Sunday, December 31, 2006

That's gotta suck...

So there you are, the Islamic jihad in Somalia; you're the guys who made Mogadishu into The City Too Dangerous For The UN, the guys who made the President of the world's last superpower blink, the guys...

...who have just had your asses handed to you in twelve days by... wait for it...

The Ethiopian Army.

May as well just throw yourselves on your own swords now, guys, because they'll never show your faces on Al Jazeera without a canned laughter track again.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Friday, December 29, 2006

Why I totally suck up to SayUncle...

The boy's got snark.

But Uncle say the nanny-state pricks in between heading to soccer practice, Starbuck’s and spending time not minding their own business smoking causes cancer, emphysema, other health problems, impotence, global warming, and the uncontrollable urge for people not to mind their own business. It leads to increased healthcare costs and is a drain on society. And it may complicate pregnancy And Uncle says So fucking what? Plenty of other things do all that too. Like drinking


Day-umn. Wish I'd written that.

Kids these days...

The other morning I was eating my breakfast at work, and idly took notice of the image on the side of my McDonald's bag. It was of a herd of appropriately multi-culti, gender diverse, differently-abled kids swanning about on bicycles, complete with elbow pads, knee pads, helmets, and training wheels.

"What's up with the safety thing these days?" I mused aloud, "I've never owned a bicycle helmet. Then again, I've never owned a bike since I got my driver's license, but that's neither here nor there..."

"My parents made me wear a helmet," said my gunsmith.

"What? You're my age, Shannon. I don't remember there even being bicycle helmets when I was little. They didn't wear helmets in the friggin' Tour de France back then, probably."

"Well, it was actually a football helmet..."

"Did your parents hate you?"

When I was growing up, the best use for a bicycle helmet would have been to prevent head injuries when the neighborhood kids beat the crap out of you for wearing a bicycle helmet. It was a much more savage and lawless time on the playground in those days, and one wonders if our modern predilection for defeating Darwin won't have repercussions on the vitality of the race down the road. In these depressing times I've seen people want to go to emergency rooms for "injuries" that wouldn't have rated a Time Out from a pine cone war when I was a kid. I remember one neighborhood kid who stopped a BB during a territorial dispute back in the day...

"Gee, Bobby, you're bleeding like a stuck pig."

"Can you see the BB?"

"No, it's in there too deep. God, I'm sorry; I swear I only pumped it three times, honest."

"Maybe I should tell my mom so I can get stitches."

"Are you kidding? We'd all be grounded for the rest of our lives! Tam, go see if you can sneak some bandaids out of your house."

...and Bobby cowboyed up and drove on, and the BB gun war was forgotten, and we spent the rest of the afternoon on the same team, clearing the swamp of Orcs (or Germans or Indians or Klingons or whatever was infesting it that week.) For all I know, Bobby's still carrying that BB around in his arm.

Not today, though; today we sap and impurify kid's precious bodily fluids by swaddling them in bubble wrap from their first breath 'til the age of majority, when we then expect them to vote responsibly and make wise financial decisions. We need to stop. We need to weed out the slow and the stupid again. We need to let Darwin back into the home. Take the covers off your outlets. Store your dangerous household chemicals in the middle of the living room floor. Keep a pet Bengal tiger.

Please, it's for the good of the species.

Kevin's back.

Boy howdy, is he back...

Go see him deliver a brutal fisking to some poor surgeon with a head full of mush, a Roman numeral after his name, and unfortunate access to a keyboard, right here in a post titled "The Other Side."

Overheard on I-40 West...

Tam: "It's easy to spot bolsheviks. They smell like patchouli; patchouli is the smell of bolshevism."

Kaylee: "Uh, I sometimes wear patchouli."

Tam: "I'll be watchin' you."

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Yikes!


I hope he's just here for the jokes.

It's the end of the world as we know it... Vol. II

Well, another year draws to a close, and the fact that we're living in the Chinese definition of "Interesting Times" (thanks in no small part to the Chinese themselves) has everyone feeling a little Millennial, even Orson Scott Card. If you're a classical history buff, the column is a good one.

I especially like the punchline towards the end, however, where in his thumbnail book review of America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, he describes Mark Steyn as "a gun-totin' anti-big-government conservative", and says it like it's a bad thing. ;)

(By the way, if I didn't mention it already, Steyn's book is a fascinating, albeit somewhat depressing, read.)

Boomsticks: I don't know...

...where ColtCCO found this graphic (or if he made it himself) but it made me laugh 'til I blew snot out my nose.

Insider Gun Nut Humor Image Follows:




(Before the HK fanboys don their MOLLE gear and form a lynch mob, remember that I've owned more P7's, USP's, and HK91's than you have; laugh at yourselves once in a while, it won't hurt...)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Confusion of terms.

Rick Perlstein, writing for The New Republic Online in his sensationalistically-titled NRA hit piece "A View to a Kill", seems to be having a little difficulty with definitions. In an attempt to splash the blood of Kathryn Johnson on the National Rifle Association and its support of Castle Doctrine laws, he describes the assault on her thusly:
The resident, Kathryn Johnston--88 years old by some accounts, 92 years old by others--pulled a pistol on the intruders. The police fired on their assailant.
Let's look at that, shall we?
asĖˆsailant noun
a person who attacks
Last I checked, Kathryn wasn't attacking anybody. She was sitting in her house, minding her own damned business, when her assailants burst through her door.

Defense. Attack. There's a difference, and it's an important one, but it's apparently a little elusive to Mr. Perlstein, who won't let things like the truth deter him from his editorial goal.

(H/T to SayUncle.)

Cutting into my posting time of late...

...has been the fact that I've been reading through the entire back archives of SurvivalBlog.com. I originally went because I've always had a nagging wonder as to why James Wesley, Rawles has a comma in his name. I got that answer in the FAQ to his book, but wound up faithfully slogging through all the back posts on his blog. Lots of good data there, even if you have no intention of heading to the hills and canning your own goat meat. The last couple of years have thrown enough brushfires, hurricanes, blizzards, and tsunamis our way to show that a little bit of insurance in your pantry or basement is a good thing; you don't need to own a Reynold's Wrap yarmulke to have a week or a month's worth of food on hand, or a generator, or enough candles and batteries to get you through a week without power. (Plus a shotgun to make sure all that stuff stays yours.)

Go, read. You'll learn plenty. He's a little short on information on the Zombie Apocalypse, however. You still have to go to Moral Flexibility.net for that...

Call me blasphemous...

...but the mad scramble to add significance to the term of a President who will mostly be remembered for tripping down stairs is somewhat humorous to me. You'd look at gatherings of former Presidents in the '90s and think to yourself, "Look! It's Reagan, Carter, Bush, and Chevy Chase!"

I mean, seriously, I came within a hair of titling this post "Ford Takes His Last Stumble".

Boomsticks: It followed me home...

I helped deplete the Armory's dwindling store of Finnish Mosins by taking a nice M28 home for Christmas. It doesn't have the Tikkakoski "T-in-a-triangle" atop the chamber, and although I haven't pulled it out of the stock yet to check, I suspect it has a SIG-Neuhausen barrel. It now sits next to the 1944-dated VKT M39 in my closet and swaps war stories, the two of them pointedly ignoring the Izhevsk M91/30 to their right.

It's in fair condition for a Finn, which would be Very Good to Excellent for most other countries. You'll sometimes see the "Nation Of Riflemen" phrase tossed around on gunblogs, but if you want to see it in the metal, look at surplus rifles from Finland, Switzerland, or Sweden; even those that are well used tend to have bores, sights, and barrel crowns in much better shape than, say, their Russian, Turkish, or Italian counterparts. The sharpest contrasts can be found in American and British rifles: An Enfield straight from British or Canadian service is almost always a gem compared to one that has been beaten on by the Pakistani army, while an M1903 that went to the DCM from the US military looks like a pampered match rifle compared to one abused and neglected in Greek exile.

I'm not much of a Mosin fan still, being a lover of All Things Mauser, but these Finns are beginning to get to me. There's a lot of interest in Finnish militaria in the US; we love underdogs and hate bolsheviks, so the heroic resistance of the little Finnish Army against the Soviet juggernaut can't help but fascinate us. As the home of both TGI and Brent Snodgrass, Knoxville is a good place to be interested in Finnish militaria, too. Maybe I ought to grab that last M28/30 at the shop...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Monday, December 25, 2006

At 9 AM they were unwrapping their laptops...

...by noon they had their network cards configured.

Ow! Get back!

Musically talented domestic pugilist James Brown dead at 73.

Mmmmm...

Prosciutto and Swiss on rye crisps.

Yum.

That is all. Go on about your business.

Books: Impending bloggery...

I finished The Weapon, and immediately started a re-read of Freehold. I'm nearly done with the latter and will be posting a review-ish post of both sometime this afternoon.

Short version: The Freehold of Grainne has joined Tertius, Galt's Gulch, and The North American Confederacy as one of my favorite daydream destinations. For anyone dedicated to the twin precepts of Mind Your Own Business and Keep Your Hands To Yourself, these two books are must-reads. Whatever lacks they have in nitpicking Literary Review details are more than made up for in being roaring good stories. I'm sorry to say this, but all the clever phrasing, foreshadowing, and character development in the world won't make up for a boring tale, and Mr. Williamson's novels may be found in the Very Not Boring section of your local library.

Survived another one...

Another Christmas in retail under my belt. A couple more of these, and hell won't scare me.

I learned my lesson from last year: No Waffle House this time 'round. Today I'm sitting at home with a platter piled high with crackers and brie, a refrigerator stocked with beverages, and nothing to do 'til the morrow.

(Incidentally, one of the customers at the range yesterday waved and smiled at me, asking "Remember me? Waffle House last Christmas?" If you're reading this, sir, then yes, I do. I'll have 9mm ammunition in by the case lot on Thursday. ;) )

Friday, December 22, 2006

Huh?

We had an earthquake?

Shows you how much I've been paying attention.

I work in retail. My big goal right now is to survive long enough to drink myself into a stupor on Monday. They could have nuked DC and I wouldn't notice 'til December 26th...

Boomsticks: The Horror...

So, a guy comes into the shop with the nicest, intact Argentine 1909 carbine I've ever seen in my life and says...


"Can you drill and tap this for a scope, and put a regular safety on it?"


I'd like to report that the pens we use for writing job tickets will still write on tear-dampened paper. The gunsmith who was going to handle the job took an obvious delight in my discomfort... "Do you know how many of these I've bubba-ized over the last fifteen years?" he said with a malicious grin.

No, and I don't want to, thankyouverymuch.


*Sigh*

The customer is always right, even when they're wrong...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

You know you're a geek when...

...you have a favorite Roman emperor.


Mine's Vespasian. The denarius above is from his reign, which ran from today's date in 69AD to his death in 79AD. He was the first non-Julio-Claudian emperor, a competent soldier and general, a solid administrator, and only half of his sons were bugnuts crazy, which is batting well above average for your typical Caesar.

I was thrilled to find the Lindsey Davis book, The Course Of Honor, which is a novelization of Vespasian's life, and a very enjoyable book. You should get you a copy.

Happy Winter Solstice!

I'll be staying up past midnight tonight to make sure the reluctant sun does his job and starts staying in the sky longer every day.

It was a big time of year for our ancestors. Was the sun going to punk out and let days get shorter until it just stayed gone, or was the yearly cycle going to continue? It made for as good a reason as any for a religious ceremony, and a religious ceremony tends to make as good a reason as any for a festival. Later religions simply found it easier to park holidays (from Saturnalia to Christmas) around Midwinter than to change what was already there.

So there you go; I'll be sitting there at 12:22AM, Ruination in hand, keeping an eye on the celestial spheres. Once I'm sure that eveything's all shipshape in the heavens, then I'll go to bed. It's as good a reason to stay up late as any...

Boomsticks: The fighting stance...

It's been interesting watching the evolution of the modern fighting stance with the carbine. No longer is it shouldered as though one was trying to centerpunch targets across the neatly mown lawns of Camp Perry, now it's used in a more squared up stance; pretty much the same one used when fighting with a pistol or one's fists.


Square up towards the opponent, lean in, toe of the stock high on the shoulder (bring the weapon up to your eyes, don't duck your eyes down to the weapon), elbows in, weak side foot slightly forward... Practice with it; I think you'll probably find it as natural and versatile as I did in a very short amount of time. It's stuff like this that keeps me coming back to SWAT Magazine. Anybody can write boilerplate about the new Blastomatic 2000; SWAT has the writers that can write about the software that is needed to make the Blastomatic (or any other weapon) useful. The first thing I do when my copy shows up in the mailbox is to flip through it to whatever that month's article is by Pat Rogers; he could write about the proper techniques for using a P38 can-opener and it would be fascinating, educational, and useful...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Are you ready? Part Deux.

There's an excellent post up over at Random Nuclear Strikes in which he details the results of the recent 48 hour trial run of his SHTF supplies that he conducted thanks to Mother Nature.

It's times like this that I'm glad I'm on well water, with a manual pump for emergencies, and that our heat is provided by a hojillion gallon propane tank, and not an electric furnace. Also, having been stranded in the house by an icy road for a few days, I try and keep about a week's worth of grub on hand. I'm hardly Suzy Survivalist, though, and that post made me think of a few things I need to improve.

Boomsticks: Remember, kids...

...the Series 80 firing pin block in a Colt 1991A1 is not as strong as the magnet in an MRI tunnel.


(H/T to SayUncle.)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Books: Aaaaaarggh!

I may have mentioned that I was really caught up in reading The Weapon?

After a long day at work today, I was anxious to get home and back into the read. I thought ahead to my drive home. The cats had at least another day of food, there was an ample supply of beer and cigarettes, plenty of human food as well...

I was out of soda, so rather than stop by the store on the way home, I just bought three Diet Dr. Peppers out of the vending machine at work.

There we go; no delays to me getting home and sitting down with a good book.

I got home, went to grab my stuff out of the car, and...

...guess what I forgot at work?

That's right. The book.

That sound you hear? That is the Fates laughing at me.

Embarassing celebrity photos, Part XLIV

"Look out! It's getting away!"

Blog Stuff: Weekend Update.

Had a grand time at Oleg's. Pictures were snapped. More fodder was generated for the other blog. Got to see Michael Z. Williamson again, and picked up an autographed copy of The Weapon, which I'm already halfway through. Like Freehold, it's such an enjoyable story that there's an acute feeling of disappointment when you realize that the part of the book in your right hand is now noticeably thinner than that in your left. Makes you want to read slower to stretch it out...

Let's put this in perspective...

The headline reads: N.K. reads laundry list of demands.

The problem with North Korea having a "list of demands" is that they fall seriously short in the "...or else!" department.

Or else what, Kim? Or else you'll force us to vaporize you? Or else you'll hold your breath until you turn blue? What's the fallback plan here?

You want to sit at the big kids' poker table, you gotta be ready to play for big kids' stakes, and frankly your bottle rockets haven't been all that impressive thus far. We've been all kinds of tolerant 'til now, because you're not hurting anybody but yourself (and your inmates citizens), but I'd think really hard about your next move...

Boomsticks: Interesting.

Smith & Wesson, a company that was acquired from its previous owners for what was essentially pocket change only a few years ago, has just announced their acquisition of Thompson/Center Arms for $102 million, cash on the barrelhead.

Thompson/Center offers the unique Encore and Contender multi-caliber single-shot rifle/pistol/shotgun/muzzle-loader systems, as well as having a dominating presence in the black-powder hunting world. Their products are almost universally recognized as some of the most mell-made, innovative weapons of their type. The only thing they lack is marketing, and Smith & Wesson's new management has proved they have marketing savvy in spades, having brought a company out of the triage ward and back into the black.

Now they have a foot in the door in the hunting world, having already launched a play for a stake in the military/LE market with the M&P line, and still maintaining a strong market share in the civilian CCW segment. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

(H/T to Les Jones.)
(Edited to fix bone-headed slip. Thanks to alert reader 1894c.)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Today in history:

2224 years ago, a general by the name of Hannibal Barca had his first victory over a Roman consular army, handing Sempronius a stomping on the banks of the Trebia. He was 29 years old.

W00t! Bow before me...

...because I'm Person of the Year.

I mean, I already knew it, but it's good to see that the guys at TIME recognize it, too.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A marketing failure.

On the way home from Nashville we stopped at an inconvenience store to offload and onload beverages.

I saw something that made me think that someone had experienced a serious failure at target marketing: NASCAR bookends.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Light blogging ahead...

My friend Kaylee is in town for the weekend, and we'll probably visit Oleg, so don't expect much between now and Monday morning.

I'll leave y'all with a cute illustration Kaylee did back in the day. It always makes me smile...




She's so artsy & talented.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Color me a very deep green.

Speaking of fortuitous encounters at dumpsters, if you look up the definition of "Lucky, lucky bastard" in the dictionary, you'll find a picture of ColtCCO.

Someone's obviously been unlucky at love...

...as this hilarious little vignette shows.



(H/T to Oleg.)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sign of the times...

I remember carping and grumbling that U.S. coins had been reduced to nickel-plated zinc and copper slugs with no intrinsic value.

Now zinc, copper, and nickel are so high that the coins are worth more as scrap.

I suddenly feel older.

"Climate" is what you expect, "weather" is what you get.

Six days ago the overnight low was fifteen degrees.

Tomorrow's high is supposed to be sixty-five.

Southern winters cause premature graying in weather forecasters.

Call it a prejudice if you want, but...

If you turn up at trucking school and:

1) Really, really want a hazmat license.

2) Want it fast.

3) Don't want to learn to back up the truck.

4) Are named Mohammed.

...then don't be surprised if folks start reaching for their phones and the heat takes an inordinate amount of interest in you.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Completely out of control...

First, I'm late to this party. Tomato 7 has been covering it from the jump-off, so go read his stuff for the full breakdown.

What it boils down to is this: An adolescent ne'er-do-well and his delinquent college buddies beat the crap out of some other guy to steal his PlayStation 3's.

In order to apprehend the junior thug and budding felon, did the university police:

A) Call him to the office over the intercom, where he found a deputy waiting with handcuffs.
B) Pull him over on the pretense of a traffic stop and stuff him in a cruiser.
C) Call out the local Sheriff's Department's SERT team, complete with ram and ninja gear, bust through the door of his house after a perfunctory knock, and gun him and his dog down in the front hallway of his home.

Everybody who guessed "C)", you get a cookie.

It gets better, though.

The deputy who actually mowed down the video game controller-armed hood has apparently been accidentally no-true-billed by the grand jury.

Blog Stuff: Cat blogging.

Jeff at Alphecca reminds me why I call that little hole by the closet baseboards the "Self-Propelled Cat Toy Dispenser".

Boomsticks: Readiness check.

There's been a post up at The Cathouse that I've been meaning to comment on for the last week or two. It's all about preparation and readiness:
But are any of us actually “prepared”? And, before you get your hackles raised, quite possibly (and hopefully) you ARE prepared. But, the question begs to be asked at least generally, are you actually “ready”?
I realize that, thanks to my job and the neighborhood I live in, I have a different set of circumstances from most folks. Working where I work, it's just daily routine for me to put on a pistol with my jeans in the morning and leave it on until I go to bed at night. It's not uncommon to see more than one openly-carried handgun when invited to dinner with the neighbors; its probably to be expected, considering there's a range in the backyard and shooting is a hobby shared by most folks around here. A kid walking down our little road with a .22 rifle is nothing unusual, nor is it uncommon for the other neighbors to bust a few clays with a shotgun in the pasture across the street on a warm summer evening. But guns are only a part of it.

Are you ready? By this, I don't mean "are you walking through life in a paranoid ninja half-crouch, ready to be attacked from any quarter," but are you always at least alert and aware of your surroundings? There are few queasier feelings to have than the vertigo that accompanies "Where the f*&$ did he come from?" as the man with the drawn gun suddenly looms close in your peripheral vision and demands your car. I've been there. I don't ever want to be there again. If this means I have to give up the privilege of sitting in public completely unaware of everything going on around me, well, so be it. Just because my distant ancestors had to maintain a modicum of awareness to avoid becoming cheetah droppings drying in the sun didn't mean they couldn't stop to smell the Serengeti roses, they just needed to keep paying attention to their surroundings while they did so.

That's the largest component of "ready": Awareness of one's surroundings. It's as simple as never having to say "Where did he come from?" ever again.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ouch!

My friend got shot in the belly button.

Luckily it was just a Simunitions round in force-on-force training, so the only thing perforated was his dignity.

Condolences may be delivered here.

The Revenge of Barney Fife.

We Americans love our cops. From Adam 12 to The X-Files, Marshal Dillon to Rick Deckard, law enforcement officers are part of the warp and woof of American cultural life. Most of us have grown up cheering their fictionalized exploits, and yet... well, can we all agree that policing in America is undergoing a tremendous public image crisis these days?

A man tells reporters that "My friend's dead. I'm shot up. We need justice," and the people he needs justice from are those sworn to uphold it in the first place. The police force of a major city is thrown into a frenzy of backing-and-filling after a hurried, botched raid leaves an elderly woman dead, and thanks to the irregularities already obvious in the case, it seems easy to believe that the teeny baggies of marijuana they hold up as justification just might be yet another fabrication. Elsewhere, questions linger over another SWAT shooting, this one in Fairfax, VA.

This is a republic we live in. We have crafted the laws we've asked these men and women to uphold. When their jobs grew more dangerous and "the opposition" got tougher, we've responded by giving them more and better tools, both physical and legislative, to help them undertake the task. But then it happens: At some point you see those tools misused. "The opposition" turns out to be us, or someone very like us, and we wonder if maybe we haven't created something of a Frankenstein's monster.

On the one hand, law enforcement has become trivialized to the point that we're watching LaToya Jackson get sworn in as a police officer so we can see washed up celebrities participating in a Bizarro-World mirror-image of COPS. On the other hand, its gotten so serious that a typical law-enforcement trade show has more sniper rifles, armored cars, and breaching charges than downtown Fallujah on a Saturday night. At some point the electorate is going to wonder, "Is this all worth it?" and I expect the backlash could be as severe as the enthusiasm that created the modern law enforcement culture in the first place.

We need to seriously re-evaluate what it is we want police to do, because the current setup is not working. If you want cops to sniff out every meth lab, bust every drunk driver, arrest every teenage marijuana seller, round up every prostitute, and ticket everyone not wearing a seatbelt, you're going to wind up with, not a police force, but an army of occupation. What I fear is that, rather than re-examining the task list we've handed police, we're going to focus on the tools and the tactics, and that's going in the entirely wrong direction. Now, Deputy Johnson down in Possumbelly County, Georgia may be a fine human being and a pillar of the community. He may drive drunken teenagers home from parties and visit shut-in little old ladies, but it's not going to help him one whit when lawmakers in Atlanta react to the backlash and leave him patrolling his rural beat with one bullet in his shirt pocket.

I don't care if Johnny Law has a scary looking assault rifle. Heck, I have one, so why shouldn't he? What I worry about is writing him a job description that makes it necessary to use the thing so much. We need to seriously re-think what constitutes an acceptable reason to send a policeman crashing through a door, rather than send him crashing through that door armed only with a nightstick and a whistle. We need the wisdom of Sheriff Taylor, before we wind up treating our police like Deputy Fife.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Boo-fricken'-hoo.

Eric Rudolph is all upset over being confined to a Supermax prison cell. He says it's making him crazy(er).
"It is a closed-off world designed to isolate inmates from social and environmental stimuli, with the ultimate purpose of causing mental illness and chronic physical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis," he wrote in one letter to The Gazette of Colorado Springs.

...

"Using solitary confinement, Supermax is designed to inflict as much misery and pain as is constitutionally permissible," he wrote in a letter.
As much misery and pain as, say, nails flying from an exploding backpack, Eric? That much pain? I hope so.

Look, Eric m'boy, the only way you're coming out of there is feet-first on a board, so you might as well just cowboy up and quit your whining.

And be thankful I wasn't in charge of your sentencing.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Snubbed again.

I see that once again there are categories for food blogs, pet blogs, music blogs, celebrity gossip blogs... but no gun blogs.

Who'll be hosting the '06 Snubbie awards?

Lucky find.

Xavier got lucky and scored himself a nice S&W Victory Model. Go check it out.

Someday I'll find myself a nice martial S&W. It'd tie my two interests in gun collecting together nicely: If you love military surplus weapons and old S&W revolvers, what could be finer than an old military surplus S&W revolver?

Which Iraq have they been studying, anyway?

You have to wonder just which planet someone is standing on when they make recommendations like
This support structure should include every country that has an interest in averting a chaotic Iraq, including all of Iraq’s neighbors—Iran and Syria among them.
What color is the sky in their world? Who do they think have been the major contributors to a chaotic Iraq?

Oh, well. These are the jokes, folks...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Politics: I'm almost sad to see her go...

Disagree with her politics all you want, you have to admit that soon-to-be-ex-Representative Cynthia "Slugger" McKinney (Moonbat-GA) brought a level of comic relief to Washington of the kind not seen since the perpetual loser American League Senators moved to Minneapolis.

As a final pratfall, she has introduced a bill to impeach the President. The bill has less than zero chance of passing, but should please her ailing sugar-cane harvest buddy Fidel to no end. It is, after all, the thought that counts.

Boomsticks: I'm probably diagnosable...

They keep following me home, and I can't make them stop.


I don't know what it is about me and these derelict old rifles. Anyway, the latest arrival is a vz 52, (vz is simply an abbreviation for "vzor"; Czech for "type" or "model") a Czech rifle designed immediately after the German occupation of Czechoslovakia ended. The Czechs had an arms industry with a long tradition of quality and innovation, and the vz 52 was no exception. Designed using experiences gathered during WWII, it was a rifle that spanned two eras: Its full-length wood stock, intricately machined steel receiver, and semi-automatic operation wouldn't have been out of place in the 1930s, while its intermediate cartridge and detachable box magazine looked towards the future.

The trigger mechanism is nearly identical to that of the American Garand, while the gas system utilizes a short-stroke annular piston derived from that of Germany's Walther self-loading rifles. The bolt is a tipping design, much like the contemporary Belgian and Russian rifles, but utilises lugs at the front of the bolt, rather than at the rear. The proprietary Czech cartridge, 7.62x45mm, is roughly the ballistic equivalent to the Soviet 7.62x39mm M43 round. The whole package makes for a handy little carbine, slightly smaller than the Russian SKS, and a fair bit handier in the bargain.

Interestingly, the rifle was released as part of a whole suite of new infantry weapons in the early '50s by the Czechs, who hoped to get foreign currency in exchange. The weapons included an innovative pistol that used a roller-locking short recoil action to tame the potent 7.62x25mm Tokarev round, a general-purpose machine gun that was simply a belt-fed update of the proven Bren gun (another famous Czech design), and an innovative submachine gun featuring a bolt that telescoped around the breech and a magazine well integral with the pistol grip: both novel features that made for a compact weapon, and both features that would be cheerfully plagiarized by Uziel Gal when he "designed" his famous Uzi.

With this cornucopia of small-arms technical excellence poured at their feet, it is somehow unsurprising that the Soviets ignored it, and instead forced their own designs on the nascent Warsaw Pact. Meanwhile, most of the Czech weapons faded into undeserved obscurity, with sales slumping since both superpowers were essentially giving guns away to third-world nations who promised to be on their team.

The CZ52 pistol is well-known to American shooters, having been imported in droves over the last five years or more. Its companion rifle is a little less recognizable, and most of of them coming in recently have been barely shootable junkers. Ammunition for the vz 52 is scarce; the only source I could find online was Buffalo Arms (who also has most other scarce or obsolete calibers you might be looking for, as well as prompt and courteous customer service.) As soon as the ammunition gets here, I'll write up a range report.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Cool!

221,122 hits, according to SiteMeter.

Sorry, number stuff like that makes me all interested...

Carry on.

C-c-c-c-c-old!

Another night of what BryanP termed here "Tourette's Syndrome Cold": You know, the kind of cold where you step outside and involuntarily exclaim "&^*$! Holy %^&*! Jesus is it #@$%ing cold out here!"

Where'd this guy come from? Why wasn't I notified?

Copyright is meant to provide an incentive to create. It is NOT meant to guarantee Sir Paul's great-grandkids' trust funds or ensure Disney a steady stream of revenue for the next hundred years.
From an absolutely bang-up post on the letter versus the spirit of copyright law by TD at The Unforgiving Minute. Go RTWT.

Should we talk about the weather?

'Cause baby, it's cold outside.

Like fifteen degrees cold. Thank god we're not in Europe, or it would be nine below zero.

Today in history:

Poor Mark David Chapman. Three feet to the right, and he could've been a hero.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

December 7th.


Sixty-five years ago today, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

Taliban FM 22-13: Teacher killin' and Buggery.

So, allegedly the Taliban forces have a shiny new field manual out. It covers the usual things one would expect from the handbook of a guerrilla army made up of a bunch of hill-tribe, god-drunk zealots, but it also has a few sections that are, well, unusual things to find in an army field manual, at least to Western eyes. There's rule 24 and 25, for example, which cover the beating and killing of teachers.
"It is forbidden to work as a teacher under the current puppet regime, because this strengthens the system of the infidels," says rule 24. And if a teacher refuses a warning to give up his job, reads rule 25, "he must be beaten."

"If the teacher still continues to instruct contrary to the principles of Islam, the district commander or a group leader must kill him," it continues.
Nothing is mentioned about the district commander or group leader getting bonus guerrilla points for creative executions, such as Honda-powered drawing & quartering, but we must assume that's taken as understood.

Then there's one rule that strikes us as especially bizarre, noting as it does that Taliban guerrilla fighters
"are not allowed to take young boys with no facial hair onto the battlefield or into their private quarters."
Apparently, therefore, Tommy Taliban needs to glue a beard on him or find someplace other than his quarters, such as behind the shed, in order to avoid Buggery Demerits.

Who knew?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

For my Finnish readers:

Happy Independence Day!

I'd've fired a salute with my M39 this morning, but it was cold, and I'm not made of such stern stuff as y'all. ;)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Boomsticks: Savage explosion.

Man whose rifle exploded files lawsuit.

News Flash: Sometimes planes fall out of the sky. Sometimes motorcycles fall over. Sometimes guns explode. If you want a completely safe hobby, pick one that doesn’t involve detonating explosives in your hands, like knitting.

(H/T to SayUncle.)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Boomsticks: Wishin' I was rich.

Guess what we just got in at the shop?

A shiny new uber-rare Springfield Professional.

Wish I could afford it, 'cause the only thing finer than having one Pro would be having two...

Sigh.

Lame excuse of the week...

EASTON, Pennsylvania (AP) -- A man who pleaded guilty to molesting two girls told a judge he did it because of his wife's excessive bingo playing.

"My wife was never home," Floyd Kinney Jr. said during his plea hearing Friday.
I've heard some dog-ate-my-homework whoppers before, but that one takes the cake. Why not blame President Bush or Senator Clinton or Global Warming or WalMart while you're at it? Mad props to the judge, though, for a truly witty retort:
"Some people, when their wives are not home, decide to do other things, like clean their living rooms," McFadden said. "Your behavior is beyond the pale."
Snark for the win. Hopefully he gets the whole enchilada come sentencing.

Oh well, it seems to have worn off...

No Ferrari Enzo, no winning Powerball ticket, and if Russell Crowe was standing on my front porch nekkid, he wouldn't be much use, since it's 27 degrees out there.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Apparently I have the gift of prophecy...

I say "Will we see a soft B&W macro closeup of Sam's eye?", and Shazam!

Cool!

I need to use this power wisely, of course.

Hmmm...

Will we see a nekkid Russell Crowe show up on my doorstep with the winning Powerball ticket and the keys to a Ferrari Enzo?

Stay tuned.

News Flash: Bikini sighting in Qatar.

DOHA, Qatar (AP) -- When Salim Al-Nabit and his friends went to see beach volleyball for the first time, they left their wives home.

Al-Nabit said he would watch the bikini-clad women, but he certainly wouldn't want his wife to do so.
Well that's just about bass-ackwards, isn't it? What the heck do you care if she sees a bikini? And aren't you a little afraid the sight of more than three square inches of female skin will drive the crowd in the bleachers mad with lust, leaving males in helpless thrall to their baser instincts? That is what your mullahs keep telling us, after all, when they're playing the multiculti defense card trying to get their co-religionists off rape charges in western countries.
"It's not good," said Parvana Khoory, who watched from the almost-empty stands around the 1,500-seat center court dressed in black from head to toe. "We want a woman to cover all of her body. I think this discourages Muslim women from playing this sport."
Rumor has it that the Saudis did attempt to field a team, but the burkha-clad duo was stomped in the opening rounds by the Japanese, one of the pair having to be carried from the sand when she was blindsided on her veiled noggin by a particularly vicious spike...




("Why Tamara, you certainly seem to have your nose out of joint about Islam these last few days. What's up with that? Why the bigotry all of a sudden?"

Sorry, but institutionalized sexism is not a "valid cultural difference" any more than apartheid was a valid cultural difference of South Africa, slavery was a valid cultural difference of the CSA, or a little bit of anti-Semitism was a valid cultural difference of Nazi Germany. Chew on that.)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Animals.

Disembowelled, then torn apart: The price of daring to teach girls

The gunmen came at night to drag Mohammed Halim away from his home, in front of his crying children and his wife begging for mercy.

The 46-year-old schoolteacher tried to reassure his family that he would return safely. But his life was over, he was part-disembowelled and then torn apart with his arms and legs tied to motorbikes, the remains put on display as a warning to others against defying Taliban orders to stop educating girls.

Because he taught girls.

There can be no reasoning with the Taliban mentality. No negotiating. No terms. No "Hey, we used to tear guys apart for treating women like humans, but we're okay now; let's sign a peace treaty and form a coalition government."

Us.

Or them.

Civilization.

Or barbarism.

There is clear good and evil here, and only a moral cripple could fail to know which side is which. One side elects a woman to Speaker of the House, the other side disembowels men alive for teaching girls to read.

Good.

Or evil.

That is what hangs in the balance in Afghanistan right now.

I guess it beats harsh language...

The Subtle Safety ring.
"Orange whistles are garish and weapons can easily be turned against you. Attackers rarely strike indiscriminately; they look for an easy target. A woman who projects confidence and direction is less likely to be targeted. The Subtle Safety Ring provides an at hand reminder for the wearer to consider her personal safely and make choices that will avoid dangerous situations."
The weight of the 1911 on my belt is a handy reminder to keep me out of dangerous situations, because nobody wants to be put in a position where she has to shoot somebody. Even under the most righteous of circumstances, it would be a colossal pain in the ass.

My real beef with a lot of these personal protection gimmicks is that they require the user to get within touching distance of an attacker. Most also require some level of physical aptitude to use properly. If you're 5'2" and have never been involved in anything more violent than a dodge-ball game, a trinket like this ring is worse than useless, especially if it instills a false sense of confidence. Get a can of name-brand OC, like Freeze or Punch. Get an extremely bright (60+ lumens) flashlight. Get some training. Get aware. Don't get taken.

Don't tease me, Chris Muir!, Part Deux.

Will we see Sam in a swimsuit? Will we see a cartoon Oleg? Will we see a soft B&W macro closeup of Sam's eye? The drama builds... Stay tuned!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Blog Stuff: T'hee!

I Was A Zombie Teenage Axe Murderess.

Sucky though it may be, I guess I have to buy the movie.

I actually have an axe. It's a bearded axe, from Hanwei Forge. One time my friend Kaylee was visiting, and she and my downstairs neighbor's daughter were having a "cutting party" on the front porch with their katanas and water-filled two liter coke bottles. Onlookers joined in, and pretty soon I was being heckled to come play, since they all knew I had a half-decent sword collection. I kept begging off, protesting that all my swords were unsharpened, plus I was really engrossed in my book. Finally, I caved and went upstairs and came back down toting my axe. While they were discussing techniques like jodan-no-this and chudan-no-that, I squared up, strode forward with my weak-side foot, led with my hips, and snapped my wrists around. The top half of the bottle went arcing straight up in a spray of water, while the bottom just wobbled in place as the axe zipped through it like it wasn't there. "Where'd you learn that cut?" asked my friend. "Gary Sheffield," I replied.

Politics: Not with a bang, but a whimper...

Twelve years ago, the GOP took control of congress for the first time in decades, riding into Washington on a cresting wave of promises to shrink government, slash taxes, get federal spending under control, and end bureaucratic intrusiveness into American lives.

Now, a lame duck Republican house is meeting to get their last bits of legislation passed before the Democrats take back the gavel. What's on the emergency agenda for the freshly pink-slipped Repubs? A last-minute tax cut? Eliminating some useless federal agency? Returning control of some policy or another to the several states or the People? Reforming the IRS? Heading off the coming Social Security debacle?

No.

Passing a law on when, exactly, the government of the United States of America decrees that fetuses feel pain.

I'd like to think that these assclowns would be returning to their home districts contemplating the reasons why they're suddenly unemployed, but here's solid proof that they haven't a damn clue.