Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pssst, kid! Wanna buy a senator?

"When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators." -P.J. O'Rourke
In various discussions on socioeconomic systems, I have often used the retort "Well, Bill Gates can't send men with guns to make me buy his software" as shorthand for why I generally prefer to take my chances with capitalism wherever possible, as opposed to letting the government do things.

This morning at Marko's place, I saw someone use pretty much the very same line, and I paused to think about it for a bit, and replied that it was true that he couldn't make me buy his software, at least not directly. But he can buy a government official, who will then ensure that the government buys his software, and with my money, to boot, so not only am I out the money, I don’t even get a lousy copy of Windows out of the deal.

So how do you fix it?

I Just Want To See The Boy Happy...

Ed Morrissey speculates on the likelihood of an independent presidential campaign from the only man in the world with a larger ego than Roger Waters, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Considering that a run by Bloomberg would do nothing other than Bull Moose the Obama vote, well, from your lips to God's ears, Mr. Morrissey...

The downside to this, of course, is that it would nearly guarantee the election of whichever one of the sideshow freaks currently on offer eventually wins the Republican scrum, even if they ran Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy as veep. Unless they nominate Romney, in which case that I predict that "None Of The Above" wins the popular vote by a three point margin due to complete voter apathy.

(H/T to Bobbi.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I don't care what they say...

...but once it has started snowing, it's officially winter on the Tamara Calendar.

And it's doing so now.

The girl can't help it...

So, I see that Barney Frank has announced that he will no longer be sucking .. at the public teat, at least in his current capacity as a congresscritter. I'm sure that the taxpayers will be carrying this professional deadbeat all the way to his grave in one fashion or another.

(I'm sorry, the obvious cheap shot was demanding to be taken. ;) )

Merry Freakin' Christmas.

When I went out to run errands yesterday, I glanced at the Zed Drei's left rear tire in the garage and thought "Hmmm... That looks a couple pounds low. I'll hit it with the compressor when I get back."

I went through the drive-through at the bank, crossed the street to Target, and when I emerged from Target with my paper towels and whatnot, I glanced at the Zed Drei's left rear tire in the parking lot and thought "Golly gosh gee whillikers, that beloved tire is flat as gosh darn it all."

Luckily, right across the street, over near the bank, was the Midas from which I had purchased the very tire in question. I limped over and was informed that they wouldn't be able to get my car on a lift for an hour or so, so they filled the tire with air and I took my shopping home and off-loaded it to return at the appointed time...

...whereupon the problem was discovered to be, not the tire at all, but a crack in the by-gawd wheel rim. So, now I am faced with the choice of purchasing a new wheel from BMW, which will no doubt be priced like imported sin, trying to find a used rim (none of the guy at Midas's sources had one) or attempting to see if there are any places that can repair the crack.

Wonderful. Ho-ho-ho.

That sultaning looks like pretty good work if you can get it.

That's a heck of a family bus right there. I could definitely drive a station wagon like that.

Speaking of Brunei, have you seen the... er, I guess you'd call it the "logo" of their armed forces? It looks like they hired a former heavy metal album cover illustrator who had retired and was airbrushing tee-shirts out of a trailer to design it. Still, it needs more skulls. And some lightning bolts. And maybe a snake. And some dice. And a tiger.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Things were more like they used to be, back then.

Regarding the passing of the twentieth birthday of the U2 album, Achtung Baby, (the soundtrack, along with R.E.M.'s Out Of Time, of much late-night weltschmerz-soaked aimless driving in my early 20s,) Brian Noggle notes:
So I posted on Facebook about the age of Achtung Baby, and a contemporaneous friend said, “And the album hasn’t aged one bit, I still listen to it all the time.”

To which I replied, “You tell yourself that. To an eighteen-year-old today, you might as well be listening to Pat Boone.”
You kids get off my lawn.

Dear Conservatives,

Can you people please get yourself a foreign policy position more coherent than "Whatever Barack Obama Does Is Wrong"?

I had to put up with that from your opponents for eight years. Remember how they'd piss and moan about oppressive genocidal foreign governments stomping on their people, moaning about Darfur and plastering their Volvos with "Free Tibet!" stickers, but god forbid we actually did anything about any genocidal foreign dictators, because then George Bush was a warmonger and yadda-yadda, give peace a chance. Remember that?

Well, now you're doing it, too, and it's every bit as annoying coming from your side.

No wonder Herman Cain got brain-freeze when asked about Barry's position on Libya: You could bounce around the right side of the blogosphere and see the Libyan intervention being derided as timid and not aggressive enough as well as condemned as another unnecessary military entanglement overseas, often on the same web page.

Is Barry supposed to topple Assad? Keep his nose out of Egypt? Intervene, or mind his own business? Are we trying to save money, or are we supposed to keep deploying carrier battlegroups like JP-5 grows on trees?

Day of Future Past.

Cyber Monday!

Boy, I bet you people can't wait until you get to work so you can use the office internet connection and shop online! Oh, sure, sure, some of y'all have AOL accounts at home, but who wants to wait for the homepage to load at 28.8k, right?

I can't believe they're still trying to breathe life into this turkey, as it's as dated as a pair of parachute pants.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Occupy Broad Ripple with Boomsticks.

So, as Bobbi reported, we went down to The Strip last night to see what all the fuss and hoopla was about.
Looking north on Guilford. The image is blurred due to the fug of Axe body spray wafting from Brothers Pub on the corner to the right...

I lent Bobbi my ¡BLACKHAWK! CQC holster, which looks moderately attractive with its faux-carbon fiber finish, since she didn't have much in the way of belt holsters. She tucked her hoodie behind it and open carried her shiny .38 Super 1911. Myself, I got into the spirit enough to leave my coat unzipped.

After wandering around for a bit, we chatted with a couple of groups of OBRw/G types, who let us know that they had an actual sign-in tent and everything. What the heck, we figured; in for a penny...

They handed us some fliers after we signed off on the rules and parked us at the corner of Guilford and Broad Ripple Avenue, where Bobbi fell to pamphlet-passing with a vengeance, like a Second Amendment version of Constable Visit.

A fellow pamphleteer in the foreground, the strip in the background.

The local FOX and NBC affiliates had good, balanced coverage. The numbskulls at ABC not so much, reporting hearsay as fact since it fit the reporter's agenda.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Let's sing the Gun Show Song!

Flintlocks and Flop-tops
And Number Three Russians
Black-powder Mausers
From jackbooted Prussians,
Shiny Smith PC's from limited runs
These are a few of my favorite guns.

Socketed bay'nets
On Zulu War rifles,
Engraved, iv'ried Lugers
That make quite an eyefull
Mosin tomato stakes sold by the ton
These are a few of my favorite guns.

Rusty top-breaks!
Smallbore Schuetzens!
And all of Browning's spawn
I just keep on browsing my favorite guns
Until all my money's gone.
Bobbi and I went to the Fun Show at the Indianapolis Nasty Guard Armory today. Among other priceless treasures, she picked up a High Standard Sentinel deuce-deuce resolver, and I snagged a very early postwar (1946?) FN 1922 in .32ACP and a box of Prvi Partizan 8mm Lebel ammo. (Finalists for me included a Russian SKS, French MAB 1935A, and an S&W .38 1st Model "lemon squeezer"...)

Hey, don't I have a blog where I could post pictures of my latest ancient .32?

Hats off, please...

How many gun designers in the history of the planet have had, say, five completely different, commercially successful weapons to their credit?

The answer is "one".

Single-shot rifles: Winchester 1885 "High Wall".
Lever-action rifles: Winchester 1886, Winchester 1892, Winchester 1894, Winchester 1895.
Recoil-operated autoloading rifles: Remington Model 8.
Gas-operated autoloading rifles: U.S. M1918 "BAR".
Over & Under shotguns: Browning Superposed.
Lever-action shotguns: Winchester 1887.
Pump-action shotguns: Winchester 1897, Remington Model 17/Ithaca Model 37.
Recoil-operated autoloading shotguns: Browning Auto-5/Remington Model 11.
Straight-blowback autoloading pistols: FN 1900, 1906, 1910 and Colt 1903 & Woodsman.
Short-recoil autoloading pistols: Colt M1911.
Gas-operated machineguns: Colt M1895.
Recoil-operated machineguns: U.S. M1917 and M2.

The man was John Moses Browning. Eighty-five years ago today he died. Eighty-five years after his death, the most elite counterterrorist groups in the U.S.A. are still using his pistols, and the most advanced main battle tank in the world still has a machinegun he designed over ninety years ago mounted above the commander's hatch.

It would not be an exaggeration to divide the world of metallic cartridge firearms to the periods "Before Browning" and "After Browning". This is the guy who invented the slide on the automatic pistol.

Eighty-five years gone, and still a genius.

Figures on a beach...

All kinds of weird disjointed dream fragments stuck in my head on waking up...

Looking for a house to rent in this neighborhood of old Mediterranean-looking row houses terraced on a hillside. In my dream, I think it was Trieste, but how or why, I don't know. Never been to the place.

Helping this little girl and her mom get the latest version of OS X installed on the girl's blueberry iBook that she used for school under some kind of "laptops for poor kids" program or something. The little girl was practically Berke Breathed's Ronald-Ann come to life. What was weird was that the version of OS X we were installing was like some corporate-sponsored free version, by Volkswagen. There were Volkswagen splash screens at startup, wallpapers, icons, and screen savers, and you couldn't change them.

At the deserted fairgrounds, taking a shortcut with friends. Somehow wound up atop a cattle trailer for an eighteen wheeler. You wouldn't think something that big could roll so easily, but it started rolling across the fairgrounds when my weight shifted. I hopped off as it was about to careen into a wall and it was like my weight was the only thing holding the tongue end down, as it immediately pivoted up and came to rest on the tailgate with a *CLANG!* like someone dropped a dumpster off a roof.

Anyhow, this was all somehow part of a very cohesive narrative, but the waves of waking washed most of it away and only left these strange little shells and pebbles on the beach.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Getting sideways.

There is no motorsport quite like WRC racing, which is a sport where you strap a Scandinavian maniac to a four-wheel-drive turbocharged rocket and then send him racing sideways down a mountainside through a meat tunnel of drunken, cheering Finnish spectators, whereupon he explodes.

There's really nothing else in the same genre; it's like some kind of bizarre hybrid of automobile racing and the running of the bulls in Pamplona. I mean, what other racing event occasionally results in spectators leaving fingers stuck in the sheet metal of cars they reached out to touch in passing?

(H/T to Ry Jones.)

Speaking of ".com"...

If, like me, you're avoiding the teeming herds at the shopping maul, you can still blow great big holiday-themed holes in your bank account via Black Friday at Amazon or Black Rifle Friday at Brownells.

It looks like bedlam out there...

Desperate to apply jumper cables to the nipples of our moribund economy, the media has been giving the annual retail orgy known as "Black Friday" an inordinate amount of hype.

With news cameras stationed at the front of local big box retail emporia, they were hopin' for a trampling and probably not above tripping a slower member of the herd to get one. (Note To Self: Next year run a pool on how many people get trampled for the sake of a cheap big screen on Black Friday morn in our fair land.)

At one point they interviewed one intrepid shopper whose naugahyde Members Only jacket differed in color but not in texture nor albedo from her broad swathe of exposed decolletage as she hyperventilated "We're here to fight! It's a war! For good prices!" into the camera, punctuated by the occasional "WHOOOOO!" from her daughter, vibrating and bouncing beside her in a cloud of dried mascara flecks.

I don't care if they are handing out dollar bills in the back of Best Buy in great big Ben Bernanke-sized sacks, you couldn't print enough of them to induce me to set foot into the middle of that seething mass of aberrant humanity. *shudder* I'm not driving within a mile of a mall between now and New Year's if I can help it. Santa Tam's doing all her Yuletide shopping at stores whose names end in ".com".

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Obligatory Thanksgiving Post:

All of me here on the staff of View From The Porch would like to wish all of you out there in readerland a very happy and highly-caloric Thanksgiving.

Take a moment to remember the real meaning of the holiday, which apparently involves a bunch of guys in funny hats with bell-mouthed muzzleloaders dragging a giant floating Snoopy balloon ashore on Manhattan island, eating turkey and stuffing until they puked, then pounding beers while watching the Cowboys pound the Redskins. Amen.


With a Fresh Market in easy strolling distance, it's a wonder I don't weigh three hundred pounds.

I just had a pleasant little morning nosh of freshly-sliced pepperoni and hard salami, slices of Emmentaler and aged Gouda, and some little flatbread crackers. Yum!

I've gotten to the point where I keep cold cuts, olives, and cheeses in the fridge the way most people keep candy or cookies. I don't know that too much cholesterol is any better for you than too much sugar, but I'm working hard to find out.

The first change.

For as long as I can remember, what I am reading has influenced what I eat.

I don't mean the subject of the book; I mean the very form factor of the book influences my choice of dining establishment and what I order from the menu when I get there.

If I was reading a magazine, or a hardback or softcover book that could lie flat by itself, perhaps with the aid of a teaspoon or butter knife or some other unused piece of silverware across the pages, then I could go to a steakhouse, or order something off the menu that required two hands, either to operate silverware or hold a big sandwich or a slice of thick-crust pizza with lots of toppings...

However, were I reading a paperback or a thick softcover that required being held open in one hand to read, then it was finger food time, or soups & salads, or pasta dishes, or small sandwiches; things that could be eaten with one paw while the other operated the book.

Yesterday I broke my fast at Good Morning Mama's with their delicious corned beef hash (they even corn their own beef!), with the Kindle Fire propped like a little easel, allowing me to read the further and continuing adventures of Otto Prohaska with ease, occasionally setting down my knife to reach over and poke the screen in order to "turn the page".

(Interesting how, in our shiny modern world of touch screens and the occasional archaic membrane switch or button, we voice "dial" people on smartphones and "turn the page" on ereaders and the man on the radio still says "don't touch that dial!"....)

At any rate, with the magic Kindle thingie, I can now eat whatever I want, wherever I want, independent of what I'm currently reading. That may not sound like much to you but, hey, it's pretty spiffy from where I'm sitting.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Press Release Hyperbole...

Colt waxes eloquent in PR-speak about its new collapsible stock:
A unique Cam-Lock system is a new design feature that, when operated, securely locks onto the buffer tube like a solid stock. This Cam-Lock system completely removes any slop or play commonly inherent with aftermarket collapsible stocks as well as eliminating any movement due to wear.
Yeah, see, 2005 called; they want their Magpul CTR back.

(H/T to Unc.)

A paradigm forever changed...

It's a line I've read and repeated almost reflexively from the time I was first able to decode the squiggly marks in a book:
"The Great Wall of China/Pyramids/Northeastern Urban Metroplex/Big Pile of Tires In South Cackalacky is visible from space!"
Brian J. Noggle retorts that these days, thanks to Google, so's his pickup truck.

A certain amount of wonder has gone from life when your neighbors can access satellite footage to check on the edging job you did behind the backyard privacy fence with less effort than it would take to go fetch a stepladder from the garage...

Technical Difficulties: Please Stand By.

I am in search of the Vitamin I, as it feels like someone has inserted microscopic bottle jacks in all of my cranial sutures and is busily cranking the bones of my skull apart.

In the meantime, go see the picture of Chewie the Purse Wookie, last seen at Cadillac Ranch, now getting his wookie on and protesting federally-subsidized high-speed rail at Hobbytown, USA. He briefly considered boarding the running train, be we didn't want to get banished from the Woolworth's.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thank you, NJT!

In my comments section, New Jovian Thunderbolt remarked that I would probably enjoy A Sailor of Austria: In Which, Without Really Intending to, Otto Prohaska Becomes Official War Hero No. 27 of the Habsburg Empire. I seemed to recollect that someone else I knew had recommended it to me, most likely staghounds, and so I decided to give it a whirl.

I'm a little tired this morning because I was late getting to sleep last night, as this is simply a delightful book!

It's really hard to categorize: The setting is the last days of the patchwork dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary, before and during the '14-'18 war, told as the reminiscences of centenarian Kaiserliche und Königliche Kriegsmarine submarine officer Otto Prohaska.

And those early subs were something else. Even claustrophobic WWII Jerry U-boats, like the U-505 you can tour in Chicago's Museum of Science & Industry, are roomy by comparison, and a 1940s US Navy fleet boat, like a Gato- or Balao-class is absolutely palatial.

To put it in perspective, the USS Gato, launched in 1941, was over 300 feet long and displaced more than 1,500 tons on the surface, while the 1915-vintage Austro-Hungarian U-10 was under a hundred feet long and 126 tons, with all seventeen crew aboard. I've lived on a houseboat only twenty some feet shorter and it was crowded if me and my roommate had a friend sleep over...

At turns funny or absurd or poignant or bleak, there's action, and enough techno detail of early sub warfare to please a jaded Clancy fan (except you actually get, you know, plot and characters, too.) Two thumbs up!

Sunday Best.

So, Occupy Broad Ripple With Guns has, as could have been predicted, caught the eye of the local media. I haven't decided if I'll be attending or not, but their heart seems in the right place: This isn't some Curtis Sliwa-esque vigilante patrol, but a pro-gun public outreach thing to raise awareness that folks are allowed to protect themselves in Indiana.

I did note one thing in the video with dismay, if also a total lack of surprise: Folks if you're going to be carrying your heaters out where God and the TV cameras can see them, is it asking too much to get you to spend as much on your holsters as you did on your shoes? Seriously, you're wearing a nice sports coat and look all cleaned up and presentable and your heater is in some horrible $9.99 nylon & velcro sausage sack with Irish pennants dangling from the seams.

(Next Week's Rant: Why did the cops go from nice basket-weave leather to ballistic nylon? Kids these days, get off my lawn! In my day, nickels had pictures of bees on them!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fight the future.

So, when the Kindle eBook readers hit the market, I resisted. I already had a magic device that allowed me to read books: It was called "books". I mean, sure, the Kindles did some neat-o tricks but, and I am speaking here as a hardcore reader who goes through books at a pretty serious clip, they just really didn't snag me.

Similarly the iPad and its various Android-based tablet competitors got mostly a great big "meh" from me. Especially once I got a smart phone. I mean, I've already got a perfectly functional netbook and a smartphone, so explain to me again why I needed to shell out five bills for an Apple or Samsung gizmo that basically did the same stuff?

Then Amazon released the Kindle Fire: a little quasi-tablet that was linked into the Amazon storefront à la the classic Kindle, only you could stream movies to it and run Android apps like a tablet. Sure, it didn't have 3G and GPS and cameras and suchlike, but, uh, my phone already has all that stuff. And the Kindle Fire was only $199, which covers for a multitude of sins.

Bobbi preordered one, and it showed up last week. I was impressed. Impressed enough that, when I noticed that Target had two left (out of a shelf display meant to hold ten or a dozen) I bought one myself last Friday. This thing definitely hits right in the price/utility sweet spot. And the Amazon storefront is seamlessly integrated, causing me to yell from bed the other night "I just bought an out-of-print book! From bed! It's like having McKay's in bed with you! Do you have any idea how dangerous this thing is?"

Anyhow, yeah, I've been assimilated. The Kindle Fire has achieved 100% market penetration at Roseholme Cottage, being owned by two out of two adult residents. It's not going to replace dead-tree books in my life, but it's certainly a handy and versatile supplement. (And if you're an Amazon Prime member, you can stream old X-Files episodes for free! I just watched "Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man" for the first time in years.)

EDITED TO ADD: It seems Alan posted up a review on Saturday, which makes the some of the same points from the other direction. If you already have a tablet 'puter and a Kindle, why buy a Fire? I can't think of a reason, although as he points out, its size does make it pretty portable.

Uncle's got a brand new bag...

Unc relates the tale of how he got his new gear bag:
My wife gave me a small netbook bag and, while lugging it around at the NRA Annual Meetings, it broke. Fortunately, it broke right next to the Maxpedition booth. I took that as a sign I needed a tactical man-purse, and told the guy at the booth I needed a bag. He recommended the Gearslinger. It has plenty of room for a netbook, cables, camera, pens and other doodads needed to cover the show for my blog.
Maxpedition makes good stuff. I've lived out of their Fliegerduffel for a week at least twice now. I've been impressed enough that I've been looking at their shoulder bags and trying to rationalize buying one to... uh... maybe replace my current 5.11 turse? You know, if maybe it wore out? ...when I realized that, dammit, just because they're black nylon doesn't mean a gal can't have as many purses as she wants.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Overheard in the Comments Section:

Don M: "I will still "vote for the syphilitic camel, over Obama"."

Me: "Keep ordering syphilitic camel, and they'll just stop putting anything else on the menu, as a quick look at the current GOP field will tellingly point out."
The more I watch this farce, the more I think the GOP is trying about as hard as the 1919 White Sox to win this election.

Seriously, GOPers, while I am not one of you, I am a fellow traveler on many of your supposed core issues. On those occasions when you remember that there's an amendment right before the one about guns, and another few sandwiched in there between the bit about quartering soldiers and the one about trial by jury, we tend to get along okay, so take this post as friendly advice from an outsider.

Have you really stepped back and looked at this Jim Rose Circus you're trotting out in front of the American people? Are you guys trying to throw this election? Or has the job become so onerous that no decent person with an ounce of brains would seriously apply for it anymore?

Y'all are facing the most easily-defeatable incumbent since 1980; he even just gave an actual "malaise" speech for opposing speechwriters to rip up. Whether I agree with their positions or not, I have to say that Christie, Palin, or Daniels would have beat this guy like a piñata. With none of them in the race, that leaves Ron Paul as your sober-sided elder statesman on those debate stages. Let that sink in for a minute.

The current slate is starting to look like the Island of Misfit Toys. (Romney is the Train With Square Wheels.)

Y'know, that's not a half-bad idea...

Heroditus Huxley on her recent range outing:
Jeesh. Between nice, clueless guys that want a rifle just like what they shoot in Call of Duty (and don't know the first thing about even what caliber it shoots, much less how hard it's going to kick), and the dumbass white trash* shooting nickle-plated Beretta-style .40 caliber handguns without hearing protection for them OR FOR THEIR 8 MONTH OLD DAUGHTER!! OR WIFE!! I was about ready to call Odysseus and ask him to pick up a couple packages of the cheap, orange foam earplugs sold at pretty much every Wal-Mart, and start handing them out so I could shoot without worrying about damaging someone else's hearing.
The more I think about it, the more sense it seems to me to keep a wad of disposable foam earplugs and a couple pairs of cheap-o disposable hardware store safety goggles in my range bag next to the Israeli Wound Bandages and other first aid gear so that I can hand them out to Cletus and Imogene when they show up at the range without.

It seems a charitable thing to do, and I do feel bad when I see someone arrive sans appropriate safety accoutrements, even if it's through their own igner'nce, so I would get something out of it for myself, if only a rewarded sense of noblesse oblige.

"He was turning his life around!"

Check out this harrowing dash-cam footage from Lafayette, IN, where a suspect who was fleeing the scene of an arson led police on a high-speed chase through the streets of the city.

Dashcam video shows Spencer attacking officers:

When he runs his car aground in a hedge, he stumbles out the driver's door and then leaps across the intervening 22 feet faster than you can say "Dennis Tueller", stabbing one officer in the face before being burned down by the trainee riding shotgun and the officer in the other squad car.

Now, shoots don't come much cleaner than that, and yet:
NewsChannel 18 spoke with Spencer's younger sister Monique Spencer Cuttingham. She said she doesn't believe shooting her brother seven times was justified and the officers had other options. He said her brother was a good man with a family who loves him.
Right. He looked like a regular choirboy in that video. Those meanie cops, pickin' on him like that!

Keep her reaction in mind should you ever be forced into defending yourself with a firearm. Had she not been already dead, Vipsania Agrippina would no doubt have said "Little Boots was a good boy! He loved his momma! They shouldn't oughta have stabbed him thirty times like that!" and started lawyer-shopping.

Is it just me?

So, I was watching Hardball this morning, to be reminded of why Mitt Romney might be a flip-flopping Republican (hawwwwkkk-spit!), but was still obviously the only reasonable choice for a GOP candidate.

They assert this, of course, because only within twenty miles of Beacon Hill does Mitt qualify as "Conservative". Outside of a few coastal enclaves, he's perceived as slightly to the left of the local Democrats and viewed askance as some kind of #OCCUPY_THE_WHITE_HOUSE hippie pinko. There'd be nothing like a Romney-Obama race to encourage Republican voters to stay home in droves, and Barry would beat him like a drum.

Further, even if by some fluke Romney were to win, you'd be replacing a crony capitalist anti-gun politician who was in favor of socialized medicine with a crony capitalist anti-gun politician who was in favor of socialized medicine, but who used a higher SPF sunscreen and wore faith-based underoos. So the players might change, but in terms of policy direction it'd probably be largely a net wash.

Anyhow, one of the guest talking heads was Meet the Press's David Gregory. Am I the only person who can never concentrate on what he's saying because I'm waiting for him to leap across the set and start eating the cameraman's face? The dude is downright simian. He has a muzzle, for Goodall's sake! Were his brow any lower, he'd need to shave his eyebrows to see! The only makeup he'd need to play Dr. Zaius would be a haircut!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'll never get to Carnegie Hall at this rate...

Via Caleb comes this trailer for the forthcoming IDPAtv web-based TV show.

As a thoroughly mediocre pistol shooter, the newly popular hat-cam footage never fails to leave me slack-jawed. I need to spend more time shooting and less time typing about it, or I will remain a thoroughly mediocre pistol shooter for the rest of my days.

While, yes, it is technically a shotgun...

Caleb hasn't gotten his hands on ballistics gel yet, but when he does, I'm predicting that the "defense discs" in Winchester's .410 PDX1 load won't penetrate more than 8" in clothed jello at seven yards. (Assuming you can hit the jello block with them at seven yards.)

Of the discs themselves, Caleb writes:
Each disk then weighs about what a .32 ACP JHP weighs in at, while offering the frontal area of a >.40 caliber round.
Or, in other words, each disc is like a downloaded 60gr .40S&W bullet, a weight and caliber combination not heretofore known for its manstopping prowess. Considering that, with the pattern from one of these revolving shot pistols so popular right now, you might be lucky to get one disc on target at anything over "from here to the end of the hallway" distances, why would you want to trust it to the equivalent of an indoor "gallery load" for a Glock 22 service pistol?

I'm willing to be proven wrong, but unless sectional density is no longer a factor in penetration, I don't think I will be.

Of course it will sell like gangbusters. This is, after all, a round marketed to people whose knowledge of terminal ballistics is so shaky that they've already bought a Taurus Judge for personal protection.

Friday, November 18, 2011

QotD: Double Standard Edition.

New Jovian Thunderbolt on what would have happened if the alleged White House shooter had ducked into a Tea Party rally rather than an Occupy Wall Street encampment:
Sarah Palin would still be in Gitmo.
Hot coffee in the sinuses hurts.

A note from the bad old days...

Check out this NYT column from 1989:
The Bush Administration today banned imports of semiautomatic assault rifles indefinitely, pending a review of whether the military-style weapons are being used for sporting purposes.

The step, announced by William J. Bennett, the director of national drug policy, is effective immediately and was taken after officials learned that requests this year from importers to bring in the weapons had already nearly tripled those for all of 1988.

I dug it up last night while nosing around Google to answer a question in email.

This ban is still in effect. It's the reason why, say, an HK-91 is a $3,500 collector's item rather than an $800 gun sold in Wal-Mart. (In 1989, an HK-91 or -94 cost somewhat less than a new Colt AR-15.)

If you were a nerd for foreign military rifle clones, the late '80s, after the passage of FOPA but before this ban by Bush, were the salad days. You could get semiauto Galils, FAMAS bullpups, Beretta AR-70s, Valmets, all kinds of stuff. All cut off with the stroke of a pen.

Presumably, should we ever get a pro-gun-rights president in the White House, it could all be restored at the stroke of a pen, too, but we haven't had one of those since.

Meanwhile, if you're all tore up about the exotic foreign bullpups you're not getting your hands on, here's something to assuage that a little bit: At least in the case of the SA80, you ain't missing much.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Overheard in the Office:

Me: "So, if the eagles could fly in and get Frodo and Sam out, why couldn't they have flown them in in the first place?"

RX: "See, they needed the chaos of the destruction of the Ring to cause a Disturbance in the Force and throw Mordor's 'Chain Home' radar stations into disarray..."

Me: "Ah. Or else they could've been shot down by a SAM on the way in?"

RX: "Or eaten by a Grue, more likely."

Sea Change.

Unless you were active in the gun rights thing sixteen or seventeen years ago, you really can't grasp how big yesterday was.
Picture: It's late '94 or maybe even early '95. You're standing in a gun store, fingering a used Glock magazine, wondering if you should shell out the fifty bucks. Maybe...

In 1989, George Bush had signed an executive order that banned the importation of scary-looking "assault weapons", introducing the term 'pre-ban' to the mainstream gun-owner lexicon.

Then in '93 a law called the "Brady Bill" had passed. Prior to this, you could walk into a store, fill out a form, and walk out with a gun. Now there was all kinds of fuzzy stuff that nobody really understood; forms that needed filling out and carrying to the cop shop, ill-defined waiting periods... (If you never tried to buy a gun in the bizarre interregnum between the passage of the Brady Bill and the institution of NICS, count yourself lucky. It was a goat rope. And selling them was worse.)

And then in '94 came the Assault Weapons Ban, which spread George Bush's imported AWB to cover domestically-produced arms as well.

So in early '95, there was no doubt in most any gun-owner's mind, based on the events of the last couple decades, that we had seen our last legal magazine that held more than ten rounds, that folding stocks were destined to become features on collector's safe queens, rather than something that let Miata owners take their carbine to the range, that it was only a matter of time before they came after all semiautos or banned carrying guns or something.

Usenet and the early 'Web were crawling with rumors about "Brady II" or "AWB II" that would impose "arsenal licenses" or ban everything but pump shotguns and revolvers. (Some of these things, like digital Mary Celestes, still wash ashore in my inbox, encrusted with the binary barnacles of a decade's worth of 'Fw:fw:fw:fw:fw:...) There were essays on the 'net about the grim dystopian future of '05 or '06, where President-for-Life Bill Clinton had invited in the UN and little kids were finking out grandpa to the gun gestapo, fingering where the family had cached its precious ancestral trove of .30-30s.

If you had showed up in that gun store of 1995 and told everybody that you were a time traveler from a 2011 where the AWB had sunset; 'Vermont-style' carry was now 'Vermont/Alaska/Arizona/Wyoming-style'; the House of Representatives had just passed, by a hefty margin, a national CCW reciprocity bill; there was a shooting-based game show on prime-time national TV; and you could buy a collapsible-stock AR carbine with a bayonet lug in Wal-Mart, the people in the gun shop would have laughed in your face and told you to stop telling tall tales. And not about the 'time travel' part, either, because that was plausible by comparison.

EDITED TO ADD: For a good view of where the gun rights mood stood back in the day, here's a thread from May of 2000 at The gimmick of the opening post is that it was from the horrible future of 2010...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

But it's just a .22...

My .22LR firearms see a lot more rounds downrange than my centerfire ones for a number of reasons. Just a starter list would include...
  1. It's easier to find a place to shoot, say, an M&P 15-22 than it is a 5.56 M4gery when you live in the city.

  2. Ammo is a lot cheaper, making it less spendy to reinforce basic marksmanship skills.

  3. 500 rounds in a day in a .45 will leave your hands feeling like you've been hitting a heavy bag. 500 rounds in a plastic nine will still leave you knowing that you've been shooting when you pick up your utensils at dinner that night. 500 rounds of .22 will have you asking "Is that all we brought? Who wants to run to WalMart for more?"
In that spirit, this video from S.W.A.T. Magazine makes me happy. Plus, it includes everything from antique S&W revolvers to modern autos with cans on them, and bonus footage of kids shooting Real Live Guns© to make Sarah Brady cry:

(Plus, I think I've shot a couple of those very guns.)

Among my people...

Nancy R. received an incredible birthday gift, a hand-made plug bayonet, and posted up pictures to show it off.

"Doesn’t every girl want her very own plug bayonet?" she asks. Well, sure, because then you'd have the perfect excuse to buy a matchlock musket! (Unlike Nancy, who just happened to have one already to hand.)

Now I'm having visions of someday completing my little attic armorium so that I have a proper place to display the Roman pilum that friend Jenn made for me one birthday...

Who ordered this weather?

There's a cold wind blowing out of Mordor-on-the-Lake to the northwest. Today's high temperature was 56 degrees, and that was at about 0300.

It was fifty when I woke up, should hit forty-five somewhere around noon, and despite clear and sunny skies, the mercury will cross into the thirties about the time the sun re-crosses the horizon, on its way to a good hard freeze tonight. It was a swell Injun summer while it lasted.

And now for the part of the year that makes Gunsmith Bob refer to the place as "far-off frozen cold north yankee land".

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An interesting life...

So, I was reading about the Great War, which led me to precursors of the Great War, such as the Italo-Turkish War of '11-'12, most widely remembered for its notable feature of the first aeroplane bombing attack by Italian pilot Giulio Gavotti on the Turkish lines from his German-built Etrich Taube aircraft.

Another famous pilot of the Taube was German pilot Gunther Plüschow, who showed up at the German naval station in Tsingtao, China with another pilot and two crated Taubes in 1914. When his fellow pilot crashed his machine, it left Plüschow to fly alone against the British and Japanese forces besieging Tsingtao.

After various feats of aerial heroics of the dogfighting with pistols and bombing warships sort, Plüschow was sent on a one-way trip out of Tsingtao with the last secret dispatches from the beleaguered garrison.

He crashed his plane, bartered his way into a junk, boated downriver, caught a ship to San Francisco, traveled by train across the US, took a steamer from New York to England, was captured, escaped, caught a ferry from England to neutral Holland, became an explorer and adventurer after the war, and died flying exploratory missions over Tierra Del Fuego, and you just don't get tales of adventure like that anymore these days...

Niche marketing.

Seen on the shelf in the video game section at Half Price Books today:

"Your character must find the dreidel of luck, the menorah of light, and the izmail of doom before time runs out!"

I guess Hanukkah is coming up...

Preparedness Koan...

Upon hearing the story of the bandit in the village, the student went to the Master:

"Master, it saddens me that this evildoer is preying on the helpless. I have listened to and practiced all that you have taught me to prepare myself; I truly believe in my heart that I can defeat this bandit.

Everywhere I go on my daily rounds, I keep an eye out for him, walking upright, staying alert and looking around, studying the people around me, and yet the monster never shows himself, never chooses me, but preys on the defenseless instead. Why, Master?"

The Master only smiled.

And the student was enlightened.

Overheard in Target:

Bobbi and I were crawling the aisles at Target last night, and she had placed a couple of smaller items in the little child seat area of the cart. I noticed that there was a little flap that could be raised to prevent these things from sliding out the aperture normally used for the toddler's legs, towards which her sundries were sliding.
Me: "Hey, your stuff there is sliding. There's a little flap you can put up to keep stuff from sliding out the... the..." [I gestured dumbly, fumbling for the technical term] "...stuff from sliding out the baby holes!"
There was a pause as she shot me an appalled look and I realized the exact combination of words I had used, before I collapsed into the most helpless, shrieking giggling fit I've experienced in public since the first time I saw a can of this on the shelf at Marsh.

A Tale of Two Villages.

There are really two Broad Ripples. There's the Broad Ripple Village I write about often, the one of parks and bicycle shops and bistros and boutiques, a placid, tree-lined, artsy urban enclave full of yuppies, DINKS, starter families, and retirees. And then there's the other Broad Ripple.

The other Broad Ripple is the Strip, centered right along Broad Ripple Avenue proper, home of Chumley's and The Wild Beaver Saloon, live concerts at The Vogue, and the Axe-body-spray-scented, sorority-shrieking meat market of Brothers. Pretty much every night, and especially weekend nights, the area around the strip is infested with college-age revelers stumbling, knee-walking drunk, back to their cars.

And when you chum the water, you attract sharks. Bobbi and I were just talking about the Broad Ripple Robber last night while running errands, and now I wake up this morning to see that it looks like he's stepped up his game to include rape.

Stay alert, stay alive.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tab Clearing...

Okay, I'm lost...

So, we've gone from Dubya to the election of Barry O. to the Tea Party movement to the #OCCUPY_$PLACE movement, and I just can't remember anymore: Is dissent patriotic this week or not?

Help me out here.

This ain't rock and roll, this is...

The other afternoon, upon realizing that there was, in fact, a Chick-Fil-A not a couple miles from my doorstep and that my long, self-willed exile from the loving breast was over, I headed out for a Chick-Fil-A sammich and a box of nuggets to celebrate.

I must have driven past this particular restaurant dozens of times over the last few years and it just never registered on my consciousness, because it's right in front of Barnes & Noble and B.D.'s Mongolian Grill, two of my favoriter destinations in the north part of town.

Having forgotten a book, and being unable to properly digest food without reading, I stopped in B&N and was almost immediately successfully marketed to by the following title sitting prominently on a shelf at eye level: The Great Big Book of Horrible Things: The Definitive Chronicle of History's 100 Worst Atrocities. This looked right up my alley.

The author, Matthew White, a self-described atrocitologist, necrometrician, and quantifier of hemoclysms, maintains the website, among others, and delivers black humor with a deft wit. I've been pretty much engrossed in the book since. You should read it.

Oh, and in the "The More You Know..." category, as a Pratchett fan, I got a wry chuckle learning that, during the religious tumult of the Reformation (where we are using 'tumult' as a polite term for 'bloodbath'), Scottish trouble-making evangelist John Knox railed against the seeming alliance of Catholic queens in Western Europe in the pamphlet The first blast of the trumpet against the monstruous regiment of women... Heh. Now I get it, Terry.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Word of the Day: How to speak Tamarese.

Kleptocordage: (klep'-tō-kôrd-ij) n.

1. A string or chain used to secure anything, but especially a pen, to keep it from being stolen.

"I used some 550 cord to make kleptocordage for my pen, attaching it to my clipboard. Now maybe those thieving heathens in the maintenance department will stop wandering off with it."

Damning with faint praise.

Apparently you can get vacuum-packed sammiches from CMMG now that will let you enjoy the savory tastes of post-apocalyptic tomorrow on your camping trips today. Available in beef or barbecue flavors, reviewer Ed Friedman describes it thusly:
The bread was surprisingly spongy—not at all stale—and the beef wasn’t as dry as one might expect from a vacuum-sealed food product. We’d describe the taste as similar to beef jerky on under-baked focaccia.
Which makes me want to rush right out and get some, let me tell you.

Although, compared to some of the stuff I've eaten out of vacuum packets in the woods previously, which tasted far closer to sweat socks than underdone focaccia, that's really not that bad of a recommendation....

By the way, has anybody tried that canned bacon yet? Or is it mostly bought for novelty purposes?

(H/T to Insty.)

Silly admission...

Sometimes I sit back after typing a post and think "Hey, that's a pretty witty turn of phrase, there. I'm kinda proud of that," and then think "Dammit, why did I do that on a Saturday morning instead of waiting 'til Monday? Nobody reads blogs on Saturday."

Yesterday morning was one of those mornings.

QotD: Dangerous Master Edition

"[T]he good of having the government prohibited from doing harm far outweighs the harm of having it obstructed from doing good."
Dang, but I wish I'd written that.

Mike's written a couple doozies lately. You should go read them, if you have not already.

It's that time of the week...

Time for my Sunday morning breakfast of pique and mortification: The Sunday morning rerun of Hardball Weekend. Thirty minutes of that smug waterhead smirking out of my TV screen gets the heart rate up better than an hour on the Stairmaster.

Today he was all puffed up with tongue-clucking, head-shaking indignation, sanctimoniously condemning the way that Herman Cain mistreated... I'm sorry, I mean allegedly mistreated those poor, poor women...

...and without missing a beat, segued into pimping his JFK biography, because the Kennedy presidency was an, and I quote, "heroic time in America", and he wanted to help us remember those days.

Quick, somebody alert the Secretary of Irony.

Ah, yes, that heroic time, those heady days, before the sexual harassment lawsuit had been invented and a president could swap girlfriends with his attorney general like they were baseball cards! I'm sorry, Chris, I meant allegedly.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Welcome to Hell: You must be this tall to ride.

The vast corpse factory of the Western Front took a lot of raw material to feed, and it soon became obvious to most of the participants in the Great War that prewar standards for cannon fodder would need to be relaxed if their General Staffs' demands for fresh casualties were going to be met.

The British, who alone among the major combatants had entered the war with a non-conscript professional army, came up with several schemes to raise the numbers of troops required to be taken seriously in this life-sized game of RISK.

One of these was the "Pals battalion", where groups of volunteers from a single company or school or sports club or neighborhood were encouraged to enlist together, with the promise that they would all be kept together through training and combat, rather than allotted out piecemeal to replacement units. This allowed small British communities to share the experience of having huge actuarial holes blown in their census tables with their continental allies, who used the more usual system of regional conscription.

Further, it quickly became apparent that the British army's minimum height requirement of 5'3" was perhaps a bit strict, as someone who was 5'1" could get blown apart by a torrent of Maxim bullets as well as any six-footer, and the dark Satanic mills and mines of post-Edwardian Britain were well-stocked with burly kobolds who could lug a pack like nobody's business. "Bantam battalions" were quickly organized, where the height requirement was reduced to 5'nowt" in order to give shorter guys the chance to get their own taste of dulce et decorum.

When the Lancashire Fusiliers moved into the line before the Somme offensive, their numbers included three Pals battalions as well as three Bantam battalions. One wonders if a young signals leftenant of the Fusiliers, one 2Lt. John Tolkien, witnessed the stubborn courage of the latter and got any ideas for future writings.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tab Clearing...

  • A fascinating thread on an outdoors forum about strange stuff people have found in the woods. (CAUTION: SEVERE TIME SINK WARNING!)

  • U.S. Secret Service Officer is the only one in this patrol car qualified to have a Negligent Discharge out front of the Russian Embassy.

  • This doesn't look like such a bad deal. Too bad I'm poor at the moment.

  • Roundup of AAR's for the one-day TigerSwan pistol class Sean organized down in NC. I've got to get down there if they do it again.

  • How does this invertebrate manage to muster up the courage to peek out from under the covers every morning without having a therapist on speed dial?

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month...

...the guns fell silent.

The '14-'18 War left scars that linger to this day.

The scale of the mechanized slaughter on the Western Front is nearly impossible for us to grasp. For example, consider the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, which reads:
Here are recorded names of officers and men of the British Armies who fell on the Somme battlefields between July 1915 and March 1918 but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death.
It is inscribed with 72,000 names.


I just finished re-reading Gates of Fire for the first time in several years. The most-remembered highlights of the book are the one-liners delivered by Spartans the likes of Dienekes and Leonidas.

This Veteran's Day, go read an interview with a real hero, Silver Star recipient MSgt Robert Blanton, who answers the question "Give us a rundown of the event in which you earned the Silver Star?" thus:
Clearing houses, got ambushed, rammed my vehicle through the house to get one of my team leaders out, got attacked by a suicide bomber, captured a guy and we killed 12.
I believe I get more wound up describing a trip to the grocery store than this man does recounting smashing the gates of hell open with the front bumper of his Humvee.

Zombie cars...

I don't see much on this list to disagree with. Certainly old RWD Volvos and diesel Benzes are capable of prodigious feats of odometer heroics.

An interesting point is raised by the very first car on the list, the old A-body Cutlass Ciera. There are still an awful lot of Buick Centuries and Olds Cieras tooling around long after most of their more numerous and mechanically-identical Chevy Celebrity and Pontiac 6000 stablemates have gone to that Great Scrap Heap In Shanghai, which should speak reams about the longevity value of spending the first decade of your existence always being garaged, promptly serviced, and never exceeding 30mph on the way to the bingo game.

I will admit that, when it comes to superannuated automobiles, to having strong (not necessarily rational) negative biases about 4WD or RWD. Differentials and CV joints are expensive to replace, and so the fewer of them the car has, reasons my hindbrain, the better off my finances will be down the road.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

But we already have an emergency alert system.

My roomie, who works on a starship and therefore knows a little bit about how the the little bits of pictures and sound fly through the air and stick to antennas, breaks down yesterday's FEMA test of the nation's Emergency Alert System, the results of which ranged from "Okey-Dokey" to "Complete Goat Rope", depending on your locale.

She also raises a good point:
You might take some comfort that on 11 September 2001, when a national-level emergency did take place, the news was disseminated rapidly. Not by the government but by the various companies that run for-profit networks all day, every day: ABC/CBS/NBC/Fox/CNN etc. all jumped on the story as it happened -- and even pushed their scheduled commercials aside to do it. There wasn't any question of the message making it to you; it had been reaching you 24/7/365 to hawk soap flakes and cornflakes already and when the stakes suddenly got much higher, it was already in place, working.
It's almost like the invisible hand had grabbed your remote, no?

Today In History: Happy Birthday, Devil Dogs!

On this day in 1775, in Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the very first U.S. Marine made his mark on the dotted line, laid the pen down, turned and looked behind him at the second guy in line and said
"Things were different in the old Corps."
Happy birthday, USMC!


Hat tip to Caleb for finding this video, which you should really, really, really not watch if hilariously gratuitous F-bombs will make you or anybody else in the room cry, but which captures the deep, sensitive inner soul of the Shock Trooper Devil Dog Blood-Sucking War Machines of the USMC perfectly.


The Marriott Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine is run by unpatriotic jerks.

And if you don't believe me, you can read all about it here.

EDITED TO ADD: In comments at Borepatch's post, commenter genedunn wrote
"Wait a minute... I thought selective enforcement of laws (rules) was the first sign of tyranny?"
To which I replied
"A sole proprietorship IS a tyranny. All he may choose is what kind of tyrant to be: The benevolent kind or the douche-y kind.

This one did not choose wisely."


How not to answer the phone...

When I first got the portable magic elf box, I was playing with it in the waiting room of the hospital while Bobbi was attending to her mother. I discovered that the phone had pre-programmed "excuse messages" that could be sent to callers if you couldn't answer the phone, stuff like "I will contact you as soon as I'm out of this meeting" and things like that, so I reprogrammed them to say the kind of things I found funny at 0300 on a Sunday, stuff more along the lines of "I can't talk right now; there's a badger gnawing on my leg," and "I am unable to answer the phone at the moment. I think a dingo ate my baby." I haven't used any of them since. Until...

Last night, Bobbi and I had gone out for a bite to eat and then stopped at a coffee house afterward for a cuppa joe before heading home. The music was a little loud, I was in line for a refill, chatting with the Baristess or whatever you call her, and my phone buzzed. It was Shootin' Buddy. I noticed the little "Excuse Message" tab and thought "Huh. I've never used one of those new-fangled excuse messages before," and selected one blindly, at random, figuring I'd step out on the patio and call him back as soon as I got my refill.

Protip: Do not send a lawyer an excuse message text that reads:
I will contact you as soon as I shoot this guy.
No sooner had the screen lit up with my accidental response than I was bolting for the patio door. Sure enough, the phone was buzzing urgently before my hand hit the knob.

Note to self: To avoid panicking people who care about me, use the one about being chewed on by a badger.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A really crappy law.

Are you familiar with the Guano Islands Act of 1856?

Apparently, when a US citizen sets foot on an island rich in bird crap deposits, and the island is not claimed by anybody else, the island may, at the discretion of the president, be annexed by the USA. Further, should you be the unlucky citizen who washes ashore on this avian outhouse, you have some responsibilities, too, apparently:
The discoverer shall, as soon as practicable, give notice verified by affidavit, to the Department of State, of such discovery, occupation, and possession, describing the island, rock, or key, and the latitude and longitude thereof, as near as may be, and showing that such possession was taken in the name of the United States; and shall furnish satisfactory evidence to the State Department that such island, rock, or key was not, at the time of the discovery thereof, or of the taking possession and occupation thereof by the claimants, in the possession or occupation of any other government or of the citizens of any other government, before the same shall be considered as appertaining to the United States.
Which is a bummer, because suppose I wanted to claim it for the greater glory of myself? The best I could hope for, according to §1414, would be an exclusive right to the guano concession for myself and my heirs or assigns, but I could only sell the guano to the US. Which, if your lifelong goal has been to be the robber baron governor of a colonial feces farm, would be pretty swell, I guess.

Oh, one of the islands claimed under the Guano Act is causing us a little minor border squabble with New Zealand. And they had an American queen.

Oh, well, if Peak Phosphorus really happens, we'll be glad our elder statesmen had such foresight! Or something.

Or you'll what?

I'm sure everybody's seen this annoying Arby's commercial:

Here's my question: When the bank robber says "Do as I say, and nobody gets hurt," what does he have to back up that threat?

"Nobody gets hurt"? Hurt with what, Mr. Bank Robber? You're completely unarmed! The Arby's spokes-goofball at least could throw his chicken sandwich at you.

What kind of fruity California ad agency bank robber crashes through a door on a motorcycle and issues grim threats in a German accent without being armed with so much as a Nerf gun?

Overheard in the Office:

RX: "Have you seen this?"

Me: "Wow! That looks gloriously dangerous!"

RX: "Actually, it's apparently very stable."

Me: "Yeah, but can you imagine? You clip the trees, tumble forward out of the seat and into that maelstrom of whirling blades of death! Splatter!"

RX: "Tam, those are electric motors and little composite fan blades, they can't..."

Me: "What? Why aren't they chainsaw motors with steel blades? Or titanium!"

RX: [walking toward the kitchen] "In fact... I'd put a seat-belt interlock on it so the motors couldn't run unless you were safely harnessed in..."

Me: [yelling after her] "You're treading on my dreams!"

(H/T to Lyle.)

You keep using that word...

...I do not think it means what you think it means.

Weer'd quotes gun-banner Joan Peterson as writing
I don’t make deals on this blog as you know. It’s clear that you guys are not interested in compromising. I am seeking that from others who are more reasonable.
You hear those words a lot whenever gun control is being discussed: "reasonable" and "compromise".

Now, the way I understand it, a 'compromise' is where I give up something I want, and you give up something you want, and we reach a solution that is not perfect but that we can both live with.

A hypothetical compromise would be something like:
"Okay, you can have your Firearm Owner's ID Card law, but there can't be any kind of test; it has to be 'shall issue' to anybody with a pulse and a clean background check. In turn, we can use it to buy any gun we want, regardless of barrel length or bore diameter or rate of fire or across state lines or whatever..."
That would be a compromise. Or
"Okay, we'll give up folding stocks and bayonet lugs if that makes you happy, but in turn, you have to move suppressors to Title I or, better yet, to blister packs next to the ear muffs, instead of making people file paperwork and pay a $200 federal tax for what is a basic piece of safety equipment like the one on your car or lawnmower."
That, too, would be a compromise. See how that works?

So, yeah, Joan, it's easy for me to be uncompromising, since you've never actually offered me anything on which to compromise. It's why I don't read or comment on you people's blogs. If all you're going to do is stick your fingers in your ears and "Lalalalalalalalalala! I can't hear you!" well, two can play at that game.

What are you willing to give up, Joan? Where's your reasonable compromise? You're making it awful easy for me to just yell "Shall not be infringed!" right back at you.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Audience Participation.

  • If you are an Indianapolis resident and would like to take part in today's electoral festivities, here's a handy link to the official voter information website. Roomie has links to some wookie-approved candidates.

  • If you are a Hoosier and do not belong to our state rifle & pistol association, why not? Operating on a shoestring budget, with a membership that wouldn't fill a high school stadium and three volunteer part-time lobbyists, they went six-for-six at the statehouse this past session, and they're already gearing up for next season. Imagine what they could do with real resources.

Overheard in the Office:

RX: "Huh. I'd never heard of such a thing."

Me: "Never heard of what such a thing?"

RX: "A zipper machine."

Me: "Oh, one of those things that moves Jersey barriers! Those are pretty cool. I wonder which would win in a battle between one of those and a Zamboni?"

RX: "Oh, the Zamboni would get its butt kicked. Definitely."

Monday, November 07, 2011

Really, Taurus? Really?

I once had an idea to enhance range safety. When you saw somebody doing something gooberish at the range, you would offer them a free hat or t-shirt that said "I'm A Moron! Watch My Muzzle!"

The plan fizzled because, despite being free, nobody wanted the merchandise.

Now Taurus has figured out a way to charge hundreds of dollars for essentially the same thing, a big, shiny goober indicator, and people will gobble them up like mushrooms at a Phish concert.

(H/T to Unc.)

Magazine issues.

Og has his evil black rifle all put together and is lacking only time to get it to the range.

A discussion in his comments section brought up some good points about AR magazines.

I know I harp on this constantly, but magazines are wear items. Further, they are the weakest link of any weapon that feeds from detachable mags, if only because they are easier to drop and lose than the rest of the gun, so it's only common sense to have a bunch of 'em.

Until a few years ago, if your rifle was an AR-15 (or other type that ate out of STANAG magazines), the easiest way to do this was to buy a bunch of GI surplus aluminum mags. It's still a pretty inexpensive solution to the magazine problem, but it can have its downsides.

Left fully loaded for extended periods of time, the spring will push the column of ammunition against the feed lips, gradually spreading them apart. Your first indication that this has occurred will be the occasional double feed. If these are ignored and the magazine left in service, you may get a chance to see a "volcano", as the lips get spread enough to allow the magazine to regurgitate three, five, or even a whole magazine's worth of cartridges into the upper receiver.

Also, GI magazines have been loaded by GIs, who are given stripper clips of ten rounds and a handy little adapter to get them from the clip into the mag. If the GI is a lazy GI, he might have braced the top round in the clip against the edge of a handy table and the magazine baseplate against his tummy and leaned against it to "ZZZIP!" load ten rounds really quick-like, apparently without considering that this then allows the feed lips of the aluminum magazine to crash into the edge of the table with his body weight behind them.

While this will give him a splendid chance to practice his "SPORTS" malfunction clearance drills, it will likely not make you happy when you purchase the surplus magazine he has borked.

This can be totally avoided by buying new magazines. (And not doing these things yourself, of course...)

Overheard in the Office:

Me: "God, what a mayoral race. You've got one candidate getting get-out-the-vote endorsement calls by Bill Clinton, and the other getting 'em from Rudy Giuliani. And they both think that's a good thing!"

RX: "Well, they're robocalls..."

Me: "Of course they're robocalls! Can you imagine how that would go down live? 'Hey, Mrs. Goldstein. This here's Bill Clinton. How you doin'?'"

RX: "'...what're you wearin'?'"

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Stepping boldly into 2006.

It's been a good five years since LED flashlights pretty much took over the "tactical" light market, but I've been carrying the same old xenon-bulb Surefire Z2 "Combatlight" for eons. It has an adjustable wrist lanyard on it and a narrow, flat-sided section in the middle that, along with the rubber collar behind it, makes it easy to use one handed, even wearing gloves, even if I have a pistol in the other hand.

Of course, the downside is that the xenon bulb sucked the electrons out of those expensive lithium batteries like a shop vac in a Dixie cup.

Last gun show, I finally got around to upgrading to the LED version, the Z2S, which is not only brighter and has a longer run time, but also has a strobe function, whose utility I am not entirely sold on.

I thought about just upgrading the lamp assembly, but while it would have been about a third cheaper, this way I can take the older flashlight and keep it in the car for emergencies and suchlike.

(Staying with the same model of flashlight also allowed me to move my GG&G T.I.D. over to the new one. I can't think of any possible situation where I will ever hit somebody with a pocket flashlight, but it looks cool and I got it on sale, so what the heck.)

Cats do the funniest things.

As I have mentioned before, Huck does this little somersault trick, where he presses his forehead against the basement door in the kitchen, presses forward, tucks his chin, and somersaults so that he is lying on his back, tail end against the door and head in the middle of the kitchen floor, looking up expectantly.

He is looking up expectantly because this is the point where I coo "Ohhhh! Did himums do a sommysault? Did himums do a sommysault? Good boys who do sommysaults get treats! Yes they do!"*

And then I open the cabinet and get him a treat, and Rannie, who heard all the fussing and the opening of the cabinet door and the rustling of the treat bag comes in, and I give her one too, which neatly illustrates the Free Rider problem. (Which isn't much of a problem, since Huck got his treat and doesn't seem to mind if others got some, too.)

This morning, I'm standing in the kitchen, talking to Bobbi about various breakfast possibilities, when there is a thump, soon followed by another, and soon a steady thumping noise is coming from the basement door. Out of the corner of my eye, it is apparent that Huck had done his food-producing trick and, when nobody noticed, just started doing it over and over again because, hey, we were standing right there and sooner or later somebody would get him a cat treat, right?

*If you tell anybody I coo baby talk at Bobbi's cat, you'd better start wearing kevlar knee guards, and that's all I have to say about that.

Overheard in Roomie's Bedroom:

TeeWee Announcer: "The New York City Marathon is one of the biggest, and toughest, races in the world."

Me: "Wait, what? Why is a marathon tougher in New York? 'Cause of all the hills? Or you might get mugged right in the middle of the race? They probably jog right through some rough neighborhoods. Is a New York City mile longer than a regular mile?"

RX: "It's because they don't stop the traffic for them."

Me: "Awesome! 'Come to the Big Apple for the 26th Annual Running of the Taxicabs!' I'd go watch that."

Saturday, November 05, 2011

There's a reason for that, actually.

"It's legal to carry a concealed weapon in a restaurant! Somebody help me! But it is illegal to carry a gun in the state legislature!" -Mayor Coleman, of Columbus, OH
Well, Mr. Mayor, that's because we can trust waitresses to rarely do things that make people want to shoot them.

Same planet, different worlds...

My roomie made mention of a story about a crack in an Antarctic glacier yesterday, so this morning I decided to google the story.

Paging through the first three links left me confused, however...
Maybe these people are talking about different glaciers? Nope, on a second reading, they're all referring to a "Pine Island Glacier" in Antarctica.

Well, maybe it's different Antarcticas, then. Like, maybe one of them is in my universe, another is in the universe where those time-travelers gave the Confederates AK-47s, and the third one is in that universe where Spock has a beard.

I figure if I add those stories up and divide by three, I should be getting closer to the truth...

Careful how you phrase that, Mr. Patriotic 'Murrican.

So in the brouhaha surrounding Scott Olson, former-Marine-turned-hippie-activist and #OCCUPY_THE_NIGHTLY_NEWS almost-a-martyr, I noticed this gem from a righteously indignant right-winger in the comments:
He has the right to free speech but he does NOT have the right to incite violence on our streets..he got what was coming to him..trhe cops said disperse...what didnt he get about that?
Hey, Captain America, are you sure that's what the cops said? "Disperse"? Or did they say something like "Disperse, ye villains! ye rebels, disperse! lay down your arms! why don't you lay down your arms and disperse?"

Jesus wept, can you be that tone deaf? Let me guess: American History was an elective course at your school and you took wood shop instead...