Sunday, December 27, 2015

How higher education is turning students into dangerous self-righteous twits

Being that I've worked in higher ed for 4 years now, I'd say the authors are pretty much nailing it.  The only place I part company with them is on the level of danger the practice has as it stifles free expression not only on the campus, but in the areas that surround it.

However, there is a shining beacon in all this--some bright entrepreneur could make a fortune by starting a service to aggregate the names, any publicly available identifying information (schools attended, hometown and so on) and publicly available spewings of these twits into a subscription database.  Potential employers could use it to search for applicants that they want to weed out of applicant pools at hiring time.

I don't think "self-righteous arrogant ass" is a protected class yet.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Crimson Trace/LCP Secrets

(As found on Facebook)

Guns.com writer Nick Oetken discovers the secrets to life with the Ruger LCP--get the version with a Crimson Trace Laser and ignore the sights.

Seriously.  While I have dinked around and attempted to improve the mediocre LCP sights, the truth of the matter is there is only so much you can do with them.  However, if you ensure that the laser dot and point of impact coincide, you will be amazed at the distances at which you can be combat accurate with the little LCP.

Oh, and his dismissive assessment of the .380 ACP round?  You want to get shot with this?  It may not be a .44 Magnum, but it beats harsh language.

These days, given recent events, we probably ought to reconsider our daily carry gun if we are in any sort of area that is larger than the bitty burgs I tend to be in--and probably even in the bitty burgs.  However, you are going to find yourself in situations where carrying a bigger blaster is difficult for some reason, and that is where having a smaller, more concealable option is a good thing.  In my case, the LCP is my go to gun for after I arrive home in the evening.  I can't carry at work, and it's very easy to have this in a holster that I can pick up and slip on my belt as soon as I walk in the bedroom.  It's easy to carry and if I need to quickly conceal it, easy to flip a shirt over.

There are a number of such options in this size package, most in .380 and a few in 9 mm.  You make your decision and you learn to live with it.  For now, the LCP is the one I've learned to live with.  If events dictate, trust me, I'll learn to live with something else.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

I wish you a slightly early Merry Christmas

Things have not been so merry this holiday season at the Freehold, unfortunately.  For over a week, Mrs. Freeholder's sister was hospitalized for an long undiagnosed condition and gravely ill.  The decision was finally made to end her treatment when it became all too obvious that there was going to be no happy ending.  As you might guess, this has been a difficult time for everyone involved.  The whirlwind of hospital, death, funeral and holiday have combined to form something of a perfect storm.  Christmas this year is going to be a bit somber in our families.

However, life does go on.  Even for us, there will be celebration, muted though it will be.  We wish all of you an early Merry Christmas, and remind you with fresh perspective on the subject to be sure to get in touch with your loved ones, your friends and yourself.  If I may be sappy, don't forget to tell those close to you that you love them and how much they mean to you, because you don't know when you won't be able to do it ever again.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

In which CBS trips over its male member

(As found on Facebook)

Or CBS would have tripped over it if it had a male member, at any rate.  It seems that a member of the Professional Media (not to be confused with a male member) got hold of some BATFE stats, thought they had themselves a big ol' story and faster than you can say "Hold my beer and watch this!" out came a story breathlessly purporting to tell us the most heavily armed states in the country.

And then they got jumped by the media amateurs who corrected their story.

I'll just be over here trying to clean out this keyboard.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Another December 7

This particular anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor has a bit more meaning, perhaps, given the latest event of terrorism to take place on our own soil.  Once again, we were asleep, caught off guard.  Plenty of good people died and many good people ran to the sound of the guns.  We offer prayers of sorrow and for healing for the first group and prayers of thanks for the second.

Unfortunately, it seems that this time out national leadership does not have the resolve to fight the war that must be fought.  They soft sell the danger and the enemy while at the same time shifting much of the blame onto our own citizens.

It's going to be up to us, for a while if not for the long term, to man the walls in the fight for our country.  So now, on top of preparing for an economic collapse, we get to prepare for what is in effect a war of national survival which we will have to fight in spite of our government.

Nice.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Continuing on the communications theme

On the night of the all-nighter, I posted a little something on my work on upping my communications abilities.  An anonymous commenter had some questions and I wanted to share how some of the work had finally come out.


This is a picture I used in that original post of the headpiece of the Kenwood TM-D700A on its Lido mount.  As I mentioned in the original post, the coils of wire in the back, originally meant to connect it to the actual radio, well, those wound up not being used.  A combination of over-sized conductors as opposed to the connectors I purchased and some further research pointed out the potential of a $300 potential magic smoke release if I made a mistake--and from that research, a mistake seemed to be a bit easier to make than I was comfortable with.  So the young gentleman who was assisting me in this endeavor (Daughter's Boyfriend, who is a mean auto body guy) helped me redo the cabling using the original Kenwood extension cable and a pre-terminated Cat 6 Ethernet station cable.  When attached to the radio (seen below in it's natural habitat, under one of the back seats), we actually had maybe a foot of the original Kenwood cable to spare.

Of course, we had to remove both passenger side seats, the center console and peal back the carpet to make all this happen, but in terms of a professional appearance, it was worth the work.

Once this was accomplished, I was able to ask my next door neighbor, Fire Gu, the guy who helped reawaken the radio bug, to come help me test it all out.  The radio powered right up and we were able to hit the local 2 meter repeater as well as make a short (about 50 feet) simplex transmission.

Obviously, the tiny little speaker on the top of the radio wasn't going to provide proper sound in a big ol' Chevy Suburban, especially one that doesn't have the stock exhaust on it.  (What can I say?  It doesn't have the stock stereo either.)  Mountain Man had gifted me a Kenwood KES-5 speaker, and we ran the cable for it while running all the rest of the cables.  That speaker makes all the difference in the world.  Clear at any reasonable level of volume, it is the perfect addition to the radio.

The final remaining task is to program the radio.  As mentioned earlier, I have all the appropriate software--I just need to figure out how to make it do what I want it to do.  The ARRL Travel Plus software is great if you're taking a trip, but on my initial try last weekend I was unable to figure out how to get it to simply give me all the repeaters within x miles of a given location.  Probably simple, but I wasn't seeing it. I'll try again when I'm less tired.

Now to answer the questions from Anonymous.  APRS (Automatic Position Reporting System)?  Not on a bet.  I don't see anything good from allowing people to track me as I drive around.  Probably my inbuilt paranoia talking, but that is just a little TMI.

The main plan for the radios in the vehicles is just to be able to talk to people as I drive.  I normally listen to podcasts, but it's nice to have options.  Since terrestrial radio is pretty much made of suck and fail around here and I'm too cheap to pay for satellite, this seems like a reasonable option that also has uses in case things go poorly.

Home shack?  Oh yes, eventually.  I have my General ticket and 2 HF rigs.  Unfortunately, since we moved (10 freaking years ago) I have never put a permanent antenna system up.  When I've wanted to operate, I've pulled out my Field Day gear and set that up.  It doesn't take long (I designed it that way) and it works well (I've worked Germany with that setup), but it isn't something you do casually.

However, Having recently helped Mountain Man set his shack up, it's really eating at me--I want to get back on the air.  But I have allowed myself to do something I'm constantly guilty of, which to have too many projects going at once.  My work areas look like a bomb went off in the middle of a tornado during a yard sale.  So I'm holding the home shack hostage until I finish those projects off.  With luck, I'll get one if not two finished this weekend.  That will leave two really large ones to finish over the Christmas break, which for me should be 2 weeks this year.

Oh yeah, and there is that radio to put in the Subie....  It never stops, does it?  :-)

Thursday, December 03, 2015

I've been waiting for this

No, I'm not talking about San Bernardino.  Important as it is, I'm a selfish human being.  Others are already talking about it and at the moment, I don't have anything useful to add.

I want to talk about this.


That, boys and girls, is an MRI image of my brain as seen from the bottom looking up.  As with the gazillion other images taken that same day, it's notable for what isn't there, rather than what is there.  It's an image of a perfectly normal brain.

Almost a month ago, I had to pull an all-nighter so I could do a "sleep deprived EEG".  My migraines had taken a bad turn and the neurologist wanted a deeper look into things.  The results came back with a "focal slow wave".  They wanted to schedule an MRI.

You don't want to Google "focal slow wave".  It will scare the hell out of you.  At best, it either tells you:
  • You have Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which would explain why my thyroid took the last train for the coast but will do nothing to fix it.
  • You suffer from migraines.
Almost everything else involves "lesions", which is doctor speak for anything from a healed injury to a cancerous tumor.  In this case, it mostly involved tumors.  Unpleasant tumors.

So while waiting for the MRI to be scheduled, occur and the results to come back, a process which took approximately 10% longer than forever, my rather vivid imagination was able to run through pretty much every scenario you can possibly imagine.  Multiple times.

The results finally came back today.  The scans were all normal.  Nothing found.

Probably 15 years ago, I had another health scare, this time with my heart.  In my family, with cardiac issues on both sides, you take that shit seriously.  So when I started showing the symptoms of a heart attack at work, they slapped me in a bus and hauled me to the ER in record time.  Since then, I've always said the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me is when the attending walked in and told me "It's not a heart attack."

"Your scans were all normal" has now tied for first place.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Throwing this up tonight

Because I don't want to blow your Thanksgiving.

Commodity prices are plunging, the dollar is powering higher, the yield curve is flattening, ObamaCare is collapsing, global trade is plummeting and terrorism is spreading across the globe. The high yield credit markets are sending distress signals and 10-year swap spreads are negative. Energy companies are going out of business faster than you can say “frack” and trillions of dollars of European bonds are again trading at negative interest rates. The world is drowning in more than $200 trillion of debt that can never be repaid while European and Japanese central bankers promise to print more money and the Federal Reserve is being dragged kicking-and-screaming into raising interest rates by a paltry 25 basis points. Accurate pricing signals in the markets are distorted by overregulation, monetary policy overreach and group think. Hedge funds are hemorrhaging and investors, desperate to generate any kind of nominal return on their capital, continue to ignore the concept of risk-adjusted returns. Some market strategists believe this is a positive environment for risk assets; I am not among them.

The man may be wrong about what is coming, but he's nailing it it on the current state of the markets.  I have all but exited the equities market again, after carefully dipping my toe back in a few years ago.  Sure, I've missed out on a lot of money that could have been made, but I've also missed out on a lot of heartburn, anxiety and sleepless nights as well.

Yes, I agree with him.  We're cruisin' for a bruisin'.

I'm not one of those people who is going to tell you that, if you have money to invest, you should invest in gold or farm land or canned food and shotguns.  We each have to know our own tolerance for risk and our own heart and invest accordingly.  I'm just going to tell you that in a really bad economy, cash or things that act like cash are king.  The ability to provide for yourself, especially when it comes to food, is invaluable.  Good friends and neighbors that you can trust are as good as gold.

If you can't be thankful for those things tomorrow, you might consider working toward being thankful for them in 365 days from tomorrow.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hm-m-m

I was listening to Michael Bane's latest Downrange Radio, in which he deals with the ISIS attacks in Paris.  Strong stuff, and the man speaks with passion.  Even if you don't listen to the show as a matter of course, I suggest you listen to this one.  Lots of good stuff in it.  Pay particular attention to the part about the interplay between radical and moderate Muslims.  Not news to me, but a lot of folks don't seem to get the joke.

At any rate, he was remarking on the picture that has been floating about the Intertubz of the shield used by the first French counterattacker into the Bataclan theater, and the pattern of the hits on it.  I'd seen it but hadn't paid too much attention, so I Googled it up, and marked it up.

The red circles are what appear to be obvious groups.  The orange circles are possible groups.  Four pretty definite groups and two possibles.

You may want to consider this when people tell you that the terrorists on mad men, or hyped up on drugs or whatever it is they're saying to make themselves feel a little less scared.

These people were stone killers, down to the last man and woman.  Yeah, you heard about the woman who was yelling "Help me!  Help me!"  to the French police, trying to sucker them in closer before she blew herself up?

Boys and girls, we are definitely in the shit.  Our turn will inevitably come, and we're going into the Muslim fanatic's wet dream terrorist season here in the US.  People are going to go out--it's Christmas.  You have to go out or the bastards win.

Just go out armed for bear, will ya?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

While I'm waiting

Gr-r-r...

This morning I woke up with a migraine attack building.  No reason for it; as far as I know none of the triggers I've identified got themselves triggered.  (For the record, yes, I hate using the word "trigger" because of the Social Justice Warrior baggage it now carries.  However, it is the medical term, so I've got to go with it.)

I've showered and shaved (using a damn electric razor, because I'm shaking enough that I might well cut my jugular right now) and taken my meds.  And I'm waiting for them to kick in.  I've been waiting for an hour now, and it sucks.  I have to stay relatively still, and that's not what I had planned on today.

At least with the advent of modern flat screen technology, I can look at a screen if I keep the brightness down.  And so I'm trolling around my blogroll.  Here are some of the interesting tidbits.

Wheelgun posted this several days before Friday's events in Paris.  "Prophetic" doesn't seem to cover it.

Captain Capitalism helps you lower your blood pressure and retain your sanity when dealing with those of a more liberal persuasion by educating us on the IQ differences between those who have decided to take the STEM path versus those who took a softer path.

From Cool Tools, the Wixey WR200 Digital Height Gauge.  At $56 it's a bit steep, but I'd bet there is a Chinese knock-off at 1/4 the price that will be accurate enough for most needs.

In the MIDDLE of the RIGHT, you can find a list of where those 10,000 Syrian "refugees" are going to be resettled in the US.  I note with both sadness and trepidation that 3 of those cities are within a 1 hour drive of my home.  I guess that we may have to give a "retirement relocation" a bit more thought than we were.  Mrs. Freeholder will be thrilled.

Karen de Coster brings to light a bit of research that points out that if you sleep well, you're a racist.  Seriously.  Please check your white privilege at the bedroom door.

Michael Bane's reaction to the Paris attack.  Good as it is, one of the comments will bring you face-to-face with the reality of a terrorist attack if you have the stones to click through all the warnings.  You should.  As I said in my comment, they should be plastering this on billboards.  This is why we are armed, why we train and why we carry.  We might still wind up dead on the floor, but at least we have a chance.  Those poor souls had no chance at all.  They weren't even cannon fodder.  They were simply sheep in an abattoir.

Uncle points out that ISIS couldn't possibly be responsible for the Paris attacks since the Boy Who Would Be King has said that we have them under control.  I guess this is his "Mission Accomplished" moment, but don't expect the press to call him on it.

And last but not least, the Tactical Professor talks boundaries.

We're going forth into a new week into a world that has suddenly shifted underneath our feet--AGAIN.  Be aware, be safe, be prepared.  If you can carry, do so.  While I don't think anything will happen here, we can't know that, and fortune always favors the prepared.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Jesus wept.

(Via the Drudge Report)

The headline reads

MIZZOU CAMPUS ACTIVISTS AND BLACK LIVES MATTER COMPLAIN ABOUT PARIS STEALING THE SPOTLIGHT

For once, I've got nothin', unless it's just "Stick a fork in Mizzou, it's done."

I didn't say anything last night

Mostly because I was seething.  Seethingly angry at the terrorists, at the governments who have allowed this to happen and at the mindsets that prevent people from having the most effective toolset with which to protect themselves.

I had hoped I might be a bit less angry today.  It's not working out that way.  Yes, the heat is mostly gone, but there is a bed of coals that is going to last for quite some time.

Earlier, police officials said they found a Syrian passport on the body of a suicide bomber at another site targeted in the assaults, the Paris soccer stadium where three were killed. The other victims were killed in bursts of gunfire in two popular Paris neighborhoods.

A Greek official said the terrorist with the Syrian passport crossed into the European Union through the Greek island of Leros in October, a transient point for Syrian refugees fleeing their war-torn country.

Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Toskas, in charge of police forces, issued a statement that said,  "On the case of the Syrian passport found at the scene of the terrorist attack, we announce that the passport holder had passed from Leros on Oct. 3 where he was identified based on EU rules.”

"We do not know if the passport was checked by other countries through which the holder likely passed," Toskas added.

The BBC, citing British officials, reported Saturday that the attackers were members of a self-contained cell and had travelled to Syria.

Well.  It's not like we weren't warned.  It isn't like this couldn't be foreseen.  But instead, when Frau Merkel flung open Pandora's Box, most governments in Europe went along with it.  Yes, some of those on the front lines of the invasion--yes, I said invasion and I damn well mean "invasion"--have finally figured out that they need to start building defenses, but it's a case of too little, too late.  The damage is done.  The enemy is in the citadel and he has already struck once.  Rest assured that he will strike again.

To the People of France, our first and oldest ally:  You have bled for us and we for you.  Know that, in spite of our governments and their actions and inactions, the people of America grieve with you and share your anger.  I do not know what we as a people can do to help you in this dark hour other than to tell you that we grieve with you and share your anger.  Stay strong.  Do what you can on an individual basis to defend yourselves.  Keep your senses sharp.  Channel your anger into resolve.  Do not forget that you are the heirs of Charlemagne.

Given our would-be king's recent and current actions, I think we will be joining you on the field of battle soon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I may be a bit late today

But to the men and women of our military, please accept my sincerest thanks for a job always well done.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A little something on communications

I have made some progress on communications lately, although some of it is in the nature of "Two steps forward, one step back" and an unfortunate incidence of "One step forward, two steps back."

This would all go better with pictures, but it's after 3 AM (reason for that below) and I'm not going to get pictures now.  Later maybe.

I have two vehicles that I'm adding 2 meter/440 Mhz gear to.  One is an older Chevy Suburban.  This means you have lots of room to work, plenty of places to put equipment and all sorts of choices of how and where to mount things.  The other is a newer Subaru Outback, which means you have no room for anything extra and damn few choices for mounting anything at all.

The Suburban is getting a Kenwood TM-D700 that I got from a Silent Key's estate.  While the radio has been well-loved,  it's in good operating condition and cleaned up nicely.  It's older, but paired with a Comet CA-2x4SR antenna it should do everything I need and more.  If I feel the urge to update it, I can pair it with the latest generation head piece for about $300.

I thought to have the install completed this weekend, but it seems that the cable I had pulled used wires that are too large for the connectors I purchased.  Doing some additional looking, it seems that with work, I can actually use the factory cable for the remote head.  This is a good thing, because if I make a wiring mistake, I'll be making that $300 upgrade.  But I'm going to have to remove 2 seats and peel back the carpet.  Again.  What you go through to have a professional looking installation....

The control head is mounted on a Lido Seat Bolt Mount.  Basically, one end goes under a seat bolt, then you bend the stalk to put the control head where you want it.  That's it to the left, on its initial test power up.  The top has a gimbal mount so you can position the head just where you want it.

The Subaru hasn't been started, but all the parts are in hand.  It's going to get a Kenwood TM-V71A.  Different feature set from the TM-D700, still way more than I'll probably use.  It too will be paired with a Comet CA-2x4SR antenna.

Mounting this one is going to be simple and ugly.  There is nowhere in the car to mount a radio, unless I take the stereo out, which I'm not.  So it's going to be mounted on the side of the console in the passenger footwell, but up high where I can see it.  The Subie is my daily driver, and it's not all that often anyone rides with me.  When they do...well, it's my car, so watch your knee on the radio if you don't mind.

One thing that is not going to be compromised on is how these radios will be programmed.  Yes, you get to program radios these days.  Kenwood, along with most other manufacturers, offers free software for the purpose.  It works for the most part, but it's not the greatest in the world, and you have to come up with a suitable cable.  RT Systems, on the other hand, has software that is customized to each radio and it comes with a custom cable.  Paired with a new Lenovo E550 that I picked up for a song. and a copy of the ARRL TravelPlus for Repeaters CD-ROM, I can easily program my radios with repeater frequencies for where I am plus any trips I take.

Obviously this has not been an inexpensive proposition.  I've noted before that, due to my job, I've been blessed with the income to be able to do these things.  However, it's perfectly possible to do something similar for less than half of what I have in this and still do it with new equipment.  You can do it new for even less if you are willing to go down market and use some of the Chinese gear that's out there.  I've heard that Alinco also makes some decent mobile gear (bump the price back up a bit), and there is always the used market.  You can also choose to forego the multi-band capability and just stick to 2 meter, which will save you a considerable amount.

Also bear in mind that this is not the sort of thing one does before you're squared away on "beans, band aids and bullets".  This is what you do once all that is done.

As I've mentioned in this space my prepping has taken a different track due to the changes in my health over the last few years.  I've tried ignoring those changes, but that hasn't worked out so well.  I still don't like it, but it is what it is and I must adapt.  There will be no change for the better--I am as good as I will ever be.  There is no magic cure for what ails me.  But one thing I can do is make myself valuable enough that folks consider me worth the trouble of keeping around in the event of an event.  Being the guy who can keep the last dregs of technology working might be a useful skill set.

I probably do need to see about some solar panels at some point....

A not-tab-clearing post

It's been a while and I've accumulated a few things you'll be interested in.  Interestingly enough, they aren't in browser tabs, so this one isn't a tab clearing post.

The first is Shooting Performance.  If you've watched any of Michael Bane's The Best Defense shows the last few years, you'll be familiar with Mike Seeklander.  Mike is a fixture on that show, and with good reason--he's good.  He runs his own training school, Shooting Performance.  Like many trainers, he gives away quite a bit on the Internet for free, both as a way of getting people to take the paying courses/buying the the materials and as a service to the shooting public.  I've watched a lot of the free stuff and bought some of the materials, which I've found to be of very good quality.  I hope at some point in my life to work in a class or two if things permit.

The second item is from the October 30, 2015 Shooting Wire.  Paul Markel pens a guest piece on "Crushing the Anti-gun Argument".  As he notes, this argument only works if your opponent has the ability for rational thought, so if you're up against one of those emoting assholes who pleads that "We have to do something for the childrennnnnn!", it ain't going to work.  However, if you're having a holiday discussion with your sister-in-law and she is a fence-sitter, having this one in your pocket can't hurt.

The third piece is from the Tactical Wire for November 5, 2015.  Tiger McKee has some thoughts on field maintenance of firearms.  He starts by setting the scene:

It's been a long day of walking, evading and hiding "Worst-case" has become reality. Civil unrest has forced you into escape mode. Thankfully you're prepared and ready. You find a safe place to secure for the night. No fire or light tonight. It's still not safe to attract attention.

Not a place any of us would care to be.  He goes on to point out that even though you haven't fired your gun, it still needs to be maintained, because a day in the field exposes it to all sorts of dirt and nastiness that could cause it to misfire when you need it.  True enough, and a small cleaning kit should be a part of your Get Me Home kit if you think there is any chance that getting home will take more than a day.

I'm going to part company with him on the spare parts, however.  As has been noted here and in other places, the amount of gear you can carry is finite.  The more you carry, the less mobile you are and the more likely you are to have an accident that injures you and further decreases (or eliminates) your mobility.  Not what you need.  The Get Me Home kit needs to do just that, and it needs to do it in a spartan manner.  You're not going to rebuild Western Civilization with it, you are going to get home as quickly as possible.

YMMV however.  Take everyone's advice, look at your particular situation and make your own choices.

And that's it for this round of not tab clearing tab clearing.

Pulling an all-nighter

In my more youthful days, pulling an all-nighter meant that I had either found myself one hell of a party, that I had drawn a seriously crappy duty or that I had allowed myself to get way behind on some important work and was playing catch up.

Later on, it meant that something in my life had gone seriously pear-shaped.  The last all-nighter I can recall had to do with my late father's unexpected entry into the hospital and the need to care for a bedridden mother while spooling up in-home care folks and going back and forth to the hospital to check on my Dad.  Yeah, that was all sorts of fun.

This time, it's because the damn migraines have went off the rails (again) and the neurologist has "suggested" that I have an EEG.  This suggestion is driven by the rather odd dreams I have been having for some time and which have now taken it in their mind to turn into nightmares.  This is apparently a Bad Sign, and given that migraine sufferers are 3x more likely to have a seizure disorder than you normal folks, it seems I'm due for a visit with yesterday's version of High Tech.

I do have the comfort of knowing that with an EEG we are at least not looking for something truly nasty like a tumor.  We're just on the hunt for one of a number of seizure disorders, from epilepsy on down the list.  Oh joy.

Personally, I think we're on a wild goose chase, seeing as how I don't have any of the other signs, such as waking up having bitten my tongue or incontinence.  I don't have any lost time while awake, other than screwing around with the Internet.  However, we have to rule this out, and they want to see what happens while I'm sleeping, so in order not to inconvenience the techs, I get to stay up all night so I can in theory fall asleep for them in the morning.  Knowing me and my preferred sleep patterns, good luck with that.  You have just moved me to my preferred schedule in one day.  And I'll play hell getting back on a normal schedule.

There is some benefit to this, though.  I've got time to write this little note to those of you who still inexplicably stop by to read my occasional output.  I've had time to walk through some of the blogs I link to and see what those folks are up to.  And I'm going to do a sort of not-tab-clearing-but-tab-clearing post of some things I have found that you may find of interest.  Which, given the way blogging software works, you'll see before you see this.

Gotta love it.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

But the anti-gunners say this never happens

But apparently in Chicago, the land of collapsing city budgets and public pensions, the impossible is just something they are going to have to learn to deal with.

An armed man attempting to rob a neighborhood store was shot and killed by a customer who had a concealed carry license, Chicago police said Sunday.

You know, I bet they'd really like it if one of those impossible things could happen to their city budget as well.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The things one learns

As a part of my push to outfit my vehicles with communications gear, I have come upon the need to learn about 3.5mm audio plugs.  I had no idea that the subject had the history and complexity that it does.  Amazing.

Now if it wasn't so blasted hard to find 3.5mm mono audio plugs of reasonable quality.  Who would have thought we'd ever miss Radio Shack so soon?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

For your browsing security

I have enabled the Blogger https:// capability for the blog.  Now you can see what I'm not posting with greater security.

There were plans for a nice post today, but a crapped out mission critical server at the higher educational institution of ill repute demanded my presence.  For a grand total of 10 hours.  Sunday?  What Sunday?

I'll try and scrape up some time this week.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

As they say, "Long time, no speak"

By way of explanation, it's been both a busy and a painful week plus.  Busy, both at work (*sigh*, life in a terminally short-staffed IT shop) and at home, because someone at Weather Control screwed up the seasonal programming and we've went from summer to late fall in a few brief days.  Painful, because I'm dealing with another outbreak of migraine attacks.  The new treatment regimen was working pretty well for almost two months, and then, well, something happened.  For slightly over a week now, I've had one every other day.  It kind of cuts into your spare time, to say the least.  Doesn't help me out at work, either.  It's a little surprising they put up with me at this point.

At any rate, there are some things going on.  Unfortunately, there is no gunny goodness at all to talk about.  Haven't been to a gun show, haven't been to the range.  I am trying to carry around the house and anywhere that isn't work (which is a partially gun-free zone) as much as I can.  The main thing is so I stay used to the feel of a carried gun on my body, and I don't fall back into the new concealed carrier thing of constantly checking the gun.  It's amazing how short a period of time it takes to forget what having a gun on you feels like.

Having earlier mentioned the coming of an early fall, there are tasks around the Freehold itself to be accomplished.  Temperatures took a nosedive last night to below freezing, which led to a hurried bringing in of the outdoor plants, and a quick placement of a heater in the travel trailer affectionately known as Plan B.  We still have plans for at least one more outing in Plan B this year and depending on weather might try one more after that.  I'd kind of like to try the coast again, time permitting.  But eventually, Plan B will need to have it's plumbing drained and things that shouldn't be frozen brought in for the winter.

It's also time to do my chimney sweep imitation.  That's scheduled for this afternoon.  Always an awkward task, due to the construction and placement of the chimney stack.  Awkward as it is, I'd rather do that than have the chimney catch on fire one night.

We will also need to carry in some firewood.  For now, we won't carry much, since the temperature will not stay down long.  But the time for dragging it in by the yard trailer load will come soon enough.  We're going to be burning a lot of pine, so we go through a lot of wood.  But the pine is free--as long as all the work that goes into cutting, bucking, splitting and carrying it aren't counted.

I'm also working on upgrading the communications around here.  With some help, I am approaching having a dual band ham rig installed in our tow vehicle, and I have one ready to install in my daily driver.  I'm also looking to score a couple of the newer hand held CB radios as well.  I still have my old base and mobile from back in the 70s (Oh yes, I had one and used it), and they do still have a certain utility, especially on the road.

I have not gotten my ham shack set up at home, however.  If I can just get the basement cleaned out, I'll have room to do it.  I probably ought to have a construction dumpster dropped off in the driveway and just start throwing things in it until it's full. I bet I'll find room for a ham shack.  Instead I'm working my way through, consolidating, donating and throwing away a bit at a time.

Together with Mrs. Freeholder and Daughter, we are rebuilding the pantry.  We had pulled it way down so that we could change the makeup of the stock in it.  That is in progress as sales permit.

And one tab I need to clear.  You need to trot over to SurvialBlog and read "The Harsh Truth About Bugging Out of Cities" by Patrice Lewis.  There are also several well-written responses to that article scattered in the posts after it was published as well.  I have never subscribed to the notion that there will be a "Golden Horde" rummaging about the countryside after a serious Fall Event, and Ms. Lewis has taken the time and effort to debunk the notion.  Frankly, I'm a little surprised it got published on Rawles' web site.

And all that said, it's time to start moving.  The plants need to be hung in their winter homes, and by the time that's done, it's chimney time.  No rest for the wicked.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

I was afraid of this

While I did not know Frank James personally (as "in person"), I had corresponded with him on a few occasions, and was well aware of his stroke and his difficulties in recovering from it.  A few days ago a sentence I noticed in passing started me wondering, and now I've confirmed that Farmer Frank died as a result of the effects of that stroke in mid-September.

Frank James was one of those men that we don't see much any more, a gentleman.  He was willing to take time from his schedule and answer questions for some anonymous Internet nobody like yours truly, and I am more knowledgeable for his doing so.  I always enjoyed his blogging, both about guns and about the trials, tribulations and joys of the farming life.

I think the thing that makes me smile about Frank was the post he wrote about buying what I called his "mid-life crisismobile", a new Mustang.  I'm glad he got it and was able to enjoy it for a while.

Frank, you left us too damn soon.  We're going to miss you.

Friday, October 09, 2015

I suspect they don't see the irony

(Via the Drudge Report)

It seems some Democrat legislators need armed guards to protect them while they call for disarming the populace.

Dear asshats, there is a process for amending the Constitution.  Use it or STFU.  We're all tired of your grandstanding BS.  You don't stand a chance and you know you don't stand a chance.  You're on the wrong side of history.

Don't you have an excercise equipment manufacturer to sue or something?

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Epic rant

Just in case you have missed Charles C. W. Cooke's epic rant aimed at the gun banners, you really ought to go check it out.

Come on, pajama boys.  If you think you're up to the task, bring it on.  I want to see a few of you walk down my driveway intent on confiscating my guns after you get the Second Amendment repealed and all your shiney new confiscation laws passed.

Padre, that'll be 6 Jeff Coopers

"Flock backs priest accused of pointing gun at Cowboys fan in Giants country"  reads the FoxNews headline.

Urk?

It seems that Rev. Kevin Carter, pastor of St. Margaret of Cortona Church in Little Ferry, NJ, asked to see a young parishioner the morning of Sunday, September 13 before Mass.  It seems the lad's mortal soul was in danger--he is a Dallas Cowboys fan, and had shown up in his Dallas jersey in Jersey, in Giants country.

As a life-long Washington Redskins fan, I can understand the good padre's concern.  However, a mass violation of Col. Cooper's rules before Mass is not how to go about dealing with the situation.

Apparently, the good reverend pointed a long gun, later found to be a functional Civil War musket, at the young man in question, eventually netting himself one count of fourth degree aggravated assault by pointing a firearm and one count of third degree endangering the welfare of a child when someone narced him out.

A witness said that the entire episode was  "...was all loud and good humored fun and nothing but, as everyone involved, including the boy, was clearly laughing. In fact, boisterously so."

If the musket in question had happen to have been loaded, and the good reverend had just happened to have pulled back the hammer--all in good humored fun--and pulled the trigger--clearly laughing--and perforated the young man with a .50 caliber or larger lead ball, would we all be laughing?

Padre, the gun is always loaded.  We never point it at anything we don't plan on destroying.  I hope the court goes lightly on you, because you obviously didn't plan on actually harming anyone.  But you're a stone stupid idiot around guns, and someone needs to school you, hard.  Even without a ball in the musket, a discharge at point blank range can kill.

Go forth and sin no more.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

“You can’t go out and round up all the alienated angry young men.”

Yes, we've had another spree killer in another unarmed victim zone.  Here we all go again.

As much as I hate to admit it, President Stopped Clock got it right while, dancing in the blood himself, he accidently said something profound.  Paraphrasing, he said that our reactions to these events are becoming routine.

Consider it for a moment.  These things go off like they are scripted.  A young male, often on one or more psychotropic drugs, always with some sort of axe to grind, kits himself out with one or more guns and as much ammo as he can carry.  He then goes to a gun free zone and proceeds to shoot people until the good guys show up and either shoot him or he suicides.

And when one of these events happens, the reactions are just as scripted.

  • The media goes into a hyperventilating feeding frenzy, because, by God, if it bleeds it leads and this is blood on an industrial scale, so we're going wall-to-wall.  
  • Groups like the Brady Bunch fill in the blanks in their pre-written press releases and start sending out pleas for money.  
  • Anti-gun politicians start demanding the rights of those who had nothing to do with the crime.  
  • Pro-gun activists, having learned from Newtown, immediately go on the offense, because we know that if we don't we're going to get steam rollered by those whose emotions demand that they "DO SOMETHING!!!" no matter how useless it will actually be.
In the meantime, the next young man is slowly but surely ramping himself up to act.  All the fury that we unleash seems to ensure that a bizarre version of the Werther Effect will take place.  (Hat tip to Roberta for that piece of knowledge.)

So how do we break the cycle?  Currently, our side is fixated on mental health.  If we can just fix our mental health system, we say, we're going to go a long way toward stopping these events.

Perhaps, perhaps not so much.  It seems that the mental health professionals, some at least, disagree with that assessment.  While spree killers fit an identifiable profile, so do a lot of other people who will never become spree killers.  As one of them noted in the quote I lifted for the title to this post, you can't go out and round up all the people who fit that profile.

An article on Breitbart's Big Government site holds forth the notion that the attacks on men, masculinity, traditional masculine roles and role models is the problem.  The author believes that the problem is that the normal male urges are attacked, suppressed and drugged into control in our society, and that in a tiny percentage of males, they burst eventually forth in a short fury of suicidal action--a spree killing.

Others in the gunny part of the blogosphere (I haven't went looking, I'm just going on previous experience) will be advocating for legal changes that allow those who wish to do so to be armed any and everywhere they wish to do so.  While I support that in abstract, having seen how many people handle guns in gun stores, gun shows and at various ranges, I wish we could attach some substantial and continual professional training requirements to that.

Perhaps the solution is equal parts of the above--better mental health availability, an acknowledgement by society that men and women are different and that's actually an OK thing and some substantial legal and social changes.  Perhaps there are some other things we can toss in there as well that would help.

I know that I am tired of seeing people die useless deaths at the hands of spree killers.  I'm tired of seeing their families being paraded in front of cameras when they should be allowed to do their grieving in private.  I'm tired of wondering if it might someday be one of my kids who dies uselessly because our society has went off the rails somewhere.

I'm also tired of do-gooders who want to shove their "We know best" solution to the problem down my throat.  I'm tired of be painted as guilty simply because I'm a gun owner.  I'm tired of having to defend myself to those who refuse to even attempt to understand who I am or where I come from.

I suspect that I'm not alone in being tired.

I believe that this "rise of the spree killers" is in some way a symptom of a far deeper problem.  In short form, I guess you could put it that our society is rotting from within.  As happened with ancient Rome, conquest from without was made possible by weakness from within, and folks, the termites and carpenter ants are busy, busy, busy.

Prepare.  Now.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Bugging out: A real life case study (of a sort)

As we used to say in the Army, "No shit, there I was..."  And still am, sitting in an RV, a little less than 100 yards from the Atlantic Ocean at an undisclosed location in South Carolina with Hurricane Joaquin bearing down on me.  You may ask yourself "What the hell was he thinking?"

An excellent question.  I'm thinking that I totally regret being unable to persuade Mrs. Freeholder that the weather forecast we saw Tuesday was accurate and that, rather than driving down here Wednesday, we should simply eat the sunk costs of this long-planned vacation and come another time when the weather was more hospitable.

Trust me when I tell you this.  Sunk cost is a hard concept to internalize. Doing so allows you to make much better decisions where money is concerned.  I really need to get Mrs Freeholder more acquainted with the concept.  That way I might not be sitting here typing this on an iPad connected to some campground's questionable wifi during the pouring rain in a swaying RV.

But enough whining about water over the sand dunes.  Where I'd like to go with this post is some real life calculus on bugging out. Do I bug out?  When do I bug out?  Right now, those are questions I'm pondering.

The smartest move would obviously have been to stay at home.  We missed that opportunity entirely. Now we're in a sucky but not deadly situation.  The worst thing that happens in this situation is that it starts to flood, we jump in the truck and abandon the RV.  That would not be fun, but no one gets hurt.

Our second smartest move would have been to bail out today before the heavy weather moved in.  We missed that opportunity as well.  That was part Mrs Freeholder and part me.  My part was from watching the weather models and guidance.  It looked like we might get spared.   Wrong.  A lot of my campground neighbors took off today.  They were smart.  I was not.

Mrs. Freeholder wanted to see a show.  At least it was a good show.

The Friday weather forecast is currently calling for winds of 20-30 MPH with stronger gusts , 8-9 inches of rain and localized flooding. Not ideal weather to pack up in and worse weather for towing what is realistically a 30' sail behind you.

Saturday and Sunday are 15-25 MPH winds, 1-3 inches of rain and thunderstorms. Not great weather, but I think better than the Friday forecast.

So why am I relating this little tale?  To let you see how this process works in the real world in real time.  It's been discussed to death, but I've not seen it blogged by someone in the middle of it.

I'm not convinced that leaving tomorrow is the best move, even it staying means risking flooding.  Driving in that sort of downpour is strenuous in a single vehicle, worse when you're towing.  Add in a herd of somewhat panicked people who have suddenly decided that discretion is indeed the better part of valor and you could have traffic tie-ups all over, right when law enforcement is busiest.

However, I've been caught in thunderstorms with this rig, and that's not great either.  Plus you given the rain time to work, possibly increasing the amount of flooding between here and home.

There will be no simple answer.  I'm going to closely watch the weather forecast and just weather out the window and make my best judgement.

What can you take from this?  First, you really need for everyone to agree on the criteria for bug out decisions beforehand.  Disagreements at the time when you need to make a call quickly could be fatal.  This was our biggest problem.

Second, I believe there must be a clear chain of command--someone has to in charge.  Conversely, the rest of the group must agree to respect that chain.  When the person in command says "BUG OUT!" then it's time to bug out, not play Twenty Questions.

Third, intelligence is a key factor in your decision making.  Sitting here, I've got 100 cable channels and reasonably good Internet.  You might not have those advantages--figure out how you will get information if your normal sources are cut off.

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And here was a break of almost 24 hours.  Reason?  I was unreasonably cut off by my iPad.  Apparently there is some sort of bug when working with Blogger--a post can only be so long, and that so long ends at the words "cut off" above.  Go figure.  At any rate, I'm going to finish this now, and instead of being a two parter, it's just going to be one really long post.

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Fourth, you must be prepared to make quick decisions and act on them.  I've seen people and groups fall prey to "analysis paralysis" and it's not pretty.  As Gen. George S. Patton has been quoted, "A good plan violently executed right now is far better than a perfect plan executed next week."  Internalize that thought.  It may just save your life some day.

I'd like to go over these four items as I put them in action for this event.  As we've seen, Items One and Two, at least in the early going, were not well adhered to.  However, as Mrs. Freeholder began seeing the the reality of the situation firsthand (and got to feel the RV rocking as the wind gusts buffeted it last night after midnight), the concepts became clearer.

Item Three was one that I kept a close eye on, and after midnight last night, Mrs. Freeholder kept a nearly obsessive eye on.  Pretty much every time I rolled over, she had her tablet and was looking at one weather report or another.  I checked a couple of times, at 3 AM and around 7.  The storm wasn't moving that fast, and I needed my beauty rest.

Item Four I'm quite happy with.  Our initial decision this morning was to hunker down for the day and wait out the worst of the storm.  That meant waiting through a updated forecast of 30 MPH winds and perhaps as much as 12" of rain.  When you're sitting 2-3' above sea level, knowing that everything around you drains to the sea, and that high tide for the last few days has been up to the dune line (thanks to the super moon), that isn't a decision to take lightly.  However, towing a travel trailer through those same conditions among a large group of people trying to get the hell out of Dodge for the same reasons you are isn't a great situation either. Oh, and you're doing it through areas prone to flooding.  Almost forgot the punch line.

However, we caught a break in the weather.  A big hole in the rains opened up for about 2 hours.  I take my miracles where I find them.  By now, Mrs. Freeholder was more than happy to listen to reason.  We rushed around, packed up, hitched up and bugged the heck out.  The drive was mostly uneventful, a run in front of the worst of the rain.  We had some high wind for the last 90 minutes--unpleasant, but not bad.

Now, I'm at home, where the weather forecast for the weekend is just, well, crappy.  It's going to be a little windy and it's going to rain a bit (as opposed to deluge).

Intelligence drones left at the undisclosed South Carolina location report wind and rain, but relatively little flooding so far.  However the drones have decided that they are going to bail out tomorrow.  They're autonomous drones, so they get to make that decision.  :-)

I hope this episode in my life give you something to consider in your own, especially in the ongoing larger discussion about bugging out.  If you're bugging out to live in your retreat location permanently, this won't help you out much.  But if you're staying in a more populated area and considering developing a bug out plan, I think these four points are something you need to consider, at least as a starting point.  Good luck with your plan.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Just curious

I was looking at the blog stats--what is it with my post on the Savage 6D that is so continually fascinating to visitors?  That post is continually a top post over on the right, leads the most viewed posts at this moment, and is (and I find this frightening) the #1 search result on Google for the search string "Savage 6D".

Good grief, I just reread that post and I cringed.  I won't rewrite it, but man, was I looking for my voice.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pay attention

The death of Command Sergeant Major Michael Heintz as a result of a misfire of his gun at a private range in South Carolina is a reminder to all of us that the hobby we love is dangerous.  A brave man is dead because his gun misfired.  By all accounts, it was that rare bird, a true accident with a gun.

It is a reminder to all of us why we must also keep in mind that we should never forget to live out lives in such a way that if we happen not to come home at night, those left behind should absolutely know that we loved and cared for them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Federal Bureau of Inquisition?

(Via the Drudge Report)

While I normally shun the Infowars site as a bit far on the woo-woo side of things for my taste, this article on the FBI's NGI biometric database made my shorts suddenly start chaffing.

Give a bureaucracy a fingerprint and they will take a full body scan, I suppose.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Got spare parts?

(Via Say Uncle)

So, the balloon has went up.  It makes no difference what balloon it is, it's up.  You, the prepared prepping survivalist, have your food, your water, your medical gear and your guns.  You have everything you need to make a stand of it against the Mutant Cannibal Zombie Unwashed Bikers.

And then your AR/AK/HK/Main Battle Rifle clone of choice breaks something, like a spring.  Or we are a long way down the rebuilding road, and something just wears out.  You aren't going to hope in the truck and go to Bubba's Gun Shop and get spares, and nobody has seen the Big Brown Truck of Happiness with a box from Midway in months or years.

If you didn't stock some spare parts for the things that are most likely to break or wear out, you may find yourself up that infamous creek sans paddle, and it will suck to be you.  Even having a spare gun, you still want spare parts.

Shooting Illustrated has a list of the spares you need for an AR.

Interestingly enough, I looked to see if there were similar articles for other rifles, and outside of asked/answered questions on various firearms fora (with their inherent questionability), I found a grand total of zip.  If any of you know of a good, reliable list, stick it in the comments, please.  I'll make sure it gets pulled up here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Have you ever heard of "The Interview"?

No, not the bad Hollywood movie.  The interview I'm talking about it the interview that a criminal may give you shortly before attacking.  The Interview isn't always verbal, in fact I suspect it usually isn't.  My suspicion is that the verbal interview is practiced by a particular and particularly dangerous subset of the criminal element--the ones who get an extra charge from the interaction with their prey.

Tiger McKee calls it a different name, the "Gradual Threat".  A rose by any other name has just as many sharp thorns.  This is one I would read and commit to memory.

Well, if it's true, I got took

Because a while back I bought some FireClean to try.  Still sitting on the bench, waiting for a suitably cruddy gun.  Maybe I should try some french fries instead?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Hoist on their own petard

(Via the Drudge Report)

There's a lot that can be said for this Wall Street Journal op-ed.  I'm going to go with just a couple.

First, watch your 6--and your 3, 9 and 12.  It's getting very dangerous out there, especially in the metro areas.  As those of us who have been paying attention have noticed, the bad guys aren't so afraid of the police these days.  If you don't have your concealed weapons permit, why?  Get it, get a gun and carry everywhere you legally can.  Now more than ever you are your own first responder.

Second, a funny thing happened on the way to the "Black Lives Matter" rally--they hurt the very people they claimed to want to protect.  You have to wonder if that was by accident or design.

I think we had best hope for an early, cold winter.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

How about some good news?

Dave Markowitz notes a paper from scholar Dr. John Lott, "Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States", which is just chock full of concealed carry goodness, as well as being guaranteed to make any gunbanner cry in their pinot noir.  Among the more interesting facts:

  • The number of permittees is up substantially
  • The number of Constitutional Carry states is up
  • Taking all things into account, it is the number of adults with concealed carry permits that is driving crime down
  • Concealed carry permit holders are incredibly law-abiding citizens
It seems that the blood that is always predicted by those who would ban guns still stubbornly refuses to flow in the streets.  Now if we can start getting rid of the criminal friendly gun free zones, maybe we can end their blood dancing antics once and for all.

Friday, September 11, 2015

I shall not be donning the sackcloth and ashes this year

I'm not joining the national catharsis this year, and I doubt I will from here on out.  The tragedy that claimed the lives of 3000+ of our countrymen that day and many thousands in the wars since has been exploited to turn us into a nation that is afraid of it's own shadow.  "See something, say something."

Well, I see something, and I'm damn well saying something.  The terrorists won, and won bigger than they could have hoped for in their wildest dreams.  In the name of fighting terrorism, we have, for the most part willingly, surrendered much of what remained of our Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.  Want to travel?  At the airport you'll be herded like cattle in your stocking feet, and woe unto he or she who has the temerity to question the blue-gloved goons that are Too Stupid for Arbys.  And because of one incident in France--France, for Pete's sake--we'll likely be doing the same if we want to take a train and probably a bus.  Pretty soon, our cars will quiz us about where we are going while the seat gives us a free proctological exam in case we're smuggling something up there (like the remains of our dignity).

Thanks to Edward Snowden, a man to whose memory we may one day erect monuments, we now know our government tracks pretty much every move we make, from financial to bowel.  The Stasi didn't have it so good.  Orwell missed the date by a few years, but in terms of the intrusiveness of the surveillance, the man wasn't nearly a big enough thinker.

License plate readers catch one crazy-ass murderer in Virginia, but invade the privacy of tens if not hundreds of thousands of others daily.  One right that was not specifically recognized in the Constitution--the right to be left alone and in peace--is not yours any more.  Step outside your house and you're not only subject to having your license plate scanned while you drive, but if you live in a metro area or a growing number of smaller cities and some towns, once you park and start walking you'd better smile, because you're on Candid Camera, and that camera is backed up by sophisticated facial recognition technology.  You're not going to be able to be anonymous in the crowd much longer.

Your privacy is shredded in many other ways, a Death of a Thousand Cuts, and we all willingly participate.  Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram and a host of other "sharing" sites entice us into sharing far more than we should with an audience the size of which a writer of 50 years ago could only hope for.  Grocery stores, discount chains, even auto parts stores all have affinity cards that give you discounts if you'll just let them track your purchases a little better.

I find is simply amazing that we allow our government (and let's note, it's being done to us by Democrats and Republicans alike) to intrude into every private space, and if they miss one, hell, we'll take a picture of it and put it on Facebook.  But we've been primed for this since 2001, because we've all become used to living in a surveillance state.  We've been told for years that the terrorists, why, they are right here among us!  There are terror cells right here, just waiting for the word from Ali al Sumdood to come out  and raise all manner of heck.  They're coming over the borders, mixing in with the flood tide of illegal aliens!  They're everywhere!  Eeek!

Odd that, in 14 years, none of them have gotten the word to do anything, and realistically, we're still as soft a target as we were on September 10, 2001.  And the US Air Force, while on vacation, has still caught more terrorists than the TSA.  And they had to go to France to do it.  Funny how that has worked out.

Folks, we've been sold a bill of goods.  All those thousands who have died...I'm pretty sure we've not gotten the value they thought they were buying us with their lives, and that pains me deeply.  All of those tomorrows sacrificed, the marriages that will never happen, the babies that will never be born, the Little League games that will never be watched, the dance recitals that won't be attended...all so that the various and sundry assholes in power can stay in power and enrich themselves and their friends.  And I'm not talking about our sock-puppet politicians, I'm talking about the true power, the people with their hands up the puppets' arses.

So today, the day that we are surrounded by the ghosts of 9/11, if you want to pay a tribute to them, take that moment of silence and think.  Think about how no one has let this crisis go to waste, and how other crises have conveniently popped up just as the powers that be needed them, and they haven't gone to waste either.

I think we've been played, and masterfully so.

Monday, September 07, 2015

An exercise in tab clearing

Whenever I think I'm going to get a little breathing space, I'm proven wrong.  The Higher Education Institution IT Department will be running at half its normal staffing level as of this Friday as I lose another person to the greener grass of just about everywhere else.  When you're paying 25-50% under market salary, this happens a lot, and given the inescapable fact that the job market for computer geeks has picked up quite nicely around here, they can't count on being able to pick up hired help on the cheap any longer.

Except they seem dead set on continuing to do so.  Current incoming resumes notwithstanding, the prevalent attitude on high is that we'll simply train them.  How we are supposed to run things during the period while these new people are being trained up into useful and knowledgeable employees is dismissed with much arm waving and comments of "You'll figure it out."

Yes, yes I will.  That's why I have a resume too, although it will be more difficult for me to make a move.  But in the mean time, I'm going to be very busy, and all those browser tabs I've been holding open with the laughable concept of using them for blog posts, well, they need to get closed.  So here they are, with minimal comment, I'm afraid.

Crimson Trace has a series of 7 videos on the subject of  "Training With Laser Sights".  If I hear one more Gun Store Genius say "Whatcha gunna do when th' battries go dead?" I may just use them for a practice target.  Modern laser sights run just about forever on a good set of batteries, and you get some visual warning before they die.  Crimson Trace even give you free batteries for life if you'll just sign up for the program.  Add to that the simple fact that the iron sights don't fall off your gun when you put the laser on, and you have a damn fine system going.

I used to be concerned about whether the laser could take the beating of life on a gun, but if they can survive in today's war zones, I think they'll survive for most of us.  Throw in a nice dose of presbyopia (getting old is for the birds) and the laser has now become a must-have accessory on any gun I'm going to bet my life on.  Try one out, but be careful, because you're going to get hooked.

"6 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Recoil Control With A Handgun"  One thing I've noticed when watching Mike Seeklander shoot is how little his pistol seems to come off the target in recoil.  Me?  You can measure my split times with a calendar some days.  This is how you get the splits down to where you need a shot timer to measure them.

Once you can aim and control your recoil, you can practice more effectively.  So you'll want to start shooting some drills.  MountainGuerrilla has words on the drill that you probably aren't shooting enough, or correctly--the snap shot.

Moving from guns to more prepping oriented skills, let's hit vacucanning.  Vacucanning is a food preservation method that uses vacuum rather than heat to preserve food.  You still use mason jars and lids, however.  The gear isn't cheap, but you will get savings from being able to reuse lids.  You can get a ready-made vacucanner at vacucanner.com, or, the Internet being what it is, there are plans for building your own here.

That's it--tab clearing complete.  Hat tip to Crimson Trace for the email notice for the vids and to the Survival Podcast for the vacucanner information.  It's been so long on the gun stuff I forget where I found it.

Stay safe.  Continue enjoying the Bernie and Donald Show--I know I am.  Pay attention to things economic.  There are currents way down deep that may cause trouble in the months to come.  Watch the increasing levels of violence, especially the attacks on police.  Yes, I have my issues with the cops, but I just want them to play by the same rules we have to play by.  Assassination is not something I would advocate.  This could lead to some serious blow back.  Always remember, as Michael Bane says, violence is a virus--and a highly contagious one at that.  Mind your 6.

Friday, August 28, 2015

I'm sorry

(Via the Drudge Report)

Actually, I'm not, not even a little.  I'm enjoying the show way too much.

Today, it's time for Peggy Noonan, once-upon-a-time speech writer for Ronald Reagan, to take a turn trying to figure out the phenomena that is The Donald.

"One is the deepening estrangement between the elites and the non-elites in America."

Really?  What was your first clue?  The fact that the alleged "base of the Republican Party was staying home in droves on election day?  Good lord woman, we've done everything except take out billboards.


I stand corrected.

Mr. Trump’s supporters aren’t just bucking a party, they’re bucking everything around, within and connected to it.

Well derp.  The GOP (Greatly Ossified Party) has proven time after time that, once elected, its members cannot be identified from the members of that other party.  Why shouldn't we be bucking at any and everything in it or its near its vicinity?

The people hate the elites, which is not new, and very American. The elites have no faith in the people, which, actually, is new. Everything is stasis. Then Donald Trump comes, like a rock thrown through a showroom window, and the molecules start to move.

I don't buy the elites having no faith in the people as being new.  I seem to recall certain members of the Founding Fathers who didn't have a lot of faith in the simple man.

I do, however, love the line likening Trump to a rock thrown through a showroom window.  He is causing that sort of mass upset.

I'm just waiting for him to start up one of those expensive cars in the showroom and start driving it like he stole it.

(Edit, 9/7/2015:  Sorry about all the blank space at the end.  No idea where that showed up from.  Fixed it.)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

"They don’t realize how the grassroots have abandoned them."

(Via the Drudge Report)

Man, if that isn't the money quote from an article, I've never seen one.  Let's have an instant replay:

"They don’t realize how the grassroots have abandoned them."

Can we have that a little louder?

"They don’t realize how the grassroots have abandoned them."

That is GOP pollster Frank Luntz talking about Donald Trump in an article from The Hill, Pollsters dumbfounded by Trump.  Of course, the fact that the grassroots have bailed on the Godawful Old Party isn't news to the sort of folks who stumble in the door here, nor is the notion that the discovery of this would confuse the professional political pollsters.  Hell, we've been leaving the GOP in droves for years.  How the hell do they think the current turd in the punch bowl got elected?  Well that and a good dose of election fraud, probably.

I'm telling you, buy stock in popcorn producers while Wall Street is still reeling.  This is shaping up to be a fun show. and you don't want to miss a bit of the action.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Yeah, about those disruptive forces

It seems that Drudge has a lot of articles talking about this very thing on this fine Sunday morning:

  • Trump as the warrior male:  Paleo this and that seems to in these days, so why no paleopolitics?
  • Why Donald Trump Won't Fold:  The New York Times thinks its a cult of personality.  People like his in the face attitude.  Hmm...kinda sounds like the first article, now doesn't it?
  • The Bernie Boom:  The Wall Street Journal issues a report on a man who seems to be a likable grandfather-ish candidate, who seems to be a bit surprised at his own success as a candidate for president.
So we have The Donald as this larger-than-life, can say just about anything without getting into hot water candidate, and Bernie as this lovable but slightly eccentric grandfather that representatives of the other side can't bring themselves to criticize.

You know, I hope this is the 2016 election.  Not only will it be the most fun thing to watch--EVER!--but it will absolutely confound the hell out of the rest of the world.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Disruptive influences

Sorry for the lack of posting--you work in "higher education" and the start of fall semester is a killer.  At least we now have all the baby darlings back and ensconced in their dorms, er, excuse me, "residence halls".  Now they can spend the next few months drinking, screwing and getting tattooed safely out of sight of the parental units, and maybe, just maybe, getting something that looks like an education in the process.  No, I'm not cynical at all.

I haven't been so busy that I can keep up with the news.  While I am watching with no small interest the economic gyrations involving China and it's Amazing Disappearing Economy, the thing I'm finding the most interesting is our current political scene, and the presidential candidacies of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Bless their hearts, these two may be the best hope the country has had in years.  If they keep it up, they may give a large fraction of the professional political class in the United States a well deserved massive myocardial infarction.  They are upsetting the carefully laid plans of the political establishment to run Hillary Clinton against Someone Marginally to the Right of Hillary Clinton, and the professional political class is absolutely at a loss at what to do about it.

Of course, Hillary isn't helping them much.  Her bathroom email server escapade just isn't going to go away quietly.  It would have been better if she's just come out and said she was a lesbian or a transsexual.  She would have been a hero.  But running a insecure server in a bathroom and larding it up with over 60,000 classified messages?  Even a Clinton is going to have a hard time with that one.

The cast of characters auditioning for the Someone role is pretty uninspiring, and was likely to lead to the largest election lack of turnout in recent history.  I know I wouldn't go to vote for any of the losers candidates.  And when you can't get someone like me, who votes out of this idiot feeling of duty to go vote (Good grief, I held my nose and voted for McLame, fer Pete's sake!), the Professional Repblicans had better start being concerned.  Hrumph, hrumph.

But then our boys Trump and Sanders throw their hats into the ring, and Oh Emm Gee.  Bernie the Unrepentant Socialist is energizing the Far Left Crazies in the Democrat Party like no one since Stalin.  Trump is being his usual brash self-promoting self and fed up alienated former middle class people are loving his illegal alien rants.

Republican and Democrat political operatives are buying antacid by the case.  The media is trying to help both parties out, but when Megyn Kelly flopped miserably in attempt to snare The Donald during the first Republican debate on Fox, then was pretty nastily put down by Trump the next day and all the vindictive spew aimed at Trump to "apologize" only made him triple down...well hell, those former middle class folks only cheered him that much more.  He's just doing what they'd like to do and don't have the opportunity to do--stick it in the face of the people who hold them in contempt.

In the meanwhile, Sanders is making the Democrats sweat blood, because he is saying all the things in public that they speak of in private.  My God (well, if they believed in one), can't somebody shut that guy up?  He's spilling the beans!  Pretty soon everyone is going to know our cunning plans!

These two have taken the normally predictable political landscape of the primaries, tossed it into a blender and turned the thing up to "puree".

While I'm not sure I want either one of them for President (I sure as hell don't want that assclown Sanders.  Trump...well, he can't be much worse than Obozo.), they do say we get the government we deserve.  After the stupidity we've exhibited in the last few elections, maybe that's exactly what's going to happen.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Book Review: Makeshift Workshop Skills and More Makeshift Workshop Skills

We're going for a two-fer this time.  This pair of books may or may not merit a place on your preparedness bookshelf. We'll discuss them and you decide for yourself.

The two volume "Makeshift Workshop Skills for Survival and Self Reliance" and "More Makeshift Workshop Skills" are probably not what you think they are going to be from their titles.  Neither is really a book of projects, although there are projects in the books.  The author does devote time in volume one to the subject of makeshift tools, for example.  Also, I particularly enjoyed the foot treadle machines in the second volume.  I've always been interested in the concept of a spring-pole lathe, and this is the first book I've bought that really speaks to them as a buildable project.

Neither are they "how to" books in the traditional sense.  Author James Ballou does not really go into any great depth on woodworking, forging metal or any of the other skills that many in the preparedness community speculate will be necessary after an "event".  It is taken as a given that you already have the basic skill sets down.  He does, however, devote time to more advanced subjects, such as the types of adhesives and their uses and the various types of welding.  He also devotes time in volume one to the effective use of the makeshift tools he has advised you how to make.  Being makeshift, some allowances have to be made.

At the end of it all, what these books really about is more about a way of thinking.  How do you look at that scrap pile and see raw materials for that spring-pole lathe rather than a bunch of  kindling wood?  Do you know the many uses for old tires, and can you think of new ones?  When you run out of twine or rope, can you find the raw materials and build the necessary fixtures to make more?  Can you build a forge, fuel it, and reforge found metal into something new and useful?

Ballou also makes sure that you understand the properties of the materials.  When would you use osage wood rather than hickory?  What is the difference between high carbon steel and cast iron?  Do you understand how to get mechanical advantage from pulleys--and when enough is too much?  What is the melting temperature of various metals you may encounter?

These two volumes will not make you an expert in any of this.  What they can do is set you on a path.  You can start learning look at things differently.  Rather than running to the hardware store for a shovel, maybe you fix the broken one--or fashion a new one from materials at hand.  Maybe you seek out specialty books on the subject of metalworking and learn the craft. Or perhaps you decide that you  want to take up leather working as a hobby that can pay its own way.

Or maybe you decide to stick with the flock.  Baa-a-a.

Makeshift Workshop Skills for Survival and Self-Reliance:  Expedient Ways to Make Your Own Tools, Do Your Own Repairs, and Construct Useful Things Out of Raw and Salvaged Materials by James Ballou
ISBN 978-1-58160-705-5

More Makeshift Workshop Skills by James Ballou
ISBN 978-1-58160-746-8

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The media was finally successful

In their quest to gin up another warped individual determined to win his 15 minutes of fame, the media finally found a taker today in Tennessee.  No word yet on why the police were there in record time, but the fast reaction of a good guy with a gun prevented a bad guy with a gun from doing any serious damage.

This time, it was fortunate the police were on the scene.  Normally, this won't be the case.  As the old saying goes "I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy."  We are our own first responders, and the sooner we realize that and start acting upon the realization, the better off we'll all be.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Why Johnny can't read

(Via The Smallest Minority)

Why can't Johnny read--or write, or carry on an intelligent conversation, or build a proper English sentence?  Hell, why can't Johnny even think for himself?  Why does Johnny have to have assistance with the most mundane tasks of daily life?  Why is Johnny so upset about the death of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe but so oblivious to a myriad of critical problems washing up on his front doorstep?

Because Johnny has been educated in the state schools to be a proper drone in the service of the state, that's why.

I work in private higher education now, and I see it in our incoming freshman class every year.  They are not stupid--they are intelligent and capable of learning--but they are ignorant.  They know nothing of history, of literature, of the arts or of science.  Their idea of culture is a 24 pack of Bud Light and all the porn they can watch on the weekend.  They don't have bad morals or poor morals--they have no morals.

When confronted with the fact that they are ignorant--when their noses are rubbed into the smelly puddle of their own lack of knowledge of anything that hasn't happened in the last 8-10 years--the reaction is usually one of hostility, because they've always been told that they're special.  Just show up and you'll get a ribbon, a certificate of attendance, a trophy.  Now they're told that they aren't special and that they are in fact less than special.

It certainly doesn't help their world view to find this out.  And you can't fix in 4 or 5 years the failures of the past 12 or 13.  So we drag them through every process, from registration and financial aid through showing up for classes and laundry, and the fortunate ones who take direction well are eventually shepherded down the aisle and handed a degree that is likely worth less than my father's high school diploma that he earned in 1940.

Why am I bothering to tell you this?  Well first of all, because they breed and they vote.  Some of the ones I see are accompanied by their parents, who are just as bad.  They are a large part of the reason why things are going to pieces around here.

Second, because if/when our system breaks down, this is who will be making up that "Golden Horde" we've all heard about.  Amoral, ignorant, special people.  Some among the prepping community think we should all be ready to hand out rations to them--some beans, leaflets on how to make water safe to drink and so on.

You want me to let amoral, ignorant and special (as in "entitled") people know that I have things they don't have when everything around them has gone to hell?  Even if it is done through a local church they're smart enough to put 2 and 2 together and hang around for the next handout, even if you tell them that's all they get.  They'll get angry, mob up and take what they feel they're due.

There are thousands of ways you can die after things go bad.  You don't need to add to that list.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bugging out--the eternal question

Bug out.  Shelter in place.  Bug in.  Preemptive bug out.  It's an argument that has went on in prepping circles almost as long as 9mm vs. .45 ACP has went on in gun circles, and like that one, it hasn't really reached a conclusion.

Some, like SurvivalBlog founder James Wesley, Rawles take the position of "bug out before the rush" and have preemptively moved out into the hinterboonies and established their base of operations from which they plan on riding our whatever comes our way.  Hell of a plan if you can make it work from an economic standpoint, but most of us have to earn a living, which means we're tied to some sort of population center.

Some have a place "in the country" that serves in quiet times as a vacation get-away, but where they plan on hunkering down if things get bad.  This plan is predicated on the assumption that they will recognize the impending disaster early enough to be able to beat the crowds trying to flee the population centers as the impending disaster unfolds.

Then there are folks like me, who are tied to jobs near metro areas and who do not have the luxury of a place in the country (or family who happen to live in the country who would take me in).  We plan on standing our ground where we are.  I have done the best I can in selecting a home that offers some ballistic protection, that is defensibly located, near open water, is as far away from the large metro area as possible, is not on a main travel route the the greatest extent possible and so on and so forth.  Life is full of little compromises.

However, even the most prepped prepper might find themselves in a situation where they are forced to bug out.  Mr. Rawles might find himself facing a roaring wildfire, for example.  I might face the same.  I suspect Mr Rawles doesn't a hot shot crew or a water bomber on the shelf; I know I don't.  You're going to have to beat feet, like it or not.

Other situations could come up that would leave even the best prepared of us in a situation where we were forced to abandon our castle.  The Prepper Journal has recently ran a two part series, Hard Choices:  Knowing When To Bug Out. (link is to Part One, Part One links to Part Two.  As usual, I don't completely agree with the author, but he has done a very thoughtful job on the subject, and it's far more complete than any I've seen before.  He looks at 30 different points you might want to consider when considering that age old question, "Is it time to bug out?"  He doesn't try to give you some BS formula, "Well, if numbers 1,2,3 and 8,12,16,20-22 and a 30 are all true, you must bug out NOW!  Instead, he is putting tools in your toolbox, giving you items to consider if you find yourself in this unhappy situation.

Worthy of reading, probably worthy of printing out and stashing in that Shit Just Hit The Fan binder you ought to be keeping.