Where There's A William

there's always aweigh

Archive for the month “November, 2007”

And that will be enough of that

Just returned home from an evening spent in the tantalising presence of the lovely Lana at Mother Francis Hospital’s emergency room. Physically captivating she is, with that patina of toughness – rigorousness really – that good nurses develop to disguise the emotional reality underneath that we all possess. Lovely woman as I said, who I may seek out to ask for a date; certainly I have no remaining modesty, dignity or reservoir of shame unrevealed to her any more. On the other hand, she also knows I have no communicable or blood-born diseases and a reasonably well-paid job with decent health insurance. Take the good where you find it I always say.

Pending her descent into social questionability, I did come away with a quantity of amlodipine besylate, aka: cumadine. I’ve been waking up in the middle of my sleep with a sensation of overpressure throughout my body lately. Without any notable degree of excess fluid retention. Millions of people live with high blood pressure, I’m no different from any of them I expect. I’m still going to find out what happens when I get rid of a third of me.

My other departing gift (not really, I had to go to a pharmacy and buy it also) is something called protonix. I presented in the ER as a rule out heart attack patient. I was pretty certain I was suffering (and that’s the proper word, believe me) from pronounced gastric distress that was radiating throughout the thorax. To the degree that my back muscles were going into spasm and I was sweating uncontrollably. I don’t have any of the other sensations commonly associated with acid reflux or heart burn, but the upper abdominal muscles clenched in the seizure from hell more than makes up for it, trust me. I’ll see what my regular Doc has to say, but ’till then it’s down the neck with one of each every day.

Two rounds of blood work, an EKG and an x-ray and apparently my heart is in surprisingly good condition – no qualification, just surprisingly good, so there’s that. A blood pressure reading of 218/142 probably isn’t one for the record books, but it’s a distinction I can do without, thank-you-very-much. F#@k me ragged, I’m only in my 50’s and I’m already going completely to crap physically. Things is gonna change around here. I fully expect to live ’till something kills me, but I have no intention of that thing being my own laziness and stupidity.

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Travails* du Toit

Kim and Connie du Toit provide daily updates of their journeys through southern Germany and northern Austria. Not to be missed by those who haven’t been to that part of Europe in a while, like myself (has it really been 27 years?).

* It’s long been my understanding that “travail” was the root word for the more modern usage “travel”; there is no implied judgement of my friends in it’s usage here.

Premature my ass!

And so, Instapundit displays his ignorance about the complexities inherent in organising a parade like this one ought to be (and it’s not before time I must say, the guy’s range of expertise is almost scary …).

Granted this is only the end stage of the Iraq Campaign; most of the units that will rotate out of Iraq over the next 18 months or so will do so to begin training up for eventual deployment in the Afghan theater of operations. The Iraq Campaign has been won and now must be brought to it’s administrative conclusion as well, but the war rages on however little we here at home can see of it.

I wonder what airfare to, and hotel prices in, Baghdad will be like a year from now? If standing on a street corner yelling and applauding like a fool for a day is the most direct contribution I can make to the war effort then so be it. We too serve, and all that rubbish.

I particularly liked this little understated gem:

The negotiations will bring to a formal conclusion the U.N. Chapter 7 Security Council involvement in the occupation and administration of Iraq, and are expected to reduce the number of American troops to about 50,000 troops permanently stationed there …

Anybody taking bets on how long it will be before those boys and girls are providing the infrastructure for activities that used to occur in places like Bad Tolz and Munich, just for instance? I fully expect for Iraq to become our (the US and allied country’s military forces) middle-eastern equivalent of the US Army’s National Training Center in California.

Further to that, if the Israeli’s can just hang on for a few more years, I also won’t be surprised to see Iraq and Jordan enter into a treaty with that country to construct a pipeline for Iraqi and Jordanian crude oil directly to a Mediterranean port facility.

That ought to flush the Saudi’s out into the open.

Thanks Hud

For this and this Songza link. I’ve always had a partiality for American Pie. It’s a good song too.

Awlll Whall

Al Fin, who’s resource-filled side bar has gone AWOL again, has a new post up regarding “peak oil” and it’s cyclical mythological status as “crisis”. This is the topic of a book by Italian oil industry executive Leonardo Maugeri titled: The Age of Oil.

Which is not to say that such an eventuality isn’t possible, you understand. Simply put, the previously little recognised fact is that we simply haven’t done the necessary exploration to determine what level of oil reserves actually exist in the world today.

Despite its long history as an oil producing region, the Persian Gulf is still relatively virgin in terms of exploration. Only around 2,000 new field wildcas (wells made for exploring the presence of hydrocarbons in the subsoil) have been drilled in the entire Persian Gulf region since the inception of its oil activity, as against more than 1 million in the United States. p. 221 TAO

I didn’t know that; my impression has always been that “oil companies” were steadily drilling away, “depleting the resources” of these avaricious third-world dupes, who just don’t know what’s being done to them yadda, yadda, you take my drift, I hope. Mr. Maugeri’s point about the lack of modernisation in nationalised industry autocracies is quite correct. As is his example of price instability’s negative influence on development of production and refining capacity.

All of which contribute to the elevated price of oil and it’s plethora of refined products upon which much of the civilisation we consider normal here in the early years of the 21st century is built. And which gives reassurance that the same market forces which work to our present short-term financial discomfort also provide stimulus for our coming relief. Not only is that just how markets work (thank you
Adam Smith), that cyclical process is what stimulates regular advancement in new technologies that would be too costly to pursue otherwise. We call this technological progress and too often fail to acknowledge just what it is that so often drives individuals to be the “mad inventors” we so admire after the fact.

MORE: This recent TEDTalk by Juan Enriquez seems pertinent to this discussion. I’ve never tried linking a video before, let’s see how well this works out.

Thanks

Some things to give thanks for via the boys at The Speculist.

And Kim says it well to all those who serve in distant climes at our behest. Fair well, with added thanks from just another member of the NoR …

Today is the day we Americans gather together to express our gratitude as a group. Which must make for a particularly cacophonous message I must say. So here’s my contribution to the celebration and my sincere thanks to those who have given my life what meaning it has.

Rush (Limbaugh) to opportunity

From yesterday’s (Tuesday, 11/20) on-air broadcast of the Rush Limbaugh Show:

RUSH: “The Dubai government agency that bought into Deutsche Bank this year said on Monday it was considering investing in US financial services firms affected by the mortgage-market crisis.” (laughing) The thing is, Dubai could wipe out the debt; they could wipe out the crisis. “DIFC Investments, one of the agencies Dubai has used to buy foreign assets, is identifying ‘good opportunities for acquisitions’ in the United States, the governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) said on Monday. Asked whether the targets could include US banks such as Citigroup and Merrill Lynch, Omar bin Sulaiman told Reuters: ‘Without mentioning names we have a track record of taking stakes in banks, with the right partners for management. The price has to be right and the strategy has to be aligned,’ he said. Asked whether it made sense to invest in banks which have taken a hit from the mortgage crisis, he said: ‘Yes, but we are looking at all sectors not just financial sectors.'”

Let me pause for a moment and pose the rhetorical question, when your boat is actively sinking, are you really going to refuse an extra bucket because of who is handing it to you? Granted, you will question his motivation and be suspicious of whatever terms might come along with the aid, but are you really prepared to risk destruction because the aid offered comes with an increased potential for risk? If you are, then I hope you’re a Democrat or a Paulian. The Republicans have enough troubles already without taking up the cause of national suicide as well.

Returning to the matter at hand, anyone who was paying attention back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s will likely remember the furor over Japanese investment in property and business here in the US and how they were “buying the country out from under us” and similar nonsense (yes, I’m looking at you Ross Perot). Other then the obvious fact that we Americans have more job opportunities and better cars and trucks to drive, anyone still want to argue that the “Japanification” of the USA was a bad deal for our country?

That’s precisely how I view this potential investment from Dubal. The Dubai World port’s terminal deal had the same potential as did the earlier Japanese investment, but fell afoul of the institutional racism that is fundamental to the Democratic Party. I’m confidant this latest proposed return investment of US currency into our economy will be recipient of at least as bad treatment by all the usual suspects once again.

Which is silliness personified in this particular instance. With the possible exception of medicine, the financial sector is the most closely monitored and heavily regulated sector of our entire economy. This isn’t a question of a few iconic buildings or a geriatric monolithic industry hiding from reality in ravaged Detroit, but the principle mechanism for operating our country. That’s what the dollar is after all, the tool we – and the rest of the world – use to do the work Americans are so justifiably recognised for. If we don’t allow foreign entities to re-invest our currency back into our economy, we contribute to the decline in our currency’s value everywhere.

If we keep doing that to ourselves long enough, we get to experience soon the sensations that are Zimbabwe today.

Disclosure: I suppose I should mention that I am a Rush 24/7 member and have been a semi-regular listener (job and other commitments allowing) since the late spring of 1989 or thereabouts.

Via Instapundit

So, is it us or me? We should have an answer by late next spring, it seems.

Kevin Baker posted the layman’s definitive review of what’s at stake a week ago. Hie ye hence for the full treatment.

A day at the shops

So, I did my part earlier today. No camera I’m afraid, but I bought 100 rds of .45 acp from Winchester, 200 rds of .22 WMR from CCI and a 550 rd block of .22 lr from Federal just because one simply cannot have too much .22 lr. I overheard another shopper comment that the new price for 230 gr .45 acp ball ammo offered by UMC in 250 rd packages was priced slightly under that being asked at gun shows for similar quantities of re-load ammo, and this is consistent with my own experience. It is true that dealers at gun shows will often negotiate prices for quantity buys that storefront retailers mostly can’t offer, but even then the price difference doesn’t justify the amount of cash money required to make a buy of that quantity, never mind the difficulty of storing large quantities of ammo, or so it seems to apartment dwelling me.

This touches on a topic that seems particularly relevant today; what is a “good” average stocking level of ammunition? With the understanding that (most of) my guns are locked up in one room and ammo is stored in a closet in a different room, my current stocks are:

.22 lr: something in excess of 3500 rds (I’m not going to count out what’s left in the open block)

.22 WMR: about 1200 rds (plus 150 rds of something classified as 22 WRF from CCI that seems to fall between these other two rounds in length – I don’t have good calipers here at home to measure diameter closely enough. Anybody familiar with this ammo?)

.32 Mag: a bit over 400 rds

.45 acp: 900 rds of ball and 300 rds of combat ammo (Corbon, etc)

30-30: 400+ rds

7.62×39: 1200+ rds

12 ga: maybe a 100 rds of slug and various shot sizes combined

I should also point out that I have more guns in the first two calibers listed then in the last five calibers combined.

My inclination is to basically double these quantities (with an order of magnitude increase in 12 ga) and work to maintain that. However, I’m already courting structural damage to my (upstairs) apartment closet – I don’t think the shelf will stay that way permanently – so I’m going to have to come up with some kind of container that will spread the weight over a larger area and still allow me to shut the closet door before I do so.

The objective in all this is to be able to continue shooting at basically the same frequency I’m used to without having to resupply for 6 months if finances (or other considerations) necessitate. Since most of my shooting is in .22 (though at 8+ cents a round for .22 Mag I’m going to have to look into getting some additional rifles in .22 lr I think), I think I need to give more thought to the specific application I’m buying ammo for at stocking levels much beyond those at present.

It’s an interesting challenge. I don’t hunt for sport, so I believe the 30-30, Mini-30 and 12 ga will be sufficient for any likely confrontation I might face here in the contiguous US. The .45 and .32 are concealed carry weapons for which I have near-equivalents in .22 lr for routine skills practice. I’m already supporting 7 different calibers, so any new acquisitions will be in one of those. Although, at some point I’m going to get a center-fire bolt action rifle so I’ll be up to 8 one day.

Logistics has always been the art of “how little can I get wrong this time?”. This is a very simple example of only some of the issues involved, too. I’ve never had the money to do so for myself much, but I’ve always wanted to try my hand at expedition support. Born a century too late, I guess. I would dearly love to organise a safari into hostile territory utilising the resources and technologies available to a healthy wallet today though.

Ah well. I hope it was a good Ammo Day Buycott for you too.

UPDATE 11/20: Went to CCI’s website and found this:

This fine old cartridge dates to the end of the 19th Century when it was popular in the Winchester Model 1890 pump-action rifle and other firearms. Until now, the only surviving ammo was loaded with a solid lead bullet. Our hollow point load greatly extends the useful life of these fine old rifles. (part #0069)
SPECIAL 22 W.R.F. SAFETY NOTES:
—Some 22 W.R.F. are so old and worn as to be unsafe with ANY ammunition. Use only in rifles known to be in good condition with proper headspace.
—DO NOT use jacketed 22 WRF ammunition in revolvers. Most revolvers chambered for this cartridge have undersize bores and must not be fired with jacketed ammunition.
—DO NOT use 22 WRF ammo in firearms chambered for 22 Rimfire Magnum (22 WMR).

So, it’s off to Lock and Load to see if I can do a deal for some WMR instead.

After I’ve had my coffee.

Mishtar Wizshar(hic!)

I’m going to start one of these here in Tyler.

Just as soon as I figure out how to get around the blue laws here in the “wettest dry county” in Texas.

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