Sunday, April 30, 2006

Boomsticks: Gratuitous Gun Pr0n No. 28

3" S&W Model 629-1, circa 1987, with a CRKT Ryan Seven folder.

The Mag-Na-Porting on this flamethrowing snubnosed .44 Magnum definitely helps make it easier to shoot. I wish it was a little newer, as this is a pre-"Endurance Package" gun, so hot loads with bullets heavier than 240 grains can cause the cylinder to rotate backwards under recoil. Not that I'd make a hobby out of firing such Elmer Keith Memorial Rhino-Rollers, mind you. Loaded with hot .44 Special, such as Buffalo Bore's 255gr Keith SWC @ 1000fps, it's almost downright pleasant.

The bright sparks of Bee County, Texas...

...are asking their citizens to fuel their automobiles with sunbeams and happy thoughts. They say they will boycott Exxon Mobil until gas is $1.30/gal. I say, why stop there? Why not continue the boycott until The Evil Petrogiant buys everyone in the county a gold house and a rocket car?


Woo Hoo! I'm not a pistolsmith, but I play one on the Int3rw3b!

Using the handy-dandy detail strip instructions found at, plus recollecting my walk-throughs from Bob and Shannon at work, I have successfully replaced the trigger in my Delta Elite with a spare STI unit I had lying around and it all went back together and everything works all normal and stuff and I still have all my fingers and no leftover gun parts! W00t!.

This may not sound like much to some of y'all more mechanically talented types, but little things like this compare to an assault on the North Face of The Eiger for ten-thumbed l'il ol' me.

Woo hoo! W00t! Wheee! :)

(This is about the only kind of pistol I've ever owned with which I'd attempt this; everything seems so simple inside, and there are no itty-bitty springs for me to send flying. :-o )

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Oh, look! An idjit!

My post of yesterday was responded to by one "Dean Berry", of Dean Berry Ministries. I think his response deserves special attention...

Dear Dean,

You wrote:
The Second Amendment means nothing outside of hunting.
Dean, you have got to be a special kind of ignorant to respond to a post containing a picture of enough military longarms (many with bayonets attached) to equip an infantry platoon with some babble about the 2nd Amendment and "hunting".
Our forefathers gave us that right to fend off a military takeover in the U.S. - by
either the left or the right.
I'm with you on that one, Dean. The Second Amendment hasn't got anything to do with duck hunting or protecting one's self from muggers. (Although those are both happy side effects of it.)
Apparently, since most gun owners are far right they didn't see fit to fight the far right takeover so here we are. On the verge of martial law.

You'll imitate your German counterparts of 70 years ago. You'll allow them to take away any weapon that gives you parity with the military. You know you barely made a peep when the Brady Bill took away your assault rifles, which is what you'll need to effectively combat troops.
Well, first of all, I wouldn't describe me as "far right", unless by "far right" you mean "anarchist". Second of all, nobody's taken any guns away from me, so I don't have a clue what you're talking about. You also seem to be a little confused about the Brady Law, which mandated background checks, and which had nothing to do with the now-defunct Assault Weapons Ban of 1994. (Read a paper since September of '04? Can I interest you in a folding-stock Kalashnikov? We have them on sale at work...)
What a bunch of cowards, and what a sore disgrace you are to our forefathers who gave their blood for the likes of you.
I'd rebut this one, but I'm short on time because I have to get to doing The Lord's Work; selling evil black semiautomatic rifles to the public. (We also got in another machine gun. Anybody interested in an HK33?) Whatchoo doing on that front today, Dean, other than clogging up my inbox with your unfocussed ravings? Go play in traffic.


The VFTP Management Team

PS: I think you should know that you give religious loonies a bad name.


Well, that was cleansing.

Anyhow, I've used up so much time typing that I don't have time to suit up and take the bike. Guess I'll have to drop the top on the Beemer. Sucks to be me. :)

Friday, April 28, 2006

Boomsticks: I don't have a mantel... hang a mantelpiece gun over, but I do have a large, disused storage closet.

A friend calls it "the museum". What doesn't show well in the photo is that there's a thumbtack in the map corresponding to the country of origin for each of those rifles.

Milsurp collecting: It's a disease.

Blog Stuff: Some Meme-ishness...

From Ride Fast & Shoot Straight, the bike list meme:

1981 Kawasaki GPz550. The bike I taught myself to ride on.
1985 Honda VF700F Interceptor. Colored my bike expectations for years; I rode the wheels off this one.
1983 Honda VF750C Magna. Still not sure why I bought a power cruiser. Fun, though.
1981 Kawasaki GPz550. Another one. What fun these paleosportbikes are.
1995 Suzuki RF600R. My everyday traffic tool for years in the Atlanta grind.
2000 Suzuki TL1000S. A ton of fun with room enough to slip the leash. A headache on tight roads.
1998(?) Kawasaki EX250 Ninja. Happyhappyfunbike. You can't have more fun with your clothes on.
1984 Honda VF1000F. Lardassio. (But big, noisy fun in the absence of any curves.)
1990 Kawasaki ZR550 Zephyr. Imagine a time machine ride to 1989, an '81 GPz550, and a bushell basket full of cash...
(Next Up: A 1990 Honda CB-1...)

From The Countertop Chronicles, two memes:

First Concert:

Six Flags Over Georgia, 1985, John Parr opening for Blue Oyster Cult. How very Eighties is that?

Last Concert:

Knoxville Civic Coliseum, 8/22/06, (EDIT: Whoops! 8/22/02...) The BB King Blues Festival, w/ The Fabulous Thunderbirds, George Thorogood, and (of course) BB King. (No, my memory for dates isn't that good; the ticket stub is still lying on my desk next to my computer almost four years later. I'm a packrat.)

They're memes, folks; take 'em and run with 'em as you will. :)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Politics: Well, they're half right.

A bipartisan Senate inquiry has determined that the bloated, incompetent, and only vaguely Constitutional Federal Emergency Management Agency should, after its abysmal performances last Autumn, be dismantled...

...and replaced with a brand-spanking-new bloated, incompetent, and only vaguely Constitutional agency; one with the much less acronymically mellifluous handle of "National Preparedness and Response Authority".

What difference do they think changing the name on the sign out front of the building is going to make? Anybody want to lay odds that the Federales look for people with strong Emergency Management backgrounds from FEMA to staff the "new" agency? How much is it going to cost me to pony up for mailing these clowns new business cards?

I'm with James Madison on this one:
I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article in the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents..... With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.
It makes one look like a savage to say so, but if your house burns down, blows over, or floats away, it's not the job of the federal government to fix it for you. Charity is one thing, but federal tax dollars coerced at 1040-point from a single working mother of two in Dubuque (and then filtered through a morbidly obese federal agency) to rebuild your bungalow in Destin is not charity, okay? It's extortion.

The Senate panel was half right: FEMA needs to go. But it needs to stay gone, not come back in drag.

Today in history:

Benito Mussolini got his just desserts.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A sign the good guys are winning...

Metro Pulse, Knoxville's local "alternative" weekly paper, which is not known for its conservative leanings, put out their Best Of Knoxville 2006 issue just now.

They included the staff pick for "Best Place To Show Your War Face", which is, of course, Coal Creek Armory. Are we hip, trendy, and cool, or what? (Did I mention that we have, like, cool skulls and stuff on our new tee shirts?)
If you’ve never held a sweet, smoking handgun after shooting the hell out of a target from 25 yards, then you haven’t truly lived. While we here at the alternative newsweekly don’t advocate shooting guns in the wild, at least not without a permit or within earshot, a few of us have been known to take out a bit of aggression in the safe confines of the Coal Creek Armory.
Automatics For The People: Yeah, baby! :)

Boomsticks: The Weekly Check on the Bias... up over at Alphecca. Jeff skewers the little Mussolinis meeting in NYC, and points out the bloopers in a monumentally dumb Minnesota editorial. Go read.

NKVD, Stasi, Gestapo, Campbell County Sheriff's Dept.

Five armed men with badges come to a house, handcuff the occupant, beat the living crap out of him, hook his testicles up to a battery charger, dunk his head in a fish tank and the bathtub, put a gun to his head and threaten to shoot him, all the while demanding him to sign what amounts to a confession.

The USSR? Nazi Germany? No, the United States of America. Read the transcript and tell me it doesn't turn your stomach.

Officer Franklin (reading aloud to a man with electrodes on his genitalia): "Then shut the fuck up then. 'This written permission is being given to me knowingly and voluntarily to the aforementioned officer of my own free will, without any threats, coercion, or any...'"
...sense of irony, apparently.

At least they got sent to the pokey. Some of them for as little as 54 months. If there is any cosmic fairness, they will be put in the general population, and then perhaps real justice will be served.

Folks, there is almost no more heinous crime that can be committed than to abuse the public trust in such a fashion. When a guard dog gets bite-happy, you need to put it down. These men (and I use the term loosely) have smeared dung on the badge of every good lawman in the US. This is where the War On (some) Drugs has gotten us: Jackbooted thugs with a combat mindset torturing a man for information, with badges on their belts and warrants in their pockets, under the color of law.

(From No Quarters, via Say Uncle.)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Blog Stuff: I lurve my car CD changer...

Now playing at the Beemer Ampitheater:

Disc 1: U2, Achtung Baby
Disc 2: No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom
Disc 3: Faith No More, Angel Dust
Disc 4: Concrete Blonde, Bloodletting
Disc 5: Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill
Disc 6: Nouvelle Vague, Nouvelle Vague

A little darker than usual overall, but still with something for most any mood. Angel Dust is great for getting amped up on the drive to work, and Bloodletting is near perfect for top-down cruising on a foggy, wet night, just after it's stopped raining...

Blog Stuff: A Get Well card.

Sunday afternoon we spent a fair amount of time wondering as to the whereabouts of Michael Silence. I mean, he'd seemed pretty enthusiastic about the whole thing...

Darn it. :(

Get well soon!

That's gotta suck...

There's a thread here at The Firing Line from a guy in New York who is fraught with worry over how to subliminally let someone else know that they have set off his NRA-dar, and that he, too, is a closeted firearms owner.

Has it gotten that bad in some parts of the country? Sitting there, worried about how to covertly let someone know that you, too, enjoy a frickin' Constitutionally protected natural right? Are there really places where it is more socially acceptable to say "Hey, I noticed you're wearing a tee shirt that says 'I bugger farm animals' and I just want to let you know that I, too, enjoy farm animal buggering," than it is to say "Hey, where do you go hunting?"

What kind of Bizzarro America have I stumbled into?

(By the way, if you notice my "Coal Creek Armory: Automatics For The People" bumper sticker, you may take that as a sign that it's safe to chat me up about shootin' irons. Not that that's too big of a problem here in Tennessee. Yet.)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Et voila...


Lawdog makes history fun. (Of course, the fact that medieval goings-on in the Eternal City made the seamiest soap opera ever televised look like a Doctor Seuss book by comparison always helps make that a fun and attention-getting period to study.)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Blog Stuff: Those with greener thumbs than I...

Ben at Tomato7 needs help identifying this flower.

Unfortunately, having a brown thumb, I was forced to explain to him that in my world: "If you don't mow it, can't eat it, and can't stand in its shade, it's a Hygrangeum."

"Hygrangeum" is my all-purpose catchall name for plants that I have no clue as to the proper name for. Seeing as I can't tell a nasturtium from a night-blooming cereus, those plants are legion. When tourist folks here in the springtime South ask me "Oh, those are pretty! What are they?", unless they're dogwoods, I answer "Hygrangeums." (Much like the days when I used to wear a stopped watch and answer anyone enquiring as to the time with "Quarter to four," any answer delivered in a confident, self-assured tone of voice seems to make them happy.)

I wonder how many New Yorkers are right now gushing to their kinfolk back home "We drove through the Smoky Mountains and all the blooming hygrangeums were so pretty!"?

Boomsticks: Gratuitous Gun Pr0n No. 27

Browning BDM 9mm pistol. The round thing on the slide is the "Dual Mode" switch, which can be rotated between "Pistol" and "Revolver" modes. In the former, the gun operates like a conventional DA/SA auto, while in the latter the gun automatically decocks itself after each shot, but can be manually thumb-cocked for a single action shot, just like shooting a DA revolver. Early teething problems, unconventional controls, and (mostly) bad timing killed this slim Browning 9mm in the marketplace. The knife is a ceramic-bladed Boker Delta.

Blog Stuff: Random notes from a day off.

Friday started off grim: Peeing down rain, and stuff to take care of at work before I could go enjoy my day off. I helped Marko pick out a No.1 Mk.III from our selection (he got a 1933 BSA), and took care of some dull scut work around the shop.

I escaped, and dragged my book to lunch. Having just scored a 1916 Enfield myself, I was re-reading the section of Keegan's The Face Of Battle dealing with the battle of the Somme over a delicious filet with a double side of asparagus spears at the Chop House, but kept getting distracted by the power lunch going on at the table across from me. A man and a woman were having a business lunch, acompanied by a conversation spoken (loudly, on his part) solely in managerial buzzwordese. If I heard the word "proactive" one more time before the check came, I'd have probably lost it. When CCA is a globe-spanning empire, and I've sweated my way up to Junior Vice President of Ashtray Placement or whatever, please, shoot me if I start talking like that.

I swung by Leaf & Ale on the way home to expand my beer horizons, and can add Avery India Pale Ale to Bridgeport IPA on the generally approved list. I still prefer The Shipyard Fuggles IPA to either, though; I may have a new reference beer, there. (The reference beer is your baseline to which you compare other beers, as in "Well, this is almost as good as..." or "Hey! This is even better than...")

I got home to find that Amazon had dropped off my order: Boston T. Party's novel Molon Labe!, and the album Nouvelle Vague (thanks, Phlegmmy!) The sun came out long enough to let me enjoy a pretty sunset with a book in one hand, a smoke in the other, and a beer on the little cafe table on my porch, but then Mother Nature welshed, and ended my day off like she started it, by dumping a skyful of water on my noggin.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Overheard At Work...

Tam: "Look, Bob! A carpenter bee. Know how you can tell it's a carpenter bee?"

Bob: "How?"

Tam: "Because its little toolbelt is hanging down and you can see the crack of its ass."

Bob: "How do you know it's not a plumber bee?"

Tam: "Hadn't thought of that..."

Friday, April 21, 2006

Boomsticks: Xavier wants to see your ugly guns.

The life of a CCW pistol is not an easy one. Most guns lead lives of idle luxury. Despite manufacturer's ad campaigns showing specops guys rolling about in the mud, your average rifle or pistol lives in a climate-controlled safe and is transported to and from the range in a carefully padded case. The "Hostile Environment" finish on 90% of civilian-owned HK USP's is rarely exposed to any environment more hostile than the trunk of a car.

Not so for carry pistols. They get bumped, banged, sweated on, covered with clothing fuzz and other detritus, and worn shiny from repeated holsterings and unholsterings. If the owner is conscientous, they also get the wheels shot off them in an attempt to maintain proficiency. As a result, they rarely look like the shiny guns in magazine review photo spreads.

Xavier, recalling a thread from one of the online gun boards, asked to see those beat-up workhorses. Here's mine:

I don't carry the Pro every day, because I have a couple of other 1911's set up more or less identically, but it's definitely my "heavy rotation" totin' iron, seeing the inside of a holster three or four days a week for the last four years. Considering the wear and tear it's had on it, I think the Black T finish is holding up pretty well, but I'll probably have it re-coated at some point in the next year or so.

Boomsticks: Blogger Shoot reminder.

SayUncle is promoting it.

Les Jones promises to rent the big .50 Desert Eagle, so folks can shoot the favorite gun of movie villains and video game designers. (One of those wastepaper basket-sized pieces of spent brass makes a lovely souvenier.)

Kirk is coming all the way from Gun Owner Hell Maryland.

I'll, of course, be there.

So come on down...

Bikes: How does she know?

Mother Nature is apparently keenly aware of my schedule at work. It's my day off. I want to go ride. And it's raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock. Festive.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Today in history:

Near Villers Bretonneux in France, around 6:40 PM on this day in 1918, two Sopwith Camels were shot out of the sky three minutes apart. They were brought down by a red Fokker Dr.I triplane flown by Rittmeister Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen, his 79th and 80th aerial victories. Less than 24 hours later, he would be dead.

He was 25 years old.

Blog Stuff: I don't even have allergies...

...and this pollen season is just tearing me up. My car is a lovely pastel shade of yellow. This article says K-town is #6 on the list of ten worst allergy cities. I believe it: you gotta pay for the pretty colors of a Southern Spring somehow, I guess. I'm reminded of this hilarious strip from Queen of Wands.

Ah, well, I reckon I'll go outside and make some pollen angels, or get in a pollenball fight with the neighbour's kid after helping her make Dusty the Pollenman.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

April 19th, 1993.

"People like the militia have a whole bunch of crazy ideas... However, they have two pieces of truth in all the craziness. One is 'Look at what happened at Waco. And the government hid its mistakes and concealed its misdeeds.' And the other piece of truth is that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms made this attack on Waco because Koresh's followers had guns. And the militas have guns. So the militias have these two kernels of truth in all their craziness about our government: Waco, and the fear that the government will come after them because they have guns." -Dr. Alan Stone

Heh. That's good for the ego.

Someone arrived at my blog using the Google search "shop tamara works at knoxville." Cool. :)

Come by and say howdy at CCA.

April 19th, 1775.

"By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world."

Happy Patriot's Day, y'all.

Politics: Same planet, different worlds...

Kevin at The Smallest Minority delivers a brutal and well-deserved fisking to a whine article by a Ms. Nina Burleigh.

I must admit that while her piece triggered the Red Curtain Of Blood in Kevin, it just left me staring, agog in slack-jawed amazement, at my monitor. Folks, I'm a bloody-minded anarchist compared to your average Lee Greenwood-humming Limbaugh listener, but what floored me was the fact that Ms. Burleigh wrote this piece and published it for all to see, and it didn't seem to contain the slightest hint of self-consciousness, as though she fully expected anyone literate enough to mouth out her syllables to just nod along in knowing agreement.

Granted, I spent last Friday night with my hand over my heart in respectful silence as the national anthem was sung at a minor league ballpark here in the buckle of the bible belt, so I'm probably not Nina's target audience, but there are some things we do because that's how we all live in the same monkey cage together, okay, Nina? Of course, I have a nasty habit of standing when they play Dixie, too, so my reflexive respect for forms & observances probably carries no weight with Ms. Burleigh. (On the flag-burning issue, I fall squarely with Miss Florence King, who wrote "'Shoot if you must this old gray head, but spare this yankee rag!' she said.") There are some things that are Just Not Done, but the emotion of shame is apparently no longer issued to a certain class of NYC resident.

This is America. If you think your country is screwing up, you do something about it, honey. You don't wring your hands and whine, or write about how you wish you were in France, or make snide asides to your peers about how you said the Pledge but didn't really mean it, for fear you won't get invited to the next gallery opening. You roll up your sleeves and get to work fixing what you think is busted.

Or just punk out and move to France.

Frankly, honey, I'd prefer you took the latter course, 'cause you're dirtying the air breathed by those veterans you mocked.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Boomsticks: Carnival of Cordite, Vol. LV.

The 55th Carnival of Cordite is in town over at Gullyborg's place. Lots and lots of gunny goodness. Go read.

I'd have done better, but...

...there weren't enough zombie-related questions. I'm a lot better set up for zombies than I am for nukyoolar fallout.

One Step Ahead
You are 73% likely to survive the end of the world.

You're alive, with minimal effects from whatever disaster struck.
You're in good health, with moderate supplies, have a plan, and maybe a
few other survivors with you to help out with manual labor. Congrats,
you're gonna do just fine when all hell breaks loose.

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 92% on sp
Link: The Apocalypse Survival Test written by ci8db4uok on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Also note that although I scored only 73% overall, I scored in the nineties among females in my age bracket. This indicates that dating opportunities should be swell in the post-apocalyptic world. :)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Boomsticks: Buy A Gun Day score.

No Mannlicher-Schoenauers at the gun show this weekend. In fact, there was darn little in the way of old milsurps at all. It was the sorriest Holloway show I've yet seen, with only twenty cars in the parking lot when I showed up at 1:45 Sunday afternoon, and (according to sources) only 160 tables. Rumor has it that his break-even number of tables is nearly twice that number.

That said, I had fun walking around and talking to old friends and acquaintances. Bob the Gunsmith came with me (he'd never actually been to a show here in K-town,) and seemed to enjoy himself. I was glad he was along for the ride, because he was able to give a quick professional look-over of my Buy A Gun Day purchase:

It's a Smith & Wesson .32 Double Action 3rd Model, circa 1883, which makes my newest Smith also my oldest Smith. The picture doesn't do it justice, as it still has a fair amount of original nickel on it. Lockup is good, and timing is only very slightly lazy. I'm tickled pink. It's just the cutest, tiniest little gun (that's a 3.5" barrel.)

Also, I scored a 1918-production Oberndorf-made bayonet for my Gew.98, so I'm all-in-all pretty happy with the way BAG Day '06 turned out for me. :)

Blog Stuff: Knox Traffic Blogging

Once upon a time, Lovell Road was an only moderately busy suburban artery, 'way out here on the western fringe of K-town. It was probably a sensible place to locate a Pilot Travel Center and a T/A Truck Stop, being the Last Gas Stop inbound from the west before hitting metro traffic.

Then Turkey Creek happened.

Now the truck stops there are a liability that only gets worse as more businesses open in the Turkey Creek area. Not a lunch hour goes by that a left-turning semi trying to enter the Pilot lot doesn't snarl up three lanes of traffic on Lovell, or an eighteen wheeler flying over the bridge trying to make the left onto the I-40W on ramp doesn't nearly collect a car as it runs the red.

Come to think of it, eighteen wheelers run the red lights at the Lovell Road off ramps so often that the local .gov could probably clear up any budget shortfalls in a week just by stationing a cruiser there and writing truckers.

Anyhow, it remains to be seen how long semis and soccer moms can coexist in the burgeoning Turkey Creek traffic nightmare.

Miss Tamara's School for Wayward Yoots.

Working where I do, it's unsurprising that I sometimes find myself feeling like a schoolmarm at Miss Tam's School For Boys. Take last Thursday, for instance. The range was booming, but there was a lull on the sales floor. Dr. Strangegun had his nose in a book on old rifles that I'd brought in, boning up on Mosins and Enfields. Thing 2 was stocking out ammunition, and Thing 1 answered the phone.

"Uh-huh. Yes. Hang on, I'll ask..." He put the customer on hold, turned and said "The guy on the phone has a muzzle loader. He needs to know if we have balls."

Pause, two, three... Instant, red-faced, helpless laughter...

*gasp, wheeze* "What size balls does he..." *snicker* "...need?"

"He needs .72 caliber..." *snort* "...balls."

"We only have .454 caliber. Small balls..." *chortle* "Tell him to call Fred's. I'm sure Fred has..." *howl, gasp* "...big balls."

I dread the coming of muzzle loader season, when these guys will be confronted with requests for breech plugs, Red Hot Nipples, nipple picks, and Wonder Wads.

"Excuse me, do you have Red Hot Nipples?"

"Well, I've been told I do..."

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Poetry Corner: Support Your Troops.

Marko mentioned that his birthday fell on the anniversary of Balaclava, which reminded me of this poem, a grim rebuttal to Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade". This is verse that puts in perspective the little magnetic yellow ribbons you see on the tailgate of every SUV at the mall...

The Last of the Light Brigade
, by Rudyard Kipling

There were thirty million English who talked of England's might,
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.

They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four!

They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, "Let us go to the man who writes
The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites."

They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song;
And, waiting his servant's order, by the garden gate they stayed,
A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.

They strove to stand to attention, to straighten the toil-bowed back;
They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed,
They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.

The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and "Beggin' your pardon," he said,
"You wrote o' the Light Brigade, sir. Here's all that isn't dead.
An' it's all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin' the mouth of hell;
For we're all of us nigh to the workhouse, an' we thought we'd call an' tell.

"No, thank you, we don't want food, sir; but couldn't you take an' write
A sort of 'to be continued' and 'see next page' o'the fight?
We think that someone has blundered, an' couldn't you tell 'em how?
You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now."

The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with "the scorn of scorn."
And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.

O thirty million English that babble of England's might,
Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night;
Our children's children are lisping to "honour the charge they made --"
And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!

Funny, every time I read through that, my monitor gets all blurry. I need to go find some Windex; I'll be right back...

Busman's Holiday.

Like last Easter, Coal Creek Armory will be closed today so that employees can spend the day with their families, and I can take a busman's holiday.

I'll be making my rounds of the gun show down at Chilhowee Park, looking for an old Mauser of a type I don't already own or a decrepit old prewar Smith I can afford. Failing that, I'll buy one of the Yugo M59/66 SKS rifles we have at work and get some Trijicons installed on my Colt Delta Elite. Gotta do something for Buy A Gun day!

Actually, what I'd really like to find is the closest thing I have to a Holy Grail Gun (as Xavier calls it): A Greek M1903 Mannlicher-Schoenauer. Funny Mannlicher-Schoenauer story:

*Ring!* *Ring!*

Tam: "Coal Creek Armory, may I help you?"

Customer: "Is this Tamara? Somebody told me to ask you about this old military rifle I have."

T: "Sure! Go 'head."

C: "Well, it looks a lot like a Mauser in the bolt, but it has a rotary magazine, and it says 'Breda' on the left side of the receiver."

T: "Does it have a cross in a shield on the receiver ring?"

C: "Yes."

T: "That's an M1903 Greek Mannlicher-Schoenauer..."

C: "But Mannlicher-Schoenauers are Austrian."

T: "Yes, I know; they were designed in Austria-Hungary, but they were used by the Greeks. That's a Greek crest on the receiver ring of your rifle. The 'Breda' marking indicates that it's an Italian-made contract rifle..."

C: "It doesn't say 'Beretta', it says 'Breda'!"

T: "Right, sir, which is an arsenal in Italy... "

[Insert more tedious back-n-forths where he disputes everything I say, leading me to wonder why he called and asked for me by name in the first place.]

T: "Look, why don't you bring it by the shop so I can look at it." (...and show you in print that I'm not just making this up.)

He brought it in and, with Ian V. Hogg backing me up, I showed him I wasn't kidding. He seemed surprised. If he didn't think I knew what I was talking about, why even ask me?

Anyhow, his was the nicest example of the breed I'd seen in years. I'd sure like to stumble across one like that today...

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Take me out to the ballgame...

So, on my day off I swung past the shop and stuck my head in the gunsmithing department to make sure Bob and I were still on for the ballgame that night.

Bob: "I'm going to be at your house at six. You're driving, right?"

Me: "Yup."

Bob: "And you'll be ready to go. At six. None of this waiting around for the woman to get ready stuff?"

Me: "Bob, it's a minor league baseball game, not a formal dance. I'd say I'm pretty much ready now."

Bob: "You could wear a sundress."

Me: "I don't own a sundress."

Shannon: "There's time before the game; I could loan you some money."

Me: "You're not helping. Whose side are you on, anyway?"

We slogged through Friday evening K-town traffic from Farragut to Sevierville to watch the Smokies, currently sucking pondwater in the cellar of their division, play the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx. (What the hell is a Diamond Jaxx?) Not having ever been to a minor league game, or indeed any ballgame since leaving ATL, I was pleasantly surprised. I mean, you don't just show up at Turner field at game time and get two seats three rows behind first base... The crowd was having a good time, there were all the goofy little fan treats between innings that make minor league ball so endearing, like kids playing musical chairs or a couple of fans in sumo suits. There was also what is apparently the Smokies ballpark's especial de la maison, BBQ Nachos, which are like your basic movie theater/convenience store nachos, except slathered with BBQ pulled pork. You can't get that at Yankee Stadium. (Actually, being a American League venue, you can't get any baseball at Yankee Stadium, either, what with all the designated hitters running around...) Best of all, there was a spectacular four run rally in the bottom of the ninth that had us cheering ourselves hoarse. Unfortunately, it culminated in a bases loaded, two out scenario that the batter completely mishandled. If I'd been at the plate, I'd have just leaned out in front of one of those curve balls and woke up as a hero, but no, he actually tried to hit one... And failed. And so we got two innings of free baseball, but the home team wound up losing. Ah well, it's a long season.

And I'll have to go back to watch more of it. :)

A stolen meme...

Over at Steamdragon's (who hates memes) I saw this one:
Go to Wikipedia and look up your birth day (excluding the year). List three neat facts, two births and one death in your blog, including the year.
He refused to pass it to anybody, but I loves me some history, so I stole it. Here goes:

January 24th:

Interesting Trivia:
  1. 41 - Roman Emperor Gaius Caesar (Caligula) is assassinated by his disgruntled Praetorian Guards. Claudius succeeds his nephew.
  2. 1984 - The first Apple Macintosh goes on sale.
  3. 2003 - The United States Department of Homeland Security officially begins operation.
  1. 76 - Hadrian, Roman Emperor (d. 138)
  2. 1959 - Nastassja Kinski, German-born actress
Croaked on my birthday:
  • 1986 - L. Ron Hubbard, American writer and founder of Scientology (b. 1911)
Since I stole it, I can't very well pass it on to anybody, but it was fun to play nonetheless. Go play yourself, you might learn something. For instance, I had no idea that Little Boots got shivved to death on my birthday. Cool.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Quote of the Day.

"It's better to spend money like there's no tomorrow than to spend tonight like there's no money." -P.J. O'Rourke, Modern Manners

There's always the chance that this book is intended as satire, but I prefer to think of it as my own personal Emily Post's Etiquette. Of course, I was also surprised to find that the characters of Patsy and Edina from Absolutely Fabulous were not actually intended to be role models. Who knew?

A rifle, a time machine, and a treasure hunt...

"Underneath the starry flag, we'll civilize 'em with a Krag..."

Here's a splendid example of what I mentioned in my previous post.

At first glance, what we have here is a Springfield Armory Krag-Jorgensen carbine, lovingly restored by a talented artisan. A bit of research, however turns up the fact that surviving Krag carbines are rather rare. Some more research gives us a clue: A whole lot of M1896 Krag rifles were shortened to "carbines" and distributed via the NRA, hence their nomenclature: "NRA Carbines." One giveaway is the front sight post, which is attached to a band shrunk onto the barrel, rather than being machined from the barrel proper.

Using the serial number service at the Springfield Research Society, the serial number falls in a block of rifles issued to the 1st North Dakota Volunteer Infantry. Does this mean that's where this rifle was issued? Who knows?

What I do know is that this is a beautifully restored piece of machinery dating from the close of the 19th Century; a time when America, while still close to its roots, was feeling its way into its future role as a player on the world stage. Where has this rifle been? What has it seen? What has it done? Who was it issued to? What did they do? If only it could talk... It handles sweetly, shoots adequately, and holds a hundred years of memories locked in its wood and steel. By comparison, the average new-production modern rifle is, well... just another gun.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

"Why guns?" Part I

"Why guns, Tam? What do you find so fascinating about them?"

Let me try to explain...

I'll start with that closet full of old rifles.

I've always been interested in history. If I could own one science-fiction gizmo, it would be a time machine. I think it would be absolutely fascinating to travel to various places and times in the past and view things firsthand; see how people lived; talk with them and find out how they saw the world. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear likely that this will become a reality in my lifetime.

Fortunately, however, folks in the past have sent stuff forward to the present, via that time machine that travels into the future at sixty seconds every minute, and some of these artifacts are actually affordable. I can hold a Roman coin in my hands and feel the weight of history in it. I can wonder what it's seen and done. How many cups of wine has it bought? Was it part of a legionary's savings? Did he use it to bribe his Centurion to get out of sentry duty? Did the Centurion treat some friends to a night on the town with it? I have a small cube of teak from the orlop deck of the HMS Victory. If I hold it to my ear, I can almost hear the creak of sails, the roar of a 68-pdr. carronade, a voice saying "England expects every man to do his duty."

It's the same with these old rifles; each one is a history lesson, an invitation to a treasure hunt, a physical link to a long-gone time and a far-off place. There are tangible marks on the gun that can be decoded through research, that can let you find out where and when it was made; words evocative of foreign lands: Solothurn, Chatellerault, Koishikawa, La Coruna, Spandau... And then there are the intangible marks... Was this Mauser clutched in the frightened hands of a Bavarian schoolboy, awaiting the order to go "over the top"? Where has this Krag been? Cuba? The Phillipines? What has this Garand seen in the forty years it spent in exile overseas before returning to its homeland? Where did this nick come from? Whence this ding in the stock?

"What do you find so fascinating about those rusty old things?" indeed. What's not fascinating about them? You can heat the cosmoline out of the stock, but the history is soaked in for good. You can own it, you can hold it, you can learn from it, you can shoot it, and then you can pass it and its story on to the next generation, having added your own small chapter. Until they make a time machine, I'll just have to keep using the time machines I already have.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Overheard At Work...

Coworker A: "I have a turntable."
Coworker B: "Now all you need is another one and a microphone, and you'd be Where It's At."

Imaginative Customer: "I was in the First of the First. First Regiment, First Battalion, First Company, First Platoon. Recon."
Coworker C (later): "First of the First of the First of the First? Huh. That's a first!"

I need this shirt...

A meme of fours...

Paul Simer has tagged me with the latest meme thingy floating around these parts. (And here I thought we were pals or something...) Okay, here goes:

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1.) Dispatcher for a corporate flight department.
2.) Shipping and receiving clerk.
3.) New car salesperson.
4.) Waitress.

Four movies I could watch over and over:
1) Bladerunner (Best. Movie. Ever. Just in case you were wondering...)
2) Life of Brian
3) Dr. Strangelove
4) Way Of The Gun

Four websites I visit regularly:
1) The Firing Line
2) Say Uncle
3) Fatale Abstraction
4) The Munchkin Wrangler

Four of my favorite foods:
1) A filet, properly cooked. (Which is to say "nearly raw.")
2) Reubens. Mmmmmm....
3) A good Phillie cheesesteak. Hold the peppers, please. (If they're yummy hot peppers, they overwhelm the meat, and if they're bland bell peppers, they're a waste of time.)
4) Memphis dry rub ribs.

Four most wonderful places I've been:
1) The corner of Virginia and North Highland in Atlanta on a lazy summer weekday evening, on the patio at Taco Mac's after a visit to the used bookstore next door.
2) The front porch of a house halfway up a mountain overlooking Terlingua, TX.
3) St. Simon's Island in the spring, when the scent of sea air, salt marsh, and magnolia blossoms is almost overpowering.
4) Bergen, Norway on a gray summer afternoon.

Four songs I could listen to every day:
1) "Kashmir", by Led Zeppelin
2) "God Moving Over The Face Of The Waters", by Moby
3) "Come Talk To Me", by Peter Gabriel
4) "Red Barchetta", by Rush, but only if I'm in my car.

Four people I'm tagging:
1) Marko
2) Ben at Tomato 7
and I don't know if they play these silly games or not, but I'll throw it at
3) LawDog
4) Phlegmmy
and see if it sticks. :)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bikes: Ten feet tall and bulletproof.

Seventy-something balmy degrees today. Rode the Zephyr to work. Parking the old Zeph next to Soap's shiny new Triumph Speed Triple gave me the urge to give my Kawi the full ratbike treatment: Flat black Krylon everywhere, and white header paint on the downpipes.

I took the long way home.

First relaxation-type riding in over a month, and the exhilarating feeling lasts even after I get off the bike and pull off my helmet so there's room for the "w00t!" word-balloon to form in the air over my head.

That's why I ride. It always leaves me feeling ten feet tall and bulletproof.

Please Don't Feed The Stereotypes.

My downstairs neighbor's new schmoopie had a day off today, and from the sounds emanating from below she was quite industrious all morning. Since we're on a well, and I'm on the second floor, my morning shower had to wait until all the laundrying and flushing and whatalleverthehell else causing the little well pump to run constantly was ended.

While I waited for her to exhaust her cleaning mojo, I jumped in the Beemer, cranked up Achtung Baby on the stereo, and went out to run some errands, dressed in my usual fashionable I-just-rolled-out-of-bed attire: unzipped boots, gray sweat pants and an EOTech tee shirt. It definitely makes a statement; it says "Help me!" I headed to the convenience store for sodas and beer, so I wouldn't have to stop on the way home tonight (I'm taking the bike to work,) and on the way there I hit the McDonald's drive-through.

Now, I'm not the world's biggest Mickey Dee's fan, but I do appreciate two things about them. First, they're consistent. You can order a Big Mac or an Egg McMuffin anywhere from Anchorage to Key West and know exactly what you're going to get and exactly what it's going to taste like. Second, McDonald's is maybe the most egalitarian institution in America; I have sat in the drive-through line behind Ferraris and Fords, Mercedes and Mazdas.

I placed my order, paid at the first window, and rounded the corner to get my vittles, but there the line ground to a halt. Sitting at the food service window was a white Ford Leviathan with a single occupant. I studied the monster vehicle through the rest of "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" and the first two verses of "So Cruel". There didn't appear to be anybody else in the vehicle, other than the driver. But there was a lot of driver.

Finally, the server at the window hefted over one of those big grocery-sack-sized bags of food, using both hands. "Ah-ha! Making a breakfast run for the family or the folks at work!", I surmised. But then the server reached out again to hand over... ...a single beverage. Yikes. Supersize me, indeed.

Any further observations on my part are going to make me sound like some kind of Euro-type, or worse, a Democrat, but day-umn!...

Shhhh! Don't tell everybody!

The typical "Oh my God, the chicks are packing heat!" article usually goes on at length about "empowerment" and "self-protection" and other deep reasons that women get involved with shooting. Rarely does one mention the "F-word".

You know...


Somebody forgot to tell Connie Cartmell at the Marietta Times that she was supposed to keep her tone somber and convey a sense of disapproval. Instead, she sounds like she had a good time researching the piece...

For more and more American women like Ash, knowing how to handle and properly use a firearm offers empowerment, self-confidence, security, and fun.

"I love it all, just so long as it goes bang," Ash said of her guns.

Women and guns — it's a growing trend not likely to slow anytime soon.

"Actually, it's very empowering to know how to handle a firearm safely," Ash said. "Your confidence level soars and it's loads of fun."

That's right, kids: It's big dirty fun. But don't tell everybody, or they'll all want to try...

(H/T to Zendo Deb.)

Monday, April 10, 2006

The second sexiest pistol Beretta's ever made...

...after the 93R is the 92 Compact Type M. Marko recently picked up a primo "slickslide" example from the shop, and reviewed it here.

Wow, now I'm an arbiter of fashion!

I.M. Confused, a student in Ontario, Canada, asked Google "how to wear womens jeans with a belt, tucked in top or not", and Google referred her to me.

Well, Confused, I'd have to say that that depends on quite a few things. Is it a baggy, man's tee shirt with a smart-ass saying, liquor company logo, or pro-gun witticism on it? I'd go with "tucked-in" under those circumstances. The untucked top is for when you are wearing a fitted women's tee that probably isn't long enough to tuck in anyway, or if you are running into the grocery store on the way home from work and need to cover up your holstered pistol so as not to spook the straights.

Thank you for your fashion inquiry with Ask Auntie Gun Nut! :)

Boomsticks: East Tennessee Spring Blogger Shoot

SayUncle has the straight dope.

Buy A Gun Day is looming on the horizon this Saturday...

...and neatly coincides with payday, to boot, and I haven't got a clue what to get. We've got some milsurps in at work, No.4 MkI's rescued from Pakistan and some pretty clean 91/30's, and that'd make a good fallback option.

Hmmm. Believe it or not, I don't own an Enfield No.4 Mk.I; I have a No.4, but it's an unissued postwar Fazakerly Mk.II.

Well, that kinda makes my decision simpler, now that I think about it, doesn't it?

(Of course, the optimal situation would be for my supplier to come through on some promised Mk.III* SMLE's...)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

A Night at the Flicks: Dark Blue World.

Oleg had been pestering me to watch this movie for a few years now, and then Dr. Strangegun pressed his copy into my hands, so when Bob came over last night, we had a movie night. (I forgot the popcorn.)

Short plot synopsis: Czech pilots flee the occupation of their country by insufferable Nazi prigs. Heroics, male bonding, romance, and tragedy all ensue. Impressions follow:

1: I hate watching subtitled flicks for the most part; I loved this movie.

2: If I had a time machine, I would go back in time, beat the holy hell out of Jerry Bruckheimer, and take every penny of budget and every CGI artist he had for Pearl Harbor, and give them to the obviously more deserving Jan Sverák.

3: Only as big a nitpicker as I am would notice (or care) that the part of the Geman Bf. 109 Emils and Gustavs (the bad guy fighter planes, for you non-aviation buffs) was being played by Spanish Merlin-engined Hispano HA-1112's, and that the picture of the ship the missing David (a Royal Navy ossifer) was supposedly serving on looked suspiciously like an Iowa-class battlewagon, a class conspicuously absent from the RN and conspicuously present in the USN. (Thus my desire to deport Bruckheimer's CGI boys to Praha...)

4. Holy crap! Character development! Subtle foreshadowing! Careful plot development! Wow! Are they still teaching these things in some film school someplace in Europe? When is Jan going to come to Hollywood to spread The Word?

And now for the secret Number Five. Highlight below only if you want spoilers:

5) No wonder Oleg liked this flick; it is so... so... Slavic! Look, I'm not as addicted to happy endings as your average Suzy Sofaspud, but still... Does such a likeable lead character need to take it in the slats every five minutes? I mean, okay, he cheats on his schmoopie back home with his best friend's girlfriend, thus damaging the friendship with his best friend. Then he loses the best friend. Then the crippled husband of the girlfriend returns from the dead, so our hero loses her, and she gets to live out a life of guilt and misery. Then the hero goes back to his homeland, finds out his long-lost schmoopie has gotten hitched, had a kid, and stolen the affections of his beloved pet dog. Then he gets thrown into a fricken communist gulag where they beat another of his wartime buddies to death. Why they didn't have a midget run out of nowhere and kick him in the nuts for no reason at all right before the credits rolled is beyond me, because that would have just been the cherry on the icing of the cake of his life. For heaven's sake, the ending made 1984 look like the Feel-Good Family Hit Of The Summer! I mean, damn, you folks east of the Elbe need to lighten the hell up every now and again, okay? Let the good guy win once in a while; it won't kill you.

Anyhow, if you're a movie buff, it's a must see. I'll be buying my own copy ASAP.

Your Government Inaction: Episode XXVII

Under Federal sentencing guidelines as of 1997, which was the most heinous of the following offenses?

A) Embezzling between $10,000,000 and $20,000,000 from a bank.
B) Using threats of violence to extort between $2,500,000 and $5,000,000 from someone.
C) Kidnapping someone and seriously injuring them in the process.
D) Possession of five grams of crack cocaine.

If you answered "E) None of the above, as all four acts carry a recommended minimum five-year sentence at Club Fed", you are absolutely correct!

(I've been reading James Bovard again, which is ever so good for the circulation. Does it show?)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Boomsticks: Gratuitous Gun Pr0n No. 26

Beretta 950BS "Jetfire" and Beretta 3032 "Tomcat", with Kershaw Chive and CRKT K.I.S.S.

For those times when you can't carry a gun, these are the next best things. ;)

As cool as I wanna be.


Go to Kit's Livejournal and read this post. Now.
One day I said "I don't like who I am." I didn't like my lack of self-esteem, or how I looked, or how I behaved. And it wasn't because someone else didn't like it - I had never made any significant change in my life for another person, be it a parent, boyfriend, or friend, much less some invisible negative arch-enemy like "society." I am smart enough to know when I'm being manipulated by a covergirl at the checkout stand at the supermarket, thank you very much.

So I did something about it.
I can so identify with that. I spent the first part of my life internalizing other's judgements of me. I was shy, uncomfortable in social situations, and spent a lot of time feeling unworthy of much of anything. I can clearly remember, even though it was some seventeen years ago, my moment of epiphany; the instant I realized that adult life didn't have to be an ongoing remake of The Breakfast Club with me stuck in the Ally Sheedy role by chains of my own making. And so I set out on a deliberate course: I decided that I love me and, dammit, I'm going to act like it.

And the world became a different (and more fun) place.

Apologies to my fellow Knoxwegans.

I got the car waxed and bought some chain lube for the Zephyr yesterday, so, um...

...sorry 'bout the rain, y'all.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Gadget Lust.

Pocket multitools are cool. I really like my Leatherman Juice KF4 (especially its hip anodized banana yellow color) but I was dumb enough to pick the only Juice in the lineup that didn't have... (are you ready for this?) ...a bottle opener. This means I normally have a Leatherman Micra clattering around in the same pocket as the Juice, simply for bottle-opening chores.

Prowling through SiteMeter today, I stumbled across Parallax Adjustment, where Shooter was crowing about opening a box from Atwood Knives.

Gadget freak heaven, baby.



Pocket jewelry?

Who knows. All I know is I want one.

"I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that..."

Via Michael Silence, we learn that the Knoxville Police Department's newest officer, HAL 9000, has reported for duty. He won't be issued a ticket book, however, until his heuristic circuits have been tested and de-bugged.

It's so good to see such efforts being made in the quest for greater ticket revenues traffic safety.

Politics: Busted!

If you can't Secure the Department from pedophiles, how are you supposed to Secure the Homeland from tangos?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Debates for The Ages.

Butter or Parkay?

Tastes Great or Less Filling?

AK or SKS?

Here's where...

...I normally post my link to the Weekly Check On The Bias over at Alphecca.

No link today, though, because Jeff is feeling sick.

Go give the man a Get Well comment. :)

Ack! My eyes!

It's a peaceful morning here at VFTP Command Central. I'm padding about in my big fuzzy socks & Kalashnikitty tee, noshing on a toasted onion bagel with cream cheese, contemplatively sipping a room temperature Diet Dew, and trying to muster the energy to take the pictures for a post I want to do.

Searching for posting inspiration, I click my way through my blogroll, Pachelbel wafting from the speakers and birds chirping outside the window. I get to Kit's place...

...and learn things that I can't unlearn.

Strange things those rugged Western types do for fun.

Boomsticks: Blogger Shoot.

Those interested in a Blogger Shoot at CCA should go here. SayUncle is holding some sort of caucus re: good dates & times for everybody.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A way with words:

LawDog on the U.N.:
Two 7-11's and a cathouse would do about three times as much good for the world in a week as the U.N. does in a year.

Monday, April 03, 2006

"Thank you for calling Fort Bragg. How may I direct your call?"

"I am an Ex-Special Forces Operator!" he bellowed, red-faced, leaning across the counter.

"I understand, sir, but rules are rules."

As he walked off, one of the customers that had witnessed the display murmured the quote I'm using for a title.

New employees at the shop are shocked to find out that the stories on the internet gun boards are true. They're out there, in all their myriad forms: Mall ninjas. Holster sniffers. Strange rangers. Armchair commandos. Not terribly common, no, but once every couple of days they get to meet someone whose tendency to, er, exaggerate is all too obvious. And once in a great while, they get to meet one who provides such a rich vein of comedic gold that they'll be able to dine out on it for weeks.

I was up on the stepladder, hauling down my 9mm AR carbine to show a friend, when a voice below and behind me declared loudly "That's exactly the one I wanted to see!" I shrugged apologetically to my friend, and handed the weapon to the newcomer. He grasped it in his fingerless gloves and, squinting one-eyed through the EOtech, started taking sightings on the AC vents in the ceiling, the doorknob to the storage room, and (for all I know) the north star.
"This is just like the ones we used in The Teams." He poked a digit at the gun's optic. "How do you turn this on?" After he'd handed it back and went to sign up to go out on the range, one of my sales guys was overheard doing a sotto voce Billy Idol impersonation (in regard to the fingerless gloves:)
Last night a little ranger
Came humping 'cross my floor...
Where this urge to exaggerate comes from, I don't know. It certainly seems to be untempered with a fear of discovery; after all, you never know who's listening when you wax hyperbolic. The "Operator" of the first paragraph launched his tirade in front of a customer and a sales clerk who were, respectively, veterans of a Bundeswehr light infantry reconnaissance company and the 75th Ranger Regiment. Rather than impressing anybody, he might as well have tattooed "Make Fun Of Me" on his forehead. Instead he was later found talking to our instructor, a career cop and SWAT team commander, about all the police officers he's saved by coming to their aid in roadside gunfights. As one coworker said to me "I'd only been out there five minutes and he'd already killed two bad guys and was working on his third."
"Have Gun, Will Travel" reads the blog of the man
A retired operator in a savage land.
The internet, of course, greatly expands the horizons for the fabrication of Heroic Life Stories. No longer limited to holding gun store clerks and random patrons hostage until their eyes glaze over, one can now log onto a BBS and talk the ears off thousands. Or maybe start a blog.

Did I tell you about the time I parachuted into Kandahar to save those Red Cross workers? Armed with nothing but a silenced .22 pistol, I...

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Sunday mornings between 10AM and 11AM are my "Relax & Write Before Going In To Work Time."

Unfortunately, the International Communist Conspiracy To Sap & Impurify Our Precious Bodily Fluids seems to have stolen an hour of my morning today, and didn't bother to tell my alarm clock about it.

Further blogging will therefore have to be postponed 'til after work.

"Spring Forward", my butt... *grumble*

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Blog Stuff: Notes from a Day Off.

Living in the woods is fun. It meant that my first priority yesterday was to get the Beemer to the Simoniz joint and have all 75 pounds of guano hosed off the exterior and the dead leaves vaccuumed from the carpets. Had to take a rain check, literally, on the waxing.

Have I mentioned how much I like the soft pretzels and hot beer cheese dip at Calhoun's? Yes? Okay, have I mentioned that I'm such a creature of habit that I always eat them the same way? That's right, I have a little routine down for which piece of the pretzel gets dipped in mustard and which gets dipped in cheese and in which order. It's only slightly more complex than a Japanese tea ceremony. The waitstaff probably thinks I'm nuts...

Read somewheres around three quarters of The Barbarian Princess. As a fan of Miss King, as well as a fan of historical novels that are factually correct, I love it. I probably bothered folks around me by cackling wildly every time Lydda screamed "Desiste!", though. (...and remember: "Desistite!" As Florence reminds us, gang rape takes the plural.)

Mash House Hoppy Hour IPA: If you like hoppy beers, tool over to Leaf & Ale and get you some. Yum.