Thursday, May 31, 2012


Memorial Day makes our gaze linger - as well it should - on those who never come home.  Thankfully, there are those who do.

Welcome home, to all who served overseas.  This Republic cannot welcome you better than they did, but we welcome you - gladly - nonetheless.

I did not know that, either

Well, he does.

I did not know that

Leonard Nemoy was in a Bangles music video.

Global Warming 101: What do we mean by "scientific"?

The Czar of Muscovy says (perhaps excessively) complimentary things about my climate science musings.  Me, I think that I've gotten more ranty and sarcastic over the years, and this is a Bad Thing.  As a service to my readers (and a tip of the шляпа to our Autocrat), I'm pulling some of the better of my (non-ranty, non-sarcastic) climate science posts.  

Plus, I'm on vacation and feeling lazy.  But srlsy, I have almost 300 posts in my junk science category - this is organizing (technically, it's what the medieval monks called glossing).

I'll do one of these a day for the next little bit.  Long time readers will roll their eyes, but it may be new to a bunch of y'all (well, anyone who wasn't reading me 3 years ago).  If you actually want to understand the science, rather than just the arguing, hopefully this will be a starting point.


Falsifiable    (July 23, 2009)

Generally to be considered "scientific", something has to be falsifiable - where anyone can try to duplicate your observations or results. If there's no way that this can be done, then the thing cannot be held to be scientific. Carl Sagan used a typically accessible parable that illustrated this critical part of the Scientific Method:
"A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage"

Suppose (I'm following a group therapy approach by the psychologist Richard Franklin) I seriously make such an assertion to you. Surely you'd want to check it out, see for yourself. There have been  innumerable stories of dragons over the centuries, but no real evidence. What an opportunity!

"Show me," you say. I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle -- but no dragon.

"Where's the dragon?" you ask.

"Oh, she's right here," I reply, waving vaguely. "I neglected to mention that she's an invisible dragon."

You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon's footprints.

"Good idea," I say, "but this dragon floats in the air."

[Lots of ingenious tests for the dragon's existence presented and explained away.]

Now, what's the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there's no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder.
So the primary - perhaps singular - requirement of science is data. Access to data (to see if someone made a mistake or to compare it to a different set of data) is simply a given, if something is to be considered scientific. Otherwise, how is the hypothesis falsifiable? The assertions would be immune to disproof.

An interesting thing is going on in the Global Warming debate - one group of scientists (the global warmers) is refusing to release their data. Steve McIntyre asked the UK Meteorologic Office to send him their data, so he could check it:
You stated that CRUTEM3 data that you held was the value added data. Pursuant to the Environmental Information Regulations Act 2004, please provide me with this data in the digital form, together with any documents that you hold describing the procedures under which the data has been quality controlled and where deemed appropriate, adjusted to account for apparent non-climatic influences.
They said no. Their reasons were very, very interesting:
The Met Office received the data information from Professor Jones at the University of East Anglia on the strict understanding by the data providers that this station data must not be publicly released.
Well now. Leaving aside whether the University of East Anglia in general, and Professor Jones' projects in particular are publicly funded, doesn't this make it hard to analyze the public policy recommendations related to climate change? The Met Office heartily agrees:
We considered that if the public have information on environmental matters, they could hope to influence decisions from a position of knowledge rather than speculation. However, the effective conduct of international relations depends upon maintaining trust and confidence between states and international organisations. This relationship of trust allows for the free and frank exchange of information on the understanding that it will be treated in confidence. If the United Kingdom does not respect such confidences, its ability to protect and promote United Kingdom interests through international relations may be hampered.
Well, well, well.

So what can we say about any conclusions, recommendations, or reports issued by the UK Met Office, that are based on this data? They are unfalsifiable.

McIntyre is very unpopular indeed among the Global Warming set, because he focuses on their data. He's the reason that you never hear about the "Hockey Stick" any more - he found that the data was cooked and the computer model was buggy, in a way that produced the hockey stick shaped curve. How bad is the data? Some of it no longer exists:
In passing, I mention an important archiving problem. Pete Holzmann identified actual tags from the Graybill program. We found that 50% of the data had not been archived. Was this selective or not? No one knows. Graybill died quite young. His 21 notes were notoriously incomplete. Worse, when the Tree Ring Laboratory moved a few years ago, apparently they forgot to arrange for old samples to be protected. Their former quarters were destroyed. Some of the records were apparently recovered from the trash by one scientist but others are permanently lost.
This is what the IPCC's $50 Trillion recommendation is based on. RTWT. The situation isn't just worse than you think. It's worse than you can possibly imagine. And some of you have quite good imaginations.

The science is settled, you see, but no, you can't have the data. You can't even see what was done to quality control the data, because it might damage a government's ability to protect it's national interests.

Oops, gotta go. It's those darn Deniers, back on my lawn again ...

UPDATE: More on the UK Met office here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

TheOnesDay® No. 18

So it seems that word is getting out that our TelePrompTer™ In Chief used to toke up with his buds, Back In The Day.  Whatevs.  But word is also getting out that he's worried about declining enthusiasm in his base, and so is doing a full court press to make them feel that old magic.

I have here what I'm told is his new campaign speech.  I'd tell you where I got it, but sources and methods are classified ...

Alinsky's rules, everyone.  Mockery is our most potent weapon.

Bravo Zulu, Iowa. Fair winds and following seas

The U.S.S. Iowa left San Francisco bay last weekend, en route to her final mooring as a floating museum in Los Angeles:
SAN FRANCISCO — The USS Iowa — the iconic World War II-era battleship that once served as transport to President Franklin D. Roosevelt — left San Francisco Bay on Saturday on its way to its new home in Southern California.

Surrounded by pleasure boats and other vessels, the 887-foot long, 58,000-ton battlewagon was towed through the bay and passed under the Golden Gate Bridge at about 2:30 p.m.
Man, that's one big ship.  It approaches the bridge - coincidentally celebrating its 75th anniversary last weekend - at around 9:30 into the video.

The Iowa was the ship that was accidentally torpedoed while carrying President Roosevelt.  The ship was warned, and dodged the errant fish, which exploded in her wake.  The destroyer that launched the thing found that the ship main battery was aimed at her.  I presume that the laundry was working overtime that night cleaning the crew's drawers ...

If the voyage goes to plan, she should arrive at her destination tomorrow.

The peasants are revolting

Why do Progressives hate the market, with a hatred that burns with the fire of a thousand suns?  Charles Krauthammer gets part of the way to the answer, but only part way.

The problem is that they self-identify with Plato's dictum that only Philosophers should rule.  The very name they use to describe themselves - progressive - speaks volumes about how smart they think most Americans are.

They are contemptuous of the intelligence of most Americans, which is why the favorite epithet of most progressives to say that their opponents are dumb.  George W. Bush was so incredibly dumb, although he never had a trillion and a half dollar deficit in a single year (not that he might not have tried).  Sarah Palin is so incredibly dumb - I can see Russia from my house - even though she never said that and even though she never accused the Poles of running Concentration Camps.

They're smart, and everyone who disagrees is dumb.  Just because.  They're the intellectual aristocracy, deserving of respect and honors.  Just because.  And so what should we predict to be the reaction of a progressive to the bankruptcy of the entire Main Stream Media in the face of record profits and viewership of Fox?  Incandescent rage that burns with the fire of a thousand suns, directed at the forces of a market producing results they don't like.

And thus they see this as confirmation that the American public is stupid, because the American public disagrees with them.  And that simply confirms in their own minds that they are indeed the vanguard of the Progressive Revolution (out in front, don't you know).  And that demonstrates conclusively the critical need for continuing subsidies for NPR.

Q.E.D. (or something).

That's the conclusion that Krauthammer didn't drive home.  Bringing up Fox News, or telling Nina Totenberg to "spend your own money" is speaking in a foreign tongue.

Sadly, the older I get the more I despair of ever being able to actually have a conversation with a progressive.  We don't disagree so much on policy details (well, we do, but that's much less important).  Rather, we disagree on first principles.  Specifically, I disagree that they're smarter than I am, and simply refuse to start a discussion from a position of "I'm so much dumber than you are."  Sorry, I just am not interested in any of that.

The Internet has been an epic disaster for the Progressive movement.  When your entire philosophy is built around smart uber alles, it must be very hard indeed to have your every idiocy exposed for the great unwashed masses to laugh at.  The peasants are, indeed, revolting.

The River of Death

The battle was fairly well in hand - the Union commanders had anticipated the Rebel's plans, and the lines were holding.  Reinforcements were skillfully pulled from non-essential parts of the line to add strength to the parts under assault.  The Union forces looked to be bleeding their opponents, perhaps not as badly as their brothers in the Army of the Potomac had bled ten months earlier, but badly enough.  The South couldn't replace the men she was losing.

Until confusion seized the officer ranks.  Mistakenly informed that troop movements to reinforce his left flank had opened a hole in his line, General Rosecrans issued a confused, self-contradictory order to one of his Brigadiers.  Not wanting to look foolish in front of his superiors, General Wood moved his command, in compliance with the order.  Doing so, he opened a huge gap in the Federal lines, just as Longstreet brought his eight brigades out of these trees.

Photo copyright: Borepatch

The Union lines collapsed, with General Rosecrans himself being swept from the field of battle in the ensuing rout.  It was over in minutes, with the Yankees chased back the seven miles to Chattanooga.

Chickamauga is said to mean River of Death in an obscure Cherokee dialect, but the name was fitting that September day in 1863.  35,000 casualties that day (and in the fighting the previous day) make this one of the bloodiest battles of that most bloody of American wars.  It is, as far as I can tell, the only major battle where the South outnumbered the North, having detached Longstreet from Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, back from their unsuccessful Gettysburg campaign.  Their intention was to use the railroads and their interior lines of communication to apply superior numbers to turn the tide of Yankee success in the west.  It almost worked.

The battlefield was heavily wooded, and remains so to this day.  The local farmers let their animals graze in the forest, which suppressed brush and gave surprisingly long visibility - a hundred yards or more - under the trees.  At least until the black powder smoke collected, safe from errant breezes under the green canopy, forming a right "pea souper" fog of war.  No wonder the officer corps wasn't quite sure where all the units were deployed.

General Bragg won the battle, but was not able to do more than delay Grant and Sherman.  He wasn't able to accomplish his campaign plan, which was to crush the Yankee army.  He might have, but for the stand on the ridge by Gen. Thomas, holding the line for hours under the setting sun.  A third of the blue coats had skedaddled, but the rest rallied to Thomas, "the rock of Chickamauga".

It had almost worked, by accident.  Bragg mishandled the morning's assault, and Longstreet had captured the day more by luck than anything.  But the victory was a delay, not a sea change.  Bragg found himself unable to retake Chattanooga, and Sherman and Grant launched the campaign that would prevent a repeat of the transferring army corps via interior lines: both began a relentless meat-grinder assaults that pinned both Lee in the east and Johnston in the west.  There were no troops to shift.

And the terrible cost to the Southern ranks caused a notable shift in attitude, both in the east and west.  Confederate General D. H. Hill remarked on this, after Chickamauga:
It seems to me that the elan of the Southern soldier was never seen after Chickamauga. ... He fought stoutly to the last, but, after Chickamauga, with the sullenness of despair and without the enthusiasm of hope. That 'barren victory' sealed the fate of the Confederacy.
To this day, we make the same mistake about the War Between The States as the people of the day made.  We romanticize the event, thinking in terms of generalship and the spirit of the fighting man as key to ultimate victory.  Instead, it was about production - especially of the new repeating rifles that cost the Confederates so dearly that day.  And logistics.  Rosecrans had 40,000 horses to haul his army's gear; each horse ate 25 pounds of forage a day, meaning that he needed a million pounds of forage a day.  Grant and Sherman figured this out.  Sherman had trains run around the clock, bringing supplies and replacements down from Chattanooga towards Atlanta, and taking wounded back.

Looking at it this way, it's astonishing that the Confederacy survived as long as it did.  It was caught in its own river of death, one that ran on steam over tracks of iron.

(Image source)

UPDATE 30 May 2012 18:25: Edited to clarify one paragraph.  This is also a good time to point out the nifty panorama feature on my camera did a bang-up job on the photo.

Correct? Or compliant?

Guess which one the Public School System wants from its students?

Sheesh.  Just wait until the Fed.Gov runs your health care.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.
- Seneca

Six offers up a post filled with sadness, describing a family tragedy.  His honesty is an act of courage that I don't think I could match.

Rest in Peace, Ma'am.


We never took the kids to the battlefields when we lived in Georgia previously. #2 Son was 4, and the Children's Museum kept his attention. Now he's interested in tactics, and so it was a fun day crawling the fields at Chickamauga. We have a summer of other day trips to do now.

Gas is $3.12 a gallon in Dalton. Wow.

The BBQ Shack just outside the entrance to the battlefield is insanely inexpensive. $3.50 for #2 Son's jumbo pulled pork sandwich. Decently good food no matter what, but the deal of the century considering the price.

My camera's "panorama" mode is pretty cool for photographing battlefields. I'll post one tomorrow, but I expect I will do this on all our battlefield trips.

It's not good to get caught in a gunfight

Thoughts on training for the unexpected by a Police Officer who found himself - with his family - in one.  Food for thought.


This actually feels like one: up late hanging out with the family, then sleeping late.  Now heading out to Chattanooga and the battlefields.  #1 Son is in class today, but we'll take #2 Son.

We used to take the kids to the Children's museum there when they were little, and so have quite fond memories of the place.  I'll try to post about it later.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Remember that we don't fight - and die - alone

This Memorial Day, don't forget those who are by our side.  Beccy Cole didn't, and found that some folks in her native Australia didn't like her support for the troops.  So she wrote a song.

A Digger is an Aussie soldier.  I'd gladly shake your hand, Digger.  Even on the Wrong Side of the world.

34 Australian soldiers have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This Memorial Day, remember how we were not alone, and our loss is not alone.

And that Sheila can sing, fair dinkum.  And while that lass is easy on the eyes, here's a version with just the Diggers.

God bless you, Beccy Cole.  And thanks to all the Aussie soldiers who go into harm's way with us.  Wrong side of the World my redneck derriere ...

Please Remember Me

Most of the war dead of this Republic are entirely forgotten.  I had never heard of our First Sumatran Expedition (there were others?), or the Coeur d'Alene War, or Shimonoseki Straits.  Or most of the rest of these.

And I fancy myself as a student of military history. 
Most of the conflicts have been all but forgotten, but still there are the graves. May the veterans all Rest in Peace.
Et lux perpetua luceat eis, Domine.  Amen.

Forgotten. Please remember them.

Deriving their just powers

We Americans have a simplicity that, while unsophisticated to the usual European Suspects, as a clarity that can cut to the chase.  As this line does, from our credo:
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ...
I was pondering the crisis of the EU in general, and the Euro Zone in particular, and it seems that this is a big part of the problem.  The EU is famously undemocratic, with a (mostly) unelected and (entirely) unaccountable bureaucracy.  That Bureaucracy has made a series of increasingly speculative decisions, including the "EU Constitution" and the Euro itself, and both have come to teeter on the brink of the abyss.

And quite frankly, neither has much to recommend it in terms of legitimacy.  And so why wouldn't Greeks, Italians, and Spaniards pull their money out of banks that look like a bad risk to devaluation?  I mean, institutions build legitimacy in good years so that it's banked (so to speak) for the (expected) bad years.

Except the EU bureaucracy spent the good years fattening their contracts and "protecting" British consumers from the scourge of butchers selling meat by the pound (rather than the Kg).

And so while I must say that it will be a Very Bad Thing Indeed for us here in the New World when the Old World implodes in a couple of weeks (or months - who knows?), it is more than anything a crisis of legitimacy.  Naming the root cause of the problem is the first step towards correcting it.  Sadly, the EU won't - can't - do that.  The leopard cannot change his spots.

A note to the gas grill designer ...

... who thought it would be a stylin' idea to change the nozzles on the venturi tubes from round to oval:

Fortunately, since the nozzles are removable, I scavenged the old one.  Rocket engine thrust is now nominal.  That's two ticked off the Honey Do list.  Since I'm taking the week off, maybe I can clear the whole list.

Thoughts on Memorial Day

I sat down to put together a post about Memorial Day, and how it does (or doesn't) impact the majority of Americans other than a day off to fire up the grill,  And then I realized that I'd already written it last summer when I found myself sharing an airplane with a soldier flying home for the final time.


This was the view from the window on my plane, last weekend:

Photo credit: Borepatch

I'll reproduce here what I liveblogged from my phone:

My flight to Detroit just touched down.  The flight attendants came on  the PA asking everyone to remain seated when we reach the gate, so some  soldiers returning back to Afghanistan.

Everyone clapped.  Everyone.

Then the Captain came on.  He said we were taking a fallen soldier home.  You could have heard a pin drop.

God Speed, whoever you are.  I can't imagine any thanks can possibly fill the void your family feels.

We're  at the gate, and the plane is clapping for the soldiers again.  Out the  window, you can see the cars lined up on the tarmac for our fallen  hero.  Everyone' crowded around the windows.

It feels like you're in church - that you're in the presence of something holy.

There was a boy no older than ten a couple rows in front of me.  When he saw this, he took off his baseball cap:

Photo credit: Borepatch

All weekend long I had the song running through my head that I posted on Tuesday:

All weekend I thought on what I'd written about how hard the Honor Guard duty must be:

This must be a tough duty, spending all day, every day welcoming home  fallen veterans.  It must take a special sort of personality to be  continually surrounded by grieving families, and to take that grief as  an inspiration to perfect the ceremony.  The respect they showed -  especially to Mom - was very moving.

It's strange, but after months leading up to Dad's death, and three  weeks now to process the emotions, that I wasn't ready for the emotions  that washed over me when the guard slow-saluted Mom, and then knelt down  to present her the flag.

This flag is presented on behalf of a grateful     nation  and the United States Army as a token of appreciation for your loved  one's honorable and faithful service.

The Honor Guard has a hard duty, and one that may seem unimportant.   After all, it's just one more old man leaving his grieving family  behind.  The kindness and respect they devoted speaks volumes of them,  and the Republic.

This is the final test of a gentleman: his respect for those who can be of no possible service to him.
- William Lyon Phelps

Last weekend wasn't an old man coming home to lie with his brothers, it was someone in the flush of youth.  Someone who didn't get the chance to bury his father; on the contrary, someone whose father met him on the tarmac on his last flight.

I look on this Republic, and wonder how it can possibly live up to that sacrifice.  And then I look at that ten year old boy on the plane, just some random kid on a vacation flight, taking his cap off as a sign of respect, and thanks.  And I look at all the other passengers who would normally be crowding the aisle to get off the flying bus that brought them where they ended up.  All crowded around the windows.  I don't expect that many will ever forget that moment.

I sure won't.

Feels kinda like Church in here tonight.  Thanks to Libertyman for pointing out this song.  I posted it once, but this time it was up close and personal.

Et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Sir, whoever you are, I'm honored to have been flying with a hero that night.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


It's what's for dinner.

I owe a good feed to a buddy.  Back later.

Reloading bleg

A question for you reloaders: what powder scale do you like?  The local store was out, and looking online there seems to be a wide variety of styles, technologies, and prices.  And comments on what works well for you would be very much appreciated.

Same ask about calipers.  And case trimmer.

Man, it's not looking like I'm saving any money reloading ...

Europe is screwed - definitive proof

Definitive, I say, which means there's no room for debate.  The troubles of the Euro are manifest, but there are a thousand theories about how that will play out, so that's not the topic of today.  Rather, it's music, and the odds-on favorite to win this year's Eurovision contest, the Buranovo Grannies:

There's simply no arguing the dire straits that Europe finds itself in, if this is the best music on offer from the entire continent.  125 Million people watch Eurovision, and vote on the winner.  Definitive proof that they've dropped below the cultural power curve.  It reminds me of the old Saturday Night Live spoof about synchronized swimming:

We're not very good swimmers ...

Aaron Copeland - Fanfare For The Common Man

It's not often that I get to open a post with a speech from a Vice President - in this case, an All American fascist speech from Vice President Henry Wallace in 1942, looking forward to what he knew would be a tough fight:
This is a fight between a slave world and a free world. Just as the United States in 1862 could not remain half slave and half free, so in 1942 the world must make its decision for a complete victory one way or the other.

As we begin the final stages of this fight to the death between the free world and the slave world, it is worth while to refresh our minds about the march of freedom for the common man ...


Some people declare, and Hitler believes, that the American people have grown soft in the last generation. Hitler agents continually preach in South America that we are cowards, unable to use, like the "brave" German soldiers, the weapons of modern war. It is true that American youth hates war with a holy hatred. But because of that fact and because Hitler and the German people stand as the very symbol of war, we shall fight with a tireless enthusiasm until war and the possibility of war have been removed from this planet. We shall cleanse the plague spot of Europe, which is Hitler's Germany, and with it the hell-hole of Asia — Japan.

No compromise with Satan is possible. We shall not rest until all the victims under the Nazi yoke are freed. We shall fight for a complete peace as well as a complete victory.
Much of the speech is cringe-worthy.  Fascist is not too strong a term, and may in fact explain why F.D.R. didn't choose his as his running mate in 1942.  But Wallace hit the nail on the head in this passage: Hitler did have contempt for the American fighting man.  Hitler thought they wouldn't fight, or couldn't fight well, because we were a debased, mongrel race.  He thought that the New World was filled with the utermenchen who would one day perforce kneel to the Aryan Tausendjähriges Reich.

Hitler learned different.  He wasn't the only one in the last century to misunderestimate this Republic, and its fighting men and women.  "Common" means something very different here than it does in Europe (or in the Faculty Lounge).  America excels at taking the Common Joe, giving him the tools and the objective, and watching as he crushes Adolf, or Leonid, or Osama.  What common means here is summed up in the picture shown below:  "Uncommon valor was a common virtue."

(Image via Wikipedia)

That valor was purchased at the cost of almost 7,000 American dead.  27 were awarded the Medal Of Honor.  Ronald Reagan in his famous The Boys of Pointe du Hoc speech amplified this same theme:
And behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there. These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. And these are the heroes who helped end a war. Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender's poem. You are men who in your "lives fought for life and left the vivid air signed with your honor."

I think I know what you may be thinking right now -- thinking "we were just part of a bigger effort; everyone was brave that day."
It didn't come free.  Common? You keep using that word.  I do not believe that it means what you think.  This Memorial Day weekend, remember them, the "common" men who freed the World.

Aaron Copeland understood this in 1942, when he wrote this music.  The music is pure American, as was the subject.

Bootnote: the title seems to have been a surprise to Eugene Goossens, the conductor of the Cincinnati Philharmonic, who has asked Copeland to write the piece.  Asked why not "Fanfare For Soldiers," Copeland replied that I am all for honoring the Common Man at income tax time.  Good man.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Well, it's a holiday weekend

Sitemeter tells me that none of you are reading this - probably off enjoying time with your families or some lame excuse like that ...

But welcome to the person from Rochester NY who came here looking for Smith & Wesson 625 info and stayed for 25 page views (!).  Glad to see you making up for the slackers!  Stop back, if you've a mind.

Now if all y'all will excuse me, I have to fry a chicken.

Shopping list



Large rifle primers.

IMR powder.

.303 bullets if they have them (which I think they don't, in which case I'll go on-line).

I could get all of this online, but I want to chat with the guy at the store.  I like doing business with local guys when I can.

UPDATE 26 May 2012 17:57: Powder and primers, check.  No scale, calipers, or bullets. Still, progress!

I would seriously like to do this

Jo Dee Messina - Heaven Was Needing A Hero

(Click to read Christian's story)
Memorial Day isn't about barbecues for Christian Golczynski.  He was eight years old when LTC Ric Thompson handed him the flag that had draped his father's coffin.  That was five years ago.

This weekend will be the fifth Memorial Day where he won't be thinking about barbecues.  Next month will be the fifth Father's Day with an empty chair at the dinner table.

That is what Memorial Day is about.

I've posted this song a number of times over the last year or two, as it captures in music the sound of a heart breaking.  The song alternates between memories of the loved and lost, and the stumbling emptiness as the singer tries - and fails - to make sense of the loss.  It's not your typical sentimental Country music song, it's pure, 100 proof grief.

For some, that is what Memorial Day is about.

There is no official music video for this song; Messina is no longer the chart topping singer that she was in the 1990s.  But people have taken this music and found photographs that amplify the music and make it personal.  The second picture is one that I found particularly moving - nearly as much as the one of young Master Golczynski shown here.

This is what Memorial Day is about.

Heaven Was Needing A Hero (songwriter: Jo Dee Messina)
I came by today to see you
Though I had to let you know
If I knew the last time that I held you was the last time,
I'd have held you and never let go
Oh it's kept me awake night wonderin'
Lie in the dark, just asking "why?"
I've always been told you won't be called home until it's your time

I guess Heaven was needing a hero
Somebody just like you
Brave enough to stand up for what you believe and follow it though
When I try to make it make sense in my mind
The only conclusion I come to
Is that Heaven was needing a hero like you

I remember the last time I saw you
Oh you held your head up proud
I laughed inside when I saw how you were, standing out in the crowd
You're such a part of who I am
Now that part will just be void
No matter how much I need you now
Heaven needed you more

'Cause Heaven was needing a hero
Somebody just like you
Brave enough to stand up for what you believe and follow it though
When I try to make it make sense in my mind
The only conclusion I come to
Is that Heaven was needing a hero like you

Yes, Heaven was needing a hero...that's you.

Abraham Lincoln's letter to Mrs. Bixby is justly famous:
Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln
Christian Golczynski also laid a sacrifice on that same altar of our freedom, a sacrifice costly beyond our reckoning.  I hope that the fullness of time will ease his anguish as well.  I fear that it will not.

That is what Memorial Day is about.  Not a barbecue in sight, just pure, 100 proof grief.  This weekend as you go about your normal business of life, remember SSgt Marcus Golczynski.  And Christian.  And what that sacrifice means.  May this Republic be worthy of them.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A not so guilty pleasure

You will be hard pressed to find some better guitar playing than this - Lynyrd Skynyrd and Montgomery Gentry on CMT Crossroads (maybe the best music TV program ever).

Make sure you stick around until the end for the guitar duel.  Awesome.

Country, rockabilly, rock 'n' roll - whatevs.  It's just great music.

In which Borepatch is an idiot

I got not one, but two reloading manuals (Lyman and Lee, thanks for asking).  Attentive readers will recall me complaining that neither discussed .303 Brit.

Well, of course they both did - attentiveness is its own reward - plus there was one that came in the box of .303 dies.  So I'm set for recipes.  Now I just need to pick one and do some actual reloading.

I confess

Confession is good for the soul.  OK, then.

Wayne's World 2 is a guilty pleasure.  I enjoyed it much, much more than the original - it was filled with tip o' the hat to great old film genres, and clever enough to keep me laughing after a lot of watching.

And a tip o' the hat to great old actors.  This scene simply cracked me up.

I first saw it when I was driving from the Washington D.C. area to, Florida once December.  I were taking 15 month old #1 Son do a Florida vacation because I was giving a talk at a Security conference.  Somehow, the conference was in Orlando in December - go figure.

We drove, and bailed out in Florence, S.C.  Hitting the hotel room after dinner, this had me laughing so loudly that #1 Son had trouble falling asleep.  I think about that trip every time I watch the film. Not a bad thing at all, really.

So what's your guilty pleasure?

Work ethic

Or more precisely, the lack thereof.

I find that I've not been putting as much consideration into my posts this last week, and frankly, the quality - or lack thereof - has shown.  As an apology to my long-suffering readers, and as a token of grateful appreciation to their repeat business, all blog posts today will be entirely free of charge.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I flunked out of mime class

Literal music videos FTW.

New blacktop

The machines are gone from the vicinity of Camp Borepatch, leaving nothing but smooth, smooth, new blacktop.  Nothing like a new smooth stretch of highway.

Got to take my baby for a ride ...

This isn't taught in American public schools

But it should be.

This moment of Holy Cow brought to you by R. K. Brumbelow, via email

Quote of the day

Yeah, yeah - Ayn Rand was a hypocrite because she got Medicare.  Or something.  Orphan Wilde brings the rebuttal: make it illegal for a private company to sell me water, you make it illegal for a private company to sell me electricity without your silly damn regulations, you seize people's property in order to build roads, you force me to pay into an involuntary retirement scheme, you make it illegal for anybody to provide medical care without your approval, you refuse to let me buy food and drugs on my own terms free from your meddling...

...and then you accuse me of being a hypocrite who is dependent on the government because nothing I do in the world can be done free of your goddamned meddling.
You have to hit the link to get his final thoughts.  All I can say is, "Amen, brother."


Some guys get to have all the fun:
The plan was to have the [B-17] Liberty Belle fly to a Publicity Meet at the former USAFE airbase at RAF Bentwaters in Suffolk.  There would be a static display of several WWII aircraft and then Liberty Belle would depart in formation with some of the fighters and a chase plane (modified Beech Baron or perhaps a Beagle Basset - I don't recall now, though it was a piston twin) for an air-to-air photo-shoot of the bomber and escort over the East Anglian landscape.

My job was to drive the minivan down there to allow some of those who'd be flying down to give up their places for some "paying passengers" on the return leg.
And guess who rode home in a B-17, not a VW?  If you like old planes, this is a great story, well told.

Me, I didn't have A-10s buzz my house when we lived in Blighty.  I did live within earshot of the Royal Firing Range in Bisley, which was pretty cool.  In a distinctly non-flying sense.

Atlanta Memorial Day Meet 'n Skeet?

OK, pistol and rifle match, not skeet - but they don't rhyme.

Fill Yer Hands has an outstanding idea:
This Monday is Memorial Day, and I plan to spend the morning as I did last year, shooting the Memorial Day Fundraiser pistol match at Creekside Firing Range in Cartersville, Georgia. Each year for the past seven years, Joe Harris at Creekside has donated all the proceeds of the Memorial Day Fundraiser to the family of a fallen serviceman in the Atlanta area. The Fundraiser includes a steel challenge pistol match in the morning, an auction of shooting gear, and a tactical rifle match in the afternoon.
Those of you who've met me know that I'm not very tactical, but I'm totally willing to let my modest marksmanship skillz get humiliated in a good cause.  And this isn't a good cause, it's a great one.

Who's up to join us?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Well of course

I downloaded the Kindle eBook app to the new company iPhone 4 (that I can videoconference from).  It just sort of stared at me.  Srsly, where do you get eBooks from?

And so I downloaded Apple's eBook reader app, and was instantly cruising the freebies (courtesy of Project Gutenberg): the Constitution, Declaration of Independence/Bill Of Rights, Federalist Papers, Common Sense, Sun Tsu, Price/Cost Indices from 1879 to 1929 (yes, I am a nerd).  I started scrolling by author, rejecting a Mark Twain screed as too cute by half, and then I saw it.

Erotic eBooks.

It's the Internet.  Without porn, it would be nothing.  You want proof?

Wonder if Rule 34 applies to the Bill Of Rights ...


Work is "interesting" now, as we plan what the next major software release will be.  A dozen products that work together in a dozen different solutions, with 150 or 200 software engineers - making all this mesh is a lot like playing Tetris.

Tetris where you have a dozen different Product Managers each trying to hit the button that will slip a few more resources their way ...

Nothing else really hammers home the reality that is the "Iron Triangle": there are three and only three variables that you can use in your planning.  feature set, timetable, and budget/staff.  That's it.  You can play with them any way you like, but the Iron Triangle defines how much will happen and how long it will take.

And that's before we turn it over to management ...

I guess that if I didn't enjoy this, I wouldn't do it.  ;-)

Useful Idiots

Peter has a must-read post about how the Catholic Church seems surprised that the Obama administration is more or less forcing them to violate their doctrine in the name of "health care".  Peter quite correctly points out that the Catholic Church was one of the biggest advocates of Obamacare, and so they don't really have call to be surprised that Progressives are doing what Progressives do.

I mean, the Cardinals were so sure that Obamacare would go so far and no further.  How can they be on the short end of the stick now.  And where the heck did the stick go?

Some are calling this "feed the crocodile so he eats you last".  I see it that the Cardinals were Useful Idiots - tools who saw some things that they'd like about the New Progressive World and who simply couldn't wrap their brains around the historical fact that Progressives have been sworn enemies of organized religion in general (and the Catholic Church in particular) for well over a century.

Give Progressives tons of new coercive power to do things that you like, and you're surprised that they do coercive things you don't like?  Inconceivable!

There's a message here about the GOP and their big visions, too (*cough* Patriot Act *cough*).  TSA pat downs?  I just thought you were keeping us safe from terrorists!


Um, yes?

And I don't hide my gun purchases from my significant other.  She hides them from me.  Srlsy.  Made of win, right there.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Congratulations, Kevin!

Seems like it's happening to everyone - Kevin Baker just got his 3 Millionth hit.

The first blues song

This is said to the the first copyrighted blues song.  It may be the first record by an African American band, back in 1918.

It sounds more like jazz/ragtime to my ears, at least.  But this recording was before Hart Wand added lyrics to his song:

There's a place I know, folks won't pass me by,
Dallas, Texas, that's the town, I cry, oh hear me cry.
And I'm going back, going back to stay there 'til I die, until I die.
And suddenly, unmistakeably, it's the blues.

How to give your neighbors at the Marina a case of the envies

Old NFO has how not to do it, which involves this:

This is perhaps a better way:

Diesel-electric luxury submarine.  And it probably does a lot better in rough weather than that other one, at least if you take it down 150 ft ...

Congratulations to blog brother PISSED

His odometer just turned over 1 Million hits.  Well done.

Quick update

Tired, so details later, but we had a blast at the Blogmeet.  It was a good turnout, and I have shooty venues lined up in the next little while.  The take away is that we need to do this regularly.

Also, I now have .303 Brit dies on order.  Have to get bullets, primer and propellent now.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Military sights for the Ruger 10/22

The new Tech Sights for #2 Son's 10/22 are not just functional, but they dial the bad-assitude up more than a couple notches.

The front sights are the real deal.

So is the rear peep sight - dials for range and windage.

The camera angle is somewhat off center here - I can get quite a good sight picture through the peep sight, but the dumb auto-focus can't get the image crisp.  I need to play around with the manual settings of the camera.

Plus, they're dead simple to install.  With the sling and extra magazines - not to mention the SKS and 500 rounds for center fire shooty goodness - we're pretty much ready for Appleseed.

A battlefield

Heh.  And this is the obligatory musical accompaniment.

Man Cave

I spent most of yesterday excavating the basement storage bunker here at Camp Borepatch.  I actually cleared out so much junk that there was room to set up my new (to me) Lyman reloading press.  Thanks, Carteach0!

Click to enbiggify
A lot of what used to live there is now baking up in the attic (only the stuff that isn't hurt by the heat, of course).  And there's still some more stuff I can get rid of.  de-clutter FTW!  But now there's room for ammo, range bag, and that sort of stuff.  I'll put up some peg board against the wall and hang my tools there.  Not sure how I've gone this long here without having a proper workbench (oh yeah, I was in Austin most of the time) ...

OK, so I need to tidy up the workbench ...

Now if I had some .303 dies, I'd actually start, you know, reloading.  But I'm quite pleased about the place.  It's not as manly as ASM826's Man Cave, but hey - not many are.  This should do nicely for now.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Atlanta gunblogg happy hour this tomorrow evening

If you find yourself on the north side of the Perimeter, join us at 5 Seasons Brewing Company on Roswell Road at 6:30 PM tomorrow:
5 Seasons Brewing
5600 Roswell Road , Sandy Springs, GA 30342
(404) 255-5911
I'm expecting that Monday won't be a problem, but if you think you might make the scene, shoot me an email so I can get us a table that's "right sized" for the group. borepatch at gmail.

UPDATE: scheduling fail. Monday evening, not Sunday.

The desert does bloom, you know

It's quite pretty when it does.

© Borepatch
These grow wild outside the company's office building in Austin.  Different sorts of flowers here in Atlanta, because it's not a desert ...

Atlanta mini blogmeet: Tomorrow at 6:30 PM

Anyone in the Atlanta area who wants to meet up, come to 5 Seasons Brewing Company tomorrow evening at 6:30 for dinner, beer, and conversation. 
5 Seasons Brewing
5600 Roswell Road , Sandy Springs, GA 30342 (404) 255-5911
Sean Sorrentino from NC Gun Blog will be visiting, so if you're in the area stop by.  Reservation under "Borepatch", naturally!

How should we assess Barack Obama's Presidency?

I dunno.  Maybe we should ask him?

Hey, thanks!  Clears a lot up, right there.  Of course, it's racist to quote the man (or something), and so I'm quite ashamed of myself.  *rolls eyes*

Hat tip: A Large Regular.

Frédéric Chopin - Nocturne No. 1 in E minor

Chopin, painted by Delacroix.  Image
via Wikipedia.
Modern music - music as we know it - was really born in the Romantic period perhaps 180 years ago.  While music from earlier periods is heard in symphony halls (and church hymnals), this is the music that you still hear in popular culture: films, TV dramas, that sort of thing.  We're surrounded by it, and really don't think of it as being "old fashioned" at all.  It may be what's called "classical", but it's unmistakeably modern.

Frédéric Chopin perhaps did more than anyone else to create that music.  While he didn't invent the nocturne style, he was without doubt the master of the genre.  He was fortunate that his short lifetime coincided with the Industrial Revolution, where rapidly rising family incomes and dramatically falling manufacturing costs made it possible for many families to have a household piano, and to buy sheet music for their daughters to learn to play.*

And quite frankly, nobody composed for the piano like Chopin. Born in Poland to a French father and a Polish mother, he lived most of his short life in France.  He was quickly recognized as a brilliant pianist and a notable composer, and while he struggled with finances most of his life, he collected a galaxy of rich admirers who ensured that he did not end dieing in poverty (as did Mozart).  The most famous of these was the scandalous noveliste, Amandine Aurore Lucille Dupin - better known to the literary world by her nom de plume Georges Sand.  An early feminist known for wearing trousers (in the 1830s!), she became the love of his life and nursed him for most of his final years.

For he died very young, before the age of 40.  Sick with (probably) tuberculosis, his funeral procession stretched from central Paris to Père Lachaise cemetery.  Delacroix himself - who painted the portrait shown here - carried his coffin.  His grave is something to see - we went to this perhaps most famous burying ground in 1991, and it's worth the journey.

Because his music is sublime, especially the nocturnes.  Soft, lyrical, and with a lushness that belies a solo performance, Chopin took an existing form and put an indelible stamp on it.  So much so, in fact, that when he was young he was told that his compositions were reminiscent of John Field (the originator of that musical form).  By the end of Field's life he was annoyed to be repeatedly described as "Chopinesque".

But this is a form that we would recognize today as modern popular music, still written for television and the mass media.  Modern.  We can thank Chopin for that.  His life was short, but blazed bright.

* Sons, too, but sons were still sent off into the world to earn their fortunes.  Daughters became the traditional focus of family evening entertainment in the Victorian period.

Musical interlude

You add some banjo (and a pickup truck) and this could be country music.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


The new Tech Sights on the Ruger 10/22 have #2 Son psyched about shooting it at Appleseed.  I have to say, it's doubled the "bad ass" value of the Ruger.  Hopefully, he'll want to shoot it a bunch.  I'll post pictures later when I have a second.

1500 rounds of ammunition showed up today.  I think that the Brown Truck of Happiness delivery guy is getting the idea that I like heavy things.  500 rounds are for the SKS, which we'll take to Appleseed along with the Ruger.  I'm pretty sure that a couple thousand rounds of ammo counts as a ZOMG arsenal!!!eleventy! back in Massachusetts.

The Mrs. started a job yesterday.  She doesn't know that she's keeping me in ammunition ...

Being out in Texas has really made me realize just how terrible the Atlanta country music radio stations are.  Matter of fact, you get better country music radio in Boston.  I find that I'm listening to lots of Classic Rock.

Snooty east Cobb county seems to have a bunch of gun stores and shooting ranges.  Need to try some of these out.  Not a lot of outdoor rifle ranges, though.

Sad news

Six has lost his mother.  This is, perhaps, something that all of use go through some day, but that's no consolation.  I miss Dad every day.  I hope that in time his grief will change from a sharp stab to a dull throb.

Rest in peace, Ma'am.

Paul Thorn - It's A Great Day (For Me To Whoop Somebody's Ass)

(Image via Wikipedia)
Actually, it's a great day - just this song makes me chuckle.  Paul Thorn is a Blues/Rock singer/songwriter with a sense of humor.  This song reminds me of John Prine, who Thorn opens for on some tours.

While it's not quite Country, it's about a situation that all of us have found ourselves in.  I hope that all y'all are having a great day like me; if not, then I hope it's a great day for you to kick someone's ass.

It's A Great Day (For Me To Whoop Somebody's Ass) (Songwriter: Paul Thorn)
Have You Ever Had One Of Those Days
when Nothing Goes Right
your Wife Starts Bitchen 'bout Whatever It Was She Was Bitchen About Last Night
so You Escape Into The Bathroom
just To Sit There On Your Thrown
but After You Finish Your Buisness The Toilet Paper's Gone

well It's A Great Day For Me To Whup Somebody's Ass
it's A Bad Day So You Better Get Off My Back
you Might Get Cold Cock If You Cross My Path
cuz It's A Great Day For Me To Whup Somebody's Ass

well I Was Runnin Late For Work
so I Poured Me Some Coffee To Go
and Just Before I Had A Flat Tire I Spilled It All Over My Clothes
when The Highway Patrollman Pulled Up I Thought That Help Was On The Way
but When He Saw The Tire Tool In My Hand He Shot Me With Pepper Spray

well It's A Great Day For Me To Whup Somebody's Ass
it's A Bad Day So You Better Get Off My Back
you Might Get Cold Cocked If You Cross My Path
cuz It's A Great Day For Me To Whup Somebody's Ass

when I Finally Made It To Work
i Was 15 Minutes Late
i Told My Boss About The Flat Tire
but He Fired Me Anyway
so Here I Am Out In The Parking Lot
just Waiting By His Corvet
i'm Gonna Give Him A Goodbye Present That He Never Will Forget

cuz It's A Great Day For Me To Whup Somebody's Ass
it's A Bad Day So You Better Get Off My Back
you Might Get Cold Cocked If You Cross My Path
cuz It's A Great Day For Me To Whup Somebody's Ass

Negligent discharge

Over at Weer'd's:
I mad a bad choice by killing him with a bolt of fire. The bolt bounced and hit me….I survived that. But my potions of Gain Ability, and Potion of Gain Level (seriously! Now that’s just cruel!) boiled and exploded and THAT killed me!

I should have used the wand of sleep to knock him out and kill the bastard while he snored.
Rule Four includes likely ricochets, is all I'm sayin'.  But good backup plan with the wand.  Two is one and one is none, and all that ...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Badass of the week

Interesting site, filled with, well, bas asses.  Guys like Simo Häyhä:
Now when you think of Finland, the phrase "military powerhouse" isn't exactly the first thing that pops into your head.  Likewise, when you looked at Simo Häyhä, a slight-framed Finnish farmer who didn't stand an inch over five feet tall, you also probably didn't think "total fucking unstoppable badass".  Well let's just say that first impressions can be deceiving.

Simo was a member of a Finnish organization roughly equivalent to the minutemen of the American Revolution.  He had done his state-mandated one-year term in the Finnish Army, reaching the rank of corporal, and was living a peaceful life in a farming village not far from the Russian border, spending his days farming, hunting, and crushing giant logs into sawdust with his bare hands.  When the Soviets crossed the border into Finland with the expressed purpose of busting Finnish heads, Simo was called up into service.  He went out to the wood shed behind his house, grabbed his old-school Russian-made Mosin-Nagant M28/30 rifle and headed out to take some commies behind a proverbial woodshed of his own.
Anyone who gets artillery strikes called down on him personally is bad ass.  The rest is even better.  All I can say is that the best shot that I've ever met in person is from Finland (hi, Sami!).  He's pretty bad ass, too.

Me, I find Horse's Asses pretty much everywhere

But I didn't realize just how surrounded we are by them.  Cool story of how railroad tracks echo the ruts that chariots left in Roman roads.

All roads lead to Rome

And now there's an Imperial Mapquest to give you directions from Gallia Narbonensus.

Nice touch calculating that going by boat is both faster and cheaper.  Roman roads were unmatched until the 19th Century, but you still wanted to sail if you could.

Sign me up

Well, you don't have to bother, because I signed myself and #2 Son up for the June 9-10 Project Appleseed in Waco, GA.  I heard that all the Cool Kids would be there.  The 'Patch is going for his patch, so to speak.

I have new military sights for the 10/22 from Tech Sights, and a new web sling for the thing, too.  Need to pick up some more 10 round magazines, but that should be pretty easy.

#2 Son wants to try out for the JROTC rifle squad next year, and so this will be a good foundation for him.  Me, I'd like to shoot "expert" like Dad did in Basic - he was quite proud of that - but he had 20 year old eyes back then and mine are (ahem) a little older.  Still, if you don't have a goal, you'll never reach it.

Next step: join the Garand Collector's Association.  Then it's a trip to Anniston, AL in mid-June.  For a change, I'll be quite happy driving west on I-20.

Needless to say, I'm quite psyched about the whole thing.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sole Survivor

A week or so back, there was a post over at Ace Of Spades about the new P-40 that was discovered in the North African desert, and how this had happened before with the B-24 "Lady Be Good".  That bomber - and the remains of its crew - were discovered by an oil exploration team in the 1950s.  A TV Movie, Sole Survivor was made in the late 1960s, staring (among others), William Shatner.

I remember watching it when it aired.  I was 12 at the time, and it fascinated me and creeped me out at the same time.  It was very Twilight Zone.  This is how they made military dramas back when only two decades had passed from when every family had someone in uniform.  Hollywood couldn't conceive anything like this today.

Well, someone has uploaded it to Youtube.  Recommended, more than I can say.

Remember the crew of Lady Be Good, especially the one they couldn't find.