Introducing the Assault iPhone

Posted in News on April 2nd, 2014 by Brian

Add a camouflage case to the next generation iPhone, and it magically become an iPhone worth of banning:

Just days after leaked images suggested Apple’s iPhone 6 will have a protruding camera, a patent has been issued giving an insight into what this feature may be used for.

The patent, initially filed in 2012, describes a bayonet mount system for an iPhone camera.[Emphasis added.]

A bayonet mount, as you know, is one of the cosmetic features that make a rifle into an ASSAULT RIFLE BADBADBAD!

Connect the Dots, Man

Posted in News on March 14th, 2014 by Brian

Dustbury links to this disturbing story:

There are plans to build the country’s largest single family residence in northeast Edmond.

Last year, the Edmond Planning Commission was asked to give approval to a mega mansion on the northwest corner of Sorghum Mill Road and Westminster Road.

“It’s truly a castle,” says Bob Schiermeyer, who saw the first renderings late last year and tells News 9 the plans call for a draw bridge and spires that reach 90 feet.

Well, it’s just a story until I mix my own brand of disturbed into it.

Because this is not the first castle to be built in the region recently. See also:

As the monolithic structure began to rise on an isolated mountaintop in Missouri’s Ozarks, the chatter grew: Who was building this cement castle?

. . . .

The massive structure will require several thousand yards of concrete to build. The building materials include a concrete additive that contains tiny pieces of wire that will allow the structure to withstand everything from an F-5 tornado to a bomb blast. Tornadoes are certainly a concern, as Pensmore is in rural Christian County, Mo., not too far from Joplin, the town that was ravaged by a powerful tornado on May 22.

I got two words for you: Marcher lords.

This is the Internet, after all. What do we have to do around here but speculate wildly?

Although I have to admit, if I had the dinero for it, I think I’d have a castle built, too.

What World Am I Living In?

Posted in News on February 5th, 2014 by Brian

Certainly not that of the Wall Street Journal columnists.

First, in Bret Stephens’ Dancing in the Nuclear Dark, a bit of alt-pop-culture:

Where do federal government reports go once they’ve been published and (lightly) chewed over by second-tier officials, congressional staffers and think-tank wonks? I picture them being packed into crates and stored in some vast warehouse, like the Ark of the Covenant in the last scene of “Indiana Jones.”

The film’s name was Raiders of the Lost Ark.

At the bottom of the page, Fay Vincent offers Ten Tips for New Executives which includes:

Be sure to manage down. Spend time with the lower-level employees in your company and try to be decent to all of them. A polite greeting to the elevator operator, a thanks to the mail delivery person and a kind word to the assistants will be appreciated.[Emphasis added]

The elevator operator? Might as well have guided people to be kind to the stenographers and the milkman.

The New York Observer sez:

IT’S WELL KNOWN AMONG THE SMALL WORLD of people who pay attention to such things that the liberal-leaning reporters at The Wall Street Journal resent the conservative-leaning editorial page of The Wall Street Journal.

Apparently, the fact checkers hate them, too.

(Link to the Observer piece courtesy of the Ace of Spades HQ sidebar.)

Cars Don’t Kill People; Hit-and-Run Drivers Kill People

Posted in News on January 21st, 2014 by Brian

According to this story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, more objects are becoming murderous: Police seek pickup after man, 80, is killed in hit-and-run near Hillsboro

An 80-year-old man was struck and killed this morning near Hillsboro and authorities are searching for the pickup believed to have struck him before driving away.

So guns aren’t the only self-activating agents of human destruction any more.

On the one hand, it’s not passive voice, which is poor writing. On the other hand, ascribing actions to objects is worse than obscuring agency through passive voice.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Writer Displays Ignorance Of Gun Owners, Gun Culture

Posted in News on December 14th, 2013 by Brian

And who would have guessed it from the accusatory headline, What’s an Olivette man doing running pro-gun website?:

Sitting inside a Starbucks, sipping black coffee, joking with the baristas, Dan Zimmerman doesn’t look like a gun guy.

He looks like a guy who might work in accounts receivable, which is what this Olivette resident did for years. He is 53, balding, wearing tortoise shell glasses, carrying a little extra weight and dressed in the beige tones of business casual. He smiles easily. He is working on a laptop at a back table.

He also might be packing heat. Could be his .38 snubby. Maybe his Kahr 9 mm. He won’t say.

“I really don’t talk about that,” he says.

No word on whether the journalist asked to see it or hold it.

No word on what the journalist thinks a gun guy looks like, but I suspect its informed by the film version of Winter’s Bone.

Feed a Deer, Go to Jail

Posted in News on November 13th, 2013 by Brian

If I lived in Chesterfield, Missouri, I would be a wanted man:

Chesterfield residents caught feeding animals will serve up to three months in jail, according to an amended city ordinance passed at a city council meeting earlier this month.

It’s true: I am a notorious deer-feeder. I have planted delicious young fruit trees around Nogglestead for their dining pleasure. Or so they think.

And in today’s science lesson:

Under the amended ordinance, it is now illegal to feed all wild mammals, including pigeons and Canada Geese.

Does the writer need remedial science courses or simply remedial writing courses? In the modern era, I fear the worst.

Political Persecution Yes, Political Prosecution No

Posted in News on September 19th, 2013 by Brian

No criminal charges for Obama protesters arrested in St. Charles for distracting I-70 drivers:

A pair of St. Charles County men won’t face criminal charges after their recent arrests during an anti-Obama protest on an Interstate 70 highway overpass.

. . . .

The men were arrested in August for failing to obey orders by Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers as the pair gathered above I-70 to protest the president.

Would they have been arrested if the signs had said, “Happy Birthday Mindy!”

Of course not.

But the goal was served, prosecution or not. They were removed from the bridge and prevented from sharing their message. And perhaps they’ll think better of peacefully assembling and speaking their minds in the future.

I’m Walking, I’m Falling

Posted in News on September 18th, 2013 by Brian

A bow hunter following a deer he wounded pushes through a bush and falls seven stories to his death:

A deer hunter walking in a wooded area in rural Pulaski County died Monday when he fell into a deep sinkhole, authorities say.

. . . .

The sinkhole was about the size of a car at ground level and was estimated to be approximately 65 to 70 feet deep.

. . . .

It is believed Powelson did not see the opening before falling into it because it was hidden behind tall foliage, and the light was poor, according to the sheriff’s department.

Well, I’m going to give up on hiking in the woods. Not that I’m a hiker. But I’m far less inclined now.

(Another sinkhole nightmare explains why I gave up on golf, another hobby I never had.)

Your Internet Conspiracy Theory of the Day

Posted in Humor, News on September 7th, 2013 by Brian

A story from Instapundit yesterday:

SO A FRIEND HAD A WEIRD EXPERIENCE LAST WEEK — her car was struck by lightning on the Interstate. All the electronics were fried, they managed to coast to the side of the road, and then they couldn’t get out because the door locks and windows were frozen.

A story from the television news yesterday:

A motorcyclist riding on Interstate 5 survived a lightning strike Thursday as a tumultuous day of weather saw thunderstorms and rain roll through Washington on both sides of the Cascade Mountains.

Is this a coincidence or is the government testing its lightning drones on American citizens?

I was going to embed a tweet here that was something like this:

“The government is listening to your phone calls, reading your emails, and cracking your encryption.” – a crazy person one year ago

But that tweet has disappeared. Or I can’t find it again. Which is the same thing. (Conspiracy theory style note: italics are important!)

Frankly, I’m only bringing this to your attention because it’s been a little dry around here lately, and my gardens could use the rain that would come with my lightning strike.

UPDATE: Edward Snowden just emailed me this NSA internal video:

It All Started When They Started Sweetening Coke With Lead

Posted in News on August 20th, 2013 by Brian

Is Soda Making Our Children More Aggressive?:

According a new study out of Columbia University, children who drank soft drinks every day were more likely to become violent, hurting other children and destroying things.

Researchers tracked 3,000 children since their births. Nearly 40 percent drank four or more sodas a day. Some who drank just one soda a day even showed more aggressive behaviors.

KOLR10 News spoke to one local pediatrician who said the study is not exactly conclusive.

“They haven’t looked at what it is in the soda that’s causing that, whether it’s the sugar or the caffeine or exactly what is involved,” says Dr. Ashley Merrick with Mercy.

The story doesn’t link to the study itself, but I wonder how they controlled for other environmental factors, such as what kind of parents allow their kids to drink four or more sodas a day?

Have a Nightmare on Me

Posted in News on July 25th, 2013 by Brian

Giant carnivorous, venomous centipedes here in the Ozarks? You betcha:

“I was climbing up to Devil’s Tea Table down near Kissee Mills and grabbed a stick to pull myself up,” Maynard recalled about his July 17 hiking trip. “This thing was on the back side of the stick and got me on my right index finger. It felt like someone had stuck a hot soldering iron under my skin.”

Maynard had inadvertently grabbed a 6-inch giant red-headed centipede, and it bit him with its two sharp fangs, injecting venom that caused his finger to immediately swell. Sweating from pain, he knew he was in trouble.

. . . .

The 6-incher that bit Maynard was a pipsqueak. Miller said giant red-headed centipedes can grow upwards of 10 inches in length.

. . . .

Unlike spiders that inject venom into their prey and then suck out the insides, Miller said, giant red-headed centipedes eat all of the creatures they catch, ranging from other centipedes and insects to small frogs and lizards. The centipedes actively hunt at night…

Frankly, the title of the horror movie would be The Centipedes Hunt At Night.

UPDATE Thanks for the link, Mr. Hill. Hey, readers, don’t forget my novel John Donnelly’s Gold is available for $.99 Kindle and in other formats. Charles Hill himself said of John Donnelly’s Gold:

This really should not have worked as a novel: technical descriptions tend toward the mundane, and most of the techies I know are decidedly short on drama. What makes this worth your time is Noggle’s attention to detail: J. Random Noob will appreciate the extra exposition, and your local expert will nod, “Yeah, that’s exactly the way I’d do that. If I were going to do that, which of course I’m not.” There might be a hair too much geographical exposition — by the time you’re finished you should be able to hire on as a cab driver in St. Louis County — but no matter about that. The plot is more than sufficiently twisty; I’m pleased to report that I did not even come close to predicting the way it ended. And if the dialogue meanders a bit, hey, that’s the way these people talk. I’ve heard them, and so have you.

Doesn’t that sound like it’s worth a dollar?

Some Swedish Total Recall-Style Plot in Jeopardy

Posted in News on July 16th, 2013 by Brian

Man found in California motel awakens with amnesia:

Doctors are looking into the mystery of a Florida man who awoke speaking only Swedish, with no memory of his past, after he was found unconscious four months ago at a Southern California motel.

Michael Boatwright, 61, woke up with amnesia, calling himself Johan Ek, The Desert Sun reported ( ).

Boatwright was found unconscious in a Motel 6 room in Palm Springs in February. After police arrived, he was transported to the Desert Regional Medical Center where he woke up.

Hospital officials said Boatwright may have been in town for a tennis tournament in the Coachella Valley. He was found with a duffel bag of exercise clothes, a backpack and tennis rackets. He also carried four forms of identification — a passport, a California identification card, a veteran’s medical card and a Social Security card — all of which identified him as Michael Thomas Boatwright.

A botched memory implant, a double life, extensive skills with weaponry (albeit medieval weaponry), foreign bank accounts….

It looks as though a Swedish plot to infiltrate the United States has gone awry. Or is that what they want us to think?

A Wounded Animal Lashes Out

Posted in News on July 15th, 2013 by Brian

Asiana to sue San Francisco TV station over names:

Asiana announced Monday that it will sue a San Francisco TV station that it said damaged the airline’s reputation by using bogus and racially offensive names for four pilots on a plane that crashed earlier this month in San Francisco.

You know, I think it was something else in this incident that might have harmed Asiana’s reputation far more than a juvenile prank.

The Hippies Say, “I Smell Bacon!”

Posted in News on July 11th, 2013 by Brian

Some stories just need remark because they lead themselves to the obvious joke:

The Haight-Ashbury district was all about peace and love until bacon entered the picture.

The trouble began in May, when this city’s health department shut down a popular restaurant called Bacon Bacon after neighbors’ complaints caused a permit delay. The neighbors’ concern: the scent of bacon grease was blowin’ in the wind.

I already made the obvious joke in the headline. I have nothing more than the obvious.

Larry Conners Sacked

Posted in News, St. Louis on May 22nd, 2013 by Brian

In the service of their convenient Goddess of Journalistic Objectivity, Belo Communications / KMOV sacked anchorman Larry Conners:

In a statement on the station’s website, president and general manager Mark Pimentel said:

“We regret to announce that Larry Conners is no longer a KMOV news reporter.

“For KMOV, there is no higher cause than unbiased, objective news reporting. It is what our viewers expect and it is what we work very hard to deliver. We can accept no less. Larry is certainly entitled to his opinion, but taking a personal political position on one of the Station’s Facebook pages creates an appearance of bias that is inconsistent with important journalistic standards.

“Larry’s departure has nothing to do with the particular position he took, but it does have to do with our belief that his actions made it impossible for him to report for KMOV on certain political matters going forward without at least an appearance of bias. Bringing you accurate and unbiased reporting is the reason we exist.”

Which is, of course, nonsense.

I wondered:

Larry Conners has been on the air in St. Louis for a long time. Undoubtedly his salary is pretty good (from his perspective). Is it bad from KMOV’s persepective? Is Belo / KMOV looking to dump an anchor fondly enjoyed in the St. Louis area because he’s old and expensive, and they have seized upon this as a reason to do it, to make it Conners’ fault, and to seek the approval of the hipster/Washington Avenue loft demographic?

Further down in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, past the fatuous journofan service, we get the real meat of the nut:

Professionally, Conners has been taking hits at KMOV, which replaced him in late April with former sportscaster Steve Savard (alongside Sharon Reed) on the marquee 10 p.m. newscast.

For several months, Savard had filled that slot while Conners recovered from shoulder surgery. Ratings for the Savard newscasts were better than with Conners, sources said, leading station officials to make the switch permanent when Conners returned to work.

Savard also has been anchoring, again with Reed, the 6 p.m. newscast since Conners went off the air because of this recent flap. Generally, stations have their top anchor team host both the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts.

His Facebook posting provided a convenient excuse and time to sack him. So the corporate powers-that-be did that, and made a Show of Their Integrity in doing it.

Now, back to their regular slant, no doubt, which is licking the hand of government that feeds them access.

Man, powerful people are sure getting comfortable in telling transparent falsehoods, are they not?

Government Critic Removed From Broadcast Television

Posted in News on May 18th, 2013 by Brian

KMOV anchorman Larry Conners posted on Facebook that he might have been targeted by the IRS for asking a tough question of President Obama during an interview before the election.

For posting on Facebook this sort of musing, his television station pulled him from the air and stifled him with a gag order:

Longtime KMOV (Channel 4) anchorman Larry Conners is “off the air” until further notice.

The station is examining Conners’ recent allegations that he was targeted by the Internal Revenue Service after interviewing President Barack Obama.

“He’s not suspended. We just all thought it made sense (for him) to take a few days off,” news director Sean McLaughlin said Thursday.

“We take this very seriously, and we don’t expect this to drag on. We’re still looking into the situation and weighing our options,” he said.

That’s the story from yesterday. On Monday, the inquisition moves forward:

A meeting between KMOV (Channel 4) executives and anchorman Larry Conners — who is off the air until further notice — has been set for Monday.

The station is examining Conners’ recent post to Facebook alleging he was targeted by the Internal Revenue Service after interviewing President Barack Obama.

Today, Conners’ attorney, Merle Silverstein, issued a statement saying Conners “is barred by corporate from making statements, posting on Facebook, or participating in interviews on the IRS issue.”

Silverstein’s statement concludes, “That is the only reason for his silence.”

The story is all full of the Sanctity of Unbiased Journalism:

Michael Valentine, a vice president with Belo Corp., KMOV’s parent company, told the news website BuzzFeed that Conners “owes a duty to our viewers to report in an unbiased manner.”

“His Facebook post and his Twitter posts, as a result, were inappropriate,” he said. “And we don’t condone personal posts that jeopardize the journalistic nature of our business. It’s really that simple.”

How cynical am I? Let’s peel back the layers of cynicism:

  • I wonder if Belo / KMOV minds if its on-air reporters speculate off-hand in an approved fashion, which might be pro-government. Because we’ve all seen how the papers and news stations have pretty much become lick-spittles for government at all levels, whether through multi-part and seemingly multi-annual booster sessions for additional government children’s programs (Springfield News-Leader, do you recognize anything about yourself here?) to promoting government largesse on sports facilities to approval of government incentives for redevelopers of downtowns or new developments of strip malls to strip sales from existing, full tax-freight paying businesses (unless, of course, the new development will have a Walmart, which is viewed with skepticism to say the least). Would he be on the air today if he’d mused that he thinks this is all blown out of proportion? Come on, cyn with me.
  • Is KMOV and its parent Belo afraid of what this now-viral musing of its anchor might mean to future access to the powerful or–dare we say it–corporate relations with the IRS?
  • Larry Conners has been on the air in St. Louis for a long time. Undoubtedly his salary is pretty good (from his perspective). Is it bad from KMOV’s persepective? Is Belo / KMOV looking to dump an anchor fondly enjoyed in the St. Louis area because he’s old and expensive, and they have seized upon this as a reason to do it, to make it Conners’ fault, and to seek the approval of the hipster/Washington Avenue loft demographic?

I guess we’ll know more on Monday, but regardless, this is a poor, poor reflection on KMOV and Belo.

An Excellent Illustration of the Importance of a Well-Armed Militia

Posted in News on May 6th, 2013 by Brian

In a column preceding Cinco de Mayo, local Springfield columnist Richard Thompson argues the importance of civilian gun ownership:

Cinco de Mayo celebrates a great Mexican military victory in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. On that date, 4,000 amateur Mexican soldiers armed primarily with old rifles and machetes defeated 6,000 heavily favored French troops, well trained and well armed. Indeed, at that time the French army was arguably the most formidable fighting force in the world. The last time France had lost a battle was at Waterloo, Belgium, in 1815. Napoleon I’s defeat there is enshrined in our language. “He’ll never win this one; he’s met his Waterloo.”

Of course, if you’re familiar with Mr. Thompson’s other columns, you’re recognize he is unlikely to mean to make that point. But he does.

But….American Eductation Is The Worst In The World!

Posted in Education, News on April 29th, 2013 by Brian

A pair of Russians who had lived in Japan for a number of years are willing to invest $500,000 to get US citizenship so their daughter can attend school in the United States:

That’s because the Russian immigrants came to the U.S. through the EB-5 visa program, a federal initiative that allows foreigners to earn a green card granting them permanent residency – and a path to citizenship – in return for investing at least $500,000 in an American business and creating at least 10 jobs.

For Anikeeva, she knew after spending her junior year of high school in Savannah, Ga., that she wanted to one day call America home.

The student’s return to the United States was not immediate or certain. She went home to Vladivostok, attended college, then spent seven years in Japan with her husband and daughter, helping run the family’s luxury automobile export business.

But as their daughter grew, Anikeeva and her husband decided they wanted her to have the advantages that come with an American education. And they were willing to pay to make it happen.

But…. but…. I thought people trotted out all kinds of statistics about how dumb American students are when it comes time to pony up other peoples’ money for teacher pensions?

But when it comes time for international-conscious people to decide where to raise their child to have the best opportunities, they come to the United States.

(Link seen on Hot Air.)

Tomorrow’s Swedish History

Posted in News on April 10th, 2013 by Brian

An important note on Swedish tomorrow’s Swedish history: Sweden and Belarus are enjoying a bit of rapprochement. Sweden sends diplomat to Belarus after teddy stunt:

The Swedish Foreign Ministry says it is sending a diplomat to Belarus after its ambassador was expelled last year following a Swedish advertising agency’s stunt air-drop of hundreds of teddy bears into the former Soviet state.

I’m glad to see Belarus is over the bear-bombing, but I still warn them: Do not sign a defensive pact with Sweden. Although she’s gone to war with Russia in the past, I really don’t see that happening again in the near future, unless it becomes Muslim-majority and Russia is one of the European hold-outs.

Ah, the imagination reels. As I like to say, All possibilities are possible, but not all probabilities are probable.

Tell Me Again How Making Claritin-D Prescription Only Will Keep It From Criminals

Posted in News on April 9th, 2013 by Brian

Union man jailed stole $800 in prescriptions from Walgreens, police say:

A Union man who allegedly took more than $800 in prescription drugs from one Walgreens store after attempting a similar heist from another store is in custody.

It’s just as likely he was after painkillers, but the criminals are gonna crimin, and hassling law-abiding citizens is a pathetic sham to make it look as though legislators are doing something.

It looks as Springfield is getting onboard with that, too.

Funny, when I moved down here, I thought it was a conservativish area, but you know what? Electoral politics is the same everywhere, and the crusading politician has achievements (often of dubious value) to claim come election time. So now your allergy medicine will be kept from you, and the city is expending tax dollars to help favored businesses, and they’re all eager to put siloed sales taxes on the ballot to dedicate money to the necessary functions of government so they don’t have to dedicate any of the bad idea slush fund to it.

It’s getting to be more like St. Louis all the time, but just a couple decades behind.