.

There weren't even angry emails. He never posted comments. Rarely read political news. Nada.

Gambling debts! He was broke!

Paddock was a habitual hobby gambler who was the sort of person casinos hate. He would set a budget on his gambling and stick to it religiously. He also rarely lost big or won big and never let either one change his habits.

He was a perfectly normal, successful, retired accountant well-invested in real estate with very little or no recent change in demeanor or actions.

Perfectly normal guy and only a ‘loner’ to the extent he wasn’t terribly socially active. ‘Loner’ apparently means he didn’t frequent wild parties. If he had the narrative would be ‘wild party animal.’

'Homicidal psychotic break means he couldn't have done the planning!'

Au contraire. Deep sigh. Been here, had someone in my life nearly do if not that than similar. With their permission I will now recount a story and show why everything about this makes a terrible sort of sense to me. The story is about my lovely and extremely loving wife, Miriam, and her descent to homicidal psychotic break due to a nasty drug interaction.

My wife has had the same doctor since she was a child. Old 'country' doctor who is the only person who has ever been able to handle Miriam's many oddities. A limited list:

My wife:

Has four kidneys and four ankles. (She ate the good twin.)

Was once listed as one of the top five Adult ADHD in the US and the only one who was clinically functional.

Has supremely bizarre drug interactions and thereby hangs this tale.

Miriam is a 'limited case pharmacological phenotype.' What does that mean? You know where on the warning label it says: 'in rare cases may cause you to grow two heads and fly to the moon'? Miriam is 'rare cases.' Every single time she tries a new prescription drug (fill in reason here) she is 'rare cases.'

This involves the 'in rare cases' effect of a drug called Cymbalta. Notably, as Cymbalta NOW states 'in rare cases may cause homicidal or suicidal psychotic break. Should not be prescribed to teenagers.' (Because it turns out in MOST cases WILL cause psychotic break in teenagers.)

Miriam was prescribed Cymbalta for 'depression' by her doctor in the early fall of 2007. I don't really remember if it seemed to work or not but she remained on it. I do recall that there as a shooting (by a teenager) that December in Nebraska in a mall. And I do recall Miriam's uncharacteristic comment.

'He only managed to kill five people in a crowded mall at Christmas time with a pistol and three magazines? He really needed to learn how to shoot.'

My wife is extremely loving and extremely Christian. Her normal response would have been 'That's terrible. God bless their souls and I hope he finds peace!' 'I could have done better' metaphorically was... not Miriam. I'll admit I didn't really notice it at the time.
Nor did I notice that over the course of the next several months (not sure when it started) we started to have a lot of 'off-brand' bleach around the house. Miriam is a lovely wife but cleaning is not her thing. But she also purchases in a very random manner. (Note the ADHD thing.) This did seem to be alot of bleach, though. I mentioned it a couple of times in jest. (We finally ran through all the bleach she bought in 2007-8 about a year ago. That much bleach.)

I didn't realize there were twenty-nine more gallon bottles in the trunk of her car.

I do recall during a rather bad time (possibly around below) that 'when she was gone' (and it had the feeling of 'soon') I wouldn't have to worry about the cats because 'they would be coming with her.' Miriam occasionally says odd things but that stood out. I'm more than aware of various forms of murder suicide and it was... discomforting. But... Miriam sometimes says odd things. (Used to. Far less these days for a variety of reasons. She's gotten SANER with menopause which is... just as bizarre as everything else.)

Things around Mother's Day got bad but they usually are. (Reasons I won't relate.) Then at a certain point I got a call from my loving wife (GF at the time) saying she was coming home from work, early, and we needed to go to Parkridge. I wasn't even sure what 'Parkridge' was.

Parkridge is one of the hospitals in the area but the specific one she mentioned was the psychiatric hospital.

I asked her on the drive over what was wrong. She didn't want to talk about it. For various 'privacy' reasons I wasn't well informed at the time. But I'll fill in the blanks for you in ways they weren't filled in for me.

She finally realized something was VERY wrong and checked herself in. Miriam had had a 'homicidal psychotic break' due to a side effect of Cymbalta. In most cases this is light and happens during the first couple of months or first month. NOW doctors are told to evaluate regularly in the first few months. THEN there was no warning. And NOBODY goes nine months. Except someone with ENORMOUS coping skills who has had to deal with madness that drove others insane on a daily basis her whole life.

(By the way, the teenager in the mall above? Guess what anti-depressant he was on? One guess and it rhymes with 'Sin Malta'. He’d been on it a few months, prescribed right around the same time as Miriam.)

So my loving wife coped. She controlled. As she slowly went ever-loving NUTS.

The specific issue was she had 'an uncontrollable desire to do harm to those who do harm to others.' Notably, she'd built up a list of persons on the Megan's (sexual predators) List and had developed very carefully constructed kill plans for each. She was tracking them and targeting them carefully. She has an extensive background in forensics and was probably going to get away with it.

Now, people may look at the targets and go 'Well... Uhm... having a hard time with that being 'bad'.' But to be very clear, my wife had shifted, subtly and without warning, from sweet, Christian, Miriam to serial killer. And I do mean without ANY REAL WARNING.

I didn't know exactly what was going on at the time. I was approached by one of the staff after a few hours sitting in a hard chair out front.

'I understand you're an author?'

'Yes. What's going on? Is Miriam okay?' (We weren't married at the time. Yes, I married her AFTER this, people.)

'She's being evaluated. But I understand you work from home? Are there frequently?'

'Pretty much all the time.'

'We can release her if she is under 24 hour monitoring...'

I had to sign to get her out pledging I would maintain '24 hour monitoring.' (Yes, I had to sign an actual release taking responsibility for the actions of an adult. They wouldn't tell me FOR WHAT ACTIONS.)

Miriam covered the big stuff on the ride home. I didn't get lots of detail til... years later. Details such as: Manson-like she had started to get the other patients, and even staff, to agree that her plan totally made sense in her first group therapy session. That was the real reason they were sending her home. They were afraid she was infecting the patients and staff and would form a 'kill sexual predators' cult.

(I guess they thought I was immune or something.)

Issues with this went on and on for months as it slowly leached from her system.

But let me relate it to Las Vegas.

Most people think of 'homicidal break' as someone suddenly 'grabbing a letter opener and carving their way out of Cost Accountancy and into forensic history.' (H/t: the late Sir Terry Pratchett.)

That's not, generally, how it works. How much planning and preparation a person does depends upon how rapid the onset is (months in Miriam's case) and how good they are at planning and preparation. (Both Miriam and Paddock were planners. He was an accountant and multi-millionaire.)

So look at the story above and break it down:

Relatively normal person, perhaps a bit odd, has minor changes in behavior that no-one in their close circle really notices.

He/she is a methodical person with an agenda. Other people who've done mass kills simply did not do it right. He/she is going to do it right. He knows they hold concerts by the Mandalay. That's the perfect venue for the most kills.

Suddenly they're a mass killer for no apparent reason.

That was what WAS going to happen with my wife.

So, Paddock doesn't really surprise me. I've seen it before.

My guess is it will be doctors who figure it out. And if they do they'll find he either was having a bad drug reaction (in which case nobody will admit nothin’ just as they’ve never admitted it was Cymbalta that caused the Westroads Mall Shooting) or neurological degeneration of some sort. (A tumor caused the University of Texas ‘Bell Tower’ shooting.) If pharmacological, the drug doesn't even have to be a definitively 'psychotropic' drug. Many drugs these days from heart medicine to anti-malarials have some psychotropic effect.

(If this had anything to do with a drug reaction, any drug of any type, I hope the survivors sue the shit out of the drug manufacturer. Because most of these recent 'crazy' mass kills, going all the way back to the 'postal worker' epidemic (overdosage of Prozac) and Columbine (both kids were hopped to their gills on prescription anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs), have had SOMETHING to do with psychotropic drugs pushed by drug companies. Many of the murder/suicides of returning military personnel were closely linked to an anti-malarial. And nobody seems to be willing to speak truth to power on the subject. Just writing this post will probably get me sued.)

The only lesson to take from this is 'keep an eye on your loved ones especially if they have ANY changes in prescription.' Doesn’t matter if it’s heart medication. Keep an eye on their personality as well as health.

Homicidal break does not always happen quickly. Sometimes it creeps in like the fog on cats feet. It is only at the last that the cackle of madness is heard. By then it is too late.

May God rest all their souls and let them find peace.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

91 is a Pretty Good Run

So Hugh Hefner has passed after 91 years on this earth and uncounted platinum blondes.

I hope he got the death Tyrion Lannister wishes for:


Friday, September 22, 2017

Awww, Sonofabitch, It's Dusty in Here...

I just ran across something at Reddit most of you probably already have read, but I'm going to copy it here with attribution because I want to archive it myself.  It's titled In the final minutes of his life, Calvin has one last talk with Hobbes, by Redditor "Samuraitiger19."

"Calvin? Calvin, sweetheart?"

In the darkness Calvin heard the sound of Susie, his wife of fifty-three years. Calvin struggled to open his eyes. God, he was so tired and it took so much strength. Slowly, light replaced the darkness, and soon vision followed. At the foot of his bed stood his wife. Calvin wet his dry lips and spoke hoarsely, "Did... did you.... find him?"

"Yes dear," Susie said smiling sadly, "He was in the attic."

Susie reached into her big purse and brought out a soft, old, orange tiger doll. Calvin could not help but laugh. It had been so long. Too long.

"I washed him for you," Susie said, her voice cracking a little as she laid the stuffed tiger next to her husband.

"Thank you, Susie." Calvin said.

A few moments passed as Calvin just laid on his hospital bed, his head turned to the side, staring at the old toy with nostalgia.

"Dear," Calvin said finally. "Would you mind leaving me alone with Hobbes for a while? I would like to catch up with him."

"All right," Susie said. "I'll get something to eat in the cafeteria. I'll be back soon."

Susie kissed her huband on the forehead and turned to leave. With sudden but gentle strength Calvin stopped her. Lovingly he pulled his wife in and gave her a passionate kiss on the lips. "I love you," he said.

"And I love you," said Susie.

Susie turned and left. Calvin saw tears streaming from her face as she went out the door.

Calvin then turned to face his oldest and dearest friend. "Hello Hobbes. It's been a long time hasn't it old pal?"

Hobbes was no longer a stuffed doll but the big furry old tiger Calvin had always remembered. "It sure has, Calvin." said Hobbes.

"You... haven't changed a bit." Calvin smiled.

"You've changed a lot." Hobbes said sadly.

Calvin laughed, "Really? I haven't noticed at all."

There was a long pause. The sound of a clock ticking away the seconds rang throughout the sterile hospital room.

"So... you married Susie Derkins." Hobbes said, finally smiling. "I knew you always like her."

"Shut up!" Calvin said, his smile bigger than ever.

"Tell me everything I missed. I'd love to hear what you've been up to!" Hobbes said, excited.  And so Calvin told him everything. He told him about how he and Susie fell in love in high school and had married after graduating from college, about his three kids and four grandkids, how he turned Spaceman Spiff into one of the most popular sci-fi novels of the decade, and so on. After he told Hobbes all this there was another pregnant pause.

"You know... I visited you in the attic a bunch of times." Calvin said.

"I know."

"But I couldn't see you. All I saw was a stuffed animal." Calvin voice was breaking and tears of regret started welling up in his eyes.

"You grew up old buddy." said Hobbes.

Calvin broke down and sobbed, hugging his best friend. "I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry I broke my promise! I promised I wouldn't grow up and that we'd be together forever!!"

Hobbes stroke the Calvin's hair, or what little was left of it. "But you didn't."

"What do you mean?"

"We were always together... in our dreams."

"We were?"

"We were."

"Hobbes?"

"Yeah, old buddy?"

"I'm so glad I got to see you like this... one last time..."

"Me too, Calvin. Me too."

"Sweetheart?" Susie voice came from outside the door.

"Yes dear?" Calvin replied.

"Can I come in?" Susie asked.

"Just a minute."  Calvin turned to face Hobbes one last time. "Goodbye Hobbes. Thanks... for everything..."

"No, thank you Calvin." Hobbes said.

Calvin turned back to the door and said, "You can come in now."

Susie came in and said, "Look who's come to visit you."

Calvin's children and grandchildren followed Susie into Calvin's room. The youngest grandchild ran past the rest of them and hugged Calvin in a hard, excited hug. "Grandpa!!" screamed the child in delight.

"Francis!" cried Calvin's daughter, "Be gentle with your grandfather."

Calvin's daughter turned to her dad. "I'm sorry, Daddy. Francis never seems to behave these days. He just runs around making a mess and coming up with strange stories."

Calvin laughed and said, "Well now! That sound just like me when I was his age."
Calvin and his family chatted some more until a nurse said, "Sorry, but visiting hours are almost up."  Calvin's beloved family said good bye and promised to visit tomorrow. As they turned to leave Calvin said, "Francis. Come here for a second."

Francis came over to his grandfather's side, "What is it Gramps?"

Calvin reached over to the stuffed tiger on his bedside and and held him out shakily to his grandson, who looked exactly as he did so many years ago. "This is Hobbes. He was my best friend when I was your age. I want you to have him."

"He's just a stuffed tiger." Francis said, eyebrows raised.

Calvin laughed, "Well, let me tell you a secret."  Francis leaned closer to Calvin. Calvin whispered, "If you catch him in a tiger trap using a tuna sandwich as bait he will turn into a real tiger."

Francis gasped in delighted awe. Calvin continued, "Not only that he will be your best friend forever."

"Wow! Thanks grandpa!" Francis said, hugging his grandpa tightly again.

"Francis! We need to go now!" Calvin's daughter called.

"Okay!" Francis shouted back.

"Take good care of him." Calvin said.

"I will." Francis said before running off after the rest of the family.

Calvin laid on his back and stared at the ceiling. The time to go was close. He could feel it in his soul. Calvin tried to remember a quote he read in a book once. It said something about death being the next great adventure or something like that. He eyelids grew heavy and his breathing slowed. As he went deeper into his final sleep he heard Hobbes, as if he was right next to him at his bedside. "I'll take care of him, Calvin..."

Calvin took his first step toward one more adventure and breathed his last with a grin on his face.
Just. Damn.

Monday, September 11, 2017

9/11

I've got nothing to add to this post from 2003 except "Thank you" to the operators of the Internet Wayback Machine, and I'll be sending them a donation.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

It's an Illness...

My first N-Frame was a Model 25 Mountain Gun in .45LC.


My second was a 327 TRR8.


Then I traded the Mountain Gun on a 5" heavy-barrelled, unfluted M25-7 also in .45LC.


Fourth was a Lew Horton custom 629.


Today I put $100 down on a 5" Model 24, tapered barrel, fluted cylinder.  Pictures when I finally get it out of layaway.

I'm an N-Frame junkie.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

No New Blog Content for Awhile

I'm going through the archives starting at the beginning and working my way forward cleaning up links (where I can - thanks to the Internet Wayback Machine) and moving photos onto Blogger (again, where I can thanks to the backups I made and what I can pull off of Photobucket.)  There are over 6,800 posts in the archives, so this is a long-term project.

My back already hurts.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Blogorado Bound

I attended Gun Blogger Rendezvous 1 - 10, only missing the last one so I could attend Boomershoot again. Unfortunately it really was the last one, but that means I have vacation time (and money) to allow me to attend another gathering of The People of the Gun™ that I have had to miss in prior years - Blogorado.

Blogorado is an invitation-only gathering of the Clan held in an undisclosed location in Colorado, attended by a glittering list of blog-writers, their spouses (often bloggers themselves) and sometimes their families.  It is held on the ranch of Farmgirl, Farmmom, and Farmdad.  Motel reservations are made, vacation time has been requested, and now I just have to choose what portion of my arsenal will be making the trip North and East with me.

I'm really looking forward to seeing several people I haven't seen in meatspace in years, and meeting new people I haven't had a chance to meet before.

For me, this is the best part of blogging - friends you never knew you had.  As Breda Fallon once said in an episode of the podcast Vicious Circle:
I'm one of those people - I like people, I'm personable, but I don't really have "friends" friends, because I just don't connect to people really that well. But then blogs happened, and I found a whole group of people that I fit in with because I'm weird and they're weird in kinda the same way, and yea for our mutual weirdness. So, thank you for being weird with me.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Well-Regulated Militia

Meet the Cajun Navy:
“They can handle their boats better than the average fireman, who handles a boat once a year during annual training,” says Lt. General (ret.) Russel Honore, who estimates outdoorsmen saved 10,000 from floodwaters in New Orleans while he was in command there after Hurricane Katrina. “They use their boats all the time and know their waters, and know their capacity. It’s an old professional pride. It’s like good food: Some people didn’t go to the Cordon Bleu, but they can cook like hell. That’s these fishermen and their boats.”

Buster Stoker, 21, is a heavy equipment operator for R&R Construction in Sulphur, La., and spends the rest of his time in his 17-foot aluminum Pro Drive marsh boat, fishing for alligator-gar in the heat of summer and chasing fowl through water-thickets in the winter.

“The best day on the water is every day on the water,” he said.

He and several other construction colleagues met in the company parking lot Monday morning at 5 a.m., loaded up with gas and supplies, and headed toward Houston. They launched their little fleet of 14 craft from the intersection of Highway 90 and 526, and over the next several hours they pulled hundreds of people out of their flooded homes in subdivisions, hauling them aboard like gasping bass.

This Cajun Navy is a nebulous, informal thing. It has no real corps or officers. It’s “an intensely informal and unorganized operation,” says Academy Award-winning filmmaker Allan Durand, a Lafayette, La., native., who did a documentary on the “Cajun Navy” volunteer-boats following Katrina.

It’s a movement basically founded on the realization that large government agencies aren’t quick-moving.

According to Honore, they have become utterly essential.

“The first-responders aren’t big enough to do this,” he said. “You might have a police force of 3,000, and maybe 200 know how to handle a boat.”
And that's a citizen militia.

ETA:  Watch this.

Further update:  Read this.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Quote of the Day - Thomas Sowell Redux

In keeping with the previous post, this from Thomas Sowell's Townhall January 2013 piece, The Role of Educators:
Schools were once thought of as places where a society's knowledge and experience were passed on to the younger generation. But, about a hundred years ago, Professor John Dewey of Columbia University came up with a very different conception of education -- one that has spread through American schools of education, and even influenced education in countries overseas.

John Dewey saw the role of the teacher, not as a transmitter of a society's culture to the young, but as an agent of change -- someone strategically placed, with an opportunity to condition students to want a different kind of society.

A century later, we are seeing schools across America indoctrinating students to believe in all sorts of politically correct notions. The history that is taught in too many of our schools is a history that emphasizes everything that has gone bad, or can be made to look bad, in America -- and that gives little, if any, attention to the great achievements of this country.

If you think that is an exaggeration, get a copy of "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn and read it. As someone who used to read translations of official Communist newspapers in the days of the Soviet Union, I know that those papers' attempts to degrade the United States did not sink quite as low as Howard Zinn's book.

That book has sold millions of copies, poisoning the minds of millions of students in schools and colleges against their own country. But this book is one of many things that enable teachers to think of themselves as "agents of change," without having the slightest accountability for whether that change turns out to be for the better or for the worse -- or, indeed, utterly catastrophic.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Indoctrination

I came across this the other day - the syllabus for a University of Arizona "Honors" English class, English 109H - in fact, the syllabus states:
This is an honors class with work and credit equivalent to a year’s completion of ENGL 101 and 102. Expectations are high.
This is a class for incoming Honors freshmen, straight out of high school.

Shakespeare? Milton? (*shudder*) Conrad?

Nope:
English 109H: Fall 2017

DAMN, We Will Never Know: Kendrick Lamar’s and Kiese Laymon’s Hip Hop Literacies

Course Description


Morally, there has been no change at all, and a moral change is the only real one.
–James Baldwin

On April 14, 2017, twenty-nine year-old Kendrick Lamar, an American hip hop artist known for his pop protest music, released his fourth studio album, DAMN. Four years earlier, thirty-eight year-old Kiese Laymon, an American writer known for his work on Gawker and ESPN, published his series of autobiographical essays on American racism, masculinity, hip hop, and the deep South.

Using Laymon’s essays as a framework, we will study Kendrick Lamar’s body of music to events which boomed his controversy, including #BlackLivesMatter and ongoing police brutalities, especially those publicized by social media. By studying American values connected to what we call blackness and whiteness, we’ll explore conflict, contact, and coalition and ask: How does black American and white American social media allow for critiques of race, gender, sexuality, and violence? What does it mean for a genre of music and its accompanying culture that, by "tradition," enforces heterosexuality and masculinity—in the name of legal murders?

The goal of this course is to improve your ability to critically think and write. In addition to contextualizing and reshaping the Kendrick Lamar and Kiese Laymon conversations, you will conduct library and field research on your own controversy, which will be integrated into a semester-long project consisting of a research essay, public argument, and literacy narrative. If we can listen and read carefully enough, we can occupy other subjectivities; that is, to say, we can improve our writings and civic lives, which are connected to what happens outside the classroom. We will return to the same question at the end: Can we really act as witness to another voice, even for our studies of language and its adaptations?

Course Goals
Goal 1: Rhetorical Awareness
Learn strategies for analyzing texts’ audiences, purposes, and contexts as a means of developing facility in reading and writing.

Goal 2: Critical Thinking and Composing
Use reading and writing for purposes of critical thinking, research, problem solving, action, and participation in conversations within and across different communities.

Goal 3: Reflection and Revision
Understand composing processes as flexible and collaborative, drawing upon multiple strategies and informed by reflection.

Goal 4: Conventions
Understand conventions as related to purpose, audience, and genre, including such areas as mechanics, usage, citation practices, as well as structure, style, graphics, and design.

Written Assignments
  • In the first unit of the course, you will study and respond to various contexts according to different rhetorical lenses and write a Contextual Rhetorical Analysis of Public Protest Spaces reframing Black lives politics re-envisioned by music videos from Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. You may defend, depart from, or combine his arguments to develop your own inquiry.
  • In the second unit, you will conduct both library and field research on an approved social justice controversy of your choice, which will culminate in an analysis of the issue, or a Rhetorical Analysis of a Controversy. An Annotated Bibliography, due before the big Essay 2, will complete the “Research Portfolio.” You will closely study U.S. state or Supreme court cases to develop your controversies.
  • In the third unit, you will use this research to support an argument of public interest, called a Public Argument. You will create a video catered to a mobilized audience and present it to the class.
  • For the final “exam,” you will write and curate your own literacy narrative, which you will publish on a class blog. The final project is semester-long and we will NOT spend time in class on it other than one session per month; you are expected to develop, collect, and write your materials throughout the course. Please start early and utilize the class resources and office hours.
  • In addition to these larger projects, you will complete a series of in-class and out-of-class smaller assignments which build into the four major assignments. Homework (readings, journals, smaller pre-essay assignments and discussions), workshops, and participation are often the decisive suasion points for borderline grades. Do the work, come to class ready and willing to discuss and participate, and you will see that reflected in what you earn.
I'm not going to go through the rest of it, but here's an example of Kendrick Lamar's art from his album DAMN:


I'm reminded of this national championship debate performance.

Just saying.

Kiese Laymon's collection of essays How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America is a required textbook.

At least there's a textbookThe title essay is still available at Gawker.  It's prose, but I'm unconvinced that what's being taught in this class is "critical thinking" or "structure, style, graphics and design."  And since when is the purpose of an English class "problem solving, action, and participation in conversations within and across different communities"?

Oh, and remember we're paying (a lot) for our kids to go to college for this.

The professor?  Sylvia Chan.

The Long March through the Institutions has been completed for a long, long time.

Oh, and read this QotD too.  It's pertinent.

Edited to add this I found at a linking site: