Author Archive

“Ruby Sparks Speaks Fluent French” partie trois

OK, a much more appropriate first line would have been something like: “Mes gars, le dîner est servi. J’espère que vous avez un bon appétit.” Just “bon appétit” makes absolutely no sense.

And upset French woman would probably said “putain” and some variation of “connard”.

“Ruby Sparks Speaks Fluent French” partie deux

I was surfing the web when I came up with a French Actress named Delphine Théodore who looks a bit like Zoe Kazan. Here is the link to her demo reel https://vimeo.com/5769438. Check her out and you’ll see why Zoe’s performance isn’t very accurate in my opinion. The fun thing would be to edit Delphine into the French scenes. Better yet, reshoot them with Delphine.

En surfant sur le web, je suis tombé sur une actrice française nommée Delphine Théodore qui ressemble un peu à Zoe Kazan. Voici le lien vers sa bande démo https://vimeo.com/5769438. Regardez-la et vous verrez pourquoi la performance de Zoe n’est pas très fidèle à mon avis. Ce qui serait amusant, c’est de monter Delphine dans les scènes françaises. Mieux encore, les re-filmer avec Delphine.

Social media casse mon cul!

I was trying to make a post, but couldn’t do it the way I want. Screw this.

Posted 19/02/2021 by lacithedog in Uncategorized

Upset French Women and the magic word

Link to one of the Ruby Sparks “French” scenes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PNuTmTZiZg

OK, I have one criticism of the film Ruby Sparks and that is that she sounds like someone who may have had a few years of French when she is supposed to speak fluent French. She ain’t nowhere near fluent. The Ruby Sparks character is about a DELF A1 level. If that. I know what a pissed off French woman that age talks like.

I know what an upset French woman sounds like and that’s not it. For one thing, what this person calls the “magic word” is conspicuously absent, as are a few other choice words I would expect to hear.

I would have hired someone like Lizzie Brocheré, or some other bilingual French actress, to write the dialogue for those scenes. Maybe even dub the scenes as well for good measure.

The Euro

The two best things about the European Union are the right of free movement and the Euro. Which is good since they sort of go together as it’s nice to not have to change currencies when you go from country to country. Imagine living in the US and having to change your money if you went from State to State: especially if there were drastic differences in value. Toss in the insult of having the coins thrown back at you even if they were significantly valuable (e.g, dollar, pound or Euro valued coins).

Despite this, only 19 of the 27 member states of the European Union (EU) have adopted the Euro as their primary currency and sole legal tender. Denmark (and the United Kingdom) opted out of adopting the Euro. It is also currency in a few of the “postage stamp” non-EU member States. Also, it’s used in some of the French overseas territories and the British Bases at Akrotiri and Dhekelia. The latter may be the only part of the United Kingdom to use the Euro, but it would make sense since they are on Cyprus, which is an EU member and part of the Eurozone. Montenegro and Kosovo also use the Euro, but they originally used the Yugoslav Dinar and then the German Mark as their currencies.

I’m not going to get into the mechanics of how countries become part of the Eurozone, but most of the non-Euro nations are part of the former eastern block with the exception of Denmark and Sweden. And I actually spend a lot of them, even if I joke about never seeing them. But I never carried around much cash anyway. More so since Brexit.

Brexit

I had wanted to live where my ancestors came from 300-400 years ago, but I wasn’t expecting to be where I finally ended up. Britain seemed like home up until 2016 and the vote to leave the European Union. Now I feel like a lorry driver in a Kent lot when it comes to Britain and the European Union.

My first reaction to Brexit was to get European residency, which I have had since July 2018. European residency isn’t had to get: especially if one is retired and has a steady income. France also makes it easy to get residency if one wants to learn the language (that is a valid reason to be a resident). Most European countries require language proficiency for citizenship, which is good since I am proficient in the languages of the countries where I am resident.

Belgium and France feel comfortable to me. Germany, not so much, although it is getting more multicultural. The doner kebab is a national food, as opposed to the bland stuff I remember from when I was a kid.

I used to joke that I had never seen a Euro even though I had spent quite a few of them. Not so much of a joke since the Euro started its existence as a virtual currency and wasn’t really brought into actual circulation until 2002. The notes are pretty boring, but the coins actually have a national flavour. The coins have a standard side and a national side. And I’ve seen Euro coins from all the Eurozone countries.

The notes are different. The 11 digit serial number on every note begins with a prefix which identifies which country issued it. German notes begin with an X, Greek notes start with a Y, Spain’s have a V, France a U, Ireland T, Portugal M, Italy S, Belgium is Z, Cyprus G, Luxembourg 1, Malta F, Netherlands P, Austria N, Slovenia H, Slovakia E and Finland L. A more arcane test is that the serial number also contains a secret clue to the country which issued the note. The clue lies in what is known as the digital root of the serial number. This can be calculated by adding together the digits, then taking the result and adding its digits together again and so on until a single digit is left. For example. On a note where the code reads X50446027856. The X immediately indicates that the note is German, but a second test is to add the digits. So (5+0+4+4+6+0+2+7+8+5+6) gives 47. Add these digits (4+7) gives 11. Finally add these digits (1+1) gives 2, the code number for Germany. Some countries share a code number.

The nice thing is that one doesn’t have to change currencies at the border the way things were pre-European Monetary Union. On the other hand, the Euros in my wallet may not reflect where I happen to live. The money has free movement, as do the citizens of the European Union.

BTW, there are seven kingdoms in modern Europe: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Personally, I’ve always opted for the more inclusive nationality whether it is British or European.

Brussels Eurodisney Promo Photo

In the “weird stuff I saw when I was living in Belgium” Department, here is a picture of EuroDisney’s promo castle which was set up in the Cinquantinaire (near Merode Station where I was living). The juxtaposition of real history and Disney was interesting to me.

Posted 29/11/2020 by lacithedog in Uncategorized

Reparations and Seven generations

The Great Law of the Iroquois holds it appropriate to think seven generations ahead (about 140 years into the future). Slavery ended 155 years ago if you use “Juneteenth”.

There are many legal doctrines which hold a claim to be void if it is made too long past the event (e.g., Laches in equity). Statutes of limitations preclude a legal case being made past any time in which it could be seen as being valid.

Any argument for reparations for slavery would require a serious demonstration that said reparations would make sense. On the other hand we would have to give money to people like Oprah Winfrey, Ursula Burns, and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

Does that make sense?

Posted 27/07/2020 by lacithedog in Uncategorized

Adios! (sort of)

I’ve been weaning myself from “social media” for a while. Blogging has never really been a thing for me the way some people do it. Now, WordPress has decided to change their editor, which is driving me nuts.

Maybe I’ll still post at Penigma if there is something I need to vent about.

Posted 12/07/2020 by lacithedog in Uncategorized

America’s Gun

There isn’t a consensus on what exactly that firearm would be. I’ve learned more than I have ever cared to know about the AR-15 in the past month or so. The AR15 definitely qualifies since it was designed by an American, Eugene Stoner. Enough of them are out there in the US that any chance of an “assault rifle ban” would be really difficult. And that’s even with a buyback.

I feel the same way I do about the AR15 that I do about Margaret Thatcher: I don’t like either of them, but I respect what they are in relation to their respective country’s culture. The AR15 is probably more symbolic toward US culture than Margaret Thatcher will ever be to Britain’s.

It is a symbol of militarism since it was designed over 60 years ago for the US military, with variants  used by military forces worldwide. Part of its attraction is that it is the civilian version of the US military’s weapon. And its deadliness is one of its attractive features. It is proven in combat and mass shootings.

The AR15 platform allows for it to be built in a myriad of different ways. It is also fairly easy to build with various kits being sold; from complete upper and lower receiver assemblies to the parts for making a ghost gun. Although, ghost gun means a firearm made “80%” lower receiver and parts. It is the AR15’s ability to be built by anyone which should cause people to pause.

I personally would not want to invest the time and effort into making an actual ghost gun. Complete stripped lower receivers are also available, which is the lower receiver block without the parts. That allows someone to create their custom gun. It’s easy to customise a completed lower receiver as well. Just look up a video on how to do that mod to your gun.

And there are the AR15 pistols as well, which I am mentioning since there is the debate as to how often these weapons are used in crime:

Mass shootings involving rifles like the AR-15 can produce dozens of victims at one time, and combined with extensive media coverage of these events, many people have been led to believe that such rifles pose a significant threat to public safety.

However, such shootings are extremely rare, and a look at the FBI data informs us that homicide with these types of rifles represents an extremely small fraction of overall homicide violence. Banning or confiscating such firearms from the civilian population would likely produce little to no reduction in violent crime rates in America.

Given the amount of variations on the AR15, there are a fair amount of pistol versions. One manufacturer lists barrel lengths from 8 inches to 20 inches for their upper receiver assembly. An interesting riff on all this since Orlando, Florida, authorities revised their initial description of one of the weapons used in the June 2016 attack at Pulse nightclub. After initially describing it as an “AR-15-type assault rifle,” police said it was a different type of firearm, the Sig Sauer MCX.

One the the variants of the MCX is the Rattler SBR (short barrelled rifle)[1]. While SBRs are NFA weapons, it’s pretty easy to bang one up using the AR15 platform. I would also toss in that semi-auto pistols that accept high capacity magazines are banned in some places. Additionally, a submachinegun is a machinegun that fires pistol calibre ammunition. That means that submachineguns are basically pistols that can have a very high rate of fire.

But the main reason I would say that the AR15 is America’s gun is that it will probably never be regulated despite the carnage it is capable of causing. Despite the deadly shooting in Las Vegas to the 20 toddlers killed at Sandy Hook, these weapons are more than freely available to anyone who wants one. You can buy an 80% receiver with no background check to build whatever version of an AR15 you want.

That means that anyone who is adept with metalworking tools, or just adept with tools if it’s a polymer 80, can crank out a weapon intended for the battlefield.

That should cause you to pause and think no matter what your opinion of these weapons happens to be.

[1] Short barrelled rifles are another topic which I am not going to get into.

Lots of thoughts

I am really annoyed with the level of virtue signalling/pandering I’ve been seeing as the reaction to the riots. My particular gripe is with “Juneteenth” which was pretty much unknown until fairly recently, especially the last few days. This is true even amongst “people of colour”.

The fact it has eclipsed Odunde in Pennsylvania, let alone Philadelphia, is more than enough to demonstrate to me that recent attention has been pandering and not very sincere. I would be truly insulted if I were black at how this event has suddenly received attention. But I doubt it will be a thing in another news cycle.

Which gets me to the riots, which they were. The fact that the peaceful demonstrations turned violent should have led to a distancing from the violence. Instead we receive virtue signalling that the looting is somehow OK. Toss in that defunding/abolishing the police can even be considered, let alone discussed.

The riots have helped gun sales go through the roof. We can pretty much forget ever having an “assault rifle ban”. Any buyback would make the Covid-19 economic relief look like a drop in the bucket. It’s possible.

But so is becoming a billionaire by winning the lottery.

The “Gun Violence Protection” crowd is showing how out of touch they are with the current state of events. Case in point is something I saw from Everytown where they were talking about how the Gun Rights crowd talked about fighting tyrannical government. Of course it also tried to paint recent events as “peaceful protest” neglecting the curfews and lockdowns in many US cities.

I’ve been wanting to talk about option 2 for why a someone would need an assault rifle, which is the exact opposite of “tyrannical government”.  That is when your country has become a failed state.

A failed state is a political body that has disintegrated to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government no longer function properly (see also fragile state and state collapse). A state can also fail if the government loses its legitimacy even if it is performing its functions properly. For a stable state it is necessary for the government to enjoy both effectiveness and legitimacy. Likewise, when a nation weakens and its standard of living declines, it introduces the possibility of total governmental collapse. The Fund for Peace characterizes a failed state as having the following characteristics:

  • Loss of control of its territory, or of the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force therein
  • Erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions
  • Inability to provide public services
  • Inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community

Common characteristics of a failing state include a central government so weak or ineffective that it has an inability to raise taxes or other support, and has little practical control over much of its territory and hence there is a non-provision of public services. When this happens, widespread corruption and criminality, the intervention of state and non-state actors, the appearance of refugees and the involuntary movement of populations, sharp economic decline, and foreign military intervention can occur.

There were a few commenters who were pointing out the United States was a failed state prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, but the recent riots have shown that the US is indeed a failed state.

In that case, who is going to protect you?

I am not going to debate the wisdom of owning a firearm or other weapon during such a time. But I do understand why people would want them.

The virtue signalling crowd needs to step back and assess where the US happens to be at this point, because the US is not in good shape. And pandering to the mob is the wrong course of action.

Why I think Donald Trump will get another four years!

I remember driving through Western Pennsylvania a few days after the 2016 election. It was obvious why Trump won then. The Dems didn’t bother to reassess what happened and are now set to fuck up even worse than in 2016.

First off running, Joe Biden who was a train wreck to begin with, but continues to show WHY he is correct when he tells people to vote for the other guy. Biden lost the election when he told the UAW Worker in Detroit he didn’t need an assault rifle among other things, but it gets us to.

The Riots, while the Dems would like to pin everything on Trump. The “Trump is Bad” strategy was a loser in 2016: it’s even worse in 2020. Toss in the riots happened in Democratically controlled areas for the most part. Nixon won as the law and order candidate in 1968. Trump will win because the Dems are the party of disorganisation.

The fall out from the riots. Loads of people bought guns. Assault rifles vanished from the marketplace both brick and mortar as well as internet. Gun control, firearms regulation, gun violence prevention, or whatever you want to call it is going to be a dead letter for some time as armed bands troop around left and right: literally.

Let’s add in the talk of defunding or disbanding the police, which is one of the worst imaginable cases of branding an idea that anyone could have come up with at this time. Armed groups from all sides of the political spectrum are walking the streets: what could go wrong here? Police reorganisation might have made more sense.

But it doesn’t matter since Biden has made it clear that he’s not on board.

Let’s not forget the Covid-19 thing, which was another disaster. It was something that pointed out the need to “medicare for all”, universal basic income, or just good leadership.

In fact, the past few months have been an advertisement for why the Democrats are on the wrong track and running the wrong candidate. But I am not expecting much change. Especially when the candidate who is running is one who really isn’t going to change a thing.

Casey Jones is driving the train full speed ahead high on cocaine, And there might even be speed involved.

 

A militarised police is nothing new…outside the United States

French KeufThe term “Gendarme” may connote the quaint French Policeman like the one in this picture.

Not really, the French Gendarmerie Nationale is one of France’s two national police forces. Unlike the Police Nationale, the Gendarmerie Nationale is a branch of the French Armed Forces placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior with additional duties to the Ministry of Defense.

To try and analogise this to US law enfocement, the Police Nationale would be something like a combination of large city police forces and the FBI. The Gendarmerie would be more like the State Police forces, patrolling the smaller cities, towns, and countryside. But unlike the State Police forces there are two different branches: the Departmentale and the Mobile. The Departmental being like the state police forces.

The mobile being an internal army, quite literally. main responsibilities are:

  • crowd and riot control
  • general security in support of the Departmental Gendarmerie
  • military and defense missions missions that require large amounts of personnel (e.g., counter-terrorism patrols)

Nearly 20% of the Mobile Gendarmerie squadrons are permanently deployed on a rotational basis in the French overseas territories. Other units deploy occasionally abroad alongside French troops engaged in military operations (called external operations or OPEX).

Let’s toss in the the Gendarmerie Nationale also has the Groupe d’intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale (GIGN), an elite law enforcement and special operations unit numbering about 400 personnel. Its missions include counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, surveillance of national threats, protection of government officials and targeting of organized crime. GIGN is one of the world’s top Special Forces groups, which is something that would make people who get upset about armed police to go apoplectic and die.

And the Gendarmerie Nationale’s history goes back to the Maréchaussée of the middle ages. Maréchaussée, or Marshalcy.  During the middle ages there were two Grand Officers of the Kingdom of France with police responsibilities: The Marshal of France and the Constable of France. The military policing responsibilities of the Marshal of France were delegated to the Marshal’s provost, whose force was known as the Marshalcy because its authority ultimately derived from the Marshal. The Marshalcy dates back to the Hundred Years War, and some historians trace it back to the early twelfth century. Another organisation, the Constabulary (French: Connétablie), was under the command of the Constable of France. The constabulary was regularised as a military body in 1337.

Gendarme means Man at Arms. So the Gendarmes were the “men at arms” of the Middle Ages. The term was more specific than just men who had weapons, but were government officials.

Also, France’s Gendarmerie has been highly influential on other national police forces, mostly in civil law and former French Colonies.

I almost bought an AR Parts Kits!

Or the more I know about the H&K 416, the more I like the SIG516.

And saying that is not totally off the topic since I found that Brownells had a do it yourself HK416 set up. You would buy one of their completed lowers with 416 markings and then get their official parts kit. Still not a cheap purchase (also no longer available) [1], but there are a few options for buying an AR15:

  • You can buy a complete off the shelf AR15
  • You can buy a lower receiver in any of several forms: complete, stripped, or 80% . Then match it with the upper receiver of your choice
  • build a complete parts kit from scratch, which can be a “ghost gun” depending on if you add a serial number or not.

The upper is the more critical part in my opinion. That means that you could pair an outrageously expensive upper with an budget lower. That is a suggestion which will get lots of groans, but isn’t too outrageous in the current climate of AR scarcity.

The opinion seems to be mil spec is mil-spec, which is true for the cheaper lowers. There are some features which can up the price, such as ambidextrous knobbies and finish. Also, it’s kinda nice to have the fancy logo to go with the one on the fancy upper.

I have to admit to being inclined toward the completed lower since changing the grip on one of these is more involved than I care for. I am not keen on having to put the pieces together. This is especially true for anything that goes bang near my face. Putting together a complete upper with a complete lower is fine with me.

If you haven’t guessed by now, the expensive options are the way I would like to go. On the other hand, market forces are working against me. We have scarcity driving up the price.

If you can find one.

The gun violence prevention crowd blew it in the past few weeks by not calling for cooler heads. Now people are scared and gun sales have skyrocketed.Not to mention there are now way more “assault rifles” out there with people who will be reluctant to give them up.

 

Footnote:
[1] H&K MR556 upper receiver is US$1839, including free shipping! You can get the BRN-4 stripped receiver for US$299.99 or there is a complete receiver for auction at US$1,100. That means you could have part of an HK for around US$2100 (still gotta get the rest of the parts to complete the lower) or a whole one for US$2939 (unless someone ups the bids on you). Not cheap!

Go ahead, scumbag, make my day.

I’ve found that lower receiver assemblies can be bought in all sorts of interesting designs. Or if you get a blank, you can have it custom engraved.

The reason I titled this what I did is that some non-full auto receivers are marked with an, inactive, full-auto choice.

Not sure I want to have that if I get stopped by the cops. Sure, it can be disproven, but still why risk it?