Cool Tools: Husky 4.5Lb Splitting Maul.

I have a similar one. Make sure if there's anyone around, they're behind you - you'll shoot wood all over the place. Don't do with within feet of your precious vehicles or house, either.

No matter who I order wood from, they never split it small enough to allow for un-smoky fires. Lowes or HD had one of these, so it was a no-brainer (though I really wanted, in my heart of hearts, a double-bladed axe). My recommendation with this - a sizable hunk of wood to rest your intended target upon. Mine's only about 12" across. I'd like to have double that. The present is just too wobbly.

Oh, and run a few turns of duct tape or similar around where the handle meets the head. You will eventually impact that spot, esp. when starting out, and it'll save the handle from deterioration. When your aim gets better with this tool, you can peel it all off.

Nice Marmot: The Blue Hour.

First off, Dave's blogging again. HOORAY! Second, he's coming into my RSS aggregator feed. YES. Third, there are so many reasons a horizon can get shifted. I've had the worst time switching from Canon to Nikon. The reference points in the viewfinder are different, and I've had slews of images come with a left-side tilt I've had to correct. Everything looks straight - I put it on a tripod and it's straight. I've come to the conclusion that at certain points of the day, I'm just cockeyed. I have no compunctions about altering the tilt.

Sigma makes a 12-24 'rectilinear' lens. Wonderful for architecture shoots. BUT. Get something too close to a corner, and what is square becomes an odd trapezoid. Architectural features aren't so bad, but if you catch a chair ... it'll turn into something from Alice in Wonderland.

So you're always making compromises to get a 'believable' shot. And, when you pause for a second, a wave of appreciation for what a miracle the human eyeball is.

A suggestion for the NRA.

Can you have your members hunt down those folks who post on Craiglist, wanting hires to answer phones, use Photoshop at a high level, program PHP and Javascript, create Michelangelo-like Powerpoint and Prezi presentations, walk dogs, make coffee ... and compensate for a 'generous' $15/hour? Please?

Terribly bad joke, of course. But such people need to be pulled up short. I used to earn $18/hour as a temp in 1984. You who do this should all be ashamed, ostracized ... cast out from civilized society. If this is a harbinger of the 'gig economy', I can tell you exactly who is getting 'gigged' and who is doing the 'gigging.'

Later: If you don't understand the reference ...

Ars Technica: Drone crashes in Arizona National Forest, starts a wildfire.

A vector of risk I hadn't thought of. Given our drought status, drones and forests may end up being a deadly mix. I'd recommend operators have buckets, shovels, and a 5 gallon container of water available, but likely not even that would be enough given how tinder-dry we are. A ban might be in order over BLM and National Forest land. You'll piss off the social media 'influencers', but who cares? It's the landscape we must live in and with.

Slate: David Brooks, Times conservatives obsess over “intolerant” campus left.

Explain to me why any college should let a card-carrying white supremacist or Nazi speak. "Open to other viewpoints" is not a valid argument - we defeated these people. These are philosophies that have been proven bankrupt and backward-looking.

But if you must, set up the stage as they did in The Blues Brothers. Heavy steel mesh. To expect any other sort of reception is criminal ignorance.

The Right is just extending their attack on education. The same old talking points, now broadcast en long en large by a tag-team.

For shame, Times. This is not being open to opposing opinions. This is sensationalist clickbait at its worst, and will harm America. So says the blogger who's been purposely avoiding Brooks since 2003.