Friday, April 29, 2011

I would love to have this across the road

Future gun range "sounds" bad to neighbors

Just a controversy of building a gun range near a group of houses.

If this was built across from my house, my wife would always know where to find me.

Still out of steam, 4/29/11

On my way to get caught up for the week, but not quite there.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Out of steam, 4/27/11

I've been putting in more time than I care to with network issues at one site and a vendor system that doesn't care to stay running. Hours through the night included for no extra charge.

From the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, IL.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sen Grassley on Gun Talk Radio

Rom Gresham's Gun Talk Radio
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has written an article for The State Column about the allegations from the ATF whistleblowers on “Project Gunrunner”, and has introduced legislation, Senate Bill 586, to protect whistleblowers, like the ATF agents, from retribution.
This afternoon at 2pm Eastern, 1pm Central

Radio stations that carry the show.

Or listen to streaming podcasts.

In case you missed it, archive is here.

Sunday (not so) funnies, 4/24/11

Thursday, April 21, 2011

North Scott High targetshooting club

It’s loud, competitive and puts shotguns in the hands of high school students. But after years of planning, North Scott High School students now have their own trapshooting club.
In Iowa we have a few schools with sense enough to have a school sponsored gun clubs as a competitive sport. North Scott and Davenport West are a couple. That brings to 40 such clubs in Iowa.
Austin Coobs, a 17-year-old North Scott senior, said the more students who participate, the better.

“It would clear up questions about safety issues,” Coobs said. “I think one of the reasons people are against gun ownership is because they don’t understand it. Shooting is one of the safest sports because people make it safe.”
Congrats to North Scott.

The vulgar left

Jim gives us a peek into the mind of a leftist University of Iowa professor. It seems she doesn't like what the college Republicans had to say in an email they sent out. An F U was her reply.

State29 give us more details (language-wise). And beware of the photo of the prof.
Expect to see more of these kinds of outbursts by angry Democrats in the next year and a half as the Tea Party Republicans travel around the State and President Obama continues to suck more and more.
He's probably right.

He also gives his opinion of Christie Vilsack's probable attempt to portray the sacrificial lamb to Rep King next year. Plenty of background regarding the former governor and his hat wearing wife.

Good luck with that, Ms Vilsack.

Disclaimer: I've known the Vilsacks for a number of years since his unfortunate ascension to mayor of Mt Pleasant. Don't much care for them or their politics.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gun thefts in Iowa

Thieves are out and about looking for firearms in Union and Ringgold counties.

Clark county got hit as well.

Lorimor's American Legion was hit.
"Them guys (the thieves), I don't think want to get found by a group of veterans," said Hiatt.
Or by gun owners in general.

The search for Camp Stranded, pt. II

Found at Not an endorsement, just like the picture

A couple of other observations that the wife and I have come across during our exploring of the properties offered in the county: One half of the properties that we've looked at so far are on the market because of a divorce. It seems that one spouse received the property in the settlement and then put it on the market within a few months. I have no reason to ask why and frankly it's not my business.

One fourth have been on the market because of a death and they're selling the land to settle the estate. The conclusion I can come up with is that three quarters of the properties we looked at were on the market because of an unfortunate event. I have no intention of hanging out at the courthouse or bribing the clerk to check the docket, but this is only an observation. Although a sad one.

This next segment is entitled:

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Pixels

I found the Iowa Geographic Map Server of the state that provides infrared, color hillshade maps and grayscale hillshade at one meter scale. Other maps are available as well.

For a historical perspective one can look up aerial photos from the 1930s. One piece of land we are currently looking closer at had been farmed right up to the creek in the 30's. Now the parcel is about 40% hardwoods and multiflora rose. (I curse the day they thought up that erosion solution.)

How about a little further back in time with the General Land Office Survey Map of Iowa, conducted between 1836 and 1859.

There is a lot to look for here as I've looked up my grandfathers' farms and our old homestead where I grew up just because I can.

And Bing Maps with their "Bird's Eye" can zoom in for very close looks if available.

Some of the counties in Iowa have a very good GIS mapping that clearly indicates the parcel lines and allows measurements for distance and area.

Here's an interesting view of flooding along the Iowa River probably done in 2008. The deedholder of this parcel is the United States of America and its Assigns. I found this to be a very good tool to map out a parcel and find the neighbors.

Not every county uses this same tool but I've found this one to be very easy to work with. Neighboring counties of Tama and Linn use it but our neighbor to the north, Benton, uses a tool that doesn't utilize aerial photos. Shame.

I encourage anyone to use these tools for themselves. If you're an Iowan (or former Iowan) find your own property or snoop on your neighbors. I haven't found any sunbathers yet but you never know.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bible burned in Cedar Rapids, rioting ensues

The first part is true, the second would have been if this had been the Koran:

Discovered last week in a downtown parking garage in Cedar Rapids, the charred remains of a Bible sit in the stairwell to remind us of either the stupidity or the lack of morals of some in our public.

My guess is that a couple of punk kids did this as a stunt and not as a religious or political statement. Otherwise they would have picked a more open and well-traveled venue. The few visitors that actually use the stairs didn't raise the alarm of radical anti-religious acts being perpetrated in the peaceful little city of Cedar Rapids.

To my knowledge, no one called the TV stations or the local paper. It wasn't on Fox or CNN and nothing posted on Youtube. In other words: Protest Fail. (If that was their mission.)

Very few saw this (reminds me of this blog), so I ask: Why?

If not to bring attention to oneself or to one's cause, why perform such an act, especially in an obscure parking garage stairwell that lazy Americans rarely use? Was it in the hope that someone would do the work they should have by contacting KCRG, that way they can enjoy a snicker in the corner of their mother's basement in a self-congratulatory moment?

It was reported to be a "Teen Study Bible" so it wasn't much of a version anyway. They would have had more attention and howls of protest if the parking garage burned to the ground. That's America today.

If you are going to burn something in protest, take some advice from the masters:

Bring a crowd and contact the press:

That way it would produce a huge counter protest:

I will paraphrase the above sign, Only Coward[s] Burn the Bible.

Do it right next time.

Disclaimer: I didn't write this to give them attention but rather to bring another example of the contradiction between the Religion of Peace® and Christians in America. The Presbyterians didn't burn the mosque in Cedar Rapids, the Methodists burn Mohammad in effigy, and the Baptists didn't do what Baptists would do. Christians still wouldn't have had the mass "peaceful" protests even if this act had widespread publicity. Am I wrong?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Silver and Gold update, 4/17/11

After posting a couple of cartoons regarding the economy earlier, I thought I would throw out a post about an inflationary marker, commodities.

April 15, 2011...Five months ago...
At Patriot Trading Group (No gratuity received or implied for this link.)

Silver up over 130% and gold up over 27% in five months.

Where are we headed, folks?

I've read several postings regarding gold and silver lately and while true that you "can't eat gold," it can also be said that one cannot eat lead despite the gangster phrase. An article at The Survivalist Blog supports the thought of bartering ammunition. But as an investment, in retrospect it would have been wise to pick up rolls of silver back in November (or earlier).

Regardless of the argument, gold and silver are good indicators of how our monetary policy is out of whack and rigged against the last guy holding that Federal Reserve Note. Inflation is a "tax" on the value that your dollar can be exchanged for goods or services.

Advice from someone much wiser than I could ever hope to be:
Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust does corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Mathew 6:19-21, New King James version.
On either side of one's religiousity (or none) the Sermon on the Mount and the Book of proverbs can offer sound advice. What this tells me is that there are things more important than gold, silver, lead or steel. Family, friends and neighbors come to mind.

If you think about it, if the levy breaks and the flood waters have risen and surrounded your house and it's about to be swept away, would you rather have invested in 100 lbs of silver, 10,000 rds of 30-30 Win, or a 16ft Crestliner with a 35hp Evinrude?

Who knows where the economy will turn in the next 5 months or five years. Wall Street and Washington can't figure it out, but they will rig it so they win. And then, who will be the loser?

The pessimist hides, the optimist hopes and the pragmatist gets armed.

Sunday (not so) funnies, 4/17/11

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gun ban update, 4/15/11

Marcus, IA passes a gun ban

Grassley still digging to find the truth

And finds more lies regarding the ATF allowing guns into Mexico.
“In light of this new evidence,” Grassley tells Holder, “the Justice Department’s claim that the ATF never knowingly sanctioned or allowed the sale of assault weapons to straw purchasers is simply not credible.”
Grassley's press release.

Anti-freedom sheriff wants more gun control

This anti-freedom petty tyrant wants to regulate your freedoms. Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner:
“The Sheriff’s office in the state of Iowa do nothing to regulate the purchase of long guns,” said Gardner, “We only regulate the purchase of handguns.”
Is he implying that he wants to regulate all guns?

Seems that way to me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tom Shaw has been working for your gun rights

Rep. Shaw tried to get a "Constitutional Carry" amendment added to an existing gun bill at the statehouse.

And then the House voted to restrict someones' choice and enhanced the criminal penalties for possession of synthetic drugs.

The search for Camp Stranded

Lewis and Clark West to the Pacific by Frank R. "Bob" Davenport
Photo and Copyright held by:
Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, Inc.

Jim from The Travis McGee Reader left a comment on my Camp Stranded - Fail post that he thought I should keep everyone informed on the land search. Okay, but I'm gonna keep it a little low-key as I'm trying to keep my optimism to a minimum.

I'll share what I've learned along the way so that others may learn from my fail (or success). I have learned a few things about land laws, surveys, septic systems, drain tile, rural water systems... and I've gained something out of my fail.

This first segment to share is entitled:

Everybody Poops, The discussion of septic systems.

We started looking at small 5-10 acres with a house in a neighboring school district, but now that #2 son received the open enrollment okay, we expanded our search to include acreages without a house. Without an existing home, we need to worry about access to water and installing something to get rid of the morning constitutional.

This site covers installation of a septic system and gave me a chance to talk to the county sanitation director and know a little of conversation. Found out that the county requires a "perc" test or test holes designed to find out how fast your soil drains. Also, they only approve concrete tanks - no plastic tanks that you can get at Menards. The size of the tank and leach trenches (fields are so passé) depend on the number of bedrooms, not the number of toilets. And they are not as deep as the one we had built for our first house 20 years ago.

I also found the Saniflo toilets. Designed for flush mounting in the basement, one idea I came up with was installation in a garage and pumping the effluent over to a sewer line. No need to cut the concrete floor and the added advantage of taking a poo while changing the oil.

No septic? No problem. I also looked into a composting toilet. Interesting and expensive. I'm not turning green, but exploring all of the alternatives since the wife has no interest in using an outhouse in the middle of winter. I'll use one but only if I have to.

Sorry if this was a bit off from my usual posts, but writing about sewage reminds me of the work we need to do to clean up the legislature in Des Moines and that big septic tank in Washington DC.

Now talk about crap...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Campus opinions on guns

I've found both sides of the gun debate at the Iowa State Daily and here's another piece by an associate professor who doesn't have sense of history and tends to pick only one side of tragic events. For instance forgetting that private citizens on campus stopped the shooter at the Virginia's Appalachian School of Law in 2002.

Read what he had to say at Arizona again [mis]leading the way on guns in colleges

Monday, April 11, 2011

Iowans in the Civil War

A new traveling exhibit will be unveiled on Tuesday, 4/12/11 in a program called "History on the Move" "The Fiery Trial: Iowa and the Civil War" - New traveling exhibit

The Des Moines Register has an article with an overview.
"Iowa was like the Rodney Dangerfield of the Civil War," said O.J. Fargo of Creston, a retired teacher for the Green Valley Area Education Agency who does Civil War re-enactments around the state. "Iowans fought in almost every battle and skirmish in every place but Virginia. But nobody ever talks about us when they talk about the Civil War. Iowa at that time was the end of the earth."
"Rodney Dangerfield of the Civil War"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Camp Stranded - Fail

No reason to go into details but it wasn't on my end. I will admit I tend to be a little hard-nosed especially when there are multiple zeroes on the check.

And I lost patience last week.
Stranded's Rules of Financial Transactions:

#1 - Fulfill your obligations

#2 - Don't make the guy writing the check mad

#3 - If you do make the guy writing the check mad, an appeasement would work.
The sellers couldn't figure out that when a contingency isn't fulfilled by a certain deadline, I wasn't pleased.

Here's an idea: When you make an agreement to produce documents by a deadline, don't wait until the due date to mention you don't have those documents.

I'm not saying they lied in order to get a better price, but knowledge of those facts would have made the difference in what we offered or would have changed the contingencies. At the very least, say something the day after the offer like, "I couldn't find them," or "We made a mistake, let's work on fixing it."

Using statements like, "That's good enough," and "We aren't paying to make it right," doesn't do much to appease me. It seemed like I was putting more effort into buying it than they were putting into selling it. Like going out with a metal detector to try to find the surveyor's markers. The unfavorables were starting to outweigh the favorables and I lost trust that they would fulfill their other parts in the deal.

We intend to keep looking but will not jump the gun and announce anything until it is in our possession, with that "chickens before they're hatched" thing. We looked at two acreages yesterday and today.

A couple of observations: I don't understand sellers who make no effort with their properties. I've seen trash from common household crap to old freezers, thrown into ditches and waterways. And if you can't point to a corner post or some other marker, don't be surprised when a buyer asks for a survey. Is it too much to ask? Cause I'd like to know what I'm buying. But maybe that's just me.

I appreciate your support and kind words when we thought we were onto something. Having a place to call our own with room to grow is a goal for us this year.

Sunday (not so) funnies, 4/10/11

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cameras are for your safety

Just ask Bob.

Update: I had to go back to find the link. (Thanks Crotalus)

Holding their feet to the fire

Ben shows us how.

It begs the question, if politicians wish to require training in order to exercise a Constitutional right, should they pass a means test in order to hold office?

Just asking...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

About that acreage...

A-yep. Kind of like that.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Iowa gun shows for April, 2011

April 8-10, Boone, Boone Fairgrounds

April 9&10, Odebolt, Odebolt Community Center

April 15-17 Des Moines, Iowa State Fairgrounds

April 29,20 & May 1, Council Bluffs, Westfair
*** I get this list from the link below and other searches and I can't guarantee the accuracy of the list. If anyone notices a show that needs to be corrected or added, please let me know in the comments.

For more details go to Iowa Gun Shows

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Camp Stranded, plans and schemes

With one of the first hurdles overcome on Friday, we have a couple more this week. The survey and the abstract. And land laws in Iowa are fun.

One of my criticisms on the acreage is that there aren't enough trees. That can be remedied with a little effort, but we won't see the benefit for a few years. Some of the trees on the place can use a little surgery or removal. (The current owners dropped a young cedar, healthy as far as I can tell, and were cutting it in chunks - Dad would be crying if he saw that. I know I am.) There are a few walnut and hickory on the south and the nuts will be planted in the "reforestation" efforts. A big cottonwood sits below the pond but I expect it is nearing it's life span.

Which brings me to the pond. They cut about 10 feet of the dam to drain it. As the realtor stated, the current owners were in the middle of leveling the property off in the thought that it would sell faster. (On the market 5 days when we made our offer.) It fills by way of the neighbors field tile and according to the GIS map, it makes up 1.2 to 1.3 acres when full.

Draining it was a blessing though. It will allow us to get in there to scoop out the sediment and clean up some of the brush that rooted in. And maybe give us a chance to put in a deck or nesting boxes. I'm still mulling it over.

Wrens are somewhere nearby and I'll do my best to keep them coming back. Adding bluebird boxes and other bird houses is also in the grand scheme. I'll honor my mother by increasing the songbirds on the place with houses, ground cover and trees. We'll have to make a good try to bring hummingbirds over since that was Mom's mission in life. Dad will be remembered by the number of hardwoods I'd like to get started. As a carpenter, he liked using the different oak varieties first, but cedar, cherry and maple were on the list. Years ago his hands started to swell when sanding walnut and had to wear rubber gloves after that.

I don't think I'm jumping the gun, counting chickens before they're hatched, although mixing my metaphors is another matter... The only thing that stands in the way is the lawyer's opinion on the abstract and abstract laws are stupid in Iowa. Financing is a go. We scraped, scrimped and saved for years and our investments have done well and the banker I've known for years has confidence in me (and my credit score.) If I have to sell a few of the toys for the cause, that's okay.

In the mean time, I have a roof to finish on the current house. A new water heater is needed, a new kitchen floor and bathroom cabinets to be built... Besides the late nights at the job.

Here I am dreaming up plans for an acreage instead of working.

I'm either one lazy son of a gun or a crazy loon.

Or both...

Sunday (not so) funnies, 4/3/11

'Kinetic military action' or 'war'?

Update - Hope and Change gives us a clarification: The Great Clarificator

The watchman needs a watchman

An Iowa City Police Citizen’s Review Board member and community liaison has been placed on administrative leave after allegedly hosting a party that turned into a fight, though she still retains her position on the board.A fight involving up to 40 people, brandishing firearms. Still on the review board and probably will end up staying.

H/T to David Codrea

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Legislative failures this week

Jim has a recap of the rights-oriented legislation that died this week in Des Moines
Even with the duty-to-skedaddle, you retain the right to pay a lawyer to try to talk the county attorney out of prosecution, and to pay him more to tell your tale to a jury -- that is, to bankrupt yourself with legal costs because, in a very tough moment, you decided to stay alive.
What's our state motto again?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Out of Steam, 4/1/11

Another late night server maintenance and not all went well. I'm hoping for a couple hours sleep before daylight. Just not enough steam for a full run.

Remarks: This Illini Railroad Club special operated to Savanna via Denrock doubleheaded with the 4960 and 5632, and returned via the mainline with only the 5632. I was just passing though Chicago when I noticed the flier posted at Union Station, and made some last minute changes in plans and fortunately they still had seats available. My one and only CB&Q steam trip......roundtrip for all of $10! Perhaps a viewer can help me pinpoint the location. All the interlocking gear should be a clue. And yes the train is backing up.....somebody got in front of me for the actual runby.

Click on picture for more.