I have to admit I rather admire the one that involves arson. ;-)
Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category
Working on a longer think-piece from the hermitage. Meanwhile, thinking of you …
- Okay, you know the .22 LR shortage is desperate when people start reloading the stuff. S, who sent the link, says he’s not about to start personally risking his eyeballs packing gunpowder into tricky little rims; YMMV.
- Turns out that execrable CRomnibus spending bill (which rewards every pork-seeking group in the nation, with special attention to funding the D & R parties), has at least one good feature: it defunds the war on legalized cannabis.
- But Australia banned guns! So how can this possibly be happening???
- Well, the Olympia non-compliance rally didn’t draw as many who had signed up for it. But by every other measure it was a grand success. Here’s David Codrea’s take. And Mike Vanderboegh’s. And video of Mike’s speech. Activists burning their concealed carry permits and cops making no arrests as they watched protestors repeatedly violate the new law. Oh yeah …
- 75 little hacks for making everyday stuff easier. Very clever! (H/T AG; note, the servers at guff.com are having some problems right now, apparently from sheer overload. But once you can access this, it’s worthwhile for sure.)
And a big thank you to they buyers who’ve lifted my Amazon sales into healthy territory in the last week. This may not be a classic December, but it’s safely into the territory of becoming a good month. Thanks to many — but special nod to a seamstress, a rifle shooter, a skateboarder, a fitness fan, and a very fancy cat fancier!
I’ve already had a couple of readers ask what I’d like for Christmas. And my answer is: You already gave me fabulous presents.
Last summer’s roof-raiser was all I could ask for — and more. You bestowed such bounty on me that I’m still struggling to feel worthy.
Been a weird year. One thing after another went wrong, but no sooner had it gone than somebody would pop up with a helping hand. It’s been really amazing.
So no. I don’t need anything for Christmas. I had Christmas already.
If you’re in a giving mood may I suggest again this year that you send a little something to Joel over at TUAK. His eyeballs are working again now, thanks to last year’s generosity. But he’s got that broken-down Jeep and … well, he just works his tail off and never has much. So think of Joel, not me.
Or drop a few coins into the tip jar over at Rational Review. Or at Carl-Bear’s blog. Or another favorite freedom site. Oh. The Zelman Partisans has a donation button, too (and may soon be offering a few special gun-related deals to contributors). Right now, no TZP people are paid, but someday we’d like to see all the writers — and what a fine bunch they are — getting a little something.
That said, however, you can help rescue my Amazon links if you’re shopping online.
Suddenly, my Amazon commissions have cratered. Seriously. Cratered. Collapsed. Imploded. Fallen into a black hole. I’m in shock.
I assume my hermitting (even though it’s turned out to be only quasi-pseudo hermitting) triggered the downfall. OTOH, maybe the economy’s collapsed and the rest of the world doesn’t know it yet. Or you’re all on the outs with your relatives and not buying them anything for Christmas this year. Or you’ve all taken a no-spending pledge. (I can sympathize with that.)
In any case, we’re not just talking “a little bit off.” We’re talking bottomless pit.
November is usually very strong. This time it scraped bottom, coming in well below a typical month. December is always a barn-burner — generally bringing in three to four times the commissions of an average month. I’ve never seen it fail. Now? Sales are below average, and I don’t mean “below average for December.” I mean … 75 to 80 percent off a normal December.
So no, I don’t want gifts (though thank you very much). But IF you’re buying at Amazon anyhow, please use those links.
P.S. Before I could protest, one Santa already dropped a very welcome present down the chimney. While I was grousing in the cold, a big, beautiful kerosene heater arrived. That thing is capable of warming the whole house! Like my smaller, less powerful, Buddy-type propane heaters, it’ll be used only for emergencies. But it sure did warm my heart.
Thank you (once again), Family A. I know you just went through a long, stormy power outage and are very aware of how useful a powerful heater like that one can be.
- Love it! Trekkies (and fed-up fliers) tell the TSA who’s boss. (H/T S.)
- For this couple, energy-efficiency has jumped the shark. At least they now understand and are willing to say what a pair of idiots they were to build such a house.
- Wow. That was some impressive pistol shot!
- Lyrics NSFW and hip-hop might not be to everybody’s taste. But Freedom Feen Neema Vedadi (with Mason Moore) has a way of putting freedom right in the face of a new generation: “See My Chains.” (Tip o’ hat to MD)
- If you’ve never been to the Buffalo Bill Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming, you might want to make a detour next time you visit Yellowstone. Unless you’re Ian McCollum, it’ll show you more than you ever wanted to know about guns and their history. I’m noting this here because the firearms museum now has its first female curator — and from her qualifications it’s clear she’s no affirmative action hire.
- Distracted and diverted from the police state. This one’s a couple of months old, but quite apropos.
- And this one’s right up to date: Christmas. Is it the most menacing time of years? Troy Senik says it is if you really listen to those song lyrics! ;-)
Before I shut down for the day to return to hermitting, here are some links I’ve been collecting for you.
- Never mind that this prepper is living in New York City (whotta place to be in a crunch!). Never mind that he’s going public with exactly what ought to be most private. He’s right about a lot. For the rest of us if not for himself.
- Long but an interesting look at insanities of the past: Allen Ginsberg (in 1966) writing about “The Great Marijuana Hoax.”
- “Nine Things Remarkably Successful People Never Do” by Jeff Haden and “Nine Things Successful People Won’t Do” by Dr. Travis Bradberry. (Whether any of this is true depends on how you define success, but there are some good thoughts.)
And to get you in the Christmas spirit:
Via Borepatch: “The Carol of the Bells” writ rather large.
This 2014 commercial for the British store Sainsbury’s apparently infuriated a lot of people. I think it’s lovely. The only infuriating thing is that the guys in this famous WWI story went back to killing each other the very next day.
With the gas fireplace now officially kaput (and with queries sent to the manufacturer and the propane company), I’m huddled in an alcove between two space heaters, drinking hot coffee and eating warm comfort food.
It’s funny. Fifty-nine degrees feels perfectly decent outdoors. And considering how humans have lived for most of their history (and how some, like Joel, still live), 59 indoors is a relative luxury. Heck, electricity is a luxury. Nevertheless, I’m exercising my prerogative of feeling like a Dickens character. In the snow. Barefoot. Tubercular. Selling matches. (Or was that Hans Christian Andersen? I forget.)
Another thing the Little Match Girl didn’t have was a DVD player. And I admit its among my very favorite escapes from the cold. And from myself when the hermitting bit gets too intense.
I made a bare beginning on listing things I’m thankful for. I hope you’ll go on over this holiday weekend and add a few items of your own in comments. Or do that here if you’d rather.
News avoidance lurches right along. Mix of nooz and think pieces today.
- New software (so far W*nd*ws only) aims to help activists detect and foil government surveillance. Get it here. Can’t say how effective it’s going to be, but it’s endorsed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Amnesty International, and other big-timers in the field. (H/T MJR)
- Along the same lines, Let’s Encrypt aims to bring SSL/TSL to the masses by taking the difficulties and mysteries out of those pesky web site certificates. (Remember: Encryption is subversive! Or so our masters claim. Which is, of course, all the more reason to do it.)
- What if age is nothing but a mindset? (Tip o’ hat to ML)
- If you were talented enough to play in the NFL, would you quit to become a farmer? Jason Brown did.
- Holleee freakin’ cr*p! The shooter who did this was lucky he didn’t (in the famous words of Ralphie’s mother) “put his eye out.” His (or her) eye. Or face. Or hands. Or parts of the guys standing next to him at the range. Just looking at that photo is mind boggling.
- Which dietary supplement claims are backed by evidence and which aren’t? Interesting chart. But also not the be-all and end-all of truth. Much is still unknown.
- 10 instinctive decisions you will regret forever.
- It’s astonishing and discouraging how a cheesy, corrupt, lying, hustler can be considered “respectable.” And speaking of cheesy, corrupt, lying, downright embarrassing hustlers who nevertheless keep landing on their feet: Marion Berry, RIP.
So … how are y’all enjoying the deep freeze? Seems as if it’s settling in to stay, doesn’t it?
We’re just on the edge of it here in the North(currently not so)Wet — cozy compared with some of you. But it’s clear and cold and fiercely windy and I’m ready to stay indoors surrounded by space heaters.
Wonder if I could teach the dogs to use the toilet? Or just encourage them to go walk in the woods by themselves?
Though I’m still having not much darned luck with “listening to silence” (e.g. sitting meditation), this week has felt both blessedly serene and productive.
I’m working on something. Too early to talk about it; probably even mentioning it right now is hazardous to the creative process. Very likely it’ll come to nothing.
But if my brain must always be busy-busy-busy it’s a pleasure to have it busy on something potentially useful.
I don’t have tons of new or deep stuff to say right now. So here’s a nice time waster. Can you find the snipers (or hunters, if you prefer) in these pix?
And here’s a first. It’s so cold this morning that when all three critters in the household had a chance to get up on a cot in front of a nice, warm heat source, they jumped at the chance.
- Emory Hospital, which has successfully treated four U.S. Ebola sufferers, shares its learnings and its protocols. (Tip o’ hat to PT)
- Obamacare and the part-time workforce. I know this isn’t a good thing for people who want full-time work or for people who prefer honesty and small government. But in the long run, one of the best things that could happen to health insurance is to break its artificial link to employers. Maybe O’care will eventually do that.
- Flu shots: actually bad for the elderly.
- GOA alert to gun owners about our status as “domestic terrorists.” Nothing new or surprising; just lays a lot out in one place.
- Yes, the “greatest orator of his generation” has truly lost his mojo. (Never did understand where that “greatest orator” thing came from, anyhow. Just because the man speaks English better than “Mumbler” Bush? But then, some border collies have a better grasp of language than both Bush presidents.)
Okay, not hermitting yet. So here are some newslinks.
- Just vaporware so far, but Forbes thinks cops might soon add ‘Net-connected guns to their growing arsenal of monitoring gear.
- Nastiest political tactic of the year: siccing SWAT teams on your opponents and critics.
- A southerner apologizes for bigotry. But with the southerner being Fred Reed, things don’t quite come out the way northern liberals might wish.
- Nooz you can use (if you’re really into alternative housing): grain-bin homes. (I love the stuccoed one, but I’d like to know how you keep these things from getting hotter than the hinges of heck, long about August.) Tip o’ hat, MJR.
- More nooz to use: how successful people handle toxic people.
- Mike V. on blood dancers and 4th-gen. warfare.
- You forgot to add how useful those bags are for picking up dog poop. I live in a blue state and the closer you go to civilization, the more likely it is that you’ll have to bring your own cloth shopping bags. Misguided political correctness.
PayPal the Terrible
I won’t go into detail about how my PayPal account became overdrawn.* It was a mistake (not mine). The mistake-maker assured me the problem was resolved days ago. PayPal being PayPal, though, what’s “resolved” on one end may not be on the other. So there’s a $50 negative balance and nobody will fix it. That means I can’t use my account.
No problem. Hey, I’ll just add money. There’s a handy-dandy button for that. But suddenly, for me, the button yields only a variety of bizarre messages (“talk to the person responsible for setting permissions on your account”) that leave PayPal customer service reps as baffled as I am.
This became a four-hour customer service nightmare this lovely Sunday morning. I won’t go into detail about that, either.** Except to say that PayPal’s customer service makes the famously bad Comcast service look like a concierge operation at a fawncy hotel by comparison. And except to say that one rep told me (humiliatingly) that I’d have to deal with their collections department. Then he cheerfully transferred me to collections — without mentioning that they’re closed today.
And of course, PayPal being PayPal, they can’t be bothered with an automated “we’re closed today” message. So there went yet another half hour of my life, listening to endlessly repeated mini-lectures from a voice that sounded increasingly smug by the moment, until — for the second time today — I hung up without managing to speak to the human in some other department who was supposed to help.
Not only that, but the fifth PayPal rep I talked to — who I’d already told that story to — also tried to transfer me to collections.
I know Peter Thiel hasn’t run PayPal in more than a decade. But its service was hair-tearingly deplorable a decade ago, too. Hard to believe that a man the media lauds as a great libertarian created something that operates so much like the freakin’ DMV. Or the IRS.
If you ever need a reminder of how little you really matter to institutions, corporate or governor, just call up PayPal and ask them something really, really simple.
Oh, and the problem never did get resolved. You didn’t really think it would, didja? I get to call collections tomorrow and present myself as a deadbeat making amends.
Zelman Partisans the Good
On the brighter side of things, it’s wow time over at The Zelman Partisans.
Not only is it a place of some lively blogitude and comment. Not only have we had 4,000-some visitors in the 10 days since the Lovely Nicki put up a counter. Not only has social-media maven Nicki gotten us somewhere in the vicinity of 1,100 Twitter followers in a matter of days. But we’ve gotten our first interview request (which Sheila will handle), a couple of requests to join, our very first donation (a monthly commitment, yet!), and demands for logoed tee-shirts, fridge magnets, etc.
Whew! Workin’ on it, workin’ on it!
For a bunch of volunteers who are putting this thing together in their scarce spare time, this is awesome.
But then, so are the volunteers. And so are the hardcore rights advocates who won’t settle for compromise.
* In case you’re wondering, all those wonderful donations got moved out of PayPal almost as soon as they came in, thanks to PayPal’s other notorious habit of arbitrarily freezing accounts just when they have nice sums of money in them. PayPal: can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. Someday — soon — they’ll lose their de facto monopoly, and on that day they’ll rue the fact that they treated their customers like crap all these years.
**Yeah, you’ve had experiences exactly like this, right? You don’t need to be told anything.