Monday, June 25, 2007
The annual ABATE Freedom Rally starts this Friday in Algona. If you're not familiar with this event, it's a small version of what Sturgis used to be before it got huge and PG rated. Granted, this means being subjected to the occasional 300 lb (NSFW)naked guy riding by your tent, but it's worth it for the (NSFW)other benefits.
Since The Wife will be camping with me over this weekend, it means carrying more creature comforts. Last year it was just me and a co-worker's husband, which meant carrying a tent, cot (I'm too damn old to sleep straight on the ground anymore, especially if it rains), sleeping bag, and a bottle of Jack Daniel's, all of which got strapped to the back of the bike. This year, the mini-trailer is going behind the bike, as there'll be all that plus blankets, pillows, towels, coolers for ice, extra clean clothes, etc, (and a bottle of Jack Daniel's). Since I've got the big bike, I get to do the hauling. TW gets to ride her bike w/o crap hanging all over it. Unfortunately, this meant reinstalling the hitch and mount on the back of my bike. That requires dropping the saddle bags and mounting frames, for a total of 16 various sizes of metric bolts, several of which are a pain in the ass to reach. Even better is when you find one stripped, with the receiving threads completely buggered. Dug out the tap and die set; recut the threads on the bike, but the bolt was shot, requiring a run at the last minute to the hardware store to get a replacement. Back home to the 90 degree garage to start installing everything. At which point I was reminded that this is a lot easier with two people, one to keep the hitch frame and bag mounts aligned with the bike, and one person to start the bolt and tighten it. This is also the point where you remember why it's nicer to work on a bike that hasn't had the engine running for a half an hour before your hand slips and you plant a forearm on the exhaust pipe.
Three hours after starting, the hitch system is on, the bags are reattached, I'm filthy, and I've got three inch long welt on one arm. I hope this isn't an indication of how the weekend is going to be.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Put on another NRA Action Pistol match this past Saturday. I actually had more people email me and tell me they would like to show but were committed than attended. Which was a grand total of four, including myself. I think I'm going to try moving the matches to Sunday afternoons, to see if it allows for greater participation.
The match was an aggregate of the Practical and Crawford Barricade Events. My goal is to provide opportunities for our members and the local shooting community to get some use out of their handguns outside of the slow fire bullseye/pop can on the ground shooting that seems to be the standard for informal individual shooting. I know a fair number of people around here that own handguns, but have never rapid fired under any kind of stress. I've been asked why I'm so interested in getting these matches running, instead of focusing on the bulls eye that the club's been running for decades. My answer was that someone kicking in your door rarely allows you time to take up your target stance and practice your breathing routine before firing. From what I've seen in my two small matches, stress induced by firing under a time limit is conducive to humility, especially if your bullseye scores are consistently high. They won't be when you're drawing from a holster and engaging multiple targets with multiple shots in less than five seconds. On the positive side, I've seen some really big smiles when someone rips off six shots in five seconds, all on the paper, because they've never fired their pistol that fast ever, and didn't think they could do it. Or when someone learns they can consistently hit a target 50 yards out.
Next month, the Combat Event. Sixty rounds of gunny goodness, complete with assuming multiple stances during shooting. The kind of stuff guaranteed to be fun while you shoot, and joint pain inducing for the next couple days.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Walked out of the theater tonight with The Wife just in time to pass an example of current teenage sartorial splendor. Now I know teen fashion for males has been to look like you've tried to dress yourself after a couple bottles of cheap tequila on an empty stomach. Shirts hanging out, droopy pants, sideways baseball cap. But as in all things fashionable, eventually an extreme is reached where what's cool (to some) crosses into the absurd without the wearer realizing it (think the giant collars during the disco era that reached to the shoulders of a leisure suit).
Tonight I witnessed it. A young man looking like a cross between one of the Backstreet Boys and a cholo from West LA. Ah, where to start: the almost shaved head with trailer trash sideburns extending down to the jawline; the two sizes too small wife beater t-shirt; the red and black underwear, visible not just because the two sizes two large shorts were droopy- no, he had them pulled all the way off his ass. I'm pretty sure he just anchored them on his schwantz. God help the public if we get a sudden cold snap. But for the final touch, just to let the honeys know he's got style, a bright yellow wrist sweatband precisely halfway up the forearm.
Damn, I was jealous. I don't even own any wrist sweatbands, since I sold my stick shift Mustang II without air conditioning back in the '80s. Until it occurred to me that I'd seen that extreme style before. As in the "extreme" guys in Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle. The ones with the secret Cher and Air Supply cds in their jeep. Stylin'. Yeah.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Most days working in a hospital you meet patients with a wide range of personalities. Being that it's a hospital, I expect that a fair number of these people aren't having a good day, and aren't at their best. But some days (like today), you hit the anti-jackpot, and get to deal with a seemingly unending procession of people who aren't content to be miserable, they want to make sure you're miserable too. Using the following techniques, you too can ensure that the hospital staff feels your pain.
1. Agree to a simple procedure in radiology that is a glorified long-term I.V. often placed in a home setting by a registered nurse. On reaching radiology, pitch a fit that you will not be attended by an anesthesiologist for unconscious sedation for the usually ten minute procedure. Refuse the procedure and have the staff return you to your room so you may continue to complain about your pain and how much it hurts every time someone tries to start a standard IV. Grudgingly agree to return for procedure when you realize you won't get IV pain control any other way.
2. Demand to know if the procedure is done every five minutes, even though the doctor hasn't put in an appearance yet.
3. Frequently try to stick your hand into the sterile field we've created to prevent a nosocomial infection.
4. Complain that the sterile drape smells bad, is intolerable, and demand we move it away from you.
5. Tell the nurse that the nursing care you've always received here has always been horrible.
6. When asked what was bad about the care, express your anger over the nurses actually expecting you to get out of bed and walk the day after your knee replacement, instead of letting you lay there sedated until the pain is all gone.
7. Yell when you're poked with the needle the doctor just told you he would be poking you with. Continue to yell every time you feel anything touch you.
8. Demand, not ask, that the nurse position your leg just so, scream when you're slowly, carefully, moved to a gurney at the end of the procedure, then complain that you're going to vomit from the rough, fast transfer.
9. Insult the doctor when he shows up by stating he must have been too busy making money to show up immediately after you arrived in the imaging room.
10. While your parent, the patient, is having their informed consent reviewed by the staff prior to the exam, state loudly that doctors are idiots, and inform the staff that you're pissed off the anesthesiologist didn't agree to use the sedatives you wanted him to use for the procedure, since you know what works best better than some con man with a medical degree.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I invite the author of that statement to travel to Mecca, without male relatives, and make that statement in front of the Ka'ba. I figure approximately 3 seconds for the stoning to commence.
(h/t Ace of Spades)
Monday, June 18, 2007
Thanks to a fair bit of callback at work (you can't have more fun than standing in one spot for four hours wrapped in synthetic rubber/lead apron trying to find that one tiny artery filling some one's abdomen with blood, then spending the next two hours putting the images on film so the doc can look at them the next day), I was granted a three-day weekend. I spent most of Friday assembling plumbing for the new sink I installed last weekend. Fat men and small spaces don't mix. On the plus side, the bathroom project from hell is almost done, except for a few small details.
Saturday was spent with The Wife. We decided to take out the cycles for a few hours, stopping first at the annual Greek festival at the local Greek Orthodox church. This is the first time I've been to it, but it won't be the last. Gyros are few and far between here, and the ones they were making were excellent. The wife forced me to finish her Greek chicken, and we ended lunch with a baklava sundae.
After eating, there was a display of dancing. Two thoughts on that: the women performing seemed to really have it down. And, you have to have a hell of a lot of self-confidence to put on this and go out and shake it when your past, say thirty.
Shortly after that, a quick trip into the church to check out the bake sale. Baklava as far as the eye could see, which is damn near paradise to me. The Greek ladies really know how to cook. You can fit a lot of calories into a bike's saddlebags with very little effort.
Next stop, the local Fleet Farm for a new pair of chaps for The Wife. After last year's two hour ride in the rain in South Dakota, she now appreciates that a rain suit can help keep out the water, but it'll still feel cold slamming up against your shins at 60 MPH. Then over to one of the local bike shops to purchase a full face helmet that allows the entire front to lift in addition to the face shield. I started using one of these when I got fed up with taking my glasses off and on every time I removed/put on the helmet. She didn't think much of it until riding in the rain (surprise) with her half-helmet and snap-on visor. Tolerable in town, torture at 60 MPH, with water blowing up beneath the shield.
Last, a slow ride around one of the local lakes. Sunny day with a nice breeze coming off the water, and a couple of stops for some cool drinks.
Father's Day Sunday, I had the company of my son and mother, along with gifts of a six gallon shop-vac, season two of the Venture Bros., and a home-made peach pie.
That is a good weekend.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Another example of progressive politics via zombietime in San Francisco.
I'd say it gives me the willies to look at, but that just sounds disturbing given the subject matter.
Side note: I now know, thanks to that post, that somewhere in the world people make their living fabricating big rubber rings for old pervs snap around their junk so it...."presents" itself. Ugh.
Friday, June 15, 2007
I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often:
Warren County body identified as Altoona man
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
June 12, 2007
A man whose body was found on a Warren County farm has been identified, but authorities were not releasing any other information.
The body of Bradley Neil Parkins, 28, of Altoona, was found on the farm Sunday afternoon. An autopsy showed he died of exposure to anhydrous ammonia and that the death was accidental.
An anhydrous ammonia facility is located on the farm, officials said.
Officials used fingerprints to identify Parkins.
Jessica Lown, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Public Safety, said investigators were continuing to work to determine why Parkins was at the farm.
"We can't tell you why he was there or what the connection might be if there was one at all," Lown said.
If you live in the Midwest, you know damn well why he was there. You can't make meth without anhydrous. I believe anhydrous tanks are legally required to be locked, thanks to market demand for the stuff. Probably to protect the jackasses who want to steal the stuff too. I occasionally x-rayed a farmer who'd been caught in an unplanned release of anhydrous from a tank he was towing in his field. It did a job on his lungs and vocal cords, in that he had the lung capacity and voice of a 90 year old woman. People who want to voluntarily inhale this stuff mixed with a crap load of other chemicals never intended for human intake probably weren't going to be more than short timers in the shallow end of the gene pool; the rare instances where they remove themselves without taking someone with them should be appreciated.
A short image synopsis of the physical effects.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Kim du Toit has written an eloquent post addressing illegal immigration and what the actual point of controlling it is about. I'm not opposed to immigration, although I believe we should be highly selective. We've enough home-grown mouth breathers without importing more.
Having seen a few other nations south of the border over time (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize), I've no desire to have a greater influx of people than can be A) useful to our society, B) successfully assimilated into our culture. It's well and good to be proud of where one came from and the highlights of that culture, but if it was all that great, why did you move here?
Having said that, if a culture is too decrepit, weak, or lazy to defend itself from involuntary alteration by external cultures, it will fall. To me, there's no "right" or "wrong" about it. It simply will or won't survive, and that is dependent on the population's measure of confidence in their beliefs and values. I unashamedly believe that we've managed to develop one of the most beneficial, humanitarian political and judicial systems in history. While far from perfect, it's vastly superior (yes, I'm aware of the implied "isms" that are leveled when one uses the word superior. I stand by it.) to a great majority of nations past and present. It's worth protecting, thus worth committing what far too many people consider one of the great secular sins: judging the worthiness of those who wish to live here. If we wish to continue to have the quality of life, both material and cultural, we now take (wrongly) for granted, it needs to be widely recognized that we cannot give away benefits to everyone who's able to show up inside our borders.
There is no inherent fairness in life, no matter how fervently some want that to be the case. And as is the case at the individual level, so it's true at the international level: Enabling one to be continually dependent on another ends in the ruination of both.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
I had a message on my answering machine from a gentleman who recently joined our rifle club. While he's a hunter, he didn't have much interest in anything beyond shotguns for pheasant and deer. I found out from his wife that he was looking for a range where he could practice with his slug gun after he'd missed some shots on a hunting trip that cost a fair bit of money and time. After joining the club, I'd invited him out to a local pistol match to see if I could get him interested. He got my interest by showing up with an excellent condition Colt Python that he'd bought twenty-plus years ago, plus some equally vintage handloads made by a friend. He didn't join the match, as he hadn't shot a handgun in a long time (he wasn't even sure how long it had been), but he did try some shots after the match. Things learned at that time:
1) Colt's Python is a finely made piece of machinery that's a joy to shoot;
2) Somebody's idea of a good .357 handload involves unusually large amounts of recoil and flash that's visible at noon on a sunny day.
I managed to get him out on another weekend, where he was able to shoot some pistols in .22 rimfire, .45 ACP, and 9x19; also another member showed up with his folding-stock AK-47 variant, leading to his first experience with a military-style rifle. That's where the first pleasant surprise happened; he'd always wondered why anyone should be allowed to have an "assault rifle". After a magazine through the AK, he was seriously considering putting down some money to buy one. The range session closed with him being interested in more than shotgun practice anymore.
When I returned his call today, I found out he'd gone and bought a Smith & Wesson in 9x19, and a Ruger target pistol in .22 rimfire. He's also waiting for the delivery of the 1000 rounds of 9x19 he ordered after receiving the pistol. Pleasant surprise number two.
Third; he's been out to the range three times in the last week with his wife, who's been shooting the Python, the Smith, and the Ruger.
Any day I can get another responsible person to develop an interest in handgun shooting is a good day; when they buy two new guns and get their spouse interested too, it's a great day.
Monday, June 4, 2007
What kind of amoral, self-destructive, sociopath does something like this? I consider myself to have a fairly twisted cynical view of life, and I couldn't have thought of this on one of my worst benders. I'd gladly see these individuals remove themselves from the gene pool if it weren't for the fact that the next level of giggles seems to be "slowly murdering" someone else. Here's something that should piss some people off: how 'bout once you get your heart's desire, you develop an intense interest in auto-erotic asphyxiation, instead of ruining some other person's life for your own personal thrills.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
Saturday, June 2, 2007
Apparently one of the local legalized loan sharks was the target of an attempted robbery with an assault club (aka baseball bat). The robber was truly fearsome:
Investigator Steve Klemas said the suspect is about 5' 7" and has short brown hair and was wearing dark clothing. The victim described her as being pear shaped.
That description helps, as it leaves only 50% of the local female population as suspects. However, there's additional information that narrows it down more:
Police say the suspect tried to hit the store clerk with a baseball bat, but the clerk grabbed it and hit the robber instead, leaving a gash on the top left side of her head.
She also might have a bruise on her head.
Jeez, "might"? Huge ass hematoma, more likely.
As always, Officer Portly was interviewed on the evening news to dispense sage advice to the hoi polloi:
Sargent Logan Wernet says store clerks aren't usually advised to fight back, but there's always exeptions.
Extra points to those who can find the spelling and punctuation errors by the professional journalist.
Given the physical description, the desperation for money obtained with little effort, and an inability/refusal to use firearms, I've managed to create a computer generated image that's likely to look like the perpetrator.
Putin threatens to do what he's been doing anyway since gaining office, only more:
Mr. Putin, in an interview at his country residence outside Moscow, said he considers U.S. plans to build an eastern European anti-missile site to shoot down Iranian missiles a provocation aimed at Russia.
Asked what he might do to retaliate, he said he would return Russia to the Cold War status where missiles were aimed at European targets.
Russia, a neighbor you can count on. To threaten, intimidate, and subjugate.
Russian President Vladimir Putin poses a dilemma: Even as he has isolated Russia from the world by burning relations with allies and suppressing democracy, his popularity at home has grown.
This is what happens when a population has had all the individual initiative beaten out of it. You get a chance to better yourself, but find the chance has high risk, the infrastructure is broken, and the government does everything it can to rob you and discourage success. So you go back to the crappy, third-rate life you had before, where as long as you shut up, the government gives you cut-rate booze and small allowance of low grade food good enough to keep you working at the factory. Learned helplessness on a national scale.
We'd be better off helping the old Eastern Bloc states build huge fences on their borders with Russia just to make the point of how much they're loved, then help upgrade their armed forces as much a possible. Given the way below replacement level birth rates in Russia, it'll be virtually uninhabited in a century anyway.