The devil you say

Next these extremists will start talking about patriotism and the U.S. Constitution.
[M]otherhood is used in women’s Jan. 6 legal defenses to make women appear more sympathetic, by emphasizing their caretaking roles and status as “good” mothers and grandmothers who are devoted to their husbands and families. Such defense strategies paint a picture of these women as nurturers who love their families and are committed to raising productive citizens in an attempt to outweigh the serious charges they face.
My favorite parts of the article: the "historical" context of mothers sewing KKK hoods and homeschooling. My guess is that they're teaching the kids to sew KKK hoods in those homeschools.

Thank goodness no one is teaching the tykes anything horrifying in the government schools.

There's an even worse image-rehabilitation program afoot: the effort to humanize fetuses by revealing their gender, which makes birthing persons more reluctant to kill them.

The new DGB has its work cut out for it.

Orienteering Preparation

It's proven to be hard to locate the proper gear for orienteering -- at least in the timeframe required, i.e., by Monday night. We're supposed to come up with enough baseplate compasses for everyone, plus the kind of map layovers that make grid-finding easy. The latter do not exist at all in any local hiking or outdoors outfitter. The former are sold out in most of the nearby towns, as the one thing tourists know they need before going into the Wild is a compass -- although most of them probably barely have an idea how to use one. Still, A+ for effort on behalf of the local hikers. Maybe we'll have fewer search and rescues this year.

I've taken on this particular task, and have so far been to "hiking" stores in Cashiers and Highlands that were completely barren, an "outdoors outfitter" in Sylva that had five, and a similar store in Bryson City that had two (but better ones). We already had a couple up at the department, so that's probably enough: but we may all have to share the same gridding overlay. 

Today while I was in Bryson City I ate at the worst 'Italian' restaurant I have ever encountered. I'll avoid giving out the name, but it's the only Italian restaurant in Bryson City. Western North Carolina has much to recommend it, but not its take on ethnic food. The tendency is to strip out every kind of spice,. reducing to the absolute basic ingredients. 'Mexican' food -- if you don't go to the increasingly common taco trucks run by actual Mexicans -- is likely to be meat, beans, cheese and sour cream, plus tortillas, with no spice of any kind beyond salt and maybe black pepper. (Especially near and over the Virginia border, there's a local 'white sauce' that is truly horrendous.) 

Now just to be clear. this only bothers me when it's presented as something it's not. There's a restaurant down the street called The Iron Skillet whose flavor profile is more or less exactly the same. It's fine. You can get pork chops (seasoned with white flour, salt and pepper), bacon, eggs, gravy, and it's authentic home cooking. Nothing wrong with the food not being spicy; and the local cuisine is just not. What bothers me is going into a "Mexican" restaurant or an "Italian" restaurant and receiving something that is very much not.

In this case, the food was also bad. The black bean soup I had was literally just black beans from a can, heated in water, with plain white rice and a dollop of sour cream added. This was followed by 'chicken parmigiana,' which was clearly a frozen patty they bought somewhere and reheated, served with overcooked spaghetti and what tasted exactly like Ragu spaghetti sauce on top of it. 

It was terrible, but because I weigh 240 pounds and am a Strongman competitor I ate every last bite of it, desperately needing the protein and calories by lunchtime. The waiter kept commenting on how much I must be enjoying the food since I was demolishing it as fast as he put it in front of me. I didn't have the heart to tell him. 

There is at least one exception on the 'ethnic food in Western North Carolina' rule. There is -- for Mike G, or others who may be passing through the area -- a fantastic Thai restaurant by the railroad tracks between Sylva and Dillsboro. The lady who owns and runs it is really from Thailand. It's amazing, but order at least two dishes because her idea about the amount of food a man needs at a meal is honestly Southeast Asian. So is her cooking, though, so spring for the pair.

There are also some great native Western North Carolina restaurants in Dillsboro, including especially the Heywood Smokehouse. The local barbecue is great, maybe as good as barbecue is anywhere. Nothing wrong with the local cuisine when they're making their own food. 

Rough Weather

Spring can bring rain, but May and October are usually the two most pleasant months of the year. Nevertheless earlier this week, AVI was talking about an old song that I happen to know well. In the discussion I mentioned that exposure to hard weather will take it out of you in about three hours -- after that, if you haven't got shelter, you're going to start making mistakes. 

This wasn't a random fact off the top of my head. We're doing Search and Rescue training this month, and I attended a four-hour training session on Monday night. The point was about setting priorities if you happen to be the first person to come upon someone, wounded or hypothermic or alone in the wilderness. People tend to think about food in survival situations, but you can survive without food for a long time. Water? Days. But you can die of exposure in less than a day, as our musical guest explains.

Our instructor is a man I greatly like. He's some kind of old Army, though he hasn't copped to it exactly; post-Nam Ranger, I'd guess. In his sixties he still BASE jumps and does SCUBA diving into caves. He's an old hillbilly who hates cities and has every kind of Deplorable instinct, another old Southern Democrat like me. 

And just now and then, amidst his long discourse on all these topics, he'll depart into extraordinary explanations that quote physics formulas from memory and then explain how they apply to survival situations. Somebody asked him about those Mylar 'space blankets' they sell. Shouldn't we carry them to wrap up hypothermia victims so they'll warm? Nope, it turns out: his account of why they're useless in those cases was one of the most erudite things I've ever heard, coming from a guy you'd probably have thought a backwoods redneck if you didn't stop and listen to him talk for a long while. 

Here's the formula, by the way. The example is of the surface of the moon, but this is physics, so it applies to the hypothermic guy who fell in a mountain creek with exactly equal force. 

Next week is orienteering, which I think I know how to do. I learned it many years ago and have done quite a bit of it, but I won't be surprised if I understand it better after he's done teaching us.

Quit showing our evidence to people

If I understand the problem correctly, the DNC worries that leaks from the January 6 witchhunt are causing voters to care even less about the agenda they hoped to push just in time for the mid-terms. If they'd been able to keep the evidence under wraps, it would been much more convincing later when they finally decided to unveil it with the proper dramatic flourish. Voters stubbornly keep telling pollsters they couldn't care less and wish their representatives would focus on inflation and the economy.

The only solution I can think of is to censor discussion of irrelevancies like inflation and force everyone to focus on the approved narrative.

Speaking of inflation, Chuck Schumer has a brilliant solution: raise taxes. Schumer didn't try to explain how raising taxes could curb inflation, but the WSJ notes that it's a recognized tenet of Modern Monetary Theory or, as I like to call it, Magic Money Tree. The theory is that raising taxes "removes spending power from the rest of us." Of course, it hands that spending power over to the government, which cheerfully indulges it, but because the money will be spent on things like solar panels it doesn't lead to inflation. That's where part of the Magic comes in. I think the idea is that you decrease demand (you won't) without decreasing supply (again no). As I see it, you decrease demand from citizens while matching it with demand from the government, so no net change in demand, and you decrease supply because government spending is never as economically efficient as citizen spending. At best you leave supply unchanged; I sure can't see how you increase it.

November can't come too soon. Mad economics must be voted out of office.

Those tea leaves are hard to read

Manchin keeps saying he doesn't want to spend a boatload of tax money, because it's making inflation worse. But it's so hard to understand what he means. We keep asking and asking, and all he does is repeat that he's not going to support that program. We ask what it will take to get him to support that program, and he says there isn't anything, he's just not going to do it. And now time's running out, with the mid-terms coming up. It's so unfair. Why can't he stop being so coy?

Why don't you spend your money on what I want?

One of the funnier wails over Elon Musk's announced takeover of Twitter is the now-popular complaint that he could have used "his" (by which they mean "our") $44 billion to end world hunger or (insert pet cause here). I have my usual objection to the neverending quest of virtue-signallers to find a way to make other people pay for the sacrifices that will make them feel personally generous, but there's another idiocy about this complaint. For one thing, Musk hasn't spent the money yet, but for another, when he does, the money doesn't disappear. It just moves into the hands of all the people who used to own Twitter stock. All of those enlightened stockholders are free as a little blue bird to spend the money eliminating world hunger. Each of them can do his tiny part, or they can form a band of brothers and do it jointly.

Not that it's so easy to get a large group of people to march in lockstep toward the One True Goal for which their money is certified appropriate, but that sounds like an argument in favor of concentrating wealth in the hands of a few oligarchs. You can then hope they agree with you, or can be bullied into agreeing with you, or will submit to your confiscation their wealth for the one true certified worthy purpose.

Killing Giants

Dropped a big tree today. It was an old, dead Hemlock. I've been watching it for years, hoping it would lean and fall on its own where it wouldn't threaten anyone. But it was right over the road, which is really a right-of-way over my land and not a state maintained road. If it killed anybody, it was my responsibility. For a long time I hoped it might fall safely, though I always worried about it. Over the last few days, though, it began to look very dangerous.

So today -- after a VFD call in the morning -- I decided that it was time to take that responsibility. It seemed clear in its leaning and compression, but I had no idea what it was like on the inside. Once I started cutting, it might do anything. I took out the initial wedge where I wanted it to fall. In fact it almost fell after the felling cut, but instead settled back and collapsed it, becoming secure again. I made a second felling cut, three-quarters deep like the first one, and it still wouldn't fall. So now there were three very deep cuts were in it, and it seemed perfectly serene while also being totally unstable. 

I put a rope on it, but my longest rope wasn't as tall as the tree. I wrapped that rope around an oak, and got the thing rocking just by pulling it myself. Still nothing. 

Finally I brought my truck up, tied the rope to the hitch, and eased it taught. Then, in 4x4, I let it pull just a little more tension in the line until I heard and saw it break in the rearview mirror. Since I knew the rope was shorter than the tree, I punched the gas to break the rope and get out from under it. The thing fell exactly where I had been meaning to drop it seven hours earlier. 

I sawed it into logs, and rolled them off the road and down the mountainside. My neighbor showed up for this last part, which was physically the hardest part though definitely the least dangerous. 

My neighbor's wife had been there earlier, and she said that she'd noticed a couple days ago that it had gotten looking more dangerous. My neighbor himself said the same thing as we were moving the pieces, that it had really become clear that it was a danger. This evening the UPS driver showed up to pick up a package, and he remarked that he'd had his eye on that tree for a while, and had been worried about it for a long time. 

Big, dead trees will kill you. Malory's knights fighting giants did no greater feat than we do when we take one of these things down.  

USMC Knife Fighting, WWII Training Film

This knife-fighting video is extremely well-grounded. Some of it (like the low thrust they're teaching) only works with a long blade, though -- note how long that bayonet is they're using. That's not a Navy Mark 2, the immediate ancestor of the Kabar. Other techniques, like the double parry, are very solid even with shorter blades. The move to a quick hand cut followed by more deadly techniques is also very well-grounded, as is the inclusion of wrist-grabbing and other grappling as a way of controlling blades.

Those techniques are Great Masters of Europe fencing techniques, descended from the rapier fighting of the Spanish, Italian, and French masters and the Elizabethans who learned from them. They had long ago passed out of Olympic fencing. I had no idea they were still current as late as WWII. 

That said, they're all subject to George Silver's critique of them: He thought that the average brawler from the docks would easily overcome the finest techniques, though they would work against someone else schooled in this form of fencing. You'd probably get a lot further rushing them than adopting a proper fighting stance and trying to out-fence them, and that's assuming (as the video does) that they might be equally armed and not possessed of a rifle and friends quickly called-for. I doubt this sort of fencing made much of a difference in the Pacific Theater of WWII, if indeed anyone ever attempted it at all. 

Still, it's interesting to see the old ways so well preserved in an unexpected place.

Your terms are acceptable

Defense One:
In his recent démarche to the U.S. demanding an end to military support for Ukraine, Putin has helpfully provided a list of those capabilities Russia most fears. The U.S. should treat this message not as a Russian ultimatum but rather as a Ukrainian shopping list.




I know this one. 

Lever Gun

 It occurred to me that you might like to see the thing. 

Equality Under the Law

A lot of the right this week is upset at Florida for having removed a special set of legal protections for Disney. It seems odd to me that restoring Disney to a status of equality under the law, using ordinary legislative means, is considered to be a violation of the 'rule of law.' 

I wonder -- not to be a conspiracy theorist -- if Disney isn't paying for some of this sort of coverage. This is close to incoherent, and these people are not idiots.