Saturday, March 15, 2014

McLaren: The Greatest Car You'll Never Drive -

Odds are you're never going to own the greatest sports car ever made, the new McLaren P1. Or drive it. Or even see it in the flesh. The British auto maker promises to build no more than 375 surpassingly brilliant, end-times road machines, more noble than erotic, and it has already promised them all for $1.2 million or thereabouts. In due course, most of these cars will be loaded onto jitneys and shipped to Russia, China and the Middle East, there to fill the coffers of some lovely people, I'm sure.

No comments here, except ... wow!

If you're at all impressed by magnificently quick cars, just go read the article.

I promise, you will be disappointed.

Disappointed that you'll never even see one of these.

Two extreme "no-nos" in schools; guns, and My Little Pony

NC school tells boy,9, to leave My Little Pony lunch bag at home, report says | Fox News:
North Carolina school officials are telling a 9-year-old North Carolina [boy] who has been bullied for bringing a My Little Pony lunch bag to school to leave the bag at home. Grayson Bruce and his mother say he is being shoved around by school bullies who think his favorite bag is for girls.
 Bruce's mom objects to the solution chosen by 'school officials';  they think the lunch bag is a target for bullies, so Grayson should be responsible for the solution ... by giving something that is, apparently, important to him. 

School Officials are all about one thing:  "Don't Make Waves".   There's an old adage about nails that stick up; they get hammered down.

School bullies keep making it into the news, but they don't seem to be the problem.  Or rather, they ARE the problem, but knoody knows what to do about them.

This is school-yard violence at its best.  Or at its worst, depending on your point of view.   It's not just the nine year old boys who pick on the weakest ... that's just normal human crap.

The real bullies are the 'school officials' who can't control violence by disciplining the perpetrators, so they discipline the innocent victims.   Why?  Because they know that the bullies won't listen to them, but the victim ... well, he's already shown that he won't rebel against their authority.

"Always take the easy ones first".  That's the motto of violence and this is the way it has been since Urg discovered the club and earned for himself the starring role in the opening scene of "2001: A Space Odyssey".*

"School officials" are drawn from the enlisted ranks of "educators", who are caretakers.  They are not predisposed to violence and so in general they are also appeasers.

 (Although I recall Mr. Boyle from Junior High, who delighted in paddling boys who acted up in class.  We called him "The Enforcer" and we were always demonstrating our Best Behavior in his 8th grade Algebra class; not so much because he hurt us, but because he enjoyed it so.)

Thus it is that in a gentle society, it doesn't take much Violence to cow not only the intended victim, but also the people who are suppose to protect the victim .. the adults.

A society which has lately focused itself on reducing "Gun Violence" does so by eliminating guns; they do nothing to reduce violence, or violent behavior.  It doesn't matter if it's a fist, a club or a gun, the weapon is not the issue.  It's the permission of those who are nominally in authority which not only fails to protect the victims, but which effects the promotion of violence.

When aggressive behavior is promoted, even passively (by a failure of 'authority' to require civilized demeanor), then it is encouraged.

Again, it's not the accoutrements to violence which encourages violent behavior.   It's not the fist, or the club, or the gun.   And it's not the stigmata of the victim.  There will always be convenient victims.   It's the societal acceptance of violent behavior which institutionalizes it.

You can't control, for example, "gun violence" by focusing and restricting the gun.  You have to focus on the violence, and the causes of violent behavior.

This is much more difficult than passing laws against the possession of a gun, any more than you can do so by passing laws against the possession of a club .. or a fist.  When there are already thousands of laws which regulate and restrict firearms ownership, we still have a Chicago or a Washington (DC) which employ the most stringent restrictions on guns, and yet they are among the most violent cities in an admittedly violent country.

Laws don't help protect the victims, because they don't address the root cause.  There are no convenient laws which will solve the problems.  It's not a legal ill.  It's a societal ill.

And our legislators, the men and women to whom we look to address and redress societal ills ... they find it much more convenient to pass more laws than to resolve the root causes of violence in America.

We're asking too much of them.

They don't have the solution, but they try.  In this case, the solution is part of the problem.

The problem is that we don't have a sense of community in America.  We think we do, but we do not.  The "Melting Pot" is a dream that doesn't come true, because we haven't yet found a way to combine the virtues of our sub-cultures to effect George H.W. Bush's "Thousand Points of Light" (which, if I seem to speak dismissively .. I do; great visions unaccomplished are failures, and we have enough individual failures here already.)

I've said this before, and I will say it again.  The Greater Solution is "The Family".  When men no longer indulge in irresponsible sex  outside of marriage, and then leave without assuming the responsibility to guide the life they have created ...

.. when the women whom they impregnate, and then leave without supporting the family they have created, allow the creation of a family without the support they should have required ...

... when the children they have fathered, and who are then left without the morally responsible guidance of the fathers who have abandoned their progeny, have no role model to guide them in their path through adolescence to responsible adulthood ....

... then no laws passed by the legislature will have any effect upon their progression to violence as a way to life.

93% of the 'bullies' in any given school come from "Broken Homes".  It's a frightening statistic, isn't it?

I thought so.  I just made it up.

I have no reason to think that it's either inaccurate, or that we should dismiss it as the most significant factor when we consider Violence in America.

*"This scene shows the beggining (sic) of the Paleolithic Era of prehistory, and reveals that, by the management of tools, man could stop being a victim of the world to become an active element, who has the power of action over the nature."

Three Reasons to Duct Tape Your Head

Beware the Ides of March!

Personally, I'm drinking herbal tea and listening to Vivald's "Water Music".  Perhaps micturition will reduce the possibility of my head exploding.

Recent news on governmental gun control includes the following:

(1) "Conn. officials tell gun owners to relinquish or destroy banned assault weapons"

      (March 15, 2014)
The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection announced Friday it had sent a letter to owners who had failed to register the items by a Jan. 1 deadline, part of last year's gun control law. Officials offered advice on what to do now with the weapons and magazines.
I'm wondering where they got the list of owners of 'banned assault weapons".

(2) "California gun parts store refuses to turn over customer list to federal officials"

      (March 15, 2014)

The owner of a California store that sells gun parts to build rifles from scratch is refusing to turn over his customer list to federal officials. 
Dimitrios Karras, owner of Ares Armor in Oceanside, told that Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents are investigating his business because it sells AR-15 lower receivers, which contain the gun's operating parts.
The company sold thousands of 80 percent receivers in with colors showing where the customer can drill, making it easier and cheaper to build. The ATF said the sales are illegal and demanded the company turn over the products and names of customers who purchased them, according to the report.
The ATF is treatening ... yes ... confiscation

(3) "Judge questions prosecution of mechanic who built rifle silencers for Navy Seals"

      (March 07, 2014)

A judge has questioned the viability of a prosecution against a man accused of illegally building hundreds of untraceable rifle silencers under what had been a secret contract with the Navy Seals.
At a pretrial hearing Friday, Judge Leonie Brinkema suggested that there may be classified evidence in the case that shows California race-car mechanic Mark Landersman had legitimate — but off-the-books —  authorization to build the silencers from the Navy. If so, she said, she doubted that prosecutors could win their case.

Note that word ... legitimate.   Also ... authorization.

("Court records indicate that Landersman was paid $1.7 million in 2012 to build 349 suppressors.")

As Andrew Lloyd Webber pointed out in Jesus Christ Superstar, "pretty good money for one little kiss".

So who are the 'prosecutors' in Alexandria, Virginia?   Why are they involved ... are they federal?  Were they acting under the direction of the ATF?   How did the prosecutors get involved, and if they are not acting under Federal direction, why did they make the charges without the judge being made aware of the nature and legitimacy of the "classified evidence"?

The Rest Of The Story:

Other People's Money

The Smallest Minority: Bill Whittle 

In Kevin Baker's latest accolade to Bill Whittle, the message is that we don't have to be energy-dependent on 'foreighn nations' because HEY!

.. we have energy resources of our own, and all we have to do is to utilize them NOW!

I'm not so sure.

I've played poker (and badly .. expensively) and one thing I know is that  it's best to play with what was once portrayed [by Danny Divito] in a popular movie as "Other People's Money".

The theme in that movie is that 'you never play with your money"
.. and I think that's poignantly applicable in the field of .. who could have guessed it? ... "Big Oil".

We know we have huge oil reserves.  And in the current (and also recent Administrations) we have eschewed using "our oil".  Sure, it costs a lot now, but what happens when the Saudie and other reserves are depleted?

We are an oil-dependent economy.  If we can't get oil, we're at an economic standstill.  So, why should we use OUR oil when other nations, whose economy is reliant on sales to .. well, us?  What happens when their oil reserves are depleted?

We are screwed.
Unless we have oil reserves of our own .. which currently cost more for US to recover than it does for US to buy from THEM.

I'm all for preserving American oil reserves, for as long as we can.  There will come a day when we MUST fall back on our reserves ... if we have depleted them because we are trying to save a buck or two NOW, then those reserves may spell the difference between begging and choosing.

Personally?  I don't like the idea of America begging for higher costs of oil.  Read:  Gasoline, just for a start.

Ultimately, I would rather that the American Oil Reserves  be present when we find ourselves desperate for .. PLASTICS!

  (Segue back to Benjamin in the movie "The Graduate" where he is advised:  "One Word: Plastics!")

It's actually good advice.  We depend on Plastics now (for high technology) at least as much as we depend on oil (for transportation).

Think about it.  Anyone who advocates preserving American oil reserves, regardless of their political stance, and advocating for American independence.

And I'm behind that, all the way.

Confessions of a Deathbeast �

Confessions of a Deathbeast �

Everybody who shoots knows what I’m talking about. You see it in their eyes, their expression. All of a sudden you’re not a person but a dangerous beast that might suddenly lash out and kill everyone around you. A Deathbeast.
(h/t to Kevin over at Smallest Minority)

Money Quote:

Every so often you see an item in the newspaper about some nutbag who shoots up a bunch of innocent and unarmed people. Talk to someone like me and they’ll tell you that they wish they had been there. We wish we were in the same room with the nutter, the guy who has a weapon and is desperate to hurt people.
By any reasonable criteria this is completely insane. We’re fantasizing about putting ourselves in harm’s way, about allowing someone to shoot at us! This is hardly a sound strategy to a long and healthy life.
This isn’t because we want to kill someone and the nutbag shooter provides a chance to do it in a legal way. Instead we want to stop the violence before some innocent person dies.
No, we're not talking about rabid-eyed wannabees.  We're talking about people who actually take responsibility for their fellow man.  People who look at the news reports of shopping-mall shooters, and think: why wasn't there someone there to protect them?

Good question.

Why not?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Finger THIS!

Ohio Fifth Grader Suspended For Pointing Finger Like a Gun - TIME:
(March 04, 2014)

An Ohio principal suspended a fifth-grader for three days last week after he pointed his finger like a gun and pretended to shoot one of his classmates in the head. 

The Columbus 10-year old’s pointed finger was called a “level 2 lookalike firearm” in his suspension letter, the Columbus Dispatch reports. Devonshire Alternative Elementary principal Patricia Price has issued numerous warnings about the school’s zero-tolerance policy when it comes to gun play, and sent three (sic) home three newsletters reminding parents that any kind of gun play was forbidden at school. “The kids were told, ‘If you don’t stop doing this type of stuff, there would be consequences,’” district spokesman Jeff Warner told the Dispatch. “It’s just been escalating.” 
 “I was just playing around,” said suspended fifth-grader Nathan Entingh. “People play around like this a lot at my school.”

Back around 2000 years ago (blogger years are greater than dog years) .. in 2006, to be exact, there was a prolific blogger named Kim de Tuit (he of South African descent) who wrote a very popular article titled "The Pussification of the American Male".   (Which has since become an increasingly popular topic on the internet, commented on by a surprising melange of professional pundits who know far too much about the value of the aggressive nature of human males.)

I followed him religiously, especially in his series about ZERO TOLERANCE policies in schools.  I agreed with him then, I agree with him now.  I regretted the day he discontinued his blog.  But I digress.

I would like to make the point here, before we go any farther, that I not only abhor the tendency of "Zero Tolerance" in American Schools in regards to firearms .. but I firmly believe that this is a deliberate policy of the "education establishment"  (PTTTTAAAAAAHHHHH .. may their crotches be infested with the fleas of a thousand camels .. I would say "testicles" rather than "crotches", but they have none)   whose not-so-carefully hidden goal is to diminish the boundaries between male aggressive tendencies, and female passivity.

Note: I use these two terms advisedly.  In the 21st Century there is no reason why males cannot be passive, or females aggressive.  We are no longer living in caves, and the advances in technology (read: ANYONE CAN PROTECT THEMSELVES WITH A GUN!) virtually eliminate the ability to defend one's home and hearth and family based on gender.

Unfortunately the American Educational System has, in recent decades, been making a concerted effort to ... not encourage women to be MORE aggressive, but to make men more passive!  Whose tool is the NEA?   We are not rearing a nation in which all citizens are prepared and equiped to defend our way of life.  Rather, we are breeding and rearing a nation of citizens who have been brainwashed to believe and accept that any use of a weapon is anathema.

Even an imaginary weapon.

We are brainwashing our children against developing the mental and moral vigor which has protected our nation for over 200 years.

Still "The Alamo"

The Hobo Brasser finds this stuff and sends it to me.  Sometimes it's just too much fun to ignore.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Piece in Our Time .. the things you can't forget

So we're walking along the verge of a clearing in the jungle, roughly following a path, and there's this arm laying in the middle of the path.


It's like ... shattered.

No blood, no burns, just an arm broken halfway between the elbow and the shoulder.  Bit of bone broken and showing where it broke off.  Fresh, not smelly.   We're thankful for that part, 'cause we've had our fill of smelly dead people parts.  The horror has ebbed, now it's merely  discomfort and a moue when we find/smell dead people.

The guy on Right Flank hollers: "Hey, Sarge, you oughta come see this!"  He's 50 yards away, but he has found the rest of the corpse.

Nobody follows up on his 'invitation'; we've seen enough of dead bodies.  We have no wish to see more.

We walk on.


An hour later, we pass a water-buffalo skeleton.  Most of us, in the Vietnam platoon in the late Sixties, are from rural communities.  We've seen dead cows.  The range boss doesn't bother hauling them off, at least those in my home state.  The dead cows stay where there are, and they decompose, and they become part of nature.  Not a big deal.

Until my pace man bends down, and out of the melange of shattered ribs and untitled limb bones, he pulls out a skull.    It's a human skull.

Johnny is the pace man, and he's seen just enough of the human condition (his Aid Bag and his helmet were shot shit full of holes in The Ambush, and he survived so he don't care no more)  and he is delighted to find a skull.

He thread a boot-shoelace through the right eye socket of the skull, draws it through the mandibles.  The lower jaw of the skull falls away ... ALL of the flesh has been eaten by what seems to have been a White Phosphorus round  (which burns instead of blasts) so it is a 'clean' bone structure .. but the musculature has been destroyed.  Johnny doesn't care; he has the sweetest possible souvenir; a Dead Gook.

A few klicks further, Johnie pulls off the boot string that he has used to tie his Dead Gook to his webstrap, and the skull falls to the ground.  Maybe some other wannabe American Hero will find it, and carry it home.   Nobody cares.  Nobody picks it up.

It's disgusting to take body souvenirs and just maybe Johnny understands that.  Maybe he doesn't want to live the rest of his life staring at the skull of a Dead Gook in the dark hours of the night.

Or perhaps he just doesn't want to carry the dead weight.  Whatever.


American Artillery is credited, in the archives of Military History, with the bulk of War Kills in Vietnam.  They're welcome to it.  Those of us who walk the ground ... the Infantry ... we see the horror of war.  Maybe we are charged with the burden of of enumerating the "Body Count".  Maybe we just see, and don't report.  Maybe we are just knowing, remembering, and shutting the fuck up about it because it's too horrible.

But we don't forget.

And maybe that's the most horrible part of war.  The things you can't forget.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

▶ Proud Grandpa .. bear with me!

▶ Samantha's First T-Ball Practice #2 - YouTube: Uploaded on Feb 12, 2008 Video of T-Ball Practice

That was six years ago.    Note: the coach looks like Norm The Ungrateful!

THIS is now!


First Hit .. (aww, ain't she cute?)

The girl's got legs!

Okay, I'm a sap where little girls are concerned.  So ... sue me!  You don't have to watch me get all mushy about my grand-daughter.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Chicago and "Shall Issue" Firearms "permits"

Don’t argue over gun permits, just watch - Chicago Sun-Times:
 (By NEIL STEINBERG March 8, 2014)

As the state of Illinois sent out its first 5,000 concealed-carry permits, ... (Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy) noted: “Stand by and watch what happens. The answer to gun violence is not more guns.

We don’t get a lot of “stand by and watch what happens” in politics. We are so hot to debate, to argue, to predict, to shout down the other guy — especially on guns, where arm-everybody proponents have adopted an all-or-nothing, cover-our-ears-and-howl approach that forbids even thinking about the issue — we forget there are facts under all this, a verifiable reality just waiting for us to notice, or, more likely, to not notice.

 What are those facts? Well, some — and I know this will jar the “All libs hate guns and want them confiscated” mindset — support liberal gun rights. There are 300 million guns in this country, and if the vast majority weren’t being handled safely, the carnage would be far worse than it already is.
 It's interesting that Chicago Liberal Media wonks are howling over the Supreme Court's decision that the Second Amendment applies to Chicago, also.

Read the whole article.  It's obvious that this writer has moral objections to the "imposition" of the Second Amendment to Chicago citizenry, on the grounds that allowing law-abiding citizens will contribute to Chicago's dubious distinction as one of the "Murder Capitals" of the world.

(Athough he does not identify those people now "allowed"  --- reluctantly -- to carry firearms as "Law Abiding")

Did he mention that there are two "gun stores" within the county .. none within the city?  And that up to this point, every firearm in the city is illegally owned?  Not according to the Supreme Court, though, and Chicago is dragging its heels every step of the way.

Or did he notice that Chicago has one of the highest (if not the highest, on any given day) murder rates in the country?

"There are 300 million guns in this country, and if the vast majority weren’t being handled safely, the carnage would be far worse than it already is."
And who owns these guns?  In Chicago, almost nobody, legally.   It's the gang-bangers, Mister Steinberg, who are armed.  You know, the young men who use violence to protect their drug-selling "turf".  They have no sense of civic responsibility.  They aren't trying to protect their homes and their families .. they're protecting their "turf" and their (illegal) business .. which is selling drugs.

You remember "drugs", don't you Mr. Steinberg?  Drugs are the substances which are legally defined as "illegal" because they systematically convert 'citizens' to 'users': people who are eventually so degraded that they are willing to commit any crime to acquire more drugs.  Small larcenies are committed by drug users in furtherance of their habit:  Theft, mugging, robbery, home invasion ... murder.  You know, the things which are apparently not (in your eye) as EVIL as possession of a tool which will provide you the means to protect you and your family from theft, mugging, robbery, home invasion, murder.

God, the Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Sun-Times will not protect you.  The Sun-Times merely hoots against Civil Rights (again, the 2nd Amendment?);  the Chicago Please Department only solves crimes (sometimes) .. they are not legally required to PREVENT crimes.

And God?  You know the old saying:

"God helps those who help themselves."

But you don't want your neighbor to help himself (and possibly, yourself) because you are too fearful that your neighbor is not sufficiently well-trained to responsibly own and carry a firearm.

Do you trust your neighborhood gang-banger to be well-trained to responsibly own and carry a firearm?

I don't think so; yet, he has a gun, and you do not.  Does that give you a warm and fuzzy feeling?   Do you honestly feel more secure, more safe, knowing that if the bullets start flying, there is nobody who have the ability to stop them?   The police can't be everywhere; "when seconds count, the police are just minutes away".

I ask you, truly, are you more confident of the civic pride of the drug seller on YOUR corner than you are of your neighbor?  When erratic Chicago gangsters shoot up your city parks on a regular basis, do you take your children there to picnic on a sunny day?   NO, you probably do not.  You sit in your apartment and write against "Gun Violence", and in doing so you campaign against the only measure which has a chance of getting rid of the violence.

Gun Violence isn't about guns; it's about violence.  If you won't protect your family, at least have the decency to not stop others from protecting their families.

Chicago is just one Gun Free Zone.   The only ones who have guns are those who can be least trusted with them ... the Violent Men.

California Scheming

SUNNYVALE, Calif.: 2 cities struggle to enforce ban on gun magazines | State News |
 (AP - March 08, 2014)
SUNNYVALE, Calif. — Enforcement issues surround two Northern California cities' bans on high-capacity magazines.
The Oakland Tribune ( ) reported Saturday that since Sunnyvale's ban went into effect midnight Thursday, not one of the now-illegal magazines has been turned in. San Francisco police report that they have no system to track whether any magazines have been turned in for destruction under the new ordinance. San Francisco residents must surrender their high-capacity magazines to police by April 7.
The two California cities enacted laws similar to several other municipalities banning magazines that hold more 10 bullets in reaction to the 2012 mass-shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
The National Rifle Association has filed legal challenges to the bans in Sunnyvale, San Francisco and elsewhere. Judges have so far upheld the bans.
California law has banned the sale of high-capacity magazines since 2000, but it allows owners who possessed the items before 2000 to keep them. Sunnyvale, San Francisco and other cities have gone a step further and made possession of the high-capacity magazines a misdemeanor crime.
This is a story much like the recent news about Citizen Rebellion in Connecticut.  It isn't quite the "Tree of Liberty" and "Tyrants and Patriots" level of revolution; it's more like the Mahatma Ghandi "Peaceful non-compliance" approach.  In Connecticut, and now in California, we see that the only way to deal with unjust laws is to ignore them.

It is a quiet, peaceful rebellion.

Ghandi drove the British out of India by setting the example; the Brits were the Brutes there, and the Dems are the Damned in California, Colorado and Connecticut.  And probably elsewhere, also, until the people who would deny us our constitutional rights realize that we are simply going to ignore their efforts.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."