Sunday, December 21, 2014

Because I hate using good material at an away game...

I know I have used this space to blame the media for essentially fomenting civil unrest with its eagerness to get a microphone in front of the squeakiest wheel as fast as possible anytime something like the Brown/Wilson event goes down.

But, while I'd have no problem holding the media liable in some metaphorical sense, is it actually culpable? Is it a conspiracy?

I wrote elsewhere this morning:
"The news media" wants to do one thing: Sell commercials. They sell commercials by delivering eyeballs. They deliver eyeballs by delivering the most titillating news as dramatically as possible, with the catchiest music and the most eye-catching graphics and prettiest/most handsome talking heads...

And we sit here on a forum posting and clicking on the links to NY Daily News, Baltimore Sun, CNN, and more, shaking our heads and clucking our tongues like this is being done by some media "Them" to "Those Other People".
What's the fix? That's a damn good question.

Tab Clearing...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Skool Daze

Woke up early and I'm heading to gun school so I can be smarter.

(Well, actually, this won't involve any shooting. Hopefully it will be How To Not Use Your Gun School.)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Automotif LIX...

1986 Jaguar XJ-SC: The XJ-S was my dream car for a while when I was much younger.

Courting Disaster

I've had these two tabs open for weeks now, waiting for a post to accrete around them, but it's just not happening, so I'll drop a couple key grafs and let you go read the source material for yourself.

From a piece called the "Long Con" about how modern political Conservatism is about duping idiots for personal gain:
In this respect, it’s not really useful, or possible, to specify a break point where the money game ends and the ideological one begins. They are two facets of the same coin—where the con selling 23-cent miracle cures for heart disease inches inexorably into the one selling miniscule marginal tax rates as the miracle cure for the nation itself. The proof is in the pitches—the come-ons in which the ideological and the transactional share the exact same vocabulary, moral claims, and cast of heroes and villains.
Perfectly devoid of self awareness, the writer goes on at length about how Conservatives have an unthinking hate reflex for caricatured Liberals... (His own hate reflex for caricatured Conservatives is, of course, nuanced and reasoned and originates somewhere in the classy neighborhood of the frontal lobes, rather than the trailer park of the medulla oblongata.)

Meanwhile, we have Michael Tomasky, whose entire career arc has been one long angry atonement for the sin of having to move to Manhattan instead of being born there, suggesting that the ignorant, cousin-humping rednecks south of the Ohio should just go away:
It’s lost. It’s gone. A different country. And maybe someday it really should be. I’ll save that for another column. Until that day comes, the Democratic Party shouldn’t bother trying. If they get no votes from the region, they will in turn owe it nothing, and in time the South, which is the biggest welfare moocher in the world in terms of the largesse it gets from the more advanced and innovative states, will be on its own, which is what Southerners always say they want anyway.
I'll just go ahead and drop this Billy Beck quote yet again...
"All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war."
 What's dismaying is how many seem to be eagerly champing at the bit for it.

Alert the Ministry of Irony.

Fake fur on clothes, especially when worn for "ethical reasons" by vocal PETAphiles, has always stumped me. If you think wearing the skins of animals is cruel and unethical, then why would you want to look like you were being cruel and unethical, but ha-ha it's okay 'cause it's fake?

Isn't that a little like... I dunno... driving around with a very realistic-looking (but totally fake ha-ha!) severed human head for a hood ornament? "Oh, it would be unethical and gross to have a severed human head for a hood ornament. Don't worry, though, because this one's not real, see?" *flicks glass eyeball with thumbnail*

So it's understandable that I squealed with delighted schadenfreude when this news report wafted out of the televisor this morning.
A Rossen Reports investigation found that some garments from major retailers billed as faux fur actually contained the fur of real animals, including rabbit, coyote and raccoon dog (a species of wild dog).

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tab Clearing...


A hasty grainy snapshot by available light with a phone camera...

Like when I decided to get into DSLRs, I bought a second, much cheaper film camera as a backup. The Nikon EM is a cheerful little beginner's SLR with a minimum of dials and buttons. It handles all the metering chores, allowing the shooter to set the desired aperture and then just focus and poke the button. It will softly chide you if your combination of film speed and aperture means an exposure longer than 1/30th of a second, but you can ignore it and roll the dice anyway.

Even this hipster lomographer likes it.


It is good to have a home security system, but imagine using it to watch someone breaking into your home in real-time.

Tuesday morning, Nick Essling watched LIVE from his cell phone as three men broke into his Broad Ripple home.
There's video at the link. See if you come to the same conclusion I did.

Dude's got sophisticated home security cameras that will let him watch goblins kick in a door while he's at work. And the doors in question are glass, and open onto a privacy-fenced back yard. I wonder if they even locked the gates?

Living in the city, home security is often a matter of common sense: You just need to make your house more work than the next guy's. If bad guys liked work, they'd have regular jobs. A sophisticated camera system that just lets you watch people make short work of your flimsy, inward-opening decorative door is kinda bass-ackwards in my book.

Every now and again, a suburb will break out in a rash of these daytime burglaries because your typical winding culs-de-sac of Champions Downe Greene Acres are as deserted during the day as the streets of I Am Legend, what with the the moppets at school and the mommies and daddies at the office parks.

Of course, there are active home security measures, too. If you can't have Gladys Kravitz working from a home office next door or a sprinkling of nosy retirees on the block, you can always get a dog.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Digital Twitch...

The last time I know for sure I took pictures on film was on my summer vacation, 1994. That roll of film sat, un-processed, for years in my Canon ML. I don't think I ever developed it and I have no idea where it's gotten to.

I was pondering this as I was digging through boxes in the attic looking for my old AE-1 Program and coming to the reluctant conclusion that I must have either sold it back during one of my broke times in the Nineties or given it away in the early Aughties after having bought the Sony Mavica.

Anyhow, that means it's been twenty years since I shot pictures on film and that has caused me to develop an unusual tic I noticed yesterday. With the Leica, I'd carefully compose the shot, squeeze the shutter button gently so as to not disturb the image... and immediately yank my face away from the eyepiece and glance at the back of the camera to see what I'd got, staring dumbly at the blank metal and leatherette because I expected there to be a little screen there with my picture on it.

As a shooter, this bugs me. Prairie-dogging up over the pistol sights to look for the hole after every shot is poor form, shows a lack of follow-through, and causes misses. If you're calling your shots, you should know where that bullet hole is. I don't know how that translates to cameras, but it seems like it should.

ETA: Kevin informs me that this habit is called "chimping".
ALSO ETA: Speaking of Kevin and gun/camera analogies...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The side benefits of hipsters.

#LATFH: An iPad, a Leica film camera, and a Fountain Square Brewing Co. Count Nibula chocolate milk stout at Twenty Tap in SoBro.

So, I go online this morning to discover that Cord Camera up on 86th, a place I last visited to buy a battery charger for my Rebel XTi, had closed back in January. I'll be driving to Roberts, I guess.

Ironically*, the local hipster record shop, in addition to vinyl and turntables, stocks a small selection of film for "Lomography" or "Analog Photography" which is what hipsters call "Using cheap cameras and film to take pictures."

So, like vacuum tubes, hipsters have helped save another antique technology.


Automotif LVIII...

1970 Ford Torino GT


re: The Sony Hack... Everybody in the news media is standing around licking lollipops, condemning the shameful robbery of the candy store. My irony meter has bent its needle.
"Where'd you get that sucker, Savannah Guthrie?"

"Oh, some masked bad man dropped it. Stealing from the candy store is bad don't you think? Here, he dropped a bunch; I have another one in my purse. Want it?"

Monday, December 15, 2014

Object of Desire

Much like the Luger I got recently, I am just compelled to paw this thing. Last time I was behind a camera store counter, this was an unachievable object of desire. The body alone cost more than the used car I was driving at the time.

Tomorrow I'll go get some film and batteries.

Compare and Contrast:

What color is a Sudden Jihadi Syndrome Awareness Ribbon, and where can I sign up to walk for the cure?


So, I saw this in the sidebar at

...and I got all excited about what surely must be the news story of the decade! Visions of a rogue Zamboni chasing terrified skaters around the rink to the tune of "Yakety Sax" like some demented low-budget SyFy channel Maximum Overdrive ripoff...

But alas, when I clicked the link, it was not to be:
"A carbon monoxide leak at a Wisconsin ice rink left 81 people hospitalized -- and a Zamboni could be to blame."
Carbon monoxide leak? Well, that doesn't work to "Yakety Sax" at all. Hopes: Dashed.

Lotta chatter on NPR the other day...

...about the Ruble taking it in the shorts lately, complete with some mutual back-patting about the effect of sanctions. Then today on Twitter, I saw this and it made me wonder...

Aussie po-po just stormed the cafe.

EDIT: Initial CNN report, so expect everything outside the basic fact that the cafe was assaulted and the hostage situation is over to be potentially wrong.

Workplace Violence Down Under!

"Chilling images from Australian media on Monday showed people, believed to be hostages, with their hands pressed against the cafe's windows. They were holding up a black flag with Arabic writing on it reading, "There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God.""
Another case of Sudden Jihadi Syndrome, apparently. This stuff has proved deadlier than Ebola in the Western world, but do you see any fundraisers being done to stomp it out? No. Because that's racist or something.

Get sick with Ebola and you're Person Of The Year at TIME; shoot a jihadi in the face and you're a PTSD risk and should be constantly monitored for signs of going cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

Automotif LVII...

1969 Pontiac GTO convertible