MonthApril 2012

Awesome Ad Convergence

So I have the apps for a couple of the local news channels just to keep abreast of local news. I popped open one and noticed that the advertisement at the bottom was for Remington’s response to NBC’s hit-piece.

Granted, the ads are in rotation from a 3rd party (I believe it was AdChoice) and the station probably has little input as to what ads are posted. Still it was neat to see the ad on a news app. It would’ve been sweeter if it had been on the app for the NBC affiliate.

Election Year 2012

Well, it looks like our contenders are shaping up for this presidential cycle, and the hype is already in full swing. Every election is the “most-important-election-ever!”tm As plenty of other bloggers and pundits have observed, there’s little difference between the Republicans and Democrats, much less their candidates.

Judge Andrew Napolitano opined that we don’t have two parties. We have a “Big-Government Party” with Republican and Democrat wings. One wing likes to take away our social liberties, the other our economic liberties. These days, I can’t tell which is which.

I left the Republican Party in 2007 after I found that it really didn’t represent me. I am registered Libertarian, although I pick fights with them as well. The closest I come to is a “Jacksonian Libertarian.” Although after reading some on Jackson, I’m not sure that fits either. It’ll work for now.

As of now it looks like I’ll end up voting for Gary Johnson. He’s the candidate that comes closest to my ideas, and I’m sick of the idea of voting for the lesser of two evils.

Many of the commenters talk about the need to elect a Republican president to protect the Supreme Court. After all, Heller and MacDonald were both 5-4 decisions, and we could lose that block of votes if Obama can select the next Supreme Court justice. I have two problems with this argument:

  1. I don’t trust Romney to select a judge that would be sympathetic to Heller and MacDonald. Bush I put Clarence Thomas on the Court (thank FSM), but he also put David Souter on the Court. Will anyone argue that Souter was a friend of liberty?
  2. There’s this thing called the Senate. Any justice nominee must be confirmed by the Senate. It says so right in the Constitution. I know that the feds have pretty much shredded it, but nominations are great grand-standing opportunities. I have more belief that we can affect the Senate than a president.

Do I think Johnson will win the general election? Not really, but I need to vote what my principles tell me is the best candidate. I’ve compromised before for the two-party system and have been disappointed pretty regularly, at least on the federal level. All I know is that come November, I will vote without that slimy feeling upon leaving the voting booth.

Signs my Nephew Might Become an Evil Overlord – Episode 2

While I am helping my niece with her homework (a 4-year-old with homework, lot has changed since my toddler days), my nephew is busy playing the Skylanders video game on the X-Box.

Nephew: Uncle Fish, how do you spell “death”?

Me: Just like you have it one the screen, except add an ‘A’ after the ‘E’.

Nephew: Thanks, I’m renaming my Skylander “Death Blade”

Me: Oookay….

From an almost seven-year-old, it’s kind of weird watching him run around what is essentially a kids game with his Skylander “Death Blade”.

It doesn’t help that I’m reading On Killing by Col. Grossman.

As to why he calls me Uncle Fish, that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.

Neat pic of the day – 4/17/12

There’s just something nifty about it.

Excellent Game Endings

Sometimes gaming sessions end on a high note. Then there are those precious few sessions that end like all of the fantasy novels we devour so readily. I was fortunate to experience such an ending on Saturday night. It was not looking good for our party. We were at the last encounter. Two of our party was down (including my character) and one being held precipitously over a chasm. It really looked like a TPK was imminent. Then, the one thing that was against us all night suddenly changed in our favor. The dice. Our archer let loose a blinding burst of arrows followed by the paladin (who had been dangling over the chasm) letting loose with an incredible smite. The boss went down hard and his construct palace fell down around us as we escaped. It was truly an excellent ending. Continue reading

The Joys of taking a new shooter

I had the pleasure of taking an old friend out shooting for the first time. We went down to the range, explained the basics, and then let her play. I have to keep reminding myself not to over-explain everything. She liked my Sig 9mm and Ruger SP101. What she really liked was The Steve’s Kimber. All-in-all, we had a good time, and that’s really counts. That and she had an inch and a half group at seven yards.

Friday Quote – Shackleton

Inveniam vaim aut faciam” – I shall find a way or make one.

My brother first came across this phrase when reading about Shackleton’s expedition to the Antarctic. Mr. Shackleton had this phrase carved into the wall near his hospital bed. According to the linked Wikipedia article, it’s been used by many others as a motto, which is how I use it. We are surrounded by people who will live in their little cocoons and never try to find a way to better themselves or in how they work. I’m a big believer in system improvement. What can I do to make my products easier to produce, better than others, etc.?

In terms of writing, that means I no longer have to just go the traditional route with the big publishing firms. There are new models, or I can make my own model. I shall find a way or make one.

Homeopathy – Magic Water, Magic Sugar

Most skeptics have a few real push-button issues. The ones whose practice absolutely infuriate us. For me, I have three: homeopathy, the anti-vaccine movement, and the 9/11 “Truthers”. Homeopathy and the anti-vax movement because I can see the body counts from them. The “Truthers” because their assertions degrade the heroism of the people involved and obscure the real lessons from the horrific day. I’ll discuss each of these at length in different blog posts. In this one, I’ll tackle homeopathy.

Many of the prominent science and skeptical blogs have done excellent takedowns of homeopathy. One that I like is Dr. Stephen Barrett’s in his Quackwatch blog. I would highly suggest reading his article. Here’s what I don’t think most people understand when it comes to homeopathy.  Borrowing from Dr. Barrett:

Homeopathic products are made from minerals, botanical substances, and several other sources. If the original substance is soluble, one part is diluted with either nine or ninety-nine parts of distilled water and/or alcohol and shaken vigorously (succussed); if insoluble, it is finely ground and pulverized in similar proportions with powdered lactose (milk sugar). One part of the diluted medicine is then further diluted, and the process is repeated until the desired concentration is reached. Dilutions of 1 to 10 are designated by the Roman numeral X (1X = 1/10, 3X = 1/1,000, 6X = 1/1,000,000). Similarly, dilutions of 1 to 100 are designated by the Roman numeral C (1C = 1/100, 3C = 1/1,000,000, and so on). Most remedies today range from 6X to 30X, but products of 30C or more are marketed.


A 30X dilution means that the original substance has been diluted 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times. Assuming that a cubic centimeter of water contains 15 drops, this number is greater than the number of drops of water that would fill a container more than 50 times the size of the Earth. Imagine placing a drop of red dye into such a container so that it disperses evenly. Homeopathy’s “law of infinitesimals” is the equivalent of saying that any drop of water subsequently removed from that container will possess an essence of redness. Robert L. Park, Ph.D., a prominent physicist who is executive director of The American Physical Society, has noted that since the least amount of a substance in a solution is one molecule, a 30C solution would have to have at least one molecule of the original substance dissolved in a minimum of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules of water. This would require a container more than 30,000,000,000 times the size of the Earth. Continue reading

Signs my nephew may become an evil overlord

Since my nephew and niece were born, their parents and my group of friends have joked that one will become an evil overlord while the other will be the savior of humanity. This is probably due to the immense amount of fantasy we all read, but sometimes possible hints slip out. Or it could be because he’s almost seven.

Scene: Nephew and I are returning from a scout activity

Me: Let us go forth…..

Nephew: To a date with death!

It’s one of those times I’m not sure whether to be proud, terrified, or both.

Medicating with lead and gunpowder

I took today off because I was expecting to see my favorite band, Sabaton, down at the Brass Mug. Then I received an email informing me the concert was cancelled. There were entry visa problems with the new band members.

So, I decided since I have the day off to do something I’ve been meaning to do for a bit. Pull out my shotgun and take it down to the range for some practice. It’s the first time I’d played with my Mossberg since I installed the Blackhawk collapsible stock.

So I first tried it at seven yards with six shells of 2 ¾” buck.

That’s with me aiming roughly at the stomach area. Then I tried again with my last three shells at 15 yards.

I was aiming too high and got yelled at by the range master. I really need to take a shotgun class. On the bright side, if I’m shooting with the shotgun, it’ll most likely be in my house. Everything’s within 7 yards in my house.

Then I went on to my Diamondback DB9. The first time I fired this pistol, it jammed damn near every time. I even had a couple of times with a live round being “stove-piped.”

That was with Winchester white box and Magtech 115-grain JHP. The second time I took it out, I switched to Remington UMC and Hornady Critical Defense. The little pistol ate both loads up nicely. So today I figured I’d see what I could actually do with this pistol.

First attempt was at 3 yards with Remington UMC.

Not a bad group, but I was shooting a bit low. Then I tried at seven and fifteen yards.

I so need to take a class or two.

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