Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas in a Minor Key

Christmas used to be a big production event for us. With four boys growing up, we would have year after year traditions, piles of wrapped presents, the biggest tree we could get in the room, lights on the house, and an unending stream of cookies.

All those decorations sit in boxes in the attic. The oven sits unused. There will be no one coming home this year, just the two of us in a quiet house, and the ghosts of Christmas past.

The music in the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, like the song posted by Borepatch, is mostly in a minor key. A little plaintive. But in the end, it is about hope and finding Christmas in unexpected ways.

I was going to the range last week and she asked me to "look for a Charlie Brown tree". I found one on the back side of the berms and cut it with a machete. We put it in plastic flowerpot filled with rocks and she put tinsel on it. Our decorating for the year is complete.

It is in others ways that I continue to hope and believe in the coming of the Christ into the world.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Christmas Time Is Here - Vince Guaraldi Trio (from A Charlie Brown Christmas)

This Christmas tree?  This one?  How about this one?  Check.

Bow saw?  Check.

Cut down tree?  Check.

Bring tree home, set up stand, set up tree, string lights?  Check, check, check, and check.

Things are beginning to look a bit like Christmas here at Castle Borepatch.  That means that things are beginning to sound a bit like Christmas.  I can't believe in all the years of posting Christmas music I've never done this one.  Those of you of a certain age will hum along with me.

Colt .22s

Colt made a John Moses Browning designed .22 semi-auto pistol for decades. It was called The Woodsman, mostly. Early models are now called pre-Woodman and there are later variants. I have one. It is the only gun I own that belonged to my grandfather and I am sure this is not my first post on this.

It comes up today because I was looking for a set of target grips with a thumbrest. It looks like I will have to have a go at making them. My Google-fu is weak and I have not found a set to purchase.

But once I was down the rabbit hole, I started looking for a spare magazine as well and stumbled onto Bob Rayburn's Colt Woodsman Page. Even if you have never held a Woodsman and have no interest in shelling out a grand or more on an antique .22 pistol, this site deserves a visit. Detailed information for the collector, historical data, and the real reason I am posting this, pictures and vignettes on some rare variants. That link takes you to the first picture in the first series.

I'm not a collector, I'm a shooter.  Collecting guns and then deciding they are too pretty, too rare, or too expensive to shoot strikes me as wrong. Too each their own, though, and I'm willing to spend some time on a cold rainy December afternoon looking at some interesting pieces of history.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Friday, December 2, 2016

The reason for the electoral college

This is a pithy description of the difference between rural and urban areas to their inhabitants:
Moreover, this election shows the value of election by states. The tension nowadays is between big urban areas and rural areas. In the city, when workers lose their jobs due to immigration or trade, they can go down the street and get another job. In a rural area, when the factory shuts down, the town is devastated, and there are no other jobs to be had. The benefits of free trade are such that even Trump can't roll them back -- but as a nation we need to address the disproportionate impact changes have on rural communities. That rural communities can defend their interests is exactly why our Constitution is the way it is -- and why the President isn't chosen with a popular vote.

Something that old school leftists (say, from the 1920s through the 1950s) knew was that economic interests are the key determiner.  Since the 1960s, there has been an increasing emphasis on idealogical issues, to the detriment of economic ones.  This election has seen pocketbook issues return in a big way, and today's leftists are struggling to understand what's gone wrong with the world.  Any leftist from 1925 could tell them.

TL;DR: rural people aren't racist, they're just tired of getting economically screwed by leftists.

The revolt against the elites

Fred on the election:
The election was a referendum on Marie Antoinette’s court. It was the revolt of the unnoticed downtrodden, the financially sinking, the working classes rising against  privileged snots–but it was engineered by the elites. The glittering elect of course did not say “working class,” this being a  loaded phrase redolent of Marxism and of the Democratic Party of five decades back before it became a royal court. They spoke instead of disgruntled white men, racists, homophobes, sexists, and the Islamonauseated–phobic, I meant.
As with Fred, the analysis is both spot on as well as entertaining:
The privileged worked hard for Trump. Every time they described his people as uneducated white males, implicit dregs, they drove votes to Donald. And they so described the working class unceasingly.

It made him President. Good, bad, or indifferent, it is how he got in.

The privileged denigrated all whites unlike themselves. Then Hillary made her “deplorables” speech, confirming her contempt for half of America–those uneducated, shapeless, dull-witted proles in Flyover Land, obese, farting and belching, swilling Bud, watching  NASCAR for god’s sake  in awful trailers. And why not not sneer at them? Why did Hillary need their votes? Did not Rachel Maddow love her?

For Trump it was gold, pure gold. If he had written her speech, he could not have come up with a better line to destroy her. It was the purest product of the establishment’s hubris. She did it to herself. Sweet.
This is one of Fred's best.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Mental health break

In a lighter vein, this made me laugh.

Government imposed Renewable Energy targets = clear cutting protected forests

Who didn't see this coming?
Protected forests are being indiscriminately felled across Europe to meet the EU’s renewable energy targets, according to an investigation by the conservation group Birdlife.
Up to 65% of Europe’s renewable output currently comes from bioenergy, involving fuels such as wood pellets and chips, rather than wind and solar power.
Bioenergy fuel is supposed to be harvested from residue such as forest waste but, under current legislation, European bioenergy plants do not have to produce evidence that their wood products have been sustainably sourced.
But if you don't support the Green policy flavor du jour, you just hate the earth.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

California to regulate cow farts

I would mock this, but it comes pre-mocked from the California Legislature:
GALT, Calif. (AP) — California is taking its fight against global warming to the farm.
The nation's leading agricultural state is now targeting greenhouse gases produced by dairy cows and other livestock.
Despite strong opposition from farmers, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation in September that for the first time regulates heat-trapping gases from livestock operations and landfills.
Not sure what you could add to that.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Media Bias II

President-elect Trump tweeted the following “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag — if they do, there must be consequences — perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”

I disagree with him on this. You buy a flag, you want to burn it in a protest, have at. I don't think much of the behavior, but I am trying to be consistent and my support for free speech and free expression starts with the behavior on the margins. 

USAToday jumped right in with an opinion piece pointing legal precedent and the SCOTUS ruling on the topic. The sudden support for the Constitution was heart warming and I only hope that USAToday takes another look at the Heller Decision and gets on board for the whole Bill of Rights in the future.

What they left out of their coverage was the Flag Protection Act of 2005. You probably don't remember that because it didn't pass. It was an attempt to make burning a flag a federal crime punishable by a year in jail and a $100,000 fine.

It was co-sponsored by Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Watching Media Bias in action

Unfolding before our eyes:
If "alt-right" could have been tied tightly to Spencer and overt racists, then it would seem as though Bannon is an admitted racist and is toxic. That plan seems to have failed because the intermediate step — equating "alt-right" with racist — outraged readers. Making racists seem okay and kind of cool was an unintended consequence.

So now we're seeing the media back off.
Shilling for the Left.  It's what they do.

Detente with Russia?

Boy, there sure are a lot of people who don't like the idea of Trump de-escalating tensions with Russia.  Quite frankly, it sure looks like some folks (*cough* EU *cough*) sure have pushed Russia to the edge:
So from a Russian perspective, they are entirely surrounded by historically or currently hostile actors with a history of invasion by them and a recent history of “Color Revolutions” instigated by Soros and his fellow travelers in the EU having taken down a series of Slavic Countries to the west. (Czech Republic, Slovakia, the various parts of the old Yugoslavia, Ukraine, etc. etc.) with Russia as “on the menu”. Thus Putin tossing Soros out and banning his “Non-governmental” Organizations… 
Now, one more little item to remember: When Eastern Germany was allowed to merge with West Germany, Gorbachev was given an iron clad guarantee that NATO would not extend “one thumbs width” further East. Now Nato borders Russia in several areas.
From the Russian POV, NATO has violated all agreements, expanded into Slavic lands, often via politically manipulative “color revolutions” and then insists on imposing “European Values” by which is usually meant the Soros Selected set of anti-Nation and anti-tradition and anti-Church and anti-European Culture destructive ideologies. Then we go and put anti-missile missiles in Poland (that shares a border with the part of Russia named Kaliningrad) where NATO was promised not to be.
When you figure that NATO (*cough* US Military *cough*) is their muscle, it seems entirely reasonable for President Trump to ask what the USA is getting from all this.