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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Uncle Salem's Flat

There are racists in the world.

This revelation should come as no surprise to anyone, be they Left or Right, progressive or conservative, spiritual or atheist. The only difference lies in where the line between "racist" and "not racist" lies for people, and whether they use the dictionary or a sociology 101 definition.

For some, racism comes when a member of one race looks down upon members of another race for no other reason than they believe them inferior in some way. For others, systemic power is all that is required; with that power, everyone of a particular race is racist, and without that power anyone of another cannot be racist at all.

But there's another particularly invasive and vicious form of racism that bothers me more than most, for reasons that I honestly can't put my finger on. Maybe it's my commitment to freedom of thought and speech that makes me susceptible to offense on this issue; maybe it's my strong opposition to groupthink and echo chambers. Whichever it is, I cannot stand it when people heap abuse on someone who believes something that isn't in complete lockstep with members of their identity group. This includes, but is not limited to:
  • Black people being called "Uncle Toms" or "Coons" for not buying into Black Lives Matter. 
  • Women having "internalized misogyny" for not being feminists. 
  • White people being called "race traitors" for dating black people or protecting civil rights. 
  • Gay people being called "self-hating" for not thinking all straight people are out to murder them. 
  • Asians being called "bananas" (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) for whatever reason (yes, I've seen that). 
Demographic groups are just that, demographics. They are not ideologically identical monoliths, and shouldn't be treated as such. They also shouldn't be infantilized for not believing what you believe they should believe. People have their own reasons and influences for believing what they do, just as you do, and they probably believe you are just as wrong as you think they are.

There's a phrase that is very fitting here, as much as it bothers me to quote something coined by one of George W Bush's speechwriters: "The soft bigotry of low expectations." Believing that you know better than someone else without knowing or experiencing the situation of their lives is a very subtle but invasive form of bigotry; couple that with expecting to believe certain things based on their race, and you get a disgusting form of collectivist racism that allows someone to dismiss someone else's point of view because they're "simple-minded" and "self-hating" and "don't know any better".

It's sickening and truly offensive and if you think this way, you're a bigot. But you probably don't think of yourself that way. You probably think yourself a good person. So good of a person that you're somehow better than the person who doesn't think the way you think they should. But you're not.

You're still an asshole to someone based on the circumstances of their birth. And that, I cannot abide. 

Last Night I Invented a Word

A German word, no less.

English has no such word, but one of my friends suggested I try German. Unfortunately, not even the complex language of Teutonic Cruelty has such a word -- but German is marvelously modular in that you can put words together like Legos to create complex concepts.

For example, here are just some of the compound words you can create with everyone's favorite little fecal swear:

die Scheiße([Das ist mir] scheißegalI don't give a shit
Scheißdingshitty thing
scheißfaulgoddamn lazy

By the way, the ß in German has a double-S sound, so Scheiße (all Nouns in German are capitalized) is actually pronounced Scheisse.

So I consulted my dictionary and came up with two words that fit how I felt and smashed them together to create a new but utterly proper German word:

It's a combination of angst, which means fearful anxiety, and freude, which means happiness. Thus, angstfreude means "fearfully happy."

I think it fits how I feel right now:  "Dear Hollywood, I've loved these books for decades. It will be wonderful if you do them properly but I'm almost certain you're going to ruin them."

For those keeping track, this is the third word I've invented. The others are dalqué and mediabation.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Can't We Please Vote For the Pony?

Can we PLEASE vote Princess Twilight Sparkle for President? I guarantee you she'll do a better job than any of the other candidates.

Artist: Pixelkitties
In fact, here's the lineup for the Equestrian Party:

President: Twilight Sparkle 

She's a Princess. She knows magic. She loves to read. She's OCD about rules and procedure. We're guaranteed to have the smartest, most ethical President in history. 

Vice President: Pinkie Pie

The Vice Presidency is pretty much a joke these days, and VPs mainly go to funerals, parties, and other functions that the President can't or wont attend. If it's a joke and it's a party, that means Pinkie Pie!

Secretary of State: Rarity

Daaahling, please! She's smooth, she's cultured, she speaks with a Mid-Atlantic accent so that she sounds European enough to win people over, but she can also be tough as nails when necessary. Isn't it time that America look good on the foreign stage again?

Secretary of the Treasury: Applejack

She's honest. If that alone doesn't qualify her to manage our nation's money, there's also the fact that she's a hard worker and knows the value of a buck (pun gleefully intended). (Her brother Big McIntosh would make an excellent Secretary of Labor, and her grandmother Granny Smith for Secretary of the Interior.)

Secretary of Defense: Rainbow Dash

Aggressive, but a team player. Has the heart of a warrior but knows enough to listen to the wisdom of others. Plus, she can perform a totally sweet Sonic Rainboom. 

Secretary of the Interior: Fluttershy

Fluttershy is a friend to all animals, so naturally she will want to take care of them. But she's also kind enough to realize that humans have to be treated fairly as well. Plus, she can star down a freaking dragon, meaning she's tough on pollution. 

Secretary of Health and Human Services: Zecora the Zebra

If you want to keep your people well,
You'll hearken to Zecora's spell. 
Her potions will help cure what ails ya, 
Even the bird flu from Southeast Asia. 

Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security: Special Agent Sweetie Drops
She's a skilled agent from an elite, secret agency dedicated to hunting and imprisoning monsters. Fighting terrorists and keeping America safe ought to be a snap for her. 

and finally, White House Press Secretary: 

Because it's not like he could do the job any worse than the last few people who had the job. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

More Blazing Sword in the News

July 3
We are Instapundited again (thanks, Sarah Hoyt!) as we celebrate having instructors in all 50 states. I still giggle every time I see the title "Meet The Woman Who’s Trying To Arm The LGBT Community", because it sounds like I'm a fabulously gay arms merchant.

July 14
Sean Sorrentino, wearing a purple shirt that seems like it's the exact shade of our map pins, appears in an article from The NC Capital Connection titled "After Orlando Attack Free Firearms Training Offered". Aside from the terrible lack of a comma between attack and free, it's a good article that mentions OBS in a positive light. I would have liked a link to our Facebook page, but the NCCC kindly embeds our interactive map within the article, and the important part is getting the word out. 

July 19
I have a ten-minute segment on NRA News' Cam & Company. I come in at the 44 minute mark, and while it isn't my best work, it's a national program and thus the largest audience I've had to date.

If you missed it, today's episode has already been uploaded as a podcast. You can listen to it on iTunes or, if you use Android, I'm told that if you point your podcast player at this link that you can get the feed that way. Or you can click on the above C&C link to watch it on the NRA website. 

I'd love to appear on Cam's show again, and I the next time I am that OBS has become an even greater force for good in the world. 

Thanks for your continued support, everyone! Hopefully we get that 501c3 charity status soon!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #100 - The Scary, Evil Features of an Orange Flare Gun

It's a full century of GunBlog VarietyCasts! Come join us as we shake our moneymakers to these trendy tunes:
  • Last week Beth brought us the ladies of The DC Project as they started their week on Capitol Hill; this week, she tells us how the project went. 
  • What kind of reprehensible excuse for a human being person steals a puppy? Sean looks a little deeper and finds out exactly what sort of person steals a puppy. 
  • It seems like everyone's playing Pokemon Go. Barron tells us about the risks that come with it. 
  • In our main topic, Erin and Sean discuss that Vox article (oh Vox, you so silly) where they found that 20% of all Democrats want to ban every gun they saw... including an orange flare gun. 
  • In the aftermath of Dallas, Tiffany asks each of us: Are we going to be the water? or the flame? 
  • How do you deal with protests that block roads? Erin gives us some strategies to make road blocking protests less dangerous for you and your family. 
  • Weer'd goes big and brings us four Patented Audio Fisks™ for the price of one. 
  • And our plug of the week is for Big 3 East Training Center
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 also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support. Go to to join

And a special thanks to our sponsor, Law of Self Defense at Use discount code "Variety" at checkout for 10% off.

Upcoming Law of Self Defense seminars:
  • August 7 - North Carolina specific - Raleigh, NC (Almost Sold Out!)
  • August 13 - Oregon and Washington specific - Sherwood, OR
  • August 20 - Tenessee and Kentucky specific - Nashville, TN
  • September 10 - Alabama specific - Talladega, AL
  • September 17 - Minnesota and Wisconsin specific - La Crosse, WI
  • October 1 - Pennsylvania and New Jersey specific - Bensalem, PA
  • October 15 - New York specific - Poughkeepsie, NY
  • October 22 - Iowa specific - Johnston, IA

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Tinker, Gamer, Techie, Fried

 or "How I Spent My Weekend, by Salem MacGourley."

The weekend started normally enough. I'd dragged a dear friend through the horror that is Aliens: Colonial Marines (made better, but not great, by the overhaul mod), and we'd just finished late Friday night. We were considering playing just a bit of another game before calling it a night, but we took a break first. I went to the restroom and fixed a drink, and when I'd come back, my computer had shut itself off. I turned it back on, sat down, and...

The LEDs came on. The fans spun... then stopped. And started up again. And then stopped again. And started up again. And repeated this a few times.

I sent my friend a couple of messages stating that I suspected the computer had overheated, and took the time for the weekly call to my mum. 20 minutes later, it was still refusing to power on completely. This had happened a couple of times before, but leaving it off for 10 minutes fixed it. This time, though...this time it was through.

So I called up a friend in Texas and he was on the phone with me through various tests. I ripped out all of the external components and tested: same thing. I opened the case and disconnected the video card; same. I swapped memory around; same thing. Unplugging the hard drives let it boot into the BIOS, but as soon as I'd attempt to boot to anything, even a flash drive with the windows installer on it, it crashed again.

After much frustration and loud swearing, we determined that the issue was most likely the CPU. This was unfortunate, because if wasn't covered by warranty, it would have been a $250 replacement. Fearing the worst and being stranded without a comforting screen, I went to Wal-Mart and bought the cheapest stand-in I could find: a $200 HP Stream laptop. I spent as much time as I could researching and reading tech sites for an alternate solution on the stuttering and sputtering little potato, and I eventually found another possible culprit: the power supply.

Fortunately, I'd needed a new power supply when I'd bought a video card a few years back,  as the original did not have the proper connectors for the video card. After figuring out a way to make the archaic and under-powered power supply connect to the current-gen motherboard, I powered it up... and the system booted to Windows. Later that day I was off to Best Buy for a new power supply (I hate waiting for shipping when it comes to emergency parts), and some replacement fans as I'd noticed two of them weren't turning and had cables frayed beyond repair.

Oracle (yes I named my computer after Barbara Gordon, shut up) is now currently back online and functional, as well as properly cooling again. I returned the now-unneeded laptop to Wal-Mart, and learned a valuable lesson last weekend, one that nobody should ever forget:

Windows 10 should *never* be put on a laptop with only 2gb of RAM. Don't buy an HP Stream. They're junk. Fork over the extra hundred bucks and get a real laptop, even if it's an under-powered piece of junk, because even then it won't be as worthless as an HP Stream.

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