Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Gun Control Poem

A match, a knife, a stone, a stick;
A car, a rope, a spike, a brick,
With these, crimes happen every day;
But only guns we take away.
Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao;
All confiscated guns somehow.
Thus suppressed, their people fled
Or joined 100 million dead.


It has become known that the murder rate in the old Soviet Union was 4 times that of the US, despite or because of the stiff gun control laws in the old Soviet Union.

Of course the high murder rates in Washington, D.C. have won that city the opposite of fame.

When someone begins to advocate Gun Control, you have to ask, do they emulate Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, or Mao?

Or do they just want gun control for you, their slave, set to labor on their Plantation, while they have plenty of guns in the Big House, just to keep you safe, no doubt.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


At the library last week a fellow told me that the market could not determine everything, unless the government controlled the market. Of course the fellow was from Canada, where they have been fed socialist propaganda for the last 20 to 30 years. Canada, the land where women give birth in toilets because the line for midwives is too long.

If you don't believe in markets, which are voluntary associations by free agents in their mutual self interest, the alternative is coercion. In California, medical corporations are coerced, if they work in emergency rooms. They are required to treat people even if the patient is unable to pay. Of course, they pass the costs on to the few people with the ability to pay who can't postpone their visit. That passes the coercion on to those unfortunates who can not resist, at a moment of weakness.

What would be the alternative? A market based system would use discriminatory pricing, to provide various grades of medical care in different qualities for different amounts of money, rather like alternative seats at a baseball game. Those who can't pay could still be treated at the basic level, but as a charity case, with the doctors/nurses/pharmacists/corporations compensated by charitable organizations. Those who pay only small amounts would get dormitory care with generic drugs, and ugly and grumpy nurses. Those who can pay full fare would be glad to pay rather more if they got up to date designer drugs, private rooms, and prettier nurses.


The following is a quote from Wikipedia

"Projection is the opposite defense mechanism to identification. We project our own unpleasant feelings onto someone else and blame them for having thoughts that we really have."
  • "A defense mechanism in which the individual attributes to other people impulses and traits that he himself has but cannot accept. It is especially likely to occur when the person lacks insight into his own impulses and traits."
  • "Attributing one's own undesirable traits to other people or agencies." The individual perceives in others the motive he denies having himself. Thus the cheat is sure that everyone else is dishonest."
  • "People attribute their own undesirable traits onto others. An individual who possesses malicious characteristics, but who is unwilling to perceive himself as an antagonist, convinces himself that his opponent feels and would act the same way."
I found out about the power of projection when I got divorced. My ex-wife who had voluntarily engaged in numerous sexual perversions (without me, I may add!) used the Texas legal system to accuse me of desiring various perversions. It is projection that leads to Muslims who support the attack on Western nations by terrorism to complain about the subsquent invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. It protects Muslims, who look at Mohamet as an ideal man, from acknowledging both his guilt as a child molestor (for his marriage of Ayisha at 6) and the guilt of Abu Bakkar, her father, who sold her to Mohamet in return for a leg up in the subsquent power struggle wherein Abu Bakkar became the first Caliph. It protects Muslims who demand that non-Muslims follow Muslim practice (such as not eating lunch at their desks during RAMADAN), even as Muslim taxi drivers refuse to take fares based on illegal discrimination against the blind (with guide dogs) or based on cargo (say a bottle of whisky).

Projection is a primitive defense mechanism. Reason has no part of it. You can not be reasoned out of things into which you were not reasoned.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Innovation and Destiny
Above links are to sites that discuss the worlds first pocket calculator. The Curta is a hand held mechanical calculator developed in Buchenwald concentration camp by an inmate, Curt Herzstark. It hit the market in 1953, and was just the thing for road rally calculations.

"The Curta is basically a cylinder with a handcrank on the end. It has an amusing resemblance to a pepper mill. The mechanism that does the job of the carriage in desktop machines is like a large knob, on the crank end of the cylinder. The dials are tiny cylinders (thick disks) on shafts with their axes extending radially from the center. You shift the "knob carriage" (let's call it a "display") by pulling it against spring tension away from the main body of the machine and rotating it to its new position, then gently letting go."

Just for comparison, the entire nation of Pakistan has, in its 42 years of existence, obtained 8 patents.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Oldies but goodies

Tamara at has a link to her "Cosmoline and Rust" blog where she points out that the Smith and Wesson M&P revolver in .38 special has been in continuous production since 1899, 4 years before the Wright brother's first flight, 7 years before the patent on the tungsten filament light bulb.

I, too, am enamored of older designs from the steam era. the 1891 Mosin Nagant rifle was still in production in 1995. The 7.62X54R round is still standard for several countries around the world. My own version was made in 1932 in Finland, and has the SA stamps and dovetailed fore-end for the Finnish Army. There has to be a few gory stories of how that particular rifle served! Finnish Mosin-Nagants tend to have half the error of the usual Soviet Russian editions, in part because the dovetailed stock fixes the tendency for the wood to warp and deform the barrel. The oddly complex bolt was designed to get around the Mauser patents. In so doing, it was more successful than the Springfield '03, for which the US ended up paying royalty payments to Mauser. It also is absolutely bombproof, an important consideration for any nation trying to field and form a large conscript army made up of mechanically illiterate peasants.

Now if I can find an old Remington Model 8 (or the later Model 81). Another wonderful transition rifle, it uses a detachable box magazine, a stripper clip loader, and a spring loaded recoil operating system. The bolt itself locks directly into the barrel with a rotating lugged bolt, rather like the M-16. The safety is on the right side of the receiver, and looks like the prototype for the Kalashnikov safety. Chambered in .35 Remington for the East Coast, or .300 Savage (later itself modified into the 7.62X51 NATO) for the rest of the country, it would be fully capable as any modern rifle. Since it had no gas operation system, clogging of the port or piston could never be a problem. I imagine that the operating spring located between the barrel and the sheet metal sleeve would heat up, and could even lose some tension, leading to failure to cycle. On the other hand, it had an easy takedown lever which would made it very effective for Paratroops.

My Savage 99 lever action is another design from that era, in .308 Winchester, another modification from the .300 Savage, but with a rotary internal magazine. I still hope to take this to hunting camp, but the Boyd stock is a few inches long for me. Cutting it off, and replacing the rubber pad with a proper Savage butt plate is a project that I will have to complete this summer.

Tam's blogs are always fun for me to read. She is a great writer, and includes pictures from the magnificent Oleg Volk. Gosh, I love the internet!

Friday, August 10, 2007

My Favorite Car

Way back in the late 70s (told you I was old) I bought a Fiat X1/9 from Jim V___, my company commander. She was red-orange (code 408 from the Volvo catalog, oddly enough not in the Fiat color catalog), and I drove her all over Western Europe. She was certainly a chick magnet. I drove from battlefield to battlefield from Omaha to the German Border. I popped up to the "inter-German border" and even wandered around the Alps a bit.

I used to like to walk in the woods, and combined business with pleasure by driving the X1/9 up to one of our defensive positions, and walking (in liederhosen or knickers, and hunter's hat) around our assigned defensive sector. Once dressed like a local, I was wandering, and paused to use a handy shovel to move some extra cowpies from the path. A troop of German boyscouts came around the corner, and I leaned on the shovel to watch them. Their leader asked me to show where they were on his map. Of course I knew EXACTLY where I was, and reached down to pull up a stalk of grass. I used that stalk to point to his map. My friend Cyrus L__, also in mufti, snickered at my precision. I could have shown them a lovely field of fire to a main east west route across the valley.

Boy could that car take corners. The X1/9 looks a bit like a doorstop, and had a removeable top that could be stowed into the front end. Only two seats, the engine was for all intents and purposes in the back seat. The back trunk was small, and the muffler was just under it, so you didn't want to stow your beer there. When I went through a car wash, a bit of water would come back in from the rear, wetting my (closely cropped!) hair. Rain would drip onto the distributor, and it rained every day in Germany.

I picked up a French college student between Le Havre and Paris. Boy she was amazed to hitch a ride with an American who even spoke a bit of French (with, I must confess a very Canadian accent!). She had never been to Paris, but had an address. I drove through Paris, and even remembered the streets from my high school French class (Thanks Mrs. Huchro!). I asked her when she had to be there, and took her around to the sights before her appointment, all without a map. She was amazed that I knew Paris so very well. Of course the X1/9 handled like a dream in the dense traffic over the cobblestones. I could just about think about changing lanes and would be there. The ease of driving permitted me to call up memories of the maps.

I had a few dates with a Hanau high school girl. I was only 23 then, so I wasn't quite a pervert. Her father was a teacher at the local American school. She was cute, and played a very good game of tennis, but was offended that I, a muscular schmuck, could beat her, the star of her school tennis team. I didn't tell her that my dad taught me tennis when I was in high school, and that I had further taken a class in tennis in college. I never saw the point in letting someone win, if I could beat them. If they beat me, they earned it. She did like for me to pick her up in my X1/9 after her tennis practice, but her personality was a little too self absorbed-prissy for my taste. Her younger sister was 10, but had a much nicer (tomboyish!) personality. Of course there was no question of taking the younger sister out.

One winter, ,my friend Cyrus L__ and I went to a few battlefields, and on the way back from Bastogne, the heater released a hot stream of water-ethylene glycol onto his leg. We stopped, and he moved so the scalding fluid wouldnt land on him. Eventually I turned off the heater, and mirable Dieu! the fluid stopped spurting! We even continued our trip with a side trip to the ruins of the Bridge at Remagen. A replacement hose (used the same clamps) and all was well after we got back to the base.

We had a big inspection, and First Sergeant C___ was tired after a long period of working long hours to prepare. He hopped in his car and backed out smashing my poor little Fiat's door. She was actually so small that there was no way he could have seen her from his rear view mirror. His insurance paid for a new door, and new coat of paint down that side of the car.

As Battalion stayback commander I got notified that a sergeant had gotten injured in the field. We tried to notify his wife, but eventually we were given the information that she had returned to the US. Accordingly, notification would be devolved to some lucky group in the US. A few hours later she stormed into my office, angry that she had found out from the person who had told us that she was no longer in Europe. I was sorry about how she found out, it was normally a "unit representitive-chaplain" thing. The important thing was to get her to see her husband, then in a hospital room in Wurzburg. The little X1/9 came to the rescue, and I drove the lady to her to her house for a ditty bag, then we dashed to the hospital. Her husband had caught a face full of brass from an exploded .50 BMG round. One eye was covered with gauze, and he looked like Bruce Campbell in "Army of Darkness", but he was mostly ok. We were able, as I remember, to get her checked into a hotel near the hospital, and I went back home with an empty seat beside me.

Soon my younger cousin Suzanne came over from the US to attend college at Fredrich-Alexander Universitat in Erlangen. She was 18, athletic, full figured, and had played field hockey, syncronized swimming, and softball. Very attractive, VERY smart, very tomboyish. Who could want more? But there was an instant jealousy between the X1/9 and Suzanne. Suzanne became my first wife. The X1/9 handed me off to the lady responsible for the next phase of my life. I was married to Suzanne for 17 years.

I sold her (the X1/9) before leaving Germany, to another officer who lived down the hall in the Batchelor Officer's Quarters. I had a lot of good memories from that little doorstop. Mechanically not so reliable, the engine took up so much room that the carburetor would overheat, and evaporate the fuel, starving its little 4 cylinder 1300 engine. Later versions had a special fan to cool the carburetor. She only weighed 645 kilograms, so was not all that underpowered. With the amid-ship engine, she powered through hairpin turns, and the nose was light enough to steer with only one hand. The steering became ineffective at much over 90mph (150 km), as the air dam at the front would deflect. Still she was a wonderful "poor man's Ferrari ". Being small, she fit well through the narrow streets of the old German towns.

It would have required heroic measures to get her brought back to the US, as it didn't meet US bumper/air pollution requirements. Though perhaps, I may have gotten some kind of waiver with money in escrow with a promise to upgrade her, I knew that such upgrades were darned expensive. And I knew that Suzanne and the X1/9 would never get along.

Ah, to be young, single, muscular, with a cool car, and adored by the French girls again. Well, it happened to me once, and that will have to be enough!