February 20, 2006

Moving Progress - But baby it's COLD IN-side

Moving proceeds apace; much thanks to Keith, John and Ben who have been helping us out since last Wednesday. We've got all the big stuff moved excepting my work bench (with all my reloading gear clamped to it of course) and a few shelf units.

We spent our first night here last Thursday, and all was well. The house is great, the kids love it, Mel loves it, I love it.

There is just one problem, we have no heat. Oh we have a working furnace, and we HAD heat, on Wednesday, Thrusday, and most of Friday.

But since then it has been quite cold.

Oh and we have no hot water either.

The reason for this?

Well, on tuesday I called the gas company to get the gas account transferred to my name, and the gas turned on. They said that the gas was turned off, and that they couldn't send someone back out to turn it on until Wed. the 22nd.

Only the gas wasn't actually turned off. While we were moving, the gas man came by to turn it off; saw that we were here, and said "well, why make two trips if you're already moved in, I'll just read the meter, note the transfer, and you should be all set".

Which he apparently did, on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, this seems to have left the gas shutoff workorder open, so some time late friday afternoon while we were out, some other enterprising soul came and turned our gas off. We discovered this early Saturday morning when it got down to 45 inside the house. Yes this IS Phoenix, but it's still February. Added to this of course is the lack of hot water, the moving which has made us both stiff and smelly... yeah fun.

The gas company was closed of course, and only responds to "gas emergencies" of which mistakenly shut off gas is not one. Even better, they are also off today for the holiday. The earliest our gas will be turned on is tomorrow, and I'm guessing it wont get done until the date on the original turn on workorder, that being Wednesday.

Thankfully we were well provided with thick blankets, and a thick pillowtop mattress pad, so Mel and I were all cozy comfy. The kids were at grandmas for the weekend, and the house got up to 65 during the day, but they came back last night, and we had to resort to putting a fan in front of the running oven (electric) to get some heat into the house. We of course shut that down before going to sleep (fire danger being what it is, especially at 38% relative humidity), and again woke up to a 49 degree house.

Even better, both kids have some major colds right now; which are not being helped by this. It's either have the oven on with exposed heating elements and fan with kids running around the house; or have said kids freeze their little tukus's off.

Thankfully they know not to go near a hot stove.

At this point ... actually for the last two days... I have been seriously considering jsut dremeling the lock off the meter and turning it on myself. It's not like it's unsafe, and if they lose a lock because of their screw up, so what. A pox be upon their hosue for freezing my family anyway. Mel however is paranoid that they'll permanently turn our gas off and refuse to supply us, or give us some huge fine or something.

Aahhh the joys of the home eh.

And the moving continues...

Posted by cbyrne at 10:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 16, 2006

Holy crap that's funny

Dirty, but funny. Mostly safe for work. Priceless
Posted by cbyrne at 10:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hunt or Ride

A meme has been going around conservative circles in the last few days since the VP shot his friend in the chest...

Boy isn't that just a surreal statement? Of course it isn't really true either, but it sounds fun don't it?

Anyway, the meme goes like this "Would you rather go hunting with Dick Cheney, or drive over a bridge with Ted Kennedy". This of course is a reference to Teds apparent drunk driving and negligent homicide of MaryJo Kopechne in 1969 on chappaquidick island off of Marthas Vineyard.

Now, I'm not goin to say this isn't at al serious, any time there is an accident with a firearm it's serious; but liberals are trying to make something huge out of this.

Not only that, but they are trying to say that what Cheney did was far WORSE than whatever Kennedy "allegedly" did.

Ok, no.

This came by my email from a maling list I'm on:


Indeed, it is quite obvious the the Vice President has committed a crime just like a Senator did. He shot someone, who may wind up dying as a result, he tried to keep it quiet, and now he refuses to respond to questions about it openly.

Such criminal activity from the administration and Republicans!

Well, at least he was polite. Completely wrong, but polite. What's sad is that I know the person who wrote this is a smart man. I know he FACTUALLY knows what he has said is ridiculous, but it doesnt matter, because he finds what he said emotionally satisfying and ideologically sound.

Seriously, there is no comparison here. Let's break down Cheneys so called "crime"

Cheney was following a rising bird with the muzzle, ignored his surroundings, didnt clear his front arc, and fired too closely to his friend Harry Whittington, who was standing about 30 yards away. The cone of shot spread out far enough that Whittington was struck by several pellets of birdshot.

1. No crime was commited under any penal law in Texas, or most any other state

2. No serious injury resulted from the shot itself. The pellets barely broke the skin. In fact the guy was hurt worse than almost everyone ever shot with birdshot from 30 yards away has been, because 1 #8 pellet (which is 1/16th of an inch across and weighs less than a grain of rice) managed worked its way under a rib, he's 78, and he suffers from arrythmia. It was more the shock of being shot than anything else.

3. The VP tried to keep it quiet? Please. That statement is ridiculous on its face

4. He won't answer questions about it? So what. The full details of the incident have been reported, the only purpose for answering further questions is to try and embarrasss the man further.

I do just wish someone would get these "Cheneys tried to kill a man" idiots to understand that getting hit with a few birdshot pellets from 30 yards away while wearing heavy clothing, is generally a lot like having sand thrown at you when a car speeds off (yes I’ve had it happen).

There are people who do stupid shit like this for FUN, getting dressed up in heavy leather clothing, and shooting at each other with very light bird shot, or rock salt. Some people used to train dogs with a light load of birdshot even; shooting them in the ass with it as negative reinforcement.

Is it painful, sure; but it's not usually life threatening.

This guy was spectacularly unlucky to be at exactly the wrong spot (probably just off the bore axis), and Cheney was an idiot for focusing on the bird to the exclusion of everything else, but seriously, birdshot at 30 yards? I mean come on.

Suggesting this is anything more than stupidity and negligence on the part of the VP the worst sort of tinfoil hattery.

I would direct all of you who think that this is all that serious to this link:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110007971

Now let us compare and contrast. Cheney is one man ignoring safety rules while shooting, and a few pellets of birdshot hit his friend accidentally.

Chappaquidick was a drunken overgrown fratboy who jsut happened to be a senator leaving the scene of a fatality accident, not reporting it for hours, then using family influence and money to avoid jail time.

Let's leave aside theory and speculation, and not even consider what we can prove (which is pretty daming); let's jsut consider what Kennedy admitted to:

Kennedy pleaded to, and was convicted of leaving the scene of an accident after causing injury, normally a felony charge. As part of his plea he admitted to responsibility for the accident; that he had been drinking, he left the scene knowing that the girl was drowning, and he then waited several hours before notifying police; contacting his lawyer in the mean time.

In exchange for this plea, Kennedy recieved a two month suspended sentence for an offense would normally carry a minimum two year sentence (though all but 180 days would normally have been suspended).

This would normally mean his censure and expulsion from the senate as a convicted felon, however there is an interesting technicality of Massachusetts law, in that misdemeanors and felonies are not directly counted as such. In Massachusetts, for most crimes, if you recieve a sentence of greater than two years, you are accorded felon status; if less than two years you are simply a misdemeanant (yes, we have had misdemeanor murders before).

This technicality LEGALLY allowed Kennedy to remain in the senate. His extreme popularity in the state, and the recent asassination of his other brother allowed him to do so politically.

NOTE: I grew up in Boston, and more relevant to this discussion I grew up in Massachusetts politics. My grandfather was Robert Dinsmore, a former state rep, and state senator who ran against Kennedy for U.S. senate in '76. He of course was soundly defeated.

Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Michael Dukakis, and basically everyone in Massachusetts politics were regularly guests at my family functions. My grandmother even has a picture of Kennedy holding me as a baby.

Theres an old saying from Huey Long "The only way I could lose this election, is if they found me in bed with a dead girl, or a live boy". Well the girl was dead, but she wasn't in bed with him, so teddy got a free pass.

By any rational measure, Kennedy should have been removed from the senate for his negligence; and really he should have been charged with, and convicted of, negligent homicide in the death of MaryJo Kopechne. He didnt because of money and politics.

Cheney ignored the four rules, and a man was hurt because of it.

We shouldn't make light of this; it is a serious issue, but it isn't a crime.

The first rule of firearms safety is always treat all weapons as if they are loaded
The second rule is to never point the muzzle at anything you arent willing to destroy or kill
The third rule is to always keep your finger off the trigger until your target is clearly identified, and you are ready to fire
The fourth rule is to always be sure of your target, and what is beside and behind it

Cheney ignored three out of these four rules, and a man was hurt because of it. That is a big deal.

Any shooter that I'm training that covers anyone else with the muzzle of an unloaded gun gets one warning, they do it again and they are ejected from the class. If they do it with a hot weapon they are immediately ejected, and banned from ever attending one of my classes again.

There are some friends I won't shoot with anymore, because I consider their firearms handling to be unsafe. Cheney has proven that he is not a responsible shooter.

That said, it has nothing to do with his performance as VP; and it isn't a crime.

The press is all energized because, well frankly they don't like the man, but more importantly, they are OUTRAGED, that they weren't brought into every tiny detail immediately; and that the VP wont answer their questions personally.

I'm sorry, but who the hell do they think they are?

Seriously, WHY SHOULD HE talk to the press about it? Because they expect him to? So what. The so called "publics right to know" is bull. Thats nothing more than the press masturbating. Hell, even if the PUBLIC wants to know about it, it's not like we have the right to demand he answer whatever question we can think up. That's just crass.

There is no scandal here; no coverup... hell theres nothing to coverup except a little embarassment. Unless the guy dies, it's basically nothing; and if the guy DOES die, it's because he was 78 had arrythmia,and got the shock of his life.

NOTE: Actually, there would be one hell of a civil suit here if Whittington wanted to pursue one.
By all reports Whittington is fine, but that said, if he does die I suppose you could make a case for negligent homicide. Cheney was clearly negligent in not making sure his forward arc was clear, which is the most basic principal of safe shotgunning. If Cheney is to be charged with negligent homicide, he must resign to face the charges (he can't be charged while serving as VP).

Negligent homicide or not, it's not like they have tired to hide the facts of the case. Just because the press thinks they deserve to be spoon fed everything as it happens doent make it true. Politicians don't have to tell the press a damn thing if they don't want to. THe press arent judges or juries, they dont have the power to compel testimony; and they don't have "the right to know". Honestly, neither does the public, unless a crime has been commited, or it seriously effects the way the country is run.

The public has a right to know about how this country is run. What a politican does on their own time, providing it is legal and ethical, is none of our damned business (and I said the same thing about Clinton by the way).

Shooting someone by accident isn't a crime, and it isn't an ethics violation, its a stupidity violation.

Unfortunately, stupidity does not disqualify one for office.

Posted by cbyrne at 04:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Do you need glasses?

Yes, yes you do.

Even if you have perfect vision, you still need glasses; by which I mean you need a good set of binoculars. Or at least you do if you do any boating, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, shooting, flying... I could go on.

A 7x50 marine binocular is the basic all purpose set of field glasses that everyone should have. Fancy addon features like range finders, compases and the like can be nice (especially on the water), but they may detract from the ruggedness and light transmissivity of the glasses.

Binoculars, aka field glasses are there to let you see detail at a distance, to spot relatively small objects at a distance, and in general to make that far away world a little bit close to your eyes; especially in the dark, or at twilight time, when your eyes are confused and inefficient.

A good set of 7x50s can actually see better than you can. The light gathering and transmissivity of a decent pair of binocs can actually give you BETTER vision (light gathering and contrast) than with the naked eye, never mind the magnification. In fact a good pair of 10x70s can make a medium moon look like an overcast day. That may not sound impressive at first, but it's pretty startling when you try it out the first time. Some of the giant spotter glasses (like the 20x120) can take a full moon night, and make it damn near as bright as the morning.

Now, as to picking out glasses, how do you choose? There are literally thousands of models out there, with a bunch of different specifications, brands, and price points.

First things first, general quality. If you are looking for an all around set of glasses, you want to go for decent quality. A set of compacts you can fold up and stick in your coat pocket are fine for $30 but dont expect them to be a decent pair of primary field glasses. Expect to pay $200 to $500 for a good pair of 7x50's for example, from a reputable brand; and from $500 up to about $1500 for a premium brand.

The brands I generally look at in the "reasonable" price range include Bushnell, Steiner, Nikon, Pentax, Fujinon, Zhumell, and Bausch and Lomb. There are others, notably from scope manufacturers and camera manufacturers, but that list right there covers the majority of the field. Oh, and several of these manufacturers has a lower end economy orented line that I would stay away from, some under their own name (Bushnell), and some under another trade name (Bosch and Lomb)

The "premium" brands include Swarovski, Zeiss, Leica, Newcon, Oberwork, and Kowa, among others.

Honestly, unlike rifle scopes or spotting scopes, where high end glass can be worth every penny; in this case you don't necessarily get what you pay for.

What I mean by that is, I don't think you get much value for money by going to the premium brands, unless you are buying very high magnification glasses, you're using your binocs in extremely low light conditions; or unless you require a specialty feature like image stabilization (which reduces the visible shaking in the image from hand held glasses at high magnification).

There is definitely a difference in optical clarity between the low end (which I wouldn't even consider) and the middle, and the middle and high end... I just dont think the 10% extra clarity from a Leica makes it worth three to five times the cost of a Steiner.

The important considerations, other than overal quality of the optics and contruction, are the objective lens size, the magnification, and the field of view.

When I talk about a 7x50 pair of binoculars, what I am saying is that the magnification is 7 power, and the objective lens is 50mm across. If You see 7-24x56 it means that the optics will zoom from 7 all the way to 24 power, and have a 56mm objective lens.

Why is the objective size important? Well, two reasons. The first is, the larger the objective size, the more light is gathered by it (as I described above). The second is related to that, because the larger the objective, the large the exit pupil size will be for a given magnification.

Whats that? Well the exit pupil is the diameter of the light that is being projected onto your eye by the glasses.

In full darkness, a young eye will dilate up to about 7mm, to take in more light from the surroundings. With optics, the wider the exit pupil, the more light YOUR pupil can gather, to form a clearer brighter image. In an ideal world, you want to use all 7mm if you can.

To figure the exit pupil diameter, you divide the size of the objective lens in millimeters by the magnification power. So a 7x50 would have an exit pupil diameter of 7.14 millimeters; which is just about the most your eye can use.

All that said, most of your binoculars use if you're an "average" person will be in the day time. It's important to note that in broad daylight your pupils normal at rest state is around 2-3mm, and in bright light your pupils will be at their smallest. Also note that as your eyes get older, the lose flexibility and dont dilate as widely, so that by the time you are in your fifties, the average puil dilation is down to around 5mm.

Given those factors, although I don't generally recommend that your primary glasses have anything less than a 5mm exit pupil at max magnification, even down to a 2-3mm pupil will still transmit useful amounts of light in the day time.

Now, the other import specification to look at is the field of view (FOV). This is generally given either in degrees, or in feet at 1000 yards. 1 degree is 60 minutes of angle, or just under 5 feet at 100 yards, 50 feet at 1000 yards etc (actually it's about 48 feet, but estimating to 50 is usually sufficient)... You can find binoculars with fields of vew as narrow as 2 degrees, or as wide as 18 degrees, but the normal range is from 4-8 degrees. Anything more than 8 degrees is considerd a wide field binocular, and you will pay a bit more for them.

Generally speaking the higher the power, the narrower the field of view, though this can be compensated for with different optical configurations. Also generally speaking a wider field of view is an advantage, because it lets you glass more area, faster, without scanning as much; thus you are less likely to miss something completley when you are moving relatively quickly. Now, here's the thing though; field of view is important, but WIDE field of view isn't necessarily better. In some situations a narower field is an advantage. Picking out a small object at great distances can be quite difficult with a wide field of view; and if you already know where to scan, a narrower field of view helps you focus in on difficult to spot objects. You have to make a more careful search, but you get better results, and will see more detail. Basically you need to pick your FOV based on your needs.

Okay, so what do you buy?

Well, About the best binocs out there are MilSurp 10x70, 15x80, and 20x120 "BigEye" marine spotting glasses. They were made on contract spec by various manufacturers, including Swarovski, Zeiss, Leica, Leitz, Newcon, Steiner, Fujinon, and Nikon. Technically speaking I dont think the navy officially remaindered any of them, but you can find them on the MilSurp market for a fairly high, but not ridiculous price. Unfortunately they are quite heavy (the 120mms are only tripod mounted), so they aren't exactly ideal for field use; but if you have to glass long open spaces (prairie, long mountain views, or water) in the dark; they are indispensible.

Realistically thoguh, most of us don't need that kind of light gathering, most of the time; and a tripod mounted glass isn't exactly usful while hiking; so as I said above, a compromise is in order. The 7x50 is generally the best all around compromise position between cost, size, power, ruggedness, weight etc... I also recommend you chose a 7x50 marine, whether you are boating or not, because they are generally more rugged, and almost always more waterproof than other glasses.

Grab yourself a 7x50 from a reputable, medium grade brand and you won't be sorry. I have a pair of Steiner 7x50 marine glasses somewhere, but I can't find them. I may have lost them when my storage unit went bye-bye; in which case I'll be replacing them, probably with the same make and model.

Oh and while you're at it, a half decent pair of compact field glasses, and a very decent compact monocular are also things I recommend anyone carry out in the field at all times. I have both, they only weigh a few ounces each, they ride in a vest pocket and on a lanyard around my neck, and they instantly give me a quick up close view.

You obviously can't get the quality and light gathering of larger glasses, but my bushnell 8x25 compacts are just fine for a well lit day. They fold, and they have a 7 degree FOV so I can spot distant objects fairly quickly. If you ARE hunting or tracking at twilight, you can get compact glasses with a 5mm exit pupil; and there are compacts with up to an 18 degree FOV. My monocular is also an 8x25, but it is very small, and it has a narrower field of view, basically acting as a mini spotting scope.

Add in a set of 10x70's for your house, car, or boat; and your field glass needs are pretty well covered.

Of coures then we get into rifle scopes, and spotting scopes; and thats a whole nother post... hell it's a whole nother BOOK.

Posted by cbyrne at 02:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

THe King of offensively funny comic strips, and this is all he can do?

I was expecting better Aaron.

Posted by cbyrne at 12:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 15, 2006

My Girls in about 5 years

Blatantly stolen from Tam who blatantly stole it from Oleg Volk:



Needless to say (though I will anyway), Oleg is big about teaching kids about proper handling of firearms, and their proper purpose in society; that of defending ones life and freedom

I've already told Mel that the girls were getting ARs at like seven or so, but I had thought of this one first:

There's only one problem, Mel HATES Barbie with a passion that burns like a thousand suns, so now we have our solution.

Although, if we wanted to start them out even earlier, theres always one of these from Crickett:

HT: Eric Sivula
Posted by cbyrne at 11:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Moving starting tonight

Ok guys, the next few days are going to be rough, we're moving without benefit of truck or moving crew, so dont expect much in the way of blog posts.

Wish our backs and knees luck.


UPDATE: Hey sweet, my bud Keith saw this post and volunteered his truck (S-10) tomorrow. We should be able to get the couches, bed, shelf units, desk, entertainment center chairs and tables moved in like three or four trips now.

Everything else fits in passenger cars thankfully.

Posted by cbyrne at 07:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Come to a fight...

See a hockey game break out...
You Are Hockey
Tough, athletic, and not afraid of a fight. You don't mind putting your body on the line!
What Winter Sport Are You?
Posted by cbyrne at 12:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 14, 2006

The Big Blogiversary

Ayup, it's been one year, and 200 some odd thousand visitors since starting this blog..

My first post was modest, in scope if not in demeanor:

First Post!!!!!

Ok folks, people have been telling me to write my own blog for two years now, so finally, here it is.

Yeah I said I'd get around to it before, but I'm lazy, what can I say.

The initial content is mostly going to be stuff I've written for other peoples blogs, and fora etc...

Suggestions, praise, worship, and deification are all welcome.

Chris Byrne at 2/14/2005 08:53:00 AM


But then I started right off into the Recipes for REAL Men series, and the AnarchAngel blog was born.

In between we've had lots of guns, lots of laughs, a fatwa and a few other assorted death threats... overall I'd say a good time.

Now it's one year, and almost 600 posts later. I've added a family to my life, and now to my blog (Mel, take a bow)...

Well, it's been a hell of a year, lets hope for just as interesting this year... weeeellll maybe not QUITE so interesting, but still, just as good or better right?

Let me repeat what I said in march of LAST year, around my one MONTH blogiversary:

Let me tell you, things build up inside for a guy like me, and I have to let them out. I'm a pretty intense guy in some ways, and a pretty laid back in others. I'm easy going, I don't get angry or mad like other people do, I'm not a yeller, but I get very... forceful when Im passionate; or I get VERY sarcastic or just humorous, but it has to come out somehow.

A lot of things in this world strike me as absurd, or funny, or sad, or appalling... hell, a lot of things just strike me. I look around, I notice things... mostly I notice other people NOT noticing things, and that bugs me.

I love the free and open exchange of ideas. I love debate. I love argument. I hate PC bullshit that stifles these things. I hate when people look at conversation as a competition that has to be won. I hate that people take disagreement personally.

I want to talk about things. I want people to think about things in new and different way. I want to be contentious, and to stir people up, because then, you're actually think about things, rather than just going though the motions.

If I can do that, then maybe those things can change, or get better; or the good things may get stronger, and maybe people will give a damn a bit more. Yeah, it's corny, but if each of us, one at a time, starts changing peoples minds about things, then eventually the good guys CAN win.

If I can do that, than anything else I do won't matter, and I'll be damned happy, and consider myself damned lucky (emphasis on the damned part I think).

I feel profoundly grateful that I am able to express myself in this way; that I have both the capability, and the forum; and that I have people who want to read what I write.

Well, don't thank me boys and girls, I need to thank you.

Posted by cbyrne at 08:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Happy Birthday Mike

In addition to being St. Valentines day, it's my friend Mikes birthday.




Mike isn't a cowboy as shown in this rather bad pic, he's actually from Southern California, and an engineer with a rocket scientist for a father (literally); but he's a cowboy at heart.

He and I have been friends for over ten years now; and I haven't physically seen him in eight of those. Fortunately that's going to change in a couple months when I'll be the best man at his wedding.

I hope.

I say this because Mike has been engaged more times than anyone I know, and thus far none of the weddings have come off. He was even left at the altar one time.

He's a great guy, reasonably good looking, fun in a wholesome/sweet/not-quite-boring/LDS sort of way; he's just had bad luck with the whole marriage thing.

Which is all the more ironic, considering his birthday.

So, happy birthday Mike, and I hope things are going as planned for the wedding. See ya in May buddy.

Posted by cbyrne at 03:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Valentines Day Gift



There's chocolates, and then there's CHOCOLATE!!!!!!!!; and this stuff definitely falls into the latter category.

This was my valentines day present to my honey; 38% - 78% chocolate solids drinking chocolate. In case you didnt know, "hot chocolate" is to drinking chocolate as Mad Dog 20/20 is to The MacAllan 25 year old fine oak.

Instead of some powdered sugar, condensed milk, and cheap synthesized cocoa powder, this is essentially drinking liquid chocolate mixed with hot milk. If you want a similar flavor, go to Starbucks and order a "chantico". This is MUCH MUCH better, but the richness is similar.

Oh, and so are the calories, and about 400 per serving, 200 of them from fat. When I said this was drinking melted chocloate, I wasn't kidding. You are basically drinking a really good german chocolate bar.

I specify German chocolate for a reason. American chocolate has, if you are lucky, about 20% chocolate solids, and if you are buying Hersheys, under 10%. The chocolate we use tends to be more bitter, grainier, and chalkier than the chocolates common in europe, where 25%-40% chocolate solids are more common (and in some cases required by law), and you can get confections with up to 70% chocolate solids.

Here in the U.S. the balance of most chocolates are made up with condensed milk, milk sugar, artificial vanilla flavor, whey protein and soy lecithin; whereas in a fine european chocolate you basically get cocoa solids, cocoa butter, natural vanilla, cream or milk, and sugar (although most drinking chocolate perparations also include the lecithin to help emulsify the chocolate). Also in a good chocolate all the fat should be provided by the milk and cocoa butter; but in cheaper chocolates they often use hydrogenated coconut or palm oil.

Basically, a hershey bar isn't even in the same category as a Lindt couverture (just as an example).

The difference in flavor and mouth feel is HUGE. Those used to european chocolate tend to take abite, and then stop eating out of disappointment. Of course on the other hand that means if you are used to Hersheys, having some real chocolate is going to be an entirely new, and quite tasty experience for you. I HIGHLY recommend doing so as soon as is humanly possible.

Yes, my honey and I are chocolate lovers of the first order, and we stocked up on this stuff. No we didnt buy the whole package above, but we did get five of them, plus the cocoa powder.

The cost... well it's not cheap. Each tin is about $17 (including shipping), and makes eight 8 oz servings of drinking chocolate, so it's a bit more than $2 a cup; and it's worth every penny.

It's soooo much better than some plain old box of chocolates; and we can both enjoy this together (and have several times so far. We'll definitely be buying more of this), plus none of those icky green fruit flavored ones, or weird raspbery syrup filling.

Mel wants to get their baking chocolate, and make some brownies with it. Sure they'd cost like $4 a brownie, but they'd be worth every penny.

Posted by cbyrne at 02:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 13, 2006

Captain Kirks new power tools

Ok so I was cruising Dremels web site, and I saw the new Dremel Stylus tool... and all I could think was "Wow, some fanboy must have designed this":
Posted by cbyrne at 06:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mighty Rat

In the hot rodding world, there are generally two types of Chevy motors; Mouse motors are small block V8's, and Rat motors are big block V8's.

Each of the major manufacturers has small and big blocks. Each small block was available in a large number of displacements and configurations, as was each big block, but they were all based on the same two cores (a large and a small) with similar mounting points, accessories etc... and they can often be installed in the same cars. The traditional mouse and rat motors are the Small Block Chevy (available between 265 and 400 C.I.D, but most commonly a 350), and the Big Block Chevy (from 348 to 560 C.I.D., but never more than 455 from the facotry, and most often seen as the 454).

I don't know who coined the term, but it's been around for a loooong time.

A couple months back I wrote about my new pocket tgun, the Kel-Tec P3AT, that we've taken to calling "Mighty Mouse". Well, mighty mouse now has a big brother.

Everybody say hello to Mighty Rat:

From the press release:

The PF-9 is a semi-automatic, locked breech pistol, chambered for the 9 mm Luger cartridge. It has been developed from our highly successful P-11 and P-3AT pistols with maximum concealability in mind. The PF-9 has a single stack magazine holding 7 rounds. It is the lightest and flattest 9 mm ever made. Firing mechanism is Double-Action Only with an automatic hammer block safety. The PF-9 will be available in blued, parkerized, and hard chrome finishes. Grips will be in black, grey, and olive drab.

The PF-9 accessory rail will accept the latest compact weapon lights and lasers.

The PF-9 retains the best features from our P-11 and P-3AT pistols combined into the flattest and lightest single stack 9mm configuration ever made. The barrel, locking system, slide stop, assembly pin, front sight, recoil springs and guide rod are adapted from the P-11. The PF-9 is nearly identical to the P-11 in length and height and shares the same exterior controls. The shorter trigger system with integral hammer block and the extraction system are adapted from the P-3AT. Just like the P-11, the PF-9 will accept +P ammunition, however, not with continuous use.

The rear sight is a new design and is adjustable for windage with the supplied allen wrench as well as for elevation with the use of shims (not included). The included 7 round rectangular magazine is supplied with a finger extension base plate and numbered holes. The under barrel accessory rail shares the dimensions of the MIL-STD-1913 picatinny rail although there is only one locking notch in the forward position.


SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICES
Description -- Price
PF-9 Pistol, Blued -- $314.00
PF-9 Pistol, Parkerized -- $355.00
PF-9 Pistol, Hard Chrome -- $368.00

The PF-9 pistol comes with one 7 round magazine, and includes a gun lock.

Expected availability: May 2006

I need one; hell EVERYBODY needs one.

Kel-Tec is definitely going right after Kahr with this model.

The P9 is half the price, thinner, and ligther than the smallest Kahr, a bit taller WITH the finger grip mag extension, but it holds 1 more round (putting the grip extension on the on the kahr makes it 1/2” taller than the Kel-Tec).

Comparing the P9 to the non-micro standard frame polymer kahr’s which have the same 7+1 capacity as the kel-tec, it’s half an inch shorter in length, .25” shorter in height, and 3 oz lighter.

In fact the only smaller 9mm made is the Rohrbaugh; and theres a 1+ year waiting list for a $900 gun that only writers have got their hands on so far.

Compared to the P3AT in .380, already about the smallest and lightest pistol in IT’S class, the 9mm P9 is only 4.4oz heavier, .65” longer and .8” taller (again with the finger extension. The extension adds .5” to the p3at).

I own a Kahr, and it is a GREAT CCW piece, but it really is definitely a belt gun because it is just a bit too long, a bit too tall, and a bit too heavy for a pocket. The new P9 is jsut the ticket for a 9mm pocket gun. It’s big enough to be controllable, but still small enough for the pocket.

I could live without the rail, in fact I think that cros slot may catch in a pocket; but you can alway fill it in, or slap a rail cover on there.

Hell I showed it to Mel, and she wants one too for her purse/jeans gun for when the sp101 doesnt fit.

Oh and why mighty rat? Shouldnt the rat be a .40 or a .45... Well the Small Block chevy started with the 265, and ended up as big as a 400. The little Kel-Tec mouse gun started off as a lowly .32, and is currently in a .380. The rat here is starting of as a 9mm, but who knows, maybe it can end up a .357 sig?

Posted by cbyrne at 03:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Summer rituals and old trucks...

Today I officially began my annual summer ritual of parking spot searching. This is the time of year where the worth of a parking spot is no longer determined by proximity to the front doors, but instead determined by the amount of shade available. As I am now driving a jet black car with leather interior, this has become quite important in the past week. Anyone who has not spent any time in a car that has baked in 100 degree weather can not fully appreciate the effects of hot leather on bare skin.

Honestly I'm used to it, whether it's Max (my current vehicle, formerly in Chris's name), The Big Red Beast (my father's truck), or the 'Burban (part of the family since I was 6) I am always looking for the parking spot with the lowest ouch factor. Of course my favorite will always be my old truck Catti.

The last 3 vehicles all have something in common. At one point or another they all belonged to another member of my family, and they are all old Chevys. The Big Red Beast originally belonged to my oldest brother, and is a 1976 Chevy 1/2 ton with a full-size bed and cherry red paint. She has a 292 straight 6, and 3 gears on the floor with a granny gear. And, of course, a goose-neck hitch. I drove her to and from work for a full 4 months before giving her back to my father. The truck and I have a love-hate relationship, but she did okay.

The 'Burban is a '78 Chevy Silverado Suburban, blue with white stripes. She's been in the family since I was 6 and at last estimate (odometer is long dead) has 400k miles on her with one engine rebuild. Also 3 speed with a granny the 'Burban of course has a 454. I drove her for almost a year and loved every minute. I took her almost everywhere in the state, included Flagstaff on a day when everyone ended up snowed in (including me).

Catti, however, Catti was mine. '72 Chevy 1/4 ton pickup, full size bed, black with absolutely no extras (NONE). Add that to a three on the tree with a big V8 engine (307 small block, but big enough) and god I loved that truck. Originally my father's, he ended up giving it to me upon my mother's request upon me departure for Vancouver. I had been driving her since I was 17; before that I had driven my brother's truck Bertha, a 76 GMC High Sierra that looked like crap but had a fully-functional 454. Many of the teenage boys in the area were quite surprised when they revved their engines, tried to beat me after a stoplight, and lost horrendously. When I received Catti I was even worse, only losing twice, once to a sports car and once to a similar truck. I adored that truck. I could quite literally do everything I ever needed to with one toolbox, and I had enough room that I could actually sit in the engine compartment.

After replacing all of the seals and gaskets I drove 1700 miles with Catti, non-stop, from Phoenix to Vancouver, with a cat. A year later I had to sell the truck because Rosie was born, and my (ex)husband sold it for a measly $1000 Canadian. I call that grounds for a divorce, don't you?

But I love old trucks, particularly GMs. There's nothing like them, and most likely will be nothing like them again. Sunday Chris and I were driving and passed an old Chevy truck for sale... I made the supposed "kitten noises" and all. I love the BMW, but I will always have a soft spot in my heart for good ol' steel trucks.

Mel

Call me Mel, everyone else does.

Posted by cbyrne at 02:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 12, 2006

Our New House

Well, we did it; we signed the lease earlier today, and we're moving starting Wednesday... (and I mean actually physically moving not just moving the blog, which will also be happening thanks to googles political bias disguised as policy, but thats another post entirely).

This is our new house:

And more importantly, why we chose THIS particular house:




It has a nice big yard, with a bunch of trees (including a tangerine tree), a nice patio (with a cool mist sprayer systems - a must in PHX), and a seven foot high red cedar privacy fence with a secure gate. Even better, it's in a doglegged cul de sac, close to but well off of (and well separated from the noise and traffic of)a main road.

Of course you know, this means pets. In particular we're planning on a puppy and a cat as soon as we're settled in. The puppy is for me (I MISS having dogs), and the kitty for the girls.

The house is old, but well maintained, about 1800 sq ft. and it's typical of the style of homes built in Scottsdale in the fiftes (it's a 1957 house); though the interior has been substantially updated.

Lest you think the interior is hideous, allow me to present, our new living room:

You can't really tell from this pic, but the living room is about 12'x28'. Pretty much HUGE. There is a new central air system with seperate AC and furnace untis, and bothe are over specced for the house; and theres a supplemental AC unit in said massive living room (which was there when the central air was piddly and weak).

The main living area is open plan, with a waist high divider wall separating the living room from the rest of the house, and opening out into the decent sized pass through style kitchen; with attached laundry room.

and the separate dinette area:

Through the kitchen is another den/office area thats 12' x 16', with a bunch of windows. We're thinking that's going to be our craft/hobby/game room (a poker table is in our future).

It's got the basics, 3 fairly small bedrooms (1957 had different standards for bedroom size), one with a 3/4 bath for the master, and all having nice sized closets. It also has a full tile family bathroom. Actually it's the original tile from '57, and it's in remarkably good shape. The bathroom is almost Lileksian in it's 50's style charm. Of course that also means it's relatively small as well.

The neatest thing about the place is something we'll probably never use, and is even more of that "Lileksian charm"; it's got a central vacuum cleaner system, with vacuum outlets in every room. Ahhhh the fifties.

It has the standard Arizona car port, with a six car sized driveway, and a graveled side area suitable for more parking, or storage, plus parking in front; so parking will NOT be a problem unlike our current condo which sometimes requires our guests to make a 1/4 mile walk.

Theres a storage shed on the side of the house, and plenty of interior closet space.

The owner is a decent guy from Marina Del Ray; a TV producer who makes documentary programs for discovery, th history channel, the learning channel, and national geographic. He was trying to sell the house for the last few months, but now he's happy to lease to us; and he's interested in doing alease to buy, which may be a decent option for us next year.

Honestly though, none of that really matters. We drove up to the place, opened the back gate and the kids started running and playing right away. Before we left Rosie said "Can we live here", and Mel started making kitten noises.

One cannot resist the power of the estrogen...

Posted by cbyrne at 06:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 08, 2006

Well, I'd rather an HK416...


...but since HK doesnt want to sell me one, and Robarm still isn't shipping; this could do

SIGARMS press release:


New SIG 556 Rifle: The time Has Come
SIGARMS® introduces U.S. made version or legendary Swiss rifle.

EXETER, NH – No other semi-automatic rifle has captured the imagination of the shooting public like the SG 550 series rifle. For years this legendary Swiss made rifle has been restricted to law enforcement and military sales where it has continuously built on its reputation for outstanding performance, accuracy and durability. Now, SIGARMS® has announced that the time has come for a U.S. made version and introduces the new SIG 556.

The SIG 556 features the same high-performance two position adjustable gas piston operating rod system engineered by SIG’s sister company Swiss Arms and marries it to a trigger housing that not only cuts the rifle’s weight by a pound but is designed to accept standard AR magazines.

Originally developed to work under the extreme situational pressures and environmental conditions of the Swiss Army on alpine duty, the new SIG 556 delivers when it counts regardless of ammunition type and variances in gas pressure or case material.

The SIG 556 features a 16” military grade cold hammer forged barrel with a twist rate of 1 in 9”. The barrel is locked to the steel receiver through a unique system that allows the user to easily change out the barrel.

The forearm housing the gas operating system is a vented non-slip polymer featuring the SIG TriRail design with three integrated Picatinny rails for mounting accessories. There is a forward mount for right or left side sling attachment. The flip up front combat sight is adjustable for windage and elevation.

The Picatinny rail equipped receiver is made of high strength carbon steel with a durable wear-resistant Nitron® X rifle finish. The trigger housing is made from a heat treated aircraft grade aluminum alloy with a hard-coat anodized finish designed to survive extreme conditions. The rifle comes equipped with a smooth two-stage trigger.

The SIG 556 also features an ambidextrous safety and is designed to accept standard AR magazines. A rugged 30-round polymer magazine is supplied with each rifle.

Spare battery compartments are provided in the ergonomically designed pistol grip as well as the rubber padded watertight adjustable butt stock. The butt stock also offers sling attachment points.

In addition to the standard model SIG 556 which will begin to ship in late summer of 2006, SIGARMS will also offer a SIG 556 L featuring a longer forearm but also equipped with the 16” barrel. The 556 L will be ideal for upgrading to the 20” barrel for more precision oriented shooting.

The third model planned to 2006 is the SIG 556 SWAT. The SWAT model will feature the same compact design of the standard SIG 556 with 16” barrel but will feature a flat top Picatinny railed receiver and a tactical quad rail.

These three rifles are the first of several new SIG 556 models that are currently in development at SIGARMS. The wait is over. The new U.S. made SIG 556 begins shipping in late summer – because the time has come.


Theres some great pics under that link to the sig forums. I jsut didnt want to stel them from a site I support. When sigarms puts up their pofficial press pics on their site, I'll steal away.

Anyway, to the rifle...

Well, I don't care for the forearm (though it's better than the stock SG550), and it's a might spendy for what you get, but I've fired several guns in the SG550 family, and it's a damn fine weapon, so I'm very glad to see this as a civvy option.

Best features? Hmm, piston operated, adujustable gas regulator, quick change barrel (they only have 16" and 20" listed but 24s are available in the line under the "precision rifle" model they sell to LEO so...), and of course 1913 and stanag compatible so those AR accessories will mostly work.

HT: Sig Forums

Posted by cbyrne at 02:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Don't be Evil? Ok, how about politicially biased then?

I recieved this email a few hours back:

From: Google AdSense

to: me

Hello Christopher,

Our specialists have found that your account is not in compliance with
AdSense program policies. As a result, we have disabled your account.

We continually review all publishers according to our Terms and
Conditions and program policies, and we reserve the right to disable
publishers or sites that are not in compliance with our policies.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

Obviously I was somewhat puzzeled... but only somewhat. After all, others around the blogosphere have had problems with google inexplicably cutting them off, apparently for political reasons, and I'm generally more offensive to the lef tthan they are.

But I kept an open mind. I sent back a one line question:

From: Me
To: Google AdSense support

Sirs,

Can you tell me how my account is not in compliance with your policies?

And I recieved no response.

And I got kinda irritated, and then I got kinda mad; so a few minutes ago, I sent this out:


From: Chris Byrne Mailed-By: gmail.com

To: Google AdSense
Cc: Sergei@google.com, ESchmidt@google.com, LPage@google.com, MRivera@google.com, Press@google.com, mmayzel@google.com
Date: Feb 8, 2006 12:25 PM
Subject: Re: Google AdSense Account Disabled

Sirs,

Can you tell me how my account is not in compliance with your policies?

I sent that one question to you initially, and recieved no response. Now I am expanding my question.

I have reviewed your ad-sense policies, and I cannot find any point at which I am in violation, unless a subjective reviewer of the site found my content disagreeable politically.

If my account has been suspended because I present a different political view point than the reviewer of my site... well then you might have a small problem.

If you say that I am a hate site, a violent site, or a racist site, I can refute that conclusively; and will do so for anyone who asks. If you say that I have inappropriate content, I can refute that and will do so as well.

I will also point to many sites that present anti-semitic, anti-american, and in general vile and disgusting propaganda; and yet they have ad-sense ads. I can show you sites that depict burning of american flags, and bibles, that have ad-sense ads. I can show you sites that are unapologetically pronographic, and have ad-sense ads.

I can only conclude that this action is motivated by political bias. It is my hope that suspending accounts that are politically opposed to a reviewers viewpoint is the action of a single employee and not general corporate policy.

You are of course a private company, and you may choose to allow your political biases to determine who you do business with; but if you do, be prepared to have all of your conservative and libertarian customers do the same.

If you cannot provide me with a legitimate reason for this account suspension, that is not motivated by a bias against my libertarian politics, my staunch advocacy of free speech regardless of it's potential for offensiveness, or the right to keep and bear arms, then I will be going to the blogosphere and the media with this.

Finally, if you insist on closing my account, please forward the remaining outstanding balance due me. As I cannot log in to my account I can't confirm how much it is, but when I checked yesterday it was only about $40.

Thank you,

Christopher J. Byrne IV


I wonder what the response will be.

Anyone know how to move a blog off of blogger?

Posted by cbyrne at 12:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 07, 2006

My 350,000th visitor

Ok as I said, this mmorning I hit 200k on the blog; but a few minutes ago I hit 350,000 on the web site for all time; this includes my blog and main web page. My 350,000th visitor
Posted by cbyrne at 03:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

My 200,000th blog hit

Well, about two hours ago, my blog passed the 200,000 individual visits mark.

Yay me

Posted by cbyrne at 10:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Eh, why not

Charming Handsome Romeo Incomparably Supplying Breathtaking, Yummy Recreation and Naughty Embraces Minx Exchanging Lustful Orgasms and Delightful Yeses
Posted by cbyrne at 09:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Little Britneys and Christinas


So the other day I am at Wal-Mart shopping for clothes for my little girls (ages 4 and 2) and I finally have to do something I have been dreading for well over a year - navigate the girls' section. My oldest is very tall for a 4 year old (47") and she is outgrowing the baby/toddler section. Now normally I believe in high (or at least medium) quality clothes for myself and my kids, but the kids outgrow clothing so quickly that spending so much money on clothing seems a bit ridiculous. Plus the girls have very different body types (Rosie is long-legged, Shai has a long torso) so the clothes I buy for the older can't be passed down to the younger.

Now keeping in mind that Rosie is a very TALL 4 year old I have recently started buying her size 5/6 (XS) girls' jeans just so they are long enough. Unfortunately this means navigating Mary Kate and Ashley land at Wal-Mart. This, I discovered, is a dangerous pursuit.

I am a fairly attractive woman when I want to be. I am certainly capable of catching a man's eye when I put the necessary effort into finding and wearing flattering clothing. I am a 25 year old woman who is certainly not past her prime and I wouldn't wear most of the clothes I found in the girls' section.

Bras and bikini-cut underwear. Flared skirts short enough to be mini-skirts. Skin tight jeans. And of course shirts and boleros designed to show off cleavage. What kind of cleavage can a 5 year old have?! And why the hell would you want to show it off?!?!?!?! I mean, I've seen the shoes with heels in the girls' section of the show store, but I didn't think there were actually clothes to WEAR with them...

It's even worse when swimsuits are taken into account. This is Arizona after all, so I've already been through this season's swimsuits. Bikinis, boyshorts, sheer coverups... whatever happened to good ol' monochromatic full-size swimsuits? I believe in always leaving myself enough room for negotiation, but what happens when my eventual 15 year old daughter asks me if she can buy a string bikini? "But Mom, you let me wear one when I was 5, why not now?" Gah...

I am lucky in that I can afford higher-priced clothing and if I need to, I will go that route in order to help preserve my daughters' innocence. But whenever I look at the clothing at Wal-Mart I remember the single mom I used to be and how I couldn't afford anything else. Are we raising a generation of little Britneys and Christinas by default?

As for that shopping trip, I returned to the toddler section and bought some cheap shirts and shorts for the summer until I can find something better. I bought one pair of pants from the girls section, the cheapest and most unattractive I could find. I then dropped the kids off with my mother for the weekend. When I picked them up on Sunday my mother asked me why in the world I would buy Rosie a pair of hip huggers. I think catalogs are going to become my new best shopping friends...

Mel

Posted by cbyrne at 09:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mel's Intro

Hello everyone!

For all of you who don't know who I am, I am the Anarchangel's dearly beloved practically wife. I am going to be posting on this blog time to time with my own rants and raves, and general insights on life. No recipes from me (yet) but most likely lots on raising kids and dealing with disgruntled muscular minarchists. Oh, yes, and the occasional bitch about men in particular and, of course, life.

Mel

Just call me Mel, everyone else does.

Posted by cbyrne at 09:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Recipes for REAL Men - Volume 12, Lard Ass Buffalo Wings

So the bowl game is over, and I've finally perfected my Buffalo wing recipe (actually during halftime in fact). There was much winged love goin down, though I maybe mixed them a bit too hot for my crowd... which means they were damn near hot enough.

Actually they weren't entirely perfect, initially I included less Habenero and a tablespoon of cayenne powder, but it made for a slightly unpleasant after burn (cayenne powder stays in your mouth and on your lips for a loooong time; and adds a kind of bitter heat without adding much flavor). I also included a bit too much mustard, and I used prepared yellow mustard (frenches). For this recipe I eliminated the cayenne powder entirely, upped the habanero content, and substituted powdered mustard and apple cider vinegar.

NOW it's perfect.


Ingredients:

4lb bag of extra large, segmented frying wings
1 cup (3/4 of a 12oz bottle) of Franks Red Hot sauce
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons Arizona Gunslinger habanero pepper sauce (optional)
2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar to taste
2 tablespoons powdered yellow mustard
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper (finely ground)
Juice of one lime
You are also going to need the following:
8lb, or 4 quarts frying medium (lard or rendered beef fat (tallow) preferred)

Large thick walled deep pot (a cast iron chicken fryer, or dutch oven work best) or a professional quality deep fryer with at least a six quart capacity and a 400+ degree temperature control

Frying thermometer capable of reading at least 400 degrees farenheit

A steel mixing bowl large enough to comfortably toss all four pounds of wings in with plenty of room to spare

1 cup of cornstarch and a large plastic bag (optional)

Preparation:

There's only one way to cook real buffalo wings, and that's deep frying them. None of this baked wing crap.

Welllll... unless that is you want to bread the wings and then bake the flavoring in AFTER deep frying; and that can work pretty well, but it isn't necessary, and it isn't really a buffalo wing then.

So before we start, you have a choice to make, to starch or not to starch.

When you deep fry anything unbattered or unbreaded, it should be perfectly dry before you put it in the oil. If the wings are frozen, you should either defrost and dry them completely, or you should roll or shake them in cornstach wixed with salt and pepper (or do both). You MIGHT be able to get away with not starching the wings if there's NO ice on the surface of the wings.

Now, if you DO starch the wings, you are going to end up with a light breading effect. This breading will soak up more sauce, but it will also hold in more grease, and it tends to clump, burn, and get soggy. Also if your oil isnt hot enough the cornstarch will clump off the wings, cloud the oil, and burn.

Obviously, in general I prefer to put the wings in bare.

While you are prepping the wings, heat the frying medium to 400+ degrees, but be careful not to smoke your oil.

Oh and related to that, another one of those decisions; what do you want to fry the wings in? Since you're cooking chicken, it would make sense to use chicken fat right?

Well, not really because chicken fat burns and smokes when used as a deep frying medium. Plus, bulk chicken fat is kinda icky, and can taste kinda funky unless you cook it fr quite a while.

Basically it's just not suitable for deep frying, though it CAN be good for shallow frying depending on what you're frying with it (like frying goose liver, it's just plain good, though goose fat is even better - oh and it makes a good spread with salt and garlic. Schmaltz can be yummy if made properly).

The ideal frying medium for flavor is either bacon grease or rendered beef suet (tallow), mixed with butter; but that gets expensive very fast. Plus butter starts burning at around 250 degrees, and smokes at 400 degrees, and bacon grease starts to burn at around 350; so you can't really deep fry in it (though shallow frying is aaawwww yeah good).

Beef tallow alone would work; but unless you have a good butcher around, it can be hard to find food grade tallow (and obviously candlemaking supplies arent food grade), and you have to be careful of your smoke point.

That leaves lard; and lard is a pretty darn good choice, because it doesn't start burning or smoking 'til WELL over 400 degrees (commercial lard anyway. Gourmet lard is usually not as "pure" and so it smokes at lower temperatures, but has better flavor). It's the highest smoke point animal oil you can get, which makes it almost ideal for deep frying. Also lard has less cholesterol than butter, and no transfats like most high smoke point vegetable oils have (including frytex and other solid oils sold for use in professional deep fryers), plus it doesn't taste bad for frying.

Oh and one more thing, lard is CHEAP; as in about $4 for the 8 lbs you'll need for deep frying (which can be used and reused repeatedly if filtered and not burned); and thats if you buy it in the SMALL tubs. If you get the economy sized 5 gallon buckets you pay damn near nothing, especially in comparison to peanut oil (which is about the best deep frying vegetable oil and which runs about $20 a gallon, though can cost as little as $5 a gallon in bulk).

Oh and in case you didnt know, the proper way to season your new cast iron pans is to sand the cooking surface mostly smooth, thoroughly wash the pan, then rub the entire cooking surface with lard to cover it with a thin layer, and carbonize the stuff at 450-650 degrees for from 30 minutes, to two hours depending on the size of the pan, and the heat of the oven. Then you take the heat down to about 300 degrees for a half hour, then 200 for an hour, then shut te heat off and let the pan cool in the cooling oven until it has reached room temperature. You WILL set off every smoke alarm in the neighborhood during this process; so unplug yours, get a fan, watch out, and keep a fire extinguisher handy.

Now, on to the actual prep work.

Defrost and dry the wings, then rub fine flake or crushed kosher salt and pepper into them, and if you feel adventerous lightly sprinkle a little cayenne powder over them (it's not bad here, it just doesn't work too well in the sauce).

When the oil is over 400 degrees, place all the wings into the oil as quickly as is safely possible. It's important to distribute evenly.

If you put frozen wings into the fryer, the temperature is going to instantly drop from about 400 degrees, to about 200 degrees, and it won't go back up to browning temperature (about 280- 300 degrees) until all the excess water from the wings cooks off. That takes about 20 minutes, and you end up with crispier, greasier wings with drier meat. They arent at all bad that way, but if you want a plumper wing with more meat and meat jucies, you want to use thawed wings.

If you use the thawed wings, the temp is still going to plummet down to between 250 and 300, but it's going to come back up to 350 or so much quicker.

Fry the wings until golden brown, basically the degree of brownness you'd want in a chicken you were roasting in the broiler. It should take about 15 minutes AFTER the temp of the oil climbs back over 280. Dont let the oil climb over 400, or start to smoke (there will be LOTS of steam and splattering oil however so be careful).

Once the wings are all thoroughly browned, drain them individually back into the fryer (just let them drip dont pat them off), and throw them into a large metal mixing bowl with some of the wing sauce on the bottom...

Ohh yeah, we have made it yet... well here is,

The Sauce:

Alright, when it comes to wings, sauce is the key right? How hot, how sweet, how sour, how smoky... How about VERY, a little bit, a little bit more, and not very much...

Some folks like to include a lot of sugar, molasses, smoked barbecue sauce, or god forbid liquid smoke (Actually I shouldnt be that hard there are actually some tasty liquid smoke flavors these days) but really none of that is supposed to go on buffalo wings.

Buffalo wings are supposed to have three strong flavors:

1. Cayenne Pepper Sauce
2. Vinegar
3. Butter

Thats it. They aren't smoked, glzed, honey seared or anything else. Yeah those kinds of wings taste great, but they aren't buffalo wings. Save the other flavors for times when you don't want buffalo wings.

So, first step, your Cayenne sauce. Now there are some folks who swear by tabasco for their wings, and lord knows I do love tabasco sauce, but it isn't really the right flavor or consistency for buffalo wings. Then there Daves gourmet "cool cayenne pepper sauce" which would work really well, hell maye even great... maybe even better than Franks... but for my money it isn't a buffalo wing if it isn't made with Franks Louisiana Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce.

That's right, I said it; it HAS to be FRANKS.

Yeah I know, Franks is too sour, too astringent, too thin, not hot enough etc... Ehhhh forget about that. If it's a buffalo wing, it's got to be Franks. Anything else is some other kind of wing.

Now, that said, there's no law against combining Franks with other things; and therein lies the secret of good buffalo sauce.

Now, you can do this two ways, either in the microwave without simmering, or in a small saucepan, simmered. Simmering melds the flavors together more, brings them out more, takes longer, is harder to clean up, and singes your nostrils something fierce. Microwaving is faster, and doesnt stink up the place.

I recommend simmering personally.

So, start by melting the butter in the bottom of the pan, then when the butter starts to brown add in the red hot sauce. Bring that sauce up to just below simmering and add the rest of the dry ingredients, and the vinegar, stirring thoroughly.

Keep stirring at jsut below simmer for about 4 minutes. At this point you want to set your sweet and sour balance, by adjusting the vinegar and the brown sugar to suit your taste. Make it just a bit less sour, and a bit more sweet than you'd like the final product to be, because we'll be adding more flavors in the next step.

So now a few minutes ago I said that Tabasco isn't right for Buffalo wings, and now I'm telling you use it? Why do I speak such crazy moon language...

Basically, because I love tabasco, and it has a distinct fermented pepper flavor that you dont get with Franks. A couple tablespoon is all it takes to give your wings jsut a HINT of that distinctive Tabasco flavor. If you want more tabasco flavor, go ahead and add more tabasco; it can't hurt.

Now the fun part, the REALLY hot stuff. Here's where you decide if you want your wings mild, hot, or WILD.

For traditional mild to slightly hot buffalo wings (the wings from your local pizza joint proably rate less than mild so if you can't handle those... what the hell are you doing making buffalo wings?), dont add anything else. The dominant flavors will be slightly sweet, sour vinger, and a slightly sour spicy pepper bite.

If on the other hand you want some HOT wings, now's the time to break out the habenero. I listed Arizona Gunslingers hot habanero sauce above, but you can substitute any habanero hot sauce to taste. Gunslinger is appx. equal in heat to Daves Temporary Insanity sauce, and about half as hot as Daves Insanity sauce; with Total Insanity falling somewhere in between. My recommendation? Start with one tablespoon of the sauce, stir it in and simmer for three minutes, then try it out. If it's not hot enough, keep adding more sauce in half a tablespoon at a time.

If you really want to get insane, put in 4 tablespoons of Daves Insanity sauce; but if you do that I recommend serving the wings with a yoghurt based dip (tsatziki for example), and glasses of whole milk. Oh and really, honestly, dont serve this to anyone who isn't a serious chilehead, you might hurt them badly, or make them sick (no I'm not kidding).

Importantly, no matter how hot you want it, you need to balance out the heat with the sourness of vinegar, and the sweetness of the brown sugar; so after you've reached your desired degree of heat, simmer for three minutes, and make a flavor adjustment with sugar and vinegar; but leave it jsut a bit less sour, and a bit less sweet than you really quite want.

Finally simmer for three to ten minutes after you've made your final adjustments and let stand; and whatever you do don't boil or burn the sauce.

This sauce is best if it's prepared the night before and allowed to mellow overnight; then heated up to just below simmering just before tossing; but it's not necessary to do so. You can just make it and toss the wings in with it and it's still damn good.

The final step before tossing is to add the fresh squeezed juice of one lime (unless of course you don't like citrus in which case, leave it out), and then stir throughly.

Final Prep:

So, sauce the bottom of your large mixing bowl, and toss a layer of lightly drained wings into it. Then pour more sauce, and drop more wings in until youve got all of both in the bowl; and throughly toss the wings in the sauce, coating all of the wings completely and evenly. Let stand for about 3 minutes, and toss again before serving.

My personal preference is to serve straight out of the bowl, with baby wipes, and paper towels kept handy. Serves four as an appetizer or 2 as a meal. Have milk handy.

And be sure to check out:

Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 11 - Bacon Double Macaroni and Cheese
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 10 - It's the meat stupid
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 9 - Labor Day Potatos

Recipes for REAL men, Volume 8 - It's a pork fat thing
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 7 - It may not be Kosher...
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 6 - Andouille Guiness Chili
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 5 - Eazza the Ultimate Pizza
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 4 - Two Pound Meat Sauce
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 3 - Highbrow Hash
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 2 - MuscleCarbonara
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 1 - More Beef than Stew

Posted by cbyrne at 01:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 06, 2006

Nearing 200k


Well, all the traffic generated from the various forum posting of team infidel over the past few days has moved this announcement up about a week, but some time today or tomorrow I'll hit 200k total uniqe visits since I opened this blog 357 days ago.

Based on NORMAL traffic patterns, within a day or two afterwards I'll also reach 350,000 total hits on my main site since I first started tracking stats around '97. Of course my traffic has been well above normal the last few days, so who knows when it might happen.

Hooray me.

Posted by cbyrne at 03:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Offense and Tolerance

Muslims have found some of my actions offensive. In response, some of those muslims have harrassed and threatened to kill me and my family.

Muslims have found a dozen catoon in a Danish newspaper offensive. In response, some muslims have murdered priests, rioted, and burned down embassies.

Web sites, newpapers, commentators from around the world in every medium have roughly split into a few camps.

Some say "Well of course there's been violence, what do you expect. You offended someone like that, that much and you dont expect violence?".

Others say "Well we should have free speech, but you shouldn't ever offend someones religion like that so we shouldnt ever publish these cartoons".

Still others have said "Free speech is absolute; and if you DON'T publish this offensive material you are censoring me, volation my rights, and giving in to terrorists".

There are the folks who are saying "Well, I don't care for offending someones religion, but it's none of my business what other people publish, and no-one has the right to stop them... of course I don't have to read their newspaper either".

Personally, I don't exactly share any of these views; and heres why. Some offenses must be tolerated, some offenses must not be tolerated, and we need to talk about the difference.

I personally think that everyone has the right to be offensive should they choose to be, so long as no-one else is FORCED to tolerate, endure, or participate in that offense; and that offense does not otherwise violate someones rights. You do not have a right to not be offended; but generally no-one has the right to FORCE you to be offended either.

One is also completely free to not associate with those whose beliefs or actions you find offensive; and one should not be FORCED to associate with or support those things one finds offensive; excepting as those things are part of the legitimate functions and expressions of a society in which one is a member.

For example, I find most abortion offensive, but it is the law of the land and I have no right to try and stop it except by changing the law, or changing an individuals mind; and in fact I don’t think the law SHOULD be changed; but as many peoples minds as possible SHOULD be.

I also believe that anyone who fully and completely believes in and follows either the Koran OR the Bible in their literal entirety is wrong and perhaps even evil (of course that's also logically and physically impossible but that's another argument); just as those who followed the little red book are completley wrong, and perhaps evil.

I believe this because all of those documents advocate killing those who do not follow YOUR rules, and YOUR laws.

Many many people find this belief offensive; but they have no right to stop me from having it, talking about it on my property and most often publicly, or acting on it. They certainly have no right to kill me for it. Importantly though, if they run a newspaper, or a web site, they don’t have to let me publish and proseltyze that belief either; nor do they have to be my friend, hang out with me, or put up with my rantings.

Finally, there is a difference between what response to offense is expected, and what is reasonable, appropriate, and to be tolerated.

If you deeply offend muslims (and lord knows I’ve done so quite handily), you should certainly expect a violent, agressive, and perhaps deadly (or at least the postuing thereof) reaction. It is expected, because we are aware of these tendencies in Islamic cultures, to expect otherwise would be stupid.

Just because something is expected however, doesn’t mean it is reasonable, appropriate, or to be tolerated.

If I go to a Nation of Islam (which isn’t islam, it’s black supremecist fascism with a thin skin of religion thrown on top) rally dressed in blackface I should certainly expect to be beaten up; and possibly killed. That doesnt make it reasonable, appropriate, or to be tolerated.

If I go to a NAZI rally with a yarmulke, a star of david, and a torah I can expect the same thing. That doesnt make it reasonable, appropriate, or to be tolerated.

It is not reasonable or appropriate for muslims to riot in the streets at the cartoon depiction of Mohammed, and it must not be tolerated. It is not reasonable or appropriate for muslims to threaten death, and even kill those (and their friends, and their families) who offend them (and I include myself in the former); and it CAN NOT be tolerated.

These things must not be tolerated, they must be stopped. The islamic world cannot be allowed to impose it’s standards, and it’s behaviors upon us; nor can any other enemy of freedom and liberty; including NAZIs, fascist, genderists, communists, racists, Political Correctists or anyone else.

I don’t believe that we should passively allow anyone to make offense illegal, or punishable by ANYTHING more than social stigma.

I believe we must be active in defending our right to have offensive opinions and ideas. I believe that sometimes it is necessary to give offense to react against those who would make doing so illegal, or deadly.

It’s not just muslims, it’s ANYONE who would force everyone else to live and think by their rules; should those rules restrict legitimate freedom.

I’m a fat guy. A few years back the city of San Francisco tried to make insulting people because of their appearance illegal. Sometimes you need to insult fat people, not because you hate fat people, but because the San Francisco city council tried to make it illegal to do so.


NOTE: Actually let me qualify that, Not you necessarily, you don't have to do anythign you don't want to; but SOMEBODY has to do it.

You don't have the right to hit a fat guy over the head, but you do have the right make a fat joke. The fat joke doesn’t infringe on my rights, I don’t need to listen to it, I don’t need to pay you to do it, I dont need to publish it; but I don’t have any right to stop you from saying it, either in public, or anywhere other than on MY private property.

Is it in poor taste? Absolutely. Do you have to support it or agree with it? Absolutely not. Should you be forced to look at it, much less publish it? Certainly not.

...But YOU shouldn’t be allowed to stop it either, unless it is infringing on YOUR rights; no matter how offensive it is to you, or whatever other reason you wish to.

Posted by cbyrne at 12:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Does the U.K have a democratic government?

On the NoR forums someone asked a thetorical question about the U.K.
"The crazy didn’t write the laws. You have a democratically elected government, yes?"
Only vaguely... The commenter obviously intended to make a point about how the people get the government they deserve, but because of the structure of the British government this isn't as true as you might think.

Here's the thing, in the British system, you dont actually vote for a person to be prime minister, or any other position within governemnt. Every burrough elects their own member of parliament (MP), and the MP's all get together and decide who get's to do what.

That means if you want good local representation, you elect someone to storngly represent the issues and values of your burrough. Unfortunately, you have no control over who actually runs your country, because there are no nationally elected positions. The political parties control who gets to run things, and everything is done within the party structure; so if you want to effect things nationally you choose the party you prefer no matter who their candidate is or how you think they'll do their job. Of course by this you give up "effective" local representation.

Parliamentary systems as a whole tend to be very representative [of the will of the people] on local issues (whether they act on that will or not), and very poorly representative on national issues, because there they almost exclusively express the will of the party; but in the U.K this system is even more skewed. In the U.K. with most local government handled by local councils; MPs who are in theory elected on local issues almost never address them; and spend their time on national issues, or rather on party issues; and of course on their primary concerns, gaining more power, and getting re-elected.

Getting more power means being made a part of the government i.e. given a ministerial appointment or a party position. No-one else has any real power. In order to gain a position, one must make nice within the party. Independence is almost entirely not allowed. The party (or coalition of parties) in control decides who fills what position, and everyone else is relegated to the "back benches".

Getting re-elected almost entirely requires the support of your party. Without it, it is POSSIBLE to be re-elected, because elections are VERY local in the UK; but if the party is plainly against you, you might as well forget it unless you are a 100% lock in your burrough.

In fact, it is entirely possible for a popular party leader, whom the majority of the country believe should be prime minister, to lose their seat entirely because of local issues. The people of the nation have no say, only the people of the constituency; and as always, the party.

Because of the nature of the system, MP’s are almost entirely locked into their party lines (excepting a few fringe elements who are personality cultists, useful idiots, or complete nutters. Either way they distract the press and the people from what is really going on); and given a strong enough majority or coalition, they can do damn near everything they want; including controlling when elections happen so that they are always in a position of advantage (for example by scheduling the elections jsut after a sex or financial scandal rocks the other party).

Unlike the American system, there is no separation between executive authority, and legislative authority; except in the person of the monarch, who functionally acts as a rubber stamp on whatever the government tells them to do. The chief executive of government is also the head of the legislative branch of the government, AND the head of the party in control.

NOTE: To Americans, this particular concept simply does not compute. How can one perform in all of these roles without conflict of interest? Simply speaking, one can't; it is assumed by parliamentary systems that this is an appropriate means of government.
Combine this with the fact that there is no written constitution (the only things close are the Magna Carta, and the Bill of rights, which are not the rigths of “the people” as such, but those of the lords and the government); and the structure and limits of government are a matter of common law, and tradition.

So what gets done is generally a matter of who has the bigger political club membership (the party); and the party in power has very few actual limits on what it can do. Basically the only thing stopping them from doing whatever the hell they want is tradition, public opinion, and the level of control the party has over it's members.

Combine that with a FAR more partisan press than we have in the U.S. ; who are more interested in reporting personal scandal, smear, gossip, and naked women than what’s actually going on…

Yes, it’s pretty much a pigs breakfast.

The only thing that’s kept the british system on the rails are very strong traditions of moderation, and respect for precedent.

Unfortunately over the past 100 years or so, the Labour party (and it's predecessors) have been willing to almost entirely throw out, twist, or take advantage of every precdent and tradition they can.

Read this section on the wikipedia article about parliament for an example:

The supremacy of the House of Commons was clearly established during the early twentieth century. In 1909, the Commons passed the so-called “People’s Budget,” which made numerous changes to the taxation system in a manner detrimental to wealthy landowners. The House of Lords, which mostly consisted of powerful landowning aristocrats, rejected the Budget. On the basis of the Budget’s popularity and the Lords’ consequent unpopularity, the Liberal Party won a general election in 1910. Using the result as a mandate, the Liberal Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith, introduced the Parliament law, which sought to restrict the powers of the House of Lords. (He did not reintroduce the land tax provision of the People’s Budget.) When the Lords refused to pass the bill, Asquith approached the King and requested the creation of several hundred Liberal peers so as to erase the Conservative majority in the House of Lords. In the face of such a threat, the House of Lords reluctantly passed the bill. The Parliament Act 1911, as it became known, allowed the Lords to delay a bill for a maximum of three sessions (reduced to two sessions in 1949), after which it could become law over their objections.
Yes, the labour (actually he was a liberal party PM, but modern labour is their inheritor) prime minister didn't like the results of the voting, so he simply decided he was going to get the balance of power changed to reflect what he wanted better... and this is considered a BRILLIANT manouvre.

The labour party have built a base with the enviable position such that it is almsot impossible for them to lose power. The way they have structured the burroughs, and the control of the elections combined with the co-operative highly partisan press almost completely locks labour in; and the only real contention is between different factions within Labour.

The conservatives on the other hand are fractured, unfocused, and nearly irrelevant; except as a bete noir for the press. The conservative party is almost completely unwilling or unable to either be pragmatic and do whatever is necessary to win control; OR stay ideologically pure so as to act as an effective opposition. Given this, the conservatives end up in a pointless muddle with no focus, no direction, and no power; dependent on the utter screwups of labour to occaisonally take power and form tenuous governments with weak majorities that they inevitably lose whenever the press manage to get the public to forget about the screwup that lost labour control in the first place.

Yes, it really is that bad. U.K. Subjects are pretty much screwed all the way around.

Posted by cbyrne at 11:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 05, 2006

Saraceno Delenda Est - Due

Thanks to all Jaggle and Badmutsen readers coming here for a look, no matter your opinion of Team Infidel; excuse the babelfish here, I'm sure the translation is horrible but I don't speak Dutch and my two Dutch friends are unavailable at the moment:

Wij in tribune America met u tegen de Barbaren, voor dat zijn wat zij zijn. Zij hebben geen eer. Zij zijn vreselijke lafaards; en zij zullen worden verslagen.

Now, if we can just see some .DK folks over here as well, because:

Posted by cbyrne at 10:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 04, 2006

I am Gilettes Bitch

Speaking as someone who even gets razorbumps from a properly pre-oiled, post balmed, extra hot in the shower shave with a mach 3 power nitro (yeah they might as well just call it the TestostoBlade - Shit I've even shaved using astroglide), razors suck.

What's this here? Is it a new sex toy? Perhaps some strange piece of Japanese fetish gear?

No, in fact it is a razor.

In particular it's the new gilette moneymaking scam, the power fusion. It's expensive, it's ugly, it's more than a bit ridiculous... hell you might as well just be mounting a few dozenblades on the wall and rubbing up against them.

Unfortunately, the damn thing works. In fact, the new power fusion kicks ass.

No razorbumps.

None.

Just as a test, I shaved dry; and there was no irritation.

I haven't tried the "built in beard trimmer on the back of the blade" because 1. I like my face and 2. I have an actual nice beard and moustache trimmer to keep neat with.

Of course at 3+ bucks a blade is it worth it (considering you MIGHT get a week out of a blade)?

Is it worth the faintly shameful feeling of putting something that ridiculously self parodic to your face? Worse, is it worth it knowing that you are Gilettes bitch.

Yes, yes it is. All that and more. No seriously it is the best shave you will ever have short of the worlds most perfectly honed straight razor.

Unless you have the aforementioend cuthroat or sharpness, go and buy one of these badboys.

Posted by cbyrne at 02:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 03, 2006

The Day The Music Died

47 years ago, Feb 3rd 1959; 1:05am central standard time, somewhere in the vicinity of Clear Lake Iowa en route to Fargo North Dakota; Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper (J. P. Richardson) were killed, along with their pilot when their Beech Bonanza crashed in heavy weather.

Narrowly avoiding death were Waylon Jennings, who Richardson replaced on the flight, Tommy Allsupp, who Valens replaced, and Dion (of Dion and the Belmonts) who didnt want to fly that night.

The song American Pie from Don MacLean was written with inspiration from the event:

A long, long time ago I can still remember how that music used to make me smile and I knew if I had my chance that I could make those people dance and maybe they'd be happy for a while but February made me shiver with every paper I delivered, bad news on the door step, I couldn't take one more step, I can't remember if I cried when I read about his widowed bride but something touched me deep inside, the day, the music, died. So...

CHORUS
Bye, bye Miss American Pie drove my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry an them good ol' boys were drinkin whiskey and rye singin this will be the day that I die, this will be the day that I die.

Did you write the book of love and do you have faith in God above, if the bible tells you so, and do you believe in rock n' roll, can music save your mortal soul and can you teach me how to dance real slow? Well I know that you're in love with him cuz I saw you dancin in the gym you both kicked off your shoes and I dig those rhythm and blues. I was a lonely teenage bronkin buck with a pink carnation and a pick up truck but I knew I was out of luck, the day, the music, died. I started singin...

Chorus

Now for ten years we've been on our own and moss grows fat on a rollin stone but that's not how it used to be, when the jester sang for the king and queen in a coat he borrowed from James Dean and a voice that came from you and me, oh and while the king was looking down, the jester stole his thorny crown the courtroom was adjourned, no verdict was returned, and while Lenin read a book on Marx, the quartet practiced in the park and we sang dirges in the dark, the day, the music, died. We were singin...

Chorus

Helter Skelter in a summer swelter the birds flew off with a fallout shelter, eight miles high and fallin fast, its the land that falled on the grass the players tried for a forward pass with the jester on the sidelines in a cast, now the half-time air was sweet perfume while the sergeants played a marching tune we all got up to dance oh but we never got the chance oh as the players tried to take the field the marching band refused to yield do you recall what was revealed, the day, the music, died. We started singin...

Chorus

Oh and there we were all in one place, a generation lost in space with no time left to start again, so come on, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack Flash sat on a candle stick because fire is the devils only friend, oh and as I watched him on the stage, my hands were clinched in fists of rage, no angel born in hell could break that satan's spell and as the planes climbed high into the night to light the sacrificial right I saw satan laughing with delight, the day, the music, died. He was singin...

Chorus

I met a girl who sang the blues and I asked her for some happy news but she just smiled and turned away, I went down to the sacred store where I'd heard the music years before but the man there said the music wouldn't play and in the streets the children screamed, the lovers cried, and the poets dreamed but not a word was spoken, the church bells all were broken and the three men I admire most, the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, they caught the last train for the coast, the day, the music, died, and they were singin...

Chorus

They were singin... Bye, bye Miss American Pie drove my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry an them good ol' boys were drinkin whiskey and rye singin this will be the day that I die.

Posted by cbyrne at 05:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What about .45 GAP?

In my post "Why no .45 from Browning" I mentioned that I would kill to have a Browning HiPower in .45acp; but unfortunately you can't do it without making the pistol just a bit larger, and a good bit stronger.

A commenter posits the question:

"What would making a BHP in .45GAP give us in terms of

1. modifications to the design

2. Ballistics compared to the .357SIG and .40S&W

--Randy"

Which is a pretty good question, because the point of the .45GAP, is to allow for a .45 caliber pistol, with standard .45acp ballistics, in .40S&W sized frames.

The immediate tradeoff of the GAP is of course you lose a round in capacity to the .40; and that's if your slide has enough clearance, and enough strength with the thinner metal over the sides that it would necessitate.

It's no coincidence that Glock came up with the .45GAP, because it has some of the strongest pistols ever made, and theres PLENTY of clearance and thickness of metal in it's slides.

The problem is the case head dimensions on the GAP are still too large to feed in a standard BHP breech face. The Browning slide is about as thin as you can get for the .40. I'm not sure exactly how much wiggle room there is left in the .40 BHP slide for this; but it can't be much.

Hmmm... though with the external extractor it may not be as big a deal as in say a 1911, and the .45gap is still a low pressure round in comparison to the .357 sig...Honestly, I'd need to know the metalurgy a bit better, but I don't think it would work. The early production .40's had slide cracking problems already (though they were fixed with improved heat treating).

So, to chamber the .45GAP safely and reliably, we'd still need to thicken the slide just a bit (call it .05" probably).

The thing is though; I don't think the .45GAP would even be an improvement over the .40S&W

How can that be? Pressure. The .45GAP is very near it's pressure ceiling giving .45acp ballistics out of a much shorter case than the ACP. There isn't a lot of room voer velocity improvements, even in the lightest bullet weights.

The same is not true of the standard pressure .40S&W. In fact theres a HELL of a lot of overhead in the round; presuming a gun designed to handle it.

Given this, a hot and heavy +p .40S&W gives a lot more energy (165gr at 1250 fps 572ft/lbs) than the hottest .45GAP factory load (185gr at 1050fps for about 450ft/lbs).

Actually (and this is proven in street statistics, not just ballistics numbers) +p .40 is a better stopper than standard pressure .45acp in light bullet weights (say 165gr .40 vs 185gr .45). Theres only going to be a 20gr difference in bullet weight at that point, and only a .05 diameter increase with a velocity around 1050fps and 450 ftlbs ... Yeah, I'm giving the edge to the .40.

Now this is just taking standard pressure loadings of the .45gap vs. +p loadings of the .40 so is that fair? Well, yes; because there isn't a lot of headroom for the .45gap to push without running into serious pressure problems so there ARE no hot +p loadings, and there won't be (because there CAN'T be).

The same isn't true of the .45 ACP; which in +p loadings stomps over the .40 quite handily.

In a modern, properly prepared gun chambered in .45acp with a fully supported chamber and a heavy recoil spring, you can get 1050fps out of a 230gr bullet without too much of a strain (there are factory loads available), and handload up to 1150fps at the same weight if you are careful (though I wouldn't recommend it - SuperVel used to do it, but it was well over max pressure).

We can make more direct comparisons to the .40S&W by going down in bullet weight to the lightest standard .45acp (or .45GAP for that matter) at 165 gr. which is also the heaviest standard bullet for the .40.

With a bullet that light and a properly prepared gun, you can push 1350fps out of the .45acp without danger (from hot factory loads no less) for almost 670ft lbs, and handloaders have taken it to 1450fps (and 770ftlbs) but I think they're nuts. This is in comparison to about 1150fps from the .45GAP, and 1250fps for the .40.

The GAP comes off even worse in comparison to the .357sig. The only advantage the GAP has over the .357 is bullet weight and diameter. Of course thats a significant difference (about 40gr minimum, and up to 115gr maximum and .09 inch), but I'm still giving the advantage to the .357 over the GAP.

Considering the track record of ballistically identical loads to each, there is no question as to which is the better stopper, AND you'll have 1 more round of the .357 available to you.

I won't say the .45gap is useless, clearly it has decent defensive potential. What I think it is, is the new .41AE. Sure it's good, but it's redundant and doesn't give any advantage over the other options.

Posted by cbyrne at 02:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 02, 2006

Yet more unsurprising...

You Are an Espresso
At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high

What Kind of Coffee Are You?

Posted by cbyrne at 02:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'm not generally that anal, and a bit more impulsive, but yeah...

Your Personality Is
Guardian (SJ)

You are sensible, down to earth, and goal oriented.
Bottom line, you are good at playing by the rules.

You tend to be dominant - and you are a natural leader.
You are interested in rules and order. Morals are important to you.

A hard worker, you give your all at whatever you do.
You're very serious, and people often tell you to lighten up.

In love, you tend to take things carefully and slowly.

At work, you are suited to almost any career - but you excel in leadership positions.

With others, you tend to be polite and formal.

As far as looks go, you are traditionally attractive. You take good care of yourself.

On weekends, you tend to like to do organized activities. In fact, you often organize them!

The Three Question Personality Test

Posted by cbyrne at 02:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Been hit twice actually

You Are Lightning

Beautiful yet dangerous
People will stop and watch you when you appear
Even though you're capable of random violence

You are best known for: your power

Your dominant state: performing

What Type of Weather Are You?

Posted by cbyrne at 02:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 01, 2006

Free at last...

So my hell contract is finally over with... Oh wait it's "On hold while {insert company here} re-evaluate their options and priorities".

Yeah, I can't tell you how glad I am to be out of there.

As a contractor you are used to being in position where you have all the responsiblity, with none of the authority to get things done, and none of the power to change it. It's part of the job. That said, I've never seen a company so willing to throw away money and effort over it's own internal politics (excluding public universities).

We had an architecture, that if executed properly, would work jsut fine even given the RIDICULOUS constraints we were under (15 year old, unsupported hardware and OS. No hardware solution allowed. No upgrades allowed... even wrose than that really); IF THEY WERE WILLING TO DO THE WORK NECESSARY.

But they werent.

The entier company is nothing but project managers managing project managers managing other project managers etc... and no-one really has any understanding of how to get a damn thing done.

The few actual hands on people they have left are so enmeshed in the job security assurance mentality that they wont accept ANY changes to the environemnt.

THey're supposed to add 40% transaction volume over the next year; and if they restructured their jobs and actually used their capacity effectively they'd have plenty. As it is, they're going to break the system completely.

Worse, they are supposed to have a hard migration date off their current platform by the end of 2007. They havent even started.

Free at last...

So I've got a really good Full Time perm gig lined up in about six weeks; and I need to find something to do in that time. I'm going to be moving into a new house (still just renting) by the end of this month so I'm glad for the time off, but income for that six weeks would be a useful thing. I hate spending off of savings with nothing coming in.

Posted by cbyrne at 11:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Technomancers Lament

Posted by cbyrne at 09:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why no .45 from Browning

Everybody makes a .45 these days. In fact, almost everybody makes a few of them, including a 1911 clone. Even SIG makes a 1911 (it's called the GSR, and it's a very decent pistol).
But Browning doesnt have a single weapon chambering .45acp in their catalogue... why is that?

Actually, at this point, the only cernterfire pistols Browning catalogues are the Hi-Power (the second greatest pistol design of all time behind the 1911):


and the Pro-9/40, which are pretty much gratuitous polymer frame SIG copies with the browning name on them.
Of course since SIG's copied their operating system from Browning, it's only fair that Browning copies back. I think I even remember there being some kind of deal between SIG and FN (Brownings parent company) about this gun, but I may just be halucinating again.

Parent company FN doesnt list any .45acp chamberings either... why on earth is that? The .45 is by far the most marketable choice here in the U.S. and we are by far the largest small arms market in the world...

There are a lot of folks out there who would just about kill for a .45acp version of the browning HiPower, including me.

See, I consider the BHP to be damn near ergonomic perfection (a small beavertail, a rowel hammer, a little lever and trigger tweaking, pull out the magazine disconnect if you are unfortunate enough to have one, and stick on a good set of grips and it's perfect). It's slim, it balances nearly perfect... overall it's a just plain excellent gun. In fact, in it's STOCK form, I'd say it's a better gun than the original 1911, 1911a1, and it's unmodified clones and variants. When it's done up right, as a custom gun... well I've got a pretty hard time picking between it and a custom 1911 really.

Problem is though, the BHP only comes in 9mm and .40S&W. Both excellent chamberings, but with everyone doing .45's why not Browning?

Now, if you want a BHP-like pistol; and dont mind a little extra bulk, you can get a CZ-75 copy chambered in .45acp. CZ, Tanfoglio, and IMI/Magnum Research all took the basic CZ-75 design (which itself was substantially based on the BHP only beefed up a bit and made a double action) and bulked it up considerably to take the .45 (and the 10mm in the case of Tanfoglio).

Honestly, that's not too bad a way to go. The CZ-97, and the Baby Eagle (the IMI CZ clone) are both excellent pistols, chambered in .45 acp. Unfortunately neither has quite the ergonomic feel and grace of the original BHP (both are a tiny bit thick through the middle and in the grip).
See the BHP is just a tiny bit too small for the .45acp. It needs to be slightly scaled up for the length and girth of the cartridge by a couple hundredths.

In manufacturing terms, a couple hundredths is a big deal.

Personally I would LOVE to see a genuine BHP in .45; but can it be done at a reasonable cost without ruining the lines and feel of the pistol? I don’t think it can be, at least not by Browning. It would have to be subbed out to a firm with a lower cost of labor and manufacturing overhead.

So, barring the .45, I’d like to see Browning take their .40S&W version of the BHP, maybe reinforce it just a bit, and release a factory .357sig version. After all, the entire purpose of the .357 sig, is to give me near .357 magnum power levels, in a .40 sized frame. If I can't get a .45 it's an adequate substitute.

Make it in "detective" length (as FN have done on their own branded version, and the Argentines have been doing for a while in their clones), with the 4” barrel and full size grip frame, and I’ll buy it for my daily CCW in a heartbeat.

Posted by cbyrne at 07:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 31, 2006

Some Blog Pimping for awards

Okay guys, it's the last day of voting for the gunnies, and I'm up for most educational.

The voting link is here:

http://sf.demochoice.org/dcballot.php?poll=06gun04

It's an interesting instant runoff system with preference ranked voting (from 1-10 in this case). Everyone votes once, ranking candidates in their order of preference. There are a number of "rounds" of voting equal to the number of candidates who recieved a vote (and it automatically assigns preferences if you dont), and in each round, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and that candidates votes are redistributed to the rest of the candidates in proportion to their preference order and number of votes recieved. Then in the next round the next weakest is eliminated and their votes redistributed and so on.

It's an interesting system, and several countries use it or a variant of it, in their electoral system (including Ireland - which produces some odd results).

The biggest thing about isntant runoff, is that it allows third party (or 15th party) candidates a stronger position than they would otherwise have, because they will frequently be the second choice of a strong first party supporter, while they rank their direct opposition party last.

This tends to produce results with both more consensus candidates; and with more extreme ones. Basically it punishes extreme partisanship, and encourages side parties.

In this context, and looking at the voting, I appear to be most folks first or second choice, as is Mr. Completely. Unfortunately for me, he seems to be more folks first choice than I do; or at least he is higher in more folks rankings than I am.

So get out there and vote early, vote often etc... (actually you can vote once per day), and if I'm not your first choice, at least put me in second hey? And Mr. Completely in last ;-)

Posted by cbyrne at 10:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 30, 2006

A funny thing happened on the way to the TV

So I'm getting ready to make dinner, and one of my favorite '80s teen romps comes on, Summer School. It's a pretty baaaad movie, but there were some great moments, mostly provided by the dialogue of one Francis "Chainsaw" Gremp, A.K.A. Dean Cameron.

Actually the movie has quite a lot of actors who actually had carreers, like Mark Harmon, Courtney Thorne Smith, Patrick Labyorteaux, and the aforementioned Cameron.


So the funny thing is, Cameron is also a hardcore libertarian, and has spoken at the last two national conventions (not a Big "L" libertarian here, but it's better than being a liberal).

So anyway, I do my normal thing and browse through the bios of the actors on IMDB, and I notice this: "Is the inventor of the Bill of Rights: Security Edition cards"

Huh... think I need to check these out... So I hit the website and see these:

"What is the "Bill of Rights - Security Edition" ?

The Bill of Rights: The First Ten Amendments to the constitution of the United States printed on sturdy, pocket-sized, pieces of metal.

The next time you travel by air, take the Bill of Rights - Security Edition along with you. When asked to empty your pockets, proudly toss the Bill of Rights in the plastic bin.

You need to get used to offering up the bill of rights for inspection and government workers enforcing the USAPATRIOT ACT need to get used to deciding if you'll be allowed to keep the Bill of Rights with you when you travel. "


Flipping Brilliant!!!!

I bought the five pack, and I'm sending them to certain selected friends. Frequent travellers who can appreciate the sentiment, and dont mind pissing off the TSA.

Posted by cbyrne at 10:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Self Selection

Kim has an interesting post up today looking at Kevin Bakers crime stats post I linked to the other day, and talking about violence in society, immigration, and American culture.

I thought I'd put in my two cents here.

I grew up dead poor in a rich town, because we would rent a house from my grandfather who was quite well off. We always had enough to eat, and clean clothes; but other than that we were pretty well skint, until I was a teenager.

My mother would periodically get a new job or get into a new business and we'd move someplace where we werent getting a lower rent because of my grandfather. So when I was a kid, we moved around a lot, into some of the worst ghetto areas in this country because that is what my mother could afford on her own.

Thing is, we always moved back to that nice rich town after a year or so in each of those nastier places; because pride be damned, my mother wanted us to live in a safe place where we could get a half decent education

Since I’ve grown up, I’ve been rich, and I’ve been dead poor. I’ve lived in luxury homes and in my car. I’ve lived in the U.S. , Ireland, and for short periods of time (a few months) the U.K., Australia, Japan, and Russia. I’ve lived in good neighborhoods and bad; with all income levels, all social levels, all nationalities, and all races.

In all of this, one thing has been abundantly clear.

Almost all crime against strangers in a healthy society is commited by people who deliberately hold themselves apart from the productive mainstream of society.

In the western world it was once common for groups to be alienated from society by force through racism or other arbitrary prejudices; but in most places in the west these days institutional pervasive racism is not only absent but illegal (though personal racism will always remain). Most of what racism remains is because of toxic ignorance, tribalism, identity politics, or as a reaction to the self selected alienation by the groups I am speaking of.

Be they the chronic dolists (permanent welfare recipients for us Americans) , the “refugee community”, “travellers”, gypsies, gangs, punks, skinheads, or any other group; the people commiting the majority of crime in these societies are all self selected groups that refuse to integrate into society.

It doesn’t matter if you are black, white, yellow, red, or puce; pervasive violent crime against strangers is a symptom of alienation from society; whether it be from racism, tribalism, other self-selection into an alienated sub-culture (tribalism is a form of it), or sociopathy.

The mainstream “black culture” in America is one of these self-selected, alienated subcultures.

“Self selected you say? But they’re born black, how can that be self selection?”

Because in this country, your position in society is not determined by your birth, your race, your looks, or any other arbitrary factor; but by your work, your intelligence, and your drive.

Yes, it is HARDER for you to succeed depending on your circumstances at birth, but since when was something being hard and excuse for failure…

Oh wait, that’s right, we’ve made it not just an excuse, but a completely valid reason. Just because it’s easier for a good looking kid born to rich white parents to get ahead than an ugly kid born to poor black parents; it’s OK to sit back and do nothing.

If you choose to participate in a destructive, nihilistic, and anarchistic sub-culture of disrespect, macho phony “honor”, hedonism, infantilist social oportunism, and predatory crime; well that’s your choice. Societies choice is - or should be - then to exclude, and eventually imprison you.

If a society does NOT exclude you for these behaviors, then that society will fail.

Posted by cbyrne at 12:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 29, 2006

One of the reasons I love TR

Even though he was an overly populist president, he definitely had some clear and good ideas (and just as clear and bad ones, but hey). Look at this quote about imigration (from NoR reader 'TheRoyalFamily"):
"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American ... There can be no divided allegiance here.

Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile ... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language ... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

That's jsut about exactly how I, and I would suspect most folks reading this, feel on the subject.

Posted by cbyrne at 02:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 28, 2006

20 Years, in 73 seconds.

I was one of the schoolchildren that NASA had arranged to watch the challenger launch. I remember sitting there in science class, greay haried and floral printed Mrs. Burke and the kids I'd been with since kindergarten all around me.

It seemed like it took forever for the conutdown, and then the engines, and the steam and smoke and it took FOOOOREVER for it to lift off; but there it went.

73 seconds...

When you're a little kid, 73 seconds seems like an awful long time.

Most of the kids were already starting to turn away, bored, but I was still watching; and so was Mrs. Burke.

73 seconds...

I don't remember seeing the explosion honestly. I know I was watching, I know I saw it, I remember the emotions.. confusion, anger, fear, sorrow, more confusion... but I don't remember seeing the explosion.

What I remember most is Mrs. Burke gasping, and crying. I'd never seen a grownup outside of my own family cry in public before. and in the halls you could hear the sound of more crying. More grownups crying.

We were all sent home that day. Everyones faces looked wrong. Everyone knew that those people had died; but bigger than that, something great had been wounded badly that day.

We hadn't had an accident that serious since Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee died in the Apollo 1 fire.

Funny thing though, Gus had a thought about accidents and the like:

If we die, we want people to accept it. We are in a risky business and we hope that if anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life.

--Virgil I. Grissom, after the Gemini 3 mission, March 1965

And so here we are 20 year later, and we have progressed no father; in large part because of the shuttle program (which I would consider a failure, but a necessary one) holding us back.

I can't say anything better than what Gus did (oh and I should note, though I loved the movie "The Right Stuff" it did a great disservice to Grissom).

14 men and women have died in the shuttles, and yet, their death has accomplished so little. We are still stuck on the outside, looking in, and so long as we depend on NASA, or any other government agency to lift us up off this rock, we will be.

It is our entrepeneurs, and or engineers who are our tru stargazers, and they will be the way to the future.

Posted by cbyrne at 08:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 27, 2006

I was just waitin for it

In the post Hallelujah, praise the lord, and pass the ammunition I wrote the following:
From Global Security:
"The US Special Operations Command [USSOCOM] issued a solicitation in August 2005 to obtain commercially available non-developmental item (NDI) Joint Combat Pistol (JCP) system, Caliber .45 (ACP). The Program (which absorbed an earlier Future Handgun System program) will use full and open competition to fulfill the JCP requirement. The JCP will be delivered in accordance with specification entitled "Performance Specification Joint Combat Pistol" to be provided with issuance of the solicitation. Two configurations of the pistol will be required. One configuration will have no external safety and the other configuration will have an external safety.

The Combat Pistol System consists of: a Caliber .45 pistol and its ancillary equipment including: Magazines (standard and high-capacity); Suppressor Attachment Kit for operation of the pistol with and without sound suppressor; Holster; Magazine Holder (standard and high-capacity); Cleaning Kit; and Operator's Manual..."

I've been saying this was coing for a while now, first it goes to SOCOM, then we may see general issue. The Contractor grapevine has been buzzing that the RFP was written just for HK to get the bid, but we'll see.

... snip ...

Then theres this:


"The JCP shall have a standard magazine capacity of no less than eight [8] rounds (T), greater than eight [8] rounds (O) of .45 ACP ammunition. The JCP shall also have a high-capacity magazine of no less than ten [10] rounds (T), fifteen [15] rounds (O), of .45 ACP ammunition."
Hmmmm... somebody is either thinking HKP2000/USP Compact, a SIG P220, or a 1911...

and these two narrow it down further:

"The JCP length, with standard barrel, shall be less than 9.65 inches (T). The JCP width shall be less than 1.53 inches (T).

The JCP shall function in double action/single action (DA/SA) or double-action only (DAO) including Striker-Fired Action (SFA) (T). The JCP should have a modular action mechanism that allows reconfiguration at the unit level without modification to the weapon’s major assemblies (O).

All DA/SA pistols shall have a consistent trigger pull of eight to ten [8-10] pounds on Double Action, and a consistent trigger pull of four to six [4-6] pounds on Single Action and all DAO pistols shall have a trigger pull of five to eight [5-8] pounds (T). All pistols shall have a trigger pull that is consistent within one [1] pound from average pull (T). When pressure is applied to the JCP trigger and then released, the trigger shall reset to its forward-most position, even if the pistol is not fired (T). The operator shall be capable of pulling the trigger, without shifting the firing grip."

Uhhh yep, looks like a SIG or an HK to me, and HK is "owed" a major military contract. Actually the more you read, the clearer it is that this was indeed written for HK to win.

Well it seems my prediction is going to come to pass, at least in part:

http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htweap/articles/20060127.aspx

U.S. Brings Back the .45

January 27, 2006: After two decades of use, the U.S. Department of Defense is getting rid of its Beretta M9 9mm pistol, and going back to the 11.4mm (.45 caliber) weapon. There have been constant complaints about the lesser (compared to the .45) hitting power of the 9mm. And in the last few years, SOCOM (Special Operations Command) and the marines have officially adopted .45 caliber pistols as “official alternatives” to the M9 Beretta. But now SOCOM has been given the task of finding a design that will be suitable as the JCP (Joint Combat Pistol). Various designs are being evaluated, but all must be .45 caliber and have a eight round magazine (at least), and high capacity mags holding up to 15. The new .45 will also have a rail up top for attachments, and be able to take a silencer. Length must be no more than 9.65 inches, and width no more than 1.53 inches.

The M1911 .45 caliber pistol that the 9mm Beretta replaced in 1985, was, as its nomenclature implied, an old design. There are several modern designs out there for .45 caliber pistols that are lighter, carry more ammo and are easier to maintain than the pre-World War I M1911 (which is actually about a century old, as a design). The Department of Defense plans to buy 645,000 JCPs. "

Well, the top rail is a universally stupid idea unless it's on a fixed barrel, with a low mass slide, or a bolt action system. I only know of one centerfire automatic pistol with that design that isn't a competition pistol, and that's the Desert Eagle; which is obviously not a consideration.

Oh and why a 15rd magazine? Servicemen with small hands ALREADY have a problem with the doublestack 9mm, a doublestack .45 is going to be that much worse.

There is NO reason to have either optics or a huge magazine on a military combat pistol. A pistol is NOT AN OFFENSIVE WEAPON. The SOLE purpose of a pistol in military service is to allow you to defend yourself until you can get to a real weapon, and preferably a radio.

Okay, end of rant.

Anyway, other than that, I see no reason to change my judgement that this RFP is written specifcally for HK. It also seems to me that the USP is still the most likely platform, even including the rail and 15rd mag.

Posted by cbyrne at 01:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Go, Read, Now

Kevin Baker posts probably the best breakdown of violent crime statistics I've seen anywhere:

http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2006/01/questions-from-audience.html

Posted by cbyrne at 10:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 26, 2006

A Computer that does what I want it to... is that too much to ask?

The eerie coincidences between Eric and myself continue...

So, I'm in the middle of re-installing windows on my primary working laptop.

After about six months since my last re-install, it's simply non functional; to the point where yesterday I had two crashes within minutes, and lost 5 days worth of work to file corruption (I had to restore to my last backup, from last thursday).

I was telling my boss (as in my actual boss inasmuch as I have one, being an independent contractor; he's the guy who holds my contract) this:

"I'm on my ninth reboot at this point, and I havent even finished installing all the drivers yet, never mind the hard part; the applications. The first thing I had to do was fix all the broken, stupid, or "easy to use" settings that makes XP so bad; then I need to isntall my most basic working utilities set; then my Microsoft applications. I've been working on this since 9am, and it's going to take me the rest of the day to get to a minimally usable state; and probably three days of non-productiveness before I get everything fixed.

I hate windows. I would use Linux for all my work if I could. It's not that I'm an OS zealot, I jsut want a system that does WHAT I WANT, not what it thinks I want based on it's almost always incorrect decision matrix etc... etc... I want it to do it reliably, and I want to be able to fix it when it breaks. Is that too much to ask?"

Wonder of wonders, while I'm waiting for the MS drivers to download I've got firefox open to my blog reads, and jsut as I turn back to the hell box, what do I see but this:
"If you want a computer that lets you surf the web and check email, then you probably don't need anything other than Windows. If you want a computer because you are a competitive gamer, then you probably haven't got much choice but to use Windows. But, if you are somewhere in between those two groups, which covers a whole bunch of us, then you might want to reconsider whether Microsoft is the right choice for you, because Microsoft's goals are not yours.

Your goal is likely to be a computer that does things you want it to do and does them well. The key is the computer does what you want it to do. So, thinking about all of that, it seems clear to me that the reasons I think *nix is superior to Windows are also the reasons I think that many computer users should learn how to use Linux and open source software...

...So, what's the point of this? Most Windows power users that I know spend a tremendous amount of time making their Windows installation do things that Microsoft doesn't intend for it. For example, when I get a new laptop at work (and I have to use XP on it, for a variety of reasons), the very first thing I do is undo as much of the dumbing down of the user interface as I can. I get rid of the simplified control panel, change my settings to the "classic windows" desktop and start menu, and so on. Then I install a bunch of open source software, including GIMP, OpenOffice, Firefox and Thunderbird. Then I boot up a Knoppix LiveCD and make sure I can use it on my laptop (in fact, I'm using Knoppix on my Dell Latitude D610 right now)."

Of course I saw this within minutes of stripping all the useless crap off of XP, installing GIMP, OpenOffice, Firefox, and Thunderbird.

Why do I run XP for my work PC, when my security work would be cleary better done with *nix (I'm a Kubuntu fan at the moment)?

There are exactly five reasons:

1. Groupware: The companies I contract with all use either Outlook or Notes for their scheduling,time tracking, task tracking etc... and the available open source clients have varying levels of non-functionality with these systems. This is non functionality I can't afford.

2. Microsoft Project: I HAVE to use it. I hate it. It's one of the worst project management programs that has ever been designed. EVERYONE USES IT; and worse, they make you use it.

3. Microsoft PowerPoint: Powepoint is actually a half decent app. There are open source solutions that work jsut as well, btu they don't always work the same way, with the same files; and again, this is incompatibility I can't afford

4. Microsoft Visio: Visio is THE standard for technical diagraming. Everyone uses it, everyone makes you use it; because again, there are non MS apps available (some of them MUCH better), but if I can't be 100% compatible with Visio, I have a MAJOR problem

5. Propietary remote access VPN tools: Much of my work is done remotely. Many companies have VPN infrastructure for remote users that REQUIRES propietary VPN clients. Hell most of the time these thigns barely even work with WINDOWS never mind anything else. Is it necessary that they be this way? Absolutely not. Are there functional open source alternatives, ABSOLUTELY, in fact they mostly work better. These programs are generally so bad, that installing two of them on the same PC will usually cause your networking to fail completely, and may jsut destroy your box utterly; requiring an excorcism and ritual cleansing.

SO WHY DO PEOPLE BUY THESE STUPID THINGS?

Because sales reps tell them to mostly. Or purchasing managers. Because they are included "free" with other products. Because the manager only wants to use a single vendor...

...because of Network Effects basically.

And it's not going to change any time soon; so we're all jsut going to have to suffer through re-installing windows every few months.

Posted by cbyrne at 02:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 25, 2006

How about a book

So I've had a few folks say I should take my writings below, fill in some missing pieces, copy edit, and collect them into a book. I could then do some on deman publishing or summat.

Whadya think? Worth doing?

Honestly I'm not so sure. I mean I know I can write well when I get around to it, and I can pretty easily edit and fill in my wirting below into a consistent theme (or set of themes), that being personal defense; and the individuals role in the national defense.

I'd also want to include some law (something I dont post much about) philosophy, tactics, more training recommendations etc...

Ehhh it might be worth it jsut for the personal satisfaction.

Posted by cbyrne at 11:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 24, 2006

Oh look, someone finally noticed

Posted by cbyrne at 05:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's too late,

But I saw this cartoon and had to put it up. Wilson Pickett died a few days ago, and I'm gonna cry

I've done Mustang sally in every rock, soul, blues... hell anything but folk and choir music; that I've ever sung.

If you need me, call my name and I'll be there. Wicked Wilson Pickett, rest in piece.

Posted by cbyrne at 04:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

1000 geeky words

Posted by cbyrne at 04:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 23, 2006

A Personal "Best of ME Symphony"

Well, countertop was tired of the various blogging awards not recognizing us gun bloggers; so he decided to make an award of his own; The Gunnies.

I've been nominated in the "Most Educational" category; and Kim has I think been nominated in every category except "best aggregator".

So go, vote, enjoy.

Oh and I did vote for myself first; because of the ones listed I really think I am the most educational for beginners and general gun lovers. If you're a gun builder however, Heads Bunker has me bitchslapped; so I put him second; and the RWVA has all the great "how to be a rifleman" stuff, so I put them third.

Theres only one thing with the RWVA, in that they aren't really a blog. What they call their blog is really more of a news and updates page, and so I don't think they should be eligible. That said, I HIGHLY recommend their site anyway, and if they WERE a real blog they'd have everyone elses ass kicked from here til tuesday.

The rest of the nominees are great, and most are regular reads; but other than me and Head, they dont tend to do the long in depth educational posting thing. Oh I am surprised at how many folks werent nominated that I was expecting would be however.

Not that I'm trying to pimp for an award. It's not like they matter; but they ARE fun, and they get people more exposure so thats a good thing.

Anyway, the whole point of this, is that it prompted me to update my link sidebar. It's been forever since I added anything; and I'm way behind. Also, my 1 year blogiversary is in three weeks, so it seemed like an appropriate time.

What I'm planning on doing is taking all of those educational posts I was nominated for and sticking them in under the "guns, grunts, and gear" section:


Serious Chamberings for Serious Business
Flashlights

Less Lethal
Mortars
The First Handgun
No Second Place Winner
Everything Old is New Again
The "Oh Shit" test of basic skills
Basic Ammo Questions - Part 1
IWB
What's Wrong with the 1911

So, you want to write about guns
Objects of Lust - Volume 1, Custom Auto Pistols
The Ultimate 1911
The SECOND Best .45 Auto
Building the "All-rounder"
Loooong Range Shooting
A Little More on the Logic of Chambering Selection
Magnum Opus
The Four Point Draw

Hard Parts
Good Triggers
Mixed Drill
The Golden Triangle
Why Bullpups are a Persistently BAD Idea
Enhanced Battle Rifle
Self Defense Stories
The Ultimate Road Trip - Part 1
Lies, Damned Lies, and Ballistics

The Right Weapon for the Job
Getting Down to Specifics
Why I Like the AR
The Myth of AR Unreliability
The Liability of Self Defense Gun Modification

Primers and Liability
How to Make a Glock not Suck
Framing the Issue
The Gift of a Knife


Oh and I'm thinking I need to add these posts to my various "best of" sections while I'm at it (these are the ones not specifically gun related). Oh and I'm thinkin I'll break out a new "rants" section in the best of me bit.

The 20 things I know about Kids
Right to Work
A Question from a Marine
Dominance and Submission
Shooting Cops
Authoritarian, Libertarian, Anarchist
It's NOT about Race - Part 1

It's NOT about Race - Part 2
Specialization is for Insects
Wal-Mart and the Free Market
At The Movies
Driving Through
Network Effects
Masada
Respect
Specious

In Memorian - The English Man
Who'da thunk it
Oral Sex, Pizza, and Documentation
Peer to Peer
Managing Cynicism
ANWR and the Automobile
Ignorant, Dumb, Stupid, Idiotic, Crazy, and Insane
Dumb Questions, and Ignorant Questions
Israel, Palestine, Terrorism, and Politics

Addiction and Manipulation
I don't really know what to say
Crime, Punishment, and Poverty
Expressions that Irritate Me
Going on the Pill
Anti-groupthink
Nothing More, Nothing Less
What are your useful skills?
Oaths

Fit, Fat, and Thermodynamics
Superiority Complex
Fusion, Will it EVER Happen?
Losing our Delusions

My Mothers Medical Saga

The REAL ER - Day 1
The REAL ER - Day 2
The REAL ER - Day 3
The REAL ER - She's Home

The REAL ER - Update
Back Again

I'mna put the whole stack of team infidel posts there under a separate heading as well.

Team Infidel
Team Infidel Rides Again (gun related)
This guy does HORRIBLE things to the Koran
Terminated
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So, that's my favorites list from the last year. If any of you have other favorites, let me know and I'll stick them on the side bar if I agree

Posted by cbyrne at 09:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 19, 2006

Another oh shit moment

My mother had another stroke on Tuesday.

She called me up this morning, AFTER she got home, and told me. Jesus christ; AFTER she got HOME. Of course my brother never bothered to call me.

They told her this time that it looks like the cancer has come back. It seems that she finally has the large, inoperable malignancy that they've all been worried about for years. She's going back for another MRI next week; but theres a lot of unexplained shadows; and the effects are exactly what they'd expect.

Worse, they actually KNOW she's had more aneurysms.

She's lost almost all her short term memory; she has a ten year memory hole (she doesn't remember her second marriage at all - which on balance isn't such a bad thing); her speech is seriously impaired, she's lost the ability to perform basic math, all control of her left hand, and most of her left leg...

As my regular readers know, she's been a pretty bad way for a long while; but now she's really getting ready for the end now. She's asked me to go through all her financials, insurance etc... and get things sorted.

So I brought Mel and the girls to meet her; and it was great. They all got on famously, my mom had some actual joy in her life for a few minutes. She loved the girls; she loved Mel. It was the happiest I've been in a hell of a long time.

Then of course my brother showed up.

Yeah that was fun.

Posted by cbyrne at 09:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's not about Race

A frequent canard of black activists, liberal advocates, "justice" advocates etc... is that there are "sentencing disparities between powder and crack cocaine"; followed of course by "Clearly because crack is seen as a black drug, these harsher sentences must be racially motivated".

It is repeated so often that even some responsible conservatives (and a LOT of libertarians)who really should know better, think there is something there.

Only it's not true. In fact it's not even the slightest bit true.

It's not about race; it's about power, and control.

It is all predicated on a technical detail, that isoften overlooked; and that most don't understand even if they see it.

See, most people think you should sentence people based on the amount of drugs they have or are trying to sell etc... Which makes sense to a degree. Most people further assume that this amount is based on the number of doses of the drug. This is just intuitive on most folks part; because they think of "one pill, one dose" etc...

Here's the problem though; in this country, drug related sentencing is generally calculated based on the weight of the drug INCLUDING THE CARRIER; not by the dose.

By that I mean, the actual active ingredient of the drug is generally only a small part of the weight they charge you on, because the weight of all the inactive ingredients is counted as well.

If I mixed 7 grams of cocaine into 1 oz of baking soda, 1 oz of milk sugar; I would be charged as if I had 63 grams of cocaine (which would be a minimum 10 year sentence); even though there is only 7 grams of actual cocaine there.

So why are sentences for crack "so much higher" in comparison to powder?

Crack actually contains a relatively small amount of cocaine by weight, vs. powder cocaine, and the sentencing laws ONLY CONSIDER WEIGHT.

A person with a gram of coke, has maybe 4-6 doses (less for a heavy user); and 1-2 grams would be a typical days usage for a habitual user; with up to about 5 grams for the most serious users (Richard Pryor level).

A person with a 1 gram dime rock of crack cocaine has only about 1/8th to 1/4 gram of actual cocaine in it (there isn't a lot of consistency in dosage). A crack user will go through anywhere from 5 nickle rocks (1/16th to 1/8th gram of coke) to 10 solid rocks (a $20 2 gram or so rock with between 1/4 and 1/2 gram of actual coke) in a day (from $25 to $200) depending on how much they can buy; and how much tolerance they have built up (10 solid rocks in a day would probably kill a new user)

Thats as little 5/16 of a gram of coke, to maybe 5 grams; about the same as a days use of powder cocaine; but the total weight is from 2.5 to 20 grams.

The sentence is calculated on the total weight, therefore one days worth of crack is counted as anywhere from 2.5-20 times as much drug as one days worth of powder.

And you are sentenced as if you have 2.5 to 20 times as much of the drug.

Of course this doesnt just apply to cocaine.

No-one ever talks about sentencing disparity in LSD, which typicaly has a dosage of less 25 to 50 micrograms, which is one 2000th of a gram in weight; but which is often absorbed into tablets or a piece of heavy paper that may weigh more than a gram.

This means that someone who has five doses of LSD in 1 gram tablets is charged as if they had several hundred, to several thousand doses.

There are dozens of hippies serving 25 to life in prison right now for selling as little as 5 doses of LSD to DEA and FBI agents.

Then theres MDMA, which has the same issue.

It's not about race; it's about inflating the numbers of the drug enforcement agencies; and inflating the records of district attorneys. It's about power, money, and control; pure and simple.

Update: Reader Pete Guither, who runs the site DrugWarRant.com has this to say

"Interesting, but that has nothing to do with the sentencing disparities that most people refer to in comparing crack and powder.

The mandatory minimum sentencing laws established by Congress in 1986 reflect the belief that crack is more harmful than powder cocaine and penalize crack defendants more harshly than powder cocaine defendants. Defendants convicted of selling 500 grams of powder cocaine or five grams of crack cocaine receive five-year sentences. For five kilos of powder cocaine and 50 grams of crack, the penalty is 10 years. Thus there is a 100:1 ratio.

Simple possession of any quantity of powder cocaine by first-time offenders is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by no more than one year in prison. Simple possession of crack cocaine is a felony, carrying a five-year mandatory sentence."

Yes, I'm aware of (and strongly disagree with) the mandatory minimum sentencing laws; and the ridiculous overcharging under federal guidlines for crack vs. powder cocaine, and the ridiculous rationale behind it.

I still maintain, this has nothing to do with race; it is merely an extension (to even more ridiculous heights) of my argument. All mandatory drug sentencing is a power grab by U.S. attorneys and federal law enforcement; combined with populist pandering by our elected officials to seem "Tough on Crime".

For them, it's not about race either, it's about votes. Whatever gets them votes is what they'll do; unless they think they can get away with something else of course.

Have I mentioned that I love my country, but hate and fear my government?

Posted by cbyrne at 09:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 18, 2006

PDA preferences

Ok, my venerable Palm Tungsten T3 is dying (it's hard resetting, corrupting files, and the battery may last 8 hours, it may loast 40 minutes), succumbing to mobile bit rot I suppose.

Anyway, I NEED my pda for work; it's such a part of what I do that I don't want to go without one. I hate WinCE/Windows Mobile, and I've been on the Palm platform since the Palm IIIc.

I'd also like something that can play MP3's so as not to have to haul around an MP3 player; which means I need decent storage capacity with it. I figure a gig is enough, and changeable cards are OK , so either a good sized internal hard drive, or SD cards are necessary.

Finally, I need a good color screen, good battery life, bluetooth, and WiFi.

Palm currently offers two models that meet these specs, the Life drive, for $449 ($399 street):


and the Palm TX for $299 (about $270 street):

The life drive has all of what I listed as requirements, plus a 4 gig hard drive, a faster processor, and comes with more free software than the TX. It's a bit thicker than the TX, a bit heavier, and a bit more fragile.

The TX is lighter, thinner, a bit tougher, and has more user accessible RAM, plus it's around $150 cheaper.

Of course once you add in the cost of 4 gigs worth of memory cards, (2 gig cards are running $125 these days) the TX is MORE expensive than the lifedrive.

As near as I can tell, those are the only technical differences, so the question here is, which is the better value, which is the better PDA, and what are the caveats from actual users and owners?

I hear the first production run of life drives had HUGE problems, but the recenct production ones are much better. That said, I've never even seen one in the real world; whereas I have seen a few folks with the Palm TX's.

Also isn't the lifedrive due for a model update/replacement? The TX is a pretty new model.

Anyone out there have anything to share?

Posted by cbyrne at 03:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Serious Chamberings, for Serious Purposes

So, once again, the question is asked "What caliber should my first defensive handgun be"...

Oh boy...

Since we aren't supposed to talk about politics and religion in polite company; that can be a difficult question to answer, but what the hell, I'll give it a shot...

Ooooh sorry about the bad pun, it was entirely unintentional.

Where to begin...

Well, basically you've got two categories of commonly commercially available defensive chamberings, one for revolvers, and one for auto pistols (with some limited crossover).

Theres a fair but limited selection of choices within those categories; each appropriate to a different situation, or a different weapon.

What are the factors to consider, leaving out the choice of a particular weapon?

1. Wounding capability: Tied for the most important factor in choosing a defensive caliber is it's wounding capability. The more effective the caliber, the better it is right? Well, yes, up to a point; because it has to be balanced with the other factors, or else we'd all be shooting 10mm and .44 magnum.

2. Shootability: The other half of the tie with wounding capability; if you can't shoot it well, it doesn't matter how good the chambering is at wounding. Misses don't count for half points when you are defending your life.

Some folks can eat the recoil of a .44 mganum or full power 10mm all day long; some have trouble with the 9mm. Also, some chamberings are inherently more or less accurate and precise than others.

Oh, and the next factor (packability) makes a big difference in shootability, so you need to take that into consideration as well when making your choices.

3. Packability: The size of the cartridge, and of the gun, effect how likely you are to have the weapon with you when you need it. Generally speaking, the bigger the cartridge, the bigger the gun; or the fewer rounds it can hold.

If your only defensive need is a bedside gun, than get the biggest thing you're comfortable with (both in caliber and in gun size), because it will be more effective, and probably shoot easier (the extra weight). If packability wernet a primary consideration, no-one would shoot anything smaller than .45acp. If on the other hand you are in Arizona in summer or carrying concealed to the beach... well lets just say Kel-Tec is successful for a reason.

4. Ease of acquisition: I'll say this right now, and a lot of folks may disagree with me (but most of them have their own reloading bench and know how to use it); if you can't buy at least one decent loading of the caliber at your local WalMart (assuming you live in a free state), you shouldn't consider that cartridge for a defensive weapon. By the same token if there arent at least a few guns in the chambering in your local gun store, I wouldn't even consider it.

Also, there have to be sufficient defensive loads available for the weapon so that you can find one it likes; and so that you have an option to buy it at all when it comes time. In a lot of less common calibers you will only find practice ammo (white box hardball and cheapo JHP)

For example, I think the .32 H&R magnum could be a great defensive cartridge; because it's relatively powerful but can be chambered in a remarkably small revolver (because it's a very long and skinny case). Unfortunately I wouldn't recommend it to anyone as their primary defensive choice; because you are going to have a hard time finding ANY ammo for it, never mind decent defensive ammo, at a local store.

5. Cost of ammunition: If ammo is cheap, you will practice more. If you practice more you will shoot better. Conversely if ammo is expensive, you will shoot less. WAY less. That is self evidently a bad thing.

So, given these factors, what chamberings do I think people should generally consider?


Defensive Auto-pistol Chamberings

.22 lr: There are a few things that make the .22lr a serious consideration
  • First of all it's tiny; in fact it's the smallest commonly available caliber (well, other than .22 short). That means you can have a very small gun that can tuck in almost anywhere, and still carry a lot of cartridges.
  • Second, it's VERY easy and fun to shoot. More fun, means more practice.
  • Third, it's very very CHEAP to shoot. Cheaper ammo means more practice
No, I'm not going to recommend this be your only defensive handgun chambering, but it's not something you should discount completely either. If nothing else it is absolutely the best practice weapon, and about the most fun. You learn more basic shooting technique firing 500rds of .22 than you do 50 rds of 9mm for the same price (yes, that's how cheap .22lr is).

The trick with using a .22 as a defensive chambering is this: Pick a gun with a big magazine, always have it with you, when you have to use it, empty it into the scumbags face from 5 feet away, then run as fast as you can.

.380ACP: Much like the .22, the .380 is small. It's not the smallest commonly available centerfire pistol round (that distinction falls to the .25acp - which is less powerful than the .22 magnum, and only slightly more powerful than the .22lr - don't even consider it), but it's the smallest round that has useful and effective defensive ammunition commonly available for it.

With modern bullet technology, in a high pressure loading, the .380 can be more effective than 9mm hardball, and almost as effective as 9mm hollowpoints (at least at short range anyway. The .380 is a 5-7 yard cartridge as far as I'm concerned).

As with the .22, being small means you can have a small pistol wrapped around it. My backup/pants pocket gun is a KelTec P3AT in .380, and it's smaller than my wallet (and weighs less). It goes into my pants in the morning, comes out when I get ready for bed; and I ALWAYS HAVE IT.

The most effective gun in the world is useless if you don't have it with you.

The downsides? Well .380 is less effective than just about every other centerfire chambering. Also, it can be a handful in most of the small guns chambered for it; especially since most of them are straight blowback designs.

Also, they are making 9mm pistols as small as most .380s these days (though generally not as small as the KelTec), so if you don't need a pants pocket gun, one of the ultra mini 9mm offerings may be a better choice. The Smallest Kahr 9mm is only slightly bigger than my Kel-Tec (about 1/2" taller, the same length, but twice the weight) and the new (and incredibly expensive and impossible to get) Rohrbaugh is almost the same size (1/4" taller, same length, and 50% heavier).

9x19: This is the "default" defensive choice for the majority of the worlds military forces, (including our own, for now), and the most common chambering of any certerfire handgun outside the U.S. (here it's .45acp, and 9mm is second).

The 9mm is a small, relatively high pressure, relatively high velocity loading. It's chambered in just about evrey size and weight of handgun from tiny pocket guns (like the Rohrbaugh), to full size 18 shot bullet hoses like the Glock 17.

9mm is generally considered the easiest "full power" cartridge to shoot, having mild recoil and report even in snappier loadings. In a full size pistol, the hottest 9mm loads are far easier to shoot than a compact .380 (and of course that fullsize pistol holds a lot of them).

With modern bullet technology the 9mm is a decent stopper; and is ideally matched to the more compact designs like the Kahr K9 that I carry regularly. I love the gun, and with the right +p hollowpoints I dont feel underarmed.

If you're going to go with a full sized gun however, you might as well step up to a more effective caliber. There's no reason to choose 18 rounds of 9mm over 16 rounds of .40S&W (or .357 sig) or 13 rounds of .45acp.

Also, it's important to note that the performance of 9mm's is predicated on a modern premium expanding bullet. If those are unavailable to you (if you're a soldier shooting at an organized enemy, or if you live in New Jersey for example) or if the bullets fail to expand (which happens a lot), that performance goes out the window, and the 9mm is not much more effective than the .380.

Oh and one of the biggest advantages of the 9mm is that it is the cheapest and most available centerfire chambering to shoot, because of the mass popularity of 9mm around the world. EVERY shop that sells centerfire pistol ammo, anywhere in the world, will have 9mm (this is not always the case with .45 outside the U.S.).


.357SIG: The .357 sig is an attempt to get .357 magnum ballistics into a medium sized auto-pistol frame; and it has been mostly successful at doing to. The .357sig takes a 9mm bullet (which can be the same size as the .38spl and .357 magnum bullets), and necks down a .40s&w case to hold it. Then they turn the pressure up; and in the top end loads, the chambering approaches the power of the .357 magnum, which is historically the most effective defensive pistol caliber in civilian use.

Sounds great, why isn't every gun made in .357 sig? Well, you are cramming a pretty hot round, into a medium sized gun, and that has some side effects:

  • It's VERY snappy. Some people have a problem with the recoil
  • It's VERY loud. Lots of powder, high pressure, high velocity, big muzzle blast etc...
  • It's a lot harder on guns than either the 9mm and the .40S&W
Generally speaking the guns that are chambered in .357sig are converted from designs intended to fire the .40S&W, a much lower pressure round. In many cases those .40s&w guns were just scaled up 9mms to begin with. So yes, some guns have a problem with the SIG.

Personally I LIKE the recoil of the .357SIG, because it's a fast recoiling round, which allows for a faster recovery for follow on shots; and also allows for better doubletaps.

Also, I don't buy low quality guns, or poorly designed ones. If you stick with new production SIG, Glock, HK, Springfield, Beretta, and Taurus; you shouldn't have any kind of problem there. You MIGHT be a bit wary about used guns in this chambering though.

The biggest disadvantage to the round as I see it, is that the .357sig isn't as widely available as the other chamberings listed here, and is generally a LOT more expensive.

.40 S&W: The .40 S&w was an outgrowth of the 10mm cartridge. When the 10mm was initially developed as a combat round for the FBI, many agents found that it had more recoil than they wanted to handle on a regular basis. Also, the armorers found that it was harder on their chosen guns (the first generation of S&W's 1006) than they wanted. The FBI then requested that a less powerful loading of the 10mm be developed for general duty use.

Well, S&W, Remington, Winchester, and Norma all noticed that they could shorten the case quite a bit, and still give the same performance of the reduced power 10mm load; in a smaller and lighter pistol, at lower cost.

If that seems like a pretty good idea, it is. The .40s&w has taken off like a rocket, and is now the second most popular chambering for police agencies behind the 9mm. Correspondigly, it is also very popular with defensive pistol shooters; because it offers a very good balance between power, control, and overall size.

The .40 can be fit into pistols that are designed for the size of the 9mm, if they are just a bit overbuilt (like Glocks and Kahrs), or with a little internal re-inforcement; but it gives you a significantly more powerful, and more effective cartridge. Better, you generally only lose a single round capacity (sometimes two) moving from the 9mm to .40.

The only major issue that .40 seems to have is that some pistols that were scaled up from 9mm weren't properly strengthened for the higher pressures (the same problem 10mm and .357SIG have, but to a lesser degree).

A minor issue is that .40s&w isn't as inherently accurate as 9mm, 10mm, or .45acp; but at defensive ranges this doesnt make much difference.

Also, the anti-Glockers will get bitchy if I don't mention this, but some have found that Glocks .40 chambers are a bit too loose, and contribute to case head separation or case splitting in +p rounds, or in reloaded rounds. This can cause your pistol to go Kaboom! which is of course a very bad thing; but I don't think the problem is unique to Glock, and it is almost always overstated by the anti-Glock folks.


10mm: The 10mm was originally developed as a high end combat and competition pistol round, to rival the medium magnum revolver chamberings in an auto pistol.

Full power 10mm is roughly comparable in energy to the .41 magnum (which is roughly the same size); and has proven to be a very effective wounding round. In fact it is powerful enough to take medium to large deer.

Of course that power comes at a price. The FBI's complaints about the 10mm were overblown, but there IS an issue with a lot of users, and a lot of guns. The 10mm is a handful, especially if you prefer "slow push" type recoil. The 10mm's recoil signature is very snappy, and very fast.

Which of course means I love it. I can recover very rapidly with the 10mm, and drill two very tightly spaced and very destructive holes in my target very quickly.

The other contention... well there's no way around that. The 10mm is HARD on guns. Other than the Glock 20, which is one of the toughest handguns ever built, just about every 10mm autopistol will eventually crack, and long before the same pistol would in other chamberings.

The slide velocities and momentum generated tend to just batter the heck out of the guns, generally necessitating some kind of recoil buffering mechanism to ensure the pistol doesn't crack into peices prematurely.

In particular, 1911 based 10mm designs seem to have the worst difficulties. I don't know if that's just because they are the most common 10mm platforms; or if it is something in the design interacting with the cartridge (I suspect it's some of both); but EVERY 10mm 1911 I've ever seen, shot etc... will fail a hell of a lot sooner than the same weapon in .45acp or even .45 super.

There is one more issue; the 10mm is EXPENSIVE. In fact it's generally about TWICE the cost of the next major caliber, the .45acp. Again that means less shooting, and less shooting is bad.

.45acp (and super): The .45acp is the most popular centerfire handgun cartridge in the United states, and the second most popular world wide. There are more guns chambered in .45 here in the U.S. than any other centerfire caliber, and I suspect more than all of the other chamberings combined (with the exception of 9mm).

There's three reasons for that.

1. Tradition
2. The 1911 auto pistol
3. Because it really is just that good

To my mind, the only better defensive auto pistol chambering than the .45 (even including .45 super) is the 10mm; and the 10 has a lot of issues that the .45 does not.

The .45 is a relatively mild recoiling cartrdige; with a high overall recoil energy in comparison to smaller calibers, but a far less sharp, and more diffused "slow push" impulse; that makes the .45 easier to shoot for many, than other chamberings of comparable energy and wounding potential.

It's a relatively heavy (almost twice the weight of a 9mm), relatively slow (30% or more slower than the 9mm), and very big around bullet (about 40% larger diameter than the 9mm). Basically it makes big holes, and doesn't beat up your hand, or the gun, to do so.

Because the .45 is relatively mild, it can also be chambered and handled in guns smaller than the 10mm can be; and in fact not much larger than the .40S&W. For example, I personally carry a Glock 36 frequently. The G36 is the smallest .45 pistol that I'd want to shoot with any regularity, and it can be a handful with +p loads. It's a bit chunky, but VERY compact, and with a finger grip extension (I have very big hands) it's not too bad to handle. Shooting it with standard pressure loads is comparable to shooting my KelTec with the high pressure Winchesters. This is appropriate because both guns share the same philosophy: put the most destructive power in the smallest possible package.

The .45acp is available in a wide variety of loadings, from the marginally powerful reduced recoil rounds (650-850fps at 185-230 grains), to standard hardball (230gr at 850fps), all the way up to +p+ defensive screamers (up to 1150fps at 200gr). Additionally, many .45acp guns can also chamber the .45 super, which is dimensionally identical to the acp, but uses a different case, and is loaded to a MUCH higher pressure, velocity, and energy (200gr at up to 1350fps for example).

Unlike the 9mm, which depends on expanding hollowpoint ammunition for it's effectivenes, .45 is reasonably effective in hardball loadings. Not that those would be my choice, but if you are loading hollowpoints and they fail; the unexpanded .45 is going to be almost as big as a fully expanded 9mm; and generate wounds accordingly. When the hollowpoints perform as designed, that hole is obviosly a hell of a lot bigger.

The .45 is also a relatively inexpensive round. Though certainly much more expensive than .9mm, it is generally less expensive than the other centerfire choices listed here. Less expensive, more shooting, good thing etc...

Finally, this isn't related directly to the cartridge itself; but the pistol design most strongly associated with .45acp is the 1911, a pistol that most expert handgunners regard as the best autopistol design of all time (though certainly not without it's flaws). Even the ones that do not, respect it for the excellent weapon that it is.

The only bad thing about the .45, other than some folks not liking the recoil (this is usually a psychological "it's big and scary" issue, but some folks jsut dont like the "big slow push" of the .45 and prefer lighter and snappier), is that it IS a big, and heavy round. That means pistols designed for it, no matter how tightly shrunk, will always be larger than most of the other cartridges mentioned here.

Auto-pistol Reccomendations:

I'll say it right now, I almost always recommend the .45 acp as the proper primary defensive autopistol cartridge, whether you are beginner or expert. It is the perfect balance of power and control; it's cheap, it's available everywhere, and there are any number of excellent gun choices for it.

As a beginner, the only time I'd recommend something else, is if you can't handle the recoil of the .45 (go to a 9mm), or if you can't conceal a pistol that you are comfortable shooting in .45.

That last one is why I have my Kahr (9mm), and my Kel-Tec( .380), because even a big guy like me needs a smaller gun for lighter clothes. My G36 is pretty small, but it's still too bulky to wear without a covering garment. I can carry the Kahr K9 (and if I had the K40 it's the same size) with a bloused shirt and have it be near invisible; and the KelTec in my back pocket.

And of course, there's always the 1911. I have a couple, I love them. My personal preference is the commander size, which I have no problem concealing with a covering garment, and which balances for me better than almost any other handgun. Lots of people love them, have no problem carrying them etc... but lots of other people DO have a problem carrying them.

For beginners who don't want a .45 for whatever reason (and there are certainly valid reasons no matter what .45 bigots say), I usually recommend they go down to the .40. There are plenty of excellent pistols available in this chambering, in every size from ultra compact to full size. Bascially every design made in 9mm, except the very smallest and lightes, and some of the cheapest; is made in .40.

Now, if you are an expert shooter, then I can't recommend the 10mm, and the .357SIG highly enough. I'm not saying I recommend them over the .45; but I'll put the 10mm right there, and the .357sig only slightly below (it would be my choice for anything smaller than .45).

In particular, the .357 sig in the SIG 229 (or a similar sized pistol from Glock or HK whcih may be jsut as good) is one of the finest and most effective ways of defending yourself I have ever owned; and I recommend it unreservedly.

I don't have a particular 10mm recommendation, because unfortunately so many 10mm pistols have had so many problems. A good custom 1911 or a glock 20 are about the best ways to go, and both are excellent pistols; but it's just something you have to try for yourself. I know one guy who swears by his Glock 29, but I'm not sure I'd want to shoot full bore 10mm through somethign so small, and if you arent going to the full bore, why not just shoot .45 (thus my G36, which is 1/4" taller, but 1/4" thinner and 6oz lighter - though it only holds six to the 10mms ten)

Oh and the 10mm and .357 sig both have one slight advantage over the 45acp (though the super can have the same advantage). They both penetrate soft and medium cover (including soft body armor at close range shooting hardball) very well. The slower moving, wider .45 is more likely to slow down or flatten out. Of course that also means the 10 and SIG are more likely to overpenetrate; but there aint no such thing as a free lunch.


Defensive Revolver Chamberings

.22lr: All of the same arguments apply here as with autopistols; except that you usually have a somewhat reduced capacity, in exchange for even smaller size with a .22 revolver. For example, North American Arms line of mini-revolvers is so small, you can wear them as jewlery, conceal them in a cell phone case etc...

.22 magnum: The .22 magnum is actually only slightly less effective as a defensive cartridge than the .380 acp; and is far more effective than the .25acp.

Generally regarded as a small game or small varmint round for rifles; in a mini revolver it can be a useful defensive round. Even better, they are only jsut a little bit bigger than a .22lr revolver. In fact, many of the small revolvers (again like the NAAs) have interchangeable cylinders for .22 magnum and .22lr.

Unfortunately it's not generally available in small autopistols, because it's a much higher pressure round that doesn't cycle well in the straight blowback actions used by most .22lr auto pistols. This means that a pistol manufacture would need to make a new, stronger, and more expensive to produce design, jsut for a pistol that will almost certainly be less popular than the .22lr option... well lets just say it's obvious why most manufacturers don't bother.

That's ok, it jsut leaves more .22mag for revolver shooters.

Oh and as a bonus, .22 magnum (also called .22wmr) is still cheaper than most centerfire ammunition as well; though not as cheap as .22lr.

.38spl: .38 special is the oldest defensive centerfire cartridge (the .22lr is even older) we're considering; being an outgrowth of a blackpowder pistol cartidge from 1884. The .45lc is older, dating to 1873, but it wasn't loaded in it's modern form until the 'teens; and the modern .38spl cartidge dates from 1902. The .38spl really came into it's own however after WW1; when it became the dominant chambering for police issue revolvers.

The .38spl is a long, medium bore, low pressure round; and delivers a light-medium weight bullet at low velocity. As such, it's extremely pleasant and comfortable to shoot; even in some of the smallest revolvers.

It's also available in a VERY wide variety of loadings, from cowboy loads that recoil barely more than a .22 in a full sized revolver, and are less powerful than a .380acp; all the way up to +p+ defensive loads that are more effective than most 9mm loadings.

.38spl has the additional advantage that a gun chambered in .357 magnum, can fire the .38spl; because the magnum is just a stretched and uploaded .38 (the reverse is not true).

Given this, my general recommendation to beginning defensive handgunners is that they purchase a .357 magnum chambered pistol, and shoot mostly .38spl through it.

One more thing, .38spl is CHEAP. It's the only other centerfire caliber that can be as cheap (and in some cases even chaper, though that's rare) as 9mm.

.357 magnum: As mentioned above, the .357 magnum is an outgrowth (literally, it's about 1/5" longer) of the .38spl.

.357 is historically the most effective defensive cartridge in civilian use. It seems to be the sweet spot between usable power, and overpenetration. By this I mean that it's the most powerful chambering that will generally fully expend it's energy in the intended target without overpenetration (though the 10mm is a bit more powerful, and only very slightly more likely to overpenetrate).

Also as mentioned above, guns chambered in .357 magnum can also shoot .38spl, which cannot be overstated as an advantage. .357 magnum ammo is fairly expensive, but .38spl is dirt cheap.

The .357 is chambered in a wide variety of guns, from the ultra small (10 oz) 5 shot S&W scandiums, compact 5-shots like the SP101, medium frame 6-shots from every manufacturer, all the way up to the 8 shot large frames from S&W, Taurus, and others. You will always be spoiled for choice with the .357

The same applies for loadings. The .357 magnum is probably supplied with more effective defensive loadings than any other caliber, and in this I include 9mm and .45acp; because there are a lot of hunting loads that also make excellent defensive loads.

Basically there are only two disadvantages to the .357. One, it is a serious magnum pistol round, which means it's a fairly hard recoiling round. In the smaller pistols it can be quite unpleasant to shoot. This however is offset by the ability to fire .38spl through it. Two, .357 ammo is NOT CHEAP; but again, that is offset by .38spl.

Honestly, the .357 is just about the best defensive chambering there is; and I'd say it absolutely is the best in revolvers (the 10mm is slightly more effective, but also has alot more disadvantages). There are certainly more damaging calibers, but none have the balance of benefits with the lack of drawbacks of the .357, revolver or auto pistol

10mm: There are a number of revolvers available chambered for the 10mm; and they have all the benefits and drawbacks of the 10mm in auto pistols but for one. The 10mm revolvers are stronger than hell, and there is no need to worry about the gun dying a premature death.

Oh, and some find that 10mm's recoil is more manageable in the revolvers chambered for it. That also means you can use more powerful loadings of it should you so desire, without as much difficulty in handling.


.44 magnum (and spl) : Great round. Love it. Very Powerful. Great guns chambered for it...

Don't bother unless you are an expert, or a handgun hunter. Gun shops used to be full of used .44 mganums that were shot once and then sold because the owner didn't know what they were getting into.

We call it the "Dirty Harry" effect.

Oh and the reason I say "used to be full of"? Because after a while, the gun makers made a hell of a lot less of them; because folks just weren't buying all that many new ones. As cool and as great as they are, they are a very specialized weapon, with a fairly limited audience; and that audience has been very well supplied with used models fired once and then sold.

The .44 magnum is a chambering that should only be selected for defensive purposes by handloaders, who can download the cartridge to more appropriate power levels; or wilderness hikers who need the protection from dangerous animals.

Because of it's size and power it is generally only chambered in large, heavy guns; and the few exceptions are so violent to shoot that they are 100% experts only weapons.

The one mitigation to this is that guns chambered for the .44 magnum can load the .44 special (again, as with .38spl the reverse is not true); which is chambered in a number of nice medium framed five shot revolvers. It is an EXCELLENT defensive round, and is not much more difficult to handle than a +p .45acp.

That said, both .44 magnum, and .44spl are ridiculously expensive; the only way they are affordable to shoot is if you hand load.

.45 acp: As with the 10mm, there are several revolvers chambered to accept .45acp. This has all the attendant advantages of the .45 as described above; and really no disadvantage; at least in the available large frame revolvers.

The recoil of +p+ .45acp through a 4" S&W 625 (which I keep as my bedside gun) is as mild as standard pressure .45 through my commander (though the muzzle blast is impressive). Even .45 super loads (which the 625 is more than strong enough for) are relatively mild.

.45lc (and .454 casull): .45 colt, also called .45lc is a very effective cartridge. It is the cartirdge that most people associate with the old west, but since the 1870s it has been modernized significantly (around the WW1 timeframe it was completely converted to modern smokeless powder loadings) ; and is now one of the most effective handgun rounds available.

It's available in loads from just above .38spl power levels (cowboy .45lc loads); all the way up to massive hunting rounds, really designed to be fired from rifles. In that range are some remarkably effective defensive loadings, with a huge variety of different bullet types and designs (the .45lc is a relaoders dream in terms of options).

With Taurus chambering some gorgeous light weight mid-sized titanum revolvers in .45lc, this cartridge is a very serious consideration for winter carry, open carry, wilderness carry etc... S&W is also producing on a limited basis it's 625 revolver in .45lc; and I can't tell you how much I want one.

The .45lc is also a reasonbly priced round; with bulk ammo available for quite a bit less than the price of .44 magnum; though of course much more expensive than .38spl. Defensive ammo can be expensive of course, but you arent going to be shooting all that much of it in comparison to the bulk practice loads.

The .454 casull is lengthened and strengthened .45lc; and it's my personal favorite big bore handgun cartridge; because it give you the option of one of the most powerful handgun rounds there is, but also lets you download to .45lc for practice and potentially carry.

The only problem is, most .454 guns are pretty heavy; and they need to be to handle the power of the cartridge. That said, if you live in bear country I can't imagine a better defensive revolver than the Ruger Alaskan. It may be a handful and a half, but when you need it, you REALLY need it.

Taurus is also producing some smaller .454 guns; and I expect other manufacturers will follow suit.

Revolver Reccomendations:


Well I really think that everyone who owns a handgun should have a medium frame .357 revolver (and a .22 practice pistol). Seriously, it should be a law that every homeowner is issued one of each along with their mortgage.

There is no better balance between capability, shootability, cost etc... than in the .357. The only downside being the medium and large frame revolvers that are more comfortable to shoot it in, aren't very packable. Of course for that we have the ultrasmall titanium pieces; but there is no doubt those are expert only guns.

As to the others, well they are all excellent choices; but I can't say as I'd recommend them as a first defensive handgun.

That said, honestly, I dont think any of the centerfires are a bad choice, except for the .44 magnum, which some folks love; but which is better suited to experts, and to handgun hunting.

The one caveat to that, is that even if you intend on shooting only .38spl, that you buy a gun chambered for .357 magnum. It will be stronger, and give you that extra option in case you ever need it.

Oh and I suppose I should mention the .41 magnum here - because if I don't the rabid partisans of the round will string me up; though I didn't in the listings above. It's an excellent defensive chambering; with loadings from the low 10mm range (.41 special), all the way up to the low .44 magnum range. The problem is, it's almost completely unavailable for anyone other than handloaders (who tend to love it with a passion, go figure); and it's only chambered in the same size guns as the .44 mag; with no particular advantage over it.

The 10mm... well as I said, I love the cartridge, but I don't see any particular advatage to it in a revolver over a .41 magnum or even a .44 special; except that it can be ammo compatible with your 10mm auto-pistol (and if you're lucky your 10mm carbine).

In the same vein, .45acp revolvers are a great thing. I love mine, I highly recommend them; the only issue is, you can get the more effective .45lc in a gun the same size (though again, if you have other guns in .45acp, the ammo commonality is great). The .45lc is only chambered in larger guns, but if you're going to keep it at home, or take it out in the woods with you; I think it's a near ideal choice.

Next holy war, which to choose revolver or autopistol....

UPDATE: The River Dog writes an excellent piece on first handgun selection to tie into this one. Oh and yes, as the man says, this article is a bit long (about 6000 words - it took me about 8 hours two write it), and can be a bit much to absorb all at once.

Posted by cbyrne at 12:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Love Monkey - A Thumbnail review

First thought: From the commercials I thought I was going to hate it. I actually kinda liked it.

Thumbnail:

Before you watch this show, go read Nick Hornbys "High Fidelity" or at the very least watch the far inferior (though still good) Cusack movie based on it.

Read or seen it now? Good.

Now take that, dial it back about 50%.

By this I mean pull out the dark sarcasm, obscure cultural references, depression, and obsession; and replace them with witty snarkiness, sardonic and self deprecating humor, quick snap oneliners, less obscure cultural references, and take monologue as dialogue device back about 50% . Take the characters we love to hate, and make them likable and quirky. Then push everyone about 50% higher on the economic scale, and move it to New York (with all the "inside NYC" that goes with that).

Yep, that's the show.

From my thumbnail you would think it would suck; but actually it's not bad. Decent comic acting, great prodcution values, good timing and rhythm... overall a decent show.

Will I watch it again? Sure, if I remember to bother. Still, it's a lot better than most mid-season replacement type shows.

Posted by cbyrne at 09:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Last nights menu

Just had to share last nights dinner menu.

We did 10oz filets, pan broiled in a little bacon grease; and a prosciutto chicken and parmagian tortellini pasta salad with diced cherry tomatos, cucumbers, and a bacon dressing (pan drippings, white whine - just to deglaze -, balsamic vinegar, crumbled smoked applewood bacon, cream, ground mustard, crushed black pepper).

Oh and a bit of turtle cake for dessert.

Posted by cbyrne at 09:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Unintended consequences

I LOVE this site http://www.turnleft.com/geo.html

Yes folks, it's a list of cities you may want to visit and live in; because liberals hate them.

Unfortunately the entry for Phoenix is way out of date; but hey, I like the idea anyway.

Oh and yes, obviously it was intended to be the opposite; but I say, USE the idiots efforts against themselves. It's the Jiu Jitsu way after all.

Posted by cbyrne at 12:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Point a gun at a cop, get shot. That's the way it is

A few days ago a kid decided to commit suicide by cop. He got what was either a pellet gun, or an airsoft gun (it's no clear from the stories), brings it to school and holds his classroom hostage with it.

The kid eventually deliberately corners himself in a bathroom, holds the gun to his neck, and says "I'm going to kill myself, or I'm going to die" then points the gun at a Sherrifs Deputy, who very rightly shoots him.

The next day there was grumbling in the Florida legislature that a law should be introduced making it a felony to disguise the bright orange markers used on toy guns (which is why I'm confused as to whether the pellet gun was an airsoft, or one of the various realistic simulation .177 or BB guns).

I don't know if the cartoon above is true; but honestly it would surprise me if it wasn't

Idiots
Here's the deal. Cops have three things on their mind when going into a situation like this, in order of priority.


1. STAY ALIVE

2. Make sure any bystanders get out ok

3. Resolve the situation, hopefully without the subject harming themselves

If you point a weapon, or anything that looks like a weapon; at a cop, or at ME for that matter; YOU WILL BE SHOT.

Take a look at this gun here, which is either the model he used, or something VERY similar:

Theres an unstable kid, he's got that in his hand, he's taken hostages, he says he wants to die. You're scared, you don't want to get hurt, you dont want the kid to hurt anyone else, or himself; then he does it; he points that thing at you.
What would you do?


There is no question, nor should there ever be any question; if you point that gun at someone who has a gun, you WILL BE SHOT.

This is one more reason why you should follow the four rules at all times, unless you are using a clearly marked demonstrator; even when you know the weapon is safe.

Now, becaues this kid couldn't deal with his frustrations (and believe me, I know how bad they can be); this officers life and career is certainly going to be severely disrupted for at least a year; and may possibly be ruined completely. Never mind his conscience after finding out it was just a pellet gun, or even worse, an airsoft gun.

Posted by cbyrne at 12:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 17, 2006

I actually own one very similar to this..

I even made a few of them for friends etc... I used to do some interesting wood, metal, and leather crafts, from armor to fetish gear.
You're a Braided Australian Cat. No nonsense, and you take no prisoners. Small children cry when they see you, and you like it like that. You're a Braided Australian Cat. No nonsense, and you take no prisoners. Small children cry when they see you, and you like it like that.


What Type of Flogger Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

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Think Maybe He's on to Something Here?

I really like Jeff Jacobys writing, and stuff like this is why:
Maybe fewer and fewer people want to call Massachusetts home not because of its oppressive winters but because of its oppressive and demoralizing political culture. In the state that produced Michael S. Dukakis and Sen. Kerry, the concerns of ordinary citizens are so often met with disdain, while the political class lets nothing get in the way of its own appetites and priorities. A state legislature that stays in session year-round? A supreme court that turns same-sex marriage into a constitutional right? Public ''authorities" that answer to no one? In most of America, no way. In Massachusetts, no problem.

On Beacon Hill last week, the big issue for Massachusetts lawmakers was whether tuition should be reduced for illegal aliens at the state's public colleges. On Capitol Hill, the senior senator from Massachusetts was busy implying that Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. is a racist and a liar. Is it such a stretch to imagine that an awful lot of Americans look at Massachusetts and think: How can people stand to live there? Or that a fair number of Massachusetts residents eventually decide that they can't stand to live here?

HT: Kim

Posted by cbyrne at 12:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Massachusetts isn't quite completely insane yet

Just mostly. Every once in a while the one party system democrats remember that if they do something, the populace won't vote for them; no matter HOW many patronage jobs they can bring back to their districts.

Check this lovely bit of prose from human events:

In addition to being perhaps the most liberal state in America, Massachusetts is occupied by a surprisingly large number of illegal aliens, who are every bit as vocal as their handlers have trained them to be.

And then there is the Massachusetts legislature to consider. Of the 160 state representatives, a whopping 20 are Republicans. Yup. You read that correctly. If you think a two-party system is frustrating, you should try dealing with a one party system. And just as one might expect of a system in which few representatives will ever face a viable challenger, the legislature of Massachusetts is not very responsive to the concerns of its voters.

So the only question was whether the bill would pass by a large enough margin to override a promised veto from Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, who functions as a sort of living insurance policy to keep the 87% Democrat legislature from entirely seceding from the United States and joining Communist Cuba.

For those opposed to the bill, the weeks before the vote were thus a little like the last moments before a car crash: you’ve obviously lost control of the car and now you just have to watch in slow motion to see exactly how hard you’re going to hit the tree.

Posted by cbyrne at 07:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 16, 2006

Google does MLK

I kinda dig that...

Actually, I'm not a big fan of MLK day. No doubt King was a great man, but I do somewhat object to him being elevated over so many of our founding fathers. It would seem to me that if we are going to have a national holiday named for a person, there are more important people than King.

How about we celebrate Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson individually rahter than just the generic "presidents day" (we USED to celebrate both Washington and Lincoln, but it was combined in '71. Oh and I should note, I don't care for Columbus day either; but that's another argument).

It seems to me that King was chosen to be the token representation of "black achievement" to make a holiday for; and I find that to be disrespectful of King, disrespectufl of the achievements he is supposed to represent, and disrespectful of all of us.

In particular, I find the notion of special holidays for black, white, woman, man, whatever, to be offensive. Black history monthshould be offensive to both blacks and whites as far as I'm concerned.

We take all of the legacy of civil rights, and we squeeze it down into one day? We take all the legacy and culture of the black man in america and squeeze it into one month?

There's somethign wrong there.

Remember King by his words, not by his observed birthday:

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free.

One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.

So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.

So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.

The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. we must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Posted by cbyrne at 03:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Flashlights

So theres an interesting flashlight thread going on over at Kims forums.

Now, I happen to have a lot of flashlights (something over a dozen), including seven MagLites; which is the brand most folks think of when they thing "good flashlight", and a few Brinkmans; probably the best of the low end brands. Oh and of course a few assorted random others.

On the MagLight side, I've got a 6D cell light, a 4d cell light, a 3C cell light, two AA mini MagLites, and two MagLight Solitaires (one on my keychain).

There are a LOT of accessories available for flashlights, from differnet switches and lenses , to different bulbs and batteries, to entire new lamp assemblies that can convert your standard light into something ultra bright, or that can run twice as long etc...

These accessories correct some of the flaws of various designs. For example, the biggest irritation with the MiniMagLite (other than it being slightly dim in comparison to other premium lights), is that it's switch is very inconvenient to operate with one hand, and hasa tendency to come on when it's in your bag. To turn the light on you actually rotate the head of the light.

Well to address the brightness, and the switch problem, I have the momentary endcap switch, and I’m running lithiums in it. I’m thinking about switching the head to one of the one watt LED’s available for it, because the standard wheatgrain bulbs just arent doing the job, and have shitty runtime to boot. Oh and one of the glass lenses as well. You wouldn't think the plastic lenses were all that bad, but the glass ones make a HUGE difference.

Of course at that point, is it really a MiniMagLite anymore? It's more of an al new flashlight with a minis tube in the middle of it.

I also have a SureFire A2 aviator, and an E1L outdoorsman.

The Aviator is a bloody great flashlight. It has two modes (momentary, and steady on), and two different light sources; either a 3 led cluster, or a very bright MA02 (50 lumens for about an hour, and then a steep falloff for another hour) type incandescent lamp. The LEDs are available in several colors (mine are red), and they run damn near forever (about 15 hours at full bright, and another 30 hours from 50-25%) on the two CR123A lithium batteries the light takes.

I love the light, it's a great light for a flight bag, or any kind of kit, or for being tacticool; but it's a bit bulky to ride in the jeans all day every day.

I bought the E1L because it was so small, yet so bright; and it’s great, but it’s actually too small. The head is actually larger than the body of the light, and so the light is unbalanced. The E2 uses the same head and tail, with a longer two bettery body, and I’m wondering if I can just buy the body as a spare part from SureFire.

Oh and I’m totally lusting after the SureFire U2, but it’s $300. A bit much for a pocket flashlight (though my aviator as almost $200 with tax)

Now, what is the appeal of a $200 A2, or a $100 E1; when you can buy a maglight for between $10 and $50?

With my E1L, which is less than 4” long, and weighs about 3oz, I can illuminate my entire field of view/work area for 60 minutes, at near daylight light levels, and 3 hours more at the same light level as a “normal” flashlight. It throws a useful beam out to about 25 yards; and a beam you can read a book by out to about 10.

That’s with one single CR123a battery, which cost about $1.50 in bulk packs (about twice as much as a D-cell in bulk), and which weigh less than a AA.

It takes a 4d cell MagLite, which is more than 14” long and weighs about 2 pounds, to do the same thing.

On the 2 cell version of the same SureFire I can do the same thing, a little bit brighter for twice as long; OR I can switch out to the 5 watt head, and be TWICE as bright for just as long.

There are two advantages for being twice as bright

1. You can blind someone if necessary
2. The light throws farther (and from farther away is wider) allowing you to usefully illuminate out further, and to light a wider working area by holding the light further away.

Oh and the two cell SureFire is 5 inches, and 3.5 ounces. The brightest standard MagLite (the 6D cell), which is only just about as bright as the SureFire, is almost 20” long, and weighs almost 3 lbs (note it's twice as bright with the higher power lamp assembly).

The only advantage to the Mag is that you’ll have from two to five times the useful illumination time from a single set of batteries (depending on the exact models and lamps you are comparing). Of course that single set of batteries takes up 12 times as much space, and about 24 times as much weight as the pair of CR123as in the SureFire.

Oh and you CAN get a double powered xenon lamp for the MagLite, that runs at full power for about half to 2/3 as long for the same set of batteries, but will urn at reduced power for much longer (about 12 hours). The MagLites are MUCH better with that lamp.

Personally, I always thought the 6D MagLite was more useful as an impact weapon than a lighting device.

Now, if you think I'm bad; there are some HARD CORE flashlight geeks out there. There's one particular guy who goes by the name of Mr. bulk; and this guy is the flashlight guru. He takes standard flashlights and modes them from here to tomorrow; as well as manufacturing his own line of superpremium lights.

Are they great lights? Hell yeah. But they may be jsut a bit too much flashlight geekery for me.

That said, I WOULD however love to modify my current MagLites. In particular, I love the lithiums in my mini Mag Lite, and I love the LED in my SureFire, so I'd like to convert my minis to LED. Also, I'd like to take my milti D cell models and replace the lamp assembelies with 3 or 5 watt LED lamps, and switch to rechargeable lithium batteries. They are expensive, but they don't outgas, they are more temperature stable (good thing for a car trunk in Arizona), and they don't have a memory effect.

Going to the lithiums and the LED bulbs will give me more light, greater run time, AND greater reliability. The only downside is, the batteries are about $5 a piece, and the LED's are about $30 for the 3 wattt, and $50 to $70 for the 5 watt (oh and they get hot as hell).

Oh, and I need to replace the MagLite Solitaires I've got with something brighter, and that doesn't go through batteries as badly (and yes you can do it), but is still approximately the same size (or smaller).

I don't care for those photon (or copies) Keychain lights, because they jsut have the bare LED with no lens assembly etc... and they arent very easy to aim or use. I

'm thinking one of the mini .5 watt LED lights that use stacked lithium hearing aid batteries is the way to go there; I just havent found one I like yet.

Heres a semi-random list of links to flashlight resources:

Flashlight Reviews

LED Flashlight lamps and glass lenses

CR123A Batteries in bulk

Mr Bulk's Flashlight MOD site

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January 15, 2006

Birthdays and Bastards

It was our older girls 4th birthday today. She spent most of the weekend with Grandma, then came home for her birthday dinner (home made macaroni and cheese, and nathans hot dogs - her favorite).

Unfortunately, it wasnt a happy day for her. In fact it's been a sad couple of weeks. See her biological father is a bit of a useless ass. He's supposed to call them every other day, but since they got back in mid December he's only called TWICE. We had to call HIM on christmas, and even then he wasn't there.

He didn't call today either.

We finally called him, just before her bed time. He talked to her for maybe three minutes. Then he asked to talk to Mel and layed some bullshit on her, trying to guilt her.

He swears up and down how much he loves his kids; how he's miserable that they're gone; how he can't live without them.

He's called twice in a month. He didn't call on Christmas, he didn't call on her birthday.

Rosie loves me. She gives me spontaneous hugs for no reason and crawls up to cuddle with me. She comes to me when she's hurt, or scared, or when she wants something done, or just to play. It's the sweetest thing in the whole world.

She wants me to be like her daddy, but she knows I'm not. She also feels guilty, because she loves me, AND her biological father, and she feels like she's betraying her real daddy; and so sometimes she won't hug me at all, and sometimes she says mean things to me, or throws things, or otherwise acts out.

All I can do is watch her go through the same hurt and disappointment I went through with my father (Hell I still am considering the old bastard never answers the phone or returns messages) and it just kills me.

Posted by cbyrne at 11:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 13, 2006

Brilliant!

Or at least, pretty damned funny in a cynical kind of way (and isn't that the best kind of way)...
"What I mean is, Americans don't generally take well to tyrants. We hate them so much, we'll travel thousands of miles overseas just to depose one or two of the nasty bastards. Can you imagine what we'd do if we ever got one here at home?

Give us a leftwing dictator, and soon enough every rightwing wacko would be up in the hills with his rifle collection and enough ammo to sink the Titanic. (Not that the Titanic needed any help sinking, but you get the idea.) If things got worse, it wouldn't take long before the wackos were joined by their center-right comrades. The only difference between them would be the price of their guns."

Hmm, well I know a few folks who think Henry Bowman is a piker, so yeah. 'cept I'm not a hard right winger by any stretch of the imagination, and I'd be one of the boys trying to get within 600 meters of our glorious leader in the first few days.

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January 12, 2006

Judging a man by his enemies, and his associates

So I'm looking through my logs, and theres another bunch of referrals from Patriotboy, referencing this comment:
"You've heard our dear leader previously refer to the "Axis of Evil." I have a group of conservative people who are more powerful than this pathetic Axis.

Without further ado, I introduce to you "The Arc of Stupidity."

Here are the four charter members:

Atlas Shrugs

http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/

Emperor Misha

http://www.nicedoggie.net

Anarchangel

http://anarchangel.blogspot.com/

Kim du Toit

http://www.theothersideofkim.com/index.php/tos/9012/

Check out anarchangel and Du Toit's brillant recent posts on how non-peniled people should stay at home and raise the kids. These guys make Aristotle and Plato look like Yogi fucking Berra.

Beware the power of the arc!!"

--Bart

I love it. Personally I'm proud to be included in the "Arc of Stupidity", I mean look at who I'd be associated with. I count Kim and Misha as friends, and I rather like some of what I've read at Atlas Shrugs. Patriotboy on the other hand...

Well lets jsut say I will never cease to be amazed by how so many nominally intelligent folks can be quite so stupid. I suspect deliberate idiocy and/or ignorance is involved, but I can't quite comprehend that.

I mean, how can anyone mis-read Kim and my paeans to loving family AND saving money doing it, as somehow saying that the "non-peniled" should be kept barefoot and pregnant? Not only that but how on earth could they be so insulting to Mel and Connie unless it was through deliberate stupidity.

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January 11, 2006

Tackling the Option

Warbs has a great post up on the option offense, spread offense, and the hybrid style coming into play these days:
The spread option is a whole new wrinkle on college football, and is effective if you have the following:

1. A quarterback with decent mobility who consistently reads the defensive players properly and makes the right decisions.
2. An elusive running back, able to make plays in the open field.
3. The ability to mix the pass in often enough to keep linebackers and defensive backs from leaving their pass coverage assignments to defend the run.

In football, the offense has the advantage of initiative, but usually the disadvantage of numbers and angles. To succeed, an offense has to not only execute plays well, but plays need to be designed to force defenses into making mistakes. The option is excellent at forcing defenses to make decisions, and once decisions are required, mistakes are inevitable. It is also designed so that when defended properly, it will still result in some positive yardage. The balance had swung to the defense, in that defenses were able to stop the option, not giving up yardage even when making slight mistakes in their defense. The spread changes that balance, by punishing those defenses for their mistakes, and slowing them down just enough when defending it well to gain positive yardage.

And NONE of this works, without excellent tackles, guards, and center.

I played three years of ball in Europe (Dublin Rebels - All Ireland and UK champion three years , all European Charleroi tropy winner three years), and in that time, as an excellent tackle (for that league - and the biggest tackle in the league at 6'2? and 325-345lbs) I broke defensive plays and opened offensive plays (along with my guards and center) as my stock in trade. Kill the linebackers, kill the d-ends, stop the penetration, force the play up five yards.

My most frequent error? I would move my defenders back a step too far and get called for ineligible downfield (and no, I wasn't leaving holes in protection; the center and guard would pull and sweep back to protect the pocket in a pass or to wedge the D line and short screen for the rush with backs and ends coming in as forward and side blockers)

As usual, the analysis of how the ball moves is spot on, but again as usual (with almost all football commentators), there is almost no reference to what allows those plays to occur at all; how the play gets protected, and the defense get’s broken.

Plays are not made by ball carriers alone. This is part of the glory of football. It's not chess with violence, as some have called it; It is far more complex, because EVERY piece on the field is in play at once.

Without pass protection where are you? (the New England Patriots in the early 90s)

Without run blocking where are you? (the New England Patriots in the early 90s)

To my mind the offensive tackle is the most underappreciated position in the game; and not just because I was one. You can see it in the offensive performance of teams when their starting tackles are injured (which if frequently, the tackle is among the most injured player in the game. They also tend to have the shortest pro careers). A major hole in the O line completely throws off the rhythm of the offense as a whole, and the QB in particular.

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My first major magazine link

Computerworld linked to Annoy, Abuse, Threaten, or Harrass today.

And I saw almost no increase in traffic.

Thus proving that no-one actually reads the main stream computer magazine web sites unless they are comparison shopping anymore.

Posted by cbyrne at 10:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 10, 2006

Wives and Mothers

Kim has started a series, prompted by a book reviewing American history and culture from the 30's onwards. The first post is titled "Wives and Mothers", and addresses the issue of the change of gender roles away from motherhood, and now it's recent swing back:
I think that women will rather prepare themselves for a career as family managers than as factory managers.

Events seem to support this suggestion. Where women have gone into the full-time workforce, they’ve had children later in life (and fewer children withal), and in some cases, not had children at all. It’s also not surprising, therefore, that the generational replacement rate has fallen massively in societies where women have discarded their traditional role and become career professionals.

But what I say doesn’t matter. The plain fact today is that young women are returning to their traditional role, despite all the propaganda to the contrary. (Yes, I know that college enrolment among women is higher than ever: but college, today, is really no more than an advanced high school in terms of education standards, so that’s not a real indicator.)

More to the point: I think that young women under the age of 20 today have seen the effects of what working full-time has done to their own mothers—and I believe that they’re going to reject that path in higher and higher numbers.

This has a great personal significance to me, first because my mother was one of the women greatly harmed by the womens "working revolution", and as my fiance and I are going through this right now.

My fiance has two little girls, 4 and 2, from a previous marriage. We plan on having at least one more, and maybe up to three more kids (five is about the max either of us would ever want to take on). We aren't going to limit our kids based on a desired lifestyle or expense limit, we're going to limit them based on how many we think we can take care of.

She was working two jobs (one full time weekdays, one part time weekends) before she met me, and was going to continue doing so with a low income childcare subsidy. Without the subsidy, the cost of childcare would have been between $300 and $400 per week, which incidentally was her approximate take home pay.

She was spending between $50 and $100 a week in gas getting back and forth to her two jobs, and another $50-100 on fast food lunches and dinners because of timing.

So it would actually COST us an extra $100 to $200 per week for her to work; over and above any salary or wage she made. Then we looked at the tax numbers, and it gets even worse.

We calculated that she would need to make almost $40,000 a year for us to break even on her working; at least as long as we have young kids.

Not only that, but the kids would suffer for it, both of our time and energy and stress level would suffer for it…

Just in general, EVERYTHING IS WORSE when she works; so long as the family has a husband (me) who can provide for us.

At one time, most people understood that having both parents working in a family with small children was something negative. It is only something to be done when absolutely necessary, because everyone is worse off in every way, except the extra money coming in to the household; and when you factor other things, often that extra money is an illusion.

We decided that she would stay home, and that I would be the primary source of income, at least until the kids are all in grade school. She’ll go back to college when the kids are out of the house, and then when they are a bit older, she’ll go back to work.

In order to do this and maintain our current lifestyle, I need to make about $60,000 a year; which given my profession and my experience etc… I have no problem doing. It just means that I can't afford to go a few months between contracts anymore, and that I really should get a job with benefits. I'm more than willing to do this for my family.

This is going to be better for her, for me, for the girls, for the family as a whole. She knows this, and it is very definitely what she wants to do…

...and yet…

She actually feels guilty over this.

I guess it comes back to the Steinems of this world, and the myth of having it all

Posted by cbyrne at 11:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Conversation of Questionable Content

I can just see this as a comic strip... say Questionable Content or Something Positive

Guy: I swear to you it's a conspiracy; it's trying to kill me.

Girl: It'll have to get through me first. No man who knows that much about oral sex should be allowed to die.

Now can't ya just see Aubrey or Dora saying that?

Posted by cbyrne at 10:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 09, 2006

Annoy, Abuse, Threaten or Harass

"Whoever...utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet... without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person...who receives the communications...shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."
My god, how will usenet or blogs function when everyone is in prison?

Yes folks, congress has tried to make being anonymously annoying on the internet illegal.

In particular, Arlen Specter (who seems to truly hate the internet and electronic world in general given other bullshit he has sponsored before) re-wrote the language and included it in the "Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005", a must pass bill that provided funding for the justice department to continue operating.

Specter is also one of the senators (along with Fritz Hollings) who keeps trying to insert broadcast flag, and other DRM or copyright legislation into unrelated bills etc...; thus my saying he must really hate the internet.

The gist of it is simple. They took an existing anti-telephone harassment law, and re-wrote it to cover the internet directly, without changing the wording

Except there's a problem with that, the internet and the telephone, while both networks; are entirely different in nature; and are not, and can not be subject to the same type of rules, regulations, or management paradigms.

Oh, and this is a problem in conception that business people have had for almost three decades now, so it's only fitting that lawmakers will catch up.

The telephone is a unicast medium. It involves a point to point communication that must be acknowledged or significant damage to ones life or business will result. The internet is a broadcast medium (with regards to communication of ideas or speach anyway).

Effectively the internet AS A WHOLE is a public space (with private spaces connected to it, and a huge number of idiots who don't seem to understand the difference); and annoying speach in public is generally allowed, so long as that speach is not disturgbing the peace.

Well, how is something disturbing the public peace if you have to open a door and walk into a room to hear it? No matter how load and annoying it is, the sound cant leave the room you have deliberately entered of your own choice.

Not only that, but ones own sites, whether they are publicly accessible or not, ARE EFFECTIVELY PRIVATE SPACES, and annoying speach is ALWAYS allowed in your private spaces; unless that annoyance becomes harrassment.

The fact is, you jsut can't make annoying speach a crime. If I were forcing you to listen to it; yeah that'd be a crime; but just posting annoying speach, or even sending annoying emails (though that is a much grayer area, especialy as regards inboxes and other explicit infospaces, expectation of privacy, and ownership of virtual spaces, but that's another discussion entirely) can never be a crime.

The good news is, there is no way this provision will stand. Case law is already against it, and the ACLU will do one of it's rare good deeds and make sure this gets challenged and struck down right away.

The congresscritters just better hope they made the damn thing severable or the supremes will have to invalidate the entire bill.

Posted by cbyrne at 03:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nawww, this has never actually happened

Posted by cbyrne at 02:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A little (lack of) Pressure

Conversation in early December:

Me: Honey, when you get the car washed, check the tires OK. I think They're a little low.
Her: Ok

Next day:

Me: Honey did you check the tires
Her: They were fine

Yesterday (January 9th):

Me: Honey, I'm gonna check the tires, I really think they're low.
Her: Ok
Me: Holy shit these are low! Remember when I said to check the tires because I thought they were low. They're supposed to all be at 40psi warm. They were at 29, 30, 31, and 32 respectively.

Her: Uhhhhhhhh oops. Sorry hon
Me: Well, that explains some of the squirminess and slight loss of mileage. We should see another mpg, maybe two, at full pressure.

So I pressured up the tires, and yeah, it was two MPG more, and proper road feel (though a somewhat harsher ride on an already tightly tuned suspension).

I've also instituted a maintenance and operations log. Any time one of us fills the gas, checks the oil, checks the tires etc.. the results get written into the log.

It's something I ALWAYS do for multi driver vehicles, but didnt bother with my car this time since I was the only driver, and it was my only car so I just remembered all that crap (and yes, I very distinctly remember the last pressure check, oil, my exact average fuel economy given driving conditions etc... Any experienced driver should).

Is it anal? A bit, but then you avoid issues like running around town with tires down 10psi; which reduces your fuel economy, and increases your chances of losing a tire if you hit a curb or pothole.

Posted by cbyrne at 11:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Eden on Education

Eden Gardner is an interesting lady, and this article in Reason (a magazine I frequently disagree with, but you have to read it frequently to disagree with it frequently; and it is worth doing so), has inspired her to share a personal story about friends making educational decisions for their child

Here's the 'graph that I like the most though:

"In Alice's world, K-12 education would be standardized on a federal level. All schools would teach exactly the same thing, with flexibility for some units about local history and issues, and all schools would be clean and safe, with devoted, brilliant, motivational teachers who are paid like rock stars. The happy, excited students would spend two years in required community service, then trounce off to affordable colleges where they could study Plato and Newton and Chaucer (preferably segregated by sex so as to not distract the young adults with sex when they should be learning). Then, they would proceed to grad school for professional training or be welcomed into high-paying jobs -- though not with greedy multinational corporations -- where their open and well-informed minds would quickly catch onto the skills required. It's like a freakin' science fiction novel and she thinks it's all possible if schools were simply given more money.

Allow me to pause for laughter."

This has fairly quickly become a major issue in my life, since I now have a four year old (actually her fourth birthday is next Sunday), who is, horror of horrors, pretty damned smart.

I think we all know how I feel about so called education for "the gifted" at this point, having been through the wringer myself and barely come out the other end sane and functional.

Worse, Arizona public schools, even in my high dollar neighborhood, are almost universally bad. In fact, in my estimation ALL public schools are universally bad; but Arizona schools are particularly bad, consistently ranking in the bottom ten in the nation.

So we're looking at options right now, and from our estimation we're looking at the following:

1. Private School: Not a lot of non-religious options, and expensive, but a decent education. We're seriously considering the local catholic schools, which accept non-catholics and have a non-proseletyzing educational policy. The Jesuits (now anyway) believe in educating everyone to think and reason and learn; and that if offered, the educated mind will come to faith on it's own.

2. Charter schools: Still stuck with the public education monstrosity, but at least we get a real choice of teachers, policies, and even curricula (here in AZ anyway). This I think is our most likely option.

3. Home Schooling: Mel is going to be staying home, so we would, but it's unlikely the custody situation (their dad is a Canadian) is going to allow anything non-government sanctioned; at least for now. In general I'm a big supporter of home schooling, basically because I don't think any public school, and most private schools, can properly educate anyone, except in how to be a socialist drone.

We've got a few months left to decide (actually depending on what we decide to do she could enter this september, or she may have to wait til next); and it is just kindegarten, but still...

Posted by cbyrne at 10:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 08, 2006

Dude, How'd he know?

Transmetropolitan

Your world is 64% Sophisticated, 53% Unconventional, and 79% Intense!

You, my friend, have one hell of a ride ahead of you. You've landed yourself in the futuristic earth of Transmetropolitan. The City is an... interesting place to live, full of opportunity and brutality, bliss and suffering, intelligence and depths of ignorance unimaginable. You'll only believe what you see, and you'll see things so weird, so incomprehensible, so fucked up that you'd probably go mad if you didn't so crave such things. But they'll all make their own sort of sense and fit in with the big, crazy picture. Want to try on a new body for a day, or a week? Want to drink and smoke and do drugs beyond your wildest dreams without any real negative effects (think "anti-cancer prescriptions")? Want to fight the establishment and find the Truth with only a weekly opinion column? Then you're in luck. Personally I recommend becoming a Foglet.


My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 63% on Sophisticated
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 76% on Unconventional
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 98% on Intense
Link: The Which Imaginary World Fits You Test written by Azurain on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Posted by cbyrne at 02:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ummm, yeah pretty much

Curvy and Naughty Raw score: 48% Big Breasts, 54% Big Ass, and 40% Cute!


Thanks for taking the T and A and C test! Based on your selections, the results are clear: you show an attraction to larger breasts, larger asses, and sexier composures than others who've taken the test.


Note that you like women overall curvier than average.


My third variable, "cuteness" is a mostly objective measure of how innocent a given model looked. It's determined by a combination of a lot of factors: lack of dark eye makeup, facial expression, posture, etc. If you scored high on that variable, you are either really nice OR you're into deflowering teens. If you scored low, you are attracted to raunchier, sexier, women. In your case, your lower than average score suggests you appreciate a sexier, naughtier look. Kudos!

Recommended Celebrities: Supermodel Laetitia Casta and Actress Angelina Jolie.



My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 50% on tit-size
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 65% on ass-size
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 9% on cuteness
Link: The Tits, Ass, and Cuteness Test written by chicken_pot_pie on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Posted by cbyrne at 01:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Only 81%

Master/Mistress You scored 81% Kinkiness!
Whether you are a top or bottom, you have Mastered the kink. Maybe a bit too much for most people. You know about everything I covered and much, much more. If you have a critique or would like to talk to me more about Fetish/BDSM/taboos, please feel free. Congratulations, you've peaked my interest.
My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 96% on Kinkiness
Link: The How Kinky Are You Really Test written by monkeyqueen9 on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Only 81%? I'm dissapointed... well the thig was a bit biased towards subs and women, and since I am the opposite of those two things I guess that skewed it.

Posted by cbyrne at 01:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 06, 2006

God Speed Gary

That is all
Posted by cbyrne at 12:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stupid, Evil, Tolerant, Necessary

One of the lefty trolls who's comments I have been deleting finally asked why I was deleting them. I directed him to the post above; and he responded with this:
"And I think you are a liar because anyone with the education and intellect that you claim most certainly wouldn't have done something so childish, moronic and insulting.

It wasn't a political statement. It was a public display of how shallow and foolish you and your buddies are.

Feel free to delete. You're still a fool."

Ahh that comment at least, though insulting, was not vulgar.

No Dan, I'm not lying, and I'm not evil, and I'm not stupid, I'm not ignorant, I'm not a racist, I'm not a nazi ... I could go on but I think you should get the point by now.

I disagree with you very strongly.

You see, smart people, nice people, good people, they disagree with you.

Smart, nice, and good people agree with you too, but I happen to think they are wrong. This does not make me ignorant, evil, or stupid.

I think that just about every political and economic idea you have is wrong (along with most of the social ideas, but not all).

That doesnt make me ignorant, evil, stupid... maybe it makes me a bit of an asshole, but I can live with that.

Why do you think we did it Dan?

Did you even read the page I wrote on why?

Did you even know about the false stories about the Koran being flushed down the toilet , or the riots that ACTUALLY KILLED PEOPLE because of them?

Or did you simply act like an ignorant, small minded, shallow, fool (using the words of commenters including yourself) and have an immediate, violent, unjustified, intolerant, bigoted, stupid emotional reaction... funny enough just like those muslim rioters.

I mean honestly, do you really think that those who disagree with you are automatically bad because they disagree with you?

Do you believe that we are all ignorant, misguided, stupid, or evil?

I mean we must have good reasons for what we do, what we believe in jsut as you do? Or are we all just stupid or evil?

I want to bring up two more comments; both well thought out, but again, I believe; thought out from incorrect first principles:


The Bible pisses all over itself. You gentlemen are proof of that.
-- Renard 01.05.06 - 12:14 am

I must apologize for what I just wrote. I was acting in blind a stupid anger and I realize upon looking at the rest of your site that my comment was based on stupid, broad incorrect generalizations.

Please accept my apology, but please also realize that even though I am in no way a fan of Islam (quite the contrary, I am very much against almost all religions) your videos and comments were very offensive and "rednecky" in that they made it seem very much like you share the view of all Arabs being terrorists.

I also find it strange and sad that a lover of reading, as you describe yourself elsewhere on your site, would approve of book burning, a time honored tradition of fascists and close minded extremists.
-- Renazzle 01.05.06 - 12:57 am

This commenter, who I suspect I would like if given the chance, had the same initial reaction that Dan did, then he thought about it, and he looked at it, and he looked at my site, and he thought about it some more; and wrote something thoughtful and considered.

I understand the initial reaction. The videos ARE OFFENSIVE, if you believe that symbols are as important as reality; if you believe that people have a right not to be offended; if you believe that everyone should seek to understand and appreciate "other cultures" no matter what they are, or what they believe.

I don't believe any of that.

I believe that a book is just a book, no matter it's content; and the only symbols I have any particular attachment to are the american flag, and the ones tattooed into my arms.

I don't beleive that a book is, or can be, sacred.

I believe that private property IS sacred, and that one ought be able to do whatever one pleases with their private property, so long as it doesnt harm others; EVEN IF IT IS PROFOUNDLY OFFENSIVE TO OTHERS.

Burning books to deny knowledge, now that's wrong. Burning a particular book as a counter protest against terrorism... well, that's irony; at least if you have any sense of history.

Which brings me to the last comment I want to highlight:

"Homo Sapeins has been around for about 100,000 years. For all that time, we've struggled to build better lives, create civilizations, better understand our world and our Creator, and achieve something like peace with one another.

Your action detracts from this effort.

The book you men have destroyed is, like most human intellectual and spiritual achievements, imperfect, but is nonetheless a high pinnacle of human civilzation. Some passages in it speak to the yearning of the human soul for union with God in almost inexpressibly beautiful poetry. To destroy (or approve the destruction) of such a thing of spiritual beauty is the act of lunatics or beasts, not civilized men.

By this barbarous act you (and by their approval, your supporters) have joined your intellectual forebearers, the Nazi bookburners of Nuremburg, in an attempt to corrupt and nullify man's intellect, his soul, and his relationship with God. To say your acts are misguided would assume you have the humilty to attempt to learn from your betters to begin with, and since you evidently lack such humility, I am left to assume you, and everyone that thinks like you, is sunk either in hatred or genuine insanity to a pitiable degree.

You should be ashamed of yourselves."

-- John Fries 01.02.06 - 9:04 am

Yes, I have a somewhat dark sense of humor.

If you are offended by the Koran being burned, I ask you why? Would you particularly mind if it was Mein Kampf that was being burned? Or if it was a daily newspaper?

They are all of equal value as far as I am concerned. They are ink on a page. I bought them, I can piss on them, shoot them, burn them, blow them up... wait a sec, I already did.

They are symbols. Symbols mean nothing unless you make them. If I burn a symbol of your faith, is it the same as burning your faith? Have I harmed you in any way? Have I changed you in any way? Have I done anything at all wrong; except by the tenets of your own faith, which I am under no obligation to subscribe to.

Ahhh wait, there's the thing. Many of you want us to accomodate them. To accomodate anyone who is offended, or hurt, or shocked by anything. To accept others beleifs and act on them, because we must be "respectufl" or "tolerant".

I am sure than Mr. Fries believes what he has said. I'm sure some of you agree with him. I believe those of you with that belief are wrong; in fact you are fools.

Tolerance is not equal to acceptance, and even if it were I do not tolerate many muslim beliefs. I do not tolerate that women are evil, inferior to men, to be beaten to keep them in line, beheaded if they commit adultery. I do not tolerate that people who do not believe as I do should be killed.

I have destroyed my own private property. Some believe this is attacking their faith. Some believe it gives them the right to threaten me, and my family. I do not tolerate this belief.

If you buy a bible, you can do the same thing. If you buy a flag, you can do the same thing. I don't have any problem with the first, and my problem with the second lies entirely in the intent (if you're doing it because you're an Amrican citizen who hates America, well I've got a problem with that), but I still support and defend your right to do it.

You can do these things, because we do not live in a theocracy. We do not live in a fascist dictatorship (where burning the flag would almsot certainly be punishable by death). We live in a nation, and a society that does still believe in private property, and freedom of thought, word, and deed (Kelo, McCaiun Feingold, and the "war on drugs" notwithstanding).

It is not necessary that we tolerate the beliefs of muslims when they interact with our society. It is necessary that muslims in America, and the west, accept the laws and customs of our society.

It is necessary that those muslims who live in islamic countries do not do war upon us for being unbelievers. It is necessary that they accomodate and tolerate OUR beliefs, and OUR laws, and OUR cultures while outside of islamic countries; or it is necessary that they be conquered or killed.

Posted by cbyrne at 12:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 05, 2006

Perpetual Revolution against the Dark Gods

Fran Poretto has some interesting thoughts, inspired by the Mark Steyn essay I linked t'other day:
"I've proclaimed the necessity of an ideological revolution. The essentials to any revolution, including an ideological one, are education, communications, and weaponry.

Education is obvious. Our young are being miseducated as we speak. We must snatch their minds back from those who would infuse them with the relativistic, nonjudgmental creed and introduce them to the principles of the Founding. Equally as urgent, we must induce them to acquire strength and skill, the only sound foundation for pride. A man who can catch and cook his own dinner is unlikely to bow before any other man, nor will he accede to self-immolation at the behest of any god.

Communications is equally obvious. Americans who see the necessities outlined here must be able to find one another, pool information, exchange ideas, and offer mutual support. When we are isolated, we're easy targets: easy to silence and safe to ignore. When we know we're not alone, that there are others willing and able to support us, we have the strength of ten.

Weaponry is fundamental, yet its full impact is almost always overlooked. It's been said that the Second Amendment is the sole guarantor of the First, and truly. But what's less apparent is that an armed and confident man is a model for other men. He draws admiration for much the same reason as does an articulate, educated man: he can do things others can't. Therefore, be armed, and be conspicuously armed. Shoot often. Make it a family activity. Invite your friends and neighbors to join you, and to bring their children, too. When the opportunity arises, add to the simple pleasures of sport shooting a measure of history: stories of the great men of arms, whose valor brought them honor, and their nations victory.

American birth rates are at replacement rates, true. If our numbers are not to increase, our strength and our confidence will have to suffice. But if history is any guide, they will."

Thats about 1/10th of the very long essay. I'm not with him 100%, but he's prolly got about 80 our of me.

Posted by cbyrne at 04:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 04, 2006

More truth from Mark Steyn

Steyn lays it out in gory, and exhaustive detail here:
It's the Demography, Stupid

"The real reason the West is in danger of extinction.

BY MARK STEYN
Wednesday, January 4, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST

Most people reading this have strong stomachs, so let me lay it out as baldly as I can: Much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most Western European countries. There'll probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands--probably--just as in Istanbul there's still a building called St. Sophia's Cathedral. But it's not a cathedral; it's merely a designation for a piece of real estate. Likewise, Italy and the Netherlands will merely be designations for real estate. The challenge for those who reckon Western civilization is on balance better than the alternatives is to figure out a way to save at least some parts of the West. "


Go, read, now.

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January 03, 2006

Lefty Trolls

So, for the past three days or so my blog has been inundated with lefty trollers redirected from the patriot boy (remember what I said about the videos resurfacing every few months with a different group).

I've deleted literally hundreds of comments filled with nothing but bullshit, vulgarity, rudeness etc... Of the total comments recieved from these referrals, there have only bee two I havent deleted, because they were critical; but civil (oh and I got a couple of decent emails as well)

Honestly though, this one is my favorite:

" Yall are a bunch of faggits You love Jeff Gannon and the rest of the homos. George and Cheny and the rest NEVER served when they supported Vietnam. They are cowards and hate God. They have stolen billions from USA and piss on the tax payers. You faggot ass texans LOVE taxes! You love spying on people! you love letting HOMOS take over our government! Repukes stole how many hundreds of billions? All on taxpayer credit cards? Don' t republikkkans know that we've got to pay all that back someday? Are you children? Don't you know how to balance a check book? You just love stealing tax money, it's all free for George and the Oil Barons. You hate the constitution and you hate Voting. You just love the dictator and cock slurping Fags in the WhitheHouse. Republican = FAT FAGGOTS "
I got this ten minutes ago, and I'm still laughing. I mean I could tear the anonymous idiot to shreds, but honestly, why bother?

A note to lefty trolls:

1. Yes I am fat. I am aware of that. I am amused by your continuing insults. Oh how they wound me so.

2. No I am not technically a bastard, but I frequently act like one

3. I am most definitely not either gay, or impotent. I am not socially dysfunctional. I am not a psychopath, and I am not compensating for something. I even have a family. That said, if I were gay, so what? I thought that was OK? Please save your pop psychology for your own inadequacies thank you.

4. I am not from Texas, a "redneck' as you would define the term, uneducated, racist, or ignorant. I am almost certainly more intelligent and better educated than you are. I have two engineering degrees, an I.Q. somehere between the top 1/100th and top 1/1000th of one percent, and I grew up in that most liberal of cities, Boston. I, unlike almost all of you, have in fact read the Koran; and just about every other major religious text.

5. I am not a republican. I don't care for Bush. I think the patriot act is the second worst piece of legislation ever enacted by our federal government. I am a liberatarian (note the small L).

6. I am not a christian; nor would I care if anyone did this to christian symbols, so long as they owned them.

7. Many of you say "why don't you go and serve if you want to shoot muslims" etc... One, I don't particuarly want to shoot muslims, and two I served eight years in the Air Force and reserves.

8. What we did was not just a little YEEHA!, it was a political protest. Something y'all are quite fond of when you happen to agree with the topic of the protest; but somehow dont support at all when you disagree

9. I will delete, ban, and report as spam anyone using crass vulgarity and insulting invective to no good end in my comments. Oh and while "anonymous" posting is allowed, remember I do have your IP addresses, and can easily contact the abuse adminsitrator at your ISP.

10. I am more than open to reasonable and civil discussion or debate with people who disagree with me. Please, feel free to comment if that is what you are interested in. All others will be deleted.

Have fun

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January 02, 2006

Interesting thing about Arizona...

So I've been running the AC off and on for the past few weeks.

Right now it's sunny and 80 degrees with scattered high clouds, and a light breeze.

It's January 2nd...

Honestly, I don't think the winters make up for the summers, but maybe combined with fall and spring (which starts in February), they come close.

Posted by cbyrne at 02:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Year of the Gun

Jeff Soyer, AKA Alphecca has posted out to the gunblogger world, what guns have you acquired in 2005?

Well I began the year on a sad note selling off

1. Ruger Super Redhawk in .454
2. S&W 386P (7 shot titanium .357)
3. S&W 686P (7 shot stainless .357)
4. Custom Sig p229 with accessories (night sights, 6 mags, pouches, holsters, laser, 2 barrels)
5. Custom Glock 19 with accessories (night sights, 6 mags, pouches, holsters)
6. Custom Glock 21 with accessories (night sights, 4 mags, pouches, holsters, laser)

Thankfully most of them ended up with readers, friends, and fellow gun nuts; so I'm not too unhappy about that.

Of course that left some gaping holes in my overall gun collection, and I had some security issues later in the year, along with a financial turnaround which prompted me to pick up some things:

1. Custom Glock G36 with accessories (night sights, 6 mags, holster, pouches)
2. S&W 625 in .45acp (acquired from Kim)
3. Marlin 880SQ (acquired from Kim)
4. Custom 24" extra heavy 1-in-8 barrel (stainless) varmint upper for my AR (and a Millet 6-18x56 scope to go with it)
5. Sporterised Springfield 1903a3 in .30-06
6. Kel-Tec P3AT

Oh and for the fiance:

1. Ruger SP101 with accessories (her first gun)
2. HK USP compact .45 (because she liked mine, and a friend needed to sell his)

I'll take some pics and link to the posts I made about these later. Also I owe y'all range reports on almost all of these guns.

UPDATE: Shoot I forgot the SKS.. I picked up a Yugo 59/66, chopped off the bayonet (I'm thinking about shortening the barrel to 16.5" and just sticking a red dot up top), and put it into an ATI side folder. It's my new trunk gun, or it will be when I finally get it out to the range and run a couple hundred rounds through it to make sure it works.

Oh and my total gun expenditures for the year not including ammo, range fees, accessories tools and supplies, or presents to others? It looks like about $2500. I probably dropped another $2500 on the other stuff as well, so I guess my gunny costs for the year were about $5000.

Subtracting from that though, are the sales. The total I made off the gun sales was about $3000 (the extra mags and holsters etc... add up).

Given that, I actually spent more like a net $2000 on various gunnery this year (Of course that doesnt take into account the loss I took on the guns I sold, but I bought all of them in prior years).

Basically I bought much cheaper guns than the ones I sold. The guns I sold were almost all custom, or very desireable, or had lots of expensive accessories, or some combination of the above (and thus when I sold them, although I got good prices for them I still took a big bath); and all the guns I bought were either used, or I got a spectacular deal (or both).

The varmint upper was the most expensive acquisition this year, at $535, with the Glock about $10 cheaper, and the H&K $25 cheaper than that; but everything else for me was $300 or less (in some cases WAY less), and I got great deals on the SP101 and the Kel-Tec.

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January 01, 2006

Merry New Year


Deballah Deballah Deballah HUH!
Deballah Deballah Deballah HUH!
Deballah Deballah Deballah HUH!

I am not however, from Cameroon.

Morons are outside firing guns off into the air right now. 35 to 300 or so grains of lead in a vaguely vertical direction makes an interesting ballistic arc don't it.

Everybody have fun, be safe, and irritate idiots, morons, liberals... oh wait that's redundant.

Confusion to your enemies.

Oh and I am drinking my new years drink of doom. 8 shots of 151, 8 shots of sour apple pucker, 12 OZ of mountain dew, and 4 oz of lemon juice (I'm out of lime). It is so very very yummy and can be lit on fire should I so desire.

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December 30, 2005

10 Worst Americans

Okay so this is the megameme going on everywhere right now, and it is a toughie... I'mna post my list right now, and then expand on the why later.

I'm limiting my list to people who have been americans for the majority of their lives, and not just as a recent thing (various canadian and british actotrs for example), and who have had the worst impact on us as a nation, or whos actions typified the worst there is about us as a society; not jsut individual psychopaths or mass murderers.

10. J. Edgar Hoover: He almost singlehandedly created the worst elements of the law enforcement culture we have today, took actions that were harmful to the country simply because they increased his own personal pwer; and acted asan unelected legislator through the use of blackmail and dirty tricks

9. Rachael Carson: She created the modern environmental hysteria movement out of whole cloth.

8. Joseph McCarthy: Never has a man been so wrong, while being right. Through the most vile and despicable tactics he destroyed the anti-communist movement.

7. Alan Dulles: If it were not for the excesses of Dulles, Hoover could never have gotten away with what he did, nor would there have been a church comittee, and ultimately I doubt there would have been a 9/11.

6. Walter Cronkite: Two Words, Tet Offensive. Is that all? Hell no, but it symbolizes the damage he did, and the actions he legitimized.

5. Gloria Steinem: She was the chief propagandists for the myth of having it all, which is half of what is destroying our country

4. Richard Nixon: In destroying himself, he both destroyed the presidency, and enabled the rise of unchecked media power in those that followed Cronkite, Woodward, and Bernstein

3. Jimmy Carter: Another couple of words (three this time), Operation Eagle Claw. Again this is a mere tiny symbol of the true damage he did.

2. Lyndon Baines Johnson: The single worst president of the United States, and the president to do the most damage by far. The great society, the viet nam war, and the political double dealing all combined to nearly destroy our country. It only took Nixon and Carter to damn near finish the job as the natural progression. The reprecussions of these things are rippling through our society as I write this, and will continue to do so for generations to come.

1. John Dewey: He created and specifically designed the modern public education system to create good liettle ignorant socialist conformists; and that's exactly what we're getting out of it.

The problem with making this a list of individuals, is that in some cases there is an entire group that must be held responsible, for example I cannot blame FDR entirely for the new deal and the social security act etc... but I must blame all of congress, and the American people of the time for acquiescing.

Posted by cbyrne at 01:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Twisted? Ok I can live with that

How evil are you?
Posted by cbyrne at 11:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lesse, this wasnt at ALL predictable now was it

Greed:Medium
Gluttony:High
Wrath:Medium
Sloth:High

Envy:Very Low
Lust:Very High
Pride:Medium

Discover Your Sins - Click Here

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Help, Help, I've been Memed

Okay, so the good Doctor Bill has tagged me with the "Five Random Things About You That Most People Don't Know" meme.

Bastard...

See the dificulty is, the entire mission of this web site, and several others I have talked about before, is to share my life and opinions with the ether. In the course of said mission, I've talked a hell of a lot about myself, so I don't know how much interesting stuff there is that I havent mentioned...

Ok I know there's lots, but I'm having trouble condensing and refining out discrete elements here...

1. I'm a huge dog AND cat lover, but especially dogs. I happen to like dogs of the "big and scary" variety more than others (Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Staffordshire Terriers among my favorite); but almost all dogs will do. Unfortunately my condo doesnt allow dogs (Even to visit). We ARE getting a cat for the kids though.

2. I'm a straight man who loves show tunes and musical theater. My fav? The Music Man as performed by Robert Preston.

3. I do wood, leather, and metal crafts. My most recent (and uncompleted) project is some hand finished and woodburned wooden boxes as gifts. I ran out of time before christmas to finish them. The next big project? SCA legal partial plate armor.

4. I played the trumpet and saxaphone as a child, but I got impetigo flareups from the reeds and mouthpieces (the constant moisture against the lips) and had to stop. I replaced them with piano and drums, but stopped those too when I picked up the guitar.

5. I love stuffed animals. I have a three foot high Tigger, various stuffed bears, a couple of penguins (linux geek), and others.

Now I am going to break the rules a bit here, because I don't meme tag people; but if anyone wants to tag themselves comment on it here.

Oh an Doc, more stories about your dad would be appreciated when you feel like posting them.

Posted by cbyrne at 10:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

LMAO

take the psi-q psychic test yourself
Posted by cbyrne at 09:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The worst piece of gun legislation I've ever read

ALERT TO MASSACHUSETTS READERS: Move, Now, before they ban breathing and eating without a license.

Seriously, this is quite possibly the worst piece of legislation I've ever read in my entire life:

http://www.mass.gov/legis/bills/house/ht02/ht02125.htm

Yes, they want complete registration of ALL firearms, and compulsory liability insurance for all firearms, with a $250,000 minimum liability limit, failure to comply punishible by mandatory five years in prison!

Additionally, all handgun licenses will be reviewed by a 9 member board before issuance, and this is the great part, look at how they want to construct the board:

"The board shall consist of nine individuals, one of whom shall be a member of the gun owners action league, one of whom shall be a member of stop handgun violence, one of whom shall be a police chief selected from a list of four selected by the police chiefs association, one of whom shall be a district attorney selected from a list of three selected by the district attorney’s association, and one of whom shall be the director of the firearms records bureau within the criminal history systems board."

I see... so suddenly a representative from an anti-gun political action organization is qualified to judge the competency and safety of applicants?

Who wrote this, Sarah Brady (well... that's entirely possible).

Lets see reading further on, a one firearm a month hard limit (it's a practical limit now since you need a permit to purchase each individual firearm unless you have an unrestricted license which they almost never give out).

Ahhhh, but here's the kicker:

"All weapons as defined in section 121 including, but not limited to, firearms, large capacity weapons, rifles and shotguns sold within the commonwealth without a safety device designed to prevent the discharge of such weapon by unauthorized users and approved by the colonel of the state police including, but no limited to, mechanical locks or devices designed to recognize and authorize, or otherwise allow the firearm to be discharged by its owner or authorized user, by solenoid use-limitation devices, key activated or combination trigger or handle locks, radio frequency tags, automated fingerprint identification systems or voice recognition, provided, that such device is commercially available, shall be defective and the sale of such weapons shall constitute a breach of warranty under section 2-314 of chapter 106 and an unfair and deceptive trade act or practice under section 2 of chapter 93A."

Ahh yes, all weapons not smart guns are herby declared deffective and unsafe and are now banned; oh and anyone who's ever manufactured and sold one can now be sued.

Yes, it's an effective ban on all firearms within the commonpoverty of taxachusetts.

Oh and for a final kick, anyone not a licensed FFL selling more than two firearms in a 12 month period - no matter who they are sold to, lawfully or not - is mandatorily sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison without parole.

Honestly, I am not capable of editorializing this in an adequately derisory way without resorting to excessive vulgarity, therefore I will leave the spluttering and descending red curtains of blood to my gentle readers.

Posted by cbyrne at 08:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 29, 2005

A Letter to GoDaddy

Subject: Domain suspended because of incorrect whois From: Chris Byrne Date: Thu, Dec 29, 2005 10:29 am To: invalidwhois@godaddy.com Cc: abuse@godaddy.com Bcc: bparsons@godaddy.com

Sirs,

I would like to complain about my domains chrisbyrne.com and
chrisbyrne.org being removed from your name servers, resulting in a two
day (or more, I only noticed it yesterday) service outage. I was told
by your support staff that this was because I had invalid whois
information.

I recieved an email to this effect last week, and updated my whois
informaiton then.

All of my whois information is and was current and correct, on all of my
domains except one (chrisbyrne.com) which had a missing email address. I
have verified this today online with your customer service.

Additionally, it appears that the name servers for www.chrisbyrne.org;
which have been parked and forwarded using your services for two plus
years, were hijacked and redirected to another service provider.

When I attempted to explain this to your support person he didn't appear to
understand what I was saying, and repeatedly offered to show me how to
set them properly. They HAVE been properly set, for more than two
years, it is only in the last few days that there has been a problem.

I have recently been the target of threats from a muslim extremist
group. They are attempting to take my domains down, they have flooded
me with spam, they have attempted DOS attacks on some of my web sites
etc... Any complaints of abuse or invalid contact information are
likley in the nature of dirty tricks from said groups, or other random
sympathizers.

Prior to this, they have used the whois information on my web sites to
send harrasing materials to myself and my family, and to attempt
surveilance on my home.

If you recieve any further requests for information, complaints, or any
unusual activity on this account, I would direct you to the Phoenix
field office of the FBI, special agent #########, at 602-279-5511.

Thank you,

Chris Byrne

Posted by cbyrne at 10:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 28, 2005

How Tactical Are You...

The Munchkin Wrangler asks "How Tactical Are You"...

Well that depends on the day, and my clothing.

See I have a few different carry guns, and they score a lot differently:

Yost Custom Springfield Champion (4" SA .45): -10 (and it isn't even gloss blue)

H&K USP Compact (4" DA/SA polymer .45): +15

Glock 36 (3" DAO polymer .45): +17

Kahr K9 (3" DAO steel 9mm): -6
Kel-Tec P3AT (2" DAO - sort of - polymer .380): 0

Huh, I never realized I was carying that many DAO's, because I don't particularly care for the DAO concept; I like options and control over my gun. The thing is, they are great concealed carry guns, because they don't have any controls other than the trigger to snag, or worry about operating in an emergency.

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Public and Private information

Fuz posits the following:
"What if two vehicles are hustling along a rural road, doing low-80s in a 75-limit zone, and a Highway Patrol vehicle comes from the opposite direction, suddenly pulls over, reverses direction, and catches up?

The patrol car hovers behind the rear of the two vehicles for about 4 minutes, then passes, hovers behind the front-runner for a few minutes, then lights up and pulls the front-runner over?

Mama-san, passenger with me in the rear vehicle, asks "Why didn't he just pull the guy over instead of waiting so long?"

I, driver of the rear vehicle, replied "He ran the plates."

"Wouldn't he do that after pulling him over?"

"No, he wants to make sure he's not pulling over some psycho who'll try to shoot him. He wants to know whether this will be a one-unit stop, or a two- or three-unit. Bench warrant, multiple traffic violations, expired registration, Al Qaeda, you name it. Run the plates first, know what you're getting into."

Then the wheels were turning. He surely ran our plates too. Hmmmm, the patrolman was probably thinking, serviceman and his wife and kiddies. Nothing interesting here . . . The guy in the front tripped the radar. What about him?

Which makes me wonder: how many times have my plates been run, either by obvious marked patrol vehicles or air units, or by unmarkeds just weaving through busy traffic? What about when optical-character recognition technology is mated with radar camera units and fast, fast realtime connection to the databases, allowing hundreds of plates to be "run" per minute? The potential there for loss of privacy would be staggering. The anonymity of the herd would be gone if it isn't already. The consequences of minor errors, either in the tag records themselves or in the data pipeline between the camera and the DMV, would be enormous.

Johnny Law will assert that he has the power to use government-owned information and commerically-available technology to enhance the apprehension of lawbreakers. How can one object, unless one is caught redhanded and wriggling to escape? The syllogism: the innocent have nothing to fear, therefore the fearful are not innocent.

So how should the civil libertarian respond to this development?"

As unfortunate as this is, there is no rational libertarian argument against the actions of the officer as laws currently stand.

License plates are the property of the state. By affixing them to your vehicle, and operating it on the public roads, you are implicitly giving the state the authority to view these plates, and to access the public records associated with them.

Now as to whether this data can be collected and indefinitely retained for criminal investigation, surveliance, or profiling purposes, that's another question entirely.

Numerous times, in many courts, the argument has been presented that an officer could not arrest someone, because they had no probable cause to run the plates which resulted in a warrant hit and subsequent traffic stop. In all cases these arguments have been dismissed, because the plate number is indeed public information; as is your vehicle registration, and any number of other records that many individuals assume to be private.

I had a similar incident happen just the other day. I was driving home just above the speed limit, when a super trooper got up close enough to me to read my plate, then backed off for about 2 minutes, then accelerated and passed me by. My fiancee seated next to me wondered about his behavior and I said "He was running the plate", to which she responded "Well, it's not like we've got anything to worry about".

That reminded me of something that happened to me a few years back. I was driving just at the limit when a local cop pulled in behind me for about five minutes, ran my plates, and then pulled me over. Unbeknownst to me, I had a bench warrant for an unpaid ticket. When I asked the officer why he ran my plate, he answered with refreshing honesty "Because I had nothing better to do".

This is a basic principle of law, in that public information can be used for any purpose not specifically prohibited by law; and that includes vehicle registration, driving records, birth, death, and marriage records, certain tax and travel records... I could go on.

So what they are doing is in no way illegal, or unconstitutional. The question is, SHOULD IT BE specifically prohibited by law?

Honestly, with the current regulatory regime we live under in our society, this is a prefectly justifiable and correct use of information.

But there is no question that it makes us less free; and that, by it's nature is evil.

The only way to rationally address this is to make these records non-public information. Either through the elimination of the records entirely (an unlikely, and in some ways unwise thing), or by the re-classification of many public records, as private.

I see no reason why my driving records, vehicle registrations, accident record, or any number of other records as I describe above SHOULD be public records; except as an instrument of governmental control. Perhaps all of these, and any other record the government keeps on us, whatever few those can be reduced to in a practical society (and that's another issue altogether), should be treated as is our PHI/PCI (Private Healthcare Information/ Private and Confidential Information) wherein the use of the records must at all times require either a court order, or the consent of the subject or legal custodian of those records.

It would of course complicate matters greatly as regards law enforcement, but in the presence of a pervasive computing environment (which is not far off), it could certainly be technically possible.

It would be an easy re-write of the laws, and a massive policy and infrastructure undertaking; but no more so than the HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley requirements that have been recently promulgated on business.

I think that this is the most likely, and most reasonable compromise position; Al-Quaeda or no.

H/T: Jed at Freedomsight

Posted by cbyrne at 03:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Hog Gets Profound

Steve H. AKA the Hog on Ice, and creator of the worlds greatest cookbook (Got one for christmas. Thanks John) has somethign up today about the nature of addicts, but what struck me was this paragraph:
"I'll tell you something wonderful I learned from practicing law. Lawyers are burdened with tremendous responsibility, and the consequences for screwing up can be draconian. So you have to watch yourself constantly. Living with that kind of responsibility taught me the following lesson: in this life, when something goes wrong, you should always look for a way to hold yourself responsible, even if you're not the principal bad actor. Why? So you can beat yourself up and feel bad? No, because if you can think of things you could have done to prevent the problem, you will remember to do those things in similar situations in the future, and because you will generally have a better attitude toward your responsibilities. Responsibility implies control. Find the thing you did wrong, and you will find something you can do right in the future."

I can't imagine a better explanation for personal AAR (after action review) and lessons learned than that.

Posted by cbyrne at 10:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Go, Read, Be Enlightened...

Francis Poretto has written one of the best essays about the current (and hopefully future) state of trade unions I have ever read.

I am of the opinion that Unions as an institution are simply a manner of free association; and in that association voluntary collectivism can be used to attain goals. The problem lies in the special protected and privileged status of various unions. Why does it exist, and what should be done about it?

Personally I believe that all legal privelige, and co-ercive power over membership should be removed from all laws relating to unions and trade practices. At that point the unions would be exactly what they should be, voluntary trade associations run for the benefit of their members.

Posted by cbyrne at 10:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 27, 2005

The 20 things I know about Kids

So here's my new workout plan: Chasing little girls around, and over, my couch for two hours.

A remarkable effective form of excercise. I don't know if I'm burning any fat, but it certainly tires you out.

So here I am, 15 years of living on my own or with other adults, and all of a sudden I've got a ready made family. Mel is still worried that I'll freak out or something, but that's not gonna happen. It certainly is a change though.

Of course it's not like I haven't dealt with kids a lot. I mostly raised my younger brother, and being the oldest of over 40 first cousins, and a couple hundred second cousins (some far younger than me, some far older), and their kids... lets just say I've changed a lot of diapers in my time.

But this is different. This is MY family.

So what have I learned over the years about parenting?

  1. Establish limits and boundaries: This is part of giving a kid a framework for their life. Set what is absolutely off limits, what are their soft and hard boundaries; both in space, and in behavior. Make them clear, and easy to see and understand. If possible, associate them with something physical in their lives.

    Have multiple categories of limits and boundries i.e. this is acceptable in this limit, this plus this in this other limit etc... and within the tightest of these allow them almsot anything... within reason... to let their minds work.

  2. Be tough but fair: Don't make arbitrary and capricious decisions. Give kids a set of rules, and guidelines, and follow them, so they know where they stand. If they go outside the rules, discipline them. At first just use a normal word, then a STRONG statement. If the kid is well behaved by nature that's usually enough. If not, then physically stop them from doing what they were doing and talk with them. Finally punishment. Very important, when you make a decision or a rule, stick by it.


  3. Consistency: It's alright to be flexible about the rules, limits, and boundaries, but kids need to have consistency. That includes consistent bed and meal times, consistent play rules, consistent punishments. If the parent isn't consistent it leaves the kid without that framework we talked about. Again, when you make a decision or a rule, stick by it.

  4. Be Flexible: Okay so now that I've told you to set limits, and stick by your decisions and be consistent, I'm going to tell you not to... actually no, I'm jsut going to say, BE FLEXIBLE. Sometimes rules dont work in all situations. Sometimes kids try to follow the rules and jsut can't. Sometimes you jsut HAVE to let them have icecream instead of soup, because they just kinda need it. You're a parent, not a robot. You can't be perfect, and neither can your kids, so why try; worse, why make them try?

  5. Be patient: Kids arent generally little adults. Sometimes they don't remember things. Sometimes their impulses get the best of them. Sometimes they dont really understand what you are trying to tell them. They may want to please you (in fact that's generally their main goal), but not really know how; especially if you haven't established boundaries and limits, and you haven't been consistent. You have to be patient, and don't get angry unless it's very much warranted.

  6. Kids want to please you: As I said about patientce above, as a primary caregiver, parent and authority figure; a kids main goal in life is generally going to be to please you. This sounds great, but because kids AREN'T little adults, and they frequently don't understand what it is we want, it can have some odd results. When they do somethign that they think is going to please you, and it makes you angry, (or worse sad or disappointed) instead, that kid is going to be crushed, or maybe even scared. They don't understand what's going on, and they don't know why you aren't happy with them. In this situation, you just need to go bac to the things above.

  7. Kids will test you: Kids are always pushing. Pushing on their limits and boundaries, pushing the rules, pushing against discipline, and pushing you. They want to see what they can get away with, when; They want to test their environment. Most of all, they want to test their parents. Kids really are little scientists, always experimenting with things, and what's a better experiment than a living breathing person that has authority over them?

    Of coure this is frustrating, and can make you angry pretty easily. You KNOW they understand the rules, you KNOW they remember them, and you KNOW they broke them on purpose, what the heck do you do?

    BE TOUGH, FAIR, CONSISTENT, FLEXIBLE AND PATIENT

    Easiser said than done I know.

  8. Don't over commit: Yourself OR your kids. Kids don't need to be scheduled every minute of every day. They need flexibility and space jsut as much as you do. Don't fill up their time, or yours, just because you dont know what else to do, or to keep them occupied, or because you're afraid they'll miss something. Kids will occupy themselves and I'm sure you can always find something to do. Hell, if you get them used to always being scheduled and always ahving an activity provided for them, they'll forget HOW to occupy themselves.

  9. Have fun: Kids are fun, yeah they are work, but they are also VERY VERY fun. Not to mention the continuation of our species. Let yourself have fun with them, and maybe you wont be so drained, or pissed off at the end of the day.

  10. Don't be so damn scared of everything: The world is a lot safer than television would lead you to believe. There aren't kidnappers around every corner. Everything gives you cancer including the air, and giving your kids organic apples isn't going to change that. Puppies arent going to bite your kids faces off. Flashing lights aren't going to give your kids seizures. THe wrogn toys arent going to make them get into a second tier state school.

    Lighten up, the human race has survived and thrived this long without specially designed, everything prooof, everything safe, all natural, organic, everything free wonderwidgets, and so will your kid.

Okay so that's the philosophy, lets get down to some specifics. If you want to stay sane, and kee your house in one piece, theres some basic rules to follow, and to make your kids follow (again with reference to the points above).


  1. One toy or activity at a time: If you don't do this, your kids will run your life ragged and leave you no time for anything. Also if you dont do this, you'll be conditioning them for a short attention span. They get to play with one toy at a time, or do one thing at a time, and they need to put that toy away in the proper place before they get the next one, or move to the next activity.

    Some people say this stifles creativity, but I say that's bull. What it does is puts a little limit in their life that will help establish patterns and habits to serve them well for the rest of their life.

  2. Clean up after every toy or activity before moving to the next one: Again, if you don't do this, you will never be able to have time for anything. Teach your kids that before they can go to the next thing, they need to clean up, put away, close up, whatever they were doing, and put it back in it's place; THEN they need to clean up themselves. Again, we're establishing patterns for later life.

  3. Establish a play space: There is one exception to rule one and two. If you establish a special play space for them; where the only thing they do is play, and the toys stay in that space; you can let them play without limits. There, they can play with as much as they want, whenever they want. Just don't let them live in that play space, it's another activity that they can only do one at a time just like the others; and all the normal rules apply once they are done playing.

  4. Meal time is for eating: You HAVE to teach kids that when it's time to eat, we stop playing, put away toys and activities, clean up after ourselves, and then we sit down to eat. We don't run around, we don't play, we eat. We can and should talk, but it's best that you teach kids from an early age to not talk when there is food in their mouths.

    Personally I recommend that you teach kids not to watch TV while eating, unless it's a special treat; but it's so much a part of American culture, and so many of us do it ourselves, that may not be possible.

  5. Meals are a rule just like any other: When you feed your kids, they have to eat. It's a rule jsut like the other rules. They don't get the option of not eating, or of eating only what they feel like, without punishment (even if it's only mild punishment).

    Of course in order for this to work, you have to serve them food they can eat, in the proper portions. My grandmother used to force me to eat far more than I should, and foods that I was allergic to, because damnit there was food and I was going to eat it. Obviously that does more harm than good, but that's not what we are talking about. Mealtime is when kids do most of their testing. They are trying to see how much you will cave in to them; or they are just using it as an easy way to be contrary and take control over their own lives.

    Sorry folks, it may seem mean, but don't let them. You're the parent, and you're feeding them what you think they should eat. The kid eats what you think they should eat, or they don't eat at all.

    Now, here's where being flexible is important. Sometimes kids don't show any indication of being sick, until it comes down to meal time. Then they won't want to eat, or they'll just pick at their food. It may look like sulking, but sometimes it's jsut that they don't feel well. You need to figure out what it is before taking any action, or your not only going to have a sick kid, but one that's upset because they made mommy mad and it wasn't really their fault.

  6. Don't buy toys that make noise: Yeah, kids love them. They also love making you mad with them. It's another one of those tests. Just do yourself a favor and either don't buy them at all, or buy ones that can be easily turned off. If you MUST buy them, don't buy the ones that make repetitive noises, that sing long songs, or that will stop and restart the noise from the beginning every time the toy is activated.

  7. Don't buy toys with small pieces: Never mind the choking hazards, you'll be down on your knees in the carpet looking for the pieces that they flushed down the toilet until you're ready to chuck the whole thing out the window. Kids LOVE small pieces, because they can hide them places... you know, like their little sisters noses. Oh and of course when the small pieces are lost because THEY threw them out the car window, or fed them to Mr. Kitty, they will cry and cry, and cry, until you get them a new one.

  8. Don't buy toys that permanently stain: Again, kids love them. Markers, crayons, paints... oh yeah, they do. But don't buy them; or if you do, make it a rule that is ABSOLUTELY enforced that they can only be used when you're with them; AND that they can only be used in a special place (probably not their play space) that gets cleaned up right away/ ALWAYS stick to this rule.

  9. Don't buy toys that they can eat: I really don't need to go into this one do I


  10. Don't buy toys that make it easy for them to break the rules: If you do, all you are doing is inviting them to do so; and confusing them. The rule says don't throw the ball in the house, but you buy them a kooshball and don't let them take it outside... what does that say to them?

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December 26, 2005

Apparently half the blogosphere is...

Jed Jed Eckert...The Leader...


Which Red Dawn Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

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December 25, 2005

A Very Merry Christmas Indeed

Merry Christmas everybody. Here's hoping you are spending your holiday in a way that gives you Joy.

Oh and since I wont be posting today or tomorrow after this one, happy Chaunakkah (or whichever variant spelling you would prefer to use - just pretend you're reading this after sunset).

So I've been waiting on this for a while, and if everything went well I wanted to announce this today.

I'm Engaged.

Ayup, I'm going to get married again, to a woman I love very much. To a woman who is as much my best friend as Jim is, and who I was friends with before I ever had a romantic relationship with.

To a woman who can actually be my equal in many things, my superior in some, and my partner in everything.

It's funny, we had the "you're not gonna like this thing about me" discussion - you know the one where you tell people the things about you that you think they are going to have a problem with, like "I ride motorcycles, fly airplanes, shoot guns, play role playing and computer games, and hate communicsts socialists, collectivists and authoritarians of any stripe"

You know the discussion where you're supposed to scare them off...

Her response?

"Great, can I come too?"

Her version went kind of like "Well I want to have more kids, and live in a house in the middle of nowhere with some horses, atv's a big garden, a workshop etc.. and it's got to be near woods and mountains and water, and I want to work, but I think I want to stay at home and raise kids more... maybe I'll work at home and raise the kids".

My response?

"Where can I sign up for that?"

We were both with the wrong people for as long as we've known each other (good people, jsut not the right people); we both said for the entire time "Nah, we're not interested in each other. We're just not each others type. We're just good friends". We both loved the people we were with, but hadn't been in love with them for a long time, and new they were the wrong people; we jsut didn't want to let go.

We both parted ways with our previous relationships at the same time. Though that wasn't intentional; in no way did we break up to be with each other; one breakup was clearly a catalyst for the other.

So we were both out of our previous relationship, and we realized that was a good thing. Then, rather suddenly and forcefully (think "smacked upside the head by Moljinir") we both realized, we were really in love with each other, and maybe had been for as long as we'd been physically hanging out together (we were friends on the net for a while before that) and just hadn't realized it.

So for everyone who thinks this is fast, it kinda is, but it's not as fast as it looks. Think of us as having been together since September, and it's almost new years.

Her name is Melody, ahe has two kids, Rosemary and Shaila (with appropriately cute diminutive nicknames); and we've been "bonding" together as a family like unit the last few days. We just had our first christmas together, and it was great... though Rosie is still having some anxiety about me going away or mommy going away with me; and a little jealousy; it was clear last night that she, and her sister both love me.

And lord help me, I love them right back.

Yeah I'm ignoring John Rosses advice about single moms with kids, but he has a caveat; it's okay so long as they are young, and the marriage dissolved because it was a crappy marriage that shouldn't have happened in the first place, AND she wasnt screwed up too badly by it, AND she isn't just out looking for a meal ticket.

There aren't a lot of single moms like that, and I'm damn lucky to have one of them.

I don't mind the concept of a ready made family; actually I welcome it. We both want more kids, and Rosie is torn between wanting more brothers and sisters, and not wanting to share mommy any more (Shai is too young to understand).

The kids already love my place, and love being around me. My lease is up in April, and we're going to look for a rental house while we build some money for a down payment, and wait for the minibubble around phoenix to slide down a bit (there wont be a major crash here, theres just too many people who want to live here, but the speculators and investors will get pushed out).

We haven't set a date, we're expecting some time around late spring or early fall next year (because of the weather no-one wants a summer wedding here).

Anyway this is why I've been a lot less available, and a lot more closemouthed about my personal life the last couple months. I'm getting ready to have a real family, and it's got me pretty busy.

That said, I'm going to get back to my usual feverish pace of forum posting and the like fairly soon.

Oh and she loves to shoot. We bought her her first gun for her birthday last month (yeah I reported on that, but didnt mention that she was my girlfriend at the time. Oh and I finally have the pictures of that, but my scanner isn't working. Soon as I fix it, they're going up). We'll be getting her a CCW soon, and maybe get her into IDPA.

I gave her a second gun as an early christmas present BTW. A USP compact .45 just like mine, but without nights or the work that I have done on mine. She actually REALLY LIKES the .45; better than the 9mm, and she LOVES her SP101 (though we ALL prefer it with .38spl loads).

So, from all of ours, to all of yours, Merry Christmas

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December 24, 2005

X-Mas overload


Okay so I've been having what one might call a busy day.

One, I actually had to work today, though it was at least from home. Generated a briefing for AS400 operators, and another for project managers, about the basics of encryption and certificate management.

Yeah, I know...

Then it was on to the final grocery shopping, and wrapping.

Lots and lots of wrapping.

More wrapping.

Oh and did I mention the wrapping?

At least I woke up next to my love, and was able to laze some of the morning with he while I wrote.

Also my friend Ben got back from China, and the final gifts I ordered from Amazon arived (at 7 oclock this evening).

So all is in readiness for the holiday feast, which will include the following:

"Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 10 - It's the MEAT Stupid"

"Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 11 - Bacon Double Macaroni and Cheese"

Jim, John, Ben, and Mel and the Kids will be over for the "friends" celebration, and then we head to Mels parents on christmas day for the "family" celebration.

The kids of course get to open ONE of the presents WE bought them, plus the presents Jim, Ben, and John got them; then they get the absolute ORGY of presents the next day at Gramma and Grampas place (which is in the middle of frikken no-where rural arizona. A truly joyful 80 mile car ride through twisty roads and large elevation changes... truly joyful that is, unless you have two unhappy chidrens in the back seat...

Honestly, I love this shit.

Oh and I've been soothing my wrapping pains through the joy that is Penn and Tellers "Bullshit". Nothing says lovin like an acerbic six foot six magician and his semi-mute partner deconstructing assholes on DVD.

UPDATE: As I post this picutre of my tree and the presentage abased before it, it is 0523...

And I'm not done!..

I just couldn't wrap any more damn presents. Mel honey, you're gonna have to finish. I wrapped all the stuff we're opening today, plus those 30lb bigass boxes (the whole load contains, among other things, appx 30lbs of clay, 40lbs of cast iron, 50bs of wood, 20lbs of aluminum, and well over 100lbs worth of paper); the rest is up to you.

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December 23, 2005

I LIVE in the powerpoint zone

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December 22, 2005

It's a meme thing...

Okay so it's going around on some of the sites I read, what are your top ten great movies of all time...

Now this is a really tough one. There are movies that are my favorites, but that I don't think belong on an all time great list, then theres the all time great movies, some of which I appreciate as great, but I don't like very much (like citizen kane).

I'm just going to post my favorites, jsut the ones I think of off the top of my head without worrying about being complete, and not worrying about order.

Also, I'm going to cheat and make it my top 100, because I just can't limit it to ten (yes I know that's a lot. I'm a movie nut, and I like too many genres). Oh and I'm going to make some sequel combos one movie (LOTR for example).

Finally, I'm going to restrict myself from including anime and documentaries.

Also you might notice I'ma big fan of Jack Nicholson, John Wayne, Gene Hackman, Tommy Lee Jones, and a few others. Actually I can easily make a John Wayne top 20, and at least a top ten from Nicholson.

Ok, the list:

  1. The Princess Bride
  2. The Usual Suspects
  3. Real Genius
  4. The Star Wars Trilogy (the new ones... meh)
  5. Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  6. The Entire Collected James Bond series (yes I know that's cheating massively. It's my list)
  7. Roman Holiday
  8. Star Trek IV
  9. The Longest Yard
  10. Spaceballs
  11. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (the worst movie ever made that way on purpose)
  12. Pirates of the carribean
  13. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  14. The Incredibles
  15. The Godfather
  16. The Godfather II
  17. Goodfellas
  18. The Searchers
  19. The Shootist
  20. As good as it gets
  21. Chinatown
  22. One flew over the cuckoos nest
  23. Apocalypse now
  24. Full Metal Jacket
  25. Animal House
  26. My fair lady
  27. True Grit
  28. The Green Berets
  29. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
  30. The Longest Day
  31. Kellys Heros
  32. The Basketball Diaries
  33. The Dirty Dozen
  34. The Magnificent Seven
  35. They Were Expendable
  36. Rashomon
  37. Yojimbo
  38. Sanjuro
  39. Shichinin no samurai
  40. Reap the wild wind
  41. The Quiet Man
  42. Rio Bravo
  43. Pale Rider

  44. Casablanca
  45. The Philadelphia Story
  46. Bedknobs and Broomsticks
  47. Auntie Mame
  48. Donovans reef
  49. Hellfighters
  50. Guess whos coming to dinner
  51. Taxi Driver
  52. The Deer Hunter
  53. Pulp Fiction
  54. Reservoir Dogs
  55. Brazil
  56. Time Bandits
  57. 12 Monkeys
  58. Seven
  59. The Fifth Element
  60. X-Men
  61. Good Will Hunting
  62. Rounders
  63. The Professional
  64. Heathers
  65. Pump up the volume
  66. Beetlejuice
  67. Ronin
  68. The Replacements
  69. Semi-tough
  70. The Longest Yard (the original)
  71. Glengarry Glennross
  72. Scarface
  73. Batman
  74. Platoon
  75. Mr. Roberts (and Ensign Pulver)
  76. The Big Sleep
  77. The Maltese Falcon
  78. True Romance
  79. A history of the world part 1
  80. The Producers (the original)
  81. Hackers
  82. Wargames
  83. The Matrix
  84. Blazing Saddles
  85. Robin Hood - Men In Tights
  86. Young Frankenstein
  87. French Kiss
  88. Much Ado ABout Nothing (Kenneth Brannagh)
  89. Othell0 (Fishburne)
  90. Henry V (Brannagh)
  91. American Beauty
  92. Aladdin
  93. Dead Poets Society
  94. Tombstone
  95. The Bridge Over the River Qwai
  96. Cool Hand Luke
  97. Necessary Roughness
  98. The Right Stuff
  99. L.A. Confidential
  100. Saving Private Ryan
Now that's a big list, and actually I can think of 100 more right off the top of my head, and I KNOW tha't not the right order...

Oh, and from looking at the order you might be able to see some interesting patterns into how my mind works.

Wow, I am SOOOO going broke at Amazon next year...

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Todays episode of "It's funny because it's true"


And heres one that oughta be...

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December 21, 2005

This is what my logs have looked like for days...

I've had a few hundred hits from Saudi, Egypt, Syria and the like every day for the last week. As I said yesterday, the fatwah fuckwits are passing the pics and vids around again.

I wonder if this is going to happen every couple months forever? I know Kim has the same problem with some of his older work, as does Steven Den Beste.

Posted by cbyrne at 03:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Okay, I love Elvis as much as anybody...


Well, anybody sane anyway... but I just heard Harry Connick Jr. doing blue christmas.

It doenst have anywhere the soul or mournful tone of Elvis (of course not), but I think I like his version better.

Coolest/Funniest/most twisted holiday songs so far today:

Santa Drives a Hot Rod - Brian Setzer

Cool Yule - Louis Armstrong

Leroy the Redneck Reindeer -

Fairytale of New York - The Pogues/Shane McGowan and Krista MacColl

Ok I REALLY love that song (actually I'm a big Pogues fan anyway), just look at the lyrics:


It was christmas eve babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me, won’t see another one
And then he sang a song
The rare old mountain dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you

Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I’ve got a feeling
This year’s for me and you
So happy christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

They’ve got cars big as bars
They’ve got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It’s no place for the old
When you first took my hand
On a cold christmas eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me

You were handsome
You were pretty
Queen of new york city
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging,
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on a corner
Then danced through the night

The boys of the nypd choir
Were singing galway bay
And the bells were ringing out
For christmas day

You’re a bum
You’re a punk
You’re an old slut on junk
Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy christmas your arse
I pray God it’s our last

I could have been someone
Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can’t make it all alone
I’ve built my dreams around you


But THE best has to be...

Santa got run over by me chebby (my chevy) - Manic Hispanic

You have GOT to listen to this. I can't find lyrics on the web but it KICKS ASS... (actually Manic Hispanic kicks ass in general. I need to pick up Grupo Sexo)

Posted by cbyrne at 03:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 20, 2005

Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 11 - Bacon Double Macaroni and Cheese

Soo the classic comfort food, Macaroni and Cheese... It's one of my favorites, and probably one of your too... but it needs a little something more to be a meal for a REAL man...

It needs....

It needs...

LOTS AND LOTS OF MEAT

And so that's what we're gonna give it. If this doesn't fill you up, nothing will.

Ingredients:

1 pound macaroni (or other pasta)
1 pound bacon
1 pound extra lean ground beef, or cubed boneless chicken
1 pound shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 pound shredded monterey jack cheese
1/2 pound grated parmaggiano (romano and asiago acceptable)
1/2 pound crumbled feta
2-3 cups whole milk
2 large bell peppers (one red, one green), diced 1/4-1/2" (optional)
2 large tomatos (beefsteak, or similar sized heirloom - optional)
1/2 cup shallots, minced (optional)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (appx)
1/2 cup bacon grease
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon powdered mustard
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups bread crumbs

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350, and boil enough water to prepare your pasta (varies depending on pasta).

Boil the pasta in water with a little salt, oil, and vinegar to a firm al dente consistency. Drain but do not wash.

While the pasta is boiling, cook the bacon to medium crispy, and drain off and save the grease. Measure out 1/4 cup of the grease and 2 tablespoons of butter into a saucepan.

If you are using chicken, saute in bacon grease, butter, and a little olive oil until medium brown, and sprinkle it with salt, pepper, paprika, and lemon juice while cooking.

If you are using ground beef, drain well and season while cooking as with chicken, plus a bit of balsamic vinegar for flavor. For either meat, drain well after cooking.

If you are including the vegetables, saute the peppers and shallots when the meat starts to brown, and then sweat the tomatos for about 2 minutes at the end of cooking.

In the sauce pan with the butter and bacon grease, make a flour roux. Whisk the butter and grease over a medium heat, and move constantly until the butter begins to brown. Whisk in a little balsamic vinegar and then whisk in the flour, mustard seed, and some black pepper and paprika. Over low heat, keep whisking for about five minutes, until the flour is cooked but not thickened. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more bacon grease. If too thin, add flour (carefully). If it begins to clot or burn, reduce the heat and add a bit more butter or grease, and a bit of milk. When done the mixture should be light golden brown, and a thick creamy texture.

Lightly beat the eggs, then incorporate them thoroughly into the milk (alternately, temper the beaten egg mixture by beating some of the roux into it, then fold the tempered mixture back in and whisk for 2 minutes or so - this will ensure that no raw egg is in the sauce if necessary). Whisk 1 cup of the milk egg mixture into the roux on a medium-low heat, and begin incorporating the cheese Slowly add a total of 3/4 of the cheese, and the rest of the milk, incorporating and smoothing the mixture thoroughly as you go. Incorporate the rest of the seasonings in this process.

Once the cheese has been incorporated stir on the heat for about 2 minutes, and crumble in the drained bacon. Then the ground beef, or sauteed chicken, and stir for 2-3 minutes.

Drain but do not wash the pasta, and combine the pasta and sauce mixture together in the pot.

Heat a little butter and bacon grease in the pan, and lightly toss the breadcrumbs in the mixture over the heat.

Lightly coat the bottom of a 9x12 deep baking pan (or similar size) with the breadcrumb mixture, and sprinkle a full layer of cheese over it. Pour in the macaroni mixture, then cover with breadcrumbs and the remainder of the shredded jack and cheddar. Sprinkle parmaggiano and crumbled feta over the top, and bake at 350 until the cheese forms a crust with dark brown edges and peaks.

This recipe serves 4-6 people as a full (large) meal, and 8 as a side dish. If served as a main dish, I highly recommend making some bacon grease cornbread to go with it. It's carb-tastic!

Oh and cornbread makes a GREAT bread topping instead of standard bread crumbs.

And be sure to check out:

Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 10 - It's the meat stupid
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 9 - Labor Day Potatos
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 8 - It's a pork fat thing
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 7 - It may not be Kosher...
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 6 - Andouille Guiness Chili
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 5 - Eazza the Ultimate Pizza

Recipes for REAL men, Volume 4 - Two Pound Meat Sauce
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 3 - Highbrow Hash
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 2 - MuscleCarbonara
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 1 - More Beef than Stew

Posted by cbyrne at 12:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

To all would be Jihadis...

Hello again. I see that a lot of you are hitting my pages due to forum posts on various muslim boards, and I've had a few more death threats in the last few days.

Oh gee, I'm so frightened.

No real need to say again everything I've said already, I'll just link all the posts again.

http://anarchangel.blogspot.com/2005/07/this-guy-does-horrible-things-to-koran.html
http://anarchangel.blogspot.com/2005/07/far-fetched.html
http://anarchangel.blogspot.com/2005/07/updates-and-reactions.html
http://anarchangel.blogspot.com/2005/07/why-did-i-do-it.html

http://anarchangel.blogspot.com/2005/07/responding-to-comments-etc.html
http://anarchangel.blogspot.com/2005/07/to-folks-at-mahjoobcom.html
http://anarchangel.blogspot.com/2005/07/fatwah.html
http://anarchangel.blogspot.com/2005/06/team-infidel.html

Honestly, how do you folks even take yourselves seriously, never mind anyone else taking you seriously?

Oh, and a side note: Since the initial death threats, any threatening or suspicious emails I have recieved, and all unusual log hits, have been forwarded to the FBI. I will of course continue this practice.

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December 19, 2005

Christmas Favorites

So I was thinking about what would my "top 20" Christmas and holiday songs be for a single CD... and let me tell you that's pretty hard to do actually.

See I sing, and I grew up singing choral music, so theres a LOT of hymns, and choral stuff that I love; but are pretty obscure. Also I jsut love singing chirstmas songs (both carols and pop tunes). It's sometimes hard to separate the songs I love to sing, from the songs I jsut plove to here (or both).

Honestly 20 isn't enough, but I figured it'd make a good CD, so that's what I included. Also I don't want to sort the songs by order of favorites, because it really depends.

I've included an artist reference for my favorite versions:

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Andy Williams
Silent Night Bing Crosby
The First Noel Bing Crosby
White Christmas Bing Crosby
Little Drummer Boy Bing Crosby and David Bowie
Let it Snow Burl Ives
Baby it’s cold outside Dean Martin
Adeste Fideles Luciano Pavarotti
Hark the Herald Nat King Cole
Have yourself a merry little Christmas Nat King Cole
Oh Holy Night Nat King Cole
Oh little town of Bethlehem Nat King Cole
Oh Tannenbaum Nat King Cole
The Christmas Song Nat King Cole
I’ll be home for Christmas Perry Como
Silver Bells Perry Como
Pretty Paper Randy Travis
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Roger Whittaker
Carol of the Bells Trans Siberian Orchestra with Choir
Joy to the world Various (I like a bunch of different versions, some solo, some choir)

Oh and my ten favorite christmas music artists in not a very particular order:

Nat King Cole (the best voice for the softer songs)
Burl Ives
Bing Crosby
Dean Martin
Andy Williams
Perry Como
Luciano Pavarotti (no-one does the projecting songs better)
Elvis
Randy Travis
Roger Whittaker (great christmas music, hate his other stuff)

Instrumentally I dig Vince Guaraldi, Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and the old Arthur Feidler stuff with the Boston Pops (though John Williams did the christmas concerts 100 times better, I just never hear those recordings. I went to them a lot as a kid growing up in Boston).

And no, I don't have any women on my favorite chirstmas singer list. The songs I like, I just prefer the male voices on; again probably because I'm a singer myself.

Let's make it a meme; pass it on.

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A Christmas Tale

Now here's a man who understands the true history of Christmas...


Oh and yes, that is a somewhat stylized picture of my tree. We started putting it up at about 2100 last night, and finished about 0045.

I went out looking for fake trees that didnt suck this year, and all I could find was prelit trees. Every unlit tree I saw was a real piece of junk. Finally I gave up and just bought a prelit one.

We went out to Michaels and had a bit of an ornamental orgy, because all their handmade ornaments were 80% off (hand blown glass, and glass sculpture ornaments for $1 and $2 a piece), then we got a bunch of satin red, gloss green, gloss blue, and clear with gold plain bulbs in a few different sizes. Oh and that brocade teddy bear tree skirt. I LOVE that thing.

I REALLY need to fluff this tree out some more, and maybe take about 2/3 of those white bulbs out and replace them with colored ones. Get some reflections in the glass of the ornaments etc...

Oh and no-one sells tinsel, or "icicles" as some may know it, or the fuzzy metallic mylar garlands around here anymore. Yeah they're tacky, but it's kind of christmas tradition with me...

Up next, wrapping all those damn gifts. A lot of irregularly shaped ones, and one the size of a pre-teen boy. Joy is mine, it is, it is...

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December 15, 2005

This is why he's one of my faves

The irreplaceable Eric Raymond writes:
"I like it when villains or dangerous idiots are killed by their own folly. That seems just to me. More importantly, it’s how other people learn not to be that way. It’s evolution in action; it improves the meme pool, or the gene pool, or both.

This is actually one of my gut reasons for favoring drug legalization, though I’d never thought it through quite so far before. I don’t think we have enough selective pressures against idiocy any more; I’d like idiots to have more chances to kill themselves, ideally before they get old enough to vote or reproduce. Not because I relish their deaths, but because I want to live in a future with fewer idiots in it."

Frikking brilliant. Read the whole thing.

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Topic for debate

If Ted Williams hadn't taken four seasons out of the prime of his career to do his duty as a U.S. Marine; he would now be regarded as the greatest baseball hitter of all time, (instead of the fourth or fifth) and possibly the greatest PLAYER of all time (instead of 8th to 10th as he currently polls).

Williams always considered himself a Marine first, and a ball player second. Good man.

Followup proposition: Against todays pitching (and defense in general), the great hitters of the 30's through 60's would be mediocre players. Todays level of training, preparation, athleticism, and natural talent is so high that none but the absolute best of the games past could measure up.

Example: 2003 ALCS

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December 14, 2005

Thank god for Barry Beelzebub

THIS is what you get with an out of control welfare state:
"So what are we to do with the Atkins/Williams family? You know. The one that’s had more media exposure than that bloody Crazy Frog advert in the past few days.

That we have to call them the Atkins/Williams family should give you a clue. The matriarch, single mother Julie Atkins (38), is a product our family-free society. She has three daughters, some of whom appear to be called Williams, presumably in honour of a long-departed "father".

And now we really get into it. Eldest daughter Natasha got pregnant at 16 and gave birth to a daughter called Amani. (The fact that she can’t even spell "Armani" is a matter for the education authorities in Derby, where the family lives.)

The father of Amani does not appear to be on the scene. Described as a 38-year-old Asian gambler who still lives with his mum and dad, he must be fervently hoping that his parents aren’t in the habit of watching television or reading newspapers. One toss of the dice too far, eh pal?

We now turn to daughter number two, a 15-year-old called Jade, who gave birth to a daughter called Lita last December. (Why the child is named after a Bristol City striker is neither here nor there. The father is a local teenager who appears to have conveniently forgotten the one-night stand that resulted in his offspring.)

If this wasn't enough, may I introduce Atkins/Williams daughter number three? Step forward Jemma, pregnant at 12 and mother of 14-month-old T-Jay. A boy, I think. (Bear with me on these names. At least the kid isn't called Matalan or Lidl. Yet.)

Now it doesn't take a genius to work out that young Jemma must have been having sex at the age of 11. What is surprising is that her mother apparently knew of the situation and possibly even condoned it, allowing her child to cavort with her "boyfriend" in the next-door bedroom. The mind truly boggles.

When I was 11, I was still collecting stamps and had only just started smoking. The thought of playing Doctors and Nurses with members of the opposite sex would have been quite outrageous. Apart from the odd dalliance with Helen Swinbank in her Wendy House, of course.

The Atkins/Williams family came to national attention after complaining locally about the awful conditions they have to live in. Their three-bedroomed council house (and didn't you just know that was coming) is apparently too small for this multiplying brood and they would like somewhere bigger, if you don't mind.

For the record, this State-funded baby factory brings in around £31,000 a year in benefits, paid for by you and me. They pay no rent or council tax. They have a big telly and a DVD player. And a freezer full of Findus Crispy Pancakes. And free lottery tickets every Saturday.

So who do we blame for this situation? Who do we take to task for the fact that an 11-year-old girl is having sex with the connivance of her own mother? Well not the feckless Ms Atkins for a start. She blames the schools and the government. According to her, none of her children received sufficient sex education at school and therefore fell foul of what they thought was innocent horseplay.

What rubbish. Innocent horseplay at the age of 11 is playing conkers and tag in the playground. Not re-enacting porn films with a boy just out of long trousers while your mother sleeps in the next bedroom. As a parent I feel sick to even think about it. Frankly, I'd call the police. The woman is an accomplice to a clear-cut case of statutory rape.

And anyway, the fact that her eldest daughter, Natasha, managed to sleep her way through two miscarriages and an abortion before producing a child gives lie to that assertion. Hadn't the stupid girl worked out by then what was causing the morning sickness and the craving for coal?

But however horrific these local difficulties might be, we have to accept that for many children, shelling out illegitimate kids like a Birds Eye combine harvester is simply a career move. They have no ambition, no plans for the life ahead. A quick bunk-up with a passing hoodie and Hey Presto! They're someone, they're a mother.

And with that status come the rewards. Benefits sufficient enough to provide a steady supply of cheap white cider, packets of Lambert & Butlers and some Elizabeth Duke bling. Food for the cuckoos in the nest, even if it does only amount to microwave pizzas and oven chips. And perhaps even their own council flats, where they can entertain further passing scrotes.

Then come the ASBOs, the additional multi-coloured kids, the elasticated waistbands, the tattoos and, eventually, the disability benefits from obesity and chronic smoking. With a bit of luck, the ever-swelling brood will by then be asthmatic, reaping further rewards. And special needs, of course. Which means a free car. It's like Bingo, only in real life.

And you have to say, as a career plan it beats working your balls off for 50 years only to find out that your pension has been swallowed up by the demands of the welfare state. And Gordon Brown.

In other countries such teenage fecundity would be encouraged. After all, we need more citizens coming into the workforce to help look after the swelling ranks of the old. There is only one problem with that theory. In all likelihood, the offspring of the likes of Natasha, Jade and Jemma will merely continue the cycle of state-funded leeching. They won't contribute to society. They'll just continue to take, setting up baby factories and feral hoodie gangs of their own.

There is only one way to tackle this problem. Before any woman under the age of 25 is allowed to have a child, she must first obtain a Baby Licence. She will only be able to do this by first proving that she has the basic intelligence, the financial means, and the secure family structure that will allow her to bring up the child properly.

Any tracksuit-wearing trollop who "falls pregnant" whilst not in possession of a licence will face a compulsory termination. End of story. (And don't pull that face at me, Ms Middle Class Lefty. It suited you to have your potential sprog aborted when promotion beckoned. All we're doing is making the decision for those incapable of reasoning for themselves.)

And do you know the saddest aspect of this story? I've had to abandon this column's Scrote of the Year Contest. Once Julie Atkins appeared on the scene, there was only one winner."

Yaknow what's frightning, Ireland is even worse in a lot of cases. I realize there are a lot of references those on this side of the pond wont get, but trust me, it's bad.

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Aaron MacGruder may hate white people...

... but he is one funny sum'bitch





Posted by cbyrne at 08:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Politically IN-correct

Posted by cbyrne at 08:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A near perfect review

This review nails exactly what I disliked about "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe", and indeed has that same sense of "I liked the movie, but there was a lot I didn't like and here's what"... http://www.decentfilms.com/sections/reviews/2641
"All these missteps add up to the difference between what could easily have been one of the greatest family films of all time, and what is, instead, merely a good one. Though the film misses greatness, even in this diminished form Lewis’s story is still well worth seeing, and the film adds enough to the experience to keep things fresh."

Sadly, that is exactly correct. I liked the movie very much, but I could have truly loved it, had it been done better.

Here's hoping that the 110 million domestic in just the first two weekends (and DVD sales are going to be a screamer for this one... I'd guess total worldwide gross of around $400 million plus more in DVD sales) prompts them to continue the series, and do a better job of it.

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December 13, 2005

Justice is Done

At 12:35 am pacific standard time this morning, Stanley "Tookie" Williams was executed for the crimes of murdering Albert Owens, Tsai-Shai Yang, Yen-I Yang, and Yee Chen Lin.

Before his execution he had this final statement:

"My lack of fear of this barbaric methodology of death, I rely upon my faith. It has nothing to do with machismo, with manhood, or with some pseudo former gang street code. This is pure faith, and predicated on my redemption. So, therefore, I just stand strong and continue to tell you, your audience and the world that I am innocent and, yes, I have been a wretched person, but I have redeemed myself. And I say to you and all those who can listen and will listen that redemption is tailor-made for the wretched, and that's what I used to be….That's what I would like the world to remember me. That's how I would like my legacy to be remembered as: a redemptive transition, something that I believe is not exclusive just for the so-called sanctimonious, the elitists. And it doesn't -- is not predicated on color or race or social stratum or one's religious background. It's accessible for everybody. That's the beauty about it. And whether others choose to believe that I have redeemed myself or not, I worry not, because I know and God knows, and you can believe that all of the youths that I continue to help, they know, too. So with that, I am grateful….I say to you and everyone else, god bless. So take care."
A bit sanctimonious, but still... I don't know I think the guy had a hell of an ego, but I really do think he was indeed ready to be judged by God.

I surely hope that California still commences it's executions with a priest or minister intoning "and may God have mercy on his soul". If Tookie is true in his repentence, then he just may.

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Only a gun nut

So the last few times I've walked around in these shoes I've noticed a jingling sound. I didnt really think much of it, but jsut now I was walking with no change and no keys, and it was irritating me.

So I take the shoe off, flip it over, and what do I find?

Somehow a 9mm shell casing, had trapped itself INSIDE the sole of my shoe (rubber sole with internal bracing for shock absorbtion), along with a pebble; and it was rattling around in there.

I just couldnt stop laughing.

Oh and it wasn't mine either. It had a glock firing pin impression and I don't own a 9mm Glock anymore; and the last range trip with a friend who does, we weren't shooting this brand of ammo.

Funny stuff

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Being Irish

Got these in a forwarded email, and I couldn't resist. They are generally true for me, though I'm 6'2", I DO sing very well, my sisters are 10 years younger than me (two step sisters, Patricia and Kirsten), and I don't play golf good OR bad(but the rest of my family does).

I've highlighted those especially relevant ones in red

Being Irish means...

  • you will never play professional basketball
  • you swear very well
  • at least one of your cousins holds political office
  • you think you sing very well
  • you have no idea how to make a long story short
  • you are very good at playing a lot of very bad golf
  • there isn't a huge difference between losing your temper and killing someone
  • much of your food was boiled
  • you have never hit your head on the ceiling
  • you spent a good portion of your childhood kneeling
  • you're strangely poetic after a few beers
  • you're poetic a lot
  • you will be punched for no good reason...a lot
  • some punches directed at you are legacies from past generations
  • your sister will punch you because your brother punched her
  • many of your sisters are Catherine, Elizabeth or Mary...and one is Mary Catherine Elizabeth
  • someone in your family is incredibly cheap
  • it is more than likely you
  • you don't know the words but that doesn't stop you from singing
  • you can't wait for the other guy to stop talking so you can start talking
  • "Irish Stew" is the euphemism for "boiled leftovers from the fridge"
  • you're not nearly as funny as you think you are, but what you lack in talent, you make up for in frequency
  • there wasn't a huge difference between your last wake and your last kegger party
  • you are, or know someone, named "Murph"
  • if you don't know Murph, then you know "Mac"
  • if you don't know Murph or Mac, then you know "Sully"
  • you'll probably also know Sully McMurphy
  • you are genetically incapable of keeping a secret
  • your parents were on a first name basis with everyone at the local emergency room

The town I grew up in is according to the census bureau the most Irish and most catholic town in America. I just went to my high school reunion, and yeah Rory, Sully, Murph, Mick, Maureen, Maeve... Connoly, Flannagan, Flaherty, Doherty, Murphy, Sullivan, Colleary, Hannigan, Gallagher...

My family? Forget about it. Hell I have aunts Mary, Catherine, Alice, Maureen, Susan, Allison, and Helen, and uncles Robert, Patrick, John, Brian, Thomas and David.

Yes, every last one of them is named after a saint (including myself, and my father who I am named after, and his fater who we are both named after), if you count the ones only the irish count.

I have more than 10 cousins and an uncle named Patrick.

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December 12, 2005

How I spent my Sunday

I woke up next to this:
Then she woke up, and was less than thrilled with having her picture taken. I don't particularly care.

I spent the day driving this:

In a lovely little small town in southeastern Arizona

Then I went flying in this (different plane but same type. The pic I took didn't come out):

Aint I a lucky bastard?

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December 10, 2005

Lions and witches and wardrobes oh my

Ok firs tthings first. GO see it now. Best movie this christmas without a doubt.

A few details that irritated or caught me:

They were mostly respectful and very good with the christian alegory, but sometime sthe imagery was a bit heavy handed or 'cute. Note the spear in Edmunds side for example.

The whole white witch = Boudiccea thing was irritating.

Actually I really liked Tilda Swintons performance, but she never showed any of the fear or venality that should have been part of the role; only defiance and ass kickitude.

The kids were cute, really looked like a family, and were decent performers (rather important that; but a lot of little irritations:

1. Peter is a stronger character than that
2. Susan is both sweeter, and more annoying
3. Edmund... well they jsut screwed that one up

The kid who played Edmund did a great job, but the screen play and direction just butchered his character (whe is actually the most important of the kids in the later books).

Side note, he apparently grew 6" over the filming of the movie, and it definitely showed.

Production design was great, and the animation was excellent, but the anti-aliasing on composited shots was poor. You could clearly see the environmental differences between animated and real, even in matted backgrounds.

Oh and some names and places were messed with a bit. Part of the hollywood thing really.

I should note, great voice acting all around; but liam neeson didnt have enough resonance or depth for Aslan. Or at least they didn't mix him that way.


So now that I'm done criticising, let me say again, this is a great movie, you will be smiling from beginning to end, your kids will love it... GO SEE IT

Oh and buy them the books. Read them to your kids if they are too young, or have them read them, but please buy them. Jack Lewis is one of the great authors of all time, and every child should read these books.

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The Prometheus Society?

A commenter left a link to an article about the prevalence of social and psychological difficulties in those with extremely high intelligence. Interesting article, from the prometheus society.

I was familiar with the various 999 clubs and societies, and Mensa (and was once a member of Mensa - too many assholes), but not Prometheus. Anyone have any experience with them?

Apparently I qualify having recieved over 149 on the SBIV, though my old SAT score was only 1540 and they want 1560 (new would be 1600. They changed the norming and scaling in '95). Actually I qualify in several ways from several of the tests. Of course finding the records of those... oy I probably don't want to bother.

But if the organization is useful and interesting, maybe...

Oh and I jsut took the "International High I.Q. society - ultimate I.Q. test" and only got 136; but again, it's one of the worst formatted tests I've ever seen. Only 35 questions, more than half of them were on geometric pattern recognition (worse, dependingt on pseudo-random color patterns as well), and several of them had what I would at best call highly ambiguous answers i.e. none of the options availabe were entirely correct; or multiple options were.

One of the things I really hate is when they ask a question that if framed as pure SIMPLE physics would have a definite answer, but if taken in the real world example that they use to frame the question the correct answer in pure COMPLEX physics would be incorrect.

Classic example...

Imagine a monkey, suspended by a frictionless pully, with a frictionless rope, and no rolling resistance; counterbalanced exactly by a weight on the other side. What will happen if the monkey starts to climb:

1. The weight will rise and the money will not move
2. The weight will rise and the monkey will fall
3. The weight will fall and the monkey will rise
4. The weight will not move and the monkey will climb
5. nothing will move
6. The weight and the monkey will both move higher

Okay so the SIMPLE physics answer is 4, the monkey will climb. Assuming the system maintains equilibrium of mass, then it will remain in balance, whether the monkey is climbing or not.

The only problem is, that assumes an inertialess system with no swing in the rope.

If the monkey is EXACTLY counterbalanced by the weight, then the energy the monkey expends in overcoming it's inerta, the energy of acceleration, and the swing in the rope are going to cause the weight to bob a bit; and over the length of the climb, the weight is going to very slightly change position.

How about this one,

You have two containers one with 1 liter of water, the other with 1 liter of milk. Take one teason of milk and evenly mix it into the water to make a water/milk mixture. Now take one teaspoon of the water/milk mixture and mix it into the milk to form a milk/water mixture.

There is now:

More milk in the milk water mixture
More water in the water milk mixture
More milk in the water milk mixture
More water in the milk water mixture
The same amount of water and milk in both mixtures

So anyone see the immediate and obviou problem with this question?

MILK IS MOSTLY WATER ALREADY.

Or is that just overthinking the problem?

Posted by cbyrne at 09:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Smartness cult continued

Occaisonal commentor, and general philosopher and prognosticator Francis Poretto had this to say about my "How Anal am I" post from thursday:
"Good, professionally developed tests of any sort give consistent results, which this one does not.

As regards IQ testing for the 0.01% of the population six or more standard deviations above the mean, there are inherent problems. Standardizing such tests is next to impossible, and making them sufficiently challenging to measure fine variations among persons that gifted risks making them incapable of gauging ordinary intelligence, for a variety of reasons. So if you're one of those fortunate few, the numbers will always be wildly variable.

Myself, I don't obsess over it."

Lord knows I am well aware of the standardized testing issues. I jsut hate tests that are poorly constructed; and unfortunately as near as I can tell that includes ALL I.Q. tests no matter who built them or delivers them; at least if you're "smarter" than about 140 or so.

The highest I've ever scored on an I.Q. test was an estimated 220 (almost none of the tests even try to measure over 200, and anything over 140 is an estimate) when I was three years old.

They wanted to put me in first grade. I was both physically large enough (I was 5ft at 9, and I stopped growing between 12 and 13, at 6'2"), and emotionally mature enough (you wouldn't last long in my family if you weren't); but my mother was adamantly against "Treating me different because I was smart".

One of the many many huge parenting mistakes she made over the years. I love her, and she did her best, but even she admits she was a horrible mother.

Here's the thing though, I grew up in a family of loser geniuses. Not a one of my aunts and uncles has an I.Q. under 120, and most of them are over 140 - but none of them were able to deal with it, and all of them were and are basically losers in the game of life, given their intellectual capabilities; though some have made good.

Grandmother, grandfather, father, mother, all over 150. My father is a lifetime criminal who has spent more than half of MY lifetime in prison. My mother had one small business after another because she jsut couldnt live with a "normal" job, but after a few years she would abandon the previous business and move on to the next, even if it was successful; because she jsut didn't care or got bored.

I taught myself how to read between age two and three. By the time I was five I was regularly reading Steven King, Heinlein, Asimov, Herbert etc...

All of that put me into a "special" category for as long as I attended state schools (all of whom got extra money simply for having me there). My Mom hated it, but my grandfather LOVED every minute of it. Here I was, pride of the family, scion of the generation...

My family were (and are) such perfectionists it's kind of difficult to decribe. If I got a 98 in school, the comment was never "Great, an A", it was "Why didn't you get 100... wasn't there extra credit you could take".

I was poked, prodded, tested, turned inside out... I learned to fuck with psychobabblers heads by the time I was about 8. I would get every question right on the test, but deliberately invert the answer key, or deliberately get the hardest questions right and the easiest wrong etc...

When I was a kid my mother refused to let me skip grades, which I always found kind of irritating because I was doing high school course work by the time I was in 3rd grade, and college work by the time I was in 6th. She ABSOLUTELY refused to send me to private school full time, or any special schools for the gifted, both of which were makign me offers all the time. One time the state even tried to take me away from her because some psychiatrist said she was endangering my welfar by not letting me go. She DID at least let me attend the accelerated and supplemental classes.

By the time I was 13 I was just tired of it and I refused to participate in any more unless there was a clear and direct advantage to my doing so; or the law required it (like the CTBS, SB, and ASVAB).

It's funny, but I finished highschool with a 4.5 GPA (extra GPA credit was given in my school for AP classes) and too many incompletes and absences to graduate. I tested out of high school at 16, and went to college with enough advanced credit to be between a sophmore and a junior in my first semester.

I joined the Air Force the day I turned 17, and finished my degree (double major Aerospace Engineering and Comp. Sci. with a minor in math) while serving in the AF, at 19.

You know what I got out of it? Burned out at 24 with a failed marriage, a business and economy in the shitter, ulcers, overweight, overstressed...

All in all not worth it.

I wouldn't change my intelligence for theworld; it is part of the very definition of who I am. It's transparent to me; as I said in "The Smartness Cult". Sometimes people ask me why I'm so smart, or why I know all this stuff (or sometimes why I'm a know-it-all) and all I can say is "Why are you a girl, and I'm a boy".

And of course the one that always gets them "Yup, I've got an I.Q. over 180. That and $4.50 gets you a latte".

I won't even get into the cow orker issue...

Ahhh I'm just rambling. It's Saturday morning and I got up too early (girlfriend had to leave early for work, got up with her)...

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December 09, 2005

Ooooh, UF gets political

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December 08, 2005

How anal am I?

Your IQ Is 140
Your Logical Intelligence is Below Average

Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius

Your Mathematical Intelligence is Genius

Your General Knowledge is Genius

A Quick and Dirty IQ Test

So I was pretty sure I got every question right, but for some reason I got a "below average" on logical intelligence.

I was irritated by that, so I went back and tried out every single answer for every single question to see all the various possibilities. I was in fact correct, I got every question right; but it seems that you cannot score more than 140, and as far as I can tell it always says you are below average at logic unless you score perfect on the logic questions, and get other non logic questions wrong.

Argh, poor test construction, argh.

Oh and the last real I.Q. test I took I got a synthetic I.Q. of 186 (which is a combination of your various aptitudes, and the speeds at which you answered things etc...). I've seen various scores between a bit over 150 to over 200 depending on the test, the tester, my age, etc...

Posted by cbyrne at 03:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Good description, but I don't care for gin

You Are a Martini
There's no other way to say it: you're a total lush. You hold your liquor well, and you hold a lot of it!
What Mixed Drink Are You?
Posted by cbyrne at 02:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cursing Thunder Gel

Your Superhero Profile
Your Superhero Name is The Obsidian Dog Your Superpower is Cursing Your Weakness is Booty Your Weapon is Your Thunder Gel Your Mode of Transportation is Hang Glider
What's your Superhero Name?
Posted by cbyrne at 02:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

They would be funny if they werent so true


Posted by cbyrne at 10:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mighty Mouse

So that's a Kel-Tec P3AT, and if you're at 1280x1024, it should be show approximately actual size.

In particular, here are the tech specs:

Caliber: .380 AUTO
Weight unloaded: 8.3 oz

Loaded magazine: 2.8 oz
Length: 5.2"
Height: 3.5"
Width: .77"
Capacity: 6+1 rounds
Trigger pull: 5 lbs

Actually my trigger pull is a bit less than 5 lbs, and as good a DAO pull as any other pistol. Of course if it was crap, Kel-tec would fix it. They have an unlimited, no questions asked lifetime warranty, even for a not so hot trigger pull.

Oh, and it was only $210 for the parkerized version (about $40 off the going price and about $135 off MSRP).

So I bought mine at the gun show on the 3rd, then this past weekend I put several hundred rounds through it. During the break-in I never had a failure to feed or eject, never had a stove pipe, and had two ignition failures (both fired on the second pull) with the first box of ammo I ran through it and none afterwards so I'm guessing it was the ammo. I need to put another 250 rds through it for break in and to be REEEEALY sure.

First I just tried out a general shoot and reliability test with 100 rounds of white box. I also grabbed five 20rd boxes of various premium hollowpoint ammo, plus a 50rd box of the canonical .380 silvertip; and I shot all of them for groups to see what it liked best.

At 10 feet, all of the loads were a bit low and to the left for every shooter who tried it. The worst groups were with the remington premium at about 4”, and most of the rest were somewhere between 2 and 3.. except one that went into maybe 1.5”

It was a Winchester, but it wasn’t the silvertip like I expected (though it did come in second). The best groups were from the Winchester Premium Super-X SXT (the relabled black talon); which was actually the cheapest of the premium brands I tried out (though not by much).

Oh and I should mention, it's DAMN fun to shoot. Even with the hottest HP's (1000 fps from a 95gr bullet) it was a handful, but fun and snappy; without pain or too much jump.

I also grabbed a pocket holster and a little IWB, neither of which I particularly like, but both were $10. I’m looking for a decent replacement for each. I also grabbed the little pocket clip attachment, but it cracked while I was attaching it... of course remember Kel-tec has that lifetime warranty...

This little sucker is now my pocket gun/backup gun. Don't leave home without it.


Update: Interesting comparison graphic on the high road forums. I happen to own a Kahr, and it's my small carry piece. I appreciate the extra power of the 9mm and .40, but none of them (except the almost vaporware, damn near platinum plated rohrbaugh) disappear into a jeans pocket.

Posted by cbyrne at 08:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It followed me home...

I was just standing there minding my own business, when this pretty little rifle came up to me, begging for a new place to live. What could I do, it was out there all alone, in the cold, it looked so sad...

The "IT" in question is a sporterized Remington arms U.S. rifle model of 1903, basically a chopped and channelled version of the classic '03 Springfield.

I can't read all of the markings, because of the scope mounting, so I can't tell which precise '03 model it is, or the manufacture date; but the Remington arms markings are clearly visible. The barrel is a properly cut and crowned (just in front of the RA markings actually) 22", for a handy seven or so pound weight. Even better, the trigger has been well worked over, breaking at a perfectly crisp and consistent 3lb 2oz.

The sporterizing job looks to be from the late 50's or early '60s; assuming the hardware is original to the work, though the stock may be newer. It's got some fairly distinctive sling swivels, and had a late 50's vinatage 4x fixed scope on it which seemed to be orginal (the scope in the pics is another of mine put there just for testing purposes); though the scope bases have been repleaced with mediocre quality pieces. From the tapped locations I'd say it was originally a bridged base; and I think I'll put one back on there (oh and I'm thinking one of the new Burris FullField IIs on there. Maybe the 3-9x50...)

Actually, what really attracted me to the rifle was the wood; and let me tell you the pics don't do it justice at all. The wood on this rifle is drop dead gorgeous, as you can somewhat see in these detail photos of the forend and grip cap.

The stock looks almost like a Fajen that was popular in the '80s, but I've seen stocks almost exactly like it coming out of Europe from the '50s through the '70s; and from Bishop starting in the mid 70s. The figuring, contrast and warmth of the grain are very much not apparent from the photos, the wood is far prettier in person .

The extended swept pistol grip is elegant and comfortable, the dropped euro style comb with the pronounced monte carlo cheekrast mounts up very quickly, and very comfortably welds to my cheek. The action is EXTREMELY well bedded, and very solidly mounted in the wood. All in all, I'd say some excellent custom work went into the rifle; though the metal finish itself is so-so. It's been rust blued, and the finish on the barrel is decent (though has some wear), but the reciever has a bit of color mis match in the rust bluing. Also there are still machining marks visible, so this was clearly a functional sporter, not some high dollar luxo-conversion.

Oh and the best part? $250 out the door.

Well, range trip next week hopefully, followed by a range report. Oh and I've got some other range reports to post as well, watch this space.

Now I own an AR, an M14, an '03 (albeit a sporter), a couple of 1911's, and an HK USP. I guess I jsut need an M1 garand, a Beretta M92 and a couple of military revolvers, and I'll complete the set.

Posted by cbyrne at 01:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 07, 2005

A Date Which Will Live In Infamy

"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya. Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam. Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island. This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounded determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December seventh, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire."

Posted by cbyrne at 09:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 06, 2005

Manic Depressive who-villain

Damn this day just keeps getting better and better...
Posted by cbyrne at 05:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pthga-pthooey

Lord I love my friends... I'm sure I'll stop laughing eventually:
DFWMTX: A choice between Jillary Clinton and John McCain might make people take Christopher Walken 2008 or Cthullu for President more seriously. And Satan is still sticking with his slogan for 2008, “Why vote for the LESSER of two evils?”


Kim du Toit: Silly me... I always thought Hillary Clinton was Cthulhu.

DFWMTX: Please don't slander the good name of Cthulhu by associating it with Hillary Clinton. At least I know Cthulhu's position on whether it wants to eat my soul or not (it does) and it's position doesn't change to garner votes from either side of the spectrum.

If that aint worth a fibblesnork, what is?

Posted by cbyrne at 05:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Less lethal

"But why didnt you jsut use a less-lethal force like a stun gun or pepper spray. You don't need to shoot someone..."

We hear that a lot actually. I think everyone who carries a gun openly on a regular basis will have that conversation at least once; and certainly anyone who does any self defense instruction has it on a regular basis.

I always recommend a gun for self defense, unless in my estimation the person cannot, or will not, achieve the necessary skill, knowledge and mind-set to employ a gun safely in defense of themselves or others, and heres why:

Less-lethal technologies don't always work; and they sometimes cause even more problems for the users defending themselves.

Just ask Rodney King...

If you ever get the opportunity, take some less-lethal force training. It's ... interesting stuff.

The basic concept is this: If you are going to use these devices responsibly and effectively, you must see how they are used, and experience them for yourself (if it is safe to do so) so you know what to expect, and what it feels like.

If you're thinking being the instructor for this course would be a great position for an evil sadist, you'd be correct.

A few years ago I took a two day course in less than lethal force technologies and applications.

On day one we went through various restraints (man come-alongs can hurt), bindings, and physical restraint techniques when unarmed, against unarmed and armed assailants, and with various size and configuration of batons (from shorty ASP to PR24 to classic billy, to a large mag-light) and other compliance devices.

The last part of the day was reserved for the various electrical devices i.e. Stun Guns.

Everyone got hit with various low powered stunners, and hit others with them. The rundown on the lower powered contact stunners is that they are quite painful and irritating, but they can be fought through or around depending on where you are hit and what kind of clothing you wear.

Signifcantly, it is very easy to shock yourself and lose control of the stunner with the smaller models.

Then we moved into the higher powered devices, those above 100kv... Yeah those HURT. Again, if it's a compact design you really have a significant risk of getting a nasty shock yourself, or having the device turned against you; and it is still possible to fight through them.

The Stun Batons on the other hand... DAMN. The 250kv solid baton (the extendable batons are all kinda flimsy)... did you ever see demolition man? Those stunners that they just touch to a guy and he's out? Yeah it's kinda like that except way more violent, and instead of a peaceful sleeep your twitching kicking and moaning on the ground.

That one was only tested on one volunteer, and since I was the biggest and most pain tolerant guy from the low powered testing, guess who the volunteer was.

Then we demonstrated a taser, on one of the instructors wearing heavy clothing. He was shocked, but he was able to draw and simulate firing a training weapon.

Here's the thing, for all of those devices except the taser, you have to be in contact with the assailant. Even if the device is effective, the wild thrashing the assailant will go through can injure you, especially if there is a knife or a gun involveds. You jsut can't count on these devices to protect you.

The final demonstration was the kidney belt. This is two high powered stun devices with probes contacting you all around your torso at kidney level. This device is specifically designed for the transport and restraint of high threat prisoners.

I dont care who you are, what kind of drugs you are on, how tough you are, what kind of beatings your dad gave you as a child... when they hit the belt, you are going to fall down crying and screaming. You rapidly and completely lose all voluntary motor control, and most higher mental function. You are literally only able to think "Hurts, stop hurting".

You will become compliant right frikken quick... assuming you have the ability to move or form coherent thought anyway.

You do not want the belt to be used on you. Ever.

Day two in the morning was various chemical repellants, markers, restraints etc... They demonstrated various high tech new toys like goop guns (video only), sticky net throwers, and pain balls (thick skinned water filled paintballs fired from an autotrigger paintball gun at high rates of fire).

We also got to go through all of the OC sprays, some of us got foamed by sticky foam that dyes the skin, CN and CS were demonstrated (and recommended only for riots and animal control). Since I'd been through CS training before it was no biggie; and I've been hit by OC more than once (long stories all) so that wasn't new.

Again, the chemical sprays have a major issue in that they often have unintended effects on the user, not simply on the assailant; and a determined assailant can fight through CN, CS, and OC in the normally available strengths.

Also, if you have Pulmonary/Respiratory or Cardiac problem, you do NOT want chemical irritants anywhere NEAR you. They can induce respiratory failure, or a cardiac event.

You know what really sucks though, OC and CS painballs. Yeah, they are paintballs like the ones I described above, only filled with OC or CS. Yeah those suck a lot. You really do not want to be hit by those.

Finally that afternoon they deomnstrated various less-lethal firearms and projectiles.

Once again, I "volunteered" to be a guniea pig for a demonstration.

Did you know that it's just about impossible to stand up after a 2oz bean bag has been fired into your thigh from 15 feet away. In fact it STAYS near impossible to stand up for several hours afterwards; and for about two weeks you'll remember that moment with distaste.

Then we got to shoot the various devices and projectiles at simulated targets, to wit galvanized steel trashcans filled with water.

Less-lethal is definitely a good word for these things. They used to call them "non-letahl" or "less than lethal" but they stopped doing that because it implied that they couldn't kill someone with them. That is simply untrue, because some of them are very definitely capable of killing someone, especially if used improperly.

They didn't demonstrate any of the more serious less-lethal projectiles on us, and shooting them into the trash cans you can see why. The Rubber and wood baton rounds from a 12ga, or from a grenade launcher are capable of completely crushing one of those cans in. I'm reasonably certain that a rib cage wouldnt be too much better off.

If you are firing a gun at someone with a projectile that can crush a rib cage, or shatter the orbit of the eye socket or the bridge of the nose and accidentally kill someone... aren't you better off using a lethal weapon like a gun? The tendency is to use less-lethal force more readily than lethal force, and I believe that in general at least as regards high powered stun devices, batons, and any of the projectile weapons, that this is incorrect. You should treat these devices as though they could kill the subject, and they should only be used as weapons of last resort...

Just as a lethal weapon is a weapon of last resort.

The training itself was extremely enlightening, and although I was in quite a bit of pain afterwards it was actually quite fun.

Oh and the reason I kept "Volunteering" ?

I was there for free, because a friend of mine was the main instructor for the course. He took GREAT pleasure in demonstrating all of these things on me.

Posted by cbyrne at 03:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Arbitrary and capricious

I just recieved this via corporate global email from a company I'm contracting for:
"In an effort to address escalating air quality issues, the Arizona State Legislature passed a law requiring all major employers within Maricopa County to reduce the number of single-occupant vehicles traveling to the workplace by ten percent. {insert company name here}, a Scottsdale-based corporation, is required to fully comply with this legislation.

In support of this initiative, Maricopa County is issuing a confidential survey regarding employee commuter habits and preferences. As part of the overarching legislative mandate, {insert company name here} is required to capture a 60% response rates to the surveys."

I see... and a local community government has the power to do this how? Precisely what grants them this authority? They will be enforcing it how? A state government even?

Honestly, can you imagine a government in this country seriously thinking they can do this?

Well no, that's wrong, I can imagine they DO think they have that power, along with thinking that they can push back the tides, and legislate how much sunshine each square yard should recieve... but as to actually doing it...

I have suddenly discovered I lack the capacity to ridicule this sufficiently. I can of course do my best, but it simply isn't enough.

Perhaps I should forward this to Misha and Kim and look out for explosions to my east...

Posted by cbyrne at 11:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

God I love Foamy

http://www.illwillpress.com/xmas.html
"I love Santa. He's a fat bastard, he works one day a year, is actually happy and he eats all the cookies he wants. He rewards the good, and he punishes the guilty. He's like a vigilante with gifts".

.."Tis the season to shut the fuck up and stop being a whiny little bitch. Stop ruining the holidays neo-yuppie scumbag, or I'll beat you with the baby jesus. BELIIIIIEEEEEVE IN THE POWER OF SANTA!"

Posted by cbyrne at 11:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 05, 2005

A little bitta soul

A couple of friends and I bought my girlfriend an SP101, bag, cleaning kit, accessories, and 500 rounds of ammo for her birthday/christmas present (pictures to follow when I get my scanner working later today).

She's a new shooter, and this is the first gun she's ever owned herself. We decided to get her a .357 revolver because she doesn't live in the greatest neighborhood, and because we all have .22's she can practice with. We went against a shotgun, because her arms are fairly short, and her rib cage, shoulders and chest are a bit large; so none of the shotties we tried fit well (including the youth models).

We went to the last gun show a few weeks back, and had her try out every different revolver we could, but I had a feeling she'd go for the small Ruger, or the medium S&W, and I was right.

We went with the SP101, because it’s a good little gun, and she liked the feel of it in her hand (the only one she really liked); but she (and I for that matter) doesn’t like the stock SP101 grip.

She said it felt cold and dead.

So this weekend I went to the gun show, and picked up a set of hand carved highly figured laminated rosewood finger groove grip panels for the gun.

When she first saw them on the gun she said “Ooooh, pretty and alive”. Then she picked it up and said “Much better, it has soul now”.

The grips feel great to us both, and we have what you might call widely divergent hand sizes (she wears a size 6 ring, I wear a size 13). The only problem is that they slightly impede ejection and the use of a speed loader. I may dremel them at some point, or we may just live with it because they are GORGEOUS.

I also grabbed some black silverwood hand carved finger groove grip panels for my 1911, but they need a little dremeling. I tried them out, and they feel GREAT, but the fit is just a bit off.

Sometimes, all you need is a little bitta soul.

Posted by cbyrne at 11:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 04, 2005

To True For Words

Posted by cbyrne at 07:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 02, 2005

Justice Denied

Justice Delayed is Justice denied

We hear that mantra frequently, from both sides of the judicial philosophy aisle; and it is a core concept of our justice system… or at least it was until the 1970’s (why is it that so many things got so much worse then.. well actually we know why that is, but that’s another topic entirely).

In 1969, Stanly “Tookie” Williams and Raymond Washington founded the most violent street gang in the history of the united states, the Crips. You might remember hearing about the crips every… oh about thirty seconds or so, during the ‘80s

That’s about how frequently they were murdering, raping, selling crack, stealing cars, robbing homes and businesses… hell it was probably every 5 seconds.

Over their 36 year history, the Crips are believed to be DIRECTLY responsible for at least 10,000 murders. Tookie himself is suspected of personal involvement in at least 30 murders; and may have ordered or been an accessory to hundreds. Of course those are just wild ass guesses but they have been repeated in the media often enough, and by law enforcement often enough, it’s entered the national consciousness as “true”.

Tookie is on death row; not for being the founder of the gang, but for the robbery and murder of Albert Owens, Tsai-Shai Yang, Yen-I Yang, and Yee Chen Lin, in 1979.

There is no question that Tookie is guilty of these crimes. He confessed to them (to informants. Publicly he has always proclaimed his innocence) while in prison after his sentencing. He robbed and very brutally murdered those people, he was convicted, and sentenced to death in 1981.

From 1983 until 1990 Tookie was placed in solitary confinement for fighting, assaulting guards, and for ordering murders from prison. He bragged about how many cops he had personally killed. He was in every way a monster.

Do you believe in redemption?

I believe that people can change. I believe that people can redeem themselves for their prior bad acts, and can live good lives going forward. Lord knows I have done many things that I need to redeem in my lifetime; I think we all have.

But I also believe in personal responsibility, and in consequences for your actions. I believe that justice requires the redress of wrongs, whether in money, or in some cases in blood.

In 1993, Tookie had a personal revelation. I won’t say he was born again, though he says that he found his way back to god as part of it. Tookie finally realized the pain and suffering he had caused. He finally felt remorse. Tookie woke up, and became a man; taking responsibility for his actions as the founder of the gang… though he has never lawfully confessed to them.

Tookie started educating himself, and he started writing. He wrote about his life, and his experiences. He wrote about life in prison. He wrote about gang life, and how it was destroying our cities and our black youth.

Tookie started working as an anti-gang activist. He’s helped out law enforcement to combat gangs and gang violence. He wrote more.

Tookie has been nominated four times for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work against gangs. He may even win it. In fact, considering the other nominees, he probably deserves it.

From all reports, Tookie became a genuinely good man.

Let me be clear, I honestly believe that Tookie has had a complete turnaround. I believe he has become a good man. I believe that one can redeem themselves; and I think he has done it; at least as much as is possible.

But Tookie still needs to die.

Tookies conversion, and his redemption, change nothing. He still killed those four people, he was convicted, all of his appeals have been heard, and denied.

For 24 years, the families of those murdered; and of all the other people who’s lives he ended, or destroyed; have been waiting for him to die. For 24 years the will of the people has been delayed.

I have a serious problem with the death penalty. I believe that it is just; and that it is neither cruel, nor unusual; but I just don’t trust the state with that much power. I don’t necessarily trust juries with that much power. But when it is absolutely clear that a man has ended the life of another without good cause; then it is justified that man be killed.

There is no doubt that Tookie Williams murdered AT LEAST those four people; and his redemption changes nothing.

The rule of law, a law that is clearly constitutional, a law that is approved by the legislature, the courts, and the people; has declared that Tookie has to die.

All of Tookies Appeals have been exhausted. His execution date has been set for later this month. His defense team has taken the final step in asking California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for executive clemency, because they say Tookie is a changed man; he’s not even the same man that commited those crimes so long ago.

But he IS the same man. He may be completely changed, but he is still responsible for his actions, and he must suffer the consequences of those actions.

On December 13th 2005 Tookie Williams has to die.

Justice Delayed, is Justice Denied

Posted by cbyrne at 10:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 30, 2005

I feel your pain

Posted by cbyrne at 01:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 29, 2005

Dum spiramus, tuebimur

While we breathe, we shall defend...
HASH(0x8b4b010)

Protector of the Light

Class: Archangel
Alliance: Light

You tend to be a very honorable person. At the same
time you are calm, level-headed, and capable of
holding it together in a crisis. Your role
would be that of Protector. As a Protector of
the Light you would take a defensive stance
against the forces of evil. You are the strong
presence that works to keep others safe.
Your Anglic Name: Gabriel


Which Warrior Angel are You and Whose Side are You On? (With Anime Pics)
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by cbyrne at 04:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This honestly makes me want to vomit

Honestly, if you can read this without being sickened, I don't want to know you. Abortionist Hagiography
Offering Abortion, Rebirth

"Yes, an Arkansas doctor says, he destroys life. But he believes the thousands of women who have relied on him have been 'born again.' "

By Stephanie Simon, Times Staff Writer

"His first patient of the day, Sarah, 23, says it never occurred to her to use birth control, though she has been sexually active for six years. When she became pregnant this fall, Sarah, who works in real estate, was in the midst of planning her wedding. "I don't think my dress would have fit with a baby in there," she says. . . .

The last patient of the day, a 32-year-old college student named Stephanie, has had four abortions in the last 12 years. She keeps forgetting to take her birth control pills. Abortion "is a bummer," she says, 'but no big stress.' "

Disgusting, and infuriating... when I read it I literally fealt the nasuea rise.

I personally believe that abortion is morally wrong in almost all cases, but I don't believe the government has any business making decisions about what is a human being and what isnt, so for the first trimester at least, it really should stay out of it.

I don't think anyone can deny that a second trimester child is just that, a child; and aborting it is murder, or at best euthanasia. If you do deny this, you are lying to me, and most likely to yourself or certainly you would not be able to live with yourself.

The sheer callousness of this though.. it sickens me to think that the liberals have won this much; that they have dehumanized us this much...

When you see some vegetarian screaming "meat is murder" do you say right back to them "If meat is murder than what's abortion?"... I damn well do. You are ENDING A LIFE, mostly simply because you are too lazy, or too stupid, or to careless, or too irresponsible to do otherwise.

Would you commit murder because "Oopsie, I forgot to take my pill so now I'm going to shoot Mr. Baker in the head?"

Recognize and appreciate that you are destroying the potential of a life; or you are no better than an animal.

HT: Galley Slaves

Posted by cbyrne at 02:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hallelujah, praise the lord, and pass the ammunitions

From Global Security:
"The US Special Operations Command [USSOCOM] issued a solicitation in August 2005 to obtain commercially available non-developmental item (NDI) Joint Combat Pistol (JCP) system, Caliber .45 (ACP). The Program (which absorbed an earlier Future Handgun System program) will use full and open competition to fulfill the JCP requirement. The JCP will be delivered in accordance with specification entitled "Performance Specification Joint Combat Pistol" to be provided with issuance of the solicitation. Two configurations of the pistol will be required. One configuration will have no external safety and the other configuration will have an external safety.

The Combat Pistol System consists of: a Caliber .45 pistol and its ancillary equipment including: Magazines (standard and high-capacity); Suppressor Attachment Kit for operation of the pistol with and without sound suppressor; Holster; Magazine Holder (standard and high-capacity); Cleaning Kit; and Operator's Manual..."

I've been saying this was coing for a while now, first it goes to SOCOM, then we may see general issue. The Contractor grapevine has been buzzing that the RFP was written just for HK to get the bid, but we'll see.

Oh but this requirement... I mean DAMN:

"When fired from a rest, at a range of 50 meters, the mean radius of a 10-shot group fired from the JCP shall not be greater than A) 3.15 inches or B)1.8 inches over baseline ammunition performance, whichever is less (T). Baseline ammunition performance is defined as the average mean radius plus two sample standard deviations of three 10-shot groups fired from a test barrel at 50m."
That's serious match pistol performance. COnsidering it's expected to have an MRBS (Mean Rounds Between Stoppage) or 2000 rounds, that's gonna be tough. Theres only one .45 pistol I know to have done that, with that level of accuracy, and that's the Springfield FBI model.

Then theres this:

"The JCP shall have a standard magazine capacity of no less than eight [8] rounds (T), greater than eight [8] rounds (O) of .45 ACP ammunition. The JCP shall also have a high-capacity magazine of no less than ten [10] rounds (T), fifteen [15] rounds (O), of .45 ACP ammunition."
Hmmmm... somebody is either thinking HKP2000/USP Compact, a SIG P220, or a 1911...

and these two narrow it down further:


"The JCP length, with standard barrel, shall be less than 9.65 inches (T). The JCP width shall be less than 1.53 inches (T).

The JCP shall function in double action/single action (DA/SA) or double-action only (DAO) including Striker-Fired Action (SFA) (T). The JCP should have a modular action mechanism that allows reconfiguration at the unit level without modification to the weapon’s major assemblies (O).

All DA/SA pistols shall have a consistent trigger pull of eight to ten [8-10] pounds on Double Action, and a consistent trigger pull of four to six [4-6] pounds on Single Action and all DAO pistols shall have a trigger pull of five to eight [5-8] pounds (T). All pistols shall have a trigger pull that is consistent within one [1] pound from average pull (T). When pressure is applied to the JCP trigger and then released, the trigger shall reset to its forward-most position, even if the pistol is not fired (T). The operator shall be capable of pulling the trigger, without shifting the firing grip."

Uhhh yep, looks like a SIG or an HK to me, and HK is "owed" a major military contract. Actually the more you read, the clearer it is that this was indeed written for HK to win. Read the whole thing.

HT: River Dog

Posted by cbyrne at 02:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"SO, how was thanksgiving"

I had some friends who couldnt do thursday, so we decided to have thanksgiving on Sunday.

We got a 19lb turkey, made 5 lbs of cornbread the night before, and then did everything fresh.

Fresh cornbread apple cranberry stuffing (in the bird of course, then mixed with pan drippings), and fresh cranberry sauce, butter whipped potatos, sweet potatos, and thick cream and peppercorn turkey gravy.

The turkey was magnificent if I do say so myself. We throroughly injected it with a mixture of butter, olive oil, turkey stock, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, salt, pepper, rosemary, sage, and thyme. We also rubbed it with the same mixture.

Stick it directly under the heat for a few minutes to start the skin to crisping, then tent it up for four hours at 325.

I couldnt even carve it because it fell apart completely.

Tonight I roast the carcas and take the rest of the meat, potatos, and gravy for turkey potato soup. Maybe take the stuffing and cranberry sauce and rebake it into a bread pudding or summat.

Posted by cbyrne at 09:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 28, 2005

Hmmm, no Gondorians?

Rohirrim Rohirrim


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by cbyrne at 08:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gee REALLY? Who'da thunk it?

You scored as Serenity (from Firefly). You like to live your own way and do not enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you that you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.

Coming on December 1, 2005:

Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? The Sequel

Serenity (from Firefly)

100%

Moya (from Farscape)


88%

Nebuchadnezzar (from The Matrix)


81%

SG-1 (from Stargate)


75%

Enterprise D (from Star Trek)


75%

Galactica (from Battlestar: Galactica)


63%

Millennium Falcon (from Star Wars)

50%

Bebop (from Cowboy Bebop)


50%

Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

Posted by cbyrne at 12:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Go. Read. Now

Fran Poretto writes one ot the more useful histories of our current two party dominant system in "Hierarchies and Revolutions"

Let me just give you the concluding paragraphs here:

"Revolution would seem to be in the offing for both our major political hierarchies. If this is an accurate assessment, then the opportunities for ambitious activists will soon blossom again. Desperate groups within both parties will seek to suborn the rules of advancement to make headway for their golden boys. Persons eager for power or influence will find ways to slip past the parties’ remaining institutional defenses. With doctrinal weakness as the norm, electoral victory will usually be supreme above all other considerations. Moral constraints on acceptable tactics will fade, possibly even disappear. It’s happened in every democracy known to Man, except for ours. There is a significant possibility of civil disorder as our political system degenerates. Politics is the alternative to rule by the sword; it only works when the overwhelming majority of men see it as superior to bloodshed. If the system loses a sufficient degree of popular loyalty, the Asimov assessment will become prominent: The feeling will pervade the Galaxy that only what a man can grasp for himself at that moment will be of any account. Ambitious men will not wait, and unscrupulous men will not hang back. By their every action, they will hasten the decay of the worlds. [from Foundation.] What, then, must we do? Perhaps the answers will arrive with our next."

Good stuff, read it all, right now.

Posted by cbyrne at 10:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

If only...

Posted by cbyrne at 10:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 27, 2005

Very Long, Very good weekend

Much more info to follow...
Posted by cbyrne at 11:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 24, 2005

Happy thanksgiving

Limited, light and/or no posting this holiday weekend.

Thanksgiving today, then I'm flying off to my high school reunion tomorrow (yes they scheduled it the day after thanksgiving because they figured everyone would be "home"); and when I get back on sunday it time to celebrate a second thanksgiving with friends who couldnt be there today, and a birthday party.

Oh and maybe a range trip sunday morning as well.

Should be a fun and busy weekend.

Have fun everybody, eat too much, don't drink too too much, and don't get caught (by the cops of fate).

Posted by cbyrne at 09:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 23, 2005

Dignity and Class...

... Unfortunately are not often things associated with television, even inn the news division.

I may disagree with Ted Koppel politically, but the man showed real class last night:

"There's this quiz I give to some of our young interns when they first arrive at Nightline. I didn't do it with this last batch. It's a little too close to home. "How many of you," I'll ask, "Can tell me anything about Eric Severeid?" Blank stares. "How about Howard K. Smith or Frank Reynolds?" Not a twitch of recognition.


Chet Huntley, Jack Chancellor? Still nothing. David Brinkley sometimes causes a hand or two to be raised; and Walter Cronkite may be glad to learn that a lot of young people still have a vague recollection that he once worked in television news.

What none of these young men and women in their late teens and early twenties appreciates, until I point it out to them, is that they have just heard the names of seven anchormen or commentators who were once so famous that everybody in the country knew their names. Everybody.

Trust me. The transition from one anchor to another is not that big a deal.

Cronkite begat Rather, Chancellor begat Brokaw, Reynolds begat Jennings; and each of them did a pretty fair job in his own right.

You've always been very nice to me. Give this new Nightline anchor team a fair break. If you don't, I promise you the network will just put another comedy show in this time slot. Then you'll be sorry.

That's our report for tonight...I'm Ted Koppel in Washington...

For all of us here at ABC News... Good night."

Posted by cbyrne at 02:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's funny because it's true part eleventyjillion

Posted by cbyrne at 10:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More on "Double Standard and Magic Numbers"

There have been a couple of comments on the original post, both here and on the NoR that I wantes to talk about.
"I think there is and SHOULD be a double-standard. Girls are much more vulnerable sexually. As for age of consent, for girls (sans marriage) I’d suggest 25 tongue wink Removing the parents ability to charge statutory rape would be a HUGE mistake."

...

"So, if you would have fathered a child @ 13, what is your responsibility? Who would have paid the child support? You can't assume an abortion.

Is it reasonable to saddle someone who cannot legally work and cannot contract with the financial responsibility of raising a child? Or are the grandparents saddled with that financial burden?

I'm glad that you personally didn't get into this situation. That's very lucky and good for you. It's a poor guide for policy."
...

"It’s only in western society that sex has become set as being something which is age restricted (some others in Asia are starting to follow suit) and only relatively recently.

The best (physically) age range for a woman to bear children is between roughly age 15 and 30, for men that’s I think a few years later.

So physiologically there’s nothing wrong with it at all, and it’s only our societies which have somehow decided that someone isn’t able to decide for themselves until they’re 18 (or 21 in the US) (and getting ever older) that determine that it’s “wrong”.
Instead we use all kinds of medical techniques to ensure that people who are well over the age where they can normally get children do indeed get pregnant and have somewhat healthy offspring (I think it was this year that a 70+ year old woman delivered a baby).

What I have a problem with in this instance is not the fact that the boy was 14, or the woman 25, but the fact that the woman was in a position of trust and power over the boy and may have abused that trust and power."

...

Here's the thing... I have no problem with the age difference issue, so long as there is absolutely no co-ercion or a power relationship.

The problem I have with the situation, and I mentioned it but only for a second in my original post; is entirely the abuse of authority issue. I didn’t address that because I think the main question here is about the age difference issue, but let me clarify:

Coercion is NEVER acceptable, whether it is physical or because of a power relationship. Someone placed in a non-sexual power relationship over someone else should NEVER have sexual relations with that person.

You dont have sex with your employees or your employer, and you dont have sex with people in your chain of command; unless one of those factors is going to change immediately.

Now as to the “25 for girls”... when do we stop? Why do we expect parental authority, or parental responsiblity, or individual irresponsibility to extend for so long? Why do we ALLOW IT?

I believe that everyone is, and should be, responsible for themselves, as soon as they are capable of being so. I was on my own at 16, living in my own apartment, paying my own bills, and making my own decisions. The only reason why at least 50% and more like 80% of all 16 year olds “can’t” do the same thing, is because we don’t make them.

“But what about the innocence of childhood? Why can’t we just let kids be kids?”

Do you really think that a 14 year old is a kid anymore? We don’t let them be Kids, we turn them into confused adults with adult bodies and concerns and issues, but no adult responsibilities or accountabilities… and we expect them to end up healthy and well adjusted afterwards?

We have developed into a society that keeps everyone morally and practically children for as long as possible (well into their 30’s if one works the system right); and yet makes them sexually adults as EARLY as possible.

...and it’s entirely arbitrary and capricious.

Doesnt anyone else find this not only absurd, but in fact harmful and disgusting?

Posted by cbyrne at 09:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Further Proof the TSA is a joke

Two Stations Get Their Reporters On Planes -- Repeatedly -- Without Proper ID "Two television news operations at different ends of the country -- Houston's KPRC and Rochester, NY-based WHEC -- have come to the same startling conclusion: over four years after 9/11, just about anyone can board a commercial airline flight -- with or without valid identification. In both cases, the stations used undercover cameras as reporters and producers made it past the check-in counter and security checkpoints with all forms of identification -- including a Sam's Club card, a Costco card, and even an easily-reproduced company ID that could be done on any home computer -- to clear security. No driver's license and no passport were shown, according to KPRC, and no questions were asked. The Houston, TX station cleared security at both of Houston's large airports, as well as airports in Dallas, St. Louis, Nashville, and Little Rock. In Rochester, a WHEC producer flew from the New York city to Washington, DC and back, using an ID card he made on a computer.


WHEC reports there is a fundamental flaw in TSA policy in how it is written, not simply how it is implemented: the station says the TSA website makes clear that a form of government issued id is required -- although there is no law that backs that up."

This surprises me in no way, in fact I used to do it all the time. One of the consulting services I have offered in the past (actually a regular contract when I worked for an access control and idenitification management company) was physical security audits of airports. I’ve done penetrations at JFK, LaGuardia, Logan, and several smaller regional airports.

It’s ridiculously easy to get on a plane, with or without ID, with faked ID, with home printed ID… and with or without weapons -- EVEN AFTER 9/11

Screeners are trained to look for seven objects, and objects that look very similar to them. If a screener is unable to identify an object, in theory they are supposed to stop and manually search the bag; but in practice they almost always just pass the bag along so long as it doesnt resemble one of the seven objects.

I have deliberately sneaked on board, or into security areas, the following:

1. Numerous knives of every size and shape
2. Several simulated explosive devices
3. Several standard commercially available pistols
4. One standard commercially available shotgun (though it was modified and disassembled)
5. Ammunition and prepared (though unarmed) demolition charges (to test the chemical screening)

Hell, I’ve ACCIDENTALLY gotten on board with a small pistol (polymer framed pocket pistol in an inside pocket of a laptop case with a bunch of metal and batteries in it), and several times with substantial pocket knives…

...and yet granny gets her tonail clippers confiscated.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it over and over and over again: The only real security will be when there is a visibly armed man at every checkpoint with orders to shoot to kill anyone who presents a viable threat, and both visible and hidden armed guards on every flight.

A good step would also be to allow every U.S. citizen with a CCW or other similar qualification (we should at least make folks prove they aren’t a felon or hostile foreign national boarding with an illegally posessed gun) to carry on board.

We should also certainly make the pilot carry qualification much easier (90% of federal agents couldnt pass it, and they did that deliberately. I ran it once as a simulation, and it was damned hard) and actively encourage pilots to take it.

Hell, if they would make the qualification reasonable, and start offereing it at more than once training facility (yes, they limited it to one facility for the entire country); I’d even say it would be OK to make armed passengers go through it.

Posted by cbyrne at 09:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Front Slide Serrations

Gunny #1: "Ugh they're ugly" Gunny #2: "oooh, that looks good" Gunny #1: "They're un-safe, you could blow your hand off" Gunny #2: "Only if you're an idiot..."
Ok, so, front slide serrations. Those milled in cuts on the front of the slide of some pistols, most notably almost every Kimber, as pictured above. Who, what, where, when, why...

Well, you can "blame" IPSC shooters of the 80's for them, if you are so inclined. To be more specific, I think it was either Jimmy Von Sorgenfrei or Ross Seyfreid who first made a gun with them famous, though it may have been Rob Leatham, I just can't remember.


UPDATE: I looked it up, it was actually Doug Koenig in '90 who first won with front slide serrations and optics.

Anyway, they are there, because they were originally a race gun feature, primarily for guns with optics. That of course made them popular among the “High Speed Low Drag look” crowd in the late 80’s and the rest is history.

I don’t care for them, because they trap dirt, increase the effort necessary to clean, promote rusting, and catch on fabric. Basically, they arent good for a carry gun, and I dont like features on my defensive caliber pistols that make them less practical for defensive purposes.

I’m neutral about their looks, some guns they look good, some they dont; and it’s highly dependent on the finish and exact configuration of the gun. I find them attractive on dark finished long slide guns for example.

As to their function, I’m also neutral, though I always recommend against anything that can potentially cross the muzzle of course. A proper press check with forward serrations is conducted with a pinch from under the barrel, moving your support hand directly from your shooting grip to the serrations.

Unfortunately, most people don’t have the hand strength necessary to do a press check of this type against a full power recoil spring; and since most also don't have optics on their 1911. there is no necessity for them to do so.

Again, the reason for those serrations, and that technique, was to allow for a press check wtih optics, before racegunners started using “T” hooks attached to their sight mounts and the sides of their slides. Most of those folks were using minimum loaded .38 super, and a recoil spring as light as would return their high mass slides to battery. Not only that but they trained hours and hours to do this, and had the hand strength necessary.

So, since they aren't even useful for racegunners anymore why are they still there? Well people have associated that look with high quality custom and semi-custom pistols, so now we're stuck with it.

Posted by cbyrne at 08:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 22, 2005

Double Standards, and Magic Numbers

A friend of mine on the NoR asks the question:
"There is a very pretty young teacher who has been brought up on rape charges for having sex with a 14 year old male student.

We’ve kidded about this at home saying something like, “there is only one word to describe the boy in this case.... LUCKY.”

Some have argued (not necessary here) that if we don’t prosecute the woman in this story that we’re giving the appearance of a double-standard, ie, one set of rules that pertains to young men and sex with an adult female and one for girls with an adult male.

What’s your take?"

Actually I think this is a very important question, that touches on some aspects of our society that are in conflict: Liberty, Responsibility, and Protection

Remember, when our average lifespan was 40, people were frequently married off by 13 or 14. Even as recently as the 1930s it was common to be married by 16. It was only with the era of victorian morality, followed soon after by the rise of compulsory schooling ending at 18, that teenagers became viewed as unable to marry or to be sexually active.

I have had a student teacher physical relationship. I was 16 she was a 23 year old student music teacher; and I was in no way used, abused, taken advantage of or pressured. It was a very satisfying relationship both physically and emotionally, on both our parts; and I am very glad it happened.

That said, I have known 16 year olds who did not have the emotional maturity for such an experience; and clearly Susan Smith’s chosen victim did not for example. Hell, I've known 30 year olds who aren't mature enough for sex.

Additionally there is the matter of abuse of trust of the parents, and the potential for coercion in a power relationship.

Most folks in this country would probably agree that a 14, or at least a 16 year old boy who was in this situation was indeed lucky; but most of those same folks would want to string up a male teacher who had the same experiences with a 16 year old girl... and CERTAINLY a 14 year old.

Why is that?

Why is there a double standard there, and why is 16, or 18, or any other age OK?

I have a real issue with what Fran Poretto calls “Magic Numbers” in our society. At 18 (or 16, or 14) it is magically OK to have sex, while at 17 and 364 days it isnt? At 18 it is ok to sign a contract, but at 17.99 it isnt? At 21 it is OK to drink, but at 20.99 it isn’t?

I became sexually active at 13, and I don’t regret it. I was ready to do so, and I appreciated it, and the risks and rewards of it. I don’t regret becoming sexually active so early at all, but I do regret my sexual morality during the follwing five years, which was somewhat indescriminate. The thing is, I needed to make those mistakes on my own; and I'm glad I made them when I was young.

I also know folks who had a similar age experience, who believe it severely damaged them emotionally, and in their sexual/mental health and approach to relationships.

Every person is different. To my mind, it’s not something we can just say hard and fast “this is ok, and this isn’t”.

Of course the problem then becomes subjectivity of standards, and the unequal application of law. The law can be neither arbitrary nor capricious; and still be fair and constitutional.

So here’s what I think from a real world standpoint:

1. Under 13 is always child abuse no matter what. You have to draw a bottom line and this is where I put mine.

2. 13-15 should be evaluated on a case by case basis; but complaints of statutory rape or abuse must either arise from a judgement that the minor wasn’t competent to make the decision to have sex, or from a direct complaint by the minor themselves. Parents should not be able to make claims of statutory rape or abuse without the co-operation of the minor. I believe this should be the case even though there may be the suspicion of co-ercion. Now if there is clear proof of co-ercion that is another matter entirely, and is a case for rape, not statutory rape.

3. 16 and over should never be considered statutory rape or abuse unless the minor has been judged incompetent to make the decision to have sex.

Yes I realize that leaves many who are not ready for those decisions unprotected by the law; but I do not believe it is the laws job to protect everyone from everything. At 16 you should be able to make most of your own decisions; even if they are stupid ones.

Posted by cbyrne at 12:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 21, 2005

"Good Night, and What the Fuck?"

George Clooney is an ass.

Of course you probably knew that or you wouldn't be reading this. I happen to think he's a decent actor, a half decent director/producer, and a pretty good movie star (which is different from being an actor); unfortunately that almost always means that the individual in question is an ass.

You see hollywood is full of commies. Not jsut liberals, but hard core socialists, redistributionists, collectivists, communists etc... and it has been since the '30s.

It's also filled with absolutely enormous egos, all of whom seem to have a persecution/messiah complex.

George Clooney is one of the biggest of them at the moment. He seems to have dedicated to himself to bringing america arround to the "correct" way of thinking, by cultural force.

Thus bringing us to the movie "Good Night, and Good Luck", which is in theory a story about Edward R. Murrow, and the destruction of the "EEEEEVIL" Joseph McCarthy.

Ann Coulter, she of the ridiculously long chicken legs, and viciously barbed language; has posted a through trashing of Clooneys ridiculous paean to the "angels and martyrs of the blacklist" (I got that quote from some article about Elia Kazan, obviously intended to be sarcastic)

See, here's the thing... McCarthy was right.

This is also known as "Even Paranoids Have Enemies" or "Just because you're
paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you" effect.

McCarthy was the worst sort of bully, a violent alcoholic, and a raving
paranoid. He was also right more often than not. Of course, he was most often right by accident, and he destroyed peoples lives without consideration. I hate the guy, not jsut because of the above, but because he set back the cauze of anti-communism in this country to the point where the commies were essentially allowed to take over our educational establishment, and much of the democratic party.

Fact: Hollywood and the state department were full of actual communists

Fact: Many of those communists were acting as intelligence agents
against U.S. interests for either the communist party, or the soviet
union directly

Fact: Many of those communists were deliberately attempting to influence
the press, the government, and the film industry; frequently
successfully; to promote communist values

Now, if you believe that communism is an objective evil, as I do, then
it is self evident that; aside from frequently being felonious; what
these people were doing was in furtherance of evil.

If you believe that communism is objectively good, or at worst neutral;
then you are most likely willing to excuse all that in the name of
"freedom of expression" etc... Which is fine up until you start giving
national secrets away to a hostile foreign power. Then you get the
chair, or at the very least go to prison.

Alger Hiss
Julius Rosenberg
Ethel Rosenberg

Yeah, we can prove beyond all doubt they were spies. If you don't think
so, or if you think that's OK because the russians were "our friends"
at the time, I'm not even going to continue speaking with you because
it's obviously hopeless.

Posted by cbyrne at 04:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I've got a name for this asshole to look up

Eddie Fucking Slovik


Conscientious Objector My Ass

Posted by cbyrne at 04:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Go, Read, Now

Seriously, go and read this now. I've been saying this for several years now, and the RiverDog sums it up quite handily right here: "I believe in constitutional, representative democracy. If you oppose my belief, you are my enemy. If you oppose my belief with force, I will kill you in the name of, and for the sake of my belief. If I set out to kill you, I will not pause in my efforts until you are dead or I have died in battle with you."

I actually said the same thing in comments just yesterday; though not nearly as well as our esteemed brownwater brethren.

Posted by cbyrne at 02:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Well, he's Canadian so we can forgive the name slipup

Posted by cbyrne at 12:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 19, 2005

Gun Show Report

So we went to PHX’s second biggest gun show today(ter-mark. Crossroads is the biggest, in two weeks) and it was a pretty thin day overall.

The objectives for the day were to try out revolvers and shotguns with our new shooter, possibly pick up a scope and a flip up front sight for my new varmint upper, some riser rails and rings, and pick up a large quantity of ammo for NAD.

Well let me tell you the pickings were slim.

The firstthins we noted was that the AR parts and accessories were almost non-existent. There was only one vendor, with two booths, selling AR accessories, and it was all chinese forgery crap. THere was only one dedicated new AR venodr (mad dawg, a decent company), and really all they had were uppers, lowers, parts kits, and complete rifles.

On the scope and rungs front, there was NOTHING BUT CRAP. I mean nothing but NcStar ang Guntek and other chinese shit. Stuff I wouldnt put on an SKS type shit.

On to ammo, and there was NO 7.62x39 to be found at all.

Remember, this is two hours into the first day of the show, and no-one including J&G and ammo wholesalers has any.

No mil-surp, no barnaul, no wolf… just plain nothing.

Also almsot no 5.56. Very little xm193/ss193, very little other 55gr, really no 62gr except wolf, and almost nothing heavier than 62gr at all. In the entire show I was able to find FOUR BOXES TOTAL of 69gr, and one of the reloaders had some 75gr left bit nothing else.

I would estimate that in total there were less than 10 cases of 5.56 at the whole show.

They did have some .308; but only one vendor had any in decent quantity, and the price was such that I wasn't interested.

Asking the vendor triggered the response, “we just can’t get anything, and what we get we can’t keep in stock”.

We ended up picking up some reman ammo from a guy I've dealt with before, some once fired brass, a small amount of commercial match ammo for the AR, and a TON of .22 (John and I were both running low). All in all I guess 3000 rounds, but only about 1500 of that was centerfire.

Overall, a thumbs down show. Here's hopin crossroads is better.

Posted by cbyrne at 07:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Happy Birthday and National Ammo Day Gun Guy

As y'all SHOULD know, today is National Ammo Day, which just coincidentally and through pure happenstance is The Gun Guy's birthday.
Happy birthday oh favorite grumpy African American.
So everyone buy your minimum 100 rounds (I'm hitting the gun show and plan on buying 1K-2K or so), and go and hit the tip jar at http://www.thenationofriflemen.com
Posted by cbyrne at 09:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 18, 2005

Potter-Thon

Friends and I are watching the Harry Potter DVD's in preparation for watching the movie, probably sunday.

Oh, and tomorrow gun show and range trip to celebrate national ammo day. We're introducing a new shooter to the hobby as well.

Should be a damn good day.

Posted by cbyrne at 10:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 17, 2005

Ladies and gentlemen... "The Beatles!!!"

A few days back I posted the following:

"Ok so the debate has arisen once again, "Who is the greatest rock band of the '60s, the Beatles or the Stones".

How about neither?

The Beatles were not a "rock" band until the holy trinity (rubber soul, revolver, Sgt. Peppers). Before that they were straight up, a “boy band” type pop band 1964 style. I love the beatles, but I dont try and pretend they were a great rock band before that; and even still ost of their music wasn't "rock"."

And the Gun Guy responded with:

The Beatles did several things: they made it almost de rigueur for bands to write their own stuff; they played neither blues nor rock nor skiffle, but a kind of mixture of all three, depending on who was doing most of the vocals and/or composing.

But most importantly, the Beatles broke the ground for other bands to follow.

If you look at the pre-Beatles Top 10 charts, both in the UK and in the US, they were dreadful. People like Lonnie Donegan and Frankie Laine abounded, not to mention the horrible Pat Boone, Bobby Vinton and their ilk.

Good grief, when the Beatles' "From Me To You" (their first #1) was at #1 in Britain, the #1 hits in the U.S. were: "It's My Party" (Lesley Gore), "I will follow him" (Little Peggy March) and "Sukiyaki" (!!! Kyu Sakamota).

When "She Loves You (yeah yeah yeah)" was at #1 in Britain, the U.S. #1 was "Blue Velvet" (Bobby Vinton).

After all this time, it's easy to forget just how much the Beatles changed popular music, but change it they did -- and most of the other bands that have been mentioned here would have still been playing in their Dads' garages were it not for them.

Oh, and one last thing:

When "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was at #1, the top U.S. hit was... "Dominique", by the Singing Fucking Nun.

Oy vey.

He is absolutely 100% entirely correct.

The beatles are the most INFLUENTIAL musical group of all time by far. No other group has ever had the kind of impact, and I doubt any every will. The MASSIVE changes in popular music ushered in by the beatles can never be overstated.

I LOVE the Beatles. I think that Revolver, Rubber Soul, and Sgt. Pepper, released in three years, is an achievement in popular music never achieved before or since.

I just don't think they are the greatest "rock" band of all time, or even the greatest of the 60's, in term of the raw quality of the music. They are without doubt the greatest pop band of all time,they are the most influential rock OR pop band, and one of the top ten rock bands, just not the greatest "rock" band.

Posted by cbyrne at 07:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Infidel Followup

Recently the subject of Team Infidel has come up again in a crtical context. Specifically, it has made some people uncomfortable. They believe that the action was uncivil, disrespectful or even hateful... or at least it would likely be percieved as such, and thus should not have been done.

(NOTE: It is still the most visited page on my site, and I tend to get over 100 google searches or linked hits on it every day. The only other posts that are even close are some of my broadly linked gun posts.)

This opinion is held by several people who's friendship and good opinion I respect and value greatly.

...but I still disagree.

Oh I definitely understand the point about perception, but I did not act in hate.

Of course my actual motivations don’t neccessarily matter; in that perception of public acts is often, and by nature, more than equal to reality. Certainly these actions could, and have been percieved as hateful; though I think we made it clear in both the text and the videos we were performing a social protest.

I don’t hate Muslims, I hate murderers, and fanatics who wish to kill or enslave me, and all of the generally evil folks that “lead” them.

The fact is if you are taught fear, hatred, and murder you will practice it. If you are taught that all your problems are the fault of everyone else, and those others should be killed, you will believe it. If you are taught that god wants you to kill everyone who isn’t like you, you will believe it.

Unless you are given the opportunity to learn otherwise, and have the motivation to do so.

These people are taught vile, disgusting things; and are prevented by their corrupt totalitarian governments and religious leaders (frequently the same thing, or in league) from ever learning otherwise. This is why we must free them even if the process and it’s consequences are messy.

I hold no hatred for muslims, for Islam, or for the Koran.

I acted not in hate, but in outrage against the rioting and murders commited by muslims in the name of a koran being flushed down the toilet; against the outcry from muslims to kill those servicemen “responsible for the desecration”; and against the disciplinary action and press “outrage” against our servicemen; all for what turned out to be a false story.

My act was in effect a reductio ad absurdium acted out live.

It’s a book, and it is not sacred to me. It is my property and I do not follow religious law. I have the right to burn or destroy it. Thousands of Korans in this country are destroyed in book stores every year by having their covers ripped off, and then being shredded. The Koran is nothing more than a book to me, and to America; at least as regards our law.

Oh and I feel the same about the Torah, the Bible, and even the Constitution. By destroying a book, you do not destroy the ideas that are within it. You do not destroy the faith of those that believe in it. You do not destroy anything that matters. It is nothing more than paper, glue, and ink.

We as Americans are free to disagree, and even to hate if we want, without being convicted for apostasy or heresy or political unreliability. We have no thought police here, nor roving bands of religious enforcers.

This may enrage muslims, but muslims within our society must learn to live within our society and by OUR rules. They have no right to punish me or to demand my punishment or my censure for this action, and they must learn this. Muslims living in other free societies must learn to live within the rules of a free society.

Is that cultural imperialism? Perhaps, but I feel fully justified in it.

I would not burn your koran, or your bible, or your torah, in fact if I did I would expect to get my ass kicked and then thrown in jail; but mine I should be able to do anything I want with, including use it as toilet paper if I feel like.

If that causes outrage, personally I think some folks priorites need to be realigned. It’s not about hate, it’s about freedom, and property rights.

It’s the same for me with the flag. Do I dislike intensely the burning of the flag? Of course I do. Do the flag burners anger me? Of course they do; but it’s not because they are burning the flag, it’s WHY they are burning the flag, and what they are trying to say by doing so that angers me. I loathe what they are trying to say, but as far as I’m concerned they should and MUST be allowed to say those things, and to burn the flag if it is what they wish, so long as they paid for it; and they are doing it on their property.

Then again, I’m a bit more of a libertarian than most, and take a rather hard line view on property rights.

Posted by cbyrne at 06:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Am I the only one...

Who thinks that Hope and Faith would actually be watchable only if it were remade as a hardcore lesbian sitcom?

Or is it just that I want to see Kelly Ripa and Faith Ford get it on? I mean two hot blondes with serious high heel and short busines suit skirt fixations... come on

Maybe it's just me...

Posted by cbyrne at 06:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 16, 2005

More on my family

Family is most important in your life.


Having a high focus on family indicates that you are a loving and nurturing person. You want to have a nice big family of your own, and you are very close with your siblings and parents.


Life Piechart - QuizGalaxy.com

Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

So I just got off the phone with my mother, and she had some "good" news.

I mentioned last week that my brother had an assault charge pending, that he had just been bailed out a few days prior.

Well a computer error listed his status as first time offender (he has several serious misdemeanors in other states including posession, criminal trespass, breaking and entering, disorderly conduct etc...), and at his preliminary hearing they granted a continuance without a finding pending the completion of an anger management program within 12 months.

So he avoids jail time and has to take classes; YEAH, that's REALLY gonna help.

My brother is on a bad road, and he's been on it a long time. Every time he falls down theres someone there to pick him up, or for some reason he gets off light. This is just one more step down the road. This time he's managed to beat some kid near to death (admittedly he deserved it but that's neither here nor there), and get off without punishment.

GOD DAMN IT...

He needs some serious consequences, or his actions will jsut get him, or someone else killed. I swear, next time he's gonna kill somebody, and the lesson will be permanent.

My mother wants me to come over for thanksgiving. I refused of course, because of my brother, and she started crying. She just doesn't understand that this isn't helping him, it's just making him worse; and I refuse to be a part of it.

UPDATE: Quiz from my other friend Ben

Posted by cbyrne at 12:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Better than Festivus

Blatantly stolen from the terpsboy

Posted by cbyrne at 10:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Mental Hurdle

Some friends of mine tried to open up a home school support business. This was the kind of mental hurdle that they faced among the population.

Or rather this was the most POLITE mental hurdle they faced. Most of the other ones are religious slurs... which is funny because they are atheists.

Oh and I should point out, I agree with the first frame entirely; though Aaron McGruders ultra left conspiracy addled mind seems to think it's a RIGHT wing mind control operation. The rest of us know better.

Of course the rest of us also realize that that The Far Right doesnt include Lincoln Chaffee, Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter, Michael Bloomberg, and Arnold Schwarzeneggar.

Posted by cbyrne at 10:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 15, 2005

LMAO

Lucy
You are Lucy!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Posted by cbyrne at 06:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 14, 2005

Mortars

So the question was raised on the NoR, "what is the role of the mortar in infantry combat"?

Very simply, mortars are an indispensible tool for heavy infantry.

When I say indispensible I don’t mean “useful” or “a good thing”, I mean indispensible, as in you don't do without them if you can avoid it.

One of the missions of heavy infantry is to operate and complete objectives without extensive support from external and supporting forces in areas ahead of the main secured areas.

To accomplish this mission, heavy infantry need to be able to move rapidly through varied terrain and facing varied and potentially semi-hardened resistance. Additionally they may face organized lines of resistance, in which salients and breakthroughs must be created and exploited. To do this, the order and discipline of opposing forces must be disrupted at key points.

Finally, supporting functions such as battlefield illumination, terrain marking, and potentially mine clearance are critical.

All of these functions are supported by light and medium mortars (as well as medium and heavy machine guns), which should ALWAYS accompany heavy infantry maneuver elements. They are not themselves maneuver elements, but fire support organic to those elements.

Heavy mortars are for FOB/FOP and FFP/FFB; as a semi fixed emplacement. They are also useful in vehicle mounts if such mounts are supported for that mortar platform. In this role their primary function is perimiter defense.

Now as relates to the U.S.; we currently don’t have traditional heavy infantry as such.

Or rather we have medium/heavy infantry, but we use them tactically as medium infantry. We don’t include many man portable crew served weapons with them but they are otherwise equipped as heavy infantry and/or mechanized infantry.

In fact, we are heading more and more towards a full heavy infantry load for every soldier; whether they are employed as heavy infantry or not. This is a natural outgrowth of our increasing reliance on technology; and our force protection philosophy.

We don’t really have traditional light infantry anymore either. Up until recently we HAD regular organized light infantry, but have mostly disestablished them; except in the person of the Rangers, MEF, and SOCOM forces.

This suits our current rapid fire/rapid maneuver style of warfare, which counts on extensive supporting elements, and combined operations elements. In this we are able to effectively leverage our HUGE C3I advantages.

Of course this leaves the mortars role as somewhat ill defined. It is still extremely useful, but the clear tactical doctrine for it’s use is kind of out the window.

The mortar is currently used by U.S. forces as an "as needed weapon", primarily for building clearance and tactical illumination. It can also serve as a company commanders personal artillery, much as the MLRS functions for a brigade or division commander.

Posted by cbyrne at 12:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

With their beatles and their Stones

Ok so the debate has arisen once again, "Who is the greatest rock band of the '60s, the Beatles or the Stones".

How about neither?

The Beatles were not a "rock" band until the holy trinity (rubber soul, revolver, Sgt. Peppers). Before that they were straight up, a “boy band” type pop band 1964 style. I love the beatles, but I dont try and pretend they were a great rock band before that; and even still ost of their music wasn't "rock".

The Stones of the '60s were a decent blues cover band, never were anything more, frequently have been something less. They didnt even touch their "artistic" growth until the late '60s and '70s.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of the Stones ("Paint it black", and "Sympathy..." are two of my favorite all time songs), but they werent great musicians, great artists, or anything other than great entertainers… as far as Im concerned that’s good enough, but not great.

“The Who” were a lot more original, had better lyrics, better musicianship etc.. but weren't nearly as commercially viable as either until the late ‘60s.

If you want great British "rock", with originality, lyrics, music, and entertainment value from that time you need to look to “The Animals” and “The Kinks”; both of whom started as blues cover bands as well.

Then came Led Zeppelin who took the blues cover genre and blew it out of the water. No-ones ever done it better, before or since.

Oh, an interesting note, “The Beatles”, “The Rolling Stones”, “The Who”, “The Kinks” and “The Animals” were all founded in their canonical form within 18 months and 300 miles of each other.

Posted by cbyrne at 12:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 11, 2005

Veterans Day

"I, Christopher Byrne, having been appointed a 2d Lt. in the United States Air Force do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter, SO HELP ME GOD."
Almost nine years... Damn I feel old.

Memorial day is for the dead, today is for the living.

To all y'all still serving, thank you. Let me tell you most of us would be there with you if we could; or at least we wish we would if you know what I mean.

God bless you.

To those of us who are out, thank you too (kind of gratuitous to thank myself, but hey I'm one of that group).

Thank you Dad (USA '66-'74 SFC) - a 15 year old Irish immigrant with a forged birth certificate; grew up on the streets, but became both a citizen, and a man in the Army. Almost 9 years in, almost all of it in SF, and almost all of that in SEA. By the end he was broken, and he only recently put himself together again. I love you dad.

Thank you uncle Patrick (USN '68-72 GM3) - My fathers brother, who spent most of those years sending steel over the coast of VN.

Thank you uncle Brian (USMC, '79-87 SSgt. USANG '88-92 SFC) - My mothers brother, who fought the war we pretended didn't happen in the phillipines, and then again in the gulf.

Thank you Ben (USA '97 - 2001, Cpl, Inf, Rgr, 3rdBt. 75th rgt.) - Lead the way, then lead his family.

Thank you cousin Jesse (USN, '97 - present, UDT, BM1) - Only one thing he ever wanted in life, to be a SEAL. He got his wish, and he's off god knows where doing god knows what; and couldn't be happier.

Thank you cousin Johnathan (USN 2001 - present, MM3) - dropped out of college after 9/11 to join the Navy, because in his own words, it was the right thing to do for his country.

To everyone still serving, good luck and god speed.

Posted by cbyrne at 01:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 10, 2005

Happy Birthday

For all I make fun of them (and god knows I do), and for all their ooh-rah sometimes irritates me, I love Marines. D'you know why? Because they well and truly believe in five words:

Semper Fidelis

and


Improvise, Adapt, Overcome

Let me tell you something; with the belief in those five words, a motivated individual can do anything humanly possible, and some things that just shouldn't be; and a motivated team can do even more than that.

The Marine Corps Hymn

From the Halls of Montezuma
to the Shores of Tripoli,

We fight our country's battles
On the land as on the sea.
First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean,
We are proud to claim the title
of United States Marine.

Our flag's unfurl'd to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;

We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun.
In the snow of far-off northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes,
You will find us always on the job
The United States Marines.

Here's health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;

In many a strife we've fought for life
And never lost our nerve.
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven's scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.

Posted by cbyrne at 02:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 08, 2005

The "First Handgun" question

One of the questions we get frequently at the NoR, and that I hear in gun shops all the time, is "What should I get as my first handgun?"; this is usually followed by "I've only got about $300-$400 to spend".

Well, my answer to this is always "Are you looking just to shoot at the range, or are you looking for a gun to defend yourself with?"

If you’re looking to establish basic pistol shooting skills, I’d recommend purchasing a .22 automatic like the Walther P22 or the new Sig Mosquito. There are better shooting .22s out there (the Ruger Mark II and Mark III, and the Browning buckmark for example), but the P22 and Mosquito both share their ergonomics and manual of arms with larger centerfire pistols.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a self defense weapon, and have no experience with handguns; I can’t recommend strongly enough that you choose a mid size revolver in .357 magnum.

You should be able to find a decent used Ruger SP101 or GP100, the older Ruger Security Six (and it's variants), or an older Smith and Wesson model 19/619 or maybe model 65/620 for $350 or so.

Also, if you hunt around you can find some really GREAT deals on Taurus revolvers, which are just as good as the Rugers, and nearly as good as the S&W's (some of them were originally licensed S&W designs in fact) for a lot less money. Their medium frame 7-shot model 66 can be had for less than $400 brand new from the right dealer, and their slightly more basic model 65 (a 6 shot) for less than $350. Oh and Tauruses have an unlimited lifetime warranty - a BIG plus for anyone but especially a new shooter.

No mater what you get, if you can get one for a good price, I recommend going with a stainless gun. They are just easier to maintain.

Now, the reason I say a .357 revolver, is because they are dead simple, dead reliable, and you have the option of a full power magnum, or a .38spl for practice. The reason I say go for a mid sized (S&W K or L frame for example), is that the large frame pistols are bulkier and heavier than they need to be for .357(and really the GP100 as well which is more of an extra-medium); and the compact .357's are very difficult to properly control. Really they should be considered experts weapons. The mid sized frames are large enough to help tame recoil, and establish a full and solid grip; but not so large that they are difficult to point, or unwieldy. This balance will help you to develop basic handgun shooting skills.

You’re going to have a hard time finding a decent automatic in that same price range without going to a Milsurp or foreign import discount pistol; or by going to CDNN and picking up a reissue. Now, all of these can be a great deal, but again, these are not really weapons for the novice.

The reason I recommend against these bargain autos and re-issues, is because as a beginner, you don't have the experience with pistols yet to deal with malfunctions, and speed reload drills; which are essential for a defensive pistol. If you can’t perform malfunction drills and speed reloads, you are taking a serious risk with your self defense weapon.

I shoot hundreds, and sometimes thousands of rounds a month, and my bedside gun is still a revolver, because I don’t want to think about malfunctions when I’m sleepy and startled. Also as I recently found out, I don’t practice my speed reload and malfunction drills nearly enough; and again, I’m an experienced pistol shooter.

Once you develop good basic handgun habits with a revolver, then you should buy that aforementioned .22 automatic. Then once you’ve developed the basic knowledge of automatic operations, and practice malfunction clearance and reloads, you can venture into full sized automatics.

Posted by cbyrne at 12:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Differing First Principles

The subject of arguing above first principles has recently come up on the NoR forums

Let me just restate my maxim on first principles:

No useful discussion or debate can occur between individuals who have different first principles on a subject; except as relates to those first principles themselves.

Because higher level arguments are always based on first principles, you need to make sure that all parties in a debate on higher level arguments are proceeding from the same first principle. If the parties to an argument or debate have different first principles, the argument itself cannot be resolved, or even debated.

As an example, this is why it's useless to argue with MOST liberals about gun control in any way.

They are proceeding from the first principle that guns are by their nature bad and/or evil, therefore restrictions on gun ownership are self justified. Their argument from this first principle on gun control, is that the only people who should have guns are the ones that can absolutely prove that they NEED them.

Our first principle is that guns are a useful tool, and an interesting work of engineering and the machinists art. Additionally our larger first principle is that arms are necessary to freedom, because the government that does not fear it's citizens, will ALWAYS result in tyranny.

Thus, our argument on gun control is also self justified, in that only those restrictions on ownership absolutely necessary (and some believe in NO restriciton at all) should be allowed.

At that point it should be obvious that these two higher level positions cannot be argued usefully

Posted by cbyrne at 12:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A memorial day for 9/11





Should we have an officially designated memorial day for 9/11
Yes, and it should be called (post in comments)
Yes, and we should just refer to it as September 11th
No, we shouldnt memorialize a terrorist attack
No, we don’t need a holiday to remember 9/11
No, it’s too soon, maybe in ten years
No, we shouldnt trivialize 9/11 with just another day off work




Free polls from Pollhost.com


This thought has been kicking around in my head for a while, and I can’t really come to any resolution with it.

Next year will be the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Should we officially memorialize 9/11? By this I mean should we declare a memorial day for 9/11? If so what should we call it?

I honestly share a bit in all of the opinions I’ve got listed in the polls; and I can’t resolve them in my mind.

I think we SHOULD do something to permanently remind us of that day, but at the same time the thought of memorializing a terrorist attack sickens me. I want to do it now to help us ensure that the memory does not fade, but I also think it may be too soon.

Lord knows it would smack of political opportunism.

Veterans day is three days from now, and I can’t help but think about the fact that we no longer respect our holidays for what they are supposed to be. To many, Veterans day and Memorial day are just another day off work…

And if we DO choose to memorialize the day, what in the hell do we call it? I honestly have no idea.

Your thoughts?

Posted by cbyrne at 09:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 07, 2005

Sick again


God damnit I can't win this week.

I woke up feeling like crap around 6:30, so after the GF left at 8:30 I went back to bed. Now its 5pm, I feel worse than ever, and I've got a fever of 101...

AAAAARGH!

UPDATE: I'm up to 104. I cant remember feeling this hot in all my life, though I went to 106 when I was 5 and had scarlet fever.

UPDATE again: I've stayed between 102 and 103 somethin almost all day. No other symptoms except a stuffed up nose so I really have no idea what this is. Of course I can't take sudafed 'cuz it'll make the fever worse, and anything more than 104 is hospital time.

I've lost 15 lbs in three days, and I've been stuffing myself and drinking tons. I do NOT recommend this diet plan.

UPDATE final (I hope): Well the fever broke again early this morning, after a long night of tossing around, fever dreams, and muscle spasms from the fever and dehydration.

I'm actually more sore right now than I was after the RWVA shoot.

Anyway, I'm down below 100, and I'm fervently hoping I stay that way/keep going lower (I have a normal oral temp of 96.6 or so)

Posted by cbyrne at 10:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

last action hero

You scored as William Wallace. The great Scottish warrior William Wallace led his people against their English oppressors in a campaign that won independence for Scotland and immortalized him in the hearts of his countrymen. With his warrior's heart, tactician's mind, and poet's soul, Wallace was a brilliant leader. He just wanted to live a simple life on his farm, but he gave it up to help his country in its time of need.

William Wallace

83%

Indiana Jones


79%

James Bond, Agent 007


79%

Neo, the "One"


79%

Lara Croft


75%

Batman, the Dark Knight


71%

Captain Jack Sparrow

71%

Maximus


67%

El Zorro


63%

The Terminator


50%

The Amazing Spider-Man


42%

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com

Posted by cbyrne at 10:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 06, 2005

A note on the French civil war

...and make no mistake, that's what it is.

I may be alone in this, but I’m pretty sure the French are going to let this go only so far, and then terrorist leaders are going to start “Disappearing”.

The French as a whole may be cheese eatin surrender monkeys, but once the pols let the military take over… and they will when it gets bad enough… the bullshit is going to stop RTFN.

Ya know why? Because as big a pussy as the french political mass is, their special operations, and anti terror folks are born again hardcore. They think NOTHING about killing entire towns to prove a point (read about some of the anti algerian ops sometime).

Sure, if it’s jsut one or two of their “leaders” who go down the rioting will get worse; but when every single one of them “disappears” in a single night,along with anyone who they talked to, and maybe all their families (and yes, GIGN WILL do that), these unwashed hordes will almsot certainly lose their will to fight.

Seriously, you dont fuck with the French when it comes to terrorism

Posted by cbyrne at 10:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 03, 2005

Family

My brother made me draw my gun on him today.

For those of you who are not long time readers, my brother is a drug dealing asshole who sucks off of my mom, and everyone else around him. He is a liar, a cheat, a thief, and he basically hates everyone and everything (except weed and baseball), and expresses himself freely on that hate.

The only redeeming factor he has at all, is that he lives with my mom, and makes sure she is taken care of on a day to day basis. Of course he wouldnt be doing that if it werent for the fact that because of it he doesnt have to work, and gets free room and board.

So, to today...

There was a gun in a box at my mothers place for a few months. Actually several, but one of them belonged to a friend of mine from another state. I had done some work on it, and was waiting for him to come pick it up.

Well, I went over there to fix my mothers computer (fifth warranty repair from HP. Total piece of shit), and to pickup my friends gun because he was in town this weekend, and heading back out of town today.

A few minutes after I arrived, I had to get a UPS power strip that my brother had removed from my mothers office area, so I could finish setting up her computer. Please understand these things have a 5lb battery in them, and they are not at all light.

Instead of giving me the UPS, he threw it at my head then turned around and flopped down on the couch in the other room. I deflected it with my arms, got up, went into the other room, said "Give me the gun, I'm going" and he said "Oh, I pawned it, it's gone".

Needless to say I was angry and I started yelling at him. He moved to come towards me off the couch agressively, and I kicked him in the head. I then secured him in a front head lock and told him "I want that gun, or the damn pawn ticket RIGHT NOW". He said that it was long gone and what was I going to do about it.

"I SHOULD SHOOT YOU IN THE FUCKING HEAD. Jesus christ Rob DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'VE DONE. Stealing a fucking gun across state lines is a federal felony, 10 fucking years". He gave me some flip response and he started fighting me again.

Then he managed to get his arm free and he grabbed the butt of my gun on my belt.

I just pushed him back down, cleared back from him and drew my pistol on him.

"Do you understand what you have just done. If you move I'm going to shoot you. Don't think I wont". He came up off the couch pushing my mother away and I just yelled out "My finger is on the fucking trigger you piece of shit", and he backed off.

He calmed down, and I let him up and put my gun away, and he started ranting about ME, and getting up in my face again.; saying I had hurt my mother, insulting me, screaming how dare I pull a gun on him etc... and he made a move to come at me again.

I had enough of it, I secured his head again, and I started choking him out (this time I had full arm control, and my gun side was well away. No repeats of before); and saying "I want the damn gun. I'm not going to fucking prison because of you you piece of shit. Wheres the fucking gun".

Meanwhile my best friend and my near crippled terminally ill mother are trying to get in the middle of this; and I keep telling them to get the hell away they are just making the situation worse. My mother gets pushed to the ground, and theres a big chance of a gun getting loose here.

Finally my mother pleads with me to let him go so I drop him on the ground, and he goes to call the cops. I just got my shit and got ready to leave, and I told him "Go ahead, if you try and make something out of this, you will get nowhere, and you'll just fuck yourself over. And if you come near me, I WILL shoot you."

You have to understand, the house smells very strongly like Marijuana, and theres drug paraphenelia all over the place. Not only that but my brother just got out of jail on an assault charge a few days ago.

My mother says the he didnt pawn the gun, she knows where it is, and she went and retrieved it. The little son of a bitch was just deliberately provoking a fight with me.

He's been telling my friend Jimmy every time he visited, that he was going to start a fight with me next time he saw me, and he did.

The cops came over, and they told him (according to my mother, I had already left before I jsut let lose and beat him to a bloody pile of shit) "Theres nothing to do here. You started an altercation and he acted within his rights. The only thing we can do is give you the paperwork to file a restraining order."

I don't know why he went for my gun. Maybe he thought I really was going to shoot him, maybe he was just trying to get a hold of me, or maybe he was really trying to get my gun away to shoot me; I just don't know.

Remember what I said last week about every fight being potentially life and death? In that fight between brothers, where there was no intent (at least on my part) to seriously harm , there was a real chance I could have killed my brother not just with my gun, but also several times during the fight.

I held back from doing so because he's my brother, but at any time I could have crushed his larynx or broken his neck. Lord knows what would have happened if he had got hold of my gun. Or if I had slipped. Or if he had hit me the wrong way at the wrong time and made me lose it.

I don't want to kill my brother, but he damn near made me do it today.

Posted by cbyrne at 05:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 01, 2005

Home, Alive, and Reasonably Well

Well, JohnOC, LVGunner, and I arrived safe at home about 6am this morning.

I just woke up for the first time, and I plan on heading back to sleep as soon as is humanly possible.

There will be pictures, and posts, and gun reviews, and gift explanations, and all sorts of other good stuff forthcoming shortly.

Posted by cbyrne at 12:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 31, 2005

Right to Work

There was a discussion about right to work states on the NoR a few weeks back, and it was something I wanted to continue on my blog.

At the most basic level, a "right to work" state has labor legislation or regulation, that prevents most unions from forcing workers to join the union to work in their job. i.e. the Carpebters union can't stop you from working on a construction site just because you aren't a union member.

Most of the states back east are "closed shop" states, where unions control who works when and where in the unionized trades... and jsut about everything blue collar or public sector is unionized.

Unions do serve an important function.. or at least they did. The job of the union is to increase the bargaining power of the workers to parity with the employers. This allows the workers to negotiate on an equal footing.

The problem is, that in closed shop states, the unions are given a MORE THAN EQUAL footing in labor negotiations. Since the employer cannot get labor that is not controlled by the union, if the union chooses to reject his offer, he goes out of business; or at the very least loses a lot of money.

Basically, a union in a closed shop state can LEGALLY use EXTORTION against an employer.. no winder the mob loves unions so much.

Now unions also do a lot of good.. or at least they did. They helped improve working conditions, they ended the company town systems, and they improved wages for blue collar workers in relation to other workers. Unfortunately, mandatory monopolistic unions are an anti-competitive, regressive, market burden.

If we don't tolerate monopolies on resources or production, why should we tolerate them on labor?

So given the above, I absolutely support the right to work without union or guild or professional organization interference.

What I DON’T like is where, as in Arizona, employers can screw you every which way from sunday with very little recourse.

See, here’s my problem.

Twice I was terminated for political reasons, against company policy.
Twice they specified a deliberately vague reason for termination. In
neither case was my performance at issue. In both cases I had violated
no policy of the company, and in one case I had specifically cleared my
actions with the company before hand.

One of these was really blatantly religiously motivated.

I believe that a small business owner should be able to hire and fire
whoever they want, for whatever reason. That’s his (or her) business,
and so is who he employs. To my mind, there is no difference between a
sole proprietorship or limited partnership and private property. If the
owner doesnt want you in his house, you dont get to be there.

A large corporation however isn’t one persons company, it is a body
governed by policy. When one has not violated policy, when ones
performance has been exemplary, ones bosses boss shouldnt be able to
fire you because he disagrees with your politics or religion (or lack
thereof).

Should there be legal recourse here… I don’t know. Lord knows I wish
there was a hell of a lot less interference in private business, but
agian, the corporation is a whole ‘nother entity.

If a corporation is to recieve so many special protections from
government (and they do, in echange for a large amount of interference
and regulation) then there are certain standards of behavior one should
expect in return for those protections. One of them is that politics,
gender, religion, sexuality, and any other “identity politics” should
not be a factor in ones employment; unless they materially effect the
performance of the job.

Oh and yes, I think the “right” answer to the question I proposed above
isnt “if the corps get special treatement they should be held to a
special standard”

The RIGHT answer is that corporations should recieve no special
treatment.

The corporate veil, limitation of liability (especially where joint and
several would apply), and corporate bankruptcy are all powerful
disincentives to responsible governance.

The problem is, how do we get direct investment without them? The entire
purpose behind those principles (and many others) is to limit the risk
of investors, to allow for greater investment. Without those
protections investment in individual corporations would be FAR lower.

Of course there is still all that money out there, so perhaps a side
effect would be the creation of many smaller corporations. Theres no holy writ that everything has to be done by huge megacorps after all.

Posted by cbyrne at 09:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 28, 2005

East bound and down

So we jsut had a 1018 mile run in 16 hours, including meal and gas stops.

I originally wrote 1600 miles because I was addled from lack of sleep.

Yeah, we were flyin the whole way. Thats an average of about 63 mph, and when you factor the 2 hours worth of stops it's more like 72mph.

After unloading the car, and getting ready to meet up with the folks here; I am VERY ready for food, shower, and the sleep of the dead.

But I have to clean a bunch of guns frist... damn... oh well, at least I love guns. Oh and we all grabbed our "new" SKS's. $90 from J&G, + $30 for the folding stock, andanother $30 for cheap scope and mount.

UPDATE: Ok so 6 hours, and three de-cosmod and restocked SKS's plus one pretty decent barbecue meal later, I'm finally getting ready for sleep.

And now we have to get up at 6:30...

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October 27, 2005

The Miers Withdrawal

Ok, I just have two things to say here.

1. Thank god

2. I thought she was unconfirmable from the beginning, and that Bush knew that and she was his "sacrifical lamb". I'm not sure if this proves me right or not (in thinking it was intentional), but at least in effect it does

Now Bush is free to nominate the overqualified REAL conservatives and constructionists and say "but you said you wanted qualified, I gave you qualified... oh wait were you lying?"

UNFORTUNATELY since most of the opposition to Miers was on his side of the aisle, he wont have NEARLY the backlash effect he needs to get the next one to sail; but I think this will make a Janice Rogers Brown, or an Edith Clement both easier and more likely.

Hell, even an Alex Koczynski is possible, though I'm assuming he's still going to stick with a woman.

Posted by cbyrne at 09:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No second place winner

In a fight, there is no second place winner. Bill Jordan wrote those words more than 40 years ago, and they were as true then as they are today.

I’ve been involved in the martial arts since I was 5, and unfortunately I’ve seen more than my share of very serious fights.

Last week some guy was making threatening moves towards me after I beat him rather badly at poker.

I just looked him straight in the eye and said firmly, but quietly, and in a dead monotone “If you throw that punch I will kill you. There will be no fight, I will get up out of this chair and I will kill you. I’m not kidding, I’m not playing, I’m not exaggerating and I’m not bragging. If you throw just one punch I am going to kill you. Now turn around and walk out that fucking door right now”.

And he did.

He looked into my eyes and he KNEW that if he even moved an inch towards me I would kill him without even thinking twice, and that certainly saved his life.

Given the vagaries of the legal world, it probably saved mine as well.

I'm a very easy going guy. I will take an enourmous amount of abuse without fighting. I will take everything up to and including some physical contact if I believe that the contact is simple bluster and I can be sure there is no attempt to gain advantage, or make a hiddne attack, and that I can be sure there are no weapons in their hands.

I don’t fight unless it’s life or death, because every fight IS whether you want it to be or not. If he had thrown a punch I wouldn't have just hit him back, I would have taken out his throat, or his ribs, or his eyes, or broken an arm or a leg. If he kept coming (and some of them do for some reason, long beyond the time they should give up) or one of his three friends got involved, I would have broken his neck, or cruchedhis windpipe, or just taken out my knife and killed him with it, and them too if they moved in to the fight.

You fight until the threat is neutralized, or until you can retreat beyond the range of the threat. Nothing more, nothing less. I don’t fight to win, I don't fight to kill, I fight to stop; and if that means killing someone, then that is what I will do.

Once a grown man has thrown a punch that is it. It’s not “jsut a fistfight”, they are trying to kill you. I have seen too many fights end with someone dead, or near to it, intentional or not. An adult fight isn’t like in the schoolyard, every fight is life or death and you had better treat it that way, or your going to be the one they carry out.

Make that decision right now, not when your life is on the line. Make that decision that you will do whatever it takes to stop the threat, no matter what; or you WILL be the one they carry out.


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October 26, 2005

Ennui

The Gun Guy writes about his most recent ELGS experience, at Wannamachers; the largest gun show in America:
Walking through the show, I felt for the first time a curious sense of disconnection from it all. It was as though I was walking through a mall—lots of neat stuff, but nothing I would really buy. I’ve always gone to gun shows with a sense of keen anticipation, even when I had no intention of buying anything, because there was always a chance of finding my “dream gun”.

Well, I don’t have a “dream gun” anymore.

And the reason I don’t have one is because I’ve had to sell the ones I already owned.

I’ve never bought a gun with the intention of selling it. I’ve always bought a gun with the intention of keeping it forever. Now, a couple of guns have turned out to be not what I thought they’d be (eg. P-08 Lugers), and I’ve sold them later without too much of a qualm. Almost all my guns, however, have been like my children: I love them, care for them, and they’ve been a part of my life—and most especially so in the case of the older guns which have some history behind them.

But my recent financial circumstances changed all that, and my beloved guns became just a commodity. When we needed the money to pay bills until we could start earning again, I thought about taking all of them to Collector’s, and selling them as a complete “set”, if you will. Ultimately, of course, I decided not to do that, but rather sell them to all my friends and Readers.

I’ve fired an enormous number of guns in my life, and owned a pretty fair number too. Now, when I look at another gun, I get a feeling of “been there, done that” instead of “oh wow!”, which I’d always felt in the past.

There had been a hint of that earlier, when I thought what guns I would acquire once my circumstances returned to normal and I could buy guns again. I finally came to realize that my passion has changed to dispassion, and I probably won’t buy many guns, or at least that many, ever again.

I have gone through a similar thing recently, where I had to sell all but the bare minimum from my collection.

It isn’t the first time I’ve had to sell guns, nor is it the time I most regret, but it is the most number of guns, and I think the most significant impact emotionally the sales have had.

I’ve gone down to no revolvers, no bolt action rifles, no .22 rifle…

From a hobby standpoint, I'm really in sad shape, with nothing but defensive and SHTF guns.

Hell I dont even have a single commie gun for practice right now; and that's a damn shame.

The thing is though, other than a very few pieces, I have no great desire for lots of guns at the moment either. I have the money to do so, but I simply don’t want to spend that much for guns (debt comes first for one thing).

I have a few very specific things I need to buy:

First step towards rebuilding, the .22 rifle and .45 revolver I’m gunsitting for The Gun Guy.

Now I need a good boltie hunting rifle,

a varmint upper for my AR,

a pocket pistol (I’m thinking Kel-Tec p3at),

and a .45 carbine of some kind (thinking of the Mech Tech CCU).


Also there's a hole in my SHTF arsenal with no SKS's or AK's to practice with right now.

That’s what I need, and there's a very limited list of what I WANT… well I suppose the others aren’t really NEEDS, but to complete the guns necessary for my gun hobbies and personal defense that’s what I need

Anywyay what I WANT:

I'd REALLY like a Robinson XCR, when and IF the 7.62x39 and .308 versions are available

The biggest reason is that it is magazine and ammunition compatible with both AR's AK's and at least from an ammo perspective my M14 (I think it uses FAL mags for .308).

Hmm, I'd like one of those .308 enfield conversions... and actually that could serve as a decent hunting rifle but that's not what I want it for.

I love the Enfield action, and I want it in a caliber compatible with my M14. The fact that it even takes the same mags is just a plus.

I think probably also a .357 revolver (replacing the 686p and 386p I'd sold), and a big bore revolver (.454 or summat) to replace the four revolvers I sold…

I’d really like a titanium compact 1911…

I’d like to replace the SIG p229 I sold a few months back…

And that’s about it really.

I could tell you, a few months ago any time I saw a lovely piece of firearms art and technology, the wallet began itching, but no more. Right at this moment, I have no real desire to buy lots of guns that I really like; and that's a new thing.

And I'm pretty sure it's not a good thing... though I suppose it will save me a lot of money.

Posted by cbyrne at 12:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 25, 2005

This day is called the feast of Crispin

Henry V ; act four, scene three. The Saint Crispins day speech

William Shakespeare


This day is called the feast of Crispin. He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named, and rouse him at the name of Crispin. He that shall live this day, and see old age, will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, and say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispin:' Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars, and say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.' Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, but he'll remember with advantages what feats he did that day: Then shall our names, Familiar in his mouth as household words, Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester, Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd. This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispin shall ne'er go by, from this day to the ending of the world, but we in it shall be remember'd; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,this day shall gentle his condition: And gentlemen in England now a-bed shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Posted by cbyrne at 11:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Everything Old is New Again

Some time around the turn of the first millenium, a type of armor known as scale mail came to be worn by the Roman Legions, the Byzantine armies... just about any fashionably dressed and well equipped soldier of an organized army.

The Roman implementation of scale mail was called the lorica squamata, and consisted of about 1" x 2" rectangular bronze plates, heat treated (as much as bronze can be), shaped into scales, and dished with a rolled lip to increase strength. The plates were riveted to thin flaps of leather, which were in turn riveted through another layer of leather and padding.

The end result was a quite strong, flexible, and reasonably lightweight and comfortable armor, which was quite effective against slashing cuts. Unfortunately it was only moderately effective against piercing thrusts from swords; and quite poor against crushing blows, and strong piercing thrusts from spikes, axes, spears and the like.

Oh well, you can't have it all right...

Fast forward to the 9th century, and the concept is repeated in ductile iron, which was heavier, stronger but more likely to crack, somewhat less flexible, but otherwise more effective than the earlier lorica squamata.

This scale mail was worn over thickly padded, quilted jackets, constructed in layers. The jacket itself was effective enough as armor, that it was generally issued to less "expensive" troops, and those who were behind the front line of battle (like archers).

The use of scale mail as a primary armor form lasted into the 12-14th centuries, when the metallurgy of weapons, and the earliest introduction of man portable firearms; required heavy plate armor for primary protection. For areas requiring flexibility or less protection however, scale mail remained current until the early 17th century, when armor as a whole was obsoleted by the wide adoption of firearms as military weapons.

Fast forward again to the early-mid 20th century, and folks are looking once again to protect those in combat from the horrors of new weapons technology. The machine gun, artillery, grenades, and anti-aircraft had escalated mass casualties to truly horrific levels, and understandably the concept of armoring combatants came back to the fore.

Unfortunately, technology wasn't up to the task of providing full armor protection against high velocity bullets; but they COULD protect against shell fragments, shrapnel, spalling etc...

The fun part though, they chose to do it with... wait for it...

Ayup, scale mail.

This version of scale mail consisted of hardened aluminum (or in some of the earlier implementations steel) plates sewn into canvas pockets over a kapok or other densely padded jacket. It didn't do much to protect against bullets, but it was half decent against ricochets, shell fragments, and the like, as it was designed to do.

From the first implementations in the WW1 years, through WW2 and Korea, the technology was refined to the point where it could sometimes resist medium caliber pistol rounds. In the process the focus of armor developement changed from scale mail, into many overlapping layers of high strength synthetic fabrics; which by the time of Viet Nam, proved to be more effective at stopping medium velocity threats, and were easier for combatants to wear.

Of course soldiers on the battlefield face far more damaging threats than medium caliber pistols, so the powers that be looked for more effective ways to protect them.

Around the same time ('69), a pizza shop owner in Detroit named Richard Davis got shot. He didn't like being shot, and he didn't like cops getting shot, so he went looking for a way to give folks a "Second Chance", thus modern civilian body armor is born.

Initially soft body armor was constructed using ballistic nylon (thus the name) in up to 60 layers, but in '73 Davis's company Second Chance, started using Kevlar, and the rest is (very inaccurately reported) history.

Body armor comes in multiple levels as described in this chart:

Armor Level Protects Against
Type I (.22 LR; .380 ACP) This armor protects against .22 caliber Long Rifle Lead Round Nose (LR LRN) bullets, with nominal masses of 2.6 g (40 gr) impacting at a maximum velocity of 320 m/s (1050 ft/s) or less, and .380 ACP Full Metal Jacketed Round Nose (FMJ RN) bullets, with nominal masses of 6.2 g (95 gr) impacting at a maximum velocity of 312 m/s (1025 ft/s) or less.
Type IIA

(9 mm; .40 S&W)

This armor protects against 9 mm Full Metal Jacketed Round Nose (FMJ RN) bullets, with nominal masses of 8.0 g (124 gr) impacting at a maximum velocity of 332 m/s (1090 ft/s) or less, and .40 S&W caliber Full Metal Jacketed (FMJ) bullets, with nominal masses of 11.7 g (180 gr) impacting at a maximum velocity of 312 m/s (1025 ft/s) or less. It also provides protection against the threats mentioned in [Type I].
Type II
(9 mm; .357 Magnum)
This armor protects against 9 mm Full Metal Jacketed Round Nose (FMJ RN) bullets, with nominal masses of 8.0 g (124 gr) impacting at a maximum velocity of 358 m/s (1175 ft/s) or less, and 357 Magnum Jacketed Soft Point (JSP) bullets, with nominal masses of 10.2 g (158 gr) impacting at a maximum velocity of 427 m/s (1400 ft/s) or less. It also provides protection against the threats mentioned in [Types I and IIA].
Type IIIA

(High Velocity 9 mm; .44 Magnum)

This armor protects against 9 mm Full Metal Jacketed Round Nose (FMJ RN) bullets, with nominal masses of 8.0 g (124 gr) impacting at a maximum velocity of 427 m/s (1400 ft/s) or less, and .44 Magnum Semi Jacketed Hollow Point (SJHP) bullets, with nominal masses of 15.6 g (240 gr) impacting at a maximum velocity of 427 m/s (1400 ft/s) or less. It also provides protection against most handgun threats, as well as the threats mentioned in [Types I, IIA, and II].
Type III
(Rifles)
This armor protects against 7.62 mm Full Metal Jacketed (FMJ) bullets (U.S. Military designation M80), with nominal masses of 9.6 g (148 gr) impacting at a maximum velocity of 838 m/s (2750 ft/s) or less [provided the projectile hits the hard trauma plate insert]. It also provides protection against the threats mentioned in [Types I, IIA, II, and IIIA].
Type IV
(Armor Piercing Rifle)
This armor protects against .30 caliber armor piercing (AP) bullets (U.S. Military designation M2 AP), with nominal masses of 10.8 g (166 gr) impacting at a maximum velocity of 869 m/s (2850 ft/s) or less [provided the projectile hits the hard trauma plate]. It also provides at least single hit protection against the threats mentioned in [Types I, IIA, II, IIIA, and III].

Unfortunately, as in the 16th century, the thick multiple layers of cloth and padding STILL couldnt stop higher velocity, higher energy threats; and so hard breastplates had to come back AGAIN, as the trauma plate, which provides level 3 and level 4 protection.

A trauma plate is a hardened steel, aluminum, ceramic, or composite plate slotted into the ballistic vest to protect the vital organs in the torso, much as a 13th-16th century breastplate.

S0, the eternal cycle of armor vs. weapon has come around full circle once more, and...

Scale Mail is back again

We’ve been trying to get armor based on this concept out to the world for a while now. Obviously it’s an old concept, but it works.

Each of the plates is just a larger trauma plate in minature, and you end up with something like six times the total hard armor area of a trauma plate, at about half the depth.

The overlapping plates, which are technically a leaf mail style (basically the same as scale mail, only larger), have a few advantages. Most importantly (and most obviously) is the flexibility. More flexibility means more comfort, and longer wear time.

The two biggest advantages of the dragon skin (or other leaf/scale mail designs) from a ballistic protection perspective are that the small overlapping plates present multiple fracture planes to the incoming projectile, and that less area is compromised with a hit.

Factor one is directly dependent on the overlapping nature of the plates. When a single plate is struck, the energy of the impact is primarily expended within that plate, and the plate underneath it recieves only a small fraction of the total impact energy. If the plates are structures so that at rest there are two layers of protection in all locations, then the advantage is quite large. A side benefit of this, is the reduction of secondary injury (bruising, crushing, and breakage) from the projectile impact; though for some potential injury types in some cases this flexibility is a disadvantage (ribcage crushing injuries for example).

Factor two is the lesser compromise area. A strike in one area of the armor only compromises approximately 2”, whereas with conventional composite armor (soft armor with large front and back trauma plates) a single hit compromises the trauma plates completely (though that is changing), and at least 8” square of the soft armor area. Again, if the armor is constructed with full overlap, the secondary plate will still be in place to provide degraded protection in the strike area.

So we understand the plusses, what are the minuses? Weight, long term durability, and difficulty of manufacture (which means COST).

Of course to provide this level of protection means weight and cost. LOTS of weight and cost.

The best available current soft armor protection weighs from approximately 4lbs up to 7-8 lbs for a minimal coverage vest, at lvl 3a WITHOUT TRAUMA PLATES. When the coverage is extended to LVL 3, and includes pauldrons, spaulders, tasses, and a gorget/collar (full coat protection) that weight goes up between 12 and 18 pounds to a toal of 19-26 lbs (or more for some EOD armor, up inot 40+lbs)

For comparison, the new military Interceptor system is 16 lbs, the PASGT it replaced was 24 - both figures including front and rear trauma plates; and both are extended coverage vests not full coats.

The equivalent minimal coverage vest using leaf mail weighs about 18lbs, and the extended coverage vest weighs 22lbs, BUT it doesnt require the heavy trauma plates to reach lvl 3 protection, and in fact provides close to lvl 4.

With conventional vests, minimal trauma plate protection weighs about 2lbs for a hardened aluminum stab shield, and getting up to level 4 protection can add up to 16lbs, just protecting an area the size of a sheet of paper.

The absolute best technology we can come up with for full coat coverage lvl 3a protection with lvl 3 soft over the main torso, and lvl 4 trauma plates; weighs about 24-28lbs total (this is more coverage and more protection than current U.S. service issue personal armor).

That same coverage using leaf mail style armor can weigh over 30lbs, BUT it offers level 3 or better protection over the entire covered area, not just the trauma plate area; and approaches lvl 4 protection.

There is also a slight mitigating factor here, in that the weight is more evenly distributed, and the armor itself is far more flexible, which significantly improves the wearability and comfort of the armor.

I noted above the long term durability issue, but didnt elaborate. With smaller, thinner plates that slide over each other, there is the potential for mechanical wear, abrasion of the carrier, and a greater chance of a plate fracturing incidentally.

There is one more disadvantage to the scale design. If a bullet of the right construction, hits the right spot, at the right angle and velicity, it could be channeled in between the plates and into the wearer rather than expending itself in the plates. This is a very minor probability, but it should be mentioned.

Oh and heres the info on our current service armor:

Personal Armor System for Ground Troops

The PASGT was current until 2004 and is being replaced by the interceptor armor system:

Interceptor Body Armor

One should note, neither the PASGT nor the Interceptor offer that maximum level of protection I talked about above. Both are level 3a secondary protection with level 3 primary protection front and rear center torso; though new trauma plates are becoming available with level 4 protection. Unfortunately those trauma plates are very thick, very heavy, and VERY expensive.

Posted by cbyrne at 05:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 24, 2005

Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 10 - It's the meat stupid

Well phase one of the contract finished up Friday, and it looks like I'll have a week or two of before phase two starts, so I'm kickin back a bit.

My local Frys was having a special sale the other day, filet mignon for $5 a pound, and I took the opportunity to pick up about 4lbs (6 nice full filets - not medallions).

Perfect opportunity to dash out a quicky recipe...

Ingredients:

4 8-10oz filets
4 strips of thick cut black pepper bacon (optional)
4 tbsp crumbled aged feta


Seasonings:

1/2 cup red wine
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tsp habanero sauce
1tsp salt
1/2 lemon, juiced


Preparation:

My favorite way to cook filet is just to brush it with butter and olive oil, rub a bit of cracked black pepper and salt into it, squeeze some lemon juice over it, and then lightly grill it.

Unfortunately fire ordnances prevent grill usage on my balcony, so I used method two.

For this one, you prep the filets as above, plus the optional addition of a strip of thick cut black pepper bacon wrapped around the outer edge.

Get a skillet smoking hot with butter and a little olive oil, then pan sear the filet on all sides till it glazes up. While that's cooking turn your broiler on to the maximum and move the rack to the topmost position.

When the pan searing is done, place the filets in a shallow baking pan, then deglaze the skillet with a little red wine and a little soy sauce, then pour liberally over the filets. Place them under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until the glaze begins to char just a bit on the tips of the meat.

Pull the filets out and plate them. Drizzle the remaining pan glaze over them, hit the top with a little shot of habanero sauce, and crumble a bit of feta or asiago cheese over the top with a few grinds of cracked black pepper.

Honestly, you can serve filets with basically anything, but my personal favorite is sourdough cheese toast, and freshly fried seasoned potato wedges. For a little balance to the meat, slice in half some grape tomatos, and then quarter some cucumber slices, and toss in extra light salad oil with cider vinegar and cracked black pepper on the side.

And so that's what I had for lunch today.

Oh and yeah, that recipe serves two good sized guys, four women, or eight metrosexuals.

And be sure to check out:

Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 10 - It's the meat stupid
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 9 - Labor Day Potatos
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 8 - It's a pork fat thing
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 7 - It may not be Kosher...
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 6 - Andouille Guiness Chili
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 5 - Eazza the Ultimate Pizza
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 4 - Two Pound Meat Sauce

Recipes for REAL men, Volume 3 - Highbrow Hash
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 2 - MuscleCarbonara
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 1 - More Beef than Stew

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More unsurprising shit

Alton Brown Which Food Network chef are you? brought to you by Quizilla
Yaknow I started off finding Alton Weird and irritating. No I still think he's weird, but he's fun.

HT: Warbs

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October 23, 2005

The "OH SHIT!" Test of basic skills

Aa reader of the NoR asked what personal weapons skills could a civilian acquire easily, that would properly perpare them for an SHTF situation.

Not necessarily survuval and tactics, but what weapons should you know the manual of arms for, and if you're really paranoid what should you keep spare parts, mags, manuals etc.. around for.

Now at first I though "Huh, not a very useful question" but then I thought about it again for a mintue, and I realized, it's probably a good idea.

See I acquired my first Glock for exactly one reason. If I needed to give a gun to someone to back me up in an emergency, the gun they would most likely be able to operate properly would be a Glock. It's the nearly universal gun at this point. Everyone can figure it out, and everyone can shoot it with at least some degree of facility. If I had to give a gun to someone who'd never fired one I'd choose a revolver, but the Glock would be a close second.

So I recognize the utilit of having "universal" gun skills. My picks are designed to give the most utility and cross platform knowledge, as well as to be the most likely scrounged weapons if in the US or operating near US forces.

Oh and it's not a bad buy list either, if you may have to equip folks at some point.

OK so what should you know in terms of basic firearms use for SHTF situations - in appx order (assuming you are an American, operating around US or US supported forces):

1. AR based systems (especially malfunction drills)
2. AK based systems
3. Pump action shotgun basics (any one of the three majors should let you operate and figger out t’others)
4. 1911 and other browning tilting link based handguns
5. Browning Hi-Power and the MANY modern handguns based on that system (especially in Europe)
6. Beretta M92
7. Glock
9. Revolver
9. Basic bolt action rifle. Rem 700 or Win model 70 (or both).
10. M1/M1A/M14 based systems

If you understand the manual of arms, and maintenance for each of these weapons you should be able to operate effectively most of the individual small arms you are likely to come into contact with.

Oh and a note: if you understand 4-7 above, there should be NO semiautomatic handgun you can’t figure out, except perhpas the Mauser M2, HKP7, and the gas operated guns like the Desert Eagle.

Also useful would be the HK personal weapons operating system, which is shared across most of their line (SMG’s, assault rifles, sniper rifles, machine guns).

The SKS is certainly a gun you ought to know, but honestly, if you can’t figure out how to work an SKS in just a few minutes, including cleaning, diassembly etc… I don’t think I want to hand you a gun.

Which is also why I recommend the SKS for a bulk buy if you need to gear up some folks. Personally I'd also get some synth stocks, and cheap red dots (with mounts) and youd be good to go.

Someone on the NoR forum recommended knowing the FAL, and while I agree it’s a useful thing to know, they aren’t nearly as common as they once were, nor as common as the other choices above when operating around U.S. forces. On the other hand if you are operating in Africa, and DON’T know the FAL, you are in deep shit.

Posted by cbyrne at 02:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 20, 2005

The songs of the states

So I mentioned in a previous post that I was taught a pair of songs to memorize the fity states and their capitols.

Well of course some commenter asked for them, so here goes:

The 50 States That Rhyme Song Tune: Turkey in the Straw

Alabama, and Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas
California, Colorado, Co-nnecticut and more
Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho
Illinois, Indi-a-na, I-o-wa still thrity five to go

Kansas, and Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine
Maryland, Massachusetts and good old Michigan
Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, and Montana
Nebraska's 27, number 28's Nevada

Next, New Hampshire, and New Jersey, and way down, New Mexico
There's New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio
Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, now let's see
Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee

Texas and there's Utah, Vermont, I'm almost through
Virginia and there's Washington, and West Virginia, too
Could Wisconsin be the last state or is it just 49?
No, Wyoming is the last state in The 50 States That Rhyme!

Now I think the BEST version of this next one is from "The Animaniacs". Ya gotta love it when Wakko growls out "And Nevada Carson City":
The 50 State Capitals Song
Tune: Turkey in the Straw

Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Indianapolis, Indiana;
And Columbus is the capital of Ohio
There's Montgomery, Alabama south of Helena, Montana
Then there's Denver, Colorado under Boise, Idaho.

Texas has Austin, then we go north to
Massachusetts, Boston; and Albany, New York
Tallahassee, Florida; and Washington, D.C.
Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Nashville, Tennessee
(Elvis used to hang out there a lot, ya know)

Trenton's in New Jersey north of Jefferson, Missouri
You got Richmond in Virginia, South Dakota has Pierre
Harrisburg's in Pennsylvania and Augusta's up in Maine
And here is Providence, Rhode Island next to Dover, Delaware.

Concord, New Hampshire, just a quick jaunt to
Montpelier which is up in Vermont
Hartford's in Connecticut, so pretty in the fall
And Kansas has Topeka, Minnesota has St. Paul

Juneau's in Alaska and there's Lincoln in Nebraska
And it's Raleigh out in North Carolina
And then there's Madison, Wisconsin and Olympia in Washington
Phoenix, Arizona and Lansing, Michigan

Here's Honolulu, Hawaii's a joy
Jackson, Mississippi and Springfield, Illinois
South Carolina with Columbia down the way
And Annapolis in Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay
(They have wonderful clam chowder.)

Cheyenne is in Wyoming and perhaps you make your home in
Salt Lake City out in Utah where the buffalo roam
Atlanta's down in Georgia and there's Bismarck, North Dakota
And you can live in Frankfort in your old Kentucky home.

Salem in Oregon, from there we join
Little Rock in Arkansas, Iowa's got Des Moines
Sacramento, California; Oklahoma and its city
Charleston, West Virginia and Nevada, Carson City.

And that's all the capitals, there are!

Ahhh, the turkey in the straw... it really is the universal childrens song.

Oh and just for gits and shiggles, let's go into that everlesting pit of horror... OFFICAL STATE SONGS. Let's just take my native, and adopted home states, Massachusetts, and Arizona:

Arizona
Written by Margaret Rowe Clifford
Composed by Maurice Blumenthal

Come to this land of sunshine
To this land where life is young.
Where the wide, wide world is waiting,
The songs that will now be sung.
Where the golden sun is flaming

Into warm, white shining day,
And the sons of men are blazing
Their priceless right of way.

chorus

Come stand beside the rivers
Within our valley broad.
Stand here with heads uncovered,
In the presence of our God!

While all around, about us
The brave, unconquered band,
As guardians and landmarks
The giant mountains stand.

chorus

Not alone for gold and silver
Is Arizona great.
But with graves of heroes sleeping,

All the land is consecrate!
O, come and live beside us
However far ye roam
Come and help us build up temples
And name those temples "home."

chorus

Sing the song that's in your hearts
Sing of the great Southwest,

Thank God, for Arizona
In splendid sunshine dressed.
For thy beauty and thy grandeur,
For thy regal robes so sheen
We hail thee Arizona
Our Goddess and our queen.

Wow... that's just... damn that's bad. I mean REALLY bad.
All Hail To Massachusetts
Written by Arthur J. Marsh

All hail to Massachusetts, the land of the free and the brave!
For Bunker Hill and Charlestown, and flag we love to wave;
For Lexington and Concord, and the shot heard 'round the world;
All hail to Massachusetts, we'll keep her flag unfurled.
She stands upright for freedom's light that shines from sea to sea;
All hail to Massachusetts! Our country 'tis of thee!

All hail to grand old Bay State, the home of the bean and the cod,
Where pilgrims found a landing and gave their thanks to God.
A land of opportunity in the good old U.S.A.
Where men live long and prosper, and people come to stay.
Don't sell her short but learn to court her industry and stride;
All hail to grand old Bay State! The land of pilgrim's pride!

All hail to Massachusetts, renowned in the Hall of Fame!
How proudly wave her banners emblazoned with her name!
In unity and brotherhood, sons and daughters go hand in hand;
All hail to Massachusetts, there is no finer land!
It's M-A-S-S-A-C-H-U-S-E-T-T-S.
All hail to Massachusetts! All hail! All hail! All hail!

Okay, that's not AS bad... still horrible, but not AS bad.

Oh and although "All Hail Massachusetts" is the OFFICIAL state song, "The Spirit of Massachusetts" has been the unofficial state song for more than 20 years.

Posted by cbyrne at 05:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More hero worship - Walter Williams

So a few months back I wrote a post "Citizen or Subject" about how the citizens of the UNited States have a duty to actively resist laws that are contrary to the constitution.

Well Walter Williams has a lovely little exposition about this very topic today.

" You say, "Hey, Williams, but it's the law!" In the late-1700s, the British Parliament enacted the Sugar Act, the Stamp Act and the Townshend Acts, and imposed other grievances that are enumerated in our Declaration of Independence. I'm happy that we didn't have today's Americans around at the time to bow before King George III and say, "It's the law.""
With smart folks around such as Williams and Thomas Sowell, why is it the only "black leaders" we ever see in the media are Louis Farrakhan, Jessie Jackson, and Al Sharpton?

Posted by cbyrne at 01:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Yet more evidence that John Stossel should be president

By now y'all should know I'm a big fan of libertarian, anti-idotarian, and consumer advocate John Stossell.

Well in this article,Myths About Gun Control Stossel takes on, in his classic "Give me a BREAK" style, gun control.

"Guns are dangerous. But myths are dangerous, too. Myths about guns are very dangerous, because they lead to bad laws. And bad laws kill people.

"Don't tell me this bill will not make a difference," said President Clinton, who signed the Brady Bill into law.

Sorry. Even the federal government can't say it has made a difference. The Centers for Disease Control did an extensive review of various types of gun control: waiting periods, registration and licensing, and bans on certain firearms. It found that the idea that gun control laws have reduced violent crime is simply a myth."


This is almsot as good as the Penn and Teller "Bullshit" episode on Gun Control.

" Talking to prisoners about guns emphasizes a few key lessons. First, criminals don't obey the law. (That's why we call them "criminals.") Second, no law can repeal the law of supply and demand. If there's money to be made selling something, someone will sell it."

Now just why is it that supposedly intelligent folks don't seem to understand that?

Posted by cbyrne at 01:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I always was good with geography

Could you pass third grade geography?

48/48 in less than half the required time.

They also taught me a song that rhymed and alphebetized the fifty states, and another for the capitols.

I still remember them 20+ years later.

HT: Eric the Grumbler

Posted by cbyrne at 12:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 19, 2005

More bad beats

It was a night of bad beats.

First seating, I kept getting great hands. I had straight, I had flushes, I had sets, I had boats... and I had every single one of them beat by a higher hand.

I went out with the eights full of kings... and they had eights full of aces.

Second seating, second hand, I get fours full of threes. She gets fours full of fives.

Just not my night.

Posted by cbyrne at 11:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Sci-fi meme

John Scalzi, one of the first bloggers and a starting-to-be-successful Sci-Fi author in his own right; has recently published a book in the Rough Guide series: The Rough Guide to Science Fiction

Well, one of his readers, another blogger has started a fun little meme. In the book, Scalzi lists what he calls "The Canon", much as literati talk of the canon of western fiction etc... this list is about the greatest, most influential, most interesting, most appreciated or obesessed over films in SF history.

Heres Scalzi describing the list in his own words:

"the part of the book that's going to get most people's attention -- and raise hackles -- is The Canon, which features the 50 science fiction films I have deemed to be the most significant in the history of film. Note that "most significant" does not mean "best" or "most popular" or even "most influential." Some of the films may be all three of these, but not all of them are -- indeed, some films in The Canon aren't objectively very good, weren't blockbusters and may not have influenced other filmmakers to any significant degree. Be that as it may, I think they matter -- in one way or another, they are uniquely representative of some aspect of the science fiction film experience.

You ask: Why do I get to choose what films are in the canon? Well, you know: 15 years of film reviewing and following the business of cinema, and a lifelong interest in science fiction, gives me some amount of credibility. Being a published science fiction author doesn't hurt, either. Now, I didn't start this project thinking I knew it all -- some of you may recall I made an open call for people to suggest their thoughts on the most significant SF films -- but by the time I got down to the writing, I felt comfortable with the list I drew up, and in saying that these were the most significant SF films of all time.

Now, let me be clear: I don't expect everyone to agree with my selections for the Science Fiction Film Canon. Indeed, what fun would it be if everyone did? I hope that people use The Canon list as a springboard for starting a wide-ranging debate about what science fiction films truly matter. So if you think my list is crap, bully for you. Do better. Be aware I'm willing to fight to the death for this list; otherwise, bring it on."
The meme in question is simple. Just take the list, bold the ones youve seen and like, leave alone the ones you don't care about or havent seen, and strike out the ones you've seen and really dont like.

Without further adieu, the list:

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension!
Akira
Alien
Aliens
Alphaville
Back to the Future
Blade Runner

Brazil
Bride of Frankenstein
Brother From Another Planet
A Clockwork Orange
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Contact
The Damned
Destination Moon
The Day The Earth Stood Still
Delicatessen
Escape From New York

ET: The Extraterrestrial
Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers (serial)
The Fly (1985 version)
Forbidden Planet
Ghost in the Shell
Gojira/Godzilla
The Incredibles
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 version)
Jurassic Park

Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior
The Matrix
Metropolis
On the Beach
Planet of the Apes (1968 version)
Robocop
Sleeper
Solaris (1972 version)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
The Stepford Wives
Superman
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
The Thing From Another World
Things to Come
Tron
12 Monkeys
28 Days Later

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
2001: A Space Odyssey
La Voyage Dans la Lune
War of the Worlds (1953 version)

Yaknow, there needs to be more there, because some of those movies I like a bit, some I like for camp value, or cinematography or style, and some I think are frikken brilliant... Of course what I think is most interesting is jsut how many of them I HAVE seen. I revel in my geekitude.

Posted by cbyrne at 12:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 18, 2005

It has a PHASE?

BTDT - Though my bosses were never so open about their assassination plans ...
Posted by cbyrne at 09:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Minimal content warning

Things are gonna be a bit light (and yes I know they already have been) around here the next few days.

I'm in the midst of writing a 60+ page business doc and it's taking all my time and more (lots more. I'm usually up til 2-3 am anyway, but I'm usually reading not writing). The original deadline was Friday, but now they want to do a presentation on thursday which means I need to be done tonight so we can edit and prep for the presentation tomorrow.

The shit of it is, I could write this as a one or two pager, and it wouldnt make a difference. In fact I WILL do that when I write the executive summary, which is all most of them are going to read anyway.

Gotta love the consulting business.

Posted by cbyrne at 12:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 17, 2005

I have cousins

With each one of the "White" names...
Posted by cbyrne at 04:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Update on the NoR

See guys, it was jsut a tech problem. No black helicopters or JBT's:

The Gun Guy --

"Sorry about the interruption of service.

We have given pMachine Hosting (BBUTN) a blanket okay that, if they need to bring down the site/servers/whatever for maintenance, they can do it over weekends.

This, however, was an unanticipated event (typo in the new server bootup or some such, followed by a virus software issue). Personally, I blame the Democrats.

Sincere apologies to all those who were deprived of their fix this past weekend…"

So hopefully this kind of thing wont be hapnin too often, but if it does, I'll have a post up about it K...

Posted by cbyrne at 11:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 16, 2005

No News on the NoR Yet

Okay guys, stop calling, emailing, IMing, txting, and commenting me about the status of the NoR for a while K...

As soon as I know something I'll put up a post here. You can comment on this post, but folks have left "Why is the NoR down" comments on every post I've made this week.

It's great to know how important the NoR is to everyone, and as soon as I have something to share, it'll be up there.

Thanks.

Posted by cbyrne at 10:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A little Comparison

The Pats are about to go up agasint the Broncs in mile high.

A tough enough game under normal conditions, but take a look at these:

Patriots injured list
OUT RB Kevin Faulk (Foot) T Matt Light (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE OLB Tully Banta-Cain (Knee) ILB Monty Beisel (Finger) WR Troy Brown (Foot) ILB Matt Chatham (Knee) RB Corey Dillon (Ankle) CB Randall Gay (Ankle) DE Jarvis Green (Shoulder) DE Marquise Hill (Ankle) ILB Larry Izzo (Thigh) OLB Willie McGinest (Finger) CB Tyrone Poole (Ankle) SS James Sanders (Ankle) FS Guss Scott (Knee) DE Richard Seymour (Knee) CB Duane Starks (Thigh)

PROBABLE QB Tom Brady (Shoulder)

Broncos Injured List

QUESTIONABLE CB Roc Alexander (Hamstring)
CB Champ Bailey (Hamstring)
OLB Louis Green (Hamstring)

PROBABLE RB Tatum Bell (Toe)
G Cooper Carlisle (Ankle)
SS Nick Ferguson (Hand)


18 players injured, including Brady, Faulk, Starks, Seymour, McGinest, Green, Dillon... never mind Harrison and Bruschi; and people keep asking why the pats arent performing....

Shit it's a wonder they're at .600

Amazingly enough though, they're at +3.5 on a 47.5 over against the Broncos... I'm notn sure I get that one, but I'm hoping everones right.

Of course the general run of football this year hasnt been one of breakout performers. The Pats are #1 in the division, and tied for fifth in the conference with Jacksonville (behind Indy, Denver and miracle of miracles, Cincinatti).

Hell the NFC is looking even worse. The only team in the NFC with a better record is... TAMPA BAY.... it's a sign of the apocalypse I tell ya.

Remember the predictions I made last week about placement for this week? Yeah they were all correct. That said, cinci is keeping the hope alive for now. WHile the thought of them actually winning their division is I think laughable, they are in good position for a wildcard (I still think tennessee is going to kick their ass).

UPDATE: 28-20, it was a hard fought game, but soooo many mistakes, and no backfield... Wello you just cant win playing that way.

Oh and Robert, NFC east being the toughest division and Dallas all the way? Dude you are on crack. Philly is gonna stomp your ass, and the NFC south is definitely the tougher division this year. Hell most of the AFC is tougher than the NFC (of course it was t'other way around for ... 25 years or thereabouts).

Posted by cbyrne at 12:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 15, 2005

Not really pizza


Okay, so normally I DESPISE chain pizza.

Actually simply calling what Pizza Slut, Little Caesar, Papa Johns, and Spaminos "pizza" is generally significantly less than accurate, if not offensive.

And in fact, the subject of this post isn't really what I'd call a pizza. It's basically a steak and cheese sub served in slices, and it's DAMNED GOOD.

You should really try the Dominos steak fanatic pizza. I've had it twice jsut to make sure before recommending it, once regular crust, once "deep dish", and I'm lovin it.

I've always said that Dominos didn't so much serve it's deep dish pizza on a crust as it does on doughy bread. Well, add extra cheese sauce, and extra steak to the steak fanatic deep dish, have them do it "well done", and hey there you go with a half decent cheese steak.

I do think the regular crust is better with it though.

Actually there is a better "not a pizza" pizza out there, but it's a specialty thing they only do a couple times a year; the buffalo chicken pizza from Pizza slut. It's basically big chunks of grilled chicken smothered in buffalo sauce, with cheddar cheese and more buffalo sauce. The sauce sinks nicely into the deep dish crust and you end up with bufalo chicken goodness.

At one point I refused to do business with Pizza Slut because of their policy on drivers defending themselves. Unfortunately now every delivery pizza chain has followed suit, and while I'm a defender of gun rights and the right to self defense, I'm also a lazy pizza lover; and I'm not giving up my delivery pizza.

Oh and pizza slut has pretty good chicken nugget type things, and very tasty DEEP FRIED APPLE PIES.

Remember when McDOnalds had those deep fried pies? God I miss those. The pizza slut ones are better, except when they put too much cinammon and sugar on them.

Now if any pizza chain could figure out how to make actual buffalo wings that dont suck (hint, deep frying or broiling are a necessity. Skin should be CRISPY not slimy)

Posted by cbyrne at 12:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I wonder what the other options are..

An intersting test... seem like it may have been written by someone with some interest in military history but there are some odd questions, and some odd answers... anyway try it:

Julius Caesar
You scored 57 Wisdom, 81 Tactics, 59 Guts, and 50 Ruthlessness!

Roman military and political leader. He was instrumental in the
transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. His
conquest of Gallia Comata extended the Roman world all the way to the
Atlantic Ocean, introducing Roman influence into what has become modern
France, an accomplishment of which direct consequences are visible to
this day. In 55 BC Caesar launched the first Roman invasion of Britain.
Caesar fought and won a civil war which left him undisputed master of
the Roman world, and began extensive reforms of Roman society and
government. He was proclaimed dictator for life, and heavily
centralized the already faltering government of the weak Republic.
Caesar's friend Marcus Brutus conspired with others to assassinate
Caesar in hopes of saving the Republic. The dramatic assassination on
the Ides of March was the catalyst for a second set of civil wars,
which marked the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the
Roman Empire under Caesar's grand-nephew and adopted son Octavian,
later known as Caesar Augustus.
Caesar's military campaigns are known in detail from his own written
Commentaries (Commentarii), and many details of his life are recorded
by later historians such as Suetonius, Plutarch, and Cassius Dio.


My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 27% on Unorthodox
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 85% on Tactics
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 65% on Guts
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 56% on Ruthlessness
Link: The Which Historic General Are You Test written by dasnyds on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

HT: CowboyBlob

Posted by cbyrne at 12:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The perils of outsourcing and excessive management

So I'm inspired today by Francis Porrettos post on The Seductions of Management

Let's just consider this hypothetical:

So there's a contract for this company, and the company has literally outsourced their entire sharp end.

No seriously. All their operations, all their technicians, all their administrators, all their develpers, every department that actually DOES anything related to their end users is contracted out.

Even better they're "blackbox" contracts.

The whole company is nothing but middle managers, project managers, "architects" who are actually project managers...

They have plenty of good technically competent people, who have been turned into ineffective "architects" because all they ever do is "manage" and "architect" projects that are outsourced to other companies. Everyone who actually DID anything was either "promoted", laid off, quit, or retired.

Even better, they don't have anyone overseeing the operations of those outsourced companies. They get copious quantities of utterly meaningless reports which look great, they get status reports etc... but theres no actual operational control (hence the blackbox contract).

So the requirement for THIS particular contract is to produce an incredibly important multi-platform solution, in three phases. First phase is requirements gathering, second is competitive evaluation for COTS acquired components, and third is solution delivery.

The whole project was given a ridiculously compressed timeline. The initial requirement was specified two years earlier, to be completed by the end of that two years, or suffer contract penalties.

The project actually got started 11 weeks before the deadline, with requirements and evaluation given 5 weeks, and solution delivery the rest of the time.

Finally after three weeks of conflicting answers "Oh he's the one responsible for that" 'no, I don't have that, she does" "Oh not it's this person"... the team just gives it up as a bad job, and since they cant get directly on the systems (that whole blackbox thing again) they write requirements based on their professional experience and assumptions, and conduct competitive evaluations based on that.

So the evaluation report is delivered...

"Wow, you guys have done an amazing job collecting this informaiton, and getting this evaluation done. We dont generally see that kind of quality work."

The best bit is though, half the teams time is spent delivering status reports, writing status updates and email, updating project plans...

So as part of the solution evaluation, a basic timeline is produced for the delivery phase of the project.

The question comes from the PMO: "Was this estimate in actual work time, or in {insert company name here} time?"

From team: "We wrote that in 100% effort time. We have no way of accurately estimating any other time requirements"

PMO: "We're going to need to translate that {insert company name here} into time"

The project team was completely stunned by the honesty of that statement.

Okay so hypothetical over.

I've seen it dozens of times, and so has just about any other contractor in a position similar to mine.

Folks, keep control over your operations, and recognize that 80% of all management "work" is simply justifying the existence of the management organization.

I've been an operations manager, and that SHOULD be a real job. Of course maybe half my time was wasted telling the next level of management what was going on, who spent half THEIR time doing the same thing etc...

If there is more than one layer of project management, i.e. you have dedicated project managers managing other dedicated project managers, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?

You're spending lots of money for absolutely nothing.

Ok I need to stop now before I break something.

Posted by cbyrne at 10:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 13, 2005

Missed it by THAT much...

So I'm playing poker last night, high out of my mind on non-prescription decongestants and assorted pain relievers, cough suppressants etc...

I'm having an okay game, it's still early days with blinds at $100/$200, and I'm up maybe $1000 (to $5000 total).

So I get Q-J of diamonds in the pocket and another well known muscle player starts agressively raising pre-flop. We go through it till we're the only two left, and theres $2000 from each of us in the pot before the flop.

Flop comes out, A-d 4-c K-d, and I open the bet with $1000, he comes back at me with $2k and I know hes got the A, but I'm thinking... ok I'm four cards into the royal flush, which means I'm four cards into the straight, and four cards into the flush, any ten or any diamond and I'm in. I KNOW he doesnt have the kings or a set of aces because he would have pushed all in preflop if he had...

Fuck it, I'm not gonna miss the chance of a royal, I go all in, (another $1200 over his raise), and he calls me immediately.

He's got Ace diamond 4 spades and he's got me thinking "WTF was he doing putting 2K in the pot preflop with that?"

So we're two pair to the double draw. Any ten or diamond other than a 4 and I'm the winner

Brad: Oh shit, you bastard you're probably gonna draw that
Chris: Well I knew you had the ace...

Turn comes out and it's a blank (8-c) and he's getting a bit relieved....

River comes out, and it's a diamond...

the FOUR of diamonds...

I made my flush, but he made a full house.

Aww fuck

Posted by cbyrne at 03:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pulling number out of their...

Warbs Co-Blogger Wilson had this little blurb up today:
A report was released yesterday (where is it? no idea) that says anyone with less than a 3.7% raise in salary last year essentially is making less money because of the increase in gas prices. How much gas are people buying? I guess I am in the dark. I have pretty much always worked from a home office, so I fill up the tank about twice a month. How often do normal people have to get gas?
Yeah, I'm'na call bullshit on that number.

The "average" person in America drives 12,000 miles a year, and gets 24-26 miles per gallon.

So the "average" person is buying something like 460-500 gallons a year.

Of course that "average" includes folks like Wilson, who buy maybe half that; and my grandmother who buys about 16 gallons a month. I generally drive more, and I only average 22mpg, so I buy about 900 gallons year.

Anecdotally, the average person who commutes to work fills up about once a week, after using about 3/4 of their tank. This is pretty consistent across vehicle types, but in a lot of areas commute times and distances are getting longer so that may be changing.

The average fuel capacity for passenger vehicles in America is 14 gallons, so given behavioral trends you can guess that the average commuter is buying about 12 gallons of gas a week, or about 600 gallons a year.

Of course if you're driving a hummer with 15mpg hwy, and a 30 gallon fuel tank, you're probably filling up about as often, it just costs you twice as much. But much as the leftists of this world would like to have us believe, not everyone drives hummers.

Aaaanyway...

Given the $1 average price per gallon differential over the last year, at 600 gallons of gas, that's about $600 more this year. In order for that to be the equivalent of offsetting a 3.7% raise, the individual in question would have to make about $16k a year.

Considering per capita household income in the U.S. is $42k, and personal per-capita income is I just under $25k this year, that analysis doesnt fly.

OK, maybe they're including inflation?

Inflation 2004-2005 was 2.7%, so for $600 price increase to amount to 1% of income, you would need to make $60,000 a year.

Maybe they are including the estimated effect of gas prices on the consumer price index (CPI)?

Well, according to best estimates, that's about .5% of real consumer price increases EXCLUDING GASOLINE (so far anyway). Of course since the average American household is currently spending more than 100% of their income annually (estimates vary based on interst rates etc...) that's a fair bit of direct impact.

The real percentage of income offset by the increase in gas prices looks like about 2-3% even taking into account all of that.

Somehow I don't think their 3.7% number has any basis in fact.

Funny coincidence though, the average year over year raise in the U.S. ?

About 4%

I wonder if that might have anything to do with how they came up with that number?

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October 12, 2005

Catch 22

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Acidman is dying, or at least he believes he is dying. He's got pretty good reason to believe that, and so he's making ready for the end of his life. Rob has been very sick, for a very long time, and life has been more than unkind to him; he's ready to go.

Rob has made the decision that he is not going to seek treatment. He is ready to die. He doesn't particularly want to die, but he isn't going to fight against dying; he's just going to live until he doesn't anymore.

For some reason, a lot of folks seem to have a problem with that.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

We're talking about this over at the River Dogs place, and a commenter came up with the standard Catch 22 about the right to die:

Livey:

What people are failing to realize is that Rob does not have a terminal illness. His only illness is depression and alcoholism. Those illnesses prevent him from being of "sound mind."

If a person has a terminal medical condition, I'm all for the right to die. Hell I've been involved in more than a few. I do Home Health Care and Hospice.

If he was truly wishing to die, he would not have told everyone he was drinking himself to death. That is a cry for help. I understand that people don't understand depression.

Even people who are not of sound mind can seem like it. Alcoholics are not of sound mind. Neither are people suffering from depression.

All I asked is for his friends and family to get him to a doctor, find out what is wrong with him and if he is dying, than so be it. But drinking yourself to death just because you don't want to live anymore is just wrong.

Religion has nothing to do with it. It's a illness that can be treated.

If you are not crazy you do not want to die, therefore if you want to die, you must be crazy.

Except that is, excuse my language, utter bullshit.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

My mother is ready to die. She is in excruciating pain every moment, waking and asleep, in those rare few moments she is able to sleep at all.

My mother is ready to die, her illness is terminal, she will no longer seek theraputic treatment,though she continues palliative treatment. It is her desire to no longer fight the forces of nature.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
My mother is ready to die, and she is not insane. She is ready to die, and it is her right to choose as she has.

It is not your right to save someone from themselves. If someone wishes to die, they have the absolute right to do so. To force someone to live when they do not wish to is no different than slavery.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

"But what about the mentally ill, they can't decide for themselves"...

There are many things that the mentally ill should not be able to decide. This is not one of them. If they decide they want to die, then they should be allowed to die. It is the only decision they have left.

Not only that, but one could simply go one step further and say, as the commenter above, that anyone who has decided to die is, by definition; mentally ill.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Rob is ready to die.
My mother is ready to die.
We can stop them.
We should not.

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October 11, 2005

Geek overload

Okay, so I'm going into total geek mode here.

I just got my City of Villains beta, AND both the Serenity and new Mage RPG's today. Oh and I grabbed a copy of supersystem 2 and I'm gonna re-read them both, plus I've got about 30 books in the queue.

And the next "Wheel of Time" from Jordan, and "Song of Ice and Fire" from George R.R. Martin are both out before the end of the month.

I don't even know where to begin, but it's gonna be fun.

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Attempting to work today

So the fecal matter is vigorously rebounding off the rotating air movement device at the job, and against my better health, I'm working.

I predict I will be as efficient as Congress in September of an election year; but I have to be here for face time if nothing else.

Extremely haggard looking face time.

Ahhh the joys of corporate America.

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October 10, 2005

Fever broke

I'm still feeling like I was tied up in a sack and tossed down a gravel hill, but I'm starting to feel better.

The fever finally broke around 5 am this morning, and I was able to sleep for a few hours straight through (rather than fever sleep which is so very not restful).

Through the miracle of modern pharmacology I am able to sit upright, and mostly breathe without spasming or coughing up bloody mucus(mostly).

It's times like this we are reminded jsut how disgusting a thing the human body can be.

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October 09, 2005

A Near Run Thing...

God DAMN that was close; and ugly.

Good offense in the first half, but the Pats just sort of collapsed in the second, and let Atlanta fight back to tie it.

A couple unanswered touchdowns will do that.

But Brady and the boys stepped up, brought it down to well within field goal range, ran the clock down to the minimum, and once again gave it to Vinateri for the win: 31-28.

So it's 3-2 pats, and a Miami loss (as predicted a few days ago)and we're back in the division lead, and third in the AFC.

Of course there are only three undefeated teams left coming in to week five; the Redskins, Bengals, and Colts.

I think we can safely say the 'skins record is a fluke (they are a bye team), and the Bengals is a miracle. Indy is good, but really it's been their schedule more than anything that's left them in this position. Not that their schedule has been EASY, but it hasnt been too hard either.

I'd expect that later today Denver and Jacksonville will reduce that undefeated count to 1, but the chances of SF beating Indy are... well miniscule might be a good way of describing it.

Injuries are such a factor this season, for so many teams, that I really don't know whats going to happen.

I'm thinking the AFC playoff picture is going to look something like this

East: Patriots (the division isn't looking as tough this year as in past years)
North: Steelers (Even though their perfomance so far... they are still the best team)
South: Colts (no question. By far the best team in the div)
West: Broncos (but I'm not confident in that pick. Denver has been too inconsistent lately)

The wildcard picture is pretty muddled. I think Cinci has a real shot (4 more wins and they are there), KC, Jax...

And I'm not even gonna try and TOUCH the NFC. That picutre is just way too screwed up. I mean, Tampa Bay leading the division, and the Packers trailing it?

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102 degrees

Unfortunately not the outside temperature; but the "inside Chris's painfully achey body" temperature.

Argh...

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My god, they made a sequel?

I was scanning tvguide.com for something to watch at 1:33 am (I've got the flu and feel like shit, but can't sleep), and I saw one of the most frightning things I've ever seen...


Dungeons & Dragons
: Wrath of the Dragon god

My god, what were they thinking. Was the first not enough evil? I find myself wondering why the massive suckage of that film did not create a singularity destroying the earth and erasing all memory of it from existence... but I digress.

Amazingly enough, Bruce Payne (who is actually a decent actor) came back from the first movie, reprising his role as Damodar (the evil blue guy).

From the IMDB text:

"Based on the phenomenally successful role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons 2 takes you deeper into the dark and fantastical world of this fantasy epic. When the evil sorcerer Damodar braves a perilous whirlwind vortex to steal the elemental black orb he declares a sinister plan of vengeance against the kingdom of Ismir. Berek, a decorated warrior, and Melora, an amateur sorceress join four heroes representing Intelligence, Wisdom, Honor and Strength to battle against Damodar's growing army of gruesome creatures, flying harpies and an ice dragon to reach a vault room holding the orb. Together, they build their own army to retrieve the orb using elemental forces to defeat Damodar before he summons the sleeping black dragon whose omnipotent evil powers could lay waste to the entire kingdom."
Ok so I just HAVE to watch this. The cheez compels me...

"Well it's always been my great ambition to sully the virtue of a well bred mage".

So I'm reading the reviews on IMDB and apparently the D&D fanboys like this one...

I'm goin in, wish me luck...

UPDATE: My god, it is entirely a D&D campaign made into a movie. There is certainly a TON of cheez, but the fanboy gamer in me keeps seeing things that are directly D&d accurate/appropriate, and thus my disgust is being overcome by my fanboyness.

As punishment I will have to Storytell a game of:



As a metageek torture, I will play a 5th gen game master, running a white wolf Vampire/Werewolf crossover campaign only for freshman girls and members of the art club and poetry magazine staff; then have it planeshift into ravenloft.

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October 07, 2005

A disappointing year...

Lesse the Red Sox get embarrasingly swept...

The Patriots are 2-2, and sad enough that puts them in second in the division (probably first this weekend when Miami gets smashed by Buffalo).

Injuries injuries injuries. The pats went up against San Diego with 19 injured last week. We've got the Falcons and the Broncos ahead of us, both away games. Oh and 10 on the injured list this week.

Color me discouraged.

Posted by cbyrne at 08:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hmmm, never really thought about that

But I do love the muppets, and well... the patriotism thing...
sam jpeg
You are Sam the Eagle. You are patriotic and devoted. And extremely anal.

HOBBIES:
Patriotism, Being appalled at what everyone else is
doing.
FAVORITE MUSIC:
The National Anthem of America

FAVORITE MOVIE:
"An American In....America"

LAST BOOK READ:
"Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,
Eagles are from America"

QUOTE:
"Please stop that now! It's un-American!"


What Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by cbyrne at 06:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 06, 2005

A question from a Marine...

This question was asked on the Nation of Riflemen a few days ago:
Woody -- "What’s with the division in Americans? Why is always Dummycrats or the idiots? I’m a Marine and am consequently surrounded by lots of Republicans. We engage in alot of political-themed conversations. They get pretty heated but they never end up in name calling. I’m not even a Democrat. I just go either way depending on the issue. I never understood why loving my Second Amendment rights outlines how I should feel about abortion or any other divisive issue."
Well, that's a bit of a tough answer.

I hate both republicans and democrats. I think they are both awful, and will bring about the eventual downfall of the country. The only reason I vote for republicans, is because they will at least “let” me be prepared for it when it happens, rather than being lead like a sheep to the slaughter.

I frequently call the republicans "The stupid party", and the democrats "The stupud and evil party".

The Republicans don't trust you with your dick, your veins, your nose, your lungs, your womb, or your soul.

The Democrats don't trust you with your soul, your brain, your speech, your pen, your language, your fists, your guns, your cars, your kids, or your money.

And they all want to control you.

I've said this before in my post on "liberal and conservative thinking"

Okay, so what I don't understand about the way both Liberals and Conservatives think, is this:

1. Liberals dont trust people to make the best decisions for themselves, their children, or society (Social spending, Education, "hate", Religion)

2. Based on this distrust, liberals believe that government should make legislation to force people to do that which they believe is correct

3. Conservatives dont trust people to make the best decisions for themselves, their children, or society (Drugs, Sex, "Love", Religion)

4. Based on this distrust, conservatives believe that government should make legislation to force people to do that which they believe is correct (or not do what they believe is incorrect)

5. The government is made up of comittees of people

6. The intelligence and wisdom of a commitee is almost invariably equal to that of the stupidest member, divided by the number of members in the committee

7. There are 435 members of the house of representatives and 100 members of the senate

8. There are 9 members of the supreme court

9. There is one president

10. If neither liberals, nor conservatives trust people to make good decisions for themselves or their children; why do they trust the government, with a collective IQ of (to be charitable) 120 divided by 545 ( 0.22) to implement legislation making decisions for OTHER peoples lives and children?

So why do I vote for either? Why don't I jsut vote libertarian?

Tactics, and crises.

I could not imagine a worse result from the 2000 elections than Al Gore becoming president. I voted against Gore.

I could not imagine a worse result from the 2004 elections than John Kerry becoming president. I voted against Kerry.

Give me a valid candidate, who isn't a tax evading, fraud commiting, pothead, anarchosocialist etc... and I'll vote for them.

But not when the stakes are so high that my vote will make a catastrophic result more likely.

I voted for Perot. Bill Clinton got two terms as president primarily because of him.I won't be doing that again any time soon; unless the options presented me are impossible for me to vote for.

Posted by cbyrne at 09:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 05, 2005

Stack bets

So I won the poker tournament tonight. Pretty good game really. I started out by taking 4 people out in two hands, then got down to short stack before the final table.

I started the final table short stacked with about $3000, blinds at $500/$1000, and I double up or more 5 hands in a row, and 2 guys get knocked out. This puts me even with three others on the table, and I knock out 3 more., but with split and side pots all three of us left are about even.

So I flop broadway, and slow play it to get an all in; and we're heads up with me double dominating him.

My heads up managed to fight back to almost even; and we ended up battling over it for 30 minutes before I finally cut him in half 4 hands in a row.

Last hand I get rockets, and I slow play it. He gets queens, and the low rainbow comes out. I check to him he goes all in and I call instantly.

Rolled it, and got nothing, and that was it.

Got a nice card protector out of it.

Posted by cbyrne at 11:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 04, 2005

Imagine if Bill Bennet pointed this one out


Instead of the New York Times:

Population Loss Alters Louisiana Politics

By JEREMY ALFORD
Published: October 4, 2005

BATON ROUGE, La., Oct. 3 - The two recent gulf hurricanes may result in a significant loss of population for Louisiana, and state officials are now virtually certain that Louisiana will lose a Congressional seat - along with federal financing and national influence - after the 2010 census.
Skip to next paragraph

Having dislodged more than a million people in southern Louisiana alone, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita are also likely to alter the state's political landscape, demographers and political experts say, reducing the domination of New Orleans over the State Legislature and increasing the influence of suburban and rural areas.

With a low-wage economy and consistently poor educational performance, Louisiana was losing population even before the hurricanes. The state had a net loss of more than 75,000 people from 1995 to 2000, according to census figures. But the physical and psychological damage inflicted by the hurricanes could push tens of thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands, of people out of the state for good, state officials say, comparable only to the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression and possibly the 1927 floods...."

Think of the screaming from the left. Now instead they will be wringing their hands over the lost congressional seats.

It's demographics pure and simple.

Bill Bennett, in using a distasteful reductio ad absurdium to refute the assertions of Steven Leavitts "Freakonomics", inadvertently highlighted something.

Statistical truths are distinct generalizations, and cannot be assumed to be valid in the specific; but some things are usefully taken as generalizations.

Demographics in general, and voting in particular, are among those things.

How about trying this one on for size; It's a related argument, about a different topic: Legalized abortion has almost guaranteed that conservative majorities will eventually dominate all of the country except for concentrated urban areas; because the vast majority of abortions are "chosen" by liberal women, predominantly living in urban areas.

Additionally conservative birth rates are more than twice as high as liberal birth rates, and conservatives are more likely to raise their children in an atmosphere that transmits conservative values. Unlike the extremely negative reaction that the baby boomers had to their parents values, the last two generations seem to be retaining their parents values to a greater extent.

These are all statistical truths,which may or may not be valid when discussing individuals. It is useful to generalize in these cases, because electoral politics is highly demographic in nature; and demographics is the sort-of-science of identifying specifics within the greater generalities of populations. Those specifics are then used to group, and target individuals, without requiring individual knowledge.

It's all demographics, and many find that distasteful; but realistically, how can we talk anout a nation of hundreds of millions, without making generalizations?

We do it every day, every hour. We use our general experiecnes and general knowledge to make general assumptions. We would not be able to function if we COULDN'T make that sort of generlization. We base many of our interactions on our demographic perceptions.

In fact, if you are unable to do this, you are considered to have a mild form of autism.

So why aren't we allowed to talk about it?

Posted by cbyrne at 10:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bushes next appointment

AP - J. Random Liberal Washington D.C. October 4th 2005
President George Bush today announced he has nominated professional gardener Jesus Ramirez as the new secretary of agriculture.

This announcement came as a great surprise to the media, as Mr. Ramirez sole qualification for the office seems to be his long relationship as the presidents personal gardener. Mr. Ramirez in fact has been President Bushes personal gardener for more than 10 years.

The announcement came as an even greater surprise to current secretary Mike Johanns; as he has not resigned, and is in full health. His spokesman released this statement "What the fuck???". This sentiment seems to be echoed at this time by all sentient beings on the planet. We are looking for confirmation, but reports indicate that both God and Satan have agreed; and may be releasing a joint press announcement later this week.

Asked about Mr. Ramirez qualifications, President bush responded "I have known Jesus for over 15 years, and I can tell you there is no better man for this position. He is an expert in grass and trees; and you should see his potiary.. I mean topography... uhhh topiary. Why he even managed to get rid of that pesky crab grass problem I was having. Don't even get me started on how he dealt with my beetle problem". President bush also added "I have looked into his heart, and I know that he is the right man for the job".

Conservatives have reacted with distinct puzzlement, and in fact the following image has begun appearing on blogs all over the internet.

Posted by cbyrne at 06:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 03, 2005

Truer words

From Mark Steyn:
I found myself behind a car in Vermont, in the US, the other day; it had a one-word bumper sticker with the injunction "COEXIST". It's one of those sentiments beloved of Western progressives, one designed principally to flatter their sense of moral superiority. The C was the Islamic crescent, the O was the hippie peace sign, the X was the Star of David and the T was the Christian cross. Very nice, hard to argue with. But the reality is, it's the first of those symbols that has a problem with coexistence. Take the crescent out of the equation and you wouldn't need a bumper sticker at all. Indeed, coexistence is what the Islamists are at war with; or, if you prefer, pluralism, the idea that different groups can rub along together within the same general neighbourhood. There are many trouble spots across the world but, as a general rule, even if one gives no more than a cursory glance at the foreign pages, it's easy to guess at least one of the sides: Muslims v Jews in Palestine, Muslims v Hindus in Kashmir, Muslims v Christians in Nigeria, Muslims v Buddhists in southern Thailand, Muslims v (your team here). Whatever one's views of the merits on a case by case basis, the ubiquitousness of one team is a fact.
Need I say more?
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Quotes from "Greatest things about being fat"

"The greatest tastes in the world are Cookies, Bacon, and Cheese" -- Yeah I have to agree with that, especially cookie dough, and milk chocolate macadamia nut.

"Do you have any idea how many skinny bitches cry themselves to sleep just wishing to eat a piece of their wedding cake"

"Fat women have great yummies"

"When Lindsey Lohan lost her baby fat, she also lost her babies, and nobody likes that"

"There aint nothin sexy about backribs"

#14 great thing about being fat is: You are less likely to be kidnapped; "Because they are just easier to carry"... "Skinny hot and blonde are kind of like the holy trinity of abduction".

"Fat people and baseball go together like Mike Piazza and not bein gay"

"If you can't throw, you can just stand there and not let people move you" -- The linemans creedo (actually as a former semi-pro lineman myself that's not true. If you're any good, you move very fast, for 15 feet).

"Grover Clevelands muppetlike name was counterbalanced by his gigantic 300 pound ass"

...Speaking of Lara Flynn Boyle "Jeeze, lay off the twinkies Boyle".

"Learn the value of being grossly disproportioned"

"The #8 great thing about being fat is:You're historically hot"

"Those women could eat five Kate Mosses, and still have time for three hours of sex"

"Dolly parton could feed all of pigeon forge with those milk bags"

"Jay leno parlayed his morbidly obese chin into hosting the tonight show"

"Matthew Perry, who'll be there for him? Looks like cookies"

"I could ride Santa like a pony"

"The #2 great thing about being fat is: Oprah"... "You want to sit down and dip something in some gravy with her" ... "Even when she's skinny, America can rest easy in knowing she won't be skinny for long"

"The moon controls the tides, Jews control hollywood, and YOU control when things end"

Posted by cbyrne at 10:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

George Bush is a Fucking Waste...

Of course you knew that already, but this makes it even clearer:


Bush Picks Miers for Supreme Court

Monday, October 03, 2005
By Liza Porteus

Many names Floated as Next Supreme Court Nominee
WASHINGTON — President Bush on Monday chose White House counsel Harriet Miers (search) to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court.

"She will be an outstanding addition to the Supreme Court of the United States," Bush said during a press conference announcing his pick.

Saying she has a "record of achievement with the law," Bush said Miers also has "built a reputation of character and integrity" and possesses a "deep compassion and abiding sense of duty."

"She will bring that same passion for service to the Supreme Court of the United States," he added.

If confirmed, Miers, 60, would join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the second woman presently serving on the nation's highest court.

"I am very grateful for the confidence in me that you've shown by this nomination and certainly I am humbled by it," Miers told Bush during the press conference.

The White House is describing the nominee as "a woman of many firsts," including being one of the first staff members to arrive at the White House each morning and among the last to leave. She is known for thoroughness and her low-profile.

I am SO DAMN tired of Bushes most important criteria for picking people to put into high office beign his personal acquaintance with them. He had a perfectly good opportuinty to both put an excellent libertarian conservative on the court, instead he chooses his own personal lawer (the same thing he did for AG), who just happens to be chief moonbat Harry Reids first pick as well.

GAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!

My one hope is that she is a sacrificial lamb, intended for the democrats to dash their credibility on; thus opening the way for a REAL constitutionalist. Alas I am certain this is only a fantasy.

Update:
Bruce and I seem to be in agreement on this one
And Eric as well

And Warbs

Posted by cbyrne at 05:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ten big things - A work in progress

Ok so I've identified some of my ten big things... actually it's jsut one big thing, and the ten things are all a part of it.

In no particular order:

1. Education (of everyone, not just kids)
2. The Constitution
3. Military power
4. Terror
5. Liberty
6. Space
7. Faith
8. Humanity
9. Peparedness
10. The War (and I'm not talking about GWOT)

More (way more) details to follow.

Posted by cbyrne at 10:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

30 Mike Mike all the way baby

Posted by cbyrne at 10:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 02, 2005

Meme Tag

Eric the Grumbler has decided to tag me with what has to be the biggest meme on the planet... which is only appropriate since it's called "Ten Big Things".

Apparently this was started over at "Searchlight Crusade". Evil bastards, disturbing my complacency with their big ideas...

Okay this one is gonna take me a while. I'll probably have it up tomorrow evening some time.

Posted by cbyrne at 06:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'd laugh but...

Posted by cbyrne at 08:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 30, 2005

Interesting...

Not sure I agree with it, but it's interesting:
"It has been said that American pop culture was as responsible as anything else for bringing down the Berlin Wall. If that’s the case, then what are our current films doing for the world, and for our own security, here and now in 2005?

Hollywood history is not hard to learn. When the studios make movies that leave ticket buyers feeling good about their country, that celebrate the everyday heroes who live among us, and that aren’t afraid to turn the people who want to destroy our way of life (today, Islamic terrorists) into movie villains then moviegoers, red and blue, will flock to the theaters. Yes, Hollywood can and should throw the occasional provocative and controversial bone to the fringes and profit quite nicely (as was proven by The Passion of the Christ and Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2004).

But if all the bones are thrown in any one direction, Hollywood loses the mainstream, the lifeblood of a healthy and prosperous box office. And once lost, they may never come back.

Posted by cbyrne at 04:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Y'ever see something that's so racist...

That you arent' even mad? You jsut think "Damn, thats some racist shit"?

Normally I'm not one to go for that, but this particular "looter guy" photoshopping was just a bit too much for me:

Damn, that's some racist shit right there. Thank you Chris Rock.

Now that being said, I'm glad I'm not the only one who noted this particular resemblance:

Posted by cbyrne at 02:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 29, 2005

Screw that, I'm gonna LIVE


Just got back from Serenity...

GOD DAMN THAT'S A GREAT MOVIE!!!

Okay how to do a review on this movie without spoilers...

First, from the opening tracking shot (actually a multi composited shot, but still gorgeous) to the final space battle, this movie looks expensive. Since the budget, including P&M (promotion and marketing), was under $40m that's one hell of an achievement.

As to the story, well let's just say the Kobyashi Maru scenarios referenced by other bloggers are apt. The characters are presented with a series of unwinnable scenarios, and they don't win; but they survive... which is I think the central theme of the entire series. Courage is doing what is right when it is guaranteed to get you killed. Heroism is surviving that; or at least making sure everyone else does.

And that's what they do.

When presented with a situation where they MUST succeed, to make sure that right is done; when they are being set upon at all sides by death and destruction; when they cannot possibly succeed, they do; but they pay the price for it.

Damn there are so many better ways of saying that. I've even got them written in my head. There is a Saint Crispins day speech in this one but I can't say it without spoilers.

Let me just put it this way. If you've ever taken a service oath, this movie is going to make your emotions stand up and shout.

Now, the cast.. Well I'm a BIG firefly fan so I'm biased, but I have to say the performances were letter perfect. There just wasnt enough time to show them off more. This movie could have been twice as long, and still they'd have had enough story, and enough character involvement to keep me in my seat.

Oh and the feminity in this movie is utterly yummy. Especially in the fight scenes. Think buffy, the matrix, kill bill, and Zaitochi "a master of swords"...

Summer Glau... Who would have known a balet dancer could kick so much ass (well actually I did; I've known a few who were also martial artists. DAMN).

Gina Torres protrayal of Zoe is jsut a tiny bit too stiff. She's trying to play stoic duty, but it ends up coming off a bit unnatural to me. Of course it's rather unlikely she's ever taken orders, so I can understand that.

Morena Baccarin... we need to see more of her... MUCH MUCH MORE.

And Jewel Staite as Kaylee... Remember Willow and Gabrielle? Yeah she blows them BOTH out of the water. Even in their vamp versions.

Nathan Fillion played it perfect. Henry the fifth meets Yojimbo... or maybe last man standing. Perfect for a space western.

The best performance in the movie though? I have to give it to the tongue twisting Chiwetel Ejiofor as "The Operative". Every time he was on screen all I could think was "Damn this guy kicks ass".

Actually I'm guessing that Joss Whedon is a bigger Toshiro Mifune fan than I thought.

It's definitely the best movie of the year so far, although admitedly, that's not saying much.

Okay I need to stop talking or I'm going to start raving with spoilers. Lets just say I'm going to see it again.

And now, the theme:

Take my love, take my land Take me where I cannot stand I don't care, I'm still free You can't take the sky from me Take me out to the black Tell them I ain't comin' back Burn the land and boil the sea You can't take the sky from me

There's no place I can be
Since I found Serenity
But you can't take the sky from me...

Posted by cbyrne at 11:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Senate Confirms Roberts As Chief Justice

About 90 minutes ago

Now, anyone want to lay some bets as to how long it takes Bush to announce the next nominee, or who it will be?

The frontrunner is Janice Rogers Brown, and I could very definitely live with that. A black female libertarian on the court? HELL YES!

Oh and those confirmation hearings... anti-woman, anti-black.. see she has to be because she hates herself... AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!

Sorry that was my democrat impression.

Oh and the vote was 78-22, with no republican dissenters. The 22 who voted against are all either ultraleftynutjobs or they are running for president in three years (or both):

Akaka (D-HI) Bayh (D-IN) Biden (D-DE) Boxer (D-CA) Cantwell (D-WA) Clinton (D-NY) Corzine (D-NJ) Dayton (D-MN) Durbin (D-IL) Feinstein (D-CA) Harkin (D-IA) Inouye (D-HI) Kennedy (D-MA) Kerry (D-MA) Lautenberg (D-NJ) Mikulski (D-MD) Obama (D-IL) Reed (D-RI) Reid (D-NV) Sarbanes (D-MD) Schumer (D-NY) Stabenow (D-MI)

Transparent partisanship, thy name is democrat.

Posted by cbyrne at 10:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Articles like this...

... Are why I subscribe to "The Weekly Standard". The Left University
Today nearly 70 percent of the 18-to-24 age cohort attends college in one form or another, and more than 80 percent of high school graduates do so. College attendance has become a near universal rite of passage for youngsters in our society, and a requirement for entry into the world of middle-class employment.

When this year's freshmen enter the academic world, they will encounter a bizarre universe in which big-time athletics, business education, and rigorous science programs operate under the umbrella of institutions that define themselves in terms of left-wing ideology. This is especially true of the 100 or so elite public and private institutions that are able to select their students from among a multitude of applicants seeking entry, and true also of the humanities and social science departments that define the political and social meaning of the academic enterprise. These students will enter the world of what we may call the left university.

The ideology of the left university is both anti-American and anticapitalist. The left university, according to its self-understanding, is devoted to the exposure of the oppression of the various groups that have been the West's victims--women, blacks, Hispanics, gays, and others that have been officially designated as oppressed groups--and

to those groups' representation. This is the so-called "diversity" ideology to which every academic dean, provost, and president must pledge obedience and devotion.

As it happens, the contemporary university is diverse only as a matter of definition and ideology, but not in practice or reality.

Go, read, be enlightened.

Never forget that the state of Americas schools, from Kindegarten to post doctoral programs, is a deliberate effort, running since the 1890s, doubled and redoubled in the '20s and '30s, and then redoubled again in the '50s and '60s; to turn all of America into a "scientific socialist" state ruled by "academic experts" who believe only they know what is best for everyone.

They have only truly succeeded in our educational system; where many would I'm sure be quite thrilled to be addressed as "Comrade Academician" instead of "Professor Smith".

John Dewey was the most influentual force in the creation and structuring of our modern "german model" of public education; from Kindegarten to the research universities, lifted straight from the statist german system (at times socialist, at times fascist, but always authoritarian). His most telling quote? "You can't make a good socialist out of an individual". You might be interested in knowing that there are HUNDREDS of public schools in the country named after that vile man.

Here is another Dewey quote:

"From a social standpoint, dependence denotes a power rather than a weakness; it involves interdependence. There is always a danger that increased personal independence will decrease the social capacity of an individual. In making him more self-reliant, it may make him more self-sufficient; it may lead to aloofness and indifference. It often makes an individual so insensitive in his relations to others as to develop an illusion of being really able to stand and act alone-an unnamed form of insanity which is responsible for a large part of the remedial suffering in the world."
This philosophy forms the very core of the socialist welfare state ideal. Individualsim is bad, both for society, and for the individual; because it reduces his connection to society; and reduces societies value as a whole. The individual is not an asset to society, but a threat to it.

If reading the works of this man, who essentially created modern public education as an experiement in social engineering, doesn't anger you (even if you are a liberal or other leftist); are you really paying attention?

Posted by cbyrne at 09:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 28, 2005

One of the reasons I love my girlfriend

I love my girlfriend very much, even though we have had a somehwat insane relationship (which is apropriate considering we are both more or less insane. Her more, me less ;-).

Why?

Well aside from lots of sweet sweet lovin, she does things like this:

"Someone at work gave me tickets to the advance screening of Serenity tomorrow. I have to work,but you can use the tickets if you want. Maybe you and Jon can go [ed. note, a good friend of mine]. I would like to see the original Firefly series before seeing the movie anyway."
Ummm yes darling, yes I do want, and yes I do love you eversomuch.

She may irritate and infuriate me on occaison, but then she does things like this (quite frequently actually -- especially the little important things like bringing me home foods that I like). She makes unreasonable demands on my time and attention, and has some very odd ideas, but it all adds up to my general qote on her:

"I love her. She's crazy, but in an endearing way"

Posted by cbyrne at 04:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Content Free...

Sorry for the lack of new and interesting content the last couple weeks. I've been on a new contract, and it's draining me hardcore.

Only 50 billable hours last week, but it feels like 100.

Hey, at least I'm getting paid again right.

I've got some good stuff brewing, I jsut havent had the time and energy to spew them forth upon the virtual page.

Posted by cbyrne at 10:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's funny cuz it's true

Found on the NoR:

Folks don’t understand how we came to have an oil shortage here in America. Well, there’s a very simple answer. Nobody bothered to check the oil. We just didn’t know we were getting low.

The reason for that is purely geographical.

Our OIL is located in: Alaska, California, Oklahoma, and Texas

Our DIPSTICKS are located in Washington DC

Posted by cbyrne at 08:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 27, 2005

Another one makes it past the censors

Two nights in a row even:

[Doctor is telling patient about new drugs target towards black men, because they react differently than white men]

Black Patient: Son, white people been lyin to me for 60 years
Black Doctor: [exasperated] See, that's the trouble with us black folks, we can't tell the difference between racism, and just "everybody get's screwed"...
Black Patient: Oh you think THEY tell YOU the truth?
Black Doctor: Tell you what. If you really want to screw whitey, be one of the few black men who LIVE to collect social security. Take the damn medicine.

Aaron McGruder... paging Mr. Aaron McGruder... reality is calling....

Posted by cbyrne at 08:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 26, 2005

Sometimes TV comes out with a gem

Lawyer 1: "Isn't he afraid of being convicted of perjury"


Lawyer 2: "Well, no-one ever get's convicted of that anymore. The last guy to get caught was Bill Clinton, and he got away with it."

Posted by cbyrne at 08:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sweet

I'm an Aston Martin DB5 - Which James Bond Vehicle Are You?
Take the James Bond Car Quiz!

Posted by cbyrne at 09:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Righteous Rant

The Geek with a .45 is touching on one of my pet peeves, the inability of fast food types to get the simplest of orders correct.
{Speaking slowly, enunciating, and formatting my request in a manner that it will be understood} "Hi. I'd like a #1 with cheese, fries and a coke. I'd also like two cheeseburgers, and a pie."

It's the simplest farging job on the planet. All it requires is that you understand highly formulaic English. I've already interpreted my desires into a form you can understand, so you don't have to think at all. When, for example, I tender the order above, you push the following buttons: "#1", "w/ cheese", "med fries", "med coke", "cheeseburger", "cheeseburger", "pie".

If you do this correctly, two things will happen. The first is that an amount of money will magically appear. You collect from me an amount greater than or equal to this number, and tell the machine how much I gave you. If I gave you more than the first number, a second number will appear, labeled as "change", and that is the amount of money you give back to me. The other thing that will happen is that a list will appear elsewhere in the store, which is an exact match of the buttons you pushed. Someone else will select each of these items from bins, put them into a bag, and hand them to me.

It's the simplest retail transaction possible, honed to absolute efficiency by 50,000 years of societal development and relentless market forces. It has been analysed and reduced to its smallest, leanest components, so that it cannot be perturbed by anything other than monumental incompetence.

If you can tie your shoes in the morning, wipe your own butt, and somehow miraculously manage to get food from your plate to your mouth without stabbing yourself in the face with your fork, you should be able to do this job.

My friend, I know exactly that of which you rant.

I hate mayonaise, and I am allergic to onions.

Fresh onions are the worst, with onions in soup or stews leaving me with just heartburn.

If I eat a single burgers worth of fresh onion, I will have violent intestinal disturbances, which are quite unpleasant, and may require me to seek medical attention.

A single bite worth of onion on a burger will generally cause me to be unable to finish my meal. The reaction isn't that fast in my stomach, but the unpleasantness I know is sure to follow is so imprented, that the mear taste of onion like that will make me ill, or at least unable to eat further.

I ALWAYS order everything either "no onions" or "plain" - sometimes with mustard and ketchup.

Long years of experience have brought me to spelling out exactly what must be and what must not be on my sandwiches for me to eat them "I'd like a bacon double cheeseburger with nothing but meat, bacon, cheese, ketchup, and mustard. No onions please, I am allergic to onions."

Still, perhaps 25% of the time, I recieve my sandwich with onions.

Frequently I simply order food that cannot possibly be served with onions without asking for them specially.

Tell me, how hard is it to understand the word "plain"???

Posted by cbyrne at 12:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 25, 2005

Your whateverly dose of comics lovin

Posted by cbyrne at 10:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Had me worried there for a minute...

Actually for about three hours...

Patriots 23, Steelers 20, and they did it with 1 second to spare.

Posted by cbyrne at 06:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 24, 2005

My favorite song

I ran across this old post of mine on the NoR, and I thought I'd share my favorite song:

Generally I sing it A Capella at SCA events along with "Whiskey in the Jar", and "The Minstrel Boy"

Wanderlust
--Wylde Nept

Once I loved a lady, she meant the world to me
Her eyes as green as a shady lake, and her hair like a springtime breeze
Her long hair shown like gold and silk, with the rolling sea in her stride
I found my comfort in a feathery bed with my lady by my side

But a long dark winter took her from me I must’ve wept for forty days
As the sparks from her pyre flew up to the stars, I thought about my ways
My lady was my hearth and heat, my lady was my home
Without her love and without my tears I’ll pick up my staff and roam

Harvest time turns the trees to rust and my travels bring me to town
The smell of hay rolls up from the fields, and the sounds of music roll down
The farmers laugh and the mercheants sing, and the women dance till dawn
There’s ale and merriment enough for me, but in the morning I’ll be gone

For I’m at my best when my boots wear thin, I’ll see the world by the mile
Every lake as green as my ladys eyes, every breeze as welcome as her smile
Through caravans of gold and silk, to ships on the new moons tide
I found my comfort on a mossy bed, with the road close by my side

Summer time brings the drums of war, and banners from lands far away
The fields burn as the farmers arm, so I lend my sword to the fray
You’ve won a place of honor here lad, why’s it you wont stay
But the winding road keeps calling me back and this is what I say

For I’m at my best when my boots wear thin, I’ll see the world by the mile
Every lake as green as my ladys eyes, every breeze as welcome as her smile
Through caravans of gold and silk, to ships on the new moons tide
I found my comfort on a mossy bed, with the road close by my side

On a cold mountain road in a travelers inn I find shelter from the winter time
I rest my bones by the crackling fire, and I trade my tales for wine
The innkeepers always ask the same, what calls you to the open road
As they turn for their answer all they’ll see is me vanish in the swirling snow

For I’m at my best when my boots wear thin, I’ll see the world by the mile
Every lake as green as my ladys eyes, every breeze as welcome as her smile
Through caravans of gold and silk, to ships on the new moons tide
I found my comfort on a mossy bed, with the road close by my side

Once I loved a lady...........

The bands web site has this for an intro:

Sing like no one is listening Dance like no one is watching Live every day like it is your last

Sounds like a nice philosophy.

Posted by cbyrne at 10:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Technology sufficiently advanced...

Will be indestinguishable from a DemonranticUnderground commenter:
From the mind of Sean Gleason
Posted by cbyrne at 05:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 23, 2005

Redemption

The catholic church will shortly issue a "clarification" that homosexual men cannot become priests, even if they do not act on their homosexuality.
"Sep 22, 2005 — NEW YORK (Reuters) - Homosexuals, even those who are celibate, will be barred from becoming Roman Catholic priests under stricter rules soon to be released, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

The newspaper quoted a Church official "with authoritative knowledge of the new rules," as saying the question was not "if it will be published, but when," referring to the new ruling about homosexuality in Catholic seminaries."

The question has been asked "How are they going to enforce this?" I mean if a man does not act on his homosexual desires how can they prove he's a homosexual.

The people who ask this question simple don't understand catholicism at all. This unfortunately includes many catholics. I was rasied as a catholic, though I left the church long ago due to various disillusionments. It sticks with you, and honestly I consider myself a better man for it.

So back to the question, how are they going to enforce this? Well, they aren't. It's a matter of conscience, as are many things in the catholic faith.

Homosexuality is a sin according to the church, both in act and in thought, however sinners are allowed to be priests; so long as they repent and recieve absolution. If this were not true, then no-one could be a priest, for we are all sinners.

In the promulgation of this doctrine, they are saying that a homosexual priest can not be in grace with god, and therefore a man who is true to his faith must recuse himself from the priesthood; in fact from the both performance of all the sacraments, and the reciept of all the sacraments except confession (a side note: any catholic may confess to any person in a state of grace with god under extraordinary circumstances; ordination is not required. In fact even extreme unction can be given by any person in a state of grace with god if necessary). Even then they may only recieve absolution with sincere repentence, and renunciation of the sin.

The thing is, current doctrine states that a homosexual man CAN be in a state of grace with god, so long as he repents his homosexual desires, and does not act on them.

I do not agree with this doctrine (as regards priests), because as has been pointed out, it violates a fundamental precept; that of redemption. If one sincerely repents ones sins, and recieves absolution; one should be regarded as in a state of grace with god, and thus not barred from the other sacraments, including holy orders.

They have basically said you can be in gods grace if you are gay, but not if you are gay and a priest; however there is no teaching justifiying this differentiation. Additionally they have said this doctrine only applies to new seminary students, and I can see no justification for THIS differentiation.

I can tell you WHY they did this: there is an association in the public AND the hierarchies mind between homosexuality and pedaerasty. Whether this is true or not is irrelevant to the perception; which is what they are atempting to manage by issuing a message on this doctrine at this time.

Promulgation of a doctrine that condemns the calling of a redeemed man, simply for public relations purposes; is a fundamental rejection of the nature of redemption.

Unfortunately, yet another reason I can no longer consider the catholic church my spiritual home.

Posted by cbyrne at 11:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stolen...

The revolutionary war began, not July 4th 1776, but April 19th 1775 when the army moved to sieze the caches of arms that his majesties loyal subjects had assembled over the previous three years of being treated as an occupied enemy territory.

April 19th 1775 was the day that Englishmen chose to become Americans, unable to tolerate any longer their suppression by force of arms.

It's time to remember that now:

--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness -- The Declaration of Independence
NOTE: This image is from Scott Bieser, a libertarian cartoonist. On his website he notes that his editorial cartoons may be freely redistributed on the web in unaltered form.

In the immortal words of Herschel Krustofsky "Guns aren't toys. They're for family protection, hunting dangerous or delicious animals, and keeping the King of England out of your face."

Posted by cbyrne at 06:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

An honest liberal in support of democracy

David Gelertner is frequently my kind of liberal. We disagree on many things, but he is generally honest, and doesnt fall into the doublethink

The position he gives here pretty much mirrors my own:

Let's take abortion away from the court
DAVID GELERNTER

The abortion issue is a catastrophic wound in U.S. cultural life. It has inflicted unending battles on American society ever since the Supreme Court seized control of the issue from state legislatures in 1973 — in one of the grossest power grabs American democracy ever faced.

Young people pondering U.S. democracy today might easily conclude that all really important laws must be decreed by the high court.

We could heal the abortion wound, end the battles and reaffirm the integrity of American democracy if we had the guts to use the Constitution's own mechanism for introducing big, permanent changes to American law. We should get Congress to propose and the nation to ratify a constitutional amendment.

Ever since the 7-2 Roe decision, supporters of abortion rights have been nervous — with good cause. The right to have an abortion could be abolished by a one-vote majority of the Supreme Court. It was only created in the first place because of the Make-a-Wish theory of jurisprudence. The American people had never written it into the Constitution, but the justices (closing their eyes and wishing hard) discovered it...

Read it all, for he speaks the truth.

Posted by cbyrne at 11:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

God Bless the high pressure dome

Galveston may survive this one.

Rita has dropped back to cat 4, and is rapidly diminishing in force down to cat 3. She is also trending more northeasterly than previously forecast because of the high pressure "dome" off the Houston coast...

Unfortunately that leaves Lake Charles, LA to be pummeled, but they can handle it a bit better than Galveston can. Lake Charles may be a swamp (actually it's not bad), but Galveston is a semisubmerged island. It's already been wiped off the map once.

I haven't heard directly from Jim S the layabout sailer and leading gun nut of galveston bay, but by blog comments he's hanging in, and stressing out.

Posted by cbyrne at 01:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 22, 2005

Why Steve H. is a frikken genius

Well, the first thing is "Eat what you want and die like a man", but really its just his writing...
"Here is what I read about negative ions: they make us happy. Positive ions make us sad. There are lots of negative ions outside, especially in the mountains and at the beach. There are very few of them in air-conditioned buildings, on congested freeways, and within a hundred-yard radius of Cindy Sheehan.

Supposedly, falling water releases negative ions, so we feel happy near waterfalls or in the shower.

Hell, it could be true. Although I always thought I was happy in the shower because I was wet and warm and soapy and naked. It just goes to show you how wrong you can be."

Frikken brilliant

Posted by cbyrne at 08:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

In honor of a city that will soon be departing...

Galveston is fucked.

I mean "god will smite thee" kind of fucked.

Take a look at this: http://www.weatherunderground.com/tropical/tracking/at200518_5day.html

Let us take a moment to remember the city in song...


GALVESTON
-- Jimmy Webb
(as sung by Glenn Campbell)

Galveston, oh Galveston
I still hear your sea winds blowing
I still see her dark eyes glowing
She was twenty-one
When I left Galveston

Galveston, oh Galveston
I still hear your sea waves crashing
While I watch the cannon flashing
And I clean my gun
And I dream of Galveston

I still see her standing by the water
Standing there, looking out to sea
And is she waiting there for me?
On the beach where we used to run

Galveston, oh Galveston
I am so afraid of dying
Before I dry the tears she's crying
Before I see your sea birds flying
In the sun, at Galveston

Update: Galveston may be saved, and creepily, there was a new show on tonight "Criminal minds" starring Mandy Patinkin (I wasnt too impressed wit the writing, but the performances were good). During the final scene, "Galveston" is playing in the background.

Posted by cbyrne at 09:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Anonimity

Most bloggers are at least nominally anonymous. They don't use their real names, dont publish them, dont use their real email addresses etc...

There are a lot of good reasons for this, and let me just enumerate some right now:

1. Using your real name WILL get you fired from most jobs at some point
2. Using your real name could get you sued
3. Using your real name could get you serious death threats with visits from the FBI

Those are all pretty good reasons to be anonymous, and if you've read me for any length of time you may know that I've gone through all of those (more than once for the first).

A lot has been made recently about the decision of a previously open couple of bloggers identities goin anonymous. Some have criticised them for "running away from a fight" etc...

Those people are assholes.

See, I DO post with my real name, because I want people to know who I am and what I stand for, but there is an important difference between me, and most.

Actually two:

1. When I AM working, I make an obscene amount of money, so I can afford not to work for months at a time (the Travis McGee plan)

2. I don't have kids

If either of those statements were untrue, I would be another anonymous soul. I can afford to lose a job most of the time, and I can afford to find a new one frequently, In fact as a consultant, it's a frequent occurance by nature.

Others are not so lucky. They may be in a far more sensitive or public profession, or they may not have the financial freedom. That dose not render their contribution less worthy than mine; nor does it mean they are cowards of any kind.

I chose to live my life the way I want, because I could; because I had the money and earning potential. Had I not, and were I not, I can assure you my choices would be much different.

Oh and for those of you who ARE in theory anonymous, remember there is no such thing as either privacy or anonymity on the internet. Don't write anything you aren't prepared to talk with HR about; or you WILL be fucked over.

Posted by cbyrne at 02:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 21, 2005

The Nation of Riflemen is BACK

Everyone, as promised the NoR is back, and rarin to go.

Praise be to all that is great and holy, and thanks to all those who made this effort possible, anonymous or not.

The new URL is:

http://www.thenationofriflemen.com/

Posted by cbyrne at 04:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Nation of Riflemen will be back..

Everyone,

The NoR forums will be back up and ready to go VERY SOON (not "very soon now"),

Watch this space for updates.

Posted by cbyrne at 02:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 20, 2005

Rockstar INXS - It's finally happened

I'm slightly mad...

One of my fav songs actually, but neither here nor their.

Ok first, Brooke hasn't been that yummy since the metal micro-mini...

So... Marty, J.D., and Mig...

Ok before we go on, I think Marty is the best individual performer to lead a band, but he's not good for INXS. Mig is a great singer, but he's really a theater guy. Of course he is from Oz (sort of, he's originally philipino but gre up in OZ) but I'm still thinkin he's not right for that. Finally J.D.... attitude problesm sure, but I think he's the best for INXS.

Hell, he's got a decent sense of humor if nothing else.

Ahhh so they have to sing any one of the songs already performed this year, then they'll eliminate one, and it's a singoff with INXS, doing an INXS song for the gold.

Sweet...


Mig - Queen, "Bohemian Rhapsody": No big surprise here, Mig does one of the greatest rock songs of all time, and he does it very very well. This is his moment. Unfortunately he overreaches in a few spots, not sure whats wrong there, but hey. Also, as impressive as the song is, it might not be THAT impressive fom Mig, because everyone knows he's done it every night on stage for the last three years.

Overall, pretty damned good, but I dont think it'll save him.

J.D. - Rolling Stones, "Can't always get what you want" : Remeber how I've been saying J.D. could be the best up there if he just calmed down a bit, and channeled the energy into the song.. Well he did it. This is what J.D. should be like 90% of the time, and it's VERY good.

Marty - Pink Floyd "Wish you were here": So Martys best performance was CLEARLY wish you were here, and he decides to reprise it. MISTAKE. It was good, hell it was very good, but it suffers in comparison to the FIRST time.


Elimination: Mig wasn't surprised. You could see it on his face, he knew from the moment they started talking

Marty - "Don't Change": Hmmm, well it was good... He made it into HIS song, which may NOT be a good thing. I liked it, but he sounded more like a naughties emo band than INXS

J.D. - "What you need": The only way J.D. could have done this better would be to BE Michael Hutchence. It was jsut great. The perfect amount of sex, and ham, and jazz... I can't help but think it's him, and this is why.

Decision Time: J.D. is SHITTING HIMSELF.... Oh man... Marty is quiet, no expression whatsoever....

J.D. is definitely the right choice to do INXS and their back catalog. Marty NEEDS a record contract with his band, and this will get him one without any doubt.

Oh and the news song? Not bad.

Oh and this was a liveblog, but blogger hosed everything up for hours.

Posted by cbyrne at 09:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Not generally a bumper sticker fan but...

My girlfriend just sent me this:
and I found this one while I was there:
Posted by cbyrne at 06:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A message for the Nation of Riflemen

Everybody, remember how I said not to pull the trigger yet? Well heres why:
Not sure if this is the best place to put this, but I just wanted to post a quick thanks to all of the above who said such incredibly nice things.

I would ask that people not post things like links to cache locations that make what we'd like to "disappear" accessible to folks who may be looking for something.

We're fine. As some have surmised this was a sudden "emergency" situation that caused us to react without any warning. For that we apologize, but it became a choice between our personal obligations (fill in the details yourself) and the site. The site lost as we're sure everyone can understand.

Just to be clear, no one "ordered" us to do anything, but it was obvious that things were going to have to "change" and our obligations were too imposing not to respond the way we did.

We're only now back from a little whirlwind of travel and we'll be "handing over" the NOR Forums to "temporary guardians" soon.

Details to follow.

-- CD

See I figgered K and C would already have some plans, and I didn't want to get in the way. So everybody jsut sit tight a little while longer, and stay frosty.

Oh and to everyone who's say "Why didnt they warn us, I'm addicted, that was so rude, I depend on that site"... Hey, I'm addicted too. DO you know how much of my day was spent there BY CHOICE???

All you folks down on K and C, quit whining, thank everyone for the free ice cream, and SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Posted by cbyrne at 07:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 19, 2005

By lucifers beard...

It's ....


TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY

Aaaaaargh!!!!

Where's your parrot?

Posted by cbyrne at 07:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'm a dead man ... in 47 years

According to our research, you'll be dead by

December 2052 at age 76

- probable cause -

heart attack
YOU DIE: 75.7 years
AVERAGE MALE LIFE SPAN: 72.5 years

As you can plainly see, you have more health & vitality than the average man.


WHY YOU DIE?
56% heart attack
24% car accident
13% loneliness
5% drowning of the lungs
2% wounds


You have 17280.2 days left on this earth.
You've already lived 38% of your life.

A FEW COLLECTED STATISTICS
Across all 743607 test takers.

17% smoke.
42% have health insurance.
5% eat a lot of nice beef.
39% hold in farts.
13% are impressed with themselves.
The top cause of death among relatives was cancer.
The most widely suffered ailment among takers is high blood pressure.
The average day for an OkCupid user involves 7.8 hours of sleep and 1.1 movements of the bowel.


This test is always available at:
www.okcupid.com/death

Posted by cbyrne at 07:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More random unsurprising shit

Super Perv

Congratulations! You scored 18/20!


Way to go, Pervy McPervster! You have obviously heard of/seen/done most
of these licentious acts. I'll keep this short because I'm sure you
have a full schedule of lewd activities and porn to get back to.


My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 65% on sex termability
Link: The Name that Sex Term Test written by hautepink on Ok Cupid


Well I always say, a flithy mind is a terrible thing to waste


Movie Expert!
You scored 97%!

This is a difficult test, but you definitely passed, and have finished
in the highest category! You know a lot about actors and movies! Well
done!

The Ultimate Sex Appeal For Women Test

The Interested In This Aussie Test

Please feel free to rate my test below! :-)




My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 98% on ActorsMovies
Link: The Match The Actors To The Movie Test written by aussierick on Ok Cupid


Yeah, I'm a pop culture junky I know

Posted by cbyrne at 06:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Better Looking

OkCupid's Politics Test

You are a

Social Liberal
(70% permissive)


and an...

Economic Conservative
(90% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Libertarian

You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness. loc: (74, 149)
modscore: (54, 42)
raw: (5339)



Posted by cbyrne at 06:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Yet more unsurprising shit - part whatever...

You are a

Social Liberal
(70% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(90% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Libertarian




Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

HT: The Smallest Minority

Posted by cbyrne at 06:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Smoke on the water

A friend of mine lives on a boat in Galveston harbor; a lot of you know him and of course I've mentioned him before, Jim from Smoke On The Water.

Galveston may be the point of Landfall for Rita. Even if it isnt, the projected tracks will all result in significant storm surges for the entire Gulf Coast.

Right now Jim is securing and preparing the "New Dawn", and within her the remainder of his worldly goods (anything that doesn't fit in his land yacht with his exceedingly unhappy cats); and waiting for a better picutre of whether he needs to evacuate or not.

I don't know if you've ever been out in a small craft in a heavy storm. There is nothing that can so fiercly remind you of the power of nature as being in a little tiny boat, on the great big ocean.

Perversely however, you are actually safer OUT of the harbor, and well offshore, when there are large storm surges involved. A 10 or 12 foot storm surge (and there are wildly varying predictions for tropical storm/soon to be hurricane Rita from 6-20 feet) can take a small boat a half mile inland, or smash her against a seawall in a heartbeat.

Galveston is a relatively protected harbor, and the hope is that Rita will keep to a category 2, or at least reduce to it by the time the effects reach Galveston on Thursday or Friday.. unless she speeds up or veers off or does any other crazy thing.

See, hurricane models are a little bit better than what we engineer types call WAGs.

I think you can figure out what a WAG is.

The environmental variables that combine to produce a hurricanes track are so numerous, and so complex, that it takes a fair percentage of the worlds supercomputing resources to calculate them, and even then they have about a 50% accuracy rate on a good day.

So the WAG is that Rita will intensify to a cat 2 or low cat 3 storm by late Wednesday early Thursday, with a significant effect on NO (yes, god really does hate you