Saturday, July 09, 2005

Will Britain step up? Can it?

I've been thinking about this the last day or so, and I just don't know.

This is not a knock at British troops; this is about the British government and public.

I've said before that I give Blair credit for seeing that we have to fight the current group of fascists now, or it'll be a lot worse fighting them later, but in most other ways Blair is the kind of nanny-state politician I most worry about. Yeah, he sent British troops to Iraq and they did their part magnificently despite their support; remember the Brits who arrived with one magazine of ammo for their rifles? There were a number of other things reported at the time, damn good troops handicapped by short or nonexistent supplies and equipment that had to be made up in a hurry. Why? Because Blair's government had cut a lot of the guts and muscle from the British armed forces so they could spend the money on their nanny-state bullshit. I've not seen much on the British military supply/equipment situation lately, but bits and pieces seen indicate that it's not much better. And the people in charge of the gutting process are largely still the ones in charge.

A lot of sites had bits of conversation from across Britain after the bombings, and while you had lots of "we won't fold up", there was an awful lot of "if we weren't in Iraq they wouldn't be bothering us". I may be too pessimistic about this, but it does worry me. Thing is, it may not matter if a whole lot of people want the government to go after the bad guys and hang them- or at least shoot them when they catch them- if the people the politicians actually pay attention to have the "it's our fault" meme playing over and over. And even if that's not the case, what if the politicians don't care what the public thinks? I think it was about a year ago that Smallest Minority covered a mess over there where a radio station held a contest with someone from Parliament in which the public would call in and suggest a law they thought needed to be enacted, and the member of Parliament would do so. The number one suggested law would allow a person attacked in their home to use whatever force necessary to protect themselves and their family. And the reaction from the member of Parliament was disgust; he couldn't believe people would actually suggest such a bloodthirsty, barbaric thing and refused to have anything to do with it. So what happens if the British subjects want to go after the bad guys, but the politicians won't?

I wouldn't worry so much about this except for the past couple of decades in Britain. The public has been disarmed, the right of self-defense has been trashed, and a: most of the public has gone along with it, b: when the public has spoken up for change they've basically been told "Shut up, WE know what's right for you" by the politicians and the 'elite' classes. If anything, it's gotten worse. So the question becomes not only 'Will the British stand up' but 'Will the British be ALLOWED to stand up?'

We've got some of the disease over here too. Look at the places where the politicians' reaction to almost any problem is to pass another law that gives them more power over the people; where the suggestion that people be freed up to act on their own is considered disgusting. And look at all the people running around saying "Why do they hate us? Why did we force them to do this?", and actually MEANING IT? And remember the state of our military at 9/11? Due to a: a bunch of politicians deciding that since the Soviet Union fell(which some of the idiots had never seen as a threat anyway) we didn't need a strong military anyway, and look at all the fine social work we could do with all that money and b: having had huge amounts of munitions and parts used up in the Balkans and shooting cruise missiles at Saddam because it was easier to do that and pretend we were accomplishing something. So, even if it hadn't been the best thing to do, we had to go with special ops people doing the boots-on-the-ground work because we didn't have enough regular troops and transport, and needed time to rebuild stocks of ammo/munitions. For that matter, remember the 10th Mountain Division falling down- literally- because they weren't in condition for the Afghan mountains? Not enough training, I can only guess someone in chain of command didn't think the hard training was necessary; and then it was too late.

And here we sit, with many politicians either because they actually believe it, or think it will do to beat the other party with, are bitching and whining that we're not being nice enough to terrorists and murderers we're holding in Gitmo. If they actually believe it they're fools, and if they'll do this harm to this country simply to try and damage the other party,then they're corrupt fools on a tremendously dangerous level.

Happily we managed to keep our forces from being chopped up as badly as the Brits, and we did act. And Blair, giving him credit for this, acted with us. But there was a tremendous outcry in Britain against acting, and it may, if anything, have gotten worse. Hell, the British government has given sanctuary to people wanted for terrorism charges in other countries, and even put them on the dole for living expenses!

So yes, if the British people do stand up, the bad guys are in real trouble; but until they do/are allowed to, I'm reserving judgement. But I'm hoping.

Addition: Captain's Quarter's found this. So the British public overall is seeing the threat and wanting action, but national ID cards? They've got cameras all over the damn place, the crap mentioned above, they already know who the bad guys/illegals are, and there's more support for ID cards?!?

Followup: this from Chrenkoff in Britain, on both the pissed-off and the pissed-on. I'll say again, I really really hope I'm wrong in my worries, but this doesn't help. Be sure to check out the comments.

Friday, July 08, 2005

For some slightly 'different' commentary on London,

go to An Englishman's Castle and read this.

I can't remember who wrote it, but a couple of years ago I read a piece along the lines of 'you idiots are stirring US up? We're freakin' NUTS, how stupid are you?'. From the Englishman's piece, I think at least some of the Brits fit into the same category.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Gimme the prize!

From Mr. Completely's postal match, earned by my peerless marksmanship and lying- that is, exaggerating the stresses of the moment. Somewhat.

The prize:

And up close:

Yeah, it's wrinkled, it hasn't been washed yet. Picky, picky, picky.

Haloscan question

I loaded Haloscan for comments and trackback. It shows up ok, but as you can see I still have the Blogger comments link too. Anybody know how to get rid of the Blogger comment and leave the Haloscan?

Couldn't find anything at the Haloscan site on this, and I swear I followed the instructions for install correctly.

Update: Got that fixed! Now if I can just figure out how to get the old comments- that disappeared when got Haloscan showing properly- back...

Another shoe falls

Seven explosions reported in London, in the underground and on a bus. At least two dead and a bunch of injured.

The cowardly little shits have done it again.

How much do you want to bet that some of the Islamofascists who've been whining about 'racism' every time someone looked at them crossways were involved?

Hell of a way to start the day.

Oh, and the rumor is running 'round that the Israelis knew about it in advance. Of course the Joooos did it...

And all those 'watchful eye' security cameras all over London? You've got no privacy, but they don't seem to do a whole lot of good. We may get video of a suicide idiot before he blows himself up. Wonderful.

Scotland Yard is saying they found 'explosive residue' at two of the explosion sites. Surprise, surprise.

'Red Ken' Livinstone, mayor of London, gave a statement about how despicable the attacks were. Considering he's done everything he can to make catching terrorists difficult, it's an interesting statement.

Yeah, I'm in a bad mood.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Difficulties with women

Rob has often(allright, very often) commented on women in general, and his difficulties with his two ex-wives in particular. And Steve has sometimes jumped headfirst into the fray with posts on dating and women and the way women think. I'll throw in something, and proceed to bor- er, illustrate it with something from my own mostly boring past.

Do NOT marry someone thinking that they will change in some fundamental way, or that they will stop thinking some things just because you are there; with very rare exceptions, it just won't happen.

Strictly speaking, this goes for women AND men. My illustration to follow.

My first wife and I have managed to stay on friendly terms. Disagreements, yes, but neither of us hated the other, and neither of us tried to turn the kids against the other. If the kids needed something she couldn't take care of, she knew she could call on me. If I wanted to spend a night/weekend/whatever with the kids, there was no problem. My attitude has always been that if there are kids involved, you'd damn well better be able to get along in at least a civil fashion; divorce is hard enough on them without the other crap thrown in.

Enter wife-to-be No. 2. Good-looking, smart, good job(these things are important to the story), two previous divorces and(warning signs I really, really should have paid attention to when put together) stories about how ex's were abusive. We got along pretty well, and then a problem appeared. She really didn't like me talking to my ex. For a long time was just a little background comment on occasion, but as we got serious it got worse. Then came three things.

First, the ex called one night. Daughter was a little sick and needed ibuprofen, and she was almost out and short of money; could I get a bottle and get it to daughter the next morning? No problem, done. When B found out, she about blew a gasket. "I was a GOOD mother, I took care of things like that!" and so on. That got a little nasty- I don't give a rat's ass if I DO hate my ex, if one of the kids needs medication I'll take care of it-, but we got it ironed out. I thought.

Second, a while later I got sick. As I was sitting in the living room contemplating the joys of life(as in 'I haven't had to bow down to the porcelain receptacle at least'), knock at the door announced ex and kids, who had swung by to drop off some ice cream and see how I was doing. They left, and about twenty minutes later B showed up. She had decided to bring me some ice cream and Oreos, and had seen the ex and kids leaving. She'd then driven around the block a while, came back, and after entering put the bag on the floor and announced(more like accused) that if I really cared for her, I wouldn't be 'sneaking around' seeing my ex. Now, I felt pretty ratty to start with, and I do have something of a temper, so you can imagine where that went. I explained(mistake) about the visit, she accused some more and left, almost in tears. And the next day half-apologized for being so upset, and being an idiot who tries to see primarily the good side of someone I care about, I thought it was ok.

Third, a couple of months later we made a trip for topsoil to fill in some places her dogs had dug in the yard. Rode to the site, loaded up, back to her house, carted it around and spread it, nice day all 'round. I had said something about seeing the kids for some matter. Next day I got home to find a message practically spitting from the speaker about my untrustworthiness, I didn't really care about her feelings, you can fill in the rest. At that I decided enough of this crap, and took some records of hers that I'd been going to copy to tape for her and left them on her front porch. Late that afternoon she showed up at my house, almost in tears as she apologized. I did not accept it right then, said I'd think about it, and would you now leave? That night went to see her, looong talk, and I thought things were fixed.

Yes, I KNOW I was an idiot. Yes, I KNOW I should have changed my phone number and hid when she knocked. After my divorce I'd felt like the world's worst failure, and I was just SURE that we could make it work. Can you say 'brain-dead'? I knew you could.

A while after that, things having gone along quite well, I asked her to marry me. That very night I told her again that I'd worked to remain on friendly terms with my kids' mother, and that wasn't going to change. Her response was basically that she was over that, as long as I wasn't calling her every day or something she'd be ok.

She lied. Imagine that.

Things went along nicely until after the wedding, about two weeks after. And it became a case of every call about the kids or anything else, every visit to pick up/drop off the kids, damn near everything became a threat to our marriage. After hearing "You're married to ME!" a few times in such circumstances, you begin to think of running away, and does the Foreign Legion still take recruits? When I pointed out that I HAD to have contact with her due to the kids, her answer to that was I should go to court and take custody away from her- with no visitation for her, of course, so there'd be no reason to every speak to/see her again.

That was such a drastic piece of thinking I was stunned. If my ex had been unfit or abusive, I'd have done something about it already. And I thought that any judge with three working brain cells to rub together would say something like this: "So the reason you want total custody and no visitation for the mother is that your new wife doesn't like her? Bailiff, kick that man three times around the courtroom and throw his ass out of here!" Ignore the adults; to put the kids through something like that... I just could not imagine.

If this crap had been directed only at me, I might have stuck and tried to work through it(I can be stupid and stubborn), but she started making comments about the ex and/or me in front of the kids- later insisting that she'd never do such a thing- and that finally did it. One day I moved(damn near ran) out, and that was that. There were some more contacts, but they only reinforced to me that going was the thing to do.

Responsibility? All 'round. My first wife is not a saint, and she did have a part in this(show that much dislike to someone and they damn well will dislike you back), partly from the standard "My ex is getting married!" stuff, but if the second wife hadn't taken damn near everything touching on the ex as a threat, it would have been nothing to worry about. The second wife? She thought that if we got married, then I would change and do whatever it took to make her happy, no matter who else it affected. And me?

You ever have a little voice in the back of your head saying "This is NOT a good idea", but you so badly wanted it to work out that you ignored the voice? That was me. I wanted it to work so badly that I put the crap from the past behind me(after all, everybody has bad days, right?), and I believed B when she said she'd changed("I can handle it"). In the years since I've put it that my second marriage ended because I made a really bad mistake: I married her. Fallout from this went all around, of course. First ex caught a lot of crap really didn't deserve, kids got to observe adults they cared about acting like idiots, second ex got her third divorce(and I suspect has since told everyone about her third 'abusive' husband), and I had it pushed in my face really messily what a set of mistakes I'd made. And it made me so gunshy that I've screwed up with two women in the years since.

So I repeat my statement from above:
Do NOT marry someone thinking that they will change in some fundamental way, or that they will stop thinking some things just because you are there; with very rare exceptions, it just won't happen.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The next step: Microlon

Over the past while I've read some accounts by people who used Microlon Engine Treatment, and a couple of weeks ago I ordered it for the bike. This afternoon put it in. It's a straightforward process; start with fresh oil and filter, warm the motor up, shut it off, shake the stuff up VERY WELL, add 2oz. to the gas tank, pour the rest into the crankcase(comes with a handy little nozzle to do it with), immediately start up and ride for an hour. That's it. The instructions say not to change the oil/filter for at least 1000 miles, as the stuff keeps working for a while. It also states not to add more than 20% of oil capacity with Microlon; if the amount needed is more than that you can do the treatment in stages.

The kit for my bike runs 24oz, and I ran the numbers three times(I'm paranoid about anything that might make my ride stall, melt down, explode or seize), and the 22oz left after adding some to the gas was just below 20%. So I filled up- which warmed up the motor- shook the hell out of the cans, poured the 2 into the gas, poured the rest into the oil, closed it up, got on, started and rode.

I started off with city streets, running along for about 20-25 minutes. After about 10-15 I noticed that the motor seemed to be running a little quieter, with no missing or any dramatic(i.e., flames from the exhaust, etc.) events. At about 25 minutes I got on the highway(I-240 if it matters) and ran it up to 60 for a few minutes. All well, cruising smoothly, so I put the tachometer on 4500 and checked the speed, about 62.5. After about ten minutes I noticed that the same RPM now had the speed closer to about 64, and that seemed to hold true on any level stretch. Hey, this ain't Mythbusters(dammit), I don't have a minicam or remotes to track speed/rpm, so this is my observation as I cruised down the highway, keeping track of the tach, speedo and the traffic(TRUCK!!), so exact readouts you don't get. However...

This highway loops around the metro area; I started south(tailwind), crossed east across the south side, then went north on I-35(headwind). I noticed that going into the headwind, 4500RPM gave me the 62.5mph I started with when I had the tailwind. It's not a precise measurement, but I did notice a bit of difference from before.

I ran for about 1:15 before stopping, and then it was just long enough to grab two books to take back to the library, where was stopped again just long enough to drop off/pick up books. So total about 1:25 running time.

Time will tell, but the speed/rpm observations look hopeful, and the engine does sound quieter. Ogre seems to have had good results in his Jeep, and this seems a good start on the stuff in my bike. We'll see.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy oily 4th

The rain moved through, so I decided to go ahead and do the clutch on the bike. Drain oil, change filter. Right-side exhaust off, no problem. Pull the bolts and remove the clutch cover, no problem. Pull the pressure plate bolts, pull it and the friction and pressure discs, no problem. Clean off the old cover gasket, problem. Which is this shot

with paper towels stuffed in over the basket to keep it clean while I scrape off the bits that wouldn't come off easily. Which was about half of it. If it were cast-iron cases, no problem, use a brass scraper and slice it off, but even brass will scratch the aluminum cases, so mostly used one of those 'You Are Pre-Approved' fake credit cards companies keep sending me. Slow, but it makes no scratches.

So got that all cleaned off. Put in the new friction discs and the old pressure discs- they were in very good shape-, put the pressure plate on, set in the new springs, put in the bolts and start torquing them down. Get to the last bolt and snap, the damn thing broke. So pack some paper towel around that position, get the drill and get the broken section out, then desperately check the bolt/screw/nut bin. Where, lo and behold!, I had one machine bolt of matching thread. So cut it to length, put it in and torque it down, new gasket, cover, put threadlocker on the bolts and snug them down. Add new oil, start and run a minute, then top off the oil, and that's all done.

You can't see it but there's a drain pan under the back end where the final drive is draining so I can add new lube there(it's a shaft-drive). Once that's done, most of the maintenance it needed for the next while- a long while in the case of the clutch- is done.

After reading some accounts of how it had worked on their vehicles, I ordered a Microlon engine treatment for the bike. Hopefully tomorrow I can add it in, after which you're supposed to ride for an hour, so I'm hoping for nice weather tomorrow.

Now to add the lube to the final drive, and pick up all the mess.

It's raining outside,

but inside I can look at things like this. Damn, this has to be the absolute combat shotgun!

Now, if they made it in semi-auto, here's something that'd give the GFW's serious fits...

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Nodwick Weapons Development & Testing System

My daughter showed me this strip. Check it out here

I thought the Discovery Channel checked this stuff?

Watching a show about America's Volcanos, and just heard the following two things:
the grinding as one tectonic plate subducts beneath another melts the rock and causes volcanos, and
subduction volcanos create the deadliest kind of eruption, the pyroclastic flow.

Well, gee I thought it was the one plate being forced down to the earth's interior, where it's supposed to be kind of hot, that melted the new rock and other stuff. And I guess that since the most violent volcanos tend to be along subduction zones you could say that subduction causes pyroclastic flows, but...

I've noticed that in political matters you have to watch what comes out in some Discover and History channel shows, but damn.

Oh God, Britain's about to flush itself down the pipes

Over at Captain's Quarters is this, linking to a newspaper article on how Britain is working on- planning on- ways to ration energy. Not only to businesses, but to every subject in Britain. Ration cards for energy. Get this:

"The virtues of the scheme, according to Mr Blair's "green" advisers, the Sustainable Development Commission, are that it would provide a "virtually guaranteed" way of reducing fossil fuel emissions by 60 per cent by 2050.
That is the amount scientists say is necessary to avoid "unacceptable" climate change, such as the switching-off of the Gulf Stream, the melting of the Greenland glaciers and the die-back of the Amazon rain forest."

I'll get to the 'virtually guaranteed' in a minute, but for now... "SWITCHING-OFF OF THE GULF STREAM"?!?! What kind of idiocy IS this? And these clowns are advisors to the Prime Minister of Britain? And he LISTENS to this crap?

And now, 'virtually guaranteed'... Unless they use this rationing to cut the amount of energy people will be allowed to use over time, there's no damn way they can 'virtually guarantee' this will cut emissions by 60% by 2050; and if they do that, they can kiss their economy goodbye, because without increasing energy use, their economy cannot grow. Nobody's can. And from the sound of this, I would bet they are planning to do just that; after all, the commoners cannot be trusted to use energy in the correct way, now can they, so we must reduce the amount available to them to misuse, don't you know?

I stand by what I've said in the past; I give Tony Blair credit for being smart enough to know we have to deal with the Islamo-fascists now, but in all other ways he's still a statist tyrant who wants government controlling all aspects of life.

And just to add to this mess:
"It would be a criminal offence for anyone to buy a non-domestic knife from an unlicensed shop, and sellers would have to record the buyer's name, address and age."
In freakin' SCOTLAND, for God's sake!
This was found over at Ravenwood's Universe, post here and the full article here.

Why I refuse to argue with some people

Was over at Dean Esmay and found(among other interesting things) this on that friggin' idiot Molly Ivins, and this, which starts with :
"Those of us who supported the liberation of Iraq from fascist tyranny are often exhausted by false claims of those who opposed that action. It's not the disagreement we can't stand, it's the outright false statements."

The idiocy of Ivin's statements stands on its own; anyone who actually believes that crap is not worth arguing with. That's not a statement I make often, because almost anyone is worth arguing with; either you might tell them something they don't know, or vice versa. But those who are locked into the "We're doing terrible things and BUSH LIED!" line flat won't listen to you, and I'm tired of hearing that crap. And Dean hits on what I'm seriously sick of: lies being repeated over and over by people who probably know they're not true but use them anyway. Or who think that getting rid of Saddam and whacking terrorists is a good thing, but flat cannot stand the idea that it's Bush at the head of it, so it must be condemned.

I could not/cannot stand Bill Clinton, but I thought acting in the Balkans was the right thing to do. I was really pissed at the way he did it, and the restrictions our forces were under, and bitched about it at the time, but I acknowledged that it was the right thing to do(I was REALLY pissed that the Europeans bitched and moaned about what was happening there, but they and the U.N. did nothing- except pass resolutions, of course). What gets me about the current situation is that people who claim to be for individual rights, who claim to be for free elections, who claim to be for freedom, curse us for actually doing something about the Taliban, about Saddam, and about the Islamic fascists; people who are for gay rights condemn us for taking out a regime that murdered homosexuals as a matter of course; people who call themselves 'progressives' who defend the worst mass murderers of current and some past history.

And I could tolerate arguing with some of them, except for the attitude they tend to have that you're just too stupid to really understand why they're right. I have quite happily called some people idiots or stupid for the words and ideas they throw out, because I thought those words/ideas were stupid. I did not think of them/treat them as too retarded to think. If you can't understand the difference, go away.

This is just a general rant, set off by reading that crap that Ivins spewed, which made me think of the crap coming out of Kennedy and Pelosi and Reid, and which just ruined my damn mood.