Friday, April 16, 2021

Dad Joke LX

What animal can jump higher than a house?

All of them.  Houses can't jump.


I need a new lawn mower.  I need one of these:

 Hat tip: The Queen Of The World who finds all the cool stuff.

Thursday, April 15, 2021


Which animal has even more lives than a cat?

A frog.  It croaks every night. 

Damned vaccine side effects

Miguel experienced a really dangerous one.

Get better, buddy! 

Quote of the Day - Warmonger edition

From T-Bolt:

Getting out after 20 years gives Al Qaeda a propaganda victory, Ms. Cheney?

You know what wouldn't have given them a propaganda victory?  Victory victory.  Like 16 years ago.  Too bad you don't know someone that could have helped pull that off, back then.  Prolly shoula been 18+ years ago. 

Prolly your Dad shoulda learned the lessons of Korea and Vietnam.  I don't even mind all the treasure we spent (well, not much) but the lives and blood and PSTD and lost limbs deserve something better than "My political opponents are big fat poopyheads."


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Dad Joke LVIII

I was at the thrift store when I saw an antique radio.  The card said "For Sale: $1.  Stuck at max volume."

I thought it was a deal you just can't turn down.

(I bet The Silicon Graybeard could fix it, though)

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Monday, April 12, 2021

Dad Joke LVI

What do you call an airplane that flies backwards?

A receding airline.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Great Great Grandfather's bloody day

159 years ago (well, last week) this was the view for my Great Great Grandfather (photo credit: The Queen Of The World.  Click to enbiggen):

It looks peaceful today, but 159 years ago it was a different story.  This is the Hornet's Nest at Shiloh Battlefield, looking west from where the 7th Iowa Infantry waited the charge of the Confederate forces.  My Great Great Grandfather stood there, and today I stood on the same ground.

The 7th  Iowa was at the center of the line.  This is what Great Great Grandfather would have seen looking to his right:

Peaceful today, not so much that day.  This was the view the other way:

Then all hell broke loose.  After 4 brutal hours, the 7th Iowa was forced back, regrouping at Grant's "Final Line" where they held the southern forces.  Barely.  Not all of the Union soldiers in the Hornet's Nest fared so well - 2,500 were surrounded and surrendered. 

It was quite a feeling walking that ground today.  Great Great Grandfather was a Kansas boy back when the war broke out.  Kansas wasn't a state then and so he couldn't sign up, so he and his buddies went north to Iowa where they enlisted in 1861.  He went all the way through the war - Ft. Donaldson, Shiloh, Atlanta, Savannah, Columbia, Bentonville.  He marched in the parade in Washington D.C. and was mustered out.

On the drive back, The Queen Of The World wondered about all the men who died there.  None of them have Great Great Grandsons to remember them, because the war took from them everything they had and everything they would ever have.  I would quote from Abraham Lincoln's justly famous letter to Mrs. Bixby, but Mr. Lincoln is perhaps uniquely responsible for all those deaths, and that lack of descendents for all those men.

I also wondered on that drive back why I consider Grant to be a sympathetic character.  Long time readers know my opinion of Mr. Sherman, but for some reason I can't shake a somewhat favorable impression of Grant.  I need to do some pondering on this.

But like I said, it was a thrill to walk in Great Great Grandfather's footsteps on that battlefield.

The past isn't dead.  It isn't even past.

- William Faulkner

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Automotive genius

Tam caught sight of a Citroen 2CV in the wild, which is pretty cool.  But it was only one of the very many cool products to come from Andre Citroen's french autoworks, and highlights the importance of culture (both the corporate and national variety).

Let's talk culture.  Andre Citroen was a graduate of L'Ecole Polytechnique, France's foremost technical university.  It's influence there is sort of like what we would see here if MIT, Stanford, and Cal Tech merged.  It's graduates have always been a big deal in France, and Citroen was kind of the poster child for that.  He put his company on the map with the Traction Avant, the first unibody car (introduced in 1935).  It's gorgeous exterior hides just how revolutionary its design was:

The unibody construction is unremarkable today, but this was 85 years ago.  It meant that the car sat lower because there was no chassis platform.  This lower center of gravity made the handling better, and the Traction Avant had a reputation as a getaway car beloved of gangsters of the day.  

But there were two other innovations: front wheel drive (hence the name: "Traction Avant" means forward traction) and hydro-pneumatic suspension.  This last is an alternative to leaf springs:

Here's where culture comes in.  Hydropneumatic suspension is very clever, and much superior to springs - so much so that Rolls Royce licensed the design for its Silver Shadow, and it is used today on the British Challenger tank.  However, it's complicated, with a lot of parts compared to a spring.  This is both very French and precisely what you would expect from a Polytechnique grad.  That culture (what The Queen Of The World calls "complicating a cornflake") is why the design remained mostly confined to France.

But here's a story from my young days.  A friend's parents had one of Citroen's later models, the DS:

You could drive this on only three wheels - the dealer actually did this and was stopped by a cop who ultimately realized that there was no law against doing this.  The car didn't even come with a jack - if you needed to change a tire you just raised the appropriate wheel off the ground using the hydropneumatic suspension.

It was entirely revolutionary, have superior results, and was overly complicated.  In short, it was very french, and neatly sums up why those people simultaneously charm and irritate us here.

But there's no way to describe the engineers at Andre Citroen's company as anything other than genius.  The 2CV, the Traction Avant, and the DS were revolutionary.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Dad Joke LV

You can't blame anyone else if you fall in your driveway.  That's your own asphalt. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021


Blog later.  Maybe after the campfire burns down ...


Sunday, April 4, 2021

Dad Joke LIV - Easter edition

Here is a double helping of Dad Joke in celebration of Easter!  If you're lucky you'll have kids (or grandkids) you can tell these to.

Why was the Easter Bunny so upset?  He was having a bad hare day.

Why shouldn't you tell a funny joke to an easter egg? Because it might crack up!


Free Will is a mixed blessing, to be sure, but it's a thing without which life would not be worth living.  There's a whole blog post category here about freedom, all of which would be meaningless without Free Will.

This is a gift, one that makes us uniquely human:
But man is freer than all the animals, on account of his free-will, with which he is endowed above all other animals.
- St. Thomas Aquinas
Easter is a very old holy day, one of the oldest still celebrated.  Things don't stick around that long if they don't speak to something deep in the soul.  If they don't speak from an upwelling from some mysterious depth of great wisdom.  The mystery, and the great strength of Christian doctrine is that it captures the human cycle of growth, middle age, and old age in a view of two gifts: Free Will and Grace.

As a child, we have no Free Will that anyone need respect.  Children hold a special place in society and Law precisely because of this.  In a sense, they represent mankind from the days before the Fall, innocence that calls for protection provided by more capable beings.  But you can't stay a child forever.  Free Will must develop, and the child must set sail, setting his or her own course as they will.  Adults are exposed to risks that we would protect children from.

To never have the chance to risk is to never fully be human.  The chance to take these chances is a gift that most don't much think about.  They should.
No Noble Thing can be done without risk.
- Michel de Montaigne
But the other side of the coin is Grace.  As the Child must go into the world to find his own place, so must the Man return from his journeys.  We watch our children grow, and gain independence.  Sometimes that independence causes friction, or worse.  Sometimes the young adult becomes cut off from the old, because of careless words or foolish pride.

For the longest time, I was confused about the Crucifixion.  Sure, I understood what happened, but I simply couldn't understand why it was needed.  Now I think I know: it's a beacon, lighting the way back.

As we go about our days, exercising the gift of Free Will, we have a marker for our return.  And we should remember that as we are given Grace, so must we also give it.  That we are also beacons, marking the safe return for those loved ones who might even now be seeking safe harbor.   That we should shine out of the darkness of hurt feelings and foolish pride, telling them that their safe harbor is here.  With us.
[God’s love] is at God’s initiative and choice; it isn’t given out on the basis of my performance. God’s gospel love is not wages that I earn with a model life; it is a gift. It is a gift that I cannot earn; more than that, it is a gift that I do not even deserve. God loves weak, ungodly, sinful enemies. The gift is the opposite of what I deserve. God ought to kill me on the spot. Instead, He sent His Son to die in my place.
- David Powlison, Seeing With New Eyes

Instead, he sent his son as a beacon for us.  As an inspiration for us.


(Image source, Image source) 

Originally posted April 24, 2011.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Hunter Hayes - Flashlight

The Shield was another of the Fear's names. According to Laughter, it means he shields the seed of Abraham the way a man starting a fire shields the flame. When Sarah was about to die childless, the Fear gave her a son. When Abraham was about to slaughter the son, the Fear gave him the ram. He is always shielding us like a guttering wick, Laughter said, because the fire he is trying to start with us is a fire that the whole world will live to warm its hands at. It is a fire in the dark that will light the whole world home.

- Frederick Buechner, The Son of Laughter

Country music has a long list of classic songs for Easter, but the spirit is alive with new songwriters as well.  Hunter Hayes is the youngest male artist to reach #1 on the Billboard Country chart.  This song is from his 2014 album, Storyline.  It fits not just Easter, but the other 364 days of the year too.

Flashlight (Songwriters: Hunter Hayes, Troy Verges, Barry Dean)

I get lost sometimes, like everybody else,
Lose track of my lifelines, lose track of myself
And there's all kinds of reasons to be scared and run away
It's a good time for sad times like heaven couldn't be
Farther from the places, that heaven always finds me,
If nobody cares, tell me how is it I keep getting saved this way

It's a sunrise from a lonely night
Like a smile in a stranger's eyes
It's the moments that save my life,
nobody knows about like flashlights
there's just enough hope when it shines,
to go one scared step at a time
When the world's too dark I find, your flashlight, yeah

I'm glad nobody's counting, and Lord I'm glad you don't keep score
My prayers are all the same, as the ones I prayed before
Thank you, but forgive me, my rough around the edges heart is yours
And the moments where you swear I'm just screaming at the sky,
It's the strangest conversation or a friend just stopping by
and it's funny when I realize all the places that your miracles can hide

It's a sunrise from a lonely night
Like a smile in a stranger's eyes
It's the moments that save my life,
nobody knows about like flashlights
there's just enough hope when it shines,
to go one scared step at a time
When the world's too dark I find, your flashlight, yeah

Like a sunrise from a lonely night
Like a smile in a stranger's eyes
It's the moments that save my life, nobody knows about
Like flashlights
and there's just enough hope when it shines, to go one scared step at a time
When the world's too dark I find, your flashlight

Oh, who am I?
Dust and water,
Touched by the Divine

Tell me who, who am I?
you keep shining on me, shining on me, yeah
shining on me

It's the moments that save my life nobody knows about
It's like a flashlight
(there's just enough hope when it shines)
And it's just enough hope when it shines,
(to go one scared step at a time) to go one step at a time
(when the world's to dark I find your flashlight)
When the world's too dark I find your flashlight

It's a sunrise from a lonely night
It's a smile in a stranger's eyes
It's the moments that save my life nobody knows about
Like flashlights
It's just enough hope when it shines, to go one scared step at a time
When the world's too dark I find, your flashlight

(Like a sunrise from a lonely night
like a smile in a strangers eyes) who am I
(it's the moments that save my life nobody know about
like flashlights) oh yeah
(it's just enough to hope when it shines,
to go one scared step at a time
when the world too dark I find)
you keep shining your light, you keep shining your light, eh eh

I'm just finding your flashlight
Today the world awaits, expectant.  But there is still a light to mark our way.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Dad Joke LIII

I just saw some red breasted birds sitting in the sun and selling ice cream.  I think they're Baskin Robins. 

(via The Queen Of The World)

Thursday, April 1, 2021

The most Florida April Fool's joke ever


Don't mess with the Polk County Sheriff's Office.  I mean, just don't. 

Dad Joke LII

I just read a book about Japanese warriors.  It was a little long but I can samurais it for you. 

Tab clearing

Did you know that this past February is the coldest in US history since 1894?  This sure is some Global Warming.  Compare and contrast: media coverage of this vs. media coverage of (hypothetical) warmest February in 127 years.

44 climate doomsday predictions that haven't panned out.  Related: NYT said that US east coast beaches would all be under water by 2020.  "Paper of Record" ... (via)

Quite frankly, this sums up Global Warming prognostication quite well:

I've posted before about the record high temperatures that were seen in 1936.  As it turns out, that's only part of the story.  1936 was the year for "Climate Disruption" - and we've had 85 years of more carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere since then but haven't seen such record bad weather.  Hmmmm ...

In non-climate dumbness, here's a list of the top 150 intellectuals.  Color me unimpressed, although the biggest objection is the use of "intellectual" to apply non-perjoritively in this degraded age.  I would have expected Arnold Kling to not put Joe Rogan as high as #1, or Thomas Sowell as low as #71.  Hat tip: Chris Lynch who points out the list is silly.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021


 Tam at View from the Porch posted a meme saying that you can tell a lot about a person from how they view the letters HP , is it horsepower or hit points?

I immediately sees HP as Hewlitt-Packard. A commentary on how I have spent most of the last 35 years.


6th Circuit strikes down Bump Stock ban.

It sounds like the court took the ATF to the woodshed

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Dad Joke LI

What do you call an alligator in a vest?

An investigator. 

Thoughts on ten years of blogging

No, not here - Tim Wolter has been at this for a decade and has some musings on the topic that strike me as worth reading.  He also has an interesting recipe for a venison crock pot dinner and a post about baseball, fatherhood, and the sweep of time.

Plus building battlebots.  He's a daily read for me.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Dad Joke L

If your home doesn't have house numbers on it, you should address that. 

Thanks Ten Million

Sometime today the odometer here will turn over 10,000,000 page views.  This is a pretty humbling number and so ASM826 and I would like to say thank you very much for coming by here so often.

And to show appreciation to all our readers, today's content will be entirely free-of-charge!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Dad Joke XLIX

 There is a beautiful tower in Italy.  It is a Pisa art.

Troparion of Saint Kassia

The Greek Orthodox liturgy is ancient, dating back to Roman times.  While many things have been lost from this over the centuries, we have music for Holy Week preserved from the ninth century.  This hymn will be sung this week, as it has for the last 1200 years.

Kassia was a Roman noblewoman living in Constantinople in the first half of the 800s.  Both beautiful and intelligent, she was included in what we can call a Medieval beauty pageant.   The imperial court would sometimes have "Bride Shows" where noble families could present their daughters as potential brides for Imperial princes.  Kassia was included in the bride show for prince Theophilos in 830AD, but the chronicles say that her sharp, sarcastic reply to the prince soured him on her beauty.

But she was the daughter of one of the leading families in the Empire, and so had avenues open to her that were not to most women of the day.  She founded a convent in 843AD and became its abbess.  Her education allowed her to write first poetry and then music - all of a spiritual bent, as you would imagine.

She wrote many, many hymns of which 50 survive to this day.  Unusually, both the text and the musical score have survived.  Twenty three of her hymns are included in today's Orthodox liturgy which is astonishing for any figure from the ninth century, let alone a woman.

This Holy Week you might want to ponder just how ancient our faith is, and the efforts that people have taken to preserve it over the centuries.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Henk Wijngaard - Nachtrijders

We aren't surprised when we see a great rock band or a great jazz artist that is from a different country, so why should we be surprised that there is great country music from all over the world.  The Netherlands has a thriving country scene, much of which is in English but some - like this - in Dutch.  Henk Wijngaard should know something about country - his half brother is Shania Twain's grandfather.

Now I don't speak much Dutch (Dank je) I really get the sense of what this song is all about.  Night driving.  Some themes - and some music - is universal.

Friday, March 26, 2021


Did you hear about the guy who made a boatload of money investing in Apple?  It turns out that it was in cider trading. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Preventing A Suicide

Sometimes there are moments like this. 

Kudos to Kurt and Damian.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Dad Joke XLVII

What did the Llama say when she was invited to a picnic?

Great!  Alpaca lunch. 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Musical birthdays

Today is the birthday of two great composers, Johann Sebastian Bach and Modest Mussorgsky.  They had very different styles but one thing they had in common is their influence on 1960s and 1970s rock. First Bach, where Procol Harum basically ripped off Air on the G String for Whiter Shade of Pale:

Next Mussorgsky, where Emerson Lake and Palmer did an excellent reprieve of Pictures At The Exhibition:

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Willie Nelson - On the Road Again

The Queen Of The World and I are on the road, on the Florida panhandle in Navarre.  This is the place where we had the motorcycle accident a while back.   We're staying at a place that is less than a mile from where I dumped the bike.

All in all, I'm enjoying this visit a lot more than the last one.

But being on the road calls for road music, and I find myself surprised that in roughly 700 (!) country music posts I've never posted country music's greatest road song.  Take it away, Willie.

Friday, March 19, 2021

The Book of Barkley

 Borepatch and I occasionally have a half baked idea that we pound into a decent post. All of you who stop by here are kind enough to read our attempts. We bump along and one of the best things you can say about our blog is that we haven't quit. I would like to think we are just good enough to be able to recognize a real writer when we meet one.

Brigid is one such writer. Not because she has published books, but because she can take words and bring them together into art. If you don't read anything else on the internet today, you should follow this link and go read Brigid's latest post at the Book of Barkley 

We gave her a set of keys to the place a while back. I'm hoping she cross-posts the whole thing here.



Thursday, March 18, 2021

Little Walter - Juke

I've been posting Blues for basically as long as I've been posting, but somehow I never posted Little Walter.  This is pretty strange because I love me some Blues Harp and Little Walter is arguably the best Blues harpist who ever lived.  Certainly he's the only harmonica player inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  This song was his first #1 hit on the Billboard R&B chart, and to date is still the only Blues harmonica instrumental to ever chart #1.

His life was kind of a Blues song.  Hard drinking and fighting went along with his musical talent, and that's what did him in at the far too young age of 37.  You wonder what other music he would have made had he lived a little less roughly.  But maybe it was the whole package, and living gentler might have stilled his muse.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Dad Joke XLVI - Special St. Paddy's Day Dad Joke

Why do people wear shamrocks on St. Patrick's Day?

Regular rocks are too heavy. 

Turlough O'Carolan - various Irish tunes

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  This is my traditional Paddy's Day post.

What is the "Classical Music" of Ireland? It's not (Italian) Opera, or (German) symphonies, or even an (English) homage to Ralph Vaughan Williams (who studied under an Irish music professor) "countryside music" in the concert hall. Instead, we find something ancient
We find something that easily might not have been.  Turlough O'Carolan (1670 – 25 March 1738) was the son of a blacksmith.  His father took a job for the MacDermot Roe family; Mrs. MacDermot Roe gave the young lad some basic schooling and saw in him a talent for poetry; when a few years later the 18 year old Turlough went blind after a bout of smallpox, she had him apprenticed to a harpist.  He soon was travelling the land, composing and singing.

This tradition was already ancient by the early 1700s.  it was undeniably Celtic, dating back through the Middle Ages, through the Dark Ages, through Roman times to a barbarous Gaul.  There bards travelled the lands playing for their supper on the harp.

This was O'Carolan's stock in trade.  He rapidly became the most famous singer in the Emerald Isle.  It is said that weddings and funerals were delayed until he was in the vicinity.  One of his most famous compositions - if you have spent any time at all listening to Irish music, you know this tune - was considered too "new fangled" by the other harpists of his day.  Fortunately, he didn't listen to their criticisms.

He married very late, at 50, and had many children.  But his first love was Brigid, daughter of the Schoolmaster at a school for the blind.  He always seemed to have carried a torch for her.

So why is this post in the normal slot reserved for Classical Music?  Listen to this composition of his, and you see the bridge from the archaic Celts to Baroque harpsichord.

And keep in mind how this brilliance might never have blazed, had Mrs. MacDermot Roe not seen the talent in a blind Irish boy and set him upon a path trod by many equally unexpected geniuses, all the way back to St. Patrick.  It is truly said that we never know what our own path will be until we set our foot down on it.

But his was an ancient path and he inherited much from those who trod it before him.  His "Farewell to Music" is said to be more in the traditional mold, and might have been appreciated at a feast held by Vercingetorix before the battle of Alesia.

This music is a bridge between modern and the ancient that disappears into the mists of legend.  Perhaps more importantly, it is a music that is still alive today, after a run of perhaps two and a half millennia.  

And it is a music where you still hear the yearning of a young blind man for his muse, Brigid.  That is a vitality that should not be exiled to a single day of celebration, even if it is for as illustrious a Saint as Patrick.  On this Feast Day, remember just how deep the roots of our civilization run.

(Originally posted March 16, 2014)

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Dad Joke XLV

 The success or failure of a pizza joke is all in the delivery.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Beware the Ides of March

Today is the Ides of March, the 15th of this month (each month has Ides on various dates).  While we look at the Romans as the greatest engineers and organizers until the 18th century, we then jump to the conclusion that they were rational in an Enlightenment kind of way.  They weren't.  Rather, they were kind of like a combination of Nuclear-Reactor-Brainiac and Management-By-Ouija-Board*.

The Ides themselves are a great example of this second thing.  Their months didn't really start at day 1 and count up the same way that our months do.  Well, they kind of did, but you need to break out your Ouija Board to really understand things.  The Romans didn't count forwards, they counted backwards from three fixed points in the month: the Nones (usually but not always the 5th of the month), the Ides (usually the 13th but was the 15th in March, May, July, and October), and the Kalends (the 1st of the following month).

The Ides were sacred to Jupiter, Greatest and Best, and so this was a solemn day.  Thus in Shakespeare we hear Julius Caesar warned to beware the Ides of March.  Plutarch wrote that on his last ill-fated journey to the Senate house, Caesar saw the soothsayer who had warned about the day.  Caesar joked, "The Ides of March are come;" the soothsayer is said to have replied "Aye, but not gone."  Shakespeare cribbed a lot from the ancient authors.

But not everything.  The famous quote from Shakespeare's play from the scene where the Senators are stabbing him is when he sees the young Marcus Brutus - of whom Caesar was very fond - among the attackers.  Shakespeare has Caesar speak the words Et tu, Brute?  Even you, Brutus?

Except that's not what the ancients said about that event.  Suetonius says that Caesar spoke in Greek - Kai su, teknon?  This was a very common expression among educated Romans, and was often used in various plays but Kai su is generally translated as "You too". That was the formal translation but it was commonly used as "Screw you".  "Teknon" is generally translated as "child" but also was understood as "punk".

So Julius Caesar basically was telling Brutus to get bent.  At least if you believe Suetonius.

* This is one of the things that make the ancient Romans endlessly fascinating.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Sweetheart Grips

The Queen Of The World finds cool stuff.  Stuff like this: World War II "Sweetheart Grips":

The good folks at Pew Pew Tactical have a great page up about this:

Sweetheart grips were made possible by acrylic (AKA Plexiglass or Lucite), which was invented between World War I and World War II. 

Aircraft and vehicles used acrylic. The material replaced windows and basically anything else previously made of glass.

Servicemen salvaged it from crashes and then shaped it to replace the grip on their handguns. 

Lady Be Good Crash
Lady Be Good Crash

Since the new acrylic grip was clear, they often placed a loved one’s photo under the acrylic. This kept the photo close by and safe. 

Typically the picture would be a girlfriend or wife, which is where the term “sweetheart grip” comes from.

I so want some of these for my commander length 1911.  Maybe with a picture like this:

 Well, or maybe a different picture ...

Dad Joke XLIV

What did the tree say after the long winter?

What a releaf! 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Savanna Chestnut - Trailer Park Queen

Gentlemen, there's no fighting in the War Room!

- Dr. Strangelove

Hey, there's no playing country music in Nashville!

- Borepatch

Lord Almighty, is there still some country music in Country Music?  It seems that there is, although you won't find it in Nashville.  Instead, you'll find it in places like Americus, Kansas where hopeful singer/songwriter Savanna Chestnut works a day job while she tries to break into the country music scene with her quirky, funny, and refreshingly traditional songs.

I like this a lot, and hope that Miss Chestnut finds the success that she deserves.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Dad Joke XLIII

If yu run in front of a car you'll get tired, but if you run behind one you'll get exhausted.

(Hat tip: The Queen Of The World) 

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Everything you need to know about the Texas power blackouts

Lawrence does the research so that I (we) don't have to. 

Hiking the Appalachian Trail in 5 minutes

Usually it's ASM826 who posts hiking stuff, but via Chris Lynch here is a video of the entire trail in 5 minutes.  ASM826 has been on a bunch of this; I've been on less.

Green Tunnel from Kevin Gallagher on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Dad Joke XLII

I thought I had a good joke about yoga, but it was a stretch. 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Maurice Ravel - Une Barque sur L'Ocean

Yesterday The Queen Of The World was feeling well enough that we went to the beach.  The nice thing about living here in Florida is that we're only about 20 minutes away from there.  It rained yesterday and so despite being a weekend day in High Season, there weren't many people there.  It was awesome.

There is something about the ocean, something that has inspired artists since there were artists.  Maurice Ravel was one of many who fell under the Sea's spell.  He wrote a series of compositions for his fellow "Hooligans" (Les Apaches) who were bound and determined to break all the musical rules in the first decade of the 20th century.  This is one of those.  It is often called "Impressionist" although it seems he hated that term.  But if the chapeau fits, right?

There is a timelessness to the sea, especially when experienced on a deserted beach after a storm.

P. S. Happy Birthday, Maurice Ravel!

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Ten years ago, but this time funny

This always made me laugh.  You probably want to click through to the Czar of Muscovy's old post to see what kicked this off.  Oh, and it may be that in the picture my Lautrec is Toulouse ...

Originally posted 16 February 2011

Gettin' my Wookie Seurat on

The Czar of Muscovy describes me as a "non-boulevardier", which is true.  But it wasn't always.  These days, I'm more comfortable hanging out at the shooting range, but Back In The Day, I used to haunt the First Arrondissement, hanging out with Georgie Seurat and the crowd.  L'hotel La Sanguine was just down the street from the church of La Madeleine, which was cheek-by-jowl to the Place de la Concorde.

As you can imagine, the difficulty was my Wookie Suit.  Even though this was a particularly classy one - made of Carmague musk rat fur - some of the crowd thought it was too over the top.  Gaugain in particular, although he didn't like anything except for naked Polynesian girls.

But Georgie thought it was tres magnifique, and even snuck me into one of his paintings.  See if you can spot me - although I always thought he made my butt look too big.

Photoshop courtesy of #1 Son.  Did himself proud on this one. 

Friday, March 5, 2021

Ten years ago

Dad died.  

Dad Joke XLI

I used to get electrical shocks every time I touched anything metal but now I don't.  I'm ex-static.

Maybe I'm just better grounded. 

In which I disagree with Tam

Well, I actually disagree with P.J. O'Rourke, who she quotes:

"Populism is a lie and a logical sophistry. The very idea of the “struggle of the haves against the have-nots” presupposes the zero-sum fallacy that only a fixed amount of good things exist in the world, and I can only have more good things if I take them from you." -P.J. O'Rourke

Now O'Rourke is a smart guy so it's very interesting what he left out of his piece - because what he left out sets up a straw man for him to knock down.  Silly populists!  Don't you know that you're getting in the way of the march towards a history so bright we'll have to wear shades?

Except that's not how it's worked out over the last 40 years, is it?  Public policy has focused on a very specific set of preferences - environmental regulation, free trade, and open borders.  Each of these has had two consequences.  First, it has led to massive off-shoring of manufacturing to east Asia in particular, padding the bottom line of corporate America and leading to a lot of great high paying government jobs for Ivy League graduates like O'Rourke.  Second, it has hollowed out the working class and the towns they live in.  Not for nothing is it called the "Rust Belt".

This isn't an issue of mechanization and productivity reducing employment.  Rather, it was an explicit choice (by both political parties) that U.S. Government policy should encourage factories and their high paying jobs to be located elsewhere than in the U.S.A.

And now Mr. O'Rourke wonders, mystified, where all this populism came from all of a sudden.  And look at how cynically he phrases the issue: "I can only have good things if I take them from you" - when that's precisely what corporate America and O'Rourke's swell Ivy League buddies did to working class America.

They have made out very well financially on the destruction of industrial America.  O'Rourke knows this - after all, he hails from Toledo Ohio.

And so to "populism", by which O'Rourke no doubt means "Donald Trump".  I posted about this dynamic way back in the summer of 2016, when I linked to a post by the blogger who went by the nom de blog Archdruid.  The Archdruid posted what I thought was all you needed to know to understand what was happening.  This bit is most relevant to O'Rourke's rather pathetic strawman:

The result in both countries [UK and USA] was a political climate in which the only policies up for discussion were those that favored the interests of the affluent at the expense of the working classes and the poor. That point has been muddied so often, and in so many highly imaginative ways, that it’s probably necessary to detail it here. Rising real estate prices, for example, benefit those who own real estate, since their properties end up worth more, but it penalizes those who must rent their homes, since they have to pay more of their income for rent. Similarly, cutting social-welfare benefits for the disabled favors those who pay taxes at the expense of those who need those benefits to survive. 

In the same way, encouraging unrestricted immigration into a country that already has millions of people permanently out of work, and encouraging the offshoring of industrial jobs so that the jobless are left to compete for an ever-shrinking pool of jobs, benefit the affluent at the expense of everyone else. The law of supply and demand applies to labor just as it does to everything else:  increase the supply of workers and decrease the demand for their services, and wages will be driven down. The affluent benefit from this, since they pay less for the services they want, but the working poor and the jobless are harmed by it, since they receive less income if they can find jobs at all.

At this point I must point out that I'm a member of that salary class, and have done very well over the last 30+ years.  However, my chosen field (Computer/Network Security) sure doesn't seem to have taken away any working class jobs - and my upbringing leaves me infuriated by O'Rourke's sneering.  And even more so by his seemingly intentional blindness to the consequences of the policies he advocates.  This song brutally exposes what he can't be bothered to cast his eyes upon:

These people are our neighbors.  They are our fellow countrymen.  Are their dreams for the future of less import than our own?  Should public policy in this country crush those dreams?  Is there a reason why public policy should preference Palo Alto over Toledo?

I'm afraid this turned into a rant - that certainly is not directed at Tam.  But the smug self-satisfaction of folks like O'Rourke - people who listened to their professors telling them that they were "the best and the brightest" and who actually bought into that malarky - they are really just showing the world that they're a bunch of dumbasses.  Nice strawman, O'Rourke.  Be a shame if someone knocked it down, amirite?

And at this point if you do not understand what is driving populism in this country (both the Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders versions) then watch that video again.  And read the quote from O'Rourke again.  Repeat as necessary.  You will know that you understand modern populism precisely when the hair on the back of your neck stands on end.

Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever

- Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Surgery today

The Queen Of The World is getting wrist surgery today.  Hopefully they'll fix her up - the break is pretty bad. 

UPDATE 4 March 2021 18:26:  Successful surgery, likely going to be a long recovery.  Oof, what a day.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Dad Joke XL

How much room do fungi need to grow?

As mushroom as possible.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

More on gunshot first aid

Long time reader and some times commenter Tacitus was an ER doc.  I emailed him a link to Divemedic's excellent post on gunshot first aid and asked if he had any thoughts from the perspective of the ER surgeon.  This is his reply, posted with his gracious consent.  It seems entirely sensible.


Treating gunshot wounds.  A different perspective.

As a regular reader of Borepatch I read with interest the account of the recent “Blogshoot”.  It sounds like a lot of fun.  Afterwards our amiable host asked if I’d comment on the points raised by Divemedic, which were to some extent general First Aid but dealt specifically with what to do if someone gets shot. 

I’ll start by saying that the advice was all good.  EMTs in the field do a lot of little things so that by the time they get to my ER things are hopefully in as good a state as can be.  But here’s my take.

  1. Far and away the most important thing is not to get shot.  This seems obvious, but what part of firearms safety isn’t!  Guns are extremely effective at the job they are designed to do.  If I had any spare neurons left at my age I would not use them debating which clotting agent is best.  Nope, I’d recite the basic rules of firearms safety as a mantra.
  2. OK, let’s say the worst does happen.  There are several very important considerations.  Location, location, location….  There are places where a bullet can hit you where no first aid will help.  Conversely, if you take off the tip of your little toe you will be little the worse for the experience and much the wiser for it.  Tourniquets, heating blankets, dressings…these are with one or two exceptions mostly useful only for the in between things.  Extremity wounds with bleeding for instance.
  3. Location, location, location Part II.  For any given injury the survival rate will vary greatly by where you got shot.  Across the street from Mass General Hospital?  You would have a good chance of surviving anything that was not neurologically devastating.  Going caribou hunting in remote parts of Alaska?  A shovel might be an appropriate addition to your first aid kit.  That’s because…
  4. Time matters.  In trauma there is the concept of a “Golden Hour”.  We have impressive abilities to rapidly, if temporarily, respond to physiological challenges.  Our blood clots.  We mobilize our immune system.  We pick up our heart rate to move around what blood remains faster.  Those systems will eventually fail.  Sooner if you are old and frail.  Later if young and healthy.  I’ll always remember a fit young man who came to the ER with no warning.  He had a gunshot wound that destroyed his femoral artery.  His buddies threw him in the car and drove like hell.  His heart was still beating, but 99% of his blood was on the floor of a Chevy Suburban.  In many cases the most important thing you can do in the face of an obvious serious injury is to call 911 with exact information.  Where you are.  The nature of the injury.  Trust me, if you say the words “gunshot wound, looks bad” and then stand out in a field waving a flag when you hear the helicopter, you’ve done a great deal.
  5. I’d also put in a plug for remembering that there are other far more common medical emergencies that you’ll encounter at the range, and everywhere else.  Take a basic first aid course and learn CPR.  Know your range buddies well enough to pick up on things like low blood sugar…confused people with firearms would seem like a very bad scenario.

And finally I’d say, don’t panic.  Keep your wits about you and do the best job you can.  It’s all you can ask of non professionals.  And it can often make a difference.

In closing I’ll say thanks to all the Borepatchians who offered advice a few months back when I was researching deer rifles after becoming a first time hunter in retirement.  I put your wisdom to good use and am happy with the first firearm I’ve ever owned.  And yes, I do recite the rules of firearms safety as my mantra.

Tacitus MD 

Dad Joke XXXIX

How did the octopus beat the shark in a fight?

He was well armed. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

Quote of the Day: Tyranny Edition

He who would establish a tyranny, first establishes a bodyguard.

- Aristotle, Politics



What's the difference between a dad joke and a bad joke?

Just the first letter. 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Blogshoot After Action Report

Man, that was fun!   Thanks to everyone who came - final turnout was over twenty which is pretty awesome.  Big Country has a good AAR posted already but here are the highlights from my point of view:

  1. The range was awesome, and a big upgrade from the first blogshoot (bird dogging the reservation paid off).  We had basically three different stages: 150 yard rifle, 25 yard pistol, and a second 25 yard section of the pistol range for Miguel's El Presidente drill.  All ranges were covered (Miguel has a great picture of him sighting in a rifle on the pistol range), protecting everyone from the unseasonably warm Florida sun.  Yes, readers up north have our sympathy - come down for the next shoot.
  2. El Presidente is a ton of fun.  You wait for the shot timer to go off, draw your pistol, put two shots into each of 3 targets 6 feet apart, reload, put another two shots into the same three targets, show clear, and re-holster.  Col. Cooper (who devised the drill) considered 10 seconds to be par for the course.  I was 28 seconds, with a 5 second penalty for a missed shot (a "Mike", or a hit outside the black).  My groupings were OK other than that, but yeah - I need to work on my tactical reloads.  Huge thanks to Miguel for running this as it was clearly the most popular event there.
  3. Well, except it's tied for most popular with Divemedic's [Update: link to the correct site now] superb "First Aid for the Gun Range" talk.  Everyone thought it was outstanding.  On the drive back The Queen Of The World even said that the three takeaways were (1) put QuickClot on the wound with hard pressure; if that doesn't do the trick in 10 seconds put a second one on, (2) if after 30 seconds it's still not doing the trick put a tourniquet on the extremity (if it is an extremity), and (3) put a chest seal on any torso wound (and don't forget the exit wound).  Crisp, actionable, and to the point.  Hopefully he'll post a list of stuff to put in your first aid kit.  Oh, and IIRC, Divemedic had the best time on El Presidente and Mrs. Divemedic kicked my butt on it. [Update: Divemedic has a great post about this over at his new digs.]
  4. The shooting was great fun, and the social time was even better.  This is our tribe, and it was good to get together in meatspace.
  5. The Queen Of The World organized everything to the nines, getting everyone checked in and doing a nice lunch spread.  I simply could not have done this without her.  Thanks also to Divemedic and Mrs. Divemedic for bringing even more food which all seemed to go to a good home.
  6. The consensus is that it's best to do this meetup twice a year, rather than every 3 months since we're coming into the burning hot summer/hurricane season.  I'll start planning the next for October/November.  Leave a comment if you would like to meet for adult beverages in the Tampa/Sarasota area.
  7. A tip o' the chapeau goes to JayG whose New England blogshoot got me blogging in the first place, way back in 2008.  I thought about you (and Mr. and Mrs. Doubletrouble, and Libertyman, and Lissa, and all the crew) more than once yesterday.  Thanks, buddy.  Gonna try to keep carrying the flame.
Once again, thanks to everyone who came, and mega thanks to TQoTW who got this working like clockwork even with a broken wrist.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Southwest Florida Blogshoot - lock and load

We are confirmed for the SW Florida blogshoot.  The Queen Of The World is flying with one broken wing but will be there.

The Venue:

When: Saturday, February 27 at 12:00 noon until 4:00 PM.

Where: Manatee Gun and Archery Club1805 Logue Rd, Myakka City, FL 34251

When you get to the gun club on Logue road you will see the covered ranges, a parking lot, and a clubhouse.  Keep going on the road past the clubhouse.  At this point the road is a dirt road.  Keep going all the way to the end which is where the private range will be.

There will be a form to fill out when you arrive, so see The Queen Of The World who will get you checked in.

Remember, bring a pistol and at least two magazines if you want to try Miguel's El President drill.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Why are we still in NATO?

NATO Secretary General wants solar powered tanks. [rolls eyes]

The comment there sums it up:

The stupid, it burns … an M1 tank gets 0.6 mpg. A gallon of diesel contains ~ 40 kWh of energy. A solar panel puts out ~ 1 kWh per day. A solar panel is about 17 sq. ft. You MIGHT fit four of them on an M1 tank without impairing the weapons and sensors. Then you’d need four Tesla Powerwall batteries, weight half a ton.With that setup, every ten days you could move your tank 0.6 miles …

Here's your sign.

IMPORTANT Southwest Florida Blogshoot update

Last night The Queen Of The World fell and broke her wrist.  The break is bad enough that she'll have to have surgery next week.  So far the Blogshoot is still on but I'm pushing the start time to 12:00 noon.  This will cut the day a little short but I'll have to set up by myself and so it will take longer than planned.

Please check this space on Friday evening for any changes - I don't think we'll change anything but life sometimes speaks in its Outdoors Voice.


On the plus side, the local Doc-In-A-Box was actually a 24 hour ER, with X-Ray and all that sort of thing.  They got her right in and splinted up.  The splint is very cool - it is a big gauze pad that they put on her arm and bandaged over.  in 15 minutes it was hard as concrete.  The doc said that the moisture in the air is what causes the chemical reaction to stiffen it up.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Southwest Florida Blogshoot - Now with Moar Col. Jeff Cooper!

Our very own Miguel has graciously offered to run the El Presidente drill at Saturday's blogshoot.  For those of you not familiar with El Presidente, Pew Pew Tactical has a good overview:

“El Presidente” is a shooting drill originally developed by Jeff Cooper (remember the 4 firearm safety rules) when he was training security for a South American president.  The name came about when it was incorporated into USPSA/IPSC as a standardized stage.

Click through for more detail, but this looks like it will be a lot of fun.  Miguel says to bring your sidearm (and holster if you have one) and at least two magazines (as if any of all y'all would bring only two ...)

Here's the venue info - if you haven't RSVP'ed , please leave a comment.

The Venue:

When: Saturday, February 27 at 12:00 noon until 4:00 PM.

Where: Manatee Gun and Archery Club1805 Logue Rd, Myakka City, FL 34251

Facilities:  Some of our readers are bringing their betters halves (as am I) and the fairer sex will be relieved to know that there are proper, civilized facilities in the club house.   

Cost: $20 per person to cover range rental and sundries.