Monday, October 30, 2023

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 272: Obstinate Ignorance


In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss another busy week in Second Amendment news:
    • Larry Vickers pleading guilty to serious weapons charges, including violations of weapons sanctions;
    • Judge Benitez again ruling in favor of the 2nd Amendment, this time about  California's assault weapons ban;
    • the head of a New York Gun Violence Prevention group arrested on gun and drug charges;
    • Canada's "assault weapon amnesty" is being extended until after the 2025 election;
    • Alec Baldwin will be charged for homicide, again;
    • and a fatal shooting in Brussels shows the futility of gun prohibition.
  • Finally, David discusses defense, both in Israel and at home.

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Show Notes

Main Topic:

Gun Lovers and Other Strangers:

Sunday, October 29, 2023

My Speech to the Liberal Gun Club 2023

I don't think I mentioned it here, but two weeks ago I was invited to speak at the Liberal Gun Club's annual meeting in Las Vegas. 

It was supposed to have been professionally recorded, except that there was a problem with the computer, so it was recorded on a cellphone at the last minute. This explains why the quality isn't great and the view is wobbly.

Also, other than my improving crowd work skills there's hardly anything new here. Whenever I'm asked to speak, it's nearly always to do my Greatest Hits. While I don't mind doing "The Best of Erin Palette" it always makes me die a little inside, because I'm all "I've been doing this for seven years, and you still haven't heard of who I am and what I do?"

So anyway, here's Wonderwall my set. 

What's unfortunate is that because of the aforementioned technical issued, they didn't record the amazing introduction that Lara Smith gave me. How amazing was it? She gave me a compliment so huge that my brain just kind of staticked out because I couldn't process it, in a "There's no way I deserve that kind of praise" sense. 

It's also unfortunate that my crowd work at the beginning and at the end didn't get recorded. It was only after I had been introduced that the AV person discovered the problem, so in order to give him some time as well as some input to work with I did some, well, not really jokes, but some witty remarks like "Hello, I'm the warmup act for Annette Evans" (she was the keynote speaker) and "Usually when I'm asked to speak, it's either to conservatives who aren't comfortable with queer people, or to liberals who aren't comfortable with guns. You folks are both pro-gun and pro-queer, so why am I even here again?"

Then when I finished, I was asked to stick around so that AV could try to get the sound working again. I stayed and said something like "I am a gigantic canned ham so I'm happy to talk as long as you like. So, who has questions?"

I don't think I could be a proper comedian, but I think I'm a pretty good storyteller and I could easily see myself doing a "spoken word" tour like Henry Rollins does. 

If you are an organization and would like for me to speak at an event, please cover my travel expenses and I will be happy to do so. Yes, even if it's to do my Greatest Hits again. 

Monday, October 23, 2023

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 271: What Were They Thinking?


In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss a busy week in the news:
    • The Supreme Court's ruling in favor of the ATF when it comes to "ghost guns";
    • The FBI Director doesn't acknowledge that the Second Amendment exists;
    • A New York City Councilwoman is arrested for carrying a gun at a protest;
    • NYC's gun laws didn't stop a teenage fare-dodger from carrying a gun onto the subway;
    • The Albuquergue gun store which confiscated a customer's legal Polymer80 pistol has been raided by the BATFE for illegal gun sales;
    • Pro-gun states have "troubling" habits in an alleged study;
    • New York is calling for background checks with 3D printers, because of guns;
    • and Massachusetts tries once again to pass its "Lawful Citizens Imprisonment Act".
  • Finally, David talks about range ammunition vs target ammunition, and which one you shouldn't reload.

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Show Notes

Main Topic:

Gun Lovers and Other Strangers:

Monday, October 16, 2023

Justice and Mercy

My thoughts on the events of the past week:
  • It is possible to condemn the barbaric actions of Hamas as evil without saying that all Palestinians are evil. 
  • It is equally possible to say that Israel's actions to combat such monstrosity are necessary without endorsing all of the Israeli government's actions in the past, present, or future.
  • Humans are flawed creatures, and the institutions they create are equally flawed. Neither side is wholly innocent nor wholly at fault. 
I do not think this is a controversial statement, because I have frequently spoken against the actions, both at home and overseas, of my own government. It is possible to dislike a government without disliking the people it represents; if that were not so, then I would have to dislike my fellow Americans because they are Americans, and I do not. 

What I do is grieve for the innocent lives lost on both sides, and fervently hope that actions taken now will prevent the loss of further innocent lives on both sides in the future. Quoting from the season 3 episode Dust to Dust of the science fiction masterpiece Babylon 5:

G'Kar: "The Centauri started it."

G'Lan: "And will you continue until there are no more Narns and no more Centauri? If both sides are dead, no one will care which side deserves the blame. It no longer matters who started it, G'Kar. It only matters who is suffering."

Like G'Lan, I only care about who is suffering. Unfortunately, an early peace which doesn't prevent future horror is no peace at all. I want an equitable peace which preserves as many innocent lives, present and future, as possible. I pray that the guilty are brought to justice and that those harmed by the actions of the guilty are made as whole as is possible. 

I also know that neither of these prayers will be answered with 100% satisfaction, because  we live in a fallen world where the guilty often escape punishment while the innocent suffer without restitution. To quote another great writer, Sir Terry Pratchett, in his novel Hogfather:

Death: "Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape."

Susan: "With tooth fairies? Hogfathers?"

Death: "Yes. As practice, you have to start out learning to believe the little lies."

Susan: "So we can believe the big ones?"

Death: "Yes. Justice, mercy, duty. That sort of thing."

Susan: "They're not the same at all!"

Death: "You think so? Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and THEN show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet... you try to act as if there is some ideal order in the world. As if there is some... some rightness in the universe by which it may be judged."

Susan: "But people have got to believe that, or what's the point?"

Death: "You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"

We -- all humans, everywhere -- must struggle to make justice and mercy become real in order to end suffering. 

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 270: Barbarians at the Gate


In This Episode

Weer'd is on vacation this week but the events of the weekend are too important to let pass, so Erin assembled a hasty Roundtable with David, Oddball, and Connie to discuss the importance of self-defense in Israel along with other Second Amendment news:

  • Gun Control in Israel and the complicated process to get a permit to own a firearm;
  • Stories of heroes who saved lives during the Hamas attacks;
  • Knife laws are being successfully challenged with Second Amendment tactics;
  • More news about Rare Breed's Forced Reset Triggers and the CA Magazine Ban;
  • and the Avidity Arms PD10 is finally available for purchase.

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Show Notes

Monday, October 9, 2023

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 269: Always Be Prepared


In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
    • the passing of Dianne Feinstein and her controversial replacement;
    • a YouTube "prankster" was shot, and the shooter was (sort of) acquitted ;
    • California's magazine ban was ruled unconstitutional, again, but the Ninth Circus is up to its usual tricks;
  • Myles talks about Every Day Carry;
  • and Weer'd brings us a fisk of Michael Bloomberg's new gun prohibitionist YouTube hit piece, America's Biggest Public Health Crisis May Be Guns.

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

Show Notes

Main Topic:

South Paw Corner:

Weer’d Audio Fisk:

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Mom Update

This is a follow-up to Sunday's post

Mom had her cardiologist appointment yesterday, and she asked me to go with her into the exam room, which I was happy to do. I really like her cardiologist; he's pleasant, knowledgeable, seems to enjoy answering questions, and actively solicits patient feedback, all of which seem to be a rarity in medicine these days. 

Doc Cardio thinks mom is doing okay, especially for an 84 year old who had a STEMI, a catheterization, and a stent put into one of her heart arteries a week ago. (Based on the angiogram I saw, and my hazy recollection that the artery was a three-letter acronym that sounded like something non-medical, I'm going to go out on a limb and say it was her Right Coronary Artery. I bring this up because a nurse friend asked me for specifics.) He also thinks that her blood pressure is still too high, which is no surprise as we've both been eating a steady diet of stress since February. No one has said anything about further procedures except "We don't think you need one," which is great news. The 50% blockage will just be monitored and treated proactively with medication and diet to reduce her BP and cholesterol, and she'll stay on blood thinners (likely for life) to prevent her stent from being obstructed by a clot. 

When I asked him how this blockage was missed, he explained what likely happened was that a random blood clot essentially "ran aground" on normal (say, 30%) aterial blockage and made like the Ever Given in the Suez Canal. Just to be sure, though, she has a low-level stress test scheduled for next week, and there are any other nasty surprises hiding in her arteries that will hopefully find them. 

Monday, October 2, 2023

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 268: Kneel Before Dodd


In This Episode

Erin had a rough day and called for backup, so she is joined by Weer'd, David and Oddball in a hybrid episode where we all discuss:

  • Hunter Biden's indictment and its implications for the Second Amendment;
  • Firearm prohibitionist Senator Robert Menendez's indictment on bribery charges and ties to illegal arms deals;
  • Whether or not the gun violence problem of 2022 was really as bad as it was reported;
  • CCW holders in California have committed almost zero crime;
  • The court rulings in favor of the Second Amendment in California's magazine ban and New Jersey's extreme requirements for concealed carry;
  • and President Biden's creation of an "Office of Gun Violence Prevention" filled with gun prohibition lobbyists.
  • Next, David's segment is a report on the New York Background Check System as well as some surrounding laws;
  • and finally, Heinrich from Geeks Gadgets and Guns gives us a primer on chronographs.

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Show Notes

Main Topic:

Gun Lovers and Other Strangers:

Heinrich’s Segment:

Sunday, October 1, 2023

That Was the Week That Was

Any time you start a conversation with "So first of all, [person] is is okay," you know the story is going to be interesting...

So first of all, mom is is okay. She's home now, and everything seems to be fine in the short term. That said, here's how my week has been. 

Early Monday morning -- around 8 am, I think -- mom was out in the yard doing yard work and pruning hedges. She'd been working maybe 15 minutes when she felt a terrible pain in her chest, like something very heavy was crushing her. She sat down for a few minutes to see if the pain let up.  It didn't, and she was getting light headed, so she knew she had to get inside. Fortunately it was only 10 feet or so to the door, so she made it in, but she couldn't make it to the phone and had to lie down just inside the front door. After lying there a few minutes, she involuntarily soiled herself with urine and feces (I'm not saying this to be crass, it's relevant to the story later) due to the pain. If she wasn't going to call 911 before that, it certainly changed her mind. 

HOWEVER, my mother is a Proper Southern Lady, and it Just Wouldn't Do for the EMTs to see her in such a state, and besides, she didn't want to be a burden to them by smelling of feces and being soiled, so she went to the bathroom, cleaned herself up and changed her clothes, and then called 911. Then she waited outside for them so that our dog, Precious, wouldn't attack them in an attempt to protect mom/ward off the intruders. 

Now you may well be wondering "Where was Erin during all of this? Why didn't she help?" Well, that's an excellent and fair question. The answer is "She didn't want to bother me while I was sleeping, for exactly the same reason that she didn't want the EMTs to deal with her being soiled."

Yes. I facepalmed at that, too. 

So when I got up Monday morning at my usual time (about 10 am), I noticed a Post-It note on the bathroom door with the terse message "GONE TO ER" on it. I checked to see if her car was still here, and it was, so that told me she'd gone via ambulance and that meant it was serious. 

Now, one of the things you need to know about me is that it takes my brain time to wake up. I can do basic "move around" things, but actually thinking, especially making decisions, is something that takes at least 30 minutes and at least one cup of coffee. So as I drank my coffee -- because what else was I going to do? She'd taken an ambulance, she was in good hands, there was nothing I could do at that moment anyway so I might as well get my brain online -- I pondered what to do next. 

I contemplated calling the ER, but I didn't know when she'd left. It might have been 5 minutes before I'd woken up, and she might not have arrived yet. I could have jumped into the car and driven there, but sure as I'd done that she or the ER would call the house and I wouldn't be there to answer the phone. I'd come to the decision that I'd wait to hear more, either from mom or the hospital, when my cell phone rang. It was someone from the ER who told me that my mother was in "the cath lab" and would be admitted to the ICU after the procedure was done. 

My decision made, I got dressed and was almost out the door when the phone rang again, and this time it was an ICU nurse telling me that mom's procedure was successful and telling me her room number. It was at this time that I finally had the presence of mind to ask just what the hell was going on. I was told that mom suffered what's called a STEMI, which stands for ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction. I'll let you look up what "ST Elevation" means, but "Myocardial Infarction" is fancy doctor-speak for what you and I would call a heart attack. 

Apparently mom had 99% blockage in some very important artery whose name I can't recall but I think had a three-letter acronym, and a 50% blockage in another. They put a stent into the 99% blocked artery in "the cath lab" and the procedure went well, and she was recovering in the ICU. I went to see her and she looked beat up but about as good as someone in Intensive Care recovering from a heart attack and an operation could look. She was sore, but coherent and in generally good spirits, so I kept her company and asked the nurses lots of questions and contacted my sister so she could call mom. Later in the week I sneaked mom a Sausalito cookie from Pepperidge Farms -- for "morale purposes", you understand, because she was on a low-everything diet and hospital food isn't very good -- and she came home on Wednesday. 

So like I said, she's fine now. Despite her little stunt of not calling 911 until after she'd cleaned herself up -- oh, and we had A TALK ABOUT THAT, let me tell you! I told her the next time something like this happens, she is to call 911 before she does anything else because she could have collapsed in the bathroom and died! And she is to WAKE ME UP! -- despite all this, she seems to have gotten to the ER within the "golden hour" and is recovering well. She has a follow-up appointment with her cardiologist on Monday and we will discuss how this happened, because the last time she'd seen the cardio was earlier in the year and none of this was detected. 

The pet theory we have is that this has been caused by all the stress we've been under this year. For those folks who haven't been keeping track, and I confess I haven't written about a lot of it on this blog, but here's the highlights:
  • Water leak in master suite which caused damage and mold
  • Furniture was removed from master suite, all carpets and a lot of drywall removed
  • That was in February, it's now October and our insurance company STILL won't pay to make those rooms livable, and we're tripping over the furniture that was moved out
  • My father died in June, the day before my mom's birthday
  • We had to put our other dog Daisy to sleep because her congestive heart failure got to the point where she was struggling to breathe and couldn't sleep
  • All sorts of minor crap involving bills and funeral arrangements and the assorted aches and pains of getting older
So yeah, if mom's heart attack is partly the result of our insurance playing fuck-fuck games with us for 9 months, I'm gonna get a lawyer and sue the ever-loving SHIT out of them. 

That was my week, and I'm only now recovered enough to recount it. I swear to God, this year is the worst I've had this century, and if things don't let up soon I will likely end up in the hospital, the jail or the morgue. 

Before you ask if you can help: you can't, unless you have a magic wand or a million dollars or a Florida-licensed lawyer who's willing to work either pro bono or for a chunk of the settlement. 

Now I'm gonna post Monday's podcast episode on social media because all that went out the window when I went to the ICU and I'm only now getting back on schedule. I missed the Patreon deadline for it for September, but oh well. 

And goodnight, America, wherever you are...

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