Thursday, December 31, 2009
If you’d told someone in the ’50s that the toilet of the future would be weaker-flushing and just plain flimsier than the ones they already had, would they have believed you?I especially liked the part about disposable electronics...
(H/T to The Fourth Checkraise.)
Anyhow, next thing I knew I was at a mall. Santa came to visit the mall. And by "visit", I mean that the skylight shattered and this guy in a red suit and eight reindeer rappelled in behind a flash-bang.
Well, seven reindeer. Donner stayed up on the roof manning the ropes and, I guess, keeping an eye out for the cops. Rudolph's nose was like a red SureFire. They took people's wallets and Santa was taking kids' toys and stuffing them in his sack. Blitzen knifed this one kid who kept screaming. I hid in a planter until they split. It was pretty surreal.
I wonder what kind of sauteed mushrooms were in that take-out box that Bobbi brought home from the restaurant last night?
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Take the minivan ad: What's your target demographic for minivans? Parents in their late twenties to mid thirties who have outgrown the compact collegemobile with the advent of kid number two or three. I know that when I'm trying to appeal to kids of the Nintendo generation, I always start by filming my ad in black-and-white with a frickin' big band soundtrack.
Or take the ad for the Dodge Journey... Here's a vehicle that illustrates just how badly Chrysler is hurting: The company that just fifteen years ago was turning out love-'em-or-hate-'em bold designs like the '94 Ram is now selling a midsize crossover ute so bland and afraid to offend that you could lose it in a rental lot. The camera lingers on this totally forgettable rolling cypher for what feels like an eternity with no soundtrack save for the breeze over the mike, and then a hushed, cryptic golf-announcer-esque voice accuses me of not believing that the truckette had done really good in crash tests. Not believe it? Buddy, I didn't know your car even existed until you hijacked my TV signal, so well is it camouflaged, and now you're telling me what I do and don't believe? I hope you die in a burning Fiat.
Ugh. Are they deliberately trying to kill Chrysler?
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Rust never sleeps, and neither does Bloomberg's ego; he's going to ride this pony as far as he can, no matter how many millions he has to put in its nosebag to keep it going.
He claims to be a retired cop, and in his universe, the only reason that a person (read "civilian") would carry a spare magazine or a backup gun is because they're a swaggering braggart who just can't wait to flash their gear at a restaurant.
(Sidenote: The restaurant bit is important for some reason. In his world, a lot of this ammo flashing goes on at restaurants, with the braggarts in question setting their loaded mags out on the table for all to see, for some reason.)
Now, I've been at steak houses where everybody around the table was using a Benchmade, Spyderco, or Chris Reeves 'steak knife', but that's usually because people prefer to cut their meat with something sharper than the butter knives provided by the dining establishment, however in all my born days, I have never noticed the spare mag phenomenon. In fact, I know that when I'm dining out alone I usually select a seating position that puts my gun side towards the wall so as to avoid spooking the herd and thus allowing me to eat in peace. Where's the Rambo benefit in that?
I thought that the spare mag was for just in case something happened to the one in the gun, or the occasional autoloader malf that requires ripping the mag out of the gun to clear it. I will also admit to not carrying a spare mag as often as I should; my rationale is that, should gun one go down for whatever reason, I can try to pull out gun two while running and screaming.
Bat belts in public: Common phenomenon, or something that only happens in overheated imaginations?
UPDATE: Wow. A real, live Only One. I'm not impressed.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Good work. The t-shirt hawkers and bumper sticker merchants on Zazzle thank you.
UPDATE: Breda scores with the zinger of the day...
The father -- identified by a family source as Umaru Abdul Mutallab -- contacted the U.S. Embassy "a few weeks ago" saying his son, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had "become radicalized," the senior administration official, who is familiar with the case, told CNN.
If you are afraid that your kid is going to turn into some kind of radical jihadi fruitbasket, the last thing in the world you want to do is send them to school in Londonistan, which is, like, the worldwide headquarters for radical jihadi fruitbasketism, okay? He'd have less chance of running into a wild-eyed mentor in Baluchistan than in Brixton.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
I think that female suffrage has been an unremitted disaster – all of the socialism that we’ve experienced in the US has happened since, and because women have been allowed to vote.If only us uppity wimminz had been confined to kinder, küche, und kirche, and let the menfolk handle politics, we’d still have a Tsar in Russia, by Allah!
(...and I never liked Pride And Prejudice, or Sex In The City, either. *shrug*)
WM, 48, no booze, no cigs, no drugs, willing to sell one (1) kidney for $1,400,000,000,000 to clear up debt.
Ever-vigilant against the last attack, the TSA is now instructing passengers to brace for more probulating and to put their carry-on baggage someplace inaccessible, maybe out on the wing or something, which kind of defeats the purpose of carry-on baggage. (Of course, logic is rarely a strong suit in these kinds of decisions.) So now we're checking for box-cutters, shoe bombs, shampoo bombs... and it looks like we're about to get more serious about crotch-bombs and butt-bombs...
You know, sooner or later the average Westerner-on-the-street is going to get sick and tired of the probulating, and then they're just not going to let anybody named "Mohammed" ride in planes anymore. At which point the Jihadis will use their latest recruit, blond -haired and blue-eyed Dick Smith from Dubuque, to blow up the next one. And I'd expect things to get really ugly from there. The Qutbists decry the West as soulless, impersonal, mechanized: they would do well to remember that, along with animal husbandry, shoe-making and porno movies, another field the West has turned soulless, impersonal, and mechanized is genocide.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
How many other people use dedicated dummy guns for these purposes, or am I just overly paranoid?
All those years of therapy trying to forget that they did an animated TV series starring Pac-Man, all down the drain.
Look around our planet. Notice something about all the big critters, the vertebrates, with which we share it? Kind of a backbone thingy with a noggin at one end and four limbs of some sort? Sensory and intake openings on the noggin thingy end and a poop chute at the other? Notice how we don't have any six-legged lions with nostrils on their back and four eyes in their butt?
Now go look at all the big critters in Avatar: They're all hexapedal, or six-limbed. They tend to multiple visual organs. Their breathing orifices, separate from their mouths, are located low and forward in their torsos...
Not the alien people, the Na'Vi, however. They're just big blue humans with tails and slightly feline features. Further, given the extremely alien biology, we don't know how most of the other creatures reproduce: We know that the flying thingies lay eggs, since we see their rookery, but everything else may use budding or something equally exotic, for all we know. The Na'Vi, on the other hand, are rather clearly and emphatically... er... mammalian. And coincidentally have roughly the same modesty taboos you'd find on any beach in America.
This is xenology a la Roddenberry as expanded by Straczynski, wherein the universe is populated by humans who talk funny and can be differentiated from each other by the oddly-shaped bumps on their noggins or the way they pluck their eyebrows. Why the mercenaries of Western ExploiterCo Inc. LLC had to send an infiltrator to learn the aliens' ways and culture was beyond me; their ways and culture seemed less exotic to this whitebread suburban American than, say, the customs of the modern Saudis or Japanese. Egalitarian, monogamous, recyclers who love Gaia... how alien is that? These people work at my local organic grocer's. I've met more foreign subcultures in midtown Atlanta.
Too much thought went into the xenology here to leave this thread untied. Cameron's threatening a sequel. I'm hoping there's an explanation.
Friday, December 25, 2009
All the villains are white guys, and they all work for Astroburton or Spacewater, to boot. The big hero is also a white guy, but with the saving grace of being... er, differently-abled. Our big hero loves him some noble savages, who are much wiser than he.
At first the noble savages spurn our big hero and treat him like a child, but then at a critical moment he suddenly dives through a giant plot hole to tame the wild deus ex machina and win their undying loyalty in the middle of the movie, since apparently none of the wogs had thought of doing what he did, despite him being a total novice to their granola-munching, Gaia-lovin', jungle-dwelling ways. The aliens are intriguing, but my intrigue kept getting interrupted by the way the movie whipsaws violently between worshiping them and patronizing them. I'd have rather seen a straight up Nature Channel documentary shot on the planet instead of Pocahontas Does Polyphemus.
In 3-D, it will induce palm sweat in acrophobes, or at least it did in this one; I can't imagine what it was like in IMAX 3D. The eye candy is stunning, over the top, state of the art, and moves the goalposts so far that George Lucas probably stroked out when he saw it. If you can shut off your higher brain functions, the story line will suck you in.
I only blurted out one line during the whole movie: Our hero and his buddies are fleeing in a sci-fi version of a Hughes Apache, and the Chief Evil Capitalist White Guy is shooting at them with a rifle. "Shoot back, you idiots!", I blurted, loud enough to annoy my fellow patrons, no doubt. They didn't, of course, and thus the movie lasted another forty-five minutes.
Two reluctant thumbs up. I wanted to hate this movie so badly, but it's so pretty and so immersive that I accidentally had a really good time. If I could do it again, though, I'd wear my Blackwater hat to the theater...
I hadn't seen this bit since it was actually on TV over ten years ago, and yet I still remembered nearly the whole thing. Lord knows anybody around me of any length of time has heard me use the "Hootie", "vans with no windows", or "kitten pie" lines. :D
Remember: The one who dies after eating the most bacon, wins. And I don't play to lose. :)
- Shootin' Buddy picked me up last night and we went to Fogo de Chao for dinner. If you like red meat, Fogo is almost as good as heaven. Maybe even a little better since you don't have to die to get there. I ate about a third of a cow's worth of filets and picanha and got home feeling like a happy tick.
- Christmas morning and what's on TeeVee? The old Hallmark presentation of All Quiet on the Western Front, with madcap obergefreiter McHale showing landser John Boy the ropes in the trenches of France until everybody dies face-down in the mud with the corpse-eating rats. It's beautifully done but, boy, that's just the feel-good family hit of the holidays, ain't it? Maybe kids could watch it while they were unwrapping their presents.
- Finally got myself a copy of Green Eyes and Black Rifles: Warriors Guide to the Combat Carbine. I've been looking forward to checking it out, and so that will probably be my reading material for the afternoon.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Watch out for patches of black global warming on the road when driving over the river and through the woods to grandma's house, y'all. No ice here in Indy, though. Santa heard me say "white Christmas" and the old geezer apparently thought I said "wet Christmas". Quelle pisser.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
A new AR clone these days is about as "unexpected" as another Friday the 13th sequel or Law & Order spinoff. What's "unexpected" is that there are still some gun manufacturers who haven't jumped on this bandwagon, since all that's needed to get in the game is an ATF variance letter sent to
Here are my predictions for "unexpected" AR announcements at SHOT:
- Harrington & Richardson H&R-15: Cast parts and stained birch furniture keep costs down. Sold at Wal-Mart for $109.95.
- Marlin MAR-15: Neither direct impingement nor piston operated, the MAR-15 is California-legal, since the bolt is cycled via a complex linkage actuated by rocking the pistol grip forward and back.
- Thompson/Center EncoR-15: Available in almost two hundred chamberings, three quarters of which are designed by J.D. Jones and only of interest to handloaders who also hunt rabid grizzly bears.
- General Motors GI-15: Unsold inventory stocks will allow these to be sold at zero percent financing with a hefty manufacturer's rebate less than six months after their introduction. Brace for recalls.
- Apple iR-15: Only works with proprietary ammunition. Made of sleek, white plastic. Has to be sent to an authorized service center for field-stripping and cleaning. Owners soon sport glazed, zombielike expressions of loyalty familiar to posters at MacForums or GlockTalk.
- Harley-Davidson HD-15: Leaks oil. Comes with clip-on ponytail and lick'n'stick eagle tattoo in box, as well as coupon for chromed BUIS, charging handle, and highway pegs.
- At the recent Blogmeet-that-wasn't-a-Blogmeet we had a sure winner for the Cup of Turonistan, if we had been awarding one. (Stuff like that tends to get lost in the shuffle when the social secretary is at home dying of the lingering cruds.) Anyhow, go check out Scott's blog: Random Associations.
- I got email from a reader in Sweden thanking me for the Arms Room (which is sorely in need of an update!) He left a link to his neat site featuring his awesome collection, beside which I am but an egg. Plus, his day job is making cool gear.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
You kids today will not believe this, but once upon a time we spent hours and hours playing computer games with no graphics at all. Uphill both ways in the snow! Now get offa my lawn!
If you'd like to try your hand at Big Computer Fun Circa 1980, here you go.
(H/T to The Freeholder.)
Of more abstract interest is the fact that the one photo of U.S. doughboys at the linked article clearly shows them at Wellington Barracks in London with their rifles stacked, and those stacked rifles are quite clearly M1898 Krags, which had been out of service with the regular U.S. Army for about a decade. It remained in service with some National Guard units into the '14-'18 War years, but it's odd to see them overseas. Can anybody more familiar with U.S. gear of the period guess the type of unit by looking at the photo?
Monday, December 21, 2009
- Tin cups. A good tin cup should be large enough to hold a couple dozen pencils, enough to last through a whole day on a street corner.
- Wooden crates. These should be of a size to paint "Apples 5¢" across in letters big enough to be read from the next steam grate over.
- Used appliance boxes. While singles and young couples can probably get by with the box from a stove or dishwasher, families with children will appreciate one of the larger ones used to ship refrigerators, as the kids can have their own end of the box.
What business could have a lower overhead? No special training required, minimal licensing hassles, hardly any overhead beyond the power bill... Just plug in your mail-order tanning bed and wait for the eager Miss Pork Rind Festival candidates to line up on your doorstep.
The Senate this past week stripped their health-care reform legislation of its much-derided 5% cosmetic surgery tax (the dreaded "Botax"; maybe they were reluctant to let Nancy Pelosi shoulder so much of the burden,) and added a 10% national tax on "tanning services". Now, as you may have guessed from my opening paragraphs, to call the tanning industry "wildly unregulated" would be wildly understated. In fact, terming the agglomeration of tanning beds in double wides and the backs of laundromats an "industry" is stretching the term until it makes dangerous creaking and groaning noises.
How is this National Tanning Tax going to be administered? How is it going to be collected? Are we going to get a new branch of the IRS? No doubt there will be special National Tanning Tax enforcement agents, with guns. And their own SWAT team. I can't wait to see the shoulder patches; maybe they'll have a bust of George Hamilton in profile.
"Martha, quick! The revenuers! Hide the tanning bed under the Christmas tree box!"
Further, any numbers they generated from this are pure fiction. They have no idea how many tanning salons there are, how much they charge, what kind of profits they bring in... To say "This National Tanning Tax will generate $X squillion dollars for our health care plan," has less basis in fact than one of those History Channel specials on the love lives of Nazi alien ghosts. How'd they come up with these numbers? Count the number of tanned-looking people in the Senate chamber, figure that as a percentage of the American people, and then multiply by how much John Kerry paid the last time he needed a booster? They could have come up with numbers every bit as realistic by taking some dice and shooting craps in the cloakroom (which would be a more productive and dignified, to say nothing of less intrusive, use of their time.)
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Well, keep dreaming, Steve.
Fourteen years of my tax dollars subsidizing this guy's spitball fights and study hall note-passing, and he's still having trouble constructing a coherent sentence? Kid, give up; some dreams just aren't meant to be. Somewhere there is a spatula or a shovel with your name all over it.
(H/T to One Man's Vote.)
Saturday, December 19, 2009
This is a stupid, stupid, stupid rhetorical move.
Being put on a list (and not even a name-and-address list, just a "Someone in X category lives on this street/in this ZIP code" list) because you choose to own a certain object is nowhere near the same thing as being put on a list because of how you were born or what faith you follow. Jumping straight to "OMG it's like they want us to wear yellow stars!" just Godwins the whole argument, and erases any gain we might have made because now the public has a reason not to take us seriously. "Oh, they're just oversensitive and got their panties in a twist. It's not that big a deal."
It used to be that Al's presence was the one that triggered unseasonal cold and frozen precipitation; now it's Barack, returning from the big Global Warming conference in Copenhagen, who alights from Air Force One onto tarmac buried under two feet of record-shattering irony.
Friday, December 18, 2009
That would mean that there's money to be made exploiting the gullible markets of the People's Republic of Tau Ceti IV. Let's get crackin'.
(H/T to Kevin.)
"Why?" I asked, "These new modern guns are so cool!"
"Well," he replied, "I reckon I like 'em well enough at work, but when you tote around these Flat-Black People Poppers all day long, they get kinda boring and they all look and work pretty much the same. Why would I want to play with them for fun, too?"
I thought he was silly at the time.
I don't anymore. I really have a hard time getting spun up over the fact that... "Oh, look. Somebody's released another gas-operated flat-black people popper..." I use them, I train with them, they have their place, but so does a coffee maker or an electric drill. They're just appliances to me. Now, a Springfield 1903 or a S&W No. 3 Russian? That will make my heart go pitter-pat and my palms get a little sweaty... Different strokes, I guess. Somewhere, I'm sure there's an internet forum for people who collect coffee makers, too.
In that spirit, SayUncle has photos of the new Glock. Unsurprisingly, it looks like a Glock. If you don't believe me, go see for yourself.
"This can't be good," said I to myself.
Sure enough, as she was lining the cat's litter box this morning, Roomie read:
"My own personal perspective is we have way too many guns on the street and way too many people that own guns," Straub said, adding there is no clear national policy dealing with guns.Where I used to live, we had a little phrase that went like this: "Yew ain't from 'round here, are yew?" but I have no idea how to say that with a Hoosier accent. Yes, Mr. Straub, you are in for a rude awakening. For instance, did you know we can carry loaded guns in bars here?
"The policy has to start at the federal level and then work its way down to the states and to the local level. Until we control the flow of guns between states . . . you have a problem."
Thank Vishnu for preemption. Frank Straub can whine and stamp his little foot all he wants, but it won't do him much good here in Indiana.
Even worse, Greg Ballard took a break from his & the Missus' near-constant taxpayer-funded globetrotting
Thursday, December 17, 2009
"Lost & Stolen" laws draw a particularly intense loathing from me; they imply a level of "blame the victim" for which their proponents would never stand were it any other crime. Rape, for instance.
Apparently, our Hoosier vampires are more of the sparkly kind like they have in teenybopper training-bra-ripper novels, because we take 'em down with handcuffs and an arrest warrant. We don't even need sophisticated networks of undead detectors, either; our librarians bust 'em when they're typing death threats on library computers.
(I don't get the guilty plea/jail sentence thing myself. Did this guy's lawyer not point out to him that he was a shoo-in for the Rubber Ramada?)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Just to share with the class, here's the one I haven't been able to purge from my noggin for the past three days:
Me, I'm getting surly or something. I'm starting to think the Bill of Rights was a big, big mistake.
The next time I hear some conservative say "You don't have a right to privacy! Show me where the Constitution grants you the right to privacy!", I'm liable to punch the S.O.B. right in the snot locker. The Ninth Amendment is not just a closed book to these people, it's a closed book in a language they can't read on a shelf they can't reach.
The New Paltz Journal says it better, and with 89% less snot-locker-punching:
In short, conservatives who want to eschew a real analysis of rights as natural elements of natural law, will continue to attempt to force Americans to believe what for Americans is unbelievable, that there is no such thing as a right to privacy, when the law written in their hearts tells them that there most certainly is. So, for instance, having the shrill Ann Coulter blasting out from her sound truck that the right to privacy is non-existent is a contradiction of the American moral character itself. It would be far more true to the text of the Constitution to render an effective analysis of what rights are generally (claims that are just) and what the right to privacy is specifically (a just claim to a zone of personal being and action that first and foremost excludes the state). From there it would be far easier to say what the zone of privacy cannot include — such actions as killing one’s children, whether they are born or unborn, for instance.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Not "...had what looked like a pistol and was pointing it at people."
Not "...had what looked like a pistol and was pulling on a ski mask."
Not "...had what looked like a pistol, and a dozen sticks of dynamite taped to his L.L. Bean hiker's vest and was hollering "Allahu akhbar!"."
Nope, he just had a pistol in his hands.
Apparently the mere sight of a gun, not even being used in any kind of hostile manner, is enough to provoke panic sweat and jittery 911 calls in today's Toronto. One can imagine that when the cops showed up with their heaters, the caller completely lost continence.
One has to wonder how such a toothless creature musters up the towering courage it must require to emerge from under the covers in the morning and scurry to the bathroom without having an OHIP-paid psychiatrist waiting in the john to help talk him through the trauma.
Nice shootin', Tex.
Monday, December 14, 2009
UPSIDE: There's an awesome meat department within easy jogging distance of the house.
DOWNSIDE: It's currently zero-dark-thirty in the AM and they don't open for another three and a half hours or so.
As it turns out, he wasn't entirely truthful in his initial report to the cops: Apparently Gentle Ben didn't attack him from out of the blue when he was minding his own business, but instead attacked him from out of the blue while he was feeding the bear, which happens to be a big ol' misdemeanor in the Sunshine State for some reason. Now he gets some criminal charges to go with his hospital bill.
(H/T to Zendo Deb.)
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Leaving politics and personal assessments of Mrs. Palin's IQ aside, this raises an important question: Just what are we hiring a President to do? Discover a Unified Field Theory?
Is it actually possible to be too smart for the job? Is a 20-lb. brain a downcheck for a CEO's position? Extremely intelligent people tend to get mired in minutiae and become obsessed with all manner of personal hobbyhorses. Witness the mess that Woodrow Wilson, PhD, made of the postwar world; Tricky Dick was a salutatorian and got a scholarship to Duke Law School; Jimmy Carter, before beginning his second career as a bile-filled old coot, graduated 59th out of his class of 820 at Annapolis; none of these are presidencies I'd like to see repeated.
A Times Square bloodbath was narrowly avoided because the machine-pistol-toting thug who fired at a cop flipped the gun on its side like a character out of a rap video, causing the weapon to jam after two shots, law-enforcement sources said yesterday.Well, obviously this is the straight skinny, since it came from a "law-enforcement source", right?
When scam artist Raymond "Ready" Martinez held the MAC-10-style gun parallel to the ground, it caused the ejecting shells to "stovepipe," or get caught vertically in the chamber, the sources said. The gun is designed to be fired only in a vertical position.
Allow me to offer an alternative explanation: The gun malfed because it was a wretched, pulsating ball of crap.
The cheap, closed-bolt copies of the MAC-10 and KG-9 are made primarily to look cool; actually functioning is lower on the priority list. With most I've seen, firing a full magazine without a stoppage of one sort or another is a noteworthy event, and it doesn't matter whether the gun was held upside down, sideways, or clamped in a Ransom Rest.
Thank goodness that style is more important than substance when criminal lowlifes go stolen gun shopping.
Americans arrested in Pakistan had bright futures.Right. No doubt they also had incandescent personalities and explosive job prospects.
Down the street from the mosque is a house listed in the name of A. Minni, a 20-year-old American born in Virginia who is believed to be Ahmed Abdullah Minni, the focus of the Pakistan report.Handy Tip For Wannabe Terrorists: If your name is "Achmed Abdullah Anything" and you are surfing the internet to Jihadi.com and leaving comments under the handle of "tntunderoos" or "Sinbad al-Semtex" or whatever, you might as well put a big neon sign over your house that says "Come Stick My Ass In Guantanamo", okay? Jeez, even the neighborhood pot dealer knows to use euphemisms when talking on the phone, and the odds of the local Deadhead's phone being tapped are nearly zilch, while the odds of the internet wanderings of somebody named "Achmed Abdullah" being scrutinized approach mathematical certainty.
Minni regularly went online to watch attacks on the U.S. military in Afghanistan, leaving comments praising the actions, the report said.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Winter used to be my favorite time of year. For some reason the gray skies and bare trees made me feel all creative and stuff. When I was younger I used to sit in the woods and write poetry to the smell of woodsmoke during this season.
Not since I've moved up here.
I don't want to leave the house.
I've got two weeks worth of unanswered email. Thousands and thousands of words of essays blocked up in my head. The kitchen floor needs mopping.
And yesterday I found myself crying for no good reason.
Here on the eve of the solstice, I'm unreasonably proud of myself for getting out of bed and getting dressed. Taking the trash cans to the curb was a monumental achievment.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Thank you, John!
(H/T to Insty.)
Frank James had some suggestions:
On mornings like this, while she's finishing up her getting dressed and suchlike, I go clear the sidewalk out to the garage and de-snow her car.
Sure, it's easy to sweep a dusting of powder off the sidewalk with a broom, but getting into said garage this AM required an extension cord and a hair dryer, after an attempt with a butane lighter was foiled by the gentle 22mph zephyrs wafting from the sou'-sou'west.
13 degrees is frickin' cold.
The snow largely stayed away, and what little did fall is the consistency of diamond chips and is being blown into little piles on the windward side of everything. On the upside, I'll be able to clear the sidewalk to the garage with a broom.
Porch activities will be curtailed today by the fact that the mercury is only supposed to climb to a balmy 18°, although we may see the far side of freezing by as much as a whole degree tomorrow.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Monday and Tuesday, then, saw me wearing a Smith 696 in a Galco Speed Master holster, which carries much closer to the body. By this morning, things felt good enough to go back to my usual IWB holster.
One thing that's interesting is how much you get used to things: People ask if carrying a full-size, all-steel 1911 inside the waistband is uncomfortable. It really isn't, given several caveats: I buy jeans a size large, and I use a stiff leather belt and a holster properly sized to it (in other words, the loops are such a snug fit that it takes a bit of force to slide the belt through them.) When you combine this with the fact that I've been carrying the same gun in the same way in the same place for so many years, I often don't notice it's there, and find myself giving it a pat as I leave the house to make sure I'm not forgetting it.
The paddle, on the other hand, is considered to be a very comfortable way to carry, and I couldn't stand it. I was constantly aware of having two pounds of steel flopping around outside my belt; even under a winter coat, it was snagging on things. It felt awkward.
It's all what you're used to, I guess.
At The Way Of The Multigun, there's an ongoing discussion about Appendix Carry. I know my friend Kathy carries her pistol this way, too. I can't figure out how it's done, but I'm probably doing it wrong.
"When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said slow down, it's too early, let's wait, things aren't bad enough," Reid said Monday in a Senate floor speech.
I guess you were too busy staring at the training bra of the girl sitting next to you in U.S. History 101 to take notes as to just who those heel-diggers were, Harry. (I'll give you a hint: "D_m_cr_t P_rty". Fill in the blanks. Ready? Go!)
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
If they stick to their numbering conventions and the rimfire is the next new model released, it will be the Glock 40.
So the Glock 40 will be a .22 and the Glock 22 is a .40. Hilarity ensues at gun shop counters across the country.
In other Glock news, the reason for the Fourth Gen Glock becomes apparent: Expired patents. (H/T to Unc.)
I got to Venice purely by accident. Navigating from there back to my starting point by a different route was on purpose. (And interesting.)
Caleb has the current skinny.
Remember to contact your legislators to get the database protected. Then the guys at the Bloomington Puppy Trainer will have to go publish lists of other innocent people, like the residents of battered women's shelters, or Jews, or homosexuals.
Further, don't waste time contacting the staff of the Bloomington Pravda directly; contact their advertisers. Then the editors can do an in-depth investigative report on the state’s unemployment benefits system while they freeze in the dark.
While nobody is ice skating on the frozen Thames anymore, neither are barelegged Romans tending their vineyards in Yorkshire, so anybody who says they know what temperature this place is supposed to be is emitting greenhouse gasses of the potent and smelly kind when they speak.
Remember: Science is never "settled". If it's settled, it ain't science.
EDIT: Climate-related slash'n'burn aggroculture from Michael Z. Williamson.
Monday, December 07, 2009
The bullpup flechette rifle with its oddball tandem magazine and repeating grenade launcher manages the almost impossible feat of making the H&K OICW look well-thought-out, svelte, and practical.
For 400 environmental activists, business leaders and government officials, the Climate Express was the place to be this weekend.
Passengers arrived to take a special train called the “Climate Express,” which brought special envoys to the world climate summit in Copenhagen, at a station in Brussels.
During the train’s odyssey of more than 13 hours, a magician did tricks, Indian dancers performed, and a discothèque beat with energy.
There's something that shoots clean past irony in the idea of a train full of eco-twits discoing their way across Europe all night long to beg heads of state to reduce carbon emissions when the best thing they could have done for their own cause would be to have stayed home and held their breath.
Meanwhile, SurvivalBlog managed to scare me out of my pyjamas yet again, this time with this link: High jobless rates could be the new normal.
Even with an economic revival, many U.S. jobs lost during the recession may be gone forever and a weak employment market could linger for years.
That could add up to a "new normal" of higher joblessness and lower standards of living for many Americans, some economists are suggesting.
MSNBC, the official propaganda arm of the White House, has been spouting Hopey Changey Everything's-Gonna-Be-Alright Green Shoots nonsense non-stop since Barry strode across the reflecting pool to claim his crown. When the Stuart Smalley of business news departments solemnly informs you that your brother-in-law may be crashing on your sofa for another five years, it's time to panic.
We got about an inch. Folks have dutifully begun sliding off the roads, in compliance with the Full Employment For Weather & Traffic Reporters Act of 1969.
It's a mite strange that the USS Texas got snowed on before the USS Indianapolis Memorial this year.
Sunday, December 06, 2009
- It was 29 degrees on the firing line again today, although the mercury was nudging 31 by the time we left.
- Did I mention that the trigger on that 22/45 resets way the heck out by the berm?
- Lots of light strikes on the crappy Winchester bulk fodder by the time we split. I'm suspecting that the firing pin channel is filled with a ice-cold congealed sludge composed of equal parts powder residue and lube. I need to field strip my Ruger Mk.III. I'm scared. Hold me.
- I am very, very happy with my shooting with both 1911s in my range bag (the 9mm Para and the '66 Colt.)
- Back in '99, I locked the front wheel of my RF600R on the interstate at 65 in the rain. The front end tucked so briskly that when the handlebars whipped to the right, they snapped my right thumb like a breadstick. The hard plastic CTC lasergrips on my Airweight 432 were smacking right into that spot today when I was shooting it in the cold with no gloves on. Ouch. After 50 rounds of .32 S&W Long and 40 more of .32 H&R Magnum, the old fracture site was throbbing. Ouch.
Apparently the nap I took on Friday afternoon had me lying on the gun in a funny fashion. My back, just above my right butt cheek, was so sore yesterday that I thought for sure that I must have a huge 1911-shaped bruise, but the mirror said otherwise. Bone bruise? Sciatica? Who knows. Whatever the cause, by last night, I was moving gingerly and groaning theatrically. Things felt a little better this morning, but as I pulled on my jeans and the holster nudged the spot, I knew that I'd only make things worse by carrying there again today.
No problem, just go with the Galco Concealable! Only not. Because I sold it, thinking I wouldn't be needing it again.
I was left with the following choices:
- The two ¡Blackhawk! rigs I picked up last summer. Except I haven't trained with the SERPA lock and don't entirely trust it. Meanwhile, the standard holster, while adjustable, is currently set up for a vertical carry and maximum drop and I don't have time to monkey with it, since Shootin' Buddy will be here by eight.
- A G-Code kydex paddle. It's set to ride high and at a slight cant, but I cordially dislike paddles. They may work for some people, but they just don't feel steady to me. I haven't used this one for CCW since... 2002?
- A Galco SOB. Even if worn correctly, offset to the right so as not to risk spinal injury if I fall down and go boom, this parks the gun right over the aforementioned tender spot. Now that I've confessed to owning it, anybody want to buy it?
- A GI flap holster and a Safariland thigh rig. Hahahahahahahaha!
Note To Self: Acquire another leather OWB pancake type holster, just in case.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Everybody knows that it’s not terrorism unless the perp in question had an Al Qaeda membership card in their wallet, left a copy of their orders signed by Osama Bin Ladin on their dresser, were dressed in a “Jihadworld” tee shirt, and had the melted remains of an official Little Martyr’s Club decoder ring found on their charred finger.
Unless each and every one of those criteria is met, you can scream “Allahu akhbar!” ’til you’re blue in the face while mowing down infidels at the mall food court, and it ain’t terrorism, Achmed.
I was banging away fairly rapidly when the gun suddenly did not go *bang*, despite me having the trigger good and bottomed out. As my support hand came over the top of the slide, my eyes noticed that the hammer was still to the rear. My eyes reported this fact to my brain, but it just sat there confused as my hand, absent any countermanding orders, ran the slide and returned to the grip. Yup, that was an unfired round that flew out of the ejection port...
Apparently I hadn't let the trigger reset. I've had that issue with the junky trigger on my 22/45, which has a reset way out in another zip code, but that's the first time I'd ever done that with a 1911. The Para itself continued to run fine, despite being absolutely filthy; mad props to that Strike-Hold dry lube.
One other thing I'd noticed is that in the last couple months of concentrating on my trigger press, I'd gotten pretty sloppy about leaning into the gun and gripping it firmly, so I made a real effort to get back to that towards the end of today's range session, and I'll be sure to work on it more tomorrow.
It never got above freezing in the shade this morning, and I didn't wear my warm boots, so I punked out after about an hour and half, when I couldn't feel my toes any more and my hands were getting too sore to load mags without fumbling. It's supposed to be a balmy 40 degrees tomorrow, so hopefully I'll be able to shoot longer.
Sickened by all the eBay typewriter auctions that state "Will cut off the keys". That's like killing an elephant for the tusks. -Marko Kloos on TwitterMy friend Marko really likes him some typewriters. The process of using a manual typewriter resonates with the particular strain of creativity he possesses: The letters imprinting mechanically onto the paper, with finality, all in one pass; the writer feeling connected to an intricate, well-crafted machine that, further, might be significantly older than he is.
Of course, the very things he most enjoys about typewriters are the reasons they have been pretty much entirely supplanted for day-to-day use by computers and word processing programs. People generally don't give a rodent's hindquarters about the gestalt of the creative process when they want to knock out a business letter, a brownie recipe, or an email to grandma, and we'll usually gladly give up that feel of a well-oiled mechanical interface for the ability to back the cursor up and change "rat's ass" to "rodent's hindquarters" so as not to shock said grandma.
Myself, I love old military rifles, and I most love them in their original condition. I know that every day they get re-finished or cut down into ungainly hunting rifles, are left to rust in neglect, or are even broken up for spare parts on GunBroker. I know that if I want to ensure that one is preserved in its original condition, the only way I can do so with any assurance is to buy it myself and leave it alone. I have to live with the fact that other people may not see things my way, and that they are free to do as they want with their rifles.
It's the nature of the beast; for every old treadle sewing machine or wooden spinning wheel lovingly preserved, dozens have been turned into planters and thousands upon thousands have been thrown away. The comparatively few all-original '32 Fords and '57 Chevies are valuable because so many were turned into "hot rods" and so many more were turned into scrap metal. What were the everyday appliances of yesteryear are the treasured artifacts of today precisely because so many were altered or destroyed.
With old manual typewriters, the fad of the moment is to turn the key caps into costume jewelry, and throw the rest of the typewriter away. This understandably annoys Marko, although it's perhaps more respectful of the typewriter than what would otherwise happen, which is the machine getting pitched into the dumpster or recycling bin, key caps and all. It was seeing this typewriter butchery mentioned on eBay that set my roommate off on her latest round of acquisitions.
I know well the feeling of "People are destroying these things I love so much..." The trick is in not appending the second half of the thought: "...somebody oughtta DO something about it!" because that way lies madness. At best you wind up trying to adopt every puppy in the pound; at worst, you start some annoying organization like People for the Ethical Treatment of Antiques.
Friday, December 04, 2009
In 1968, however, you could choose between four different transmissions, six different engines, nine final drive ratios, and a partridge in a pear tree.
Of course the former is a lot more economical from a business standpoint, but the latter sure does feel a lot more like "customizing".
Sprint/Nextel has an Electronic Surveillance Department??!
Maybe these shenanigans would have gone unreported longer if they'd taken a page from the Orwell School Of Marketing and called it the "Department of Customer Love". And by "Customer Love", I mean "Customer Loooove"; the kind you normally have to unwrap a plain brown package and draw the blinds to see on your DVD and is still illegal in some locales.
UPDATE(ISH): Joe Huffman goes into much greater detail, and did it first.
RX: "I didn't mean to bother you with my old people music."
Me: "'Old people music'? You were playing Led Zep."
RX: "Yes. Nowadays that's..."
Me: "...Cadillac commercial soundtracks. Yeah. And it ain't Cadillac's demographic that's changed. Jesus, the kids that were rioting at Kent State are going to be rioting for Medicare now, throwing their orthopedic Reeboks at Obama."
Even though they're old enough to be my parents, Led Zep isn't "old people's music" to me because I grew up in the demographic shadow of the Baby Boom. Who did I go see in concert in the '80s?
We used to joke that ads for K-Tel compilation records (ask your parents, kids) in our golden years would start with the voice-over saying "Hey! Remember remembering the Sixties in the Eighties?"
It's bad enough what they did to me in the record store; I'm really worried about what they're going to do to me at the voting booth.
In comments, reader Samsam notes:
"Walking down the halls of our local high school, I see a lot of Led Zep and Pink Floyd t-shirts. On the kids, not the staff."Which is actually a little weird when you think about it. That would be like strolling around at Berkeley in '68 and finding all the kids dressed like flappers and humming ragtime tunes.
These crazy kids and their music today, with all the hipping and the hopping! Why can't they listen to decent music, like Blue Öyster Cult or ZZ Top? The fact that some of them are listening to what is, in effect, their grandparents' music should tell you something about cultural pervasiveness.
Further, in dreams there's apparently no spring training or whatever it is they do in football, you just show up on the day of the big game, with serious trepidations, and tell the coach "Uh, I think there's been a big, big mistake here. They sent you a forty year-old chick. I could write what I know about football on the back of a postage stamp. Longhand. With a Sharpie. I'm going to get killed out there on the first snap."
Except they were all like "No, no, go on. It'll be fine. You'll do great."
Thankfully I woke up before any serious televised humiliation or grievous bodily harm occurred.
This is possibly the weirdest variation on the "Public Speaking In Your Underwear" dream I have ever experienced.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
TGI is a big importer located in the Knoxville area; I've done a lot of work with them over the years and know quite a few of the folks that work or have worked there.
Back when I worked at Randy's Guns & Knives, I spent the entire summer of 2003 helping Shannon carry out modifications to literally thousands and thousands of CZ-52s that TGI had imported, in order to prevent the decocker from functioning as a second trigger. Field-stripping, grinding, milling, cold-bluing, reassembling, safety checking... Hundreds of CZ-52s all day, five days a week, for months.
Did you know that driving home in a car with a black leather interior on a ninety-degree Tennessee summer day with your clothes and skin drenched in cosmoline produces a smell exactly like month-old mildewed sweat socks? You never really forget it. It was another two years before I could bring myself to touch a CZ52...
Sweet Vishnu, do I hate the smell of cosmoline to this day.
Anyway, I hope everything works out for the folks at TGI.
You'll see it in everything: caliber choice, shooting stance, revolver vs. auto, night sights and weapon lights, red dots and lasers, single-points and loop slings. There's never a middle ground, either: veering from The Way will not only get you killed, it will brand you as a Walter Mitty Wannabe SWAT Mall Ninja or a Crusty Old Has-Been, depending on the topic at hand.
It was with some distress then that my original impulse when I saw Magpul's new AFG was "Pphhttt! Silly gizmo," when I clapped eyes on it. That first impulse was the wrong impulse. Like almost any other thing in the firearms world, from speedloaders to night vision optics, the answer to "Is it any good?" is "It depends."
What are you going to use it for?
How are you going to use it?
Have you been trained in its use?
Does it integrate with the rest of your gear?
Does it offer you enough of a concrete improvement to make the expenditure in money and training time worthwhile?
Only one person knows the answer to that question.
I don't know if the potential benefits of this particular gizmo for me would offset the time and training it would take to put it in my toolbox; after all, I've already had to relearn my entire method of using a carbine once in the last decade, and how often am I going to need to use a carbine in real life? There's a reason that the vast majority of my training time gets spent with pistols and revolvers, after all. I'm sure plenty will sell to folks who just want to buy the newest thing to hang on their carbine, without giving a thought to the training or proper implementation aspects of it.
Is it any good? I dunno. It depends.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
I've personally been amused by these people who eagerly point out that, since owning a handgun doesn't make me bulletproof, I must be crazy (or criminal) to do so.
I had hypothesized that it was the sound of the latch that brought her over to investigate, and tested that hypothesis this morning while stepping through the "cat lock" into the dining room: I swung the door to, but left my hand on the knob and didn't engage the latch. As if on cue, she hopped off the futon in the living room and started strolling nonchalantly my way and then I pulled it 'til it clicked. Her ears twitched at the sound, and she immediately stopped in her tracks, looked over at me, and then ambled off in another direction.
Mm-hm. I'd wondered how she always seemed to sense when those doors weren't latched almost immediately. Now I know, and knowing is half the battle.
I'd suggest a boycott but, given the state of the dead-tree newspaper business in America today, that would almost be redundant.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Like they care. The kind of people who would lump carry permit holders, (who get into a database by passing a criminal background check,) with sex offenders, (who get into their database by, you know, committing crimes) just point up that the term "journalistic ethics" has become an oxymoron.
"Stephen King? Pphhhhtt! Prolific hack!" two... three... four... waitforit! "Now, H.P. Lovecraft was the scariest writer ever!"
You know, it's very fashionable to pooh-pooh King, and his very popularity and prolificity are automatic strikes against him for anyone with the faintest pretensions to bohemian hipness or literary snobbery. But when he brings his A-game, the man sure can spin a yarn. I've found most of his novels to be pretty formulaic and dull, but when he connects, it's rarely just a dribbling grounder; he usually goes yard.
I like Lovecraft, but I also think that Lovecraft is the most overrated author among the neckbeard set. Given all the time I've spent among SF fans, among whom he's completely revered, there was no way his works could live up to the billing when I finally got around to reading them. Sure, he's good, but to hear the Cheeto-smeared-t-shirt crowd at DragonCon talk, the first three paragraphs of The Mountains Of Madness will cause you to run out and buy a nightlight, if they don't drive you stark gibbering mad from terror. Instead, I wound up disappointed because it wasn't bound in human leather a la the Necronomicon, nor was my sanity blasted from my mind by page five... or page 105, for that matter. I'd read so many Lovecraft ripoffs over the years that the real thing was hardly terra incognita when I got there; the haunted house just isn't as creepy if you've already been given the floor plan and know where the bogeymen are going to jump out. It's important to remember that every writer with pretensions to the "horror" genre feels obligated to write at least one Lovecraft pastiche, but that's all Lovecraft ever wrote.
So a great part of it is that I came to Lovecraft as an adult, and none of his stuff really scared me; a lot of my friends who have more affection for his works first read them as students in grade school, and therefore they get the benefits of the rosy glow of nostalgia that I well know, since I feel the same about Tolkien or Kipling.
(Incidentally the title of this post is both a clever reference to what the comments section is sure to look like, and an homage to a really scary story that has nothing to do with anything at all even remotely supernatural or gory.)