Sunday, June 07, 2009
Nancy has been one of SWMBO's most constant supporters since SWMBO came down with lung cancer. She has taken SWMBO on overnight trips to see a nationally recognized Oncologist in Seattle; she has taken her to, or driven her home from local doctor appointments and chemotherapy treatments. Nancy has also called SWMBO at least once a day to check on her, gone shopping for her, and one time last year Nancy and Bernie completely replanted SWMBO's annuals garden with new plants while SWMBO was at a 4-hour Chemo session.
And this weekend, Nancy and Bernie offered the weekend use of their cabin in Sisters for SWMBO and me to 'retreat' for a quiet 2-day holiday in the mountains.
Of course we took them on their generous offer, and we had a wonderful 48-hour "down-time" vacation. Very romantic, except that while we were shopping in Bend on Saturday she found a Dan Brown novel and I found Lee Child's latest Jack Reacher novel "Gone Tomorrow", so perhaps you can understand that we spent much of the rest of the weekend reading. That doesn't make it any less a Romantic Getaway; we both love to read, and reading on the front porch of a cabin in the wilderness is one of the best ways to be together. (No, not the very BEST way, but part of "being alone together" that helps a serious long-term relationship grow.)
SWMBO went there with a plan.
About 5 years ago we went to the cabin as part of our participation in the 2003 USPSA Nationals match. We both served as Range Officers for this and the subsequent Nationals at the same COSSA range venue. During those matches, we invited several of our friends ... many of whom were also serving as Staff Match, and some who had chosen to only participate as competitors.
One year we served Geek-Hot Spaghetti, and the other year we had a barbeque.
This time, SWMBO decided that the ageing BBQ grill (Propane, one grill) had about completed its expected tour of duty and it was time to retire it in favor of a new, much more versitile and useful BBQ grill.
Accordingly, we set out this Saturday morning to the Home Depot, located 11 miles away in Bend.
There we found a very nice (and not terribly expensive) 4-burner propane BBQ grill with an extra warming-oven compartment. The best part about it was that it fits neatly in the back of my Ford Exploder.
We got it home, called Nancy's daughter Tanya begging for help unloading the grill onto the front porch of the cabin. Tanya, SO Jeff, and Jeff's father Dave showed up a couple of hours later (after Jeff and Dave finished a day's fishing ... they offered us some trout to initiate the BBQ but we declined) and with very little help from us the pulled the 42" high grill out of the back of the Exploder and toted it up the six steps to the front porch. There's no way that SWMBO and I could have carried that massive grill up the stairs by ourselves without dropping and denting it several times by ourselves.
When we left the cabin the next day, we had wheeled the BBQ, under it's grey plastic cover into the house to a temporary resting place against the breakfast counter by the kitchen island. SWMBO left a note explaining that this was a gift meant to express our mutual gratitude for Nancy and Bernie's continuing support during the past year.
We can't wait for them to come up to the cabin from Albany next weekend, and discover the surprise gift.
Here's the part which relates to the Shooting Sports:
While we were in Bend, we stopped off at the Sportsman's Warehouse in Bend. SWMBO wanted to get replacement sunglasses (hers had deteriorated ... the finish on the bows were painted on, and had chipped off), and I was looking for primers, and additions to my Emergency and Medical kits to carry in the Exploder.
We went to the counterman in the Hunting and Fishing counter and asked him if he had any primers for sale. (We had made a cursory visit to the appropriate aisles and found the cupboards nearly bare.)
The counterman spent ten minutes explaining that "Primers are the hardest to find reloading component in the world just now".
He went on to illustrate that even loaded ammunition was hard to find and dear at any price. He recounted high-end .22 ammunition selling at $20 per box of 50. They got some 9mm 'defensive' ammunition in a couple of weeks before ... only two cases ... and they were sold out by noon. The shipment had arrived in the morning, there was no advertising except word-of-mouth, and they were priced much higher than the .22 ammunition. Still, they lasted less than three hours. Once customer was reported as having bought two boxes of the .22 ammunition "to shoot at woods rats". Certainly the lowest quality ammunition would have served his purpose, but he couldn't find them at all, let alone at a lower price.
And when ammunition, or components ARE available, the retailers are 'rationing' them. They won't sell more than two boxes of loaded ammunition (for example) to a single customer.
Again: they don't advertise. They don't have to. They can't meet the public demand for ammunition or components, anyway.
They didn't have them, for rifle or for pistol. Large, small or magnum; it made no difference. They didn't have any in stock, they had them on order, and they had no idea when the manufactureres could reasonably expect to fill outstanding orders.
He said he had "a reasonable stock of bullets". I found nothing but high-end small boxes of bullets. I did fine one 500-round box of .45-70 bullets from Laser-Cast on the shelves, but nothing for ordinary pistol calibers. (I was unwilling to check the price of these hard-cast bullets. I was afraid it would be too discouraging.)
BBQ grills are available, in stock NOW, and selling for not much more than a case of .38 Super bullets from Montana Gold.
But you can't get .38 Super bullets. Or loaded pistol ammunition. Or the kind of rifle ammunition which is used in competition. Or their components, except (again) high-grade at premium prices.
I suspect that this is a trend. It has to do with the huge demand for military ammunition (which is the primary customer of ALL ammunition manufacturers). Our counterman friend explained that companys which once made "millions of rounds" of ammunition during a given period are now being asked the make "billions of rounds" in the same period ... and they are unable to meet the needs of the military, let alone set aside product for the general public.
While this appears to be 'timely', the actual news story was reported by KATU ...
- By Melica Johnson and KATU.com Web StaffAs I say, this was reported by KATU ... on June 22, 2006!
SALEM, Ore. - Some English-speaking firefighters are losing their jobs because of an Oregon state law that requires them to be bilingual.
The Department of Forestry enacted a law three years ago that requires them to be bilingual, but this year they're actually enforcing it.
2002 was such a devastating wildfire season, contractors were scrambling to find firefighters.
Hispanics often filled their needs on the fire lines.
Jim Walker of the Department of Forestry said "what we do know is 85 percent of the crew make-up is of Hispanic decent."
But many of the Hispanic fire fighters do not speak English. Walker says the language barrier is a concern.
Those concerns led the state to draft a new rule that all firefighting bosses speak English, and the languages of crew members who don't speak English.
Jaime Pickering, a squad boss overseeing 20 firefighters, says the rule means "job losses for Americans. The white people."
Because of the state's language requirement, Pickering can no longer work as a crew boss and supervise 20 firefighters, he can only manage a squad of four.
Pickering says that "if you have one Spanish guy on the crew, as an English crew boss, you can no longer be a crew boss, you have to step back to a squad boss, which is a demotion."
While the state made the rule change in 2003, it decided to strictly monitor the law this year as Hispanics continue to fill fire lines.
Yes, the story is over three years old.
Not only that, but the interpretation of the original story has been questioned by the Oregon Department of Forestry, in an un-dated article saying "This is not the case, here are the facts ..." (see the link).
A further blog article (June 26, 2006) on the "La Shawn Barber's Corner" Blog cites a Department of Forestry employee who also states categorically that:
"Rod Nichols, an information officer for the Oregon Department of Forestry, responded to the e-mail I sent Jim Walker. He said the story I linked to is inaccurate." The article goes on to hit several bullet-points disproving the accuracy of the original reportage.
But why is this ageing canard still circulating through the Urban Legend Mill?
Perhaps it's because of this article from this forum subject in FireFighterNation.com under the topic heading "Oregon firefighters out of job becuase [sic] they speak english[sic]"
The topic was started January 15, 2008 and the last entry was date-stamped January 25, 2008. The original entry even embedded the video which (two years after the original article) was loaded to YouTube.
It is not my intention to criticize FireFighterNation.com -- open forums are subject to a lot of misinformation, and in fact it may have been the general unwillingness of forum members to accept the validity of the charge which led it to an early death. (The forum topic, not the website; it's still going strong.)
Granted my websearch was not the result of a deep and intensive effort, I only looked at a few pages (less than 100 hits) under "Oregon firefighter supervisors' and "oregon firefighters speak english". Still, I found only the single 2008 forum entry which was more recent than the original 2006 KATU article.
Given that the references I found were overwhelmingly inclined to repudiate the charge, my guess is that it was a misinterpretation of a quote from a single person, which may not have been cross-checked for accuracy prior to press time. It's unfortunate that Fox News picked it up and ran an on-line report with no further accuracy checking.
Full Disclosure: I'm no better than KATU or FOX-TV. My fact-checking took me about ten minutes. On the other hand, I turned up enough information to doubt the article, and I'm only "a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writting" without "multiple layers of checks and balances". Fox and KATU are those "Professional Journalists" ... like Dan Rather. Granted, KATU did make one contact with a Forestry Department Official, but that resulted in the charges by a single quoted source with (arguably) his own axe to grind. Pardon the pun.
So why are you reading all of this after-the-fact commentary on a blown story?
Because after all these years, that misleading video is still making the circuits of email mass-postings, and every time I receive an email about an "outrageous situation" it's impossible for me to resist throwing the spotlight on it.
Here's hoping that my friends and family will take this to heart and do their own fact-checking before they forward bogus Urban Legends (or in this case "Forestry Legends").
Here's the Box Score:
- A local news station to run a bogus story without confirming the facts: a reporter's career.
- A network affiliate picking up the story and running it on Network TV without confirming the facts: undermines a MSM Network's reputation.
- A lone blogger putting a stick in their professional eyes 3 years after the fact: priceless!
Thursday, June 04, 2009
This is a curious ... and surprising ... decision for at least three reasons:
- Because of the Heller decision, the Federal Government (in the persona of the Supreme Court) has determined that the Second Amendment refers to a "personal right" to possess a firearm.
- The 14th Amendment is explicit in stating that "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States ...", which means that if a federal law (or, in this case, interpretation of the Costitution) exists, no state may abrogate that primcipal. In detail, this extends to municipalities, such as the City Of Chicago.
- The 7th Circuit Court (west coast) recently ruled in favor of the individual right to possess firearms, which is particularly striking in that this is the most liberal court in the nation by dint of its record.
What's good for the Goose is good for the Gander, so the states can't prohibit abortion beyond the liits set by the Federal Government; by the same token, the states cann't prohibit private possession of firearms by the private citizen And yes, this does mean that the individual state or munincipality cannot restrict firearms ownership any more than it can restrict "Pro-Choice" issues.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
"Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative."
Look up in the right-hand corner of this website, and you will see SWMBO and The Geek in all our hirsute loveliness.
Well, SWMBO has lost all of her hair, started growing it back, and to our great mutual surprise her hair looks a LOT different from previous years.
For one thing, her hair is growing back grey, not red, and there's a curious white patch in her forelock. I've been tempted to refer to her as "Stripe", an homage to the lead gremlin in GREMLINS (the movie). Frankly, I haven't had the nerve to so address her in person.
That's the Geek Survival Instinct kicking in, I think.
Whatever the motivation, I have recently been reconsidering my bearded/mustachioed persona, and thinking about getting rid of some of it. Well, it's Summer and my Spidey Sense suggests that it's gonna be a scorcher. "Medium Cut, taper the back, trim the beard and 'stache", I told him to do the usual on the head-hair and as for the beard and mustache?
"Take them off. Doesn't have to be perfect, I'll shave the stubble when I get home."
So he did. Laboring industriously, he attempted to carry on a conversation about the ball-game on television while I, in turned, attempted to impress upon him how personally traumatic the shearing was to me, referring to the years and the decades since I had the beard and/or mustache, respectively, removed. The last time I had both shaved off was over 30 years ago, and it frightened my children.
When he finished, he generously observed "You look five years younger!"
(I was hoping for something more positive than that.)
Then he turned the chair around to allow me to look on my newly shorn visage.
I said: "Now I remember why I grew the beard and mustache. Please put them back."
He laughed, and sent me on my way.
That's the last time I'm giving $20 for a $15 shave-and-a-haircut from Tanaka.
So if you see an old, fat, bald guy at a Practical Pistol match in Oregon, and he looks familiar but unplaceable, it's probably me.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Hillsboro is a nice town.
I lived there for a couple of years, and the only two things I have to say against it are (1) the unfortunate proclivity of developers to build "community villages", with "covenents" that can allow the property managers to fine you if you don't cut your grass once a week, and (2) the city park is ... or was, then ... the hunting ground for drug dealers (mostly undocumented immigrants") who were prepared to defent their turf with violence. The good news: The "Community Police Station", located across the road from the park, never had to bust skate-boarders.
But it retains one iconic community gathering location: bowling alleys.
In the middle of the movie, when 'color' begins to permeat the town, J.T. Walsh gathers his cronies in a defensive position and says: "Thank God we're in a Bowling Alley!"
That's the kind of town Hillsboro represents.
On with the story.
According to the May 29 story, this kid tried to swipe a couple of purses from folks who seemed to be too intent on the serious business of bowling, when someone noticed what he was doing.
Then ... but I can't say it any better than the OregonLive reporter:
Oh, it gets even better after that. I have no wish to steal the thunder of the original author, so I implore you to go there and read the last few paragraphs.
HILLSBORO - It turned out to be Pound-A-Punk day Wednesday at the Hillsboro Park Lanes Family Entertainment Center, a bowling alley in Hillsboro.
A 16-year-old would-be thief reportedly tried to swipe two purses from tables inside the bowling alley at 6360 S.E. Alexander St.
Then, at least from the teen's perspective, things went terribly awry.
The purses weren't the easy pickings he apparently thought they'd be. They belonged to two ladies from V.I.P. Summer Trio, a senior league, said Lanes owner Dean Johnson.
The women, along with other bowlers from the senior league, blocked the 16-year-old's escape through an exit on the building's west side. When he ran toward the glass doors at the building's front, league members were in hot and loud pursuit.
"One lady started screaming," said Nathan Krawitz, 44, who saw the whole thing.
Johnson said others in the league also sprang into action.
"A bunch of the senior ladies and senior men started hollering at him and chased him," Johnson said. "That's when Steve, my son, kind of held him down."
It seem like a small story to you, but to me it's one more persuasive argument for "Bowling Ball Control"!
If it saves just one child ...
Guns cause Violence, right?
We hear that all the time fromthe fine folks at such illustrious Moral Paladin organizations as The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
The CSV main page says:
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence seeks to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement and effective policy advocacy.
The Brady Campaign, no less iconoclastic, says:
We are devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.
These Mission Statements strongly suggest that they have determined the cause of "gun violence", and are working to remove these causal factors from American Society.
Reading the details, their only goal is to reduce or eliminate the availability of firearms ("guns") to private citizens ... law-abiding or otherwise.
The proof of their theory, that guns are the direct cause of "gun violence", is that the communities and states which most restrict access to firearms are and should be those which most stringently restrict the private ownership of firearms.
Case in point: Chicago, Illinois.
Chicago is the municipality which, when confronted with the indisputable decision in HELLER V DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, refused to conform to the guidelines of "the second amendment defines an individual right". It is still, after all these months, almost impossible to receive 'permission' from the City of Chicago (and the State of Illinois, although who knows what will happen in the Illinois State Assembly now that Rod Blagojevich is out of office.).
Since the vast majority of its residents cannot legally possess a firearm, Chicago should logically be a bastion of peace, serenity, good citizenship and conviviality. Right?
Sorry, Charley, that's not the way it works.
Last weekend, seven Chicago residents (every one of which was unarmed) were shot down in the street - during a period which, judging from the Chicago Tribune Article, seems to extend for less than 12 hours.
A 30-year-old Chicagoan who was striving to be the "man of the house" in which he and his extended family lived was killed and two of his cousins were wounded Saturday evening in a shooting near their South Side home.
The shootings occurred on the 10500 block of South Indiana Avenue in the Roseland neighborhood about 11 p.m., down the block from the home of the fatal gunshot victim, Demond Stansbury.
Stansbury was among seven people slain in several shootings Saturday night and Sunday in Chicago. No one was charged in any of the slayings.
Calvin Stansbury said he, his brother Steven and Demond were talking with several other people in a vacant lot when the gunman approached them. Words were exchanged, then shots were fired.
"I got shot, my brother got shot in the knee and my cousin, one of my best friends, he's dead," said Calvin Stansbury, who was treated for a wound to the arm and released.
Steven Stansbury, 30, was treated at a hospital and released.
- Shooting incidents in one day: 6
- Shooting victims: 7
- Shooters arrested: 0
(That doesn't count in the "Number of incidents/victims/arrested" stats, by the way.)
Chicago police said a 46-year-old man calmly shopped for food at the Aldi supermarket, 6621 S. Cottage Grove Ave., at 10 a.m. Sunday and was leaving when he walked up to the security guard and stuck a handgun in his face, police said. After a brief struggle, the security guard shot the man twice in his leg, police said.
Somehow, this information doesn't seem to support the social theories of either CSV or HCI.
If I have somehow mis-interpreted or subverted the message of these incidents, I do hope you will help me out. For example, it may be that the shooting of a shopper by a security guard DOES caount in the number of incidents.
To tell the truth, in all the excitement, I kinda lost count.
So you got to ask yourself, "Do I feel lucky?"
Well, do you?
A new sidebar link (in "Hot Links Of The Week") is "The Firearms of Kid Kaos".
Kid Kaos ("Joshua") wrote me yesterday suggesting that we may be "Kindred Geeks", in the sense that we seem to share similar interests. His main topic was the Mech Tech Carbine Conversion Unit, because he bought one of the "new" versions (with the telescoping wire stock) in .45acp and has spent some time dressing it up.
I won't steal all of his thunder, but I will note that the entry page of his website includes several topics in a bar across the bottom of the page, and under "Firearms" he discusses not only Mech Tech but also the M1 Garand.
I bought a Garand about 20 years ago, shot two clips through it, and stashed it in the closet with 20 or 30 clips of .30-06 ammunition for my "Apocalypse SHTF" long-arm.
Maybe I ought to take it out and shoot up some of that really, really old ammo, but I'm not sure I can find components to reload it.
That's a topic for another post, which I have already written two or three times.
Go check out Joshua's website. If you're a Gunny (and I suspect most readers of this Blog are, in one degree or another), you may find something of interest to you there.
In the words of Ella Fitzgerald: "At Last My Love Has Come Along"!
I think this is a concept whose time has come.
Kinike Swimsuits has introduced a line of swimwear made of a 'chicken-wire mesh' weave which allows sunlight to penetrate the material with little attenuation of melanoma-producing intensity. The design, unfortunately for us 'dirty old men', includes camoflauge-effecting patterns of whorls, spots and blotches which disallow the human eye from perceiving the details of the wearers' hidden charms.
I remember a cartoon from a decades-back Playboy Magazine. Two geezers lounging on a park bench, apparently in a Nudist Colony. A voluptously naked woman walks past them, one geezer turns to the other and says: "I bet she's a knockout in a swim suit".
Perhaps you had to see the actual cartoon to get the joke.
Still, you can go to the Kiniki website as I did to form your own impression.
While you're there, you can dig out the "X-Ray Vision" glasses you bought from that comic book 30 years ago and see if they work any better now than they did then.
Monday, June 01, 2009
Fill in the bland with your favorite "No Gun Zone" location, sooner or later someone is going to pack a gun in there not because they're legally authorized to Carry a Concealed Weapon, but because they have a grudge against the world and Dr. George Tiller, who was shot by a revolver-toting 51 year-old militia-man and radical anti-abortionist.
I'm sure it wasn't a huge surprise to The Good Doctor. He's been shot by anti-abortionists before, in the 1990's. AND had his clinic bombed, said clinic was often the the focus of many picket lines by less-radical, more law-abiding anti-abortionists. Whether you're Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, you probably agree that shooting a man for his profession is not usually considered to be the act of a rational person.
But Dr. Tiller was shot and killed while collecting donations this past Sunday at his church, in from of his choir-member wife.
And that's just wrong.
On the other hand, Bagdad-By-The-Bay sets the standards for late-term abortionists.
And today (Monday, June 1, 2009) a gunman stormed into an Army Recruiting Office in Little Rock, Arkansas, and opened fire on a recruiter and a couple of slick-sleeves fresh out of Basic Training. They (the recruits) were there to show that "This is what I was then, This is what I am now".
One soldier was killed. 23-year old recruit William Long couldn't crawl past the sidewalk after having been shot by 23-year old Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad (nee "Carlos Bledsoe") .
Bledsoe/Muhammed "probably had political and religious motives for the attack," the police chief said.
What other places are designated "Gun Free Zones", but have recently (within the past few years) been subject to mass-murders by deranged assasins who KNEW that honest citizens were not permitted, by law, to carry concealed firearms on the premises?
How about Shopping malls, school grounds (including University Campuses), and restaurants.
In response we should consider Westwoods Mall in Omaha, Columbine and Virginia Tech, and Luby's Restaurant. Right?
Xavier Thoughts (my "go-to guy" for fascinating topical sources) has a link to a Louisiana State Senator ("Gordon Hutcninson's Latest Blog") who provides an excellent review of "Gun Free Zones" as "Target Rich Enviroments for Wackos". (See here for direct link.)
I encourage you to read the whole thing. It ties together all of the cultural biases against the arming of honest citizens vis-a-vis the anti-gun bias in America.
America doesn't come out looking so smart.
UPDATE: Wednesday, June 3, 2009
In a surprising development, website "Opposing Views" asks:
"Why is killing an abortionist like George Tiller so wrong?"
It's no wonder why they call themselves Opposing Views. If I understand the Jacob Sullum opinion piece correctly, the thesis is that Tiller is a murderer of innocents, and society has condoned his actions, so doesn't that make him fair game ("a legitimate target"?) for anyone who would stop his murder of innocents?
I haven't replied in the comments section of this article, although several people have. But if I did, the following phrases would probably be used:
- Rule of Law
- Civilization vs Barbarianism
I do not choose to be a member of a sick society.
ITEM: Number of versions
Yes, there will be a lot of versions, and the differences between one version and another may only be inclusion or exclusion of features which don't necessarily seem to be 'major components'. For example, ability to remote to another computer.
ITEM: Incompatibility with Major Software Packages
Yes, this OS will (or may ... not clear yet) not be compatible with Windows Office 2003. Did you buy that? Too bad, you'll have to pay for Windows Office 2007.
That's bad, but we've all cursed Microsoft for these little marketing ploys before.
Word is, Windows 7 will cost between$150 and $350, depending on the version.
I bought a new bespoke computer last summer, all the Mods Cons, and paid $710 for it (including 2GB RAM).
If I want to keep up with the Joneses, it'll cost me half the purchase price of my custom-built computer. And that's more than I'm willing to pay, since I'll have to re-purchase Windows Office besides.
What's the good news?
Word is, I won't have to buy a lot of new hardware to accommodate W7. Maybe.
And you CAN get a duo-OS setup -- called "Windows XP Compatibility Mode". But you have to buy the top-of-the-line version (W7 Professional [Business]).
You can also get it in the "W7 Enterprise and Ultimate" version, but that's not for public consumption. it's for businesses and it sells as a corporate installation with a set dollar cost per 'seat'. Ball-park, it's for networks and corporations and the cost will be $x,000 + $z0 to $z00 per seat
For more information, go to Bill's article (presented courtesy of PITSTOP) and click on the ARTICLE CONTINUED HERE link to see details, including links to descriptions of most versions.
Oh, yeah. Somebody's bound to ask if I'm going to migrate to M7.
Answer: I bought the laptop computer I'm currently posting on with VISTA installed. I spent two days trying to work with it, them bought a Windows XP Home disk and paid a competent PC technician $50 to install it.
I considered it a bargain. And I still do. This, from the guy who migrated from Windows 2000 to Windows XP and never looked back.