Monday, March 31, 2008
...and yes, if you click on the above graphic, you go to the Toyota Matrix site. They've given me the creeping willies so well that the least I can do is spot 'em a link.
The behemoth took more vacuum tubes than an internet's worth of audio geeks, occupied over 40 square yards of floorspace, and was dumber than your cell phone by several orders of magnitude.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
A view of how far we've strayed from this was illustrated in an otherwise innocuous line from Breda's St. Paddy's Day post which has been itching at me ever since, such that I finally had to write about it.
Determined to find a sunny spot, we headed to the parade route. But before we turned the corner onto Superior Avenue, I noticed quite a few police cars - federal police cars. They read "Department of Homeland Security" on the side. Officers in what appeared to be riot gear were patrolling nearby.Ponder that for a moment: The might and majesty of the Federal Government of the United States of America being used to bust a guy for violating an open container law. The Tenth Amendment might as well not exist these days.
"Uh-oh...is something happening?" I wondered. I realized then that we were outside of the U.S. Court House, right next to my first cousin. In a crowd of thousands, I found myself standing next to family. I was the flowergirl at his wedding and now he's as white haired as my father used to be...we laughed, both surprised at seeing the other. We both said "eejit" as we watched a man get ticketed by the Feds for drinking Guinness on the street.
Regardless of your view of open container laws, if this was anybody's business, it was that of the City of Cleveland or the State of Ohio, not the United States Department of Homeland Security. And the scary part is that we don't even bat an eye at it anymore.
This must just be one of those European royalty things that doesn't make sense to someone unless they read a lot more British tabloids than I do. I mean, here's Vilhelm, a younger brother of the crown prince anyway, minding his own business and trying to get his feet wet in the Danish Navy, no doubt worried about looking like a complete twink aboard the new-fangled steam frigates, when:
"Huh? I mean, 'Yes?'"
"How would you like to be king?"
"Uh, isn't that kind of treasonous? What with my dad and older brother still being alive and all?"
"Not of Denmark; King of Greece, sir. They sent the job offer only just this morning."
"Greece? But I've never been there. I don't even speak Greek!"
"I'll hunt up a dictionary while you see to your things, sir."
Saturday, March 29, 2008
The Democrat next door forgot to turn the light on her garage off, although the rest of her house is darker than three feet up a well-digger's butt at midnight. Save the TV, of course.
We, on the other hand, are lit up like the alarm board at Chernobyl.
BONUS!: Neat-o animation of the gunhouse and barbette (turret thingie to us non-navy types) on a British battleship.
I haven't seen such neato grownup toys since I stumbled across R/C model warship combat on the 'net.
Friday, March 28, 2008
More importantly, I wouldn't have known about the comments over at Hot Air. See, in the post over there it only took seven comments for some gonadless denizens of Vichy America to turn up and defend the low budget rent-a-cops of the TSA. Seven comments before some toadying sycophants lauded the TSA for defending the American skies from exploding boobies.
Folks, if the jihadis have you quivering under the dust ruffle in fear of nipple-ring-activated breast bombs, then it's time to grab a rusty bayonet and Daniel Pearl yourself live on Al Jazeera because they have won. If you can't see that your spineless defense of this farcical bit of security theater makes you unworthy to empty the colostomy bag of an Iwo vet, then you should just turn in your Lee Greenwood albums, exchange your dollars for dinars, and pull a burkha over your buzzcut, bro, because it's all over here in the Land of the Formerly Free and the Home of the Not-So-Brave.
When the family and I made our move to The Former Republic 18 months ago, U-Haul quoted us ~$3000 for a one-way rental. I got a quote the same day for a one-way TX->CA rental. $250. I laughed merrily on that one.
You don't need to be an econ major to do the math behind that one. Sacramento's already tried taxing the pensions of folks who retire out of state (with their comically inflated Calidollars that go such a long way back in the states because we've foolishly pegged the exchange rate between CA and the US at 1:1.) How long before they just take another page from the Red playbook and build a wall along the border? Not the Cali/Mexican border to keep illegal aliens out, but the NV/AZ border to keep
In my defense, I've only had two cans of Vault Zero, a Full Throttle Blue Demon, and one cup of coffee this morning, so I'm not quite up to speed yet.
When the subprime mess augered in, it actually left a crater.
Single, unemployed mother of two eyes nutritious children. All Bush's fault.
As idealistic revolutions by fuzzy-headed academics often do, it ended with somewhere between 10,000 and all of them being killed by the army.
Coincidentally, on this day in 845AD, Viking raiders looted everything in not-so-Gay-at-the-time Paree that wasn't nailed down and raped most of what was left, and kept putting their feet on the little tables in medieval sidewalk cafes until they were paid to go away by the rather inauspiciously named French monarch, Chuck the Bald.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Business Opportunity: Make a lip primer coat somehow involving glazed ceramic molecules.
"You must have done SOMEthing to provoke the fire, so you deserve whatever you get."
"Are you sure you have the judgement to know when a fire needs extinguishing? Firemen are trained for years to make those calls."
"It'll be like the Wild West, with civilians running around extinguishing barbecue grills and the smoker at Greasy Joe's Rib Joint by mistake."
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
"History. History. Dinosaurs. Guns. General science. Guns. Guns. Novel. Large-format SF. More guns. Humor. Huh?!?" The "Huh" was the Book of Mormon, when I am pretty obviously disqualified by my vast consumption of caffeine and alcohol and my lack of special underwear. I can see where stumbling across that in a box of my books was kinda like running over an alligator. In Iowa.
Well, years back when I was rooming with Marko and still kinda convalescing from my big motorcycle accident, he was out of town on business and I was bored silly and two polite guys came to the door and said something along the lines of "Would you like a free book?" You mean a book like the kind with words in it and "free" as in "no money"? What kind of stupid question is that? Would I like a free book? Jeez, does a big snake crawl low to the ground? I have a hard enough time saying no to books that cost money (in fact I usually don't say "no" at a book store so much as "sorry, I seem to be out of cash,") so I don't much care what the book is about; if it's free, I'm your reader.
So obviously I was absolutely floored when I read at Breda's that they're having a hard time giving away free copies of Fahrenheit 451 at a library in Idaho. Hello? Ray Bradbury? Free? If I didn't already have a copy (and gas was, say, under $2/gallon) I'd be all about a roadtrip to Idaho Falls.
(I say "grudgingly", because you would be drummed out of the International Debater's Guild for coming up with an analogy so ham-fistedly silly.)
Apparently some experts in the Place Where Great Britain Used To Be have determined that publicly accessible fire extinguishers are a Bad Thing because, and I quote, "[t]he life-saving devices encourage untrained people to fight a fire rather than leave the building". I swear to you on my still-living mother's grave that I did not make that up as a joke. The comic possibilities beggar the imagination:
"You should give the fire what it wants to avoid getting hurt."
"We're the only ones qualified to use fire extinguishers safely."
"Just get to a safe place and call 911 and let the experts come take care of it."
"Try and reason with the fire."
"The fire will just take the extinguisher away from you and use it against you."
Oh, my god, the jokes are endless. For a fan of snark like me, I couldn't be happier if Santa left me a real live pony. I'll be chuckling to myself all day.
(Big Thanks to Eccentric Bounce.)
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Remember: The difference between a war story and a fairy tale is that the fairy tale starts with "Once upon a time..." while the war story starts out with "No sh!t, this really happened..."
I reckon I'll put in an order for a sharkskin holster for my 5" 625 next month. I'll let y'all know how it goes.
I have to tell you, this guy has found a good niche market. If you have a 3" or 5" N-frame (or a Redhawk or Anaconda) your holster options from the big name mass production companies are somewhere between slim and none.
Well, see, because that would be a "body count", and it would be ghoulish and wrong. It's only decorous and proper to trumpet your own death totals on the front page.
Monday, March 24, 2008
No, I don't mean hoarding high-capacity scary-looking guns in some "get-'em-while-I-can" effort just in case Hillary wins the White House; I mean buying old guns to prepare for my future. Seriously, if you're past a certain age, how will anybody take you seriously at gun shows if you don't have a table full of ancient Colts, Smith & Wessons, and South American Mausers on which you can hang crazily inflated price tags? Oh, and then I have to practice yelling every time someone under the age of thirty looks like they might be about to touch one. Wouldn't want a new generation getting interested in collecting, would we?
I'm frankly surprised that ABCNNBCBS didn't have a news truck on the lawn of the lucky mom in time for the early AM news cycle.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
10. Muslim converts on Easter.
Okay, I can see why this is being watched: A vocal anti-jihadist gets rather publicly baptized by the Pope hisownself. Pretty newsish.
9. China puts out its Tibet version.
We all do want to hear China's rationale for going all Tienanmen on the world's leading exporters of hippie philosophy and general Shirley MacLainery.
8. Pregnant woman tortured to death.
Gruesome, but it definitely has the "If it bleeds, it leads" thing going on in spades.
7. Former radical back in prison.
A clerical error that lets someone out of prison... whoops! ...a whole year early because of a typo is news in anybody's book.
6. Pope celebrates Mass in thunderstorm...
And isn't electrocuted, which I suppose we can take as a good annual evaluation from his boss. Lots of Catholics on the planet, which explains lots of eyeballs for this story.
5. Troops kill shaved militants.
I don't care how prudish you are, you clicked on this headline. You know you did.
4. Man goes on stabbing spree at mall.
He must have noticed the "No Guns Allowed" signs. Definitely news.
3. Richardson: Speech key to support.
A Friend Of Bill's jumping ship to Obama Nation in the middle of the campaign is pretty noteworthy. Lots of eyeballs will follow that.
2. Sailors trapped in sunken ship.
Ongoing drama! Sailors trapped in Davy Jones' locker! Heroic rescue attempts underway! Look!
But the number one most clicked-on, most popular, most eyeball-grabbing bit on CNN right now, in the midst of calamitous shipwrecks, tortured moms, shaved militants, missing felons, and presidential politics?
1. J.K. Rowling: I considered suicide.
Sigh. Y'know what? I'm suddenly considering it, too.
But shopping just makes me depressed. The reward for having a perfect lean athletic body is that nobody makes clothes small enough to fit you.I'm trying to feel sympathy here... trying... ... Sorry, Kit, it's just not happening. ;)
Seriously, though, the long, soul-destroying schleps through the mall looking for something that fits? Actually I do totally sympathize. That more than anything else nipped my fashionista phase in the bud. "Oh, that's cute! Too bad it's sized for the Lollipop Guild Ladies' Auxiliary." And the rare things that were cut long enough were, as often as not, for a woman of more... er, substance. It's no fun being out on the tag ends, as it were, of the various sizing bell curves.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Seriously, an Olyarms carbine with lo-rent plastic tactical gizmos looks, to the experienced eye, about as much like a military M4 as a J.C. Whitneyed Kia looks like an IMSA GTP car. Just stop, y'all.
Friday, March 21, 2008
People were being advised, by people who operate (by nature of their profession) as authorities in financial matters to enter agreements against their own best interest.
Why is it that everyone thinks the man trying to sell them a $500 TV is a scummy ripoff artist, and the man trying to sell them a $5000 used car is a scummy ripoff artist, but the person trying to sell them a $500,000 mortgage is a financial professional and their bestest buddy?
Jeezo pete, folks! The man on the other side of the desk is not your friend. His job is to get money from you. Your job is to read the fine print and squeeze nickels 'til the buffalo craps, not to roll over and sign whatever's put in front of you.
Second thought: "It would probably help if they had my phone number."
To any kin and such on my regular chat list who haven't received updated contact info: You know I'm scatterbrained. An elbow nudge via email wouldn't be taken amiss...
All Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had to do to bring several thousand people in Anderson to their feet was mention the word "jobs."I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that part of the problem is that at some time in our past, manufacturing jobs became considered "middle class". It's one thing for a job to provide a "living wage", the term so beloved by the collectivists on the other side of the aisle. It's another thing to think that putting bolts in holes all day should pay enough for a bass boat, two cars, a used Harley, and a time-share in Destin. The mission of WidgetCo is not to finance its employee's children's college educations, folks; its mission is to produce widgets. If you price yourself out of the widget assembly market, then WidgetCo is going to go find people who are willing to make them cheaper. In a free country, this gives you two choices: Accept less money for making widgets, or find a new trade that offers the lush financial rewards you feel that you're worth.
In this one-time manufacturing powerhouse, the second of three Indiana cities to which Clinton brought her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday, no issue seemed more important than helping the middle class get back on its feet.
Unfortunately, most Americans don't like the idea of a free country. At least for other people. Namely, the kind of people that pay salaries. This is why a presidential candidate can hop on a stump and propose all manner of things that are not only not part of the American way of life but actually repugnant to it, and still have people wave little plastic American flags and cheer. Because, dammit, those fat cats owe you a job! More importantly, they owe you the job you want at the pay rate you deserve! (The queasy part is that there's at least one person who read that and nodded their head, completely oblivious to its sardonic intent.)
While Hillary stopped short of promising, like a certain Democrat candidate of thirty-some years ago, not to rest until all Americans had above-average incomes, there were other moments of comedy gold. She lauded the economic prosperity of the '90s that she apparently helped bring about by being married to the guy in the Oval Office, and then reminded everyone that she was against NAFTA now. Also promised was that her administration would start "investing in manufacturing." This despite the fact that the only really constitutional way the federal government can "invest" in manufacturing is by investing in Boeing and General Dynamics Electric Boat division, and Democrats think the stuff that they manufacture is icky. Or at least they did when Reagan invested in a bunch of it.
Nonetheless, thousands of Hoosiers cheered as Clinton promised to lead them out of the wilderness of unemployment and into the Big Rock Candy Mountains. I can only shake my head and wander off in search of the alleged streams of alcohol that come trickling down the rocks. It's probably going to take a lot of drinking to make it through the next four years no matter who wins this clown show.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Such acts of capitalism cannot be allowed to stand, even if between consenting adults. The bourgeoise pigs have been ordered to refund money to anyone who shows up with a receipt and a sob story.
The People's Law Commissioner encourages you to use this handy online finking form to report any petrol station near you that you suspect of practicing capitalism. Do it for the People! Viva la Revolucion! Down the Bourgeoise!
If only they knew what kind of camera-wielding subversives actually lurked in their town!
(H/T to Unc.)
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The Second Amendment does not grant a collective right to keep and bear arms. The Second Amendment does not grant an individual right to keep and bear arms. The Second Amendment, like the other Amendments in the Bill of Rights, grants neither diddly nor squat.
What the Second Amendment does is bar the government from tampering with an existing right, just like the First and the Fourth and the Fifth and all those other sexy Amendments you love so much. The Bill of Rights could only be read as "Granting Rights" by someone whose reading comprehension compares unfavorably with that of a lobotomized flatworm. It "grants" nothing to nobody, unless by "Grant" you mean "Tell The Government To Bugger Off".
That is all, thank you.
Here's an example of a good lure for getting the monkey to stick his fist in the jar: College chick proves shes swallowed aigialosaur. You have to admit that it beats the depressingly routine "Refinance Your Viagra With Bigger Breasts In Seven Days!"
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
"Excuse me sir, may I see your license, registration and proof of insurance for your, uh, conveyance, there?" asked the younger one.
"What do you mean?" Paul half-yelled, disbelievingly. "Please, good sir, I must warn the militia..."
"I'm sure you must, sir. License, please?"
"A license? To travel? Have you lost your mind?"
The officers exchanged glances again. "Step down off the horse, please, sir. We're going to do a little field sobriety test."
Following the officer's instructions, and literally shaking from the stress of the delay to his vital ride, Revere's finger missed the tip of his nose by a good three inches. Worse, as he leaned back to try again, his coat fell open and he felt a hand snatch his flintlock pistol from his belt. "Lemme guess, sir," sighed the policeman, "you ain't got a license for this, either?"
"A license for a pistol? I've never heard such utter..."
"Didn't think so," muttered the officer, cuffing Paul Revere with his partner's assistance and then shoving him into the back of the squad car after a brief struggle and much shouting about "... but Liberty depends on..." and such.
(Back in the city his accomplices, a Mr. Newman and a Capt. Pulling, were proned out by a SWAT team in the belfry of the Old North Church when Bostonians, seeing the light of their blinking lanterns, mistook them for a terrorist bomb and called 911 on their cell phones...)
Now I'm living in a city in the middle of a state with the topography of a billiard table. The frost-heaved and potholed roads are only a shell crater away from those in downtown Beirut. Everyplace I need to go is within a mile or two of the house, via flat, straight roads on which my car is unlikely to need fourth gear. With its stiff suspension and low-profile tires on butter-soft alloy rims, the Z3 is something of a fish out of water here in my new neighborhood, despite its Sunday-afternoon top-down poseur potential on Broad Ripple Avenue. I'm seriously thinking about cashing it out while it's still got a fair bit of trade-in mojo.
You may have noticed that despite this blog being tagged with the moniker "booksBIKESboomsticks", I haven't done a lot of writing about bikes since the sale of the Zephyr last year. I've noticed it, too. I'm starting to feel the itch. RobertaX is nice enough to offer to let me use her spare scooter, a little Chinese-built 50cc number, but I'd feel a little silly in my Mighty Morphin Power Rangers riding gear on the thing, plus the fact that I'd need to re-learn the whole shift/brake thing on a scooter. Also I want my own bike.
Suzuki's super-motard style DR-Z400SM is calling my name; I think it would be a perfect around-the-neighborhood Urban Assault Vehicle. It's narrow, light, flickable, reasonably priced, and its 400cc single is insanely good on gas if your don't wring its little neck. That leaves the more challenging part: Picking a 4-wheeled vehicle.
I'm looking for something comfy enough for roadtrips, decent on gas, with at least the pretense of being fun-to-drive, and front-wheel drive for the icky season. It should be able to lope to Tennessee, Texas, or Georgia with room enough for long guns. I'd also prefer something with a rep for longevity. It would need to be fairly reasonably priced, with good used examples available in the $3k-$5k range. Perhaps a Saab 9000S? Volvo? Maxima? Who can say?
Anyhow, anybody want to buy a Bimmer?
Monday, March 17, 2008
Someday this planet may be reduced to a wasteland, with cockroaches, brainiac chimps and Charlton Heston slugging it out in the radioactive rubble, but future space alien visitors will say "Hell's bells, Marge-10Tz3! Will you look at that 2-ton space robot? The arms alone must be eleven foot apiece! These carbon-based guys were really somethin'!"
As a bonus, the headline to the article read "Spacewalkers resort to banging...", confirming what we knew all along: There really is a Hundred-Mile-High Club!
Thanks to the earworms ABBA's fluffy pop has caused over the years, police are investigating everyone on the planet as possible suspects.
For some reason we never celebrate on April 28th, which is the Feast of St. Seamus, the man who put the snakes in Ireland in the first place.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
In their adorable Teutonic way, the Germans saw the new technology and almost immediately went to work figuring out a way to use it to blow people up. Of course, it would need to be improved tremendously, because it would take a much larger, more complicated, and swoopier-looking rocket to carry a sufficiently lethal load of high explosives to a place with a large enough concentration of non-German people to make it worthwhile. Like London, for instance. On this date in 1942, they launched the first V-2 rocket. It thundered into the air above the launch pad and then blew up.
In dogged German fashion, however, they ironed the bugs out of the V-2 until it was dropping out of the skies over London with proper efficiency. So successful were they, that they managed to colonize the U.S. postwar space program and to populate bad '50s sci-fi, Antarctica, and even the far reaches of the internet with Space Nazis on the Moon.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
I read the cover blurb at the bookstore and reckoned I could save myself a few bucks. "Oh, look! Another hackneyed Tolkien ripoff D&D romp! Yawn."
Thanks to the Critical Bookworm, I feel smugly certain that I was righter than I knew.
(...and a totally unrelated PS to budding fantasy authors:
I know making up your own language makes you feel cool and all, can let you pad out your novel with appendices, dictionaries, & alphabet charts, and gives you reason to use the word "verisimilitude" in polite company, but harken to my warning: The Kindly Professor made up a language because he was a professor of linguistics, and then made up some stories to give it a home. Trying to make up a language to fit in your story when the last English course you took was Grammar/Comp 122 is unlikely to be anywhere near as successful...)
Other famous types who checked out on this date include Odoacer, the first Germanic king of post-Roman Italy (who was, perhaps not coincidentally, shivved to death by supposed allies on the Ides), and H.P. Lovecraft, who had his soul devoured by the Outer Gods on this date in 1937.
"[W]e've got enough laws we can't enforce. We don't want to make any more or criminalize legal conduct."Right. Like that's ever stopped the Chicago government before. I wonder if her head spun around and she vomited green pea soup while she was possessed by the ghost of some long-dead Founding Father. Shiva knows she doesn't normally have any particular aversion to making laws.
Friday, March 14, 2008
What a splendid display of things being relative to the viewpoint of the observer: Standing on the deck of the U.S.S. Dollar and exclaiming "Captain! Look! Sea level is going up!"
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Time out for a 30 minute break on the front porch with a beer, a cigarette, and some Florence King to read...
How shocked they'd be to find that on so many issues we're on the same page. The difference between us is that I plan on using something more, ummm... authoritative than an iPod to keep from being shoved into the cattle car.
(H/T to Unc.)
I've long been considering what should be the next thing I do with my T/C Encore. I have a barrel in .405 Winchester, as well as a 209x50 muzzleloading barrel. I've been considering getting a barrel in a small game cartridge, such as .22 Hornet (yes, yes, I know it's impractical, but I don't have one yet, which should be all the excuse I need.) I'm also considering two other rifle barrels: One in a pistol caliber such as .357 Magnum or .44 Magnum, and one in a smaller deer caliber; probably .243, but maybe 6.5x55, 6.8 SPC, or 7x57.
This means I would need to go to T/C's website to check on what calibers are currently available. The website is total eye candy, complete with flash animations and sounds for darn near every movement of your mouse pointer. Annoying. The "off" switch for all the dancing baloney is buried 'way down at the bottom, too. To add insult to injury, navigation is murky if you're looking for a specific tidbit of information, such as a list of what calibers are available in what barrel lengths, contours, and finishes. Apparently, unless it's hidden very well on the main site someplace, the only way to get this chart is to download the .pdf of the 2008 catalog; which is not a simple black-on-white document, either, oh no. The catalog is a 55-page monstrosity with photographic backgrounds for every page, and even with a decent computer and a DSL connection, it's like taking Lake Michigan through a drinking straw. On the index page the very last graphic to load was... can you guess? That's right, the page numbers. Nice work, that.
Thanks for nothin', T/C; your web site is teh suXX0rz. I guess I'll just have to hope to find something interesting at the gun show this weekend.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Other bloggers have roundly denounced the California court decision on home schooling, but I want to focus on one particular point of it:
"Specifically, the appeals court said, the trial court had found that "keeping the children at home deprived them of situations where ... they could develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents' 'cloistered' setting."Call this objection ironic if you will, in light of a certain percentage of home-schoolers' views on the topic of anthropology, but at what point in the evolutionary history of the human race did it become "normal" to warehouse juvenile members of the species away all day with naught but the company of other juveniles of their exact same age? With no younger members to care for and no elders to emulate (save one harried and vastly outnumbered teacher per hour), is it any wonder that most every government kinderwarehouse has descended into an unfunny parody of a William Golding novel?
For the entire history of our species, save the last century-and-a-half in the West, the norm has been to have children in groups of mixed ages, with working adults around who provided examples of how a grownup was supposed to interface with the rest of the tribe. When it becomes more important to please your age-mates with your style of dress and taste in music than to impress your elders with your comportment, it's only a matter of time before you're all dancing around a pig's head in the jungle, looking for bones to stick through your nose.
It would have been funny if it wasn’t so pathetically frickin’ ignorant.
“Computers: Not just for hackers anymore.”
“Not all car collectors are getaway drivers or illegal street racers.”
“Once thought to be the exclusive domain of pornographers and blackmail artists, photography is actually a hobby for ordinary people, too.”
While the shooting hobbyist may accumulate a couple of guns that interest them, for the most part the guns are utilized for shooting, not just for having. Rarely is there any particular level of obsession involved, either: They shoot and golf and tend vegetable gardens and have other hobbies. A serious collector, on the other hand, appears a little touched in the head to the outsider. The same gene that causes someone to fill their house with ceramic frogs, build a perfect O-gauge replica of the Topeka switchyards in their attic, or have a basement that looks like a Radio Shack delivery truck overturned in a broadcast studio is at work when grown adults quibble over the internet as to whether it's properly called the ".32 Single Action" or the "Model 1-1/2 Top Break".
Getting into collecting exposed me to a whole new kind of hobbyist. While my collection may seem large to those who do not collect, it isn't a patch on many I've seen. This is a hobby that is, due to its very nature, populated by folks with fairly serious levels of disposable income. Mostly older and mostly professionals, I have met doctors, lawyers, judges, and engineers, all equally enthusiastic about their particular niche of the hobby. Vintage Colts, old Winchesters, American martial arms; if it can be collected, there's someone out there collecting it.
It was pretty amusing, then, to be pointed at a Reuters piece that seemed to express surprise that normal people, not just "urban criminals and drug dealers", collected guns. Frankly, I can't see an "urban criminal" getting excited about finding the right bayonet to go with his Brazilian M1908/34 Mauser or a "drug dealer" painstakingly finding the proper Mark Twain book to serve as a prop in a photo of her newly-acquired 19th Century revolver (unless by "drug dealer" they meant "pharmacist"). Leave it to a reporter to get into a hand-wringing tizzy about harmless old duffers and their eccentric hobbies.
Thankfully, NRAhab saved me some trouble by giving the subtle hit piece the fisking it so richly deserves.
Anyway, last night RobertaX and I were in the kitchen, doing some damage to a box of "all abouts"; cookies that are schmeared with a dollop of chocolate on the bottom and have some word related to girl scouting on the top. As we nosh, we're reading off the cookies to each other...
Me: "'Nother courage."
RobertaX: "Apparently they're a very up-to-date organization."
*Insert long pause as next row of cookies is divvied up.*
RobertaX: (obviously on some new train of through) "You know, somewhere on this planet there is a twisted individual paying a dominatrix to waterboard him."
Me: (still on previous conversation) "Dressed as a Girl Scout?!?!"
*'Nother long pause, this time for a helpless fit of the giggles."
Me: "This was mostly your schtick, I guess you get to blog it."
RobertaX: "No thanks. I don't think I want the Google hits I'd get from 'dominatrix', 'waterboarding' and 'Girl Scout'. Besides, my mom reads my blog."
Oh, and happy 96th birthday, Girl Scouts of the USA!
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Also, I have an uncontrollable urge now to go pull the nicer one out just so I can look at the pretty fire-blued small parts. They're like jewelry for the gun...
What kind of handgun are YOU?
I wouldn't use ground-up PPK's to line my cat's litter box.
Plus, the quiz is hosted by the site for Iggy Piazza's gun camp. When you finish the quiz, there's another quiz where the Four Weapon Combat Master himself promises you a FREE GIFT (like maybe an e-meter or a prayer hankie, or the title to a half acre of desert scrub and a super triple platinum eternal lifetime gun camp membership) if you answer half of the questions correctly. The tone is set by the first question:
1) Which of the following handguns would you consider the best for general self defense?...as though there's a "correct" answer other than "the gun I shoot the best and am most comfortable with carrying."
Single Action Revolver, example: Colt Peacemaker
Double Action Revolver, example: Smith and Wesson Model 29
Double Action Semi-auto, example: Beretta 92F
Single Action Semi-auto, example: Colt 1911
Safe Action Semi-Auto, example: Glock
Action Adventure Hero Auto, example: UFP2000
Another good one was:
8) What handgun would you recommend for a woman who wants to protect herself?Oddly enough, 'let the li'l darlin' pick out what she can shoot best' was not an option. Oh, crap! I'm a woman who wants to protect herself! Maybe I've been carrying the wrong gun all along. I sure hope not.
Single action semi-auto
Double action semi-auto
Safe action semi-auto
My favorite, however, was question number nine:
9) What do you feel is the best handgun caliber for general self defense?I had no idea that there was a definitive answer to this question. Just think of the on-line arguments I could win if I knew the right answer to the "Bestest Caliber" question! I'd better submit my answers so I can get the correct ones from the horse's... er, mouth. I hurriedly tick off a random answer to #10 and then try to see how my (and I quote) "Weapons and Tactics Knowledge Stacks Up Against Front Sight Firearms Training Institute's Founder and Director, Four Weapons Combat Master, Dr. Ignatius Piazza". Mouse hand all a-tremble, I click the "view results" button and...
...get taken to a page where Dr. Piazza, DC, FWCM, ETC, wants my email address. Just so he can grade my paper, you know.
Fat chance, pal.
For me, the most damning evidence of gun nuttery was when I discovered a cartridge in my purse. Not just any cartridge, either. This was a big-bore rimfire cartridge that had to be a hundred years old, its copper alloy case green with verdigris, and I had no idea what caliber it was, when I had received it, or who gave it to me and where. It was just rolling around in the bottom of my purse... No doubt someone had known of my fondness for 19th Century firearms and handed it to me during a conversation and I had filed it away in my purse without filing it away in my memory.
Monday, March 10, 2008
I'm subconsciously seeing lolpoliticians now...
Readers offered suggestions in comments, blaming the lack of diesels currently available in the US on everything from GM's godawful Oldsmobile experiment in the 70s, to shallow American consumers not perceiving the diesel as "bling-y" enough, to sunspots. If I'm typing about it here, you know who the real culprit is, right? That's right: The Government.
The evil, Kyoto-denying Bush administration, or at least its Environmental Protection arm, decided that diesels, even the VW ECOdiesels so beloved by the Gaia-worshiping, muesli-chomping wannabe-Euroweenie crowd, put out too many noxious emissions to be sold in this fair land, at least in passenger cars. Well, they do unless they're Mercedes BlueTec models, with the new
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Last night she took to hopping onto the bed and issuing wild-eyed death threats to Mittens, who was attempting to sleep next to mommy's head, as is her wont. Rannie wound up banished to the outer darkness. Or at least the living room, on the other side of a closed door.
There's only room for one self-absorbed bundle of neuroses in this house, cat. Keep it up and it's medical experiments for you.
Speaking of the front porch...
In other news, my short-sightedness has left me facing the prospect of a whole day with only two Long Hammer IPA's in the fridge. Indiana's alcohol laws are subtly different from those of the last two states I lived in:
1) Alcohol on Sundays: In the Metro Atlanta and Indianapolis areas, you will apparently burn in hell if you are allowed to purchase alcohol for off-premises consumption on a Sunday. Your immortal soul is safe in Knoxville, however, so long as you do so after 10:00AM (don't want the Baptists picking up a sixer on the way to church, I guess.)
2) Where To Buy: In Atlanta, hard liquor was available only at liquor stores, who also sold beer, mixers, chips, smokes, and whatnot. In Indy, you can get your whiskey at Kroger, or the CVS for that matter. In Knoxville, anything above an alcohol content of 6% (this includes wine and big beers) is only available at liquor stores, which are not allowed to sell anything but beverages with greater than 6% ABV; no chips, no mixers, no smokes, no newspapers, not bupkis.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Today we opened the door between the front and back halves of the house to bring the two cat herds together. Random Numbers is wandering around the new territory, yowling at nothing in particular. Tommy the geriatricat is feverishly loading his squirt gun at the watering hole, obviously preparatory to writing his name on something. Their staff is nervously standing by with towels to variously throw over combatants or mop up cat graffiti. Blogging may be light.
UPDATE: Random Numbers is still a seething, yowling mass of anger. She offered her editorial comment on the overall situation by invading the other cats' litter box. You don't want to know what eight pounds of psychotic fury compressed into an extruded pellet the size of your little finger smells like, trust me.
The breach occurred before the FBI enacted broad new reforms in March 2007 to prevent future lapses, FBI Director Robert Mueller said.Translation: We're big kids now and we don't do that any more. That was back when we were just little kids.
And it was caused, in part, by banks, telecommunication companies and other private businesses giving the FBI more personal client data than was requested.Plus, it was the other kids' fault, too. Everyone was doing it. We didn't really want to; they made us.
The new audit, which examines use of national security letters issued in 2006, "will identify issues similar to those in the report issued last March," Mueller told senators. The privacy abuse "predates the reforms we now have in place," he said....and we'll never do it again. Honest!
"We are committed to ensuring that we not only get this right, but maintain the vital trust of the American people,"
(Hey, Mueller, you can only "maintain" what you actually have. The word you were looking for is "regain". Honest.)
Friday, March 07, 2008
The 2007 winner was a book by the title of The Higher Power, whose most notable feature was a row over the use of the word "scrotum" in a children's book.
Thanks to a good friend, I have just finished reading the 1942 Newbery winner, a book entitled The Matchlock Gun. I can only shake my head and agree with my friend that this wonderful little tale would never survive in a modern children's library. You see, from cover to cover the whole book would be deemed thoughtcrime in today's America.
That sound you just heard was people fainting from Knoxville to Atlanta.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go fix some lunch and then go fold laundry...
I was curious – I wanted to know who these women were and what motivated them to pick up a gun. I wanted to know how they handled their difference at a mostly male shooting range, police precinct, or military base. Where did they get their training? What kinds of guns did they shoot? Even the clothing they wore and the types of carrying cases they chose interested me. Why were they entering, in many cases, troubled waters where "no women allowed" signs were posted in most people's minds?
Despite frantic German efforts to destroy the bridge, including the use of early jet bombers and ballistic missiles, it remained standing for ten days. By the time it fell into the Rhine, its collapse was a moot point, since U.S. combat engineers had bridged the river and the lodgement on the far side had spread out far enough to be quite secure.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
I asked him what he wanted for it, more out of curiosity than anything else, and he said something about how he'd wanted $100, but these guys were telling him it wasn't worth that, so he'd take $75. I thanked him for his time and walked on.
I stopped at a table run by some crufflers I knew and asked them if they'd seen the abomination. They had. They asked if I'd looked down the bore. "No, why?" I replied
"Because the last person to stick a bore brush down it pulled what was left of the rifling out in a cloud of orange dust," they laughed.
It turned out they'd offered him $35 or $40 for it, which it was probably worth in spare parts, and he'd left in something of a huff. I smiled at the story and continued my stroll.
A couple of hours later, I ran into him again, still dragging the gun-shaped tomato stake with him. "No luck?" I inquired, sympathetically.
"Nah," he said, dejectedly, "They all say it's worthless 'cept maybe for spare parts."
I need this thing like I need a hole in my head... but I am such a sucker for a poor, neglected military rifle.
I rummaged through my pocket... A twenty, a five, and four ones.
"Will you take $29 for it?" He would and did.
The rifle, amazingly enough, headspaces fine, although I doubt I'll ever work up the nerve to shoot it. The bore is so awful it'll probably keyhole at seven yards anyway. But I didn't have a Hanyang 88, and now I do. It can keep my Chiang Kai Shek rifle (for which I had paid the princely sum of $55 back in '02) company in the safe.
I hear the tales of guys who bought rifles for $15 and $20 back in the day, but back then an Andrew Jackson was real money; nowadays twenty-nine bucks will barely buy a fancy lunch.
Who else has a cheap milsurp story?
"But Tam," I'd hear, "there's a gunsmithing department out back! Why are you stocking that stuff?"
Exactly. And there's nothing like an overconfident DIY'er to keep them busy, too.
There are a hundred and eleventy ways to booger up your gun unless you know exactly what you are doing. While light primer strikes caused by backing out the strain screw on your S&W revolver to "make the trigger pull smoother" are fairly easily remedied, it can cost a lot of money to find out that it's hard to put metal back that shouldn't have been taken away in the first place.
Now, I like gunsmiths. A lot of my friends are gunsmiths. I don't want them to starve. But I think that they wouldn't mind me reminding folks to be sure and know what they're doing before they try and take metal away.
Besides, it's not like anyone listens, anyway. ;)
He was not rich when he started. Big deal. He still has more money than he personally needs.Needs? I wasn't aware that freedom was a needs-based condition. How many bullets do you need in your magazines? How many guns do you need to own? How fast does your car need to go? Do you really need that fast of a CPU in your PC? Part of the magic of this nation is that need doesn't enter into our economy, else Ben & Jerry's and Hagen Dazs would be Tango Uniform inside of a week.
Despite the hatred of welfare so often found amongst conservatives, there are indeed some people who truly need it.We only guarantee the pursuit of happiness here. Catching it is up to you.
Why does it hurt that this man pay a vastly larger share of the costsWhy should we endorse using the guns of the state to extort a larger percentage of money from this person, simply because he has the audacity to have it, and we think it could be better spent elswhere? Down that line of thinking lies all sorts of nastiness, from the confiscation of farms from the kulaks to the looting of Foot Locker stores during urban riots.
when his wealth is made possible by our consumer environment and our money which is all created on a collective basis.I don't know about you, but I'm not part of any "collective". Nothing gets done on a "collective basis"; there are only bazillions of individual human beings who make individual decisions to drive a Ford or eat at Burger King. I recall my purchases of various Microsoft products fairly well, and am quite sure that I was not under the control of the Hive Mind or ordered to purchase them by the State.
I believe something like 70% of all money in this nation is controlled by less than 1% of the population. That pisses me off.I don't care if 70% of the cash in this land was controlled by one guy. More power to him! Look, prosperity is not a finite item like a Domino's pizza, whereby if Bill Gates has eight slices of pepperoni and extra cheese, then you and I have to eat the cardboard box; prosperity, wealth, capital, money, value is something that is created by effort, inspiration, intelligence, and sometimes pure dumb luck.
Think of a lottery winner; how much of his money came out of your pocket? Unless you bought a ticket, none. When you gave Microsponge your money, did you feel you got value in return? If not, return the product and demand a refund; if so, then what matters it to you how many other people made the same transaction? Why should the people who make the least use of this vast leviathan of a welfare state have to pony up the largest share of its cost in total dollars as well as percentages of income taken? Billy Boy probably pays more in taxes than everyone on this board put together, and for what? He's sure not gonna make use of public schools or hospitals. All the return he gets on those tax dollars is some indifferent pothole repair on his street, the Heathen Chinee Navy kept away from the coasts, and a horde of federal lawyers who are payed with his tax dollars hounding him with ridiculous charges for being too successful.
Once upon a time, America used to worship the underdog. We'd send our kids to play high school football so that they could learn that sometimes the other guy may be bigger and faster and stronger, but that what counted most was fire in the belly, the grit to get knocked down and get back up and try again.
Now, in everything from income taxes to Japanese car companies to the silly federal harassment of Microsoft, we're teaching our kids that if the other guy's bigger and faster and stronger, just whine to the ref and maybe he'll make the other team wear lead boots.
Capitolism works by our government producing a system and a currency, and then we use that system to divide up labor so we can get more done.I'll leave you with a quote from noted hardcore conservative thinker, Hank Thoreau:
Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient, by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it. Trade and commerce, if they were not made of india-rubber, would never manage to bounce over obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievous persons who put obstructions on the railroads.
Other times you can't get the words out of your head with a shop vac.
Today my muse is apparently on vacation in the Bahamas, getting a nice tan and reading some cheesy Gresham on the beach, while I'm stuck here in the middle of a vast, frozen billiard table with my tongue tied in knots...
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
You gotta really want the job.
(Plus, it would be totally worth it to see McCain, Hillary, and Obama dancing around while their hands were shot full of neurotoxin by hundreds of pissed-off jungle ants. I might give up bayonet lugs for Lent just to see that.)
In retrospect, the government should have claimed that the crowd may have had illegal guns, was manufacturing drugs, and was maybe even touching small children inappropriately. Then the redcoats could have shot another fifty or seventy-five and nobody would have revolted against anything.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
"You never take out the trash! Oh yeah? Well, you snore! The sofa would look so much better over there!"
Suddenly confused, I stuck my head in the room and asked "What are you talking about?"
"Oh," she explained "the news crawler on the TV said 'California To Hear Gay Marriage Arguments' and I was wondering what made them different from regular marriage arguments."
"Oh, Tamara," you say, "but it was illegal for these people to own guns!" Yeah, today it's a boilerplate restraining order, tomorrow a Prozac prescription, the day after will be membership in unpopular political or religious groups, and next week it'll be unpaid parking tickets. Once the .gov has a list of where the guns are, all they have to do is tinker with the requirements of ownership and they can round up as many as they want.
Registration leads to confiscation, with 100% correlation.
Each and every place, each and every time.