Saturday, January 28, 2023

Saturday Snippet: The girl I left behind me

 

One of Rudyard Kipling's poems I've always enjoyed is "Rimini", named for a city on the upper Adriatic coast of Italy.  It tells of a Roman legionary who remembers, after a long service career, the girl he left behind him to join the Legions.  (You can read the Kipling Society's analysis of the poem here.)

I think many modern servicemen will nod their heads in recognition of the sentiments the legionary expresses - but then, Kipling is a poet that many servicemen have taken to heart.  He understood fighting men, and expressed that very well in his writing and poetry.

Kipling sub-titled this poem "Marching Song of a Roman Legion of the Later Empire".


When I left Rome for Lalage’s sake
She vowed her heart was mine to take
With me and my shield to Rimini—
(Till the Eagles flew from Rimini—)
And I’ve tramped Britain, and I’ve tramped Gaul,
And the Pontic shore where the snow-flakes fall
As white as the neck of Lalage—
(As cold as the heart of Lalage!)
And I’ve lost Britain, and I’ve lost Gaul,
And I’ve lost Rome and, worst of all,
I’ve lost Lalage!

When you go by the Via Aurelia,
As thousands have travelled before,
Remember the Luck of the Soldier
Who never saw Rome any more!
Oh dear was the sweetheart that kissed him
And dear was the mother that bore,
But his shield was picked up in the heather
And he never saw Rome any more!

And he left Rome for Lalage’s sake,
By the Legions’ Road to Rimini,
She vowed her heart was mine to take
With me and my shield to Rimini—
(Till the Eagles flew from Rimini—)
And I’ve tramped Britain, and I’ve tramped Gaul,
And the Pontic shore where the snow-flakes fall
As white as the neck of Lalage—
(As cold as the heart of Lalage!)
And I’ve lost Britain, and I’ve lost Gaul,
And I’ve lost Rome and, worst of all,
I’ve lost Lalage!

When you go by the Via Aurelia
That runs from the City to Gaul,
Remember the Luck of the Soldier
Who rose to be master of all!
He carried the sword and the buckler,
He mounted his guard on the Wall,
Till the Legions elected him Cæsar,
And he rose to be master of all!

And he left Rome for Lalage’s sake,
By the Legions’ Road to Rimini,
She vowed her heart was mine to take
With me and my shield to Rimini—
(Till the Eagles flew from Rimini—)
And I’ve tramped Britain, and I’ve tramped Gaul,
And the Pontic shore where the snow-flakes fall
As white as the neck of Lalage—
(As cold as the heart of Lalage!)
And I’ve lost Britain, and I’ve lost Gaul,
And I’ve lost Rome and, worst of all,
I’ve lost Lalage!

It’s twenty-five marches to Narbo,
It’s forty-five more up the Rhone,
And the end may be death in the heather
Or life on an Emperor’s throne.
But whether the Eagles obey us,
Or we go to the Ravens—alone,
I’d sooner be Lalage’s lover
Than sit on an Emperor’s throne!

We’ve all left Rome for Lalage’s sake,
By the Legions’ Road to Rimini,
She vowed her heart was mine to take
With me and my shield to Rimini—
(Till the Eagles flew from Rimini—)
And I’ve tramped Britain, and I’ve tramped Gaul,
And the Pontic shore where the snow-flakes fall
As white as the neck of Lalage—
(As cold as the heart of Lalage!)
And I’ve lost Britain, and I’ve lost Gaul,
And I’ve lost Rome and, worst of all,
I’ve lost Lalage!


*Sigh*


I wonder how many of my readers remember their own Lalage, way back when?  A few of us were fortunate enough to hold her affections, and she ours, and we've lived happily with her since then.  For most of us . . . not so much, although thanks be to God, we've found new partners.  Even so, the memory of younger days and their lost passions shines through in this poem.

Peter


Friday, January 27, 2023

That "professional certification" may not be worth the paper on which it's printed

 

Divemedic warns that many certifications are over-rated, if not worthless, thanks to politically correct "accommodations".


It was decided years ago, with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that it was unfair and discriminatory to treat students with intellectual disabilities (what used to be referred to as retarded) the same as other students. So this law was passed to make things more equitable. (Not equal, which is the same standard, but equitable, meaning that they have the same outcome.)

In order to make students with disabilities more likely to have the same outcome, they are granted accommodations. These accommodations can vary. It can mean that they are granted extra time, or are allowed to test in a private room with no one watching them, or that they are even give multiple choice tests with one or more of the wrong choices eliminated. Furthermore, the law goes on to say that there can be no mention of the accommodations on the student’s transcript, diploma, or other certifications. Don’t want them having the stigma of people thinking they had it easier than other students, you see.

As a result, not every student is being evaluated by the same standard. This means that a diploma is no longer a certification, as there is no guarantee that two students who have received that diploma were measured against the same yardstick. Remember that next time you are having your hair cut or being treated by a healthcare professional.

. . .

It doesn’t just extend to the classroom. Even licensing exams are given with accommodations. The implications are obvious. Your doctor or nurse might be wholly unable to provide you with competent care, but at least we didn’t hurt their feelings by making them seem inadequate.

This also makes licensure and the certification that goes with it wholly worthless.


There's more at the link.

I think we owe Divemedic a vote of thanks for rendering a public service by reminding us of this.  I'm certainly going to keep it in mind when next I have to use the services of a licensed and "certified" or "certificated" professional.  I think a few pointed questions may be in order before I trust them with my life, my health, my possessions, or my money!

Peter


Public service homicide?

 

An inmate in a California prison has probably just become a hero in the eyes of his fellow prisoners.


Jonathan Watson, 41, used a walking cane to beat Conti and David Bobb, 48. Both victims suffered multiple head wounds, and Bobb died en route to the hospital, officials said.

The two inmates who died were serving life sentences for aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14 years old, according to prison records.

Watson has served 10 years of a life sentence from Humboldt County for first-degree murder and discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury or death.


There's more at the link.

There's only one permanent cure for pedophilia - and Mr. Watson just provided it.  Having served as a prison chaplain, I'm not in the least surprised.  Pedophiles tend to have a short, "interesting" (in the sense of the fabled Chinese curse) and painful life if they're put in general population in prison.  Other inmates - all too many of whom have been abused themselves as children - regard them as the lowest of the low, and treat them accordingly.

I guess the only question is whether or not Mr. Watson will get time off for good behavior.  I'm willing to bet most of the guards at his prison - if not the authorities there - will argue that he should.  They generally have no time for pedophiles, either.

Peter


Doofus Of The Day #1,102

 

Todays' award goes to a zoo in Linfen, China.  A tip o' the hat to Andrew in Australia for sending me the link.


A warm and fuzzy, cute and furry stunt at a zoo in China almost turned red and bloody with an unnecessary loss of life and/ or limb.

This was after the zookeepers there tried to do a symbolic passing of baton event for the Lunar New Year by putting a rabbit and tiger within close proximity of each other.

A video posted on Weibo showed exactly what happened next: The tiger, a juvenile, upon getting a whiff of the rabbit, decided to take a nice big bite out of a fellow mammal.


There's more at the link, including pictures.  The rabbit was rescued just in time.

What can I say?  You put an apex predator (albeit a juvenile one) right next to a big, fluffy piece of meat.  What the heck did they expect would happen???

One can only presume that the staff concerned had their full share of touchy-feely, politically correct, modern indoctrination - what passes for education these days.

Sheeeeesh!!!




Peter


Thursday, January 26, 2023

All together, now: AAAAWWWW!

 

Found on Gab (clickit to biggit):



Too cute!




Peter


The fuss about the ATF's "pistol brace" rule

 

There's an awful lot of verbal diarrhea floating around the Internet about the ATF's new rule concerning braces fitted to AR-15 pistols.  Most of it is uninformed opinion, hyperbole, and conspiracy theory.

To cut through the twaddle, Mike Williamson, author, blogger and meatspace friend, wrote an excellent summary of the situation.  You'll find it here, and I highly recommend that you read the whole thing.  Here's the executive summary.


So, your options are:

  1. Register it as a Short Barreled Rifle, under amnesty, for free, and get an NFA stamped form.  DOWNSIDE: You must file a Form 20 for permission every time you want to take it out of state. NOTE: No, sticking a rifle barrel on doesn’t make it not an NFA weapon. Once it is on the Registry, it remains an SBR, no matter what barrel you put on it, unless you ask them to remove it from the Registry, and either destroy it or make it not an SBR.
  2. You can remove the brace.  The brace is perfectly legal on any rifle it fits. If you own such a rifle, you now have a rifle accessory, and a pistol with no brace. You may eventually be able to put it back on, if the courts do their job and tell ATF to cut the crap. Or, you can apply for a stamp later if you wish. It will cost $200.  It might be worth the wait.
  3. You can leave it in illegal format.  I recommend against this. I especially recommend against beating your, um, chest on social media that “I WILL NOT COMPLY!”  Unless you really hate your dog and want ATF to shoot him when they come to arrest you.
  4. You can destroy the brace (if you’re an idiot) or surrender it to ATF (if you’re a bigger idiot).
  5. You can destroy the weapon (if you’re a moron) or surrender it to ATF (if you’re a complete retard).


There's more at the link.  Read the whole thing.  It's worth it.

I'm going to take the braces off my AR pistols, and use them with a plain buffer tube.  That will bring me into compliance with the regulation as it stands.  I'm considering whether it might not be worthwhile to register one as an SBR, simply to have the convenience of being able to attach a brace if I want to;  but I haven't yet made up my mind.  YMMV, of course.

There's also the fact that if a recoil-absorbent shoulder piece (e.g. a PAST shield or equivalent) is worn on the body, not attached to the weapon, it still serves the purpose of recoil absorption without needing a brace, and without falling afoul of any regulation at all.  If you were to make such a shield using up to an inch of (say) foam pipe insulation (which can be had in sheets as well as in tubes), and strap it on your shoulder, it would function rather well, I think.

Peter


A few thoughts on defensive cartridges

 

We've covered this subject before in these pages, on more than one occasion.  However, some of the comments on a recent blog post spoke of needing a more powerful cartridge to deal with urban terrorists of the Antifa ilk.  Examples:

  • "Maybe that .308 is a good idea after all."
  • "I do agree with Anon (above), I think it's time to temporarily retire the 5.56 and check the zero on the 7.62X51."
  • "not in a place to add x51 to the logistics. I will have to concentrate on placement."

I'll be the first to agree that, all other things being equal, the more powerful round (in this case, 7.62x51mm NATO) is more likely to incapacitate an attacker than the current military standard 5.56x45mm NATOTrouble is, all other things seldom are equal.  Many factors will help to determine whether you can stop an attacker or not.

I used an FN FAL rifle (South Africa's R1 version, chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO) in action, and later a clone of the Israeli Galil (South Africa's R4 rifle, chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO).  I was far more impressed with the "stopping power" of the former rifle and round compared to the latter.  I was taught the Rhodesian "drake shooting" technique, which worked very well in our bush warfare environment.  If a bush was behaving aggressively (or even if it just looked suspicious), one put a couple of rounds through it, low down.  Generally, the bush resumed its normal peaceful existence at once!  One couldn't guarantee that with 5.56;  their very high velocity and light bullet weight (they were first-generation M193 rounds) meant that they didn't have adequate penetration, and often broke up or were diverted by hitting twigs and branches.  If the bush was shooting at you at the time, that was a distinctly sub-optimal result!  The contemporary view was that 5.56 was a great "spray and pray" round, giving you the ability to carry a lot more smaller rounds compared to the bigger, heavier 7.62;  but if you really wanted to put someone down and keep them down, the latter was a better choice.

However, in the USA today, we're not talking about a bush warfare environment.  The heavier bullet, deeper penetration (up to and including over-penetration) and greater energy levels of a 7.62 round are contra-indicated if innocents may be exposed to danger.  That danger can be minimized by good marksmanship, but if one's any distance from one's target, and that target is moving and/or has cover or concealment available, the chances of getting a hit get steadily worse.  One can minimize risk by selecting ammunition that's less likely to pass through an attacker to hit someone else, but such rounds are hard to come by and usually very expensive.  That's the penalty one pays for selecting the more powerful cartridge.

The 5.56 cartridge, on the other hand, has been steadily developed.  I devoted an entire article to it not long ago, which I invite you to read for more details.  Briefly, one can select ammunition that's very unlikely to overpenetrate;  and one can practice more intensively with cheaper ball ammunition until one is less likely to miss one's target.  Shot placement, after all, is critical.  A powerful non-expanding bullet through a non-vital part of the body may irritate rather than incapacitate.  An expanding round in the same place will do a lot more damage to critical organs even if it near-misses them, making it more likely to end the fight.

The same applies to handgun rounds.  Probably the most common defensive handgun cartridge, by far, is the 9mm Parabellum/Luger.  The FBI has adopted it, the majority of law enforcement agencies use it, and it can be bought almost anywhere.  However, it's no more than adequate as a "stopper", and that's provided it's put in the right place.  If it's simply fired without proper aim or target selection, it's a whole lot less successful, simply because it doesn't deliver very much power.  Want an illustration?  See this article, which contains a video clip (scroll down at the link:  WARNING - GRAPHIC) of a sheriff's deputy firing no less than twelve rounds of 9mm. hollowpoint ammunition into the torso of a man advancing on him at point-blank range and striking him with a tree branch.  The aggressor absorbed all 12 rounds before finally falling over.  If he'd delivered a solid blow to the deputy's head during that time, the officer might not have survived his injuries.  Clearly, not one of those twelve rounds hit a vital spot that would have stopped the attacker in his tracks.  Shot placement was deficient every time.  It was the cumulative damage that eventually brought him down.  (The shooting was later ruled to be justified.)

If you want to contrast that with another actual case, consider the Kyle Rittenhouse affair in Waukesha, Wisconsin a few years ago.  Mr. Rittenhouse fired only a few rounds.  According to some reports, they were standard M193 ball - nothing out of the ordinary.  However, most were fired accurately.  Two were center-of-mass hits in the chest, and killed the attackers stone dead.  A third took out a large part of a critical arm muscle, preventing the attacker using his arm and the weapon he held in his hand - what the military would call a "mission kill", even though not an actual kill.  You'll find video clips of the shootings on YouTube and elsewhere.

Again, let's point out that extremely accurate, precise shooting, particularly with a handgun, is not easy in the excitement and confusion of an armed encounter.  Someone who shoots high scores in practice or in competition might find himself shaking with tension in a real fight, and hard put to it to remember even to use his sights!  This is not uncommon.  That being the case, to use a merely "adequate" round for personal defense may not be good enough.  There's always been a strong school of thought - backed up by a great deal of combat experience - that says a more powerful round is more likely to end the fight quickly, particularly with multiple hits.  That was my experience in African conflicts during the 1980's and later.  I know several members of US special forces who'll emphatically agree with that perspective.

If you're going to use a less powerful round - rifle or pistol - in combat, you have to compensate for that lower power level by being more accurate.  Many people don't practice enough to be sure of that.  I carry a 9mm pistol almost every day, because it's small and concealable, but that doesn't mean I'm happy with its "stopping power".  Instead, I make sure that I can put my rounds where they need to go, and I won't hesitate to aim at particularly vulnerable areas of an attacker's body if that's what it will take to stop him.

In the light of the urban terrorism, rioting and unrest fostered by Antifa, BLM and their ilk, I'm also trying to find a solution that will allow me (despite my weakened spine and limited mobility) to employ heavier weapons in defense of my wife and myself if necessary.  New ammunition technology has produced some rounds that offer lighter recoil than earlier ones, both in handguns and in long guns.  If the reduction in recoil is sufficient, I may revert to heavier calibers and cartridges in my primary defensive armament.  I'm still testing them, and I'll let you know in due course.  (If you'd like to test them for yourself, consider Sellier & Bellot's XRG range of solid copper ammunition for handguns.  It looks like they've developed a viable alternative to the excellent Barnes TAC-XPD bullet range, at a lower price point.  There are also some interesting alternatives in rifle ammo, of which I'll have more to say soon.)

In general terms, as far as handgun rounds are concerned, I'm coming to the conclusion that anything that fires an expanding bullet generating muzzle energy approaching 500 foot-pounds or more is likely to be a good, efficient "stopper", provided you put the bullet where it needs to go.  That energy level appears to "jolt" the human body sufficiently that it can't be ignored or fought through - although, as always, circumstances alter cases.  If an attacker is hopped-up on drugs, or in the grip of fear or excitement, that will likely change his physiological response to being shot.  Rifles are a different case altogether, as discussed elsewhere.  More on that later.

Peter


Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Medical frustrations

 

Regular readers will recall that early in January, I developed a large abscess on my left leg.  It was drained by my local physician a couple of days later, and since then I've been waiting to hear from a surgeon to get a drain installed for further healing.  Unfortunately the surgeon never called, despite repeated follow-ups.  Turns out his staff simply didn't bother to inform us that his schedule was full until late February, so we had to find someone else.  We only found that out yesterday!  Fortunately, another surgeon agreed to fit me into his schedule today, given that delay in this situation is sub-optimal.

I saw the surgeon this morning. He reckons the abscess, even though now largely drained, is simply too large to deal with in his surgery;  so I have to go into hospital on Monday for an out-patient procedure to cut it open and deal with it.  He said he wanted a properly aseptic environment, lots of lights, and professional help if needed.  Not at all what I wanted to hear (I've been in hospital a lot more than most people, and have a hearty dislike for them), but needs must, etc. 

What infuriates me is that within half an hour of his staff scheduling the surgery, I had three phone calls in rapid succession from the hospital, all from different people.  Not one of them said a word about my condition, or asked how I was doing.  All they wanted was money:  credit card info, insurance, etc.  It was never this bad in the past.  Now, it looks like health care is nothing more than a money-making racket.  Whether or not you recover is neither here nor there, just as long as they get paid!

Anyway, I'll deal with all that later.  We'll see what happens on Monday.  Thanks in advance for your prayers, friends.

Peter


Modern dating and courtship

 

Scott Adams is running a series of cartoons on the subject.  Here's Dilbert from January 24th this year.  Click the image to be taken to a larger view at the comic's Web page.



"After a baby or two"?  Seems a bit late by then, doesn't it?




Peter


A friend and fellow blogger needs help

 

Jennifer Hast and her husband have been part of our team at the North Texas Troublemakers for years, even though they live in Oklahoma and can only occasionally get down our way.  They've been regulars at our annual Blogorado gathering, too.



Sadly, Jennifer has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Both her mother and her sister have already survived this disease, so as you can imagine, she's taking it very seriously.  She's asking for help with some big medical expenses, plus the cost of being off work for a month to recover from the procedure.  You can read all about it at her GiveSendGo fund-raiser.  She was in the process of starting her own business, but that's obviously on hold until she can put this behind her.

My wife and I have already donated, and we'll both be very grateful if you'll please read what Jennifer has to say, then contribute what you can to help her get through this.  She's worth it.  (I'm not just saying that because of the utterly delicious lumpia she sometimes brings to Blogorado, either!  They're a bonus. If I could figure out how to wheedle a lumpia out of her for every $10 my readers contribute, I would in a heartbeat!)

Thanks in advance.

Peter


Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Antifa - tool of the establishment

 

Tucker Carlson points out the obvious.  I've embedded his talk below in video form, and excerpts from the transcript follow if you prefer to read rather than listen.




Antifa is the armed instrument of the permanent Democratic establishment in Washington. Their job is to mobilize when politically necessary. Now, this is a new thing in the United States, but political militia are a common feature in third world politics. They were a staple in Haiti. In our country, however, only one party has them, the Democratic Party. They're the only ones with armed militia in the street.

So with that in mind, it's interesting to note that Antifa is back in force, and that's probably not a very good sign for Joe Biden. If nothing else, Antifa has a solid track record of getting rid of sitting presidents.

. . .

But what you have in effect here is the official endorsement of domestic terrorism from the highest level of the Democratic Party. And why wouldn't you? Again, this is their militia. These are their state-sanctioned shock troops, and they are effectively immune from criticism. 

So you go to jail for owning a 10-round magazine, but they get to do whatever they want. Merrick Garland and Christopher Wray, who runs the FBI, are making certain that every last January 6 defendant spends years in jail. Their lives are destroyed, on the no fly list. And yet Antifa terrorists get released almost as soon as they're arrested.

. . .

Is anyone going to ask what Antifa is? Who leads this group? How many more riots do they have to lead before the New York Times gets interested and does a five-part series on what is this? Who are these people? Who pays for this? Where do they stay at night? What's their background? Give us some news on Antifa. They're the biggest armed militia in the United States, and we know nothing about them. Why? Because they're aligned with the Democratic Party.

But they're telling you the real threat is rural voters with AR-15s, assault weapons. You must disarm Republican voters. No, thanks. 

Disarm? Why don't you go ahead and disband Antifa? Go full RICO on them. Let's find out who their leaders are. Let's see them in jail. Then maybe you can tackle street crime and then pay a little bit of attention to the drug cartels that control the southwestern United States. And then maybe at that point, you will convince some people to register their AR-15s, But until you do that, up yours.


There's more at the link.

I can't disagree with a word Tucker Carlson says.  The reality is painfully obvious to everyone except those in lock-step with the progressive left-wingers who currently control the reins of federal power.  We're very fortunate - some of us - to live in states that are not of that persuasion, and are strong enough to resist federal and progressive-left encroachment to at least some extent.

I've had to deal with government bully-boys on more than one occasion, in more than one country.  I learned the hard way that there's only one way to stop them.  They're convinced that they're in the right, they know they won't face any consequences for what they do, and the legal system is on their side, so they keep on coming, no matter what.  There's only one way to stop them, and that is physically - by resisting their force with equal or greater force, making them stop.  I suspect that's the reality more and more Americans will have to accept from here onward.

Oh, well.  Time to check out the ammo locker and replenish any gaps.  (I doubt there'll be many . . . after literally decades of witnessing violence and anarchy at first hand, I lost my innocence about that sort of thing a long, long time ago!)  Given how many of these Antifa domestic terrorists are wearing body armor, though, it might be a good idea to stock up on things that can defeat such measures.

Peter


So much for the 'Rule of Law' in Seattle

 

The far-left cabal that runs Seattle has demonstrated, yet again, its contempt for anything and anyone that tries to hold it accountable for its misdeeds.  This time, it's flagrant disobedience to court orders.


The city of Seattle has been hit with sanctions by a federal judge for deleting thousands of text messages between officials, including the former mayor, police chief, and fire chief during the deadly three-week-long Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, also known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or what was termed the CHAZ or CHOP.

. . .

The destruction of the evidence was intentional and officials worked for months to hide the evidence, which included deleting texts, according to the judge. He wrote, “The Court finds substantial circumstantial evidence that the city acted with the requisite intent necessary to impose a severe sanction and that the city’s conduct exceeds gross negligence.”

The judge added that when the case goes to trial he will impose a “severe sanction” on the city and instruct the jury to presume the text messages were detrimental to the city’s case and that there is plenty of circumstantial evidence they were deleted intentionally.

Zilly wrote in the 39-page order, “City officials deleted thousands of text messages from their city-owned phones in complete disregard of their legal obligation to preserve relevant evidence. Further, the city significantly delayed disclosing … that thousands of text messages had been deleted” and could not be recovered or recovered.

He concluded, “As a result, substantial evidence has been destroyed by the city and is unavailable to plaintiffs to support their position in this litigation.”

. . .

Zilly wrote, “Although the city issued a significant number of litigation holds” that required the preservation of all evidence pertaining to the lawsuits that had been filed months earlier, “Officials at the highest levels of city government completely disregarded these holds and deleted thousands of relevant text messages.”

He stated in the order, “Instead, Mayor Durkan, Chief Best, Chief Scoggins, and other key city officials purged (through factory resets, changed retention settings, or manual deletions) thousands of CHOP-related text messages from their phones after they were under a clear legal obligation to preserve such information and without confirming that all of their text messages had been preserved through other means.”


There's more at the link.

Therefore, those businesses suing the Seattle city council for the disruption and financial losses caused to their businesses by the CHAZ/CHOP fiasco must now make their case without much of the evidence they need to prove it.  That, of course, was probably the entire point of the mass deletion of messages.

I think the judge was absolutely correct to say that at the trial, he would "instruct the jury to presume the text messages were detrimental to the city’s case and that there is plenty of circumstantial evidence they were deleted intentionally".  However, we're dealing with a Seattle jury.  What are the odds that there won't be sufficient hard-progressive-left jurors that they'll ignore the judge's instructions and vote according to their political views?

I'm glad I'm not on trial for anything in Seattle.  I'm far from sure I'd get a fair trial, or a just verdict and sentence.




Peter