Sunday, January 31, 2010

Holy Cow

I don't know how he does it - it takes me twenty minutes to bang out a couple of paragraphs - but I'm certainly glad he does. I strongly recommend following the link and reading the whole thing. Kevin Baker has a way of expressing his philosophy (one that I share, by the way) that very few others do.
All I can really say after reading that is "What he said!"
Always a treat to read the Smallest Minority. That's why I go there every day.

Horror Story

Last night, I picked up Wifey at the airport with My Little Princess (Number One Son was still at Astro Camp).
We came home and settled down for bed around 11pm, My Little Princess choosing to sleep on Number One Son's lower bunk as she had all week while Momma was gone.
I was just cracking open my book, when I heard a series of six earsplitting, blood-curdling screams that could only have emanated from my daughter.
I rushed out into the hallway, to find My Little Princess out of bed, in tears. After calming her down, I got the whole story from her.
She had pulled back the covers and snuggled into bed, when she had felt something cold. This cold something had then slithered over her leg and onto the floor, at which point she had jumped up screaming.
Turns out that Number One Son's pet snake, Leo (our Kenyan Sand Boa), had gotten out of it's cage - presumably in search of food - and tried to find somewhere warm, since our house is pretty cold at the moment, at least as far as reptiles would be concerned.
Leo was found, his tank inspected (still not quite sure how he got out) and My Little Princess was calmed down. All in all, she took it pretty well (a hell of a lot better than I would have, that's for sure) once she found out what it was, but she did choose to spend the remainder of the night in her own room... with the door closed.

Two of My Favorite Things...

Are bacon and dark chocolate. Knowing this, Wifey brought me something interesting back from her trip to Chicago...

Interesting combo... Never had them together before.
Of course, Wifey didn't stop there. Being in Chicago, she found something else that she couldn't resist buying...

Yup, a bar of "Change" chocolate...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Headline of the Week!

Over here, via Instapundit. That got a chuckle out of me.

Bipartisanship. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means...

But seriously, it looks like El Presidente is having a bit of a meltdown lately. He tore into Republicans today in an effort to promote bipartisanship(?), which was just icing on the cake after his behavior during the State of the Union address. Not exactly striking much of a conciliatory tone.
I guess the ass-kicking his party and policies got in Massachusetts was a little too subtle; too nuanced, if you will...
Because I think he's just not getting it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Earning It

Today is a big day for Number One Son. In a little over an hour from now, he will be subjected to a four hour examination at his dojo. This will include a written test, an examination of his katas - forms and techniques - and culminating in sparring - essentially getting jumped in by a bunch of bigger kids.
And if he succeeds, he will have his black belt in karate.
I'm very proud of him, win or lose tonight, because it's been a long road and he's stuck it out, which to me shows a level of dedication and maturity far beyond his ten years.
Good luck son.

UPDATE: He made it! Allow me to present... Sensei Number One Son!

Because he's under 16, his black belt has a white stripe throught it. It is a full black belt, and he'll exchange it for a solid one when he's old enough. He's very proud of his accomplishment, as he should be. It was a tough test, as you can see by his sweaty hair.
I'm very proud of him for following through on his commitment, and to have such an achievement at the ripe old age of ten!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Stay Classy, Mr President

Taking a swipe at the Supreme Court in your speech. Nice. Despite what you said, sir, I get the distinct feeling that you don't respect the separation of powers at all. Well, tough shit. You don't get to be king in America, and things aren't always going to go your way - especially since your way seems to be in direct contradiction to liberty. This is not yet a banana republic, sir.

The 800lb Gorilla

The NRA has elbowed its way into oral arguments in the McDonald case set to be heard by the Supreme Court. They applied for, and got 10 minutes out of the 30 allotted to the plaintiffs represented by Alan Gura (who served the cause of liberty so well in Heller). The NRA's lawyer of choice in this is one Paul Clement, who as Solicitor General, actually argued in favor of DC's position in Heller. That makes me a little uncomfortable.
Now, NRA got their 10 minutes ostensibly to make a case before the court focusing on the Due Process clause, since Gura was focusing on the Privileges and Immunities Clause as a way to protect the RKBA.
I suspect that a large part of this is NRA's desire to show that they are relevant; that is, that the largest pro-gun group in the US wants to be a part of such a historic case, that the NRA wants McDonald on its resume so to speak, especially since it didn't get much of a taste in Heller. So it pushed its way in, against the wishes of the original plaintiffs.

Fine. You're in. SCOTUS gave you the time. With a lawyer who was on the other side in the last go-round. You'd better not screw it up. Your membership is watching.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Riddles in the Dark... the title of chapter five of The Hobbit, which I just finished reading to my kids tonight - the chapter where Bilbo Baggins encounters Gollum and The Ring. Probably not the best choice for bedtime reading to a nine- and ten-year-old. It's more than a little creepy, but I did stress that Bilbo managed to escape by the end of the chapter, and that it's just a story.
They've been reminding me every night to read them the story thus far; I hope this chapter hasn't discouraged them. I think I sometimes forget how young they still are...

I was starting to feel a little sympathy...

... for El Presidente these last few days - he's had a pretty rough week, after all - until I saw this news item over at Instapundit...
The press is against you? Boo-frikken-hoo. Man up, guy. Bush put up with this - far worse, mind you - for eight frigging years! Being a Republican, he didn't even have the opportunity of a "honeymoon" as Democrats always seem to enjoy, either. One week and you're already crying? Very presidential.
The press has been obnoxiously in the tank for Obama, almost to the point of out-and-out worship. Looks like they're feeling somewhat cheated, as though El Presidente turned out to be just another empty suit full of empty promises. Looks like about half the country's feeling the same way. Never ceases to amaze me how high some people will set their expectations of politicians, even those vapid as this one.
Hope and Change sounded great, didn't it? But we never really got anything out of him beyond that during the campaign, did we? Well, we're getting it now, and it looks like a lot of folks don't like it.
So now the fawning in the media has slackened off some...
I guess when you come to expect that kind of adulation as your due, a week like this last one could be crushing.
Time to blow your nose, wipe away the tears, and finish out your term, tough guy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Random Stuff...

The Wife is in Chicago all this week at a conference, which is going to make for interesting times here as far as juggling my work schedule with the kids' school schedule. Luckily I have some good friends willing to help out...
Got the first issue of my subscription to Reason magazine this last weekend... haven't read it all yet but there's plenty of good stuff in there...
The Saints-Vikings game was a close one. I didn't care for the officiating. In the Saint's last drive before OT, there were three bad calls in a row - a first down given when clearly the ball didn't pass the mark, a pass interference penalty against the Vikings for what was obviously an uncatchable ball and a completion where the ball hit the ground as the guy was catching it. I'm not even a Vikings fan, and I was pissed at the refs...
Girding ourselves here at the kingdom for another week of crap weather. Sand bags and sump pump at the ready. The rain here in the lowlands means snow in the surrounding mountains, and after we get rain, the skies clear up, giving clear views for miles. The snow capped mountains look beautiful right now. Number One Son is supposed to be going up into the mountains this Friday for "Astro Camp", and I'm thinking he needs some warmer clothing than he currently has. I'm wondering if they're going to need chains to get up there. Do they even make snow chains for school buses?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt.

I encountered quite a bit of it today at a local gun store, and it was pretty unsettling. I guess I shouldn't expect legal advice from a guy making minimum wage behind a gun counter, but it was pretty annoying to hear him talk about legalities here in CA that he obviously had little idea about. For example, "Gun Store X down the way is selling Saigas which have been banned so they're breaking the law, but DOJ just hasn't gotten around to them yet". Uh, OK dude...
He also exemplified a way of thinking that our government - especially the CA DOJ - encourages, in that if there is not a ruling allowing a particular feature (in this case, he was referring to a bullet button), then it must be illegal.
That is the mindset of a serf, not a citizen. Laws do not grant permission; laws forbid behaviors (and in CA, guns sometimes). If there is no law in place banning the particular item in question, then by definition it must be legal. The DOJ may not care for some of the items Californians choose to avail themselves of, but if they are not banned by law, then it's just tough.
Obviously the spirit of the law here in CA is designed to discourage Californians from possessing EBRs altogether, but if one scrupulously adheres to the letter of the law and complies with all the requirements then it can be done.
Guys like the clerk I encountered today aren't helping; they're doing DOJ's work for them, by spreading their flawed perceptions of California gun law to their customers. I swear sometimes, gun owners can be worse than fishwives for all the rumors that you hear spread throughout the community.
I suppose I could have corrected him, but I didn't envision that ending well. If you've ever been in a gun store, you'd know the type. It's the store owner's responsibility to educate their employees anyway.
I doubt I'll be doing business there again.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Free Speech WIN!

I was very happy to hear McCain-Feingold take a beating by the Supreme Court today. Another one in the win column for liberty. Of course, it wasn't a unanimous decision, however; three guesses as to which four justices dissented?
Freedom of speech... its not just about crucifixes in urine jars, hippy...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Holy crap. Feels like I'm back in England. I know we need it - California's been in a drought for some time - but do we have to get it all at once? I have canyons forming in my back yard - hopefully we don't slide off the damn hill...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Book of Eli

Saw this movie last night with a couple of friends, and I wasn't disappointed. One of the few movies I've seen in a theater lately that I didn't regret shelling out the dough for. I had a few issues with the way society had devolved in the post-apocalyptic world, but the story kept me interested and so did the action.
The ending left a little to be desired, too, though I really can't explain my gripes without spoiling it, so I won't.
I'd definitely recommend it, with the caveat that there are fairly strong Christian overtones throughout (if that wasn't already evident by the title of the movie and the trailers advertising it) which may not be every one's cup of tea - as indeed it wasn't for one of my friends, who said he'd felt as though he was tricked into going to church...
That said, the basic theme of the movie resonated with me - that a life dedicated to the preservation of something good in this world is not a wasted one.


How about that, eh? Massachusetts voters elected a Republican senator for the first time in how long? How despised must one's party and agenda be to lose such a safe seat, nestled in such a bastion of liberalism?
I really hope this is an indicator of something bigger, that people are finally realizing just what the Federal government has started to become, how entitled it feels to dictate terms to the people in every single facet of their lives, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant. Maybe it's not too late to stuff the beast back into its constitutional cage after all.
Or maybe I'm just reading way too much into one senatorial election... but a guy can dream, right?
Congratulations, Senator Brown. May you always remember how you got there, and why.

Getting Involved...

I didn't post about this yesterday, as the rain created a few problems around the house and I had other plans in the evening, but I made mention of going to a Calguns chapter startup meeting on Saturday.
Calguns, if you're not already aware of it, is an awesome resource for gun owners here in the Golden State. Within the forums you can find information on navigating your way through our byzantine firearms laws, hook up with fellow gunnies in your area, get advice on your firearms maintenance, upkeep and building, and stay abreast of current developments with California firearms-related bills.
Dirtcrashr was the first to point me that way, for which I am most grateful. It was also useful in downloading certification letters about my DSA FAL that confirmed even to my paranoid self that this EEEVVVILLL rifle was in fact legal under California law. It's my go-to place for any questions I have about anything firearm related.
Anyhoo, as well as all that, these guys have been very effective - more so than the NRA and CRPA (California Rifle and Pistol Association) in fighting some of our more egregious laws in court. They were instrumental in the birth of the OLL (Off List Lowers) phenomenon as well as having their fingers in a few other things. For this reason, I'm an adamant supporter, and since I'm fairly passionate about my 2A rights, I want to support them however I can. Right now, since funds are tight, money is not as good of an option for me as time.
Therefore, I went to a chapter startup meeting. Met a few guys, tossed around some ideas to get more community exposure and got some idea of what is coming up in the near future. Once I get a more firm idea of what my place should be in the organization, I'll be happy to jump in - and let you all know all about it...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's late...

...and I'm tired, so I won't be posting much today. We've had a pretty busy weekend, what with gardening, shopping and getting the yard prepared for (gasp!) the ensuing half-inch-of-rain-rainstorm (I love my house, but drainage was not one of the design highlights).
NFL playoffs were a bit of a disappointment this weekend - I figured the Cardinals would lose, but I at least expected to give the Saints somewhat of a fight, and the Chargers pretty much disgraced themselves today - especially Nate Kaeding, their kicker - who managed to miss three frigging field goals in one game. Who does that? Hmpf.
On a brighter note, I did attend a Calguns chapter startup meeting on Saturday morning - more on that tomorrow, though - I'm for bed.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I've been following the developments in Haiti over the last few days and all I can really say is that my heart goes out to those poor bastards. What a mess. The country is in an absolute shambles (even more so now than before the quake).
I've seen the reports about rising anger and machete-gangfights over food and I'm not at all surprised, nor do I think less of the folks there for it, as some may. I've read somewhere that civilization is just 3 days away from anarchy no matter where you live, and I think I believe that. Cut off food, water and medical services to any population , anywhere, and I believe you'd see the same behaviors, within the same time frame. One of the reasons we here in the kingdom try to prepare. Don't count on government to help you. At some point, you may have to man up and look after yourself.

On that note, however, I'm proud of our government's response to this, and to our guys in the military. They do much more good out there in the world than just kill people and break things, despite what the lefties think. The US military is usually first on the scene to these sort of things, and do the lion's share of the relief work. They're even sorting out the airport over there, so more relief flights can get in. Most everywhere in the world, people know damn well that their best bet is to run to the guys in the American uniforms, and I hope that never changes. My heartfelt thanks to you all out there.

As a Christian, I have to say I cringed when Pat Robertson showed his ass once again - not because I think he represents Christianity as a whole, but the soapbox he commands may give non-Christians that impression, and I may have to do some explaining to some of my non-Christian friends about this in the near future. I certainly don't agree with his take. On a side note, Danny Glover's recent comments about this being a consequence of the failed climate talks in Copenhagen show me that asshattery is not necessarily limited to just my religion...

One other thought really is sticking in my mind about this whole mess, and I have to admit that I'm having a bit of a hard time with it. I think of myself as a pretty die-hard libertarian for the most part and tend to view government involvement in daily life with a very jaundiced eye, being distrustful and unconvinced of the necessity of government regulation in pretty all aspects of my life. HOWEVER, having now seen the results of an earthquake in the complete absence of any government-enforced building codes whatsoever, and the ensuing carnage (in this case in the tens if not hundreds of thousands) and with a similar-sized quake in a similarly dense population center, but with enforced building codes - the Loma Prieta quake in the Bay Area, 1989 (death toll 63) - same magnitude for both, by the way - I can't say that all government regulation is a bad thing. How many lives would have been lost here in CA if everyone had just built as they pleased? I don't know, but likely many more than actually did. I'm going to have to give this a lot more thought.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Just had to share...

I'm proudly wearing one of my favorite Christmas gifts from my wife today... That's right, a pair of Halo 3 boxer shorts - a marvelous deep blue festooned with prints of all the weapons used in the game, as well as the Halo 3 logo... Nothing says love like video game - themed underwear...

Sorry, no pics...

Books, Bitterness and Hobbits...

I live in a fairly sizable city here in the valley, with a population north of 100K, and it's always kinda bothered me that we've never had a nice, large bookstore like a Barnes&Noble or Borders in town, when I see them just about everywhere else around. Nope, we've just had to settle for a little Waldenbooks and B. Dalton in the local mall.
Well, Waldenbooks closed quite a while ago, and now B. Dalton is closing too - everything 40% off at the moment, which is a nice deal BUT...
How pathetic is it that a city this size now has no frigging bookstore? When I first heard of the closing of B Dalton, I was incensed at my fellow inhabitants - how, in a city this size, can we not garner enough interest in reading to keep at least ONE small bookstore in business? I know I did my part, dammit!
However, when I went into B. Dalton to take advantage of their close-out prices, I asked the clerk if business was so bad at this particular store. "Oh no", said she, "business was just fine. It was a corporate decision. They want to consolidate their stores".
Some small comfort... at least I'm not surrounded by a city of illiterates as I first assumed... though the trek to the nearest B&N is a bit of a drive for this homebody, so when I go, I tend to spend more time and money than I should...
Since our local store was going out of business and getting rid of their stock at ridiculously low prices, it was pretty well picked over the last time I went, to the extent that I could not fulfil a promise I had made to my children there - namely, to pick up a copy of The Hobbit and read it to them - something I have wanted to do for a while. I had a copy, I've read it several times, but it's long gone, somewhere in the past history of one of my many moves before I got married, I suspect...
So, last night, I bit the bullet and drove out to the B&N in the next town over to grab a copy (I had first asked around, and not one of my friends, to my disappointment, had a copy of their own that I could borrow! Fair enough, my library would be incomplete without this book anyway) - also picked up a copy of Common Sense by Thomas Paine, which was in the bargain book aisle.
I'm happy to say that reading of The Hobbit finally commenced last night. The kids seemed to enjoy it - I know I did.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

As my old high school rugby coach would say...

"Well played, that man".

Our self-selected nobility needs such reminders ever more frequently these days, methinks.

Monday, January 11, 2010


It's been a while since I last posted... the family and I had a fun (albeit very busy) Christmas, and a pretty sedate New Year. The kids are a bit grumpy today - their first day back to school, after three weeks off.

This last weekend was a good one. Saturday saw quite a few firsts for me, as I finally got to go shooting for the first time in months...
First time I shot my AR - which performed extremely well (at least with Federal .223 - it would not cycle Remington 50gr hollowpoints for some reason) and turned out to be a lot of fun to shoot.
First time I shot an AK - my buddy Jim's Lancaster Arms - also fun to blast away with...
First time I shot a .44 magnum - my buddy Will's Taurus - first time he shot it too - loud, obnoxious and a little painful, but producing grins all around...

I have been following the news somewhat, although I didn't have much of anything to say that hasn't already been said. Number One Son's take on the Christmas Day bombing attempt pretty much summed it up:
"Aw, man! Does that mean they're going to check everyone's underpants at the airport now?"
Yes, son, I think it does. Because we're all Abdulmutallab now, as far as TSA is concerned. Can't wait to see my full body scan hit the internet.