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No New Ideas

whatyear

I’m thoroughly convinced.  Hollywood has officially run out of ideas.

We were watching commercial TV last night.  The big promo was the announcement of the premiere of the new TV show Prison Break!  (Hmmm?  Wasn’t there a show with a similar title a few years back?  Hey look! – they have the same cast!)

Television has a plethora of repeats or re-writes.  Time After Time, based on the 70’s film with the same name, is now a series.  (BTW – there are at least another THREE time-travel-themed TV shows.  Stop looking at each other’s papers!)

I realize there are only so many formats, and popular themes make money.  And, to be honest, I enjoy some of the retreads.

But, how many?

Sherlock Holmes, Elementary, Star Trek Generation ∞, C.H.I.P.s, Going in Style, ….

When did sequels and re-writes champion original ideas and thoughts?  (not to mention some re-makes are abysmal!  The Man From UNCLE?)

Get some original ideas, people!

When Did THIS Become The Norm?

I don’t drive much, anymore.  Between having a beater car (when my roomie’s car isn’t available – thanks J.!), the cost of maintenance (which I can’t afford) and gas, and the whack-jobs on the road…

Speaking of whack-jobs! (See above)

I understand you don’t want to climb into the back seat of the car in front of you, both for safety reasons and just general courtesy.

BUT IT SEEMS 6 OUT OF 10 CARS KEEP A DISTANCE AT A STOP LIGHT OF GREATER THAN ONE CAR LENGTH!  SOMETIMES MORE THAN TWO!!

Have so many been rear-ended they are paranoid?

It’s just an annoyance if there are only two cars stopped at an intersection.  But if there are 12 cars in three lanes, and 60% of them are ‘keeping their distance’ of more than a car length, it causes back-ups!  Sometimes back to the previous stop light!

And I’ve NEVER seen anyone getting a citation for being stopped too far back – if there even is such a thing?

Personally, I keep a safe distance, usually enough to see the license plate in front of me.  A reasonable distance.

This phenomena seems to have developed over the past ten years.

What happened to cause this?

Bueller?  Bueller?

 

No Good Deed…

You know the rest!

With both my roommate and I having infirmities and physical limitations (along with no longer being 22!) sometimes things get procrastinated about, or just ignored.

One of those things is our back ‘yard’.

Living in a small townhouse, the yard isn’t particularly large, but my roomie, with her love for the flora, has numerous plants, both potted and in the ground, which sometimes require tending.

And between recent other adventures and doctor’s appointments, the yard has not seen proper maintenance.

And a number of ‘volunteer’ plants have been added to the mix by Mother Nature.  Like lantana, which has taken over to the extent we cannot reach the hose bib or electric box!

Now, there is a time constraint, as her first shoulder surgery is scheduled for March 21.  And I suspect nurse will be added to the title chief cook and bottle washer for me.  And, with her right arm immobilized for a minimum of six weeks, her physical abilities will be severely limited.

So, Thursday last, I carved out some time in the morning to take a stab at the yard.  Because it was necessary. (It didn’t help a number of massive fronts were coming in from California starting Friday!)

My target:

wp-1487515826737.jpg

(the white structure on the right is a non-functional Jacuzzi – now a plant stand)

I popped a significant pain pill, waited for it to kick in and headed out.  Wishing in all seriousness I had a machete ala Indiana Jones.

I had a rake, a shovel, and a weed-eater.

The plan was to work until it was done – no excuses!  Then, the pain pill wore off.  At about two hours.  When not involved in manual labor, they last four or more!

So much for THAT idea.

BUT, I cleaned up 75-80% of the yard, obtained access to the bib and the utility box (getting stabbed byagave-americana the century plant at least twice!), and trimmed back the palm tree by the back gate as to only get attacked by one palm frond, in lieu of three.

With palms like these, who needs anemones? – Thelonious Monk (from the liner notes for the Dave Brubeck ‘Take Five’ album)

More obviously needs to be done.  But that’s for another day.

And Friday and Saturday I paid for my good deed…

My arthritis kicked in big time, as did muscle pain, general tiredness and malaise.

And my doc wants me to limit use of NSAIDS, having over-used them for the past twenty years or more.

SIGH.

More Wisdom From The Queen

…of SNARK! (Tamara, of course!)

Lessons from ECQC…(in part)

ECQC changed my life.

For instance, since ECQC I’ve finally started practicing something I’d long preached and began carrying a can of Fox Labs OC around with me. It’s become more important to me to have a solid middle ground option between “harsh language” and “bust a cap in someone’s ass”.

It’s made me think a lot more about deescalation, how persistence does not automatically equal threat, that presenting a weapon (or even revealing its presence) without the space or time to employ it correctly can cause a lot more problems than it solves. Letting a guy who’s within a dozen feet of you know you have a gun doesn’t necessarily deter him; it just lets him know you have a gun. It’s up to him whether that’s a deterrent or not.

Physical fitness has become more important to me, too. All tangled up under someone who’s beating your ass and about to pull your gun out and shoot you with it isn’t the time to find out you’re completely out of breath, too.

That gets me out the door every morning, and I’d about ready to look into adding some simple calisthenics to what’s already become a routine mile walk. Baby steps, but I’m already healthier now than I’ve been in years.

I’m OLD.  Well, older than Tam.  Disabled.  Infirmed.  Overweight.  Have chronic pain issues.

With regard to PT (physical training), well, it just doesn’t happen.  I am truly an armchair adventurer (with apologies to LTC Brown)

But reading of Tam’s adventures and commitment has my motor running. (if nothing else).  I know, based on my age and infirmities that I will not ever have the physique of a Navy Seal.

But I need to do something.

I just signed up for a Medicare Advantage Plan.  Part of the coverage is I can go to any gym and work out!  (under a program called Silver Sneakers).  It’s about time I do SOMETHING.

We’ll see whether or not I’m motivated to do so…

Not A Gunsmith, Part Tres’

In our last episode…

I had gone shooting with friends, and marveled at the significantly lighter trigger of my friend’s Smith & Wesson .38 snubbie.

Having carried my electroless nickel S&W 442 for going on 22 years, with the stock 14 pound trigger(!), I thought it might be time for improvement.

Duh.

SO, I order a Wilson Combat spring kit through Brownell’s (for a whopping $9) and excitedly awaited it’s arrival so I could swap out the springs and share in the love… *:x lovestruck

I received it in about four days, found my brand X gunsmithing screwdriver, and went to remove the S&W sideplate.  Two screws in, I discovered that screw #3 was NOT loosening!  Not too much of a surprise, as the cheap screwdriver shaft was turning in the handle (!), and I had never had the sideplate off.  Ever.

I own a second (better quality) gunsmithing screwdriver.  However it remains beneath a pile of unpacked boxes.  And between being disabled, having back problems (and just not wanting to) there it remained.

Suggestions were made for screw-loosening oils, but without a decent tool, it wasn’t going to happen…

My roommate said she had a quality gunsmithing screwdriver, and offered it for my use.  I jumped at the chance.  But Life got in the way.  For almost two months.  Sigh.

FINALLY, I had the tool and the time.  And access to the You Tube videos regarding J-Frame Smith smithing.  And I began the task at hand.

That stubborn screw continued to be stubborn – but not impossible.  🙂

The sideplate was finally removed, and with some minor difficulty ( I repeat, I am NOT a gunsmith), the mainspring has been replaced!!

And the trigger pull went from fourteen pounds to a whopping EIGHT!

I’ve not yet replaced the trigger return spring (Wilson give me three from which to choose!) and the instructional videos have instruction regarding stoning certain surfaces to smooth them up.  I’m not certain I’m up for that.  As Inspector Harry Callahan said, “Man’s got to know his limitations.”

FTC – I bought all the screwdriver sets (except my roommate’s), the spring replacement kit and the revolver.  Go and buy your own!

a stock photo. My piece has a little corrosion damage on the sideplate. Unattractive!

a stock photo. My piece has a little corrosion damage on the sideplate. (that whole nasty sweat issue.)
Unattractive!

More Spam!

I don’t check my weblog spam file very often.  (or my email account spam, truth-be-told!)

If I somehow missed a legitimate comment by you, my apologies.

The reason(s) I don’t check:  here is a sampling from the current spam listed:

  • porn videos
  • naked free webcam girls
  • If you’re like most of my clients, you want to shine more attention on your Social Media presence.If that’s the case, let me take your Social Media Marketing over the TOP!Our Promotion Packages:
  • viagra pills for sale in canada/Online casino & Gambling Industry Numbers Revealed
  • Benefits additionally must be redistributed and workers want
    to pay attention to the tax and retirement
    consequences to getting an unplanned money infusion, it is not really
    a bonus.

Yeah, none of that interests me.  Especially when the social media spam is a comment on a post from years ago regarding a .44 Special revolver.

Besides, I’m nowhere near Canada!

😛

From The Desk Of YOUR NAME HERE

When I was a kid, and moving into my teen years, I did magic as a hobby (and later, semi-professionally).  As recounted in these pages.  (Magic, The Magic Club)

And, pre-Internet, there were mail-order catalogs with all manner of tricks and novelties available from across the nation.  Even the world.  And I would spend my meager allowance on as much as I could afford.

One magic and novelty company (Elbee Magic Co.) had a huge catalog, and included among the trick card decks and whoopee cushions were things like vinyl record albums, and promotional posters.  Showing folks like The Beatles, live at the London Palladium featuring YOUR NAME HERE!

How cool was that?  I could get a wall poster or even a vinyl record printed as though I were co-starring with The Beatles!  Featuring Guffaw!

I never did, though.  I was more interested in getting the playing cards.

And, time passed, and the magic company eventually went out-of-business.  And I thought, so much for THAT idea…

Here it is 2016.  The Internet is in full force, and I can (and do) send emails to politicians I hope listen to me and vote accordingly.

Yeah, right…

Sometimes, I receive a response.  Like those from Senator McCain’s office a month or two after the fact!

My congressperson is Kyrsten Sinema (D).  Aside from sometimes supporting the troops (she reportedly comes from a military family), she mostly is a big government liberal.  A (D) after her name.  Quelle surprise. 

But being significantly younger than McCain, I had expectations she would be more tech-savvy.  At least it generally only takes her a few days to a week to respond to emails I send.  Even though in matters of individual liberty we rarely agree.  Gun control, anyone?

Here is the last (form) letter I received from her (in part).  In fact, I received TWO copies.  So much for tech-savvy…

July 29, 2016

Mr. Guffaw
Wrong Street Address
Flotsam’s Mistake, AZ XXXXX-XXXX

Dear Mr. Guffaw,

Thank you for contacting me about TOPIC. I always appreciate hearing from Arizonans about issues facing our state and country. It is important that we have conversations about topics that are important to you and your family, and I hope you will continue to reach out to me to share your perspectives and suggestions.

Thank you for contacting me about TOPIC?!  Seriously?

Considering this was all electronic, one would think at least the address would be correct?

Maybe I’ll send the next one from YOUR NAME HERE.

It would be fun getting a letter addressed to YOUR NAME HERE, regarding TOPIC!

😛

(apologies to G. Carlin for using his terrific fictional town name Flotsam’s Mistake, in lieu of the real town.)

The Most Effective – Says Peter

Peter (again) brings the Truth!

“What’s the single most effective thing you can do to improve your chances in a gunfight?”

That question was put to me by a reader this weekend.  He asked, “There are so many different opinions out there for a defensive weapon:  this or that caliber, or cartridge, or firearm, or technique, or whatever.  Is there any one thing I should look to master before worrying about the others?  Is there any single element that can make the difference between life and death, if I ever need it the hard way?”Why, yes.  Yes, there is.  It’s basic marksmanship.

  • No matter what super-dooper, felon-stopper, magnum-blaster ammunition you carry, unless you can put it into an attacker’s vital zones and shut him down, he’s going to hurt or kill you or your loved ones.
  • No matter what plastic-fantastic, space-cowboy-zapper death-dealing firearm you’re toting, unless you can bring its whiz-bang features to bear against an enemy, it won’t do you any good (except to make you look technologically sexy, and I doubt your corpse or your surviving family members [if any] will care about that).
  • No matter how gung-ho, super-fit, extreme-martial-artist your physical capabilities may be;  no matter whether you can sprint a hundred meters in Olympic-record time while simultaneously dodging speeding bullets;  no matter whether you can bench-press three hundred pounds while operating a machine-gun with your toes;  unless you can put down-aimed, effective fire on your opponent, his return fire is going to turn your superhero body into a colander.

A couple of years ago I wrote an article titled ‘.22LR as a defensive round‘.  It remains one of my most popular and most-searched articles on the subject of defensive shooting.  In it I outlined a very low-cost and extremely effective training technique that anyone can apply to almost any weapon.  If you read that article, and follow the training it advises, I guarantee that your combat effectiveness will be multiplied several times over, even if you do nothing else to improve your chances.  Weapon and ammunition selection can follow, and of course you’ll need to practice to achieve similar results with a harder-kicking, less easily controlled firearm.  Nevertheless, the basic principle of getting effective rounds on target remains the key to successful self-defense.

Remember, too, that accuracy with a firearm is a perishable skill.  It’s not one you’ll retain unless you keep in training.  Start with basic ‘bullseye’ target shooting and/or competition, by all means, and progress through the training methods I outlined in my earlier article;  but don’t rest on your laurels once you achieve marksmanship nirvana.  You’ll have to stay in practice.  I reckon you should be shooting at least a hundred rounds a month with your BB handgun to do that;  and if you’ve upgraded to a suitable defensive weapon, plan on shooting 100-200 rounds every three months as an absolute minimum with it.  I prefer a practical minimum of 50-100 rounds every month, but I realize not everyone can afford that much time or that much ammunition.  That’s why ongoing practice with a BB gun is a very inexpensive, ultra-affordable and extremely important way to keep your skills current.  You can do that in your back yard, or in your garage, or even (using Airsoft guns) in your living-room without risking damage to your furniture or fittings.

Practice, practice, and more practice.  It’s indispensable – and it really does make a difference.  There’s a lot more to defensive shooting than just marksmanship, but in the absence of accuracy, none of it matters worth a damn.

Peter

Reading this, I was reminded of what I read regarding Marine training, long ago.  Basically, what was said was bullets hitting people was the desired result.
You can have the most inherently accurate, reliable machine.  In the best caliber.  BUT, if you cannot hit your target, all is for nought!
When was the last time you practiced?  Or even dry-fired?

_______________________________________________________

(And, now for something completely different – as promised)
I would ask all of you bloggers out there to at least make the effort to post a link to www.projectwelcomehometroops.org/#22kill

22 VETERANS COMMIT SUICIDE DAILY

Even ONE of these heroes making this choice is unacceptable! (Day #13 of 22)

Stupid America

(as seen in SHTFplan.com)

Depressing Survey Results Show How Extremely Stupid America Has Become

This article was originally published by Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse Blog.

Ten years ago, a major Hollywood film entitled “Idiocracy” was released, and it was an excellent metaphor for what would happen to America over the course of the next decade.  In the movie, an “average American” wakes up 500 years in the future only to discover that he is the most intelligent person by far in the “dumbed down” society that he suddenly finds himself in.  Sadly, I truly believe that if people of average intellect from the 1950s and 1960s were transported to 2016, they would likely be considered mental giants compared to the rest of us.  We have a country where criminals are being paid $1000 a month not to shoot people, and the highest paid public employee in more than half the states is a football coach.  Hardly anyone takes time to read a book anymore, and yet the average American spends 302 minutes a day watching television. 75 percent of our young adults cannot find Israel on a map of the Middle East, but they sure know how to find smut on the Internet.  It may be hard to believe, but there are more than 4 million adult websites on the Internet today, and they get more traffic than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

What in the world has happened to us?  How is it possible that we have become so stupid?  According to a brand new report that was recently released, almost 10 percent of our college graduates believe that Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court…

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni publishes occasional reports on what college students know.

Nearly 10 percent of the college graduates surveyed thought Judith Sheindlin, TV’s “Judge Judy,” is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Less than 20 percent of the college graduates knew the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation. More than a quarter of the college graduates did not know Franklin D. Roosevelt was president during World War II; one-third did not know he was the president who spearheaded the New Deal.

It can be tempting to laugh at numbers like these until you realize that survey after survey has come up with similar results.

Just consider what Newsweek found a few years ago…

When NEWSWEEK recently asked 1,000 U.S. citizens to take America’s official citizenship test, 29 percent couldn’t name the vice president. Seventy-three percent couldn’t correctly say why we fought the Cold War. Forty-four percent were unable to define the Bill of Rights. And 6 percent couldn’t even circle Independence Day on a calendar.

Even worse were the extremely depressing results of a study conducted a few years ago by Common Core…

*Only 43 percent of all U.S. high school students knew that the Civil War was fought some time between 1850 and 1900.

*More than a quarter of all U.S. high school students thought that Christopher Columbus made his famous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean after the year 1750.

*Approximately a third of all U.S. high school students did not know that the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

*Only 60 percent of all U.S. students knew that World War I was fought some time between 1900 and 1950.

Of course survey results can be skewed, and much hinges on how the questions are asked.

However, even studies that are scientifically conducted confirm how stupid America has become.  In fact, a report from the Educational Testing Service found that Americans are falling way behind much of the rest of the industrialized world.  The following comes from CBS News

Americans born after 1980 are lagging their peers in countries ranging from Australia to Estonia, according to a new report from researchers at the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The study looked at scores for literacy and numeracy from a test called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, which tested the abilities of people in 22 countries.

The results are sobering, with dire implications for America. It hints that students may be falling behind not only in their early educational years but at the college level. Even though more Americans between the ages of 20 to 34 are achieving higher levels of education, they’re still falling behind their cohorts in other countries. In Japan, Finland and the Netherlands, young adults with only a high school degree scored on par with American Millennials holding four-year college degrees, the report said.

Out of 22 countries that were part of the study, the Educational Testing Service found that Americans were dead last in tech proficiency, dead last in numeracy and only two countries performed worse than us when it came to literacy proficiency

Half of American Millennials score below the minimum standard of literacy proficiency. Only two countries scored worse by that measure: Italy (60 percent) and Spain (59 percent). The results were even worse for numeracy, with almost two-thirds of American Millennials failing to meet the minimum standard for understanding and working with numbers. That placed U.S. Millennials dead last for numeracy among the study’s 22 developed countries.

So why has this happened?

Why have we become such an extremely stupid nation?

Well, at least a portion of the blame must be directed at our system of education.  The following is an excerpt from an article written by reporter Mark Morford.  In this article, he shared how one of his friends which had served for a very long time as a high school teacher in Oakland, California was considering moving out of the country when he retired due to the relentless “dumb-ification of the American brain”

It’s gotten so bad that, as my friend nears retirement, he says he is very seriously considering moving out of the country so as to escape what he sees will be the surefire collapse of functioning American society in the next handful of years due to the absolutely irrefutable destruction, the shocking — and nearly hopeless — dumb-ification of the American brain. It is just that bad.

Now, you may think he’s merely a curmudgeon, a tired old teacher who stopped caring long ago. Not true. Teaching is his life. He says he loves his students, loves education and learning and watching young minds awaken. Problem is, he is seeing much less of it.

And of course things don’t get much better when it comes to our college students.  In a previous article, I shared some statistics from USA Today about the rapidly declining state of college education in the United States…

-“After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change.”

-“Students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago”

-“35% of students report spending five or fewer hours per week studying alone.”

-“50% said they never took a class in a typical semester where they wrote more than 20 pages”

-“32% never took a course in a typical semester where they read more than 40 pages per week.”

I spent eight years studying at some of the finest public universities in the country, and I can tell you from personal experience that even our most challenging college courses have been pathetically dumbed down.

And at our “less than finest” public universities, the level of education can be something of a bad joke.  In another previous article, I shared some examples of actual courses that have been taught at U.S. universities in recent years…

-“What If Harry Potter Is Real?

-“Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame

-“Philosophy And Star Trek

-“Learning From YouTube

-“How To Watch Television

Could you imagine getting actual college credit for a course entitled “What If Harry Potter Is Real?”

This is why many of our college graduates can barely put two sentences together.  They aren’t being challenged, and the quality of the education most of them are receiving is incredibly poor.

But even though they aren’t being challenged, students are taking longer to get through college than ever.  Federal statistics reveal that only 36 percent of all full-time students receive a bachelor’s degree within four years, and only 77 percent of all full-time students have earned a bachelor’s degree by the end of six years.

Of course our system of education is not entirely to blame.  The truth is that young Americans spend far more time consuming media than they do hitting the books, and what passes for “entertainment” these days is rapidly turning their brains to mush.

According to a report put out by Nielsen, this is how much time the average American spends consuming media on various devices each day…

Watching live television: 4 hours, 32 minutes

Watching time-shifted television: 30 minutes

Listening to the radio: 2 hours, 44 minutes

Using a smartphone: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Using Internet on a computer: 1 hour, 6 minutes

When you add it all up, the average American spends more than 10 hours a day plugged into some form of media.

And if you allow anyone to pump “programming” into your mind for 10 hours a day, it is going to have a dramatic impact.

In the end, I truly believe that we all greatly underestimate the influence that the mainstream media has on all of us.  We willingly plug into “the Matrix” for endless hours, but then somehow we still expect “to think for ourselves”.

There are very few of us that can say that we have not been exposed to thousands upon thousands of hours of conditioning.  And all of that garbage can make it very, very difficult to think clearly.

It is not because of a lack of input that we have become so stupid as a society.  The big problem is what we are putting into our minds.

If we continue to put garbage in, we are going to continue to get garbage out, and that is the cold, hard reality of the matter.

We have an election coming up.  And many of these folks vote.

I weep for our Nation.

 

h/t Doc in Yuma

Karmic Profiling

from Wirecutter

Federal Judge Susan Dlott wrote the book on racial profiling in 2002.

Last week, she ripped it into one million tiny pieces when three black people broke into her $8 million Cincinnati home and started beating her and her 79-year old husband.

“There’s three black men with guns at our house,” Dlott told a 911 operator after she escaped the home invasion and ran to her neighbor’s house one mile away.

And just in case the operator did not hear her the first time, Dlott said it again: “My husband and the dogs are still there. There are three black men with guns and masks at the house.”

That’s Racial Profiling 101: Identifying the criminals by race, as if that had something to do with it.
MORE HERE

Profiling.  Another of those politically correct terms like social justice.

I believe there’s a reasonableness factor.  If you (as an agent of law enforcement) are stopping folks going about their daily business because of their perceived ethnicity only – that’s profiling!

If you’re doing it because their daily business is criminal act – like burglary, armed robbery, drug dealing or smuggling, how they appear racially really doesn’t enter into it.

Unless you need to break radio traffic to broadcast a physical description of the suspect in flight.

Guys walking furtively in groups in a remote part of the desert within a few miles of the Mexican border who don’t appear to be hiking, legally hunting or just camping, and are Latino in appearance.  probably aren’t being stopped and questioned just because they appear Latino.

(Question – And why aren’t we actively patrolling the Canadian border, looking for Canucks who appear American and are taking pricier American jobs?  Inquiring minds want to know!) 

A controversial and popular Sheriff going to Hispanic communities and essentially rounding up folks wholesale, well that’s profiling and lazy policing!

Duh.

Another area where political correctness will kill us – or probably kill law enforcement trying to do their jobs.

I used to know a State law enforcement guy who worked in an inter-agency gang taskforce.  He knew his rational thinking had been skewed when every Latino he saw screamed armed robber to him, and every Black was a burglar.

So he walked away from that job.

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…