Saturday, January 31, 2009

Phrase of the Day:

"Ethic Cleansing"

I promise to work that one into at least two conversations with followers of the Lichtarbeiter here in Broad Ripple this week.

The big problem with Nancy Pelosi...

...is that she thinks her job is to make me eat my spinach.

No, Nancy, you miss the point. The job of you and all your fellow errand boys and girls is to keep the checkbook balanced, schlep out the legislative trash, and make sure nobody makes off with the metaphorical silverware while us grown-up private citizens try and go about the daily business of doing the things that make this civilization function, unencumbered by the need for that folderol. You have come down with a bad, bad case of Forgottenwhoworksforwho-itis.

This is how come you and the rest of your congressional buddies collectively have an approval rating that makes George W. Bush look like the second coming of Elvis.

Truth in Advertising...

One of the mail order diploma mills has spammed my inbox pimping its CJ program:
Tammy, The world has changed since September 2001. Not only has the U.S. Department of Labor predicted that by 2010 there will be more than a 29% increase in the demand for FBI Officers, Police Officers, Private Detectives, U.S. Customs Agents and many others, but the growing emphasis on homeland security has created an unprecedented demand for criminal justice and security professionals.
Sad to say, but they're right, there. I'd say that the enforcement arms of various regulatory agencies are pretty much the only real sure-fire winners in the job market of the next several years. They and the other various badge-carrying agents of Leviathan will be okey-dokey. I don't know about the Border Patrol, though; they've always been the red-headed stepchild of federal LE, and I'm not sure that they're poised for a radical growth curve in the era of Hope and Change.

Local law enforcement may be in a bit more of a pickle; if tax revenues fall, it can be hard to run a SWAT team off the cash from speeding tickets and the occasional seized doublewide. Be a shame if Mayberry had to sell its stylin' armored car to make ends meet.


While we're on the topic of Leviathan, I note that if you are in the hand-made infant goodies business, now you have a whole year to learn another skill, instead of being screwed in February. Thanks, Big Government! O You are truly most munificent!

Friday, January 30, 2009

I couldn't resist this.

Besides, memes are what I can do instead of content...

From JPG, via Xavier, comes the Browning meme: On the list of JMB designs, embolden or put a + (plus sign) by those you currently own. Put an asterisk (*) next to those you HAVE HAD but don’t currently.

Single Shot Rifles:
Winchester 1885

Bolt-action Rifles:
Winchester 1900

Lever-action Rifles:
Winchester 1886
Winchester 1892
*Winchester 1894
Winchester 1895

Slide-action Rifles:
Winchester 1890

Recoil-operated Semi-automatic Rifles:
Remington Model 8 and 81

Blowback-operated Semi-automatic Rifles:
Browning .22 Semiauto

Double-barrel Shotguns:
Browning Superposed

Lever-action Shotguns:
Winchester 1887

Slide-action Shotguns:
*Winchester 1897 (Mine was actually the Norinco clone.)
Remington Model 17 (later the Ithaca 37)
Stevens 520

Recoil-operated Semi-automatic Shotguns:
Browning Auto 5 / +Remington Model 11

Blowback-operated Semi-automatic Pistols:
FN M1900
+Colt 1903/1908 Pocket Hammerless (2x Type I 1903s)
FN 1906 Vest Pocket/+Colt 1908 Vest Pocket
FN 1910
Colt Woodsman

Recoil-operated Semi-automatic Pistols
+Colt 1902
Colt 1903 Pocket Hammer
+U.S. M1911
FN G.P. 35

Gas-operated Machine Guns:
Colt M1895
U.S. M1918 BAR

Recoil-Operated Machine Guns:
U.S. M1917/M1919
U.S. M2 Heavy Machine Gun


Automatic Machine Cannon:
Colt-Browning 37mm


The obvious question next is "Which ones do you want the most?" I'm not much of a wingshooter and, while I like a good Western as much as the next kid, nor either am I a C.A.S. participant. This doesn't mean I'd kick a Superposed or a '92 out of the gun safe, but I don't get sweaty-palmed with desire over them, either. I've gotten to the point where I realize I just can't have every firearm ever made, and so my gun lust has gotten a lot less diffuse over time.

Any of the pistols would be cool, but I'll commit the heresy of saying that me and the Woodsman have never bonded. From a practical standpoint, I like a Ruger 22/45 or a .22 conversion kit on a 1911, but for recreational .22 handgun plinking, give me a Kit Gun or a K-22 any day of the week. I've never really had a thing for High Powers, either. Like CZ-75's, I know in my head that they're awesome, but they've never clicked with my heart.

I desperately want a 1903 Pocket Hammer to go with my 1902 Military Model. I know where there's a shooter for sale at a reasonable price, but it's a matter of mustering the shekels... Of the pistols, an FN 1900 or 1910 would be neat, because I have a thing for homely little European pocket guns and JMB designs, and they score on both counts.

Among the shotguns, the only one that really interests me enough to actually buy (other than the Model 11 Riot Gun I already have) would be a military '97.

Of his rifle designs, I've always gotten weepy every time I see an 1895 in .405 Winchester; they make my heart go pitter-pat. And a Russian military contract 1895 in 7.62x54R with wood out to the muzzle would be the berries, if ever I could find one. While I've never had a burning desire to own any particular '92 or '94, the 1886 makes me want to do something with my life that would let me afford one, like get elected to Congress for the sweet bribes and kickbacks or, if my conscience wouldn't handle that, smuggle coke.

The one JMB affection I have that I can't explain is the Remington Model 8. I will own one of those someday, although it doesn't at all fit with my collection and is one of the few Browning designs that has really been obsoleted. But it is just so cool...

Shirtsleeves Messiah...

We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK... That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen.” -Barry O.
It looks like by "We", he actually meant "You little people".

At least when Jimmy Carter was telling us to tighten our collective belt, he had the common courtesy to put on a sweater and turn down his own thermostat.

I'll bet you that old house is expensive to heat, too. Of course, since you're paying for it with other people's money, who cares how much it costs, right?

We interrupt this transmission...

...for some serious panting and wheezing. Trash day today, and that meant some hasty excavation from the back yard of Roseholme Cottage around the side, to the front so as to be able to schlep the trash cans with a minimum amount of wading in foot-deep snow.

'Member that light, fluffy, easy-to-shovel snow I was talking about the other day? Well, after laying about for a couple days on the sidewalks, it's all surly and packed and doesn't like to be told to move. Ugh.

Anyhow, until I'm feeling a little bloggier, here's an excerpt from the comment thread on the Giant Cylinder & Slide "Pocket Hammerless":
Nathan Brindle: "Yummy...but IMHO way overpriced, sorry. Yeah, I understand the law of supply and demand, and the concept of limited production runs, and collector's items, and all that. But why can't a gun like this be made for the masses? JMB wouldn't have screwed around with that kind of thing, he'd have made the gun affordable."
One thing I was surprised to find out in the business was how expensive handwork is as part of the overall cost of a gun. And that "Model of 2006" has a lot of handwork in it. There are hours and hours just making and fitting up the slide extension...
Me: Nope, not overpriced at all. That gun is largely handwork by a master gunsmith. The labor hours/shop time alone in fabricating, welding up, and polishing the rear slide extension would probably pay for a used Glock all by themselves, and all you'd have when you were done was a slide in the white.

If the slides and frames were sold as blanks, and with the labor done by the guy at your local gun-haus, you'd end up with a gun that cost about as much as a Brownell's-kit 1911, which is to say anything from ~$800 if your guy is cheap and you're willing to settle for CMC or generic parts, or $2000+ if you've got a top flight smith and you go the Kart/C&S/Brown route.

If a factory tooled up to produce them, however, they probably wouldn't cost a lot more than a decent 1911, although they'd have to make up for lack of volume with higher prices, since they'd have to recoup tooling and setup costs over a smaller production run. Springfield or S&W could probably bring it to market for a bit over a grand, street price.

This should tickle the lefties...

The Eeeeeevil Secret Büshführer Armies of Blackwater, Inc. didn't get one of the new licenses required for armed private security contractors in Iraq. Who's next biggest? And are they publicly owned? 'Cause those VIPs, NGOs, and malls ain't just gonna guard themselves. Yet.

Looks like there might be a near-term slump in the secret ninja army job market, though. Things are tough all over.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Just so you know...

I would cheerfully murder people in their beds to own this gun.

Day-umn!

That is some sweet sexy JMB goodness right there...

(H/T to Turk Turon.)

Anarchy in the U.S.A.

So, roomie was feeling all pooky yesterday morning. She wasn't sure whether she'd be going to the doctor's office or to work, but she was heading to one or the other of those destinations.

While she was getting ready in the AM, I dressed, grabbed a snow shovel, and cleared a path to the garage. Got in and punched the opener... The garage door went up and there was her car in the alley, buried under a white cocoon and surrounded with a foot of snow.

I shoveled a path to the driver's side, snagged the push broom and knocked most of the accumulation off her econobox, stared at the rest of the alley a bit, and nearly collapsed. Roomie came out, sniffling and coughing and obviously feeling like microwaved hell, looked around and said "Get the extension cord..."

I thought she was nuts, but I paid out the orange line as she hooked up the snowblower and started clearing. The engineer chick that lives two doors down was shoveling out in front of her garage. Instead of turning left towards the street, RobertaX turned right towards the neighbor's driveway. Seeing this, our neighbor redoubled her efforts. Feeling like a total slacker, I picked up the shovel I'd set down and started continuing my roomie's path to the street, lest I let down the side.

With the three of us working, the alley was cleared in short order. I had to stop Bobbi from excavating yet another neighbor's drive with "Hey, Che Guevara of the Revolutionary Communal Snow-Clearing Committee! They can get the last two feet from their garage themselves. Get in your car and get to the doctor's office!"

Later, as I was walking back from the grocery store, my next-door neighbor came out and asked about the conditions. I told her, and she decided she'd skip the driving and just walk to the store.

This afternoon I was sitting on the front porch reading when I noticed that her sidewalk hadn't been cleared yet. This offended my sense of order. I grabbed my shovel and, with no expectation of reimbursement, started connecting my cleared sidewalk to the one two doors down. As I was finishing up, my neighbor, obviously fresh from the shower, came out and set two six-packs of Gnaw Bone Pale Ale on her front porch.

Well, gosh, I hadn't been expecting a reward for being a good neighbor, but far be it from me to turn down good beer. I made sure her sidewalk got an extra good scraping before I headed back to my front porch.

I'm dying to see how teh gummint can make a law to make this system work better...


(Interestingly, all the little side streets here were uncleared by the city's plows, which meant no plowing whatsoever. Except for one right at the end of our alley. Apparently one of the neighbors down there had paid for a clearing service that not only gave them a couple guys with shovels on the sidewalks and driveway, but also a Ramcharger with a plow blade on the street in front of the house...)

zomg it's Snowmageddon!

12.5", thanks. According to the weather dudes, it's sixth heaviest snowfall on record here in Indy, and the heaviest since 1994.

Side roads are impassible to vehicles with big fiberglass cow-catchers that dangle mere inches from the pavement. For that matter, just backing out of the garage is a no go when the snow is over the rear license plate.

We shoveled and push-broomed roomie's car out of its white cocoon and then, along with a neighbor, formed the People's Revolutionary Committee For Voluntary Communal Snow Removal. With me and neighbor on shovels and Bobbi at the helm of her 20" electric snow removal doohickey, we cleared the alley from neighbor's garage to the street.

I schlepped to the grocery store, but most folks hadn't gotten their sidewalks shoveled and side streets were still in the "you're on your own" category for snowplows, and so I had to walk the few blocks in the uneven wheel ruts in the foot-deep snow. Good for the ankles; strengthens the calves.

After I got back and rewarded the morning's industriousness with bacon and a beer, it was time for more shoveling, this time in the front of the house. Got it done in fairly short order. Go Team Me!

Boy, are my shoulders sore. I think a long hot bath is in order today, with my magic bath salts of muscle relaxing.

The Grapes of Pique.

CNN.com tries to spin a weeper about a family clinging by their fingernails to bare "economic survival in this time of financial crisis".

Apparently Mr. LeBlanc's management gig at a truck stop restaurant in Louisiana went tango uniform. Not having an immediate fallback plan, the father of four flailed about for a bit, living on unemployment while looking for other work.
In Lafayette, a quiet city of about 114,000 tucked away in southern Louisiana, many of the jobs center around servicing the oil and gas industry, but Rob LeBlanc was unwilling to work offshore and away from his family.
So, unwilling to go after a near-certain good-paying gig that might keep him away from home a lot of the time, LeBlanc decided to run out the shot clock there in Lafayette. With the buzzer about to sound...
Donna LeBlanc gave her husband, a former restaurant manager, the stark ultimatum: become a pizza delivery man or their family "wouldn't make it."
Other than issuing ultimata to her beau, Donna was also carrying the load at the time by working at a pest control company. She's also put plans for going back to school on hold.

Seeing the sacrifice she's making of her college dreams, Mr. LeBlanc is reportedly pondering actually selling his "beloved 2003 Kawasaki" to help chip in to the household finances. Also, the kids had to give up their allowances, and their daughter worked odd jobs to earn money to buy a dress for a school dance... (cue ominous music) ...off the clearance rack!! The shame!


Jesus H. Tap-Dancing Christ on pogo stick, people! This sounds like my childhood! We didn't get allowances. We worked odd jobs to buy things we wanted, sometimes from garage sales or thrift stores. Our family made sacrifices so dad could make the mortgage payments. Dad had to sell his '55 T-Bird. There's a term for these living conditions: Middle Class American Family With More Than One Kid.

To read the pathos in the article, you'd expect they were living in a snow-covered cardboard box under a bridge in the jungles of Zimbabwe, fending off tigers and cannibals with pointy sticks and eating boiled shoe leather, not dwelling in a 5BR/3BA in suburban America. So they don't go to movies much any more? Cry me a river! Neither did we. In case you haven't noticed, you about need to fill out a credit app to get a family of six through the front door and past the concession counter. Turn on the TeeVee; it's free. Or better yet, go read a book. They have them for free at the library. But don't paint yourself as the poster children of the Next Great Depression because you can't take all the rugrats to Disney World and might need to sell your motorcycle, okay?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Warning: Zombies Ahead.

Level 4 zombie outbreak in Austin, TX.

Good ole boys dispatched, but may not be able to contain.

Further news as it arrives.

(Via email; h/t to reader John.)

Snowpocalypse Now:

The neighbors across the street have buried their Civic but good in about a foot of eensy beensy snowflings that mother nature has dumped on the ground out front.

I believe I'll walk to the store today...

(The annoying part of the whole thing is that late yesterday afternoon, with about four inches already on the ground, I noticed the snow had stopped, thought "That's the worst of it, then...", and shoveled the walks.)

Ammo stockpiles: the what and why.

As a gun collector, I have to keep track of ammunition if ever I want to shoot my guns. As of last count, I have handguns in twenty-four different calibers, and long guns in another twenty-eight.

Most of those calibers, however, are ones for which I have no real need to stock up. For instance, I doubt I'm going to get the sudden urge to run out and shoot a thousand rounds through my Carcano carbine tomorrow, so the couple boxes of 6.5 Carcano I have are plenty. I have dies for it, too, so I'll make sure to save the brass.

Some military surplus calibers I've stocked up on more considerably; after all, when you come across good deals on surplus .30-'06, 8mm Mauser, or 7.62x54R, it's silly not to sock them away, especially if you have multiple guns in the caliber.

The commercial ammunition is almost all stored in the factory boxes or MTM Casegard containers, except for five ammo cans: These are full of loose .22LR, .38 Special, 9mm, .45 ACP, and 5.56 NATO for easy transport to the range. I need to add one more for .44 Special, and I'll have all my working calibers covered. (Note that that handily covers small, medium, and large bore calibers for both revolvers and semiautos, and my house gun.)

90% of my shooting is done with just those calibers, and pretty much 100% of my serious shooting is. I don't know exactly that it's an urge to simplify, like Xavier, but I will say that over time I've gotten a lot less enthralled with the search for the perfect caliber; these days a majority of the preening that goes on over caliber esoterica strikes me as folks who want to show how cool they are by how outside the mainstream their caliber choice is. Sure, 9x23 has impressive ballistics; of course it's a shame .41AE didn't catch on; yeah, I've got a 10mm handgun, too, but I can shoot my .45 a whole lot more...

Today In History: STS-51-L


I was walking through the electronics department at Sears. Where were you?

Nukyular storage.

"Hey, Cletus! Where do you want me to put this here weapons-grade plutonium?"

Somewhere a Gaia-lovin' hippie just stroked out.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Trusting the robot.

I've owned my current car for eight years. Let me tell you, drive one vehicle for the better part of a decade, and you get pretty good at it. From mundane tasks like parallel parking to pushing the envelope in the twisties, I know where my car's limits are.

There's one feature I'd never really liked, however, because I'd never really had a chance to play with it: Traction control. The traction control system on the Bimmer works by cutting power (via retarding the spark and/or cutting fuel delivery) when it senses rear wheel slip under acceleration. When it does this, an orange light comes on in the middle of the IP. For the whole time I've owned the car, the only time I really had to deal with this was in the rain, coming away from intersections. As the orange light would come on, I'd back out of the throttle, causing a sickening bogging down of the engine. I got to where I unconsciously drove in a fashion to keep the traction control from kicking in.

The other day, after it started snowing, I was taking a back route home from the grocery store which led me to an intersection where five little suburban side streets came together. Looking out over about a quarter acre of asphalt covered in an inch or so of virgin snow with no parked cars or other obstacles to hit, short of the distant curbs, I suddenly thought to myself "Let's see what this traction control is really all about."

I did a very nearly dragstrip launch from the stop sign, winding the motor up to almost three grand and sidestepping the clutch. On dry pavement, with the traction control turned off, this is the recipe for a smoky burnout. With the traction control turned on, and fighting my natural instinct to back off the gas when the orange light blinked on, the car just rolled forward smoothly across the snow-covered intersection with only the slightest hint of fishtailing from the 40-series Falken steamrollers in the rear. When I came to the next stop sign, I was giggling like a loon and did it again... Same result.

Robby The Robot may not be much at playing chess or writing sonnets, but he's got the whole "getting the power to the pavement" thing figured right the heck out.

Wikiwander.

Every now and again I manage to learn something completely new and fascinating about a field on which I had considered myself fairly well informed: Behold, Miss Shilling's Orifice.

(Beatrice "Tilly" Shilling's wiki entry. We loves her.)

Day Seven...

A quick check of the front lawn reveals: Snow, si. Unicorns, no. Could it be that both Al and Barry are pulling my leg?

Posting has been thin...

...because I've been completely engrossed in Oh John Ringo No's totally badass book, The Last Centurion.

Book report to follow.

(I'll say this much already: As soon as it's on the shelves in paperback, I'm going to start buying copies to give away.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

It's only January, but...

...barring a really strong showing from the competition, I think that American Tactical Imports has this year's Waffenpossenhaft Award in the bag. I haven't seen a more pointless shoulder-fired smoothbore since the Crossfire.

(H/T to Unc.)

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n...

Long-barrel Smith & Wesson Model 48. Yum!

Pelosi's Stimulus Plan: Stop the poor from breeding.

Nancy Pelosi is obviously secretly on my side:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.
Though broadly similar in its end result, this is obviously more humanitarian-sounding (and, incidentally, a lot more expensive) than my "Let The Poor Irresponsible F____ers Starve If They Don't Stop Making Babies" plan.

It is unknown whether she intends to distribute cake along with the Ortho-Novum. Also, no word as to the DNC's response to Pelosi's plan to cut down their future voting base before it's born...

Ya gotta hand it to him...

...the man's sheer chutzpah is mind-boggling. I mean, he looked right into his interviewer's eyes, and with a completely straight face said
"I thought about Mandela, Dr. King and Gandhi and tried to put some perspective to all this..."
...and failed miserably, it looks like, Blago. See in those guys' stories, generally the corrupt government officials were the bad guys, not the poor-poor-pitiful-me self-styled heroes.

I guess it makes a certain twisted sense. I mean, if you're standing there with the hilt of the knife in your hand and the other end still stuck in the still-twitching victim, your only real choices are to start crying and throw yourself on the mercy of the court, or look your accusers in the eye as poker-faced as you can, and start lying.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thank you, Captain Obvious...

Actual text of today's National Weather Service Special Alert for Indianapolis:

... SNOW TO RETURN TO CENTRAL INDIANA...

A STORM SYSTEM WILL BRING ACCUMULATING SNOW TO CENTRAL INDIANA MONDAY NIGHT INTO TUESDAY NIGHT. PRESENT INDICATIONS ARE FOR 2 TO 4 INCHES OF SNOW TO FALL ACROSS MOST OF CENTRAL INDIANA...
Snow?!? In Winter?!? In Indianapolis?!? Get right outta town! That's a little like getting a "BEWARE OF CORN" alert in Nebraska, don't you think?

Try to remember not to forget...

...to be at the blogmeet today, h'mkay?

A birthday slathered with awesomesauce...

I woke up early and did some internets chores, and then Shootin' Buddy arrived and we were off!

The first stop was Le Peep, where I ordered Huevos Con Chorizo because not only does it taste good, but it's the most fun thing to say on the whole menu. Suitably fortified with jalapeños, cheese, eggs, and snausage, we continued on to Popguns for some serious blasting.

I ran quick hundred rounds through the Ciener .22 unit on my old Colt which, since it hasn't been cleaned or lubed in probably 600 rounds, gave me a fair amount of time on malf drills. (Unfortunately, that's one thing the .22 is not good for; the differences in lockup and extraction, the different spring/slide weight, and the fact that the slide doesn't lock back on an empty mag kind of limit its utility for some drills...) Fifty rounds of S&B through the Springer Pro, and then it was time for fun: I'd brought my 3" 625 and had some Magtech 250gr LFN that desperately needed shooting... Why do I shoot a three inch DA revolver better cold than a single action auto? (Answer: A LOT more dryfire time with wheelguns...)

Off to Elmore's (which, BTW, has the best selection of bucks-up serious 1911's in showcases I have ever seen. Ed Brown... Nighthawk... Wilson... They had a cherry stainless Delta Elite for less than nine bills, too, if anyone's looking...) I picked up another 50 rounds of anti-bowling pin 147gr 9mm Hydrashoks (thanks, jtc!) for only $20, and I think they had a couple hundred rounds left at that price.

A quick stop at home and then Borders before going to see Defiance (yay for machine guns and dead Nazis! Two thumbs up...) and then the pièce de résistance: Broad Ripple Steak House where I... omigodthesteak. I'm serious... just... day-ummm. The filet was amazing and they knew the secret to making me happy with a steak: Look, when I'm ordering a rare filet, I don't want to taste the special herbs in which you've coated it, I don't want to taste your chef's magic marinade or spices, I don't want to taste that it's been nearly pickled in butter... I want to taste still-twitching dead cow. If it's a good cut of beef, it doesn't need all that nonsense, okay? If I wanted a ton of salt and pepper and butter on my steak, I'd have put it there myself. The seasonings used on good beef should very faintly complement the taste; not drown it out. And this one was about perfect.

Anyhow, dinner was the perfect awesome end to a perfectly awesome day. Think about it: A birthday that involves chorizo, peppers, good friends, 1911's, big-bore S&W revolvers, books, machine guns, dead Nazis, asparagus, seared ahi tuna, and steak. Really, could it get any better? I mean, short of having Charles Schumer picking up my brass and carrying my shopping bag full of ammo while toadying obsequiously? No, I think not.

Thanks for the birthday wishes, everyone!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Punking out. Again.

Caleb says that pins are go for this weekend at MCF&G. Weather.com says it's a balmy 17F, with a steady 11mph breeze out of Mordor to make it feel even colder. It might, however, climb to a sweltering 19F by noon. I can't imagine they'll actually be shooting pins; in these temps they hardly last two shots and you can burn up a summer's worth of pins in a morning. Steel is fun, but it sure is cold...

I think I'll be doing indoors blasting today, thanks.

Given the experiences of last weekend, I'll be toting a pared-down kit. Just the range bag, with everything I need in it and no extra ammo cans or whatnot. 1911s in .45, 9mm, and .22 and hopefully I can mooch some .45 off Shootin' Buddy; that way I don't have to bring the ammo can and I'll take up less space on the back counter behind the stall. It gets crowded in that little range when there's two or three people per lane packed in there...

Happy Birthday to Me!


It felt like the tune for the day...

Friday, January 23, 2009

If it ain't one thing, it's another...

My roomie picked up a trickle charger on her way home from work the other day. Yesterday I hooked it up to the Bimmer's electrics, let it charge, then fired the car up and tooled around the neighborhood for a bit.

Today when I got in the car to run to the store, I went to turn on the radio. The factory head unit's display lit up with "CODE: _ _ _ _ _". For the first time in the eight years I've owned it, HAL the Brainiac Car Radio had been deprived of current, and therefore thought it had been removed from the car.

Great.

I'd forgotten that those Teutonic gnomes have installed a security feature in their radios that makes them useless if boosted, unless you have the correct code. And guess what?

That's right: I flipped through the owner's manual, warranty booklet, keyless entry/antitheft manual, and every other scrap of paper associated with the car, and no code anywhere. How festive. I guess I'll call the nearest BMW dealership on Monday; I'll just seethe a bit until then.

...it's where Great Britain used to be.

Kevin at The Smallest Minority has a blurb up on the Tottenham Outrage, an event from a very different time and place, and a very different England.

Getting desperate.

There's an old joke in retail about the guy who planned to undercut all his competitors by selling the merchandise at a loss: He figured he'd make it up on volume.

On the other hand sometimes you have to sell stuff for whatever you can get out of it. Inventory on hand is not money in the bank; it's money tied up that you can't do anything with.

News Flash:

Australian idiot is willing to pay $3.8 million for bad sex. This must be the only sport where rookies can demand higher salaries than proven all-stars.

I don't even know where to begin on this. Except that when I saw the headline "What is virginity worth today?", my first thought was "Well, that would depend on where you're selling the virgins. You'd probably get better money in Tirane or Algiers than Mogadishu, f'rinstance..."

"You know who designed that gun?"

Anybody who has been around me for any length of time has heard that phrase. And heard it a lot, too, because it is about as near as you can get to a 100% certainty that within your line of sight at any gun store or gun show there will be at least one firearm designed by John Moses Browning, still in production and selling well a hundred or more years after it was first designed. A list of just his commercial successes is illuminating:

Single Shot Rifles:
Winchester 1885

Bolt-action Rifles:
Winchester 1900

Lever-action Rifles:
Winchester 1886
Winchester 1892
Winchester 1894
Winchester 1895

Slide-action Rifles:
Winchester 1890

Recoil-operated Semi-automatic Rifles:
Remington Model 8

Blowback-operated Semi-automatic Rifles:
Browning .22 Semiauto

Double-barrel Shotguns:
Browning Superposed

Lever-action Shotguns:
Winchester 1887

Slide-action Shotguns:
Winchester 1897
Remington Model 17 (later the Ithaca 37)
Stevens 520

Recoil-operated Semi-automatic Shotguns:
Browning Auto 5 / Remington Model 11

Blowback-operated Semi-automatic Pistols:
FN M1900
Colt 1903/1908 Pocket Hammerless
FN 1906 Vest Pocket/Colt 1908 Vest Pocket
FN 1910
Colt Woodsman

Recoil-operated Semi-automatic Pistols:
Colt 1902
Colt 1903 Pocket Hammer
U.S. M1911
FN G.P. 35

Gas-operated Machine Guns:
Colt M1895
U.S. M1918 BAR

Recoil-Operated Machine Guns:
U.S. M1917/M1919
U.S. M2 Heavy Machine Gun

Automatic Machine Cannon:
Colt-Browning 37mm


About the only type of gun design he never really turned his hand to was revolvers and after all, why reinvent the wheel? Along the way, he pretty much invented gas operation, stack-barrel shotguns, autoloading shotguns, the tilting-barrel short recoil system used on almost all major-caliber semiauto pistols today, and a handful of the most familiar cartridges in use, from .25ACP to .50BMG.

Happy Birthday, JMB!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

7PM EST on TASS CNN...

...there will be coverage on the Olofson case. Tune in for the правда!

Day Three...

I heard clattering on the front porch and flung the door open, expecting to find golden unicorn poop or that Barry had left me a nice executive job with a Fortune 500 company (but, like, only 30 hours a week and with summers off and, like, a jet and stuff...)

No unicorn poop, just a box with an AR-15 carry handle. I don't think that was from Barry.



(Thank you, reader McThag!)

A million here, a million there...

...next thing you know, you've got a bunch of hits.

Congrats!

"Must Have" for people other than me.

I am generally in favor of lasers on handguns, especially handguns that may need to be fired under sub optimal conditions, such as rolling around on the ground in a dark parking lot. (Is Weaver or Isosceles correct for that?)

Nevertheless, I'm not as enthusiastic as some about this new Laserlyte gizmo that fits in the gun's rear sight dovetail, and for a couple reasons:

1) I'm assuming it's a two-piece unit; ie, the laser-y bit gets attached after you've drifted in the dovetail itself. Anyone who's seen a rear sight get installed knows why. (If you haven't seen a rear sight installed, here's a hint: It often involves a hammer.) Two-piece objects on carry guns have an uncanny ability to separate themselves into their component parts at the worst possible time, usually after getting dropped in the aforementioned dark parking lot.

2) Any control on the gun necessary for bringing it into action should be operable one-handed from a firing grip. This is why CTC Lasergrips have such an edge over guide-rod lasers in my estimation; you don't have to find a little button in the dark while you're rolling around in a parking lot. But even the guide-rod lasers usually put the activation switch somewhere near where the trigger finger would index on the frame if your booger hook is properly off the bang switch. This Laserlyte thing, on the other hand... I don't know about you, but at no time in my drawstroke is my thumb atop the slide.


It must suck to try and get into the CCW laser game after the good ideas have already been taken...


(H/T to Unc.)

Cornered Cat goes to SHOT...

My longtime 'net pal Kathy, editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, has a wonderful write-up of her meanderings on the floor at SHOT. You go read now.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sometimes they write themselves...

Honest-to-Wotan, this is straight from CNN's front page:


These are the jokes, folks; I'll be here all week. Try the veal.

A black day in history...

So, how badly did that suck yesterday when Bushitler and the fascist Rethuglican-controlled Blackwater military declared martial law and rolled tanks through the streets of DC after declaring the Chimperor the first American Dictator For Life?

Except, oh, wait... yeah... that didn't happen.

Schism.

Today is the day when heretical Reformed followers of John Moses Browning celebrate His birth. We Orthodox types celebrate on the correct day, which is the 23rd.

Awesome!

My life is made somehow better by knowing that there's a list of Muppet Show episodes on teh intarw3bz. That was the big Family TeeWee hour in my childhood.

Day Two...

Still no unicorns. Also, Barack has not brought me a new battery for my car. I'm starting to wonder if this was all a scam...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Who didn't see this coming?

From whitehouse.gov:
Address Gun Violence in Cities: Obama and Biden would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent.
I'm going to buy more Magpul followers and ISMI AR mag springs. They're good for rehabilitating inexpensive GI mags. Also, AR extractor springs, gas rings, firing pins, FP retaining pins, and cam pins.

Also, I'm going to endeavor to make my guns as unchildproof as possible. I'm not certain how, exactly... Perhaps I'll store them in a five gallon bucket full of toxic household chemicals, have Chinese political prisoners paint them with lead-based paint, or keep them in a cage with a hungry Bengal tiger. I'm sure I'll think of something.

Hah!



(H/T to Unc.)

I just felt a great disturbance in the Force...

...as though millions of bank accounts cried out in anguish and were suddenly emptied.

I didn't watch.

Did He walk across the Reflecting Pool?


UPDATE: Breda makes a fashion statement.

UPDATE PART DEUX: The headline at CNN reads "Obama raises hand, lifts a nation". It's available on a tee shirt. I'm not sure what it means, as my butt is still rather firmly planted in this chair, and the only part of me that feels at all "lifted" is my blood pressure.

A peek out the window reveals that my front lawn remains devoid of rainbow-farting unicorns with saddlebags full of money. I'm disappointed. Where's my loot?

UPDATE PART TROIS: Well, thank goodness that bumbling, stumbling Chimperor has been replaced with a silver-tongued orator...

Children should be seen and not heard.

Jeff at Alphecca is not feelin' the love for The Ascension, nor for the inane blather it has triggered from juvenile keyboards across America.

For your reading convenience...

Everything SHOT from Frank W. James (who has some interesting thoughts on the future of dead tree gunwriting...)

Everything SHOT from Caleb.

Everything SHOT from Gunblast.

How did I miss this?

Somehow I missed a great line from Sarkozy last Fall:
French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Arabic the "language of the future, of science and of modernity," and expressed the hope that "more French people share in the language that expresses great civilizational and spiritual values."
Ah, the French; more words for surrender than the Eskimo have for snow. Of course, looking at the demographics of the situation in France, this could just be an attempt to make an eventual fait accompli look planned, the way a cat does by licking its butt after stumbling and falling.

How to look like an impulsive twit for the rest of your life:

"Yeah, yeah, buddy, I want the inaugural special tattoo! Just put it right there on my shoulder, between the little 'Pac-Man' dude and my first ex-wife's name."

As long as they let me buy and sell without getting one, I guess we're cool.

Monday, January 19, 2009

This is gonna be a great week.

Today, the battery in my car dies.

Tomorrow is The Ascension.

Saturday caps it off by me getting older.

Bleh. One long week of suck.

SHOT stuff...

I can't get the SHOT Show category at Call Me Ahab to pull up as a web page. Meanwhile, Frank W. James, who had a piccie of the Awesomest Gun At SHOT, hasn't yet created a special "SHOT Show" post category label thingie.

Today In History: It's Bad German Idea Day!

On this date in 1915, a brace of German zeppelins engaged in the first serious aerial bombardment of a civilian target, dropping a few dozen bombs out of the night skies onto English towns. Unfortunately for the Jerries, they never really got the knack of strategic bombing, but the British seemed to think it was a swell idea. They proved to be enthusiastic pupils and less than thirty years later were burning German cities to the ground at pretty much a one-per-night clip.

Stumped for an encore, it took two years of hard work by the Kaiser's foreign secretary to come up with a more boneheaded maneuver: In January of 1917 Secretary Zimmerman, showing a complete misapprehension of strategic realities in the Western hemisphere, sent a telegram to Mexico, proposing an alliance against the still-neutral United States. Needless to say, when the British (who had been tapping everybody's phones) decrypted the document, they couldn't wait to show Wilson what the Boche had been saying about us behind our backs.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Neato!

Awesome pictures of lenticular clouds forming over Mt. Rainier.

(H/T to Phil at Random Nuclear Strikes, who got old on Friday. Go wish him Happy B-day!)

Incidentally...

The Para LTC 9mm continues to function fine. I hadn't cleaned or lubed it after its last range session, and ran another six magazines (48rds, mixed 124gr Speer Lawman and 115gr PMC Bronze) through the gun with no issues yesterday. The factory adjustable sights have held zero despite banging around in the range bag.

I haven't tried it with any mags other than the four factory 9mm Para mags I have. I need to get some Wilsons and/or Metalforms to try at some point.

The verdammt FLGR is still in it because I have been too lazy to sit down with a stone and trim the head on the stubby Ed Brown unit I purchased.

As it stands, the gun's role in life is apparently going to be that of providing increased 1911 trigger time at less cost than my .45ACP, but with a more realistic manual of arms, blast, and recoil than my .22 conversion units. (The Ciener does not lock back on an empty mag, and an alloy 9mm Commander has about the same jump in the hand as a steel 5" gun.) So, figuring 50-100 rds/week, that's a leisurely 2500-3000rd/yr duty cycle, which even an aluminum framed Commander should have no problems standing up to.

I'm happy with it so far.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Got the spring...

...and my AR is all together.

Just need a carry handle or BUIS now and I'll go sight it in. Oh, and I've had squat in the way of luck in finding right-handed low-profile slotted receiver end plates for a single-point sling, at least in retail-land. It looks like Brownell's it is...

Punking out.

Shooting indoors today. Had my share of frostbite for the week, thanks.

Today In History: Storm front coming.

On this date in 1991, at a little past two in the morning, a formation of Apache helicopter gunships crossed the border between Saudi Arabia and Iraq to take out Iraqi radar positions with volleys of Hellfire missiles. At almost the exact same moment, the first USAF strike packages were entering Iraqi airspace. Desert Storm had officially gotten under way.

For over a month, Coalition warplanes would fly practically at will over Iraq, shooting up and bombing anything that moved or looked slightly suspicious. Then, just when the Iraqis thought it couldn't get any worse, the tanks rolled. In 100 hours after the armored spearhead rolled north the Iraqi army famously went from being "the fourth largest army in the world to the second largest army in Iraq."

Friday, January 16, 2009

You can have my...

...steak when you pry it out of my cold, dead jaws, you damned grass-eater, you!

Look, the minute a cow walks up to me and looks deep into my eyes with its solemn, bovine gaze, chews its cud thoughtfully and asks in plain English "Please don't kill me, for that would be barbaric and inhumane and I have a right to life, too..."

...I will shoot it between the running lights and slice the Picanha right off its still-twitching corpse and throw it on the grill, because that stuff is yummy.

Sorry 'bout that, Bossy.

Win!

Unpacking and sorting through ammo boxes today, what should I find but a 50rd box of Winchester .44-40!

These days, that's like finding a $50 bill in an old coat pocket...

How cold is it?

Twelve below. It's snow-squeakin' cold. It's so cold that, after dragging the garbage cans out to the curb, all you had to do to get the snow off your boots was kick them against the step by the back door. The snow was too cold to thaw and stick in the treads of the boot.

I have a pair of Mechanix gloves I use for yard work and towing the trash cans, because I don't want to sully my warm North Face gloves with garbage can funk. At twelve below, even with almost no wind, the little suede-palmed, cloth-backed Mechanix gloves just could not hack it, even for the few minutes it took to haul the trash out.

What we call "heroism"...

...he'd probably dismiss with a "Just doing my job."
Rick Kurner, another US Airways pilot, says he has flown with Capt. Sullenberger for 23 years. "He's always been an unbelievable professional," says Mr. Kurner, a first officer.

Mr. Kurner says when he heard it was Capt. Sullenberger who was flying the plane that landed safely in the Hudson, he wasn't at all surprised. "He held his cool. 'Where am I going to go? City? City? River.'"

Go Air Force! and Boiler up!

Today In History: Great Days In Dumb Legal History.

On this date in 1919, the thirty-sixth state to ratify the Eighteenth Amendment gave the required two-thirds majority, and the stage was set for the thirteen years of stupid known as Prohibition.

You'll note, however, a couple of interesting factoids. Apparently in the early 1900's, Congress still believed in paying some respects to the form of the Constitution. These days, if they don't like something, they just ban it by legislative fiat and don't worry about the fact that nowhere in the Constitution are they given that power; back then they had the common courtesy to get the Constitution amended.

You'll also note that they didn't even ban the consumption or possession of alcohol; perhaps that was considered beyond the scope of legal authority, too. Merely the import, export, sale, or transportation is outlawed by the Eighteenth Amendment.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

AR bleg...

Does anybody have a spare rear takedown pin detent spring they're not using?

It's so cold...

For my readers back home...

How cold is it?

It's so cold that:

  • When I turned the car on in the garage, the thermometer read "22". By the time I got to the gas station, which was in the sun, it read "4". At 4:20PM.
  • In the time it took to get out of the car, stick my card in the slot on the pump, remove the handle, unscrew the gas cap, and start fueling, the brisk wind (I want to say that the wind chill at the time was like ten or fifteen below) had chilled my hands so much that I could hardly feel my fingers to get my gloves on and my hands hurt. In about a minute of exposure.
  • While I was in the grocery store for about fifteen minutes, a pretty sheet of icicles had formed in the Bimmer's tread patterns, connecting the tires to the ground. The car actually crunched as it broke free.
  • Driving home, I was on the shady side of the street. The thermometer in the car read "1".

Roseholme Lane, out in front of the cottage, is a pretty, white, unbroken sheet of uniformly skating-rink-smooth compacted snow. I heart traction control. The Monon Trail just blocks away, however, has been freshly plowed again this afternoon. You know, in case anyone wants to go jogging or bicycling in subzero temperatures.

Incidentally, thanks to this giant hickey in the jet stream (which, I'd like to remind everyone, is all Canada's fault) it was over thirty degrees warmer in Fairbanks, Alaska today than it was in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Overheard on teh intarw3bz...

From Marko's comments section:

Krishna Commenter: "Furthermore, cows are sacred."

Me: "Yes. Yes, they are. Especially the rump cover cut of the top sirloin."



When I go all L. Ron Hubbard nut fudge insane and start my own religion, Picanha will be a sacrament.

Further, John Moses Browning will be a saint, and the liturgy will be punctuated by gunfire, rather than "Amen". There will be a clearing barrel by the baptismal font.

Born free needy.

Cats are the great writer's pet because they are aloof and self-possessed and solitary and not needy, whining, crybaby attention hoes* that will scratch at the door to the office for over a fricken' hour straight while piteously mewling the whole fricken' time.

Or something like that.


(And then when you go out into the front part of the house, she just looks at you with this "What? Did you want something?" expression and wanders off. It's enough to make me start chanting the mantra Gunsmith Bob uses around cats... catonricewithgravy, catonricewithgravy, catonricewithgravy...)


_____________________________________________
*According to Dictionary.com, the proper plural of "ho" is "hos", but that doesn't look right.

Four below; thanks for asking...

...but we're supposed to claw our way above zero for an hour or two sometime around 4PM. I can't wait!

Cheap advertising? Customers? Who wants that stuff?

Bitter is covering the coverage, as it were. She's doing up a series of analyses on how well (or poorly) the shooting industry is utilizing the new media at SHOT, the biggest trade show in the business. First up: Ruger.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Quick!

Call Al Gore! My climate is changing!

Did you note where weatherdude says it hasn't been like this in 35 years in Chicago? I remember that. I was toddling off to kindergarten, bundled up like the little kid from A Christmas Story. I didn't have a cameraman at which to whine, however...

Meanwhile, strolling home from Fresh Market today, I was happy for gear purchases I'd made in years past. The Adidas Adventure Boots, North Face mountaineering gloves, and Lowe Alpine leggings that seemed like extravagances back in Tennessee just turned out to be pragmatic here. And the shemagh that John brought me from Afghanistan kept the frostbite off my ears. Good gear makes the difference!

I guess we all get old...

I'm sitting here listening to the title cut off the album Disintegration by The Cure... what a wonderful, haunting piece of music.

The TeeWee was on late one night here at Roseholme Cottage not too long back, and The Cure was the guest act on Late Night Of The Even Later Tonight Show With Some Guy...

Boy, Robert Smith is looking really, really very fat and unwell. The waif-y, goth-y, disheveled, schmeared makeup look that was so cute and swoonworthy when I was barely out of high school does not look good on a pudgy middle-aged guy who's about to have a fender bender with the big five-oh. And this makes me feel old.

I don't even want to see a current photo of Jimmy Page...

Sigh... Just sweepin' the streets I used to own, I guess.

Weird.

Why do I have an empty HKS 32-J speedloader and one loose round of Federal 147gr .38 Spl +P+ HydraShok on my desk? I honestly have no idea how either one got there...

My kingdom for a horsie.

I'm sure all my good buddies attending SHOT are going to pay extra close attention to the new Colt/Umarex .22LR M4 and deliver a righteous, in-depth report, right? Because this thing would be the berries for training for those of us who have easy access to 50-yd pistol ranges but have to drive an hour to get to a rifle range. If it's groovy, I can think of several people who will be buying...

Well, I'm getting my snow...

...and as an added special bonus, the high temperature tomorrow is supposed to be One Degree Above Zero. Fahrenheit.

The wind smells like hockey fans and french fries with gravy. I blame Canada.

The Tragedy of the All-Too-Commons...

Awesome piece at Borepatch: You go read now.

Riotous History.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Nika Riots in Constantinople. Yawn. Kings and dates and battles, right?

Anyhow, in the early 6th Century Constantinople was the center of the Roman world. Big guys with mustaches, German-sounding names, and poor table manners were running the show in Italy but the Eastern Empire continued on with running water and thriving trade and throngs of bureaucrats... you know, all the trappings of civilization.

The center of social life in Constantinople was the Hippodrome, a massive stadium where chariot races were held. Chariot racing was wildly popular with all strata of society, and everybody was a fan of one team or another; the Blues, the Greens, the Whites, and the Reds. Although as time went on, hardly anybody paid attention to anybody other than the Blues and the Greens. Kinda like Dale Jr. fans and Jeff Gordon fans and who cares about Kurt Busch anymore 'cause he's a tool.

So, everybody who was anybody was a fan of the Blues or the Greens. You only hung out with fellow Dale fans, all the Jeff Gordon fans voted the same way, you beat the crap out of rival fans in bar fights when you could. Trouble really erupted, however, when some popular ringleaders from each faction were imprisoned on murder raps after a bit of friendly head-busting got out of hand after a contested race.

Dale fans and Jeff Gordon fans united and went wild in the streets, burning and looting and actually laying siege to the palace in a mob scene. The emperor Justinian (via someone expendable, no doubt) announced his willingness to accede to their demands, even to the point of agreeing to abdicate in favor of their choice for a new ruler. Fortunately for Justinian, his wife Theodora and a senior eunuch in the palace bureaucracy named Narses had the stones the emperor lacked. They put their heads together with Belisarius and Mundus, two great Byzantine generals, and hatched a plan.

As the tens of thousands of rioters thronged in the vast Hippodrome, waiting for the new emperor's coronation, Belisarius and his bodyguard of no more than a couple hundred steppe archers took the passageway under the street from the palace to the imperial box in the stadium. With the crowd focused on the impending ceremony, nobody noticed the archers fanning out in the skybox until they started volleying into the crowd. Panic ensued and, leaving a litter of 24 flags and 88 mesh-back ball caps and shot-up, trampled bodies, the crowd stampeded for the big main gates off the racetrack.

Unfortunately, Mundus and his bodyguard were drawn up in ranks blocking the exit, and they opened fire into the front rows of the fleeing mob. Needless to say, when all was said and done, the backbone of the rioters was broken. Thousands had been shot, and many thousands more were crushed in the press. Justinian held onto his crown, no thanks to his own dithering.

If this story sounds familiar, it may be because you've read Falkenberg's Legion, by Jerry Pournelle or Counting the Cost, by David Drake, both of which masterfully retell the tale in a different setting, substituting lasers for Hunnic bows and space mercenaries for Byzantine ones. If you haven't read them, I recommend them both highly.

Today In History: A Great Moment In Conspiranoia.

On this date in 1129 at the Council of Troyes, the Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici, better known as the "Knights Templar", were officially recognized.

Unfortunately, at the time aluminum beanies were unknown, and so much heavier and bulkier iron beanies had to be worn by conspiracy theorists.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Oh. My. God.

Please put your beverages down and swallow whatever is in your mouth before the halfway point of the video. VFTP Mgmt. is not responsible for soaked keyboards or choking incidents. Thank you for your cooperation.



If you find yourself singing this catchy ditty later in the evening or, worse, at work tomorrow, blame Sarah at Pointypen.com.

I don't think this romance is entirely kosher...

...but I don't care.

Coming soon to a bookshelf near you, Bacon: A Love Story.


(A big H/T to Michael Silence.)

If embarrassing Barack is wrong, I don't wanna be right.




I'm an embarrassment to Barack!


I only scored 13 on the Obama Test


Sighted and chased down at Towih Sighthounds.

Vestigial words...

At some point, way back in the day, a gun writer who had only ever used traditional longarms and revolvers must have reviewed the C96 "Broomhandle" Mauser. Looking at its construction he penned
"And it used no screws (except for the grips)! The whole thing goes together like a Chinese puzzle!"
...and to this day those two sentences, or variations thereof, have been included in Almost. Every. Single. review, article, or intarw3bz gun forum post about the Broomhandle. I know I've done it. It's so common that you don't even notice it; it's a spinal reflex, like using the word "venerable" immediately before the number "1911".

Which is kind of funny because, you know, most autoloading pistols don't have any screws (except the ones holding the grips on). Yet it persists.

Weird.

A certain slant of light...

Rio Arriba has a beautimous photo of that sometimes awesome effect you get in wintertime when the sun is low enough on the horizon to peek under an overcast sky. It always takes my breath a little; the season is normally one of gray skies or watery sunlight, but something about these moments makes the light seem like something tangible, almost golden. His was at sunset, mine was at sunrise.

Gun pr0n...

...of the moving picture variety.

"Don't make me get all Mack Bolan on you!"

Overheard in a car...

So, having done the gun show and picked up a transfer and some ammo at Beech Grove Firearms, we ate a yummy lunch at Broad Ripple Brewpub. Stepping back outside, we found it spitting snow. We stopped at the Fresh Market on the way home, only to find that the regular parking lot was full and so we wound up using the rooftop parking deck...

Me: "I guess because it's snowing, everyone in Broad Ripple needed to run out and buy organic milk and fresh-baked bread."

Unfortunately, the snow had the staying power of Fred Thompson's campaign.

Stupid weatherpeople...

I was promised a couple inches of snow, and all I got was this stupid freezing drizzle. And then the drizzle's going to stop and we're going to get a strong wind from the north, full of subzero temperatures and the scent of round bacon slices, turning the streets to skating rinks and the medians to parking lots, but still bupkis in the way of snow. This sucks.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I'm really, really trying not to rush to judgment...

...but given the actors, it's hard not to do so in this case.
The FBI has announced they will investigate the case for any civil rights violations.
One assumes they mean to add "...other than the bullet holes", because even Clouseau could spot all fifty-eleven of those; no need to call in the Feds for that.

Using undercover guys to make the initial approach, in a bad neighborhood, at zero dark thirty? In a Shall-Issue state? You couldn't plan out a better scenario for a cock-up if you tried. At least, not without a SWAT team and a bad address.

One can't help but wonder how this would be playing out in the press if the vacationer that got shot up had been an off-duty Texas cop instead of a CCW permit holder.

Libertarian, my butt.

Remember what I said about Bob Barr being willing to bite the head off a live chicken for any party that would make him their presidential nominee? How his newfound "pro-freedom" stance was about as stable as Shirley MacLaine's mental state?

Well, just in case you needed further proof that Bob Barr wouldn't know a civil liberty if he was beating one unconscious with a riot baton, here you go.


(H/T to Sebastian.)

Today In History: It's like a preview...

On this date in 1942, President Roosevelt (the bad Roosevelt) established the National War Labor Board, a committee authorized to set labor wages for any industry deemed necessary for the nation, from digging ore out of the ground in Minnesota to turning it into Jeep fenders in Detroit to telling people how many fenders had been made over the telephone.

Actually, I should say that FDR re-established the Board, as it had originally been formed in 1918 by that laissez faire friend of freedom, Woodrow "Benito" Wilson.

For some reason, copies of the Constitution were in short supply back then; probably they were being used to line ration boxes for the War Effort. (Nowadays, Congresscritters don't actually need paper copies of the Constitution; they can just keep it on .pdf files on their laptops. Sometimes the various x-ray and magnetometer security devices in Washington corrupt the "constitution.pdf" files, but them's the breaks. There's a war on, and all.)

Blogmeet info:

Social Butterfly and Chief Blogmeet Coordinator, Roberta X, has the skinny on her blog.

The People's Front For The Deciding Of Blogmeet Dates (splitters!) has suggested that there might also be a small gathering on the 18th, for people who feel the need for a pint or two to help steady their nerves for The Ascension.

It's like The Onion is writing the headlines...

An organization called "United For Peace and Justice" staged a peaceful rally in New York City. Nine protesters were arrested and seven riot cops were treated for injuries.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Esoterica.

On the difference between a "Schmidt" and a "K.31", over at the other blog. (a.k.a. "How I spent my afternoon.")

I had pulled the bolts from both rifles before I drove down to Tennessee, and there they sat on the bookshelf, waiting for me to get off my duff with the camera. I'm telling you, my muse has just flown south for the winter or something...

Final Tally:

AR-15 MagPul Pmags? Check.

Marlin Papoose mags? Check.

9mm 1911 mags? Bzzzt! No good ones for sale. While shaped in a vaguely magazine-like fashion, ProMag, Triple K, and USA brand magazines are disqualified on technical terms. You see, the definition of a magazine is "an ammunition feeding device", and they don't.

.45ACP ammo? Check.

.38 Spl ammo? Check.

9mm ammo? Check. (Found a smokin' deal on Win Q4217 147gr JHP's. I should have bought 100 rounds more than I did.)

.44-40? Bzzzt! Ran out of green stamps by the time I found anybody who had any at a reasonable price. (Winchester silver box is no longer what I'd call "reasonably priced" in that caliber.)

I also picked up some small 1911 bits, an AR-15 LRPK, and a new leather gun belt. (My Milt Sparks has been in darn near daily usage for over two years, and looks it.)

A Note: I have been going to gun shows for twenty-odd years now. Shootin' Buddy has been going to this specific show for some twenty years now. Both of us have been to gun shows on the eve of the '94 AWB, gun shows in December of 1999 during the Y2K Panic, shows immediately after 9/11 and the celebratory ones at the sunset of the AWB and neither of us had ever, ever, EVER seen a crowd like this.

By 9AM there was a 45 minute wait to get in... and there still was when we left after 1PM. This is the first time I have ever in my life said, at a gun show, "Look, I've spent my money, and I'm just not having any fun here. Let's go." Normally I'm the one who has to be dragged to the exit, kicking and screaming. The economy was certainly getting stimulated at the State Fairgrounds, let me tell you.

...and now me and roomie are going to have an AR-15 lower assembly party. :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sea WHAT?!?

Liberty Girl has directed my attention to PETA's literally unbelievably moronic "Sea Kitten" campaign.

Fine.

No Sea Kittens for me.

Instead, the Japanese assure me that idiot tree-hugging hippies taste like pork, and I just got a brand new bottle of barbecue sauce. I gotta get down to the DNR office and see if migratory hippie season is open yet.

Seriously, though, while I'm not actually going to turn to long pig, especially of the stringy, bong-water marinated variety, there's something y'all PETA-philes need to understand; a primal difference in our thought processes, okay?

While I have been assured that fish don't have feelings, let me let you in on a little secret: It wouldn't matter to me if they did. The way salmon tastes, I wouldn't care if it begged for mercy on the hook, screamed all the way to the table, and struggled going down. Can you grok that? I am an omnivore. It is a fish. Omnivores will eat anything they can run down, outwit, or beat wrestling, two falls out of three. Fish fall into that category. Case closed. Yum.

More when I've settled down...

Show was an absolute zoo.

Indy gun shows are awesome. I stopped and chatted with Ken Campbell, Frank W. James, and Steve Fisher.

Gotta offload mags and ammo. More later.

Fun Show Time!

Let's sing the Fun Show song!
Flintlocks and Flop-tops
And Number Three Russians
Black-powder Mausers
From jackbooted Prussians,
Shiny Smith PC's from limited runs
These are a few of my favorite guns.

Socketed bay'nets
On Zulu War rifles,
Engraved, iv'ried Lugers
That make quite an eyefull
Mosin tomato stakes sold by the ton
These are a few of my favorite guns.

Rusty top-breaks!
Smallbore Schuetzens!
And all of Browning's spawn
I just keep on browsing my favorite guns
Until all my money's gone.
Today's mission: 9mm 1911 magazines, because I only have four, and more AR-15 mags, because I only have twenty or so. Also, ammunition. Maybe an Encore carbine barrel in a mid-bore caliber, like 6.8 or .243. I'm selling a pistol so I'll have funds for ammo and magazines; maybe I'll have enough left over for the barrel.

I need some .45 and some 9mm to dump in the bulk range cans. It's too bad Georgia Arms doesn't make it up this far, because I've got a hankering for their 200gr SWC .45 ACP ammo. Plus, they sold .44-40 and .32-20 in 50rd bags for reasonable prices, and I've been wanting to take my Model 544 to the range so bad that it hurts, but I'm down to 20 or 30 rounds of loaded ammo, and that's just not worth lugging the gun along. (Plus, I don't want to shoot up everything I have in the caliber. What if zombies come and I'm down to just my Texas Wagon Train Commemorative S&W revolver? I've got to have ammunition for it!)

Friday, January 09, 2009

Quote of the Day:

For the last two years, Dodd and his ilk have been treating the American economy the same way someone with Munchausen by Proxy treats their kids...

The money shot from an awesome post by Mike, of Mike-istan.

Overheard in the office...

Roomie is sitting at her desk, tossing some of the remains of her snack towards the wastepaper basket. A piece of celery goes wide...

Me: "Nice shootin', Tex."

RX: "It's not easy flinging limp vegetables at a trash can."

Me: "I'm pretty sure that's illegal in thirty-four states."

Already?

The National Portrait Gallery already?

Sweet Buddha on a bicycle, he hasn't even been sworn in yet!

Then again, not even George Washington managed to heal the earth and lower the oceans before Inauguration Day; all he did was some Gaia-hatin' deforestation in an organic cherry orchard. Oh, and he foolishly squandered money by flinging it across rivers instead of responsibly giving it to asshatted financial firms and deadbeat wannabe home buyers.

Are people getting weaker?

When I looked at this picture, I thought surely it must be at least a 10 gauge. I mean, with that big, honking brake on the end and everything...

Nope, just a 12 gauge. And not even built on the 3.5" 835 receiver; it's just a regular 3" Mossenberger 500 with a weird looking wart of dubious effectiveness affixed to the end of the barrel to make it extra awkward.

I guess the kind of people who like PGO shotguns will buy it.

Air Force jokes...

Rustmeister cracked me up this morning.

A good friend of mine, an Air Force senior NCO, was telling me about some security police he'd seen at the base, how they were all tacticaled out and looking like walking Lightfighter catalogs, except nobody had a Camelbak.

I couldn't resist replying "Well, what do you expect? It's not like their fighting positions are going to be more than 100 yards from a drinking fountain. They feel forward-deployed if Domino's takes more than thirty minutes..."

Paperwork reduction doesn't actually mean that...

At every FFL at which I worked, I tried to keep a back stash of 4473 forms, ordering an extra couple hundred every now and then whether I needed them or not, just in case we had an unusually busy Christmas or a 9/11-type sales spike.

This little back stash would occasionally be obsoleted when the Feds went to a new form, and I'd have to start squirreling them away all over again.

Maybe the BATFEIEIO should have been following my game plan, because their stash of 4473s is about out. Genius timing, that, switching forms in the middle of the most perfect storm of a gun sales season since December of 1999...

(Incidentally, though, going back to yellow paper for the form was maybe the smartest thing they've ever done. It's a lot harder to misplace a yellow form on a desk full of paperwork, while a white 4473 was easily lost among other forms, invoices, and memos...)

FDR Jr, at the podium...

...was telling us that we faced an "unprecedented" crisis in our nation, which no doubt made elementary school history teachers cry.

Then he said that the "wait-and-see" approach hadn't worked. Apparently "wait-and-see" is where you make stupid regulations for things you know nothing about, and throw borrowed imaginary money at irresponsible people in numbers that make astronomers twitch.

So now we're going to try his way, which is where you make stupid regulations for things you know nothing about, and throw borrowed imaginary money at irresponsible people in numbers that make astronomers twitch.

I see.

Lesser of two evils.

Apparently Interstate 5 is blocked by flooding, cutting Portland, Oregon off from Seattle. Unfortunately for Oregonians, I-5 north out of Sacramento is just fine.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Fight tha power!

Think the dumb kiddie clothes/toys law I referenced in an earlier post needs to make with the go-aways?

So do lots of other people. Casto Creations has links to help stand up to The Man.

You can have my hand-knit, organic, locally made, sustainably-produced, mohair baby blanket when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!

Well, isn't that a peach?

There goes every shred of respect I had for John "I Want To Retire In A Braves Uniform" Smoltz.

And an American League team, to boot... Couldn't he have done something more dignified, like midget wrestling or voting Democrat?


(A very grudging and surly H/T to Al.)

Two great tastes that taste great together...

Shootin' Buddy's brother recently dragged Old Bossy behind the woodshed and, thanks to my connections, I wound up with a bunch of ground beef destined to wind up in chili or a meatloaf and a big ol' porterhouse destined to wind up in my tummy.

I cooked it up yesterday using my newfound mad, 1337 stovetop steak skills that have been honed on bison fillets (and the tactics that make for a tender bison fillet will make for a fall-apart-under-the-fork cow porterhouse.)

As an aside. Fresh Market sells bitty little bottles of various mediocre wines near the checkout counter. This is handy: A splash of merlot in with the steak and the rest in a glass, et voila! She is lunch!

*alanche.

Want a feel for the mood of the country?


Late on Saturday evening, Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit) linked to a post of mine. Late on Wednesday evening, John Wesley, Rawles of Survivalblog did likewise. Everybody in the blogosphere knows who Insty is, but who knew so many people read what is probably the premiere SHTF/TEOTWAWKI site on teh intarw3bz?

(...and the hits just keep on coming; he was throwing 400+/hr. at 10PM on a weeknight; Vishnu only knows what it'll look like at noon today...)

Carcano notes...

Over at TFL, someone asked about a 6.5mm Carcano carbine he was thinking about buying.

I had to chime in:
The biggest drawback to the Carcano is the availability, or more accurately the lack thereof, of clips. Good ones are gold; bad ones turn the rifle into a jam-o-matic.

The other big drawback used to be ammo, but that's loosened up somewhat in the last few years. When I picked mine up in '04, the only source was Norma. I spent more on two boxes of ammo than I did on the rifle itself. The Carcano, at least the more common variants, is still one of the few surplus rifles whose Blue Book value is substantially affected by the number of rounds in the magazine...
...and that's assuming 6.5 ammo, which is actually fairly plentiful by comparison to 7.35 Carcano. (This is like saying snow cones are common in hell in comparison to banana daiquiris.)

Also, note that if you handload for your Carcano, feeding could be iffy with spitzer bullets, even if you have good clips. Hornady makes a 160gr round-nose interlock bullet which should give better feeding (and can be loaded to give a trajectory fairly similar to the military load, which is good because the fixed sights on my Carcano redefine "crude".)

The Carcano carbines frequently came with folding spike bayonets, but I'm not sure why. I'd be afraid to poke somebody with it, lest it break. The skinny, flat cross-section blade and the latch mechanism were not designed to inspire confidence in the user. This as much as anything else could explain the WWII Italian army's lackluster reputation for close-in fighting; if you were facing Gurkhas with khukris and sword-bayonet-equipped SMLEs and you were holding this thing, you'd drop it and run, too.

They're not bad or unsafe rifles, they just suffer from some of the same defects as the Mosin Nagant design, being of similar vintage and all. A little clunky and awkward to manipulate quickly, and feeding can be an issue, but generally serviceable rifles. Of the standard-issue WWII longarms, it would definitely be my last choice to carry on a two-way rifle range.

Whoops! Sorry 'bout that.

Apparently, it is possible to give someone Google cooties. Who knew?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

'Cause, you know, what we really need...

...are more laws.

I'd like to propose a new law myself:

Every year, via public referendum, the people of this country get to vote for the dumbest bill put forward in each of the two houses of Congress that year. The senator and representative responsible for penning the winners both get unseated from Congress...

...and fed to sharks live on Pay-Per-View, with the proceeds going to widows and orphans or whatever.


(H/T to Insty.)

Ignorance is no excuse for a law...

Afraid that the chilluns of the Bubble Wrap Generation might be exposed to icky stuff, Congress dashed off a quick law between their three martini lunch and their after work toddy. It was a simple law, stating that any clothes or toys sold for children under the age of twelve had to be tested for lead and other various toxins. Then, without ever stopping to wonder how they managed to survive a childhood where you could buy whole toys made of lead, they patted themselves on the back and went off to wreck another sector of the economy.

Meanwhile, thrift stores are stuck wondering how in the hell they're supposed to get their secondhand clothing tested, and Goodwill may have to get out of the tyke wrapper market altogether.

Good job, Congress! I'm sure your further monkeywrenching in the financial industry will show a similar deft touch and careful forethought.


UPDATE: Fight tha power!


(H/T to Survivalblog.)

Quote of the Day:

"I felt like a kid in a junior high string quartet who had been given a Stradivarius."
-Breda, on shooting a vintage Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless.

You know who designed that gun? That's right, John Moses Browning (PBUH).

I feel that way every time I take one out to the range...

Viva la revolucion! Viva la calling in sick on Monday!

I always wondered why so much time, effort, and planning on internet gun boards went into the least likely of scenarios, "The Great Door-To-Door Gun Grab". I mean, every fantasy started out with BATFEIEIO storm troopers or blue-helmeted Frenchmen or Boy Scouts or whatever showing up at the end of the block and going from the Johnsons to the Smiths to Our Hero's Front Yard, whereupon the shootin' starts.

Everybody knows that what's going to happen is another AWB just like '94, but without the sunset clause, or something very much like it. And people are going to grumble and go to work the next day, just like they did in 1994. But they'll pine for Der Tag; they'll dream of the Door-To-Door scenario. And do you know why?

Because a revolution means they won't have to go to work on Monday or pay the mortgage. "Boss? Yeah, this is Ralph. What's that? I can't hear you over the gunfire. Look, I can't come in today, I'm busy shooting JBTs." (...and face it, every desk-bound accountant fantasizes about being Mel Gibson in The Patriot.)

Today In History: _ . _ . _ _ . _ _ . .

On this date in 1904, the Marconi Corporation issued Circular No. 57, specifying that the signal "CQD" would henceforth be used as a distress signal in wireless communications.

That lasted about two years before it was replaced by "SOS". Of course, wireless operators immediately complained that things were better back in the old days of the year before last.

Guess who totally boned making coffee this morning?

That'd be me.

I thought the whole "get going in the morning" procedure had gone awfully fast. It'll do that if you omit about a third of it.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Abandon all Hope...

...'cause here comes the Change.

They may mean to rule well. They may mean to rule fairly. They may mean to rule for your own good, you poor benighted cousin-humping peasant, you. But dammit, they mean to rule.


(H/T to Kahr40)

Today In History: It snowed in hell.

On this date in 2007, Sebastian started his blog, "Snowflakes In Hell". It seems like only yesterday... :)

No big surprise there...

This is the second place from which I've heard this piece of scuttlebutt.

A word to the wise is sufficient.

Today In History: Freedom from what?

On this date in 1941, FDR made his "Four Freedoms" speech, claiming that folks everywhere had the right to
1. Freedom of speech and expression
2. Freedom of religion
3. Freedom from want
4. Freedom from fear
...which means he was batting about .500.

I want a gold house and a rocket car, and I'm a'feared of zombies.

You don't want a Constitution, you want a Magic Wand.

CrankyProf links to a particularly egregious example of ThereOughttaBeALaw-ism wherein one "Happy Hospitalist" pines for... are you ready for this? A federal ban on smoking in public.

Not surprisingly, I am against this idea, and rather vehemently. The reason, however, is not what you think. See, my objection to the whole scheme centers around one particular keyword, and that keyword is not "public", "ban", or even "smoking": It's "federal".

The instruction pamphlet for running this country is a pretty short one, and the subsection on the powers of Congress is a meager cluster of paragraphs, mostly full of boring stuff like coining money and declaring war. There is no Constitutional provision even for a federal law against murder, unless perhaps the murder is of a federal official engaged in the performance of his duties to the republic.

Let me repeat that: By black letter law of the Constitution, killing unborn differently-abled babies because you hate their race or religion is okey-dokey, unless those unborn babies are postal workers. And on the clock, to boot. If you wish to outlaw the killing of unborn differently-abled babies because of their race or religion, you need to talk to your state or local lawmakers, or amend the Constitution.

Unfortunately, over the years various emanations and penumbras have been discovered, as well as acres of blank canvas in and amongst the letters "i-n-t-e-r-s-t-a-t-e c-o-m-m-e-r-c-e" and "g-e-n-e-r-a-l w-e-l-f-a-r-e" and now we have otherwise sane and reasonable (and allegedly educated) people like this "Happy Hospitalist" guy proposing federal laws banning whatever it is they don't like, from public smoking and polyunsaturated fat to, for all we know, unsightly nose hair.

Oh, well, it was a nice republic while it lasted.