Monday, January 16, 2017

An Irish Reflection on the 2016 Election in the Colonies

By: Ian O'Doherty,  columnist for the Irish Independent

Tuesday November 8, 2016 — a day that will live in infamy, or the moment when America was made great again?
The truth, as ever, will lie somewhere in the middle. After all, contrary to what both his supporters and detractors believe — and this is probably the only thing they agree on — Trump won’t be able to come into office and spend his first 100 days gleefully ripping up all the bits of the Constitution he doesn’t like.

But even if this week’s seismic shockwave doesn’t signal either the sky falling in or the start of a bright new American era, the result was, to use one of The Donald’s favourite phrases, huge. It is, in fact, a total game changer.
In decades to come, historians will still bicker about the most poisonous, toxic and stupid election in living memory.
They will also be bickering over the same vexed question: how did a man who was already unpopular with the public and who boasted precisely zero political experience beat a seasoned Washington insider who was married to one extremely popular president and who had worked closely with another? The answer, ultimately, is in the question.

History will record this as a Trump victory, which of course it is. But it was also more than that, because this was the most stunning self-inflicted defeat in the history of Western democracy. Hillary Clinton has damned her party to irrelevance for at least the next four years. She has also ensured that Obama’s legacy will now be a footnote rather than a chapter. Because the Affordable Care Act is now doomed under a Trump presidency and that was always meant to be his gift, of sorts, to America. How did a candidate who had virtually all of the media, all of Hollywood, every celebrity you could think of, a couple of former presidents and apparently, the hopes of an entire gender resting on her shoulders, blow up her own campaign?
I rather suspect that neither Donald nor Hillary know how they got to this point.

Where she seemed to expect the position to become available to her by right — the phrase “she deserves it” was used early in the campaign and then quickly dropped when her team remembered that Americans don’t like inherited power — his first steps into the campaign were those of someone chancing their arm. If he wasn’t such a staunch teetotaler, many observers would have accused him of only doing it as a drunken bet. But the more the campaign wore on, something truly astonishing began to happen: the people began to speak. And they began to speak in a voice which, for the first time in years in the American heartland, would not be ignored. Few of the people who voted for Trump seriously believe that he is going to personally improve their fortunes. Contrary to the smug, middle-class media narrative, they aren’t all barely educated idiots. They know what he is, of course they do. It’s what he is not that appeals to them.

Clinton, on the other hand, had come to represent the apex of smug privilege. Whether it was boasting about her desire to shut down the remaining coal industry in Virginia — that worked out well for her, in the end — or calling half the electorate a “basket of deplorables,” she seemed to operate in the perfumed air of the elite, more obsessed with coddling idiots and pandering to identity and feelings than improving the hardscrabble life that is the lot of millions of Americans.
Also, nobody who voted for Trump did so because they wanted him as a spiritual guru or life coach. But plenty of people invested an irrational amount of emotional energy into a woman who was patently undeserving of that level of adoration.

That’s why we’ve witnessed such fury from her supporters — they had wrapped themselves so tightly in the Hillary flag that a rejection of her felt like a rejection of them. And when you consider that many American colleges gave their students Wednesday off class because they were too “upset” to study, you can see that this wasn’t a battle for the White House — this became a genuine battle for America’s future direction. And, indeed, for the West. (Emphasis mine)
We have been going through a cultural paroxysm for the last 10 years — the rise of identity politics has created a Balkanised society where the content of someone’s mind is less important than their skin colour, gender, sexuality or whatever other attention-seeking label they wish to bestow upon themselves. In fact, where once it looked like racism and sexism might be becoming archaic remnants of a darker time, a whole new generation has popped up which wants to re-litigate all those arguments all over again. In fact, while many of us are too young to recall the Vietnam War and the social upheaval of the 1960s, plenty of observers who were say they haven’t seen an America more at war with itself than it is today.

One perfect example of this New America has been the renewed calls for segregation on campuses. Even a few years ago, such a move would have been greeted with understandable horror by civil rights activists — but this time it’s the black students demanding segregation and “safe spaces” from whites. If young people calling for racial segregation from each other isn’t the sign of a very, very sick society, nothing is.

The irony of Clinton calling Trump and his followers racist while she was courting Black Lives Matter was telling.
After all, no rational white person would defend the KKK, yet here was a white women defending both BLM and the New Black Panthers — explicitly racist organisations with the NBP, in particularly, openly espousing a race war if they don’t get what they want.

Fundamentally, Trump was attractive because he represents a repudiation of the nonsense that has been slowly strangling the West. He represents — rightly or wrongly, and the dust has still to settle — a scorn and contempt for these new rules. He won’t be a president worried about microaggressions, or listening to the views of patently insane people just because they come from a fashionably protected group. He also represents a glorious (middle finger) to everyone who has become sick of being called a racist or a bigot or a homophobe — particularly by Hillary supporters who are too dense to realise that she has always actually been more conservative on social issues than Trump.
That it might take a madman to restore some sanity to America is, I suppose, a quirk that is typical to that great nation — land of the free and home to more contradictions than anyone can imagine.

Trump’s victory also signals just how out of step the media has been with the people. Not just American media, either.
In fact, the Irish media has continued its desperate drive to make a show of itself with a seemingly endless parade of emotionally incontinent gibberish that, ironically, has increased in ferocity and hysterical spite in the last few days.
The fact that Hillary’s main cheerleaders in the Irish and UK media still haven’t realised where they went wrong is instructive and amusing in equal measure. They still don’t seem to understand that by constantly insulting his supporters, they’re just making asses of themselves.
One female contributor to this newspaper said Trump’s victory was a “sad day for women.” Well, not for the women who voted for him, it wasn’t. But that really is the nub of the matter — the “wrong” kind of women obviously voted for Trump. The “right” kind went with Hillary. And lost.

The Irish media is not alone in being filled largely with dinner-party liberals who have never had an original or socially awkward thought in their lives. They simply assume that everyone lives in the same bubble and thinks the same thoughts — and if they don’t, they should.

Of the many things that have changed with Trump’s victory, the bubble has burst. Never in American history have the polls, the media and the chin-stroking moral arbiters of the liberal agenda been so spectacularly, wonderfully wrong.
It was exactly that condescending, obnoxious sneer towards the working class that brought them out in such numbers, and that is the great irony of Election 16 — the Left spent years creating identity politics to the extent that the only group left without protection or a celebrity sponsor was the white American male.

That it was the white American male who swung it for Trump is a timely reminder that while black lives matter, all votes count — even the ones of people you despise. You don’t have to be a supporter of Trump to take great delight in the sheer, apoplectic rage that has greeted his victory. If Clinton had won and Trump supporters had gone on a rampage through a dozen American cities the next night, there would have been outrage — and rightly so. But in a morally and linguistically inverted society, the wrong-doers are portrayed as the victims. We saw that at numerous Trump rallies: protesters would disrupt the event, claiming their right to free speech (a heckler’s veto is not free speech) and provoking people until they got a dig before running to the media and claiming victimhood.

But, ultimately, this election was about people saying enough with the bullshit. This is a country in crisis, and most Americans don’t care about transgender bathrooms, or safe spaces, or government speech laws. This was about people taking some control back for themselves. It was about them saying that they won’t be hectored and bullied by the toddler tantrums thrown by pissy and spoiled millennials, and they certainly won’t put up with being told they’re stupid and wicked just because they have a difference of opinion.

But, really, this election is about hope for a better America; an America which isn’t obsessed with identity and perceived “privilege;” an America where being a victim isn’t a virtue and where you don’t have to apologise for not being up to date with the latest list of socially acceptable phrases.
Trump’s victory was a (middle finger) to the politically correct.
It was a brutal rejection of the nonsense narrative which says Muslims who kill Americans are somehow victims. It took the ludicrous Green agenda and threw it out. It was a return, on some level, to a time when people weren’t afraid to speak their own mind without some self-elected language cop shouting at you. Who knows, we may even see Trump kicking the UN out of New York.

Frankly, if you’re one of those who gets their politics from Jon Stewart and Twitter, look away for the next four years, because you’re not going to like what you see. The rest of us, however, will be delighted. This might go terribly, terribly wrong. Nobody knows — and if we have learned anything this week, it’s that nobody knows nuthin’. But just as the people of the UK took control back with Brexit, the people of America did likewise with their choice for president.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Very cool...and very proud.

My son, having grown up in the estate jewelry and firearms businesses, is now at 32 a very accomplished custom bench jeweler (The Jewelry Doctor) in Palm Beach Gardens FL. He’s had several semi-famous customers come to him in his unassuming but highly reviewed shop for difficult or intricate repairs (Miss Florida2016, Susan Lucci, Dr. Ben Carson, several well-known golfers) and crap-tons of loaded retirees tooling up in their Bentleys, Aston Martins, even a 70-year old hottie in her hubby’s new Lamborghini, many with rings or watches worth as much as a house, he schmoozes ’em, they love him, and they entrust their high-value heirloom pieces to him for repairs and restoration. But today…

Today a customer brought him a button. Not even a gold button. Just a stylized brass button that had its attaching loop broken off, because son uses a high-tech laser welder, mostly becauses it’s pinpoint fusion won’t transfer heat that can harm fragile gems, but also because unlike the traditional jewelers torch, it easily handles the properties of platinum, silver, and non-traditional metals…like brass.

And this particular brass button is pretty special, from the jacket presented by Ronald Reagan at his inauguration to Richard Feldman, a Reagan adviser and appointee to the Commerce Dept. and then later Executive Director of the American Shooting Sports Council, former National Rifle Association Regional Director, and author of the widely acclaimed book – Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist, and now President and CEO of the Independent Firearm Owners Association and legal advisor to Global Digital Solutions, heavily involved in the guidance of high-tech cyber arms manufacturing.

The button is embossed “Inauguration of President and Vice President Reagan and Bush.” Here's the text and picture that he sent me a few minutes ago to share with y’all. It doesn't have any real monetary value, but like I told him in reply, “It’s as precious a thing as you’ve ever had entrusted to your care in your shop.”

Like I said, very cool. I’m pretty proud of him, that such a figure would have been referred to him and personally bring such a treasured thing to him to repair, but even more so that he recognizes and appreciates the significance of what it represents, and spent time talking to and enjoying a conversation with Mr. Feldman

. At his age, that’s pretty rare I think, and perfectly in line with the understanding and sentiment of the text he sent me late on election night: “Wow, we might have just been given a new chance to help save America and the world.”

Monday, October 10, 2016

Okay, forget about the religion aspect and the jihad...


Written by Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Centre.

Forget the Syrian Civil War for a moment. Even without the Sunnis and Shiites competing to give each other machete haircuts every sunny morning, there would still be a permanent Muslim refugee crisis.

The vast majority of civil wars over the last ten years have taken place in Muslim countries. Muslim countries are also some of the poorest in the world. And Muslim countries also have high birth rates.

Combine violence and poverty with a population boom and you get a permanent migration crisis.

No matter what happens in Syria or Libya next year, that permanent migration crisis isn’t going away.

The Muslim world is expanding unsustainably. In the Middle East and Asia, Muslims tend to underperform their non-Muslim neighbours both educationally and economically. Oil is the only asset that gave Muslims any advantage and in the age of fracking, its value is a lot shakier than it used to be.

The Muslim world had lost its old role as the intermediary between Asia and the West. And it has no economic function in the new world except to blackmail it by spreading violence and instability.

Muslim countries with lower literacy rates, especially for women, are never going to be economic winners at any trade that doesn’t come gushing out of the ground. Nor will unstable dictatorships ever be able to provide social mobility or access to the good life. At best they’ll hand out subsidies for bread.

The Muslim world has no prospects for getting any better. The Arab Spring was a Western delusion.

Growing populations divided along tribal and religious lines are competing for a limited amount of land, power and wealth. Countries without a future are set to double in size.

There are only two solutions; war or migration.

Either you fight and take what you want at home. Or you go abroad and take what you want there.

Let’s assume that the Iraq War had never happened. How would a religiously and ethnically divided Iraq have managed its growth from 13 million in the eighties to 30 million around the Iraq War to 76 million in 2050?

The answer is a bloody civil war followed by genocide, ethnic cleansing and migration.

What’s happening now would have happened anyway. It was already happening under Saddam Hussein.

Baghdad has one of the highest population densities in the world. And it has no future. The same is true across the region. The only real economic plan anyone here has is to get money from the West.

Plan A for getting money out of the West is creating a crisis that will force it to intervene. That can mean anything from starting a war to aiding terrorists that threaten the West. Muslim countries keep shooting themselves in the foot so that Westerners will rush over to kiss the booboo and make it better.

Plan B is to move to Europe.

What's This?
And Plan B is a great plan. It’s the only real economic plan that works. At least until the West runs out of native and na├»ve Westerners who foot the bill for all the migrants, refugees and outright settlers.

For thousands of dollars, a Middle Eastern Muslim can pay to be smuggled into Europe. It’s a small investment with a big payoff. Even the lowest tier welfare benefits in Sweden are higher than the average salary in a typical Muslim migrant nation. And Muslim migrants are extremely attuned to the payoffs. It’s why they clamour to go to Germany or Sweden, not Greece or Slovakia. And it’s why they insist on big cities with an existing Muslim social welfare infrastructure, not some rural village.

A Muslim migrant is an investment for an entire extended family. Once the young men get their papers, family reunification begins. That doesn’t just mean every extended family member showing up and demanding their benefits. It also means that the family members will be selling access to Europe to anyone who can afford it. Don’t hike or raft your way to Europe. Mohammed or Ahmed will claim that you’re a family member. Or temporarily marry you so you can bring your whole extended family along.

Mohammed gets paid. So does Mo’s extended family which brokers these transactions. Human trafficking doesn’t just involve rafts. It’s about having the right family connections. 

And all that is just the tip of a very big business iceberg.

Where do Muslim migrants come up with a smuggling fee that amounts to several years of salary for an average worker? Some come from wealthy families. Others are sponsored by crime networks and family groups that are out to move everything from drugs to weapons to large numbers of people into Europe.

Large loans will be repaid as the new migrants begin sending their new welfare benefits back home. Many will be officially unemployed even while unofficially making money through everything from slave labor to organized crime. European authorities will blame their failure to participate in the job market on racism rather than acknowledging that they exist within the confines of an alternate economy.

It’s not only individuals or families who can pursue Plan B. Turkey wants to join the European Union. It’s one solution for an Islamist populist economy built on piles of debt. The EU has a choice between dealing with the stream of migrants from Turkey moving to Europe. Or all of Turkey moving into Europe.

The West didn’t create this problem. Its interventions, however misguided, attempted to manage it.

Islamic violence is not a response to Western colonialism. Not only does it predate it, but as many foreign policy experts are so fond of pointing out, its greatest number of casualties are Muslims. The West did not create Muslim dysfunction. And it is not responsible for it. Instead the dysfunction of the Muslim world keeps dragging the West in. Every Western attempt to ameliorate it, from humanitarian aid to peacekeeping operations, only opens up the West to take the blame for Islamic dysfunction.

The permanent refugee crisis is a structural problem caused by the conditions of the Muslim world.

The West can’t solve the crisis at its source. Only Muslims can do that. And there are no easy answers. But the West can and should avoid being dragged down into the black hole of Muslim dysfunction.

Even Germany’s Merkel learned that the number of refugees is not a finite quantity that can be relieved with a charitable gesture. It’s the same escalating number of people that will show up if you start throwing bags of money out of an open window. And it’s a number that no country can absorb.

Muslim civil wars will continue even if the West never intervenes in them because their part of the world is fundamentally unstable. These conflicts will lead to the displacement of millions of people. But even without violence, economic opportunism alone will drive millions to the West. And those millions carry with them the dysfunction of their culture that will make them a burden and a threat.

If Muslims can’t reconcile their conflicts at home, what makes us think that they will reconcile them in Europe? Instead of resolving their problems through migration, they only export them to new shores. The same outbursts of Islamic violence, xenophobia, economic malaise and unsustainable growth follow them across seas and oceans, across continents and countries. Distance is no answer. Travel is no cure.

Solving Syria will solve nothing. The Muslim world is full of fault lines. It’s growing and it’s running out of room to grow. We can’t save Muslims from themselves. We can only save ourselves from their violence.

The permanent Muslim refugee crisis will never stop being our crisis unless we close the door.
ABOUT DANIEL GREENFIELD a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Centre, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Immortalized in the best political 'toon in the homestretch of the most pivotal political season of our time...thanks Chris!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

They call him woollllyyyyy...Wooly Booger!

At Chris Muir's Day by Day cartoon, the gang at the Double D ranch are infiltrated by anti-Trump protestors (really just rabble rousers paid by Bernie's money man). They are met pretty angrily by the resident bad-ass Texas Longhorn bull known as Tabasco who was fitted with a warning bell, and I got to remembering old Wooly Booger.

I grew up along the shore of Lake Okeechobee where our rented house was surrounded by a small, about 12-15 acre pasture where the landlord (a big boss at US Sugar Corp.) kept his little hobby herd, maybe 20-25 mixed breed cows lorded over by Ol’ Wooly Booger*.

See, USSC in addition to its cane plantations and mills was at that time a major player in the champion Brahma Bull world, with operations in Australia, Costa Rica, and right there on the Big O. They did some breeding experiments too, and Wooly was a hu-mon-gous Brahma/Angus mix…a Brangus, and he was one mean ol’ sumbitch. Get into *his* pasture, especially anywhere near *his* cows, and your life was truly in danger. No horns, just a huge curly-maned head, with shoulders and chest like a double or triple sized buffalo. And he was fast; he could be on you all the way from the other side of the pasture before you knew it, so you had better stay within a few yards of the board ‘n bobwahr fence, which he could have easily ran right through, but he knew his domain was inside its borders and you were safe if you stayed outside.

So Mr. Stacy put a big old cowbell on Wooly Booger as a warning for us five young 'uns out there, and when you were playing ball or whatever in that pasture and had your back turned and you heard that thing clanging, you better drop everything and head for that fence as fast as you could go. Only Mr. Stacy dared stand up to that bull, he was a huge man and he carried a big lead pipe with him when he was out of the truck; I think that bought him some mutual respect from Wooly, even though he could have easily stomped him down. I saw the bull prove that point one time when Mr. Stacy drove his company car into the pasture and the bull did not like that one bit, so he butted the front of that car head on and it seemed like lifted the front wheels clean up off the ground, then one time rammed it from the side caving in the whole side of that new chevy biscayne (like I said though, Stacy was a big shot and he had a new car I think the very next day).

Anyway. A bell on a big ol’ bull has a very practical purpose, and pays to pay heed, whether rowdy kids playing in the pasture or those dirty hippies doing their dirty deeds.

*Named by my Dad for his massive and mean curly-headed countenance way before the old song song Wooly Bully came out…we lived out there when I was 8 to 13, 1963-68, and the song by Sam and the Shams was I think in '65, but it sure seemed to have been written especially for ol’ Wooly Booger...maybe my Dad should have gotten royalties!

Ol' Bob Wahr

In an episode of my favorite online editorial cartoon, Chris Muir's Day by Day, the guys do some fence work at the ranch, and the wife of the younger is concerned his inexperience will result in him hurting himself at the hands of the treacherous barbed wire, and I couldn't help remembering and commenting about when that happened to me:

What did somebody say upthread, that Bob Wahr bites? Oh yes indeed he do.

The little pasture around our old Lake Okeechobee house, the same one that contained ol’ Wooly Booger the giant Brangus bull that was featured in an earlier post, featured a couple of rickety gates made of 2X8’s, that we ignernt daredevil yard apes liked to tightwalk on, not too easy as it would rock back and forth as you made your way across the 12 or so foot span…lose your balance and fall into Wooly’s space and you’d barely have time to get back over the fence or else just say your prayers.

So one Sunday when it was my turn I get almost to the end and start to lose it, Wooly watching intently from close by, and in an effort not to get stomped to death I tried to leap the last few feet to the little platform we had nailed to the end post. That didn’t work and I instead fell onto the 90 degree adjoining fence section, straddling that rusty ol’ bobwahr. I had on the typical boys tough levis so it didn’t do the damage that might be implied by that landing, instead it ripped my inner forearm flesh open like a ragged can opener, the blood starts spewing and I and my brothers and sisters start screaming.

Like I said it was Sunday, my hardworking Daddy’s one day off. The house was maybe a hundred and fifty feet away, and he was enjoying the Sunday paper while visiting the crapper when he hears the commotion, and as he later told me, he “cut one off in the middle”, pulled up his pants and ran outside, sure he was going to find one of his young’uns under Wooly's hoof. Instead he extricates me from the grips of ol’ Bob, throws me in the back of our ’65 Falcon wagon (two door, like a little Nomad!), and floors that little six banger the six or seven miles into town to Everglades Memorial’s ER. I lived, they sewed me up, but the ragged scar remains to this day, I’m looking at it right now.

 You’d think such an experience would lend a bit of judgment and reserve to a 12-year old wild child…but no, I did a whole lot of stupid shit after that…sometimes even still. Ain’t it a wonder that we survived?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Of posers, plagiarists, and the truth...

A few days ago when some blog awards were handed out, my favorite editorial cartoonist Chris Muir was a winner for his awesome Day By Day daily cartoon serial. In reviewing the other award winners, one particular blog caught my attention and stuck in my craw. When I commented at DBD, congratulating Chris, I also used the opportunity to criticize that particular site and compare it to the long-running theft and misattribution of another outstanding gunnie essay; it so happened that Ted Nugent had been mentioned in the same thread, and as explained below, he played prominently in the misuse of this writer's essay, making the comparison a good illustration of my opinion on plagiarism.
When another commenter and apparently occasional contributor at the award-winning ripoff site complained about my complaint and said they were the awesomest gunnie site in the whole wide, I was prompted to answer his thusly, and since it would be improper to drag Chris Muir into the mud, I reactivated this long dormant erstwhile blogsite of mine just for the purpose.

@Cliff H, my criticism of TTAG as a user and abuser of others’ work product without attribution is hardly unilateral, and is nothing new; this dirty-laundry list is more than two years old:

But my recent comment after seeing that poser site given accolades in the company of genuine editorial artists like Mr. Muir here, was brought on by this very recent pathetic and sickening example:

And it so happened that in the same DBD thread was mention of Ted Nugent, one of the few celebrity types on our side, but who unfortunately was responsible for another pretty egregious misattribution in his book “Ted, White, and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto”, where two full pages are devoted to the reprint of Marko Kloos’ essay “Why the Gun is Civilization”, listing the non-existent Maj. L. Caudill USMC (ret) as author. The same thing happened at the huge Front Sight Firearms Training Academy website, and was later correctly attributed.

In the case of the Why the Gun essay, most of the reprintings and forwardings are inadvertent, except of course by the original scoundrel who created the marine Major out of wholecloth (a case of reverse stolen valor?). Still, even unintentional intellectual property theft is harmful, and does nothing to feed the true creator’s bulldog.

But at TTAG there’s nothing inadvertent about it; it is instead a long and documented pattern of intentional use of others’ work product without attribution, and when called out as in the case of that creative little gunshow jingle, it is simply deleted, without explanation or apology.

Cliff, I’m sure that you and many other contributors there are unaware of this nauseating behavior, and I guess my own long and close connection to the business and principles of RKBA causes me to react strongly when I think those principles are being crassly and commercially exploited and mocked…but that’s the truth about “The Truth About Guns”.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Further to my wallowing...

Today is Tam's VFTP 10 year mark. She doesn't take comments anymore, so no congrats sent, but there is some benchmark overlap to note...

8/28/05? That was my birfday 51! Katrina/Labor Day weekend too; moved my son up to Cherokee County Ga. then, what very surreal shit that was. Soon after, wifey and I bought a mountain place a little north of there. And soon after that we semi-retired there and while front-porch sittin' I started to dabble at the blog thing too, thanks largely to Xavier, Kevin, and Tam... she was my first commenter. She's the only one still bloggin' away...the others bailed and so did I in '09 after moving back to Fla (wifey couldn't take being so far from the grandbabies in Tampa); I had said what little I needed to and after son moved back too we started a new biz for him that needed much of my time.

So happy blogversary to Tam; all else aside, that girl can turn a phrase as well as anyone I've ever seen.. Not so much happy for me; this is birfday 61, ugh, and I thought I was old back then.

Monday, October 13, 2014

If I could...

In a comment to a blog post wherein the writer is in search of the area code for 1994 so as to brag to her younger self about where she is today, some reflection had me instead wallowing in regrets and wishes, and I wrote:

I don't want to phone 1994 me, or better, 1984 me. I want to go back there, and shake me, and wake me, and tell me in person what a fleeting moment my 30's and 40's and 50's would be. Oh to have them back again...little did we know.

And with apologies to Shakespeare and to Dowson, I even went a bit wistfully poetic:

                                  They are not long,
                                  These salad days,
                                  These days of wine and roses.
                                  Perchance to dream, but not just to dream,
                                  For yon light does not beckon,
                                  But bears down!
                                  And a dream is just a dream,
                                  While life is but a blur.

Familiarity breeds contempt, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone...ain't it the truth.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

another boomer icon gone...

les paul died today. a guitar legend and father of the electric guitar -some would even argue the father of rock and roll- his name and his influence have been ubiquitous throughout my lifetime of interest in music.

him being 94, and his death coming as the 40th anniversary of woodstock has us in reflection mode, i'm feeling even older than usual today. beats the alternative, i guess.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009; the post office of the medical field!

you gotta give bobo credit: it's a pretty honest assessment of how efficient federally controlled healthcare would be.

i guess instead of a dead-letter file there'd be the dead-patient file. kind of know, storage space, bad smell, etc. of course, this whole thing stinks to high heaven anyway.

still, it's a great (and accurate) analogy. i can see the advertising blitz now: " the efficiency of the u.s. postal service with the customer service you've come to expect from amtrak..."


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

chris matthews hyperventilates...

in his sad little attempt to play "hardball", this pathetic little fart sniffer actually provides a perfect foil for the new hampshire guy to make his case calmly and simply. matthews so desperately wanted this guy to be a foaming-at-the-mouth crazy that he decided to show him how it's done.

hi-f'n-larious. and a really great job by the interviewee in keeping his cool and stating his case.

them there new hampsterites are starting to look like my kind of yankees.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

hippie, please...

irritated at a bumper sticker proclaiming "health care is a human right", the munchkin wrangler loosed a tirade that included that simple phrase...

while my son pointed out that it is a shameless riff off of the old black-on-black exclamation "nigga, please", i myself thought that in marko's context, never had so much been said with so few words.

so i and others badgered him to set up a cafe-press inventory of stickers and shirts to buy for ourselves. he did, and i did. and here are the results:
i thought it particularly appropriate for my hemi 4x4 truck...

and even for my um...ample and obviously carniverous self.

thanks, marko.


Monday, August 3, 2009

no loaded guns allowed!

seems an odd rule for a place where shooting is the point. but discussion at tam's centered around exactly that rule at the range she frequents. there they require bringing in unloaded/cleared firearms only...necessitating what she and shootin' buddy point out is the distinctly dangerous practice of unloading range guns as well as carry-ons in the car or parking lot, etc.

but as i said in comments there, that same logic holds for any place with such a rule. and there are many, sadly including even most gun shops, which often feature a big sign on the door; "no loaded firearms". that made a bit more sense in the days before carry permits and most guns coming in the door were for sale, trade, repair, etc...but now, with perhaps a majority of those who frequent ffl's carrying concealed, it has become an absurdity...and a decidedly dangerous rule. combined with the many places -public and private- that ban loaded firearms on the premises, it brings into focus just how often the need for permit holders to unload -or offload- their weapon in the car before they can enter these premises unnecessarily endangers everyone in the vicinity, as manipulating mags, slides, and cylinders requires much touching. and though some anti's would have you believe the very presence of guns can cause random carnage even when they're safely in their holsters, it's all that touching that can result in an n.d.

it's a big problem that many don't really think about, and there's not an easy solution...maybe the best one is to just avoid such places whenever possible.


Monday, July 27, 2009

could be worse...

it was predictable that with the teevee industry making almost nothing new except "reality" shows, there would eventually be one featuring pawnbrokers; anything that is not widely understood or perceived to be somehow odd or illicit is bound to be a target, so i've been expecting it.

sure enough, a few weeks ago the so-called "history channel" started running promos for something called "pawn stars". great, right off the bat an off-color alliteration to "porn stars".

i've seen a couple of episodes now (twice they've run back-to-back episodes, apparently trying to give the show a shove out of the gate), and it's pretty bad...but not as bad as it could be.

you've got your standard cast of characters/caricatures; the crusty ol' grandpa who founded the business, his middle-aged son who is the main man now, and the son's son, a 300-lb smart-mouth who just wants to get rid of dad and granddad so he can take over and call all the shots. add a 400-lb doofus as the designated clown and a seemingly endless supply of "experts" who are apparently at the beck and call of the central characters, anxious to drop everything to run over to the shop to do appraisals and provide historical data in their specialized fields, and you've got the pawn shop version of "dog the bounty hunter", "operation repo", "deadliest catch", et al.

set in vegas, you expect a different clientele than main street, usa...but damn. it strains credulity (as if reality shows had any) to watch the steady stream of off-the-wall and high-dollar items walking in; an 18th c. hotchkiss wheeled cannon which they drag out into the desert and test fire and subsequently pay 30K for, a civil war officer's sword, a five hundred year old jousting helmet, a 20K chris craft speedboat, a big dog chopper, several scarce antique firearms, a couple of rolex watches, a '54 gretsch, a huge commercial woodworking machine (which required a forklift, a flatbed, and a crew of four to pick up for pawn), even a couple of salvador dali's...all in the first couple of episodes? and the customers are all apparently collectors, businessmen, etc.; where the hell are the housewives pawning their wedding rings to make the rent, the out-of-town gambler who spent it all and pawns his bracelet and laptop for airfare home, not to mention the paycheck to paycheck types bringing in the same flatscreen every month for a couple hundred to get by, and the steady stream of lowtones dragging in useless junk they "found"? and what about the goofballs who come in muzzle-sweeping everybody in the place with the hunting rifle they want to borrow on, and the obligatory druggie/drunk you have to (sometimes forcibly) remove from the premises? shit, if his client list was representative of "reality", maybe i wouldn't have burned out and turned out.

still, the main character has a decent way about him, and at least on camera seems pretty honest and open; most media pawnshop depictions have featured monosyllabic cretins with dirty hands and a dirtier demeanor, so as i say, it could be worse. no doubt most of the stuff is scripted, but if his daily fare is the multi-thousand $ items that are featured on the show, this is one unique pawn shop. and i'm gonna have to get ahold of his rolodex of experts who are so anxious to help him make a deal without trying to scarf the deals for themselves...

so even though this show and others like it should be called "unreality" shows, i'll probably keep watching just because it's one of the rare non-negative portrayals i've seen, and some of the stuff that makes it on camera is pretty cool.

but that name..."pawn stars". *shudder*.


Monday, July 20, 2009

the dark side of the moon...

as awe-inspiring as it was, and as hard as it is to believe that it's been forty years, it could well be that the accomplishments of armstrong et al were the beginning of the end for America's space program.

consider this: the difference in the worlds of 1929 and 1969 is as if they are different worlds completely...and yet from 1969 until 2009 what real advances have been made in terms of our exploration and exploitation of the potential of the universe outside our own little ecosystem? in many ways our landing on the moon was treated as an end, rather than a beginning, to our efforts to free us from our surly, earthly bonds.

in my lifetime of awareness, only ronald reagan put forth a true vision of what is or should be possible or accomplished in our space program. his "star wars" initiative was roundly derided as expected by the usual suspects around the globe -as well as their cohorts here at home- but its perfection would have virtually ensured our defense against and control of situations that right now threaten our very existence; think iran and north korea as prime examples. he foresaw that these looneybins would eventually stumble over the key to the nuclear lock, with completely unpredictable and unmentionable wars could have neutralized any threat before international airspace was even encroached.

and can there be any doubt that the answers to all of our energy and resources needs are there for the extraterrestrial taking? many of us mourn for ronnie, his philosophy of limiting the role of government in citizens daily lives, and the confidence and sense of purpose that he embodied. but often his vision for the future and what is next for mankind is overlooked.

as we celebrate the anniversary of the awesome accomplishment that landing on the moon absolutely was, and contemplate the warpspeed passing of four decades since, let us remember this: as we are justifiably focused on and consumed by the domestic issues and "change" that threaten our continued existence as a free republic, the answer to the greater question of the continued viability of mankind itself is, as it were, in the stars.

we just have to find a captain, a navigator...and the resolve.


under the heading of:

"fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me..."

i'd say nobody could be that dumb, but we know better don't we?


Friday, July 10, 2009

it's a fine mess we've gotten ourselves into...

an article on the probable next phase of the housing meltdown resulted in a pretty long string of comments; lots of crass and ignorant pricks chimed in, but there's quite a few that ring true with personal experience and hit pretty close to my own heart, so although i never jump into these frays, i made an exception in this case to make a personal point about how this whole deal has made victims even of those who did their best to do everything my daughter's family.

there is no doubt that homeowners with good credit who purchased homes during the bubble will begin to walk away from mortgages that are not currently in default or even delinquent as short-fuse mortgages reach reset dates.

my daughter and her husband, who are fiercely protective of their credit rating and the honorable fulfilling of their obligations, purchased a modest home in new port richey, fl in july '05 for $171,000 with 100% financing arranged through e-loan that involved an 80% first mortgage and a second mortgage for the remaining amount...100% financing, interest only for five years, with the expectation that the increase in value would allow them to refinance into a new first mortgage for the full amount when the two notes come due 07/10. they have struggled but have maintained their payments in full and on-time because that is what they agreed to do.

in today's market, that home would probably sell for about half of the original purchase price...about $80-90,000. what are they to do? if the bank would give them a new fixed-rate mortgage for the full amount, they would no doubt accept it, continue to live in their home and make the payments on time -even though it would be a struggle- because they want to keep their commitment. but of course refinancing will require an appraisal, and the bank will no doubt want to finance just 80% of the current value, and they have no way to pay the huge difference, even if they were dumb enough to do so.

i have always advised them on their purchases and finances, and even helped them choose their current 80/20 mortgage which has a good rate and was within their ability to pay, so it is not as if they were irresponsible in buying more home or taking on more debt than they could afford. they are innocent victims of the boom and bust cycle that was orchestrated by a broken and corrupt system.

it breaks my heart to tell them they should do so, as they have done everything right, and it is so important to them, but i am advising them to place their home on the market as a short sale at the current value as an alternative to allowing the mortgages to fall into default and allowing a foreclosure. sadly, even a short sale that is accepted by the lenders will have a serious effect on their credit which is so important to them, could result in the banks asking them to pay the shortage, and no doubt will affect their ability to purchase another home in the future.

why on earth is it not possible for the banks to reduce the principle on their debt to the amount that the house would sell for today and have them continue to pay their obligation, keep their home, and retain their good credit rating? the banks would get the same amount they will get anyway in a short sale, and save the costs involved with selling and financing the home to someone else. this is a situation that is beyond any reason, and as this article points out, i'm afraid the effects of it are only beginning, as homeowners who have kept up their payments face the prospect of having no choice but to give up their homes and mortgages as the thousands of sales and mortgages done with five-year terms come home to roost.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

behind the scenes...

it's easy enough to see who pulls the strings in moscow; the pretty puppet goes through the moves while the plotting puppeteer makes the real plans.

but who (or what)is behind the curtain (heh), pulling the levers for the bo-bot? he makes nice and speaks flawlessly about leading by example, but what is the true vision for our ultimate defense? (hint: his recent voiceover gig and similarities to neverland notwithstanding, it ain't disney...)

could those who call the shots for the former also be architects of the grand design (or the grand disarmament) for the latter?

one might look to history (or channel adolf and ask him) about the value of the firm handshakes and earnest promises of those who would (still) rule the world.


Saturday, July 4, 2009





Wednesday, July 1, 2009

one down, two to go...

wifey and i drove up to north ga. monday to close the sale of my son's former house up here. the transaction went smoothly at the attorney's office tuesday morning, and the money is now in the bank. it was a losing proposition; we paid cash in aug. '05 (and moved son up here on katrina weekend; scary!) with some of the proceeds from the sale of our business and investment properties in fla. the plan was for eric and his fiance to buy the place from us and have us finance the sale. well, we financed it all right, but problems between his fiance and him kept the actual sale from ever happening, and eric moved back to fla. last year.

we put the place on the market then with an agent last june but that was just as the financing bust was busting big, and the people who were interested in a 170k house couldn't get a mortgage without perfect credit and a huge down. so a few months ago, i put it up fsbo, offering to finance the sale for a buyer with decent credit and a decent down, at a price that reflected my not having to pay 12k in realtor fees. almost immediately we got a call from an agent who was handling the sale of a widow's house in a town an hour away, and the widow wanted to be nearer to her daughter and son-in-law. she would pay cash (awesome!), but it was contingent on closing the sale of her former home which in the new world of real estate wasn't a done deal until this past friday when her first sale closed. the agent settled for a flat 4k commission and the buyer assumed all the closing costs.

so even though we lost about 20k all told, it beats having the place sit empty and paying upkeep, plus at this point what was investment capital is now needed to pay off credit lines, etc. that we have had to use in the past year to live and help set up a new business. and thank God the real estate market in this area has remained a hell of a lot more stable than in fla...losing ten percent of our investment is bad enough, but right now homes in central fla. are selling for one-half or less of what they sold for a few years ago at the height of the bubble.

so all in all, we're happy that it's done. now we have another house near this one to sell (it's under lease-option to the original agent for the first one; the plan is for them to complete that purchase next year), plus the home in sebring, fla. where we're back to living fulltime will be sold too when (if) the market there recovers somewhat (400k paper value during the boom is at best 250 now) so that we can buy a place around ocala or gainesville.

and we couldn't have had better timing for our trip up to no. ga...fla has been insufferably hot and humid for the past two months, and here they've had a lovely cool snap that has brought the 50's and 60's overnight and far less humidity. we decided to drive another half hour up to blue ridge and rent a cabin with a view for a few nights before heading back to hades...i mean florida. and right now i'm sitting on the porch overlooking miles of mountaintops and damn near chilly from the delightfully cool breeze. my sweetie and i will head into downtown in a little while for her to browse the antique shops here in blue ridge, and then come back to the cabin to grill a few steaks and enjoy the tranquility together over a couple glasses of wine.

life ain't perfect and never is, but it could sure be worse.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

opportunity knocking...

annoying but effective teevee pitchman billy mays was found dead this morning...

he lives near here in the tampa area and was on a plane that blew its nose wheels on landing at tampa international yesterday roughing up a few folks including billy. he got a bump on his head and gave an interview on last night's local news, saying he was okay because "i have a hard head". not hard enough, i guess; his wife said he went to bed last night not feeling well and woke up dead this morning. man, you never know what's going to take you out.

sorry for him and his family, but on the up side, there's one more bad unreality show by the wayside. of course in this sick world, his "pitchmen" reruns will probably get huge viewership and his products will become collector's items...i can see the fleabay blurb now: "this is an actual unopened, nib container of the same oxyclean used by the famous billy mays before his tragic death...only $150!"

but from tragedy comes opportunity...a great idea for a new product; gel-cushion hat for those pesky crash landings. they'll have to get another pitchman, though. hey, is the sham-wow guy out of jail yet?


Sunday, June 21, 2009

a father's day wish...

last year, on the fifteenth anniversary of my dad's passing at age sixty five, i wrote a bit about him, and it seems appropriate for today as well...

"he wasn't a perfect man -or a perfect father- and he would spend some of his talks with us (my two brothers, two sisters and me) as we took our nightly turns nursing him in the final year of his life, apologizing for what he thought were his failings...i'm glad i was able to tell him this: there was never a day in my life, and believe me when i say i was an imperfect son, that i had any shadow of doubt of his love for me, or that he would give up his very life for me in an instant. that to me is the perfect definition of success as a father, and i told him that if i can just leave my own three children with that knowledge, and the love and peace and security that it imbues, then i will consider myself a success as a father too."

happy father's day, dad...i love you and think of you often, and i know that we will see each other again...some day, some how.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

rat rod on flea-bay...

i'd always liked the '54 chevy trucks...the sculpted and relatively homely design was the last before the straight streamline shapes that began for chevy in both trucks and cars in '55. plus, i was born the same year and i always felt a bit of ugly kinship with them.

so when i turned 50 about five years ago, i looked around for a hot rod driver that would be fun without being a show truck or trailer whore. this is what i found and it's been a blast to own and drive, but it spends most of its time in the garage, and i guess it's time to let somebody else drive and enjoy her.

i started an ebay auction last night, item number 250446134866 for anybody who wants to check it out. notice there's another similar but way more show-worthy truck that started on auction about a half hour after mine; it's worth checking out too, if you like this design.


update sat. 6/20: it's sold!

a fellow and his wife saw the truck on ebay and drove over this morning from their home near fort myers. after a thorough checkout (about two hours!) i let him beat me down a bit and drive the old girl home. i hated to see her go, but the guy had been looking for a hotrod truck for over a year and he promised to give her a good home, so i'm happy, he's happy, and my wife is especially happy to have the extra garage space, win-win-win, just like a good transaction should be.

so long little truck, it's been fun; we may be the same age but i have a feeling you're going to be around long after i'm gone...and that pleases me. jtc

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

a visit from "the bureau"

wow. thirty years as an ffl and i had exactly three on-site inspections from atf. and while i had a couple of interactions with the fdle (florida dept. of law enforcement) related to gun transactions that would allow enhanced charges against defendants in ongoing cases, i sure as hell never had, or expected to have, a visit from the f.b.i. but that's just what happened to clint last week.

one thing is sure; being a firearms dealer is different now. i sold my pawn store to clint at the end of '05 but had already dropped my ffl a year before rather than renew for another three years. that would have been my first renewal since 9/11 and what had always been a process of just sending in the renewal form and notating any changes was going to be way more involved; an on-site interview and a much more in-depth inspection of inventory and logs. not that i had anything to hide...i stayed on top of the paperwork to avoid any difficulties and i always thought that the occasional atf trace request to which i responded quickly and accurately helped to avoid more in-person visits.

but the gun business for me, aside from my personal enjoyment, was more of a necessity to be able to accept firearms as loan collateral and buy collections as part of estate purchases rather than as a full-fledged gunshop. yes, i sold quite a few new guns because i liked to keep my cases and racks full and i was the only storefront ffl in town. but i operated on a pretty thin margin to be competitive with wallyworld (they were still full-line gun retailers for most of that time), and i did prepaid special orders at cost plus $50 for any gun. this helped me keep some nice older stuff in stock because of trade-ins, and it's the vintage guns that i enjoyed the most. but eventually the concern for liability helped me make the final decision to drop my licensed status.

but this f.b.i. stuff is a new twist...clint said two agents from miami spent ten minutes in a "get-acquainted" visit, and keyed on asking him to be vigilant and contact them when he suspected anyone or anything of being "unusual", with the implication that they were looing for terrorist profiles and expecting ffl's to do the profiling for them. that's a whole 'nother level of responsibility, liability, and judgement that i for one am glad not to be a part of. i don't know how widespread this f.b.i. contact is, and i'm wondering if it is a veiled scare tactic intended to further reduce the number of licensed dealers. i'd be interested in knowing other ffl's experiences and their sense of what it's really all about.


Friday, June 12, 2009

star wars!

apparently, the invasion from outer space has begun...

our little german friend may be exagerrating a bit, though...that pebble-sized meteorite "sent him flying"? unpossible, as any gunnie knows. of course reflex action might have caused him to send himself flying; i guess i'd be jumping around too, wondering who the hell was shooting at me! just a warning shot from the klingons maybe?


Thursday, June 11, 2009

degradation of dialogue...

on that at least, huffin' po's michael rowe got it right.

so somehow, the octogenarian loonybird (whose weapon of choice to take up the fuhrer's cause of killing all the jews was a .22 rifle) was goaded and guided in his cause by coulter, o'reilly, limbaugh, and...palin? yeah, that's a fine and thoughtful dialogue you got goin' there, mikey.

and nbc's evening news just led its bit on the museum shooter by saying..."he might have been driven by an obsession with guns as well as bigotry..." well, an obsession with .22 rifles anyway...


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

happy happy birthday, baby...

my girl turns 55 today, two-and-a-half months ahead of me. and she still gets carded when buying wine at the grocery kidding. we were both seventeen when we married, and if i do say so myself, i was a cute little feller back then. little did she (or i) know, that soon my hair would start streaking gray and be nearly all silver by the time we were in our thirties. and we won't mention that the cuteness seems to have, um...lessened over the years.

not her though. she is the most beautiful, young-looking, blue-eyed blonde around. and the beauty goes way more than skin deep. she and i had our differences over the years as you might expect being together since high school; we even separated for a time in our mid-twenties. but through thick and thin (and there was a fair amount of thin), not only did she stick with me, but her strength, love for her family, and awe-inspiring determination and capacity for hard work is what got us through the tough times. the morning after her birthday she headed to tampa to attend 7 year old granddaughter Grace's dance recital; that's them in the's that for resemblance, and how can that old girl be fifty five freakin' years old?

while i usually get my jollies every year for the few months that she is a year older than me by informing restaurant waiters, cashiers, and total strangers of the fact, and watching them look from me to her back to me with an expression of doubt and disbelief, i won't be doing that this year...because, you know, she's officially a senior citizen now and deserving of a little more respect;o)

happy birthday, my girl. you know and i know that i would be lost (maybe even dead) without you. i love you and i promise to do my best to be worthy of you, provide for you and take care of you in your -ahem- golden years.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

modern priorities...

today is the 65th anniversary of the all-out allied invasion that turned the tide of ww11 and quite possibly won the war. so when the google artist who commemorates significant events with a creative redesign of their name put his talent to work for today, you'd expect what, landing craft, parachutes, a background filled with planes, and surf tinged in red?

well, no...see today is also the 25th anniversary of tetris, the iconic and addictive little time-waster that we all know and love/hate. so of course the google logo today is a conglomeration of little squares.

the priorities of the modern world...which probably would not exist as we know it had it not been for the awesome effort and sacrifices made on june 6, 1944. i for one will be thinking of a 65th anniversary today, and i may never play tetris again.

google is a powerful and amazingly useful tool, and its operators are business and creative genius...but they haven't got a clue.


Friday, June 5, 2009

the (new) china syndrome

are you just dying to drive the new chinese vehicles that are in our near future? good, 'cause you probably will.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

jon stewart: not totally sucky (this time)

i'm not jon stewart's biggest fan to say the least. but last night's edition had an hilarious and spot-on mocking rant on the bobo administration's foray into the car and insurance industries...segueing into a not-totally negative and pretty damn funny bit with john gad on the relative investment virtues of ar-15's vs. ak-47's.

sadly, what i thought would be the highlight of the show (and the original reason i tuned in) was an interview with one of my favorite writer/humorists, p.j. orourke. but p.j. disappointed mightily, in a very lame promo of his new book. the book is about one of my other favorite subjects, classic American cars, and i haven't read it so i will assume (and hope) that it is up to p.j.'s normal excellent standard. but the interview was truly pathetic. oh well, you can't have everything.


Monday, June 1, 2009

sotomayor: good for gun biz!

gotta print up some more posters for the gun shop walls...we'll put hers, "salesman of the month"right under barry's, "salesman of the year".

keep it up, bobo!