Monday, December 31, 2018

Never lost a foundation yet

Reader John commented in the post on Violent Flash Mobs:

I recall reading the Bracken article when it was first published - thanks for the link. It holds up on the re-read. My question is how much preparation is in place now for the riots/mobs? I think the caravan has shown us that tyranny is very well organized.

My gut feel is that the powers will write off vast swaths of America when the shit goes down.

Let's play a simple mind exercise.

Migrants and refugees are typically relocated in metropolitan areas for ease of providing services.

Most African refugees, for instance, landed in Minneapolis-St Paul, Atlanta, Washington DC and San Diego. Is it possible that they were placed there due to the proximity of world-class medical facilities (Mayo/U-Minn, CDC-Emory, Johns-Hopkins and so on) to identify and contain potential diseases?

While it would be epic karma if Ebola were next found in the DC metro area, let's assume it shows up in Minnesota or Dallas or Atlanta. For the sake of argument, let's say this happened in Minnesota.

Likely it will be found when some seventh grade kid in the Lutheran sports league collapses during a fast break and spews bloody mist into the air. The video will make Facebook. The medical investigators will find that the kid is patient twenty and there is not a snowball's chance of getting our arms around all of the contacts.

In two days there will be no more food shipments into Minneapolis-St Paul and 40% of the population will have decamped to "the cottage". Or perhaps their family in Chicago. Maybe they will hop on a plane and fly to LA.

In a week Chitcago will be abandoned. There are not enough police or military to hold the line. It is not defensible. Too many means of egress in-and-out.

Did it strike you as strange that Obama did not move back to Chicago where he is revered like a saint? Odd, that.

The tyrants will castle up in Washington DC and a few other places. The people in NYC assume they are one of those places but odds are that it is not.

Let's change directions.

80% mortality means near 100% mortality in cities because the infrastructure will dissolve like toilet paper in a hurricane.

That will happen to a smaller degree in Rednecklandia. In those places where people can do a little bit of everything. We might not do it well, but we can run fork-trucks and garden and shoot guns and run IVs and wiring and plumbing.

Lets assume 20% of the 15-to-30 year old demographic goes to the dark side.  The Lansing area has 400,000 people. That demographic is about 100,000 when MSU is not in session. 20% of them going off-the-rails is an army of 20,000 but only 20% of them, max, will survival the plague. Now we are down to 4000 vicious scum in 1500 square miles or seventy-five psychopaths per township.

Areas with organic political structure will be able to re-assemble order. These will be communities with leaders who can project personality and have character equity. In Eaton Rapids, I know that if Paul Maleski promises me something he will do everything in his power to deliver. If Paul said, "We need to put together a militia and engage in mutual aid." there might be much jibber-jabber but it will be done. And if Paul were to fall to the plague, there are a dozen others standing behind him capable of picking up the flag.

Areas where political structure is nourished with graft, corruption and spoils will roll-over when the feed trough is empty. I don't see enough people ponying up and self-organizing to deal with their 75 psychopaths.

Your core question was: "How much preparation is in place now for the riots/mobs?"

My gut feel is that the tyrants have a default plan to let the building burn down to the foundation.

Times Square

Every year tens of millions of TV viewers watch a ball in New York City. The networks like to say a billion people watch but I don't believe them. But I will spot them a penny on the dollar because I am generous.

It serves to confirm that New York City Utilities Commission paid the gravity bill for the up-coming year.

So I am baffled. Why do people run around like their hair is on fire when the stock market falls. Surely the moral to the story is that what goes up will come down.

Kitchen gardens

Mrs ERJ had a dedicated kitchen garden last year.

Most of her selections were "salad stuff": Romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, snap peas, green beans, green onions and such.

We chose the location for maximum  convenience but one of the things we overlooked was that the site was shadier than the last time we gardened there due to growing shade trees.

Consequently, we will be moving it o a sunnier location for 2019. Alas, it will be farther away from the kitchen.

The garden will get a few other tweaks. She wants a cherry tomato with smaller fruit than the one she grew last year. She grew a Romano type green bean last year and she favors a round-pod version.

My role in Mrs ERJ's garden venture is to do the rough stuff. I till it and fence it and put wood chips around the perimeter for easy walking. Other than that, it is Mrs ERJ's sand box to do with as she likes.

It worked well. It filled her vision of having one, compact place she could go and pick a dinner salad. The tidy size also made it easy to care for.

One of my brothers is thinking of purchasing a handgun

Does anybody want to hazard a guess regarding his caliber of choice?

He asked me about handloading ammo.

I responded by asking him about his intended uses. A firearm is a tool just like a drill. It makes holes. Before you purchase a drill you consider whether you want to put holes in concrete, paper, lumber or metal.

It is the same with a firearm. Do you intend to plink tin cans or shoot angry mama bears? It makes a difference.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Violent flash-mobs

Matt Bracken wrote a piece back in 2012 where he outlines a plausible breakdown in social order in the United States. Copy here.

I have a few minor quibbles with the piece. He ignores the young/old axis and, in my opinion, over-weights the correlation between the wealth axis and the urban/non-urban axis.

One thing I do agree with is that "flash-mobs" are likely to be the aggression of choice.

Maybe it is no surprise, but the internet has been scrubbed of nearly all images of violent flash-mobs.  I was merely curious to see if I could visually pick out elements of Command-and-Control.

Are those cop bicycles? Or are those elements of the mob's command-and-control?

Man on bike on right side of photo near the front. There may be others. A violent flash-mob is not likely to have women carrying purses. Anybody carrying a satchel, tote or purse is likely to be an element of the c&c structure. Nor will you see TV cameras in a violent flash-mob.
Bridges are a natural choke point that have been popular with protestors. Very difficult to get an effective defilade angle because of elevation and lack of positions but it is a kill sack for the enfilade position. The guy on the bike is in the upper left corner. They seem to like corners....
Maybe I am over thinking the bike thing. Or maybe I am not.

It would be interesting to watch some time-lapse video. That is the best way to find the queen bee.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

FAANGs fall from grace

Facebook is struggling with their public image. The general public was stunned to learn that Zuckerberg was motivated by profit. They feel betrayed to learn that there was the equivalent of a video camera in what they considered to be a confessional booth.

Alexa from Amazon tracked our every move and those of our minor children.

Netflix keeps records of what we watch "to better serve us".

Google tracks us via Android.

So far the only FAANG with an untarnished halo is Apple. But one must wonder "for how much longer?"

Bella is convinced that Apple deliberately degrades product performance and codes in "glitches" when they introduce new products. She reloaded the OS. She dumped a bunch of Apps that might have been problematic, but now her older iPhone is becoming much less usable.

I long felt that way about Verizon. I believe that they degrade bandwidth based on the profitability of the customer. As a customer with an inexpensive, low profit margin flip-phone my calls are the first to be dropped when there is a lot of traffic.

What other industries would accept this as normal? Can you imagine an auto that offered lower fuel economy or safety or battery life when GM or Toyota or Tesla introduced the next more-whizbang, more profitable model?

When non-tipplers buy New Years libations

"Honey, I am going to the grocery store. Is there anything you want me to pick up?" the ever lovely and talented Mrs ERJ asked.

Thinking of New Year's Eve I suggested, "A few bottles of IPA would be delightful."

Comparing the 5.56X45mm NATO with the .243 Winchester at long distances

Velocity in feet per second. Range in yards. All calculations done with Hornaday's Ballistic Calculator
62 grain 855 projectile in the 5.56mm and 105 match hollowpoint in the 243 Win with a G1 of .53

Initial velocities of 3000fps for the 5.56mm and 2800fps for the .243 Win.

The .243 Win has as much energy at 800 yards as the 5.56mm has at 200 yards.
But can you hit with it?

At 800 yards, a 13 yard miscalculation in range results in a 12" drop error for the 5.56mm. That is enough drop to take a bullet out of a 24" tall target zone. For the .243 Winchester, a 21 yard miscalculation in range will result in 12" of error.
If the first rule of gun fighting is to hit the target, then the .243 Win is 58% better than the 5.56mm. It also has less wind drift.

  • Shorter barrel life.
  • 35% less ammo per pound carried
  • More recoil

Friday, December 28, 2018

20 pounds of batteries

And then there is the bane of every technology user: batteries. “Almost everything a soldier carries today requires batteries,” notes James King in a piece for the Modern War Institute. Batteries for the platoon’s AN/PRC-117 radio weigh four lbs. each, and the radio burns through them rapidly. King estimates that the average soldier goes into action with a hefty 20 lbs of batteries.

Add in body armor at 20 pounds, M4 + ammo load at 15, personal gear, grenades, etc. and the personal kit for an infantry soldier tips the scales at 75 pounds.

Then add squad weapons and ammo. Belts of ammo, base plates for mortars, manpads.....and the grunt is staggering out into the field carrying 150 pounds or more.

Not too many petite cheerleaders humping that load, no matter how fit.

You can see why there is much incentive to make the personal weapon more effective. One reason for the Squad Automatic Weapon (machine gun) and mortar are the range and penetration limitations of the 5.56mm round.

A magazine of 5.56mm with thirty rounds weighs about a pound. Thirty aimed rounds can do a lot of damage and ditching ten pounds of something means another three hundred rounds for the soldier's personal weapon. That has to be a comfort.

Maybe it is time to upgrade the 855 round to include a carbide tip in a hardened steel carrier. Another proposal would be to upgrade to something similar to the .243 Winchester although you would be hard pressed to keep a magazine with 20 rounds under a pound.

Why is it hard to find a good "parenting" counselor?

Well, for one thing it is hard to find one who has walked the mile in your shoes.

83%-to-88% of social workers are women and counseling demands a Master's degree.

Psychology is similar with about 70% of counselors being women.

20% of women with college degrees have no children at all. That is down from 30% twenty years ago. Most women with advanced degrees delay child bearing until their mid-thirties if they have any children at all.

Median wages for a social worker are about $42k per year or roughly $21/hour. It is pretty tough paying back that $75,000 student loan at that rate.

Leftist ideology and parenting

Leftists promote Rousseau's concept of the noble savage. They contend that humans, children in particular, are inherently wise and kind and generous and rational and will always prefer broccoli to Snickers bars.

That means that if a child is disturbing the harmony of the family it is because the parents screwed up the child by reliance on traditional, western parenting models.

The way to straighten out the situation is for the parents to demonstrate LOVE the child by GIVING them everything the child desires. Having regained the child's trust, the child will reflect that love back to the parents. What is baffling is that this sometimes works...just like some people win at Power-ball big drawing. In a universe of near infinite the unlikely becomes inevitable...for a few lucky ones.

One of the reasons that social workers in foster care have such a high burnout rate is due to the cognitive dissonance that first hand exposure to REAL children causes. REAL children lie, steal, are mean, act on sexual urges, victimize other children, start fires inside houses, engage in wanton destruction and many kids in foster care have their survival skills honed to give a hungry leopard a run for the money.

It would be interesting to see what the rate of childlessness, normalized for education level, is for social workers and psychologists. At first blush one might expect it to be higher than the norm due to selection for "nurturing" individuals. But one might expect it to be lower due to exposure to the little blighters.

By the time social workers and psychologists actually have children, say when they are 37, they either left the profession for a lucrative, lower stress career at Walmart or moved into management. Since nearly all of the funding for counseling originates from the government and insurance companies there is no shortage of administrative overhead that must be tended to.

Yes, bleak but not hopeless.

There are some good counselors out there but you may have to "fire" a few of them as you sort through your needs.

As a parent who has had a bumpy ride, I will vouch for DBT. DBT is a skills based approach. Repetitions equals increased skill equals comfort equals that plate floating to the top of the stack. DBT might not be the best tool for every situation but it worked for the rocks we stubbed our toes on.

Another thing that I found helpful was the movement in livestock (like cattle) that emphasizes stress-free handling. Temple Grandin pretty much created this movement.
Search "animal flight zones stress free handling". Most people with no experience moving animals will park in the blind spot. The animal then turns to see the potential threat rather than going in the direction the driver desires. It is not intuitive to somebody used to driving a vehicle.
Ms Grandin is autistic and she was born with the gift of "sensing" how a herd animal react location and proximity of potential predators. It reminded me that different people respond to different cues. A cue that is completely opaque to how you smell or the radio station...can set off your child or calm him down. And you have no fricking clue.

You need to study your kid just like they studied you.

Who is "Ashley Madison" and why is she stalking me?

Don't look to the internet for wisdom.

I, for one, don't have any special insights.

Ashley Madison
 I asked Belladonna to reverse the AM filters to reveal what Ashley Madison looked like before Photoshopping and air brushing. Bella has some skills.
I am being stalked by some chick named Ashley Madison. I think she has multiple personalities. Her picture keeps changing although she always displays magnificent d├ęcolletage.

Government shutdown

A massive protest, 18 people by count, showed up to protest the government shutdown. The other 3 million furloughed employees said they would protest if they were paid to do so.
Schumer's people are most impacted by the shutdown: Government employees, food stamp recipients and the like. That makes it Trump's fault for not folding. Huh?

The Stock Market

The market is fishtailing like a 2WD pickup truck on an icy road.

One the positive side our heating oil tank is full, Belladonna and Kubota are home and Mrs ERJ still likes me.

Fun stuff

My friend brought over his AR today and Belladonna shot eggs, chunks of potato and full water bottles. She was spattered with mashed potatoes and mud when we were done. She suggested that an AR would be ideal for the zombie apocalypse.

I might get her one for a graduation gift.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

What did YOU get for Christmas?

Best fruiting plants for preppers

Cherry tomatoes
65 days from transplant. High in vitamin C. If you lose a few fruit to splitting or insects, it is not a big deal. Indeterminate varieties have a longer fruiting period and can scramble over other plants. Said another way, indeterminate, cherry tomatoes are good choices for casual and guerrilla gardening. Determinate, or bush types tend to have one big crop.

I have seen jungles of cherry tomatoes growing wild on sandbars in the Red Cedar river. That was before the storm drains were separated from wastewater sewers.

A couple of decent choices are Black Cherry and Gold(en) Nugget both with 42 micrograms/ml of vitamin C. Both are readily available in commerce. An old Italian variety, Sponzillo, boasts 65 micrograms/ml. As a class, cherry tomatoes are richer in vitamin C than full sized tomatoes.

Produce fruit the next spring from planting. Leaves are a rich source of vitamin C during the winter months when few green leaves are available to "beef up" tea.

Sensitive to competition with weeds.

Black Currants
Chose varieties that are not alternate hosts to White Pine Blister Rust. Those include Titania, Consort, Ben Lomond, Ben Nevis, Ben Sarek.  Titania is a tall plant and easy to pick.

In the north, they yield more in full sun but are less fussy than many fruiting plants about partial shade. They also appear to be poor drainage.

Rich in vitamin C. Intense flavor.

Tree fruits
Tree fruits are close to my heart but I have reservations about recommending them, primarily due to the time lag between planting and first harvest but also due to the amount of care, i.e. spraying, required to get a crop.

Asian pears, as a class, are about as bulletproof a prepper tree as you are likely to find. Naturally of short stature and precocious. Disease resistant and surprisingly bug-free, Asian pears should be on the prepper's short list.

Mrs ERJ's favorite variety is Chojuro. Korean Giant and Shinko are other good choices with Korean Giant getting the nod for flavor.
Some of the Red Leaved plums have acceptable fruit quality.  One such cultivar is "Hollywood".

American plums are also a "sleeper". As a native fruit they are relatively care free. They don't bear heavily every year but that may be due to lack of attention. Most unselected varieties are "spitters" but you will find some better specimens if you keep looking. South Dakota is a named variety and Potawatomi plum is a seed-grown strain that was once common in Utah.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

You might be a prepper if...

It is tough to beat commercial "throwing knives" for spear tips. Remove wrapping from handle. Cut or split down the center of your shaft. Drill a cross hole. Insert point. Drive rivet or bolt. Wrap with wire, fish line or other cordage. Look for Sabre Tooth Tigers to ventilate.
Avoid this style of blade for spear points. The backward pointing barbs can hang up on ribs and leave you vulnerable when the tiger's chums join the fray.  The Romans had this figured out 2200 years ago.
Throwing knives are sharp, have the right shape to facilitate pulling the spear out of the Tiger for repeat jabs, are made of hardened steel and often have a rivet hole.

They are also incredibly economical, often available for little more than one dollar a point.

What these "throwing knives" are not: They are not a viable defensive tool as throwing knives. For one thing they are much too light. For another, why would you give your opponent a weapon, i.e. throw your weapon to him?

Simple solutions

Source of story and image.  Hat-tip Lucas Machias

I love five cent solutions to million dollar problems.

West Virginia determined that dumping loads of limestone "sand" on the banks of streams is a cost effective way to address low pH (acid) streams.

West Virginia suffers from the double whammy of being downwind of the coal-fired power generation plants that carpet the Ohio River valley, thus getting a significant amount of acid rain. They also have mine tailings that are rich in sulphides that, in turn, leach acids and heavy metals into streams as rain percolates through them.

Many researchers developed schemes to inject carbonates into streams to neutralize them. That requires power, maintenance and significant investment.

The West Virginia approach leans heavily on the fact that the pH drops when it rains. The acid falls out of the sky. The acid increases as it percolates through the tailings.

The stream rises after it rains.

Ergo, dump a big pile of the buffer (limestone or dolomite) on the bank of the stream.

Failing that, dump it in one of the big ditches where runoff will wash some of the finely ground limestone into the stream.

The problem, a surge in low pH water, fixes the problem.

Shoe repair fail

The repair delaminated

I am 95% sure I failed to remove the mold-release from the back of the tire patch as the adhesive stuck to the ground-down shoe sole with the tenacity of a landlord hanging onto a damage deposit. The adhesive did not stick to the tire patch.
Back to the drawing board. Next try will be with sandpaper unless my loyal readers can direct me to a solvent that is likely to work. Then we can have a horse race.

Gratuitous flower picture

The weather is downright balmy outside today. It was warm enough to fool this dandelion.

Average Heights and Weights in the US

White men......202 pounds
White women...171

Hispanic men.....190
Hispanic women...169

Black men......198
Black women...186

Asian men......161
Asian women...132

Average height of all men is 5'-7"
Average height of all women is 5'-3"


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Dueling casseroles

Kid's casserole on the left. Adult casserole on the right.

I take my role of peacemaker very seriously. I ate two helpings of both and pronounced them both good.

It is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

Blessings to all

Source of image

Monday, December 24, 2018

A funny story about cancer

I ran into Ron at a gun shop recently. He was a friend from my working days.

He asked how my family was and I told him about my brother dying from cancer back in February.

Then he told me that he wanted to share a funny cancer story.

That is when I remembered that his younger brother died of cancer back in 2006 when we were working together.

Ron had driven out to Colorado to pick him up. He may have had family out there but they were not in position to support him in his final days.

As they were driving back, it transpired that Ron's brother was smoking pot as that was the only thing that gave him relief from both nausea and pain. Unfortunately, the brother's stash was quickly dwindling.

Ron called ahead to his wife, a saintly, church-going woman. "Gretchen, you need to go out and buy some pot for my brother. We will be down to crumbs by the time we get back to Michigan."

Gretchen, who knew that God moved in mysterious ways only asked one question: "How much?"

Ron, distracted by the traffic absent-mindedly responded, "Just get a quarter."

Arriving at the family home in mid-Michigan Gretchen told Ron that the pot had been extremely expensive.

Ron, knowing of Gretchen's inexperience figured that she had not known who to go to and get a good price.

"How much?" Ron asked.

"It cost a $1000 even. Good thing we had that much in the safe." Gretchen replied.

After Ron pried his jaw off the floor he asked, "Who did you buy it from?"

Gretchen told him a fellow that Ron thought had reasonable prices...and Ron was mystified.

Then Gretchen handed Ron a baggie with a 1/4 pound of weed in it.

Ron assumed Gretchen would know he meant a 1/4 ounce.

Looking at the bag, Ron sniffed and said, "He should have given you a wholesale discount."

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Tough Love

One of the local papers ran a story of a child who dropped dirty and her dad kicked her out.

It was the dad's story.

Several years later, his daughter died in bathroom stall in a restaurant from a drug over-dose.

The dad was lamenting "tough love." He said it does not work but he was unable to offer any alternatives.

Mrs ERJ was deeply touched by the story. We talked about it.

One of the things we sorted out is that "tough love" comes in many different flavors.

One end of the spectrum is defined by the parents getting counseling from a competent professional and often involves defining a clear path(s) for the young person to crawl back into the life-boat.

The other end of the spectrum often involves a single parent and a child of the opposite gender. The parent is overwhelmed and often has their own demons to wrestle with. The parent drop-kicks the kid out the door and that-is-that.

Like Eskimos and their 47 words to define different types of snow; perhaps it is past time to define the various flavors of "tough love" so distressed parents realize there is a menu of options available to help them.

LexDysia is no matter laughing

Snipped from photos of smokeless powder containers.

I had good results with H335 for a long time, until once I didn't. Twice in one day. I pulled the rest, all the charges were a-ok so I became instantly paranoid. 

Twere me I'd look more toward an H322 burn rate. But that's why we handload, stuff works different for everyone.  -A comment on a widely read outdoor forum

If you cruise around the internet looking at powders for reloading the .223 Remington/5.56X45mm NATO round you will undoubtedly run across stories of Hodgdon H-335 causing guns to blow up.

There are a lot of things a reloader can do that will raise the pressure to dangerous levels.
  • The bullet too far forward can contact the rifling. 
  • Changing firearms can cause problems because some chambers have more "freebore" than others. A load that is fine with a generous throat can generate excessive pressure when the rifling starts closer to the mouth of the cartridge.
  • Seating bullet too far back reduces powder space in the cartridge.
  • Inadequate neck tension or not crimping can result in the bullet migrating back into the case after repeated chamberings.
  • Changing the bullet from a lead-to-jacketed-to-monometal can raise the pressure as can substituting a heavier bullet of the same construction. 
  • Failure to trim your brass as it stretches will also cause pressures to spike as will leaving your ammo on the dash of your truck on a hot day.
This is what a bottle of smokeless propellant (gun powder) looks like.

One factor that rarely gets talked about is the risk of grabbing the wrong container. To somebody who is dyslexic or in a hurry, an upside down 2 looks like a five. Anybody want to bet that the person who made the comment at the top of this post had both powders on his reloading shelf?

Changing the label would reduce the chances of a mistaken identity. One possibility would be to add a hyphen and then EXTREME in the same font as the H322.

The maximum load for H335 is 10% higher than for H322. If you grabbed the bottle of H322 and started assembling 55gr .223 Rem ammo with 25 grains of powder you are asking for trouble.

One partial solution is to simplify. A smaller portfolio of powders and projectiles minimizes the possibility of destroying your firearm and body parts.

One portfolio, from fast-to-slow might be
  • Unique (handguns and shotguns)
  • H-110 (magnum handguns and 300 Blackout)
  • TAC (small-to-medium bore/capacity rifles)
  • Reloader-17 (medium-to-magnum bore/capacity rifles)
Are there holes? Sure there are. But the names are very different and the only two where the physical product looks similar (both spherical powders) are H-110 and TAC. 

The other place one can simplify is to reduce the weights and brands of projectiles. Lets be reasonable here, if you are close enough to hit a snake with birdshot, you can hit it with at least one of your six shots of hollowpoints or semi-wadcutters. Almost any 165gr .308 projectile (Hornady, Nosler, Remington, Winchester, Speer, Sierra, etc.) out of any case the size of a 30-30 Winchester or larger will kill anything from small deer to moose.

I don't have a huge investment in those four powders. You could do just as well or better with four or five of your favorites. But give it a little bit of consideration. God only gave you two eyes and five fingers.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Getting old is not for sissies

As a youth I was susceptible to acne. That was back before General Practitioners and Dermatologists handed out Doxycycline wholesale. Now kids in sixth grade compare when they get their prescription. It is a right of passage.

One advantage of something like acne is that it is a canary-in-the-coal mine regarding excessive fat consumption. It meets the requirements of a good signal. It is impossible to ignore and it is sensitive.  Impossible to ignore and sensitive except when we ply kids with antibiotics and isotretinoin.

So I try to look at my first bout of hemorrhoids in a positive light. My body is trying to tell me something.

The most likely culprit is lifting heavy things. Yeah, I know...any competent man ought to be able to lift an 80 pound box, flip it onto his shoulder and carry it up the stairs and put it down. Then he should be able to pick it back up and carry it down the stair and drop it. Then pick it up again and carry it up the stairs and slide it into the back of the van.

It would not have been so bad if it wasn't in a box. Hard to grab that floppy sucker.

My plan is to spend the next couple of weeks eating lots of bananas and fiber, drinking much water, taking vitamin C and not lifting heavy sh!t. All things considered, having a wake-up call like that just before I am sixty is a good thing. Far better than having an aneurysm blow-out while water skiing.

Do these things ever resolve without intervention? Do NSAIDs like ibuprofen help or hurt w/r to healing? Just curious.

Friday, December 21, 2018

The power of enough

Another blog added to the blog roll: Wilder, Wealthy, and Wise.

If you want to get a sense of John Wilder's writing, read this post.

I admire both his thinking and his writing ability. He seamlessly weaves personal stories, images and wisdom. My dad would say Mr Wilder has his head screwed on straight.

Former Eaton Rapids girl starts new career in Florida


“Lemon Pickers Needed” read the ad in the newspaper.
Ms. Sally Mulligan of Coral Springs , Florida, read it, and decided to apply for one of the jobs that most Americans are not willing to do.

She submitted her application for a job in a Florida lemon grove, but seemed far too qualified for the job.
She has a liberal arts degree from the University of Michigan, and a master’s degree from Michigan State University.

For a number of years she had worked as a social worker and also as a school teacher.

The foreman studied her application, frowned, and said, "I see that you are well educated and have an impressive resume. However, I have to ask you, have you had any actual experience in picking lemons?”

"Well, as a matter of fact, I have." she said…

"I've been divorced three times, owned two Chryslers, voted  for Hillary”

She started work yesterday.

MBO: Pummelled by phone calls

Management by Objective was a business craze a couple of decades ago. It postulated that results can be predicted based on measurable, objective actions.

Want to sell more insurance? Have your agents make more cold calls and convert a higher percentage of calls to "appointments".  Have your agents focus on selling the customer SOMETHING on each appointment. Once they are a customer they become vulnerable to a endless stream of up-selling.

At the end of the year trim your sales force based on a stew of performance-to-objectives. Trim the lowest 10% in cold calls per day. Trim the lowest 10% in conversion-to-appointment ratio. Trim the 10% who have the lowest percentage at punching the appointments into an entry-level product. And so on and so on.

The tide started to flow out in the economy. Companies find their primary problem shifting from finding any kind of workers to having to trim staff. It is the end of the year. Performance-to-objectives are being tallied and "cut sheets" generated.

And suddenly the phones in the ERJ family start ringing. Some of the callers are very insistent...pushy even. I drive them nuts. I tell them, "I am retired. I will just drop in when I have time."

Don't read this post if you are apolitical

No need to watch the entire video clip. The first thirty seconds are enough

One narrative holds that we, elements within the US, created ISIS when we armed "moderate factions" in Iraq and Syria with arms freed from Libya during the (US sponsored) Arab Spring. Those "moderate factions" either turned the arms over to less moderate factions or radicalized once they had the means to exterminate their neighbors.

Intervention in Syria was then sold on the basis of the genocide of Yazidis and Christians. That morphed into unseating Bushar al-Assad the current ruler of Syria.

Trump recently announced the US will withdraw forces from Syria, all 2500 of them.

Mattis, one of the good guys, resigned presumably in protest.

My take
Syria is former President Obama's and Mrs Clinton's war. The original objectives, as stated, were acheived. ISIS is not extinct but they are no longer strong enough to commit genocide.

I share concerns that the fire is not out and might erupt again but must balance that against the need to slow down our military's operating tempo. We are over-extended.

Further, we don't need to be provoking Russia. There is no profit in it for most Americans. Assad might not be sweet and cuddly but we saw Iraq explode when we knocked out Hussein.

The operational tempo plays even more into the decision to exit Afghanistan. Launching F-18 from aircraft carriers in the Indian Ocean to support fighters on the ground in Afghanistan has very low pay-off for the investment. The loiter time is short and it pounds the snot out of the equipment...the hours add up quickly.

As equipment wears out there are two choices: Don't support the guys on the ground or pull the guys on the ground out of theater.

Strategic implications
If we arm wrestle with China we will be at a disadvantage if we are over committed in Central Asia and the Middle East. China will see pull-outs as our preparing for a potential, future conflict.

China respects strength. I am reminded of a story a fellow parent told me. He was frustrated that his kids would not mind when he told them to do something. Then, just as he was about to physically enforce his will, the kids would magically mind.

Having an inquisitive mind, he started experimenting to see what cue the kids were homing in on. It was when he gripped the arms of chair prior to getting out of it. Then it became easy. He would give the command, "Susie, stop throttling your little brother." and if she did not comply in five seconds he would grip the ends of the arms of the chair as if preparing to launch...and Susie would let go of Biff.

From a timing standpoint, if Trump planned on pulling troops out of Iraq and Syria, this is a good time. He is getting monkey-hammered due to the stock market sliding. Might as well take all the medicine as early as possible. People have eighteen months to forget.

And this may simply be a distraction on Trump's part. Who knows what his over-arching goals are? Trump is a master of tacking into headwinds, not tact in the face of opposition.

Mattis has been there two years, roughly. Trump is rough on his cabinet.

The other phenomena to consider is the Bridge over the River Kwai effect. Results oriented people can hyper-focus on the immediate task and lose context. Mattis is results oriented.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

First attempt at shoe repair

$15 at Walmart. 26" * 3.14 / 4.5" /shoe = Nine pairs of shoes.  The lugged area is 2.25" across.
The lugs in the middle are 3.0mm tall and the carcass is 3.0mm thick. Lugs on outside are 5.0mm tall at the outside edge. Cut to fit with tin snips. It cut very easily, even through the center of the lugs.
After grinding off lugs with a coarse sanding disk but before cleaning. You can see the ink marks where I traced out the width of the patch on the right side of the frame.
A final check on the fit. If you look closely you can see the fabric reinforcement which should help with puncture resistance. The only step that is not illustrated is that I scrubbed the inside of the tire with window cleaner and a Scotchbrite pad to remove any mold release that might be present.
I used E6000 adhesive. The poly bag is to prevent the shoe from being permanently glued to my clamp (the cinder block). I also have a piece of foam between the poly bag and the cinder block to ensure even pressure.
The trial run is airing out in the breezeway. I won't bring it into the house until after the smell of methyl-ethyl-badstuff disappears. I would have like a little more squeeze-out at the corners as that is where peeling is likely to start.

And I want less squeeze-out on the sides.  Next time I will probable clamp the shoe right-side-up and have a foam patch on both top and bottom. That way drips will run down, onto the sole.
Why bother?

I like picking up new skills and I have about a $1 into each shoe. Maybe not impressive when talking about a $20 pair of shoes but I wish I knew how to do this when Mrs ERJ retired a pair of Uggs she loved because the soles were worn smooth. And I know that Mrs ERJ prefers I do my learning on my cheap shoes rather than her nicer things.
These are Ugg Bailey Button II boots. They retail for about $150. They don't start with much tread.

The other thing is that shoes are where the rubber hits the road. Sure, it is easy to pick up another cheap pair but that presupposes China will keep sending us cheap merchandise. I want to know how to fix stuff "better" than stuffing cardboard inside of them.

Eaton Rapids Joe blog...where we make it fun to save soles.

Correction on DPMS post

The two rounds that failed to feed. Would it be accurate to call those "hickies below the neck" since the marks were made by the lips of the magazine?

My friend informed me that what we tested was not "bone-stock".

The Oracle came from the factory with a 30 round, polymer magazine PMAG 30.

We tested the Oracle with a ten round, C Products Defense steel magazine.

Playing with the follower, the PMAG has better anti-tilt and the lips of the magazine are not as sharp as the C Products. My expectation is that the PMAG will feed better at lower bolt return-to-battery speeds.

While that information invalidates the data it confirms the hypothesis that changing your AR can reduce its reliability.

The sweep will be repeated in the near future with the factory supplied magazines.

Update on Inexpensive, Walmart Walking Shoes

The tops still look good except for a crack in the toe reinforcement in the top photo. These shoes went into service in early September.

The event that triggered this post is that I walked across a picked soybean field and the stubble punched holes through the sole. You can see one of the scars in the lower, mid-photo.

The sole's construction is a 3mm, gummy rubber skin over a foam backing. The foam has very little resistance to puncture.
I like these shoes and want to save them. The economics of the situation beg the question, "How much effort and how many $$$ to save a pair of shoes that cost $20 when new?"

Original post HERE.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Mapping out the DPMS Oracle with low engery rounds

My friend came over with his bone-stock, DPMS Oracle. The Oracle is DPMS's entry level AR. It has a whopping forty rounds on the clock.

The rifle was at room temperature at the start of the test. It took all of five minutes to run so temperature was probably not a variable.

The 55 grain loads with 22 grains of H-4895 all cycled fine.

Two-of-five rounds with 20 grains of H-4895 failed to feed. The bolt stripped them out of the magazine but they did not enter the chamber.

Any statistician will tell you that we need to fire a bunch more rounds to map its performance. This experiment told us where to look.

Practical people will accept that even a little bit of data is better than wild-ass guessing. So, until more testing is done any mods must be 100% reliable at 22 grains of H-4895 with a 55 grain bullet if he wants to retain the "factory" performance.

The Hodgdon reloading site lists 26.0 grains as the top end for one brand of 55 grain soft-point bullets. That suggests a range of 22gr-to-26gr of H-4895 or from 86%-to-100% where 26gr is 100%.

Road hunting deer

Road hunting deer.

Tennessee DNR footage.

Yes, that is a dad teaching his son to violate. The dad later lifts the muzzle because the kid cannot hold it up high enough to shoot out of the window.

Yes, the dad's hand is downrange of the muzzle.

No, the dad is not wearing hearing protection.

They thought they were the luckiest guys in the world as that decoy sat they waiting for them to reload their muzzleloader.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

In defense of the Obama family

In Defense of Michelle Obama
It seems highly probably that Michelle Obama's Princeton Senior Thesis was her own work and NOT written by a professional.

In Defense of Former President Obama
Former President Obama had to increase bank assets to unlock the retail credit lock-up.

Two things happened simultaneously:
  • The extent of the non-performing loans threatened the financial industry's liquidity. No liquidity, no loans.
  • Rules were passed forcing banks to increase their loan-loss reserves. Loan-loss reserves are expressed as a percentage of loans
The rules increasing loan-loss reserves played well on Main Street but the practical effect was that banks could not make loans because they did not have enough "quick" assets to meet the new ratio.

Therefore, it was necessary to inject "assets" into the banking industry, otherwise it would be impossible to get a loan until the banks had organically grown their base...a time span that might approach infinity since they were losing vast amounts of money at the time.

While conservatives like to piss-and-moan about Obama's give-away to the financial industry, it was necessary at the time.

Deer sign

Mom goes to get her hair "done" at the beauty parlor this afternoon.

That will stretch out our stay in town.

Consequently you get a few pictures instead of a long essay.