Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Squirrel has flown the coop

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I have begun an old blog, at a new location. You may follow along if you wish, although why one would choose to do so is beyond me.

I'm going back to my roots... to the blog it all started with. Several years ago, when I began blogging, I had no idea where it would lead. Now I know the extremes it can take, and what it can do to ones life both good and bad. So be it.....

I return to:



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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

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Wednesday morning... and eyes popped open by 4am. That makes five hours sleep, and I'll call that a win. Eight would be better, but five will do. I can make the rest up with caffeine and will power.

Strange happenings when I woke. My cell phone in it's charger had turned itself off. Not wildly unusual, except it would not turn on. Punching buttons in the dark... and nothing. Turning the light on, I looked at it, found nothing amiss, and then removed the battery. Since it's a super-duper tough phone with sealed this and mil-spec that, removing the battery required manipulating hardware and fasteners... not something I do well at 4am through blurry eyes. In any case, that worked, and the phone came to life.

That would not have been so weird, except my next move was to switch on the shortwave on my headboard, hoping for something boring on Coast to Coast to lull me back to sleep. That was the idea, but even though the radio came on... none of the blasted controls would work. It's never done that before! Having just dealt with the cell phone, I tried the same trick with Mr. Grundig, and removed the batteries a moment. That did the job, and all was well in radio land.

Strange..... Various electronics that go wonky in the dead of night, all at the same time.

But all that thought (minimal as it was) sealed my fate, and awake I was. Awake enough to look at the cell phone and think a few thoughts. For 18 months I have kept it by my side, just in case somebody important to me called. I realized this morning... there is no longer a need. I put it back in the charger and left it there.

Another thought popped up, like an uninvited weasel in a hen house. It was 4am and I had just dealt with two pieces of recalcitrant electronics without even getting the least cranky. It was a problem... I dealt with it... time to move on. Ten years ago I would have tossed that phone against the wall hard enough to entomb it for future generations.

I think it's the teaching that did that to me. Year and years of working with teenagers, and knowing, deeply ingrained, that anger solved nothing at all. Now, I seldom get angry over anything. In fact, I can't recall the last time I was seriously pissed. Hurt? Oh God yes... blindsided and blinded with pain... yes. But not angry... I've learned almost to the point of instinct now... anger solves nothing. The last time I yelled at someone.... the last time I was irate.... it's been years and years.

Funny how a few hunks of cranky electronics can highlight a life lesson to me. Maybe it was the 4am thing.... :-)

At least the coffee pot worked the first time, and I'm thankful for that.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

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Droplets in the dark
disturb the ponds still silence
announcing the rain
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Tuesday.....

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Okay... made it this far through the day.

This morning I spent at school, rebuilding my students locker room. Two coats of fresh paint, repaired the lockers... and it looks good now. Far better than the prison-chic it used to.

The school budgeted a few days with two people, and I did all the work solo in eight hours. I just can't waste the time by stretching the job, but I sure wish it had taken longer. Spending time with hard work in front of me is a good thing just now. I've taken on more, too. Most days will be filled for the rest of the month, one way or another. The worst it can do is kill me, and few would mourn that.

After the mornings work, a quick swing past the post office to ship something, and then a few hours invested in a gun shop crawl. Lot's of talent, but nothing that made me stop for long. There are some funds, as an upcoming trip is now canceled and I had money set aside for it, but the cash looked better to me than the tools. There was one FN Patrol rifle..... maybe I'll go back for that one. I have room for a solid 7.62 accuracy platform. At $600 it was not overpriced, but putting optics on it would be pricey.

After the ride, I took a walk through market. I decided a decent dinner would do me good, so a very thick and very tender strip steak followed me home. $12 worth of happy cow chunk alongside some broiled and seasoned asparagus was good enough to give me an appetite. As long as I have a taste for life, I have a reason to get up in the morning.

Yes, that is a glass of good bourbon next to my steak. I expect such a thing will become far more common in my life from now on.








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The sun rose this morning. I am impressed, and not just a little surprised.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Silence

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A year and a half ago I left my marriage. It was a choice for me between living life, or not caring if I lived. At the time... and to the best of my ability since then, I have tried not to say anything bad about my wife. She is human, with all the flaws that entails. I accept that, and I take upon myself any blame to be attached to the failure. That seems the right thing to do.

The effect of that decision amongst my and our friends has been mixed. By making the conscious decision to rarely speak of my reasons for leaving.... I have left just one side of the story out there. I've accepted that doing so leaves me at a disadvantage, and frankly I look like dirt to some people. So be it. I will not speak badly of her if I can help it. I loved her for much of my life.... and I will not dishonor what was once there, any more than I have to in order to continue living.

Now I am faced with the same choice, and once again I will make the same choice. I have nothing bad to say. In fact, I have nothing to say about the situation at all. It would only make it worse, and more painful... and I will not do that to someone I care about. What blame there is, I accept fully. The fault is mine, and mine alone.

I know that I will once again appear to be a real jerk to all those who know one side of the story. People who's opinion I care about are now going to turn away. That hurts... tremendously, but it pales in comparison to the rest of the pain from this. I.... just cannot imagine what life will be like starting tomorrow.

Right now... I'm going to pour three fingers of bourbon on some ice, and go watch the sunlight fade. I can only talk to the trees, and they say nothing in return.



Who did I think I was kidding?

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There will be little sleep tonight. I don't know who I thought I was kidding.... actually going to bed like it was going to work.

Six hours till dawn......



Sunday, July 12, 2009

A fine medicine

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I've been under the weather for a few days... but surviving. Felt like treating myself today, so I went for a ride in the country. Yes...a traditional Sunday Drive, only without stopping for ice cream.

Going for a Sunday Drive is almost a lost art these days. People are so busy, and days are so planned. The thought of getting the family in the car and "Going North till we see a herd of sheep, and then West till we see goats!"..... that's just not done anymore.

Now.... there's nobody in the car but me, and the direction is determined by which path seems less traveled. Eventually.... home is around the bend, but till then.....

Perhaps South West next time.....


Saturday, July 11, 2009

The speech... and the two unforgettable sins

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Each school year, my partner and I have 'The Talk' with the new class. It's all about what we expect from our students, what they can expect from us, and what they have gotten themselves into. Today I'm considering the talk in light of the past year, and challenges we have faced.

Part of this two hour speech covers the unforgettable sins. Lying, and Stealing. We discuss what both mean, and describe exactly why they are unforgettable. Not unforgivable... almost anything might be forgiven, as is human nature. But forgotten... no.

Once you find out someone is a thief.... especially when you catch them at it.... the relationship is changed forever. No matter how completely they are forgiven and welcomed back into the fold, they will forever be 'A Thief' to those who know about it. Even if it's just a small nagging thought at the back of the mind... it will surface one day to spread it's poison. No matter how much water goes over that dam, the trust will never be there again.

Stealing is easy to explain: "See that thing? If it does not belong to you, and you take it without permission, that is stealing. It doesn't matter who it belongs to at that point, just that it wasn't yours".

Lying is the same thing, and for the same reason. Someone who is caught in a lie.. is a liar. Liars lie. The same again... no matter how they are forgiven, the trust will never be there the same again. It's a steady and inevitable poison to a relationship that resurfaces one day, some day, and rears it's ugly head.

Lying is a little harder to explain, as there are different flavors of a lie. Telling something you are certain is wrong... that is a lie. Telling something in such a way as to make it sound the opposite of what it is.... that's a lie. Finally, and the hardest to understand, not telling someone something they have a right to know, and you have a duty to tell them.... that is a lie by omission. Many situations come under this last heading, and some people really struggle with it.

Two things we cannot abide in our students; Stealing and lying. Both ruin the trust we need to develop a relationship. Once we catch them at it... what we can do for them as instructors changes forever. How we view them as people... that changes forever as well.

Sadly, for some, it's the first time they have ever heard it. Even more sadly, for some it is too late. Perhaps saddest of all, as instructors it happens to us so often we become highly attuned to the taste of it.

It doesn't taste good, and its a taste one doesn't forget.


Thinking about this put me in mind of the lines spoken by Okla (played by Willie Nelson in The Thief), and I've added them to my sidebar. The older I get, the truer they become.


Images of market day at the Green Dragon

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Market Friday at the Green Dragon, a Lancaster County staple since the 1930's. The last two miles of road to the market.... will suck 30 minutes from your life as you wait your turn at the 20 acre parking lot. Once in the lot.... you will circle slowly, waiting for a spot to open up.


The vendors get there at 4am, and put in a 20 hour day. For many of them, this one day a week market is their livelihood. They bring with them just about every culture you can imagine. Amish bakery stands sell their wares next to middle eastern jewelry dealers. Cries of "Guut fresh bread today!" are every bit as truthful as "Every piece pure silver, not sterling!" The bread is usually day old and bought by the truckload locally, and nobody makes chains of pure silver, it's too soft. That's okay, it's all part of the magic of the Souk.



While it was once a cattle auction, with some space to sell other goods considered needful by the local farmers and townspeople, the Green Dragon is now a home to antique dealers and clothing vendors. Tables full of hand tools reside next to a booth where hats rule the scene. Fresh produce is in abundance, with each stand holder trying to undercut the other in price, quantity, and sometimes quality.




Perhaps best of all... the food. It's Fair Food... that magic stuff one can only find at outdoor stands on rare days when people gather together. French fries in a paper cup, splashed with malt vinegar..... Grilled sausage sandwiches smothered with fried onions..... Funnel cake, that heavenly deep fried concoction of flour, eggs, and lots of sugar.... Milk shakes and egg rolls and BBQ and beef jerky and..........


'Market Day' is a tradition dating back many generations. It's another way of saying Friday, the day local farmers takes their produce to market, and themselves do the weeks shopping. It comes from a time when goods and people moved by horse drawn wagon and running to town was not something done on the spur of the moment. Sunday was for worship, and Saturday was much taken up with preparing for Sunday gatherings, and the rest of the week is for work.... but a day for trade is needed and that day is Friday, 'Market Day'.





Friday, July 10, 2009

Spidey sense is keeping me up.

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Ever have your internal alarm clock going off, but just not know why?

Well, this seems to be one of those nights for me. Sleep is elusive.... so it's a night with some music playing quietly and a nice thick Tom Clancy novel in my lap. If I finish that tonight, maybe I can start in on that library edition of the dictionary I've been meaning to read.

Sure wish Johny Carson was still around.... that guy could put me to sleep in minutes.

(update)

Asleep by 3am, and up at my usual 6am. Thas Okay... I can funktion witout sleeep. It all good.... snerk. Huh? Wha!?


Food Porn, the friday version

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A lean burger made with steak seasoning and fresh cracked pepper, and then grilled till just done. Plated on top of a big 'ol flaky biscuit, and topped with fresh coleslaw still crunchy and sweet.

Ya'll can click on the picture and enlarge it, if you wish (GGG).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A modern day possibles bag........

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As long as I can recall, I've been one to tuck a few things away. A little cash, a little food, maybe some extra ammunition and even a few books to while away a required wait. That desire to 'be prepared' predated my youthful stint on the boy scouts. I can only surmise it's genetic, as both my parents were the same.

This morning I began assembling a 'possibles' bag to live in my new scooty car. Nothing tremendous, but just a small bag with a few things that might prove handy. Small enough to be tucked away in the cargo area and not take up too much room. Not so big that it would be left behind when large things must be moved with the vehicle. Just..... a bag.

In this case, it's a soft side briefcase with multiple zippered pockets and divided internal spaces. Just the ticket for keeping gear in order.
To each thing a place and time.

Contents:


  • A change of clothes, with extra socks and underwear. Denim pants and shirt.
  • A bath towel just because every cool frood must have one, and a large bandanna.
  • A certain amount of cash, equal to what I would need to buy fuel, food, and tolls for a long day of travel. It's also enough to buy a tire and have it mounted, or take a hotel room for the night.
  • Personal care needs: Razors, soap, toothbrush,vitamins, trial pack script meds, bug spray that's 95% Deet. Spare glasses (when I get a spare set). Toilet paper.
  • Two pocket knives. One razor sharp, the other serrated. One is an old jack knife with a screwdriver blade and a can/bottle opener.
  • Means to make fire.
  • A flashlight, to back up the two already in the vehicle.
  • Two ball point pens, a sharpie, and a pencil. Also a note pad.
  • A campers space blanket, and an emergency poncho.
  • A med kit with: Iodine, aspirin, band aids, sterile pads, gauze, tape, and alcohol swabs, steri-strips, Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and some other meds.
  • A box of ammunition for several of my regular carry pistols.
  • An Emergency Medical Guide.
  • A few bottles of water, and a few protein bars.
  • An old cell phone and car charger, not linked to an account but works to dial 911.
  • A half dozen road flares stored in doubled zip lock bags.
It's nothing wildly fantastic, but it's enough to deal with minor annoyances and some minor emergencies. It's a ten pound bag of confidence that says I can get stuck someplace overnight and not be too uncomfortable, that I can live through a vehicle stuck in a nasty snow storm, and that I can have a fighting chance of dealing with most issues on the road. For two good reasons there are no firearms. One, the bag is easily stolen and the car is not a vault, and two.... I'm a school teacher. Self defense is illegal in schools and they are quite serious about that. Being found with a firearm in my vehicle on school property would be a career ender.

It's a bag of insurance I can grab and scoot with.

What's in your bag?

Ham radio bleg

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Ok.... I'll admit it. I have a ham radio license. So there... now you know.

I've been off air for almost ten years, but now I wish to rejoin the fold. Towards that end, I'm looking for a 2 meter mobile rig. 50 watts or upwards, and with DTMF. I'll also need a decent antenna (mag mount preferred) and a 2 meter SWR meter to tune it with.

The bleg is...... anybody know where I can get the gear used without resorting to fleabay?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A moment in the shop....

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Some students just get into their work................


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ok, now this looks interesting.....

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Our own Oleg Volk designed the covers... and the album sounds interesting. If Oleg says it's worth it, then I'm sure it is!


Sausage and apples..... HMmmmmm!

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Enough with the negativity! Time for a food post!

I give you... tonights dinner. Sweet Italian sausage from the grill, and baked apple from the same grill.

The sausage is easy, tasty and satisfying. The apple... that is something of an experiment. I took a Granny Smith, and sliced off the top. The core was cut out with a knife, without cutting all the way through. Into this hollow I stuffed a whole strawberry, and then topped it with a pat of butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon, and then drizzled a bit of honey on it. Placed on the grills upper rack till baked soft, it became the center of a ring of grilled sausage.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Twists and turns..... as the worm squirms.

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I've been teaching tech school for eight years now, and I love it. The challenges are endless, the days are interesting, and the kids make it worthwhile. I have so much to learn, and mandatory college courses to prove it. It's what I've always wanted to do.

That said... there's been something missing, till now.

I bought myself another vehicle, one I could pay cash for. Given the economic state of the universe (check the definition of Solipsism) it had to be a good value, and an inexpensive one. It had to be reliable, or readily made so. It could not be one of a long list of vehicles that have caused me to swear oaths of destruction over the years.

I found one.... and it fit just fine. A little German scooty car with a manual transmission, one previous owner, and some life still left in it's bones. I haven't been able to own a stick in a long time.... but now I can. My first car was a manual, and I'd forgotten all about the utter Zen of meshing oneself with the machine. Tuning the ear to the engine sounds, till the tachometer is just an afterthought. Judging the hills and dales, traffic and timing so the car is always in the right gear at the right time. I'd forgotten how the clutch can mostly be left alone, once the driver is fully engaged as a part of the machine.

Today I spent hours fixing the ills of this older car. Repairing small hurts and doing the maintenance required till I have confidence in the beast. Brakes that work just so. Air conditioning cold enough to warm the heart of a fat man on a midsummers day. Insane Germanic door locks more arcane than a politicians cold soul, but now they work perfectly to an odd dance of vacuum and electronics. Tweaking, tuning, and planning next weeks excursion to a land I'd long forgotten.

You see.... I like working on cars, and I haven't had any like this in years. I'm a teacher now, and buried in my new craft.

Maybe this car isn't one I'd trust on a cross country trip... yet.... but then again I'm not planning any trips. I've no place I need to go.... and the time to re-explore a world I'd let slip through my hands years ago.


Another data point for the equation......

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A science teacher back in 7th grade once told me "If you can gather enough data, any situation eventually becomes clear". (I enjoyed Mr. Godwin's class immensely.)

I offer this as a data point, and note that it's just one tiny piece of information.

This essay/post/article has been making the rounds on the internet. I managed to track it back to the source, which I just linked. I also checked to see if the author is as stated, an instructor of law enforcement courses at the college level. It appears he is. Does that make his essay more important? I don't think so, but it does seem to open up an avenue not normally clear to civilians; what some sworn officers are thinking.

An excerpt:

What is odd about this new fear is that it is not coming from the average citizen gun owner out there, but it is coming from what to me is an almost shocking source: street cops. Street cops and SWAT cops that I know from various agencies – rural, suburban and metro – in my area are scared. Cops that before November 2008 never gave much thought (that I knew of anyway) to politics or more importantly to gun rights. For the most part, these are the guys that didn’t generally have any interest in shooting or gun ownership beyond keeping track of where their duty gun is, and a few of them didn’t even do that so well.

The guys I am talking about are some of the same guys who used to not even carry off duty on a regular basis- but not anymore. They don’t scare easily, defenders of the Constitution of this State and the United States (as our oath of office reads), have been buying ARs, survival gear, and all the ammo they can lay their hands on. All of them (or I should say “us”) have been discussing and have been acquiring guns to provide a layered perimeter defense.

Read the original for the rest, and take it for what you will. As for myself, another data point added to the shifting equation.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

The morality of carrying a weapon for self defense


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In one way or another I have been armed since I was old enough to have my own .22 rifle.
When I was of age I applied for and received a carry permit, and have held one most of my years since then. Truth be told, permit or not I have always had a weapon near me.

Since I grew up with weapons as tools, the morality of being armed was never raised as an issue. You had a chain saw to cut wood, and you had a firearm to defend yourself. You learned to use the chainsaw safely because you would need the skill as a capable adult. For the same reason you learned to shoot well and safely keep a weapon, as defending oneself is what a capable adult does. Personal responsibility demands one be able to do what’s needed, and be able to use the tools to meet that need. Anything less is a failure to oneself, ones loved ones, and ones community.

Later, in adult years, as introspection grew and answers to life’s questions were sought, I faced the issue of self defense. After carrying a weapon for years I finally took the time to ask myself why, and took the time to reason out an answer, or at least one of them.

I carry a weapon because it is the moral thing to do. It meets with my definition of doing ‘right’. Being prepared to defend myself and loved ones is part of being a responsible person.

Please allow me to explain…

I believe people have a ‘moral obligation’ to take responsibility for themselves, not leaving the task as a burden to others. I know this may not be a popular concept in some circles, but that doesn't change it as my belief. I know we are laden with entire generations of people who honestly think they bear no responsibility for their own safety, wellbeing, and actions.

I choose not to be one of those people.

I carry a weapon for much the same reasons as I usually have a pocket knife and a flashlight around me. These are all tools I may need to take care of myself and pull my own weight. To think of them other than tools is silly. Everything a man lays his hands on to complete a task is a tool, and no morality can possibly reside in the inanimate objects we use.

Why not leave my personal defense to ‘The Authorities’?
For several reasons, as I’ll explain.

It’s simply not possible for any government authority to defend my person. There is no arguing this point. Even in the most restrictive environments imaginable, our federal prison system, there are daily physical attacks resulting in death and injury. There is no ‘civilized’ society in the world where government authority has been able to protect and defend the individual citizen from criminals bent on harm. There is an element, a breed, of humans who live as predators on their fellow humans, and they reside next door to each of us. No amount of authority can take on the task of defending the individual, no matter how well meaning. If it must be done, then I must do it myself.

This notion of ‘The Authorities’ is often a nebulous one, with folks forgetting that government service is peopled with humans no different than ourselves. Good and bad, competent and worthless, our government mirrors our population and that should cause a moments thought. When I call on the police to help me, what am I really doing? I am asking my neighbor to put his life on the line for my needs. Perhaps not when simply investigating a break in or calming a troubled situation, but often enough when danger calls. For an unreasonably small handful of dollars I should expect the officer to arrive with weapon in hand and interpose himself between trouble and I? Is this right?

It’s here that morality raises its ugly head. How can I ask my neighbor to risk his life for me when I am not willing to do so for myself? How can I in good conscience expect an officer to care more for my loved ones and me, than I do myself?

I was raised understanding that a man did for himself, and only asked for help when he had to. This went hand in hand with the idea that you always helped your neighbor when they asked, because they wouldn’t ask if they didn’t really need it. That and it was part of the contract that they would be there when you asked in return. This contract has fallen by the wayside in our society, in many places. Too many now demand ‘help’ with every problem real or perceived, and too many honestly believe that ‘help’ is owed them by society for some unknown reason. Far too often, ‘help’ is defined as ‘Someone come and do this for me because I don’t want to!

I carry a weapon because I believe a person has a moral responsibility to take care of themselves and not be a burden on others. The pistol I carry on my belt, and the rifle stored in my safe, are nothing more than tools needed to meet my responsibility. This is not a responsibility that can be relieved by some fool wishing it so and announcing it.

It’s a moral obligation that can only be self imposed, self delivered, and self administered.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

They finally got their best man for the job

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There is a segment of our society that has been searching for their best political representative. Somebody who truly reflects their nature. They have finally found him. Congratualtions.

A study in contrasts....

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Two situations, both involving meetings with strangers that involve cash. One raises my hackles, and one is perfectly comfortable. One I will follow through with, and the other I politely declined.

I am searching for a vehicle, this one to be a cheap clunker for specific reasons. One of my sons pointed out a Volvo brick on Craigslist, and I contacted the seller via e-mail. The response was timely and direct. The seller writes in a 'youthful' manner and has an ethno-centric email address. They would like to meet in a parking lot, for a cash deal. After some thought, I passed. Too many alarms going off.

Second situation.... To raise some funds for clunker car shopping, I am selling a few firearms (keep it down..... quit 'cher hollerin. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do!). One is a rather pricey shotgun, which I advertised in the local paper. This morning I get a call from an interested party. He knows guns, he asks the right questions, and he agrees to meet at my private shooting club while knowing exactly where it is. I'll be there, and will be comfortable handing him a shotgun and a handful of shells to try it out with.

Two situations involving small wads of cash and deals with perfect strangers. One I am comfortable with, and the other I wouldn't touch. The ironic thing is.... the one I am comfortable with has loaded firearms tossed into the mix and I know it going in.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What does Cap+Trade mean to you?

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Now that the House has voted on Cap and Trade without any idea what was in it.... details are starting to leak out.

The bloody bill was not even finished being written before they voted on it..... they did so blindly under party orders. The final three hundred page amendment was handed out just three hours before the vote, and the whole bill was not assembled at the time of voting.

So.... what does this little gift from congress mean to you, with its $15 per ton tax on CO2 emissions?

How about.... doubling your electric bill for a start. 57% of the electricity in the nation is from coal fired plants, and the tax will (at best) double the price of coal, plus the fuel to transport the coal, plus the fuel to dig the coal, plus.......

Heat your home with oil or gas? The new tax will add about 50% to your heating bills.

Drive a car, do you? Nice car? Enjoy that ride to work, do you? How about gas taxes increasing by up to fifty cents a gallon. Look on the bright side... maybe yours will be one of the estimated two million jobs this new tax will cost the nation. If you have no job, you'll save on gas.... what with having no place to go.

Oh... and don't forget..... every single thing you use in life..... everything you eat, wear, sit on, write on, and use.... all comes by rail and truck. All those transportation costs will go up 30% to 70%. Hmm.... another thought.... most of our nations farm fertilizers are petro-chemical based, and all the equipment to work the farms and transport the food is diesel. Look for food costs to almost double.... if you can get any.

These numbers are based the administrations most favored numbers.... the best case scenario under the new legislation.


The next time you meet someone who voted this congress into office... be sure to thank them.

Conservatives Going Galt?

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H/T to Instapundit for noting this post, and this movement. There are some who are now calling for Conservatives, and all those who are fed up with government taxation and spending, to 'Go Galt' in consumption. A specific day has been chosen (July 30th) to conduct a one day strike. Conservatives simply don't go to work that day, and don't spend any money that day. More overreaching is a call for Conservatives to pull in their consumer horns and spend nothing they don't have to.

My opinion.... the last part is already happening. Conservatives are just that... conservative. If they are bright enough to be paying attention then they see the direction our economy is being forced. Any extra spending they are doing is related to survival options in hard times, not new iPods and HD video cameras.

As for going Galt and not going to work.... I don't think most people are at the point of disgust required to do that. Conservatives work because they like to, and recognize the value of it, even if others don't. Maybe especially because others don't.



Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A little work on defensive skills

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Spent an hour at the range today. Warm, buggy, and honestly my heart was not in it. Too many troubles knocking at the door to really enjoy myself much. Still, mustn't allow the skills to rust away, so I put a few hundred rounds through my carry pistol. Draw from awkward positions and double tap multiple targets while moving. Rinse and repeat as necessary, reloading magazines from my standard carry placement.

I must be getting old. It's taking me almost four seconds to draw from concealed carry and nail three targets quickly at fifteen yards. My mind was elsewhere and it was hard to get into the smooth motions.

On the bright side, I finally found a hand load that won't cycle the S+W cleanly every time.... so now I have 100 rounds of ammunition that can be used for malf drills.



Monday, June 29, 2009

"So... you want my vote?" An open letter to elected officials

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There was a time when I favored one political party over another, although I have never in my life voted a straight party ticket. I like to look at each candidate and try determining what he or she stands for; Looking back over track records, campaign literature, and when possible a glimpse in person. Since I began paying attention to politics I have identified myself as 'mostly Republic' and 'mostly conservative', if a label had to be put to it. All else being equal I would give a Republican the nod over a Democrat while I was in the polling booth.

That will never happen again, ever. I have a different way of looking at candidates now, and it's one I hope catches on. It's based on a few simple principles.

One: There is no political party that represents my interests any longer, therefor politicians who always 'vote the party line' are not voting in my interest, but in their parties interest.

Two: I will forevermore automatically assume that an incumbent candidate desperately needs to be removed from office unless clearly proven different.

Let me be clear in this Mr. Candidate.... I could not care less what your party affiliation is any longer. 'Your Party' does not represent me, and my vote will be based on other factors. I have seen so many instances of malfeasance, bad faith, and utter incompetence committed by politicians of all stripe that I no longer give any of them the slightest benefit of a doubt. I mean what I say.... any of them, from a county constable to the tax collector to the Mayor and all the way up to the President himself. Every single elected official, no matter how minor or major, no matter their affiliation.... I will judge them all by the same harsh light.

What might earn you my vote? Pay attention... this will be simple and won't take long.

I believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, exactly as they are written. They mean what they say. They are the rules that apply to government. They are the limitations that apply to government. They are not limitations on my private life, but on your public position. Understand that... and prove to me you understand it. Make me believe you understand the lines you cannot cross. How you prove that is up to you, but I will discard 98% of what you say while making promises, pledges, and statements. Far better if you can point to things you have actually done that show an understanding and personal integrity.

I believe in earning my keep and supporting myself and my own. If I chose to help others and serve my own pleasure in doing so, so be it. Under no circumstances do I believe any public official has any authority to confiscate my hard earned wealth at gun point and give it away to others who have not earned it. Prove to me you believe the same thing.

I believe there is a limit to the amount any one person should pay in taxes to support government. I also believe everyone should pay their share, whether it be in wealth or labor. The answer to "How much is enough?" is not "More". It has a finite answer, period. I believe no man should pay more than 15% of his earnings for all government at all levels. I don't care if that's a flat tax, some sort of averaged sales tax, or what have you. On the other hand... everyone that gets any government services should pay that, period. If they do not have the income to pay it, then they can pay their share in sweat towards the public good. There should be pride in carrying your own load, and no person should demand a free ride with their hand in my pocket. If government needs more than 15% of everyone's earnings, then the answer is less government, not more taxes. Show me you believe the same thing. Show me, not tell me.

Show me you understand these concepts, and you'll have a solid start to earning my vote. But.... it's far easier to sway my vote against you than for you.

If you are an incumbent, I will automatically assume we would be better served by any random homeless bum off the street than you. As an incumbent you carry the burden of shame for every act of treason, greed, and power maddened abrogation of individual rights carried out by every elected official before you, in every office in the land. You don't like that? Tough... find another career. The only way I will ever vote for an incumbent again is if he's got a proven track record of understanding and living by the statements above. The only way I will ever vote for an incumbent elected official is if I go to the polling booth with a burning desire to keep that person in office. Other than that, out you go.

Not only that, but I will judge each incumbent by the actions of all their staff, and all their administration. They work for you... then you take responsibility for what they do.

Might I toss out a few good eggs with the sewage? Of course... but I'd rather lose a few decent and competent people if it means throwing chaos into the plans of all those who would lie, cheat, steal and enslave by means of their office.

Have you ever moved to raise taxes? You'll never have my vote.

Have you ever tried to infringe on my personal freedom? You'll never have my vote.

Have you ever voted for a bill you did not read and understand fully? If so, then you shall never, ever, have my vote.

Have you ever voted against my interests in order to sustain your own position? If so, then I will not only vote for anyone else but you, I will also actively help campaign against you.

Our nation has a deep and boundless wealth of good people. Intelligent, hard working, and honest citizens who would ably do duty in positions of governance. That said, history has shown that positions of power attract the very worst possible candidates, as well as those few who actually want to serve. Not only is it time to dump the bathwater, it's time to flip the tub over, scrub it out with bleach, and start over.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Interesting times

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Life has gotten interesting.... so blogging may be light for a while.