Saturday, 24 November 2012

09:43 – Barbara and I finally started watching Reven∞e last night on Netflix streaming. Apparently, it’s a retelling of an original story by some French guy named Al Dumbass. It stars Emily VanCamp, whom I adore only slightly less than I adore Amber Marshall. As I commented to Barbara, Emily is adorable even when her character is doing absolutely vicious things. And the series is decent, too.

Changes often have unforeseen implications. Barbara is playing Saturnalia music while she decorates the tree, and I just realized a big implication of the Hostess bankruptcy. No more Ding Dongs Merrily on High.

I’m still working on the manual for the new CK01B chemistry kit.

10:53 – It’s that time of year again, when I start planning how to nail Santa on his annual run. I’ve decided to go back to basics this year. Instead of high-tech weapons, I’m just going to use my Remington sniper rifle, loaded with 7.62×51 API rounds. I figure if I nail Rudolph, the team leader, the rest of the team and the sleigh will pile up behind him. Then the loot is all mine.

Incidentally, the rifle is a Model 788, which Remington produced to compete with inexpensive models from its competitors, and positioned as an entry-level rifle relative to its flagship Model 700. I bought mine used back in the 70’s from a friend. I bought it just as a cheap knock-around 7.62×51. At the time, people sneered at it as a cheap piece of junk.

But then I learned something interesting when several of my friends took their expensive Model 70’s and Model 700’s out to a range to shoot groups at 300 yards from a bench rest. I expected it to be all over the paper, but that cheap 788 shot under 1/2 MOA groups with factory ammo. (In other words, at 300 yards, the 788 was shooting 1.5″ groups.) At the time, I thought I must have been lucky enough to get the most accurate 788 ever made, but I later found out that mine was nothing out of the ordinary. All of those cheap 788’s were extremely accurate, not just for a cheap rifle, but period.

14:02 – By popular request, Barbara shot an image of me in full Christmas Eve camouflage, holding the 788.

I thought about mounting a scope, but I decided that if I make the shot I’ll have to do so at 50 yards or less, probably from a prone position behind our neighbors’ chimney. At that range, open sights are superior. At the rate that damned sleigh moves, I probably wouldn’t be able to pick it up in a scope, let alone make the shot.

21 thoughts on “Saturday, 24 November 2012”

  1. Do we even know what Saturnalia music sounded like, assuming it even existed? You must be listening to Christian Christmas hymns and popular Christmas songs at your house. If you go whole hog and set up the Nativity scene in the front yahd, be sure to leave out the animals this time; the Holy Father has just told us they probably weren’t there; no ox, no cows, no sheep.

    This sucks: no animals and no Ding Dongs.

  2. Let not your heart be troubled. There are plenty of ding-dongs. They tend to congregate in statehouses and in Washington, DC.

  3. Of course we know what Saturnalia music sounds like. The holiday has been celebrated every year for more than 2,000 years, unlike Christmas, which was invented in 1841.

    I wouldn’t take your holy father’s word for anything. If he said it was sunny outside, I’d look out the window to check. I will agree with him that it’s unlikely that there were any barnyard animals at the nativity, for the simple reason that there is absolutely zero evidence that it ever occurred.

  4. Barbara pointed out that the CD currently playing is titled “A Winter’s Solstice”, which is as Saturnalian as you can get.

  5. “that there is absolutely zero evidence that it ever occurred.”

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    At the risk of getting in front of RBT’s Remington 788 (fortunately the curvature of earth is between us):
    John 3:16: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, that everyone who has faith in him may not die but have eternal life.”

    You believe it or not – the choice is yours. Belief is independent of who you are or evidence in a scientific sense. From children to the aged can believe or not. The choice is yours. Even to read this message or not, is your choice.

    May these days over Christmas or Saturnalia be happy and peaceful to all here, irrespective of the above.


  6. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    Ah, the Argument from Ignorance, one of my favorite logical fallacies, AKA “if you can’t disprove it, it must be true”. It’s a false dichotomy.

  7. You once estimated the probability of the existence of God as being 1 in 10 ** Googolplex. Care to explain how you derived that figure?

  8. “Ah, the Argument from Ignorance, one of my favorite logical fallacies, AKA ‘if you can’t disprove it, it must be true’. It’s a false dichotomy”

    No, my argument is that you can’t make a conclusion one way or the other
    based on lack of evidence.

    You seem to imply that if there is no evidence, it can’t be true.

    I did not say it must be true, either because there exists evidence or not. I said it is true because I believe it.

  9. And I believe that “Chris Els” is an artificial intelligence, for a sufficiently low standard of “intelligence”. After all, there’s no evidence either way.

  10. Well, as Sagan said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.

    Are you serious arguing that something is true because you believe it to be true? I prefer the converse. I believe something is true because it is true, as supported by evidence.

    Or, as the atheist Irish comedian Dara Ó Briain said: “Science knows it doesn’t know everything; otherwise, it’d stop. But just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you.”

  11. But just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you.

    Global warming advocates and scientists do that every single day. But that is really about money as there is a lot to made from carbon credits and other activities for reducing carbon footprints.

  12. “I did? I don’t recall saying that. Do you have a link?”

    Yeah, I remember, because I wondered at the time how many people here would know what a “Googolplex” was. I’ve tried Googling “Googolplex ttgnet” but didn’t find anything. I’ll keep searching for it. I wish I’d made note of the date, but if I kept a notebook of your various interesting and/or controversial comments I’d need a phone book sized notebook. I’m sure you meant it as hyperbole.

  13. On the subject of peace on earth and goodwill to all MEN, I copy and paste:

    Discoveries of Men and Women

    Man discovered weapons, invented hunting.
    Woman discovered hunting, invented furs.

    Man discovered colours, invented painting.
    Woman discovered painting, invented make-up.

    Man discovered speech, invented conversation.
    Woman discovered conversation, invented gossip.

    Man discovered agriculture, invented food.
    Woman discovered food, invented diet.

    Man discovered friendship, invented love.
    Woman discovered love, invented marriage.

    Man discovered trade, invented money.
    Woman discovered money, man has never recovered


    Barrack Obama was touring the countryside in his chauffeur-driven limo.

    Suddenly, a donkey jumps out onto the road, they hit it full on and the car
    comes to a stop.

    Obama says to the chauffeur: “You get out and check, you were driving.”
    The chauffeur gets out, checks and reports that the animal is dead.

    “You were driving; go and tell the farmer,” says Obama.

    Hours later, the chauffeur returns totally plastered, hair ruffled with a big
    grin on his face.
    “My god, what happened to you?” asks Obama.

    The chauffeur replies: “When I got there, the farmer opened his best bottle of
    whiskey, the wife gave me a slap-up meal and the daughter made love to me.”
    “What on earth did you say to them?” asks Obama
    “I knocked on the door, and when it was answered, I said to them, “I’m Barrack
    Obama’s chauffeur and I’ve just killed the jackass”.


    Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House in D.C.

    One from New Jersey, another from Tennessee and the third, Florida.

    They go with a White House official to examine the fence.

    The Florida contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring,
    then works some figures with a pencil.

    “Well”, he says, “I figure the job will the job will run about $900:
    $400 for material, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me.”

    The Tennessee contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then
    says, “I can do this job for $700: $300 for materials, $300 for my crew
    and $100 profit for me.”

    The New Jersey contractor doesn’t measure or fugure, but leans over to
    the White House official and whispers, “$2,700”

    The official, incredulous, says, “You didn’t even measure like the other
    “How did you come up with such a high figure?”

    The New Jersey contractor whispers back, “$1000 for me, $1000 for you,
    and we hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence.”

    “Done!”, replies the government official.


    An Englishman, a Scotsman, an Irishman, a Welshman, a Latvian, a Turk, a German,
    an Indian, several Americans including a southerner a New Englander, and a
    Californian, an Argentinian, a Dane, an Australian, a Slovakian, an Egyptian, a
    Japanese, a Moroccan, a Frenchman, a New Zealander, a Spaniard, a Russian, a
    Guatemalan, a Colombian, a Pakistani, a Malaysian, a Croatian, a Uzbek, a
    Cypriot, a Pole, a Lithuanian, a Chinese, a Sri Lankan, a Lebanese, a Cayman
    Islander, a Ugandan, a Vietnamese, a Korean, a Uraguayan, a Czech, an Icelander,
    a Mexican, a Finn, a Honduran, a Panamanian, an Andorran, an Israeli, a
    Venezuelan, a Fijian, a Peruvian, an Estonian, a Brazilian, a Portuguese, a
    Liechtensteiner, a Mongolian, a Hungarian, a Canadian, a Moldovan, a Haitian, a
    Norfolk Islander, a Macedonian, a Bolivian, a Cook Islander, a Tajikistani, a
    Samoan, an Armenian, an Aruban, an Albanian, a Greenlander, a Micronesian, a
    Virgin Islander, a Georgian, a Bahamanian, a Belarusian, a Cuban, a Tongan, a
    Cambodian, a Qatari, an Azerbaijani, a Romanian, a Chilean, a Kyrgyzstani, a
    Jamaican, a Filipino, a Ukrainian, a Dutchman, an Ecuadorian, a Costa Rican, a
    Swede, a Bulgarian, a Serb, a Swiss, a Greek, a Belgian, a Singaporean, an
    Italian, a Norwegian and 47 Africans walk into a fine restaurant.

    “I’m sorry,” said the snooty maître d’ “but you can’t come in here without a

  14. Miles_Teg, Google and most other mainstream engines let you specify the site you want to search as

    So you would search for googolplex on this site with googolplex

    (Note that some use the keyword “host” rather than “site”.)

  15. Whew! Taking a break. I am not going to have much time to myself for at least 2 more weeks and even more work has blown in for the week after next. My work has always been this way (except for teaching English in Berlin)—work increasingly hard from Labor Day until Xmas, so everybody can have the week between Xmas and New Year’s off. Things are pretty intense right now.

    Regarding my upgrade to Firefox v17, it broke the TabMixPlus plug-in, which I really have come to rely on. Did not notice it at first, but quickly got the message. TMP says they are not releasing another update until January. Not sure why Mozilla seems obliged to break most plug-ins with every new version. I only use a few, but only the big ones, like AdBlock and NoScript ever seem ready for it.

    Glad to hear the good news about DaveB’s mom. My aunt and uncle are now ensconced in assisted living. They are in a trial period, but my uncle is sold. My aunt thinks they will be going ‘home’ after the trial, but as I keep asking her, “What do you think is at home?” They moved all the essentials, including bed, TV, dresser, clothes, etc. to the new place. Not sure why anyone would have trouble with assisted living—smallish apartment, all meals prepared, and housecleaning and bed-change once a week, just like in the dorm at uni. I am nowhere close to needing care at the level of my aunt and uncle, but I sure would like to never have to use my own time for fixing meals or cleaning house.

  16. Just now going back to review days I missed here. Re: Nat’l Guard. In 2008, the Guard was providing over 50% of the military being shipped abroad. My cousins still on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, say those percentage numbers have not changed, although I cannot find anything that collates recent information.

    Indiana is today providing the highest number of Guard troops serving abroad, so I am told by those relatives (who are actually Indiana Guard members, although I think that technically, your status changes when you are called up). We are not talking about small numbers considering the overall numbers on active duty.

  17. Not sure why anyone would have trouble with assisted living

    I think it is the loss of independence. The realization that you can not longer take care of yourself and must rely on others. The realization that you are in the possibly second to last place you will go before you die, the last place being a nursing home or hospital.

    I know that my aunt really hated me for putting her in assisted living, especially the first six months. After she got used to the place, acquired a couple of friends, she was OK with it most of the time. But every once in awhile she would remember her old home and would get bitchy about things.

    This was the view from her old home that we had to sell to continue to pay for her stay in assisted living.

    There was really no way I could keep the place as it was 2,000 miles away. I was also facing a $50K fee to have a sewer system installed. The land is privately owned and the lot owners lease the land. The EPA said all septic tanks had to be removed and a sewer system installed. It was several million dollars with the cost split between the land owners, $25K for each lot. My aunt’s property consisted of two lots. And then there was the matter of the will which gave 25% to four individuals. I would have had to sell the place to myself and the other people in the will would have raised an expensive legal battle. Best option was to sell.

  18. “…work increasingly hard from Labor Day until Xmas, so everybody [ELSE] can have the week between Xmas and New Year’s off. Things are pretty intense right now.”

    There. Fixed that for ya. Yes, I am familiar with this scenario and have been for decades now; never stayed at one job long enough to become one of the ELSE.

    Wrapping this last week of being on-call; will be covering for three of the next four weeks while another person is using up their apparently infinite vay-cay again; and on-call for Christmas/New Year’s week. My work load effectively doubles, at least, while also trying to get our new house in some kind of order, so it looks at least like homo sapiens sapiens lives in it.

  19. …while also trying to get our new house in some kind of order, so it looks at least like homo sapiens sapiens lives in it.”

    That’s what Mrs OFD and Princess are for… 🙂

  20. Mrs. OFD drove to Montreal to pick up Princess so she can have yet another entertaining weekend at our expense with her friends, and they were gone all day yesterday and all night last night. So far, gone today as well, at almost noon, and no doubt Mrs. OFD will drive her all the way back up again today or tomorrow. It works out during each year that because of Mrs. OFD’s job, and hanging out with MIL and Princess, that for all intents and purposes I am a bachelor for roughly four or five months.

    In the first marriage, once that wife had finished law school, which I helped her through, I got to see her for a few minutes late on weeknights and that was about it, rest of time being spent on law work.

    So married life for ol’ OFD, who didn’t even get married until aged 35, has been about fifty percent bachelorhood so fah.

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