Monday, June 01, 2020

A three-hour tour...

Being stuck on a cruise ship during the Time of the 'Rona would be bad, but being stuck on a teeny sailboat anchored in a deserted atoll must be surreal...
Countries such as the Maldives are in a difficult position when it comes to managing voyaging sailors. Its first priority is to stop virus transmission. But the Maldives also recognizes the pandemic as a humanitarian crisis.

With the goal of protecting their own population, officials have isolated boats including Sonrisa in one area, delivering basic supplies and permitting access to a deserted atoll.

Two months on, the Godfreys are still in that same seemingly idyllic spot. In reality, they're unable to go forward or back.

Meanwhile, the Maldives have entered a season known locally as Kethi, and monsoon storms have set in. "This is a triage situation," Leslie writes.

She and Andrew are weighing their options: Do they wait things out in the relative security of the Maldives, or do they try to get closer to home by sailing onward to a yet-to-be determined country?

Tab Clearing...

Sunday, May 31, 2020

It started out as a peaceful demonstration...

...and then the sun went down.

Well, the monument in the center of Monument know, the one to all the soldiers and sailors who died while ending the institution of chattel vandalized last night, before the rioters went on to trash other institutions of systemic racism, like Five Guys, Tower Liquors, and Fogo de Chao.

So far the festivities have been contained inside the Mile Square, which is several miles south of Broad Ripple. (An Indianapolis block is roughly a tenth of a mile, and we're north of 54th Street, so...about five and a half miles away as the crow flies.)

I bicycled over to Half Liter to pick up dinner, and their beer garden was doing brisk business. Mama Carolla's and Diavola Pizza on 54th were also thronged with al fresco diners, as were Fat Dan's and Moe & Johnny's over on College Avenue. Twenty Tap was still dark, which is worrisome. I fear my favorite SoBro eatery may not have survived the pandemic.

Friday, May 29, 2020


Really Bad Optics

Never pick a fight with a company that streams video by the terabyte.

At least one of the guys in that video is experiencing a potentially career-ending moment, while four are earning gold stars for their resumes.

Minnesota State Patrol needs to put their PIO's on danger pay, because all the walking back they're going to be doing in the near future is likely to cause repetitive stress injuries.

UPDATE: That was fast.
"Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz told CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker that he deeply apologizes for what happened and would work to have the crew released.

Jimenez and the others -- producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez -- were taken to the city's downtown public safety building, but were released after 6 a.m. CT.



The biggest difference in local wildlife between back in Georgia and Tennessee and here was the squirrels.

The local squirrel population in Broad Ripple when I moved here seemed to be entirely made up of humongous red fox squirrels, which hadn't been a common sight in the piney woods on the shores of Fort Loudon Lake.

Sony a7 II, 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS

Lately, though, gray squirrels like this little fella have been moving into the neighborhood. Last year there were only a couple spotted in and around the huge oaks down around the south end of our block, but by this summer they've been spotted foraging as far north as the neighbor's lawn just to our south.

Nikon D5000, 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II


Here's a pretty decent interview with Marko in which he drops some hints about this winter's forthcoming seventh installment in the Frontlines series, Orders of Battle.

Of course I've pre-ordered. Have you?

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Wednesday, May 27, 2020


(Tee shirt available here.)

My Adventures With Beef

I make no claims to any talent in the kitchen. I can do rudimentary breakfast cooking, do up a skillet steak, broil fish, and...well, we're rapidly exhausting my cookery repertoire with even this brief list.

So it was with some trepidation that I faced down the task of getting the roast ready for last night's stew. I needn't have fretted, because Bobbi left comprehensive instructions...

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Camera Nerd Humor

My 5D Mark II saw a lot more use than my 1DS Mark II.

Hey, look!

The latest issue of RECOIL: CONCEALMENT is on newsstands! I have a digital subscription on Kindle, but I snagged a dead tree copy from Walgreens yesterday because I have two pieces in this issue.

The first is the regular "Crap Shoot" column, which is a look at guns in the $200-or-less price bracket for personal defense. I think I picked a winner, but you may want to read for yourself...

Ruger P89 shot by available light with a ten-year-old Nikon D700*, using the secret technique of setting it on the clean white lid of a  Rubbermaid tub in indirect light in the garage with the overhead door open on a cloudy day. 
The second is a feature-length review of the Ruger LCP II in .22LR. Is it a plinker? A subcaliber trainer? A CCW gat in its own right? All of the above?

*Yeah, the D700 is "only" 12.1MP. So? We're only printing in a magazine; you can do a two-page spread easily with 10MP.

Books and boomsticks and memories...

Getting my nose out of social media so much by removing the Facebook app from my phone and iPad has definitely upped my reading. Sitting and reading fifty or a hundred pages at a stretch is a task that requires exactly the sort of extended focus that social media does not. (In fact, constant swimming in the fragmented world of social media, a world of short Tweets, Instagram photos with quickie captions, and two-minute YouTube videos may negatively affect the ability to concentrate like that.)

Anyway, I finished The Vampire Lestat on Friday and then plowed through Queen of the Damned over the weekend.

I'd forgotten what a good story the first three books of this series were. Cracking good stuff, back before Anne Rice fell down her own belly button with all the subsequent books. After these three it was just more and more words about less and less story, but I can't blame her for riding the cash cow until its legs give out.

Yesterday evening, I put down Queen of the Damned, and picked up The Dogs of War, by Frederick Forsyth. It will only be my second time reading it, with the first back in 2006.

I opened the book, and something fell out that got me all verklempt right there on the front porch...

Ralph was a kindly old gentleman who was something of a mentor. He always had a few tables at the gun shows in Knoxville and dealt in nicer collectible stuff: Old Smiths & Colts, Brownings, classic sporting arms like pre-'64 Winchesters, Lugers and Mausers, that sort of thing. He was a frequent visitor at the shops where I worked in Knoxville, since Shannon did all his gunsmithing and wherever Shannon wound up working, Ralph's patronage followed.

I've been working in and around the gun biz in one capacity or another since 1993, and literally my proudest moment in all that time was the afternoon when Ralph called me with a question on some bit of Smith & Wesson arcana or another.

Ralph passed away not too long after I moved up to Indianapolis, and I'll always miss chatting with him at gun shows.

Sunday Burgers

If you were to ask me, burgers benefit from grilling over hardwood charcoal more than any other kind of beef. With a sufficiently decent cut of steak and good technique, you can get perfectly cromulent results on a stovetop (especially if you like them rare), but there's no comparison between a burger done in a pan and one done over a charcoal flame.

On Sunday, Bobbi grilled up a mess of beef into about a dozen little slider-sized patties, such that about three of them wedged in between the halves of an onion bun, along with a slice of Swiss, to make for some tasty burgers. My theory is the bunch of little patties in there maximized the area of charcoal-seared edges, or something.

In the background there, to the left of the soda, is my best discovery from The Time of the 'Rona yet. Flatiron Pepper Co. Hatch Valley Green pepper flakes have come to not only substitute for red pepper flakes any place where I would have normally used those, but also substitute for fresh ground black pepper on all but the mildest of dishes. Food I'd normally strafe liberally with the pepper grinder gets just a dash from these instead. Recommend.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Tab Clearing...

Memorial Day 2020