Archive | November, 2008

>Breda On Mumbai

30 Nov

>Succinct and accurate.  “I wish I had had a gun instead…”  Breda crystalizes the lesson in the moment.

     The photographer’s lament has been criticized elsewhere and the critics deftly filleted by Uncle.  Having read the photog’s account, the critics are alllll wet; armed police officers were on the scene, hiding, perhaps fearing to make it worse.  Had one armed citizen been able to drop one of the jerks murdering people or even made a try,* it is probable they’d’ve taken their shot, too: bravery is easier to imitate than originate.
     Soapbox (‘cos I’m not Breda and not succinct): someday it may be my turn, or yours.  While I’ve scant respect for altruism,  in a situation where one encounters villains tramping through killing folk as the whim strikes, there is nothing to lose; odds are you’re dead anyway.  Me, I’m taking along an honor guard of civilization’s enemies.  I recommend the same to you.  If we’re serious about stopping this sort of thing, we must make the cost of it too high for even barbarians to bear by stopping them in the act, as swiftly and violently as we can.   Police and the various TLA-type  agencies are good for picking up after, at containment when possible, even at ferreting out malefactors before they strike but in the moment, it’s like a fire, like a car wreck, like flood and tornado: it’s up to everyone to do whatever they can.
     Are you prey or are you human?   Better answer it now and make your preparations accordingly.
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* It’s easy and catchy to call ’em “terrorists” but the term’s become dilute and worn from overuse.
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>Punked Out

30 Nov

>…On visiting the outdoor range this morning.  There’s snow on the ground, which Tam calls, “Perfect training weather!”  I’m not fond of it but I can cope.  Combined with sinuses that do not want to be here, however, it’s a recipe for frustration.  I’ll shoot another day or perhaps indoors, later.  In the meantime, I have plenty to do around the house — and no excuse not to do it.

     Still an’ all, I would have liked to shoot the little Ruger .22 pistol some more.  Maybe later.

>Four. Rules.

30 Nov

>    Let’s assume he is one of The Few — the select few — with an NYC carry permit; not because it’s necessarily true (I can’t find info on it) but because it’s beside the point.  With or without a permit, it nevertheless appears that in the course of a night out, New York Giants player Plaxico Burress shot himself.  Non-fatally.  By “accident.”

     Except there are no “accidents” with guns.  Negligence, carelessness and plain idiocy, you bet.  Poor judgement?  Not, alas, in short supply.  But “accidents” involving the discharge of a firearm can always be traced back to ignoring these:

     1. It’s loaded.  Always.  If you unload it and set it down?  It’s loaded.  If the nice man at the gun store checks it and hands it to you?  It’s loaded.  Look, slugs of heavy stuff come out the business end moving very fast.  You can’t dodge them.  You can’t intimidate them.  They won’t magically change course once they are on their way.  You have to be aware of them.   
     2. Do not point the muzzle at anything you’re not willing to destroy.  ‘Cos, see, there are those fast-moving pieces of metal (etc.) that come out of that end.  They make holes in things.  You can’t dodge them.  You can’t intimidate them.  You have to be sure you’re not going to get in their way, likewise other people, pets, and the widescreen you bought last week. 

     3. Keep your finger off the trigger.  Until you are good and ready to make holes in things  (in most cases, this includes having the target lined up in the sights, see Rule 4).  You are not a superhero (and neither am I, though it’s nice to be asked); if you are not ready to press the trigger, don’t put your finger on it.  People grab at things when they fall; they make fists when they are startled.  This becomes even more pronounced under stress.  You don’t want to be grabbing at or making fists around the control that causes fast-moving bits of metal to make holes in things, do you?
     4. Be sure of your target and what’s behind it.  Remember, the gun will make holes in things.  If those things are you, your friends, the TV set, the wall and/or your next door neighbor’s new truck, it will not be a happy time.
     And here’s the wonderful, happy news: the Four Rules apply no matter if you have a gun permit or not.  You can be the baddest, meanest gangsta’ of them all (or, for instance, a professional athlete playing at being one)  and as long as you follow the Four Rules religiously (and avoid the popping of caps into those of your fellows wearing the wrong Colors or making improper Signs, restrictions about which I am very nearly almost sincerely sorry but that is how Civilization works), you’ll be okay-fine.  As will those around you.
     If, on the other hand, you happen to be the sort of witling who does not follow and religiously apply the Four Rules, well.  Ahem.  There is indeed likely going to be, at some point, quite a loud sound followed by a trip to the Emergency Room.  Or to the Morgue.  Sadly, it is not certain it will be you making the trip, either.   If you did happen to have a firearms permit, especially if you are not well-connected, it will probably go away, too — and that will be the very least of your worries.
     Everyone has moments of inattention, distraction, sheer idiocy.   The purpose of the Four Rules is to limit the amount of harm you will do to yourself, to others and to property when they occur.   
     Four.  Simple.  Rules.  Learn ’em.  Follow ’em.  Make them a part of your life.  You may not get a second chance.

>Shooty Goodness, Scooter And Xgiving

30 Nov

>Another full day!  Met up with friends in the morning for a breakfast and a trip to Eagle Creek Range (closed, bummer) where we met up with more friends, then across town to Pop Guns to at least try out the new upper on my Ruger Mk. II .22 and let others get in some shooting.  The place was crowded but one benefit to being a member is, you get preference for the next open lane.  The Tactical Solutions barrel/receiver was a winner right out of the box: at seven yards, shots went right where the sights were lined up.  It’s the first time I’ve shot anything with adjustable sights and found them to be right on the first try.

     After shooting (I tried a little Kahr 9mm, DAO with a long and funny trigger pull but by golly, rounds go right where they should) and shopping, the entire party adjourned for brunch at Zest!  There’s not much to say except Yum!  (Creme brulee French toast?  Crab Cakes Benedict?  I swoon.  Tam talked me out of a slice of my applewood smoked bacon — I swan, it’s like dining out with a large housecat).
     Then we convoyed back to Roseholme for Tam to give our visitors (fellow bloggers) a tour of the Tamseum* while I snuck away to buy a can of petrol, add fuel stabilizer, top off my motorscooter and take it for a run up the superdupermarket on one of the last rides of the year.  Temperatures hit the high 40s today, under sunny skies — tomorrow promises grey, rain, snow and much colder, very probably not scooter weather.
     Goodbyes said and scooter winterized, it was time to haul Tam off to Xgiving, the X family gathering, filled with good company, good food and wild tales of lucky thumbs, imaginary twins and a child named “La – a.”  No, not a family member and I have been sworn not to reveal backstory or source, except to add one hint as offered indignantly by the parent who bestowed the name: “The dash ain’t silent.”  Ah, but will it be pronounced LaHyphena on formal occasions?  I love my family; rushed and awkward though the time we find to gather together most of the sept may be, it is as nothing to the family of my niece’s husband, who long ago gave up trying the trick twice in successive months and simply celebrate “Thanksmas,” turkey and tree, Pilgrim and elf, thankfulness and presents side by side.
     Tomorrow dawns another day.  The range beckons but laundry and the bills threaten; I hope to achieve a workable compromise.
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* “Those historical rifles?  They’re Tam’s, see ’em?”  And thus, the Tamseum.  Simple, really.

>Thankful For Cats

29 Nov

>     I have two cats (or perhaps they have me).

     Thomas T. Cat was born in October, 1989, along with three cat-sisters: Janie, Charlotte and Emily.  Their mother, Missy, had showed up, grown great with child, fetched me to witness their birth, raised them, weaned them and lit out for the far country as soon as she could.
     Janie stayed with me along with her brother and had a long, full life until lung disease took her in 2004.  C & E each had litters of kittens (four per) when they were almost a year old, found temporary employment as Rodent Control Technicians at Skunk Works North Campus and were eventually successfully outplaced along with all but one of their kittens.    That one, the very tiniest and wildest, a miniature ocelot all in black but for tiny spots at throat and belly, seemed like an impossible adoption.  Nearly wild, she would pitch a huge fit when caught, thrashing, howling, clawing and biting.  She ran low to the ground like a ferret and had been nicknamed The Slinker.  I left her for last, a pretty cat but who would take her?
     When the day came that Slink was the last kit left, I put on heavy gloves, caught her  (she shrieked and bit me on the thumb!) and shut her up in a storeroom for a day with food, water and a litterbox while I worked.  I don’t know what mental processes went on but at the end of the day, The Slinker had decided indoors was better than outdoors, even if she did have to make up with A People.  She remained shy for many years thereafter and fought running, half-mock, half-serious battles with Janie until Janie started to slow down as her lungs failed.  As Janie became sedentary, Slinky spent more time next to her and both of them spent more and more time at my side.
     Tommy and Slinky are dozing on my desk as I type.  It’s a large desk, perhaps five feet by  a little under a yard and the hutch that once accommodated an old-fashioned CRT (atop which Janie loved to sleep) now leaves plenty of room behind the flatscreen monitor sitting on the desktop for two old cats to curl up companionably — or, as is presently the case, space for one to sprawl while the other curls up, purring, just past the edge of my mouse pad.
     These two cats have been with me through thick and thin, through times happy and lonely,  through sharing a house with Janie-the-cat and my ex’s departed Neko, through setting up my library (a/k/a cat gymnasium) again after it had been boxed up for years, through my broken knee recovery, through their own illnesses, through “porch panther” summer days on the screened porch of my old house; they are like children to me, dear little furry friends and I hope they stay around just as long as they care to.  Tommy, once a burly tomcat, has gone thin with age and moves with caution — but will still leap from the desk to the floor as lightly as hawk.  Slinky, never more than half-grown, is greying around her muzzle and has become more affectionate with every year.  She’s quite a snuggler now, who purrs and relaxes when picked up, a far cry from the little hellion who once terrorized voles and suspiciously watched people from shadowed corners though a sunlit summer.
     I’m thankful to have shared so many years with them.  I hope they are as content and happy as they appear.

>Make Your Own LED

28 Nov

>–Look, if I’m gonna be some kinda Nerd Deity, I have to do this.  It’s pretty much required.

     Make: a homebrewed light-emitting diode.  Just.Plain.Kewl.  

>FWIW

28 Nov

>There’s a new Nerd Test.  I did okay.
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