Saturday, April 30, 2011

Milestone Reached...Sort Of

A look over to the right side of the page shows that I now have 30 official followers. Sort of. You see, this most recent follower might or might not be properly termed as a follower in the strictest sense of the word. At least not yet. While she has a recently created blog, she has never posted anything. She has only occasionally read blog posts, but she's not a daily reader.

I suppose you could say that I know this follower rather well. Considering the fact that she's my wife, The Queen.

Here's the deal. The Queen and I were reading the most recent post on my niece's blog, and The Queen asked if she could be listed as a follower on the niece's blog. I'm going to set aside for the moment my slight disappointment that The Queen never asked to be a follower on my blog until after she asked to follow the niece's blog. I said that adding The Queen as a follower was definitely a possibility, and proceeded to sign in under The Queen's gmail account and add her to the niece's blog. At which point we discovered that it showed The Queen's full name on the blog's follower list. The Queen wasn't too keen on having her full name out there in bloggerland. 

I got to thinking that the best way to remain anonymous is to have your own blog and use your blogger name for all your following needs. So, I asked her if she wanted to have her own blog set up. The Queen asked me to give her a suggested blogger name. I immediately came up with "Queen Ginger" (The Queen + slang term for a red head). The Queen laughed and said she liked it. So, the blog "Queen Ginger The First" was born. 

There's no content yet and may not be for some time to come. It's serving more as a placeholder right now until The Queen decides what, if anything, she wants to write about.

Still, the numbers don't lie. I have 30 followers. So, it's got to be true. Right?

Friday, April 29, 2011

My Patience Wore Out

Okay, I think I finally reached the end of my patience. I called the number provided on the secret squirrel application website to see if I could get anymore detailed information regarding what is happening with my law school application. I was told that the committee is actively reviewing it, and they are having meetings over the next couple of days. I was told that a decision was likely sometime early next week.

We shall see. If there's no decision by Thursday, I'm sending in the rescue team to free my application from whatever bureaucratic log jam has captured it.

In other news, Brigid posted a fun piece that I've spotted on a couple of other blogs recently about the world's shortest letters. She solicited contributions. I had a sudden snark attack and commented with:
"Dear President Obama,
Please go screw Michelle for a change.
The American Taxpayer"
 I couldn't help myself. Really.

Closing In...

As we enter the home stretch of week 6 of the law school application hostage watch, I thought I'd take a moment to make note of a couple of milestones waiting in the wings. I'm not sure which one will occur first, but I'll take the little victories where I can get them.

First, in no particular order, will be the fact that sometime in the next month or so my 200TH post will have seen the light of day. I make no promises, but I will do my best to make the next 10 posts worthy of your time and attention as we chip away at the last of the 100s. What happens after number 200 is anybody's guess at this point.

Next, who knows when, I hope to be able to report on the appearance of official follower number 30. I say official because Google Reader says I've got 39 subscribers versus Blogger saying I only have 29 followers. I have no idea if the 29 followers are included in the 39 subscribers or if that means I actually have 68 people reading my stuff. If someone knows the answer to that question, I'd appreciate the explanation. Regardless, subscribers are not distinctly identifiable by any means of which I am aware while followers have neat little links to their profiles. So, if it's all the same to you, I will stick to "official followers" as the milestone of choice.

Also, it appears that I've been remiss in my follower "introductions" as I haven't done a rundown of additions to the list since Brigid made her appearance. She came in at number 10 on the list and marked my first, arbitrary milestone on the blog. When number 30 gets here, I'll try to do another rundown.

Lastly, I'd like to solicit an opinion from the crowd. Some people run a reciprocal blogroll along the lines of you link me and I'll link you. Others take a more selective approach and only link those they really like to read. Others still take a categorized approach pigeon holing links into various groups like "bloggers I've met" or "people who don't suck". So far, I seem to have taken a mostly selective approach (with a couple of reciprocity exceptions). My question for you, my dear readers, is what do you consider proper blog etiquette? Do you want to see blogs categorized to make your blog stalking easier? Or would you prefer one massive blog roll o' doom (to borrow a phrase from Ambulance Driver)? How do you feel about reciprocity versus selectivity?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

As If I Didn't Have Enough To Worry About...

It's the end of week 5, no change in status with respect to the law school application whatsoever, but there is a new wrinkle in last week's case of mistaken identity

Apparently, I am now a fugitive from justice. You see, today, I received an undated letter from the Houston Police Department's Hit and Run Detail. The letter was postmarked on April 26, 2011, and requests, nay - COMMANDS, that I appear in Houston on Monday, May 2. That would be next Monday for the calendarly challenged among us. 

The best bit is this:
Failure to comply with this notice may cause you future inconvenience from this office. Your vehicle may be listed as WANTED on the HPD computer, and if stopped, the driver in some cases may be arrested. [emphasis theirs]
It's times like these that I really wish I was smart enough to figure out how to cut and paste or insert a .pdf document into blogger for proof because, really, I just can't make this stuff up. I especially like the "future inconvenience" part. Like forcing someone whose registered address is four hours away to come to Houston at 8:00 in the morning isn't inconvenience enough. On the other hand, at the rate I drive anymore it could be decades before I get future inconvenience. 

So, anyway, in an effort to avoid appearing on the most wanted list for Harris County or something equally stupid, I've sent off a fax to the investigating officer. The same officer who keeps office hours from 6:00 AM to 2:00 PM. I tried calling him first, but the mail man didn't get here until just after 3:00 PM today. So sorry. Try again tomorrow.

I thought I exhibited tremendous restraint when I sent the officer the following:

Please be advised that I received your undated letter regarding the subject case number today and attempted to call; however, I was informed you had already left for the day. Your letter was post marked April 26, 2011. The letter, copy following, alleges that I or my vehicle was involved in a traffic accident on April 20, 2011 in the 6800 block of Katy Freeway. The letter also demands that I appear in the offices of the Houston Police Department on Monday, May 2 at 8:00 AM.
  First, I am unable to appear in Houston on Monday, May 2 at 8:00 AM as I live four hours away, and one business day does not give me sufficient time to make the necessary arrangements to take off work and drive to Houston and back.
  Second, and more importantly, neither I nor my vehicle were even in Houston on April 20, 2011 much less involved in an accident. My vehicle is a white, 2000 Nissan Maxima with license plate number ###@G@. On April 21, 2011, I spoke with [the nice adjuster] at [decent company] Insurance (phone number 800-Car-Dent ext. Claim / claim number #########) who is the adjuster for the insurance company of one of the other driver's involved. Ms. [nice adjuster] confirmed that her driver had inadvertently written down the incorrect license plate number and the correct number should be ###@C@. It is my understanding that Ms. [nice adjuster] or someone from [decent company] will be sending a letter to the Houston Police Department confirming this information.
So, please go back and reread my advice on what to do in an accident. You might just save someone else, namely ME, some hassle. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pet Peves

I will be the first to admit that I can be a bit picky from time to time about certain how the laundry gets folded or how the dishwasher gets loaded for instance. The Queen says I'm "anal retentive" about such things. I always remind her that I poo quite well thank you very much. I just tend to be rather set in my ways when it comes to menial tasks, and it's not like I try to force others to do things my way. If you want to help out (as my mother in law is want to do from time to time) and fold the laundry the way you've done it your entire life, I will gladly thank you for your efforts, take the stack into the bedroom and quietly refold it my way.

Ditto for loading the dishwasher. If you happen to prefer a haphazard approach, fine. I will simply come in and adjust things to my liking when you aren't around. Simple. No hard feelings. Everyone is happy. 

There are, however, some things that I cannot overlook. Take, for instance, refrigerator manners. Here again, I admit to being a tad set in my ways. The Queen and I have a pretty basic larder that I replenish with regular shopping trips. Everything is fine and dandy as long as we don't get too many unannounced and unplanned for visitors. I know what's in the fridge because I stocked it, I cook the meals, and I stash the leftovers. If I'm in the mood for a snack, I know more or less how much of what I've got to work with.

Until the aforementioned unannounced and unplanned for visitors arrive. Such as my oldest niece. She is a wonderfully sweet girl (who needs to post something to her blog) who is in her first year of college after graduating from high school a year early. She also is sharing an apartment with a friend. An apartment where she gets bored from time to time. So, she comes to visit Auntie Queen and Uncle Shepherd. For several days at a time. Which is fine in and of itself.

Now, before I go much further, I really must disclaim any ill will towards niece Juju as The Queen and I do enjoy her company. I just have a bone to pick with her fridge manners. I've already addressed this with her directly. So, rest assured, I'm not talking about her behind her back. 

You see, my niece - who freely admits to being a moocher, is a grazer. She will open up the fridge and spot a likely item for noshing and go to town. This is not the problem. I don't mind her eating a half pound of deli roast beef at a sitting or the left over spaghetti.

I mind her putting one, solitary, forlorn slice of roast beast back into the fridge all by its lonesome  (which she adamantly denies and blames on my father in law) or just a tablespoon sized dollop of spaghetti sauce (which she freely admits to). 

Seriously. What am I supposed to do with a half shredded piece of deli meat or a spoon full of cold spaghetti sauce? The LAST half shredded piece of deli meat and dollop of sauce I might add. It's not enough for a sandwich or a saucer sized portion of noodles much less a plate full. They won't even dull a mouse's appetite as a snack. The dogs would love to have a bit of beast or spot of sauce, but I can't give one a taste and not the others. Splitting it all up into thirds, and they just look at me like "Where's the rest, dad?"

Juju and I have had a little set to about this a couple of times now. She will take what she wants from the fridge (which is fine) and put back the matter how minuscule that amount may be (not fine). I've asked why she just couldn't eat that last little bit of whatever. Her responses so far: "I was full" and "I didn't want it." 

"I was full" I can understand; but, trust me on this, that last little speck of roast isn't going to make you explode like the fat man from Monty Python. However, "I didn't want it" is not something I can really grasp. You mean to tell me that the other 3/4 of a pound was scrumptious, but that last .00001 of an ounce just turns your stomach? I don't get it. 

Anyway, I told you that to tell you this. I have to admit that Juju has been outdone.

We had a guest over the weekend who traveled in from Houston to spend the weekend for the purposes of wooing a lady friend. Or at the very least spending time with said lady friend as he's not really sure he wants to pursue the wooing any further. It's all very confusing. He's a really nice guy, and The Queen and I enjoy his company when he's here (since we don't get to Houston much anymore).

So, this morning, our friend got up early to hit the road back to H town. He fixed himself a bowl of cereal for breakfast since he's been here more than once and knows where everything is. That, and it was before my wake up time to make him breakfast. So, when I do make it into the kitchen this morning to make myself a bowl of cereal, I find this: the fridge. There might be a half an ounce worth of milk in the bottom of that bottle. 

I will give our friend the benefit of the doubt here and assume that he didn't know where we wanted empties put, whether we recycle or not, that sort of thing; but, for the love of all that is holy, just finish off that last drop of milk. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Zombie Gun Selection Revisited

I came across a post by Mad Ogre regarding zombie gun selection that piqued my interest. As expected, the comments included the normal exchange of intelligent ideas by fanboys and haters. Given my previous interest in the subject, I couldn't help but through my two cents into the fray. It also gave me an opportunity to rethink my choices and strategy for the coming zombie apocalypse. For your consideration, my thoughts are now presented here:
People, people. You have to remember that weapons selection has to be part of an overall strategy. Know your enemy. Know the limitations of you and your equipment. Strategize accordingly. Take a box of your favorite ammo whether it’s 12 gauge shells, a brick of .22 or a box of .223. How much of each can you carry along with your other gear? How many zombies can you engage with your load out before you have to resupply? How fast can you reload that 870/M4/Glock while running for your life? In an urban setting with 1000s of zombies looking for food, a couple of bricks of .22 with a suppressed rifle may serve you much better than a case of 12 gauge. Do you really need to engage a zombie 500 yards away that’s heading for the next town away? Are your skills or your equipment up to minute of cranium accuracy at that range? In a rural setting, the .308 or .223 may be more useful to keep the back 40 clear of your crops. Bottomline, if you are comfortable with it, know how to use it, have thought through your strategy, good for you and good luck. If you’re sitting there with you finger up your nose without a clue, you’ve got work to do. Get busy.
For the record, my load out of choice for mobility would be a good quality polymer, major caliber, striker fired, suppressed combat pistol with 200 rounds for those occasions when you need to enter an unknown building (like to look for food or supplies) and an AR in .223 with as many rounds and mags as I can comfortably carry. My preference here would be either the full size Glock or the S&W M&P in .40 or .45 although I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a 9mm. Point and shoot ease of use and acceptable accuracy in CQB situations. A thought here would be to carry a backup pistol in an alternate caliber. An extra polymer pistol with a few extra mags only adds a couple of pounds to your load out, but it might come in handy if you run out of your basic load out and stumble across someone less lucky who had a different caliber choice in mind. Check the LEO agencies in your area to see what they carry. Make your primary gun compatible with the majority of agencies and your back up compatible with the runner up and you shouldn’t have trouble rearming or topping off your load out as need arises. I’m seeing more LEO agencies in my area switching from shotguns to M4 variants as their long gun of choice making the .223 the logical choice for longer range engagement as necessary.
For point defense of home base, I would still keep the polymer pistol on my hip as a last resort gun. I would keep an 870 12 gauge handy for inside the house distances. 00 buck will take care of most anything poking in through windows and doors. The weight of the shells to be carried isn’t as much of a concern in this scenario as you can have a pallet of the stuff in the middle of the floor and “New York” reloads ready to go for resupply as needed. The center piece of the point defense system would be a sniper rifle though. Nothing should come within a 1000 yards of home base without showing signs of intelligence. A .50 BMG would be nice, but rounds are hard to come by for most of us. A good quality .308 with a suppressor is a good alternative in my opinion. Plentiful enough to stock up and practice with regularly. Powerful enough for a one shot kill. Accurate enough to make it happen at 1000 yards. The suppressor may not be able to quiet the bullet’s sonic crack, but it can help with disguising the source of the bullet.
Your experience may vary.
 **Note, I'm writing this on Thursday but it shouldn't post until Friday. This is my first attempt to schedule a post. I normally write and post real time; however, since I've already got one up for today and will be posting something else later today, I thought it be good to see how stacking up some content for later distribution works. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Anytime Now

Well, dear readers, my anxiety levels have now officially kicked into high gear. I have reached new levels of distraction that I didn't think were possible, and there is no sign of this changing in the near future. Today is officially four weeks since my law school application status was changed to "now undergoing a comprehensive review". A process they say "typically takes 4 to 6 weeks."

Obviously, any hope of an early decision has been mercilessly crushed by the process taking NO LESS than four weeks. I really hope they don't plan on taking the full six weeks or more. I don't know that I can handle another two weeks of uncertainty. I have absolutely nothing with which to compare this experience. I suppose it is analogous to being an expectant parent; but, as The Queen and I are childless, I cannot say that for sure.

Meanwhile, the wait continues....

Mistaken Identity

The phone here at Castle Erickson began ringing off the hook this morning bright and early around 8:45 AM. This, in itself, is not unusual; however, the fact that the same 800 number called three times in under five minutes was. Since I was already "at work" and live my life according to the 10 o'clock rule, I didn't answer it.

For those of you who don't know, the 10 o'clock rule is that you never call someone at home before 10:00 AM or after 10:00 PM unless there is death or serious bodily injury involved...because failure to abide by the 10:00 rule will result in death or serious bodily harm. My mother came up with that rule when my sister...the devil and I were growing up in the age before cell phones and the phone would ring, loudly I might add, at odd hours. She was working her butt off earning money, going to school and teaching. So, she rightfully did not like her precious few hours of blissful sleep to be interrupted by some idiot kid trying to find one of her idiot kids.

Anyway, back to our story. The Queen poked her head in the man cave/command center that doubles as one of many remote claims offices for my company around the country a little before 9:00 to tell me that there was a message for me on the house phone. A message from a claims adjuster alleging that I was responsible for a car Houston.

This was news to me. It'd be a neat trick to be in two places at once, but I have no memory of ever having pulled it off myself.

So, I called the claims adjuster back here a few minutes ago. She thanked me for promptly returning her call, and I immediately told her that I had been in Dallas all day yesterday and asked what this was all about. She laughed a little and said, "So, that's why you called back so quickly." Well, actually, I called back so quickly  to find out if I had somehow managed to shed the physical limitations of my human body and become a being of pure light and energy capable of being anywhere and everywhere at once, but that would have made my alibi a little suspect. I wisely chose to respond with "Well, yeah."

After a brief explanation of what happened in Houston yesterday, it became apparent that the issue was that the adjuster's insured had written the license plate down wrong. It seems this unfortunate driver was the front car in a three car rear end chain accident. The driver of the rear car, who was supposedly me, got out and spoke to the driver of the middle vehicle before driving off having never spoken to the driver of the front vehicle. The adjuster for the driver of the front vehicle was forced to use the limited information at her disposal, consisting of a license plate number and not much else, to try and locate the at fault driver.

Swing and a miss.

The adjuster was very polite and promised to note the file that they did not need to bother me any further. I thanked her and decided this makes good blog fodder to get my mind off the waves of anxiety that are starting to develop now that it's four weeks to the day since Texas Wesleyan started their comprehensive review of my law school application. Seriously, I'm starting to feel like I need to be breathing through a paper bag.

So, without further adieu, here's another installment of the Insider's Guide For Outsider's To The World Of Claims Adjusting: What To Do In The Event Of An Accident.

Step One: Have an accident

Okay, this really isn't the first thing you do in the event of an accident, but it is a necessary prerequisite for everything that follows. So, that's where we're going to start. Oh, and this step should really be unintentional. Adjusters like to call intentional "accidents" things like "fraud" or "vehicular assault" which puts your insurance coverage in jeopardy.

Step Two: Yell/Scream coherent or incoherent expressions of shock and amazement (cursing optional)

It's okay. Really. We understand. Something unexpected (hopefully) has just happened, and it's natural and cathartic.

Step Three: Take a deep breath and give yourself a once over

The breath is necessary to clear your mind and replenish the oxygen you just used screaming your fool head off. Now that you can breathe again, take stock of your body's standard equipment. Check for leaks, dents and broker or missing parts. If your brain has gone through a hard reboot after an encounter with Mr. Steering Wheel or Mrs. Windshield, take a few extra moments with this step. You'll be glad you did. If you see red fluid leaking from skin or orifice, small quantities are nothing to panic about. Large quantities are cause for concern; however, the down side is that you will probably not be in a position to do much of anything about it and the problem will likely resolve itself in short order with help from someone else or through exhaustion of the supply. Yellow fluid, while embarrassing, is no cause for concern. Unless it's gasoline. If you find any dents or broken/missing parts, stay put. You're likely in pain varying from "that stings a bit" to "Dear God please let me die". It's best not to add to your troubles by moving. Unless the yellow fluid was gasoline.

Step Four: Assess your surroundings

Look around. Are you in the middle of an interstate highway or at the bottom of a cliff? Listen carefully. Is that a train horn I hear getting closer or a Mack truck? Take a sniff of the air. Is the yellow fluid urine or gasoline? Take the temperature. Is it warmer than you remember? Wetter? Is this the place you really want to be right now? If not, it's time to evacuate the premises. If your car is still operable, move it to the nearest safe location (usually the shoulder of the highway, but parking lots are better). The cops don't want you holding up traffic for a scratch on the bumper. They probably won't come out for 45 minutes to an hour for a scratch on the bumper in most major metropolitan areas, if at all, anyway. If your car is not operable, the cops will get there pretty quick because a 1000 people just called 911 to tell them that the interstate is shut down because some idiot had an accident. If the yellow fluid is on fire, you will probably make the news. Congratulations. If you are not operable, no worries. You can stop reading right here. The police and ambulance crew will take of the rest. 

From here on out, the steps assume you have no leaks, dents or broken/missing parts which prevent you from walking and talking like a normal person. Or at least as well as a fifth grader who's fallen off the monkey bars at school.

Step Five: Check on the welfare of others

This may not seem important now, but picture yourself two to five years from now, sitting on the witness stand testifying in front of a jury about why you were so cold hearted and uncaring that you didn't even ask the other person(s) how they were after the accident. It's a small thing, but it matters to some people a lot. This is one of those Golden Rule moments. You would want someone to check to make sure you weren't leaking, dented or missing parts. You should return the favor. Lather, rinse, repeat as often as necessary depending on the number of people involved or how bad your concussion is affecting your memory.

Step Six: Get Information

This is critically important to the claims adjuster. We rely on you to give us a good starting point. Write it down. Everything you can. Your on an adrenaline high right now, and you are doing good to be upright and remember your own name at this point. You want to get names, addresses, phone numbers, drivers license numbers, dates of birth (or ages) and descriptions of everyone involved including passengers (you'd be amazed how many empty buses involved in accidents suddenly have 47 passengers when there is insurance involved). Ditto for witnesses if you are fortunate to have anyone step forward and say they saw the whole thing. You need license plate numbers, make, model and color of any vehicles involved. "It was a white car" doesn't help your adjuster much. Write down everything you can remember seeing or doing in the moments leading up to the accident and after. You will not remember the little details later. Was it a blue car next to you or a red car? How long had you been sitting at the light when you were hit? If Officer Friendly writes a report, get the report number.

Step Seven: Don't Admit Fault

This may be difficult for some of us who are very personal responsibility oriented, but...just don't. Leave determination of fault to someone else. It's not your job.

Step Eight: Take Photos

Everyone, it seems, has a camera these days. Digital and video even. Take photos. Lots of them. Take video if you can. From every angle you safely can.

Step Nine: Call your insurance company

Go do it. Right now. While you are thinking about. Call them from the accident scene if you can.

Step Ten: Go Home Or Go To the ER

This is pretty self explanatory.

Step Eleven: Medicate as Directed By Medical Professionals or Self

This is also pretty self explanatory.

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's Official...

No. I haven't been accepted to law school. YET. However, guess what just went to the top of my gun wish list. Ruger made me a very happy person today even if they did lie to me.

I do have one question for them though. In the days leading up to the release of the LC9, I received a daily countdown email hyping this great new product offering to be announced in 3...2...1. The SR1911...not a peep. I found out that it was officially launched by reading Caleb Giddings' Gun Nuts Media. So, what gives Ruger? Are you not proud enough of the 1911 to hype it to the moon? Or does the 1911 not need all the marketing hype it can get like the LC9?

Whatever. Just let me know which dealers are going to be stocking it so I can go put a deposit down.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dead Man Walking

If I were married to any other woman besides The Queen, I would be a dead man right now. Please allow me to explain. 

The Queen and I went out to lunch today at one of our regular Mexican food haunts. Since it was a beautiful day here in north Texas and we had brought one of the mutts with us, we decided to sit out on the patio to enjoy our meal. 

Now, The Queen is notorious for managing to get stray bits of food in places you might not expect. As we were leaving the restaurant to walk back to the car, The Queen asked me an innocent enough question:
"Do I have any cheese hanging off my butt?"
Most men who fear for their marriages and their manhood would just turn around and walk away from that question without getting within heavy artillery distance. Had I married any other woman, I might have chosen to do the same. However, I did not marry just any woman. I married the BEST woman. A woman with a sense of humor. A woman who can laugh at herself. A woman who loves her husband as much as he loves her. 

Having had a good night's sleep last night and a good day so far, The Snark was strong in me today. I bravely responded with:
"Just cottage cheese dear."
The Queen laughed. 

Ladies, don't be offended. It was said in jest, and The Queen knew it. Gentlemen, feel free to be jealous.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Week 3

As of today, Texas Wesleyan has had my law school application for three full weeks. No decision yet.

On the one hand, I really appreciate the ability to check the status of the application online. Daily. I've cut back from several times a day. On the other hand, I amused at their sense of humor. Take for instance the following sentence which I noticed today for the first time:
The process typically takes 4 to 6 weeks, but we invite your patience. (emphasis mine)
Invite my patience to go where and do what exactly? Is my patience being invited to apply for law school as well? I've heard of trying ones patience, but I never thought patience would be the attorney.

I was going to try uploading a clip from The Mummy where Rachel Weisz says "Patience is a virtue." and Brendan Fraser retorts "Not right now it isn't.", but I couldn't find one on YouTube in under five minutes. Go rent a copy, fast forward to that scene and consider it uploaded here. Thanks for the help. TTFN.

Monday, April 11, 2011


"Thank you for your application to Texas Wesleyan School of Law!
Our records indicate that your application is now undergoing a comprehensive review so that we can reach a final decision on your application."

I would have thought the comprehensive review would have begun two and a half weeks ago when I submitted the application, but it would appear that I think wrong. Oh well. Any progress is good progress at this point. They still haven't said "no" yet.

Liar, Liar Pants On Fire

A while back, I complained somewhat loudly about the breathlessness with which Ruger hyped it's latest pocket pistol offering (the LC9) when I was hoping that all the teasing was a lead in to announcing a 1911 style pistol in the one hundredth year since JMB's ascension into gunnie immortality.

Say Uncle has a link to an article on The Firearm Blog with what is purported to be leaked photos of an impending release by Ruger of a 1911 style pistol.

It looks real pretty.

But Ruger lied to me when they said "I am not aware of any plans at this time for any new products / calibers." The have broken the ninth commandment and bore false witness to one of their loyal and faithful customers. I must go to their headquarters and preach to them about Hellfire and lepers. 

Right after I find out how much they plan to charge for one, and where I can put a deposit down.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Please allow me to engage in a little political commentary for a moment while we await the response from Texas Wesleyan to my law school application. Political commentary was one of the reasons I originally intended to start blogging in the first place. Then I realized just how depressing it really is when you start analyzing the process to closely. It’s like learning how sausage is made.

Anyway, I pulled up Drudge Report this afternoon to reconnect briefly with what is happening out in the rest of the world since I’ve had my head stuck in the sand with computer issues at work and tying yellow ribbons around the oak tree in the front yard awaiting the return of my long lost law school application (can you tell I’m a bit fixated on the law school application decision thing? I’m sorry. This will pass.). I was greeted by a photo of Speaker of the House Boehner and the BOLD headline “WINNING”. Clicking on the link lead to an article that breathlessly reported on how Boehner “closed the deal” to avert a shutdown of the government at the last minute by getting agreement to a spending bill that cuts $38.5 billion dollars from the Federal government’s budget for the remainder of the year. Politico is calling it ‘a defining moment in his speakership” and that it “answered doubts from the conservative movement about whether he was a true believer.”

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that $38.5 billion is nothing to sneeze on an individual level. I could live extremely well for a very long time on that amount and never ever have to think about working again. On a national level, however, this is chump change. Allow me to put this number into perspective for you.

As of April 7, the national debt was $14.2624 trillion dollars representing a $653.4 billion increase since the beginning of FY 2010. Further, the Federal government’s fiscal year began on October 1, 2010. The proposed budget for FY 2010 as submitted by the president was $3.82 trillion of which only $2.17 trillion was covered by revenue leaving the highest budget deficit in history of $1.65 trillion (with approved credit from the Chinese apparently). This budget has not yet been passed by Congress even though it was submitted in February 2010. The government has been kept alive on seven “continuing resolutions” the last of which was passed on Friday with a supposed deal on a budget resolution with the much ballyhooed $38.5 billion in cuts to the budget. I say supposed because the mess still has to get passed the Democrat controlled Senate and be signed by the president. Harry Reid and the president are reported to be on board with this deal, but you can only trust a politician as far as their last vote.

I digress. I was trying to put this “deal” into perspective. $38.5 billion in cuts is $38.5 billion in deficit spending that won’t be added to the debt. Good on ya Mr. Boehner. Here’s your pat on the back. Now, get ready for the swift kick in the butt ‘cause here it comes. $38.5 billion dollars represents only 5.89% of the $653.4 billion the Federal government is ALREADY in the hole for FY 2010. When you factor in the projected, budgeted deficit for the entire FY 2010, you get a whopping 2.33% reduction in the overall hose job that you, me, every other American and everyone’s children and grandchildren are being stuck with until the end of time or when our creditors stop loaning us money (whichever comes first).

A 2.33% reduction is supposed to be a conservative “WIN!”?

WIN! my furry hide. This is business as usual. I am so underwhelmed.

Since it’s my Sabbath, please allow your humble Shepherd to quote the Bible for a moment. Proverbs 22:7 in the New King James Version reads: “The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender.” The New International Version is even more harsh as it reads “slave” instead of “servant”. We are rapidly becoming slaves to those who own our national debt.

So, who owns us?

According to Financial Management Services “A Bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury”, the breakdown of our ownership is something like this as of the end of September 2010 when our national debt was a paltry $13.5616 trillion”

Federal Reserve and Intragovernmental Holdings: 5.3505 trillion
Depository Institutions: 337.5 billion
U.S. Savings Bonds: 188.7 billion
Private Pension Funds: 587.5 billion
State and Local Governments Pension Funds: 187.8 billion
Insurance Companies: 254.4 billion
Mutual Funds: 607.9 billion
State and Local Governments: 508.7 billion
Foreign and International: 4.2571 trillion
Other Investors: 1.2813 trillion

If you are still sober and still reading this, I’ll wait while you go get a beer or some other tasty adult beverage to calm your nerves. I know I need one.

Back with me? Okay, good. The number I want to focus on is the $4.2571 trillion in debt owned by foreign and international entities. That’s 31.39% of our national debt owned by individuals or governments who are, by definition, NOT AMERICANS. If the Unites States were a company, those foreign holders of our debt could righteously demand a seat (or several) on the board of directors. If we were a company instead of a nation, they’d be within spitting distance of having a controlling interest. Anyone want to take a guess as to why the United States has been conspicuously quiet on human rights in places like China? Anyone? Bueller?

Anyone want to take a guess as to how much more of our debt ANYONE is going to be willing to buy if we don’t start acting like we have a clue. How long can you run a deficit in your personal finances before Citibank or Chase or BOA finally cut you off? It’s about the moment you monthly minimum payments exceed the amount of money you make every month. Let’s think about how this plays out as a nation. According to the president’s FY 2010 budget, approximately $250.7 billion of the budget (about 6.85% of the total budget and 11.55% of revenue for those keeping track) is slated to be spent on interest payments. No payment on the principle amount. Just interest. And we are adding to the principle every single day.

Let’s take a peak into the future for a moment. We’ll have to make some assumptions to make the math easier. These assumptions will also lead to a “best case” scenario. Let’s assume that budget deficits continue running at about $1 trillion per year for the foreseeable future. We know our elected horse thieves are addicted to spending. It’s like crack, meth and heroin all rolled into one for them. So, we really can’t expect them to actually spend less money than they take in in revenue, and I’m actually giving them credit for having the intestinal and testicular fortitude to cut 1/3 from the current deficit levels. The current interest payments represent about 1.76% of the national debt. Setting aside the question of where I can find a mortgage lender offering that rate, let’s assume that the interest payment to principal ratio stay constant. Let’s also assume that the gross domestic product grows at a constant rate of $500 billion per year (it doesn’t), and let’s assume that total revenues remain constant at 15% of GDP (slightly higher than for 2010).

Year / GDP (trillion) / Revenue (tril.) / Debt (tril.) / Interest Payments (billion) / Int to Rev %
2011 / 14.66 / 2.17   / 14.262 / 250.7 / 11.55%
2012 / 15.16 / 2.274 / 15.262 / 274.9 / 12.09%
2013 / 15.66 / 2.349 / 16.262 / 286.2 / 12.18%
2014 / 16.16 / 2.424 / 17.262 / 303.8 / 12.53%
2015 / 16.66 / 2.499 / 18.262 / 321.4 / 12.86%

The trend doesn’t seem like much right now. Sticking with our assumptions though, in 30 years, interest payments on the debt will take up over 20% of the budget. In 60 years, almost half. However, remember, this is before the budget has to absorb “Obamacare” which will takeover approximately 20% of the economy depending on whose numbers you use and raise taxes and debt by as yet undetermined amounts. As I said, we are talking about a best case scenario here.

One word comes to mind: UNSUSTAINABLE.

Now, let’s get back to our boy Boehner here. I’m not going to waste my time busting his chops about whether or not he’s a conservative or not. He’s a lot more conservative than Nancy Pelosi. He’s also a politician playing the game by a set of rules that has no connection to reality as it applies to you and me.

I will say this though. A true, small government conservative would have put every last line item of the budget on the chopping block, opened up a copy of the Constitution, and sliced off every budget item that could not be constitutionally justified. He or she would never get reelected, but that’s what they’d do.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Well, week two is dead and gone, and no word from the hostage takers about the status of my law school application.

Sorry for the lack of non-law school application related content this week. Work has been a disaster (die, computer, die), and I have been sleeping not nearly enough. Regular programming will resume once I find my head and screw it back on.