Accurate... Unfortunately.

Interviewer: So, you’re a carpenter, are you?
Carpenter: That’s right, that’s what I do.

Interviewer: How long have you been doing it?
Carpenter: Ten years.

Interviewer: Great, that’s good. Now, I have a few technical questions to ask you to see if you’re a fit for our team. OK?
Carpenter: Sure, that’d be fine.

Interviewer: First of all, we’re working in a subdivision building a lot of brown houses. Have you built a lot of brown houses before?
Carpenter: Well, I’m a carpenter, so I build houses, and people pretty much paint them the way they want.

Interviewer: Yes, I understand that, but can you give me an idea of how much experience you have with brown? Roughly. 

Just Some Youts

Rioting in Sweden has spread beyond the capital in the sixth night of violence. Several cities saw cars and buildings set ablaze as police reinforcements in Stockholm sought to contain widespread unrest.

A Simple Question

Forget your politics for a minute. Lose the whole Democrat vs. Republican, liberal vs. conservative thing. Because this doesn’t really have anything to do with that. 
Ask yourself a simple question: “If I was creating a new tax system from scratch, would I create one that allows the government to take my house, and maybe send me to jail if I make a mistake?” 
If you wouldn’t, then why in the world would you want to keep one that already does?

"Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids..."

... and yet, there are people who would line up to do so.

Human beings are both weird, and wonderful.

On May 19th, 2005, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit captured this stunning view as the Sun sank below the rim of Gusev crater on Mars.

To Teh Intarwebs!

Michael Flynn write about his research into longswords for a short story he's writing:
Now, TOF has never dueled with longswords, nor indeed with any fell instrument, so for versimilitude, he consulted that Font of All Wisdom; viz., the Internet, to obtain nuggets of neepery with which to strew his narrative.
Very interesting, both the information, and how much research goes into just this aspect of his story.  I wonder if he could be convinced to give his notes a once-over and transform them into a blog post, because I'd probably enjoy them as much - possibly more - than the story itself.

From The Earth To Low-Earth Orbit

Project HARP (High Altitude Research Project) was a joint initiative between the United States and Canada to research the use of ballistics to deliver objects into the upper atmosphere and beyond.
In lay terms, the project was established to create a cartoonishly large gun to shoot things into space. The sole fruit of this partnership, a massive toppled gun barrel, still remains on the Barbados test site.
One of the pictures from the piece:

Now, that's a gun... a 100 caliber monster based off of a  U.S. Navy 16 inch gun. Yes, they started the project with a battleship gun capable of launching two and a half tons 23 miles, and then scaled it up.  Way up.

Wikipedia, of course, has a good bit of information as well: 
Started in 1961, HARP was created largely due to lobbying from Gerald Bull, a controversial but highly successful ballistics engineer who went on to head the project...
Bull's ultimate goal was to fire a payload into space from a gun, and many have suggested that the ballistics study was offered simply to gain funding. While the speed was not nearly enough to reach orbit (less than half of the 9,000 m/s delta-v required to reach Low Earth Orbit), it was a major achievement at much lower cost than most ballistic missile programs.
For more detail - a lot more detail - you can read "A Brief History of the HARP Project" at Encyclopedia Aeronautica.  It's a fascinating story of strong personalities, politics, and engineering.

Unfortunately, after the HARP project was canceled, Bull decided to work with South Africa and Iraq on a successor project.  Needless to say, this did not end well for him.  As noted by Wikipedia:
The March 1990 assassination of Bull (allegedly at the hands of the Israeli Mossad or the Iranian VEVAK intelligence agency) in his Brussels apartment, and the 1991 Gulf War ended the project.

So... Where Can I Find The Soul-Over-USB Spec?

So, last night before I went to bed, I checked my iPhone, just in time to see it pop up a "20% power remaining" warning.  Eh.  More than enough to get me through the day tomorrow, I thought, and tossed it onto my bookshelf before turning in.

This morning, I arrived at work and plugged my phone into my charger, and the display told me I had 98% power remaining.


Either my lovely and wonderful wife put my phone on to charge after she woke up today, or my iPhone is recharging itself by slowly draining my soul while I sleep.

I'm not sure which one is really more likely.

Ask Not For Whom The Audit Tolls...

... it tolls for thee.

By now, everyone knows that the IRS has admitted to targeting Tea Party 501c applications for special scrutiny.  Slightly less well known is that they are also being accused of improperly seizing 60 million personal medical records as well.

Yeah.  It's not been a happy week for the IRS. [1] For the first time in ages, their public opinion numbers have dipped from "slightly more pleasant than a rabid rat gnawing on my face" levels to... well, I'm not quite sure what comes under the whole face-gnawing-rat level.  I suspect pollsters going to have to dust off some imaginary numbers to accurately reflect just how your average American feels about the IRS is at this point.

Particularly since after the initial announcement, details about the IRS audits have been coming fast and furious.  Oh, no, wait - that's another scandal entirely.  Let's just say there's quite a lot of details, then...

Defenders of the IRS initially claimed that a spike in conservative non-profit applications raised red flags in the IRS, and that what followed was nothing more than professional scrutiny.  Really.  Of course, the policies were put in place in 2010, and the "spike" the IRS claims resulted in the policy came in 2011.  I had no idea that Miss Cleo was working for the IRS.

Fortunately, at least the number of cases where the IRS abused their power was limited, right?  Yeah, it would be nice if that were true.

At least the abuses were limited to one particular group of bad apples in the Cincinnati office.  Except that DC and California offices were involved, too.

Geeze.  At least the individuals involved were just a bunch of low-level IRS employees.  Of course, that's only true if in your dictionary, "low-level" means "senior".

Besides, it's not like they did anything egregiously wrong, like fast-tracking progressive applications while delaying conservatives, or turning over private data included in conservative non-profit application to political opponents.  Well, no more than one political opponent, at least.  I mean, that we know of.

Take heart, though.  As soon as those low-level yet senior officials discovered the problem, they immediately 'fessed up.  And by "immediately", of course, we mean "waited until after the presidential election".  Because that's what immediately means, right?

Ah, well.  Even if it their policies violate causality; even if there was a large number of cases where they abused their power; even if it spread across several different offices; even if senior officials knew about the situation; even if they did share information illegally; and even though they supressed information about their abuses for political reasons... well, you know that the White House was completely in the dark, because otherwise the Most Transparent Administration In History (TM) would have been all over the problem.

I’ve been told today by several reporters that President Obama’s White House counsel, Kathryn Ruemmler, knew for several days — perhaps weeks —that some Internal Revenue Service officials were engaging in political targeting of conservative groups, and that she did not tell the president as soon as she knew even partial reports about the story.

Hey, now - don't let all this get you down.  How about some good IRS news for a change?
Even as the politicized tax enforcement scandal expands, the Internal Revenue Service continues to expand its political powers thanks to the Affordable Care Act. A larger government always creates more openings for abuse, as Americans will learn when the IRS starts auditing their health care in addition to their 1040 next year... 
To monitor compliance with these rules, the IRS and HHS are now building the largest personal information database the government has ever attempted. Known as the Federal Data Services Hub, the project is taking the IRS's own records (for income and employment status) and centralizing them with information from Social Security (identity), Homeland Security (citizenship), Justice (criminal history), HHS (enrollment in entitlement programs and certain medical claims data) and state governments (residency).
Well, yeah, I lied.  At this point, really, you should have seen it coming.

So the IRS is building a single database of all the personal information it has about every person in the country.  On top of that, it's not only their information.  They're going to include data from a whole bunch of other government agencies, including the DHS, the DoJ, and even your state government.  I'm sure they're going to turn up quite a lot of interesting correlations once they get all those data sets together in the same room.

All told, this is going to give those consummate professionals at the IRS - you know, the ones who have been systematically abusing the power they already have - the ability to audit anyone, anywhere, for any reason that might catch their fancy.

I'm sure that's going to be just peachy keen.

Well, yeah.  That's sarcasm.  At this point, really, you should have seen it coming.

[1] Still better than Jay Carney's, though, so they've got that going for them.

Blowing Up The Space Station

Honey, I BLEW UP the International SPACE STATION - in full 3D
A few years ago the idea of accelerating a BlueArc filer would have seemed bizarre; it's got its own hardware acceleration. But now media special effects processing can be so mind-blowingly intensive that the hardware accelerated filer itself needs accelerating.
Yep, that there's us again.

Wait, Not Even Industrial Grade Sandpaper One Ply?

First milk, butter, coffee and cornmeal ran short. Now Venezuela is running out of the most basic of necessities – toilet paper.
Blaming political opponents for the shortfall, as it does for other shortages, the government says it will import 50m rolls to boost supplies.
Oh.  My.


Let's play a game of "what's more likely":
Eeeeeevil conservative and capitalists hate you sooooooo much that they spent thousands of man hours and millions of dollars to deprive you - yes, you - of toilet paper,
... OR ...
Your tenuous grasp of basic economic theory has produced an economy that sucks so badly that you can't even manage to produce a simple consumable product that everyone wants and will use... Every.  Single.  Day.
If I were a betting man, my money would be on option #2.  As it is, I suspect that severe food shortages and rationing can't be far behind, as food is just slightly harder to produce, ship and store than rolls of thin paper.


White House Press Secretary Jay Carney explains how the Obama administration plans to investigate the allegations of misconduct within the IRS.

Yeah.  I'm sure that'll work out just fine.


From Kevin Siers, the staff cartoonist for The Charlotte Observer.

In The Box

A fascinating article about a visit to the U.S. Army National Training Center:
Fort Irwin is a U.S. army base nearly the size of Rhode Island, located in the Mojave Desert about an hour's drive northeast of Barstow, California. There you will find the National Training Center, or NTC, at which all U.S. troops, from all the services, spend a twenty-one day rotation before they deploy overseas...
Units are deployed to Fort Irwin for twenty-one days, fourteen of which are spent in what Fort Irwin refers to as "The Box" (as in "sandbox"). This is the vast desert training area that includes fifteen simulated towns and the previously mentioned tunnel and caves, as well as expansive gunnery ranges and tank battle arenas.
Following our briefing, we headed out to the largest mock village in the complex, the Afghan town of Ertebat Shar, originally known, during its Iraqi incarnation, as Medina Wasl.
Lots of amazing photos, plus a description of one of the realistic training exercises:

The afternoon's action began quietly enough, with an American soldier on patrol waving off a man trying to sell him a melon. Suddenly, a truck bomb detonated, smoke filled the air, and an injured woman began to wail, while a soldier slumped against a wall, applying a tourniquet to his own severed arm. 

In the subsequent chaos, it was hard to tell who was doing what, and why...
A friend who's associated with the State department noted that they have similar, though smaller, training facilities.

When The Vacuums Came For Me

Nightmare Number Three - Stephen Vincent Benet
We had expected everything but revolt
And I kind of wonder myself when they started thinking--
But there’s no dice in that now...
For a while, I thought
That window-cleaner would make it, and keep me company.
But they got him with his own hoist at the sixteenth floor
And dragged him in, with a squeal.
You see, they coöperate. Well, we taught them that
And it’s fair enough, I suppose. You see, we built them.

Definitely RTWT.  (H/T to Jerry Pournelle.)

"I Shave."

The original Doonsbury cartoon was published on 7 April 1974. After some very minor modifications, is is - sadly - still usable nearly 40 years later.

Guilty As ...

Gosnell guilty on three counts of murder one.  To quote a friend:
Kermit Gosnell wasn't a "back-alley butcher." He had his own website and Yellow Pages ads. He was out in the open.

The Return of Donovan buigh

First review of On the Razor's Edge, a starred review from Booklist. On The Razor’s Edge is a magnificent and satisfyingly open-ended conclusion to the tale of the civil war between the Shadows of the Names...
A day shy of seven weeks.

Why, yes.  I am looking forward to this.  Why do you ask?


Spotted on Facebook, as a friend of a friend commented on the Kermit Gosnell verdict:
I don't find the argument that this is a one-off case or that there aren't other Gosnells out there very convincing. My professional life has taught me that the legal and economic conditions that allow something to happen once will allow it to happen multiple times in multiple places. Evil occurs with actuarial predictability under the conditions that allow it to exist.
Absolutely, chillingly true.


The Space Station is a collaboration of 15 nations working together to create a world-class, state-of-the-art orbiting research facility. The Station is much more than a world-class laboratory; it is an international human experiment.
You know, right now, there are people living in space.


Stop and think about that.  It's freaking amazing, it is.

Just the thought of it sends chills up and down my spine.  We did that.  We put people into space, and they live there.

Temporarily, of course... for now.

Someday, though... someday, more will follow.  We human beings are particularly hard on boundaries; we tend to push them.  Once they give way, we tend to crowd them.  Barring a disaster that either wipes us out completely or reduces the human race scattered bands shivering around fires, we will always know that there is a frontier out there; one that it can be reached, and that can be conquered.

If we want it badly enough.

"Burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the sky from me..."

Lies, Damned Lies, And Obama

We've talked quite a bit about how the federal government has been pretty aggressively shattering any remnants of the 4th amendment, and while there are some parts of the 1st amendment that are still respected, our government doesn't always seem so keen on that one either. Apparently, they've decided to kill two birds with one stone recently, in obtaining a broad collection of phone records concerning Associated Press journalists, which is almost certainly in violation of the law. The AP only just found out about this on Friday, despite the data already being obtained, and covering more than 20 separate phone lines (including work, home and mobile phones) for multiple AP journalists -- and a period covering approximately two months in early 2012. 
Fast & Furious.


Drones strikes.


IRS targeting political opponents.

Now the AP.

Transparency? Oh, yeah. They're transparent.


Apples to Apples

Recently, our beclownéd Vice President said:
If you need more than 10 rounds to hunt, and some argue they hunt with that many rounds, you shouldn't be hunting. If you can't get the deer in 3 shots, you shouldn't be hunting. You are an embarrassment.
Now, while the proper protocol with Slow Joe would normally be to back away slowly without making eye contact, I'm reminded of stopped clocks.  I mean, the man has an obviously... unique... mind, as  you can tell from his other firearms related advice.  Still, lets look at his advice analytically.

First of all, JoeJoe's talking about hunting. Based on my own experience, I have to say that I think he's at least partially correct.  A friend of mine is fond of saying, "One shot - deer.  Two shots - maybe deer.  Three shots - no deer."  If you're throwing more than three shots at any individual deer, you're not hunting, you're flinging lead and praying.

Of course, when I go out, I take more than three shells, mind you.  Apparently, that makes me a crappy hunter.  The internal magazine on my Savage can take 5 shells, which is what it gets whenever I head out, because - get this crazy idea! - I may end up taking a shot at more than one deer.

Shocking, I know.

On top of that, I've got a pocket full of shells as well, because walking back to the house every three shots would stink.  If I had, say, an external magazine, I might pre-load them and carry a couple, even for something as relatively straightforward as hunting deer.  Which, I would like to point out, only very rarely shoot back [1], and are generally lacking in terms of claws, fangs, and the desire to consume the living flesh of other creatures.

Were I hunting something other than a herbivore inclined to run for the hills as soon as it saw me, I might - just might, mind you - appreciate having a few more shells in a magazine.

But I digress.  Let's say we're willing to entertain the advice of a mentally confused old man who's incapable of counting past three, or a Democratic Vice President [2], and let's limit ourselves to three rounds.   For me, that means three rounds of .308 Winchester (165 gr, 11 g), which is what I use for deer hunting [3].  Taking a look at the above referenced Wikipedia entry, I can see that a .308 bullet is capable of imparting 3,621 joules of energy to a target.

Yes, Virgina - guns are kinetic energy weapons.  We've been living in the future for almost a millennium.  Who knew?

Back to the point.  Given the three .308 shells that our Somewhat Esteemed Veep has graciously allowed me, horrible shot that I am, that gives me the ability to put 3 x 3,621 = 10,863 joules on target.

So, Sloppy Joe and his besties think that having that much firepower in my hands is A-OK.

Now, follow me here.  A 9mm Parabellum round(115 gr, 7.45 g) is what I use in my handgun.  Again, looking a the Wikipedia entry, I can see that a 9mm bullet is capable of imparting 570 joules of energy to a target.

Now, hang on to your hat, Joe, because I'm going to do a fancy little trick I like to call math:

  •   Three .308 bullets can put 10,863 joules of energy on target.
  •   One 9mm bullet can put 570 joules of energy on target.
  •   And 10,863/570 = 19.


That's the how many 9mm shells you need to meet that same level of A-OK firepower.

By The Veep's reckoning, then, I shouldn't need more than a 19-round magazine in my semi-auto pistol.  Let's just make it a nice, even 20 rounds, and call it a day.

Except... remember, my rifle actually holds 5 shells.  Because, you know, I might be shooting at more than one deer.  Kind of like how, if I'm defending myself during a home invasion, I might find myself dealing with more than one assailant.

Shocking, I know.

So really, that's more like a 30-round magazine.  Actually, multiple magazines - one in the pistol, and a couple of spares.

Yeah, that sounds good to me.  And you can tell all your gun grabbing friends that it's even Joe Biden Endorsed (TM)!

[1] Unless you're hunting in certain areas around the Castle, in which case, all bets are off.
[2] But I repeat myself.
[3] Outside of Allegheny County, that is.  We have to use rifled shotguns and slugs on our own property, which blows.

Proverbs 22:6

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
– Proverbs 22:6

Overheard in the car tonight.
Mei Mei: (talking about upcoming events) "... and Thursday is Miss Rachel's birthday.  Oh!  And today is national punch a hippy day."
Gia Gia: (sighs) "Every day is national punch a hippy day."
So proud of 'em!

The Teacher's Union, In The Band Room, WIth A Cease And Desist

The high school band in Gold Beach, Oregon, isn't bad. The group is only 15 kids, but they did well in last year's District Festival and were hoping to return this year to take the crown.

Just one problem: The band's director is a volunteer and the local teachers union didn't like that at all.
You know what?  I love teachers.  On the other hand, I despise, despise, despise the teacher's union, precisely because of garbage like this.

Read About A Recommendation To Read A Must-Read

In the run up to Marine Gen. James Mattis' deployment to Iraq in 2004, a colleague wrote to him asking about the "importance of reading and military history for officers"... 
The problem with being too busy to read is that you learn by experience (or by your men’s experience), i.e. the hard way. By reading, you learn through others’ experiences, generally a better way to do business, especially in our line of work where the consequences of incompetence are so final for young men.
Elites would like to think of the members of the US military as barely self-aware drones who are in service because they have no other options.  The truth of the matter is very different.  Today's military - especially the professional military - is largely middle-class, well-educated, and extremely capable.

There Are Stranger Things...

Great talents seem to embody their craft. It’s as if they invented the form and then broke the mold when they were finished with it. One of the best modern examples of this virtuosity is Mel Blanc, voice of Bugs Bunny and nearly all of the Looney Tunes cartoon gang...
Noel Blanc tells the story of a terrible car accident that badly injured his father in 1961 as he was driving home along Sunset Boulevard from a job in San Francisco. Mel Blanc, driving an Aston Martin, collided with another car on Dead Man’s Curve. Blanc was almost killed and slipped into a coma. Blanc’s son and wife spent two weeks at his bedside trying to revive him, but got no response.
And yes, the headline is accurate.  I'd definitely say that it was Bugs Bunny that saved his life. 


LANGLEY, VA—A report released Tuesday by the CIA's Office of the Inspector General revealed that the CIA has mistakenly obscured hundreds of thousands of pages of critical intelligence information with black highlighters.

According to the report, sections of the documents— "almost invariably the most crucial passages"—are marred by an indelible black ink that renders the lines impossible to read, due to a top-secret highlighting policy that began at the agency's inception in 1947.
Well, that does explain quite a bit.

Shield Bash Is Totally OP in PVP

22 countries engage in vintage armored beatdowns at Battle of the Nations
On a field in Aigues-Mortes, France, armies from 22 nations are clashing. Armed and armored in medieval style, the combatants are vying for the title in this years' Battle of the Nations western martial arts championship. The entire thing is being streamed live on YouTube. This isn't a contest of foam on foam or even blunted wooden swords—the weapons and armor are period-accurate, and the risk of injury is real.
Interesting... how's the good ol' US of A doing?
In two mass combat heats today, the US routed Team Italy in a little more than a minute without taking any "casualties" (when three body parts touch the ground, you're out). Later on, the Americans lost a hard-fought battle with Ukraine.
Ukraine?  Ukraine?  C'mon, guys - they're not even a continent!

I'm not a big one for watching streaming video, but I really am going to have to check this out.

A New Hampshire Yankee in Madame Sherri's Court

An odd archive photo leads to a bit of historical research in New England...

... and an article on the Madame Sherri Castle Ruins.

It seems improbable, really. You wouldn’t expect to find the remains of a “castle” tucked into the southwest corner of the Granite State, yet there it is. Stories swirl around these ruins and its former occupant, but most folks in the area seem to agree on a few points: Madame Antoinette Sherri, a costume designer from New York, began buying land in the small village of Chesterfield, New Hampshire, in the late 1920s; she planned to build an extravagant summer home on the property. Her mantra, purportedly, was “Only the best,” and for years she threw wildly lavish parties there, hosting an eclectic band of friends from the city. Until her money ran out, that is.


Watch this railroad tanker car instantly implode...
In the clip, the tanker car is filled with steam and the safety valves are disabled. The steam cools, then condenses, the pressure inside drops, and the pressure difference is big enough to crumple that huge railcar like a napkin.
That's one extreme, caused by cooling.  There's also a link to a video showing "sun kink", another failure mode caused by intense heat.  According to Wikipedia:
Similarly, rail tracks also expand when heated, and can fail by buckling, a phenomenon called sun kink. It is more common for rails to move laterally, often pulling the underlain railroad ties (sleepers) along.
If you've got a background in engineering, or are just your average garden variety "whoa, that's interesting" geek, then the Wikipedia article on Buckling and the related article on Structural Failure is a good way to kill a few minutes.

Schrödinger's Network

Quantum networks don't exist unless you know they exist, apparently.
'Quantum network? We've had one for years,' says Los Alamos  
The boffins at the Los Alamos National Laboratory are known as a secretive lot; a much understated lot, in fact. Rather than cause a fuss, researchers there have quietly published a paper showing they've had a flexible quantum network – something rather a lot of people are interested in – up and running for two and a half years...
There are several companies and research groups working on this, but there's been limited progress so far. But the team at Los Alamos think it's cracked this with a hub-and-spoke design they call network-centric quantum communications (NQC), and report that it's easy to run, reasonably scalable, and runs on relatively cheap hardware.
To get around the problem of routing quantum bits, the NQC hub (named Trent) decodes the incoming message, transmits it to the new spoke, reencodes it and fires it off. It handles encryption key distribution, and the system maintains the advantages of quantum cryptography while dramatically increasing the value of the network by connecting more users.
I like the  "relatively cheap hardware" bit.  I can't wait to use AUTH_QUANTUM for my RPC connections.

He Never Failed To Fail - It Was The Easiest Thing To Do

If you have never read Basic Instructions, you absolutely should.

Go on - we'll wait for you.

Great!  Now that you know who Rick is, you will be able to appreciate the true genius of "Asking the Wrong Guy"!  It's absolutely essential to read the comic first and get a feel for Rick, though.  Otherwise you might easily make the mistake of thinking that you are reading something written by Scott Adams, Dave Barry, Hunter F. Thompson [1] or Iowahawk.

For example:

Could you perhaps favor us on investment and preparation for retirement?
When considering preparations for retirement, it is essential to stick to that which is practical and achievable. To that end, for years now my retirement plan has been The Complete Collapse of Western Civilization. A thorough study of actuarial tables, as well as a brief look at how things go for me, indicate that the descent of the world into a dystopian, post-apocalyptic nightmare deathscape is far more likely than me ever saving enough money to retire to anywhere other than the boiler room at the YMCA. 
Therefore, based on my experience, my advice for you is to start scouting easily-defendable caves and to purchase a nice loincloth while there is still a good selection.
Three posts in, and full of laugh-out-loud writing and a wicked sense of humor.  Overall, an A+ effort.  Frankly, I'm disappointed.  I would have expected far less from Rick.

Poor Rick.  Even as a professional and world-renowned failure, he's a failure.

[1] Hunter Thompson's first [2] clone.  Wicked smaht, as they say.  Unfortunately, he way (literally) a man born [3] out of his own time, and while his observations on the Lerinski/Walhalasha scandal will eventually become the gold standard for psychic attack journalism, you'll need to catch up on over a century years of future history before you can even begin to appreciate his subtle wit.
[2] There were, of course, three clones [4] - Hunter F., Hunter S., and Hunter T.  Word is that Hunter T. is a field expedient repair (biological) assigned to project Skin Horse.  Hunter S. was intended to become the First Emperor of the United States at one point, but then 'Puter took him out the the Leaping Peacock for a weekend, and... well, you know the rest.
[3] Well, OK.  Decanted out of his own time.
[4] Reportedly, the original Hunter Thompson was actually a dull little nobody.  A nomadic wholesale shoe salesman, if I recall correctly.  If it wasn't for the fact that a Tcho-Tcho developed indigestion and stuffed his remaining limbs into the Mandarin's biological samples cabinet, we'd never have known any of the Hunter clones at all.

Visit Scenic Scarfolk!

Via Professor Mondo, here's a wonderful pointer to the lovely little town of Scarfolk.  As the Professor points out, it sounds like a nice place to visit:
Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. “Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay.” For more information please reread.
Some of the fascinating historical topics covered by the Scarfolk Council blog include:

Their tourism poster from 1972 says it all, really.

Grammar Nazi Wuz Hear!

A filmmaker searches for a mysterious vandal who has been correcting typos on placards in the sculpture garden of the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
In the sculpture park at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, one of the nation’s oldest art schools, a clandestine struggle is under way — over grammar. In recent months, a vandal (or team of vandals) has used permanent markers to correct grammar and punctuation mistakes on the informational placards near the sculptures.
Bets on how long it is before someone intentionally starts making up and posting fake placards complete with spelling and grammar errors?  I can't be the only person who immediately thought of doing that...


Note to self: Avoid applying for jobs where "Hippo Mauling" is considered an occupational hazard.
I have to say that this sounds like excellent advice. 

What About... Bacon Pierogies?

Brackets will feature 64 foods from across the country organized by region. States will play within their region. The Elite Eight will face off in the fourth and final week. The champion will be the state food that receives the most votes during the final round. The winner will be announced at a reception at Nationals Park on June 13, 2013.
Wait - what? Some states get two entries, but they limit PA to "Philly Cheese Steak"? Where's my pierogies?

Oh, and if you don't vote for Bacon, there's something seriously wrong with you.

Good... Bad... I'm The Man With The Pencil.

A Suffolk second grader has been suspended for making gunlike noises while pointing a pencil at another student.

Well, At Least There Will Be A New Star Wars Game Every Year...

Last week I answered the question, “What Lucasarts games would you like to revive?”
Of course, this entire conversation is now irrelevant because it’s been announced that EA now has a franchise-wide exclusive lock on all things Star Wars. The only way we’re getting a new X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter game is if we get an Army of Two knockoff starring a couple of dudebros named XWing and TieFighter.
EA.  Star Wars.  Ugh. 

Paging Mr. Shaeffer

This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone... Mayday, Mayday... we are under attack... main drive is gone... turret number one not responding... Mayday...
Had to post this just for the quote, if nothing else.

Saying It Better Than I Could

Nothing About Everything points out what I've thought for quite a while now, that progressives are the real conservatives:
The progressive movement has always been one of obsessive conservatism, despite their rhetoric and their demand for “change.”  You see, their goal is comfort and safety; assurance, as it were, that they can remove all chance and uncertainty from the world, and live comfortable, safe lives, removed from risk and chance.  Any “change” that they ask for will be to further those goals, and therefore, any “progressive” change will actually be regressive to all of mankind.
My thoughts along these lines usually occur in the early fall, when we take a vacation down to the Outer Banks [1] in North Carolina.  While we're down there, we inevitably encounter - in magazine, in newspapers, on the radio, on television - some mention of environmentalists who have a desperate, urgent need to keep the Outer Banks exactly as they are (or, even better, return them to the Way They Were (TM) 300 years ago).

Keep in mind, these folks aren't just advocating that human development be halted or rolled back.  They want the natural forces at work on the island to be countered.

A hurricane blows through and creates a new inlet?  Fill it!  The islands are shifting inland - as barrier islands naturally do?  For the love of Gaia, man - pin them down!  Drifting sand is starting to dry up an existing wetland area?  Get the Army Corp of engineers in here to excavate that sucker!

Keep everything just the way it is.  Static.  Unchanging.  Perfect.

Progressives love that sort of thing.  Beloved Communist Leader dies?  Can't have that!  Embalm him, give him a nice top coat of shellack, and put him on display!

Your grandfather was a mill worker, your dad was a mill worker?  Obviously, you should be a mill worker too!  There should always be a mill to work at, and your family should be working there, part of the proud proletariat!

Let an automobile manufacturer go out of business because they were Too Stupid To Succeed?  Nooooooo!  You can't let that happen!  Give that dead corporate entity a nice top coat of taxpayer money, put it on display, and now you can pretend that everything is perfect, it always has been perfect, and it always will be perfect!


You know, when people do that to their kid's bedroom, we think it's kind of creepy.

When progressives try to do that for everything?  Um.  Yeah.  Majorly creepy.

[1] God's shore, y'all.

Can We Stop Pretending They're Sane? Please?

A North Korean court has sentenced the US citizen Kenneth Bae to 15 years' hard labour after finding him guilty of unspecified "hostile acts" against the state, in a move possibly intended to force concessions from Washington.

Bae was arrested in November 2012 in Rason, a special economic zone in North Korea's far north-eastern region bordering China and Russia. His trial at the country's supreme court began on Tuesday, according to the official KCNA news agency, which referred to Bae as Pae Jun-ho, the North Korean rendering of his name. The sentence was announced on Thursday.

Bae, a tour operator who lives in the Seattle suburb of Lynnwood, was accused of attempting to overthrow the government, a crime that carries a possible death penalty. In its latest dispatch KCNA did not state the exact nature of his alleged crimes.
You know... there are some people that just need killin'.

Some governments, too.

Just Another Isolated Incident

We've written a few times now about so-called ag gag laws that have been pushed by lobbyists for the farm industry for years now. The bills are pretty ridiculous, often making it illegal to videotape or photograph an agricultural operation...
As pointed out by Mike Eber, a woman named Amy Meyer used her mobile phone camera to video tape what was happening at the Dale Smith Meatpacking Company, which she could see from the street. Dale Smith, it should be noted, also happens to be the mayor of Draper. Another coincidence, I'm sure.

"... the very best skiing weekend I ever had."

Seventy years ago, a small team of Norwegians was sent from Britain to carry out one of the most daring and important undercover operations of World War II - the aim was to prevent Adolf Hitler building an atomic bomb.
On Thursday, the leader of that team and its last surviving member returned to London to lay a wreath at a memorial and receive a flag that had flown over Parliament.
An interesting story, albeit one with less hair-raising action and more "git'r done".

Tony Who?

Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield took to the Internet today to announce the premiere date for the first Ender’s Game trailer. The good news for us is that it also includes a small teaser trailer with unseen footage.
I sense a disturbance in the Force... as if a million SF fans were quietly chanting, "please please please please please don't screw this up" over and over...

Burning Bridges

Sometime, it's the absolutely right thing to do.

April is a month of bittersweet anniversaries. 19 April of course marks Lexington and Concord, the Warsaw Ghetto, Waco, Oklahoma City, and in certain drunken ATF debaucheries, the birthday of their patron saint, Elliott Ness. The picture above marks another event, the fall of Saigon in 1975. This photo was taken 29 April. Saigon fell the next day on the 30th. Phnom Penh, Cambodia had fallen about two weeks before.

I missed marking this anniversary this year. I don't know why. The memories always hang heavy on my heart. This is not merely because it was hardly my country's finest hour, but because I bear personal guilt for it. You see, as the NVA gradually overran South Vietnam and the Khmer Rouge overran Camodia, I cheered the fall of every province, marking them on a map...

So when Cambodia and South Vietnam fell, I was one of the happiest traitorous bastards around. I just hoped "the Revolution" would start here in my lifetime. Yeah, I was that stupid.

I suppose I would have continued on being terminally stupid until I became stupidly dead, if it hadn't been for a kindly old ex-Wehrmacht surgeon named Richter who, at the end of his life, decided to wrestle the devil for my soul.

"I am Jean-Paul Sartre, and I approve this post."

I've mentioned this a couple of times.  Borepatch has written on it repeatedly as well.  Now, the DiploMad weighs in on a subject that's glaringly obvious to anyone with half a brain.

Sorry for the long-winded intro, but it brings us to today's topic, for which I provide the following bumper sticker, "Liberals love humanity and hate people." Oh, and by the way, liberals will get you killed. Yes, killed. Modern liberalism kills people, and does so by the millions, all in the name of humanity, of course. It should have a warning label that asks you not to practice liberalism at home, or something along the lines of "I am a trained professional, do not attempt liberalism on your own."
Liberals hate all sorts of people but their special, most lethal hatred is reserved for the poor and the "uneducated." They kill the poor by the bushel, by the ton, by the hectare . . . they kill them at home and abroad. No poor person is safe from the lethal loving embrace of the liberals.
Oh, sure, they love people... in the abstract.  When it comes to individuals, though?  Well, you know. It's a shame that some people have to suffer to make me feel good about myself for the greater good, but after all, you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

Or killing some little brown people, or stripping people of their natural right to self-defense, or murdering unborn children, or... you know.  Whatever.


"A million deaths..."

Today is May Day. Since 2007, I have advocated turning this date into Victims of Communism Day...
Happy "Victims of Communism" Day.

You might as well be happy, anyways.  They sure aren't.

Salt, Please

The Daily Mail is the only source reporting this at the moment, so make sure you have your salt shakers handy...

EXCLUSIVE: Saudi Arabia 'warned the United States IN WRITING about Boston Bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2012
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sent a written warning about accused Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2012, long before pressure-cooker blasts killed three and injured hundreds, according to a senior Saudi government official with direct knowledge of the document.
The Saudi warning, the official told MailOnline, was separate from the multiple red flags raised by Russian intelligence in 2011, and was based on human intelligence developed independently in Yemen.
Citing security concerns, the Saudi government also denied an entry visa to the elder Tsarnaev brother in December 2011, when he hoped to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, the source said. Tsarnaev's plans to visit Saudi Arabia have not been previously disclosed.
The Saudis' warning to the U.S. government was also shared with the British government. 'It was very specific’ and warned that 'something was going to happen in a major U.S. city,' the Saudi official said during an extensive interview.
It 'did name Tamerlan specifically,' he added. The 'government-to-government' letter, which he said was sent to the Department of Homeland Security at the highest level, did not name Boston or suggest a date for his planned attack.

The Most Transparent Administration in The History of the World (TM) is, of course, denying any knowledge of this warning.  Indeed, they have refused to admit to the existence of a country that may or may not be called "Saudi Arabia".  They have also denied knowledge of any American city named "Boston", claim only a vague understanding of what "running" is, and when asked to find their rear ends, reportedly asked for a flashlight, a map, and a five minute head start.

Reply Hazy, Try Again

Taking the dogs out the evening, I was buzz-bombed by some of the first June bugs of the season.

June bugs.  And it's barely May!

If this isn't a sign of global thermonuclear warmination, I don't know what is.

Hold on, got to turn on the furnace.  The warmination seems to be sucking all the heat of the air.

I hear it can do that, y'know.