Stabby Tree

I visited daughter Xenia this last weekend. She recently moved to Kentucky. It’s a little damp and cloudy but it looks like it will be very beautiful when it warms up and the trees get their leaves.

We did a little bit of sightseeing and this was one of the more interesting historical items we saw:

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She and John have a few acres with their new house and we took the dogs on walks and looked at the trees and birds trying to identify them. There were several trees like the one below. I thought trees like this only existed in scary Disney cartoons. It’s the kind of tree I would expect around Sleeping Beauty’s castle:

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Xenia says it’s a Honey Locust and is also known as a Thorny Locust. I prefer the name Xenia gave it when she first saw it, “a Stabby Tree”.

Quote of the day—Viscount Halifax

He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.

Viscount Halifax
1940
Referring Winston Churchill’s speech in the movie The Darkest Hour.
[For Valentine’s Day Barb and went to this movie (she chose it). It is a very good movie.

Mobilize the English language and send it into battle. This what gun owners need to do. It is either that or face our own darkest hour and/or a bloody war.

I have often thought something like that is what I was doing. I try look at things, change the point of view, and articulate a vision which makes obvious we have the high moral high ground, we should always attack, and we must always make our enemies defend.

But I had never articulated it even one tenth as clearly and succinctly as Halifax did in the movie. The movie inspired me. Henceforth, I will make better use of words. If these words are properly crafted into powerful weapons of war we can win the battles needed to defeat the forces of evil in this country and avoid a war of bullets and blood.—Joe]

It’s nice when they self identify

I’ve used this car wash many times. And I walked right by it today.

From the Bellevue Washington police blog:

What started as a routine trip to the car wash ended in a melee and an arrest this past Sunday in Bellevue. Yesterday afternoon shortly before 3 p.m., Bellevue police responded to a road rage incident in the parking lot of the Brown Bear car wash in the Factoria neighborhood of Bellevue. While responding, police learned that there was a minor rear-end crash involving two vehicles that were waiting in line for the car wash. One of the drivers got out of his car to take photos of the damage to the vehicles. The other driver then reportedly got out of his car, pointed a handgun at the victim, and made threats.

When police arrived, the suspect, a 40 year-old Bellevue resident, refused to exit his vehicle or follow the Officers’ instructions. Officers attempted to remove the suspect from the vehicle, and the suspect fought, punching one of the Officers in the face. The suspect allegedly threatened to kill the police and made disparaging comments about the victim’s perceived ethnicity. Police used a taser to subdue the suspect, who was arrested. The Officer that was punched had a minor injury and was transported to the hospital as a precaution. The suspect’s vehicle, a red Chevrolet Camaro with a custom license plate “DIRTBAG”, was impounded to the Bellevue Police Department for a search warrant.The license plate of the suspect's vehicle.

The suspect is expected to be charged today in King County Superior Court with first degree assault with a firearm, assault on a police officer, malicious harassment, obstructing police, and resisting arrest.

If all the dirt bags would identify themselves in such a manner it make so many things much easier.

D-DAY Through German Eyes

My brother Doug told me he recently read D DAY Through German Eyes and really enjoyed it. I am almost finished with the second book now. It’s very good. There were a number of things I learned about the weapons the allies had but what I have enjoyed most was what the German soldiers believed they were fighting for.

I didn’t realize the allies had planes and ships that fired rockets. I thought the planes only had guns and bombs. And I thought the only weapons the ships could use against land based targets were their guns and planes from the aircraft carriers.

Some of the rockets had phosphorous warheads. There were also warheads with explosives and ball bearings which were used for anti-personal as well as anti-material. And amphibious tanks! This surprised the Germans too. Some of the tanks also had flame throwers. The Germans really didn’t like the flame throwers. Some refused to go back into battle facing the phosphorous and flamethrowers even though the alternative was an expedited court marshal and execution the same day.

There were Russians who defected on the Eastern Front and joined the Germany army who assigned them to the western front. When the allies took prisoners the Russians were separated from Germans and handed directly over to the Russians. The Russians executed them. There were thousands of them.

One soldier told of the “Browning Assassination Pistol”. From the description it has to be the FP-45 Liberator. What I found most interesting is that the soldier (a military policeman) who mentioned them said thousands of them were distributed in France and probably hundreds of German soldiers were killed by French civilians with them. This is in direct contrast to what Wikipedia says about them.

The MP was guarding a small group of Germany officers the night before D-Day. As the bombing started they went to a private residence set up as a small hotel for the officers. After dinner one of the waitress suggested to one of the officers that he looked tired and perhaps he would like to go to bed (it was implied the waitress went to bed with him). He did. Later the other officers wanted to speak with the “sleeping” officer and the MP went looking for him. He found him in the bedroom, a hole in his head, blood all over, and a “Browning Assassination Pistol” on the floor. All the hotel staff were gone.

Did you know that Germany was actually protecting France? They needed to be protected from the International Socialists to the East, so there was a partnership between the French and Germany governments. The Germans were National Socialists but that wasn’t a threat to the people of western Europe. Germany united Europe. This was good for people of Europe. Why would the Americans and Canadians have a problem with that? Sure, the British hated the French and wanted a piece of France, but the Germany was protecting France from the British and the secret societies (the Free Masons) to the west who were being manipulated by the international bankers.

At least that is what was believed by many of the German soldiers.

Clearwater County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Dog Team

My brother, Doug, is the team leader for Clearwater County (Idaho) Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Dog Team. Here is an article about the team and some of their searches:

We have all seen a dog follow a scent trail. Most of the time it is another dog or something else they think smells good, but what is the drive and reward to go out at all hours in all types of weather as a member the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (CCSSAR) Dog Team.

“I sometimes hear people say, ‘Everyone wants to be a hero’,” says Doug Huffman. “I suppose that is especially true in the Search and Rescue business. I once heard a search dog instructor describe it this way, ‘everyone fantasizes about saving the lost child in the wilderness and carrying the child back to her mother’s arms in front of a cheering crowd, but that isn’t how it works in real life.’ I have been with CCSSAR since 1998 and I haven’t seen that fantasy search happen yet. More typically, we are out in the woods looking for a missing berry picker when we learn he was picked up hours before by a passerby. We get home at 5 a.m. exhausted from a long night out in the woods, when we could have been home asleep. We feel good about ourselves knowing we were involved in a team effort to help a missing individual and their family, but we usually don’t feel like a hero when it is over.”

A fair number of the search stories Doug has told me are for escaped prisoners, active criminals, or people presumed dead. These searches involving higher risks and/or unpleasant resolutions. Still, Doug has been doing this for nearly 20 years now so there is some sort of reward to it.

I can vouch for this

I got a vasectomy and was very pleased with the results. My positive experience isn’t all that unusual:

Results revealed that of those men, 12.4 percent reported having sex more often after the vasectomy, while only 4.5 percent of men reported having sex less often. In addition, vasectomized men reported better erectile function, better orgasms, more sexual desire and overall more sexual satisfaction.

Boomershoot Winter Wonderland

Last week I posted some pictures of Kim’s and my adventure at Boomershoot earlier this month. I also posted a link to Kim’s video of our drive from the Boomershoot Taj Mahal to the tree line. Here is the dash cam video of the same drive:

I love the trees loaded down with snow and the dark ominous clouds.

A white Christmas in Bellevue

Although there will frequently be one or more snowfalls per year in Bellevue Washington it’s rare that the timing and the persistence matches Christmas. This year it did. It started snowing on Christmas Eve about 3:00 PM. This morning we had about four inches of snow:

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Its not North Central Idaho, but it does feel a lot like an Idaho Christmas.

Boomershoot Christmas presents

Daughter Kim and her husband Jacob gave Barb and I Boomershoot Christmas presents!

Customized range officer vests:

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From Daughter Xenia and her husband John gave me a rear shooting rest bag:

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From Barb’s daughter Maddy I got an earmuff and hearing protection carry bag:

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It’s protection for my ear protection.

Among other things Santa put 200 rounds of ammunition in Barb’s stocking (it’s a good thing it is a sturdy stocking!). She says, “It’s the good stuff!”

It’s going to be a white Boomershoot Christmas

When Kim and I were at the Boomershoot site last week there was some snow on the ground and occasionally in the air. We plowed some snow with my vehicle as we wandered around doing various things. We replaced the battery for the solar powered lights at the Taj Mahal, inspected the repaired driveway into the shooting area, removed snow blocking the weather station aerometer, removed snow from solar panels, and removed one of the webcams for the Boomershoot Live web page. The road webcam was just mounted temporarily with wire and I don’t think I have enough solar input to handle two webcams during the middle of winter. I removed the road cam until next spring and will have a permanent mount made by then.

Pictures below the fold.

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Barb rides mall elephant

I remember when I was in my late 20’s when my ex-wife told me to act my age. I was walking on the edge of a curb like a little kid would do. It apparently embarrassed her or something. I would also sometimes (or not) step on sidewalks cracks and would walk on the rails of railroad tracks. I mostly ignored her demands, why should I not be allowed to have a little fun when it did no one any harm?

Barb doesn’t have any such inhibitions about “acting her age”, doing things that might embarrass some people, or me being a little childish in my self entertainment. She sometimes even declares, “I’m ridiculous!” as she makes herself laugh. I tell her she is incredibly funny.

Last night we were on our way to meet some friends and as we went through Westfield Southcenter shopping mall she spotted some motorized animals the kids were riding around. “I want to do that!”, she exclaimed. I thought she was joking. We were a little bit late and this would make us even later. But she was serious and I had no basis to complain.

Today she told me it was the most fun she had all night. By far. Knowing her night, this was impressive.

Huffman toes

My nice, Lisa, recently delivered a healthy set of twins and has been posting pictures and updates on Facebook. Recently it included this:

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I’ve had a few people ask about Remy’s toes… they’re completely normal as far as Huffman toes go, she just spreads them way out and they look freaky in some pictures!

Barb has commented on my toes as well. I can easily move them in directions she can’t even generate a twitch.

I also have often wondered why there was a big deal, by some people, about thumbs being opposable.

Shoot/don’t shoot

I woke up, not knowing the time. It was dark. I heard faint sounds, like distant, blood-curdling screams. No.., uh…I determined I was not dreaming. There it is again. Is it cats? I got up and went to the tiny, upstairs bathroom window. I see the cats hanging out on the garage steps. That’s odd for the middle of a freezing cold night. There’s the sound again!

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Cat watering

After the EMTs and the police left my sister’s place, and I was locking up, getting ready to leave, and after I’d fed the cat, I thought it prudent to take a piss.

That’s when I saw the note on the bathroom wall next to the toilet. It was an instruction to leave the seat closed and the top of the tank open, for the cat.

Maybe all you cat ladies know about this trick, but it was new to me, and I thought is was a great idea. The water is always there, and it’s replenished multiple times per day. Pure genius-simplicity.

Myself, I leave the cats outside where they can be real cats.

Yes, I believe my sister will be OK.

Time for me to stop drinking alcohol

I very rarely drink alcohol anyway, so it’s not a big deal for me to stop entirely. Why would I want to do this? Drinking alcohol causes cancer:

The American Society of Clinical Oncology, which represents many of the nation’s top cancer doctors, is calling attention to the ties between alcohol and cancer. In a statement published Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the group cites evidence that even light drinking can slightly raise a woman’s risk of breast cancer and increase a common type of esophageal cancer.

Heavy drinkers face much higher risks of mouth and throat cancer, cancer of the voice box, liver cancer and, to a lesser extent, colorectal cancers, the group cautions.

“The message is not, ‘Don’t drink.’ It’s, ‘If you want to reduce your cancer risk, drink less. And if you don’t drink, don’t start,’” said Dr. Noelle LoConte, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the lead author of the ASCO statement. “It’s different than tobacco where we say, ‘Never smoke. Don’t start.’ This is a little more subtle.”

Typical

I’ve known Les Freeman for over 35 years. My ex-wife and I didn’t see nearly as much of him after he moved to Oregon in, I think, the 1990’s. But there was occasional contact and then when Facebook became a thing we were “friends” there. I don’t spend much time on Facebook but occasionally I would check out his posts. In the last few years I saw a lot of really hateful stuff about Republicans and his support for Sanders, then Clinton in the last election. Sometimes there would be rants about gun ownership but I ignored it all. Les has had a lot of stress in his life recently with the loss of all his siblings, the loss of both parents, the loss of his only child, and then brain surgery which required him to relearn talking, reading, and walking. I saw no need to add more stress in his life by confronting him on his home turf.

Occasionally he would make a comment on Facebook about one of my blog posts about guns. They were always negative and I would gently correct his errors and that would usually be the end of it for a few weeks.

Until last night.

It started with this comment about my QOTD by Saurus post, “STOP THE SHOOTINGS. STOP REPUBLICANS”. Les responded with:

I didn’t really understand what he was saying and asked for clarification:

He didn’t respond to that and started a new Facebook comment thread on my QOTD by the NRA post:

Ahh yes, a thinly veiled threat of violence. Progressives are all about forcing people who disagree with them to do what they want. It’s part of their nature.

I responded with:

Yes, I know. The first point was somewhat overstated. This is particularly true from a practical standpoint. But I wanted to cut off the common claim that the Second Amendment never meant individuals could own guns until the rogue Heller decision and this was the most succinct way I know of to do that.

I was then unfriended and blocked. Then he proceeded to make a half dozen or more anti-gun posts on Facebook (I have more than one account).

I guess he didn’t want to have a discussion. He didn’t even want to know what I had to say. I know this because from looking at my log files I could see that he didn’t read a single one of the blog posts I linked to. He just wanted to assert his opinion and then threaten me if I didn’t conform to his beliefs.

Typical. It’s called Reasoned Discourse.

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‘Dangerous game’

It’s a relative term isn’t it?

The vast majority of times, a deer will run if it sees you. They’ll often ignore motor vehicles, but if you’re out walking, a deer will alert on your movements, and if recognizes you as human it will bolt. Anecdote abound, and situations vary widely, but a deer, as a rule, will avoid humans.

On the other hand, a healthy buck in the prime of its life is more than capable of killing you, and quickly, if it gets the hankerin’.

I always carry a sidearm when out and about. Elk and moose are common in my roaming area, and I hear that wolves are getting closer.

The unfortunate in the story was apparently unarmed. Whether that would have made any difference in this case is debatable, but having a heavy caliber pistol cannot but improve one’s odds. What an embarrassing way to die!

Delta T

The rate of heat transfer for many thermodynamic problems is directly proportional to the difference in temperature between the heat source and the heat sink. This difference in temperature is frequently referred to as “Delta T”.

Less than three weeks ago Barb and I were in Columbia where, with the humidity, the temperature felt like 114F:

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We left there and for four days cruised north through the Caribbean Sea, within a 100 miles of Cuba, to New Orleans. Even in the middle of the night you could stand on our stateroom balcony with little or no clothing and be uncomfortably warm. It was during this time that Barb won Miss Norwegian Pearl by stripping down to her bikini. We were soaking up the heat and humidity before returning home.

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Last Friday morning there was snow on the ground. This morning there was more snow and it continues though the afternoon:

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Today, with the continuing large delta T and Barb’s surface area to mass ratio approximating infinity, she ran out of heat to give up to the environment. Even with thermostat set at 71F she had to put on multiple layers of clothes, a fluffy sweatshirt, and put the hood up over her head. Her hands still felt like ice cubes:

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She now has plans to visit Arizona.

The latest interrogation technique

Fascinating stuff. The scientists persuading terrorists to spill their secrets:

Each interview had to be minutely analysed according to an intricate taxonomy of interrogation behaviours, developed by the Alisons. Every aspect of the interaction between interviewee and interviewer (or interviewers – sometimes there are two) was classified and scored. They included the counter-interrogation tactics employed by the suspects (complete silence? humming?), the manner in which the interviewer asked questions (confrontational? authoritative? passive?), the demeanour of the interviewee (dominating? disengaged?), and the amount and quality of information yielded. Data was gathered on 150 different variables in all.

Watching and coding all the interviews took eight months. When the process was complete, Laurence passed on the data to Paul Christiansen, a colleague at Liverpool University, who performed a statistical analysis of the results. The most important relationship he measured was between “yield” – information elicited from the suspect – and “rapport” – the quality of the relationship between interviewer and interviewee. For the first time, a secure, empirical basis was established for what had, until then, been something between a hypothesis and an insider secret: rapport is the closest thing interrogators have to a truth serum.

The psychologists observed and coded the actions of the “interviewer” (interrogators) in thousands of hours of interviews from hundreds of real-world interviews with terrorists suspected of serious crimes. From this they distilled a process which appears to work better than any other interrogation technique.

I’m reminded of other things I have read such as Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. Also books on the Crusades (from both sides of the conflicts), the Soviet Union, criminals, and terrorists. People who do things far out of social norms need to justify their actions and thoughts to themselves. They almost never think of themselves as evil. And when outside of the bubble of their peers (if any) they feel a need to proselytize and convert the non-believers and make people understand why they were justified in their actions. If the interviewer gives the suspect a “safe place” to tell their story to an apparently receptive audience they are likely to do so.

This has application to other situations as well. From the same article:

Miller argued that counsellors were having precisely the wrong kind of conversation with their clients. Addicts were caught between a desire to change and a desire to maintain their habit. As soon as they felt themselves being judged or instructed, they produced all the reasons they did not want to change. That isn’t a pathology, Miller argued, it’s human nature: the more we feel someone trying to persuade us to do something, the more we dwell on the reasons we should not. By insisting on change, the counsellor was making himself feel better, while reinforcing the addict’s determination to carry on.

Miller argued that rather than instigating confrontation, counsellors should focus on building a relationship of trust and mutual understanding, enabling the patient to talk through his experiences without feeling the need to defend himself. Eventually, and with the counsellor gently shaping the dialogue, the part of the patient that wanted to get better would overcome the part that did not, and he would make the arguments for change himself. Having done so, he would be motivated to follow through on them. Miller called this approach “motivational interviewing” (MI).

I’m wondering if “interviewing” an anti-gun person in a similar manner might yield results as well. The bottom line is that both (honest) sides of the gun debate want to increase public safety. Interview the anti-gun person in a nonconfrontational manner and “let” them explain the details of how things will work. Let them realize, for themselves, their solutions cannot possibly achieve their desired goals. In essence, The Socratic Method. Might they, in the end, realize they were advocating for that which cannot deliver the desired results and instead results in a decrease in public safety?

And:

The premise of interpersonal psychology is that in any conversation, the participants are asking for status – to feel respected and listened to – and communion – to feel liked and understood. “Power, love,” says Laurence. “The fundamental elements of all human behaviour.” Conversations only go well when both parties feel they are getting their fair share of each.

A father who opens the door to his daughter when she comes home late might adopt a confrontational style, implicitly inviting a contrite response. But his daughter, feeling her agency being denied, pushes back, which provokes her father’s anger. A power struggle ensues, until the conversation terminates with one or both stomping off to their bedroom. If the father had emphasised his love for his daughter, a conversation about acceptable norms might have developed. But doing so isn’t easy, partly because children know exactly which buttons to press. “I tell (the police), if you can deal with teenagers you can deal with terrorists,” says Laurence.

I saw evidence supporting this when dealing with my teenage daughters.

Good stuff.