Friday, February 3, 2023

Heh - Chinese balloon edition


Found on MeWe:  it seems that Chinese spy balloon that's meandering across the northern USA is carrying a message.


At home with Kent Rollins, master cowboy cook


Kent Rollins is a name that'll be instantly familiar to many BBQ cooks and cowboy cooking fans.  He's become one of the leading lights of that way of life, actively cooking up a storm for ranches during the season, and running his own coffee shop (with his wife) in Wellington, Texas in between times.  My wife and I have visited there, and look forward to going again.

Recently a two-part video interview with him hit YouTube.  I thought you might enjoy hearing more about the man, his life, and his cooking adventures.  He's quite the character.

Some years ago he recreated a traditional chuckwagon trail drive on a huge New Mexico ranch.  Here's the two-video report on that adventure.  It looks like very hard work, but a lot of fun.

Mr. Rollins has his own Web site, and also his own YouTube channel.  If you haven't tried his recipes or cookbooks yet, or his sauces and seasonings, you're in for a treat!  They're favorites of many of us in the North Texas Troublemakers.  We might just have to make a group pilgrimage up to Wellington soon, to sample more of his cowboy fixin's.

(No, I'm not being compensated in any way for "boosting" him like this.  I just like the man, his wife, and his food!)


The oligarchical takeover of the world's essential supplies


Sundance, over at The Conservative Treehouse, has an excellent article pointing out how corporate and oligarchical interests have taken over much of the world's supply of essential materials.  Riffing off a recent report of how Canada is forcing farmers to dump tens of thousands of gallons of milk that's over their official quota, he lays out how such regulations, both national and international, stifle production and distribution worldwide.

He warns:

This is modern corporatism, the nexus of govt intervention, regulations and the multinational exploitation of industry.  This is also the globalist example that shows how the concepts of “capitalism” and “free markets” have been destroyed.

. . .

Understanding how trillions of trade dollars influence geopolitical policy we begin to understand the three-decade global financial construct they seek to protect.

That is, global financial exploitation of national markets.


  • Multinational corporations purchase controlling interests in various national outputs (harvests and raw materials), and ancillary industries, of developed industrial western nations.
  • The Multinational Corporations making the purchases are underwritten by massive global financial institutions, multinational banks. (*note* in China it is the communist government underwriting the purchase).
  • The Multinational Banks and the Multinational Corporations then utilize lobbying interests to manipulate the internal political policy of the targeted nation state(s).
  • With control over the targeted national industry or interest, the multinationals then leverage export of the national asset (exfiltration) through trade agreements structured to the benefit of lesser developed nation states – where they have previously established a proactive financial footprint.

For three decades economic “globalism” has advanced, quickly. Everyone accepts this statement, yet few actually stop to ask who and what are behind this – and why?

Every element of global economic trade is controlled and exploited by massive institutions, multinational banks and multinational corporations.

Institutions like the World Trade Organization (WTO), World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), control trillions of dollars in economic activity. Underneath that economic activity there are people who hold the reins of power over the outcomes. These individuals and groups are the stakeholders in direct opposition to principles of America-First national economics.

There's much more at the link.

Sundance's article is a long, meaty one, but very well worth your time to read and understand.  He brings together many of the elements of our national and international economy and shows how they're all related, interconnected, and controlled.  Essential reading, IMHO.

I saw the results of this at first hand in many Third World countries during the 1980's.  Nations whose populations were starving as a result of drought, war and other disasters appealed for help.  At the same time, First World countries were destroying millions of tons of produce, millions of gallons of milk, and so on, because they were producing more than they could sell in the markets available to them.  That surplus could have kept millions of people alive, but the producers would have made no money out of it, and could not countenance the thought that if they helped once, they might be expected to make next year's surplus available, too.  Furthermore, governments could not stomach the costs of shipping it to where it was needed, and getting it "the last mile" to those dying of hunger.  They did little or nothing to help - and millions died.

There are many who'll argue that basic economics make it unrealistic to help people in that way.  All I can say is, try holding an emaciated child in your arms, all its bones sticking so far out through the skin that it looks as if their epidermis is about to rupture.  Listen to them cry, weakly and breathlessly, for food you cannot give them.  Watch them die.  Listen to the lamentations of their mother and siblings as they prepare them for burial.  They're already so weak they can't lift the body, or wrap it in cloth - they have to be helped.  Know, as you're watching, that you're going to be burying the rest of that family during the coming week, unless a miracle happens.  Then tell me about "basic economics".  It may be true, from an economic perspective . . . but from a human one, it sounds very, very hollow.

Welcome to modern industrial and commercial priorities.


A military cemetery of which I'd never heard


A post on Gab alerted me to a US military cemetery in France I'd never heard of before.  I searched for more information, and found this article.

PLOTS A-D OF THE OISE Aisne American Cemetery hold the remains of American soldiers who died fighting in a small portion of Northern France during World War I. However set across the street unmarked and completely surrounded by impassible shrubbery is Plot E, a semi-secret fifth plot that contains the nearly forgotten bodies of a number of American soldiers who were executed for crimes committed during and after World War II.

. . .

The soldiers eventually interred in Plot E were tried for rape, murder, and in one case, desertion (although the remains of the deserter, Eddie Slovik, the only American executed for desertion in WWII, were returned to the states in 1987). After being convicted in U.S. courts martial held in Europe, the men were dishonorably discharged and executed via hanging or firing squad. In many cases, the men who were buried in Plot E were initially buried close to the site of their execution. Those bodies were later exhumed and moved to Oise Aisne in 1949 when the plot of shame was established.

Plot E has been referred to as an anti-memorial. No US flag is permitted to fly over the plot and the graves themselves, small in-ground stones the size of index cards, have no names; they are only differentiated by numbers. Even underground they are set apart with each body buried in Plot E positioned with its back to the main cemetery. The site does not exist on maps of the cemetery, and is not mentioned on their website.

There's more at the link, plus a photograph of the little cemetery. With no headstones visible, it looks very strange.

The men in those graves doubtless deserved their punishment.  However, as a pastor, I can't help praying for them to find mercy, because while I'm not guilty of their particular sins, I have more than enough of my own to worry about - as do we all.  If I'm in need of God's mercy, how much more them?

If you're so inclined, please join me in saying a prayer for their souls.  They probably need it.


Thursday, February 2, 2023

Are Russian tanks in Ukraine wearing out their cannon?


Strategy Page suggests their barrels may be wearing out.

Russians ... changed their tank tactics in the face of the numerous Western top-attack ATGMs (Anti-Tank Guided Missiles) that quickly destroy Russian tanks because of the way these tanks use their autoloaders, which puts many exposed shells and their propellant charges in the turret. If the turret is hit by a top attack ATGM, all those propellant charges explode, killing the three-man crew and often blowing the turret off the tank.

Russia responded to this by using their remaining tanks only for direct-fire artillery support for Russian troops. This meant using HE (high-explosive) shells that explode when they hit something, usually the ground, and create many high-speed metal fragments that will wound or kill troops and damage structures and unarmored vehicles ... Using 125mm HE shells fired by tanks seemed to be a practical solution. It was, but there were unwanted side-effects.

. . .

Russian tanks in Ukraine appear to have used about 100,000 of these shells and in doing so discovered another problem. These shells caused barrel wear on the 125mm tank gun liners. These liners are common in tank guns and tube artillery. It’s cheaper to replace a worn-out liner than to replace the entire barrel and attached loading mechanism. Tube artillery barrel liners are good for 5,000 to 6,000 shells fired. On Russian tanks the liner wears out after about a thousand shells are fired. Most of the Russian tanks in Ukraine used for firing HE shells found that their barrels already had a lot of wear on them and heavy use of HE increased liner wear to the point where all shells (anti-tank or HE) were much less accurate.

Russian tanks can have their liners replaced but it happens so infrequently that the process is not simple. It involves removing the turret from the tank to replace the liner. This can only be done in one special facility and that means putting the entire tank on a train flat car and shipping it to the facility and then shipping it back. This meant that most of the Russian tanks with worn barrel liners were useless except as machine gun-armed vehicles. That’s hardly worth the fuel and other spare parts (like the tracks) required. This is apparently why Ukrainian troops have seen few or no Russian tanks in the last few months. This means less shell fire at Ukrainian troops and Ukrainian artillery can concentrate on other targets, like Russian infantry and supply stockpiles.

There's more at the link.

Barrel wear has been a problem in artillery warfare for a very long time.  British artillery in World War I suffered particularly from it, to the point that long-range batteries could not guarantee to land a shell within a quarter-mile of their targets.  Massive barrages were needed to make sure that at least some of the shells landed where needed and destroyed or disabled the targets.  The problem has recurred in every war since then.  With modern high-pressure guns, it's become even worse, because overstressed barrels don't just wear out - they frequently explode, posing a grave danger to their crews and any other persons nearby at the time.

(I recall inspecting a captured Soviet M1938 122mm howitzer in Angola.  It had been so inaccurate, for so long, that our troops had taken to instructing our own artillery and mortar crews to "Leave it alone.  It's on our side!"  Sure enough, the rifling in the barrel was so badly worn that it was almost a smoothbore.  Its Angolan crew had never bothered to send it back for repair.)

This is, perhaps, another reason why Russia pioneered anti-tank guided missiles that could be fired through the smoothbore barrels of their tanks.  Such missiles imposed no barrel wear, and were far more accurate than unguided shells - albeit much more expensive.  The first of them appeared in the 1970's.  Many other nations have adopted the concept.

It'll be interesting to see how Russia uses its tanks in the offensive that's widely reported to be in preparation.  Have they solved this problem?  I daresay we'll find out soon enough.


US military pilots may be in a world of hurt


LTC Theresa Long, a US Army flight surgeon, hit the headlines in 2021 with her claims that COVID-19 vaccines were actively harming the health of US military personnel.  She's been pilloried by the establishment, but has continued to give evidence concerning what she sees as damage caused by the vaccines.

Now she publishes this tweet.

(For those not familiar with the acronyms above, DMED is the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database, and DoD is the Department of Defense.)

If LTC Long's figures are correct, that implies the 36,000-odd pilots in all services of the US military have suffered a "casualty rate" from COVID-19 illness and/or vaccinations (plus a few other minor causes) of about 25% - one-quarter of them!!! - over the past three years.

That just boggles the mind.  If that's the case, it means huge problems ahead for this country's armed forces.  I'm sure not all those medical reports refer to permanent damage, harm that renders the pilot(s) concerned unable to continue their flying career . . . but how many of them do refer to such damage?  How hard-hit has the US military pilot community been by such injuries/damage?  Has anybody compiled such figures?  If so, they're certainly a matter of national security, but also of public interest.

Last but not least, with the aggressive, militaristic posture the USA has adopted concerning the war in Ukraine and the defense of Taiwan . . . do we have enough fit, healthy, combat-capable pilots to back up that posture?

We need answers, and we need them NOW.  In the military, we used to say to a braggart or tough-talker;  "Your bulldog mouth is writing checks your hummingbird ass can't cash" (or - frequently more profane - words to that effect).  If we don't have enough pilots to do everything needed in time of war, the Biden administration had better stop making aggressive geopolitical pronouncements, unless it wants to put our entire nation in that position.


EDITED TO ADD:  A couple of hours after I posted this, guess what popped up?

Recent Data Shows 'Stunning Increase' In Serious Harm Reports In Young Healthy Pilots: Army Lt. Col. Theresa Long

Sybaritic, hedonistic and blissfully warm


The temperature hasn't risen out of the 20's (Fahrenheit) for the past four days, but Kili, our oldest cat (and self-appointed mistress of the household) doesn't pay that any attention, so long as she has a fire.  In fact, if we don't light it quickly enough in the evenings during weather like this, she'll raise up on her hind legs and paw at us - with extended claws if necessary - to make sure we understand that she NEEDS HER FIRE.

And when it's burning, all is well in her world, as you can see.  The very soft thick-pile rug is hers, too... with a capital HERS.


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

After 54 years, an aviation legend ceases production


Yesterday, January 31st, 2023, Boeing delivered the last 747 "Jumbo Jet" to roll off its assembly lines.  It was the 1,574th to be built, ending a manufacturing history of more than 54 years - an average tempo of almost 30 of the giant aircraft per year, or 2½ every month.

The last Jumbo is a 747-8F freighter model.  She'll probably serve the cargo market for several decades, along with many of her older sisters.

For the occasion, Flight Global has produced a series of articles commemorating the Boeing 747.  Aviation enthusiasts will find them interesting.  Follow these links:

(Flight Global uses a cookie to allow free access to one article, then asks you to register to read more.  If you clear your browser's cache, it'll also clear that cookie.  You can then reload the next article, and do the same every time as you go down the list.)

Also worth your time is this Seattle Times special on how Boeing workers remember the 747, and how they feel about the end of production.  All the above articles are worthwhile and recommended reading.

If I had a dollar for every mile I've flown aboard a 747, I'd have no retirement worries at all . . .


Are US and world globalists building way stations for illegal aliens near the Darien Gap?


Michael Yon says that's what's happening, and he has photographic evidence.

01 Feb 2023
Darien Gap, Panama

Almost 0400 and the jungle creatures are loud. This is a mind dump sans edit before another big day talking with migrants,

Am still down here. The ‘migration’ camps have at least doubled in size since my last droning. This was openly done by USA/Globalists.

Appears the current rate of flow through Darien Gap is approximately 1,000 ‘migrants.’ The vast majority are military aged males. Roughly 90% of those I saw yesterday — and most days — are military aged males including teenagers.

Increasing numbers of Mainland Chinese are coming. I am here this time with two Chinese translators. One speaks Mandarin, the other Cantonese. The about 50 Mainlanders we encountered yesterday were all speaking Mandarin, none Cantonese, They are from many parts of China including places like Xian. They are flush with cash and appe ar to be middle class. They wire money to themselves in advance so that when robbed they do not have too much risk to the nest eggs.

Some Indians yesterday told me they paid 20,000USD/head to get here so far. They are heading to Los Angeles. Most of the Chinese also to California. One Chinese said he paid 7,000USD for the trip.

Meeting many Afghans. One yesterday from Logar said he worked with US Special Forces and an American friend from the Army is paying his way, so the Afghan did not even know how much this costed so far. I wanted to know more but some Chinese and others crowded in to tell some of their stories.

Many Pakistanis, Nepalese, Indians, Chinese, and more from Asia. Massive numbers of Haitians and from all over Africa, and increasing numbers from south America such as Equador and Peru.

Panamanian authorities are handing the invasion very well. Senafront always professional. The places is crawling with UN/OIM and all sorts. World Food Program. An entire eco-system.

There's more at the link.  Recommended reading.

Matt Bracken has been accompanying Michael and others in the Darien Gap in recent weeks, and he's put up a number of videos on Gab of what they saw and learned.  Here's an hour-long video report from a Panamanian correspondent on what he saw.

As mentioned above, Michael Yon found a very large number of Chinese "migrants" - and even a local Indian man studying Chinese in order to communicate with them.

This is an invasion, aided, abetted and sponsored by the current United States administration.  No other word can adequately sum up what's going on.  They're admitting so many illegal aliens that it'll probably take a civil war to get rid of them all - which is precisely what they're counting on, of course.  They reckon to flood this country with so many illegal aliens that it'll be practically impossible to evict them all.

As far as I'm concerned, that just means we'll have to work harder and smarter to get it done.


Forgive those who rammed the flawed, dangerous COVID-19 vax down our throats? Like hell!


Bitter Centurion, who's back in the blogging business, posts a superb (albeit sometimes profane) rant about demands that we should all forgive each other and get back to normal when it comes to the COVID-19 vaxxes.  He notes earlier demands such as these:

And I'm sure none of us have forgotten dogmatic idiots like Australian politician Michael Gunner:

Bitter Centurion has this to say to such people.

Although nothing Bass says in this article about why people like he and the 'scientific community' were wrong and about the damage the things they did caused (he actually doesn't go far enough in my opinion), I don't think he really, truly understands the sheer magnitude of what has happened as a result of what is, in my opinion, the establishment's greed, cowardice, apathy, ambition, and avarice.

. . .

So....what, do these people really think that we're just gonna go back to the way things were?  I wonder if they've given ANY thought whatsoever to what, exactly, it would take for "public trust to be restored" in science or the establishment or any other party that went hog wild over the last two years and took every available opportunity to **** over people who had more courage and integrity than they did?

Fact is, even before the scam-demic, there were many people out there who already mistrusted the establishment.  They didn't trust the government.  They didn't trust the corporations.  They didn't trust the media.  I can't stress it hard enough, these idiots were already on razor thin ice to begin with.  Now that it turns out these bastards were the lowest common denominator all along, thus verifying what the skeptical in society already knew,, do they really think they're going to earn back the trust of people who barely trusted them to begin with?  To say nothing of the people who are vax injured or have been killed by the clot shot.  Does Bass not think that those people have friends and family whose 'hearts and minds' they've lost?  Yeah.  Good ****ing luck getting those people to see you for something other than the greedy, scared little reptiles you truly are.

. . .

I don't think Bass understands how the idea of 'trust' works.  Once it's gone, it's gone.  It ain't coming back.  He can get up on what he thinks is his high horse and preach about how wrong he is, but it doesn't matter.  The scam-demic has shown everyone 'who's who in the zoo', so to speak.  We know who and what everything truly is and we've seen them for who and what they really are.  It's really something you can't un-see ... there's no way in hell that I, and likely most other people out there, are ever going to trust them again and that's just too ***damn bad.

There's more at the link.

I can only endorse what Bitter Centurion has to say.  The powers that be have burned away much, if not almost all, of people's trust in the health care establishment and industry, and the politicians who implemented their flawed (sometimes fatally flawed) measures.

  • All those people who died because they were (unnecessarily) forced onto ventilators?
  • All those older people who were forced to endure COVID patients being housed in their care facilities, spreading the disease like wildfire, and who died as a result?
  • All those who have already "died suddenly" as a result of the vaxx (and, whether they admit it or not, the ONLY common denominator among the ever-increasing "died suddenly" casualties is their vaccination status)?
  • All the women whose fertility has been affected - if not destroyed - by the vaxxes?  Do they really expect us to forget about them, and forgive the authorities for the disaster they themselves caused?

We haven't forgotten:  and we're not going to.

It may well be that we'll see another pandemic in due course.  It may well be that the medical authorities decree the mass vaccination of the public against it.  However, in the light of the COVID-19 fiasco, just how do those authorities think they're going to persuade us to meekly submit to their decrees and accept another rushed, untested, unproven vaccine?  I think a great many Americans, including yours truly, will tell them - in words of one syllable - what they can do with it.  I think many Americans are now of the view that if someone tries to force them to accept that sort of shot, they're going to encounter a few of a different sort in return.


Tuesday, January 31, 2023

"Scared locals prepare for the worst"


That's part of the headline of an article about a crime-ridden dead-end road in Birmingham, UK.

Though just a small cul-de-sac, the Druids Heath close was struck by nine violent or sexual offences in a single month, according to latest police stats for November. As BirminghamLive visited to speak to locals in one of the area's worst streets for crime, only the sound of squawking seagulls disrupted the eerie silence.

"There is a lot of violent people around here, a lot of anti-social, bad behaviour," says Mr Wyatt, a resident for 14 years.

"My son - he's only 16 - was assaulted not long ago, he got attacked just for changing his tyre outside a garage. He assaulted him, he got him on top of the van and was punching him and fighting him. My poor son, he's still in school.

"He attacked me also. He pushed me, I had all the bruises up my arms." It's not the first time the man has assaulted locals living there, he says.

"A few of the neighbours have been assaulted by the same person and had abuse," he explains. "The guy on the corner reckons he came at him as well. He has had a go at about five different neighbours."

But the locals also have trouble from 'gangs' to contend with. The dad says: "I won't even take my dog for a walk because I'm frightened.

"There's quite a lot of youths and gangs walking up and down. I have a problem because there is no fence round my garden. They were all congregating round my garden, sometimes up to 15 of them.

"The young lads are threatening when they're all together. You ask them to move and they give you verbal abuse. They finally moved but then caused damage to garden ornaments, plants - they push them over.

He tried to get a fence to protect his home, but as it's a council property it's proven difficult. Instead, he's filled his garden with plants to try to stop the youths loitering - along with erected cameras, signs and warnings for would-be criminals.

"There's been a lot of break-ins over the last few weeks or two," he says. "A lot of people have got cameras because there has been a lot of damage to cars, key scratching...

"I have been broken into myself a couple of times. They stole quite a bit of stuff, TVs, jewellery." As soon as I step out of the door, I hear keys jangle and door lock immediately behind me.

Other neighbours display warnings not to approach as a 'cold caller', while one homeowner hopes to deter criminals with a 'beware of the German Shepherd' sign on their back gate.

Darren, a dad-of-five who wouldn't give his last name, shouts to check who is knocking his bungalow before peering around the ajar front door. He speaks of troublesome youths and warns against coming down to Drews Meadow Close at night.

"If you come down here after dark, around 7pm, that's when they come out...I can see why the older folk don't want to walk around here," he says. He keeps a hammer axe in his doorway in case anyone breaks in and takes a metal 'fire brigade drop key' out with him for protection.

"It's the youths, they have got no brain in them. All of them have got no manners, no respect." He adds that they will walk around in masks, but admits he too has balaclavas - explaining that if you "look like a victim", you will be victimised here.

There's more at the link.

Both of my parents were born in that city, and grew up there prior to World War II.  Both endured the privations and poverty of the Great Depression, my father and his brother having to be abandoned by their mother at a local workhouse because she couldn't afford to feed them any more.  I remember Mom and Dad talking about their home town.  Both insisted that while there was a lot of poverty, there was no major street crime (as described above) at all.  Youths who behaved like that would be disciplined by their parents, and if they wouldn't (or weren't there to do so), the community would take it on itself.  There were any number of what one might term "come-to-Jesus meetings" or "educational beatdowns" where wayward youth and local criminals were "persuaded" of the error of their ways.  As a result, streets and neighborhoods were generally safe places to live.

Sadly, of course, the same situation exists in many US inner cities today.  Crime and gang violence are endemic, and the authorities can do little to stop it thanks to "politically correct" administrators, prosecutors and city bureaucrats.  Those who are arrested are frequently released by political activist District Attorneys within hours of their detention - and, of course, this only encourages them to go out and do the same thing again.

Contrast that to the attitude in a great many smaller communities in America (such as the small town in which I currently live).  Around here, circumstances like this could not arise, because almost everyone is determined to keep this a safe, pleasant place to live, and is well equipped to do so by hook or by crook if necessary.  More than half the families on my street contain a current or former military or law enforcement veteran, and we're all prepared to do whatever it takes to keep our area clean, safe and orderly.  Any gang-banger wishing to try his antics around here will very quickly learn that for himself.

Why can't people do the same in the big cities?  Because they've allowed themselves to be "ground down" by local politics and liberal moonbattery.  Self-reliance is actively discouraged.  One's supposed to surrender control of one's personal security and right to self-defense to officials appointed to take care of that.  If one proceeds to do so oneself, one is regarded as part of the problem - even, in some jurisdictions, the cause of the problem - rather than the solution.  Essentially, the local authorities have made it a crime to protect oneself and one's neighborhood.

I'm glad I don't live in places like that any more.  Please God, I never will again!

As for Birmingham, UK, I can only imagine my parents spinning in their graves to see how their once-mighty city has fallen.  I'm glad they died before they had to see that article for themselves.  They'd have been apoplectic, incandescent with rage, at the prospect of citizens so timid, so cowardly, that they won't band together, police their own streets, and take care of business - if necessary, the hard way.  I can almost hear my father's voice in my mind.  "What do you mean, 'How do you stop them'?  You have rope and lampposts.  What more do you need, dammit?"

His generation, and my mother's, won World War II.  Would their modern successors be as successful in time of war?  One wonders...


Bait and switch and digital ID


Neil Oliver points out that in Britain, the powers that be are doing a bait-and-switch with their proposed Digital ID expansion.  I haven't been able to find a transcript of his talk (which can normally be found at GBNews), but his message is so important that I've embedded the video, even without the transcript.  I highly recommend that you take eleven minutes out of your day to watch it.

Here's a key passage, speaking about the "bait" of the prospect of electric vehicles replacing all our fossil-fuel-powered vehicles.

"Most of us won't have any sort of car at all.  Unless the demand for cars - any sort of cars - drops drastically, there's no way to hit the emissions targets our governments have loudly committed us to.  That's where the "15-minute cities" come in.  We'll be expected to walk or cycle.  Do you see the scam yet?  They advertise a world of electric cars, but what we'll end up buying is lives lived on foot, within 15 minutes of our homes."

That's about the size of it, in America as much as in Britain.  Back in pre-Industrial-Revolution times, most people were born, grew up, lived, worked, grew old and died within twenty miles of their birthplace - often less than that.  That's because travel was too difficult and too costly;  animal-powered, without roads worthy of the name, and very time-consuming.  Only the wealthy, or those making a living by moving goods and services from one place to another, could afford such travel.  In so many words, the "Green Revolution" is angling to push us all back into precisely that sort of lifestyle, where we simply can't travel much - whether we want to or not.

(What that means for folks who live out in the country, or in small towns, is left to the imagination.  In reality, the success of the 15-minute city project means that people like that will be forced to move to cities where they don't want to live, to "enjoy" a lifestyle that is anathema to them.  So much for personal freedom!)

Digital ID is yet another scam, a control freak's wet dream.  At present it's said to be "opt-in only":  if we don't want it, we won't be forced into it.  However, we all know that's nothing more than a sop to public opinion.  If the only way to access your state pension, or buy a ticket on a bus or train or aircraft, or purchase what you need, is to use your digital ID, then you have no option at all.  Worse, if we all carry ID that can be electronically scanned at any place, at any time, we will have no privacy left whatsoever.

If a crime is committed, anyone within a given distance of it will be traced, and can be interrogated at need.  We won't be able to buy or sell anything without it, because transactions will become cashless, built around the use of a digital ID to identify the purchaser (and, in the case of a private transaction, the seller).  Just think of the drools of eagerness of those wanting to ban private firearms sales.  They could identify both buyer and seller with trivial ease, just by looking back through our movements, keyed to our digital ID, and our financial transactions, keyed in the same way.  The same goes for anything and everything else.

Our privacy is already in rags and tatters.  Compulsory, enforced digital ID will destroy it completely.


On the mend


Yesterday's outpatient surgical procedure appears to have been successful.  I've got a new, relatively deep slice taken out of my left thigh, just below the groin, where the abscess was opened up and "washed out", so to speak.  It's going to be left to drain again, and the hope is that it'll seal itself up permanently.  Here's hoping!

It was intensely frustrating, as always, to have to deal with the hospital staff.  I'm sure they're doing their best as they see it, but almost without exception they won't look you in the eye, won't engage in any sort of human-to-human conversation, and maintain what I suppose they'd call a "professional distance".  Time was, I recall, when one was treated like a human being in hospital, and expected to treat the hospital staff in the same way.  Today... not so much.  It's abstract, remote, and not very "caring" from the patient's perspective.  One feels like a piece of meat on the slab in a butcher's shop.

Just as frustrating is the difficulty of digging information out of the system and the personnel.  I had some prior bloodwork done, but had never been informed of the results.  Yesterday morning I was informed that a major health indicator was "out of balance", and I needed to address it urgently - but nobody had called me as soon as it was discovered, days before the procedure, to alert me to it and give me an early opportunity to deal with it.  What's more, no follow-up treatment was suggested or offered.  Instead, I was told that I needed to fix it, without any further information or input.  Fortunately, I'm aware enough of my condition and potential treatments that I can do that:  but others, without that advantage, might be left floundering.  Why couldn't someone just have called, told me what the test revealed, and offered a suggestion or two as to a way forward?  Would that have been so difficult?  From the lack of effort, I can only suppose that yes, it would have been that difficult - at least, in their eyes.

To make matters more frustrating, my surgeon lectured me on what he considers to be the best short-term solution to the problem (which, perhaps inevitably from his perspective, would involve more surgery).  He completely failed to provide the other side of the argument, which is that the operation in question frequently results in complications, is of limited effect, and is fully successful in less than a third of cases - all facts I already knew.  Needless to say, I won't be following his suggestion.  I don't like being taken for a fool.

Sometimes the system is amusing.  I had my procedure under local anesthetic.  As part of the preparation for surgery, the anesthetist stopped by and informed me that I'd be fitted with a drip, so that if emergency anesthesia was needed (in case of complications), it could be administered without delay.  That was understandable:  but he also informed me he was going to give me a "pre-anesthesia" dose, something to relax and sedate me without knocking me unconscious, similar to what they give patients before a colonoscopy.  He was startled and upset when I refused that, saying I wanted only the local anesthetic.

"But... but... everybody gets the preliminary shot!"

"I don't want it.  It's only a little pain."

"Oh... well... I suppose it's your right to choose."

Yes, it is, and I exercised that right.  In the theater, the anesthetic technician was also surprised by my choice, and couldn't understand how anyone would want to "endure pain".  First of all, there wasn't much to endure, and second, I'm a combat veteran.  I've been shot, stabbed, bashed around and sundry other unpleasantries.  I know what real pain feels like.  Compared to those injuries, a little scalpel work is nothing to write home about.  The local anesthetic took care of 90% of it, and I sat through the rest.  That's all there is to it... but clearly, that wasn't the politically or anesthetically correct response!

Oh, well.  After more than 20 hospitalizations for this, that and the other, with stays ranging from a few hours to 40 days, I've grown accustomed to (but still intensely dislike) being no more than a digit in the system.  I suppose it's the inevitable result of more and more people seeking care from fewer and fewer doctors, nurses and medical facilities.  The torrent of illnesses, injuries and complaints overwhelms the system, effectively forcing it to become dehumanized in many ways.  I don't know how that can be fixed, except for those wealthy enough to have access to concierge medicine and private facilities.


Monday, January 30, 2023

Hospital day


By the time you read this, my surgery should be over.  I'll either be lying in a post-op bed, recovering, or (if all has gone very well) I'll be on my way home with my wife.  The operation is supposed to be under local anesthetic, but they have the option to knock me out if they think they need to shut me up work more carefully.  If they do that, I may end up having to spend a night there - something I really don't want to do, for many reasons (particularly financial).  We'll see.

Your prayers will be welcome for swift and complete healing.  Thanks for them in advance.  Regular blogging will resume (I hope) tomorrow morning.


Memes that made me laugh 144


Gathered from around the Internet over the past week.  Click any image for a larger view.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Sunday morning music


Sometimes - not very often - a piece of music comes out of one cultural tradition and musical heritage, only to be adopted as their own by multiple other traditions.  It expresses emotions, feelings and images that transcend boundaries.

Such a piece was written by Scottish musician Dougie Maclean, and performed on his 1990 instrumental album "The Search".  Be patient with its relatively slow opening.  The "meat" of the song - which I'm sure most of my readers will recognize - comes in about halfway through.

As I'm sure most remember, the song was adopted as the main musical theme of the 1992 movie "The Last of the Mohicans".  As such, under the oddly spelt title "Promentory", it became instantly popular worldwide.

The song has gone on to be played by many music groups around the world, and may be one of the most "cross-cultural" pieces of our time.  I've selected a few to illustrate how it's been absorbed into other musical cultures.

First, here's a Brittany-Irish version from Breizh Pan Celtic.  I like the harp adaptation.

Next, here's Indiogenes with a South American adaptation.  I haven't learned enough about the history of that continent to know which of its ancient cultures (Aztec, Maya, etc.) may be represented here.

How about an all-guitar version?  Here's the Italian quartet 40 Fingers.

And finally, here's the late Yemeni performer Ahmed Alshaiba performing the song on the oud, a lute-type traditional instrument popular in the Middle East.

There are other adaptations out there, as a search on YouTube will reveal.  In a little over 30 years, the simple original Scottish piece has become a worldwide and multicultural phenomenon.


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!


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.


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!


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.


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.



Thursday, January 26, 2023

All together, now: AAAAWWWW!


Found on Gab (clickit to biggit):

Too cute!


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.


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 Kenosha, 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.