Thursday, June 30, 2005

More Comics Lovin...






Now I wouldn't know anything at all about any of these next few. Really this has never happened at any company I've ever worked for.

Or something...











Carlin on recent developements...

Cows, Constitution, and Carlin

"COWS

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that our government can track a cow born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she sleeps in the state of Washington And they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give them all a cow.

CONSTITUTION

They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it's worked for over 200 years and we're not using it anymore.

TEN COMMANDMENTS

The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a Courthouse? You cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery" and "Thou Shall Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians! It creates a hostile work environment!

MARTHA STEWART

Boy, I feel a lot safer now that she's behind bars. O.J. Simpson and Kobe Bryant are still walking around; Osama Bin Laden too, but they take the one woman in America willing to cook, clean, and work in the yard,

and haul her ass off to jail."


Okay, so it's a few months out of date, but one comment particularly struck me...

"They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it's worked for over 200 years and we're not using it anymore."

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

So you want to write about guns...

Here's a question we exalted gun gurus get a heck of a lot, and popped up on the NoR today:
"Hello, I am sure this has been asked before but I just didnt know where to look... I am an aspiring author and one of my characters will use a gun regularly. As such I was hoping someone would be able to tell me what the difference between a .38 and a 9mm is, in power and accuracy, or direct me to a link that explains it. Any help you all can give me will be most apreciated."
Doesn't it really irritate you when an otherwise good author, who should really know better because their audience consists of many gun savvy people; gets basic firearms details entirely wrong?

I'm a big fan of the Anita Blake series for example (vampires, werewolves, guns, smut... whats not to like); and although Laurell K. Hamilton does her best, her main character is s'posed to be something of a gun nut, and Laurell doesnt really know much about guns.

She DOES however have a lot of friends who do (she lives in St. Louis, which is STILL trying to resist the Missouri state CCW law BTW), and they generally help her out.

Well, to all aspiring authors... here goes.

First, go to your nearest range, and TALK TO PEOPLE. Get to know how they shoot, what they are shooting, and why. Pick up and handle a few guns. Ask questions. Then get on the range with an instructor, and fire a few boxes of cartridges (generic ammo usually comes in boxes of 50), from a couple of different guns.

Do your research, and you will come away with an INFINITELY better understanding of what you are writing.

Now on to direct answers...

First (in this section anyway), bullets aren't... or rather what most people call bullets are actually cartridges (also called rounds), which consist of the following:

  1. The bullet: the part that actually comes flying out of the gun at high speed towards your targe, and is stuck in the top of...

  2. The case: The cartridge case holds all the other parts together, and seals the chamber against the explosion of...

  3. The powder charge : more properly referred to as the propellant, which is not actually "gun powder" any more, it's now an extruded nitrocellulose compound (even ball is initially extruded), which is ignited by...

  4. The primer: Which is a shock sensitive explosive sandwhiched between two pieces of metal, that detonates when the firing pin hits it; thus igniting the powder, and sending the bullet flying out of the case, and through the barrel (we hope) down range at the target (or at least in that general direction)
It's not as complicated as it sounds; in fact many of us shooters actually make our own ammunition (because it's cheaper and if you spend a lot of time you can get better results than all but the most expensive factory ammo).

The proper way to refer to a generic class of guns that fire the same type of cartridges is their "chambering". For example the Glock 17 is chambered for the 9mm parabellum; and when refering to the type of cartridges it fires you would say "its chambering", or "The number of pistols chambering 9mm is very large" etc...

Now our aspiring author actually chose two very good examples, because they are among the most commonly used pistol chamberings, especially in police and detective fiction; and are also among the most mis-understood. To some people any revolver must be a "38" and any auto-loader must be a "9", especially if it's black and partially plastic.

They are also a great example, because the .38spl and the 9mm are two very different cartridges, using almost the same sized bullets, and which were intended to serve a similar purpose; issue to military and police (in fact the full name of the 9x19 cartridge that most of us just call 9mm, is actually the "9mm x 19mm parabellum" which means "For War" in latin).

The other major similarity, is that 9mm is pretty close to the same diameter as .38spl (which isn't really .38", it's actually .357").
NOTE: A word on cartridge designations. In the english speaking world it is customary to refer to a chambering by its "caliber", expressed as a decimal fraction of an inch. For example, .22 is jsut over 1/5" .30 is just under 1/3", and .45 is just under .5". The only problem with that designation method, is that there are a lot of chamberings where the bullet is the same diameter, but the cases that the bullet are shoved into are very different length. Even worse, there are a lot of numeric designations, that arent the real measurement of the size of the bullet.

For example, the .38spl and the .357 magnum share the same bullet diameter (in fact they sometimes use the exact same bullets), but the case of the magnum is longer, so that it can't be fired in a pistol designed to fire the less powerful .38spl.

In the rest of the world, and since WW1 in England and Australia, it has been more common to refer to the actual (or nominal, which is close but not perfect) diameter of the bullet in millimeters, with either the manufacturers name (7.65 browning) or the length of the cartridge case (7.65x17) appended to the end.
Oh and coincidentally the .38spl and the 9mm parabellum were also both introduced in the same year (1902).

Given all those similarities, you would think they were very similar cartridges, but in fact they are completely different; because they were designed to be fired in different types of guns.

The 9mm was explicitly developed for the then-new auto-loading pistol; the .38spl was designed as an improvement over an older revolver chambering.

Revolvers work by loading cartridges into a cylinder with chambers bored into it. Pulling the hammer back (or in most cases pulling the trigger), rotates the cylinder so that the chambers will come into line with the barrel. Pulling the trigger all the way through, then releases the hammer to fall forward, sending the firing pin into the primer in the base of the cartridge and BANG! Once you've expended all the rounds in the chambers, you pop the empty cartridge casings out manually, and reload the cartridges either by hand or with a speed loading device (speed loader, moon clip, speed strip or something similar).

Auto-loaders generally take their cartridges from a stacked magazine (NOT a clip, as is so commonly misused), most often in the butt of the gun, but occaisonally in front of, or behind it. The force of the bullet being fired causes the action to move, pulling the spent (and very hot) cartridge case out of the chamber (which in an auto-loader is part of the barrel instead of acylinder like in a revolver), and throwing it onto the ground (or into your eyes, or hair, or face, or frequently for women down their cleavage); then stripping a new cartridge from the top of the magazine and pushing it back into the chamber, ready to be fired. When all the rounds in the magazine have been fired, you press a button or move a catch, remove the magazine; and replace it with another that has the cartridges preloaded.

Please note, in autoloading pistols (or rifles for that matter), only ONE round is fired every time you pull the trigger; unless the weapon is specially designed (and in most places licensed) to fire more than one. There are NO pistols, rifles, or other weapons designed to do this, and manufactured for sale to anyone but the military or law enforcement in the United States since 1986. It is POSSIBLE to purchase weapons made before this that were designed to do so, however they are very rare, and VERY expensive (starting at about $5000 for the worst piece of junk).

Hey while we are at it (busting myths that is):
You can't make a gun out of all plastic to get it through the metal detectors at an airport. It is entirely possible to sneak a gun onto a plane, but not by making it out of non-metallic materials; and there are no guns currently made, or possible to hand make, that will give you a useful handgun without setting off a metal detector (springs, catches and the like). This MAY be possible in the future, but not until we figure out how to make polymers act like metals. Also there are explosive sniffers at airports that can detect residues from ammunition and gunfire (I've been stopped a couple times actually).
Back on direct topic, the .38 was, and still is used extensively in the U.S. for personal defense. It was the dominant chambering for police weapons until the late 1970s and early 1980s when police on the whole switched to 9mm semi-automatics (another word for auto-loaders, generally shortened to automatics, or just autos).

The main problem with .38 as a police or personal defense round, is that it is a low pressure, slow round. It doesn't have great penetration, or expansion. This is why the .357 magnum was developed (first by hand loaders for sport, and then at the request of the FBI for law enforcement). Starting in the 1930's law enforcement agencies that had to deal with more dangerous criminals, or criminals in vehicles (which the .38 doesn't penetrate well) switched to more powerful calibers such as the .357 magnum. In fact, by the 1970's most police outside of the major cities had standardized on the .357 (just in time to start changing to automatics).

The .357 was and is historically the best civilian "manstopper" of any of the major calibers. More people have been shot and successfully stopped with .357mag than any other chambering (in civilian use). The main difference between the .38spl, and .357, is that the .357 is longer, and loaded with a more powerful powder charge, which produces more presure and makes the bullet go faster. This expands the bullet to a greater diameter when it hits th body, and transfers more force into the body (a lighter punch versus a harder one), which does more damage, and causes more shock; thus is often (though not always) more likely to stop a hostile subject quicker.

Since the rise of the auto pistols in the 70's the .38spl has largely fallen into the role of backup gun, using it as practice ammo for the .357 magnum (which can fire .38spl, but .38s cant fire .357); in ULTRA small revolvers for deep concealment; or for people who have limited hand strength, and can't handle the recoil of more powerful rounds in smaller guns (it is ideal in this role).

Also many people purchase .357 magnum chambered revolvers, and load them with special higher pressure .38spl cartridges, so that they can more easily control the weapon (and are less likely to be blinded by the bright flash of the magnum) in the event of social unpleasantness in the middle of the night.

The other drawback of the .38spl of course, is that it is designed only to be fired from revolvers (ammunition for revolvers is generally not compatible with autos and vice versa, though there are exceptions). The revolver is limited to 6 or in some cases 7 or 8 round capacity, which is often seen as a disadvantage.

The 9mm faces a similar problem as the .38. Though it is loaded to a far higher pressure and velocity, it is still quite a small and light bullet. Although recent advances in bullet technology have helped increase the stopping capability of the 9mm (through reliable expansion of hollowpoint bullets, which the .38 at lower pressures has a bigger problem with); it has proven over time to be a somewhat less effective chambering for ending violent conflict quickly (of course NO pistol cartridge is going to do that job well, they are all just a compromise; and a way to fight your way back to a real weapon like a rifle or shotgun).

The 9mm was popularized by the Austrian/German Luger self loading pistol; which is why 9mm is often referred to as 9mm luger (this is generally incorrect, as 9mm luger is a very specific loading of the 9mm cartridge, with a single weight of bullet, and strength of powder charge). The real advantage of the 9mm has been that it IS a very small round, and therefore you can fit far more of them in a magazine, than more powerful rounds such as the .45acp (For comparison, you can fit up to 18 9mm rounds in the magazine of a full sized service pistol in 9mm. That same pistol in .45 would most likely only hold 13 rounds)

More on this subject later in the post...

Now, I've mentioned the .45 here... and that bears some expanding.

The .45acp, first widely issued in 1912 along with the Colt government model pistol of 1911 (also known as the Gov't model, or the 1911), are together the most popular hand gun, and most popular chambering in the U.S. by far. This is because that historically the .45acp has proven to be a very effective cartridge with proper ammunition chocie, and because the pistols chambered for it are seen by many as the best in the world to shoot (of course some violently disagree).

That said, more badguys have been killed by the U.S. military with .45 than any other pistol caliber. It was our designated service pistol from 1911 to 1986 (yes, thats 75 years), and has in fact never completely left military service (for special operations units. also it is used with swat teams, and the FBI extensively). A lot of people figure that counts for something.

THe .45 caliber bullet used in the .45 aACP chambering is big. It's almost half an inch across. It's also havey for a bullet, at up to 230 grains, which is about equal to a half an ounce/ It's also a relatively slow bullet at 800 - 1250 feet per second, vs 1000-1400 for the much lighter (about half the weight actually) 9mm. That big, heavy bullet, when loaded to the top end of the pressure range, and with a good modern hollowpoint bullet is one hell of a manstopper. And that is taking in to account bullet construction. if for some reason you are stuck with military style ball ammo (FMJ or full metal jacket as mandated by the hague convention. It's a lot less effective and damaging than what civilians can use), the extra mass and size of the .45 seem to be far more effective at stopping a fight than the small and light 9mm.

Another myth to bust:

The military actually uses less dangerous ammunition than is available to police and civilians. This is not however because of the Geneva convention, or even the Hague convention (which sets out the rules of land warfare). We limit them as a courtesy to other nations; because we are not signatory to either treaty, though we are a member of the U/N/ which references both treaties in ITS rules for warfare.
There are a lot of strong feelings about the .45 vs. 9mm issue; in part because the people who preferred the 9mm round said a lot of very bad (untrue), and some moderately bad (true) things about .45s when they were trying to sell the world 9mm's

Of course the reverse is true of .45 zealots who were resisting the 9mm...

Gun people are both very opinionated, and very resistant to change. Get used to it.

Relating to that, most people who use firearms extensively have a strong perference for EITHER revolvers or auto-loading pistols; though some use both (including myself, though I generally prefer autos). This is more of a religious preference than anything else, though there are valid points on both sides.

Auto partisans talk about cartridge capacity (from 6 at the low end to 20 on the high end for autos, vs 5-8 for revolvers), speed of reloading, and natural pointability. Revolver evangelists make much of the fact that it's very difficult to jam up a revolver, and if you have a misfire you just pull the trigger again and the gun goes bang. Also if you have weak hands, the strong springs used in automatics can make them difficult for you to operate.

Irrespective of action type, professionals who use and carry firearms on a daily basis have by and large moved to (or moved back to) larger and more powerful chamberings such as .40 S&W, and .45 ACP for their primary weapons; or to chamberings that approximate more powerful revolver loads, in auto pistols (the .357 sig for the .357 mag; the 10mm for the .41mag or .44spl).

These days (in the Unites States anyway) generally 9mm and .38spl are considered backup calibers, or calibers for smaller very easily concealable guns.

Many of us here carry on a daily basis (including myself) and I can tell you my deep cover gun (for concealment without larger covering garments like a large shirt, jacket, or coat) is a compact 9mm; and my primary carry guns are both .45acp.

Police departments on the whole have switched (or are switching) from 9mm to .40S&w or .357sig.

Now all of this talk assumes that you are setting your characters in the modern day United States. Certainly different time periods, and diferent locations, require different weapons choices for accuracy. For example in most of the world outside the U.S, revolvers are far less common; and 9mm is the dominant caliber by at least a factor of two (most likely more). Also, in Europe and Asia, smaller calibers such as the .380acp (9mm kurz), the 32acp (7.65x17 browning) and the .25acp (6.5x15.5 browning) are taken more seriously.

In the U.S. even relatively recent times have seen radically different weapons choices. For example the .40S&W wasn't introduced as a mainstream offering until '92, when the FBI decided to pull back from their choice of the much more powerful 10mm cartridge .

The .40 was actually developed directly from the 10mm; they are the same diameter, but the 10mm is longer, and can use heavier bullets and more powder. The 10mm was initially chosen by the FBI for it's excellent penetration, and expansion in testing. It is a very powerful, chambering, but not so powerful as to caus a hazard for people behind the person being shot (as can be the case with large magnums, or some rifle chamberings).

The problem is, the 10mm is a VERY powerful chambering (it's one of my favorites actually). Many smaller agents found the recoil to be difficult to control, and it was very hard on the weapons. To help with this, the FBI developed a reduced power 10mm load called appropriately enough "the FBI load". Smith and Wesson, the primary contractor to the FBI for 10mm pistols, saw that the cartridge with the reduced charge didn't have to be so long, so they cut it down, and the .40 S&W was born.

Law enforcement users immediately found it to be far superior to the 9mm for their needs, and began adopting it quite quickly. The .40 then really took off in civilian non-police sales, after the supply of 11-19 round magazines for "wundernines" dried up in the mid '90s

NOTE: The use of larger calibers as a whole was falling into decline throughout the 80s as the very high capacity (up to 19 rounds) 9mm pistols rose into prominence. This also was the era of final transition away from revolvers for most law enforcement organizations.
With the passage of the 10rd magazine ban in '94, the high capacity 9s were now limited to 10rds, and people started looking for more potent calibers to compensate for the loss of capacity. Ever since then, the trend has been larger calibers in smaller packages. Just in the last few years, stuffing the .45 ACP into the smallest possible package has become quite popular. With improved metallurgy, it has also become possible to produce INCREDIBLY light weight and compact revolvers chambering the .357 magnum (as light as 10oz!).

Next gun myth:
The assault weapon ban didnt actually ban assault weapons. It banned normal sem-automatics that LOOKED like real assault weapons; made in other countries; from being imported for sale her ein th U.S. It also banned the new manufacture of some guns that LOOKED like real assault weapons here in the U.S. based on certain features like threaded barrels, folding stocks, detachable magazines (whcih almsot all guns have), ... basically if ti looked like the military would use it, they wanted to ban it.

Of course the ban was jsut based on looks. Civilians in America (except police) havent been able to buy real fully automatic assault weapons made since '86; and they havent been able to buy anything fully auto since 1934 without paying a special tax, and getting a huge and lengthly (6-18 months depending on your background) background investigation by the ATF and FBI. Those weapons they can buy are incredibly rare and expensive.

Finally, it banned the new manufacture or importation of magazines holding more than 10 rounds. Of course since you can't shoot more than one round at a time, why should the number of rounds in a single magazine matter... Not to mention the fact that there were already millions of them in circulation, and you cant have an ex-post facto seizure law in this country.

Oh and I can show you conclusive prrof the AWB hasnt done a thing for or against crime. Crime has been on the decline in this country since 1978, and especially since 1987. In fact crime is falling faster now that the AWB has expired.
It appears that the sunset of the AWB last september, and the availability of new full capacity magazines isn't going to reverse the trend towards smaller pistols in larger calibers (or even smaller 9mms like the Rorbaugh), and very compact revolvers in .357 magnum.

It seems the general realization has dawned that fewer shots, placed more accurately, with a more effective caliber; are far more effective than spraying large quantities of underpowered pellets, at ending an active social disagreement.

So what do cops, security guards, private detectives, and the military use?

Well the easist one is the Military, because there's a standard, and its the Beretta M9, a 16 shot, full sized, 9mm pistol. It is also very popular with the police, and other civilian shooters.

That may be changing soon, to an H&K USP pistol, or one of it's derivatives. Also some smaller units, and special operations units use SIG or H&K pistols already. Some also still use (or have gone back to) high end 1911 style pistols in .45acp.

Look through my site on the articles about military guns for more info.


Rent-a-cop type security guards are generally not the savviest about guns. Generally whatever gun is the cheapest, that the company specifies is OK. Most commonly they would have Glock, Ruger, or S&W autos; though some use Berettas.

Private security on the other hand tend to be very weapon savvy indeed (and they are also frequently ex military), and tend to use .357 sig or .45 acp from Glock, SIG, H&K, or in a high end 1911.

Private investigators run the gamut from "whatever the cops in my area used to use 10 years ago" to "Hottest and slickest shit you can buy". "Hard Boiled" detectives however almsot invariably used a snub nosed .38 (chiefs special or detectives special).

As to the police and other law enforcement agencies, they are more varied, but still generally they will have one of the following

1. Glock in 9mm, .40s&w, or .357 sig (more than half of all police departments issue Glocks)
2. Beretta auto pistol in 9mm or .40s&w (several models)
3. SIG p226, 228, or 229 in 9mm, .40s&w, or .357 sig
4. Smith and Wesson auto pistol in 9mm or .40S&W (there are a ot of models)
5. Ruger auto pistol in 9mm or .40 S&W (several models)
6. Some departments will allow 1911s, or other .45acp pistols, but it is relatively rare

The largest police department in the country, the NYPD, issues 9MM Glocks, and allows officers to carry the Kahr K9, the Smith and Wesson chiefs special (a .38spl revolver), and the Colt detective special (also a .38 revolver), as a backup weapon, or a primary weapon for plainclothes officers.

The FBI currently issues either Glocks, or SIG's (and has allowed choices before) in 9mm, .40, and .357 sig depending on when the weapon was issued, and out of what office. Most other federal law enforcement agencies have standardised on the SIG in one of those three calibers, everyone else uses the Glock, or the HK, except for special operations teams.

Many SWAT or other special operations teams use SIG or HK pistols; and many also use 1911 style pistols in .45 acp. A few still use a Browning Hi-Power variant (13 shot 9mm).

Any questions? No? Good.... (actually feel free to ask away).


Now, writers, go forth and sin no more

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Is it so hard?

Yes actually it is....

A reader from the NoR asks the questions "Is it so hard to keep a 2000 person network running?"

"Why is it that the IT people here can never actually get the computers to work for a whole 2 months straight? I'm sitting here again with people breathing down my neck for TPS reports (no, not really) and I can't work for more then 10 minutes without the damn computer locking up on me. The entire department, and from what I hear, sections of other floors in the building have this problem too. I've pretty much given up trying to work and am spending the day picking my ass and surfing. Grrrrrr.....

...

Is keeping a 2000 person network consistently up and running that difficult? I honestly don't know. IT guys, what do you say?"

I'm an IT operations manager, for a 2500 person network (450 in my office, 8 offices total), in a 100 million dollar company (27 million for my division). Yeah it really is that hard.

Computers are stupid and unreliable. So are people (as opposed to persons).

To figure out how often a system will go down (at least partially) take the MTBF for each critical component, and divide it by the number of critical components.

For example, the MTBF for modern SCSI hard drives is staggeringly high (in excess of 10 years)... actually they've started using something called an anualized failure rate, which is between 1% and 0.5%.

Of course in an organization with 2400 users, and over 20 terabytes of storage arrays, there are something like 5000 hard drives in the organization. That means in an average year, we are going to lose 50 hard drives.

Actually it's probably more like 100 or so.

And that's just dead drives, never mind major data errors...

And then theres user error...

The critical MTBF for the operator is harder to determine. The best bet is that for every 100 people, someone will do something stupid that will cause a critical system to fail, once per week.

This number doubles for healthcare or government workers. It quadruples for programmers, but in most companies they are kept away from the production systems.

Not in my company.

Yes, I'm changing that. I may need a shotgun and a baseball bat to do it; but it is getting done.

Monday, June 27, 2005

A plan of action

I dunno about you, but this sounds like a pretty good plan of action to me:
March of Cambreath

[chorus]
Axes flash, broad sword swing
Shining armors piercing ring
Horses run with a polished shield
Fight those bastards 'til they yield

[chorus 2]
Midnight mare and blood red roan
Fight to keep this land your own
Sound the horn and call the cry
How many of them can we make die?

Follow orders as you're told
Make their yellow blood run cold
Fight until you die or drop
A force like ours is hard to stop

Close your mind to stress and pain
Fight 'til you're no longer sane
Let not one damn cur pass by
How many of them can we make die?

Guard your women, children well
Send these bastards back to hell
We'll teach them the ways of war
And they won't come here anymore

Use your shield and use your head
Fight 'til everyone is dead
Raise the flag up to the sky
How many of them can we make die?

[bridge]

Dawn has broke the time has come
Move your feet to the marching drum
We'll win the war and pay the toll
We'll fight as one in heart and soul

[chorus 2]

[chorus]

[chorus 2]

How many of them can we make die?
How many of them can we make die?
Thats the "March of Cambreath" from Heather Alexander, and is another fast Irish march like "Follow Me Up to Carlow" from t'other day.

How many of them can we make die... That's an interesting question isn't it? It's the question asked by a man in a last stand, against the hordes; fighting for everything he holds dear. He knows he's going to die, HE'S JUST GONNA TAKE EVERY LAST MOTHERFUCKER WITH HIM.

Sometimes there are fights you can't win; That doesn't mean you don't have to fight them. That doesnt mean you dont have to die in the process. Sometimes you have to go out, there's nothing that says you don't have to come back.

The question remains:

HOW MANY OF THEM CAN WE MAKE DIE!
And yea though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death
I shall fear no evil
For I am the meanest motherfucker in the valley
Oh and who would the action plan be used ag'in? Well, let's just use your imagination then shall we; I'm sure you can come up with a worthy answer.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Family History

The wuestion was asked int the NoR forums: "Is there anyone out there who has a "noted" or "notorious" ancestor; someone who did something heroic/criminal/noteworthy/infamous?"

Whooooo boy.... that's one hell of a can of worms with my family...

I'm a descendant of many famous murderers, robbers, bandits, revolutionaries rogues, and malcontents... I'm Irish and my name is Byrne. Kind of goes with the teritory.

In particular, I'm descended from Feagh McHugh O'Byrne. Fun guy.

Then more recently, my father was one of the biggest drug and gun smugglers caught during the 80s (no I'm not kidding. He spent most of my life in prison).

Hell, they even wrote a song about us:
Follow Me Up To Carlow (Fast Irish March)

Lift MacCahir Og your face
Brooding o'er the old disgrace
That black FitzWilliam stormed your place,
Drove you to the Fern
Grey said victory was sure
Soon the firebrand he'd secure;
Until he met at Glenmalure
With Feagh MacHugh O'Byrne.

Curse and swear Lord Kildare,
Feagh will do what Feagh will dare
Now FitzWilliam, have a care
Fallen is your star, low.
Up with halberd out with sword
On we'll go for by the lord
Feagh MacHugh has given the word,
Follow me up to Carlow.

From Tassagart to Clonmore,
There flows a stream of Saxon gore
Oh, great is Rory Oge O'More,
At sending loons to Hades.
White is sick and Lane is fled,
Now for black FitzWilliam's head
We'll send it over, dripping red,
To Liza and her ladies.

Curse and swear Lord Kildare,
Feagh will do what Feagh will dare
Now FitzWilliam, have a care
Fallen is your star, low.
Up with halberd out with sword
On we'll go for by the lord
Feagh MacHugh has given the word,
Follow me up to Carlow.

See the swords of Glen Imayle,
Flashing o'er the English pale
See all the children of the Gael,
Beneath O'Byrne's banners
Rooster of the fighting stock,
Would you let a Saxon cock
Crow out upon an Irish rock,
Fly up and teach him manners.

Curse and swear Lord Kildare,
Feagh will do what Feagh will dare
Now FitzWilliam, have a care
Fallen is your star, low.
Up with halberd out with sword
On we'll go for by the lord
Feagh MacHugh has given the word,
Feagh MacHugh has given the word,
Feagh MacHugh has given the word,
Follow me up to Carlow!

Lack of content

Sorry guys; it's been a crazy couple of days; and I havent had anything new posted since thursday.

Dont worry, this will be rememdied tomorrow. Friday is actually the first weekday Id missed since I started this blog, and that kind of irritates me. was going for the perfect attendance record and all that.

Anyway, LOTS of stuff forthcoming. The thoughts are very definitely still pounding their way through my head up there; I jsut havent had the time to let them out through the keyboard.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The good of the many

Outweighs the good of the one, or the few...


So apparently it is now OK for the government to steal your house and sell it to a developer so long as there is no defined benefit for any individual...


WHAT THE FUCK?


Held: The city’s proposed disposition of petitioners’ property qualifies as a “public use” within the meaning of the Takings Clause. Pp. 6—20.

(a) Though the city could not take petitioners’ land simply to confer a private benefit on a particular private party, see, e.g., Midkiff, 467 U.S., at 245, the takings at issue here would be executed pursuant to a carefully considered development plan, which was not adopted “to benefit a particular class of identifiable individuals,” ibid. Moreover, while the city is not planning to open the condemned land–at least not in its entirety–to use by the general public, this “Court long ago rejected any literal requirement that condemned property be put into use for the … public.” Id., at 244. Rather, it has embraced the broader and more natural interpretation of public use as “public purpose.” See, e.g., Fallbrook Irrigation Dist. v. Bradley, 164 U.S. 112, 158—164. Without exception, the Court has defined that concept broadly, reflecting its longstanding policy of deference to legislative judgments as to what public needs justify the use of the takings power. Berman, 348 U.S. 26; Midkiff, 467 U.S. 229; Ruckelshaus v. Monsanto Co., 467 U.S. 986. Pp. 6—13.


The court split 5-4 with the liberals being predictably collectivist, the conservatives being predictably individualist (their ruling on Raich aside) and Kennedy being the decider in favor of destroying our liberties.

No, that isnt hyperbole, thats jsut the truth. The most fundamental right within a society, is the right to privcate property. Without private property rights, you have no other rights that the government doesnt choose to give you. In effect all your inherent rights have been taken away and replaced with constructed rights.

Which is jsut what the collectivists want of course.

Kennedy apparently thinks this meaningless hedge makes up for it, but he's worng. All they have done today is take us yet another step down the road of revolution.

For those of you who think I'm crazy, rest assured I am not.

For those who think I am kidding, rest assured I am not.

The day government officials try and take what is mine is the day I start killing them. My property is mine, by right. It is not by grant of the state, and cannot be taken from me by the state. It is mine, and I WILL defend it to the death... and by that I mean YOUR death first you state worshiping assholes.

blackberry blogging

My power has been out for about 90 minutes, and I was a bit bored... Plus I'm just a geek and I have to play with my toys... So I thought "hey why not write a blog post from my damn blackberry?"

Its nevr just my blackberry, its always my damn, or my gods be damned blackberrym it is monikered thusly for its tendency to wake me from a sound sleep at 5:22, with my irritated girlfriend grumbling (justifiably) next to me.

I hate this damned thing, but I have to admit, it let's me work more efficiently, which IS the point of it afterall.

Anyway we had one hell of a thunderbanger round about sundown. Just happens to be the time I was drivin home from work. Had a niCe bit og chain lightning, hailan the works. And of course this bein arizona, it's all hapnin at 80 degrees.

There were half a dozen downed trees or large branches and the roads were pretty well covered with tree debris. Meanwhile, the fire dept. Is goin nuts (there's a fire station 1/4 mile from my condo)...

All in all, an intersting time really.

The funniest thing though, the power didn't go down until the storm was over, and has been trying valiantly ever since to come bqck up, succeeding for a few seconds then flickering and dying. I guess they lost the wrong xformer or stub box (those big green yellow or beighe neighborhood boxes)...

Well the power just came back for a whole 5 mins, then died again... 3 mins later back on...

As I was saying, this is what happens when you lose enough overcapacity that the strain starts to take out segments. Then when the strain eases a bit, and you get a box back up, its enough for a minute, but then the load spikes again, and it fails again.

Let's just say I'm leaving my candles where I can get to them.

... And off again...

But the biggest thing that strikes me about this whole situation, is that there isn't a working electric light within sight, and yet here I am writing on the internet.

Man we live in an amazing world.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

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?

Annoying and endearing

It's kind of hard to post to your blog, while your girlfriend is doing her dead level best to prevent you from doing so...

"Honey, whatcha doin"

"Tryin to write honey"

"Why are you doing that when you should be over here snuggling with me"

"Because I told you I had to write some things, I'll be done in a few minutes"

"But I want attention now"

This is followed by the stroking of tender bits and various pleasurable noises from the GF.

Now there are two things you can do at this point. Make your stand and keep writing, in which case you will have an unhappy girlfriend, and an unhppy Mr. happy; or give it up as a bad job, put the laptop away, and go at it like mad bunnies.

The time and date on this post is reflecting theactual time I wrote it... I didn't actually get around to posting it until I recovered... at 8 or so the next day.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I have in fact Survived South Africa, Several Times












Criminal?

Hey, You Evaded 84 Muggings

They say home is where the heart is, and South Africa could be your
home. You would fit very well into a life of crime here, That is if you
could get out of jail and get enough money to get over here. I would
advise it - very good career move.



Joking aside - for more information on South Africa please visit
-www.southafrica.net. South Africa has to be one of the best countries
in the world, We have warm beaches, mountians, forests, in fact - you
name it and we'll have it. I love my country and if you visited you'd
fall in love with her too! Oh and if you do decide to visit - drop me a
line. I'd be more than happy to show you around (As long as you bring
the beer!)



Thanks for taking my test, I hope that you enjoyed it!




Keep safe!




Andrew
















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 sapoints




Link: The Could you survive South Africa Test written by angove on Ok Cupid

The first step is, DONT GO THERE WITH AN AMERICAN PASSPORT

Step two KNOW LOCALS WITH GUNS, WHO WILL GIVE YOU SOME

Actually all the locals I used to know are either too nasty for even me to deal with anymore, left for greener pastures, or are dead.

Yet More Unsurprising Shit

You scored as Classical Liberal. You are a classical liberal. You are sceptical about much of the historicity of the Bible, and the most important thing Jesus has done is to set us a good moral example that we are to follow. Doctrines like the trinity and the incarnation are speculative and not really important, and in the face of science and philosophy the surest way we can be certain about God is by our inner awareness of him. Discipleship is expressed by good moral behaviour, but inward religious feeling is most important.

Classical Liberal


71%

Roman Catholic


64%

Emergent/Postmodern


61%

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


61%

Modern Liberal


43%

Neo orthodox


36%

Charismatic/Pentecostal


29%

Reformed Evangelical


21%

Fundamentalist


0%

What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

Considering I was raised a Catholic, and politically I'm a minarchist libertarian/classical liberal... well duh.

HT: Yogimus Maximus

Manly ritual + overly hot day + absent minded stupidity =

...Almost getting my fat ass killed.

So I engaged in the manly ritual of home car maintenance the other day; finally getting around to changing the brake pads and wear sensor that had been complaining for the last couple months.

Oh and thank you very much to the reader who donated the Minitex high performance low dust brake pads, and wear sensor (you know who you are, and feel free to sound off if you like; I just didn't want to do so without your say so). Vastly increased braking performance over the stock pads that came with the car; even though they are jsut the direct replacement part number.

Honestly, I dont know why more people don't change their own brake pads. It's the easiest job in the world, and other than brake dust (of which there was almsot non surprisingly enough), it's nowhere near as messy on most cars as an oil change is. On a BMW they charge you a MINIMUM of $200 jsut to do the fronts, when you can do it yourself for $50, and get better pads in the bargain.

The basic process is pretty simple:

1. Loosen lug nuts (but dont try and remove them, especially on a BMW, which uses wheel studs not nuts)

2. Chock the wheels and raise the car. I use a bottle jack that I keep in my trunk organizer rather than a scissor or lift jack. It takes up a hell of a lot less space than a scissors jack (about the same as a 1 liter soda bottle), and is still very safe and effective.

3. Finish removing the lug nuts, and remove the tire, placing it behind the rear wheel (as an extra chock).

4. Spray with brake cleaner and wipe down if necessary (you may want to wear gloves for this bit)

5. Remove the caliper. For my 5 series you remove retaining clip, then pull off a pair of plastic caps on rubber boots, and you use a torx driver to remove the very not corroded or gummed up caliper studs; which takes all of 30 seconds. Some other cars are not so friendly. I did my brakes on an early Ford Escort GT lo these many years ago, and you had to damn near take the suspension apart to get the calipers out. If you have one, you should also disconnect the wear sensor.

Be careful not to let the caliper hand from the brake lines. Some vehicles have handy protrusions to hang from or shelves, but a bent coat hanger works jsut fine.

6. Pop the pads off, and the wear sensor if you have one (I do) and inspect for any abnormal wear.

You know what pissed me off.. the damn things were still well within spec; but they were cheap outoparts store special pads that chatterd and squealed all the time anyway. But the best bit? The reason the brake sensor kept going off, was that some genius had put the wear sensor in BACKWARDS (which takes some doing BTW, it is NOT designed to fit that way).

Also Inspect the rotors/discs (whatever you want to call them) for unusual wear. If you have ABS inspect the ABS sensor rings, or sensor notches or pads.

Mine were within spec, with no scoring; but they ARE somewhat dished, so I should probably order a new set. The thing is I want to wait until I have the new wheel and tire combo, that way I can put in the bigbrake kit. Even at an online discounter a new set of front rotors is going to run me $100 (plus shipping... hmmm, pelican has brembos plain rotors for $50 each. Not bad).

7. Compress the caliber with a c clamp or something similar; and fit the new pads. Remember to use antisqueal on the backing plates. I also recommend buying a pad with a syntetic bonded antisqueal backing plate (like the minitex).

8. Re-hang the caliper, and bolt it down; making sure you properly route any lines, and the wear sensor.

9. Replace the wheel, carefully threading the lug nuts, or wheel studs (as on my car), wrench tight, but don't try and torque down.

10. Lower the car, torque the nuts/studs down throughly, in a star or cross pattern. Then drive the car around for a few minutes, stop, and retighten your nuts, roll the car 1/4 wheel rotation, and tighten again, another half rotation, again, until you've retightened all nuts to the proper torque.

Repeat for both sides. At this point it is advisable to bleed the brakes, but we did a bubble test, and got nothing; plus the brake fluid is more than a bit toasted, so I didnt want to bleed it right now until I can do a full flush and clean out the system. We did the overpump, top-up pump-out mop-up routine, then I went around the block over heating the brakes as I went, and did it again. That's about as good as you are going to get without a full on flush and bleed.

Now on to the "fun" part...

I was driving from work to my mothers house tonight, and I started hearing a clopping sound, that was at about half wheel speed, but that seemed to get worse up to about 30mph, then as I sped up it would smooth out as I got faster, and get worse again as I slowed down.

Obviously this worried me, so I stopped and inspected the wheels, tires, lines etc.. but I couldn't see anything.

I picked my brother up, and we were heading to the movies, and it was getting worse. I pulled into the parking lot, and I had a thought, maybe one of the wheel studs had come loose inside the cover...

When I pulled the cover off the wheel studs, one of them was sticking half way out, and the rest were finger tight at best.

You see I did my passenger side brakes first, and my drivers side second. It was 108 out, and I was pretty damned tired out . I had followed step 9, and the first part of step 10, but I forgot to re-torque the nuts after driving around; and they had loosened up completely.

The clopping sound was the wheel flapping back and forth, working it's way off the hub. As I sped up to 30 it accelerated the flapping, but over thrity the gyroscopic effect was enough to keep it smooth... or at least it would be until I hit one good bump at 70 mph on the highway, wherupon my drivers side front wheel would have gone flying off, my front suspension would have dug in to the road, and most likely I would end up on the roof over the median...

CHECK THE NUTS AFTER YOU ARE DONE

Then drive 10 miles, and CHECK THEM AGAIN

Then check them 1 more time after 100 miles, and you should be fine.

They are now torqued down so much that I actually slightly bent a brand new autozone brand chromoly lug wrench (yes I am that strong). I am reasonably certain that I overtorqued them, but I know how strong those Dornan studs, are, never mind the wheels and rotors, I'm not worried about them being damanged, and most importantly, they are not going ANYWHERE.

And I'm STILL going to check them again after my drive in to work tomorrow.

UPDATE: Torque Wrench acquired ($25 GreatNeck screw handled ratcheting one from autozone. Yeah its junk, but it works til I can afford a matco), and torque checked. I wasn't as far overtorqued as I thought.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Long range shooting with "normal" handguns

So Dustin, Kommander, JohnOC and I headed out to the desert for some boomage (84Charlie busted his hand up in a garage door incident. Messy... just messy).

Anyway, I retensioned my extractor (maybe a bit TOO much, because it's a little sensitive on chambering at the moment), and smoothed out my trigger/disconnector/sear/hammer engagement (no grinding, just polishing). It turns out I had a little tiny burr on my disconnetor, and it was causing my hammer to ride the slide down to half cock about 1 in 50 slide drops.

So I wanted to test out my newly repaired 1911 some; and to continue having fun with my USP compact.

The great thing about the area we shoot, is that there is a continuing series of regular berms, one at 25 yards, one at 50 yards, another at 100, another at about 200, and then a hill side with some distinct markings for distance. It's nto quite a known distance range, but it works for giving you a rough estimation.

Anyway, after some basic function testing; I decided to mess around a little.

One of the computer towers we shot up two weeks ago had been moved out to 50 yards. There was another at 100 yards, and monitors were out at 150, and 200.

A mid sized computer tower is about the size of a human chest, and its readily apparent when you hit it. A 15" monitor is a bit smaller, and again it is readily apparent.

I discovered something interesting: After a couple of ranging shots, I can hit a human chest sized target with my 1911; every single time at 50 and 100 yards, about 3/4 of the time at 150, and about 1/2 of the time at 200 yards.

I also had no problem hitting targets 4" or so across 3/4 of the time or better at 50, and 100 yards either. I was even able to make a few hits at 300+ yards.

I decided to try it with my USP compact, and although it wasnt QUITE as good, I was still making the hits.

So then I got silly, and took out my 3" barreled Kahr K9, and it wasn't nearly so easy to make the hits. I needed more ranging shots; I was only hitting half the time at 50 yards, and I couldn't hit anything beyond about 100 yards with any consistency.

I know Elmer keith used to shoot his specials out to 500 yards and more, but I had never really tried to shoot any of MY auto pistols at long ranges (I HAD with my .454 super redhawk, but that's not exactly a "normal" gun").

I had also just finished repairing LVGunners Model 28 Highway Patrolman (5-3/4" .357 magnum, basic finish, ultralight profile barrell). I found that I was not scoring as well at range as with it as my 1911, but I think it was because the stock plow grips are not to my liking. I'm thinking with a nice set of hogues on there it'd be a different story.

Fun stuff

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Man, they need to keep up with the times

You are Red Hat Linux. You're tops among your peers, but still get no respect from them.  It's all right with you.  You have your sights set higher.

Thats was soooo 2001. Gentoo, or Kubuntu for real boxes, linspire to give to someone for a winblows replacement (trust me, its worth the $50), OpenBSD based system for custom firewalls, SmoothWall or IPCop for quickie firewalls, various live cdsfor recovery, utilities, and appliancizing intel boxen...

Oh and I am anxiously awaiting Novells new Workstation and Server entires with , Ximian, and SUSE rolled into one.

I love the Naughties ???

I'm reasonably convinced, that eventually VH1 will be producing a show
called

"I love the naughties, part deaux, strikes back, again"

It will feature nothing but comedians actors and actress we have never heard of,
who are all either minorities, or very very gay; commenting on television shows it
is ever so obvious they have never seen (until shown a screener clip by
the producers), and making bad, out of date cultural references.

Much as the current shows...

Which I must confess I love for some reason; watching "I love the..."
70s, 80s, and 90s, brought back large portions of my child - through -
young adulthood.

Actually I wrote a blog post about re-runs and another about gen-x that
were immediately brought to mind here...

Cultural Currency

What Exactly IS Generation X

Friday, June 17, 2005

Yet more unsurprising shit


What military aircraft are you?

F-15 Eagle

You are an F-15. Your record in combat is spotless; you've never been defeated. You possess good looks, but are not flashy about it. You prefer to let your reputation do the talking. You are fast, agile, and loud, but reaching the end of your stardom.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Male and Female communications

When a man talks about a problem with other men, he's looking for a solution:

Statement: "Hey Chris, I had this issue with the calendar service not scheduling past July 1st"

Expected guy response: "Well have you tried resetting the calendars attributes?"

When a woman talks about a problem, she's looking for emotional support and validation, unless she specifically asks for help with a problem... which she will almost never directly do, leaving you to divine it out for yourself.

Examples:

"Honey, I'm having a little trouble printing" means: "Excuse me sir, I need you to repair the printing device as soon as you can".

BUT...

"I'm having a problem getting my email working at the office" is ABSOLUTELY NOT properly answered by saying:

"Well have you checked your SMTP server settings?"

Because the reponse will almost certainly be something like:

(overly dramatic sigh and eye rolling) "OOhhh it's just not important, never mind..."

In this situation, the woman in question is almost certainly having a problem with the way the IT guy treats her when she has a problem, and what she really needs is something like "Oh I know what you mean, isnt that just a pain in the ass?"

And chocolate...

Of course being a straight man, you arent thinking that. You are thinking that you should be helpful and help her fix her problem... well she does want her problem fixed, but to her the email issue is secondary, the REAL problem is how she FEELS about the email problem, and the fact that the IT guy made her feel dumb, and was looking at her boobs the whole time.

Chocolate really is useful at this stage...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Who decided...

That Josh Hartnett could have a career?

Or Jessica Biel

Or Joss Stone...

I mean Jesus Christ, the overwhelming tide of mediocrity ... lord

Technology, Security, Law Enforcement, and Medicine

Just something to think about...

Don't there seem to be a disproportionate number of verterans in those professions? I guess it's something about solving difficult problems, helping people, and serving...

I was thinking about this the other day, and I realized that almost everyone I served with that I actually liked, and almost everyone I know who served (that I like), went into those fields if they had a choice.

Sure there are a bunch of guys out there who ended up as car salesmen, or in the family business; but the ones who were serious about why they were in, and the ones who had a choice when they got out; they all seem to have chosen Technology, Security, Law Enforcement, or Medicine.

I myself chose both Technology and Security, and I now do those thing for the medical field. I chose them, because they were interesting, and challenging, and because I still felt a sense of service doing my job. I keep the bad guys away from peoples healthcare and personal information, and I help to make sure they get good healthcare; and I get great satisfaction from that.

I have difficult problems to solve, I have leadership challenges to overcome... Sure it's not even close to the same thing, but hey, you've seen the video of me; it's not like I'm getting back into uniform any time soon. I'm in a position where I have to fight hard for my people, and I have to stay on top of things to get what I need. I love my job, I love what I do, but I hate my business (IT in general). I live with it, because I love what I actually do. I think I'm where I can do the best, for the most people right now; and I find that very satisfying.

I had often thought of getting my fat ass back down into shape again, and joining one of the MANY desperately understaffed departments out here in the west, but honestly I dont think I'd put up with the bullshit.

I've also thought about returning to finish a paramedics cert (I was a CNA, and an EMT basic, both long expired), but I don't really want to work in that environment either.

I love teaching and training, and I'm a great teacher, but I don't think I'd want to put up with THAT bullshit (or those people) either.

So I guess it's still Technology, Security, and Medicine for me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Respect

Tell me why I should respect you?

What have you done to deserve respect?

Should I respect you because you are older than me?

Should I respect you because you are of a different culture than me?

Should I respect you because you have a stupid fucking idea that only commies love?

Should I respect your unholy holy book, or your religion of death and destruction?

I'm sorry, but FUCK YOU.

Liberals are always talking about "Having respect for" and "respecting" this thing or this difference or this "diversity".

What they really mean is that we are all supposed to bow down and abase ourselves before everyone else; because as the sucessful ones in society we must (by their morality) be so overloaded with guilt that we must grovel before their diversity goddess.

FUCK YOU

All these idiots insisting that I have to respect them just because they are there???

FUCK YOU


If you want my respect you have to earn it. You get a VERY small amount of respect just for being a human being, and a little bit more if you are not an obvious scumbag, but that's it.

Oh and I respect your property, and your INHERENT RIGHTS (not your constructed rights)... ONLY SO LONG AS YOU RESPECT MINE, AND THOSE OF EVERYONE AROUND YOU.

I have NO respect for you if you have no respect for me
I have NO respect for you if you have no respect for those around you
I have NO respect for you if you have no respect for yourself

If you dont want to be treated like a gang banger, don't dress like one, and dont act like one

If you don't want to be treated like a whore, don't dress like one, and dont act like one.

I blame the schools; I hoenstly do. The fucking feel good idiots are teaching kids that simply by taking up space on this planet they are worthy of respect; and they get angry if you don't give it to them.

Let me tell you something you useless little pussies:

You EARN respect, it isn't just given to you, and you certainly can't FORCE people to give it to you.

Here's what you can do to earn my respect:

1. Always do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it, to the best of your ability
2. Always explain why if you couldn't, but don't make excuses (there is a huge difference)
3. Dress, behave, and generally conduct yourself in a manner appropriate to your surroundings... HOWEVER if you are in an area of low class, DO NOT conduct yourself in a low class manner
4. Have respect for yourself, and for other people who earn it
5. Have respect for property, for society, and for inherent rights

Oh and one more thing, if you have EARNED it, than you damn well deserve it; and you are perfectly justified in insisting on it.

Honestly if you can't understand that, you just aren't worth a damn; never mind any of my time.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

I miss my home theater

As I recounted a few weeks back, my serious home theater has gone bye-bye with the rest of the items I had in storage. I've been making do with my x-box, and my PC (which does have great sound), but that really isnt cutting it.

As a stopgap until I can afford to rebuild my real home theater again, I picked up a Sony HT-4800DP last week.



Its a 5.1 100 watts per channel plus 100 watt powered sub, separate 5 disc DVD changer. Not great, but its better than my X-Box, and I grabbed it for $250 (list is $499, Amazon is like $379)

I miss my Onkyo-denon-klh-boston-AR system (about $10k total), but I dont even have CLOSE to the 10K or so required to rebuild the (now better) equivalent today.

The only thing was, it was missing it's original remote:



So I figured "Okay, that price is fine, I'll just order a replacement remote, and still be ahead of the game.

Well that little remote right there runs $80 for a replacement. I wasnt interested in paying that much for a single device remote so I figured "Okay, I've wanted a programmable universal remote for a while, and they aren'tt THAT much more expensive than a replacement, let's see what's around"

I'd really love one of these two:




Unfortunately they are significantly non-cheap, at something like $899 list, and $700 street.

So anyway, I started looking at what Sony had to offer, and I found this, the AVS-3100P:



Which looked cool, (some good reviews, some great, a few mediocre) but the Sony list price is ke $200. I was thinking that I'd still be interested in it if I could find it for around $150, so I did a froogle search, and saw Amazon had it for $100 and I was SOLD.

Should be here wednesday or so, lets jsut see how it works out.

Oh and if you want an idea of what I would conssider a decent stereo to be, I've actually got a far better system in my car right now. It's not quite where I want it to be, but it's decent enough for now.

The Bimmer has a single CD kenwood head deck w/ sirius tuner, going into 2 Alpine 4 channel digital 400 watters in the main cabin going in to 10 Alpine component drivers, and a 1600 watt sony monobloc in the back into to 2 Alpine R2 12" in a slot port open air box (the sealed boxes are too muddy and boomy, and I've got a sealed ported trunk).

I'm thinking about installing a Kenwood music keg, because I dont like CD changers.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Superior Pistol

In several posts I have mentioned that I believe the Colt Government model of 1911 and it's clones and variants, are collectively the greatest automatic pistols; if not the greatest handguns, of all time.

I dedicated a post to deciding on the SECOND best (and third and fourth etc...) and came up with this list (in order):

H&K USP (and derivatives)
SIG P220
Glock 21, 30, 36
CZ75 derivatives in .45 (CZ97, Tanfoglio, Baby eagle/Jericho)
I recieved several responses as to why I would think the 1911 was superior to my second choice, the HK USP (and my third, the SIG p220), which I also happen to own, and love (in general my respondants agreed with the list members, if not their order).

So why is the 1911 superior to the USP?

It's entirely subjective, but there is no weapon that feels better in the hand than a well made 1911; for certainly more than half of the handgun enthusiast population, myself among them.

I truly love my USP compact, in fact it is currently my bedside gun (DA and better safety system for groping in the dark with) and the feel of it is excellent (as is its accuracy) but it just doesn't match my 1911s.

The 1911 and it's derivatives are also the most easily modifiable and customizable auto pistol; available in every caliber from .380 (mustang) to several .50 caliber options, and in every length, weight, and material.

Finally, a well made 1911 is among the most accurate centerfire pistols.

Go to any centerfire practical pistol competition other than bowling pin and silouhette (which have a much higher proportion of revolvers), and you will see that the 1911 and its variants are by far the dominant competitive weapon, with generally only a few custom Glocks, HKs and SIGs representing other pistol types (and a very rare custom BHP or two).

Given the huge number of competitors, and competitive gunsmiths and manufacturers, if there were a better design for practial speed and accuracy (because of course there are more accurate handgun designs, such as olympic free pistols), one assumes it would have been found and developed extensively by now.

I'll tell you this, I've seen Rob Leatham shoot; and as nice a guy he is off the range, he's a hard core competitor. Guys like him wouldn't shoot a gun that didn't guaran-damn-tee they could use their natural abilities to their fullest

Given all these, surely this preference for the 1911 can't only be from tradition?

Apparently I am...

The paranoid boss is watching you. HIDE YOUR CHILDREN
Which Office Moron Are You?
Rum and Monkey: jamming your photocopier one tray at a time.

Yet more unsurprising shit...

What Pulp Fiction Character Are You?

You are the king of smooth -- enough said.

Take the What Pulp Fiction Character Are You? quiz.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Gee, heres another big surprise

Gun Nut
You are 100% of a gun nut!

You are a true gun nut. The number of guns in your house is probably
over five. All of them are truly effective in your hands.




My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on knowledge
Link: The Gun Nut Test written by slayer1am on OkCupid Free Online Dating

Specious

Gold....

It's a short and simple word, with a hell of a lot of impact behind it.

I listen to a lot of conservative/libertarian/gun talk radio; and you can't avoid ads for GOLD GOLD GOLD.

Most of them play on the near universal paranoia conservatives have of the government screwing with out money supply because "Gold is not affected by such things as political turmoil"...

Yeah, right.....

In 1934 we changed our currency, from a specie currency, to a fiat currency; and certain groups of people have been bitching ever since.

There are of course some good reasons for this. One, the government simply declared that gold wasn't money any more; can someone please tell me where in the Constitution it says they can do that?

Sure they have the ability to print money, but to declare existing money isn't money anymore?

Then of course there was the creation of the federal reserve; a BIG favorite of the groups that believe the tri-lateral commission runs everything. Or maybe it's the Zionist Overlord conspiracy (his name IS Greenspan after all).

The federal reserve was and is clearly unconstitutional. There is no authority for this present in the constitution at all, or at least not in the executive branch (which the federal reserve is created out of); it's POSSIBLE congress might be able to justify it using the commerce clause.

All that said, I'm going to make a firm break with my brothers and sisters and say it was the right thing to do.

Why? Well I need to get into the differences between specie and fiat currency, and that's going to be pretty boring to those of you not interested in blackbox politics or economics.

Specie currency is that which is based in something that has "inherent or intrinsic value"; the canonical example being gold. In theory, specie currency is inherently stable, because it is tied to something tangible.

Bullshit, and I'll get into why later, but look up the panic of 1857, and the SS Central America for an example. Actually you should also read this wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_standard

Oh and if you don't understand that NOTHING has intrinsic exchange value, only that value which a market assigns it; just stop reading now. If you do not understand monetization or mediums of exchange, or basic market economics, nothing I say from now on is going to make a bit of sense to you until you read an economics text book.

(The only things that have intrinsic value, are "useful" objects, which are necessities of life; and even then those intrinsic values are market based; it's just that the value of a useful item will never be zero, but again, that is an entirely separate discussion about elasticity in markets, and comoditization etc...)

Fiat currency is valued based on whatever the issuing body says it is; and what others are willing to buy it for(i.e. it is entirely market based). Generally this is based on world currency markets, and governments influence the rise and fall of their currency values using the adjustment of interest rates for the loans they make from their central banks, to the banking institutions of their nation.

Roughly speaking, markets value a currency based on the total productive output of that country, minus their outstanding debt, with a confidence factor figured in; divided by the amount of money issued.

This is how central banks (or the federal reserve in the case of the U.S.) control the money supply, by raising or lowering interests rates, so that banks ask for more or less money. The more money banks ask for, the more money supply in the economy (loose money), and the less each dollar is worth; the less banks ask for the LESS money supply in the economy (tight money), and the MORE each dollar is worth ... temporarily that is, until the markets (all of them including labor and goods, not just securities, equities, and commodities) adjust for it.

It's actually a very crude and limited mechanism, that effects the confidence factor more than it does the actual objective factors of the market.

This confidence factor is most strongly indicated by the international bond market, and the performance of the stock market; which is of course one of the reasons why anti-statists object to it so much. The stock market has no real value; it is essentially based entirely on speculation and manipulation (not actually true, but that's what they believe), therefore our economy is based on nothing but speculation and debt.

These people have no idea what they are talking about. And I don't care if F.A. Hayek believed in specie currency, that was 50 years ago when we were still primarily a commodity based economy. We are primarily a service economy, and service economies are entirely unsuited to specie currencies (In fact only economies based on untrusted participants require specie currency, but that's another story for another day).

The value of fiat currency has no direct legal relationship to the stock market (though of course it does to bonds), it is a second order effect, and an entirely appropriate one, as economic value should be measured based on total asset valuation, which includes the valuation of equity markets.

Specie currency is inherently limiting , and assigns an artificially high value to a scarce, and non growing resource, especially one such as gold which has little inherent value.

The advocacy of specie currency in the modern age indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of economic value. It excludes the value of both real property and labor in an economy, and both overvalues capital in general, and currency specifically.

It is also a myth of misunderstanding related directly to this exclusion of labor and real property, that specie currency is inherently stable. As the value of labor and real property rise in an economy, the value of specie rises artificially higher and higher, as it becomes more rare relative to other resources. Because the capital resource is effectively fixed (as labor will almost always grow faster than stocks of specie), its value will inevitably artificially rise, often rapidly.

Then, when the reserves of specie do change (because nothing is actually fixed), the "value" of the currency suddenly yo-yos.

This can be directly demonstrated by the periodic financial panics occurring between 1850s, and 1930s, all of which were caused, or substantially accelerated by, the sudden plunge of the value of gold after new discoveries, and then the artificially high value of capital after the assimilation of the new, higher stocks of gold and silver discovered in California, Canada, Alaska, and Nevada; and the panic that resulted when the rate of increase in these stocks slowed (or stopped). This rapid influx then freeze cycle of specie caused the valuation of currency to rollercoaster for 80 years, and not just in the U.S.

Actually for the MOST extreme example, you need to look at the decline of Spain beginning in the 16th century, and culminating in the peninsular wars (again I say look it up, but I will say right now as shorthand; Spain was completely destroyed by hyperinflation due to specie currency).

But what about inflation, isn't specie currency inherently inflation resistant?

NO, and anyone who says otherwise again, doesn't understand either monetization, the nature of commodities, or total market value very well.

First, inflation itself isn't necessarily a bad thing, UNBALANCED inflation is.

That is, price inflation that increases faster than wage inflation, or interest rates. Balanced inflation is a natural corrective mechanism of a successful market. It can be corrected easily through currency revaluation if a nation so chooses; but most simply allow inflation to proceed naturally. So long as it is balanced, it's MEANINGLESS.

In a successfully balanced economy, no mater how much inflation occurs; over time as productivity increases, the real cost of goods ALWAYS decreases; unless a resource scarcity arises. That real cost is measured in the time it took to earn the currency necessary to purchase those goods. If you don't understand this, you really don't understand the nature of compensation. Read my post "The politics of liberty" for more.

Second, only when a currencies value is determined by the total assets of the economy for which it serves, can that currency avoid hyperinflation as capital (specie or otherwise) stocks increase, or hyper-deflation as non-capital assets increase in value.

Finally, those who believe that specie currency is necessary for stability are fundamentally saying they believe that markets don't work, and that economics is a zero sum game.

Bullshit.

In a balanced economy, in order for me to win, you don't have to lose. That's an idea for the people who chant "Capitalist opressors" at WTO meetings, not for rational adults, and certainly not for libertarians.