Archive for month: April, 2014

Metal Tuesday – Brother’s Choice – Old Man’s Child – Doommaker

29 Apr
April 29, 2014

Because this is my brother’s birthday week, I’m letting him choose for Metal Tuesday. From The Brother:

Black metal is an interesting beast. It has its introspective, storytelling atmospheric side, full of reverence for forest, wind, and snow. It also has its violent, hate-filled side, spewing rage and misanthropy. But metal is maleable, and the various sub-genres mix and meld in interesting ways. Usually, Black metal is an add-in to another sub-genre such as blacked thrash, post-black, etc.
**Old Man’s Child** started off as a fairly standard, though better than average, black metal band and then released 1997’s _The Pagan Prosperity_ which was black metal album with thrash tendencies. 1998’s follow up _Ill-Natured Spiritual Invasion_ kept some of the thrash hints, but they became more elusive and the following albums are all more symphonic black metal, having shed off _The Pagan Prosperity_’s thrash excesses. Though Galder, the band’s mastermind and frontman, has moved **Old Man’s Child** on to a more symphonic ground (as well as becoming an integral part of another classic band, **Borknagar**), I will always have a place on my music player for _The Pagan Prosperity_, one of the first black metal albums I ever bought and a hell of lot of fun.

Old Man’s Child – Doommaker

Lyrics

The night calls
as the evening light fades
cast your shadow
and cover this earth
bury the surface
and possess the nights dark
come forth, put spells on my thoughts.

I am the master of decease
I am the pain that grows within your soul
I am this worlds doom maker.

From another world
He arise from the ruins
which will be their graves
spawn of Satan
gather as one
and set this world in flames.

We are the seeds of fire
Spreading in the wind
Masters of your sorrow
And now, we will bring you down.

We are the masters of decease
we are the pain that grows within your soul
we are this worlds doom maker.

DOJ Using Banks to Shutter Legal Businesses

29 Apr
April 29, 2014

There is now some evidence that the DOJ is putting pressure on banks to stop doing business with what it considers questionable businesses. Small problem. These are legal businesses.

Under “Operation Choke Point,” the DOJ and its allies are going after legal but subjectively undesirable business ventures by pressuing banks to terminate their bank accounts or refuse their business. The very premise is clearly chilling—the DOJ is coercing private businesses in an attempt to centrally engineer the American marketplace based on it’s own politically biased moral judgements. Targeted business categories so far have included payday lenders, ammunition sales, dating services, purveyors of drug paraphernalia, and online gambling sites.

“Operation Chokepoint is flooding payments companies that provide processing service to those industries with subpoenas, civil investigative demands, and other burdensome and costly legal demands,” wrote Jason Oxman, CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association, at The Hill.

I have no love for payday lenders. I think they have absolutely usurious rates of interest for their customers. That said, they are a legal business. Same goes with drug paraphernalia. Legal business that somone(s) decided to use the force of the government to destroy.

Yeah, but they’re just doing it to bad businesses like porn actors, bong sellers, and payday lenders. Really? Did you see the reference to ammunition sales? Do you really think that Operation Choke Point wouldn’t be used against firearms businesses? Businesses run by “hate groups” like Hobby Lobby or Chik-Fil-A?

Monday Fiction – Avalon Book 1 Chapter 25

28 Apr
April 28, 2014

Anne

“She’s coming around,” Samantha said, “Get the others.” Anne cracked her eyes open and saw the pretty brunette’s smiling face beaming over her. “Easy Anne, you’ve had a rough time of it.” Anne looked around. She was in a hospital bed, but the room around her didn’t look like a hospital room. It looked more like one of those bedrooms you saw in mansions. Next to her, Veronica was in a similar bed. The small, dark woman frowned at Anne.

“Where are we? What happened?” Anne asked as a flood of images rushed through her head. On top of that, Anne ached everywhere.

“You almost killed us is what happened,” Veronica said harshly.

“That will be enough, Ms. Patel,” Lady Maritza said, walking into the room. Erik, Jason, and Kurt followed Lady Maritza into the room. “If Detective Hearst hadn’t acted, she would now be in the hands of the Dark Towers and all of you would be dead.” Lady Maritza turned to Anne. “As to where you are, currently you are in one of my guest homes that we use for friends who are recuperating from surgeries. All the amenities of home and all the functionality of a hospital.”

“How did we get here?” Anne asked, bewildered.

“That big of a magical explosion could be seen for miles by the right people,” Lady Maritza said, “My men were in that hellhole in less than twenty minutes after you set that spell off.”

“Veronica and you were still out from the feedback, so Lady Maritza had the two of you brought here while we cleaned up the site,” Samantha explained. She handed Anne a cup of water. “Here, you’re thirsty.” Anne sipped greedily.

“Cleaned up the site?” Anne asked.

“Made the warehouse conform to the narrative we needed,” Jason said. “Fortunately, the Avalonians are pretty good about doing that.”

“How do you know about the Avalonians? Are you a spy?” Anne asked. Jason laughed.

“Not exactly. Or more to the point, not how you’re thinking,” Jason answered. He handed her a badge. “Agent Jason McMurtry, Homeland Security. I’m part of the federal task force in charge of monitoring the Avalonians and other supernatural forces on Earth. Mainly the Avalonians.”

“You’re a fed?” Anne asked, incredulously.

“Recruited right out of the Army,” he said.

“So you were a spy!” Anne said.

“Well, sort of,” Jason said, “The task force sent me in to find out why the werewolves were in the city. Since homicide usually ends up cleaning their messes, it made sense for me to be ‘undercover’ as a homicide cop. I just couldn’t figure out how you fit into all of this, much less why there was an Avalonian covert team operating.”

“So now you get to go back to being a fed,” Anne said. She could intellectually understand the reasons for Jason being undercover, but Anne still felt betrayed by someone she thought was a friend.

“Actually,” Jason said, and then looked over to Erik.

“Look down at your chest, Anne,” Erik said. Surprised, Anne looked under the hospital gown. A brilliant scar was burned between her breasts. It was just about the size of the knot Arem had placed on her.

“What is that?” Anne said, suddenly scared. What had happened to her?

“You burned that tracking spell into you,” Veronica said, “I don’t even know how to reverse that kind etching.”

“So what does that mean?” Anne asked.

“What it means is that our mission has changed,” Erik said, “We can’t take you to Avalon. The moment you crossed the gate, you’d be transported to the Dark Towers. So, now my team needs to keep you safe on this side of the gate.”

“Which is why they’ve been transferred to my control,” Lady Maritza said, with the tiniest hint of smugness as she looked at Erik. “Your case also has transferred to my responsibility.”

“And since the U.S. government has a vested interest in making sure one of its citizens isn’t pulled into Avalon against her will, I’ve been assigned to your protective detail as well,” Jason said, handing Anne a piece of paper. She recognized it as a departmental memo. “As of now, I’m your new partner. Of course, just like with the Avalonians, you can’t tell anyone else in the precinct about me being Homeland Security.”

“What about Dale? Is he?” Anne asked, hoping against hope she was wrong.

“Detective Dale Melon was unfortunately killed in the line of duty while apprehending the six members of a cult that had murdered three people in rituals and murdered a fourth while trying to murder the lead homicide detective,” Erik said, with a cool detachment. “Or at least, that’s what the rest of the world will know.” Grief, rage, and fear warred inside Anne.

“What bout the werewolves?” Anne said, then turning to Veronica with her rage bubbling up. “And I thought you said there were no werewolves.”

“She didn’t know,” Erik said, “We’ve never encountered them, and had relegated them to myth. All of Avalon thought that they were myths.”

“But Jason knew. He had silver ammunition,” Anne said. “How could he know and you not. Don’t you secret agents talk to each other about monsters?”

“Unfortunately, no,” Erik said, “The Americans thought we knew and didn’t bother to inform us. We never knew the possibility existed, and never asked.”

“So Dale died because of a stupid mistake?” Anne yelled at the others. All except for Erik refused to meet her eyes. His steady gaze met hers.

“Yes,” Erik answered, calmly, “Your friend died because of a simple oversight. It happens. It’s never easy. It’s never a good thing, but it happens. Your friend was not the first to die because of something like this, and he won’t be the last. It’s part of the world we live in. The best we can do is try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” Anne wasn’t sure if she wanted to punch Erik, scream at him, or just sink back into grief. He took the choice out of her hands.

“We’ll leave you alone to finish recovering. You’ll be out of here this afternoon,” Erik said, “Dale’s funeral is tomorrow afternoon. We will be escorting you there. We’ve secured some temporary quarters for you until your permanent housing is completed. Samantha will come get you later to escort you.” He motioned everyone out of the room, leaving Veronica and Anne alone in the room.

“There’s something else, Anne,” Veronica said, her voice neutral, “When we get out of here, you and I will start on teaching you magic. I don’t know how you are suddenly able to cast, but you need to learn how to control your ability.”

“Why are you so angry with me?” Anne asked, “I was trying to keep you from being killed.”

“You have no idea what you just did,” Veronica said.

“I almost got us killed,” Anne shot back, “You’ve been saying that since I woke up here. Well, I’m sorry. I did what I could to stop Arem and save us.”

“You don’t understand what happened,” Veronica said, “You opened a magic vortex. You ripped the wild magic right out of those werewolves, leaving only their human part behind. You snapped the very strings of magic. No human has that level of magic power. I don’t know what you are, but it scares me.”

“So why teach me and not just tell Erik to kill me?” Anne asked bitterly.

“I don’t just kill something or someone because I don’t understand it or them,” Veronica said, “You work magic, you deal with a lot of things that scare you. It’s part of the game. What I’m trying to figure out if what you can do is linked to why Arem wants you so badly, and if you’re a threat to my home. In the meantime, I want to make sure you don’t kill my friends or anyone else by accident. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. Let’s get some sleep before Samantha comes gets us.” With that, Veronica turned over and pretended to sleep. Anne laid down and thought about what Veronica said.

Friday Quote – 4/25/14

25 Apr
April 25, 2014

There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want, merely because you think it would be good for him.

Robert A. Heinlein, author

Why We Despise Crony Capitalism Part 1043

22 Apr
April 22, 2014

Oklahoma State House passes bill that would require people who put up solar panels and wind turbines to be energy independent to still pay a fee to the energy utility companies! Seriously, WTF? Has this become a big enough issue in Oklahoma that it’s seriously hitting their profits?

Yet, we are in an economy where the government can tell us that we must buy certain products whether we want to or not. Combine that with companies that use armies of lobbyists for rent-seeking, and this is what results. Markets are supposed to force innovation through seeking a better product to sell to more people. Corrupt markets destroy innovation unless through carefully controlled oligarchies of companies.

It’s worse when the consumers are getting punished for doing what they’ve been told is responsible behavior. Here in Florida we have Water Management Districts. The one responsible for where I live is the Southwest Florida Water Management District, colloquially referred to as SwiftMud (and that should tell you a great deal). About a decade ago, when we were in a severe drought SwiftMud kept telling the residents to conserve water. We did it so well, that they had to raise water rates to maintain the proper revenue streams to the utility companies/organizations.

Please tell me again how giving monopolies to utilities makes things better?

H/t Jay G

To Save $20

22 Apr
April 22, 2014

Last week, Miguel put up an article on the Book of Face about the fact that Amazon will start collecting Florida sales tax on May 1.

So, I splurged and bought an EOTech for my black rifle to avoid paying the $24 sales tax.

Probably the worst excuse I’ve used to self-justify buying gun stuff. Still, EOTech!!! Operator operating in operations!!!!

Metal Tuesday – Queen – One Vision

22 Apr
April 22, 2014

For Metal Tuesday this week, let’s go with Queen’s “One Vision.” Because Freddie Mercury.

Lyrics in the YouTube video.

Monday Fiction – Avalon Book 1 Chapter 24

21 Apr
April 21, 2014

Anne

Odd scents were the first thing Anne comprehended as she regained consciousness. Sandalwood, pine, and a foul musk made a strange mix. The next was that she was restrained. Strangely, though, she wasn’t in as much pain as she should have been. She tentatively moved her head. Nope, no pain, as well as none of the odd dragging from strong pain killers. She opened her eyes and saw Arem’s smiling face mere inches in front of her.

“Relax, Anne,” Arem whispered, “You’re fine. Well, healed at any rate.” He stood up. “I apologize about the restraints, but we both know you’d do something foolish if you were free.” He looked over to someone standing just outside Anne’s view. “Take her downstairs.” Strong, rough hands lifted her up with a surprising gentleness. Arem led them out of the room and onto a metal catwalk above the warehouse floor. As they descended the main staircase, Anne could see six of the man-wolves (well, four man-wolves and two woman-wolves) standing around an altar similar to the one she’d seen at the Martinez murder scene. This one seemed more powerful for some reason. As they reached the bottom of the stairs, Anne could see the Avalonians, Jason, and Dale off to the side. Jason and the Avalonians were bound and awake. Dale was lying on the ground and not moving. No, not Dale. His body. Anne blinked back sudden tears. She’d have time to grieve later. Right now, she needed to keep it together long enough to figure how to keep from being sent to the Dark Towers.

“I am sorry about your friend,” Arem said.

“Go to hell,” Anne shot back, fury filling her. Arem ignored her outburst and directed whatever was carrying her to put her down a few feet from the altar. As soon as it backed away, Anne could see it had been an orc.

“Now, Anne, will you come with me back to the Dark Towers before more people have to die?” Arem asked, gently.

“Don’t bother answering, he’s just going to gate you back whether you want to or not,” Erik said. “Why bother with the false politeness, Arem? Why bother with a ritual with these bargainers?”

“As if you’d do any different!” Arem snapped, “The only reason I’ve left you alive Erik is because I want to grind in your failure!”

“He’s lying,” Samantha said, “He can’t gate her without her consent. Or at least, not without the ritual. And we’re still alive because he needs our energy to make the thing work.”

“Witch mind-reader!” Arem said with a sudden coldness, “I’m going to enjoy ripping your power out of you and watching you die a slow horrible death.”

“He’s telling the truth about that,” Samantha said evenly. Arem glared at Samantha as he spoke under his breath.

“So why did he need the werewolves?” Jason asked.

“I don’t know, he’s blocking me now,” Samantha said, smirking at the elf.

“He needs casters from this world to do the ritual,” Veronica said, and then grunted in pain. “Or at least that’s what it looks like from the ritual set up.” She studied the symbols on the floor and the altar’s construction. “Bloody hell, it is going to be painful when he pulls our energy out. Well, except for Detective McMurtry. I’m pretty sure he will die cleanly since he’s not an Avalonian.”

“You can call me Jason,” he said, “No need for formality at this point.” He gave the small sorceress a charming smile that Anne had never seen on the detective’s face.

“Be quiet,” snarled the leader of the werewolves.

“Ignore them Jonas,” Arem said, regaining his normal confident countenance, “This is how Avalonians always act when facing death. Or at least, the ones from Blackguard. They’re doing it so that we’ll make a mistake.” Arem looked down at Anne. “No, she’s not going to come willingly. You should start the ritual now. At least, I’ll get the satisfaction of seeing that lot die. Especially Jaegar.” A twisted smile spread across the elf’s face.

The werewolves started chanting in words that tickled the back of Anne’s mind. They sounded so familiar. Like when she heard someone speaking Spanish and it brought back some of her old high school Spanish classes. Arem stood in front of the altar and started singing. The music was different from anything Anne had heard before, but tantalizingly familiar. Even more than the words the werewolves were chanting. Then the elf touched the altar. As he pulled back his hands, Anne could suddenly see strings of translucent energy erupting from the altar. Most stuck to the altar, but there were at least a dozen that attached to the werewolves. More shot over her head and latched on to Jason and the Avalonians. Arem walked from the altar and placed a knot of strings on Anne’s chest. It burned. Then, Anne noticed something.

There were words on the strings! Words like the ones she’d seen on the other altar. Elven words. Anne could read the string. Something about binding her to the Towers of the Fallen. As she read, she understood more of how the strings worked. She could reach out with her mind and tug on them. She grabbed one of the strings from the knot that Arem and plucked it like a guitar string. The elf turned back with a quizzical look. Anne saw how the knot on her chest was connected to the knot on the altar. How all of the strings connected. So, what would happen if she unraveled the big knot?

“ANNE! STOP!” screamed both Arem and Veronica. Why was the sorceress telling her to stop? Didn’t she understand that Anne could stop this? As Anne yanked on the strings, the knot on altar unraveled. Anne delighted at the sight of horror on Arem’s face. Except the strings weren’t going back into the altar. Shouldn’t they go back into the altar? No, they were forming a new knot. Something else. As she read the new words, Anne realized it was an uncontrolled gate. A brilliant mirror some fifteen feet in diameter appeared behind Arem. Several of the strings were sucked into the gate. No, the energy was being pulled. What if those strings were attached to someone? Like Kurt?

Anne reached with all of her strength and tugged at the strings connected to the Avalonians and Jason. They held fast for a brief instant and then snapped. Anne ignored the screams of pain as she wrangled the dancing strings of power. They were like holding on to live electric wires. She needed to ground them somehow. More out of instinct than a rational thought, Anne forced the strings onto the werewolves.

Wolf howls intermixed with human screams and filled the warehouse. It looked like the werewolves were being dragged to the gate, then the strings pulsed with silver and gold energy. The werewolves shrank back to human bodies. Before Anne could even question what was going on, the gate pulsed dangerously with the influx of energies. Energy coursed back out as the gate overloaded. Anne screamed as a burst of the energy slapped against the knot on her chest.

“You fool,” Arem said, also in pain, “You have no idea what you just did.” He stepped in front of the gate and sang a new song. The pulsing shifted and the gate exploded in a brilliant white light. The most intense pain Anne had ever felt ripped across her body before everything went mercifully dark.

Friday Quote – 4/18/14

18 Apr
April 18, 2014

There can be no freedom in arts and literature when the government determines who shall create them.

Ludwig Von Mises, economist

Government control, either through regulation or subsidies, does not free the artist to create, only to make him/her free to create the government-approved.

Is Clive Bundy Where We Want to Hang Our Hat?

17 Apr
April 17, 2014

I can understand the desire to push back against the encroaching imperial federal government and its hordes of heavily armed response teams. Especially with the increasing visibility of police acting badly with little or no accountability.

Still, is the Bundy fight really where we want to make our stand? Is this the ground that we are willing to possibly spill and shed blood?

When I started carrying, I noticed that I was far more cautious about what I involved myself in. Somethings just weren’t worth the possibility that something could escalate beyond my control and result in me drawing my pistol. I had to decide what are the real stakes and what was truly valuable to me, both in real and philosophical terms.

So, now I’m watching some of the interwebz congratulating themselves on staring down The Man. Thankfully, some of the bigger blogs are pointing out that Bundy didn’t have a legal leg to stand on.

Am I glad that someone in the federal chain of command realized that it might not look good to have a firefight with a civilian militia? Absolutely.

Do I think there will come a time when the armed citizenry will have to step up to prevent further abuses by the .gov and its legion of thugs? Unless some radical change occurs yes.

Do I think the Bundy spat was that time and place? No.