Monday, February 28, 2011

Quote of The Day 02/28/2011

"You’re not intelligent people." -Uncle

Consideration: Have Some

I have a platform scale on the floor where I work. It is 3" off the deck, very handy for weighing large items. Not so handy for protecting my back muscles putting things on and off the scale. Sometimes I work on machines made to tape big boxes shut, so I have a test box. It is 18" x 16" and about waist-high. This box is stood on end on top of the floor scale, and it makes a handy platform to weigh small items. To increase the utility of the scale, I put a 1" grid on top and marked the inches around the edges, so I can get item dimensions and weigh the item all in one step. It's a brilliant solution to a simple problem and it comes in very handy.

The handyman came around to fix a lighting fixture in my area. It is directly over the platform scale. I told him he could move the box and put his ladder on the platform, which he proceeded to do. Light fixed, he put the box back on the platform and disappeared into a cloud of handy-smelling vapor.

The box is marked along all four edges on top, with numbers all pointing the same direction. If you look at it from my work area, you can read the numbers. Makes sense, right? So explain to me then, how Handyman put the box back on the platform rotated 90º. This is what happens when you slap-dash things together: a minor irritation that makes people steam about it for the two seconds it takes to fix your mistake. It's on the same order as leaving a trim screw loose or leaving a used paper towel on the floor. Take the ten seconds it takes to scan your area and fix it up real quick-like. It will make your customers happier than if they have to clean up after you, and then they promote you later . . . .

. . . like these guys: Dayton left my crawl space cleaner than when they got there when they installed my air conditioner. They would have to TRY to get me to stop recommending them to people wanting A/C and heater work in Central Texas.

Bedtime Was Late Tonight

Meet #3. He likes to color. With black crayon. On his sister's dresser.


and television


and table, and dolly crib, and desk.

It could have been worse: it could have been magic marker. Like the last time.

In related news, #1 got a lecture about responsibility going all the way up the chain of command, as I scrubbed black crayon with her, while #3 was playing, pretending to scrub black crayon, exclaiming "DiskUStig! GROSS! DisgUSting!"

My Darling Wife, not having put out her own elbow grease, was greatly amused.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Because You Missed It

Next up on the list of things the nightly news refuses to cover because it shows the Democrats for what they really are (power-mad):

A third court has ruled Obamacare constitutional. This time, the grounds for the ruling boiled down to: you can't think for yourself. Literally.
As previous Commerce Clause cases have all involved physical activity, as opposed to mental activity, i.e. decision-making, there is little judicial guidance on whether the latter falls within Congress’s power.

Really? To paraphrase: the case-law precedent condoning the Congress regulating your private, internal, personal THOUGHT is basically non-existant . . . so I'm going to go ahead and rule that they can.

This makes a 3-2 split and the case HAS to eventually get to the supreme Court. God help us, we really could use an expedited hearing. We'll see.

Hat tip:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tylenol Does NOT Work For Teething Pain!

For a toothache, skip the acetaminophen. It won't do anything for you or your infant. Motrin (ibuprofen) will work. Use the specified dosing level every specified interval. Skip it, and the pain will return full-force right about the time the next dose should have been kicking in.

I don't know why, but between my bad teeth and my teething babies, I've found out the hard way: Tylenol does NOTHING for toothache.

Six Million Dollar Man Resumes Drinking Habit

It is a little-known fact* that the Six Million Dollar Man used to drink more than Ed McMahon** before he had his little "accident***" and became the $6M Man. Well, now he can take it up again and not worry about smashing his liver into little cirrhotic bits. The Russians have the technology; they can rebuild him.

If this is true, it is a game changer for a bunch of reasons. An artificial liver that not only filters the blood, but can convince a failing liver to give it the ol' college try? Spiffy.

*I may have made up this fact
**McMahon was sober, but he let Johnny poke fun at him for drinking. What? It was a comedy show!
***May have been caused by the CIA and/or the Japanese mafia. Maybe.

Now It's High Fives At Boeing . . . For Now.

This story may have reached an end-point. Billions of dollars are going to be spent, and they by-god better be spent in about a dozen congressional districts if your Elected Heroes have any say about it. So, Boeing gets the contract to replace the KC-130 series of airplanes. This should surprise no-one, really, after the fuss some of us kicked up when it looked like some durn'd foreigners might get it.

The military-industrial complex: keeping America's people and their elected officials' jobs safe since 1776!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Regarding The Pending Federal Government Shutdown

The press will take pleasure in describing the closure of non-essential federal offices as all sorts of horrible for the nation. Take note, when you hear it, that your life continues exactly as it did the week and month before the federal government supposedly "shut down." The welfare checks will still go out, the war will still be fought, and the BATFE will continue to intentionally not prosecute crimes perpetrated by itself. A few parks will close and some bean counters will be temporarily sent home (and paid for their time off, later, as if they had been there the whole time). The Democrats really made hay after the government ran out of budgeted money in 1994, but they need not be allowed to get away with it this time, because the ignoble New Media will be here reminding you that, even with Jellystone Park closed for a week, the tap in your kitchen will still provide you with water.

We will also be here to remind you (with our favorite talking heads on the radio) that 6 of President Reagan's 8 years in office were marked by similar government shutdowns, and EVERY year of the Carter administration was as well. These typically lasted a couple of days while the Republicrats and the Demicans hashed out their differences after realizing that one of the two sides was more serious about the budget.

IF the republicans were smart, they would get a good Message Man out there to remind everyone the government will run out of money because the DEMOCRATS first couldn't pass a budget bill to save their lives, and THEN the DEMOCRATS refused to play ball on getting the budget somewhat less-deep into the red ink. As I said, I am not optimistic the Republicans will be able to do this.

The government does basically nothing you see in your daily life. If the non-essential parts of it have to shut for a few days . . .

. . . meh.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The American Government is Breaking Down.

There is the prospect of losing a vote on a law which is more favorable to the people and less extremely-generous to the unions in Wisconsin, so the minority Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate have fled the State.

The chief law enforcement officer of the nation and the head of the department in charge of prosecuting and defending cases based on duly passed laws, after 15 years and many court challenges saying it is constitutional, have decided not to defend against challenges to a law because it is unconstitutional.

Arizona is being SUED by that same Attorney General because they are making noises about enforcing the national border, because the feds refuse to enforce the border.

White house officials are having meetings with lobbyists across the street in a coffee shop, to prevent having the lobbyists' names recorded on White House visitor logs

A guy who didn't live in a city the last two years has just been elected mayor, because he's in tight with the local establishment. Residency in most places is established by actually being there, for 30, 60, 90 days, sometimes a year. He's been entirely out of the State for two YEARS.

This is how nations end, people. What are you going to do about it?

Gun Porn: Serrifile Inc. Terrier One .32 Smith & Wesson Revolver

Alternate title: Everyone Should Have a Drop Gun!
Click on any image to see it full-sized.


If I could get my hands on it without having a paper trail, the lack of a third digit to the left of the decimal point on this piece makes it a VERY appealing candidate for a drop gun, or a gun to give to someone who thinks they should have one but can't afford and is unlikely to need it. Putting my life on the line with a $30 gun made of cast (!) pot-metal is better than having (say) a sharp stick, but I'm not sure by how much.


I had never heard of either Serrifile Inc., or the Terrier One revolver series. It looks like a starter pistol, which makes sense because they also made starter pistols just like this. This one is chambered for the (underwhelmingly) powerful .32S&W round. Looks like a gun to me.


This one is actually a pretty nice example of the breed, on the outside, anyway. The lockup is rock-solid except on one cylinder, which has about 1mm of rotary play because there is a chewed-up tooth on the back of the cylinder. Still, aside from a little fouling, it looks like it would work okay.


The bore is bright with strong rifling, but there again is the fouling.


I'd rather not be shot by it, but I'll take a plug from a dirt-cheap .32 over a .45 any day.


I Want To Be Purple.

If a man can marry a woman, then the sun can be dark, and I can be a purple toad.

Doublethink from B.O.: Suddenly we are to stop defending the DOMA. The country's highest law enforcement official and the department head in charge of enforcing civilian law decide on their lonesome they don't have to do their job defending and enforcing duly enacted laws.

You stay classy, Barry and Secretary.

The leftists of course are just fine with this turn of events, as it suits their ideological preference. Let a Republican President say he no longer feels like enforcing the law against discriminating against women in the workplace, and watch how they would erupt!

You know who else ignored the law when it suited them?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Quote of The Day 02/23/2011

The libyan government has a responsibility to refrain from violence -President B.H. Obama

My immediate reaction: WHY?

This sort of silly talk is why I tend to ascribe The Obama's floundering about in generally misguided, destructive fashion to ignorance and ivory-tower naivete, rather than sheer malice and a will to destroy the nation. I mean, hello? Seriously? When even Wikipedia admits a guy is a violent dude who sends out hit squads on his enemies, I think it is a bit much to say he ought to refrain from violence. He'll refrain from violence when he turns into a Good Communist, and not a moment before.

Madness @ Work

As I walked in this morning, having taken off Monday and half of yesterday:

TS: Hey VFD, you gonna stay for more than a couple hours today?
VFD: I dunno, ask my wife.
TS: Okay I'll ask her, what's her number?
VFD: In some countries, that's grounds for a beatin' asking for my wife's number. NP did you hear that?
NP: I heard it.
VFD: I'm telling your wife TS . . . whats her number?
All: LOL

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Housing Trifecta from Calculated Risk

Housing prices: Still 15-25% higher than they soon will be

. . . or is that 5-10% high?

In Wells Fargo USA, homeowner foreclose on the bank! (click this one if you only click one)


And please remember: some of us have been saying housing prices are still too high for a while now. Count me in with Schiller's 15-25%-still-to-go crowd.

Wherein I Excuse Myself

My givadam module is running low on juice the last week. Please excuse the navel gazing. And somebody tell the furniture at my house to stop jumping out at me just before bedtime, trying to trip me up.

New Media: Like MSM, But Worthwhile

( . . . sometimes worthwhile, that is. Aside from revolutions in their first week and cults of personality, I remain unconvinced about Twitter and Facebook, etc.)

I wonder, once the old guard/dinosaur media lose hope of receiving government bailouts, how long some of them will keep on printing new editions.

News flash: nobody wants to see you cheerleading for the President, which is why everyone stopped watching/buying your stuff. We would much prefer actual independent content, like this piece wherein a lowly blogger does some actual investigative reporting. Spotted, of course, on somebody else's blog and never heard of on the broadcast airwaves . . . .


In related news, even basic government services are corrupted, when somebody like President Obama is appointing department heads.

Monday, February 21, 2011

600 Channels of Nothing

All day at home with a sick wife watching television has been educational.

  • Some custom cakes cost more than my car, and the people who make them are wizards.
  • There was a show where a company made a castle out of balloons - big enough to drive a golf cart through - which was truly amazing.
  • There is a show about parents who needed family councilors when THEY were growing up, screwing up their kids with $32,000 6th birthday parties & whatnot.
  • Plus a movie about a little girl who was struck down by lightning, having murdered a little boy (with her shoe for his gold medal.

    Television: one more thing I could pretty much go without for the rest of my life.
  • You Can Only Go Halfway Into The Woods

    It looks like we did that today. #1 and #3 seem to be on the mend for sure, and #2's fever finally broke. My Darling Wife's high quality antibodies seem to be protecting #4 even while she was all day curled up on the couch watching me try to keep up with her regular job for a day. My job . . . well, that's why God invented sick days. I hope I'll be back at it tomorrow, because her job is way harder than mine. The flu: we had it, thank God.

    News Flash: Sky Blue, Water Wet . . .

    . . . and when you spill a gozillion gallons of oil into the ocean and break the seabed so it continues to leak once the well is capped, the oil stays on the bottom for rather longer than one may hope.

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    Libyan Protestors Receive Traditional Welcome from Their Government:

    Helicopter gunships vs. crowds of civilians. Crowds of thugs with hammers and clubs vs. unarmed protestors. It's a bit of a surprise that this is (apparently) the exception in the current time of "hey everybody let's go protest" in the Middle East.

    Muslim Middle-Eastern culture and the right to protest: not so much. This story appears on nobody's nightly news because it makes islam look bad in 3 . . .2. . .

    They Always Obey

    Yesterday I spent all day loading kids' games onto a new computer. Today I spent all evening fighting Bill Gates trying to connect the new computer to the old one, to transfer files. I tried just about everything I knew and looked up some things I didn't, trying to get these two computers networked. I am sure there is some way to do it, but I didn't write the code and don't know how to make the software work together well enough to get these two on a network.

    I ended up using a crossover Ethernet cable connection. Eh.

    Go ahead, somebody crack wise about how if these were Macs they would have instantly networked with each other as soon as I switched them both on.

    So, did anything important happen? Treaties, wars, revolutions? Oh, sure, my Darling Wife started throwing up that was pretty important. That may just be everyone in the family sick of the flu. It just leaves the baby, who is breastfeeding and so somewhat less likely to get sick, and me, alcohol-gel-washing my hands, face, and ears like mad whenever I visit the sick people (read: everyone else in the house). Going to work tomorrow: possibly not. :(

    Saturday, February 19, 2011

    You Would Think It's Contagious

    #1 has had her expected relapse.
    #3 has diarrhea on top of it. At least we still have him in training pants.
    #2 now is coughing with a systemic low-grade fever.

    There is a low wall temporarily dividing their rooms from the rest of Chez VFD. They are officially quarantined and S.I.Q. This is going to (potentially) stink big time. God willing, #4 and Mommy and Daddy can avoid going down. God willing. I've prayed with my Pastor and the church will be praying for us, and my Dad said he'd ask his church to pray.

    Christians, please pray that this flu season would skip #4 and both parents entirely.


    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Make That Two.

    #1 has been low with fever and chills. #3 had a relapse just like NP did.

    The flu: we has it. Give my regards to the people who do make it to church on Sunday; I think we'll keep our germs to ourselves.

    Say, Have You Seen My . . .

    I just realized the server holding the photos for at least a couple of my Gun Porn posts is no longer sharing. Let's hope I can at least sweet talk it into playing nice long enough for me to get the photos back!

    Gun Porn: S.W.D. Inc./Cobray Mac-11

    Click any picture to see it full sized/high quality.


    It looks kinda like an UZI from a distance, but this thing is nowhere near as high-class as an UZI. Almost 4lbs of parkerized stamped sheet steel with a few machined parts. Strictly low-budget, and semi-auto only besides. Still, it looks neat from a distance. With pistol barrel and big FAT threads for a silencer. No folding wire stock on this one.


    The sling is surprisingly functional. Loop it over the shoulder of the firing hand, and the gun rests easily within reach of the hand. Perfect for wear under your Dallas Cowboys jacket (or whatever). Walking around with it, one could see the advantage of this sort of a sling setup for a private security guard on patrol.

    The pin under the barrel pops out and the pistol basically disassembles itself. There is approximately one moving part, and it is a rock.


    This particular gun has very little wear from use


    The bore is in good condition, which is not surprising considering how little wear is evident on the rest of the piece.



    Made in Georgia. So complicated, it could have been made in a shack in someone's backyard in Georgia ("flat" kits are available).

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    I Hope I Have The Flu (?!)

    I woke up ready to go right back to bed, and spent the day fighting my "brother ass" to get a full day's work into a full day at work. Body and headaches, congestion, tired tired and tired. Not much fever though. I would like to think this is me successfully fighting off an influenza infestation. Ask me again in two weeks.

    Teacher's Unions: Negotiating For The Benefit Of ______

    Wisconsin's unionized school teachers are "sick" in such numbers that the schools are being closed down. The teachers are basically on strike, because the Governor is trying to make it so the only thing they can bargain for collectively is wages. They will also have the option to stop paying union dues. To a union in 2011 USA, this is unacceptable. They are massing around the capitol, with high school students who don't know what's going on, protesting these changes. They are NOT in school, educating the school children.

    The teacher's unions: it's all about the children. Right.

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Commiserate With Me

    #3 definitely has a case of influenza. #3 and #4 are teething. From 03:30 to 07:00 I woke up >1 time/hour, then I got up for the day. Just now I get to sit back and relax. This has been a long-ish day.

    Here's praying for a restful night.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Reaction to President Obama's Press Conference This Morning:

    If what this guy were saying were true and reflected what was happening and what he is planning on doing, 90% he would be my boy. But he's factually in error on the economy and talking out both sides of his mouth on international policy.

  • He sees his community organizing days echoing in the Middle Eastern protests, and he loves it.
  • He says you can't maintain power through coercion. . . .I say you can do a pretty good job of imitating maintaining power through coercion for a century or two.
  • Reporters even from leftist papers are giving him tough questions on the budget proposal. Good.
  • He's STILL blaming Bush for the economy.
  • "We're not going to be running up the credit card any more" means $7T more debt in the next decade with annual deficits never below $600
  • In order to "stabilize the current situation" he wants a national debt of 150% GDP

    Finally, as a whole, this presser revealed why they don't let him off-prompter very often: he really stinks at improvisation, especially when you ask him a hard question.
  • Monday, February 14, 2011

    I Am Serious, And Don't Call Me Shirley.

    House Finance Committee Chairman Rand Paul was on with Mark Levin tonight as I was driving home. Some fun quotes:

    "not a serious budget"
    "ignores the obvious"
    "doubles the debt in 5 years and triples it in 10"

    President Obama's budget proposal is being hailed by the leftists as a bold deficit-cutting measure, for cutting a trillion dollars over the next TEN YEARS. Those of us who are a little better at math realize he is taking one step back for three or four steps forward, even taking the headlines at face value. Then you tack on the costs of Obamacare, and we're sunk.

    Rep. Paul said he asked the Congressional Budget Office to run the numbers out into the future. What would the income tax rates have to be to pay for this deficit spending, when his children are his age (their 7 years to his 41 years) assuming we keep on spending money we don't have?

    Minimum tax rate hike: 10% goes up to 25%, and the highest tax bracket goes from a third to 88% . . . and that's just the FEDERAL taxes. This should be the leading message, if the Republicans can pull their collective head out . . . .

    But don't worry about the 88% tax rate. The CBO said their computers blew up at 2037, and the economy will have crashed HARD long before then.

    What are you going to do about it?


    Nota bene: If this budget proposal can't pass both houses, we have two choices: the Republicans lose huge in 2012 due to a government shut down that would be blamed on them despite it being the Democrats' fault, or Continuing Resolutions that keep funding operations at current levels. Either way, Obama and the Democrats stand to win: they keep their record-high deficit spending levels, or they look good next November. This will take some canny footwork by the Republicans to avoid. I am not very optimistic about this.

    It is only somewhat comforting that we have a man like Paul at the head of the committee responsible for writing the actual budget. This is going to be ugly. Let's see if if makes your local news!

    Why Islam And The Left Get Along So Well

    Because the latter looks up to the former for their chutzpa

    Moonbattery once again serves up inspired imagery. This time, as part of an explanation of why the leftists of the world think islam is just hunky-dory: It goes farther than the commies and other pinkos dare to go.

    Click the chart to see it full-sized.

    (Sort of like how all the Hollywood watermelons praise thug tyrants like Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro.)

    Flu Going Around Austin.

    It's almost like looking down the tracks to which you are tied, watching the train coming. 1/6 of the people where I work are or have taken off work, and some of the people say all the children they know have had it. A couple of days of fevers and body aches, with missed school and/or work to go with it. NP got it or had it in Las Vegas over the weekend, which tells me it's sweeping the country. So of course it won't be reported on the MSM. They're too busy talking up the non-cuts in the federal budget deficits.

    Nobody talk to me. I don't want it.

    Gasoline Prices Rule Of Thumb: Confirmed!

    Mish has access to charts I could only wish to have, and he pulled a couple as part of his Gas Price Seasonality, Where to from Here? posting.

    Here they are, out of context:

    Crude oil prices:


    Gasoline prices:


    And an overlay for those who missed the correlation:


    It is nice to finally have graphical representation of me being right: My rule of thumb is (mostly) valid.Every $25 to $30 on the price of a barrel of oil gives you about $1 on the price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline after a very short delay.

    Click any of those charts to see them full-sized. A big ol' hat tip to Michael Shedlock for the first two.

    TurboTax Website Currently Under Effective dDOS Attack!

    We started our tax returns a few days ago, and the website told us it wouldn't go through until tonight because we wanted to double-check some stuff, and besides which the monkeys our Elected Heroes still hadn't finished writing the laws which were in effect LAST year. So we went to file tonight.

    So did everyone else who is itemizing deductions this year. The website is super slow. MINUTES to get a secure connection. Something tells me their servers down at Intuit are working as hard as they ever have done. So good luck with that.

    Oh, and every.single.time. I closed the popup window with a .pdf file viewer (used to preview/print the return) it crashed Firefox.

    TurboTax Website Currently Under Effective dDOS Attack!

    We started our tax returns a few days ago, and the website told us it wouldn't go through until tonight because we wanted to double-check some stuff, and besides which the monkeys our Elected Heroes still hadn't finished writing the laws which were in effect LAST year. So we went to file tonight.

    So did everyone else who is itemizing deductions this year. The website is super slow. MINUTES to get a secure connection. Something tells me their servers down at Intuit are working as hard as they ever have done. So good luck with that.

    Sunday, February 13, 2011

    Let's See YOU Do It!

    If you load a ship too heavily on one side, she will list (and maybe sink). If you load a plane too heavily on one side, she will roll (and maybe crash and burn). Load masters are vital because someone really has to know what he is doing when it comes time to set weights & balances.
    Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?

    If you load a planet too heavily on one side, she will wobble (and maybe fly apart), not to mention your orbital trajectories won't stay where you set them. When He made the earth (and the other planets) God had to balance the hills so it would spin properly and stay spinning properly. In case you didn't notice, the hills are not all the same size, and not all evenly spaced.

    . . . now that's quite a piece of work!

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    You People Are Horrible

    The drivers around here positively suck at driving . . . well enough of them do that you want to scream obscenities. Also the pedestrians.

    I think this trip to the Megachain Grocery store across town has helped me understand why I liked it when I was working nights and commuting against the heavier traffic.

    Fail. All of you. To include the THREE people who almost ran into my BIGASS MINIVAN and the dozen or so who parked their doublewide shopping carts in the middle of the traffic pattern. Special bonus mention of the family of THREE who managed to take up an entire 12 foot wide aisle.

    Lack of skill, lack of consideration, your child is named Austinite.

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Gun Porn: Benelli M1 Super 90 in Realtree Camo

    Click any image to see it full sized and high quality.

    This is a shotgun for the hunter who wants a seriously nice field piece.


    It is covered all over in genuine Realtree camouflage pattern, which does not suffer aesthetic damage when cosmetic blemishes happen to the finish . . .


    . . . which will happen in the field, and has happened to the gun before you.


    The action is slicker than greased snot. A gun nut gets warm tingly feelings up his leg when he cycles this action by hand. The padded sling will be nice when you are 10 miles into the woods.

    The bore is bright with minor dings inside from steel shot, which the choke specifies is just fine to use.


    A very nice piece in a very popular camo pattern, camouflaged even in the stamped and etched identification marks.


    They are proud of them at Benelli, and the price shows they know just what a nice shotgun they have. Congratulations to the manufacturer and owners of these guns. Very nice.


    On This Day In History . . .

    32 years ago, there was an Islamic Revolution in Iran. The Shah was deposed. Now Iran is an enemy, and approaching a faithful moslem one at that.

    Today, the President of Egypt abdicated his office. The crowds in the street were chanting Allahu Ackbar! when the announcement was made. What's the worst that could happen?

    President Obama makes so bold as to say the "Arc of History" has been turned toward Justice. Talk to me about that in six years.

    Spending Cuts My Tuchus.

    The Republicans are announcing spending cut plans. Depending on whether you count a smaller-than-projected increase as a cut, they are talking about $30-70 billion. That's off a trillion-plus dollar increase in the baseline budget in the last couple of years.

    Excuse me if I can contain my enthusiasm as they start trying to cut 4% of what they should be cutting.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Gun Porn: Marlin Model 60

    Click any image to see it full sized.

    This is a typical used example. There are a million or ten out there within 20% of this condition.


    It looks good from a few feet away, but there are dents and dings here and there


    . . . and the action is of course heavily fouled. My trigger job instructions right here also include disassembly instructions. Clean that puppy and you might be surprised that it cycles like it used to do, without failures to feed and eject.


    The bore is mirror-bright and the micro-groove rifling is still sharp. This also is typical.


    The Marlin 60: in production since 1960, the most popular rifle. In. The. World.


    Madness @ Work!

    I was carrying a customer's battle rifle slung across my back as I was washing my hands at the sink by the hallway. Front Office Girl came walking by on separate business and said "You gotta gun!" At a larger company, my response might get me into sensitivity training or worse:

    "I gotta rifle too."

    Ah Swahr, Kats Is So Dum

    VFDKitty is picky about drinking icky dirty water . . . like the water in her bowl after she drinks with food on her lips. #1 forgets to change the water, and I give her a little hard time. Tonight, I swirled VFDKitty's bowl to bring all the crumbs into one spot in the middle, and asked #1 if she would like to drink it. #1 went and got fresh water. #1 came back into her room and set the water bowl next to the food bowl on the counter where VFDDawgs can't reach . . .

    VFDKitty: Hey, hi! I see you have my bowl with you.
    VFD: Look at your cat.
    VFDKitty: What do you have there? That looks good. I think I'll have that.
    #1: LOL (sets bowl on counter)
    VFDKitty: AAaaaaahhhh . . . my opportunity! (jumps to counter)

    Then the cat walked over and started eating, ignoring the water entirely.

    Why does God love Jerusalem? A Theory:

    If your only son were murdered on the side of the road, how would you like it if the murderer opened up a strip club on the spot?

    What if you knew thousands of years in advance that the murder would happen?

    Precision Adjustable Low Voltage DC Power Supply (with pictures!)

    Here is a power source I made for testing electronic circuits. My bench power source has a 3/4 turn pot for 0-40V . . . not good for fine control even with a "fine" control adjustment.

    The goals were:
  • Precist output voltage control
  • *Up to 2VDC out
  • High current capacity
  • Metered output
  • Safety

    The result: up to 6A of fairly-quiet low voltage DC with 10-turn control of just a hair over 2V. Output voltage indication with 1mV resolution to 1.999V. Total success. It only *looks* like an unworkable bodge! :)

    Click any image to see it full size and better quality


    The mains power comes in to the supply filter from an old Compaq server power supply. I was having some difficulty getting the expected output from my prototype power supply; it was from this filter. There was a thermistor in the server to limit inrush current. The thermistor wastes a little power, and at low voltage I needed all of it. Jumpering across the thermistor gave me instant high current capacity.


    Then it's off to a transformer I snagged from a piece of medical equipment, unwound the secondary, and rewound it for the voltages I needed. It ended up with three secondaries with just a few dozen turns each of 16AWG magnet wire, which are wired in parallel. I put kapton tape between the layers of the winding and pulled each turn tight with the aid of a bench vise. It is pleasantly silent in operation.


    Then back to the filter PCB for rectification in a monolithic bridge rectifier with an excessively-large heat sink. From there it's off to a bank of capacitors (from a bunch of controllers for semiconductor wafer manufacturing chambers' vacuum level) in parallel for about 0.12F. This sits at almost exactly 5VDC when power is on. The actual circuit itself is pretty basic: A value-faked Bourns 10-turn pot sets the base voltage of a 2N6045 power transistor, which feeds eight 2n4918 power transistors their base current. These are mounted to a heat sink that also came from a computer power supply. The bus bars are more 16AWG magnet wire. The output transistors are wired in parallel and have 0.22 ohm resistors to help share the current load between them.



    Yes, the schematic is somewhat lacking in detail. Those attempting this level of electronics tinkering will hopefully know what is meant. If you have no idea what is happening on this sheet of paper, take my word for it: it works.

    The case used to be a Sola-brand UPS which had its guts recycled. It has a power outlet on the back, and I had power going in, so I figured "why not" and now there's an auxiliary mains power outlet on the back of my new power supply.


    The knob is from an Olympus wafer inspection microscope station and binding posts come from a Hewlett-Packard analog RMS voltmeter.

    The output voltage meter is a positively ancient 3.5 digit panel meter the brand of which I forget. At work we had to replace it because it was missing the red diffuser . . . at a cost of $250 to the customer. It is a type of meter made by everyone who does instrumentation. The case was damaged in addition to the missing diffuser, so I replaced it with a case from an Omega thermocouple readout acquired separately, years later. These things are amusingly ubiquitous and work great. This panel meter was calibrated against my bench meter from work and they agree perfectly; I called it good enough. There was going to be a second meter for current output monitoring, but it ended up being both more than zero effort AND the back of the meter would physically interfere with the filter PCB, so for now there's a hole in the front panel.

    Don't stick your hand in there. The gray rectangle to the lower left of the big hole in the front panel is the bridge rectifier. A few inches deeper and you're dealing with 115V AC. Really don't stick your hand in there.


    Safety: The mains input is switched and fused, the output is fused, and there is a switch to turn off the output. Because even at 5V, 0.12F is a lot of potential, I also installed a lamp to show that the capacitors are over half of their operating voltage, and a switch with a power resistor to bleed off the caps in under half a minute.
  • Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Obama The Deficit Hawk

    Click here to see full-color graphs that easily explain just how huge are the cuts in the upcoming Federal budget proposed by President Obama. His courage at boldly cutting back on the annual trillion-plus dollar deficits cannot be underoverstated!

    Give me a break. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and Military: If you ain't talking about cutting way, way, WAY back on all of them, you're speaking for Bunkum with your spending cut jabberjawing.

    Update: Shooting Inside Gun Bores Still Challenging

    I have added a new section near the end, and done some minor revisions throughout the body of my article on photographing the insides of rifle and gun barrels. I hope you will excuse me if I am just a little proud of the way the last photos came out.

    Gun Porn: Remington 12 Ga. Express Super Magnum

    ***Click any image to see it fullsize and much higher quality***

    Now here is a shotgun I would like to have. Built to take a pounding from the inside and a beating on the outside.


    Sure it's a little used. That just means you won't have to worry about scratching it. Keep it oiled and it will still outlast you unless you take it to shotgun class. This here is old school: two beads for sights, and a vented rib instead of a rail. It'd still blow a goblin's guts all over the living room though.


    There is honest wear all over this piece.


    The working end and the business end are still in good working condition though.


    Is the model name long enough? Take your pick: PEW PEW or BOOM BOOM


    It could stand to lose a few inches of barrel length and maybe a laser or red dot sight would be nice . . . but this here is a winner.

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    People Who Should Be Shot: One More

    The defense already conceded he was cooking his books. There was apparently no mention of the kids for cash deal. The trial is finally underway.

    It's a good thing I'm not God; if I knew somebody did what Judge Ciavarella is accused of, I'd squish him like a bug before he could even apologize. If I were dictator, the taking of peoples' freedom in exchange for cash would probably be something for which one would be dragged out behind the court house and shot dead.

    I find one point of agreement with Jan: This was corruption. That it is being rooted out speaks well of our country. That it is apparently being incompletely rooted out and two years too late, does not.

    Bonuses for - Wait, What?

    Ford had a homerun year and everybody in the company takes home a few thousand dollars of profit sharing goodness. Wonderful.

    Chrysler and Chevy have a decent year, and everybody takes home a few hundred dollars of profit sharing goodness. Excuse the [deleted] outta me? Where do you get off handing out profit sharing checks to your employees when you still not only owe the People more money than a normal man will earn in a lifetime, but the government still pwns j00! A company capable of corporate shame would buy back some of the stock held by Uncle Sam, or at least pay off the government loans they used to pay off their government loans instead of handing out bonus checks, but NoooOo!

    Jerks. Screw Chrysler and Government Motors. I hope they fail and some patriot buys all their equipment and sets up shop in Tennessee or Texas. Like SHOULD have happened a couple years ago. Yes I mean it, even though one of the VFD fleet is an old GM that would be cut off from spare parts. I'd set that car on fire if I thought it would help get us away from the creeping fascism spoiling my Republic.

    Duty Gun: HK45 - I'll Take TWO.

    Yes, for a duty gun not personal CC or a barbecue gun. Something purchased by "Department of _____" from HK will get good service. Mr. ____ will receive something more along the you suck/we hate you level of service. But if you want something that will run right out of the box, it's hard to argue with a gun that will give 10x industry standard reliability with 20x longer cleaning intervals, for 50,000 rounds. With only one broken spring and no broken anything elses. Wow. I might suck and they might hate me, but HK appears to have hit it out of the park with the HK45 for a duty .45 ACP gun.

    Hat tip Tam (via Uncle)

    Gun Porn: Savage 93R17 .17 HMR Rifle With Stainless Bull Barrel

    Click any image to see it fullsize (4x more pixels).

    Savage Model 93 in .17 Hornady Magnum. This is a nifty example of the type, and looks like it should be a tack driver.



    Stainless: Good
    Bull Barrel: Good
    Light despite the thick barrel: Good
    Synthetic: Good
    Halfdecent Scope: Good
    Accutrigger: Excellent

    This was a piece that saw use in the field, but not much. There are a few light scratches in the stock, and a few spots on the stainless that will disappear with a light application of steel wool.



    The trigger pull (unsurprisingly) is delightfully light and crisp. The wear-free bolt handle is a segue to the breech, which also looks nice.


    The scope is an almost-generic Simmons 8-point but it's bright and clear, and adjustable 3x-9x magnification could be handy. The 40mm front lens really picks up a lot of light.

    The recessed crown on the barrel could have been stepped a little more cleanly, but the actual end of the bore is in great shape, and the bore is just shy of perfect. Mirror bright with very sharp rifling.


    Oh look how cute! A baby little detachable magazine!

    If I were into .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire, I'd love to have this piece. I'm not, but there it is. If I were on the fence about 17HMR and I had a couple hundred bucks to spare, this rifle might be the final straw.

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Cool: Painted Guns

    I just met a beater revolver I might have to buy. The finish is . . . well, gone really, and that's fine for a plinker/trainer. However, if I were to send it to HardCorps Weaponry, it would have to come back something like this:

    Click here to see some of the other custom pistols they've done, and be sure to click through the rifles and shotguns also.

    Hat tip: Uncle

    Criminal Charges, Really?

    A 13 year-old in Austin (at Fullmore) has collected a Class C Misdemeanor criminal charge for wearing too much perfume. This touched off a discussion on the local radio show about the state of schools around here. Several teachers and a school bus driver have called in and they mentioned that it is now verboten for school people to touch your precious snowflake. A generation ago, your screaming meanie would have been taken to the principal's office for a paddling, with their feet dragging and their ears stretching. Now, they have to call the local policeman on campus to remove a disruptive student, or to get a child who won't stand up off the floor of a school bus.

    And we wonder why there is no discipline in the classrooms. You make it so your teachers CAN'T discipline a child, and he won't be disciplined. Let a child in my Darling Wife's class even refuse to do their work, and see what happens. If they start a hoopin' and'a hollerin' and'a name-callin' and The Swat is very likely to make an appearance.

    You have to teach children and animals where the fences are if you want them happy and well-behaved. If you don't, you get . . . what you have.

    Coolest Thing You'll See All Day

    Rod Edwards made a QTVR 360º panorama of the Race Track in Death Valley. To say this is cool is an understatement. You will click the link. Click on the picture and wait for it to load.

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    Homeschoolers In Pflugerville?

    I know you're out there because we do it too. Finding a local homeschoolers' support group that hasn't gone belly-up by the time you find it is a challenge if you don't want to pay membership dues (up front, thanks) or wait for approval to join what may turn out to be a dead mailing list.

    Anyone? Bueller?

    Saturday, February 5, 2011

    No Sense Of History

    A car tuner I know of has criticized the younger generation for having no sense of history, as part of a spiel about the history of his car.

    You know what? Yes you are driving a piece of history. We all do. Yours just happens to be made before ours and you've read up on it. You are passionate about it; great. You know all about it; great. You've poured your heart into it and the ten others like it you've had. Great. You know what?

    At the end of the day, it's a crappy little econobox that's older than dirt and looks like a P.O.S. Get over yourself.

    And those of us who remember you before your divorce will remember that you're a wife-beating, controlling S.O.B. yourself.

    Oh, tough guy!

    I put it here because I felt like getting it off my chest, just like everything else I put here. If he makes an ass of himself like he did when he was around before, I'll say it right to him. For now, I'm giving him a fresh chance to be civil and bringing an attitude like this to the party is much less likely to help the civility of the place than just ignoring him.

    Friday, February 4, 2011 Radiant Barrier Helps In the Winter Also

    I still haven't finished that radiant barrier installation. Funny how that happens to DIY projects when a baby is born. This is my roof this morning, Snow Day I, 2011.

    Click any image to see it full-sized.


    Here it is with the contrast turned up and the brightness turned down. Please forgive the MS Paint editing quality . . .


    On the right of the frame, the snow on my roof is smooth. On the left, the lines between the rows of shingles were clearly visible, as the snow is less thick. The left side of the roof was warmer. The reason? No radiant barrier over there. This effect is pretty dramatic, and I was surprised. Remember that these bits of roof are over a common air space.


    If I had finished this installation in the summer I wouldn't have this dramatic comparison shot, my furnace would not have been wasting heat into this section of roof . . . but then I wouldn't have got this dramatic comparison shot.

    I got a good deal on an astoundingly good product from Go check them out if you don't have a radiant barrier in your attic yet.