January 14, 2020

Good Grief

A lot of people have been talking about the situation between MxR Plays and Jukin. There's been a lot of sea-lawyering on this but here is some actual lawyering and, well, while it does not in any way change my opinion of whose the jerk and whose the victim it does indicate that the situation is much less cut and dried than people have been suggesting.

The process is the punishment.

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Chemicals in the Food Supply

So a few days ago, while zipping between the productive children who had provided them with grandkids,  my parents stopped by for a few hours and dropped off a care package including some fresh bread they got from the bakery because "that Dollar Store stuff you eat worries me!"

It was really good, but in about 4 days time I went to make a sandwich and....

Turns out the bread they had purchased was that really high-end all-natural stuff with no preservatives.

Now, they're not into the crazy, hard-line "organic" nonsense, they simply zipped into the grocery and picked the top-of-the-line bread, but it brings home how much of these lifestyle fashions are just status games by people who have both the capital and leisure time to buy bespoke merchandise in tiny quantities.

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Kyocera Dura-Force Pro2

Over Christmas, the battery life on my Blackberry Classic became untenable, the camera stopped working and aMac update meant that it would no longer talk to my desktop. Thus began the phone hunt, which was completed by Janury 4th.

It's been 10 days now, so here's a preliminary review.

Kyocera Dura-Force Pro2 is advertised as rugged and water resistant, the later is pretty impressive for a smartphone that still sports a USB-C as well as a headphone jack. This is accomplished by having plastic covers with rubber-like gaskets over these and the SIM card and memory card slots. The phone itself seems durable and the sapphire screen endured a recent mishap involving the phone falling 6 feet face down onto gravel without a scratch. Indeed, the phone is remarkably overbuilt for my needs, being rated for explosive atmospheres if sealed up and it is safe around blasting operations in airplane mode. If I were still in the Coast Guard I could take this on a boarding and inspection of a tanker.

The waterproof/gastight covers, while themselves solid, are secured by plastic tabs that seem both fiddly and flimsy and invite great care when opening and closing them. They do not look like they could be easily replaced, and the associated IFIXIT page does not have a repair/replacement guide for them. 

That being said, over the last 10 days there have been no issues and once closed, the covers are firm, flush and seem to be securely immobile. The gaskets themselves seem to be about a millimeter in diameter.

One reason I went with this rather than just getting a burner phone or something is that, quite unusually for a device sold through Verizon, this phone came unlocked, meaning it will be little problem to switch to another service provider like KDDI or NTT DoCoMo should that become advisable later this year.

Regarding the interface, I do not have any real experience with modern smartphones and after 12 years of the straightforward (but long dead) Blackberry OS I found the Android operating system to be somewhat non-intuitive. It also comes with an  selection of aggressive apps designed to not be easily dismissed and when one tries to dismiss them they often activate or try to extort money from you. Annoyingly, none of the mail applications will talk to my Earthlink E-mail account, though as one might expect G-Mail is a breeze. It also interfaces seamlessly with Outlook, Hotmail, EXchange and something called Yandex and there is a separate AOL app on the log in screen.

It does have exterior volume buttons which is a very nice thing. However, there are only 2 programmable exterior buttons, one of which is by default the camera button. Given that most phones don't even have that, this is, on balance, a huge plus. However, it does mean that one must look at one's phone to do most things with it. In this the phone is vastly better than most others, especially the i-Phones and as a complaint is admittedly boomerism on my part, but I don't like having to actually look at the thing for anything other than reading texts or looking at vidya. 
Excuse me.
I have to go yell at a cloud.

I'm back.

Holo and Grea don't get along very well, only exchanging the most perfunctory formalities. That is, unlike the old Blackberry, this android phone will not sync with my new iMac, though they will exchange files via blue tooth. In fairness, the fact that I own an iMac is not the phone's fault.

A note of caution regarding water. In contrast to a watch, where "water resistant" means usable to 150 feet,  the phone's warranty bottoms out at 6.5 feet (roughly 2 meters) which makes the inclusion of a underwater mode for the camera an interesting design choice, and potentially misleading.

That aside, just splash proofing is a very useful and desireable trait. This phone has survived one major drop and 10 days of rough use with nary a scratch.  In contrast to those wafer thin, bony foo-foo iPhone models, Greya's thicc....over half an inch thick (.53in)  which (in theory) makes for a much tougher phone and probably contributes to a battery capacity which is advertised as 21 hours talking on the phone and 13 days on standby. I can't talk for 21 hours but I got 4 days of intermittent use that included internet, listening to music and watching videos  without a charge before it got below 20%. 

Aside from the quirks of android, and a lot of aparrently non-deleteable apps I don't want, this seems to be a very solid phone. There is one other aspect to this piece of kit that is of note. Despite being water and gas tight, the IFIXIT page linked above notes that it is moderately easy to repair/replace speakers, cameras, batteries and buttons. While not unheard of, this design choice is certainly bucking some unwelcome trends and is to be lauded, especially given the robust nature of the phone. (Note that aftermarket parts will void the explosive atmosphere and blasting certification...if that's an issue for you.)

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January 13, 2020

Thirty Four People

....enjoy this show.

I think I'll pass.

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From what reserves does one draw from when one has already given every ounce of one's strength?

When pondering the above missive in the presence of others one should ensure that one is smiling and maintaining one's composure so as not to cause any unnecessary distress or alarm.

Because that's what heroes do.

My Hero Academia has been really really good this season. Despite its very Japanese trappings this show is touching on some of the best aspects of American superhero comics and exploring the themes of the genre in ways that would make Lee, Kirby and Ditko proud.  Even the dashes of melodrama one expects in an unironic superhero show have been pulled off with superb skill and astonishing sincerity.

Product Warning: May cause...allergies.

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More on the Situation Here in The Commonwealth of Virginia Regarding the Second Amendment (UPDATED)

In a post a few days ago I mentioned how it was that Virginia, which is literally the home of the NRA and was one of the states that initiated a good deal of the rollback of the restrictions on gun rights we've seen over the last 20 years, came to be in this mess.

Well, I forgot something, so let's try that again.

As we mentioned earlier, Virginia went Democrat (Barely, its really a matter of a very few seats in the legislature and the Executive)  due to a confluence of factors. There was a huge infusion of outside money from Bloomberg and others, a vast wave of immigration both legal and illegal as well as refugees that were settled here by the Obama administration and a large number of migrants from California and the Northeast who were horrified by what became of their homes...but not so much as to stop voting for the policies that caused it

There was also the  utter faceplant of the VA Republican party, which, being so close to DC has a huge portion of its administrators bigwigs and decision makers, people who are in the Republican establishment's anti-Trump wing. That group has some decent people in it but mostly they are political pilotfish who mobilized to defend their rice bowels against their constituents with a verve they seldome displayed previously. Many of the DC Republicans have grown to despise their constituents who they feel have betrayed them by voting for reform. For years they talked of securing the border but now openly call anyone who does so racist. The people they are, in theory working for, now feel the same way and the bad blood there that has developed over the last few years is as heatbreaking as it is profound, Thus, the state party is involved in something of a circular firing squad.

There was also the vast increase of the federal civil service under Obama which resulted in suburban sprawl of what became under him the richest counties in the country populated with high level civil servants... people whose lavish lifestyles depend on big government.

Finally, there's something that I'd stupidly forgotten to mention in the earlier post,  but is quite significant Northam's predecessor pardoned 200,000 felons which is several times the margin of victory in the last governors race.   The 200,000 former felons and the huge amount of immigration into Northern Virginia combined with incumbent advantage DO make any corrective action at the ballot box a very challenging prospect, but it should be noted that even with this perfect storm crashing on the Repoublicans and blowing into the Democrat's sails the Dems only have the slimmest of majorities which may be a factor in their attempt to lock everything down.

Northam for his part, is going all in for this partly because he has two scandals...one he advocated for post partum (post birth) abortion and he has an epic blackface scandal, unlike Canada (apparently) this is serious business here, or was, until it wasn't...and it wasn't when Northam began pushing this so his political future depends on this. Given his stance on 10th month abortion the potential for death is probably not a consideration for him. Now,  I don't generally think that people on the other side of the aisle who aren't Antifa adjacent, no matter how wrongheaded they might be,  are evil...but I really have doubts regarding Northam. Unlike many provincial urbanites with delusions of cosmopolitanism, Northam is from here and he KNOWS what a powder keg he's lighting the firecrackers on.

  I've seen it suggested that the Democrats didn't expect the backlash they are getting.  Having a cursory knowledge of the politicians involved, I'm pretty sure that many of the senior VA legislators like Northam understand completely. To us on the right, this is akin to Lexington and Concord, with the caveat that we can still end the oppression at the ballot box. The Dems  seem to WANT a standoff to portray gun owners as racist violent hicks a'la WACO and the media is quite firmly on their side. If the Democrats bring this to a head they will have the full cooperation of Bloomberg and the rest of the media to paint the 2nd Amendment people as very much what Antifa actually is.

 While the National Guard takes oaths to defend the constitution (which to the shock of many includes the second and fourth amendments) and is made up of the sorts of people who dislike being the baddies if it comes to the rumored (and verified) calls to use the state's military to go door to door, this reluctance will not gain much time for the citizenry. You see, If it comes to that, the governor will fire national guard generals until he gets one who will comply. They'll put together loyal units and after a few bloodbaths will parade the flag draped coffins of any dead soldiers or state troopers as martyrs...Black Lives Matter will, of course,  not get a platform for a little while as Bloomberg, CNN and the rest of the media play up the death of these soldiers and cops and the Dems will weep crocodile tears most convincingly. A lot of  Republicans based in DC (the opposite of based) would conceivably react to this hypothetical Horst Wessel moment by "heroically" reaching across the aisle in solidarity against "extremism" at which point in this hypothetical things would proceed to go spectacularly pear shaped in a way unlikely to be confined to The Old Dominion.   

This how bad it could get. I'm not sure it will and hope it doesn't, but this affair is now a dry run for the progressives regarding what they intend for the country. 

We must not loose sight of the fact that unlike at Lexington and Concord, we have the option of fixing this in November and in the 2021 State election. However, there remains the frighteningly real possibility that during the intervening 22 months before Northam is gone*, that this will not only end in blood, but massively advance the goals of those who see the citizenry as an impediment to their ambitions.

The Dems just effectively banned shooting ranges.    

Map of second amendment sanctuaries as of last Monday .

How crazy are the  new rules ? Proposed in  paragraph 4 of VA Bill 18.2-308.8 is this bizarre gem of specificity in its vague word salad of what constitutes a prohibited 'assault' pistol.

 A semi-automatic center-fire pistol that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine and has one of the following characteristics: (i) a folding or telescoping stock; (ii) a thumbhole stock; (iii) a second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand; (iv) the capacity to accept a magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip; (v) a shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the pistol with the non-trigger hand without being burned; (vi) a manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded; (vii) a threaded barrel capable of accepting (a) a silencer, (b) a flash suppressor, (c) a barrel extender, or (d) a forward handgrip; or (viii) any characteristic of like kind as enumerated in clauses (i) through (vii);

Emphasis mine. They are banning guns by weight!? 
If it's more than 50 ounces...it's DANGEROUS!

There is an interesting twist on the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement afoot which is being discussed and already has two variations enacted. Tazewell County has announced that it will raise a militia of all citizens without felonies and Cullpepper County's police dept. is saying that they will deputize as reserve police officers, any citizen that wants to concealed carry and takes the currently standard concealed carry course...which they will provide. Note that both of these actions are explicitly allowed by the state constitution (as opposed to the second amendment sanctuaries which are implicitly tolerated under the rubric of law enforcement discretion and the fact that no one has shut down the immigration sanctuaries) . Stopping actions like Cullpepper and Tazewell counties require a full state constitutional amendment disallowing localities to raise local forces for emergencies...such an amendment is unlikely to pass.   Note that there really is very little info on the Tazewell and Culpepper situations which is why my citations are a local news channel and a rural paper from Vermont.

UPDATE: In the comments J.Greely links to an excellent piece over at Sacred Cow Slaughterhouse which goes into the weeds of the legalities and logistics of using National Guard weapons (which are federal property, subject to Posse' Comitatus restrictions)  here is an excerpt, but read the whole thing.

The National Guard does not keep ammo on hand in any relevant quantities.  A small amount for training is it.

Per US Constitution and federal law, the governor CANNOT arm the NATIONAL Guard with federally owned weapons and ammo. He'd have to provide that. 

Nor can he arm them without consent of the feds anyway.  There are reasons for this. This is one of those reasons. It is not a bona fide emergency that does not permit of delay.

And the threat to do so is LITERALLY WHY WE HAVE THE SECOND AMENDMENT.  Congrats, jerkwad! You've actually threatened to have the military repress people, and you're surprised that they're going to oppose you? EVERYONE should be opposing you. It's outrageous of itself, and outrageous precedent if allowed.

It's a very good overview, and a welcome bit of good news, but if you'll allow me to put on my little horned Devil's Advocate hat for a moment.......the fact that state legislators brought this up as a first ditch scenario indicates that they are little inhibited by legal propriety or conscience in these matters, and if things go their way in the next federal election there will be no check or balance on their ambitions. Way down the probability curve, there is also the matter of the VDF which is State owned an equipped, though, to be fair it is unlikely to have more than a few hundred ARs (if that).  I believe half of it consists of MPs as it is intended to stand in for the VNG when that force is deployed overseas. However, I really don't see the VDF being at all willing or even able to step up to the plate on this. For one thing, they probably don't have more than a couple of hundred AR's in the whole force if that and it is, even more than the VNG, staffed by rural Virginia gun owners.

In any event, Mr. Williamson's overview of what every National Guard Adjunct and J.A.G. officer in the 55 states and territories is contemplating right now and the personal ramifications for them depending on what they decide is certainly food for thought and worthy of a read.
* Virginia governors are term limited to one term.

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January 09, 2020

Meanwhile at C&Rsenal

I'll just leave this without comment except to say that C&Rsenal is (likely soon to be was) one of the better history channels out there. Watch it while you can. All their customer support contacts are now gone. 

 They've also been demonetized, so you can support them as I have for over a year on Patre...OH look! They're also on Subscribestar now!

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I Have a Question

I turned on the news a few minutes ago and the President is having another rally. VP Pence is doing the opening act.

Why are these two people in the same time and space?

Notwithstanding the recent  righteous vivisection of the Persian's answer to Himmler and Skorzeny,  we're involved in wars in Afganistan, Syria, and in sporadic locations around Dar al Islam. All it would take is a big bomb or a drone swarm to give us president Pelosi.

That'd be bad.

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January 08, 2020

Protecting Their Viewers From The Dangers of Knowledge

While looking up stuff on the looming Virginia Gun Bills I clicked on a citation in the description of a You Tube video and I got this message...

Click here then click on the "Go to site tab"

The site in question is this one, the Virginia Legislative Information System which gives legislative agenda for the General Assembly and the text of laws, proposed laws and proposed revisions to existing laws.

Youtube declared this dangerous.


It's been hard to find any recent news about this situation other than sanctimonious articles calling the sanctuary movement outside mischief makers though I suppose it's possible that there have simply been few developments since Mid - December. One of those is the fact that the sanctuary movement now stands at stands at 87 Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties, 11 cities and 18 towns. Governor Blackface-McBaby Butcher seems to be deliberately trying to incite an incident, and given how provocative he's being combined with all the AnCap aspies getting ready for "The Boogaloo" the left may indeed get their Horst Wessel moment.

How did we go from one of the most second amendment friendly states in the union to this? Virginia went Democrat (Barely, its really a matter of a very few seats in the legislature and the Governor)  due to 4 or 5 things. There was a HUGE infusion of outside money, both from domestic leftwing groups and indirectly from people like Soros. A vast wave of immigration and refugees that were settled here during the Obama administration and a large number of domestic immigrants from California and the Northeast who having voted in policies that made their homes intolerable to live in moved here and kept their voting patterns  Finally the ineptitude of the VA republican party, which, being so close to DC is basically the epicenter of the Republican establishment's anti-Trump wing. For years they talked of securing the border but now openly call anyone who does so racist. The bad blood that has developed between the party and its voters is hard to imagine. Finally  the vast increase of the federal civil service under Obama  resulted in Urban sprawl populated with people whose lifestyles depend on big government.

This situation has the potential to be a powder-keg and perception will be molded by Silicon Valley, and the dying husks of the news media and Hollywood. I'm not optimistic. I'm even less so given that having watched both CNN and Fox I note that they look like they are reporting from two alternate realities. Both of those boomer broadcasting services are closer to each other than the online forums which are ensconcing people in echo chambers. The U.S. Civil War was fought by people that had more in common.

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January 07, 2020


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January 05, 2020

State of the Blog

Christmas is over and my holiday in the land of no internet has passed as well so the months long dry spell is coming to an end.

One of my New Years resolutions is to do more of the long-form posts, more media reviews and stuff. I also got two Bitchute Channels, currently only one is activated and consists of a few migrated videos and travel movies. Eventually, I'd like to do a channel complementing the blog but I need more equipment for that.

I've re-discovered that I'm not interested in microblogging.

Anyway, here's some imaginary 2-d lady summing up the last two months of the blog's output.

Art by Pas

Sorry 'bout that.

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January 04, 2020

Meanwhile: In Hell

There are many good faith arguments to be had regarding the situation that we find ourselves in with regards to the Middle East. There are many concerns that people can have in good faith regarding how this recent assassination might set in motion truly frightening events.

However, this asshole needed to die. A long time ago. And it is a damming indictment of both Bush and Obama that he did not do so until now.

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January 03, 2020

In Which I Again Completely Missed the Point (Updated)

So Wednesday night I blundered into a webcomic in one of the tabs I was closing out.  While, fairly true to life in my experience it had all the moral ambiguity of a Goofus and Gallant strip. Now to be fair, it was a 4 panel strip and so it's not really a art-crime that the antagonist was a purple haired Snidely Whiplash. I didn't know where It'd been linked from or the context and so I closed out the tab and since Wednesday was my birthday, and I'd missed Christmas due to work, I went down to visit my folks in NC.

Fast forward to getting home an hour ago, and lo and behold that strip I'd blown off is now all the rage...

It turns out that the aforementioned 4koma was the source of the meme of the week...and I'd completely misread it. In particular, I had misidentified which character was the author insert and which was the designated straw-man. This puts the comic in a whole different context.

Dev's video makes some insightful points (as Dev does) though he get's wayyy into the weeds on this. But then the talented Mr. Benjamin looked at the above video and how much the Canadian was able to glean from a 4 panel strip. And thereupon the Briton said "Hold my beer!" 

Gracious! It's Plato vs. Aristotle, in a war to the knife in the field of memes.

UPDATE: Good grief. I did it again. When I saw it earlier I assumed that this was obviously a parody obituary. Alas, I again missed those subtle cues so necessary for gleaning the deeper meaning of derp.

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January 01, 2020


To those born under the sign of Unix like myself that number has long represented a date so far in the future as to be beyond belief. It was described as a time of undersea cities, space colonies, and flying cars. Heck, even Blade Runner wasn't set that far in the future and that had offworld colonies and burning attack ships off the shoulder of Orion.

Well, here we are.
There are no ships off the shoulder of Orion aside from the potential for forced perspective observations of the ISS from some locations.
On the other hand it's not burning right now.
Unlike Australia, which got to 2020 before we did and then promptly caught fire.
So while I wish you all a happy, prosperous and safe new year, I advise you to stay on your toes while doing it.

In the meantime, celebrate the year of the iron rat by eating some cheese.

Art by 巻羊 (Roll Sheep? Kegari?) Anyhoo, you can support them on Fanbox and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

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