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November 30, 2005

Spychips : How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID

Spychips : How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 30, 2005 at 12:51 AM | Permalink

Train runs over man's hand

Some idiot took out a disability insurance policy for seven hundred thousand pounds and then promptly put his hand on the railroad tracks and allowed a train to run over his fingers so he could collect the insurance money. He lost a few digits, but the insurance company smelled a rat and now he's in court facing insurance fraud charges worth up to 10 years in prison.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 30, 2005 at 12:02 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 29, 2005

Hacking Coke Machines

Who knew that you could hack Coke machines? Cool.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 29, 2005 at 11:56 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

Deep Fried Turkey

I've deep fried a few turkeys, but I've never had this happen.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 29, 2005 at 5:37 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 26, 2005

New Original Hurricane Katrina Images

I went through the "Hard Hit 9th Ward" in East New Orleans, on the East side of the Industrial Canal. "Hard Hit" doesn't begin to cover it. Hard to believe that I shot these images on Friday, November 25th, three months after Katrina hit. Photos appear as though they could have been shot the day after the levee broke.

Apparently, if they want something to be trashed in New Orleans, they are instructed to spray paint "TFC" on the side of it and set it on the curb. Anyone know what TFC stands for? I have no clue. Please post.

This slideshow is a 13 Meg self-playing executable named thievery.exe created using Imagematics StillMotion PE Plus. The soundtrack is Lebanese Blonde by the Thievery Corporation off of 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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Lyrics are posted in the extended entry.

Continue reading "New Original Hurricane Katrina Images"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 26, 2005 at 4:33 PM : Comments (3) | Permalink

Don't Panic

These are original images of a fall in the Deep South. This slideshow is a 6 Meg self-playing executable named dont_panic.exe created using Imagematics StillMotion PE Plus. The soundtrack is Don't Panic by Coldplay off of 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.

Lyrics are posted in the extended entry.

Related Post: Christmas photos from Louisiana and Mississipppi - December 2004

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Continue reading "Don't Panic"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 26, 2005 at 3:28 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 24, 2005

4 year old shoots deer

When I was back in Mississippi in November of 2005, my neighbor relayed a story to me he'd read about a 4 year old killing a deer. I made him email me the link. Here's the story as printed in the Jackson Clarion Ledger:

When little Colton Develle, all of 4 years old, shot a little button buck on opening day of the youth season last Saturday, he may have become the youngest hunter to take a deer in this state.

Steve Adcock, assistant chief of law enforcement and former head of hunter education, said 4 is the youngest he's ever heard.

Develle, sitting in the lap of his father, Derek Develle of Flora, shot the deer at 90 yards with a .222 Remington rifle. His mother Rebecca was also in the 3-man stand.

Continue reading the story at the Jackson Clarion Ledger.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 24, 2005 at 5:46 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

November 20, 2005

Warning Label Generator

This is a cool site that lets you to generate custom(amusing) warning labels.


Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 20, 2005 at 7:25 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

November 18, 2005

Caffeine, Aspirina, and Tylenol

Last night, I had some of the neighbors over for pheasant catchatori. They’re really good neighbors, and I’ve taken advantage of their hospitality for far too long. So, with a freezer full of pheasant, I figured I’d attempt to lure them over and do a little fence mending. I’ve got a lot of fences to mend with lots of neighbors, but the longest journey begins with a single step.

So they came over with wine and wild rice and we all sat down to and began telling lies and drinking heavily until I was thoroughly soaked in alcohol and the kitchen floor was covered in pheasant blood and the women were licking the inside of the picture windows and even the coyotes stopping howling and came to see just what was going down at the compound.

When I climbed into my bed some time around midnight, I was surprisingly inebriated by a nearly lethal cocktail of cabernet sauvignon, Pacifico, and whatever drugs the mind-control collar was secreting. I had a hauntingly, lucid dream where I was diverting from that freezing cloud wall just south of Scott’s Bluff and making an unscheduled landing at night and how the pilot told us to make phone calls and check in and I told him I had no one to call. But somehow, I must have been really lying in my bed, cause I was just dog-tired, laying there in a pool of pheasant blood and feathers, shivering in the cold cause Xcel Energy had shut off the gas again and suddenly this giant pheasant flew into the bedroom and covered me up, like a hen on eggs in a snowstorm. And when I woke up in the morning, it was gone, and I was just lying naked on the bed in a pool of feathers.

At work, I started pounding caffeine, Aspirina, and Tylenol. I was so tired I could hardly hold my head up. Then, the boss called me into a secret meeting. Apparently, part of my probation is that I have to have weekly meetings where we talk about my progress or lack thereof. So, I’m sitting there with my tail between my legs, bobbing my head like I’m in the principals office in elementary school for playground transgressions.

And the next thing I know, he’s repeating what I said in the Monday meeting word for word. Like he was recording me. And then, he’s projecting the meeting as seen through my eyes onto the wall and it suddenly dawns on me that there’s a video camera in the collar.

“Y’all are filming me??

“Well…not exactly. We’re recording what you say and filming what you see.?

And suddenly, my mind flashes back to last night and the giant pheasant that flew into my bedroom.

“Did you see it? Did you film what happened last night??

But he just sits there and smiles at me and says “Company policy says that what you do in your bedroom is not of consequence to us.?

“Who said anything about my bedroom? Where did that come from?? I ask.

But he just gave me that blank public-sector shark-eyed, deer-in-the-headlights stare, betraying no signs of comprehension.

“Did you see the bird?? I asked.

But he just smiled and dismissed me with a wave of his hand.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 18, 2005 at 12:53 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 17, 2005

Crippled Autumn Skies

In the meetings, the tyrannical housewives droned on endlessly about administrivia and the mundane, arcane details of their trivial existence. The hardest thing to do is to stay awake. To feign interest. Their disassociated buzzing reminded me of the drone of the dirt daubers building their dirt cocoons on the front porch of my childhood home. An army of inferior creatures toiling in obscurity.

Occasionally, they’d say something that remotely interested me. Something so alarmingly obtuse that I’d rise to the bait, like a trout rising to suck a bug from the riffles. But it was different now. With the collar on, I’d sort of clear my throat first and glance around the table, watching the eyes. You have to monitor the eyes to get their attention. Only when you’ve tasted all the eyes can you speak without danger of cross-talk.

I clear my throat and the collar flashes and starts to beep. Warning me to dampen my emotions before I open my mouth.

“Help me understand how you would handle the 64 bit encryption outside the application. I’m not clear how you’d reconcile the issue of dealing with disparate encryption algorithms.? I say. Everyone is surprised that I have the temerity to speak at all and the collar warms up just a little and I stop to see watch the consequences of my comments unfold.

One idiot casts a pebble into a pond, and a thousand geniuses can’t stop the ripples. And they’re all staring at me, amused that I've somehow regained the audacity to speak. That I've pointed out there's a turd in the punch bowl amuses them to no end.

The project manager conspicuously places the remote control to my shock collar on the table before him and drums his fingers upon it lightly, staring innocuously across the table, but grinning like a possum eating yellow jackets. He likes his little toy, and he’s playing with me. He doesn’t know jack about encryption or public key cryptography. But it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t care how us bit-heads make the system function. Someone will solve the encryption problem. And it won’t be him cause he’s not that smart.

He pushes the button and it shocks me and I yowl and the room erupts into peals of laughter. They’re all guffawing and stomping their feet and I’m morbidly humiliated and suddenly I’m back in college in the buckle of the Bible Belt and driving my motorcycle one fine Sunday morning past a church just as the congregation is spilling onto the sidewalk I come by riding by on one wheel and somehow the sight of them all dressed up on the lawn is just enough to break my concentration and the motorcycle starts to get away from me and the front wheel comes straight up and I slide off the seat and I’m running behind it now, struggling desperately to keep it from falling over and it’s scraping the tail light down the asphalt and everyone is laughing at me and this delightfully improbable Sunday morning spectacle.

“What’d ya’ do that for?? I ask.

“Ooops. Sorry. I must have hit it by accident.? And he smiles a conniving little smile that lets you know it was no accident.

After the meeting, they move me upstairs to a special floor where all the malcontents are housed. It’s fine with me cause they had me packed into this room with no windows and a bunch of freeze-dried consultants. Stoic, starched parodies of consultants that knew nothing but intimated that they were the best of breed. We actually had one moron tell us he was one of the top payroll consultants in the world. I nearly swallowed my tongue on that one I did. So, they were all good riddance as far as I was concerned.

Anything at all passes for news in a the prison, and fresh meat is big news. The other inmates are all coming by to pay their respects. There’s nothing to celebrate. Nothing to toast. Just somber condolences for being assigned to the ward. The warden stops by to say hello.

She’s a stunted German female with a bee-hive hairdo pinned up with gunmetal magnets. She sleeps outdoors on the tarmac at the Erie airport. In her office, she'd hung verisimilar pictures of ruined cities in Europe and American GI’s strung up with piano wire. Burned out Sherman tanks and a photo of a German SS soldier pissing on an American flag.

Her parents immigrated to the United States in the aftermath of WWII, and Germans weren’t real popular back then. Every morning, on her way to school, the kids called her a kraut and a Nazi, stripped her books from her arms and pushed her into the mud. Apparently, it had stuck with her. Her angst and agitation emanated from her. She was a walking volcano of raw nerves and pain. All before her were proxies for the kids that oppressed her through her chihldhood. She reviled the Americans. Harbored the most abhorrent feelings toward them. She reviled the kids that had ruined her childhood, and focused her hatred onto those unfortunate enough to fall within her field of vision.

Her steel blue eyes goose-stepped down the corridor, echoing off the obsolete technology. The detritus of the false promise of technology. Typewriters. Microfiche readers. Dot matrix printers. Her brown boots fray the threadbare office carpet.

She cornered me in my cell, like a dog trees a coon. I stared back at her, drenched in fear. Focusing on the strand of razor blades festooned on her lapels.

"You should hang some photos" she spat.

"Photos of what?" I wondered aloud.

"Your wife? Your girlfriend? Your dog?"

"I own none of those things" I replied.

She snorted and left me to my new cell on the third floor.

A gaggle of women paraded by. I stared after them, trying to imagine what they'd look like without any clothes on. What they'd be like in bed. I squinted my eyes, gritted my teeth, and shuddered like a speared fish.

I discovered that my new cell had a small window. Granted, it was cracked, had bars on it, and I had to call the guard if I wanted to go to the bathroom, but at least now I had a view of the outside and after lunch, I stood on my tiptoes, waiting for the drugs to kick in, clutching the cold steel bars tightly with both hands, pining for someone I'd never met, perched on the edge of nothing, as the snows painted the naked cottonwood trees titanium white beneath the crippled autumn skies.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 17, 2005 at 1:39 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 16, 2005

Fetid Houseslaves

And we're all starting to get used to the shock-collar that HR fitted around my neck. In our project meetings, I'm sweating like a whore in sunday school, listening to the impressively naive banter of the enlightened femi-nazis. But I don't speak up as much. No one ever really wanted to hear what I said anyway. I don't dance around the truth well enough for most people.

Bill is a delicate flower. He's a politician and gets his point across by asking questions and leading others to his ideas, so that in the end, they think that his ideas were really their own and everyone is holding hands like a tent revival in the Deep South.

But I just tend to tell people what I think. Just blurt it out. Which usually goes over like a fart in church so that, even if people agree with what I'm saying, they wouldn't admit it under any method of torture less severe than that employed at the zenith of the Spanish Inquisition.

But the shock collar has changed all of that, and, in a way, I think we're all better off for it. I've learned that if I don't say anything at all, then I don't get shocked. So the miscreants sit there. Aged post-menopausal enzyme hens, clucking and cackling like Crepe Myrtle Grackles.

"Why not pay people in scrip?"

"Why not hold everyone's paycheck for two weeks and see what happens?"

"Why not split one paygroup into forty?"

Collectively, the dusty, fetid houseslaves in pin-curlers generate a seemingly endless stream of the most implausible and daft ideas. And I'm sitting there thinking that if a woman ever makes it into the White House then our country will degenerate into a convivial social club of oxidized gossiping hags.

So, even though these insipid, brainless, myrmidons are headed down a path to self-destruction, I just keep my mouth shut and the project lurches forward, albeit in a haphazard and reckless sort of way. The project is basically adrift, but it's no concern of mine really. I just grit my teeth and tolerate their ignorant bleating, like a listening to a homeless bag lady learning to play the violin on acid. They're pernicious, deeply stupid spivs, but it's not really any concern of mine, and in this I find my salvation.

Every day at noon, the shock collar injects something into my bloodstream...I'm not exactly clear what it is, but it leaves a metallic taste in my mouth like that time I was in the hospital to have my tonsils out.

And every day just before noon, I know that the medicine is about to be injected into my carotid artery from the collar and I'm sitting there at my desk, waiting for the medicine to take effect. I get that nauseating feeling like when the dogs are getting birdy, and they're flipping this way and that, nose to the ground, tail bobbing fiercely, and they're headed my way and now he's only three feet away I just know one of those infernal pheasants is going to explode from the shallow grass in an acoustic earthquake of feathers drumming the gelid air.

And I'm sitting there at my desk, squinting hard. Tears streaming out of the corners of my eyes. Hands balled into fists with my fingernails cutting into the pallid skin of my palms. And I'm gnawing the inside of my lips and cupcake is standing there going "What is wrong with you?"

And then the collar pumps the drugs into my system and suddenly I don't care about the project any more. I don't care that I'm under the employ of a confederacy of dunces or that I have a cooler full of certified mail from the IRS under my dining room table. All I want is to do what I'm told and I look at cupcake and tell her I'm fine. Just fine. All I need is some fresh air and I leave her and steal outside to watch the trees surrender their variegated leaves to the snows of November.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 16, 2005 at 6:27 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

The Weasels in HR

So we fly out of Pierre and I have my miserable little Canon Pro-1 with me. And I manage to snap a few photos before the sun leaves us completely. And then, somewhere outside of Scott’s Bluff, Nebraska, we started getting bounced around pretty bad, and we’re getting shaken and stirred and the temperature is dropping and we fly up to this big wall of fog and the pilot says, “Gentlemen, how does a night in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska sound to you?? we say “It’s your call?, so we start looking for the airport and the pilot finds it somehow. Just this little gnat’s ass out on the prairie and no control tower of course, and the pilot's trying to get the runway lights turned on by remote control via the radio somehow, and it's dark and getting nasty and we're wanting to put this bird on the ground and suddenly, the runway lights up from one end to the other and I was never so happy to see lights in my life.

So we land and we’re driving around at this airport and there’s lots of hangers but we’re not sure where to go. And it felt like we were in a truck, driving around looking for a place to park in the night. And we finally find someone who says we can tie it down and leave it.

But then, you're kind of in a tight spot, 'cause you're in a town you never planned on visiting. Like you just sort of phased in with no plan whatsoever. And you need a hotel room and transportation and all these things. And then they let on that a local hotel has this “courtesy car? out there. It’s an old beater Buick Sylark with 3 working doors. So, suddenly Brian has this beater out on the tarmac, backing up to the Piper Aztec and we're offloading all our gear into "Plan B".

The speedometer says 44,000 miles, but it could have rolled over a couple of times for all we know, and the gas tank is below “E?, but we're mobile, and that's all we care about. We're rolling across the Nebraska prairie in the darkness that doesn't look nearly so intimidating now that we're on the ground.

We met at six bells the next morning for breakfast, Nebraska style. I waded up to the heart-stopping cholesterol buffet like a hog to a feed trough. No telling how early that woman had gotten up to put that spread together for us and put on her makeup with a cement trowel. But she just kept falling all over us, asking what we wanted. She had a face like a mud fence, but she was the nicest woman you’d ever run into.

We flew back into Erie, and got into a little turbulence on the way back that made my old war injury from Vietnam start acting up. From an elevation of about 9,000 feet, you could see that the front range was getting dumped on.

I drove straight into work, 'cause I was running late and I knew they dotting their i's and crossing their t's, trying to collect enough evidence to fire me. Public Sector isn't like the real world. People go there to die, and if they're terminated for any reason, they sue, so HR spends their time meticulously documenting the atrocities of their sycophant employees, trying to build a case that will hold up in court in the event that anyone is terminated.

Employee Relations is where the most anal-retentive, neurotic, insipid weasels are drawn. Stiff as a new broom, they comb their hair over their balding heads and stalk from office to office looking for someone to harangue, notepad and clipboard in hand. Ink pen in hand. Tall, thin, dangerously unstable mental dwarfs on a mission. Like Don Quixote, only without the disarming charm that made that character likeable.

So I go straight into my meeting with Employee Relations to discuss the alleged incident from last Wednesday, when I had the audacity to call a spade a spade. The weasels are all agitated, scurrying about in their starched white shirts, whining and squealing and gnashing their teeth. And I feel like those pheasants must have felt flying into that line of fire and I know it isn't going to be pretty.

And I sit down at this little conference room for my absurd little trial. A war criminal in the Hague. I'm still in my camoflauge, fresh from the hunt. I'm sitting here with the weasels and my camo is covered in blood and feathers and you can smell the gun powder in the room, and the weasels can smell the blood, and it makes them salivate and their eyes get as big as plates.

"Did you tell your project manager to go f**ck himself?"

"Look. We've been through this already. I'm not here to beat a dead horse."

"Did you say that you thought women should be forced to work in brothels and that the immigrants should be sent back to their country of origin via Fed Ex?"

"That's absurd. Think how much it would cost."

"For the immigrants or the prostitutes?"


And the trial went on this way for some time, and they kept bringing water in these little dixie cups, and the more I drank, the more thirsty I became. And pheasant blood was dripping onto the table, collecting in a little pool on the table, and the down feathers were falling off my jacked and getting stuck in the little blood pond and presently, I began to feel dizzy and I must have fallen asleep because when I looked up, I wasn't sure where I was.

The weasels had slipped a shock-collar on my neck like the hunting dogs were wearing in the field. And the alpha-weasel with the beadiest eyes of them all is asking me "How about that? Feel anything now?" and he pushes a button on the remote control and it shocks the hell out of my neck and I yowl like those hunting dogs that chase after a hen or a rabbit and have to be shocked to get their attention.

"Ow. What was that for?" I complain.

"We're just testing it." they answer, and the little weasels have me now. Now they've got me right where they want me.

And then, suddenly the collar is shocking the life out of me, and I feel like my heart will stop and I can't breath or get any air and I want to yell but I can't so I pound my hand on the desk and they look up at me, suddenly startled.

"Oops. Sorry. I was sitting on the remote control. So sorry." And they tell me I'm free to go, but the collar has to stay on for at least six months, and I'm not go in any stores with a microwave or near any project managers during that period. And as I walk out into the sunshine, I think that my life surely has to get better than this.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 16, 2005 at 1:19 AM : Comments (2) | Permalink

November 15, 2005

Just Shoot It

By the fourth day, everyone’s tired. The dogs. The hunters. Old war injuries start acting up. Cell phones are starting to ring. These people are captains of industry when they’re not hunting. Business has been neglected. And now it's wanting for a little attention, calling to them. We have a couple of planes covered and tied down to the tarmac out at the Pierre airport three miles south of town. Sometime this afternoon, our crew will climb into them and disperse, like tumbleweeds before a South Dakota wind storm. But for now, we’re getting ready for another day of hunting.

Occasionally, a hunting dog will bark from his hotel room, betraying his position. They’re technically not supposed to be eating scrambled eggs and sausage in the rooms, much less sleeping in the beds. But this is a hunting town, and the owners have to know what goes on.

The hunters are hard on the hotels. They return at night, muddy and wet, and strip down their guns. The dryers in the laundry room are full of feathers. These rooms would drive a forensic pathologist insane. People are field dressing birds on their beds. There’s blood on the walls. If you ever wanted to commit a crime and get away with it, a hotel that caters to hunters would be the place to go.

Our guide drives this old dilapidated diesel Suburban with the rocker panels rusted through. Has that old-school 4wd where you have to get out in the rain to lock in the hubs. The headliner is held in place by a series of jury-rigged little wooden top-bow slats. The handle on the rear window crank is broken, so it takes about 5 minutes to open the back window. He never puts it overdrive. Runs it in D2 all the time. "Runs better that way" he insists.

We hunted today until about 2:30. I really didn’t do very well on the last day, as I couldn’t really focus. I was too tired or too something. I started getting gun-shy from the birds. It’s hard to describe the terror that those birds can put in you. I nearly stepped on two roosters and more hens than I could count. When those birds explode right underneath you, it will make your heart stop. Twice I couldn’t even get the safety off before the bird was gone. The hens were just unnerving the way they’d let you nearly step on them before they flew.

Every time the dogs started coming by me and getting birdy, I’d just hold my breath and sort of pull back, afraid of what would explode from the grass. It’s really the most bizarre illusion. You can sit there staring at the grass, and there’s nothing there. Just six or nine inches of hay or winter wheat stubble. And a Labrador retriever will walk through it and out comes deer, grouse, prairie chickens, pheansants, rabbits. It’s the damnedest thing you’ve ever seen.

We pushed through a couple of fields and then ended up in some thick creek bottoms. The birds were flying so thick that I just couldn’t process that many targets. It’s really intimidating. If one bird jumps up, I’m pretty good about calling “HEN!? or “ROOSTER!? in a split second. But when eleventeen come flying right at you, it’s really a different game at that point. I’m looking at the flock and trying to tell the roosters from the hens and they’re flying this way and that and I’m trying to pick out a single target and suddenly they’re all gone and I’m standing there with three empty shells on the ground and my chamber open and there’s smoke pouring out both ends of my barrel and I’m not even sure what happened.

We ended up plowing through this ditch choked with five foot tall cat tails, so thick you could scarcely push through them. The invisible dogs were stamping around somewhere in there, flushing birds like mad. Blockers were posted up on both sides and ahead of us. Pheasants were just streaming out and anything that jumped up was just slaughtered.

It was so thick that you could barely see the guys beside you and it looked like every animal in Noah's ark was going to come out of there. I was half expecting a giraffe or a zebra to come running out when hen we jumped three does. I thought the deer were going to kill a couple of pheasant hunters trying to get out of that carefully orchestated ambush.

It was just sheer carnage. Insanity. I was carrying a hand full of pheasants, because I left my game bag back in Colorado.

“Brian – will you put these in your game bag??

“No room. I’m full up.?

“What about Bill??

“He’s all full up too.?

So we’re standing down there in these cat tails, and I’m shooting 3? Nitro Steel at these birds, just because I was tired of shooting 2 ¾? shells. And sounds like World War III. And the worst thing about it is that you know that it has to end. That the cat tails won’t go on forever. That there’s a plane hog-tied to the tarmac outside of the state capitol with your name all over it. And it’s covered and in canvas and right now, some guy with his name on his shirt is refilling the wing tanks and, come hell or high water, we’re going to be inside of it in a couple of hours. And then I’m going to have to go back to Colorado and try to reassemble the pieces of my life into something workable. Like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with no picture on it.

But right now, that doesn’t matter. Right now, the sun is shining and the birds are flying and all I have to do is try to hit the birds without shooting the Californians up on the hill.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 15, 2005 at 8:49 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

What Does it Take to Get Fired?

Apparently, more than this...

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 15, 2005 at 7:42 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

The Rise of the Corn Stubble Mercenaries

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 15, 2005 at 7:39 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 12, 2005

Birds Shall Fear Me

We headed North on Highway 1804 out of Pierre, on the east side of the Oahe reservoir. The weather had changed significantly since yesterday. Temperature dropped down to about 50, and it started to rain. When we were out walking the fields, we saw where winds that were clocked at 97 or 117 mph had taken out 10 transmission line towers. It had ripped down barns, and silos. Wrapped sheets of tin around limbs on the cottonwood trees in the shelter belts.

Back in the dust bowl, they planted a lot of Chinese elms for shelter belts to stop the erosion, because they’re fast growing trees. But then they get diseased, and after about 15 years, they die. So they’re replacing them with other trees slowly.

The fields have a timeless feel to them. Aging houses built by the pioneers slowly decay. Farm equipment that breaks is left in the field and parted out over the ages. They just farm around it.

Cars are parked in rows, slowing becoming one with the ground. A stark surreal scene of suspended animation. Innumerable acres of abandoned houses, cars, tractors, and combines.

And us. Touring the country in a fantastic parade of lunacy. A fleet of trucks, with hunters packed in like sardines. Lurching across the milo fields, blasting birds into oblivion.

I was standing on a hill watch a line of ant-men in flourscent orange caps walking through brush so dense the dogs were lost and inconsequential when the weather turned. The wind picked up and the temperature dropped. The rain fell in sheets and the wind drove it straight into your teeth. It was hard to tell if it was actually ice or if it just stung like ice, but it made no difference really. Hundreds of thousands of square miles of gently rolling hills with no trees to stop the wind. It really rips into you when the wind pushes up the slopes driving the rain into your eyes. Gradually, my clothes got soaked, and the water ran into my boots. My clothes were technically weatherproof, but the wind-driven rain atomized, rendering the hunting clothes meaningless.

All the guys in our group have the six pound Browning Citori Featherweight over/under bird guns with 26? barrels. But I’m shooting a canon. It has a 28 inch barrel and weighs 2-3 times what theirs' weigh and I’m lugging it through the fields all day, from 10 – 5 every day. And you have to keep your gun barrel up so you don't kill anyone, and it gets heavy after you’ve been lugging it through the field all day, but you have to keep the tip up. Arrow up for safety. And you’re cold and wet and it’s raining down the barrel and the birds are dieing in waves.

The dogs are working the fields “Hunt ‘em up? and “Find the birds? and the dogs are all nose to the ground. This moisture holds the scent better and the dogs can smell the birds better, but it's too much for most dogs. There are so many birds and so much shooting that most dogs just go nuts. Plus, you're hunting with multiple dogs and multiple handlers, so the signals can get crossed, and so the dogs are really under a lot of stress. In the heat of the battle, they get confused and chase hens or rabbits until their owner pushes a button shocking them by remote control when they yelp and fall back in line.

And the birds are holding a little tighter today. Not running quite so much and they’re flushing like a mortar when they come out of the corn and there’s trails of corn everywhere where the trailer “got a leak. I got out here and saw it was leaking corn so I turned around and drove back home and fixed it.? Right. ;)

Kevin’s dog Stormy is cut and bleeding again, like a “white guy trying to box? Brian observes. Kevin couldn't figure out why his dog was freaking out in the kennel, but eventually he realized he was accidentally sitting on the remote control and shocking his dog in the kennel.

And then, as I stood watching the waving of rain beating into the grain, the birds began to fly. More birds than I ever knew there were. They’d rise into the wind and cross in front of you so fast you could only pull the trigger and scare them as they flew downwind to land in Iowa somewhere. Shooting pheasants on a clear day in ideal weather conditions is intimidating. When you’re hitting them, it’s fun, but when you’re missing them, you feel stupid. Like you’re wasting your time. Shooting blanks. It can destroy your confidence. You just have to psyche yourself up and convince yourself that the next one won’t get by you. Next time, I’ll drop him like a stone that bird.

Findley is practicing his “fake to the open guy and shoot? technique. Findley is funny, but a great shot. He's a blocker, and he never misses, even on those hard downwind crossing shots.

When the birds get up from the field, the roosters have tails that seem to stretch for miles. Their tails look like they’re about six feet long as they’re rising from the corn and there’s that explosion of noise…feathers thrashing the corn…that sound I hear that wakes me up from a dead sleep sweating. The birds are rising from the corn now in slow motion and he’s coming right for you…and you don’t have a shot cause he won’t get up so you can’t shoot straight at him because there’s a guy behind him and he won’t get up and you swear he’s going to fly right into you and you duck and pivot and spin and take the safety off and pop back up and point downwind at him and pull the trigger and he’s gone to Iowa where he’s safe. Safe for now, anyway.

My ammo pouch is full of water and my ammo is resting in a little pool inside my pouch and my hands are raw and my trigger finger is blistered and I have to take off my shooting glasses so I can see and I take out my ear plugs so I can hear. My cheekbone is sore and slightly bruised, and, in theory, I'm sure that I'm probably not holding the gun 100% right when I'm shooting, or it wouldn't bruise me, but the reality is that in the heat of the battle, it's not like target practice. It's harried and hectic and a little more crazy than shooting trap or sporting clays.

So, finally we break for lunch and go lick our wounds and warm up. I notice that everyone has a little dark patch on their right cheek bones. Findley lights a fuel-tank converted into a barrel stove with a flame thrower and we warm up and dry out and pound a cooler of beer before heading to the Outpost for a bacon cheeseburger and wedges. The graffiti in the men’s room says “birds shall fear me? and there’s a limousine out front painted like a Jersey dairy cow.

After lunch, there’s a schism as some of the ladies start to complain about the cold and the rain. But I don’t care. I want to keep hunting. I’m wet, but I’m not really cold. I came here to hunt, and damned the rain. I want to put some birds on the ground, so we all head back out into the field, and we start marching through the fields again. And by the end of the day, I’m dog tired. I’m dragging my right leg through a milo field. My cheek bone is bruised from shooting the gun and my right leg is killing me for reasons that aren’t clear to me. But we keep going.

When I shoot the gun, I never hear it go off If it makes a sound I couldn’t tell you what sound it makes. I never hear it. There’s way too much adrenaline going through your veins when you pull the trigger. You just see the birds rising from the corn and I always yell “Rooster!? and I yell it really loud and long to let everyone know that we’ve got a target cause you can’t tell which way he’ll head when he gets up. And sometimes there’s one shot and sometimes a volley.

We drive the birds into a circle when we hunt, so at the end, it’s like a Mexican standoff. And we’re all standing in a circle…10 of us now…and the birds are in there so thick you can feel the ground shaking and then they start coming out in waves and you’re just standing there, shooting in self defense, waiting for a shot because they have to go up or get where you can shoot them without hitting the guy behind them and you can’t even reload fast enough and you’re yelling “Rooster!? “Rooster!? and the birds are streaming out like starlings an heading down into the creekbed. And you back is as stiff as a new broom and, after a while, I’m hardly even aware I’ve fired my gun but I look around and there’s piles of empty 12 gauge shells all over the ground and the dogs are stacking the pheasants into a macabre little pyramid of avian death.

At the end of the day, we do a little “road hunting? to get the limit, which isn’t that easy. It involves jumping out of the truck, loading the gun, taking the safety off, and then shooting at a flying bird with an audience of about 9 other guys watching you. Lots of pressure. The first one I missed. I got the next two though, bringing my total for the day to 6. I wring their necks and toss them them the truck. And when I climb back into the truck, I feel like I could die. I’m more tired than I’ve been in a long time. Wind burned, wet, and cold. We’ve run ourselves ragged and when I climb back into the truck, someone hands me a cold beer and says "nice shooting, Mississippi. You just got our limit" and someone else says “what time do we go out in the morning??

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 12, 2005 at 5:56 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Silver Oak Frogs

We take the birds to a place to have them cleaned, and they’re all tossed into a shopping cart. We have to sign up for the birds, so that each hunter claims 3 birds and writes his little hunting license number down on a slip of paper and turns it over to the game processor. They give us a sticker that says “Just Shoot It?, and we take the fleet of trucks back to the hotel.

After we get all cleaned up, we meet for drinks in the lobby and have 40 drinks before we go to dinner at some Italian restaurant, and we’re a party of 9, so they take a while to seat us, so we’re drinking at the bar again. I’m just following Brian’s lead, migrating from beer to tequila to wine. The guys in the hunting party are all over the poor girls that’s going to seat us, fawning all over her, giving her full body hugs, and saying horribly inappropriate things. I’m feeling bad for her, and I half want to go up to her and apologize on behalf of the entire human race. And I’m like “Brian, you ought to call off your buddies? and he’s like. “Dude. These are hunters. These waitresses are used to it.? And I realize he has to be right. When we drive through town, there are giant banners everywhere that say “Welcome hunters? and “Just Shoot It?.

When we sit down, Kevin orders them to bring a shopping cart of red wine to the table. And it’s Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the wineries out in Napa that I did a tasting at. So, I know this wine is in the neighborhood of a hundred dollars a bottle. There’s some other wine there that I’ve never heard of. And so I’m guzzling this red wine, and our hot waitress is this chick named Lori that has 3 sons 13-17, but no boyfriend.

And the guy’s are all fighting over the bill, arguing over who’s going to pay, each person swearing it’s his own turn for glory. His own turn to fall on the bill, like a soldier diving on a grenade. And I’m just silent, ‘cause I’m basically unemployed and broke.

And the guys at the table next to us are handing out prizes. They’re giving a box of tampons to one of their buddies because he shot a hen, and he’s wearing a pink hat. And they've got a guy from France at their table, and they’re all telling jokes about frogs, gays, and women, and it’s just side splittingly funny, so somehow they challenge our table to a joke off, so we’re taking turns telling jokes, standing up and telling jokes in turn. We we're just ripping into the french guy. Just eviscerating the guy with the most off-color jokes ever mouthed in public. And we’re all just pissing ourselves like little school kids.

Back at the hotel, the dogs are unkenneled and led discreetly into the hotel rooms. Ushered in the back entrances to sleep the night in a warm bed. The hotel rooms are $64 a night, so the dogs get to sleep in the bed for a night. The sign says “no dogs in hotel except seeing eye dogs? But, what they mean is, no hunting dogs in the bed. But they sleep there anywhere.

And when I get back to the hotel, the room is spinning and I climb in bed and pass out, leaving the television playing all night. And I wake up, no idea what time it is, cotton mouthed as a dog at the end of a pheasant hunt, and stumble down to the juice machine. I’ve got a handful of change, and I’m ready to blast the machine with a 12 gauge if it won’t deliver me a can of grape juice. But there’s a lady and her kid at the other vending machine, so since there’s witnesses, I know I’ll have to moderate my behavior to meet some semblance of societal norms. I have no idea what time it is, I’m guessing that it’s 3:00 in the morning, and I’m wondering why this lady is out here with her kid at this time of night.

I really have no idea what time it is. The time zone runs right through the middle of town. Some genius decided to float the time zone on top of the Missouri River. So, you can drink until 2:00 a.m. in Pierre, and then cross the river to Fort Pierre and then drink for another hour. They don’t really set their clocks different over there, but they are technically in a different time zone so you can legally go over there and drink for another hour.

I want to just empty the machine out. Drink everything inside of it. But I settle for a can of grape juice and a can of apple juice. And then I hear Stormy. The dog is barking like crazy from inside a hotel room somewhere. Kevin’s trying to slip down to the Dakotamart without Stormy, and Stormy is freaking out because he thinks Kevin is going home without him. Stormy cut his tongue yesterday on the barbed wire, and got so hot and tired from the days hunt that he was stumbling and staggering, so he had to sit out the last hunt in the truck. And the dogs know what’s going on. Stormy was pissed that he missed out on the last hunt.

Kevin, what time to do you reckon it is?

“It must be getting to be about seven oclock.. See you at breakfast.?

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 12, 2005 at 6:40 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 11, 2005

Day 2

Day 2

We buy hunting licenses, ibuprofien, and ammo at Dakotamart, and we’re off to the races. $115 for an out of state license. And we’re rolling across the gentle slopes of central South Dakota. We park all the trucks, unload the dogs from the kennels, and the guides explain the game plan to us.

You three walk abreast. Two wing men on each side at forty degree angles, 60-70 yards out. We’ll have four blockers on the other end.

So the guys with the dogs work the brush. The thick cover, and the wingmen walk the fields on the sides of the cover, slightly ahead of the main group. So, you’re basically forming this funnel and driving the birds toward the blockers on the other end. Any bird that jumps up will meet a withering crossfire, leaving the shooters arguing for generations over who hit it firstest, hardest, and most severely.

Because it was warm, the birds were running like crazy. It didn’t take long to figure out that, because there was no snow on the ground, the birds were running like mad, way ahead of the dogs, and flushing toward the blockers. So, if you were the blocker, all you had to do was shoot in self defense when they came across you.

The dogs were working the birds, crawling through the dense cedar trees, across the fields of stubble. Milo, millet, sorghum, winter wheat, and Sudan that didn’t survive the drought. The dogs worked at a frenzied pace, circling and criss-crossing the terrain, flushing pheasants, rabbits, and grouse.

Occasionally, a dog would chase a rabbit, and the owner would push a button, shocking him by remote control. The dog would yelp and get back in line. The dogs worked with their noses to the ground, searching for pheasants, and getting “birdy? whenever they got hot on the fresh scent of a bird.

As each bird flew, the other shooters would yell “HEN!? or “ROOSTER!?, as you can only shoot the roosters. Shooting hens is illegal, and shooting over the limit of 3 roosters is a $100 fine per bird for every bird over the limit. We had 11 people - 9 hunters plus 2 guides, so our limit was 33 birds.

Lee plants rows of cedar to give the pheasants cover, but you can’t plant too much cedar too close together, or it doesn’t work. You’d never find the birds. So, you plant rows of cedar at certain intervals, so the birds find them and use them for cover. They plant strips of milo for the same reason. Spacing them apart just so.

They also plant rows of trees on the north and west sides of their houses, as natural snow fences.

At some point, the guide told me to get in a truck and follow him. I was like “which truck?? “It doesn’t matter.They all have the keys in them? “Where are we going?? “Just follow me? And, suddenly it dawned on me that we needed to move this fleet of Ford F250 trucks and Chevy Suburbans. And, it didn’t much matter who drove what. And I thought about how much simpler life was out here than in the city. No one was stealing anything. No one was robbing or doing drugs. No doors were locked. It was all just white males, living out their lives in this little panacea of country living.

So, we spent the day hop-scotching across the fields of central South Dakota that way. Men, armed to the teeth, with pheasant hunting gear. Wearing pheasant hunting pants, shirts, game pouches, Citori Featherweights, Benellis, Rugers, and of course my Remington 1187.

I shot every bird that came my way except for two. So, at the end of the day, I had shot 6 out of 8 that came my way. So, no one was giving me any lip about my shooting skills, and, I can tell you, shooting at flying birds can be very intimidating.

It’s not an easy sport. It’s not easy for anyone involved. The dogs are working like rented mules, doggedly chasing the birds. They’re getting tangled in barbed wire, drooling, sweating, cutting their feet.

After every field, we rest the dogs and water them, as it’s unseasonably hot. But, the dogs love it. Love it more than words can express, so that they don’t talk is no great loss. You don’t look at a black lab, standing on a pile of pheasants in the bed of a truck, nose to the wind, drooling and bleeding, and wonder if he’s happy. You know he’s happy. It transcends words. This is what they live for. It’s what they’re bred for. Trained for.

As for us, we’re all hoping we limit out. Apologizing for the roosters that got by on “our side? of the melee. Talking about things that white males talk about. Guns, dogs, trucks, crops, and how many cows died from Anthrax this year. All just nervous chatter about the central unspoken question. The question that's on everyone's mind, but no one dares to give voice to. Will we limit out? Will we ever really find the birds?

But our guide is a good one, and by the end of the day, we’ve cornered an obscene number of pheasants in a patch of milo. You can hear them in the dried out stubble of a ruined crop. It sounds like a bunch of wild boars in there stomping around, but you can’t see them. God painted them in a camouflage pattern that makes them invisible. You can hear them in there, thick as thieves, but you can’t see them. And, you’re the blocker, and the other hunters are marching slowly toward you, drawing the noose ever tighter. The adrenaline is coursing through your body as the dogs agitate the birds, building the tension to a crescendo.

Your thumb knows where the safety is. Your thumb gently caresses the safety, ready to push it through to the fire position if a rooster flies up from the field. And you’re watching the other hunters walk toward you, mentally keeping careful track of 10 other hunters and five dogs, so you won’t shoot in the wrong direction. And your mind is thinking make sure it's a rooster before you shoot and you’re standing there, riding an adrenaline rollercoaster, cause you know when that rooster fluses it's like a freight train exploding from the fields. An unmitigated acoustic explosion where the bird is suddenly arising from the stubble, as though incarnated from another world, and he’s suddenly flying right toward you. You shout out “ROOSTER!? and drop him with a single shot. And now there’s another. And another. And they’re flying from the field faster than you can reload. And people are yelling “HEN!? “ROOSTER!? “HEN!? “ROOSTER!? faster than you can process the data and the skies are filled with birds, and the birds are dropping like stones. It’s raining pheasants and the dog handlers are barking orders to the dogs “Dead Bird? and “HUNT ‘EM UP? and the dogs can’t even process the commands fast enough and then, suddenly, the guide is yelling “NO MORE? and “STOP SHOOTING? and “THAT’S THE LIMIT!? and the day is over.

The birds are stacked into an obscene pile of carnage. Beautiful birds, blasted into oblivion by shotguns, stacked in piles of avian corpses, leaking feathers in the gentle November winds. The coolers are opened, exposing chilled beers to the hunters, and we coalesce into little groups and secretly admit that we knew we’d limit out the whole time and the guides laugh and the dogs drink spring water and rest, panting, in the shade of the armada of trucks.

The men curse the democrats and chastise the tree-huggers, but there's none here, so they may as well be talking abou the Loch Ness Monster or Big Foot. And I admire how simple life is. How easy things are. In the city, there are homeless people and minorities and immigrants and liberals. But out here, the fields are a timeless stage for white males to sip light beer and kill birds with shotguns and wonder what on earth is really wrong with the world.

We take the pheasant to be cleaned by people who clean pheasant for a living and they give us little stickers that say "Just Shoot It". I ended up shooting six pheasant. The limit is 3, but as a group of 11, we shot 33 birds which is the limit. So, someone wasn’t carrying their weight, but I’m not clear who.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 11, 2005 at 5:49 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Air Force 2

Today started out like any other day. The only exception being that instead of driving into work like I normally do, I quit my job and flew to Pierre, South Dakota to go pheasant hunting.

There’s no control tower at the runway in Pierre No one tracking us in our Piper Aztec as we approach the airport. Just pilots jockeying for position in their arcane, esoteric dialogue. Brief staccato bursts of alpha-geek pilot-babble.

We break off our approach to the airport and make a low pass up the Missouri River, across the Oahe dam, and over the Oahe Reservoir. We’re searching for the place where we’ll be goose, but all we see are single-wide trailers perched precariously on the low bluffs above the reservoir. We scan for flocks of geese below, but see only a cattle egret and a couple of Canadian Geese on the Missouri below the dam that seem lost and confused.

As we turn back toward the airport at sunset on a November Thursday, the leer jets are lining up in the sky to land on runway 31. A line of glowing pearls strung from the horizon.

Vice President Cheney flew out in Air Force 2 this morning, so the airspace was reopened to private pilots. We touch down and follow the little airport monkey as he leads us to the back of the airport to tie the plane down to the tarmac for the weekend. He leads us past rows of leer jets. He’s parking us on the back of the lot, like a valet at a restaurant. He wants the nicest planes in the front, and we don’t make the cut.

It’s kind of funny because, there’s not much in Pierre. There’s only one hotel in town, the “Ramkota?. And if you want to go shopping, there’s a DakotaMart instead of Walmart. But if you want to go pheasant hunting, Pierre South Dakota is the best place in the country. If you want to go duck hunting or goose hunting, there’s lots of places to go. But for pheasant hunting, Pierre is it. Ground zero for blasting pheasants.

You can’t shoot pheasants until 10:00 a.m., so normally you hunt geese in the morning, and then switch to pheasants. But the weather is unseasonably warm, so the geese are still hanging near the Canadian border, probably waiting to clear customs.

Pheasant hunting is a genteel sport of the well heeled. You have to have dogs and a guide, or you’ll never see any birds. The fields are staked out with the precision of a well-orchestrated battle. Blockers are placed at one end of the field, and the other hunters line up abreast of each other and march through the fields toward the blockers, armed with fifty thousand dollar custom shotguns.

The dogs have their lineage tattooed on their fur, lest anyone question the bloodlines of the German Short-haired pointers and Chocolate Labrador Retrievers.

At night, the hunters return to their private hunting lodges or the Best Western “Ramkota? to relive the day’s hunt over Dewar’s, Maker’s Mark, and Crown Royal. And, Good Lord Willing, they wake up and do it again the next day.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 11, 2005 at 5:15 AM : Comments (2) | Permalink

November 9, 2005

Canon EOS 20D - Error 99

If you're like me and you shelled out a couple grand for a Canon EOS 20D and lens, I hope you have a good backup camera. Yesterday, I sent mine in for warranty repair for the 2nd time in less than a year. The ubiquitous "Err 99" message is a catch-all message for the EOS-20D. The standard cause, however, is that the lens that came with the camera won't work with camera. Funny, because it's a Canon lens and a Canon frame and I bought them as a package. So, you'd think they'd work together, but there you have it.

So now, I'm off to shoot Peasants in the Dakotas, and once again, I'm taking my backup camera, the Canon Pro-1, on the road. At least it has a 3:2 aspect ratio, but, other than that, this is a miserable little camera. Plan on using a tripod for any shots, and take a Valium before you take it out of the box. Trust me on this one. You need to be heavily medicated before you attempt to use the Pro-1, or you'll wind up killing strangers.

Will someone please remind me why I buy Canon cameras? For those of you keeping score at home, the Canons suck. They ALL suck.

Update: I sent my camera and lens back to Canon for service in November of 2005 and they fixed the problem free of charge under warranty. It is working fine now and I don't get the error message any more. It's frustrating though, because I sent the camera in for repair twice in less than a year. As it so happened, both times I was traveling out of state without my new camera, which is a major inconvenience. My suggestion is, if you buy the EOS 20D, you'd better have a good backup camera.

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Canon EOS 20D Error 99

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 9, 2005 at 9:12 PM | Permalink

Emasculated Victims Gunned Down

The latest school shooting has the liberals, once again, falling all over themselves trying to cast an inanimate object as the villian. As though a gun, of its own accord, went haywire and started killing people. And, if only we could melt all of these little steel weapons down into a pool of liquid, then all the problems of our society would surely melt away with them.

Glenn Reynold's wife, Helen, understands this.

For those of you interested in the gun debate on this issue--it has been found that boys who own legal firearms show less delinquency even then those boys who do not own guns at all. It is the boys that own illegal guns who comitt more crimes--not surprising as they have shown themselves willing to break the law already.

Greg Kuperberg doesn't get it. Greg said:

It really takes a lot of stubbornness not to see the role of guns in these incidents. "Studies have shown that most school shootings involve guns" is one of my standard comments.

Clever Greg. It takes are real head-in-the-sand not to recognize the role of disarmament in these shootings also. Disarming a group of people only creates a pool of victims. A population of people KNOWN to be disarmed. Whether it's at work, at a school, or at a post office, disarmed environments are invariably the places where shooting rampages occur. Why? Because even though the shooters are crazy, they're not stupid. No one walks into a gun show and opens fire. They don't walk into a police station and start shooting. Because they know they'd be killed. An armed society is a polite society. The only way to stop school shooting is to arm the teachers. That's the conclusion that Israel and Thailand came to and guess what? It worked. The assailants stopped walking into schools and killing children because they knew they'd confront armed opponents.

Greg is an idiot in idiot's clothing. He's an Ivy League anti-llectual. A painfully stupid person, tasked with infecting the next generation of sheeple with his liberal gun bias.

If guns were the problem, Greg, then gun shows would be the most dangerous places on Earth, and cities with gun control like D.C. and Chicago would be Utopian societies. Obviously, just the opposite is true. Inanimate objects don't cause crime, Greg, so go back to sleep. Your gun paranoia won't fly here. The internet is a place of logic and debate, not emotional paranoia and delusional ranting. That may work in your self-help seances at UCDavis in Kalifornia, but it won't get you far on the net.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 9, 2005 at 7:58 AM | Permalink

November 8, 2005

Baghdad by the Bay

San Francisco, the crown jewel of the liberal Left Coast, votes today on whether to eviscerate the 2nd Amendment and deny citizens the right to keep and bear arms. Like, what part of "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" do they not get? Can you imagine that city in the wake of a magnitude 8.4 earthquake? It would make New Orleans after Katrina look like a kindergarden playground.

Updated results of the San Francisco Proposition H initiative.

Update: Looks like the Left Coast has spoken. Predictably, those trippy, dippy, hippy, tree-huggers have voted away their right to bear arms. Appallingly stupid. San Francisco should be nuked so that it can be repopulated with rational citizens instead of limpid, protean invertebrates.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 8, 2005 at 7:50 PM : Comments (3) | Permalink

Mass Murderer Sentenced to Life in Prison

The MSM idiots couldn't get a story straight to save themselves. They're so freaking sensitive that they deliberately dance around the truth. In November of last year, this Hmong immigrant from Laos trespassed onto private property and climbed into a deer stand with his rifle. He was hunting illegally on someone else's private property. He doesn't own any land. He isn't a landowner. Also, as it turns out, the Hmong don't really believe in private property. They're communists. They think that the land belongs to everyone, and they can hunt wherever they damned well please. So, when hunters showed up that had legal rights to hunt the land, the immigrant Chai Soua Vang murdered them in cold blood.

Vang was convicted of killing Robert Crotteau, his son Joey Crotteau, Denny Drew, Allan Laski, Jessica Willers and Mark Roidt. All were relatives and friends who gathered to hunt from the Crotteaus' cabin near Exeland.

The problem is that the MSM doesn't want to offend immigrants, even if they're murdering U.S. citizens in an unprovoked bloodbath. The MSM doesn't believe that trespassing is a crime and they love immigrants, so when the story broke last year, it took me nearly two weeks to piece together what had happened from the apologists in the liberal MSM.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 8, 2005 at 6:07 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

Blow Darts - The Perfect Xmas Gift

I predict Blow Darts will be the "must have" X-mas gift for this holiday season.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 8, 2005 at 5:34 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 7, 2005

Aerial Images from Hurricane Katrina

Here's a link to some awesome aerial photos of Hurricane Katrina. Just click on the map to see the aerial photos of that particular area.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 7, 2005 at 1:30 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 6, 2005

Dog adopts baby squirrel

This is pretty funny. Apparently, a dog had a litter of puppies about the same time someone asked the dog's owner to take care of a baby squirrel. She put the baby squirrel in with the litter of puppies, and the dog raised it as her own offspring. Lots of pictures, and it's on www.snopes.com, so it checks out as true.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 6, 2005 at 5:33 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

November 5, 2005

Eco-Terrorists Close National Forests to Citizens

Aided by their pernicious allies in the MSM, the eco-terrorists are once again on the move. This time, they're closing the national forests to the very people that pay the funds necessary to maintain the forests. Predictably, the liberal Denver Post is stumbling all over themselves, steering public opinion to their view that the national forests should not be open to anyone, ever.

As the use of off-road and all-terrain vehicles tripled in recent years, there's been an alarming jump in the ecological damage done by careless drivers veering off designated roads and trails.

This is just typical Greenpeace, eco-baiting at play. It's patently and demonstrably false, but most of the voting populace are too far removed from the forests to objectively sift through the deluge of carefully orchestrated disinformation.

Let's look at the state of Colorado. At 104,100 square miles(or 66,624,000 acres), Colorado is the 8th largest state in the union. The 12 National Forests and 2 National Grasslands in the state of Colorado alone, cover over 16 million acres of land.(This page shows 16,046,266 acres, not including the Comanche National Forest.) This map may give you some idea of how much land that actually amounts to in the state.

In addition to the land set aside for National Forests and National Grasslands, there is also land under management of the BLM(Bureau of Land Management). The BLM manages approximately 8.3 million acres of land in the state.

So, the feds have a total over 24 million acres of land(24,346,266) under their control in our state. So, that's 37% of all of the total land in the state. Keep in mind that, East of the rockies, Colorado is essentially grasslands. So, it's not exactly prime real estate. Ditto for the western slopes. It's all basically high desert. The action is in the mountains, and the mountains is where the feds rule the roost. Basically, all of the mountains are under control of the feds, either as BLM or National Forests.

Then, there are the 40 Colorado State Parks, comprising over 215,000 land and water acres.

Then, there's the Jefferson County Open Space, which has purchased over 51,000 acres of land, water and facilities since 1972. The City of Boulder owns 43,000 acres. Boulder County open space has another 70,000 acres.
Denver Mountain Parks cover another 40,000 acres. Colorado Springs has 8,000 acres of parks.

So, in the end, as a state, we have roughly 25 million acres of public land to play on. And a population of a little over 4 million people. Our population density is among the lowest in the country. At41.5 people per square mile, Colorado ranks 37th out of the 50 states.

I have ridden the Forest Service roads for the last two summers. Each summer, I drove hundreds of miles across four wheel drive trails in Clear Creek County, Summit County, and Park County. Rarely would I pass more than one or two other people out riding on any given day. The exception is on big holidays like the 4th of July weekend, or Memorial Day, or possibly Labor Day, when there it is not uncommon to pass maybe 10-12 other vehicles in a day of riding.

Without exception, the other drivers that I see are obeying the law, and driving on the designated trails. I've talked to people that have been riding in the mountains for years, and they indicate that the trails have changed very little over time. There are no significant detrimental effects of off road vehicle use that I have witnessed in my extensive experience off-roading in the state.

So, my point is that, there's really not many people here, and for the people that are here, there's 25 million acres to play on. So, to say that "...there's been an alarming jump in the ecological damage done by careless drivers veering off designated roads and trails", is just patently absurd. It is demonstrably false, and I challenge the Denver Post to demonstrate that it is true.

The liberal Denver Post weighs in with another observation:

...More and more, though, our wildlife is threatened because reckless ORV use damages habitat.

Again, this is demonstrably false. I challenge the Denver Post to substantiate this allegation. I have never seen any off-road vehicles going off-trail and destroying habitat to the extent that threatened wildlife. In fact, Colorado has the largest elk population in the world. Colorado is a world-famous destination for hunting mule deer, antelope, and elk. The state is teeming with wildlife.

Most of the ATV riding I personally do is above treeline, in an area where the soil is so poor it cannot grow trees. There is no wildlife up there to speak of. Only marmots and grouse. You couldn't hit these animals with an ATV if you tried. Trust me on this one.

What the Denver Post neglects to mention, however, is that, according to the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO):

The economic contribution of OHV use in Colorado is estimated to be between $204 million and $231 million, according to the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO). These sales created between 3,100 to 3,500 part-time and full-time jobs and between $68 million and $76 million in labor income to proprietors and employees.

They also neglect to mention how the parks are funded:

Annual fees paid to use State Parks:

Hikers: $0.00
Bicycle Riders: $0.00
OHV(ATV,4WD, motorcycles,etc)(2004-2005: $1,525,000.00
OHV snowmobile revenue(1999-2000) $464,730.00
Total Revenue: $1,989,730.00

So, notice that hikers and mountain bikers contribute nothing, where as the motorized vehicles contribute approx $2,000,000.00 directly to the state coffers. So, how is it that the hikers have so much voice in closing our rode. We should be closing their trails instead. Or charging them an annual hiking pass permit.

The true goal of the Denver Post in particular, and the Main-Stream Media(MSM) in general, is to close the forests to everyone. Their immediate target is to close it to offroad use, but they won't stop there. After the forests are closed to off-road use, they'll be closed to mountain bikers, and finally hikers.

Finally, this action is tinged with racial overtones. It is well documented that off-road vehicle owners and operators are predominately white males. And the white male is the one minority that it is still considered politically correct to openly scorn, ridicule, and sleight.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 5, 2005 at 10:24 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 3, 2005

All Alito - All The Way

Normally, any time they appoint a new Supreme Court Justice, all you hear about is what church they go to and what their stance is on abortion. Those aren't really my hot buttons. How those got to be litmus tests is a mystery to me. All I really want to know about is will they let me keep my guns? As in, how do they feel about the 2nd Amendment?

Well, in Samuel Alito, Jr., we have a winner. He's argued that congress has no right to regulate the private possession of machine guns. Yes! Somone who finally understands that the government was never chartered with regulating the posession of firearms in the hands of private citizens.

This is from the Gun Owners of America(GOA), courtesy of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners(RMGO):


GOA wants to thank all of you who contacted the President recently and suggested that he appoint a strong constitutionalist like Samuel Alito, Jr., to the Supreme Court.

As you know, Judge Alito (from the Third Circuit) has a strong record in support of the Constitution. Gun Owners Foundation was involved in the Rybar machine gun case which we ultimately lost in the courts.
But Judge Alito offered a strong dissenting opinion to the majority report and argued that Congress has no right to regulate the private possession of machine guns.

The nomination of Alito is going to drive the other side crazy. Good. Judge Alito is a tremendous choice, and GOA will be asking you in the future to lobby your two U.S. Senators in favor of this pick.

In the meantime, thank the President for making such a good choice. And thank him for bypassing, once again, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as a pick for the Supreme Court.

Go Alito, go! Those liberals will be foaming at the mouth when Alito is confirmed and he sends the left coast gun control nuts packing.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 3, 2005 at 10:11 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Rootkit Revealer

I didn't know about rootkits before the recent storm of controversy surrounding Sony's admission that they're using a rootkit to hide their DRM code. So, I downloaded the Rootkit Revealer(scroll to the bottom to download the software) and ran it on my computers. My laptop was clean, but it found several problems on my desktop.

Note 1: In order to minimize false positives run RootkitRevealer on an idle system. If you have questions or problems please visit the Sysinternals RootkitRevealer Forum. More tips on limiting the number of "false positives"(FP's) encountered when running RootkitRevealer are here.

Note 2: The rootkit revealer can not be run remotely from a Remote Desktop(RDP) session. It must be run locally. If you attempt to run Rootkit Revealer through an RDP tunnel, you get the error message "RootkitRevealer must be run from the console."

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 3, 2005 at 9:19 PM | Permalink

My Son is a Heterosexual

This audio is freaking hilarious.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 3, 2005 at 9:43 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 1, 2005

iPod for Windows ME

If you have Windows Me and an iPod, well, let's just say you have issues. Serious issues. Like, maybe you should sell the iPod and buy a new PC. But, let's say you can't afford a new PC, don't have a pirated copy of Windows 2000 laying around, and someone gave you the iPod for a gift.

Although Apple doesn't offer support for any Windows environments except for XP and 2000, this web site will get your iPod up and running with Windows ME (assuming you have access to an XP computer). Plus, it supports USB (instead of FireWire), works with or without iTunes, and uses the WinAmp hack which allows you to copy files in and out of your iPod, like a USB drive.

My notes on configuring the iPod to work with Windows Me are in the extended entry.

Continue reading "iPod for Windows ME"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 1, 2005 at 6:40 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Bears in the Foothills

So today, when I was driving Jennifer to school, she casually mentioned to me that they were recently under a lockdown at school as a bear had been spotted outside. I checked with the building super, and he confirmed that a large black bear had been spotted digging through the dumpsters. He had, in fact, damaged the dumpster so badly that it had to be replaced. The company that services the dumpster spotted the bear and estimated his weight at "400-450 pounds" and said it was "as big as a grizzly". Fish and Fur came out, but were not able to find it. While I was sitting there, the police pulled up and said that they had a trap set up down behind "the station". Then, the super mentioned that the bear had returned as recently as last night, and left a calling card. So, I'm hoping they catch this thing before it eats any spurious, superfluous children. Now that I think about it, it seems somewhat odd to send kids running around in the dark with bags of sugar as the bears are fattening up for their winter hibernation. Just a thought.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 1, 2005 at 4:07 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Cheap Gas

Just plug in your zip code and it tells you which gas stations have the cheapest prices (and the highest) on gas in your zip code area. It's updated every evening.


Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 1, 2005 at 8:33 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion

"Any robot could rebel, from a toaster to a Terminator, and so it is crucial to learn the strengths and weaknesses of every robot enemy," author Daniel H. Wilson warns in "How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion."

A tip for telling whether a new acquaintance is a real person or a humanoid robot: "Does your friend smell like a brand-new soccer ball?"

Author Daniel H. Wilson has already sold the book rights and movie rights, and is now working on his next book "Where's My Jetpack?" on scientific predictions for the future that never panned out.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 1, 2005 at 2:18 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

The Julian Simon Effect

It was a tenet of the late great economist Julian Simon that we'll never run out of any commodity. That's because before we do the increasing scarcity of that resource will drive up the price and force us to adopt alternatives. For example, as firewood grew scarce people turned to coal, and as the whale oil supply dwindled 'twas petroleum that saved the whales.

Now we're told we're running out of petroleum. The "proof" is the high prices at the pump. In fact, oil cost about 50% more per barrel in 1979-80 than now when adjusted for inflation. Yet it's also true that industrializing nations like China and India are making serious demands on the world's ability to provide oil and are driving prices up. So is this the beginning of the end?

Nope. The Julian Simon effect is already occurring.

Apparently, there are trillions of barrels of proven reserves of Oil Sands (or Oil Shale). Way more oil than all of Saudi Arabia. You can read the whole article here.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 1, 2005 at 1:40 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink