Monday, December 31, 2007

Anybody else have any experience...

...with Monarch ammunition?
I picked up a couple of boxes at Academy on Saturday to drive through my Ruger P89; I was looking for some cheap plinking fodder and was initially out for CCI Blazers but the local Academy didn't have any and they suggested the Monarch. No idea what the specs on it are, it was just 115-grain 9mm fmj, but it worked pretty well for what I was out for. But something kinda weird happened. My shooting partner for the day was behind the sights and she pulled the trigger on a round and...nothing. I thought it might have been a hangfire so I got the gun and waited, dropped the mag, racked the slide and out popped a spent case. My next thought was that it was a squib round, but the barrel was free of any obstruction. My guess is that there was just enough charge in the case to get the bullet out, because I know that I did not load an empty case into the gun...that would have been almost impossible to miss. But then I didn't even hear a muffled pop, and the slide did not cycle. Cue the Twilight Zone music...But in any event, the pistol ate the rest of it without a hitch. That was the first time I'd ever tried that ammo in any caliber. I'm guessing that dud round was just a fluke -- in the thousands of rounds of factory ammo I've driven downrange in all my calibers that was the first dud I've ever had --- but we'll see.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Would They Really Care?

So the other day, Robb over at Sharp As A Marble made a case that teh esteemed Perfesser *hawk* *spit* Alexander Tristan Riley was the person behind one "Guns Makes Us Free" blog, whose postings seemed to be a parody of what antis think gun owners are really like. Illiterate, vile racist rhetoric, I guess you could call it. David had a few words to say as well, as did 45superman , Thirdpower and Yuri Orlov. So, in short it would seem that, yet again, another anti has been revealed to be exactly what he accuses pro-liberty people of being; 45superman wrote a letter to CeasefirePA, of which teh esteemed Perfesser recently became a board member:

...This correspondence is instead intended to bring some civility and honor to a debate that would seem to be in danger of losing both.

It has come to my attention that Professor Alexander Tristan Riley has recently joined your board of directors

While no one would deny that Professor Riley is an outspoken, dedicated advocate of restrictive gun laws, I cannot help but question the wisdom of appointing such a divisive, hyper-partisan individual to such a position. As pointed out here, his "debating" technique would seem to consist largely of screaming insults at whomever has the temerity to disagree with him. He, in fact, recently had a blog, titled, charmingly enough, "Mike S. Adams is Vermin" (from which all the previous text has recently been removed, but the cached version of which can--for now, anyway--still be seen here) devoted almost exclusively to calling Dr. Mike Adams, and anyone who dares support him, stupid (and in rather over-the-top fashion), and referring to them as "vermin."

Still, perhaps you believe his combative style is what you need, and that, of course, is your decision to make.

I would now like to bring your attention to a particularly disgusting individual, who calls himself "NRAFOUREVER." As cataloged here, the comments he posted on YouTube are truly reprehensible. Similarly, particularly vile comments posted by someone calling himself "NRAFOUREVER" have been left on certain gun rights advocacy blogs (here, here, and here, for example). The IP address from which those comments were posted was also the source of other vile comments left anonymously on various other gun rights advocacy blogs--the "Anonymous" commenter here, for example.

Finally, "NRAFOUREVER" briefly administered what was apparently intended to be a parody of gun rights blogs, called "Guns Makes Us Free." That blog, after being up for only a brief time in early to mid-December, is now gone, although a screen capture of one page from it can be seen here.

The reason I mention "NRAFOUREVER" is that the IP address from which he posted traces back to Lewisburg, PA, home of Bucknell University, where Professor Riley teaches--in fact, my fellow bloggers and I received several visits from Bucknell University, following the same visitor pathways favored by "NRAFOUREVER."

Finally, both the "Guns Makes Us Free" blog and the "Mike S. Adams is Vermin" blog were taken down on the same day (which happened to be around the time it was becoming clear that there was a great deal of suspicion of a link between the two).

I realize that any claim that "NRAFOUREVER" is actually a pseudonym for Professor Riley would be based on nothing more than circumstantial evidence. Still, it seems apparent that if Professor Riley is not responsible for the disgusting vitriol posted by "NRAFOUREVER," then someone has gone to some trouble to make it appear that he is.

Either way, someone is engaging in egregious, loathsome conduct, that serves only to make truly toxic the already rancorous debate about gun legislation. Such behavior is harmful not only to Ceasefire PA, which I admit would not particularly bother me, but to everyone earnestly engaged in the debate.
Kurt, I'm sure you're reading and I find the restraint in your letter admirable, but I must ask -- would they really care that much when it's all said and done? It's long been established that these people have no shame and no honor, that they will resort to damned near anything to advance their agenda, from statistics twisting to out-and-out lies. Really, I can't help but think Alex Riley's personal opinions are of that much concern to them, considering the American gun owner is at the top of both of their respective lists of, shall we say, 'undesirables.' Hell, the entire gun control movement finds its roots in the very type of bigotry Alex Riley spews; only back then they wanted to keep a certain demographic down. Now it's the weaker of the entire species no matter what color they are. I guess that's the modern leftist's definition of egalitarianism.
(You know what's just ironic as hell?! As I type this, Miranda Lambert's "Gunpowder and Lead" is playing here. "...his fist is big, but my gun's bigger...he'll find out when I pull the trigger..." And yes, they'd disarm the song's protagonist too, I'm sure...for teh childrenses, you know...)
But I digress. All of the above, of course, is assuming that Riley's bigotry is exposed in the media, and considering what I've seen the anti-liberty slant of the major Pennsylvania media, I'm betting they're not going to do a damned thing with any of these revelations, because ultimately the media and groups share the same goal. I guess we'll see what happens, but I won't be holding my breath.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

good stuff, Maynard....

Now playing here: "...and I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time...and the Wichita lineman, is still on the line..."

Ooooohhhhh, YEAH! 9:55 pm: "Some fools never with the fire and you're gonna get's only love when you're loved in return..."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sometimes you just gotta ask, what the hell's wrong with people?...

...and this is one such time...

A grand jury will decide whether the accidental Christmas Eve shooting death of a 14-year-old boy should lead to charges against his older brother or other relatives.

Angel Garcia died Monday night after being shot in the head by a pistol held by his 18-year-old brother, Harris County sheriff's officers said.

The incident occurred about 9 p.m. as the brothers were visiting relatives in the 6100 block of Laramie, in northeast Harris County, said sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Field.

Investigators said the older teen told them he had found his father's pistol on top of a TV. The brother, who told officers he was not familiar with guns, said he pulled the trigger and the gun did not fire.

He then pulled back the pistol's slide, which loaded a live round into the chamber, and pulled the trigger again, wounding his brother, officers said.

Maybe it's just me, but I just can't fathom pointing a gun at anyone, especially if I didn't know it was loaded. I'll admit it's been a few years since I was a teenager, but even at 18 years old I just can't see myself actually screwing around with a gun like that. I didn't have that much to do with guns back then, but a semi-automatic pistol isn't that hard to figure out. Surely that man had to know that gun was loaded when he pointed it and pulled the trigger. I can see a toddler or a younger kid doing this, but 18 years old? What the hell? Try as I may, I just can't get my head wrapped around the possibility that someone could be so stupefyingly ignorant at that age. Both the adult who left the gun out and the one who killed his brother should be charged, and I for one would love to see one of the prosecution's attorneys ask him what the hell he was thinking when he was pointing that gun at his brother and had his finger on the trigger. Wonder how long it'll take Lisa Falkenberg to gin up a column saying we should all have sympathy for that poor, pooooor kid and push for ever tighter gun laws to prevent such traaaaagedies. For teh childrenses, you see...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Some Christmas Eve Snark

I always thought of guns and shooting as a much cheaper version of tinkering with cars, with some pretty obvious analogues...
bullet weight <--> size of car
muzzle velocity <--> car velocity
powder <--> fuel
muzzle energy <--> horsepower
With that in mind, I got a hoot out of this thread at The High Road, where someone was asking about Team Glock racing...

...the other drivers made fun of their "tupperware" car and ignore the fact that it's never failed to finish a race except for the occasional Kb (broken crankshaft) that's due to the mechanics upping the compression way past spec on reman parts...
...And because the cylinders aren't supported.

Merry Christmas, y'all. ;-)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Last Five Songs Played

Tonight's meme, courtesy of Shooter, with the tunes courtesy of KILT's Texas Roadhouse...

-- Pat Green, "Don't Break My Heart Again."
-- Ooooh! Radney Foster, "Ease Up On the Rain." LOVE this song! "...ease up on the rain, she could use some sunshine in her her past the pain, she needs a little bit of comfort, after all the hell that I have put her through....if it's all the same to you, could you ease up on the rain..." Just Radney and his guitar. "It's a little past midnight, but a long way past settin' things straight, and there's nothin' like a heartache, for keepin' you awake...Lord, I don't think she's expectin' the emptiness, that's comin' up with the dawn, when she figures out that I'm gone..."
--Honeybrowne, "Take Me Home (Country Roads)," a cover of the old John Denver song...
-- Lauren Alexander, "Christmas Doesn't Mean A Thing."
-- Kevin Fowler," I Ain't Drinkin' Anymore."

If you're readin' this, and you have a blog...TAG, you're it!

All They Have To Offer

Looks like I got a visit earlier this morning, either from teh esteemed Alexander T. Riley *hawk* *spit* or one of his sycophants, as evidenced by more verbal droppings in the comments to this post:

No one's reading your blog and no one gives a fuck what mindless dribble you have to offer to society or the shit that you like to pull out of your ass on a regular basis you goddamn hillbilly
In order now...
1. A click on the Sitemeter icon at the bottom of the blog would seem to indicate this isn't the case. 20,459 visitors so far since I started the blog in March 2006, and right now I am running between 45-55 visits and 65-75 page views a day. I am not Glenn Reynolds by any means, but still, I'm pretty proud of that and I really don't give a damn who isn't.
2. Judging from the feedback I've gotten at my day job -- a field, I might add, that has more than a few whose political views run directly counter to mine, albeit not at my level -- there are indeed at least some who think that I do have something valuable to offer to society. And I am pretty sure the girl I had wrapped in my arms earlier this morning values what I have to offer. Which matters to me a hell of a lot more than what some anonymous troll thinks of me, my culture or my lineage. So yeah, pardon my french, but Mr. Anonymous Internet Troll, you can go fuck yourself up the ass. Sideways and unlubricated.
This is all these people have to offer, folks. Insults and ad hominem attacks. The facts, and to a lesser extent public opinion, are on our side and have been since time immemorial. As the GeekWithA.45 said some time ago,

"We're on solid ground folks. It's time to stand tall, and people who pretend otherwise should be treated with the same bemused sympathy we reserve for someone who insisted that the earth is flat.
"The simple matter is this:

"MMM & The Brady Bunch don't have open forums because they can't tolerate, or survive in the face of informed dissent from their dogma, which doesn't hold water in the light of day.

"If you shine a light on a gun banner, they will either grow and join us, or close their eyes and ears tighter shouting na na na na na while they scuttle towards the darkness.

"We, on the other hand, hold each other to high standards of intellectual integrity, and are generally prepared to stand corrected.

"There is a whole world full of difference between those two positions, and it's time to stop treating the gun banners arguments as if they were imbued with any sort of validity whatsoever.

"Crap is Crap, and it's time to treat it for what it is: Self Evident Crap."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Saturday Morning Musical Musings: Alan Jackson & Story Songs

Driving home from work the other night, I heard Alan Jackson's rendition of the 1973 Merle Haggard classic "If We Make It Through December," from his Honky Tonk Christmas cd. It was more or less a faithful rendition of the original, but I don't really see anything wrong with that. I think it's cool to hear artists put their own stamp on the songs from the artists that influenced them, but one could say they do that even with the almost note-for-note renditions because they're doing it with their own voice. Alan's done this before with his Under the Influence cd -- one I'd highly recommend, and something I'd love to see George Strait do before he rides off into the sunset -- but I'd love to see Alan do something like "Alan Jackson Sings Merle Haggard's Biggest Hits: 'Mama Tried,' 'Ramblin' Fever,' 'I Think I'll Just Stay Here And Drink' And More." Maybe one day we'll be so lucky.
Speaking of the Hag and that Honky Tonk Christmas cd, the title track has one of the best lines from a song I've ever heard...
"Hey Joe, pour me some Christmas spirit...if I make it through December, I'll be fine..."

I've always loved the songs that told stories, and there have been some good ones through the years...a few that come to mind are Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billy Joe," Gordon Lightfoot's "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," and even Cal Smith's "Country Bumpkin." Maybe I am biased on that last one because of the great memories it evokes for me, but I still love it anyway. But doing the blog-run this morning, I clicked a link that took me to another one of those story songs, one that's always made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. There were a lot of Chris LeDoux's songs I didn't really care for too much, but there's no denying he was the real deal. And I am not sure his version of the song featured in the video below was the original, but even if it wasn't I could certainly see him writing it. I remember hearing another recording somewhere but for the life of me can't find mention of it anywhere, but it was Chris LeDoux who took the song and made it immortal.

"'ll ride a black tornado, across the Western sky, take an old blue norther, and milk it till it's dry...bulldog the Mississippi, and pin its ears down flat, long before you take this cowboy's hat..."

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Few Words On Alexander T. Riley

I really hate to think that frothing-at-the-mouth extremists like Alexander T. Riley, aka the Culturologist, actually make it so far in life that they get to be professors at ANY university. To think such high-minded, arrogant and self-righteous people like Alexander T. Riley get into positions to mold the minds of the future is truly a frightening thought indeed. For those of you looking for information on Alexander T. Riley and wondering what he thinks of you if you own any guns, you might want to click this link to see some of Alexander T. Riley's word vomit. Many of Alexander T. Riley's hateful screeds seem to have disappeared down the memory hole, but he's left other verbal droppings in various and sundry corners of Algore's Intarwebz, most recently right here. You'll have to scroll through the comments to find them, but the discussion at that link is pretty illuminating as a whole, anyway. More here. More of Mike Vanderboegh's words come to mind, though...
"Just do me one favor, sport. If you want my gun, you come get it. Don't send someone else's son or daughter in federal service. YOU come get it....And, hey, I might even give it to you after I unload it."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

...somebody find the matches, we got us a straw man to burn...


The premise of citizen journalism is that regular people can now collect information and pictures with video cameras and cellphones, and distribute words and images over the Internet. Advocates argue that the acts of collecting and distributing makes these people "journalists." This is like saying someone who carries a scalpel is a "citizen surgeon" or someone who can read a law book is a "citizen lawyer." Tools are merely that. Education, skill and standards are really what make people into trusted professionals. Information without journalistic standards is called gossip.

I don't think anyone's ever really argued that education, skill and standards are what make people into trusted professionals. But even if they did, such a triad lacks one critical element that's quite obviously absent from modern journalism: Integrity. The evidence of such a lack is there in spades for anyone who doesn't consciously have his or her ears and eyes plugged, but let's just take a look at one particular area of that motherlode: The gun issue. Seems like every time so-called assault weapons come into the arena of discussion you have some ignorant journalist (hey, there goes the education leg of that table!) conflating semi-auto and full-auto weaponry, often making it sound like one could get a fully-automatic AK-47 at your friendly local gun store after September 13, 2004. (Why we should stop pointing out the difference and take a different tack on the issue I'll ponder more in the not-too-distant future.) You'll also not find it mentioned that many of the cartridges these so-called "assault rifles" are chambered for are quite often less powerful than many cartridges used for hunting -- or that, just for a couple of examples, two of the most noteworthy killings of the 1960s, the JFK assassination and the University of Texas clock tower shooting, were carried out with weapons not that much different from many traditional hunting rifles. Find me someone who was in Dealey Plaza that day so I can ask them if it was worth a fart in a windstorm that Lee Harvey Oswald didn't have more than six rounds at one whack to work with.
But before I get too far off the point, the fact is that "educated journalists" ain't all this guy cracks them up to be. Not even in the specialty arenas like, once again, guns. I've heard it said more times than I can count that one can find a more honest assessment on Internet gun boards like The High Road than one finds in most if not all traditional gun magazines. And I'd believe it too, because if I spent good coin on a firearm, only to find out... was less than what I expected...
...if it malfunctioned...
...if the company's customer service did not treat me with respect...
...if the gun still malfunctioned after it was supposedly serviced...
...if the folks at the gun manufacturer told me that was the ammunition's fault, or worse, MY fault...

you better believe I'd be honest and up-front about it. On the forum AND on my blog.
And as for this...
...we have already seen the line between news and entertainment blur enough to destroy significant credibility. Continuing to do nothing as information flow changes will further erode it. Journalism organizations who choose to do nothing may soon find the line between professional and citizen journalism gone as well as the trust of their audiences.

Call me crazy, but I'd say in many instances that trust IS already gone. In any event, David Hazinski, you can take your standards by which you don't even abide and blow them out your hypocritical, self-righteous ass.
...never mind, of course, things like this...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 what was that again about the press being a government watchdog?

(UPDATE: Link fixed!)
Welcome to Chicago, where, as opposed to being a watchdog over the government, the media effectively goes out and does the government's bidding...

Chicago has one of the toughest gun laws in the nation. But our investigation has found handguns readily available at close range, just beyond the city limits, in the suburbs.
The I-Team has been on the trail of illegal guns for several months. We have spent days staking out several suburban gun stores, then following customers back to their homes in the city. City residents are making easy, perfectly legal retail gun purchases in the suburbs that become illegal once they cross the city line.
Delores Bryan is a widow who lives in Chicago. With a handshake from a clerk at Chuck's Gun Shop in Riverdale, she's a gun owner, too.
"They didn't tell you at the time that it is illegal to have a handgun in your house?" ABC7 investigative reporter Chuck Goudie asked.
"They didn't discuss that with me," Bryan said.

Pardon my french, but I. Cannot. Believe. These. Sons. Of. Bitches. Would stoop to such a level. Delores Bryan did absolutely nothing wrong, and I am willing to bet none of the other innocent citizens these jackals followed home did either. The only thing they were doing was exercising their right to the tools of effective self-defense in defiance of an jnjust and unconstitutional law. One more time, just for good measure, the people this son of a bitch harassed did absolutely nothing inherently wrong. The only reason it's wrong is because the law says it is, and just because the law says it's wrong doesn't automatically make it so. I said it elsewhere and I'll say it here. There's a special place in the deepest, darkest, hottest pits of hell reserved especially for people like this. Just one more reason that I would never, ever live in Chicago or anywhere near it, even though, granted, I have heard it's a nice place to visit.
Scrolling down on the comments at The High Road, I saw this, from an actual resident of Illinois, in response to another comment made about the city's world-class attractions...
I understand there are great things in Havana, Cuba too, but that doesn't change the fact it's nothing more then a third world cesspool where the glamor and glitz of the tourist areas is merely lipstick on the pig that socialist Cuba really is.

Chicago is a third world cesspool as much as Havana, Ho Chi Ming City, Hanoi, Johannesburg, or any other big city in a third world socialist workers paradise is. They all have their good areas that they trot out in front of the cameras. But underneath they are nothing more then human cesspools where corrupt politicians keep the masses in line with buy off programs and heavy handed policing.

If the radical Islamics just have to nuke an American city I nominate Chicago. It's probably the one big American city that it's loss would have no impact on our way of life except to improve freedom in the rest of Illinois and relieve the massive drain of tax money from the rest of the country that pays for the Daley machine to keep buying it's time in office from the voters there.

There is nothing in Chicago that couldn't be done better somewhere else. There is nothing to lose there and no reason to go there. Chicago lost it's status as America's Second City decades ago. We would all be better off if it didn't exist.

There is no problem in Illinois that the elimination of Chicago wouldn't correct.

The gap between Chicago and the rest of the state is a good example of the coming political meltdown between urban and rural interests in this country.
I have a hard time arguing with that, especially considering it would rid the world of bottom-feeders like Chuck Goudie...

Another update! JR makes an EXCELLENT point in the comments:
You notice that these reporters are not hanging out in the low rent districts following gang bangers home and asking them a bunch of silly assed questions. Nope, they play it nice and safe.

A-yep. If this reporter had a solitary hair on his ass, let alone any REAL journalist tendencies or aspirations, he'd be chasing the gangbangers instead of the otherwise law-abiding citizens. But of course the blow-dried Ken dolls are ALWAYS gonna take the coward's way out. And now I am starting to sound like Fits...not that that's a bad thing, of course.

Random Observation...

Not gonna name any names here, comes off as a little bit odd, not to mention petulant, to get bent out of shape because of someone making an observation, take that to be lecturing, and then to deliver an infuriatingly schoolmarm-ish lecture oneself. I'm just sayin'...

Another Perspective...

Just go read, it starts at the 'Dog's place and goes on to the guy in the ambulance and then the ER nurse...great, great stuff.

A New Adventure

Seems like a truckload of good stories begin with, "So I was bored one day..." Well, this isn't one of those. ;-)
But really, I was bored this weekend, and hungry. Didn't have any cash on me and I didn't feel like driving to the ATM to get cash for the drive-thru at Taco Bell, Wendy's or wherever. As it turned out, though, I stumbled up on a new (for me) blog some time ago, Mostly Cajun, penned by an ole boy who lives not too far from me, incidentally. He likes to post recipes now and then. I'm sure you see where this is going...
I am not much of a cook. When I get something that's home-cooked a lot of times it's over at my folks' house. But I stumbled up on one of those recipes that I thought looked pretty good, and easy to boot, the Soup of Multiple Legumes, as he calls it. Beans, onions, & seasonings -- garlic, salt, and red & black pepper. For the meat I used a pack of Zummo's Party Time smoked sausage, which is made right here in the Golden Triangle. As for the beans, for me it was 15 different ones. Couldn't tell you what those 15 were for the life of me, but the finished product was damned good, and cheap to boot! Could have used a bit more seasoning, but too little is better than too much, 'cause you can always put more in, of course. Can't take it out once it's in there. Lol, but I do highly recommend it if you're looking for something cheap and easy.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Bigotry In Unexpected Places

Just for grins, see if you can guess where these comments are from, regarding Mitt Romney's supposed "support" for the RKBA ...

All guns should be registered and tracked and states should have concealed-carry permits. This is a reasonable compromise between allowing citizens to defend themselves and letting lethal weapons flow into society untracked.
But don’t take nobody’s guns no ways folks. It’s a mai right ta own a gun whut can take out a buffalo from 200 yards. Don’t impinge on my rights no ways.

The purpose of firearms is to protect your family from all forces forign and domestic. They are designed for defense, not vigilante justice. One man with a gun and unhealthy fear of the government (as opposed to a healthy fear) hardly represents a well-regulated militia.
Civilians must have access to guns that serve the purpose of protecting their family. That does not mean we should have machine guns on a rack at the local Walmart.

I see the Governemt (sic) Fearing Wussies have found this thread. Oh well. I’ll leave you guys to your craziness.

The problem with people like quax is that they psychologically project their own problems onto others while they have “Big Bertha,” a sawed-off shotgun, and “The Equalizer,” a military surplus grenade launcher at the ready next to their computer stand in case “The Man” comes with “his jive” to take their “precious babies” away.

Why do you need to fire many shots at night with a reduced profile? Unless you’re hiding in a treehouse waiting for the Gubmint to come git yer guns, that is…

The Daily Kos? The Democratic Underground? Nope, straight from teh Party apparatchiks at Hot Air. To be fair a lot of others did call the jackasses who made the above comments out to the the anti-freedom bigots they are (Bob Owens got some masterful shots in), but I must say it was quite sickening to see such short-sighted rhetoric there. Who knew so-called centrists could be as bigoted as the raving leftist moonbats they deride so?
As for what they were commenting on, well, just see for yourself...
Mitt Romney: I would have supported the original assault weapon ban. I signed an assault weapon ban in Massachusetts governor because it provided for a relaxation of licensing requirements for gun owners in Massachusetts, which was a big plus. And so both the pro-gun and the anti-gun lobby came together with a bill, and I signed that. And if there is determined to be, from time to time, a weapon of such lethality that it poses a grave risk to our law enforcement personnel, that’s something I would consider signing. There’s nothing of that nature that’s being proposed today in Washington. But, but I would, I would look at weapons that pose extraordinary lethality…

Weapons that pose extraordinary lethality. Wow, such objective criteria! I wonder if Mitt would include that Glock 9mm pistol he owns under that umbrella. After all, we all know what that piece of human refuse did at Virginia Tech with that very weapon back in April. And this Northeastern lefty gun-banning bigot is a front-runner for the GOP nomination for president? Disgusting, just absolutely disgusting...

Sunday Morning Musical Musings: Dixie Chicks and Nashville Star-Making

I guess this one was bound to happen, but that's ok. To each his own, as they say.
Scott Chaffin, aka The Fat Guy, in comments to this post:

Man, I was with you until the Dixie Chicks bit. They are where they are thanks to image people. Wide Open Spaces isn't even their song, cute little Natalie Maines was brought in to sing lead, they fired the kinda-hefty chick, and the remaining two got complete make-overs. Nashville star-making at it's finest, pard.

I'm not disputing your taste, but they're as manufactured as Shania. I only know this because I had the luxury of seeing them live in Dallas when they started out. And if they'd changed their name, I wouldn't care, either.

He makes some good points that I really can't deny or even try to rationalize. That's one of the reasons I hate what modern country music as symbolized by the Nashville star-making process has become -- it's all about the image, and who that image is aimed at. Some folks might call mine and Mr. Chaffin's complaints sour grapes because folks like us aren't who that image -- or the so-called "music" behind it -- is aimed at. But to the extent that's true, it's only true because it's people like Mr. Chaffin and I who liked country music when country music wasn't cool, if you'll pardon the cliche -- and it's people like us, the loyal audience, who are basically being told to go to hell because we're not where the money is. Never mind the fact that we're the ones who will be there when the fickle pop fans -- and all their money -- are gone.
As far as the Chicks go, though, I suppose if I'd been a Chicks fan before Nashville got ahold of them I'd have felt the same way Scott Chaffin does. As it is, though, I still like most of what they did after they hit it big. It might well have been part of the Nashville star-making process, but it still sounded great. And I'll freely admit that another part of my fondness for the post-makeover Chicks was what else was coming out of Nashville as the Fly cd was about to drop in the middle of 1999 -- Faith Hill's Breathe comes to mind, as well as Shania Twain's Come On Over. The Chicks might well have been just a product to be marketed after Nashville got ahold of them, but at least they sounded like they belonged on a COUNTRY radio station, which could hardly be said of way the hell too much of what's come out of Nashville in the last ten years. And that's just an observation on my part; I am not accusing anyone of saying they didn't sound like they belonged. But is it hypocritical to decry that star-making process when it does actually sound good? When it actually sounds like it's aimed at the most loyal demographic as opposed to the most profitable one? Some of it I wasn't so big on, but just for a few examples, "Tonight the Heartache's On Me," "Hello Mr. Heartache," and "Long Time Gone" were some of the best bona-fide country records to come out of Nashville in a long time. (I heard it said here and there back in late '02 that if "Long Time Gone" had been cut by anyone other than the Chicks, country radio wouldn't have touched it. Makes me wonder what country radio would have done with "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" if it had been a Chicks record back then, but I digress.) It may have been marketing at its finest, but at least it sounded good, and there's something to be said for that, and I know that might sound like a stretch. Still, though, Nashville will market anything if they can get away with it, I think. Even if it IS an authentic part of the star whose music they're trying to sell...that's the way it is, and yeah, it sucks.
Now playing here: Cory Morrow, "Beer," from 2003's Full Exposure.
"...if you're drinkin', you know that you're my friend, and I say, I think I'll have myself a beer..."


So before the time keeps slippin' away and the record's lost forever, I just thought I'd say thanks to Visitor No. 20,000, who stopped by at 4:21 Friday afternoon from Birmingham, Alabama...and to the rest of you who make my humble home on the Web part of your blog-run. I dunno if I'll ever make it to the status of folks like Kevin Baker, Tamara or Ambulance Driver, but 20,000 visitors is pretty cool just the same...y'all come back now, y'hear?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

"...but I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die..."

Now playing here: Johnny Cash, "Folsom Prison Blues," from his 1968 landmark album Live At Folsom Prison. I think the first time I ever heard that song was back during my high school years in east Texas in the mid-'90s, on Larry Scott's Interstate Road Show on KWKH out of Shreveport, Louisiana. Many nights I'd lie awake and I heard a lot of the music they play on KILT every Saturday night. That was my first real taste of the old country and I don't think anything's been the same since...

8:03 pm: " all the folks around South Louisiana, said Amos was a hell of a man, he could trap the biggest, the meanest alligator, and just use one hand...."

8:30 pm: "...She said, 'hello, country bumpkin, how's the frost out on the pumpkin....'"

9:29 pm: Tammy Wynette, "D-I-V-O-R-C-E," 1968. I think this is probably my favorite Tammy Wynette song, along with the George Jones duet "Golden Ring" from eight years later...

So, there goes the M1A I wanted for Buy-A-Gun Day... least if the Bradys had their way...
Channeling the Cranky Professor here, Paul Helmke can take his legitimate reasons, coat them in habanero sauce and jam them up his arse. Sideways.
( assault weapons remain perfectly legal to buy in gun stores and gun shows across the country, in unlimited quantities. Perhaps even more shocking, the type of bullet many assault weapons fire (7.62mm full metal jacket) can penetrate four categories of police body armor. There is no legitimate reason the public should have this kind of access to military-style assault weapons.

Of course, what Paul fails to mention in his whiny little diatribe -- aside, of course, from the fact that one of the armed rampages he mentions was stopped by an armed citizen who was not behind a badge -- is the fact that there are other types of ammunition, used for hunting, that are just as capable of penetrating body armor as teh eeevil 7.62. So much for the gun-grabbers not wanting to take the deer rifles from the Fudds. This inconvenient truth is pointed out once again in the comments, with of course no response from this Helmke cretin or his supporters....
...The gun has nothing to do with the ability to pierce body armor. It's the type of bullet and the type of armor. Body armor has different classes or ratings. Most police body armor is rated for pistol calibers up to .44 Magnum and sometimes rifle ammo up to 7.62x39mm (AK and SKS ammo). If your vest is not rated for rifle ammo then almost any rifle caliber will go through it.
...While "assault" weapons have detachable magazines (as do some hunting rifles), they often shoot a less powerful cartridge than the average hunting rifle. (The AR-15 shoots .223 Remington and the AK-47 clones shoot 7.62X39, for example. Both of these are less powerful than the 30-06 or .270 cartridges that are popular for deer hunting in the US.)...
...Banning ammunition capable of penetrating certain classes of soft-body armor would mean a ban on ALL rifle ammunition.

If this is Mr. Helmkes' goal, I wish he would state it openly, and honestly, and without the hyperbole and misinformation. ...

Speaking of the comments, though, I must say I have been pleasantly surprised at the commentary in those particular sections of the various gun-grabbers' blog postings there. Seems like at least a few of the lefties understand the Second Amendment better than any other part of the Constitution...
The second amendment was framed in a time of great concern for states rights against a too powerful federal government. Gun ownership was another check against too much federal power, its got nothing to do with hunting whatsoever. I would rather take my chances with the occasional nut case than the full on homeland security police state that is being created out of just the kind of fear that you are touting here.

at least, that is, the ones who don't resort to denigrating gun owners as drunken rednecks who go off shooting willy-nilly at anything that moves....
...Tell me what would reduce deaths. Minimal, responsible ownership, or everyone armed to the teeth? Before you answer, think about if you want your drunk ass neighbor having his semi-automatic rifle just like you have yours.
And I really couldn't agree more with this comment either:
Some people can't be trusted not to cause harm so all people must have their actions restricted. That would be exactly the argument made to justify the Drug War.
Freedom is messy, and sometimes can be down right dangerous. The alternative, however, is far worse. I don't know how to keep everyone safe in the modern, over crowded world. Some risks just seem to go along with being alive.

A-yep. And yeah, if Helmke and his evil minions really do advocate the banning of all centerfire rifle ammunition, why can't they just come out and say it without all the hyperbole? And one more time, what about all the centerfire rifles and ammunition for them which are in civilian hands now, Paul? Is the gun fairy just gonna make 'em all go away? How long do we have to wait for an answer from you to that question, you deceitful, dissembling son of a bitch?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Musings on Romance: ''we're just friends..."

I wasn't going to touch this with a ten-foot pole, but then I saw something in it I do have some observations on:

...See, if you think back, really hard, you might vaguely remember a Platonic guy pal who always seemed to want to spend time with you. He'd tag along with you when you went shopping, stop by your place for a movie when you were lonely but didn't feel like going out, or even sit there and hold you while you sobbed....
At the time, you probably joked with your girlfriends about how he was a little puppy dog, always following you around, trying to do things to get you to pay attention to him. They probably teased you because they thought he had a crush on you. Given that his behavior was, admittedly, a little pathetic, you vehemently denied having any romantic feelings for him, and buttressed your position by claiming that you were "just friends."
Eventually, your Platonic buddy drifted away, as your relationship with the boyfriend got more serious and spending time with this other guy was, admittedly, a little weird, if you werent dating him. More time passed, and the boyfriend eventually cheated on you, or became boring, or you realized that the things that attracted you to him weren't the kinds of things that make for a good, long-term relationship.
Let's take a look here at the part in bold: "Eventually, your Platonic buddy drifted away, as your relationship with the boyfriend got more serious and spending time with this other guy was, admittedly, a little weird, if you werent dating him."
I've found myself in that platonic buddy position a couple of times and I never understood what the lady was thinking when she said "I want to be just friends." Just how long do they think this whole "friends" thing is going to last when they go on and start dating somebody else? I am just going on personal experience here, but I just don't understand the "just friends" mentality at least after you've made it clear you're interested in more than that, and I understand it even less when one wants to go back to that after dating longer than a certain amount of time. How many times that happens I don't know, but I had it happen to me once and it sucked. Sucked REAL hard. I remember Love Interest Who Wanted to Be Just Friends (let's just call her Samantha) asking me if there was anyone I was interested in, and I answered in the affirmative. (Which, looking back on it, was probably a mistake, but that's another rant entirely.)
Samantha said, "Why don't you go talk to her, see if she needs a boyfriend?"
And I just thought, "Oh yes, and in the meantime you and I are just gonna be BFF and it's gonna be super!"
I guess it's different for everyone. Some people can hang out and be just friends with people who used to be more than that to them, but I just never had much luck with it. And the situation I speak of here already had one complication -- another female friend. Let's just call her Kim. (For you longtime readers, that is indeed the same Kim mentioned here and here.) As often happens, I caught an insane amount of shit from Samantha because she thought Kim was a threat. And of course you know they didn't get along. Kim was a huge, huge source of friction between us. Good grief, one female friend caused me enough grief, I sure as hell didn't need it to double, or even triple or quadruple as it likely would have, considering mine and Samantha's past. And back to what that linked rant was saying, how would it have felt just hanging out when Samantha started dating somebody else? I wouldn't have been able to do it. I thought not long after that I wished I'd have taken advantage of that jealousy of Samantha's...

"Are you interested in anyone?"
"Kinda, yeah."
"Why don't you go talk to her and see if she needs a boyfriend?"
"I have a better idea. I still have some personal time I need to take, so I think I'll call Kimberly. See if I can get her back down here, we'll go to the beach for a few days, spend some time together. And maybe have a nice, long talk, as the stars shine down on us on the front porch, about the past, the present and maybe even the future. See if that feeling is as strong as certain people think it might be."

Maybe if I hadn't been such a nice guy I'd have been quick enough on the draw to come up with that. And maybe it would have been wrong, but then again I think of something the peerless Bill Whittle wrote not so long ago:
You are in a relationship. You are nice, forgiving and non-envious. You may think it is loving and kind not to retaliate when you are treated unfairly, but you’d be wrong. Anybody with any self esteem knows that if you are being wronged, you cannot just continue to take it. You must punish behavior that tries to take advantage of your good nature, in order to maintain the self-respect and reputation you need in order to be treated well. Failure to retaliate will lead to more and more abuse. Failure to retaliate makes Screw the other Guy the optimal position for the other person: they can behave as selfishly and recklessly as they like with no consequences – what’s not to love?
Eventually I stopped taking it, and after it was all said and done I told her exactly how I felt about the whole thing. The only thing I held back on was the profanity, but even then that was just because I wanted the signal-to-noise ratio to be as low as it could be. One could say that in that little missive I penned to her, I made up for all the times I didn't retaliate. Of course by then it wasn't about anything more than just saying what I felt, but it felt damn good. I won't lie to you and say it didn't. "Just friends"? I think I'll pass on that one...

Friday Morning Musical Musings: Cross Canadian Ragweed

Don't ask me how I missed this piece on Cross Canadian Ragweed, but it's pretty good. I've always liked Mario Tarradell's work...

...the pot-smoking, beer-chugging college days are history. These guys are serious now, writing songs with lyrical heft and Southern rock energy. Plus, they are all husbands and fathers, which only heightens their need for creative expression.

Mission California, the band's fresh studio album, showcases the quartet's sharpest musicianship and Canada's most personal songwriting. He's angry at the bean-counting, artistry-thwarting man during Record Exec. He's rattling with angst on Dead Man, then turns gentle and reflective on the ballad Lawrence. Later, he channels the Beatles on NYCG, while Plato takes an R&B detour on the smoky, melodic Soul Agent.

The CD is a revelation. Surely this isn't the same group that cranked out frat-boy anthems Carney Man and Boys From Oklahoma back in the late '90s. But for those who follow CCR religiously, and there are plenty of you out there judging by the outfit's busy touring schedule of 260 shows a year, Mission California comes as no surprise. With the release of 2002's Cross Canadian Ragweed, dubbed The Purple Album for its album cover hue, Canada and company matured into real artists.

That album's centerpiece is 17, a searing account of youthful rebellion and adult resilience. The song's message is succinct: There's no reliving the past.

That turned out to be prophetic. While Ragweed hasn't lost any touring business and Mission California sold a respectable (for them, anyway) 22,604 copies its first week in stores, there are some fans who can't get past the Carney Man and Boys From Oklahoma days.

"There's a lot of people that say, 'You know, you don't play anything even close to the old stuff. I like the old stuff the best.' And that's cool. That's really cool," says Canada, 31, as he puffs on a cigarette. "But I know what they're referring to. They're referring to Carney Man. And we still like it. But there's so much more to talk about. I don't know if it's getting older and having kids. What's the point writing about some things when there's so much more to talk about around you? I think it bugs some people, and I think other people like it. Because it is progressing, whatever it's turning into. In the beginning, a lot of people said we were a country band. And then people said we were turning into a rock band. They didn't know what to do with us. We're not trying to do anything. It's just happening."

It could be a lot worse. They could be doing schlock like "Mr. Mom." ;-)
Seriously, though, I can understand the gripes about the so-called evolution of an artist. A lot of times artists do end up changing their sound from what it was at first. Lord knows I've raised enough hell about what Pat Green's music has become. But I think that has more to do with me thinking that what he's doing now doesn't fit him nearly as well as what he's done before more than anything else. The first Pat Green cd I ever picked up was Live At Billy Bob's and it just flat blew me away. Everything that came after that was, shall we say, a bit underwhelming, dull even. Wave On Wave? One word -- blah. (Pat and Cory Morrow's duet cover cd, Songs We Wish We'd Written, was great, though.) I'm sure a lot of the Ragweed fans felt the same way about everything that's come after Highway 377. I'd have to get those earlier cds to see what they sounded like back then. As it stands now, the earliest Ragweed cd in my collection is that self-titled "purple" album and it's one of the best cds I've ever bought, a great balance of mainstream and, for lack of a better term, not-so-mainstream. There aren't that many acts even close to "mainstream" who'd even write songs like "Freedom" or "Walls of Huntsville," much less record them. And there's no good reason at all for radio to even shy away from those songs. Contemporary Hit Radio doesn't, why should country be different?
As different as the boys from Yukon are now from when they started, though, this is quite heartening to see:

They're not scared of returning to the do-it-yourself way of releasing records, either. That's how they got 1998's Carney and 2001's Highway 377 out there.

*snip* they watch friends Pat Green and Jack Ingram score national radio hits, they feel no jealousy or second thoughts.

"I don't think there's ever been one regret in this band," says Canada. "There's been nights that we regretted, but no decisions."

To underscore his point, Canada tells a story that involves multimillion-selling country superstar Tim McGraw, perhaps the last person you'd think would hang out with Cross Canadian Ragweed.

"We were with Tim McGraw in LA two years ago," he says. "Joe Nichols, he's our label mate, just got a gold record. We're sitting backstage or sitting in our bus or something and I told Tim, 'Well, let's get one of those. Let's get a gold record.' He said, 'Well, you let me drive.'

"He was dead serious. He said, 'You let me drive, you let me pick the songs and I'll get you one.' I said, 'Dude, I was kidding. If we're going to get a gold record, it's going to be because of who we are.'"

I know it's a business, and I know the boys and their families have to eat just like we all do, but it's great to see them remaining true to themselves and their music. That's one of the things I loved about the Dixie Chicks as well, politics be damned. I remember reading in the Houston Chronicle not long before Fly came out that radio people suggested re-mixing some of the songs on Wide Open Spaces for pop radio airplay and the Chicks refused. Natalie Maines told Rick Mitchell, the Chron's music critic at the time, something to the effect that, "We listen to those other stations, and we're fans of that other music, but we don't ever want anyone to say that we're trying to not be country. We're trying to do the opposite. We're trying to bring country back to country." That was quite refreshing at the time, considering Shania Twain's and Lonestar's pop remix pandering and the latter's half-assed attempt to say they were still a bunch of good ole boys from Texas. Which of course was a load of crap, considering what they had remade themselves into by that point. I never thought it could actually get worse, but of course it did. I do hope Cody Canada and the boys don't ever listen to that siren song, because even to the extent they cater to the mainstream, they still make some of the best music out there.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Shooting At The Wrong Target

So, while Lisa Falkenberg continues her hand-wringing over the two dead Pasadena burglars on page B1 of today's Houston Chronicle, elsewhere in the City & State section we have another installment in the ongoing story of Riley Ann Sawyers, also known as Baby Grace...

A Spring couple indicted Wednesday on capital murder charges in the death of a 2-year-old girl tried to bury the body north of Houston before finally tossing it into West Galveston Bay, a defense attorney said.

The girl's mother, Kimberly Dawn Trenor, 19, and her husband, Royce Clyde Zeigler II, 24, tried to bury the body with a shovel purchased at Wal-Mart, said Trenor's attorney, Tommy Stickler Jr.

"He tried to dig a hole, but he wasn't digging fast enough so he gave up," Stickler said, referring to information Trenor gave during in a three-hour statement to investigators Nov. 24.

For those unfamiliar with the story, those two monsters beat that little girl with a belt, threw her onto the floor, held her head under water and pushed her face into a pillow. Which makes me wonder, why isn't Lisa Falkenberg using her valuable chunk of journalism real estate talking about that instead of pissing it away making bullshit comparisons between toilet-papering someone's yard and breaking and entering into their house? Riley Ann Sawyers, unlike the dead Pasadena burglars, didn't have a chance or a choice in life. With apologies to the great Bill Whittle, "We demonize the wrong people."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007 ain't gotta be superior, it's just gotta be good enough...

Now why in the name of all that is holy I did not think of this, I have no clue, but Fits nailed it right on, as he was musing on the heroism of Jeanne Assam, who took on the Colorado church gunman with nothin' but a pistol, and, more importantly, the will to use it...

This is why its difficult for me to read the gun boards as chairborne commandos went on a tizzy explaining how going up against a AK or SKS is suicide with only a pistol...

A-yep. Most of the time it might not be such a good idea, but to twist an old saying, the pistol you have beats the rifle you wish you had -- and in this case, the puny little pistol filled the role of fight-stopper just as a rifle could have. The rifle the church gunman had was superior, but the pistol in this case turned out to be good enough in the hands of Ms. Assam. You wonder why it riles me so to hear people say things like "(insert any pistol round here) sucks because it's a pistol round and all pistol rounds are inferior"? It's because of situations like this. Which is where the post title comes in. It ain't gotta be superior -- it's just gotta be good enough. Of course all other things being equal a longarm is going to trump a sidearm. But the inherent flaw in the "all pistol rounds suck" argument is that those who make it seem to operate in the vacuum of everything else being equal. And combat just isn't that way, as we've seen this week with the story of what went down in that church. I wouldn't mind seeing those who denigrate the sidearm be plunged into the heat of a situation like that and then ask them, "Whaddya want to take with you to take the goblin on, Sparky, a pistol or just a prayer?" Thank God Jeanne Assam didn't share the opinion of the aforementioned chairborne commandos. Heaven only knows how many more would have been slain, how many more would be grieving this morning, if she had.
As for Ms. Assam...Lord, but I just can't find the words to describe what I think about what she did. I can only say that I hope that if ever I find myself in the situation she found herself in, I have the intestinal fortitude to do what she did. God bless her, and the rest of the sheepdogs that walk among us. If there were more like her, with the tool she happened to have with her, the would would be an infinitely better place.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"What are you going to do..."

"...the next time your doorbell rings unexpectedly?"
My fellow Texan JR asked that question in response to a story in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram of a 68-year-old lady in an upscale Ft. Worth neighborhood getting shot and killed as she opened her front door. He says, "I do not pretend to know what goes through a goblin's mind that allows him to murder an old lady in her foyer, but the last thing that should have gone through this particular goblin's mind was 230 grains of copper jacketed lead alloy."
A-yep. With that in mind, what am I going to do the next time I get the unexpected summons to the door? I answered that question long ago, actually...the doorknob's going to be in one hand, and the Ruger P90 loaded with nine rounds of 230-grain Federal Hydra-Shok jacketed hollow-point is going to be in the other. That is, if I open the door at all. I got lucky once. But once was all it took. I will never, ever take that gamble again.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Subsidizing Bad Behavior

Just a couple of quick observations this morning, as I am still recovering from my Saturday-night bender, and yeah, I'm almost there. ;-)
Regarding the Bush administration's plan to freeze interest rates on certain adjustable-rate mortgages for five years -- is it just me, or is this setting a very bad example? I mean, I hate it that people are in danger of being kicked out on the street, but the fact of the matter is their own bad choices are what got them to that point and the .gov has absolutely no business interfering in the market to bail these people out. It's been said that you get more of what you subsidize, and while this might not be an out-and-out cash payment to those who overextended their flimsy credit, it's close enough to be setting a bad example and perhaps getting people who would otherwise think twice think, "hey, if the market gets to where I can't make it the government'll bail me out." We as Americans should be better than this, and damn those we elect for pulling this shit. What kind of message does this send to those who managed their finances more wisely? I'll tell you what message -- a big, raised-up middle finger. Question is, how many financially responsible Americans will see it as such?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Hugh Missed the Irony...

I wonder, if Mitt Romney cheerleader Hugh Hewitt can really be so dense as to miss the irony in this blog posting at Townhall (emphasis mine -- ed.)...

Mitt Romney threw a long ball today and scored. There can be no objective argument against that conclusion. Why? Because Romney is running for the GOP nomination, and his remarks, both in delivery and substance, were lavishly praised by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved, and James Dobson, not to mention Mark Steyn, Fred Barnes and Charles Krauthammer -and these were just the seven people I heard on a long drive south to San Diego and then in a hotel room before leaving to post this and give a speech. I am sure when I get a chance to review the blogs more widely late tonight, there will be many others, though in fact every single one could denounce Romney and it wouldn't matter given the line-up of assessments just listed, to which I add mine from earlier today.

Here are seven of the most influential conservative commentators in the U.S., and their opinions on the Romney success are all aligned with mine. Thus, objectively, the speech cannot be judged as other than an extraordinary success for Romney. It does not, of course, guarantee him the nomination, but no other Republican has had a comparable day since the campaign began, and Romney's triumph comes four days before the absentees are available for casting in New Hampshire. Romney's success today has also clearly panicked Mike Huckabee who was on with Glenn Beck tonight warning that the "ruling class" in America is growing more distanced from the people --the sort of arch-populist class warfare nonsense which has never had a home in the GOP mainstream.

Finally, a note to my angry e-mailers: It doesn't matter that you don't like Rush or Dr. Dobson, or that I thought Harriet Meirs got a raw deal. Your opinion of who ought to be the GOP nominee doesn't matter beyond your vote, and then only if you are a GOP voter, which most of you aren't. The folks listed above matter. Because they earned the respect of the voters who decided the past two presidential elections and who will decide the next --the patriots and the values voters, the investment class and the national security-minded.
There are actually a couple of ironies here, apparently both of which escaped Hewitt. I thought it was just a bit, shall we say, odd that Hewitt was talking about objective analysis when it's quite obvious that his own analysis is about the furthest thing from objective. To put it delicately, never mind mere ass-kissing, it would seem the above analysis was nothing less than the verbal equivalent of oral sex. I mean, that's about as kindly as I can put it and retain any semblance of putting forth what I really think.
And then, of course, you have Hewitt deriding Huckabee for engaging in so-called "class warfare," while out of the other side of his mouth basically telling ordinary voters like you and me that we basically don't matter because we're not part of the so-called "elite." He's attempting to drive a wedge here just like, oh, say, John Edwards would do. Good grief, the hypocrisy's so thick here that if you stepped in it you'd never get it off your shoe! As for the regular voters not mattering...well, I guaran-damn-tee that elitist asshole that we damn sure would matter if we spent Election Day at home, or the range, or the hangout of our choosing. I would have thought we on the right would be better than to hold on to such an elitist attitude. And I really thought we would be better than to resort to something like an appeal to authority. After all, say what you will, but the above-mentioned pundits all have but one vote apiece, just like we do. But then maybe we are better than that, to the extent the base actually thinks for itself and doesn't blindly do what the self-appointed elitists tell them to. I mean, I thought it was great to see Rush practically endorse Fred Thompson, but I was going to vote for Thompson anyway because I think he's the most reliably conservative candidate who has a chance to win. To whatever extent Rush can influence his listeners to vote for the man is great, but I'd like to think most of 'em were gonna vote for him because of his conservative credentials, not just because some cat on the radio told them they should. Maybe Hugh Hewitt's just another thoroughly unprincipled Party apparatchik who votes for the Party no matter how reprehensible its chosen candidate may be. I'd like to think so anyway.
Scrolling through the comments, though, I ran up on this:
I saw some solid conservatives, with great policies that have been extolled by all the people you mentioned above, but by you? Nope...not a word. Suddenly if it's anti Mitt, Mitt is on the phone to defend himself, if it's Pro Mitt, it's the biggest headline on your site, the first thing out of your mouth on the show. You and a few other center right conservatives told us it's a two man race and to me, it started to sound condescending.
We suddenly didn't know ANYTHING, and you knew all. You haven't been objective, because you haven't been fair. When Rush, National Review, Investors business daily said he liked Fred, not a word from you. When Medved talked about liking Huckabee, you dismissed it out of hand. Instead of trying to BUILD UP the party, You closed it up not giving any of these other upstanding, GOOD men the time of day. So yeah...I'm mad at you, and I can see why most everyone else is starting to get that way too.
So it would seem that this objectivity Hewitt speaks of is just more of a smokescreen than anything else and that he's only touting the opinions of the other conservative pundits because they're agreeing with him, but not a word from him when they're not agreeing with him. It's an ugly thing to watch, too.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Few Words On the Omaha Mall Shooting

So, some not-so-well-adjusted piece of shit gets his knickers in a knot and goes off shooting in an Omaha mall, killing eight people. Says Paul Helmke from The Brady Campaign For A Second American Civil War:

We need to stop selling military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips to civilians.
Never mind the erroneous terminology. Helmke's a willfully ignorant piece of shit, that much is a given, kinda like the sun rising in the east. Here's something I haven't seen anyone pontificate on, at least not in the blogs I read every day -- much less in any mainstream news source.
Suppose Helmke and his evil minions got their wish. Suppose the blatantly unconstitutional "assault weapons ban" was reinstated. This ban would not make all the banned weapons in civilian hands -- or the ammunition for said weapons -- automatically disappear. Which is going to leave the possibility of another shooting just like this one on the table. So what's the next step? Why, confiscation, of course, by government agents with guns! After some sort of amnesty, I am sure, but that means nothing in the big scheme of things. And you and I both know Helmke and his organization wouldn't speak a word opposing such a decree. Which, taking into consideration their previous stances on any and all things liberty-related, makes them willful collaborators as far as I am concerned. Once again, Mike Vanderboegh:
The war would certainly extend to those whose direct and support it-- civilian or not-- as they are primary targets...Bill Clinton extended our own rules of war in the Kosovo intervention to include the news media and other propagandists as legitimate targets. Under these rules, (Paul Helmke) and his anti-gun ilk would all be dead men.
SayUncle might refer to such rhetoric as "scaring the white people," and that might well be true -- but I for one have had it with these people. Were I to ever come face to face with this Helmke cretin, I would love to tell him to sit down and have a nice, tall glass of shut the HELL up.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thursday Evening 1911 Musings: Dan Wesson vs. Kimber

So I've gotten some hits from the search Dan Wesson vs. Kimber. Some thoughts, as one who owns pistols from both manufacturers...
I'd almost bet money that the folks who search for something like this are in the market for a 10mm 1911, so I'll just focus my commentary on those. I think that vis-a-vis the Kimbers, the Dan Wesson pistol plays the same role as the Springfield does -- that is, the DW 1911 is just as good of a pistol as the Kimber for less money, as you'll see if you check out my previous postings on the Dan Wesson Razorback I recently picked up. See here and here.
Now, with that said, as far as the 10mm goes, there is one big difference between the Kimber Stainless Target II and the Dan Wesson Razorback -- the former has a ramped and fully supported barrel, while the latter has a traditional barrel, albeit one that has a generous bit of throating. (I seem to recall someone saying the 10mm Pointman Seven had a ramped & supported barrel but am not 100% certain on that.) Now, how much of a difference this makes would probably depend on your personal habits more than anything else -- what kinds of bullets you use, what kinds of loads you drive through the gun, how many times you reload your brass, that sort of thing. As for me, the most risky thing I ever did with my Kimber was with (I think) twice-fired Federal American Eagle brass, a CCI large pistol primer and 14.8 grains of Accurate Arms No. 9 behind a 155-grain Hornady XTP. That's a half-grain over the minimum load, and even with that minimum load I was getting flattened primers -- albeit with no other signs of high pressure such as bulged brass. With the RZ's traditional barrel it might have been different, I don't know. (For the record, that particular combo was good for about 1370 fps on average out of the Kimber. Bet it'd make for a hell of a defense round...) Maybe those concerns could be at least somewhat mitigated by using only virgin brass for hot loads, but then that's a good idea anyway. I am sure I was pushing the envelope with that twice-fired brass, especially if what I've heard about the Hornady XTP is true -- that it's a high-friction bullet design, which makes for increased pressure. That would certainly explain away the flattened primers I was getting even with the minimum loads.
But, I've said it before and I'll say it again -- don't drink the Kimber Kool-Aid. I love both my Kimbers and would certainly buy another, but in my experience, to say they're better than at least Dan Wesson or Springfield is to have fallen for the marketing hype, even in the case of the 10mm, so to speak. Buy any of them and you'll have made a great choice.

Spinning the Facts

Lisa Falkenberg in this morning's Chron, in a follow-up to her own armchair-quarterbacking of Joe Horn:

"It's not the things they steal that upsets people," said Joe Brignac of Katy. "It's that they're violating the sanctity of people's privacy in their houses."

Many of these folks have trouble seeing the trees for the forest. To them, Horn's actions send a message that we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore. Never mind the facts in the case that suggest Horn was itching to pull the trigger and needlessly took two lives.

I don't really think it's the facts alone that suggest Joe Horn was "itching to pull the trigger" so much as the way people like Lisa Falkenberg spin the facts of the case to fit their own preconceived notions of how we should or should not be watching out for our neighbor. The rest of the column proceeds to cloud the issue even further by tossing out statistics about how crime has gone down in Houston and using these facts to say that people's fears about crime in Houston aren't really justified. Which is ironic considering how Falkenberg talks about "missing the trees for the forest." Why is that? Well, ask anyone who's been a crime victim what the decrease in crime means to them personally. I'd be pretty sure it's not gonna mean a damn thing to them since it happened to them. Or, put another way, there may not be so many home invasions here in the Golden Triangle, but the next time it happens it'd be interesting to see what the victim of said home invasion would say to the suggestion that it doesn't happen often. Just because crime has gone down doesn't mean Joe Horn should have just sat back and let those thugs break into that house.
And if what I've heard is right, said thugs came at Horn with a crowbar. Call me callous, but anyone stupid enough to come at a man with a shotgun with anything other than hands in the air deserves whatever they get coming to them, no matter what color they are. I'd just think of it as chlorination of the gene pool. But maybe that's just me.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Musical Musings: Taylor Swift, Kevin Fowler, Rascal Flatts

Yup, we're all over the musical map tonight!
First up, what is the deal with that horrible, HORRIBLE contemporary hit radio remix of Taylor Swift's "Teardrops On My Guitar"? Whoever got the bright idea for that should be severely beaten. Sounds like they just took the voice track and laid it over some peppy Sixpence None the Richer-type arrangement that just doesn't fit the song or Taylor Swift's voice at all. I really like the song itself and Taylor Swift as well; I think she has a beautiful voice and a bright future if she plays her cards right, but I had really hoped they wouldn't try to make her into some kind of pop starlet. What a shame.
I went and bought Texas singer-songwriter Kevin Fowler's latest cd today, Bring It On. I loved what I'd heard from it so far, "Long Line Of Losers," "Best Mistake I Ever Made," and "Cheaper To Keep Her," all on Leslie T's Sunday night show on KILT. And I am happy to report the rest of the cd is just as good as those songs. Favorites so far include the ones mentioned above, the George Jones duet "Me And the Boys," "Honky Tonk Junkie." More comprehensive review forthcoming, but the fact this guy isn't a star and Kenny Chesney is, well, it's just a crying shame.
And finally tonight, STOP THE PRESSES! A Rascal Flatts song I actually LIKE! "Winner At A Losing Game" is probably the best thing they've put out ever. Seems like so far with the sound they've adopted they've more or less become the country equivalent of N-Sync or the Backstreet Boys. Hell, Maroon 5 has bigger balls than Rascal Flatts does, at least as far as their music's concerned. But this song is great:

Have you ever had to love someone that just don't feel the same?
Tryin' to make somebody care for you, the way I do,
is like trying to catch the rain.
And if love is really forever, I'm a winner at a losing game.
Maybe it's because I can relate to the song, but still, it's good stuff even if it still does have more of an easy-listening groove to it. Still won't go out and buy a Rascal Flatts cd, but I don't make a mad dash to turn this song off either.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Laura Washington Opens Her Bigoted, Ignorant Trap Again

But instead of a full-on fisking, I just have a fun little exercise (first suggested some time ago by Joe Huffman). Everywhere you see the phrase "People of the Gun" or "gun lover" insert your minority of choice, whether it be blacks, Hispanics, Chinese, or maybe even the Irish if you want a trip even further back in time. Example:
"The blacks have our politicians bamboozled....These days they are all pandering to the blacks....the blacks have plenty of poster children..."
The bigotry seems to come into stark relief there, eh? And even more so when one takes into context Washington's previous slurs against gun owners, as she believes the so-called "gun army" is "made up almost exclusively of white men from suburban and rural areas." Ironically enough, the people she levels her bigoted slurs against aren't the ones responsible for the carnage in the inner cities, but of course they make the easiest targets. I've heard it said that Southerners and rural residents are pretty much the only demographic one can get away with making fun of and demonizing anymore, and reading Laura Washington's bigoted bullshit in the big-city paper she writes for only lends credence to that notion. Once again Mr. Huffman, from the above link:

These people are bigots. They may think they are the elite, the wise, the educated, and the deserving of power, but they are simple, ignorant bigots. The facts don't matter to them. I've literally had people tell me, "Statistics don't mean anything to me. You can prove anything with statistics." And, "I don't believe your facts." They don't have facts of their own. They only have their bigoted beliefs.
Sounds about right to me. And if there were any justice in this world they would be just as loudly denounced as the Ku Klux Klan.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

...sometimes the original's just as good....

Now playing here: Bruce Robison, "Travelin' Soldier," from his 1999 cd Long Way Home From Anywhere. The Dixie Chicks had the hit record with it right before the infamous London incident, but of course Bruce was the one who recorded it first, with a radically different arrangement -- but incredibly haunting nonetheless. The first time I heard it was on this very radio station just a little more than seven years ago, and I went out and bought the cd a couple of days later. To this day it's one of my favorite songs. I suppose some might construe it as anti-war, but I just always thought of it as one of the stories of the human impact of war...
"...One Friday night at a football game, the Lord's Prayer said and the anthem sang, the man said, 'folks, would you bow your head, for the list of local, Vietnam dead'...crying all alone underneath the stands, was a piccolo player in the marching band, and one name read, and nobody really cared...but a pretty little girl, with a bow in her hair..."

Saturday, December 01, 2007

More of the Same, This Time from Harvard

Via The High Road, we have this, from the Harvard Crimson...

Written in an age in which minutemen rose to dress and fight at a moment’s notice, the Second Amendment was no doubt motivated by a young nation’s concern for its own safety and stability. But now, when the United States is protected by the most powerful security forces on the globe, the Second Amendment is neither relevant nor useful. Rather, it has become an impediment to vital public policy, and it should be repealed and replaced with nuanced federal legislation....In the context of today’s society, the Second Amendment is outdated. Constitutional debates over its interpretation stand in the way of the implementation of pressing public policy.
Nuanced federal legislation that would eventually mandate bans and confiscations, no doubt about it. It's quite the coincidence the Harvard student newspaper is called the Crimson, as that would arguably be the color of the streets of this great country if it ever came down to the bans and confiscations. And am I the only one who finds it quite appalling that these people are so willing to throw away their rights -- and our rights -- just because they think it'd make for good public policy? It's good to see them coming out and saying this sort of thing, as we know it's been their goal all along...but as they ignore natural rights and constant appeals to reason, does it not push us that much closer to taking up arms in defense of our rights? Something else comes to mind from the great Mike Vanderboegh, as he discusses the civil war that would result from the banning and confiscation of arms from the American people, in response to Dan Simpson's police-state wet dream (emphasis mine -- ed.:)
"Unlike the American Revolution, the civil war will reflect the coarsening of the rules of war and will look more like Iraq or Bosnia. The war would certainly extend to those whose direct and support it-- civilian or not-- as they are primary targets, far more so than the foot soldiers of Ambassador Dan's Einsatzgruppen. Bill Clinton extended our own rules of war in the Kosovo intervention to include the news media and other propagandists as legitimate targets. Under these rules, Ambassador Dan and his anti-gun ilk would all be dead men."
And in this case, of course, that "anti-gun ilk" would include the staff of the Harvard Crimson. I hope it never comes to that, but it would seem to me the only thing to be said is, once again, "Molon Labe."

"...let Texas fill my soul...."

Now playing here: Pat Green, "Southbound 35," from Live At Billy Bob's Texas. If all you've heard of Pat Green is from "Carry On" until now, you really, REALLY need to check this cd out...