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April 21, 1836

This date, following the events at Goliad and the Alamo, is recognized in Texas as San Jacinto Day. It commemorates the 18 minute butt whoopin’ given by Texans to the forces directly lead by Santa Anna.

As an aside, the good general seems to have been resistant to learning from his mistakes as some years later, during the Mexican-American War, he would be handed yet another sugnificant defeat, this time at the hands of Winfield Scott.

*I propose that the state of Texas officially change the name of this day to “Curb Stomp Day.”

Allies who aren’t

The good news is that HB 1927, a bill that would eliminate the need for Texans over the age of 21 to obtain a license (TLC) in order to legally carry a firearm, is scheduled for a floor vote tomorrow (4/15/2021) in the House. More good news is that a similar bill didn’t get this far last time, so we are making progress. If it passes the House, the state Senate will be forced to at least consider it. As you might expect, the normal group(s) of anti-freedom people oppose the bill. It happens. That’s not good, of course. There is, however, something much worse. Also voicing opposition is a group of TLC instructors. It is beyond annoying that this group would join in such an anti-freedom effort. Given that the prior predictions of doom and destruction voiced by gun control advocates have uniformly failed to materialize, I can come up with only one reason for TLC instructors to oppose this bill: They’re worried their fellow citizens increased freedom will cost them money. Quislings. And yes, if you are a Texas TLC instructor who is opposed to the elimination of the TLC requirement, I am referring to you.

Allergies

For your consideration:

My eyes are watering. Must be my allergies.

Of projects and youth

Recently, Mrs RM asked me it I would do something for her. The thing? Expanding a closet. “Ah,” I thought. “This could be a project. I like projects.” And so, I agreed. Except, as it turns out, what I agreed to was not the mere expanding of a closet. Oh, no. Upon closer inspection, it seemed that what I had actually agreed to was the removal of a load-bearing wall, the span of which was to be replaced with a 4×10 beam, assembled and put in place by a certain blogger, to span the space, and then the expansion of the closet. My neck hurts. My shoulders hurt. My back hurts. This sort of thing was much easier when I was in my twenties.

Happy Easter!

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in gleaming clothing; 5 and as [a]the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why are you seeking the living One among the dead? 6 He is not here, but He has risen…'”

Of smoke and wonderfulness, pt 2

The stall. It’s that point in barbecue when the temperature of the brisket you’re smoking stops rising. Sometimes, it will even drop a bit. There’s nothing mystical about it. The liquid, mostly water, that collects in the surface of the brisket as it smokes is to blame. Like the brisket itself, the water is exposed to the temperature(s) inside the smoker. It does what water does and evaporates. This evaporative cooling is what causes the stall.

How long does the stall last? The answer to that is much like the answer to “how long does it take to smoke a brisket?” Cooking a brisket takes as long as it takes, and the stall last as long as it lasts. That’s where I am now, at about 0800. What do you do during the stall? You wait. Remember, smoking a brisket is an exercise in patience.

Of smoke and wonderfulness

Time for another Baconian essay. Or not.

Barbecue, as opposed to grilling, and regardless of whether it is a whole pig in North Carolina or a brisket in West Texas, is an exercise in patience.

For instance…

It is currently 0410 (4:00 a.m. to most people).  I have been up since  0300.  The brisket, which I trimmed and seasoned yesterday, came out of the refrigerator at about 0315. By 0330 the lump charcoal was starting in the charcoal chimney. Now, I’m waiting for the smoker to come up to the temperature where the magic happens so I can actually put the brisket on. At the height of summer, that would have already happened, but although the winds are calm, it’s about 52 degrees on my patio, so the warmup time is a bit longer today.

0430 and the brisket is finally on the smoker.

In many ways, barbecuing, the “low and slow” process which produces that wonderful greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts amalgamation of smoke, meat both lean and fat, and carefully selected spices, is similar to smoking a pipe. I used to smoke cigarettes. Smoking a cigarette is a function of just a few minutes. A pipe of good tobacco is a much more contemplative experience, often taking up the better part of an hour. In the evening, it’s a fine adjunct to contemplating the end of the day. Similarly, while I can grill a good steak in just a few moments of actual cooking time, barbecue takes far longer and provides more time for thought and reflection. And so, dinner today is planned for about 1900. I’ll be on my patio, monitoring but not opening the smoker, virtually all that time. What am I going to do other than think?

I am assured it works

I occasionally find myself drawn into discussions with those on the Left. While they, like any others who happen to share a relatively uniform group of political ideologies are not monolithic, there are some things they tend to have in common. One of those is a preference for increasing levels of gun control.

*Please insert reference to gun control being proper stance, good sight picture, etc.*

It seems to be irrelevant to the Left that, at least in the US, gun control has a long and dirty history of being a tool of rather blatant (and sometimes not-so-blatant) racism. This time, we are assured, it will not be.

*Please insert Michael Bloomberg’s reason for wanting minorities disarmed.*

Likewise, it seems to be irrelevant to the Left that, at least in the US, gun control is notable for its consistent failure to ever produce its promised benefits. This time, we are assured, it will work.

*Please insert list of crimes committed with guns in places that would seem to be a gun control advocate’s wet dream.*

All of which brings me to this observation. The Left, of whom socialists are a fine example,

*Please insert Sarah Hoyt’s observation about “Same sh*t, different name for the smell.”

fail to see the irony of hating what is arguably one of the few (perhaps only) thing(s) socialism has ever produced that works consistently. It ain’t clean, it ain’t pretty and it ain’t great, but it works.

Ooph

My military career was split between two services, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Navy. Beyond that, I’ve spent a lot of personal time on things which float. It doesn’t matter what you’re running or piloting, there are a few simple rules one must follow to avoid disaster. One of those might be expressed as “keep the vessel where the water is deep enough.” Others might include, “when the wind blows, your ship is a giant sail,” and “it takes less power to run aground than it does to refloat.” All of which leads to this article from Reuters. Short version: A 400 meter container ship has run aground and is completely blocking the channel of the Suez Canal through which flows 12% of the world’s total global trade goods. Removing the ship and re-opening the canal could take weeks. The economic impact is likely to be “significant.” Words fail me to express just how bad this is.

I cannot imagine the absolute nightmare of being the officer on the bridge during such a majorly FUBARed evolution. If you have the background, just thinking about being that person will induce feelings of nausea. Job? Gone. License? Gone. That’s just the good part.

Damn.

The stupid, it burns us

I am beyond delighted that Texas has elected to end the various and sundry mandated Covid restrictions that were in place. That said, I do not feel any need to express my thanks to the state government (including our governor) for that. “Oh, thank you for allowing me to again exercise my rights” is not something I ever intend to say to any government, bureaucrat, or elected office-holder. After all, you chose to limit them without my permission. Still, I’m glad.

Something I’ve noticed is that wearing a mask at the behest of a merchant with whom I want to do business, doesn’t bother me nearly as much as being told by government that I have to wear one. Besides, a good part of my nursing career was spent in the OR. In spite of often well-meaning insistences to the contrary, and in spite of some rather dubious studies which purport to suggest otherwise, there is a reason we wear masks in the OR. To wit, they reduce the risk of infection, and not just surgical site infections, among patients (all of whom become compromised during their time in the operating room).

Based on the above, then, you might think I would be annoyed by those who decline to wear a mask. You might even think I’d favor at least a mask mandate. Nope. I’m a big believer in not interfering with people doing what they want, even if it’s stupid ill-advised. What I favor, then, is the at risk and arguably overly fearful voluntarily staying home. Government mandates occupy a prime stop on my List of Things to Dislike. I tend to object to not only mandates, but also to busybodies and authoritarians.

I also favor people being able to believe what they want. Even if it is stupid. Or really stupid. Allow me to provide a few real-world illustrations. WARNING: The following provide examples of idiocy in full bloom. You have been warned.

Whoever allows you to walk around without a keeper is complicit in the endangerment of an idiot.

We’re not done, though. The above was followed by this pronouncement.

It’s enough to make your head hurt.

Both of the above are, as far as I can tell, from someone who makes no claim to any sort of medical or scientific expertise. That can’t be said of the next one, though the quote was offered by such a person.

“I don’t know what I’m talking about, so I had behind obscure and faulty logic.”

Let’s note that the quote is from a German biologist who, among other things, has made the claim that there is no measles virus. Instead, he has said, measles is a “psychosomatic illness” caused by “traumatic separations.”

If you parrot the above sort of nonsense, you are an idiot (in the old and now obsolete clinical sense). If you parrot the above noted crap as truth and object to being labeled an idiot, I offer the following. You are simply a liar. I guess you could be a lying idiot, but that’s really not better.

Don’t want to wear a mask? I absolutely and without hesitation support your right to make and live by that decision (unless you are spending time around the high risk folks). I have a greater-greater-than-average risk and I don’t care if you wear one around me and mine. It’s when you begin spouting nonsense and insisting that it is true that we part company, because then you become dangerous. Dangerous to yourself and potentially dangerous to others. At some point, someone whose condition is dependent upon medical knowledge will believe you and act upon your words. And then, they will die. From something that does not exist. Because nanotechnology, 5G and reasons.