Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The (in)famous Pachelbel Rant

Following my most recent Sunday Morning Music entry, I had a number of people ask to hear Rob Paravonian's (in)famous "Pachelbel Rant".  I've put it up before, but how can I resist doing so again?

Great stuff!


More about IFAK's (Individual First Aid Kits)

Following the Las Vegas shooting last month, I wrote about the need to keep an IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) on hand if possible.  Even if one can't use it to best effect oneself, one can make it available to emergency personnel, whose own supplies may run low in a mass casualty event like that.  Aesop added his own expert opinion on the subject.  If you haven't already read both articles, I recommend doing so before continuing with this one.

Regular readers will know that I've been friends with Kelly Grayson, a.k.a. Ambulance Driver, for many years.  He's a senior and widely respected paramedic and EMT, and is in demand as a speaker on the emergency medical conference circuit.  When I met him again at Blogorado last month, I asked him to post his thoughts on the best IFAK components, for the benefit of all of us.  He's done so at his own blog, along with some very important considerations about when and how to use it.  Here's an excerpt to whet your appetite.

YOU, as a bystander, are going to be judged very forgivingly on the actions you take, as long as you stay in your lane. You don’t have a duty to act, and nobody expects you to do trauma surgery in Shooting Bay #5 when Cletus violates more than his customary one of Colonel Cooper’s Four Rules of Gun Safety.

But in this era of YouTube instructional videos and online marketplaces that will allow you to purchase sophisticated medical equipment without so much as a certificate to demonstrate you know how to use them, you can put yourself into precarious legal footing rather easily.

Sure, you can watch a video on suturing and wound closure and practice a few times on a pickled pig’s foot, watch a video on intravenous cannulation and procure the proper supplies, buy a King airway and watch the instructional video, but if you start using that stuff in anything outside a TEOTWAWKI situation, you have stepped far outside the protective boundaries of the Good Samaritan Law, and are now practicing medicine without a license.

And you’re gonna get your ass sued, and rightfully so, because something will go wrong, and you don’t have enough education or training to know what you don’t know.

So I’ll boil it down to what you, a layperson, can do without running afoul of the tort (and maybe even the criminal justice) system: Putting stuff ON a victim, pretty much okay. Putting stuff IN a victim, not kosher.

There are some exceptions to that, like for example, wound packing in severe hemorrhage, but if you stay away from specialized invasive medical devices, your chances of getting sued lie somewhere between slim and none.

With that in mind, here’s what I recommend you carry in your range first aid kit, and this is the same basic equipment I give to all participants in my Shooter Self Care classes [see reviews of a previous class here].

There's much more at the linkHighly recommended reading, particularly in these troubled and more dangerous times.

Thanks, AD, for stepping up to the plate with your advice.  I'll be following it.


So much for a modern college education

Jim Goad brings the smackdown to current US college standards.

American colleges are no longer institutions of higher learning. It would be more apt to refer to them as state-sanctioned seminaries for the secular religion of Cultural Marxism. Instead of strolling out of college with nimbler minds, students now stumble out into the real world with their brains scrubbed clean of the ability to hatch a single independent thought.

. . .

Rather than being instructed in crucial matters—such as how to detect logical fallacies and distinguish between what’s objective and subjective—modern students indenture themselves to the loan-peddlers for the dubious honor of taking inane courses such as “Kanye Versus Everbody! [sic],” “Sci-Fi Queered,” “What If Harry Potter Is Real?,” and “How to Watch Television.”

While piously posing as staunchly anti-racist—whatever the hell that means, because it can’t be quantified—students are instead encouraged to channel all of their latent racial hatred toward the very idea of white people.

. . .

American colleges no longer bother to even pretend that they’re teaching students how to think. Instead, their noble mission is making sure that every last trace of a dissident thought is mercilessly shotgunned out of their students’ brains before unleashing them into a world where they have trouble tying their own shoes without doubling their normal dose of antidepressants.

So let the colleges die. Let the teachers—almost to the last gender-fluid one of them an Armchair Marxist who fetishizes the “working class” from afar—learn what it’s really like to earn a living.

For grade school and high school, hire teachers who know how to keep their personal ideology out of the classroom. Have them act like boot-camp sergeants in drilling the three Rs into kids’ soft little skulls.

The current yearly average cost for a college education runs from about $10K for state residents at public colleges to a little over $30K for public colleges.

For about a thousand bucks, you can buy a cheap laptop and an internet connection for a year. And if you’re remotely intelligent and inquisitive and motivated, you can find all the knowledge the world has to offer online. We need more autodidacts and fewer casualties of collegiate indoctrination.

The only intelligent thing to do with modern American colleges is to get rid of them.

There's more at the link.  Highly recommended reading.

I've had contact with a fairly large number of current students and recent graduates over the past decade or so.  Almost uniformly, they astonish me with their lack of knowledge and lack of understanding of the real world.  They appear to have been taught to demand that the world conform to what they think it should be - and their thoughts have been trained and formed almost exclusively from a Marxist rhetorical perspective.  They bear little or no relation to reality.  There are, of course, some honorable exceptions to that rule;  but I'd say four out of five students don't qualify, in my experience.  Obviously, some fields (e.g. medicine, engineering, etc.) require a college education;  but in the fields of liberal arts, the "soft" sciences, etc., I can't help thinking that most students would be better off not going to university at all, given current academic standards (or the lack thereof).

I also wish more young people would consider part-time instead of full-time tertiary education.  I could never afford to go to university full-time, so all four of my tertiary qualifications were earned part-time;  two through correspondence study, and two through evening classes after work.  I missed the "social experience" of life on campus, of course, but looking back, I can't say that did me any harm.  Instead, I graduated every degree free of student loan debt, and having earned an increasingly good living in the process.  Such distance education degrees are freely available to US students, particularly if they register with overseas institutions such as Britain's Open University or the University of South Africa (there are many others).  Even better, the academic standards at foreign universities are often higher and more rigorous than those at US institutions, and free of many of the "politically correct" requirements that bedevil US curricula.  That has the potential to deliver a superior education to students who are prepared to put in the work necessary to take advantage of it.

The Internet wasn't a factor when I did my degrees, but it would have helped enormously.  Nowadays, when many Ivy League university lectures are available online, either free of charge or for a relatively small fee, it's indispensable.  What's more, there are many accredited "online institutions" dedicated to providing low-cost, high-quality education.  I know a couple of young people who are auditing lectures online from several different universities, then using what they've learned to "test out" of the subject requirements at the state universities where they've enrolled.  Through careful planning, they've found they can complete more than half the required coursework in this fashion, and cut the time needed to earn a Bachelors degree almost in half - not to mention saving tens of thousands of dollars in course fees and related expenses.

Finally, of course, many jobs don't actually need a university education - it's just become expected by default.  Mike Rowe deserves kudos for setting up the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, which offers "scholarships for jobs that actually exist", encouraging work-seekers to enter apprenticeships and technical studies instead of colleges.  I highly encourage any young person looking for career opportunities to consider its programs.  If I were younger, believe me, I'd be banging on his door first thing!  Compared to most US colleges today, that's a no-brainer decision.


Monday, November 20, 2017

Worn out

Alma Boykin came down to stay with Miss D. and I over the weekend.  Old NFO, Lawdog and the lovely Phlegmmy joined us for the festivities, accompanied by aepilotjim when he wasn't working.  Much fun was had eating at local restaurants, shooting at a local range, and working late assembling (or starting to assemble) a large jigsaw puzzle.  Alma's good company.

Our cats enjoyed the visitor, too.  Kili largely took it in her stride, as befits the senior cat, but Ashbutt's still in kitten mode when it comes to playing (and will be for several years yet - he's part Maine Coon, after all, and that's a characteristic of the breed).  He dogged Alma's footsteps, tried to sneak into the guest room with her to sleep on her bed (she was wise to that, having her own feline companion, and fended him off at the door), and bugged her whenever possible to play with him using his favorite toy, a string on a stick.

This is how he looked this afternoon after she'd left.  (Clickit to biggit.)

That's one worn-out cat!


Give this article to the socialists in your life (if any)

Aaron Clarey, a.k.a. Captain Capitalism, has written a very useful, easily understandable primer on why it's necessary for businesses to make a profit.  Here's a brief excerpt.

The simplest way to understand why profits are necessary is to understand it from a perspective of providing goods and services.  This is an oft forgotten or ignored aspect of economics because everybody seems to focus on MONEY and not the things that actually matter - GOODS AND SERVICES.

I cannot eat a dollar.
A Yen will not provide you surgery.
A pound will not feed your dog.
And a Euro will not fuel your car.

However, these currencies WILL buy us the goods and services that provide ultimate value and utility in life.  A dollar will buy me an apple that I can eat.  A Yen will buy me some gas that will fuel my car.  A Euro will buy a dentist's services to repair your teeth.  And a pound will buy some dental floss after your dentists lectures you for not flossing.  So the whole point and purpose of an economy is to produce the stuff, not the money nor necessarily profits in the process of doing so.

Since it is the stuff that needs producing that ultimately matters you need to ask how stuff gets produced, and the answer is "not charitably."

In order for things to get produced, somebody has to inevitably forfeit some of their time to produce them.  This can be done on an individual level as per subsistence type craphole economies like Africa, or in the awesome 1st world through organizations, namely, corporations and companies.  Large and complex systems organizing capital and labor to produce an amazing plethora of things all on the cheap.  But regardless of the size of the company, it has to ultimately be started.  And since time is ultimately the ONLY resource that matters to humans, any sane and self-respecting human is going to demand he or she be compensated for it.

Thus introducing profit.

This is the problem most people who have a problem with profit face.  They look at it backwards.  The issue isn't whether somebody deserves profit or whether profit should exist.  NOTHING would exist unless it was for profit.  And the insurance industry explains this incredibly well.

There's more at the link.

This is the sort of thing that socialists can never seem to understand.  Without the incentive of profit to motivate them, why should individuals or businesses work for the common good?  They won't, of course, as the history of applied socialism makes dismally clear . . . but somehow a lot of young people are taken in by this false argument and fake philosophy.

If you have such people among your friends and/or acquaintances and/or colleagues, let them have a copy of Aaron Clarey's article.  It might make them think - for once.


Doofus Of The Day #985

Doofi have been popping up all over the place lately.  I wonder if we'll hit #1,000 by the end of the year?  Be that as it may, today's winner comes from Germany.

A man with an oversized Christmas tree has left a trail of destruction in his wake after blundering through a small town in southern Germany with it hanging off the back of his truck.

The hapless driver, who had apparently completely underestimated the size of the tree, towed it on his trailer through the picturesque town of Kandern, in Baden-Württemberg, on Saturday morning.

Unaware of the size of his truck’s large backside, the man bashed into several road signs and damaged a bridge as he swerved round corners and made his way through town.

His reckless driving meant oncoming motorists had to slam on the emergency brakes to avoid smashing into the tree, local police said.

Meanwhile, those driving behind him were forced to swerve to avoid branches that had broken away en route.

. . .

One shocked motorist contacted the police, who tracked the driver by simply following the trail of branches.

There's more at the link.

I wonder if they'll charge him with high tree-son?


First Sergeants and Second Lieutenants

I received the link to this video from several readers.  Thanks to all of you!  The military veterans among my readers, irrespective of their branch of service, will recognize the truth in this exchange.

I think I've met that Second Lieutenant a few times . . . although I hope and pray I never acted like that during my "salad days, when I was green in judgment"!


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday morning music

Here's an old classical favorite - the Canon in D by Pachelbel.

Of course, there's also JerryC's modern version . . .

That one's not so restful, is it?


Saturday, November 18, 2017

The danger of an UN-loaded gun

In all the accounts of the Sutherland Springs church shooting a couple of weeks ago, one element stood out for me.

Stephen Willeford ... responded to the sound of gunfire by grabbing an AR-15 with an EOTech red dot sight out of his safe. But he didn’t have a magazine loaded. So he grabbed a handful of ammo and started loading a single magazine and headed for the crime scene.

God bless Mr. Willeford for being willing to put his own life on the line to protect the lives of others.  I've no doubt those who survived the massacre did so in large part thanks to his intervention.  However, his story highlights a conundrum that affects many gun owners.

We hear advice from many sources that one should never store a firearm in a loaded condition.  Many owners manuals for firearms specifically state that.  We hear advice that one should store ammunition separately from firearms.  Some jurisdictions make that official.  For example, here's the sixth rule of gun safety from the office of California's Attorney General.

Store your gun safely and securely to prevent unauthorized use. Guns and ammunition should be stored separately. When the gun is not in your hands, you must still think of safety. Use a California-approved firearms safety device on the gun, such as a trigger lock or cable lock, so it cannot be fired. Store it unloaded in a locked container, such as a California-approved lock box or a gun safe. Store your gun in a different location than the ammunition. For maximum safety you should use both a locking device and a storage container.

In other countries, for example Australia, it's actually illegal to store firearms and ammunition together.  Police may make unannounced visits at "reasonable times", without a search warrant, to ensure that gun owners are in compliance with the law;  if they're not, they face confiscation of their firearms on the spot, and the permanent loss of their gun license(s).

The trouble is, such policies prevent any reasonably quick armed response to a crime.  Of course, that's the point in such jurisdictions:  police don't want citizens stopping crimes using their firearms.  That's a very important reason for avoiding such jurisdictions if you can!  However, if he'd been living under such legal restrictions, Mr. Willeford would not have been able to stop the church massacre as he did.

Safety considerations are important, particularly if you have small children and/or untrained persons who might get their hands on your guns.  (You should, of course, store them in such a way that they can't . . . but accidents happen.)  Nevertheless, you also need to be able to respond to crime in order to defend yourself, your loved ones, and your property, where that's legally permitted.  To do so, you'll need a loaded gun.  Ideally, you should have it on your person, where it's always under your supervision and control.  However, for many of us, that's not possible;  which means storing at least one firearm in a loaded condition, and/or with a magazine or other ammunition supply near it and available for instant access.

If Mr. Willeford had had a loaded magazine already available, instead of having to load one, he might have been able to intervene more quickly, and save even more lives.  That's a thought I'm sure he's had since the tragedy.  It's one we need to think about, too.  If you rely on a firearm for self-defense and the protection of your family, you need to have ammunition ready to go, accessible with the firearm.

The military refers to a soldier's ammo loadout as a "basic load".  It's carried over and above his other necessities.  Here's what that looked like for a Vietnam-era soldier;  modern troops carry even more.

Police have a similar concept, although they don't necessarily call it the same thing.  As civilians, we don't need anything like a full "basic load", and we almost certainly will never need that much ammunition.  Nevertheless, I strongly recommend having available at least three loaded magazines per weapon, one in the gun, the other two as backups, carried on one's belt, in pockets, or in a so-called "tactical" vest.  If carrying two guns (e.g. a rifle and a pistol), I'd recommend three magazines for each weapon.

It's all very well being safety conscious;  but too much safety consciousness can get you killed, or prevent you from responding to an emergency as you'd otherwise do.  I daresay Mr. Willeford regrets his lack of a loaded magazine.  I hope and pray none of us ever have cause to do the same.


Here's a treat for fans of sword-and-sorcery fantasy

I was pleasantly surprised to find the compete stories about Conan the Barbarian, written by Robert E. Howard, are now out of copyright.  They've been compiled as an e-book - for just 99 cents!

The stories inspired two well-known movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, "Conan the Barbarian" and "Conan the Destroyer", which have attracted a cult following.  For the benefit of those who may not have seen them, here are two of the theatrical trailers for the first movie.

Conan was a literary phenomenon.  The stories inspired countless successors, and most modern sword-and-sorcery fantasy owes Robert E. Howard a debt of gratitude (not to mention acknowledgement for all the details borrowed from his work!).  Personally, I find his Conan stories somewhat repetitive and "same old, same old":  but I doff my hat to him for having, in a very real sense, founded the sword-and-sorcery genre with the character and his adventures.

If you're at all interested in modern sword-and-sorcery fantasy, whether as a reader or as a writer, this is an essential collection;  and, at just under a dollar, it's unbeatable value.  Highly recommended for its historical value (and for some good stories in the collection).

(A final note:  some of the early reviews on Amazon.com complain about missing chapters in some stories.  That problem appears to have been fixed - at least, the copy I've bought has no missing chapters.)


Friday, November 17, 2017

A reminder of our fund-raiser for Andi, with great prizes to be won

I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago.  A group of Blogorado attendees, including yours truly, have come together to raise funds for our friend Andi.  She's had a stroke, and is facing massive medical bills for her treatment and rehabilitation therapy.  Details are in my first post, and you can read more about Andi in Jennifer's blog post about the fund-raiser.

We've contributed guns, jewelry and other things from our respective collections, and some very generous "outside" friends have also added prizes to the pot.  Old NFO has details and pictures of most of them in three blog posts, here, here and here.  For every $10 you donate, you get a chance at a prize;  for every $50, six chances;  for every $100, 12 chances;  etc.  The first winner drawn will take his or her pick of the prizes;  the second will choose out of what's left, and so on.

As I write these words, the fundraiser stands at $12,692 out of a goal of $25,000.  In other words, we've raised just under 51% of what we hope to get.  There's still a long way to go, so may I appeal to you, please, dear readers, to support this fundraiser?  Andi's good people, and she's facing a need that might come to any of us one day.  If it does, I know you'll agree that it'd be desirable to have good people trying to help you pay for it.  On the basis of "do unto others", let's "do unto Andi" in a good cause.

Thanks, friends.


Don't just live your faith - eat it!

I'm giggling at some of the reactions to a British bakery's Christmas advertisement.

A British bakery chain has apologized after creating a Nativity scene in which Baby Jesus, surrounded by three wise men, was replaced with a sausage roll.

And not just any sausage roll, but one that had been bitten into.

Greggs, the largest bakery chain in Britain, released the image of the sausage roll nestled in a straw-filled manger to help promote its $32 advent calendar.

But no sooner had the image of the sausage roll savior been published than consumers of all faiths took to Twitter to express moral indignation — and more than a few snickers.

One woman observed that Jesus was Jewish and that pork was not kosher.

“Out of interest do you think the people at Greggs understand that Jesus was Jewish and serving up a pork sausage roll in the manger is unbelievably inappropriate?” the woman identifying herself as Beth Rosenberg, wrote on Twitter.

. . .

While many people said they were offended by the image, it also prompted whimsy, delight, a poem and more than a few bad puns. “I never thought I would see the sentence ‘Greggs sorry for replacing Jesus with sausage roll’. One of those moments that makes you glad to be alive,” Emma Weinbren, an editor at The Grocer, wrote on Twitter.

There's more at the link.

Well . . . it was in bad taste, certainly, but (almost by definition) one can hardly call a sausage roll "tasteless", can one?