Your loser update: week 6, 2014.

October 13th, 2014

It was a near thing, but Jacksonville managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Likewise Oakland.

So, six weeks in, NFL teams that still have a chance to go 0-16:

Jacksonville
Oakland

This one’s for RoadRich.

October 9th, 2014

Still under wraps is Lady Gaga’s strapless Hello Kitty gown, made entirely of plush dolls depicting Japan’s most bankable merchandising icon.

The dress in question is slide number eight in the slideshow.

Friends of the blog notes.

October 8th, 2014

Great and good friend of the blog Borepatch had a motorcycle accident yesterday. It appears that he will be fine (after all, he was able to blog) if a bit impared for a while. We wish him and his motorcycle a speedy recovery.

Warning: Sad.

You may have seen this elsewhere, but not everyone moves in the same blog circles as me.

South Texas Pistolero and his wife had their baby.

Erik hasn’t said anything directly, but I think the family could still use a few dollars if you’ve got any to spare.

TMQ Watch: October 7, 2014.

October 8th, 2014

Now that we’ve finished banging our heads against the wall (for reasons that will become apparent shortly), let’s jump into this week’s TMQ

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Your loser update: week 5, 2014.

October 5th, 2014

NFL teams that still have a chance to go 0-16:

Jacksonville
Oakland (bye week)

Quaint and curious volumes of forgotten lore (#2 in a series).

October 5th, 2014

This one is a little unusual.

I find Erle Stanley Gardner (or, as he is often called, “ErleStanleyGardnerTheCreatorOfPerryMason”, all one word) to be a fascinating person.

I’m not very well read in the Perry Mason books; I should perhaps give them another try, but it seems to me that Gardner’s style in those books was somewhat arch and stilted. I think I’ve read a couple of the A.A. Fair books that my mother had lying around the house when I was younger, but I don’t really recall those.

I’m more interested in Gardner as a non-fiction writer. I’ve written about this elsewhere, but his book The Court of Last Resort (based in part on his experiences with the organization of the same name) contains what I believe is some of the smartest and sanest writing about crime and criminal justice ever. There are things in there (especially about drug policy) that still hold up nearly 60 years after the book was written.

Lawrence and I have periodically discussed the idea of putting together a collection of Gardner non-fiction firsts. In addition to his writing about criminal justice, he also wrote about exploring Baja by jeep, Hunting Lost Mines by Helicopter, and other outdoors subjects. Copies of his non-fiction books show up pretty regularly on the Internet auction sites, sometimes even signed, but I have yet to find one that’s in good enough condition to justify Heritage’s minimum $15 price.

I think that’s one of the reasons I’m so fascinated by Gardner: he was certainly a hellaciously smart man, and no slouch as a lawyer, but he was also a serious outdoorsman, and he blended both sides of his character well. (The “Court of Last Resort” actually got started around the campfire one night on one of Gardner’s Baja trips; one of his campfire companions was the publisher of Argosy, who listened to Gardner’s account of the Lindley case and promised him space in the magazine for any additional cases where Gardner felt an innocent man had been convicted.)

(As a side note, we could really use a contemporary “Court of Last Resort”. We could also use more public intellectuals like Erle Stanley Gardner.)

====

Last weekend, I was poking around at one of the Half-Price Books locations and found something that intrigued me: two bound volumes of the American Rifleman from 1971 and 1973. This is close to the time when I started reading AR (Dad had a stack of old ones in the garage, and I was a precocious child), and I still have a fondness for the magazine of that era.

So I started flipping through the bound volumes, and ran across this cover story from the May 1971 issue:

esg_ar

“Well. Well well well. Well.” said I.

(I apologize for the kind of crappy photo. These bound volumes run at about two ox-stunning units, and are very hard to get on a scanner.)

The cover story is a tribute to Gardner, who was also an NRA member, and who had passed away about a year previously. The two guns on the cover were donated by his wife to the NRA Museum. The handgun is a Colt Single Action Army in .45 Colt; it and the leather were given to him by a client in a shooting case. (Gardner won an acquittal.) The rifle is an early Weatherby in .300 Weatherby Magnum, using a Mauser action (instead of the Weatherby Mark V action used in later rifles).

There are a few interesting bits of trivia in the AR tribute that I wasn’t aware of:

  • Gardner was so accurate with a rifle that he gave up using firearms for hunting for a long period of time. Instead, he did his deer hunting with a bow and arrow.
  • In his 70s, Gardner set out to prove that a person with a .22 handgun could survive indefinitely on the small game he could harvest “within 300, 200, or even 100 miles of Los Angeles.” This became a three-part article for Sports Afield. (I dare you to try that today.)
  • “He had a habit of racking .22 tubular-magazine rifles with the magazines pulled partway out.” He also liked inexpensive guns, probably (as the article notes) because his guns were working guns for his ranch, not safe queens.
  • Gardner invented “archery golf”: “Players were allowed so many shots with a bow and arrow to get up to a hole – actually, a paper sack on a pole. Each player then made the hole by shooting an arrow through the paper sack.”

What I find even more interesting than the tribute is that the American Rifleman also reprinted a Gardner essay: “Why Gun Registration Can’t Cut Crime”. I can’t find it online, but it is in another essay collection, Cops on the Campus and Crime in the Streets.

There is an old expression which somehow indicates the subconscious thinking of the American people. It starts out, “There ought to be a law against…”
Whenever the American people want to stop something they want a law prohibiting the thing they want stopped, as if laws in themselves were a solution.

Gardner’s essay goes on from there, outlining the flaws in gun registration laws. (Why would a criminal register their guns? How do you deal with the registration information and keep it secure?)

We aren’t going to disarm the criminal. We may as well make up our minds to that right at the start. We can try to do it, but the criminal is going to be armed. The man who needs a gun in order to perpetrate a holdup is going to have a gun.

I’m used to finding that people whose work I generally like have big blind spots in certain areas, especially guns. It perhaps should not have come as a surprise, but it is refreshing to me that Gardner was as wise and sane about gun politics as he was about other aspects of criminal justice.

Obit watch: October 5, 2014.

October 5th, 2014

Lawrence clued me in to a couple of obits that might otherwise have escaped me.

Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier. It surprises me a little that he was 63, but I don’t think I knew this:

Mr. Duvalier continued to defend what human rights workers called one of the most oppressive governments in the Western Hemisphere, following in the footsteps of his father, François, known as Papa Doc, who died in 1971. The son was 19 when he assumed the post “president for life,” as he and his father called it, becoming the youngest head of state at the time.

I haven’t seen an obit from an outside source yet, but the official website is reporting the death of Paul Revere, of Paul Revere and the Raiders.

Ripped from the headlines!

October 3rd, 2014

In Solvang bust, a bottle of cheap vodka, counterfeit cash, and meth


Cue Major Kong.

The bills were convincing enough that at least a few clothing and jewelry businesses in the Danish-themed town near Santa Maria were fooled into accepting them, officials said. Because of the sophistication of the bills, the Sheriff’s Department has notified the Secret Service, which is conducting its own investigation.

The tweakers are turning out good quality counterfeit $100s? So we don’t have to worry about the Iranians any longer, but the meth addicts? Why does this surprise me?

Random notes: October 3, 2014.

October 3rd, 2014

Good coffee is important.

I’m a big fan of both Jimmy Stewart and Carol Burnett, so this makes me very happy. (I have family in the area around Indiana, Pennsylvania, but I’ve never had the chance to visit the Jimmy Stewart Museum. Perhaps I will remedy this on a future visit.)

Five rules for viewing art, damn it, art! There’s much here that I agree with; seek silence, take your time, do some research. On the other hand, I don’t see anything wrong with purchasing postcards or posters at the gift shop. I do think the rubber van Gogh ear is a bit over the top.

Some practical advice: If you feel better about yourself when you leave a museum, you’re probably doing it all wrong.

This bothers me as well, but I’m not sure I can articulate why. I need to think on it some more.

Why don’t you ask them if they’re going away?

October 2nd, 2014

…in northwest Alaska, more than 35,000 walrus have come ashore seeking refuge.
“The walruses are hauling out on land in a spectacle that has become all too common in six of the last eight years as a consequence of climate-induced warming,” said a release from the U.S. Geological Survey. “Summer sea ice is retreating far north of the shallow continental shelf waters of the Chukchi Sea in U.S. and Russian waters, a condition that did not occur a decade ago. To keep up with their normal resting periods between feeding bouts to the seafloor, walruses have simply hauled out onto shore.”

Kevin Smith was unavailable for comment.

Lesson here, ‘Bey.

October 2nd, 2014

You come at the king, you best not miss.

(Do you really need a hattip?)

TMQ Watch: September 30, 2014.

October 1st, 2014

Oddly, this week’s TMQ gets a link on the FARK sports tab. We can’t remember the last time FARK bothered to link to TMQ.

And what does the collective hive mind of the Daily Kos FARK have to say? That, and this week’s TMQ, after the jump…

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