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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #126 - Panthers, Po-Po, and the Pew-Pew Life

It's the pew-pew life for us!
Guns are civil rights for us!
Steada resting, we fight back!
Nearly all our guns are black!
It's the pew-pew life!
  • Beth is going to the SHOT Show. Since she started attending in 2000, some things have changed... and some have not.
  • We all love a story with a happy ending, and this one will not disappoint you. But what sort of person ties up a woman in her own bedroom during a home invasion? Sean tells you what he's found.
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • In the Main Topic, Sean and Erin read and explain the newly introduced National Concealed Carry Reciprocity bill.
  • What are the dark, secret parts of Gun Control? Tiffany gets her Black Panther Party on and tells us what she's found.
  • Does the idea of flushing the toilet during an emergency by pouring good clean drinking water into it feel like sacrificing your baby? Erin tells us how the Blue-Grey-Black water cycle can help.
  • There's a new "threat" to our gun rights. Are they dangerous, or just a paper tiger? Weer'd takes a recent NPR interview with their spokesman and puts it all in context.
  • And our plug of the week is for "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries" on Netflix. It's got guns, action, and adventure for the guys, and costumes, relationships, and not a small amount of wish fulfillment for the ladies. It's a date night TV show for everyone.
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and now on Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks to LuckyGunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

Blue Collar Prepping Transcript:
the Blue - Gray - Black Water Cycle
Last week, Sean and I talked about the preparations he’d made for the Snowpocalypse that was slated to hit North Carolina, and later on Facebook he posted a picture of his bathtub full of water jugs.  He captioned it it “This is about 40 gallons, or three flushes of the toilet” and then in the comments explained “During the power outage from the hurricane I had to pour water into the toilet to make it flush the poo. The Wife insisted. Each flush was 2.5 gallons. It was like sacrificing a baby watching all that water I'd driven to Walmart to get going down the toilet.”

And I agree, using 2 and a half gallons of fresh drinking water to flush the toilet is wasteful. So let’s talk about making the most out of our drinking water by utilizing the Blue - Gray - Black Water Cycle.
  • Blue water -- also sometimes called white water, but that makes me think of rapids -- is water fit for human consumption. The technical term for this is “potable”, and it’s what you drink and cook with and bathe in and usually what you wash your clothes in. 
  • Gray water is what goes down the drain. It’s not drinkable, because it’s soiled with things like dirt, soap, bits of food, hair, shampoo, skin cells, and so forth, but it’s not harmful to a human being. You could bathe in gray water without ill effects. 
  • Black water is what leaves your toilet, and it’s decidedly NOT safe to be exposed to, because it’s full of pathogens that are just waiting to infect you if they get past your skin. 

So the general thought behind this cycle is that you can use water more than once, going from levels of highest potability to lowest, if you are in a situation like Sean where your water resources are limited.

Here’s an example of how that would work in a limited-water emergency:
  1. When preparing food or washing yourself or your clothes, do not pour the water down the sink. Instead, catch it in a container of some kind. The blue water has become gray. 
    • If you REALLY want to ration water, wash your clothes and your dirty dishes in the gray water. I would caution you that the grease and other food elements might not be the best for your clothes, but it’s possible. Washing dishes and utensils in gray water isn’t as bad, since metals and ceramic aren’t going to absorb odors, but make sure that 1) you use lots of soap and 2) you rinse them with blue water before putting them away for reuse.
    • Depending on the soap and other elements in the gray water, you might be able to use it for watering plants. In fact, graywater irrigation is a rabbit hole that is outside the scope of this article, so I’m going to suggest that anyone who is interested should check out the article titled “How Gray Water Reclamation Works” in the show notes. 
    • For our example here, though, we’re just going to assume that you aren’t going to do that. Instead, you save that graywater for flushing the toilet.
  2. Now it must said that when it comes to conserving water, the “If it’s yellow, let it mellow” rule must be in effect. Otherwise, you’re going to be flushing a lot more often, which is exactly what we want to avoid.
  3. When it comes time to “flush it down, because it’s brown”, you take your bucket or tub or whatever container of gray water you have and you pour about a gallon of it, quickly, from about two feet. You don’t want it so high that you get splashed, but you want it high enough that the water gets a gravity assist.
  4. Past a certain point, the pressure of water in the bowl will be greater than the air pressure in the pipes beyond, and the force will induce a flush. There’s a YouTube video in the show notes if you need a demonstration.
  5. After you pour the gray water into the toilet, it becomes black water -- and because you’ve caused it to flush, that black water is no longer your concern.
Now before you decide to start saving your gray water for flushing, you need to know that gray water becomes black water within about 24 hours due to the bacteria in the water eating the food and giving off their own waste. So don’t let it become a health hazard and flush it away.

But with that in mind, Sean and everyone else can be a lot happier if the water goes out during a winter storm, because 1 gallon of gray water is a lot less heartwrenching to flush than 2.5 gallons of blue water.

And if you’d like to read more about getting by on limited water, check out the linked article of the same name on Blue Collar prepping, linked in the show notes.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Calm Request: Please Quit Posting Piss Jokes

I tried for hours yesterday and today to put together some intelligible article out of this current mess.

I can't do it.

A few months ago, there was Pizzagate, which originated from the Podesta emails and was based on Podesta being one weird son of a bitch when it came to his emails. It was allegedly a conspiracy that there was an underground child trafficking ring being run out of a pizza parlor in DC -- and only hardcore conspiracy theorists believed it. It was immediately debunked and dismissed outright by the media and the public at large, if they even heard about it at all.

Now there's a conspiracy theory that Trump paid prostitutes to pee on a bed that the Obamas slept in at a hotel in Russia... the source of which is an intelligence report that 4chan claims to have fed through dummy accounts to the GOP, but who knows how legit that claim is. Buzzfeed picked it up and ran with it, while other outlets are looking at them funny. And yet...
And yet my social media feed is full of people making piss jokes. Look, you can post whatever you want, and you can call me kink-shaming if you want, but when my entire feed is full of people making golden shower jokes, I'm a little grossed out. And if you cling to this conspiracy when even MSNBC is telling Buzzfeed to their face that they're wrong for publishing it, you've gotta think twice about it. Or, you know, don't, and just keep making disgusting piss jokes. For people who hate Donald Trump so much, you sure seem intent on flooding my feed with his face.

This is doubly disappointing when you consider that a few months ago Buzzfeed News actually put out a few stories that were proper journalism. Guess it was too hard for them.

Am I saying for sure that either of these did or didn't happen? No. They could have. I don't know. I know for sure that child trafficking rings exist amongst the rich and powerful, and I know for sure that rich and powerful people can be into some kinky stuff. But that's not what's important here.

What's important is not talking about pee on my news feed. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My Highlander Theory

This came up in a post on someone else's wall, and I figured it belonged here on my blog alongside my equally-cool "Crowlander" post.

I have a theory that Highlander-style immortals are outcast angels. Allow me explain:
According to the Bible, when Lucifer rebelled a third of the Host came with him -- but 1/3 against 2/3 is not a winnable fight. However, in some tellings of the story (and I wish I could remember where I read this. It might be a Neil Gaiman thing, it sounds like something he'd say), 1/3 of the Host couldn't decide who to support, or were persuaded by Lucifer to stay neutral, and so stayed out of the fight. This made the rebellion an even match for the loyalists, and thus far more winnable.

Well, we know how that story goes: Lucifer lost, and he and his minions were cast into hell. But what about the third who did nothing?

According to my theory, they were punished for not choosing to stand with God, but since they didn't actively rebel against God, their punishment needed to be less than everlasting damnation. Since they did not choose a side -- and since the one of the biggest themes in the Bible is "Free will, even if you choose to do the wrong thing" -- this undecided third would be made to choose good or evil, Heaven or Hell. 

To this end, they were stripped of most of their angelic powers, cast out of Heaven and sent to Earth in mortal bodies (remember, all immortals are foundlings) with no memories of ever being angels. The various ages of immortals, and their appearance throughout the ages,  can be explained by "Time is different in Heaven so it took some of them a while to arrive and in fact are still arriving" and/or "God didn't want to dump a third of the Host onto Earth all at once, so he spread them out."

So now, those angels who once stood by and passively watched are now watched by others (ironically called "The Watchers"),  and are compelled by their natures to fight and kill until There Is Only One.

The Prize, of course, is the entire fate of the outcast third. After winning the Prize, the last living immortal is judged by his character, and thereby redeems or damns the entire lot of them. It is effectively an eons-long Trial By Combat. If a good immortal like Connor or Duncan wins, they are accepted back into heaven. If someone like the Kurgan wins, they're damned to hell for all eternity.

When you think about it, this explains so much about Highlander mythology.
  • Why can't they fight on Holy Ground?  Because God said so. 
  • Why do 99% of them use swords? Because angels have traditionally been depicted as using swords. 
  • Why does the Quickening manifest as lightning and other celestial effects? Because sky = Heaven. 
  • Heck, this even explains Dark Quickenings: the entire Game is "Choose good or evil", and a Quickening is the absorption of all the angelic souls into one big over-soul. If you kill a lot of bad immortals, you absorb sin-tainted souls and become tainted yourself. 
The best part about this theory is that if you play supernatural RPGs like In Nomine or Vampire, you have a way to add immortals to the game without breaking the flavor of the setting. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #125 - Forbidden Thoughts, Lack of Sleep, and Voicemails

It sounds sinister when we put it like that, but anything can seem threatening if it's written tersely. Example: "The last gun owner on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock at the door..."
  • Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens have nothing on the Glock 43 and Springfield XD-S for Beth and her husband. What else are their favorite things? Listen to her segment to find out. 
  • What kind of idiot robs his neighbor who is sure to recognize him? Sean takes a closer look.
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • In the Main Topic, Sean and Erin get a voicemail from Joshua in Arizona challenging our listeners to set their goals for 2017. What are YOUR goals? Send us your voicemails and we'll play them.
  • Tiffany  is on assignment and will return next wee, but in the meantime check out her guest appearance on Ballistic Radio. 
  • Fatigued? Erin has some tips for you.... when she wakes up.
  • "Loaded Conversations" is back and they've let the hate come out to play. Weer'd is ready with his Patented Weer'd Audio Fisk™.
  • And our plug of the week is for the ebook "Forbidden Thoughts". 

Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and now on Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks to LuckyGunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms
Policy Coalition for their support.

Blue Collar Prepping Transcript:
Like I mentioned at the top of the show, I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night and right now I feel like a member of the Walking Dead. However, in a disaster or emergency situation, you may not be able to sleep well either, and odds are good that you’ll have to be functional the next day. 

These are the tips and tricks I’ve learned regarding how to get to sleep at night in strange or uncomfortable environments, and how to compensate the next day for not being able to sleep the night before. 

In order to get a good night’s sleep, you need to have as few distractions as possible -- but post SHTF you might not have the luxury of a quiet bedroom. Provided it’s safe for you to do so, soft plugs in your ears -- the squishy kind, like you see at shooting ranges -- will mute most noises, and a bandana or shemagh across your eyes will cut out most bright lights. I slept like this in college for many years. 

Eating right before going to bed may be terrible for your weight, but it’s a great way to fall asleep. The sensation of being full is a great tranquilizer, as we can all attest from eating Thanksgiving dinner, and the heat from your body digesting the food also helps to warm your sleeping bag. 
If cold weather is keeping you from sleeping, a nalgene or metal bottle filled with hot water and brought into your sleeping bag can also serve to keep you warm at night. 

But if you still couldn’t sleep and have to be up and working like a normal human being the next day, there are still preps that will help with this. I of course am a big fan of coffee as my caffeine delivery system of choice, and I talked about this in episode 31. Other people prefer tea, which is actually easier to carry in a bug out bag and easier to make. But if you aren’t able to make a hot, caffeinated drink at breakfast -- you don’t have the time, or it isn’t prudent to make a fire, then caffeine pills are your friend. 

I think most of us flirted with No-Doz in college or the military, but I discovered a similar product  on Amazon called “Jet Alert”. I haven’t tried it -- yet -- but a box of them costs around $6. That’s half the price of No-Doz, and you get a great quantity for your money: a box of 100 mg regular strength pills has a count of 120, and the double strength box has a count of 90, compared to No-Doz’s count of 60 per box. Those are good savings, and the brand has a good reputation on Amazon, so look into getting some for your bug-out bags. 

Also, using checklists -- discussed in episode 65 -- are a great way to get work done even if my brain isn’t fully engaged. Following a list reduces the amount of horrible thinking that I have to do when I’m tired, but it keeps me productive. If you’re in a disaster situation and you expect to be fatigued the next day, before you go to bed write down a list of all the things you’ll need to do in the morning. Just the simple act of making a list can help people sleep better because it’s one less thing to worry about, and then the following day you can just read the instructions to yourself instead of having to go “Now, what was I supposed to do today?”

Finally, it’s been my experience that fatigue from lack of sleep mirrors a hangover in a lot of ways, so I treat it similarly. I drink a lot of water when I wake up, then I force myself to do some mild exercise -- walking, stretches, etc -- in the sunlight. My body hates it and wants to crawl into a dark place and sleep more, but the sunlight helps wake me up and the exercise releases some endorphins that make me feel somewhat better. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Because I don't like leaving good material on Facebook

"Racist, Bush's fault" has been replaced with "Racist, Trump's fault." Please update your self-flagellexicon accordingly.

(Yes, I coined the term "flagellexicon". You may use it in your personal dealings; just credit me if asked.)

This is just a friendly reminder that it's not politically correct to misgender people while insulting them. The proper terms of deploring are:
  • Shitlord (male)
  • Shitlady (female)
  • Shitperson (gender neutral)
If you wish to indicate a teenager/young adult, you may use
  • Shitlad (male)
  • Shitlass (female)
  • Shitteen & Shittwenty (neutral)

Thank you for your cooperation.

Shitlady Erin Palette

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Disappointing Decision, and a Further Disappointing Development

I love a good documentary. Documentaries are great things to me, taking a subject that might otherwise be dull reading, spicing it up with a little drama and cinematography that helps you stay focused on learning about a subject you might otherwise not find interesting, and giving you a little thrill on subjects that you do. YouTube is chock full of them, with a lot of documentary filmmakers or license-holders not being very strident with copyright enforcement, perhaps due to laziness or a desire for the subject matter to be discussed rather than the work protected legally. This works out in my favour, as I've seen some rather interesting ones on the creator of Reddit, the A-10 Thunderbolt II, Christopher Hitchens' flaying of Mother Theresa, and Louis Theroux's series on the Westboro Baptist Church.

This is why I reacted with great trepidation when I read an announcement that A&E would be funding a documentary about the Ku Klux Klan. The KKK is a controversial subject, as it's always been. Personally I see no reason for them to exist, and plenty of reasons for them not, especially in [current_year+1], but then I'm a Lefty and I do believe there are things such as harmful speech -- although where I draw that line is probably much, much further away than a lot of modern Lefties.

I also believe that bad ideas should not be silenced or legislated away. You don't get rid of bad ideas that way; you just drive them underground where they can spread without being seen. There's truth in the adage, "Sunlight is the best antiseptic":  expose bad ideas, study them, and ridicule them if necessary.  Otherwise, you'll never have a defense against those ideas if you drive them into hiding and leave yourself ignorant to their nuances. This is why the modern Left has lost all political power, and all the branches of government are held by the Right. The modern Left has spent a lot of time in the past decade attempting to silence wrong-think.

This is why there are a lot of us now on the Left who spend so much time ridiculing the modern Left. I'm sorry, but the anti-social-justice movement was not started by the vaunted boogeymen of the Alt-Right. It started with the Left, and it's still strongest in the Left.

I had a 'discussion' on social media with a progressive friend regarding the KKK documentary. She found the idea of exploring the topic disgusting, while I was excited at the prospect. I argued that a documentary series regarding the modern KKK was a good thing, because we'd learn more about the way they think, their viewpoints, and the reasoning behind why they're a part of the organization --all of which are absolutely vital things if you want to be able to put together a defense that's more than just REEEEEEE RACIST. You can't dismantle an argument if you don't understand that argument, and you won't understand the argument by placing it in a little box and hiding it from sight.

Then the documentary was cancelled. I was genuinely disappointed, because I want so-called 'bad ideas' explored. I want things dragged out into the light, exposed, examined, with any good things acknowledged and saved, and any harmful things to be treated appropriately and with caution.

And then I found out why it was cancelled: the production company that was making the documentary was allegedly bribing people on the show to create conflict for dramatic effect (and not just bribing; the documentary subjects were given, or at least offered, cash bribes large enough that the recipients were advised not to pay taxes on them), given instruction on things to say while the cameras were on them, and told to use racial slurs in conversation where they wouldn't naturally happen.

The producers allegedly went so far as to even stage a cross burning with This Is Just A Test, the production company behind a potentially educational documentary series, dummying up one for dramatic effect. As a result, instead of exploring some potentially (and historically) harmful ideas, we come away with the idea that maybe the KKK isn't as bad as we thought it was, or at least not as bad as it used to be, because the production company wanted to fake the bad stuff instead of showing what was really going on. And we'll never fully know what's really going on, because drama and incitement were more important to the producers than the truth.

Is the KKK truly so harmless that we can't focus on their actual flaws and historical atrocities and have to fabricate new ones to justify continued fear? Whether or not that take-away is true, it's going to be there, bubbling just under the surface, because of irresponsible propagandists. This makes me genuinely mad -- mad at This Is Just A Test, mad at A&E, and mad at anyone who gave an enormous knee-jerk fear response to the sheer prospect of giving airtime an organization that's barely a shadow of its once-powerful status.

Love may very well trump hate, but fear trumps knowledge every single time. You can't be afraid to look at what you disagree with. You won't necessarily turn into a monster if you study them, but you'll definitely be able to give a stronger rebuttal to their ideas if you do, and that's what we've lost because of social backlash and a dishonest production company, and I can't forgive that.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Erin's Pull-Up Progress
I mentioned on Sunday's podcast that one of my New Year's Resolutions was to be able to do a single pull-up. To that end, I purchased the Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar.

Of course, just having the bar won't magically enable me to do a pull-up: I still need to work at it, and right now I can barely lift myself off the ground. I was referred to this YouTube video which shows an easy way to build up to doing a pull-up via what is basically a reverse pull-up: climb on a chair, grab the bar, walk off the chair, and lower myself down. This resistance should build up my muscles until I can do one the proper way.

My pull-up bar arrived on Sunday, so I started my regimen on Monday. Here's what happened:
  • My first set of 8 reps was okay, although I was coming down faster than I would have liked. 
  • The second set hurt, because I'm weak. 
  • The third set HURT. As in, "I feel like I am actually tearing something because I am coming down too quickly," and so I stopped after doing only 4 reps. 
I was glad that I stopped when I did, because Tuesday I was stiff, but not actually sore -- just kind of "uncomfortable swollen feelings in the muscles and reduced range of motion." I rested, did a lot of stretching (Protip: reaching up,  grabbing the bar, and just hanging from it is an awesome way to stretch out your upper body muscles), and by the end of the day I was feeling better. 

Today is Wednesday. I climbed up on the chair, grabbed the bar, tensed to walk the plank.. and my arms said "Nope." They were weak and sore, and basically offered no resistance against gravity. 

I didn't see any gain in climbing a chair and basically falling off it and jerking my arms, so I tried a modified version:
  • I put a stool between me and the pull up bar. 
  • I grabbed the bar and, while lifting as much as I could, I stepped onto the stool. 
  • I went to my tiptoes, still lifting with my arms. 
  • Then I slowly stepped off the stool, keeping the tension in my arms to give some resistance against gravity. 
So if Scooby's version is a "reverse pull-up", then I don't know what to call this -- a subverted lame-ass pull-up? -- but the fact of the matter is that the burning in my arms tells me I'm actually exercising, but I'm doing it at a pace which is healthy and safe for my body. Maybe by Friday my arms will feel good enough to try another few sets of reverse pull-ups. If so, great; if not, I'll continue with the subversions. 

It's gonna be a long, tough road to that first pull-up. 

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