Sunday, December 31, 2006

That's gotta suck...

So there you are, the Islamic jihad in Somalia; you're the guys who made Mogadishu into The City Too Dangerous For The UN, the guys who made the President of the world's last superpower blink, the guys...

...who have just had your asses handed to you in twelve days by... wait for it...

The Ethiopian Army.

May as well just throw yourselves on your own swords now, guys, because they'll never show your faces on Al Jazeera without a canned laughter track again.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A belated Christmas present:

Just what every kid wanted: A Saddam Yo-yo.

I must've been a good girl this year. :)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Why I totally suck up to SayUncle...

The boy's got snark.

But Uncle say the nanny-state pricks in between heading to soccer practice, Starbuck’s and spending time not minding their own business smoking causes cancer, emphysema, other health problems, impotence, global warming, and the uncontrollable urge for people not to mind their own business. It leads to increased healthcare costs and is a drain on society. And it may complicate pregnancy And Uncle says So fucking what? Plenty of other things do all that too. Like drinking

Day-umn. Wish I'd written that.

Kids these days...

The other morning I was eating my breakfast at work, and idly took notice of the image on the side of my McDonald's bag. It was of a herd of appropriately multi-culti, gender diverse, differently-abled kids swanning about on bicycles, complete with elbow pads, knee pads, helmets, and training wheels.

"What's up with the safety thing these days?" I mused aloud, "I've never owned a bicycle helmet. Then again, I've never owned a bike since I got my driver's license, but that's neither here nor there..."

"My parents made me wear a helmet," said my gunsmith.

"What? You're my age, Shannon. I don't remember there even being bicycle helmets when I was little. They didn't wear helmets in the friggin' Tour de France back then, probably."

"Well, it was actually a football helmet..."

"Did your parents hate you?"

When I was growing up, the best use for a bicycle helmet would have been to prevent head injuries when the neighborhood kids beat the crap out of you for wearing a bicycle helmet. It was a much more savage and lawless time on the playground in those days, and one wonders if our modern predilection for defeating Darwin won't have repercussions on the vitality of the race down the road. In these depressing times I've seen people want to go to emergency rooms for "injuries" that wouldn't have rated a Time Out from a pine cone war when I was a kid. I remember one neighborhood kid who stopped a BB during a territorial dispute back in the day...

"Gee, Bobby, you're bleeding like a stuck pig."

"Can you see the BB?"

"No, it's in there too deep. God, I'm sorry; I swear I only pumped it three times, honest."

"Maybe I should tell my mom so I can get stitches."

"Are you kidding? We'd all be grounded for the rest of our lives! Tam, go see if you can sneak some bandaids out of your house."

...and Bobby cowboyed up and drove on, and the BB gun war was forgotten, and we spent the rest of the afternoon on the same team, clearing the swamp of Orcs (or Germans or Indians or Klingons or whatever was infesting it that week.) For all I know, Bobby's still carrying that BB around in his arm.

Not today, though; today we sap and impurify kid's precious bodily fluids by swaddling them in bubble wrap from their first breath 'til the age of majority, when we then expect them to vote responsibly and make wise financial decisions. We need to stop. We need to weed out the slow and the stupid again. We need to let Darwin back into the home. Take the covers off your outlets. Store your dangerous household chemicals in the middle of the living room floor. Keep a pet Bengal tiger.

Please, it's for the good of the species.

Kevin's back.

Boy howdy, is he back...

Go see him deliver a brutal fisking to some poor surgeon with a head full of mush, a Roman numeral after his name, and unfortunate access to a keyboard, right here in a post titled "The Other Side."

Overheard on I-40 West...

Tam: "It's easy to spot bolsheviks. They smell like patchouli; patchouli is the smell of bolshevism."

Kaylee: "Uh, I sometimes wear patchouli."

Tam: "I'll be watchin' you."

Thursday, December 28, 2006


I hope he's just here for the jokes.

It's the end of the world as we know it... Vol. II

Well, another year draws to a close, and the fact that we're living in the Chinese definition of "Interesting Times" (thanks in no small part to the Chinese themselves) has everyone feeling a little Millennial, even Orson Scott Card. If you're a classical history buff, the column is a good one.

I especially like the punchline towards the end, however, where in his thumbnail book review of America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, he describes Mark Steyn as "a gun-totin' anti-big-government conservative", and says it like it's a bad thing. ;)

(By the way, if I didn't mention it already, Steyn's book is a fascinating, albeit somewhat depressing, read.)

Boomsticks: I don't know...

...where ColtCCO found this graphic (or if he made it himself) but it made me laugh 'til I blew snot out my nose.

Insider Gun Nut Humor Image Follows:

(Before the HK fanboys don their MOLLE gear and form a lynch mob, remember that I've owned more P7's, USP's, and HK91's than you have; laugh at yourselves once in a while, it won't hurt...)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Confusion of terms.

Rick Perlstein, writing for The New Republic Online in his sensationalistically-titled NRA hit piece "A View to a Kill", seems to be having a little difficulty with definitions. In an attempt to splash the blood of Kathryn Johnson on the National Rifle Association and its support of Castle Doctrine laws, he describes the assault on her thusly:
The resident, Kathryn Johnston--88 years old by some accounts, 92 years old by others--pulled a pistol on the intruders. The police fired on their assailant.
Let's look at that, shall we?
asˈsailant noun
a person who attacks
Last I checked, Kathryn wasn't attacking anybody. She was sitting in her house, minding her own damned business, when her assailants burst through her door.

Defense. Attack. There's a difference, and it's an important one, but it's apparently a little elusive to Mr. Perlstein, who won't let things like the truth deter him from his editorial goal.

(H/T to SayUncle.)

Cutting into my posting time of late...

...has been the fact that I've been reading through the entire back archives of I originally went because I've always had a nagging wonder as to why James Wesley, Rawles has a comma in his name. I got that answer in the FAQ to his book, but wound up faithfully slogging through all the back posts on his blog. Lots of good data there, even if you have no intention of heading to the hills and canning your own goat meat. The last couple of years have thrown enough brushfires, hurricanes, blizzards, and tsunamis our way to show that a little bit of insurance in your pantry or basement is a good thing; you don't need to own a Reynold's Wrap yarmulke to have a week or a month's worth of food on hand, or a generator, or enough candles and batteries to get you through a week without power. (Plus a shotgun to make sure all that stuff stays yours.)

Go, read. You'll learn plenty. He's a little short on information on the Zombie Apocalypse, however. You still have to go to Moral for that...

Call me blasphemous...

...but the mad scramble to add significance to the term of a President who will mostly be remembered for tripping down stairs is somewhat humorous to me. You'd look at gatherings of former Presidents in the '90s and think to yourself, "Look! It's Reagan, Carter, Bush, and Chevy Chase!"

I mean, seriously, I came within a hair of titling this post "Ford Takes His Last Stumble".

Boomsticks: It followed me home...

I helped deplete the Armory's dwindling store of Finnish Mosins by taking a nice M28 home for Christmas. It doesn't have the Tikkakoski "T-in-a-triangle" atop the chamber, and although I haven't pulled it out of the stock yet to check, I suspect it has a SIG-Neuhausen barrel. It now sits next to the 1944-dated VKT M39 in my closet and swaps war stories, the two of them pointedly ignoring the Izhevsk M91/30 to their right.

It's in fair condition for a Finn, which would be Very Good to Excellent for most other countries. You'll sometimes see the "Nation Of Riflemen" phrase tossed around on gunblogs, but if you want to see it in the metal, look at surplus rifles from Finland, Switzerland, or Sweden; even those that are well used tend to have bores, sights, and barrel crowns in much better shape than, say, their Russian, Turkish, or Italian counterparts. The sharpest contrasts can be found in American and British rifles: An Enfield straight from British or Canadian service is almost always a gem compared to one that has been beaten on by the Pakistani army, while an M1903 that went to the DCM from the US military looks like a pampered match rifle compared to one abused and neglected in Greek exile.

I'm not much of a Mosin fan still, being a lover of All Things Mauser, but these Finns are beginning to get to me. There's a lot of interest in Finnish militaria in the US; we love underdogs and hate bolsheviks, so the heroic resistance of the little Finnish Army against the Soviet juggernaut can't help but fascinate us. As the home of both TGI and Brent Snodgrass, Knoxville is a good place to be interested in Finnish militaria, too. Maybe I ought to grab that last M28/30 at the shop...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Monday, December 25, 2006

At 9 AM they were unwrapping their laptops... noon they had their network cards configured.

Ow! Get back!

Musically talented domestic pugilist James Brown dead at 73.


Prosciutto and Swiss on rye crisps.


That is all. Go on about your business.

Books: Impending bloggery...

I finished The Weapon, and immediately started a re-read of Freehold. I'm nearly done with the latter and will be posting a review-ish post of both sometime this afternoon.

Short version: The Freehold of Grainne has joined Tertius, Galt's Gulch, and The North American Confederacy as one of my favorite daydream destinations. For anyone dedicated to the twin precepts of Mind Your Own Business and Keep Your Hands To Yourself, these two books are must-reads. Whatever lacks they have in nitpicking Literary Review details are more than made up for in being roaring good stories. I'm sorry to say this, but all the clever phrasing, foreshadowing, and character development in the world won't make up for a boring tale, and Mr. Williamson's novels may be found in the Very Not Boring section of your local library.

Survived another one...

Another Christmas in retail under my belt. A couple more of these, and hell won't scare me.

I learned my lesson from last year: No Waffle House this time 'round. Today I'm sitting at home with a platter piled high with crackers and brie, a refrigerator stocked with beverages, and nothing to do 'til the morrow.

(Incidentally, one of the customers at the range yesterday waved and smiled at me, asking "Remember me? Waffle House last Christmas?" If you're reading this, sir, then yes, I do. I'll have 9mm ammunition in by the case lot on Thursday. ;) )

Friday, December 22, 2006


We had an earthquake?

Shows you how much I've been paying attention.

I work in retail. My big goal right now is to survive long enough to drink myself into a stupor on Monday. They could have nuked DC and I wouldn't notice 'til December 26th...

Boomsticks: The Horror...

So, a guy comes into the shop with the nicest, intact Argentine 1909 carbine I've ever seen in my life and says...

"Can you drill and tap this for a scope, and put a regular safety on it?"

I'd like to report that the pens we use for writing job tickets will still write on tear-dampened paper. The gunsmith who was going to handle the job took an obvious delight in my discomfort... "Do you know how many of these I've bubba-ized over the last fifteen years?" he said with a malicious grin.

No, and I don't want to, thankyouverymuch.


The customer is always right, even when they're wrong...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

You know you're a geek when... have a favorite Roman emperor.

Mine's Vespasian. The denarius above is from his reign, which ran from today's date in 69AD to his death in 79AD. He was the first non-Julio-Claudian emperor, a competent soldier and general, a solid administrator, and only half of his sons were bugnuts crazy, which is batting well above average for your typical Caesar.

I was thrilled to find the Lindsey Davis book, The Course Of Honor, which is a novelization of Vespasian's life, and a very enjoyable book. You should get you a copy.

Happy Winter Solstice!

I'll be staying up past midnight tonight to make sure the reluctant sun does his job and starts staying in the sky longer every day.

It was a big time of year for our ancestors. Was the sun going to punk out and let days get shorter until it just stayed gone, or was the yearly cycle going to continue? It made for as good a reason as any for a religious ceremony, and a religious ceremony tends to make as good a reason as any for a festival. Later religions simply found it easier to park holidays (from Saturnalia to Christmas) around Midwinter than to change what was already there.

So there you go; I'll be sitting there at 12:22AM, Ruination in hand, keeping an eye on the celestial spheres. Once I'm sure that eveything's all shipshape in the heavens, then I'll go to bed. It's as good a reason to stay up late as any...

Boomsticks: The fighting stance...

It's been interesting watching the evolution of the modern fighting stance with the carbine. No longer is it shouldered as though one was trying to centerpunch targets across the neatly mown lawns of Camp Perry, now it's used in a more squared up stance; pretty much the same one used when fighting with a pistol or one's fists.

Square up towards the opponent, lean in, toe of the stock high on the shoulder (bring the weapon up to your eyes, don't duck your eyes down to the weapon), elbows in, weak side foot slightly forward... Practice with it; I think you'll probably find it as natural and versatile as I did in a very short amount of time. It's stuff like this that keeps me coming back to SWAT Magazine. Anybody can write boilerplate about the new Blastomatic 2000; SWAT has the writers that can write about the software that is needed to make the Blastomatic (or any other weapon) useful. The first thing I do when my copy shows up in the mailbox is to flip through it to whatever that month's article is by Pat Rogers; he could write about the proper techniques for using a P38 can-opener and it would be fascinating, educational, and useful...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Are you ready? Part Deux.

There's an excellent post up over at Random Nuclear Strikes in which he details the results of the recent 48 hour trial run of his SHTF supplies that he conducted thanks to Mother Nature.

It's times like this that I'm glad I'm on well water, with a manual pump for emergencies, and that our heat is provided by a hojillion gallon propane tank, and not an electric furnace. Also, having been stranded in the house by an icy road for a few days, I try and keep about a week's worth of grub on hand. I'm hardly Suzy Survivalist, though, and that post made me think of a few things I need to improve.

Boomsticks: Remember, kids...

...the Series 80 firing pin block in a Colt 1991A1 is not as strong as the magnet in an MRI tunnel.

(H/T to SayUncle.)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Books: Aaaaaarggh!

I may have mentioned that I was really caught up in reading The Weapon?

After a long day at work today, I was anxious to get home and back into the read. I thought ahead to my drive home. The cats had at least another day of food, there was an ample supply of beer and cigarettes, plenty of human food as well...

I was out of soda, so rather than stop by the store on the way home, I just bought three Diet Dr. Peppers out of the vending machine at work.

There we go; no delays to me getting home and sitting down with a good book.

I got home, went to grab my stuff out of the car, and...

...guess what I forgot at work?

That's right. The book.

That sound you hear? That is the Fates laughing at me.

Embarassing celebrity photos, Part XLIV

"Look out! It's getting away!"

Blog Stuff: Weekend Update.

Had a grand time at Oleg's. Pictures were snapped. More fodder was generated for the other blog. Got to see Michael Z. Williamson again, and picked up an autographed copy of The Weapon, which I'm already halfway through. Like Freehold, it's such an enjoyable story that there's an acute feeling of disappointment when you realize that the part of the book in your right hand is now noticeably thinner than that in your left. Makes you want to read slower to stretch it out...

Let's put this in perspective...

The headline reads: N.K. reads laundry list of demands.

The problem with North Korea having a "list of demands" is that they fall seriously short in the "...or else!" department.

Or else what, Kim? Or else you'll force us to vaporize you? Or else you'll hold your breath until you turn blue? What's the fallback plan here?

You want to sit at the big kids' poker table, you gotta be ready to play for big kids' stakes, and frankly your bottle rockets haven't been all that impressive thus far. We've been all kinds of tolerant 'til now, because you're not hurting anybody but yourself (and your inmates citizens), but I'd think really hard about your next move...

Boomsticks: Interesting.

Smith & Wesson, a company that was acquired from its previous owners for what was essentially pocket change only a few years ago, has just announced their acquisition of Thompson/Center Arms for $102 million, cash on the barrelhead.

Thompson/Center offers the unique Encore and Contender multi-caliber single-shot rifle/pistol/shotgun/muzzle-loader systems, as well as having a dominating presence in the black-powder hunting world. Their products are almost universally recognized as some of the most mell-made, innovative weapons of their type. The only thing they lack is marketing, and Smith & Wesson's new management has proved they have marketing savvy in spades, having brought a company out of the triage ward and back into the black.

Now they have a foot in the door in the hunting world, having already launched a play for a stake in the military/LE market with the M&P line, and still maintaining a strong market share in the civilian CCW segment. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

(H/T to Les Jones.)
(Edited to fix bone-headed slip. Thanks to alert reader 1894c.)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Today in history:

2224 years ago, a general by the name of Hannibal Barca had his first victory over a Roman consular army, handing Sempronius a stomping on the banks of the Trebia. He was 29 years old.

W00t! Bow before me...

...because I'm Person of the Year.

I mean, I already knew it, but it's good to see that the guys at TIME recognize it, too.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A marketing failure.

On the way home from Nashville we stopped at an inconvenience store to offload and onload beverages.

I saw something that made me think that someone had experienced a serious failure at target marketing: NASCAR bookends.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Light blogging ahead...

My friend Kaylee is in town for the weekend, and we'll probably visit Oleg, so don't expect much between now and Monday morning.

I'll leave y'all with a cute illustration Kaylee did back in the day. It always makes me smile...

She's so artsy & talented.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Color me a very deep green.

Speaking of fortuitous encounters at dumpsters, if you look up the definition of "Lucky, lucky bastard" in the dictionary, you'll find a picture of ColtCCO.

Someone's obviously been unlucky at love... this hilarious little vignette shows.

(H/T to Oleg.)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sign of the times...

I remember carping and grumbling that U.S. coins had been reduced to nickel-plated zinc and copper slugs with no intrinsic value.

Now zinc, copper, and nickel are so high that the coins are worth more as scrap.

I suddenly feel older.

"Climate" is what you expect, "weather" is what you get.

Six days ago the overnight low was fifteen degrees.

Tomorrow's high is supposed to be sixty-five.

Southern winters cause premature graying in weather forecasters.

Call it a prejudice if you want, but...

If you turn up at trucking school and:

1) Really, really want a hazmat license.

2) Want it fast.

3) Don't want to learn to back up the truck.

4) Are named Mohammed.

...then don't be surprised if folks start reaching for their phones and the heat takes an inordinate amount of interest in you.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Completely out of control...

First, I'm late to this party. Tomato 7 has been covering it from the jump-off, so go read his stuff for the full breakdown.

What it boils down to is this: An adolescent ne'er-do-well and his delinquent college buddies beat the crap out of some other guy to steal his PlayStation 3's.

In order to apprehend the junior thug and budding felon, did the university police:

A) Call him to the office over the intercom, where he found a deputy waiting with handcuffs.
B) Pull him over on the pretense of a traffic stop and stuff him in a cruiser.
C) Call out the local Sheriff's Department's SERT team, complete with ram and ninja gear, bust through the door of his house after a perfunctory knock, and gun him and his dog down in the front hallway of his home.

Everybody who guessed "C)", you get a cookie.

It gets better, though.

The deputy who actually mowed down the video game controller-armed hood has apparently been accidentally no-true-billed by the grand jury.

Blog Stuff: Cat blogging.

Jeff at Alphecca reminds me why I call that little hole by the closet baseboards the "Self-Propelled Cat Toy Dispenser".

Boomsticks: Readiness check.

There's been a post up at The Cathouse that I've been meaning to comment on for the last week or two. It's all about preparation and readiness:
But are any of us actually “prepared”? And, before you get your hackles raised, quite possibly (and hopefully) you ARE prepared. But, the question begs to be asked at least generally, are you actually “ready”?
I realize that, thanks to my job and the neighborhood I live in, I have a different set of circumstances from most folks. Working where I work, it's just daily routine for me to put on a pistol with my jeans in the morning and leave it on until I go to bed at night. It's not uncommon to see more than one openly-carried handgun when invited to dinner with the neighbors; its probably to be expected, considering there's a range in the backyard and shooting is a hobby shared by most folks around here. A kid walking down our little road with a .22 rifle is nothing unusual, nor is it uncommon for the other neighbors to bust a few clays with a shotgun in the pasture across the street on a warm summer evening. But guns are only a part of it.

Are you ready? By this, I don't mean "are you walking through life in a paranoid ninja half-crouch, ready to be attacked from any quarter," but are you always at least alert and aware of your surroundings? There are few queasier feelings to have than the vertigo that accompanies "Where the f*&$ did he come from?" as the man with the drawn gun suddenly looms close in your peripheral vision and demands your car. I've been there. I don't ever want to be there again. If this means I have to give up the privilege of sitting in public completely unaware of everything going on around me, well, so be it. Just because my distant ancestors had to maintain a modicum of awareness to avoid becoming cheetah droppings drying in the sun didn't mean they couldn't stop to smell the Serengeti roses, they just needed to keep paying attention to their surroundings while they did so.

That's the largest component of "ready": Awareness of one's surroundings. It's as simple as never having to say "Where did he come from?" ever again.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


My friend got shot in the belly button.

Luckily it was just a Simunitions round in force-on-force training, so the only thing perforated was his dignity.

Condolences may be delivered here.

The Revenge of Barney Fife.

We Americans love our cops. From Adam 12 to The X-Files, Marshal Dillon to Rick Deckard, law enforcement officers are part of the warp and woof of American cultural life. Most of us have grown up cheering their fictionalized exploits, and yet... well, can we all agree that policing in America is undergoing a tremendous public image crisis these days?

A man tells reporters that "My friend's dead. I'm shot up. We need justice," and the people he needs justice from are those sworn to uphold it in the first place. The police force of a major city is thrown into a frenzy of backing-and-filling after a hurried, botched raid leaves an elderly woman dead, and thanks to the irregularities already obvious in the case, it seems easy to believe that the teeny baggies of marijuana they hold up as justification just might be yet another fabrication. Elsewhere, questions linger over another SWAT shooting, this one in Fairfax, VA.

This is a republic we live in. We have crafted the laws we've asked these men and women to uphold. When their jobs grew more dangerous and "the opposition" got tougher, we've responded by giving them more and better tools, both physical and legislative, to help them undertake the task. But then it happens: At some point you see those tools misused. "The opposition" turns out to be us, or someone very like us, and we wonder if maybe we haven't created something of a Frankenstein's monster.

On the one hand, law enforcement has become trivialized to the point that we're watching LaToya Jackson get sworn in as a police officer so we can see washed up celebrities participating in a Bizarro-World mirror-image of COPS. On the other hand, its gotten so serious that a typical law-enforcement trade show has more sniper rifles, armored cars, and breaching charges than downtown Fallujah on a Saturday night. At some point the electorate is going to wonder, "Is this all worth it?" and I expect the backlash could be as severe as the enthusiasm that created the modern law enforcement culture in the first place.

We need to seriously re-evaluate what it is we want police to do, because the current setup is not working. If you want cops to sniff out every meth lab, bust every drunk driver, arrest every teenage marijuana seller, round up every prostitute, and ticket everyone not wearing a seatbelt, you're going to wind up with, not a police force, but an army of occupation. What I fear is that, rather than re-examining the task list we've handed police, we're going to focus on the tools and the tactics, and that's going in the entirely wrong direction. Now, Deputy Johnson down in Possumbelly County, Georgia may be a fine human being and a pillar of the community. He may drive drunken teenagers home from parties and visit shut-in little old ladies, but it's not going to help him one whit when lawmakers in Atlanta react to the backlash and leave him patrolling his rural beat with one bullet in his shirt pocket.

I don't care if Johnny Law has a scary looking assault rifle. Heck, I have one, so why shouldn't he? What I worry about is writing him a job description that makes it necessary to use the thing so much. We need to seriously re-think what constitutes an acceptable reason to send a policeman crashing through a door, rather than send him crashing through that door armed only with a nightstick and a whistle. We need the wisdom of Sheriff Taylor, before we wind up treating our police like Deputy Fife.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Eric Rudolph is all upset over being confined to a Supermax prison cell. He says it's making him crazy(er).
"It is a closed-off world designed to isolate inmates from social and environmental stimuli, with the ultimate purpose of causing mental illness and chronic physical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis," he wrote in one letter to The Gazette of Colorado Springs.


"Using solitary confinement, Supermax is designed to inflict as much misery and pain as is constitutionally permissible," he wrote in a letter.
As much misery and pain as, say, nails flying from an exploding backpack, Eric? That much pain? I hope so.

Look, Eric m'boy, the only way you're coming out of there is feet-first on a board, so you might as well just cowboy up and quit your whining.

And be thankful I wasn't in charge of your sentencing.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Snubbed again.

I see that once again there are categories for food blogs, pet blogs, music blogs, celebrity gossip blogs... but no gun blogs.

Who'll be hosting the '06 Snubbie awards?

Lucky find.

Xavier got lucky and scored himself a nice S&W Victory Model. Go check it out.

Someday I'll find myself a nice martial S&W. It'd tie my two interests in gun collecting together nicely: If you love military surplus weapons and old S&W revolvers, what could be finer than an old military surplus S&W revolver?

Which Iraq have they been studying, anyway?

You have to wonder just which planet someone is standing on when they make recommendations like
This support structure should include every country that has an interest in averting a chaotic Iraq, including all of Iraq’s neighbors—Iran and Syria among them.
What color is the sky in their world? Who do they think have been the major contributors to a chaotic Iraq?

Oh, well. These are the jokes, folks...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Politics: I'm almost sad to see her go...

Disagree with her politics all you want, you have to admit that soon-to-be-ex-Representative Cynthia "Slugger" McKinney (Moonbat-GA) brought a level of comic relief to Washington of the kind not seen since the perpetual loser American League Senators moved to Minneapolis.

As a final pratfall, she has introduced a bill to impeach the President. The bill has less than zero chance of passing, but should please her ailing sugar-cane harvest buddy Fidel to no end. It is, after all, the thought that counts.

Boomsticks: I'm probably diagnosable...

They keep following me home, and I can't make them stop.

I don't know what it is about me and these derelict old rifles. Anyway, the latest arrival is a vz 52, (vz is simply an abbreviation for "vzor"; Czech for "type" or "model") a Czech rifle designed immediately after the German occupation of Czechoslovakia ended. The Czechs had an arms industry with a long tradition of quality and innovation, and the vz 52 was no exception. Designed using experiences gathered during WWII, it was a rifle that spanned two eras: Its full-length wood stock, intricately machined steel receiver, and semi-automatic operation wouldn't have been out of place in the 1930s, while its intermediate cartridge and detachable box magazine looked towards the future.

The trigger mechanism is nearly identical to that of the American Garand, while the gas system utilizes a short-stroke annular piston derived from that of Germany's Walther self-loading rifles. The bolt is a tipping design, much like the contemporary Belgian and Russian rifles, but utilises lugs at the front of the bolt, rather than at the rear. The proprietary Czech cartridge, 7.62x45mm, is roughly the ballistic equivalent to the Soviet 7.62x39mm M43 round. The whole package makes for a handy little carbine, slightly smaller than the Russian SKS, and a fair bit handier in the bargain.

Interestingly, the rifle was released as part of a whole suite of new infantry weapons in the early '50s by the Czechs, who hoped to get foreign currency in exchange. The weapons included an innovative pistol that used a roller-locking short recoil action to tame the potent 7.62x25mm Tokarev round, a general-purpose machine gun that was simply a belt-fed update of the proven Bren gun (another famous Czech design), and an innovative submachine gun featuring a bolt that telescoped around the breech and a magazine well integral with the pistol grip: both novel features that made for a compact weapon, and both features that would be cheerfully plagiarized by Uziel Gal when he "designed" his famous Uzi.

With this cornucopia of small-arms technical excellence poured at their feet, it is somehow unsurprising that the Soviets ignored it, and instead forced their own designs on the nascent Warsaw Pact. Meanwhile, most of the Czech weapons faded into undeserved obscurity, with sales slumping since both superpowers were essentially giving guns away to third-world nations who promised to be on their team.

The CZ52 pistol is well-known to American shooters, having been imported in droves over the last five years or more. Its companion rifle is a little less recognizable, and most of of them coming in recently have been barely shootable junkers. Ammunition for the vz 52 is scarce; the only source I could find online was Buffalo Arms (who also has most other scarce or obsolete calibers you might be looking for, as well as prompt and courteous customer service.) As soon as the ammunition gets here, I'll write up a range report.

Friday, December 08, 2006


221,122 hits, according to SiteMeter.

Sorry, number stuff like that makes me all interested...

Carry on.


Another night of what BryanP termed here "Tourette's Syndrome Cold": You know, the kind of cold where you step outside and involuntarily exclaim "&^*$! Holy %^&*! Jesus is it #@$%ing cold out here!"

Where'd this guy come from? Why wasn't I notified?

Copyright is meant to provide an incentive to create. It is NOT meant to guarantee Sir Paul's great-grandkids' trust funds or ensure Disney a steady stream of revenue for the next hundred years.
From an absolutely bang-up post on the letter versus the spirit of copyright law by TD at The Unforgiving Minute. Go RTWT.

Should we talk about the weather?

'Cause baby, it's cold outside.

Like fifteen degrees cold. Thank god we're not in Europe, or it would be nine below zero.

Today in history:

Poor Mark David Chapman. Three feet to the right, and he could've been a hero.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

December 7th.

Sixty-five years ago today, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

Taliban FM 22-13: Teacher killin' and Buggery.

So, allegedly the Taliban forces have a shiny new field manual out. It covers the usual things one would expect from the handbook of a guerrilla army made up of a bunch of hill-tribe, god-drunk zealots, but it also has a few sections that are, well, unusual things to find in an army field manual, at least to Western eyes. There's rule 24 and 25, for example, which cover the beating and killing of teachers.
"It is forbidden to work as a teacher under the current puppet regime, because this strengthens the system of the infidels," says rule 24. And if a teacher refuses a warning to give up his job, reads rule 25, "he must be beaten."

"If the teacher still continues to instruct contrary to the principles of Islam, the district commander or a group leader must kill him," it continues.
Nothing is mentioned about the district commander or group leader getting bonus guerrilla points for creative executions, such as Honda-powered drawing & quartering, but we must assume that's taken as understood.

Then there's one rule that strikes us as especially bizarre, noting as it does that Taliban guerrilla fighters
"are not allowed to take young boys with no facial hair onto the battlefield or into their private quarters."
Apparently, therefore, Tommy Taliban needs to glue a beard on him or find someplace other than his quarters, such as behind the shed, in order to avoid Buggery Demerits.

Who knew?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

For my Finnish readers:

Happy Independence Day!

I'd've fired a salute with my M39 this morning, but it was cold, and I'm not made of such stern stuff as y'all. ;)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Boomsticks: Savage explosion.

Man whose rifle exploded files lawsuit.

News Flash: Sometimes planes fall out of the sky. Sometimes motorcycles fall over. Sometimes guns explode. If you want a completely safe hobby, pick one that doesn’t involve detonating explosives in your hands, like knitting.

(H/T to SayUncle.)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Boomsticks: Wishin' I was rich.

Guess what we just got in at the shop?

A shiny new uber-rare Springfield Professional.

Wish I could afford it, 'cause the only thing finer than having one Pro would be having two...


Lame excuse of the week...

EASTON, Pennsylvania (AP) -- A man who pleaded guilty to molesting two girls told a judge he did it because of his wife's excessive bingo playing.

"My wife was never home," Floyd Kinney Jr. said during his plea hearing Friday.
I've heard some dog-ate-my-homework whoppers before, but that one takes the cake. Why not blame President Bush or Senator Clinton or Global Warming or WalMart while you're at it? Mad props to the judge, though, for a truly witty retort:
"Some people, when their wives are not home, decide to do other things, like clean their living rooms," McFadden said. "Your behavior is beyond the pale."
Snark for the win. Hopefully he gets the whole enchilada come sentencing.

Oh well, it seems to have worn off...

No Ferrari Enzo, no winning Powerball ticket, and if Russell Crowe was standing on my front porch nekkid, he wouldn't be much use, since it's 27 degrees out there.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Apparently I have the gift of prophecy...

I say "Will we see a soft B&W macro closeup of Sam's eye?", and Shazam!


I need to use this power wisely, of course.


Will we see a nekkid Russell Crowe show up on my doorstep with the winning Powerball ticket and the keys to a Ferrari Enzo?

Stay tuned.

News Flash: Bikini sighting in Qatar.

DOHA, Qatar (AP) -- When Salim Al-Nabit and his friends went to see beach volleyball for the first time, they left their wives home.

Al-Nabit said he would watch the bikini-clad women, but he certainly wouldn't want his wife to do so.
Well that's just about bass-ackwards, isn't it? What the heck do you care if she sees a bikini? And aren't you a little afraid the sight of more than three square inches of female skin will drive the crowd in the bleachers mad with lust, leaving males in helpless thrall to their baser instincts? That is what your mullahs keep telling us, after all, when they're playing the multiculti defense card trying to get their co-religionists off rape charges in western countries.
"It's not good," said Parvana Khoory, who watched from the almost-empty stands around the 1,500-seat center court dressed in black from head to toe. "We want a woman to cover all of her body. I think this discourages Muslim women from playing this sport."
Rumor has it that the Saudis did attempt to field a team, but the burkha-clad duo was stomped in the opening rounds by the Japanese, one of the pair having to be carried from the sand when she was blindsided on her veiled noggin by a particularly vicious spike...

("Why Tamara, you certainly seem to have your nose out of joint about Islam these last few days. What's up with that? Why the bigotry all of a sudden?"

Sorry, but institutionalized sexism is not a "valid cultural difference" any more than apartheid was a valid cultural difference of South Africa, slavery was a valid cultural difference of the CSA, or a little bit of anti-Semitism was a valid cultural difference of Nazi Germany. Chew on that.)

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Disembowelled, then torn apart: The price of daring to teach girls

The gunmen came at night to drag Mohammed Halim away from his home, in front of his crying children and his wife begging for mercy.

The 46-year-old schoolteacher tried to reassure his family that he would return safely. But his life was over, he was part-disembowelled and then torn apart with his arms and legs tied to motorbikes, the remains put on display as a warning to others against defying Taliban orders to stop educating girls.

Because he taught girls.

There can be no reasoning with the Taliban mentality. No negotiating. No terms. No "Hey, we used to tear guys apart for treating women like humans, but we're okay now; let's sign a peace treaty and form a coalition government."


Or them.


Or barbarism.

There is clear good and evil here, and only a moral cripple could fail to know which side is which. One side elects a woman to Speaker of the House, the other side disembowels men alive for teaching girls to read.


Or evil.

That is what hangs in the balance in Afghanistan right now.

I guess it beats harsh language...

The Subtle Safety ring.
"Orange whistles are garish and weapons can easily be turned against you. Attackers rarely strike indiscriminately; they look for an easy target. A woman who projects confidence and direction is less likely to be targeted. The Subtle Safety Ring provides an at hand reminder for the wearer to consider her personal safely and make choices that will avoid dangerous situations."
The weight of the 1911 on my belt is a handy reminder to keep me out of dangerous situations, because nobody wants to be put in a position where she has to shoot somebody. Even under the most righteous of circumstances, it would be a colossal pain in the ass.

My real beef with a lot of these personal protection gimmicks is that they require the user to get within touching distance of an attacker. Most also require some level of physical aptitude to use properly. If you're 5'2" and have never been involved in anything more violent than a dodge-ball game, a trinket like this ring is worse than useless, especially if it instills a false sense of confidence. Get a can of name-brand OC, like Freeze or Punch. Get an extremely bright (60+ lumens) flashlight. Get some training. Get aware. Don't get taken.

Don't tease me, Chris Muir!, Part Deux.

Will we see Sam in a swimsuit? Will we see a cartoon Oleg? Will we see a soft B&W macro closeup of Sam's eye? The drama builds... Stay tuned!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Blog Stuff: T'hee!

I Was A Zombie Teenage Axe Murderess.

Sucky though it may be, I guess I have to buy the movie.

I actually have an axe. It's a bearded axe, from Hanwei Forge. One time my friend Kaylee was visiting, and she and my downstairs neighbor's daughter were having a "cutting party" on the front porch with their katanas and water-filled two liter coke bottles. Onlookers joined in, and pretty soon I was being heckled to come play, since they all knew I had a half-decent sword collection. I kept begging off, protesting that all my swords were unsharpened, plus I was really engrossed in my book. Finally, I caved and went upstairs and came back down toting my axe. While they were discussing techniques like jodan-no-this and chudan-no-that, I squared up, strode forward with my weak-side foot, led with my hips, and snapped my wrists around. The top half of the bottle went arcing straight up in a spray of water, while the bottom just wobbled in place as the axe zipped through it like it wasn't there. "Where'd you learn that cut?" asked my friend. "Gary Sheffield," I replied.

Politics: Not with a bang, but a whimper...

Twelve years ago, the GOP took control of congress for the first time in decades, riding into Washington on a cresting wave of promises to shrink government, slash taxes, get federal spending under control, and end bureaucratic intrusiveness into American lives.

Now, a lame duck Republican house is meeting to get their last bits of legislation passed before the Democrats take back the gavel. What's on the emergency agenda for the freshly pink-slipped Repubs? A last-minute tax cut? Eliminating some useless federal agency? Returning control of some policy or another to the several states or the People? Reforming the IRS? Heading off the coming Social Security debacle?


Passing a law on when, exactly, the government of the United States of America decrees that fetuses feel pain.

I'd like to think that these assclowns would be returning to their home districts contemplating the reasons why they're suddenly unemployed, but here's solid proof that they haven't a damn clue.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blog Stuff: Heh.

Am I imagining things, or was there an "in-joke" parenthetical Oleg reference in today's Day By Day?

I like it when art imitates art. :)

Baseball: Crossed fingers...

I don't hold out too much hope for seeing Glavine back in a Braves uniform, but wouldn't it be nice?

(It was Smoltz that I crushed on Way Back When, though. I had one of the jumbo cups from... Hardee's? Krystal?... with his picture on it back in '90 or '91 when he, Glavine, and Steve Avery were the Braves' "Young Guns". I thought he looked like the bad guy from a Western movie.)

Shiv Thompson and Ramirez in the liver and push them overboard, and ditch that free-swinging midget at second base, and they might free up the payroll to make it happen.

An interesting idea...

For the five daily readers I have who don't regularly read The LawDog Files, go check out his ideas for prison reform. I'm not a big fan of the modern criminal finishing school penal system, so any improvement would be welcome. One that would actually make the miscreant reimburse their victims or die in captivity would be outstanding.

Probably never happen, but wouldn't it be nice?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Boomsticks: zomg that's funny!

So that's what they used to call A-Merc back in the day...

(Found at The Munchkin Wrangler.)

Where do they get their data?

Les Jones has a post up commenting on a study that claims women talk three times as much as men. Where does he get that? I mean, am I particularly verbose? No, not really. It's not like I natter on about things, like that icky fart joke he threw in. I wouldn't go on about that except to comment on how tacky it is. Although it is funny, when you think about it. Seriously, though, I think this claim of excessive verbosity is just plain sexist. When a guy talks a whole lot about very little, he's an orator; when a woman does the same, she's just chatty. Is that fair? I ask you. (No, it's not. There's your answer.) Besides, if we did talk more (and I'm not conceding that we do, mind you,) it'd only be because we have more to say. (Word count of this post: 159, to Les's count of 53. Tweren't easy... ;) )

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mother Nature has it in for me...

Our beautiful (if belated) indian summer looks like it will end its streak of dry days with highs in the 60s and 70s with a rainy Friday where the thermometer barely makes it into the 50s.

Just in time for my day off.


Well, well, well. The plot thickens...

Informant denies buying drugs at elderly Atlantan's home

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- An informant cited in a search warrant as having purchased narcotics at an elderly Atlanta woman's house denies buying drugs there, authorities say.

Undercover officers raiding the 88-year-old woman's house shot her to death last week after she fired on them while they broke down her door in a high-crime neighborhood.

Federal prosecutors will investigate the case, Atlanta police Chief Richard Pennington announced Monday.


"After we brought the informant in and interviewed that informant, he told us that he had no knowledge of going into that house to purchase drugs," he said. "That's what he told us. I don't know if he went in or not. We don't know if he's telling the truth."

In an interview with Atlanta's WAGA-TV, the informant said he had never been to Johnston's house.

"I'm telling them, I never went to the house," the informant told the station. "The police can't say I ever went to the house."

The informant then said police called him and told him "you need to cover our ass.

I'm going to avoid the obvious thing, (which would be to say "Conservative apologists jumped the gun,") and just say that I await the results of this investigation with great interest. I'm not saying that police informants aren't sometimes skeezy, two-faced liars, but I'm also not saying that some police officers won't go to some byzantine lengths to cover a screwup. This cast of characters is full of human beings rather than archetypes, after all...

The apologist crowd is now going to focus on the aforementioned skeezy nature of police informants. "You can't trust them," we'll hear, "they're scum; they'll say anything."

But their word is gold when it comes to kicking in an old woman's door.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Politics: Any bets?

Toyota's top Prius executive dies in plane crash
David Hermance was credited with overseeing the successful development and launch of the hybrid car.
November 27 2006: 8:32 AM EST

NEW YORK ( -- The Toyota executive who oversaw the popular Prius gas-electric hybrid car program died in a plane crash Saturday off the coast of California.

Fifty rounds of .22LR ammunition to the first person to spot a thread on Moonbat HQ Democratic Underground pinning the blame on BushCo/Big Oil.

Blog Stuff: The Magic of SiteMeter...

How do you say "Books, Bikes, Boomsticks" in Finnish? I find links in the most unexpected places.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Don't tease me, Chris Muir!

Heck, I'd buy a SIGarms calendar featuring Sam from "Day by Day". She's so cool!

(She'd be even cooler if she settled on a GSR, like mine. :) )

(PPS: I can get DBD in dead tree format every day in my local newspaper. It's 'cause I live at the very epicenter of the blogosphere. Suffer with envy, y'all. Or pester your own papers, whichever. :) )

Boomsticks: A moment of silence.

How many gun designers in the history of the planet have had, say, five completely different, commercially successfull weapons to their credit?

The answer is "one".

Single-shot rifles: Winchester 1885 "High Wall".
Lever-action rifles: Winchester 1886, Winchester 1892, Winchester 1894, Winchester 1895.
Recoil-operated autoloading rifles: Remington Model 8.
Gas-operated autoloading rifles: U.S. M1918 "BAR".
Over & Under shotguns: Browning Superposed.
Lever-action shotguns: Winchester 1887.
Pump-action shotguns: Winchester 1897, Remington Model 17/Ithaca Model 37.
Recoil-operated autoloading shotguns: Browning Auto-5/Remington Model 11.
Straight-blowback autoloading pistols: FN 1900, 1906, 1910 and Colt 1903 & Woodsman.
Short-recoil autoloading pistols: Colt M1911.
Gas-operated machineguns: Colt M1895.
Recoil-operated machineguns: U.S. M1917 and M2.

The man was John Moses Browning. Eighty years ago today he died. Eighty years after his death, the most elite counterterrorist groups in the U.S.A. are still using his pistols, and the most advanced main battle tank in the world still has a machinegun he designed almost ninety years ago mounted above the commander's hatch.

Eighty years gone, and still a genius.

Word of the Day:

Carpet diem: "Let's just sweep today under the rug."

"Sister was a little funky..."

Have you ever felt sad, yelled "Gross!", and busted a gut laughing at the same time?

NEW PORT RICHEY, Florida (AP) -- A woman's body was found wedged upside-down behind a bookcase in the home she shared with relatives who had spent nearly two weeks looking for her.

If a writer had put that into a novel, he'd be crucified for such an implausible scenario.

Blog Stuff: Free to good home.

*Snrrff* "Hnnh?!"

I awaken to a cat trying to eat my hair. As I sit up, I get the distinctly weird sensation of a couple of strands tugging free from a now-panicking feline's gullet.

"Hmmmph? Whazzit? Whattimeisit?"

Crud! The alarm clock is blinking; the power must've flickered last night. I pad over to the trusty PC and give the mouse a jiggle to wake it up. Seven o'clock.

Hey, I don't have to leave for work 'til 9:30! I have time for (drumroll, please) an actual sit-down bath! With bubbles 'n' stuff! Humming cheerfully, I toddle towards the bathroom. Unship the shower curtain, deploy the fluffy bath rug, get the water running, find the drainplug...

Find the drainplug...

Oh, crud.

Apparently one of the cats, and I'm not naming names since I didn't actually see it happen, but anyway, apparently Random Numbers, during her last game of Bathtub Thunderdome, felt that once she had vanquished the drainplug, the logical thing to do would be to drag its corpse off to someplace where it could be devoured at leisure, the way a leopard tows an impala up a tree. This resulted in a towel-clad, agitated Tamara searching known kitty lairs on her hands and knees with a SureFire flashlight in darkened house. No joy.

I will not be denied my bubble bath, however. Like they say, "Necessity is a mother_", and a plastic grocery sack, wadded up into a really small ball, makes an excellent ersatz drainplug.

All's well as ends well, I suppose, but Random Numbers must still sense mommy's displeasure, as she's still only peeking out from under the futon with a weather eye. Anyone want a cat? On rice, with gravy?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

In a rush.

Gotta jet to the store. (Black Friday? It's more like Black Weekend...) All the blogging was over here this morning...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday...

For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful.

I'm off to work; catch y'all on the flip side.

You never know who's reading...

Throw a bottle of electrons into the digital sea, and who knows upon what strange silicon beaches it might wash ashore.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thankful for:

1) All the friends who cared enough to invite me to Thanksgiving dinner.
2) All the friends who know me well enough to follow their invite with "...but you'd probably rather have a day alone."
3) Barbed wire.
4) Campbell's putting pull-tab lids on their canned chili.
5) Ruination IPA.
6) "Pain Is Good"® brand hot sauce (Batch #37, Garlic Style).
7) John Moses Browning.
8) Johannes Gutenberg.
9) Capocollo, Swiss cheese, and Wäsä rye crisps.
10) Keith Gordon's masterful direction of Vonnegut's Mother Night.
11) "Off" switches on cell phones.

...and they all suffered ennui miserably everafter.

Oleg has a link up to some stuff on Russian children's books.

Given what I know of Slavic literature:

"...and Charlie grew old and bitter chained to the candy bar machine that Mr. Wonka forced him to work, growing to hate the cloying stink of chocolate that filled his nostrils."

"Finally Wendy and the boys reached Neverneverland, whereupon Peter Pan sold them all into white slavery."

"As the 101 dalmatian puppies bounded free of the clutches of Cruella deVille, a bus came down the road and ran over 99 of them. Of the two survivors, one was rounded up by the secret police after being implicated in a plot to assassinate Ms. deVille and died during questioning, while the other drank himself to death under his terrible burden of survivor's guilt."

Coming Soon: Doestoyevsky rewrites Spongebob Squarepants.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

...and look where it's gotten us.

Let me get the obligatory joke out of the way: If I gotta die, I want it to be at 92 years old in a shootout with the cops.

Now for the serious part:

Woman, 92, dies in shootout with police

ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- Narcotics officers were justified in returning fire on a 92-year-old woman they shot to death as they tried to serve a warrant at her house, a police official said.

Neighbors and relatives said it was a case of mistaken identity. But police said the woman, identified as Kathryn Johnston, was the only resident in the house at the time and had lived there for about 17 years.

Assistant Chief Alan Dreher said the officers had a legal warrant and "knocked and announced" before they forced open the door. He said they were justified in shooting once they were fired upon.

As the plainclothes Atlanta police officers approached the house about 7 p.m. Monday, a woman inside started shooting, striking each of them, said Officer Joe Cobb, a police spokesman.

One was hit in the arm, another in a thigh and the third in a shoulder. The officers were taken to a hospital for treatment, and all three were conscious and alert, police said.

This is where the War on (Some) Drugs has gotten us, folks: After dark, in a bad neighborhood, three men walk up and start banging on the door of a little old lady's house, demanding to be let in. They say they're police. They say they have a warrant. For whatever reason, she doesn't let them in, and they bust down the door. She opens fire, hitting all three. They gun her down.

Turns out she's innocent.


We, as a society, have a lot to be really proud of there, no?

Look, if three burly dudes in street clothes start banging on my door one night and try and force their way into my home, I don't care if they're yelling "Police!" or "Singing Telegram!", that's why I keep a loaded M4 carbine in the house. They're not dressed like cops, and I can think of no reason the police would need to get into my house, so my natural assumption would be that these were home invaders of some sort. If the real police need to talk with me, they can get two guys in stopsign hats and 1 Adam 12 outfits to come knock on my door like civilized people. I, a civilized person myself, will then answer it. They will either say "Miss K., we have a warrant," in which case we'll all go for a ride to the station, call up some lawyers, and get everything as squared away as we can, since this is obviously a mistake, or they will say "Is Mr. Gonzales here? We have a warrant for his arrest," whereupon I will reply
"Why, no; you have the wrong address. Would you like to come in for milk and cookies and to look around and reassure yourselves that there is no Mr. Gonzales here?"
However, when officers in a neighborhood full of brigands dress up like brigands and act like brigands, there should be no shock when citizens like Ms. Johnston respond to their actions as though they were brigands.

How many more Kathryn Johnstons must we kill before we start talking about an exit strategy in the War On Drugs?

Books: For historical fiction fans...

Lots of folks have probably read Lest Darkness Fall, by L. Sprague de Camp, one of the classic "Connecticut Yankee"-type tales of all time. (Perhaps better than the original, in that its historical milieu is obviously so carefully researched.)

While I was at McKay's on Friday, I found a copy from Baen Publishing that included a novella by David Drake (one of my favorite authors) called "To Bring The Light". Drake's novella features a protagonist from sophisticated, modern 3rd Century AD Rome blown a thousand years back to the time when illiterate goatherds on the Seven Hills were thinking about founding a village. How she interacts with superstitious farmers like Romulus and Remus makes for a must-read tale, and Drake is obviously happy to take his degrees in Roman lit. out and show them off a bit, guaranteeing an extremely believable setting.

The reason I bring this up in such a "zomg!" breathless fashion is that I love historical fiction, and I consider myself to be a big David Drake fan (I have, like, five feet of Drake paperbacks on my bookshelves) yet somehow this tale's very existence remained under my radar. I've never seen it published outside of this double billing with de Camp's novel.

If you're at all a fan of The Glory That Was Rome, buy it; you'll like it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hooray for Robby the Robot!'s "If you liked ____, then you'll love _____" feature is usually fairly decent, especially if you've given it a large enough data cloud to extrapolate from. This past week, it decided that since I'd purchased albums by the Cocteau Twins and Cowboy Junkies, I should give Dead Can Dance, specifically Within the Realm of a Dying Sun, a whirl.


I mean... just... damn!

The album starts off ethereally atmospheric, not demanding your attention, happy to just tickle your ear and the back of your mind. As tracks go by, it gets more sweeping, more insistent. By track seven, "The Summoning Of The Muse", I pulled the car over in the moonlight and just listened to it, letting its haunting strains and Lisa Gerrard's amazing voice wash over me. Just wow!

Two thumbs up.

(...and again, here's an album that came out about the time I graduated from high school, yet not one person had the common courtesy to inform me of this band's existence for all these years. Selfish meanies, hoarding all the good tunes!)

Blog Stuff: Test Junkie.

A link from Better And Better sent me to find out if I got the taxpayer's money's worth out of my dimly-remembered high school education. You be the judge:

You paid attention during 91% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

I must've dropped a question or two (there has to be weighting; can't be a straight percentage if I got 91% and there were 18 questions.) If I dropped one, I'd guess it to be the one about the area of a triangle. Mathematics and geometry were never my strong suits; I vaguely remember how to find the length of the hypothenuse (which is a Greek word meaning "the upstairs bathroom is occupied"), but the area? I'm throwing darts at the answers.

The only other one I could possibly have missed is #10, the one about the three largest religions. If the test writer claims I answered any of the others incorrectly, then the test writer is wrong. ;)

Monday, November 20, 2006


It's snowing.

Why is it snowing?

It's not even Thanksgiving yet, and the Mason-Dixon line is way up yonder north of here.

It's probably Bush's fault. Or that guy down the street who owns a Hummer H2 (which isn't really a Hummer at all, just a Suburban with a codpiece...)

Weekend update...

Had a good time with the folks. Went to McKay's, Calhoun's, and Borders. They dropped me back off at Gillespie, where I went inside, was handed the bill, and... and...

Whoah! That was a bit more than I was planning on. (In all fairness, I had all the accessory drive belts replaced, too.)


Saturday at the shop started out busy, and Sunday was an absolute zoo.

Did my part on National Ammo Day by picking up 100 rounds of Speer 9mm Lawman to feed my AR carbine, Radom, and S&W 547. (Why don't I own any normal 9mm guns, like a Beretta or Glock?)

...and now it's off to work. :)

On stating the painfully obvious.

Human Rights Watch has released a 97 page report stating that Saddam Hussein's trial was "fundamentally unfair."

Well, no duh, Sherlock.

Let's see if I can quite come up with the appropriate analogy...

How about this: Suppose, just suppose, that right in the middle of, say, the Superbowl, some deranged whackjob wandered out to the fifty yard line, clubbed down a couple of cheerleaders, and then proceeded to eat the brains of the NFC team's quarterback, right there on live TeeVee and in front of 50,000 fans. What would we do?

We would put him on trial.

Why? Because there was any doubt about what he did? No, we're all pretty sure that we saw what we saw. We'd put him on trial because we try to act like a civilized nation with that whole "rule of law" thing going on, and putting people on trial before you hang them is what civilized nations do, even when you know good and damn well what the outcome of that trial is going to be.

So there you go, Human Rights Watch: Saddam got his circus of a trial, despite being caught with a clubbed cheerleader in his hands and quarterback brains dribbling down his chin. Happy? No? Tough.

Let us hope that the inevitable (and righteous) denouement of this farce doesn't drag out as long as the first part.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Blatant Capitalism: Another National Ammo Day promotion...

Just like last year, to make it easier to do your part on National Ammo Day, bring a printed copy of this post into Coal Creek Armory on Sunday the 19th between noon and 5:00 PM, and receive 10% off your ammunition purchase. Such a deal!

Liveblogging National Ammo Day...

We've had the first Ammo Day Coupon from my blog brought in. Cool! I'm a 1337 Intarw3b marketing force!

The guy who brought us the three M39 Finns a couple weeks ago has struck again. Yesterday he schlepped an M24, an M28, and a beautimous M28/30 through the front door. I want that M28. That's the same kind of rifle that Simo Häyhä used to kill a whole mess of Bolsheviks. I can only hope it lingers 'til next payday, 'cause I just can't swing the $265 tariff at the moment...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Texas lets me down...

I thought Texas was supposed to be the execution capital of the world. To hear a Lefty talk, they'll execute mentally retarded kids for shoplifting, so what went wrong here?

HOUSTON, Texas (AP) -- A teenager described as a white supremacist was sentenced Friday to life in prison for savagely beating and sodomizing a Hispanic boy at a drug-fueled party.

David Henry Tuck, 18, was convicted Thursday of aggravated sexual assault in the near-fatal attack. Witnesses testified that he hurled racial insults and shouted "white power" while sodomizing the 17-year-old victim with the plastic pole of a patio umbrella.
You got your aggravated assault; you could probably go for attempted homicide; you've certainly got rape. You've got a defendant for whom his own mother must have a hard time feeling sympathy. Heck, the defense attorney is reduced to making lame begging noises about "Jesus would show Tuck mercy", and the best we can do is get stuck with feeding this animal for the next thirty years until he comes up for parole? For gawd's sake, did nobody in the jury mutter "get a rope"?

C'mon, Texans, don't let me down here. If you can't get me a death penalty, you can still scare me up an old fashioned lynch mob, right?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Boomsticks: W00t!

Look what followed me home yesterday! I think I'll keep it.

I know it sounds oxymoronic, but this is maybe the nicest Tok I've ever seen; the trigger pull isn't even half bad. It's Radom-marked and dated 1948, and is sitting in the rack next to my ViS 35 Radom even as I type this. If you're really quiet, you can hear the two pistols talking to each other.


Yeah, they're definitely Poles apart.

Get it? Geez, I slay me...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Politics: Yeah, yeah, Nancy; that's what Newt said, too.

Via SayUncle:

She vowed that after 12 years in the minority, "We will not be dazzled by money and special interests."

As PJ O'Rourke said, "When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators."

Moan. Groan.

Stayed up late last night reading scary stories. As a result, the muse is a little groggy this morning.

I'm going to try to tie up some loose ends on this blog and the other one tonight and tomorrow. Don't know how productive tomorrow will be, however. I finally made the appointment for brakes on the Beemer, I need to swing by the Wash 'N' Fold, and my folks are supposed to be driving up for lunch.

I'll squeeze a post or two in there, I swear.

(EDIT: Hey, look! My thousandth post!)

Somewhere the Old Man is smiling...

Robert Heinlein would be pleased to know that flight testing is underway at the first private spaceport on Earth.

I suppose it's too much to hope that Bezos will dub the place "D.D. Harriman Field"...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Boomsticks: Gratuitous Gun Pr0n No. 38

.38 Special and .357 Magnum N-frames. From rear to front:

1936 .38/44 Heavy Duty, w/Micro target sights.
1964 Model 27-2.
2002 Perfomance Center 627-3.

Breaking World News:

Beaches in Hokkaido evacuated as 16-inch tsunami destroys thirty-minute old sand castle.

"We were devastated," sobbed one survivor "that sand castle had been a landmark on this beach since we arrived for our picnic lunch a half hour ago." When asked what they would do with their future after the tragedy, most evacuees bravely responded "Go back to work; lunch hour's almost up."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Boomsticks: Gun porn teaser...

Watch this space for a new addition to the armory in a couple days. Hints: It's more than a hundred years old, is chambered in .44 WCF, and rhymes with "Winchester". Payday can't get here soon enough...

Blog Stuff: Exponential progression...

Wow. I just noticed that I passed the 200k point on Sitemeter yesterday. Almost eleven months for my first hundred thousand hits, four and a half months for my second.

You like me! You really, really like me! :)

Politics: What's the big deal?

First off, I wasn't aware of the existence of "Sufism Reoriented", much less that it had a recognizable symbol that could be placed on a "Headstone, standard issue, DoD, One Each". In light of this factoid, the problem faced by the families of dead veterans who professed to be Wiccans is a little baffling. What's the big deal about putting the pentacle on their tombsones?

Look, if a worshipper of the Great Pumpkin goes to to the Big Pumpkin Patch In The Sky while fighting for your right to go to whatever church you want to, or none at all, then don't disrespect his sacrifice. Just shut up, be a mensch, and put the friggin' Pumpkin on his headstone like he wanted, okay?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Politics: Best thing that could have happened, really...

At the risk of excommunication from the circle of Shiny Happy People, let me share a deep inner belief of mine: The West is broken. Maybe not terminally, hopefully not permanently, but the heirs of the Rennaissance and the Enlightenment now live in the land of the Sensitive and the Entitlement.

Europe is already feeding the mouths that bite it at a rate that has strained its economies beyond that which they can bear. The aliens within the various realms of the old country are rapidly reaching a point of critical mass; a point where one of two unpalatable scenarios is destined to play out: Either the minority gains enough of a plurality to vote themselves the sharia law they clamor for and transform Bat Ye'or's Eurabia from prophecy to reality, or, alarmed by the rising tide, the populist masses of the continent dust off sixty-year-old uniforms and banners in a backlash just waiting for the right demagogue to trigger it. Neither one will be pretty.

Here in the states, Red Versus Blue has taken partisanship and incivility to levels rarely seen without triggering scenarios like Fort Sumter or Kent State. While a billion people chant for our destruction, we have one party that wants to talk to them and another that says some of them are bad, and should be fought by... well... giving Granny Smith a cavity search at the airport so as to avoid offending Abdullah.

As unfocussed, ham-handed, and frequently counter-productive as most of the GOP's actions in the War on Islamofascism (whoops!) Terror have been, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they may have delayed the inevitable somewhat. I'm not necessarily convinced that that's a good thing, however. There is a part of me, fiddle in one hand and bow in the other, that is ready to see the ball get dropped by the new guys in charge, because I really do believe that that's what it's going to take to get people to take this seriously. If it's going to take the hadjis sending New York or LA up in a cloud of radioactive debris to wake us up, well, better now then ten or fifteen years from now, when the French nuclear arsenal belongs to a country where thirty percent of its population believes in honor killing, female circumcision, stoning gays, and the righteousness of jihad.

(And to my Libertarian friends who want to natter about the religious right and its fear of gay cooties and whatnot in this country: When the Southern Baptists start donning semtex underoos and blowing themselves to Heritage USA in the local mall, then it'll be "Game On" for them, too. Let's keep our eye on the currently active threat, okay?)

Books: *Snicker.*

I'm browsing the shelves at Border's tonight, hang a left down the Religion aisle, and come face to face with The Complete Idiot's Guide to Communicating with Spirits.

Wow. Sometimes the jokes really do write themselves...

Talk about your redundant titles.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Why we love Lumpy...

Today's dumb crook story? The guy who tried to stick up the used car salesman wearing a "Friends of the NRA" hat.

You gotta wonder about the internal dialogue the goblin had going on: "Hmmm... Who am I going to try to gank today? I know! Let's go after the guy who held a machinegun shoot at the local range for a political fundraiser!"

Blog Stuff: Well. Or "well-er", at least...

Feeling much better. I was down yesterday with flu-like symptoms. Bad enough that I left work early, after pretty much phoning it in through a Benadryl haze all morning.

Woke up all chipper. Did lotsa typing. Just none of it here... :)


Eloquent commentary on why I don't, as a rule, touch tools. Nothing good ever comes of it.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Armistice Day.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns fell silent...

Irons in the fire...

I have three partially-completed posts languishing in "Draft" at the moment:

1) The promised rant about the proliferation of annoying sexism on gunboards.
2) The next installment for the other blog, on the Berthier carbine.
3) A magnum opus on why the results of the recent elections are the best thing that could happen in the long run.

I should have been writing. Instead, I accidentally discovered Roswell, Texas at

At about 2AM last night.

Now I'm running late for work.

Why didn't any of you folks tell me about it? I'm hooked...