Sunday, October 31, 2010

This is the end, beautiful friend, the end...

Generic Motors' Excitement Division officially flatlined today, although they'd pulled the feeding tube out last year, back when GM became Glorious People's Red Banner Automotive Plant #5.

It was kind of sad.

I've owned three Pontiacs: A '70 GTO, an '84 Firebird Trans Am, and an '86 Fiero 2M6 SE. All three were fun cars, but there was no doubt that by the '80s Pontiac had largely lost its way, becoming mostly just badge-engineered GM products with a lot of wings, fake scoops, and bulgy ridged plastic body cladding that looked like it had been dreamed up by hormonal high school boys during study hall.

Oh, sure, there was the occasional standout, like the 6000 STE of the early '80s, or the late-'80s Bonneville SSE, and there was always the perennial Firebird, but it didn't make up for flubs like the Aztek or the Trans Sport *hawwk... spit!* minivan-fer-gossake.

It was kind of sad because, there in the last model year or two, Pontiac showed signs of emerging from the wilderness. The Australian-sourced G8 sedan was one of the most vicious four-doors ever offered in America. And the new Solstice roadster was genuinely interesting; everything that the public was led to believe the Fiero would be, except it actually delivered.

But with the US auto industry in a tailspin, it was too little, and too late.

At least they saved Cadillac. Here's something I never thought I'd say in all my years of being interested in fast cars: There are some genuinely badass rides coming from Cadillac these days.


(H/T to TJIC.)

Stuff...

1) Thanks to awesome local guide Mark, I got to see the Kancamagus Highway from the passenger seat of a schweet 'Vette today. It was a great road (and, having lived only a handful of miles from The Dragon, I'm not easily impressed); I'd love to fling the Zed Drei down it someday. I had fun navigatoring from the passenger seat. The scale of the map was hard to figure at first, since up here in the Northeast, you can't swing a cat without it entering into interstate commerce.

2) While one end of the Appalachians looks pretty much like the other, New Hamster is oversupplied with postcard-perfect lakes, and the little towns are almost painfully twee.

3) It is snowing. But just enough to impress us tourists.

4) You don't get many trick-or-treaters in Hell-and-Gone R.F.D. The wild turkeys jogging across the road did not ask for candy, but did look moderately annoyed at being made to hustle by traffic.

Pair o' Sightings...

Bobbi has a post noting that the commercial from Dan "RINO" Coats, wannabe Senator (R-IN), which I mocked the other day, appears to have been filmed at a couple of locations in my beloved Broad Ripple neighborhood.

I hope he wasn't bitten by any of the local fauna. The squirrels and raccoons are pesky enough around here without them coming down with a bad case of politicus candidatus. Instead of chewing on the house and digging up my feeble attempts at gardening, they'll be burying their ACORNs in my mailbox and tearing the trash bags open to stuff them full of glossy four-color campaign fliers.

Today In History: Did you have a friend on the good Reuben James?

On this day in 1941, the wicked Huns torpedoed and sunk the USS Reuben James, the warship of a neutral nation that was just minding its own business, innocently escorting the merchant vessels of a belligerent power while they transported a cargo of war materiel. The country still somehow managed to work itself into high dudgeon over the incident.

Woody Guthrie wrote a song about it, yet no matter how hard he strummed his guitar, it didn't kill a single fascist, not even the gimpy one in the White House at the time.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bookworm...

Marko pointed out the location of the local used book store here in Upper Cryogenica, and suggested I stop in when I had a chance. "Don't believe what you see from the street," he swore, "it's like a clown car; a lot bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside."

And he was right. This bitty little town has a slammin' used-book-o-rama.

Added bonus? There was, misfiled in the SF/Fantasy section, a pristine copy of Florence King's rare and valuable historical bodice-ripper, Sex and the Saxon Churl The Barbarian Princess. I already had my own copy, but I snatched this one up by pure reflex, since you never know when you'll find one.

I figure it will make a suitably eccentric gift for my host & hostess. (After all, the Latin is correct: Remember, it's not "Desiste!", it's "Desistite!" because gang rape takes the plural.)

Yes, and...?

I just got an email from the NRA with the header "VOTE!"

I didn't even open it because I was sure there wouldn't be a way to reply "TOO LATE!"

(..and, having just typed this, I realize that it is fraught with double entendres.)

...and it's a dessert topping!

Keads points out the awesome multipurpose functionality of the Gadsden flag!

Speaking as someone who just got her Wookie suit back from the dry cleaners, I heartily approve. :)

Hmmm.

Gunsmith Bob refers to anything north of the Potomac as "Far-Off Frozen Cold North Yankee Land".

I guess the snowflakes drifting past the window as I type this could be entered into evidence as "Exhibit A".

That was interesting.

I rarely get a good, straight-forward monster dream, but I had a doozie last night, complete with all the good monster dream paraphernalia: the rags of cloud scudding across the full moon, the old graveyard, the hordes of dead-eyed shambling zombies, and the creepy vampire kid that looked like a three-foot Chuckie doll with fangs.

Shootin' Buddy was in it, and at one point was explaining some abstruse politico-historical point to me while I was rolling around on the floor and yelling "Will you get this zombie off me?!?"

Friday, October 29, 2010

Because NYC's gun regs weren't tight enough already...

There are cities in America that deny their residents the most effective means of self-defense even more strictly than The Big Apple, such as Chicago and Washington DC and... uh... Chicago...

Anyway, New York City, whose current firearms acquisition process makes the court protocol of Justinian the First look as transparent and simple as the Flat Tax, is apparently mulling over adding a new set of flaming hoops through which prospective gun owners must jump. Among other things, they plan to deny duck guns to people with too many parking tickets, since a proclivity for double parking is apparently a sign of a poor ability to handle one's fowling piece.

Additionally, lack of "good moral character" is on the list of downchecks. Traditionally, this has been used in other jurisdictions as a code phrase for "excessive swarthiness" or "donated to the wrong candidate in the last election", but surely the good burghers of Gotham are too pure and incorruptible to... to... BWAHAHAHAHA! sorry, got carried away there... too pure and incorruptible to use this vague requirement so capriciously.

Further, permits will be denied for having been fired for "circumstances that demonstrate lack of good judgment". I'd be willing to bet that plenty of current NYC firearms permit holders showed a lack of good judgment by buying and selling bundles of mortgage-backed securities which were in fact backed by nothing more than the full faith and credit of the people who made Flip This House a hit TV show, but since few of them have been fired, their permits should be safe.


(H/T to The Travis McGee Reader.)

I went into the woods because I wished to live with dachshunds...

So these are the famous New England woods, so lovely, dark, and deep, way out past where Jesus left his sandals on the road less travelled...

When it's sunny, I feel the urge to live deliberately, like Thoreau, but with dachshunds instead of ants. When the clouds and drizzle come, I instead feel the urge to write about shoggoths shambling about in pet semetaries.

Looking back over the history of American literature, I have to reach the conclusion that if you can't write out here, you can't write.

Dog bites man.

Apparently, Ozzy Osbourne's DNA suggests that he has an h. sap. neanderthalensis in the woodpile.

This is my shocked face.

Missing the point...

Via Michael Silence comes this gem from noted Constitutional law expert Roger Ebert:
How about a $1,000 reward for anyone who can find the words "the right to pack heat in a tavern" in the Constitution?
Boy, Roger, I thought you only sucked as a movie critic; I didn't realize that you'd flunked civics, too.

Look, I'll tell you where that right is to be found: The Tenth Amendment. You see, as the Tenth makes plain, the Constitution is not a comprehensive list of our rights; it is, rather, a short list of powers that we, the people, have delegated to our employees in Washington.

Roger, think of the Constitution like you do the little list of scutwork you leave for your underpaid Costa Rican housekeeper. Now imagine Congress as Rosita. We've left a little list saying "Rosita, you can coin money, make treaties, deliver the mail, and dust the china cabinet." Nowhere in the Constitution have we written "Rosita, please tell us where we can pack heat." As a matter of fact, we put a little PS on the document saying "Rosita, stay away from the damned gun cabinet!!!"

If you're one of those people who just gets their jollies off on being told "verboten", the Constitution really isn't your kind of document, so stop trying to read it that way. (Rosita has a friend, though, who will be happy to tell you "verboten" all you want for $200/hr., all major credit cards accepted.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dachshunds: The great canine optimists...

I sat down at the desk here to check my email for the afternoon, with a plate in front of me containing a couple of rolled-up hors d'oeuvres, consisting of rolled slices of smoked chicken breast and yummy cheese, when I felt my ears burning like someone was talking about me behind my back. I looked down, and at either elbow was a dachshund staring raptly towards the plate with a gaze to make an eagle look myopic.

"Y'all know that I'm eating over a plate, and the plate is on a desk, and nothing is likely to fall to dog level, right?"

They didn't blink. Not once. Not until I was done and had carted my dishes to the sink did they stir from their sphinx-like poses. It was uncanny.

I'm used to dogs that beg. I'm used to dogs that ignore you. I'm even used to cats that will magically levitate to food-level and offer to fight you for your grub. But this dead-silent, absolutely single-minded scrutiny was almost unnerving...

City Mouse, Country Mouse, City Mouse...

So I went from living on a houseboat in the far outer fringes of the ATL Metroplex to the trendy urban environs of Virginia Highlands to a quiet lakefront cottage on the outskirts of Knoxville (where, as I used to brag, I could fish off the front porch and hunt off the back,) to the bustling, artsy neighborhood of Broad Ripple in Indianapolis...

And now I'm visiting at Marko's famous Castle Frostbite in Upper Cryogenica.

It sure is quiet here. And it's awfully dark at night.

Having grown up in the 'burbs, I find I have no taste for them anymore. Either I want the nearest chi-chi gourmet grocery two blocks from my front door, or I want to be five miles from the nearest grocery co-op and ten miles from the closest zoning law.

Maybe I'll go bust some caps in the back yard this afternoon...

One thing I noticed...

...about flying is that I can never be a professional traveler.

In these days when checking luggage costs money and the process for getting on the plane is something between an Estonian Square Dance and the delousing procedure at a Nazi summer camp, your pro travelers seem to fly light. Maybe a quarter of the passengers on my flight actually checked any luggage at all.

However, nearly everything I carry with me as a matter of course, from multitools to pocket knives to pistols, is verboten in today's unfriendly skies, so I am doomed to be in the minority that still stands at the baggage carousel playing luggage roulette, and hoping that their suitcase didn't wind up in Kamchatka by way of Cleveland.

Rip Van Winkle of the Skies.

Yesterday's post was written with my dinky little Eee balanced on the dinky little tray table of a dinky little US Airways Embraer 170, winging through the air at 31,000 feet on the first leg of my journey from Indianapolis to New Hamster.

I hadn't flown commercially since... oh... I guess the mid '90s. Let's put it this way: The last time I flew commercially, I sat in the smoking section of the plane and my friends met me at the gate.

As a result, yesterday's airport experience was like a cross between 1984 and Brazil.

The folks at Indy's Weir Cook Airport were all totally nonchalant about checked heaters. As a matter of fact, I stood around in the TSA holding area while they checked my bag, and chatted with a guy who was on his way to Front Sight.

The flight itself was fine. I declined the $5 tin of almonds.

Things are stirring here at Castle Frostbite. More later.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gettin' my Wookie on...

So I went down to the City-County Building yesterday to vote. The fact that I felt compelled enough to participate in this November's National Upchuck that I actually paid six bucks to park had me in a pretty irascible frame of mind to start with. What happened when I got to the Palace of Government, however, really made me get my Wookie on.

The security checkpoint at the front door is only marginally less intrusive than that at an airport, in that you can keep your shoes on, but it lacks the warm, courteous efficiency of the TSA. I had divested myself of my heater, my pocketknife, and even the dinky little knife on my keychain, with its fixed blade all of an inch long, When I saw that they were making people remove belts, I began to worry that they might freak at the sight of my empty holster. The truth, however, was even worse.

The security guard scrutinized the tray containing my keychain, pointed a finger in it, and growled “What's this?”

Oh, crap, what's she freaking out about? I wonder whether it's the dinky plastic Glock or the paracord monkey fist, with its 3/4” steel core. Following her quivering finger, I see that she's pointing at...

“That? That's just a WiFi detector. You push a button and it lets you know the strength of any WiFi signals...”

“They won't let you take that in,” she snapped.

“Wha... why?” I stammered back.

She called her supervisor over. I identified it for him, too. “Uh-uh,” he shook his head “They won't let you take that in.”

So I went back to my car, and threw my entire keychain, except my car key, and my belt and empty holster into the trunk.

I went back into the checkpoint, stripped of a dumb RF receiver, and was allowed through with two transmitters (cell phone and Bimmer key fob) not to mention a pressurized incendiary container full of highly-flammable butane.

Pulling my stuff out of the tray, I looked back at the guard and asked, as sweetly as possible, “So, where do I go vote... for whoever's gonna fire you?”

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

57 Channels (And Nothin' On)

Remember when infomercials were something you only saw if you fell asleep on the couch watching the local UHF station and woke up with a stiff neck at 3AM?

Now they're all over the place, and in broad daylight, too. Cable channels, major networks, smack dab in the middle of what used to be prime cartoon or soap-opera or bass fishin' show time. (I vaguely remember that the bass fishin' show was the official signal that cartoon time was over on Saturday mornings, and it was time to go outside and play. After helping mom dust or vacuum, of course.)

And what is it with the supernatural fad? There's historical ghosts on the history channels, scientific ghost detecting teams on the science channels, ghosts in scenic locations on the travel channels, and dog ghosts on the nature channels. Has the country gone stupid while I wasn't looking, or is this something to do with the fascination folks have lately with zombies and werewolves and sparkly emo vampires? When did the undead hijack the zeitgeist?

Here's an idea: If you don't have anything to show on your TeeWee channel, turn it off until you do. They used to do that every night, you know. They'd run out of stuff to show sometime after Johnny Carson, and so they'd play the national anthem and show something patriotic, like jet fighters zooming across the screen, and then they'd turn off their station and serve up a test pattern until they had more good stuff to show the next morning, like Scooby Doo.

It's a twister, Auntie Em!

Well, call me a big ol' chicken, but I think I'm going to wait for this front to pass on by before I do my daily errands.

The thought of driving around in the middle of a tornado warning appeals to me not at all.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Today In History: Winners write the history books...

...and Bill Shakespeare wrote the most inspiring ex post facto pre-battle speech in history for King Harry, who folded the crepes of the Frogs on the muddy fields of Agincourt on this date in 1415:

Hippo birdie two ewe...

My bro Marko is only one year away from that point at which life begins.

A pirate looks at 39? Ninja, please!

Meanwhile, at the other blog...

...there's a new Sunday Smith up.

Check it out. :)

Like the RCA Dog...

My idol, P.J. O'Rourke, has a new book out entitled Don't Vote: It Just Encourages the Bastards and, like always, I cocked my ear to hear my mentor's voice while it was still in hardback...

Unlike most of his works, which are collections of various essays and magazine columns, this one is set up as a conventional book-type-book, with a beginning, middle, and end, all to explain Peej's current view of politics, government, and how he got from being a smelly hippie to where he is today. The finale is a riff on how the Goldwater/Reagan movement got bogged down in the minutiae of Carrie Nation and Pat Robertson and thereby gave the reins of power to Those Who Care Even More:
I am the very model of a Democratic president,
With plenty of ideas vague, expensive, and irrelevant,
What I'm saying may be nonsense but I'm saying it emphatical,
What I'm doing may be lousy but pretend it is pragmatical.
Two vigorous thumbs up. His best look at American politics since Parliament of Whores. And he even devotes, for the first time, a whole chapter to the inanity of gun control!

Overheard in the Office:

RX: (In a silent room, appropos of absolutely nothing) "I think the 'twee' and 'faux' axes are perpendicular, because..."

Me: "Wait, what?"

RX: "Well, I mean, you can have something that is twee, but very authentic, and something that is fake, but..."

Me: "Oh! I thought you said 'twee' and 'FOE'."

RX: "I suppose you could have an enemy that was twee, like..."

Me: "Hang on, this is going on the internet."

For those who haven't seen it...


Call Me Senator from RightChange on Vimeo.

David Zucker flies an Airplane! into Barbara Boxer.

Incumbents delenda est.


(H/T to Sebastian.)

Dreams...

I had this dream last night that whipsawed between nightmare and trivia and farce...

I was working at this convenience store located in Typical Tamara Dream Territory, which looks very much like the coastal Pacific Northwet, for some reason.

Anyhow, this kid we had just hired came in and stuck the place up. Gruesomely. Shot the manager and the other cashier. And when the cops arrived, it turned out that the other kid loitering in the parking lot was his accomplice, because he ambushed both the arriving officers. And then they fled.

And just then this "Mall Security Co." van pulls up, and the sliding door slides open, and these mall cops hop out, but the holdup guy and his accomplice (who look like Coolio and Jason Mewes from Clerks, respectively,) were in the van with them, having apparently paused in their getaway to hijack this van full of armed security guards, which they then executed right there in the parking lot for no reason or anything. And then they fled again.

At this point I was all wigged out, and decided to go home and drink to steady my nerves, but the only thing left in the coolers at the store were margarita- and fuzzy navel-flavored wine coolers, so I bought a bunch.

And I was back at the house, and Bobbi was telling me that my 9mm ammo can was missing, and the new hiree must have stolen it (apparently he'd been over to the house or I'd given him a ride to work once or something,) and I was all "No, no, maybe I just left it in so-and-so's trunk last time we went to the range." She was really agitated about it, but I was convinced it was no big deal. Which is odd for me, because the sudden absence of 500 rounds of 9mm is a very big deal to me, I can assure you, especially if one of the suspects in its absence is a dude who shot up the town right in front of me.

And so I went walking to the neighbor's house to see if I'd left it in the trunk of their car, and it started sprinkling rain, and then hailing; hailstones as big as a baby's fist. And it was at that point that a bunch of familiar-looking dudes in Elizabethan garb walked past, marveling at the hail, and I wondered what William Shakespeare and Sir Francis Drake were doing in my yard, and then I woke up.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quickie Gun Show AAR...

Shootin' Buddy unloaded the T****s J***e that he had bought as a joke back when they first came out. (There is no truth to the rumor that he actually walked the floor of the Indy 1500 with a sign hanging around his neck reading "FOR SALE: T****s J***e! Greatest Revolver Ever Made!")

The Mauser-Vergueiro made with the go-aways.

I re-stocked some .45ACP ball ammo.

Also, there will be a new... er... "Sunday" Smith tomorrow. :)

Missing the point.

Bobbi linked to a piece that claimed climate change would remove haggis from the menu. I found the closing paragraph especially clueless:
Actually, a bigger source of the problem is the meat itself. For those who want to eat haggis and have their planet too, vegetarian versions are easy to prepare and even available canned and ready to serve.
Mm-mmm! Canned soy haggis! Where do I get me some of that?

Look, I've got news for you: If me continuing to eat meat is going to cause the planet to hurtle into the sun, you'd best get to stocking up on the SPF 1 Million, okay?

I'm not sure if this is awesome...

...or if it shambles over the shark: Sears caters to the undead market.

Silly Sears, zombies can't work a web browser! Braaaaiiins!


(via email.)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Naming guns?

I don't. Some people do.

It has a long tradition, as does decorating arms.

Again, I don't necessarily grok the idea behind the decoration or personalization of what are, to me, tools, but that's just me. For all I know, some people dig racing stripes on their Sawzall and have named it "Suzie".

Some guns provide better platforms on which to write stuff than do others. The AR, with its big, flat expanse of magwell, has spawned a whole cottage industry of laser-etching.

You can also get replacement ejection port cover doors with stuff etched onto them, from your branch of service to "Semper Fi" to cute stuff like "Zombie Hunter". I had a fleeting thought that the M.H.I. logo would look kinda cool there, but I got over it; like I said, I'm just not much on decoration. If there was such a thing as a Shaker-styled gun, I'd be on it like white on rice.

I don't know that I'd term it "tacticool", though. I mean, people have been decorating weapons since long before there were malls, or even ninjas to put in them:
"Ha, Beowulf, I notice that your sword says 'Hrunting' in the serpent patterns on the blade. You are such a Mall Berserkr!"
It just doesn't scan for some reason...

Fun Show Today.

I'm about to head out the door for the Indy 1500.

I'm getting the hankering for another Mauser carbine of some sort, and in the principle of keeping things balanced, I'll probably take my Portuguese Mauser-Vergueiro 1904/M39, just in case. Maybe I can turn it into an Argie carbine, and maybe I'll still have the Portugee at the end of the day. Either outcome is fine with me.

Also, I need to restock .45ACP ammo.

Friday, October 22, 2010

At least he meant well...

So, if you think that people are driving too fast down the road in front of your double-wide, what do you do?

Well, obviously you grab your beer in one hand and your pistol (complete with filed-off serial number) in the other and wander out into traffic, waving the pistol around and yelling at those darn kids to slow down...
Drivers told police that the man was in the road with a gun in one hand and a beer in the other, and at one point, the suspect sat in the road with the weapon in his lap.
And then you go to jail.

See, kids? See what happens when you forget the part about "Here, hold mah beer"?

Herding cats...

Roomie is attempting to put the finishing touches on something Blogmeet-esque at her blog.

If something goes down Saturday, I'm in. I can maybe do Sunday, too, if we wind up with one of those things like... whatchacallit... when the French stole the Pope? Schism things. A Blogmeet and an Antiblogmeet, as it were.

Dan Coats courts the Dimwit Vote.

Listen to the actual words here:



Did you get that? That dastardly Ellsworth wants to kick grandma off Medicare and into a government health care program!

At least it's not as stupid as the one that denounces the "Ellsworth/Pelosi/Obama Agenda". Because, you know, the Speaker of the House and the President of the United States pulled quite a few all-night skull sessions with some junior woodchuck Congresscritter from Indiana, getting that agenda all set up.

Just once I'd like to see one of these commercials where you actually hear the script get crumpled up and the voice-over dude yell "No! That's retarded! I refuse to read it!"

I have no intention of voting for Ellsworth, but I'm beginning to feel a lot better about not voting for Coats, either. Judging from his ads, I'm not his target market, anyway.

Reading material...

Another interruption in reading the Heinlein biography has occurred. Roomie just picked up a copy of Lois McMaster Bujold's latest tale of the adventures of Miles Vorkosigan: Cryoburn.

I am very impressed with how well Bujold has handled the life of Miles. Over as many years and as many books and short stories, it's no mean feat to keep a cast of characters interesting. It is especially difficult, in what is basically a huge and extended bildungsroman, to keep the main character growing and maturing and acquiring power and position without accidentally promoting them to God(jg). *coughDavidWebercough*

This being the first new Miles Vorkosigan book in many years, it has been an unexpected pleasure to read, like getting a letter from a friend and finding that they're doing well.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Teaser.

A preview pic of the pistol I took to class last weekend:

Und also ze sense of humor is removed...

In a comments thread over at Pistol-Training.com, somebody noted that he couldn't find recommended intervals for spring changes in his HK45 Operator's Manual. Of course, I couldn't resist typing
*biting my tongue and refraining from commenting on the fact that the HK45 comes with an “Operator’s Manual” instead of an “Owner’s Manual”.*
Cue butthurt HK fanboys in 5... 4... 3...

I did shoot half a mag or so through Todd's HK45 test gun. It was soft-shooting for a plastic .45, and unlike some other double-stacks in the genre *coughGlock21cough*, the grip circumference was smaller than a 2x4.

The trigger, like all these light pre-loaded quasi-double-action triggers do, felt weird to me. There's a great big long takeup with hardly any resistance, then there's some weird sproing-y stuff that happens for a fraction of an inch, and then the gun goes BANG! It was manageable and easy to shoot well, but it'd take me some getting used to.

I'm trying to figure out how this is "news".

The FBI's troubled new system designed to help agents and analysts electronically handle evidence, reports and documents is now about $100 million over budget and two years behind schedule...
Wow, a government program over budget and behind schedule? Who could have seen that coming?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I was cruisin' in my Stingray late one night...

I'm pretty blasé about exotic cars on the whole.

Between living in Buckhead and Virginia Highlands in the ATL, Farragut in Knoxville, and now Broad Ripple in Indy, I'm largely inured to the heavy iron. I've parked next to Lambos at Lowe's, nearly been run off the road by Ferraris on Northshore, and had a Viper GTS filling my rear-view on College Avenue as recently as this past Sunday afternoon.

However, rolling down 54th Street this afternoon and seeing a lemon yellow '69 Charger Daytona waiting to pull out into traffic nearly caused me to drive into someone's yard. I can't remember the last time I saw one of the old winged warriors loose in the wild. I pulled over onto the first side street and watched it go by like a kid at a parade with real live heffalumps.

...and I am sick of being hassled by The Man!

So a guy gets pulled over for running a stop sign. And he has expired plates.

The po-po writes him for the failure to stop, and lets him slide on the plates by offering to follow him home.

As soon as our victim gets to his crib, he lashes out against the jackbooted forces of injustice that have oppressed him, apparently by being all deviously friendly and polite and stuff.

Nice work, Skippy. Way to keep a sense of proportion, there.

Please stay off my side.

Training announcement...

Coal Creek Armory is trying to put together another I.C.E. Combat Focus Shooting class in Knoxville, TN for sometime in November or December. They need ten students to fill the class, so if you're interested, give them a call.

This should be interesting...

Apparently Sumdood, all of a sudden and for no apparent reason, busted up into the garage of a Marion County special deputy and opened fire, interrupting the card game that happened to be going on therein.

The deputy then drew his own heater and proceeded to give Sumdood a rather comprehensive airing out.

It will be interesting to find out if the location and timing was an accident or not. Also, was the deputy using poker chips or real dead presidents?

The rules.

Every so often somebody comes up with another set of firearms safety rules: Once upon a time, there were Ten Safety Commandments for hunters, while the Army had fourteen; there are the Four Rules from Gunsite; the NRA is currently touting Three Rules; now Alan likes a focus on Two Rules.

It's not particularly iconoclastic. It's been done before and will doubtless be done again.

May I propose a Rule Zero? How about let's go with "Don't Be An Idiot." I don't know which rules are in your head, and how many of them there are, but as long as your actions are safe, it doesn't really matter to me.


EDIT: As Earl pointed out in comments, my proposed Rule Zero only works with robots. Alternatively, I offer my own personal Rule Zero, which is "Assume You're An Idiot." I always act on the assumption that I could suffer from a sudden attack of The Stupids at any moment, and handle firearms accordingly, so that the result of such an attack will be embarrassment rather than tragedy.

New gun site...

There is apparently a new gun-related social media site on the intertubes called GunUp.

I saw the news at Kevin's place. Maybe you should go check it out?

Ah, my fair village...

Apparently, the punter for our city's football squadron was found taking the waters in scenic Broad Ripple at 0mygawd30 this morning:
Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee has been arrested by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

Police were called the Water Company Canal at Broad Ripple and College a little before 5:00am Wednesday on the report of a man swimming in the canal.
The guy on the TeeWee solemnly intoned that "alcohol may have been involved." Ya think? You'd have to be near three sheets to the wind to try and backstroke through all that algae and duck crap. Especially shirtless at 0500 on a 40°F Wednesday morning.

Based on his actions, I'd say he was probably as drunk as two IMPD officers, two-and-a-half Marion County Deputy Prosecutors, or three regular people. (The difference between a Colts punter and a local cop or prosecutor? The football player is smart enough not to try and drive.)


UPDATE:
The news is now reporting that his initial breathalyzer result was a .15. Or, as we say around here, exactly one DePrez, which is .04 shy of a full Bisard.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Not to take the cheap shot, but...

President Barack Obama said Monday he is appearing on "Mythbusters," a television series that uses science to separate fact from fiction.
Awesome! Maybe he'll bring his birth certificate!

I herd about this new immunity thing...

LabRat has a very cool megapost on how vaccines work to arrest the spread of disease through a population.

I didn't even need to have my Reynold's Wrap yarmulke on to understand it.

Because there hasn't been a "brown rifle" ban...

The 1994 ban on scary-looking guns was a watershed event in the gun rights community. Disparate elements, ranging from people whose CCW pistol held more than 10 rounds to NRA High Power Rifle shooters whose target guns were blacklisted, found themselves thrown together in a broad-based and politically energized coalition.

There's never been a similar singular national event to unite elk hunters and waterfowl shooters and the guys in the deer woods, and Sebastian ponders that this may be why hunting is still suffering from the death of a thousand cuts while the broader gun rights scene is retaking ground at a ferocious pace.

I hate floppy holsters.

I have something I need to get off my chest on the topic of holsters: I hate floppy holsters. I especially hate floppy inside-the-waistband holsters.

A holster needs to be at least semi-rigid, or have some reinforcement around the mouth of the holster, so that it will remain open and gun-shaped even while the gun is not in it. This is important so that the gun can be re-holstered one-handed.

You need to be able to re-holster the gun one-handed. This is not for any special ninjy reasons, but for safety. If you have to hold the holster open with one hand while you try and put the gun away with the other, there's practically no way to do it without pointing your gat at your own hand, especially if you're in a hurry or flustered, like you've just gotten off the phone with 911, say.

Even worse are the people I've seen who kinda force their flattened holster open by pressing the muzzle of their pistol sort of diagonally into their own love handle before wriggling the gun down into the holster. Imagine how that would play out: The bad guy's run off, the sirens are getting closer, the 911 operator tells you to put the gun away, and *BAM!* you shoot yourself right through both kidneys. That's a pretty serious social faux pas, right there.

The only safe way to re-holster using one of these things is to remove the holster itself from your waistband, get it onto the gun without pointing the pistol at yourself in the process, and then stuff the whole assemblage back where it belongs. Or you could, you know, just get yourself a holster that lets you put the gun away without endangering yourself.

QotD: Politics edition...

Jim at The Travis McGee Reader wrote an open letter to the Tea Party that concluded with this piece of awesomeness:
Please cleave to the notion that The United States of America is not really a place, wonderful though that place is. It is not an adaptation of Roberts Rules of Order, however important procedures may be. America is an idea, and that idea is liberty, the ultimate sovereignty of the individual human being in his private affairs.
The whole thing is a gem, and worth reading.

Not that I think it has a whelk's chance in a supernova of happening, Jim, but from your lips to God's ears...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Four Seasons?

So, apparently between "Summer" and "Winter" here in Hoosierland comes "Late Summer", as well as "Early Autumn", "Indian Summer", "The Weatherman Lied", "Autumn", "Indian Summer II", "I Have No Clue What it's Doing Now", and "Late Autumn".

As best I can tell, this place has twelve or maybe fourteen seasons.

Recovering.

The fingers on my right hand are sore and tender. So's the palm. My right shoulder is sore, too. I forgot to put any kind of sun protection on my lips.

Other than that, I'm feeling surprisingly chipper. I think I'll take a pass on raking the front yard today, though. Maybe it will rain a little to keep me from feeling guilty about it.

Cutest. Ever.

Robb Allen introduces his little girl to the joys of shootin' with an air rifle.

Judging from the pictures, if she'd been any happier, she might have exploded or something.

I don't get it...

So there's a wrong-address no-knock in Montgomery, AL. In the aftermath, they:
Left a mess, too, and so far, not so much as an "Ooops, sorry" from the department, either. They've given themselves until 5 November to complete their internal investigation; no ETA on home repairs on North Union Street.
Now maybe this is just me, but you'd think they'd have had somebody there tout de suite, pressing a fistful of dollars into one of her hands and a very comprehensive release into the other, because when stuff like this hits the local news, evil creatures from the back covers of phone books rise to the surface and begin to circle as the sky turns an ominous shade of legal-pad yellow. It seems to me that this is one of those instances where "The right thing" and "The CYA thing" merge into a seamless no-brainer, but I'm not in local government, so what do I know?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hurt so good.

So, yeah, I was the last-place shooter in the class. Going by my best run on the FAST drill, I shot "Basic", missing an "Intermediate" score by one one-hundredth of a second. But more importantly, I know why.

Further, I am going to go so far as to say this: I learned more about using a pistol to put fast, accurate hits on target in those 16 hours and ~900 rounds of .45ACP than I have in any other previous formal firearms training setting. (But without that previous training, this class would have been worse than useless to me.) Todd's skills at pedagogy are 1337.

My hands are sore and raw in places. I have a blister on my shooting hand in a place I've never had a blister on my shooting hand. I came in last place out of eight shooters, with a best run of a mediocre 10.00 seconds, clean.

But you know what? Despite being sunburned, tired, aching sore, and otherwise generally beat to hell, my last run at the FAST to close out the class was far and away the best I did all weekend, and I know how I can do even better, and why. And that means I learned something, and that is why I go to school.

It's all zen and stuff...

I had started reading the fantastic new Heinlein biography and had gotten as far as young Lieutenant Heinlein's transfer from the USS Lexington to the destroyer Roper, but I set it aside to fall asleep reading through some of the more woo-woo sections of my well-dog-eared copy of Shooting from Within, and dream good positive dreams of myself shooting rilly, rilly well.

We'll return to young Heinlein tonight. After I shoot rilly, rilly well while I'm awake.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Quick notes from Day One...

I am well on the way to being beat up. An all-steel 5" 1911 with a checkered frontstrap in a high round count course will give you a workout.

This is a shooting class. This is not a warrior combat ninja tactical training class. The emphasis is definitely on making fast, accurate hits safely with a pistol; I do not believe that shooting from rollover prone while chucking flashbangs through a second-story window is going to make it onto the curriculum by tomorrow night. If making fast, accurate hits safely with a pistol is a skill that you think might come in handy when doing warrior combat ninja tactical stuff, well, it just might be worth looking into, no?

In the last two years I've taken a course with Todd Jarrett and two with Louis Awerbuck, just to give my frame of reference, and I have to say that Todd Green is a phenomenally good instructor. He takes separate, discrete skills, like letting your front sight drive your shooting tempo, the press-out, a good draw, and a fast and smooth reload, and gradually plugs them together like Legos over the course of the day so that, by the close of Day One, they're all dovetailing into a seamless whole and you're doing stuff you couldn't have done that morning. I saw an I'm-not-exaggerating-here DRAMATIC increase in the quality of my shooting between 9AM and 5PM, despite the fact that my hands were shaking like a palsy victim by dinnertime.

And yes, I am Todd's Special Needs pupil, dammit. Oh, well. If I already knew it all, why would I need to go to school?

Bang bang shoot shoot learn learn.

Heading out the door soon to go to Iggle Crick for the first day of "Aim Fast, Hit Fast" with Todd Green. I've never met Todd before, but he comes pretty highly recommended.

Going to a class, I always have two thoughts running through my head:
  1. Please let me be safe and not screw up.
  2. Please don't let me be the "Special Needs" student.
I'm hoping to learn how to shoot better at speed. I'm an adequate pistol shot, but the wheels come off pretty quickly if I pick up the pace too much; Todd is supposed to be one of the go-to guys for this particular skillset, so I'm looking forward to it.

More later...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Exhausted.

Just back from the Indianapolis zoo.

I saw giraffles and heffalumps, and I got to pet a real shark!

The tiger exhibit was closed, which made me sad. But the new cheetah exhibit was awesome, and made me happy! You could squat down nose-to-nose with a great big kitty on the other side of a pane of glass. Befitting their feline nature, they seemed as curious about me as I was about them.

There were meerkats.

Bobbi took pictures.

More later.

Just Say No...

...to Terry Curry, apparently.



Around 2:45 in the video is where Curry launches into a litany of whiny Brady Bunch gun-grabber talking points, from variants on the "easy availability of guns" and "Indiana's loose gun laws" memes to the old canards about "assault weapons" and gun show "loopholes".

Remember, kids! "Loophole" is just a weasel word for "Legal activity I disagree with"!

Sorry, Curry, you just firmly and finally lost any chance at my vote. Now I have to decide between the guy with the very creepy ad campaign or my perennial favorite candidate, Ms. None Of The Above.

Overheard in Roomie's Bedroom:

The TeeWee reporter was reminding the viewing public that the vaccination deadline for Indianapolis Public Schools students was drawing nigh, which caused Bobbi to pipe up:
RX: "...and remember: if your child doesn't have its shots and bites someone, it'll have to be put down."

Sleazy politics...

So one of the first things I saw this morning as the TeeWee cut on in alarm clock mode was this commercial:



Boy, that's a sleazy little hit piece, no?

Don't vote for this guy, because he represented a child molester!

Hey, why don't we go one step further and deny accused child molesters any legal representation at all? As a matter of fact, let's just skip the whole "trial" thing. If a kid says that you touched them in their special naughty place, we'll just have a cop drag you behind a barn like Old Yeller. Would that be good enough for Mark Massa?

Well, thank you for the commercial, Mark; you just convinced me that you don't have the moral character for the job.

I just have one question for Curry: Would you be the kind of prosecutor who goes after good citizens that have the temerity to use their legally-owned firearms in self defense, just to score some political points?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Because I just have to say it...

The continued sales success of the Taurus Judge and its spinoffs is the most damning condemnation of the general firearms and ballistics knowledge level of the average American shooter that I have ever seen.

There; I said it. I feel cleansed now.

The strangest thing happened here yesterday...

Water fell out of the sky.

I heard this used to happen sometimes, but it hasn't here in a long time.

Anyhow, it messed up our plans to go see the giraffles and the heffalumps. I think we'll try again today.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

More Pet Peeves..

More stuff that sets my pet peeve to snarling and lunging at the end of its chain:
"While you were poring over those old manuscripts, I made you jump by pouring soup over your head."

"I baited the hook and waited with bated breath for the fish to strike."

"If you walk straight down that dark alley, you'll wind up in dire straits."

Editors and Proofreaders (ha!) of America, I thank you in advance for your attention to these matters.

Overheard in the Office:

RX: "These people going on about gun safety regulations are always worried about small children. And adults, which are like small children..."

Me: "Except usually drunker."

RX: "...and you have to worry about them putting small parts in their mouth, too."
Meanwhile, Sebastian flips out a little over a vintage ad for the Iver Johnson Safety Hammerless revolvers, the one that has the girl snuggling up with an old "Owl Head" top-break like it was a Strawberry Shortcake doll.

As I mentioned in his comments section, it was a different world back then; safety hadn’t been invented yet. Her daddy’s about to tell her to put the gun down and run down to the shops to get some laudanum for momma and a couple of ceegars for da. It’s a thousand wonders the human race survived through those barbarous times, no?

Nowadays, of course, the little girl could tell teacher that daddy made her hold the gun, and festivities would ensue...

There are squibs, and then there are squibs...



...and here you thought a squib load in your .38 was a bad thing.


(H/T to CTONE.)

Mystery AFV...

Over at Lagniappe's Lair, this video was posted...



...and trying to figure out what manner of AFV that is is killing me.

The video's blurry and, as usual, the vehicle looks like it's from the Joad Army, being piled with the worldly belongings of pax and crew, and that makes it hard to get a good look at the silhouette. Long, shallow glacis; low-profile turret set kinda rearwards... The gun's too small for an MBT's main gun, but too big for most IFV's. The skirts and road wheels aren't right for a BMP-3...

I am totally tortured.

EDIT: Wait. It looks like a Swedish CV90. Nevah mind.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

QotD: Liberty edition...

From Mark Alger, because it's my blog and I can have as many Quotes of the Day as I want to:
LIBERTY IS A BINARY CONDITION like pregnancy. You can't be "just a little" pregnant. You either is, or you ain't. There's no shades of being free.

QotD: Economics Edition...

I found these here:
"Asking liberals where wages and prices come from is like asking six-year-olds where babies come from."
– Thomas Sowell

"The New Deal began, like the Salvation Army, by promising to save humanity. It ended, again like the Salvation Army, by running flop-houses and disturbing the peace."
– H. L. Mencken

Bring the noise...

Thanks to the drought, the firing line at Knob Creek this fall was a constant dust cloud, instead of the usual mud pit. I got a few shots during a cease-fire:


Check out that Vickers!


When the line goes hot, the wall of sound is unbelievable. It's like a physical presence; it fills the air so there's no room for your voice, no matter how hard you try. It's a constant roar of money being turned into noise, occasionally punctuated by a cannon or the RRRRRIIIPPP!!! of a couple-second-long burst from a minigun tearing up targets downrange like the finger of an angry god.

Mm-mmm.

Breakfast at Cafe Pretenchou with Shootin' Buddy. Roomie, who had been up all night reprogramming warp cores, came along.

The food was good, as always. The sleep-deprived entertainment was pretty droll. She was singing in the car on the way back, new lyrics to "If I Only Had A Brain", but kept faltering at the lack of an easy rhyme for "repugnant".

Gilded lillies.

Did you know that the ancient Romans painted their statues? That's right; those plain white classical marble statues you know so well were originally dolled up in technicolor like a Third World Jitney cab.

This is a roundabout way of explaining why I've never been a big fan of engraved guns. Once I'd got to the point where I understood what went into getting the steel and the wood just right, with flat flats, round rounds, even joins, and clean corners, it seemed to me that engraving just got in the way of appreciating the craftsmanship of the actual gun itself.

Up to now, the only engraved firearm I've ever looked at with lust in my heart was a deeply engraved Broomhandle Mauser I saw at a gun show in Lawrenceville, GA some 15-odd years ago. That was before Breda posted pictures of this funky side-by-side fowling piece the other day...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Marketing fail.

So apparently there is a company selling new secure entry setups to banks. Something of a cross between an armored fish tank, an airlock, and a prop from a dystopian science fiction movie, these entryways allow one person at a time to enter, and don't unlock the inner door unless the entrant is cleared by a built-in metal detector and the outer door has been closed.

All issues of legal CCW aside, this looks like a tremendous hassle. Further, rather than communicating safety, it tells me that my branch is located in such a dangerous area and is in such constant danger of violent robbery that they deem maximum-security techno-gadgets from the set of Minority Report to be a worthwhile expenditure, so I should probably bank elsewhere if I don't want to wind up as an extra in the climactic gun battle from Heat.

Did nobody run this by marketing?


(H/T to Unc.)

My world turns with an audible click...

William Gibson used to be a writer of science fiction. In the '80s, writing on a manual typewriter, he coined the term "cyberspace" in the near-future trilogy that began with the book Neuromancer. His second set of three books, beginning with Virtual Light, was set in an even nearer future: our world, but balkanized and seemingly suffering from some global depression that had emphasized the gulf between the haves and the have-nots, with some prototype nanotechnology thrown in to give it that "SF" flavor. And this most recent trilogy is only "science fiction" in the sense that we are right now living in a pretty science fiction world.

I just finished reading the third book in that set, Zero History. It was a little poignant to see the word "iPhone" on the page of a William Gibson novel...

What caught me even more off-guard was something that happened on page 213:
"Sleight had arranged for us to have a look at a garment prototype. We'd picked up some interesting industry buzz about it, though when we got the photos and tracings, really, we couldn't see why. Our best analyst thinks it's not a tactical design. Something for mall ninjas"

"For what?"

"The new Mitty demographic."

"I'm lost."

"Young men who dress to feel they'll be mistaken for having special capability. A species of cosplay, really. Endemic. Lots of boys are playing soldier now. The men who run the world aren't, and neither are the boys most effectively bent on running it next. Or the ones who are actually having to be soldiers, of course. But many of the rest have gone gear-queer, to one extent or another."
You expect this from Mike Williamson or Larry Correia or even Oh John Ringo No, because they are, when it comes down to it, us. They're as immersed in the internet gun culture as their readers are. But William Gibson? He's an auteur from the Pacific Northwet who whiffs faintly of patchouli at times.

I was a moderator at GlockTalk almost ten years ago when one "Gecko_45" showed up and posted a bizarre thread that has now injected a piece of jargon so deeply into the cultural zeitgeist that it has bubbled to the surface as an actual plot element in the latest novel by probably the most literary and laser-gun-free SF author writing. Weird.

Anyhow, fantastic book. Recommend!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Boys will be .55 caliber antitank rifles...

The Rifle, Anti-Tank, .55in, Boys shown below was on the table of the guys from Ohio Ordnance Works, home of the semiauto M-240 and regular attendees at our local Indy 1500 gun shows.

The nearly pristine Japanese Type 99 light machine gun slightly behind it and to the left can be yours for the low, low price of $12,500!

BONUS! Boys Anti-Tank Rifle Training Film!



The stuff you can find on the intertubes...

Steampunk and Powdersmoke...

Want to increase your carbon footprint by ten percent at a rate of about four hundred rounds a minute? Did I see some solutions for you!

Just in case the brass "Bulldog" Gatling from U.S. Armament didn't turn your crank, if you'll pardon the pun, there were some lovely Gardner guns in .45-70, too.


U.S. Armament is apparently also the company to which you should turn if you have a yen for an adorable breechloading 50mm Krupp mountain gun. And it's pre-1899, so no paperwork necessary, as long as you don't hanker after firing anything other than solid shot.

(The 50mm uses fixed ammunition, like your .22LR only much bigger, instead of a separate bagged powder charge and shell. I'm pretty sure that not even Old Western Scrounger has ammunition, so it would be a reloading-only proposition...)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Love for sale...

Something they were selling at Knob Creek: brand new Anzio Ironworks 20mm bolt action rifles. For those days when a wimpy little .50 BMG won't cut the mustard...

Overheard in the restaurant...

Continuing the theme of me not dealing well with change:
Me: "Huh. Waffle House has 'wraps' now. That's just not right."

SB: "They're responding to market forces. I thought you liked that kind of stuff?"

Me: "I had a hard enough time getting used to non-smoking Waffle Houses. Now they have 'wraps'. What's next? A sushi bar? It ain't right. You kids today with your raccoon coats and your phone booth stuffing and goldfish swallowing. Get offa my lawn!"
I had steak and eggs, medium rare and up, with hash browns scattered, smothered, covered, peppered, and cooked crispy. You don't eat a wrap at a greasy spoon. It ain't right.

A point of baseball order:

I know it's very trendy and fun to talk about Barry breaking the economy, but it's worth noting that the closer doesn't get the Win when he comes into the game with a lead.

The game's been going on so long that I can't remember the starting pitcher, but I think it was either Wilson or T. Roosevelt, and they had a strong bullpen full of middle relievers...

Friday, October 08, 2010

Overheard in the parking lot...

Me: "Yeah, the minivan over there belongs to a family that I guess was here to see their kid graduate from basic or AIT or whatever. He was in his class A's... I didn't realize that the wars had gone on so long that we were down to the Volkssturm. He looked 14!"

SB: "He was probably 19..."

Me: "He looked like he was barely old enough to be out of Webelos and he was a PFC!"

You know you're getting old when...

Are they trying to turn me into a paranoid militia kook?

"We're going to make this much more difficult for you if you don't cooperate."
And, hey, it's legal. You have no expectation of privacy in public, as the 9th Circus just reminded us. By extension, there is no problem with an FBI agent standing outside your door and tagging you like a migrating harp seal every time you want to run to the 7-11 for a bag of chips, and warrant be damned.

Are they trying to start a fight?

Led spaghetti.

MattG has been on a hunting trip out in Children Of The Corn country.

While out there, he got to take a field trip to the Hornady plant.

Neat-o! I'm jealous.

"Hey, Doc, this horse don't seem to be recoverin'!"

"Well, shoot it in the head again."

Dig faster! You'll get out of that hole eventually!


(H/T to ThunderTales.)

Don't threaten the rednecks.

My friend Jenny writes on the Battle of King's Mountain. (In which battle every native East Tennessean had a distant kinsman who was a participant. Just ask them.)

It's definitely worth a read.

Han shot first.

Or did he?

Let's see what happens when we splice the Zapruder film back together in the correct sequence:

"What time is it, boys and girls?"

"It's machine guns and great big explosions time!"

That's right, it's Knob Creek time this weekend. I'll be headed south today with Shootin' Buddy so as to hopefully take in the Patton Museum at Fort Knox again (and this time not forgetting my camera,) before going to the shoot proper tomorrow.

While I'm at the gun show there, I'm hoping to find
...a rapid-fire variant of lower part of the AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle, a type of firepower component that was outlawed in America for a decade before then-President George W. Bush and a Republican-controlled Congress allowed the assault-weapon ban to expire in 2004.
...because that would be awesome. Hopefully it'll include the shoulder thing that goes up.

Then I'll mutter and seethe in inchoate rage, as I hear and pass along strange, racist conspiracy theories about socioeconomic factors that are far over my little peasant head, what with its prognathous jaw and hint of an occipital bun... Or at least that's what Will Bunch would have you believe I'll be doing there.

Shootin' Buddy likes to refer to Sunday's NPR entertainment as "liberals sitting around and feeling better than you," and that's the exact same vibe that comes out in the writings of Bunch, a guy who writes about the hinterlands west of the outer suburbs of Philly (and their inhabitants) with the same mixture of patronizing pity and repressed loathing that characterized the journals of Victorian Brits roaming the backwaters of the Zambezi. Want another sample?
And on that human level, the common denominator I found time and time again was fear -- whether it was folks whose jobs vanished when they were in their late 40s and early 50s who turned to Glenn Beck or a group like the Oath Keepers to figure out who to blame, or people seeking an outlet for their "discomfort" over a rapidly changing America that had so suddenly placed a black man with an unorthodox life story in the Oval Office. But in a group setting, raw fear can get masked by bravado crossing the line into hate.
I half expect him to tell his readers that they need to help these poor befuddled haters, that they need to Take Up The... er, White Man's Burden, as it were.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Tell me how this happens...

In California, a guy stole an always-on radio transceiver with a built in GPS locator and somehow managed to elude the cops. Have the detectives thought about asking Verizon where he's at?

Talk about being torn: I mean, I think the thief should receive an appropriate punishment, like getting beaten senseless with a sock full of marbles, but at the same time it's nice to see that spooky Big Brother tech isn't instant and infallible.


(H/T to Unc.)

Get a room, please.

When I moved to Indiana, one of the first things I noticed was that the local Bureau of Motor Vehicles was surprisingly efficient, well laid-out, clean, and ...very tastefully decorated.

Now, you can be as queer as a purse full of kittens, and that's cool with me; it's a free country. However, if you're taking the taxpayer paycheck, then you've got to be, like Caesar's wife, above reproach. I don't think you should get much in the way of passes on breaking the law when your paycheck comes from the folks who make it.

BREAKING NEWS!

ZOMG! FREEWAY SHUT DOWN!

Remember that I-70 closure I mentioned the other day? Yeah, well, that's today, and let me tell you, the morning news crew couldn't be happier if a drunken sports superstar and his supermodel girlfriend crashed his private jet full of orphans into a shelter for stray kittens operated by nuns. They've got mast cams, choppers in the air, breathless reporters at every off-ramp and crews sticking mics in the face of the pissed-off crowd at every truck stop...

We don't get hurricanes or earthquakes much here in the midwest, so we've got to make our own little disasters to keep reporters happy.

Those better be some pretty bushes, that's all I have to say.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Kind of like the first flower of spring...

...is my first good chill of autumn. You know, the one where it's cool enough at night that you've broken out the quilts already, but you really haven't got around to turning the heat on in the house yet, and you venture into the attic or basement and find yourself needing a cup of coffee in the middle of the afternoon to warm up?

Ut-bay ot-nay oo-tay ight-bray...

Dear sir,

You are obviously a fantastic shot and have cojones the size of grapefruit. However, your demo tapes didn't show me anything at all about your skill as an instructor, which is the position we are trying to fill. Further, and to put this as gently as possible, your demo tape proved that your sense of judgment and risk management could be equaled by a rabid chihuahua.

Sincerely,
I. Piazza, DCM, FWCM, XYZ, PDQ, ETC



(H/T to Unc.)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Summer of Recovery, my butt.

August’s numbers, released a few minutes ago by the Census Bureau, continued the bad news that started in late spring with a sharp downturn in demand. New orders and shipping both dropped significantly in August, making it the third month of declines in four months...
If we keep recovering at this pace, the only sectors of the economy that will show any growth will be street corner retail pencil sales and windshield cleaning services.

Our brave, new, common-sense-free world.

The Indianapolis airport has a "cell phone lot" where you can sit and wait for the person you are picking up to call and let you know they've arrived, instead of driving around and around like you have a trunkful of ammonium nitrate and a case of buck fever.

While sitting in the lot, Ben Swenson noticed what appears to be a bizarre artifact of our modern American bureaucracy, which is getting to the point that it makes the politics of ancient Byzantium look like the student government at your local high school.

You are likely to be mugged by a grue.

I'm about to sound like a whiny hippie for a moment, so bear with me:

Why does the internet want to shoot people so badly?

Seriously. In nearly every internet gun forum, you'll find people spinning these fantasy "What if?" scenarios:

What if you're at the mall and a bunch of guys with ski-masks come barging in with AK-47s yelling "Allahu ahkbar!"? What do you do?

What if you're in a convenience store and some meth-head
(apparently handily identified by a floating label reading "meth-head" and an arrow) comes in and sticks a gun in the cashier's face? What do you do?

What if you're at home and a bunch of gang bangers mistake your house for that of a rival and cross your property line and start yelling threats and waving their cheap .25's and TEC-9's? What do you do?
And when you reply with things like "I run like hell," or "I keep quiet and try to be a good witness," or "I call the police," or "I don't think the Trey Deuce Crips know anybody in my subdivision," then they try and craft even less ambiguous scenarios like
What if you walk into your daughter's bedroom and there's that escaped axe murderer that you just saw on America's Most Wanted and he's standing over her bed with the axe raised? What do you do?
and they don't want to hear "I don't have a daughter," or "Why didn't my burglar alarm go off?", they want to have a discussion involving brand names of guns and whether you carry spare magazines and weights of bullets and suchlike.

And this completely baffled me and I was ready to ignore it and go back to playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare on my Nintendo DS when it hit me: All this is, is a text-adventure first-person-shooter. Zork meets Counterstrike. Bored guys on the night shift with a bit of keyboard time and touch of Walter Mitty. And suddenly it all made sense.

Monday, October 04, 2010

All tyranny is local...

Roberta X offers her commentary on the tickets in our upcoming elections.

Incumbents delenda est.

Brilliant!

Hey, I have an idea! Let's close a significant stretch of interstate in a major city, from the perimeter highway to the heart of downtown, on a weekday from, say, the start of morning rush hour to about an hour after close-of-business... so that volunteers can plant pretty trees and bushes on the roadside!

I swear to Ishtar, you have got to have a government to do stuff that dumb; market forces alone can't provide stupid in sufficient quantities.

I had a dream last night...

...that I had gotten rid of the Zed Drei in exchange for two cars from my younger days: A '67 Coronet and a '79 280ZX. Madcap roadtrip adventures ensued.

It's amazing how vivid the memories of driving those cars were, considering I haven't seen either of them in fifteen or twenty years (and why those particular two out of all the ones I've owned? After all, it's been my 924S that I've pined for the most...)

I woke up, however, glad that all those breakdowns and mechanical problems were safely in my dream.

Also in my dream was an abandoned beach house for some reason. And I got a new seat for my bicycle, but it was covered in cloth and I spent half the dream worrying it would get rained on and be all soaked and ruined...

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Gratuitous gun pr0n...

Blackfork has a beautimous picture up of a nicely worn set of target diamonds on his K-22.


(For those not conversant in S&W geek-speak, that means oversized target stocks, or "grips", of the old pattern, the one with the diamond in the center of the checkering, on a medium-frame target .22 revolver.)

Meanwhile in Lafayette...



They always have the best headlines up there...

So this guy was out of prison for all of two weeks (having served less than half of an 18-year sentence for robbery and carjacking) before he's tearing down subdivision streets on a moped, firing shots at a jogger?

A moped? For real?

(Small scooters in Indiana usually indicate an HTV, or Habitual Traffic Violator, since anything under 50cc doesn't count as a motor vehicle. It is considered rude to say things like "Sorry about your license!" when passing one of these rolling roadblocks, especially since the operator apparently might be a trigger-happy convicted felon...)

Food Court Team 6 in action.

When the 911 dispatcher asked the Costco Loss Prevention Specialist if he was watching Erik Scott on camera and the mall ninja replied that, no, he was in "full observation", I sprayed soda on my screen.

Ah, the Retail Security Operators of America, watching over us shoppers, their charges, like gods!

What lessons can we learn from this, other than it might not be a good idea to go heeled in public while on prescription painkillers?

When the store manager comes up and so much as asks "Is that a gun?" respond politely that yes, it is, and yes, you are licensed to carry it and, should even the faintest hint of concern flicker across their face in response to this, apologize and leave. Leave right then.

Do not sermonize. Do not give them the text of the 2nd Amendment, several choice Ted Nugent quotes, and two stanzas of Lee Greenwood, all in a red-faced and agitated tone, because while you're doing that, the pimply cop wannabe is going to be on the phone with the real cops, telling them that there's an "agitated man with a gun" in the store, and that's just not going to end well.

I know that I don't want the last words I ever hear on this planet to be:
14:16 (Unidentified Officer’s Voice(s) in Background): “Put your hands where I see them now, drop it, get on the ground, get on the ground...”

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Handy safety tip:

If any action you're about to perform causes you to wonder "Is this going to blow my fingers off or send hot gas and shrapnel into my face?" you should probably stop right there.

I'm just sayin'...

Words can kill.

TACTICAL GUNFIGHTING II
Course Description: In this class, you will learn Spetznaz-developed techniques to hone your gunfighting warrior combat mindset. Prepare to open your mind as you leave the square range behind and enter the Real World. Big Boy Rules apply.
Translation: You're going to spend the weekend getting guns pointed at you by any IT guy who could swing the entry fee, all while under the casual supervision of an instructor who spent three years repairing trucks in the Air National Guard and had two years experience as a reserve deputy before discovering that some training DVDs plus an NRA Instructor certificate equals a lucrative side income.

Next thing you know, there's video on YouTube showing some MOLLE-encrusted chiropodist from the 'burbs pointing his picatinny-festooned AK clone at God and everybody as he puffs his way through some drill or another, and when someone points out that, you know, maybe he shouldn't be doing that, the owner/operator of our soi-disant gunfighting academy puffs up and spouts off with all kinds of stuff about warrior mindset and the illusoriness of safety bubbles and Big Boy Rules. Perversely, this winds up attracting as many customers as it repels.

I mean, hey, real warriors train by shooting past each other, and we shot past each other, ergo we're real warriors!

If you start competing in any of the action pistol sports, you will see stuff that will make you pucker if all you're used to is the sterile environment of your local range. For instance, you will see people running around with loaded guns in their hands. If you go to pretty much any tactical training course, there will be people behind you with loaded guns; if it's an "intermediate" or "advanced" course, those guns may be in their hands at some point, such as doing team drills. And everybody wants to be "advanced". This places a tremendous burden on the instructor, both to judge a student's abilities, and to monitor them constantly during the course. You'd better trust that instructor.

Many phrases have been repeated so often in the shooting world that their intended meaning has been lost or distorted: "Slow is smooth and smooth is fast," and "Another tool in the toolbox" both spring to mind. It looks like "Big Boy Rules" is about ready to be added to that list. Originally intended to convey that everybody there was supposed to be a "big boy" and capable of handling their firearm safely (with the unspoken corollary that, should you get called on a particularly egregious safety violation and bounced off the range, you should be a "big boy" about that, too,) it has instead come to be used by some as a blow-off phrase to excuse the lax and nonchalant handling of weapons that can and will kill you if you screw up.

After all, if high-speed low-drag operators use the phrase "Big Boy Rules", and we use the phrase, too, then we must be pretty high-speed ourselves, right?

This is compounded by another piece of jargon that falls off the tongue oh so casually: "Muzzle". On the range, we yell "Muzzle!" because it has a lot fewer syllables than "Stop pointing your %$^&ing gun at me, dammit!" but constantly using it as a substitute in conversation has robbed it of its original meaning. Don't let that meaning fade away: Every time you read "Joe Bob muzzled me at the range last weekend," your mind should translate it as "Joe Bob pointed his %$^&ing gun at me at the range last weekend, dammit!"

Lady Luck has been unbelievably good to the training industry thus far, but in a world where an ever-larger number of people who have access to a berm and a shirt with epaulets are hanging out their Flat Dark Earth shingles to cater to an ever-growing crowd anxious for the ninja operator experience, that's not going to last forever. It is incumbent on you to be an informed consumer and make sure you aren't on the range where it happens.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Crazy Ivan.

I commuted on a motorcycle 100 miles a day in Atlanta traffic, every day, for several years: Virginia Highlands to Cumming to Lawrenceville and back to VaHi, for y'all familiar with the geography of the ATL.

In all those miles in some of the worst traffic in the nation, I frequently had the bejabbers scared out of me by an inattentive cager. Further, I'm sure my occasional boneheaded, desperation-born stunt scared and/or startled the occasional motorist, for which I am heartily sorry.

However, this crazy Ivan does more dumb stuff in traffic in six minutes than I did in any sixty thousand miles of my riding career:



My palms dripped with cold sweat just watching that. The parts where he'd loft the front wheel for a couple hundred yards while on the wrong side of the double yellow actually made me a little queasy.


(H/T to TJIC.)

More annoyances...

People who flaunt the fact that they regularly flout the law often regret it later.

Don't lose sight of the fact that there's a face-eating monkey on the loose.

Half a bottle of Xanax can have a serious effect upon your affect.

Dear proofreaders of America:
My blood pressure would thank you ever so for taking note of these.