Monday, November 30, 2009

Creeped me right the heck out.

I mentioned recently that Stephen King's book Pet Sematary was the only novel of his that had ever really scared the bejabbers out of me. Shortly after writing that post, I decided to re-read the book, only to discover that I had apparently... uh... "lost" my copy.

I picked up another one at Half Price Books the other day.

Cover me; I'm going in.

Ammo prices.

When I go to the range, I always drag my ammunition along packed loose in ammo cans. Last Sunday I shot the .22LR can completely dry and had to borrow a handful or two from Bobbi. We stopped by Gander Mountain on the way home, and I picked up a 550rd carton of Federal, but 550 rounds makes a thin layer on the bottom of a .30 cal can, and yesterday's activities left a bare hundred rounds rolling around in there. I bought 500 rounds of cheapo bulk Winchester to replace it, but...

And of course I'm shooting more rimfire because I'm shooting less centerfire. When you've only got 100 rounds of .45 left in the ammo can, and it was priced like imported sin to boot, you find yourself rationing it out. "Okay, one warmup mag, three magazines strong-hand-only, and two weak-hand-only; that's... 42 rounds. Even if I can't find any cheap .45 between now and next weekend's range trip, I'll still have over fifty rounds..." Even the "cheap" 9mm to feed my 9mm trainer is still priced like .45 was just last year.

I really need to stop making excuses and get the reloading press set up today.

Ugh, November...

My first good bone-deep chill of the season settled in this past week. I won't really be warm again until April...

It's an addiction.

After giving away a copy of Parliament of Whores yesterday, I wound up dragging my own copy down from the attic and re-reading it for what must be at least the sixth time. Despite having vast swatches of it memorized, it's still laugh-out-loud funny. Every bon mot to ever spill from my fingertips is due to reading lots and lots of P.J. O'Rourke and Florence King.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Just Another Random Sunday...

  1. Had a good range day at Iggle Crick: 42 rounds of 9x19, 42 rounds of .45ACP, and ~450 rounds of .22LR (that's six mags through each of the 1911s and a bunch of rounds through the various deuce-deuce trainers.) I kept them pretty much all in the A-Zone except for a couple of outliers no doubt caused by one-handed rapidfire work with the DA revolvers. It was the first time I'd had the .22 I-Frame out since early Spring, but since Winter coat weather is almost upon us, I need to get back in shape for carrying the 432 in an outer pocket.
  2. We stopped off at Bradis Guns on the way home. I grabbed another 22/45 mag and numbered all three with a paint marker, and picked up a 500rd brick of Winnie .22 as well as 50 rounds of 9mm. I finally got hands-on with one of the new Chiappa/MKS Puma .22LR 1911s. It felt a bit chintzy, but the whole gun was only $289, which is comparable to the price of a Ciener conversion. There was also an EAA-branded 1911 rimfire conversion kit for only $189...
  3. Got to the blogmeet and hung with the crew. Got to spend time with fellow Broad Riparians Mr. & Mrs. Red, which was fun. Handed out the Cup Of Turonistan, as well as passing out proselytizing copies of two of my favorite books by my guru, P.J. O'Rourke: Holidays in Hell and Parliament of Whores.

Book nook.

The four walls of the dining room at Roseholme Cottage sport floor-to-ceiling shelving devoted to naught but my roommate's SciFi books, shelved alphabetically. She's posted a picture of the Aaa-Far wall.

I always shelved non-fiction by a rough Tamara Decimal System and shelved fiction by author, but Instead of arranging authors alphabetically, they were ordered by how likely I was to want to grab one of their books to re-read. Thus, Heinlein took up a couple shelves at eye level, while, say, Songs of a Distant Earth, some Jack L. Chalker books, and a Robotech serial novel I'd somehow picked up but never got around to trading in were down by the floor in the back row of a two-book-deep shelf.


(Arthur C. Clarke always annoyed me; someone who just can't wait to be subsumed into the Great Hive Mind and actually sees loss of the individual self as an improvement may be shaped more or less like me, but I would argue that speciation is underway.)

Getting more for their taxpayer dollar...

The citizens of Anytown, TX are getting a good return on their peace officer dollar; Matt G is the kind of cop everybody wishes they had on their beat:
"This... punk... came to your house uninvited, and attempted to enter your residence by force. Who does he think he is?!? Be angry. Be furious. Because anger makes you strong. And you could use the strength."

RTWT.

I've been knowing Matt for close on to ten years; one thing that's always impressed me is how much he cares about his job and the people for whom he works.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Overheard in the Office:

Me: "It's good to know that not only am I still tops with Google for 'face-eating monkeys' and 'horrible screaming death', but also for 'electric boobs', for some reason."

RX: "I think I'm still number one for 'Brain On Toast'."

Me: "Ewwww!"

RX: "Oh, so 'horrible screaming death' is just peachy but 'brain on toast' is icky?"

I did not know that...

The U.S. Navy's Curtis F9C Sparrowhawks are some of the coolest planes ever; sleek little biplane fighters that operated from the rigid airships of the USN.


I'd never realized that they were in service for almost three years and that they performed over 100 successful midair "hookups" in their first month of trials alone. According to the pilots, once you got the hang of it, it was easier than lining up a landing on a regular airstrip. I wonder if there's a unit history published someplace? Or hopefully one of the fliers left an autobiography...

It would be a shame if every single Sparrowhawk pilot had passed away without any of them leaving a memoir; they were sole eyewitnesses to a very unique little chunk of aviation history.


EDIT: A search for deck plans so I could get a feel for the hangar arrangements turned up a discussion at a forum called "airshipmodeler.com", which proves that there truly is an internet discussion forum for every interest under the sun. Do you reckon they have arguments about "Which blimp for bear?"

Today In History: Explains a lot, really...

On this date in 1443, a commander in the army of the Ottoman sultanate switched sides in the middle of the Battle of Niš, helping the Hungarians hand his own army a stomping. After the battle he changed religions, took up the crusade against his old employers, and became the national hero of Albania for leading an unsuccessful but bloody revolt against the land's Turkish overlords.

For all this, he got to design the Albanian flag, received favorable mention in Gibbons' epochal tome, got his face on a postage stamp, and had a Hoxha-esque commie biopic made about his life.

Albania is still a mess.

Try to remember not to forget...


...that there's a Blogmeet tomorrow.

Sorry...

The Firearm Blog got me musing about "high capacity" rifles over at the other blog.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Mmmm... Gravy.

How good was Bobbi's bacon mushroom skillet gravy?

Well, if Shootin' Buddy hadn't been there, I probably would have just slid the gravy bowl over in front of me and fallen to with a spoon.

They say "gravy" isn't one of the Four Food Groups, but I remain unconvinced. Besides, with this recipe, it could count for both the Gravy Group and the Bacon Group.

Hey, Michael Daly...

As the bumper sticker says, "We don't care how y'all did it up north."

Amused To Death.

The absolute tizzy that the press has worked themselves into at the terrible act of lèse majesté committed against their demigod is pretty chucklesome, especially when you consider that if the Salahis had done the very same thing a year and a half ago, they'd be fêted as heroes by the press and made into popular martyrs if they got hit with anything as minor as a fine for trespassing.

Note to NBC: lèse majesté is not actually a crime in the U.S.A.

The hooraw over this just keeps getting better, though. Like all the reporters talking about the horror of this being done at "our first State Dinner!"

Um, additional note to 30 Rock: We have been having State Dinners since, oh, the 19th Century or so. But we know what you mean...

Anyhow, note the excitement at MSNBC as Amun-Re, the Sun Descended, greets "the D.C. elite, Oscar-winning entertainers and Hollywood moguls." No mention is made of that Indian guy... no, not Deepak Chopra, I mean the other Indian guy. The unimportant one.



Right now I could listen to the Shrub mispronounce "nukyular" for an hour straight, because the grownups have definitely left the building.

Lucky in one respect.

It looks like the autumn leaf crop is just about all in for the year here at Roseholme Cottage.

Thanksgiving bumped our trash pickup back one day. We've got fourteen of those big paper leaf bags you get at Lowe's still sitting in the back yard waiting to be schlepped to the curb, and it's nice to know that I can do it at my leisure this morning, properly gloved and booted and hatted, rather than in a stumbling pre-dawn hurry while still clad in my pyjamas.

EDIT: Fourteen bags of damp leaves, two bags at a time, from the back yard to the curb out front, and done at a brisk trot, made for a good dollop of morning cardio for my out-of-shape self.

These dreams go on when I close my eyes...

Apparently if you go to bed with a stomach full of turducken, bacon mushroom gravy, and wine, and you've just finished reading Monster Hunter International, you get some pretty good dreams...

Like the one I had last night where the elk herds that lived in the greenbelts along California's highways were being wiped out, and the government was blaming poachers, but really it was packs of Browning Citori-armed skunk apes that had been boosting shotguns from isolated skeet shooters. They had Danny Glover surrounded in a cabin and it was getting pretty intense, but then the alarm went off, so I never found out what happened.

Black Friday.

For schoolchildren and some government employees and office workers, it's a four-day weekend.

For much of the rest of America, it's The Week With Two Mondays.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Overheard in the Office:

Me: "I'm tending to come down in favor of bacon. I mean, if you're confused about pretty much any food item..."

RX: "...Add bacon?"

Me: "Yeah. More bacon is rarely the wrong choice."

Blrph.

The turducken was delicious. As were Bobbi's smooshed potatoes with the skin on and plenty of Irish butter (which is more drunken and belligerent than regular butter, plus it can be used to detonate a Ford Mondeo in front of an Ulster pub). The mushroom & bacon gravy a la FarmMom was divine, and Shootin' Buddy brought a nice bottle of South African Pinot that made me feel rather well disposed towards the whole world.

With the first load running in the dishwasher, I am now going to inspect my eyelids for pinholes. If the zombies rise in the next hour or two, try and hold 'em off without me, okay?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I am thankful that the ammunition shelves at gun stores seem to be filling up again.

Today I am thankful that, while the target may be getting a little blurry, the front sight is still nice and sharp. I'd rather have it that way than the other way 'round.

Today I am thankful that my cat did not stay crazy.

Today I am thankful that another brewpub is opening in Broad Ripple, because you just can't have enough of those.

Today I am thankful that my roommate talked me into getting a basket for my bicycle instead of just a luggage rack.

Today I am thankful for all y'all who keep coming back and reading my miscellaneous ramblings.

Fundamentally Unserious.

In wars, the US is a division-leading 6-0-0, while in our sundry "police actions" we're a depressing 1-1-1, which isn't going to get us a bowl invite. This is a problem with our current Global Police Action On A Noun model: In a war, you find, fix, and destroy the enemy, while in police work you get penalized for a late hit.

My new hero...

If this isn't a photoshop, I have a new hero.

I need to go and SBR my switch-barrel AR. If he can do it for "zombies", then I should be able to come up with as good a reason.

I should go ahead and do it as a multi-caliber, though; I really ought to get a shortie 9mm barrel for it. As a city dweller, it's a lot easier to find places to shoot a 9mm carbine than a 5.56...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Overheard in the Hallway:

Me: "They're liberals. They'll think the Blackwater hat got all sweat-stained when I was killing babies in Iraq or something."

RX: "Isn't that what Blackwater mainly does over there?"

Me: "Did. They lost the baby-killing contract to Halliburton, who proposed using the infants as fuel to power Dick Cheney's orbital mind-control lasers."

RX: "I thought the Obama administration was going to change all that, put scrubbers on the stacks, and force the orbital mind control lasers to go green?"

If not a lot of blogging happens today...

...it's all Will's fault.

Thanks to him, I'm reading Monster Hunter International for the first time, making me probably the last gun blogger to do so.

For the four of you readers who haven't yet read it, let me summarize:

If you're looking for the next Pride And Prejudice or even the next Bonfire of the Vanities, this ain't it.

If you're just into SF, Action, or that genre they've taken to calling "urban fantasy", then you'll probably like it.

And if you're an internet gun nerd, well, here's the first book that was tailor-written just for you. It's all here: all the memes, tropes, characters, and zombies (and werewolves and vampires oh my!) Heck, the review blurb on the back cover isn't from the New York Times or Kirkus Reviews, it's from Bayou Renaissance Man.

Further, Stephen Hunter and John Ringo just won't read the same anymore, because Larry raises the bar for realistic gunplay in this book. Back when he was still shooting Three Gun competitions seriously, he was good enough to be shooting OPA (that's "Other People's Ammunition", for the uninitiated,) and he's owned a machine gun store; if he says it can be done with a gun, it's probably because he did it. MHI is to gun books what Way of the Gun is to gun movies. Except with monsters; which is even cooler.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dietary Globalism.

Marmite on toast for breakfast.

A drive-through Big Mac for lunch.

A bottle of Moosehead after lunch. (My neighbor's not a beer drinker, but she meant well.)

I'm thinking maybe sushi for dinner?

Breda meets the Garand.

My first thought when I looked at the picture was "Someone's been to an Appleseed."

For the uninitiated, she's not kidding about the weight, either. A Garand weighs roughly 10 pounds all-up; when I think back to how whupped I was after my Appleseed, I'm glad I brought the AR carbine and not the Garand like I was originally planning to do. A whole day spent trying to keep from sliding down a hillside while holding half again as much rifle would have flat killt me.

Made me laugh...

"Aw, nuts!"

Well, that was interesting...

When I was younger, I went on a trip with a youth missionary organization to do construction and painting work. While on the trip I met a couple of Australian kids who dared me to try Vegemite, and the experience of being sent gasping for a beverage by a tiny taste of the stuff hung with me for years.

The other day at the grocery store, I noticed a jar of its English cousin Marmite on the shelf and bought it on a whim.

Following the instructions right on the front of the jar, I "spread thinly" on toast this morning and discovered that 20+ years of black coffee, hoppy ales, and soy sauce have kinda recalibrated my taste buds. It was actually pretty yummy. I bet it would be good on a cheese sandwich.

Something I've never really grokked...

...is the amount of pissing and moaning attendant to the field-stripping and re-assembly of the 1911-pattern pistol that goes on in every gun-related corner of the intertubes. To hear people talk about it, you'd think it a task that was, if not Sisyphean, then at least of a difficulty level commensurate with building a nuclear reactor in a bottle while wearing thick wool mittens.

I don't want to sound like I'm making a paean to some imaginary bygone age here, but there was a time when the general assumption of society was that the average adult American male was at least minimally mechanically competent: garages had timing lights in them and drug stores had vacuum tube testers, and patching an inner tube or setting the gap on a spark plug were not lost and arcane arts.

The microchip has freed us of many things and transistorized electronics are amazingly rugged compared to their fragile forebears of bygone days. The idea of "fixing" a radio or TV is foreign to us now, and the underhood areas of modern cars are shrouded in plastic fairings that practically scream "No User Serviceable Parts Inside" (and with the first spark plug change not scheduled for 100,000 miles, why would there be?) and unless you're some kind of weirdo bicycle hobbyist you'll probably never clap eyes on an inner tube, because even your riding mower's gone tubeless. These days one can get a reputation as "handy" for being able to plug a video card into your computer's motherboard.

Granted, modern pistols tend to be very easy to field-strip (although many are a pain to detail strip) but it's not like the 1911 is really all that difficult. Generations of draftees mastered it, after all. Even back before I got my Glock tattoo lasered off, I wondered why all the fuss, and now that I've been toting 1911s for a while, I really think that complaining about it makes one sound like Talking Barbie saying "Math is harrdd."

(Although if you've complicated the process with a 20# recoil spring and a full-length guide rod, you're just buying trouble.)

Note To Self:

Do not weasel out of writing for The Arms Room today.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Quote of the Day:

Marko goes all Econ 101 on UC Berkeley students (which is like going all Astronomy 101 at a Flat Earther rally, but still...):
Look, kids: your home state is broke as shit. It’s broke because you folks voted yourself free everything with crunchy gratis glaze and no-cost sprinkles on top, and even the super-sized tax rates your state collects aren’t enough to pay for everything. The money to run stuff has to come from somewhere, and when your state cuts education budgets (see “broke as shit” above), then the only way to keep the lights on is by raising user fees.

Overheard in the Office:

Me: (in a sing-song voice) "Papertowel-papertowel-papertowel! Oh, pass the paper towels please!"

RX: "Here."

Me: (blows nose with a skull-vibrating *POP!*) "Ahhhh. I love it when you can feel it come out by the roots all the way up in your forehead."

RX: "Tamara, have we discussed 'oversharing'?"

A religious experience.

If I don't get a bunch posted today, it's because I'm busy reading The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible,in which one slightly neurotic non-observant Manhattan-dwelling Jewish guy decides to live as religiously as possible for a whole year. As it happens, there's a lot more involved than giving up bacon. A surprise relief is that poly/cotton clothes are okay, since only mixing linen and wool in your garments is specifically verboten. The book is by turns hilarious and insightful, and author A.J. Jacobs has a refreshingly self-deprecating wit; he knows that touching the shower head four times after turning it off puts him somewhat out on the skinny end of the OCD bell curve, and he doesn't try to hide it.

I'm a little past halfway in and he's still married, which I'm taking as a good sign, or at least a sign that his wife should be sainted next time they're doing such things out Vatican way. If you've read it already, don't spoil it for me in comments!

(For the spiritually confused and/or not easily offended, Reno Sepulveda has posted a handy dandy religion selector flowchart. It all comes down to bacon, as I long suspected.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Blammunition update.

As long as you weren't looking for .380, the ammunition supplies at Gander Mountain were pretty much back to normal, although prices are still high relative to the first half of '08.

Selection was broad and supply was bountiful in the major auto calibers: 9/.40/.45 all had a bunch of choices in FMJ and JHP ammo. 9x19 was starting at $14/50, but the cheapest .45 was still over $20/box.

Loose bulk .22LR was available in both Remington and Federal flavors, and there were all kinds of bricks of various rimfire on the shelves. Good thing, too, since I shot my .22LR ammo can dry this morning and didn't want to break out my backup stash of unplated ammo. It may shoot okay, but it'll dirty up a gun like nobody's business...

They had a pretty 4" prewar .32-20 Smith in the showcase for around four bills, complete with a Tyler T-grip, but closer examination revealed it had been re-blued. It'd make someone a nice shooter, though.

Another Golden Age about to end?

The late '60s and early '70s were a high water mark for automotive performance, at least looking back from my time in high school. Safety regulations had piled on weight while emissions and fuel economy standards had sapped horsepower to the point that early '80s "performance" cars were shadows of their former selves; decal-and-spoiler performance packages wrapped around asthmatic powerplants without enough torque to yank a greased string out of a cat's ass.

This was forcefully brought home to me one day some years back when I was able to show the taillights of my Porsche 924S to a late '70s Ferrari 308GTB through Atlanta's "Spaghetti Junction". The 924S was a Porsche, yes, but the junior car in the Porsche lineup; it was sporty, but no threat to any Ferraris, unless they are disco-era Ferraris with EPA-mandated potatoes stuffed up their tailpipes and leaky Weber carburettors stingily dripping fuel into the manifold.

With the advent of the microchip, manufacturers found their way out of the mess, as computer-controlled ignition and fuel-delivery systems allowed them to wring out more performance from every drop of fuel-air mixture. If '74-'84 were the dark ages of automobile performance, then on average, we are living in the New Golden Age. There are V-6 family buses sporting an honest-to-Duntov 300 net horsepower; sedans that will kick sand in the face of a smog motor Corvette.

Car & Driver tested a '79 L-82 'Vette with a 4-speed manual and it turned in a 6.6 second 0-60 sprint and ran the quarter mile in 15.3 seconds at 95mph, and the slushbox-equipped ones were even slower. That's barely enough to stay ahead of a Nissan Altima Hybrid (7.1/15.6@91) and would get gutted by a V-6 Altima (5.8/14.4@101). My '98 Z3 is a whisker quicker than that 'Vette and I know that I've found myself staring in bafflement at the receding taillights of some plain-vanilla sedan or SUV more than once.

I wonder what the government will do to end this Golden Age?

Say what?

So we're watching the local news yesterday morning and they're covering a nearby amusement park having a big garage sale. As they wrap up the segment and get ready to go to weather, we're treated to this bit of dialog:

Anchorchick: "...except I hear that the Santa chair has already sold. Too bad, I kind of wanted that Santa chair."

Anchordude: "Well, you're going to need a Santa chair if you go outside today, because it's going to be beautiful out there! Now to Chelsea for the forecast..."

Going to need a lolwhut? That's going on the blooper reel he's getting for Christmas, I'll bet.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

If at first you don't succeed...

With the Assault Weapons Ban five years in the grave, George Kellgren's Grendel P30 is back for a return engagement as the Kel-Tec PMR-30. It's still hideously ugly, but now it's hideously ugly in a different and modern way.

Of all the 30-shot .22WMR semiautomatic pistols on the market, it's by far the best.

Overheard in the Office:

Me: "I'm talking the old hairy-chested Starfleet with guns, not the bald-headed one with shipboard daycare centers. The one where the captain got the girl."

RX: "Picard got... well... he got a flute in that one episode."

Me: "Riker always got the girl. He was the only one on that bridge with any testosterone. Well, except for Tasha Yar, but she died early on, so she doesn't count."

Been busy...

...over at the other blog.

The writing's finished, but I still need to add more pictures.

(This is all Matt G's fault, BTW...)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thank you iTunes!

Were it not for "shuffle mode" on the iPod in the car, I might have completely forgotten several really great albums. Three that I've recently rediscovered: Kick by INXS, Bloodletting by Concrete Blonde, and Nothing's Shocking by Jane's Addiction.

Overheard at my Neighbor's:

Neighbor: "So why do you carry that?"

Me: "I don't want my last thought to be 'Gee, I wish I had a gun...'."

.38 Supah fo-evah!

Caleb has a post up on the .38 Super for self-defense.

The obvious comparison is to .357SIG, which is a fine and reliable cartridge in guns designed around the shorter 9mm/.40 platform, but is a bear to get running in a 1911 action, which is designed around a longer cartridge and has a two-piece feed ramp in its unmodified form.

The .38 Super is merely a higher-pressure loading of the old Colt .38 Automatic round, which dates back to some of John Browning's earliest autopistol work, 'way back in 1897; the two cartridges are dimensionally identical (which is why all .38 Super is technically "+P" according to SAAMI.) The advantages it has over the .357SIG are fairly esoteric and mostly center around the bottleneck: The short neck makes the SIG cartridge difficult to reload, and limits the range of bullet weights the cartridge can handle easily.

I've always hoped for a .38 Super revival, even if one attempted resurrection in rimless form has already failed (the "9x23 Winchester".) The reason is that the longer case can handle 147gr .355" bullets with ease, which offer the same sectional density as 180gr .40 or 230gr .45 and more sectional density is more penetration. In the shorter 9x19 case, these heavy bullets are going to be traveling at under 1100fps, but in the longer .38 Super with its greater powder capacity, ~1200fps is not out of reach. 147gr@1200 is getting into low-end magnum revolver ballistics.

In a single-stack gun like a 1911 or SIG P-220, you could get ten rounds easy; a double stack 1911 or Glock 20-sized gun would be serving up 18-20 rounds of low-end-.357-Magnum-level whupass. I'd be lying if I said the thought didn't intrigue me every now and again.

The things up with which I put.

In case you were wondering how my roomie, the geekiest chick on the web, spends her free time, lately it's been restoring an old telephone. It is not yet hanging on a wall somewhere in the house, but I suspect that is coming.

Mission Control is shutting down.

As of September, 2011, millions of mindless drones across America will have to turn elsewhere for instructions on what to read, how to vote, and what to think, because the Hive Queen will be ceasing her daily transmissions.

Things I Learned From Television:

I watched a bunch of TV to stay awake over the last couple days, and I learned a lot of valuable things:

  1. Despite bogus theology, awkward physics, and plot holes through which you could navigate the QE2, "Ahnold vs. The Devil + A Whole Lotta Explosions" is a formula for an entertaining movie.
  2. The fabric of spacetime is different in Las Vegas, and the Vegas PD has access to alien technology: They can get DNA tests back faster than an Indianapolis cop can run your license plates.
  3. 12 gage 00 buck has nine pellets. It will blow through a steel door and an expanded metal grate and six of the pellets will make a nice, tight pattern on one victim's chest, pitching him over a railing, while the other three pellets mysteriously veer off on a downward tangent and kill the cabbie below and across the street. (My neighbor wondered why I started laughing and walked out of the room just when CSI was "getting interesting"...)
  4. The cocaine daze in Hollywood actually peaked in the late '80s, when somebody signed off on The Fly II. As a matter of fact, The Fly II rates a post of its own...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Coming into day three...

I can see the music.

Everybody is very, very funny. Scintillatingly witty. I haven't heard an unfunny joke in over twelve hours. Seriously, you're all hilarious. I love you guys, each and every one. I'm going to drive around and give everybody a great big hug...

After I take a nap.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Glrg, Part II.

I came home, did chores, caught a nap from 10:00 to 1:00 on the futon, did more chores, drove my neighbor to her 4:30 follow-up appointment, came home, ate, napped from ~7:00 to 9:00 and now it's back to playing Florence Nightingale for another night.

On the list of "Things Tamara Wants To Be If She Grows Up", I think we can safely cross off "Third Shift Candy Striper".

Regular blogging will hopefully resume tomorrow.

Ha!

Okay, that's about awesome.

Glrg.

Stayed up all night playing nurse, helping a neighbor recover from sinus surgery.

Haven't pulled an all-nighter in a while; I don't recollect it being this tough. I feel like three miles of bad road.

Being so tired that you're seeing things doesn't make squinting at the bitty little Eee display any easier, I'll tell you that.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Meeting other bloggers is fun!

Newbius is trying to put together a blogmeet for the peeps in the Northern Virginia area. He's working through some snags right now, but it's looking like the first week of December...

Neat trick.

Cute trick.

It's helped by the fact that the G35 is lightly sprung with respect to its slide weight. That, and the guy doing it is fairly buff.

About zero practical application, however. While not as cool-looking, snagging the rear sight is barely slower and a lot more positive. And "positive" beats "cool looking" in the all-important category of "not getting one's ass shot off".

The real highlight of the post at The Firearm Blog, though, is the Counterstrike Kiddie in the comments section who says:
It could almost make dual wielding handguns a viable combat method, as it saves a lot of time on the reloading.

Now to design a mag holder that would hold the mags for you so you can put them in more easily one handed…

Oh, definitely! I'm going to start "dual wielding" my 1911s tomorrow, because zOMG it's teh awes0m3!!!!1!eleven!~!

Who the $%^& lets these children on my internets?

Oh, that's just wrong!

I'm going to need a wire brush to get this out of my forebrain.



(It's all Kristopher's fault.)

National Ammo Day.

Thursday is National Ammo Day.

This is especially fortuitous, because I put a hurtin' on my supply of 9x19 and .45ACP plinking ammo on Sunday, and the bottom is visible in the .22LR ammo can. I don't want to have to break into my stash of unplated bullets, so it's time for another brick or two of the plated stuff.

A teachable moment.

Brigid had her house broken into. Being Brigid, she turned it into a practical discussion on home security that makes those cartoon PSA's look like McGruff the Crime Chihuahua.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Unsolicited product endorsement.

Some of the cleverer readers may have noticed that I snuck a link to the Leatherman Juice in at my most recent Arms Room post. I did this because I really like mine.

I managed to resist the whole multitool fad for several years because everything on the market was either a teeny gizmo only suitable for fingernail cleaning best carried on a keychain or a giant brick of a folding pliers that required a belt pouch as awkward as the geekiest of '80s HP calculators. It wasn't until I discovered the Juice in early '02 that I found a multitool which offered the versatility of a reasonable number of tool gizmo thingies with a size and shape that allowed me to carry it in the pocket of my jeans like a Swiss army knife instead of on my belt like Batgirl.

Unfortunately for me, I picked the now-discontinued "kf4" model, which was the only Juice in the lineup without a beer bottle opener. The kf4 has been discontinued, and the slightly larger "CS4" and slightly smaller "S2" soldier on, each with a bottle opener.


(Really really clever readers may note that the CS4 has made it to my Amazon wish list, just in time for Christmas!)

Atrocity Exhibition.

In the Place Where Great Britain Used To Be, arms collectors are largely reduced to owning legally "deactivated" firearms. The process is involved, pretty much permanently ruins the gun for any use other than as a source of spare parts, and costs around £80 (~$135) according to my pal staghounds.

While the world is unlikely to miss a few extra Mosin Nagant 91/30s or Arminius revolvers, .455 Hand Ejectors don't exactly grow on trees...



For a good look at the carnage, go to Bonham's auction site and plug "deactivated" into the search engine. (The Luger was also especially painful...)


BONUS: An entire business dedicated to selling deactivated guns! There's something immensely sad about an adult human being actually paying money for a deactivated GSG-5 .22. That's only half a step above a deactivated Red Ryder.

The mighty hunter is home with the kill.

There is fresh venison over at New Jovian Thunderbolt's.

It's his first deer, which puts him one ahead of me.

Monday Morning Potpourri...

  • Yesterday night, after I put the finishing touches on the Arms Room post, I did something relatively unprecedented for me: I turned on the Colts-Patriots game. I mean, it had been billed as a Really Big Deal in all the local media, and I could hear fellow Broad Riparians hooting like caged orangs in the surrounding houses, so maybe it would be interesting. I turned it on early in the third quarter and am given to understand that I shouldn't have fallen asleep at the two minute warning. The last NFL game I'd watched was Super Bowl XXXIII, because it featured the home town Falcons, and before that was Super Bowl XXII, so every time I see a football game I feel like Rip Van Winkle. "Wasn't that pass interference?" "Do they know they only have one running back?" "How can they go for two? This isn't college football." "When did they start using jet packs and lasers?"
  • Got back to regular weekly handgun shooting yesterday at Iggle Crick after a two-weekend hiatus. The Ruger 22/45 and the Smith K-22 are the best firearms purchases I've made in years; they literally live in my range bag.
  • Mmmmm. Lunch at Shalimar. (Thai Cafe was still closed at noon fifteen.)
  • What is up with the Democrat Party nut-huggers at NBC? The peacock is green all week to celebrate Al Gore's guest spot on 30 Rock, and half the Today Show this morning was dedicated to reminding us that Emmanuel Goldstein Sarah Palin eats her young and is known to sacrifice kittens to Cthulhu. It's getting to the point that I wouldn't believe these %&*$ers if they told me Palin woke up in the morning. They don't even make a show of trying to cover their scat anymore; it's just left steaming in the middle of the parquet.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New Arms Room post...

I'm so proud of myself! I got the new Arms Room post up before bedtime! Go Team Me!

Busy daze...

Yesterday we bicycled to Zest for breakfast, stopped at the Italian Market and Locally Grown Gardens on the way back, got the tires changed on roomie's car, walked to Lowe's while the car was in the shop, came back and raked leaves 'til it was too dark to see what we were raking, and had a fire in the new outdoor fireplace while eating rotisserie chicken that roomie had fetched from Fresh Market on her scooter. It was a full day.

In about thirty minutes I'll be heading out the door with Shootin' Buddy to get breakfast and then go shoot at Iggle Crick. I have promised myself to get something up on the other blog today, too; I have a massive backlog of subjects, and even a half-completed bit on the Tokarev and the CZ-52.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A bloom in the desert.

It takes a class act to recognize a class act.

"Despicable" depends on who's doing it...

In a snippet I discovered via a link titled "Tea Party to burn Pelosi effigy", I was treated to this awesome quote:
When news of the rally surfaced Friday, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen condemned the plans as "shocking and despicable."
Van Hollen, apparently a stranger to irony, is also gifted with a short and highly selective memory.

Hey, Chris, maybe they're just speaking truth to power. It's certainly not because they're celebrating!

Help a sister out.

Fellow blogger Katrina (whose secret superhero identity is Action Flick Chick) is a finalist in the G4TV "Women Of The Web" contest.

Go rock the vote.

The new Hollywood villain.

Now that psychotic baby-killing Vietnam vets are getting too old to make scary psychological suspense/thriller flick villains, Hollywood has discovered a new heavy: psychotic baby-killing GWOT vets!

Friday, November 13, 2009

This means you...

When we are sitting in the theater waiting for The Men Who Stare At Goats to start, and the giant flying Tinkerbell from the Uncanny Valley comes on the screen and tells you to turn off your cell phone and shut your piehole, this is not an indication that you should start a rambling stage-whispered monologue at your seatmate about the last time you were in a theater and this person kept kicking your seat and the seats were really nice because they were adjustable and this reminds you of another movie where...

Because when you do that, it may make the person a few seats down from you have a sudden urge to pistol whip you until you shut the heck up, and the next theater patron may not possess the inhuman level of self control that I do.

Anyhow, even despite the motormouth pinko college prof three seats over, about whose life I now know more than I ever wanted, the movie was a hoot. Bless his Bolshevik heart, George Clooney sure can act; too bad they don't keep a sock in his mouth when he's off camera.

Sociology Experiment...

Given all the attention paid to bicycle theft on the internets, I decided to conduct an experiment in my neighborhood:

In South Broad Ripple, if you park a shiny light blue and silver 18-speed Wally World "mountain bike" with a matching Bell saddle and a Nashbar luggage rack and a sign that says "FREE BIKE!" on your curb on trash day at 11:00 AM, it will take approximately an hour and a half for someone to steal it. The average thief will be dressed like a FedUPS driver (complete with truck) and, when you wave and say "Just sharing the love!", will wave back and smile.

I'm such a hippie.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry...

Given the origins of the Modern Pentathlon, this is just Theatre Of The Absurd. Maybe they could replace fencing with Rock, Paper, Scissors. And has anyone checked on the environmental impact of those horses?

I have a question.

With front-o'-the-rag articles like "OMG Our Smoking Laws Are So Primitive Compared To California's!" and "How Come We Let Those Awful Casinos Prey On Gambling Addicts?", why do papers like the Indianapolis Red Star go through the charade of having a separately labeled "Editorial" section anymore?

Overheard in the Hallway:

Me: "I'm glad to see the 'colander-on-the-face' meme getting a little traction."

RX: "It's because of you that I bought a colander. I had a mesh strainer before, but then I realized what a valuable raw material colanders would be after the apocalypse."

Me: "We should buy several. That way we could outfit a whole bunch of Lords of the Wasteland."

The Old Issue.

New Jovian Thunderbolt ruminates on that perennial favorite internet argument, the never-ending Great U.S. Army Cartridge Dispute.

No, not ".308 vs. .223"; he's doing ".45-70 vs. .30-'06".

Today In History: "Unræd" means "bad idea"...

The king of England in the latter half of the Tenth Century, Æthelred the Deuce, (known to history as "Ethelred the Unready",) was getting pretty tired of Viking raids all up and down the English coast. He was especially annoyed at reports that the raiders were being given aid and comfort by the undocumented Danish aliens who had been settling in the eastern half of the country.

Therefore he launched a cunning plan: In order to cut down on the amount of assistance they could give the seagoing freelance tax men, he would have all the Dane settlers in England put to death. Every man jack of them. Every woman jack and child jack, too. The massacres were carried out on St. Brice's Day, November 13th of 1002AD.

Unfortunately for Æthelred, one of the woman jacks he had killed had a brother, and her brother was currently working as a king in Denmark, going by the rather butch handle of "Sweyn Forkbeard". Sweyn saddled up his posse and after the requisite amount of burning and pillaging and bribing and betraying, Æthelred skipped town for Normandy ahead of the Viking horde and Sweyn was crowned king of England, too.

With two crowns under his belt, as it were, Sweyn only needed to conquer three more countries and he'd get the sixth free, but he died before he could get any more punches on his card, leaving his son Canute to deal with Britain and Æthelred.

Morning Navy video...



(H/T to Any Minor World.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Deja vu all over again.

After this morning's Afghanistan announcement, I'm realizing that once again we have an administration in Washington that is nowhere near as malevolently competent as its detractors paint it.

Just once in my life I'd like to be sitting on a bus that was going over the cliff because a calm, steady, evil hand at the helm was steering it towards the guardrail and not because the driver is in the back with the map upside down, dithering and arguing with the passengers.

Internet Gun Forums Are Funny.

So I recently posted about the P-Mag 20-rounder that I inadvertently trashed at the Appleseed Shoot. I made it pretty clear in the post and in the subsequent comments that:
  • I like P-Mags and have had good luck with them for many years,
  • This is the first time I've managed to break one (and not for lack of trying,)
  • The fault was entirely attributable to operator error.
The post was linked to at Arfcom, however, and the jihad began. zOMG, I had slandered somebody's favorite magazine! Heresy! Infidel! Unbeliever!

I wish I lived in one of those happy universes where stuff never breaks and therefore people can safely get their egos all tied up with what is, at the end of the day, a sub-$20 piece of gear that is essentially disposable, being a wear item and all.

BTW, props to the guys at Magpul for their swift response at the forum. They make good gear and have always been a pleasure to do business with.

(Incidentally, the go-to mags here at home are the same Magpul 30-rounders that I've used for years.)

East vs. West

(Well, actually more like "Midwest vs. West", but it doesn't scan as well. Anyway...)

Apparently when gunbloggers out in the hairy-chested West hit a deer on the way to a blogmeet, they don't let it divert them from a good time.

Meanwhile, here in the sedate and whitebread Midwest, when a gunblogger sees a deer hit on the way to a blogmeet, he eats it raw on the side of the road.

Speaking of Ruger...

Being perpetually late to the dance for the last couple decades hasn't seemed to hurt their profits...

Most popular.

With the announcement that Ruger is definitely maybe coming out with a 1911, that means the market is more or less officially oversaturated. You can now buy a 1911-pattern pistol with nameplates from Armscor to Z-M Weapons, with price tags anywhere between the low three bills to Infinity-And-Beyond. They've been made in nine countries that I can think of, off the top of my head. But does that make them "Most Popular"?

I'd reckon that the Browning High Power or CZ-75 would probably take the global title...

The thin veneer of civilization continues to hold in Middle America.

The much-feared Anti-Muslim pogram by the denizens of Bitterclingerville continues to unhappen, much to the chagrin of our betters; they were so looking forward to another round of righteous tongue-clucking and finger-wagging.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

If I die of atherosclerosis this afternoon, it's Marko's fault.

So I had some bratwurst in the fridge that I'd picked up from the Fresh Market on Monday, and I was beginning to get that "use it or lose it" urge. And I looked in the spice cabinet and there was a big baggie full of curry powder. And although we had no ketchup, we had a bottle of Heinz chili sauce, which Bobbi swears is superior to ketchup for any purpose...

Suddenly I had an epiphany...

Armistice Day.


On the eleventh hour
Of the eleventh day
Of the eleventh month
The guns fell silent.


.

Wish I'd written that.

Today's Final Jeopardy. Remember to write your answers in the form of a question.

Side effects.

As a side effect of being sick yesterday morning, I was exposed to a full dose of the Today show, or at least the parts I didn't doze through. Some observations:
  • That Hoda chick is tall. And I don't say that lightly. And her name is frickin' cool.
  • Why do they hate Al Roker so much? Every other time I see the dude, he's leaning at a 45-degree angle into a vicious wind, dodging flying debris. I think they send him into the middle of hurricanes because they're trying to by-god kill the man.
  • Some lady is training special "labradoodles" to act as "smelling nose" dogs for kids with peanut allergies. Where were these kids when I was little? I mean, we got the one regulation Frail Child per classroom, but now it seems like half the class is running around with asthma inhalers and epipens, making Eddie Kaspbrak from It look like the "After" picture from Charles Atlas ads.

Conflicted.

So, Johnny Muhammad is smoking a camel turd in hell this morning.

You know, I have reflexive problems with capital punishment simply because I don't trust the same organization that can't get a letter across town in less than a week to kill the right dude 100% of the time, plus I don't like what it says when we acknowledge that "society" (read: 51% of voters) has the power of life & death over any one lowly individual.

On the other hand, Johnny Muhammad is smoking a camel turd in hell this morning, and I'm having a real hard time being all tore up about that.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hard lessons unlearned.

According to some accounts, Emerson visited Thoreau in jail and asked, “Henry, what are you doing in there?” Thoreau replied, “Waldo, the question is what are you doing out there?”
At least I'll have good fellow jailbirds.

I am become Death, the Destroyer of Gear.

Over the years, I have broken a lot of AR magazines in a lot of exotic ways. At the Appleseed shoot, I broke my very first Magpul P-Mag, and broke it in a suitably bizarro fashion.

As we were preparing to fire our first string from standing, I slapped the mag home in a brisk fashion. Perhaps too brisk. As I went to tug on it to make sure it was seated, my hand reported to my brain that maybe a little less magazine was protruding from the weapon than is usual. I finished tugging and went to hit the bolt release and it wouldn't budge. Ripping the charging handle got no results and so I rolled the carbine to port and gazed stupidly into the receiver and the problem was immediately apparent: Apparently I had slapped the magazine past the catch somehow.

After the malf had been safely cleared, I looked at the mag, and as best I can tell what happened was as follows: When I went to smack the magazine home, my trigger finger was apparently partially depressing the mag release. The nubbin of the catch that was left protruding into the well combined with my vigorous slap on the mag to shear part of the tab on the mag away, allowing the magazine to override the catch and bind the bolt.


Okay. The first step was to fling the magazine back from the firing line, rather than dropping it at my feet, where it might get mixed up with the others. The next prep period, I marked the magazine. Now the P-Mag presented me with another problem: Normally I would stomp or hammer a magazine flat before throwing it away so somebody won't get themselves killed trying to save a few bucks by fishing a busted magazine out of a range trashcan. Absent tools which I didn't have ready to hand, like maybe a hammer and chisel or a gas axe, that wasn't going to happen on this day. So I marked it very distinctively and packed it home.


I guess I'll keep it for a souvenir. Far away from my other mags.

Gun School: The place to go to break gear.

Whimper.

I have got a the mother of all headaches this morning, complete with vertigo and a couple degrees of fever.

What I'm being punished for, I don't know, but it must have been bad. My head feels like it's been inflated to 1,000psi; I'm seriously considering the merits of a bit of trepannery...

Monday, November 09, 2009

Bleed it out, welcome to the occupation, Gallileo...

One of the neatest features of iTunes is the "Top 25 Most Played" list, since it increments its song counts every time I plug my iPod into the eMac I use for a media server. Without further ado, here are the 10 songs most often played in VFTP Command Central and the Zed Three:
  1. "Viva La Vida" Coldplay
  2. "Get In The Ring" Guns N' Roses
  3. "New Dawn Fades" Joy Division
  4. "The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning" Smashing Pumpkins
  5. "What U Lookin' At?" Uncle Kracker
  6. "Galileo" Indigo Girls
  7. "Bleed It Out" Linkin Park
  8. "The Great Destroyer" Nine Inch Nails
  9. "Welcome To The Occupation" R.E.M.
  10. "Space Is The Place" Spacehog

Undeader.

Maybe the awesomest action shooting course ever.

Inspired by Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International.

Why you should not have overdue books...

My pal Breda shoots an M1A for the camera. It probably took a paint scraper to get the grin off her face afterward.



(Especially amusing are the gents in comments offering dozens of bits of advice, almost 20% of which are factual... ;) )

Armor Piercing Projectiles Bounce Off Bullet-Proof Ignorance.

The SS190 AP loading of the 5.7x28mm cartridge, about which several in the media are prattling on as though they knew from which end of the weapon the bullet emerged, is not just "restricted", but actually illegal to import for any use but law-enforcement or the military. To the best of my knowledge, it cannot be purchased from Joe's Police Supply Co.; it sits in a customs-bonded cage at Fabrique Nationale's South Carolina facility until an order comes directly from a government agency. So that's not what was used at Fort Hood.

Further, unless your target is swaddled in Kevlar, the "super-scary cop killer" bullets are probably less effective than the plain vanilla kind.

Basically, even bringing it up is a red herring. Doc Jihadi could have done every bit as much damage with just about any pistol.

Yay, books!

I'm reading Robert Kaplan's Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts, which is the follow-on volume to his excellent book Imperial Grunts. Mr. Kaplan has basically spent several years bumming around the U.S. military, embedding with various units and telling their stories. From a Special Forces base in Colombia to a platoon of marines training local troops in Niger to a couple of weeks on a nuclear sub on exercises in the Pacific, he gives an even-handed close-up view of the American military's activities around the globe. Must read.

Where in the world is Tamara Sandiego?


Last Sunday I had breakfast on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building. Yesterday, I had breakfast at the Cracker Barrel in London, Kentucky. In between I went to book stores in Chicago, raked leaves and rode bicycles in Indianapolis, and went to an Appleseed Shoot in Maynardville, Tennessee. I've been such a busy little blogger.

Twenty years ago...


...I was flipping channels on the TeeVee. One local channel was covering the revels surrounding the Georgia-Florida game. I changed channels to see a similar, but far more boisterous, scene and thought "Wow, they're really getting out of hand down there. Waitaminnit! That's the frickin' Berlin Wall!" I started dancing in my living room...

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sincerest apologies.

I meant to write something today; I really did.

However, after a long range day yesterday and spending the first half of today on the road, I am completely whupped. I am going to put enough hot water and bath salts in the tub to make Tamara stew, and then go to bed early.

I swear I'll get back to this blog thing tomorrow.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Fool on the hill...

I went to my first Appleseed Shoot today. While I did not shine, at least I did not completely disgrace myself.

The range was on a fairly pronounced slope, with the targets upslope from the firing line.

I feel like I spent the entire day standing, sitting, or lying on a hillside. In other words, it feels like a team of angry midgets have worked me over with tee-ball bats from about kidney level on down.

More in a little bit.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Safe at home...

The more I think about it, the more pissed off I get at the "this is our home" comment from the completely unsat and hopefully about-to-fall-on-his-sword General Cone.

Sure, General, your troops were "safe at home"... in a war with no fronts.

They were every bit as safe at home as the crews of the USS Cole or the battleship Arizona. Safe at home like the Marines in their barracks in Beirut.

An army at war does not have the luxury of "safe at home". Do you think the bomber crews of the Mighty Eighth landed in southern England after pasting the hell out of the Nazis and called out "Olly olly oxen free! We're safe at home now; we'll be putting on our slippers and lighting a pipe. No fair bombing us 'til tomorrow, Adolf!" or do you think they made sure that there were plenty of slit trenches, anti-aircraft guns, and armed guards on the base?

Do our people need to wear full battle rattle to go to the infirmary? No, but the idea that our highly trained all-volunteer army should walk around in condition white with empty holsters and bull's-eyes taped to their backs during a war and right in the middle of what is, to be honest, quite a tempting target is delusional at best and a grave insult to our troops at worst.

General Cone, a professional soldier should be mortified to have accidentally let slip that line about being unarmed at home. You are absolutely responsible for everything that happens in your command. Act like it.

The very model of a modern major massacre...

Some of my favorite highlights in this endless blooper reel thus far:

1) Your next door neighbor, last name Hasan, starts handing out copies of the Koran and giving away his worldly belongings one fine Fall morning? Hey, Zippy! Climb aboard the Hint Train; next stop: Clueville. Quick! What's the number for 911?

2) Apparently Maj. Hasan didn't want to get deployed, in which case he had chosen a mighty odd line of work, unless he thought he was signing up for the Salvation Army and walked into the wrong recruiting station by mistake. Although you'd think all the tanks parked around Fort Hood and the address on his paycheck stubs would have tipped him off to his error.

3) The cherry on the icing of the cake of the night was the mealy-mouthed General Cone simpering from the lectern about "We don't go armed around here, this is our home," which caused me to look at the loaded pistol on the nightstand in bafflement. I thought Texas had that "Castle Doctrine" thing? I know Texans on the internets are always bragging about how it's legal for them to shoot someone stealing their hubcaps after dark, so I'm pretty sure a guy Allahu Akhbar-ing his way through a hospital waiting room gets the green light in the target selection sweepstakes. If they had been allowed to carry their damn guns, maybe somebody could have smoked Hasan before he rolled up a body count like an NCAA basketball score. Even the most ardent gun banners are always shooting off at the mouth about how "only the police and the military are qualified to carry guns" so how come they were unarmed and defenseless by edict here?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

It's all in the name of cash safety...

Baltimore can only put up robot speed cameras in school zones, which cramps the revenue flow from Officer R2D2... unless you create bogus new "school zones".

Just like the last Great Depression...

...the antics of G-men and bank robbers are filling the headlines.

Unacquainted with logic...

Stating that the fact that Nazis performed "science" experiments on concentration camp inmates proves that science is somehow corrupt is exactly as much of a non sequitur as stating that mathematics is corrupt because they counted them.

Custom ARs.

You may notice that some people get snotty when someone refers to an AR as a "custom" rifle. Part of this is because of the nature of the AR's construction: Being more or less entirely modular, with the same high-end components, some simple hand tools, and a bit of care, you could assemble a rifle in your basement that was pretty much the equivalent of anything you'd get from Baer or Wilson. There's very little in the way of hoodoo and tricky stuff in knocking an AR-pattern rifle together that justifies paying a custom house premium for assembly.

On the other hand, were you to start with a semi-inletted walnut stock, a Swedish Mauser, and a name-brand barrel, it would be helpful if you had such tools as a lathe and a mill in your basement, as well as being a dab hand with a rasp and a file.

Overheard in the Office:


Me: "Huh. Neda's story is back front page center at CNN.com after all this time. We're gonna hit Iran."

RX: "We don't have every war Mr. Hearst wants us to have. Only about sixty percent of them."

Me: "I'm so cynical."

RX: "You're more cynical than that."

Moneypits and you.

Having commissioned more than a couple custom guns over the years, one of which was a rifle, I have one piece of advice to offer: Never think that the acquisition of this fine firearm of your dreams is some kind of "good investment". You will most likely spend far more on having the firearm built than you could ever possibly hope to get out of your dream gun, unless you just so happen to find another person whose ideal rifle is a left-handed Remington action in .264 Winchester Magnum with a heavy barrel and a synthetic stock with a 15" length-of-pull.

If you are determined to go through with this process (and, really, every shooter should at least once,) then there is a new book on the matter available now.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Meanwhile, at the other blog...

I guess the "Sunday" part of "Sunday Smith" is just kind of a meaningless tradition now...

Anyhow, there's a new Sunday Smith up.

It had to happen.

¡Blackhawk! is marketing an actual turse. (Tactical pURSE.)

No burying it under euphemisms like "messenger bag" or the like.

Hope and Change!

Chicago politics writ large: Reward your supporters and punish your opponents.

RTFM.

So the guy who managed to blow his finger mostly off with the jet of hot gasses from the barrel/cylinder gap on a S&W 460XVR sued, because he claimed that the instruction manual didn't warn him not to.

The judge apparently pointed him to the part of the S&W revolver instruction manual where it says "Keep fingers and other parts of your body away from the muzzle and away from the gap between revolver barrel and cylinder." At least, that's what it says in the first S&W manual I could lay hands on, a 9/98 revision that shipped with my PC627; the one with the XVR might have some asterisks and exclamation points and daggers and stuff. Anyway, he got sent home sadder, wiser, and poorer. And short a finger.

The moral of this story? There are two: "Read the frickin' instructions, there, Enrico Fermi," and "Is gun. Is not safe."

Meanwhile, SayUncle wonders at the fact that the suit was even brought. After all, didn't the media tell us that the Evil Bush Administration caved to the big bad firearms industry and wrote a special law protecting gun manufacturers from all lawsuits for ever and ever?

Please stay off my side.

When is a shrieking hysterical antigunner not so shriekingly hysterical?

When the person he's accusing of vigilantism is actually engaged in... well... vigilantism.
So both got a concealed license permit and bought handguns. Now they walk with pistols in their pockets...looking for the bad guys.

Luong says, "I don't know if it's illegal to walk around and be bait. I'm kind of fishing for robbers."
Nice work, numbnuts; way to use every bit of that finely-tuned judgment that we all have when we're in college.

Look, there's a word for those thoughts running through your head: It's "premeditation". From now 'til the day you die, if you bust a cap in somebody even in the most righteous of self-defense incidents, any crusading prosecutor who knows which end of a Google search box you type the letters into is going to be able to crucify you as a dangerous lunatic who was spoiling for a fight.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Quote of the Day:

Election Day advice from Jim at The Travis McGee Reader:
Go vote no. Unless unusually special circumstances apply, an anti-incumbent vote counts as a "no."

Don't be a fool!

Tune in to Gun Nuts: TNG tonight! The special guest is my longtime net-pal and hero, Kathy Jackson, the proprietress of Cornered Cat and head editor-what-am-in-charge of Concealed Carry Magazine.

Overheard at the Grocery Store:

Clerk: "I'm sorry, ma'am, I can't ring up this beer 'til 6:00."

Me: "Have you gone mad? It's Tuesday!"

Clerk: "Yes, but it's Election Tuesday. Don't forget that old dumb law."

Me: "What this country needs is more drunks voting."

Clerk: "We sure couldn't do any worse."

I did not know that...

While Wikipedia is rightly derided for the lack of objectivity caused by the easy editing of articles on contentious issues by any random idiot, its true worth is often overlooked: No other place on the internets is a better source of one-stop-shopping for the straight skinny on really obscure stuff.

For example, somebody was passionate enough about tag-team bell ringing to write an article on a topic I didn't even know existed...

Let the ballot box stuffing begin!

Here on Election Tuesday it's time to vote on a date for the November Indy Blogmeet.

Shame!



Ted Danson, who has apparently stolen his new glasses from an elderly lesbian, understands us little people, and thinks that rich elites like Rush Limbaugh should not be taking advantage of us and our simple beliefs and fears.

Look, Ted, first of all, saying "Shame! Shame!" to Hydrocodone Boy is an exercise in futility; I don't believe it's an emotional state he's really set up to feel. Second, can the hypocrisy, okay? To see you up there chastising people for churning up fear and divisiveness by... well, churning up fear and divisiveness is mind-boggling.

Lastly, we circle back around to one of the big problems in our society, which is the idea that line-memorizing clothes horses have anything more valid to say about politics, science, or current events than the hippie on the street corner with a guitar case. The Romans had the right position in society for actors: Above cesspit cleaners, but not as well-respected as a decent whore.

Ted, shut up and entertain me. With a side of fries.

Overheard in my Roommate's Bedroom:

TeeWee Commercial Voiceover: "Save money! Save the environment! Ride IndyGo!..."

RobertaX: "Not until you paint the buses dark blue."

Monday, November 02, 2009

Sorry...

I wasn't very productive today because we hit a couple of fantastic bookstores in Mordor on Lake Michigan over the weekend.

At the University of Chicago Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, a wonderful catacomb-like grotto with low-ceilinged labyrinthine corridors lined with books, I snagged a few readables. One of those tomes was The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution. I've been nose-down in it all day.

Absolutely fascinating.

Now I want to meet LabRat over a couple of beers more than ever.

The Navel of the World.

It is a well-known fact in the northwest Atlanta suburbs that the Big Chicken is the Milliarium Aureum of the world. All directions can be given using le Poulet Gran, as we snooty East Cobb types called it, as the starting point.

For instance, to get to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago from my folks' place, you would go to the Big Chicken and turn right...

How to tell if you are a gun blog nerd:

If you click on this link and immediately blow snot out your nose, you are a gun blog nerd.

Make a note...

Can you believe some idiot left for a weekend out of town without making sure she'd have sodas in the fridge when she got back?

That's right, I strolled out the door and left an empty twelve pack of Vault Zero in the refrigerator to mock me upon my return.

Weird dreams.

Oddly enough, I don't often have zombie dreams. Perhaps because I have spent so much of my waking time preparing for the coming zombie apocalypse, they just aren't features of my nocturnal landscape.

My first night in Chicago, however, featured a humdinger of a zombie dream. And in this zombie dream I was completely unarmed. As a matter of fact, scratch "dream" and substitute "nightmare". The last thing I remember about it was trying to talk my way out of getting bitten when I got myself cornered; that's right, I was reduced to tearfully pleading for mercy and attempting to reason with the zombie. For some reason, the zombie was as unamenable to logic as the typical Chicago voter... Wait, that's not a good analogy because, speaking statistically, the "typical Chicago voter" probably is a zombie. There're a lotta stiffs in Rosehill, after all.

I wonder if the fact that I was farther from my sidearm than I've been in probably the last fifteen years had anything to do with it?

In His Footsteps.


Above is a photo of Hyde Park in Chicago. We stayed with friends in one of the lovely old condos on the right of this picture. On the left, obscured by the tree, is the very unit where our Dear Reader lived before Rezko gave him some real estate advice. That's right, I snuck cigarettes on the back porch while gazing down on the very alley that the Anointed One did while he snuck cigarettes on the back porch. That grassy lawn is where his sneakers trod as he walked to the SUV he drove before he bought his Chrysler.

While no "George Washington Slept Here" plaques have been put up yet, Shootin' Buddy's friend has already had to evict at least one pack of bicycle-riding hippies in Obama shirts who had come to wave their Little Red Books in homage at the nascent shrine.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Not in Kansas anymore...

We land-navv'ed our way across Chicago last night to get to a restaurant for dinner, and managed to find ourselves on surface streets in the middle of Wrigleyville. On Halloween.

It's been a long time since I lived in Midtown Atlanta. I wasn't entirely prepared for the sight of Peter Pan and the Lone Ranger walking down Halstead, hand in hand.

"Are you sure that wasn't Robin Hood?" asked Shootin' Buddy.

"No, there was no bow and arrows. Also, the impression was definitely more Sandy Duncan than Errol Flynn."

Broad Ripple may be Berkeley on the White River, but it pales in comparison to the Near North Side on All Hallow's Eve...