Tuesday, February 28, 2017

For Immediate Release: Erin Palette to speak at March 4 meeting of Maryland Shall Issue

This is something else that has been in the works for a while and is finally official. It may not come as a surprise to you, but I am astounded that not only do people want to hear me speak, but that they're also willing to fly me up to their state to give a presentation.

The meeting is at the Elks Club of Annapolis (2 Pythian Dr, Edgewater, MD 21037), my presentation begins at 1:30 pm, and there is no cost to attend, even if you are not a member of Maryland Shall Issue. The topic of my speech will be Operation Blazing Sword, and there will be a short Q&A session to follow.

I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Support Operation Blazing Sword via Amazon

This has been a busy week for OBS, and I hope it's a harbinger of good things to come.

In fact, I'm about to disappear for the rest of the week to attend a MAG40 class -- not only for my own education, but also to determine if it will be suitable for LGBTQ students. (I'm certain it will, but I can't say with authority if I haven't given it a try, now can I?)

But before I go, I wanted to let you know about the most recent development with OBS:  we are now registered with Amazon Smile, meaning that you can support our organization just by purchasing things online.

$10K for 2A

What is 10K for 2A? If you're a regular listener of the GunBlog VarietyCast, you should already know. If you aren't, well, just listen to this clip:

For those readers who don't have the patience to listen to a video, the idea is that Sean wants to attend the Gun Rights Policy Conference 2017 in Dallas, TX but can't afford the cost of the trip. So much like we did last year, where we promised that if folks donated money for the hotel room, plane ticket for Sean and gas money for me that Sean would wear a purple pony shirt for the entirety of the conference, we're doing the same thing -- but on a much larger scale.

By "much larger scale", we mean that if we can raise $10,000 plus trip expenses, then in exchange for attending:
  1. Sean will dress as "the love child of Pinkie Pie and the Joker", to use his own words;
  2. That $10K will be donated evenly among pro-gun rights organizations. 
So that covers what's in the video. Here are the new and newsworthy developments:

My way to GPRC 2017 is already paid 
Now that I'm Diversity Outreach Coordinator for Florida Carry, they have said they will pay for my flight and hotel room. This means that the expenses have already been reduced.

Your 10K for 2A donation is tax-deductible
Operation Blazing Sword will be accepting the donations, and everything after expenses will be donated to various state and nationwide gun-rights organizations. Because OBS is a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible charity founded to advance gun education and gun rights, it's perfectly legal to donate to us with the understanding that we can donate to other pro-gun right charities and/or nonprofits so long as they aren't PACs or lobby groups. Clearly, OBS is going to keep some of the donations, because it's a pro-gun rights charity, but it won't keep all of it.

Obligatory legal statement: "Funds raised in excess of expenses needed to get Sean Sorrentino to Gun Rights Policy Conference 2017 will be utilized by Operation Blazing Sword to further firearm education and firearm rights, which may include specific national or state-level firearms civil rights organizations, but until we have definitive understandings with those organizations our lawyer advises us to state that Operation Blazing Sword will distribute the funds to one or more reputable and charitable firearms civil-rights organizations as determined by the Operation Blazing Sword Board of Directors.”

Donations can be sent here
  • If you wish to donate online, use our PayPal link: paypal.me/OpBlazingSword
  • If you wish to send a check, please mail it to
    Operation Blazing Sword, Inc
    800 Belle Terre Parkway 200-302
    Palm Coast, FL 32164
Designate your donations "for 10K for 2A
If you don't, we'll just assume this was a standard donation to Operation Blazing Sword, which will help us but won't count toward Sean's total. 

If you donate to 10K for 2A, you consent to us sending your donation elsewhere
I'm sure this is a big "duh" to everyone who has been reading, but I need to state it explicitly for legal purposes.

If we don't meet our $10K goal
Sean doesn't get to attend GRPC 2017, and whatever has been donated under the 10K for 2A banner will be divided up (some will be kept by OBS, see above) and sent to various national and state-level charities and nonprofits. 

TL;DR Version
  1. Donate money to humiliate Sean Sorrentino. 
  2. Deduct your donation from next year's taxes. 
  3. If enough money is raised, Sean dresses up for GRPC. 
  4. Either way, your donation go to further gun rights and education. 
It's a win for everyone (except maybe Sean). 

Monday, February 20, 2017

For Immediate Release: Florida Carry Partners with Operation Blazing Sword

I'm immensely pleased to be the Diversity Outreach Coordinator for Florida Carry. Everyone wins: Operation Blazing Sword increases the range and and strength of its message, and Florida Carry gains new members. The growth of both organizations can only help Second Amendment rights in Florida.

A PDF for printing purposes is here.
Florida Carry's similar yet slightly different press release is here.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #131 - Loaded Conversations with Sanford Man

For once, Florida Man had the day off.
  • Beth is on assignment -- at Gunsite Academy! But she stops shooting long enough to send us a report.
  • Happily for Florida, the Sanford Man who shot someone to death is from Sanford, NC and not Sanford, FL. Sean tells us more about him.
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • In the Main Topic, Sean and Erin discuss why Conservatives are from Mars and Liberals are from Venus. Or why their love languages are different. Or something like that.
  • Minorities with guns!!!eleventy!.. but Tiffany says to calm down. Actually, she says a lot of things, but mainly she says that this is a good thing.
  • Do you have to carry a gun out of state? Erin tells you what you need to know
  • Weer'd takes some audio clips from the first three "Loaded Live" podcasts to show you how much these anti-gunners hate you.
  • And our plugs of the week are for our state level gun rights organizations.
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:

Preparing to Carry Out of State
As I mentioned in the introduction, next month I am visiting Maryland, which doesn’t recognize my concealed carry permit. Because of that, I’m not going to be carrying a firearm during my visit, and it’s a testament to my commitment to the cause that I’m willing to break my rule of never visiting a state that doesn't respect my right to armed self-defense.

But this got me to thinking about all the rules needed to transport carry pistols between states, and because each state’s laws are slightly different, preppers with guns need to be ready for them.

The easiest, most convenient method I’ve found to keep on top of each state’s legal hurdles are through smartphone apps. Legal Heat, available from both iTunes and the Google Play store, is my favorite because it has a very clean, very quick interface that shows me at a glance what the gun laws are in each state -- be they concealed carry, open carry, restricted areas, if signs have legal weight, that kind of thing.

If you’re an Android user, I absolutely recommend it; but if you’re an Apple user, I can’t; what used to be a 99 cent app (and still is on Google Play) is now a yearly subscription for 2 dollars.

If you want a more robust app -- or if you have an iPhone but don’t want to pay a subscription -- I recommend “CCW Concealed Carry 50 State”. It too is $1.99, but it’s a one-time payment instead of a subcription, It has a lot more information, such as a map of which states recognize your permit, if a state has a Duty to Inform law, and a location button which uses your phone’s GPS to find shooting ranges, gun stores, and so forth.

Both apps have information on how to transport firearms across a restricted state in a vehicle, which can be reduced to 6 key points:
  1. You must be travelling FROM a place where you can lawfully possess the firearm TO a place where you can lawfully possess it. 
  2. It must be unloaded. 
  3. Ammunition must be stored separate container from the firearm -- in other words, don’t just drop the magazine and put it next to the firearm. You might be okay with keeping the ammunition in the box you bought it in, but I wouldn’t risk that; I would actually keep the ammunition in an entirely separate and secured container. More on that later. 
  4. Both the ammunition and the firearm cannot be readily accessible from the passenger compartment -- so if you can, keep them in the trunk. If not…
  5. … LOCK the firearm in a hard-sided case and place it as far from you as possible. Please note that the glove compartment or center console does not count as a hard-sided case in this regard. For pistols, I recommend the NV200 Nanovault, a lockable metal box that will hold a full-sized 1911 and only costs $35 on Amazon. For long guns, get a hard case and lock them with a padlock.
  6. Your transport through the state must be continuous and uninterrupted. In other words, “Don’t be a tourist”. It’s unclear to me if stopping to eat is all right, but I sure wouldn’t risk it.*
Post-podcast addendum from my friend Benjamin M. Blatt, Attorney at Law:
Okay, so a few things here.

First the law, the 1986 FOPA, is mostly relevant when used as an affirmative defense. In other words, in states like NJ, NY. or IL, you ARE likely to be arrested, regardless of compliance.

One way to avoid that is to have, in addition to compliant storage, a copy of the 922 sections enacted by the 1986 FOPA, your valid issued carry license/ permit, and where and when applicable, a copy of any registration paperwork.

In general, the federal case law has held that stops incidental to the trip ARE covered by FOPA. - Gas, picking up or dropping off passengers, stopping to eat (briefly - I'd advise against stopping for a 4-course meal just because you're near a 5-star restaurant on your journey), are all considered incidental and are generally protected, though the question may not be answered until you've already been charged.That said, stops NOT incidental ARE not covered. - Swinging by an old friend's house or visiting a girlfriend for a few days, or even getting off the interstate to check out a local brewery, are all outside the FOPA protection.

Now, on to the really sticky one - overnights - The issue of overnights has never firmly been decided upon to a sufficient extent at any higher court level. As such, it is usually a question determined by a state trial or appellate court interpreting federal law as applied to their state's own laws, or by a federal district judge, based on the nature of the criminal charges against you.

If you MUST stay overnight as part of a journey, be prepared to strongly demonstrate that the reason for the stay was to rest in order to be sufficiently alert to travel the next day. Included in that argument for better or worse, is probably going to be some explanation for why you could not power through to cross the border in a non-ban state, because FOPA aside, in many states, so long as the firearm remains secured mere possession by an out of state resident who is not sufficiently permitted is still going to be acceptable. It's states and areas like IL, NJ, NY, and D.C. where non-stop becomes the serious concern.

Staying with family or friends simply because they're in the area is probably not going to be a strong enough argument before a judge on such a contentiously determined issue.

And in any case, make your overnight stay as brief as possible - don't extend it to a morning tourist excursion. - sleep, shower, use the head, grab a light breakfast and vamoose.

Finally, I didn't really mention CA because it would be next to impossible to have a FOPA transit reason through that state, and it's also worth noting that many of the hard ban states, such as MA, NJ, and NY also have strict local municipality statutes to worry about as well as state and local ammunition type and magazine restrictions, the latter two of which are generally applied regardless of FOPA compliance. In other words, even if otherwise travelling under FOPA to the letter. Check the state and local laws on your trip map, and leave the standard capacity and extended magazines, and maybe even hollow point rounds, behind.
If you’re curious about transporting a firearm on an airline flight, I refer you to a post I wrote back in 2014 titled “Travelling With a Gun”, linked in the show notes. There are lots of good pictures in that post.

Also, remember that even if you can’t carry a concealed pistol you may be able to carry a knife. KnifeUp.com has a list of knife laws by state, and there’s even a knife law app you can get -- $1.99 for Android or Apple -- which breaks down knife laws by state and sometimes even by city.

Finally, remember that apps are not considered legal advice, so consult a lawyer if you have any doubts or encounters with the police.

Legal Heat:
CCW - Concealed Carry 50 State ($1.99):
Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms - https://www.nraila.org/articles/20150101/guide-to-the-interstate-transportation

GunVault NV200 NanoVault - http://amzn.to/2kDldyb

Flying With a Gun http://lurkingrhythmically.blogspot.com/2014/05/monday-gunday-travelling-with-gun.html

Knife Laws by State - http://www.knifeup.com/knife-laws/

Knife Rights LegalBlade ($1.99):

Saturday, February 18, 2017

SHTFriday: Cheap Char Rope

I was so proud of myself for actually having the time and ability and material to make a Blue Collar Prepping post on Friday that I completely forgot to post a link to it until just now.

So go read and pretend it's still Friday.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Creamy White Supremacy

Justice has jumped the shark.

In the last few months, I've seen a green cartoon frog declared a hate symbol by the ADL and a conspiracy about a purple bird facebook sticker being touted as the next big symbol of hate.

This, though.. this takes the cake.
@Hatewatch, of course, is run by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has been struggling to keep itself relevant to anyone on the right of Stalin for the last decade or so, and they're linking to Mic.com, who certainly has no political bias. None at all. Whatsoever.

Their research on this is a bait thread on 4chan, in which the denizens of /b/ set a trap that involves explaining how lactose tolerance is exclusive to the white race, which is backed up by alleged neo-Nazis drinking milk during Shia Lebouf's #HeWillNotDivideUs stream, which (ironically enough) was divided first by metal barriers and then by the Museum of the Moving Image after Shia was arrested for assaulting someone on the stream. Mic even tries to link it to the Nazi officer in Inglorious Bastards and the gang from A Clockwork Orange (conveniently ignoring that the ACO gang a) had Russian influence, b) were anarchists, and c) the milk was laced with drugs).

This just makes me so tired. I'm trying so hard to write something here that doesn't just devolved into incoherent screeching, but these are voices that so many people are listening to, and they're telling us that the greatest threats to humanity involve a cartoon frog, a Facebook sticker, and dairy products.

Being only 3/4 white, I am mostly lactose-intolerant (pizza has recently been introduced into my diet, with light cheese and minimal consequences). I guess, by this logic, I am not white, am not a Nazi, and therefore am safe from punching (for the time being).

I guess what I'm trying to say here is knock it off. Stop being ridiculous. If you're going to set yourself up as an expert on extremists, then try harder to realize when you're being trolled.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

And then this happened

Palette Ponders: Identity Politics

I originally started this last week and it's blossomed into a monster, so I think I'm better off splitting this up into chapters instead of a single massive post. 

Last Friday, a question popped into my mind: Is Second Amendment activism a form of identity politics? I did not have a ready answer for this, and it troubled me deeply because I loathe identity politics (hereafter IDP) and consider it a scourge upon the political landscape. To answer my question, and to set myself at ease, I started asking questions and doing research, and in the end I learned a lot about my beliefs.

Before I could address that question, I had to make sure I knew the terminology, and I'm going to share that information with you.

What Is Identity Politics?
Put simply -- because if I don't put it simply, I'll be in the conversational weeds all day -- identity politics is the promotion of political beliefs that benefit a shared characteristic like race, biological sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, social class etc. Benefit is the key word, so far as I can see, because the entire idea behind IDP is to advance the cause of the concrete identity rather than political abstractions like those espoused by the parties.

Example: "Justice for LGBTQ Americans" is identity politics; "Justice for all Americans" is not.

A key point of IDP is a concept known as intersectionality, which is another rabbit hole but can be summarized as "being a black woman is more than simply being black and being a woman; the two conditions overlap and reinforce each other." While this certainly makes sense -- if you're a black man, you don't necessarily understand what it's like to be a black woman -- the problem with intersectionality is that it fosters a sense of exclusivity, i.e. "You can't possibly relate to our problems without being one of us."

In fact, exclusion seems to be at the heart of IDP: if your identity is based upon being a member of group X, then anyone not a member of group X is viewed as an outsider at best, an enemy at worst, and usually seen as someone who "just doesn't understand the struggle." As you can imagine, this makes it difficult to acquire allies, because no one wants to be told "You're just too... YOU... to understand what it's like to be me, and  if you don't understand then you have no stake in our fight." The concepts of sympathy and empathy take a back seat to identity.

To quote a friend of mine, Identity short-circuits ideology, because ideology is abstract while identity is primal and immanent. Questions of ideology can only be settled when no major questions of identity are pressing. 

This struggle of identity vs. ideology is a major source of political tension today, as I'll explore in later posts.

Next: Is Gun Rights Activism a form of Identity Politics?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Traveller Tuesday: the Potato Sack Principle

Yes, it's Monday. I feel like writing this today because tomorrow is slated for a complex piece that I've been working on since last week and I don't want to break my flow.

So deal with it. It's Tuesday somewhere.
My use of Traveller setting and dress falls under
fair use guidelines for both Mongoose and Far Future Enterprises.
The Potato Sack Principle, as put forth by Karr Tsonka, Esq., states that "To claim the Rite of Assassination, the assassin in question must, at the very least, be more deadly and do more to end the Emperor's life than a sack of potatoes."

I shall explain.

For those who don't feel like following the link, the Rite of Assassination in Traveller is "an archaic Imperial law providing for leadership succession according to the dictates of power politics."
Although the rite of assassination has fallen into disuse, it is generally agreed that for the method to be a valid route to the Iridium Throne, certain precedents must be followed:
  1. the assassin must be a high noble; 
  2. the assassin must kill the Emperor by his own hand in the presence of witnesses; 
  3. the Moot must approve of the new emperor (just as with any successor).
Thus, the reason for the assassination must be well founded, or Moot confirmation will likely be denied. Moot confirmation can make all the difference - depending on what the Moot says, the assassin could be hailed as a courageous hero or prosecuted as a seditious murderer.
Points 1 and 3 are clear-cut; it's point 2 which has caused much discussion among law students within the Third Imperium. On the face of it, it seems obvious enough: the assassin must kill the Emperor without help. This makes sense, because otherwise a group of people (read: player characters) could gang up on the Emperor, dogpiling him while the highest ranking noble administers the coup de grace. While certainly efficient, it would bring the legitimacy of the assassin into question as it could be argued that the noble who delivered the killing stroke could not have done it without the help of the others, and so the other assassins would present an equally-valid claim to the throne ("Sure, Poncey actually killed the Emperor, but I did the hard part! I should be Emperor, not him!")

Multiple claimants to the throne are how civil wars start, after all.

However, when considering assassinating the Emperor, it soon becomes evident that unless the assassin is with the Emperor's family, some outside help is required in the form of conspiracy in order to get close enough to deliver the killing blow. Since logistical assistance is clearly required, conventional interpretation of point 2 works out to "It's fine to have help getting to the Emperor, but everything after that must be done by the assassin himself and no other." This is still vague enough to cause problem with legal scholars, though, who busy themselves with such academic questions as "Well, what if a conspirator calls the Emperor on the telephone and distracts him so that the assassin can deliver his killing blow?"

Karr Tsonka, Esq. has solved this conundrum with a splendid bit of legal simplification by presenting this hypothetical: "What if the assassin were replaced with a sack of potatoes?" In such a case, would the Emperor still be under threat of death?  In other words, has the assassin done anything to imperil the Emperor's life, or is he just a passive thing being lugged around and then metaphorically tossed at the Emperor?

It is ultimately a statement of agency. A weapon cannot act on its own; it must be wielded. Similarly, if the assassin was effectively wielded by another, the assassin effectively had no agency.

Therefore, if a claimant cannot adequately demonstrate a difference between his action and those of a sack of potatoes hurled at the Emperor, he has not satisfied the conditions of the second point of the Rite of Assassination. Q.E.D.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #130 - Tribalism and Happy Endings

Our #1 advice for a happy ending: Don't get a barbed wire tattoo. Those never end well.
  • Beth shares some advice for avoiding tragedy when you have children and guns in the same house
  • Everyone likes a happy ending. Sean tells us about our favorite happy ending, where a home invader is encouraged to lie down and stop moving... permanently.
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • In the Main Topic, Sean and Erin tell you why Trump is not your hope and change.
  • Tiffany talks about last week's main topic from the other side: How she and her friends see it when conservatives lump them in with violent protesters.
  • Do you like seemingly contradictory advice? Erin tells you to form a tribe, but don't fall prey to tribalism.
  • This week Weer'd dips into his secret stash of anti-gun nuttery to bring us two golden nuggets of hoplophobia.
  • And our plug of the week is The American Warrior Podcast.
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:
Tribe vs. Tribalism
I’ve talked about what the concept of “Tribe” means in previous prepping segments, but I haven’t yet touched on “tribalism”.

Now anyone who’s been paying attention to current events has noticed that Americans are a fractious bunch, ready to divide themselves into an “us” and a “them” and go at each other’s throats. The good news here is that it isn’t just Americans who do this; we just happen to have a country that’s larger than all of Europe and a media that is keen to highlight our differences and our squabbles in pursuit of ratings, so we seem more divided than other countries and cultures. 

But the fact of the matter is that humans are inherently tribal, so we divide ourselves into groups so easily that it’s just accepted as part of our culture. As an example, consider sports teams: when we play a game of baseball, we divide ourselves into two groups, “us” and “them”, despite the fact that prior to this we were one group. Then, based on this arbitrary grouping, we try to defeat people who up until this point were our friends, by engaging in ritual warfare. And other groups of people pick a side to support while cheering for the defeat of the other. 

Humans are just inherently tribal, which means they are inherently prejudicial. Now before you leap to conclusions, let me explain what I mean! I am not saying that humans are inherently racist, sexist, or anything like that; those are learned behaviors. What I am saying is that humans like to pre-judge things -- that’s what prejudice means, judging things without analysis, based only on first impressions -- and all the learned behaviors make for easy lines of prejudice. 

But why are humans prejudicial? Believe it or not, it’s a survival tool from prehistory. If a plant looked funny, a caveman wouldn’t eat it, and over time that would reduce the amount of fatalities from eating poisonous plants and fruit. Similarly, if a stranger looked funny, it likely meant that he wasn’t from your tribe but from the next tribe over, which meant that you were in direct competition with him for food, shelter, and other resources. 

This ties in nicely with the concept of the Monkeysphere that I talked about in Episode 84: human brains can only support a certain number of relationships, and everyone else gets put into the “other” category. Unfortunately, we are wired to see “the other” as competition for resources and we react aggressively. 

So what we are seeing today, with the Berkeley riots and the increasing political schism within our country, is that our culture has reached a point where we now view political viewpoints not as people who disagree with us but as actual threats to our tribe.

How does one prepare for this? Two ways.
  1. First, don’t have an echo chamber. Make a point to surround yourself with viewpoints that challenge you. Not only will he prevent the self-reinforcing “Everyone I know agrees with me, therefore I must be right” attitude which is also self-defeating, but it will help humanize “the others” who disagree with you. It’s very, VERY easy to to devolve to “All liberals hate us, so we must destroy them before they destroy us” if that’s all you hear. Conversely, if you are actual friends with a liberal -- Hi, Tiffany! -- you won’t want to lump your friend into that “other” category and you begin to see those who disagree with you not as threats to your existence, but as people. 
  2. Secondly, form a tribe of your own. While that may seem counter to all my previous advice, what I mean by this is “forge friendships with people who aren’t specifically family.” If you’ve taken my advice about becoming friends with people who challenge your beliefs, invite those people into your tribe. The more diverse your tribe is, the less susceptible you are to the prejudicial “othering” mentality.
So in effect, my advice is “Have a tribe, but don’t be tribal.” I know this is asking a lot, as we’re fighting millions of years of psychology, but the first step to making a change is being aware of what you’re doing wrong.

Don’t push away potential allies because you perceive them as “other”. Don’t turn disagreements into wars. This is something every one of us, including me, needs to work on.

Friday, February 10, 2017

A Quickie from Salem


I feel terrible. Doctor says I have piriformis syndrome, which means, in layman's terms, there's a muscle somewhere in my hip that's squeezing a nerve that causes pain anywhere between my groin and the outside of my left hip.

I am on medication for pain and relaxation at the moment, and can barely concentrate, so my commentary on the Sanders/Cruz Healthcare debate will have to wait.

In the meantime, someone forwarded me this, which is a screengrab of a page from All New Fathom by Aspen Comics, and you're right, progressives. We do need more women writing comics. Gail Simone can't hold up her gender all by herself.

Thankfully, we have Blake Northcott:
Panel by panel, that's InfoWars's Paul Joseph Watson, Cenk Uygar and Ana Kasparian of The Young Turks, Anita Sarkeesian, Youtuber Chris Ray Gun, YouTuber Shoe0nHead, and Milo Yiannopoulos's Twitter account being banned (link unavailable for obvious reasons).

Don't believe me?

Not what you were hoping for? Oh... well you go tell her that she's womaning wrong. It's not my place to, and the meds are kicking in. Knock yourselves out.

Note: Erin may have already gone to bed. If so, any mistakes are purely mine and do not reflect our glorious editor. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Today I Am Ten

This was the picture I used for my first avatar. 
Yes, it's blatant cleavage. I chose this because:
1) It's a nice photograph
2) It would catch the attention of male readers
3) It 's a subtle reminder to treat me like a girl.
Today is the 10th anniversary of my first ever blog post. I'm as shocked as you are, to be honest.

Ten years. A decade! Wow. This is the longest I've ever done anything, and if you'd told me back in 2007 that I'd still be writing this blog, I would have been surprised that I had enough to write about for that long a time.

Oh, who am I kidding? I love to hear myself talk.

Still, 2017's Lurking Rhythmically is dramatically different from 2007's. Back then, I'd lost a great job and was getting frustrated with my inability to find a new one, and so I figured I'd use my copious free time to do that "blogging thing" that all the cool kids were doing. I had written some some stories in high school, Creative Writing being my favorite class, but I'd fallen out of practice since graduation. I thought that having a blog would be a great way to get back into the habit of writing and hopefully polish my skills... and in that regard, at least, I succeeded. I am a much better writer than I was 10 years ago, and I enjoy the  rush of creating something that others read and comment on.

But the format and tone have changed. A decade ago, my attitude was more "Oh my darlings, let me show you my playful nerdiness" whereas today I'm more inclined to go "I have important stuff to say, so buckle up, buttercup."  I have to admit that I miss some of the whimsy of those early years.

I also miss the nearly divine madness that gripped me when I was writing Curse/Or. It bugs me on a very deep level that I haven't finished that story, but for some reason I have extreme difficulty getting back into the headspace for writing long form fiction. I worry that I'll never complete Camel's story.

However, some things have changed for the better:
  • I'm a product reviewer now, which is awesome
  • I edit a prepping blog which is just full of useful information written by really smart people (even if their grammar is abysmal -- love you, David!). 
  • I co-host a podcast which is pretty popular.
  • And of course I founded Operation Blazing Sword, which is not only doing great things by helping train LGBTQ people in gun safety, but which has also made me some kind of figurehead/spokeswoman for the gun-owning LGBTQ community. 
  • Oh, and I showed my face, which is something I fervently believed I would NEVER EVER do. I was convinced that if people knew I'd been born male, they'd hate me forever.. and they didn't. That's right up there with "pose nude" in Things I Never Thought Would Happen In This Lifetime. 
So what does the next decade hold for me? Given how much my blog and I have changed since 2007, I don't feel confident speculating. I'm very busy now, and it looks like I'm going to get even busier with OBS and Second Amendment activism, so I am worried that I may not have the time or energy needed to sustain blogging for another decade. (Heck, given the pace of technology and Google's antics, blogger-as-a-platform might not even exist in 2027.) I will however take this opportunity to say the following things:

I'm going to keep doing this as long as I can 
-- but please note that blogging isn't paying my bills right now. At some point, I may need to close this down in order to make ends meet. I had really hoped to be a New York Times bestselling author by this point, but oh well. (By the way, big lacy "thank yous" with hearts to everyone who sponsors me on Patreon!)

The NRA really needs to put me on their payroll. 
That way I can say things like "Hi, I'm transgender and lesbian. Do go ahead and cishet-splain to me about how my fears of being a victim of a hate crime are fabricated." on command.

On a related note, I'd like be the first to announce that the transgender version of Uncle Tom is an Aunt Dorothy, and the transgender version of "House Negro" is "Performance Tranny." I figure that if I'm going to be called names for going off-narrative, I might as well pick those names myself. 

Oh, and before you ask, I'm a 4:11 final drive, with a 6-speed double-overdrive and a competition clutch.

And finally, some puckish humor. 
Sometimes I miss being zany and irreverent. I need to try to find that place in my head again; it was fun being "that girl who says inappropriate things."

That said, here's a song for Wednesday Night Wackiness that I feel perfectly encapsulates what Lurking Rhythmically has always been about.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #129 - Berzerkeley

Rioters and California get along like a house on fire.
  • Anyone can carry a gun... but what if you want to protect yourself AND look good in your clothes? Beth tells us about the upcoming Realize Concealed Carry Fashion Show in Cleveland, Ohio. 
  • Two suspects are on the run in Charlotte after stabbing a third person. Sean introduces us to the cast of characters.
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • In the Main Topic, Sean and Erin think it's a "Time for Choosing." How will you help people choose sides?
  • Tiffany uses Colonel Cooper's "Principles of Personal Defense" to evaluate a defensive gun use... using the robber's own gun.
  • This week, Erin isn't talking to you. Instead, she has some advice for what the rioters should be prepared for.
  • Last week's episode of the anti-gun "Loaded Conversations" podcast was so insane that Weer'd is still talking about it. Stand by as David Hemenway gets re-Loaded.
  • And our plug of the week is St. Augustine Distillery Pot Distilled Rum. 
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:

Be Prepared for the Consequences of Your Actions

I’m going to be honest with everyone: what I planned to talk about today has been totally short-circuited by what happened in Berkeley last night.

I was up too late last night following the breaking news, and I’ve spent too much of my day today either aghast at what happened or irritated at the hypocrisy in display.

So I’m going to break with format here and actually deliver a prepping segment that isn’t aimed at you. It’s aimed at the people who were rioting last night. I hope the rest of you will bear with me.

Dear Berkeley rioters: last night you fired the first shots in a war. You really, really don’t want a war. I am begging you, with tears in my eyes, to please back off and think about what you’re doing. It’s not too late to stop this.

But if you and other radicals persist in doing what happened last night -- well, you’re going to need to be prepared for a few things.

Be prepared to have your tactics used against you. Last night, you demonstrated that felony violence was an acceptable method to prevent someone from speaking. You need to realize that once this genie is let from the bottle,it won’t be long until others decide that it’s equally acceptable to use force to silence you.

Be prepared for jail, injury, or death. You have raised the stakes significantly. I don’t have a problem with free speech opposing free speech, so protests are fine, but assault and arson are felonies. Committing felonies in the name of protest is a very good way to get hurt or killed,either by police or by people acting in self-defense.

Be prepared to lose. Let me tell you a story, taken from the blog “Status 451” in the post “Days of Rage”:
In 209 BC, two Qin Dynasty army officers, Chen Sheng and Wu Guang, were ordered to lead their troops on a march to provide reinforcements. Massive flooding delayed them. They couldn’t make their rendezvous time. In the Qin Dynasty, this carried the death penalty. No excuses.

“What’s the penalty for being late?” one asked.

“Death.” replied the other.

“What’s the penalty for rebellion?” asked the first.

“Death.” answered the second.

“Well — we’re late.” said the first.

And that’s the story of how the Dazexiang Uprising began.
If you are not stopped by the police or the military, eventually the civilian population which you are targeting will have enough and decide that if you’re going to riot and burn and attack regardless of whether or not they’re innocent, some are going to decide that “Hey, if I’m going to be thought of as guilty, I might as well go out and really be guilty.” And that’s when the rule of law disappears from America.

You think things are oppressive and unjust now? Wait until thing become full-on
“Might makes right” anarchy. Survival of the fittest will not be kind to you, because you are not prepared for it.

So again, I beg you: don’t continue down this road. The moment you make it acceptable to respond to words with violence, the moment it is okay to deny someone their rights because you don’t like them, you will start this country down a path that will not benefit you, and you are not equipped to live in that world.

Please: let’s all take a deep breath, back away from this precipice, and talk about this.

Thank you.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Palette's Pull-Up Progress, Part 2

So exactly a month ago I posted that I had purchased a pull-up bar and had begun doing the exercises needed to build up enough strength to do a single, solitary pull-up.

I'm still doing the chair-assisted pull-up exercises, because I'm weak. But here's the progress I've made:

It's cheating (because it's not proper form nor a proper pull-up), but if I grab the perpendicular handles and jump, bringing my knees to my chest I can indeed pull myself up to where the bar is somewhere between my nose and my chin. More importantly, I have the strength to slowly lower myself down from this position.

Mind you, I don't have the strength to do this again for several hours, but it's more than I could do before.

If we're taking proper form into account, then the best I can do is pull myself about 6-8 inches off the ground. Considering that this time last month I couldn't even lift my body off the ground, this is a significant improvement.

Baby steps!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

[unintelligible shouting and sounds of glass breaking]

What did I say last week?

What did I say?

And then you went and did it anyway. You went and... [more incoherent screaming and smashing of crockery]... thank you, I feel better now.

So last week I warned about Antifa. This week I was just going to explore the Nazi-punching craze and how it's kind of dangerous, because out of the three major people I've seen accused of being a Nazi in the last week, only one of them remotely counts and he said, and I quote, "neo-Nazis hate me." The others were a YouTuber who went on a livestream with a controversial self-proclaimed classical Liberal and vented about the state of the Left, and a gay Jew with a predilection for homosexual miscegenation.

The latter, Milo Yiannopoulos, is without a doubt controversial. He says things, purposely, to ruffle feathers and cause outrage. He calls himself The Internet's Greatest Supervillain. And he had a speech scheduled at UC Berkeley this week that was shut down when a protest was infiltrated and agitated by Antifa, resulting in physical assault on his supporters and bystanders alike; things being set on fire; nearby drivers being stopped by crowds, their windows smashed, and pepper-sprayed; and ATMs and Starbucks being vandalized.

Way to go, Left. You really proved that we're the good guys.
Really showed him, too, didn't you?
Resist. protest, raise your voices -- but stop letting bad actors escalate on your opponents and disappear leaving you holding the smoking gun. Antifa is not your friend, and the black bloc tactic is all about anonymity so that authorities can't identify who is causing violence and breaking the law. Once stores have been looted and cars have been burned, the only faces the police will see are yours.

Stop pretending there's no such thing as a Left-wing hate group. Antifa is a hate-group. They hate anyone to the Right of Stalin, and it's only a matter of time before you're the one that gets pepper-sprayed while talking to a reporter. It'll turn into Weather Underground all over again if we're not careful.

And the thing that gets me the most is the people celebrating this, like this is a good thing. You do realize that you're the ones with the unpopular opinion now, right? You do realize that the idea of freedom of speech is something you should be fervently defending, because it's YOUR speech that doesn't carry power anymore. Two years ago, I mused to myself that I wondered if people who laughed at "freeze peach" ever stopped to consider what was going to happen when they were the ones being de-platformed, protested, and shouted down. I'm pretty sure we're going to find out soon; I only hope those on the other end of the political spectrum are more polite than we've been.

Now, a final thought here: If you're going to insist on punching Nazis instead of meeting them face to face and explaining to all who will listen how their ideas are bad, make damn sure the person you're calling actually is a Nazi. Otherwise you're just assaulting someone who disagrees with you, and political violence should be, at best, a last resort. Unless someone is openly advocating for genocide and racial purity and taking steps to enact that, I won't be punching anyone. I'll stick to debunking, discrediting, and openly mocking them. I bring this up because I'm seeing a rapidly broadening definition of Nazi lately, and I'm starting to get the feeling that some of you just have an uncontrollable urge to punch somebody that you want to let loose.

I'm giving up on California in general, though. Anyone that wants, you're welcome in Legion territory, but the rest of the state can fall in the sea for all I care now.

Editor's Translation of that last sentence: I know that there are some good people in California, but for the most part the entire state's gone crazy. If they want out, we have better weather and more reasonable people. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Berkeley is Burning

If your reaction to what's happening in Berkeley right now is to be happy that Milo Yiannopoulos was preventing from talking, then you don't actually believe in free speech.*

If your response to the rioters is to say "They were provoked", then you are condoning felony violence as acceptable if it shuts up someone you don't like.

Finally, keep in mind that these rioters who are setting fires, smashing windows and pulling people out of cars wouldn't hesitate to do the same to Milo, so saying "He deserved this for saying inflammatory things" is the moral equivalent of "She was just asking for it, dressed all slutty like that."
* For the love of god, before you start to write a comment about how Milo's right to free speech wasn't violated because the First Amendment applies to the state, realize that I said "belief in free speech", i.e. the principle behind the First Amendment. I didn't say "Milo's First Amendment rights were violated."
PS:  Let's all appreciate the savage irony of "anti-fascist" protesters looting the storefront of a company that promised to hire 10,000 refugees.

The Fine Print

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