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larvatus prodeo Below are the 30 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Michael Zeleny" journal:

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December 31st, 2025
12:10 pm

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HIC LOCUS EST UBI MORS GAUDET SUCCURRERE VITAE
Welcome to the online journal of larvatus. Stable texts are open to the general public. Squibs and sallies, schemes and stratagems, jaunts and taunts, are restricted to friends. Please note that locked texts subject to third party copyright are provided to my friends under the doctrine of fair use, subject to implied consent by all their readers to abstain from redistribution. Reciprocal friendship shall be extended to all sane, sound, and disinterested personae. Comments and critique are always welcome. Marriage proposals and death threats shall be entertained in the order received.
    The House Rules are few and lax. All anonymous comments are initially screened. They shall be revealed or answered at your host’s discretion. All signed comments are initially presumed welcome, until and unless they cause an affront to your host. Thereupon their author shall become banned from further contributions to this journal. Otherwise, anything goes.
                        SAY WHAT?

                                                                                         ÇA ?
                                                                      Tristan Corbière


A treatise? You don’t say! I haven’t treated squat!
A study? Slothful wretch, my culture fetid rot.
A volume? Random heap, sheets stacked in disarray.
Good copy? Not with me enmired in the fray.

A poem? Not today, my lyre is being cleaned.
A book? Of fusty tomes far better to be weaned.
A song? Would that it were, my ear is made of tin.
Fun pastime? Sordid den, dire boredom dwells within.

A cadence? Rhythmic flow is broken by dull grind.
A product? I divide what others multiplied.
A story? Handicapped, my lame and laggard Muse.
Clear proof? My mind is fraught by grief and lit by booze.

High fashion? Wealth and style inform nowhere my dress.
Grandstanding or grand mal? My spasms fail to impress.
Evicted from the hall, I lurk behind the stage,
In transit, poised to choose: a joy house or a cage.

Too old? But to retire, my tenure won’t suffice.
Too young? My hectic life will rid me of this vice.
A sage, a slob, an ace, a master, and a clown,
A stud without a flock, a king without a crown.

THIS is without pretense, and yet a blatant pose.
It’s life and nothing but, confessed in deathless prose.
A masterpiece? Could be, I never made one yet!
A farce? A waste? A bomb? Decide and place your bet!

I bet… and I shall sign herewith my humble name;
My child shall overcome each tainted libel claim.
Through chance it will prevail, its fate a stroke of luck
Art knows me not at all — and I don’t give a fuck.

                      — traduced by MZ, 6 September 2005


free counters

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10:00 am

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for the anonymous troll
Over sixteen twenty years online, I have received a broad spectrum of threats and pitches, and entertained a commensurate range of slurs and plaudits. This experience has crystallized two iron laws of online communications.

The first law is a corollary of Occam’s razor. No matter what you are promised or threatened on the Internet, the most you will get out of it is oral ministrations. In other words, there is no downside in moving virtual bluster to realspace. Yonder puffed-out sock puppet is as unlikely to escalate its verbiage to physical damage, as the heiress of an African potentate, to bestow her commission upon Americans paying their facilitation fees. By contrast, that virtual fellatrix yearning to reward your eloquence with expert suction may well come through as promised, especially if you overlook minor discrepancies ranging from mien to gender.

The second law of Internet intercourse is a corollary of the first. Only a clueless newbie responds personally to an anonymous troll. To illustrate its application, whenever one of the latter kind feels the urge to share its thoughts about anything but one of the former, it should take them instead to someone who can relate to its bogus persona. It makes no difference whether a figment of this sort touts itself as a public intellectual in mufti, or poses as a skank that services barnyard livestock for spare change. In the immortal words of Jack Nicholson, sell crazy someplace else, we’re all stocked up here.

A final notice to the insistent incognito. When you surpass words in punishing my excesses, make sure that your hostile deeds leave me unfit to retaliate. My reckoning will define the remainder of your life. It’s happened to your betters before. Don’t let it happen to you.

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July 30th, 2016
06:13 pm

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My tweets
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July 29th, 2016
11:55 pm

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the apposite gods of the usenet
As is well-known, God helps those who help themselves, thus executing a policy that renders His help superfluous. Far more effective would be an apposite God, He who is committed to helping exactly those who do not help themselves. Unlike Bertrand Russell’s barber, who is free to shrug off as impossible his duty to shave those, and only those, who do not shave themselves, the perfection of God requires that he actually do everything that he is committed to do. Then is our apposite God under obligation to help Himself?

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12:01 pm

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July 28th, 2016
12:00 pm

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02:56 am

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importing guns redux
Nearly seven years ago I posted a synopsis of my experience in importing firearms from Germany and Switzerland. Many of my readers here and elsewhere have sought and received my advice and assistance for following suit. This is an update based on the experience I have acquired since then.
  • Research comparable values. Study all relevant web pages in the foreign top level domain of your concern. For example, in my case, an interest in the SIG P210 calls for all Kessler catalogs and price lists along with their counterparts from Hermann Historica. Here is a search query composed in accordance with my interests. Bear in mind that all long-distance purchases involve a risk. A few years ago, market prices abroad on items of my interest ran between a quarter and a half of market prices for comparable items stateside. This disparity made my risks well justified. Likewise in cases when such items couldn’t be had locally for love or money. As more of our compatriots enter the market, prices tend to level internationally. If you can find the guns you want stateside, you are probably better off avoiding the import game.
  • Find an export agent. Your best bet for finding a dealer and/or an agent willing and able to handle your firearms lot for export from the foreign country used to be online auctions. One Swiss dealer still selling his wares on Gunbroker is Andrew Zink of AfA. Regrettably, Andrew is no longer in the gun forwarding business. The situation is much better in Germany, where you can delegate these duties to Krico or Waffen Bock. It is up to you to make sure that your export agent understands the legal requirements for shipping firearms to the U.S. You must also make sure that he has the right connections to do so. For example, Swiss law no longer allows shipping firearms by mail. Many common carriers follow suit, refusing to accept firearm shipments, unless the sender cultivates a “special relationship” with them.
  • Choose wisely. Generally you will have to pay for your firearms before you can apply for export and import licenses. Above all, you must  be mindful of the “sporting purposes” clause that dates back to the 1968 Gun Control Act. This criterion for firearm imports was subsequently tightened through ATF “studies” dated July 1989, April 1998, and January 2011. Such executive branch import restrictions can and will be reinforced with little to no judicial oversight. You must study the ATF Factoring Criteria for Weapons allowed for import, and choose accordingly, consulting ATF Firearms and Ammunition Technology or a private expert in matters of any doubt. For example, although post-1898 Webley hinged frame revolvers are equipped with the requisite rebounding hammer, ATF has banned them from import after judging them to fail the drop test. Single action revolvers are admitted for import only on the condition of having a manually operated hammer block functionality, e.g one that is built into the cylinder pins of Italian Colt SAA replicas. All pistols must be equipped with “a positive manually operated safety device”, which in practice excludes the likes of the Tokarev TT33, despite their hammers functioning in that manner by design and execution, in the half-cock position. More generally, only civilian firearms and foreign military firearms that qualify as curios and relics may be imported. U.S. military firearms cannot be re-imported without a special dispensation from the State Department. Lastly, all firearms you import must be attested as having remained in the country from which you are exporting them for the past five years.
  • Select a U.S.-based importer. I have been using Simpson Ltd as my importer. It is up to you to ensure that your importer mark your gun discreetly, e.g. on the side of the magazine well of an autopistol or in the frame window of a revolver. The practice of placing import markings under the grips is no longer allowed by the ATF, but a firearm marked while wearing grips of minimal coverage may well be subsequently refitted with larger grips that cover the import marks. There is no restriction on removing the import marks after taking delivery of the firearm. On the other hand, all firearms approved for import must have a serial number that is not repeated in any product line of their makers. Post-1898 firearms that haven’t been so marked by their maker must be permanently numbered or renumbered at the time of their import. Removing, obliterating, or altering the serial number is a federal crime under 27 CFR 478.34. Likewise, these actions are banned under numerous state laws.
  • Consider personal imports. Research how to work with an ATF form 6 in conjunction with your personal FFL dealer in the United States. Find a German gun dealer to work on your behalf with BAFA, the German counterpart of ATF. Buy guns in Germany and have them shipped to your German dealer. Have your personal FFL dealer in the United States submit your filled out ATF Form 6 on your behalf. Have your German gun dealer submit your complete, approved Form 6 to BAFA on your behalf. Once approved, you must board a plane, fly to Germany, and have your gun dealer in Germany walk you through customs with your sealed cases containing firearms licensed for export from Germany and import to the United States. The cases will fly back with you to the U.S. as checked baggage. The U.S. Customs will inspect your firearms and paperwork. You will pay the import duty, whereupon the Customs will re-seal the cases with a customs seal. You will be given three days to bring the sealed cases to your personal FFL dealer, who has the authority to register the firearms in your name via ATF Form 4473. In this case, your personally imported firearms would not have to be import stamped, but they would have to remain in your possession for a minimum of one year.
  • Understand the tariff classification and duty rate of firearms. See the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (2009), SECTION XIX: Chapter 93: Arms and ammunition; parts and accessories thereof. Special classification and duty treatment are afforded to firearms meeting the collector's interest and/or antique provisions of SECTION XXI: Chapter 97: Works of art, collectors' pieces and antiques. In addition to duty and applicable taxes, Customs collect user fees such as MPF (Merchandise Process Fee) equal to 0.21% of the entered value, with a $25 minimum, and a $485 maximum, and HMF (Harbor Maintenance Fee) equal to 0.125% of the entered value, with no minimum or maximum, and only applied on importations via seafreight.
  • Consider using a broker. A licensed customs broker located at the port of entry will be able to submit the license and release documents locally. National Customs Brokers Association lists local associations of individual brokers. Port of entry information is available from U.S. Customs. Import brokers charge a fee for a Customs entry, plus charges for messenger services where applicable. Brokers may also charge a fee for government agency submissions, its amount depending on the complexity of the agency requirements. Additionally, a customs bond will be required, either as a continuous bond for ongoing imports over a calendar year or as single entry bonds per each instance of importation.
  • Stay legal. ATF requires licensure of both the firearms importer and the firearms import lot via the ATF form 6 application. Of special importance on this application are items 19 through 24, which discuss the release of the firearms shipment from Customs custody. Also of importance is the form 6A, which must be presented to Customs at the time of its entry. ATF Form 6 is only good for occasional private imports via an FFL holder, for your personal use, but no one will stop you from reselling some of your personally imported guns after a while. However, in light of recent executive orders, it is imprudent to engage in personal transfers of firearms, except on a very occasional basis. In an overabundance of caution, I leave all imported guns that I plan to resell in the inventory of the 01 FFL dealer that receives my import shipments. Likewise, I consign to his inventory all guns that I choose to sell out of my personal collection. My dealer completes each sale on my behalf, for a fee. Better safe than sorry.
Good luck. Please feel free to pose further questions and requests via email or phone 323-363-1860.

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July 27th, 2016
12:01 pm

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July 26th, 2016
03:32 am

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My tweets
  • Mon, 06:37: If schmoozing makes you miserable, you may be too smart for your own good. https://t.co/xBY7En9YWc
  • Mon, 17:51: Another back-handed endorsement for the incompressible jizztrumpet. https://t.co/2FEzlAuEa2
  • Tue, 03:05: Sophocles’ Antigone: στέργει γὰρ οὐδεὶς ἄγγελον κακῶν ἐπῶν—nobody delights in the bearer of bad news. Thanks to Julian Assange all the same.

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July 25th, 2016
12:13 am

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July 23rd, 2016
12:01 pm

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July 21st, 2016
12:00 pm

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July 20th, 2016
12:00 pm

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  • Wed, 00:43: We survived the B-film bonzo & will survive the game show shitgibbon. First as tragedy, next as farce. #RNC

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July 19th, 2016
06:06 pm

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July 18th, 2016
09:03 pm

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12:03 am

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July 16th, 2016
12:01 pm

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July 15th, 2016
12:00 pm

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July 14th, 2016
12:00 pm

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July 13th, 2016
07:07 am

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July 11th, 2016
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01:33 am

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July 8th, 2016
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July 7th, 2016
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July 6th, 2016
06:01 pm

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July 5th, 2016
12:00 pm

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July 4th, 2016
01:09 am

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July 1st, 2016
12:00 pm

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June 30th, 2016
03:14 am

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June 28th, 2016
12:00 pm

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