Saturday, May 28, 2005

I'm not sure whether I love or hate the dollar stores

After spending a chunk of the day after work helping a friend with their yard, I stopped by one of the dollar stores to pick up a bottle of degreaser. I walked out with
a bottle of degreaser
a bag of rawhide chews(yes, for the dogs)
a double roll of Scotch tape
a DVD of two Cary Grant movies(what can I say, I like 'Charade')
and, a hardcover copy of 'Mistress of the Catacombs' by David Drake, to replace my badly worn paperback.

So I went in for one thing, and walked out with five. But for $5 plus tax, I ain't bitching.

Now, if they only carried ammunition...

Backyard wildlife

Other than the dogs, that is. Over the years there's been an accumulation in the various places I've lived, including a big possum the dogs treed on top of a fence post, and I suspect a raccoon one time.

Haven't had either of those here that I know of(though two weeks ago I came home to find a very big, very flattened possum in the street). What I've got is birds and squirrels. There's two pairs of cardinals that come to the feeder, the always-found sparrows, an occasional bluejay, Carolina chickadees, and some kind of finch with a red head. And about three weeks ago I saw a woodpecker pecking away at a dead tree in the yard next door.

I've seen three fox squirrels in the yard at one time. There's a squirrel feeder set up near the bird feeder; I like watching the squirrels, and the dogs get to chase them. And they'd better run fast; the puppy is running with a dog that has killed a half-dozen squirrels in the past. She doesn't eat them, but she will kill them dead(isn't that a fine old expression?)

So far the puppy won't come into the house. She'll stand in the doorway with her ears up and tail wagging, but she won't come in. The cat's used to the older beast, but she saw the pup in the doorway yesterday, hissed and ran off. Chicken. She's bigger than the dog.

Now if the pup will confine her splashing around to the wading pool, instead of dumping the water bowl and carrying it off...

I know I say this a lot, but

go over to Smallest Minority to this one and this one, from Britain.

First is a shopkeeper who's been assaulted repeatedly, what do the police do? Give him a DNA sample kit so the next time the jerks spit in his face, he can take samples. Unless they cut his throat or beat him to death or shoot him the next time, of course.

Second is Kevin's take on the idiotic knife-ban proposal. He covers it in more datail than I did.

I've said it before, stick a fork in Britain, they're done. Unless something changes drastically and fast, they're forever screwed. Honest citazens are treated as criminals if they even think too hard about defending themselves, objects are blamed for what criminals do, and criminals are treated as poor victims to be 'understood' and compensated.

The honest people of Britain? You poor bastards.

Because God forbid anyone get their feelings hurt

Let's see... Newsweak screws around, there's a bunch of upset in the hearts of a bunch of idiots who riot, etc., at the idea of their holy book being treated badly, and what comes next? A new hate crimes law, of course.

Of course that jackass Conyers is involved, up to his slimy neck. God forbid anyone should have their feelings hurt(as long as the boobs like whatever group you 'belong' to, that is), so we've got to have a new law that punishes people for having 'bad thoughts'. Of course, it's not that new; the PC police have been pushing this crap for years. I'd think it would be insulting, being told that you're so tender and helpless that the government has to protect your delicate feelings by force of law, but an awful lot of people seem to like the idea. Of course, it gives them power; it gives them the ability to trash people's lives by accusing them of 'hate crimes', and a lot of people have a real liking for controlling other people's lives.

Screw this noise. Last I heard we still have a First Amendment in this country, despite the efforts of people like Conyers and McCain and company to trash it. If you can't handle being insulted, tough shit. I'm sick of people whining that people don't 'properly respect' them, so there has to be a law to force it. With all due respect for their tender feelings, screw them, too(metaphorically, of course). Grow up, and develop some self-discipline. Not everybody will like you, not everyone will say nice things about you, and so what? Live with it, like everyone else does, and shut up.

You know, if a bunch of Christians or Jews rioted over abuse of the Bible or Torah, they'd be considered criminals by the same people who want special protection for Muslims and the Koran. Don't tell me these boobs believe in equal protection under the law, they want special protection and privilege for those they sympathize with(or are sucking up to for votes and influence).

Utter bullshit.

Friday, May 27, 2005

The reaction of someone from another country to the 2nd Amendment

Go to the Geek's place. Read.

End quote:
""Your no other. It is....awesome. It is...." Words failed him, and he gestured helplessly."

A judge in need of either a kick in the ass

or tar and feathers. Read this.

I don't care what anyone's opinion of a particular line of religeous belief is, this is just plain wrong. And this judge either had a massive slip in his reasoning abilities, or is an idiot. In either case, this needs stomping on. Now.

Found at Sondra K.'s place

As Britain goes further down the toilet...

A team from West Middlesex University Hospital wants the government to control
You see, criminals use them to commit crimes, so obviously the solution is to ban the knives. What? Throw the criminals in jail? Teach that people are actually responsible for what they do instead of blaming the objects? What a cruel and unprogressive idea that is...
Listen to this: "Offensive weapons are defined as any weapon designed or adapted to cause injury, or intended by the person possessing them to do so." Take note of that "intended by the person possessing them to do so"; that means if someone has had their life threatened, and they carry anything for the purpose of self-defense, they're going to jail. No difference between something carried for self-defense, and something carried by a criminal. Which has led to such incidents as the old lady arrested for carrying a pepper pot in her purse. Wonderful.
This is at the end of the article: "A spokesperson for the Association of Chief Police Officers said: "ACPO supports any move to reduce the number of knife related incidents, however, it is important to consider the practicalities of enforcing such changes." So they are at least considering the reaction when they tell people 'take your knives to the police station to have the points ground off, and by the way we'll be coming into your house to check the kitchen and workshop for any you may have forgotten".
I repeat what I've said before, this is what happens when you continue down the path of blaming objects for what people do.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Blogroll additions

Alphecca, the Gay Gun-Nut from Vermont, and Hell in a Handbasket. Both good places, Jeff at Alphecca is real good about keeping track of anti-gun-ownership laws and restrictions being proposed and HiaH comes up with all kinds of neat stuff, like how to build a sextant with a cd case.

And again, I have no idea why I didn't get this done before now.

Why do people do some of the things they do?

Red Skelton's(remember him?) Mean Widdle Kid had a line where he'd get this GREAT idea then stop and say "If I dood it, I get in trouble... I dood it!) and run off to cause destruction and mayhem. KNOWING he'd get his butt whipped, he did it any way.

Kind of like, oh, building a house on a hillside with a history of houses sliding downhill every ten years or so, or rebuilding the house that just washed away in the same place. Or building a major structure next to a known fault line. Or building a house where the next hurricane that comes through will- not maybe, will- blow or wash it away. Or, to take it away from the concrete stuff, listening to a child molester or rapist or murderer say "I have changed, I'm a nice guy now" and deciding "He just needs another(second, third, fourth) chance, and I'm going to give it to him".

Got started thinking on this by this article about scientists planning out possible scenarios for a quake on this particular fault the next time it turns loose. I know there are fault lines in lots of places, and in some cases building was done before it was known a fault ran right through, but stuff built after it was known? A few years ago I watched some documentary about earthquake disaster preparation in southern California, and one of the things it showed was a shot of the major hospital for a city; the damn thing was built right on top of the fault that ran through the city. And they knew it was there when they built it! Why, in the name of whatever, would anyone with a working brain DO that?

That led me into thinking about people building houses on hillsides in CA. In many cases, rebuilding right where their last house washed away. In their case, one of the reasons is that when this house slides downhill rebuilding will be paid for by US. When they'll not have to pay for replacing the house(and probably their stuff, though I don't remember about that) they don't really care if it washes away every ten years or so. Same for the people who build a house right above the normal high-tide line on the east coast; when it washes away in a hurricane, that taxpayer-provided insurance(read 'money taken out of your pocket') will pay for it and the contents. That pisses me off all by itself- why should I be paying for their replacement costs?- but what's even worse is, when these people are interviewed, they think they deserve it; they think it's only right for the government to loot other people to pay for their bills on this. And considering a lot of these(most?) are built by people with the money to pay their own damn way, it pisses me off HUGELY! The others who can't really afford the insurance? Tough shit, folks. You knowingly build where your house can go away, will go away, it's on your head to take care of it. We're not talking about tornados that can come down anywhere, or once-in-a-century(or thousand years) events, we're talking about something that happens regularly. So either plan for it, or DON'T BUILD THERE.

And if you ignore the probabilities, DON'T expect me to pay for it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

He's not dead yet!(maybe)

Well well, here we have a report that Zarqawi may have been seriously wounded and is in bad shape(pause for cheers to die down).

Excellent. My main question is whether it's better to find his dead body or find him still alive, so at the end he knows we got him. I'm sure he'd like to simply vanish, so his 'legend' can live on, so I'll take either one.

No, I have no sympathy or forgiveness. This is sorry waste of oxygen that thinks mass murder of women, children and unarmed men is 'battle'; that thinks cutting someone's head off on camera is a brave act; that has overall tried to keep away from fighting troops because they shoot back; who had no problem with Saddam murdering by the tens of thousands yet is driven to rage by people voting in a real live election. Say hello to the bacteria, Zarqawi.

Instapundit asked if it would be unChristian to hope for him to develop gas gangrene, and someone replied 'yes, it would be'. Ok, so let's hope for the Morrigan to take him instead; he deserves it.

Time to die, Z. And I hope it's hurting.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Oooh, the U.N. is getting pissy

Found this article, with 'unusually forceful' comments. Let's see,

"Secretary General Kofi Annan's chief of staff called the United States an "ungainly giant" that only plays by its own rules, criticizing the U.N.'s largest donor in unusually strong terms Sunday."

We already know you don't like us, especially when we don't suck up to you and don't let your corruption slide. And most of us don't care.

"This ungainly giant of a nation that has led the world in advancing freedom, democracy and decency, cannot quite accept membership in the global neighborhood association, and the principle of all neighborhoods _ that it must abide by others' rules as well as its own,"

There is no 'global neighborhood association' there's the U.N., which has shown that it's not trustworthy, is bigoted, and thinks that it ought to be telling us how to run our lives, sucks up to dictators, and wants us disarmed. Fuck you, ain't gonna happen.

"Malloch Brown's comments, provided to The Associated Press by the university, were unusually forceful for an organization whose leaders tend to abide by an unwritten rule of not criticizing member nations."

Really? Since when? I've not noticed the leaders having any problem calling names at anyone who's a: not a dictator and b: not sucking up to the 'leaders'.

"Earlier this week, a congressional committee drafted a bill that threatens to withhold tens of millions of dollars in dues from the United Nations unless the world body conducts wide-ranging reforms. Malloch Brown and several other officials have said the idea will only isolate the United Sates."

Hey, stupid, most of us don't care if you think we're 'isolated'. We might be seen as 'isolated' from your crooked bureaucracy, but we have lots of contacts, business and personal, with other countries; stop being such a bunch of theiving, raping, child-molesting bigots and we might start trusting you. Until you give us actual reason to trust you, we'll keep our damn money.

By the way, notice that what really gets these clowns worked up is the thought of getting by without us giving them money?

"Malloch Brown noted that the United States has already set itself apart in its opposition to the International Criminal Court and the Kyoto treaty seeking to mandate reductions in emissions."

The ICC is a piece of crap which has been used- as predicted- for political ends, and we're not putting our people under the control of this 'International Court'. And you mean the Kyoto Accord that everyone whined at us about when their own countries wouldn't sign on to the damn thing?

What we have here is the U.S. is pushing for an accounting from people who have been using their positions to steal and rob and rape, and they're huffing and puffing and demanding what makes us think we have any standing to question them? because they know that without our money, and our- at least- tolerance of them, they're screwed. Listen, idiot, you want our money? We want an accounting for what's done with it, and where it goes, and thieves punished. And damned if we're going to put control over our lives into the hands of assholes who put Cuba and Libya on the Human Rights committee. And who think us peasants can't be trusted with arms. Or any of a number of other things you sorry little bastards want to do to us.

In the vernacular of the web, FOAD Mr. Brown.

Smithing tools

This is going to cover some of the basic stuff. If you've got a pile of cash you can just go through the Centaur Forge catalog and order what you want, but if you're like me you have to pick up some basics and over time either buy or make other tools you need. So let's see:

Anvil. Obviously, you need something to pound on.

Forge. Also obviously, some way to heat the metal.

Hammers. That is indeed hammers, plural, you're gonna need more than one. I'd suggest a 2 or 3lb double-face or cross-peen, a 1 or 2lb ball-peen as the most basic to start with. If you work any heavy stuff, like flattening a spring, a 4lb is very handy. On the lighter side, one of the handiest hammers I have is a 24oz. ball-peen with a wider than usual face on the flat side; I found it without a handle at a flea market and for smoothing a surface or shaping some flat stock into curves, it's wonderful.

Chisels. Again, more than one. A heavy one with an edge at least 1" across for heavy cutting, smaller for more delicate stuff. Once you have the hang of heat-treating, chisels can be made from spring stock or drill rod or old rock drills, and over time you'll probably wind up with a collection of different sizes & shapes.

Punches. One good centerpunch for marking where to drill a hole, or where to make a bend; a punch for actually punching holes in stock. You'll learn to make other shapes and sizes as you go, and, again, you'll probably wind up with an assortment.

Tongs. This can be the tough one, because you've got to have them, but unless you find some at a flea market or antique store or something, you'll have to make them. You can buy them new(see Centaur above), but they do tend to be expensive. You can, for a while, get by with pliers or vise-grips, but tongs that will hold the stock well are not an option; if the piece can't be held solidly it'll move(harder to shape) or jump free(dangerous and/or annoying, but good for your dance steps). If you do much, especially if you make decorative stuff, you'll wind up with a number of them; they're not very hard to make, and in some cases it's worth it to make a pair that may only be picked up once in a while if they let you do the job more easily.

That's the most basic list you can get by with for a while. If you primarily make blades, a couple of tongs and hammers, a punch or two, may be all you need. If you make decorative and other ironwork, you'll wind up with more and use them all.

Tongs can have the jaws shaped specifically to hold flat pieces, round pieces, rectangular pieces(like the tang of a knife), and so forth. There's a style made to hold a hammer head while you shape it, and a variation of that for holding an axe head.

Punches can make a flat depression, leave a round-bottomed mark, leave special shapes like letters or symbols, and so forth. Chisels can make a flat cut, a curve, and sharp angle.

Hammers can have two identical faces, or two radically different ones; some old smithing hammers, and some specialized ones, have only one face that's used to strike with. I once read of a man who made decorative ironwork who had 49 hammers, each a different size and/or shape, many for doing one particular thing.

Oh, wow! Look at this!

Og sent me this link ref my earlier post about double-rifles. Oh, ain't it purty?

One of the things I notice is 'Adjustable barrel regulation'. If you're not familiar with this, one thing that has to be done on a double-barrel rifle(or shotgun) is to 'regulate' the barrels so that they point to the same place. With a shotgun, that means that at a set range, the pattern from each barrel will pretty much overlap the other. With rifles, it means that the shot from one barrel will, ideally, hit the target next to the shot from the other. That's one thing that makes doubles so expensive is that the method has been to set the barrels into a jig that holds them aligned, fire a shot from each, adjust, fire, etc. When 'regulated' the ribs are set in place and soldered in.

The problem with this is that it's only regulated with that load; if you change loads(different powder or charge, different bullet) the shots may not hit where they should. The recoil impulse will be different, and since the barrels are each to one side of the centerline, things move differently. This wasn't a big deal with the old express rifles, where you used one cartridge- usually from one maker- all the time; with a rifle that you may want to be able to use different loads in... So 'adjustable barrel regulation' means that(up to a point at least) you can change loads and, if needed, adjust the barrels so they're regulated with that load.

Dammit, Og, I didn't really need to see this right now. I wonder if they do custom chamberings...

No, dammit, I promised, no new guns for a while!

But still...

Sunday, May 22, 2005

She's named

The pup, that is. I think it'll be Cuchullain. No, I don't know for sure where to put the proper markings in the name, yes it's Irish, yes the legends were about a male. The name itself means 'hound of the forge', so it seems appropriate. I can always call her Cooky for short, which would eliminate my having to speak like I have a clogged throat when I call her.

She's settled in very well, and she and the older dog have worked out any differences. Occasionally the older one snarls for real when she's pushed, but what would you expect? They work it out.

Now to get her used to riding in the truck and walking on a leash.

Gun show this weekend

And since this was the last chance I'd have for a while, I went. Found some stuff; some new 12 guage slugs to test, a sling, some other bits & pieces. One ammo dealer has a big selection of .22 ammo, and I looked it all over. Some- most- was flat overpriced, there's a place in town I'm pretty sure I can get it for better. Some of it, the high-level match stuff, was about or just slightly over the normal price, but I didn't get any. So far my rifles & pistols get excellent accuracy with stuff that's a lot less expensive; in some cases they shoot it so well that the only reason to buy the high-dollar stuff would be snob appeal. Understand, if one of them shot far better with high octane, I'd get a box or two for the occasions I needed it; but if none of them do, the money stays in my pocket.

Among the odds & ends was one of the 15" diameter baking stones. If you've not seen them, it's an unglazed stoneware disk that works very well for baking a number of things. They're usually about $25, these folks were clearing theirs out for $15, so I wound up going back today and getting what was the next to last one for my daughter.

Despite my earlier promise to buy no more guns for a loooong time, I was sorely tempted. A guy had an old Mossberg bolt-action target rifle- with front post and rear aperture sight- for a decent price. As it needed a bit of work and loving care, I thought I could talk him down a bit more, but while I was looking around he packed up and left. So I was saved from myself. I'm not sure whether to be glad or pissed...

All in all a decent show with some interesting things to see, including a European double-barrel, one barrel 28-guage shotgun, one .30-30. Pretty thing. No, I was not tempted. Even if I had piles of free cash, a near-$2000 price tag would have made me have second and third thoughts. You know what would be real tempting? A double-rifle in either .30-30 or .303 British. Short, handy, it'd be a magnificent brush rifle, and there's no reason it wouldn't be accurate. And with a double you could use more ballistically efficient bullets without worrying about a tube magazine or overall length for the .30-30. Yeah, nice blued barrel, color-case-hardened receiver, claw-type scope mount...(drool, drool)

Now, if I hadn't been halfway falling down from tired, it would have been more enjoyable. It's been in the mid-90's the last few days, and the humidity has been high, and I haven't slept well. There's supposed to be a chance of thunderstorms tonight & some of tomorrow, and while we could use some rain, I could do without the severe stuff. That's one problem with this time of year, when you do get rain it tends to be in conditions that are supportive of severe storms, with the lightning and hail and high winds and possible tornados that can come with them. Well, the puppy has discovered both the doghouse and the doggy-door in the garage, and it's stormed once since she came here, so she'll be ok.

And now it's time to worry about dinner.

How to further annoy your daughter

Somehow the metric system comes up. (me)"The metric system is France's revenge on the world".

(annoyed daughter)"Revenge for what?"

(me)"For their having to be the French"

Very annoyed daughter glares and drops it.

Calving season

For buffalo, that is. At the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton they have a couple of small herds of buffalo, always interesting to see. And in the spring there are calves, and sooner or later the herds will wind up near a road and lots of people stop to look and take photos(no problem). However, someone will sooner or later decide they want either a: closeups or b: to pet the damn calves(BIG problem!) One thing you do NOT want to do is rouse the ire of either mama or the herd bull. If you've never been around an American Bison, those suckers are big. And powerful. Roughly every year, some idiot gets gored/stomped/combination because they annoy one of them.

About twenty years ago a friend of mine was down there taking pictures when two idiots in an MG decided to have some 'fun'. They drove off the road, cut a calf off from mama, and started doing circles around it. Baby's yelling for Mom, Mom yells for the boss, and the herd bull looked around and decided "I should do something about this". He came running over, and the two idiots were so busy they never saw him. As they came around, he ran up alongside, lowered his head and hooked and heaved.

According to my friend, the MG actually flipped over and landed on its' wheels. Neither idiot flew out, and the engine stalled. As the thing was no longer making noise or moving- and the idiots happily were smart enough or too stunned to make noise- the bull butted the car a couple of times, baby joined mama and they returned to the herd, the Boss decided it was dead and ambled off. The idiots were realizing they were alive and unhurt about the time a park ranger walked up and proceeded to start writing them up. Can you say 'big fines'? They sure could by the time it was done.

I keep saying 'idiots' for the simple reason you'd have to be truly stupid to see one of these things up close and decide that annoying it would be a good idea. But people so often tend to think of animals that way. In a way I could understand if it was confined to herbivores(no fangs or claws at least), but it's not. Look at the absolutely idiotic things people do with bears and big cats and alligators. Disney Culture strikes over and over; people have heard about the 'friendly animals only made unfriendly by man' so much that they actually believe if they're nice, the animals will be nice back. So they think a cougar roaming through the neighborhood is wonderful, or feeding alligators in the river or lake is friendly, and the bears can be petted. Or in this case, they can try to pet a calf or annoy something capable of stomping them into mulch because "I'm not going to hurt them and they'll know!". Or some other idiot idea. So someone else gets stomped/gored/clawed/bitten to death or crippling, and occasionally gets turned into dinner, and we all get treated to a lecture from some bunny-huggers about how the animal was just 'misunderstood' and we shouldn't be nasty to the poor thing. Bleah. I think it was Heinlein that wrote about stupidity being the only crime in the universe with an automatic death sentance, with no appeal. Speaking of which...

Peter Capstick wrote about a case he knew of. A guy had gone to Africa to, in particular, get film of lions. Day after day no lions in the area, and then someone came in late one afternoon and reported a pride a couple of miles away. So he grabbed his camera and drove away. And never came back. Next morning they found his car, with the camera mounted on a window, and under the trees nearby was some disturbed ground. No sign ever found of him, so they packed up his property and shipped it home.

When the family was sorting through the stuff someone noticed that the film in the movie camera had been shot, so the had it developed, and at the memorial service they decided to show it so his final nature shoot would be seen. At first it showed a pride in their late-afternoon positions, sound asleep in various positions. Then the camera jiggled a bit and got steady, apparently when he put it on the window mount. It was still for a couple of minutes and then, yeah, the guy showed up in the frame. Walking into the middle of the pride. He stood there waving at the camera, then leaned over and patted a lioness on the butt. Upon which she woke up, reared up and pulled him down, at which the rest of them woke up and helped demonstrate the killing/feeding techinque of the lion on two-leg prey.

I don't know if the Darwin Awards were in effect at the time, but if not he should get a delayed award or something.