Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ra setteth, Ra setteth--Ra is mighty in his setting...

You know, for the reality-attached, the AK-47 is a really weird totem for the media to latch onto. Because what could be scarier than a cheap, low-powered, 64-year-old rifle design with mediocre accuracy, amiright?

Of course, it's not reality-based thinking; it's magical thinking: third-world insurgents and terrorists are scary, and AK-47s are associated with terrorists, so AK-47s are scary. The other end of the political spectrum does the same thing with kiffeyehs and Korans.

Pearl-clutching horror!

Baseball player owns rifle.

Burglar steals rifle.

Anti-gun sports columnist loses his shit, sneers.

But we hadn't heard about a certain "personal item" that belonged to Longoria. Nothing too important, you know, just your average run-of-the-mill ... AK-47 assault rifle.
An AK. That's a big gun, and probably why it was a good thing Longoria and Co. weren't home during the invasion. Somebody would have been armed. Say hello to Longo's little friend, etc., etc.
It's also perfectly understandable Longoria wouldn't want word to get out that he was careless and irresponsible enough to store an unsecured deadly weapon in a rented home that had little or no apparent security system and would frequently be unoccupied.
Yes, just wash those hands. Meanwhile, we've got another powerful gun on the street in a criminal's possession. I don't know why Longoria owns (or owned) an AK-47, but no matter if it was for protection or for fun, he shouldn't get it back — if police ever recover it in the first place.

Actually, I'm also put out by this story.

I'd expect a major league baseball player could afford an AR-15.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I would walk five hundred miles

Or rather, five hundred fourteen.

See, over the holidays I fell off the paleo wagon, and put back on about half the weight I'd lost. It's a feeling I'm not fond of, and I'm sick of it now. So it's back on the wagon. And this time, I'm going for not just weight loss but better overall fitness; this years regimen will be eating paleo plus regular exercise.


After the Nuremburg trials, Albert Speer found himself serving a twenty year sentence for war crimes. As one of his projects to pass the time, he measured the distance of the prison exercise track, and simulated a walk around the world, tracking his progress in minute detail and studying travel guides to better imagine his "current location". In twenty years, he walked from Berlin to Guadalajara (cheating a bit by letting himself walk across the Bering strait).

I don't have that kind of drive or time. So I've decided to walk to Bar Harbor, Maine.

The distance between the street outside my company's building and Bah Hahbah is 514 miles. Two laps around the building is just a hair over a mile, making workday progress easy to track. I'll have to break out our fiddly old GPS to track weekend hiking.

I'll update when I reach interesting places--"a bit further down 287" doesn't make for especially compelling blogging.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

A conversation at work:

Co-worker: Archie Comics is juvenile, right?

Me: Yeah--grades 4-6.

Co-worker: Because the publisher keeps sending them as adult.

Me: Yeah, they'll do that. They don't know how the codes work.

Co-worker: Although this Archie comic I don't know about. Archie marries Betty and Veronica.

Me: ...

Co-worker: I mean, two wives...

Me: ...

I joined the Navy to see the world...

While cleaning out the garage, we finally got around to opening up dad's old Navy footlocker. Among the daily and dress uniforms and his pea coat, we found this:

From General interwebs

The USS Ault Mediterranean Cruise, 1969. This jacket is in perfect condition, exactly as it must have come from the embroidery joint. I can guarantee dad wore it exactly once, when his buddies made him do it for a group photo, then carefully packed it away to keep forever.

I'm going to keep it forever, too. But if I didn't, this thing would be the ironic thrift store find of somebody's life. It's even in skinny-hipster size; based on his uniform belts, dad had a 31" waist, tops.

The Thing in the Garage

While helping my mudder clear some things out of her garage, we took this off the wall:

From General interwebs

It was mounted at about knee height with the prongs sticking out parallel to the floor, and looked like it had been there for fifty years. The prongs are solid cast iron, completely rigid.

Anybody know what the heck it is? (Apart from the center of a bitchin' folk art Cthulhu idol, of course.)

Quote of the Week

This one just won't stop rattling around in my head. Recently, Bill Maher made some predictably classless remarks about a predictable target, highlighting some predictable double standards. The whole affair is eminently forgettable. Tam's response, on the other hand, is priceless.

Way to keep the discourse elevated, there, Bill. You wouldn't know the high ground if the quaestores ordered you hurled off of it.

This is the platonic ideal of the bon mot: punchy, clever, and just obscure and google-resistant enough to let you feel smugly superior for getting it.

Brava, signora; brava.

Imagine no religion...

Lab Rat opines on a study from Arizona that suggests religion is heading for extinction in nine specific countries. She's as perceptive as usual, and points out the specific fact the researchers have overlooked, but man, one observation in particular resonated with me:

...I honestly believe a lot of "will actually blow you up for your faith" radicals aren’t really all that faithful, because they’ve used their beliefs essentially as a way to justify and gratify their need for absolutism or glory or for the world to fundamentally agree with them in a way that can’t be argued with.

As an atheist who's associated regularly with other atheists, I've heard about a billion variations of "man, this shit wouldn't be happening if people would just realize the Magical Sky Man is a lie". But that's about as fundamental a misunderstanding of religion's role in society as you can make, I think. People have always found plenty of justifications for the desire to kill and dominate one another, religious and secular both. Look at the Soviet Union and tell me an atheist state wouldn't murder freely. Live anywhere between Maryland and Massachusetts and tell me that a more secular population is less likely to use the law to force its mores and taboos on you.

Peoples is peoples*, and people will always find a source of absolute authority to justify the preferences and actions they were going to do anyway, deities or no deities. Figuring that an absence of gods equals an absence of holy wars is as mistaken as believing that an absence of guns equals an absence of murders.

[* - Is no buildings. Is no tomatoes. Is peoples.]

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More from the stats tab

It's been over a year now, but I still regularly get the most Google referrals from the phrase "Elsie Pea".

Evidently, people really like reading about my shot at love with her.

Based on responses

It turns out there's more interest in shooting RVs with 2 bore muzzleloading rifles than I'd anticipated.

It seems clear that Lovecraft Action Shooting needs a blackpowder variant. But what do you call it? Colonial Cthulhu? The Boston Byakhee Party? The Battles of Lexington and Fhtagncord?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Most entertaining search strings

Strings that led people here:

carrying gun paranoid
"smoking section" tolerance
kabuli palow
cock cowboy

And of course:
efficient german sex

Friday, March 18, 2011

What caliber for Byakhee?

Matt Caron points out that I've missed an obvious opportunity with my Lovecraft Action Shooting post: the obligatory choose-your-weapons post, a favorite firearms-enthusiast game in itself.

So remember your rules:

- One handgun of .32 caliber or larger, which was available in 1937 or is a close copy of same.

- One shotgun of 20 gauge or larger, of the same period.

- One additional period firearm of any type (excepting shotguns), with which you'll be putting at least 10,000 joules of energy into a shoggoth analog.

Me, I'll take a Colt 1903 and a Winchester Model 12 for the first two stages. They were dirt-common workhorse guns of the era, but still have loads of the elegance of prewar design to my eye.

The third stage, though... In real life, I'd most likely buy a Springfield and love it. In Imagination Land, though, it would have to be a handmade double rifle. I've always wanted a shoggoth gun to hang over the mantel.

So how about you? Leave your choices in the comments.

Six Degrees of Queen Victoria

All the cool kids are playing Six Degrees of Queen Victoria on Wikipedia. It's entertaining enough played straight:

From Shoggoth:
1: Charles Stross
2: UK
3: Victorian era
4: Victoria of the United Kingdom

But honestly, I immediately fell into the "just get to England" rut, and found that gaming the system is more fun. Using the "what links here" tool, you can thread very bizarre paths through the tree:

Starting at Dominatrix:
1: Sturmpanzerwagen Oberschlesien
2: Mark IX tank
3: Brent Reservoir
4: Arthur Markham (cyclist)
5: Supreme Court of Judicature Act 1873
6: Victoria of the United Kingdom

Bullets over Arkham

It's no secret that there's a lot of overlap on the geek/gunnie venn diagram. So it shouldn't be a surprise that gun enthusiasts really like nerdy shooting sports that give them an excuse to dress up in costume and reenact the past. There's cowboy action shooting, obviously, but there are also the Zoot Shooters for noire-ey-er geeks, and even tongue in cheek proposals for pirate action shooting and steampunk action shooting. It's obvious, really: I can have a Renaissance fair where I get to shoot stuff? Awesome.

These are great games, and I wish all their devotees well. But you know what's missing.

Lovecraft action shooting.


Each competitor selects a Prohibition-era investigator persona and alias. The high-society flapper who once attended an unconventional party thrown by the Arkham Astronomical Association; the mousy student who started reseaching the wrong cuneiform tablets for her archaeology class; the dock worker who started taking too much interest in what he saw washing out of the city's stormdrains; the police detective who refused to end the missing person investigation when it got too close to that esoteric businessmen's club.

Weapons are restricted to firearms that were available in 1937 or earlier, and close reproductions of same. This was the year H.P. Lovecraft died, which seems like a handy cutoff, and it allows the Smith & Wesson model 27 and Browning Hi-Power to squeak by. Stage one requires a period-appropriate handgun of .32 caliber or greater. Stage two requires a period-appropriate shotgun of 20 gauge or larger. Stage three can use any period-appropriate firearm (excluding shotguns), but has a power requirement: the investigator must put 10,000 joules of energy into the target. This can be from both barrels of a .470 Nitro Express double rifle, four shots from a Springfield m1903, two and a half magazines from a 1911 pistol, or even a twenty-round burst from a Thompson. If an investigator feels like reloading his Colt Pocket Hammerless nine times, that's also acceptable, though it may hurt his time.

Stage One: At the signal, the investigator must draw his handgun from a holster, put one round each into the kill zones of four cultist targets, and put down his handgun.

Stage Two: The investigator must preset his shotgun on a provided surface. At the signal, he must pick up his shotgun, put two rounds each into the kill zones of two targets representing Mi-Go, and put down his shotgun.

Stage Three: The investigator must holster or preset his firearm on a provided surface. At the signal, he must draw or pick up his firearm, put 10,000 joules worth of projectiles into an old RV representing a shoggoth*, put down his firearm, and complete a 100-meter dash.

At the end of competition, the investigator with the slowest dash is eliminated regardless of prior performance.

[* - Alternately, 35,000 pounds of ballistics gel.**]
[** - The most fun part of this post was estimating the volume of a shoggoth. My geometry teacher should have used that to answer the inevitable "how does this apply to real life" questions.]

Transatlantic rivalry

I generally try not to initiate critical discussions about our British cousins, because, frankly, the way my neighbor runs his house is none of my business. I have some serious objections to British gun laws and free speech laws, for example, but you know what? The British people didn't ask my opinion, and they don't need my approval. If their policies work for them, mazel tov. If they don't, then it's their problem to fix, and self righteous chiding from an American is hardly going to help.

But sometimes you need to make exceptions for a particularly egregious travesty:

From General interwebs

The William and Catherine commemorative five-pound coin is by far the ugliest design I've ever seen come out of a first-world mint. It makes current US Mint engravers look good, and that's a hell of a trick. Come on, UK! You're better than this! This abomination is on the same damned coin as a beautiful, classical profile of Queen Elizabeth, ferchrissakes. Most of your other circulating commemorative coins and proof commemoratives are adequate to outstanding, and again put US designs to shame. And even when you want to get all cute and contemporary, you can still do it with class and proficiency.

So then why, for an occasion with so much cultural weight, does it look like you took one of Aunt Eunice's Christmas photos to the all-night Your Face on a Coin booth at the boardwalk?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mein Irisch Kind, wo weilest du?

Ahh, Saint Patrick's Day.

On which I celebrate half of my heritage with beer and a Shamrock Shake.

Ahh, America.

[Note to self: before next St. Paddy's, pick up a decent shillelagh.]

Vast Right-Wing Conspirisah

It turns out Danielle and I can squeak by budgeting to attend the NRA annual meeting in Pittsburgh.

The ticketed events were a bit too rich for our blood. It'll hurt to miss out on speeches by Mike Huckabee and Ronald Reagan's son*, and I'm sure we'll be kicking ourselves all year for missing out on the NRA Annual Prayer Breakfast, but we'll take solace in the quarter of a million square feet of exhibitor space.

I trust this will add nicely to my regressive privileged homophobic racist hater-of-the-middle-class cred.

[* - At the--ugh--"NRA's Celebration of American Values Freedom Experience". Guys, come the hell on. I'm completely on your side, and this is making me roll my eyes.]

Man Discovers World's Greatest Cat Toy

Live crickets.

Discovery unseats laser pointer.

Women's Work

Phillip Torrone at the Make Blog puts this month's cover of Wired in its cultural context:

From General interwebs

I know which cover I think is sexiest.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dammit, Jim...

So. For the first time since his election, President Obama has thrown a bone to the gun control "movement". A meager, meager bone.

Every large political faction has its little clutches of extremists who are disconnected from the mainstream, and standard policy is to ignore them most of the time and send the occasional "thinking of you" card without actually giving them anything controversial. So as the President's administration founders, it probably feels like a good idea to say a few noncommital words in a minor regional newspaper during a news cycle absorbed by the Japanese tsunami, in hopes that it'll squeeze a few votes out of the crazy uncle at the family reunion who won't stop ranting about how many thousands of infants a second are murdered "by guns".

Taken seriously, this editorial would say only two things:

First, that the President has no understanding of crime and violence in this country, but thinks he can fix it if people would just stop getting in his way. At this point, we have enough real-world evidence to know conclusively that talking about preventing murders through gun control is about as serious and reasonable as talking about decreasing teen pregnancy through abstinence education.

Second, that the President has nothing but disdain for anybody who might value his own rights more than making concessions to this idiotic and outdated culture-war skirmish. Anybody who opposes more useless gun control is just one of those dumb, cousin-humping redneck extremist who "[thinks] the word 'commonsense' [is] a code word for 'confiscation'". If only we could shut out the people who oppose gun control, maybe we could finally have a meaningful conversation about gun control!

But it shouldn't be taken seriously. In truth, this editorial is a largely substanceless exercise in cultural signalling, as is appropriate for a thinking-of-you card to a fringe group whose agenda won't sell to the mainstream American public. The President opaquely and vaguely implies that he may possibly, under some conditions and to some unstated extent, support measures intended to bring more uniform reporting of mental-health prohibitions to the national background-check system (a benign policy that the NRA has routinely supported) and to "close the gun-show loophole", which is flatly unacceptable as presently advocated, and which gun-rights advocates will fight with everything we have.

This nonspeak could gain the President a couple hundred votes from the handful of remaining American gun control advocates who can't put down their favorite childhood toy, or gain him broad opposition from millions of otherwise uncommitted Americans who don't like government touching their guns. It all depends on whether he now pushes for serious infringements of the right; pushes for trivial, uncontroversial tweaks to the existing system; or, most likely, pushes for nothing. This editorial, I'm nearly certain, is meant exclusively to keep the crazy uncle dreaming of significant infringements long enough to vote in the next election.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Horror at Red Hook in a nutshell

Foreigners will eat your babies.
The End.

At the mountains of Madness in a nutshell:

Architecture. Architecture. Architecture.
Giant albino penguins.
The end.

Very Naughty Language herein

I believe I've solved profanity.

At least, I've discovered a formula for inventing nonce-fuckyous that keeps me entertained while yelling at New jersey drivers, and prevents my repertoire from getting stale.

First, choose any one-syllable profanity. The short ones tend to be punchiest and most visceral anyway.

Then take any mundane single-word trochee--a two-syllable word with a stressed first syllable and unstressed second syllable--whose first syllable shares a vowel sound with the profanity.

Et voila! You have a metrically ideal nonsense phrase that people will involuntarily try to picture, disgusting them, delighting you (assuming you're as big a child as I am), and getting you thrown out of restaurants.

Turd burglar.
Ass badger.
Shit brisket.
Fuck nugget.
Twat nozzle.

"Goddamn asshole!" may have long since lost its punch, but I guarantee "son of a cunt smuggler!" will have, if nothing else, the shine of novelty.

The system hasn't failed me yet.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oh, Henry

Per Fearsclave's request, I give you my first rifle, the Henry lever-action or, as I like to call it, my Bat Masterson Goes Squirrelin' rifle:

From Firearms

With single-action Ruger* and Morgan dollar. For scale.

I'd made a New Years resolution to gain basic proficiency with a rifle, and this seemed like as good an iron to start with as any. The Henry isn't a high-end bankbreaker, but it feels like quality. (You owners of plastic-and-stainless guns can keep your "corrosion resistance" and "reliability in adverse conditions" and "significantly decreased manufacturing costs". I'll oil my gun daily, fret about getting it wet, sacrifice accuracy when humidity warps the stock, and like it.) The lever action is nice and smooth, and the gun is much more accurate than I am.

Speaking of which. The sights.

Never one to let the practical get in the way of the superficial**, I rejected the less expensive round-barreled Henry with the modern, click-adjustable sights, choosing to pay more for a much less convenient arrangement. This rifle uses an old-fashioned sight that's adjustable for elevation by moving a stepped wedge under it, and adjustable for windage by loosening a screw and thwapping it with a hammer.

From Firearms

I'm hoping to get it properly sighted in on the next range trip in a few days. Kentucky windage gets old really fast. You can also just see a scope mount on top of the reciever, which is a nice touch. It's a handy thing to have, but is subtle enough not to ruin the rifle's old timeyness. The front sight on the "more practical" version was a simple and effective plastic post in a protective tube of sheet metal. The front sight on this version is a brass bead on a little dovetailed pedestal. There was really never any contest.

From Firearms

The loading process is a bit fiddly. There's no loading gate, like I'd expect from a centerfire levergun. Instead, you turn a little nut at the front of the magazine, withdraw a brass magazine rod until it clears a little cartridge-shaped cutout, and drop in cartridges until the magazine is full. Push the rod back in, turn the nut, and you're ready to shoot. This fiddliness is fine for bunnies and targets, but would be an issue if you're planning on using it to pick off slow undead (robust tradition of anti-zombie leverguns notwithstanding). The long tube holds 15 rounds of .22lr; I haven't tried loading it with .22 shorts yet.

From Firearms

The "safety" is in fact a half-cock notch on the hammer. After chambering a round, you hold the hammer, press the trigger, and lower the hammer until it catches, almost all the way down. I wouldn't say I'm thrilled about pulling the trigger on a loaded gun to make it safe, but it does give the rifle a very simple and uncluttered design without any superfluous buttons and switches.

From Firearms

All in all, I'm very pleased. This is a substantial rifle with a heft to it, making the little .22 rounds basically recoilless. It feels good in my hands, and operating the lever action after each shot makes it hard not to feel like a Campbellian cowboy. It makes me want to roam the high plains on my steed, drifting from dust-choked town to dust-choked town, the scourge of cattle-rustlin' gangs of squirrels and cans across the West.

If I don't learn to shoot reasonably well with this, it won't be the gun's fault. The current plan is to get to where I'm comfortably proficient with this rifle, then move up to a pistol-caliber centerfire levergun that I can shoot ot our indoor range (most likely in .357/.38). After that, I'm probably not adding anything more to the battery until we have a house. Then I can start thinking about making room in the budget for a proper rifle and membership at an outdoor range.


Oh, and did I mention Henry rifles are made in Bayonne, New Jersey? How can you not love a good rifle made in Jersey? It's like an abused rescue dog that won't leave your side.

[* - One political note I'll bury down here--these two old-fashioned guns are about as inoffensive as you can get: the Ruger is a slow-firing, slow-reloading revolver, and the Henry is a manually operated rimfire repeater suitable for bunnies at best. both are mainly of interest to recreational shooters and people who like paying extra for obsolete technology. And the Brady Campaign, which insists it doesn't advocate gun bans, has supported bans on both of these in the last few years. They supported DC and Chicago's bans on all handguns, and they support Carolyn McCarthy's proposed ban on all magazines that can hold more than ten rounds, criminalizing the Henry, whose fixed tube magazine can load 15. "Common sense restrictions" indeed.]

[** - If you value the practical above the superficial, neither Henry will offer you much. A plastic stocked 10/22 is faster shooting, faster loading, and cheaper to boot.]

My hobby:

Reading four-year-old investment analyses attacking gold bugs:

Gold flunked. Gold failed. Gold fizzled Wednesday. It closed at $680.30 an ounce, down on the day and now, for the first time since 2001 if my records are correct, it is down for the year.

On May 9, 2006, gold closed at $699.40. That means gold is down $19.10 on the year, or 2.7 percent. A deposit at the bank beat gold. The stock market beat gold. A little old lady on roller skates beat gold.

All I hear is silence. Is the gold bug community so self-assured that they can ignore this, or does silence mean a turn is coming in the trend? I have read that financial investors are so complacent that they are not taking sufficient account of the risks they are taking. Is this now true of gold investors also?

Today, of course, gold is above $1400 an ounce.

Don't get me wrong; I think it's a terrible idea to buy gold expecting to make money on it. But then, that's what conventional investment analysts have been saying since 2001, when an ounce of gold was around $250.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Peace through guerrilla design

Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell is collaborating on a project to demonstrate vividly just how asinine the proposed ban on "high capacity" magazines* is.

A YouTube video showing that there's no meaningful speed difference between a 30-round mag and three 10-rounders? An analysis of the utter lack of public safety benefit from the 1994-2004 magazine ban? A visual representation of the tens of millions of untraceable full-capacity mags currently in circulation? Nope.

He and a friend are building a design for a 30-round magazine that anybody can feed into a consumer-grade 3D printer..

I will publish the design here, because I want it to spread far and wide. I’d like to see Paul Helmke try to argue we need to ban CAD drawings too, or restrict 3D printing technology. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. We’re going to do our best to prove that.

It's pretty dumb when people get worked up trying to ban a simple device that can be made in any machine shop. It's dumber still when they try to prevent the manufacture of drugs you can synthesize from cough medicine. Restrictions on knives, which any human can make with a piece of scrap metal and a patch of concrete, are stupid beyond comment.

Is there any way to pretend the proposed magazine ban has a public safety benefit when anybody with a $1200 printer can mass produce them? And that's right now; in a few years, these printers will be cheaper and better. With some of the nascent metal printing technologies being developed out there, it may only be a decade before there are consumer printers that can make most of a gun from scratch.

Once that happens, you'll be able to tell a lot about your government from their response. Do they act like grown-ups and acknowledge that prohibition is pointless? Or do they start regulating the possession and transmission of CAD files and demanding lockouts, spying software, and "fingerprinting" technology in consumer printing equipment?

[* - Or, as the increasingly desperate anti-gun lobby has been trying in vain to brand them, "assault clips", or, I shit you not, "big bullet blasting boxes". Evidently the only talent they can still afford to hire is retired silver age comics writers.]

Half a denari for my bloody life story?

Damn. Silver broke 36 bucks an ounce.

Mmm... Tofu...

The Mindful Carnivore writes:

Venison, a forester friend tells me, is the best way he knows to eat trees. He points out that whitetails do a dandy job of converting cellulose into protein.

When Cath and I sit down to a bowl of venison stew, we are eating more than potato, carrot, and deer. We are also eating maple seedlings and cedar twigs. We are eating clover from a nearby meadow and corn from the edge of a farm field. We might even be eating hosta leaves and daylily buds from our own flower gardens.
If we lived where soy crops were common, they and we would be eating many more soybeans. (Given deer’s fondness for soy, I think it’s fair to consider Illinois venison a highly metabolized form of tofu.)

The rest is an "I used to be a vegan until I learned how many animals are killed running a farm" story--a surprisingly common genre.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Continuing the theme of state governments symbolically standing up to the feds, the Tenth Amendment Center reports on the latest anti-TSA bills proposed in-- ...New Jersey?!

S2509: "Specifies that certain images generated by body scans violate State statutes prohibiting invasion of privacy, pornography, and endangerment of child welfare under certain circumstances."

S2510: "Makes certain body searches third degree crime of sexual assault under certain circumstances."

S2511: "Prohibits use of body imaging scanners to screen passengers and airline crew members."

There must be some mistake. New Jersey is, in the columnist's words, probably "DC’s most willing crony state", and is so brownnosingly devoted to the Democratic party that it'd lavish fawning praise on a No Baby Left Unbarbecued bill, provided there was a blue name in the sponsor field. If a Democratic President declared himself Grand High God King Eternal, this state would ask if, given the realities of our budget, gilt bronze statues would be an acceptable substitute for solid gold.

Occam's razor demands we assume that reporting on these bills is actually one small part of a grand behavioral experiment by bodiless fifth-dimensional intelligences intent on infiltrating our global computer network that they might feed on the fruits of our abstract memescape. It's a far simpler explanation than the contortions needed to even begin imagining New Jersey's government could seriously consider taking issue with the policies of a Democratic administration.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Awesome thing for today

Wanna see something awesome?

From General interwebs

That right may be the oldest representation of Jesus in existence, showing him healing the paralytic. Other ancient art may represent Jesus, but it's impossible to tell because a consistent iconography hadn't emerged yet. From context, this one portrays Jesus without a doubt. It was found at the Church at Dura-Europos, "the Pompeii of the desert", a Greco-Roman city in Syria that was abandoned after a Sassanid siege in the third century, never rebuilt, and covered by the drifting sand until its rediscovery in the 1920s.

While reading about Dura's modern excavation, I learned that archaeologists from Yale University had also uncovered a mostly intact and extensively illustrated Mithraeum, which they'd carefully dismantled, shipped back home, and... rebuilt... on display... in the University art gallery. In Connecticut.

Allow me to reproduce my email to mah wimmins, sent moments after reading that paragraph:

subject: The Yale University Art Gallery



An actual freakin' Mithraeum, less than three hours from my home. Holy fuckin' shit, dude.

Unfortunately, it turns out that since this book was written, the Mithraeum has been taken off display and packed into storage. Evidently the "curator" thought it was more "important" to protect the frescoes from "irreversible damage" due to "exposure to light" than for me to see a goddamn Mithraeum in person. Jerkface.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Up to four

Wyoming just became the fourth state to pass Constitutional carry, removing the requirement that citizens obtain a permit to exercise their fundamental right to bear arms.

Similar bills are pending in states including Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Utah.

Back in the 80s, when the 20th century fad for bans on carrying guns started to lose its novelty, a lot of people (inside and outside the gun rights community) were uneasy about the trend toward shall-issue permits. Today it's completely uncontroversial outside a dwindling handful of extreme anti-gun enclaves. There's a good chance we're seeing the beginning of the same trend in permitless carry.

At the beginning of the 20th century, you could carry a handgun almost anywhere in the country, and nobody had ever heard of a carry permit. The subsequent experiments with gun control as a means of making society safer have failed utterly, and it's time to put them out to pasture.

M'chael fhtagn

I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.

I've been reading a lot of Lovecraft lately, which would explain it if the dreams were about arcane pelagic vistas of manifold weed-choked porticoes, but no such luck. It's just the standard issue first-day-of-college-and-don't-know-what-my-classes-are fare, peppered with some charming novelties about being unable to find an unawful job, and being on the run from the law. Give me the Deep Ones and Shoggoths, man.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

More like this please

Extra! Extra! Read all abaaahhht it!

New Hampshire proposes a bill that would remove protection from government employees who touch people's breasts or genitalia, or use a device to view same through their clothes, without probable cause to conduct a search.

TSA agents conducting intrusive and humiliating random searches could be convicted of sexual assault, and their names placed on the sex offenders list.

Far be it from me to defend the sex offenders registry, but there's a wonderful schadenfreude to seeing asshole statists hoist by their own asshole statism.