Monday, September 29, 2014

Today's Vocabulary Word


A cephalophore is a Catholic saint, a beheaded martyr, one who is noted for miracles surrounding the circumstances of the beheading. St. Paul is supposed to have been one of the earliest cephalophores, if not the very first. Cephalophores are portrayed in paintings, sculpture and other media as standing upright, with the head cradled in the arms:

update: It occurs to me that beheading is topical, these days.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Volcano Blog: Ontake, Japan

A hiker who had climbed to the top and Tweeted "Enjoying Mt. Ontake All Alone" hasn't Tweeted since.

Here's some video footage that some other climbers took of the eruption:

Let's home they're all ok.

h/t Ann Althouse.

Heckuva Job, Bloomy

Stick a fork in Colorado governor Hickenlooper...he's done.

NRA and gun owners really have given those hippie California transplants in Colorado a taste of the whip, haven't they?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Good Riddance... bad rubbish.

The contemptible Eric Holder is resigning his post as US Attorney General.

Holder was a net liability to the Obama administration; Republicans hate him, as do gun owners and even reporters. If he had remained in office he would have increased turnout by Republicans in November, eager to flip the Senate and impeach his sorry ass. I think he probably saw the handwriting on the wall, and didn't want to be the first US Attorney General impeached and removed from office, in addition to being the first one to be held in contempt of Congress.

It will be interesting to see whether there will be an effort by the Justice Department to be more open in the days before the election: stop blocking Fast & Furious documents, less opposition to voter ID efforts, Benghazi, etc. If the interrim AG makes a good-faith effort to work with Congress, it will probably suppress some of the GOP turnout that was motivated by hatred of Holder.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

"We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident...

...that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the the pursuit of close kin.

"Incest a 'fundamental right', German committee says.

Anti-incest laws in Germany could be scraped [sic] after a government-backed group said relationships between brothers and sisters should be legal."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Meanwhile, Down In Australia...

...even the hippies that took away the people's right to self-defense are having second thoughts.

Australia’s ban on practical self-defence sets it apart from most other countries. Almost none prohibit non-lethal means of self-­defence, while many permit ownership of firearms at home. A few (including most US states) allow the carriage of firearms for self-defence almost anywhere, subject to a permit system.

Australia’s prohibition on practical self-defence is relatively recent, emanating from the 1996 changes in firearms laws that followed the Port Arthur massacre. Not only were many types of firearm prohibited, but Australia embraced an international push to prohibit civilian ownership of firearms for self-defence.

This was driven by several factors. One was a desire to avoid America’s so-called ‘gun culture’. However, this seems to have broadened to include all means of self-defence. Another was a type of religious pacifism, of ‘turning the other cheek’. There was also a type of precautionary approach — average citizens may one day be struck with murderous tendencies. And then there were the perennial claims that resistance is futile and weapons will inevitably be turned against those using them. Underlying all these is the assumption that the government will always be there when we need it. Australians are probably unlikely to ­embrace the use of guns for self-defence except in special cases (a battered wife dealing with a murderous ex-husband, for example, or within our own homes).

But there is equally no sign that Australians ever agreed to or have accepted being rendered defenceless. In particular, women and the elderly do not believe that relying on the police to arrive in time will keep them safe. If asked, most would unequivocally demand the right to practical self-defence, at least with non-lethal means.

It should never have reached this stage. Only an authoritarian society would treat its people like helpless victims, with the government masquerading as some kind of guardian angel. Free societies have a strong emphasis on individual self-reliance, including responsibility for personal safety.

Captain Kirk Will Have the Blue One, Of Course

Some mother brought vagina-shaped cookies to school for the li'l chirrens to eat:

"Which one do you want, Li'l Johnny?"

"Fire Crotch!"

"Of course you do. How silly of me to ask."

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Do You Enjoy Dry-Roasted Peanuts?

Their days are probably numbered.

"Dry-roasted peanuts 'worst for allergies': Findings will help scientists develop nuts that prevent reactions."

Peanuts cause allergic reactions chiefly when they have been dry-roasted, a study suggests.

Tests carried out by Oxford University researchers found that eaten raw the nuts had little effect on the immune system.

They are now working on safe, dry-roasted peanuts to help prevent an allergy that affects one in 50 children.

If the traditional dry-roasted peanuts aren't banned outright, they'll probably be altered in a way that makes them less tasty to eat, although this being America, the packaging will no doubt read New and Improved!

The Trespasser Who Almost Entered the White House...

...was a deranged military veteran.

The man who allegedly made it inside the White House yesterday after jumping a fence was carrying a folding knife - and is an Iraq veteran who had half his foot blown off on duty and now suffers from PTSD, it has been claimed.

Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, was arrested by the Secret Service yesterday after agents claimed he made a dash for the Presidential residence while carrying a three-and-a-half-inch folding knife.

Gonzalez, who is thought to have served 18 years in the military, including three tours in Iraq, and reportedly told Secret Service agents he was convinced 'the atmosphere was collapsing' and that he needed to warn the President.

Well, belief that Barack Obama can prevent the atmosphere from collapsing is certainly proof of derangement in my book.

I'm not an expert on Spyderco knives by any means, but the photo shown in the article appears to be of a Dragonfly; VG-10 is the steel, not the model name. Sounds like the writer tried to get it right, but trusted what someone else told him/her. It's a very minor mistake.

Rationers Vs. Producers

Daniel Greenfield talks of two different types of societies, the Production society and the Rationing society. It's worth reading in full, as are all of Greenfield's essays. You follow him, right?

We have become a rationing society. Our industries and our people are literally starving in the midst of plenty. Farmers are kept from farming, factories are kept from producing and businessmen are kept from creating new companies and jobs. This is done in the name of a variety of moral arguments, ranging from caring for the less fortunate to saving the planet. But rhetoric is only the lubricant of power. The real goal of power is always power. Consolidating production allows for total control through the moral argument of rationing, whether through resource redistribution or cap and trade.

In a production society, the role of government is to expand the territories of exploitation and to protect those territories. In a rationing society, the role of government is to control the available quantities of production with a view to distributing them fairly. Naturally, the rationers, as always, get the best rations. In a production society, government is a means of protecting everyone's ability to produce. In a rationing society, government prevents the bigger from grabbing the rations of the smaller and protects everyone from grabbing all the rations at once and starving to death.

The sort of society we have is fit for passengers adrift at sea on a lifeboat parceling out their last crackers. It is an emergency society for the lost and the starving. And perversely we are starving amidst plenty.

The rationing society discourages people from farming and encourages them to peer in each other's mouths to see who is eating more than his fair share. In the rationing society everyone is certain that they are not getting their fair share and eager to sign on to initiatives to get their group's fair share. In a rationing society everyone is an informer because everyone's livelihood depends on informing on others.

That should give you a good taste of Greenfield's thesis. Now go and read the rest.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Just Shut Up and Get On the Ice Floe, They Explained

All you selfish senior citizens ruining Obamacare for the rest of us.

It seems every time I see the word bioethicist in a news story or article, they are advocating doing horrible things to babies or old folks, usually by neglect, sometimes by direct action.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Two Wines Born 25 Miles Apart...

...made from the same grapes and by the same methods, still manage to become two different wines.

Manzanilla sherry from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain and Fino sherry from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain are basically the same wine. They are made from the same grape (Palomino) and processed into wine in the same way (the famed Solera system). The only differences between the two wines are that the vineyards for Manzanilla tend to be nearer the ocean, and the bodegas (wineries) where the wines are stored certainly are. Now comes a study that confirms what most suspected, that both the grapes and the wines of Sanlúcar have a slightly higher salinity than those of Jerez.

I don't have a sophisticated enough palate to distinguish wine much anymore, but when I lived in Spain I got to the point where I actually liked Fino and Manzanilla, which are quite dry and take getting used to. At sherry bodegas when the tourists got to the tasting room it was always fun to watch their reactions when they tasted Fino; they'd taste it, make a face, and quickly pour it out and ask for more Cream sherry.

New York Times Article (and Gallery) On Lighthouses

"The Lighthouse Keepers."

It's not really about lighthouse keepers. It's about lighthouses that are no longer needed as aids to navigation, and what to do with the old buildings themselves. The writer doesn't offer much in the way of a definitive answer; seems to hate tourist-oriented lighthouses, yet doesn't want unneeded lighthouses to decay and fall into the ocean.

You Keep On Using That Word...

...I do not think it means what you think it means.

That word would be castle.

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines castle thusly:

castle: a large building usually with high, thick walls and towers that was built in the past to protect against attack.

You will see, then, that the building that this Englishman took refuge in - - his home - - wasn't also his castle, because it offered him no defense when he was attacked.

Of course, even in feudal days, a castle by itself wasn't secure; it had to have armed defenders. And that is where UK has failed its citizens subjects: it made self-defense improbable by banning firearms. So this Englishman was beaten nearly to death because his government didn't believe he should be allowed to defend himself.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Other Civil War Cars (WBTS, For You Unreconstruced Fellers, You Know Who You Are) ;)

Everyone is familiar with the General Lee, of course, since it was on TV. The General Lee was never the same after that race in Pennsylvania; tried its very best, but it was a Lost Cause from the very start.

There were other cars, though; I had one named the General Thomas J. Jackson; I was tooling around in it late one night, maybe a little bit too fast, and I reached over to grab a lemon to suck on, missed a curve and totaled it against a stone wall.

I had another car named the General James Ewell Brown (JEB) Stuart; loaned that one to my nephew one afternoon; "Don't be gone long," I said; he disappeared on some long-assed trip and didn't show up until way after I was supposed to be at work.

I briefly considered the General Joseph E. Johnston, but that one would only go in reverse...

Then there was the General Braxton Bragg that I owned briefly; that was one sorry-assed car, I cussed it on a regular basis. Hated that car.

Briefly owned a car named the General George Pickett; yes, it was a Charger...

Bought one named the General Edmund Kirby Smith; was pretty good at first, so I took it on a long road trip out west. When I crossed the Mississippi it quit on me, wouldn't start after that. Far as I know it's still over there.

The General Nathan Bedford Forrest I found in a barn, under a white sheet...

Had a car named the General George B. McLellan; ran that one in a drag race, it lost to a Lincoln.

While I was at the drag races I saw one named the General Ulysses S. Grant; wasn't much to look at, but it wouldn't quit. That one ran on alcohol.

I bought a car named the General William Tecumseh Sherman in Chattanooga; when I got to Atlanta the brakes failed and and the accelerator stuck, and I didn't get the damned thing under control until nearly Savannah. The Georgia Highway Patrol didn't much care for my excuses, either. That whole trip was something of a bummer.

The General John Bell Hood I pretty much ran to pieces, wasn't much left of it when I finally traded it.

If any of you can think of any more, let me know in comments.

©Robert G. Evans 12 September 2014, all rights reserved.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Indoctrination Chronicles #14: Bush=Hitler

Assigned to 7th graders at a Washington, DC school.

Naturally the school administration is shocked - - shocked! that gambling is going on such a comparison would be made, and swear that it won't happen, and that the teacher who is responsible is sorry she got caught is full of remorse.

I'm Shocked - - Shocked! That Indoctrination Is Going On In This Establishment!


Monday, September 08, 2014

Best Description Of NC Barbecue EVER

"The pork is absolutely perfect. It’s not smoked by man – it’s smoked by God through man."

The Barbecue Bros. visit Lexington BBQ #1, AKA "Monk's Place."

I last ate there back in 2010.

Musical Interlude

Gina Villalobos, We Got It Slow:

Listen to that pedal steel and weep.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Rice Culture In Coastal North Carolina

A look back at how rice was cultivated along the Cape Fear River in Brunswick County.

Used to be the most important crop in coastal North Carolina in the antebellum days.

A Matter of Degree

"You can't contain an organization running roughshod through that much territory, causing that much havoc, displacing that many people, killing that many innocents, enslaving that many women. The goal has to be to dismantle them," the president said during a press conference following the NATO summit in Wales.

Let me get this straight: you mean that it's acceptable to run roughshod over territory, cause havoc, displace people, kill innocents, and enslave women, you're just concerned about the degree?

*shakes head sadly*

Obama Administration To Use Contractors In Iraq?

"In place of 'boots on the ground,' US seeks contractors for Iraq."

Let's get this straight: they're still boots on the ground - - mercenary boots.

So we're to have two separate armies in the US now? One a low-paid army of suckers patriots, the other a high-paid army of mercenaries? Basically you'll spend a term in the Army of Suckers Patriots before taking a discharge and joining the Army of Mercenaries?

h/t This Ain't Hell.

Navy Treating Sailors Like Children Or Lab Rats - - As Usual

Want fries with that? Sorry, they'll be baked. Want a soda? Tough.

Why don't you just go back to bully beef and weevily hardtack?

What'd you do, put Michelle Obama in charge of Navy chow?

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Bronco Bamma, the Crypto-Muslim*

Tom DeLay goes there:

President Obama’s left-leaning political ideology combined with sympathies for Islam acquired from being raised by a Muslim stepfather paralyze him as he faces the threat posed by the Islamic jihadist group ISIS, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay told WND in an interview.

“In defending America against radical Islamic terrorism, Barack Obama cannot be trusted,” DeLay said.

“Barack Obama was raised a Muslim, and he claims he is a Christian, and I can’t say for sure whether he’s a Christian or not, but he has shown over the last few years that he has great sympathies with Islam,” DeLay explained.

“You combine that with Obama’s political orientation that is far to the left,” he continued, “and you get a president who hates war, hates the military, and you have a formula for military inaction when it comes to combating radical Islamic terrorists like we are seeing in ISIS.”

DeLay’s indictment of Obama did not end there.

“You add to mix that Barack Obama is incompetent, way over his head as president, and the whole combination produces a worldview that makes Obama detached and reluctant to take the type of the military action against ISIS that would be effective,” he said.

Former Congressman Allen West has also accused Obama of being a crypto-Muslim.

*"Bronco Bamma" is how he was described in a viral video:

Who's This Talosian Running For Governor of California?

This guy:

And how did he manage to hide his throbbing veins?

Of course, Jerry Brown looks rather Talosian himself. It's an infestation!

Jack the Ripper Identified By DNA Evidence?

Appears so.

It is the greatest murder mystery of all time, a puzzle that has perplexed criminologists for more than a century and spawned books, films and myriad theories ranging from the plausible to the utterly bizarre.

But now, thanks to modern forensic science, The Mail on Sunday can exclusively reveal the true identity of Jack the Ripper, the serial killer responsible for at least five grisly murders in Whitechapel in East London during the autumn of 1888.

DNA evidence has now shown beyond reasonable doubt which one of six key suspects commonly cited in connection with the Ripper’s reign of terror was the actual killer – and we reveal his identity.

Aaron Kosminski.

Click the link to read the rest. This will probably piss off a lot of Ripperologists, including novelist Patricia Cornwell, who picked another man for the role in a book she published on the Ripper.

h/t Vox Day.


Small French Douk-Douk folding knife:

The Douk-Douk is a folding knife made by the M. Cognet company in France, it's a working man's knife, similar to the Sodbuster made by Case in the US, the Merkator K55 soldier's knife (Germany) or France's other knife for the working man, the Opinel. The Douk-Douk is most similar to the Merkator, with construction consisting of a blade, a piece of folded sheet metal for the handle, a spring and a couple of pins. this is the smaller version, about the same length as a Barlow or Swiss Army; the larger version is the size of a Buck 110 (but much, much lighter in weight). Because of the construction method, the Douk-Douk is only a couple of millimeters thick:

It is small and light enough to use as a neck knife, if you so desire, but, since the blade is carbon steel rather than stainless steel, it will definitely rust when exposed to sweat. It could be sewn into your belt - - or, if you own a money belt, hidden along with any coins/currency you place there.

This small knife would shine in the pocket survival kit role; it will fit just fine in an Altoids tin, with plenty of room left over for a button compass, whistle, butane lighter and other small items:

If you don't wear such a kit in your everyday travels - - why not? It can fit into any pants pocket, or, if you don't want it in a pocket, you might consider one of the fine leather pouches sold by Atlanta Cutlery:

I wear one of these pouches on my belt, over my left hip, in the same position you would wear a handgun (which, being right-handed, I wear on my right hip). Incidentally, these pouches can fit small cell phones, cartridges for you handgun (that was the original purpose of this pouch design, as a matter of fact) or even a small handgun - - Ruger LCP, deringer, or a North American Arms mini-revolver.

This little knife was only $21.15, purchased from Knife Country USA via Amazon.

Treasure Blog: Colonial-Era US Threepence

Found in Nottinghamshire, UK, by a treasure hunter using a metal detector.

Who knows how it found its way to UK? Taken in trade? A piece of pocket change that was lost?


Could bring up to $1.7M at auction.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Walking Dead "Companion Series" Given the Green Light


Personally, I think that, rather than simply giving us a new crew of survivors in a single location, they ought to do each show with a different cast in a unique location. I imagine that would be prohibitively expensive, though. I'd like to see other notions of surviving the Zombie Apocalypse - - on an island, for example, or in a remote area - - the Everglades or the Okefenokee Swamp, for example. What about Alaska? Do zombies become corpsicles when the temperature is ten below zero? How about survivors holed up in old forts, such as Fort Monroe?

I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

*Sigh* Another One Gets By Me

The Boon Island Lighthouse, on Boon Island in Maine, just sold for $78,000.

YORK, Maine New England's tallest lighthouse has been sold for $78,000.

A federal government spokeswoman says the General Services Administration has accepted a bid for the Boon Island Light Station off York, Maine. The winning bidder is Portland, Maine, resident Art Girard.

The Administration closed out an auction of the 133-foot-tall lighthouse tower on Aug. 17. More than a dozen bidders vied for it. The government had to approve Girard's bid, which was the highest of the bunch.


Lighthouse Keeper was one of those careers designed specifically for introverts or even misanthropes. Sadly, lighthouses are all mostly automated now.

A Hermit? No.

Think of him, instead, as The Last Man On Earth, a scavenger surviving on the belongings of others.

A true hermit would either be self-reliant or would survive on the charity of his neighbors. Reading the article it seems as if he made some attempts early in his time in the woods to live off the land, but Maine isn't a friendly state for such an existence, at least not in the killing cold months. This fellow didn't farm, didn't forage for natural foods á la Euell Gibbons, didn't fish or hunt. He stole. He was a jackdaw, a magpie.

Nor does it sound as if he formed any coherent philosophy or had any soul-searing revelations; no epiphanies. He was too busy surviving - - by stealing - - to do that.

In the end it sounds as if he were one of those people who just wants to be left alone, and made it happen for 27 years of his life. In truth, though, with surviving family, he could have done it in a way that wouldn't have required his breaking the law; easy enough to buy a small plot of land in the wilderness, and have one of his brothers bring supplies once a month or so. His needs weren't so exotic that his family couldn't have afforded to support such a lifestyle. Probably he never thought of asking, or thought he would be refused.

h/t Christopher Eger.

Someday, Please, Lord...

...let me make this journey.

The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela: the shrine of St. James the Greater, the apostle and the patron of Spain.

Give me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My scrip of joy, immortal diet,
My bottle of salvation,
My gown of glory, hope's true gage;
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.

Blood must be my body's balmer;
No other balm will there be given:
Whilst my soul, like quiet palmer,
Travelleth towards the land of heaven;
Over the silver mountains,
Where spring the nectar fountains;
There will I kiss
The bowl of bliss;
And drink mine everlasting fill
Upon every milken hill.
My soul will be a-dry before;
But, after, it will thirst no more.