Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Explosive Decompression

On the radio this morning (KVI, conservative talk radio [now defunct]), Andrew Napolitano was filling in for Tony Snow.  And he was (almost) arguing in favor of allowing guns on planes.

Actually, what he said was this (not an exact quote, but damn close):
If the passengers on those planes had had… had been able to exercise their Second Amendment Rights, then September 11 would never have happened.
(Note that almost said “had had guns” or something similar, and then backtracked to the PC and gun-absent phrase about the Second Amendment.  He said this same phrase at least twice during the broadcast, which tells me that it was a very intentional phrasing, not an “Oops, almost said something on air that I shouldn’t” accident.  It gives him plausible deniability: he didn’t actually advocate for guns on planes, and he can’t help it if people mistakenly think he said that he did.)

You’ve got to be kidding me.  Anyone out there actually want other passengers to be able to bring handguns on airplanes?  Picture the scene: unruly passenger has had one too many — maybe even before getting on board — and the flight attendant won’t serve him, so he pulls out a gun and demands another little bottle of vodka.  Or a little bit of “air rage”: one passenger takes the last overhead space, so the next guy’s bag will have to be checked, so he gets angry and shoots the guy.  Or a kid pulls out his mother’s gun in the middle of the flight to play with it, and it goes off… and blows a hole in the side of the plane, 30,000 feet over Wichita.

To be sure, there are cases where our freedoms have been impinged or taken away by overly aggressive laws and politicians unwilling to defend them.  But this ain’t one.  No way do I want anyone — perhaps including an undercover Air Marshall — having a gun on a flight that I’m on.  Boxcutters be damned: if someone had had a gun on one of those 9/11 flights, and had used it, it might well have ripped through the cockpit door and hit the pilot, crashing the plane in the process.  (And then where would be be?  With an airliner crashed into a skyscraper, that’s where.)

Updated on October 5, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2005

God Bless Chris LeDoux


Crap.  Crap.  Crap.  Crap.  Crap.

Chris LeDoux, one of my favorite country-western singers, died on Wednesday.

I just bought his final album, Horsepower.  It arrived in the mail — you guessed it — on Wednesday.  I haven’t even opened it yet.  (Sorry, Loretta, but you’re getting the boot from iTunes right now.)
Now there’s one less tornado in Texas
And a saddle that’s empty tonight
There’s one hell of a cowboy in heaven
At that big rodeo in the sky
At that big rodeo in the sky

— “One Less Tornado”, from the album Horsepower
(by Aaron Barker and John Rich; sung by Chris LeDoux)
Guess I’ll be making a special request at the Timberline tonight.

Updated on October 6, 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

College Bowl for Kids, and the Triumph of Comics

My partner, Rusty, has an 11-year old adopted son from his second marriage.  Josh spends about every second weekend at our house.

Today, he and some of his schoolmates competed in “Battle of the Books” (or something like that).  The kids had six months to read a set of sixteen books, and then they competed to answer questions based on what they had read.

According to Rusty, Josh’s team won, beating out nine other teams, and they will advance to a regional competition.  Further, Josh was the only one of the kids who had read all the books.  (I’m not sure if this was just on his team or amongst all the kids.)  Further, until Josh started coming to our house, he didn’t read much at all.

The cause?  Comic books.  Since I’ve been reading them for 25 years, I’ve got a lot of them around, with an increasing number of collected volumes which are on bookshelves, easy to access.  I buy a few titles specifically for Josh every month (but I read them, too) — Teen Titans, Teen Titans Go!, Justice League Unlimited, and the now-cancelled Hardy Boys series — and he reads my copies of a few other books every time he is at the house, especially Usagi Yojimbo and most recently, Adam Strange.  Josh has also read the likes of Impulse and Scion, and he really liked the new Bone color volume and can’t wait for the next one.

(In contrast, Rusty’s daughter Sarah almost never reads — and certainly not for pleasure — saying that she has no imagination.  Personally, I think her imagination has been muted by TV and movies and loud music; who needs to work your own imagination when stuff is pre-imagined for you?  But even then, we got her to read Mystic, and she pulled Blankets off the shelf of her own accord.)

If it gets kids to read at all, comics are a good thing.  Even more so if gets them to read stuff other than comics!

Added links on October 7, 2011