Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sunday's hunt...

So on Sunday I was bifixtural, went out with a fairly new pack. My regular pack is pretty crowded now, there will be 60 or more people following. We hunt over rough rocky hills which are well wooded. It's a rare thing to see a quarter mile in a straight line. To get to hounds the only way usually lies through narrow trails, so if one is in the field one sees little other than the bottoms immediately before one.

It was good to see this was half the field- at a joint meet with an established pack:

(Click on the pictures to get larger versions.)

And this is what the country looks like:

As flat as the East of Lincolnshire, or nearly so. A pool table compared to my usual country.

So they set me up with a pilot, MM, and off we went in a big 4x4.

Our first stop and wait spot was right on top of a set of very fresh new coyote tracks. As was the second. Hounds struck quickly and were off, on a bobcat as it turned out. Lost him, then hit a coyote which they hard through a big wooded covert. Hounds were screaming when they were on, and trying when they weren't.

We took up a new position, the view from which you see here:


that's a coyote who popped out in front of us.

And popped back in, because there was someone from the mounted field forty feet in front of him. Hounds were right there, and drew hard, but he must have put his skates on because they couldn't hold him.

So they picked up and tried another covert. Pilot and I were sent to cover a busy road, and just as we got into position MM holloas on a coyote BEHIND us- what an eye! Hounds were right there as it happened, laid on seriously not thirty yards behind him. I though he was had for sure, but again he was able to evade with some big zigs and zags.

On to another spot. To get there we had to go down a long farm track. The ground was very wet and mushy, and MM was concentrating on not getting mired. We could hear hounds, and suddenly from the right came a big loping coyote! I mean close- I thought he'd run into us. He gave that "This isn't so funny any more" look and whipped up the track.

While he was still in sight, here came hounds:

And up the track after him.

It was coming down colder and with some cloud cover, so this run lasted longer. But there were still little checks, and he used them to add distance. He made some huge loops and got away as well.

So then on to another draw, and another coyote! This run didn't last long, ended up back where the pop-out depicted above happened, gave him best and headed in.

So that's a bobcat and four coyotes, plenty of hound work, seeing coyotes react to us, and some pretty intimate views.

I cannot rave enough about my pilot MM. PROFOUNDLY dedicated, knowledgeable and with game sense I can only envy. Plus funny and with a brain.

So here's the deal. From my house to my regular hunt takes three hours. From my regular hunt to this one- we'll call it New Flat Hunt- is only an hour. NFH to my house? Three hours. For an overnight and an extra hour's driving I can get in two days with two packs. Maybe three, since Old FH is adjacent to NFH and meets Saturday mornings, six hours before we do.

I'll be back.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chattanooga's mayor Ron Littlefield is a jackass...

Mayor Littlefield's “Give Our Georgia Friends a Drink Day” proclamation is the act of a thoughtless jackass and embarrasses Chattanooga.

"The city of Chattanooga, facing a possible Georgia land grab as part of an effort to get access to the Tennessee River, is sending a truck load of bottled water to Atlanta. Mayor Ron Littlefield said the water will be delivered on Wednesday by his aide Matt Lea wearing a coonskin cap."

Drought is serious business. Farmers and those who depend on them are being forced into bankruptcy and losing their homes. Workers in agriculture are losing their livelihoods. People who eat are having to pay higher prices for food. Taxpayers are having to carry some of the costs.

Sure, the Georgia "land grab" is a stunt and surely no one takes it seriously.
But mocking the suffering of people in a natural disaster is shameful.

Too bad he can't go back in time and have a laugh at these people:

No, time travel isn't perfected yet- here's a hoot from right now!

Wait, even better! Send Matt Lea and his cap to giggle at Dennis Bragg of Madison County. A real knee slapper!

And this!

One day the warm fuzzy street-cool feeling these cunt writers seek, will be provided by their own blood, as they drown in it, after being shot by a gangsta, irritated by nosey social tourism. There's no need for me to get involved- I'll save my ire.

When I lived in Beijing, the Chinese were busy pulling down all their shacks (the hutongs) and there was a song and a dance from all the tedious expats "Oh the heritage!" they moaned from their warm condominiums "Oh it's a part of history gone!" as the inhabitants of the hutongs were hoiked out of their damp freezing sheds and rehoused in tower blocks with indoor lavatories.

Why I write so little...

Because I see things like this-

He was a remarkable guy -- and he was what all humans are: a tool-user. A tool-designer. He was a good one and not by chance: he worked at it. That's a man I want the young to know about!

But I want them to know the real guy. Putting any man or woman -- Tom Edison, Madame Curie, Elijah McCoy, C. J. Cherryh -- on too high a pedestal runs the risk of others looking up and thinking, "A fluke. Most [deaf guys/women/Canadians] could never do that. I never could" Bosh! Yeah, maybe you or your kids aren't going to invent a radioactive, self-oiling light bulb that flies faster than light, but there's plenty left to do and the human race is just the species to do it!

Maybe the tools you use are words. Or a guitar, a computer, a Bridgeport mill, a kitchen, a classroom. Maybe it's just your bare-nekkid mind against the universe or a sharp stick and your mother-wit against starvation, but you're a human. A tool-maker. A tool-user. Just like the guy who first tamed fire...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Serial killer advice...

Not much duller than a hunting report, so I'll report one funny remark. We were at a check. Subscriber B. and (usually silent) kennelman C., who is about 20 years old, looked at the back of my jeep, which carries a coil of rope.

"B. What do you have that rope in there for?

S. Well, it is down south, I am white, and the Democrats might get back in...*

B. I think you use it to tie up women. I hope they are pretty.

C. No, people notice when pretty ones come up missing. Go for the ugly ones."

Sounded disturbingly like the voice of experience...

* If the Ds get in, old style lynching might make a comeback.

It is generally "forgotten" in public discussions that the evil, racist, segregated, Klan, back-of-the-bus south was entirely ruled by legislators, governors, mayors, and sheriffs of the D party. (Except for a couple of isolated pockets like a few counties in upper East Tennessee.)

A joke in poor taste I know, I'd never stand for that sort of thing in real life.

Hunting Saturday...

Had a fast and scampery day! The last few times we haven't found until about 3:00 or later, we have these afternoon meets at 1:00 or 1:30. I've been threatening to start arriving at 3:00. I'm glad I was on time Saturday, because we found right away and ran like crazy. He ran toward the freeway and we feared he'd try to cross, fortunately changed direction and we lost him. Then hounds found again, and we ran him for a while before giving him best. Feature of the day was regular checks and self casts. Lots more young hounds out than usual, most of the stars were away at a field trial. So they had plenty of opportunities to learn about following their noses, only not too quickly.

It was nice afterward, at the post mortem with the staff, whipper -in T. said, "A good old fashioned hound work day." And it was.

But then Sunday...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Just discovered today that I'm Bi...

Bifixtural, that is.

bi·fix·tur·al [bahy-fiks-cher-uhl]


1. A person who subscribes to, regularly, or on a specific occasion hunts with, two separate packs of hounds. The form can be modified- quadrifixtural, omnifixtural, etc.

"I'm bifixtural today- Cheshire in the morning, Radnor in the afternoon."

[Origin: 2008; from:

1, bi- a combining form meaning “two,” used in the formation of compound words;


2, fixture- location of a meet scheduled by a mounted hunt.

First lexicographic publication by Staghounds.)

Report on the actual hunting tomorrow.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The fingers of God, and my previous post...

Here's a pianist doing "Boston".

He's not the very best, and he calls himself "The Fingers of God". Sounds pretentious, but watching it I don't know. Pretty music always gets to me and makes me believe there's maybe something more, and watching it being made puts me in awe.

And then as I watched, I started thinking. The piano, the design, its wires, even the varnish on it are all the combination of hundreds of thousands of butterfly effects and intersections of genius, work, inspiration, and coincidence.

And there's the music itself, the imagining and fashioning of it. The concept of notation, so others can play it. The music is written on paper, with ink, then printed with machines, hauled with trucks- more millions of butterflies.

Then the hands, the tendons and muscles, the eyes and ears.

So I suppose they are the fingers of God. How can there be such tiny, and at the same time immense, greatness at random?

Then what are the bulldozers of Kivumu?

I suppose I'll go on like this until I find out.

But it's still a pretty song.

Staghound Reflections...

One night in France, F, R, and I sat up until the wee hours talking about hunting and what it means. We’d just spent a day staghunting in France. R. is a long time English stag hunter, so he has memories of the old way. F. is new, all her experience has been under the two hound “flushing” system. So proper hunting as the French do it, with a full pack, was a revelation to her. She had a very good point.

F. said that when she’d gone out with the D&S , she’d had a good time but that it had always felt uncomfortable, false and wrong somehow. She had attributed that to being a beginner, or to not fully understanding what was going on. “But yesterday, here, that felt RIGHT. It was honest, it was fair and true to the game and the hounds. Back home, it’s like we are just pretending. It’s just murder, really, the way we have to do it.”

A couple of weeks later, I was at a breakfast for another English Staghound pack. I was talking with one of the senior members, and he was recalling times long ago, in the 1960s. He said that every so often, there would be enough difficulty with deer overpopulation that they would have what they called a “shootup”.

The farmers would station guns around the edges of a block, then a few hounds would be run through.

Whatever came out, blam.

The membership and masters didn’t like having shootups. They felt that it wasn’t fair to the game, had no evolutionary value, and it presented no sport.

One of the basic premises of hunting with hounds is that the individual quarry animal’s survival vel non is in large part dependent on its own actions. The healthier, stronger, wiser, braver, and otherwise better quality specimens have a better chance to survive and reproduce.

That’s why the quarry is given a chance to get away from covert. In the first minutes of the run, the animal is startled and disoriented. We want her or him to be able to settle down, decide on a survival strategy, and have a fair chance to put it into action. We hate to chop something, it’s just not what our hounds are there for.

And in proper hunting, the animal either escapes uninjured or dies. The inevitable wounding, escape, and horrible death of some deer upset everyone.

So we stopped the shootups. They were, to adopt the vocabulary of our enemies, too cruel and unfair for even the bloodthirsty evil hunting people to do. And we hunted properly.
So they stopped.

Shootups still happened, the farmers just did it themselves.

And now, the ban is in effect.

Under the new dispensation, what are we allowed to do? Just one thing- station guns around the edges of a block and run a few hounds through. Whatever comes out, blam.

But I keep running up against an unpleasant thought. Most of the monster persona that antis have sold the public about us is bloodthirstiness. Our enemies said we were brutes only interested in blood and slaughter.

And the law that they made has forced us into the mold they want us to fit.

What are we reduced to? A practice even WE decided was an unfair one.

Are we exactly what they said we were?

No. But are they making us into what they said we are?

You know, sort of like “Negroes are lazy, ignorant, and lack morals and ambition. So we will put them into terrible schools and concentrate them in reservations where no one works, we will pay their bills for them, and give them more money when they breed.”

(Wait a generation.)

“See? None of them work, they are shiftless, and look at all the fatherless babies! We told you!”

But we have done it. We are complicit in becoming what they said we were.

My thinking on this is even more conflicted than usual. I know that we hope for a political change and the return of proper hunting. I know that we live in hope. Nature doesn’t stand still. Those deer are going to breed whether we chase them or not, whether humans shoot them in herds or leave them alone.

I of course am a D&S loyalist. Though I live away from the moor so I am more connected to the hunting as such than to the personalities. I am sure that there is a great deal of sentimental connection though, both because of the way I was accepted by the D&S and because of past experiences. And something IS better than nothing, at least for many people.

So I can understand the shootups.

But a part of me wants to say no. A part of me wants to just not participate.

Years ago one of the television companies did a fictional series on the slaughter of the German Jews. Among the characters was a successful old couple, the man had won the Iron Cross First in 1870. When the oppressions became overt, he explained that he was a good, patriotic, conservative German, and that this wasn’t his country any more. Rather than be rejected by his homeland, or watch its descent, he dressed himself in his old uniform and he and his wife killed themselves.

It’s not a route I believe I’d choose, you can always take one with you. But I am not confronted with the situation, and I certainly understand his thinking.

A part of me wants to never go to Exmoor again, wants never to see what it is becoming.

Augustana's Boston...

Here's a pretty song, and sentiment...

Farm Subsidy Database...

Some troublemaker has put the EU's farm subsidy payments on line. So, for example, one can see that famous Socialist and enemy of subsidies Antony Wedgwood-Benn gets them.

We have a FOIA in this country. EVERY expenditure of public money ought to be on line, searchable by recipient.All in ONE PLACE. The millions to XYZ Inc., the hundreds of thousands to the Opera guild, the tens of thousands to Wilhemina Welfarebum. All of it- pensions, salaries, grants, every U. S. Government check.

States should do it, too.

I DARE any candidate to suggest it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Only Seven Dead at NIU...

"Seven people are dead after a gunman opened fire on a classroom at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. The dead include the cowardly murderer who attacked what he thought were helpless victims.

The attack comes only a week after NIU presented mandatory student self defense and crime response training following two recent high profile mass killings in which victims went meekly to their deaths. The highly controversial action was protested by the University's Office of Diversity and Gender Issues, because the two hours of training replaced part of the previously scheduled GLBT Awareness week's program. University President John Peters resigned over remarks he made at the time, including "I'd rather have my students learn something that might save their lives. They can do yet another white privilege training walk later."

On its Web site, NIU confirmed six fatalities, not including the shooter. Kishwaukee Community Hospital, located about 10 minutes away from the campus, said it admitted three people who were also victims of the attack.

NIU said police found the gunman dead from multiple blunt trauma injuries.

The shooter, who was dressed in dark clothing, opened fire on a classroom in Cole Hall at about 3 p.m central time. He used a shotgun and two handguns, in violation of the University's gun free rules and Illinois felony laws, which already made it a crime for him to have a gun on campus. He enterd and began shooting at students and the lecturer.

"I knew that he'd keep killing us until someone stopped him, that's what we learned in the training. I was way in the back, but I yelled "GET HIM!" as loud as I could. Some other kids were yelling it too- like they taught us- and everybody threw stuff at him and charged the guy. Mary was first and he shot her, then Paulina grabbed him, he wounded her, then everybody was on him and he went down. We kept hitting him with chairs and stuff til he quit moving. Like that lady said in Chicago, United 93, motherf*cker." , said one student who was hospitalized with a bullet wound.

Authorities have said that motive is irrelevant. "These girls and boys are heroes. Who knows how many more he could have shot if they hadn't resisted."

According to a CNN report, a hospital spokesperson said only three of the victims were shot in the head. "It's pretty hard to hit someone's head when they are moving. Head wounds are a sign of victims who stayed still and let the killer aim", said an anonymous police source.

Just a dream. But
  • "Five or six seventh-grade kids and a 95-pound art teacher can basically challenge, bring down and immobilize a 200-pound man with a gun."
  • (As I posed in 2006.)

    Thursday, February 14, 2008

    Valentine's Day...

    Merci, XKCD!

    Sunday, February 10, 2008

    The RIAA can bite me...

    No bias in the "entertainment community".

    ALL of the 2008 Grammy Award Nominees- Field 19 — Spoken Word- Category 79

    Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Story Telling)

    * The Audacity Of Hope: Thoughts On Reclaiming The American Dream
    Barack Obama

    * Celebrations
    Maya Angelou

    * Giving: How Each Of Us Can Change The World
    Bill Clinton

    * Sunday Mornings In Plains: Bringing Peace To A Changing World
    Jimmy Carter

    * Things I Overheard While Talking To Myself
    Alan Alda

    Senator McCain CAN win...

    In the CPAC speech, the key quote among many good ones:

    “I will not sign a bill with earmarks in it, any earmarks in it.”

    That is a base-turning-out promise, one President Reagan was afraid to make or do.

    IF he can convince us he means it, and will stick by it. And I think he can- the North Vietnamese didn’t break him, and the Democrats in congress haven’t better tools.

    It might be an election winner. Find out how much would not be spent if we cut ALL the earmarks. Talk about a tax rebate, this is a real stimulus- you get to keep your money! And it’s not inflationary.

    It would be interesting to see it happen- Congress sends him the usual pork stuffed budget, and he refuses, with lots of highlighting of exactly what he’s turning down. Stuff that no one who isn’t profiting personally can defend.

    So all the representatives have to put themselves out there on their “I hate earmarks” rhetoric. In the past, they have been able to evade responsibility- “I hate earmarks, but since they are all getting them, I have to fight for my district.”

    But when no one will get them…

    And he closed with this:

    "You have heard me say before that for all my reputation as a maverick, I have only found true happiness in serving a cause greater than my self-interest. For me, that cause has always been our country, and the ideals that have made us great. I have been her imperfect servant for many years, and I have made many mistakes. You can attest to that, but need not. For I know them well myself. But I love her deeply and I will never, never tire of the honor of serving her. I cannot do that without your counsel and support. And I am grateful, very grateful, that you have given me this opportunity to ask for it."

    His opponent is running as the living embodiment of self interest, a veritable promise machine. "Free medicine! The government will pay your mortgage! I wake up every morning wanting to HELP YOU!"

    God versus Santa Claus. It might be God's last chance.

    Thursday, February 07, 2008

    We are all socialists now...

    "When we all used to believe in God, a tithe was suggested - 10%. Now the suggested donation is 40%. Except it's not a donation; it's not a mere suggestion; and it is not rendered to God."

    The only differences I see are:

    At home, there's a gun in about every sixth house. And our masters don't know which houses.

    Away from home, we still have the ability to blow up anything.

    We won't really be socialists until we disarm ourselves at home, and we won't be Europeans until we allow someone else to decide whether we live or die.

    Wednesday, February 06, 2008

    Let's just have a war...

    It's not as though no one has ever burned Atlanta. And they don't have any water to put it out!

    I figure we get allies to join in, and partition. We annex down to Marietta and the McDonnell-Douglas stuff. South Carolina gets Savannah and Augusta. Alabama can invest Columbus, then blitzkrieg a salient to Hartsfield.

    We can call the remainder Rump Georgia, and let "the Atl" stew in its own deadbeats.

    Tuesday, February 05, 2008

    Don't vote, if...

    you know better.

    Frederick's of Nazareth...

    Today's conversation included this exchange:

    "More people like underwear than like the Bible."

    "More people USE underwear than use the Bible."

    "Maybe if they made little lacy Bibles. Or crotchless Bibles."

    "Or leather ones."

    "They DO make leather ones."

    "Not all the way through..."

    In a discussion of this.


    It's a bit disturbing that I was actually surprised by this.

    Sunday, February 03, 2008

    Thank God Chicago has common sense gun laws..

    A gunman who intended to kill five women in a clothing store at a suburban Chicago strip mall Saturday remains no threat, police said.

    The shooting at the Lane Bryant store was a robbery that "at some point went rather perfectly," said Tinley Park police Sgt. T.J. Grady.

    All of the victims -- ranging in age from 22 to 37 -- were herded toward a back room of the store, he said. At that point LaShanda Quantrell took her licensed .38 caliber pistol from her purse and shot the gunman five times, killing him instantly.

    Quantrell, 26, told reporters "Everybody knows that the place they are taking you to is the murder scene. I waited until his back was turned and no one else as in danger. No way was I going to just let him kill us. United 93, motherf*cker."

    The other unmurdered victims' identities were not released. They, like Quantrell, returned safely to their families, who are not stunned by the sudden deaths of their wives, daughters, and mothers.

    The dead man, John Smith, was on parole for burglary and also has a record of assault and drug offenses. His possession of a firearm violated both State and Federal felony laws.

    "This is a very serious and sensitive investigation," Tinley Park Police Chief Michael O'Connell said Saturday evening. "If we find out who armed Smith, we will charge him with being an accessory."

    At least one of the victims was a Lane Bryant employee, O'Connell said. "I'm not stupid enough to give details of an investigation, like whether or not there are security cameras."

    A 911 call reporting the self defense came in at 10:44 a.m., Grady told reporters.

    The shopping center was locked down while stores were thoroughly searched. It was reopened after police determined the robber had no identifiable accomplice.

    No way. Nice to dream, though.

    They could have United 93d him anyway, I'll bet there were plenty of things in that back room they could have used. Or just grabbed him. Five percent of U. S. homicides are by hands and feet.

    Two killed, one wounded, robber beaten to death is a better result than this one. Even five dead, robber scratched is better.

    "Ja wohl, Sturmmann, wir steigen in den Zug ruhig ein."


    My littermate's response?

    "That was stupid, fat women don't have any money. They spend it all on doughnuts"."

    **LaShanda Quantrell and John Smith are made up names!!!!**

    Candidate leadership on abortion. Ha..

    I have never heard this topic addressed this way.

    Another presidential campaign, and more nonsense on abortion. A complete waste of everyone's time, ink, and questions. Abortion is NOT AN ISSUE for a presidential candidate, but all parties use it shamelessly to raise money. Perhaps because only ignorant people are susceptible to fighting over abortion. Wouldn't it be refreshing if a candidate- or ideally all of them- explained the following to EVERYBODY:

    First, no matter how you feel about it, abortion is SETTLED. Follow along, this takes some thinking.

    Since the right to abortion was created/discovered in the U. S. Constitution by the Supreme Court, only the Supreme court or constitutional amendment can delete it. THE PRESIDENT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE AMENDMENT PROCESS AT ALL. He never touches it, he can't veto it, it doesn't matter what he thinks. If you want to amend the Constitution, the state representative from Chittlin' Switch, Kansas has more power than the President does.

    "But wait, doesn't the President appoint Supreme Court Judges? His choices must be directed to preserving our rights/saving the unborn!!!! My check is on the way!!!!!"

    They are called Justices, actually. And IT DOESN'T MATTER! Let me explain.

    Which of these things is not like the other?

    1. Moving from the state where you live to another state.

    2. Not being a slave.

    3. Getting a first trimester abortion.

    Trick question, they are all the same thing!

    The Supreme Court may not be right, but it's final. Roe v. Wade made abortion (as set forth therein) a Federal civil right. A first trimester abortion is the right of anyone under American jurisdiction, like moving from state to state or not being a slave. If the following upsets you or you want to think around the truth, mentally replace "abortion" with "move from Iowa to Indiana", because it's the same principle.

    Courts can deal only with actual cases and controversies, not potential ones. Even if every Justice ached to kill Roe, there would have to be a case to do it with.

    So here's what would have to happen. A state legislature would have to pass a law making abortion- giving, getting, or both- a crime.

    Someone would have to give, get, or conspire to abort in such a way that the local police found out about it and obtained evidence.

    Some local Police Chief or Sheriff would have to go along with arresting someone for abortion, something he or she has a constitutional right to do. (His departmental lawyer would have to advise him to ignore the law. Remember, it's a federal crime and a civil cause of action to use official authority to interfere with the exercise of civil rights.)

    Some local prosecutor would have to present a case charging someone with abortion. Lawyers have these rules, and one of them prohibits presenting a case where the lawyer knows the law is against him. And lawyers like to keep their licenses. Plus it's the same crime and civil action for prosecutors to impede civil rights. Prosecutors like their houses and their non defendant status as much as police officers do.

    A local judge would have to permit and conduct a trial on a charge of exercising a civil right to abortion. A jury would have to convict.

    A state intermediate appeals court would have to allow the conviction for abortion to stand.

    Then the state supreme court (or whatever they call it there- In N. Y. I think they call it Common Pleas and Traffic Court of Judicaturity. Or is that Massachusetts?) would have to deny the appeal.

    A U. S. District Judge would have to rule on the Federal civil rights case.

    The U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals would have to deny that appeal.

    THEN the U. S. S. C. could make a new decision.

    Count them- that is at LEAST one police chief and three lawyers who have to risk their careers, personal possessions, and jail time to go against all their training and responsibility and violate the law.

    And a dozen or twenty Judges and Justices who would have to knowingly let a criminal conviction occur and proceed in clear violation of the law.

    I work in the "Justice System", it won't happen. It hasn't even come close to happening in thirty five years.

    So at least in the Presidential campaign, knock it off about abortion. Quit sending scare letters about how this or that candidate will cause back alley abortion deaths or will save babies. Because NO PRESIDENT CAN DO EITHER ONE.

    And quit revealing your ignorance or dishonesty by asking the questions!

    And for sure, stop making decisions based on this issue. It's like deciding based on how the candidate likes the Queen of England's hat choice on May 3, 1958.