Wait A Minute

From Z-man, talking about conspiracy theorists:

“People don’t like simple answers.  If they did, Hollywood thrillers would feature no plot, just stuff exploding in between sex scenes.”

Actually, that’s about as succinct a description of modern Hollywood thrillers as I’ve ever read.  Unless of course Tom Cruise, Michael Bay or Marvel Comics are involved, in which case there’s no sex at all, just a series of witty one-liners between (and often during) the explosions.  And Tom Clancy must be turbo-spinning in his grave after what Hollywood has done to Jack Ryan.

I’d talk more on the topic, but I’m busy re-reading historian Paul Johnson’s Modern Times, and that takes concentration.

Worldly Goods

Not many people can tell a story like Taki, and this excerpt, about him signing his will at a lawyer’s office in Switzerland, is one of his gems:

An eerie business is the one about death and making a will.  One becomes a judge and jury of one’s friends, dispassionate and coldly rational, “reward and revenge standing at his elbow ready to nudge his pen.”
Not in my case. I’ve already made a will long ago and turned everything over to the mother of my children.  Let her deal with it, I simply cannot face it.
When I signed the will in front of a lawyer and notary public, the lawyer asked time and again if I was in my right mind.  (It’s a Swiss requirement.)  “Not really,” I answered, “but she’s got a gun pointed at me under the table.”
The Swiss did not find it funny and demanded I get serious.
“I’m seriously out of my mind,” I repeated, “but I don’t wish to be shot in cold blood.”
They threatened to walk out, so I gave in and signed after categorically stating that I was turning all my assets over of my free will.
I could almost hear them thinking what an idiot I must be.  The Swiss do not believe in letting easily go the root of all envy.

It should be remembered that the old Greek fart is himself heir to a considerable fortune derived from his family’s shipping business — no wonder the Swiss thought he was crazy, leaving it all to one person.

Alternative Site

At long last, Britishland is building a new (and large) prison somewhere in Yorkshire.  Predictably, all the NIMBYs are screaming and shouting because “eyesore”, “ugly” and so on.

This is the kind of thing that drives me mad.  On the one hand, it’s obvious to even the most stupid people (e.g.  liberals) that Britain needs MOAR PRISONS because MOAR CRIMINALS.  However, why build the thing in Yorkshire (which is quite pretty, in parts)?  With about ten minutes’ search, I found a far better location:  the (uninhabited) island of North Rona.  Here’s where it is on the map:

…and here’s what it looks like:

Yup:  over 200 acres of fuck-all, what better place to house criminals?  Remote, cold, windy… hell, on second thoughts why build a prison at all?  Tents, that’s the thing.  Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio and a dozen Mexicans would have them up in a few hours, job done, ship a couple thousand convicted criminals in (I’m thinking bastards like this one) and wave good-bye.  Don’t even need prison guards, so ongoing savings.

You can be damn sure that the mortality rate would allow for fresh shipments of assholes on a monthly basis, when the food supplies* are brought in.

And when the liberals start their predictable squealing about Krool & Hartless Treatment Of Misunderstood Yoofs… we substitute them for the criminals.

All in favor, say “Aye”…


*Bread, water, dog food, you get my drift.

Part Of A Trend

A number of people have been angered by Walmart’s recent decision to stop selling guns and ammo of various types.  I’m a little angry myself, but no that much — because I was wise to Walmart’s game a long time ago.  Here’s what I wrote about the giant chain back in 2003 (!!!):

Guns, And Walmart

February 26, 2003
8:10 AM CDT

I’m aware that a whole bunch of people out there buy guns and ammo from Wal-Mart (not to mention all the other household stuff), and that’s fine.  A couple of people know that I don’t especially care for Walmart myself, and have written to talk about it.

I’ve worked in and around the retail industry for over twenty-five years, for small operations and huge chains, and on two continents, so I know a little whereof I speak.  Here are my thoughts on the matter.

1.  I don’t like one organization, especially a retailer, to have a huge (or near-monopolistic) market share.  I don’t think it’s healthy for the economy, despite the short-term consumer savings that a large organization brings to the market.  When most of the smaller operations get put out of business, the community suffers, both economically and in spirit.

2.  Despite the folksiness of their public demeanor, Walmart is a pretty damned predatory company in their dealings with both suppliers and competitors.  They go after competition with a ferocity and lack of conscience that are truly disturbing.  That’s fine, of course—it’s good business—but at some point, that attitude will turn around and bite the consumer too.  When you become the only game in town, eventually you become arrogant.  If Walmart tries to deny that this will happen to them, they’re ignorant of history:  it always happens.  Always.

3.  Most insidiously, when one store becomes the sole channel for a specific product, it becomes progressively easier for that product to be controlled by legislation.  When there’s only one faucet, it’s easy to stop the flow of water—when there are thousands, it’s more difficult.

4.  Along the way, eventually, product choice becomes narrower when only one or two stores control all the sales.  When all a store cares about is what sells now, the more esoteric items disappear because they either don’t move quickly enough for the store to generate profit, or the price is increased to generate a larger profit.  So you either won’t find it, or it will be too expensive.  This is Retailing 101.

That’s it.  I don’t think that Walmart is good for the country in the long-term:  near-monopolies seldom are.

As far as the gun business is concerned, I don’t think Walmart is good for the country right now.  To their credit, they’ve made guns and ammunition cheaper in rural areas, and many people swear by them.  But when you live in Wahoo WY and Walmart is the only game in town, don’t think for a moment that you’re going to have the ultimate gun store in Walmart, because you won’t.

Frankly, Walmart doesn’t give a shit about the gun business.  It’s just another product category to them, like shirts or jeans, and most of their decisions are made at head office in Bentonville, not at the local level.  If guns and ammo become too problematic for them in terms of regulation, product movement or return on investment, they’ll drop the category without a second thought—once again, that’s good business, and you can’t fault them for it—but gun owners will be totally screwed.

Sure, the gun store is more expensive:  because he doesn’t have the daily profits from other categories like toys, CDs and sweatshirts to keep him in business.  I know how it works:  you shop around at the local gun stores, get all the information from the guys behind the counter, and then go to Walmart because that Remington 870 is $80 cheaper there.  Congratulations.  You got a great deal—and shafted the guy whose entire living depends on your dollars.  If you’ve done this kind of thing before, and this paragraph didn’t give you a twinge of conscience, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Walmart can survive without selling guns and ammo.  Your local gun store can’t.  Think about it.


Then in April 2006, I noted this development:

Walmart Stores Inc. has decided to stop selling guns in about a third of its U.S. stores in what it calls a marketing decision based on lack of demand in some places, a company spokeswoman said Friday.
The world’s largest retailer decided last month to remove firearms from about 1,000 stores in favor of stocking other sporting goods, in line with a “Store of the Community” strategy for boosting sales by paying closer attention to local differences in demand.

Once again, Walmart demonstrated that as far as they’re concerned, guns are no different from jeans or audio CDs:  no sales, bye-bye.

None of our Plano-area stores sell guns or ammo, I suspect because there are about a dozen gun stores (including Bass Pro and Cabela’s) in the immediate area;  and I suspect that we’re not a price-sensitive group anyway so cheap shotguns aren’t going to attract too many buyers when for a dozen dollars more you can get personalized service from a proper gun store.  And as far as I can tell, most gun owners up here have been buying their ammo online for over a decade — I being one of them, for sure.  So it’s unsurprising, from a purely merchandising rationale, that Wally World doesn’t stock any gunny goodness in this neighborhood.  Frankly, I wish WalMart would make it policy across all  their stores (although I don’t think they will because of their rural stores’ contribution).

Now read what the CEO of Hornady has to say about dealing with these assholes:

In my previous life, I worked for a company that lived and died by Walmart.  And like many companies, Walmart treated them poorly.  And, as we were going through these things with Walmart, I decided that if I was ever in a situation where I didn’t have to do business with them, I would not.  And when I got to Hornady, we were doing some business with them, it wasn’t a lot, but they started to become difficult to work with again.  I was in a situation where I made the decision for our company to walk away and everybody in the company supported my decision. And we have not looked back.

And here’s my favorite part:

“As long as there is a Hornady at Hornady, we will never sell Walmart direct. They don’t support our industry.” – Jason Hornady, 2007

He points out, by the way, that if perchance you see Hornady products at Walmart, those would have come through a wholesaler — and from his tone, I don’t think Hornady is too happy about it.

So there you have it:  Walmart is not our friend.  Make changes to your own shopping habits as it suits you.  And support your local gun store, regardless.

Glimpse Of Sanity

At least someone seems to have held onto what nowadays passes for commonsense (and what in the old days would have been a slam-dunk):

George Conisbee, 20, told an employment tribunal that he was picked on for not eating meat while he was a waiter and barman at Lord Somerleyton’s historic hotel on his estate near Lowestoft, Suffolk.
But his claim was thrown out after the tribunal ruled that vegetarianism was a ‘lifestyle choice’ which was not protected under the 2010 Equality Act.

That would ordinarily be filed under “Blindingly Obvious”… but wait till you see on what grounds this little tit of a snowflake had filed his complaint:

He claimed that being vegetarian was ‘a protected characteristic’, giving him the same rights as employees who suffer discrimination over their religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

Veggie as a religion;  as if we needed any more proof that these tossers are total fucking nutcases.  (Or maybe “fucking nutcase” is a sexual orientation?  They’ll be claiming that, next.)

Oh, and he wasn’t fired for being a veggie — although I for one might use that as grounds for termination.  He was fired for arriving for work dressed like a slob (and I bet it wasn’t the first time, either).  All the rest was just a pathetic attempt to get his job back.

Finally, some sanity.