Monday, June 30, 2014

LULZ


Backstory here.

The Jayhawks - High Water Blues

Old is new.



"Alt" something sound FTW.

So just how good is the secure "Blackphone"?

Exclusive review:
Both Silent Phone and Silent Text work over broadband cellular or Wi-Fi. Combined, they’re like the privacy advocate’s version of Skype: they provide voice and video calls, conferencing, and text chat, but all via peer-to-peer key exchange without an intervening server. There’s also the added benefit of encrypted file transfer.

Silent Phone is essentially an encrypted SIP phone network. The Silent Circle cloud service provides a directory service that connects users’ account names and IP addresses and then brokers a connection between them based on a public key exchange. It also provides a bridge to Plain Old Telephone Service systems, allowing users to call landlines or cell phone users who are outside of the service, encrypting and anonymizing the source of the call. Silent Phone also can create peer-to-peer conference calls, with one phone acting as the hub for a conversation.

When you place a voice or video call to another Silent Circle user, there’s an exchange of public keys between the apps and then the call begins. As an additional verification measure, the system automatically generates a two-word verbal challenge that you can use to verify you’ve actually got a secure connection. Tap the words to confirm, and Silent Phone displays three green circles to show you’re secure.

...

So, we’ve verified it: Blackphone is pretty damn secure.
But not cheap.  Almost $900 for a 2 year subscription (although that comes with 2 family licenses that lets the same software run on plan jane Android smart phones).

I can think of a half dozen ways that the NSA could try to go after this, but the cool thing is that none of the attacks are trivial.  It would take effort on their part, and effort runs against their "automagically sweep up everything" strategy.  Essentially, it's a financial Denial Of Service attack against Ft. Meade's domestic surveillance effort.  And the NSA brought this on themselves by their over reach.

I'd point out that if you want one, you'll have to wait - their entire initial production run is already sold out and it's not even shipping yet.

Men are like cats, women are like dogs

Actually, this is pretty close (and very funny).


Hollywood respect for the troops

Sometimes it's in unexpected places:
Check it out: Golden-Globe-winning, Oscar-nominated actress Amy Adams, made the news Friday by quietly and classily giving up her first-class seat to a soldier on a flight.  This stunned me because most actors in Hollywood work their butts off and visit many a casting couch to get a first-class seat tucked away from the cattle in coach.  Truth be told, so do a lot of conservative pundits that I’ve had the misfortune to meet in my foray into this field.

...

Miss Adams was not only classy in giving up her first class seat to one of our warriors, but she also didn’t pimp out her good deed on Instagram with a selfie as some Kardashian stunt to solicit high praise for a staged act.  Matter of fact, we wouldn’t even know about what she had done had not ESPN’s Jemele Hill recognized her, watched the seat exchange go down and then tweeted about it.
I'm not sure when it started, but I'd managed to take somewhat of a dislike to Miss Adams somewhere along the line.  This has made me reconsider.  Well done.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

All of Them # 1

Loaded. Every one of them. Every time. This won't be my last post on this topic. I wish it would be, I genuinely do, but it won't. I made a label and started a count. Here's a link to the first in a long sad series and the opening line in the article.
"A vendor accidentally shot a woman in the leg while demonstrating a gun and holster at a central Pennsylvania gun show, police said."

And here, from the Cornered Cat, are The Four Rules that could have prevented this and every other accidental negligent shooting.


LOL


Shamelessly stolen from GFA.  He has more.

Something very interesting - and unprecedented - is going on with the climate databases

A few of you have emailed me about last week's reports that climate data has been "faked".  I've posted many times on how there are fishy things in the climate databases, so this didn't seem particularly new.  Also, there seemed to be a lot of skepticism in the skeptic part of the climate blogosphere.  Judy Curry has a post that sums the situation up nicely:
Last week, the mainstream media was abuzz with claims by skeptical blogger Steve Goddard that NOAA and NASA have dramatically altered the US temperature record.  For examples of MSM coverage, see:
Further, this story was carried as the lead story on Drudge for a day.

First off the block to challenge Goddard came Ronald Bailey at reason.com in an article Did NASA/NOAA Dramatically Alter U.S. Temperatures After 2000?  that cites communication with Anthony Watts, who is critical of Goddard’s analysis, as well as being critical of NASA/NOAA.

Politifact chimed in with an article that assessed Goddard’s claims, based on Watt’s statements and also an analysis by Zeke Hausfather. Politifact summarized with this statement:  We rate the claim Pants on Fire.

I didn’t pay much attention to this, until Politifact asked me for my opinion.  I said that I hadn’t looked at it myself, but referred them to Zeke and Watts.  I did tweet their Pants on Fire conclusion.

Skepticism in the technical climate blogosphere

Over at the Blackboard, Zeke Hausfather has a three-part series about Goddard’s analysis –  How not to calculate temperatures (Part I, Part II, Part III).  Without getting into the technical details here, the critiques relate to the topics of data dropout, data infilling/gridding, time of day adjustments, and the use of physical temperatures versus anomalies.  The comments thread on Part II is very good, well worth reading.

Anthony Watts has a two-part series On denying hockey sticks, USHCN data and all that (Part 1, Part 2).  The posts document Watts’ communications with Goddard, and make mostly the same technical points as Zeke.  There are some good technical comments in Part 2, and Watts makes a proposal regarding the use of US reference stations.

Nick Stokes has two technical posts that relate to Goddard’s analysis: USHCN adjustments, averages, getting it right  and TOBS nailed.

While I haven’t dug into all this myself, the above analyses seem robust, and it seems that Goddard has made some analysis errors.
Clearly, Goddard has made some substantial analytical errors.  The mainstream science community and most of the MSM have ignore this story.  But the plot thickens:
OK, acknowledging that Goddard made some analysis errors, I am still left with some uneasiness about the actual data, and why it keeps changing.  For example, Jennifer Marohasy has been writing about Corrupting Australian’s temperature record.

In the midst of preparing this blog post, I received an email from Anthony Watts, suggesting that I hold off on my post since there is some breaking news.  Watts pointed me to a post  by Paul Homewood entitled Massive Temperature Adjustments At Luling, Texas.  Excerpt:

So, I thought it might be worth looking in more detail at a few stations, to see what is going on. In Steve’s post, mentioned above, he links to the USHCN Final dataset for monthly temperatures, making the point that approx 40% of these monthly readings are “estimated”, as there is no raw data.

From this dataset, I picked the one at the top of the list, (which appears to be totally random), Station number 415429, which is Luling, Texas.

...
Yet, according to the USHCN dataset, all ten months from March to December are “Estimated”. Why, when there is full data available?

But it gets worse. The table below compares the actual station data with what USHCN describe as “the bias-adjusted temperature”. The results are shocking.

In other words, the adjustments have added an astonishing 1.35C to the annual temperature for 2013. Note also that I have included the same figures for 1934, which show that the adjustment has reduced temperatures that year by 0.91C. So, the net effect of the adjustments between 1934 and 2013 has been to add 2.26C of warming.
This idea has been bandied about the 'net for five years or so - that the climate databases are filled with unjustifiable adjustments to the data that may make up much - or possibly all - of the reported warming during the 20th Century.  One of my first posts on (in 2009) this is titled How To Create A Scientific Consensus On Global Warming*:
All the Climatologists in the world will look at this data. How much do the adjustments change the results?

We don't know, but people are starting to look. They're starting to find that adjustments change the data a lot. They change the data so much that they show that the earth is warming when the raw data may show that it's cooling.

Let me say that again: Thermometers may be showing that the Earth is cooling, but adjustments to this data show a rapid temperature rise.
Remember "hide the decline"? 

So what is unprecedented about this?  Well, it seems that NOAA is now starting to take this seriously.  Curry again:
I’ve been in email communications with Watts through much of Friday, and he’s been pursuing the issue along with Zeke and help from Neilsen-Gammon to NCDC directly, who is reportedly taking it seriously. Not only does Watts plan to issue a statement on how he missed Goddard’s original issue, he says that additional problems have been discovered and that NOAA/NCDC will be issuing some sort of statement, possibly also a correction, next week. (Watts has approved me making this statement).
This is big, big stuff.  We will need to see how this plays out, but this is a seismic shift.  Curry does an excellent job of introducing a complicated subject, the players, and the dynamic.  I strongly encourage you to click through and RTWT.

Oh, and read my 2009 post, too.  Happy to be four and a half years ahead of NOAA.  No need to thank me, it's all part of being a full service climate blog.

* I have quite a few of my climate posts gathered here.  Probably need to update that, since the post is four years old or something.

This shows a little more skin than usual around here

What the heck.


The speedos were a thoughtful addition.

Georg Frideric Handel - Israel In Egypt (oldest recorded music?)

Queen Victoria opens the Crystal
Palace in 1851.  Image via La Wik
On this day in 1888, Col. George Gouraud used Thomas Edison's parafin cylinder to record Handel's oratorio.  It captured the sound of several thousand singers performing at the Crystal Palace Handel Festival, and is perhaps the oldest recorded music that we can still listen to.  Col. Gouraud (recipient of the Medal of Honor in the American War for Southern Independence) is dead these hundred years or more; the Crystal Palace burned to the ground in 1936.  But the recording gives us the ghosts of 125 years ago, performing to as much enjoyment in their day as we have in ours.



The original recording is identifiable in the digitized version of the original parafin cylinder.


On the Line

Sometimes all the effort, the reloading, the knowledge, and the sunk costs take a backseat. Sometimes it is just fun to go to the range, lay down in the grass, and send some rounds downrange.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Travel isn't what it's cracked up to be

I have a younger colleague at work who found that he was needed in Passadena.  Being one of the younger pups, he was excited to be going to a place where he'd be surrounded by Southern California Belles.  I tried to warn him not to get his expectations too high ...


What to do if the police try to search your phone

Via the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU, some good advice:
The absolute best way to protect your phone from police inspection is to keep it locked with a passcode, which will keep an officer from rummaging through your Facebook photos as you stand beside him in handcuffs.

“The most simple precaution you can take is to make sure your phone is locked and/or encrypted,” says Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “The police may take your phone, may try to look at it unconstitutionally, but they won't be able to.”
This is good security practice anyway.  But the "interesting" bit comes after Officer Friendly decides he's going to look anyway.  Lots of good info about how to handle this at the link.

Caturday

After three and a half years I finally set up my pool table.  Crash the Wondercat approves.


The flash makes his eyes look like they're powered by a nuclear reactor, which is pretty funny.  But the felt is collecting white hair pretty fast which isn't as funny.

Why yes. I found Jesus at the Shooting Range.

Goober is situationally aware.

And when some nogoodnick asks you if you've found Jesus you answer, well, look at the post title ...

Icelandic Country Music

It's said that Country Music is about something that's happened to you, or to someone you know.  This song has happened to most of us, and some awesome neo-Vikings have created it in Iceland.

Route 66° North.  Yeah, baby.



This isn't American music, this is everyone's music.  Because it's happened to everyone, or to someone they know.  Or they'd like it to happen.  Freedom smells like a V-twin.

Friday, June 27, 2014

29 years without Route 66

It was Unrouted on this day in 1985.  If there's a better example that the Federal Government agencies are staffed with nincompoops, I don't know what it is.  Don't believe me?  Watch.



The road was so iconic that it inspired iconic music (recorded by everyone).  And so the Federales say nah - let's get rid of that.Think you could eliminate the entire office that did that and nobody in the Republic would notice.

Security Smorgasbord, vol 6 no 1

Paypal's 2-factor authentication is entirely broken:
Researchers at DUO Security claim to have found a way of bypassing a two factor authentication feature that secures logins to Paypal.com, eBay’s online payment service.

The vulnerability could allow an attacker who has stolen a Paypal customer’s user name and password to gain access to the account, even though the customer had enabled the more secure two-factor authentication option.
Two factor authentication is a big step up from the normal username/password.  Often it's implemented by sending you a random string of text and/or numbers via SMS to your phone.  This way, you need not only to steal the username and password, but the person's cell phone as well.  Unless the way the two factor authentication is implemented is broken.  Oops.  Paypal users, FYI.  Paypal said they're "working on it", whatever that means.

Why do you rob banks?  Because that's where the money is:
The experts at Kaspersky Lab have discovered evidence of a targeted attack against the clients of a large European bank. According to the logs found in the server used by the attackers, apparently in the space of just one week cybercriminals stole more than half a million euros from accounts in the bank.

The first signs of this campaign were discovered on 20 January this year when a C&C [Command & Control - Borepatch] server was detected on the net. The server’s control panel indicated evidence of a Trojan program used to steal money from clients’ bank accounts.

The experts also detected transaction logs on the server, containing information about which sums of money were taken from which accounts. All in all, more than 190 victims could be identified, most of them located in Italy and Turkey. The sums stolen from each bank account, according to the logs, ranged between 1,700 to 39,000 euros.

The campaign was at least one week old when the C&C was discovered, having started no later than Jan. 13 2014. In that time the cybercriminals successfully stole more than 500,000 Euros. Two days after GReAT discovered the C&C server, the criminals removed every shred of evidence that might be used to trace them. However, experts think this was probably linked to changes in the technical infrastructure used in the malicious campaign rather spelling the end of the Luuuk campaign.
If you bank online, you should check your account every day.

History repeats itself because nobody listens the first time:
The security industry is adding layers of defensive technologies to protect systems rather than addressing the most substantial, underlying problems that sustain a sprawling cybercrime syndicate, according to an industry luminary who painted a bleak picture of the future of information security at a conference of hundreds of incident responders in Boston Tuesday.

Eugene Spafford, a noted computer security expert and professor of computer science at Purdue University, said software makers continue to churn out products riddled with vulnerabilities, creating an incessant patching cycle for IT administrators that siphons resources from more critical areas. The problem has grown so bad that today businesses are rushing to invest in many of the latest security technologies designed to detect infections without any ability to efficiently address them, Spafford said.

“Instead of building secure systems, we are getting further and further away from solid construction by putting layer upon layer on top of these systems,” Spafford said. “The idea is for vendors to push things out rather than get things right the first time.”
Spaf is one of the luminaries of the industry, and is absolutely correct here.  It's getting much worse with poorly coded apps for smart phones.  Just wait for the "Internet Of Things" to computerize your house ...

Is it OK for me to hate on Google Glass users?  Please?
Google Glass wearers can snoop on passcodes and other sensitive information with only a passing glance, according to a proof-of-concept demo by security researchers.

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Lowell were able to use video streams from wearables like Google Glass and the Samsung smartwatch to capture four-digit PIN codes typed onto an iPad from around three metres away.
ASM826 has been posting about situational awareness.  Be aware of who's near you when you're at the ATM.

Stance

The Professional Gunfighter is a website run by several active law enforcement / SWAT officers and firearms instructors. They speak from experience and often have articles posted that address training. They have a series posted on fundamentals. The first section is on stance, how you place your feet, where you hold the gun, etc.

Here's a short quote.
While training, your stance affects all of the other fundamentals. If you don’t build a good platform, you will struggle with sight alignment, trigger control and everything else. With a pistol, stand up! I see so many people scrunching behind their pistols, burying their heads between their shoulders like they are a hunched back, bell-ringing Quasimodo.

RTWT

The Republican Party in the "Awkward Stage"

The GOP Senate runoff election in Mississippi is instructive at how useless that party is in the cause of restoring the Republic.  Consider:
A Republican Party campaigning on making the Senate “conservative,” used liberal Democrats to preserve an incumbent Republican and defeat a conservative. The actual conservatives are the outsiders with the GOP establishment doing all it could to preserve its power at the expense of its principles.


The problem for those who call themselves Republicans is that it is harder and harder to say exactly what a Republican is these days. The great lesson from Mississippi is that Republican means, more or less, that if elected the party will reward its major donors, who are just different than the Democrats’ major donors. Policy differences are about different donors, not an actual agenda to shift the country in a different direction.
Consider:
“[They] orchestrated flyers that called me a racist,” [McDaniels] said. “They said I would end food stamps for everyone. They went into the same communities with speaker trucks and said that I was trying to suppress votes in those communities. They did every dirty trick in the book, behaving just like liberal Democrats do.”
Consider:
National advocacy groups such as the National Rifle Association and the American Action Network have gone to bat, with the NRA rushing to Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran’s aid
As if we needed another reason to despise the NRA ...

Consider:
Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question,
now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked
from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already
it was impossible to say which was which.
Consider:
America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.
....

On the road to tyranny, we've gone so far that polite political action is as useless as a miniskirt in a convent. But most people are still standing around numb and confused, knowing something's wrong with the country, but hoping it isn't quite as bad as they're beginning to suspect it is.
....

Something's eventually going to happen. Government will bloat until it chokes us to death, or one more tyrannical power grab will turn out to be one too many.
Or you can relax in the belief that the Party of Caesar will be checked by the Party of Antony.  And the circuses are entertaining and the bread is free.

Doubled

That's what ASM826 has done to the number of comments left here by y'all over the last couple days.  I'm pretty thrilled having him post here, and I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one.

I have been not too bad about getting posts up (and *ahem* wordy posts at that), but ASM826 is doing yeoman work getting this to be a place that you like to hang out.  That's pretty awesome.

Buy a Safe

Really, any sort of safe will keep a child out of your toys. A good safe will make it harder for a thief to steal your toys. This lady could have benefited from a safe.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bill Wyman & Rhythm Kings ~ Chicken Shack Boogie

Some Boogie Woogie as a little change from the usual Thursday Blues.


Brian Enos

I train with people and have learned from people that have real world experience. The first thing they tell you is that you will react out of training under stress. The way you train, from grip to stance to how you reload, will come automatically. Train poorly and you will have poor skills.

I have some experience in competitive shooting, again nothing I want to offer advice based on. What I want to do is point you to other sites and resources that I have learned from. Here's one. Brian Enos (shooting biography here) is a competition shooter who has written some books on the subject and hosts a large website that includes a forum. I will be referencing some of the information there in future posts.

Brian has approached shooting as a martial art. Some of his writing is about the philosophy he has used to be successful as a competitive shooter. This is a book about shooting. Worth reading because he lets you inside his thinking.

How to get away with murder

Be a cop:
As Saenz was dragged back outside for transport to the hospital to be treated, he struggled with officers but never left the ground, his hands clamped behind his back in handcuffs. Officers couldn’t control Saenz, but he didn’t appear to be much of a credible threat to either of them, with his hands in cuffs behind his back and his pants falling down. He was certainly a nuisance and refusing to cooperate, but wasn’t much of a threat.

After struggling with Saenz for several minutes and apparently getting frustrated  with their inability to get Saenz sufficiently subdued, one of the officers, El Paso Police Officer Jose Flores, pulls his pistol and shoots a downed and restrained Saenz from behind, twice, killing him.

Note the muzzle flash.  This execution was captured live on video.  The result of a policeman shooting in the back a possibly mentally ill, handcuffed man lying on the ground?
Prosecutors have refused to charge Flores for what appears to be an execution born of nothing more than an officer’s frustration to get a restrained suspect to comply.
So what's the difference between the picture above and this one?


The answer, of course, is that there's no difference at all to the men lying on the ground.  Yeah, Godwin's Law and all that.

Does the USA advance in the World Cup?

It's currently a draw at halftime.  We advance if we beat Germany, otherwise the outcome is complex and dependent on the score against Germany as well as the outcome of the Portugual-Ghana game.  Nat Silver's 538 has a nice breakdown of whether we advance or not:


More complicated than the Infield Fly Rule ...

Musing

Obama wanted to fundamentally transform the Republic.  If you take that to mean "end the Pax Americana" then he has largely succeeded.  The results from Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, the East China Sea, and other places shows pretty clearly that this is likely a very bad thing indeed for the world's population.

While I'm completely sympathetic to the notion that the USA should not be the World's Policeman (particularly when most people hate us for that), I wonder if the Nobel Peace Prize committee is having second thoughts.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The meaning of Life

It's more than 42:
My advice?  Take it easy on yourself.  Life is far from perfect.  You are far from perfect.  You’ll make mistakes.  You’ll do stupid stuff and cost yourself money or standing.  It will be inevitable.  The search for the storybook perfect life is one of futility.  No one has ever had it.  Seeking it is folly.  Do your best, and take pride in the fact that you are doing your best, and be content with that.
That's one wicket smart fellow, right there.  RTWT.  It says this:



Make peace with God and make peace with yourself
In the end there's nobody else ...

A Baseball Analogy

There are a lot of fighting arts; Muay Thai, Krav Magra, Escrima, Pencak Silat, Katate, Jiu Jjitsu, and so on. There are also a number of sports that have evolved out of fighting arts, MMA, boxing, wrestling, judo, and so on. People take up these arts and sports for a number of reasons. Fitness and self defense are often cited.

So you study an art for several years, you put your time and your money into it. You get in (better) shape. You think you've learned something. And then there's a confrontation of some sort and you lose. The sudden flurry of punches, an improvised weapon, and you're beaten and robbed. At this point, you may tell yourself , "Well, my <$MARTIAL ART> didn't work."

I have heard it. Yesterday, someone created a user profile just so they could troll my post and insult the art I study for being useless and ineffective. Now, they might be right about me, I might not be able to effectively defend myself from a young strong attacker with a weapon. However, I do not think that in and of itself says anything about my <$MARTIAL ART> or yours.

Here's why. Let's say we're playing major league baseball. We've all been practicing since T-ball, played at every level, worked our way up from the minors. The game is in progress. One of us comes up to bat. Another is pitching and all the fielding positions are ready. The pitcher throws. At this point there are a number of possible outcomes. Batter gets a hit, batter misses, batter gets thrown out, ball is fouled off, batter hits a fly ball that gets caught.

 If the batter misses do we see it from his perspective and say baseball failed? If the batter gets a hit, do we see it from the pitcher's perspective and say baseball failed? Or do we see that the outcomes are fluid and changing? That more training and better coaching effect the outcome of the game. If the batter improves his skills, he is more likely to get a hit. If the pitcher improves his, he is more likely to get the batter out. If the fielders are fast, attentive, and experienced, they will make less errors, catch more of the balls hit in their direction, and prevent hits. We all understand it is a nonsensical statement to look at a baseball event and blame baseball for the outcome.

So too in a fighting altercation. Being stronger, faster, more aerobically fit, having better skills, being mentally prepared all affect the outcome. It's not the particular art, it's the whole package that counts. And just like there's a batter out there that's going to crush your best pitch, there's people out there that could take you effortlessly no matter how or what you train. What you are doing is shifting your location on the scale. Because you are not training to go up against the best fighter in the MMA.

You're training to face a threat on the street to you or a loved one. Perhaps your training is just enough to give you the skill to escape, survive, or avoid the fight completely. Or it's enough to help you to slip that first attack and gain enough space to draw your firearm. Training shifts the odds. That's all. Maybe, in that one desperate moment, they shift them enough.

Geek tip: how to extract specific pages from a multi-page PDF file

This is uber geeky, and so if that's not your bag, Baby, then you might want to skip this.

I recently had to break down a multi-page PDF file into different PDFs - basically, rearranging the file into logical sections each as its own file.  This is neatThis, too.

As you'd expect, there are ways to combine multiple PDF files into a single PDF as well.

We now return you to a less geeky normal blogging schedule.

Count The Passes

How many times does the team in white pass the basketball?

Six years of blogging

When I was One, I had just begun.
When I was Two, I was nearly new.
When I was Three I was hardly me.
When I was Four, I was not much more.
When I was Five, I was just alive.
But now I am Six, I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.

- A. A. Milne, Now We Are Six
I put my first post up here six years ago.  It wasn't particularly good.  Looking back on it I find myself surprised to find the fledgling blogger refer to "Bore Patch".  In a sense, I hadn't become my blogging self.

I didn't know what this would turn out to be, even.  Certainly not six years and going on 9,000 posts (!) and almost 32,000 comments (!!).

What it's been is an often times saving grace during some difficult times.  It is an old saying of historians that happy is the land that has no history, and there's been rather more history these last six years than I'd like.

But through it all, it's been a great comfort that you keep coming back here.  I never imagined that this would be the greatest lesson of blogging, those six years back, and I'm profoundly grateful for that.

I've also met a bunch of you in real life, and made some deep friendships which I never would have known had I not set sail for that terra incognita aboard the good ship Blogger.  One of those bloggers now blogs here, adding some shooting and martial arts posts that had been sadly lacking.  There's a parable in that - we're none of us as strong as all of us, and I don't say that in the creepy fascist* way but rather in a very grateful personal way.  Thank you all for coming here, for being part of something that is far bigger than any one of us.
The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers and cities; but to know someone who thinks and feels with us, and who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.
- Goethe

* The fasces was an axe surrounded by a bunch of sticks, used as a symbol of office by the ancient Romans.  Each stick by itself was easy to break, but all of the sticks together made up a formidable strength.  Mussolini was quite taken by this metaphor, in a creepy way.  I'm also taken with the metaphor, but in quite a different - and personal - way.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Situational Awareness

Back on June 9th, a couple walked walked into a Las Vegas CiCi's pizza and shot 2 policemen to death. The officers were in uniform and armed. I'm guessing they were essentially eating lunch condition white. I mean, who would confront a couple of armed cops?

The couple then walked across the street and into a Walmart where they fired a shot or two and announced a revolution. A concealed carry permit holder made his decision and pushed his chips into the game. He gambled and lost. He was so focused on his confrontation with the man he never saw the woman with a gun until she shot him in the ribs from behind.

Having guns didn't save them. Whatever else they might have done to prevent their own deaths, they were not unarmed.

Oscar Isaac - Fare Thee Well


The U.S. Government's justification for why they can kill you without a trial

Now online, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act filing by the New York Times and the ACLU.

Wadoki Aikido

.45ACP+P asked if what I was doing was Aikido and he is correct. Aikido has a number of different types and schools. I am practicing Wadoki Aikido, a style founded by Roy Suenaka, one of the Founder's young students in Japan in the 1960s. Aikido is not well known, and the only connection I can give most people is that Aikido is what Steven Seagal uses in his movies.

Wadoki Aikido strives to be a martially effective art. Aikido is a hard art to learn, the learning curve is steep and long. I have been putting a lot of time into it for the last seven years and I still have a long way to go. That being said, I have come to a new plateau and I did pass my nidan test (Thanks for asking, Dave).

Our leadership does not want any video of our techniques posted on-line, so I can not show you my test or other techniques. Other styles do not have this restriction. So here is Tissier Sensei, at a demonstration in France. I am sure it was practiced, but I doubt it was choreographed. I know from personal experience that I could attack any of several senior instructors I know any way I wanted, as hard as I wanted, and the only reason the outcome wouldn't be devastating to me is that they were being gentle. I can roll and take falls like his students, but perhaps not with quite the grace being displayed.

 I am sharing this because it will fit in with the firearms posts. It is part of my journey and influences my opinion that it is not enough just to have a gun.

The Security State as a bumbling giant

The Government security apparatus doesn't realize that the key to getting the People's cooperation is to be widely seen as being not just reasonable, but on the People's side.  Because who knows what the People could do if they thought otherwise:
Local police confiscate a suspected drug dealer's phone—only to find that he has called his mother and no one else. Meanwhile a journalist's phone is examined by airport security. But when officials look to see what is on it, they find that she has spent all her time at the beach. The drug dealer and the journalist are free to go. Minutes later the names, numbers and GPS data that the police were looking for reappear.

A new programming technique could bring these scenarios to life. Computer scientist Karl-Johan Karlsson has reprogrammed a phone to lie. By modifying the operating system of an Android-based smartphone, he was able to put decoy data on it—innocent numbers, for example—so that the real data escape forensics. He presented the hack in January at the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.
Governments are filled with not very smart people in positions of power.  Often time their time horizon is short, and no thought whatsoever is spent on foreseeing the unforeseen consequences of their actions.  The security world in particular excels at routing around this sort of drooling idiocy.

The Security State is run amok, and has absolutely no idea what it is creating.
Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?
- Sun Tzu

Weapons, Situational Awareness, and the Modern World

I have been off the grid for a week, training in the woods of South Carolina at an old Civilian Conservation Corps camp that was turned into a summer camp decades ago. Running water and an ice machine in the messhall are height of technology for the week. Cold shower heads on the outside of a building, an old hall we put down training mats in for a dojo, little sleep, no A/C, and the opportunity to train with all the senior instructors round out the experience.

I have been studying a martial art for the last 7 years. The summer camp week is the highlight of the year for the organization. I had no expectations of where it would lead when I started. I just wanted something to help keep me in shape, maybe up my skill set for those times when I cannot carry a firearm.

 I have lost 45 pounds. I work out 2 hours a night, three nights a week, do some seminars and extra practice, and participate in the summer camp every year. I am 57.

In the image below, I am the somewhat blurry figure in the center, throwing the very blurry guy. The three people on the stage are the testing board. It is after 2 AM and I have been up 20 hours after getting about 4 hours sleep the night before. I am testing for nidan, 2nd degree black belt.


I have friends, especially friends at the range, that question what I have been doing. I'm too old, it's not practical, there's the risk of training injuries, etc. I disagree. You're never too old. It teaches me things about situational awareness, it makes me stronger, and it teaches me new skills. Skills that the need for have not really diminished in the modern world.

India cracks down on Greenpeace

Expect to see more of this sort of thing:
Indian Home Ministry places curbs on each foreign donation
Following an Intelligence Bureau (IB) report that alleged foreign-funded NGOs were creating obstacles to India’s economic growth, the Home Ministry has clamped down on Greenpeace, an international campaign group present in 40 countries.

...

In a letter dated 13th June, the Ministry has directed the Reserve Bank of India that all foreign contributions originating from Greenpeace International and Climate Works Foundation — two principal international contributors to Greenpeace India Society — must be kept on hold until individual clearances are obtained from the Ministry for each transaction.
Quite frankly, India has correctly identified the problem, which is rich Progressives in the west trying to keep the Emerging World's populations poor and hungry.  Good for them taking action against Greenpeace.  Now Europe needs to do the same thing:
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato), and former premier of Denmark, told the Chatham House thinktank in London on Thursday that Vladimir Putin’s government was behind attempts to discredit fracking, according to reports.

Rasmussen said: “I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations - environmental organisations working against shale gas - to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas.”
What - a bunch of Euro dirty hippies in cahoots with Socialist military intelligence?  That's crazy talk.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Park Se Young (박세영) - Shall We Dance

I found this entirely charming.  I assume that Miss Park is a Korean pop singer.  It's still entirely charming, even if it is pop.  Makes me want to foxtrot, actually.


Does the NSA own bitcoin?

Hmmm:
Eventually, selfishness will lead one group to rig, cheat, control, etc. the system so they can get better returns.  That's exactly what happened.  Here's the flaw they exploited.


When a single entity ("a single miner" or "a mining pool") controls over 50% of the transaction processing it can control the entire system.   This means they can "see" every transaction, spend the same coins more than once, and deny transactions they don't approve of. 

That's finally happened.  According to analysis from Cornell researchers, a mining pool called GHash has now reached 51% for large stretches of time (effective "ownership" is likely much less).
I don't know enough about bitcoin mathematics, but there seems to be a fair amount of buzz about this.

Quote of the Day: Higher Education edition

Read it and weep, Progressives:
If ego were marketable, all Ph.D. graduates would get tenure.
RTWT.  Srlsy.  And how is it that I don't have a tag for Hippy Tears?  I really am slacking off.

Soccer musings

It was quite an enjoyable game yesterday, even if I'm American enough to think that a tie is like kissing your sister.  My soccer aficionado friends tell me that there's a decent shot that we'll move on to the next round (just don't lose to Germany).

The local pub was packed - literally standing room only  It was mostly a young crowd, which bodes well for the future of the game in this Republic.  Most of the players seem genuinely American, which is nice - we mostly don't import our World Cup team.

Letting Portugal score in the last 30 seconds of the game is, as they say in New England, a pissah.  Not a Wicked Pissah (which is good), but a plain jane Pissah (which is bad).  I don't make the rules on New England lingo, I just report.

I've actually learned enough about the offsides rule to realize that Portugal had five players offsides at one point during the last two minutes.  Five.  That's like half the team or something.  I guess that Futbol doesn't have a technical foul rule.

I'm actually looking forwards to Thursday and the game against die Deutsche Volk.  Given that Team USA's coach is German, this could be interesting.

My impression so far is that it's more like baseball in the tension you get, but more like basketball in the action (everyone is always running).  The tension wins, which makes it a better spectator sport than basketball.

The idea that the referees can add time to the clock is gay.  And I only say "gay" to redeem my man card after doing a post about soccer ...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I've been unplugged for a bit

I have plenty of blog material*, but it's actually been quite nice not to be on the 'net for a bit.  I've gotten quite a lot done around the house, and read hundreds of pages in this:


Will probably finish it today.  Two volumes down, ten to go.  There's blog material in there, too, but the Muse** does not call.  So instead I'm going to putter around the place, and maybe watch some of the World Cup with #1 Son.  I dare say I'll be back soon, just don't know when.

* I have something like 18 open tabs on blogable topics.  The problem is not coming up with the subjects.

** Blogable trivia: "Museum" is from the ancient Greek.  It was the first temple to the Muses, in the Alexandrian library.  The story's actually more interesting than I just told, which is kind of my whole point.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Whither Iraq?

I certainly don't know.  But there's a sordid history on the Left.  Christopher Hitchens was a passionate man of the Left, and was excommunicated from the Left, for precisely this sort of attack on Leftist hypocrisy.



Would he say this today?  Who knows.  But his loss was a huge loss, because he was true to his self.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My brain is brained out

At least for a bit.  Back in a bit.


There's hope for me yet ...

This was their finest hour

74 years after the "Miracle of Dunkirk", Sir Winston's words still inspire.


What General Weygand has called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.

But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.

Substitue Negligent for Accidental

Guns don’t just “go off”. Someone put their finger on the trigger and pulled. When that happens, everything else is physics. The projectile leaves the barrel and travels until it is stopped by some force. If that barrel was pointed at something you did not intend to shoot, and you pulled the trigger, you were negligent. If you are lucky, you put a hole in the wall, the floor, or the TV. If not, you may have shot yourself, your dog, your child.



HuffPo is all over this,  with a long list of recent "accidental shootings". Not one of them is an accident. In every single case, someone let the muzzle cover another person and then pulled the trigger.  Every single one of these shootings is the result of negligence. Even the ones where a young child shoots someone (or themselves), the owner of the firearm that was negligent.

Those kinds of mistakes are irrevocable. All the tears and regrets after the fact cannot unpull a trigger.

Freedom always includes responsibility. It cannot be avoided. The right to vote includes the responsibility to be informed about the issues and candidates. The right to free speech includes the responsibility for what you choose to say. The right to bear arms includes the responsibility for what you do with those arms. I believe that all of us, as citizens, have rights. We all have to trust one another with the associated responsibilities. The alternative is giving up those rights as HuffPo suggests and living as subjects of the State.

Hard pounding this, gentlemen; let's see who will pound longest

One hundred and ninety nine years ago, the Old Guard refused to surrender, and died.


It was a near thing, as Napoleon came within a hair's breadth of defeating the allies in detail.
Give me night or give me Blücher  ...
- Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington at 5:45 PM


While Wellington has a reputation for being a cold fish, he deeply regretted the loss of blood that day.
My heart is broken by the terrible loss I have sustained in my old friends and companions and my poor soldiers. Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.
L'Empereur no doubt regretted the loss of the Empire, and being hustled away to a remote island in the South Atlantic.  It is not known whether he regretted more the loss of the Old Guard's charge, or of the men. But Europe (mostly) was at peace for a century after the blood splattered day at Waterloo.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Frank Zappa plays the bicycle on The Steve Allen Show

From 1964.


Quote of the Day

From Comrade Misfit:
If this doesn't bring a tear to your eye or a lump to your throat, then I don't even want to know you.
Yeah, me neither.  Click through for the best thing you'll read this month.

Time to buy a lottery ticket

Motorcyclist hits moose, walks away:
A motorcyclist has suffered minor injuries after her bike clipped the back end of a moose on a Vermont road.


Vermont State Police say 44-year-old Christina Hansen of Dallas, Ga., outside Atlanta, was traveling east on U.S. Route 2 in Lunenburg on Monday night when she struck the moose.

Hansen, who was wearing a helmet, was treated for minor injuries at a hospital. The motorcycle had minor damage to its side.
Woah.  People die all the time when their truck hits a moose.  Ms. Hansen is a very lucky biker.

You think the World hates America now ...

... just imagine what things will be like if we win "their" World Cup:
This World Cup isn't letting us down, is it? Iran and Nigeria tried to wreck it but it fought back with vengeance with that superb USA victory. At times it wasn’t pretty by Klinsmann’s side, and Ghana wasted so, so many promising positions, but it was the kind of gutsy display that will give the US hope that they can topple Portugal on Sunday night to book their place in the last-16
And we don't even give a damn about soccer anyway.

Monday, June 16, 2014

JP visited Camp Borepatch ...

... and all he got was a bunch of pictures.

Environmentalists: still trying to kill children

Greenpeace and the other Big Green orgs are still trying to keep golden rice from being distributed:
Agenda 21 not withstanding, everyone is living longer. In the U.S., where about 70 percent of the food in our supermarkets contains ingredients from genetically engineered crops, life expectancy has increased from 76 years in 1996 (when large-scale cultivation of GE crops took off) to nearly 80 years today, and global life expectancy has increased from 66.4 to 71.0 years in the same time period.

As one wag wrote, “If we're less healthy, we sure are coping with it more effectively.” And compared with Europe, which has virtually banned GE crops, there is no discernible difference in cancer rates or lifespans.

Meanwhile, there is a need for what Golden Rice can deliver: vitamin A. According to the World Health Organization an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year, half of them dying within 12 months of losing their sight. “These are real deaths, real disability, real suffering, not the phantom fears… none of which have held up to objective scientific scrutiny,” risk-perception expert David Ropiek writes.

Allowing Golden Rice to be eaten by populations prone to vitamin A Deficiency means that blindness could be prevented (it cannot be cured once it has happened). Less than a cup of cooked Golden Rice provides children 6 to 8-years-old with some 60% of their daily vitamin A needs, not 7 pounds as claimed in the letter to the editor.
Emphasis mine.  We've proved that this is safe, over the course of the last couple decades.

Chalk up more millions of deaths to the Progressive agenda.  But remember, they're nicer than you and I.  They keep telling us that.

My Earliest Reloading

My grandfather was a crusty, opinionated man. I don’t think there are words in English to describe him, or how I felt about him. One thing is certain. He did not treat me like a child. I was always “old enough to know better.”

When I was about 10 year old, he taught me to reload shotgun shells. Once he was sure I was doing it correctly, I was allowed to reload unsupervised. I was meticulous, and loaded box after box. My grandfather used those shells in competition, trusting me to have done them right. As an aside, he trusted them in his guns, and as anyone who reloads knows, that is the point at which you really trust someone.

I would sit at the table at the bottom of the basement stairs. A bucket of old hulls on one side, a half full box of loaded shells on the table. There were boxes of primers, and a large cylindrical can of flake gunpowder nearby. A MEC reloading press was bolted to an old table before me. Powder on one side, shot on the other.

The presses changed a couple of times over the years, and every summer I got a refresher course. One thing I clearly remember was, early on, having to set the wad to a certain compression. The ram on that press had a spring, and as each wad cup was pressed in on top of the powder, it had to be pulled down until that spring was compressed to a certain mark on the frame. On each shell, at that point, I would hook my toes under the crosspiece of the workbench and pull down with both arms, watching carefully to see that I had gotten to the right point on the frame.

I would do a couple of boxes a night, maybe a case over the course of each vacation. Eventually, the powder must have changed, and the need to compress the wads went away. He got a new turret press, where one hull went on and one finished shell came off with each pull of the handle, and the hulls rotated, being deprimed, shaped, primed, powder, wad, shot, and finally crimped, each in their turn.

He passed away at 85, the last of my grandparents. I went back to New Hampshire for the funeral. My uncle took all the guns. I took a couple of cases of his handloaded shells. I shot them, mostly at sporting clays. I have one box left. I have not been able to bring myself to shoot it. It sits on a shelf with the rest of the shotgun ammo, getting a little older all the time.

Is Sitemeter working for anyone else?

It seems like it's entirely wedged for me.  Not collecting data, and I see weird authentication popups from it.

I'd hate to pull the plug, but broken is broken.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Everything that is wrong with the way this society treats men ...

... is on display today at Postsecret.  Don't click through unless you have a strong stomach. All I can say is that there's no way they'd do something like this on Mother's Day.

You can find something to take the taste out of your mouth at Judgy Bitch.

UPDATE 15 June 2014 17:15:  This really has me steamed. Sure, some people have crummy fathers.  Some fathers have crummy, spoiled, self-indulgent kids.  Some great fathers have great kids.  And yet Postsecret ran 100% bad dad on Father's Day.  That's as clear a reflection on the degraded state of society as you can make.

In the meantime, here's a great father, with #2 Son Back In The Day.


I sure miss you, Dad.

Seen in the downtown

Even in Red State Georgia, you still find pockets of resistance ...


Here's a bigger view of the, err, decorations:


Yeah, OK then.

R. I. P. Shaggy

Casey Kasem - the voice of Shaggy - dead at 82.  Thanks for all the laughs, Casey.


Johan Strauss Jr - Vienna Blood Waltz

Who was the greatest father in classical music history?  An interesting intellectual challenge for Father's Day.  You could pick J. S. Bach, with four children who carried on his musical tradition.  You could pick Leopold Mozart, composer, musician, and father of the greatest composer who ever drew breath.

Unfortunately, I've already posted about them, and so they're out.

But Johan Strauss Sr. was the patriarch of a musical clan that nearly approached Bach's.  Strauss Sr was a great popularizer of the Waltz, setting the stage for Strauss Jr and his two other composer sons (and grandson).  Sadly, Johan Sr was not a model father: he had a mistress with whom he fathered a number of children (leading to his divorce by his long suffering wife); he was a bit of a tyrant to his sons, trying to suppress their emergent musical talent; and he was explicitly competitive with Johan Jr once that son began to establish his reputation as a musician.  A sad lesson for this Father's Day indeed.  And so we must conclude that Johan Strauss Sr wasn't the best father in classical music history, not even close.

But his son went on to be known as the Waltz King, and to far surpass his father in reputation and admiration.  This piece was written at the request of the Austrian Imperial family for the celebration of the marriage of Archduchess Louise Maria in 1873.  However, the waltz form, while no longer considered scandalous, was still not something that the Emperor would allow in his court opera house, and so the celebration had to be moved to accommodate the (wildly popular) festivities.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

#WarOnWomen

You can't get a more stark example of how the Patriarchy crushes the hopes of aspiring young women professionals.  Reporter called "tacky" because of her outfit:
ATLANTA – A driver crashed a car through the lobby of the CNN Center early Friday morning.

Police responded to the Marietta Street side of the building at about 4:15 a.m. A Mercedes convertible with a Florida tag had crashed through the glass entrance. It ended up all the way inside the lobby.

It is unclear if it was done on purpose or if it was just an accident.
Except the person being interviewed is a woman, too.  The reporter is taking it with a fair amount of grace:
“Clearly if this woman says I look tacky, it has to be true,” she tweeted.


Hack this, biatches!

P. F. Chang's restaurants have announced that their Point-Of-Sale system was hacked.  Any of you who have used a credit or debit card there in the last 2-3 months should monitor your accounts (and change the PIN on your debit card).

Naturally, there's turmoil at P. F. Chang's, since identifying all the malware is a tedious and time consuming process.  A restaurant can't survive going weeks without accepting credit cards, so what do you do?  This:


They're using manual card imprinting at all their restaurants:
After saying earlier this week that it was investigating reports of a data breach related to payment cards used at its locations, P.F. Chang's China Bistro confirmed on Thursday that credit and debit card data has been stolen from some of its restaurants.
Interestingly, the company also said that it has switched over to manual credit card imprinting systems for all P.F. Chang's China Bistro branded restaurants located in the continental United States. 

...

In an FAQ posted to its website, the company explained that it has temporarily ditched its electronic Point-of-Sale System in favor of old-school “imprinting devices” to process payments while the company gets the situation under control and understands the scope of the attack.
“All P.F. Chang's China Bistro branded restaurants in the continental U.S. are using manual credit card imprinting devices to handle our credit and debit card transactions,” the company said. “This allows you to use your credit and debit cards safely.”
From a security perspective, this is exactly the right thing to do.  Unplug from the matrix.

Sam Bush - Howlin' At The Moon

This weekend is the full moon, and since it's now summer, local authorities everywhere are getting ready for silliness of all stripes.  Sam Bush coined the term "Newgrass" for his bluegrass style (which has won him three Grammys), but mostly it just sounds like fun.  This weekend if you want to howl, you can do a lot worse than this.



Howlin' At The Moon 
Take a little time for sunshine,
take a whole lotta time for love.
Take time to praise and thank
heaven up above.

Take your life as it may come,
cause boy it'll be gone soon.
Take a little time for Howlin' at the Moon

Somebody said keep your eyes open
gotta keep your feet on solid ground.
Ya gotta take time to take a real good look
at everything you found.

Gotta make music....
gotta make music...
Raise your voice with Joy every day.
Got a lot to live for,
you got a life time to stay.

So I'm trying to keep my eyes open
Gotta live my life from day to day
But seems that life's unhappiness
can't but lead me astray.

Take a little time for sunshine,
take a whole lotta time for love.
Take time to praise and thank
heaven up above.
Take your life as it may come,
cause boy it'll be gone soon.
Take a little time for Howlin' at the Moon

Friday, June 13, 2014

Russian Express. Don't leave home.


The People's Cube delivers.

Restored Whaling ship raises sail once again

The Charles W. Morgan puts to sea under sail for the first time in nearly a century:
“The ship exceeded all expectations and performed wonderfully. She is faster than we thought she would be, she turns easier, and she handles really well. We could not be more pleased,” said Capt. Kip Files, the 22nd master of the Morgan. “There is no one alive today who has sailed one of these whaleships who can tell us how they perform, so we really learned a lot today. We have a great voyage ahead of us.”

The National Historic Landmark vessel has been a static exhibit at Mystic Seaport since 1941 and has not sailed since the early 1920s.
We visited her in Mystic seaport back in 2009, and the restoration work had been under way for quite some time even back then.  This has been a labor of love, but the result is magnificent:


Not much beats a full rigged sailing ship for nostalgia.



Hat tip: Comrade Misfit

I Was Sixteen

What follows is a true story from my childhood. I wrote it for a college paper about 10 years ago (yes I went back to school in my 40s). I have written it as true as I can and made a few edits today. It's important to the line of posts I am putting up, because everyone will be put to the test sometime in our lives. It is in those moments that who you are and how you have trained will merge. The outcome is beyond our control. What matters is the way we respond.
It was a camp for boys. I had a job as the senior counselor for the the Pioneers, the younger boys group. Four junior counselors and twenty-five campers, six to eight years old. As Senior counselor, I was responsible for program activities, ensuring that they ate, took an occasional shower, and had fun. I was the person they talked to when they were homesick or hurt, and I was responsible for keeping them safe. I was sixteen.

Camps don’t run with young staff anymore, you’d have be eighteen, and I bet a lot of camps would want you to be twenty-one. But times were different, and I had the job. My junior counselors were all from the city, none of them had any camping experience, and none of them could swim.

I was a lifeguard for years. I have rescued a fair number of people at swimming pools and lakes. It usually consists of using a reach pole, a couple of times having to jump in. There’s always someone else a step away and the safety plans and equipment minimize the risk to next to nothing. There’s only been one rescue like this.

One of the highlight events for the Pioneers every session was the long hike. The hike began on a trail that meandered through the woods. From there, it was onto an old farm road that we followed for a couple of miles. When we turned off that road, it was onto another road that followed a creek up past a paper mill dam and into a small, mostly unused park. The camp director would drive the truck down later in the day and bring lunch. Looking back, it also gave him a chance to check on us. We would let the kids play in the shallow water along a sandy bend, run around in the open area, and late in the afternoon, retrace our steps back to camp. For most of the kids coming out to this camp, it was like a day on another planet.

The woods we started the hike went through a part of camp that was undeveloped, and for a group of young boys, walking under the canopy of huge beech and oak trees along an old trail was an adventure in itself. It was shady and quiet, birds calling and flitting away as we passed.

It had rained most of that week, but on the day I remember, it was hot and clear. The hike through the woods was pleasant, but when we left the woods, the sun was bright and on the road the July heat was oppressive. Deserted, the road went up and down some hills, past fields and faded barns. Corn fields dominated the area and off in the distance sometimes you would hear a tractor running. Mostly it was the chatter of the boys, the smell of the fields and heat. By the time we trudged down the last hill and turned to follow the creek into the park, the campers were hot and sweaty.

As we crossed the bridge I could see that the rain had swollen the stream. Instead of the usual trickle making a mossy green descent over the face of the dam, there was roaring wall of water. I knew wading was going to be out of the question and had started to wonder what we could do until lunch arrived. When we got to where I usually sat and watched the campers, the water was deep and running fast enough to knock them down. It was a couple of hundred yards upstream from the old dam and normally would have been knee deep and still. I got the staff together and told them playing in the water was definitely out of the question. There were some campers who had been on the hike before and as I was turned away from the water, one of them jumped in.

There is no getting away from this. I let myself be distracted. Maybe I could have stopped him if I had been paying better attention. Maybe I should have had more staff. Maybe the camp should not have hired a sixteen year old to do this job. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. It was 45 years ago and I still have strong feelings about it.

The other campers started shouting. Hearing the alarm in their voices, I turn around to see a boy in the water. He was being swept downstream, moving at an alarming rate toward the dam.
Everything that happens in the next two minutes is absolutely critical to who I am today. Without thinking, I sprinted across the grass, judging my entry into the water to intercept him. An open entry, keeping him in sight, it took only a few strokes to get to him. He had rolled face down and was underwater when I reached him and pulled him back to the surface. He was not struggling, he was limp. I rolled him onto my hip in across chest carry and began to swim.
It was the water I had to fight, and a rising feeling of panic. The current was strong, the water muddy and cold. My first strokes seemed to make no headway and I was starting to think we were both going to go over that dam. I took a different angle and pulled harder, losing some distance, but making headway to the bank. I made the bank, out of the main current, and then had to pull back upstream along the bank using roots to get to a point where my counselors could grab him and lift him back up on the grass.

I half scrambled and was half pulled up the muddy bank. The boy lay on the ground. The grayish color of his face was startling. His lips were a deep blue and he was not breathing. I rolled him onto his back, tilted his head and checked his airway, then gave him one strong breath and lifted up to check for his pulse. One breath was all it took.

He vomited, mostly muddy water, and took a shuddering breath on his own. The color returned to his face and his eyes opened. He gagged up a little more water, and then he was awake. I sent one counselor to call an ambulance. As he ran off, I shouted after him to call camp, too. The boy was cold, probably in shock, and I stayed with him, having the others keep the kids under some sort of control. I had him somewhat calmed, covered lightly with a couple of towels when I heard the ambulance in the distance.

The camp truck showed up first. The ambulance crew took the camper to be checked. The truck, a big slat sided farm truck, took us all back to camp. I don’t remember much else that happened that day.
The next morning I got called down to the camp office. The camp director, the camper and his parents were there when I walked in. I remember expecting to be fired at the very least.

The boy’s father spoke first. “You saved his life.”

The mom was crying a little, she said “He told us he just jumped in. He’s been to that place before and it was always shallow, so he jumped in.”

The dad spoke again, “He wanted to come back to camp, and we decided he couldn’t be any safer than here with you. I want to thank you for what you did yesterday.”

I turned to the camp director, but before I said anything he held up his hand, “I talked to your counselors and they told me what happened and what you did.” He shook his head, “You could have died, I saw what that water looked like. You both could have died.”

The summer went on. Camp sessions continued to follow their two week cycle, in a decades old rhythm. The Pioneers came and went.

I was different. Changed by two minutes on one hot July afternoon.

Bits and pieces

Who in the Atlanta area would be up for a blogride?  Where we all gather on our motorcycles and go to some place interesting?  Tons of places around, and the 150th anniversary of Beast Sherman gives a bunch of opportunities.

It's been a little over a week since my Brother-from-another-Mother ASM826 started posting some righteous shooty goodness here.  I'm tickled as can be about this, not just because he's someone who I never would have met without this whole blogosphere thing, but because it seems that all y'all like his stuff.  So far there are 42 (!) comments on his posts, in only a week.  And he hasn't even posted pictures of the totally cool reloading stuff that he has secreted away in his undisclosed bunker location.  If you like what he's doing, I encourage you to leave a comment.  Those are like crack to a blogger.

Damnitall, I need to start reloading.  This is inspiring me (at least a bit) to get off my butt.  And I have hundreds of .303 Brit bullets, courtesy of ASM826's network if clandestine operatives.  Maybe Differ can break away sometime and we can do some reloading, and then retire to a fine English bitter or two ...

Reading Brigid's book is a reminder on just how rare her talent with words is.  She has probably had the biggest impact on improving my own writing (yes I know, damning with faint praise).  Every once in a while, though, this influence rises to near her level.  I could not have written this without her influence, and having seen Dad's reaction to that post, I'm profoundly grateful for that gift from her.

A bunch of folks have emailed in the last month or two, and I've been so caught up in a family life that is talking in its Outdoors Voice that I've not replied.  Things are (hopefully) quieting down some now, and so I shall get right to this.  I shall endeavor in future to suck less.

And shamelessly stolen from Claire Wolf, here's an insanely clever cat food commercial with the guy who did the Sad Dog Diary and Sad Cat Diary on Youtube.  Very, very well done.


A Koan on Obama's foreign policy


SMARTEST. PRESIDENT. EVER.

No doubt the defenders of the Left (*cough* Ezra Klein *cough*) will say that it's impossible to understand this reference because it was 200 years old.  Or a hundred.  Or ten. Or two.  YOU HATER!!!!!

Observe the collapse of the Progressive Sense of Self, and the collapse of their (self derived) sense that They Should Rule Us  Because IVYLEAGUECOMPETENCE!!!!!

Their tears are sweet.  Don't forget to rub this in to your Progressive acquaintances.  And ask them to explain that whole "Smart Diplomacy" thing.
Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
- Sun Tsu

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Joe Bonamassa & Beth Hart - Sinner's Prayer


Greenpeace celebrates shutting down zero emission, renewable power

The mask slips:
Greenpeace activists are celebrating today, after their protests led to the halting of plans to build a massive renewable powerplant which would have supplied clean, green, low-carbon electricity in huge quantities.

"Today, we celebrate," Greenpeace chief Matías Asún told reporters, following a decision to withdraw government permission for the Hidroaysén project. The project would have generated as much as 18,430 gigawatt-hours annually - roughly six times as much as the huge offshore London Array windfarm planned for the Thames Estuary.

...

“The big winners here are the environmentalists but the big losers are the consumers,” Chilean Senator Iván Moreira told press including the Santiago Times following the government’s decision on Tuesday. “Currently there are few energy projects in the country so electricity costs will rise and these will affect ordinary people most.”
It seems like that's the point, or something.  You know, I'll start taking this whole CO2 climate change thing more seriously when they do ...

Resources

It used to be just books and people. If you were learning to reload, you bought a big manual. The front section was all the information you needed to get started. The bulk of the book was recipes for the cartridges. If you were lucky, there was an old time reloader around and you took the time to get to know him. He'd made a lot of the mistakes you were going to make and if you could, you'd work with him.

Now there's a third option. Al Gore's Interwebz. There are hundreds of websites and forums dedicated to shooting and reloading. Today I am going to offer you one. The Cast Boolits Forum.

For my money, the best of all the forums on reloading. From the name, you can surmise that the heart of the forum is casting, reloading, and shooting ammunition loaded with cast bullets and you would be right. But it also an all around forum on every facet of reloading and shooting you can imagine and some you have never thought of. Subforums for revolvers, military rifles, load data, pictures, and so on. It's a community, too. People get to know each other, swap stories, talk about their lives, mourn the passing of the old-timers.

It's searchable, once you join, if you want to look up load data for 30-30 Ackerly Improved, you'll find something. If you have an old gun and you want help identifying it, post a picture.  If you don't find an answer to your question in a search, post it and check back.

I visit regularly, post little, and learn something every time I log in.