Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

 
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Women are Obscene!

At least, in the eyes of the FCC.

Janet Jackson had her breast exposed on national TV, and it's provoking a firestorm. The FCC is talking about potentially millions in fines for CBS stations, as if they had something to do with Justin Timberlake ripping off Janet Jacksons's bra. I'm sure I speak for much of the male population when I say that given the opportunity, I'd have done the same thing.

Why is the breast obscene? Why is exposing it indecent? And it's not even the entire breast that's obscene, just the nipple. Cover that up and you can let those puppies swing free! Men show their nipples all the time without causing a controversy; why should a woman's nips be different?

Because we're still in the grip of a puritanical hatred of women and repression of sex that's about 250 years out of date, that's why. At some point, somebody came up with this crazy notion that our spirits are corrupted by flesh, and that we must deny our animal bodies in order to cleanse our souls or some such crap. They decided that man had a dual nature, animal and spirit, and that the spiritual part was of more value than the animal part. Therefore the animal part was to be discouraged as bad, detracting from the pure spirituality that was the true nature of man.

I think this is an opportune moment to point out that by definition God created both the spirit and the flesh, including all the drives that go with it. Telling me that flesh is somehow dirty or evil is saying that God, who created us in His own image after all, did an imperfect job.

That's a fifteen yard penalty for unbelievable BS!

Man may have a dual nature; biologists tend to disagree, but I think it's so. I believe we have a spiritual nature, a soul if you prefer, but I don't believe it is of a higher value than our physical nature. Our physical needs and drives are every bit as important as our spiritual needs. They are not inherently contradictory, although they do come into conflict from time to time. We may desire a woman who is unavailable to us for any number of reasons. In such instances, we choose to deny the impulses that result from the attraction, but that doesn't mean our attraction is evil, or that the woman is evil for enticing our attention. Only that a full expression of that attraction is inappropriate.

Sexual desire is not evil; appreciating female beauty is not evil; so why is exposing a breast obscene? It may be inappropriate (and a Super Bowl halftime show certainly qualifies on that score), but obscene or indecent?

Never!

It's time we grew up a little bit and replaced this unhealthy obsession with sex with a healthy appreciation for it.

"But we must protect the children!"

From what? A natural biological function? Please! What we need to protect our children from is this warped and twisted view of sexuality.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, February 02, 2004

My First Handgun

I bought my first gun last week, and it was both easier and harder than I thought it would be. The actual process is pretty easy, but deciding what gun to buy is anything but, as their are about a million different things to consider, and enough different ways to accomodate each consideration that I quickly became a little overwhelmed by the choices. But, with some help from both knowledgeable friends and several gun store owners, I made my decision.

Before I get deeper into the details, I do want to point out that never in my life have I found a group of hobbyists as friendly and open to helping a newby as I have in the shooting world. I'm sure I've asked some really stupid questions, and I know I pestered one poor guy to death, but everyone I've run into has been very helpful and willing to take the time to help me learn this new sport.

One thing that everyone I talked to stressed was that buying a gun is a very personal thing. Each person will have their own unique set of requirements, as a consequence, it makes it difficult for folks to give advice on what caliber or gun to buy, unless they can take the time to get to know you, and your reasons for the purchase. It was a little frustrating because I was looking for help to cut down on some of the options, but at the same time, it forced me to consider carefully exactly what I wanted from this first gun.

I decided to start out with a .22 as my first handgun. As I detailed earlier, I went shooting with Uncle, and shot a .45 and a 9mm, and while I was comfortable with both, I wanted something that I could shoot a lot without spending a lot of money on ammunition. I wanted to be very comfortable handling, maintaining, and shooting a gun before I started looking for my carry gun. Plus, I was told that it's a good idea to start off with a smaller gun, to avoid developing any bad habits, like flinching. The final consideration was that two of my kids said they were interested in going shooting with me. So it worked out that a .22 was the way to go for me.

The next consideration was revolver vs semi-auto. There are trade offs to each, and most often, I got a recommendation to get a revolver, based on easier maintenance and higher reliability.

So I went with a semi-auto.

Why? I don't really know except that it felt like the right decision.

Finally, I had to choose an actual gun. I went to a couple of different ranges and gun stores, and handled several guns, including Rugers, Brownings, and I can't remember what else. The people helping me were very patient, showing me several different guns at each place I went. I almost bought a Ruger .22, but it felt a little bit awkward in my hand, so I kept looking. Finally, I was handed a Walther P22, and I had my gun. It felt right in my hand, was balanced nicely, and had a trigger safety.

That safety was very important to me, since I could lock the gun, keeping my kids safe. This lock not only locks the trigger but mechanically locks the slide as well, and isn't subject to tampering. I'm comfortable that there's no way any of my kids can fire the gun without my being there.

Of course, I've also hidden it in a locked case.

Now some folks say you shouldn't tell your kids there's a gun in the house. They think that what they don't iknow won't hurt them. I'm just the opposite. If they don't know it's there, and then find it, they're much more liable to mess around with it. I know that's how I would have reacted if I'd found a gun as a kid. But, if they know it's there, know to leave it alone, and know that if they do want to shoot, I'll take them to the range with me, the curiousity that goes along with something being forbidden is eliminated completely.

Anyway, I made my selection, and asked the lady behind the counter for any accessories I might need. She came up with a cleaning kit, and a secondary cleaning tool called a Bore Snake that slides down the barrel and cleans it. She recommended it for use after light shooting when I wasn't going to do a full cleaning of the gun. Then she brought me a brick of CCI MiniMag ammo, and we started to fill out the paperwork.

I had to produce my Driver's License and fill out a form declaring that I was sane, buying the gun for myself, not under a restraining order, not a felon, and things like that. Meanwhile, she was running my instant background check (a $10 non refundable fee).

This may not be a popular position among gun rights folks, but I don't mind the whole background check process. Not because I think it's a deterrent to criminals (it isn't) but because it is a reasonable precaution to take to insure that those who shouldn't be able to easily purchase a gun can't. If we accept that it is fair to restrict certain groups from gun ownership, ie criminals, etc., then it is only prudent to take what steps we can to ensure that they can't buy them legally. On the other hand, the argument that since it doesn't stop criminals from getting ahold of guns, it is a needless invasion of our privacy is also a good one. On balance, I'd rather put up with the invasion if it keeps a few guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them, unless of course, the background checks become a pretext to expand the definition of "who shouldn't have them."

Now this was at about 5:00PM on a Friday, and my background check came back Yellow, which means Pending. Something in my background required a closer look before my application would be approved. Because it was so late on a Friday, all the supervisors were gone, so it would be Monday before my background check would be completed. When I asked, they said it was fairly common and could be a chance resemblence in names, or possibly someone else using my SSN to try and get a gun. (I didn't feel too good about that possibility) I knew it would clear eventually, so I went ahead and paid for the cleaning gear and the bullets, put a deposit on the gun, and headed for the house. It was on the way there that I realized what the hold was.

Because of where I work, I have a couple of Security Clearances through the NRC and the DOE. I assumed, and later had verified, that if you have a security clearance, anyone running a background check will have to get permission to access the file. It's entirely routine, and usually only adds a couple of hours to the process.

So, the following Monday, I called the gun shop around noon, and my background check was cleared. I drove over after work and picked up my gun and headed for the house. I asked the clerk about carrying a gun without a concealed carry permit, and she said that I didn't need a permit to transport a gun as long as I wasn't carrying it with the intent to go armed. Since it was unloaded in the case, that showed my lack of intent.

And that was it; I had my first gun.

This weekend, I took the P22 to the range. I'll report on that next, but the short version is fun to shoot, fairly accurate, with only a few gripes about reassembly after cleaning.

Posted by Rich
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Media Control

For those of you on the left and the right who like to cry about how the media is tilted this way or that way, and isn't telling us the whole story, I offer this comparison for contrast. It comes by way of Brian Ruckle:
During halftime, prior to the festivities on the field, a commercial ran with football players and other celebrities encouraging viewers to "Choose to..." this that and the other with related images. I've written other bloggers asking them to help me fill in some of the details. I will update this post as I receive the information. Anyways, in the background after one of the messages was the famous picture of the Chinese protestor facing the tanks in Tiananmen Square flashed for a second on the screen. One of the bloggers living in China who also caught the message said that right after the image was "Choose to vote." I'm thinking it was a Rock the Vote commercial, but I may be wrong because I really wan't paying much attention at the time.

This was probably the first time that picture has ever been broadcast on Mainland Chinese television. Last year, my wife and I were at a Beijing bookstore and I was looking through a book of 20th century photographs. As I was paging through, I noticed that three pages had been ripped out in the 1989 section. Looking in the appendix I found that those were pages that had included pictures of the protests. I mentioned this to my wife, who was then my girlfriend, and at first she didn't know what I was talking about. I proceeded to explain and she became very upset. I still don't know if she believed me. She is aware that there were protests but said that the students were simply persuaded to pack up and go home and that if any of what the Western media reported had occured it would be commonly known if not through the media then through word of mouth. We haven't talked about this topic since then.


That's censorship. That's a controlled media. Our news services may be biased, despite all claims to the contrary, but they are not controlled by either side. By selecting a variety of sources (I listen to NPR in the car, and check Fox News at night, with an occasional trip to Headline News, along with the local papers) you can get all the news from several perspectives.

Posted by Rich
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Super Bowl

Can you read a Super Bowl story today without reading about Janet Jackson's bare breast?

Not here.

It was the highlight of the game.

Aside from the nekkid referee doing an Irish step dance, that is.

It's a good thing Super Bowl Security was so tight, right?

Speaking of Ms. Jackson, does anybody besides me remember when singers actually sang at a live performance? Shania Twain is coming to Thompson Boling Arena in a few weeks, and there's really no point in going to see the show. You might as well put a copy of her CD in the stereo and sing along.

That's what she does.

Back to the Super Bowl, the commercials seemed a little tame this year, but my personal favorite has to be the bagpiper for Sierra Mist, with snow volleyball a close second. Honorable mention goes to Staples, with the supply room mob boss. The dumbest commercials had to be the Gilette Mach 3 Razor commercials. I use the damn thing, but I feel like pitching into the garbage after that overblown crap.

It's a razor, people, not a quick pass to personal salvation.

There were a couple of other cute commercials, but on the whole, they were instantly forgettable.

Finally, what article on the Super Bowl would be complete without mentioning the game itself?

This one.

Posted by Rich
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