Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Politics: Report from the Surge On General.

When I was young, I'd read history books and wonder about the phrase "saber rattling". How did that work? Did the guys in their fancy 19th Century panoply sit across the negotiating table and actually jingle their dress swords at their opposites?

Now I know better, of course, what "saber rattling" is, and understand it as a metaphor.




Your move, Mahmoud.

Please tender your 'Get Well' wishes... young ColtCCO. He really is in the throes of something awful. (You know that boy's sick if he's too sick to natter about gun stuff on teh intarw3bz.)

(And for the record, I said "peach pits", not "peach seeds".)

About that global warming...


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Great Moments in Television History.

CBS has dragged "Armed & Famous" out behind the woodshed and given it the Ol' Yeller.

It's not often that one can use the phrase "damaging to the dignity of LaToya Jackson" with a straight face.

Boomsticks: Gadget alert...

We just got our first shipment of Vltor CASV-EL rail systems in at work.

Three words: Drop. Dead. Sexy.

Okay, more words: Light, rigid, well-made, makes the ARMS S.I.R. look clunky & expensive. As soon as I can shake loose the shekels, one is going on my 6.8 carbine.

They just don't make politicians like they used to...

On January 30th, 1835, the funeral of Congressman Davis from South Carolina had drawn quite the crowd. Among the attendees were President Andrew Jackson and Congressman David Crockett (Anti-Jacksonian, TN), there to pay their respects; also in attendance was one Richard Lawrence, there to bust a cap in the Prez.

Unable to get close enough as Jackson entered the building, he waited out front and tried to back-shoot him as the President exited. Both of Lawrence's percussion-fired pistols misfired, however, possibly due to soggy powder charges, and he was tackled by Congressman Crockett and other bystanders, while the President of the United States assisted the process with several manful thwacks from his cane.

Jackson may have been a pocket imperialist, a wannabe genocidal land-grabber, and a power-hungry politician to the core, but he was obviously a mensch. I just can't picture, say, Jimmy Carter or Bush the Elder using a stick to try and stomp the piss out of an assailant. (Or Nancy Pelosi wrestling him to the ground...)

Monday, January 29, 2007

To whoever was trying to call me at 7:30 AM:

It better have involved an incoming asteroid or a dead body or something...

Politics: Metaphor alert!

Twenty one years to the day after I watched Challenger blow apart on liftoff, the headline at read:
Uncle Sam spoils dream trip to space
That's right: The IRS wants to hoover the man's bank account for taxes from the estimated cash value of his Free Trip To Space!, and like most of us, $25k is a little more than he can cough up on short notice.

Ad astra per aspera, indeed.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

It's Raining Men.

It seems that an old warehouse district in Seattle got gentrified during the boom years of the '90s. What used to be warehouses are now chock full of tech companies and tech company employees. There's one minor catch, however: This particular warehouse neighborhood is right under a 155-foot tall bridge, complete with pedestrian walkways, which pretty much ensures a fairly steady precipitation of depressed folk onto the dot-commers below.

Thirty-nine people over the past decade have committed suicide off the 155-foot-high Aurora Bridge -- eight in 2006 alone -- and counselors are regularly brought in to help office workers deal with the shock of seeing the leap or the bloody aftermath.

At least one woman, Sarah Edwards, drives on the left side of the street near her office ever since a body landed on the hood of a co-worker's car.

Imagine, there you are, pulling into the parking lot at work, sipping on a double mocha half-caf latte when *KA-WHAM!* some busted Wall Street punter craters the hood of your Subaru right there in front of you. It'd be enough to put you slightly off your feed, no? In the most delightful twist of all, the bridge is a national historic landmark, and Seattleites don't just go mussing up the aesthetics of those with big-ass chain-link barriers or nets or whatever, at least without a decade of meetings, studies, votes, chanting, and incense.

So, hey, depressed? Feel like ending it all? Go to Seattle and go with style; pelt a yuppie, help keep a grief counselor employed. If you jump wayyy out, you might get that car swerving into the wrong lane.

Forty years ago today:

Apollo One burned on the pad, killing Roger Chaffee, Ed White, and Virgil "Gus" Grissom.

Ad astra per aspera.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Quote of the Day:

PDB on how the Dems could fund universal health care:
"If we gave Hillary the Medicare budget and got her to invest it in cattle futures, there'd be more than enough money to buy insurance for everyone!"
Snark for the win! :)

Wow, big shock there.

Obama has come out in favor of pillaging the paychecks of the gainfully employed to give crappy healthcare to everyone, whether they want it or not.

You don't need to not vote for Obama because of the jingoistic lies exaggerations spread about him by Hillary's campaign staffers; you can not vote for him simply because he's a tool, and a pinko Bolshie tool at that.

If I had a gun...

Suppose you're hiking in cougar country and you suddenly find a large cat gnawing on your husband's noggin. What would you do? Exactly; you'd shoot the kitty off of him.

Suppose, however, that this took place in a state park in California, and you didn't have a gun. Would you call 911? Not if you were 65-year-old Nell Hamm you wouldn't. If you were her, you'd pick up a stick and whale the crap out of the mountain lion until he let go of your beau, and then stare him down 'til he ran away.

Here's a toast to Mrs. Hamm, and a pox on the people who have made California a state where handguns are rare and cougar attacks common.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

It just doesn't get more sordid than this.

One Neil "Babyface" Rodreick, already having served time for trying to solicit a six-year-old boy back in '96, got on teh intarw3bz and convinced two Arizonans, Robert Snow and Lonnie Stiffler, that he was a pre-teen. The amorous duo, aged 43 and 61, drove up to Oklahoma to fetch their new, er, houseboy, and Stiffler, posing as his grandpa, enrolled him in a local middle school as "Casey Price".

While at school, Rodreick got himself charged with misdemeanor assault on a twelve-year old girl, which triggered a bit of scrutiny and blew his cover. School officials were quick to point out that they were going to review their policies to make it harder for adult sex offenders to hang out in classrooms. Let's hope so. Meanwhile, the pesky Eighth Amendment ensures that nobody will have their balls pounded into veal patties with a meat tenderizer over this, which would be the just and equitable punishment.

While neither trailer parks nor Camaros are specifically mentioned anywhere in this story, I'm picking up the vibe that both made at least cameo appearances.

Blog Stuff: Oddly haunting...

Remember the meme where I just revealed five little-known factoids about myself? Here's factoid number six:

I can get choked up and weepy over the oddest things. A long-distance phone service commercial. The trailer for the goofy movie Pearl Harbor. Noah Kalina's Everyday.

In the vein of the latter comes one of the more interesting and moving artifacts I've seen from the Age of the Intarw3bz: clicky.

Poetry? Yes. And of a kind impossible until now. Like Marko said: "Humanity. What a strange and interesting bunch we are."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Politics: It's gonna be a long twenty-three months...

We're almost two years shy of the actual election. Only a few candidates have even announced that they'll be running. The Iowa caucus is still a year away...

...and we are already being treated to coverage of every little step taken (literally) by Hillary and Obama in the capitol rotunda after the State of the Union address last night.

This is going to be a long and depressingly sucky campaign.

PS: ...and what's gonna happen to the finger-wagging, lecturing, "Lesser Of Two Evils" voters if this election comes down to McCain v. Edwards or Clinton v. Giuliani, and there is no lesser evil? Are we justified in voting third party then? Or should we just say "screw it", and stay home?

Happy Birthday to me!

With my tenth attempt at turning 29, I think I might be getting the hang of it.

I've been ordered to not show my face around the shop today, so I think I'll just kick back and enjoy my bonus day off. :)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A big birthday!

No, not mine. That's tomorrow.

Today is the birthday of John Moses Browning. :)

UPDATE: Someone else agrees that it should be a holiday. It does say something that the mighty M1A2 Abrams tank, powered by a gas turbine engine, with depleted uranium mesh in its composite ceramic-and-steel armor and firing depleted uranium slugs from its gyrostabilized, computer-targeted, laser-sighted main gun at targets that it spotted in the dark through a sandstorm by their heat signature, has mounted atop it by the commander's hatch, near the GPS antenna, a machine gun designed by John Moses Browning in 1920.

Blog Stuff: Beer blogging.

On the recommendation of Matt G, I decided to give Dogfish Head's Indian Brown Ale a whirl. Admittedly, it was with some trepidation, because on the whole I heartily disapprove of beer ingredients that are not water, hops, barley, and yeast.

Verily I say unto you, it does not suck.

As a matter of fact, I liked the trial run so well, that there's a six pack in the fridge. It'll make a nice change of pace from my usual Ruination or Mendocino White Hawk IPA.

It can be obtained here in Knox Vegas at McScrooge's, home of a truly righteous big beer selection.

Stupid memes!

Okay, okay! Stop poking me with a stick already!

Both Xavier and Matt G tagged me with this memeishness, where I'm supposed to reveal five little-known, strange, or unusual facts about myself.

*le sigh*

Where to begin?

1) Despite loving music, I have a tin ear. I can't carry a tune in a bucket. I mean, I sing in the key of R Flat. Honestly, me singing sounds like a sack of cats getting beaten with a nine iron. Despite this, I am known to spontaneously start singing anyway. In public. Oblivious to the flinching of bystanders.

2) I have a large stuffed animal collection. Also, I have a favorite Teletubby: LaLa. If you tell this to anyone, I will come to your house and shoot you right in the kneecap.

3) I love getting flowers, especially roses, and here's why: I like putting them in a vase and letting them croak, because a bunch of dead roses in a vase is so cool looking. It makes me feel all Anjelica Huston as Morticia Addams. This is about as close as I come to getting my Goth on. Well, this, and listening to The Cure.

4) I may blabber on about the ankle support, but the real reason I wear combat boots is because my feet are so freaky small for my height that I think the boots look cute on me. (Little boots... Heh. That's a history joke.) The 5.11 ATACs I'm wearing now are, like, a men's size 8 and my feet are still sliding around in them.

5) When nobody's looking, I write poetry. No, you can't read it.

At this point, I'm supposed to heckle five other innocent bystanders into playing, too. Fine. Here's my list:

1) PDB
2) ColtCCO
3) Marko
4) Phlegmfatale
5) T. Stahl

...all of whom are too cool/busy to fall for this.

[sticks tongue out and gets back to typing...]

Where was I...?

First China, now this.

If you needed more dramatic proof that it is time the US got back into the space race, here it is:
India's space agency said on Monday an orbiting capsule had been successfully returned to Earth, marking a major step towards the development of a highly-prized manned space program.

The capsule was blasted into space as one of four payloads on January 10 from a launch pad 60 miles north of the southern city of Chennai. It splashed down in the Bay of Bengal 11 days later, boosting plans for a lunar mission in 2008.
India, frickin' India, the world's largest exporter of bad tech support and long hold times, is planning on doing the Neil Armstrong by '08, and something tells me that they (and China) aren't spending a hojillion rupees on this just to leave a flag, a golf ball, and some footprints.

China's recent ASAT test is a reminder that the US military can't be complacent about us having a guaranteed superiority in space anymore, but the US government can prime the pump on the commercial side by getting out of the way; make space lucrative by offering tax incentives to the aerospace companies that are flirting with the commercialization of the high frontier. Like I said before, when I finally get to the space station, I want to be able to order a Big Mac, not just curried rice or kung pao chicken.

Monday, January 22, 2007



Sorry, I have a serious weakness for cute pictures of our overlords cats, and I seem to have found the motherlode.

Politics: Read my lips...

Chavez to U.S.: 'Go to hell, gringos!'

Tam to Chavez: 'You know why your buddy Castro's been in power for so long? Cuba doesn't have oil. Sleep tight, Pugsley.'

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Books on Boomsticks: SCSW, 3rd Ed.

My Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson showed up yesterday, and the 3rd Edition is grande! A massive coffee table tome with slick paper, full color, much more useful layout, and way more complete data than the last one. Pricing info's still a little soft, at least for this area, but that's to be expected for what is, after all, a national average.

So far I've only found one Smith in my collection that isn't mentioned: There's no reference to the 3" PC627 V-Comp that I can find.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Welcome to the future.

First they were orbiting their own astronauts.

Now they're shooting down satellites.

Interesting times, folks.

Someday, I'm gonna live there...

Dustbury mentions Brewster County, Texas, which contains miles and miles of miles and miles, as well as some rocks and cacti, and a hidden UFO base.

Boomsticks: A-ha!

So the A1 flash hider that I pulled out of my purse the other day has been sitting next to my keyboard, baffling me with its origins, for the last couple days.

I've been picking it up and fiddling with it the way one does with worry beads, but just now I actually looked at the thing. Wow, that's a big hole...

Eureka! It's a 9mm flash hider! I must have tossed it in my purse when I put the Vortex on my 9mm carbine and forgot all about it.

You can't imagine what a load off my mind that is.

This inspired me to go clean all the AR stuff off the Table What Has Accumulated A Big Pile Of Gun Detritus and put it in a box the way I did with the 1911 bits. I was a bit surprised at just how much AR effluvia had piled up there. Green and black followers, mag floorplates, mag springs, a complete collapsable stock and buffer tube assembly (from when I put the M93 on my Superior), black plastic A2 pistol grips, green Hogue and Ergo grips (a legacy of installing MIADs on the 9mm and Project Housegun), A2 carbine handguards, non-tritium front sight posts, EOTech battery compartment latches, ladder rail covers, push-button QD sling swivels...

If I dropped a barrel, an upper receiver, and a lower in there and shook the box real hard, another carbine would fall out. Hmmm... We still have a bunch of DPMS stripped lowers at work for, like, a buck and a quarter, and a life without a current AR project is a life devoid of purpose.

Lor' bless Amazon.

You have to love anything that can consistantly make a cynical adult feel like a kid on Christmas morning. I'm just sitting here bouncing with anticipation, waiting for the Big Brown Truck Of Happiness to show up with GTA: San Andreas, the third edition Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, and the second Simon Scarrow novel.

I wonder how much money they've lost on my "Amazon Prime" membership so far?

(...and I'm serious about the "kid on Christmas morning" bit. I just caught myself thinking "You know, if I lay down for a nap, when I wake up, the truck will be here!")

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Overheard At Work...

Me: "So, that's why I can rationalize having three AR's. The green one is for if I'm ever in the jungle, the coyote brown one is for the desert, and the black one is for, uh..."

Co-worker: "Zombies. Camouflage doesn't work on the living dead."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

At the risk of sounding like a woefully behind-the-times geek...

Despite being a fan of computer games since blowing up ASCII Klingons on an Apple II in the Decade of Disco, I somehow missed out on the whole Grand Theft Auto thing. Towards the tail end of a grueling day at work today, Dr. Strangegun mentioned how he unwinds after a stressful day by playing in the streets of GTA: San Andreas. Then he showed me a link to this video.

Joyous hallelujahs! A video game that not only has flamethrowers, but where you can apparently take out your frustrations on passersby with a Louisville slugger! And old enough that it will run on my PC with the video settings cranked to the max! (VFTP Command Central was bought some three years ago by walking into a Best Buy and asking "What's the baddest, most expensive PC you have? Great, okay. Now, what's the baddest video card on the market? Good. Now, what's the ultimate sound setup?" It may be a little old, but it'll still shove a pixel around fast enough to make it need its little pixel airsick bag...)

Blogging may be slack for a bit, because I just placed an order with Amazon...


Exactly one week to go until my last birthday that starts with a "3".

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

Good luck with that...

It's aliiive!

Dr. Strangegun got his reloading bench all set up, and tonight I happen to know he left work with a handfull of once-fired .38 Special brass, a big box of 148gr HBWC bullets and a pound of Unique. Let's see what happens.

For entertainment's sake, here's me with my first handloading experiences:

Tinkering with the Tong Tool...
So, as I shamefully admitted in a recent thread, I don't actually... you know, reload yet. I do, however, have a metric buttload of borrowed reloading stuff here in my apartment, and I've saved a ton of brass over the years. Last night I re-found my big ol' brass box. This sort of inspired me. About four minutes ago, I got even more inspired when I saw an object in a red box labelled "Lyman Ideal 310 Tool, complete with dies" for .44 magnum. I pulled out the pliers-shaped gizmo, and noticed one die with a long pokey-looking thing that looked as though it might knock a spent primer out of a case. Feeling a rising sense of discovery, I dashed off to my brass box and brought back a freezer bag full of spent .44 Mag shells. Threading the likely-looking die into the pliers and then sticking a shell in...

[Tom Hanks voice from Castaway]I have made fire![Tom Hanks voice from Castaway]

...or at least I'm well on my inquisitive way to doing so.

More TongToolery...

Having gotten bored with depriming cases, I decided tonight to screw what seemed to be the next logical die into the holder; the "muzzle resizer" die.


Ugh! Grunt! I think the case is stuck!


A little half-moon of brass came flying off the rim...

Give the die a fraction of a turn and...


...out pops the (mangled) cartridge case.

This must not be right. There must be a way to keep this from happening... I ran inside and soaked a paper towel in Wesson oil and rubbed it on the outside of a case.

*Scrunk... spop!*

Cool! That was easy!

Still, maybe I'm not doing this right. After we finish setting up for the gun show tomorrow, maybe I'll ask ol' Charlie for some pointers.
(This was followed by Mike Irwin's priceless retort: "Wesson Oil? My God you are such a girl!")

Hey! Cool! Found a case lube pad in that big box in the corner!

Let's try a couple more...

Whoops! Crushed one...

Wonder how this "priming chamber" works.

Nope... doesn't go in that way... wait... eureka! Way cool!

Let's prime these cases now!

...after an interlude containing a minor setback around the fire at My First Deer Camp,

When we left off, he-man JShirley, unaware of his own strength, had just busted the decapper pin on my little 310 Tool by a campfire in GA.

Back home in TN, I pondered long and hard... What to do?

I went digging around on the shelf among the die boxes, curious as to what might be there. Hmmm... A complete Lee press with dies and dipper for .357... That's pretty cool... Wait, this isn't shaped like the other die boxes; I wonder what a "Lee Loader" for .38 is?

Cool! Just a couple of pins, a die-looking thingy, and all I need to find is a hammer! I grab some powder, a handful of spent cases, some primers, a box of 148gr HBWC's, and the Lee Loader and head for the concrete steps out front.

The first bullet winds up seated too deeply. Following safe cartridge disposal procedures, I chuck it into the bushes. The next one turns out fine. (The .5 dipper of Green Dot and Winchester small pistol primers, in case anyone's wondering) Seating the primer on the third one results in a *BANG!* (at 0200 hrs... ), a seating rod launched six inches into the air, and black tats on two fingers and a thumb. The fourth cartridge turns out fine. It being freezing, and 0230 to boot, I went back in. Two days later, I launched them from my 627, and both went off fine and shot where I pointed....


I just got a Lee Turret Press in at work, pre-loaded with .38 Spl dies, and have both a full set of dippers and an Auto-Disk powder measure on order (we'll see which one works out better.)

Just think how much money I'll save if I spend all this money!

Ah, reloading. Never have I had more fun spending dollars to save dimes!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Politics: Remember how we were talking about the ANWR?

Nigeria, 5th largest supplier of oil to the US, is dissolving into chaos.

Venezuela, from who we get even more oil than that, has nationalized industries, jumped into bed with Iran, and has been taken over by an El Presidente-For-Life bent on playing chicken with the Yanqui superpower:
In a speech earlier Saturday, Chavez called for the U.S. government to accept "the new realities of Latin America," as he brushed aside restrictions that limit presidents to two consecutive terms. He vowed to stay in office beyond 2013, when his term expires, saying he would revise the constitution to get rid of presidential term limits.
We're making noises about attacks on Iran, who is cheerfully providing us with casus belli.

Anyone who thinks that this isn't going to blow up messily in the next two or three years is, to put it bluntly, hopelessly naive.

Fill 'er up?

Monday, January 15, 2007

About last night.

You can tell me you were having more fun than I was last night, with me at a belated company Christmas/end-of-the-year dinner, eating bloody and still-twitching prime rib, drinking Newcastle on draft, surrounded by gun nut friends and co-workers...

...and I'll call you a damn liar. :)

Odd things I pulled out of the side pocket of my purse today...

...while looking for a quarter:

1) The sawn-off bolt knob from an Argentine M1909 Engineer's Carbine. (Don't ask.)

2) A dead CR123 battery.

3) An A1 birdcage-type flash hider, complete with crush washer, which I have no idea where I got or what it was doing in my purse.

Boomsticks: Real world reliability.

Marko has a good post up discussing why reliability is the most important criteria for a carry gun. I would like to take this opportunity to expand on that a little bit.

All my .45 ACP 1911-type carry guns are absolutely reliable with Wilson 47D magazines. They will all feed 230gr ball, 200gr SWC from Georgia Arms, and 230gr Remington Golden Sabers with one hundred percent reliability.

"But, Tam," you say, "How do you know they're reliable? Will they feed Aguila IQ? Will they feed X-treemShok from 10-round PowerMags? Will they feed Nytrillium hollowpoints from Chinese knockoff GI magazines?"

I don't know.

Nor am I likely to ever find out.

Because I don't put that crap in my guns.

Look, the odds of me standing over some dead zombie terrorist in the jungles of Zimbabwe, forced to use his ammo since I'm out, and him being coincidentally armed with a 1911 which I apparently can't use because I shot him right in the gun, and it turns out that Dr. Evil has armed his zombie terrorist henchmen with surplus Colt mags full of Glaser Safety Slugs that won't feed in my gun, are... well... "ludicrous" doesn't begin to cover it.

I buy my own mags and ammunition. I buy the same kinds of mags and ammunition every time. I buy them in bulk. I buy them because I know they work in my gun, not because they had a cool ad with rapelling ninjas in Guns & Ammo this month or because they have a 98.6% "One Shot Stop" rating or because SquEAL Team Six uses them or whatever.

I have yet to be convinced that this is an unsound practice to follow...

Blog Stuff: The View From The Arms Room.

One of the reasons for this blog is to put some manner of discipline in my otherwise wildly-disordered personal life. I have successfully (thus far) made it a point to post something, anything, at least once a day, no matter how swamped I get at work, no matter how lethargic I feel at home, unless I'm actually out of town or something. As a bonus, hopefully I'll be able to look back in a couple of years and glean something publication-worthy out of the better stuff. I really think that five or ten years down the road, there will be a better (or at least wildly different) America around us, and there will be as much interest in these times as there was for the late Sixties after all was said and done.

The other blog is a bigger challenge, as it's meant to be informative and educational. The first ten posts or so were easy, as most of them were simply copied from older posts here, cleaned up, edited, and amplified with some new material. Now I'm faced with having to write them from scratch. I'm hoping to set aside a special time every week where I can write up a new entry for The Arms Room. At that rate, I've got about a year's worth of material in C&R rifles alone, so it's just a matter of buckling down and doing it now that the retail holiday madness is past. Look forward to a piece on my Springfield M1903 Mark I this week, as well as a re-write/expansion of the Gewehr 88 essay, covering the Gew.88/05 modifications.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Boomsticks: Why I went 6.8.

As some of you may have remembered (if you're very long-time readers) I had a yen to build a .300 Whisper AR. I had the lower (a Superior Arms) all put together, complete with MagPul M93B stock. I had a Leupold CQ/T scope on an ARMS throw-lever base all ready to mount on it. I ordered the .300 Fireball (nee Whisper) upper from Olympic...

In March.

Of '06.

Last week, after evicting yet another spider from its dusty magwell, I figured it was time to slap an upper of some sort on the completed lower, even if only temporarily as a means of keeping arachnids from taking up residence inside. I was considering one of the ultra-swoopy GG&G Dominator uppers we have at the shop, but a phone call changed my mind.

It was Wednesday morning and I was making my weekly call to one of my biggest distributors. We'd just sold our last case of Wolf .223, and the stock of Federal XM193 was running low, so I figured it was time to replenish the bulk AR fodder at the shop.

"So, Larry, do y'all have any XM855?"

"No, we're all out. Sorry!"

"How 'bout XM193?"


"Federal American Eagle? Winchester Q3131?"

"I have 10,000 boxes of the American Eagle on order, but I'm out of both."


"All out."



"So, basically, what you're telling me is that y'all don't have any cheap .223 in the house."

"I'm afraid that's about right."


Now, I have enough bulk 5.56 at home to resupply Task Force Ranger, but suppose I didn't? Suppose I'd unwisely shot up my stockpiles and needed to buy more? I'd be stuck buying premium .223, which runs $15-$20 (or more) a box.

You know what else costs about that, at least when bought by the box? That's right: 6.8mm SPC. And I can get all the bulk 6.8 ball ammo I want right now, and I can get it by the case lot.

And there is a DPMS 6.8mm AP4 flat top upper at work.

Well, scratch that... There was a DPMS 6.8mm AP4 flat top upper at work, because now it's pinned to my lower, with the CQ/T parked atop it.

The cartridge has always seemed a good idea to me, delivering a pretty good wallop while requiring minimal changes to the existing AR platform, and with Hornady and Remington both loading ammo, availability is good right now. (This also gives me an excellent excuse to pick up a 6.8 barrel for my Encore.) Since the lower required no modifications to work with the upper, when my .300 Whisper upper finally arrives (or should I decide to pick up another .223 upper) I can switch it out with two push-pins and not have to worry about the hammers, buffers, and mag blocks that make having a dedicated pistol-caliber lower almost a necessity.

So there you go. Only about two years after they hit the shelves, I've finally got a 6.8, and almost by accident at that. Who knows? If ammo prices and availability trends keep going like they have for the past two years, I may be converting my other 5.56 AR to the caliber before long as well...

Friday, January 12, 2007

I already picked two of the easiest ones... and here, but there's still a gold mine of punchline-worthy material here.

Smith & Tesler lied...

...Johnson died.

You know, if this is true...

If this is true... If I was in those two officers' shoes, sworn to uphold the law and protect the public, and as a result of my lies an innocent old woman lay dead by my hand, I believe I'd have no option but to take my department-issued Glock with me into the bathroom and Do The Right Thing.

There are no words for my contempt right now.

(Via Ninth Stage.)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Great idea.

You in?

Boomsticks: The gun-control test...

Gun control has become such a polarized issue, such an idee fixe, in Big Party politics that aberrant positions on the topic can be used as a clue to a politician's motives and actions on totally non-related issues. A couple of examples:

1) Northeast Democrat Against Gun Control: This legislator probably ran as a Democrat because a GOP incumbent had things all sewed up in her district.

2) Southwestern Republican For Gun Control: Most likely up to something they're afraid will make folks mad enough to shoot when they find out about it.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Same planet, different worlds...

Why does the sight of this make me want to set up a huge smoker full of ribs and a clay pigeon thrower on the beach upwind of them?

Well, I don't want to badly enough to drive to California. Nothing personal to my CA readers, embattled islands of sanity that y'all are, but I wouldn't cross the California state line to pick up a hundred dollar bill lying on the ground two feet inside it.

(H/T to Victory Soap.)

Politics: ...and the teeth-grinding commences.

I have no real love for the peccadilloes and strange beliefs of the Right. From politicians with a tenuous grasp of the Constitution to preachers sticking their noses where they don't belong, I get a twinge of annoyance at least once a day. It remains largely an annoyance, however, as so much of what they hold dear has very little impact on me in my daily life: I don't gamble, have no desire to marry another woman, and don't have any children for them to teach that the Earth is flat or that Harry Potter is the tool of the devil. Besides, they generally want to let me keep my guns, so if they get too annoying in the future I figure I can always shoot them.

Not living in California, the nut-fudge looniness of the left has mostly been a source of humor to me for the last twelve years, like the comic opera politics of some far-off land with too many consonants and not enough electricity. The Left has had less influence at the national level for the last decade than an outboard motor would have on the course of a supertanker, but with the convulsion of November '06, that has all changed, and suddenly they're out to really get me good and surly, because they're not after my Good Times, they're after my money.

The sophisticated Blue State city-dwelling agnostic may mock the tent-revival evangelical's belief that "With God, everything is possible", yet he somehow leaves unexamined the fact that he believes the same thing, except that "God" is replaced by "legislative fiat". Feel unsafe around harbors? Worried that the bad guys might try to smuggle something in? Just pass a law decreeing that every single container entering every single seaport in the US must be physically inspected. Never mind how, never mind that it will make US ports look like the DC Beltway at 5:15 on a Friday afternoon; it's the law. Just make it happen. Anguished over folks not making enough money? Pass a law raising minimum wage. Never mind where employers are going to come up with this money (Hint: layoffs and price increases), just make everybody un-poor, and do it now. This belief in show-of-hands metaphysics, this idea that reality can be changed by a simple House Resolution and a big dollop of earnestness, doesn't just annoy me, it sets a vein bouncing in my forehead.

That tremor you felt this morning? That wasn't the East Tennessee Seismic Zone, that was me grinding my teeth. Look forward to feeling more of it in the future.

Hey, neat!

With Ford's Mustang, Chevy's Camaro, and Dodge's Challenger all paying homage to their '60s progenitors, it's good to see that Pontiac knows which decade its nostalgiac soul is centered in.

Disco, baby. Paint it black, make the thunderchicken decal on the hood gold, stuff Burt and Sally inside, and roar off down memory lane... :)

Of all the cars I've owned, the one I feel the most irrational nostalgia for is my Trans Am. It was a tired old thing, with interior trim bits falling off, a wheezing smog motor that had a hard time chirping the tires, and t-tops that leaked. I'd bought it cynically as a cheap-to-get-fixed and moderately-fun-to-drive conveyance that would last me a year or so until I could afford something better, but it did have good-looking lines and it made that sound. The Beemer I drive now would suck that old Pontiac's headlights out without raising a sweat, but I've never driven the Z3 back and forth down an alley with the window down just to hear the staccato rumble of the exhaust mutter back to me off the walls... "This is me, sounding like a juvenile delinquent." Heh. Also, the Z3 may have been trouble free thus far, but there's some truth to the saying that a GM v8 will run like crap longer than most cars will run at all.

(Betcha DaimlerChrysler's kicking themselves for torpedoing the Plymouth marque. Who gives a crap about the Challenger? Now, a reborn 'Cuda... that would sell like bottled water at a habanero festival!)

(H/T to SayUncle.)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

How festive...

So, I click on Site Meter and a Universal Studios banner ad is there in the left margin. I'm busy perusing my site's data, and The Cat In The Hat's noggin pops up in all its Javascript glory.

Out of the corner of my eye I notice the cartoon cat suddenly cast his eyes downward for a second...

Great. An animated anthropomorphic feline on my computer screen is ogling my boobs. Hey, buddy, I'm up here...

Boomsticks: Practice pays off...

When folks look at little snubnose revolvers like the J-frame Smiths or the Taurus 85, it's not uncommon to hear "Oh, you can't hit anything with those little things..." I'd tell them about my former boss, who'd ding pie plates at almost fifty yards shooting double action with his little Bodyguard Airweight, but you could tell they didn't really believe it.

He was, of course, "staging" the double action trigger, which is kind of a no-no if you want to really get good with one. For myself, I was happy when all that trigger time paid off yesterday with some pretty righteous shooting with my little 2" Model 34. Rapping out a steady stream of shots in double action mode (*bangbangbangbangbangbang*) I was keeping them all in nice little two-inch clusters in the upper and lower A-zones at a modest seven yards. I'm sure I could have gotten it under an inch in slowfire and maybe even tighter shooting single action, but that wasn't really the point of the exercise.

This doesn't make me any Kay Clark Miculek, but it'll do for what needs doing. Remember that next time you hear someone saying you can't hit anything with a snubbie.

It's an interesting morning, in the Chinese sense of the word.

US aircraft allegedly launched airstrikes against islamist holdout enclaves in the south of Somalia in the hopes of taking out Al Qaeda members responsible for the 1998 embassy bombings. Meanwhile, Washington is expected to announce sanctions against Bank Sepah, a large Iranian bank, to continue putting pressure on Ahmadinejad to 'fess up to his nefarious WMD activities and shut them down. Finally, with some of the heaviest street fighting we've seen in a while going down in the Sunni quarter of Baghdad, the Democrats are making noises about exercising their power of the purse and de-funding military operations in Iraq.

...and all this before I've had breakfast.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Politics: No less than expected.

The Democrats are setting up an ambitious legislative assault for their first hundred days. Among the planned actions is a bill declaring the coastal strip of the ANWR a protected wilderness area, which would make drilling there a no-no forever, or so they hope.

Look, y'all: The ANWR is going to get drilled. It can be done now in a deliberate and highly-regulated fashion, or it can be done in the future, in a blind and non-eco-friendly panic when Chavez shuts off the tap to back up his buddy Ahmadinejad. Which one do you think will be more likely to generate National Geographic photos of homeless musk oxen?

Mmm-Mmm good!

Went with Bob to EdisonPark steakhouse for dinner last night, and left with a happy tummy. We split a seared ahi tuna appetizer, and I was so proud of myself for remembering how to manipulate chopsticks without sticking food in my ear or flinging a chunk of tuna into the bud vase in the center of the table. The prime rib sandwich was deeeluxious, as were the mushrooms that I snagged from Bob's plate whenever he wasn't looking (and I'm not even the world's biggest mushroom fan...) I'll be going back for my next Day Off Dinner treat...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

It's a fine day for treason and treachery.

Few things elicit the same hindbrain twinge of revulsion in me as betrayal, and boy, oh, boy is my hindbrain all a'twinge after reading the news this morning. The sin of Judas is a popular one in the news these days, from places as far apart as Warsaw and Havana.

The new Archbishop of Warsaw had his job offer revoked when it turned out that he'd spent twenty years playing Bishop Finkski, stool pigeon extraordinaire, to the Communist-era Polish security services. Wonder how many kneecaps got broken in questioning thanks to tips from the good cleric? Wonder how many Poles will never look at the inside of a confessional quite the same way again?

Meanwhile, to the south of here, Cindy Sheehan will be manning a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun travelling across Castro's Cuba to go denounce her homeland on foreign soil. When reminded of the US trade embargo that makes travel to Cuba technically a crime for US citizens, she airily responded that she believed her mission was exempt from those restrictions, since she was only travelling there for the purpose of lambasting her government and gaining publicity by doing something goofy on the wrong side of the Guantanamo gates.

Lastly we go to my old stomping grounds of Cobb County, Georgia, where a local woman apparently noticed that, while her wedding vows went on at length about loving and cherishing and that sort of thing, they were pretty much silent on the topic of slipping your beau an antifreeze mickey. Having done in her husband in such a fashion, she went on to poison the man with whom she was cheating on him. Now the state of Georgia intends to kill her, but not with antifreeze, more's the pity.

Dante reserved the ninth and lowest circle of hell for the sin of treachery. Betrayal of friends, betrayal of country, betrayal of family; each had their own special area and gruesome torment. Oddly, there appears to be no shortage of people clamoring to get in...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Price of Admiralty...

We have fed our sea for a thousand years
And she calls us, still unfed,
Though there's never a wave of all her waves
But marks our English dead:
We have strawed our best to the weed's unrest,
To the shark and the sheering gull.
If blood be the price of admiralty,
Lord God, I hope they take Visa!

-"The Song of the Dead"
R. Kipling

I am typing this while looking at a small cube of teak from the orlop deck of HMS Victory, the deck on which Nelson bled out his life and attained immortality in the aftermath of the fleet action at Trafalgar. Yesterday, 202 years after that epic battle, the Royal Navy announced that it would be slashing its blue-water fighting force by half due to financial reasons. With a shrinking defense budget increasingly allocated to supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, rumors were also afloat (about the only things that were off the coast of England) that one of the RN's overseas stations might be abandoned too, to help further tighten the belt.

From the 17th Century to World War II, Great Britain deliberately maintained a fleet large enough to defeat the next two largest navies in the world. Conscious of her position as an island nation, freedom of the seas was not just a philosophy, it was the lifeblood that kept the heart of England's economy pumping. Despite being supplanted in this role by the United States in the postwar world, the Royal Navy remained a potent force on the world's oceans.

Maybe the world has changed enough that Britain no longer needs her "oaken walls". Maybe, but I doubt it. Her commerce still needs to be protected, and the English Channel isn't as wide as it once was. For a Royal Navy that hasn't been an underdog since the days of the Spanish Armada but is now "no better than a coastal defence force", let's hope the world remains a peacable place.

(Thanks to Marko for tipping me off to the sad news.)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Blog Stuff: Bwahahaa!

Oh, gawd, y'all aren't going to believe this one without a picture to prove it:

Note the search terms: "porch verses mercedes".

Is he looking for poetry written about a girl named Mercedes by someone sitting on a porch? Is he curious about which is a better place to sit and drink a beer: A treated pine deck or a 560SEL? What the hell is he searching for? And who let him near a computer?

I feel old...

Way back in the day of dialup BBS's, PCBoard, RoboComm, SillyLittleMailReader, 2400 baud modems, and all that, I remember a sigline that said "And you may tell yourself | This is not my one gig drive!"(spoofing "Once In A Lifetime" by the Talking Heads.)

Tonight I was rummaging through a pile of old game CDs, thinking about installing some of them on VFTP Command Central, when I became worried about disk space, so I checked. I only have 87 gigs free. I'd better cut down on downloads...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Blog Stuff: Fiddling with the blogroll...

I confess: My blogroll isn't much based on the usual "Group Blogroll" thing (although I have a decrepit version of The Rocky Top Brigade blogroll up since it was largely my blogfathers Les Jones and SayUncle, as well as Countertop, who caused me to start this thing) or the alternate "Reciprocal Links" thing, since my blogroll consists almost solely of folks I read every 1-3 days, or those I feel obligated to include due to their early influence on my blogging or because they work in close proximity to my kneecaps while carrying loaded guns. That being said, without further ado...

It is with great reluctance that I yank The Meatriarchy, MotorcycleCommuter, and Guns & Butter, since they are all on self-imposed hiatus.

I replace them with:

Victory Soap: Her writing reminds me so much of an old friend of mine that every time I read it I feel like I'm sitting in a booth in the mall food court making fun of passersby.

Ambulance Driver: New to blogging, but I'm hanging on his every word. Maybe the only blog on the 'net to use the sentence "This doesn't look like any ostrich attack I've ever seen."

Oleg Volk's LiveJournal: Not only can he take purty pictures, but he can rite good, too.

Read and enjoy. I do.

Politics: Comedy gold!

I'd never read the blog of an imaginary person before, but thanks to the magic of teh intarw3bz, now I have.

Meet the real imaginary Capt. Jamil Hussein; human vaporware, AP deep throat, off-the-record moonbat news source extraordinaire, and screamingly funny to boot. :)

PS: For those unaware, the Iraqis are now saying "Whoops, we think he's a real guy after all." But they supposedly want the AP to pick him out of a lineup. The story is developing. It is not, however, as funny as the "Blackberry post" on that blog...

(H/T to Les Jones.)

Blog Stuff: Viewing '06 From The Porch...

Given that this is the first week of the new year, I'm going to take advantage of a gimme post idea from Mostly Cajun, passed on by Kevin at The Smallest Minority; to wit, a "Best Of 2006 At VFTP" post:

In January, I wrote one of my most read posts up to that date: "Boomsticks: The Once And Future Pistol", my paean to John Moses Browning's seminal fighting pistol. It still drags in a couple of linked hits or flotsam from Google daily. February's highlight, judging by commentary, was the post titled "Politics: Bill Gates' Pizza", a rant on the zero sum view of economics. I bemoaned my clothing choices in "It's hard to be both fashionable and heavily armed." during March, and April brought a poke at bogus 'operators' entitled "Thank you for calling Fort Bragg. How may I direct your call?". May's big musing was on the NSA's phone database, and was called "Politics: If you use my tin can & string, can I tell Mom?". Electronic safety devices for firearms were the topic of June's "Boomsticks: a screen door on a submarine", while July brought a discussion of the realities of microeconomics in "Boomsticks: Economics 101". July was also the month that I sold out for hits. August will be remembered as the month of The Great Flying Shampoo Panic in "The Air Travel Scenario: Reality bites." The ninth month saw my first Instalanche and my most widely-linked post yet: "I ain't goin' out like that..."; October's hit was "The sacred Middle Class". The big post in November was actually the firestorm in the comments of the War on (Some) Drugs post "...and look where it's gotten us" which more or less led directly to the "The Revenge of Barney Fife" post in December.

...and that was the year that was at View From The Porch.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Like my own personal rollercoaster...

Well, here I am, watching dawn paint the mountains somewhere in the far western corner of North Carolina, and I have to be at work today somewheres around noonish.

That means that shortly I'll get to play Need For Speed: BMW Unleashed down about forty miles of Route 68 through the mountains, or maybe I'll take the Cherohala Skyway, or maybe I'll...

I just wish it was warm enough to drop the top.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy '07!

This morning rosy-cheeked Aurora, goddess of the dawn and bringer of the flannel tongue, greeted me with the bells of a new year, ringing in my skull.

May it be a prosperous and safe one for all y'all!

Best wishes from all of me here on the VFTP management team.

Now I'm gonna go shoot some more... :)