Monday, June 30, 2008

Para does not want me.

I've kept my mouth shut during the whole ParaOrdnance blogger shooty contest thing. They really went out of their way to support the 2A Blog Bash, and their rep there was so friendly it hurt. It took a lot of work for me to not refer to them as "Painted Ordnance" in front of him. (Paras have a bake-on finish, hence the nickname among gunsmiths.) I gritted my teeth and didn't ask annoying questions like "How come we sent that guy's LDA back twice and y'all didn't replace the undersized firing pin stop that kept falling out while he was shooting it and we had to replace it ourselves to keep the customer happy?"

Although two out of my three personal ownership experiences with ParaOrd firearms were satisfactory (and the third wasn't all Para's fault, as it was one of their early frame kits built with a World War One-era GI top end), my experiences with QC problems in retailing their products over the years were so disappointing that I finally just stopped carrying them for sale as regular stock items.

Maybe they've gotten better in the year or two since I threw up my hands in defeat, I don't know, but I do know that I would have gone to Blackwater with a decade's worth of bad blood in my veins, and that would skew my objectivity something fierce.

So, with one day left, go to Para's site and vote for my pal Squeaky. She'll be able to bring a fresh perspective to the whole thing that I wouldn't. I thank you, and Painted Ordnance thanks you!

"You're not really here for the huntin', are you?"

Maybe it's just me, but it sure does look like the DC city government likes getting stomped in courtrooms.
Must not suffer from a physical defect which would make it unsafe for you to possess and use a firearm safely and responsibly.

My, how times change...

I remember that when I first got into the gun biz back in the early '90s, $500 would buy about as nice a GI Colt M1911A1 as you'd care to actually shoot. You could spend more on WWI guns or scarcer variants, but a standard Colt or Remington Rand wasn't a terribly expensive proposition.

Not anymore. Yikes.

Colt M1911A1 in 95% condition per the 23rd Edition of Fjestad's Blue Book (2002): $625
Colt M1911A1 in 95% condition per the 29th Edition of Fjestad's Blue Book (2008): $2,700

I have to wonder how much, if any, of this is "bubble". Fads change, even among blue-chip collector guns like Colts and Smiths. I'd like to think that the military 1911 market will cool off a little bit at least in the future. But I'm not holding my breath...

Today In History: La Noche Triste

On this date in 1520, Spanish soldiers, hardened veterans of wars in Italy and the colonization of the Caribbean, under the rogue Capitan General Hernán Cortés began an incredible and bloody fighting retreat through the streets and canals of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. First-hand accounts of the survivors of this 16th Century Black Hawk Down make for gripping reading.

I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing...

Because I'm really a sensitive and considerate person at heart, I wouldn't normally pick on a random anonymous commenter like this, but I couldn't pass up this educational opportunity.

Here is what Mr. Anonymous wrote this morning, in response to the earlier post on NBC's To Catch A Predator:
"I believe I heard it on Glen Beck maybe not, that no convictions resulted from Catch a Preditor[sic]"
Stop and let this sink in for a second: This person typed in this factually incorrect comment while connected to the internet.

Now, yesterday morning, before I started putting the finishing touches on the post in question, I knew pretty much squat about the Murphy, TX/Louis Conradt flap. Thanks to the magic of Al Gore's intertubes, in about an hour I had read a 12 page Esquire magazine exposé, a half dozen news reports, a double handful of Wikipedia articles, and some assorted editorial columns and blog posts, as well as watching several YouTube clips of Dateline: To Catch A Predator, a show I had never actually seen on TeeWee.

If only there were some big network of information-filled computers to consult rather than relying on what one might or might not remember from listening to Glenn Beck...

So, Mr. Anonymous, whoever you are, I hope you take this in the spirit in which it was intended, for you have provided a valuable lesson for us all.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lawn mowing time...

Time to go run the mower around the front yard.

Call me a big chicken, but I just hate standing at the end of fifty yards of loosely coiled copper wire while ugly black clouds boil across the western sky...

In other news, I lost another corn seedling to the %^&*ing striped rats; I'm about to have to write the corn project off for this year and try again next year. Under chicken wire. Got a cage for the grape tomato plant, but I can see I'm going to need to get a proper chicken wire one rather than these loose hoops if I don't want the vermin to devour my 'maters. Also got a little wire stay in a tastefully-camouflaged dark green for the delphinium in the front yard rather than the improvised unpainted wood slat we had been using.

Future collector's item.

Countertop shows off rare pre-ban Cafe Press sticker.

In a perfect world...

McCain calls Carter a "lousy president"

...then kicks him in the jimmy.


The Return of the Pillory.

You know, America is such an easy country in which to let your freak flag fly. If your two tickets to paradise consist of your boyfriend and a horse collar, Catherine the Great, then what happens in the bedroom is between you and Mister Ed. If the only way you experience that magic moment is to be swathed in Saran Wrap and hung from the ceiling while a midget in a clown suit throws pickles at you and yells "Verboten!", then get down with your bad self. In private. Please.

The remaining taboos are generally taboos for a reason. In light of this, NBC's success in bringing back the pillory in the form of the Dateline: To Catch A Predator series probably shouldn't come as much of a surprise. I mean really, after Disney cartoons, could there be more wholesome family entertainment than watching Chris Hansen grill these losers? Nuke some Orville Redenbacher's and watch a wannabe statutory rapist get proned out by the local heat; now there is a surefire formula for an evening's entertainment. Maybe it falls short of the old pillory in that you can't actually throw rotten fruit, but then again, no set of stocks in a New England village square was visible by the whole country, either.

Anyhow, as was bound to happen sooner or later, one subject of the show, after being busted cyberchatting up what he thought was a 13 year old boy, found out about his impending national humiliation and Did The Right Thing in the face of arrest. This being America, his next of kin sued.

What's amazing is that NBC settled out of court. We'll assume that the settlement was for considerably less than the nine figures demanded. A legal type I talked with off the record said he'd be surprised if it was high six figures, given the dead pervert discount.

What most surprised me was that the incident took place in Texas. Given the venue, NBC must have been sorely tempted to take it into a courtroom, if only for the satisfaction of seeing a jury say "Sorry about your brother, here's a dollar." Actually, given the venue, it wouldn't have shocked me to see a jury of Texans make the surviving family reimburse NBC's production costs for cleaning up their dirty laundry for them...

Today In History: Burnin' down the house.

On this day in 1613, a malfunction with a prop cannon during a performance of Henry the Eighth caused the original Globe Theater in London to burn to the ground, thus initiating a long and proud history of pyrotechnic stage malfunctions. It is not known if anyone famous had their hair catch fire, but one man's trousers were extinguished with a bottle of beer.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I hate it when this happens...

I have a whole logjam of words in my noggin. Three or four posts. A Low End Mac column. Some email responses. They're all swirling around in there, 90% written, and something is keeping them from getting to my fingertips. (I even have relevant articles open in tabs at the top of my browser window to remind me. One is two days old now.)


In other news, I need to buy me a bike so I can go pedaling about Broad Ripple with my roomie. I'm debating going cheap, but also thinking a little better than the usual $40 garage sale fodder might be nice as well. I haven't made up my mind to sell it yet, but is anybody out there interested in an Armi Sport replica of a Pattern 1853 three-band Enfield? Perfect if you want to go play Civil War dress-up on the weekends. Drop me an email if such a thing might tickle your fancy...

Overheard in the kitchen...

I went out back to re-set the grape tomato plant against its improvised stake this morning and noticed the beginnings of a couple of 'maters. Hmmm. Time for a tomato cage.

Back into the kitchen where I had last seen my roomie, I was yelling "Hey, the next time we go to Lowe's, we need to..."

No RobertaX in the kitchen. Or dining room.

" real loudly to ourselves so people will think we're crazy and not mess with us!"

Today In History: Legend of Molly Pitcher.

On this day in 1778, General Washington's troops attacked a British force under Gen. Clinton at Monmouth Courthouse in New Jersey. During the sweltering day, one Mary Hays, ever after known as "Molly Pitcher", supposedly manned her husband's cannon after he was felled by wounds and was made a sergeant by Gen. Washington for it.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Today In History: "They say that in the navy...

...the chow is mighty fine."

On this day in 1905, the crew of the Czar's battleship Potemkin were turned to for corporal punishment on the charge of complaining that the meat in the galley had more than the USDA-allowed amount of live maggots in it. After brief labor/management negotiations, a settlement was drawn up that involved the crewmen getting the ship and the officers getting a bullet.

The ship then pulled into Odessa harbor flying the red flag, and several more photogenic events may or may not have happened.

Gura, Gura, hallelujah!

Our side is marching on.

We need a Republican in the White House... he'll appoint good conservative Supreme Court justices, like Stevens and Souter.

I wish I had warmer, fuzzier feelings about the kind of justices a President McCain would nominate.

(And let's not forget that the flip side of that is a return to the good ol' days of the Rehnquisition; a merry band of tough-on-crime "conservatives" who never met a Fourth Amendment they wouldn't weaken. If the 2nd took the mugging yesterday that the 4th had taken through the '80s and '90s, we wouldn't be allowed to own butterknives, much less duck guns.)

What a day for schadenfreude!

I'm sorry for the slow posting thus far today, but it is just immensely satisfying to see the sour grapes, whining, backing and filling, and threats to hold their breath until they turn blue coming from the Other Side this morning.

I just want to leave commentary everywhere: "Awwww. Who's the sad clown? Who's the sad clown?"

Block Party in the Intertubes!

I was nosing around through various folks' SiteMeters yesterday and noticed that it was a pretty big day across the intarw3bz. I didn't get any big linkage from any of the usual suspects like Unc or KdT, and I still wound up with about five hundred more hits than even a healthy June weekday would warrant.

Talking on the phone with Staghounds yesterday, I noted that it was like a huge traffic jam on the information superhighway, and everyone had piled out of their cars in SCOTUSblog-crashing numbers and started a tailgate keg party on the shoulder of the road.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Watch him run...

Caught out of the pocket by a 5-4 blitz, Barack "The Dodger" Obama says "I was for it before I was against it before I was for it. Also, Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia."

Also, I love the headline: "Obama Camp Disavows Last Year's 'Inartful' Statement on D.C. Gun Law." I guess after you've had so much practice throwing people under the bus, tossing an 'inartful statement' beneath the Michelins is a doddle. They spend so much time disavowing, you wonder when they find time to avow.

(H/T to Unc.)

Curse you, weather gods!

I don't know if you can hear me over the thunder, but it looks like it's ixnay on the lawnmowing today.

Ah, well. The garden needed the rain. Maybe I'll pull up a radish tomorrow and see how edible it looks. (The dill is already saladworthy. It's some giant mutant variety, so it should just get huger from here.)

All aboard the Hellercopter.

More commentary at FreeThinker and Shangrila Towers. Victory pie is served.

I love the smell of Heller in the morning. It smells like... victory.

Want to know what a mayor who's about to get smacked down in court sounds like? He sounds like this.

Feel that, you petty tyrant? That is the wind of change blowing in your face...

Squirm, Dick, squirm!

(H/T to Don Gwinn.)

Oyez! Oyez! Round Two.

Heller affirmed. 2A is an individual right. More coming.

EDIT: 5-4. Pretty weak.

EDIT: Awww. Who's the sad clown?

EDIT: Scalia opinion in .pdf format at SCOTUSblog. Downside: Focuses on "in the home"; nothing to nail CCW to (which makes the "...and bear" part seem odd.) Upside: Smacks down "safe useless storage" as the godless pinko abomination it is. The gun might as well be on Mars for all the good it will do by the time you unlock it and reassemble the parts.

EDIT: Turning you over to Unc for updates as VFTP resumes its regularly scheduled snark. And I drink a beer. Because, baby, the sun is over the yardarm early today. :)

Psst! Wanna get smarter?

Go read this neat essay on empathy by LabRat. (Fair Warning for those who prefer bitty little soundbites: It's a couple-few paragraphs long.)

The holster half.

Picking a gun is only a tiny part of the CCW equation. I have seen so many people over the years simply agonize over the choice of firearm, weighing pros and cons of size, cost, and caliber, and then just snatch the first $14.99 nylon sausage sack of a holster they find off the shelf. A week or two later, the gun is tossed in the sock drawer as being too uncomfortable or hard to conceal.

Most folks don't realize that they need to put at least as much (usually much more) thought into how they're going to carry as they do into what they carry. Brigid has some suggestions.

Quote of the Day:

When the justices can outright say effectively "we can't find anything in the law or history of our nation to back up this opinion, except our sense of 'evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society'" - that's not a good sign at all, regardless of your opinion of the ruling itself.

If Heller was decided with the same logic, we'd have BB rifles being confiscated next week.
Jenny, in comments here.

Hints From Heloise: Home gunsmithing department.

Hint From Heloise: Bobbing the hammer on your Smith & Wesson revolver? After you've ground the spur off, a little cold blue smudged unevenly around the site of the spurectomy with a q-tip will help the ground area blend with the case-colored finish of the hammer.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A bad case of disordered priorities.

I'm of two minds on the whole capital punishment thing.

I don't mean that I'm against the concept. There are certainly mad dogs on this planet that need to be put down. I don't give two figs about deterrent or mythical justice or whatever, I just know that there are certain acts on which I'd like to cut down the recidivism rate, and making a meat wind chime out of the criminal is 100% effective for that purpose.

The "two minds" part comes from the fact that there's hardly a way to do it without getting the government involved, and I get a little iffy when it comes to handing the power of Life & Death to an organization that can't even deliver the mail competently.

I do know this, however: On the short list of misdeeds for which you should get to ride the lightning, baby raping is right near the top, and I don't care what those idiots in Washington say.

Oyez! Oyez!

Those of you who have already put away your pins and needles will need to get them back out and sit on them for at least another twenty-four hours.

No Heller today.

This post is adjourned.

Overheard in the hall...

Me: "These 'When Will The Taxpayers Bail My Flooded Ass Out?' idiots are making my Empathy Deficit Disorder act up."

RobertaX: "Don't you want to reach a hand out to your brethren...?"

Me: "Yeah, and hold their heads underwater for not buying flood insurance."

What do you want to bet...

...that the shooter broke the company's "No Guns on Company Property" policy? (I mean, in addition to various laws against things like murder and whatnot.) I'm not 100% sure they have such a policy, having noodled around the company website and not found any employee handbook stuff in the publicly-accessible areas, but it's a fairly safe bet that the handbook includes the usual corporatese boilerplate about "commitment to a safe workplace", a commitment obviously not shared by one of the employees, at least.

They should write his corpse's ass up for that.

Hooray, hooray, for hit fifty kay!

RobertaX celebrates her fifty thousandth visitor.

Today In History: Please, Mr. Custer...

On this date in the centennial year of 1876, Col. George A. Custer managed to get most of five companies of the 7th Cavalry trapped in a classic double envelopment by Gen. Haste and Maj. Hubris. Armed with single-shot M1873 Springfield carbines, they were overwhelmed at close range by attackers armed with carbines and bows & arrows and killed to a man.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Boys and toys.

There's an excavator and a backhoe operating in the street out front. Our ninety-something year old neighbor was leaning on his front fence watching them in rapt fascination.

I was watching him watch them. You could catch the gleam in his eye from three houses down; it was pretty cool to see. I guess you can take the Tonka Toys away from the boy, but you can never really take the boy away from the Tonka Toys. :)


This week's Low End Mac column is up. It has many geeky words, like "Linux" and "gestalt" and "geekery".

Awesomer than expected, now with updates!

So we figured that maybe six or eight folks might show for the Indy Blog Bash.

We got twenty-three.

It was bigger than any of the get-togethers I attended back in my old K-Town 'hood, as Caleb's photos show. (Plus it's a whole lot easier to feel like a big-time blogger when Glenn Reynolds isn't in the room.)

Breda has a short update, with a hint of more to follow.

Red has a post up.

RobK applauds the Age of the Brewpub at his LiveJournal.

Old Grouch reports from the corner of Westfield and Westfield.

(This space left intentionally blank for more linkage.)

Stupid Tourist Tricks.

How dumb do you have to be to think it's a good idea to take your family yachting vacation right off the coast of Somalia?

Seriously. Would there be the same hue and cry if he'd driven the family Maybach through Clichy-sous-Bois on a hot night at two A.M. in first gear with the windows down? (Although he probably stands a smaller chance of getting 'jacked even in the worst of the banlieues than he does off the coast of frickin' Somalia...)

Do these people not get news? Hell, have they never seen Black Hawk Down? That's been one of the Earth's bad neighborhoods since Pharaoh's tax collectors came out of a bar to find their chariot up on blocks...

Because great minds think alike...

Squeaky, of intarw3bz podcast fame, is putting together a meetup for bloggers and readers in the Memphis, TN area.

I have met a hojillion folks from the online shooting community out in real life and have yet to walk away from a get-together thinking "What a jerk!"

You should go to her shindig. It will be fun.

Maybe they'll name it after me...

...and I'll be as famous as Lou Gehrig.

All along, I merely thought I was cold and heartless and the world was full of whining weaklings.

Thanks to my bro Marko, I now know that I have empathy deficit disorder.

I refuse to medicate, however, as I enjoy cutting no slack to malingerers, fluff-heads, and idiots. Besides, if they could actually treat this, what in the hell would I blog about?

Mother's Little Helper Xtreme!

"I can definitely say without a doubt that I am addicted to caffeine," says Sarah Kripal, mother of two from Lincoln, Nebraska. "I need about four energy drinks, three cups of coffee and a six pack of soda every day."
She then grabbed her mountain bike, checked the straps fastening the toddler to her back, and leapt head-first out of the plane, shouting "Red Bull gives you wiiiings!!!" as she deployed her drogue chute.

Speaking of which, my coffee mug's empty and my Diet Dew is dry. I'm heading to the kitchen. At a brisk trot.

Monday, June 23, 2008

No ruling for you today! You come back later!

Still waiting to hear from the Supremes on Heller.

It will be interesting to see how they write it to make it say "It's an individual right, but only not," leaving us, like the end of every good sitcom episode, right back at status quo ante.

What's in a name?

Indianapolis changed the name of its airport from Weir Cook to Indy International back in the '70s in an attempt to sound more cosmopolitan. Now there's pressure to change the name of the recently revamped facility back, in order to honor the local aviation hero.

Some boosters are worried that it will somehow make Indy look provincial and Hicksville-ish for the forthcoming Superbowl if the city's airport is named after an obscure local WWII hero. Lord knows that only little cow pasture grass strips are ever named after fighter pilots or local politicos...

Today In History: Not just A Bruce, The Bruce.

On this day in 1314, the armies of Edward II spent a fruitless afternoon attempting to dislodge the Scottish schiltrons (squares of spearmen) from the slopes above the Bannock Burn. They didn't succeed at much of anything except getting killed in large numbers for no gain at all. In fine medieval fashion, they naturally tried again the next day, with a repeat of the previous day's performance.

When the sun went down on the 24th, Robert the Bruce had solidified his claim as King of Scotland, and Edward the Second would ride home in defeat to England, where he would eventually come down with a fatal case of red-hot poker up the poop chute.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More beer blogging...

In addition to the Loose Cannon, I also picked up some Small Batch Double IPA from Breckenridge Brewery. The fact that Breckenridge's logo bears no small resemblance to that of Team Banzai in no way influenced my purchasing decision.

Nicely hoppy, although with a slightly sweeter, maltier start than I prefer. The hops weren't overwhelmingly citrusy, and I like that.

It packs a 9.2%ABV wallop, so a little goes a long way. This also explains why it was hard to find back in Tennessee. TN state alcohol laws say that anything over... I think it's 6.5%... must be sold in liquor stores, and liquor stores can only sell stuff that's over 6.5%. Since big beers are such a small portion of their sales, liquor distributors in the Volunteer State don't pay them much attention. If you can find a booze-a-rama in TN that carries even Stone, Rogue, and Dogfish Head, you're doing good. The staggering variety of beers here has been just paradise so far.

If you feel the Earth, Ooh!, move, Ah!, under your feet...

... then it will be because of the gravitational effects caused by the sheer amount of Awesome gathered in Broad Ripple today.

Oh, poo!

I remember lying there this morning, in that half-awake, half-asleep state where you're still kind of limp and you haven't opened your eyes yet, but your brain has started to turn over, and those very first semi-cogent thoughts suddenly congealed and the weight of the hydrogen started the fusion reaction and I had a brilliant post in my head and I leapt from the bed and put the coffee on and fed the cats and sat down at the 'puter and... and... damned if I can remember what it was now.

In other news, they're having a Cosmos marathon on the Science Channel today. Ann Druyan will be hosting, although probably not talking about the billions and billions of times she got jiggy wit' Carl Sagan.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Stingray has a bukkit.

Those wacky kids at Atomic Nerds have embarked upon the wondrous voyage of homebrewing. The potential punch lines for home biochemistry experiments in Los Alamos beggar the imagination. Hell, I bet just typing the words "home biochemistry experiments in Los Alamos" makes red lights blink somewhere in Al's intertubes.

Also, I feel very warm and fuzzy about the last picture in the post.

In other beer news, Clipper City Heavy Seas Loose Cannon is good stuff.

The Terrible Secret of Politics.

Although on the surface the robots can seem hard to tell apart, it would appear that Obama wants to push bread down my throat and McCain wants to shove me down stairs. It's actually hard to decide which robot to distrust more.

All I know is that they both say they're here to protect me, and that the other robot is defective.

Today In History: High Seas No More.

On this date in 1919, fearing that his ships would be handed over to the Allies as war reparations under the pending Treaty of Versailles, Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter ordered that the High Seas Fleet, moored in the British naval base at Scapa Flow in Scotland, be scuttled.

Quick reaction by the Brits saved a handful of ships, but the majority of the fleet, veterans of Dogger Bank and Jutland, went to the bottom of the harbor.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Two mile hike for nuthin'.

What the hell kind of post office closes at 4:30? I ask you.

At least they're open tomorrow.

The redress of grievances...

On the issue of the Second Amendment, Illinois has become a blight on the Heartland; a state in the Midwest with worse CCW laws than California, New York, or Massachusetts. At least the latter three states have "may-issue" concealed carry, whereby a friendly local government can issue a toter's permit, even if denizens of the major cities are Sierra Oscar Lima.

Illinois, however, has "no-way-issue" CCW, whereby you have to be a corrupt politician to carry a gun. Sorry, did I say "corrupt" out loud? I meant "elected official".

The gun owners of Illinois, having watched the rest of the nation adopt more sensible carry laws, are becoming ever more frustrated. This July 11th, they're organizing a rally in Chicago, Mordor itself, to protest at the real seat of power in the politics of their state. Among the guest speakers will be former Texas Representative Dr. Suzanna Hupp, a hero of the CCW rights movement.

Help them make their voices heard.

Want more warbird pics?

How about some from the best seat in the house?

Looking at Berkeley through a Norden.

How did I miss that post?

Happy Hundred Kay.

Congratulations to The Breda Fallacy and The Unforgiving Minute, both of whom celebrated the hundred thousandth hit on their blogs recently.

It's official...

British Columbia's shoreline is back down to five feet.

It's only missing a primered '79 Camaro...

Trailer park? Check.

Registered sex offender? Check.

Woman known by her neighbors as "Angry Tammy"? Check.

Living with unmarried boyfriend in singlewide? Check.

Louisville Slugger? Check.

Jail time? Check.

This is ABC After School Special material right here, folks.

Today In History: Ars longa, vita brevis.

On this day, one week ago in 2008, television journalist Tim Russert passed away.

$139,868.00. Shipping not included.

The reviews of this amazing piece of furniture had me laughing 'til I cried.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Rain on the scarecrow, flood on the plow...

An explanation of how the floodwaters in the Midwest will reach their crest on your kitchen table and in your wallet.

Damned whether he does or doesn't.

The biggest danger of trying to be all things to all people is that if you don't succeed, you wind up being nothing to nobody.

Barack *redacted* Obama's latest experience with high-centering himself on the middle ground occurred at a rally in Detroit, where apparently observant Muslim women wearing the hijab were asked not to sit with the rest of their group behind the podium in view of the TeeWee cameras.

I almost feel sorry for him here. Almost. He's made his bed and he'll have to lie in it. If he's got head scarves in the picture, the wingnuts accuse him of caving to Islamofascist terrorists. If he keeps headscarves out of the picture the moonbats excoriate him for religious and ethnic discrimination and preaching fear and divisiveness. It's a lose-lose situation when you want to be the ever-vigilant yet all-inclusive stern healing tough nice guy. Best o' luck, Barry; the juggling act only gets tougher from here.

Hopefully McCain will just embrace his inner bastard and run his campaign from that angle, but I don't see that happening either. It's gotta be hard to do a convincing Cuddly Porcupine impersonation all the time.

It's official...

British Columbia now has six feet of shoreline.

Today In History: Like fish in a barrel...

On this date in 1944, the U.S. Navy shot down, sunk on carriers, or otherwise destroyed the bulk of the Imperial Japanese Navy's air arm in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, also known as "The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot".

If this makes you want to look at pictures of old warbirds in all their piston-powered glory, that's completely understandable: Mauser*Girl's warbird pictures, let her show you them. Great photos; you can almost hear the Wright radials and smell the exhaust.

Things For Which I Wish I Weren't The #1 Google Result, Part MCXLIV

"Enslaved to aliens dream"? Ewww! Just... just... ewww!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Head, meet wall...

My latest column went up at Low End Mac, chronicling some of the joys of playing with old computers.

Read it and laugh at with me.

You're not a real gun nut...

...if you can't have fun quibbling over the minutiae.

Just great.

Look at what I turn up as the number one Google result for: "electric boobs i read it in a magazine".

Ah, SiteMeter, you are the source of endless giggles...

"The Only Ones", International Division

Less than a month away from the thirteenth observance of "The Government Will Protect You Day", the issue of U.N. immunity from lawsuits in the matter is up before a Dutch court.

6,000 people think that the U.N. has blood on its hands for first disarming, and then failing to prevent the massacre of, over eight thousand civilians in and around the Bosnian village of Srebrenica in the summer of 1995.

Remember: The U.N. are the Only Ones who can prevent genocide.

Today In History: England That Was.

What General Weygand has called the Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour." - Sir Winston Churchill, 6/18/40

The speech was not recorded by CCTV camera...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I feel unclean.

I don't know why it shocked me, seeing as how there are scholarly treatises on pro wrasslin' to be found there, but the fact that Wikipedia sported a slew of articles on... you know... Foxtrot, Uniform, Romeo, Romeo, India, Echo, Sierra... kind of caught me completely off guard. Now I know stuff I can't unlearn, no matter how heavily I drink tonight. That won't keep me from trying, however.

Because misery loves company, I want you to imagine how many mothers' basements had to be emptied to take this photo. I wonder, if you added them all together, how many days the people in that picture have spent with their heads held in toilets by varsity football players.

Notes from The Resistance...

Signs that you might be behind enemy lines in California...

Makes me kinda happy to be in the place that famous gun board poster El Tejon calls "American-occupied America", actually.

Am I not merciful?

Marko proves he hasn't yet planted a vegetable garden.

Meanwhile, here where the neighbors would frown on indiscriminate small arms fire in the back yard, one of those %^&* striped rats got one of my tender little corn seedlings. (And hail beat three more flat.)

Today In History: The whites of their eyes...

On this date in 1775, some 2,400 government troops under the command of Major General Howe crossed Boston harbor to dislodge a ragtag band of roughly fifteen hundred militia types, separatists, and other unlawful combatants who had dug in on the heights of the Charlestown peninsula overlooking the harbor.

Despite ferocious resistance from the rebels, the brave government troops advanced into the teeth of the enemy fire and captured the top of the hill, taking thirty prisoners. The rebels left 140 dead behind. Government casualties are unreported, but believed to be in excess of thirty percent. General Clinton remarked that "A few more such victories would have shortly put an end to British dominion in America."

Monday, June 16, 2008

With all the gasoline price talk lately...

...I wondered why the junk email from Vickie's Secret was offering a "Free Tank".

It took me a second to realize that they meant "-top", not "-of gas".

(I guess in more normal economic times, I would have thought "Cool! I'll take an M3 Stuart and drive it to work!")


You don't have to be completely irrational to confuse historical vandalism with peace activism, but it helps.

Nice to see that the medieval concept of the "deodand" is alive and well in progressive California.

Trying something new...

I noticed that both Chris Muir at Day By Day and Caleb at NRAhab are using Project Wonderful for ad space. I looked it over and thought the bid system was interesting, and decided to give it a whirl for one reason: If I was an FFL or firearms accessories-related dealer with an online presence, I'd sign up with Project Wonderful and put an ad here on VFTP where it would be seen by a couple thousand gun nuts a day at an advertising cost of diddly-squat a month.

I doubt I'll see a fraction of the return I see from Google AdSense (which doesn't quite cover the cable bill), but the way the bidding system works seems to make it perfect for targeted niche markets. Considering the number of Google hits I get from "Gewehr 71 Mauser", "11mm Gras", and ".577-450 Martini", Buffalo Arms would have to be crazy not to buy a Project Wonderful ad here. They could sell one set of RCBS dies or a box of .43 Mauser and pay for a year's worth of banners...

Successful Meme.

I have noticed on editorial pages and in certain sectors of the intarw3bz that the "mercenary" meme has really taken root. You'll never even hear the word "contractor" anymore.

Get a job with Wackenhut guarding an airport in Qatar? Mercenary.

Doling out chow in a Burger King on a base in Iraq? Mercenary.

Driving a truck for KBR? Mercenary.

Working for EOD Tech clearing unexploded ordnance to make a soccer field safe for kids? Mercenary.

Say "Mercenary" and it sounds like they're all swaggering doorkickers with machineguns, and not support personnel filling gaps to free U.S. troops to do things that only troops can do.

And I guess that was the point of the whole exercise, no?

I never realized it before...

But as
[f]loodwaters inundated ... the University of Iowa arts campus,
it slowly dawned on me that George W. Bush hates the artsy whitebread children of ofay midwestern farmers.

UPDATE: Great minds snark alike.

Breaking News:

This just in: Tim Russert is still dead.

Today In History: It was a very small sorority...

On this date in 1963, Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space aboard Vostok 6. It would be nineteen years before another woman made it to orbit.

While she was initially selected for political reasons (new socialist youth with dead war hero father), she took to her role like a duck to water, passing through jet fighter pilot training and later getting a doctorate in cosmonaut engineering. Plus, in those days it took a fair amount of courage to strap yourself in a Russian rocket, as the early ones were pretty far from OSHA compliant and a ride in one was an iffy lottery ticket with the booby prize being a future as an airbrushed blank spot in Soviet space program photos.

Incidentally, on her one mission Tereshkova completed 48 orbits, spending almost three days in space and logging more time in space than all U.S. astronauts up to that point combined.

Big shock there.


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Poor (Failure)

Take the test!

At least I don't wear red nail polish like some shameless hussy. I suspect I got docked points for preferring PJ's (actually old tee shirts or scrubs) to nightgowns.

(H/T to RobertaX.)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Circle of Life...

So friend Matt tagged me with a meme that he'd picked up from Breda. Which was odd, because I'd actually (and quite inadvertently) started the meme myself. So I'm replying to my own meme.

Here's the candid snapshot of the desk at VFTP Command Central from five days ago. The shot is not posed and nothing is moved. In addition to the snazzy coffee cup with the P-47D Thunderbolt on it, note also the Leatherman Juice and Micra, and the .32 and .38 Smith & Wesson single action top-breaks awaiting their day in the Sunday Smith sun. The piccies in the table tent are Stephanie Seymour and Dennis Leary. It's just some little desk fixture I've had sitting next to my computer since my computer was a 486DX.

Incidentally, the coffee cup actually belongs to my roomie, I've just sort of appropriated it. There's a head-on view of the P-47 on the inside bottom of the mug. Being a southpaw, every time I finish my coffee it looks like some daredevil Francis Gabreski is flying inverted straight at me from the dregs of my java...

I am just unreasonably happy... see "Keep The Change" bumper sticker orders going to California and New Jersey.

It may not make any difference in the grand scheme of things, but it's cool nonetheless.

Now if Zazzle would only let me sell Liberators to folks in Burma or Tibet...

Happy Father's Day, Dad.

It's a tired cliche, but how did my dad go from being some fuddy-duddy who didn't know anything to being one of the smartest men I know in so few years?

Thanks for always encouraging me to read and learn; if it weren't for you, I might have been dumb.

I hope it's a happy one, Dad.

In his spare time...

...Barack *redacted* Obama has been known to take pink 10/22 rifles away from little girls and use them to shoot cute, defenseless puppies, before having the gun melted down and turned into Che Guevara buttons.

Can we run the flag back up the pole now?

I notice the flags are still at half mast for that TeeWee talking head who choked on his last cookie the other day.

Not watching TeeWee, when I heard that Tim Russert had died, my first response was "Who?" I literally had no clue who the guy was. Now, though, I know. After three days I understand that he was a brilliant, sensitive, courageous, passionate genius who loved puppy dogs, helped little old ladies across the street, healed the sick, made the blind to see, and walked across water hazards to get to the next green.

For pity's sake, Gerald Ford didn't get this much florid eulogizing in the news when he croaked recently. Of course, he was only a President of the United States, not a member of the media...

419 Scammers usually amuse me...

If I recognize the title of an email in my spam folder as a 419 scam, I'll even occasionally open it and read it for some yuks.

This guy, however, has gone beyond the pale. This guy I would cheerfully beat to a paste with a claw hammer. And smile while doing it.
Dear Sir,
My name is Sgt .Anthony Hill; I am an American soldier with Swiss background, serving in the military with the army's 3rd infantry division. With a very desperate need for assistance, I have summed up courage to contact you. I found your contact particulars in an address journal. I am seeking your kind assistance to move the sum of (US$14,600,000.000) Fourteen Million Six Hundred Thousand United States Dollars to you, as far as I can be assured that my share will be safe in your care until I complete my service here, this is no stolen money,and there is no danger involved.

Source of money:
Some money in various currencies was discovered in barrels at a farmhouse near one of Saddam's old palaces in Tikrit-Iraq during a rescue operation, and it was agreed by staff Sgt Kenneth buff and I that some part of this money be shared among both of us before informing anybody about it since both of us saw the money first. This was quite an illegal thing to do, but I tell you what? No compensation can make up for the risk we have taken with our lives in this hell hole. Of which my brother in-law was killed by a road side bomb last week. You will find the story of this money on the web address below;
The above figure was given to me as my share, and to conceal this kind of money became a problem for me, so with the help of a British contact working here and his office enjoy some immunity, I was able to get the package out to a safe location entirely out of trouble spot. he does not know the real contents of the package, and believes that it belongs to a British / American medical doctor who died in a raid here in Iraq, and before giving up, trusted me to hand over the package to his family in united states.

I have now found a much secured way of getting the package out of Iraq to your country for you to pick up, and I will discuss this with you when I am sure that you are willing to assist me. I want you to tell me how much you will take from this money for the assistance you will give to me. One passionate appeal I will make to you is not to discuss this matter with anybody, should you have reasons to reject this offer, please and please destroy this message as any leakage of this information will be too bad for us soldier's here in Iraq. I do not know how long we will remain here, and I have been shot, wounded and survived two suicide bomb attacks by the special grace of God, this and other reasons I will mention later has prompted me to reach out for help, I honestly want this matter to be resolved immediately, please contact me as soon as possible my only way of communication is email. you get back to

I look forward to hear from you
Sgt. Anthony Hill

Nice, M'butu. The "" adds just the touch of authenticity to convince Aunt Edna to help out one of our boys overseas... What was wrong with pretending to be the widow of the "Finances Minister" of Zimbabwe or the son of millionaire missionaries eaten by cannibals? No, now you want to tug some gullible codger's patriotic heartstrings just in time for the Fourth of July by pretending to be an American soldier in Iraq. I hope you die of some virulent and painful tropical crotch rot.

Just close your eyes and think of England... you write the check for this nice .455 Webley Mk.I(N).

Mine's not quite as pretty, but given the cost difference, I think I'll live with it. Personally, I think his asking price is way high for an RN pistol. If it was an RHA or RFC gun? Sure. But a Navy gun? That's all of a $1,500 pistol, maybe a bit more. Ah well, there's always a greater fool out there somewhere...

(H/T to TD of The Unforgiving Minute, via email.)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Today In History: Australopithecus Geekus.

On this day in 1822, proto computer geek Charles Babbage presented a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society entitled "Note on the application of machinery to the computation of very big mathematical tables."

From that moment, it was only a matter of time until first-person shooters, spam email, CD piracy, and watercooled overclocking became common. All that Babbage's proposed "Difference Engine" needs to be instantly recognizable to any geek today is some red anodized aluminum, and neon light tubes in the case.

Just ill.

The first Mauser rifle adopted by Germany was the Gew. 71. It was followed shortly by a carbine variant for horse soldiers, cannon-cockers, and the like. The carbine was a diminutive little thing, with a full-length stock of the type now referred to as "Mannlicher-style", a turned-down bolt handle, and a stubby 20" barrel.

Apparently, sporting conversions of these rifles were somewhat common around the end of the 19th Century, after they had been obsoleted. I came into possession of one such, a bringback from a WWI Doughboy who pulled occupation duty in Germany during 1919; I bought it from his grandson. Mine was originally made in 1877 by C.G.Haenel & Sohn in the town of Suhl. It had been sporterized in a fashion that would be familiar to later generations of American shooters, by the simple expedient of shortening the military stock to the barrel band and refinishing the wood. In meticulous Teutonic fashion, every piece, down to individual screw heads, bears the gun's serial number, and they all match. The finish is worn to an even brown/gray patina. It looks very much like the one here, except the stock on mine is a little longer and has no inlet pistol grip.

This single-shot black powder Mauser carbine is a handy, compact little weapon. So compact that one could mislay it in the frenzy of moving, and it could lay on a table in a basement with a large sofa cushion atop it. Up out of the floodwaters, mind you, but with the cushion preventing air circulation...

I just noticed it yesterday. I was almost physically ill. It really wasn't too bad; just some freckling on the receiver, the knoxform of the barrel, and the bolt, and an hour or so's diligent work removed the orange cancer spots, but still...

A 131 year old rifle is going to carry the marks of history, and some of those little marks on this rifle from now on are going to be from the Great Indiana Floods of 2008.

Been there, suffered that.

The worst thing about shooting by yourself is that you never get to do it for long...

(H/T to reader John.)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ten different kinds of wrong.

Time + Money + Suzuki Hayabusa motor + Poor little Smart Car that never knew what hit it = The sickest thing I've seen all week.


Hidden in the corners of the intarw3bz:

From the profile of blogger Words Twice:
Compose the lyrics to a new national anthem that features an animal sound at least once:

"Oh say can you hope by the dawn's early change
What so proudly we hoped at the twilight's last changing?
Whose broad change and bright hope through the perilous change,
O'er the ramparts we hoped were so gallantly changing? Baaaaaaa!


The lawnmowing conundrum.

The monsoon season has transformed the front lawn at Roseholme Cottage from the usual scruffy patch of grass one sees in front of the wee bungalows in streetcar suburbs to a verdant fast-growth jungle from which can be heard the call of the cockatoo and the cough of the hunting leopard. (Well, the Broad Ripple street leopard, which bears an astonishing resemblance to felis domesticus.) The grass at which one was chanting "Grow! Grow! Grow!" just weeks ago now draws cries of "Stop already!" as you pull the mower out for the second trim of the week.

With the front lawn on the east side of the house, the situation becomes dicey. Do you mow in the morning, before temperatures have peaked, and get your albino skin char-broiled by the direct rays of the pre-noon sun? Or do you wait until 4:30 or 5:00, when the front lawn is largely in the shade, but the air temperature has reached a sticky 90 degrees? (Side Question: How in Vishnu's name did I ever do yardwork before the invention of the iPod? Was I really making fun of these wunnerful gadgets just a few months ago?)

There's one ray of sunshine in the process: Our neighbor, who is as sweet and friendly as the day is long, is a fervent, politically-active Democrat. As a matter of fact, not being good with names, that's how she's known in my internal monologue or conversations with my roomie: "I was chatting with The Democrat today..." The acoustic mower just wasn't cutting it anymore, no pun intended, so I've transitioned to the electric for the remainder of monsoon season. A couple of weekends ago, it being the first time I'd ever used an electric mower, I was tying myself up in the mower's extension cord in the front yard. The Democrat saw this, and asked if I'd like to use her gas mower. I looked at her steadily and, doing my best to keep a tone of supercilious piety out of my voice, said "Thanks, but this one's so much greener." Ahhhh. So that's how Prius drivers feel...

The Country Formerly Known As Great Britain.

Lose the gun. And the hat.

John Bull can't wear his bowler anymore while taking a pint in Yorkshire. (H/T to Unc.)

Sadly, there's a metaphor in there someplace...

So the USMC came to town about a week ago to practice urban warfare in our modern nation-building era. The plan was to practice deploying from helicopters in parking lots surrounded by big city buildings, patrolling and setting up roadblocks in urban environs clogged with "no-shoot" civilians, et cetera.

Instead, they've spent their week on necessary humanitarian aid, evacuating flood victims and building sandbag levees. It was needed, it was humanitarian, and it was, somewhat poignantly, a metaphor for our military's problems since those klieg lights first shone on SEALS slithering ashore on Somali beaches in 1992.

Today In History: Itchy trigger finger, comrade.

On this date in 1952, a Soviet MiG-15 shot down a Swedish sigint DC-3 over the Baltic Sea, killing all eight crew members. The Commies denied splashing the plane for another four years.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It's worse than I thought...

I just found out on teh intarw3bz that
when Obama says he’s trying to ‘kick the butts’ he means puppies’ butts.
That'll cost him the PETArd vote.

The cost of custom...

Some of the comments on the post below got me to thinking. I've had one custom rifle built so far, and it's a fairly rack-grade, utilitarian piece. When you add it all together...

I got the Mauser (a Turkish tomato stake with a shot out bore) for $35. The gun was stripped to the bare action and the lugs were lapped for free. I paid a friend $200 for the .30 cal Lilja barrel. I paid pretty much cost on a bolt handle, a Timney trigger and a bolt shroud and safety. I paid retail for the Boyd's stock, the recoil pad, Leupold bases & rings, and the Millet scope. Labor for fitting a short-action Savage mag box, welding up the bolt face, custom-fabricating bottom metal, threading the end of the barrel & making a thread protector, cutting the .300 Whisper chamber, and hundred-and-one other things involved in generally putting the whole thing together was done at "Good Buddy" rates (along with which you have to accept "Good Buddy" time; when a working 'smith is doing your gun in his spare time as a favor for a friend, you don't bitch if it takes a couple of years.) The matte bluing job was picked up at employee discount.

And even with all that, my plain-jane, rack-grade, budget Mauser custom came out well over a grand, probably closer to two . And the stock is still unfinished.

Speaking of gun pr0n...

Og shows us what 109,129 pounds of pennies will buy these days.


Sexy, sexy antique Winchester pr0n.

Did you hear about Obama's new campaign bus?

It seats thirty in the passenger compartment and six seven under the wheels.

(...and will the day soon come when we miss the fluid and easy extemporaneous speaking of George Um W. Uh Bush?)

It is a vicious, baseless slur... claim that Barack *redacted* Obama was heard to shout "Allahu Akhbar!" when he pushed that iceberg into the path of the Titanic.

The truth is that nobody's really sure what he said as he gave the 'berg a nudge.

I guess it's too late to burn the nest.

I get mad enough when I read about some idjit tofuista trying to make their pet cat (order Carnivora) go Vegan, but that can't possibly compare to the vein-bouncing-in-the-forehead mood into which twaddle like this puts me.

The irony of the situation? I'm sure good Vegan Mum and Dad would have supported bringing charges against a snake-handling backwoods yahoo who tried to treat their child's leukemia with a prayer hankie and a visit from the preacher.

Well, Mr. & Mrs. Anonymous, how does it feel to know that your asinine beliefs have permanently broken your kid? Morons.

Today In History: Beginning of the End.

"Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" -Ronald Reagan, 6/12/87

Online Rumors:

It is a little-known fact that Barack kidnapped the Lindbergh baby.

Also, Jimmy Hoffa was last seen getting in his car.

And he changed his middle name to Hussein from Khomeini, to make it seem less conspicuous.

Garage Sale:

One steel Colt factory 32-rd magazine for 9mm AR-15, w/black Magpul. 6/97 date, LE-marked, available only to folks who don't live in bolshevik hellholes that prohibit good magazines.

$30 + $5 for USPS Priority Mail sound fair?

Respond in comments; first come, first served.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

One in four!?! Oh, ick!

Blogger starfuryzeta with info I could have lived without knowing.

Note to self: Avoid NYC like the... well, like the plague.

Not to cast slurs on the man...

...but I read on the internet that Barack Obama was seen bayoneting Davy Crockett at the Alamo. Wearing a keffiyeh.

That'll cost him votes in Texas.

Don't tell his cybernauts I told you this or they'll come get me.

Crack team of cybernauts, indeed...

"A crack team of cybernauts will form a rapid response internet “war room” to track and respond aggressively to online rumours that Barack Obama is unpatriotic and a Muslim."
Seems they're trolling CafePress rather than patrolling teh intarw3bz, making sure that nobody spills the beans about the fact that Obama is really a ten thousand year-old Assyrian demon that eats babies for breakfast. Or Martin Bormann in disguise, whichever.

(H/T to Tully @ Stubborn Facts.)

Bringing hOpe.

"Imagine hopey-changey
it’s easy if you try

Hahahaha! That's funny right there, I don't care who you are.

I'll take "Burning Irony" for $500, Alex...

Having sweated my way through my share of summertime Atlanta commutes in an un-air-conditioned car wearing dress code-mandated pantyhose, I couldn't help but grimace at the ABC News story to which RobertaX linked this morning:
"Fight the oppression of the patriarchy by ditching your pantyhose for leg makeup."
I felt so empowered by that sentiment. Only not.

That makes no sense.

The video of the conjoined twins on seems to have black bars across their eyes to help foil... well, help foil what, I'm not exactly sure.

"Hey! I saw some girls on CNN last night that were joined at the head, but I can't tell if it was you two or not 'cause their eyes was blacked out."

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the web...

After a one week long sewage-in-the-basement-related hiatus, my Low End Mac column is back. From now on, I'm going to keep an extra column or two ahead. That way if, say, my noggin falls off or something, they've got two weeks to reattach it before I have to worry about missing a deadline...

Today In History: Non-assimilating Catholic Immigrants Riot!

No, not today in LA; in Boston back in 1837.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Well, what have we here?

Why, if I didn't know better, I'd say that the Obama campaign wanted me to use their logo, since they make it available for frickin' public download.

Can't stop the signal.


So, (whose complaint department may be reached at or 650.655.3104) notified me that my artwork was inappropriate. Rather than being legitimate parody and political satire in the middle of a crucial and hotly-contested election year, they said it infringed on trademarks and copyrights and caused the heartbreak of psoriasis. Well, actually not all my graphics were bad, just some of them.

Care to guess which some?

(In case you can't tell, CafePress outlines the pulled graphics in red.)

Anybody want to bet that there aren't many McCain voters there?

UPDATE: Can't stOp the signal.

UPDATE 2: Why, if I didn't know better, I'd say that the Obama campaign wanted me to use their logo, since they make it available for frickin' public download.

on a rOll...

Available as a bumper sticker or coffee mug.


Tonight I will likely dream about being a sandbag.

Obama urges conversion of US economy to the Peso.

Claiming that the economy needs a boost, Barack I'm No Economist Obama called for
"another round of fiscal stimulus, an immediate $50 billion to help those who've been hit hardest by this economic downturn,"
without explaining what invisible pink unicorn was expected to defecate this windfall.

Given that the is already in hock up to our grandkids' eyeballs, one can only expect that this would come from an order to the printing presses at Treasury.

In related news, Ace Hardware has started selling special "Weimar Edition" currency wheelbarrows for trips to the grocery store and gas station.

Today In History: Lidice.

On this date in 1942, German Einsatztruppen entered the Czech village of Lidice, rounded up all the men over the age of 16, and shot them down like dogs in a farm yard. The women and children were separated from each other and sent to concentration camps. Most of the children were gassed on their arrival at the Chelmno concentration camp on the orders of Adolf Eichmann. The women were worked to death at Ravensbruck. The village itself, which had stood since at least the 14th century, was razed. The German government meticulously recorded the massacre and announced it in official broadcasts.

Remember Lidice the next time someone gives you that tired "BusHitler" crap or natters on about how "America is just like Nazi Germany now".

Monday, June 09, 2008

Fair & Balanced

Because I'm all about the Fair & Balanced.

Imported Snark..

VFTP Command Central is still awaiting the morning's shipment of fresh organic free-range domestic snark. In the meantime, may I direct you to some Grade A imported snark over here?

Storm Drops Travel Trailer On Woman.

"...reports that a little girl in a gingham dress immediately looted her shoes are as yet unconfirmed."

Y'know, I understand it's awful. It's horrible, and it's a tragedy. Call it a character flaw that I can't read a CNN headline that says "Storm Drops Travel Trailer On Woman" without reflexively laughing. Mel Brooks once said something to the effect of "Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die."

Look! More stuff for you to buy! VFTP Cafe.

All proceeds will go to my Widows & Orphans Fund, which I regularly embezzle for beer money.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Just downloaded NeoOffice the other day and got to playing with its drawing program...
UPDATE: Sticker available here, at VFTP Cafe.


In Japan, the hand can be used like a knife.

So, apparently, can a knife.

They should ban those things, or something.


Did you know that Roald Dahl, who wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was a British agent in America before our entry into WWII? He also was a fighter pilot, who crashed his Gloster Gladiator during an emergency landing in the Libyan desert.

The Gladiator was the last biplane fighter to see service with the RAF before being replaced by more modern aircraft such as the Supermarine Spitfire. The Spitfire was an amazingly successful design; its only real weakness was short legs that prevented it from serving as a long-range escort for the daylight bombing raids of the U.S. Army Air Force. Everyone knows about the B-17s of the Eighth Air Force and their brave crews, but fewer people know that the Consolidated B-24 Liberator played an equally big role with the Mighty Eighth.

Commanding one of those B-24s over Germany was a man who had to put on weight to enlist in the USAAF as a private before we entered the war. His flying skills got him a commission, and by a combination of wrangling and pleading, the man who would retire from the USAF Reserve in 1968 as a Brigadier General was allowed to fly in combat against the Hun like he wanted. He's better known for his other career, though, because Jimmy Stewart wasn't a half bad actor, either.

Becoming a dictatorship, but only half-fast.

Pugsley's mandatory finking law was thwarted by thousands of angry marchers who took to the street in protest of attempts to shut down opposition candidates, as well as chanting against the aforementioned law that made rolling over for the national security police compulsory.

Hitler never had it so rough...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The other blog...

Nattering about old rifles at the other blog.

No blog for you. You come back later.

I have sworn a terrible oath before eldritch gods that I will write posts for The Arms Room, two columns for Low End Mac, take pictures of some stuff for a mini eBay garage sale, and answer a two-week backlog of email before I play on teh intarw3bz today.

Back soon.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Eaten lunch yet?

If not, unpack the brown paper sack on your desk (or drag your laptop to Panera Bread) and read Kevin's essay on the Edjumacation Conspiracy while you nosh. It's one of his long 'uns, but it's really worth it.

Planting tomorrow's Soylent Green crop, indeed...

20,000 Pixels Under The Sea.

The neatest thing I've seen on the interwebz in a while: Detailed sonar pics of shipwrecks in Scapa Flow.

One of the more interesting things there is image of the wreck site of SMS Bayern. Note her gunhouses all lined up in a neat row on the sea bed. I remember being surprised the first time I read of a battleship's turrets falling out as she capsized, then realizing that you really don't need anything other than gravity to keep a 2000 ton turret stuck to the ship as long as it remains right side up. (And if it's no longer right side up, who cares if the turrets stay attached, really?)

Planting tomorrow's Soylent Green crop.

When I first read it, I thought it was satire. Surely nobody could be such a walking, talking parody of an Ayn Rand villain...
Children should no longer be taught traditional subjects at school because they are "middle-class" creations, a Government adviser will claim today.

Professor John White, who contributed to a controversial shake-up of the secondary curriculum, believes lessons should instead cover a series of personal skills.

Pupils would no longer study history, geography and science but learn skills such as energy-saving and civic responsibility through projects and themes.
It apparently is true however. Oh well, the Morlocks will have to eat, too, I guess.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Over One Million Served...

Wow... I can't tell you how cool this is to me. Thanks folks, really! I'm just tickled to death that anybody reads this stuff, actually. For a little personal blog about nothing in particular that hasn't even had it's third birthday yet, that's not too shabby.

Anyhow, enough gloating and patting myself on the back. Back to writin'...

(I'm Rick James, bitch! :D )

I was going to say something...

...about the State Security Organs of D.C. and their planned "Neighborhood Safety Zone" garbage, but I changed my mind. It's already been said, only better.

Hippo birdie two ewe

Hippo birdie two ewe
Hippo birdie deer Breda
Hippo birdie two ewe!

Tools in the shed.

I'm going to go out on a limb with a prediction:

IF we get eight years of a Democrat in the White House AND the Dems retain control of congress for the next four to six years THEN we will see at least one of the fringier gun/freedom groups get investigated for terrorism, membership and donor rolls seized, assets frozen, members put on the no-fly list, the whole Patriot (ha!) Act shebang.

It'll be KABA or the Michigan Militia or everyone who's ever posted at the Claire Files, or the records of everyone who has chipped in to help Oleg buy a lens to take those seditious pictures, maybe even as big a target as the JPFO.

And all the Bush Derangement Syndrome folks are going to miss the point, saying
"Ooh! It was those evil NeoCons and their Patriot Act! And now they're hoist by their own petard!", completely ignorant of the fact that the Patriot act was nothing but a laundry list of failed law enforcement gimmes, some dating back to the Carter administration, that was passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority during the Rah-Rah Government! days while the rubble from the towers was still cooling.

Meanwhile, the Law & Order GOP types will still be chanting "If you have nothing to hide, what are you worried about?" since they wouldn't be members of such a loony fringe organization anyway. (They're not even sure if their Ducks Unlimited membership is still up to date, but they must be okay with the NRA since they haven't stopped getting American Rifleman.)

Oh well, at least the conspiracy theories are more entertaining when the Dems are in control. The Truthers have nothing on the guys who swore that Clinton had a million Chinese troops across the border under UN command that were going to drive into the country on the wrong side of the road (because they were furriners, that's why there are secret code stickers on the backs of traffic signs) and round us all up in detention stalags made from WalMart garden centers.

Surely he can't be that crazy...

So the talk now is all about whether or not Barry will take Hils on board as Veep.

You know, they say that the Vice President is only one heartbeat away from the Oval Office. You couldn't pay me enough money to be the heartbeat between Hils and that chair. I would wear a bulletproof vest in the shower, I would be the first president with food tasters. I would... I just wouldn't do it; I'd rather sleep in a bed full of rattlesnakes.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Big day.

Barring some freakish misfortune, Thursday should be a big, big day here at VFTP...

Pimpin' ain't easy...

So, you may notice down in my sidebar below my blogroll that I'm pimping a few books from Amazon. Rest assured that I did not throw darts at a catalog to decide to shill these particular choices.

The Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, Mauser Military Rifles of the World, and Collecting Classic Bolt Action Military Rifles are three books that stay within arm's reach of my chair at VFTP Command Central. They are among a small suite of indispensable books that I don't want to have to get out of my chair to fetch when answering questions online. If Amazon has some of the other handful of books on that shelf (and if they're still in print) I'll try and link them, too.

Reflections In A Jaundiced Eye and Parliament Of Whores are two great introductions to my literary idols and unwitting role models, Miss Florence King and P.J. O'Rourke. I can't recommend them highly enough; if this blog makes you chuckle, I owe it all to reading too much of them.

Click. Buy. Read. You'll thank me. I guarantee it.

The past is another country...

...they did things cooler there.

The joys of gardening...

Last night's torrential downpour beat the radishes, chives, carrots, and dill flat. I spent a fair amount of time gently freeing tender sprouts from the mud. The verdammt tree rat keeps sitting in the pot of nemophila out front, and one of his cousins dug up and devoured a nice tender corn seedling. The delphinium is blooming with loverly dark purple flowers, but had to be staked after the weekend's typhoons.

Maple seedlings, on the other hand, are springing up like frigging kudzu.

Maybe I should scrap the herb/vegetable idea and go for a maple syrup plantation instead...

Pardon our dust...

I'm attempting to add one of those little Amazon widget thingies to my sidebar down below my blogroll. You know, shilling cool books for folks to read.

Obviously, my html skillz are neither mad nor 1337. Bear with me, please...

Apu may have a disgruntled employee.

Well, I'm going to have to say that all depends on how much time you have to kill someone and whether you can get them to hold still or not. Personally, I'd favor a really, really big blade. And a really big dude to use it while I remained at a safe distance, like maybe the next county over.

For those tactical wabbits...

Frank James, writing on farm guns, finds a surprising winner. Interestingly, I once sold one to a guy who planned to use it for the same thing.

Another customer once had a Springfield M6. Deciding that .22LR wasn't enough, but .22 Hornet was too much, he had us take a chamber reamer and convert his to .22 WMR. It was from him that I learned that CCI's .22 Magnum TNT round was not a good choice for squirrel hunting if you actually planned to eat the tree rat. Apparently at ~50 yards or so, it will scatter squirrel all over the forest.

Today In History: Boarders away!

On this date in 1944, a U.S. task force in the South Atlantic captured the German submarine U-505.

The sub is now on display and open for tours at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Today In History: American Somme.

On this date in 1864, General U.S. Grant again tried to turn Lee's flank on the northern approaches to Richmond. It was the fourth day of fighting around Cold Harbor and Grant attempted to fix Lee's left with probing attacks while making a major thrust against his right with three corps of infantry.

The attacks were poorly coordinated and little had been done to scout the Confederate positions; if they had scouted, they would have discovered that Lee's troops were well dug-in and waiting. In the early morning of June 3rd, men who had already survived the bloodbaths at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania marched into the teeth of withering musketry and point-blank canister shot from emplaced cannon. Some Union troops expressed their view of the likelihood of success by writing their names on pieces of paper pinned to their uniforms, in order to assist with the recognition of their remains in those pre-dog-tag days.

The Union army took as many as 6,000 casualties (perhaps as many as 2,000 KIA) on that day. General Grant later wrote that he had "...always regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made. ... At Cold Harbor no advantage whatever was gained to compensate for the heavy loss we sustained."

Hints from Heloise.

Suppose that you owned a really nice Eddystone M1917 and an Arisaka Type 38 carbine. Suppose you'd left them out of the safe because you'd been playing with them, and they were resting against a wall with their buttplates on a raised piece of particle board.

Suppose that this piece of particle board was on a basement floor that flooded and, while it kept the rifles actually up out of the water, the board itself got waterlogged, and when you looked at your rifles before putting them away you noticed that they had developed a bit of orange fuzz on the heel of the buttplate where it had been in contact with the damp.

Tools you will need: A cloth; some good protective oil and some cleaner/oil combo (I use Butch's Gun Oil and FP-10 respectively; everyone will have a favorite); a brush; a brass cartridge case (I've found a bottleneck rifle cartridge of about .30-'06 size works best for me); and a hammer.

Use the hammer to mash the mouth of the case flat. Lube the cancerous spot with the combo oil and use the flattened end of the brass case as a scraper to get the oxidation off; brass being softer than steel, it won't hurt the underlying metal. Then go to the brush and cloth and clean as normal and apply your protective oil. Et voila! Cancer removal.

Jeff gets a fix...

...for his new gun jones.

Check out his shiny new PF9.

Dumb so dense it bends light.

Western civ has crossed the stupidity event horizon, from which not even the most energetic particle of common sense can escape.

A gun by any other name...

A recent post at Unc's sparked discussion on the ATF's definition of which part of a gun constitutes the actual firearm. I inadvertently managed to muddy the waters by using a piece of industry jargon, "the serial-numbered part". This is used frequently to refer to the piece that is designated as the actual firearm, as in:
"XYZ Wholesale is selling complete Blastomatic kits, everything but the serial-numbered part, for $189.99. You want I should order a few?"
"Fish around in the bottom of that box from Acme Tactical. There's a couple of serial-numbered parts in there that I need to put in the logbook."
Used outside that setting, this can cause confusion. Many firearms have the serial number on several parts (you will hear collectors of old guns refer to an example of a Mauser or Luger or Peacemaker as having "all matching numbers".) There is a reason for this, however.

Regardless of your feelings on gun control laws (and I think they're pretty much all unconstitutional), we have them. If the government is going to have laws that control guns, they have to define something as the "The Gun". In other words, if they are going to have a law saying, for instance, that you can't mail a handgun, then they can't let you just take a handgun apart and mail the complete thing as "gun parts"; there has to be an "atom of gun", a piece that, no matter how many other pieces you remove, retains its "gun-ness", and that is the part that is controlled.

In most cases it's fairly obvious: There is a frame or receiver that all the other parts (lockwork, barrel, cylinder, whatever) bolt up to, and that part is the gun. Several common exceptions to that rule or variations on it can be confusing to the casual hobbyist, and I'll try and cover a few here:

With self-loading rifles, it's usually pretty apparent at a glance. With most designs, the controlled part is the piece that the barrel, bolt and magazine all go into. Two big exceptions are the AR-15 and the FAL, which have "upper" and "lower" receivers. With the FAL, the upper contains the bolt, barrel, and magazine well, and it's obviously the controlled part. The AR, however, has the mag well on the lower receiver. Part of what has made the AR such a hit in the aftermarket is that the whole top half of the gun is unserialized and barrel length, caliber, and dozens of other features can be changed simply by swapping uppers out, since only the lower is controlled. It's really something of a fluke in the rifle world, but thank heavens for it, because it has spawned a whole hobby within a hobby.

With self-loading pistols, the frame is almost always the controlled part. Generally this is easy to tell, because even with most of the rest of the parts taken off, the frame still looks like a gun. Major exceptions would be the Ruger .22 semiautos, in which the barrel and its integral receiver are the gun and the grip frame is not; the Luger, in which the "slide" is the receiver; and the Beretta Neos, which can have its grip, barrel, and bolt all removed or changed out, leaving only the receiver as the actual gun.

In revolvers, confusion can also arise. The frame is, again, the gun, but most old single action revolvers and their modern clones have removable grip frames. The controlled part is the part of the frame that the barrel and cylinder mount to, not the separate "grip frame". Charter Arms double action revolvers are similarly constructed, in that the grip frame is separate from the actual frame of the gun. This sometimes causes confusion on eBay when someone freaks out over seeing a "grip frame" being auctioned.

Bolt-action rifles have a rather obvious receiver. For whatever reason, the Russians numbered their Mosin Nagant rifles on the barrel, rather than the action, and everyone else that made Mosins followed suit. Since these rifles are so rarely re-barreled, it's not that big of a deal. If you ever do, make sure to have your gunsmith move the S/N to the receiver. (Some importers these days are marking the receiver to fix this.) Mausers are generally serial numbered on the receiver as well as having the bolt and bottom metal numbered. If the gun has been re-arsenalled at some time in the past, these numbers may well not match. It should be obvious that the number on the receiver is the one that matters.

This is generally all common sense. I'm no rocket scientist, and I managed to pick most of it up by deductive reasoning. If you can figure out a 1040EZ, you can probably figure out which part of the gun is actually the gun.

Apparently Capt. Obvious was promoted.

Retired Lt. Gen. Honoré managed to fill not only air time, but bandwidth, explaining that disasters can happen at any time, tragedy "can result if we fail to prepare", and "each of us has a personal responsibility to be ready".

I guess maybe this is news for some people. Maybe some people thought it was the government's job to prepare for disaster, and that the government would take care of them when disaster struck. Maybe some people believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, too.

Look, when the dead have risen and are staggering through the streets in search of human brains, the government is not going to be there to help you. The only representatives of the government you will see during the Zombocalypse will be soldiers, who will try to kill you, and guys in lab coats or hermetically sealed bunny suits who will try to use you for hideous experiments in a misguided attempt to find a cure.

As Gen. Obvious said, come the big disaster, surviving it is your responsibility. Yours, your family's, and your community's. Not the government's. It'll probably be the government that accidentally releases the brain-eating zombie virus in the first place.