Friday, July 31, 2009

That's just wrong...

In the spirit of such classics of the Story Time Corner as Mommy Drinks Because You Cry and My Weekend With Uncle Badtouch, Marko offers a list of failed children's book titles.

I felt a great disturbance in the 'net... if millions of scammers cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

Apparently the SAT-3 cable, which is Nigeria's main 'net connection to the outside world, has been cut, crippling the country's economy, which is almost entirely based on email confidence schemes.

In internet cafes all over Lagos, scammers continue to dutifully type their daily quota of emails, not realizing that the zeros and ones are running out the end of the pipe and bobbing to the surface of the Atlantic, where they are forming a scummy slick of "Hello, I am honorable secretary, to finance minister, Joseph Mbuto. You are the beneficiary of..." and fouling the feathers of unlucky seabirds.

The suspect list is a long one, consisting of everyone who has both an email account and SCUBA certification.

Bias so thick you can smell it.

Say Uncle points out that in the Knoxville News-Slantinel, when an off-duty police officer carries his gun into a gin joint, it's "an establishment that serves alcohol", while when a simple civilian does it, it's a "bar".

Obviously I need to get one of them there journalism degrees, so I can be a detached, olympian, unbiased guardian of the public weal.

Paging Dr. Freud:

They've killed Chevrolet, added the designated hitter to baseball, decried apple pie as fattening, and now they're going after hot dogs. My roomie suspects p33nophobia.

More posts about buildings and food.

So, Indianapolis is dealing with 8,000 abandoned homes. And by "abandoned", I don't mean the house around the corner that's sat vacant and for sale for a year and a half; I mean crack-house-plumbing-scavenged-boards-on-the-windows abandoned.

Now, add in the aforementioned houses that have sat vacant and unsold, and developments stalled in mid-construction (there's a particularly sad example up in Broad Ripple Village proper, right on the Monon, of a half completed condo project; one inhabited unit in the middle of a construction site) and one would seem to think that there was some kind of downturn in the economy.

Who could have predicted such a thing?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Random Thoughts...

1) Went by Premiere Arms. No .45ACP in stock. They had PMC Bronze 9mm for $19.99/box. No bulk .22LR. No .32ACP.

I bought 100rds of CCI Mini Mags because I always try to buy something when I'm in a gun store. I want them to associate my face with the jingle of the cash register so that they are happy to see me when I walk in.

He had a guy behind the counter I did not recognize. I pointed at the revolver case and said "May I see the 2" pre-Model 10 square-butt?"

He opened it and said "Now, which one?"

I successfully managed not to reply "The only 2" pre-Model 10 square-butt in the case," instead pointing with my finger and saying "That gun on the bottom with the bone grips." (See? I'm not always snarky.)

It's an early postwar with the half-moon front sight, mechanically sound with some odd wear patches right through to the bare metal and a bit of fine pitting on the topstrap and here and there on the right side. He had $249 on the tag. Were it $50 or so cheaper, it'd be neat to buy and do the whole vintage "Fitz" treatment to, just for grins. Shame, really; the trigger had a bit of cancer, and there was a tiny amount of freckling on the hammer, but the case colors on the hammer were gorgeous. Too bad the owner apparently kept it in the drawer with his damp socks.

2) Stopped at a used book store. They had a copy of the David Drake anthology Tyrannosaur. The cover blurb read "Peril In The Jurassic!" and I thought to myself "If you have a T. Rex running loose in the Jurassic, damned skippy you've got some peril; somebody's lobbing theropods across millions of years to where they don't belong."

The cover itself is intrinsically hilarious, since it's basically a repackaging of Drake's earlier (and excellent) Time Safari to catch a ride on the coattails of... well, I'll let you guess which movie.

Seen in comments at Caleb's...

On Taurus semiautos:
Caleb: I also predict that in the comments, someone will accuse me of having a soft spot for Taurus…they would be correct, I do have an affinity for Taurus’ semi-automatic pistols.

Me: I have a soft spot for mentally-disturbed homeless alcoholic vets on the side of the road, but I wouldn’t bring one home.

I've seen PT-111 Millennium 9mm's with more frequent-flier miles to Miami than a Colombian cocaine mule.

Scouting report.


Sure, baseball just ain't his game, but that throwing form worries me. An American male who went through public school throwing a ball like that spent some time with his head in the locker room toilet as sure as God made little green apples, and that can leave festering resentments in some dark rooms of the mind when the boy becomes a man. It's disquieting to realize that the Commander-In-Chief of our nation's armed forces may harbor a seething inner hatred of buzzcuts.

Plus, he's wearing an American League jersey, which is right up there with a Che Guevara tee as an indicator of incipient patchouli-wearing.

(H/T to Cold Fury.)

You know you're a gun nut when... read the article that starts out...
An old gun found on an Aberdeenshire nature reserve has been identified as a French rifle from the 1800s.

The remains of the ancient weapon were discovered last year in a sea cave on the St Cyrus National Nature Reserve.
...and your first thought is "Oh, an Mle.74 Gras. I have one of those. I still need to order some ammo. Mine looks a lot prettier, though."

I didn't excavate mine from a sea cave in Scotland, though. I bought it from some dude at a gun show in Knoxville. He was kind enough to include the bayonet.

(H/T to Unc.)


PayPal leaves wounded vets swinging in the breeze because their lawyers fill their pants every time they hear the word "gun".

(From what I can tell this morning, however, the PayPal button at Soldiers' Angels appears to be back up and running...)

Things I want, #4276

I currently own a pair of .22 rifles: A Marlin Papoose and one of their stainless 925 bolt-actions. I get to play with an assortment of others fairly frequently, too: Last trip to Wildcat Valley, there was a 10/22, a T-Bolt, and a sweet old Marlin 39A.

I need a .22 conversion for my AR (or a S&W M&P 15/22...) but I want another .22 rifle for fun.

I'm pretty sure I don't want a bolt-action. Semiauto would be okay, but I'd actually kind of prefer a manually-operated repeater. A slide-action would be awesome, but a really short-throw lever like my old Browning BL-22 would be sweet, too.

Taurus makes a shorty version of their Model 62 in stainless, which would be great for me. Not only because it's a takedown that would be very roadster-friendly, but because I shoot the whee out of .22 rifles and stainless would let me be a little slacker on the cleaning end of things (my stainless Papoose, for instance, gets the bore punched every other range session and gets really cleaned when it stops running.) Finding them used is about like finding unicorn droppings, however.

Finding a nice used Remington Fieldmaster or Speedmaster would be awesome, but people tend to want more than "trunk rifle" money for those things, and I can be awfully hard on a .22. Also I don't know anyone personally who has had one for a while that regularly shot the bejeezus out of it; I'm curious as to how they hold up under high volume shooting.

I dunno... All this wanting is probably a distraction from the fact that I need a Ruger 22/45, too. Just thinking out loud, I guess...

Waving the bloody sneakers.

"To wave the bloody shirt": To foment political strife by keeping controversies alive.
The way Tom Mauser sticks those sneakers into the camera creeps me right the hell out. It seems so measured and cynical, and that is creepy as dammit. I can't imagine that photo session... "You don't look bereaved enough. Lets try from a different angle..."

(H/T to Snowflakes In Hell)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hubris that can be seen from orbit.

Cold Fury linked to an article at CNBC (stop snickering!) that had a quote for the ages:
Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said the system of hefty bonuses does not make sense.

"You get hired for this very prestigious job and you get a salary, and now we have to give you extra money for you to do your job right?" asked Frank, a Democrat.

Now, I can actually understand his confusion. Like so many members of our Governing Caste, including our current President, Rep. Frank has never had to toil a day in the private sector. All his adult life, his jobs have paid the same no matter how badly his performance sucked. The only performance incentives in his circles are called "kickbacks" or "bribes", so it really shouldn't come as a surprise when a lifelong apparatchik like Barney is utterly clueless as to incentive-based compensation packages.

And yet he certainly feels qualified to monkey with the control levers. God help the people who find themselves in an operating theater or passenger jet cockpit with the man, because he'd probably happily kibbitz a heart valve replacement or night instrument approach the way you or I would give unwanted advice to a solitaire player. Except I can't send the solitaire player up for five-to-ten with time off for good behavior if he doesn't put the three of diamonds on the four of clubs...

New Obamacare Idea:

He needs to get garments with longer hems, allowing more people to touch them.

The dumbest man on the internet.

Yesterday my buddy Robb posted a quickly-ginned-up Photoshop spoof of the Bush "Air National Guard Memo", down to the bad font choice, proportional spacing, and faux mimeograph machine spatter and fax transmission artifacts.

He was fairly proud of his handiwork and emailed a few of us a link, and we chuckled, and linked it, and it caught on and somebody over at the big kids' table with Pajamas Media saw it and linked it and...




Just when I think I cannot be further amazed by the abject stupidity of the average moron who has managed to figure out how to string a cable between his modem and the back of his tower case, I am proven wrong.

Remember when your physics prof would illustrate dense gravity fields distorting space-time with the "bowling ball on the rubber sheet" analogy? Well, if the internet is the rubber sheet, the comments section of that post is the bowling ball.

Let's pick a sample cretin for a swift kick in the metaphorical junk. Commenter "Syntax" writes:
Who faxed it to you?
Who did you authenticate it with?
What the hell is it?
Memo to who?
Memo from who?

2 things:

1) It would take me all of about 10 minutes to create this "smoking gun" piece of cluelessness in Photoshop.

2) Does anybody really believe they had HMOs back in 1961?

To answer Enrico Fermi's questions one at a time:
  • It's a joke, you simpleton.
  • Dan Rather.
  • An IQ test, and you failed.
  • Your mom.
  • Charles Darwin.

And as for the 2 bonus questions:
  1. Stop and think about that for a second.
  2. Into the Soylent Green tank with you.

I truly hope that "Syntax" has not yet managed to swim upstream and spawn, but I fear we saw his soulmate on YouTube just the other day.

It is reading comment threads like that that will make a monarchist of me yet.

Off to a slow start this morning...

The day starts at Roseholme Cottage for me sometime around six in the AM, when I feed the geriatricats and get the coffee set up in the Chemex (aka "the manual-drip coffee maker").

The next step is usually to crack a Vault Zero and start typing furiously in order to have something up the intertubes before 8AM, early enough to get picked up in the morning round of linky-love from those bloggers who post over morning coffee at work.

This morning, Shootin' Buddy had business in town and offered to take me to Taste for breakfast. So, for the sake of a delicious bacon & swiss three-egg omelette, y'all got screwzored on the morning's entertainment. Sorry 'bout that. I'm working on fixing that right now.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Shootin' Buddy claims to have actually found a source for Patio®-brand frozen burritos.

A winner is me!

Also, Fresh Market had restocked the Progresso Manhattan clam chowder. Life is pretty good right now.

Reach out and touch someone.

Matt G has a typically reflective post up on his blog on the miracles of connectivity we enjoy in this fascinating modern world in which we live.

Birthers in the news.

The official Obama press department, formerly known as CNN, reports that Robert Gibbs has "shot down" the birthers by saying, in effect, "Nuh-uh! You are!" Obviously "shot down" has a different meaning when you're inside the echo chamber.

I really wish the White House would just cough up the birth certificate and shut these people up, because having lackeys come out and issue defensive-sounding statements like that just makes you sound guilty as sin. I'm half ready to buy some Reynold's Wrap and make a yarmulke myself, especially after reading incriminating evidence like this.


I listened to "Nightswimming" by REM for the first time in years last night. It was kind of funny, because the song was deliberately written to provoke feelings of nostalgia when it came out, lo those many years ago, and I dutifully listened to it quite a few times in various reverie-provoking, memory-laden places back then.

Last night it provoked feelings of nostalgia for those times I listened to it with a sense of nostalgia all those years ago. Would this be metanostalgia?

Just a thought...

You could probably go kick in Professor Gates' front door today and walk out with a wide-screen TV in broad daylight, because his neighbors have sure as hell learned their lesson about reporting suspicious activity at his crib. Just sayin'...

Monday, July 27, 2009

It appears to have a frickin' laser.

I'm pretty sure that this is not legal in California.

Relationship counseling...

...Ambulance Driver style.

I'm no doctor, but I'm thinking that anybody who'd beat on someone they claim to love bad enough to make the paramedics cringe needs their Trepanazine dosage upped by 460 grains or so.

It's so cute...

While hitting Google to show my roommate pics of the ultracool Toyota 2000GT this morning, I discovered the existence of the heretofore-unknown-to-me super-kewt Toyota Sports 800.

Do want.

It's like a Chibi Iso Grifo.

I'm so uncool.

Despite having known Larry Correia on teh intertubes since Clinton was still Prez, I am ashamed to admit that I am maybe the only gunblogger who has not yet read Monster Hunter International, mostly because I really don't like reading books on my computer screen.

I can fix that bit of tragic unhipness, however, because the dead-tree mass market paperback is now on sale at Amazon. Hooray!

It will be so enjoyable to read a book with guns in it that was written by a competitive Three Gun shooter and former SOT FFL, instead of some east coast insurance industry schmuck who barely knows out of which end the bullet emerges.

"Ten things I hate about you..."

Blogger tgace has a list of ten police/military Hollywood tropes that completely cheese him off. An example:
2. Oh what the hell why not?:
Every Tom, Dick and Harry stacking up with the SWAT team, I think not. If my blood pressure went up one mmHg every time I saw some “CSI”, “FBI Investigator” or “Detective” stacking up with the tactical team to go in and get the bad guy my head would F’n explode!

News Flash. If I saw some “CSI” getting in my stack on a high risk entry he would get a boot up his ass. No SWAT team leader worth is salt is going say…”OK you FBI Profiler with no tactical training I am aware of, or experience with MY team, go right ahead and get in the stack.”

The only thing that gets me more pissed off is when the SWAT team rams the door and Horatio Crane in his shades is the first guy through the door! Hello numbnuts director, the way it works is the SWAT team goes in ALONE!! and when its secure they call the eggheads and Detectives in.

You should read the whole list. It's pretty funny.

Burrito roulette.

There are many brands of frozen burritos (and, for "burritos", include various chimichangas, enchiladas, and any other individually packed, tubular tortilla-based container with variously-flavored contents.) There is only one, however, that I've ever been able to eat with anything like contentment: Patio®-brand frozen burrito food product.

I'm sure that the insides are the same blend of lips, sphincters, and texturized vegetable protein that all the other ones contain, but they have a much more palatable texture, and whatever blend of spices they use masks the flavor of packing plant floor sweepings nicely.

Now, make mock if you like, but in the convenience department, it's hard to beat a self-contained food item that requires no utensils be washed up, requires nowt but two minutes in the microwave in the way of preparation, is adequate stomach ballast to carry you through to a late dinner, and costs less than fifty cents (and are sometimes on sale, 3/$1.) They can be eaten one-handed while writing or gaming. If you're really busy, you can do something else during the two-minute prep time (try folding laundry while making a PB&J.) They're like MRE's for your freezer; a quick, no clean-up food item for when you're too in-the-middle-of-something for real food and are too busy to leave the house.

The only downside? I can't find them in Indianapolis.

I have sampled many different brands of burritos since I moved up here, standing in front of the microwave and muttering "Please, God, don't let this burrito suck," (which my roommate apparently thought was some existential philosophical statement until I emerged from the kitchen with an actual burrito on a plate.) Thus far, life has been a string of one disappointment after another, but I have not given up hope on finding another brand of edible frozen Burrito. It is my quest, my goal, my obsession.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Un. Believe. Able.

Take note of the speaker in this video linked at Breda's place.

Listen to her talk. Question your knowledge of physics as light miraculously escapes from her vicinity. Visualize her in a voting booth. (Cry a little.)

The highlight of the video is the guy in the gray shirt about three rows back. He had this dead, lifeless expression on his face as Bubbles nattered on... I half expected him to eat a bullet on camera by the two minute mark, just to make the pain stop.

Pesky logic.

Marko on the "right" to health care:
Yesterday morning, on my weekly sojourn into town for Dadcation Day, I spotted a bumper sticker in the Borders parking lot that had me shaking my head:


Now, health care is certainly an important commodity. I sure like being able to see a doctor when something ails me, and to get my teeth cleaned and fixed on occasion. I’m also a big fan of antibiotics, x-rays, vaccinations for the kids, and all the other medical advances that have doubled human lifespans in just a few generations. Health care is great, and I wouldn’t want to be without access to it.

But a “human right”? Hippie, please.

Marko brings the logic. (Too bad rainbow-farting flying unicorns aren't logic-soluble.) Go read the whole thing. Now.

Shooty goodness...

Went out to Wildcat Valley with Shootin' Buddy yesterday.

Shot falling plates and pepper poppers with the 9mm Para and a loaner Ruger MkII 22/45. I was very happy with how much my weak hand shooting has improved since I started really paying attention to it last summer. Truth be told, I wouldn't have been able to clear a plate rack in a timely fashion shooting a service caliber handgun weak hand only, just this time last year.

I ran a mag through my carry gun, the Springer Pro, while I was there. It's depressing to see how much better I shoot the Para right now than the Springfield; the ammo drought has put a big dent in my trigger time with .45 and the two guns don't shoot exactly the same. It was enough to make me seriously consider toting the Para (Right now somewhere, Gunsmith Bob read that and shook his head and said "Sometimes I just don't know who you are." :D ) until I get current on the Professional again at the Awerbuck course next month.

Then we went out to the steel critter range, where I got to play with a 4" S&W Model 63 (that's a stainless Kit Gun .22 revolver) and a pair of nice rifles: a scoped T-Bolt and an old Marlin 39A.

I was good on chickens with the Kit Gun double action. However, it had splinter stocks and I've gotten really used to having the space behind the trigger guard filled in, so I couln't hit the piggies DA with the little J-frame no matter how hard I tried, and I won't shoot a Smith single-action, because that way lies madness. It was annoying, because I know it was something to do with my grip mechanics; I couldn't figure the correct sight hold to save my life. I'd be shooting just over, kicking up puffs of dust from behind the piggy, but when I'd lower the sight, I'd hit the steel rack they were on. I usually bat above .500 with a 6" Model 17 on the pigs, shooting DA offhand, so I gave up on the Kit Gun and went to long guns.

With the rifles, I was actually doing better on the turkeys with the iron-sighted lever gun than with the scoped straight-pull. I think the scope gave me a tendency to rush shots, thinking of it as a "sure thing". Also, the turkeys let me know that it's time to give serious thought to going to see the eye doctor. I shot some rams with the T-Bolt. They weren't impressed.

I didn't remember to put a flea collar around my boot. Luckily I only got about a half-dozen bites per ankle and got hydrocortisone on them as soon as I got home, and they feel okay. (Last time I went 24 hours, and by the time I got any ointment on them, ther were angry red circular welts over a quarter inch across with bright yellow centers. My legs looked like they were being flown by the Qatari air force.)

I think I may go play Range Roulette and see if Iggle Crick is open this morning.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Book Reports:

Some stuff I've just finished reading...

Mark Antony's Heroes, by Stephen Dando-Collins. This is the fourth in his series of unit histories of famous Roman legions. They're written in a style more familiar to readers of Stephen Ambrose than of Thucydides, and provide an engaging and accessible grasp of how the Roman army worked and how it fought.

One Soldier's War, by Arkady Babchenko. This book makes All Quiet On The Western Front look like the feel-good family hit of the summer. Sent to Chechnya as a conscript, barely taught how to fire a rifle, subject to the brutal hazing of Russian military life, and left squatting in frozen rubble for weeks with an empty tummy and the bloody runs, the book Arkady wrote about his experiences is hardly a good recruiting aid for the Russian army. It's beautifully written; poetry, even. But it's the kind of poetry that makes you wonder if the book shouldn't have come with a length of garden hose to run from your tailpipe to the driver's window when you were done reading it.

Down Range: Navy SEALs in the War on Terrorism, by Dick Couch. Taking place on the same planet, and yet somehow light-years away from Babchenko's book, unofficial NAVSPECWAR PR man and ex-SEAL Dick Couch has already written two books on the training of Navy SEALs. Now that we know how they get their bachelor's degrees in mayhem (srsly. The average SEAL is in training for three years before their first deployment), he takes us to see them doing their post-grad work in killing people and breaking their stuff. As a Vietnam-era SEAL vet and an Annapolis grad, Couch has plenty of access in this world and has intimate personal knowledge of the topic. Of course, for the same reason, don't expect a hard-hitting exposé, either. Unit commanders speaking to journalists, even combat vet journalists, give glowing reviews that sound like NASCAR drivers after a race: "Well, I'd just like to thank all the guys in Alpha Platoon and the fabulous support crew on the boats and back in the intel shop that made this all possible, everybody was just great!" They're not going to add "Except for that one egotistical turkey who didn't have his head in the game and dropped a lug nut on the last pit stop that nearly cost us the race." Still and all, a worthwhile read.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A professional's professional.

The anti-self-defense crowd keeps telling us to "leave the guns to the trained professionals".

I was skeptical, until I found out just how highly-trained some of those professionals are. Take LAPD Deputy Chief Michel Moore for example, who is such an incredibly hardcore lethal badass that in his spare time he hunts "lions, tigers, and bears" with a hot rod .22 pistol.

Los Angelenos should sleep safer at night knowing that such rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

This is turning into a series...

Your neighbor calls the po-po to report someone has broken into your house. The po-po arrive to find the door open and you standing there. The po-po request some proof that this is indeed your domicile and you are not about to make off with the television. Do you:
  1. Smile and say "Sure, officer. See, this is where I live. Thank you for your concern. You may go now."
  2. Tell the officer you don't want to say anything without your lawyer present, and politely ask him to get off your lawn.
  3. Launch into a spittle-spraying tirade about "You're only doing this because I'm a black man!" (Bonus crazy points, BTW, if you are neither black, nor a man. I may try this sometime.)
While the second is certainly your right, and should probably be trotted out every now and then at random just to keep Johnny Law on his toes, the first will most often lead to a speedy resolution. You see, when I am interacting with a police officer, we both have wants and needs. I want him to not be there so that I can go about my business. He wants to resolve the situation in a manner that involves as little paperwork as possible. I am all about exploring a mutually-beneficial solution that sees him going away and not having to fill out much paperwork.

As James E. Griffin said in comments yesterday:
For the folks that haven't been there, when a cop has to respond to a call, he/she/it looks at the situation as a problem to be resolved. Given the powers we grant to cops, I want said cop to view me as the most reasonable person in the area. And the most likely to be an upstanding citizen. I'll do whatever I can.
So, while it's important to preserve the second option as our inalienable right, many times the first option just makes a lot more tactical sense.

Using the last of the three options just makes you look like a jackass.

Ruining it for everybody.

So, apparently some guys shooting at a public range in Colorado had an impromptu "How Many Of The Four Rules Can You Violate At Once?" contest. The loser got ventilated by the winner and wound up shuffling off his mortal coil and joining the choir invisible.

In a state where rafters, skiers, and snowboarders die like flies on public land every year, the reaction was, perhaps, unsurprising: They closed the range.

This seems odd. We know that the political infrastructure of Colorado is riddled with leftist moles from California, and we would think that they would want to encourage outdoor activities on state lands that were fatal to potential GOP voters, while banning ones that cause hippies to run into trees when they look down to re-light their bong between moguls.

...but I wasn't singing along.

Someone in comments the other day asked what was playing on WTAM FM. Well, yesterday during my errands, the little music gizmo served up:
  • "If I Had A Gun" -The Dead Milkmen
  • "Ocean Size" -Jane's Addiction
  • "Fuckin With My Head (Mountain Dew Rock)" -Beck
  • "Untogether" -Belly
  • "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" -Uncle Kracker
The Uncle Kracker track saved me from TheIrritableArchitect's dire prediction of
"Taking a wild-assed guess here, but I'd say most anything after about '95 or so is too, um, errr, youthful for her to get."
...although it's disturbing to think that Double Wide is as old now as Physical Graffiti was when I was in high school, and freaky Perry Farrell and Nothing's Shocking is as far back in time from the present as the mop-topped Beatles on Ed Sullivan were from my senior year.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Odd weather update.

It has failed to reach 80 again today. And by "failed", I mean that the mercury inched a couple degrees past 70 and then petered out.

When I lived in Tennessee and Georgia, folks who had never been to the Midwest, upon hearing that I escaped from Chicago as a child, would remark about how it must have been cold up there. I'd have to explain to them that, no, we didn't live in igloos, Lake Michigan was actually largely ice-free, and that Midwestern weather was basically nine months of too cold for me and three months of frying eggs on the pavement.

Not this year. We had a feeble attempt at a heat wave in June, but this morning the weatherman was making noises about "Coldest. July. Evar." and suchlike. Apparently all but two days this month have failed to reach the average high temperature, and one day beat a record for lowest high temperature that had stood since 1883.

It's been good for A/C bills, though, and I haven't needed to run the air in the Beemer unless it's sat in a hot parking lot for a bit. Also, a Woobie is a much cozier cover garment than my Royal Robbins vest.

Fun Fact #351:

The house is very quiet. Roomie is at work, the dishwasher has stopped, the geriatricats are asleep and whatever mischief Random Numbers is getting into in the next room isn't making any noise.

Between a combination of very faint tinnitus and the soft tones given off by various appliances around the house, my inner ear is somehow playing the opening notes of "Where The Streets Have No Name", by U2.

Of course the clatter of the keyboard as I started typing this ruined the effect, but it was kinda neat while it lasted.

A very important lesson:

Don't run at the cops with a gas can in one hand and a lighter in the other. There is no possible good outcome to that situation.

Commenters elsewhere are discussing various aspects of it, but in the end, it seems like a situation that was destined to be a trainwreck from the start. Let's break it down:

An intoxicated man (funny how so many police reports start like this) does something that gets the heat called on him. The five-oh shows up (at this point we have now reached a statistical certainty that someone's going to jail or the ER) and, according to the police report, our soon-to-be crispy critter runs right at the cops, gas can in one hand and ignition device in the other. Now, in the old days, a particularly ninja-like cop might have attempted to get the lighter away from him with only a few broken fingers and a dislocated shoulder, and maybe given him a good hickory shampoo in the bargain. Or maybe they'd have just shot him.

But now we have given the police a magic wand! A 100%-safe, lawsuit-proof gizmo to prevent said hickory shampoos and shootings. Only this time there's a bit of a complication...

I don't know what can be done procedurally from the LE side of things to fix this. For my part, I'm going to avoid getting 'faced in such a way that someone feels compelled to call the po-po on me, because if there's one thing I've learned from watching COPS during baseball rain delays, it's that "Drunk + Cops + (no shirt/flip-flops) * nosy neighbors = Nothing good."

Getting old and square...

VFTP Command Central is getting long in the tooth. If I did any real gaming anymore, I'd upgrade to a new system, but I haven't played a first-person shooter over a network in... five years? So, given that it's just a netbox and is only used to play the occasional old game, I figured I'd keep the machine in play a bit longer with a memory bump.

Impetus to finally get off my duff and do it was provided when the Logitech mouse started crapping out. First the scroll wheel failed to report for duty one morning. Then buttons started mysteriously double-clicking for no apparent reason. A trip to Fry's, the electronics megamart, was in order.

When I got there, I headed for the section dedicated to componentry. For those of you who've never been in a Fry's, it's computer geek nirvana; they have an aisle of nothing but cases and power supplies that's bigger than the whole computer department in most consumer electronics stores.

I suddenly realized, as I approached the neckbeards manning the help desk in front of the Giant Wall Of RAM And Motherboards, that I couldn't remember the memory configuration in my PC. I was pretty sure it was DDR... I think. Was it one half-gig SIMM or two 256 meg sticks...?

"Can I help you?" asked the young neckbeard, politely.

"Ummm... I need to upgrade the memory in my computer..." said the suddenly hesitant and confused sounding older lady while the young technogeek looked on with a mixture of pity and contempt... Jesus, this can't be happening to me. I built my first XT from a bare chassis when this kid was in diapers, for Vishnu's sake! How did I get so out of touch?

I aborted the RAM mission until I could get home and verify the best configuration my MoBo would support and headed to the peripherals section for a new mouse, where I had my second experience with feeling unhip.

Now, bear in mind that when VFTP Command Central was put together in '03, cost was very much not a factor. It was built with the express purpose of being a fairly beefy gaming rig and, for the era, it was. That was how I'd always bought computer hardware: If it was black, had an "X" or "Z" somewhere in the name, and was guaranteed to boost my frame rate or help me frag my friends more efficiently, I was there. Now, I found myself thinking "Huh. 'Razer Lachesis'... That's a pretty cool name for a mouse. 4000dpi? Wow! Nine buttons, too... But, $80 for a mouse to play games? Nahhh..." and bought the $24.99 Logitech because it was cheaper and two buttons are plenty. Besides, I bought that Nostromo game pad back in '03 and I've never even hooked it up.

In the end, I wound up coming back and picking up two 1-gig sticks for my PC. Amazing what quadrupling the RAM has done for its performance. Now I can... uh... process words so much faster, or something. And the new mouse works great, and probably will for another five years.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

iPod update.

While the video feature is neat, the iPod has mostly been used for lawn-mowing, snow-shoveling, or the occasional bike ride on the Monon.

I'm not the kind of person that listens to music a lot. While I like music, I don't much listen to it while doing other things. If I'm sitting on the porch or in front of my computer, I'm either reading or writing, and neither of those activities needs a soundtrack in Tamaraland.

The one place I do listen to music is in the car. I don't listen to radios, because I like to pick the music I want to hear, and there's no radio station around here called WTAM FM. Also, DeeJays and commercials both bug me. More accurately, bad DeeJays and commercials bug me, and amusing ones are few and far between.

Even after in-dash CD players made their appearance, I generally preferred cassettes, because I could make my own mix tapes tailored for my mood and the kind of driving I was planning on doing. Writeable CD's and multidisc changers fixed that.

And now comes the iPod...

I picked up a little Belkin cassette adaptor for mine last weekend. Sweet Shiva on a surfboard, this is what I've been looking for: put that little Nano on shuffle and it's like WTAM FM, with no commercials and no DeeJays and only songs from albums I liked enough to buy. And I can just hit the skip button if I'm not in the mood for the Sex Pistols or Cowboy Junkies or P.O.D. or whatever it's served up. I just have to ingrain the habit of taking the iPod with me when I get in and out.

So this is what all you people have been all excited about for all these years! I am liking your exotic world of the future.

The Mexican grenade canard...

500 grenades? Obviously they came from a gun show in Virginia. Or something. That's what they always say on Law & Order, anyway.

Odious New York gun control laws.

What kind of fascist state would have gun laws like this?

To the guy in the blue Civic...

Once you have reached a station in life where you are showing up for work clean-shaven and wearing a tie, the fart can needs to come off the tailpipe. I'm just sayin'.

Shooty goodness weekend recap:

So, Sunday morning dawned bright and early, as it is wont to do, and after a relaxed breakfast at Petite Chou, Shootin' Buddy, Turk, Bobbi, and I saddled up and drove out to Eagle Creek range for the blog shoot, as had been announced across half the internets for two weeks.

Only except the range was closed.

See, the pistol range at Eagle Creek park is operated by the Indy Parks Department (Stuart Lowry is the director of the Parks Department, by the way,) and is used by the Greater Indy Metro Police for training during the week. On weekends, it's supposed to be open to the public. Except frequently the G.I.M.P. will make use of it on the weekends as well, without actually alerting any of the taxpayers ahead of time that their weekend plans will be disrupted. It's sort of "Shooting Range Roulette"; drive thirty minutes and see if you've wasted your morning or not.

Now, I'm all for our local po-po getting all the remedial marksmanship training they need, and Lord knows that recent officer-involved shootings show that they need plenty, but would it kill Stuart Lowry to let us know ahead of time so that we don't all drive out there and run into a closed and locked gate with no explanation? The shooting isn't free, but it's cheap; I'm sure most people wouldn't mind paying a buck or so more in order to have an official web page with accurate scheduling info. (Or maybe the Five-Oh can shoot Monday through Friday and let us simple civilians shoot on the weekends.)

Anyway, since our primary range had malfed, we transitioned to our backup, which meant a drive down to Camp Atterbury, where the State Bureaucracy of Fishing and Hunting and So Forth runs a beautiful, recently-revamped facility with everything from ammo and cleaning supply sales to a palatial and clean loo. Of course, since it's run by the State Bureaucracy of Fishing and Hunting and So Forth, it's maximum security, lowest-common-denominator shooting: On top of the usual public range restrictions like no drawing from the leather or practicing your rollover prone, there are rate-of-fire restrictions (one round per second) and an extra-safe cold range procedure that stops barely short of handcuffs and a cavity search. Given the demonstrated gun handling skills of some of our fellow range attendees, I wasn't too upset about the scrutineering; come to think of it, maybe handcuffs wouldn't have been out of line while people were downrange.

Further, there are signs on the gate proclaiming no loaded, holstered firearms. But there was no clearing barrel, either. Shootin' Buddy and I tramped off to the nearest berm-like object as the R.O. said "You could just clear 'em right there!", indicating the parking lot by the gate. I just don't get this mentality whereby it is safer to have people fiddle-farting around with handling and clearing loaded guns than it is to just leave the damned thing safely in its holster.

It's not especially excruciating; if you can survive the boredom of, say, an NRA High Power match, this is going to feel like free-form sparring by comparison. Also the standard NRA Three Rules Of Gun Safety are strictly enforced:
  1. Keep your gun unloaded until you are ready to use it.
  2. Never climb over a fence with a loaded rifle.
  3. Don't spill your drink on your Perazzi trap shotgun.
Having watched Public Enemies the day before, I had one of my Colt 1903's out to play, as well as shooting the 1902 Military for the first time. I also got in some remedial practice with my two favorite trainers, the Para 9mm LTC and my K-22, and ran some full-throttle +P defensive ammo through the 2" Model 64, so the day wasn't a complete loss. Being held to 1 rd/sec makes you concentrate on stance and trigger control and suchlike; I'm not used to shooting such good groups in weak-hand-only drills.

A side note: Atterbury is located hell-and-gone south of Indy, so it was about an hour's drive to get there, and we'd worked up a powerful thirst with a couple of hours' shooting, and so we stopped on the way back at a convenience store in the little hamlet of Two-Mules-In-The-Soybeans to pick up something with which to wet our whistles. The clerk behind the counter, whose witty repartee and dull, bovine gaze indicated that he had arisen from more of a gene puddle than a gene pool, had those big stretchy things in his ear lobes. So, any of you readers that are wearing them to be edgy and hip should stop, because that fad is officially no longer trendy.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I can't read Foreignese.

A forum in Germany linked to a post of mine on the S&W Model 53.

From what I can gather from the thread, some fellow gun nut on the far side of the pond is having difficulties in taking possession of a Russkie PSM pistol he bought. (You can't get them here because they're too small. Small foreign pistols turn you into a stone-cold killer. Small domestic pistols are okey-dokey, however.)

Now, the German government does everything but probulate you before letting you buy a gun; it's a less-involved process to buy a tripod-mounted belt-fed machine gun in most states in the US than it is to buy a deer rifle in Germany. Further, they have stricter storage requirements for skeet guns and .22 ammo than the IAEC has for Iranian weapons-grade plutonium. Yet apparently if this guy gets a hold of the little commie vest-puncher, he will be driven slowly mad by its mind-control rays and then run around popping gendarmes until they put him down like a mad dog, kind of like you or I would do if we took an extra inch off our shotgun barrels.

At least, that's the gist of what I got from the Google Foreignese-to-English translator. Mayhap one of readers who actually speaks German can tell us what's going on and how a 30+ year-old .22 Remington Jet revolver ties in to the whole thing...

Overheard in the hallway...

RX: "Joining the circus would be a good way to get away from me."

Me: "That's right, you'd never go to the circus. Are you scared of clowns?"

RX: "Other people are scared of clowns; I'm scared of ringmasters. Although I don't much like discordant clowns. They're kinda scary."

Me: "Discordian clowns? Y'know, I'll bet you more clowns are Discordians than you know. fnord"

RX: "...or they know."

Me: "Oh, they know, all right; they know. You can only imagine what goes on in those clown cabal meetings."

Sometimes it can get incredibly surreal here at Roseholme Cottage.

He's been roughly handled.

Marc Rubin, the ignorant tool who wrote an op-ed on what the 2nd Amendment means on his planet, has been roughed up across the blogosphere for the last few days. I believe the beating started at Robb's place, but more than one person got a boot in.

Now Kevin's got him down and is stomping him like a naked fat guy at Altamont.

The best part? Kevin also published the dude's email. This guy doesn't need an editor, he needs a translator. Seriously, he should sue whatever school system handed him a diploma for criminal negligence and depraved indifference.

The gun that's made of Want.

Caleb had a post up yesterday extolling the virtues of the about-to-no-longer-be-vaporware Smith & Wesson M&P 15/22.

I'm not sure there are words in the English language for how badly I want one of these handy little deuce-deuce AR trainers. Especially because they use conventional AR controls on the lower, unlike the Colt/Umarex effort, which has a 180° safety and is therefore made of fail.

Life skills they don't teach at the Y...

Blogger Matthew, at "Straight Forward In A Crooked World", is running a fascinating series of posts he calls "Dark Arts For Good Guys", based on his experiences in some of the less pleasant corners of the globe. It's good reading, even if you plan on staying safely on the suburban pavement stateside.

"They say it got smart; a new order of intelligence..."

When I first started using Blogger's captcha word-verifications, it was handing out letter salad, meaningless clusters of vowels and consonants like a drunken Welshman had vomited on the keyboard.

Gradually, over time, the verification words became less random, more word-like.

Yesterday at my roomie's blog it handed me "hawkdog", which is the pocketknife I frequently carry.

Lock and load, people; SkyNet is waking up.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The bad parts of town...

The local cat box liner has a handy interactive online map showing where people have gotten whacked in Indy so far this year.

My Body, Congress's Choice!

Breda rants on the .gov's goofy ideas about health care.

...and it still works.

I shot the Colt 1902 at the range for the first time yesterday, using factory new .38 Colt Auto ammunition with the correct headstamps from Precision Cartridge.

It was mostly just to hear it go "Bang!", so I only put two rounds at a time in the gun. I shot two, and then let Shootin' Buddy, Turk, and my roomie all give it a try. It worked just fine. Shot a little low, though, and the rear sight needs to be staked.

The magazine, while very old, doesn't appear to be the factory unit, although I could be wrong. There is no reason to suspect that the recoil spring is not all of 97 years old. It was a pleasure to use something that had obviously been built to last.

How to not get killed.

Not too many blocks from where we went to go see the movie Saturday afternoon, apparently the five-oh was clearing up a crime scene where two women had been found sitting in a car, shot dead as Dillinger.

The legacy media interviewed one local bright light who said
"I'm scared to walk my dog out here now because they were probably around my age, around 20," said Jessica Mallah. "I don't want to walk around alone now because I don't know what happened to them, if it was personal or just a random act of violence."

Well, Jessica, I'm going to say it was probably a random act of personal violence. As a community service, allow me to share Tamara's Handy Tips For Not Winding Up On The Wrong Side Of The Yellow Tape:

1) If you're in a bad neighborhood, the kind where you get to hear gunfire and sirens on a nightly basis, move. If you can't move, have yourself inside at a decent hour, before the time when "suspects" start outnumbering "witnesses" on street corners.

2) As a matter of fact, having yourself in at a decent hour is good advice for just about anybody. Ask your local po-po, but I'd bet that in most places, not much good happens after ten p.m.; certainly after midnight, the majority of the folks not already at home are already legally intoxicated, or are engaged in business transactions buying or selling intoxicants. Saying that these people are overrepresented in criminal and traffic code violations is like saying that rednecks are overrepresented in the stands at a NASCAR race.

3) Regardless of your opinion of the War on (Some) Drugs, the fact remains that, for now, drugs are illegal. This means that to get any for your own use, you have to come in contact with some one who is, by definition... class? Anyone? That's right, a criminal. Now, other than engaging in a little unlicensed pharmaceutical distribution, your particular connection may be a saint and a member of the Kiwanis. On the other hand, how well do you really know them? They've demonstrated the willingness to break one law; what others do they break? What other criminals do they associate with? What are the chances of this all ending in tears? If you want to play the safe side of the odds, wear your seatbelt, don't ride motorcycles, and stay away from the dope and the people who use it.

4) Likewise, hitting people is against the law. You should stay the hell away from people who think fisticuffs is an appropriate method of conflict resolution for adults. Particularly if they also have a fondness for judgement-impairing substances like Budweiser. I don't care if you lovelovelove them; if they have proven their willingness to talk with their fists, they will do it again, and maybe worse. If you are living with them or hanging around them, get out. You can then settle your differences from the other end of a phone line a whole lot safer than you could have from inside the tiger cage.

You'll notice that I didn't get into traditional self-defense talk, whether about handgun carry permits and pepper spray or being alert and dialing 911? That's because if you follow the handy lifestyle guidelines above, you will remove 99.99% of the chances that you will ever need the rest of it, because truly random violent crime is really pretty rare most places and can often be avoided by simple alertness.

So, there you go: Stay away from people who habitually break laws. Stay away from places where people who are breaking laws tend to congregate. If you want to move on to being an advanced practitioner, we can start talking about alertness color codes and training and carry permits and such, but the above steps should have you well down the road to a safer life.

Bad teewee commercials.

Knoxwegians are aware, unless they don't have a televisor, of the surreal bad advertisements done by local discount furniture emporium, Brown Squirrel Furniture. I figured I was going to miss that, in a twisted sort of way, when I moved to Indy.

No worries. There is a discount furniture establishment here, complete with teewee ads, with the lovely schizophasic name of "The Schoolhouse of Educated Wicker".

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Public Enemies: Believe the hype.

After watching Public Enemies last night, I would be remiss in not bringing a Colt 1903 to the range today, don't you think?

The gunfights in the movie were vintage Michael Mann, and if you were a John Browning fan, it was gun nirvana: plenty of BAR's and 1911's; Winchester 97 and cut-down Remington Model 11 shotguns; Colt 1903s and a full-auto Colt pistol with a Thompson foregrip; a Remington Model 8 rifle, and even a chopped Winchester lever action carbine that was dead sexy, especially in the hands of the hardass Texas lawman toting it.

The only downside would be if you don't like hand-held camera work. Some people complain that it makes them queasy, and those people will blow chunks watching this movie. I don't mind it; but then I always thought that cinema verite was French for "shaky camera".

Two wobbly steadycam thumbs up.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Having heard "I don't think there's any bullets left in the clip in my gun," one time too many...

"The magazine goes into the weapon,
The cartridge goes into the breech.
As we are careful with our appearance,
We should be careful with our speech."

I'm obviously feeling more than just a mite pedantic this morning.

Good Cop, Bad Cop.

So, yesterday I made fun of the interim chief of the Chico, California police department for wetting his pants at the thought of simple civilians with carry permits.

In contrast to him, here in Indiana, there is Sheriff Ken Campbell of Boone County. Sheriff Ken is an adjunct instructor at Gunsite. Sheriff Ken likes for the good guys to be armed and trained and safe. Sheriff Ken brings some of the best-known firearms instructors to the Boone County Sheriff's Department, and lets good guys like you and me sign up for their classes.

Sheriff Ken is running for reelection this year. Won't you help re-elect Sheriff Ken?

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Dekulakization of Health Care.

It didn't take long to run into an "uh-oh" moment when reading the House's "health care for all Americans" bill. Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal.

When we first saw the paragraph Tuesday, just after the 1,018-page document was released, we thought we surely must be misreading it. So we sought help from the House Ways and Means Committee.

It turns out we were right: The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage.
Sigh. The Reds have well and truly overrun DC. Tailgunner Joe, where are you when we need you? We're sorry, you were right.


I wish I could remember how it started, but it went through the dwarf mammoths of Saint Paul Island and wound up with the Balearic Island Cave Goat, which may be the awesomest name for a critter this side of "chupacabra".

If the pants fit, wet them...

Apparently, police officers in Chico, CA will have an attack of the vapors if someone with a permit to carry a gun actually, you know, carries a gun.
Although the man didn't violate any laws, it made Mike Maloney uncomfortable as the interim chief of police, he said.

"From my perspective, I can't see any reason for someone who's not a peace officer to carry a weapon to the City Council," Maloney said.
Well, thank you for your opinion, Interim Chief Mike Maloney.

It "made you uncomfortable"? Jesus, I can almost hear the sniveling Andy Rooney tone in your voice when I read that. "He had a gun and it made me feel uncomfortable..." I'll bet you go into the quivering fits down at the cop shop, what with all those Glocks everyplace.

No, wait, you're fine at the cop shop because all the guns down there come with plenty of patent leather and dark blue polyester poplin, right? And that makes them okay.
"My opinion is that members of the public should allow trained professionals to carry and use firearms," Maloney said.

Having seen the effects of gun use, Maloney thinks citizens should instead be good witnesses if they spot a crime, he said.
I'd be all about some trained professionals, but all we have is you, chief. And you know what they say about you guys: You're never around when I need you. And when I do call you, you've got the rest of my life to get here. I reckon I'll keep lugging my own heater around, thanks.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Woman with gun mows lawn...

...nothing happens.

No film at 11.

Quote of the Day, Part Two:

Billy Beck on National Health Care:
The foolishness of AARP in all this is just horrifying. This is like watching people dressed in their Sunday best, laughing and having a good time on line for the Zyklon B salad-bar.

Just not feelin' it today.

I got the front yard mowed, the trash cans emptied, and a few other little odds 'n' sods accomplished. I still need to go to the grocery store and run some laundry. But that sounds suspiciously like work.

Oh, and the writing thing. I am seriously behind on the writing thing. Even my blog posts here are suffering, and I just can't be arsed to do anything about it. I need to turn out that Tok v. CZ bit. I need to finish a Colt 1903 post that has languished, half-completed, on my hard drive for months.

I have been just phoning it in here at VFTP for the last week or so. Sorry 'bout that, y'all.

If it was December, I'd blame it on the short days. If it was raining, I'd blame it on the rain that was fallin', fallin'.

I don't know what it is, but I have got a serious case of the blahs.


There is a 1969 50p coin on my desk, and I have no clue why.

I can account for the empty Zippo, the 1/2-28 Phantom flash hider, the AR gas tube & gas block, the AR bolt, the ¡BLACKHAWK! mag holder, the CAR stock wrench, and the tubes of Benadryl and Hydrocortisone, but the 40-year-old British coin has me stumped.

Quote of the Day:

My roomie on the Sotomayor hearings:
I really can't even be bothered to make popcorn. Liberal SCOTUS Justice set to replace another liberal SCOTUS Justice? It's just like changing a lightbulb, except we all get screwed and it sheds very little new light.

The news, it burns!

So, apparently a fuel tanker on I-75 in Detroit was involved in a collision and blew right the heck up like something from a Jerry Bruckheimer summertime cineplex extravaganza, totalling out an overpass and closing off a section of a major north-south Interstate.

Also, someone has found video of Michael Jackson's head bursting into flame.

The tanker story is currently more popular on, but the incendiary hairdo piece is closing fast.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Eat The Rich.

Well, its refreshing that they feel bold enough to discuss class warfare blatantly and matter-of-factly in mainstream sources now. They're not even using euphemisms like "upper income brackets" or "business owners" or "executives".

Remember, "The Rich" is anybody that makes $1 per year more than you. They should have to pick up your tab.

We're going to seize the kulaks' farms to pay for the medical bills of the proletariat.

New Day's Resolution.

Today I will answer a week's worth of gun questions that have stacked up in my email in-box.
Honest injun.

Today In History: Malaise.

On this date, thirty years ago, President Jimmy Carter delivered his famous whingeing attempt at a pep talk to the nation:
I want to talk to you right now about a fundamental threat to American democracy... I do not refer to the outward strength of America, a nation that is at peace tonight everywhere in the world, with unmatched economic power and military might...

The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways. It is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation.

In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we've discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning.

I'm asking you for your good and for your nation's security to take no unnecessary trips, to use carpools or public transportation whenever you can, to park your car one extra day per week, to obey the speed limit, and to set your thermostats to save fuel... I have seen the strength of America in the inexhaustible resources of our people. In the days to come, let us renew that strength in the struggle for an energy-secure nation.
The result of the public whimpering was to send his approval numbers soaring to a stratospheric 37% in the polls. A less direct result was the Reagan landslide.

Let's see if Barry commemorates the occasion today. We need a good cheering up, and lord knows that smug pinkos seem to think that waving a sanctimonious finger in our faces is the way to do it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wicked flinch...

So I was doing some gun kata with my Ring's blue gun (which used a Springfield Operator for the mold gun)...

I may have mentioned before that the rear Novak on the mold gun was drifted hard to the right. Today I noticed that not only is it drifted to the right, but it's suspiciously tall as well. It has that really steep, ski-jump look, like the rear sight for a Champion or Ultra... I compared it to my carry gun, a 5" Springfield.

Yup. It was way taller.

Why would someone install a taller rear sight and drift it to the right? (Hint: to move your point of impact with the sights, remember the mantra "F.O.R.S. = Front, opposite. Rear, same.")

Looks like someone was seeking a hardware solution for a software problem.

So let it be written. So let it be done.

July Blogmeet is Go.

Details available at my roomie's blog.

zomg dinosaurs!

I owe a lot to dinosaurs. For instance, dinosaurs taught me how to read.

Well, not exactly 'taught' me, as such. I mean, they are the great pea-brains of the animal kingdom, plus they were all sort of extinct at the time. Maybe it would be more correct to say that dinosaurs were responsible for me learning how to read.

Like many children, I was gaga over dinosaurs. Like many parents, my mom got a bit tired of reading books to me that were short on storyline and long on names like "styracosaurus" and "archaeopteryx" and "rhamphorhynchus". So she bought a copy of the early-'70s equivalent of Hooked On Phonics and I've had my nose in a book ever since.

I never really lost my fascination with dinosaurs, though. Knowing that they were extinct always made me a little sad; I felt cheated knowing that I'd never get to see one up close. I'd stare at skeletons in museums or look at pictures in books and work my imagination into a lather trying to imagine what it would be like to be up close to a living, moving dinosaur.

The movie Jurassic Park was amazing for me. I was as slack-jawed and goggle-eyed as any ten-year-old in the theater when those first sauropods lumbered across the screen. Dinosaurs! Moving! Right there! But it was still only two-dimensional, trapped on a screen.

Then I saw the commercial on teevee for Walking With Dinosaurs: The Arena Experience.

Oh. My. Gawd.

Wild horses could not have kept me away.

I managed to talk Shootin' Buddy into coming to the show with me on Sunday afternoon. It was absolutely spectacular. The dinosaurs are lifelike enough that you can get a few moments of "willing suspension of disbelief", especially when the first brachiosaurus lumbers out with its head almost brushing the arena lighting array three stories above.

All your favorites make an appearance: ceratopsians, a stegasaur, a pack of raptors, an ankylosaurus the size of a panel van... You really get an appreciation for the ginormous size of these things when a t-rex is bellowing a challenge into your face from twenty or thirty feet away. I know I immediately scotched several of my "dinosaur big game hunting" fantasies as I sat there thinking "Wow, her head is bigger than I am. .405 Winchester is definitely not enough gun for therapod."

If this show is coming anywhere near you, and your kids are at all interested in dinosaurs, you need to go. I know my inner child would never have forgiven me if I hadn't taken her.

A national holiday.

Today the people of France are holding parades and fireworks displays in honor of my mom's birthday.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

(How To Tell If You're A Geek #371: You remember your mother's birthday because it falls on Bastille Day and not the other way 'round.)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Pass the Kool Aid?

All of which left Obama sounding, at the end of the week, as if he looked forward to getting back to solvable problems -- such as the economy and healthcare.
Either that's some mighty dry wit, or the Obamania's still going pretty strong at the Los Angeles Times' Washington desk.

Forces aligning against me.

In retrospect, it was a good thing that I took Caleb up on the range trip Friday.

My original weekend plans called for a trip up to Wildcat Valley with Shootin' Buddy on Saturday, but that started to slide into the ditch at an early hour. Specifically, at 0mygawd30 in the morning, when my roommate's alarums went off so that she could hie off to her ham radio shindig here in Indy.

Now wide awake and unable to fall back asleep, the realization struck that I was short of several critical components for the day's activities: clean jeans and clean socks, for starters. As soon as the laundry got started, it commenced to raining outside. And I don't mean a gentle drizzle, either; it was raining public transportation vehicles and gardening implements.

I gave up the whole thing for a bad idea and we rescheduled for Sunday morning at Iggle Crick.

Guess what range was inexplicably closed yesterday? Yup. Shooty goodness was just not going to happen for me. Better luck next weekend, I guess.

I give up.

When Glynis McCants looks at Michael Jackson's life, she sees the number five.

Jackson's talent was discovered when he was 5 years old, he came to fame as a member of the Jackson 5 and he planned a series of 50 concert dates in London, England, as part of a comeback tour before he died on June 25 at the age of 50.

For McCants, a noted numerologist and author...

"Noted numerologist"... That kinda says it all right there, doesn't it? We can crack the atom, send probes to the bottom of the ocean or the farthest reaches of the solar system, speak to each other with a light-speed stream of zeros and ones generated by minuscule changes in electric current through a network that makes "hair-fine" look Brobdingnagian, and yet there is enough of a majority among us that believes in arrant neolithic nonsense like "numerology" to ensure that any charlatan that comes along promising to turn lead into gold and make the beer streams flow will get carried into power on the shoulders of the mob.

In a sane society, this woman would be laughed at until she went and did something more productive with her time. I'm sure there's an unswept street near her home, for instance. Instead people nod their heads and buy her books.


I'm kind of surprised...

...that I haven't seen one in Broad Ripple yet.

A dog wig, I mean. I am not making this up, although I wish I was.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Life in Broad Ripple...

A Marion County deputy prosecutor was arrested Saturday in Broad Ripple on preliminary charges of driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident.

One would think that a, you know, deputy prosecutor would realize that the "Maybe nobody saw me" tactic almost never works in a crowded residential neighborhood...

Voyage of the Damned.

Continuing my theme of brushing up on the corners of history with which I am less familiar, I just finished reading The Tsar's Last Armada, which related the the story of the doomed voyage to Tsushima with that blend of cheery good humor and oh-my-god-we're-all-gonna-die fatalism that is the Russian birthright.

Bad food, diplomatic squabbles, a vacillating high command back home, primitive communications... I'm not sure how you say "Murphy" in Russian, but there's got to be a word for it. Paranoia has Japanese spies and saboteurs lurking behind every wave top and shoreline boulder, to the point that the nervous Russkies shoot up the British fishing fleet in the nighttime seas of Dogger Bank, leading to a major international incident.

By the time the fleet has reached Madagascar, the Admiral's staff is worried because he's already pitched more than half of the fifty pairs of binoculars they've brought along overboard in various fits of rage, and the Sea of Japan is still a long way off. Meanwhile crewmen are roasting alive in the black iron hulls, dying of tropical diseases, or going crazy and jumping into the shark-infested water. And St. Petersburg has them sit on their thumbs for two months as Nicholas II, known for the jellyfish-like qualities of his spine, wavers between making them wait for the dregs of the Baltic fleet or letting them sail on to Vladivostok, depending on who advised him last.

It was a very readable book, despite knowing that the fleet was going to get its beets pickled by Togo at the end of the voyage. In fact, having now learned more of what came before, the battle itself seems almost an anticlimax...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A random observation...

Preliminary testing seems to bear out the hypothesis that the Broad Ripple driver's brain is, in fact, water soluble.

The same people that will fearlessly send their Prii and Subarus hurtling down ice- and snow-covered residential side streets at speeds best expressed with Mach numbers will slow to velocities more typical of wounded escargot should thawed precipitation fall from the sky.

It seems to have an effect on pedestrians, too, as even adults with apparently normal cephalic development will suddenly lunge into traffic in the middle of the block as though they were slow children at play chasing their ball in front of a Buick.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Shooty goodness...

Bummed a ride out to Atlanta Conservation Club with Caleb to see the facility, do a bit of shooting, and watch him put his new wheelgun through its paces. It was a nice little range, and we had the place to ourselves except for the swarms of savage flesh-eating sabertoothed gnats. (After nearly being devoured by chiggers at the range two weekends ago, one would think that I'd throw some Off! in my range bag, no?)

I did a bit of shooting with my standard range guns, the K-22 and 9mm Para, and I brought along some fodder for an upcoming post at the other blog. Here's a hint...

I had totally forgotten how far a CZ-52 throws spent brass; shooting from the middle of a pistol bay 25 yards square, half the stuff was disappearing into the weeds on the berm to my right.

Mandatory defenselessness on the way out?

Dave at The Defensive Handgun Blog reports that a bill is moving through Congress that might overturn the federal ban on firearms in public housing.

Opinions of public housing aside, if you're going to warehouse people in human zoos, must you also mandate their helplessness before the predators you allow to roam uncaged? In a post-Heller world, depriving them of guns would be the same as denying them, say, the right to go to church, or billeting troops on their sofas.

Today In Geek History: He did math, too.

On this date in 1796, Carl Friedrich Gauss discovered that every positive integer is representable as a sum of at most three triangular numbers. He then went on to design the cannons used by fifty-foot-tall Japanese combat robots.

All the news that's fit to fake.

"Editors later confronted the photographer and determined that most of the images did not wholly reflect the reality they purported to show. Had the editors known that the photographs had been digitally manipulated, they would not have published the picture essay, which has been removed from the," the note concluded.

At least The Paper of (the variable) Record cleared that up rather than stonewalling. No word if the guys responsible have been sacked and sent to work in Iranian government pixel mines.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Overheard in the office...

I'm going to take roomie to drop off her car at the shop this morning...

RX: "Just so you know, I'm almost ready to go."

Me: "No you're not. You don't even have trousers on."

RX: "Trousers? Phhhtthhttt! I think Robb Allen has proven that that's not necessary."

Mighty strange.

It's Wooby weather this morning. In July.

The definition of insanity.

If it doesn't work, do it again, only harder!

Of course "doesn't work" is subjective. If you were expecting it to boost the economy and make life better for the average American, then it is indeed not working so hot*, but if you were expecting to use it as a tool for dispensing patronage and arrogating yet more power to the, then it's working like gangbusters.

*Indeed, it can't work so hot, as anyone who has tried to fill a swimming pool by drawing buckets of water out of one end and dumping them in the other could tell you.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Odd Foods.

Crash at my pal Oleg's place, and you may get offered a halved avocado by way of a snack or a meal while he natters on about suppressors or f-stops or concealment holsters. I always thought that this was a charming eccentricity of his.

Now, I've never been the world's biggest avocado fan, having once likened their taste to that of a light green Crayola, but I was in the grocery store last night, wandering through the produce section and avocados were on sale and...

Y'know, a halved avocado, especially with a light dash of salt, is darned good food. I don't know if my taste buds have matured or what, but... YUM!

(Trivial Pursuit Factoid: Avocado made its appearance in sushi, specifically the California roll, as a stand-in for toro. Its taste and texture mimics the fatty bluefin tuna belly quite nicely.)

An inane metric.

"One Gun A Month" laws are perhaps the dumbest pieces of anti-2nd Amendment legislation to come down the pike. Usually passed by knee-jerk reflex in the wake of some nutjob's rampage, they more or less ignore the fact that spree killers and mass murderers usually only use just the one gun to complete their grisly chores.

The Anti-Bill-Of-Rights crowd claims that they don't affect "normal law-abiding gun owners" (whatever that's supposed to mean,) in complete ignorance of the fact that the only group of gun owners they do impact is the one least likely to commit a crime: Collectors. Gun collectors are, on the whole, no more likely to go commit a violent crime than collectors of anything else, be it coins, stamps, or Beanie Babies. When they get a chance to buy two [Fill In The Blank: World War One Military Rifles, Spanish Pistols, Pre-1973 Ruger Revolvers] at a time from another collector or an estate sale, the last thing on their mind is a massacree at the local garden club meeting. Similarly, if some trenchcoat-wearing loser is going to act out his Marilyn Manson song fantasies, he's not going to be put off for a moment by a "One Gun A Month" law.

Admit it, these laws are what you politicians do instead of something.

Just so y'all know...

...our lawn is mowed. We don't want any SWAT team trouble 'round here.

(...and just for the record, they didn't deploy the tactical team due to his lack of horticultural maintenance; they deployed it because he threw down on the lawn-mowing guy with a gauge. A handy exemplar of how stuff can spiral out of control pretty darn quickly.)

Quote of the Day:

A mandatory public health care system is a universal adapter for unlimited Nanny State legislation, because there’s very little personal behavior that wouldn’t impact public health care costs in some way. -Marko, The Munchkin Wrangler

Go read the whole thing.

...but you get VIP access!

Club Eloi offers to brand you like cattle; hairless patrons agree to scheme.

The ultimate irony is that nightclubs have an average life expectancy measured in months; that'd be like getting a tattoo to commemorate a television series.

Unusual side effects.

So I heard the announcer on the TeeWee this morning saying that the newest Great Big Danger of the slowdown recession downturn contraction right-sizing whatever thing it is that the economy is doing is that unattended toddlers are going to be sleeping with the inflatable fishes in the abandoned swimming pools of foreclosed McMansions all across America. I didn't see the promised interview with the tearful mom, but I'm sure that the solution to the problem is legislative, and we'll soon have another "<$Dead Kid's Name>'s Law" that'll make everything okayer and expensiver and more paperwork-y.

Meanwhile, on a less tearjerking note, some folks are beginning to wonder what's going to happen to all the big boxes that have been emptied of their contents. Most towns can only support so many flea markets, gospel congregations, and indoor paintball courses, after all. I'm wondering what the eventual fallout in the commercial real estate market is going to be like. The mortgage on one of those huge suburban strip centers and the land on which it squats has got to be brutal; how are you going to make that huge monthly nut when your Sportsman's Warehouse, the Bed, Bath, & Beyond and the Circuit City have all closed and your only remaining tenants are a Great Clips, a Chinese takeout place, and a video game franchise that's been late two months out of the last three?

Day thirteen of nonstop coverage...

If Elton John releases another version of "Candle In The Wind", I am not going to be responsible for my actions. I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Having been running my iPod via the slow USB 1.1 connector on my old iMac, I have to say that plugging it into the eMac was a bit of an eye-opener. Trying to fill even that little 4GB device at 12Mbit/s was like trying to drink Lake Michigan through a straw, except without all the dead fish and industrial pollutants. The procedure was slow enough that I rarely changed the playlists on the gizmo because, like cooking in a crock pot, you'd plug it up and then check on it every so often to see if it was done.

Now I plug it in and zip! Done. It's amazing how a little detail like that can increase the usability of a device by an order of magnitude.

Packaging fail.

Bonnie and Unc note instances of packaging fail.

Personally, I would like to congratulate someone on great packaging success: The person who came up with the packaging for Doo Dads enabled me to while away plenty of bored time in the grocery store when I was younger, simply by turning the boxes on the shelf upside down:

What Uzbekistani kid doesn't love that traditional snack food, Spep Oop?

(Yes, I am rather easily amused.)

Grilling adventures.

Roseholme Cottage finally acquired a grill recently, an inexpensive charcoal number from Lowes picked up almost on impulse. Since then I have been practicing my admittedly feeble grilling skills on the occasional steak, but last night I went for something different: Jamaican Jerk Pork Chops. Here's my pork chop AAR:
  • I'm thinking that marinating should consist of more than a couple hours floating in a bowl of jerk sauce in the fridge. Next time we're dunking 'em the night before.
  • There's got to be a way to get them nice and blackened around the edges without turning them into shoe leather on the inside. I'm guessing higher heat for less time?
Anyhow, despite being a first attempt, they turned out okay. Roomie said she wasn't hungry, but if we had a dog, and she threw that bone to it, it would have been one disappointed pooch, because she'd pretty much scraped all the flavor right off it.

Time for Governor Frankenstein?

At least the good Doktor knew how to stimulate a corpse, which might be a useful skill in moribund California:
California is so broke that they can't even borrow money to pay their bills. They've spent it so fast they can't even issue the tax refunds that are owed. They are sending out IOU's to indicate recognition of debt but nothing more. Try to stimulate your landlord, utility company or grocer with an IOU.

Monday, July 06, 2009

The past is future.

Nobody's more of a natural "prepper" than a bunch of people dedicated to steam-powered tools and hay-burning tractors.

I live with this every day, since my roommate commutes to work from 1937.

Me? I appreciate the thought behind this, but my idea of "old school" is SCSI and vacuum-operated secondaries...

Break in the action for a new 'puter.

I've been using a G3/400 iMac as my desktop media server for about a year now. It's worked out well, but the Achilles' heel turned out to be its lack of USB 2.0 ports. Since FireWire got Betamaxed by high-speed USB, it was time to find a newer machine in order to be able to synch my iPod in anything less than geological time scales, as well as use newer portable hard drives for backup or music storage.

Fortunately, even late model eMacs are available for a song on FleaBay these days, so I picked up a 1.25GHz DVD eMac for under a c-note.

Doing the software update dance now...

The most patriotic gun?

Our only company at the range was a guy and his two sons shooting a Mini-14 and a bolt action .22 rimfire. I made a comment to the father about there not being a better way to celebrate the 4th and he heartily agreed. I didn’t do much shooting yesterday. I loaded magazines for Mischa and Eddie and fiddled with my Buckmark’s adjustable sights, but mostly I watched the father and his boys.

I asked them if I could take their picture for this blog. ”Sure no problem.”

“Do you want me to obscure your faces you know, it’s the internet and all?”

“No that’s OK we’ve got nothing to hide”

If I talked like Ward Churchill, I would say “on that day….. my heart….it soared like an eagle”. What’s the most patriotic gun you can shoot on the 4th? This one right here.
Read the whole thing. Look at the pictures, too...

Heaters and Hotels.

Last week, my roommate and I watched No Country for Old Men over dinner, since she hadn't seen it. As those who have seen it are aware, various bad things happening in motel rooms make up a large part of the story. Bad things that involve guns.

When a friend and I drove down to Terlingua, we spent a night in a motel room in Alpine, Texas where the door jamb showed signs of rather vigorous forced entry in the not-too-distantly-repainted past. Over dinner, we speculated on various things: Had it been the cops? The DEA? Business associates of an unlicensed independent pharmaceutical distributor that had been staying there? A drunk student from the college across the road with a mean stomp-kick? Where do we put the FAL and HK-91, since leaving them in the truck was a definite no-go?

Having recently returned from a roadtrip to the Left Coast, Frank W. James speculates on some practicalities of guns on the road, and defending your castle-away-from-castle. It's given me pause to think. Usually when on the road, I've slid the revolver from my purse under the other pillow in the bed, but how much good would it have done on those occasions I forgot and left the doorknob alarm at home? I mean, I sleep fairly lightly, but...

The beat goes on...

As Detroit collapses into rubble around them, kids somehow still find time to commit traffic violations & drug misdemeanors, scare old folks, and make bad mating decisions:
In the late afternoon one recent Friday, the parking lot adjacent to the Belle Isle bathhouse was half full with people around charcoal grills loaded with chicken and steaks.

"We've been coming here for 40 years, but we make sure to leave before it gets too late," said David Zane, 52, a retired city worker. "When it's starting to get dark ... it's time to go."

That's about the same time Sakina Ali, 18, and her girlfriends arrived. "It's really all about the boys," said Ali, who lives on the east side of Detroit. "There really is nowhere else to go in this town."

Ali's car was nearly sandwiched between two beefed-up vehicles vibrating from the pulse of the sub-woofers and the traffic.

"Hmm, he looks good," said her friend Carla Davis, 19. "Maybe I can find someone decent."

One half expects the Jets and the Sharks to dance across the scene, snapping their fingers in unison. (Although, given the pre-post-apocalyptic setting of Detroit, there would be some horrible twists, like Riff has a colander strapped to his face and the rest of the Jets are wearing spiked and studded leather like extras from Mad Max, Bernardo is a loyal attendee at a Wahhabist mosque, and Sgt. Krupke is in the National Guard instead of the DPD.)

(H/T to The Shekel.)