Posts from — December 2012
As I sit listening to the distant ‘battles’ of fools with fireworks, occasionally punctuated by sirens as first responders have to put out the fires they cause and cart the ‘wounded’ off to the hospital, I hear that a ‘a deal has been struck to avoid the Fiscal Bluff™’.
Actually, Joe Biden and the Turtle have agreed on something that is going to be presented to Senators for a vote tonight, but the House isn’t even in session until Noon tomorrow, so there is no actual deal unless it passes in both houses, which isn’t certain.
What is really going on is that we get to see which talking heads didn’t get invited to a New Year’s party, so they are on cable with something to talk about.
The proposed deal sucks, but everyone knew that it would because Zero can’t negotiate, mostly because he is a center-right tool of Wall Street who really wants to destroy the New Deal. With a minimum of help from the Republicans he would succeed, but they are too incompetent to know when to say yes. It isn’t certain that Boehner will even call up this deal for a vote, as his rule is that nothing that doesn’t have a majority of Republicans supporting it gets voted on.
You will need a new calendar tomorrow, but don’t expect much else to change.
December 31, 2012 Comments Off
That’s Grandfather Frost [Дед Мороз] and he is the Russian ‘gift giver’. He is assisted by the Snow Maiden [Снегурочка], but ever the jolly, fun-loving people, the ‘gifts’ are a bit different. Threats of coal or sticks would be weird to a people who are trying to stay warm, they would consider them welcome.
Generally there are sweets, maybe salo [salted fatback], and other high energy food.
For the ‘naughty’ list there is the staff. You don’t get beaten, merely touched, which turns you into a popsicle. [I told you they were fun-loving.]
Tonight’s the night – you’ve been nice, right?
December 31, 2012 5 Comments
It definitely hit the 20s around here and the wind chill was single digits. Hopefully the fleas paid the price, because even with my electric heaters, my house was not comfortable. It is fine down to 50 degrees, but I lose comfort below that.
The new pattern for this winter seems to be a cold front coming through about every 5 days. Just before it gets here the temperature rises as warm air is sucked it from the Gulf, but when the winds shift to out of the North the temperature drops 40+ degrees.
The old pattern was three cold snaps per winter beginning around Christmas with the last one around Easter. That is no longer the case.
This is in contrast with Fairbanks, Alaska which might have a high near freezing this week.
I went shopping today and the sale of fireworks so people can blow things up for the New Year is in full swing. I don’t understand why they do it, or why they don’t buy decent watches so they can do it at the right time, but, this is South Fundistan and they just have ‘to believe’ that they are doing the right thing to make it right.
December 30, 2012 2 Comments
It is going to freeze overnight so I spent the day covering things and making areas for the cats to hole up in some warmth. That is the bad part.
The good part is that we haven’t had a freeze in several years and several insect pests like fleas and fireants are getting out of hand. As we had the rain before the freeze, the pests will definitely be affected. This is Nature’s way of controlling these pests, and it is a good deal more effective than anything from a chemical company.
Steve Bates made it through his surgery well and now comes the hard part – dealing with the insurance company to get the services that are supposed to be covered by his policy. It doesn’t take long to understand why Franz Kafka wrote what he did, as he was an employee of insurance companies for much of his life.
It is beginning to look like we are on our way over the cliff, which will be very bad news for people who have been receiving extended unemployment insurance payments. There will also be a major jump in the price of milk, because Congress hasn’t passed a Farm Bill either. Next will be the latest fight over the debt ceiling. Since Congress isn’t doing its job, why are we paying them?
December 30, 2012 Comments Off
Badtux talked guns this past week, and looked at the usefulness of various weapons.
I was trained on the M-16, the fully automatic version of the AR-15, both in the military and at the police academy. The military doesn’t issue the M-16 any more, they issue the M-4 which has a three round burst mode instead of fully automatic. Not even the military could justify full auto as anything but a waste of ammo. I hated the weapon. My small arms ribbon is for the .38 caliber revolver, not the M-16. Having fired rifles for some time before I entered the military I could not adjust to the straight-back stock and sights of the M-16 to fire consistent patterns. I could instinctively fire a normal rifle or handgun, but I had to think about the M-16.
I fully agree with Badtux on a shotgun for defensive purposes. I have a Remington 870 with a 20-inch barrel that should make any sane person on the wrong end decide they are in the wrong place. For those who don’t take the hint, one round of 12-gauge will settle the issue even if they are wearing soft body armor. The important thing is, do not own a gun unless you know you will use it if pushed. If you can’t use it, you are arming the bad guys.
December 29, 2012 8 Comments
Lying in Winter
[Editor: Toes is in full rabbit mode as the sun has moved beyond his spot. The temperature dropped into the 40s, and will probably be in the 30s overnight.]
December 28, 2012 2 Comments
You would think that down here in South Fundistan you would find a radio station playing traditional Christmas carols around the actual holiday, but not this year. The Evangelical propaganda ministry that controls several stations was broadcasting weird new songs that mentioned the ‘reason for the season’ only in passing.
NPR went HD locally and only put the news/talk format on the airwaves for regular radios. The music channel requires buying another radio.
The people who actually control programming on the local radio stations don’t actually live here, so they only respond to the ratings, which are not representative of the area.
The problem for me is gathering up all of my Mother’s Christmas CDs and putting them out by her player, instead of just tuning her radio to a station. Like there wasn’t enough to do at this time of the year …
December 27, 2012 8 Comments
Well, if you believe that Tornado Watches, Severe Thunderstorm Warnings, and Beach Flooding Advisories are normal.
The cold front that caused all of this finally cleared out at about 11:45PM, and I was not using the computer a great deal during the day, even when I was at home because of the thunderstorms. Let me just say you didn’t need special bulbs or controllers to have blinking Christmas lights around here.
There were reports of tornadoes in Alabama. Mobile was definite with multiple people taking and posting videos of the tornado there. Later this morning it will snow across the northern portions of Mississippi, and possibly Alabama as the cold air behind the front moves in. It was in the 70s locally during the day, but the temperature will drop over night.
Other than the weather it was a quiet Christmas that resulted in the accumulation of cookies and candy and fruit, as it finally sunk in that some people are not kidding when they say they have too much stuff, and ask people not to send them more. Slowly I hope to convince people that it is better if they send stuff to people who don’t have it and need it when they feel obligated to buy something, although cookies are always appreciated.
December 26, 2012 2 Comments
Time again for my annual rant about a Christmas carol.
While December 26th is celebrated by a lot of people in the US in shopping malls returning gifts or taking advantage of inventory clearance sales, there are other celebrations.
It is the first day of the Kwanzaa celebration, which is explained at the link.
It is Boxing Day, a celebration of noblisse oblige when the upper classes bestow gifts on the lower and the contents of the poor boxes are distributed. Under the feudal system this was part of the “contract,” the mutual system of obligations that tied the system together.
As the feast of St. Stephen it honors the first Christian martyr, but Ireland’s Saint Stephen’s Day celebration is a bit different and is the reason for the wren on this post.
However, this post is really my complaint about “Good King Whatshisface.”
December 26, 2012 2 Comments
December 25, 2012 Comments Off
Always update to the latest version of maps before setting out on long trips, or you might have to stop and ask for directions.
December 24, 2012 4 Comments
Ho Ho Ho!
С Рождеством Христовым
Sung Tan Chuk Ha
Koli Sana Wa Anta Tayib
It is early Christmas morning in Asia, and the excitement is building among the “rug rats” that will burst forth at any moment to waken their poor parents who have probably had about two hours of sleep after dealing with “some assembly required” and/or “batteries not included”.
To avoid any bad feelings among family members: it is an official requirement contained in the “Manual for Uncles” that some form or type of device that makes loud and obnoxious noises must be included in all Christmas parcels.
December 24, 2012 10 Comments
So it’s time to get everything in line so that there will be smooth sailing tomorrow.
But now that you’ve finished putting up enough lights to match the total electrical consumption of a third world nation, you can sit back and watch the North American Air Defense Command’s annual attempt to take out that red-suited commie’s attack on the capitalist system by giving stuff away. [Don't worry kids, they are using the anti-missile defense system, so there's no danger to anyone but taxpayers.]
December 24, 2012 Comments Off
Wayne LaPierre, spokesweasel for the NRA appeared on Meet the Press and indicated that if people thought that putting armed police in schools was crazy ‘then call me crazy’. Happy to help you out, Wayne – You are crazy.
Time for a couple of ‘war stories’ from law enforcement. I will leave off the real names of the people involved, because most of those who know these guys today, don’t know, or forgot about these incidents.
A veteran uniformed police officer stopped by his bank and walked in on an armed robbery in progress. Both the cop and the robber had six-shot revolvers. More than two dozen shots were fired at a distance of less than 20 feet and neither was hit. Fortunately no one else was injured but the bank’s lobby was a mess. The robber gave up after he ran out of ammo, while the office still had bullets. The robber reloaded once and the officer twice during the incident.
An off-duty officer stopped by his favorite bar on his way home after work. Just after he sat down, two men came out of the men’s room and one of them had what appeared to be revolver in his hand. The officer drew his auto-loader and fired 14 rounds at a distance of less than 15 feet. Neither of the men was hit, and they surrendered. The weapon turned out to be a pellet pistol designed to look like a Smith&Wesson large frame revolver. The officer was a member of his department’s pistol team and a range instructor.
These were trained police officers that I personally have seen group their shots on a timed course at 75 feet. When confronted with a shoot situation, their accuracy disappeared. You have to be a stone-cold killer not to experience an adrenalin surge and a blood pressure spike in a life or death situation. You experience hearing loss and tunnel vision as your brain stem prepares the body to fight or run by diverting blood from ‘unnecessary’ systems. Training reduces the problems, but they can’t be eliminated.
Given these realities, what are the realistic chances of someone with less training and seasoning than an NYPD SWAT officer being able to make the head shot required to take out a shooter wearing soft body armor and firing an AR-15 at you? An armed guard at that school would have been the first person to die, and wouldn’t have prevented anything. The shooter knew what was going to happen, and that is a huge advantage.
December 23, 2012 59 Comments