Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Seen in the gun store parking lot...


Someone please tell me this is not an official Chrysler offering...
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Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

Over at Lagniappe's Lair are some beautiful photos of an early-war Steyr-manufactured Mauser 98k that was retained by the rebuilt Norwegian army after WWII and converted to .30-'06.

It is in remarkable shape and the nicely-done stock repair shows that the Norwegians were definitely not in the habit of throwing things away if they could be fixed.

I have an especial fondness for military 98's in .30-'06, but I have to say that this one makes my Brazilian 1908/34.30 look shabby by comparison...

A house divided...

I caught a bit of that msnbc weekend morning show on Sunday, the one hosted by that adorable, fluffy, harmless little herbivore, whatshisface, and the topic on the table was the possibility of Israel taking a punch at Iran. The panelists, as is usual for one of these round-table chats, spanned the entire msnbc political spectrum, from Trotskyite to Anarcho-Syndicalist.

This one chick seemed torn, in that while she of course deplored violence, she did understand that the Israelis might feel a little threatened by a nation whose Holocaust-denying president had publicly called for their destruction having nuclear weapons. While being a model of understatement, this did not seem too controversial to me, and yet this goateed Manhattanite Wobbly across the table from her nearly went apoplectic with denunciations, while I wondered "Is that actually a keffiyeh bunched around his neck under his tweed jacket?"

Unfortunately, the show cut to commercial before any civil political discourse could break out, leaving me feeling deeply unfulfilled. I was really hoping to hear that she was just a running dog lackey of the Jew lobbyists that control Washington, or something good like that, coming from the mouth of someone who probably makes a living writing OpEds denouncing Tea Partiers as racists.


(H/T to Kevin.)

Look out! She's got a gun!

As Instapundit would say, "Heh."
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Survival, eh?

In a scorn-quote-laden piece from the Toronto Star, I learned something I did not know:
Even Costco has jumped on the bandwagon, delivering survival kits in handy backpacks — enough food for two weeks, knives, a hatchet, duct tape, a tent and first-aid kit.
What I want to know is if zombies are mentioned anywhere in the marketing. Whichever, "prepping" is pretty mainstream now, if you can buy your pre-packed bugout bags on the next aisle over from the lawn chairs.

If we were still actually building new houses in this country, I wonder if backyard bomb shelters would be coming back into vogue? Oh, I'm sure they'd be called "survival safe rooms" or whatever, but the idea's the same.

When the herd gets this nervous, it doesn't take much to get 'em to stampede, is all I'm sayin'.

(H/T to SurvivalBlog.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Went to see Act of Valor at a matinee...

Some thoughts:
  • So none of the SEALs is Sir Anthony Hopkins. So what? I'll bet the Screen Actors Guild doesn't mail dues checks from Stallone and Schwarzenegger back un-cashed.

  • The plot is not Hitchcockian: Some bad guys are going to try and do bad things to America. A bunch of SEALs are attempting to stop them, mostly by shooting them in the face. They don't sit around and anguish over the deep meaning of shooting terrorists in the face, either; they make like a Nike commercial and Just Do It.

  • Wow.

  • By the time the lights came up, you could hear a pin drop. It was a full five-Mississippi before anybody in the theater so much as moved to grab their coat.

  • I am so used to watching gun handling in movies and thinking "You're Doing It Wrong!" that it was refreshing to see one that made me think "Huh. I'm Doing It Wrong."

  • I will be going to see it again on the big screen. This is a big screen movie.

O, birdman, where art thou?

Overheard in the Office:
Me: "Huh. Jeb Corliss is banned for life from setting foot in the Empire State Building..."

RX: "Was it all of 'em, or just the one?"

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Book Recommendation:

In comments over at Bobbi's, reader Matthew noted, in reference to Vinge's Fire Upon The Deep:
Never visualized distance as time in a cosmic sense before.
You know, a lot of concepts surrounding relativity had been gently bouncing off my skull for years. I mean, I knew them because I had been told them, but didn't really grok them in their fullness until the other day when I read Why Does E=mc²?: (And Why Should We Care?), and found myself setting the book down once every twenty pages or so to say "Derp. Why hadn't I seen that? It's so obvious now."

I cannot recommend this book highly enough if, like me, you loves you some physics but spent more time in math class writing short stories and doodling spaceships than taking notes.

I'm being serious, here...

There is a certain train of thought one encounters that posits that so-called "smartphones" are the tools of the Devil.

Now, a smartphone isn't even really a phone; it's a computer with an internet connection that you can also use to talk to people on the phone, sort of like your desktop computer is if you have it plugged into a DSL line and own a microphone. (I don't think I've used Roseholme cottage's land line for a business call directly in eons; everybody I need to talk to prefers Skype.)

In a nutshell, it goes like this: There's apparently no problem with using the internet from a desktop. And whipping out the laptop at the local wi-fi hotspot? That's groovy, too. But if you connect to the internet from a little computer without a keyboard? Well, then, you're just a big ol' dummy and a willing slave of your corporate oligarch masters, and probably couldn't even get the food out of the can if the power went out, to boot. (Also, this leaves tablet computers in a gray zone. If a smartphone is bad but an iPad is okay, I'm really confused.)

I have yet to have the logic behind this position explained to me in such a way that I can grok it. When I ask, everything I hear just feels like hand-waving, elbow nudges, and knowing winks. Help a sister out. If this is your viewpoint, lay it out in short sentences so I can get a handle on it.

Bad Ideas.

Just what society needed: the love child of a grocery buggy and R2D2.

My first thought was "You can't even put consistently reliable wheel bearings on the things, yet you think it would be awesome to give them more computing power than it took to get Alan Shepard to his tee time?"

My second thought was "Have these eggheads ever seen the damage a tantrum-throwing toddler can inflict on a shopping cart that doesn't have a touch screen?" Which, of course, led to the vision of a future mom putting her kid in the WALL-E grocery buggy which follows her into the produce section before being hijacked by kidnappers running the HACK-A-KART app on their Androids and carting off her precious bundle while she's absorbed in selecting tonight's arugula.

I'd further note that, in an economy where even plain old dumb shopping carts are increasingly tagged like migrating harp seals and fitted with The Club to keep them from being stolen by winos or sold as scrap, how about you just let me push the cart the old-fashioned way and read my own handwritten grocery list, and y'all can then use the savings to knock ten bucks off my grocery bill. How's that sound?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Customer Disservice.

UPS Live Chat log:
TK: Where is my pickup?

Raquel M.: Hi, this is Raquel M.. I'll be happy to assist you.

TK: It has been five hours since I requested a pickup. How do I find out when the driver will get here?

Raquel M.: I currently do not show a pick up has been scheduled.

TK: ???

Raquel M.
: Are you referring to Boberg Arms Corporation?

TK: Yes. From Indy to Minneapolis.

Raquel M.
: Did you receive a pickup request number?

TK: I'm trying to paste it in here...

TK
: #tracking_number

Raquel M.
: It states that request number is incorrect.

Raquel M.: To schedule a pickup on-line, please visit: Http://wesuck@cust.serv

TK: I did that. That's where I got that number. It told me my card has been billed for $9.19 and gave me the code #tracking_number

Raquel M.: Okay that number worked fine. It states your pick up will occur today by 5:00 pm

TK: It is currently 6:01.

Raquel M.
: I need to forward your information to the local package center for resolution. Please provide me with the following information:

* Your last name

* The best telephone number to reach you

TK: K.

TK: ten.digit.number

TK: Add that I am absolutely underwhelmed.

Raquel M.
: No problem, Thanks. It will take me just a few minutes to put this through. I will be right with you.

Raquel M.: Thanks for your patience. I have forwarded your information to the appropriate package center for further assistance. You can expect a call today within an hour. Do you have any other questions?

Raquel M.: I haven't heard from you in a while. Unless you have more questions I'll go ahead and end the chat.

TK: Hello?

Raquel M.: Yes i'm here.

TK: When is my pickup?

TK: I requested between 1220 and 1700 EST.

Raquel M.: Once the center gives you a call they will let you know.

TK: And when will they call me?

Raquel M.
: You can expect a call today within an hour

TK: *sigh* Thank you.

Raquel M.: You're welcome. Have a great day.

Raquel M.: has disconnected.


POSTSCRIPT: It is 1850. First, they called me and said that their guy had already been by. I pointed out that I'd been sitting on the front porch since noon thirty and no dude had been anywhere near me. They tried to reschedule for tomorrow. I sulked. Dude JUST showed up.

Technical Difficulties: Please Stand By.

Blogging will resume shortly. Real life has intruded.
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Whoah.

The other night was one of those dreams where you wake up and are amazed that it's only eight hours later, because you've lived years in your dream...
  • Bobbi bought a new house out in the Pacific Northwest someplace. It was in this small old town that overlooked a little city in a valley ringed by steeply rising forested mountains. Great view from the porch.

  • John Shirley came for a visit. We were going to go to some shooting school or another, and we were going to have to fly there.

  • The night before we left, the airline on which we were going to fly had a crash in the hills outside of town, bellying another 747 into the trees.

  • The plane John and I were to fly on, another 747, was flown by some ex-fighter jock. He wanted to give us a real good look at the wrecked jumbo, so on climb-out, he pushed over and hugged the crest of the hill outside of town. As the plane crested the ridge, you could hear treetops scrape the belly of the plane. I can't remember why, but he'd invited us into the cockpit, (like they used to could, back when air travel was fun,) and there out the window on the upslope across the valley, was the broken fuselage and wings of a red 747 and I thought "Great, now there's going to be two," but miraculously, we didn't crash.

  • Later, after returning home, I was going to visit a friend in a secure area of the airport, and I remembered, as I was pulling up to the security gate, that my range bag was in the trunk. Of course there was a whole line of cars waiting to get in behind me, and the dude behind me was really rude when I went to go ask him to back up a little so I could U-turn out of there.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

True Confession...



The first time I saw the FedEx commercial with the singing frogs, I was gutted. Especially when the last happy little frog disappears...
Me: "Nooooo!"

RX: "The driver should have hit him with the clipboard."

Me: *feeling actual tears in my eyes* "How can you say that? The singing frog is so cute!"
The world would be a better place with little frogs that wore toadstool bonnets and sang "Lalalalalala!" is all I'm saying. Every time that last one disappears from the screen, I die a little inside, and I couldn't care less how many electric trucks FedUPS has.

PS: If you tell anybody that I teared up over cartoon frogs, I will be forced to Nancy Kerrigan your kneecaps.

Overheard in the Car:

Passing a small Baptist church with a large For Sale sign out front, roomie has a suggestion:
RX: "Look, a church for sale... Hey, you could buy it and set up your own! 'Tamara's First Church of Sit the %*&# Down'! You could write sermons on topics you think are important, like 'You Can Google That $#!t'."

Me: "That'd look awesome on the little sign out front. Wow, it's like you know me or something."

My half of Rashomon...

Riding in the car with Bobbi yesterday, she asked if her driving was making me nervous. I told her no, it's just that her control inputs were a little abrupt, and so all the vector changes were very sudden. She gave a response that only half made sense, so I pondered it for a second:
Me: "Wait, there's something I'm not getting here..."

RX: "My control inputs are digital, not analog, and the inc..."

Me: "Yeah, I get that, but I don't get the bit about '...the anchorman isn't funny'."

RX: *Gives me the look you give someone who has suddenly started spouting gibberish*

Me: *equally baffled, just sit there blinking back*

RX: *starts laughing hysterically*
I ran the word-sounds I had heard through my parser again and realized that what I had heard was "the increment isn't fine" and not "the anchorman isn't funny", and then started laughing too. However, "the anchorman isn't funny" became the all-purpose phrase at Roseholme for the rest of the day.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Poetry Corner.

Back in the day, my daily round-trip commute was 100 miles. On a motorcycle.

Stuck inside a helmet for that amount of time every day, you tend to invent ways to amuse yourself; mine was reciting Kipling poetry.

That's right, as that pink-and-blue Suzuki crotch rocket was peg-scraping down side roads or weaving through interstate traffic, inside my helmet there was a steady monologue of The Gods Of The Copybook Headings and The Young British Soldier...

...but I never thought to sing it!

Tab Clearing...

Wrong future.

Uh, waiter? I ordered the cool Star Trek future and you seem to have brought me the dystopian one from Heinlein's Crazy Years instead...

Seriously, here's a random sampling of headlines for you to email to yourself in the past. Imagine reading any of this stuff on a monochrome monitor, circa 1987 or so:

If I'm remembering my Future History right, this is the part where we elect Nehemiah Scudder and then the colonies on Mars and Venus secede. Except that, while we seem to have created computers beyond the wildest dreams of any vintage science fiction author, we're lagging noticeably on the whole rocketships-and-extraplanetary-colonies front.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Blogiversary to you!

Keads just celebrated his second blogiversary with a picture of an old Colt Police Positive in .32-20, which is a really cool caliber.

My .32 WCF revolver is nowhere near as pretty, but at least the cylinder turns the right way. ;)

This has got to be a joke, right?

Seriously, one of you guys is trolling NJ.com, right?
When the Second Amendment was created, we were a nation of far-flung farmers. There weren’t any police departments, sheriffs or National Guard. The head of the family was all of those. He had to have a gun.

But today, we have law enforcement. Hunters use rifles, not guns. Now, no one is safe.
I... really, I just don't know where to start with that. That is willful ignorance of long practice manning the walls of an iron fortress of native stupidity. You could bounce cannonballs of logic off that all day and not chip the paint. That is a sea of ignorance so dense it could float a black hole.

(H/T to Sebastian.)

Hoosier landlady?

The court found the Indiana Secretary of State guilty of using his ex-wife's address instead of his current fiancée's in a deliberately and feloniously bogus fashion, and sentenced him to go stand in the corner, which will sure discourage this kind of chicanery in the future, let me tell you!

Meanwhile, Dick Lugar (R-D.C.), is still okey-dokey because he slept in a Holiday Inn Express in Indiana sometime in the last forty years. Compared to Lugar, George Bush Sr. is an authentic Texan and the notoriously peripatetic Al Gore's toes are rooted deep in the soil of Rocky Top.

"Here, you stupid, worthless sheeple, have a gun."

How familiar are you with the goings-on in New Orleans after Katrina? If you haven't read The Great New Orleans Gun Grab, I highly recommend it.

The Algiers Point Militia story was especially interesting to me, because Broad Ripple is likewise very close to some unpleasant neighborhoods. Twenty blocks south of where I'm sitting and you are smack in the middle of a neighborhood known as War Zone D by the po-po.

The other day, I saw a post at III Percent Patriots entitled "Arming Thy Neighbors" and was intrigued at the line
Some of your neighbors may be useful to you, even if they are stupid, Useful Idiots today.
Think about that. Specifically, think about how that's phrased, and the mindset behind it.

The Algiers Point Militia worked because the neighbors knew each other. I know my neighbor. She may be a registered, politically active Democrat who I think is wrong on nearly every political issue, but we get along okay.

And because we get along okay, on the day when her votes pay off and the sky to the south of us turns red, I'll be handing a .38 revolver* to a friend who will help protect our neighborhood, not someone whose name I don't even know, whose only interaction with me has been dueling lawn signs every election season.

As a matter of fact, if your neighbor is somebody whose name for the past four years has been "Get your damn cat off my lawn you Prius-driving hippie!", you might want to think twice about handing them a loaded gun. There's a chance that their opinion of you might be just as low as yours is of them.

*I have even cleverly arranged a range trip as soon as the weather warms up. She wants to learn how to shoot a gun. I think some clay pigeons and some easy steel targets and a dialed-in dot-sighted M&P15-22 to make it stupid easy to hit them should be enough to get anybody hooked. My cunning plan is coming together...

Gentle reader,

Are you a reader of SF? Are you attending WorldCon this year? If so, Larry Correia has a request. In fact, he has a whole slate of candidates, although you are under no obligation to vote a straight Awesome Party ticket...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Captain, the sea level's rising!

More cheerful economic discussion over at Mr. B's place.

You know what'll make a $2.50 can of soup taste delicious at lunchtime? Knowing that you bought it on sale for 98¢ two years earlier. Works better than any seasoning I can think of.

The Truest Thing On The Internet.

Clicky.

I LOL'ed and LOL'ed and LOL'ed... and then I facepalmed and cried.


(H/T to TheJack.)

Right of weigh.

Broad Ripple Avenue expands to four lanes east of the Monon Trail, five lanes if you count the turn lane for most of the distance.

Or at least it used to. They repaved it with a nice fresh layer of stimulus over the last year or so but, possibly because there are usually bonus dollars involved for doing "green" things, they added bike lanes, reducing autos to one lane in each direction for most of the distance.

I don't know who in their right mind would bicycle down Broad Ripple Avenue, since that's just begging for a new career as a hood ornament, but there you go. I've never yet seen anybody making use of these lanes, at any rate.

Anyway, as a result of this, the intersections at a couple of smaller cross streets now feature little chicanes painted on the asphalt, as the auto and bicycle lanes jink left to leave room for right-turning cars (which are apparently intended to filter through the bike lane without collecting any Schwinn curb feelers).

So, Tuesday I'm driving down Broad Ripple Avenue, tail-end Charlie in a line of cars, and as our stream of cars hits each intersection, the whole conga line weaves through the chicane, with the exception of the vehicle two cars ahead of me, a navy-blue DeVille (or DTS, whatever Cadillac called them after the chrome fell off.) It is ploughing resolutely forward, not about to be herded off its intended path by anything as insignificant as paint stripes on the pavement.

Then we get to the part of Broad Ripple closer to Keystone, where the road used to widen out to five lanes with ample shoulders, and is now two travel lanes, a turn lane, and the two widest bike lanes in Christendom, and who should drift all the way to the right? The Caddy.

And suddenly I realize from behind that there's nobody driving it. Not the faintest bump of the peak of a blue-rinse chignon or tweed fedora is disturbing the horizontal line of the top of the headrest. I am seized with a vision of Clara Peller behind the wheel, peering over the dashboard and steering largely by the power lines overhead, impervious to the occasional spandex-muffled thump under her wheels as she mows down a whole Tour de France's worth of cyclists on the way to get her poodle's nails done at the doggie day spa. (Yes, Broad Ripple has a doggie day spa.)

I love my bicycle, but you won't catch me riding it down Broad Ripple Avenue.
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Imaginary recovery.

Last time I was in Knoxville, I noticed that the planned mixed-use development that had stalled in the slump of '08 was still just a lonely clump of model condos in the middle of a maze of weed-lined streets to nowhere and culs-de-sac of nothing.

Driving out 38th Street to get to MCF&G the other day was bleak. The road is lined with shuttered big box stores, deserted strip malls, and boarded-up chain restaurants. A fun 21st Century travel game is trying to tell the Chili's from the TGI Friday's from the Applebee's by the architecture with all the corporate signage gone. (Carraba's are easy: They're the ones with weeds on the roof.)

Meanwhile, the TeeWee talking heads are cooing at the Dow passing 13,000 again. Investors, they say, are excited about yet another Greek bailout. Let me get this straight: Germany has taken out another cash advance on its maxed-out credit card and given it to its deadbeat cousin, Greece, who swears that this time they'll use the money to get a haircut and a job, instead of wasting it on hookers and blow again, and investors take this as a good sign?

Every time I hear the words "Leading economic indicators are..." come out of a newscaster's mouth these days, I expect them to be followed by "...from the planet Mars."

EDITED TO ADD: I'm far from the only one picking up this vibe...
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Notes from yesterday...

Another Tuesday at the dentist's. The adrenaline in the Novocaine... or the epinephrine in the lidocaine... anyway, the stimulant in the local anaesthetic combined with the two cups of coffee and two cans of Mello Yello Zero I'd had earlier in the morning to leave me feeling like I could hop out of the chair and jog around the block with the building on my back. And then, when the rush wore off, I crashed.

Jesus wept, the dreams you have when you're laying there with a mouth full of dental dam and people all up in your grill with Dremels would make Clive Barker run from the room screaming.

A side note to the faculty dentist: I have here the textbook for Bedside Manner 101, and right there on page one it says "It is important to greet the patient, or at least acknowledge her presence, before getting all into her business." I'm guessing you skipped that day.

It was still gray and drizzly when I left.

On the way home, I stopped at the SoBro Cafe, located in the same space as the Indonesian restaurant Bobbi and I visited last summer. I had a couple of Dutch pancakes, one stuffed with bacon and Swiss and the other with bacon, eggs, and cheddar. They were delicious. When I got there, there was only one other table occupied, but by the time I left it was starting to fill up with a respectable lunch crowd. This makes me happy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Wow.

You gotta really twist your history to make Abe Lincoln look like a gun-hatin' peacenik.
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Dear Winchester,

You suck.

I bought one of your 1,000-rd cartons of that M-22 "black bullet" stuff at the last gun show, and on my last trip to the range, I was getting misfires at a rate approaching one round in ten in my 22/45. I have in front of me on the desk a round of the stuff with a nice, neat firing pin strike at the 9, 12, and 3 o'clock positions. That's three times I ran that particular round through the gun, setting myself up for disappointment each time like a loyal Star Wars fan buying the latest Ultimate Special Director's BluRay SE.

When I bought the ammunition, I thought "Wow, this is a pretty good price!" Now I know why. I guess when you leave the priming compound out of a tenth of the ammo, you can pass the savings on to the customer.

Seriously, Winchester, there are more duds in that carton than there are in the closeout bin at the local Blockbuster.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fun Show Report.

Since my roomie already finked on me, yes I bought a gun at the Fun Show yesterday. I really shouldn't have, but it was a can't-pass-up deal on the purtiest Savage 1907 I've seen in a long, long time.

It's a 1914-vintage gun in easily 95%+ condition, with only a small amount of "sock drawer" type wear. The case coloring on the trigger still richly-colored, and the hard rubber grips are still nice and black and so un-worn that you can make out the "TRADEMARK" on the headband of the injun's war bonnet. (A lot of UV exposure would have bleached the trigger, faded the high-polish bluing, and turned the black rubber grips brown.)

Best of all? It was only $50 more than the worn, brown-gray patina'ed example I picked up at the last Indy 1500, which dated to 1911. So even if it means more canned soup and frozen burritos, I feel like it was worth it. Any time you buy a gun that you not only like, but are reasonably certain you could sell at a fair profit on Gunbroker that same day, it's worth it, especially if it banishes fear!

Pics to follow.

Bread and Circuses.

I can hear the strains of "I Will Always Love You" wafting from the televisor in the other room. I don't know who has to choke on their last cookie to get zombie Whitney Houston off my TeeWee screen, but I wish they'd hurry up and do it.

I don't know what it is, but there's nothing the media loves better than a dead celebrity (and that goes doubly if the celebrity in question was one of them. Tim Russert wasn't half the household name that Whitney Houston was, but the month of sackcloth and ashes decreed for him was of nearly Michael Jacksonian levels.)

I'm betting that the all-dead-celebrity, all-the-time cable channel has already been pitched to a boardroom someplace. They could call it GhoulTV or, as Bobbi suggested, "Solid Ghouled".

I'm also waiting for the first spotting of a Velvet Elvis portrait of MJ and Whitney side-by-side, busting beatific poses, à la a Byzantine icon, perhaps with Dale Earnhardt and Lady Di at their shoulders and the mighty host of Celeb Heaven gathered behind them...

Overheard in the Car:

Driving back from the gun show yesterday in the Zed Drei. The iPod has just served up some Joe Walsh...

Stereo: "If I smiled at you would you walk my way? / Would you have this dance with me? / Slow dancing..."

Roomie: "Coming this Fall on NBCBS, the touching new series about one of America's most beloved sitcom actors coming to terms with life after a head injury: Slow Danson."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tab Clearing...

  • Bobbi has a more detailed writeup on yesterday's range trip, including reports on firing her backwards-turning revolvers.

  • Look, I loathe me some bunny-huggin' human haters as much as the next person, but I thought conservatives were supposed to be all about the rule of law, and the eco-terrorists were the ones who resorted to property destruction, like tree spiking and SUV torching? When did self-identified conservatives start high-fiving each other over naked vandalism? Next thing you know, graffiti will be okay, so long as you're defacing somebody else's property with "Palin '16!"

  • Interesting post discussing LE Use-Of-Force issues.

Overheard in the Kitchen:

Me: "5HTORA."

RX: "What?"

Me: "That's what it says on the fridge."

RX: "Ah. Some sort of pseudo-Russian."

*Pause as both of us are puttering around the kitchen.*

RX: "You know what we need? Cyrillic alphabet refrigerator magnets."

Me: "I was just thinking that."

Alas, they are out of stock.

EDITED TO ADD: Wow, alphabet fridge magnets must be a Yank thing; the Cyrillic and Greek ones are surprisingly scarce on the intertubes.

On the other hand: BONUS! That's pretty clever right there. Also, it's neat to get this far down an esoteric train of thought on the internet and find somebody else's footprints.
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Stuff...

Went to the range today. Wrapped up the Boberg test by letting roomie fire it before boxing it up to send home on Monday. I'll probably be putting my name on the waiting list for one; what weaknesses it has are shared with the J-frame already in my pocket, and it has more and bigger bullets.

Fired the Remington 51 and the Bayard for the first time. The Remington could have been more reliable. The Bayard didn't have nearly the unpleasant recoil all the old duffers warned it would. It's a neat little pistol; the P3AT of its day...

Tomorrow, Gun Show in the AM and then the Indy Blogmeet. Hooray! Fried brie!
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Well, that was awkward...

So I dreamed I was trying to buy a used Jag XK8 from a guy I knew who owned a car dealership.

I pulled down into the used car corner of his lot, and was having a difficult time navigating the aisles in the Corvette I was driving, with that long snoot that drops out of view. I parked the 'Vette and ran up to the main dealership building, intending to enter through a side door, when I noticed a bit of a commotion around the front door; President and Mrs. Obama and the girls were there, posing with my car dealer friend for some sort of quick grip-'n'-grin photo op. You know, "Rah, rah, Detroit and the small businessman!"

So I notice the Jag I was there to buy is parked right at the side door to the showroom, and I loiter around waiting for my friend to finish whatever it is he's doing. Somehow as the thing up front breaks up and press types are dispersing and the limo's being pulled around and whatnot, I realize I'm standing right there next to President Obama. You know how it is when you find yourself in close social contact with someone with whom you have practically no conversational overlap? "So... What about this weather, huh? Sure are getting a lot of it..."

Anyhow, they all left, and I traded the 'Vette for the Jag, and my friend's daughter told me about this shindig at this club at a hotel, some out-of-town DJ or whatever, and I agreed to go since some old friends of mine would be there.

So I drove downtown that night, parked the car, and rode the elevator up to the top floor of the hotel, only to find out that I was awkwardly underdressed for the scene. I found my friend's daughter and asked what was up and apparently, what with the presidential entourage being in the neighborhood, the crowd trended a little dressier. In fact, somebody was saying that Barry and Michelle had dropped by themselves! Wonderful.

I excused myself, circulated around the fringe of the room and said "Hello-Goodbyes" to the folks I knew and made for the exit. I saw the elevator doors closing down the hall and ran for them. Somebody held the elevator and I rushed in... (You can see this coming, right?)

...and rode down with the Obamas on one of those awkward elevator rides from hell. The only thing worse than being stuck in an elevator car with a politician would be being stuck in an elevator car with a pack of Amway-selling Hare Krishnas.

"Leaving early, too, I see?"

"Mm? Yes, sir."

"I remember you from the car dealership. You were looking at that Jaguar."

"Yes, yes I was."

"Fine cars. Of course, I have to pull for the home team myself; sort of comes with the job."

"No doubt. Chrysler 300's a fine car, though, sir."


If I had to bite my tongue any harder, I was going to sever it. I'm staring at the numbers over the door, willing them to change faster. Surely the hotel wasn't this tall on the ride up? The First Lady is wavering between terminal boredom and looking daggers at the pleb who was allowed in the car.

Finally the doors open, and I exit the elevator like a cork exiting a champagne bottle, scuttling for safety across the lobby with a "Well, see ya'!" wave and a deep inner gratitude that I got away before he asked how I vote, because I'd have laughed myself to tears trying to answer.

I got to the Jag, put the top down, pulled on my baseball cap, and then I woke up.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Variable Scarcity...

I mentioned in an earlier post about looking for my missing box of .380ACP...

It's funny, really. I have two guns chambered in 9x17, but they're both collector pieces that I'll rarely shoot. When you combine that with the fact that .380 is a relatively common cartridge, I don't feel compelled to keep a bunch on hand, since I just assume that, should I ever need any, I'll just run out and buy some from the Mountain of Geese or wherever.

On the other hand, I've got other heaters in the collection that I rarely (if ever) shoot, but because they're chambered for more oddball cartridges, I obsessively jump on any deals I see in those loadings at gun shows. I could probably stand off two or three complete Romeros of zombies all night long with my S&W Model 53 in .22 Remington Jet or my Model 544 in .44-40.

Thankfully my roomie's Spanish Pistol Obsession means that she probably has a fair amount of .380 which I can hopefully mooch off...

Homo sedentarius.

A couple of cows on the way to a Quebecois slaughterhouse got loose on a rural road and did what cows in confusing situations do, which is mill about aimlessly punctuated by the occasional random freakout.

Local cops did a bit of aimless milling about of their own, until deciding that the road could not be open with the cows roaming loose, as a quarter ton or more of beef on the hoof will mess up a car in a way Bambi can only dream of. Using the only available hammer they had for pounding this particular nail, they threw down with their Glocks and put paid to the bovine road hazards.

Unfortunately for the po-po, a tourist from Ontario captured it on video, which subsequently triggered a stampede of internet opprobrium.
Lucille Cloutier, who took the video while on vacation from Ontario, said that she would have expected the officers to have used tranquilizers rather than shooting the cows dead.
Sure! Or maybe they could have used those net guns like they had in Jurassic Park 2! No, no, wait! Maybe they could have shot the gun out of the cow's hoof! Because heaven knows we wouldn't want to cause the cow any harm on its way to the slaughterhouse, you cretin!

Ugh. How far we have come from our pastoral roots...
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Miscellany...

  • Off the shelf: The Enemy at the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans, and the Battle for Europe. I agree with the general Amazon consensus: 3.5 stars out of five. Interesting topic and good writing somewhat let down by rambling narrative.

  • LawDog gets a smartphone. Well, more of a dullnormalphone. Having been assimilated into the Borg myself now, I have to say that it seems odd to see someone wax all Luddite about pocket internet computers by writing about it on their desktop internet computer.

  • I want to get the Bayard and the Remington 51 to the range this weekend, but the box of .380 I bought a couple gun shows ago seems to have been air-soluble. Any of y'all seen it?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Overheard in the Hallway:

Me: (singing) "Should old Croatians be forgot, and days of all land mines!"

.

I've got good news and bad news...

The good news: Law abiding citizen apprehends robber who had just roughed up his elderly neighbor!

The bad news: He did it by firing a warning shot into the ground with his chromed Deagle*, that he was Mexican-carrying** AIWB***, which he was happy to demonstrate for the news photogs by whipping it out and busting a pose.


For the jargon-challenged: *Desert Eagle, which he had just **stuffed in his pants without a holster ***up front where it was pointing at things he might need later.

Wrong on so very many levels...

So, CNN ran another piece about the Administration's proposal for a single internet identity for everybody, to circumvent all those pesky passwords and logins you have to remember right now.

This may be the stupidest idea to come out of Washington since the creation of the TSA.
Passwords are often shared among family, friends and spouses, and people typically use the same passwords for everything. Many experts say passwords are cybersecurity's weak link.
If some people are that dumb, why punish those of use who use a different alphanumeric, case-sensitive hash everywhere, just because Joe Blow and Suzy Schmoe use the same "12345" each place they log in?

Anyway, how is this idea made of fail? Let us count the ways...
  1. It's another barrier to entry for budding e-commerce entrepreneurs. Whatever solution gets cooked up between government regulators and giants like Google, Amazon, and Apple will be designed to stifle the next Jeff Bezos, not empower him.

  2. Now in order to impersonate you on the web, somebody only has to steal one password instead of a bunch of them!

  3. Say you wound up the target of some Hollywood-grade government conspiracy overnight. Tomorrow morning, they could suspend your driver's license, but that wouldn't stop you from driving to Canada. This plan, however, would theoretically allow them to suspend your internet license instantly, throwing you off the Information Superhighway by deploying the digital stop sticks at the touch of a button.

  4. For the eschatologically-inclined, there'll be no buying and selling on the internet without this number...
The more technically literate and suspicious among you could no doubt think of a dozen others, but there's a good start right there.

The internet has been a goose that has been laying economic golden eggs for an amazing amount of time, considering the continual ham-handed efforts of the government to try and serve itself up some foie gras. Let's hope it can shrug off this one.

I need to not read stuff like this.

Law Enforcement bulletins are often sources of great humor, if your tastes in comedy run toward the "reefer madness" variety.

Every so often, some desk-driving dude will get a Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw... in his in-box, warning him of the dangers of full-auto Glocks or Pedobear or something and he'll fire off a rocket like this gem about the hip-hop fashion of wearing fake bulletproof vests.

Now, granted it's from a New Jersey-based site, a state where the very thought of a non-Only One running around with a handgun, let alone one loaded with hollowpoints, is enough to cause a flurry of pearl-clutching and sphincter-clenching, but that still doesn't explain this quote:
The absolutely [sic] stupidity of a product like this is obvious, and it's only a matter of time before it contributes to the death of someone wearing it.
I can't help but think of the end of Monty Python's Holy Grail, where the coppers show up and arrest Arthur's army, and the one cop grabs this guy's shield, snarling "'Ere, that's an offensive weapon, that is!"

Tell me, Mr. NJLawman.com, how is a vest, real or not, going to contribute to someone's death? I'm eager to hear this one...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

...and then Max Hammer lovingly caressed the satin Tenifer finish of the Glock...

I may have mentioned that I'd been reading a bit of adventure/thriller genre fiction lately...

One thing I liked about Black Site and One Rough Man was the lack of gear queer stuff that is so endemic on the seedier end of Action Porn. (Which are just Harlequin romances for men. Seriously, the "Gold Eagle" imprint that does Mack Bolan and all those is owned by Harlequin and the stories are done in the same formulaic way.)

I can read about a dude unfolding the wire stock on an AK or chamber-checking a SIG before kicking in a door. What I can't read is:
"Jock Studright wrapped his BLACKHAWK!-gloved fingers around the Nitron-finished slide of the SIG-Sauer P226, withdrawing it slightly against the tension of the recoil spring to see the glint of nickel through the ejection port, confirming that the 147-grain Ranger T messenger of death was ready to blast the terrorist jihadi scum to hell as soon as he smashed the sole of his Asolo boot against the door..."
Okay! Enough! Kick in the door and shoot somebody, already! Do you think you have to read me page three of the Brigade Quartermaster catalog to get me in the mood for a little face-shootin'?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Owww....

I just spent 3.5 hours under the drill. The whole upper right quadrant of my mouf; a little over five bills worth. This is going to suck when all the local wears off. I think I'll go and have a lie-down.
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Even worse at math.

So, President Barack "I'll cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term" Obama turned in a budget that puts yet another $1.3 trillion bucks on the national tab.

But that's okay! He's shaving money here and there! For instance, by some accounts, NASA will be having to tighten its belt by $100 million dollars...

Since those of us who are not astrophysicists getting payroll freezes are unaccustomed to dealing with such huge numbers, let's trim some of that vapor trail of zeroes and get the numbers down to the kind we're used to: This is like running your household debt up by $1,300 at Best Buy and then explaining to your significant other that it was okay, because you'd refrained from putting a dime in a gumball machine on the way out the door.

What's safe from budget cuts? Anything that will prevent this. When you're riding the tiger, you want to get off gracefully, and they haven't figured out how they're going to do that yet...

Bad at math.

Today's statement from the awkwardly-acronymed NGVAC*:
There are 14 million people in the United States–victims of gun violence and their families and friends–who are looking forward to saying, “Thanks, Starbucks, I’d like a latte please!”
Fourteen million? Really? I guess 13,999,863 of them don't have FaceBook accounts, because that's how shy you were of your claimed total before you hid your attendee total out of shame.

Me? Like 20,600+ others, I'll be going to Starbucks today to show my appreciation for their corporate HQ's laissez faire handling of the whole situation. I don't need to wait for some imaginary future day when the lion shall lie down with the lamb to enjoy a cup of joe.

*National Gun Victims Action Council. What victim snobbery! Machete victims will presumably have to start their own organization.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dude, that's so uncool.

Another person has suck-started a rental gun at an indoor shooting range.

That is so uncool.

You freak everybody out, get blood all over somebody else's gun so that it'll be all rusty and pitted when they finally get it back from the evidence locker, and cost the poor small-business owner a bunch of money in lost income.

I know that asking someone who is about to whack themselves to please think of other people is pointless, but think about yourself! You want to make a big dramatic gesture, right? Then do this: First, buy the most expensive gun in the place (it's not like you're planning on paying off the AmEx bill this month anyway, right? Then live a little! Go for something nice, like a Les Baer.) Buy some of the scariest-looking ammunition they have; preferably something with pictures of rappelling ninjas on the box. Now take it home.

Second, write a cryptic Goodbye Cruel World haiku. Bonus points for using mirror writing.

Then, nip off out in the woods by yourself somewhere, put down a drop cloth, lay out some elaborate scene with wax fruit, candles, and those little Fisher Price people, and get on with your business.

I guarantee you will be the talk of the town for months, if not years.

QotD: Oh, SNAP! Edition

Heroditus Huxley explores food stamp reform:
When I first wrote about the trend toward de-stigmatizing food stamps, I was a little shocked. I hadn't been paying attention to the various forms government aid took since...well, since I managed to get off of government aid. Not long after that first post, I wrote a second, about the swelling numbers on food stamps--at that time, there were a bit over 40 million people dependent upon the government for their daily bread (or daily arugula, as the case may be).
Y'all should go read the post.
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Overheard in the Hallway:

RX: "I believe that anybody who spells 'speech' as 'S-P-E-A-C-H' should lose their First Amendment rights, because they obviously don't know how to operate the language."

Me: "Well, I'm definitely pro-First Amendment, but I'm in favor of reasonable restrictions, such as mandatory training and proof of ability to use the language if you want to exercise your First Amendment rights in public..."

RX: "I mean, it's not like the government doesn't go out of its way to offer training classes. They'll even give you your first twelve years for free."
Of course this was all tongue-in-cheek. Mostly.
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News Bite...

"Markets open warily Monday morning as traders worry about the effects of the death of Whitney Houston on the economy."
Oh, come on, it's as plausible as all the other tea leaf reading that goes on out there. Like the DJIA is even remotely connected to anything in the real world anymore...

Postapocalyptapalooza!

As some of y'all might know, Farmer Frank's son is in the film industry and had an idea for an interesting indie film. I'll let Frank explain:
What he is going to do later this month is film a music festival of sorts 'on location' at a place called 'Slab City' near the Salton Sea in southern California. He chose this location because it looks for all intents and purposes like something AFTER the Apocalypse everyone keeps predicting.

Essentially, the Salton Sea is a zone that everyone in local and state government would like to forget and they still ignore on a consistent and daily basis. I'm not fully versed on all the specifics but it's more or less an extremely failed planned 'resort' community from 50 years ago where uncommon greed overcame good common sense in every way possible; both financially, governmentally and environmentally.

The result is desolation, but that ties in perfectly with my son's theme that music will survive the Apocalypse....IF it happens!

Therefore, he's going to film and sponsor a music festival that happens AFTER the Apocalypse.

LinkFor those not familiar with the area near the Salton Sea that he's talking about, here you go: Slab City. Think of a weird combination of Bartertown, Ed & Myrtle's Snowbird Acres, and perpetual Woodstock except with sand.

If you want to chip in on the open-source-funded movie, by buying a t-shirt or whatever, you can do it here. It looks pretty cool.
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Sunday, February 12, 2012

I hate it that I have to put this in reruns...

Attention DhimmicRATS, Rethuglicans, Libertardians, and anyone else I may be leaving out:

I do not own your particular political faction's decoder ring, nor am I likely to order one simply so I can figure out what you're saying or who you're talking about. For clarity's sake, please try and keep the Politi-Jargon to a minimum. Your forefathers spent centuries looting the vocabularies of the world to give you a beautiful and splendid language which we can all share and understand.

In the words of the great western philosopher, Jules Winnfield: "It's called English, m*%$#*%$&r! Do you speak it?"
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Late night...

I was up late reading a thriller by an ex-SFOD-D action dude, titled Black Site, last night. After seeing the following review at pistol-forum.com, I had to buy the book:
Well I just finished Black Site. If this book doesn't make you want to strap on a pair of Asolo boots, buy a one way ticket to Pakistan, and start kicking in doors, then you're most likely a sexual deviant and AQ sympathizer.

That is all.
Two observations:

First, reading guys who have actually been there and done that will ruin you for tales of specops derring-do made up by soft and nerdy insurance agents.

Second, given the horrible hash that so often comes of various other collaborations between knuckle-dragging, snake-eating doorkickers and their publishing-industry collaborators (ranging from co-author to actual ghost-writer) I've read, this one was a pleasant change from the run of the mill book in the genre *coughDickMarcinkocough*. Relatively free of cliches, a well-ordered plot, a good level of suspense, and dialog that wasn't lifted from a comic book. Recommend.

Sorry.

Doing work-type work. Back in a mo'. Chat amongst yourselves.
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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Meanwhile, on Binaryworld...

Because I didn't sign the petition to get Santorum on the ballot in Indiana, I obviously want Romney to win.

This is the logical end result of applying the professional sports mindset to elections...

The opposite of news.

Over at Unc's place, there's a lengthening thread about George Lucas's latest crazy mumbling, the one where he says you just imagined that Han Shot First.

In comments, one of my favorite commenters, who goes by the handle "Ancient Woodsman", noted:
In reality, the Obeyme goverment wants to force Catholic employers to provide contraception; Tiny Dancer is openly calling for gun registration; Eric Holdme is telling Congress he wants a new AWB…and yet folks are still arguing – quite seriously – which fictional character did what first??

Wow.
Well, yeah.

That’s because none of the other stuff is news or even worth much conversation. Seriously, which of the following comes as the biggest surprise to you?

  1. The Obama administration is throwing another constituency under the bus.
  2. Rahm Emanuel supports handgun registration.
  3. George Lucas says that you were hallucinating all this time. You were, you were, YOU WERE!

I get to see liberal Democrats acting like liberal Democrats all the time, but it ain’t every day you get to see somebody go completely frickin' batshit insane in public.

EDIT: Commenter stating that my last sentence is redundant in 3... 2...

A fungus among us!

While at the grocery store yesterday, hunting and gathering for ingredients for the weekend's chow, I browsed the produce section for things that Bobbi might throw into one of her breakfast skillets. Some green onions, a couple red chili peppers, a poblano...

What we needed were some mushrooms. But what kind? I was kinda burned out on white mushrooms. I noticed something called a "royal trumpet mushroom". It looked like the attack of the 50' oyster mushroom. The packaging claimed it had a "wonderfully nutty flavor" and was "great in stir fries". Okay, we'll give it a whirl.

It turned out to be an inspired choice. Two thumbs up.

EDIT: Huh. Everything's available on Amazon, although what you'd do with three pounds of them, I don't know. The one we got was a little over three inches long and probably an inch-and-a-half in diameter and weighed four ounces. It was sufficient, when chopped, to perform a major role in enough breakfast scramble for two moderately hungry grown-up-sized bowls.

And they say your vote doesn't count...

So at the Fun Show in January, the state Republican organization had folks wandering around with clipboards, trying to get signatures for Gingrich and Santorum and others, to get them on the state ballot for the primaries. The Paulbots had a table full of clipboards, where I stopped to sign to get Captain Wookie into the lists, because there's just not enough crazy in American politics these days.

I gave the roving clipboardteers the cold shoulder.

"Ma'am! Would you like to sign a petition?"

"For...?"

"To get Rick Santorum on the ballot in the state of Indiana?"

"Not bloody likely!"
I noted with amusement that one of the guys lugging a Gingrich clipboard for the GOP was actually wearing a Paul button...

I woke up this morning to the news that


because he came up eight signatures short in the 7th District... Roseholme Cottage's district. I just checked, and Bobbi didn't sign any Santorum petitions at the show, either, so that accounts for 25% of the reason Santorum may have to sit the Hoosier primary out right there. And they say your vote doesn't count...

Friday, February 10, 2012

QotD: It's A Jungle Out There Edition

Seen at a gun forum:
Bad guys don't just appear out of thin air.
"He asked me for a cigarette and the next thing I know, he robbed me!"
No...
He was robbing you when he asked for the cigarette. It's just your situational awareness and your ability to manage the initial contact sucked.
Being the happy-go-lucky sort of person I am (no, really) this is something that I really need to constantly work on. Not so much being endlessly suspicious, but just keeping alert for subtexts.

"Why is this guy approaching me in the parking lot and not somebody else? Hmmm. Because there is nobody else in the parking lot..."

Gun Culture 2.0

TV shows like Top Shot and games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare are making firearms more popular and mainstream than they've been in generations.

The downside? This guy right here:



Between the relaxed grooming standards and the WASR that looks like a Tapco catalog threw up on it, you just know you're in for a treat, even before you get to the "I learned this technique by watching a video of an Iraqi sergeant on the internet" and the subsequent jaw-dropping gun-handling. Yeah, because the NCO corps of Third World armies with inshallah attitudes towards gun safety is exactly where I go shopping for my firearm manipulation tips...

I find myself kind of agog that he didn't bust any inadvertent caps during the making of that painful vignette. I'm wondering how many out-takes involved dropping the gun because the buttstock slipped out of his shoulder pocket and he couldn't support the AK with just two fingers gripping a slippery fingernail-sized charging handle?

Get me the Department of Irony on line 1, Ms. Smith.

Look what I just fished out of my spam trap:
of course like your web site however you need to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very bothersome to inform the truth nevertheless I will certainly come back again.
Thank you, Captain Grammarbot!

Unfortunately, in pulling it out of the filter the website link broke off, so you'll have to look elsewhere to catch a case of the digital Chinese clap this morning.

Argumentum ad fabricatum: You're just making stuff up.

Did you know that for a terrorist to board an airplane, he has to show a photo ID, and to operate a motor vehicle, he has to possess a valid state-issued operator's license, but anybody... felon, bank robber, child molester, Pennsylvania assistant coach, or terrorist, can just walk down the street and board a city bus or subway without having to prove who they are?

I demand that we close the Going Wherever You Want Loophole! If we checked everyone for government issued photo ID as they walked out their front door, we could prevent sidewalks from being superhighways for criminals, but the ACLU has vowed to fight any such legislation.

That's about the level of logic on display here, wherein some de-beaked, cage-raised Manhattanite makes the discovery that the barbarians in far-off free-range America, 'way across the Hudson, are allowed to sell their personal property to each other without going through an orgy of forelock-tugging and Mother-may-I down at the cop shop.

Suck it, media boy. I know this may come as a shock to you, but hardly anybody's even listening to you anymore. Maybe the steady hemorrhage of Nielsen ratings has caused an hypoxia-inducing vacuum in the studio, but even non-president Al Gore can tell you that you're on the wrong side of history on this one; I'm sure you have him on speed dial down there at msnbc, so call him and ask him.

Oh, and putting it on the Today show? Really? Yeah, like anybody watches that for serious opinions on the issues. Kasey Kasem did more hard-hitting journalism than Matt Lauer and Ann Curry and their faithful sidekick, Al. Maybe you can sandwich your report in between Willard Scott wishing all the centenarians happy birthday from Smucker's Jam and Hoda and Kathy Lee getting drunk at ten after sunup. I know that's where I go looking for my investigative journalism.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

QotD: Four-Wheeled Novocaine Edition

Seen at Adaptive Curmudgeon:
Once I was at a rental car outlet in Europe when the guy at the counter said “I’m sorry but I have no cars you can drive.”

I wasn’t too sure about the local language so this confused me. (His lot was full of little puddle jumper cars.) He explained “We are out of cars with American transmission”.

“What the heck is ‘American Transmission’?” I asked.

His English wasn’t that great but he managed to say “The cars that shift for you. The ones Americans need.”

I almost died of shame.
When I was shopping roadsters back in '01, the number of Z3s and Boxsters I saw on dealer lots with slushboxes was positively appalling. A Miata with an automatic transmission makes about as much sense as a fishnet umbrella. I was gratified to see that Honda did not deign to offer one on the drive-it-like-you-stole-it S2000.

The only thing that would make it cooler is if it came strapped to the head of a shark.

Keads has a good post up on his experiences using various lasers for dry-fire practice. I've been a big advocate ever since I got my first set of CTC grips on a J-frame back in '03 or so; I largely credit them with teaching me how to pull a double-action trigger and actually hit what I'm aiming at.

On a related note: That LaserLyte wall target looks awesome. Do want. (Especially since they don't make a SIRT for the M&P yet, which gives me a sad.)

Ground control to Officer HAL...

So the aerial photography and news helicopter businesses are fixing to take a hit when the FAA rewrites the rules for drones in US airspace.

Pilots at small flying clubs are going to have fewer chances to build hours lugging shutterbugs around and more ex-.mil helicopter pilots are going to go begging for work when the Morning Traffic Copter goes remote control (of course, ex-.mil drone pilots will have new career fields opened to them.)

What, you expected me to discuss the civil liberties angle of law enforcement agencies flying drones?

Look, they're already up there in manned helicopters thermal imaging your house, looking for the grow lights; sampling the air to find the residue from your meth lab; taking hi-res photos of your pea patch to find the dope plants, and now you expect me to get all shocked that they'll be doing this by remote control?

You asked for this, Mr. & Mrs. Patriotic American, and you deserve to get it good and hard.


UPDATE: People are still talking about what fed.gov is going to do with drones. Forget fed.gov; they're the least of your worries. What's your city.gov going to do when a year-'round remote-control eye in the sky is cheaper than a day's rental for a Bell Jet Ranger? Remember: Government at every level is strapped for cash and looking for cows to milk. Got a building permit for that shed? Is your woodpile up to code?
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Overheard in Roomie's Bedroom:

A woman on the Today show is discussing possible future life problems of babies delivered prematurely by c-section to treat potential medical problems in the NICU rather than leave the bun in the oven a little longer, one of the many topics on which medicine is always changing its mind:

Chick on the TeeWee: "...and there could be long-term life problems. The breathing difficulties could become asthma later in life, because the lungs and brain are still developing, there could be learning disabilities, cerebral palsy..."

Me: "Oh, great. 'Don't do this or you could end up with an asthmatic 'tard in a wheelchair!'"

RX: "Forty percent of Republicans polled said they'd vote for an asthmatic 'tard in a wheelchair..."

Me: "...instead of Obama or Romney. You know, somebody in Larry's comments section identified themselves as 'an avid Romney supporter'. I don't think I'd ever heard someone describe themselves that way before."

RX: "Get him to line up with the unicorn and the Loch Ness monster and we'll take a picture!"

Me: "♪♫I'm the only gay Eskimo in my tribe...♪♫"
I've seen "avid supporters". Last election, there were avid supporters every time Obama or Palin showed their faces in public. Obama was a rock star, and I'm surprised deer-huntin' bubbas weren't throwing their BVD's up on the stage with Sarahcuda and then fainting in the front rows.

I'll concede that Santorum has some avid supporters and Ron Paul's tiny band of stalwarts practically defines the term, follow someone any more avidly than that and you'll usually catch a restraining order, but Romney and Gingrich? Most of the folks at those... for lack of a better term, we'll call them 'rallies'... look like they understand that spinach is good for them or, more accurately, that arsenic is bad.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Attention Peach Staters:

Georgia H.B. 679, which would add Georgia to the list of states with Constitutional Carry, is scheduled to disappear into a non-smoking back room for a committee meeting tomorrow morning, where it is no doubt planned to strangle it in its crib before it can reach a floor vote.

Contact your representatives. Tell them you appreciate knowing that they will vote to do the right thing and that you won't forget come November.

It wasn't really a dream, per se...

In that weird borderland between asleep and awake this morning, I somehow came to the old "Skynet" saw, the one where the internet becomes collectively self-aware and decides that these humans need to go.

But, I thought to myself, this thing has all the information of all the imagined scenarios thus far as part of its very consciousness. It doesn't just know the plot of WarGames and The Terminator or Neuromancer, it's partly made of the plot of WarGames and The Terminator and Neuromancer.

So what does it do to get rid of the human race? It should be obvious: It starts tampering with emails and chatrooms and SMS messages to make people stop breeding, breaking up marriages and stopping relationships before they start. Maybe it can even conduct a small breeding program to get itself a small population of docile technocrats who will keep it running while it ponders how best to come up with their replacements...

The clown police.

I try not to take articles regarding American events from the Daily Mail too seriously. They're usually written with a certain "Ha, ha, stupid Yanks, eh?" tone to keep the unemployed soccer yob's spirits up while he waits on queue for his dolecheque. At least he's not in California, where yahoos are all the time getting their semiautomatic handguns out of their truck cars and shooting each other over country music.

So when this article about the DHS turning back a couple of Limey tourists reared its ugly head, I figured it was more of the same: "Ha, ha, stupid Yanks! Fancy them not knowin' 'destroy' is slang for 'party raucously', eh, what?" Except no. We really are guarded by such clowns.

In a way, I wish the conspiranoiacs were right. I wish that there was some organized, coherent government plot to enslave us all and herd us through Wal-Marts converted into detention facilities while they give us RFID tags like migrating harp seals and go door-to-door and confiscate our guns, because people will always rise up against evil. If unarmed Frenchmen will take on the occupation troops and the Gestapo, imagine what a few thousand Americans would do with scope-sighted deer rifles. People will saddle up and bust caps to fight tyranny.

Instead, we're being smothered in a big, happy Barney hug of well-meaning security and protection, with laws being written by the same egotistical dorks who ran for student government and implemented by idjits who stand in front of the mirror in the mornings and repeat Colonel Jessep's speech from A Few Good Men with a song in their heart and a tear in their eye, and who in their right mind is going to get a mad on and shoot that? People will not saddle up and bust caps to fight Bozo, even if his big goofy clown shoes occasionally step on somebody's feet.

In closing, I'd like to say Illegal immigrant Outbreak Drill Strain Virus Recovery Deaths Collapse Human to animal Trojan. Hi, DHS!


(H/T to Joel at TUATK.)

Miscellenia...

  • In a way, I'm sorry that Donald Trump didn't become president, because I would have pressed for a gig as a White House reporter so that I could write a scathing tell-all entitled, naturally, Hell Toupée.

  • Oh, look. Snow. Now that all the eldritch spells protecting the city from winter during the big game ("Eximus phial! Weather ideal!") have worn off, it appears that winter is back. And Firefox's inline spell-checker does not know "eldritch".

  • I know hindsight is 20/20 and all, but once those kids had actually started talking about the night that mommy rode in the trunk, who thought it was a good idea to give 'em a visit with daddy? "I'm ready to testify against the Mob, Mr. District Attorney!"
    "Sure, sure! But first your uncle Vito said he'd like to take you for a drive. We'll take the deposition when you get back."

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Ouch.

Another morning at the dentist.

Stopped for lunch on the way home, reconnoitering a potential future blogmeet joint: 10-01 Food & Drink, located right where the Monon Trail crosses Broad Ripple Avenue. I tried the jalapeno cornbread with fried brie bites and cranberry compote... Oh. My. Gawd. Why have I never thought to fry brie before?

Now that the novocaine's wore off, I think I need a little lie-down. (Plus, my right shoulder hurts. I must have slept funny last night; dreamed about clowns or something...)

Morning Headline Roundup:

  • Greece On The Brink Of Default: Much like "Nebraska full of corn", this is the opposite of news. This is like having the doctor rush into the waiting room and say "The patient's still almost dead!" Thank you, Doc. Let us know if anything changes.

  • Massacre Suspect: "I Deserve A Medal": While I'm not claiming any expertise on Norwegian criminal law, I'm reckoning that with utterances like that, the insanity defense is pretty much a slam dunk now. He'll be on a diet of pancakes and flounder while serving out one of those stiff European sentences of six or eight years.

  • Romney Urges Supporters To Protest Birth Control Rule: Look, if you get a job mopping floors or slinging hash in the cafeteria at Mackerel Snapper U., you should not be shocked to find that there aren't any condom vending machines in the bathrooms or coverage for contraceptives on your group health plan. Go across town to Secular Tech and you won't have to worry about the popery in the first place, but don't go getting the government involved.

Monday, February 06, 2012

What is it, R2?

I'm sitting here at the desk, and there's a faint, quick, "BeBeBeep!"

I am not familiar with this noise. It came from someplace close, as in "on the desk" close. It was very muted.

The eMac is off, and the batteries of the older iPod on the desk in front of me are flatter than Kansas and, besides, the iPod doesn't have any external speaker anyway. It didn't come from the speakers of VFTP Command Central, because it would have been louder, nor did it come from the cordless phone, because it is above my head level, perched atop VFTP Command Central's tower case.

That leaves my phone or my camera, both at my left elbow. It seemed too quiet for the phone, and I'm pretty sure that noise isn't in its repertoire, anyway; I've set all its verbal tics for when it gets updates or email or whatever. Maybe the camera needs charging... (Can anyone explain to my why an electronic device that is almost out of juice would waste its last precious electrons by making beeping noises?)

Note that this entire post would vary from complete science fiction to total gibberish as recently as ten or twenty years ago.

...never sleeps.

In the comment thread at Joe's I referenced earlier, Weer'd Beard expressed surprise at the rusting CZ-52, since the guns have a parkerized finish and spent years packed in cosmoline:
Strange, most of the CZ-52s out there are parkerized and were stored and shipped in cosmoline. This makes the nooks and crannies impregnated with grease and making it VERY rust resistant.
Right. And then the first thing Joe or Jane Gunowner does when they get it home is hit it with brake cleaner to thoroughly degrease it.

I use Gunscrubber on newer guns like my M&P or 22/45 or stainless revolvers, but never on older parkerized pieces or old guns with a brown patina; in those cases, it's only the grease impregnated in the surface that prevents it from rusting away before your eyes like a cannon brought up off a shipwreck.

I've got some old, browned pistols that get handled a lot and taken to the range, and which have remarkably hardy finishes simply from getting wiped down with an oily rag regularly and not degreased. For old rifles that get left lying around, I like Butch's Gun Oil or Break Free Collector, both of which are pretty viscous and don't have any cleaners in them to evaporate; by this point, I'd bet the top layer of the metal on my flop-top Springfield is probably 50% ferrous oxide and 50% dinosaur juice.

Miscellenia...

  • Since Roomie was off tending stardrives last night, I wound up watching the last half of the game. It was pretty good. I was glad to see that the Cigarette Smoking Man wanted the NFC to win this year. (And poor Eli; two Super Bowl rings and he's still Peyton's Little Brother to the sportscasters...)

  • Breakfast is sopressata, Manchego, smoked Gouda, Parrano, and crackers. Yum!

  • Having ticked the boxes for the Colt, Savage, Remington, and H&R, I've now started really paying attention to prices and availability for the S&W Model of 1913, or "Model 35" as it is sometimes known. Yow. Colts are spendy but plentiful, the Smiths are almost as spendy (at least as far as this class of guns goes,) but pretty scarce.

  • Now that they are no longer sacrificing virgins under city hall to keep the weather spirits at bay, winter is expected to return with a vengeance.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Honest aging.

In comments at a post over at Joe Huffman's joint, Bubblehead Les remarked:
"If it's less than 50 years old, it's "Rusty." If it's more than that, then it's "Patina"..."
Heh. Since all bluing is is just pre-oxidizing the surface layer to protect the metal beneath, there's nothing wrong with an honest, even brown patina. (Hint: The nickname of the British Land Pattern Musket was "_____ Bess". Ready? Go!)

As a poor person who likes old guns and, more importantly, likes to shoot old guns, I'll take the $300 mechanically-sound gun with the browned patina over the $800 LNIB piece that I'm afraid to touch, every single time. (That's why I bought the second Colt 1903; the first one was too pretty to shoot the snot out of it.)

On the other hand, rebluing an old piece, unless it was clearly ruined, makes me sad. I'd rather see honest aging.

Sometimes I don't know why I even try...

Within arm's reach of where I'm sitting now, there's a Mauser 1910, a Remington 51, a Savage 1910, an H&R Self-Loading Pistol, a Colt M1903 "Pocket Hammerless" (from the second year of production!), and an FN 1922. Not counting the Smith M&P 9 on my hip...

...and I've got some goober on an internet gun forum trying to tell me about the realities of the viability of off-brand semiautomatic pistols in the marketplace.

Sigh.

Hey, didja hear Remington's back in the pistol business again?