Flying Rats

I think I’ve told this story before, but anyway…

When I was at The Englishman’s cottage in Cornwall, I had the rare pleasure of hanging out with the Sorensons (Mrs. Sor is “The Catholic” in Comments) for a couple days.  I walked down to the kitchen one morning to find Mrs. Sor sitting alone drinking tea.

“Where’s Himself?” I asked.
“Down by the harbor, feeding Tesco plastic bags to the seagulls.”

He hates seagulls, and so do I.

When I read this sorry tale, I just shook my head.

Monique Sveinsson, 46, from Cambridgeshire, was on a mini-break with her friend Emma Wilshaw when she was attacked by the hungry seagulls at Brighton beach on August 3.
The mother-of-two, who runs her own planner and diary company, described how the aggressive birds circled above her before launching themselves at her food and flying away with the chips.

There is a way to deal with these airborne rodents, and anyone who is going to the seaside (or anywhere seagulls are in abundance, e.g. the Great Lakes) should avail themselves of this advice.

  • Go to your local Goodwill or thrift store, and buy an old tennis- or handball racquet, the older and more battered (therefore cheaper) the better.  (Tennis is better, as it has a longer handle.)

  • Leave it in the trunk of your car.
  • Then, when going to any place where there are seagulls, take it with you.
  • When the gulls start to pester you, swat them like flies.

I had to live in San Francisco for a couple weeks on a client assignment, and my walk to the office from the hotel took me through a couple parks.  The fucking crows and seagulls didn’t just annoy me, they attacked me, pecking at my head.

So on the way back from the client I stopped at a junk store and bought a racquet.  Then when I  went to the park the next day, the little bastards attacked me again.  Miraculously, however, they stopped attacking me after I’d popped three of them out of the sky. (It’s just a little more strenuous than playing badminton.)

Some stupid Karen took offense and called the cops on me.  When the cop asked me what I’d been doing and I told him, he stifled a laugh and said, “I’m going to have to confiscate that weapon.”  Then he winked at me and said, “I’ve been wanting to do what you did for ten years.  Enjoy your stay.”  And he walked off, swinging the racquet like a billyclub.  I think he was daring the birds to attack him.

As with all my advice given on these pages, there’s a “you’re on your own if you follow it” warning.

But I have to tell you, it’s almost as much fun as shooting them with a shotgun.

News Roundup

All the news that’s fit to ridicule, like this idiot(Hint:  it’s not the fake tits you should be regretting as much as those foul tattoos.)

because the New York Times, CNN/ABC/CBS/CNBC, the Washington Post and the L.A. Times are always prepared to showcase both liberal and conservative viewpoints.

LOL Biden could pick Giggles The Girl-Clown as his VP, and he’d still lose in a landslide.

because lions don’t care about things like “exclusivity” when it comes to menu choices.  Africa Wins Again.

so refuse to pay the fine, get sent to jail and then sue to get released immediately because of the Chinkvirus risk.  Piece of cake.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that this is not going to work.

because the Massachusetts courts have obviously nothing better to do than bother with shit like this.

my bad for thinking “Beverly Hills” meant that all the participants were WhitePay no attention;  that’s just my White privilege speaking.

no, it isn’t.  The only “catastrophe” is that parents are realizing how little their kids need government-managed schools in order to be educated.

wait, we’re not going to see the customary four presidential debates?  I feel cheated.

And finally:

good question, although I think the voters of Colorado, Michigan, Oregon, New York and Washington (to name but some) may have a few quibbles about that.

Also in the news:

Lady Gaga looks like a dog (okay, maybe that’s not really news, but whatever).

Not My Kind Of Gun

My first-ever carry gun back in the 1970s was actually an inherited Baby Browning (.25 ACP, about the same as a .22 Mag in effectiveness), and I have to tell you, I never carried it with any confidence.

That youthful feeling of skepticism has carried over into my later years, with a vengeance.

This article here gives all the reason why I don’t carry a “pocket gun”.  Here’s my summary of reasons:

Mostly, the caliber choices are inadequate (.380 ACP is marginally effective, but only with super-premium cartridges like Hornady or the like), and if you do carry a beefier chambering, the gun is well-nigh uncontrollable.  Newton’s law will not be denied.

I have fairly big hands, and shooting a Ruger LCP / Kel-Tec P3AT-type is frankly a real hassle for me.


I find it easier, in fact, to shoot a micro-handgun like the NAA Mini-revolver (which I do carry, loaded with .22 Mag snake shot cartridges but only when I’m in, um, snake country).

(And I have the oversized rubber grips on mine [see below], to make it more controllable.)

Here’s my take on this whole issue.  The common rationale for carrying one of these peashooters is that it’s better than carrying no gun at all.  Maybe that’s true, but I think it’s more likely not true — accuracy (in almost any chambering) is problematic, which leads to the counter-argument that these are really “under the chin” guns (or as I call it, “halitosis range”).  Quite frankly, though, I’m not comfortable with getting that close to a goblin — hell, if you’re going to be in kissing distance, a decent fucking knife is the equal of any of these peashooters, and I’m too old to be getting into knife fights or, for that matter, grappling with some asshole who’s forty years younger than I am while I struggle to put a bullet into his eye, throat or belly.

No, thank you.  My sole concession to carrying a smaller gun is my S&W 637 Airweight, and to be frank, I feel undergunned when I head out on a pizza run (the most common reason to take “any” gun when leaving the house).

Here are my primary carry choices:

Not pictured:  Browning High Power.  Still to come (from):  a Colt Python, S&W 66 / 627 / 686, Ruger GP100, Kimber K6 and maybe a couple others.

I have no plans — none — to buy a pocket anything except a watch.  But that’s a story for another time…


Back in the fall of 1982, I and Wife #1 came to the U.S. for the first time in my life — in fact, the first time I’d ever left the African sub-continent at all — and because I didn’t know diddly about New York City (our first stop), I booked us a room at the Hotel Edison just off 47st and Broadway because it was cheap.  I didn’t know, at the time, that the area was known as Hell’s Kitchen for a very good reason, but in those days I was tough and didn’t really give a damn — I was coming from fucking Johannesburg, how bad could New York be?  (Not bad at all by comparison, actually.)

Anyway, from memory, the room cost about $47+tax a night, and while it was awful, I’d stayed in much worse (errr South Africa, remember) and while we we assailed by Volkswagen-sized cockroaches a couple times, the hotel was close to most of what we wanted to see around Times Square, and was easy walking distance to Greenwich Village to the south and Central Park to the north.  Also, the delis on 8th Ave were fantastic — my first experience with a gut-busting NY-style pastrami sandwich was an eye-opener — and so we spent our days walking around the place, seeing the sights, eating deli food and holding our noses to block out the smells (garbage strike).

Anyway, years later (after the Great Wetback Episode of 1985) I had occasion to go from Chicago back to New York, this time on business, and as the Manhattan branch office was quite nearby, I booked into the Edison again, for nostalgia’s sake.

It was the same crappy hotel, same foul rooms, only this time the room cost $285+tax.  When I first saw the rate when I was booking the trip, I thought the hotel had to have undergone a huge refurbishment to justify that kind of price increase;  but of course it hadn’t:  it was just New York Fucking City.

Still later, I checked out the hotel again, just out of curiosity, and the rate was $385.  And from what I could gather, still no refurb of the place.

I should remind everyone that I have never shrunk from paying top dollar for a quality product, whether it was The Mayfair Hotel in London, the Madison in Paris, Imperial in Tokyo or wherever.  Five-star is five-star, and there ya go.  Paying five-star prices for total shit, however… nu-uh.  And from my experience, most Manhattan hotels were shit.  Even the “highbrow” ones like the Waldorf-Astoria or the Algonquin were overpriced flophouses, and their astronomical prices were justified either by the “cachet” attached to being in New York, NY [eyecross]  or else the high (overpriced) cost of the real estate.

So you can imagine my response when I saw this article via Insty:

During the second quarter ended June 30, average asking rents along 16 major retail corridors in Manhattan declined for the eleventh consecutive quarter, falling to $688 per square foot, according to a report from the commercial real estate services firm CBRE. The drop marked the first time since 2011 that prices dropped below $700, the firm said, representing an 11.3% decline from a year ago.

A number of retailers have outright stopped paying rent to their landlords during the pandemic, which in some instances is resulting in litigation.

Boo fucking hoo.  Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of supercilious chiselers and snooty price gougers.  And then there’s this, at the end of the article:

“I think there is a short-term and a long-term look at this,” NKF’s Roseman said. “Short-term, we are in survival mode right now. But when things do sort of turn back around, it will still be the same. There is only one Fifth Avenue in the world.”

If you look up “Wishful Thinking” in your dictionary, this sentiment will be under the heading.  (It probably links to “Dinosaur Perspectives” too, speaking as it does about L.A.’s Rodeo Drive and Chicago’s Michigan Avenue as being Places To See And Be Seen.  Dream on, Bubba:  we’re facing a new world.)

Anyway, I see that the Edison is “temporarily” closed because of the Chinkvirus — and from the looks of it, has had a refurb since I last checked — but one of the “business-class” hotels on Broadway, where I paid over $500 a night in 2007, is now asking $121.

No wonder they’re not paying the rent.