Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day - For The Fallen


 


Today, of all days, do not thank me, or anyone you know or meet, for our service.
Do not rob the graves of heroes to pay respects to those whom you do not owe.
 
(And don't, by all that's holy, wish anyone a "Happy Memorial Day", unless you would be looked upon as a cretin, a ghoul, or a fool.)
 
If you would be thankful today, your debt is owed at the local cemetery, especially a military one, wherein peacefully rest legions of men better than you or I, who gave up all their tomorrows to give you your today.
 
No one can ever repay that debt, but at the least, you can keep up the payments, by honoring their service, by bearing the account they gave well in mind, and rendering unto them all the respect and civic glory such a sacrifice has earned.
 
Don't hesitate to take the weekend off, and enjoy a ball game, a picnic, a cold beer, or a hot meal. Just, please, fondly and respectfully recall those in mud, cold, tropical heat, or desert sun, and living in dirt like animals, who already paid the bill for your leisure this weekend.
 
Little else you could ever do would mean as much, and it's all common courtesy requires.










 



If you are able,
save them a place
inside of you
and save one backward glance
when you are leaving
for the places they can
no longer go.
Be not ashamed to say
you loved them,
though you may
or may not have always.
Take what they have left
and what they have taught you
with their dying
and keep it with your own.
And in that time
when men decide and feel safe
to call the war insane,
take one moment to embrace
those gentle heroes
you left behind.

Major Michael Davis O'Donnell
1 January 1970
Dak To, Vietnam
KIA Cambodia 24 March 1970

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Administrivia




Based on averages, one of you today will be this blog's millionth viewer.
Since I have no idea who that will be, consider the bragging rights community property.
This blog plus my other one crossed that threshold back around New Year's; today's tally is for this blog alone. Which means about a quarter of my total views have been in the last few months. Maybe I'm getting the hang of this.
So to whichever of you rolls the view-dometer over, and the other 999,999 of you, my sincere thanks for dropping by. I've tried to make it worth the effort.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Retail Sophistry


 
Link: The (Stoopid) Case For Evil


The author of the piece, witty or insightful on any number of issues at times, is entirely right: one should rationally choose to be evil.

Provided one accepts two tiny but disastrously stupid premises:
1. That you'll get away with it here and now.
2. That here and now is all there is, infallibly, and human existence ends at death.

Because if, and only if, those are both infallibly certain, being evil is a no-brainer.

BUT.
Maybe - just maybe - life isn't like that, neither here, nor hereafter.
Maybe, by not being the World's Greatest Asshole, you'll avoid untold numbers of fat lips and black eyes.
Maybe, by not f**king someone else's cheating wife, you won't get blown in two by a pissed off husband with a shotgun. Even if you pass up the pussy someone else will get.
And hey, maybe she has gonosyphiherpaloids, because she's already f***ed twenty other guys, and by passing on the offering, your dick doesn't fall off.
Maybe by not f**king over everyone you can, you won't get tied to a cinder block and dropped in a lake, or have your house set on fire by a mob, or get dragged off to prison forever for breaking every law writ by God and man.
Just for starters.

Secondly, let's bear well in mind that raw capitalism is just as fallaciously stupid as raw communism: both assume that material wealth and well-being on earth is all that matters in life.
As expressed in "He who dies with the most toys, wins  dies. (There, FIFY.)

So if such materialism were true, why are so many rich people so neurotically unhappy?
Why are so many people of lower to middling wealth vastly more satisfied with their lives?
Are you really stupid if you're the latter?
Are you smart if you choose a lifetime of attempted wealth, with the associated level of misery?
And how does any system of economics value a horde of intangibles: doing something worthwhile, helping others, raising your children safe, free, and better off than you, or hundreds of other things which are beyond any  valuation in economic terms?
We have a name for people who don't feel any of those pulls of intangible virtue: sociopath.

And speaking of sociopaths, if man and life here and now is the only thing there is, how can anyone stand in judgment of anyone, e.g., Charles Manson? How can anyone who thinks evil is rational call anyone evil or wrong, except from self-serving tautology?
The nihilism of such an outlook ends, as always, on the rocks of reality.

And lastly, who can tell you - authoritatively - that this life is all there's ever going to be, and it ends at your death?
(Except, of course, someone choosing evil "rationally".)
Who's ever been there and come back to tell us convincingly that there's nothing there?

What of Pascal's Wager:
If God doesn't exist, and I don't serve him, I lose nothing.
If God doesn't exist, and I do serve him, I lose little.
If God does exist, and I don't serve him I lose everything.
If God does exist, and I do serve him, I gain everything.
?
The rational bet is not to choose evil, but rather the opposite.

The very existence of evil argues for a deity.
Everyone knows what is evil, particularly when it is done to them, with or without any teaching of same. Even a dog - lacking any moral instruction whatsoever - knows instinctively the difference between someone accidentally stepping on its tail, and being maliciously kicked.
Everyone understands a standard of good exists. And they all know they don't meet it (however much one may attempt to rationalize that reality).

And only taking that rationalization beyond sanity could allow someone to argue the existence of both good and evil, and suggest with the slightest whit of seriousness to aspire to the latter.

It's sheer madness and idiocy.
The sophistry referenced in the link is philosophy for the mentally and morally retarded.

The prior practitioners are to be found in cemeteries and prisons throughout the land, or the local skid row: go, please, and ask of them what riches their lifestyle and choices have provided them.

There is far more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in the referenced petty silly philosophy.

Ex Libris



Available used for about $25, and only covers through 2002. It has 1257 pages, but if you can read more than a few of the citations without getting a little misty-eyed or choked up, you're probably dead in your soul, and dead to me.

One such citation, for a retired Vietnam-era Marine who passed away last October, should serve to illustrate the point:

SERGEANT RICHARD A. PITTMAN
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
for service as set forth in the following CITATION:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a member of First Platoon, Company I, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines during combat operations near the Demilitarized Zone, Republic of Vietnam. On July 24, 1966, while Company I was conducting an operation along the axis of a narrow jungle trail, the leading company elements suffered numerous casualties when they suddenly came under heavy fire from a well concealed and numerically superior enemy force. Hearing the engaged Marines' calls for more firepower, Sergeant (then Lance Corporal) Pittman quickly exchanged his rifle for a machine gun and several belts of ammunition, left the relative safety of his platoon, and unhesitatingly rushed forward to aid his comrades. Taken under intense enemy small-arms fire at point blank range during his advance, he returned the fire, silencing the enemy positions. As Sergeant Pittman continued to forge forward to aid members of the leading platoon, he again came under heavy fire from two automatic weapons which he promptly destroyed. Learning that there were additional wounded Marines fifty yards further along the trail, he braved a withering hail of enemy mortar and small-arms fire to continue onward. As he reached the position where the leading Marines had fallen, he was suddenly confronted with a bold frontal attack by 30 to 40 enemy. Totally disregarding his own safety, he calmly established a position in the middle of the trail and raked the advancing enemy with devastating machine-gun fire. His weapon rendered ineffective, he picked up a submachine gun and, together with a pistol seized from a fallen comrade, continued his lethal fire until the enemy force had withdrawn. Having exhausted his ammunition except for a grenade which he hurled at the enemy, he then rejoined his own platoon. Sergeant Pittman's daring initiative, bold fighting spirit and selfless devotion to duty inflicted many enemy casualties, disrupted the enemy attack and saved the lives of many of his wounded comrades. His personal valor at grave risk to himself reflects the highest credit upon himself, the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
He earned it as a lance corporal (E-3) aged 21 years.
And he was blind in one eye before he ever joined up.



If you ever meet one of the (72, currently) living recipients, you are standing near to the closest this country has to royal nobility, if not a demigod, and certainly a statistical miracle; behave appropriately.

In WWII, 57% were posthumous awards. In Korea, it was 72%. Vietnam was 63%.
Only 3 of the 14 since 9/11 have been posthumous, but there are doubtless a number of nominations in the pipeline that will change that.

Read the book. Those people are why you're here.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Dear Annapolis/West Point grads: A Word From The Past Concerning Your Future

Today, midshipmen and cadets graduate. Amidst the piles of vomitous PC-happyspeak they're likely to hear and be drowned under for the next 4-35 years of their careers, I thought a little speech delivered forty-four years ago at Annapolis might be in order.
The subject has never been more timely or apropos.


                     Robert Heinlein
                     USNA 1929

Forrestal Lecture at Annapolis 1973

(To the Brigade at large:)
 

Why are you here?
 
(To a second plebe:)
Mister, why are YOU here?
Never mind, son; that's a rhetorical question. You are here to become a naval officer. That's why this Academy was founded. That is why all of you are here: to become naval officers. If that is NOT why YOU are here, you've made a bad mistake. But I speak to the overwhelming majority who understood the oath they took on becoming midshipmen and look forward to the day when they will renew that oath as commissioned officers.
But why would anyone want to become a naval officer? In the present dismal state of our culture there is little prestige attached to serving your country; recent public opinion polls place military service far down the list.
It can't be the pay. No one gets rich on the pay. Even a 4-star admiral is paid much less than top executives in other lines. As for lower ranks, the typical naval officer finds himself throughout his career just catching up from the unexpected expenses connected with the last change of duty when another change of duty causes a new financial crisis. Then, when he is about fifty, he is passed over and retires... but he can't really retire because he has two kids in college and one still to go. So he has to find a job... and discovers that jobs for men his age are scarce and usually don't pay well.
Working conditions? You'll spend half your life away from your family. Your working hours? 'Six days shalt thou work and do all thou art able; the seventh the same, and pound on the cable.' A forty-hour week is standard for civilians - but not for naval officers. You'll work that forty-hour week, but that's just a starter. You'll stand a night watch as well, and duty weekends. Then with every increase in grade your hours get longer - until at last you get a ship of your own and no longer stand watches. Instead you are on duty twenty-four hours a day... and you'll sign your night order book with: 'In case of doubt, do not hesitate to call me.'
I don't know the average week's work for a naval officer but it's closer to sixty than to forty. I'm speaking of peacetime, of course. Under war conditions it is whatever hours are necessary - and sleep you grab when you can.
Why would anyone elect a career which is unappreciated, overworked, and underpaid? It can't be just to wear a pretty uniform. There has to be a better reason.
As one drives through the bushveldt of East Africa it is easy to spot herds of baboons grazing on the ground. But not by looking at the ground. Instead you look up and spot the lookout, an adult male posted on a limb of a tree where he has a clear view all around him - which is why you can spot him; he has to be where he can see a leopard in time to give the alarm. On the ground a leopard can catch a baboon... but if a baboon is warned in time to reach the trees, he can out-climb a leopard. The lookout is a young male assigned to that duty and there he will stay, until the bull of the herd sends up another male to relieve him. Keep your eye on that baboon; we'll be back to him.
Today, in the United States, it is popular among self-styled 'intellectuals' to sneer at patriotism. They seem to think that it is axiomatic that any civilized man is a pacifist, and they treat the military profession with contempt. 'Warmongers' - 'Imperialists' - 'Hired killers in uniform' - you have all heard such sneers and you will hear them again. One of their favorite quotations is: 'Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.' What they never mention is that the man who made that sneering remark was a fat, gluttonous slob who was pursued all his life by a pathological fear of death.
I propose to prove that that baboon on watch is morally superior to that fat poltroon who made that
wisecrack. Patriotism is the most practical of all human characteristics. But in the present decadent atmosphere patriots are often too shy to talk about it - as if it were something shameful or an irrational weakness. But patriotism is NOT sentimental nonsense. Nor is it something dreamed up by demagogues.
Patriotism is as necessary a part of man's evolutionary equipment as are his eyes, as useful to the race as eyes are to the individual. A man who is NOT patriotic is an evolutionary dead end. This is not sentiment but the hardest of logic.
To prove that patriotism is a necessity we must go back to fundamentals. Take any breed of animal - for example, tyrannosaurus rex. What is the most basic thing about him? The answer is that tyrannosaurus rex is dead, gone, extinct.
Which brings us to the second fundamental question: Will homo sapiens stay alive? Will he survive?
We can answer part of that at once: Individually h. sapiens will NOT survive. It is unlikely that anyone here tonight will be alive eighty years from now; it approaches mathematical certainty that we will all be dead a hundred years from now as even the youngest plebe here would be 118 years old by then - if still alive.
Some men do live that long but the percentage is so microscopic as not to matter. Recent advances in biology suggest that human life may be extended to a century and a quarter, even a century and a half - but this will create more problems than it solves. When a man reaches my age or thereabouts, the last great service he can perform is to die and get out of the way of younger people.
Very well, as individuals we all die. This brings us to the second half of the question: Does homo sapiens AS A BREED have to die? The answer is: No, it is NOT unavoidable. We have two situations, mutually exclusive: Mankind surviving, and mankind extinct. With respect to morality, the second situation is a null class. An extinct breed has NO behavior, moral or otherwise.
Since survival is the sine qua non, I now define 'moral behavior' as 'behavior that tends toward survival.' I won't argue with philosophers or theologians who choose to use the word 'moral' to mean something else, but I do not think anyone can define 'behavior that tends toward extinction' as being 'moral' without stretching the word 'moral' all out of shape.
We are now ready to observe the hierarchy of moral behavior from its lowest level to its highest. The
simplest form of moral behavior occurs when a man or other animal fights for his own survival. Do not belittle such behavior as being merely selfish. Of course it is selfish... but selfishness is the bedrock on which all moral behavior starts and it can be immoral only when it conflicts with a higher moral imperative. An animal so poor in spirit that he won't even fight on his own behalf is already an evolutionary dead end; the best he can do for his breed is to crawl off and die, and not pass on his defective genes.
The next higher level is to work, fight, and sometimes die for your own immediate family. This is the level at which six pounds of mother cat can be so fierce that she'll drive off a police dog. It is the level at which a father takes a moonlighting job to keep his kids in college - and the level at which a mother or father dives into a flood to save a drowning child... and it is still moral behavior even when it fails.
The next higher level is to work, fight, and sometimes die for a group larger than the unit family - an extended family, a herd, a tribe - and take another look at that baboon on watch; he's at that moral level. I don't think baboon language is complex enough to permit them to discuss such abstract notions as 'morality' or 'duty' or 'loyalty' - but it is evident that baboons DO operate morally and DO exhibit the traits of duty and loyalty; we see them in action. Call it 'instinct' if you like - but remember that assigning a name to a phenomenon does not explain it.
But that baboon behavior can be explained in evolutionary terms. Evolution is a process that never stops. Baboons who fail to exhibit moral behavior do not survive; they wind up as meat for leopards. Every baboon generation has to pass this examination in moral behavior; those who bilge it don't have progeny. Perhaps the old bull of the tribe gives lessons... but the leopard decides who graduates - and there is no appeal from his decision. We don't have to understand the details to observe the outcome; baboons behave morally - for baboons.
The next level in moral behavior higher than that exhibited by the baboon is that in which duty and loyalty are shown toward a group of your kind too large for an individual to know all of them. We have a name for that. It is called 'patriotism.'
Behaving on a still higher moral level were the astronauts who went to the Moon, for their actions tend toward the survival of the entire race of mankind. The door they opened leads to hope that h. sapiens will survive indefinitely long, even longer than this solid planet on which we stand tonight. As a direct result of what they did, it is now possible that the human race will NEVER die. Many short-sighted fools think that going to the Moon was just a stunt. But those astronauts knew the meaning of what they were doing, as is shown by Neil Armstrong's first words in stepping down onto the soil of Luna: 'One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.' Let us note proudly that eleven of the Astronaut Corps are graduates of this our school. And let me add that James Forrestal was the FIRST high-ranking Federal official to come out flatly for space travel.
I must pause to brush off those parlor pacifists I mentioned earlier... for they contend that THEIR actions are on this highest moral level. They want to put a stop to war; they say so. Their purpose is to save the human race from killing itself off; they say that too. Anyone who disagrees with them must be a bloodthirsty scoundrel - and they'll tell you that to your face. I won't waste time trying to judge their motives; my criticism is of their mental processes: Their heads aren't screwed on tight. They live in a world of fantasy.
Let me stipulate that, if the human race managed its affairs sensibly, we could do without war. Yes - and if pigs had wings, they could fly. I don't know what planet those pious pacifists are talking about but it can't be the third one out from the Sun. Anyone who has seen the Far East - or Africa - or the Middle East - knows or certainly should know that there is NO chance of abolishing war in the foreseeable future. In the past few years I have been around the world three times, traveled in most of the communist countries, visited many of the so-called emerging countries, plus many trips to Europe and to South America; I saw nothing that cheered me as to the prospects for peace. The seeds of war are everywhere; the conflicts of interest are real and deep, and will not be abolished by pious platitudes. The best we can hope for is a precarious balance of power among the nations capable of waging total war - while endless lesser wars break out here and there. I won't belabor this. Our campuses are loaded with custard-headed pacifists but the yard of the Naval Academy is not one place where I will encounter them. We are in agreement that the United States still needs a navy, that the Republic will always have need for heroes - else you would not be here tonight and in uniform.
Patriotism - Moral behavior at the national level. Non sibi sed Patria. Nathan Hale's last words: 'I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.' Torpedo Squadron Eight making its suicidal attack. Four chaplains standing fast while the water rises around them. Thomas Jefferson saying, 'The Tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots'' A submarine skipper giving the order 'Take her DOWN!' while he himself is still topside. Jonas Ingram standing on the steps of Bancroft Hall and shouting, 'The Navy has no place for good losers! The Navy needs tough sons of bitches who can go out there and WIN!'
Patriotism - An abstract word used to describe a type of behavior as harshly practical as good brakes and
good tires. It means that you place the welfare of your nation ahead of your own even if it costs you your life. Men who go down to the sea in ships have long had another way of expressing the same moral behavior tagged by the abstract expression 'patriotism.' Spelled out in simple Anglo-Saxon words 'Patriotism' reads 'Women and children first!'
And that is the moral result of realizing a self-evident biological fact: Men are expendable; women and children are not. A tribe or a nation can lose a high percentage of its men and still pick up the pieces and go on... as long as the women and children are saved. But if you fail to save the women and children, you've had it, you're done, you're THROUGH! You join tyrannosaurus rex, one more breed that bilged its final test.
I must amplify that. I know that women can fight and often have. I have known many a tough old grandmother. I would rather have on my side in a tight spot than any number of pseudo-males who disdain military service. My wife put in three years of active duty in World War Two, plus ten years reserve, and I am proud - very proud! - of her naval service. I am proud of every one of our women in uniform; they are a shining example to us men.
Nevertheless, as a mathematical proposition in the facts of biology, children, and women of child-bearing age, are the ultimate treasure that we must save. Every human culture is based on 'Women and children first' - and any attempt to do it any other way leads quickly to extinction.
Possibly extinction is the way we are headed. Great nations have died in the past; it can happen to us. Nor am I certain how good our chances are. To me it seems self-evident that any nation that loses its patriotic fervor is on the skids. Without that indispensable survival factor the end is only a matter of time. I don't know how deeply the rot has penetrated - but it seems to me that there has been a change for the worse in the last fifty years. Possibly I am misled by the offensive behavior of a noisy but unimportant minority. But it does seem to me that patriotism has lost its grip on a large percentage of our people. I hope I am wrong... because if my fears are well grounded, I would not bet two cents on this nation's chance of lasting even to the end of this century. But there is no way to force patriotism on anyone. Passing a law will not create it, nor can we buy it by appropriating so many billions of dollars. You gentlemen of the Brigade are most fortunate. You are going to a school where this basic moral virtue is daily reinforced by precept and example. It is not enough to know what Charlie Noble does for a living, or what makes the wildcat wild, or which BatDiv failed to splice the main brace and why - nor to learn matrix algebra and navigation and ballistics and aerodynamics and nuclear engineering. These things are merely the working tools of your profession and could be learned elsewhere; they do not require 'four years together by the Bay where the Severn joins the tide.'
What you do have here is a tradition of service. Your most important classroom is Memorial Hall. Your most important lesson is the way you feel inside when you walk up those steps and see that shot-torn flag framed in the arch of the door: 'Don't Give Up the Ship.' If you feel nothing, you don't belong here. But if it gives you goose flesh just to see that old battle flag, then you are going to find that feeling increasing every time you return here over the years... until it reaches a crescendo the day you return and read the list of your own honored dead - classmates, shipmates, friends - read them with grief and pride while you try to keep your tears silent.
The time has come for me to stop. I said that 'Patriotism' is a way of saying 'Women and children first.' And that no one can force a man to feel this way. Instead he must embrace it freely. I want to tell about one such man. He wore no uniform and no one knows his name, or where he came from; all we know is what he did.
In my home town sixty years ago when I was a child, my mother and father used to take me and my brothers and sisters out to Swope Park on Sunday afternoons. It was a wonderful place for kids, with picnic grounds and lakes and a zoo. But a railroad line cut straight through it.
One Sunday afternoon a young married couple were crossing these tracks. She apparently did not watch her step, for she managed to catch her foot in the frog of a switch to a siding and could not pull it free. Her husband stopped to help her. But try as they might they could not get her foot loose. While they were working at it, a tramp showed up, walking the ties. He joined the husband in trying to pull the young woman's foot loose. No luck.
Out of sight around the curve a train whistled. Perhaps there would have been time to run and flag it down, perhaps not. In any case both men went right ahead trying to pull her free... and the train hit them. The wife was killed, the husband was mortally injured and died later, the tramp was killed - and testimony showed that neither man made the slightest effort to save himself. The husband's behavior was heroic... but what we expect of a husband toward his wife: his right, and his proud privilege, to die for his woman. But what of this nameless stranger? Up to the very last second he could have jumped clear. He did not. He was still trying to save this woman he had never seen before in his life, right up to the very instant the train killed him. And that's all we'll ever know about him.
THIS is how a man dies. This is how a MAN . . . lives!
'They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old;
age shall not wither them nor the years condemn;
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we shall remember them''

Gear Tip: Your Friend Velcro



A decade and more out of the .mil, and finding out to my chagrin that running around pulling security on the southern border for what became several years would require me to gear up and ruck up in an epic grunt flashback, one of the new iterations of weapon carriage I tried was the drop-leg holster.

Ignoring completely the Tactically Cool Tactical Operator Operating Tactically and CDI (Chicks Dig It) factors, there were practical considerations, in that it's much easier to get it down below chest and vest gear rigs and body armor (and yes, with cartels dumping entire magazines into the faces of downed Border Patrol agents nearby, you can damn betcha we wore all that, even for mending fences, when only 10 yards from Mexico), and easier to deal with jumping into and out of vehicles day and night, and still being able to reach and draw the weapon, should it become necessary.

But, like with spawn-of-satan single point slings (don't get me started), the bane of the existence of drop-legs is that sooner or later (sooner if you run, even briefly) they inevitably end up smacking your weapon(s) right into your junk. By malign design.

Ow.

And I've tried them nearly all, so don't bother suggesting Brand X or Tacticool Overpriced Widget Maker Y in comments. They all do it, because anatomy.

This is because no matter if you tighten them to tourniquet levels of adjustment, your leg is a cylinder, and things will go where they will go, usually at the worst time, and in the most uncomfortable way.

The same is true even for unsecured belt holsters. Heavy things gravitate to your middle when you move, because they can. Where they'll gore your junk, eventually. Even if you're Indiana Jones.

My solution was simple: I switched back either to a Bianchi GI issue holster and belt carry, clipped in place nigh-immovably, or used either the old- or new-school versions of GI shoulder holster, and the pistol is where I left it, no matter what I do.

But some people haven't learned their gear yet (which is the bigger take-away lesson, IMHO), and I've seen a couple of folks, even those on duty, and in courses still trying/using the drop-leg. Some of them because of agency policy. With the same painful short-comings. So for those who're still enamored of them, this tip.

Most larger Wal-Marts, and sewing-type craft stores, sell the two items you need: a wide swath of Velcro strap, and Shoe-Goo. Glue a 3-4" long section (or two side-by-side if they're narrow) of the widest hook piece you can obtain (If you find 3"x4" or 4"x6" pieces now because Internet, even better) to the back of your holster. Leave the loop attached, and press it into place at least overnight with bricks, books, weight plates, etc., after stuffing it to its normal dimension with either the (safe) weapon in place, or newspapers/rags stuffed in to approximate the normal profile.

Do the same thing in reverse: Shoe-Goo the loop section (make sure you get this right, or you'll have two Velcro pieces that won't lock together) to the trouser leg(s) you're likely to be wearing when SHTF, in the corresponding location where you want the pistol to stay on the side of your leg, versus digging into your wedding tackle.
Again, press into place, and weight it down with heavy items, and let it set overnight, if not for a full day.

The ambitious can use C-clamps and boards in either or both cases instead of weights.


Then when you wear drop-leg with trousers, it gets stuck where you want it, and stays where you put it, in perpetuity. FTR, I have sewn entire garments and repaired shoes with Shoe-Goo, and in every case, the Shoe-Goo outlasts the garments/shoe you repair with it.

If you do this, the prospects for you someday having children, and not screaming like a girl at an inopportune moment, will respectively increase/decrease, to your great relief.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

History: If You Won't Preserve It, You Don't Deserve It

h/t WRSA


I have no love for revisionist visigoths, but I also have zero fucks to give for those who can't do anything but wet their diapers over it.

Reference: someone crybabying because they couldn't get anything done, and their beloved monument(s) got chopped down and hauled away.

Pot/Kettle.

1. Numbers talk, bullshit walks.
You either have numbers, or you’re just BS.
If 10,000 (hell, even 2,000) like-minded and resolute people showed up at any one of those monuments, surrounded it twenty to fifty bodies deep, and said “Fuck y’all, cops, BLM, Antifa, anybody; this sumbitch ain’t coming down, EVER! And we’re coming after those council members who tried to get rid of it in a recall Monday morning.” that would’ve been that. (And you probably could have expanded tenfold after Day One.)
But there’s no such base of support.
So you (whoever you are in any case) get rolled.
Welcome to How The World Works, Since Ever.
(Double Bonus Pussy Points if the reason you got rolled in the council vote in the first place was because you and an army of fellow geniuses "voted with your feet", decamped to somewhere else, and the relevant districts are now solid welfare-sucking blue. Your earlier selfish cowardice now pays dividends that last forever. Well played.)

2. 90% of everyone who shows up for such an ad hoc “happening” is a cam-whore, a thief, a liar, and a certifiable whack-job, or frequently all of the above.
Video camera lights draw those assholes like porch lights draw moths, in 110% of all known cases.
If you haven’t vetted your crowd long beforehand, and imposed a hierarchy and discipline on them, long before anybody shows up with cameras, you aren’t tall enough for this ride.
I’m sorry if that only now became apparent to anyone, or is news to them.
The memo has been out since at least the 1960s, if not 1917 or 1790, and probably long prior. This is one of those Reasons History Is Important To Life you didn’t learn in school because you were fucking off and/or your teacher wasn’t very good about driving the lesson home.
Final Exams can happen decades later, there’s no grading curve – it’s pass/fail – and you just got an “F”.

3. Stop playing on enemy turf:
If someone wants to take something down, find a site on private land, and put it back up. The same (if TPTB will let you purchase it for a nominal fee) or bigger than what was removed. Once it’s on private property, you can defend it, legally, with force of arms if necessary.
Expecting the guvmint to do it for you, because reasons, is still sucking on Uncle’s tit, and the other side of the coin from EBT cards and welfare phones.
If you don’t have the means to be a patron of the monuments you care about, once again, you aren’t tall enough for this ride financially either.

4. Honestly, let’s be men about this: there’s nothing wrong or shameful about admitting you can’t do what you want. Dig in, and get to work on that, so that you can do so eventually.
Or else admit you really didn’t care that much, find another hobby, and shut up about it.

Being grown-up is hard. Suck it up, buttercup.
That is not the face you want to show to the world.

Pull up your big-boy pants, and git ‘er done, or go home.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

More Pondering

Why everyone west of the Rockies inherently despises Government 3-9X more than those of you inhabiting points to the east of that zone:
                                pic embiggens

Seems to me the easiest way to reduce the size of government in perpetuity would be to limit it to no more than 10% of the territory of any state, which would cost nothing but the ink to make it official.

Congo Ebola Update


Link

Now 4 deaths (out of 29 cases so far) confirmed by WHO as of two days ago, but the good news is contacts being traced now down to 300 and change from 400, over 50 earlier ones having passed beyond likely infection timeframes.

The bad news is that the outbreak is associated with multiple unaccounted mystery deaths from weeks ago.

IOW, as usual, they missed it by a mile. For weeks. In a country that's had EIGHT Ebola outbreaks since 1976.

The other bad news is that they took the first patients to a hospital with no isolation facilities.
And calling the abbatoir in the middle of Shitville they were taken to a hospital is probably an insult to abbatoirs.

The other other bad news is there are no roads to even get there.
So relief/response teams still haven't gotten to the actual, you know, outbreak site.
Let alone constructed isolation/treatment facilities.
So they still haven't isolated the outbreak, two weeks later.
And the area borders on another country that's also dirt-poor. (If you lent them the dirt.)

Spin up the Adage Machine, Sherman:
"Africa Wins Again." - Kim DuToit

The other good news is that it hasn't shown up in Kinshasa, or Nairobi. Yet.
The other other good news is that no one from CDC has anything to do with responding to this outbreak. Yet.

So the outlook is piss-poor, but no pissier or poorer than it was a week ago.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Something To Think About

(h/t to SNAFU! ) 

                                      pic embiggens

Just something to ponder. It also gives you an idea where the countries assigned to states rank as well.

It also kind of shoots all that "let Commifornia go to hell" sentiment right in the pants too, but facts and reality rarely matter to ranting monkeys scraping their diapers for another handful of ammunition to fling. In fact, CA's economy is nearly as big as TX and NY combined, and is as big as the economies of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas combined.

If you were wondering about ranking, after the U.S., here are the rest of the Top Ten as of 2016, and the states it would take to equal them:
2. China         (all of the US minus CA, TX, NY, FL, and IL)
3. Japan         (CA and TX combined)
4. Germany    (TX, NY, and VA combined)
5. United Kingdom
6. France         (slightly less than CA)
7. India            (TX and OH combined)
8. Italy             (TX and KY combined)
9. Brazil           (TX and NE combined)
10. Canada

Bonus:

When People Are Bored, They Lose Focus. And Get Stupid.




The societal breakdown we’re looking towards (and hoping to avoid or delay as long as possible) is best understood as making popcorn: a few early pops here and there, but when the temperature gets hot enough, all the corn pops, and no one has to co-ordinate any of the kernels to get that to happen. It just does. It’s a physics thing.

The lesson is, things ain’t hot enough yet.
Simmer down; it’ll pop when it’s time.

If you don’t see people forming tribes and groups, it’s because they don’t see the need. Yet.
Not everyone lives on the hill, and not everyone keeps watch down the road.

If you’re one of the farther-seeing ones, or farther-travelling ones, and you’ve passed on the message that a dust cloud is heading your way, that’s it, your work to the community so far is done.
No one’s stopping you from taking advantage of the information yourself, in the lull between seeing the dust, and seeing the horde that’s creating it riding into sight.
ROWYBSs, and make prudent preparations.

It’ll be awhile yet.
But if they are headed this way, it will become apparent to everyone in due course.

As to who ends up kneeling in front of a ditch, I wouldn’t bet the farm on things going like the “neo-Jacobins” imagine. Even just looking at how their plans have turned out so far, their predictive powers leave a lot to be desired.

 
Meanwhile, while noting the signs, whinging because no one will join your mulisha is not only childish, it’s a waste of your prep time.
Invest yourself in being the one everyone wants to pick for teams when things go to shit, (or better yet, the one everyone wants to pick them for their team) and the details will work themselves out.
None of which involves anyone purchasing a saber, sash, or gold-braided epaulets.


There’s waaaaay too much cosplay “preparation” going on, and not nearly enough dirt time in the bush, logistics time at PrepDepot, or improving your position.

 
So if folks are going to play with electrons, maybe spend more time with pdfs, and less with jpgs.


http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Publications/MCWP%203-11.3%20%20Scouting%20and%20Patrolling.pdf


You invest where you're going to get a return.
That doesn't look like this:


Just saying.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Revolutions


                             "Liberte', apostasie', muertre'!"


In regards to a great historical lesson regarding the forgotten aspects of the French Revolution over at  ZMan's blog, I note the following:

The 800-pound gorilla in the room every time someone wants to compare the French Revolution with our own (largely fuelled by the same Enlightenment thinkers) then, or our situation nowadays, is that their elites went out of their way to extinguish religion and espouse atheism, whereas ours embraced religion and relied on it for no small amount of underpinning (modern revisionism be damned, literally). We know where ours went. How did that work out for them?

Diderot, Voltaire, and Rousseau begat Robespierre and Napoleon, just as surely as Darwin, Neitzsche, and Freud begat Lenin, Hitler, and Mao.

Hitler eventually persecuted his own Useful Idiot atheists, but primarily because he wanted to keep the trappings of German religion after dethroning the subject, to ride that parade right up to the steps of the Nuremburg rallies. Just like thieves and the IRS, Government always hates competition.

And, on a smaller scale, the likes of Jim Jones, David Koresh, and any number of colleagues back to before even Roman emperors illustrate the same lesson: tyranny must needs not be merely obeyed, but worshipped.
 Like Baal and the Aztecs, human sacrifice is always involved, at some point.

       Another proud contributor to Aztec values gives his utmost.

Once man is the only measure, everything is permissible, and only might makes right.

This is where the Trumpistas are literally doing God’s work: their existence bypasses the log in the eyes suffered by the Cult of Obama, and now the Rabid Left has noticed the splinter in the alt Right’s eye of sticking with Trump no matter what, and they began to mouth once again (however insincerely, and purely for show and personal advantage) the platitudes of “a nation of laws, not men”.

The scary part is when they bare their actual fangs, and merely note their displeasure that they didn’t get to pick the emperor of their own choice this time around, that one sees their whinging is mainly fueled by envy and jealousy, and not freedom-loving horror. After the diaper-wetting and poo-flinging episodes abate, they will begin counting the days when they can and will have their way with the country again, and laying out the scope of how much farther they can push the pendulum when it’s once again their turn to grasp the levers of power and turn us back toward the cliffs of insanity.

Which is why you don’t have enough allies or ammo, nor biceps, bullets, beans, and band-aids for what’s to come, and should be building the infrastructure to accommodate as much of them as you can amass and secure beforehand.

Sportiness cometh.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Let The Games Begin



And now, only three days after the WHO report referred to two posts ago, the number of contacts in Congo has jumped from 129 to 400, per AP.

Scroll back and see where I put this under "possible worst case".

It's probably safe, at this point, to drop it down another notch on the scale.
And to check sales on canned goods. Really.


Because WHO, and African kakistocracy are back on the case. (What could possibly go wrong?) As if Inspector Clouseau had called the Keystone Kops for back-up.

Now all we need is one Ebola-infected traveler to hit the US, then we can get the CDC in on the hijinks, and it's a Saturday matinee.


And if it gets from the northern border of BFCongo to the capitol, Kinshasa, and its 10,000,000 people with rates of 60% literacy, and the same lack of health care, running water, or flush toilets, in a country that borders on nine other underdeveloped and poor countries, a population already ravaged by AIDS, malaria, and dozens of other diseases, and then things'll get mighty interesting.

The only good news is there's a promising experimental vaccine, which they might be able to get there, and the world can use a few thousand Congolese villagers as human testing guinea pigs. If, if, IF it turns out to work, that would be great news. If not, well...

We've already seen what the next 12 or so doublings look like. Pray we don't go there again.
Best wishes, and sleep tight.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Well...Bye... Powers Boothe, R.I.P.



We note belatedly and sadly the recent passing of actor Powers Boothe, aged 68, in his sleep Sunday at home. Survived by his college sweetheart and wife of 48 years' marriage, and their two children.

He won an Emmy for his portrayal of cult monster Jim Jones in 1980. I first noticed him for his work in Southern Comfort, as well as a great part as a shot-down fighter pilot in 1984's Red Dawn (the only version worth watching or talking about, IMHO).


Alongside many other roles (he was active and working from 1977-2016), he made a superb villain in Tombstone, and made an even better one as Al Swearingen's counter-villain c**ksucker Cy Tolliver in the entire run of the brilliant cable series Deadwood. Clearly, it was never a stretch to cast a Texan as a cowboy.


Whatever you catch him in, or enjoyed him for, it was time well spent, by a worthy practitioner of the craft of acting. He was one of the good ones, and he will be missed.


Here It Goes Again



Another Ebola outbreak. (Not that the 2014 one has really gone away, but I digress.)

From comments:

Aesop,
Off topic... but here is an update from WHO on Ebola:
WHO dashboard report 2017 Congo Ebola outbreak 15 May 2017
I am curious to hear your take on this - last week it was 3 and this week it is 19.

And depending on the location, next week could be 50, or 300. Or still 19.

They're following an additional 129 people, according to the report.
(BTW, both dead victims #2 and #3 were the ones who helped transport and treat #1, and the next 16 are people they infected. Stop me if you've heard this one...).

The saving grace this time is that this outbreak is in outer BFCongo, rather than in downtown Kinshasa (pop. 10,000,000)

The incubation period for Ebola virus was formerly considered 2-21 days, IIRC. A 2014 WHO report suggests it may be latent for over 42 days.) That means reports of infected persons now are always  at least 3-6 weeks behind reality, and the pool of infectees is always 21-42 days' worth of contacts higher than you think, and estimates are always behind the curve.

Think about how many people you come into close (like hand-shaking close) contact with in 3 weeks' time, and then imagine you had Ebola, and you get the idea.

Until they throw a quarantine line outside the virus' ability to spread among those infected, it keeps going outward inexorably like ripples in a pond.

Now imagine one of that potential infected pool gets on a 767, passes through two airports, and goes to a conference, before showing clear symptoms.
Then go back and re-read what I wrote on Ebola from 2014-2015.

My take is that every time a country has an outbreak, and isn't immediately declared an international catastrophe with a major international health care response, with all persons departing that country put on mandatory seven-week isolation quarantine until two months after the last case in that country, we've already fucked up by the numbers.

This was settled science before there was any science, because the Black Death was a thing 600 years before Pasteur figured out the details, and quarantine works. ("quarantine:n. 1. a 40-day period of observation of potentially infected victims to discern whether or not they are, in fact, diseased. From Italian quarentena quarantine {of a ship}, from Latin quaranta forty")


In 2014, we were two patients away from the US becoming Sierra Leone.
TWO.

And to this day, no one knows where the last outbreak came from, or why it went away, because not one of the multiple requirements WHO laid out to control the epidemic was ever reached in any of the three affected countries in 2014.

Ebola is a guy juggling hand grenades with the pins pulled during a fire in a live nuclear missile silo kind of bad, and we can't keep staying stupid and getting lucky indefinitely.

Math refresher (rounded):

 1                      1             Initial case: Patient 0.
 2                      2
 3                      4             Where we were last week.
 4                      8
 5                    16
 6                    32             Where we are now, officially.
 7                    64
 8                  128             Where we probably are now, in reality.
 9                  256
10                 512             Where we might be now, worst case.
11               1024
12               2000
13               4000
14               8000
15            16,000
16            32,000              Official tally of Ebola cases in 2014.
17            64,000
18          128,000              Probable actual tally of cases in 2014.
19          256,000
20          500,000
21       1,000,000
22       2,000,000
23       4,000,000
24       8,000,000               Kinshasa, DRCongo approx. population.
25     16,000,000
26     32,000,000
27     64,000,000
28   128,000,000
29   250,000,000
30   500,000,000
31 1,000,000,000
32 2,000,000,000              Africa's population, more or less.
33 4,000,000,000
34 8,000,000,000              All human life on Earth.

So, you get 34 doubles to go from no one, to everyone (with the caveat that some will never get it, and some who do get Ebola will survive nonetheless, whether it's 7 people or 7 billion people we're talking about).

IOW, nothing to worry about.
Yet.

Preparation for it would be get yourself able to hang at home (or wherever) hunkered down and shuttered in for the course of any pandemic.
Proper treatment of it in others is get the hell away, or settle your affairs.
If an epidemic becomes a pandemic, neither you nor your sentiments will be respected by a virus, especially if someone dear to you contracts the disease. It will kill you deader than canned tuna, and it won't care that you were making a noble sacrifice.
Get. The. Fuck. Away. And. Stay. There.

As Commander Zero and Remus have exhorted on other things like riots and general unpleasantness:

Avoid crowds.
Be somewhere else.

That means you, unless you have the entire Emory University Hospital BL-IV Serious Communicable Diseases Unit handy to pull right out of your @$$, at a moment's notice.
Nothing less will suffice.
If not, the one and only plan to cope is to stay the hell away from this.
Ebola is a m*****f*****, and you're the mother in that word.



Maybe keep a pin in the story, but at the moment, it's a typhoon in Sumatra: there are many other far more pressing things about which to be concerning yourself.