Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Some assorted observations and thoughts

One of the sillier tv shows to be found is on Spike: MANswers, as in ‘answers for men’. Things like “How drunk can you get without dying?”, “Do artifical boobs float?”, etc. I’ve seen this on a couple of occasions(“I need some background noise, dammit, I’m about to fall over.”) Last week saw one which included the question “What’s the biggest handgun you can buy?” Illustrated, of course, by some scantily-clad and, ah, well-endowed females. They showed one shooting a .357 Mag, then a second with a .44 Mag, and then the answer to the question: .500 S&W Mag.

Their final test? Comparison of how the compensator on the .500 reduced recoil by comparing how much that shooters boobs jiggled during recoil compared to those of the one shooting the .44. Unfortunately, not the best test, as the lady shooting the .44 was a bit shorter and lighter than the .500 lady so she got a bit more motion. And, not knowing fully how the size of the affected body parts and levels of support compared, can’t really say it was a valid comparison. Entertaining, though.

And yes, this is a demonstration of how far down the tubes tv has slid.

The bug people came by a couple of weeks ago to do their annual “Go away, you little bastards” spraying around the house. Which is something I’m fairly happy to leave to someone else to do. I’ve always been uncomfortable messing with insecticides, more so since I found out how many of them are basically a nerve agent not much different than the stuff banned from use by various international treaties(which boils down to a few countries telling some others “If you use this shit, we will stomp you into the ground. If you use it on us, you’ll be gone.” God help everyone if some of these clowns decide we won’t do it).

Know how the first nerve agents were discovered? From what I've read, a German chemist was looking for better bug-killing stuff and came across two compounds that were so lethal they were useless for bugs, as they’d kill EVERYTHING they came in contact with. Meet Sarin and Tabun. Now, if you read the labels on lots of insecticides, the warnings include that they’re a ‘cholinesterase inhibitor’. Guess what Sarin and Tabun are? VX also, which is even worse than the others. The first two break down, usually in a few hours; VX is persistent. It can stay dangerous for months. A room could be decontaminated, but if a bit on the bottom of a doorknob was missed, someone could open the door a month later and die. Nasty in the extreme.

So, for the most part, I leave messing with the stuff to people trained at it. I just have this dislike for the thought of developing twitches and blackouts. Worse than I have now, I mean.

This is one of those things that cause problems because the difference between insecticide and war agent can be very slight, and the equipment to make them is considered ‘dual-purpose’. Remember the chemical trailers they found in Iraq? The first people who examined them developed symptoms of exposure to chemical agents. The Iraqis captured said “No no, these are for making insecticides for the crops!” Which is bullcrap; you don’t make pesticides in small lots that size. And, of course, when some media weenie asked if the symptoms COULD be due to insecticide they were told yes, the effects can be very similar, BUT… We know what happened, the ‘but’ was ignored and it was loudly declared that they WERE pesticide-making trailers and the nasty, lying American Army could not be trusted. Another reason I distrust just about every word that comes out of the mouth of a talking head.

Just finished reading John Ringo’s The Last Centurion. Very good rundown in there of just how much we depend on chemicals- sometimes very dangerous chemicals- to stay alive. I spent some years growing up in a small town in northern Oklahoma, farm & ranch country. You pick up things living in a place like that. How terribly important the weather is, and how much of the crops would disappear without the insecticides and herbicides we’ve got. It’s scary, it really is: the difference between plenty and hunger is something to kill the weeds and pests.

And the same stuff, misused or used carelessly, can kill you.

Right now I'm not looking forward to the rest of the day. Last night my relief did not show up, and their phone went straight to answering. Which meant I had an unexpected four hours extra before I could get home. About 4.5 hours sleep. Then a doctors appointment this morning that didn't happen: get there a few minutes early, then, at 45 minutes after the time the appointment was scheduled, tell the receptionist "I'm out of time" and leave. So the day's just gone along wonderfully since midnight. And that moron better show up tonight or I'll pay them a visit. With a club.

More bloggage later, when I have more time and am less sleep-deprived.


Fire said...

AAAAAAAAWWWWWWWEEEEEEE, Firehand, sounds like you have had a rough couple days. Allow me to take your mind right off that.

Love your descriptions of the insecticides. MY favorite was when you talked about not being fond of twitching and blackouts. Had I had something in my mouth, I would have had to spit it out. And I am not a lady who likes to spit.

James R. Rummel said...

What is your job, Firehand?


Firehand said...

For the moment, let's just say my version of Denny's Company I Dare Not Name.