On Hiatus. No, I’m Not Kidding.

I am so far behind it’s not even funny. I leave Monday for an installation/modification job, and I won’t be back for eight or nine days, probably. I’ll have internet access on the road, probably, but I’ll be spending my evenings working, too. On top of that, we’re getting started on the work on the house, and that’s going to cut into my time seriously when I get back.

I haven’t been posting much recently, and certainly no original essays, so I’d like to thank y’all who have been keeping my traffic stats up, but you’ll need to bear with me for a while (quite a while) longer. Don’t expect to see more than one or two posts a week, if that.

Don’t Be Hatin’.

Still, this is pretty damned funny:

Don’t retire, Lance; keep aggravating the French until their snails turn sour

John Kelso, The Statesman, 7/22/05

Sure, it’s getting a little monotonous hearing about Lance Armstrong day after day, kicking the rest of the world’s bicycle tires in the Tour de France.

I mean, how many times do we have to see the man on TV, standing on that podium with those two chicks?

Still, Lance is making a big mistake by retiring.

It’s fun to annoy the French by beating them at their own game. Besides, any country that invented the poodle deserves an annual humiliation.

The plan is for Lance to hang it up after he takes his seventh straight Tour on Sunday when he rides into Paris. The only way he can lose is if he runs into a cow. He wins so often in this race that I’ll bet you can’t even name the top French rider.

Perhaps only Christophe Moreau’s closest relatives would know that on Thursday morning, he was the Tour’s leading Frenchman, in 10th place, 12 minutes and 7 seconds behind Lance. Twelve minutes behind — a kid on a tricycle could do better than that. Hey, buddy, what’s the holdup?

You know those T-shirts that say, “My favorite team is the Red Sox and whoever’s beating the Yankees?” The French should wear T-shirts that say, “My favorite rider is Christophe Moreau and whoever’s beating Lance Armstrong.”

The trouble for the French is that nobody is beating Lance Armstrong. They should hire a hit man to pound tacks in his tires. The Tour de France is their Super Bowl, and their best guy is so far behind that he has to use binoculars to find Lance Armstrong’s butt.

The French have just about given up on this bicycle deal. Not that they’re new at surrendering.

The reason the leader in the Tour de France gets a yellow jersey? It’s the French national color. Throwing your hands in the air is the official French aerobics exercise.

So when Armstrong quits, this will be the best thing to happen to France since the Germans left Paris.

Come to think of it, Lance has ridden into Paris more often than the Germans, though they did more damage to the pavement. So when Lance packs it in, it will be a cause for a French national holiday.

Let’s not hand them that luxury quite so soon. Lance should just keep stomping the truffles out of them.

Here they are, getting

whupped regularly like a dumb guy on Jeopardy by a Texan. How annoying must that be for the French to be scalded annually by someone from the Lone Star State?

So stay on the bike, Lance. Anybody who eats snails deserves a breath mint — and all the abuse you can give them.

I envision Lance Armstrong at 84 riding a wheelchair equipped with pedals up the Alps with the French riders in hot pursuit, getting their usual extended look at Lance Armstrong’s keister.

I envision the French police busting into 84-year-old Lance Armstrong’s nursing home looking for performance-enhancing drugs and finding a six-pack of Ensure.

I just love it that the Tour winner every year is somebody who knows a chicken-fried steak doesn’t have any chicken in it. So let’s keep it that way.

Amen! Preach it brother!

An Op-Ed You Will Never See in the New York Times.

I found this via Killrighty, through a Technorati search. Helluva piece from the Dallas Morning News

Call Them What They Are: Those who murder Iraqi civilians are terrorists
09:02 AM CDT on Friday, July 15, 2005

Two words not uncommon to editorial pages are “resolve” and “sacrifice,” especially as they relate to war.

Today, this editorial board resolves to sacrifice another word – “insurgent” – on the altar of precise language. No longer will we refer to suicide bombers or anyone else in Iraq who targets and kills children and other innocent civilians as “insurgents.”

The notion that these murderers in any way are nobly rising up against a sitting government in a principled fight for freedom has become, on its face, absurd. If they ever held a moral high ground, they sacrificed it weeks ago, when they turned their focus from U.S. troops to Iraqi men, women and now children going about their daily lives.

They drove that point home with chilling clarity Wednesday in a poor Shiite neighborhood. As children crowded around U.S. soldiers handing out candy and toys in a gesture of good will, a bomb-laden SUV rolled up and exploded.

These children were not collateral damage. They were targets.

The SUV driver was no insurgent. He was a terrorist.

People who set off bombs on London trains are not insurgents. We would never think of calling them anything other than what they are – terrorists.

Train bombers in Madrid? Terrorists.

Chechen rebels who take over a Russian school and execute children? Terrorists.

Teenagers who strap bombs to their chests and detonate them in an Israeli cafe? Terrorists.

IRA killers? Basque separatist killers? Hotel bombers in Bali? Terrorists all.

Words have meanings. Whether too timid, sensitive or “open-minded,” we’ve resisted drawing a direct line between homicidal bombers everywhere else in the world and the ones who blow up Iraqi civilians or behead aid workers.

No more. To call them “insurgents” insults every legitimate insurgency in modern history. They are terrorists.

About. Damned. Time.

Now, somebody send this around to the NYT, LA Times, Guardian, et al.

OK, I Have to Get One of These.

(h/t Ravenwood.) I’ve seen the “Peace Through Superior Firepower” stickers for quite a while, and liked them, but the Analog Kid has managed to use his to outstanding effect.

She went into a rant about how violence creates violence, war is for people who don’t know how to negotiate (or some such BS) and I was waiting for the famous “You can’t hug a child with nuclear arms” drivel, but it never arrived. It probably would have except that as she got a couple sentences into her rant, I started unfolding my Shotgun News and that really made her mad.

Her last line something like “And stupid stickers like that one and stupid people like you will never understand and that really pisses me off!” and it was at full volume, so that folks still sitting in their vehicles around us were able to take notice.

I calmly folded my my Shotgun News back up and asked if it made her pissed off enough to try and hit me.

Read the whole story.

Analog Kid, I bow in your direction. Bravo, sir! Bravo!

One Small Step for Man…

On this day in 1969 Astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human being to set foot on another world – in real life.

It is entirely appropriate that James Montgomery Doohan, Star Trek‘s “Scotty,” has left us on this day.

First you dream it, then you do it.

It was a good dream. It still is.


I’ve posted pictures of blown-up guns on this blog on several occasions. Here’s one way to accomplish that:

Product Recall

July 6, 2005

Product description: Unique® smokeless powder, LOT numbers 850, 859, 861, 868, 872, 876, 890, 898 and 907.

Alliant Powder has determined a very small number of eight pound (8 lb.) Alliant Powder Unique smokeless powder containers may contain Alliant Powder Bullseye smokeless powder.


If you are in possession of an eight pound (8 lb.) bottle of Alliant Powder Unique with any of the above noted lot numbers, please immediately cease use of this product and notify Alliant Powder by calling 800-276-9337 or emailing [email protected]

Lot numbers are located on the bottom of each bottle.

I use Unique, but not in 8-lb. lots, and it’s been a bit since I bought my last 1-lb. container, but this recall is just a bit unnerving. My favorite .45ACP load is 7.0 grains of Unique under the Speer Gold Dot 200 grain hollowpoint. If I used 7.0 grains of Bullseye I’d be one full grain over listed max. Probably not catastrophic, but then again…

$2.69 at Circle-K. Twelve Hours of Gastrointestinal Misery


I strongly advise everyone to avoid any convenience-mart food that includes eggs.


“But it has to be a heap now.”

Yes. That’s It Exactly

I don’t have to work at this, people send me stuff. Mike from Feces Flinging Monkey most recently has been pointing me at the most interesting things. Today’s is a piece in the current Reason Online by Julian Sanchez concerning my most personally hated latin phrase, stare decisis – defined by Webster’s as “a doctrine or policy of following rules or principles laid down in previous judicial decisions unless they contravene the ordinary principles of justice.” Mr. Sanchez’s piece is entitled A Heap of Precedents: Slippery slopes, stare decisis, and popular opinion. Mike found it through the blog A Constrained Vision, which looks interesting in itself, as the author draws it’s title from a Thomas Sowell quote. Anyway, the part(s) I found pertinent were these:

There’s a famous philosophical puzzle, originally attributed to Eubulides of Miletus, known as the sorites paradox or heaps problem. It goes like this: Two or three grains of sand obviously don’t constitute a “heap” of sand. And it seems absurd to suppose that adding a single grain of sand could turn something that wasn’t a heap into a heap. But apply that logic repeatedly as you add one grain after another, and you’re pushed to the equally absurd conclusion that 100,000 grains aren’t a heap either. (Alternatively, you can run the logic in the other direction and prove that three grains of sand are a heap.)

It’s not a terribly deep puzzle, of course: It simply illustrates that some of our everyday concepts, like that of a heap, are vague or fuzzy, not susceptible to such precise definition. Try to define such concepts in too much detail and absurdity results.

The problem is, concepts like “interstate commerce,” “public use,” “unreasonable search,” and “cruel and unusual” are similarly fuzzy. And stare decisis, the principle that cases are to be decided by reference to previous rulings, means that the Court’s interpretation of those rulings looks an awful lot like a process of adding one grain at a time without ever arriving at an unconstitutional heap—an instance of what law professor Eugene Volokh has called an “attitude altering slippery slope.” Jurisprudence is all about distinguishing cases, explaining why some legal principle applies in situation A, but not in apparently similar situation B. But if the grains are fine enough—the differences from case to case sufficiently subtle—plausible distinctions become harder to find.

The core of the argument in the dissent, on the other hand, looked quite different, going directly to the Fifth Amendment’s stipulation that property be seized only for “public use”:

[If] predicted (or even guaranteed) positive side-effects are enough to render transfer from one private party to another constitutional, then the words “for public use” do not realistically exclude any takings, and thus do not exert any constraint on the eminent domain power.

The dissent in Raich was heavier on citation, but at its core seemed similarly motivated by a big-picture concern that the ruling “threatens to sweep all of productive human activity into federal regulatory reach.” Both dissents, in other words, step back from the meticulous addition of granules to exclaim: “But it has to be a heap now.”

These two decisions prompted outrage not because either was a radical departure from precedent – neither was – but because they called attention to just how many grains of precedent had been piled atop the terms “public use” and “interstate commerce,” reaching so far from the common-sense meanings of those terms as to seem preposterous if one is only eyeballing the heap, rather than attending to the process.

(That’s the heart of it, but read the whole thing.) Worse, when stare decisis builds upon previous bad decisions – and no one denies that the Court has made some real stinkers over its history – then we’re not talking heaps of sand anymore. We’re talking heaps of shit.

Raich, and to a much larger extent Kelo, both “contravene the ordinary principles of justice” without a doubt. That a majority of the Court wouldn’t recognize this is what angers me more than anything. Perhaps they believe Nancy Pelosi‘s right, and their decisions are “almost as if God has spoken” so they needn’t bother themselves with “eyeballing the heap.”

Thomas, on the dissenting side in both Kelo and Raich, is absolutely right: “Something has gone seriously awry with this Court’s interpretation of the Constitution.”

And achieving divinity ain’t it.

New Gun!

Well, new to me, anyway. Remember back in May 2004 when I said I was going to purchase a S&W Model 25 Mountain Gun chambered for .45LC? And then didn’t?

Well, at lunch today, I did. It looks just like this:

My favorite gun shop had a used one I found a couple of weeks ago. I traded in my Ruger SP-101 (that shot really low), scrounged up some cash (thanks, honey!), and bought it. Now I have to get some dies, brass, and bullets. Anybody have a favorite .45LC load they want to share?