Friday, July 31, 2009

Paypal . . . in case anyone's wondering . . .

The Paypal Incident has not escaped the notice of The Chicago Gun Rights Examiner. I'm just waiting to hear back from Paypal's press people. It hasn't escaped the notice of the Armed School Teacher, either, but I figure I'll write about it once.

So far, it appears that we suck, and Paypal hates us . . . . but we haven't heard that from their own mouths yet, just their actions.

. . . . and bait shop . . . .

"An Illinois Voter" says he found this and thought of me. I think that's kind of sweet. The only question is how to read the sign:
"Kansas Teachers Hall of Fame and Gunfighters Wax Museum," or
"Kansas Teachers and Gunfighters Hall of Fame Wax Museum."

It's not as far-fetched as it sounds. According to the early video records of the era I've been able to observe, along with print records such as The Virginian, gunfighters were often found in close proximity to beautiful but haughty school marms during the last quarter of the 19th century. It was almost as if there were some sort of trope at work.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

EMS Quote of the Day

Anonymous member of Podunk Rescue Squad:
"If I'd known what a big sonofabitch you was, I wouldna made fun of ya for bein' slow!"

This line was delivered at about 12:45 a.m on a Monday morning as we stood under the sodium lights next to a helipad at the hospital in the county seat where a helicopter had taken off with a little girl a few minutes before. I was the only one without a cigarette. Tension was being released; humor was strained, but laughter was loud. The guys from the Rescue Squad don't generally get a chance to critique my driving, but on that night, they were already on scene performing CPR on a little girl who wasn't quite a year old, so they just continued and carried her out to the bolance and off we went. They had her pink and breathing before we met the ALS unit, and she was crying by the time we reached the waiting helicopter. It was a big win. My crew's time on call had ended at midnight (the call went out at 11:56 by my watch) so we weren't in a big hurry to get home, and we all tacitly agreed that there was time for a smoke and some good-natured observations about wives and police officers and other things. In short, we seized our moment and savored our triumph.

Two days later, that little girl died. I don't know any details, but her condition was chronic and the terrifying episode in the middle of the night two days before had not been unexpected. All I really know is that she's gone for ever and ever. Her name reminds me of stars. None of this made me cry until I wrote this post.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Chicago GRE: E.J. Dionne misses his own point in "Arm the Senate!"

E.J. Dionne is one of those guys who's pretty clever but considers himself brilliant (not unlike myself in that regard, actually.) His problem is not that he's not smart; his problem is that he's on the wrong side of history. American citizens are going to carry weapons with them more in the future than they do now. It's coming, it's happening, deal with it.

That's why I decided to have some fun with this one and go crazy with the analogies . . . . because I just love analogies. What do E.J. Dionne and Stephen "The Little Giant" Douglas have in common? Brilliant men on the wrong side of history. Read the whole thing and tell your friends, would you please?


While you're at it, now might be a good time to check out's forums. They have a forum set up for discussion of all the Gun Rights Examiners and favorite articles; there are 13 or 14 of us now and some have written over 100 articles, so it's nice to have some favorites highlighted. Big thanks to Jeff Knox (hey, there's a name you've heard a time or two) for making this possible.

Also, it's Tuesday, and that means it's time for Gun Nuts: The Next Generation. Caleb and Breda are doing something new and pretty impressive tonight:

That's right guys - tonight on Gun Nuts Radio at 9pm we're going to be talking some Camp Perry, in addition to our news roundup and info session. We'll be joined by the Texas Highpower champion, as well as special guests from NRA, so don't miss out on the show this week.

We go live as usual at 9pm Eastern time at - and we want to hear from you! New rule - for every new caller that has never called in before on the show, I'm going to donate $5 to NRA-ILA to help preserve our right to keep and bear arms. So join tonight's show and help keep us shooting for years to come! The call in number is the same as it's always been: 347-539-5436! Tonight at 9pm Eastern, Gun Nuts Radio - The Next Generation of Shooting Sports is here.
I don't think I've ever called in before, so I'm going to call tonight make an Obama Yes We Can donation. (That's where you claim to be donating, but you took the money from somebody else.)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Super-Duper Reefer Madness In Chicago!

Watch out, mom and dad--the twin dragons of "legalization" and "Super Pot" are coming to Chicago to turn your children into manic piano players and filthy hippies!

First, Stroger and Daley, two incompetent machine cogs who ought to have a special bond since they would both be digging ditches somewhere if they hadn't been born the sons of the Cook County Board President and the Boss of Chicago, respectively, each had to comment on marijuana decriminalization. It shouldn't surprise anyone who's been reading for awhile, but my position is that anything you can do with gin in this country, you should be able to do with marijuana. I know I'm hopelessly naive and silly, but I figure they're both mood-altering drugs that have proven impossible to prohibit and are clearly used safely for recreational purposes by a whole lot of American citizens. I'm sure there are nuances I don't understand, most of them involving money and clout, but whatever.

None of that matters now anyway, you poor fools, because we are all gonna die. Dead-eyed hippies are going to beat us to death with hash pipes. Manic teenagers are going to play the piano way too fast, and mark my words, there will be cramps and other dance-related injuries. I speak to you, of course, of the next scourge of our cities: SUPER POT.

Yes, friends, SUPER POT (aka "Kush") is like pot, only, like, really really strong and stuff. It gets you really, really high instead of a little bit high like what I'm tentatively going to name "Good Ol' Pot" or what Representative Mark Kirk calls "your father's pot." Then it's Reefer madness time! Chaos! Anarchy! Liberties taken and liberties permitted between young gentlemen and ladies! Lions lying down with lambs lying down with toucans and every last one of them listening to mix tapes of Willie Nelson and Phish!

But don't worry; Mark Kirk's got the solution: longer jail sentences for selling pot. Unless it's, as he puts it, "your father's pot." That stuff's OK, especially when you've had a long day on the floor of the House of Representatives and people are being mean about your Senate campaign. . . . but when you start smoking this Oldsmobile pot, this "Super Kush Pot" or whatever the kids call it these days, well, that's beyond the pale. Kirk says it sells for the same price as cocaine, so it should carry the same jail sentence, which is probably the dumbest reason for doing anything that I've heard all day.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thank Whatever Gods There Be . . . .

. . . that Examiner does not expose me. Specifically, I'm grateful that it doesn't show how many times I've gone back to fix typos. Geez.

Tragedy Close to PGP's Sebastian Today

Most of you who read here and the Chicago GRE probably also read Pro-Gun Progressive from time to time. If not, you should; Sebastian Sassi is a political "liberal" in the modern, leftish meaning of the word who is active in efforts to fight crime in his Baltimore neighborhood with very aggressive neighborhood watch tactics. He has a rare Maryland CCW permit because of the threats on his life from local drug dealers; recently he was threatened with murder by a street punk (and the kid's prize-winning mother) on the local evening news.

But Sebastian is also a pilot training to fly helicopters, and last night his school had a tragic accident involving helicopters and the ever-treacherous power lines. From here, I can be thankful that Sebastian wasn't on that craft, but he's understandably spending his time thinking about his friends. If you'd like to leave a kind word on Facebook so Sebastian will see it right away, leave it here and I'll be glad to pass it on. If you'd rather comment at Sebastian's blog, follow the link.


I'm sorry, but two different bloggers I love wrote about this story and neither used the One True Headline. It had to be done. Go read it at View From the Porch and SaysUncle and then you can try to tell me I'm wrong.

Wait . . . oh, snap. Jack Landis hit the original article's comment section with t3h r34l 1nf0:
Dear Ms. Doyle,
I am used to the inability of anyone in the media, or anyone from the various “Ban the Gun” groups, to distinguish between fully automatic machineguns (all real assault weapons are select fire weapons capable of fully automatic fire) and black colored semi auto guns. Real machineguns are used in violent crimes in the single digits on an annual basis nationally, when used at all. All TV crooks have machineguns and spray bullets everywhere. To the general public, a black gun with a pistol grip is a “machinegun” because everything they see on TV says it is, and that’s just the way it is. So what was it that brought my eyes to such a screeching halt as I read your article a few minutes ago? It was these two paragraphs:
”Authorities have noticed an increase in high caliber(!?)weapons in Los Angeles. One of the most startling incidents was when a Fabrique National 57, an assault pistol used to kill big game, was found, etc…".
“You use it on large lions, tigers and bears,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Michel Moore, commander of the Valley Bureau”.
This is so wrong in SO many areas that I just had to write you.
1.There is no such thing as an assault pistol. I won’t go into all the reasons the term is an oxy-moron.
2.I am assuming he is referring to an FN FiveseveN pistol. The FiveseveN refers to the diameter of the bullet it shoots, 5.7 millimeter, or .22 caliber. I don’t know if you are aware of it or not, but .22’s are universally considered to be “Small” caliber. The pistol is a standard looking and operating, polymer frame, semi auto that is functionally and appearance wise no different than any other pistol of this type, i.e.’ Glock, etc.
3.Since we are constantly being bombarded with the message that “Assault weapons have no sporting purpose, they are just designed to kill people.” how do we have an assault pistol designed to kill “large lions, etc.?”
4.The correct designation of the cartridge is 5.7 x 27 FN. The 27 refers to the length of the case in millimeters and as such, is just over 1” long. The case is a bottleneck whose largest diameter is less than .32 caliber. As you can see, small bullet, small case. The cartridge has about one third the muzzle energy of the 5.56 NATO cartridge fired in the M-16 rifle by our military. In the civilian world, the same cartridge, called a .223 Remington, is considered a medium range (< 250 yards) varmint cartridge. This means ground squirrels, prairie dogs, woodchucks, etc. Are you getting the picture here? A cartridge with 3 times the power of the 5.7 x 28 is used for varmints, a type of game not generally considered to be in the same class as “large lions, etc.”.22 caliber rifles, no matter how big the cartridge case they use (which determines how much powder is behind them, and thus, pretty much, their power), are illegal (too small) for deer hunting in most places in the US. Africa’s dangerous game minimum legal caliber rifle is, in most places, a .375 H&H Magnum. This cartridge generates ~ 20 times the energy of the puny 5.7. In energy, the 5.7 falls at the low end of 9mm Parabellum and the high end of the .38 Special. Again, LIONS?????
5.Our esteemed Deputy Chief apparently thinks his service pistol is entirely adequate for hunting “large lions, etc., and thus probably hunts rhino with a switch, or needs have his medication changed (or fire the ignoramus who gave him this info).
6.This information that I have given you is also available at the following websites: ;
We have just been exposed to too much deliberate disinformation over the years. In the immortal words of Molly to Fibber McGee,“It just ain’t so McGee!”

Jack Landis
Technical Services Manager &
GunTech Editor
American Gunsmithing Institute

Chicago anti gun donor family raises cash for Obama despite sub-prime past

Today's Chicago Gun Rights Examiner column examines one of President Obama's "kingmakers" who has escaped the kind of scrutiny that, say, a "polarizing figure" like Sarah Palin has suffered in the national spotlight. Penny Pritzker's family donated $1000 to the Brady Campaign in Chicago, which got me looking at them, but the rabbit hole goes deeper than that. The Pritzkers took over a huge Chicago savings and loan after it failed in 1988, got hundreds of millions of dollars from the feds to do so, and proceeded to run it into the ground by investing huge amounts into subprime loans (where have we heard this before?) By the time the bank was seized by the feds in 2001, they'd paid themselves $200 million in very questionable dividends and the depositors were left holding the bag (except for their first $100,000 in losses, which you and I paid in federal taxes.)

Then Penny Pritzker became Barack Obama's National Fund-Raising Campaign Chair . . . . .read the whole thing and tell a friend. And don't forget to check back on Monday for more fun facts from the Brady PAC's fund-raising records!
And if you like what you read, check out my other pieces and the other Gun Rights Examiners in the widget to the left.

Like, Wow, Man. Astrology is Like, Complicated.

And stuff.

Flipping around through the various widgets last night, I couldn't help but notice a couple created by fellow Examiners . . . hey, here's the Chicago Astrology and Relationships Examiner. Nothing like really pounding away at that "integrity" button. But since Codrea's most consistent competition for most popular politics Examiner is the "Hawaii Exopolitics Examiner" (that is, the guy who writes about our extra-terrestrial foreign policy) I guess it's no surprise.

Anyway, let's see what my horoscope has to say. But first, it's important to note that the Astrology Examiner doesn't practice orthodox astrology. She prefers to "channel upon an overview of things to come" and other straightforward methods. Quite refreshing. But how about that horoscope?

Aries (3/21- 4/20)

Men: Making restless decisions at this point will cost you dearly,
especially emotionally and financially. You may need to postpone making important
decisions until you seek out all the facts from all sides. You may be tempted
to lean on individuals to get them to act more quickly. This can only drive people
away from you. You need to act effectively without throwing your weight around.

Hmm. So, if I weren't an Aries, restless decisions would be OK, and I wouldn't need to seek out the facts from all sides before making important decisions. Crud; I get stuck with all the work. And also, if I were a Taurus, I could lean on people and throw my weight around, but as an Aries I am forced to employ courtesy, damnit. Doesn't seem fair, somehow.

Women: You have been holding back expressing your true emotions towards people at home/work that have taken you for granted too long. It is time for you to draw the line before you go overboard.

Whoa. Glad My Bride's not an Aries. I'd rather she keep repressing those feelings, thank you. It's kept us going this long. It's kind of too bad this one is only for the women, though (I never even knew that astrology was different for men and women) because I get a little tired of being taken for granted myself. But I guess it's back to it. It almost feels like the stars want me to stay passive so they can take advantage of me too.

Married: Keep your own agenda in focus do not let anyone deter you from your goals. As hard as you try to work as a team, you may have to debate in order to prove your point, you need to remain true to your own convictions at this time.

The stars are writing run-on sentences now . . . but anyway, I should focus on my agenda and stick with my goals. Got it. And all the rest of you born in the other 11 months can just let people steamroll you, since your goals aren't important like mine.

Single: You have overlooked potential opportunities to meet new people that are
right in front of you. Many of you may be thinking about at person that you let
go of or missed the opportunity to be with in your past. For many of you that find
yourself thinking about contacting a past love interest, this person will be happy
to hear from you.You are now ready to go forward and socialize in opportunities to meet new love. You will be surprised how well other singles respond to you.

Wow . . . it's odd how only Aries miss opportunities to meet potential dates. I would have thought that was more universal. Good to know that all Aries everywhere are ready to go forward and socialize, even the ones who've had recent traumatic experiences. Also excellent news that all Aries who contact old flames will be welcomed back despite the restraining orders. Good luck with that.

Spiritual Message: Sometimes, you may need to look to the past to remember what you really want out of life and believe that you can still attain it.
Unless you were born in the summer, fall, or winter. In that case your past is meaningless and you should do your best to forget the lessons of history.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bleg Update: How about the one on the left?

As it turns out, Daniel White (Cleveland Gun Rights Examiner) had already found a widget that works pretty well. It's over on the left. It's not perfect, exactly--the free version has ads, and the pay version is a yearly subscription. It does, however, give a rundown of all the headlines from all the Gun Rights Examiners in the same field, so it's a little easier to use. It doesn't say which Examiner each headline comes from, but at least the newest are on top, and it's easy to install.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I hate to sound judgmental, but I am

Tam wrote a smart piece on what it takes to avoid 99.99% of self-defense situations without having to learn to shoot or strike or grapple or duel with bowie knives. At the same time, elements of the national media, including sportswriters like Mike Lupica at Sports Illustrated and Neil Katz at CBS News, are alternately wailing about the gun culture and cowering behind crucifixes chanting "It . . . is . . . alive!" at a Jennings 9mm pistol because it (and not the woman who decided to point it at him and pull the trigger) murdered a famous football player. Sharp as a Marble had excerpts from Katz's voodoo fetish story today, and they show that Katz is extremely worried that the jumbi in the pistol might jump up and kill someone else next:
At any one of those turns, had something happened differently, McNair might still be alive. No one can know.
Actually, that's not true. The twist that matters is the one when Sahel Kazemi made the decision to kill Steve McNair. The others are just details that could have changed a million different ways, but as long as Sahel Kazemi still decided that Steve McNair had to die, she could have done it with anything from a frying pan to a kitchen knife to a can of gasoline and a match.
Federal authorities haven’t said when the gun was born, but they know who made it - a now defunct California firm called Bryco, and later renamed Jennings,
Uh . . . OK. I've heard of biological weapons, but this is ridiculous. And you're ridiculous, Mr. Katz.
The gun was a 9mm and by 2002 it had made its way into a Tenn. pawn shop, where it likely sat under locked glass, flickering fluorescent bulbs shining off its metal skin.
Uh . . . . huh. Hm. One wonders if this is why the gun made the decision to become a murder weapon rather than, for instance, going out and finding some poor single mother and living on her nightstand just in case. But then, who knows why guns do what they do? You buy them books and send them to school, but they never call, and they never write.
But they do have skin, and it's made of metal, I guess, and that's creepier than John McCain trying to smile at a baby.
When police arrived her body had already fallen to the floor. The gun lay beneath her crumpled body in a pool of the killer’s own blood.
Police located it by following the sound of the gun's maniacal laughter and its mad cackling: "They called me MAD at the foundry! Now the serial number a001337 will be remembered forever! Remembered . . . . and feared! Mwa ha ha ha ha!"

Remember kids, if you see a firearm, draw a circle of salt around it and sprinkle it with garlic to trap the jumbi inside. Then if you want you can go find an adult or whatever.

But seriously, this brings me to my real point, which I fear may be taken as prudish and judgmental. One of the ways to, as Tamara puts it, not get killed, is to avoid doing things like taking on a 20-year-old mistress who thinks you're going to leave your wife. Maybe things are different in France or wherever the "enlightened" culture teaches that all successful men must have mistresses, because maybe women there understand what "mistress" means and what the limits of that role really are. But here, in America, you hook up with a barely-adult waitress who isn't your wife at your own peril. It's always possible that she doesn't accept sugar-daddy relationships with older, married millionaire celebrities because of her rock-solid personal stability and rationality.

Just saying. I love Steve McNair as much as the next person who never knew him but enjoys watching football on the tv sets, but the guy made a really, really bad choice and he got killed. I've made some dumb choices in my life, most of them involving explosives and/or automobiles, that could have killed me. I'm very lucky that they didn't. But if they had, most people wouldn't have pretended the car I died in was a person with a murderous soul. But then again, I never played in a Super Bowl.

Bleg: help me find the RSS widget I need

I'd like to add an RSS widget to my Gun Rights Examiner articles to promote the other GREs and, incidentally, give them an easy way to promote my column at the same time. The GREs do something like this now, but manually--they're updating the list of the latest GRE headlines at the end of each post by pasting the list from their last post, then checking all 12 of the other GRE's, then copying the headline and making a new hyperlink for anyone who's got a new article up since last time. It's time-consuming and clunky, but it works.

But in the spirit of "The Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail" I'd like to use an RSS widget to do the same job. What I want is something like the one that Blogger provides--you can see the "Blog List" off to the left there. It shows the newest title for each of the RSS feeds I've added, and whenever someone posts something new, it goes to the top of the widget. That is exactly what I want, but I can't find it (free is best, of course, but it doesn't have to be free as long as I know it's going to do what I want) anywhere else. Anyone out there know where to find such a thing?

In the meantime, I'm using the closest runner-up here on the blog. This SpringWidgets device is great in most ways (I especially like being able to customize the header image and the colors, although I made my header image exactly the width and height they recommended and it still gets cut off. The only thing that doesn't work for me is that, although this widget says it's meant to display multiple feeds, the reader has to reach up and click the "Menu" button to see the list of feeds, and then click on each feed individually. That is fine for someone who uses it to aggregate feeds he chose himself to read every day, but it's no good for promotion, because the user won't know that they're supposed to do that. HALP.

Overheard in the Kitchen: Miracles

The kitchen is bright on a summer morning. Don is cooking breakfast for His Bride; she is reading a book at the small round dinner table with a red checkered table cloth. The children are asleep, and so the cardinals can be heard whistling outside the window. The kitchen smells of hot oil, toasting bread, and rich coffee. Don has a pan heating for eggs and another with shortening heated to a liquid state. Using an ice cream scoop, he carefully ladles out a large dollop of leftover mashed potatoes from a tupperware container. With any luck, in a few minutes he will serve His Bride delicious potato pancakes, with smooth white centers enclosed within brown, crispy outsides. He flattens the dollop in the center of the pan and sprinkles garlic salt over it. It would be fair to say that he is feeling smug at the prowess with which he is cooking his wife breakfast in gentlemanly fashion. In a moment, he plans to break the eggs one-handed because he once read that this impresses women.

Don: "Whoa!"
Bride: "Whoa what?"
Don: "I'm not really sure . . . I've never seen that happen before. The potatoes melted."
Bride: "The what? What did you do?"
Don: "I didn't . . . I just put a scoop of mashed potatoes in the oil to make, you know, like potato pancakes. Like latkes."
Bride: "So what's wrong?"
Don: "I put the potatoes in the oil, and flattened 'em out, and they just disappeared. It was like they melted into the oil. It's actually pretty freaky. Can starch even do that?"
Bride: "Honey?"
Don: "Yes dear?"
Bride: "That's a container of Crisco I fried fish in awhile ago."

I figure it could have been worse. Could have thrown a pat of butter on there and eaten a spoonful cold . . . or filled a big bowl of mashed potatoes in thrown it in the microwave for a couple of minutes, thus starting the Grease Fire of '09.

Never did find out what Crisco pancakes taste like.

You can't fix stupid

He's back.

Marc Rubin, the New York Obama Administration Examiner, has a new piece up. Previous articles earned him a drubbing from a large slice of the gun blogosphere, but especially from The Smallest Minority*; essentially he argues, over a year after the Heller decision, that the 2nd Amendment does not protect an individual right to keep and bear arms.

You'd think it would pose a problem that the Supreme Court of the United States, the ultimate authority on the Constitution (Motto: "We're not last because we're right, we're right because we're last!") ruled over a year ago that the 2nd Amendment does protect an individual right to keep and bear arms, but Rubin has found that repeating a lie often enough makes it true. Or something.

Now his newest article argues that the 2nd Amendment doesn't protect a right to keep and bear arms because the Thune Amendment failed. Then, in the next paragraph, it argues that it doesn't protect the rkba because there was a vote in the first place. After that, I lost interest in the train wreck and headed back here.

*Absolutely NOT a blog about Emmanuel Lewis or Gary Coleman. I'm as shocked as you are.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

NY Times, Philly Enquirer, & Chicago Gun Rights Examiner write on national CCW reciprocity proposal

But sadly, only one makes much sense:

National right-to-carry reciprocity can't touch Chicago, but can it pass?

Go read the good one and leave a comment so I know what you think. Um, please. And don't forget to read the photo captions; I work hard on those:
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois Machine) is seen here peeking out over
his desk during a committee hearing. Popular tradition holds that if
Durbin sees his shadow, there will be six more years of defenseless
citizens in Illinois.
AP Photo/Harry Hamburg
Read the whole thing and tell your friends there's someone writing about Illinois for Illinois at Examiner now?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Worst Book Ever?


My wife got me a pile of old books the other day. She often does this, because she knows I go through them rapidly and my tastes are eclectic to put it kindly. This means there are hits and misses and it's hard to predict which is which, but she's brought me some beauties over the years.

This is not one of them:

Notice anything odd there? She picked it up because it looked like an anthology of classics, which I'd bet is what it was supposed to look like . . . but notice how many classics. One hundred one? How many pages do you think are in this book?

Hmmm . . . . I think I'm beginning to
see how they managed it. Ten pages for Tom Jones . . . nine pages for Ivanhoe . . . and only eight pages for Anna Karenina. Now, I haven't read Tom Jones or Ivanhoe (yes, a blogger is allowed to admit that there is a classic book he has not read) but I really enjoyed Anna Karenina. What I'm having a hard time envisioning is how anyone could pretend to understand it when it's been cut down to eight pages in length. Tolstoy couldn't have written an eight-page description of poor Anna brushing her teeth without giving himself a stroke. How is this supposed to work?

I recently re-read Fahrenheit 451. I doubt many of my readers have not also read this work, but the quick version is this: in a dystopian future, Guy Montag is a fireman who is paid to burn books instead of putting out fires. People live mad, frantic, unthinking lives where nothing matters except fast, loud, mindless fun. But Montag can feel something missing . . .
When I was a child, I thought it was a good story with the fatal flaw that the firemen were a heavy-handed contrivance; they made the story hard to believe, because they were so unnecessary. What were they there for? Reading it now, I realize that's the whole point. As Captain Beatty says, the firemen really aren't necessary; they just make big fires in the night as entertainment for the people who need that "real world" edge to their drama. The censorship of any real ideas that might put people off their appetite for bread and circuses is accomplished by the people themselves, who choose to ignore those ideas so the fun can continue. The ideas they ignore so studiously could be expressed on their giant televisions or their tiny seashell radio earbuds (the technological aspects seem a lot more prescient today than the last time I read this, too, as I mow the law with an Ipod and my neighbors are carting out the box from their new 194" TV.) The whole thing started, Beatty said, with dumbing down the literature, the drama, the cinema and the news to a sort of bland pudding.

This book is an example of the bland pudding . . . and the weirdest thing is Armstrong's introduction, where he holds forth for several pages about the importance of being able to discuss Tom Jones and Moby Dick at cocktail parties. He's careful to note that the "false expertise" of the man who has only skimmed such works is useless . . . but his book is different, because it will keep you from wasting your time reading a bunch of junk you think you like. These are the novels that the collective wisdom of the great critics has decreed that you will enjoy . . . these are the novels that the collective wisdom of the great critics has decreed that you must be able to quote or at least nod knowingly about in order to get that middle-management slot at the insurance company. In short, if you're the sort of insufferable boor who has no chance of ever understanding why people enjoy any of these stories, you'll love this book.

Yay . . . arrrgh . . . yay . . .arrgh.

It's 4:45 a.m. and I've been awake all night. This is problematic. An hour from now I've got to be showered, awake and on the road with my family to go see the giraffes at the Saint Louis Zoo. But it's been one of those nights.

First, we took the Wee One and the Dust Devil to the park for a picnic and some fishing. Dust Devil caught two small bluegill, so he was hopping and twitching like a speed freak drying out at gunpoint. Wee One chucked some rocks in the water, which delighted him thoroughly. Good times.

Then, we returned to our home. The Dust Devil proposed that we order Chinese take-out; My Bride was sorely tempted. I compromised by making stir-fried chicken and vegetables with homemade sweet-sour sauce and lemongrass/ginger rice. Delicious even if I must resort to saying it myself, and I figure losing the breading on the chicken alone saved a lot of calories. Stir-frying in coconut oil is either a lot healthier or not worth the time (I forget which) but it tastes awfully tasty.

Later, as I told the boys FOR THE LAST TIME to go to bed because I REALLY MEAN IT, the radio went all noisy and I was forced to quit my happy home. Two calls tonight, two people not breathing. Two CPR sessions (not me, I was driving.) Two saves as of the time I went home. The first was an elderly lady. She's probably in a precarious state right now, but she's breathing. The second was an 11-month-old child. She opened her eyes right before we met the ALS (Advanced Life Saving, as opposed to our Basic Life Saving) ambulance. By the time we got to the helicopter, she was pink and crying aloud. I'm calling her a save unless I hear otherwise. That was one of the best nights I've ever had driving that old ambulance, but when it was done it was a strangely muted feeling. I was happy, but I was ready to go home and get some sleep. Alas, it was not to be!

Anyway, that last one kept me out till about two in the morning, and I really wanted to publish an Examiner column I'd started on the national right-to-carry reciprocity amendment coming up for a vote this week in the Senate. I'm going to be gone out-of-pocket all day, and I don't have a fancy internet writing/blogging/twittering laptop/netbook/telephone/implant like the cool kids, so I have to plan these things.

Sadly, I suck and the Examiner Publishing Tool hates me. So although I haven't quite given up yet, maybe you'd better check out some of the other Examiners in the meantime.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Story for Your Sunday

Some good friends came over to get a few pounds of Grandpa Tomato's Tree-Ripened Peaches on Friday. We got to talking, as we usually do, and the conversation turned to geek topics: computers, guns, explosives, Schlock Mercenary, stuff like that. My friend, "Moose," told me a story about his grandpa and some nuns that I just couldn't leave unblogged.

It seems that Moose's grandpa did some odd jobs for a local catholic church affiliated with a convent, so he ended up doing a lot of Mr. Fixit-type work for the nuns. After awhile, he realized that something seemed odd in the large yard outside the Sisters' cozy home. There was something there that was just slightly abnormal--he could feel it. But he couldn't quite put his finger on what it was. It began to bother him so much that he began carefully scrutinizing the yard every time he was there, but it was not a terribly remarkable sight. There was a large white clapboard house with a large front porch, the paint beginning to peel and the windows sagging a bit. there was a gravel drive that went to the outbuilding at the back, and there were patches of grass and various prairie weeds competing for dirt space and sunlight all across the large, flat lawn. The edges of the lawn were simply fields (mostly corn back then, I suppose) and there were a few old scrap odds and ends leaning against the tired old house--tubs, pump-handles, things that don't rot away as fast as the wood scrap that gets left in the same places. He'd never been there on a day when laundry was not fluttering in large amounts on a set of long lines, even in the winter, but now that it was summer, that wasn't exactly a remarkable sight, either. The Sisters kept no pets, so there were no dogs, paths, or droppings to watch out for. What was the problem?

Now, Moose's grandpa had done many jobs in his time, and like most men of his generation around here, he spent some time in the mines as a young man. He finally settled on those clotheslines. Something just wasn't right there, but what could be the problem? They were just iron posts, smooth cords, and wooden pins. It took another visit or two before it finally occurred to him.

He was talking to one of the Sisters about some completely unrelated thing, as sometimes happens, when the conversation dropped away like a pair of sunglasses over a cliff, completely gone and irretrievable. The rope! It wasn't rope at all. It was "det cord," very similar to the stuff he'd seen used in the mines to set off larger charges simultaneously or to create cutting charges that followed lines and contours. And it probably wasn't the best possible choice for a clothesline, all things considered.

He inquired and was shown rest of the clothesline, which was just some old plastic-coated cord the sisters had found on an old wooden reel in the shed. Nothing special, and surely not some kind of explosive. In short, they appreciated his concern, but they weren't going to yank down their clothesline over nothing. Grandpa chose a small but sturdy tree on the back edge of the property, almost to the field, and looped the clothesline around the trunk three times about a foot off the ground. Then he moved all the nuns back to the road and detonated the clothesline (the method was not related when I heard this story, and I also have no idea whether det cord is strong enough to serve as an improvised clothesline, and if you insist on factual perfection you might be missing the point.)

The noise of the explosion distracted some of the Sisters enough that they didn't notice at first that the tree had been cleanly cut in two and toppled to the ground.

Brandon linked this helpful video showing what happens when you wrap det cord around a tree:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Are We Forgetting Something?

Some of you may have read the last post about zoo time (and nuns, and assault weapons, and political fund-raising . . . .) and thought, "that's nice. Hope they have fun."

Well, here's the thing. We got the blue-tongued monster all cleaned up and sent the other one through the shower--I'm pretty sure most of him got wet--and were about five minutes from getting into the car when My Bride did the facepalm.

That's never good. "Peter!" she said.
"Uh . . . Paul!" I replied helpfully.
"Peter's birthday party at two o'clock!" she said.

Today was the day of our nephew's fifth birthday party. We had both completely forgotten the big event and didn't even have a gift for the poor kid (don't worry, we rushed out and got him a radio-controlled red pickup truck and a package of batteries, so he's all set now.)

The thing that gets me is that we arrived fashionably late with gift in hand, we ate birthday cake, we watched the kids play virtual table tennis and shot each other with squirt guns and threw a football around and my cousin got Peter's little dirtbike out and taught all the kids all the safety rules and a good time was had by all . . . . and then, as we were gathering up the baby to go home, My Bride couldn't contain herself anymore and she just had to tell Peter's mom how close we'd come to not showing up at all.


It's a good thing she's so pretty.

So, anyway, good times today, but no zoo. Zoo tomorrow. You come back then.

Zoo Time!

I'm about to go get dressed so we can take 2/3rds of the boys to the St. Louis Zoo for a day of riding trains and looking at giraffes and stuff. But I didn't just skate on you, folks. Check back tomorrow morning and you'll find the story of The Time Grandpa Discovered Something Amiss in the Nunnery. And if that doesn't grab you, check back on Monday when we'll be featuring The Worst. Book. EVAR. Controversial? Sure. Liable to start arguments? I would expect nothing less of you people. But I think when you see the book you'll agree that it's a special blend of snobbery and completely missing the point.

Over at the Chicago Gun Rights Examiner (which was #3 among Chicago Examiners yesterday thanks to all of you) there'll be new content up on Monday detailing the trouble the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Existence is having raising funds in Chicago. This does not bode well for them as the 2010 election cycle begins.

And over at the National Gun Rights Examiner today, David Codrea has complete plans for building your own assault weapon using commonly available parts. It's surprisingly inexpensive and I think a practiced hand could do it in one weekend. Take a look.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Judge Sotomayor thinks gun rights are about hunting?

Hey, look, I did it again. I know everyone else is already talking about Judge Sonia Sotomayor, and I know nothing I write is going to make any difference in the scripted drama being played out in the Judiciary Committee hearing rooms. And yet, I couldn't let her flip comments about the right to keep and bear arms stand without a response.

The right recognized in the Heller v. D.C. decision is the right to keep and bear arms. It was not protected in the Bill of Rights because the founders of this nation thought hunting rights might one day be endangered. It was protected because they believed that it was important for the citizenry of a republic to be on equal footing with its government, and that meant that the citizens needed to be armed. Not so that they could hunt . . . That, Judge Sotomayor, is why the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution protects an individual right to keep and bear arms; because a government should not be allowed to dominate its people by force.

Go read the whole thing, if you would, and tell a friend. Much of the rest of it is unapologetically cribbed from Breda and Caleb, so you know it's quality.

Wait . . . you do listen to Gun Nuts: The Next Generation, don't you? Surely you must.

Pump-Action "Assault Weapons"

Remember the tragic shooting in Jersey City?

Remember how I made myself look insensitive to the plight of the wounded officers by predicting that the blood-dancing would include a call for banning pump-action shotguns, and chided rabbit hunters for thinking their guns aren't at risk?

Would it shock you to know that it only took a day fo
r Thomas Comey, the Chief of Police in Jersey City to fulfill that particular prophecy?

Me neither.

The Chief says the gun the goblins used is a "Mossberg pump-action shotgun" that is "an assault weapon" which is "used by police for tactical entries" and "was manufactured for the purpose of hunting man." Right. Sounds like a Mossberg in the 500 series, maybe a menacing-looking 590. They look tough, that's for sure, but do you know why I don't have one? Because I already have an Ithaca Model 37 Featherweight manufactured in the early 1950's that will do anything that Mossberg "assault weapon" will do. It "only" holds five rounds of 12 gauge ammunition, and it has a pretty wood stock and an engraving of a bird dog on the receiver, but other than that, there's almost no functional difference at all. And it's exactly the kind of gun that people like Sonia Sotomayor would call you crazy for trying to protect, because it's a "hunting gun" and no one wants to infringe on the cherished Constitutional right to hunt rabbits.

The Chief said something else . . . . something about rights . . . . that I actually did find shocking. But I had a hard time believing it until I saw the video, so go here and watch it, read the whole article and see what you think.
National Gun Rights Examiner: Jersey City chief blames pump-action shotguns

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Chicago Gun Rights Examiner!

(UPDATE: Now with a button that actually links to the page!)

David Codrea talked into creating the position of "Gun Rights Examiner" quite awhile ago. Since that time, they've added Gun Rights Examiners in cities across the country, including Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Denver, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., plus my good friend Kurt Hoffman in St. Louis (you might know him better as 45Superman from Armed and Safe.)

The glaring hole in the Examiner's game, from my point of view, was Chicago, which made even less sense since what happens to gun rights in Chicago in the next year or two is arguably going to reverberate across the nation more than anything that happens in other places. So I applied, and yesterday I joined the ranks of the Gun Rights Examiners.To read my first installment, entitled "Chicago: national gun rights battleground" just click on the big blue button.

Jersey City Gunfight

Photo from Michael Totten

Hope the officers will pull through . . . the chief did say that one officer who was very gravely wounded has been improving. Here's hoping. No need to hope for the suspects; they've shuffled off this mortal coil.

It will be interesting to see which particular blood dance the Chopsaw Gang at the Brady Bunch choose for this occasion. All you hunters out there who just know they'll never try to take away your 870 may be surprised, since the news reports are all quoting the Chief of Police as saying the suspects were "ready for war . . . with a pump-action shotgun." Ask all the hunters who used to own pump shotguns for rabbits in Australia until they voted for an "assault weapons ban" how that worked out for them. The AHSA will have an especially interesting row to hoe here. Chances are, though, that if these were suspects in a "major crime" as the Chief states, that they were breaking several New Jersey laws by owning the shotgun in the first place.

The Chopsaw Gang doesn't care why you own a gun. All they know is that the Chopsaws are always hungry.

(Note: I don't think I actually stole this from Thirdpower at Days of Our Trailers, since we say different things, but I do notice he got to it first. Again.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Piasa Birds and Hot Brass

I was looking around for a good closeup of a Piasa face for a little something I'm working on, and I happened across this painting I don't want to use as a model because it's very unique and someone worked hard on it . . . but I also wanted to show it to everybody.So, my Piasa Bird . . . let me show you it. Click the photo to be taken to the website of the local artist who created this, Everett Rhein from Edwardsville, IL.

Actually, I think I have to show you one more that has nothing to do with Piasa Birds. It's just cool.

Now that's how you name a band.

The Bradys Have Spoken

Google alerts picked up the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Ownership's news release about Sotomayor this morning. I found it intriguing.

"During the second day of her Senate confirmation hearings, Judge Sotomayor has now been asked for her views on the Second Amendment. She has given clear and responsible answers, while not pre-judging any issues that may come before her on the Court. We have been impressed with her presentation.

"In stark contrast, gun lobby extremists have revealed their preference for an activist Supreme Court Justice who would support their ‘any gun, anywhere, anytime’ ideology. Judge Sotomayor's comments today as well as her judicial opinions in cases involving gun laws, however, show respect for the Constitution, for precedent and for the considered judgments of legislative bodies in protecting communities from gun violence.

"Judge Sotomayor’s background and her experience as a prosecutor have given her an invaluable understanding of the devastating impact of gun violence on families and communities. Because of her experience enforcing gun laws, she brings to the bench an appreciation of the importance of those laws in protecting our citizens.
Translation: the Brady Campaign was afraid to endorse her until after she had proven herself in the hearings. They had some fear (probably not much, but some) that she might go off the reservation and say something about words meaning what they mean or some other horrible nonsense that might lead her to be an "activist" judge--which for them, means a judge who doesn't do what they say. I especially enjoyed the part where one paragraph talked about her judicial restraint and her refusal to pre-judge, while the next paragraph lauded her for pre-judging 2nd Amendment cases from the point of view of an anti-gun prosecutor.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bleg: Anybody out there read "Gun World?"

I'd like to get in touch with Jan Libourel, and there's not much on the internets. I'll look for a Gun World on the newsstand later today when I'm out, but if anyone has a copy, can you post the contact info for Libourel, or at least the front office?

I'd like to ask Mr. Libourel a question or two about Josh Sugarmann (I'm going to contact Josh, too, but I don't think he'll talk to me.)

Something You Don't Do Every Day

I chatted with my neighbor over my fence this evening, which is just not something that happens very often. They're nice enough people, and we're introverted and gruff but lovable, and yet we just don't do a lot of what used to be the stereotype of the American homeowner.

We discussed my progress on the porch and landscaping around the shop (natch) and Donovan explained his book to her, then told her about getting a letter from one of Queen Elizabeth's Ladies-In-Waiting. She recommended Children of Men, I recommended Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. (That's right, kids, it's spelled with a "u" and it's not a verb in present tense; you can't "verse" someone unless, possibly, you are spitting mad rhymes in his general direction.)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Monster Hunters!

The Facebook group for fans of Monster Hunter International is loosely themed around regional groups of Monster Hunters, some with their own unique patches. Here's what I'm thinking . . . . what are the monsters you'd be hunting if you were a regional Monster Hunter? So, sure, I'd probably have to kill vampires and werewolves, but being in southern central Illinois, I'd probably encounter things you wouldn't see in Texas or Utah or Transylvania:

  • Piasa Birds. These American dragon/gryffins were said by the Illini tribes to be giant birds with four legs, huge talons, scales like a serpent, huge fangs, red eyes, and antlers like a whitetail deer. "Piasa" means "bird that devours men." That's the kind of name that avoids comical Scooby-Doo style misunderstandings: "There's a Bird-That-Devours-Men behind you!" We know what the Illini thought they looked like because the tribe thoughtfully painted a life-size Piasa bird on the cliffs overlooking the Mississippi just north of St. Louis, near Alton. Today they're just an old myth preserved as a few big signs and a local high school sports mascot . . . but my grandmother claims to have seen one to this day.
  • Mud Monsters. The Murphysboro Mud Monster was first reported in 1973; it was a strange, Sasquatch-like monster thought to roam the forests and swamps of southern Illinois. It was supposed to be about seven feet tall with white fur all over its body, and left tracks about a foot long and three inches wide. It was known for its blood-curdling screams, which could send anyone running fear in the woods at night. The only actual attack attributed to the Mud Monster was later blamed on dogs, so my guess is that these creatures are actually fairly peaceful. I'm picturing small Mud Monster camps throughout the Shawnee Forest and in the swamps along the Mississippi. I bet the reason they seemed to appear suddenly and then disappear again after two weeks in 1973 is simple: that was one Mud Monster, a rebellious young hippy one who insisted on seeing the world and making friends with humans. After two weeks of trying, he moved on to Los Angeles, got a bit part on one episode of Star Trek, and became a producer. Nobody has ever really questioned him since.
  • Zombie Mary Todd Lincoln. 'Nuff said.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Something New

Well, I haven't found a "real" job yet, but today I got an offer to do some writing on an ongoing basis. I expect to make more of an announcement next week.

Voter Registration Drive Goes Horribly Wrong In Chicago

Chicago-area Democrats continue to be shocked at the Burr Oak Cemetery scandal; some are going so far as to call it the worst voter-registration effort in Chicago history.

"I don't know what these guys were thinking," one unnamed "supervisor" in the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation observed as his crew took a break from shoveling steaming-hot asphalt into the driver's brother-in-law's liquor-store parking lot. "I heard they cleared about 300 grand, and that's fine and all, but you actually move the corpses and even the newspapers get wind of it. The point is a simple list of names that pass a quick check, not turning a buck with mass graves, but you can't teach these kids these days anything."

In other news, Mary Mitchell says one of the coffins belonged to Emmett Till, who, it must be observed, has frankly had to put up with a surprising amount of hatred and disrespect from the world. When he was alive, white racists beat him to death for . . . . well, shits and giggles, I suppose, though they gave the excuse that he had been making eyes at a white woman. 50-some years later, the poor kid's body is being dug up and dumped in a shed for possums to live on so some thugs can make a little extra on the side.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Michael Jackson Still Dead, Says Michael Jackson

Tamara is going to love this.

I don't know why I didn't predict it, except that I haven't been paying attention lately as I look for a job, but the creepy, fake TV psychics are coming out of the woodwork to let everyone know what Michael Jackson is thinking now that he's dead. Apparently he misses his kids and thinks Sylvia Browne's desk is too close to the credenza . . . with more stunning revelations to come on Oprah. Of course.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Overheard at Bedtime II: The Re-Overhearing

The family is gathered in the living room just before bedtime for the three sons. Son I and Son II, twins separated by mere minutes in age, are 13 years old and beginning to realize that the adults don't actually know anything worth knowing. Son III is two years old and beginning to realize that there are endless ways to stay awake an extra 15 minutes.

Mama: "Bedtime for Sean!"

Son III: "No."
Son II: "You hear that, Sean? It's your bedtime!"
Son III: "No."
Mama: "What?!"
Son III: "No."
Son I: "He said it's Sean's bedtime. Like it's time for Sean to go to bed."
Son III: "No."
Mama: (Wearily) "OK, fine, great, now go to bed. I was sure you said 'Sean's bath time' and he was going to thi--"
Son III: (Sprinting to bathroom) "My bafftiiiiiiiiiie!"
Papa: "You just said 'bathtime,' honey."

Son III: (Stripping off shirt) "My bafftiiiiiiiiiie!"
Mama: (Teeth audibly cracking like ice under pressure) "Yes, thank you, I know that.
Papa: "So now he thinks he can put off bedtime if he g--"
Mama: "YES."
Mama: "THANK YOU."
Mama: "I KNOW."

Son III: (Head peeking into living room) "Bafftie?"

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Archery: As Unsafe as You Make It

New safety rule: Know your target and the ignorance of what is beyond it.

The trust implicit in that statement is almost sweet, but the ignorance is chilling. I don't mean to pick on her--maybe she really just doesn't know any better, and if you'd never used a bow and arrow before, how would you know?--but if there hadn't been one person on scene with enough experience to know a very unsafe idea when he saw it, this could have turned out to be a tragic day in St. Louis.

IL SB 1013 . . . Zombie Shell Bill

This is really no big deal, but it caught my interest and got me thinking about parliamentary maneuvers when, last night at the SCRA meeting, a member asked everyone to call their representatives and ask them to vote for SB 1013, an Illinois bill that he said would lessen the risk of being sued by your attacker if you turn the tables and defend yourself with a gun. Reading from his Iphone, he quoted the bill as inserting this language:
(720 ILCS 5/7‑1) (from Ch. 38, par. 7‑1)
Sec. 7‑1. Use of force in defense of person.
(b) In no case shall any act involving the use of force justified under this Section give rise to any claim or liability brought by or on behalf of any person acting within the definition of "aggressor" set forth in Section 7‑4 of this Article, or the estate, spouse, or other family member of such a person, against the person or estate of the person using such justified force, unless the use of force involves willful or wanton misconduct.
That didn't seem right to me, because that language or something very close is already part of Illinois Compiled Statutes. This is why some of us in Illinois keep asking people not to agitate for "Castle Doctrine Laws" in Illinois--we already have substantial legal protection for the use of force in self-defense, and there's no need to narrow it down with a specific law! That made me wonder what SB1013 was really intended to do, especially when he said that it was sponsored by notorious anti-gun Senators like Dan "Goon Squad" Kotowski. Why would Dan Kotowski be trying to establish civil legal protection for people who use force in self-defense? It made me suspicious that I would find, if I compared the new text to the old, that they were actually trying to make a technical change that would remove that very legal protection, removing it if possible and neutering it if not.

When I checked the bill status myself, I found what you already know if you clicked the link above: SB 1013 is a zombie re-animated from the corpse of an earlier bill. The language that sounded so familiar is actually from the section of the bill that tells which existing statutes would be amended if it passed; that's the law as it stands today. Senate Amendment 10 completely gutted the bill and inserted new language taking it in an entirely opposite direction--now it provides for the state to seize assets gained by corrupt politicians in bribery and kickback schemes, which isn't a bad idea at all. But that leaves me with a few questions, purely for my own curiosity's sake.

1. What change did this bill originally make to the Statutes? Was it an attempt to remove the civil legal protections for people who use force in self-defense? I think that's likely, but since it was amended, the text is gone.

2. Why not just use a shell bill to do this? For those who don't spend your time on parliamentary trivia, shell bills are bills that consist of titles and placeholders-they don't actually say or do anything. They're introduced by the thousands like Cobra Commander's zombie battalions because no new bill can be introduced after the legislative deadline in Illinois, but amendments are still allowed. So today, for instance, it's too late to introduce a new bill in the Senate. But if a Senator uses an amendment to gut and remake a shell bill (or a bill like SB1013) he can get it voted on, because technically that bill was introduced before the deadline (well, that bill's number was introduced.) This isn't really important in this case . . . in fact, chances are that a danger to gun owners was removed when they made that amendment . . . but once I start wondering it's hard to stop.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mike Lupica Wishes Steve McNair Had Been Stabbed to Death

If only someone had pushed Steve McNair out a high window or put rat poison in his beer, tragedy could have been avoided. But no . . . . he was murdered by a gun. A cultured one.
And Mike Lupica is saddened.

"Would it make you feel any better, little girl, if they was pushed out of windows?"

Progress in . . . . Illinois?

Rumors abound . . . the budget mess is the top story everywhere, of course, but there are rumblings that the anti-gun side is looking at the McDonald v. Chicago gun case and realizing that they need to start making hard decisions. On which hills are they willing to die? What happens to the last state in the nation with no concealed carry and no open carry when the Supreme Court of the United States rules that the 2nd Amendment is incorporated via the 14th Amendment . . . and protects a personal right to keep and bear arms from state and local governments? Change happens, that's what, and they're beginning to talk about how much of that change is simply inevitable.

Reliable people are reporting that very preliminary discussions between the NRA and deeply anti-gun politicians have begun. The message is that our side is willing to negotiate today, but not necessarily forever. The message is apparently being heard.

*If you're wondering, no, I don't know who is involved on the other side. I have a report of one anti-gun politician who is not involved in this discussion, but that's all. I don't have anyone's permission to put that person's name out, and I doubt it would surprise anyone. You can probably think of half a dozen Illinois politicians who would never negotiate with gun owners. The identity of the politician who is at least talking to our side would be a lot more interesting, and maybe surprising, but I don't have a clue who that is.

He's Hunting Zombies at a Kindergarten Level

Sean is getting the sounds of various animals down . . . . . but of course, I can't leave it at that, because I'm not really a well man, when you come to it.
You know, in my skull and whatnot.

(Sorry it's sideways . . . use your imagination.)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Overheard at Bedtime

Donovan's voice, from upstairs: "KANE! SHUT UP!"
My Bride: "I'm going to ignore them."
Your Hero: "Yeah, we--"
Your Hero: "Uh--that isn't--"
My Bride: "I mean, I'll tell you this much, I'm not going to yell at them, you know?"
Your Hero: "But . . . ."
My Bride: "You know what I mean."
Your Hero: "Not really. That was the opposite of not yelling at someone."
My Bride: "Look, my side hurts, OK? Cut me some slack."
Your Hero: " . . . ."

Sangamon County Rifle Association Meeting in Springfield

Tomorrow (July 6) at 6:30 at Diamond's Buffet in Springfield. Be there or be square.

I have no idea what's on the agenda, but I plan to offer a report on SAFR Chicago. I'm sure Tom Shafer will be hopping around shouting about something and making people laugh, and someone will have cool guns to show off. Other than that, who knows? You'll never know if you don't show up.

While I'm reminding people of things, don't forget the Guns Save Life meeting in Rantoul next Tuesday. SCRA always meets on the first Monday of the month, and GSL always meets on the second Tuesday.

Safety First . . .

Ever see the Peanuts movie where they all learned to ride motocross bikes? Same basic ratio of body to helmet.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Read This

Tamara went a different way with Independence Day. I wrote about the people who kicked it off 233 years ago; she wrote about us, their descendants. I'm glad they didn't live to read hers.

. . . . .Today's the day we remember the name of the brave patriot who rushed the keys for the trigger locks on the muskets to Lexington Green, just before the bad guys got there! The day we celebrate the airbags and five mile-per-hour bumpers on the Connestoga wagons that made the westward journey so safe! The smoking regulations at Belleau Wood and the non-toxic, lead-free ammunition at Bastogne! The SPF-30 warpaint worn by the native Americans as they scalped Custer . . . . . .
That's only a taste. You have to read the whole thing.

Thank You, Ladies and Gentlemen

Thank you.

Thank you for having the courage to see what had to be done and do it, even though so many thought that separating from the most powerful empire on earth was mad at best and evil at worst. Thank you for being willing to rebel against your King and your Parliament when they put you to the test. Thank you for giving up fortunes, futures, plans, families, treasure and peace and happiness and life itself.

I can't give any of it back to you, but after 233 years, I remember you. Thank you.

July 4, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

My Flower Beds

Let me show you them.
I probably should have taken a "before" picture . . . but I didn't, so I post what I post. Before, the front yard was completely empty. Then, one day, I came home and found my grandpa and my dad putting this trellis in at the side of the house, right where we had to dogleg to miss it every time we backed out of the drive. It was not ideal, but I didn't want to refuse my grandfather's gift; he made the thing himself. Thought the house needed something. Anyway, I've since moved it to the front, where it works a lot better, but makes mowing more complicated. Today, I put in two new flower beds in the corners of the walk, and yes, I did kill more grass than necessary on the left there. Good of you to notice. It's hard to see clearly in my cruddy photo, but they're edged with bricks recovered from the chimney we removed from our dining room, arranged along an arc of a circle with an eight-foot radius. This way, anybody should be able to mow right up to the bricks without needing to stop--just follow the curve. Now that the beds are in, I'll soon add Clematis flowering vines to climb the trellis, but for now, at least the beds are mulched and have "Big Bird" Hemerocallis lilies planted on each side. They don't look like much now, but soon enough they should look like this:
(Click photo to see where it came from)

Of course, that's only one small project, and tomorrow's is already lined up:

My little "shop" in the backyard. It's hard to tell here, but I painted it last year and painted the trim dark green, which made it look a lot better. Still, it's just kind of plonked down in the corner of the yard, and it's a pain to keep the weeds down.

You can also see that there's not much in front other than dirt, a few stones haphazardly piled to make a step, and a couple of big, cavernous holes where everything from rabbits to cats to my idiot dogs have burrowed under the shop. This building will be getting a small wooden porch and steps to make the front cleaner and safer to use.

Here you can see what lurks off to the side . . . . all space I want to reclaim for a useful purpose. You can also see the white spray-paint line that marks where the flower bed will be edged. The corners are arcs from 6-foot-radius circles, so again, mowing around this area should be quick and easy with almost no trimming. Eventually, most of this corner of the yard will be a small vegetable garden, since it's one of the few spots I have that get sun almost all day.

All that will have to wait, however. Dad has the day off tomorrow, so first . . . . we fish!