Friday, December 07, 2007

December 7, 1941

"...a date which will live in infamy..."

Today, we remember the attack on Pearl Harbor. (Click the link and then just sit there. Turn the sound up.)

God bless the memory of all those who suffered and died this day.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Absolutely and utterly NSFW

(Found on Timebomb 2000)

And if you click on it, you might want to cover your keyboard, too.

Tragedy compounding tragedy

John Lott hits it out of the park:

A Google news search using the phrase "Omaha Mall Shooting" finds an incredible 2,794 news stories worldwide for the last day. From India and Taiwan to Britain and Austria, there are probably few people in the world who haven’t heard about this tragedy.

But despite the massive news coverage, none of the media coverage, at least by 10 a.m. Thursday, mentioned this central fact: Yet another attack occurred in a gun-free zone.

In many states, compromises were made to get concealed carry laws through. One that should have never been made was to allow property holders to ban concealed weapons from their property. You can go on with academic arguments about property rights all day, but I deal with reality. Owners of places like malls have lawyers whose job is to "keep them out of trouble". These lawyers will always suggest posting "No weapons signs", because A) they think it will protect them from lawsuits and B) it's a feel-good measure that costs next to nothing.

It's about time that someone explores the legal theory that if you prohibit me from protecting myself, then you assume the responsibility for my protection, and if you fail, I can sue the crap out of you, and make it cost a very significant amount.

"Gun free zones" my ass. "Safety free zones" is more like it.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

DVD sales are off

Hollyweird is worried that sales of DVD movies are tanking. As a public service, The Freeholder will enlighten you Hollyweirdos on why this is happening.

First, in case you haven't noticed, the economy is soft. Lots of bad economic news is out there, if you care to look. In times like these, while you cut back on big houses, fast cars and drugs, normal people cut back on what are known as "discretionary purchases". Discretionary purchases are things we want, as opposed to than things we need. We need food, fuel and shelter. We want DVDs. DVDs lose.

Second, many of us don't want to buy DVDs, when we know that a new, much improved version is out there. Of course, since you can't get your act together on a format (I'm talking Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD here), many of us are now sitting on purchases of movies. Get your act together on a format, please.

Third, we're getting tired of paying $20 for a movie and then seeing it in the Wal-mart cheapie bins for $10 in two or three months. We'll just hold off and save 50%, thanks.

Fourth, most of your movies suck. They weren't worth going to see at a theater, and they aren't worth watching at home. So we don't buy them, or we wait for them to show up in the 2 for $11 super-cheapie bins at Wal-mart. Then if we buy them and they are really as bad as everyone warned us, at least our range targets aren't quite so expensive.

I hope this helps. I know it's hard when you're so disconnected from reality.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Warm and cozy

One of the reasons that Mrs. Freeholder and I were able to agree on this particular house to be The Freehold v2 was the existence of a large masonry fireplace with a lined flu. A plus is that the fireplace had a heatolator insert with fan. As a special bonus, there was an additional, never used flu to the basement.

All this appealed to the preparedness streak in me. The fireplace meant we could have nice, crackling fires in the winter and generate extra heat for the house, which Mrs. Freeholder wanted, while the flu to the basement meant the possibility of a wood furnace--great for emergency heat or for simply keeping the house warm for less.

Last winter, time didn't permit us to do anything much about the subject. I was adamant that we would not use either without a professional chimney inspection, and we had way too many higher priorities. So we put up with a cold house. I can testify to the fact that heat pumps suck. Sure, the house was warm, but it was the coldest 70o I've ever lived in. I was glad to see warm weather.

This year nearly saw us back in the same place. However, rising energy costs plus a pretty decent supply of wood goaded me into getting things done. I called a local chimney guy who came very well recommended. He examined the flues, and gave me the bad news. One, the one to the basement, was a total loss. Because of poor construction when the house was built 28 years ago, the liner would have to be broken out, a cleanout door installed, and a new stainless steel liner installed. Major $$. The other was salvageable, however, it was too small and too short for a fireplace. It would have to be relined, and a wood insert installed. Also major $$.

After much discussion, we decided to write off the one to the basement. Chimney Guy had an old Emerald woodstove in excellent condition, and he would make us a package price on it plus relining. Mrs. Freeholder and I decided we would live with the compromise.

Last Thursday, Chimney Guy and Associates arrived and relined the chimney and installed the woodstove. (Pity the poor Chimney Guy and Associates. They wound up having to break out the liner in the fireplace flu as well, all for the lack of 3/4". Hard work.) We had our first fire Saturday night, and have had one every night since. Even though I spent my teens through 20s heating with wood, every stove and every house is different, and we're still learning how this particular combination of house and stove works. Tonight, the house is warm without being hot for the first time. The cheery crackle of the fire is still visible behind a removable screen, and Mrs. Freeholder doesn't mind the mess that goes with a wood stove (so far). The heat pump is not running, even with temps in the lower 30s as I type. There is enough wood to get us through the winter already cut and stacked. Son and I will split some of it Saturday.

I am content.