Sunday, April 26, 2015

Another sign of spring...

While I was sitting on the patio at Twenty Tap today and enjoying a pint while re-reading Idoru on a hand-me-down Kindle Paperwhite, the streets of SoBro were swarming with motorcycles. This sidecar rig was merely one of the more interesting ones.
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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Range notes...

Fifty rounds of American Eagle 115gr FMJ plus fifty rounds of Brown Bear 115gr FMJ plus ten rounds of Sellier & Bellot 140gr FMJ plus five rounds of Black Hills 115gr JHP (I had a couple partial boxes in the ammo can) equals 115 rounds through the Sig Sauer P320 today. No malfunctions to report.

That's a total of 620 since I took it out of the box. 1380 to go before it gets cleaned and lubed.

Hopefully the weather is nice tomorrow so I can go outside and take some pics of the Glock 19 before and after scrubbing. I don't want to put that thing in a light box in the shape it's in.
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Automotif LXXX...

It was a nice sunny day in Broad Ripple yesterday when I set off to run some errands. I passed this car parked up at a local auto shop on my way out and made plans to stop on my way back and snap some pictures if it was still there. It was.

A 1954 Nash Rambler Custom. Such cool lines! (Although I read that in '55 they added cutouts for the front wheels and reduced the turning circle by six feet.)

Rather than contorting her back to put her bewbs in the breeze, the early '50s Nash hood ornament lady is relaxing and enjoying the ride.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Voight-Kampff Machine



Article at PetaPixel.
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Sight for sore eyes...

Spring seems to have well and truly arrived in my absence.
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"It fell off da truck like dat, Vinnie."

The latches on my Pelican are hard to pop open on purpose, let alone by accident...
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Automotif LXXIX...

It's That '80s Show, featuring a couple of roadgoing survivors from the era of big sweaters, big hair, and leggings...
The Merkur XR4Ti, a re-badged euro Ford Sierra, never caught on stateside, largely due to a half-hearted marketing campaign and goofy naming. It had a four year run, from 1985 to 1989, but the whole Merkur division basically sank without a ripple. Being sold in Lincoln-Mercury dealerships, which were largely purveyors of Medicare barges, can't have helped the sales of an oddly-labeled turbo coupe.

Volkswagen's Scirocco replacement, the Corrado, sold from '88 to '95. It was available with cool powerplants like a supercharged four-banger and the then-new narrow-angle VR6.
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The downside...

...of flying through certain airports as a firearm owner is what might happen if something goes wrong.

Simply changing planes in Logan or LaGuardia with guns in your checked baggage is, technically, not a big deal. The problems with the law arise if problems arise with the plane.

Just before I was scheduled to set out from Castle Frostbite to the airport for my flight home on Wednesday, I was talking with Robin about the potential mishaps that could happen when there came an "Uh oh..." from Marko's office in the back of the house.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"There's some problem with your connecting flight in Newark; they want you to overnight there and they'll put you on a plane to Indy in the morning," he explained.

"Dude, that's not funny."

"I know!"

It took me a second to realize he was serious. I thought for a second he'd heard Robin and I talking and was yanking my chain; the timing could not have been more coincidental.

Fortunately, Marko was able to get in touch with the airline people and move my whole flight schedule back a day. This averted the scenario of winding up on the wrong side of the security checkpoint in EWR, watching my big Pelican 1700 chock full of New Jersey v. Keel circling the conveyor, while wondering how to get out of this mess in a fashion that didn't involve jail or losing several thousand dollars in firearms and accessories.
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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Home again, home again...

...jiggity jig.
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Wasn't this in a Bruce Sterling novel? Or was it Gibson?

From a brief NYT piece on the use of drones to smuggle contraband into prisons:
Drones flying over prison walls may not be the chief concern of corrections officials. But they say that some would-be smugglers are experimenting with the technique as an alternative to established methods like paying off officers, hiding contraband in incoming laundry and throwing packages disguised as rocks over fences into recreational yards.
Jasper and Cletus and Ice Dog and Ray-Ray have thus far confined themselves to smuggling dope and burner smartphones, but the bigger quadcopters can loft a DSLR, and anything that can loft a DSLR can loft a couple-three Kel-Tec P3ATs just as easily. It'd make a good movie or TV show plot element.

O brave new world...
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wait, what?

We can't be having nuance and ambiguity in a column at CNN.com! I demand to be told what my opinion should be!


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From comments elsewhere...

From comments to a post at McThag's about the automobile industry's growing hostility to aftermarket underhood noodling:
Looking at it from the OEM's point of view, I can see their reluctance to allow it, given that they're on the hook to comply with ever more ridiculous standards of economy and safety and are relying on more computer control over every vehicle subsystem to do it.

I don't like it one bit, but it looks like the wave of the future. (I also think that those who say we're closer to the era of self-driving cars than we realize are probably right. *checks watch* Thank god, only twenty more years left. ;) )
The villain here, as it almost always is, is the good ol' .gov, who has issued instructions to automakers that border on ludicrous.
Congress, the EPA, and NHTSA hand down standards willy-nilly with little or no regard to whether they're actually achievable or not. "We want your vehicles to average one million miles per gallon. With zero emissions! And you'd better be able to drive them into a brick wall at a hundred miles per hour without breaking an egg left on the passenger seat!"

This is how we've wound up with Ford pickup trucks built out of aluminum and sporting V-6 powerplants with twin blowdriers and direct injection that wouldn't look out of place in a full-on open wheel race car not all that long ago. We're getting to the point where my turn-of-the-millennium, OBD-II-compliant Bimmer has more in common with the carburetted vehicles I drove in high school than it does with the newest stability-control-having, Wifi-hotspot-equipped, "mild parallel hybrids" rolling off dealership lots these days.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

QotD: I Learned It From Watching You Edition

From an out-of-the-park post by Ken at Popehat which you should absolutely go read right now:
"Today's college students came of age in the years after 9/11. What did we teach them about the balance between liberty and safety in that time?

We should have taught them not to give up essential liberty for a little safety. Instead, we taught them that the government needs the power to send flying robots to kill anyone on the face of the earth without review and without telling us why. The government, we're told, needs to do that for our safety. We also taught them that the government also needs the power to detain people indefinitely without judicial review, again in the name of safety. We taught them that to ensure our safety the government needs the records of what books we read and who we talk to. With that as a model, it seems like small potatoes to say that safety requires disinviting Bill Maher from a university commencement, because he's something of a dick."

Jesus, make it stop.

So over at Autoblog, there's a piece about how the efforts of automakers engaged in legal CYA maneuvering are now exploiting a provision in the DMCA to try and keep owners out from under the hoods of vehicles that are increasingly "No User Serviceable Parts Inside" sealed tangles of computer-controlled components.

So far it's the Alliance of Global Automakers vs. the Electronic Frontier Foundation lobbying the U.S. Copyright office as to whether or not the extensive software found in current cars meets the requirements for intellectual property protection, which could keep home tuners and handymen out from under the hood. This has come to a head with a lawsuit by Ford against a manufacturer of home automotive diagnostic equipment last year:
Last September, Ford took steps toward consolidating such control, filing a lawsuit against Autel US Inc., a diagnostic-equipment manufacturer based in Huntington, New York. Ford alleges the company unlawfully copied trade secrets and accessed on-board computer systems that relay technical information on diagnostic codes and repair data.
A policy statement by John Deere is also cited in the article. So that's Ford and John Deere... How did I find out about this article? Well, I sat down at my computer at zero dark thirty this morning to find that someone had tagged me in the comments of an Oleg Volk Facebook post that opened...
"Interesting that GM, the company most famous for On-Star spyware pre-installed in all of their rather poorly made vehicles, is leading the effort to make something illegal."
Really? General Motors is "most famous" for On*Star spyware? Not the Corvette? Not the public assassination attempt by Ralph Nader? Not the ignition switch coverup debacle? No, they're "most famous" for building a cell phone into the car. Call me on your iPhone and tell me all about it.

Don't tag me with stuff like this before sunup, people. Manichaeism before 0800 does nothing good for my blood pressure. I don't want any part of your War for Justice in Society until after lunch.

God, I long for the day when buying a chicken sandwich or a car is not a signalling device for an entire weltanschauung.
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Boom! Handshot!

I seem to have missed another shot-off hand incident with a Kel-Tec KSG.

The combination of:
  • a vertical foregrip 
  • mounted to a plastic picatinny rail 
  • on the forearm of a shotgun you have to run like it owes you money in order to ensure reliable cycling
  • and that has an OAL so short that Kenny Baker could inadvertently get a paw in front of the muzzle
is a combination that has cost at least two shooters their south paws already now.
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A reminder...

Angles of Attack is shipping today! Which means, I guess, that the dead tree copy I pre-ordered is on its way to supplement the dead tree copy I got already because I know a guy.

I've already read it twice. It's got some scenes that would be hella cool on the big screen.
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Monday, April 20, 2015

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #124...

Striker-fired plastic duty pistols at yesterday's range session: A pair of Sig Sauer P320 nines in Full and Compact sizes, an FNH FNS9, and a Heckler & Koch VP9.
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