Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More Christmas Loot

The package lost in the mail on Christmas finally arrived today, my gifts from Charlie: the Pocket Fowler's Modern English Usage, which will provide hours of rainy day amusement to a word nerd like myself, and Victor Davis Hanson's A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War. I expect that, like Carnage and Culture, it will not be an easy read but it will be a rewarding one. I hope to report on it in my fourth Summer Reading List this coming June.

Thanks, Charlie!

Oh. And Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I Did Spell-Check It

Better check it again.

Shamelessly stolen from Robert Stacy McCain.

Money Ted Won't Get

It's an easy choice. You can wait until April 15th and give your money to someone who has your own worst interests at heart, or you can write a check now to someone who's fighting for your rights.

I mailed my check to OFF PAC, P.O. Box 556, Canby OR, 97013.

Tough luck, Ted.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Coquille At Flood Stage

According to the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, the Coquille River at Myrtle Point is already four feet over flood stage.

Bookmark that link and add it to your weather sites. You're going to get billed for it whether you use it or not.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

An Encouraging Sign

Investor's Business Daily noticed it on Christmas Eve.
How often do you find liberal Democrats interested in hearing that tax increases bring forth "a large, rapid, and highly statistically significant negative effect on output"? Or in taking in the news that "tax increases have a large negative effect on investment"?

Or that previous analyses in recent years of the impact of tax increases on consumption underplayed their economic damage and that a "new measure of fiscal shocks support(s) the view that the effects are large and negative"?

These are the kinds of findings we saw come last year from University of California, Berkeley, economics professor Christina Romer, the president-elect's choice as chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Christmas Loot

From my lovely wife, Robert Fagles's translation of The Iliad and The Odyssey, boxed set; from Marielle a new picture puzzle; from Elizabeth, a Christmas tie — and she managed to find a narrow one! and from Charlie, well, I'm told that it's still in the U.S. Postal System, probably on a truck in some snowbound pass.

Thank you, everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

No special post this year. May I refer you instead to a post from November of last year?
One of my favorite nativity paintings is this one by Anton Raphael Mengs (1728 - 1779). The Adoration of the Shepherds....
Lotsa pictures. Maybe you missed it.

Merry Christmas!

Escape

Hans von Spakovsky has a Christmas tale.
They said a prayer, sang some Christmas hymns, and then sat silently, thinking about what they had lost and were leaving behind, including their families. (My father never saw his mother or his father again.) The candles burned out, and it became dark again around them.

The next day they resumed their journey. Once Christmas had passed, and they did not encounter any Bolshevik patrols, my father felt they had been saved. Two weeks later, they arrived safely in Finland. They had skied hundreds of kilometers through the wilderness in the dead of winter.
But you should read it all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Must-Read of the Day

John O'Sullivan in The Wall Street Journal.
I know Margaret Thatcher. Margaret Thatcher is a friend of mine. And as a matter of fact, Margaret Thatcher and Sarah Palin have a great deal in common....
Read it all.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Left Eye Dominance

Bob Furry demonstrates his great-grandfather's gun.
The stock of the .38-55 Model 1894 Winchester with its octagon barrel is unique, having been adjusted by Frederick Enoch Furry, who apprenticed as a gunsmith in Jacksonville when he and the state were young.

Using Yankee ingenuity, the right-handed pioneer replaced the lower half of the stock so it curved away to allow him to line up the buck sight with his dominant left eye while resting his right cheek on the stock. Yet the butt would also be snug against his right shoulder when he fired a round.
Part of a four-day series on Oregon history in the Mail Tribune.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Garbage In

John Tierney has a question.
If we want our children to be scientifically literate and get good jobs in the future, why are we spending precious hours in school teaching them to be garbage collectors?
Answer: There is absolutely nothing precious about the hours spent in school. It is, quite simply, wasted time, time that would be better spent in a pool hall.

Does saying that make me a crank? Very well, then, I'm a crank.

Tierney is not talking about time, of course, but about the stupidity of recycling. He's been on about this before — twelve years ago — but teachers are, almost by definition, slow learners.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ho Ho Ho

My little sister's baking Santa Cookies.

Gore Blimey

After three days of the coldest weather we've seen in a long time, it started snowing this morning about 4:00 AM. It's still coming down, wet and heavy. I moved the cars out from under the walnut tree — I don't trust it, especially with windy conditions forecast for this afternoon.

My main complaint about Global Warming® is it's not working.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas In Germany

Ist Army GIs warm up during a lull, Ardennes, Dec. 20, 1944.

Jules Crittenden has the best post of the day.

Go there. (You're just wasting your time here.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bill of Rights Day

David Hardy recommends:
So here's the plan. Monday, Dec. 15, is Bill of Rights Day. We can launch a "book bomb" on that day. A book bomb consists of lots of people ordering a book on the same day or within a few days. Amazon, for example, has a ranking system which (while details are secret) ...
I've bought mine, along with a couple other stocking stuffers.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Quiet Day At The Range

It snowed as I drove out there but it wasn't sticking. Other than some kids with .22s and someone over at the practical pistol, the place was deserted. I shot my usual box of twenty and managed to get them all on 8½ by 11 paper at 100 yards, and four actually hit the 3" target spots.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Bells

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."
The poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, written December 25th, 1864.

The music by John Baptiste Calkin, about 1870.

Our real estate broker sends us a card every Christmas, and two or three times she has included a CD of Christmas music. One of these, A Candlelight Christmas, has over time become my favorite, in particular for track 4, "I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day," whipped up in Nashville by a studio band with an uncredited vocalist.

I don't know why I like it so much. It only includes verses 1, 2, 7, and 3, in that order, and the tune, for something written 130 years ago, is surprisingly modern. Study the lyrics, I guess—something there grabs me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Therapist's Suggestion for Christmas Carols

  1. Schizophrenia — Do You Hear What I Hear?
  2. Multiple Personality Disorder — We Three Kings Disoriented Are
  3. Dementia — I Think I'll be Home for Christmas
  4. Narcissistic — Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me
  5. Manic — Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and...
  6. Paranoid — Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me
  7. Borderline Personality Disorder — You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why
  8. Attention Deficit Disorder — Silent night, Holy oooh look at the Froggy — can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?
  9. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder — Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle,Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells
Shamelessly stolen from David Hardy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Do-It-Yourself Holster Making

JDLawhon makes it look easy.

With a little practice, I'll bet it is.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

F-18 Crash at Miramar

Training flight turned to tragedy.
Barely 50 feet separated life from death for two families when a Marine fighter jet plunged into their University City neighborhood just before noon yesterday.

A mother, her young child and the child's grandmother died at 4416 Cather Ave. when the disabled F/A-18D Hornet crashed into the house in a fiery explosion, authorities said.

A second child was missing and presumed dead...
Recent immigrants from Korea.

The crash site was less than a mile from where I used to work at Intuit; pan out and head south-east across Governor Drive, that's TurboTax world headquarters. We enjoyed watching the jets as the flew overhead, sometimes for hours, practicing takeoffs and landings. They were never any problem.

Update: more on the crash, and the victims and pilot identified.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Power Lighting

Charlie and I put up the Christmas lights yesterday. We used the old fashioned C-9 seven watt bulbs, twenty-five to a string, alternating red and green. Just going around the house takes eight strings. Two more on each dormer, and two over the kitchen porch. That's fourteen. Next weekend I'll hang two more strings on the dining room porch, bringing the total to 16 x 25 x 7, or 2800 watts of Christmas Power Lighting.

No slackers, these Durands!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Dr. Woof’s Diet Advice

My little brother's suffering. First from back pain that's going to require surgery, and second from digestive upset aggravated by the narcotics he's taking to relieve the pain.

I warned him that
...any advice I might have is from so far out in left field that any rational media-fed citizen who heard it would immediately jump up on the coffee table and scream, "Heresy! Heresy! He's trying to kill you! Don't do it! Don't even listen to him!" or words to that effect.
And then I let him have it. My advice, that is.
It's nothing that an all-meat diet won't cure.

First of all, it won't hurt to quit eating altogether for a day or two. Drink plenty of water, of course. It's difficult, but not impossible, to drink too much water. Prune juice well diluted and as hot as you can stand it until the blockage clears. Wait until you're good and hungry before you eat again. Stomach rumbling is normal. Ignore it.

Then: a little roast beef well marbled with fat cooked in a slow cooker. And this is important: Do not, repeat not, cut away the fat. It's good for you, and good for your digestive system.

As your system recovers add steaks to your diet (once again, get the good stuff and eat all of it), bacon (not too crisp), turkey, ham, fish, shrimps, chicken, and every other kind of flesh, fish, or fowl. That's all.

Avoid the temptation to try vegetables. Vegetables are bad for you. And at all costs avoid bread and crackers, potatoes and pasta. They will kill you, maybe not instantly, but certainly over time.

After a week or two of a decent carnivorous diet you will notice that most if not all of your digestive complaints have gone. If you get nostalgic for them, have a salad. When you get over that, go back to roast beef.

Take it easy on the canned meats, eggs, and cheese. They'll probably treat you fine, but if they don't, stick with the animals, freshly killed and lightly grilled.

It's a diet you can live with.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christmas Kitty

We drove up towards Diamond Lake today to cut our Christmas trees, and stopped by the Prospect Ranger Station to buy our permits. They were in a festive mood.

We'd actually located our trees a couple months ago and marked their position with our hand-held GPS. But when we got there and looked at them critically we changed our minds and picked out some different trees. There were plenty of firs to choose from, and very little snow on the ground. It wasn't even very cold.

On the way back we stopped at Becky's in Union Creek for hamburgers.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Today Is Repeal Day

And Eugene bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler has a site dedicated to it.
On December 5th, 1933, Utah, the final state needed for a three quarters majority, ratified the 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition and restoring the American right to a celebratory drink.
As soon as I get off work tonight, I'm going to celebrate.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Another Chachapoya Village Found

The Telegraph:
The settlement covers some 12 acres and is perched on a mountainside in the remote Jamalca district of Utcubamba province in the northern jungles of Peru's Amazon.

The buildings found on the Pachallama peak are in remarkably good condition, estimated to be over 1,000 years old and comprised of the traditional round stone houses built by the Chachapoya, the 'Cloud Forest People'.
We first mentioned them almost two years ago.
Put this on my wish list. Warriors of the Clouds: A Lost Civilization in the Upper Amazon of Peru by Keith Muscutt.
It would make a very nice Christmas present.

It's Pledge Week Again

And Mark Steyn pleads.
As you know, things got a little fractious here at NRO in the run-up to the election. Levin loathes Frum, and Frum loathes Ponnuru, and Ponnuru loathes Parker, and Parker loathes Goldberg, and Goldberg loathes Derb, and Derb loathes everyone. It isn't easy keeping a pack of weasels in an online sack 24/7 without them tearing each other's throats out. The anger-management costs alone are enormous.

So I hope you'll consider making a donation to NRO....
Fat chance. I only contribute to winning teams.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Meet Moshe Holtzberg

He just turned two on Saturday. He misses his Mommy and Daddy.

They were tortured and killed by Muslim perverts in Bombay last week.

Hail diversity.

Via Blatherings.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A Call For Global Worming

Worming. Max Redline says what we really need is global worming.
Lawyers, political hacks, environmeddle "activists", and, of course, "planners" share one unique attribute: they're all parasites. Their sole purpose in life is to drain you of resources so that they can successfully grow and produce new generations of parasites.

What this planet desperately needs at this point in time is Global Worming; an intervention designed to eliminate a significant portion of the parasite load. And it needs to happen quickly.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Get A Grip

I caught a little teasing for blogging the James Bond Gun. One reader suggested the Bersa Thunder .380 as an alternative, at about half the price. I don't think so. The Bersa is half an inch larger in every dimension — length, height, and most importantly, width. It's 1.44 inches versus the Walther's 0.98.

I'm serious about small hands. The average man's hand measures 190 mm from wrist to fingertip. Mine measures 178 mm. The standard devation is 10 mm. That puts me in the 11th percentile. Nine out of ten men have larger hands than me. Four out of ten women do.

It's not just a matter of comfort, it's a matter of safety.
To shoot safely, the hand must be positioned so the thumb crotch (the web between the thumb and index finger) is on the center of the backstrap (the rear of the handle) and the distal pad of the index finger (the pad beyond the last knuckle) is on the centerline of the trigger.
I can do that with the Walther. I can't with a .45.