Archive for June 2004

The Oh Sh!t Kit

Chuckles has been on his Preparedness Week kick, with a car kit being the current example. My kits tend to be simpler, for a simple reason. I am a single young man with a competent level of survival skills. My ability to adapt to a disaster situation is enhanced by my lack of burdens (and I mean that in the most neutral sense) of things like age, children and dependant females. (Full disclosure: I did have a cat. Cat’s aren’t hard to keep up with.)

My car kit is simple. Spare, toolkit, fix-a-flat, and some of that emergency fuel stuff. I keep a Mag-lite in the console. A lot of what I would consider using in an emergency situation are things that I always have on me (or available, as I work at the courthouse a lot.)

The first thing is one of the best things to come about in the last 100 years, and has probably saved more lives than anything except the bullet: the cell phone. I don’t worry too much about breakdowns. I can change tires, and I can fix a busted hose fitting by cutting it short and reclamping it, but for most anything else, I can have it towed to the house and fix it there, because I have a cell phone.

Weather isn’t a huge issue for driving in North Texas. All we have to really worry about is tornados. Those are over in about 60 seconds. You don’t have to plan for an extended stay. The other thing is our two days of ice a year, and we handle those by staying home for a couple of days and shutting down the city. (Really.)

Man’s first and most vital tool is the knife. I carry a medium sized Swiss Army Knife. (It is this one.) This one is a survival issue. I can’t do everything that I would want to do with this knife, but what I can do is make pretty much anything I am going to need with this knife.

The other part of the car kit goes in and out of the car with me, and that is the 9mm Glock in the console. The only predators I really need to worry about are the two-legged kind, and that is the only way to deal with them. I keep a couple of pre-ban clips in the console. (I really should carry them with me, but I’m lazy. It is a calculated risk.)

The last thing I carry is my grandfather’s Zippo. I keep flints and fluid in it. (Come to think of it, I should figure out a way to insulate a container and keep some in the trunk too.)

Being a young single male, that will handle virtually all my short term problems. Cell phone, Swiss Army knife, pistol, lighter. I’m set.

Science, not Fear

John Forbes Kerry claims that Bush Puts Ideology Before Science. Riiiight.

“We need a president who will once again embrace our tradition of looking toward the future and new discoveries with hope based on scientific facts, not fear,” Kerry said in a campaign statement issued as he traveled to Denver. “It’s about investing in the future of our country. I won’t let ideology and fear stand in our way.”

Oh, really, asshole? Let’s take a look at your record of fearmongering:

Kerry’s Introduction of Recycling Act of 1992: “Today I am introducing the National Recycling Markets Act of 1992 which I view as a crucial component of a national comprehensive solid waste plan. Recycling as a component of a comprehensive waste management plan holds the answer to many of our concerns. Recycling is an historic response to a new and ever-mounting environmental problem. We are borrowing–recycling, if you will–a practice that was commonplace during World War II. Recycling not only will minimize pollution. It will reduce the number and contentiousness of issues surrounding the siting of incinerators, while at the same time it will save energy and create an entirely new industry in the United States.” [Kerry, Congressional Record 3/17/92]

Sorry, Johnny. Recycling creates pollution, from the transporting of materials back to the recycling plant and the plant itself. It doesn’t save energy. As for “creating a new industry”, industry is damned good at creating industries — when they are profitable. The way the market works, if something saves energy, it is profitable and people do it without the government sticking a gun in thier back. What drives recycling? That’s right, fear and ideology, not science.

“The right to bear arms is a right that should be protected for law-abiding Americans who want to protect themselves and their families. There is, however, no right to place military-style assault weapons into the hands of the terrorists and criminals who wish to cause those families harm. But if we do not act today to continue the ban on these deadly weapons, that is exactly what will happen.

“For ten years, the assault weapons ban has stopped fugitives and rapists and murderers from purchasing weapons like AK-47s. And for ten years, not one honest, responsible American has had their guns taken away because of this law. That’s why gun owners across America support renewing the assault weapons ban. And why they support closing the gun show loophole so that gun shows can continue uninterrupted without being magnets for criminals trying to get around the law and without serving as ways for terrorists to purchase guns within our borders.

Sorry, Johnny. The AWB has nothing to do with criminals buying firearms. It was illegal before, and it will be illegal after the AWB sunsets. An AK-47 is not banned by the AWB. It is banned because it is fully automatic. It was illegal before the AWB, and will be illegal after the AWB sunsets. (And even at that, it isn’t really banned — it is just heavily taxed by the BATF.) Finally, criminals don’t buy guns at gunshows. They buy them from friends. There is no gun show loophole; the same rules apply to gun dealers and private citizens whether they are at a gun show, or not. Fear and ideology, not science and logic.

Best. Training. Video. Ever.

Don’t worry about speaking the language.

Update: It’s done R-U-N-N-O-F-T. If you see a German training video about forklift operation featuring box cutters, chainsaws, bisection, decapitation and amputation, drop me a line.

The Morons Running A Dead Industry

CNet is reporting that a Copy-blocked CD tops U.S. charts.

iPods still a problem
Like other recent copy-protected albums, the Velvet Revolver disc includes technology that blocks direct copying or ripping of the CD tracks to MP3 format. It also comes preloaded with songs in Microsoft’s Windows Media Audio (WMA) format, which can be transferred to a computer or to many portable digital music players.

I (like most people with a high-end MP3 player) have an iPod. WMA doesn’t do jack shit for me.

According to SunnComm, few purchasers have complained about the anticopying tools, although angry postings on sites such as Amazon.com are common. The sticker on the front of the Velvet Revolver CD and a link inside the software that loads automatically on a computer, once a user has given permission, points to SunnComm’s Web site.

“We hear from less than half of one percent of people who have the Velvet Revolver disc,” SunnComm CEO Peter Jacobs said. “Most of those questions are related to getting the songs onto an iPod.”

Few people have complained to you. You know why? Because they have already figured out that you are a lying piece of shit and it isn’t going to do them any good. You said you were selling them a music CD. Instead, you sold them a corrupt, broken piece of shit. The people calling you about iPods are the ones who haven’t figured out that you deliberately fucked them over and think that maybe you are just incompetent.

“We are actively working with Apple to provide a long-term solution to this issue,” a posting on SunnComm’s Web site reads. “We encourage you to provide feedback to Apple, requesting they implement a solution that will enable the iPod to support other secure music formats.”

Requesting that they implement a solution? Here’s your goddamned solution. Read the Red Book. I guarantee you that if you put out a Red Book CD — you know, what your customers thought they were buying — that it will work perfectly with iPods. Asshole.

Oh, and you want the iPod to support “other secure music formats”? How about you support iPods and stop selling crippled, broken CDs?

EMI Music has “been encouraged by the success that SunnComm’s MediaMax product has enjoyed,” Richard Cottrell, global head of antipiracy for the record label, said in a statement. “We are pleased that SunnComm is developing a product that improves our ability to protect our artists’ works, especially during the prerelease phase.”

Well, that tears it for me. I will never buy another Audio CD again, because I can’t trust the damned thing to be what the package purports it to be. I’m going to get all my music from the ITMS, where I know what I am getting.

iTunes Music Store

I just watched the “Home Improvement” episode of Beavis and Butthead, which prompted me to buy Biz Markie’s Just a Friend for 99 cents.

Isn’t the internet great?

Heh heh Amadeus Markie.
— Beavis

Ronnie’s Military

Some wine-swilling lawyer wrote some good stuff about the controversy over The Reagan Defense Build-Up. He’s right that it is contested whether Reagan’s build up was significantly influential in the breakdown of the Soviet Union.

Who cares?

Set aside Russia. How many more Americans would have died in 1991 in Iraq had we not spent the last decade getting ready to fight that war? Weapon systems like the F-15 and the M1a1 don’t roll off the assembly line in a couple of months. These systems take years to get up to strength and get fully deployed.

How many more Americans would have died in Bosnia without the Reagan build up? What position would we be in right now without the Reagan build up? You think Iraq is bad now? Imagine fighting it without the Abrahms battle tank. Without the F-117 stealth fighter. Without laser and GPS guided smart bombs. Without shoot-and-scoot artillery. Without Bradley APCs. Those are the things that Reagan put into our military.

It is an uncommon commander that can ready and army to fight the next war rather than the last one. Reagan was one of those commanders. (And John Kerry voted against every weapons system that came in front of him — the very same weapons systems that are saving American lives and costing terrorist lives right now.)

Foul Balls

Darren Copeland has A Treatise on Foul Balls that discourses on the Arlington Stadium (I’ll call it whatever they named it when that company sends me a check) fiasco well:

This is what happened in Texas. That foul ball was looking for a little kid. Unfortunately some guy NEEDED that ball. He almost ruined the magic for that kid. Thank goodness all those other players and fans came to baseball’s aid and saved it for the little guy.

(RTWT.) I can buy the guy’s story. Sure, he got caught up in the moment. Everyone in the ballpark wants to catch a ball. Congratualtions — you caught the ball.

What are you going to do with it?

You are going to put it up on your TV for a while. Then you are going to put it in your desk drawer. Then you are going to put it in a box in the attic. It isn’t a Barry Bonds home run. It is a nothing foul ball.

What is that four year old kid going to do with it?

He’s going to sleep with it tonight. He is going to put it on his dresser and look at it every morning. He is going to carry it to baseball games and try to get a ball player — any ball player — to sign it. When he starts school, he is going to take it in for Show and Tell. When he makes friends and they are playing baseball, they are going to run to his house after the game to look at and talk about his foul ball.

Pretty soon, he’s going to start playing ball himself at school. He might play High School ball; he’s probably not going to play college or pro. But he’s going to put that ball in the attic just like you. The difference is, when he is 30, he is going to be going through that attic and find that ball, and all those memories are going to come back. He’s going to give that ball to his four year old, and he is going to tell him about the guy who caught it at the ballpark and handed it to him.

You had a chance to create all of that, and you pissed it away.