Friday, May 31, 2013

In Nature News...

...I saw my first fireflies of the year this evening.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A North Carolina Sort of Crime

More than a thousand Venus' Flytraps stolen from Alderman Park in Wilmington, NC.

It's pretty much uniquely a NC crime because the flytraps are native to this part of world, and nowhere else. The plants, each worth $20, total up to a $20,000 crime. Other carnivorous plants such as sundews and pitcher plants were also taken.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Using Your Noodle

The solution to birds attempting to nest in your front porch:

Yes, that is a swimming pool noodle float duct-taped to the top of the overhang. Works great, too.

Poll: Afterlife or Oblivion?

Author Stephen King, in an NPR interview, discusses some aspects of his life, including his changing views on the existence of God.

This interview got me to thinking about my own conflicted attitudes toward first causes and a possible afterlife. I've been conflicted for years between rational, science-based thought and the Catholicism of my childhood. I've gone through periods where I considered myself an agnostic, even an atheist, but find that I hate the idea that the traditional lifespan of threescore and ten is all there is. It's life's greatest mystery. Tied up into my own conflicting ball of emotions on the subject is a great deal of self-hatred, an acknowledgement that I've been a lazy, shiftless and petty excuse for a human being, so any traditional afterlife has me worried rather than eager.

I'm curious as to what my readers think about the subject, so let me dictate a poll question in very simple terms, offered as a choice: you can, upon your death, choose to participate in an afterlife. You will have absolutely no foreknowledge of its nature, you have to take what is offered; no do-overs, second chances or endless resurrections as you might find in a video game. The other choice is oblivion, nothingness: the state you enter when you sleep and aren't dreaming. Total unawareness, irrevocable. What would your choice be? Feel free to offer details in comments, if you like.

Oblivion or Afterlife? free polls 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Progress Toward a Weaponized Laser

The UK Daily Mail compares it to a light saber from Star Wars, but it's far closer to the laser guns of science fiction than it is to a sword.

You'd still need much more power to make this a lethal weapon to compare with a firearm. Doubtless you could blind someone with it or burn a hole through them if they held still for it, but it's not a Star Trek phaser or a Star Wars blaster by any stretch of the imagination. Yet.

Aging Wine Under the Sea?

Part of an experiment, conducted over three months at Charleston (SC) harbor, to see if aging wine in the sea affects the taste in a positive way.

Apparently they're basing their tests on the experiences of wine recovered from shipwrecks, which in some cases has resulted in enhanced flavor profiles.

Similarly, in southern Spain the makers of Manzanilla sherry have long believed that the aging process involving the seaside cellars of Sanlucar de Barrameda imparts a "salty" flavor that isn't present in sherries made inland at Jerez de la Frontera. So maybe there is some rationale to aging wine under the sea.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Meanwhile, In Thomasville, NC...

...they're still manufacturing moonshine, and still getting caught at it:

Davidson County deputies say they found a still and 88 quarts of moonshine along with drugs and guns when they raided a Thomasville home.

Authorities said they had been investigating 38-year-old Preston Porter for five months before the raid.

Along with the illegal alcohol and still, deputies say they found marijuana, methamphetamine and 113 doses of steroids as well as sedatives and pain medicine/. Investigators say they also found more than two dozen guns.

Your one-stop shop for all yer redneck intoxication needs. Just needs some slutty wimmens and you have redneck paradise.

Meanwhile, In Myrtle Beach...

...the law against wearing thong swimwear, which has been in place for 20 years (the law, not the thongs) is still being enforced:

Authorities say a North Carolina woman has been arrested for wearing a thong at Myrtle Beach.

Police say 22-year-old Tiara Garness, of High Point, N.C., was warned twice to cover up around 5 a.m. Friday on Ocean Boulevard.

Authorities say when Garness refused, she was arrested and charged with misdemeanor indecent exposure.

Here In North Carolina...

...the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway turns 100.

A much better use of taxpayer dollars than military adventures overseas, IMO.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Meanwhile, In Madison, Wisconsin...

...Thong Cape Scooter Man has been determined by the police not to be a public menace or nuisance:

A 56-year-old Madison man who likes to ride around town on a scooter wearing a thong, a helmet and a black cape with red trim might be a disturbing sight to schoolchildren and teachers, but he’s not breaking any laws.

Police were called May 16 by staff at John F. Kennedy Elementary School after the man police call “Thong Cape Scooter Man” rode by when students were walking to a bus after school.

He didn’t do anything more than ride by, according to a Madison police news release. But parents and teachers were disturbed.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Why I Read the UK Daily Mail

So I can see pictures of blue monkey balls.

And a blue monkey taint, too. Here, take a look:

Tough Love

Here in Charlotte, a mother had her son arrested after he stole her Pop-Tart.

A Charlotte woman had her son arrested for stealing her Pop-Tarts earlier this week.

According to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police report, the mother called investigators on Monday to report her Pop-Tarts had been stolen from her home on Goldstaff Lane. She fingered her own son, who is a juvenile, as the culprit.

Gotta catch these things early, ya know. Nip it in the bud:

Quote of the Day

From the incomparable Iowahawk:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Writing Laughs

Have you ever pondered all of the synonyms for the word laugh, and how writers mimic the sound of each particular laugh on the page? Here's a handy little guide I've decided to put together, as far as I'm able:

Laugh: Ha ha!

Giggle: Hee hee!

Chuckle: Heh heh!

Chortle: Ho ho ho!

Snicker: (I'm baffled by this one. It's the sound the old Hanna/Barbera dog "Muttley" makes. I can't recall a snicker sound ever represented on a page.)

If you know of any others, feel free to add them in comments.

It's Preston Brooks Day

So, if you happen to be out walking, and happen to have a cane, and happen to encounter a U.S. Senator...

John McNaughton's Latest Masterpiece

"Liberalism Is a Disease."

As usual with McNaughton's political paintings, explanations for each of the figures and elements are explained by mousing over them. Click the link to do this.

Quote of the Day

"I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee." -Lois Lerner, director of the IRS division that singled out conservative groups.

Then she plead the Fifth.

found here.

OK, It's Time... trim my toenails.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In Weather News...

...our first summer-pattern torrential downpour is underway:

Guess Who Showed Up at the Tea Party IRS Protest?

The Gestapo KGB Department of Homeland Security.

h/t Gateway Pundit.

Mr. Forthcoming

That would be White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler Jay Carney:

Nichols began asking when the White House Counsel had communicated her knowledge of the IRS scandal to other members of the White House (such as the Chief of Staff). He wanted to know on what exact date she had reported this to others (April 24 or 25?) and by what means she had communicated this (verbally, emails, etc.?) At this point Jay Carney became visibly annoyed to have his story questioned so closely, and began asking Nichols what exactly he was getting at. Nichols answered, "I'm trying to find out who knew and when did they know it," and added that Carney had previously chided the press corps for asking vague, general questions, and said, "Now I'm asking specific questions, and you're accusing me of being petulant."

Jay Carney sarcastically said, "No one would ever accuse you of being petulant."

"Or you [of being] forthcoming," Nichols answered.

Reminiscent of those old exchanges between Nixon and the young Dan Rather, huh?

The Death...

...of the world's oldest light bulb, first installed in 1901 and only dying last night.

Pat Buchanan: The Spectator President

Another fine column by Patrick Buchanan.

The Barack Obama revealed to us in recent days is something rare in our history: a spectator president, clueless about what is going on in his own household, who reacts to revelations like some stunned bystander.

It is difficult to believe the IRS could conduct a full-court press on Obama’s opponents, that IRS higher-ups knew about it, years ago, and that Treasury knew about it before the election—but the White House was kept in the dark about a scandal that could have derailed the Obama campaign.

But whatever Obama knew, he and his allies in Congress bear moral responsibility for denying these Tea Party folks for years their right to participate fully in the politics of their country.

For years, Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and other Democrats have slandered and slurred Tea Party people as enemies of progress—smears echoed by their mainstream press allies.

Should we then be surprised that IRS bureaucrats, hearing this, thought they were doing what was right for America by slow-walking applications for tax exemptions from these same Tea Party folks?

Who demonized the Tea Party people? Who created the climate of contempt? Whoever did gave moral sanction to those IRS agents.

And the Spectator President is right in the vanguard.

Click the link to read the rest. Buchanan discusses Benghazi and the AP emails scandal as well as the IRS scandal.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dolphins Find 19th-Century US Navy Torpedo

It's a steampunk-looking object made of brass, and powered by a flywheel:

SAN DIEGO — In the ocean off Coronado, a Navy team has discovered a relic worthy of display in a military museum: a torpedo of the kind deployed in the late 19th century, considered a technological marvel in its day.

But don't look for the primary discoverers to get a promotion or an invitation to meet the admirals at the Pentagon — although they might get an extra fish for dinner or maybe a pat on the snout.

The so-called Howell torpedo was discovered by bottlenose dolphins being trained by the Navy to find undersea objects, including mines, that not even billion-dollar technology can detect.

Click the link to read the rest.

Local Author a Success as Self-Published SF Writer

The author is from Monroe, NC (just down the road from me) and the book is Wool.

And he's been so successful with his self-published effort that, like Larry Correia and Marko Kloos, he's parlayed his success into a contract with publisher Simon & Schuster.

And the best part, for readers anyway, is that the first Wool story is available for free at Amazon's Kindle Store.

Right now I'm reading Take the Star Road by blogger Peter Grant a.k.a. Bayou Renaissance Man, but I'll start Wool right after that.

Over At This Ain't Hell...

an apology like no other you're likely to read.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Where Have I Heard That Before?

Treasury Department Inspector General J. Russell George on the IRS scandal: "“It is not illegal, but it was inappropriate,” George said.

Gee, that sounds awfully familiar:

"Had Been Drinking With Her Husband and Friends..."

...when that evil AK-47 began firing all by itself and kilt her dead right there.

Never anyone responsible, just the gun attacking like a rabid dog.

I guess that in the pre-gun days the favorite excuse must have been oops it slipped out of my hand.

True Grits

I went to high school with a girl who, bless her heart, ordered "a grit" at the Cracker Barrel. She wanted to try grits without committing to an entire portion. The waitress obliged. And, my high school pal recoiled at what she described as "a hangnail on my plate!" Our lesson that day was one we might have learned in the classroom -- grit is gross and unappetizing and has no place on the plate but, grits are delicious.

Found here.

Quote of the Day

Here’s the hard thing Republicans have to do if they don’t want this crisis [IRS scandal] to go to waste: they have to ignore their id, the temptation of the sugar high of partisan point-scoring. They must willfully set aside Obama’s presence in the fray, leaving the short term personalized attacks on the table, and go after the much bigger prize. Obama isn’t running for office again. Liberalism is. Making this about him is a short term boost to the pleasure center of the conservative brain. Making this about the inherent falsehood of the progressive project will help conservatism win.

The progressive answer to this is more rules and regulators, more agencies and safeguards and accountability projects. Republicans should recognize this intervention for the ridiculousness it is – creating more federal entities to watch over federal entities – and focus their arguments instead on the only solution which will actually work: removing power from the federal government and returning it to the states or the people. The only way to ensure that government doesn’t abuse a power is to make sure it doesn’t have this power in the first place.

Found here.

Anteater Messiah Born In Connecticut Zoo

Mother anteater, named Armani, conceived immaculately.*

*Well, semi-immaculately, anyway.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sometimes You Can Help

Got to work at 11:00 pm as usual. While I was printing out reports a guest in the lobby began to choke. The 2nd shift girl called 911, I went out to the lobby to help the guest. Used the Heimlich Maneuver on him, successfully. He asked us not to have an ambulance come out, although we encouraged him otherwise, of course. Was a bit jittery from the adrenalin jolt for a while afterward. Hope it's quiet the rest of the night.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Headline of the Day

"Britain's oldest pet dies as tortoise that survived two world wars passes away aged 130 after being bitten on the leg by a rat."

That's the sort of headline that makes you wonder if your own life is going to end that pathetically. A T.S. Eliot of a headline.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Presidential Airplane For Sale

A DC-9 that has served as Air Force One is being auctioned:


Starting bid $50,000.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Let's Be Clear: It's Only a Baby If You Value It as Human Life

Otherwise it's just a fetus.

The New York Times referred to three murdered children as “fetuses” in an article about the conviction of Kermit Gosnell Monday.

Gosnell, a former Philadelphia abortion doctor, was found guilty of first-degree murder Monday afternoon for severing the necks of three born-alive infants.

Dehumanization is always required before killing.

Wrong Word

The word you're looking for is opaque.

The American Civil Liberties Union was curious about warrantless government snooping on citizens' text messages. So the group filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the Justice Department. Here's what they got back:

Fifteen pages, all looking like that. Most transparent administration in history.

All the Recent Scandals...

...including the just-released AP phone records story, lead me to believe that the MSM is actually in the process of throwing Barack Obama under the bus that he has driven over so many in his five years as President. I think that the recent gun defeat and the President's petulant tantrum news conference afterward marked the beginning of his lame duck status. The MSM seems to be transferring its allegiance to Hillary Clinton; I've already seen stories absolving her of any blame for Benghazi, implying that it was underlings responsible for that fiasco.

So: three more years of a lame duck, and the very real possibility of the GOP capturing the Senate in 2014. This is one of those times when you see the ineffectiveness of the US system as opposed to a UK-style parliamentary system, where the opposition could be calling for a vote of confidence at this point.

George Will Snarks On Benghazi

Not a movie review:

“This is a very live issue because we now know three things. We know that Mr. [Gregory] Hicks, the night of the attack speaking from Libya, said pretty much what it was: an armed insurrection, not a movie review conducted with rocket-propelled grenades and mortars,” Will said.

“Five days later on this program and on four other Sunday morning programs, the idea of an exceptionally boisterous movie review was still the administration’s position.”

“And then 14 days after the attack, at the U.N., it was the same thing,” Will continued.

“We started out with three arguments. Was security lax in Benghazi? Demonstrably. Could forces have been got there to rescue them? Doubtful. Has the nation been systemically misled? Certainly. Now, we need a select committee in Congress because the State Department’s misnamed accountability review board neglected to interview even the secretary of state.”

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Saturday, May 11, 2013

If You Bring a Lester Maddox Memorial Axe Handle To the Boy Scout Camping Trip... might be a redneck:

Went on a Scout Camping trip with son's troop last night. Sleeping on the ground was bad enough but this morning we went trail bike riding and I am beat.

What has this got to do with "Drum Major?"

Well the boys trucked in fire wood to this state park that does not allow even foraging for wood and were attempting to build a fire using wood they had split a few weeks back with a machine splitter....the smallest chunks being maybe three pounds and a hand full. No what we insensitive old farts called Squaw wood.

They attempted to light the fires by stuffing a teepee stack with paper. Several handfuls of useless white ash later I could stand it no more.

Nope, not one adult had brought an axe, hatchet, machete or Big Honking knife.

I took my old Spiderco Endura that some more long term folks might remember I broke the tip on pulling fence staple in an emergency and.....wait for it..... batoned myself a pile of splinters and thin strips and pencil sized bits. I used my Lester Maddox Memorial axe handle I keep in the back of the truck( lost my actual Pick mattock handle years back and found this axe handle) to drive the blade of the Spyderco through a few hunks of Oak.

Bad for knife or not bad, example for the boys or not, we had an actual fire with in two minutes of lighting my batoned wood with those big split pieces "involved."

Glad I knew how to do it and had experience at it or we would have had no smoores or shiskabob last night.

For you younger readers, Lester Maddox was the Governor of Georgia once upon a time, he was also a racist restaurant owner who, when the civil rights movement meant that blacks might enter his Pic-Rick Restaurant, threatened them with an axe handle. He later sold replicas of the axe handle in the restaurant gift shop.

Meanwhile, In Rock Hill, SC...

...we see once again the futility of thinking that a piece of paper keeps a woman safe:

A Rock Hill man out on bond on two sets of charges including robbery, drugs and domestic violence, and barred by court order from seeing his ex-girlfriend while on bond, is in jail on $200,000 bond after allegedly breaking into the woman’s home Friday morning and sexually assaulting her, according to police and jail records.

It needs to be emphasized to women in this situation: a restraining order/order of protection should be viewed not as a magic shield, but as a permit to shoot your attacker, should he return. Women should be counselled to acquire a firearm and become proficient with it. A woman who trusts a restraining order to protect her is simply choosing to leave the term of her life up to her attacker.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Whoops, Walked Right Into That One

That would be a steak knife in Rock Hill, SC:

A Rock Hill woman told police that she accidentally “walked” into a steak knife her brother’s fiancée was holding while they were drinking Wednesday night.

Police went to a Chestnut Street home at about 11 p.m. to investigate a stabbing, according to a Rock Hill police report. They found a woman, 47, with stab wounds in her upper left side.

The woman and her brother told police the stabbing was an accident, the report states. The brother, 43, told officers that his fiancée, 46, was using a steak knife to take their air conditioning unit out of the window because she did not have a screwdriver.

He said everyone in the house had been drinking beer and “having a good time” as his sister told his fiancée not to take the air conditioner out of the window, the report states.

The woman said she walked toward her brother’s fiancée, who turned around quickly. That’s when the woman says he accidentally walked into the knife, the report states, puncturing her upper left side.

Wonder if the brother's fiancée was named Bladie Mae?

Where a Vet Can Get a Job

Workin' On the Railroad.

OMAHA, Neb. — Mark Major once led a team of soldiers in combat in Iraq. Now he leads a team of railroad employees. The difference, he says, is obvious: "I'm not getting shot at anymore."

But it's the similarities between serving in the military and working for the railroad that draw Major and many other former military members to this type of work.

"For a veteran — a person who thrives off excitement, a mission and a chain of command — you tend to seek out companies like that," said Major, who has worked for Union Pacific for about two years.

As thousands of American soldiers return to the civilian workforce after service in Iraq or Afghanistan, many are finding jobs on the nation's rail lines. More than 25 percent of all U.S. railroad workers have served in the military.

Veterans have a long history of railroad work. Civil War veterans, for example, helped complete the transcontinental railroad in the 1860s. But railroad opportunities are especially welcome now because the unemployment rate for recent veterans remains higher than for the rest of the nation.

Major helps manage intermodal freight trains for the railroad in Oakland, Calif. He sought out a railroad job when he was getting ready to leave the military because of the challenges and independence it offered and because he had known other soldiers who went to work for a railroad and liked it.

"I'm infantry," Major said. "The 40-hour workweek, sitting in a cubicle doesn't really appeal."

Please tell me that Major made it to O-4. The possibility of having a real Major Major in the US Army is just too delicious to overlook.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

More Of What You Miss By Not Being On Twitter

The inimitable Todd Kincannon of Columbia, South Carolina. Todd is an attorney and Republican political operative with a startlingly non-PC gift for invective. Click the link to see what I mean.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

She Put Da Root On You

Down in - - where else? - - South Carolina, a woman threatened a school resource officer with voodoo:

The incident happened Friday at a picnic for the school’s seniors, according to an Aiken Department of Public Safety report. The school’s resource officer was asked to go to the picnic because a parent was there disturbing parents. When he arrived at the picnic, the officer encountered a very agitated woman.

The officer started to tell the woman she wasn’t allowed to be on the field, and the woman allegedly responded by cursing at the officer and saying “I ain’t got to do nothing you say, you just a security guard.”

Eventually, the officer was able to get the woman to leave the field where the students were having their picnic. He asked the woman for her drivers license. She handed it over and said she was going to Beaufort County to get a “Dr. Buzzard” to “put a root” on the officer.

Then, the woman asked the officer if he believed in voodoo. When he didn’t respond, the woman said “you will when Dr. Root gets through with you.”

A back-up officer arrived on scene a few minutes later, along with the woman’s daughter, the report states. The daughter allegedly encouraged her mother, who kept shouting that she was going to get Dr. Buzzard and that she would have the school resource officer’s job.

I remember watching an episode of Tales From the Emergency Room where a Gullah woman had to have a voodoo ceremony performed because some witch doctor had put "da root" on her.

She Throws a Grenade... our President throws a baseball:

What You Can Miss By Not Being On Twitter

After Mark Sanford won the SC-1 Congressional district race yesterday evening, Meghan McCain, the daughter of US Senator John McCain, tweeted on the race, and that grandmaster of snark, Iowahawk, noticed:

That right there is the Bikini Atoll Hydrogen Bomb of snark, folks.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Charlotte Houses Raided and Razed


Not far from the shadows of Charlotte's Uptown towers, a group of more than 50 heavily armed men swarmed a cluster of three small homes on North Pine Street late Friday afternoon.

By one witness account, a number of dark colored vans and black SUV's closed in on the homes from several different direction. Within seconds dozens of men wearing olive drab jumpsuits with no visible identification stormed into the three homes in a simultaneous attack.

Witnesses reported hearing automatic gun fire and loud explosions often associated with "flash bang" grenades.

During the raid the area was blocked off by unmarked police cars and the para-military style operation was over in less than an hour. At no time were any CMPD marked units visible, nor was Charlotte Fire or Medic involved.

WTF? Click the link to see photos and get more details.

Yer "I'll Be Damned!" Photo of the Day

Bee drinking the tears of a turtle:

More photos and story here.

Things Drunkards Do

They throw your guest copies of The Charlotte Observer into the street to be soaked by the rain.

So, hotel guests, that is why you only have USA Today available this morning.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

The Walking Dead - - Bad Lip Reading

When the Governor went Broadway I totally lost it.

Gun People Don't Trust Anti-Gun People Because...

...of a whole host of reasons, detailed at the link.

Go and read the whole thing. It's as definitive list of reasons for the distrust between gun owners and gun haters as you can find, all with connecting links.

h/t Sean at An NC Gun Blog.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Meanwhile, In New York City...

...a pizzeria owner does to Mayor Michael Bloomberg what Bloomberg wants done to the rest of NYC's citizenry:

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was denied a second slice of pizza today at an Italian eatery in Brooklyn.

The owners of Collegno's Pizzeria say they refused to serve him more than one piece to protest Bloomberg's proposed soda ban,which would limit the portions of soda sold in the city.

Click the link to read the whole glorious thing. The downside is that the pizzeria owner is likely to be retaliated against with bogus "food inspections" and regulations intended to send a message about picking a fight with City Hall.

Update: I'm informed that the story is probably a satire. Darn it.

50 Adventures Every Kid Should Have


Most of the list includes stuff that any outdoor-oriented child of the past would do, such as fly a kite, go blackberrying, or learn to ride a horse. "Catch fish with a net" is listed, although catching them with a handline, cane pole or fishing rod would do just as well, I suppose. And no mention of cleaning and eating the fish afterwards.

Since it is a UK list, nothing about shooting a BB gun, shotgun or .22 rifle, as rural American kids do (and as UK rural kids did in the past). What sort of things do you think an American would add to the list? I'd say "build a tree fort," because I built more than one of those in my youth. How about "explore a 'haunted' house?" Skinny-dipping? Let me hear your ideas in comments.

Time Capsule: 1960

50 years later, a backyard fallout shelter in Wisconsin is unsealed, disclosing a treasure trove of 1960's consumer items.

The items, which had been carefully packed in US military ammo cans, looked as fresh as the day that they had been placed in storage:

The shelter had become flooded over the decades, but the old ammo cans proved to be watertight and rust resistant.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Yet Another Fake Hate Crime

A liberal student and blogger at the University of Wyoming cooked up a fake rape accusation on Facebook, trying to pin it on an anonymous conservative Facebook commenter.

I'm starting to think an unwritten law is required in hate crimes cases: When a leftist activist files a hate crime complaint, (s)he is the probable perpetrator, promulgating a hoax out of a narcissistic desire for attention.

h/t Drudge.