This is the six thousandth blog post on Virtual Mirage.

It started in 2009 at the encouragement of Opus #6, a blogger who no longer blogs. I wanted to state for the historical record that not everyone loved the Half-Blood Prince or his policies. Thirteen years later, here we are. I’ve been threatened and cajoled to discontinue the blog at times but you can see that didn’t work.

37,138 separate individuals have visited this blog. In the blogosphere, it’s not a huge number, but to me it shows that there remains an interest even after all this time.

Blogging has changed, and the number of independent bloggers has decreased. Maybe it’s the discipline required to keep the ball rolling? Maybe there are other issues? Some of the original bloggers who I knew when the Tea Party was real (before it was corrupted) and Andrew Breitbart was still alive – are as dead as Breitbart is today. Some of them became preppers and fled the grid. Others simply lost interest.


The .458 SOCOM (redux)

The round’s development and incorporation into an M-4 framework were “cobbled together” by people who needed a bit more punch than that offered by the 5.56mm round. It single stacks into an existing magazine.

Are you .458 (11.63×40 mm) shooters bothered by the smaller magazine capacity or is the trade-off worth it?


Should Silencers be (more) legal?


LSP Laments

He had soldiers from Ft. Hood visiting the compound and said that regular people can’t afford beef, so he fed them BBQ Chicken. I thought about this.

Cultured meat is made by taking cells from an animal, often via a biopsy or from an established animal cell line. These cells are then fed a nutrient broth and placed in a bioreactor, where they multiply until there are enough to harvest for use in meatballs or nuggets.

Memphis Meats, which counts Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and traditional meat manufacturer Tyson Foods among its many investors, has teamed up with a number of other firms, including Just and cultured-seafood makers BlueNalu and Finless Foods, to form a lobbying group that is working with US regulators to get their products to market.

Maybe it’s time to shift to vat-grown or cultured meat (mystery meat) instead of real beef?

 Soylent Green  – a delicious option during the coming government-created famine.



If you have a modern diesel engine, it requires Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) – made substantially of urea – to operate.

Urea, also known as carbamide, is an organic compound with the chemical formula CO(NH2)2. This amide has two NH2 groups joined by a carbonyl (C=O) functional group.

More than 90% of world industrial production of urea is destined for use as a nitrogen-release fertilizer. Urea has the highest nitrogen content of all solid nitrogenous fertilizers in common use. Therefore, it has a low transportation cost per unit of nitrogen nutrient. Urea breaks down in the soil to give ammonium. The ammonium is taken up by the plant. In some soils, the ammonium is oxidized by bacteria to give nitrate, which is also a plant nutrient.

Natural gas is the key raw material in urea production. Urea is primarily exported by Russia, Qatar, and China. Like fertilizer, DEF is made with urea, and the United States imports most of the urea that it uses.

The next part of the DEF puzzle has to do with a dispute between Union Pacific Railroad and the Pilot/Flying J Corporation. If you’ve ever done a long road trip, you’ve probably stopped at a Flying J travel center. Flying J “is one of the leading suppliers of fuel and is the largest operator of travel centers in North America.” Flying J sells 30 percent of ALL the DEF consumed in the United States.

Flying J gets seventy percent of its DEF via Union Pacific Railroad. Due to distribution points controlled by Union Pacific, Flying J cannot go to another supplier. Union Pacific is in control. In April, Union Pacific told Flying J to reduce its shipments of DEF by 50 percent, or else they would be embargoed, which would effectively bankrupt Flying J.

If this ultimatum is enforced, Union Pacific’s restrictions on Flying J will cause shortages, since this would cut the national supply of DEF by 15 percent. In his testimony, Mr. Konar explained that a single rail car provides 3000 trucks worth of DEF fills (2.7 gal DEF/ per 100 gal of diesel). Every missed rail car will reduce trucking potential by 5 million miles!

A DEF shortage is a big deal. The trucks won’t move without DEF. And, while it might be physically possible to disconnect the regulator, any operator would face fines and other possible penalties if caught doing such a thing.

The urea fertilizer shortage which is a component of the DEF situation will not resolve quickly, and it is going to impact both food production and the transportation sector. These shortages will drive inflation even higher.



Rand’s Plan

(Zero Hedge) Every few years, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul puts forth a quixotic proposal to balance the federal budget. It’s not the financial math that makes it a daunting task, but rather Washington’s bipartisan addiction to spending.

It predictably fails each time but accomplishes two things in the process. First, it puts senators who’ve espoused fiscal discipline on the record as opposing it when the rubber meets the road. Second, over time, Paul’s proposals illustrate the insidious effect of kicking the can down the road—as each new proposal requires bigger cuts to push Uncle Sam to break even… you should read the whole thing.


  1. The economy will collapse without trucks. Everything consumed is some way affected by a truck. The useful life of a truck is about 750,000 to 1,000,000 miles unless it has an inframe engine rebuild which will extend the life for another 750,000 to 1,000,000 miles. Regional truckers can easily rack up 125k miles a year and long haul can almost double that. Because of the miles racked up on trucks you won’t find many trucks that are non-DEF still on the road.

    • My sense is that is what the Brandon Administration is shooting for.

      The Russians haven’t stopped exports of fertilizer including urea. The US has muscled the government of Lithuania from allowing exports from Belarus. There is no US regulation that prohibits the shipment and sale of urea. But US STATE is blocking SHIPMENT. I know this because my consulting company is working on getting the shipments started. I have people in country now.

      USGOV should discontinue regulations that require DEF for diesel engines. Just go back the way that it once was. Will that happen? No time soon.

      • Best outcome for you (I won’t say “best of luck” as I know being good vs. lucky in these arenas is paramount).

        DEF is weird, my 2010 2500 (pre-DEF) came “deleted”, was previously owned in Wyoming. In Colorado if I lived in town it wouldn’t pass emissions due “the visual” (all that junk installed to shove the exhaust gasses back thru the motor, is gone). It runs better and is easier on the motor, and would pass tailpipe emissions. DEF is to eliminate the dreaded black smoke (as I understand it). I will keep this one, plus the ’99, running forever if I can (won’t be a problem with fuel prices jacked up, driven miles are lower than my normal 32+K a year.)

  2. “Others simply lost interest.”

    When the Roe v Wade decision leaked and I witnessed the reactions of the satanic pro-death (mostly fat and in no danger of ever “needing” abortion women), it broke me. I was so thoroughly shocked, horrified, and sad, it made me reevaluate how I was spending my time, and spending it “preaching to the choir” didn’t seem like a very good idea. I doubt I’ll ever be back.

    My Feedly still has over 400 blogs I follow, and my bookmarks are at about 100. Guess what? Some days I forget to even check Feedly and most the bookmarked sites don’t even get perused. Talk radio? About the only two I listen to anymore are Glenn Beck and Jesse Kelly. Sean and Cluck and Bay are only on if I’m working outside and have no choice.

    I do still read all of LSP (my hero) and still read your posts, but I can never think of anything to say in the comments.

    Enjoy your weekend, LL – and God bless.

  3. Maybe you just need to recharge your batteries, Adrienne? Blogging is not as easy as people think it is. The blogosphere is littered with people who do it for a week or two and pack it in. You’re not one of those. I think you just need a rest – then jump back on the horse.

  4. As an owner of three non-DEF diesel vehicles and working around diesels on a daily basis, I understand why DEF and a shortage are a big thing. But I don’t understand what the reasoning is behind Union Pacific putting the restriction on Flying-J.
    Don’t forget, it’s not just on-road trucks that require DEF, but also modern farm equipment, emergency and even military vehicles. Most of the military and emergency vehicles that require DEF can run when there is no DEF on board, not all are capable and there have been deaths caused by emergency vehicles shutting down when there is no DEF in the tank

    • Given the pervasive need for affordable DEF, maybe USGOV should consider it to be strategic material. We could produce sufficient DEF in the US if the EPA would allow it. Sadly, EPA reasoning is that saving the planet means saving the US part of the planet while China, India and Russia pollute.

    • I read this elsewhere:
      Blackrock is the majority shareholder of Union Pacific railroad. How is that important? Americas biggest fertilizer producer is CF Industries. Their largest shareholder is Blackrock. Blackrock controls the fertilizer industry in the U.S.. Union Pacific has exclusive rights to distribution points of fertilizer. Urea is fertilizer. Flying J needs Urea/DEF. Blackrock is controlling everything.
      The Chairman of the BlackRock Investment Institute is Tom Donilon, President Obama’s former National Security Advisor. Tom Donilon’s brother, Mike Donilon is a Senior Advisor to Joe Biden. Tom Donilon’s wife, Catherine Russell, is the White House Personnel Director. Tom Donilon’s daughter, Sarah Donilon, who graduated college in 2019, now works on the White House National Security Council.
      It appears Blackrock is spearheading the dismantling of the US system on behalf of the Globalists. And the first domino they are pushing over is the energy sector. They are using DEF to get the party started. This is one sector of the biggest downfalls in political repercussions this country has ever faced…

        • Working Acquisition-side operations develops paranoia. This is worse. Like y’all, I’m getting too old and frustrated to put up with this crap much longer

      • Then there’s the whole Union Pacific wanting to control trucking traffic and force more onto intermodal rail transport. Gee, UP being a railroad but also controlling DEF distribution isn’t a conflict of interests, is it?

        • They’re building a monopoly, but I don’t see the corrupt Brandon Administration doing anything about it because it’s a Black Rock thing as Ed B pointed out and there are several former Black Rock executives now working inside the White House to formulate policy.

  5. Lots of thickness in this post…as usual.

    Suffice it to say LL, like your readership, I really appreciate your willingness and fortitude to keep it going. Not as easy as it appears (What is?). I always enjoyed Adrianne’s blog – her directness and God-centered commentary was refreshing – yet I understand “the why” in suspending the effort. I do wonder how one stays positive when all-around is fire-hose effect chaos with little “good” change. I try to focus on my own 4 sq ft more than “out there”…usually helps the Spirit stay lifted.

    Yet, information is critical to success, so we read. Thanks for maintaining.

    • The information put out in this blog can be eclectic at times. In other situations, I think that my experience dealing with the Swamp is helpful to non-Swamp people.

      Adrianne’s faith-based blog was good, but I liked her recipes just as much. I continually threatened to arrive at her door in North Idaho with a plate in my hand, begging for table scraps.

      I don’t share Adrianne’s love of cats unless they’re wild bobcats. The cougars ran the bobcats off my place and I refuse to feed mountain lions. One day, they’ll ambush me. Mountain lions are mean and the bobcats were almost friendly. They’d bring the kittens by every time there was a new batch, for milk and just to show the brood off. They keep the rodent population in check even now.

  6. First off, thanks for having the internal discipline to keep up blogging. Very much appreciated. Here is to another 13 years.

    .458 SOCOM. A very nice round, ballistically it is about a 45/70 so does come with a thump. I have found it is more accurate than a 45/70 but that might just be the rifles since my sample size is low. The round certainly hits with authority especially with the 600 grain bullets. It does fit into existing magazines but you do have to grind off the internal stiffening rib in some P-mags. Since Washington state enacted an idiotic 10 round magazine rule all of my magazines identify as .458 SOCOM now.

    I keep 3 each 2.5 gallon containers of DEF (about 3k miles in my truck) in stock and use it first in first out. There have been occasions were the store was out when I went looking but so far it has not affected me. No idea how truckers are managing but kudos to them. My truck will run without DEF but it will only run in limp mode although I am told you can reflash the chip to avoid that issue. Something to investigate once the warranty expires.

    I doubt we will ever see a balanced budget let alone paying down the national debt as the US exists today. Sure would be nice though. Maybe the budget surplus caused by the means testing Congress is investigating for Social Security will be used exclusively for paying down the debt…when pigs fly.

    Again, thanks for what you do.

    • re — TheNationalDebt©
      Many of those loans are from before I was born.
      I never signed for them, never agreed to them… why are they my responsibility.
      Who transfers their debt to me from people I do not know, by people I do not know.
      Which bankers loaned that money.
      Perhaps, a nice amicable series of 330,000,000 bankruptcies would reduce some of their upppity-ness… looking at you Federal Reserve Bankers.
      The bankers.
      Similar to student loans… “Upon my sacred honor, I pledge to re-pay my student loans, unless I vote against it.”

  7. U-Pac is or was or ever shall be HQ’d in Omaha. Whatever, they still have their dispatching center in Omaha in a large tornado proof building quaintly nicknamed The Bunker. I’ve been in it, it’s hella stout, hella complicated and security is very, very tight. That much is fact.

    Who else is HQ’d in Omaha? I can’t remember, help me out here. Is it perhaps some big-time investor who runs something called Hathshire-Brook-a-way or something? Could be. It might be that this gentleman, if that’s him, probably knows lots of people and probably they talk around what passes for a water fountain in those circles but certainly it would be a fantastic co-incidence if he should happen to own a lot of U-P hmmm THE END.

  8. What is Union Pacific going to put in those rail cars instead, or will they replace those cars with a different type because our great gay transportation secretary cut a deal to “speed up” getting things shipped from West coast ports? Then of course the “follow the money” question; who owns Union Pacific?

  9. I’ve been tempted by the .458 SOCOM for some time now. I do have an upper receiver that’ll work and some day I’ll break down and get the appropriate barrel and BCG. I believe Ed has the right idea. All of my magazines will also identify as being for the larger caliber.

    • Jim, similar circumstance here. I had an unused AR lower, bought the upper receiver and barrel from Tromix and then put in a Timney trigger. If you are in the Northwest and want to test drive one holler. They are much more expensive than 5.56 to run but end up being a little cheaper than a 45/70. I don’t reload them yet but am sure saving my brass.

  10. Warren Buffet, the oracle of Omaha, owns Burlington Northern Santa Fe. He was instrumental in keeping the Keystone pipeline from taking a logical shortcut through Nebraska, so he could run his 200 car “bomb trains” through small midwestern cities. There have been several incidents up to thi point. We have 3 mainline BNSF tracks through our town. A constant nagging threat to our well-being. If you will note there is always a boxcar behind the engines to give the engineers an extra bit of escape time from the conflagration.

  11. Congrats on 6,000 posts! From the timeine, it must have been right around when I first met you and Opus, courtesy of a lunch Old_NFO called me too one time he was passing through.
    Yes, it can be a drag at times to keep on truckin’ with a blog. There’s times I don’t post “just because”, and times I don’t post because I’m wrapped up in something.

    .458 SOCOM…a.k.a “A Man’s Cartridge”. Biggest bangsticks I’ve fired have been a 45/70, and 300 Win Mag. No thanks….

    I prefer my meat to be meat. Not a substitute, not “Just As Good As”, or “Tastes Just Like The Real Thing”. I’ll let the cows, pigs, and chickens produce my meat the way the Lord intended.

    Hmmm….restrict natural gas to “Be Green”, and it causes problems with both the fertilizer the proles need, AND restricts their mobility! Sounds like a winner!

  12. You’re right. Blogging a decade ago was smarter, more free and definitely more amusing. Just a lot more fun.
    Yet here we are.
    I like that. DON’T GIVE UP. And so we don’t. Of course I enjoy slinging anything I care to think of across the internet. We’re still, allowed to do that, almost.

  13. Regarding DEF diesels, was looking into potentially buying a post 2010 diesel van and that DEF thingy turned me away. Were diesel emissions really that bad? (Answer, no, but the Greens had to find some stupid way to futz with the potential move from gas to diesel for many vehicles. Of course, since gas is one of the products broken from petroleum and diesel is another, what’s wrong with leaving gas as a viable fuel? Damned enviroweenies.)

    So, LL, what’s your take on the new caliber for the Army?

    • I have been shooting 6.5 since I was a boy. My grandfather designed the cartridge which is very close to what Hornady came up with 50 years later. Thus I have a built-in bias toward the 6.8 Western that the Army adopted, which is based on the.270 Winchester Super Magnum.

      There are a number of 6.8s out there now and they will be an improvement over the 7.62 and the 5.56 NATO cartridges. It’s just better ballistics whether you’re going for a hunting or a military bullet. The case, the powder, the primer arrangement in specific is something that I’ve looked at in the 6.8 Western is something that I’ve looked at from a distance, and have read up on, but I haven’t shot it.

  14. re — Exhaust Fluid
    For my daily chuckle and to add to my air of superiority, I read RecreateVehicle forums such as IRV2.
    In BillionBuxBus conversions, failure of EF components is approximately 100% (‘complete and utter’), often on the way home from the dealer.
    The rig limps or is towed back to the dealer to be parked in the weeds on the back fence… somewhat semi-permanently.
    Replacement parts are not available.
    2003, we converted a 1996 Ford CF8000 commercial truck to our concept of an ExpeditionVehicle.
    Two wires to operate, Cummins 505ci mechanical, zero-zero-zero computers.
    2018, on a caravan into Central America, we counted fifteen of twenty Sprinter-type vans down for repairs — in just one town — some waiting for entire engines to be shipped from Arizona or Florida.
    An aside:
    None of our caravan chums have vehicles newer than about 2006.
    That could have something to do with not trusting the spawn of bill gates.
    An aside:
    Car&Driver magazine.
    A decade ago, during the evaluation of a Universal Asian Vehicle — Kia?, Nissan? — one of the four door computers quit discussions with one of the dash computers, encouraging the engine computer to go ‘limp’.
    That sounds like too much fun.
    On a vacation, with zero-zero-zero parts available?

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