Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Monday, January 29, 2007

Who?

I am:
Hal Clement (Harry C. Stubbs)
A quiet and underrated master of "hard science" fiction who, among other things, foresaw integrated circuits back in the 1940s.


Which science fiction writer are you?



Never heard of him. And I thought I was into "hard science" fiction. More books to find...

(via Flares Into Darkness)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sunday Sunday

I went to the Lee Kay range today and broke in Pytor Bangovich, my recently acquired Mosin Nagant M91/30. Money WELL spent! Even with the famous Mosin trigger, my groups were pleasantly tight at both twenty five and fifty yards. I highly recommend Albanian Light Ball (brass case) cartidges. They can be had here in Orem for less than fifty dollars for a spam can of four hundred forty rounds.

The holosight I purchased at last week's gunshow for my Bushmaster turned out to be not that great a deal at all. The LED isn't bright enough to be seen in full daylight; that's why it only cost seventy five bucks, where a real tactical sight usually costs upwards of three hundred. I was able to zero it at the max brightness setting but acquiring the red dot on any background other than dead black was impossible.

I might be able to use it to pop coyotes on cloudy days. Maybe not. I'm glad I figured this out at a range and not someplace where it mattered.

The pics of the Mosin groups will be up early next week.

If you are looking for scintillating (or at least lengthy) political discourse, you might try here. Watch out, though - some of those commenters do go on and on and on...

I hope you had a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Paperwork

I signed this.

I am a delegate for my Republican precinct caucus here in Orem. I haven't sent a dime to the RNC since about six months before last election, including member dues.

I've explained (at length) why not in numerous letters and email messages to my state and the national Republican powers - that - be.

They will get my money for doing things that remotely support, oh, I don't know, the party platform or maybe get serious about Illegal immigration.

Social security reform would have been nice. Of course, it would have been a lot easier to sell back in the mists of time (say, two or three years back right after the Republicans gained seats in the midterms...). Have you taken a look at the markets lately? (that's a live link and will change with time - today's DOW is another record at 12621.77). Go here to look at employment numbers. WE ARE AT FULL EMPLOYMENT nationally, with some regional outliers in areas dependent on auto manufacturing or trapped at the top of housing/real estate bubbles. Amazing economy, isn't it? Just what did the nominally Republican majority government do to make these things happen?

It began to fight back in the Long War. It cut taxes in ways that most benefited those people who make jobs happen for other people. No sweeping government babysitting programs. No "investments" in nannystatism (well, o.k., there's TSA... and the Medicare Prescription benefit, even though the latter may actually be more efficient than first thought). But all that was before America decided that Republicans weren't governing as conservatives. That's Republicans from the President all the way down.

My last five trips to the Emergency room, either as a patient or taking somebody in, I waited behind illegal immigrants. Granted, once I admitted that my chest MIGHT hurt that one time I shot right into treatment. I don't expect to see more than pennies on any of my of Social Security dollars, if that - the math is patently unworkable that the system can be maintained as it is run now.

But boy you can buy a lot of votes selling bridges to old folks, if you are in to that kind of thing. Alaska isn't the only place they build bridges to nowhere.

The Republicans in particular and conservatives in general are in the grasp of a leadership crisis.

We need new blood to bring back the old ideals - Reagan's ideals - to the leading edge of American political thought.

The GOP got lazy and got righteously thumped. The stakes are too high to merely allow the Democrats the next two years to embarass themselves; the country cannot afford a seventies flashback. Not with a nuclear Iran and still with a chance to end Islamic fascism without having to irradiate a quarter of the world's surface.

GOP - if you want me on your donor rolls, get back to being Republican. If that is too much to ask, just don't bother calling.

(via Instapundit )

Sunday, January 14, 2007

My Office



Note the absence of secretaries. Or comfy chairs.

But I don't have a desk. And not many corner offices could compete with the view.

Tomorrow's high temperature: 12F.

The above picture was snapped this last Friday around four in the afternoon. The temp then was 10F. I had just stripped off the top two layers for the drive home.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Revelation.

(Disclaimer: I just spent yet another day working in blowing wet snow, dealing with uncharacteristically troublesome subcontractors, wrestling with vexing plan conflicts, and a total commute time of five hours plus the five actually billable to the job. Then there's the looming symptoms of this year's bought of bronchitis, too...)



February will mark the beginning of my third year up at Devil's Island, the large construction project that lives at the halfway point of my daily two hundred miles. My family life has taken a hit, but the money has helped offset some of that particular stress. Of all the life changes associated with my work up there the one that really ticks me off is the fact that lately I find I can't write a coherent thought to save my life. (SEE? What kind of sentence is THAT?)

I just spent a half hour Googling back through some of my past posts and comments. There are quite a few pieces that I can't believe I actually authored. I mean that they are actually enjoyable to read. They make sense.

I can't write like that any more.

Back during the period I was at home most of the time I let slide getting chores done because I was reading, posting, or commenting. There was also some writing of story ideas plus doing scads of research.

For the last year or so I haven't done much more than rear up from the virtual table in the back of the virtual bar to shout at the virtual TV. And I haven't even had a drink since 2000.

I never intended to pursue a lot of traffic with TRB (got that wish in spades - lol). My main reason for starting my own blog was to have the ability to expand on ideas I had encountered in other places. Yes, Virginia, I do like the sound of my own voice, but what I am trying to say is that back at the beginning of TRB I was finding my urge to argue was outstripping my ability to research. I ended up arguing the same points ad infinitum across multiple forums without the benefit of learning anything new. Or maybe I wanted to start debates instead of participating in them. Could be a little bit of both I guess.

Anyway, back to basics. Here's some "givens" that I operate on:

1. Without my family (the Mrs and the Goddesses. And the cats.) I am less than nothing.

2. I am personally committed to the pursuit of the ideals upon which the American style of representative democracy is based upon.

3. I base my opinions on a lifetime spent reading history, leavened with military service, and influenced by working in a trade that demands tangible results for capital expenditure.

4. I thought that the fall of the Wall ended the period of "Interesting Times" for my generation, until about half way through the Clinton years.

5. I believe that Lincoln was right when he declared that it would never be a foreign enemy that would threaten our liberty, but it would instead be the failure of our own citizenry to preserve it. I believe that Lincoln would instantly recognise our contemporary domestic political situation as evidence of his declaration.

*Sigh*

It sure would be nice to write something (again) based upon those givens that would be worth someone else's time to read...

In the coming year I will endeavor to rise to that goal.


Criminy. That is all.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Jumble

Christmas in Ohio was wonderful. Mild weather, fantastic relatives, and at least two episodes of laugh - so - hard - we - got - out - the - chair - protectors.

Air travel out and back was seamless. American Airlines's flight attendants couldn't make it as comedians like most of Southwest's... but the legroom made up for the missing comedy.

I found Mrs. TmjUtah the Perfect Gift. Not diamonds, but Portuguese flannel jammies and a matching robe. In return, she put one right through the uprights: after a year of shaking her head at my growing addiction to military surplus rifles she dropped a Big 5 gift card in my stocking, which has already morphed into a M91/30 Mosin Nagant rifle. It has matching receiver, barrel, bottom metal, and buttplate numbers... and the reciever itself is a finely executed hexagonal version that was machined for the Tsar in 1896. At least that's what the stamp beneath the tang says.

Lessee...Saddam got the short sharp drop. Good.

Gerald Ford passed into history. I found it hard to watch the media coverage after the Woodward interview was made public; instantly the late president was suddenly up on a pedestal with FDR or Jesus. ( That would be the unitarian, non-religious iconoclastic Jesus, not to be confused with any Christianist historical figure of note.) All the time I was going through adolescence the media treated Ford like an idiot in need of training wheels. At the same time they failed to mention that we were reneging on our treaty commitments to those pesky South Vietnamese folks. Priorities.

Politics in general: I watched a few minutes of coverage on the Democrats' ascension to power. Ascension to power, not responsibility. Can't be having anything like that.

I can take a joke as well as the next guy... but Pelosi? Reid? It must be popcorn and champagne time in select caves in the Tribal Areas, and in the nicer salons in Tehran.

Well, we've got two years to figure out what to do. Maybe the Reps will clean a little house and get us some statesmen. At least the right still has a bench to go to. I figure Bush will just warm up the veto pen and sign a lot of hunting licenses.

As far as work goes during the Worst Economy Since Haliburton Killed The Last Dodo , I missed Friday due to something akin to the flu. Same place, same stuff, just a wee bit cool the next slice of forever. Still feel like crap but I'll be back out there Monday.

I hope you have a happy and prosperous 2007.