Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I know that there are DST haters out there, but... sure was nice to be able to pedal up to Kroger and back after 8:30 with plenty of available light.

Beautiful weather for riding, too: Mid-70s and dry... It could stay like this year 'round and I wouldn't mind a bit.

Smell that pic-a-nic basket, Boo-Boo!

Yogi's getting frisky in the Smokies:
As of 29 June the investigation has determined that the victim was walking on a trail with his family. The male adult moved forward and became separated and out of sight from the other family members. He apparently saw the bear and realized the bear was tracking him. The bear came out of the brush and bit the victim the first time. At this point the victim did begin to shout and throw rocks at the bear. The bear came back and scratched the victim on the chest and then bit him and appeared to want to pull the victim off the trail. By this time other hikers responded and repelled the bear with rocks, shouting and hitting it with sticks. The rescuers were able to get the victim to the road and call for assistance. During this period the bear stalked the rescue party back to the trailhead.
I'm thinking that a 4" 629 loaded with Elmer Keith Memorial 300gr rhino-rollers would work a lot better than sticks and rocks and yelling and running around like a chicken with its head cut off in a situation like this, but maybe that's just me...

(H/T to Michael Silence.)

Business opportunity in the Middle Kingdom:

Open your own Rent-A-Gweilo franchise!

It's fun! It's profitable! You don't even need to speak foreignese!

And joining hands, they made a metaphor...

So, the other day a bunch of hippies went to the beach, via various oil-powered conveyances.

Once they got there, they all walked out on the sand and stood in a big line, joined hands and thought happy thoughts.

They didn't actually do anything except apologize to Mother Gaia, perhaps in faux dolphin-speak.

As children and adults formed a 150-yard chain along the Pacific coastline their message was clear.

"We know that oil is not the answer," said Erkeneff. "The poor fishermen didn't ask for this. The ocean didn't ask for it. Now is the time. If not now, then when?"

Listen, hippie, those poor fishermen don't exactly row their boats out to sea, if you catch my meaning.

In sum total, what you people did was drive someplace where there wasn't a problem, complain about something you don't fully understand, get in the way of people who may actually be performing a function, and then do nothing, en masse, except hope that someone else notices your little snit and makes it all better.

My god, if there's a more perfect metaphor for the modern progressive movement, I've never seen it.

Rod Liddle Memorial Reading Project.

By way of paying my lack-of-respects to the opinions of wife-beating Limey columnist Rod Liddle, I'm re-reading through some of my favorite Pratchett novels. I hit the two deepest ones first: Hogfather and Reaper Man, both of which never fail to make me cry towards the end. The dialog between Death and Susan at the denouement of the former is simply wonderful.

I indulged in my favorite books with the witches, too (Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, and Lords and Ladies.)

I'm going to ration myself two more before I get back to reading other stuff, but I can't make up my mind which two. Which ones do y'all think?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The source of superpowers...

Peter Parker got bitten by a radioactive spider and gained the power to bench-press Buicks at will and climb walls, but only for a good cause.

Colin Goddard got shot by a mentally-defective nutcase and gained the power to commit federal and state felonies at will and leap to erroneous conclusions, but only for a good cause. Of course.

To the Caribbean, the long way 'round...

So, I looked at Prince Harry's Wikipedia entry, because I couldn't remember how old he was. This led me to the entry for his batty father, and on to the entry for his highly eccentric granddad.

What I didn't know was that his granddad, as a Lt. Cdr., had commanded the sloop HMS Magpie in 1950.

Sloop? In 1950? Ah, the Black Swan class were little corvette-like convoy escorts, which the Brits termed 'sloops', as they weren't fast enough to keep up with fleet operations. Apparently small warships designed for operating independently of the fleet were all termed "sloops" at that time: gunboats, merchant-hulled escorts, and the like.

But that wasn't the oddest use of the term "sloop": The Royal Navy even has one that won't move at all, on account of being rather firmly attached to the Earth's crust.

Huh. I did not know that.

Chicago politics writ large.

These yahoos wouldn't know "Openness and Accountability" if you bludgeoned them with it.

Seriously, is there anybody associated with the current administration who isn't a crook?

Well, that makes me feel better.

Riding the bike to the grocery store has got to be healthy and good for me and stuff, but I had a nagging feeling that, you know, maybe 10-20 minutes of pedaling wasn't measurably helpful. I mean, I wasn't putting on any special clothes to do it, and my bike is all earth tones and has a basket and nothing on it is made out of carbon fiber, so maybe I wasn't actually exercising.

So imagine my pleasure at seeing this news:
Biking for as little as five minutes a day can help women minimize weight gain as they enter middle age, especially if they're overweight to begin with, a new study suggests.
Well alrighty, then.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Awww, who's the sad clown?

Is there any wine sweeter than the tears of Mayor Daley?

How does it feel to want, Dickie?

Transporter technology.

See this city car? I think it's awesome, at least for 90% of the driving I do.

A tank of gas can last me weeks, because all my running around is little two-to-five-mile trips a couple or three times a week, all on surface streets. Half my errands are done by bicycle unless the weather is just buck wretched.

Except, being an American, I have friends that I occasionally go visit that are not located right next door (if you're reading this in Europe, that means "half a continent away" in foreignese,) and when I go, I like to go by road. When I go by road, by myself, it's a lot closer to the 24 Heures du Mans than it is National Lampoon's Vacation; the car stops long enough to take on fuel, and that's it. And I don't imagine these little city cars would be a boatload of fun with the cruise set at 80 for five+ hours straight.

So as long as I'm a one-car person, that car's got to be capable of knocking off four- and five-hundred mile roadtrips on the superslab in speed and comfort. Maybe there'll be a market in cheap used microcars someday...

Overheard in the Office:

RX: "Wasn't there an English missile or rocket called the Clansman? Named after..."

Me: "Senator Byrd?"

RX: "I was going to say a man from that part of the northern British Isles where they wear skirts."

Don't the fish a mile down glow anyway?

During the bad ol' days of the Cold War, there were those who opined that in the event of a dust-up between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, the first place any nuclear weapons would be used would be at sea, under the theory that you could use a nuclear torpedo to take out a Soviet Typhoon-class SSBN or an American bird farm and still have a situation that could be negotiated back down to status quo ante, unlike if you had converted, say, Frankfurt or Rostock to glowing charcoal.

In shorthand, the concept of the lesser psychological impact of a nuke at sea was explained as "You can't leave a crater in the water."

As it turns out, some people can get plenty worked up over the idea of a crater in the water.

I take it everybody's heard about the Byrd?

The Grim Reaper invoked cloture on Robert C. Byrd's filibuster today.

You know, driving through West Virginia will feel slightly more normal now, because all those bridges and highways and such named after a living dude always struck me as slightly awkward and maybe even a bit gauche.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Kabbalah of the Keyboard...

TJIC brought to my attention the existence of the "Arabic star":
[A] punctuation mark developed to be distinct from the asterisk … many Arabs would not buy typewriters with a six-armed symbol, which they identified with the Star of David
I looked down at my Logitech keyboard and… Holy Koran, Batman! The asterisk is indeed five-pointed!

Oddly, the factory keyboard on the eMac sitting next to it, which I use as an iTunes server, has the old-skool Zionist asterisk.
*shakes fist* Those crusader devils in Cupertino!

We aren't the world.

Let's get a couple of things straight, here:
1) I don't currently have a single dream that the entire nation of Ghana could crush, even if they all tried at once.

2) I have never had a dream related in any way to soccer.
There have always been Americans that loved them some soccer, and that's fine. It's still mostly a free country, and if you want to get all interested in curling or cricket or bocce ball or whatever, then get down with your bad self.

But as far back as the Carter years, when I was in elementary school, a certain political overtone crept into the whole soccer thing. Soccer gradually became more than a game; it became, in certain circles, a badge of something; a sign that one was trying to separate one's self from the dull proletarian American herd and show one's almost... almost... European sophistication by embracing this pastime.

Mariatheproblem comments in an excellent post:
The soccer scolds don’t understand that American football is something that grew up organically, out of a specific culture, at a specific time and place. That doesn’t make it either superior or inferior to soccer, it just makes it our game. Those hundred-year-old chants and ancient rivalries serve the same purpose as all other cultural traditions: they build valuable social capital.

Or maybe the soccer scolds do understand. Maybe it’s just one other aspect of the Kulturkampf attack on American exceptionalism. No wonder NPR has taken up the desparate cry that football must be replaced by soccer.
Personally, I'm not as much of a football fan as Maria; with me, it's baseball. But before the soccer scolds try to come for my baseball, they'd do well to be reminded that it's played with a handy ash wood club.

(H/T to Dustbury.)

Busy busy busy.

Yesterday morning was full of errands.

Yesterday afternoon, we decided to pedal up the Monon to get a new chain put on Bobbi's bicycle at Bike Line. Despite the positively wilting heat and humidity, there were a surprising number of people cycling yesterday, and the joint was jumping at the bike shoppe. Still, service was quick and while-U-wait, leaving me only enough time to get exposed to some refrigerated air and drool on the Soho for a minute or two before it was time to saddle up again.

We zipped over to the Monon Food Company for a late lunch. Bobbi had a Greek salad for an appetizer, which she pronounced awesome, and a pulled pork sammich. I tried the pulled pork; it was adequate, but I'm pretty jaded on the topic, being from the South. I'd give it six-and-a-half stars or so, but I might be rounding down because I prefer my sauce more tangy and less sweet, and I like to put it on myself. (If the 'Cue comes with the sauce already on it, that's automatically down two stars right there.)

I had their salmon wrap, which was a wrap in contents, but more like a humongous soft taco in shape. It was absolutely delicious, and pretty filling. It was washed down with a Sunlight Cream Ale from local brewer Sun King, because it was just too muggy out for anything heavier. The Sunlight was very pleasant, and just right for the weather; so much so that I ventured out later in the afternoon for a 4-pack to put in the fridge.

After pedaling back home, I melted into an inert puddle for an hour or two, barely mustering the energy to operate the telephonic thingummy, and waited for the sun to set. I will be oh so glad when this heat wave passes; we've been in the low nineties as often as not here of late, with humidity numbers more appropriate to ATL than IND. Supposedly we'll be back in the eighties and drier come the first part of the week.

Not quite cricket.

England's Prince Harry threw the ceremonial first pitch at a Mets game (which is like a baseball game, except it takes place in New York) yesterday.

His windup was a little weak, like a rookie reliever with Rickey Henderson on first, but his delivery was good, especially when compared to the current denizen of the Oval Office.

This is perhaps unsurprising, since Harry has experience throwing hand grenades while Barry can't even pitch a convincing tantrum.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A very special kind of crazy.

Some of you may have heard of the woman in southern Indiana who... how to put this politely? ...went completely off her nut recently.

It seems that after suffering a miscarriage, she cast off from the pier of sanity and set sail out over the bounding crazy main. She didn't tell her husband about their loss and continued to stuff her "tummy" ever more full of pillow as the months went by, apparently even devising a gizmo via which she could invite people to "feel the baby kick."

As time began to run out on the ol' cow-or-countess shot clock, she decided to go baby-shopping, as it were, in the birth announcements section of the local paper and showed up on the front porch of a young couple claiming to need to use their telephone. As soon as the new mom let her inside, she went all Norman Bates with a pocket knife. The husband came running into the room and got cut up pretty good too, as he (alert the irony police) tried to subdue her carefully without hurting her "baby".

As long as she doesn't say anything notably sane between now and her trial, I'd say she's got a pretty good shot at non compost mental and can look forward to a diet of pancakes and flounder for the remainder of her days. I'm not sure what the alternative is should she accidentally convince anyone that she was sane at the time, at least in the legal sense of the word, but hopefully it will keep her away from decent people for some time to come.

Friday, June 25, 2010


I took the entire back wheel of Bobbi's bicycle to the bike shoppe today, handed it to the salesperson, and said "I think my roomie needs a new tube."

After a perfunctory glance, it was handed back with the statement "I think your roomie needs more than just a new tube."

And it was true: It was easy to spot where the air had got out once it was pointed out to me, since the ragged hole was surrounded by cording from the tire carcass. It was the closest thing to a blowout I'd ever seen on a bicycle tire. Yikes.

The only thing they had in stock to fit was the Bontrager Hardcase which, with tube and labor, cost almost as much as if she'd had a blowout in her Hyundai, but is reckoned to be well-nigh bulletproof.

As an interesting side note: The wheel with a flat tire fit in the Bimmer's trunk, but just barely. With a freshly inflated tire mounted, it needed to ride up front with me.

While I waited for the work to be done, I drooled on the Trek Soho in the showroom. Someday it will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.

As you have no doubt been informed... every televisor and radio communications device within earshot all morning long already, Michael Jackson is still dead, and has actually been so for 365 days now.

You know you've really arrived...

...when you inspire a Robb Allen doodle.

I LOL'ed and LOL'ed.

Mmmm... Breakfast.

Met SB for breakfast at Cafe Pretenchou at 49th & Penn. Yum.

Had their "Overachiever" omelette as usual: bacon, cheddar, sour cream, and horseradish.

Forgot the iPod, and the CD changer malfed, so on the way there I had to listen to NPR. Apparently the eeevil GOP somehow managed to cut the lifelines of all the poor people and unemployed people (hey, that's me!) again, which will keep us from buying shoes for our families or making payments on our bass boats. How the Repubs keep doing this despite being the minority party is beyond me. I half expected the newsreader to blame Bush out of sheer force of habit.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Since I don't own any black lace and am not currently listening to an album by The Cure...

...I can't comment directly at "members-only" LiveJournal sites, so Ernunnos gets answered here:
I'm a little disappointed. Generally Tam's blog is a bullshit-free zone. Given her interest in historical weapons, I was sure she'd have some experience with Delisle carbines.
I've been on the range sans ears when a modern Delisle clone was fired, as well as something very like a Welrod. And yes, they were quiet. For guns. An unabridged Webster's being dropped on a carpeted floor is quiet, too, compared to an unsuppressed firearm, but it's not something you'd want to hear while creeping up on Dr. Evil's henchmen.

Who you gonna believe? The dB meter? Or your lyin' ears? ;)

(As the video points out there, an integrally-suppressed deuce-deuce manual repeater is very quiet. So's a spring-piston .22 air rifle. Both are a lot louder than you'd think when you cap one off in your back yard at a 'possum at 0mygawd30 in the morning. Ask me how I know.)

A bit of linky with very little thinky...

Sometimes Larry Correia makes me chuckle, and sometimes he makes me laugh so hard I very nearly pee myself.

And from The Firearm Blog: what is this i don't even

Top Bow.

I feel qualified to comment semi-knowledgeably about the gun stuff on Top Shot, but when it comes to bows, all I know is a collection of assorted historical triviata. Other than useless factoids like "Western self-bows were drawn to the ear while Asiatic composite bows were drawn to the nose with the aid of a thumb ring," and stuff like that, I know pretty much bupkis about archery.

Fortunately this is not the case with everyone, and OrangeNeck has some interesting observations on the last episode of Top Shot, from someone who knows more about bows & arrows than "The pointy end goes that way."

Scope advice bleg:

I know very little about handgun scopes. I mean, I know good brands and bad brands, and some stuff that transfers directly from rifle optics, but I haven't had glass on a handgun since I sold my 8-3/8" Smith 586 five or six years ago.

Now I need to put glass on a T/C Encore in .243 Win with a fifteen-inch tube. The mission is most likely going to be Indiana whitetail. Tips? Pointers? Suggestions?

Granny in Trouble.

I'd be interested in knowing how proponents of absolute gun bans feel about cases like this latest one from The Place Where Great Britain Used To Be:
Gail Cochrane, 53, had kept the gun for 29 years following the death of her father, who had been in the Royal Navy.

Police found the weapon, a Browning self-loading pistol, during a search of her home in Dundee while looking for her son.

She admitted illegal possession of the firearm, an offence with a minimum five-year jail term under Scots law.
She didn't have any ammunition for the old CZ27 and claims that she hadn't really given any thought as to whether or not Da's old war trophy was against the law or not, but the law is what it is, and the minimum sentence is five years:
Judge Lady Smith said: "I am not satisfied that a reasonable explanation has been put forward for not handing this gun into the authorities throughout the 29-year period she says she has had it in her possession."

The judge said she was unable to find herself satisfied that this was one of the rare cases in which exceptional circumstances existed.

Ignorance, as they say, is no excuse for a law.

The best part of the whole article, by the way, was where they said "(t)he weapon was sent for examination by firearms experts who concluded that it was a Czech-made pistol dating back to about 1927," as though it were a piece of weapons-grade plutonium that needed gas chromatography, core samples, and perhaps some of that while-U-wait CSI-style DNA analysis before a panel of experts could reach a unanimous consensus as to its exact nature.

Sorry for the interruption in service...

Wasn't feelin' it yesterday.

Still not feelin' it all that much today. We'll see...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Everything old is new again...

There's beginning to be a sort of Villa 'n' Pershing flavor to the way this news is being presented. It's making me a little uncomfortable, and I can't quite put my finger on why that is.

Living in a Bradbury short.

The rain continued. It was a hard rain, a perpetual rain, a sweating and steaming rain; it was a mizzle, a downpour, a fountain, a whipping at the eyes, an undertow at the ankles; it was a rain to drown all rains and the memory of rains. It came by the pound and the ton, it hacked at the jungle and cut the trees like scissors and shaved the grass and tunneled the soil and molted the bushes. It shrank men's hands into the hands of wrinkled apes; it rained a solid glassy rain, and it never stopped.
Have you read the short story "The Long Rain" by Ray Bradbury, in The Illustrated Man? It's the one where the crew of Space Patrol guys or whatever crash land on Venus where it rains. And rains. And rains. And people go buggy and kill themselves by running off into the jungle and staring up into the rain until they drown because they can't get out of the rain that never ends. Ever. It just keeps raining. Constantly. Like here in Indy. Constantly.

Anyhow, where was I? Oh yeah, the rain.

It's raining. Again.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Makes the Bimmer purr...

Sweet Vishnu, please tell me this comes in synthetic.

Not that I'm all susceptible to clever marketing or anything...

Won't somebody please think of the children?

Dick Heinie, one of the biggest names in custom pistolsmithing, closed his order books some time back. He has enough orders to keep him producing exquisite custom heaters from now 'til he's good and ready to quit, so if you want one of his guns, you're pretty much out of luck unless you're already on the list or can find someone willing to part with theirs.

However, there's another way: He's auctioning off a sweet custom 1911 with all the proceeds going to St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

Not only does the winner get a great pistol, but they can also rest assured knowing that they helped out a righteous cause.

Won't you please think of the children?

Range notes...

Went to the range yesterday, but the place was all full up with people milling around, calling each other "buckaroos" and "buckarettes" and whatnot and occasionally engaging in some shooting.

I run hot and cold on the idea of getting into cowboy action shooting. I'm usually most favorably disposed within thirty minutes of re-watching Unforgiven or Tombstone, but much of the rest of the time I just don't really see the point in spending a hojillion dollars so I can buy a bunch of guns for which I have no real need or desire and play dress-up while shooting great big steel targets at practically muzzle-contact distances with mouse-fart loads. I mean, the participants are obviously having a blast, but so are the people in a bass fishing tournament or a round of pasture pool and you don't see me running out to buy a boat or a set of golf clubs. Different strokes, as they say.

We wound up going to the steel critter range. Hitting those turkeys solidly enough to knock them down with a 4" Ruger Mk.III is tricky. And the rams? Pfffft. Even if I somehow got a lucky hit, they weren't impressed.

I worked some on my "press outs", too; I'm hoping to not look like a total twink when I attend Aim Fast, Hit Fast this October.

$#*! my Shootin' Buddy says...

...about guns.
  • The less somebody knows about guns, the more they want a derringer.
  • Carbine classes are like fly paper for mall ninjas.
  • High Power shooting is like getting glue injected right into your veins.

If I start a Twitter feed about it, maybe I can get a TeeWee show, too.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Overheard in the Hallway:

Me: "Yeah, Wash was pretty much my favorite cha... Well, I mean, I went through my phases of liking them all, but Wash was usually my favorite."

RX: "He was popular. I think the reason they killed him off..."

Me: "You know, I haven't seen Serenity."

RX: "What? How could you not have...? I have it on DVD; want to watch it?"

Me: "I'll wait 'til I've forgotten your spoilers, if it's all the same to you."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

QotD: Legislating morality edition...

The business of governments, one might think, is to supply the framework of law within which we may pursue happiness on our own account. Instead, we are constantly being summoned to reform ourselves. Debt, intemperance, and incompetence in rearing our children are no doubt regrettable, but they are vices, and left alone, they will soon lead to the pain that corrects. Life is a better teacher of virtue than politicians, and most sensible governments in the past left moral faults to the churches. But democratic citizenship in the twenty-first century means receiving a stream of improving “messages” from politicians. Some may forgive these intrusions because they are so well intentioned. Who would defend prejudice, debt, or excessive drinking? The point, however, is that our rulers have no business telling us how to live. They are tiresome enough in their exercise of authority—they are intolerable when they mount the pulpit. Nor should we be in any doubt that nationalizing the moral life is the first step towards totalitarianism.

We might perhaps be more tolerant of rulers turning preachers if they were moral giants. But what citizen looks at the government today thinking how wise and virtuous it is?

The whole thing is a worthwhile read, even if it does take some chewing. Recommend.

(H/T to Western Rifle Shooters Association.)

This little SIGgy went to gun school...

The SIG P228 was always my favoritest SIG; I've had a couple of them over the years and actually used one for purse carry for some time, back when that was how I usually toted a heater. Like the Glock 19/23 or the Commander-size 1911, for me it falls right in that sweet spot of being easy to conceal and big enough to shoot like a full-size gun.

ToddG at has links up to a guy who's performing a public service by photo-documenting the life of his P228: New, at 5k rounds, and now at 10k rounds.

With internet forums usually crowded with pictures of pristine safe queens, it's good to see what happens when guns get used.

The bailouts roll on...

The pressure is building in the media for a federal bailout of the states, and Barry has started making noise about it, too.

Hey, that's what we need! More imaginary money to keep paying for stuff we can't afford!

It's time to start taking a hard look at the necessities of what a government must provide as opposed to things it's nice to have. What's more important? The major crimes squad or the media center in the children's library? The downtown viaduct or the domed stadium?

(Of course, personally, I'm in favor of selling it all off and starting from scratch, but I'm all wookie-suiter like that. Still, we're going to have to start moving in the Making Serious Cuts direction, or we're going to start looking like the Eurozone, and I'll bet folks in Jersey can throw a riot every bit as good as Athenians.)

Friday, June 18, 2010


Regular-sized zip-loc sammich baggies are really only sized for PB&J on Wonder Bread or balogna and mayo on Roman Meal. If you want a grown-up sandwich, say, deli-cut pastrami and swiss on seeded rye, you need the "XL"-sized zip-loc sammich baggies.

Given this fact, how come the Fresh Market only carries the one size, and it's the bitty ones?

HAH! ( opposed to "heh.")

This picture is full of so much win it made my heart do a little dance:

Found here.

What a wonderful universe.

There is a singing hippie with a chainsaw up the tree in the front yard.

I love Broad Ripple so much sometimes. :)

I'll take "Dumb Ideas" for $100, Alex...

If you go to the NRA's online store, you can order their new "Blue Suicide" holster! Carry your CCW permit, snugly surrounded by the tanned hides of select dead Nauga bucks, right on top of your heater in a retention-free, one-size-fits-all holster! What could possibly go wrong?

I'm not sure when the last time I saw this many bad ideas in one holster was... Maybe the old "upside down" shoulder rigs?

(H/T to Knoxville Gun Rights Examiner, via Unc.)

A picket line of parasites.

If you're flying out of town today you might see protestors at the airport.

They started picketing Thursday in several spots around Indianapolis International Airport, handing out pamphlets.

They're at airports across the country as well.

The union American Federation of Government Employees represents 40,000 airport employees of the TSA nationwide.
Wait, what? TSA employees are picketing? That's like being picketed by your own body lice. If we just refuse their demands will they go on strike forever? Please?

I've seen some of these people: There's nothing but a pair of blue nitrile gloves between them and a lifetime of permanent frycookery and mop jockeying. They should be thankful that the government has dreamed up a bogus makework program for them that pays them far better for probulating their fellow citizens than they'd ever make puzzling out the pictograms on the french fry machine in the service of which they were otherwise destined to spend their days.

And they have the unmitigated gall to ask for more? Look, I don't want them here in the first place. They need to just shut up and get back to "work".

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Layers and layers of oversight.

Ruben Navarette Jr., professional hand-wringer out of San Diego, was all butthurt the other day that wicked New Media types, including bloggers, might be offering their uneducated opinions as alternatives to his finely-honed J-school grad ones:
By "we," Kutcher was talking about anyone who subscribes to the belief that their views and opinions are just as valuable as the views and opinions of media professionals who have the benefit of editors, producers, fact checkers and years of experience. Put another way, this tribe believes that the views and opinions of columnists, radio talk show hosts, television commentators and other pundits are no more valuable than what you pick up from Twitter, Facebook or the scores of faceless individuals who blog feverishly.
Meanwhile, even with their layers of oversight and J-school sheepskins, some newspapers can't seem to figure out what frickin' day it is:
Today is Thursday despite what it says on the front page of many copies of our newspaper.
Fact-checkers, hell! How about buying some desk calendars?

I haven't seen irony this delicious since lightning struck the Big Butter Jesus the other day.

Now, I'm lost at high finance...

...but I feel slightly better knowing that I'm not the only one wondering for how much longer the German ant is willing to play ATM machine for the Mediterranean grasshopper. Lord knows the situation hasn't done the Euro any good, and you have to wonder if the Jerries are willing to lash themselves to the mast as a show of solidarity.

Charge of the lightweight brigade.

So Unc linked to a piece at about Hollywood gun myths. Since it had the word "gun" in the title and was posted at Cracked, over a thousand airsoft-shootin', Counterstrike-playin' firearms experts were on hand to set Cracked straight when they said
"#5. Silencers Turn Gunfire Into a Gentle Whisper"
was totally a myth.

Nuh-uh! said the Counterstrike kiddies. They had the rulebook for GURPS Black Ops right there, and it said different!
Number 5 is incorrect, he's using supersonic ammunition in the glock demonstration. Subsonic loads negate the sonic crack heard as the bullet breaks the sound barrier
Right, Zippy. He was using supersonic loads in his suppressed .45ACP Glock 36. Sit down and shut up.
So as to the silencer myth. I have personally fired silencers that totally silence the gun. The only sound that you could hear was the action sliding and the rounds impact, and that was through a Sten Mark II sub-machine gun. The FBI also has silencers that do the same but are re-usable. It all depends on how the silencer was made. Higher quality ones will severely limit the noise, if not eliminating it completely.
lolwhut? I find it interesting to note that you lifted your description of a suppressed Sten almost verbatim from The Eagle Has Landed. While it's nice to know that kids these days still read books, I'll further note that Jack Higgins knows less about guns than I do about Tanzanian folk art, which is to say "Nothing At All."
I've read in several places over the years (gun mags, the internet) hwahwa-hwa hwa hwahwa hwa hwa...
Sorry, that last one just went all Charlie Brown's teacher on me, there. He was saying something about how the H&K MP-5 SD3 was totally silent except for the reciprocating bolt because it's German and made by HK and all the operators use it because it's almost completely silent. Which it is. On the internet.

Disappointingly, however, it sounds pretty much like a suppressed subgun in real life. A suppressed closed-bolt subgun with a really good integral can, but a subgun all the same. You wouldn't want someone shooting one while you were trying to read; the auditory annoyance level is somewhere between electric typewriter and small air compressor, so that SPECTRE guard is probably going to look over here when you start hosing out bursts, there, James Bond.

Don't these people have a Wikipedia article they should be editing or something?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Justice is not only blind, but apparently mentally handicapped as well.

Remember the Marion County Deputy Prosecutor who played a little liquored-up game of "bumper cars" in my neighborhood last year and then resigned?

Guess who got her old job back?

Bonus: She pled out of the DUI and wasn't even charged with Leaving The Scene. Do you think you or I would have gotten the same treatment? (Don't bother answering that question; it was rhetorical.)

I'd say that it's things like this that destroy the public's trust in the prosecutor's office, but that would imply that there was still some public trust left to destroy.

The winning comment so far?
"Maybe the drunk driver is doing community service, was court ordered to work for Carl Brizzi."
I think Brizzi's about ready for the big time. I've heard that talent scouts from New Orleans and Chicago have been spotted around downtown.

Everybody's a critic.

"Touchdown Jesus" Statue Struck By Lightning, Burns To Waterline.

Boy, you don't get irony like this every day.

Like a really big banana republic.

Meanwhile, one really does have to wonder if laws really matter. If it is acceptable for people to illegally cross our borders (and even reward them as was done in 1986), for corporations to defraud their clients and for the government to exempt itself from prosecution for any number of offenses, why should we have to worry about their rules on speeding or gambling or what weapons I can own…or anything else?
It's been getting more and more banana republic-y around here of late. Even the socialism isn't as good as it used to be. Sure, FDR was pinker than a carnation, but at least he had that whole organized Il Duce vibe going on. For the last thirty or forty years, though, everything's been getting ever more slapdash and make-it-up-as-you-go.

Every crisis begets a new government bureau with rules so arcane nobody can understand them and nobody's going to comply properly anyway, since they'll be enforced only in the most whimsical and arbitrary way.

Why don't we just start dressing census workers and TSA inspectors like Turkish field marshals or Peruvian train conductors and familiarize ourselves with the concept of the mordida and get it over with?

I don't get it..

News Flash: Academics are still really really really obsessed about race.
Issues of race and immigration are an important part of the public dialogue.

In today's highly charged political environment, it is easy to latch onto information that buttresses our own point of view and preconceptions.

Actually, Dan, I don't think about it at all. You, however, seem pretty uptight about the topic. Maybe you should go talk to your fellow profs over in the psych department and ask them what that signifies.

Gust front.

The first news we got of the gust front yesterday was the power going out. Bobbi and I went out into the alley and I noticed a tree across a neighbor's power drop. Bobbi got on her cell phone to report it as the first fat raindrops started pelting down, along with leaves and tree branches.

Bobbi was lighting candles in the kitchen, and I decided to go watch the light show on the front porch.

Uh oh.

Turns out that the folks across the alley weren't the only ones with tree issues.

Looks like I'll be hangin' around the home front, waiting for the tree guys.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Props to the ad guys.

The first commercial from The People's Automotive Collective #3 that I've seen in about a year that doesn't suck: "Freedom".

Not that ZiL would know the first thing about freedom, but still...

It's no Dodge Rebellion, though.

Things I didn't know I wanted:

A tape measure calibrated in yottameters.

Just in case I needed to measure any, you know, universes or anything.

(The latter link connects to the coolest thing I have seen on the internets since TV Tropes. Thanks, Matt!)

All charged up.

Guns & Coffee has a review of the BCM "Gunfighter" charging handle for the AR. I know I like mine. When I was trying to run that awful batch of Golden Bullets through my AR, I got plenty of use out of it, too.

Tired: Starbucks. Wired: Krystal.

So Starbucks has announced that they are now offering free wi-fi to their patrons, with a level of fanfare somewhere between that which attended the discovery of fire and the launch of Apollo 11.

News flash, latte breath: You should have phrased the press release as "We're sorry! Please come back! We have free wi-fi now!" and that way you would have regained some of the customers you lost to frickin' McDonald's when they upgraded their coffee to complement their free wi-fi.

Heck, Krystal has had free wi-fi since back when you could still use the internets to worry about whether this mortgage crisis thing you were hearing noises about was going to maybe mess with your 401k.

Glub. Glub.

Two more inches of rain yesterday and last night. More due this afternoon and tonight. The flash flood watches have officially been put out, as the ground is good and saturated.

Flooded fields are starting to be a problem, too, as corn and soybeans don't grow well in rice paddies.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Overheard in the Office:

RX: "The Hayabusa? That Japanese asteroid probe you were just talking about? Apparently NASA was watching it come back."

Me: "What, to make sure it wasn't being followed?"

Creeped out.

I just finished reading Stephen Jay Gould's book Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms, which features an essay entitled "Triumph of the Root-Heads" that goes into zomg creepy detail about the life cycle of rhizocephalans, a sort of underwater version of Heinlein's Puppet Masters that takes over a crab and makes it do its bidding. Ick.

I predict horrible zombie parasite dreams tonight.


Some parts of central Indiana have received over five inches of rain so far this June, and we're not halfway through the month. My zip code has had measurable liquid precipitation for nine of the past fifteen days.

We're nowhere near any record high temperatures, but 90+% humidity can make even the low 80s plenty icky.

If Lysenko were right, Hoosiers would be developing gills just any old minute now.

Let's Play Masters and Servants...

Can somebody explain to me why this jumped-up zoning board clerk is not up on assault charges?

For that matter, is there not a bucket of tar nor a single feather pillow or fence rail to be found in all of the District of Columbia?

I expect more decorum from my local dogcatcher.

Listen, Congressman Antoinette, I think you have forgotten for whom you work.

Good thing the media is all over this scandal!

(H/T to pdb.)

With that little brain activity, how do they remember to breathe?

Every now and again, you stumble across a statement on the internet that displays such a profound lack of mental agility that you wonder how its author mastered, not the word-processing program, but the On/Off button on the computer.

Random Nuclear Strikes quoted a winner from the HuffPo comments section the other day, on the increasing gap between pulic- and private-sector wages:
The chief difference: public employees are doing necessary work while private employees are trying to convince use of what brand of pickles to buy.
This guy is so dense that if he were a liquid, gold would float on him. Light bends when he walks in the room. The guys in the Army R&D department are trying to figure out how to make projectiles out of depleted him.

I'll grant you that there are employees on the public payrolls whose services we would miss sorely if they were to suddenly pull a Left Behind, at least until we could come up with replacements; on the other hand, there are also vast swathes of bureaucrats whose absence would only be noticed by a lack of red tape stuck to our shoes and a certain extra heaviness in our pockets every payday.

Hey, let's see which one you can live without longer: Your state lottery commission, or the grocery store?

It's not so much an airplane as it is a power drill for the sky.

All high on avgas fumes and with my ears still ringing from thousands of reciprocating horsepower, I went nosing around on Google today and found a cool website, Republic Photo Company, with a whole section of pictures from Reno: Dreadnought. Strega. Dago Red. Rare Bear.

Someday I will get out there to see it live.

Air show photos!

Bobbi managed to grab some spectacular photos at yesterday's air show with her little point'n'shoot!

Oooh! Ooh! Go see! Go see!


Yesterday, Wikipedia drew my attention to the fact that June 13th of 1805 is when the Lewis and Clark expedition came across the Great Falls in Montana. It turns out that most of that part of Montana was, once upon a time, covered in big ol' lakes of meltwater from the last glaciation, being at the southwest corner of the Laurentide ice sheet as it was. This glaciation period is interesting to Hoosiers, because it was the big bulldozer that left this state nice and flat and fertile and covered with all of Canada's topsoil.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Quick notes on the day:

The chief RSO at Iggle Crick had brought along his Baughman-ized 4" S&W Highway Patrolman, with a 7-shot cylinder set up for moon clips. It made me feel all tingly and avaricious inside. Especially after I ran a cylinder of smokin' Federal 125gr SJHP through it.

I will never again worry about going to see the Blue Angels or the Thunderbirds. You kids can have your guys in their nomex poopy-suits with their flying tea kettles. The Indy air show had The Horsemen doing their thing: A flying threesome of P-51D's locked wingtip-to-wingtip, looping and spiralling and turning and flat-hatting it over the airfield. If you have never had a trio of Merlins in full song come roaring only a couple hundred feet over your head, you don't know what you're missing. If I found out that the only way for me to keep those 1650 cubic-inch V-12s running was to drive down to the Gulf and hand-paint pelicans with crude oil using a bucket and a brush, I'd do it.

If you like planes, and The Horsemen are performing in your neighborhood, go and see them. Seriously. It is frickin' transcendent.

Promises, promises...

Kevin claims to be putting a final polishing on his latest epic tl;dr. It's almost done. Really.

I will note that his explanation for the delay runs to nearly eleven hundred words. :p

A Public Service Announcement:

If you want to end it all, nip off quietly by yourself and do it, okay? Don't get in a big shouting match with your spouse about how much life sucks and how badly you want to kill yourself, and then storm out of the house with your loaded gat, because your spouse is going to call the cops, and they're gonna show up and you're gonna point your heater at them...

...and they're just going to wing you, and now you're in the hospital with a bullet hole in you and a slam-dunk felony conviction just waiting for them to disconnect all the IV tubing. Good work, Sparky. You're still alive, your life is screwed up far worse than it was before, and you've generated a crap ton of annoyance and paperwork for a whole bunch of other people whose lives would have been much better if you had just gone into the basement and kicked a stool over with an extension cord around your neck. Jerk.

The plan malfed! Transition to your backup plan!

Shootin' Buddy having lost two tires to the angry roofing nail gods, this morning's plans have gone askew.

I reckon I will proceed to Iggle Crick on my own stick for my weekly dose of shooty goodness.

Later today, however: Yay! Airplanes!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fallen into the internets.

pdb tipped me off to a blog by a cop called "Raindogblue".

The style is absolutely hypnotic. Very sparse. Kinda poetic. I just looked up to see that I was 45 minutes into the archives. You should check it out.

Saddest panda.

How can this graphic be so wrong when it feels so right?

Astroturf, indeed. Maybe they could have a Mono Mom March this year?

Wait, what?

They're remaking The Karate Kid?

Look, the original was a fluke. It cost, like, a dollar ninety-five to make and never should have done as well at the box office as it did. They should have let it lie; taken the money and ran.

But no. First they had to make a couple of the most execrable sequels in Hollywood history and now, in a summer so bereft of original content that we'll be forced to watch Oskar Schindler giving drug-laced milk to B.A. Baracus, they're releasing a remake starring Will and Jada's kid and Jackie Chan, both of whom are no doubt receiving paychecks larger than the entire shooting budget for the original movie.

Does this make sense to anybody? Anybody outside Hollywood, I mean?

(And speaking of Liam Neeson, how's that for the downward half of a career arc? From Schindler's List to The A-Team? I'd open a vein.)

What to type about?

Uh, it's raining...

That's all I got for now.

I'll go check the news and see if anything funny is happening.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Stood and delivered.

Practically everybody and their brother has gotten their say in on the Cheesehead who got relieved of his open-carried gat in a stickup.

Fred at Guns & Coffee would like to remind pontificators before they hoist their respective banners that, since the toter in question lived in Wisconsin, it was open carry or no carry at all.

Scratch the right spot to find a statist...

Bazbeaux Pizza in Broad Ripple, the greatest pizza restaurant in the known universe, had a fire in their kitchen last night!

They have 17 “traditional” toppings (including carrots and jalapenos) and 37 “exotic" toppings (from andouille sausage to crab meat to pine nuts) and they may have to restock them all! Ladies and gentlemen, there is a fire station right across the street but due to... er, something or other that I don't know or understand but probably having to do with budgets or science, it doesn't have fire trucks, just rescue vehicles, and therefore Bazbeaux's kitchen burned until the sprinkler system put it out. This is a travesty of a sham of a mockery of a sham of a travesty!

Forget oily pelicans in Louisiana, we need squillions of federal dollars, as well as fresh pine nuts and andouille sausage, right here in Broad Ripple, pronto!

I felt a great disturbance in the internets... though millions of dating advice sites cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced:
(Side note: if you have to complain like that about the opposite sex, it’s generally because you’re only capable of attracting lame members of that sex. So remember that when you bitch about how all women are ditzy golddiggers or all men are uncaring slobs. They aren’t. The good ones just don’t want you.)

(H/T to TJICistan.)

Mother of all leaks...

A plan to use a MOAB to plug the Gulf oil squirter:
Using a MOAB to seal the BP pipe.
And, really, who cares if it works or not? Massive amounts of high explosives, like little girls and butterflies, need no excuse.

Bonus points if the person who gets the honor of pushing the button says "Hey, y'all! Watch this!" right before detonation.

The human condition.

Apparently, to be human is to yearn, to strive, to live, to love... and to really, really suck at disaster planning and risk estimation.

(H/T to Random Nuclear Strikes.)

George Washington slept here.

Well maybe not George Washington. Not even Grover Cleveland or Millard Fillmore, actually. But the 21st Century's answer to Jimmy Carter did!

And you can, too!

You'll note that the Barry O. cachet is not worth a rent premium.

Lost in time.

Between writing about 19th Century rifle sights at the computer with an M1914 Mauser pistol lying on the desk by my elbow, and sitting on the front porch reading about the British and German buildup to the Great War, I've occasionally been mildly surprised to find myself in 2010 rather than 1910.

If you liked The Guns of August, you'll love Dreadnought. In many respects, author Robert K. Massie out-Tuchmans Barbara Tuchman in making the goings-on of a far-off place and time accessible. By focusing more in depth on a narrower cast of characters, and by following the Anglo-German naval arms race as a barometer of the approaching storm front that was to hit Europe (as Jackie Fisher so eerily predicted) in August of 1914, the author has kept my nose stuck in this literary dagwood (~900 pages in softcover) for coming on three days now. Although some of that may be due to the side-trips to my copies of Jane's Fighting Ships and The Metal Fighting Ship in the Royal Navy: 1860-1970. (The latter tome is, BTW, practically the definitive work on the subject and if you are so geeky as to be fascinated by pre-dreadnoughts, it's a must-have. I found my copy in Chicago while browsing the stacks at Powell's with Shootin' Buddy. It was such a treat that I literally rationed it to myself, only letting myself read a few pages a day to draw out the enjoyment.)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I did not know this.

There is an entire TeeWee series about the security force at the Mall of America entitled Mall Cops.

They have not yet covered Food Court Team Six, but I am awaiting the inevitable fast-roping rapid deployment of retail security specialists as soon as skaters are sighted.

This is maybe the most awesome thing that has ever been on television. Did you know that the elite Mall of America security force has its own bomb-sniffing Cocker Spaniel? I nearly lost continence at that point. I guess you had to be there...

The "Battle of the Sexes" is not a First-Person Shooter.

A video game where you shoot men for making lewd catcalls is every bit the moral equivalent of a new fighting game called Bitch Had It Comin'.

The whole idea is made of wrong and fail.

Okay, that is funny...

What if Ayn Rand wrote a screenplay for Conan the Objectivist?

I LOL'ed and LOL'ed. :)

You have to clean guns now?

15,000 rounds of Wolf + 0 cleaning = 1 filthy rifle.


Thread drift...

A post at TJICistan ("notes on morlocks") had a comment thread going that quickly veered, by way of Golgafrincham Ark B, into Galt's Gulch. Brian Dunbar wrote:
The harder the government squeezes, the more wealth the productive class will hide. If really wealthy will offshore first their wealth, then themselves.

From the government’s point of view the money disappears into the 4th dimension – can’t track it, can’t benefit from it. From the Man’s perspective ‘going galt’ and ‘playing hide the money’ have the same affect.
Which caused me to reply:
I will point out that we have an “income tax” and not a “wealth tax”.

Also that “the productive class” and “the wealthy class” are not synonymous. The Kennedys, for example, are very wealthy, and yet produce little except red tape and dead drunks, neither of which trade very well in a free market.

Si y No.

Mexico "reiterates that the use of firearms to repel a rock attack represents a disproportionate use of force, particularly coming from authorities who receive specialized training on the matter," the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday in a news release.
Uh, look here: This isn't a game of "Rock, Paper, Scissors." When young Fernando Valenzuela winds up and flings a rock at you, it's not going to bounce off some magic force-field generated by the Glock in your holster; it'll crack your skull open as handily as it did any of your Australopithecene ancestors. Rocks are lethal weapons, just like knives, guns, two-by-fours, and any number of other things.

Now, as to the fact that video suggests the Border Patrolman may have pulled a Charlie Askins and shot a fleeing person who wasn't chucking rocks at anybody, well, that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish. Let him get his day in court.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

As it turns out...

...there are rules for Arguing on the Internets, and LabRat has them.

It's funny 'cause it's true!

Channel surfing...

Og said:
Yesterdays elections showed some interesting changes of opinions in the nation. It is obvious that everyone wants “change” again, possibly with a little less “hope” this time.

Question is, change to what?
I replied:
Who cares?

I’m ready to start “channel surfing” at this point. Show me a program I want to watch or I’ll keep hitting “NEXT” every other November ’til you do, bitches.

QotD: Why Johnny Can't Work edition.

Bobbi in response to an op-ed from an edjumacator:
"A living wage?" Nope. Minimum wage in Indiana follows the Fed numbers and AFAIK, there's no promise that it'll be enough to live on.

--Ol' buddy, ol' pal, minimum wage laws are what keep a lot of your students from havin' part-time jobs: a loving and benevolent government has priced them out of the market. Add in the skills your members are failing to teach them and it's a recipe for...

Why, my goodness me, it's a recipe for making ignorant and unfounded assertions. Well, at least they won't be able to express them with sufficient fluency t'get published in the paper...


Selective outrage.

So Chris Brown, convicted of felony girlfriend-beating, has been denied entry into the UK. The reason given was:
"We reserve the right to refuse entry to the UK to anyone guilty of a serious criminal offense," said Barbara Woodward, director of the UK border agency's international group. "Public safety is one of our primary concerns."
Okay, that's understandable. He's a jerk with a proven history of violence. He might leap off the stage and start beating somebody in the audience and we wouldn't want that.

What I wonder, though, is why the same concern about the safety of the citizenry isn't displayed with certain other entrants?

You kids today, with your hipping and your hopping and your Orwell...

I confess that I'm not entirely sure who Lindsey Lohan is. I am going to assume from the picture of her standing in front of the MTV Awards backdrop that she is shallow, vain, self-obsessed, and has all the fine sense of public decorum of a civet cat on methamphetamine; in other words, a celebrity of some sort.

I also assume that, since it is announced that she is on probation for an alcohol-related offense of some sort, she has at some point committed a gaffe that the LAPD could not in good conscience ignore, like driving a Ferrari through a shop window, throwing up on a fashion reporter's Manolos, or pulling Britney's extensions out in a drunken catfight.

I will note that, for her sin(s), she is apparently not only tagged like a migrating harp seal, but that said tag contains a miniature HAL 9000 unit that monitors her perspiration for evidence of alcohol, and finks on her if it detects a trace, like a digital Gladys Kravitz with 911 on permanent speed dial.

I like technology as much as the next kid, but may I say that the implications of stuff like that creep me right the hell out?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

I have been finked upon.

As Caleb noted this morning, I have entered the world of dead tree gun journalism. I am doing the back page column, "Ballistic Basics", for Concealed Carry Magazine. You should subscribe and stuff.

You may rest assured that this doesn't mean that I am going to start wearing Hawaiian shirts and pointing guns at myself or using terms like "acceptable combat accuracy" or "reliable after a break-in period" as a synonym for "wretched, pulsating ball of suck and fail".

Have you ever seen such a sight in your life?

Photo by Oleg Volk.

Behold, the Buffington rear sight of the Springfield M1903, an intricate steel tribute to the Camp Perry mafia.

Just what every Doughboy wants atop his rifle in a muddy trench: A frickin' slide rule that should come with an instructional DVD. Or you can leave the rear sight flat and try and align that teeny nick of a battlesight (see it? it's on the slide facing you,) with the shark-fin razor blade front and try and guesstimate hold-under @ 100, (which is measured in feet, by the way.) Is it any wonder that so many Springfield front blades show signs of attention with a file and a bottle of cold blue?

The receiver-mounted aperture sights on the M1903A3 and the M1917 "Eddystone" are so much more useful it's not even funny.

Right in the X-ring after all?

You know, for a show that was roundly pooh-poohed as being a lowest common denominator, watered-down show for non-shooters, Sunday's inaugural episode of Top Shot is still generating a phenomenal amount of Monday-morning quarterbacking among shooters here on Tuesday morning.

See if you can guess the topic of discussion on tonight's episode of Gun Nuts Radio. Ready? Go!

It's not always about "fighting your way to a rifle."

A hoary cliche in the shooting community is the old saw, usually attributed to Clint Smith, about "using your pistol to fight your way to the rifle you shouldn't have left behind in the first place." Which is all fine and dandy, except sometimes you're doing things that don't allow you to get both hands on the gat, as BangBangMedic points out:
This makes the 9mm perfect. I can be treating a casualty, and if somebody breaks through security, have a weapon on them immediately and still be able to work with one hand. I'm a fair pistol shot, Ive qualified expert each time.
It's an interesting post from someone with boots on the ground.

Green hell.

The Kokoda Trail on the island of New Guinea was the site of some of the nastiest, most miserable fighting of the Second World War and hikers have recently stumbled across one of the many little battlefields that made up the campaign, all overgrown with jungle:
The site about half a mile from the village of Eora Creek was believed to be the location of the last major battle that was pivotal in Australia’s campaign against the Japanese in Papau New Guinea.

Although the site was known to local villages, jungles reclaimed it after the battle of Eora Creek. Although locals hunted on the plateau surrounding the site, they avoided the 600-square-meter battle ground because of a belief that spirits of the dead were still present in the "lost battlefield."
Very sensible, those natives. The spirits of the dead, known by my people as "unexploded ordnance", almost certainly haunt that battlefield. Let's hope that the amateur archaeologists have half the sense of the locals.

Monday, June 07, 2010

I saw it on the television...

I watched History Channel's Top Shot last night and was pretty impressed. I'm not much for reality shows, having never actually watched one before, so the whole "voting people off the island" thing was kinda new to me. I guess they play up the whole high school drama thing ('I like you. Do you like me? Circle "Yes" or "No" and tape your milk money here.') for ratings, though, because I reckon audiences dig on it.

For those of you who watched it and haven't much experience with old rifles, an interesting factoid is that the v-notch battle sight on the M1903 Springfield is set at 547 yards, the theory being that, if you hold on the belt buckle of an enemy soldier standing anywhere between 100 and 547 yards, the bullet will hit him somewhere between his hat and his trouser fly. (And if you hold dead center on an 8" bull 100 yards away, your POI is going to be... er... a little high.)

...are experiencing technical difficulties. Please...

Oh, hi!

Sorry 'bout that. Blogger went kinda toes-up there for a bit.

I was resigned to actually taking a day off from blogging. Now I have to think something up. In the meantime, (and in lieu of any actual content): Look! A squirrel catapult!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The sixth of June, 2010.

It seemed to be a good day to buy a gun from a WWII vet. (The same guy I bought the Dreyse 1907 from at the last show; he kinda remembered me, towards the end.)

It's a Great War-bringback Mauser 1914. It's been re-blued, albeit nicely, and needs a striker (I'm guessing it probably spent time in someone's shadowbox: "It's okay, Edna, I took the firing pin out. The grandkids can touch it.")

I probably could have chipped a couple more bucks off the price for the absent striker but, hey, he's a WWII vet, and as far as I'm concerned, the events of this day sixty-six years ago earn him a couple extra bucks in my book.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

I don't know why...

...but this made me laugh and laugh: Mutual of Omaha's Mild Kingdom.

Maybe you had to hear Bobbi do it in person, but I LOL'ed 'til my face hurt.

I don't know what to say...

I... I had... strong feelings for a mediocre little Mauser 1914 in .32ACP at the show today.

I may have to go back for it.

Among other contenders for my hard-earned dollar...

One guy had new S&W M&P-15/22's for $435 OTD. Another had a bunch of 2nd gen po-po trade-in Glock 22s for $350 cash. If the latter had been G17s or G19s, I might have bit, just to have a beater gun, although that would have necessitated trying to score an Advantage Arms .22 upper, too.

If I bought a G22 w/no finger grooves, I wonder if I could find someone with a G19 who'd want to trade? I need a .40 like I need a hole in my head...

Fun Show today!

Sometime around noon I will depart to prowl the aisles at the Indy 1500.

The dynamics of gun shows are well on their way to coming full circle. Most started off as ways for collectors to meet and ogle each others collections, swap guns, and sell off excess pieces. Over time, new guns, accessories, ammunition, and all manner of other things shoehorned their way in. Desperate to fill table space, some show organizers even let people set up tables full of Beanie Babies or whatever, which triggered an inevitable backlash.

Two things changed this.

First, the virtual elimination of "kitchen table" FFLs in the 1990s meant that new guns at gun shows were no longer cheaper than they were at brick and mortar gun stores, because most of the sellers now were brick and mortar gun stores. Contrary to popular belief, transporting inventory to a show, renting tables, and paying staff overtime to man them means that selling them cheaper than you would back at the store is not really a winning business plan. And if it's just a common used gun you're looking for, there are probably a hundred for sale on GunBroker.

Which brings us to the second big change: the internet. I used to go to gun shows looking for ammo and accessories and parts and books, but nowadays you can get almost all that stuff off the internet any time you want to, and frequently cheaper.

Pretty soon, the only good reason to go to a gun show will be to buy some beef jerky and browse up and down aisles of antique Mausers and old Smith & Wessons. Which is kinda why I go in the first place, actually. I sure won't miss the Beanie Babies...

"Smile! You're on..." BIFF! KAPOW! BAM! OOF!

Friend Staghounds has mused that someday, and in the not-too-distant future, all police will be wearing a small camera that functions much the way the dash cams in patrol cars do now, documenting Johnny Law's transactions with the public.

I think that documentation that ensures everybody's story matches is a good thing, and even after that happy day, I don't think it would be out of line for the good citizens of this land to document their own interactions with the constabulary. You know, if there are two sets of recordings, it's less likely that one will be... lost.

Of course, pointing an audiovisual recording device at your friendly neighborhood policeman during official interactions is actually illegal in some places, which is inane. The only place where there's less expectation of privacy than standing in the middle of the street enforcing the public law on the public's dime is maybe under Janet Jackson's bra on the fifty yard line.

(H/T to Unc.)

Friday, June 04, 2010

Off the shelf...

I just finished reading He Who Dares, the account of "Soldier I's" service in the SAS. It was notable for two things:
1) It's the first account I've read from one of the guys who was boots-on-the-ground for Operation Nimrod, and...

2) It's the first first-hand report of a caning I've read that was written by the canee. Heinlein's Starship Troopers made a whipping seem like no big deal by comparison, but when a guy who has survived SAS selection and the odd gunshot wound describes six strokes as nearly unbearable, well, I'm going to believe him.

Overheard at the Gun Store:

"Tactical" trousers, as Les Jones has pointed out, seem to be the (excuse the expression) Hot Topic of conversation among gun bloggers lately.

Peeking through the windows onto the range at CCA during the ICE training course a couple weekends ago, I remarked to Gunsmith Bob that "If I had a dollar for every cargo pocket out there, I could buy a new Glock."

It did look like fun, though...

Top Shot preview:

The Little Giant has a link up to an extended 11-minute preview of Top Shot.

Lots of groovy, super-slow-mo "bullet time" stuff.

Dear PepsiCo:

I have two complaints regarding your 12-can "Fridge Paks" or, more precisely, the packaging thereof:

1) The combination of kevlar-reinforced cardboard and rather unenthusiastically-exectued perforations mean that the package is only about one percent more likely to "tear along dotted line" than at some random angle across the box.

2) Perhaps the engineer in charge of the design of the box was available cheap, due to his degree being from a third rate school on some Caribbean island whose only other export is novelty postage stamps, but someone should take him aside and explain the concept of "stress risers" to him. Having the perforations for the opening travel vertically downward for about two-thirds of the box before making a sudden, 90° turn to the front means that, when the kevlar-reinforced cardboard finally starts to give and the tear proceeds downward, it is going to ignore the suggested turn and continue straight down, leaving the (now very unhappy) customer with the whole front of the box in her hand and cans of Code Red Diet Dew bouncing off her toes.

If we could attend to these deficiencies, please, I'd be ever so.


QotD: Journalism edition...

Joanna does a bang-up post about the four kinds of lies and which variety you're most likely to hear coming from your TeeWee speaker at six and eleven:
Journalism is a sacred calling, reporters are workers in the service of the greater good, and nothing can get in the way of that -- not even facts.
Fake but accurate, indeed.

Carry your damn guns, people.

pdb brings the lessons from Cumbria:
  1. There are no dangerous weapons, only dangerous people.
  2. Dangerous people may come for you anywhere, at any time!
  3. Dangerous people don’t have to be that dangerous when they prey on helpless, neutered pacifists.
  4. You are on your own! The police may be restrained by lack of testicular fortitude or bureaucratic sanction. Their only official job is to count the bodies, not to actually protect you or your loved ones.


I have to agree that the performance of the authorities was abysmal. If you are going to disarm your subjects like inmates in the maximum security wing of the loony bin, then you had best step up to the plate when something like this goes down. You refer to self-defense as "vigilantism" or "taking the law into one's own hands"? Well, if you're just going to leave it lying on the ground with the corpses, somebody needs to take it into their hands.

Okay, sometimes this goes waayyy too far.

I understand that it takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent's fritters, and that there are about as many different ways to make whoopie as there are stars in the sky, but understand this: When someone yells "Rumplestiltskin! Rumplestiltskin!", then the midget in the clown suit needs to put down the bullwhip, because the scene is over.

I don't often venture into the "justice" subsection at, and every time I do, I'm reminded why.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Dueling Weltanschauungs.

It's a tag team cage match!

In this corner, wearing guarded optimism and faint hope, The Comeback Kids!

The only conclusion we can reach is that the Long March Through The Institutions has effectively destroyed the Institutions.
Gramsci was wrong, at least for America. We don't care about Intellectualism, and never have. All the dreaming and wishing that America "becomes more like Europe" is empty. Not happening, at least on this side of the Atlantic.

...and LabRat:
It’s the usual collection of Republican fauna, but I HAVE noticed one very interesting thing, which is that they are all alike in very distinct fashion: they are doing their damndest to court the Tea Partiers, or at least going well out of their way to not piss them off. There’s even a distinctly… dare I use the word… libertarian flavor to their campaigning, up to and including calling each other out for their respective establishment backgrounds. They’re practically shoving each other out of the way to be the one to say most loudly “government is based in the consent of the governed” and similar such things.

Meanwhile, in this corner, wearing cynicism and bitter experience, the Won't Get Fooled Agains!

My thought was:

“None of this is going to end well.”

Not a bit of it. The economies, the governments, the factions of people and beliefs. It’s beginning to feel as inevitable as gravity, decay or entropy and I find it aggravating and disturbing…it seems to be moving at a disturbingly increasing rate and there are still a lot of people who seem to think that some magical pixie is going to show up, wave a enchanted wand and make it all better. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for magical pixies, most especially the ones you see after consuming a good deal of vodka. However, I don’t believe that one is actually doing to show up and wave away a thirteen trillion dollar national debt or swat Kim Jong Illin’, Ahmadinejad or Bin Laden off to Neverland.

...and Billy Beck:
There are many alive today who satisfy themselves as "Americans" even as they remain ignorant of things that were being lost before they were born -- "free spirits" who were tattooed with federal numbers on traditional paperwork and who have never worked a day in their lives without accounting their very existence in dollars to the law. Their grandfathers could build houses if and where they wanted to once they had accrued the moral authority (that's "money", kids) to do it: these people can barely un-flatpack a bookshelf, but at least they wouldn't have to beg zoning permits for that.

All four are wicked smart, some of the best writers I've found on the tubes, and each of those four posts is worth reading in its entirety.

You should do so.

Can't wait?

Can't wait for Monster Hunter Vendetta? Advance copies are available in electronic (as opposed to dead tree) form here.

Hoofed Rats.

The Wikipedia article states that:
Gray wolves, cougars, American alligators and (in the tropics) jaguars are the more effective natural predators of adult deer.
Silly Wikipedia! Everyone knows that the Ford F-150 is the most effective natural predator of whitetail deer, followed closely by H. sapiens bubba.

...and there ain't no GONDA.

Donate to any political organizations your boss might find distasteful? From the HRC and NORML to the NRA and NRLC, there are plenty of volatile issues whose quiet advocacy or fiscal support people might want to keep on the down-low at work or around their neighbors, something that will be impossible if Chuckie Schumer has his way.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Bonus points... the first person who spots fowling pieces being referred to as "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in the British press in the next 24 hours.

When camouflage fails... can always try the tactic of being made out of pure weapons-grade cute-onium.

On "Three". Ready? One... Two... Awwww!


Gaming the system.

Does it make me a bad person if, when I saw this, the first thing I started doing was trying to game out countermeasures?

I can think of three or four.

(H/T to WesternRifleShooters.)

Fundamental disconnects.

1. Banning objects doesn't work. If people get a mad on and decide to off some folks, nothing is going to stop them. If they can't get a gun, they'll make a bomb. If they can't get a bomb, they'll run amok in a classroom or train car with a cooking implement. It's a punk's game and you can't win it.

2. Group punishment is not something that applies to free adults. Unless you are in Cell Block D, Mrs. Krabapple's third grade classroom, or Recruit Training Platoon 101, then punishing, penalizing, or in any way inconveniencing Person A for the malfeasance of Person B is a BS non-starter, okay?

3. Lastly, contrary to the maundering of that idiot Limey poet, I am an island; get it? There are quite literally billions of individuals on this planet whose demise would not diminish me, (or you, for that matter) in the slightest. If anything, going into spasms of hand-wringing and what-shall-we-do? over the death of someone you never met and never would have met actually strikes me as a little disrespectful to the people who actually were diminished by their death.

Well, obviously...

...they should ban guns some more over there.

I mean, it's worked so well in Chicago!

I know it gets bad around here sometimes...

The other night I could hardly hear myself think over the sound of Christians blowing themselves to Heritage U.S.A. in the local post office.

I had never noticed the sound before, but Travis Smiley opened my ears and my mind!

I wonder what color the sky is in his world?

...and every morning he hitches the horses to the chariot of the sun.

CNN's poll question this AM bugged me:

The only options for "How is the White House handling the oil spill?" are Poor, Fair, and Good. There's no "Why is it the White House's business, again?"

Contrary to Chris Matthews' opinion, we did not elect a national Priest-King, but rather a sort of CEO. Looking at the user's manual for "USA v. 1.1", the only responsibility I see for Barry here is in having his justice department prosecute the offending party if they don't clean up their mess.

Really, it's okay for a sparrow to fall, or even get a little oily, without the Sun King in DC being forced to tend to it.