How George Got His Groove Back

Zimmerman, 30, whose arsenal was confiscated in November following a domestic dispute with his girlfriend, picked up his four firearms, including a shotgun and an assault rifle from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in Sanford, Fla., this week.
An arsenal?
Returned to Zimmerman were an Interarms .380-caliber handgun, a Glock 19 handgun, a Kel-Tec 12-gauge shotgun and an AR-15 assault rifle.
I repeat - an arsenal?

Maybe it's a Western PA thing, but that sounds like barely enough kit for a good day out in the woods during buck season...

Kirk's Got Nothing On Them


Matter is a science fiction novel from Iain M. Banks set in his Culture universe.

The main character in Matter is a woman who is essentially abducted by aliens (even if she does come to appreciate it) and disappears, only to return years later.

Jim Sullivan wrote one amazing – and as it turns out oddly predictive – record, and then disappeared while traveling from CA to TN.

He reportedly walked into the desert, and was never seen again.

Jim Sullivan's one record?  U.F.O.

He seems to have managed the abduction part.  Perhaps he will manage the return, as well.

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum

The Army has been researching a more environment-friendly bullet at the Picatinny Arsenal, in New Jersey, since 2010. A lead-free version of the 7.62-mm rounds fired from M-14 rifles will be issued to troops in 2014. That will follow a prior switch to a greener 5.56 mm "Enhanced Performance Round" the Army switched to in 2010. 
“The EPR replaces the lead slug with a copper slug,” Lt. Col. Phil Clark, product manager for small-caliber ammunition at Picatinny, told the Daily Caller. “This makes the projectile environmentally friendly, while still giving soldiers the performance capabilities they need on the battlefield.”
Last I checked, waging war also included the use of things like grenades. Claymores. Hellfire missiles. TOWs. Tanks. Bunker-buster bombs. Tomahawks. Drones. Napalm B. Naval gunfire support.

None of which are really known for being "environmentally friendly".

By the patron saint's name of Frick... do these idiots not understand what the word "battlefield" means?

Remember: Immolate, Don't Reanimate!

Darths and Droids is a movie comic strip along the lines of Shamus Young's most excellent DM of the Rings.  Both follow a series of movies (LoTR, Star Wars) and use screen caps to relate the stories as if they were being played out by a bunch of table-top RPG gamers.

Yeah, I know.  Geeky as all get out.  And absolutely freaking hilarious.

D&D includes a transcript with each comic, along with additional commentary on RPG tropes related to the strips.  Today's commentary struck me as particularly amusing:
Never abandon your buddies on the battlefield.
This goes triple in situations where they may rise as zombies and attack you later in the adventure.
Because if the GM is on the ball, they will.
Oh, yes.  Yes indeed.


A Texas teenager killed four people while driving drunk in June. Prosecutors pushed for a 20-year sentence, but a judge sentenced the teen to 10 years probation and no jail time.
He must have had a real sob-story to get that much sympathy, right?
A psychologist testified for the defense that the teen was a product of something he called "affluenza." He meant Couch doesn't link bad behavior with consequences because his parents taught him that wealth buys privilege.
... privileges like, say, getting a slap on the wrist for stealing beer, driving drunk, and killing four people?

Yeah, thanks, judge Judy or whoever you are.  You're really showing him that actions have consequences!  Man, once he gets out of that $500K California rehab vacation visit his folks are springing for, I am totes sure he will have finally learned his lesson!

Well, a lesson, at least.  Probably the exact opposite of the lesson that he needs to learn, but, eh.  It's not like he killed anyone!

Anyone important, I mean.


Testing Ignorance, or Misinformation?

In the 1990s, a professor at a medical university in Stockholm decided to test his students' knowledge about the progress of global development. He was staggered to discover the class, some of the brightest people in Sweden, scored fewer than two out of five on average.
Chimpanzees randomly choosing answers would likely have done better, scoring half right....
Rosling has been on a mission to inform since the realization that his students -- and his fellow professors -- were somewhat woefully informed about the state of the world. Today CNN publishes Rosling's latest survey of the United States which shows Americans, like most of the world, are far behind the reality in their understanding of world development but ahead of some -- for example, Swedes.
This ten-question test is - reportedly - harder than most.  I did not think it was particularly difficult.  I knew the answers to a couple of questions, which helped.  When I had to guess, I based my answer on two assumptions:
  1. Reality does not have a "liberal bias", and
  2. The mainstream media absolutely does have a liberal bias.
Go ahead - read the article, then click on the image at the top of the page to take the test yourself.  Keep the above two bits of information in mind, and I think you will quite easily end up in the coveted "top 1%" spot.

"There are facts..."

"... and then there are PolitiFacts."

It's OK, though.  You see, they were for the ACA before they were... well, no, they are still shilling for the current administration and doing their best to make it look like the ACA isn't a complete and utter disaster.  They were just hoping that we peons somehow wouldn't notice the immense train wreck that was taking place in front of our eyes.

Failure Was The Only Option

Oregon, once touted as a model for President Obama's health care law, signed up just 44 people for insurance through November, despite spending more than $300 million on its state-based exchange.
The state’s exchange had the fewest sign-ups in the nation, according to a new report today by the Department of Health and Human Services.
... Oregon is a Democratic state that embraced Obamacare early and enthusiastically. Its outreach effort, which included a folk-style music video featuring a singer playing an acoustic guitar against a colorful and scenic backdrop, had been praised among the law's supporters.
We had to pass the law to know what was in the law.

And turns out that what is in the law is pure, unadulterated failure.
"You know, in certain older civilized cultures, when men failed as entirely as you have, they would throw themselves on their swords."
Unfortunately, I doubt that any of the folks who campaigned, promoted, wheedled, cajoled, and outright lied to get the ACA passed happen to have a sword handy.

Oh, hey - you know what?  Neither did Dr. Mathias.

Everyone Else Does It, So...

In the spirit of Time magazine, inspired by the writings of Douglas Adams, and prompted by the recent verbal droolings of Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy, I hereby announce that nominations for the 2013 "Mindless Jerk of the Year" award are open.

Rules are simple.

You can nominate an individual that you believe deserves to be recognized as the Mindless Jerk of the year by placing their name in a comment on this public Facebook post, along with a very brief description or link that describes why they are deserving of such (dis)honor.

You can vote for any nominated individual by "liking" the comment of whoever nominated them.

If you are not a Facebook user, feel free to make nominations in the comments below - I will do my best to copy them over to the Facebook post page, and give them a "like" on your behalf.

Nominations and voting are open until Midnight, December 31st.

At that point, I will tally the results, the the nominee who gathered the most votes will be crowned the Mindless Jerk of 2013. I will personally go out to the back of the barn, dig up an old brick, and have a plaque bearing an appropriate saying from the writings of Douglas Adams affixed to said brick. I will then deliver the brick, along with a tasteful certificate suitable for framing, to the winner either in person (if convenient) or by mail sometime in January.

I Like the Cut of His Jib

Update From The Field

It's December, which means that life has gotten incredibly busy.  Fun, but busy.  In addition to the normal spate of holiday events (parties, kid-related activities, Christmas tree cutting, tasty four-legged vermin elimination [1], etc.), I am also neck-deep in work as we are preparing for a major release [2].  The upshot of all that: greatly reduced posting.

I take some comfort in the fact that my blogging history shows this isn't anything unusual.  Unless there is a major shift in... something... in the next few weeks, I will be back from the holiday season well fed, pasty white from lack of sun, and full up with about enough pent-up snark to carry me through the next eleven months.

So: expect light posting for a bit.  Though I do have some ideas that are percolating around in what passes for my brain.  So I may be able to sneak in a substantial post or two in between the Intarweb Mandated Funny Cat Pictures.

[1] Also known as "deer hunting season" here in Western PA.
[2] Cloudy With A Chance of NAS."

C25K : The Penultimate Post

In my last running update, I noted that I had managed to make it into week four of the Couch To 5K program.  Despite setbacks, with a new pair of decent running shoes, I had pushed myself to the limit, and was jogging for up to five minutes at a time!  Since then, though... silence.

There is a reason for that.

I have been very, very busy... and one of the things that I have been busy with is running.

No, I did not abandon the program.  I kept with it, and I have to tell you, it worked for me.

By the end of September, I was up to running a mile at a time, which took be around 15 minutes.  At that point, colder weather rolled in, and running outside became too much of a chore.  I despise running in the cold [1], so I was kind of annoyed that I waited so long to start the program that my last few weeks would be miserable.  I could easily see myself letting my running schedule slide when faced with the prospect of having to run in the cold, rain and sleet.

Fortunately, at that point, my place of employment moved into some nice new digs.  Nice new digs that happened to be just two blocks away from the Sarah Heinz House.  While the SHH is primarily a youth center, geared towards offering kids after-school programs, those all happen after 2PM... so for the first half of the day, they (and their rather nice little gym) are open to adult members.

Even better, because of those limitations, their adult membership prices are dirt cheap.  And by "dirt cheap", I mean about a quarter of what you might pay for a membership at a "real" gym.

Two blocks away.  Cheap.  Treadmills in the workout room.  A very noticeable lack of wind, rain, sleet, and cold.

How could I pass all that up?  I plunked down the cash for a month's pass to try it out.

So I started running on a treadmill, and loved it.  By the middle of November, I was banging out two and a third miles in about 30 minutes.  That's around a 13 minute mile.  So, yeah - I am not a speed demon by any definition.  Keep in mind, though, that three months ago, I was deliriously happy that I managed to shuffle along for 60 seconds without puking up a lung.

I repeat: the whole Couch To 5K thing?  It worked for me.

So there I am.  Middle of November.  Almost at the end of the program.  All that is left, really, is for me to buckle down and actually, you know, do the last little bit.

Run a 5K.

Which brings us to... the Turkey Trot.

[1] This is what is known as "foreshadowing".


You know what I'd like to see in the Democratic Party? Some liberals. That would be great.

A Righteous Weapon

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
Designed by John Browning, the M1911 is the best-known of his designs to use the short recoil principle in its basic design. The pistol was widely copied, and this operating system rose to become the preeminent type of the 20th century and of nearly all modern centerfire pistols.
Just sayin'.