Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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   2nd Amendment remedies
Saturday, January 8 2011
I was doing my usual web surf loop today (which usually bounces between,,, and, occasionally veering off to or when I learned that there had been a shooting of a congresswoman at some public event in Tucson, Arizona. The assailant had used a semi-automatic pistol (a Glock with a 31 bullet magazine) and the intended target was Gabrielle Giffords, a Democratic member of the House of Representatives. This was clearly the sort of thing we've been warned about: some crazy guy with a gun decided to take matters into his own hands and take out an objectionable politician. For awhile various news sources reported that Giffords had been killed, but later it emerged that she was still alive, though she had been shot in the head. Others had been killed and wounded in the gunfire, including a nine year old born on 9/11 (yes, that one) and a federal judge (one whose replacement will almost certainly be filibustered in the Senate).
It's just another example of America's absurd relationship with firearms. We titter like nine year olds and demand onerous legislation when a pop star flashes a nipple (or was it a pastie?) at the Super Bowl, but our political system is so ruined by infantile crazies that a law can't be passed against 31 bullet magazines. It's not annoying enough that every hunting season I have to listen to idiots monotonously firing elephant guns into a pine tree down at the bus turnaround on Dug Hill Road; these people and their weapons have created a culture where crazy people can get masturbated into a frenzy by shock jock radio, arm themselves, and then go seek their 2nd Amendment remedies. Don't tell me the crazies on the right don't have blood on their hands for this one; they destroyed gun regulation in this nation, they repeatedly lectured crowds of unstable people about the "treasonous, unAmerican" activities of American moderates (whom they accused of Marxism and fascism), and even drew gunsight targets on their congressional districts. People have a right to say whatever they want in this country, but when something like this happens, demagogues playing the gun-crazy eliminationist fiddle have to expect to pay a price. That's the only real check there is to the insane state of politics as it currently exists.

I managed to shovel the six inches of snow out of the driveway in about twenty minutes this afternoon, giving us renewed access to the outside world. This permitted us to carry through on the plans Gretchen had for the evening.
This evening we went to KMOCA for its monthly "First Saturday" event. Today's show was installation-only, with several video loops, two domed sound environments, and two simple stationary "robots" that produced frenetic light displays whenever they detected gamma rays (one of these looked like an three-foot-tall daddy longlegs with legs made of electroluminescent wire). If I were to get into a sculpture-making kick, I would want to make active sculptures driven by microcontrollers and displaying either intricate lightshows or producing some sort of movement. I looked at the core of the gamma-ray detecting spider, which was housed in a transparent plastic chassis, and noted it was driven by some sort of microcontroller on an Olimex board.
Ray, Nancy, and their semi-permanent houseguest Eric showed up, and Michæl, one of the guys who runs the place with Deborah, broke out some exceptionally delightful IPA-style beers: Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Ale with that strong grapefruit flavor I love. I've had some surprisingly good beer experiences lately; I'm beginning to know how to find the beers I want even on the East Coast (where they are rare but, it turns out, findable).

Ray went home early, but the rest of us (including some of the people who had produced this month's art) all went out to El Danzante on Broadway for an authentic Mexican restaurant experience. Gretchen's last experience there had been soured by the discovery of meat in something she'd bought to take away (that had been back when I would eat meat, so I'd eaten it). When I went there with Penny and David several months ago, there'd been a light sprinkling of cheese on my burrito, and I'd eaten it anyway. This time those of us who were vegans or vegetarians were careful to specify what it was that we wanted, but in the end I was the only person who ended up with something that was completely vegan. The food at El Danzante is uncommonly delicious, as is everything else about the place (other than their ability to reliably satisfy the particulars of a vegan diet). This was, for example, the first time I'd ever seen Mythbusters playing on a restaurant television (and it was commanding the rapt attention of a table of Hispanic diners).

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