Saturday, October 24, 2020

Home-field advantage: The fog of war


Alyssa shivered as she waited in the air-lock between the outside doors and the interior of the Hall-of-Justice.

Word had gotten around that she was there and roving groups of….lovers?….had been rattling the handles on the doors to gain entry.

The Hall-of-Justice was an architectural marvel. The outside doors were heavy panes of tempered glass.

Alyssa was unsure about the amount of abuse the doors could sustain.

She was regretting having used so much of the can of wasp-spray she carried in her purse on the security cam. Katy had told her the thick, foaming gel was just the ticket for blinding cameras. Unfortunately, she could not put it back into the can to use on the groups of thugs that appeared intent on breaking into the building.

She heard a clatter coming down the stairs.

*


Things were not going well for Alex’s defense.

The operators on three of the water-cannons had been rendered inop in the short time he had been hyper-focused on neutralizing Tarkenton and riotors were climbing over the fence.

The rioters who had pushed through the tangle-foot were now pushing on the 8-strand, barbed wire fence.

They didn’t have a chance of pushing through it because each double-wire strand had a breaking strength of 1500 pounds. What pushing on the wires accomplished, though, was to tighten the wire so agile rioters could gingerly climb over the six-foot tall fence.

Once inside the fence, they could find pockets where the water-cannons could not traverse and reach them.

Alex swatted the one operator who was at 100% and told him to focus on knocking climbers off the fence.

Then Alex dashed over the closest cannon and directed the first man he saw to hop on the cannon and start blasting riotors.

“How does it work?” Old man McCorkle asked. He was willing to give it a try.

“Figure it out” Alex shot back as he dashed to the next cannon.

McCorkle had been watching the riot unfold and had noticed that the rioters had become proficient at dancing out of the way of the oncoming blast of water.

McCorkle noticed how everybody in the crowd was converging on the newly made gap in the tangle-foot. He sighted through the crude peep sights and aligned them with the middle of the gap. Then he cranked the quarter-turn valve on the side of the barrel.

A couple of the riotors had hopped over the top of the fence before the first water-cannon operator started methodically working the fence.

The single water cannon could not quite keep up so a few rioters were getting over here-and-there.

This side of the eight-strand fence, they were below the most intense part of the lights and could actually see. They started carefully picking their way through the tangle-foot. 

*

Alyssa had a plan. If she could convince Bert to pretend to kiss her, perhaps the thugs would get the message that THIS entryway was taken. Perhaps they would go away.

The door at the bottom of the stairwell sprang open and the opening was filled by the largest man she had ever seen in her life.

"Are you Uncle Bert?" Alyssa asked.

Surprised, Bert said "Yes."

Alyssa threw her arms around his neck to pull him down. "Kiss me" she insisted.

Bert initially resisted but then bent his head.

*


Molotov Cocktails started coming over the barrier again.

Alex called Darryl. “What the hell is going on? I thought you guys had this handled.”

“We are on it” Darryl said. “We have a slight complication that is slowing us down but we are whittling them down.”

The complication was the wind direction. It had clocked around a bit more to the south and the men chucking the fire bombs were turning their backs to the wind to light the wicks. That had the unhappy consequence of blocking the shooter’s line-of-sight and their rules of engagement were to shoot after they had captured the thermal bloom on their scopes.

Of course, they had ample evidence after the men had thrown their fire-bombs and they acted on that evidence.

That was small comfort to the defenders on the receiving end of the incendiary devices.

*

That was when Vince hissed at me "We have company!"

That was hard to miss.

The defenses along the western edge of the neighborhood were the least defended because it offered the least cover to attackers.

But just because relatively few resources were invested in the defense did not mean that our pants were pulled down.

An ad hoc power-line ran fifty yards east of the train-tracks and approximately 370 yards west of our position on the berm. The power-line was connected to one of the ubiquitous, Honda generators and a picket-line of motion-activated lights were powered by it.

Those lights were coming on and illuminating forms percolating through the rail-cars on the spur.

Gregious had picked up a few more homies somewhere and decided to crash the party.

*


That about when Brice Cunningham decided it was time to start helping the Marxists.

The chopper had a three-beam Nightsun spotlight system. Cunningham powered it up and started shining it toward the defenders, telling the camera-man it was to help him get better footage.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Ramblings

Legacy hires

I actively discouraged my children from working at the company(s) where I had worked.

That was based on having worked with dozens of coworkers who followed their dad into the factory.

With very few exceptions, most of them were bitter and angry. "Dad" had given them a map-to-the-top and that is not where the ended up.

Lay aside the fact that only one person can be at the very top. The fact remained that there were far more "High Potentials" in any department than there were openings.

I have little doubt that most of my co-workers would have been far happier and fulfilled if they had NOT followed in their father's footsteps, even if their career trajectory had been two or three levels below where they ended up. 

Disclosure: I was never a "High Potential".

I would rather have my kids find their own path and know that their successes and failures were totally their own. That is how learning happens.

I am baffled that Biden, Pelosi, Kerry, Clinton feel compelled to bring their children into the family business.

I guess the difference is that my ego serves God, my family and me in that order. The others, I suspect the order is inverted: Ego serves itself first, then "self", family and Party.

Interruptions

According to news sources on the internet, Trump was interrupted by the moderator at last night's debate 31 versus the Biden being interrupted twice. 

I hold out little hope that the undecided will notice.

It calls to mind a short video clip an instructor showed us decades ago. It showed a woman interrupting a man.

The instructor told us to summarize the video we saw.

Then she showed us the video a second time, stopping it just before the interruption.

The man interrupted the woman and the woman did not stop talking in deference to the man. It was crystal-clear when the instructor pointed it out.

So it is with Trump. The press interrupt him and Trump refuses to accept the Dominance play. Due to deep-seated values and conditioning, the Liberals and undecided see it at Trump being rude.

Weeds

 


I have been engaging in an internet discussion with one of my internet friends regarding the loss of flying-insect biomass.

Estimates vary. Some claim there is no solid evidence of fewer bugs but anybody who drove in the mid-West in the '60s will call BS on that. Others contend that a number between 75%-to-90% reduction is probably defensible.

Numerous causes have been suggested but there are few, natural experiments A-B-A are available to untangle the mystery.

One major player is likely to be loss of 40 acre fields. A grid of 40 acre fields separated by 20' fence rows loses 3% of the land-area to fence rows. As farms consolidate due to economic pressures, farmers bulldoze the fence rows. The motive is not to regain the 3% of land but to reduce the labor and facilitate the use of larger, more efficient equipment.


A quick census of some of the species growing in my pasture

 

Another potential player involves mowed lawns. A well manicured lawn typically hosts relatively few species of plants. Pastures and fence rows typically have much higher diversity.

Fake News Friday: Rice University caves to BLM demands

 

Stung by allegations by the BLM movement that Rice University's name is a White Supremacist dog-whistle intended to discourage peoples-of-color from applying, the Board of Regents recently voted to change the University's name to be more inclusive.

The university formerly known as Rice University is a competitive admission, academically rigorous university in Houston, Texas.

Home-field advantage: Scrambling

It had been 9 years since Frank Tarkenton had last quarterbacked for his high school football team back in Minnesota.

Life had been so full of promise back then. Frank was a rangy 6’-4” tall, quick on his feet and smart. He could throw the ball like a rifle-bullet.

None of the big schools were interested in him. Frank blamed his team-mates. The team just couldn’t seem to put enough “W”s up each season to attract scouting interest.

Frank had sulked through life, bitter and cynical until the Marxists found him. After that, his life had purpose.

Shear habit is what caused him to keep his ball-chucker pointed down, masked by his thigh. Habit from his years of quarter-backing had him scooting “out of the pocket” after launching his missiles and faking the run to pull defenders.

Frank wasn't there by the time the water-cannon had drilled through the crowd.

He was the quickest on the uptake when the water cannons started searching out and whacking the ball-chuckers.

Frank adapted by launching from different points. He would scoop up a missile from a wagon, dash to the line while winding up and throwing. Then, immediately after his follow through, he would duck down below the crowd and scurry away from the searching jet of water.

Frank was tearing them up.

His arm was not quite as strong as when he was 18 nor was he quite as quick. But he was plenty accurate and the ball-chucker gave him velocity way beyond what he had ever been able to achieve when throwing the pig-skin.

The guys on the water cannons had just the quickest glimpses of “the tall guy” and a flash of the orange ball-chucker before one of the cast, concrete missiles came rocketing in.

Alex cursed the fact that he had not thought to provide the water cannon with protective shields.

“Quick!” Alex said, grabbing the closest man. “We need to get something in front of the guys on the water cannons.”

The best the man could come up with were tailgates from the pickup trucks. It was a piss-poor solution. “Extras” attempted to hold them up as shields but Frank’s missiles came in so fast and so flat it was difficult to hold the heavy tailgates in a position that provided protection without obscuring the water cannon operator’s vision.

Seeing what was going on, Frank started targeting the men trying to hold the tailgates. It was not pretty.

Losing water-cannons re-energized the rioters. Ethan was able to get them turned back on and swarming the barriers.

One of the rioters found a section of tangle-foot that was not staked to the ground or shackled on one side. Such is the nature of working in the dark. He pulled it up and flipped it over, onto the adjacent prefabbed tangle-foot section.

The rioters surged through the ten-foot gap in the tangle-foot and started pushing against the fence.

Alex called his precision shooters on the roof of the high school.

“I could use a little bit of help down here” Alex said.

“Want us to start dumping people?” Darryl asked.

Alex was tempted. Very tempted.

“No, what I really want is for you to “pattern” the asshole who is tearing up the men on the water-cannons.”

Lawton overheard the conversation because Alex had communicated on the precision shooter’s common channel rather than directly to Darryl.

“I got that” Lawton said.

Frank had been weaving through Lawton’s sector. Lawton’s sector was slow. He nailed a few arsonists and then the mist from the water-cannon had prevented any others from lighting up more.

From his over-view, Lawton radioed Alex “Stand next to the second water-cannon from the north.”

When Alex was there, Lawton said “Can you see the rioter near the back of the crowd wearing the pink hoodie?”

It took Alex a few seconds to find him. “Yup, I see the guy.”

“When I say ‘NOW’ have the guy on the water-cannon lift his jet to hit the gap just to the left of the guy with the pink hoodie” Lawton said.

“To the water-cannon’s left or the pink-hoodie’s left?” Alex asked for clarification. Left depends on which way you are looking.

“To the NORTH of the guy in the pink-hoodie...but close enough to brush him” Lawton said.

Lawton followed Frank with his scope. He saw him launch two missiles from other places along the back edge of the crowd. Then he saw him glide toward the wagon closest to the pink-hoodie guy.

“Get ready...” Lawton transmitted.

Lawton figured it would take at least a second for the jet of water to cover the distance from the muzzle of the cannon and where he expected Frank to launch the missile from.

Frank kept the missile covered with his left hand as he started into his running-wind-up.

“NOW!” Lawton said loudly enough to startle the other two shooters on the high school roof.

Frank stood up, face-on into the jet of water that suddenly appeared. It had opened up slightly as it covered the distance.

It rocked Frank’s head back and the high pressure water crammed up his nostrils and into his mouth. It created excruciating pressure in his sinuses.

What Frank could not know is that he had been scouted by both Division I and Division II universities. Scouting is labor intensive and most of it is done by game films.

Had Frank been able to read any of the scouting notes on him, he would have read “Great team. Should have won more games. QB: Good athletic potential. Cannot take a hit”

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Home-field advantage: The casting-out of demons


Bert fired the flare at the parking lot from the roof of the Hall-of-Justice. The flare fell short. He loaded the next one in. He had been given a total of five.

Pointing the pistol with significantly more upward tilt to the barrel, the second flare was caught by the wind and carried well inside the area wet with diesel.

The diesel immediately caught fire and the fire started to spread.

Bert had no need for the other three, but loaded and fired them into the other regions of the wetted area.

Even the dimmest of "guards" could see what was happening and there was a mad dash toward the vehicles in a belated attempt to move them out of the path of the flames.

From Bert's vantage point, they didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting many of the vehicles out of harm's way. In fact, it looked like many of the drivers were about to be engulfed in the flames as they attempted to maneuver their cars in the chaotic parking lot.

*

After watching the trailer explode and the fire-ball start to lift into a fiery mushroom cloud, Bjorn scuttled to the south. He crossed Ottawa and then hooked around the house on the southeast corner of Ottawa and Lahoma.

Brad and Johnny followed close behind.

Bjorn went down on one knee when he decided he was the optimum distance from the van. The heat from the fireball was still hot on their right cheeks.

Johnny went behind Bjorn and continued past him. Brad hooked toward the street and covered the “back door”. Brad and Johnny were Bjorn’s eyes, ears and guns while he was focused on taking out the van.

Bjorn had been reloading the tube as he jogged downrange. He had carefully indexed the round so it went trigger-side down. Just before shouldering and aiming, Bjorn gave the round a tug to ensure it was firmly seated in position. One of the few ways to screw up the launch was to not have the round fully seated and to get a light primer-strike.

The side door of the van was just beginning to slide open as the RPG, high-explosive round penetrated the back of the van.

The explosion extruded Schroom's corpulent body through the narrow gap and hurled it into the trunk of a shade tree on the other side of the street.

A tiny shard of shrapnel, flight curving like a boomerang's penetrated the sidewall of the van’s front tire. The lips of the cut produced a shrill, quavering shriek as the air escaped.

Brad saw Johnny making the Sign of the Cross. Brad knew that Folgio was a devout Catholic but it seem strange.

You can kick a hornet’s nest once and not get stung. You might even be able to kick it twice but you sure need to be getting out of Dodge if you don't want to get tagged by stingers. 

Johnny dropped one of the guards in black who seemed to recovering. Brad tapped two more.

Bjorn pitched the launcher onto a porch where it would not be found until morning. No point in making it easy for the bad-guys to find. Bjorn double-checked the safety of his own weapon.

Johnny said “Follow me!” and then the team rapidly moved south past the exploded van and disoriented and bleeding guards and away from the burning trailer.

*


Ethan, Schroom's point-man on the ground, for all of his character defects, was an exceptionally capable commander in the field.

Unable to get a response from Schroom, he transmitted anyway. Sometimes the one end cannot transmit but can receive. “We are getting the shit kicked out of us by the water-cannons. Tell Colton to take out the water cannons. Repeat, direct Colton to take out the water cannons.”

Ethan considered Scroom a “total spaz” and control-freak. Scroom had insisted that all communication funnel through her so no detail of the battle would escape her. As a person who believed that controlling the message was more important than optimum results, she intended to use the time and information to spin the story to her maximum advantage.

Unable to get feedback from Scroom, Ethan focused on controlling those events and resources that were under his control.

He directed his rock-chuckers to focus on the cannons. They could not see exactly where the cannons were due to the blinding lights, but they could make educated guesses based on the jets of water.

Looking around and not seeing any rioters throwing Molotov Cocktails, he started grabbing the porters pulling the wagons and directed them to move toward the barrier and start pitching the incendiary devices rather than returning for more.

*


The men operating the water cannons immediately noticed the increased number of incoming chunks of concrete. One was beaned and rendered totally in-op. Another was hit in the knee.

A third was grazed by a chunk of concrete and said “Fuck this!” and stopped washing the rioters off the fence and tangle-foot. Sighting an orange ball-chucker sending missiles flying from deep in the crowd, the operator used his water cannon to drill through the the people standing between him and the concrete chucker.

After he blasted his way through the intervening crowd, the operator was not content to simply knock the chucker down. He battered and washed him a good fifty feet down the road.

Then he started looking for more chuckers.

Alex saw what the operator was doing. Going over to the other, 100% effective water cannon, Alex directed him to do the same.

Then Alex found the back-up operator for the water-cannon whose operator was knocked out and put him into action.

Two water-cannons were peeling demonstrators off the fence and tangle-foot. Two were reaching out and knocking the snot out of the concrete chuckers.

It occurred to the men using the water cannon to strip the bodies off the fence and tangle-foot that it was exactly like using a pressure washer to clean the scum off a wooden deck before seal-coating it.

New barbed-wire is incredibly sharp. The points are long and the edges are scalpel-sharp.

The people who had been unable to lift themselves off the tangle-foot because they were stuck on the barbs were forcibly lifted and ripped off by the jet of water from the cannon.

The barbs ripped the full, frontal length of the demonstrators as they were hurled backwards.

With a combined flow-rate of two-thousand gallons a minute, it was not going to take long to drench the riotors. The concentrated soap in the fertilizer injectors lent meaning to Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Wednesday night fishing

 


The kid caught a 22" catfish with a bigger beer-belly than I have.

He helped Sprite move the cattle back to her pasture and she gave him (us) permission to fish in her pond as thanks for the help. Privileges must be earned.

He insists it weighed eight-pounds. So, of course that is what it weighed...eight pounds.

He did not want his face in the pictures which fits in perfectly with the Eaton Rapids Joe editorial standards regarding minors and images on the blog.

The secret bait was a six-inch strip of chicken skin that had marinated overnight in soy sauce.

We released the fish back into Sprite's pond.

That was one HAPPY kid.

Bugs are fewer in number but larger

 


Home-field advantage: Water cannon

 

The line pressure in each of the four water cannons was boosted by a diesel-powered irrigation pump.

And while the effect of getting hit by the jet from the water cannon was the full equivalent of being clotheslined by an all-pro linebacker, each cannon could only roll two rioters a second.

Brad seemed to have a deep pool of resources. On Brad’s advice and bankrolled by “Uncle Timmy”, the fertilizer injectors of the diesel pumps had been loaded with liquid soap and very small, dissolving packets of material purchased from India and air-freighted over at great expense.

The effect of the soap was immediate. The road surface became slippery and the hoodies and Goretex jackets of the rioters were quickly soaked, especially when directly hit by the 150 psi stream of the cannon.

The cannon were very literally “wet blankets” for the rioter’s high emotional state.

The rioters were already under-dressed for the weather. They were staying warm by hopping, jumping, moving and cuddling. By-and-large, they were not people who spent much time outside, exposed to the weather.

Being completely drenched by fifty-degree water took them from chilled to very cold.

Most of the rioters were oblivious to the biggest risk. They were a half mile from their vehicles and the soaked clothing was worse than being naked in the sub-freezing weather.

Most of them were less than an hour from being totally incapacitated by hypothermia.

Ass-over-teakettle the cannons rolled the rioters two-at-a-time but that barely slowed them down. After all, there were three-hundred of them.

Most of the rioters got stuck in the first band of tangle-foot.

Tangle-foot is labor intensive to apply. Alex cheated. He had teams fabricate ten-foot, square sections from concrete rebar and barbed wire. It took a team of two about twenty minutes to fabricate each section.

On the night of the riot, the pre-fabbed sections were carried out and set into place. The rebar feet had a washer welded near the bottom so the grid of rebar was 15” above the ground when the feet were pushed into the dirt.

A netting of diagonally zig-zagged barbed-wire was suspended 8” above the rebar which was spaced on a two-foot grid.

The pre-fabbed sections were carried into place, the legs pounded into the ground, tied-off to stakes. Then the sections were shackled together.

Alex chose the heights based on where the rebar would hit the legs of rushing, blinded rioters and he chose the height of the barbed-wire to make it nearly impossible to push off-of using a pushup motion.

The rushing rioters hit the first barrier and stuck to the tangle-foot like flies to flypaper.

Some still leaked through.

One motivated athlete danced across the tanglefoot on the backs of less fortunate riotors and managed to leap the 6’, barbed-wire fence only to land in the middle of the 2’ grid of the second tangle-foot barrier.

His foot planted and his upper-shin contacting the rebar grid, his forward momentum hyper-extended his knee with an audible CRACK!

As far as Alex could tell, the astronomically expensive packets of white powder from India were a total bust. He turned up the injection-rate on the fertilizer dispensers, hoping that would help.

It was only later that Alex would read the literature that came with the powder, a proprietary blend of proteolytic enzymes extracted from papaya and durian fruit. While the effects were not immediate, they lasted for an average of three weeks.

*

Johnny said “OK, this looks like it is as good as it gets.”

Bjorn eased away from the front of the house with glacial slowness. Then warned Brad and Johnny “Fire in the hole” before sending his first round downrange.

Bjorn had moved for two reasons. One was to distance himself from the team incase the shot was not-standard. That is, blew up or behaved in any non-standard way. The other reason was to put the van in the background so if he missed the trailer there was still a chance the errant round would hit the van.

Bjorn didn’t miss the munitions trailer.

There was still a magnificent supply of gasoline in the trailer.

*

Bert, on the roof of the Hall-of-Justice a quarter mile to the east didn’t see the fiery mushroom cloud. His view was blocked by the air conditioning units on the roof. Even if he had been looking, he would have been blinded by the kleig lights in the background, as bright as they were.

Bert was entirely focused on 09-23.

One of the demonstrators seemed to have his wits about him. He had broken the driver’s side window to gain access to the cab of the truck and was attempting to shut the rig down.

That wasn’t going to happen. One of the first upgrades to the remote controlled trucks had been to lock-out the ignition and transmissions of the trucks. That had been motivated by a fatality in Modesto, California. A street urchin had stolen a running truck and the municipal worker had been tangled up in the hose.

When running in RC mode, passersby could yank on the manual controls as much as they wanted but it would be to no effect if they weren’t carrying an over-ride fob.

The plume of diesel sputtered and thinned.

The level sensor in the tank told the computer it was empty. The RPM on 09-23 dropped to an idle.

“Sorry about this, old girl” Bert said as he loaded a flare into the pistol.

Pointing the cartoonish, Eastern European flare-gun at the parking lot, Bert pulled the trigger.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Is it really in your best interest to make us homeless?

 

 

Mrs ERJ and I talked this over.

Should we find ourselves homeless due to election related violence, we will camp in the front yards of our closest liberal friends.

We will take up music to give us solace in our time of trials. Mrs ERJ suggested the accordion and bag-pipes.

Lacking skill, we will compensate with volume.

 Can you imagine this on bag-pipes at three in the morning?

We will play Barry Manilow's Greatest Hits.

At night.

All night long.

We know where you live.

You have been warned.

Odds and ends

Belladonna update

Bella graduated with her Bachelors in Science back in December.

In discussions with her academic counselor, she realized that her degree didn't provide her with the opportunities she desired. The counselor advised her to finish the degree since she was SO CLOSE, and then get additional education.

Bella followed the counselor's advice.

The most promising program for additional education was selective. They announce their decision on October 15.

Bella used the time between December and October to beef-up her credentials. There was nothing secret about the selection process. It was a point system with a heavy emphasis on good grades in science classes.

Belladonna was on pins and needles.

The selection committee sets the hurdle to manage the class size and it changes every year. This year, the hurdle was 75. Bella coasted in with an 89.

Way to go Belladonna!

I hate when I am right

I decided to add something to "my run" to increase the number of muscle groups I am strengthening.

As reported earlier, the park where I am running shut down some of the trails I normally run on. Rather than find new trails, I shortened my run from 5.5 miles to 4.0 miles.

I finished my run with a sprint of about 100 yards. No big deal...right?

It was a big deal. Sprinting involves lots of upper body strength as the runner throws his arms to counteract the up/down and fore/aft inertia of his legs so his center-of-mass glides in a straight line. Also, the runner gets up on the balls of his feet to minimize the choppy up-down motion of heel-strike running.

Yup, sure as heck. More muscles ache today than the last time I ran.

Last day for cattle on the property

Sprite's cattle go back today or perhaps tomorrow morning.

We have barn cats

My attitude is drifting toward live-and-let-live.

Ticks have something to do with that. Ground squirrels and mice are alternate hosts for ticks. Fewer chipmunks means fewer ticks in May and June.

Simmons .22 Magnum Scopes

Walmart had them in stock for $15 less than on-line.

There are still places where a simple, fixed 4X scope with good optics is exactly the right medicine.

Fine Art Tuesday

 

Street Scenes: 1825
 

Katsushika Hokusai: Born 1760 in Tokyo. Died 1849 in Tokyo.

Extremely prolific. 268 pieces of artwork are catalogued at Wikiart by Hokusai.

Woman looking at herself in a mirror 1805

What attracted me to this artist is the extremely wide range of topics he recorded.

Unlike some artists who only recorded the most exceptional events, Hokusai saw the exceptional in the ordinary: Men making barrels, a pretty girl looking at herself in a mirror, men working at a forge.

Hokusai also recorded salacious and explicit sexual congress. A man has to pay his bills and if that is what people with money are buying...

Street scene 1825

 

Viewers were enchanted by his use of the color blue. Blue pigment, in the form of Prussian Blue, had recently be imported from Europe. Before that, there were no economically viable forms of permanent, blue pigment in Japan.

Shore of Tago Bay, Ejini at Tokaido 1832

 

Hokusai was also noted for painting women with big heads, often the ones involved in sexual congress. The general consensus is that "big headed women" were considered sexy the way women with large breasts are considered in contemporary culture. 

A less common opinion is that the heads of children who grow up malnourished often appear out-sized and the apparent size of the women's/girls' heads might not have been exaggerated.



Home-field advantage: ...ya gotta be patient

Over a dozen cameras captured the burning wicks of the Molotov Cocktails arcing across the cold, night sky.

The scopes of the precision shooters verified that they were “hot”.

If there was any doubt, that was removed when they hit ground and lit the areas already wet by previous missiles.

Alex strode over to one of the old geezers, picking up a blanket on the way over.

Alex swatted out the flames on the man’s legs. “Do you need to stand down?” Alex asked.

“Nope. I am good” the man replied.

Alex transmitted. “Lights up. Guns hot. Repeat, lights up, guns hot.”

Workers yanked the tarps off of the Christmas trees of floodlights used to illuminate roads when crews worked at night. Then they unfolded them into the upright position.

Looking around, Alex saw most of the lights were up. One team was struggling with the tarps. Good enough now was better than too-late.

“OK, everybody. Make sure your shades are on…..Lights on” Alex said.

The blast of light dwarfed the pulse Brad had used to blind the attackers on Ionia street.

There is much to be said about diesel generators.

After a five second blast, the light was dropped to 15% of the peak, still shining in the eyes of the attackers. Still magnificent illumination for capturing video in high resolution and color.

The rioters wavered.

Then the Marxist handlers started using tasers to get the riotors moving toward the defenders, oblivious to the barbed wire barriers in front of them.

The throwers loaded up with a second round of lit Molotov Coctails. 

8' gap between tangle-foot and fence so rioters cannot brace against tangle-foot frame to push against fence. Fence curved concave toward the rioters.


The crowd started accelerating toward the barrier.

That is when Alex said “Water cannons, on. Repeat, Water cannons, on.”


*

Brad whispered to Bjorn loudly enough for Johnny to hear him. “Guns hot. Time to shine.”

Johnny put a hand on Brad’s knee. “Wait”

Brad repeated the gesture on Bjorn’s knee.

All of the men who had been aimlessly wandering around the area were converging on the munition’s trailer. Obviously, shit was getting real.

Moving now would be suicidal.

They waited a full five minutes before most of the men hauling munitions had loaded up and started moving west.



Bjorn slowly pulled the RPG launcher into firing position from where he had stashed behind him.

Because Brad and Johnny were not behind him, he didn’t need to worry about back-blast incapacitating them.

Bjorn made a tactical decision. He would take out the munitions trailer first and then close on the primary target while the aggressors were dazzled by the burning munitions trailer. Even though the van was the primary, he judges the odds better if he first created a distraction by taking out the secondary target, first.

“Follow me after I send it” Bjorn said as he carressed the trigger of launcher.

*

Things were not going well for Uncle Bert in the Hall-of-Justice.

The long-distance, universal remote that Nick had checked out of the parts crib wasn’t starting the 09-23.

It had worked fine after Bert had programmed it.

Bert had a clear line-of-sight to the lens on the top of the truck’s cab. Bert had carefully cleaned the lens and there had been no birds flying over it.

Maybe it was the window? Bert vaguely remembered his brother talking about the windows being gold-plated to reflect heat.

Bert walked up the stairs to the roof. The judicious application of a crowbar he had found in a closet popped the chain-and-lock.

Bert wedged the door open and then walked to the edge of the roof.

Pointing the remote, Bert commanded the truck to start.

The Duramax engine caught on the first crank.

Bert let the engine warm up for thirty seconds. He owed the old girl that small courtesy.

Then he commanded maximum pressure for the jet-cutting wand.

The computer revved up the engine and attempted to produce 3000 psi. Lacking the wand, valve and orifice, it was not able to make that happen. The computer added more RPM in a futile attempt to reach the requested pressure.

Bert had run 600 gallons of diesel into the plastic tank that normally held water for the jet cutter.

The hose was whipping wildly and broke off after thirty seconds. After that, the diesel blasted up, into the air at a rate of 120 gallons a minute.

Bert watched impassively as the wind blew the plume of mist over the parked cars.

*

On top of the high school, Darryl toggled his team. “OK, work together. Shooters, remember to give your guy on the ground at least a half second before you send one.”

Each elevated shooter had a team-mate on the ground. Each elevated shooter had a sector on the ground with the job of killing anybody who lit the fuse of a Molotov Cocktail.

The old soldiers on the ground were tasked with shooting into a specific tree trunk in the general vicinity of the shooter’s sector, roughly in synch with the precision shooters. The target zone on the trunk was well above the heads of the rioters.

Darryl’s team was supplemented with a single outsider, Lawton the varmint control shooter. He had been loaned a back-up, night-vision scope and he spent an afternoon getting it dialed-in to his satisfaction.

The old men with the bolt-action, Springfield Model 1903 were recorded from behind. Each man had a smartphone set up behind him at head level looking downrange.

Bars across America erupted as Gary started streaming footage of arsonists being rolled by the precision shooters on the roof. There was something extraordinarily gratifying in seeing an arsonists collapsing into pools of burning gasoline from dropped fire-bombs.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Home-field advantage: Light them up

Image from NBC


The mob was lobbing chunks of concrete at the defenders from beyond fifty yards.

Alex picked up a chunk that had bounced off the front of the house behind him and spun to a stop in front of him.

Hefting the chunk he was impressed by the uniformity. It wasn’t a random chunk of broken cement. Somebody had gotten in the business of manufacturing purpose-specific missiles from concrete.

Based on the distance and the high, arcing trajectory, Alex guessed they were using ball-chuckers to lob them in.

Alex worked his way around the defenders, settling their nerves. He reminded a few of the defenders to put on their hard-hats. Getting hit with a chunk of concrete would still ring-their-bell but it would save them from some messy lacerations.

The plan was to open up the can of kick-ass after the rioters threw the first volley of Molotov Cocktails.

The rioters could preempt that plan if they inflicted too much damage with the concrete or if they rushed Spencer Avenue too soon.

Alex had two nightmares. One was the rioters breaching the defenses. The other was that his forces would be goaded into the use of deadly-force before there was indisputable, video evidence that the rioters had initiated the escalation.

Alex had his best defender, Bob Wire, tasked with preventing the first nightmare. The defenders had erected an eight strand, six-foot tall fence of high-tensile barbed-wire (Bob Wire) anchored by shade-trees. And installations of tangle-foot in front of and behind the eight-strand fence.

The barriers were laid out in a shallow “W” with the ends lag-bolted to buildings and the bottoms funneling to the centers of Ottawa and Forbes streets.

Alex opted for the shallow “W” because it offered the best combination of firing opportunities for the defenders while minimizing blue-on-blue risks.

Alex countermeasured the second nightmare with soft-skills. He projected leadership.

He never ceased moving among the defenders. Circulating smoothly from one defender to the next, pausing for just a second or two with each one. “Do you need anything?” A quick look at each fighter’s space to ensure no trip-hazards had materialized. A reminder to let any Molotov Coctails to burn out should any land nearby.

Alex projected the calm of a football coach who had won a dozen titles. His men and women might be playing their first game but Alex walked the ground like he had been to the "big stadium" a hundred times.

He was very glad nobody could see how the waiting had knotted up his guts.

God bless military training. They taught “Leadership”.

Another volley of missiles came in.

Alex heard breaking glass but there were no flames.

WTF?

Then Alex smelled gasoline. Shit...the attackers were going to soak them with gas before sending the first ones that were lit…

*

Brad heard arguing over by the trailer that was unloading munitions.

Brad tipped his head up enough so he could peak through his eyebrows to see what was going down.

People are recognizable because of their silhouettes and because of their faces...primarily their eyes.

Change your silhouette by kneeling and hide your face and you stop looking like a human.

One of the men unloading the trailer was arguing with a man dressed in dark. The unloader was bitching that none of the men in black were helping.

Brad could not hear what the man-in-black said in response, but Brad started to pick out several more men in black clustered around the van that was parked ahead of the trailer.

BINGO!

Brad could not see the antennas. They were too small and the night was too dark. But he could still see six people dedicated to guarding the van...not the munitions trailer.

Brad nudged Bjorn who was the farthest from the targets. “I have a new primary target for you.” in a very, very low voice

Bjorn looked sideways, over at Brad.

“Dark van parked ahead of the trailer” Brad said.

Bjorn gave a barely perceptible nod. Then all three men went back to being shrubbery.

*


Inside the van, Michelle Schroom was having a melt down.

Ironically, most micro-managers vastly overestimate their ability to multi-task and to manage multiple details.

Schroom was a classic case. She was unaware of her shortcomings, partially because her firm had a team to managing controlling the carnage she left in her wake.

Schroom was “brittle”. She dealt with frustrations by turning off the sources she found most annoying. That is why her phone was turned off. That is why she was unaware that her plans had blown up.

She hurled the handheld radio across the inside of the van.

“Well, fuck him.”

Schroom was furious with Colton and his superiority complex.

“Well, fuck him. I never needed him anyway.” Schroom said to nobody in particular.

Schroom called her field-man embedded with the rioters. “Light them up”

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Congratulations CCC Warriors


Congratulations to the Copper County Christian Warriors who won the Division II, Women's Upper Peninsula Soccer title with a come-from-behind score of 3-2 against Sault Ste. Marie on October 17.  -Source

 

Hat/tip CoyoteKen

A VERY bad joke

 ---Joke---Joke---Joke---Joke---

The Supervisor for the Presidential detail walked up and down the line. He had called an emergency meeting. All of the Secret Service agents assigned to protect President Biden were there.

"I need a volunteer" he barked.

The agents were nobody's fool. You don't get to the position by making rash decisions.

"What is the task" the most senior agent asked.

"I need somebody to shoot the President" the Supervisor stated.

A collective gasp arose from the agents. What the supervisor was asking for was unthinkable.

"Why?" the senior agent asked, struggling to control his anger.

"President Biden is having an adverse reaction the the vaccine. The Pharma lobby simply cannot have him die due to the vaccine. That means we need another cause-of-death...and nobody else can get close enough to him to do-the-deed" the Supervisor stated. 

As the detail processed the information, the most junior agent timidly raised his hand.

"Are you volunteering?" the Supervisor asked.

"No. I have a question, though" the junior agent said.

"What is it?" the Supervisor asked.

"Did Mrs Clinton or Pelosi get vaccinated?"

 ---Joke---Joke---Joke---Joke---

Conversion Ratio

This post was written for my three readers who are not conservatives and not-Loony-Left.

At some point in time in time the United States economy came off the rails. The temptation is to point at some scapegoat. "It's the damned Billionaires!!"

I want to point out a way of thinking about the phenomena that might be more intuitive than the typical language used by conservatives.

Conversion Ratio

Over the course of my career I worked in a half dozen plants in the automotive industry.

"Conversion Ratio" is one of the metrics (performance measures) used in the auto industry.

Simply put, the Conversion Ratio is the "Base Engineered Content" hours divided by the total number of hours worked inside the Plant's footprint.

The Base Engineered Content is the total amount of time required by employees to devoted to assembly of the vehicle.

For example, if an employee's task is to install hood-latches, the time content might read like

  1. Pick up torque-tool - 0.7 seconds
  2. Position latch-to-bracket - 1.2 seconds
  3. Insert screw in socket of torque-tool (3X) - 0.5
  4. Drive screw (3X) 0.7
  5. Re-holster torque-tool - 0.7 seconds
  6. Total - 6.2 seconds

The Base Engineered Content does not include the time spent by the employee walking to the parts rack to pick up the part or time spent replenishing bins. It does not include time to truck the basket of parts from the loading dock to the assembly point. It does not include time for the Union Steward or the Management supervisor. It does not include maintenance or housekeeping or repair or quality inspection. It does not include mandatory training or time spent documenting.

Conversion Ratio is a valuable metric because it is almost impossible to "game". You might think you are cheating if you bring in outside vendors to preform part-rework...but you have to include them in Conversion Ratio if they do the rework within the factory footprint. If they do it outside the factory, you have to count the time it takes to package and ship it off-property.

But what does that have to do with the US Economy?

Suppose you are a professional. For the sake of illustration, suppose you are a Social Worker in Child Protective Services.

What is your Conversion Ratio? What is the ratio of time spent with clients divided by the time spent on-the-clock?

I will even be generous. I will let you include part of the time you spend in documenting the session with the client. Not the part you are forced to document to "service" regulations. I will let you include the time you spend making the notes you will use to refresh your memory before the next session with that client. It is analogous to "Re-holster torque-tool"

If you have been practicing for an extended period of time, has your Conversion Ratio gotten better or worse? Are you spending less of your time "servicing regulations" or more of it?

This is when the practicing Social Worker says "Mr Eaton Rapids Joe, you don't know beans about Social Work. A Social Worker in Child Protective Services primarily works through the court system and agencies to execute their job."

But isn't that the point? If 95% of the Social Worker's time is spent working through courts and other agencies then they are servicing procedures and regulations rather than clients?

The conservative viewpoint is that such a large percentage of America's productive resources is sponged up by "procedures and regulations" that we are dying a slow death due to entropy and strangulation. There aren't enough resources left over to actually do anything for real people.

The good news is that if 95% of a professional's time is absorbed by non-value-added-tasks (abbreviated as B.S.) then paring that back to 90% doubles the Conversion Ratio and results in a measurable doubling of the real productivity.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Who benefits from inaccurate polls?

 

Growing up in Lansing, Michigan, Big Time Wrestling was a TV staple.

The Sheik and Bobo Brazil traded off on being "World Champ-een" on a monthly basis.

Every week they folded, mutilated, spindled, ruptured spleens and broke each other's arms. Obviously, people were tougher back then and healed more quickly.

It was 95% theater. Sometimes they would goof up and actually hurt the other person and one of them might get mad and go off-script.

But the back-and-forth was for show and drama and audience.

Who benefits from inaccurate polls?


 

What if the major news outlets, the ones that sell advertising air time, simply rolled dice to create the illusion of a fiercely contested  battle on a state-by-state basis. What if the lead traded hands on a regular basis?

Might that increase the number of viewers? Might it cause the rival parties to open their coffers and spend more money on advertising with the outlets that performed the poll?

 

 

AND...for your viewing enjoyment, I created this computer animation simulating the various polls of the Trump-Biden race. Pay no attention to the commentators.

From the HFA comments

A comment from Tsgt Joe on the Home-field Advantage story

With both sides portraying the current troubles and election as an "existential struggle for the soul of our nation" I'm thinking more and more good people will be inclined to cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war. It wont be as one sided as conservative folks like to believe. There are trained veterans on the liberal side who feel quite strongly that the conservatives are causing all this mess and need to be stopped.

I want to share some of my thinking behind the story.

First, I agree that there are trained veterans on all four sides.

Four sides?

Left, right, lunatic left and lunatic right.*

Depending on how the dance plays out, does the center come together against the lunatics chucking Molotov Cocktails and pulling people out of their vehicles (a mobile castle) and beating them to death?

Imagine a hundred parallel universes where Plantet Earth is in an essentially identical state. How many of those universes would have the center come together? Twenty-of-one-hundred? Five? One?

The lunatic fringe's bench strength

In my humble estimation, this is one of the lunatics' huge weaknesses.

Let's look at Colton from an ecological-niche standpoint. Who would lunatics be most likely to find and promote? 

If you go to a tavern where veterans are known to congregate, how many who claim to have been in some form of Special Forces actually were? Is every person who claims special valor somebody who earned it? Maybe half are pretenders. Maybe one-in-five actually made-the-cut...maybe one-in-twenty.

Let's run with four-of-five people who claim or imply having been in Special Forces as being pretenders. Having been in a large organization, I can attest that the best liars get promoted faster than those who actually do their job without drama.

That is the intellectual basis for Colton and Gregious (or the first generation of lunatic trainers) being pretenders. How quickly will they adapt? Great question, Lysenko (an agricultural scientist) hung on until the mid-1950s and millions starved.

A slow escalation in defense-response favors the lunatics evolving to match.

A breathtakingly rapid escalation of defense-response is more likely to shatter the lunatic's ability to recover and respond. Getting back to the electric fence. If the voltage increased slowly, the animals will learn to defeat it. If the full power of the fence hits one of them directly in the face (or ears), then fear will prevent them from getting close enough to the fence to "learn" anything.

*Hat/tip to Matt Bracken. He breaks out three groups, Loonie-Left, Left and Right. To make Bracken's observation something the center-Left will consider, it is prudent to include the Loonie-Right. Frankly, do you intend to look up a thug's voting history if he is standing thirty feet from your house and he lights the wick of a incendiary device...or are you going to center-punch his sternum?

Home-field advantage: The best defense is the one that spends the fewest minutes on the field

Brad disabled the two power-feeds going to the string of Claymores. He wasn’t going to take the chance on one of the relays being stuck in the closed position.

Then he slithered out to reset the pop-up that he had borrowed from Nelson at the shooting range.

Something he had not anticipated was the sound of mortally wounded men moaning and gasping for breath. And he had forgotten the stench of ruptured bowels and atomized feces.

As he neared the pop-up, he heard somebody trying to contact the team leader by radio. Thinking he had nothing to lose, Brad slithered over to the radio and responded.

“What the HELL was that and why isn’t Colton answering?” the fingernails-on-chalkboard voice demanded.

“We ran into a spot of resistance” Brad answered, truthfully.

“Well, why the hell isn’t that bastard Colton answering?” the voice demanded again.

“Radio trouble” Brad responded. “Gotta catch up to the group so stop radioing me with stupid questions.”

“That ought to get her going!” Brad thought.

As he slithered back toward the pop-up, Brad bumped into a round object that rolled with a familiar, hollow sound. It was an RPG.

Scanning the ground with his monocle, he saw two rounds of ammo as well.

Suddenly, a host of opportunities bloomed in Brad’s mind.

In football, the best defense is the one that spends the fewest minutes on the field. Said another way, a viable offense is key to a robust defense.

Brad was about to go on the offense.

*

Brad took Bjorn and Johnny with him on his raid.

Bjorn and Johnny normally did not team together. Bjorn was a shaggy, mountain of a man. Johnny was an emaciated looking man with roots in southern Italy.

All three men, Brad, Bjorn and Johnny had training with RPG-7 clones at “the university” in eastern West Virginia and could manage to handle them while blind-folded, but Bjorn had proven to have an innate, inborn affinity for the weapon.

Johnny, while not much to look at, could steal the stink-off-shit and was an artist with edged weapons.

Brad...he was the planner and thinker.

Brad left Drew and Toby to maintain over-watch on Shiawassee and Iona streets. The last thing the defenders needed was for the shattered aggressors to pull themselves together and continue their original mission. The other thing was that Brad had an aversion to leaving potentially dangerous enemies in his rear as he infiltrated an enemy position.

Drew and Toby had an important job. They were tasked with killing anything that stirred in Brad’s absence...unless Brad called ahead and said they were in-bound.

The team of three moved east on Shiawassee. They used their ears as much as their night-vision equipment. There are many ways to defeat infrared monitoring. They had used some themselves. A simple foil-lined parka, for instance.

On the other hand, nobody had found a way to post sentries that did not make the sound of breathing.

They were able to move quickly because they had scouted out paths through the downed trees. They also had the advantage of knowing that the boobie-traps were disabled unit AFTER Brad called Toby and told him to reactivate the Shiawassee street defenses.

The team covered the 1300 feet from the corner of Shiawassee and Jenison to the corner of Ionia and Carey street in a blinding forty-five minutes.

Carey street was east of Lahoma, the aggressors presumed jumping-off point.

Johnny moved forward and determined that the corner of Lahoma and Ionia was clear but that there was traffic on Lahoma.

Johnny rejoined the team. They moved an additional two-hundred feet east and then cut across the center of the block to Ottawa street.

Then they strolled west as if they were a group of tardy protesters in a hurry to join the festivities.

As they neared the corner of Lahoma and Ottawa, the three men veered off the road and made as if they needed to pee.

They slumped down into shrubbery sized mounds and awaited developments.

Brad’s scouting on bike had revealed that the intersection with Lahoma was the high-point of Ottawa street. The street sloped upward at a 2% grade from the Hall-of-Justice to Lahoma and then tipped downward into a 3% grade all the way to Spencer Avenue.

Since all of the downed trees were west of Lahoma, the obvious place to put a trailer filled with Molotov Cocktails was on Lahoma.

And there it was. Men were loading crates out of the back of a trailer into kiddie wagons that were being pulled west by men with yellow glow-sticks in their hats.

Bjorn ranged the back of the trailer. It was 140 feet from his position. He did not notice the van seventy feet ahead of it.


*


Bert continued to watch the crowd guarding the parking lot.

It couldn’t be much longer now.

He was going to miss 09-23. He had been issued the truck when Lansing bought it back in 2009. The Federal government paid for it as it attempted to restart the economy and simultaneously reward urban areas that had overwhelmingly voted for the candidate that won.

He had spent more waking hours with that truck than he had spent with Therese. The City told them it was going to be scrapped when he retired. They fully expected another stimulus check and would buy a new one rather than refurnish 09-23.

Bert could have retired ten years ago but Therese had fallen in love with a house in the Florida panhandle. They decided that they wanted to own it, free-and-clear before Bert retired.

And now it was for naught. The bastards that had burned down his house had destroyed nearly every memory he had of her: Nearly every picture and knicknack.

All he had were the few snapshots he carried in his wallet.

When he finished what he had to do here, and he would see it finished, he was going to drive to the park where they took walks. He had a handgun in the glovebox.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Fake News Friday: Xi Jinping reassures American electorate


 

The American electorate was reassured when Xi Jinping vowed to hire CNN to proctor all negotiations between Biden and Jinping to ensure China did not take undue advantage of Biden's cognitive shortcomings.

Home-field advantage: First Blood

 


The demonstrators broke the Do Not Enter tape strung across Ottawa street just west of Jenison.

They only came one-quarter the way down the block toward Spencer Avenue.. They were still a full 450 feet from Spencer when the leading edge stopped.

That is when the speachifying amped up. Then, as the chopper was flying overhead, the demonstrators started putting rolled up strings of fire-crackers in ball chuckers and pitching them in the direction of the Spencer Avenue defenses. 

They were trying to provoke the defenders into shooting.

As the second string was detonating, Alex called Brad. “OK, time to send the decoys our way.”

Brad called out to the closest of the ten elderly people standing in the middle of Ionia Street, the road immediately north of Ottawa. “Time for you to go.”

The ten old men and women made their best time down the middle of Spencer to support the scanty forces arrayed to resist and throw back the demonstrators.

Up in the chopper, Bryce Cunningham watched the fighters desert their posts at the west end of Ionia. The ten fighters showed up as “hot spots” against the 32 degree pavement in Bryce’s infrared monitor.

Bryce radioed down to Michelle Scroom, aka Mitch-Bitch that the back-door was open.


Even as Bryce was talking to Scroom, his monitors for IR (infrared) and NIR (near-infrared) went white as Alex's fireflies turned on their NIR spotlights and pointed them toward the chopper. They aimed the spotlights by means of a video camera mounted to the light and monitor. They knew they were painting the chopper if they kept the chopper in the box in the middle of the monitor's screen.

Mitch-Bitch radioed Colton that it was “Go time”.

Colton told his fighters to un-ass themselves. It was time to leave the corner of Lahoma and Ionia and insert themselves behind the Spencer Avenue defenders.

Colton took the precaution of leaving two of his fighters to guard the intersection of Lahoma and Ionia. Colton wasn’t born yesterday. He left the two most excitable fighters. That is, the ones he least trusted with loaded guns in close proximity to his own, precious hide.

Colton broke the remaining 24 men into three teams. The least competent team was tasked with lugging equipment and were given the middle of the street.

The second most competent fighters were given the south side of Ionia Street to move along.

The third team was the one Colton embedded himself within and they took the north side of Ionia.

The luggers had to weave between downed trees and push through branches.

The teams moving up the sides of the street stayed close to the houses and leap-frogged, first one side moved, then the other.

A man walking at a normal pace cranks out about five feet per second.

In aggregate, the three teams were moving slightly slower than one-foot-per second.

Brad had deployed two fighters on Ionia Street and two additional fighters on Shiawassee as insurance. His fighters on Shiawassee reported no action.

Johnny and Drew heard the aggressors well before they were in the kill-zone. "Hey Brad, we got company coming our way."

Buckles rattled. Boots scuffled leaves. Packs squeaked. Men cursed. 

Brad had been floating between Shiawassee street and Ionia street, ready to support either fire-team. Both approaches had identical setups and, in fact, there was nothing that guaranteed that the aggressors wouldn't planning to use both of them.

Things were going to get exciting in just a few more seconds….

*

I had been surprised that Brad, Darryl and Alex were so worried about being “in the right” before opening up on the demonstrators. *

As far as I was concerned, they had shown their colors when burning down my Mother’s house.

Brad explained later that Alex had to win at three different levels.

The defenders had to win at the physical “defend the neighborhood level”. I was good with that.

The defenders also had to win in the court-of-public-opinion. Whether the defenders were legally justified or not was irrelevant if it looked bad on TV.

Finally, the defenders needed to be able to defend their actions in a potentially hostile court.

It wasn’t enough to funnel the aggressors into the perfect kill-sack and have Brad’s tiny force kill all of them. Brad had to be totally and obviously be in-the-right when he dropped the hammer-of-God on them.

*

The oncoming aggressors did not hear the small Honda generator running in a nearby basement. The power-cord fed out through an open window and then down three runs of 14 gauge Romex laid on the ground.

When Brad judged them to be perfectly in the kill-sack, he yanked the cord that held the pop-up target level to the ground.

The man-shaped target popped up ten yards in front of the group coming up the center of the street. Brad then spoke sternly into the microphone “Halt! Who goes there?” which played out through the speaker near the pop-up’s pivot.

Predictably, the group in the road dropped their loads, shouldered their weapons and every man-jack of them emptied their magazines at the pop-up.

Brad then activated a switch which started the detonation of the string of firecrackers behind the pop-up which remained standing in spite of being riddled with bullet holes.

The two groups that were working their way up the sides of the street dived into between the houses for cover at the sound of the popup's challenge. The more aggressive among them peeked around the corner of the house to see what the guys in the street were shooting at.

That is when Brad flipped on the lights.

One-hundred-twenty-thousand lumens of bright-white light smoked the aggressor’s retinas as they looked directly into the six lamps normally used to illuminate parking lots.

This was one of the riskier parts of the venture for Brad’s force. Brad's forces had their eyes closed.

Brad turned the light off after one full “One-Mississippi”.

Then Brad flipped the cover off the second switch and activated the Claymore mines that had been planted between the houses.

Everybody in the internet will tell you that it is impossible to replicate the standard, US Military Claymore mine with commercially available materials.

They are absolutely right. But Brad didn’t have the same constraints that shaped the Claymore.

For example, they didn’t need to be compact enough so five of them easily fit in a backpack.

Once Brad made the decision to package the improvised Claymores in five-gallon buckets, it was a piece of cake to not only match the Claymore’s performance but to exceed it.

The switch that Brad pressed closed relays up-and-down the line. In addition to the relays, every Claymore had a motion-activated IR sensor “borrowed” from the kind of inexpensive security lights available at every big-box store.

If the IR sensor had seen motion in the past 12 seconds, then the Claymore detonated milliseconds after the relay closed.

It was like ground-sluicing rafts of sleeping ducks. The two elite teams that had taken shelter between the houses were shredded.

The team standing in the middle of the street had empty magazines and were blindly fumbling to reload.

Brad, Johnny and Drew mowed them down. The M-855 ammo made short work of their “bullet-proof” vests without the chicken plates.

Each aggressor got three-tapped. Two the the chest and one to the head. The night-vision captured the video of the aggressors attempting to reload and return fire as they were mowed down.

A couple of the men were runners. The IR sensor on the Claymore between the next set of houses east of the kill-zone saw them as they ran by and detonated. 

Colton was beaned in the head with a half-inch, Grade 8 nut traveling at a pedestrian 2000 feet per second. The fancy electronic hearing muffs did nothing to protect Colton’s head. The other man took a couple of nuts to the chest.

The entire encounter was captured on security cams. The segment where aggressors started shooting at the pop-up was recorded from four different camera angles. Gary immediately uploaded it to the channel. Gary also uploaded the footage captured by the nightvision scopes.

Fifteen seconds into the engagement it was Defenders 24, Aggressors 0. 

 

* A big tip-of-the-hat to Windham at ammo.com for his pointing out that members of the military, active and retired, will not shoot U.S. civilians.

Like all rules, there are some tiny exceptions.

In any large group of people, there will be a small percentage who are unhinged.

In the case of Brad and Darryl's force, the aggressors had to be unmasked and forced to declare the fact that they represent a clear and imminent threat to innocent people. 

A sentry challenging unknown people in the night qualifies as innocent.

Hence the use of the pop-up target.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Logic test: If candidates were products

 

Logic test: Draw a line that connects the candidate's name with the icon that most accurately describes them.

ERJ gets a fishing buddy

 

Once upon a time I was a fairly serious fisherman. I specialized in fishing the Grand River. My favorite stretch was between Grand Ledge and Portland, Michigan.

Our go-to lure was the common, soft-plastic, grub-bodied, spinnerbait. The Johnson Beetle-spin was an example of this type of lure.

This kind of lure had many advantages for that kind of fishing. They cast easily. They are resistant to hanging up since it only has a single hook and the hook is shrouded by the "safety pin" wire. They don't twist the line the way a common spinner will. They catch fish, always a bonus for a fishing lure. And they were inexpensive.

Then life happened. Work. Romance. Kids.

My kids were not particularly interested in fishing, at least with me.

Image my surprise when I stubbed my toe on a 12 year-old, young man who REALLY likes going fishing. And his parents are in the middle of life: romance, work, kids, Covid.

The young man's parents are more than willing to let me take the young man fishing.

I see it as God giving me the gift of a trial run at grandparenting.

My problem is that I need a source of inexpensive lures. I went on-line and the type of lure shown above costs $6 apiece.

I know I have at least two readers who are avid fishermen. Can any of my readers advise me? Purchasing components and assembling them is an option.

UPDATE: Found spinnerbaits at Walmart for 88 cents each. I still want to pursue having The Kid make his own.


Home-field advantage: Egress


The bartender was slammed with orders.

The crowd was riveted to the TV screen.

The had come to the bar to watch sports. What is sports but a pale imitation of war? What was unfolding in front of them was war-in-real-time.

It was the first time the bartender had ever received an order for a pitcher of premium scotch-and-waters.

The manager called his peers at the other Corporate locations.

They had recently received an email informing them that the quarterly Profit-sharing incentive was projected to be zero due to slow sales.

A large part of that profit-sharing was based on regional sales. Corporate had recently made that change to increase manager’s willingness to shift employees between sites.

The manager called the other three outlets in the D.C. Metro area. Those managers turned one TV to the live-feed.

The bar-bills from those rooms blew up. They went off the charts. The customers were pre-buying the drinks for the night. Not knowing how long the riot would last, they over-bought by a generous amount. Who wants to be standing in line at the bar when the shit got real?

There was a generous sprinkling of military men in those bars, not unexpected in watering holes close to the Pentagon. “Holy FUCK!” one of them burst out. He recognized the distinctive silhouette of a Soviet RPG.

*

Alyssa questioned her sanity for the fifteenth time.

Her friend Katy had pushed all of her buttons. Katy’s Uncle Bert was trapped inside the Hall-of-Justice. Katy would have rescued Uncle Bert herself but her leg was in a cast.

Katy told Alyssa about Aunt Therese, Uncle Bert’s wife. Her doctor’s visit was cancelled back in March even though she was having difficulty producing a bowel movement and wasn’t eating anything.

By the time things opened up the cancer was everywhere. Even then Aunt Therese had an outside chance of beating it. The cancer, although aggressive was treatable.

The civil unrest made it less-than-prudent to go to big-city hospitals. She opted out of treatment.

She died three-weeks later from a cancer known to have a better than 75%, five-year survival rate.

Uncle Bert was a broken man.

Katy sent Alyssa pictures of her Uncle Bert. He looked like a fuzzy teddy bear.

Alyssa was 5’-7” and willowy. “Willowy” is an occupational hazard of people who are spinning and aerobics instructors. At age 31 she had given up on romance. The young men seemed to be looking for somebody to mother them.

Deep, deep in her soul she had always wanted children, a husband and yes, even a white picket fence.

Tonight, she was going to settle for saving a teddy-bear.

She let herself into the entryway in the southwest corner of the building using the visitor's key-card Katy’s father had given her.

Alyssa lowered her backpack to the floor and tucked herself into a poorly lit corner.

The backpack held a 4XL fluorescent, turquoise hoodie and a Where’s Waldo stocking cap.

The plan was to put him in disguise and then slip out the door. Then, they would look just like any one of a dozen other couples...slipping away and looking for a dark place to pursue romance.

*

International news media picked up the livestream out of Lansing. They found the old man daring the Marxists to a rematch. They ran that, too. 

They also ran a small snippet of the CZZ footage from the chopper showing the eight men standing guard behind a row of Jersey barriers. The low definition footage had just enough detail where an observant man could see their rifles were being held port-arms.

The footage also showed a multitude of tents between and behind the men.

Once again, the mainstream media state-side had been out-scooped by CZZ. They saw their on-line audience dwindle. Following the cookies they saw it all going to CZZ...and an up-start streaming service.

Following the cookies to the new service, they saw the terms of use were “Attribution required. Time/date stamp must be visible to viewers at all times.

Hell, free video that was even closer to the action than CZZ. CZZ’s competitors were on it like hobos on a basket of ham sandwiches.

*

The demonstrators were stretched out between Jenison and Lahoma when the power to the neighborhood dropped.

Unlike earlier demonstrations, nobody used torches made from rolls of toilet paper impaled on sticks and soaked in kerosene. They used LED camping lanterns held up on poles.

Individual protestors carried glow-sticks of various colors.

One of the military men in Maryland commented “I bet the colors mean something” referring to the glow sticks.

The on-line streaming first went dark, then flipped to NIR illuminated security cameras powered by commercial UPS units intended to keep personal computers running in the event of power outages.

One of the old-guys on the fire-fly channel piped Alex “Now?”

Alex responded “Not yet”.

It was a dance. The aggressors made a move. The defenders watched. The aggressors made a move. They watched. Like a snake watching the bird hop closer.

It was not time for the defenders to strike. Not yet, but soon, very soon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Dyslexics for Biden

 


Covid health scores and managing risk

There are multiple services that calculate "Credit Scores".

Credit scores are used by banks and other lending institutions to manage risk. They place customers in bins based on credit score. The lowest bins are not eligible for loans at most banks.

Intermediate bins are offered a spectrum of products with the lowest bins being offered loans with the shortest duration and the highest interest rates.

Customers with higher credit scores are offered ranges of products with longer duration and lower interest rates.

Banks don't offer "better" products to customers with higher credit scores because the "like" them. Banks have a target profit rate for every loan. Lower credit scores are linked to higher default rates. The banks float the parameters of the loans offered to customers based on the profit potential as predicted by the credit score.

Why not a Covid score?

By now there is enough information around Covid to cook up a Covid risk score.

Age, BMI, heart-disease, diabetes, exercise habits, blood-type, gender and so on.

The picture in my head is that the Covid score would be advisory in nature and range from zero-to-eight-hundred exactly like credit scores.

"The best science" would make recommendations regarding risks of various activities. A weekly, cumulative risk would be suggested for each bin.

Suppose you were a twenty-something year-old with a very high Covid-health score. You get to decide whether a half-hour in a pub outweighs 20 hours at the beach. Or you can say "screw-it" and spend every happy hour at the pub but at least you have the information.

Or, if you are in a higher-risk bin you have a way to manage the risk. Suppose a person is in her sixties and has NO other risk factors. Does spending an hour in a Walmart or church pose any more risk to her than jaywalking across the street in the city?

The fear and panic is driven by the sense of loss-of-control.

Most of the fear would evaporate if people could access an on-line Covid health score calculator and the risk of various activities were denominated in Walmart-shopping-hour-equivalents.

Why Walmart? Because they have a bazillion employees and the large sample size makes it possible to tease out the incremental risk of getting Covid based on the number of hours each employee (by age group) spent working at Walmart.

People who are concerned about Covid could juggle their activities to stay beneath the advised total-weekly-risk while maximizing their benefit. The link between the Covid health score and the cumulative risk would be the stake-in-the-ground that defines "prudent risk".

Make it visual

The map-board is now posted at the hunting lease.

The map shows 2' topographical graduations and is printed on a 16" square of "bumper-sticker" stock. It is mounted on a galvanized, steel sheet so magnets will stick
 

The requirement is that if you are hunting on the property that you must put the magnet with your avatar on the stand or location you will be hunting.

Every hunter must do that before they go afield.

Every hunter must move his magnet back to the bottom after they leave the field.

The "bumper-sticker" was printed by Eric Mergener. Eric can be reached at emprint45@gmail.com  I thought the cost was very reasonable at about $50. The map-board is on the north side of the shed and should last for more than a decade.

The avatars

These stickers will be put on 1" magnets to create the movable avatars.

So far various hunters chose meatballs, pancakes, pineapple, the pickle, the cool-guy broccoli. I believe I will choose the Big Cheese.