Monday, 3 December 2012

07:43 – Well, that’s interesting. I put up the main page for the CK01B chemistry kits on Saturday, but haven’t done any other promotion or announcement and we’re already getting orders for it. I hope those back-ordered test tube racks arrive today so we can build another couple dozen quickly.


10:56 – Wow. Talk about hazardous materials. This article reports that a Louisiana company is facing criminal charges for illegally storing three kilotons of nitrocellulose. The headline characterizes the nitrocellulose as “explosive”, which may or may not be true in the sense that that implies “high explosive”. Whether or not nitrocellulose can detonate depends on the degree of nitration and other factors. But one thing is certain: at a minimum, nitrocellulose burns very, very fast, so this is “explosive” at least to the same extent that black powder is explosive. I can’t believe anyone would store 6 million pounds of the stuff anywhere near a town, but this company apparently did.


12:41 – If you ever doubted that François Hollande is a moron, here’s proof: French president’s plan to write off homework draws criticism. With Hollande and others like him “managing” the euro crisis, it’s no wonder that things have gone from worse to horrible, with no good end in sight. For that matter, this pretty much sums up what’s wrong with France in general: a gigantic, hideously expensive, intrusive government that attempts to dictate all aspects of people’s lives. Stalin would have been proud.

83 thoughts on “Monday, 3 December 2012”

  1. That article on nitrocellulose storage identifies the material as “M6 artillery propellant”. Artillery propellant is a pretty well-characterized substance. It’s basically ordinary smokeless gunpowder but with the grains being larger, to slow down combustion — which would be why the article uses the word “pellets” for them, rather than “grains”. When unconfined, smokeless powder is actually less of a danger than black powder, which burns faster at low pressures.

    It still makes for one hell of a fire. And at large sizes, one gets into the realm of “self-confinement”, where just the sheer inertia of the outer layers provides confinement that makes the inner layers go boom.

  2. “…a gigantic, hideously expensive, intrusive government that attempts to dictate all aspects of people’s lives.”

    Not to worry; the Brits, Canadians and us are working on this full speed ahead. From womb to tomb, that’s the gig.

  3. I hope that you like France because we, the USA, are heading there so quick that it will make your head spin. Complete with rioting Muslim minorities. I would prefer the Japanese model (everyone works!) but France it is. Or the German model (he/she who does not work does not eat!).

    I visited France for 2 weeks a couple of years ago. The roads, trains and restaurants are underutilized because of the taxes. 20% tax on everything except take away food and 7% tax on that. Plus income taxes that make you want to whistle long and hard. Plus $4/USgal tax on diesel and gasoline. Plus 25 cents/kwh tax on electricity (end user cost is 35 cents/kwh). But the subway in Paris was almost free and very useful.

    You can get a dole (about $1,000/month from what I could determine) and a free apartment (unless you have issues with Aramaic tagged all over it up to the 3rd story) from the government. And free health care!

  4. “François Hollande is a moron, here’s …….”

    Based on my hands-on experience, yes, I concur that he is an absolute moron regarding his solution. However, he is correct on the root cause.

    My experience? My daughter teaches at an elecmentary school in her town. As they say, it is on “the other side of the tracks” where all the students are children of Hispanic illegal aliens. I am there in her classroom assisting her for 3 – 5 hours each week. Yes, it is all treaceable to the home environment.

    OTOH, her children attend schools in the same school district, but on the right side of the tracks. Consequently, they are about 3 sigma above the “challenged.” Homework? My grandchildren voluntarily do it in the back seat of my Jeep on those occasions when I pick them up after school and bring them here for the afternoon. Then they are able to play with the children next door to me sooner. Quite an attitude, work first and play later!

  5. Yes, so the solution Hollande proposes is to eliminate homework for the smarter, harder-working kids to drag them down to level of their inferiors. Harrison Bergeron anyone?

  6. Yah, Harrison Bergeron was my second thought. “Strange, I thought the Levellers were in Britain, not France.” was my first.

  7. Funny, I always thought of the Levellers as favoring individual rights. Our Founding Fathers were their intellectual descendants.

  8. Hrrm. I just did a quick read and I’m probably remembering wrong. I was thinking they were “leveling” wealth, intellectual predecessors of the communists and their ilk. Now I’m trying to figure out who I was thinking of.

  9. I think they were leveling fences and hedges that wealthy families used to partition off land for their own use that had formerly been usable by anyone for generations.

  10. We might be simply thinking of the word “level” and not any particular English political group. What the wizards in France and other European countries and the UK and here wanna do is bring everybody down to the same abysmal level of ignorance, but that’s OK as long as they’re totally egalitarian and super PC. So instead of having the current situation of incoming university and college freshman, for example, reading and writing at the eighth-grade level (if that) (and many, many of them ESL now), the goal is to have them read and write at the third-grade level in whatever language, no one cares. And the current knowledge of history being whatever can be drummed into them about Civil Rights and the saintliness of the Kennedys and MLK; the goal will end up being only a few select events since the kiddies were born. If that.

    Those are our modern-day Levelers. The historical Levellers were giants of intellect by comparison, as was any random yeoman farmer or navvy.

  11. And of course “freshman” should have been the plural “freshmen,” even though they’re not all despised males of the species and now it is a majority of saintly and upward bound females.

    Up the Patriarchy!

  12. I try to use gender inclusive language where possible: Clergyperson, Fresher, Chairperson, and so on.

    Some of my less conservative friends (mainly communists and uberfeminists) prefer non-speciest terms like Clergyobject and Chairobject. Of course, a perfectly good alternative to the sexist Chairman and clumsy Chairperson is just Chair.

  13. I don’t use inclusive lingo at all and loathe and despise it heartily. Of course I’m one of those fascist troglodytes who still uses “mankind” and “men” to include all human beings. Tough shit.

    And how anyone can use “the Chair” with a straight face anymore after Clint did his thing at the Republikrat circus is beyond me.

  14. I use gender inclusive language where possible for two reasons:

    1. To avoid sexist terms that exclude lower life forms like w*men.

    2. To take the piss out of the politically correct, by using language that is even more politically correct than theirs.

    If you think there’s a contradiction in the above attitudes, you’re right. It’s quite deliberate. But I really do believe in using gender neutral terms where possible, but not species neutral. So when I use the term Chair or Chairperson I’m being serious, when I use the term Chairobject I’m taking the piss out of the PC.

  15. Crazy weather we are having here in the Midwest. Tiny Town was up to 70°F/21°C. Average normal is 42F/6C. It has been up and down in temp several times during the last month. Low Wednesday night is to be 26F/-3C, then the Sunday night low is to be back up to 46F/8C. Normal average low is 27F/-2C.

    Thunderstorm with “hazardous lightning” is due to roll through here around 02:00. This is a nice extension of summer into fall, but it is nuts.

  16. If you ever doubted that François Hollande is a moron, here’s proof: French president’s plan to write off homework draws criticism.

    Mon Dieu!

    I’d have more to say, but I only understood the value of homework some time after I stopped taking French.

    On a more serious note, my wife and I took our daughter to what is evidently her favorite store, the Barnes and Noble in Greenwood. I figured the best place to take her was the children’s book section. You should have seen her eyes light up. Our daughter loves books. My wife and I are middle class, but we have already instilled in her a love for books. Hollande’s incredibly stupid idea will only further gap between those children whose parents instill in them a life long love of learning, and those children whose parents just don’t get it.

  17. Hollande is a socialist piece of shit, of course, and a wealthy one, at that, typical. “Do as I say, not as I do.” His program, in line with similar socialist-type programs, is the dumbing down of the middle class and the elevation of mediocrity and perversion. French ideas ruined the study of the humanities in the West and continue to wreak their havoc. It is a Long March through our institutions of higher learning, the media, and done with the levers, power and guns of the State. In some respects, they’ve already won.

    But I am not a supporter of the publik skools in general and homework in particular; any skool work should be done in: skool. To hell with bringing it home, whether other matters need to be addressed. Such as raising the children and inculcating in them civilized manners and whatever religious upbringing, if any, etc. Not to mention the love and caring of a family, and interaction with friends and neighbors and the community. Homework to me means helping with the dishes, taking care of younger children, mowing the lawn, doing one’s own laundry, shoveling snow, etc. Maybe helping with the family biz. Leave the schoolwork in school. What, six to eight hours a day isn’t enough? Tell me again which countries have the least, if any, assigned homework and at the top of the curve, and which ones pile it on and are at the bottom.

    But this is all moot for me, anyway; I’d close the entire publik skool system and 90% of the colleges and universities.

  18. I use gender inclusive language where possible…

    Many years ago I read about a municipality that was reviewing all their terminology to expunge gender-specific language where appropriate. For some reason not explained they did not consider it appropriate to neutralize the word manhole.

    In casual conversation I am likely as not to carry things to their logical absurdity, referring to Hellperson’s Mayonnaise and Robert Bruce Thompoffspring.

  19. I don’t get it. There’s no such thing as “gender-inclusive language”. If one is referring to a specific person of known sex (not gender…), one uses he/him/his or she/her/hers as appropriate. If one is referring to a person of unknown sex, one uses he/him/his, which is inclusive of she/her/hers.

    People who don’t understand this probably didn’t take Latin and aren’t aware of the difference between homo and vir. And they seem to believe that “gender” is a synonym for “sex”. In other words, they speak from ignorance.

  20. Hey! Ignorance is every American’s birthright! That’s the real reason the teachers’ unions are working so tirelessly to reduce private and parochial and home schools.

  21. Crazy weather here too Chuck, it’s the beginning of summer and I’m freezing my butt off. It’s often pleasantly warm during the day but at night I’m considering going back to the doona and/or electric blanket.

  22. “For some reason not explained they did not consider it appropriate to neutralize the word manhole.”

    Back in around 1990 I was talking to a couple of PC Christian girls, and (gently) ridiculed their PC views by wondering aloud why, if feminists wanted to refer to God as ‘she’, never seemed to want to refer to the devil as ‘she’. That got me an indignant ‘ohhhh!’, but they knew I’d nailed them.

  23. “People who don’t understand this probably didn’t take Latin and aren’t aware of the difference between homo and vir. And they seem to believe that “gender” is a synonym for “sex”.”

    I took a year of Latin at uni and was never completely clear on the difference between vir and homo. I have some ideas on the distinction, but if you’d like to explain I’d be interested.

    I know “sex” and “gender” aren’t the same but I often use then as near synonyms, depending on context.

    I try not to get anal about this stuff, after all a cranky old atheist writer of science and computer hardware books of my acquaintance has even been known to split his infinitives and employ dangling participles… 🙂

  24. Dangling participles? Do you have a link?

    I can categorically state that I have never split an infinitive when writing or speaking Latin, which is the only language I’ve ever written or spoken that enforced that rule.

    Sex is an aspect of biology; gender of linguistics. The two are entirely unrelated, as Chuck can tell you with respect to German.

    Homo is inclusive and collective (e.g. Homo sapiens applies to both men and women), while vir is specific and male in the same way that mulier is specific and female.

  25. Sigh.

    I could find a link, given time, because we’ve had this discussion before. Several times. I’m pretty sure you’ve said dangling participles are okay, and have used them in (IIRC) your hardware books.

    Mainly I was just rattling your chain, after all the following is attributed to Winston Churchill: “There are some things up with which I will not put.” Opinion varies as to whether he was taking the piss out of the grammatical purists or expressing his own purist inclinations.

    Yes, I know split infinitives are okay in English. Again, I was just rattling your chain, since you’ve done that to me and others in the past. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Having said that, I just find that split infinitives in English really grate on me. The only split infinitive that I think is okay, rather than merely tolerable, is “To boldly go where no man has gone before.”

  26. “Mulier”? That can’t be right. I’ve referred to certain women as stupid, useless cows from time to time, but never as stupid, useless mules.

    (To satisfy the curiosity of anyone interested, yes, the epithet pissed off practically everyone. I don’t know if it was the “stupid, useless” part or the “cow” part that pissed them off more.)

  27. Uh, no. I have never argued that dangling participles are acceptable. I even cringe when someone uses “Hopefully” instead of “I hope”. Perhaps you’re confusing participles and prepositions? A dangling preposition is grammatically correct, and has been common in English and other Germanic languages for hundreds of years. It’s true that I sometimes don’t dangle prepositions in situations where most people would, such as “this is the house I told you about”. Being pedantic by nature, I might phrase that, “This is the house about which I told you.”

  28. When have I ever rattled yours or anyone else’s chain? I’m always serious, unless there’s an asterisk. You may not believe I’m serious, but that doesn’t mean I’m rattling your chain.

  29. Freehold is a pretty good tale, though some parts of it don’t pass the WTF? test. Overall, I liked it.

  30. “When have I ever rattled yours or anyone else’s chain? I’m always serious, unless there’s an asterisk. You may not believe I’m serious…”

    Oh Come On!

    You frequently say stuff that obviously isn’t serious, no asterisk. When I question you about it you say that the ability to tell fibs is what made you such a good poker player.

  31. OFD wrote:

    “You guys need to get out and get some fresh air or something.”

    ROFLMAO. The blog lunatic tells *us* to get some fresh air.

  32. RBT wrote:

    “Perhaps you’re confusing participles and prepositions? A dangling preposition is grammatically correct, and has been common in English and other Germanic languages for hundreds of years. It’s true that I sometimes don’t dangle prepositions in situations where most people would, such as “this is the house I told you about”. Being pedantic by nature, I might phrase that, “This is the house about which I told you.””

    Yes, I think you’re right. I guess I shouldn’t post stuff first thing in the morning.

  33. A Texan goes to Harvard and walks up to a student and asks: “Where’s the library at?” The student replies: “Sir, at Harvard we don’t end sentences with a preposition.” The Texan then says: “O.K., Where’s the library at, asshole?”

  34. Miles_Teg, are you sure, quite sure, you should be calling OFD the blog lunatic? First, it seems that OFD is even bigger than RBT or me, somewhere up past the 99th percentile of human men. Second, from all indications, you want him to be your father-in-law at some point, so a bit of caution would be indicated. Third, he has psychotic cats (redundancy alert) who might exact retribution from your hide for insults to their servant. Finally, there’s one hell of a lot of competition for the title of Blog Lunatic, and some of the other contenders might take offense at not even being considered.

  35. I’m just a little guy nowadays. I even have trouble with the easy-open cans.

  36. I’m pretty big but I’m wicked old. And decrepit. But “blog lunatic.” I like that. I resemble that, deeply.

    De Profundis.

    Freehold? Reminds me too much of a town down in Nova Caesarea.

    Easy-open cans? Yeah, right. I also have trouble with the cans, the bottles, and other packaging. I usually just get exasperated and whip out a bayonet. Or an Arkansas toothpick. What is it with this stuff nowadays? If RBT and me, big as we are, have trouble with it, what is a little old lady or a dude in a wheelchair or whoever gonna do? Practically haveta be a safecracker to open med bottles. WTF?

  37. Steve, OFD is the clear cut candidate. No one else even comes close, not even you.

    And he’ll never become my father in law, Princess sounds like she has far too much common sense to marry me.

    ech, don’t get me started on Texan jokes. I know a good one but as this is a family forum I won’t be telling it here.

  38. My wife gets the easy open pill bottles since she had two surgeries on her right side during breast cancer six years ago. She has very little strength in the right arm and borderline lymphedema. The lids just pop off but she had to sign a waiver that there were no kids in the house. I hate lawyers! Except mine.

  39. Family forum? When did that start?

    Long day. Just back. Tomorrow through Friday will be the same.

    Sex is unbelievably important to Germans—in all of its meanings. Repeatedly, I had students ask me how one knows, in the statement, “I’m having lunch with a friend,” whether that person is man or woman. I would tell them that one does not know, and furthermore, no one cares that it is not specified. Knowing whether that person is male or female is very important to German-speakers for some reason, and with their gender specific nouns, they always know. Not knowing is a shortcoming of English in their view. But they do love not having to learn the gender of all things just to correctly speak the language.

    Oxford, who consider themselves to be the keeper of the English language, says in all of their English textbooks that prepositions at the end of sentences is perfectly correct, and preferable to the more words alternative. Also, adverb modifiers generally belong between all help verbs and before the main root verb, and the same is a reason to split infinitives. In fact, these days, if you do not do that, it sounds funny—especially in speech.

    But they also promote no periods after abbreviations, the practical elimination of commas, non-capitalization of acronyms, and using fewer words whenever possible. I agree with only the last item.

  40. I was referring to the article gender. Many masculine nouns use the feminine or neuter article. A neuter noun may also have any of the three genders, as may a feminine noun. For example, the German nouns for brassiere and tampon are masculine, and girl is neuter.

  41. The French word for bra, le soutien-gorge, is masculine too. Didn’t know the same was true in German. Now I have one less thing to beat the French language over the head with… 🙂

  42. Chuck wrote:

    “Family forum? When did that start?”

    Since our host said so.

    “Sex is unbelievably important to Germans—in all of its meanings. ”

    Geez Chuck, you sure know how to disappoint a guy. I was expecting some, ah, titillating stories from your time in Germany.

    “But they also promote no periods after abbreviations, the practical elimination of commas, non-capitalization of acronyms, and using fewer words whenever possible. I agree with only the last item.”

    I’m sure the ghost of George Orwell is smiling upon you. He said much the same thing, and, of course, he was right.

  43. “When have I ever rattled yours or anyone else’s chain? I’m always serious, unless there’s an asterisk. You may not believe I’m serious…”

    Oh Come On!

    Relax, he’s just rattling your chain. 😎

  44. Yeah, I don’t doubt it. But I can never be sure. He tells so many good stories, a few of which may even be true. But which ones?

  45. I have much the same problem with people not believing most of my stories. In my case it’s largely understandable because I joke around all the time. Also, with many of the stories I’ll change the names to protect the innocent, as the saying goes, or I’ll omit or alter details to make it harder to connect a story to an actual event which, perhaps, some jurisdiction’s police would like to know about. More than that, though, the whitebread yuppy scum that I mostly have to deal with simply can’t comprehend that someone might have had a hobby of walking around a big city at night and killing the poor, misguided souls who tried to mug him, or that calling the police doesn’t solve all problems and that sometimes you need to ask someone to shove an ex-boyfriend’s head into the wall a few times to make him stay away.

  46. “…calling the police doesn’t solve all problems…”

    Word.

    It often exacerbates whatever problems. A simple little dustup that would normally be over in a minute or two becomes a hostage-standoff crisis with full SWAT response and bodies dropping all over the landscape. Or a kid in a wheelchair with med problems is momentarily outta control and he ends up getting tasered and then beaten to death in front of his mom. While they also shoot the puppy who tried to protect the kid. And then are all fully exonerated by their own department, assuming there is any question at all as to the situation.

    I believe, however, that “yuppy” should be spelled “yuppie.” As in “whitebread yuppie scum.” A class I also despise, along with their “bobos in paradise” relatives that we see a lot of up here in Vermont’s larger towns and the college areas.

  47. Steve, have you been reading too many books like Without Remorse, perchance? Or is your real name John Kelly?

  48. Yah, I think you’re right on the spelling of yuppie. In my defense, I’m still a little bit sick, still a lot tired from being sick, and still somewhat drugged up in the course of fighting being sick.

    Not only do police often make a problem worse, they totally blow it sometimes. When I was a teenager, a group of assholes — a small, small-town gang — broke into the family house and started making threats and wouldn’t leave. My mom called the police but no one came, so I got out one of my swords and ran them off the property. Twenty minutes later the stupid pigs showed up because they’d gotten a complaint that I’d drawn a weapon on visitors. Fortunately, my mom worked for the sheriff’s department (this was before she was a deputy) so I didn’t get arrested.

    Similarly, not even a year later but in a different city, I stopped an assault on a young woman. She was shocky so I carried her to a more main street until I could get help — by waving down a cop, as it happened. The stupid pig not only treated me like the suspect — reasonable enough, I suppose, until he could figure out what was going on — but he drew his pistol and pointed it at me while I was carrying her in my arms. The more jaded me of the past few decades would have killed him for threatening me with deadly force, but the teenage me kind of threw the woman at him (sorry, Ma’am) and beat feet outa there. Presumably they found the dead mugger and probable would-be rapist at some point, though I didn’t see anything in the papers.

  49. Miles_Teg, I had to look up Without Remorse and “John Kelly” to know what you were talking about, so no.

    The way I look at it, the veneer of civilization sort of works most of the time for most people. A lot of problems aren’t properly addressed by the veneer and a lot of problems fall through the cracks. People can either accept it (“Even if Jim ignores the restraining order and comes back, there’s nothing we can do about it except call the police again”) or they can deal with the problems outside of the system. I am very capable in many ways and I have no respect at all for “the system” and I’m sometimes willing to do people a favor, so when a friend-of-a-friend had problems with a daughter’s ex-boyfriend I was willing and able to play Drywall Roulette with the ex-boyfriend’s head.

    (Drywall Roulette: Ram your own or someone else’s head into the wall. Maybe you’ll hit a stud, maybe you won’t.)

    As for killing muggers, when I was 20-ish I saw Death Wish and thought to myself, What a great idea! Mostly I’ve gotten the Crusader out of my system so I don’t go and do things for the good of society anymore, but I’m still willing to do favors and take odd jobs.

  50. RBT, what was that in response to? Presumably one of my comments, as my verbiage exceeds everyone else’s.

    If you need help with a local problem, I might in theory help, but North Carolina is kind of a hike from here. If you think I’m telling stories and you want to see what else I can make up, sorry, you missed the mark; my stories are true, subject to possible alteration of details as noted above. Well, I should also note that details might get garbled on account of my increasingly failing memory. That’s happened a couple times, where I got myself so tangled up in “Wait a minute, that’s not how it happened” and “Wait a minute, that doesn’t make any sense” that I no doubt came across as a senile old man. Funny, that…

  51. “…so I got out one of my swords…”

    This is disturbing, particularly after reading the foregoing comment about still being a teenager back home. One of your swords…indeed. Disturbing. I, on the other hand, somehow made do with a baseball bat, crowbar and various homemade explosives, in other words, a paragon of teenage probity and rectitude. Oh, and routinely carried an Arkansas Toothpick to school in a Boston suburb in the late Glorious Sixties.

    And before anyone asks, no, I do not take requests; I am a tired and feeble, decrepit old man, in my advanced dotage, basically falling apart. I have one foot in the grave and one on a banana peel…

  52. Thanks, but no. If I had that kind of problem I’d take care of it myself. Either that or talk to my friend Tony from Detroit.

    Fortunately, I’ve never had a problem that serious. As far as I know, I’ve never killed anyone. I’ve kicked a few people’s asses pretty seriously, and I’ve exchanged gunshots a couple of times, but that’s about it. I generally prefer to get more subtle reven8e.

  53. We have this guy: “…I’ve exchanged gunshots a couple of times…” and we have the guy who apparently had a readily available sword arsenal as a teenager and greg down in Oz calls ME the “blog lunatic.”

  54. I have one foot in the grave and one on a banana peel…

    … and family members looking at that life insurance policy and wondering if they should give a little push. Yep, been there.

    Outside of the military, I’ve never shot at anyone. I’ve pointed pistols and shotgun at people from time to time but never pulled the trigger. And I’ve been shot at several times and actually shot twice, both times when I was unarmed. (In my defense, the first time I was 17 and I was ambushed and the second time I was walking around at night trying to sober up enough to drive home.)

  55. Exactly, OFD. That’s why I was so offended that I apparently wasn’t even in the running. I demand a recount!

  56. We have this guy: “…I’ve exchanged gunshots a couple of times…” and we have the guy who apparently had a readily available sword arsenal as a teenager and greg down in Oz calls ME the “blog lunatic.”

    I never shot at anyone who didn’t shoot at me first.

  57. Steve, I had an acquaintance at work like you in the early Eighties. He was accosted by five thugs, and, unfortunately for them, was a black belt in some martial art or other. After they’d tried to assault him, or rob him, or whatever, he very quickly turned the tables and was beating the shit out of the hoods. The cops arrived and took all six to the station, three hoods in one cage car, two plus my cow-orker in the other. On the way to the station he told the two guys in his cage car that if they didn’t tell the cops exactly what really happened he’d be waiting for them later. They took the hint and immediately confessed when they arrived at the police station. So the cops let my acquaintance go and took the five thugs inside and gave them a beating of their own.

    Well, that was his story. But he was someone I wouldn’t have tangled with.

    A guy I knew later was a real camping gear and gun enthusiast (to the extent that anyone in Australia can be). He was touring South America and some dick tried to rob him. He beat the stuffing out of him, went back to his hotel, got his camera and returned to take some pictures of his assailant. That’s a story that I really like, and I don’t have the least doubt that it’s true.

  58. Bunch of gun-toting homicidal maniacs here and it’s ME who’s the blog lunatic, go figure.

    “..family members looking at that life insurance policy and wondering if they should give a little push.”

    Well, the policy is barely enough to plant me in a shroud in a plain pine box, which is fine with me. Preferably in an abandoned boneyard deep in the woods with other forgotten old dumbfuck soldiers. A few months ago our daughter would have probably gladly given me the push, but lately the ice seems to be thawing, not sure. Guy down the hall was telling me yesterday that he had given HIS daughter tens of thousands over the years, for college, etc., etc., and then he was getting laid off, then hired back at a 15% pay cut, then a further 15% cut so he could keep his retirement account extant or something. She wanted and demanded some pricey dental treatment thing and he told her that this one time now he couldn’t help her; she told him don’t call, don’t write, don’t email, get lost, get gone, all over. Been two-and-a-half years now and he hasn’t ever heard from her again. So I may be getting off easy at that.

    As for shooting and being shot, outside of the military I’ve had guns pointed at me numerous times and those folks all came very close to me shooting them, within nanoseconds in a couple of cases, but fortunately it never got quite that fah. And that was the cop jobs anyway; as a civvie I have been free and clear of gunfights and potential gunfights so fah; oh shit, now I remember one or two minor incidents, but nothing happened in the end.

  59. OFD wrote:

    “Bunch of gun-toting homicidal maniacs here and it’s ME who’s the blog lunatic, go figure. ”

    Steve and Bob are at least rational, mostly. You got your sobriquet because you’re not, mostly.

  60. Miles_Teg, as soon as I’ve figured out whether I’ve just been insulted, and how, I’ll get back to you.

  61. “Perhaps your daughter should ask for royalties…”

    Why not? After all, I am basically a walking ATM machine myself up here; plus janitor and cab driver.

    “Steve and Bob are at least rational, mostly. You got your sobriquet because you’re not, mostly.”

    Oh this is rich! What??? THOSE guys are rational??? How am I NOT rational?? Pray tell…

  62. How am I NOT rational?? Pray tell…

    Answered your own question, didn’t you?

  63. Steve, I just got a phone call that reminded me of a good project for you.

    Have you ever considered tracking down the people responsible for “cardholder services”, “the FBI reports”, and all the other phone spammers and killing them painfully? I mean really painfully. At least crucifixion, and the death of a thousand cuts would be better. If you’re in a hurry, I’d settle for keelhauling.

  64. That’s an interesting idea. I could set up a website with tipjar and if I could show some success I’d likely be able to stop having to hustle for a living.

    As for the method of death, I’m partial to the blood eagle. Stick with tradition, is what I always say.

  65. Geez, and the DNA testing my first cousin had done showed we are mostly Nordic.

    Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I was referring to the article gender. Many masculine nouns use the feminine or neuter article. A neuter noun may also have any of the three genders, as may a feminine noun. For example, the German nouns for brassiere and tampon are masculine, and girl is neuter.

    Yeah, plenty of those, the one that hit me first is that all dogs are masculine and all cats are feminine. As for the bra and tampon, I always thought those were understandable: both are places males would like to be. I thought that made perfect sense.

    Miles_Teg says:

    Chuck wrote:
    “Sex is unbelievably important to Germans—in all of its meanings. ”

    Geez Chuck, you sure know how to disappoint a guy. I was expecting some, ah, titillating stories from your time in Germany.

    I thought this had become a family forum. I think all I can say in that case is that that summer was my favorite time. In general, German women are smallishly endowed, and most noticeably dispense with bras during the summers. Wonderful time to be travelling by transit. Made the 3 hour daily commute worth it.

  66. Chuck wrote:

    “As for the bra and tampon, I always thought those were understandable: both are places males would like to be. I thought that made perfect sense.”

    I suppose everyone here remembers in about 1989 how Prince Chuck said on his mobile phone that he’d like to be Camilla’s tampon.

  67. I don’t know about other countries, but I think Australian women have become somewhat more discreet since the Eighties, where many routinely wore loose fitting tops with no bra. Some didn’t care, some where just exhibitionists. I was walking along the Hume Highway in a suburb of Sydney (two lanes each way, no median strip) when a group of young people passed walking on the other side of the road. Every time a car, truck or bus passed a young woman in the group lifted her t-shirt and jiggled her tits, and she had plenty to jiggle. Haven’t seen anything like that since.

  68. “Steve, I just got a phone call that reminded me of a good project for you.”

    So, you do production line stuff in-house but outsource the interesting stuff. I always assumed you’d get a high school grad in to do the kits and take care of the evil around us yourself.

  69. Gender and political correctness on a gendered language like German is leading to some pretty hilarious stuff.

    Multiple male students = Studenten

    Multiple female students = Studentinnen

    Multiple students of mixed or indeterminate gender = Studenten, which is not PC.

    So… We now call them Studierenden (roughly “studiers”). What makes this silly, aside from slaughtering the language, is that the singular is Studierende, which is still male.

    Anyone remember the joke about Frederick, and the chairman… Chairwoman… Chairwoperson… Chairwoperdaughter?

  70. I dislike the use of “he” to represent anyone and everyone. I agree it’s grammatically correct, but it does seem to demean women – either because it seems to exclude them or because it implies women are a subset of men. I get the impression that, when framed in such a way, a statement that was supposed to be impersonal excludes women. I don’t have a solution, though. I try to avoid personal pronouns in general statements, and if I am compelled to use them I alternate between he/him/his and she/her/her.

  71. So, you do production line stuff in-house but outsource the interesting stuff. I always assumed you’d get a high school grad in to do the kits and take care of the evil around us yourself.

    Too much to lose.

    I never do anything illegal if there’s any chance of being caught. And the chances of being caught have gone up exponentially with the rise of databases, forensics, and our Big Brother society. I mean, nowadays I have no passport at all. Back when I was in my 20’s, I had half a dozen of them. It’s too hard to disappear these days.

  72. I dislike the use of “he” to represent anyone and everyone. I agree it’s grammatically correct, but it does seem to demean women – either because it seems to exclude them or because it implies women are a subset of men. I get the impression that, when framed in such a way, a statement that was supposed to be impersonal excludes women. I don’t have a solution, though. I try to avoid personal pronouns in general statements, and if I am compelled to use them I alternate between he/him/his and she/her/her.

    That’s O’Reilly’s style, and I’ve been fighting it for years. That and the whichhunters. Usually I win, but the forensics book wasn’t one of those. As usual, I stetted the random he/she changes during the first edit pass. They were back the way I wrote them in the QC1 and QC2 passes, but when I opened the printed book they were back. I emailed my editor and production editor, who assured me they’d get it fixed in the next printing. But it’s still annoying.

    That and the serial comma. I use the British standard, “one, two and three”, while O’Reilly insists on the butchered US standard, “one, two, and three”. I’ve pointed out repeatedly that the comma is an abbreviation for “and”, invented by monks during the dark ages, so the O’Reilly standard expands to “one and two and and three”, but they simply won’t listen to reason.

    My former editor once sent me email, “I’d like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand and God.”, to which I replied, “How did you know who my parents are?”

    But I’ve grown weary of that fight. Nowadays, I alternate even in my personal writing.

    And then there’s the argument about whether punctuation should be inside or outside the quotation marks. Again, I use the British standard, which is to include the punctuation within the quote if it was actually part of the quote. They insist on placing it outside regardless.

  73. I’m a Vermonta, I do what I wanta. (we don’t actually pronounce that “t.”

    As the Wiki article concludes, I doubt the blood eagle was used very much and it probably killed the victim pretty quickly, from shock if nothing else. As for telemarketers and suchlike with annoying phone calls; those are mainly just people who apparently have nothing else they can do to earn a buck and probably hate what they do; it’s the originators and enablers and organizers and CEO’s who run these things who need killin.

  74. As for telemarketers and suchlike with annoying phone calls; those are mainly just people who apparently have nothing else they can do to earn a buck and probably hate what they do; it’s the originators and enablers and organizers and CEO’s who run these things who need killin.

    The real problem with the annoying phone calls like Card Services isn’t with the people who make the calls. They’d stop very quickly if there were no profit in it. Card Services is in the words of the Missouri AG’s office probably a scam. People keep running it because there are idiots out there dumb enough to fall for it.

  75. I screen my phone calls. If it’s someone I know or it seems they have a genuine reason for calling. Otherwise I just let them leave a voice message. Usually they don’t. My family know, so they say who it is and I pick up.

    Yes, I’m on the Do Not Call register, but I still get marketing calls.

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