Thursday, October 28, 2021

That's convenient.

Apparently a common antidepressant seems to have therapeutic value in treating the 'Rona, possibly tied to its side-effect as an anti-inflammatory.
A widely available antidepressant holds promise as a treatment for Covid-19, according to a new study.

Covid-19 patients who received fluvoxamine were significantly less likely to require hospitalization than those who didn’t, in the largest clinical trial evaluating the antidepressant’s effect on Covid-19 to date.
Not only would it decrease the chance of severe symptoms requiring hospitalization, I guess even if you do wind up in the hospital, you're less likely do be sad about it!


Bicycle Adventures

So, the Broad Ripple SUV hadn't been serviced since...early 2017? It's an elderly bicycle now. I bought it a dozen years ago, and it was a year-old New Old Stock model even then. Trek hasn't even made the 7100 since 2012.

I'd run it by the shop in '17 for a checkup, and then it mostly sat for 2018 because of the collarbone thing. It saw a lot of use for the last couple years, though. The tension on the shifter cable for the front chainrings  had gotten wonky; if you wanted to use either of the larger gears you had to maintain tension on the twist shifter or the worn-out chain would pop onto the smallest sprocket...or maybe completely off.

The brake levers could be bottomed out without a lot of effect, and the shoes on the front caliper were well-worn.

I suppose that I could have fiddled with the various cable adjustments and replaced the chain myself, but the bike is old enough that I figured it could benefit from a full looking-over. I dropped it off at The Bike Line up in Broad Ripple proper and was told it'd be a week or so. 

They emailed to let me know it was ready, and so yesterday morning I hopped the IndyGo Red Line and got off at the 66th Street stop, a two-block walk from the bike shop.

Midday, this far north, the Red Line isn't super busy.  Myself and one other passenger boarded here at 54th.

Freshly adjusted and with a new chain and rear shifter cable, it was like having a new set of wheels. The brakes actually stopped the bike with authority now, rather than leaving one thinking that maybe it was time to deploy the Flintstones method to avoid rolling into an intersection. The shifters shifted smoothly and stayed in the selected gear. 

I put in a few miles riding up and down the Monon Trail before adjourning to Half Liter for a late lunch and getting some writing done. It's gonna be a while before Broad Ripple has another day this pretty.


Wednesday, October 27, 2021

A pleasant idea...

Via Bobbi:
Americans need a "No BS Today" section of their media-delivery card; we need to turn it upward in the front window and nail it down.

The Internet is a Cornucopia of Balloon Knots

Tim Miller on silenced speech.
The breadth and depth of this speech is so vast that someone who hasn’t engrossed themselves in internet political culture might have no idea of its reach. If you are over the age of 35, there are people on YouTube and Twitch and TikTok that you have never heard of who have significantly larger audiences for their radical political ravings than the most preeminent policy journals had during your formative years.

Example: Hasan Piker or “Hasanabi” is a 30-year-old smokeshow socialist gamer who once complimented the Mujahadeen heroes for fucking Dan Crenshaw in the eyehole. He makes over $200,000 per month to share his political insights with his 1.5 million followers in between binge sessions of Grand Theft Auto V. I promise you that even in the heyday of Henry Luce’s Time, no political writer, anywhere, ever brought in that kind of cheddar.

And when it comes to eyeballs, Hasanabi has nothing on right-wing YouTuber Steven Crowder, who has over 5 million subscribers. Crowder’s signature contribution to the national dialogue is a “Socialism is for F*gs” t-shirt, where the asterisk is a scribble that might be a fig.

The bar for "rich" is lower when you're six years old.

As a small child, I was pretty sure that money (by which I mean quarters and dimes and such) was something that was just spontaneously generated in the pockets and purses of adults, the way corn grows in fields. Magic, basically.

It wasn't until second or third grade, when I started bringing in the mail every day for a quarter a week, that I began to grasp that money actually came from someplace. Namely, money was a thing that was created by doing things you don't want to do, so that you can then use it to get stuff that you want.


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

No Sig Sauer at SHOT '22...

Via Shooting Illustrated...
SIG Sauer announced this week that it will not be exhibiting at the 2022 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show. The event is the industry’s largest annual gathering—a tradition disrupted in January of this year when 2021’s event was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. It attracts distributors, manufacturers, buyers and media from across the globe.

“For over 30 years SIG Sauer has attended SHOT Show, and we did not come to this decision without much thoughtful deliberation,” the company explained in its announcement. “Our number one priority throughout the pandemic has been, and will remain, our employees. SIG Sauer has an extremely large presence at SHOT Show sending over 140 employees to the show and our pre-show Range Day event. Maintaining this presence, or even a scaled back minimum presence for 2022, represents a significant health risk to all 2,600 of our employees across our 13 U.S. locations, as individuals attending the show return to our facilities and risk continued exposure to our entire employee base.”
Considering that the Sig pavilion is pretty much the largest single exhibit on the sho floor, and Sig's private "Industry Day at the Range" has been a huge event for several years running, this is kinda newsworthy.



Well, it turns out that the reason my monthly stipend check has not arrived this month is that my lawyer all those years ago did not purchase a lifetime annuity with a twenty year guarantee, but a regular twenty year structured settlement. My monthly income just took a nine-hundred dollar hit, and my future plans are all up in the air. Younger me should have paid closer attention to those papers and asked more questions.

I've had better days, y'all.

Posting may be light for a bit. I have a bunch of recurring payments I need to go cancel for now.

There may be some milsurp rifles on the block in a bit. Berthiers, Carcanos, Finnish Mosins, an oddball Mauser or two, that sort of thing.


Killed by Smartphones

Hey, remember the Sony mylo? No? Don't feel bad, neither does anybody else.

Science Fiction Storm

Putting together a 1301:

It had been intended for another movie, but got overtaken by events. It was cool to see it onscreen finally, even if it had lost its Aridus Industries QD-C by then. Still had the same dot and weapon-mounted light though. (Accessories are often chosen by what's gonna look cool on screen or which company was the most eager for product placement. It's the movies, not real life.)

Anyhow, you might have seen it if you watch sci-fi shoot-em-ups...

The time a whole school bus got kidnapped...

If you've got a few minutes, this is a really interesting read...
...Chowchilla was not just the site of the largest kidnapping for ransom in American history, but also of one of the most idiotic crimes ever visited upon the state of California. It was a crime so perverse and unbelievable that it sounds like, for lack of a better phrase, utter bullshit.

What happened to Chowchilla is the story of a generation-defining crime that briefly shook the world, and the ripple effects it had on the state’s heartland. It’s about the huge differences between urban and rural California, the rich and the poor, how a town overcame being dragged to hell and back, and what we have to learn from the fading ghost stories of the 20th century.

Monday, October 25, 2021

QotD: Safety is a Process Edition...

From maybe the most important post at ToddG's blog...
The most dangerous gun handlers are the ones who think they’re too safe to worry about making a mistake.

As a community, we need to stop treating all accidental discharges as foolish and criminal acts. By placing every accident under the umbrella of sin, we do ourselves a disservice. We lose the chance to examine the details and learn from them. We lump the competitor who made a momentary transgression in with the idiot who’s never learned anything about safe gun handling. Worst of all, we create a mindset that tells us mistakes won’t happen to smart people (meaning, “us”) … which breeds complacency, which breeds more mistakes.
Bold & italics are in the original. It's worth a reading again refresher.

The thing that sets the tone for my opinion of a class & its instructor is the morning safety brief. There are industry best practices that are best practices for a reason, and straying from them is never a good idea.

You want to see the morning safety briefing done absolutely by the book? Craig Douglas's is the industry standard in my experience thus far.


I'm trying...

...but it's so hard.


From the NYT piece this AM:
Mr. Baldwin had been sitting in a wooden church pew, rehearsing a scene that involved “cross drawing” a revolver and pointing it at the camera lens, Mr. Souza said, according to the affidavit. Mr. Souza said that he had been standing beside Ms. Hutchins “viewing the camera angle.”
A revolver pointing directly at the camera lens would, of course, require dummy rounds in it. Sounds like the dummies here weren't in the chambers where they belonged, but standing around on set, handing each other guns.


The entirety of my review of the Girsan MC9 is up at RECOILweb.

Spoiler warning: It ran fine for four hundred rounds. 

Generally if a pistol works without obvious problems out of the box, it will work for the limited amount of shooting most people do with them. If you're the kind of person who shoots fifty or a couple hundred rounds a year through a particular gun, one box at a whack, the showcases are groaning these days with handguns that are perfectly adequate to your needs.

I tend to hang out with and, at least on my blog, write to the people for whom five hundred rounds is a middlin' busy weekend. This definitely skews viewpoints. Like I commented on a FB discussion this morning:
"The blinged Regard I tested was pretty much what it said on the label: A rough-around-the-edges 92 clone. It ran fine, which is a tribute to the basic design. Durability is a cypher but let's be the cynics that most importers/manufacturers in this price bracket are: Customers who buy blasters for three hundo don't put three thousand dollars worth of ammo through them. These companies could engineer their pistols to crumble to dust on the 501st shot and only one customer in a hundred would find out, and the other 99 would call him a hater."
In various gun fora you'll find people who talk about guns a lot mistaking themselves for people who shoot guns a lot. "That's not [milspec/a Glock]!" from people who bust a couple hundred caps a month and spend more time discussing hypothetical ideal AR builds on the web than shooting the ARs they build.

I'm sure I'll get some "Oh, you just said the Girsan worked because they paid you to!" commentary. Bro, you have no idea how this works, do you? First, if had been a wretched pulsating ball of suck and fail, RECOIL has proven that they have no problem letting me say that. I got paid for shooting the gun and reporting what happened, let the chips fall where they may. Second, it's not like I'm keeping the Girsan. It's going back to EAA. 

Sure it worked, but I'm hip-deep in pistols that work here. It doesn't really light my fuse, but if someone needs a cheap gun that will function well enough to check the "have a gun" box, here it is, and that's basically what I wrote.


Sunday, October 24, 2021

I watch the training films every Saturday morning.

My First Gun Pr0n...

I took this photo almost immediately after getting home with my first digicam, a Mavica FD88, back in October of 2001.

I don't know that I ever even messed with the filter effects on it, like sepia tone, so I tried it today...


The Past Was Another Country

Manufacturers sure put serial numbers in funny places back before gun safety was invented. This Savage pistol made in 1919 has the s/n on the forward edge of the dust cover. You'd need to point the gun right at your own melon to read it (or you could do like I did and use the camera on your cell phone while pointing the blaster at the ceiling.)


Grand Prix Tractor Pull

Ordnung Muss Sein

You'd think that Germans would be very orderly about naming things. Orderliness is a German cultural trait carried almost to a fault. 

Some military historians have claimed that the very disorderliness and ad hoc nature of the American armies in Western Europe gave them an edge against their Wehrmacht opponents. Perhaps the GI's would scatter a bunch of random objects in the middle of a forest clearing and when the Germans scurried out to put them in alphabetical order they'd get blasted with BARs and Tommy guns.

The photo below is of a 1939-vintage Leica IIIb. 

That's some very orderly-sounding nomenclature. Just from the name you know that it's better than a Leica II, and an improvement over the Leica IIIa, in the same way you know that a similarly 1939-vintage Panzerkampwagen IIIf was better than a Panzerkampfwagen II and an improvement over the Pzkw. IIIe. (This was a historical period where ordnung got a bit out of hand between the Rhine and the Elbe.)

Too much ordnung.

After the war, the ordnung wind got knocked right out of Leica's camera naming sails, as is related in this hilarious article which is worth reading even if you're not a camera nerd because it's just that funny:
When Ernst Leitz GmbH invented the M system in 1954, they named their first M camera the Leica M3 for a very good reason. The name M3 signaled to the unwashed masses that the camera was a rangefinder (the German word for this is messucher) with three framelines (the number 3). The name makes sense and camera-likers knew what they were buying. For this reason, the Leica M3 went on to be the best anything that anyone had ever made anywhere. But every Leica camera since then has been a gigantic leap backward, and a complete and unmitigated disaster.
Incidentally, all this talk of rangefinders and frame lines explains why Leica dwindled from a maker of photographic tools used by pros to a lifestyle brand largely reduced to peddling Veblen goods to the brand conscious bourgeoisie and well-heeled hipsters.

See, that Leica IIIb has a viewfinder with frame lines in it for a 50mm lens. When you attach a 90mm lens to it, like the one in the picture, you need to either try and guess what fraction of the image in the viewfinder will actually make it into the narrower 90mm field of view, or else clip an auxiliary finder (unhelpfully named the SGVOO) in and hope that parallax doesn't jack you up too much.

Single lens reflex cameras added a bit of bulk compared to the little Leica rangefinders, and the slapping noise of the SLR's mirror mechanism was unavoidably noisier than the whisper of a cloth shutter, as anyone who's watched a press conference in the marble hallway of a government building knows, but the convenience of actually seeing the final image in the viewfinder outweighed all that. 

Japanese SLRs ate the professional camera market whole in the Seventies, leaving Leica, who avoided the technology for as long as possible before releasing an overly-complex super-Teutonic SLR, to flounder.

The "diesel Leica".

This is why Leica discussion on the web these days is largely lawyers and orthodontists discussing the stitching on half-kilobuck waxed canvas bags on rangefinderforums while NFL sidelines, presidential press conferences, and National Geographic covers are the province of Nikon, Canon, (and, increasingly Sony, but that's a tale for another post.)


Basically all of social media right now...

Saturday, October 23, 2021

More On Irritainment

Via Greg Ellifritz comes this article on the effects of irritainment. It's five years old, but more valid than ever. 

Bear Greg's advice in mind when reading it, though...
This is a really good article. It will likely offend anyone who strongly identifies with either the far right or the far left on the political spectrum. Keep reading, even if you are offended. The article describes the difference between fear and anxiety and how large interest groups on both sides of the political aisle increase your anxiety to create a predictable response. Understanding how your brain processes information is key to avoiding irrational fears and anxiety.
This quote from the article reminded me of something:
"What’s occurring in this meet-up group right now is what social psychologists call the “law of group polarization,” which states that if like-minded people are concerned about an issue, their views will become more extreme after discussing it together. Theoretically, most people here, and in similar meet-ups around the country, will leave the room not just with stronger opinions but with less empathy for those with contrary views."
It's like a macro variation of the social effect that a friend used to call "Agreeing Parties".

Friends A, B, C, D, and E are hanging out. Friend F couldn't make it that night. As it happens, Friend B doesn't actually much like Friend F, and uses the absence to air this grievance. This reminds Friend D of some minor beef they had with F and so, to keep the conversation going, they share their own story. 

Now the tenor for the night is set and the group dynamic starts to heterodyne about what a walking sack of assholes Friend F really is. The way to get social capital in the conversation at this point is to be madder at F than the person across the table from you. It feeds on itself and if you think about it, you've probably watched it happen.


Friday, October 22, 2021

Monkeys Touching Guns

I'm sure anyone who reads this blog on any sort of regular basis has probably also read the post by my friend Jennifer where she refers to actors as "dancing monkeys". (Here's an archive link since the original seems to be down or loading extremely slowly.) 

This is an especially apt term when it comes to letting actors touch guns. Best practices on set have the guns only handled by gun wranglers except when actually filming. Would you hand a dancing monkey a loaded gun? No, no you would not. Not if you had a lick of sense.

If you let monkeys touch guns, they might haul off and shoot people, all in good clean monkey fun. They don't know any better; they're monkeys.

It'll be a while before all the details come out, but one thing I can tell you with a fair degree of confidence is that this was probably not a squib projectile that was then launched by a blank, like what happened to Brandon Lee. That wouldn't have had the energy needed to go through one victim and wound a second.

Actor Alec Baldwin discharged a “prop firearm” Thursday on a movie set south of Santa Fe, killing the director of photography for the film he was working on and wounding its director, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office said.

Several news outlets used the term "misfire" to describe what the gun did and, bro, I ain't buyin' it. They were filming a Western movie that was set in the 1880s. I would lay money that the prop gun in question was a single action revolver. Homie had to deliberately cock the hammer on that thing before pulling the trigger.

Almost certainly not one of these.

Firearms safety matters, even if you're a very rich and famous person just funnin' around on a movie set.

EDIT: There's some info from the set that makes this sound like it may have happened during filming. As in, Baldwin was firing toward the director of photography for the purpose of a shot, and the director was behind her and looking over her shoulder. Obviously hardly any details are available yet, but if that was the case and the gun wrangler handed him a gun with a live round in it, that's super messed up