Friday, March 31, 2006

Boomsticks: Gratuitous Gun Pr0n No. 25

Beretta 96D and Beretta Airlight pocket knife. (Note the clever placement of other "Beretta Lifestyle" items in the photo. The marketing hype victim discerning sportsperson could stroll afield clad head to hoof in Beretta togs, if only Beretta would get on the stick and make some shoes.)

That's just wrong.

Okay, I know that all the professional critics have been piling on this dog for the last week or so, but far be it from me to pass up the chance for a late hit or a cheap shot:

I don't care what Rachel Tolkien says; Gandalf doesn't sing.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Boomsticks: Weekly Check on the Lies Bias.

Jeff at Alphecca has his Weekly Check up, and this week it includes a blurb from lying reporter Ken Schram of KOMO-TV in Seattle.

I'm sorry, but this oft-repeated lie is one that triggers the same reaction in me that the red cape triggers in the bull in Bugs Bunny cartoons: my eyes turn red, steam comes out of my nostrils, the works...

Are you ready for the lie? Here it is:
Yet even though there are more than 11,000 people a year murdered by guns here in the U.S., more guns are more easily available then ever before.
Ken, this is bovine exhaust of the first order; how you can repeat it with a straight face is lost on me. The fact is this: Buying a gun has become more and more difficult over the years in this country, not easier. At no time in this nation's history has buying a firearm been more of a pain in the butt. If the intimidating "pro-gun lobby" has all the politicos in DC shaking under their beds, then how come every law those politicos have passed has been to make it harder to buy a gun, not easier?

In 1933, you could send money to Sears and buy a machine gun through the mail, with no questions asked.

In 1967, a fifteen year-old could walk into a hardware store and, showing no ID other than some pictures of Andrew Jackson and filling out no paperwork other than the warranty card, walk out with the handgun of his choice. The only background check might have been the proprietor asking "Is this for you or your dad, Bobby?"

In 1986 a teen could walk into a sporting goods store in a mall and buy a semiautomatic rifle and five hundred rounds of ammunition after filling out one small form and undergoing no background check, and walk her purchase out through the mall, no questions asked.

In 1994 you could drive to Georgia from Tennessee and buy the scariest-looking riot shotgun on the rack with your photo ID and, again, no background check.

In 2006, to buy a simple single-shot .22 rifle, of the type used to teach gun safety and marksmanship to Cub Scouts, here in the gun-friendly state of Tennessee, you must show current photo ID, the address on which must match your current residence address. You must fill out a page and a half of a big tri-fold form, and then wait for the seller to fill out the rest. You must wait while an invasive background check is performed on you and the serial numbers of the gun (even if brand new) are checked to make sure it is not stolen. You must give your thumbprints, for Vishnu's sake.

...and this, this is "more easily available."

Ken, you're either too dumb to be a reporter, or too dishonest to look in the mirror while shaving.

Which is it, Ken?


Or liar?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"Yes, but can it play Counterstrike?", Part Deux

I think I'm in love.

Not only can you take it everywhere, it also looks like a prop from a hip, low-bujit BBC sci-fi series. Plus, it's got the screen size to handle two of the three legs of the Successful Computing Gizmo Triad (games and porn) and built-in wireless (for email.)

If something like this catches on, just think of the great new excuses we'll have for traffic screwups!

Mohammed Taheri-Azar: "Vengeance for my fellow Muslims? What? No, I was just trying to kill the boss monster at the end of level three and wasn't paying attention to where I was going. It's all my wrist computer's fault."

(H/T to BobG.)

What have I done to deserve this?

Sorry about the light posting for the last two days. Remember that flu I got over about two weeks ago? Well, it (or its cousin) suddenly remembered me. Right back to the explosive coughing, head like a faucet, light-headed-with-fever that made the first bout so fun. The only upside is that it wasn't quite as bad this time 'round, and seems to have abated overnight.

We'll see...

Monday, March 27, 2006

One week from today...

... is Opening Day.


Somebody has to make the joke...

From the AP:

"That trust was shattered Saturday morning, when Huff opened fire in a house full of ravers dressed like zombies in dark clothing and pale makeup, killing six of them and injuring two."

Well, they were dressed like zombies, for god's sake!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Blog Stuff: Isn't it ironic...

...that I was maybe the only woman in America going through messy break-up type stuff in 1995 who didn't buy a copy of Jagged Little Pill? Well, technically that's not in itself "ironic", but neither is a "black fly in your chardonnay". The latter is gross, maybe, but not ironic. Use some of those royalties to buy a dictionary, Alanis. Anyhow, I picked up the Alanis Morissette CD as well as Love And Rockets' eponymous '89 album at McKay's on Friday afternoon (so now I can lay my worn-out Love And Rockets cassette to rest.)

Driving home and singing along reminded me of one of the great "Don't Try This At Home, Kids" experiences of my misspent youth...

It was a Friday. The company I was working for was shutting down its Atlanta customer service department, which meant that all of us would be out of work or transferring to corporate HQ in Frozen Butt, Minnesota come Monday, so we did the only thing to do in such circumstances: We went out and drank on the company dime. It was fun but poignant, like the last day of summer camp, with many tearful promises of keeping in touch forever being exchanged. I also seem to recall a lot of vodka being involved. One of my co-workers, who we'll call Don, brought his girlfriend, and she and I hit it off well. As the party broke up, the decision was made that Don would drive my jalopy home for me, while us girls would continue our conversation in her car, a Porsche. (I had just sold my 924S, which was how our conversation had started.) The rendezvous was set for my apartment down in Virginia Highlands, a tony in-town neighborhood consisting of a rat's warren of little residential streets.

We barrelled out of the parking lot and on to the interstate and, as she fiddled with the CD player, she said "Feel around on the floor behind my seat; there should be a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses." I attempted to gracefully pour two glasses of Merlot as she aimed the car south and we rocketed into the Georgia night. So there we were, sunroof open in January, 130 MPH southbound on the Downtown Connector through ATL in a bucks-up Boche roller skate, sipping vino and belting out the lyrics to You Oughta Know at the top of our lungs. (Remember how empowering it was to sing out the "F-word" with Alanis, all loud and proud? ;) )

When we got to my apartment, the wheels began to come off. She didn't have her cell phone with her. Meanwhile, Don couldn't find my crib, and so was frantically dialing my home number on his cellie. Except the door key to my apartment was dangling from the steering column of the car he was driving, so all she and I could do was listen to the phone in my apartment ring with our faces pressed to the outside of the living room window. There was a half-hearted break-in attempt through said window, but neither of us was dressed for, or athletic enough, to get boosted far enough up the brick wall to leverage our way in. That, and neither of us had a screwdriver handy. Then the bottle of wine we'd been swilling from began to have its effect and, locked out of the house, we had to... well, there were bushes around the building, okay? At least one could keep watch for the neighbors while the other answered Gaia's call. Then I put one brand-new heel into a pile left by the neighbor's illicit hound...

What had started as a harmless episode of Cheers was rapidly devolving into Fear And Loathing In Atlanta. Gradually realizing that Don would never find the place, we piled our frostbitten selves back into her car and set off more circumspectly across town to his house (coincidentally right down the street from the on-again-off-again beau who was letting me sing along so enthusiastically with Alanis...) It was the kind of bonding evening that only comes from adversity, much like the one experienced by the Donner Party, but we did get to Don's place in one piece and without any detours through the Atlanta city jail (for which I am eternally grateful.)

I would warn anybody against such insane behavior, and would never pull such a damfool stunt again as long as I live.

But I wouldn't have missed that one for the world, and I remember it every time I hear that CD. You Oughta Know better, indeed. ;)

Boomsticks: The Year in Cordite...

The 52nd Weekly Carnival of Cordite is up as a fabulous double issue. See new stuff. Stroll down Memory Lane.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Books: Score!

Guess what I just found on Amazon? A copy of The Barbarian Princess, by Laura Buchanan, which is supposedly the absolute best historical bodice-ripper of all time. I can hardly wait 'til it gets here.

(Fellow fans of Miss Florence King will already get the joke; the rest of you can get to Googlin'. ;) )

Friday, March 24, 2006

Fashion and Flying Brass.

Heh. Denise speaks truth.

Incidentally, a less-than-totally-firm grip on a Desert Eagle in .50AE seems to cause the brass to fly straight back. I've never minded being hit by brass. Being hit by flying, red-hot wastepaper baskets, on the other hand...

Boomsticks: "Oh my God! The chicks are packing heat!"

The title alone is enough to get me spun up: "Women Getting Trigger Happy". It seems to hover somewhere in tone between "Ain't that cute?" and having a missing, but implied, "Uppity" as the first word. Well, Mr. Reporter, why don't you put this here apple on your noggin, and I'll show you some "trigger happy":
The gun industry is catering to women with everything from more girly guns and apparel to all-female hunting trips and free ladies nights at the range. It's clear the feminine touch is adding up to big business.
Why is it that when some bright spark in the marketing department at Apple, Cannondale, or Pontiac notices that slightly more than 50% of the planet's population is setters rather than pointers, it gets two column inches on page 24 of the WSJ, but when their counterpart at Remington or Smith & Wesson does likewise, it calls for a panting TeeWee news spot from ABC? Build a Saturn that has room to stow a purse in the front passenger compartment, and nobody notices. Make a SIG small enough to fit in that purse, and shoulders get dislocated in newsrooms across America as folks reach for dusty tomes by Freud. Weird.

"If you look at statistics, there are more crimes of passion committed by men than there are women," said Sandra Froman, president of the NRA. "But I say that everyone has their emotions, and one of the things you learn when you take firearms classes is you learn to control your emotions."

Appropos of nothing, we get introduced to the good Ms. Froman via an out-of-context quote chock full of "passion" and "emotions". You know, the ol' subliminal "Oh, jeeze, they're so emotional. If they have a gun, they might blow me away during that time of the month." I don't think you need to be worried about that, sport. We're no more likely to shoot you at "that time" than we are to run you over or shiv you with that nice JA Henckel chef's knife you got us last Christmas. (No matter what time of the month it is, though, I'd recommend kevlaring up before swilling the milk from the jug. We have glasses for a reason, honey.)

But not everyone is convinced encouraging women to carry a gun is a good idea. According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, it's at least 20 times more likely that you'll use your weapon to shoot someone in your home rather than using it to protect yourself from an intruder.
Fact check on Aisle Five, please. Where in heck is this data from? (Even leaving aside the fact that your attacker is very likely to be somebody you know, rather than a random stranger.) But again we have the implication that we chicks are just not to be trusted. Ask yourself this question: If you had a gun, would you just up and kill someone you love? No? Well then who in the hell are these putzes (putzii?) to claim that you are too flighty to resist the alien brain control waves emanating from an inanimate object?

"Every time you pull that trigger you feel that rush," she said.

She's just what the gun industry is hoping will represent the next generation of pistol-packing women.
...and a titillating quote to close on. Substitute "push that plunger", "heroin ring", and "smack-shooting" in the appropriate places, and you get the sort of message that the author of this steaming little pile was going for.


(Oh, and just by-the-by, the evil manipulative gun industry control committee would like me to remind all of y'all that Tuesday is Ladies' Day at CCA. Free range time. Yay!)

Attention, Citizen X in Willowbrook, IL...

...yeah, you. The Comcast user browsing with Firefox.

Congratulations for being the 50,000th visitor at View From The Porch.

Email me to collect your choice of the following fabulous prizes:

1) A genuine dead migratory ladybug dug from the innards of the ceiling fan at VFTP Command Central.

2) An empty Diet Mountain Dew (also known as Rant Fuel®) can.

3) A free range pass to Coal Creek Armory to use the next time you're driving through K-town on your way to the land of Mickey Mouse, Bluehairs, and 'Gator Farms.

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Boomsticks: If you haven't already done so...

...go read the Weekly Check On The Bias over at Alphecca. It's a good 'un this week.

There's some drollery regarding various of the Northeastern S.S.R's frantically trying to scapegoat adjacent free states as the causes of their criminal ills, while conveniently avoiding mention of the fact that said free states don't seem to share the same problem, despite being the source of "easily available guns". (This always used to confuse me while noshing on my late night dinner and watching Law & Order reruns: If those "easily available guns" in Virginia or Georgia are causing all the problems in NYC, shouldn't Virginia and Georgia be ankle-deep in blood?)

Also, he hits on the recent "Oh My God! The Chicks Are Packing Heat!" "Women And Guns" article that's been recently mentioned at SayUncle and TFS Magnum.

Not that the latter is a hot-button topic with me or anything, but I feel a rant coming on. Watch this space.

Oh noes! Kitty has no legs!

"Kitty lives overseas, and has to work in a sweatshop for Kathy Lee Gifford. Won't you please give to the Legless Kitty Fund?"

Sorry, old inside joke from back when me and Marko were roomies. Mittens always used to sit around the apartment like this (which was where the gag line above came from,) but this was the first time I've seen Random Numbers in the "Gear Up" pose for more than two minutes that I can recollect. She even just sat there and held the pose while I fumbled about trying to get fresh batteries in the camera, then didn't even budge when I botched the first flash photo and had to take a second. That's probably the most relaxed that that psychotic and high-strung little critter has ever been in her life...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A jog around the blog.

Marko: Kindergarteners in Cancun.

LawDog: Secret Agent Man.

Les Jones: Going to Yankeeland. Voluntarily.

Xavier Thoughts: Don't let 'em up now.

Hound bites Bugs Bunny; Elmer Fudd goes to jail.

Stephen Bodio alerts us to a new silly law being proposed in the Land Of Silly Laws (also known as California.)

Alarmed to find out that the cousins of their beloved toy poodles are being allowed to follow their natural tendencies and do, you know, icky carnivorous things like chase and kill varmints, Sacramento legiscritters are proposing a new law stating:
[A]ny person who knowingly engages in any activity in which a dog is left untethered and allowed to track and pursue any rabbit, hare, or fox and that results in the injury or death of the rabbit, hare, or fox is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed 6 months, by a fine not to exceed $1,000, or by both that imprisonment and fine.
As someone who lives in an old lakefront cottage and who is delighted when her feline companions discover a "self-propelled cat toy" and do what comes naturally, I'd like to remind Assemblywoman Hancock just why in the hell people started keeping dogs and cats in the first place. It's not because they look cute with painted toenails, honey; it's because they chase and kill the mice in our houses and the rabbits in our gardens.

Personally, I blame Beatrix Potter and Richard Adams. Generations of urban and suburban kiddies have been raised to see the bucktoothed destroyers of crops as The Good Guys. Now these thin-blooded putzes are in a place to write laws, and when they find out that their neighbors not only set their hounds on Bunny Fluffkins, but are actually delighted when Rover catches and kills it, the results are predictable.

How far we have come from our agrarian roots...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Why did nobody tell me?

Via LawDog, I find out that yesterday was "Meatout 2006", a day for the more shrill-voiced of the tofuista set to sanctimoniously proclaim the virtues of a diet that mostly seems to cause whey-faced complexions and an inordinate fondness for black turtlenecks. Not being properly forewarned, I was unable to do anything to uphold the honor of my team beyond the bacon cheeseburger I had for lunch, unlike Phlegmfatale, who managed to celebrate the day with a trip to a Brazilian-style steakhouse.

I admit it: I am not just carnivorous, I am almost belligerently so. When a friend took me to the old Eat Your Vegetables restaurant at Little Five Points in Atlanta, I (after making the gaffe of asking to be seated in the smoking section) appalled her by asking why there were no meat items on the menu. After all, most nicer steakhouses have vegetarian entrees to accommodate the herbivorous, so shouldn't the grass-eaters reciprocate on their turf, since they're all about the tolerance and everything? In revenge, I took her to a place not known for overly aging or marinating its beef, so that my big ol' rare filet bled all over my plate like a Wes Craven flick, causing her to be visibly distressed and me to snicker on the inside. On another occasion, I was out shopping with the same friend and found that a cajun joint that had opened at the Perimeter Mall food court served crawfish. Delighted, I wandered back over to the table with a big basket of them, and made her squirm by holding two-way conversations with the yummy little mudbugs as I ate them. (I had to provide their end of the chatter, of course, in a Mister Bill-esque voice.) When she pointed out the squeamish teenyboppers at the next table, I couldn't resist making the little crustacean in my hand wave its claw at them before sucking its brains out. They left. Quelle dommage.

Remember, kids: Meat is murder.

And murder tastes good. :)

The Latest On Google: Okay, now I'm officially confused.

First, Google told the .gov to go piss up a rope.

Then a judge announced he was going to order Google to fink.

Now he has apparently ordered them to only kinda-sorta fink, only not. Sort of. Which is good. Or bad. I'm not sure.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Dogwood Winter.

It's sleeting outside. Hard enough to knock the blossoms from the pear trees. Festive.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Blog Stuff: Writer's block and domestic chatter...

Can't see anything out there that gets me wound up enough to make fun of this morning. Ah, well.

Kaylee swung by yesterday and hung out with Sarah from downstairs for a bit, before coming up and sitting on the porch for the usual mix of catching up on old friends, girlie chatter, and oohing and aahing over the Leupold CQ/T. (Which is pretty darn swoopy and wins the "looks most like a prop from a SciFi movie" contest hands down.) She's so artsy-craftsy; the whole time we talked, her hands were all busy stitching up some leather cowboy holster project she was working on. It reminded me of a time at a friend's cabin in the woods. The first morning there, me and my hangover settled down with a book by the campfire to enjoy a pleasant vacation day of doing nothing. Kaylee went skipping barefoot into the woods, to pick wildflowers or something, I reckoned. Nope. Thirty minutes later she returned with two small trees she had felled and proceeded to make wood chips fly. I had to ask.
"What are you doing?"
"I just read a book on paleolithic bowmaking. I'm making a bow. Actually, two bows."
"Well stop it. I'm on vacation, and I'm getting tired just watching you."
She went back to woodchip flinging, and did indeed make two bows. And they worked. To folks like me, who consider making a paper hat to be a major accomplishment, this looks like absolute voodoo.


After she left last night, I watched Boondock Saints with Bob, who had not seen it before. His verdict was that it "didn't completely suck," which is high praise from Bob. By the time it was over, it was 2AM and the sandman had near beat me to death. Whatever happened to the days when I could party the night away and go to work the next morning with a bounce in my step? Nowadays it seems Sunday mornings have me downing mass quantities of OJ, coffee, and Tylenol in a desperate bid to summon the energy to face the day; a far cry from stumbling out of some den of iniquity, pulling on the Wayfarers, and exclaiming aloud "My god! Are those people jogging?!?"

Ah, lost youth.

Anyhow, work beckons. Maybe I'll think of something smarmy to type by this evening.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Boomsticks: What my '03A3 turned into.

The above military-marked Remington Model 11 riot gun came into the shop the other day and nearly immediately triggered a massive case of the gottahaves in me. I didn't have the free cash at the moment, but since I had two Springfields, I could always trade away the '03A3 and keep the more desireable Mark I, with its cut for the Pedersen Device.

Do you know who designed that shotgun? That's right: John Moses Browning.


More later, gotta jet to work. :)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Boomsticks: Gratuitous Gun Pr0n No. 24

A cute little old gun with a cute little new knife:

The gun is a nickel S&W .38 Safety Hammerless 4th Model with a 3.25" barrel, dating from 1899. The knife is a stainless Kershaw Chive with a 2" blade, dating from some time in 2003 or 2004, I guess.

The gun still shoots fine. We'll check on the knife in another hundred years. :)

Three whack jobs in three days at three Denny's in CA...

Marko has the obvious legislative solution for Sacramento to pursue: Ban Denny's.

My eccentric stereo...

It's not often you can buy a computer that has your name all over it. Literally.

As Mac koolaid drinkers know, the debut of the Macintosh was on January 24th, 1984. Coincidentally enough, January 24th is my birthday, too. In May of 1997, to celebrate its 20th anniversary, Apple released the computer internally code-named Spartacus; the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh. Mac users immediately started referring to it as the TAM. At the time the sleekly-styled machine, with its Bose sound system and Italian glove-leather palm rest, was stickered at $7500; more than the used Porsche I was driving in those days. There was no way I could swing that kind of dough. But I wanted one. Oh, how I wanted one. Like I said, it was obviously destiny. I was fated to own one.

Fast forward about five years: the 250 MHz Power PC-propelled TAM is now a collector's curiosity more than a serious PC, but they still command prices north of $1k on the used PC market. I sucked it up and bid vigorously for one on eBay.

Now it sits on my coffee table, next to my reloading press, totally obsolete as a PC. It makes for one hella cool bookshelf stereo, though. And it has my name on it. Literally. :)

I'd been spinning an old '94 Waxtrax Records compilation disc on it (Underworld, Die Warzau, Sister Machine Gun, KMFDM, and more,) but thanks to Phlegmfatale it's now spinning Lush's 1990 release, Gala. Fuzzy, jangly guitars; ethereal vocals that seem to make smilie faces float out of the speakers... What a happy way to start a day off work. :)

I laughed so hard I died from a coughing fit... Kit will have to kill me.

I predict that that post leaves a large segment of readers scratching their heads, and that the remainder, who are clued in on the whole gun nut/running zombie gag thing will hurt themselves laughing.


Urk. My back.

My 19" ViewSonic monitor had gotten so dim and murky that it was almost impossible to read black text on a white background, so this morning I sadly unplugged it and (*heave!*) lugged it back into storage. Luckily, a fresh monitor (*heft!*) was only as far away as the "guest PC", an old Celeron that sits on a desk back to back with the big machine at VFTP Command Central. Only one problem: The backup monitor is a Mitsubishi 17" tube. I hadn't quite realized how spoiled I'd gotten over the last few years. I remember when a 17" monitor was a big deal; now, after four years of the 19" screen, the little Mitsu feels like squinting at a postage stamp.

I'd run out and buy a new big monitor, but that'll have to wait; I'm taking my disposable cash and my '43 Remington 03A3 to the shop to trade them in on something cool that walked in the door yesterday. What could make Tam trade off a classic bolt-action military rifle? Watch This Space for details. :)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Speaking of interior decorating...

Oleg's LiveJournal sports a new look, and Fatale Abstraction's glamorous new digs have me turning green with envy.

Makes you wonder what the "Q" in "Q Clearance" stands for...

The Bush White House has managed to piss off gay activists again. Not that this is shocking; it's become almost relfexive with that crowd. Dick Cheney could pass out free beer at the San Francisco Pride parade and they'd say it was part of a GOP plan to make gay people fat. This time it revolves around an addendum to sub-paragraph C, page 237 of some obscure federal code; the one that governs security clearances.

Living in close proximity to Oak Ridge, home of the Really Big Firecrackers, it seems like everybody I know has a security clearance. Hell, my neighbor's dog has a security clearance. When they were making this security clearance stuff up back in the dark days of the Cold War, they sat down and made a list of everything that would render somebody blackmailable by mustache-twirling Trotskyites, and made it a big No-No for security clearances. At the time, batting for the other team was not only a cause for social ostracism, but it was actually a crime in most of the US, so of course it was put on the list.

In 1997, somebody noticed that gay folk were almost twenty-three times as likely to have their own prime-time TeeVee sitcom as they were in 1957, and this, combined with the fact that mustache-twirling Trotskyites were in short supply, led to a revision stating that security clearances could not be denied "on the basis of sexual orientation". Now the Bush administration has added "solely" to that line and started the hooraw referenced above.

Note that this changes nothing; there are people out there who live in mortal fear that if some mustache-twirling Trotskyite showed their mother a picture of them standing in line to buy a ticket to Brokeback Mountain, she'd be on the phone demanding interior decorating tips before you could say "Queer Eye", and those people probably shouldn't have access to atomic bombs.

But hey, the weirdest things get made into political fodder these days...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Google to be forced to fink.

A Federal judge has announced that he intends to force Google to tell the federales just how many times you and I have typed "nekkid midgets yelling 'verboten!'" into our search engine boxes.

This information is supposed to help the .gov catch terrorists, or pedophiles, or people who get drunk while sitting at their keyboards, or something.

Here's one to warm the heart...

It has all the very touching elements that make for real Hallmark moments: The sanctity of the home. Motherhood. A happy ending. And a dead goblin.

(H/T to Zendo Deb, who's back among the blogging now that her boat is no longer among the sinking.)

LawDog can't define "Art"...

...but he's pretty sure he'd support the heck out of it if the Feds (and Alec Basinger) would just let him keep his %&*#@$! money.

I have nothing to add other than a sincere "What he said!"

(This is where I'm obliged to toss in one of my all time favorite quotes from a very successful, and competent, artist, Robert Heinlein: "A government-supported artist is an incompetent whore.")

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

It's hard to be both fashionable and heavily armed.

"Your carry gun should be comforting, not comfortable." -Clint Smith

A couple of years back I decided to make a commitment to practicing what I preached and carrying a Serious Pistol all the time. Picking the gun was the easy part: For me, few pistols are as comforting as a full-size Government Model, since I shoot it as well as any other handgun I've ever tried. I went with inside-the-waistband carry, since the flat shape of the 1911 lends itself well to this method of toting, and even a big pistol like the "Guv'mint .45" can be concealed in this manner with nothing but an untucked shirttail.

Thus ended my future as a fashion plate.

Jeans, especially women's jeans, are just not cut with carrying a pistol in mind. Forget low-cut styles; there's just not enough room between crotch and waistband to accomodate the 5" barrel of a full-size 1911. As far as the waistband itself goes, if you allow enough room for your pistol and its Galco Royal Guard holster, then the rest of the jeans are going to sag like the sails of a Sargasso-becalmed schooner. Conversely, if you wear jeans that fit right in the seat and legs, you'll wear a pistol-shaped divot in your kidney by noon.

The belt poses another problem. Every time I go to the mall, I look wistfully at all manner of cute and fashionable belts. None of which, of course, are up to the task of rigidly supporting two-plus pounds of steel on your hip without collapsing or letting the holster slip and slide all over the place. A good leather belt from Milt Sparks or a reinforced nylon instructor's belt, while designed to do just that, is unlikely to draw appreciative comments from your style-conscious friends. (Although if worn with panache, the rigger-type instructor's belt does make a certain outdoorsy, rock-climby, mountain-bikie statement, especially if it's in a color other than black...)

So, you know, I compensate where I can. ("Hey, is that a sharkskin holster?" has become a running gag at work.) Since I can carry openly at the shop, I use the gun itself as an accessory. Y'all gun nuts probably know that one: "Today just felt like a stainless Delta Elite day," or "It's Sunday; of course I wore my pretty blued Colt." Somewhere down this road lies the path to a seriously blingin' Barbecue Gun. Someday, though, when I'm rich and famous, I'm gonna hire somebody to do something about that little jeans fit issue...

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Phony War.

Via Atomictumor, I picked up this wonderfully-freighted Walter Cronkite quote on the Wo(S)D. (That's "War on (Some) Drugs", for those not hip with the argot.)
"It surely hasn’t made our streets safer. Instead, we have locked up literally millions of people…disproportionately people of color…who have caused little or no harm to others - wasting resources that could be used for counter-terrorism, reducing violent crime, or catching white-collar criminals."
Now, by making sure to reference "people of color" (it's apparently worse to lock them up wrongly than it is people of little or no color) and "white-collar criminals", Walt's just flashing his Progressive gang signs; letting you know who he rolls with, so to speak. It doesn't change the underlying truth of his statement, though. You know what the difference is between the referenced "white-collar criminal" and the guy busted for selling a bag of weed? One of them was causing real, provable harm to other human beings without their consent, and it wasn't the one that reeks of patchouli, either.

Boomsticks: It's Carnival time again!

That's right, the great big shiny 51st Carnival of Cordite is up, and Countertop's doing the hosting.

Go see the sights, ride the rides, maybe win yourself a kewpie doll. :)

What do you get when you...

...take a pack of geeks, three kegs of beer, and $250,000, mix it all together and lock it in a hobby shop to simmer?

You get a radio-controlled helicopter gunship, that's what.

I'm not sure exactly what it's good for, but I bet you could scare heck outta the neighbors with it, or take first prize at the science fair, one.

(H/T to James J. Na at Guns and Butter Blog.)

The Churl Can't Help It...

I really, really, really desperately want to believe that this is some kind of propaganda or urban myth, but it doesn't take a great leap of imagination to visualize the awful stink of truth behind it.

One word: Scum.

Okay, two words: Cowardly pissants.

Actually, a lot more than two words: I don't care what your excuse is, you pusillanimous little knuckle-walking troglodytes. If you so much as think about bringing that little aberration into my neighborhood, I swear to Wotan that you will catch a case of the Deads so fast that they won't have time to find 72 raisins for you before your misbegotten ass splashes down in Paradise.

Look, Achmed, no veil:

Bring it.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Boomsticks: Gratuitous Gun Pr0n No. 23

The knife is a Kershaw 1422ST "G-10 Talon", and the revolver is a Model 581-1, circa 1986; Smith & Wesson's "Distinguished Service Magnum".

You can love or hate the full underlug barrel, but there's no denying that the L-frame revolvers it debuted on are sturdy workhorses, easily up to whatever punishment the .357 Magnum chambering can dish out. The 581/681 Distinguished Service Magnums differ from the much more common 586/686 Distinguished Combat Magnums in having an M&P-style fixed sight frame, which makes them less snag-prone, gives them fewer parts to break or fall off, and (in my biased opinion) makes them much more pleasing to the eye.

A body could do worse than to find themselves armed with a serious shootin' iron like this one.

From the "Couldn't Happen To A Nicer Guy" department.

Slobodan Milosevic, former contender for the Welterweight Genocidal Butt-Head Dictator Championship in the Southeastern Europe division, kicked off in his cell the other day. Karma had apparently grown tired of the tree-sloth pace of the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal, and took matters into its own hands.

Some less-than-perceptive pundits have boneheadedly lamented his premature exit as "a huge setback for justice", since he didn't stick around long enough to say he was sorry for being such a meanie.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that survivors of his murderous activities will forego the apologies and take the win on points...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

So, let's see... What all happened while I was dead?

Marko asked for reading material suggestions.

LawDog told the tale of a tofuista getting cross-threaded with a mesquite thicket.

Countertop will be hosting this week's Carnival of Cordite. I slept through the submission deadline again, but this time I had an excuse. ;)

I learned about the efficacy (and politicization) of Tamiflu.

The Rage Against The Machine wing of the Democratic party suddenly remembered that Saint Hillary used to be on the board of directors of the Borg Collective.

I had mild visual hallucinations Wednesday night. (Thought the apartment was full of smoke for a bit there. That was interesting.)

Well, off to work...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Killer of 1918.

In retrospect, I should have realized something was wrong on the drive to work. I was wearing a parka over a jacket, and Lowe Alpine leggings under my jeans, and I was still so cold I was shivering and my teeth were chattering. I was running both the heater and the seat heaters in the car. And it was sixty-eight degrees out.

I stayed at work long enough to phone my weekly order in to the wholesaler, then doused everything I'd touched in Lysol and excused myself to go to the doctor's office. It turns out I was running a fever of 103.6, with a resting pulse rate of 112 bpm. Festive. Yup, it was the flu. I took my prescriptions for Tamiflu and Pseudoephedrine/Guaifenesin to the grocery store to get them filled, stocked up on Gatorade and 7-Up Plus, and... and... I can't even remember which route I drove to get home. Things were looking pretty grim for the home team.

Bear in mind that I felt that way after being doped to the gills on Dayquil and aspirin. That I'd been able to keep myself hydrated thanks to a plentiful supply of Gatorade. That I could keep myself fed with little effort, and travel via automobile. That my house was heated by electricity and propane.

Now imagine the clock being set back eighty-eight years to 1918. Would I have had the strength to pump a well? Saddle a horse? Chop firewood? Walk to market to get food? How bad would I have felt without the over-the-counter drugs I'd already taken? Little wonder that an influenza pandemic could have such a devastating effect; it made folks too weak to do the things they needed to do to go on living. Not only that, but there are all the infections that tag along with the flu; in those pre-antibiotics days, pneumonia was as good as a death sentence.

Every now and again I'm reminded that the past may be a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to get sick there.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Sweet Cthulhu, I am sick unto death.

I sound like a frog on the phone. I was trapped in a house sans kleenex last night, and went through two Charmin Jumbo Rolls blowig by dose (thank gawd for aloe-impregnated bog paper.) Fever's holding steady at 101 now, and I've been keeping food down since yesterday at noon, so I guess we're on the downslope. (Mad props, by the way, to Campbell's new Select Gold Label line of soups; the stuff that comes in the little cartons. Had the red pepper and black bean stuff last night and it was three minutes in the nuclear furnace, et voila! Delicious soup.)

I've got my eyeballs vibrating from Dayquil ingestion, and I'm about ready to go to work. I would have used Sudafed, but I was afraid that purchasing a high-capacity pill bottle would put me on the Terrorist Watch List.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Politics: Do these chains make me look fat?

Les Jones has a post up about the rising tide of refugees fleeing taxation and/or regulation in California. It's true that some folks will move if the regulatory environment where they live becomes too stifling for them; it's the other kind you have to worry about. Just ask the residents of Colorado or Oregon, they'll tell you all about it. The refugees to worry about are the ones who say "Ooh, everything is so crowded and dirty and icky and taxes are so high and everything costs so much and there's so many Mexicans!" and leave for Boise or Eugene or Boulder or Prescott, and build a home in a little subdivision, and demand more parks and security cameras in the schools and why don't we have more water for the sprinklers in my lawn? and let's hire more police officers so they can arrest people who speed in our subdivision and we better picket that gun store downtown because the children can't be exposed to guns and we need bilingual streetsigns so as not to be discriminatory and surely raising property taxes just a little to raise money for a performing arts center would be good...

...and wonder why their new home rapidly turns into the same festering cesspit they just crawled out of.

Some folks may be leaving California looking for freedom, but these guys are just leaving to find more comfortable chains that don't make them look fat.

Politics: ...and here I was thinking...

...that the granola-and-tofu set didn't have a sense of humor.

I guess I was wrong, 'cause this is just hilarious.

(H/T to SayUncle.)

Baseball: Can't hardly wait...

Only twenty-seven more days.

Politics: Grandstanding South Dakota Governor makes magnanimous promise... carry all unwanted pregnancies to term in new gubernatorial Super-Womb.

Or something like that...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Boomsticks: Today's trivia question.

The first commercially successful firearm sold in the US to use plastic for major structural components debuted in what year?

A) 1994
B) 1985
C) 1970
D) 1963
E) 1959

Vuja de: The feeling that this has never, ever happened before.

The Gap has started enclosing their RFID anti-shoplifing doohickeys in a sewn-in label in their jeans with a line marked "Cut Here".

I may be the first person on the planet to slice one out with a Ricky Fowler Fatboy Tanto.

Yay, me!

(Note to self: Buy scissors.)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Bikes: Coin Toss.

Do I ride to work today?


PRO: Sixty-something degrees and sunny. Haven't ridden in two weeks or so.

CON: Chain still needs adjusting and lubing in the worst possible way. I get off work at five thirty-ish and it's supposed to start raining around six.

Possible Tie-breakers: The ten-day forecast is solid rain from Tuesday through next week. Can't find chain lube; might have to use FP-10.

What to do?

UPDATE: Well, they're claiming a high of sixty-something, but it's taking its sweet time getting there. It's still in the low forties outside and I gotta jet in the next 30 minutes or so, which is making my decision a lot easier. Maybe I'll compromise and drop the top.

Ugh. Sounds like I'm gloating.

Maybe I am.

"Can't ride the bike. Gotta put the top down on the Beemer and drive to my job at the gun store. Gosh. Sucks to be me." :)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

She's a real gun lover tonight....

According to this quiz, I am gun-nuttier than Josh at South Park Pundit.

I am gun-nuttier than Cowboy Blob.

Judging by the questions, I am even gun-nuttier than the person that wrote the test.

Oh well, it pays the bills. :)

Gun Nut
You are 100% of a gun nut!

You are a true gun nut. The number of guns in your house is probably
over five. All of them are truly effective in your hands.

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on knowledge
Link: The Gun Nut Test written by slayer1am on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Blog Stuff: Same planet, different worlds...

So, in a recent wide-ranging conversation in the gunsmithery at work, the topic of rufies somehow came up. While the very concept of a "date rape drug" is vile and evil, not to mention just being plain dirty pool, one can easily see where something that increases the victim's compliance and suggestibility has a certain dark appeal:

[SCENE: Night club, interior, 2AM.]

Wily Villainess: "Hey, handsome; want a drink?"

Unwitting Victim: "Uh, sure!"

Unwitting Victim: *glug, glug*

[Time passes.]

Wily Villainess: "So, um... the oil in my car sure needs changing."

Friday, March 03, 2006

Boomsticks: The Big 50th...

...Edition of The Carnival of Cordite is up at The Anarchangel.

Pull up a chair and enjoy. :)

Books: Quote of the day.

Re-reading The Regiment, by John Dalmas. I love the Zen-like T'sel philosophy in the book.

"The challenge is to live with interest. Unless one's fear is too great, which seems to be rather common among the worlds of man, one normally prefers that existence be interesting."

Blog Stuff: Well, at least he knows I'm that way in real life now...

So, as Lumpy's shindig was getting cranked up at the Armory yesterday, I flagged him down to let him know I was attempting to liveblog it.

Lumpy: "Oh, is that your blog? Neat."

Me: "I don't know how much attention it'll draw, but I do get a few hundred hits every day. I even got some good linky-love from that pinko liberal Michael Silence the other day."

Lumpy (looking over my shoulder): "Hi, Michael!"

Mr. Silence: "I've been called worse."

Me: "..." [scurry off and try to look busy while blushing furiously]

Talk about your impeccable timing; if my life was a sitcom, the canned laughter would have been played right then.

To his credit, Michael was charming and affable, and didn't hit me or challenge me to a duel or anything. Thanks for that. ;)

Boomsticks: Wiki cool.

New site alert: Go check out firearmwiki, the latest brainchild of Dr. Strangegun. Now.

Boomsticks: Blinded me with science fiction...

I have a confession to make: I am a closet nerd.

However, I'm nothing like as nerdy as I was back in my high school daze. Back then, myself and my fellow nerds would spend hours nattering over guns of the future, fuelled by the Heckler & Koch G11, Traveller, and Betamax copies of Aliens.

Now I find myself actually living in the 21st Century, and gosh, am I surprised. The incredibly lethal rifles of the future are here, but they're nothing like me and my fellow Breakfast Club nerds imagined they would be. We fussed over operating systems: Would it have a rotary bolt? Floating breech? Chain-driven via an electric motor, or short-recoil? We debated the ammunition the Future Rifle would use: Binary propellant? Electro-Thermal-Chemical? 4.6mm caseless? Or 10mm miniature shaped charges? Maybe duplex bullets, or flechettes? The configuration would undoubtedly be a bullpup, or maybe it would undoubtedly be conventional, but with an integral grenade launcher...

What we ignored, though, was the rifle itself, and what made one deadly.

The operating system and cartridge; indeed, the whole underlying weapon; is unchanged from what was standard issue lo those 20 years ago. What has changed is everything wrapped around it, and the manner in which it is operated. There's now a rugged electro-optical sight that allows headshot accuracy in fast-moving urban firefights. There's a bright light mounted to the gun, to illuminate and disorient the target. Quick-detach suppressors moderate both noise and potentially-incendiary muzzle flash. Night vision devices and magnifying optics lock on and pop off in seconds, depending on mission requirements, and don't lose zero in the process. Lasers target the enemy in the darkness, and can mark him for the grunt with the carbine, or for the circling, JDAM-equipped air support planes. Slings are no longer simple carrying straps, but rather serve as lanyards, retaining the rifle ready at hand when the user needs to climb or rappel or lift something with both arms. Grenade launchers can be fitted. The stock can be adjusted to fit any operator, no matter how thin or bulky his clothing. Meanwhile, the stylised rifle shooting appropriate to long-range Known-Distance work has been supplemented by what might be described as an entirely new methodology of employing the carbine in short range (<100 yard) CQB-type engagements. Veritable kata have sprung up based on the well thought-out ergonomics of the M4 and the squared-up "fighting stance".

By comparison, the SciFi M41A Pulse Rifle of Aliens fame had a digital ammo counter. And iron sights.

We've come a long way, baby.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Boomsticks: Liveblogging a little bit o' politics...

Tonight at CCA we're having a reception for Greg "Lumpy" Lambert, who's running for a seat on the Knox County Commission. There'll be door prizes, including a rifle and a paid CCW permit training course. There'll even be a live-fire demo of WWII classics like the STEN MkII and M1A1 Thompson. The fun won't stop 'til 8PM or so.

How can you not vote for a candidate who has a nickname like "Lumpy" and owns buzzguns? :)

He must've skipped class the day they learned bullet-dodging.

A nut job in a ninja costume picked the wrong lady to terrorize.

He attacked her. She screamed and struggled her way into the house, where her husband retrieved his .357 and smoked the goblin.

Police pronounced the unidentified attacker D.R.T.

(That's "Dead Right There", which is even deader than "Dead On Arrival".)

H/T to Zendo Deb.

Blog Stuff: Blog Nekkid.

So, the combination of an unseasonably balmy night and living on the second floor in the middle of the woods can sometimes lead to a rather, uh, relaxed sleep wardrobe at Casa Tam.

I wake up. I toddle off to the smallest room, giving the Logitech mouse a nudge as I pass to wake up the PC for the day. I enter said smallest room, and... Hmmm... The recent removal of the defunct window AC unit has given me a splendid view of my next-door neighbor's dining room windows through the leafless trees.

I would assume the reverse is true.

Note to Self: Buy curtains for bathroom window.

The ATF has stepped in a lot of cowflops recently...

...and there's even a Congressional probe.

SayUncle has been following the situation pretty closely.

The last time that there's been this level of interest in the agency from the rest of the .gov was twenty years ago, and it resulted in the only serious piece of pro-gun federal legislation that has passed in my lifetime. I'm not holding my breath for such good results again, but I've popped some Orville Redenbacher's, and I'm watching with interest.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Have a cow, man.

Suddenly, a lot of the more inexplicable ideas being hooted about in the monkey cage start making a lot more sense.

(For what it's worth, while I could rattle off large swathes of the Bill of Rights verbatim, and name all the members of the Simpson family, I couldn't name one judge or contestant on Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire American Idol Survivor?)

Politics: Clinton sanctimoniously wags finger...

...warns of rapidly dwindling cheeseburger reserves and growing hole in the calzone layer.

There hasn't been a more humorous choice of spokesman since some marketing supergenius used Keith Richards to tell us not to do drugs.