Tuesday, April 13, 2021

What he said...

The LE/professional X26 and X2 Tasers as well as the commercially-marketed Taser Pulse are all gun-shaped, which strikes me as a monumentally bad idea. This is aggressively the opposite of poka-yoke.

The original Tasers looked more like Dustbusters than guns...


Duplication of Effort

The situation in Minnesota the other day, where an officer apparently drew a gun before lethal force was really justified and then seems to have mistaken it for a Taser reminded me of a force-on-force encounter in ECQC a few years ago.

In that encounter, the student with the sims gun, who we'll call "M", was accosted by the instigator, "J". I can't remember what the details of the shouting match were, probably something vehicle-related. ("Why were you speeding down the street?" or "That's my parking space!" are reliable sources of beef.)

Anyway, M was startled enough by the intensity of J's angry yelling and gesticulating that he drew his sims gun...and immediately realized that he had a gun out in a situation where there was no direct threat or cause for lethal force to be employed.

So now M is stuck trying to do several things: Keep talking, to try and calm J down. Stay out of J's reach. Keep his Beretta in snug against his body where it's unlikely to be grabbed, while simultaneously keeping the muzzle averted, because pointing a gun at someone you ain't got any business pointing a gun at is a crime in pretty much every jurisdiction.

At this point the third student, "S", enters the scene in full "WHAT THE F&%$ ARE YOU DOING? WHAT'S WITH THE GUN? YOU GONNA SHOOT HIM OVER A PARKING SPACE?" yelling mode. That's when M had the presence of mind to fish his (inert) OC spray out and give S a faceful of it and, as J stepped in, he gave J a dousing for good measure.

It was a novel solution and backwards from how these things usually work...

Anyway, I wanted to get a picture of it and so I want combing through the hundreds and hundreds of RAW images I had from my Albuquerque ECQC trip of 2018. I found I had a few dozen images of that particular 2-on-1 evolution, and so I sweated my way through all of them, trying to find the one that would serve as the best illustration.

Having picked one, I cropped it to show just the relevant part, adjusted it to get the horizon level, and fiddled with the exposure and color a tiny bit to make me happy...

Then I went to save the processed pic in my "2018-10-29 ABQ ECQC Processed" folder, only to find this photo already there, from where I'd done the same thing three years ago...

I think it's funny that I selected the same image and cropped it almost identically three years apart, although I seem to favor more saturated colors and punchier contrast these days.


Sunday, April 11, 2021


Improvised turnip latkes! For details, see Bobbi's blog post here.

Also, Improvised Turnip Latkes is the name of my next band.


CV, Eh?

You might not have known that as recently as the 1960s, the (then) Royal Canadian Navy operated an aircraft carrier with an embarked squadron of all-weather jet interceptors.

Other than the USN and USMC, the RCN were the only other operators of the McDonnell F2H Banshee, using it to replace piston-engined Hawker Sea Furies.

For those interested in nautical trivia, Canada finished WWII with the world's fifth largest navy in 1945. Part of that is due to its wartime expansion, of course, and the other part is that so much tonnage of formerly-Top-Five fleets was rusting on the bottoms of the world's oceans.

Rolling Legos

Someone sent me an IM this morning wondering if I'd be able to identify a particular Volkswagen. It wasn't a Volkswagen, though, but rather one of the innumerable kit cars based on the Beetle platform.

Like the Beetle, the Citroen 2CV was based on a chassis that was basically a self-contained motive platform and the bodywork can be easily replaced with whatever. This caused me to wonder if the Deux Chevaux is as popular for kit cars as the Beetle. A trip to Google did not leave me empty-handed...

Another popular base for kits is the Fiero, since the entire car is basically a drivable unibody rollcage with attached plastic bodywork.


Saturday, April 10, 2021

Automotif CCIX...

198(1?) Citroen 2CV Charleston

The deux chevaux is one of the most iconic autos ever, if very rarely spotted on this side of the Atlantic. Like the Volkswagen Beetle, its design originated in the Thirties as a way to democratize automobile ownership in its country of origin.

In the case of the 2CV, the program began as the TPV (Toute Petite Voiture – "Very Small Car") in an attempt to motorize rural French farmers. It was envisaged as an "umbrella on four wheels" that could keep a driver and a passenger or two dry while transporting a reasonable amount of stuff to or from market at a pace faster than walking alongside a farm cart. The convertible top wasn't for breezy motoring, but to accommodate oversize loads (it originally unrolled nearly to the back bumper.) The long-travel suspension was to allow light off-road capability; specifically, to be able to cross plowed fields.

The bare-bones people's car is an entire interesting genre of cars, beginning with the Ford Model T and most recently showing up as the Tata Nano. Few have been as successful as the 2CV, though, which is in the rarefied strata with cars like the Beetle and original Mini, selling millions of largely unchanged cars over a four decade sales run. The pictured car is a "Charleston", a cosmetic special edition introduced in 1980 to eke out nostalgia sales for the (by then) extremely dated model.


Friday, April 09, 2021

It's not (quite) the Zombie Apocalypse.

The headline is money:
Monkeys were reportedly on the loose in Cincinnati. Police have yet to find them.
Also of note is that the monkeys were spotted in a graveyard. Could this be an alliance between the zombies and the face-eating monkeys? Or, worse, could it it represent an unholy zombie/face-eating monkey hybrid?

If people ask "Why do you need guns?", you just point out the zombie face-eating monkey menace.


The original meaning of "flash gun".

"Bandit's Roost" by Jacob Riis

Jacob Riis explored the warrens of the Manhattan's Lower East Side, documenting the tenements filled with recent immigrants in the late 19th Century. He became famous from his photographs, which served as the basis for his book How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York. If you have some notion to use your time machine to return to live in the Gilded Age, a few minutes perusing the photographs will probably cool your ardor; you can practically smell some of them.

Bandit's Roost was among the blocks demolished to make way for Columbus Park. It would have been just ahead on the left in this street view.

Flash photography was in its infancy at the time. Flash powder, developed by Germans Adolf Miethe and Johannes Gaedicke, was used by loading a scoop of it into a bowl attached to what was essentially a percussion revolver frame and pulling the trigger. The cap would ignite the charge and, presumably, startle the bejeezus out of the subject. Not wanting to crawl through the most violent corners of the Big Apple pointing a gunlike object at people, Riis would instead heap the magnesium powder in a pan and pop it off manually.

He's simultaneously considered one of the forefathers of photojournalism and flash photography.


Asking the important questions...


One episode away from wrapping up The Night Manager as our dinnertime entertainment. Apparently after two failed movie projects, this six episode series was deemed long enough to give the original 1993 novel by John le Carre a proper treatment.

My quibbles are minor things. Some of the hardware seen on the list of smuggled arms is a little fanciful (I don't care how big and well-connected a billionaire black market arms dealer is; he's not peddling Trident missiles) and the uniforms and equipment on the US troops appearing briefly in episode 5 drew a chuckle, but it's not like I'm expecting a BBC production to get the gun stuff right anyway.

The plot twists and turns satisfactorily. The protagonist is both enigmatic and sympathetic, which is not an easy combo to pull off.

The choice of the leads, Hiddleston and Laurie, is brilliant. I had no idea that Hugh Laurie could be so... so... malevolent.

The series is free to watch if you have Amazon Prime. I'm definitely down to read the novel now.


Thursday, April 08, 2021

79% lowers when?

Well, I just sat through Biden's speech in the Rose Garden so you didn't have to.

Thoughts in a bit.


"Bobbi, don't look!"

It's mostly just idle daydreaming, but this car has Bobbi written all over it. Heck, I wouldn't kick it out of the garage for leaking electrons, either. The styling is drop-dead gorgeous.

I noticed it via a piece about electric runabouts at CNN. It's probably vaporware, but at least it's good looking vaporware.


Overheard in the Kitchen...

Me: "...and if someone's lying there in a hospital bed, twenty-four hours away from a certain death from terminal cancer, and someone pops into the room and shoots them, that's still homicide."

RX: "But did they die 'of bullet wound' or 'with bullet wound'?"

Wednesday, April 07, 2021


Finishing up some work this morning. In the interim, have a picture of Huck looking surly at having his nap disturbed.