Windmill Musings

Just got back from a family motorcycle trip. I may post more on it later if I get motivated. I’ve got lots of pictures, but I’m not sure I even have any readers left considering how little I post any more.

At any rate, as I was riding my motorcycle across the country, two observations struck me:

1. There are windmills everywhere. In every state, I saw them stretching across the land, sometimes in both directions as far as the eye could see. According to the Wind Energy Foundation, only about 4% of our power comes from wind energy. How many conventional or Nuclear power plants do you see when traveling across the country? I can recall seeing three Nuclear plants, one coal plant and two what I believe were gas fired plants, all of which took up very little landscape relatively speaking.

But I saw at least 10 wind farms and each of them covered vast areas. All for 4% of our power. I’m wondering: how much of our landscape is going to have to be covered with windmills before an appreciable amount of our energy comes from that source? All of it? I, for one, am not happy about it.

2. On my way back toward home, I was on my way through Iowa and Illinois. I passed two huge wind farms in Iowa and two in Illinois. The interesting thing is that it was dead calm that day and three of the four farms had their blades feathered and locked down except for a couple of turbines, which were turning very slowly, definitely not at their rated speeds.

I tried to take video of them, but the resolution was so crappy on my little digital camera that I use from the bike that you couldn’t really see whether the blades were turning or not.

This illustrated exactly why relying on wind for our energy needs is not a good idea. I’m sure that no wind in that area of the country is an uncommon thing, but even if uncommon, who, specifically, gets to play Soup Nazi on the rare days that the turbines aren’t providing any electricity? “No Power for You!!! Come back tomorrow!”

And calm winds aren’t the only thing that can shut them down, to much wind also can result in the turbines being shut down. Between the two, I’d guess that a not insignificant number of days are not suitable for the production of wind power. Then what? Declare a power holiday?

For those people living in areas that are becoming increasingly dependent on wind power, I’d highly recommend having a backup power generating system installed on your house or place of business.

Humanity is going insane.

Maybe more on the trip later.

Respecting the Constitution is “going off the rails”

At least according to “one senior member of congress”:

[There is] a growing certainty that President Obama is planning to enact amnesty by executive fiat, blowing up the chances of legislation for the rest of his presidency.

“It’s going to happen. He’s getting a lot of pressure, and he’s already told some people he’s going to. He’s told a bunch of people. I think he will. I think he has to,” said one senior member of Congress who asked that his name not be used.

“I’m hearing that he will do it by August. When that happens, it’s poof! The right will go off the rails, just because it’s unconstitutional — and they’ll be right about that stuff. They’ll fly off the rails, which will then get the Democrats [to close ranks]. And then it’s a presidential election. That’s coming, and as soon as that happens, it’s over,” the lawmaker said. [Emphasis Added – ed]

Um…I’m sorry…I prefer to think that the President of the United States, in direct violation of his oath of office, legislating by fiat, is what should be called “off the rails”, not any potential reaction by Republicans.

If he actually does this and ISN’T impeached…that’s what I would say is the sign that “it’s over”.

Actually, it would only be another sign among many that it’s already over. Constitutional government in this country is over. Government “of the people, by the people and for the people” in this country is over. The rule of law in this country is over.

This is why I haven’t been blogging lately. I really don’t think anyone is very interested in the daily happenings of my life and everything else is too depressing to blog about.

The United States of America as created by our founders is dead. I am no longer flying a US flag in front of my house as I have done for most of my adult life. The flag is really just a piece of cloth. The meaning is in what it used to represent. What it used to represent is gone. Done. Dead.

So much for our little experiment in self-governance. I think the founders probably realized it was doomed to failure from the start, but had to at least give it a try.

There is a large minority of people who want nothing more than to be left alone to live their lives as they see fit. These people tend to stay out of other’s business and expect the same courtesy in return.

There is a very small minority of people who see themselves as the elite and believe that the rest of humanity is incapable of caring for themselves without being ruled over by that elite.

And there is the majority of people who are desirous of and suited only for slavery. They want nothing more than to be provided for by others, any important decisions made for them and held responsible for nothing. It is this majority that causes any society to revert to it’s natural state: despotism and serfdom. We had a pretty good run. It took roughly 100 years before the natural order of things really started to take hold and another 150 or so before it really became the prevalent state of being. But it’s here now.

This is pretty much as good as it gets for a human society in historical terms. The past 250 years has been nothing but a fluke, a mistake, an aberration. Without another revolution (the outcome of which is by no means certain…in fact historical precedent indicates that we’d be worse off after it than before) it can go nowhere but downhill from here.

I (literally) weep for our descendents. We had such a good thing going for a little while, and we just gave it up.

See?

Depressing.

Responsibility

Someone (I don’t remember who now…my apologies) linked to this opinion piece earlier today:

The message of Emily Yoffe’s Slate article about binge drinking and sexual assault on college campuses was as important as it was obvious: The best step that young women can take to protect themselves is to stop drinking to excess.

Young women everywhere — not to mention their mothers — ought to be thanking Yoffe. Instead, she’s being pilloried.

Read the whole thing, but the gist is that feminists are up in arms that someone had the audacity to tell young women that they should make some attempt at remaining lucid when out in public to prevent bad things from happening to them.

Of course the whole “you’re blaming the victim” trope was bandied about (and even continued into the comments of the linked opinion piece) as well as “in stead of telling women not to drink, how about we tell men not to rape”, etc.

Good idea.

Because telling people not to commit crimes is so effective in other areas, right?

The bottom line is that we are as responsible for our actions as the perpetrators of crimes are. If we make it easy for them to ply their trade, it is not our fault that they chose to commit a crime, but it is our fault that we made it easy for them.

The bottom line is that bad people are going to do bad things…heck sometimes even basically good people do bad things when under the influence of large amounts of alcohol, especially teenagers and especially in packs.

In light of that fact, you can either strongly support the prosecution of those who take advantage of women who have imbibed too much…which ensures the blame is placed in the right place and the perpetrator is punished, but does absolutely nothing to “unrape” the victim.

Or

You can strongly support the advising of potential victims to take a little responsibility for themselves, keep their wits about them and prevent the rape from happening in the first place.

(or both, which would be my preference)

Which do you suppose is more beneficial for the intended victim?

Apparently, much like the anti-gun lobby, rabid feminists aren’t overly concerned with actually preventing crimes against women, only with effectively exploiting those victims after the crimes occur.

Perjury

Every person who voted absentee in Virginia this year (and probably in years past as well) has committed Perjury.

Exhibit A:

Please note the highlighted words.

Note that the statement does not say “unduly influenced”, “unlawfully influenced”, “forcibly influenced” etc…it only says “I have not been influenced.”

If one watched any of the debates, heard any of the political ads, read any of the editorials, reviewed the candidate’s web sites, or knows anything whatsoever about any of the candidates, they will have been necessarily influenced by that information or knowledge; therefore, they committed perjury when signing the absentee ballot statement.

Heck, even if the person knows NOTHING about politics or the candidates, they are still influenced by their past history, cultural experiences, genetic predispositions, personal likes and dislikes etc.

Not a single person in the world can claim to have made any decision in their life free from any influences whatsoever.

We’re all perjurers.

I don’t understand.

I’ve been meaning to post this for the past couple of days but I just haven’t had time.

Here’s my quandary. This happened on Monday, but it’s noticeable any day with similar weather conditions:

It was a nice, cool but clear morning; on the way to work, I saw probably 20 motorcycles on the road…other than me, of course.

On the way home, I saw one. Two counting me.

What was the difference? On the way home it was raining. Not too badly, but it had been raining pretty hard off and on all afternoon.

Here’s my question: How did all those people who rode motorcycles to work in the morning, get back home in the evening? Do they leave their bikes at work and have someone else take them home? Call their wives/husbands to come pick them up? Take the bus? Drive their bikes home at the first sign of weather and get their cars?

I just don’t understand it. I realize that most motorcycle riders (especially these days) are not really “bikers”. They’re hobbyists or fair weather riders; but I don’t get how they work that out when the weather is only fair for half the day.

One other thing I’ve noticed lately. A LOT more riders wearing full ballistic gear, even on cruisers or tourers, commuting to and from work. It seems that gas prices have enticed quite a few newbies to take up motorcycles for their commute.

A distinctive feature of these newer riders is that they rarely wave at other riders. For them, it seems it’s a practical thing…the bike is just another vehicle that gets good gas mileage…and as a result they don’t consider themselves among the brotherhood of bikers.

And, I would imagine, those are the very people who only ride one way when the weather goes pear shaped…but I still don’t understand the logistics of that particular trait.

Oh well…no skin off my butt. It was just something that is distinctly obvious under circumstances like Monday’s and got me wondering. Pretty soon, as with every year, I’ll be one of the very few bikes on the road for several months anyway.

By the way…the other biker I saw on my way home from work on Monday? He waved.

Of course I remember 9/11…

…how could I not? We started two wars over it, I’ve lost 6,280 of my brothers and sisters in arms over it.

The problem is that I’m deeply ashamed of my country over the whole thing.

One of the wars we instituted over it, we simply declared victory and started pulling out, leaving the society we set on its head in the lurch to fend for itself before it was ready.

The second war we haven’t even bothered to declare victory, we’re just tucking our tails and coming home with nothing to show for it but graves in military cemeteries.

Both wars proved beyond doubt that we simply do not have the national will to fight a war with conviction. Right or wrong, when the decision to go to war is made, it needs to be all-in. Get over there, kill people and break things until the enemy is subjugated and then allow the politicians and bureaucrats to take over and rebuild a functioning government. We can’t seem to do that any more. We are so afraid of being seen as less than civil, we don’t have the will to do what it takes to win a war any more. We enmesh our military in ridiculous edicts and restrictions that make it impossible for them to do their jobs and endanger their lives needlessly and don’t even give them the CHANCE to win. With our current national will, we would have lost WWII without a doubt.

Back at home, we’ve used it as an excuse to abrogate liberty and institute police-state policies that our forefathers would have risen up in revolution against…and we meekly follow along with them like the sheep we’ve become.

We gladly give up individual liberty and personal responsibility for a fleeting and purely imaginary feeling of security.

At the site of the most significant attack of that day, we succumbed to the evil and (after years of bickering about it) refused to rebuild. Even worse, we reinforce our failing there by leaving the gaping wounds in the ground in some sort of misguided attempt at memorializing. All we have memorialized there is our failure and weakness.

At the second most significant site, the memorial plan called for the entire site to resemble the very defining symbol of the militant islamics who perpetrated the acts against us. The public outcry resulted in a change of the plans, but the stench of the controversy still surrounds it.

Our nation has become more and more divided along economic, racial, ethnic and religious lines. Group is pitted against group, race against race and class against class because a body of people divided can be controlled, subjugated, ruled. And we willingly…nay, enthusiastically…play right into the hands of those who would rule us.

We demand that someone else accept responsibility when the consequences of our own decisions come down on us and simply declare that the fruits of another’s labor, effort and ability are our constitutional rights and expect the government to force them to provide for us.

Our national economy is a house of cards that WILL collapse at some point…and instead of biting the bullet ourselves, undertaking the many years of hard work and sacrifices it would take to make things right, we just kick the can further down the road and hope that it is our children or grandchildren that are forced to clean up our mess rather than having to face it ourselves.

No, as a nation, there is not a whole lot about our post 9/11 history to be proud of.

So yes, I still remember the horrendous act of war perpetrated against innocent members of our society like it was yesterday. I still remember the heroism of the NYPD, FDNY, and the everyday citizens who stepped up on that day and did us proud. I remember the sacrifices of the men and women in uniform…up to and including the ultimate sacrifice…who wrote a blank check to an undeserving nation.

But I see what we’ve become, what we’ve done and, more significantly, not done, and I feel that we as a nation have failed to live up to the sacrifices and heroism of our countrymen.

Yes, I remember 9/11…and I grieve for the nation I once knew and was once willing to die for; a nation that seemingly is no more.

Update

I survived Denver, although I did get sick while I was there and was feeling bad all weekend, and now I’m safely in Portland.

I did figure out one thing while in Denver: Why they chose that spot for a city.

I believe they were traveling West, hit the spot where the city now sits after having already climbed a mile up to get there, saw what they faced in the distance and said…

“Ok…this is far enough”.

And the city of Denver was born.

Can’t say I blame them.

Update and Observation

I haven’t had much time to work on the blog lately.  I have gotten some of the linked youtube videos hosted locally, and I’ve gotten a few more of my daily reads added to the blogroll, but I’ve been working 10 to 12 hour days, had to work last weekend, and just haven’t had much time for it.

Hopefully things will calm down soon.

In the meantime, The Wife added Top Shots to my Netflix Queue for me the other day (thanks hon).  Last night I watched the first show from season 2.

I watched Season 1 until Caleb finally got eliminated but stopped watching after that.  The personal drama and silly sensationalism of the show (which is, of course, the trademark of the reality TV genre, and the aspect of that genre that I dislike the most) rendered the show unwatchable for me.

What I discovered last night, though, is that the ability to fast forward past the petty, political infighting, the breathless attempts to manufacture suspense, and the silly “look at me” self-aggrandizement of the more “colorful” participants and just watch the good parts, not only can I watch an ostensibly hour long episode in about 15 minutes, but it is quite enjoyable to watch when all the stereotypical reality TV claptrap is filtered out.

Musing

I was thinking today (after reading a comment) about why I haven’t been posting much lately.

When I started this blog, it was back in 2005 (I know my posts don’t go back that far, I actually lost a good bunch of early posts during a transition period long ago) and blogging was really just catching on.  There were some very good gun bloggers out there (most of them are still around and still providing excellent content), but I felt that I had something to add to the conversation.

Also at the time, most news outlets didn’t have commenting features so when I read a ridiculously inaccurate anti-gun article or editorial, I could either send in a letter to the editor and hope it got posted (which I often did anyway), or I could comment about it here.

This blog was a way for me to vent, to openly counter the inaccuracies, fallacies and outright lies of the MSM, and to contribute to the conversation.

Along the way I started blogging about my experiences with amateur gunsmithing…which have become my most popular and most sought out posts.

So, what happened?

Well, my wife lost her job several years ago and because of ongoing medical issues has been unable to work.  As a result, our finances have been pretty strained for quite a long time and I just haven’t had the money to continue my gunsmithing experiments.  I even let my range memberships lapse mostly due to lack of funds.  I haven’t been shooting much, I haven’t been doing gunsmithing stuff so I just haven’t had anything to contribute on that front.

As far as the political/media front.  I think that this is a prime example of why I just haven’t felt the need to berate the media on these pages.

The article just screams out to be fisked, debunked and otherwise excoriated…but…check out the comments section.

250 comments at this writing and only a handful support the premise of the article.  Comment after comment pointing out the flaws in the piece and correcting the record.

And this is on the decidedly left leaning Washington Post.

How could I possibly add to that?   We’re winning and more and more people are coming to see the truth.  Even on the Huffing and Puffing Post (which doesn’t deserve a link), anti-gun articles and posts garner huge responses, primarily from those pointing out the flaws and fallacies presented.   I just don’t see the need to repeat the same arguments here when they are being so thoroughly and effectively presented at the source.

As I said, when I started this, there were some gun blogs around…but now just transferring my blogroll from the old blog to the new is a daunting task.  There are literally hundreds of excellent gun bloggers out there, all providing great content on everything from politics, to product reviews to keeping up with the ridiculous rantings of the anti-freedom fanatics, to shooting and self-defense tips.   Good Stuff.

I simply haven’t felt like I had anything to add.  Anything I could possibly say about the myriad subjects out there has already been said, several times, and much better than I possibly could hope to do so, by other and better writers than I.

No…this is not a segue into why I’m shutting the blog down.  I still like to have a place to spill my thoughts when they come to me and I do believe I still have something to contribute, I just haven’t quite discovered my niche yet.   I will.

Basically, I just wanted to share what little I could in the way of explanation and to take this opportunity to thank those who’ve stuck with me all these years, even during the times that I just haven’t had much to say.

Thanks for hanging in there.  So will I.

The Obligatory 9/11 post

Ten years after 9/11 and what I’m feeling is

Disheartened

Depressed

Dispirited

Others that feel the same way have said it much better than I ever could, so I’ll just lead you to their words, rather than try to articulate it as well as they did, and probably fail.

First, from N.U.G.U.N.

We watch our children cower in terror. Not from islamic terrorists but from people in U.S. TSA uniforms. The enormous measure of damage to U.S. citizen’s rights is huge, and growing.

I feel we’ve lost. Had we rebuilt those towers. And kept our freedom. Than we would have been the victors. Ten years later I must conclude we have lost.

And Kevin, with a lengthy quote from Mark Steyn:

In the months after 9/11, I used to get the same joke emailed to me every few days: the proposed design for the replacement World Trade Center. A new skyscraper towering over the city, with the top looking like a stylized hand — three towers cut off at the joint, and the “middle finger” rising above them, flipping the bird

But the years go by, and they stopped emailing that joke, because it’s not quite so funny after two, three, five, nine years of walking past Windows on the Hole every morning. It doesn’t matter what the eventual replacement building is at Ground Zero. The ten-year hole is the memorial: a gaping, multi-story, multi-billion-dollar pit, profound and eloquent in its nullity.

Both are worthy of a “Read the Whole Thing” recommendation, and sum up how I feel about the whole thing pretty well.

The only disagreement with those two piece is that we lost against the terrorists by fundamentally altering what it is to be an American.

With that I disagree. We didn’t lose. We surrendered.

And because of that, I hold out little hope of our once great nation ever again being able to lay claim to the lofty description “Home of the free and land of the brave”.