The Center Cannot Hold

IMGP2105W. B. Yeats in 1919, the atmosphere of post-war Europe.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

The middle finger always goes. Between moving rocks and yardwork this must be the fifth pair of leather gloves, nearly as many “Mechanix” type synthetics have also fallen by the wayside.
Also to the gray-goatee’d fake-factory spandex $3000 bicyclists taking up the middle of the narrow country road, yes YOU bastard Yuppie Boomers, I wave with my whole hand because the display of a single finger does not express enough contempt.

Class tonight

UPDATE: Map corrected, click to enlarge:34-StateCCWComboMapx800
Signed up for the 4-hour Utah & Arizona class (and fingerprinting) that gets me 34-State Concealed Weapons Permit. (Green or Blue states) “Colorado reportedly to be added soon.” – whatever that means. Still need to get up to Tahoe and spend a few nights, and go over to take a class in Minden, for Nevada.
UPDATE: The 34-State course material was presented in a friendly, instructive and inviting manner. 2-hours was spent on the Utah LE perspective that drives the acceptance of the AZ permit and produces the overall 34-state blanket of reciprocity. Utah being fairly different from California in attitude, acceptance, and emphasis was a welcome eye-opener. But mainly being able to complete the Utah and Arizona CCW fingerprint cards and application forms correctly is absolutely crucial, and after the step-by-step instructions I felt confidant in the process. Our instructor and company-owner John was there with his dad and elder son, and was well equipped, well informed, and friendly – and presented some of the rote (and mandatory, I’m sure) Gunstruction well. As a former LEO was he insightful on a variety of ancillary topics – but we didn’t get side-tracked and there was no Rambo-Cop in the room. Most importantly he guided us step-by-step through the bureaucratic paperwork/fingerprinting maze in a way that made a daunting task recognizable and easy to complete. I’m looking forward to taking further actual defensive shooting instruction with John at the private range where rapid-fire is not limited, now that this hurdle has been overcome.

Drizzly Day Thoughts

Not all is gloom-and-doom, the small spate of wetness somehow brought full rain-barrels! The damp also brings to mind perfect riding conditions locally, of loamy soil and a tall rooster-tail of dirt flung high on a dark trail through piney woods – and crashing my brains out. Good times! Fun! Looking at the District-36 page of activities and events I see a Family Enduro advertised. Don’t be fooled, they have classes for everyone including the biggest sandbaggers of ‘em all, feisty old former national racers who sign-up as A-Level Super Seniors. Since my last best ride was as a C-Senior – back when I started, I’d now be in the C-Super-Senior class. Since I haven’t even ridden in several years, I’d be a super fool. Oh well, lets play with guns instead!

What Gun for Walkabout?

It’s not really The End Of The World as We Know It – at least not for anybody else anyhow. But just for YOU the skies are on fire and frogs rain-down from heaven as the flood-waters rise. The rental-house burnt-down and the bug-out bag was in it, along with your cash reserves. It happened when you were at work and getting a surprise pink-slip after only a week – there’s no severance. So, laid-off (again), when you came outside your 12-year old truck wouldn’t start. The tow-fee to move the truck home cost more than the value of the rusted-out Chevy, and besides your tools to fix it were in the house, now three-feet deep in wet-ash slurry. It’s just YOU now – you don’t have anybody else to defend. Your now ex-wife got fed-up and took the kids with her back to Singapore about a month ago when the other job-contract ended, and she used the last of your United-Miles. Your credit card got cut-up a the grocery store when the limit was reached, and the un-paid bill was burnt in the fire. You moved to this remote town after a long and nearly fruitless job-search, and it was the last place your dwindling funds could take you… Sucks to be you, Job.
The Red Cross gives you a sleeping bag, socks, a toothbrush, a disposable razor, and a fresh pair of socks. Somebody left a shopping-cart down at the corner. No feeling-sorry, after-all you get to “re-invent yourself,” and you can now “launch a new career!” You get to let You be You. So what you’re carrying is the single piece you take-with when you’re turned-out – what is it? A rifle might look odd and attract attention as you push your cart down the street. Somebody might recognize and want to steal that precious M1 Garand. And where do you go, with no family to go-to? Do you head south where the weather is warm for sleeping-out? Does TSA frisk and wand people on the Greyhound now? You can’t afford much ammo or the weight that it adds – what do you take, Job?

Backdoor Ammo Ban Halted (for now)

From the NSSF:

ATF to Not Move Forward with 5.56 M855 Ammo Ban at This Time
ATF announced today that it will not move forward with its proposed framework to ban commonplace 5.56 M855 “green tip” ammunition at this time while it reviews the record number (more than 80,000) comments it has received so far. ATF will continue to accept comments through March 16. NSSF, as the trade association for the firearms industry, looks forward to engaging in a dialogue with ATF to address this issue that led to the now withdrawn proposal.

Country Livin’

Water, Waste, Trash, and Warmth. When we first moved out of the Perfect Suburban University Paradise we were uncomfortable with some of country livin’s inevitable mechanical features, such as a well and a septic tank/system. Not so much anymore.
For water there’s the “Irrigation District” piped-in water, a kind of hold-over from the old days of “Ditch Tenders,” water-rights, and mining operations – and what some still consider to be a rapine Utility just like in the old days. A lot of people up here have wells and that’s drinking water – but they need to be tested for various levels of stuff besides bacterial nasties, like iron so your pants don’t come out of the wash brown. In the current drought-conditions, some of the lower elevation wells were going-off dry or showing up muddy. In order to restore volume and flow, some people had to get another few hundred feet deep. That can get pretty expensive and I imagine that a bunch of other well-stuff gets upgraded or replaced at the same time.
Waste-systems, as a friend in MA where it’s actually pretty suburban but lacking in waste-infrastructure says, “Think of a septic system as a biological engine, and don’t throw food-scraps down the in-sink-erator disposal.” The leach-field or tank needs to be properly maintained and at a proper distance from the well. And then there’s “casual/causal waste.” Being that we produce X-amount of archaeological-worthy litter on a daily basis, where does the garbage go? Some folks also have burn-piles and on burn-days sometimes it’s smells like they’re burning old milk cartons and plastic wrap – it’s not all fragrant pines and balsam up in the woods. As discussed in comments:

Out in the sticks many driveways are practically tiny roads, too long, twisty and tight for the big waste-haulers to even navigate. If you have to push your waste-bins down a mile to the road every Thursday it gets a bit old. Lot of people have a small garden-tractor and trailer for just that. Lot of people leave the waste-bins lined-up in rows by the roadside next to the mail-boxes. Some mail-theft here too.
But still people are free to live like pigs in squalor, and you can see them from the road. Homes where garbage is piled all around, blue-tarps cover mounds of decaying old vehicles and mattresses, ancient rusting appliances dotting the landscape. I dunno, it’s either because they’re old, or just cheap, or poor, or they are hoarders who never throw anything away. We have passed-up several opportunities where the neighbors lived like pigs and too close-proximity made all the difference. I guess for some people it’s a way to prevent anybody (at least people of a certain sensibility) from even moving-in next door. Or they might just be crack-heads on Gov. assistance.

Heating. Given the sheer natural abundance of timber, wood is still a viable heating alternative to rapine utility companies like PG&E, but in an appliance-rich environment they still they mostly get the “E” out of you for lights and computers – unless you go Solar. But the cost of electricity is not so great (compared to the Expensively-Perfect Suburban Paradise), and many kitchens are all-electric. My preference is for gas wherever possible, and it can be re-plumbed to connect-up to the propane tank, because most furnaces are running on propane…

Lookeyloo

Went drivin’ past a couple more houses, and got in to see one today. Lovely 8×8 pier construction and a nice hip-roof with good overhangs, sheathed in tile. Wish we could crash through the pending short-sale contingent, but the necessary work involved would probably not produce a net benefit down the road and someone is already in the #1 spot. Poorly home-done and obviously amateurish crown-molding in a couple rooms where none is needed or desired, wallpaper, stick-down vinyl floor tiles, some ugly golden-oak cabinetry to rip-out – all fairly and easily doable but altogether not a win-win after adding it up. The deck needed some TLC and the grounds needed pruning, but the barrier was already set in the contingent sale, and at a cost per-foot where we wouldn’t come out ahead, even if we were in the game. Too bad, the home had real nice bones and wasn’t chopped-up by a weird floorplan.
UPDATE: But mainly I liked the hip-and-gable roof style with generous 4-foot overhangs. Houses built today with no trim or overhang look like they come out of an appliance factory.

Dry Lightning Strikes

Prayers for my neighbor who had an aneurysm. She’s in the Hospital recovering now at one of the finest neurological centers in the US, and on a special clinical trial so we have much to hope and pray for her complete recovery – but she was not any older than me. Scary. One moment you’re sailing along just fine on a clear, cloudless day minding your own business and taking care of family – then BOOM. Out of the blue.
Everybody stay well, especially my friends in the Mid-Atlantic states and Mid-West where it’s freeze-ass cold and snow-exertions can cause all manner of other ills and attacks.

Deceptive Imagery

Went up to Garden Valley again yesterday to walk and look around a property with stunning views out over the South Fork of the American River, five mostly flat acres amid woodsy-piney trees and tall stands of manzanita. But the inside of the semi A-frame house (built in 1984) looked like the fevered dreams of a malarial hippie. Once inside the front door things stopped making any sense.
The layout was simply bizarre and bizarrely primitive. Ceilings were covered with rough, splintery, 1″-by slats and panels. One side of the lower-area was rough-sawn walls that were painted an uncomfortable beige-pink, and the other side was green. Instead of doors over closet areas there were bath-curtains. The 20-gal water heater was hidden in an inaccessible upstairs closet. Someone (a-someone, singular) might have been OK with it as a hermit-cabin for themselves and their imaginary friend(s) provided they were Breatharians and really didn’t have to prepare meals either. The unusually small electric stove had a vent-hood fan above it that sucked-up the cooking vapors, and rather than venting them outside (because it lacked a vent-stack) blew them right back into your face. There was virtually no pantry space, and the dormitory-sized refrigerator’s total capacity would have been consumed by a sandwich and a six-pack – and lacking that cold-storage meant that you would be constantly out shopping for food or eating out.
But all that could have been overlooked or repaired had the structure functioned at all. The cross-beams with giant bolts that held the walls apart were not “sistered” together for strength but about four inches apart, (apparently to run wiring to the multiple ceiling fans) reducing their load capacity and ability to re-orient the upper floor. The upstairs “loft” which should have been an expansive, relaxing, contemplative focal-point – a stage-area *at right-angles to the view* – was instead divided perpendicular the wrong way, and covered in plastic fake-wood laminate.
There were just issues that could only be addressed by tearing it all back to the studs and then igniting the debris pile on fire. Too bad really.

Gunbloggers Win II!

Uncle alerts us, and David Hardy says: We all know it’s going to appeal, but the government wanted to proceed in its usual way (pondering everything, with meetings and exchange of memos and alerting 10,000 people before officially reaching the only obvious conclusion, hey, I used to be a GS-14 and know the ropes). The judge said, no way, you’ll meet the deadline imposed on every other case.
And John Richardson adds depth to the CCRKBA release with, The Justice Department had requested a 60-day stay in Mance v. Holder. They had requested the stay while they decided whether or not to appeal the case.

This is the case that overturned that part of the Gun Control Act of 1968 that banned the purchase and immediate transfer of handguns by FFLs to out of state purchasers. Today, Judge Reed O’Connor denied the government’s request for a stay.
Mance v. Holder – Government Requested Stay Denied

From CCRKBA’s release:

FEDERAL JUDGE DENIES STAY REQUEST IN GUN TRANSFER CASE

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA – A federal court in Texas has denied a government motion for a 60-day stay in a case involving interstate handgun transfers in which the judge applied strict scrutiny to determine whether a ban on such transfers meets constitutional muster.

The case, known as Mance v. Holder, was filed by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and is financially supported by the Second Amendment Foundation. It involves plaintiffs residing in Texas and the District of Columbia, and the ruling last month by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, found that “the federal interstate handgun transfer ban is unconstitutional on its face.”

The government had asked for a 60-day stay in order to decide whether to file an appeal. But Judge O’Connor ruled today that a stay is not warranted because the government could offer no other reasons for its request other than the court’s “inherent authority to manage its docket.”

“We’re delighted that Judge O’Connor is not going to simply allow the government to stall this ruling,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “This case could have significant ramifications nationwide, and allowing a two-month stay while the government essentially claims it will be thinking about whether to appeal obviously was not warranted.”

CCRKBA and the individual plaintiffs are represented by Virginia attorney Alan Gura and Texas attorney William B. “Bill” Mateja of Fish & Richardson in Dallas.