Friday, December 31, 2010

Girl Friday - 12/31/2010 - Jimena Navarrete

Suck it, Martians .....

An earthling won the Miss Universe pageant AGAIN!! We dominated your stupid alien, tentacled asses!! WOOOT!

Miss Universe/Miss Mexico Jimena Navarrete:

jimena navarrete 4

Hit the jump to see more of why Earth Chicks Rule...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Out of the Frying Pan...

The Left has been in a full-on tongue kiss with the idea of "Green Energy" for a good while now. I mean the embarrassing, makes you uncomfortable to watch in front of your Mother, kind of mack down. Particularly over the course of the past two years we've seen a push like never before to force a change from Fossil Fuels to "Earth Friendly" sources of energy like hybrid cars, all electric cars, wind power, and the like.

You don't often read about it in the press, but there are some very serious problems with the Green Energy solution. The usual response that I get from Environmentalists and other Liberals when I mention these problems is something along the lines of:

You Republicans only care about serving your Real Masters: Banks Wall Street Corporations Big Oil !

I'm actually in favor of cultivating alternative energy sources.

It should be done in a rational, reasonable manner, however, instead of the break-neck crisis frenzy that you see today. We shouldn't be investing hundreds of billions of dollars in a sprint to convert from Oil to Green Energy in a just a decade, as President Obama would like. We, as taxpayers, shouldn't be subsidizing the sale of every single Chevrolet Volt to the tune of $7500 per $41,000 car just because its the Liberal Poster Child for the vehicle of the future. This should be a market driven change adopted slowly over time while we make the adjustments and find what works best in the long run.

Why?

1. Many Green Technologies including electric cars, hybrid cars, wind turbines, energy saving light bulbs, and others gizmos require what are called Rare Earth Minerals. They are necessary to create magnets and other components without which the nifty Green Energy Widgets just won't work. In many applications, literally tons of the Rare Earth is required to produce the components needed. For instance, the motor in the popular Prius Hybrid requires a kilogram of neodymium while each battery requires more than 10 kilos of lanthanum, both of which are Rare Earth elements. The big magnets in wind turbines can require up to a ton of Rare Earth Elements for each magnet.

2. Contrary to the name, Rare Earth Minerals aren't all that rare. China has an assload, but there are also deposits in Canada, the US, and Australia. 

3. Currently, China produces over 95% of the world's supply of Rare Earth Minerals.

Wait a minute.

If the Green Technology Magic is only workable with Rare Earth Minerals, and if we have Rare Earth Minerals right here at home... then why are we buying them from China?
 
Because processing Rare Earth Minerals into a usable form is truly a bitch:
 
1. The environmental problems include air emissions with harmful elements, such as fluorine and sulfur, waste water that contains excessive acid, and radioactive materials, too.
 
2. Before it was closed down, the Mountain Pass Rare Earth mine in California produced 850 gallons of waste salt water containing radioactive thorium and uranium - every hour of every single day.
 
3. The process for converting Rare Earth Minerals into magnets and other finished components suitable for use in Green Energy is so poisonous and wretched that China is the only country currently doing it. And they are paying the price. Large areas near processing facilities are no longer suitable for food production, drinking water, and human habitation.
 
And to top all this off, recently China has announced that it is reducing the amount of Rare Earth Minerals that it will sell to the west by 10%-11% next year. They've already restricted sales to almost ziltch to Japan - due to disputes not even related to Rare Earth. The reduction is due to the Chinese wish to protect the resource and maximize the potential profit from its sale. They are flexing their economic muscles, and its just the beginning.

Should the nutjobs in North Korea step up hostilities and fully attack South Korea, the US would need to step in. Think China won't retaliate by cutting off our supply of Rare Earth Minerals, at the very least? Bye-Bye Green Energy...
 
So... we are being dragged out of the Frying Pan of dependence on Expensive Foreign Oil and environmental risks associated with Fossil Fuels, and being dumped into the fire of dependence on China for the means to produce Green Technology and the enormous environmental toll those elements require to be refined.  All at a price tag that will run into the Trillions of Dollars before its all done.

I think its clear that a more reasoned, measured progress toward alternative energy is called for. We should continue to develop alternative energy technology as well as safe ways to produce the materials required, while still maintaining our current level of economic activity and standard of living by utilizing the Oil resources currently available to us in our own country. In doing so, we could safely make progress toward an eventual (and inevitable) shift away from fossil fuels while simultaneously reducing our reliance on Oil from overseas.

We can't do that, though.

The Left demands its Green Energy NOW. They want it yesterday, if not sooner. Having failed to pass Cap and Trade, the EPA and other governmental agencies are doing by bureaucratic fiat what they couldn't do with legislation alone. New Deep Water drilling has been banned recently by President Obama. He made pretense to re-open drilling in shallower areas of the Gulf of Mexico - but the Department of the Interior has issued almost no permits to drill in the ensuing months. Recent reports forecast gasoline prices over $4 a gallon before the end of this summer.

So there it is. You've seen behind the curtain now and the Green Nirvana is actually kinda stinky inside. Maybe if more people knew the actual facts behind the hard sell of Green Technology, they'd tap the brakes a bit and slow things down. Or maybe not. Maybe they'll continue to stare lovingly at their Prius in the driveway with its really hip "Coexist" bumper sticker, secure in the knowledge that they are saving the planet.

I've intentionally omitted discussion of Man Made Global Warming, as that's a subject that requires and deserves it own separate treatment. In fact, if you are interested in climate change debate I encourage you to visit my buddy Borepatch - who posts quite frequently on the topic. A good spot to start is here, although browsing his posts tagged "junk science" will produce about two hundred wonderfully written essays on that and similar matters - complete with documentation and links.

Sources used in this post:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/asia/july-dec09/china_12-14.html
http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/politics&id=6359976
http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/26655/
http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20026692-54.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20
http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2010-07-28-volt28_ST_N.htm
http://www.npr.org/2010/11/19/131458408/lack-of-drilling-permits-hurts-small-energy-firms

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Interesting tidbit for the Gunnies....

When I'm going about my daily grind, I check in and out via radio with the Police Department of the city where I work. I have occasion to visit an address and I inform dispatch that I am out at 1234 Whatever Street. When I'm done, I clear from the location on the radio.

Quite often, I'll check out at an address and Dispatch will tell me there is an "Alert for Guns" at that location. I don't generally pay much attention to the alert, because I assume everyone that I have to deal with is crazy right out of the box. I've very aware of my circumstances and the behavior of the people that I deal with. I don't bet my safety on whether or not someone in a warm cubicle somewhere gives me a heads up to potential danger.

I just assume that it's there and act accordingly.

I began to think, though, about what an "Alert for Guns" might actually entail. What event spurred the notation by an address in the City computer that potential danger for Police (and myself) exists? So, I spoke to one of the dispatch supervisors and asked where the info for the "alert" comes from. The following is the policy for the city were I work - but your home town could very well be similar....

You can get a danger warning about guns attached to your address in the Official Police Computer System just by checking a box on a Alarm Permit. When you have an alarm registered with the city, there's a little box near the top that you have to check if you have guns in the house. You also get tagged as a "Gun Alert" house if you ever have a Police Officer to your home - for whatever reason - and he just sees a gun or you mention that you have one. Even if you have the Police at your home because you are making a complaint on a neighbor for their barking dog, they will tag you with an "Alert for Guns" if they discover that you own firearms while they are there.

You also get the tag, obviously, if they discover your gun ownership because you've been up to mischief.... That's understandable. I think if you shoot a gun in your front yard or threaten your neighbors with a firearm, then that definitely needs to be noted for officer safety. I think marking gun owner homes as "dangerous" simply because guns are known to be there is a bit much though, and it bothers me. The dispatch supervisor admitted that the vast, vast majority of Gun Alerts in the system are generated by the more mild circumstances described above, rather than any idea that the person at that address is a danger to anyone.

Maybe I'm making mountains out of molehills here, but I don't like the thought of myself or anyone else that is a law abiding conscientious gun owner being tagged with an "Alert" because we own guns. And believe me, it is about the guns. Doubt me?....

Right next to the "Guns" check box on the alarm permit application there is an identical box marked "Dogs". I've never once had dispatch warn me that there are Dogs at the address that I'm visiting.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Quote

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and ubsurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

- Emerson

Friday, December 24, 2010

Girl Friday - 12/24/2010

ann margret paladin christmas

Looks like Mrs. Paladin has something nice for me under the tree.... maybe several somethings :) Girl Friday is taking the week off in observance of Christmas. She'll be back next week with a New Years Eve Edition. I'll leave you all with my best wishes...

christmas virginia grey

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rough Week

Geez... what is it about the week before Christmas that makes all the crazies come out? This was a really long, slow, boring week at work periodically punctuated by bursts of stupid/crazy from the citizens that I serve.

Example #1 - I'm on call this week for "emergencies" after hours. After spending 12 hours at work Sunday, I got home and managed to get half way through dinner before being called out by the Police. Seems some idiot caused a multi-car pile up and then fled the scene before the Police could arrive. My money is on Drunk as a Skunk.

When the cops were doing a vehicle inventory on the abandoned car before having it towed off, they discovered this little guy cowering under one of the seats...

crash dog

I had to come in and take it to the shelter. What kind of an asshole runs off and leaves his friggin' dog? Even if you're going to be rat bastard enough to cause a wreck and run away... it takes special kind of bastard to abandon a puppy to who knows what fate. That's Advanced Studies in Dick right there.

Example #2 - Last night, I was parking the truck 15 minutes before going off duty at the end of another mind-numbing 12 hour stint, when Police Dispatch called me on the radio. Seems a citizen had called 911 for help in an animal related emergency.

Her dog would not allow her to put it on a leash. She wanted me to travel all the way across town to ring her doorbell for her, in hopes that the dog would then run down stairs to see who was there. This, according to the master plan, would make it easier for the lady to put a leash on it.

I'll spare you the details of our conversation on the phone. Suffice to say I won't be getting a Christmas Card from her this year.

Like I said - the crazies are out in full force. Maybe it was the recent lunar eclipse? I dunno....

Thankfully, I'm off duty now until Sunday except for being on-call a couple of nights. Lots and lots to cram into the last two days before Christmas! Hope everyone is doing well and having a better week than I am :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Quote

"You know more stuff that don't make you money than anybody I know."


- Robert B. Parker - Mortal Stakes. The enigmatic Hawk talking to Spenser.

I love Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels.

I wanted to be Spenser when I was a kid after seeing the TV adaptation of the book series. Robert Urich living in a converted Firehouse, driving around Boston in a Mustang Fastback, fighting crime and solving mysteries with the beautiful Susan Silverman and mysteriously dangerous Hawk never far away. Good stuff, that.
Over the past year, I've read every single book in the long series and discovered that I still want to be Spenser. Parker pumped out a new Spenser book regularly from the early 1970's until his death in 2010. There's 40 some-odd Spenser books, and I loved them all. There's supposed to be a final Spenser book released this May, but I've only heard rumors about it.

I also liked the Jesse Stone novels, and the Cole and Hitch (westerns) series - but they don't compare with the characters and plots in the Spenser books, in my opinion.

I especially like the quote above, since I've had similar sentiments expressed by people in regards to myself on more than one occasion.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Style Saturday - 12/18/2010

I'm sure this satchel (or is it a valise?) is as expensive as hell.... but I really, really like it. I can imagine hopping into a passenger car with it during the steam era of rail travel and going off on an adventure...

leather luggage

Friday, December 17, 2010

Girl Friday - 12/17/2010 - Marilyn Monroe

I was never much of a fan of the iconic image you most often associate with this week's Girl Friday. The Hollywood manufactured, bleached blonde bombshell version of Marilyn Monroe just didn't do anything for me.

However, before she was "Marilyn", she was:

Norma Jean Baker

And Miss Norma Jean Baker is another kettle of fish, entirely :)

mm4

Hit the jump for more Norma Jean..

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Bailey!!

Hard to believe she's two years old already....

Bailey and Bebeh

I can't be in the same room with her without feeling like the Grinch in the scene where his heart grows three sizes...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Seriously... stay down, already.

Geez... they are like villain in every slasher movie ever made. You think they are all dead and harmless on the floor, right before they jump up and slaughter a few more people:


Senate Democrats have filed a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that would fund the government through fiscal year 2011, according to Senate GOP sources.

 The 1,924-page bill includes funding to implement the sweeping healthcare reform bill Congress passed earlier this year as well as additional funds for Internal Revenue Service agents, according to a senior GOP aide familiar with the legislation.

The bill was introduced today, with plans to attempt a vote on it tomorrow - before anyone has a chance to debate it or even read it. It reportedly has the usual pork, earmarks, and Christmas Treats included.

What's worse, is that a few Republicans are considering voting for it. Call your representatives TODAY and make sure they come down on the right side of this.

liberal baby

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rudyard Kipling was a pretty smart cookie...

Recently, a couple of events were brought together by fortune's wind to inspire this post.

1. I was reminded of a Rudyard Kipling poem that I truly love, in the comments section for one of the posts at Borepatch's Blog.

2. I spent a little time (far too little) conversing with people whose social/political views are very different from my own. This happened via a couple of different blogs/sites and we were debating about the recent Washington battles over tax "cuts" and unemployment benefits extensions. I have fairly eclectic tastes when it comes to my internet wanderings and as a fringe benefit I get to mingle with people who don't see things the way I do on all matters. That's a good thing. I get to hear from them what they think, and I get to share my views with them. Hopefully, we learn from each other.

3. My Daughter lost her job right after Thanksgiving. Yep... there's never a good time to find one's self unemployed, but its hard to imagine a classically worse time than right smack dab in the middle of the Holidays. The Bank for which she worked has been steadily cutting back staff, and the axe eventually came down on her.

Those three things made me wax nostalgic for the sentiment expressed by Mr. Kipling in his poem "The Gods of the Copy Book Headings", which was published in 1909. If you aren't familiar with the work, its a commentary on the various schemes of Social Progress that cycle around over and over right up to the modern day, and how those schemes require a denial of some basic, immutable truths. Its also about the dangers we face when we turn away from those truths.

First, a bit of translation for the modern reader...

This is a Copy Book:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Quote

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

-John Adams

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Style Saturday - 12/11/2010

Style isn't always about sharp looking clothes on good looking people. Sometimes "Style" is about a state of mind that goes beyond the superficial. In fact, the best kind of Style has it's roots in exactly that. That's what separates "Style" from "Fashion".

Pics that follow are crops from originals via Shorpy. You can click the pictures to see them at Shorpy full sized.

June 1906 REO Mountaineer cropped


Hit the jump to read more about this pair of adventurers...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'm gonna be in an Ebook :)



Long time readers of this blog are aware of my interest in Steampunk and my obsession with tinkering, and with old stuff. From time to time I combine the three loves, disappear into my workshop for several days, and emerge with something unique. I did an Instructables write up on one such project a couple of years ago. It was "featured" on their site and eventually clocked over 35,000 views. Apparently, that makes it popular enough for them to include in their upcoming first round of Ebook releases. I was notified the other day via email.

Pretty cool.


The project in question is my Steampunk Fan Project, where I combined parts from an old brass bladed fan, a sewing machine motor, an antique brass rose sprayer, and some old lamp parts into a functioning, chain & sprocket driven fan. I knew that I liked it and I had fun making it. It always surprises me, though, when other people look at something that I made and get the same joy out of it that I do.


If you've never seen the Steampunk Fan, here's a short video that I made of the fan's buildup and test run. Most of my videos on Youtube average a couple hundred views. This clip has over 20,000  :)



Once again, I manage to be good enough at something to get into the spotlight (albeit a small one), and yet STILL manage to avoid making any money on it what so ever.

That takes talent and dedication... :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Must Build This...

Pics via Paleotool.

vardo

I posted a while back about my desire to either restore another vintage camping trailer, or build one myself, so that my Wife and I could do some traveling and camping in the not too distant future. I found a link recently to Paleotool's website, via Kate's hoboknitter blog. He built a damned modern day Sheepherder's Vardo using a donor trailer frame and crafting the rest of it from scratch...

vardo interior

I think its equal parts wonderful and beautiful... and I think I'm gonna have to try my hand at making something similar - with my own twists - before too long. I even think my Dad has an old utility trailer that I could get my hands on fairly easily out at their farm.

This stuff really makes me drool...

More than usual :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lol...

NOTICE

A VERY IMPORTANT meeting of the Anarchist Council will be held this evening at 7 p.m. at Mrs. Porter’s house. We will be voting on a proposed amendment that would add the words “or not” to the end of each clause of our Charter.

via Dr. Boli's Celebrated Magazine

Monday, December 6, 2010

AK Drum Magazine

ak drum 1

I've long yearned for a drum magazine for my ever-improving WASR10. Ak47s and drum magazines go together like peanut butter and jelly. The one shown here mounted on my Baby Girl is a new production Romanian made drum based on the Chinese design.

Hit the jump to see why I like the Chinese Design so much..

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Quote

To be governed is to be watched over, inspected, spied on, directed, legislated at, regulated, docketed, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, assessed, weighed, censored, ordered about, by men who have neither the right, nor the knowledge, nor the virtue. 

To be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction, noted, registered, enrolled, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished.

It is, under the pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, trained, ransomed, exploited, monopolized, extorted, squeezed, mystified, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, despised, harassed, tracked, abused, clubbed, disarmed, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and, to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, outraged, dishonoured.

That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.

 - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a Socialist/Anarchist who lived in the first half of the 1800s. This was back when Socialism was more aptly identified as Collectivism. He would shun the modern, Government focused version of Socialism that is found today. Many believe him to be the first person ever to refer to themselves as an "anarchist".

I disagree with almost everything in his Political and Social Philosophies. He hated capitalism, and only recognized property rights (on a collective level) for laborers and peasants... accumulation of wealth and property was evil in his eyes.

Collectivists/Socialists start out with good intentions, of course. They see the Dictators, Hereditary Monarchies, Robber Baron Capitalists, and even fairly elected Governments to whom people have surrendered too many person liberties as a plague on the land and the people that must be removed.

The problem with their solution is that they replace what they hate with another set of Masters who are usually even worse. It inevitably leads to a ruling class that is so sure of their intellectual and moral superiority, that they can justify ANYTHING they do as "for the good of the people". Oppressions under "People's Republics" have been the most totalitarian and brutal in the history of mankind.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day, however, and his opinion of government as a whole is pretty much dead-on.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Style Saturday - 12/04/2010

Cover of Vogue Magazine. March, 1909. Its not often I see a magazine cover that's worthy of being framed and hung on the wall as art....

vogue 1909

Friday, December 3, 2010

Girl Friday - 12/03/2010 - Dale Strong

This week's Girl Friday isn't as famous as many of the others, but I was smitten the first time I saw her photograph. Way back in March of 1952, she graced the cover of Life Magazine as the Prettiest Showgirl on Broadway:

Dale Strong

dale strong cover

Hit the Jump Link for evidence in support of her title...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Parable of the Burning House

Once upon a time, on a Little Farm nestled in the rolling hills, there lived a Woman named Nell.

Now, Nell had lived on this Little Farm all her life. She inherited the Little Farm from her Parents when they passed away, being their only child. They loved Nell very much and taught her all the skills she needed to know to run the Little Farm, and brought her up to take responsibility for herself, the land, and her destiny. She did well for herself out there on the Little Farm, raising her crops, tending the animals, and generally going about the day to day jobs that earned her living.

Christmas Things

Two things that you will almost always find in our home around Christmas: Our Christmas Cactus, which blooms each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and a cookie jar (more or less) full of Snickerdoodles...

snickerdoodles


Yes... I bake Snickerdoodles.

Tomorrow I'm going to the gun range to try out the new 75 round drum magazine for my AK.. so things even out :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Liberal Blogger's Unite!

liberal writer's blog jpg



I drift through lots of different blogs and tumblr sites, on the rare occasions when I have internet wandering time. My interests are fairly diverse, and I would go nuts if the only sites I visited were focused on gun rights issues or conservative politics.

As a result, I frequent some places that are run by people with very different political views than I have. I tend to avoid the hard-core Liberal Political sites because there's nothing that interests me there. But there are sites that have content that I enjoy, whose authors occasionally wander into promoting the Liberal Viewpoint.

I've no problem with that.... Everyone is entitled to their own point of view and they should be able to express those views just like I do here from time to time. Hey.. Some of my Best Friends are Liberals :)

I've learned to ignore the occasional ignorant jab at tea partiers, or conservative politicians that I support. At least most of the time I do. Sometimes I can't help myself, even though I know better than to think that I'll be able to sway them from their liberal bent. I usually don't bother, because having a meaningful discussion of the issues takes far more time than I can usually devote to it. There's a tendency for people to bog down a discussion by repeating the same talking points over and over, far past the point when they've already been addressed, and then claim "victory" when you walk away having better/more important things to do. I've seen that scenario play out on both sides of the Political Divide. Conservative Bloggers/Commenters do that just as much as Liberal ones do.

Its surprising, though, to find that when I'm occasionally inspired to de-lurk and speak my mind - just how many "liberal" people are actually conservatives who just don't know it yet. When you can avoid slipping into name-calling and and actually address the core issues instead of "feelings", you can learn some constructive things about what you think you know about the world you live in.

I think it unsettles them a bit to discover that Conservatives aren't who they think they are - and it shifts the ground under their feet even more when they realize that the views held by true Conservatives actually make sense in practical applications in real life.

Its less surprising, and more disappointing, to find the folks that will acknowledge the individual arguments for Conservatism over Liberalism - and then still cling to Liberalism as an "Ideal" and continue to lash out against Conservatives as a group based on the lies and misinformation perpetuated in the media by the Left.

I can sytematically show the fact that, while well intentioned, the "solutions" offered by Liberalism almost always yield a result that is worse than the problem being addressed. From the failed 10 trillion dollar "war on poverty", to gun control, to the inescapable oppression that comes from giving too much power to really smart people who we hope can solve our problems... in all those cases and more I can show them with real life examples how Conservatism is far superior to Liberalism.

Yet many times they cling to Liberalism not because its better, but because it makes them feel like they are doing the right thing - even in the face of cold hard facts proving otherwise. They'll agree that government generally sucks when it broadens its scope of involvement in our lives, for example. They'll acknowledge that in spite of the massive amounts of money they've thrown at particular problems and the increasing burden of government regulation - little if any positive result is obtained. And then they'll turn right around and praise President Obama for "at least trying to do something" about healthcare reform. And they'll bash Conservatives for not "helping the President".

You can save a horse from a burning barn, but it often has the tendency to turn around and run right back into the flames once you let it go....