Sunday, October 31, 2021

Ghosts of Halloween Music Past

Over the years I've posted a lot of Sunday classical music.  Here are some of my favorites from Halloween past.

Modest Mussorgsky - Night On Bald Mountain

All Hallow's Eve is followed by All Saint's Day.  This juxtaposition of the diabolical and the blessed is only dimly remembered in today's Halloween festivities.  In earlier times, it was a much more serious affair.

By the 1860s it was less serious than olden times, but the great Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky used the device of a Witch's Sabbath to channel the anti-establishment bacchanalian rebellion of his artistic community.

Walt Disney took this, and paired it with Ave Maria in his 1940 Fantasia film.  It may be the musical pinnacle of All Hallow's Eve/All Saint's Day.

Mussorgsky's rebellion caused him to burn brightly, but also to burn out early.  By the agen of 42, he had drank himself to death.  Much of his music was arranged after his death by friends such as Rimsky-Korsakov or, as in this case, Leopold Stokowski.

Camille Saint-Saëns - Danse Macabre

The Dance of Death
Halloween means we need classical music with a spooky edge.  Fortunately, that's not hard to come by - you just have to get a little more adventurous with composer selection.  And quite frankly, it's hard to gt more adventurous than Camille Saint-Saëns, the late romantic French composer.  He was a child prodigy, possessed perfect pitch, and more importantly had the mind of a polymath: in addition to his many musical compositions he published scientific papers on the acoustics of ancient Roman amphitheaters, wrote the first score for a motion picture, and sailed through the newly completed Panama Canal to conduct an orchestra in San Francisco.

This piece is based on a poem by Henri Cazalis, from a very old French superstition.  Each year Death appears at midnight on Halloween and summons the dead to rise and dance while he plays his fiddle.  The piece opens with a harp playing a single note, repeated twelve times: the clock striking midnight.  The E Flat and A violin chords that follow are sometimes called the "Devil's chords".  The piece is spooky and vigorous all the way through until the end, when the music quietens to a pianissimo as the dead return to their tombs as dawn breaks.

Heinrich Marschner - Overture from the opera Der Vampyr

Image via Wikipedia
Halloween is an interesting challenge for classical music blogging.  At first it's a delight - you're surrounded by choices (Night on Bald Mountain, Toccata and Fugue, you get the idea).  But you go through the easy choices, and then the interesting exploration begins.

Because classical music is filed with great choices for Halloween.  Like today's offering, a shockingly early piece from 1828.  It sounds like it could have been written 60 years later - high romantic classical music from the year after the death of Beethoven himself.

It also has a particularly interesting take on vampires.  This opera was written a full seventy years before Bram Stoker's classic, Dracula.  Stoker (an Englishman) placed the haunt of the undead in far off Teutonic (or past Teutonic) wilderness.  Marschner (a German) placed the haunt of the undead in far off Scottish wilderness.

The story is silly (hey, it's an opera) but the plot is wrapped around vampires and pretty girls, so score one for Marschner.  It has a happy ending (hey, it's an opera), so it's perhaps a little lighthearted for the spirit of Halloween, but it's wonderful music.

Saturday, October 30, 2021


I grew up in the great frozen north and so when we moved to sunny southwest Florida, I got a bird of paradise flower for the patio.  That was something like 16 months ago and the danged thing never flowered.  Until yesterday:

Only one flower, but a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and all that.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Mail bag

Reader C.H. sent the following which made my day.  I'm posting it with his kind permission:

I am writing as I believe some acknowledgement is in order. 

Some years ago you authored a blog post advertising network security as a career path for those new to the job market. At this time I was committed to another profession but I found your arguments to be compelling.

I would later remember this when I grew frustrated with the bureaucracy undermining my work in the role I had and elected to make a change. 

I am now roughly a year into a desirable SOC position in which I am respected for delivering for my team and lucrative career advancement is assured. This is of course a very enviable circumstance in our crumbling society, and I thought it fitting to acknowledge your direct hand in guiding me there in the hope you may derive some satisfaction from your good works.

Thank you dearly,


The post he is referring to is one of the ones here.  I am really happy that this worked out for you, C.H.  If anyone finds themself in a similar situation - or if they know of someone in that situation - you might want to take a look at those posts.

Thursday, October 28, 2021


To the person on crutches who stole my camo jacket - you can hide, but you can't run.

Actually, I think this is the lamest Dad Joke I've ever done here. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Dad Joke CXXII

What tea do they serve at Buckingham Palace?


The difficulty in calculating the benefit/risk of the Vax

We are bombarded with government-sponsored propaganda telling us to get (and possibly threatening us if we don't get) the COVID Vaccine.  I'm a firm believer that people who want to take it should, and people who don't want to shouldn't.  But as someone trained in the Scientific Method back at State U (Electrical Engineering, thanks for asking), it would be nice to have some better data to help make this decision.  What are the (quantifiable) risks, and what are the (quantifiable) benefits?

First, a discussion on quantifiability.  Isegoria (you do read him every day, don't you?) posts something that I'd never heard about but sure wish I had:

NNT is an abbreviation for “number needed to treat.” In other words: How many patients must be treated with the drug in order for a single patient to get the desired benefit?

When you read about drugs in the news — or even in most medical journals — you will almost never be explicitly given the NNT (which I will explain in more detail below). Instead, you’ll get relative risk reduction, a metric that a Michigan State med school dean once told me “is just another way of lying.”


Here’s a fictional example:

You read that a new drug reduces your chance of dying from Ryantastic syndrome by 40 percent. Here’s what that means in practice: if 10 in 100,000 people normally die from Ryantastic syndrome, and everyone takes the new drug, only 6 in 100,000 people will die from Ryantastic syndrome. Now let’s think about it from an NNT perspective.

For 100,000 patients who took the new drug, four deaths by Ryantastic syndrome were avoided, or one per 25,000 patients who took the drug. So the NNT is 25,000; that is, 25,000 patients must take the drug in order for one death-by-Ryantastic to be avoided. Ideally, you also want to know the NNH, or “number needed to harm.”

Let’s say that 1 in 1,000 patients who take the new drug suffer a particular grievous side effect. In that case, the NNH is 1,000, while the NNT is 25,000. Suddenly, the decision seems a lot more complicated than if you’re just told the drug will lower your chance of dying from Ryantastic syndrome by 40 percent.

So one patient in 25,000 will see a benefit and one in 1000 will see a harm.  Thank you very much, but I'll take a hard pass on this hypothetical scenario.

So what are the NNT and NNH for the COVID Vaccine?  The data are elusive here.  As far as I can tell the NNT data are entirely opaque - there doesn't seem to be any way at all to calculate this from published sources (please post links to sources you know in the comments).  But Peter shows that there are very troubling data on NNH.  Very troubling:

A recent analysis by researchers at Queen Mary University in London found that even in senior citizens, about 85% of deaths reported to VAERS were definitively, likely or possibly caused by the vaccine. Moreover, due to significant under-reporting, the true number of vaccine-related deaths may already be significantly higher, possibly in the range of 10,000 to 50,000 deaths in the US alone.

Indeed, despite very few covid deaths, there continues to be unexplained excess all-cause mortality in all US age groups below the age of 75, with all-cause mortality having reached record levels in age groups below 45 since the beginning of the vaccination campaign.

. . .

Below a certain age, covid-related mortality is so low that covid vaccines are bound to kill or severely injure more healthy people than they save. In the US, this age threshold may be close to 40 years, while in some Western European countries, it may be as high as 60 years (for healthy people).

It has been argued that vaccination against covid may at least prevent “long covid” or multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS) in children and young adults; however, new reports from Israel and the US indicate that, to the contrary, covid vaccines may themselves cause MIS as well as “long covid”-like conditions, often lasting for months or possibly even longer

It is often said that the plural of "anecdote" is not "data", but all of these sure point in the same direction, towards a higher NNH - and in particular, a higher NNH for age groups below 75.  The younger the age group, the seemingly higher the NNH.

I find the NNH concept to be extremely useful in making a benefit/riskdecision, even in the absence of solid NNT data because you are holding the (unknown) numerator (the NNT) constant while you increase the denominator (the NNH).  What you know with some certainty - at least if you have some confidence in the Harm data from the VAERS database is that the benefit/risk number is declining as you do this.  Likely it declines by a LOT, particularly for younger age groups.

Now, a note about NNT for Covid.  We have seen many studies comparing case rate between regions that had severe government-imposed lockdowns and regions that had none.  We saw this comparison between different US States as well as different member countries in the EU.  There was no correlation at all between lockdown harshness and case rate.  None.

I would love to see a similar comparison between vaccination rate and death rate.  My guess is that there is little or no correlation, and may in fact be negative.  That's a guess based on the elevated excess death rate but some or all of this could be due to non-Covid impacts from the lockdown: elevated suicide or overdose rates from people forced into house arrest.

I highly encourage you to read both Isegoria's and Peter's posts.  As I have been pointing out (for a dozen years) on Climate Change, the data will set you free but it can be some work to unpack the folded, spindled, and mutilated data sets.  The analogy with Covid is uncomfortably close: for both Global Warming and Covid the governments seem to be highly motivated to use these "emergencies" to increase their control over the economy.  In both cases the data are at least partially suppressed, and are certainly obfuscated.  In both cases the government's allies in Big Tech are actively censoring discussions deviating from the government's position.

But VAERS seems to be both hard to censor (and any censorship would be highly suspicious indeed) and extremely helpful towards calculating NNH.

UPDATE 27 OCTOBER 2021 11:24: More interesting data: Covid hospitalizations for children down 56% since schools opened.  This suggests pretty strongly that the vax NNT for children is a lot lower than Dr. Fauchi and the CDC are telling us.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Why we don't trust the media, vol. MMCIX

They just make stuff up:

From "The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Leaf Blowers" (NYT). 

And there's this: "hydrocarbon emissions from a half-hour of yard work with the two-stroke leaf blower are about the same as a 3,900-mile drive from Texas to Alaska in a Raptor." 

 Raptor = Tricked out F-150.

And this isn't just "the media" - This is the NEW YORK TIMES.  It's supposed to be the Gold Standard of journalism, and they come out with this Bravo Sierra.  And it's not even good Bravo Sierra.


Dad Joke CXXI

I applied for a job at an Australian zoo but they told me I wasn't koalafied. 

Monday, October 25, 2021

Guest Post: Deer hunting, sophomore season

Friend of the Blog Tacitus wrote about his experiences last year as a newbie deer hunter.  He has some thoughts to share with us on getting ready for his second hunting year, as well as some questions for experienced hunters.


Deer Hunting – Sophomore Season

Loyal readers out in Borepatch Nation may recall that in November of 2020 I took up deer hunting for the first time. I had a great time and did manage to put venison in the freezer through that mixture of perseverance and luck that often passes for skill.

After that I queried the assembled scholars here about what rifle I should buy, replacing a borrowed 30-06 that I considered a bit too much artillery for the purpose. Finally, after much discussion I used one of my Covid Economy Stimulus checks to go out and buy a Ruger American in 6.5 Creedmoor. Of course this and any possible alternative decision will always generate controversy but too bad. I made the final call based on the recommendation of one of my longest time friends, a gentleman of solid principles and progressive politics who is way more 2nd Amendment than I am. Sadly he passed away last month, so if I don’t get a deer I’m blaming him.

Anyways, I plinked away with target practice on and off, using whatever ammo happened to briefly turn up on store shelves. I’m honestly not all that adept at sighting in the scope, seems like every time I fiddle with the settings I make things worse in some unexpected direction.

But finally I had some time, an improvised sighting in bench, and several types of ammo. With hunting season starting the Saturday before Thanksgiving it is time for decisions.

Here’s my quite realistic deer target with detachable “bullseye” over the ideal location. I had it set at 80 yards, realistic where we hunt.

By this point I had three types of ammo in hand. A Nosler 120 grain, a Nosler 142, and a Hornady American White Tail in 129. Time to decide which I’ll be using.

I’d had good luck with the heavier Nosler last time out, but oddly the lighter ammo including the cheapest of the lot, the Hornady, were looking more promising on this bright fall day.

The higher up hits came before I adjusted the scope, this time actually doing some good. The next 12 shots were in what I consider a humane target zone. The ones marked with L indicate I was moving my aim point slightly to the left. At this point I was disinclined to mess with it further.

When I took the target down and looked at the back I realized that even most of the misses – and this was from both my son and I over several sessions - would in general have taken down the deer cleanly.

At this point there is little more I can do to get ready. I’ve put about 100 rounds down range since buying the rifle and I’m way more comfortable with handling a gun than I was a year ago. The lighter gun and the increased confidence should allow me to get a shot off a second or two earlier, something that would have served me well last year.

Should I try again to zero the rifle? Not unless I run across another stash of 6.5 for sale somewhere. Honestly at this point my accuracy will be more influenced by grip, steady trigger pull, and getting a rest rail kludged onto the front of my tree stand.

Wish me luck, and thanks again for the advice. I learned a lot from it.


Sunday, October 24, 2021

Wojciech Kilar - "Lucy's Party" from the film Bram Stoker's Dracula

The Queen of The World suggested today's classical music piece from one of her favorite films, the 1992 Francis Ford Coppola production Bram Stoker's Dracula.  She says that it's an excellent Date Night movie, which I can confirm.  Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder are adequate, but Gary Oldman is spectacular as Dracula and Anthony Hopkins is, well, Anthony Hopkins.  The theatricality is a bit over the top in a "300" sense, but it works.

And TQoTW is right that this is a very romantic film.  It's just the ticket for a drizzly October evening coming up on Halloween.

The musical score - I should more properly say the award winning musical score - is perfect.  It doesn't overwhelm the scenes, but very effectively sets the emotional base.  This song is a great example of how the music starts out happy (the scene is a party early in the film) but goes very interestingly and creepily off as it progresses.

Wojciech Kilar was a very successful classical composer in post-war Poland.  He is perhaps their most famous film score composer, and was recognized as such in the West.  Coppola produced this film only a couple years after the Berlin Wall came down, and made a bee line for Kilar to write the score.  It won the 1992 ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Producer's) award.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Dad Joke CXX

In college I had a summer job in construction.  We paved a cul-de-sac.  It was a dead-end job. 

The inevitability of failure is baked in to Progressive Government

Peter highlights how the "homeless crisis" is manufactured, and intended to be a permanent gravy train for the government officials tasked to "solve" the problem.  Well, yeah.  It's Rich People's Leftism:

Rich People's Leftism is one of the clearest explanations I've ever seen for the utter failure of government in Blue States:

With this new approach in mind, let me contrast Rich People’s Leftism (RPL) with Poor People’s Leftism (PPL).

RPL thinks that its goal is to help poor people, while PPL thinks that RPL’s primary goal is to ensure that wealthy leftists dominate and get great jobs.

You really should click through to read about Rich People's Leftism, which dates to 2010.  We've known about this for a long, long time.  A different view is "red pill/blue pill"

... an old post from Isegoria (you do read him every day, don't you?) gives the best introduction to the topic, phrased in explicitly "Blue Pill"/"Red Pill" terminology:

The nature of the state
    • The state is established by citizens to serve their needs. Its actions are generally righteous.
    • The state is just another giant corporation. Its actions generally advance its own interests. Sometimes these interests coincide with ours, sometimes they don’t.

You should read Isegoria's post as well.  Then think about the proposed $3.5T spending bill that is before congress.  Who will it help?  Who are we told that is is going to help, but won't?  To ask the questions is to answer them.

If you are not entirely cynical about everything that the government does, you're really not paying attention.  Take the Red Pill.  Or swallow the Blue one; the circus is entertaining, and the bread is free.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021


Why did the stadium get hot after the game was over?

All the fans left. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Out of the mouths of babes

When I was a kid, we learned what we could say in polite society, what we couldn't say in polite society,  and what skirts the line between those two.  Especially what's on the line between those two.  Well, it looks like kids today are the same as when we were young.

TL;DR: TV Talking Head gets kids at a NASCOR race to say "Gentlemen, start your engines!"  One wiseacre pipes in after, adding "Let's Go, Brandon!"

Midwest Chick has the vid.  It's worth the 30 seconds.  Heh.

Anonymous kid, a Grateful Internet thanks you!

Dad Joke Dad Joke CXVIII

What is a chef's top priority after finishing culinary school?

Finding an entree level position. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

Reloading: Buyer Beware

Steve emails:

Good morning. Your post today about SPAM in your comments section made me think you (and your readers) might be interested in what I can only assume is a scam that is all over the internet. In a time when various gunpowders are unobtanium, there are a number of websites out there who seem to have whatever you need in stock and at reasonable prices. However, if you go to order it you find out that they have a ~$250 minimum order size and they only accept forms of payment with little or no recourse when the powder you order doesn’t show up. I’m assuming it’s a scam, and not some miracle…but honestly almost fell for it. A few examples below, but there are many more.

I haven't been to these web sites, but Steve's suggestion to be very wary of payment where you could be stuck holding the bad is excellent advice.  One of the biggest advantages of regular credit card transactions is that you can dispute the purchase if you get shipped something else (or nothing at all).

Let's be safe out there.

Dad Joke CXVII

What do you call a bear that has lost all its teeth?

A gummy bear. 

Do Not Recommend

An email came in over the transom, because it was a comment left on a ten year old (!) post, Range Report - Lee Enfield No. 4 Mk. 1.  I reproduce the email in full (other than the links) along with my commentary to promote mockery of the company that has employed comment spammers to, err, drum up business.

Thank you for sharing the knowledgeable blog with us

You are most welcome. 

I hope that you will post many more blog with us:-

Well, that's the plan. 

The AK-47 is a versatile firearm.

You hear what they did after the funeral of Mikhail Kalashnikov?  After a week they dug him up, washed him off, and put him back to work. 

It deserves just as versatile ammunition. And behold – here are 840 rounds of 7.62×39 by Prvi Partizan that you’ll be as happy to have at the range as you would during an altercation. This round features a 123 grain FMJ bullet.

I like Privi Partizan, and must rush to point out that this lovely spam was not from them, but rather from a place called "tactical ammo shop dot com".  If you hate Internet spam as much as I do, I encourage you to never buy anything from them.

I actually like Spam, but think that spammers can die in a crotch fire.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Thinking about the next Southwest Florida Blogshoot

The weather is cooling off here in Southwest Florida, which means it's time to start thinking about the next blogshoot.  One idea that got tossed out today at the shooting range is the week between Christmas and New Year's Day.  The advantage is that some folks take that time off work; the disadvantage is that some do not.

The double disadvantage is that both Christmas Day and New Year's Day are on Saturday.  That don't work at all.  December 26 (Boxing Day) is a Sunday, and so is probably the only time that week likely to plausibly work.

So leave a comment about the desirability of Boxing Day, or a different day in December, or next month (November) as dates you would find attractive to come turn money into noise.

Gone shootin'

Today The Queen Of The World and I are going shooting with Big Country, Mrs. Big Country, and Sapper.  It looks to be more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

Back later.

UPDATE 17 OCTOBER 2021 16:17:  Well, that was fun.  I shot better than I expected, The Queen Of The World shot better than she had the last time, Sapper gave her some outstanding shooting advice, and Big Country had some crazy good glass on his M1A.  Then we retired to Charlotte's Webb pub, which is best visited on a motorcycle but is OK with a trunk full of guns.  Definitely have to do this again!

Big Country, thanks for suggesting this!

Happy Birthday, Libertyman!

Many happy returns of the day to Friend-of-the-blog and friend in real life Libertyman.  An occasion like this calls for a classical music rendition of Happy Birthday.  Nicole Pesce does not disappoint.

The Queen Of The World has a more modern musical suggestion:

Happy Birthday, buddy!


Saturday, October 16, 2021

Tony Bennett - Cold, Cold Heart

Man, I love this version of Hank, Sr.'s classic.  You might say that it's not country, but did I mention the bit about Hank, Sr.?  And the country comes out, even with Vicentico's latin accompaniment.  It's still country in a different language, and you can sing along in whichever language you like.  This wasa huge hit for Bennett in 1951, and helped launch his career.  You can see why.

Normally I have the songwriter and lyrics here but c'mon - it's Hank, Sr. and you know the words anyway.

I sure do love this version.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Dad Joke CXVI

If you are trying to get a job in the moisturizing industry, you should apply daily. 

Your moment of Zen

The Moose club on Anna Maria Island has a sweet rooftop bar.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Dad Joke CXV

What do you call a horse that moves around a lot?


Global Warming is coming early this winter

27" of snow in South Dakota. It closed I-90.


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Quote of the Day: Domestic Terrorist edition

This sounds about right:

The dissident right is made up of fringe dwellers, non-conformists, conspiracy theorists and just plain weirdos. We’re used to copping flack from the enemy; we have thick skins. But those being labeled today as domestic terrorists are normies. Mums and dads, regular people who go to the game and like a beer or three, hell, even Boomers, (God help us). They’re copping the domestic terrorist rap and they’re confused. They think that in the eyes of the law that they’re good people. They’re not like those fringe dwelling crackpots on the far right. They’re regular people who are just concerned at the way their country is going.

And they are the ones being accused of being domestic terrorists; not us. Nobody has accused me of being a domestic terrorist and I’ve been poking the bear for years now. But stand up and accuse your school board of being Marxist thugs and the government swoops in faster than pigeons on newly arrived tourists exiting a coach. It’s a bit humbling; they’re not really worried about us, they know who and what we are. It’s the normies waking up that really has them worried. Cause there are a lot more normies out there than us fringe dwellers.

Dad Joke CXIV

Why isn't suntanning an Olympic sport?

You can only get bronze. 

Hey, Canadians are nicer than us Yanks, amirite?

Canadian town bans marriage between non-vacinated couples.

And a quick note for you hosers from the Great White North: before yammering on about how awful our (private) healthcare system is, please explain the following:

Charlie Gard

Alfie Evans

Oliver Cameron

Ashya King

Nota bene: these cases are from Britain, the Mother Country.  The Canadian health system (whatever it is called) is explicitly modeled on Britains National Health System (NHS) which has assumed almost cult-like status in Britain.

Britain.  You know: the land where Great Britain used to be.

So all you Canuk Hosers can just shut right up about how awesome your "Health Care" system is..  Yeah, ours may still be swirling the drain, but yours was flushed long ago.  After all, we are all still Citizens of the Republic (for now), but you are Subjects of the Crown.

Except for Glen Filthie.  He's reloading and sharpening bayonets.  Glen, come on down to Florida.  The air still smells of Freedom.

This post has the tag "Statist Pricks" because, well, you know.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Quote of the Day: Southwest Pilots "Sick-in" edition

This quote (and the post it is from) makes no mention of the pilots, and was written from the point of view of the working man.  But it explains clearly what is going on (you'll have to read the whole thing to see how this applies to pilots as well):

I think that in retrospect, the decision to lock down entire societies to stop the coronavirus will end up in the history books as one of the most spectacular blunders ever committed by a ruling class. Partly, of course, the lockdowns didn’t work—look at graphs of case numbers over time from places that locked down vs. places that didn’t, and you’ll find that locking down societies and putting millions of people out of work didn’t do a thing to change the size and duration of the outbreak. Partly, the economic damage inflicted by the lockdowns would have taken years to heal even if the global industrial economy wasn’t already choking on excessive debt and running short of a galaxy of crucial raw materials. But there’s more to it than that.

If you want people to put up patiently with long hours of drudgery at miserably low wages, subject to wretched conditions and humiliating policies, so that their self-proclaimed betters can enjoy lifestyles they will never be able to share, it’s a really bad idea to make them stop work and give them a good long period of solitude, in which they can think about what they want out of life and how little of it they’re getting from the role you want them to play. It’s an especially bad idea to do it so that they have no way of knowing when, or if, they will ever be allowed to return to their former lives, thus forcing them to look for other options in order to stay fed, clothed, housed, and the like.

Like I said, no mention of the pilots.  But when a corporation makes you merely one of the factors of production, you had damn well better be replaceable or they have a problem bigger than they think.

This is an outstanding post from The Blogger Formerly Known As The Archdruid.  I cannot recommend this more highly.  The Revolution will not be televised, but it sure as shootin' will be blogged.

Dad Joke CXIII

Why do scuba divers roll backwards off the boat?

Because if they rolled forwards, they'd still be in the boat. 

Back now

Been traveling.  Oof.

Blogging to resume today. 

Thursday, October 7, 2021


Seen last night:

1964 GTO.  What caught me was the three carbs on the 389 V8.  The owner basically took it down to bare metal and built it back up again, and he did a nice job.

This is the car that started the Muscle craze.  Basically, John DeLorean took their second gen Tempest chassis and dropped a big block Bonneville engine into it.  Pontiac initially planned a production run of 5000; they actually sold 32000.


Dad Joke CXII

Why are people in the Czech Republic so sensible?

They are very Praguematic. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

On the Internet nobody can tell if you're a dog

Politeness is a sign of dignity, not of subservience.

- Theodore Roosevelt 

But everybody can tell if you're an asshole.

Divemedic posted his stance on the vaccine: get it if you think it's right for you, don't get it if you don't think it's right for you.  A more sensible position is hard to imagine.

And then The Internet appeared in his comments section, with SumD00d telling him he was wrong (well, I think that's what he said because the comment was fairly incomprehensible; hey, it's The Internet, amirite?).

And while the comment was moderately incoherent, the attitude of the commenter was anything but.  Commenter "Hedge" is an asshole.  He may (or may not) be a dog with a keyboard but he is unmistakably an asshole with one.


I am very grateful indeed that the commenters here are almost always respectful and intelligent - and the commenters on the Dad Jokes are funny as hell.  I almost never need to step in to tell folks to settle down and mind their manners - maybe only 2 or 3 times in the 13 years I've been here.

People think wrong when they think that the Internet gives them anonymity.  It doesn't.  It gives pseudonymity, which is not at all the same thing.  If you post under a pseudonym (like Hedge and I both do), you still develop a reputation.  Quite frankly, you can't comment anonymously here, so anything you say in the comments here will add to (or in rare cases detract from) your reputation.

Divemedic certainly doesn't need me to fight his fights, that's not the point of this post.  I love  comments and the two way (or multiple way) discussions we have here.  But I'm not going to tolerate Internet Assholes like Hedge here.  Cathedra mea, regula meae - my place, my rules..  If you don't like it, don't stop by.  This really isn't very hard.

It is a wise thing to be polite; consequently, it is a stupid thing to be rude. To make enemies by unnecessary and willful incivility, is just as insane a proceeding as to set your house on fire. For politeness is like a counter--an avowedly false coin, with which it is foolish to be stingy. 
- Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom Of Life 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Dad Joke CXX

Why do Secret Agents get the best sleep? 

Because they're always under cover.

Security Smörgåsbord, vol. 13 no. 6

Google report: Government Geofence warrants up ten times in the last year:

POLICE AROUND THE country have drastically increased their use of geofence warrants, a widely criticized investigative technique that collects data from any user's device that was in a specified area within a certain time range, according to new figures shared by Google. Law enforcement has served geofence warrants to Google since 2016, but the company has detailed for the first time exactly how many it receives.

The report shows that requests have spiked dramatically in the past three years, rising as much as tenfold in some states. In California, law enforcement made 1,909 requests in 2020, compared to 209 in 2018. Similarly, geofence warrants in Florida leaped from 81 requests in 2018 to more than 800 last year. In Ohio, requests rose from seven to 400 in that same time.

Across all 50 states, geofence requests to Google increased from 941 in 2018 to 11,033 in 2020 and now make up more than 25 percent of all data requests the company receives from law enforcement.

This is bad juju from a privacy perspective.  Here's advice on how to avoid getting caught up in this.

New report on cyber security recommendations for K-12 systems.  This all seems pretty sensitive.  If you have kids in school, you might want to bring this to the School Board's attention.

IPv6 will give us better security!  IPv6 seems to be something - like fusion power - that's always "5 years away" ...

Google introduces auto-reset of permissions granted to unused apps.  This is an excellent idea, and one that Google seems to have implemented in a very user-friendly manner.  If you have apps that you never use, then it makes sense not to allow them to poke around on your device.  Well done, Google.  I'd like to see Apple do this for iOS as well.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Range Report: SIG Sauer P365

The Queen Of The World and I went shooting last weekend because we had this little beauty to break in:

The problem with Florida is that you don't often get a chance to wear a jacket, so a big 1911 isn't always the easiest to conceal handgun.  This pistol is tiny, and so can pretty much go anywhere with you.  Surprisingly (to me), it's chambered in 9mm (rather than .380 ACP) and can even handle +P loadings.  Even more surprising (to me) is that the recoil is very manageable.  It's actually fun to shoot despite its diminutive size.  SIG claims that the P354 has the lowest bore-axis ratio of any handgun currently manufactured.  I haven't checked this claim, but this pistol is not at all "snappy" in its recoil.

Maybe this was why it was the best selling handgun in America a couple years back.

So to the basics: Polymer?  Check.  Striker fired?  Check.  Double stack 10 round magazine?  Check.  Tritium sights?  Check.  All standard.

We did a couple of upgrades.  The grip is really short, and so I ordered some 15 round magazines which add about another inch to the length of the grip.  They didn't arrive in time for this review, so the shorter grip doesn't hurt shootability.

We also bought the SIG laser for this pistol.  You see that at the bottom of the picture here, right in front of the trigger guard.  It's pretty slick - it snapped right in and there's an activation button right where your hands go around the grip.  Grab the pistol and the laser comes on; put it down and it goes off.  Got to love SIG engineering.

The sights are superior.  Excellent sight picture, and the tritium dots are very visible in both bright and dim light.

This picture is a little off-center so you can see the laser dot.  The laser comes with an Allen Wrench that lets you adjust elevation and windage.  I got it mostly dialed in but need to take it back to the range to get it dead on at 7 yards.

Accuracy is fine - this is more accurate than I am.  There are some flyers from other targets on the page; all of the SIG's were on the color.  Heck, they'd better be with a laser and all.  The trigger is great, crisp break.

So what didn't I like?  Well, the magazines have really stiff springs - like I-could-only-load-5-rounds stiff.  This will work itself out over time.

The grip is really short.  The extended 15-round magazines should fix that.

And I'd like a manual safety.  That's personal preference,  SIG actually makes a variant with one to comply with Massachusetts regulations (spit) - the P365-MS.

Lastly, I do not look forward to the arguments with The Queen Of The World about whose gun this will be.  Alas, I think I know how that will play out ...

All in all, I can see why this is such a popular pistol.  The component systems are all mature: the striker system from P320, the recoil locking system dates to 1975 (!), and the Fire Control Unit is an updated version of the one from the P320.  These components have all been combined by engineers who kept an eye on the overall system, and blend together beautifully.

The standard disclaimer:
I'm not any kind of gun or shooting expert. I like shooting, and shoot a fair number of different guns, but I'm really a dilettante. Your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, do not remove tag under penalty of law.

I don't do scientific, repeatable tests. There's no checklist, although that's not a bad idea. I write about what I like and don't like, but it's pretty much stream of consciousness. Opinion, we got opinion here. Step right up.

I'm not a shooting teacher, although I do like to introduce people to shooting.Maybe some day I'll take the NRA teaching class, but until then, you get a dilettante's view. You'll get opinion here, but if you get serious about shooting, you'll want to get someone who knows what he's doing to give you some pointers. It can help.

And oh yeah, shooting things is fun.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Yay, me

I guess I really am a gun guy.  The Queen Of The World got a sweet Sig P365.  Alas, we had no 9mm ammo, and the case I ordered hadn't arrived yet.

But in getting things sorted out for tomorrow's range day involved reorganizing things.  Lo and behold, I had 3 (!) 50 round boxes of 9mm.  No idea where that came from - maybe Ammoman brought it to the Southwest Florida blogshoot.

But I guess that you're officially a "gun guy" when you have ammo in calibers that you think you don't have any of.  And while my ammo hoard isn't quite up to this, it's big enough that I probably should do an inventory.

Oh, and the SIG laser for the 365 is about the coolest thing ever.  Took all of 2 minutes to install, and the laser comes on when you grip the gun.  I'll do a range report on this one.

Ah, gardening

Having grown up in Maine, potted plants were never much trouble.  Things grew slowly up there, so while it wasn't "plant it and forget it" it wasn't far off it.  Of course, now we're in the Gunshine State, and plants outgrow their pots in about a week.  I'm convinced that if you watch my Bird Of Paradise closely, you can see it grow. 

Yeah, yeah - I hear you say that I should get The Queen Of The World to stop dosing them with Miracle Grow.  You try stopping her.  I'll be the guy watching.  And eating popcorn.

And so today will involve plants, and pots, and potting soil (and Miracle Grow).  I wasn't made for all that.  There's a Country song about that.

Pretty Good Drinking Beer (Songwriter: Troy Jones):

I wasn't born for digging deep holes
I'm not made for paving long roads
I ain't cut out to climb high line poles
But I'm pretty good at drinking beer

I'm not the type to work in a bank
I'm no good at slapping on paint
Don't have a knack for making motors crank, no
But I'm pretty good at drinking beer

So hand me one more
That's what I'm here for
I'm built for having a ball
I love the nightlife
I love my Bud Light
I like 'em cold and tall

I ain't much for mowing thick grass
I'm too slow for workin' too fast
I don't do windows so honey don't ask
But I'm pretty good at drinking beer

A go getter maybe I'm not
I'm not known for doin' a lot
But I do my best work when the weather's hot
I'm pretty good at drinking beer

So hand me one more
That's what I'm here for
I'm built for having a ball
I love the nightlife
I love my Bud Light
I like 'em cold and tall

I wasn't born for digging deep holes
I'm not made for paving long roads
I ain't cut out to climb high line poles
But I'm pretty good at drinking beer
I'm pretty good at drinking beer

I have to say, though - having grown up in Maine I do love me some Bird Of Paradise flower.

UPDATE 2 October 13:54:  Note to self: do not buy any more pots with lips that overhang on the inside.  Had to cut one apart to get the plant out.  And I'm not sure what I'll do in 6 months - I got the biggest pots I could find at Lowe's and while they're not too small, I expect they might be in 6 months.