Florida Baseball Sucks, So Let’s Keep Propping It Up

26 Apr
April 26, 2018

The local fish wrapper decided it needed to reply to a recent WSJ article on how professional baseball sucks in Florida. Full disclosure: I’ve been to exactly one Rays game, and I’m not a huge fan of baseball to begin with. So, why am I writing about this?

Because the same Tampa Bay Rays that is being sued by the players union for not spending enough on the team is busily trying to get the local governments to pony up for a new stadium down in Ybor.(That’s pronounced EE-Bore for those of you not familiar with Tampa.)

That’s my tax dollars going to prop up a team that has trouble selling seats already. That’s my tax dollars going to yet another public stadium with false promises of it being a boon to the area economy.

Bread and circuses.

Chocolate Cake For Breakfast

25 Apr
April 25, 2018

Last weekend the girlfriend and I had the first “your folks and my folks” dinner at her place. This was the first time my family had been down to her place and got to meet her family and cats. Yes, it was a success. Particularly when my family got to meet her hairless cats.

For dessert, my mom brought chocolate cake. Very good. Very rich. About half of it left over. The next morning, there was some facetious discussion about the possibility of chocolate cake for breakfast. Maybe not so facetious. Anyways, I was going to make a reference to Bill Cosby’s bit, but found out that the girlfriend never saw that routine. That was quickly remedied.

She was amused, and I think more tempted by the chocolate cake.

Metal Tuesday- Brother’s Choice

24 Apr
April 24, 2018

Something Old and Something New

So now the Mssr. Ward is updating his blog again and it the anniversary of my entrance into this world has come about again, I have been requested to provide another Metal Tuesday.

As in the past, it behooves me to share music of a slightly more… aggressive nature than Derek would provide.

Something Old

To start off, here is an older black metal song: Silence of the World Beyond by A Canorous Quintet) from 1996.

A Canorous Quintet – Silence of the World Beyond

I just realized this album is old enough to drink.

Something New

I like technical death metal. I really enjoy its mixture of aggression, technical skill, and creativity. Rivers of Nihil are a newer band and their latest album is very good. This song is from their latest album and contains a sexy saxophone solo.

Rivers of Nihil – The Silent Life

Surprise Third Entry!

Not everything I listen to is heavy and aggressive. Here is a wonderful rock song for everyone that did not care for the previous tracks.

Think of it as a audio unicorn chaser

Good Tiger – Where Are The Birds

CDC and Guns

23 Apr
April 23, 2018

One of the big complaints from the game b control side is the restriction on the CDC from researching gun violence. What the law prevents is the CDC from doing research to promote gun control. The reason was simple – we shouldn’t be politicizing something like the CDC.

“But the CDC would be an unbiased source!” Really? Then why would they fail to publish all of the data they collected in the nineties about firearms used in self defense.

Oh look, the data shows that DGUs far outstrip felonious uses. And at the same rate Gary Kleck estimated during the same time period – about 2.5 million uses a year. Other, more recent, studies are showing about 100,000 DGUs annually.

If Congress decides to give into pressure and remove its current restrictions on the CDC for studying gun violence, then it should also mandate that ALL research paid for by public funding be published. Including the raw data sets before a researcher decides to “massage” it with some bizarre statistical tool or another.

State of Writing

19 Apr
April 19, 2018

With me being in physical therapy for the last few weeks, my fiction writing has slowed to a bare trickle. Still, I’ve managed to put some words together. It also doesn’t help that I’ve had to completely overhaul one project, and lost a bunch of the original writing in the process.

Still, as of April 2018, here are the current projects I’m working on:

  1. Promise to the Magic Heart – This will be novel-length fantasy series, and probably a trilogy of books. My original idea was to mix the storyline with flashbacks (like Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series), except I’m not that good. So all the flashbacks were yanked for the first book, and then promptly eaten by Scrivener. I think I’ve got some earlier drafts, so I’m not completely screwed, but it’s a setback.

  2. Irregulars 3 – Outlining stage

  3. The Legion – Military sci-fi; not sure if I want to do a series of novels or a series of novellas (like Irregulars). I have the basic story, it’s just a matter of putting keyboard to word processor.

  4. The Clans – Urban fantasy. This is most likely going to be like Irregulars with short novellas combining into a bigger arc.

I’m hoping to get to writing more, but we’ll see if the personal and work lives let me.

And I really should try to actually sell some of this stuff.

Diversity Is A Good Thing, As Long As You Know What To Diversify

19 Apr
April 19, 2018

Reason put out this article earlier this week on the dangers of Silicon Valley’s burgeoning ideological conformity. Let’s look at the first couple of paragraphs:

quote When it comes to software, Silicon Valley understands the threat of monocultures. If 100 percent of computers run the same code and malware authors discover an exploit, 100 percent of computers will be vulnerable to the same attack. Fortunately, the way to reduce such risks is straightforward: Increase diversity.

quote Alas, this insight seems limited to software. Technology executives have yet to fully recognize the risks posed by the potent political monocultures forming inside their own companies.

The problem is that so many who push “diversity” fail to understand what they need to diversify. For these tech companies – and other places pushing diversity for diversity (cough, universities, cough, literary circles) – they are mistaking the biological for the mental. In essence, they are saying because they have both golden labradors and chocolate labradors, they are diverse – and they don’t see the problem when large numbers of their dogs die off. For tech companies, the biggest threat from this failure to recognize they are not really diverse is going out of business because they’ve alienated enough customers.

However, the same issue is impacting the RKBA. I keep hearing how we do we get more women, POCs, young people, etc. involved in the gun rights battle. Too many times, I see the RKBA making the same mistake of substituting outward diversity with inward diversity. You can’t invite people with one breath, and with the next demand they immediately conform to every thing you believe outside of RKBA – such as God, abortion, economics, and/or the current issues of the day.

We’re not breeding stronger livestock, so we shouldn’t be looking for biological diversity. We’re trying to breed stronger ideas, so we need ideological diversity.

Wall Street Journal Tries To Look At the Smart Gun Issue

18 Apr
April 18, 2018

The Wall Street Journal decided to examine the smart gun issue. It seems the authors of the piece can’t figure out why no one on in Silicon Valley is willing to fund smart guns, and dismisses the concerns of gun owners and RKBA activists.

For example:

quote For decades, firearms companies have refused to sell smart guns because of glitches in some early models, as well as a backlash from conservative gun-rights activists, who fear the technology will prompt state legislatures to mandate it broadly. The activists say their fears were confirmed by a 2002 New Jersey law requiring all handguns for sale in the state to have smart-gun technology once it became available. (emphasis mine) Smith & Wesson’s parent company said last month it was still wary of making smart guns.

Excuse me, but this isn’t a case of activists making an unsubstantiated claim. I would call that empirical evidence.

Further, the authors have to pull out that this would stop a highly publicized event:

quote But in theory, a gun with a fingerprint reader or RFID technology might stop murderers like Adam Lanza who used guns purchased and stored by his mother, and to a greater degree prevent accidental shootings and suicides.

Did they even read how this tech was supposed to work? First, Lanza’s mother took him with her shooting. Are you telling me that an RFID reader or fingerprint scanner would have stopped someone already granted access? About the only one of these claims that has some merit is accidental shootings. My problem is that: 1) the situations prevented are already rare and 2) the lives saved may be outweighed by the number of lives lost because tech failures preventing people from defending themselves. Oh how can you quantify that people would be put in danger by tech failures? How many times has the fingerprint scanner on your phone failed to read in good conditions? How many times have you had to rescan a badge for entrance because the reader was being temperamental?

Here’s my take on the smart gun issue. I’m a geek and I love technology. However, I don’t trust governments not to abuse any advances in smart gun tech to restrict the rights.

Metal Tuesday- Gemini Syndrome – Stardust

16 Apr
April 16, 2018

This band, like so many, was brought to my attention by The Brother. And as usual, he was very correct that I would enjoy it. So, of course I’m going to share.

First Pistol Competition AAR

16 Apr
April 16, 2018

Last Friday, I went to my first pistol competition. There was some doubt as to whether I would go to the competition or not. I get this weird anxiety when facing new situations, and it makes me want to stay in my nice, safe home. Even more when I’m doing something alone. Yay introvert brain. Fortunately, I have a very supportive girlfriend and brother who encouraged me to go, and told me that if it weren’t for prior commitments, they would have come to watch. This from my girlfriend who is still somewhat uncomfortable around my pistol. So, it was with much trepidation that I belted on my holster and mag carrier and went out to my first pistol competition. My goal for the night was simple – finish and not DQ.

When I got to the range, the RSOs shepherded us into a classroom for the safety briefing and for us to begin setting up. There were about twenty of us competing. For at least a quarter of us, this was our first match. So, I don’t feel so bad about not realizing one big thing. The flyer said I needed 100 rounds of ammo, OWB holster, mag carrier, and three magazines. I didn’t realize that was the minimum requirements until I saw some of the other participants belting on four or five spare magazines. Fortunately, I kept extra spare magazines in my range bag. Unfortunately, no extra mag carriers. I loaded up five magazines – one for the pistol, two in the mag carrier, one tucked in my belt, and one in my pocket.

After sign in and getting our scorecards, the twenty of us were walked through the course of fire. Most of the targets were standard IPSC silhouette targets, and scoring was raw time plus additional time for hits outside the A-rings, for procedurals (breaking the rules), and for failing to complete. After Stage 1, the participant could chose to go to Stage 2 or 3.

 **Stage 1** - Center of the bay. Engaging four targets at about fifteen yards through three ports - each target shot twice through each port, for a total of twenty-four rounds. Port one was shoulder height, so I would be able to shoot that without changing stance. Port two was about stomach height, and I would need to crouch to shoot through. Port three was about knee height, and I would need to kneel for that one. 

 **Stage 2** - Right side of the bay. Engaging three targets at five yards - each target shot five times, for a total of fifteen rounds. Target two had half the torso blacked out to represent cover. Target three only had the head available. 

Stage 3 – Left side of the bay. Engaging two clay pigeons as “poppers” at fifteen yards. No round restrictions, but the clays must be at least 75% destroyed before the stage was considered cleared.

So how did I do? Well, I succeeded in not DQ’ing.

On Stage 1, I think I got a bit of buck fever. One miss, a few D-rings, and the rest split between C-ring and A-ring hits. Even though I kept telling myself I would need to reload on the third port, it was still a surprise.

Stage 2, I settled down some. Three misses due to hitting the blacked out parts of target three, but two B-rings, three C-rings, and the rest A-ring hits.

On Stage 3, I emptied the remaining half of my magazine for some chipping away at the pigeons. Reloaded and fired three more times. I pulled the trigger the fourth time and click. I reached up to rack the slide, and it didn’t want to budge. So, I let the RSO know, and I ended up with a failure to complete and a raw time of 129. My diagnosis on my equipment failure is a hard primer and me not yanking hard enough on the slide to clear the round. I’m basing that on the fact that when I handed my pistol to the RSO, he cleared it without issue.

The good – I had fun and was glad I overcame my anxiety. Drawing and reloading was smooth and easy.

The bad – Accuracy needs to be dialed in for small targets.

The ugly – I need to spend more time on malfunction drills. I also need to avoid IMI ammo for competitions. My M&P does not consistently work with that brand.

Rules and Harm

13 Apr
April 13, 2018

The girlfriend and I were out shopping because she needed a new pan. In the parking lot, we came across a truck that had taken up two parking slots. The GF harrumphed and said how she hated people who did that. I saw the same thing, but it didn’t bother me so much. Why? Because the truck wasn’t in a premium area of the lot, and there was plenty of other parking.

My girlfriend was annoyed because the driver was breaking the rules. I wasn’t annoyed because (s)he wasn’t causing harm. I’ve found that such criteria has become much more important as I’ve matured.