The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Almost as long as a Mahler symphony

Wow, yesterday went on a bit. From getting on the bus to Peoria to getting off the bus back in Chicago, I spent 18 hours and 20 minutes doing something connected with the Peoria Symphony's performance of Beethoven's 9th yesterday. I think it went quite well, and I expect they'll ask us back the next time they do a huge symphonic choral work.

Right now, Cassie has plotzed completely after two nights in boarding, and I need to figure out what I'm eating this week. So I'll post something more interesting later today.

In the meantime, enjoy this Saturday Night Live bit that will challenge even the most attentive English speakers throughout the former colonies:

Anthony's Song

I'm movin' out. A lovely young couple have offered to buy Inner Drive World Headquarters v5.0, and the rest of the place along with it. I've already gotten through the attorney-review period for IDTWHQ v6.0, so this means I'm now more likely than not to move house next month.

Which means I have even less time to read stuff like this:

Finally, American Airlines plans to get rid of its First Class offerings, replacing them with high-tech Business Class and more premium coach seats. I'd better use my miles soon.

Furniture for sale

I don't usually post anything too personal here, but in this case, I have a financial incentive to do so.

For sale: one 18th-century armoire. Measures 82" H, 59" W, 20" D. Disassembles into four pieces. I believe it's walnut or similar European hardwood. $1500 or best offer.

Also for sale: one mid-20th-century drop-leaf table. 27½" H, 42" W, 24" L leaves down and 47" W leaves up. Also walnut or similar (I'm not sure.) $150.

If you're interested, leave a comment. You pick them up from the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. You'll need three people for the armoire, but it does come apart into four sections weighing between 80 and 120 lbs (35-55 kg).

How is it 5:30?

I've had two parallel tasks today, one of them involving feeding 72 people on Saturday. The other one involved finishing a major feature for work. Both seem successful right now but need testing with real users.

Meanwhile, outside my little world:

  • The XPOTUS seems to have backed himself into a corner by lying about "declassifying" things psychically, after the Special Master that he asked for called bullshit. Greg Sargent has thoughts.
  • Pro Publica reported on Colorado's halfway-house system that sends more people back to prison than it rehabilitates.
  • The Navy has begun its court-martial of Seaman Recruit Ryan Mays, accused of lighting the fire that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard in 2020.

Finally, Ian Bogost (and I) laments the disappearance of the manual transmission.

Whither O'Hare parking?

I do love traveling Saturday mid-days, because it's the quietest time at O'Hare. There was no line at the Pre-Check security gate, and I only have a backpack, so it took less than 3 minutes to clear TSA. Wonderful.

Unfortunately, every single economy parking space has a car in it. (I would have taken public transit but I had a meeting run until 12:30, with a 3pm flight. Couldn't risk the 90 minutes or so.)

In any event, my plane is here, it appears to be on time, and the latest weather is VFR the whole way. Next report from North Carolina.

Q&A with a gun owner

Earlier this year I asked a friend if he would answer a couple of questions about his experience with firearms. Rich P. is a competitive pistol shooter living in Connecticut. He and I have agreed about some things and disagreed about others since we were first-years at university. I thought he'd have a reasonable presentation of firearms regulation that differs from mine, and he did not disappoint.

I have edited his responses only for Daily Parker site style and by adding links for context. Otherwise I have copied his responses in full.

How long have you been in competitive shooting? How did you get into it? How much safety training did you get? Do the ranges or competitions where you shoot have specific training or safety requirements?

I have been shooting competitively for 16 years. I compete in both Bullseye and USPSA-style matches. Bullseye is very much what you see at the Olympics: slow fire at targets generally 50 feet away. USPSA matches are more like simulated combat where you are shooting and reloading all on the move, while navigating through a structure and around barricades all the while engaging numerous targets.

I got into competitive shooting with the intent to use it as a training aid. Putting yourself on the clock adds just that little bit of extra stress which aids in helping you learn how to function under pressure.

Safety is paramount on any range I’ve ever been. To become a member of my club you first have to attend a mandatory four-hour safety meeting where all applicants are taught our club safety rules. We then take the applicants to the range and have them shoot a bullseye match with a senior club member standing behind them to help and instruct. After that applicants are required to attend three business meetings and three activity nights. At the business meetings applicants are constantly evaluated by senior members. Basically we’re looking to see if the applicant can work within club rules and they don’t have a screw loose, so to speak.

My club offers different styles of gun matches. Once the applicant chooses his style of match he is then taught all the ins and outs of that style. Monday nights are the most difficult and demanding. This is the USPSA match I mentioned earlier. The applicant will be taught how to properly load and unload his weapon, muzzle discipline, drawing from the holster and most importantly how to do all of the above without putting holes in his feet.

Every match I have ever shot has had some kind of safety briefing.

We’ve had our differences over gun control in the past. For example, you expressed frustration once that taking your guns from Connecticut into New York was a problem because the two states have different rules on magazine sizes. Do you encounter regulation differences between states today, after Heller?

Other then securing my individual right to own a weapon, Heller has had very little effect in a pro-gun sense. In Heller, Scalia wrote that weapons in common use are protected under the Second Amendment. There are over 7 million AR-15s in private hands. I would say that is the very definition of in common use but numerous states still maintain an Assault Weapons ban in defiance of Heller.

Does your state require firearms or owners to be licensed? If so, how difficult is it to get one? Should it be harder or easier? How would you change the licensing requirements?

Connecticut has two levels of gun licensing. To just own a gun and go plinking on weekends a Connecticut resident has to have a gun license and a second license to purchase ammo. To get the gun license there is a written test and a fee. To get the ammo license requires a fee and a current license. I went to the next level, which is a concealed carry license. To obtain that requires close to $300 in fees and mandatory 8 hour class. The upside is Concealed Carry License (CCL) holders do not have to obtain the ammo permit. The license is good for 5 years and can be renewed for a fee of $75. The whole process to obtain a CCL is about 4 months. During that time I had to photographed, fingerprinted, and take the course I explained earlier. I found the process thorough but not to much of a burden. That said with the amount of info I had to turn over if I ever broke bad it would take the cops about 5 minutes to pick me up because the state knows everything about me. There would be nowhere to hide. I don’t think there is anything I would change to the existing licensing schemes.

It’s hard to define “assault weapon” but let’s call it a large-capacity, lightweight, semi-automatic rifle designed primarily as an antipersonnel weapon. For example, the AR-15’s designer intended it to replace the M-14 for American infantry units, and said he couldn’t imagine any civilian needing one. Should we regulate or even prohibit these kinds of weapons?

I don’t believe AR-15s should be banned. Semi-automatic rifles we’re available to the civilian market close to 40 years before being adopted by the military. A lot of people think it was the other way around. I’ve spoken with many anti-gun people and they all operate on this simplistic thinking that if you get rid of the weapons there will be a reduction in crime. What they don’t realize is if they change the law only the law abiding will follow. The criminals will keep theirs and the result will be a disarmed populous in even more danger from a now even more aggressive criminal class.

On top of that anti-gunners are not going to stop with just banning the AR. I have had anti-gunners say straight up banning the AR is a good start but in the end they want everything gone. For seventy years, from the 1934 Taylor Law [I think he meant the National Firearms Act of 1934—TDP], to the 1968 Gun Control Act, to the 1986 [Firearm Owners Protection Act], to finally the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, government has been trying to solve the problem through infringement on rights and property and obviously that is not working. Time for something else.

What infuriates me the most is the lying of the current administration. Saying the 2nd isn’t an absolute is pure bullshit. The 2nd is there as a check on overreaching Federal power. It has absolutely nothing to do with hunting. If I hear one more stupid joke about a deer wearing Kevlar I’m going to lose my mind. At the time of The Revolution private citizens could own warships, get themselves a contract with the colonial Congress and then go privateering hitting British ships at sea. Also spreading fear and telling people that a 9mm round will blow a lung out of the body is offensive to people who know what they’re talking about. Now would I want to be hit with a 9mm round, oh hell no. That said putting that level of disinformation into the world is helping no one.

Anti-gunners also talk about the success of Australia and their gun buy back program. First off how can the government buy back something that wasn’t theirs in the first place? Also they call it a buy back but what it really was a voluntary gun confiscation. If an Australian citizen choose not to sell his guns to the gov’t then he was thrown in jail. Twenty years on we find the Australian gov’t moving people into camps against their will because of a disease that is 99% survivable. Politicians get all kinds of strange ideas once gov’t has a monopoly on force.

Do you identify with a political party? Did you support one of the candidates in the 2020 election?

To your last question I am currently a registered Republican. I was a Democrat until my mid thirties. I voted for Clinton twice and Al Gore in 2000. Having to go through the recession in the early 90’s caused by Bush 41 there was no way in hell I was going to vote for his idiot son Bush 43. Hell I even voted for Hillary Clinton when see ran for the Senate. What I found later was I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me.

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I'll follow up with Rich soon, and I'll have some things to say about a few of his specific points. I'm grateful for his participation.

Maybe not such a long walk today

As I did the Friday before my birthday in 2020 and 2021, I planned today to walk a marathon (42.2 km). Alas, my body doesn't seem as into it as it was before.

I did everything right, I thought: lots of sleep all week, no alcohol at all for a few days, keeping active but not too strenuous. That worked well in 2020:

And in 2021:

But last night, not so restful:

In the week before the 2020 walk my BB averaged 70, and 72 in 2021. As of today, my 7-day average is 47, even though my 7-day sleep average is 8:06 (cf. 8:08 in 2020 and 7:41 in 2021).

The X factor seems to be this year's allergies, which are really not fun. Ragweed and mold levels are through the roof this week, or more precisely the allergens are through the windows, and I've woken up congested every morning since last week. Also, I didn't really take any long walks this summer just for exercise; in fact, I haven't taken a 10 km walk since last September.

So, I'm still going to take a long walk today, but I'll adjust my expectations by aiming for a half-marathon. So, no PRs today, and I don't expect to hit 60,000 steps. Full report this evening.