Friday, March 31, 2006

Armscor Revolvers

I own a Rock Island Armory 1911. It is a government model .45 automatic and doesn't have any problems that aren't characteristic of all such pistols (the spur hammer tends to pinch). The RIA is actually an Armscor product manufactured in the Philippines. They make several models of 1911, but the GI models are marketed as Rock Island's here in the us.

What I didn't realize is that Armscor also makes .38 special revolvers. Their 200 series revolvers are very modestly priced (~$150-200) firearms. If you are a gunny you can tell that these are base on a colt design, specifically the diamondback. The diamondback is a good gun, although limited to only .38+P pressures instead of the more common .357s found today. But Colt doesn't make it anymore. In fact they discontinued all their revolver lines. So if I run across one of these guns I may have to pick it up.

Kingdom Hearts

Amy and I rented the first one three years ago. It was pretty but we really didn't enjoy the gameplay. I could fight, but I never knew where I was supposed to be going or what to do. It seems as if they've changed some stuff at least. Dunno if I would pick it up based on this review. The cameos and voice talent do sound cool though.

Of Mice and Meme

Egregious Charles has this to say:
"Meme" is a word that automatically makes me very suspicious. It is almost always used as shorthand for, "I don't know any evidence for this idea and can't imagine that anyone else does, so there must be some other explanation for its prevalence." Mainly it signals weaseling out of debating an idea on it's merits; tag an idea a "meme" and you shift the discussion to how it's transmitted rather than whether it makes sense. A similar technique is Bulverism, where you shift the discussion to the motives of one debater; e.g. you don't like affirmative action because you're a racist.
Very true. It is interesting that Wikipedia notes:
Calling someone's ideas/beliefs/action a "meme" therefore does not constitute an insult, but saying that it is "just a meme" does.
Often using the word "meme" or "memetic" is also a great way to conceal biases with a facade of scientific-sounding jargon. For instance some people like to label religions as "memetic viruses." This is just a sly way of saying that your religion is using you for its benefit but your detriment.

This outlook on religion is not a coincidence since the whole memetic concept was created by Richard Dawkins, an athiest and award winning secular humanist. That is not to say that the whole memetic concept is anti-religious. It isn't. However there are a lot of anti-religious people employing it as a methodology. Let's just say I am not a big fan of most of Dawkin's work.

Democrats on National Security

Well Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney started the debate off well. She attacked a Capitol Hill PD officer with her cell phone when he didn't recognize her and she refused to stop or answer questions. No word yet if she got the idea from Naomi Campbell. When Democrats say they're tough on security, I didn't think they meant beating up cops.

But the Dems have been rolling out their security platform and it is not without some merit. It is not without it's problems either. National Review has a breakdown:
  • The initial explanation: "I went to to look at the plan. Sadly, it’s not a 'plan.' It’s a 'wish list.'"
  • On North Korea: "While the headlines are bold, the proposals are vague, mild, and not terribly different from the current policies." Some proposals are self-contradictory (like blaming Bush for not stifling dissent enough). Others show lots of carrot and stick with no intention of using the stick.
  • On Iran: Give them an offer they can't rationally refuse, which assumes they are rational. Also they blame Bush for being too multilateral about Iran. Thats a new one, Bush isn't unilateral enough?
  • On Russian nuclear stockpiles: This section also has proposals that sound like they came out of a Dilbert comic strip mocking empty business blather talk.
  • On foreign oil dependence: Same old energy policy, but now it is dressed up as a national security policy. It still stresses conservation too much and alternatives not enough.
The last part is a bad sign. I'd rather not see the Democrats taking a wholistic approach to national security that includes sending federal agents around to see that my car's tires are inflated properly. Yes that could drop US oil consumption by 2.2% a year. Of course consumption grew by almost that much in 2005 so you aren't getting anywhere...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Standardized Tests for Good and Ill

First the good. There has been a lot of criticism for No Child Left Behind, but Joanne Jacobs is emphasizing a positive:
In response to No Child Left Behind, schools are cutting history, science and electives to focus on teaching reading and math to low achievers, reports the New York Times.
Downtown College Prep, the charter high school in my book, Our School, realized in its first year that students couldn't read well enough to understand the algebra textbooks, much less history or science. Eventually, the school put way-behind ninth graders in a reading class, in addition to English 1, and a numeracy class, in addition to algebra, deferring history and science teaching.
She and several commenters go on to talk about how deferring science for those with problems in more fundamental skills is a Good Thing. You can't teach someone to run before they can walk. You need to be able to read and do basic math befoer you can truly tackle science, civics, history, geography, etc. This is something many schools have forgotten in order to make learning more "fun" for the students.

Now the ill, Delaware's take of paying for performance is lacking according to Hube:
Delaware has an idea where some 20% of a teacher's evaluation (and pay raise) would be based on students' DSTP reading, writing and math scores ... no matter what subject you teach. That's right. And I teach Spanish. Yet, 20% of my performance evaluation would be based on my school's students' DSTP scores! Can someone explain to me how this makes any sense?
It doesn't make sense to me, nor does Delaware's whole DSTP program when superior testing instruments are available and less costly than the Delaware program.

Home Shopping Hilarity

For my second porn-themed post of the day, I link you to a QVC video at Von's site. It is easily twice as funny because the caller is from Lower Delaware. Unlike Randy from Dover I cannot recommend Dell computers. My Dell laptop has unfortunately been an unreliable POS while my 1996 gateway desktop (and 2003 HP desktop) are still running strong. This is probably a laptop vs. desktop thing, but I had multiple problems even while the laptop was under its three year manufacturers warrantee.

As a sword afficianado, this "Shop at Home" Network clip still takes the cake for home shopping humor. Unfortunately putting a sharp edge on a cheap sword is easy. It is retaining the edge that is tough. But he's a true professional and never stops tape.

Porn Again

I'm really shocked to be writing this, but this LA Times story on outreach to the California sex industry is very good.

Heather Veitch left the sex industry in 1999 after it stopped being fun and she starting thinking about the consequences. Then she found God. Then she founded JC's Girls Girls Girls, a Christian ministry to sex workers affiliated with Sandals Church in Riverside, Ca. Why did she do it? "No one tried to reach me. That's what inspires me to share with others."

They have also come under some criticism for their tactics. The women pay for private lap dances from strippers in order to discuss spiritual things with them. They go to adult industry conventions and hand out bibles wrapped in Holy Hottie t-shirts. Most importantly, they do not emphasize leaving the sex industry. Instead they just want to get the girls to know Jesus with the belief that leaving the industry will follow.

Sounds like they know what they're doing: seeking and saving the lost. Via GetReligion.

UPDATE: No this does not mean I want to do "evangelism" as part of my Bachelor Party, as one coworker has already suggested...

Prayer Request

My branch secretary's husband and grandson were in a car accident last night. Her grandson is fine, but her husband is still under observation at the hospital. Any prayers on their behalf would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


You know I was willing to be reasonable. Yes illegal immigrants are criminals, but many are just good people who really just want honest work. And the US legal immigration system sucks. I know. I went to grad school and heard it from all the other grad students who came from out of town. I know students who had to take Canadian and French vacations so they could leave the country and work visa stuff out. I know. So I was willing to at least consider amnesty. Was.

Now? No. Not after all this kind of shit. Now I'm all for building a big damn wall and putting guys with guns on it. You want to put Mexico above the US? Fine, go back there. I'll gladly pay for your one-way tickets. Once there I suggest you try to make Mexico more like the US instead of the other way around.

UPDATE: John the Methodist has a long and insightful piece on immigration up at Locusts and Honey. He mentions passages like Exodus 22:21, "Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt." Christians are to forgive because we are forgiven. We are also to treat immigrants hospitably because our families were also immigrants. How very true that is, especially in the US.

I believe the US has the right to regulate its borders. I don't know how a country could be worth the name if it didn't have that right. But we must deal with this problem within the law and with respect for the fundamental human rights to due process that even illegal aliens possess.

Weird Bikes

I went to WaWa for lunch. Man, their subs are getting expensive. Someone on a Suzuki M109R pulled into the parking space beside me. It was in blue. My thoughts? The headlight hood still looks a little weird in person. Frankly, it is a huge bike. Not only is it long and tall, but it really wide as well. It's like a giant block of bike. It filled up a parking spot very nicely. I guess it makes sense for a 700 lb., 1800cc cruiser.

UPDATE: Here is a closer look at Motorcycle Cruiser Magazine.

Pro-Gun Slasher Films

The whole problem is that they seem to be awfully short. I can't vouch for the work-safeness of the host site. This isn't the first time I have seen someone make that joke, but it is still really funny. Via Ace of Spades.

Teenagers and Sleep

Thinklings is covering the current meme that kids, especially high school students, aren't getting enough sleep. The study which spawned all this discussion says:
The poll found that sixth-graders were sleeping an average of 8.4 hours on school nights and 12th-graders just 6.9 hours.
Nearly all youngsters, 97 percent, have at least one electronic item in their bedroom. These include television, computer, phone or music devices.
My first reaction was that the world is also still round. Kids stay out all night and don't get enough sleep. And they're disrespectful. Sumerian parents were inscribing such things on their clay tablets eons ago. It wouldn't surprise my if there are cave paintings somewhere that tranlate to "Boy take friends, hunt all night, no respect Dad."

I've been out of high school for a little over 10 years now. Back then I stayed up until 11 and had to get up before 6. I brought my average amount of sleep up on weekends by sleeping in until 10 or 11 on Saturdays. Sundays were (and still are) a wash because I had to get up for church. So I got less than the recommended 9 hours a night. Lord only knows how they derived a requirement for 9 hours a night. I suspect it was a bunch of parents saying "we need a good reason to tell our kids to go to bed so we can have sex/get some sleep ourselves."

Truth be told, I probably got more sleep than my peers at the time. I probably got at least an hour more sleep than most of them. Some did better because they drove to school. Some did worse and just kept going until they got sick and couldn't go to school.

I also had music available in my bedroom either from the radio or my cassette player. I rarely stayed up all night listening to it, but it happened. Sometimes I'd end up down stairs watching TV if I couldn't sleep.

So most of this stuff seems to be pretty constant. But what we didn't have was kids coming home, going to sleep, then waking up for dinner and chatting on the internet all night. My generation only had TV. There was little point being up until 4 because there wasn't anything to do after 1:30 or 2. And for the most part the internet was boring nerd-stuff. I did have a few friends who would stay up all night late playing MUDs, but for the most part my generations sleep habits were tied to TV.

What I learned from this whole thing is that my kids ain't getting TVs and computers in their rooms. Sorry. There is a time and place for staying up all night and playing on the internet. It's called college.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Inevitable Iraqi Invasion

The guys at QandO are discussing the inevitability of the invasion of Iraq. Specifically the belief within the administration that war was unavoidable. They do a fair bit of work to point out that this isn't the case and link to others who have similar arguments. I suppose all this breaks down to the lefts allegations that having such a belief would make the President and his staff warmongers.

Frankly, I don't blame the administration even if they had such a belief. When you look at US-Iraqi relations since the first Gulf War, they aren't exactly friendly. When 9/11 occurred I was pretty sure that after Afghanistan had been dealt with, Iraq would be next. Why? Because there were too many good reasons to do it. The inevitability of war was not warmongering. It was sober judgement.

The problem with Iraq was:
  • Saddam Hussein
  • Ties to terrorist groups
  • A long history of WMD development
  • No weapons inspections for years
  • Increasing international pressure to release economic sanctions
  • Repeated attempts to shootdown US aircraft enforcing the no-fly zones
  • Prolonged drain on the US military services from required containment activities
  • Growing US/Islamic tensions because of prolonged US presence in the Gulf
With 9/11 and the US moving to wartime footing, the question became when not if we were going to have to react militarily.

Final Four

I'm with Paul.
The truth is, I know nothing about College Basketball. It's why my friends always like me being in their pools. I provide comic relief, either of the "How could you make that pick?" variety, or the "How is this moron doing so well?"
To date I have taken part in one Final Four pool. It was in high school with some guys from my bible study. I won by, among other things, picking 3 of the final four. My study mates were astounded.

I'd say it was by dumb luck, but I did actually have a method to my madness. Unlike the rest of my christian brothers who actually knew something about NCAA college ball, I only had the team rankings and win-loss records which were listed on the bracket. I went with the best record unless the rankings made them a big underdog.

That year it worked, but this year it wouldn't have. I guess it's good that I quit when I was ahead.

Pre-Marital Problems

Amybear and I discovered a new threat to our marriage that is poised to rip us in twain. She prefers chunky peanut butter. I prefer creamy. I hope our love can help us surmount this terrible divide.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Future Today

Sluggy Freelance had some jokes about how the future would be based on inflatable technology. Turns out Pete Abrams was right. I'm waiting for a "Dozens Smothered in Inflatable Night-Club Catastrophe: Stilleto Heels to Blame."

Rahman Released

If you haven't heard it already, Christian convert Abdul Rahman has been released. Praise God, but he ain't out of the woods yet.

GetReligion has some coverage of the conversion issue from within Islam itself. Essentially the death penalty is traditionally applied, but it is not truly canonical. The Koran states that apostates should be punished, but does not order capital punishment. The death penalty is derived from a separate oral tradition about the Prophet Muhammed.

You Want a Piece of Me!

18.75 %

My weblog owns 18.75 % of me.
Does your weblog own you?

Via Joe Cathey.

Lamenting For My Brethren

Instapundit linked to this Washington Post story entitled Marriage is for White People. The origin of the titular quote comes from a little boy:
"That's wonderful!" I told my class. "I think I'll invite some couples in to talk about being married and rearing children."

"Oh, no," objected one student. "We're not interested in the part about marriage. Only about how to be good fathers."

And that's when the other boy chimed in, speaking as if the words left a nasty taste in his mouth: "Marriage is for white people."
I could go off on a near racist tirade. But I won't. All indicators are showing that white America is going to same way as black America. White folks are just a generation behind.

Now I'm sure some people will say the breakdown of marriage as an institution is just change. Change happens. While I have to agree that change happens, I'm a conservative. I do not hold that all change is for the better. What I see here is change for the worse.

Marital breakdown has wide-ranging implications. African-American culture is currently symptomatic of this, but it could and probably will involve everybody. When you look at a lot of problems of that subculture, you'll see that many many issues trace back to one cause: a illegitimacy rate and a lack of fathers or male role-models.

Black women are doing pretty well for themselves. Black men aren't. This isn't a coincidence. All children need fathers, but boys need them more. Fathers show sons what manhood is. Otherwise we get "be a man" defined by all sorts of thugs and testosterone laden fools. Manhood becomes womanizing. It becomes doing violence on the innocent for selfish gain. It becomes repaying any slight no matter how mild or ill conceived. It seems to me that when Solomon wrote his advice to his own son about this a long time ago.

UPDATE: Hube is weighing in with some good data on the subject of marital superiority.

Insulating Turbochargers

Is this really a new idea? It seems so simple. I would have thought that if wrapping the whole thing in a layer of insulation created a lot of performance benefit, we would have done it a long time ago.

Friday, March 24, 2006

And Now For Something Important!

Scotch and how you drink it.

I found scotch to be a great wonderworker when I went out with my friends in college. You see even nursing a small glass for hours miraculously still leaves people with the impression that you are a hairy-chested he-man who drinks good stuff. This is mostly because college kids grow up drinking either beer or relatively flavorless fluids like vodka. They sip a little scotch and say "eww this tastes like something." Yes, isn't it wonderful?

I will, however, suggest the following if you should come into possession of Scotch (or other spiritous beverage) that you can't bear to drink. It happened to me once. Cut it with Sprite or a similar beverage. This will mellow the texture and subdue the flavor. You'll probably think it's pretty good afterwards.

Just don't put scotch into a single malt that is older than you are. I beg of you. Send it to me. I'll drink it.

'Scuse Me While I Whip This Out...

A coworker sent me a video advocating school school violence prevention through dress codes. Essentially, kids can hide a lot of stuff in those baggy clothes they are wearing these days. By the end of the vid, I was waiting for him to pull an RPG or 105mm mortar out of his other pant leg.

Now the video is right, it isn't hard to conceal a weapon in baggy clothes. On the other hand the only reason this kids arsenal isn't completely obvious is because he never has to move and you only see him from the front.

It's Funny Cause It's True

The characters in Day by Day have been at the range this week. Here is today's strip:

Hehe. Now I obviously have never put hot brass into my cleavage. I have thankfully not let my girth get so out of hand that I have male cleavage. But I have gotten one stuck in my safety glasses. My brother got one snagged on his neck by his shirt collar. He had a welt for over a week. After seeing that I formulated a simple range dress code (I wear t-shirts that fit close to the neck) to prevent it from happening to me.

.22 seems to have a real knack for this actually. The casing is tiny so it can find it's way into lots of little cracks and crevices. Plus the design of the case is very old and it tends to extract more erratically than more modern centerfire rounds. You end up with rounds ejecting to the side and bouncing of lane partitions, others going forward, others flying over your shoulder. The one taking the perfect path that goes down your shirt could be just a shot away.

I actually think of this is good training experience though. If you are shooting and get some hot brass, you still have to be safe. You can't just hop around like a crazy man when you are carrying a loaded gun. This is part of the reason my brother got his welt, he had to put the gun down safely and then get the round out of his collar. You have to get past the pain and use your gun discipline and training.

UPDATE: Geek with a .45 had a similar reaction. Despite what one of his commenters says, a good brimmed hat won't necessarily stop it. When I inadvertantly collect brass, it is often bouncing off the curtain walls between shooting lanes. So it is coming from the side not from above. That and brims are annoying if you shoot with a normal scope.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Great Schism

Maybe I can help a fellow Christian out.

The Western Church and the Eastern Church separated in 1054 when the Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople excommunicated each other. This event is often called the Great Schism. There are many reasons for this, but the big two are the authority of the Pope of Rome and the nature of the trinity surround the filioque clause of the Nicene Creed.

The Church at the time was battling a heresy known as Arianism. Arianism basically taught that Jesus, or God the Son, was of lesser divinity than God the Father. The western church solved the problem by adding "and of the Son" to a part of the Nicene Creed which discussed the origin of the Holy Spirit. This ensured that Jesus was considered fully God.

The eastern church had a big theological problem with this. They had confronted Arianism using different methods and felt that the addition of the filioque screwed up some other important theology involving the Trinity. Essentially they thought it muddled the differences in purpose between the Son and the Father.

However it was really the Pope that brought this to a head. He tried to impose the filioque using Papal authority which most of the western churches considered honorary. This combined with one Pope's death while messengers were in route set off the powder keg of tensions that had been brewing between both sides for centuries.

Fun Guns: The M1 Carbine

Since I am an NRA shill I receive a copy of American Rifleman for "free" every month with my membership. This month one of the feature articles is on the Auto Ordnance M1 Carbine, which is cool because I own one.

AO's current crop of carbines are WWII vintage pieces. Mine is their earlier model which is more of a Korea war era reproduction. The good news is that the new ones have better stocks (walnut is optional), no nasty steel handguard, and no nearly useless bayonet lug. The bad news is that they have the mildly inferior WWII control setup and vastly inferior WWII non-adjustable flip sight. They also cost at least $100 more.

I'm pretty satisfied with my original purchase. I would gladly pay more for a gun with good iron sights. Paying less for one is a treat. I've already replaced the steel handguard with an ultimak rail. I've also bought a cheap handgun scope to forward mount as a scout scope. Unfortunately the scope is heavy enough to throw the gun's balance all out of wack. Well nothing is perfect.

Links to pictures will follow if you're interested, unfortunately for you I'm feeling better and went to work today.

New Layouts

Physics Geek, Jesus Freak has a new layout. I especially like his use of Maxwell's equations.

The Religious Left

There are some and sometimes they even have good theology. But when lefty politicos suddenly get religious, I suddenly get suspicious.

But beyond that I just feel sorry for the left. When you're understanding of Christianity is so poor that the best religious rhetoric you can come up with is "Jesus would oppose this immigration law", all I can feel is pity. You don't get it and you obviously don't realize it or you wouldn't be saying things like that in public. There are so many things you could use good (if, in my opinion, flawed) "Love your neighbor" and "Honor your Parents" rhetoric on, but instead Hillary picks illegal immigration? What the hell?

I find it sad that the only religious member of the left I have any respect for is Joe Lieberman. And he's Jewish.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Home Sick

I seem to have contracted the plague from Amybear. Perhaps smooching a girl with a sore throat was not my best idea. Anyway I'm home on sick leave so I'll try to actually come up with some posts worth reading later today.

I Completely Understand

Scott Adams has this to say about the Florida teacher sex scandal:
Did you hear about the hot blonde 25-year old female teacher accused of having sex with a 14-year old student? That’s a serious crime. And yet, having been a 14-year old boy myself, I have a hard time feeling sorry for the kid, since he’s the victim of my biggest fantasy at that age. (I had this French teacher, but sadly for me she was law abiding.)
I completely understand what Scott is saying. In my high school we had this gym teacher who was smokin' hot and fresh out of college. When I first saw her, I thought she was a student and I was not alone. She got married one summer while school was out and the male student population was depressed for at least a marking period. Would I have had sex with her given the chance? Probably not. Partly because I was a good Christian boy, but mostly because I wouldn't have had a clue what to do with her besides put tab A into slot B.

Anyway the teacher, Debra LaFave, committed a pretty serious crime. She has admitted to having bi-polar disorder. In other words she is crazy-go-nuts. A 23 year-old teacher caught having consensual sex with a 14 year-old student on school grounds turns out to be nuts? I would never have guessed. Hopefully living out every 14 year-old's dream hasn't really screwed up his development.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Property Taxes

I have a new post over at Delaware 2006, wherein I question the wisdom of a New Castle County property tax rate increase when a mere reassessment or spending reduction would do. Discussion is happening over there.

Missionary Blogs

Brenda Herhei, a missionary I mentioned before, found my blog after ego-surfing her own name. She even figured out my secret identity by putting the pieces together. Then she emailed me at my personal address. Hopefully my secret is safe with her.

Brenda has also been blogging. So if you wish to give her financial support, prayer support, or just get to know her, then drop by her blog. I'm pleased to report that I finally got around to cutting her my check this week. I'll try to keep track of her blog and pray accordingly (like for her Dad who recently had a heart attack.) Brenda needs it. Frankly, all missionaries need it. Missions is hard work. It is an assignment on the front lines of spiritual warfare. Frankly, I don't think I could hack it.

Trey and the Family Stone

I'll have to hand it to the South Park guys. When Tom Cruise threatened to refuse to promote Mission Impossible III, the studio pulled the plug on the show. Trey and Matt's response?

So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!

Trey Parker and Matt Stone, servants of the dark lord Xenu.
Via Paul Smith. By the way, Paul has been doing some excellent Catholic God blogging lately. I'm not Catholic so I don't have the same sacramental outlook on Confession, but that doesn't make the post (and many of Paul's others) any less excellent.

Monday, March 20, 2006

God is Working

Michelle Malkin is covering the story of Abdul Rahman, a forty year-old Afghan man who is facing execution. His crime? He has abandoned Islam and has converted to Christianity. Says VOA News:
This is the first case in which the defendant has admitted to converting and is refusing to back down, even while facing the death penalty.
Other than his verbal public professions of faith, evidence against him includes possession of a Bible. I'm sure God will be using Abdul either way, but I pray it won't be through his martyrdom.

The truth is that this sort of faith is breaking out all over the middle east. The War on Terror also seems to have it's spiritual side. It is possible that Abdul Rahman may be a Christian soldier giving his life for the faith.

Web Comics

Blugunder Schlock led me to the Weekly Webcomic Reviews. I'm not sure if I'm going to blogroll it yet or not. I don't generally blogroll sites that only sport weekly content.

However WWR also lead me to a couple of darn good new comics: Questionable Content and Irregular Webcomic. The first is just cleverly written. The second, while also cleverly written, makes heavy us of RPG minature and lego figures. I guess this is still within the accepted definition of a "comic." I also guess the author can't really draw, but he isn't letting that hold him back. Which is pretty cool.

When I need a break at work, I'm slowly moving through the Questionable Content archives. Only a few hundred pages to go. We'll see what happens when I catch up. If the comics aren't updated regularly enough I probably won't be linking to them here either. But they'll get lodged in my bookmarks somewhere.

Eye Problems

Ever been startled into unrepentant wakefulness by shooting pain in your left eye? That happens to me every once in a while. This morning was once in a while. Twice. It's probably just a stray eyelash or bit of dust, but at the time it felt more like an icepick. That was about 5am and it was down to a dull ache by 6. Then my alarm went off. I ignored it. I thought I had whatever it was out, but the shooting pain came back with a vengence around 7 just as I started to relax again. Grr. Anyway hopefully my vision in that eye will be back to snuff soon.

Kanji Tattoos

Inspired by the sites about Engrish, the use of english text in Japan for reasons of coolness, we have Hanzismatter. Wonder what the stickers on that Cavalier actually say? Do you suspect your Japanese/Chinese tattoo really says "Stupid Gaijin I Take Your Money?" Well this is the site where those unfortunate people may find out the truth.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Segway

John asked:
So as a mechanical engineer, what is your assessment of the segway? In a tabula rasa transportation world, would it make sense?
I'll admit I have been a bit biased from the start. When I was in High School in the early to mid nineties, I used to watch a show on the Discovery Channel called The Next Step. It was a tech and gadget show based out of San Francisco. In one episode the host, Richard Hart, was riding around showing off this folding electric scooter designed to fit in your car's trunk. He rode it around. He drag raced some kids. It was cool.

When I first saw the segway I thought "We've been able to build electric scooters that do the same thing for almost a decade, this is revolutionary?"

The segway is an innovative design, don't get me wrong. The problem is that it is an innovative design for a product of mediocre worth. Even if there wasn't a road and sidewalk infrastructure, the segway still has issues. It lacks the range and speed for serious commuting. If they took the speed delimiter off (fixing one of those problems), it would be too fast to use without safety gear. Because gyrostabilization isn't free, the segway essentially has to be a lot more expensive (~$5k) than a more conventional electric scooter design with the capabilities. (~$800). And it's heavier and doesn't fold up and store as well as conventional scooter.

Frankly I'd rather ride a bike or learn to rollerblade anyway.

The Microsoft IPod

Ever thought the IPod packaging was too stark and iconic? Here's Microsoft's ideas on how to spice it up a bit. Yeah now it really stands out.

And now for something completely different... the South Park send up of Scientology is well worth a watch. Hey if it gets Chef to quit the show, then it has to pretty good.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Like Driving a Bullet

It's website is down at the moment, but someone sent me a link to the Acabion over at treehugger. Essentially it is a turbocharged hayabusa engine wrapped in a low drag carbon fiber fuselage.

It is very very fast (280+ mph). But the designers dream of it being the commuter vehicle of the future (at those speeds) is very very impractical. At some point perhaps they'll realize that nobody is going to reorient the transportation infrastructure for their little epiphany. I would have thought people would have realized that after the segway.

It has a lot of potential though. The fuel economy of a small motorcycle engine put into an aerodynamic and collision safe body. Amybear might actually let me own one. But some of the reversed trikes VW and Peugeot are playing with might have more potential.

Pickups with No Pick-up

Today is my second day with the Colorado. My mazda's part should come in sometime today and I'll be back in my little Protege.

The truck has grown on me some. Or more precisely it has shrunk as I've gotten used to the size. I still have no intention of buying one. Even with the "big" 3500 engine, the truck is just dog slow. Chevy needs to drop a small block into it or perhaps turbocharge something. The smaller 2800 must be a double dog. I'm sure the 3500 is an improvement, but it isn't enough.

That said I got home yesterday with an urge to haul something in it. I had a pickup truck and an apartment full of stuff that needed to be hauled to Amy's new place. Then the wind bit into me once I got out of the truck. I decided to be lazy and snuggle with my honey instead. I stand by that decision. Especially since I can see Amy's apartment from mine and have already carried furniture between the two on my back.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Pickup Truck Pontifications

So my little Mazda is in the shop right now and I'm driving a rental. It's a Chevy Colorado mid-size pickup. In three words, no thanks GM.

First, the interior is cheap. And oddly shaped. Badly textured plastic runs as far as the eye can see. You sit on the floor with your feet stretched out in front of you like you were in a truck designed by the same people who found firebirds to be comfortable. Come to think of it, they probably were.

Second, the truck is both slow and thirsty. The 3.5 liter inline five cylinder doesn't have a lot of oomph to it. And it's the big engine. Likewise the truck sort of wallows through the turns in truckish fashion. Now this engine is the powerplant in the "fuel efficient" Hummer H3. "Fuel efficiency" in this case makes sense when the Hummer H2 gets single digit fuel economy. But there is no way I could call it a gas sipper. I'll have used $10 of gas just getting to work and back. If I listen closely I can hear my wallet screaming.

Now all this really proves is that I'm a small car guy. This is not a small car. It isn't even "compact" truck. Nobody makes "compact" trucks now except Ford. Tacoma, Frontier, Ridgeline, Colorado, Dakota? Everything is midsize now. And I'm betting it all has the same problem of being both too big and too small.

So all this rental experience has taught me is that the only truck I should consider buying is the New Ranger. And that's only if Ford ever brings it to the states and puts the 4.6L V8 and six speed auto into it like they have in the Explorer. Now that would be a great pickup truck.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Happy Pi Day!

To celebrate I intend to eat some apple pie at 1:59 on 3-14.

Shilling for the NRA

According to the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, there is a Shall Issue Carry Bill being introduced in the State House of Representatives by Deborah Hudson (R-12th). Unfortunately the bill, HB 359, isn't showing up on the Delaware legislative website. Hopefully the text of the bill will be available soon.

Here is a basic primer on concealed carry laws. There are essentially four types: may issue, shall issue, Vermont, and none. Vermont style carry (also found in Alaska) means law-abiding citizens can concealed carry firearms without permits. None means there are no provisions for normal citizens to concealed carry in that state. The most common concealed carry systems are called "may issue" and "shall issue."

As shows, Delaware is a "may" issue state. In Delaware, you have to take training classes and go through an application process involving references, etc. Then the state "may" give you a permit. Or not. Their choice. If this system seems like it may be prone to abuse, that's because it is. In "may issue" states, issuing authorities have based permit decisions on very specious grounds like skin color, bank account size, and friends in high places.

HB 359 would change Delaware from "may" to "shall" issue. I don't have specifics on the bill, but there will probably still be a training requirement and an involved application process. The difference is that when you apply the state "shall" give you a permit. Unless the state has grounds to deny your permit (like a history of mental problems or criminal activity), you must get your permit. No denial based on skin color or politics is possible.

Some claim that shall issue will turn your state into the wild wild west. This has never happened. Historically, shall issue is very safe. Data from Michigan has shown that permit holders are actually less prone to firearm and violent crime than police officers.

I like shall issue concealed carry. I have a real problem with the government restricting self defense rights without just cause. Shall issue fixes that, but weeds out potential wackos and ensures some level of basic firearms competency. I would also prefer that unlicensed carry take the form of legal open carry, not concealed carry.

Hopefully HB 359 will get us shall issue, but if not then we'll keep trying. Recent history has given us some very good gun laws, like mandatory state CCW permit reciprocity. Lets hope it gives us this one too.

Cross posting on Delaware 2006.

Monday, March 13, 2006

By George, They're Right!

NRA Member
You are 86% of a gun nut!
You have excellent skills in weapons handling. I could definetly trust you to cover my back. Matter of fact, you're probably packing right now!

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 93% on knowledge
Link: The Gun Nut Test written by slayer1am on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Via Tamara.

The Marrying Kind

Alliance Member Paul Smith is responding to David Warren's post on modesty. Paul hits the nail on the head with this one:
The Sexual Revolution is over, and men won. Thanks to feminists who somehow thought they were acting in the interests of women, men can now obtain what they've always wanted: commitment-free casual sex. Way to go, feminists!
Exactly. There are men out there that just want sex and now they can easily get it. On the other hand, men like me who want wives are looking somewhere else. We may look at the tarts and sexpots, but we don't touch. We don't know where they've been.

Gunshow Truth

Geek with .45 is telling it like it is:
It came to pass at a show out in Virginia, the one near the Dulles airport, perhaps a year after 9/11. Apparently, there was some sort of emergency at the airport that called for the evacuation of the gunshow. A voice came on over the PA, announcing the situation.

My friend tells me that the hall grew quiet, as people listened. In that silence, just about everyone in the show simultaneously arrived at the same decision, and for the next 30 seconds, all you heard was the kerplopple of steel on kydex and leather, the snips of zipties coming off, and the glorious ka shink! of a thousand people simultaneously racking rounds into chambers.
Movies generally do a really crappy job of portraying gun owners and gun shows. In Dirty Harry the villian has been disarmed so he goes into a convenience store, looks over the counter, steals the owner's gun that is kept there, and shoots the owner with it.

In Showtime the villians shoot up a gunshow with automatic weapons. They do the typical A-team shoot-over-everyones-head thing. In the movie the gun owners run like a typical frightened crowd and the villians walk out of the arena unscathed. In real life the villains would have about thirty seconds to shoot and scoot. After those thirty seconds are over, the gun show attendees will have gotten their bearings and there won't be anything left of the villians except bloodstains.

Good Job, Chip

I went shooting on my day off Friday. It was fun, mostly because the range is pretty empty on weekday mornings and partly because the weather was great.

Three guys at the range were taking turns shooting one of the stupidest weapons to ever come into widespread use. I am talking about the pistol grip shotgun. While their shotgun was not as duded up with tacticool accessories like the one in this picture, that doesn't make it any smarter.

For those not in the know, a real stock is necessary on a shotgun. Without the stock you have no way to get a cheek weld. Most shotguns use a bead sight and rely on a good cheek weld to get your eye in the proper alignment with the little brass bead at the end of the barrel. Without the stock, you have no way to aim the shotgun properly. Technically you don't aim shotguns, you point them, but you get my drift.

Also with normal shotguns, you absorb recoil by placing the stock in contact with your shoulder and absorbing as much recoil as possible with your body and legs. With a PG shottie, you have to use your arms to manage most of the recoil. If your arms aren't good enough, you may end up using your face to get the recoil to your body and legs.

That last bit is exactly what happened to one of the three guys shooting next to me. Before I was finished setting up, the short stocky one knocked out a tooth (or part of a tooth) with the butt of the pistol grip. Ouch. They packed up and left shortly thereafter.

My shooting went pretty well. With an empty range I got to shoot the breeze with the range officers while I loaded my magazines and took my time shooting on the line. The result was almost that my groups were the same size with both my 9mm and my .22 buckmark. That never happens. I usually do much better with the buckmark. I was shooting slightly to the right with both guns (which means either too much thumb or too much trigger finger), but I had none of the usual vertical stringing with the 9mm (which is usually a recoil anticipation problem). On the next trip to the range I'll try to shoot high thumbs more and continue take my time. Speed will come.

Oh and for the sake of completeness, there are a handful of places were a PG shottie is useful. But if you aren't a security guard for an armored car company then you probably won't see any of them.

The Great Equalizer

Or as the rest of us refer to them: stoplights. One of my coworkers lives down the street from me. We talked about carpooling once, but I think we both enjoy the driving a bit too much. Or it may be that I drive like someone from Delaware and he drives like someone from New Jersey or Massachusetts. He rocketed past me on Elkton Rd this morning. I didn't him again until the first stoplight after we both got off the highway. All his speed got him two whole car lengths.

Once we were off the highway it was stoplight to stoplight. He'd race ahead and I'd catch up on the red. The funny thing is that we pulled into the parking lot together and I was out of my car first. I actually got to work ahead of him.

Anyway time to get to work. Or at least some catchup blogging.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Wedding Pictures

If you're curious about what is going with our wedding, Amybear is filling everyone in over at our wedding blog. She has included pictures of almost everything except her dress. You'll have to wait until after the wedding to see the dress because I'm not allowed to see it beforehand either.

UPDATE: Fixed the link.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Firearms Hotrodding

I've had a real urge to do some firearms modifications lately. Part of this is my general urge to take things apart and put them back together. Part of it is because members of the UD football team are breaking into apartments a mile from my place.

Anyway, I have this desire to do some gun work. First step is bobbing the hammer on my 1911. My RIA has what is known as a GI setup. This is a long spur hammer and a short grip safety. The GI setup tends to have a problem called hammer bite. A little bit of the web of your thumb can get pinched. The fix is to either put on a "beavertail" safety and officers hammer or to cut an eighth of an inch of the GI spur. I'm going with the latter because I'm cheap. My dremel will work for the cutting, but I need to pick up some masking tape and a bottle gun blueing to refinish afterwards.

I also want to build myself an AR-15. Unfortunately I have discovered that getting someone to order you a lower receiver can be tough. This isn't because lowers are dangerous or anything. It is because once you have a lower, the gun shop may not get any more of your money. You see the lower is the firearm in the legal sense, everything else you can just mailorder and not pay your gunshop's 10-20% markup. I don't think they like that possibility.

Lastly I want a cowboy pistol. Amy thinks I'm nuts about this by the way. She thinks it is perfectly normal for me to own a longsword and knit chain maille, but cowboys are weird.

I've narrowed down my choices to the Remington New Model army clones. The Remington a percussion revolver that can be modified to shoot cartridges with a little work. The work entails grinding out the recoil shield and popping in a conversion cylinder. Right now I'm just deciding who to buy the parts from since rumor has it that the R&D may be bringing out a new conversion soon.

The DeHavilland Mosquito

One of the least known, but most impressive aircraft of WWII was the Mosquito. The Mozzy was a two engined aircraft used throughout the war, mostly by the British. It was designed to be a bomber, but the Mosquito was built around the principle of being fast and light instead of slow, heavy, and well-armed like most of the bombers of WWII. It was powered by two Rolls-Royce Merlin engines and the plane's airframe was made mostly of wood.

The Mozzy was more often equipped as a night fighter or reconnaisance aircraft than a bomber. The RAF bomber command didn't think it could do normal bombing because it lacked gunner positions. Occasionally the Mozzy was used for precision bombing, special ops missions, and pathfinding for the heavies. Pathfinding meant the Mozzies would use their speed and superior accuracy to mark targets for the bigger slower Lancasters.

All this is a shame, because two Mosquitoes could carry the same bomb load as a Lancaster, but were cheaper, and required fewer crewmen. We now know that their precision means that they would also be more effective with their ordnance.

Oddly enough it was the Germans who saw the Mozzy's worth. At one point they remarked that British ingenuity had meant that their best bomber could be build by any carpenter or piano maker in his own garage.

Abortion Politics

Dale Franks is discussing a novel aspect of abortion:
As the law stands now, there is an absolute inequity in the way men and women are treated. Currently, the woman is the sole person who can choose to exercise the option of abortion. As a result, the man's financial entailment for child support rests entirely upon the decision the woman makes.
The woman decides whether or not to abort. But as a result of that decision, the future father (who has no substantive input after conception) may incur large financial responsibilities.

Now I'm pro-life, so we know what my solution to this problem is: Both of you should have kept your pants on. But this whole thing makes for a great demonstration of how far our legal system and government lags behind addressing important concerns. This has almost certainly been a problem since after Roe v. Wade, yet it is still unresolved over thirty years later.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Getting Married

Scott Adams covers the tremendous costs involved in today's post.
I feel some inner need to keep the budget under control without appearing cheap. My current strategy is to frame all wedding decisions in terms of how many African villagers could be saved from starvation with the equivalent amount of money. For example:

Fiancee: “Do you think we should have a big cake or a little one?”

Scott: “Well, the difference in price seems to be…about twelve Rwandans. It’s up to you, honey.”
Fortunately as the groom, my job is to pay for the honeymoon and then to have Amybear spend my dinero for the rest of my life. Most of the actual one time wedding costs are on her parents. Amy's an only child and they make good money so this isn't too much of a problem.

The parts I am intimately involved with planning are getting a little annoying though. My frustration is building as I have been forced to skip Saturday shooting sessions. Instead of blowing off steam, I've been adding to it. Ah well, soon it will all be over.

If anyone would like to help with some wedding decisions, one of the mundane details we're doing right now is compiling a playlist for the DJ. If you have suggestions for general music or first dance songs, the comments are always open. Please no songs with lead vocals from Star Trek castmembers. The Black Eyed Peas might not be a great idea either.

70 Years of Spitfires

Kim Du Toit notes that the 70th anniversary of the first flight of the British Supermarine Spitfire was a few days ago on March 4th. They're perhaps the most beautiful and graceful airplanes ever. They're also very loud as this work-unsafe clip can attest.

UPDATE: I did some basic math and eyeballing. The wingspan of a spitfire is about 37 feet. Which means that Spitfire was flying at about 12 to 15 feet. Given the size of the propeller and the theoretic height of the television host, I calculate that he probably had to change those nice white pants after shooting the clip.

UPDATE2: Ok here's a Battle of Britian joke:
In the early aerial battles of WWII, a Swedish immigrant to Great Britain was working his way to becoming a flying ace. His battles were often ferocious, as he took on multiple bandits in free-wheeling dogfights. Interviewed by a reporter, he described his latest battle against the Huns.

“I sees one of the Fokkers bearing down on me from above, but I turns into him and shoots the Fokker down. Then his wingman gets on my tail, but I turns the tables on him, and I shoots that Fokker down too!”

The reporter interjects, “The Germans were flying Fokkers?”

“Nah,” he replies. “Der Fokkers vas flying Messerschmidts!”

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Surviving Tech Support

It used to be that doing tech support on the other end was the hard part. Now calling them is a huge pain, especially when your friendly neighborhood support representative "Chuck" speaks English about as well as my neighbor's Jack Russell. But there is hope. Well perhaps not hope, but guidance.

Dogs and Coats

Twenty Major has this to say:
There is a reason dogs have fur. It is to keep them warm when they are outside. The same goes for cats, bears and Italians. Their fur keeps the cold out.
The rest of his diatribe against all things terrier is equally amusing. Being Irish he uses some colorful aphorisms that might not be appropriate on this side of the Pond.

UPDATE: I mean look at how sad this shepherd is. It's almost as if it knows it was being used to dress its fellow canines up like clowns.

Bombardier Beetle

Ron Patrick has placed a GE turboshaft engine into a VW Beetle.
Ron Patrick wanted to prove that his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford wasn’t just a piece of useless paper framed on the wall, so he put his book smarts to use by combining a GE Model T58-8F helicopter turboshaft jet engine and a VW New Beetle. Patrick claims his one-way ticket to the Darwin Awards is street legal since he left the stock drivetrain intact. We’re not so sure about that since at any time he could flip a switch and torch the Tercel behind him with 1,350 flame-throwing horsepower.
I'd like to see him turn it on if for no other reason than the engines intake is located in the beetles cabin. I'm wonderin whether it will rip his arm off or simply use up all the available oxygen and suffucate him.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Truth about the UN

Mark Steyn is railing against the UN. I don't agree with everything he has to say. I believe that multinational organizations are still necessary. But his criticism of the UN for rampant and deeply systemic corruption is totally accurate.

A Gun Control Primer

Jim March is a man worthy of anyone's respect. He has crusaded for both firearms law reform and has received national notice when he looking into possible electronic voter fraud. And yet most people here have probably never heard of him.

Jim has what is essentially an opinion piece up at The High Road. I agree with almost all of it. If you want to learn how gun control works and more importantly why it doesn't, then read it.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Where Have All the Men Gone?

That is the question John is asking about the Church. The discussion over at his site is quite good and worthy of a look. My take?

When I was working at a department store in college, I talked with an unchurched coworker who asked me about why clergy are required to be male. We talked and I basically said that (1) it's in the Bible and (2) every other part of the church is dominated by women. While service projects and church government may have heavy male influence, most of the day to day activity of the church (like all the children's activities) occupies a more traditionally feminine role. She thought about it and said that this was very true, that quite often male clergy were figureheads over an organization populated mostly by women. I think with many denominations going to female clergy, men are going to feel very very left out in many of the nation's churches because we won't be represented at all in the organizational structure.

The other issue which hasn't been mentioned is divorce. The divorce rate in America is relatively constant across Christian religious lines and is currently sitting at around 50%. Child custody is overwhelmingly given to women, not men. So men are essentially being left out of the picture in 50% of the nation's families. American religion is about the family. I think this is bound to have serious repercussions on how men are involved with the church.


The Low Resistance Mobility vehicle is kind of a neat idea. But only kind of. The good part is that only weighs about 1000 lbs for a 2+2 coupe. The bad news is that in order to get the incredible 150+ mpg, the things engine is so small (20 horsepower) it takes a week to reach sixty miles per hour. Ok, not a week but 20 seconds. But you can cruise on the highway forever if you ever manage to get up to cruising speed.

That kind of minimal acceleration is downright dangerous. Do you realize how big a gap this thing will need just to turn a corner or merge onto the highway? Every once in a while I see Toyota Prius drivers being jerks and I shudder. The Prius doesn't turn and doesn't accelerate. How do you into intend to get yourself out of the trouble you're making? Of course they don't expect to get themselves out of trouble, they just expect everyone else to accommodate them. The same goes to aggressive SUV and minivan drivers. They don't go and they don't turn and unlike the hybrids, you can't even see around them.

Frankly, if you're going to be an ass then be an ass in a sports car. It is the ass's natural automotive environment after all. Then you have some power and some handling. If you drive aggressively, at least you have the car to back it up.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Crunchy Cons

I don't get it. Yes, Whole Foods sells good stuff. Yes, materialism is bad. But crunchy cons? Nope. Jonah Goldberg has a great critique. My favorite passage is this:
But, in my own defense, I don't think this is because I have failed to turn my face to the warm beam of God's enlightenment, radiantly glowing forth from inside the cellophane oyster shell of a Whole Foods couscous platter. I think my failure is more prosaic than that.
That's just a nice bit of writing.

Europa S

Lotus is bringing out a Grand Touring car to balance out the Elise and Exige. I would love to own this car. It is light weight (2200 lbs.) so even the small 2.0 turbocharged four-cylinder gives it great acceleration. Gas mileage would still be reasonable, especially if they geared the six speed manual transmission properly.

It will retail at about $58k, which is a bit much but not unaffordable. But it won't be coming out in the US, the gas tank is probably in the wrong place or some crap like that. Thank Ralph Nader.

Polymer Magic

You can get reinforced plastics very sharp. So sharp you might be able to use them as knives even. And said knives are cheap too.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Yellow Journalism

Recent headlines had me wondering if Ralph Peters's story wasn't the case:
The reporting out of Baghdad continues to be hysterical and dishonest. There is no civil war in the streets. None. Period.

Terrorism, yes. Civil war, no. Clear enough?
When you see headlines that say Civil War Imminent in Iraq, like I did in my email this morning, you really have to ask yourself what criteria they are using to judge whether a civil war is imminent. Imminent means about to occur. Now to me, being "about to occur" isn't one of those things you can really call accurately beforehand. It is a thing best judged by historians looking back after long years of hindsight. Liberals were predicting that WWIII was imminent through the entire Reagan presidency. Turns out all Reagan was doing was scaring the pants off the Ruskies. They had no intention of acting first.

You can't reliably predict the start of a war before it happens. Why? Because the start of a war is often a specific event. Like Pearl Harbor or invading Poland or 9/11 or the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. It happens and you think "Shit! We're at war!" That's what I thought when I saw the Towers burn and fall. Sometimes, like the Cuban Missile Crisis, that event never happens at all. And we in the general public don't know when the match will be put to the powderkeg. The best we can predict is when the powderkeg is in the same room as the matches.

Right now the press annoys me. They're like the jerk in the loud sports car who pulls up next to you at a stoplight. You can see him roll forward every time he thinks the light is about to change. Go green now! No... Ok Now! No. Now! Now! Now! Until finally it changes and he gets his perfect launch off the line. Or from where ever he is in front of the line by then. He was eventually right, but only through pure persistance. Sometimes he's exactly wrong and I beat him off the line in my little four-banger. Then I laugh and laugh and laugh. That guy is the media and they've been reporting the war that way since it began. How many months or years of Quagmire! did we have to sit through?

And of course the press doesn't report facts anymore. Civil War Imminent is not a fact. It is a guess. It is their own slanted analysis. Perhaps they should stick to analysis people can actually agree on like "tensions in Iraq are high right now Bob." But that won't sell papers. I have a friend who only considers C-Span to be "TV news." Everything else is an opinion channel. There is wisdom in that.

Internet TV

One wonderful thing about the internet is that using YouTube and Google Video, you can watch TV from all over the world. I use both of these to see Top Gear and now Michael has exposed me ot the BBC nerd comedy The IT Crowd. I watched a few episodes over my lunch break, very funny.

Islamist Totalitarianism

Geek with .45 is conversing on "Manifesto: Together facing the new totalitarianism". Geek has this to say (with some paragraphs changed):
They plead to the same dark forces they decry "for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas."

That's not how it works.

You do not plead for freedom of speech and expression, especially from those who believe that killing and arson is a reasonable response to cartoonery.

You assert that the condition of freedom exists, and then you act accordingly.

You stand up on a soapbox, and you speak. You speak, and you stand prepared to use whatever force is necessary to keep speaking. You speak, until the only way for them to silence you is to try to kill you. And if somebody tries to kill you, you try to kill them right back.

And beyond that, you stand by. You stand by your fellow man when he ascends the soapbox to speak, even if you don't agree with what he says. You stand prepared to use whatever force is necessary that he can keep speaking. You stand by him as he keeps speaking, until the only way they can silence him is to try to kill him. And if somebody tries to kill your fellow man for speaking his conscience, you do your fellow man a favor, and you try to kill them right back.

At the end of the day, as Col. Cooper observed, "an unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not defeated by fleeing from it".
I pray that speech will be all that is necessary. But in my heart I fear that stronger and dirtier means may be required.