Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blog Stuff: Heh.

Am I imagining things, or was there an "in-joke" parenthetical Oleg reference in today's Day By Day?

I like it when art imitates art. :)

Baseball: Crossed fingers...

I don't hold out too much hope for seeing Glavine back in a Braves uniform, but wouldn't it be nice?

(It was Smoltz that I crushed on Way Back When, though. I had one of the jumbo cups from... Hardee's? Krystal?... with his picture on it back in '90 or '91 when he, Glavine, and Steve Avery were the Braves' "Young Guns". I thought he looked like the bad guy from a Western movie.)

Shiv Thompson and Ramirez in the liver and push them overboard, and ditch that free-swinging midget at second base, and they might free up the payroll to make it happen.

An interesting idea...

For the five daily readers I have who don't regularly read The LawDog Files, go check out his ideas for prison reform. I'm not a big fan of the modern criminal finishing school penal system, so any improvement would be welcome. One that would actually make the miscreant reimburse their victims or die in captivity would be outstanding.

Probably never happen, but wouldn't it be nice?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Boomsticks: zomg that's funny!

So that's what they used to call A-Merc back in the day...

(Found at The Munchkin Wrangler.)

Where do they get their data?

Les Jones has a post up commenting on a study that claims women talk three times as much as men. Where does he get that? I mean, am I particularly verbose? No, not really. It's not like I natter on about things, like that icky fart joke he threw in. I wouldn't go on about that except to comment on how tacky it is. Although it is funny, when you think about it. Seriously, though, I think this claim of excessive verbosity is just plain sexist. When a guy talks a whole lot about very little, he's an orator; when a woman does the same, she's just chatty. Is that fair? I ask you. (No, it's not. There's your answer.) Besides, if we did talk more (and I'm not conceding that we do, mind you,) it'd only be because we have more to say. (Word count of this post: 159, to Les's count of 53. Tweren't easy... ;) )

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mother Nature has it in for me...

Our beautiful (if belated) indian summer looks like it will end its streak of dry days with highs in the 60s and 70s with a rainy Friday where the thermometer barely makes it into the 50s.

Just in time for my day off.


Well, well, well. The plot thickens...

Informant denies buying drugs at elderly Atlantan's home

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- An informant cited in a search warrant as having purchased narcotics at an elderly Atlanta woman's house denies buying drugs there, authorities say.

Undercover officers raiding the 88-year-old woman's house shot her to death last week after she fired on them while they broke down her door in a high-crime neighborhood.

Federal prosecutors will investigate the case, Atlanta police Chief Richard Pennington announced Monday.


"After we brought the informant in and interviewed that informant, he told us that he had no knowledge of going into that house to purchase drugs," he said. "That's what he told us. I don't know if he went in or not. We don't know if he's telling the truth."

In an interview with Atlanta's WAGA-TV, the informant said he had never been to Johnston's house.

"I'm telling them, I never went to the house," the informant told the station. "The police can't say I ever went to the house."

The informant then said police called him and told him "you need to cover our ass.

I'm going to avoid the obvious thing, (which would be to say "Conservative apologists jumped the gun,") and just say that I await the results of this investigation with great interest. I'm not saying that police informants aren't sometimes skeezy, two-faced liars, but I'm also not saying that some police officers won't go to some byzantine lengths to cover a screwup. This cast of characters is full of human beings rather than archetypes, after all...

The apologist crowd is now going to focus on the aforementioned skeezy nature of police informants. "You can't trust them," we'll hear, "they're scum; they'll say anything."

But their word is gold when it comes to kicking in an old woman's door.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Politics: Any bets?

Toyota's top Prius executive dies in plane crash
David Hermance was credited with overseeing the successful development and launch of the hybrid car.
November 27 2006: 8:32 AM EST

NEW YORK ( -- The Toyota executive who oversaw the popular Prius gas-electric hybrid car program died in a plane crash Saturday off the coast of California.

Fifty rounds of .22LR ammunition to the first person to spot a thread on Moonbat HQ Democratic Underground pinning the blame on BushCo/Big Oil.

Blog Stuff: The Magic of SiteMeter...

How do you say "Books, Bikes, Boomsticks" in Finnish? I find links in the most unexpected places.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Don't tease me, Chris Muir!

Heck, I'd buy a SIGarms calendar featuring Sam from "Day by Day". She's so cool!

(She'd be even cooler if she settled on a GSR, like mine. :) )

(PPS: I can get DBD in dead tree format every day in my local newspaper. It's 'cause I live at the very epicenter of the blogosphere. Suffer with envy, y'all. Or pester your own papers, whichever. :) )

Boomsticks: A moment of silence.

How many gun designers in the history of the planet have had, say, five completely different, commercially successfull weapons to their credit?

The answer is "one".

Single-shot rifles: Winchester 1885 "High Wall".
Lever-action rifles: Winchester 1886, Winchester 1892, Winchester 1894, Winchester 1895.
Recoil-operated autoloading rifles: Remington Model 8.
Gas-operated autoloading rifles: U.S. M1918 "BAR".
Over & Under shotguns: Browning Superposed.
Lever-action shotguns: Winchester 1887.
Pump-action shotguns: Winchester 1897, Remington Model 17/Ithaca Model 37.
Recoil-operated autoloading shotguns: Browning Auto-5/Remington Model 11.
Straight-blowback autoloading pistols: FN 1900, 1906, 1910 and Colt 1903 & Woodsman.
Short-recoil autoloading pistols: Colt M1911.
Gas-operated machineguns: Colt M1895.
Recoil-operated machineguns: U.S. M1917 and M2.

The man was John Moses Browning. Eighty years ago today he died. Eighty years after his death, the most elite counterterrorist groups in the U.S.A. are still using his pistols, and the most advanced main battle tank in the world still has a machinegun he designed almost ninety years ago mounted above the commander's hatch.

Eighty years gone, and still a genius.

Word of the Day:

Carpet diem: "Let's just sweep today under the rug."

"Sister was a little funky..."

Have you ever felt sad, yelled "Gross!", and busted a gut laughing at the same time?

NEW PORT RICHEY, Florida (AP) -- A woman's body was found wedged upside-down behind a bookcase in the home she shared with relatives who had spent nearly two weeks looking for her.

If a writer had put that into a novel, he'd be crucified for such an implausible scenario.

Blog Stuff: Free to good home.

*Snrrff* "Hnnh?!"

I awaken to a cat trying to eat my hair. As I sit up, I get the distinctly weird sensation of a couple of strands tugging free from a now-panicking feline's gullet.

"Hmmmph? Whazzit? Whattimeisit?"

Crud! The alarm clock is blinking; the power must've flickered last night. I pad over to the trusty PC and give the mouse a jiggle to wake it up. Seven o'clock.

Hey, I don't have to leave for work 'til 9:30! I have time for (drumroll, please) an actual sit-down bath! With bubbles 'n' stuff! Humming cheerfully, I toddle towards the bathroom. Unship the shower curtain, deploy the fluffy bath rug, get the water running, find the drainplug...

Find the drainplug...

Oh, crud.

Apparently one of the cats, and I'm not naming names since I didn't actually see it happen, but anyway, apparently Random Numbers, during her last game of Bathtub Thunderdome, felt that once she had vanquished the drainplug, the logical thing to do would be to drag its corpse off to someplace where it could be devoured at leisure, the way a leopard tows an impala up a tree. This resulted in a towel-clad, agitated Tamara searching known kitty lairs on her hands and knees with a SureFire flashlight in darkened house. No joy.

I will not be denied my bubble bath, however. Like they say, "Necessity is a mother_", and a plastic grocery sack, wadded up into a really small ball, makes an excellent ersatz drainplug.

All's well as ends well, I suppose, but Random Numbers must still sense mommy's displeasure, as she's still only peeking out from under the futon with a weather eye. Anyone want a cat? On rice, with gravy?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

In a rush.

Gotta jet to the store. (Black Friday? It's more like Black Weekend...) All the blogging was over here this morning...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday...

For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful.

I'm off to work; catch y'all on the flip side.

You never know who's reading...

Throw a bottle of electrons into the digital sea, and who knows upon what strange silicon beaches it might wash ashore.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thankful for:

1) All the friends who cared enough to invite me to Thanksgiving dinner.
2) All the friends who know me well enough to follow their invite with "...but you'd probably rather have a day alone."
3) Barbed wire.
4) Campbell's putting pull-tab lids on their canned chili.
5) Ruination IPA.
6) "Pain Is Good"® brand hot sauce (Batch #37, Garlic Style).
7) John Moses Browning.
8) Johannes Gutenberg.
9) Capocollo, Swiss cheese, and Wäsä rye crisps.
10) Keith Gordon's masterful direction of Vonnegut's Mother Night.
11) "Off" switches on cell phones.

...and they all suffered ennui miserably everafter.

Oleg has a link up to some stuff on Russian children's books.

Given what I know of Slavic literature:

"...and Charlie grew old and bitter chained to the candy bar machine that Mr. Wonka forced him to work, growing to hate the cloying stink of chocolate that filled his nostrils."

"Finally Wendy and the boys reached Neverneverland, whereupon Peter Pan sold them all into white slavery."

"As the 101 dalmatian puppies bounded free of the clutches of Cruella deVille, a bus came down the road and ran over 99 of them. Of the two survivors, one was rounded up by the secret police after being implicated in a plot to assassinate Ms. deVille and died during questioning, while the other drank himself to death under his terrible burden of survivor's guilt."

Coming Soon: Doestoyevsky rewrites Spongebob Squarepants.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

...and look where it's gotten us.

Let me get the obligatory joke out of the way: If I gotta die, I want it to be at 92 years old in a shootout with the cops.

Now for the serious part:

Woman, 92, dies in shootout with police

ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- Narcotics officers were justified in returning fire on a 92-year-old woman they shot to death as they tried to serve a warrant at her house, a police official said.

Neighbors and relatives said it was a case of mistaken identity. But police said the woman, identified as Kathryn Johnston, was the only resident in the house at the time and had lived there for about 17 years.

Assistant Chief Alan Dreher said the officers had a legal warrant and "knocked and announced" before they forced open the door. He said they were justified in shooting once they were fired upon.

As the plainclothes Atlanta police officers approached the house about 7 p.m. Monday, a woman inside started shooting, striking each of them, said Officer Joe Cobb, a police spokesman.

One was hit in the arm, another in a thigh and the third in a shoulder. The officers were taken to a hospital for treatment, and all three were conscious and alert, police said.

This is where the War on (Some) Drugs has gotten us, folks: After dark, in a bad neighborhood, three men walk up and start banging on the door of a little old lady's house, demanding to be let in. They say they're police. They say they have a warrant. For whatever reason, she doesn't let them in, and they bust down the door. She opens fire, hitting all three. They gun her down.

Turns out she's innocent.


We, as a society, have a lot to be really proud of there, no?

Look, if three burly dudes in street clothes start banging on my door one night and try and force their way into my home, I don't care if they're yelling "Police!" or "Singing Telegram!", that's why I keep a loaded M4 carbine in the house. They're not dressed like cops, and I can think of no reason the police would need to get into my house, so my natural assumption would be that these were home invaders of some sort. If the real police need to talk with me, they can get two guys in stopsign hats and 1 Adam 12 outfits to come knock on my door like civilized people. I, a civilized person myself, will then answer it. They will either say "Miss K., we have a warrant," in which case we'll all go for a ride to the station, call up some lawyers, and get everything as squared away as we can, since this is obviously a mistake, or they will say "Is Mr. Gonzales here? We have a warrant for his arrest," whereupon I will reply
"Why, no; you have the wrong address. Would you like to come in for milk and cookies and to look around and reassure yourselves that there is no Mr. Gonzales here?"
However, when officers in a neighborhood full of brigands dress up like brigands and act like brigands, there should be no shock when citizens like Ms. Johnston respond to their actions as though they were brigands.

How many more Kathryn Johnstons must we kill before we start talking about an exit strategy in the War On Drugs?

Books: For historical fiction fans...

Lots of folks have probably read Lest Darkness Fall, by L. Sprague de Camp, one of the classic "Connecticut Yankee"-type tales of all time. (Perhaps better than the original, in that its historical milieu is obviously so carefully researched.)

While I was at McKay's on Friday, I found a copy from Baen Publishing that included a novella by David Drake (one of my favorite authors) called "To Bring The Light". Drake's novella features a protagonist from sophisticated, modern 3rd Century AD Rome blown a thousand years back to the time when illiterate goatherds on the Seven Hills were thinking about founding a village. How she interacts with superstitious farmers like Romulus and Remus makes for a must-read tale, and Drake is obviously happy to take his degrees in Roman lit. out and show them off a bit, guaranteeing an extremely believable setting.

The reason I bring this up in such a "zomg!" breathless fashion is that I love historical fiction, and I consider myself to be a big David Drake fan (I have, like, five feet of Drake paperbacks on my bookshelves) yet somehow this tale's very existence remained under my radar. I've never seen it published outside of this double billing with de Camp's novel.

If you're at all a fan of The Glory That Was Rome, buy it; you'll like it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hooray for Robby the Robot!'s "If you liked ____, then you'll love _____" feature is usually fairly decent, especially if you've given it a large enough data cloud to extrapolate from. This past week, it decided that since I'd purchased albums by the Cocteau Twins and Cowboy Junkies, I should give Dead Can Dance, specifically Within the Realm of a Dying Sun, a whirl.


I mean... just... damn!

The album starts off ethereally atmospheric, not demanding your attention, happy to just tickle your ear and the back of your mind. As tracks go by, it gets more sweeping, more insistent. By track seven, "The Summoning Of The Muse", I pulled the car over in the moonlight and just listened to it, letting its haunting strains and Lisa Gerrard's amazing voice wash over me. Just wow!

Two thumbs up.

(...and again, here's an album that came out about the time I graduated from high school, yet not one person had the common courtesy to inform me of this band's existence for all these years. Selfish meanies, hoarding all the good tunes!)

Blog Stuff: Test Junkie.

A link from Better And Better sent me to find out if I got the taxpayer's money's worth out of my dimly-remembered high school education. You be the judge:

You paid attention during 91% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

I must've dropped a question or two (there has to be weighting; can't be a straight percentage if I got 91% and there were 18 questions.) If I dropped one, I'd guess it to be the one about the area of a triangle. Mathematics and geometry were never my strong suits; I vaguely remember how to find the length of the hypothenuse (which is a Greek word meaning "the upstairs bathroom is occupied"), but the area? I'm throwing darts at the answers.

The only other one I could possibly have missed is #10, the one about the three largest religions. If the test writer claims I answered any of the others incorrectly, then the test writer is wrong. ;)

Monday, November 20, 2006


It's snowing.

Why is it snowing?

It's not even Thanksgiving yet, and the Mason-Dixon line is way up yonder north of here.

It's probably Bush's fault. Or that guy down the street who owns a Hummer H2 (which isn't really a Hummer at all, just a Suburban with a codpiece...)

Weekend update...

Had a good time with the folks. Went to McKay's, Calhoun's, and Borders. They dropped me back off at Gillespie, where I went inside, was handed the bill, and... and...

Whoah! That was a bit more than I was planning on. (In all fairness, I had all the accessory drive belts replaced, too.)


Saturday at the shop started out busy, and Sunday was an absolute zoo.

Did my part on National Ammo Day by picking up 100 rounds of Speer 9mm Lawman to feed my AR carbine, Radom, and S&W 547. (Why don't I own any normal 9mm guns, like a Beretta or Glock?)

...and now it's off to work. :)

On stating the painfully obvious.

Human Rights Watch has released a 97 page report stating that Saddam Hussein's trial was "fundamentally unfair."

Well, no duh, Sherlock.

Let's see if I can quite come up with the appropriate analogy...

How about this: Suppose, just suppose, that right in the middle of, say, the Superbowl, some deranged whackjob wandered out to the fifty yard line, clubbed down a couple of cheerleaders, and then proceeded to eat the brains of the NFC team's quarterback, right there on live TeeVee and in front of 50,000 fans. What would we do?

We would put him on trial.

Why? Because there was any doubt about what he did? No, we're all pretty sure that we saw what we saw. We'd put him on trial because we try to act like a civilized nation with that whole "rule of law" thing going on, and putting people on trial before you hang them is what civilized nations do, even when you know good and damn well what the outcome of that trial is going to be.

So there you go, Human Rights Watch: Saddam got his circus of a trial, despite being caught with a clubbed cheerleader in his hands and quarterback brains dribbling down his chin. Happy? No? Tough.

Let us hope that the inevitable (and righteous) denouement of this farce doesn't drag out as long as the first part.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Blatant Capitalism: Another National Ammo Day promotion...

Just like last year, to make it easier to do your part on National Ammo Day, bring a printed copy of this post into Coal Creek Armory on Sunday the 19th between noon and 5:00 PM, and receive 10% off your ammunition purchase. Such a deal!

Liveblogging National Ammo Day...

We've had the first Ammo Day Coupon from my blog brought in. Cool! I'm a 1337 Intarw3b marketing force!

The guy who brought us the three M39 Finns a couple weeks ago has struck again. Yesterday he schlepped an M24, an M28, and a beautimous M28/30 through the front door. I want that M28. That's the same kind of rifle that Simo Häyhä used to kill a whole mess of Bolsheviks. I can only hope it lingers 'til next payday, 'cause I just can't swing the $265 tariff at the moment...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Texas lets me down...

I thought Texas was supposed to be the execution capital of the world. To hear a Lefty talk, they'll execute mentally retarded kids for shoplifting, so what went wrong here?

HOUSTON, Texas (AP) -- A teenager described as a white supremacist was sentenced Friday to life in prison for savagely beating and sodomizing a Hispanic boy at a drug-fueled party.

David Henry Tuck, 18, was convicted Thursday of aggravated sexual assault in the near-fatal attack. Witnesses testified that he hurled racial insults and shouted "white power" while sodomizing the 17-year-old victim with the plastic pole of a patio umbrella.
You got your aggravated assault; you could probably go for attempted homicide; you've certainly got rape. You've got a defendant for whom his own mother must have a hard time feeling sympathy. Heck, the defense attorney is reduced to making lame begging noises about "Jesus would show Tuck mercy", and the best we can do is get stuck with feeding this animal for the next thirty years until he comes up for parole? For gawd's sake, did nobody in the jury mutter "get a rope"?

C'mon, Texans, don't let me down here. If you can't get me a death penalty, you can still scare me up an old fashioned lynch mob, right?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Boomsticks: W00t!

Look what followed me home yesterday! I think I'll keep it.

I know it sounds oxymoronic, but this is maybe the nicest Tok I've ever seen; the trigger pull isn't even half bad. It's Radom-marked and dated 1948, and is sitting in the rack next to my ViS 35 Radom even as I type this. If you're really quiet, you can hear the two pistols talking to each other.


Yeah, they're definitely Poles apart.

Get it? Geez, I slay me...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Politics: Yeah, yeah, Nancy; that's what Newt said, too.

Via SayUncle:

She vowed that after 12 years in the minority, "We will not be dazzled by money and special interests."

As PJ O'Rourke said, "When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators."

Moan. Groan.

Stayed up late last night reading scary stories. As a result, the muse is a little groggy this morning.

I'm going to try to tie up some loose ends on this blog and the other one tonight and tomorrow. Don't know how productive tomorrow will be, however. I finally made the appointment for brakes on the Beemer, I need to swing by the Wash 'N' Fold, and my folks are supposed to be driving up for lunch.

I'll squeeze a post or two in there, I swear.

(EDIT: Hey, look! My thousandth post!)

Somewhere the Old Man is smiling...

Robert Heinlein would be pleased to know that flight testing is underway at the first private spaceport on Earth.

I suppose it's too much to hope that Bezos will dub the place "D.D. Harriman Field"...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Boomsticks: Gratuitous Gun Pr0n No. 38

.38 Special and .357 Magnum N-frames. From rear to front:

1936 .38/44 Heavy Duty, w/Micro target sights.
1964 Model 27-2.
2002 Perfomance Center 627-3.

Breaking World News:

Beaches in Hokkaido evacuated as 16-inch tsunami destroys thirty-minute old sand castle.

"We were devastated," sobbed one survivor "that sand castle had been a landmark on this beach since we arrived for our picnic lunch a half hour ago." When asked what they would do with their future after the tragedy, most evacuees bravely responded "Go back to work; lunch hour's almost up."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Boomsticks: Gun porn teaser...

Watch this space for a new addition to the armory in a couple days. Hints: It's more than a hundred years old, is chambered in .44 WCF, and rhymes with "Winchester". Payday can't get here soon enough...

Blog Stuff: Exponential progression...

Wow. I just noticed that I passed the 200k point on Sitemeter yesterday. Almost eleven months for my first hundred thousand hits, four and a half months for my second.

You like me! You really, really like me! :)

Politics: What's the big deal?

First off, I wasn't aware of the existence of "Sufism Reoriented", much less that it had a recognizable symbol that could be placed on a "Headstone, standard issue, DoD, One Each". In light of this factoid, the problem faced by the families of dead veterans who professed to be Wiccans is a little baffling. What's the big deal about putting the pentacle on their tombsones?

Look, if a worshipper of the Great Pumpkin goes to to the Big Pumpkin Patch In The Sky while fighting for your right to go to whatever church you want to, or none at all, then don't disrespect his sacrifice. Just shut up, be a mensch, and put the friggin' Pumpkin on his headstone like he wanted, okay?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Politics: Best thing that could have happened, really...

At the risk of excommunication from the circle of Shiny Happy People, let me share a deep inner belief of mine: The West is broken. Maybe not terminally, hopefully not permanently, but the heirs of the Rennaissance and the Enlightenment now live in the land of the Sensitive and the Entitlement.

Europe is already feeding the mouths that bite it at a rate that has strained its economies beyond that which they can bear. The aliens within the various realms of the old country are rapidly reaching a point of critical mass; a point where one of two unpalatable scenarios is destined to play out: Either the minority gains enough of a plurality to vote themselves the sharia law they clamor for and transform Bat Ye'or's Eurabia from prophecy to reality, or, alarmed by the rising tide, the populist masses of the continent dust off sixty-year-old uniforms and banners in a backlash just waiting for the right demagogue to trigger it. Neither one will be pretty.

Here in the states, Red Versus Blue has taken partisanship and incivility to levels rarely seen without triggering scenarios like Fort Sumter or Kent State. While a billion people chant for our destruction, we have one party that wants to talk to them and another that says some of them are bad, and should be fought by... well... giving Granny Smith a cavity search at the airport so as to avoid offending Abdullah.

As unfocussed, ham-handed, and frequently counter-productive as most of the GOP's actions in the War on Islamofascism (whoops!) Terror have been, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they may have delayed the inevitable somewhat. I'm not necessarily convinced that that's a good thing, however. There is a part of me, fiddle in one hand and bow in the other, that is ready to see the ball get dropped by the new guys in charge, because I really do believe that that's what it's going to take to get people to take this seriously. If it's going to take the hadjis sending New York or LA up in a cloud of radioactive debris to wake us up, well, better now then ten or fifteen years from now, when the French nuclear arsenal belongs to a country where thirty percent of its population believes in honor killing, female circumcision, stoning gays, and the righteousness of jihad.

(And to my Libertarian friends who want to natter about the religious right and its fear of gay cooties and whatnot in this country: When the Southern Baptists start donning semtex underoos and blowing themselves to Heritage USA in the local mall, then it'll be "Game On" for them, too. Let's keep our eye on the currently active threat, okay?)

Books: *Snicker.*

I'm browsing the shelves at Border's tonight, hang a left down the Religion aisle, and come face to face with The Complete Idiot's Guide to Communicating with Spirits.

Wow. Sometimes the jokes really do write themselves...

Talk about your redundant titles.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Why we love Lumpy...

Today's dumb crook story? The guy who tried to stick up the used car salesman wearing a "Friends of the NRA" hat.

You gotta wonder about the internal dialogue the goblin had going on: "Hmmm... Who am I going to try to gank today? I know! Let's go after the guy who held a machinegun shoot at the local range for a political fundraiser!"

Blog Stuff: Well. Or "well-er", at least...

Feeling much better. I was down yesterday with flu-like symptoms. Bad enough that I left work early, after pretty much phoning it in through a Benadryl haze all morning.

Woke up all chipper. Did lotsa typing. Just none of it here... :)


Eloquent commentary on why I don't, as a rule, touch tools. Nothing good ever comes of it.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Armistice Day.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns fell silent...

Irons in the fire...

I have three partially-completed posts languishing in "Draft" at the moment:

1) The promised rant about the proliferation of annoying sexism on gunboards.
2) The next installment for the other blog, on the Berthier carbine.
3) A magnum opus on why the results of the recent elections are the best thing that could happen in the long run.

I should have been writing. Instead, I accidentally discovered Roswell, Texas at

At about 2AM last night.

Now I'm running late for work.

Why didn't any of you folks tell me about it? I'm hooked...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Blasphemously happy.

I probably shouldn't admit this, because it will cost me what little conservative street cred I have, but I was smiling when I saw that Santorum (Wahaabist- PA) got stomped. He's a microcosm of all that's wrong with the GOP. Bigger government? Not a problem, as long as that bigger government is used to do important big government things, like give state-mandated marriage counseling to divorcing couples. Tax reform? Economic policy? None of that's as important as getting Intelligent Design on the curriculum...

For all I know, the new guy will shed his "Moderate Democrat" image thirty seconds after getting sworn in, and I know I'll probably find plenty of reasons to loathe him, too, but at least he hasn't told me to shut up and get back in the kitchen.

"Speaker Pelosi"

Looks like the Dems have locked up the House. Not like nobody saw this coming.

It's funny, because I'm reading The Elephant In The Room right now: If anybody thinks that this is the almost inevitable end result of the complete collapse of the "Republican Revolution" of '94, Iraq or no Iraq, raise your hands. Yeah, me too. Twelve years of GOP control of Congress and not a thing to show for it but some tax cuts and a spot of welfare reform, and a Democrat president got all the credit for the latter. Enjoy the fruits of alienating your base, RINOs.

On further rumination: I've worked in a gun store during the passage of the '94 Assault Weapons Ban, the eve of Y2K, and 9/11, so I'm ready. Coal Creek employees new to this gig, on the other hand, are probably in for a bit of a shock, because I'm predicting a Christmas season filled with a spectacular amount of panic buying. Get those .50 Cals and Evil Black Rifles now, kiddies. While you still can...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Eighty-nine years ago today...

...famous taxidermy experiment V.I. Lenin got uppity in Petrograd.

Boomsticks: Love is blind.

*Ring!* *Ring!*

"Coal Creek Armory, Tamara speaking. May I help you?"

"Yeah, do you got any Blastomatic 2000's?"

"No sir, I don't have any Blastomatics in stock at all."

"You expecting any in?"

"I'll happily special order you one, but I don't currently stock any Blastomatics. You can read into that what you will."

"You just hate Blastomatics, don't you?" *Click!*

Truthfully, I don't think I "hate" any brand of guns. There are plenty out there that don't do a thing for me, and that I wouldn't buy for myself, but that's because I know what I like and spend my limited personal money on those guns. If I ordered inventory based on what I like, the store would contain nothing but old S&W revolvers, antique military rifles, and $1,000+ custom 1911's. And we'd have one customer: Me.

Because I am in the business of selling guns, however, I have to stock what all kinds of people like. Because showcase space and dollars are finite, I won't be stocking everything. Because our business model is based on happy repeat customers coming into the store and giving us their money over and over again, I sometimes make stocking decisions that raise the hackles of the brand loyal.

I'll call a spade a spade: The "Blastomatic" from the initial phone conversation was Taurus. For about an eight month stretch, I didn't stock in any new Taurus handguns. This isn't because I "hate" them; I don't have the energy or the inclination to "hate" a gun brand. This isn't because I have no experience with them: I've owned several Taurus handguns myself in the past and had satisfying ownership experiences with each of them. More importantly, I'd sold hundreds and hundreds of them over the previous decade, and they seemed to offer good value for the money to the customers. Then, in early '05 something happened. Maybe it was a statistical fluke, but I wound up sending more Taurus handguns back for warranty work right out of the box in a three or four month stretch than I had in the past several years combined:

1) We ordered 25 stainless Model 85's to sell as part of a "CCW Package", with a certificate for our CCW course, eyes, ears, and a box of ammo included. Of those guns, six wound up having to go back to Taurus, for problems as diverse as a hand too short to rotate the cylinder, a cylinder stop bolt that didn't, and congenital absence of a single action sear.

2) We never stocked the 24/7, but we transferred three through the shop. All three went back to Taurus for warranty work.

3) Of the 8 Taurus Model 94's that have passed through my logbook since X-mas '04, two have been shipped back to Miami. One of them took two trips.

4) We sold five Taurus Model 905 IB's in the same period. All but one have gone back to the factory. One had so much endshake right out of the box that it wouldn't reliably light off primers. It went back to Taurus for a fixin'. They didn't. Customer pissed. We shipped it back again with a note saying "Please stretch crane this time!"

Now, there are some guns by the company that I expect problems from (the non-"Pro" Millenniums have had a pretty abysmal track record over the years, for instance,) but the small-frame revolvers are their bread-and-butter guns; the bugs in that design were worked out when dinosaurs roamed the earth. So I reluctantly decided to hold off on stocking new Taurus handguns even though they had once been a great profit center for me, because I didn't want to use my customers as guinea pigs for the company's newly-spotty QC.

Bring this up on an internet gunboard, and you're a hater. Joe Smith has had three Taurus pistols and they're all great and how dare you insult his guns! You're just a snob! Stupid gun store clerks don't know anything!

It gets hard to take, which is why I just don't bother anymore.

As a postscript, I'm a big believer in time and tide changing all things. Back in July, I experimentally started stocking a few Taurus small-frame revolvers back in. Five or six Model 85's and a Model 94 or two later, there haven't been any complaints. Maybe things are shaping up for Taurus. We'll see...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Sorry 'bout that...

Spent my morning revamping my old post on the Webley auto over at the other blog and, whoa! Look at the time! No bloggy for you today.

I do have a couple of planned rants, though:

1) The idiocy of bull-headed brand loyalty (and its equally idiotic cousin, brand hatred) that runs rampant in the intarw3b gun world.

2) At the risk of sounding like some kind of harpy, why I have finally been convinced that intarw3b boards are overrun by guys who are so sexist that they don't even realize it, any more than a fish realizes it's wet.

Anyhow, I'll try and remember to pour the hate-orade when I get home tonight. :)

Random 'net coolness:

1.5V battery made with common kitchen items and pocket detritus.

MacGyver, eat your heart out!

(H/T to Jeff the Baptist.)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Books: Licensed to Kill

So my trip to Borders on Friday netted me a couple of good scores, including the one I'm currently reading, Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror. It's a pretty engrossing book. I'm ten chapters in, and thus far the author has been even-handed and objective. He has obviously spent plenty of time on his research, both stateside and overseas, and has managed to deliver details on everything from his experiences riding along with the Blackwater Mamba Team on its daily runs down "IED Alley" ("The Most Dangerous Road In The World") to and from Baghdad International Airport to the finer points of the machinations behind the contracting process and the bureaucracy surrounding it.

Two thumbs up. Get you a copy today.

Looks like he'll swing.

Nothing like opening first thing in the morning to see the following headline:
"Murdering bastard to dance at end of rope!"
Kinda sets a cheery tone for the rest of the day. :)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Politics: The folly of excluding the middle...

As things wrap up towards election day, both parties have pretty much solidified on their core issues: The GOP is featuring the "Terrorists are bad, h'mkay?" and "Speaker Pelosi!!!!!!" planks in its platform, while Democrats seem to be running the same old "Bush = Hitler" campaign from last election cycle.

While both the Democrats and Republicans have candidates out there playing to the nut-fudge fringe elements of their respective parties, it remains to be seen which way the real swing voters in America are going to go. You know the type: Unashamedly patriotic; loves Jesus in a public, but vague and non-denominational sort of way; afraid of gay cooties, but uncomfortable with blatant bigotry; moderately hawkish on foreign policy, but with a short attention sp... hey, are you done in Iraq yet? 'Cause that Kim guy with the missiles is scaring me; economically xenophobic and protectionist; distrusts big business and hates the rich.

These are the people who got Carter elected because he loved Jesus, and then went and voted for Reagan because Carter was wimpy, and possibly a com-symp. In most parts of the country they've remained with the Republicans ever since Reagan, because their social conservatism has thus far outweighed their populist economic views. (You'll note that Clinton won the first time 'round by playing the role of a centrist-to-moderately-conservative Southern Democrat.) I tend to think that as long as the Dems play too far to the left, these voters are going to stay with the GOP, however reluctantly. Some campaigns, like Harold Ford's, would indicate that there are Democrats who agree with that. The Senate race in Tennessee has mostly been an argument about who has a stronger tie to God, mom, and apple pie, and who hates terrorists more.

We'll see...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Books: Not that I'm bitter, or anything...

Since I'm a member of Amazon's "Hey, you spend way too much money with us, so here's some free shipping" club, I usually spend Wednesday night nosing around for reading material for my day off. Pick out a book or two, select Next Day Air for $3.99/item, and hey! Presto! My leisure reading shows up on Friday as though by magic.

So, there it is, Wednesday night. I select The Elephant In The Room and Antique Firearms Disassembly/Reassembly, and note that both contain the reassuring green print stating "Order within the next ten hours and receive your order on Friday, November 3rd!"

I not only ordered within the next ten hours, I ordered within the next ten minutes.

According to order tracking, guess what's showing up on frickin' Monday?


Now I have to stop at a book store on the way to lunch; my brain is growling louder than my tummy...

Proof that I don't understand economics.

Here's the two headlines from's "Business" section this morning:
Unemployment hits 5-year low
Stocks struggle on jobs report
So, apparently the highest employment rate in five years is dismaying investors? Please explain, using words of three syllables or less. Thank you.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


According to Netcraft, the Intarw3b now contains:

40,000,000 porno sites

30,000,000 virtual poker sites

10,000,000 lonely singles match-up sites

6,000,000 web pages for real-estate agents, used car dealers, hair salons, and tarot readers

5,000,000 adolescents lying about their age, attractiveness, or gender on MySpace

4,000,000 blogs and/or livejournals

4,000,000 dormant vanity homepages that haven't been updated in six years

999,995 real corporate websites and news media pages




The Onion

and some research place in Switzerland.

Impulse buy.

I just had to have this shirt.

For some reason, this just kicks my gigglebox over...

The other night, we had one of those gems of a customer one must occasionally suffer through in Retailville. When Thing One dropped by the shop later that evening, I tried to describe the guy to him thusly:

Me: "Man, you should have seen this dude. He was an okay guy, I guess, utbay otnay ootay ightbray, if you know what I mean."

Thing One: "Huh?"


"Igpay Atinlay, othermay uckerfay! Ooday ooyay eakspay itay?"

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

As an aside...

The Radom post that went up over at the other blog today marks my new goal of trying to expand the old "From The Vault" posts that I republish over there with more technical and collector/market value info, vis a vis their original incarnations here at VFTP. I'll probably go back and edit/expand the others as time permits over the next couple of days.

"Might as well face it, your love's an addict."

PDB has an excellent post up on the trials and tribulations that addicts can cause those around them. Sometimes "Get out now!" is the hardest advice to take. The dynamics perfectly parallel those who stay in physically abusive relationships, and the prognosis is the same: Nothing about that person will change as long as you are there to enable them.

Maybe if I make this statement public...

...I'll stick to it.

"I, Tamara, do solemnly swear that I will spend my paycheck wisely on BMW brake rotors, rather than blowing it on frivolous things like antique rifles, gourmet beer, and books."

...but I've gotten so good at avoiding using the brakes (the front rotors are so warped they probably look like Ruffles potato chips) unless absolutely necessary the last couple months. A spin down Mourfield the other day was such a symphony of downshifts and engine-braking that it sounded like the soundtrack from the next release of Gran Turismo.

I could get Brembo OEM replacements from Tire Rack for $170+shipping, but I have neither the time, talent, tools, or tarmac to swap them out. Hopefully I can weasel an appointment at Gillespie this Friday... (That's a VFTP endorsement of Gillespie, BTW; I've been using them since I bought the Beemer five years ago, and have had uniformly excellent experiences.)