Saturday, July 04, 2015

Fun Facts

Astound and amaze your friends at cocktail parties with the following bits of triviata from teh Feds:
"The most frequently noted location in wiretap applications was “portable device.” In recent years, the use of mobile communications, including text messaging and application software (‘apps’) from cellular telephones, have become increasingly widespread. In 2014, a total of 96 percent (3,409 wiretaps) of all authorized wiretaps were designated as portable devices."
"Drug offenses were the most prevalent type of criminal offense investigated using wiretaps. Table 3 indicates that 89 percent of all applications for intercepts (3,170 wiretaps) in 2014 cited illegal drugs as the most serious offense under investigation. Homicide, the second-most frequently cited crime, was specified in approximately 4 percent of applications. “Other major offenses,” a category that includes smuggling and money laundering, was the third-largest category and was specified as the most serious offense in less than 3 percent of applications. Many applications for court orders revealed that multiple criminal offenses were under investigation, but Table 3 includes only the most serious criminal offense listed on an application."

Modern Phenomena

The Taxiway Toccata: This is when everybody turns their phones on or takes them out of airplane mode as the plane is taxiing to the gate and the whole cabin is filled with the blingles and bleeps of four hours of accumulated text messages times one hundred passengers...

Surprise Tuesday: This is the day when the UPS truck brings the mystery presents that drunk weekend you bought for sober weekday you while surfing Amazon at 0130 on Saturday morning.

It's too early to feel this cynical...

Oh, beautiful for drone-filled skies
A tax code so arcane!
A voting class on their fat ass
From Houston to Fort Wayne!
America! America!
You voted stuff for free
You made your bed, ye overfed
Go watch some more TV!
I need to go get some fireworks. That usually cheers me right up.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Overheard in the Convention Center Parking Lot...

RX: "How do you know that's the entrance over there?"

Me: "Because that's where the chubby bearded white dude in the kilt is headed. That's generally a pretty good sign."

Go go Gadget... er, Gadget!
The Gadget is Go. Click here.

ETA: Great description and further pictures here.

QotD: Deft Aside Edition

From a learned post on heat management in automatic weapons, Weaponsman deftly drops an aside:
"Our copy is the German language version, because we read po-nyemetskiy, and wants $300-400 for an English copy, when there is one to be had, but has copies of this out of print classic for about €100. (Which is going to be lunch money if they keep letting Greece set continental fiscal policy)."
Oh, well-played, sir!

Blink... blink... blink...

"It's July in Indiana and the fireflies are out."

Fear and Self-Loathing on the Editorial Page

The defining characteristic of late-stage Western democracies is an almost reflexive self-loathing. For instance, we have this guy bemoaning the fact that, since the Magna Carta is not actually a legally-binding document containing all the provisions of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it's somehow just a sham that allows Rubert Murdoch and the Koch Brothers to boil us all for soap, rather than representing the first time anybody north of the Alps put pen to paper to state that the king can't just up and do whatever he wants whenever he wants:
"Governments and the illiberal cherish Magna Carta not despite its lack of legal significance, but because of it. It is a means through which those who do not want their legal powers to be challenged or checked by any court can still pay lip service to the great constitutional tradition."
There is irony in this, as we are gearing up to celebrate the 239th anniversary of another document with no legal weight whatsoever, and yet which bears significance apparently too abstract for that guy to wrap his head 'round.

Meanwhile, confronted with the fact that all the hashtags in the world aren't going to make ISIS go anywhere, a Harvard prof claims that we should just learn to live with them. He draws the (seemingly reflexive) comparison between them and the fact that we did bad things in the past and uses it to bolster his argument that eventually it will just be business as usual when they have a seat at the UN.
"Those oh-so-posh and civilized Brits we enjoy watching on Downton Abbey? Their ancestors created the United Kingdom through violent and brutal acts of coercion and conquest (as any knowledgeable Welshman or Scot could tell you). Those heroic Americans who expanded the “Empire of Liberty” across North America? They massacred, raped, and starved Native Americans to get there — and collected plenty of scalps along the way. The Bolsheviks and Maoists who created the USSR and People’s Republic of China? They didn’t consolidate power via gentle persuasion, and neither did the Wahhabis under Ibn Saud or the Zionists who founded Israel. As the now-deceased Charles Tilly made abundantly clear in his landmark Coercion, Capital, and European States, state-building has been a brutal enterprise for centuries, and the movements that built new states in the past did many things that we would now condemn as utterly barbaric."
Jesus, pull these guys strings and and it's just "Wounded Knee! King David Hotel! Zionism! Manifest Destiny! Crusades! We're Bad Too!"

I grew up with Southern Baptist preachers warning me of the dangers of moral relativism, but the problem with modern Progressivism is its absolute lack of anything even like moral relativism. Bad things are bad, and there are no degrees of badness, except maybe a +5 badness modifier if the bad thing in question was done by a white dude, with an additional +3 if he spoke English.

It's an odd moral calculus, where Victim Blaming is as bad as Victim Stoning.  If you try going Godwin, they hasten to point out that the US had concentration camps in WWII, without acknowledging that there's a pretty substantial difference of degree between a concentration camp where one leaves via the front gate versus one where the only exit is via the chimney.

"Me, me, me! I'm the bad guy, here! Oh, woe is me!" It is an essentially childish self-centeredness. If you ask them to loath someone more than they loath themselves, they reflexively try to find a reason to make it all about them anyway.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Hey, I know that writer!

My review of the Walther CCP for Shooting Illustrated is online now. I liked it because I got to write the following line:
"There was the PPK (the continued existence of which hopefully results in annual gift baskets and thoughtful Thank You cards from Walther HQ in Ulm to the Ian Fleming estate)..."
As an aside, if someone really wants to penetrate the Gun Nerd market, they need an inexpensive gun with either a rotating barrel or gas-delayed blowback operating system, and they need to chamber it in .22 TCM or .32 NAA. Gun Nerds love that stuff.

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #126...

M&P 22 with 10-8 rear sight.
While at the range yesterday I also fired off the last forty-eight rounds of a batch of Aguila subsonics (not the 62gr SSS, just regular ones) that made excellent grip trainers in the M&P22.

See, they had barely enough energy to run the slide, so that if you allowed the gun to move at all under recoil, it sapped enough energy that a variety of interesting malfunctions would occur. The slide wouldn't go back far enough to eject the empty, but it would go back far enough to pick up a fresh cartridge from the mag, while the spent case was still under the extractor claw.

Welp, those are gone, and I can dump some high-velocity .22 into the deuce-deuce ammo can now without fear of getting them mixed up.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015


One hundred fifty more rounds through the P320 today. Fifty rounds each of Magtech 115gr FMJ, Federal 115gr RTP9115 FMJ, and American Eagle 115gr AE9DP FMJ were fired with no failures of any type to report.

This brings the total number of rounds fired to 1300. The gun still has not been cleaned or lubricated in any way. Other than a couple of shooter-induced failures to lock open on an empty mag, the only malfunctions thus far are one dud primer at round #903 and that weird failure-to-feed on round #978. Seven hundred rounds remain before the gun gets its bath.

That's odd...


Not Paying Attention

So, for some reason, a couple-year-old hand-wringing lament by the Chicago Police Superintendent has bubbled to the surface and is making the rounds again on the Book of Face:
I don’t care if they’re licensed legal firearms, people who are not highly trained… putting guns in their hands is a recipe for disaster. So I’ll train our officers that there is a concealed carry law, but when somebody turns with a firearm in their hand the officer does not have an obligation to wait to get shot to return fire and we’re going to have tragedies as a result of that. I’m telling you right up front.
Protip to the Chicago Head Cop What Am In Charge: "Turning on the officer with the gun in hand" will likely get a person shot from coast to coast. It's why we tell people not to do it, which you would know if you'd been paying attention to the Use of Force Best Practices for the last twenty years instead of playing Political Pocket Pool.

Every time a new jurisdiction gets legal CCW, you get some blowhard with more gold braid than a Nazi train conductor get up behind a podium and sonorously intone the horrors that are going to happen when the poor, benighted citizens who he valiantly watches over are allowed to pack heat and stand watch over themselves.

And every time it happens, his dumbass predictions keep not coming true. Which he would know if he removed his head from the mayor's lap long enough to look around at other jurisdictions that have had legal CCW since his rookie days, brown-nosing his NYPD FTO back in the '80s.

Things That Annoy Me, # 351,624

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I LOL'ed.

Shooting in Washington...

The cameras I took on the trip:
  • Nikon F5: My favorite camera to play with. Have I mentioned how I have a mad, passionate, irrational love for this camera? Shot mostly B&W (T-Max and Tri-X) plus a roll of Portra 160.

  • Nikon D200: My new work camera. This thing takes the place of my trusty Canon 20D. Well, it will when I get a VR lens to replace the Streetsweeper.

  • Nikon Coolpix P7000: Most of the pictures on this blog for the last several months have come from this camera. It rides in the "document pocket" of my gun burkha and is my "go everywhere" camera.

It's the sort of thing Twitter was made for...

Turns out that was exactly 140 characters. (Coincidentally that will be the maximum allowable length of an election season stump speech in 2024. All other messages will have to be conveyed by the candidate's tattoos.)

The opposite of a surprise.

So Chris Christie has just thrown his oversize hat into what has become an impossibly crowded ring. At this moment, the only people in this country who are not contending for the GOP presidential nomination are me, you, and Hillary Clinton.

The headline at Meet the Press's site regarding Christie's announcement read thusly:
I think Bridgegate proves he's no longer the guy the media have picked to take a fall in the ninth against their guy. Now they want Jeb for a target dummy.

Of course the media's all in a sulk at the moment because the more Progressive among them are coming to terms with the fact that Elizabeth Warren isn't running and that, while there IS a candidate with legitimate Progressive chops contending for the Democrat nomination, he's even more of an Old White Dude than Hillary.

The downside...

...of visiting friends in the Mountain or Pacific time zones is that I'm a natural night owl and, propelled by the energy of wanting to stay up and hang out with people I see way too infrequently, I go to bed at late o'clock local time. You know, eleven or midnight, maybe a little later, like a grownup.

But then my eyes pop open involuntarily at about 0700, or 0800 at the latest because oh my lord, have I fed the cats*? And that happens at 0700 or 0800 Eastern time.

What this translates to is a week of three or four hours of sleep per night, which I can keep up for a while, but it eventually takes its toll. And I paid that toll last night, gladly, with eight hours of deep, dreamless sleep. It was glorious.

*No, it's not that I think that thought literally, but years of having the alarm clock go off at 0600 gets the body in a rhythm.

** Desmond Morris, Catwatching, p.75

*** You know how to drive someone crazy? Put in a footnote that has no referent in the text.

Monday, June 29, 2015


Grueling flight schedule back from the curiously dry Pacific Northwet.

I just left southwestern Washington state, where it's been a blistering, sunny, sticky, ninety-something °F for the last several days, and landed in Indianapolis, which has been overcast, rainy, and experiencing daily highs in the mid-70s in my absence. Freaky.

Flight left from PDX at midnight last night and I wasn't wheels down at IND until ~10:30 local this morning, changing planes at ATL in a comedic round of Musical Departure Gates.

Here's a picture of Mount St. Helens. I'm gonna get some shut-eye.

Sunday, June 28, 2015