31 Oct 2014

Jeppson’s Malort

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I’d never heard of this stuff before running into the ad yesterday.

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RedEye Staffers taste Malort for the first time. 1:51 video

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14 things about Malort.

31 Oct 2014

Yage: Jaguar Catnip

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Yage is the Banisteriopsis caapi vine. Back in 1953, William Burroughs experimented with yage and wrote a series of letters to Allen Ginsburg describing his experiences with the hallucinogen (and with Peruvian boys, who rolled the old poof for his money, eyeglasses, &c.). I never had a chance to try this one myself, but the jaguar definitely looks happy.

Via IFL Science.

30 Oct 2014

Glass Meets Bullet

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BulletGlass

30 Oct 2014

Walking in NYC

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This week’s major viral hit is the video below documenting how an average-looking, not-especially-sexily-dressed woman receives 100 instances of street harassment in the course of a ten-hour stroll through New York City.

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My millennial Facebook friends from Yale circles were righteously a-buzz over this one yesterday. One girl after another testifying that she, too, was constantly harassed by men. It is all about power, they agreed. I offered the consolatory reflection that none of them will have this problem any longer after just a couple of decades. But the girls did not particularly appreciate hearing that one.

It was not very long, however, before the thoroughly-conditioned youngsters, just like Hannah Rosin at Slate, identified a highly problematic subtext in the Hollaback! video: “the video also unintentionally makes another point, that harassers are mostly black and Latino, and hanging out on the streets in midday in clothes that suggest they are not on their lunch break. As Roxane Gay tweeted, ‘The racial politics of the video are f*cked up. Like, she didn’t walk through any white neighborhoods?’ ”

Today’s young people simply cannot tolerate viewing, hearing, or reading anything uncomplimentary to the groups they have been trained all their lives to regard as sacred. Their noses twitch, their hairs stand on end, their heads go up, and they reflexively cry: Racism!

Once the material is identified as racist, that is it. It is not only bad, it is ipso facto false, and must be dismissed out of hand. It doesn’t matter if the questionable content is perfectly true. It is still false because it is wrong, cosmically, absolutely, utterly WRONG. In the minds of today’s young, nothing is, nothing can possibly be so unutterably wrong as Racism. And Racism is not necessarily some kind of concrete theory of the characteristics and relative inherited inferiority of certain groups. Racism is merely saying anything whatsoever negative about certain groups.

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The mandatory racial witch hunt having concluded, the Internet Community then turned its attention to poking fun at the Hollaback! Sexual Harassment video.

Funny or Die! gave us this (non-embeddable) 1:56 video of 10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Man.

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And Tumblrland responded with this:

Walking-Girl

via Ratak Monodosico.

30 Oct 2014

Northern Pike is All in Favor of Catch and Release

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29 Oct 2014

“People May Not Always Understand Why, But an Armored Vehicle is Almost a Necessity Now”

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ArmoredCar

The town of Stettin, Wisconsin sent 24 cops and an armored car to collect a civil judgement from a 75-year-old man. The sheriff captain explained that the old man was known to be “argumentative.”

Journal Sentinel story

Reason story

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

29 Oct 2014

Shit Happens

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ShitHappens

Hat tip to Fred Lapides.

29 Oct 2014

While You Were Sleeping

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Hat tip to Kuriositas.

29 Oct 2014

Finnish Humor

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WinterWar
The Winter War, Finland vs the Soviet Union, took place between 30 November 1939 and 13 March 1940, lasting 3 months, 1 week and 5 days. Finland suffered 70,000 total casualties. The Soviet Union suffered 323,000 total casualties.


A large group of Russian soldiers in the border area in 1939 are moving down a road when they hear a voice call from behind a small hill: “One Finnish soldier is better than ten Russian”.

The Russian commander quickly orders 10 of his best men over the hill where Upon a gun-battle breaks out and continues for a few minutes, then silence.

The voice once again calls out: “One Finn is better than one hundred Russian.”

Furious, the Russian commander sends his next best 100 troops over the hill and instantly a huge gun fight commences.

After 10 minutes of battle, again Silence.

The calm Finnish voice calls out again:

“One Finn is better than one thousand Russians”

The enraged Russian commander musters

1000 fighters and sends them to the other side

of the hill. Rifle fire, machine guns, grenades,

rockets and cannon fire ring out as a terrible

battle is fought…. Then Silence.

Eventually one badly wounded Russian fighter crawls back over the hill and with his dying words tells his commander, “Don’t send any more men……it’s a trap. There’s two of them.”

29 Oct 2014

Hillary Clinton: “Corporations Don’t Create Jobs.”

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ChelseaClinton1

“NBC created a job for Chelsea, so there’s at least one corporation that created a job.” Chuck Lane, Washington Post

28 Oct 2014

Maybe Corporations Really Do Create Jobs After All

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HillaryTakesItBack

Hillary Clinton’s remarkable denial that corporations create jobs in the course of a campaign speech for Martha Coackley in Massachusetts last Friday produced sufficient mockery and loud guffaws that Hillary was yesterday at pains to revise and extend her remarks.

Daily Mail:

Hillary Clinton tried her best on Monday to walk back her controversial economic body-slam from a speech on Friday, explaining away her claim that it’s not ‘corporations and businesses that create jobs.’

The talking point three days later: ‘So-called trickle-down economics has failed. I short-handed this point the other day, so let me be absolutely clear about what I’ve been saying for a couple of decades.”

“Our economy grows when businesses and entrepreneurs create good-paying jobs here in America and workers and families are empowered to build from the bottom up and the middle out – not when we hand out tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs or stash their profits overseas.’

But the damage has been done. Conservatives have a new rally cry – ‘Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s, you know, corporations and businesses that create jobs,’ she said – and campaign consultants will have a new advertisement drawn up if Clinton runs for president in 2016.

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Alinsky-ite propagandists like Hillary decry the idea that limiting the percentage of a nation’s economic wealth confiscated and squandered by government leaves more capital available for investment and increases the likelihood that that nation’s economy will grow, and socialists smear the notion that a growing economy raises all boats by applying the derisive term “trickle-down economics.”

When people like Hillary sneer at the idea of capitalistic growth as “trickle-down economics,” they are, in fact, shamelessly denying the obvious history of their own country, the same history which Hillary herself lived through a significant piece of, right along with the rest of us.

Just compare the condition of a working-class family a hundred years ago with the condition of a similiarly-situated family today. In 1914, chances are that a working class family used an outhouse, lighted their home with a kerosene lamp, heated their home with the cookstove in the kitchen, owned no automobile, and (obviously) did not enjoy air-conditioning or computers. It’s actually pretty amazing all the stuff that has trickled down from the once-upon-a-time point when they either constituted fabulous luxuries available only to the rich, or were not yet even existing at all, to becoming routine features of the life of practically everyone.

It was remarked with a certain amount of bemusement, back in 1991, during the Los Angeles Rodney King riots, that, in America, when the poor riot, they leave air-conditioned homes, with computers and color televisions behind, and get in their cars to drive downtown in order to riot.

So-called “trickle-down economics” may not be as speedy in results as rubbing a magic lamp and making a wish, but that kind of economics really has, over just a few generations, made ordinary people richer in many ways than kings and emperors used to be.

The alternative to “trickle-down economics”, of course, is socialism. There are plenty of well-known examples as to just how effective in promoting general economic well-being all the best exemplars of Hillary Clinton’s preferred Robin Hood “Steal-from-the-rich-and-give-to-the-poor” economic philosophy have proven: Argentina, Cuba, North Korea, the late Soviet Union.

28 Oct 2014

Local News Highlights National Habit of Overreacting to Fears and Obsessions

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SchoolLockdown
A school lockdown in Connecticut

Regular readers may possibly recall that I am currently blogging from our vacation place/300-acre farm in Central Pennsylvania.

Yesterday, the sounds of low-flying aircraft were heard from our cabin in the morning, and when Karen went into town, late in the afternoon, to get mail from the post office, the small town of Tyrone was buzzing with stories of a shooting in our own neighborhood.

The 10/27 Daily Herald (serving Tyrone, Bellwood, and Surrounding Areas since 1866, but not on-line) reported:

State Police at Hollidaysburg have confirmed a shooting at 260 Van Scoyoc Hollow Road in Snyder Township this morning.

Unconfirmed reports say that a 13-year-old female Tyrone student has been shot in the chest or shoulder at her bus stop near the Tyrone Sportsman’s Club. Reportedly the weapon was believed to be a shotgun.

The Tyrone Area School District went on full exterior lockdown as a precaution.

The school web-site said: “Based on conversation with the state police we have been informed that there is no threat to the school. We are merely taking precautionary measures by instituting the secure exterior lockdown

Due to shooting in the community, which is currently believed to be a hunting accident, the district is currently in a secure exterior lockdown.”

State Police were still investigating the area with metal detectors and ran infrared by helicopter looking for possible suspects around the Sportsman’s Club at 10:30 a.m. The bus stop and a wooded area across the road were heavily investigated.

The victim has reportedly been taken to UPMC Altoona and is in stable condition. State Police and the Game Commission were still on the scene, the shooter was not located and no further information was available at the time of press other that it is believed to have been a hunting accident.

So… What struck me about all this was the craziness of a school lockdown off in the borough of Tyrone, miles away from the scene of a shooting thought to be a hunting accident. This kind of response typifies a contemporary style of “cover your ass at any cost” bureaucratic formalism which characteristically reacts, not so much to threats, as to memes, with preposterous and pretentious brain-damaged forms of completely useless gestures.

I needed, of course, to investigate the facts, so I phoned up the State Police in Hollidaysburg this morning, explaining that I was inquiring about the Snyder Township shooting in my capacity as an Internet journalist.

I learned that what happened was: a 12-year-old girl accidentally dropped a .22 rifle while in the process of putting it away inside her house. The rifle went off, and the girl was struck by a bullet in the abdomen. The young lady is recovering from her unfortunate accident in hospital.

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Oddly enough, some news agency was actually reporting the story accurately this morning:

Police: Girl, 12, shot after mishandling rifle

TYRONE, Pa. (AP) – State police say a 12-year-old girl was accidentally shot in the abdomen after mishandling a .22-caliber rifle in her home.

Police aren’t releasing the name of the girl who authorities first believed had been shot outside her home Monday as she left for school about 7 a.m. That prompted the Pennsylvania Game Commission to investigate whether the girl might have been wounded by a hunter’s stray bullet.

But police now say the girl had grabbed the rifle and was returning it to a safe when it fell and discharged in her Snyder Township home.

The Tyrone Area School District was on an exterior lockdown after the shooting, meaning classes operated normally but no visitors were allowed on school property. The lockdown was lifted about 11 a.m. Monday.

Police were continuing to investigate Tuesday.

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All of which demonstrates the propensity of all forms and flavors of American officialdom these days to react Pavlovianly to popular cultural memes (e.g., “Child Shooting!” — “School Shooting!”) demonstrating a pathologically overly-enthusiastic eagerness to wield authority, deploy personnel and equipment, play with gadgets and weapons, and to act out fantasies in public.

Yesterday, we had two government agencies sending armed men scurrying about the landscape, helicopters searching the forest with infrared, and a school system, miles away, undergoing lockdown (“Sorry, Mr. Jones, you can’t deliver milk for the school lunch today. We’re on lockdown!”), along with a grand search for an imaginary hunter, all in response to a one-party accident that took place inside a private home.

Perhaps we all tend to idealize the past. I could be wrong but, when I think back to when I was young, decades ago, I have a lot of trouble picturing the American adults I grew up among getting into lathers of this kind and responding to emergencies with so much panic and excessive overreaction in defiance of all the facts.

I do think that if somebody came along and said to Sister Daniel, the principal of St. George School in Shenandoah back in 1960, “Hey! you better lockdown the school. There has been a hunting accident over in Brandonville.”, Sister Daniel would have said, “What are you, some kind of a nut?”

27 Oct 2014

More Ottawa Shootout Details

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The National has a full play-by-play description of exactly how Kevin Vickers took down Michael Zehaf Bibeau.

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What Pistol did Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers use?

S&W_5946
Smith & Wesson 5946

(Dean Weingarten identified it.)

Bibeau was using a Model 1894 Winchester .30-30 lever-action carbine, with a tubular magazine holding six rounds (in addition to a round in the chamber). Retired Mountie Kevin Vickers took from his desk the RCMP standard sidearm: a Smith & Wesson Model 5946 9mm semiauto, almost certainly with a 15-round magazine (plus one in the chamber).

Vickers had Bibeau decidedly outgunned. Vickers could fire 16 shots as rapidly as he could press the trigger. Bibeau had only some portion of seven rounds left, and needed to work the lever to eject the spent cartridge case and chamber a new round before he could get off another shot.

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Mike McDaniel doesn’t like the Double-Action semiautos designed for the police market (and I agree).

[M]ost police officers [today] are not gun guys and girls. Many officers shoot their issued handguns only when necessary for qualifications–commonly only once a year–and clean their weapons far less often. Many police officers don’t own personal weapons, and many don’t carry any handgun off duty. Skill with handguns, and particularly revolvers requires constant and serious practice. Most police officers aren’t willing to do that.

Police executives were scared to death of the pistols available in the 70s, which were primarily the Colt 1911 and Browning Hi-Power, both single action pistols correctly carried “cocked and locked.” The sight of those cocked hammers sent shivers up their spine and made their knees weak, so manufacturers developed double action mechanisms so that they functioned more or less like revolvers, except they didn’t. After the first, vague, long and heavy double action trigger pull, the second and subsequent shots have a short, light pull, generally making the impact points of at least the first two shots far apart indeed.

Col. Jeff Cooper called double action pistols “an ingenious solution to a non-existent problem.” And so they were.

But Kevin Vickers clearly had fired that Smith & Wesson at a range many times in police practice sessions. He was familiar with his weapon and proved quite capable of shooting it accurately at a man-sized target.

27 Oct 2014

SNL Mocks Obama

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