Around The Blogs

Lots more good stuff from the blogosphere came to my notice over the past week.  Here goes.

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A few weeks ago I wrote:  ‘Big Brother is becoming paranoid and insanely intrusive‘.  I didn’t mention the half of it.  Via a link at ‘In The Middle Of The Right’, we find ‘32 Privacy Destroying Technologies That Are Systematically Transforming America Into A Giant Prison‘.  It’s chilling – so much so that I daresay our Founding Fathers would have been reaching for their muskets and hatchets, if they’d been alive to read it today . . .

In similar vein, the Silicon Graybeard points out that ‘Making the administration look bad will not be tolerated and they will strike down anyone who does so’.  He says that this country is now the Banana Republic of America.  Considering the cases he cites, and the article referenced above, it’s hard to argue with that label.

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After reading of so much government misconduct, it’s refreshing to realize that there are still individuals who can make a difference.  Via a link at ‘Irons In The Fire’, we learn of the inspiring story of Sir Nicholas Winton, who arranged to rescue hundreds of Jewish children from Czechoslovakia after Germany occupied that country before World War II.  Many of them and their descendants are still alive, and were specially invited to attend the 1988 filming of a BBC program, ‘That’s Life‘, at which Sir Nicholas would be present.  Here’s how it went.

Sir Nicholas is still alive.  People like that humble the rest of us, don’t they?

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Old NFO brings us a long list of ‘Superstitions and Old Wives’ Tales‘.  Here are a few examples.

  • Hold your breath while going past a cemetery otherwise you will breathe in the spirit of someone who has recently died.
  • Seeing an ambulance is very unlucky unless you pinch your nose or hold your breath until you see a black or a brown dog.
  • The ancient Greeks used to believe that if you had sex while a North wind was blowing you would produce a male child. A Southern wind would produce a female child.

There are many more at the link.  Intriguing stuff.

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It looks like the anti-gun crowd are getting up to all sorts of nasty tricks. Sean at ‘A NC Gun Blog’ warns us of a deceitful tactic being employed in that state.  It’s particularly insidious because under that State’s laws it could lead to legal complications for those who are lawfully armed.

Not to be outdone, anti-gunners in Colorado appear to have pulled out all the stops in their attempts to defeat recall petitions against legislators who passed swingeing firearms restrictions into law in that State earlier this year.  Particularly infuriating is that local law enforcement appears to have been instructed to do nothing about it.  You can bet I’ll be taking that into account when deciding where to spend my holiday dollars in future, and I hope my readers will do the same.

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Matt Walsh writes ‘An open letter to the tyrants who don’t leave tips‘.  As one who relied on tips way back when, and found my wallet (and my stomach) hurting badly without them, I can only agree with him.

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Kate Paulk fisks the publishing industry and its obsession with in a very amusing article titled ‘First, Remove Head from Fundamental Orifice‘.  That’s one way to put it, I guess!  Very interesting reading for all interested in writing and publishing.

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Warren Meyer of Coyote Blog points out that ‘Of Course The Health Insurers are Behind Obamacare. Its The Greatest Bit of Cronyism Ever.‘  True, dat . . .

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The often screamingly funny military-satire Duffel Blog informs us ‘Pentagon Scraps ‘Lightsaber’ Weapons Program After Gross Misconduct, Numerous Injuries‘.  Here’s an excerpt.

“Even with having the most professional military in the world,” said Pentagon spokesman George Little, “we did not anticipate the unintended consequences. Apparently, when you give soldiers a weapon they’ve dreamed about their entire lives, their intelligence drops to the level of a retarded monkey.”

While the original intent behind the program was to provide a new, stealthy device for entry into suspected insurgent hideouts, the program quickly descended into chaos when infantry and special operations units were given lightsabers to test on the battlefield.

Less than 30 minutes after being issued the new weapon, one soldier severed his hand reenacting the infamous “Star Wars kid” YouTube video. Another had his confiscated for sketching sexually explicit images on the side of concrete bunkers and two Marines were arrested for poking lightsaber peep holes into female showers.

Oops . . .

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In my last ‘Around The Blogs’ segment, I mentioned Charles Hugh Smith’s article ‘Is Anybody Else Tired of Buying and Owning Stuff?‘  In the light of poorer-than-expected sales on Black Friday (which I predicted last week), it’s perhaps worthwhile to look at another of his prescient articles, this one titled ‘The Inevitable Decline of Retail‘.  If you or any of your relatives work in that sector of the economy, this one’s worth reading.

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Finally, for the shooters among us, Carteach has a very useful article about ‘Snap shooting with a carbine‘.  It contains useful information for the civilian shooter, although those of us who trained on military ‘Jungle Shoot’-type courses of fire will have learned different techniques.  I’m going to be trying some of Carteach’s recommendations myself over the next few weeks and comparing them to my bush war techniques, to see which works better for me.  I suspect, given the different rules of engagement and ‘tactical scenarios’ likely to be encountered by most of us, his suggestions will prove very useful.

(I’m sure many of us – most certainly including yours truly! – will struggle to afford such extensive practice using full-house ammunition.  This is why it’s worth buying a rimfire conversion kit for your firearm, or having a dedicated .22 practice weapon similar in form and function to your defensive weapon to use for such training.  If rimfire ammo is too scarce or too expensive, try a BB or Airsoft replica of your defensive firearm.  They’re perfectly usable for such training scenarios.)

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That’s all for this week.  More from the blogosphere soon.



  1. On tipping:
    Many servers complain that they only get $3 an hour in wages, and this justifies why we should all tip large amounts (it used to be that 15% was considered a good tip, now they demand 20%)

    So you are a server, and you work at a restaurant that assigns you four tables, and the average meal is $60 for two. That means that, at 10%, you get $6 per table, and assuming that each table stays for an hour, you are making $27 an hour.

    A server writes down what I tell them I want to eat, and then goes and gets what I want and brings it to the table. That's it. There is no rocket science here.

    Even if tips were reduced to 5%, you would still be making $15 an hour.

    At $15 an hour, you are making far more than most, and for unskilled work. Be happy.

  2. The one about tipping incensed me a bit. I started to leave a reply on Matt's site but at over 400 and counting comments, I figured it would get lost in the background noise.

    I agree with Divemedic, except that when I first started eating out on my own, the baseline tip was 10%, and you added or subtracted from there based on the quality of service. This upward tip creep, plus the inflation of the cost of the meal itself is part of the problem.

    I generally give 20% for good service, 15% for "adequate" service, and 10% or less for poor service. I never no-tip simply because the low tip is a signaling device to inform the server that his service was less-than adequate. No tip at all and he will think I either forgot or that I am one of those "tyrants".

    Where in bloody hell did this attitude from servers come from that everyone "owes" them 20% of the bill – especially from those waiters for whom you have to send out a search party when you need a drink refill, or the bill picked up so you can pay and then leave.

    I get it. They work hard (sometimes). But good service always gets a good tip from me. If they think that I owe them that 20% and that I am a "tyrant" if I think otherwise… Well, they can just FOAD!

  3. @Divemedic and Roy: I respect your differing opinions, of course. I'd just like to offer two countervailing points.

    1. Many restaurants pay their waiters very poorly. $2 to $4 an hour is not uncommon, and I know a couple of local establishments that pay only $1 per hour. The staff rely on tips to make up the difference.

    2. Waiters typically work only a few hours per day, over lunch or in the evenings. If they earn $15-$20 per hour including tips, but only work for (say) 3 to 4 hours, that's not much when considered as a full day's income. If they work longer hours then, yes, that's a better-than-average income; but how many of them get such hours? I know I didn't when I worked as a waiter, way back when.

    Just my $0.02 worth . . .

  4. @Peter, I get it. A waiters pay sucks.

    What I am incensed about is that it has somehow become *my* responsibility to supplement their pay, regardless of the quality of the service, and if I disagree, I somehow become a "tyrant". Well screw that. I work for a living too! And God himself only asks for 10%.

  5. 1. Why is it my problem how much his boss pays him? If I don't make enough, I certainly cannot berate my customers for not making up the difference.
    If a local establishment is only paying $1 an hour, they are in violation of Federal minimum wage law. Report them.

    2. The hours that a waiter works are not my problem, either. That is between them and their employer.

    If your job sucks, get a new one. Also, don't blame this on the poor economy: the complaints about tips have gone on for years.

  6. In all fairness, I should point out that an exception is made in the federal and (some) states minimum wage laws for wait staff etc. This is done with the expectation that they are going to make more on tips. Indeed, they are taxed on a minimum amount of expected tips regardless of whether they actually receive said tips. (This is another reason why I will never leave no tip, even for bad service.)

    But I refuse to be browbeaten into leaving a good tip for crappy service just because of the waiters sob story.

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