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September 26, 2005

Legendary Lost Incan Treasure Located on Robinson Crusoe Island

Treasure hunters claim to have discovered a legendary trove of Incan treasure, plundered by the Spanish conquistadors. The treasure trove is located on Juan Fernández Island, a few hundred miles off the coast of Chile. According to The Guardian:

"...they have found an estimated 600 barrels of gold coins and Incan jewels on the remote Pacific island."

"The biggest treasure in history has been located," said Fernando Uribe-Etxeverria, the director-lawyer for Wagner, the Chilean company leading the search. Mr Uribe-Etxeverria estimated the value of the buried treasure at $10 billion.

The treasure reportedly contains papal rings, the key to the Wall of Sorrow ("muro de los lamentos"), the necklace of the Queen of Atahualpa, an invaluable stone known as the Rose of the Winds ("Rosa de los Vientos"), and unknown Incan treasures.

The South Eastern Pacific Island was made famous by Daniel Defoe's 1719 classic Robinson Crusoe.

The Juan Fernandez Archipelago:
Juan Fernandez was looking for a better route from Callao, Peru to Valparaiso, Chile. The prevailing winds along the coast blow to the North. So, as the ships sailed to the south along the coast, they sailed into the strong South wind, which blew out their candles, making navigation impossible.

Juan Fernandez figured out that, by sailing west for 400 miles, he could escape the obstinate South winds. On one such voyage, as he sailed South, he discovered two islands on the 22nd of November, 1574. Fernandez christened the islands Santa Clara and Santa Cecilia (later Mas a Tierra, and much later Robinson Crusoe Island.)

The Juan Fernandez archipelago is actually comprised of three islands, that were named Mas a Tierra("Closer to Land"), Mas Afuera ("Farther from Land"), and Isla Santa Clara.

The archipelgo became a favorite haunt of pirates of the South Seas. It was situated in an ideal location for pirates on arduous voyages across the South Pacific. They would stop to rest and replenish on Mas a Tierra after sailing through the Straits of Magellan, or rounding the Cape.

Alexander Selkirk:
Daniel Defoe's classic book Robinson Crusoe was inspired by the real life story of Alexander Selkirk. In November of 1704, Selkirk argued with his captain and ultimately told the captain of the ship in which he was sailing, "Cinque Ports", that the vessel wasn't seaworthy and demanded to be put ashore on Mas a Tierra. He was left with only a gun, a knife, a hatchet, navigation books, a Bible and three days' rations. As the ship was leaving, he changed his mind, but they ignored his pleas and sailed without him. Not long after this, the Cinque Ports sank, killing everyone on board save 8 people who were captured and taken prisoner by the Spanish. Selkirk was marooned on the island for four years and four months, before being rescued. According to news.scotsman.com:

"...on 1 February 1709, a vessel called the Duke, captained by Woodes Rogers, visited the island and discovered Selkirk clothed in skins and unable to speak English.

In Rogers' later account of Selkirk's adventures he wrote: "A man cloth'd in goat-skins, who look'd wilder than the first owners of them [who] had so much forgot his language for want of use, that we could scarce understand him, for he seem'd to speak his words by halves." (Extended quototation here.)

Captain Woodes Rogers' "A Cruzing Voyage Round the World" was published in London in 1712, with an account of Alexander Selkirk's ordeal. William Dampier was present on the ship that dropped off Selkirk(alternately known as Selcraig) in 1704 and on the ship that picked him up in 1709. So, he probably intentionally stopped back to check up on Alexander on his third and final circumnavigation of the globe, and Selkirk probably owes Dampier his sanity, if not his life.

Recently, by coincidence, a Japanse explorer named Daisuke Takahashi claims to have discovered the hut Selkirk lived in 300 years ago.

All of this, however, has little to do with the treasure. The history of the island just makes a nice, romantic backdrop for the story of the treasure that would be buried, on the same island, 5-6 years later.

Treasure Buried on Mas a Tierra(Robinson Crusoe Island)?:
Mas a Tierra was an ideal island for pirates raiding the Spanish on the coasts of Chile and Peru. When they sailed around the cape, or through the Straights of Magellan, the pirates would always head to Mas a Tierra and replenish their ships from the island's fresh water, wild goats, and wild chickens.

Many believe that, about 300 years ago, one or more treasures were buried on the island. It's hard to say for certain, and every person seems to carry a slightly different story about who buried what when and where, and whether it's still there. So, with that in mind, here are some of the stories that I've come across so far.

General Captain Don Juan Esteban Ubilla y Echeverria was the general of the Spanish fleet stationed at Vera Cruz, Mexico. The Spanish treasure fleets had reached their zenith between 1590 and 1600. By the 18th century, the Spanish treasure fleets were in dire straits. Spain's monopoly on trade with the West Indies was collapsing, and Spain was in a dire financial crisis.

After the War of Spanish Succession, the Bourbon Dynasty was left in control of Spain. The Spanish General Juan Ubilla and Echeverria decided to betray the Bourbon Dynasty. Ubilla reportedly took 80 wooden barrels of gold, jewels and precious stones to Mas a Tierra island in 1714 or 1715, and buried it. Predictably, there are various stories circulating as to where the treasure came from. It was either amassed over centuries by pirates or misappropriated from the Spanish crown. The treasure is alternately described as Incan or Aztec gold.

According to Breila Cruising Adventures:

"Allegedly, Ubilla absconded with over 800 bags of gold coins, gems, jewellery, gold and silver and a 2 foot high solid gold rose from the Spanish throne. This loot was part of a shipment that was to be sent from the new world to Spain."

The Santiago Times reports:

"The treasure originated in the Incan Empire and was stolen during the Spanish conquest of Peru in the 16th and 17th centuries. When the treasure was en route to Spain around 1715, the navigator in charge of the ship landed on Robinson Crusoe Island and buried his cargo."

Maria Eugenia Beéche Brum claims:

"In 1715 a Spanish captain defected to Britain and ran off with a ship full of Aztec gold to Juan Fernandez Island and buried it there."

Maura Brescia claims that only pirates buried treasure on the island.

"...yes there are concrete indications that these treasures were hidden on Robinson Crusoe Island", since in the binnacle and the documentation of that trip, written by the cronista Richard Walter, stated that gold coffers, silver and jewels were buried.

Brescia's book "Selkirk Robinson:The Myth" discusses the subject of the treasures of the island in one of its chapters.
According to Brescia, they hid them because they thought they would return, but when they arrived at England in 1744, for various reasons ,they decided not to do return.

But long before that treasure was hidden, in 1686, a group of pirates, from Turtle Island in the Caribbean, commanded by Edward Davis, arrived at the coasts of Robinson Crusoe and they distributed the treasure that have accumulated over a long trip.

More than 640 crew they would have participated in this distribution of great amounts of gold and jewels. And the division of the wealth was great, so that every last sailor got more than 5 thousand pesos Castilian, at the time.

This distribution also is important, since many of the crew hid their properties in the island, because they returned to her in innumerable occasions. Although it's not certain how much people buried, if anything.

With respect to the search that Bernard Keiser makes from 1998, the historian maintains that he neither does not look for documented treasures before, but third, that would correspond to the one of a galleon of Manila, that is even possible that not even it is buried.

Brescia maintains this theory arguing that there is no a concrete text where it is indicated that the sailor of the Spanish crown, Juan Esteban Ubilla and Echeverria buried his treasures in the island. "Only in the archives of Indians one says that it traveled with them until Robinson Crusoe" but the final destiny is not sure argues.

This site expounds on the various legends of what treaure may be there.

Unfortunately, Captain General Don Juan Esteban Ubilla y Echeverria died with his crew in the spectacular and disastrous Plate Fleet of 1715, when their treasure laden Spanish galleons were dashed against the Florida reefs in the morning of July 31st, 1715. The flotilla carried gems, gold, silver and porcelain from China, hence the name "Plate Fleet".

Before his miserable death at the hands of a brutal hurricane, however, Ubilla apparently initiated secret communications with the English, revealing the location of the buried treasure. Apparently, the communication was eventually entrusted to English pirate British Admiral Lord George Anson, and he was made aware of the location of the treasure. The treasure is referred to by various names including the "Treasure of Vera Cruz" and "Lord Anson's Treasure".

Lord Anson's Treasure:
Blupete reports:

One would be hard pressed to find a man of the royal British navy who was more decorated and honoured than George Anson(1697-1762). As a 15 year old he entered the navy, at 21 an officer and by 27 he was the captain of his own naval ship. After a spectacular round the world trip, lasting three years and nine months, Anson was made a rear-admiral, in 1744.

On June 20, 1743, Anson capture the Manila treasure galleon Nuestra Señora de Covadonga, which he encountered off Cape Espiritu Santo, making him rich for the rest of his life. When George Anson returned to Spithead, England on June 15, 1744, he paraded through the streets of London with 32 wagons filled with treasure that he liberated from the Spanish during his successful circumnavigation of the globe. In 1744, Anson was made a junior Lord of the Admiralty.

In 1761, British Admiral Lord George Anson dispatched the English sailor Cornelius Webb to recover the treasure that Ubilla buried on Mas a Tierra. According to a poor translation of The Juan Fernandez Commune, Webb arrived in Mas a Tierra in 1761 and recovered Ubilla's treasure, and set sail, however a storm split the mast of the Unicorn. Webb returned to Robinson Crusoe Island, reburied the treasure, and sailed to Valparaiso, Chile to repair his ships and then complete his mission. However, at this point, he learned the the crew planned to mutiny upon their return to Mas a Tierra, to seize the treasure for themselves. So, Webb promptly sailed from Valparaiso, and torched his ship, killing all hands at sea, and rowing himself back to Valparaiso. He was the sole survivor of the journey.

At this point, captain Cornelius Webb sent messages back to Lord George Anson, his sponsor back in England, explaining what had happened, and detailing the location of the buried treasure in code. Unfortunately, Anson died suddenly on June 6, 1762, 5 months before the arrival of Webb's envoy. These messages were presumed lost to antiquity. Then, miracuously, after 190 years, the documents resurfaced in Northern England. In 1950, a stranger contacted Chilean physician Luis Cousiño, a Crusoe Island resident, and sent him the documents.

One of the two letters that Webb had sent to Anson indicated that a third message was buried in Chile. After searching for a while, Luis Cousiño managed to find the third treasure map in the bath(beach?) of Horcón, (45 kilometers North of) Valparaiso, Chile.

In 1950, Chilean physician Luis Cousiño and the Italian Count Di Giorgio searched for the treasure on Crusoe Island, in the town of San Juan Baptist, on Powder Street, but were unsuccessful.

Changes to the Archipelago:
In 1935, the entire archipelago was set aside as a national park. In 1966, Chilean president Eduardo Frei Montalva renamed the two main islands to increase tourism. Mas a Tierra was renamed Robinson Crusoe and Mas Afuera was renamed Alejandro Selkirk, even though Selkirk never set foot on the island.

Map of Robinson Crusoe Island (formerly Mas a Tierra). Map of Isla Alejandro Selkirk (formerly Mas Afuera).

Bernard Keiser:
Bernard Keiser(or, alternately, Bernard Kaiser), of Jacksonville, Florida, and the owner of Architex International, a textile factory in Chicago, first saw the story on television. The show he watched was either the "Travel Channel" or the Search for Inca Gold, a documentary that aired on A&E network in November 1998. He decided to travel to the island and begin to search for the treasure in earnest. He arrived on Friday the 13th of November, 1998.

He promptly formed a partnership with Maria Eugenia Beéche. (Maria Eugenia Beéche Brum had married Luis Cousiño's son, and had possession of the treasure maps). Bernard Keiser has been searching with partner Maria Eugenia Beéche Brum for the treasure on the island, on and off, since November of 1998, using sensitive electromagnetic instruments and ground-penetrating radar equipment. Keiser has apparently focused his search in the Puerto Ingles (English Port) area of Robinson Crusoe Island.

The islands were formed by volcanoes and are composed primarily of volcanic rock. Keiser observed that his digs higher up quickly hit rock, so he re-focused his search in a 1.5 hectacre area down near the beach. He brought in many machines from the United States to assist with the search and excavation. In 2001, he estimated that he was spending about four million Chilean Pesos a day (about 7 U.S. Dollars) or a hundred million Chilean pesos a month (about $200 U.S. Dollars) when they were searching and excavating on the island. OK, I was fibbing on the exchange rate. It really converts to about $7,500.00 a day, or $190,000.00 a month. And, he claims he was on location searching for the treasure about six months a year.

The Red Scorpion:
Archeologist Simon Haberle indicates he visited Robinson Crusoe Island at some unspecified time and saw a group of people excavating one particular spot which looked like a red scorpion. The mound they were excavating was a volcanic feature that resembled a scorpion, and apparently one of the treasure maps in Bernard Keiser's posession indicates that the treasure is buried at the "place of the scorpion". The place that he has been recently excavating is called the "Boca del Escorpión" (Mouth of the Scorpion). "Boca del Escorpión" is located from about 200 meters of the cave of Alexander Selkirk.

Keiser has worked out agreements with Conaf, Conama, and the Council of Monuments. His work is further encumbered as it is located in the UNESCO Reserve of the Biósfera. Keiser's agreement is that he can keep 25% of the treasure and the state gets 75%, and the state will share something with the islanders.

According to the terms of his permits, Keiser's work must be made with only primitive instruments such as hand shovels, brushes, and spatulas. He asked permission to use light machinery, but was denied. Keiser recently managed to obtain a 5 year extension to continue his search.

Wagner Security and Transportation:
Civil Engineer Manuel Salinas graduated from Cologne University in Germany and then studied salt mines for ten years, and used his observations to create a robot called TR (for Tracer of Routes) with an "antiplasma reactor". Apparently, he may way collaborated with an an ex- civil employee of the Police of Investigations. He wanted to develop the robot further, and use it in the field, but needed funding. So he sought out a business partner for financial backing.

After searching for funding for 12 years, he met with Wagner Security and their manager, Gabriel Vargas, who agreed to back Salinas. Initially, they agreed to invest one hundred million Chilean Pesos (roughly 12 U.S. Dollars) and planned to create a machine to seach for land mines. (OK. That was a joke. A hundred milllion Chilean Pesos is roughly equal to $186,000.00.)

Salinas used the funds to refine his designs in the lab, building prototypes of the "antiplasma reactors", before completing construction, to his satisfaction, on December 31st of 2004, and christened the lastest rover the "TX Araña" ("TX Spider"). He then continued to tinker in the lab from January through March of 2005.

The Robot:
Although officially named "TX Araña" ("TX Spider"), the robot is frequently referred to as "Arturito". The reason for this apparently goes back to R2-D2 from Star Wars. R2-D2 sounded like "Arturito"("Little Arthur"), so "Arturito" became a generic name for robots.

In La Cuarta Salinas indicates that:

"The robot is the project more baratieri of a total of seven futurist inventions. The complete package is called 'Arcángel File'."

Salinas and his partner Gabriel Vargas are currently trying to sell it to a world power.

Salinas claims that the robot can detect metals and petroleum several meters under the earth. It has been described as "a mini robot that can scan 50 metres deep into the earth." Details on exactly how the rover functions are somewhat sketchy, hindered by translation, among other things.

The Santiago Times reports:

"The team used new robot technology that is able to scan the atomic composition of materials such as water, metals and petroleum buried up to 50 meters underground. Because the robot uses sonar to scan the ground, no digging has actually been done yet..."

The latest claims seem to be that it is beaming gamma rays into the soil.
According to OhMyNews:

European scientists have claimed that Arturito is 40 years ahead of its time since it works by scanning using atomic gamma rays.

"It scans horizontally and if the signals match the data stored in its computer, it will let us know immediately. Until now I have built six models," added Salinas.

According to the New Scientist, it is "using ground-penetrating radar. GPR, or georadar, locates subsurface objects or structures by emitting microwave-frequency electromagnetic radiation and measuring the reflected signal, which is then represented as a two or three dimensional image."

Salinas claims that the rover receives the signals that bounce back with a one square meter metallic box. The software in the computer then reportedly compares the data with the targeted biochemical and atomic patterns previously loaded.

They claim to able to program the little rover to search for specific elements. AltaVista Babelfish provides this broken, cryptic translation of a story in La Cuarta:

"To this robot atom waves are inserted to him to detect what looks for. Here the atomic gold components and silver were inserted to him and determined in three occasions a point with great amount of presence of which it looked for, we are 100 by one hundred insurances that we located the treasure".

Wagner director-attorney Fernando Uribe Echeverria described Arturito as "a metal-detecting robot that also can identify chemical compositions."

The rover was put to its first "real world" test(outside of the lab), when it was enlisted in the search for the missing body of industralist Francisco Yuraszeck. Arturito promptly found the body of industralist Francisco Yuraszeck under a cement slab in the garden of the house of his ex-partner, Francisco Leyton, in Talcarehue.

In the case of Yuraszeck, an official confirmed the participation of Arturito in finding the victim, affirming that 'it served to corroborate the site that already we had located'. After his success in corroborating the location of Yuraszeck's body, the robot was put to work searching for a cache of weapons in July of 2005. Arturito promptly discovered a weapons cache 5 meters below the Nazi Paul Schaefer's Dignity Colony ("Colonia Dignidad", also known as "Villa Baviera".

In an interview with Mouse on 12th of September, 2005, they claimed that Arturito had been in Penaflor recently, counting salt mines in the Central Ebro Basin, a region of ecogolical concern in Spain. They also indicated they'll be taking Arturito to Angola to look for land mines in the future. Interestingly, however, they made no mention of searching for the treasure on Robinson Crusoe Island.

Legendary Treasure is Located:
Then, just ten days after the interview with Mouse, they held a press conference at 10:00 on Friday September 23rd and announced that they had successfully located the legendary treasure horde on Robinson Crusoe Island.

The team of investigators from Wagner first arrived on Robinson Crusoe Island on Wednesday September 21st. They began their exploration in the Cumberland Bay section of the island. They criss-crossed the area meticulously, but found nothing. Then, they moved to the English Port sector, where Keiser, aided by the treasure maps, had focused his search. Once again, the robot returned negative results. However, when they moved to the third location, their luck changed. Eight kilometers from the town San Juan Bautista, high up in Cerro Tres Puntas (Three Peaks Hill), "the robot responded positively" The robot passed through the Cerro Tres Puntas sector three times, and it always marked the same point, indicating the presence of gold and precious stones.

The Wagner company assured that they have found not one, but three treasures on Robinson Crusoe island. One of 800 tons and two of between 30 and 50 tons each. So far, they have said that one treasure is located at Cerro Tres Puntas, but not where the other two treasures are located.

Gabriel Vargas, the head of the expedition, swears that they weren't looking for the treasure, but were looking only for volcanic rocks.

Audio of Fernando Uribe-Etxeverría, lawyer-director of "Wagner Technologies" responds to the storm of controversy that has been generated by announcing they have found the treasure. (Audio in Spanish - no transcript available. If anyone knows what he's saying, please post.)

Continue reading "Legendary Lost Incan Treasure Located on Robinson Crusoe Island"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 26, 2005 at 12:48 PM : Comments (7) | Permalink

September 24, 2005

Never Flip Off A Stranger

Never flip off a stranger. You don't know what they'll do. This is something I learned a long time ago. Some people have very little to lose in this life, and are willing to do anything to preserve their fragile pride. Including murder.

The last time I flipped off a stranger was 15 years ago in Dallas Texas on Lower Greenville when someone sped up to try to hit me as I walked across the road. I flipped him off, he locked up the breaks, jumped out, and confronted me with a pistol in his hand. That was the last time I ever flipped off a stranger.

Now, another man has probably learned the same lesson. He flipped off a woman on the freeway, and she promptly shot off his middle finger with a .357 as she was driving down the freeway. Nice shot. Oh, and by the way, she got away. So, keep that in mind next time a stranger pisses you off in traffic.

An armed society is a polite society. ;)

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 24, 2005 at 2:37 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Hurricane Rita Makes Landfall - Downgraded to Cat 1

Hurricane Rita made landfall this morning on the mosquito infested, swampy Texas-Louisiana border packing 120 mph winds and a 15 foot storm surge. Lake Charles is flooding it's banks.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 24, 2005 at 10:05 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 23, 2005

Bad Idea Jeans

As a general rule, it's a bad idea to rob people at gun point in New York City. It's a supremely bad idea to intentionally rob the mafia at gunpoint, especially the heads of New York's organized crime families in their favorite hangouts.

The Uvas set out more than 12 years ago to solve their financial difficulties in a most unusual fashion: walking into mob social clubs with an Uzi submachine gun and separating the Mafiosi within from their ill-gotten gains.

The crime spree was predictably short-lived. They were killed in 1992 in one of the more public executions in the recent history of organized crime in New York. On Christmas Eve, in broad daylight on a busy Queens thoroughfare, they were each shot several times in the head as they sat in a car at a traffic light.

This reads like the script for one of Saturday Night Live's Bad Idea Jeans commercials.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 23, 2005 at 1:59 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Laissez Les Bon Ton Roulette

For the second time this month, water is flowing through breaches in the levee system surrounding New Orleans. It occurs to me that the fair city of New Orleans still hasn't grasped their predicament. Because they are below sea level, they need to be very sure that their levees don't break. As in, extremely sure. And they need to have a backup plan in place in the event they do break. The backup plan should be something like this:

Why have they not figured this out? The cost would be negligible when compared to the damage done by submerging the entire city twice in the same month. Am I the only one smart enough to think of this? What's going on here? The skies should be swarming with Chinooks. Where are they? If the answer is they're in Afghanistan or Iraq, then lets get them back here, at least through November.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 23, 2005 at 12:49 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Hurricane Rita Downgraded to Category 3

Hurricane Rita has been downgraded to a Category 3, with sustained winds of 125 mph.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 23, 2005 at 12:27 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

New Orleans Levee Breached by Hurricane Rita

A key levee has been breached in multiple places in New Orleans. Panicked citizens flee as the New Orleans descends into chaos with police looting the city and shaking down hapless hurricane victims.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 23, 2005 at 9:30 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 22, 2005

NOPD Cops Gone Wild - Part II

More reports of NOPD uniformed police officers looting New Orleans in broad daylight.

Previous Post: NOPD Cops Gone Wild

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 22, 2005 at 10:22 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Hurricane Rita Downgraded to Category 4

Hurricane Rita has been downgraded to a Category 4 hurricane as it heads toward landfall in Galveston, Texas, just South East of Houston. Wouldn't it be ironic if the cowardly New Orleans police that cut and ran when Katrina hit are now faced with Hurricane Rita? Although, it may give the NOPD a chance to get in some out-of-state looting.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 22, 2005 at 4:23 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

JetBlue Flight 292 Aircraft Accident

JetBlue Flight 292 made a spectacular landing at LAX today. Somehow, the nose gear got stuck sideways on the Airbus A320, so they flew around for 3 hours, dumping fuel in the Pacific before landing on LAX runway 25, the longest runway at LAX. Pilot and crew did an excellent job of setting the nose down gently and preventing a potential catastrophe. Video of the emergency landing at Political Teen.

Keep in mind that JetBlue has Live TV with CNN coverage. So these poor people were watching what we were watching before they landed. Ouch.

This picture looks eerily familiar.

Update: Correction - Apparently, the Airbus A320 does not have the capability to dump fuel, hence the 3 hours spent circling above LAX.

Update 2: Apparently the Airbus has a history of nosegear problems.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 22, 2005 at 3:05 AM : Comments (3) | Permalink

September 21, 2005

Disaster Preparedness For Victims

To me, this is really shocking. I mean, it's one thing for the politically correct and the UN and the pseudointellectuals to discreetly push their campaign of disarmament. But, to publish an "Emergency Preparedness List" and deliberatley omit the lynchpin that will guarantee your survival is reprehensible. I'm starting a list of "Emergency Preparendess Lists" here that deliberately neglect to include "a firearm and ammunition" from their lists of items needed in an emergency. How despicable that these miscreants at the WSJ and the LAFD will stoop so low as to advance their own political agenda at the expense of the lives of innocent citizens. It's utterly revolting.

Update: The CDC Hurricane Readiness mentions you should get your will in order, but doesn't bother to recommend you obtain a firearm. FEMA lists everything you'll need from a fire extinguisher and cash down to food and matches. No mention of a firearm. The Department of Homeland Security suggests a whistle, dust mask, duct tape and plastic sheeting, compass and signal flare. No firearms though. The Red Cross suggests you have a tent, needle, thread, whistle, and maps, but no firearms. NOAA recommends you have can openener, cooking utensils, and fuel, but no firearms.

Update 2: The tree-hugging idiot from the WSJ contacted me and said I owed him an apology, as his article only reviewed electronics, not all items required for a disaster. I told him I would apologize if he could find a sentence in their paper in the last hundred years supporting the right to bear arms. Needles to say, he couldn't.

If anyone finds more, please post them in the comments section.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 21, 2005 at 4:55 PM : Comments (3) | Permalink

WSJ - We dont' care if you die

The Wall Street Journal is toeing the politically correct line, recommending emergency preparedness without a firearm. They don't care if you die. It's a price they're willing to pay. As they say at the end of the article:

"Then, pray you don't have to use any of these things."

Well, right. Pray you don't need to protect your wife and children from some horde of thugs, raping and pillaging like post-Katrina New Orleans. A gun is one of those things that, if you need it once and don't have it, you won't need it again. ;)

Hat Tip: Instapundit - Emergency preparedness for defenseless victims.

Update: Apparently, there's a lot of politically correct disaster preparedness lists out there.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 21, 2005 at 4:31 PM : Comments (4) | Permalink

Instapundit Stumbles

Glenn Reynolds, at Instapundit, has inadvertently stumbled, tripped up by the politically-correct mind-control police. He's created multiple posts on Disaster Preparedness, listing everything needed in the aftermath of a disaster, including hammer, duct tape, generators, cash, flashlights, etc. But there's a glaring omission. Care to guess what it is? That's right. A firearm. Doh! It isn't on the LAFD list. If you think it's an oversight by the LAFD, you're wrong. They know you need it. Any honest list of Disaster Preparedness would include a firearm and bullets in the top ten items. If it doesn't, then the list isn't worth reading any further.

When it's "every man for himself", and the police have fled the city or the police are looting the city, do you want to be unarmed? Would you want to face the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina unarmed, with gangs of armed hooligans going door-to-door?

In the days leading up to Y2K, my tree-hugger neighbors were stockpiling water, food, batteries, flashlights, etc. They noticed that I was only loading up on guns and ammo.

"Aren't you going to get any food?" They asked.

"Nope. Don't need to." I replied.

"What will you do for food?" They asked.

"If I get hungry, I'm going to take yours." I replied.

They knew I wasn't joking, and realized the inadequacy of their preparations. There's no point in stockpiling anything if you can't defend it. That's rule number one in Emergency Preparedness. And Glenn should know better.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 21, 2005 at 10:44 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Stuck On Stupid

The slobbering hordes of talking-head demagogues have finally met their match. In their persistent clamoring to promulgate their inane mindless world view, they have finally met their match in Lt. Gen. Russel Honore. General Honore attempts to communicate a message regarding Hurricane Rita through the channel of the public news media. Instead, the channel gets confused, thinking that they are the message. In their incessant attempts to foment the public into a stampede of visceral fear, the media attempts to castigate the general for the previous failure to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina. The general will have none of it, lashing out at the blathering idiots.

"You are stuck on stupid. I'm not going to answer that question."


"Let's get a little trust here, because you're starting to act like this is your problem. You are carrying the message, okay?"

Thank God someone finally has the moxy to put these mindless reporters in their places. Check out the audio with the transcript at Radio Blogger for the full effect. Hat Tip: Instapundit, The Political Teen, and Radio Blogger.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 21, 2005 at 6:28 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 20, 2005


This is classic. Some guy started an online poker website called pokerfacebook.com. With no money for advertising, he paid bums to tape a sign for pokerfacebook.com to the bottom of their own sign, and "bumvertising" was born. This is possibly the most inspired and craven exploitation the homeless since Bum Fights.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 20, 2005 at 10:04 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

The Meaning of Life

This is a cool post about the meaning of life. And, it isn't a joke. It's serious. I'm posting it because it espouses some basic philosophy that it took me most of my life to figure out on my own.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 20, 2005 at 9:04 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

Oregon Trail

I guess I'm the only one on Earth that has never played Oregon Trail. Update: Requires Internet Explorer.

I think you can play Oregon Trail here also.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 20, 2005 at 3:27 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

NOPD Cops Gone Wild

The New Orleans Police Department, widely panned as inept, corrupt, and brutal, have lived up to their expectations, yet again. Here's a video of New Orleans' finest looting a store in broad daylight in uniform, no less. Keep in mind that this is the same disaster where uniformed soldiers were going door to door and disarming innocent citizens. So, who's going to protect us from the police once we turn our guns in? Anyone?

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 20, 2005 at 10:46 AM : Comments (3) | Permalink

September 19, 2005

Photos from Burning Man 2005 - Psyche

Someone has posted their photos from Burning Man 2005 - Psyche.


Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 19, 2005 at 4:46 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Looters Prefer Heineken

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 19, 2005 at 4:29 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

More Bush Shenanigans

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 19, 2005 at 4:12 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Flying Spaghetti Monsterism

I don't know how I missed this. Apparently, Flying Spaghettit Monsterism (FSM) has been around since July. What's FSM you ask? FSM is an alternate theory to Evolution and Intelligent Design. Followers of FSM (Pastafarians) believe that "the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster" and that "It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel." In the beginning, the Flying Spaghetti Monster created a mountain, some trees, and a midget. The Uncyclopedia entry on FSM says it all.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 19, 2005 at 3:25 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 18, 2005

Kenosha Pass

I'm headed up to Kenosha Pass to shoot the Aspens. Will probably stop and shoot the North Fork of the South Platte River along the way.

I know I'll pass an army of tree huggers on the way there. Standing on the banks of the South Platte River upstream of Cheeseman Reservoir. Upstream of the tortured, talus slopes of Cheeseman Canyon. Legions of fisherpersons, matching the hatch, casting dry flies and late summer nymphs before invasive species of Rainbow Trout infected with whirling disease in Gold Medal Streams.

For all of you tree huggers out there, I thought I'd share a little secret with you. The headwaters of the North Fork of the South Platte River are a contaminated radioactive wasteland. Bet you didn't know that, did you? Don't take my word for it. Drive up there yourself and check it out. ;)

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 18, 2005 at 1:09 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Hurricane Katrina and the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878

They said it couldn't happen here. Not in America. They would never come for our guns. Well guess what. It happened. The U.S. Army went door-to-door, illegally confiscating firearms.

But it did happen. It happened in New Orleans.

"No one will be able to be armed. We are going to take all the weapons." - Deputy Police Chief Warren Riley

Here's a video of the outrageous violations of our constitutional rights.

What was illegal about it? Well, it's hard to know where to start. First of all, the U.S. Army should not be used to police the United States. This idea was behind the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.

These were U.S. citizens, guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms by the 2nd amendment to the constiution. So what gave the U.S. Army the the right to occupy Louisiana? How did they inherit the right to confiscate the firearms?

I'm not clear that martial law was declared, as the Louisiana Constitution does not appear to recognize martial law. What gave them the right to confiscate firearms and how did they circumvent the posse comitatus?

I'm not saying New Orleans wasn't in a bad predicament, it was. Like many people, I was disappointed by the slow response at all levels, including the city, parish, state, and federal.

However, now that it's all settled, I think it's reasonable to ask if the law was violated. Was martial law declard? What are our safeguards against future violations of the posse comitatus? Against future disarmament campaigns?

Update: Michelle Malkin is covering this.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 18, 2005 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

September 17, 2005

Hurricane Katrina PowerPoint Presentation

I received this PowerPoint Presentation via email today. Someone did a good job of conveying the devastation caused by Katrina. These are not my photographs, and I have no idea who made the presentation. Check it out when you get a chance by clicking here.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 17, 2005 at 7:25 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

North Fork and Middle Fork of Swan River

Yesterday evening, I rode from Park County Road 58, across Webster Pass, up Radical Jeep Hill, down the North Fork of the Swan River, and returned up the Middle Fork of the Swan River. The entire trip was about 48 miles.

I captured the GPS tracks from my Garmin Summit eTrex GPS unit using a serial cable and the ExpertGPS software application. I saved my tracks as a .GPX file and uploaded it to GPS Visualizer and overlayed my route on top of the USGS topo maps. This is nothing new, as I've described this process previously, in painful detail.

What's new, however, is that some astute reader of my miserable website clued me into the Magnalox website. This website displays your route with a little animated movie. So, I uploaded my GPS tracks from last night and you can view them here.

This website is pretty cool. It allows you to post comments, stories, photographs, etc. Also, you can look at other GPS routes, rate them, etc. So, it has a lot of promise. But, it does need some work. It was obviously coded by a techie. The user interface is abysmal. It's hard to figure out when to save, and site navigation is excruciating. The elevation is in meters and speed is in km/hr, which sucks. And you can't control the transparency on the USGS topo maps, so the map overlay is pretty horrendous. However, I like the idea. It's pretty clever, IMHO.

Update: After studying the velocity graph of the magnalog, I've concluded that I was running at about 30 km/hr, or 18 mph when I lost control of the ATV and dove off. 18 doesn't sound too fast, but when you're flying through the air, trust me. It feels very fast.

Update 2: After some feedback from the developer of the Magnalox website in Germany, I downloaded the USGS topo map background, modified it in Photoshop Elements and uploaded it. It's more aesthetically appealing now, IMHO. I asked him to support feet, mph, etc., and he said it would be a lot of work, but he understands there is a desire for this funcitonality. So, we'll see what happens.

Update 3: After playing with my Magnalog on the Magnalox website a little bit, I now see that you can click on the elevation or the speed chart and it moves the trip cursor to the corresponding point on the topo map. So, this is pretty slick. You can easily find the highest and lowest points on the trail.

Update 4: Magnalox website has been updated to show feet and mph, so it's more USA friendly now. Thanks, Volker!

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 17, 2005 at 1:22 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

September 16, 2005

Webster Pass/Glacier Peak

FYI, I'm taking my ATV over Webster Pass tonight. May try to hit the North Fork of the Swan River if time permits. If I don't post an update by midnight MDT tonight that I've returned, please send help. :)

Update: I made it back. 11:10 p.m. MDT. That was a long ride. 25 miles in. 25 miles out. I'm wiped out.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 16, 2005 at 4:33 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

September 15, 2005

Disappointed by President Bush

Someone forwarded me the following email. Author is unknown.

I am really disappinted in President Bush.

First and foremost he failed to stop the hurricane Katrina before it hit the Gulf Coast. Even worse, he should have stopped it before it first hit Southern Florida. Since he failed to take this first action, one would have expected that he should have, as a second thought, moved the entire states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana to central Texas before Katrina came ashore.

Next, he failed to keep the levees in New Orleans from breaking. You would think that our Commander in Chief would have sent Rumsfeld, or at least someone in authority, to put his or her finger in the dike. Here again, President Bush should have known that the levees wouldn't hold.

Remember, he has the best intelligence organization in the world and they are never wrong.

If that wasn't bad enough, he failed to assemble the national Guard on a minutes notice. Aren't they, after all, the present day "Minutemen?"

I know that it took God 6 days to do His work but the leader of the free world should have been able to beat His time. (Actually it took 6 days after the hurricane to get things stabilized so maybe that's par for the course.)

Remember, he had experience when he responded to the tsunami victims. Didn't it take several weeks of continuing rescue operations to stabilize that area? With that training, he should have had everyone sitting in planes with their engines running at the end of the runways before the hurricane struck.

As a matter of fact he should keep them all at that level all the time because you can never tell when there might be an emergency.

Bush also showed his careless disregard for property damage by concentrating efforts in the flooded areas where people were trapped. By all rights he should have been primarily concerned about getting power back on to the casinos along the Gulf Coast. After all, what is more important, a few peoples lives or preserving the government's income from gambling sources?

What blows my mind is how President Bush could have reasonably expected people to take any responsibility for themselves. After all, with only a few days notice how could you expect that anyone would take the time to fill up a few jugs of water and stash a few cans of food just because a category 5 hurricane was headed their way? Besides, FEMA's suggestion of having 4 days of water and food was just a suggestion. It wasn't mandatory.

Bush also failed by expecting local officials to take on any responsibility. After all, isn't it the present Federal Government's responsibility to provide everyone with everything that our ancestors use to do for themselves?

Based on all of the above it is clear that President Bush and his administration are the only possible ones to blame. This calls for a full investigation by all of those who are totally blameless so that they may reap as much political gain from this tragedy as possible.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 15, 2005 at 1:45 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

Aerial photos of Gulfport and Biloxi

Murdoc Online has some post-Katrina aerial photos of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Really shows the devastation caused by this hurricane. Red State Rant has some shocking photos from Mississippi as well.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 15, 2005 at 1:03 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Dutch to Open Electronic Files on Children

Dr. Joseph Mengele

The Dutch have decided to create Orwellian electronic dossiers on every serf manufactured in the welfare state of the Netherlands. In a massive assault against privacy, the governmental organs will assimilate intricate electronic files of the most sensitive details of a person's life, from arcane, esoteric trivia to sensitive, titillating, and embarrassing health and criminal records.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, all citizens will be tracked from cradle to grave in a single database — including health, education, family and police records — the health ministry said Tuesday.

The Dutch are basically an unapologetic, socialist welfare state. Much of their laws today are focused around their abysmal failures of WWII to protect their own citizens from the maw of the Third Reich. Amsterdam is the city that Anne Frank called home.

Amsterdam, as a city, was utterly defenseless. Some people rode out to face down the Germans on bicycles, but this was obviously futile.

When the Germans occupied the Netherlands, they rounded up and deported 90% of the Jews, throwing in the Gypsies and homosexuals for good measure. Josef Mengele stood on the other end of the line as they unloaded the human cattle from box cars at the death camps. Standing between German Shepherds, he tireless culled identical twins from the ranks for his horrific, barbaric experiments.

Much of Dutch law today was formulated in response to these grotesque assaults against humanity. For instance, if a policeman stops you today in the Netherlands, they don't have the right to ask you to identify yourself. Their police can't go around saying "Papers Please". I always felt that this was an indication that they had learned their lesson in WWII, and had taken steps to prevent this from recurring.

60 years after the collapse of the Third Reich, however, it looks like they've lost focus on their commitment to protecting the identity of their serfs.

Update: Hmmm. Looks like things are worse than I thought. As of January 1, 2005, the Netherlands instituted Compulsory Idenfication requirements. Perhaps this was conincident with the EU?

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 15, 2005 at 4:17 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 14, 2005

Canned Squirrels

For those of you that have been emailing asking for my for my canned squirrel recipe, I'm sorry, but it's an old family recipe and I swore to my grandfather on his deathbed that I would keep the recipe a family secret. However, I have found some other people that are canning squirrels, so I would suggest you check with them. Stock up now before the Christmas rush.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 14, 2005 at 1:30 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 13, 2005

Cheat Commandos - Diaper Biscuits



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Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 13, 2005 at 6:27 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Bush family catches up on fishing

Former President George Bush, and his son, G.W., take a break from hurricane relief efforts to fish in the French Quarter of New Orleans, as looters strip Canal Street in the background. (OK. This is a joke. And a sick one at that. But, it made me laugh. And I bet a lot of people could use a laugh right about now.)

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 13, 2005 at 8:15 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 12, 2005

Understanding your new cajun guests and neighbors

Katrina has scattered cajuns like dandelion seeds in the wind. We even have some in our school district here in the mountains of Colorado. (Hope y'all brought some jackets. It snows here in September.) My neighbors even took in a family of five of them. We're pleased as punch to have them.

Some of you may be considering adopting a colony of Louisiana transplants yourself, but are unfamiliar with the peculiar species of people that populates Southern Louisiana. For the uninitiated, I present exceprts from RooMaN's salutation from an authentic Lousiania denizen.

Dear America,

I suppose we should introduce ourselves: We're South Louisiana.

First of all, we thank you. For your money, your water, your food, your prayers, your boats and buses and the men and women of your National Guards, fire departments, hospitals and everyone else who has come to our rescue.

We're a fiercely proud and independent people, and we don't cotton much to outside interference, but we're not ashamed to accept help when we need it. And right now, we need it.

Just don't get carried away. for instance, once we get around to fishing again, don't try to tell us what kind of lures work best in your waters.

We're not going to listen. We're stubbon that way.

You probably already know that we talk funny and listen to strange music and eat things you'd probably hire and exterminator to get rid out of your yard.

We dance even if there is no radio. We drink at funerals. We talk too much and laugh too loud and live too large.

Often we don't make sense. You may wonder why, for instance - if er could only carry one small bag of belongings with us on our journey to your state - why in God's name did we bring a pair of shrimp boots?

We can't explain that. It is what it is.

Read the RooMan's entire post here.

Godspeed, RooMaN. For RooMaN, or any other Southern Louisiana refugee feeling homesick, here's a dose of pre-Katrina images of Southern Louisiana.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 12, 2005 at 10:36 PM : Comments (4) | Permalink

New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina reveals a decimated Gulf Coast, from New Orleans to Pensacola, with the devastation extending inland for hundreds of miles. The city of New Orleans was pounded and flooded by Katrina, then sacked and pillages by deracinated mobs of miscegenated youth.

In 2004, I took time off and Tammy and her family were kind enough to put me up, allowing me to wander through the city taking pictures; trying to capture the essence of the city I'd lived in exactly 20 years before. So, in response to the shocking, visceral images the media crews are peddling - endless scenes of criminals wading down Canal Street carrying armloads of stolen tennis shoes and cameras - I present New Orleans as I remember it.

These photographs were taken in February and May of 2004 in the city of New Orleans, and in various swamps surrounding the city. These images were captured using a Konica Minolta Dimage Z1, in a 4:3 aspect ratio. All images were shot in natural light and have not been retouched or edited in any manner.

This slideshow is an 11 Meg self-playing executable named no.exe created using Imagematics StillMotion PE Plus. The soundtrack is In The Waiting Line by Zero 7 from the Garden State soundtrack. Click here to download the presentation. If you have an Apple, click here to download the Macromedia Flash version. Click here if you need help.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 12, 2005 at 9:24 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Burning Man Video

The San Franciso Chronicle has posted a video from Burning Man 2005. It helps convey some of the insanity that befell us hapless victims of the event this year. 'The Burn', as it is called by the veterans is a chance to live by an alternate ethos; to live under an alternate identity, for a brief period of time; staggering across the vast expanse of a windswept prehistoric lakebed, reminiscing with strangers, and dreaming of a more meaningful existence.

I like the first half of the video. They spent too much time focused on the zenith of the event, the burning of the man, but the first half of the video is priceless.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 12, 2005 at 8:11 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Professional landscape photography

Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer - and often the supreme disappointment. -Ansel Adams

I've been researching the work of some professional photographers that specialize in landscap photography. Often, I find their work to be both intimidating and inspiring.

Rocky Mountain Reflections Photography - Andy Cook

Scenic Wild Photography - Guy Tal

Ethan Meleg Nature Photography

The more you look around at things, the more you see. The more you photograph, the more you realize what can be photographed and what can't be photographed. -Eliot Porter

Learning Landscape Photography I - Guy Tal

Learning Landscape Photography II - Guy Tal

Nature Photography Tips - Ethan Meleg

Photo Class - Landscape Photography

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 12, 2005 at 2:22 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

September 11, 2005

Latest Jennifer slideshow

Here's the latest slideshow of my little curtain-climber, Jennifer. These images were captured using a Canon EOS-20D with a Canon 17-85mm telescopic zoom lens, a circular polarizing filter, and a 4 gig Sandisk CF memory stick. All images were shot in natural light and have not been retouched or edited in any manner. Alpine mountain wildflowers were shot in August on the Middle Fork of the Swan River in Summit County. I used a Bogen tripod with pistol grip and remote shutter release when I shot the Alpine flower images.

This slideshow is an 8 Meg self-playing executable named letgo.exe created using Imagematics StillMotion PE Plus. The soundtrack is Let Go by Frou Frou from the Garden State soundtrack. Click here to download the presentation. If you have an Apple, click here to download the Macromedia Flash version. Click here if you need help.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 11, 2005 at 10:08 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Moonlight Backcountry Drive Ends With Jeep Dangling From Cliff

This genius in Leadville, CO, went off roading alone, at night, on the continental divide after drinking and taking pain killers. Apparently, he passed out and when he “came to?, he was tumbling down the face of the divide in his Jeep. The Jeep came to a rest, suspended over a 200 foot drop, with the rear wheel snagged by a pine tree "the diameter of a coke can".

"If a fly came along and he landed hard, he probably would have knocked (the Jeep) down the mountain".

Classic. He’s lucky to be alive. I don’t have a photo from this accident yet, but the continental divide is a brutal and unforgiving stage. As demonstrated by the following photos:

Continue reading "Moonlight Backcountry Drive Ends With Jeep Dangling From Cliff"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 11, 2005 at 12:09 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 10, 2005

Burning Man images

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 10, 2005 at 3:06 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Second grade

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 10, 2005 at 2:17 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 8, 2005

Burning Man postcards

Postcards from Burning Man 2005. It's kind of funny because no money (cash) can change hands on the playa. So, there are no postcards for sale. But people print postcards and take them there to distribute as free gifts. Plus, the Black Rock City Post Office(BRCPO) has postcards and stamps, but you'll have to weather a withering, blistering assault, and possibly perform unspecified favors to get them.

Update: I found proof of the inscrutable, unscrupulous tactics of the Burning Rock City Post Office(BRCPO) here and here. Although, in all sincerity, I wasn't the least bit offended by the tergiversations of the pedantic, miscegenated, feral youth running the BRCPO. I actually found the syncophants at BRCPO and PedEx somewhat endearing.

Update: Here's the 20 page Survival Guide for Burning Man 2005 - Psyche. Three pages on dealing with the police alone.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 8, 2005 at 9:29 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

ATF and Police persecute and intimidate gun owners

The freaking power-nazis are at it again. Spying on U.S. citizens, denying them their constitutional rights. Harassing, persecuting, and intimidating citizens guilty of nothing more than exercising their constitutional right to bear arms. The media, of course, is conspicuously silent on this story, and any other stories of the same vein. Their silence betrays that the Main Stream Media(MSM) wants to disarm the country.

While people were waiting for the "instant background check" to complete, uniformed Virginia officers went to their homes and asked their wives and family members if they knew the home owner was purchasing a gun. They went to their neighbors houses and asked the same questions. If this doesn't scare you, it should.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 8, 2005 at 3:31 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The would is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." -- Calvin Coolidge

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 8, 2005 at 2:51 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

There is no I in TEAM

Click on photo to enlarge.

This is one of the funniest post cards I've ever seen. I didn't even realize it was a post card until I got home. Wish I'd had the presence of mind to send it to someone from the Black Rock City post office (89412).

It was made by someone at the camp, volunteering at the post office. She must have printed up a few and handed them out to unsuspecting tourists such as myself.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 8, 2005 at 1:24 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 7, 2005

Renting bicycles for Burning Man

If you go to Burning Man, it's imperative that you have a bicycle. The playa at Black Rock City is miles across, and your experience is necessarily reduced if you're not able to cover the flat expanse of dried baked lakebed silt at a good clip. What you need is an inexpensive bike with a headlight, large off-road bouncy tires, and a soft seat.

After searching for used bikes for sale and finding only bikes that needed "a little work", we stumbled onto this website for Black Rock Bicycles. Randy, the owner, is as cool as the other side of the pillow. He rents the bike for the duration of the event for $50. But the kicker is this...if the bike is stolen, or if you decide you want to keep it, you only owe another $50.

This is a big deal because, my bike was stolen this year. Some rotten criminal swiped it from that gnarled pile of bikes stacked ruthlessly in the desert at 2:00 and Esplanade. You know the one I'm talking about...right outside of Opulent Temple.

In any event, I was relieved to learn I only owed him $50. I was afraid it would be more like $500. Go to Randy's Black Rock Bicycles web site and you'll be sure to have a good burn.


Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 7, 2005 at 10:35 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 6, 2005

Defending Price Gouging on Mississippi coast

My brother lives in Pensacola, Florida and has been working in Biloxi, Mississippi. When I spoke to him tonight, he assured me that there is essentially no gasoline available south of Jackson, Mississippi.

What is the reason for the gasoline shortage on the coast?
A) A terrible hurricane destroyed the coast.
B) Gasoline companies are not reacting quickly enough.
C) Refineries on the coast were impacted by the storm.
D) It is illegal to charge what the gasoline is worth.

Although A, B, and C are all problems that affected the availability of gasoline in the huge area devestated by the hurricane, the correct answer is D. The quickest way to solve the problems caused by the hurricane is to allow the free market to set the prices of water, ice, and gasoline.

Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, said:

Every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it... By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for society that it was no part of his intention. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.

So, the theory of capitalism is that people act in their own self interest to make a profit, and inadvertently help society in the process. Governmental intervention in markets with arbitrary price controls frequently does more harm than good. Arresting people for raising gas prices, in this case, may not be the best solution.

Consider that the current situation is clearly chaotic, and no gas is available. Cars are running out of gas on the side of the road. Gas stations that have gas and electricity to pump it are patrolled by police as customers wait in line for six hours, pushing their cars toward the pumps. There is essentially no gasoline for sale on the coast.

Clearly, gasoline is worth more then $2.50 a gallon on the coast of Mississippi. I would guess that people would be willing to pay $5-$10 a gallon. That would be close to the true value of gasoline on the coast. If we let people charge the true value of the gas, then the "invisible hand" would make attack the supply and demand side of the gasoline shortage simultaneously, and then gradually drive down the price of gasoline until it leveled out at the national average.

On th supply side, if you knew that you could buy gas in Texas and drive it to New Orleans and make a profit of $2.00 a gallon, thousands of people would be driving 18 wheelers full of gasoline tomorrow into the area. On the deman side, if the price were allowed to rise according to what the free market it willing to pay, then the gas would cost more, and people would drive less because gas would become a more valuable commodity. As supply increased, and demand decreased, the price of gasoline would promptly fall to the national level.

Unfortunately, the government is not going to do this, for various reasons. The government is, in effect, unintentionally exacerbating the gasoline shortage on the coast by keeping prices artificially low. Because the prices are frozen, the gasoline will not flow to the areas where it is needed the most.

Update: Looks like others have made similar observations like Tempus Fugit in The Myth of Price Gouging.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 6, 2005 at 10:15 PM | Permalink

Interview with Larry Harvey - Burning Man founder

Here's a link to an interview with Larry Harvey, the founder of Burning Man.


Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 6, 2005 at 3:19 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Burning Man Photographs

Here's a link to some cool photographs from the Burning Man experience from various years on Flickr. (Note: These are not my images. These are images posted on Flickr by various nefarious individuals.)

My photograhs are posted here.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 6, 2005 at 2:44 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

September 5, 2005

Burning Man 2005 Photos

Been to Mardi Gras? Been to Halloween in the Castro district? Think you've seen it all? If you haven't been to Burning Man, you need to get a new set of friends. Really. You need to go to Burning Man. Trust me on this one.

I shot eleven hundred images over four days in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. These images were captured using a Canon EOS-20D with a Canon 17-85mm telescopic zoom lens, a circular polarizing filter, and a 4 gig Sandisk CF memory stick. All images were shot in natural light and have not been retouched or edited in any manner. Nighttime images were shot on a Bogen tripod with pistol grip and remote shutter release.

This slideshow is a 7 Meg self-playing executable named burn.exe created using Imagematics StillMotion PE Plus. The soundtrack is Mr. Brightside by The Killers. Click here to download the presentation. If you have an Apple, click here to download the Macromedia Flash version. Click here if you need help.


Continue reading "Burning Man 2005 Photos"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 5, 2005 at 11:43 PM : Comments (4) | Permalink

Can't sign on to windows

I couldn't get signed into my own laptop, so I used Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) bootable live windows CD/DVD. This is a nice solution if you have a PC running XP, 2003, or NT that you can't logon to. It allowed me to recover the files I needed and copy them off to a USB drive.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 5, 2005 at 9:36 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

September 4, 2005

Blogging from the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Garon Reeves is blogging from the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 4, 2005 at 11:54 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink