Sledgehammer's Cycles

Sledgehammer's Cycles
Sledgehammer's Performance and Custom Cycles

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Scattered Tea

The scattered tea goes with the leaves and every day a sunset dies. 
- William Falkner

But life's still worth the price of admission.

This man has never kissed a girl



Just sayin'.

Via #2 Son, who loves Oblivion.  But he played it when he was 12.

Oh boy

An undetectable, indestructable rootkit:
The TDSS rootkit burst on the scene in 2008 and quickly earned the begrudging respect of security experts for its long list of highly advanced features. It is virtually undetectable by antivirus software, and its use of low-level instructions makes it extremely hard for researchers to conduct reconnaissance on it. A built-in encryption scheme prevents network monitoring tools from intercepting communications sent between control servers and infected machines.
The amount of talent that it takes to make this does not come cheap.  That talent used to gravitate to the security defenders - to little startups like the ones I used to haunt.  There's no money there now.

But there's a boatload of money in the malware business.  Thank you Stupid Republican Party for the Sarbanes-Oxley bill that killed the IPO market.  You sure made everything better.

The Massachusetts of Dixie

The stupid - it burns.

I encourage everyone to click through to Sean's links, and let them know that the Eyes Of The World are watching.  I encourage everyone to take Sean's advice, and remember your manners.  After all, manners cost you nothing, even when talking to a bunch of ignorant, arrogant, statist pricks.

(Sorry, Sean)

UPDATE 30 June 2011 15:33: It seems that the story was misreported in the original new story.  The town claims that this wasn't self-defense.  That would change the situation.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The most important safety device

It's the one that you find installed between your two ears.  The Czar explains.

Eyes on the prize.

Anyone want to meet for dinner in Dallas tomorrow?

Short notice, I know, but I have a meeting in Richardson tomorrow until 4:30 or so.  Ping me if anyone wants to meet for an early dinner (I need to hit the road for Austin by &;00 or 7:30).

TheOnesDay® No. 7

It's Wednesday, which means it's time to Mock the Lightbringer, the one who will stop the seas from rising and start to heal the planet.  And our souls.  You hater.

President Obama was visiting Capitol Hill, trying to get his budget (finally) passed.  Having had too much coffee, he found his way into the Senate Men's room for a comfort break.

While he was, err, making a Change, John Boehner came in, say the President, and went to the urinal furthest from the President.

"Hey John, thinking we can't work together?" laughed the President.

"Not at all.  I just know that whenever you see anything big, you want the government to take it over," replied the Senator.

UPDATE 29 June 2011 08:48: Bob emails to tell me that John Boehner is Speaker of the House.  Oops.  Long day yesterday.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mental Health break, again


My Mother-in-law is an exceptionally beautiful woman.  I remember when I was getting serious about the lovely-and-yet-to-be Mrs. Borepatch that my buddies said "Yeah, but look at her mother."

Yesss! was the mental response when I finally met her.

And to fend off feeble accusations of being a troglodyte*, let me just say that there's nothing wrong with a woman being smart, and hawt, and dangerous.  Just sayin'.

* Err, that's sort of an invitation, lefties.  I really hope that I get at least ONE annonymous troller accusing me of being an Enemy Of The People®.

Endurance

Come what may, all bad fortune is to be conquered by endurance.
- Publius Virgilius Maro (Virgil)

Bitter tears


Image from Theo.  And I don't even think it's the wrong decision to bring them home.  Me, I might even do it, but if I did I'd do it now, and do it quick.  Win it, or come home now.  I wouldn't leave them there to fight if they weren't going to be allowed to win.  Because it's not free.



Even if there were an election coming. Especially if there were an election coming, and I were their Commander In Chief.

This President ran for election on the platform of bringing them home.  Now he finds, like Augustine, that "not just yet" is best.  It's the most cynical move I've ever seen my government make during wartime, and I remember Vietnam.  It makes me physically sick.

Hey, rube!

Back when I was a Wee Lad growing up in the 1960s, times were unsettled.  But there was the sense that we could change things, by changing people's minds.  I think that there was a lot of that which happened in the 60s, and for the better.  Segregation was ended, because people were persuaded that it was wrong to treat people differently, just because they weren't exactly like the rest of us.

We persuaded people that this sort of thinking was unfair, and wrong.  Judge the person, not the appearance.



It was wrong, and we made people ashamed to think that way.

And back then, it was only a dream that we might someday elect a President who would heal our souls, and who would get the children of University Professors to sit down in fellowship with the children of Sharecroppers.

Oh, well.  "Sloped headed"?  Srlsy?

Srlsy?

This is the point where every Progressive can just shut up and sit down in the back of the room.  Grownups are talking here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A call to arms (so to speak), aka, an update on girls on the range.

So I did a little research on Heather's gun, and it is a Galesi-Brescia 6.35mm pistol. Galesi Arms was an Italian gun manufacturer formally named Industria Armi Galesi which was founded in 1910. They began to produce their pistols in 1914, following Italy's entry into WWI. The first design was a 6.35mm blow-back design based on the Browning 1906. I think this is what her gun is. So what I thought was an MG may have been a stylized AG. It is not in very good shape, and we can't figure out how to break it down, but if there is anybody out there who can help, or has any advice on what to do with this thing, it would be appreciated. It really was cute as could be, even though it may only sting if you got hit with it. However, I usually operate on the assumption that most people don't want to get shot with anything. Mrs. B

Campbell's Soup thank you letter to Andy Warhol


Cool.  (via)

The Experiment

This Republic is perhaps unique (OK, maybe Canada - maybe) in its demonstrated ability to assimilate immigrants from all over the globe.  The "Melting Pot" has taken Irish, and Italian, and Polish, and Chinese, and all sorts of folks, and produced a hard but supple alloy called "American".

Some say that this process continues to this day.  I'm not sure, because some new immigrants don't seem to want to become American.

Certainly there's an incentive structure in place, where professional race-baiters like La Raza get power and influence from immigrants not assimilating.

This strikes me an a unique experiment in our history, one that explicitly turns its back on the success factors that we've seen over the centuries.  "Reckless" is one term for that.  Progressives are pleased to roll out the "Precautionary Principle" to justify their policy preferences regarding energy policy, saying that a sufficiently bad outcome - no matter how unlikely - is a powerful justification to stop something.

OK, I'll play that card here.  Maybe race-baiting multiculturalism is unlikely to cause widespread rioting and death.  Still, that would be such a horrific outcome that the Precautionary Principle says we have to STOP.  RIGHT.  NOW.

Right, Progressives?  I mean, your argument is entirely persuasive.

I got yer "Scientific consensus" right here, bub

I Want A New Left brings the Clue-by-four.  Win:
Let’s say that academia was dominated by conservatives, and let’s say that conservative scientists claimed they had evidence that women who get abortions are unlikely to live past the age of fifty. (This is purely hypothetical.) When various people point out that they know plenty of women who got abortions who have lived past fifty and that there are some scientists who dissent from this view, the conservative scientists are unimpressed. They say first that their results have been peer reviewed, that there is a consensus, and that the science is settled. They also reply that a few counterexamples don’t refute their overall statistics, that there are still far too many women dying too young because they got an abortion when they were younger. Moreover, they point out that the scientists who dissent are all funded by abortion clinics. Eventually, an email scandal erupts in which it becomes clear that (1) there has been some fudging of data, and (2) the people at the top want to prevent those who have come up with contrary results from publishing (to redefine peer review if necessary). In addition, these scientists refuse to release their data.
I am so waiting for the next cocktail-party-with-the-lefties, where I intend to roll it out with a double helping of sneer.  Sadly, they don't invite me much anymore.  Can't imagine why.

The whole post is simply outstanding.  RTWT, and bookmark it.

There is a Wikipedia page for everything

For example, Latin profanity.  I wound up there because I was pretty sure there is something in Catullus that would apply to Tam's "smee" construction (if you haven't read it, go now; don't forget to read the comments).  Catullus was, of course, famously (infamously?  perhaps notoriously is a better term) ribald.  For example*:
Annales of Volusis, shitty papers,
discharged a vow on behalf on my girl
Alas, the term used is cacata carta, a diminutive of merda (poop).  But then a little pondering recalls the Indo-European "Dropped S" where an "s" at the beginning of common root words was dropped in many language branches.  Thus, "smerd" became "merda" in Latin, but śmierdzieć in Polish.

And so, our "smee" is still in play, especially as an archaic Latin term already fading away in the days of the Republic.   As the Mythbusters would say, "plausible".

I still lean towards the theory that "smee" is plural, and more properly transcribed "smii" (each "i" is pronounced as "ee", so you would say this as "sm-ee-ee").

What a strange set of rabbit holes this Internet thing is.  You can drop into one, and never know what is on the other end.  Tam clearly knows her Indo-European roots (I'd hate to play the Dictionary Game against her, because I hate to lose).  And so,
Ave Tam Imperatrix,
declenuri te salutant
!

Hail Empress Tam,
we who are about to decline salute you!
* Oh, and you think that Glock vs. 1911 leads to outbreaks of terminal pedanticness?  I love this comment on the proper translation of the Catullus verse:
No, cacata carta is not an ablative absolute construction, as is clear from the meter - the -a on cacata must be short, therefore it cannot be the ablative singular of the perfect passive participle, but must rather be nominative. The phrase is in apposition to the nominative Annales. Literally - "having been shat sheets".
Win.  So what's the muzzle velocity of a cacata carta loading?

(Yes, I am a nerd.  Why did you even have to ask  Oh, and I still think that smee is somewhere in Catullus ...?)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Coolest. Mom. EVAH.



Well done, ma'am.

Girl's day out at the range.

Greetings here from the lovely and responsible Mrs. Borepatch. I had a great day at the range with Heather, who has still not fired the gun her Dad gave her when she moved to Atlanta. I was concerned that she had a gun that she had never shot, and did not know how to shoot, and set out to remedy that today. As it turns out, it's best that this gun not be fired. The housewarming gift her dad gave her is a small Italian MG .25 caliber pistol. It's cute as a button, but we were not sure it was workable there was so much rust and corrosion on it. We left it with the gentlemen at the counter to see if they could make any sense of it, but even they didn't want to risk breaking it down, in case something broke. So we decided to shoot something else. Since it was her first time, I chose two guns I was already familiar with: the Ruger SP101 and the Glock 19 9mm. I chose the Ruger because it's not as snappy as a .38 snub nose, and I didn't want to turn her off with too much recoil, or not hitting what she was aiming at. I chose the Glock, because it has great sights and a great trigger, and I've always been very accurate with it. She loved it. After a tutorial on safety and basic grip and such, I let her go. She was nervous at first as it was loud and the first shot is always a bit of a surprise, but she caught on quickly, and soon we were shredding zombie Paris Hilton and her little dog too. Afterwords, we retired to lunch at Swallow in the Hollow and decided we definitely had to do this again. I feel better knowing that now she can let her Dad know what kind of gun she prefers when he provides her with a real gun, and hopefully, he will. I'm not really sure what kind she prefers, since she liked them both. Revolvers don't have flying brass, are super easy to load, and don't jam, but you have to reload more often. On the other hand, she really had fun shooting the Glock and was getting pretty accurate with it, what with that sight and a few tips from the (female) range officer, who also is a firearms instructor. I was glad to see at least 3 other women there shooting while we were there. Of course, we spent a good deal of time discussing various auditions we'd gone to and acting in general, I won't bore y'all with that, but it meant that I didn't take many pictures; we were too busy talking. After all, we are chicks with guns.

Range Report - Sharps .50-90

The 1870s saw a massive change in firearms technology, with the widespread introduction of the brass cartridge case.  One of the companies riding that wave was the Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company, which in 1872 introduced the .50-90 cartridge, and this magnificent rifle to go with it*.

The cartridge was fifty caliber (one half of an inch in diameter), and when propelled by its 90 grains (5 g or so) of black powder, the soft lead bullet had enormous energy which would take down even massive beasts like the American Bison.

Unsurprisingly, it became very popular with Buffalo hunters.  So much so that it was the rifle used by Billy Dixon at the Battle of Adobe Walls, where he took down a Comanche attacker at the distance of a mile.

Long time readers, knowing my very modest marksmanship skills will know that this rifle is much, much more accurate than I ever will be.

The rifle is a single shot action (i.e. no magazine), where the lever that doubles as the trigger guard opens the breach by dropping a massive block.  This "falling block" design made the rifle extremely strong, and able to stand up to the pressures generated by the massive cartridge.


This is a reproduction that Ye Old Furt graciously let me shoot.  The case hardening was so sweet that I was afraid I was going to drool on it.  The trigger is pretty interesting.  You can use the trigger normally, in which case, you simply squeeze the front trigger like you would on any rifle.  Alternatively, you can use the second trigger to "set" the first, making it a hair trigger.  The hunters would do this when they were shooting at very long distance, and had to wait for that instant when their target was in their sights.

Given the, err, exuberant recoil this rifle packs, I didn't quite dare.  Plus, I was shooting at a measly 100 yards, which was no test of the rifle at all.  Me, that's a different story, although aiming at center mass delivered a hole in center mass.  Rather gratifying, actually.


The ammunition is spendy, I'd imagine.  The cartridge is obsolete, and so you either need to reload or buy from someone who does.  It's also dirty - it's black powder, after all.  The barrel didn't seem to get fouled with the dozen or so rounds we jointly launched down range, but this isn't a clean-your-gun-once-a-year deal like a Glock.

So let's see: obsolete, loud, dirty, and kicks like a mule.  I want one so badly that I can taste it.  Come to think of it, this may be a rifle that matches my own temperament: obsolete, loud, dirty, and kicks like a mule.

What would hold me back (other than the obvious downside of the expense) is knowing that I cannot come close to shooting this rifle as well as it deserves.  This looks like something that gets comfortable at 500 yards or more, sort of like a Porche that never feels like it's quite alive at 55 MPH.

But there was a puddle of History on the ground, where it had been dripping off this rifle.  And there's no denying that shooting it drew a crowd, in a way that no AR ever will.  Thanks to Ye Old Furt for sharing a bit of history with me.

* Trivia: the last rifle introduced by the Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company was designed by Hugo Borchardt, who went on to design the first auto-loading pistol.

What does a kid think about his first time shooting

The Czar of Muscovy takes is young 'un to the range.  The lad's report makes for interesting reading.  I wish I had this list when I first took my boys shooting.

This obviously doesn't replace the Four Rules, but it looks like it would make a dandy discussion to set the expectations, should you ever be so privileged to take a youngster to his or her first range outing.

Canons and Cannons: Pachelbel Canon in D and Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture

Row, row, row your boat ...

Every American child knows this song by heart.  Technically, it's called a "round", where different groups start singing the same things at different times.  It's simple enough to get large groups of children to do it at school concerts - and well done!  Having been to my share of school concerts (as both performer and listener), this is A Very Good Thing Indeed for teaching our children the basics of music.  It's a very old music form, dating from the High Middle Ages.  Keep the Dream alive, everyone!

But what happens if you complicate things just a bit?  Say, by adding an extra (and new) melodic theme to the plain, old, boring Round?  You get this:



It's called a "Canon", and Johan Christoph Pachelbel created what is undoubtedly the most famous version, composed in the 17th Century. Surprisingly, it was lost, and only re-discovered after World War I. I say "surprisingly" because this piece is hugely popular today. You've probably heard it.

But "Canon" is not the same as "Cannon", which involve not a chamber quartet, but black powder, but may involve a repeated theme (shelling the enemy).  It took until the 19th Century and Tchaikovsky to write a piece for orchestra and Field Artillery, but this is a doozy.  It's another piece that you've almost certainly heard before, the 1812 Overture, written to celebrate the defeat by the Russian Empire of Napoleon's Grand Armeé in 1812.  Literally, it was scored for orchestra and field artillery.  In other words, cannons.



And now for a personal anecdote.  When I was pursuing the lovely and сложный Mrs. Borepatch, we went on a date to the National Mall (we lived in the Washington D.C. suburbs at the time) to see a concert by the National Symphony playing the 1812 Overture.  Accompanied by 105 mm Howitzers (cannons) from the 517th Field Artillery Battery* .  They'd light one off, and everyone would cheer.  They'd light the next off, and everyone would cheer.  Good times, good times.

And so, a single character makes a difference, but you'll get great music whichever way you like to spell canon/cannon.  I kind of think that my High School music teachers would be appalled reading this, but it's true.

Oh, and for a very politically incorrect and a totally awesome version of Earth Shattering Kaboom done to the 1812 Overture, here's nuclear detonations to replace the puny 105 mm cannons.



* OK, it's a fair cop. I can't remember the unit number. In the unlikely circumstance that one of the artillerists runs across this post, that you for your service, and thank you for a fabulous evening of entertainment.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Girlie Shooting

So I went to the range in preparation for tomorrow, well later today now. I'm taking my young friend shooting for the first time, and I wanted to make sure that I could still hit what I aim at. A young woman in the play I just finished has a gun that her father gave her that she has never fired, and I am going to remedy that. So, good for her dad for being concerned for his daughter's safety on moving to Atlanta after graduating from college, but shame on him for not making sure she knew how to use it. You wouldn't just get your kid a car and not teach him to drive would you? Anyway, I'm really looking forward to seeing her again and taking her shooting. I wanted it to just be us girls for first time, then if she likes it, she can go with her boyfriend later. Anyway, I hadn't been shooting for quite a while, and I was in need on some recoil therapy. The range had new guns to rent and I was able to compare the Walther PPK side by side with my Sig P230. They are very similar, but the Walther was a bit smaller and lighter. It was fun to shoot. For a moment, I even considered trading in my P230 for a Walther they had for sale, but decided the size and weight difference wasn't enough. The owner showed me his FN Herstal five-seven, and I'm going to rent one tomorrow. I will post more later.

Boy, was that fun!

Many, many thanks to Ye Old Furt, Alan, Tomscathanger, Kx59, and of course the South Texas Gunblogger's Community Organizer, Southern Belle (I've  shamefully left someone out, but like an idiot I didn't write down a list of all who showed up; please leave a comment and I'll update the list for Fame and Posterity).

Great company, comradeship, and conversation, while making things go "bang".  The venue - Lone Star Gun Range - was exceptionally relaxed and hospitable, even after the recent tragic death of the owner.  But the Range Masters were knowledgeable and friendly, and the accommodations were all that you could ask (OK, we could ask for something less than the 147° temperature, but that's hardly their fault).

After, we adjourned to Black's BBQ in Lockhart for more company, comradeship, and conversation, this time accompanied by this barbarous but strangely seductive brisket thing so popular here.

Thanks to everyone for sharing their guns, and it was nice to go to a blogshoot where I could share mine with people.  Oh, and I now know how to get literally everyone in the firing line to put down their gun and come stand and watch you.  More on that tomorrow, but it involves this:


Range report on that baby tomorrow, but thanks to Ye Old Furt for letting me shoot her.  I'm still grinning ear to ear.

UPDATE 26 June 2011 09:39: Shilo1862 was the one I shamefully left out.  Mea culpa.

Happy blogiversary

I put my first post up three years ago.  It wasn't particularly good, but you learn by doing.  4000-odd posts and three years later, I find myself heading out to a blogshoot with a lot of friends that I've never met In Real Life.  Actually, by the time you read this we'll be done, and searching out some of that barbarous (but still yummy) Texas brisket BBQ.

The Internet is a strange place, and is strangely described: a maze of twisty web sites, or a series of tubes that help your shoulder thing go up (well, the gunblogging community, anyway).  I think of it as a bunch of people, who can now meet friends they never new they had, even though they're thousands of miles away.  Even though they may never meet In Real Life.

You meet in the way that really matters.

In a couple of weeks, the odometer here will roll over half a million hits.  Seems like a lot, and it's certainly gratifying.  But what really counts is all of you who I've met here, or over at your blog.  All of you friends who I may or may not have met In Real Life, but who I am proud to call my friends nonetheless.

It's you - we - the people, who make the Internet what it is.  Thanks.

The Highwaymen - The Devil's Right Hand

Today's the Blogshoot, which means fun, and fellowship, and loud noises.  Country music does that combination really well, actually, and nobody does it better than The Highwaymen.

Not many groups had that much talent - Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings.  It was called a "supergroup", which quite frankly is damning with faint praise.

But when it came to making loud noises, they excelled.  Between 1985 and 1995, they did a lot of great music.  Lots of it was covers of other people's songs - a bit odd, really, considering just how much songwriting talent was in the group.

Today's song is a cover of Steve Earle's great song about what happens to a young boy when he first casts his gaze on a pistol.  I don't know that I'd go so far as Earle, but at the Blogshoot later today I'm fixin to try out the Devil's Right Hand.  Likely I'll think about tryin' his Left Hand (say, something commie, like a Tokarev) too.

Let's get loud.



The Devil's Right Hand (Songwriter: Steve Earle)
About the time that daddy left to fight the big war
I saw my first pistol in the general store
In the general store,when i was thirteen
Thought it was the finest thing i ever had seen

So i asked if i could have one some day when i grew up
Mama dropped a dozen eggs,she really blew up
She really blew up and i didn't understand
Mama said the pistol is the devil's right hand

The devil's right hand,the devil's right hand
Mama said the pistol is the devil's right hand

My very first pistol was a cap and ball colt
Shoots as fast as lightin' but it loads a mighty slow
Loads a mighty slow and soon i found out
It can get you into trouble but it can't get you out

So then i went and bought myself a colt 45
Called a peacemaker but i never knew why
Never knew why,i didn't understand
'Cause Mama said the pistol is the devil's right hand
(Image source)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Commuter trolling


Hope your commute was better.  Via #1 Son.

For my Lady readers

It's sometimes said that ladies want an Alpha male who acts like a gentleman.



You're welcome.

Via email from The Big Guy.

Mind the Performance Artists on the Zebra Crossing ...

Especially if they're French ...



I must say that I like the cut of this fellow's jib.  Via #2 Son.

Mental Health break

No, I'm not burned out by the Grand Strategic situation facing the Republic.

I'm a long way from home, and going to be here for a while.  And so I'm going to toss some goofy stuff up, and not think for a night.  I think I'll watch Band Of Brothers, who faced a lot worse than me, for a lot longer.

Back soon, but just need to kick back for a bit.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Go. Read. Now.

NOW:
For us to restore our Nation to the original vision, we need to take back (as Utah is doing) our political parties at the grassroots level, take back our school boards, take back our Media, and force out the cancer of Tenured Communist professors at Universities throughout our nation. While we were being mollified, pacified, indoctrinated, and told not to worry about local politics, our foundational institutions were taken over. The bastards went after our children, and we just complained instead of fighting.

How many of you know who is on your school board? How many of you know who the local movers and shakers are in your county political parties? How many of you attend the caucuses, straw polls, party meetings, school board meetings, et cetera? Most people don't even bother to attend their HOA meetings...

This stuff is IMPORTANT, people!
This is the smartest thing I've read in a while.  BTW, I'm not even sure I excerpted the best bits.  It's made me think, and will likely lead to a new uberpost. 

It'll make you think, too.

Nazis. I hate those bastards.

Especially American Nazis:



The caption reads: Two American Nazis in uniform stand in the doorway of their New York City office, on April 1, 1932, when the headquarters opened. "NSDAP" stands for Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or, in English, National Socialist German Workers' Party, normally shortened to just "Nazi Party". (AP Photo)

Rick emails to point out an astonishing collection of photographs, World War II: Before the War.  There's stuff you'd expect here, but a lot that you might not.  Wow.

My Blogson is simply on fire

His first day of blogging is quite something to see.  Not just pizza trucks with mensa bumper stickers, but the financial collapse in Greece, Fred Thompson, and even a TheOnesDay® joke.

Quite a polymath, right there, and quite frankly puts my first day of blogging to shame.

Why the Media won't leave Sarah Palin alone

I've been increasingly dismayed over the last month or so my the number of times I hear people say "we're not voting ourselves out of this".  It's dismaying, because it's a vote of no confidence in the Republic's future, and that particular future leads to no place but ugly.

But I think I understand where they're coming from.  They see politics as the "Hamster Wheel of Pain".

The HWOP is a concept popularized by Andy Jacquith, in a highly recommended (for security geeks) book, Security Metrics.  In it, he describes security product vendors with a doughnut-shaped "security process" that goes something like:
Assess -> Prioritize -> Fix -> Verify 
 ... and back to the beginning.  It's a wheel, and Andy's point is that IT Security guys are trapped on the HWOP.  Only to them it's more like:
Didj00 get pwn3d -> DO SOMETHING!!1! -> Anyone still looking? -> Hope it goes away
I say this not to poke fun at the IT security guys; after all, I've been one of those security product vendors who's actually created this sort of thing.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it hasn't been terribly effective.

And so to the Political Hamster Wheel Of Pain:
Country on wrong track? -> Vote bums out -> Get new bums -> Lather, rinse, repeat
I think that the problem is that politics is a game played on the 50 yard line.  American politics has always been notable for having less of an ideological difference between the parties than most other places.  Heck, for a lot of the 20th Century, France had both the Communist and Socialist parties and explicitly Royalist and Catholic parties.  Our politics, by comparison, does indeed look like a pig pile on the 50 yard line.

Except as the Elites have taken over the Media and the Academy, the apparent location of the 50 yard line has shifted to the left.  This has coincided with the collapse of public trust in the elite institutions, but they have been admittedly effective in creating a Potemkin consensus pushing a Potemkin "Middle Ground".

And since the Stupid Republican Party has let them do this, most Republicans are well to the left of where the American public was thirty years ago, or even today.  Because most of the Republican candidates are too stupid or scared to call things the way they see them, they go along to get along [*cough*Mitt Romney*cough*].

And this is why Sarah Palin is so important, and why the Press can't leave her alone.  She calls things the way she sees them, for better or worse.  And disastrously for the MSM, she's just about bang on the American public's "Moderate" ground:

Does this picture add up to a frothing theocrat or hot-eyed right-wing culture warrior? Um…no. Not at all. On issue after issue (with the single exception of the rape-and-incest exception), what I discover about Palin seems to put her right smack in the broad middle. Far closer to it than me, usually, even with respect to issues we’re on opposite sides of.

Furthermore, the sense I get from her speech and presentation is that she really is like that; she doesn’t display the kinds of equivocation you see in a politician who is constantly trimming sail to the electoral wind and delays making a in issue commitment until he’s backed into a corner...

And a note to all you anti-Palin left-liberals: on every major issue I’ve discussed, I hold what you’d consider the left or extreme-left position and have described Palin as closer to center despite the fact that this tends to legitimize a position further right than you (or I) would prefer.
The recent case of the Alaska emails is instructive.  The MSM, convinced that she must be some sort of extremist, engaged in a preemptive feeding frenzy of speculation about what might be found in the emails released under a Freedom Of Information Act request.  What was actually found, of course, was what the average American would describe as entirely normal.

Entirely normal.

In other words, she's only "off the center" when you look at the elite's Potemkin center.  She looks to me to be pretty bang-on the actual center.

And this is why she's so important.  She is, so far at least, the only major politician (other than R0n P4U1!!!) to expose the Potemkin village for what it is.  The others - with the possible exception of Michelle Bachman, Chris Christie, and Rick Perry - are all "centrists", which means that they're leftists.

And this is a good time for me to say that there's actually nothing wrong with being a leftist, if you're honest about it.  But what's been going on for decades is a battlefield preparation that intentionally and surreptitiously seeks to de-legitimitize beliefs that are held by the majority of Americans.

And so far, Palin is the only one who's willing to call them on it.  That's why they can't get over the 2 minutes of hate.  And that's why she's so important.

As Tam likes to say, it's the kicked dog that yelps.

I'll be rethinking my "Vote Them Out/All Of Them" stance.  It's imprecise, and not diagnostic of the problem.  Reading back through it, I kind of feel stupid for issuing that particular fatwa.  Be sure of your target, and what's behind it ...

But the Press and, sadly the Public Education System have got to go.  They are caustic to the Res Publica, and the best that we can likely hope for is to nuke them from orbit and recolonize.  That is pretty painful to write, beneficiary as I am of the Higher Education system, but the last 30 years have seen a rewriting of the social contract.  It used to be an educated public was good for the Republic.  Now it's a public educated in the Academy won't see where the real 50 yard line is.

As institutions become politicized, the institutions should expect political problems.

So I'm still not entirely in agreement with the feeling that we won't vote ourselves out of this.  That will be a post for another day, after doing an inventory of our assets.  I can't (yet) demonstrate what they are, but we have some that are non-trivial.  For example, the Press can be destroyed - indeed, they must be.  The Academy, too.  A greater hive of scum and villainy you will never see, at least in its current form.

That's for another day.  But for now, you'll see no more of the "Vote Them Out/All Of Them" nonsense from me.  Maybe we won't vote our way out of this, but I for one do not intend to go quietly into that Dark, Statist Night.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Marching to a different drummer

At least on the Côte d'Azur:



And props to Our Hero for hitting the deck right between two French bathing beauties.  Formidable, monsieur!

We've seen this performance artist before, as an astronaut on the golf course.  There, he got chased by a guy with a putter.  Now they just tell him to p*ss off (en français, bien sûr!).  I guess there's a limit to Performance Art, even in France.

His tag line at the end of the video says something along the lines of Be different.  It doesn't matter how.  And the hitch hiker sign asking for a ride to Normandy was a nice touch.

Via #2 Son.

TheOnesDay® No. 6

It's Wednesday, which means it's time to mock the First Ego.

Jeremiah Wright was arrested for murder, and convicted.  Sentenced to death, President Obama spends all day on the telephone trying to convince the Governor to give a stay of execution.

His last minute plea for clemency had failed and he was feeling worn out and depressed.

As soon as he walked through the door into the private wing of the White House, Michelle started on him about, 'So that's all you can do? I thought you had some stroke? What, the old fist-bump lost its touch?'. And on and on and on.......

Too shattered to play his usual role in this familiar ritual, he poured himself a shot of whiskey and headed off for a long hot soak in the bathtub, pursued by the predictable sarcastic remarks as he dragged himself up the stairs.

While he was in the bath, the phone rang.

Michelle answered and was told that Rev. Wright had been granted a stay of execution after all, and would not be hanged that night.

Finally realizing what a terrible day he must have had, she decided to go up stairs and give him the good news.

As she opened the bathroom door, she was greeted by the sight of her husband, bent over naked, drying his legs and feet.

'They're not hanging Wright tonight,' she said.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WOMAN, DON'T YOU EVER STOP?!
Remember Alinsky's Rules, folks.  Mockery is the most effective weapon.

A belated (blog) Father's Day ...

Dan emails to say that not only has he started up a blog, but that I'm his Blogfather!  "Cool" doesn't begin to capture this situation.

I must say, though, that his first post is a good 'un, certainly way better than my first post.  He lays out the manifesto for his blog, Eff The Elite D-Bags:
On my way home from work today I noticed that the car in front of me was a pizza delivery vehicle -- and it was covered with Mensa stickers. It quite amused me -- looks like high intelligence doesn't necessarily correlate to career success. That explains our current president, methinks.
Heh.  The only advice I'd offer to my Blogson (!) is about your blog title.  Some folks won't get the subtlety, so don't hide your feelings.  Tell us what you really think ...

Welcome, Dan!

All I wonder now is what's the over/under on how long before JayG's pickup starts to sport a "Let me show you pictures of my Blog Grandchildren" bumper sticker ...

"You have Alexander, they — Darius! "

Our enemies are Medes and Persians, men who for centuries have lived soft and luxurious lives; we of Macedon for generations past have been trained in the hard school of danger and war. Above all, we are free men, and they are slaves. There are Greek troops, to be sure, in Persian service — but how different is their cause from ours! They will be fighting for pay — and not much of at that; we, on the contrary, shall fight for Greece, and our hearts will be in it. As for our foreign troops — Thracians, Paeonians, Illyrians, Agrianes — they are the best and stoutest soldiers in Europe, and they will find as their opponents the slackest and softest of the tribes of Asia. And what, finally, of the two men in supreme command? You have Alexander, they — Darius!
- Arian, Book II, 7
Revolutions happen suddenly.  It seems that capabilities slowly build without anyone becoming the wiser, until one day a bold leader challenges the status quo - which collapses.  Alexander the Great may have known this, or may have just been bold, but he crushed the King of Kings in three battles running, against overwhelming odds.  Three years later his host stood on the banks of the Indus river, having completely overrun the Persian Empire - up until then, the world's largest.  There, we are told, he wept that there were no more worlds to conquer.

It's not for nothing that we call him "The Great".

His speech to his troops before the second great battle, at Issus, has come down to us through the ages.  Not verbatim, as the chroniclers of the day were perhaps more Hollywood than Historian, but it seems to capture the spirit of what he might have said; for we know that Alexander was bold, but also that he read his enemies well.  He knew a secret that he shared with his troops, that numbers weren't everything. He reminded them of something that even today we often forget:

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

There's a lot of gloom in the blogosphere lately.  People cast their glance on the size of the Great King's host that faces us, and they despair.  They see well organized and well trained shock troops in the Great King's host - well funded and organized Public Employee Unions, the rebranded but still formidable ACORN - and they quail in their hearts.  These have swept the field of battle in the past, they say.  We won't vote ourselves out of this one.

And yet, revolutions come in an instant.  One day, it's the inevitable triumph of the Great King; the next, it's Ozymandias:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Even the sands forget his name.

Two things will win this battle; nay, these two things will so change things that they will never be the same again:

1. The People want good government, but don't think they're getting it.  Even in Wisconsin, the Governing Party has been decisively turned out.  The size of the host matters not: They will be fighting for pay — and not much of at that.  This host will break and run at the first real challenge.

2. The People want government that will solve problems, not create them.  The elite's standing in the polls has never been lower, reflecting a complete lack of faith in the technocrats to fix the problems of the Republic.  The Democrats are clueless - the DNC Chairperson's recent comment that they "own the economy" shows that the opposing generals know not their craft, and will fight on ground of our choosing.

Two slogans, hammered repeatedly and without mercy will break the Horde.  Do you think Government works? and I'll make sure that any regulation costing jobs is eliminated is the point of attack.  The Powers That Be will be helpless.  Even with Obama's allies in the media, this simple message, repeated over and over, and released via Youtube will expose the hollowness of the current order.  It will dissolve, and be as blowing sand in the wind.

All it takes is a leader with boldness, one who will seize the moment.  One who senses that a Revolution is nigh, and who acts, rather than calculates.  Obviously, this disqualifies Mitt Romney.

At Issus, Alexander knew his foe.  Outnumbered, he knew how the battle would hinge on ground of his choosing.  Charging headlong at the Great King himself, he made the unseasoned monarch panic.   Darius threw his javelin at his attacker, but then lost his nerve and fled.  You see, he had never had to face a real opponent, pressing the attack home.  Alexander knew this, and knew that this was the key weak point, that his opponent would rout and the day would be his.

The Revolution came that day.  Alexander marched down the Mediterranean coast, taking city after city, even unto the ancient kingdom of Egypt.  There, he was proclaimed a God, the son of Amun - who after all had won overwhelming victories where the old contenders (ever the trimmers and counters) had come up short.

The Revolution awaits, pregnant with expectation.  It takes but two sayings, repeated over and over, and the battle is won.  Do you think Government works? and I'll make sure that any regulation costing jobs is eliminated.  It just waits a leader, who sees the battlefield laid out before him.  And smiles.
It is better to believe in men too rashly, and regret, than believe too meanly. Men could be more than they are, if they would try for it. He has shown them that.
- Mary Renault

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Random photo of the day


I do not like it, Sam-I-Am!

From 1995.  I'm quite a lucky man.

We need a headcount for saturday's blogshoot

The South Texas' Gunblogger community organizer is looking for a count of how many folks are planning on coming to Saturday's Lockhart, TX blogshoot.  We're trying to get things arranged so that we have enough lanes reserved at the range, so if you're planning on coming, please drop her a line.

Security goodness, in Industrial Quantities

Lots going on, all of interest to you.

1. There are a god of fixes in the latest Patch Tuesday from Microsoft.  Run Windows Update to get the security goodness.  Lots of stuff you need here, so don't be tardy.

2. Microsoft has two interesting beta tools available for free: the Safety Scanner to find and clean malware, and the Standalone System Sweeper, which will start even systems infected with rootkits and other advanced nasties, and make you whole again.  Interesting stuff, and recommended.

3. Adobe has a much needed patch available that closes a hole that's being exploited in the wild.  It also adds an auto-update feature for subsequent patches.  Given how much security trouble Adobe has been in lately, this is A Very Good Thing Indeed.  The patches you want are this and this.

4. McAfee to extend their antivirus products to cover Smart Phones (particularly Android):

McAfee on Tuesday said it will extend its wares into smartphones and tablets as mobile security moves to the forefront. Tablets and smartphones apparently are the next growth market for anti-virus protection.

And given Android devices are quickly becoming a popular attack vector, McAfee is doubling down on that platform.
Interesting.  I think that antivirus is locking the barn door after the horse has gotten out, but there's no doubt that iOS and Android have become a major target for the Bad Guys.

And just to harsh everyone's security mellow, this is worth watching:


Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus from Patrick Clair on Vimeo.

Other than nobody pays $100k for exploits, it's spot on.  Our infrastructure is terribly vulnerable, as the Slammer Worm showed 8 years ago.

Via American Digest.

Decimation

On receiving this information, Lucius Apronius, successor to Camillus, alarmed more by the dishonour of his own men than by the glory of the enemy, ventured on a deed quite exceptional at that time and derived from old tradition. He flogged to death every tenth man drawn by lot from the disgraced cohort.
- Tacitus, Annals, 3.21
Decimation had fallen our of favor long before Tacitus' day.  In the dawn of the Roman Republic, order was strictly maintained.  The reason that Rome triumphed over first the Etruscians, and then the Latins, then Greeks, Epirans, and Carthaginians in turn was because they maintained their discipline.  Or else.

Decimation was reserved for the most egregious examples where discipline broke down: whole units fleeing the field of battle, say, or mutiny.  It was intended to make an example that people would not soon forget.

Lots were drawn, and every tenth man put to death.  In the Ancient Days of the Republic, the surviving nine had to do the dirty work.  The message was unmistakable: a repeat will not be tolerated.

In all of Roman history, there seems to have been only a single case where a repeat was necessary.  The chroniclers tell us that Legio I Maximiana, the "Theban" Legion had converted en masse to Christianity.  In 286 AD, they were ordered to sacrifice to the current Emperor, Diocletian.  They are said to have refused, to a man.  The Legion was decimated, and the survivors ordered to make the expected sacrifice.  Again, they refused.  The entire Legion was put to death.

Diocletian knew who was to call the shots.

We find ourselves in a time where an Imperial Federal (and State, and Local) bureaucracy is increasingly calling the shots for us, the citizenry.  Whether Department of Education SWAT teams, or small farmers being threatened with $4M fines for the unlicensed raising of rabbits, or an EPA determined to implement the Cap and Trade regulations that Congress is unwilling to vote in, or a local SWAT team in Pima County, AZ that was pleased to shoot first and ask questions of its Iraq War veteran target later.

The Organs of the State do not self-correct.  The Iron Law of Bureaucracy says that mistakes will be swept under the rug to protect the agency, all rules will be interpreted expansively in order to maximize the Agency's scope and budget, and that any challenge to the Agency will furiously be met with the full force of the Law.  It is, in fact, trench warfare, protecting the scope of power of the Agency.

It doesn't matter which agency it is.

Of course, all of this increased scope comes from us, we the People.  The Fourth Amendment seems to essentially have been repealed, as has serious portions of the Fifth, the Second (in some locales), and even the First.  Government power is transcendent.

Of course, it must stop.  Not only can we no longer afford it, but it has become a cancer eating away at the fabric of our Republic.  Each incremental transfer of power, extra-constitutionally, from the People to the State, diminishes us.  The Agencies will resist all reform to their dieing breath.  Scaling back education budgets will see teachers (but not administrators) laid off; cutting town budgets will see libraries closed (but not the elimination of the town motor pool); public safety cuts will result in fewer beat cope (but not fewer SWAT teams).  So what is the Republic to do?

Decimation.  Not in the "kill them all" sense, but in the "fire 10% of them" sense.  This will have several salutatory effects:

1. It will save a lot of money.

2. It will focus the minds of the remaining 90%.  We'll need this, because institutional rot goes deep - the people who claw their way to the top of the Merrovingian civil service are masters at bureaucratic knife fighting.  We'll have to get rid of a bunch of people, both good and bad, to get the attention of the rest.

3. Only then, can we tell the bureaucracy to make additional cuts, but cut fat, and not actual services.  Personally, I expect more than one round of decimation will be needed before the Organs of the State start to Get It.

And what also needs decimation is the layers and layers of cruft that's accumulated in the government regulation manuals.  Scale this back by 20%, and then another 10%.  Give the agencies to understand that advancement lies through cutting red tape, not piling more on.  If the agencies won't Get It, then another round of decimation is called for.

Alas, this dream is unlikely to come to pass.  The
Contemptable
Democratic Party is fully invested in increasing numbers of unionized bureaucrats.  The
Stupid
Republican Party mouthes platitudes about the "Reagan Revolution" and "shrinking government" while looking for every way to grow their pet functions.

And so, I have but one idea.  It, too, involves decimation.


The Republican Party in particular has mutinied.  They have fled the field of battle that they so claim to cherish - Reagan's Revolution.  The solution is a public institutional culling of the ranks.  Vote 'em out, even the "good" ones, to let them know that this simply will no longer be tolerated.  And that if the rest won't do their job, we'll find someone who will.
So beneficial was this rigour that a detachment of veterans, numbering not more than five hundred, routed those same troops of Tacfarinas on their attacking a fortress named Thala.
- Tacitus, Annals, 3.21

(Image source)

Neolithic SWPL


My sister-in-law took this picture, nearer the Winter Solstice than the Summer one.  It was a cold day in England, with a wind howling out of the north.  The result was a brilliant photo and a tag line just as good: It looks just like Stonehenge, but without all the people.

Today, of course, the freaks are out in force (well, were; the show's over by now).  Now you have to pay big bucks (err, pounds) to go there on the summer solstice, and brave the freaks trying to recreate a sanitized and sepia-hued imaginary Neolithic.

The times, of course, were brutal.  The stones were all brought to the site and assembled by hand, using stone tools.  Whatever you can say about that society, "freedom loving" is not part of it.  It must have been rigidly hierarchic, as were all of the very ancient agricultural societies.

For a small class of people to be able to devote the time needed to accurately predict the solstice, and then design the Henge to capture that meant that most of the society must have lived by the sweat of their brow.  The surplus was skimmed to support ancient Neolithic SWPL vanity projects.

Now it's High Speed Rail, but the game still involves skimming the surplus from the productive to fund the schemes and dreams of an elite parasite class.  And so here's a monument to the actual workers, who produce the surplus that's traditionally skimmed:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. 

May it not be that the days are shortening from this point onward, in the ways that count the most.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Just because


The last few days have found me going back through my pictures.  Being a dad wasn't just fun when they were little.  This is 11 year old #2 Son, shooting a real man's rifle (.30 WCF).  Back In The Day, I emailed it to Kim du Toit with the story of how even stuck as we were behind enemy lines in Massachusetts, I was getting the boys their proper education.  He kindly posted it.

Around Labor Day, I'll teach him to drive.  It's quite something to see your children first take charge of - and then master - dangerous machinery.

God killed a kitten

If you scroll down the right side of this blog, you'll find my copyright statement:
Fair use is encouraged.  For all other use, God kills a kitten.
It seems that someone just lifted an entire post of mine.  It's an odd situation, as they do provide attribution, but do not link back here.  But rather than pointing to here, excerpting the bit they like, and suggesting readers RTWT, they scooped up the entire post and plunked it down on their site.  Not cool.

The run ads, so they are making something (if not a lot) from this post.  Not cool, again.

And there's no contact info, so I can't ask them to take it down.  Very, very not cool.

Has anyone else run across MoneyTalks.net?  Is this their standard operating procedure?

UPDATE 20 June 2011 19:33: It's not their standard procedure.  I received a very apologetic email from Rob at MoneyTalks.  He's updated his post to link here, and is actually spreading the link even further.  Thanks for the very quick reply, Rob.

This is the way the Internet should work, in fact, with courtesy and quick updating to change what needs changing.  The blogosphere is all about calling attention to what's interesting, spreading and commenting on it.

Blogging, pro and con

Kevin Baker is going on hiatus.  I'm dismayed, but Kevin has earned our thanks and respect, and so I wish him God Speed in his voyage, and that he finds the peace he seeks.

This made me stop and think, putting an uberpost from Planet Borepatch on temporary hold.  It made me think on the pros and cons of running a free ice cream machine.  And make no mistake, there are both.

The pros include connecting with a lot of folks that I'd never have met otherwise.  Yesterday's Father's Day meetup with Pistolero and Sabra is one example; the upcoming blogshoot in Lockhart arranged by South Texas' own gunblogger Community Organizer is another.

And the entire New England blogshoot community - and my Blogfather - have been a continual source of friendship over the years.

Last, but by no means least, are the regular commenters here (you know who you are).  This is a group of people who make me laugh, and think, and strive to be better.  While I haven't met most of you, in a way, I have.

That's huge.  This has been a difficult year, and all of you have been here for me - and none of that would have happened if I hadn't started blogging.  So thanks, Jay.

But as Kevin points out, there's a downside.  At the most trivial level is the "OMG, I don't have enough posts queued up for tomorrow".  Usually this isn't a problem, as you all know that the problem isn't getting me to talk, it's getting me to shut up.  But sometimes life is busy, and the sense of letting the community down really is there.  After all, if you weren't a community that meant a lot to me, it wouldn't really be possible to let you down.  The more important you become, the more important it is to maintain the standards here.

But there's also the problem that Kevin blogs about - when the news is continually depressing, it becomes depressing to blog about the news.  Because Kevin doesn't just toss something off - he thinks about it, and chews it over, and then produces brilliant insight.  Sometimes, I try to do the same.

But it's a drag mulling something over and over when it's depressing.

One thing that helps me is that I intentionally try to mix things up - not only deep thinking and Planet Borepatch, but security, redneck country music and plain old goofy stuff.  Hopefully, you guys like the mix, or tolerate it.  I think that the mix helps keep me from flaming out from depression (or boredom, which seems to claim a non-trivial number of bloggers).

So take your time, Kevin - I hope you find what recharges your batteries.  I think I'll understand if you don't.  In any case, I owe you a personal debt of gratitude for the quality of the free ice cream you've given us over the years.  You for sure have made me think, and have in some ways changed my thought patterns forever.  And I'm better for that.

Cute as a baby

Yesterday, Pistolero and Sabra took pity on me, stranded a thousand miles from my family on Father's Day.  As gracious and fun a couple you will never meet, and Pistolero already summed up how much fun we had (heh).

What he didn't say in his post was just how much baby Marie simply stole the show.  Not only is she adorable, but she is entirely charming.  The difference, of course, has been known for ages:
A beautiful woman is someone who I notice.

A charming woman is one who notices me.
Baby Marie is both beautiful and charming, and all I can say about Pistolero and Sabra is that the do good work together.  It was quite the boost to the spirits on a  Father's Day away from the family, and made me think on my own children when they were more or less Marie's age.

#1 Son playing peek-a-boo:


#2 Son gettin' his Cowboy on:


All I can say is that Marie captures what you see here precisely.

You have them for such a short time, and while it's been the best part of my life watching them grow up to Honorable Manhood, it was nothing short of a delight to have Marie remind me of that beautiful time in my life.

Thank you for that gift, my friends.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Damn

That's hot.


It hit 107 a bit later, but dropped back before I could get the picture.  I know that car thermometers tend to run hot because they're reading air heated by the sun-baked asphalt and the exhaust of the other cars.

But damn.  Everything's bigger in Texas, I guess.  Even the temperature.

Reflections on Father's Day

Act 1. A post about my grandfather:
Grandpa came to visit around Halloween, back in 1961. You can see the three year old Borepatch (center), with older brother, father, and Grandpa. You can see what this visit meant to three year old Borepatch.

Grandpa lived pretty far away. It was a long trip from Kansas to Ohio back then, especially for him, but he came as often as he could. It wasn't enough for a three year old, but he did what he could. Grandma had died before I was born, and he lived alone. I hope it was a real treat for him when he came to visit - I know that it was for me.

His last visit was at Christmas, 1963, and when he left to go home, I was simply inconsolable. One of my most treasured possessions is a letter he wrote to me when he got home. He wasn't an educated man, or a wordsmith, but I think it was the first letter I ever received. There is something tangible about an object that was touched - created, really - by someone else. This only exists because someone cared enough about someone to make it.
Fredonia, Kan
Jan 6 - 64
Dear Borepatch,

Here is a letter just for you. Your daddy said how you felt about Grand Pa going home. Well I was upset too a few tears wet my cheeks too. You know big boys can cry, too, don't you? Well maybe some day we can live closer to each other and can see each other more often.

You are lucky to have a sled. If you were here you would have to use your wagon for no snow has fallen since I got home. It has been cold but no storm since before Xmas. Snow left mostly the day before Xmas.

I am having a cold the last 2 days now. Sure makes me feel tough. Well, boy you have all your folks to be glad with and Grand Pa has no one. Well, will see you again some day. Write me a letter when you can.

I am still, Grand Pa
Grandpa died 23 days later. I never wrote him that letter, until now. Hope to see you again some day, Grandpa.
Act 2. A post about my sons:


(Click to embiggen - #2 Son when he was 3)

Summer's end means back to school time. Kids and parents - us included - are caught up in the moment, and forget the longer view. Watching your children grow should make you think of how you grew. Watching your children grow should make you think of your parents, watching you grow. Watching your children grow should make you think of them, watching their children yet-to-be-born grow.

Time is a great river, never quite still in its flow. It's easy to get all caught up in the action in the eddy of the moment, and not see the flow towards the sea.
Act 3.  An email from Dad:

It was on the occasion of me sending him this picture of him with #1 Grandson:


And this one, too, of him with #2 Grandson:


But especially this one:


We'd been out visiting, and the kids had wanted to get him some of the music they were listening to.  They gave him a Kamelot CD, which is on his desk to this very day:
Your package arrived today, Monday.  It is possible that mail still arrives in Albuquerque via stage coach along the Santa Fe Trail.

Your gift was such a thoughtful way for us to make a connection.  I like it very much and will think of you every time I look at it.  I also really liked the card.  I could bring up in my mind's eye your [6 year old] entrance down the stairs on Pond Street as Superman.  See what all that kryptonite did for you?

I have continued to write "Stories for the Borepatch Children" and an appropriate one is attached.  Right now we are listening to Kamelot.  Tell your sons that they sound to us like symphonic metal, and they are OK. 
Act 4.  Father's Day, 2011

This is the first Father's Day I've had without Dad.  It's also the first I've had without my boys around.  Somehow, I get the feeling that this will be the normal state of affairs soon.

But the strange realization is that I'm not alone.  The immediate and literal part of that is that Pistolero and Sabra have generously invited me to share his Father's Day with them, but the spiritual realization is that I have Grandpa, Dad, and the kids already as a part of me.  I think that this is what Father's Day is really about - not the grilling, or the loud neckties as gifts from eager young fashionistas, but of knowing your place in the flow of history.  Of looking back, and looking forward through the generations.

Of feeling the motion of time, but also - just for a single, glorious day - of feeling the immobility of your own place in that flow.  Of thinking how your Dad and Grandpa felt that same moment of immobility.  Of thinking how your sons - if they are lucky - will some day feel it, too.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The Archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
- Kalil Gibran, The Prophet
Of thinking how maybe all that Kryptonite paid off.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach - Sonata ''Württemberg'' - Allegro Assai

When you think of fathers and sons writing classical music, you think "Bach".  Bach père (Johann Sebastian) fathered five sons who became musicians of some note (not counting the apocryphal PDQ Bach).  Of those, CPE Bach was the most influential in his day.

Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven all spoke of his as a major influence, and today he's recognized as the bridge between the Baroque and Classical periods - particularly his keyboard Sonatas (most for the harpsichord).  If you ever took piano lessons, you too were influenced by his book An Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments which established fingering patterns for chords.

It's long been remarked that talent runs in families: the great mechanical watchmakers of the 18th Century mostly had sons who matched their own skills in that High Tech venture of the age.  If it's true that mastery of a subject only comes after 10,000 hours of practice, then it's best to start when you're 3 years old, at your Father's knee.  Who knows, you too might grow up to be Chamber Musician to the court of Frederick the Great.

Today's Sonata was one of the pieces that established his reputation independent from his father.  It was dedicated to the Grand Duke of Württemberg.  It combined his father's almost mathematical precision, but you can hear the beginning of the emotional influences that would ultimately lead to the Romantic composers like Chopin and Rachmaninoff.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I'm only laughing on the outside


Here's the news flash: Mussolini could beat Obama in 2012.  GOP, you don't need Mitt.



Cartoon via Theo, bumper sticker via Politifake.

George Jones - A Picture Of Me Without You

Blogfather JayG muses on songs about being away from home, and the consensus in the comments was that Country music is disqualified, because there are too many songs like that.  Well, Saturday Redneck is nothing if not about Country, and George Jones sure knew a lot about being away from home.

Of course with George, it was his hard livin', hard drinkin' lifestyle that caused the Mrs. Jones of the day to suggest that he move along.  His drinking was so notorious that wife #2 (of 4) hid all the car keys and then left.  Since the bar was 8 miles away, she figured, he'd stay home and dry out.  Instead he rode his lawn mower.  For this bit of Epic alcoholism, he got cameo appearances in two music videos.  And his current wife - the one who finally got his to dry out - commissioned a painting of the whole escapade:



But the song reminds us that loneliness comes in many guises, at many times.  Sometimes, even, when you're surrounded by people.  But whether alone or not, Country - andf George - do indeed have a song for that.




A Picture Of Me Without You (Songwriters: Norro Wilson, George Richey)
Imagine a world where no music was playing
then think of a church where nobody's praying
if you've ever looked up at a sky with no blue
then you've seen a picture of me without you

Have you walked in a garden where nothing was growing
or stood by a river where nothing was flowing
if you've seen a red rose unkissed by the dew
then you've seen a picture of me without you

Can you picture Heaven with no angels singing
or a quiet Sunday morning with no church bells ringing
if you've watched as the heart of a child breaks in two
then you've seen a picture of me without you

then you've seen a picture of me without you
(Picture source)