Gun Control Advocates Were Right!

They said if Wisconsin got legal concealed carry, the blood would run in the streets. And they were right!

A 29-year-old social worker who has lived in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood for 10 years said he was punched in the face, a 28-year-old census worker said he suffered a black eye and a 28-year-old man who has also lived in the area for a decade saw a female friend thrown to the ground, beaten and her backpack stolen.

All three were among a group of friends at Kilbourn Reservoir Park Sunday night who say they saw a group of young people running in the park. They say the group threw bottles and beat several people.

Mark Peterson, 28, who owns a home in Riverwest, said he saw a female friend beaten.

“I saw her get thrown to the ground. There was blood all over her face. A guy swooped in and grabbed her bag she dropped when they threw her to the ground,” said Peterson, who said he was punched in the back of his head and his jaw.

Although turning Milwaukee into the Wild West, where law abiding citizens can strap on big iron to defend themselves and their town from the thugs who prey upon them, might actually represent a step up.

Also, it provides an experiment group to the Illinois control group. If these sorts of incidents decline in Wisconsin when people start getting concealed carry licenses, but continue at the same level or increase in Peoria and Chicago, it might prove something.

Global Warming, no doubt.

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Book Report: Dave Barry Does Japan by Dave Barry (1992)

This is my second Dave Barry tome this year (I read Dave Barry Turns 40 in March). Somehow, Dave Barry or someone convinced Random House to send Dave Barry and his family to Japan for three weeks to get a book about it. Really. It must have been something to be a humorist in that golden age. My employer here at the blog won’t even pay for my trips to the coffeepot.

The book comes at the height of Dave Barry’s popularity and the height of Japan’s economic power. A couple year later, Japan hits the economic skids and falls from the front rank of American citizens’ bugbears. To put it clearly: Instead of American sitcoms dealing with the zany antics of a fish-out-of-water American in a Japanese auto company (Gung Ho, and yes, I know it was a movie first, but it was later a sitcom), we get American sitcoms dealing with the zany antics of a fish-out-of-water American in an Indian call center (Outsourced, which was also based on a movie). No word on if someone is going to send Dave Barry to India for three weeks.

My point in the preceding, aside from having the sudden urge to compare Gung Ho to Outsourced, is that the book is a period artifact since it fits into the period genre of trying to understand the Japanese who were economic geniuses. It has Dave Barry’s amusing spin on it and has a travelogue thing going on, but it’s mostly Dave Barry being Dave Barry.

An amusing read.

Books mentioned in this review:

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British Journalist Misses The Point

Ed Driscoll and Instapundit link to this Independence Day column in the British The Telegraph paper where the journalist describes the American Revolution but misses the point by a little, and a lot:

On this day in 1776 a group of 13 colonies broke away to found a new nation free to govern itself as it saw fit, pledging that each citizen would have the unalienable right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. A nation, as Americans are apt to declare without equivocation, which became the greatest on the face of the earth. [Emphasis added.]

Erm, no.

Let’s go to the text:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Understand these rights are inalienable and bestowed by the Creator. They are not proffered nor pledged by citizens, the founding fathers, or whatever government or governing documents they and we write or elect.

I don’t know if this is the Continental or the Transnational mindset or what, but certain people–not necessarily this journalist–would like you to believe that the government is the source of rights and can manufacture them or remove them at will. Strangely enough, a lot of those certain people are in or would like to be in the governmental Department of Rights Management.

We need to be sure that we educate people to the proper, and intended by the framers of our nation’s founding documents, defintion of right.

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Messing with Alex

As some of you know, I’m officially in the hopper as a potential Jeopardy! contestant for the next 17 months, 2 weeks. Someday, I might stand behind a podium with an illuminated negative score after the first commercial break, letting Alex Trebek and the audience get to know me a little better. Have you ever noticed that sometimes, the Jeopardy! contestants seem a little surprised at the thing Alex mentions? That’s because you write them down on a piece of paper before your audition. So by the time you’re on the show, a year and a half could have elapsed before Mr. Trebek brings it up. Bloody heck, I’m already forgetting what I wrote down, and it’s been three weeks since my audition.

But various alternatives are running through my head: responses I could make whatever Alex brings up. Responses like:

  • Your intelligence service is very good, Mr. Trebek. I’ve never told that story before to any living person.
  • Deny it. What? I don’t know what you’re talking about. That never happened.
  • Burst out weeping.

Of course, that would really never happen. I would probably be vibrating like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and would have to focus too much on keeping myself together to be clever.

I’m much funnier on the Internet than in person.

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Ebooks Versus Paper Books, Read Ducks

Wired lists five reasons ebooks are not “there” yet, which is five reasons why the particular writer isn’t fully sold on ebooks as permanent replacements for printed books. Boiled down, they are thus:

1) An unfinished e-book isn’t a constant reminder to finish reading it.
2) You can’t keep your books all in one place. [That is, in one file format/application.]
3) Notes in the margins help you think.
4) E-books are positioned as disposable, but aren’t priced that way.
5) E-books can’t be used for interior design.

Here are some reasons why nutbar Brian J. Noggle does not own a portable ebook reader and is not going to replace his extensive library with one:

  • Theft.
    An electronic gizmo is the target of theft; should this occur, you lose your investment in your device and your investment in purchases for it. No one is going to steal my library without a dump truck and frontloader.
  • Damage.
    Again, by centralizing a large investment in a single place, if you drop it or leave it on the roof of your car, you’re in danger of losing the library instead of a $1 book you bought at a book fair.
  • The rapid expansion of technology.
    You’ve bought the gee-whiz Kindle now, and it can hold thousands or billions and billions of Carl Sagan books. But in a year, publishers are going to embed videos in the books to justify the price of the books. In a couple years, they’ll embed three-d videos and memory-intensive applications so you can create a community with other readers. Suddenly, your device can’t hold the robust complete edition of The Chronicles of Narnia.
  • The rapid obsolescence of technology.
    Your device can hold today’s ebooks. Will they hold ebooks developed in 2017? You are new here, aren’t you? Device creators will need reasons to get you to buy new ebook devices, so they’ll make new bells and whistles (hey! Customizable skins!) And suddenly, six months after you buy your reader and load it with books, you could find that the device maker is ending support for it. There will be no more ebooks for you until you spend money to upgrade your device and maybe even your entire library.
  • You don’t own ebooks.
    Ask any purchaser of this Kindle edition of 1984. They own the content and they let you borrow it. Read your license agreements and, if you understand them, weep.
  • If the lights go out, you have nothing to read.
    I’m not just talking about TEOTWAWKI. In very recent memory, parts of Missouri have lost power for weeks. If that happens, will your electronic device have enough battery to keep you in books and to help you with that reference material you need? You’d like to think so, but you won’t know so. Also, in the actual event of TEOTWAWKI, your device will only briefly heat your hovel and will release toxic chemicals to do so. Meanwhile, I can burn old Dungeons and Dragons novels for hours.

I don’t think any developments in ebook readers will ever dispel my reservations about them. I’m not enough of a luddite to proclaim that I’ll never own something like it–probably eventually some smartphone with text holding capabilities–but it won’t replace real books.

Andrea explains why the list items do not apply to the Spleenville book lifestyle. I’d like to dialog with her text a bit.

“E-books (sic) can’t be used for interior design.” Well, duh. I can’t scatter the internet about my apartment either — not unless I waste ink printing out a bunch of websites. That’s not the point. Some people don’t want books “cluttering up” their domiciles. Yeah, don’t ask me, I don’t get it either, but as meaningful as the idea of needing physical paper books everywhere to make me feel like my house is a home, I accept that some people aren’t like me and don’t think of books as augmenting their “interior design.” Unless they’re like those sad, sad people who buy random books in bulk with jackets all of the same color merely for the purposes of making their living room or stairwell look like that one they saw on HGTV.

Strangely enough, the wife of a former office co-habitant did just this. We went to some garage sales one weekend, and she bought books based on their cover/jacket colors and whether they would go in her living room. The content of the books didn’t matter.

Real bibliophiles go right to the bookshelves when they visit a place for the first time to see what the host reads. Or, in her case, that the host does not. You can’t do that with an ebook device, can you?

“3) Notes in the margins help you think.” This comes straight out of academic thought patterns, and is irrelevant to readers of novels and other “light” fare. Unless you really think that readers of things like the Twilight books carefully write their thoughts (“I heart Edward! I wish he were my BF!”) in the margins. Anyway, if you really can’t “think” without scribbling all over your books, maybe e_books are not for you. Or maybe you should carry a little note pad, or maybe you should learn to think without having to depend on notes.

Yeah, I remember being encouraged to “dialogue with the text.” That came along with the wide-margined notebooks so you could comment on your own journal entries about what you were thinking or feeling about things you were covering in the class. I haven’t written in the margins in decades. The only dialoging I do with text these days is when I throw the paperback copy of a book by a liberal author to the floor and stomp on it.

Frankly, because I’m not an academic, going over and over the same narrow niche for years of full-time work, I’ve gone back to something I’ve read for something I wrote in its margins. I have, on the other hand, gone into this blog’s archives for something I wrote about something I read.

At any rate, as I said, I’m not rushing out to buy an ebook device. I am, however, rushing headlong to profit from ebooks. See also John Donnelly’s Gold.


UPDATE: Thanks for the link, again, Ms. K.

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City of St. Louis Demands Higher Parking Rates

Come on, we do know what this means, don’t we?

Mayor Francis Slay has asked the city’s building division to require downtown parking lots to hire attendants, in hopes of stopping a rash of car break-ins, his staff announced today.

Police were investigating more than 60 break-ins that occurred downtown and in surrounding area parking lots last weekend.

This means it will cost more to park in downtown St. Louis either for an event or as part of your monthly “privilege” of working in the Big City.

Because the city has better things to do with its time and money than to police the city, and the signs that warn visitors to downtown that your valuables are forfeit are already thick enough to keep weeds from growing in the cracks of the underused and crumbling city sidewalks.

Like saving the building that housed a failed taco joint and/or giving money away to redevelop the site.

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