Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Occasionally I've noted hits in my site meter coming from the blog Kick Him, Honey, the web digs of writer Benjamin Whitmer.

After a good review of his debut novel, Pike, by friend Marko, I'd been meaning to read it myself, and Sunday noon-ish I Kindled up a copy...

...and didn't put it down 'til I finished that evening, feeling like I'd just taken a good shot to the jaw. Wow.

Was No Country For Old Men too relentlessly cheerful and bubbly for your tastes? Dirty White Boys too morally unambiguous? Then this is your feel-good family hit of the summer, right here.

Words like "bleak" and "gritty" don't really do it justice. At the same time, it is beautifully written and deftly paced. There are times when he paints a picture with words right on you, so real that you want to go and shower it off, but you have to stay and turn the page, as stuck in the story as the characters are in their lives, drawn on by the faint hope that maybe there'll be a happy ending to this mess after all.

Be aware that the book is rated R for... well, pretty much everything for which you can get an R rating.


In comments to Marko's post about pedal pubs, Joat linked to an interesting news story:
Almost the instant they stopped at a red light, a crowd of "25 to 40 young African Americans" suddenly materialized and surrounded the pub, as Ranney told police later. The teenagers jumped up on the bar, shaking the whole contraption and screaming indecipherably. Ranney says a couple of the kids tried to grab purses from an overhead storage compartment...
Here's some ofay suburban types looking for a leisurely, if somewhat boozy, tour around their fair city, and instead they get a pedal pub trip through downtown Minneapolis as envisioned by Joseph Conrad, and it's not like they were pedaling through the 'hood, either: Nicolette Mall is right in the commercial heart of downtown, analogous to Circle Centre here in Hoosieropolis.

Look, folks, the whole "social contract/rule of law" thing is based on good citizens receiving a modicum of protection from stuff like this in exchange for not driving the wrong way down the freeway while snorting fat lines of coke off the dashboard and shooting anybody who gives them the finger for it. If you can't deliver the former, where's the margin in refraining from the latter?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Overheard in the Office:

I may have mentioned before that one of the more entertaining parts of my morning is overhearing the rambling chatter that comes out of the shower while my roomie is alone in there with nothing but her inner mental dialogue, which occasionally burbles over into outer mental dialog. For example, this is what just wafted over the metaphorical transom:
RX: "Today on Battle of the Bands, it's The Dave Clark 5 versus SEAL Team 6! Oh, no! Dave is down! It looks like a headshot..."
Oookay, then...

Open the pod bay doors, HAL.

D.W. Drang has a pretty interesting piece mulling the utility of a computers in various disaster preparedness situations.

I agree that a little netbook could come in handy in a lot of scenarios, and the hardened USB thumb-drive is rather clever. I'm wondering if that wouldn't be a good way to store scans of important documents, as well?

Tools required for disassembly...

Colt's little M1903 pocket pistol field-strips pretty easily, no tools required. There's even a handy arrow etched on the slide showing you exactly how far back to withdraw it to take the piece down.

Elbert Searle's Savage pocket pistol is similarly simple, at least as regards field-stripping, while the H&R is a little more complex, requiring a tool like a screwdriver (although the lip of the magazine floorplate is shaped for this) to pop down on the trigger guard while you're holding your mouth just right...

The Remington, on the other hand...

"Don't try taking it apart 'til you come down here," said Gunsmith Bob over the phone, and not in a "Ha-ha, get it? It's complicated," way, but in a "No, really, I'm serious: don't," sort of tone.

See, what you do is you push the muzzle against something hard, causing the slide and barrel to retract a bit and then use a small screwdriver to poke and pry the slide stop out. Then you retract the slide a bit again, by itself this time, and pull forward on the barrel, using the grooved ring.

And then nothing happens. So you pull a little more while holding your mouth different, maybe with your tongue out the corner so the gun knows you're concentrating. And there's a sort of *click* but nothing else. This is the part where the NRA Manual says the slide should come off, so you say "Shannon, what am I doing wrong?" and hand him the gun. Then Shannon, who can crack walnuts without the aid of a nutcracker, tugs at the barrel a bit with no result before hucking it up in the padded jaws of a bench vise...

This is not something you want to be doing around the campfire.

"No wonder it wouldn't come apart," says Shannon, "this thing's drier than a popcorn fart," and hands it to you in two parts, frame and slide. As you examine the underside of the slide, looking at the interplay between the barrel, the moving breechblock, and the very serious-looking recoil spring, wound concentrically around the barrel and of a size and thickness more usually seen pulling screen doors to, the whole assemblage wobbling under very obvious spring tension, Shannon mutters over his shoulder "...and be careful in there, those things'll pinch up a blood blister."

So you decide to just oil it up and reassemble it without further disassembly while listening to Shannon tell about the guy who got the bolt out of his Remington 742 by prying the receiver open until it dropped out the magazine well, and then brought it in to see if it could be fixed.

I'll take it apart next time.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

If you want to get smarter...

...on using carbines to mess up people who are trying to hurt you, F2Sconsulting has a class in the NoVA area at the end of February. There may be some spots left. The instructor knows a thing or two about using a carbine...

Wisht I was closer.

Guns, lots of guns.

When I was younger, I worked briefly in the seafood department of a grocery store. Come break time, it was always easier, and practically as cheap, to steam up a mess of shrimp as it was to go get in the car and get some fast food for lunch. Did you know you can get heartily sick of shrimp?

Once upon a time, I really, really, really liked guns. There were guns I wanted soooo bad: I remember when getting a Spectre, or a P7M8, or a Mateba Unica-6 was the highlight of my whole month. I fear I've burned myself out a bit: the Specter was as useless as training wheels on a jumbo jet, the HK was hard to find leather for, the Mateba was a pain in the butt to clean...

There's nothing that really lights my fuse like that anymore. Oh, sure, I usually find something of interest at a gun show, but a lot of the thrill is gone.

There are still a few guns, though, that pique my interest enough that if somebody handed me the winning lotto ticket, I'd try to find one for the collection. Robb Allen asked "What would you get if you could get any five guns, cost and practicality be hanged?" Good question. So in no particular order, here's the answer:
  • M1868 Papal States Remington:
    Because if the dead rise and walk the earth in search of human brains, there's nothing better with which to put them back into the hereafter than a rifle with the Keys of St. Peter stamped right into the receiver, no matter what Hornady may state to the contrary. Too bad the 12.7x45R cartridge is a handloader-only proposition these days; maybe we can get them to do a run of Z-Max, just in case.

  • Webley Mars Pistol:
    Because it's cool. Ammo is completely unavailable, but you don't even need to shoot it: You can go on at length about Sir Gabbet-Fairfax's long-recoil pistol that drew the cartridges rearward from the magazine and fired a bottlenecked .45 that was the most powerful handgun cartridge around until the hot .357 Magnum barely edged it out, and the ejection pattern would... and your assailant will be bored to death. Like the Webley-Fosbery semiauto revolver, this thing's practically a Trivial Pursuit answer in solid steel.

  • Russian military contract Winchester M1895:
    A box-magazine-fed, Browning-designed, fully-stocked, 7.62x54R Winchester levergun with a bayonet lug that may have been used to shoot Bolsheviks in Russia and Fascists in Spain. What's not to like?

  • Mauser M712 "Schnellfeuer":
    If you don't at least kinda want one of these, I'm not sure we can be friends anymore.

  • Swedish m/35 LMG:
    It's a Browning BAR with a finned quick-change barrel and it's chambered in 6.5x55 and it's about dead sexy.
Most of those are pretty much fantasyland, for fiscal reasons if nothing else, but I figure I actually have a shot at the M1895 and/or the Pope Gun someday...

How 'bout y'all? What are your five?

...and practically every murderer was once a misdemeanant.

Linoge, among others, discusses the glaring idiocy of the latest antigun nonsense statement, "Fact: Every criminal was once law abiding citizen[sic]" which as an argument is a giant logical goose-egg. Every Nazi dictator was once a baby, too, but that doesn't mean we should chuck them all out with the bathwater just to eliminate the possibility of future Nazi dictators.

However, there have been studies done that point out that, except for the rare nutcase who "just snaps" one day or the honest-to-god "crime of passion", the overwhelmingly vast majority of convicted murderers have long criminal records before they ever get put away for homicide. It's a rare killer who first meets the cops over a cooling body; they're often already on a first-name basis with the local constabulary and nobody's very shocked that "ol' so-and-so finally up and shot somebody."

(Among my readers here, there are enough cops, as well as lawyers who play on offense, defense, or special teams, that hopefully somebody's memory will get jogged enough that I can find a link. I first read the study in the mid-'90s...)

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Friend Jenn has moved house, both literally and on the internet.

Personally, I'd have titled the new blog katabasis instead of HedgeRoot. Orpheus only went to Hades for love, but she went to Massachusetts.

Tab Clearing...

  • It depends on how you define "practical": Wilson discusses allocating more gun money to "practical" pieces rather than collector arms in 2012, to which I replied "If you think that things are going to go all colander-on-the-face, then yes, an M4gery is worth a pile of K-22s and Colt Gold Cups. But if you're expecting civil order to remain relatively intact through a period of economic turbulence and inflation, collectables historically perform well in those periods, as people are desperate to turn fiat money into tangibles as soon as it hits their hands." And you can't shoot a looter with a Willie Mays rookie card or a Gibson Les Paul, but a 1912 97% NRA EXC Smith & Wesson Triple Lock is still a .44.

  • I want the Broad Ripple franchise for this.

  • Monster Hunter International: confusing hippies since 2008. Check out this thread on a discussion forum. You gotta love the original poster's claim that a great big accountant who shoots guns is an unbelievable character (gosh, where could Larry Correia have come up with that idea?) My favorite was the guy on page three who implied Eric Flint somehow wasn't authentically Left Wing because he wrote for Baen. Listen, you patchouli-reeking tea-room radical, Flint's a frickin' card-carrying Trotskyite! You get any farther out the left wing than that, you'll trip over the winglet and fall off.

Overheard in Roomie's Bedroom:

Roomie's TV goes off at 0530. I go in and take advantage of the fact that it doesn't wake her up to do some channel surfing until it's breakfast time for Huck and Rannie, looking for blogfodder.

At 0600, I flip from the O'Reilly Report to the Rachel Maddow Show*. Spock now has a beard. Rachel does not. (But she should get one or people might start talking.)
Rachel Maddow: "...and meanwhile, Ron Paul is just gathering up all these delegates. What is he going to do with them?"

Me: "Build a moon rocket and threaten the world!"
(Incidentally, I found this photo of Rachel's bookshelf interesting.)

* I just can't bring myself to watch Fox & Friends. I swear to Vishnu, Fox's morning show looks like a parody of a conservative morning talk show you'd see in a dystopian Verhoeven near-future SciFi flick. Five or ten minutes' exposure to that bubble-headed prattle sucks IQ points from my head like a shop-vac in a Dixie cup.

Early morning commercial notes...

  • Apparently, prospective customers of Colonial Penn life insurance trust Alex Trebeck a lot, and probably consider him a nice young man. Although, considering the target demographic, constantly repeating "...and I've been representing Colonial Penn for ten years..." is a questionable tack. "Ten years? I've been president of the mall-walkers club & neighborhood shuffleboard team longer than that!"

  • Saw a Newt Gingrich campaign ad. During the Rachel Maddow show. You'd have to open a Big Ed's Pig & Pit in Riyadh if you wanted to throw money away with less effect. (Either that or it's a clever ploy to reach GOP voters who monitor the enemy freqs. Newt is supposed to be the smartest guy in the room, after all.)

  • Bobbi's Theory of TV Products: If they offer to throw in a second one free, it is definitely garbage.

  • The forthcoming sporting contest in our fair city has local car dealers struggling to find a way to capitalize on it without actually speaking the trademarked words. One is offering a lucky customer a pair of tickets to "the real big football game in Indianapolis!" I thought another had actually uttered the expensive shibboleth, until I looked at the words on the screen and saw they were announcing a "Super Bold Sacrifice Sale". Ah.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Go, Canada!

Obama, take note: In the immortal words of that visionary military genius, General "Buck" Turgidson, "Mr. President, we must not allow a spaceborne Lego figurine gap!"

Americans are going to be jittery about this, knowing that little thing is overhead, going "Beep, eh? Beep, eh?"

This is the chance to capture the imagination of a generation, Mr. President. You need to get out there and claim that we will put a Lego minifig on the moon by the end of the decade!

(H/T to Blunt Object.)

Salem's Lot.

Imagine what the Salem witch trials would have been like if we'd had television back then. Young, excitable teenagers suffering mysterious symptoms "beyond the power of Epileptic Fits or natural disease to effect" would have gotten on the Today show, and the attention and excitement would have caused more kids to get possessed by demons, and the Malleus Maleficarum would be at the top of the NYT best seller list.

Of course, we're way too sophisticated for that nonsense now. Now we call Erin Brokovitch.

At least the girls of LeRoy haven't fingered the social studies teacher as a witch yet. (And a good thing, too, because the gullible naifs of that pathetic township would probably have the poor biddy hanged by nightfall.)

Meanwhile, Oklahoma is becoming a vanguard state in the struggle to ban the use of aborted human fetuses in food products to be consumed by humans, a problem heretofore unknown by anyone, save that narrow demographic consisting of insomniacs who own shortwave radios.

My god, it's like the Age of Reason never even happened.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Finding a balance between Paul Revere and the boy who cried "Wolf!"

Every time the military holds an urban warfare training exercise on U.S. soil, people freak right the heck out. I remember the Birchers complaining about it in the pages of The New American in the late '80s/early '90s. I remember using a 1200-baud modem hooked to an IBM XT to debate the hidden meaning of USMC training exercises in Atlanta on a dial-up BBS*.

Tell me, if the US military is going to train in a realistic urban environment, are they going to:
  1. Build a completely realistic duplicate city. (No, I don't mean one of those fake training camp cities.)
  2. Use a foreign city. (And boy, won't the city fathers of Sydney be surprised!)
  3. Use a handy, dandy pre-built city right here.
Incidentally, do you remember where you were the night the U.S. military actually deployed against U.S. citizens with live ammo on those very same Los Angeles streets twenty years ago this April? I was riding through the nearly deserted city streets of Atlanta that night, leaning out the passenger window with a Canon AE-1 loaded with 1600ASA film to snap photos of a column of GBI guys in riot gear jogging down the street. "Make sure you get my good side!" called one...

The redcoats in Boston drilled every day, had guard mounts, helped little old ladies across the cart path, did soldier stuff... for decades.

If every time they had stepped outside the barracks door, Paul Revere saddled up and rode around yelling "The Regulars are coming!" how many people would have just ignored him come April 18th? "Oh, it's just that Revere guy again, always goin' on about the government..." All I'm saying is that desensitization cuts both ways.

*And, having done this for a number of years, I will note that it is a dead cert that I will get a commenter saying "Gooo to sleeep, citizen! Nothing to see here! Gooo tooo sleeep!", or some variant thereof.

Overheard in the Dining Room:


Me: "Hello?"

Man On Phone: "Hello, this is Joe Blowski calling from the AFL-CIO for Tam-air-uh K."

Me: "Uh... speaking?" (Oh, jeez, they're gonna want to know where Hoffa is...)

MOP: "What I'm calling about is we're trying to get people together for a demonstration against the 'Right To Work' bill, and we have..."

Me: "I'm not interested. At all."

MOP: "Oh. We had you down as a member or family member of the Electrical Workers'..."

Me: "I am neither."

MOP: "Well, I'll correct that information. I'm sorry, a..."

Me: "Good day, sir."


Me: "And furthermore, I wouldn't piss in your mouth if your teeth were on fire, ya goddam Wobbly!"
At least the Super Bowl will be over in a week. Lord only knows how long this Right To Work stuff could drag on. And on. And on.

File Under: "Things To Which I Am Not Looking Forward."

There's been talk of the Teamsters protesting at the Super Bowl and possibly a church group from Kansas.
A "church group from Kansas"? Oh, boy. The Super Bowl in our Super City is going to apparently attract Super Douchenozzle Phred Phelps. (And that's not libel, Phred. A true statement cannot be libelous, and I am sure I'd have no problem rounding up a few million people on short notice who would be willing to testify under oath that you are, in fact, a super douchenozzle.)

You kids today and your modern art.

Somehow tenuously connected to the Super Bowl in our Super City comes a Super Art Exhibit, cryptically yclept "TURF", in the old city hall building.

I'm watching the reporter describe it, and he's wandering through a bare room that, as Warhol is my witness, looked like it had been vandalized by a graffiti artist. And not one of the good ones, either, just some kid with a lot of black spray paint and not much talent, albeit with a larger and more polite vocabulary than your average tagger.

Some of the other exhibits are pretty cool though. And for the ones that don't make sense, I just remember that the thing is put on by the Indianapolis Downtown Artists and Dealer's Association: IDADA.

Why did the Dadaist cross the road? Electric dumptruck!

You had to have been there...

Matt discusses his new fireman boots, each one of which uses purt' near an entire cow, in a recent post, and that reminded me of seeing Ambulance Driver discover one of Matt's flip-flops and launch into a soliloquy that had me laughing until it hurt...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Overheard in the Office:

The instructions on the Patio burrito instruct one to "wrap loosely" in a paper towel when microwaving. I thought about cooking a second one, changed my mind, balled up the paper towel in my hand, then changed my mind again and wrapped the now-wrinkled towel loosely around the burrito-flavored texturized food product. Setting the microwave, I wander back towards the office.

Meanwhile, Bobbi goes into the kitchen...
RX: "What are you cooking?"

Me: "Huh?"

RX: "It looks like you're microwaving a used kleenex!"

Well that's just Super.

Apparently someone accidentally shelved their copy of The Sum of All Fears in the non-fiction section, because as part of the Super Security for the Super Event happening next weekend in this Super City for which we the taxpayers are getting squeezed for Super Bucks, downtown Indy is getting brand new Super Snooping CCTV Cameras*. Further, like the stink of a cheap cigar, they will remain long after the party has moved on.

They're awesome cameras, says IMPD Deputy Chief Michael Bates:
"They both move up and down side to side. What's nice about the new cameras we've got is they're digital cameras. They're more of a high-definition camera, so it allows us a much more clear picture and ability to zoom in more than we could with the other cameras," said IMPD Deputy Chief Michael Bates.

That means clearer up-close images of license plates and faces, too. But there will be no facial recognition software hooked up to the cameras, at least not in the near future.
Right. And the check's in the mail.

We're told that they will have additional public safety uses, such as... um... maybe helping clear traffic jams? And that they will make downtown safer and so more people will want to go spend money there. I guess that's the sort of thing that makes some people feel safe, but I'm not one of them.

No word from the Indy po-po on when they will implement my own public safety suggestion: Breathalyzer ignition interlocks on IMPD squad cars. That'd be a guaranteed crimestopper right there.

*Although, knowing the way these things work, it wouldn't shock me to find out that all y'all helped pay for them, via some Department of Homeland Security dolecheque program or another.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Another thing checked off the bucket list.

Somewhere in the universe, a thousand years ago, a red giant star could have blown itself into a supernova. As its core collapsed into a black hole, fusing matter from its outer layers could have been focused by the lens of its gravity into two titanic beams, spewing high-energy radiation from the poles of its accretion disc.

One of these beams, heavy with gamma rays, sleeting across the universe at 186,000 miles per second could strike the Earth tonight, burning the atmosphere and killing every living thing in its path...

...but I would die happy, because I just drank a beer made with weasel poo and, really, doesn't that prove that there's a point to this whole universe thing after all? Happy frickin' birthday to me. :)


Perambulated about town today.

Had an omelet at Cafe Pretenchou, and then toodled north a bit. Stopped at the Safeway at 56th and Illinois and zomg they had my favorite comfort food! Patio frozen burritos! I hadn't seen them since I moved to Naptown lo these four years ago.

Then I went across the street to L.E. Kincaid & Sons, which I had passed many times before, but never entered. Oh, friends... It was a veritable temple of meat. The walls were hung with prize livestock ribbons from the State Fair. I purchased a mess of bacon that only entered into interstate commerce if you believe the crackpot theories set forth in Wickard v. Filburn.

It was a good day. I didn't even have to use my AK.

Gun Nut Triviata:

I knew that Arthur Alphin and A-Square used to be based out of Indiana, but I did not know that Lee Jurras and SuperVel were located in the Hoosier state as well.

There's something pleasingly symmetrical to my gun nerd eye in that fact.

(Incidentally, LTC Alphin's lecture films from his West Point days are available on the DVD Guns Of War. I highly recommend it. Here is footage of a genial gun nut whose everyday job is to take all kinds of historical guns out on the range and demonstrate their use and historical significance to cadets. He looks like he couldn't be happier if he won the lottery. The footage is rounded out with some classic B&W WWII training films.)


QotD: Genie Out Of The Bottle Edition

The Adaptive Curmudgeon on the recent record-shattering spike in firearms sales:
It makes my Curmudgeonly heart swell with pride. Free citizens voluntarily plunking down their own cash to legally arm themselves to the teeth. I don’t care if it’s deer guns, plinkers, bird guns, cheap mil-surp, chromed cowboy wallhangers, pistols, rifles, shotguns, or even a metric ton of tiny derringers. Any gun in the hands of a free citizen is a good one. It’s good to do things that free citizens can do. Rights must be recognized or they’re just words in a book.
Darn right.

Am I my brother's keeper?

A lot of people, on the topic of smoking bans, argued that they were the lip of a slippery slope. "Next thing you know, they'll be banning perfume! I mean, I find the smell of heavy perfume offensive!"

To which the counterargument was advanced that there was a difference between being offended by perfume and catching a bout of cancer from secondhand smoke. What this counterargument seems to miss is a phenomenon that seems to have cropped up in the last twenty years or so: people who are deathly allergic to everything.

I'm not sure where these people were in my youth: Every class had the one sickly kid who had the asthma, was 'lergic to school food, and had to bring special lunches from home, but nowadays it seems you can't swing a cat without hitting someone who'll swell up from anaphylactic shock and die when you do. There are people running around with epipens in their pockets in case they come into contact with everything from bee stings to paint fumes to shellfish to peanuts...

...to perfume.

The camel's nose is in the tent. If someone is actually medically sensitive to vapors given off by others, who do we stuff in the bunny suit? The allergy sufferer, or the rest of society?

(H/T to Unc.)

Missed it by that much.

At midnight last night, it stopped being John Moses Browning's birthday and started being mine. I almost had a really cool birthday co-celebrant.

However, I do share a birthday with Hadrianus Augustus, Frederick the Great, Edith Wharton, Ernst Heinkel, Generalfeldmarschall Model, Oral Roberts, Warren Zevon, John Belushi, and Natassja Kinski. (Oral Bob and Bluto Blutarsky on the same day? That should tell you everything you need to know about the predictive power of astrology.)

In this age of internet fora, you are reminded that it is your birthday when your email inbox explodes with birthday greetings from every VBulletin or UBB forum at which you have ever registered. I had forgotten some of those places still existed, but I would like to assure at least two of them that, yes, I was prepared for Y2K.

According to Wikipedia, on this date in 1986, Voyager 2 passed within 81,500 kilometers of Uranus. (God bless Bill Herschel for that.) Also, the first Mac went on sale in 1984. And on this date in 2011 2012*, I believe I'll have an omelet at Cafe Pretenchou for breakfast.

*Obviously we are still in the month of Nonuary, which is defined as that period of time between the first day of the new year and the last day you accidentally write the old year on a check.
Wanna drive someone with OCD crazy? Put a footnote down here without a referent in the body of text above.

Monday, January 23, 2012

They should have named it the USS Omen.

So, I'm reading American Heavy Frigates 1794-1826 and it jogs my memory into recollecting that the Continental Navy had an actual American-built ship-of-the-line. (Which makes one wonder how you can have just one ship-of-the-line. Wouldn't that be a ship-of-the-point?)

Congress authorized the building of America's first battleship, to be predictably-if-prosaically named the America, on November ninth of 1776. There immediately followed a multi-year saga of cost overruns, design changes, naval politics, design re-changes and un-changes, budgetary shortfalls, shortages of materials and skilled labor...

The thing was finally launched just four days short of six years later, but Congress had already voted to give her to France two months earlier as repayment for a French 74-gunner that had gone to Davy Jones' locker in Boston Harbor after doing the nautical equivalent of jumping a curb.

After flying the tricolour for only three years, she was scrapped when it was found she was all ate up with dry rot and nothing but a giant floating metaphor for the future military-industrial-congressional complex.

I am not terribly surprised.

While most people are familiar with the fact that the Greek word "barbaroi" referred to anyone outside of Hellenic culture who didn't speak proper Greek like a civilized human and instead went "Bar, bar, bar" in some uncouth tongue like Latin or Persian, how many knew that the Chinese have more words for "barbarian" than the French have for surrender*?

*I'd have said "...than the Esquimaux have for snow" but some humorless pedant always Poindexters up and points out that they don't.

Overheard in Roomie's Bedroom:

TV Talking Head: "...and the cost of sending a letter to Canada or Mexico has increased to 85¢."

RX: "Which is why you should never write to someone in Canada or Mexico."

Me: "It's not like the heathen savages can read anyway. They don't even have real speech; just 'Bar, bar, bar'..."

RX: "Well, in Canada it would be 'Bar, bar, bar, eh?'"

Sunday, January 22, 2012


While VFTP is not in the habit of giving official endorsements to lying, thieving, hypocritical, egotistical, heirarchist wannabe-tax-parasites (hereafter referred to as political candidates) we are considering making an exception in the 2012 election.

I knew I'd seen this scenario somewhere before...

QotD: That's It Exactly Edition

Seen at S.W.A.T. Magazine's Facebook page today:
"It is easy to find with individuals who fail to study all laws that may impact their travel destinations. However, the law loses its moral authority when it fails to distinguish between the criminal and the hapless or ill-informed citizen." -Michael Kobe
The spate of out-of-towners running afoul of NYC's draconian firearms laws despite their mens not being the slightest bit rea has attracted the attention of even CNN.


  • It's been three months now of get-dressed 'til go-to-bed wear with the Raven holster worn IWB. Couldn't be happier.

  • I don't like "reality TV". I've watched a few episodes of Top Shot, most all in Season 1, but other than that, I can't say as I've ever sat through a single complete episode of Sons of West Coast Pawn Survivor the Bounty Hunter. (Specifically, that pawn shop show makes me want to explode in violent fury. I can't put my finger on exactly why, but there's only one member of that cast that doesn't give me the instant desire to give them a facial using a sock full of nickels.) While strolling down the long plastic hallway dodging thieves and pimps yesterday, I became enthralled with this show called Oddities on the Science Channel and actually sat through, like, two episodes.

    Incidentally, with the History Channel being nothing but shows about the sex lives of alien Nazi bigfoot ghosts and how they built the pyramids, and SyFy having gone to the flying piranha dogs, the Science Channel seems to be my new destination for when I'm not yelling at news/political programming.

  • While I'm sure that the Super Route and the Bowl Route were clear and dry, the streets of Broad Ripple were a mess yesterday. Us lowly voters are being assured that our residential snow clearance is not being hampered at all by the need to impress corporate donors and visiting media with all the industrious plowing and salting downtown, but I am dubious. I haven't seen an inch and a half of accumulated precip tie Broad Ripple up like this since I moved here.


Sorry for the free ice cream delay. Talk amongst yourselves.

Oh, and this morning was a perfect morning for lying abed for some extra time. Cold and gray outside, plus one of those rare chances to get to use the word "pogonip" in a sentence.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Well, you have to draw the line someplace, I guess.

Found here.

Like Larry Correia said, welcome to the party. On the other hand, this was heartening. And the whole spectacle was worth it if only to see Chris Dodd backpedal so fast he practically threw a chain.

Baby, it's cold outside...

It's all of eighteen degrees Fahrenheit out there, which is only two degrees lower than the warmest temperature registered by the Zed Drei's thermometer yesterday. To add insult to injury, Ma Nature just dumped an inch of sleety snow on my freshly-shoveled walks. I'm trying to melt it off with mind waves, but it looks like I'll actually have to get out there with a shovel and the sprinkler jug of melty stuff.

The Third Extinction and America's Gun.

Every time I get together with people in the firearms industry and the talk turns to the state of quality in the handgun world, Gaston Glock's name eventually comes up. For better or worse, his plastic pistol changed the rules of the game: If you want to compete on price, you either have to cheapen and skimp on the way you build your old-fashioned metal guns, or you have to start from a clean sheet of plastic yourself. Or you have to just resign yourself to not competing on price.

That SIG-Sauer is one of the more notable casualties of this tectonic shift is ironic, since it was their P-220 and its derivatives, using the cost and weight benefits of sheet-metal stampings and light-alloy frames, that brushed aside the milled-steel pistols of the ancien regime, like the SIG Neuhausen P-210 and the Browning High Power.

Browning's High Power, in turn, was the final effort of a man whose simple pistol designs did to the handgun marketplace of the early Twentieth Century what Glock's offerings did at its close. In the first two decades of the 1900's, you could buy American-made semiautomatic pistols from Colt, Savage, Harrington & Richardson, Remington, and Smith & Wesson, and by the end of the third decade, only Colt's simple John Browning designs were left, able to compete on price at higher profit margins.

Glock's adventures in the American marketplace are chronicled in Paul Barrett's book, Glock: The Rise of America's Gun. The title alone has stirred controversy, what with the Glock being an Austrian pistol designed to win the Austrian service pistol trials. In response, I would point out that, were Austria to issue a pistol to every active duty service member, Glock would sell 19,000 guns. Could he land a similar contract with the New York City Police Department, that's 36,000 pistols, and the follow-on sales in the civilian market would be enormous.

Like any manufacturer of pistols, Gaston Glock knew where the world's biggest handgun market was, and the company went after it wholeheartedly. In the years since, the Glock has gone from being an exotic European military pistol to a sight as familiar as Barney Fife's Colt revolver; the ubiquitous, generic American Cop Gun.

The book is a combination of investigative business journalism, and Margaret Mead-esque anthropology, as Barrett turns his outsider's eyes on familiar names, spending time with Massad Ayoob and interviewing Dean Speir. As with any investigative journalism, the book rakes muck, and Glock is a company with plenty of muck to rake: Lawsuits, accusations of shady business practices, executives for which "colorful" would be a charitable description... even a strip club scandal.

All in all, though, I have to hand it to Mr. Barrett. He claimed he was going to write an even-handed portrayal, and he did. (And I'm not just saying that because I have a tiny, off-screen part: I laughed out loud when he mentioned that Dean Speir was "banished" from GlockTalk.) If you want the warts-and-all story of how Glock went from nowhere to being the 800lb gorilla of the handgun world, you should read this book.

Friday, January 20, 2012

It is a stumper.

Duke has noticed that people seem to be in a gun-buyin' mood these days. He can't figure why, either.

In addition to the packed Indy 1500, another data point is that when I was down at Coal Creek Armory earlier in the month, their parking lot was slap full up, with people parked up on the grass, and it was that way the whole time I was there, pretty much from open to close, weekend or weekday, and all ten lanes were going on the range. Never seen the like. I mean, back when I was working there "Look, they're parked on the grass!" signified a really big busy day. Now it just means they're open.

Stuff to keep you amused for a bit...

Here's a video:

I'm in a bowcaster-shakin' mood, for some reason. Perhaps I lived too long in a place where the local college fight song celebrates violating the Volstead Act and killing federal agents.

Also, I just finished re-reading Pale Horse Coming by Stephen Hunter, which is basically The Magnificent Seven Gun Nuts. Who doesn't like the idea of an elderly Ed McGivern gunning down some crooked Mississippi deputies in a bayou roadhouse in .57 seconds while Charlie Askins and Bill Jordan are shootin' up their buddies? This is like a Mack Bolan book written by somebody who knows about guns and can actually write, or a Larry Correia novel sans monsters, or OhJohnRingoNo's Ghost without the pervy parts. Good guys win, evil loses, bad guys get their just desserts, and the landscape gets pretty well shot up. You should read it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

This makes me happy.

Michael Silence gave me one of the first links I ever got from Real Grown-Up Media©®™ back when he was blogging at the Knoxville newspaper's website; it made me feel inordinately happy, like I'd arrived or something.

Since then, the newspaper put him and several of his coworkers on an ice floe and gave it a shove.

But as he was so fond of saying about blogging, "They'll be back. They always come back."

Next Up: The "Dogs Playing Poker" Edition.

I realize that to describe a Ron Cohen-era blingalicious Limited Edition SIG as "tacky" is like calling the ocean "a little damp" but you've gotta love the ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ-edition GSR that comes with special grips... that are beveled at the bottom on a gun with a factory magwell.

That's, like, the high-end 1911 equivalent of plumber's crack.

(H/T to Serious Gun Blog.)

QotD: Saddling Up Rocinante Edition

On the Tennessee legislature's resolution asking New York to go easy on Meredith Graves, Sebastian writes:
This would have about as much impact as New York asking 1950s Tennessee to go easy on the poor black fellow who happened to not understand that sitting at the wrong lunch counter was a problem.
True. However, I'll note that Tennessee eventually had some sense knocked into its laws, but I still can't wear a pistol in the front of a bus in NYC. Bunch of backwards, fearful, superstitious hicks up there.

Jim Crow laws lasted some 90 years on the books, but last year marked the centennial of New York City's oppressing poor swarthy Wops with its Sullivan Law, which shows no signs of going away anytime soon.

Yes, I found it amusing myself.

Anybody notice that the very same #OCCUPY_MOM'S_BASEMENT crowd that froths at the mouth over the dangers of "corporate speech" corrupting the political process was just tickled pink to see Google change it's logo for the SOPA/PIPA protests yesterday? I'm sure that once the HuffPosers and Kossacks were done patting Google on the back for its corporate citizenship, they went back to making fun of Romney for being a "flip-flopper".

I'm not saying that these people wouldn't know irony if you put it in a sock and used it to beat them to their knees, but... well, yes I am.

Solidarity Forever!

The $30+/hr shovel-leaners and button-pushers of the UAW will be joined in protesting Indiana's proposed Right To Work legislation by their fraternal brethren of the NFL Player's Association, where even the least-talented malingerer loafing around the water bucket is guaranteed a minimum wage of $295,000 a year.

It's good to see the 99% standing shoulder-to-shoulder like this. You don't have to traverse as far, that way.

Super Dud.

Everybody's in a frenzy over the Super Bowl here in Indy, streets are being closed, traffic patterns altered with new one-way streets downtown. (There will be two circular patterns of one-way streets: The "Super Route" and the "Bowl Route". I can't believe someone was paid to name those.) The party zone downtown will include what I was assured by the anchorperson on the TeeWee will be the "world's highest and longest temporary zipline." That oughtta be fun in a Hoosier February. Broad Ripple will, of course, be an alternate Party Zone, but since Broad Ripple Avenue is already thronged with vomiting drunks of a weekend eve, who'd notice?

Chambers of Commerce are gleefully dumping money into local "Super Celebration Sites" in places like the twee bedroom hamlet of Zionsville and West Lafayette, home of Purdue University. Never mind that these municipalities are, respectively, sixteen and sixty miles from the location where the game is being played, hopeful boosters are sure some lost Super Bowl attendee will drop some magic beans in their community's chest: "We went to go see the Super Bowl, but had so much fun ice skating in the Zionsville town park that we just skipped it!"

Meanwhile, the town's Debbie Downers are predicting fiasco: The city just can't handle a big event like the Super Bowl! We'll fail miserably! Some Lear-jetting attendee will wind up having to sleep under a bridge due to hotel overbooking while 38th street thugs boost the hubcaps from his Gulfstream at Eagle Crick airport...

To everybody getting all bizarrely hyped over the implications, pro and con, of ¡SUPER BOWL XLVI! for our fair city, may I remind y'all of one thing: Lucas Oil Stadium seats 70,000 people, max, while the little car race that happens out on the west side of town was all glum because they had barely over 300,000 souls in the stands last year. A sense of proportion please?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


This is a test of the Emergency SOPA/PIPA-Compliant Content Generating System.

If this had been a real passage of SOPA/PIPA, this screen would be blank.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A weathervane can tell you only one thing...

I'm beginning to think that at least some in the Mainstream Media culture are secretly longing for Romney to win all the marbles.

Think about it: A fair number of the Barack Obama voters among them are probably feeling like kids who ordered Sea Monkeys out of the ad in the back of a comic book, only to find that, not only did they not do tricks or build castles in your aquarium, they didn't even look like the picture promised. What a rip!

Now they're sitting around remembering how much fun they had getting to dog on the president as rudely as they wanted to for eight years when the last guy was in office, as opposed to the current guy for whom they feel obligated to show at least tepid enthusiasm despite the fact that he's done worse at living up to expectations than a defective Chinese electronic toy at 4:47 on a Christmas afternoon.

Why, if Mitt got in, not only could they go back to kicking the POTUS like a stray dog, but he'd probably also not do any of the really awful things that those other GOP guys would do. It'd be the best of both worlds!

Unfamiliarity breeds contretemps.

Louis Awerbuck, who has forgotten more about running a shotgun than most people will ever know, describes his initial range trip with the Kel-Tec KSG, (which was discussed here):

I will never again believe that line of thinking, the “OK, we’re going to fam fire these guns for 20 minutes in case you ever find one and have to use it for real” syndrome. For yours truly, it’s not only “No,” it’s “Hell no.”

Another bitter lesson learned.

(Registration is required to read it, but I think it's worth it.)

QotD: What's In A Name? Edition

From Odysseus:
So what do BATFE frame jobs have in common with bad Vin Diesel movies?

tons of crappy sequels.
I LOL'ed. Hard.

A spot of wind.

We awoke to the sound of Roseholme Cottage being lashed by wind and rain and... large, solid things? The weatherman was on the TV, claiming it was 57°F in the pre-dawn darkness. Two days ago at this time, it was 19°F and there was snow on the ground.

A branch, presumably from the hackberry, thudded off the back wall. During a lull in the wind Bobbi peeked out the back door. "There's a pine branch on the ground out here!"

"Uh, okay," I mumbled in still-sleepy response.

"There's not a pine tree for two houses in any direction."

She's right. That's some wind.

UPDATE: Tornado warnings a couple counties south of here. In January. Temp's dropped five degrees already. My leg is going to be hurtin' something fierce today.


Over at pistol-forum.com, some guy started a thread asking what everyone's "ideal pistol" would be, and proceeded to wax poetic, listing every option on his ideal pistol, which happened to be a SIG.

I couldn't resist replying:
Ideal pistol?

You people have killed pistols for me. I don't have an ideal pistol anymore.

Since first posting here, I have gone from a bespoke personal weapon which cost like a used car and had every component, every jot and tittle, specifically chosen by me, based on consultation, consideration, and years of experience, all the way down to the brand of
pins used and the angle and number of the cocking serrations, and now I'm carrying some disposable plastic wheelchock that could be fed into a wood chipper and replaced with any one of a quarter dozen different brands tomorrow without me caring the slightest. I hate you all.
It's like the pistol of no-pistol.

I'm still on the fence...

I want an M&P 22 as a trainer for my CCW gun. I am not heartened by the fact that it's apparently another piece of Umarex-sourced flimsiness, but since I don't think anybody's making a deuce-deuce conversion for the M&P 9, I gotta roll with what I can get.

Caleb announced he was doing a stress test, but it turned out to be 300 rounds. Okay, that lets me know that the gun will last one or two range trips. Thanks, Caleb.

Seriously, I don't think that my Ruger 22/45 has ever fired less than 180 rounds before going back into the range bag (I have six magazines for it.) I accept that this gun is probably not going to be as robust as the generally bomb-proof Ruger; a steel tube gun with a small reciprocating bolt has big advantages in the durability department over a gun with a large-but-lightly-constructed reciprocating slide, it's just the nature of the beast. Okay, I can deal with that; I can deal with replacing a rimfire trainer every five or even four years from wearing it out with many tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition. I can't afford to replace one every year or two.

I've got half a mind to pretend I'm some kind of journalist and write Smith for a T&E gun and put ten thousand rounds through the thing and see what breaks.

Monday, January 16, 2012

That helps.

One of the biggest advantages of the Crimson Trace Lightguard concept is that it is slim and compact enough to make it easy to carry inside the waistband, if somebody would make a holster for it.

But nobody did.

Only now they do, and it's not a crappy holster, either. I used a Summer Comfort for years and years.

(And for those who go on and on about flashlights, because they'll "give away your position": We are not laying an ambush for Charlie at the Battle of Gha Dang in the Weeschlong Delta, here; the world is not a free-fire zone. If you are shooting at something you cannot clearly see and identify, you are by default violating one of the most basic rules of firearms safety.)

Orthodox Objectivism's most glaring flaw...

"Your description of me as pedantic and wearying is merely a reflection of your bad premises and poor epistemology!"
I love you guys to death, but sometimes it feels like I'm in a prayer meetin' for the Cult of the Aspie, there, Reverend Spock. Any church that's quicker to excommunicate than baptize is going to have a difficult time keeping the pews full.

Just because I want to make note of it here...

Tiny frog.

That is all.

Gun Shows:

Gun shows started out as places where collectors would literally go to show guns, like dog shows or flower shows. They would drape a table cloth over a folding table down at the civic center or the livestock barn at the county fairgrounds, spread out their Lugers or cap'n'ball Colts, and everybody would ooh and ahh at each other's hoards and spend the day discussing esoterica concerning guns and the collecting thereof.

As with any gathering of homo sapiens, a certain amount of horse trading and assorted commerce attended such gatherings. By the time the Gun Control Act of 1968 created the "Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer", gun shows were naturally a place for them to ply their trade.

For years, there was an ongoing war between "brick & mortar" FFLs, who operated a storefront, and so-called "kitchen table" FFLs, who maintained a license so they could acquire guns at wholesale, order them for family or buddies at work, and maybe get a table at the local gun show. If they sold a gun or two at a 5% or 10% markup, it'd cover the fees for their one table, and the badge let them come in and wander the show freely. If they could talk a buddy or two into helping him cover the table in exchange for a free entrance, it'd make for a pretty pleasant weekend.

During the Clinton years, the then-BATF started shutting down "kitchen table" FFLs and smaller guys who were actually using their FFL to run a side business, setting up at local gun shows on the weekends. It didn't really require any new federal laws or regulations: Local zoning ordinances handled a large part of the grunt work. ("Did you know that Mr. Smith of 123 Local Street is running a retail firearms business out of his home? Is that in compliance with local zoning?")

As a result, the '90s were the salad days for cheap new guns at gun shows, between the surviving kitchen table guys whose overhead amounted to table fees, and the kitchen table guys who had already been shut down and were just selling off their remaining inventory before closing their acquisition/disposition books and sending them off to Washington.

For brick and mortar guys, don't expect them to be able to slash prices at the show. They run shows one of two ways:
  1. Close the store on show weekends. Gun show is an all-hands evolution, requiring all the guns to be loaded into a trailer, schlepped to the site of the show, set up, torn down again at show's end, hauled back to the store and re-displayed there. I've done this for a guy who usually had a 20 table setup. It's a brutal, backbreaking way to spend a weekend.

  2. Keep the store open on the weekends and have a complete second inventory pre-loaded on a trailer, ready to go. This is easier, but requires double the manpower, since you're keeping the storefront open during the show, and obviously requires more overhead in inventory. Inventory is not an asset; it is money tied up not doing anything until it sells.
Plus, if the gun show is not in your home city, you're going to be paying for motel rooms and food for yourself and any employees. And don't forget table fees ($75-$100 or more/table.) People would look at a gun and say "This is the same price it was at your shop!" and I'd have to bite my lip to keep from replying "If my boss could do math, he'd have marked it up ten bucks for the show."

The only real advantage of buying new, current production guns at a show instead of at the dealer's storefront is that you can comparison-shop by walking across a room instead of driving across town. Gun shows still shine for bulk ammo and reloading components, unless you charge as much to haul a hunnert pounds of lead to your front door as UPS does.

Me? I'm not there for the new guns. If I want a new gun, I know where to buy them. I just want to talk to that old guy at the table in the corner, the one who looks like he's been there since before 1968, and ask him how much he wants for that ol' Luger. It's a bit beat up for a collector, but it looks like it'd make a fine shooter, don't you think?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The inevitable end-state of government.

No, not "emperors" or "death camps", but something much, much worse.

Sooner or later, every government instituted by man will cross the bureaucratic event horizon and be reduced to placing recursive signs on vending machines that consist of naught but a positively Escher-esque message in bureaucratese which, translated into English, reads:
"This sign must be displayed on the machine. If this sign is not displayed on the machine, please call the number on the sign to report its absence. That is all."
I... just... I mean... wow. From here we just spiral down toward the inevitable singularity of the Department of Department Inspector Inspectors.

I get to feeling all anarchic just reading that.

QotD: Primary Colors Edition

Sebastian is one of the least-wookie-suited gunbloggers I know. Oh, sure, he's got your basic libertarian streak common to the demographic, but he's quite comfortable with the Art of the Possible and has always been willing to get out there and work at the politics, with shoe leather and door knocking and phone calling (and it's sometimes tempting to think that, were more of my wookie-suited brethren as willing to do the grunt work, America would look more like the setting of an L. Neil Smith novel and less like one by Orwell...) so when even Sebastian looks at the GOP field and sighs...
What a disappointing primary. I thought it couldn’t get worse after 2008, and it turns out I was wrong. When Ron Paul starts looking like a reasonable choice, things have seriously gone off the rails.
...then it says a mouthful.

Economic stimulus.

I've been to gun shows right after the Assault Weapons Ban was enacted, and right after it sunset. I've been to gun shows on the eve of "Y2K" and right after the ascension of The Won, when panic-buying was in full swing. The latter show, in January of '09, set a benchmark for "crowded" in my experience.

Yesterday's show was even more crowded than that. The crowd was so dense that bucking the generally anti-clockwise flow of the mob through the show floor made one feel like a salmon trying to swim the wrong way up the rapids in a nature documentary. You'd shuffle a foot or two forward, stand stock-still waiting for an opening in the Cletii, get jostled a half-step backwards, shuffle forwards again... It took a good five or ten minutes to make it across the width of the exhibit hall.

And they weren't just kicking tires. There was more than one handtruck or two-wheeled shopping basket getting wormed through the crowd, stacked with ammunition by the case lot. One dealer had a transit case of Mosins for $99 open on his table and every time I shuffled past to go meet Shootin' Buddy at the ISRPA table, the level inside was noticeably lower.

We left, unusually, not because we had seen all there is to see or spent ourselves broke, but because we'd had about as much crowd as we could take for the day. At 1:30PM, the line still snaked all the way around the building and people were still streaming from all points of the parking lot compass to go stand at the end of it. Whole sectors of the economy may be in tatters, but obviously this isn't one of them.

I acquired a 1910-vintage Savage .32 because I want to complete my set of early 20th Century American pocket autos (I've now got the Colt, Savage, Remington, and H&R, with only the S&W left to go) and also because I want to be cool like Bobbi who has two of the little raygun-looking things. Another box of Ranger-T to feed my M&P and another magazine in which to stuff it, because you can never have enough magazines, were also acquired, as well as a thousand-round pack of that Winchester M-22 rimfire stuff supposedly optimized for shooting through .22 ARs, apparently by putting it in a black box with the word "Tactical" printed somewhere on it.

Lastly, I grabbed a copy of the latest edition of Ball's Mauser Military Rifles of the World, so my old Fourth Edition will be free to a good home at the blogmeet today.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fun Show time again in Indy!

Let's sing the Fun 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.
I go to this fun show not looking for anything in particular, but I'm sure I'll find something I just won't be able to live without.

Overheard in the Office:

*The Rachel Maddow Show is playing on the TV down the hall, in a desperate bid for blog inspiration*

RX: "Rachel says she went camping with a Scout troop and caught a rainbow trout..."

Me: "...as it were. So to speak. If you will."
Meanwhile, the guys on Young Turks were claiming that Gingrich's latest anti-robber baron tack proved that class warfare is as American as apple pie and "even Republican voters are progressive".

I don't know about "progressive", but American politics, especially in the South and Midwest, has a populist streak as wide as William Jennings Bryan's fat head, as tall as a tariff, and as long as a Farm Bill, that would love to be Democrats if it weren't for the fact that Democrats believe in the ev'lution and the 'bortion and are always tryin' to take your guns, and two of the first three primaries are smack in the middle of that turf.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Overheard in the Office:

RX: "Oh, I have this terrible pain in my chest and back when I laugh."

Me: "I'm sorry, I'll try to be unfunny."

Moar pickchures!

This is Bama, an African gray parrot that belongs to Gunsmith Bob's folks. Apparently parrots don't learn to talk until they're a little older, so right now all Bama can do is whistle "Dixie" (of course) as well as do pitch-perfect impressions of two different alarms, the low-battery beep on a smoke detector, and a Maine coon cat that wants out.

It's 15°F outside, and the wind chill is -1°F. I have to go out and schlep the trash cans into the front yard and sweep the snow off the walks as soon as the sun is up. In light of all that, I'm trying to recall warmer days, like this past summer at the State Fair, where I saw this advanced renewable-energy-powered, EMP-hardened car.

Because he's cute, that's why.

Nothing runs like a Deere!
(I'm sure LabRat and Stingray thought I had lost it when I started frantically asking to pull over "I've gotta take a picture for Farmer Frank! He collects burned farm equipment!")

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pictures At An Exhibition...

The view out the window of the Days Inn in the heart of the bustling Mt. Vernon-Renfro Valley Greater Metropolitan Axis last Tuesday morning.

Went with Gunsmith Bob to Brazeiros in Knoxville. He had never been to a Brazilian-style steakhouse before. Needless to say, he is an enthusiastic convert. Note the blood on the tablecloth; I like my picanha still twitching, and they were happy to oblige.

For Christmas, I bought Huck a harness that said it was for medium-sized cats. It was too small, so Bobbi went and bought him one sized for small dogs. It, too, was too petite for our burly red tabby tom. Above, behold Huck in sartorial splendor, dressed (according to the tag) as a Medium-Sized Dog.

Day Two...

...of lying on my bed of pain.

Meanwhile, Bobbi has come down with some horrible bug, too. Hers is different, however, and seems even less pleasant, if such a thing can be imagined.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Thank you, random internet person!

Click to embiggenate.

I love it when post content falls right into my lap, as it were, via sitemeter.

You'll note that this search comes from an IP address belonging to the Indiana Department of Education. Here's hoping it's a third grader in Miss Wilson's creative writing class, and not a humanities prof working on the curriculum for Sociology of Human/Animal Interactions. (Although if it is the latter, one can hope that reading this post and the associated comments made them cry.)

If this had been an actual blog, there would be content after this tone.

Thankfully yesterday's drive home was far less dramatic than the drive down. Five hours and twenty minutes beats two days. Drama-free save for the latest kink in Louisville traffic: I-64 W to I-65N is now one of those "You Can't Get There From Here" things, at least not without taking a scenic detour through the streets of downtown L'ville.

I have got a positively blinding headache. Perhaps blog content will appear after it disappears.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Military music" is to "music" as "military intelligence" is to...

A former U.S. Army intel troop was arrested in the process of trying to get to Somalia, where he allegedly dreamed of living out his days eating lizards in the bush with Al-Shabaab and dying with a rusty Kalashnikov in his hands.

You'll forgive me for noting that, as ambitions go, that's kinda lame.

It's for the children...

When law enforcement efforts and public policy focuses on the “evil” of firearms, there is a cost. Stay at home moms are not able to protect their children. Schools do not have armed resource officers on campus and suspects are more likely to bring weapons to a school. Money and resources that should be spent on salaries and equipment are wasted on programs to “end gun violence” and “reduce gun crimes.”
So what is the take away? What should LEOs make of all this coverage? Well, I believe I was right at the outset. It is all about protecting our children.
An interesting read from Blue Line Lawyer. You should check it out.

Up Chuck.

Drug seekers are one of the biggest annoyances to the medical profession. Get any EMT, ER nurse, or doctor going long enough, and you'll hear horror stories of the yahoos who clog their days, claiming fanciful-yet-vague maladies in the hopes of getting a scrip.

On the other hand, when you're recovering from massive trauma, aspirin just doesn't cut the mustard, and the roadblocks that the War on (Some) Drugs has thrown up around some of the more effective painkillers can become an annoyance in their own right.

A recent move to reorganize the regulations surrounding some hydrocodone-based drugs is finding a roadblock of the legislative variety in Chuck Schumer, who claims that it will lead to a murderous crime wave of pharmacy robberies.

Ah, Chuck, we can always count on you to do the wrong thing. Perhaps if you hadn't made it your mission in life to make it so hard for pharmacists to shoot back effectively, we wouldn't find ourselves in this pickle, now would we?

Monday, January 09, 2012

The frog and the scorpion.

I try and avoid this particular drama llama as much as possible, but couldn't help noticing this one.

Rational Gun says it better than I could. More discussion here.

Really, don't be a dick.

Saber rattling.

I think this is the part where Obama's supposed to declaim "Hekmati alive, or Ahmadinejad dead!"

The steady ramping-up of bellicosity on the part of the Iranians lately has got me thinking that the mullahs running the show over there are feeling that their grip on power is getting tenuous, that the Persian-on-the-street is getting fed up with the status quo and might be thinking about regime change. After all, if you're thinking that you might be about to get toppled from the throne, there's nothing like the looming threat of an outside power and a foreign war to convince the average citizen to rally behind the flag and support the government. People are reluctant to change horses mid-stream.

Right, Barry?

RELATED UPDATE: Oh, look! U.S. expels Venezuelan consul general from Miami, perhaps in relation to accusations that, along with Iranian diplomats, she was trying to enlist Mexican hackers to sneak into sensitive .gov and .mil networks. We will certainly need a strong hand at the helm in the troubling times ahead. Look for plenty of reminders between now and November of how Barry rappelled into that Abbottabad compound with a knife in his teeth and took down Public Enemy Number One.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Overheard in the car:

Me: "How long until pitchers and catchers report?"

Gunsmith Bob: "Well, it's January 8th, so... Seventy days or so? After the Bowl games and before Opening Day of baseball, there's a long dead spot in American sports."

Me: "Except for, you know, squeaky round ball and the Super Bowl..."

GB: "...and ice soccer."

Currently off the shelf:

I'm reading Death from the Skies!: The Science Behind the End of the World, because, duh! Did you not read the title?

Plus, "It's By The Guy Who Does The Bad Astronomy Blog" is a surefire sales pitch if I'm your target demographic.

So far we've dropped a big rock on the planet and now we're microwaving it with solar flares. Next we'll be setting off a supernova next door. Whee!


Sorry, overslept.

Here's some stuff:
  • I see that Robb Allen's event will be going down as planned today.

  • Took the Boberg out on the range at CCA yesterday and ran through two mags each of RWS & PMC ball ammo & Winchester 147gr Ranger-T, as well as one mag apiece of Hornady 115gr +P Critical Defense and Federal Personal Defense 135gr Hydrashoks without seeing any bullet pulling, or any other problems, for that matter. Still very impressed with how mildly this tiny little pistol recoils, even when shooting full house defensive loads.

  • Weer'd suggests that we light a candle to stop violence today. Okay.

  • I had intended on neatly documenting the "2,000 Round Challenge" with my M&P 9, but since the magic number passed while shooting on the windswept prairie back in October, I just went ahead and cleaned the thing yesterday. That's several range trips, a 1,000-rd. trip to gun school, and a bunch of shooting at Blogorado that turned it into something closer to the "2,750 At Least (Because I Lost Count At Blogorado) Round Challenge". Still no malfs.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Walking with prehistoric beasts...

As someone who never really outgrew the "dinosaur phase" most kids go through, I heartily approve of this exchange.

Initial impressions.

So I have here with me a Boberg XR-9S that I am reviewing for a forthcoming article in Concealed Carry Magazine.

The other day I took a bunch of pictures and did all the stuff with scales and trigger weights and jotting numbers on a piece of paper, and then Gunsmith Bob, Jonathan, and I trooped out onto CCA's indoor range to run a few magazines through it.

We loaded up magazines from my 9mm ammo can, which contains a mix of Remington UMC, Winchester White Box, PMC, and Speer Lawman, and ran the target out to seven yards. The pistol was easy to shoot, and recoil was surprisingly pleasant, considering that the Boberg is only a hair larger than the Rohrbaugh, which is a flinch-inducing monster. (Shannon wandered out onto the range and produced his Rohrbaugh from his pocket, so I was able to compare the two side-by-side.) Subjectively, the Boberg felt no worse than, say, a G26.

Each of the three magazines experienced a malfunction that had me puzzled at first.

The back cover of the owner's manual cautions against using CCI Blazer, as the lack of crimp on the budget aluminum-cased ammo will combine with the abruptness with which the Boberg snatches rounds rearward from the magazine to turn the little pistol into a kinetic bullet puller, which was exactly what happened here, leaving a disassembled cartridge tying up the feedway. Needless to say, this is a tricky malfunction to clear quickly on a bitty little pistol lacking a conventional slide stop.

On gathering up the culprit brass and returning to the gunsmithing shack, it was found that all three rounds that disassembled were Speer Lawman. Note To Self: Speer Lawman has no discernible crimp. Do not use in Boberg. For that matter, consider not using it in S&W 547 as well.

More to come.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Tab Clearing...

  1. A fascinating article on time perception, via Wouter's Blog.

  2. Flash Mob: Ready-Made Riot in a Can, via Survivalblog.

  3. Having replaced my long-serving Streamlight TwinTask 1L with a Streamlight Micro a few months back, I've had a chance to get a bunch of use out of it lately. Couldn't be happier. Small, tough as nails (you don't need to worry about dropping it onto concrete, I can tell you that,) and brighter than a key fob LED without being blinding overkill the way a 60+ lumen light can be. I think I'll keep it.

  4. The quickest litmus test of a cop's ethics is how they feel about video, in much the same way that the quickest litmus test of a cashier's honesty is how they feel about a camera pointed at the cash drawer. If they demur, you have to wonder why they worry about their employers watching them perform their job.

Some rights are more equal than others...

Professor LawDog ponders the mystery of why so many rights, some explicitly enumerated and protected in the Constitution (and some so basic that the Founding Fathers would have looked at you like you'd grown a second head had you suggested they need Constitutional protection) require producing papers and tugging your forelock before you may enjoy them, and yet, in order to exercise the franchise... to tamper, however minutely, with the very mechanism of the republic, requires no form of positive ID at all.

Now, in Wookietopia there wouldn't be any such thing as "government-issued photographic ID", but in a land where there is, it can be telling to examine where and when someone thinks you should show it. Right, Mr. Holder? Boss says you gotta figure out a way to get Tejas a little bluer between now and November, no?

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Well, paint me purple and call me "Barney".

Marion Country prosecutor Terry Curry (who I voted against, predicting he would be a disaster on anything gun-related) has announced that no charges will be filed against the man who slew an apparent armed robber at an Indianapolis Kroger.

Let us see if Kroger can take a hint from that.