Friday, June 30, 2006

Politics: How to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

Once upon a time it was pretty easy to spot good guys and bad guys. One wore white hats; the other, black. In these times when not everyone is obliging enough to run around wearing identifying headgear, you sometimes have to listen to the dialogue to figure out which team they're on.

For instance, if their national leadership says that holding detainees in a fictitious legal limbo to be tried by kangaroo courts is illegal, and that
"The Constitution is best preserved by reliance on standards tested over time and insulated from the pressures of the moment,"
then it's pretty safe to assume that their stetsons, were they wearing any, would be freshly bleached. Along the same lines, anybody who turns down a request by his own military and security services to label detainees as "Unlawful Combatants" and instead
insist[s] that the arrests be carried out under ordinary criminal warrants that would require legal proceedings against the Hamas officials under the Prevention of Terror Ordinance
is probably not shopping for black yarmulkes, either.

Every now and then, it seems, folks in the strangest of places just get an urge to Do The Right Thing.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Boomsticks: a screen door on a submarine.

Shooters are an innately conservative lot, and I don't mean "conservative" in the political sense, either.

A few years back, Remington released a new type of gun and ammunition. Called "Etronix", this differed from plain old centerfire cartridges in only one way: the primer was ignited electrically, rather than by being struck with a firing pin. Instead of releasing a mechanical striker, pulling the trigger closed a circuit. This offered actual, practical advantages, the first and foremost being that it reduced locktime to effectively nil. For the uninitiated, "locktime" is the amount of time from the time you pull the trigger until the time the primer actually detonates. Even though it's usually measured in tiny fractions of a second, that's still enough time for the gun to twitch away from that perfect sight picture you had when you pulled the trigger. Shorter locktime = more accurate gun.

Etronix sank without a ripple and cost Remington millions.

Shooters understand sears and firing pins. They distrust batteries. (On most rifles, even such nonessential items as electronically-illuminated scopes have redundant backup iron sights, just in case.) They know that their home computers have microchips in them, and they didn't want to see a Blue Screen Of Death when they had the deer of a lifetime walk out in front of them.

Now some bright spark in Der Vaterland is proposing putting the microchip not only in the weapon, but in each individual round of ammunition. In return for upping the complexity of the system by adding several more critical components that could fail at the worst possible time, all one gets in return is password protection for the primer. Festive. Just what I've always wanted.

Apparently ignorant of the fact that, should one need to push "Ctrl + Alt + Del" on one's firearm, one might need to do it while being knifed, or shot, or gnawed on by something with great big teeth, the writer of the linked article even went so far as to state:
The system would undoubtedly cost more than a conventional gun, but many firearm enthusiasts would surely pay a premium for such added security.
No doubt the inventor thinks so, too. His marketing teacher must be so proud.

(H/T to SayUncle.)

Boomsticks: Word to the wise.

I received a tipoff from a wholesaler little birdie to expect the third ammo price hike of the year in the next week or so. I think I'll pick up another case of .45ACP and some .223 while I can still do so without filling out a credit app.

Blog Stuff: Share the road... ...with a front bumper.

Folks, I can completely empathize with the desire to go out and zoom about on two wheels, even without a motor, and being a rider (albeit of the powered type) I know how annoying it can be to have to share the asphalt with the bovine herd asleep at the wheels of their GMC Yukons, but there's a time and a place for everything, okay?

There are roads around here, little twisty, two-lane, shady, hilly, shoulderless roads with no over-run areas, that have speed limits of thirty to forty miles an hour and are just no place for pedal-operated bikes, "share the road" or no. When you're coming through the apex of a blind corner on Mourfield or Canton Hollow at 35mph and there's a sweaty cyclist struggling along at 15-per on the uphill grade in the middle of your lane, it can be a hair raising experience. If there's oncoming traffic, you'd have no choice but to bunt the rider into the kudzu.

It's a thousand wonders that they don't have to pick spandex and toe clips out of the grill of a Durango at least once a week on Westland. Folks, for your own safety, go Share The Road someplace safe, okay?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bikes: The continuing saga of the Pocket Ninja.

HappyHappyFunBike has found a new home. :)

Boomsticks: It's that time again!

Time for the Weekly Check on the Bias over at Alphecca.

Exciting nuggets from this week include more backing and filling from the UN, currently hosting their global Democide Enablement Conference in NYC, as well as news that the Boston PD has been posing as a twenty year-old hottie on in an attempt to get you to turn in your guns.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Blog Stuff: Aaarrggh!

Good friend's wedding coming up.

Haven't a thing to wear.

Have discovered that somehow, after my last move, all my nice shoes are either for my left foot or right foot. Their respective mates seem to have vanished to wherever socks go in the laundry. I still have two pairs of really hideously ugly shoes that I wouldn't wear to a hog-calling contest, one pair of which I don't even recollect buying, and the other of which was an emergency purchase at 9PM while on vacation. Two pairs of shoes: That's what happens when one has been free to go about in sneakers, boots, sandals, or barefoot for lo these last several years.

Hair still a wreck.

I'd almost sucked up the nerve to punk out on him by not showing up (out of embarassment), claiming work as an excuse, but I made the mistake of calling my sister on her birthday. While she and I chatted, I explained my dilemma. I got slapped down hard:

"It's his wedding, and y'all are like best friends! You have to go!"


Thanks, sis.

I reckon I'll be shoe shopping tomorrow and getting my mane trimmed on Wednesday. Or vice versa.

I really love formal occasions. Does it show?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Today in history:

89 years ago today, the signal went out "Woods now U.S. Marine Corps entirely," marking the end of the Battle of Belleau Wood. In just 26 days, US forces engaged in the fighting around the small forest suffered 9,777 casualties, including 1,811 killed in action.

This battle is also the source of two of the most colorful quotes from the Corps storied history: On their arrival in the sector as fresh troops to blunt the German attack, the green US Marines were greeted by Allied troops falling back in the face of the German onslaught. Apocryphally, when a young USMC lieutenant heard "Retreat! The Germans are coming!" he responded with the now immortal "Retreat, hell! We just got here!" Belleau Wood was also where Gunnery Sergeant Dan Daly, two-time winner of the Medal of Honor, rallied his men with the call "Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?"

After the war, the French named the forest Bois de la Brigade de Marine (Wood of the Marine Brigade.)

"Woods now U.S. Marine Corps entirely."

Blog Stuff: In the news...

So I click on this morning to check the headlines and see what there is to make fun of. Wow. Some pretty serious stories today. The US is deploying ABM hardware to Japan, just in case Kim Jong Il goes completely bugnuts bugnuttier and tries to launch some of his new toys. Israel is sweating the whereabouts of a kidnapped IDF troopie. The Democrats are howling over a leaked troop drawdown report for Iraq. The U.S. is projected to be crammed with 300 million people by this fall, 290 million of which will no doubt continue to confuse prime-time TeeVee with "entertainment". Some scrote dragged a New York state trooper behind his ATV and got smoked for it. The Mid-Atlantic states, jealous of the Gulf Coast hogging all the natural disasters, decided to go and get flooded themselves. On the financial front, Chrysler is pondering how to replace one of its most successful models ever, while Warren Buffett found thirty seven billion dollars in an old pair of jeans he hadn't worn in a while, and dumped it in the glass jar on Bill Gates' shop counter.

But... right up there with these other earth-shattering news stories is the biggie: Kevin Richardson is leaving the Backstreet Boys.

God, how could I ever have struggled through my day without knowing that factoid?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A reminder:

That little strip of concrete or asphalt that connects the surface street to the freeway? That's called the "On Ramp". The purpose of the onramp is to allow your wheezy family bus to chug up to something approaching combat speed so that you can merge safely into the traffic on the freeway, instead of just standing there like a duck in thunder, watching the cars whiz past you.

To do this you must press down on the accelerator. If you are in a pickup, station wagon, diesel vehicle, Prius, or other such conveyance, you may need to push the accelerator all the way down to the floor to be at a reasonable speed by the end of the onramp. (The accelerator is the long, skinny pedal on the right, for those of you who are a little confused and hit the brake at the end of the onramp. )

If you follow these instructions, the crazy lady in the BMW behind you will not still be in second gear(!) at the top of the onramp, and have to blow past you in a squeal of rubber and vitriol, which I'm sure is a little disconcerting.

Also, the yellow speed signs on cloverleafs are not speed limits. They are suggested safe speeds. What they don't tell you is that 25mph is the suggested safe speed for a Corvair with shot ball joints on bald retreads after a Crisco tanker has overturned on the roadway. Normal vehicles can probably edge up to 30 or 40mph without the driver spilling their decaf latte all over their Blackberry.

That is all.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Boomsticks: Previously on "View From The Porch"...

1) "That's Mister Housegun to you."

When last we saw Project Housegun, it was awaiting only the availability of the new finishing services at the Armory to be complete. I also decided to ixnay the Surefire forearm light and go with a conventional M73 Surefire railed forearm, which would allow me to use a forward pistol grip for my off hand, instead of the front of the magwell. The weapon is finished in a SOCOM tan molycote, while the moving bits such as the bolt carrier and selector lever and such are in a gray cerakote, which is supposed to be hard as nails and have good natural lubricity. Anyway, it's done now; "Project" Housegun no longer. On to the next AR project...

2) .455 Webley Automatic ammunition.

Lawyerish weasel words: If you blow yourself up, it's not my fault. Don't try this at home, kids.

.45 Colt brass is trimmed to length, has the rim turned down some, and is machined for an extractor groove. Most load data is for 200-220gr .455" bullets. Good luck finding those. Shannon, one of our gunsmiths at work, went with the much more plentiful .451" 230gr FMJ. Given the four thousandths of windage you're getting around the projectile, it takes a bit stiffer powder charge to cycle the action. We got to 6.2 grains of Unique before it would cycle reliably. Cases showed no pressure signs and the gun was running happily. That Shannon, he's a miracle worker...

Friday, June 23, 2006

Boomsticks: Random Cool Stuff From Work.

We call the Armory Kalashnikov-pattern rifle with the blond wood stock the "IKEA-47". Not all the customers seem to get the joke.

We've started getting the Norinco replicas of the 1887 Winchester in. I've wanted one of these lever-action shotguns ever since I saw Ahnuld wielding that cut-down one in Terminator 2. My proposal that we SBR it, fit a big loop, and sell it with a box of long-stem roses and a pair of Gargoyles is still under consideration. By the way, the action on these things is just amazingly clever. Check out how the breechblock rotates with the hammer. If you open the action without throwing the lever all the way, you can chuck two shells in, and when you close the lever, the bottom one will stay on the lifter while the breechblock pushes the top one into the chamber. It's pretty cool to watch all the monkey-motion in the action. (You know who designed the 1887? That's right: John Moses Browning.)

Obligatory show-off shot of my 9mm AR. Because I can.

Remember I mentioned the CCA tee shirts with skulls & stuff? This is what they look like. You'll note that they are all subdued and mild mannered and very PR- and PC-conscious, no? Did I mention we rent machineguns? Automatics for the people, baby. ;)

Blog Stuff: Shinto 'N' Grits.

Although I’ve lived in the South since I was knee-high to a grasshopper and consider it my home, there are still one or two of its customs that leave me feeling like an alien from the planet Yayn-Kee. One of them is the near-obsessive ancestor-worship that starts when you hit Kentucky, but doesn’t really manifest to its full potency until you cross the Macon-Dixon line.

A couple of years back, I was invited to play Margaret Mead and observe the Southern Male ritual of “deer camp”. (“Now, the outhouse is right over there. Here's your flashlight. We made sure to buy plenty of the soft kind of toilet paper when you said you were coming, too.”) Being as this ritual seemed to involve a lot of A) Guns, and B) Lazing about the fireside and drinking, raconteuring, and reading, I figured I’d fit right in. And for the most part I did, too, except for one brief interlude…

We were on a beer run (go figure) to town, and our tour guide decided to help us take in a bit of local color. The truck veered down this farm road and meandered up that highway, all the while with a running narrative about “This was the swimmin’ hole where we got busted with a twelve-pack,” or “There’s the juke joint where Bobby near got his ass whupped.” Then we stopped in a churchyard. A cold drizzle fell out of the South Georgia winter sky and dripped off the live oaks and Spanish moss as our host and the other guests, native Southrons one and all, started exchanging secret handshakes about who was buried where and who might be kin to whom. I mean, you could put a blank genealogical chart on the wall, circle a line at random, and these friends of mine could point at the fifth cousin, three times removed, before their eyes could focus.

Meanwhile, chill December rain dripped down my suddenly-Yankee neck.

They were deep into discussing what made a good burial plot, and where they were going to be planted. I was remembering that my Midwestern Scandihoovian Lutheran kin usually announced deaths at biannual family reunions: “By the way, Uncle Olaf died last August. Pass the potato salad.” I felt completely out of place for the next month or so after I got back from that hunting trip, at least until I was talking with one of my co-workers, who is so Southern that his ancestors had James Oglethorpe for a bailbondsman. He was relating a conversation he'd had with his wife one night, when he had expressed his desire to be cremated. She demurred, saying “What will I do with the ashes?”

“Hell, I don’t care. Dump ‘em out of the car window on the way home. If your friends ask, you can tell them you scattered my ashes; you don’t have to tell them it was along the shoulder of Tazewell Pike.”

If the South has room for him as a Native Son, it sure as hell has room for me. :)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Light Blogging Today.

Due to an inability to reboot the cable modem at Casa del Tam, I was unable to do any of my blogging this morning before leaving for work.

I have the posts typed up on my PC at home, and the photos are in the camera, but until the technical difficulties can be rectified, y'all get bupkis. Sorry 'bout that. :(

(On the upside, I did finish The Dogs Of War. What an unexpected and good ending. :) )

Word of the Day: How to speak Tamarese.

Writing stick: (rī'-tĭng stĭk) n.

Pen, pencil, magic marker, crayola; any object used to make marks on paper. "He's not in, can I take a message? Whoops, wait a minute; I have something to scribble on, but I can't find a writing stick."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Goes to show how much I've been paying attention...

I thought they'd given him his walking papers last year.

Heck, we should have all seen how it was going to end a long time ago. When I was in high school, 'way back in the '80s, the Camaro in the assigned parking space next to mine had a bumper sticker that read "Frankly, Dan, I'd Rather have the truth."


Boomsticks: The Weekly Check on the Bias... up over at Alphecca. Hot topics this week include Canadian liberals getting the vapors as plans to dismantle the nation's long-gun registry trundle forward, as well as the upcoming UN Democide Enablement Conference.

Go read.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Boomsticks: All &*$%@#! guns are always $%&*?!@ loaded!

As you read below, remember this: The Four Rules Are Life.

#1) All &*%$@>! guns are always ?*%@!?# loaded.
#2) Never let the gun point at anything you are not willing to destroy.
#3) Keep your booger hook off the bang switch until you are ready to fire.
#4) Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

You must break at least two of these rules to put a hole in something important that you didn't want to perforate.

I have seen many lousy examples of gun-handling in my years in the firearms business. Let me, however, share some role models instead:

1) The young clerk at the shop who took to the Four Rules so completely that he carried cordless drills and Windex bottles with his finger indexed along the frame, and subconsciously refused to point even these non-guns at someone. I won ten bucks from a friend by walking in front of him as he reflexively pointed the Windex bottle away from my path, no matter where I went, without breaking the flow of his conversation. When his behavior was pointed out to him, he was astonished; he hadn't realized he was doing it.

2) The salesman who, if you tried to hand him a gun with the action closed, would just stand there with his hands in his pockets and stare at it, occasionally glancing up at your face to see if you were catching on. If the light didn't dawn on you, he would quietly, patiently, and respectfully ask that you open the action on the weapon before handing it to him.

3) The salesman and the customer who, while mounting and boresighting the scope on a T/C Encore chambered in some exotic wildcat caliber of which there wasn't a live round for two miles in any given direction, would carefully (and subconsciously) open and inspect the weapon every time it was picked up off the cradle or handed back and forth between them. The rifle must have been checked fifty times in the half-hour they stood there, but without fail whoever picked it up or handed it to the other would reflexively break it open and check the chamber, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the same act had been performed just a minute ago. It's beautiful to see good habit become conditioned reflex.

In all the years I've been in this gig, I have only once or twice had to look at a customer waving a gun at my midsection and answer the mealy-mouthed statement "But it's not loaded!" by resting my hand on the butt of my pistol and saying "Well this one is, and you're starting to make me nervous."

It's been years since I used that line. In a perfect world, everyone will read Xavier's post and take it to heart, and I'll never have to use it again.

Blog Stuff: This may sound funny...

...coming from someone who carries a $400 pocket knife, but you have got to have a screw loose to pay $943.43 for something you're going to flush down the toilet in an hour.

On the same note, Krieghoff has announced that they will resume production of Luger pistols, beginning with the serial number they left off at back when they were bombed flat by the 8th Air Force. Now, the P.08 is a pistol that is notoriously unamenable to modern mass production techniques, but $12,000?!? I don't care if they dig up ol' Georg Luger's remains and use squeezins from him to lubricate the guns; these are reproductions. You can buy real Krieghoff Lugers for less than that.

Quick quiz: "A ____ and his _____ are soon ______." Fill in the blanks. Ready? Go!

(Inspired by a post over at pdb.)

Politics: Nagin still adept at grandstanding.

Dateline: New Orleans. As floodwaters still give the city the ambiance of "taking a sauna in a high-crime drainage ditch", according to humorist PJ O'Rourke, the National Guard has been called out to quell, well, something or other in the wake of a television appearance by Ray Nagin. "This is our line in the sand," said the city's head publicity hound, "We're saying we're not going any further. Also, it's Bush's fault."

The mood of the troops on the street was one of bewilderment. "I'm not sure what the governor thinks a mechanized infantry company is supposed to do here," said Captain Jablonski, commander of Alpha Company of the 323rd, standing on a street corner in the French Quarter, "but we'll try to carry out the mission anywa... Hang on," and then he shouted into his handset "Fire mission: Jaywalkers in the open, adjust fire, over." Shells from howitzers began bursting down Bourbon Street as he turned back to our reporter. "Anyway," he said with a shrug, "It's all pretty damn confusing."

The orders to deploy came on the heels of the shooting death of five juveniles in what police suspect was a drug deal gone sour. Mayor Anthony Williams, of Washington DC, is watching the proceedings with interest. "I never realized that you can get all these soldiers to play with just because some dope dealer ganks another one. Hell, that happens all the time here. Maybe I can get them to let me use Predator drones on DUIs." Mayor Shirley Franklin of Atlanta was said to be considering calling in airstrikes from the F/A-18's based at the Naval Air Station in Marietta as part of a proposed urban renewal project, but was biding her time until a properly tearjerking crime would let her plead for military assistance.

The View from VFTP Command Central, 0016 Hrs.

The "Lazy T" Boneless Cat Ranch.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Books: An evening reading...

I got home from work after an unusually busy Father's Day Sunday at the Armory and settled into my chair on the porch to watch the sunset and read Frederick Forsyth's The Dogs Of War. I got good and engrossed, and finally wandered upstairs to heat some dinner and then call my folks. It was a little chilly in my house, so I cut off the window AC unit. While the chicken & dumplings was being nuked, I sprawled across the bed with the book and...

...I was riding in the back of a Winnebago with a rumbling diesel engine. It was hot as hell as the RV trundled through the desert, and the vibrating horsehair-covered pillow I was laying on was making me sweat profusely. Wow. It must mean...

...that it was three thirty in the morning, and I'd nodded off, and Mittens had inserted herself under my drooping head and was happily purring as mommy used her for a pillow. So much for calling my parents. Thankfully the dinner could be salvaged with another 45 seconds in the nuclear furnace.

Let's see what's in the fridge. Bachelorette Number One?

Well, we have four cans of Diet Dew. One Diet Red Bull. Three Cottonwood Endo India Pale Ales. Two Left Hand Brewing Company Haystack Wheats. One Sam Adams Light (WTF?).


The Red Bull it is. Guess we're up for the day, then...

...and now we're off to work.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bikes: Safety first; accidents last.

To the right is a picture of the helmet I was wearing when I had a 60-mph spill on rain-slick I-85 Northbound near Malfunction Junction in Atlanta back in February of 1999. All things considered, I got off light: Broken rib, broken thumb, cracked shoulder blade, and no "road rash" at all. The reason I didn't get any road rash is partly apparent in the scuffs on the port side of the helmet I was wearing at the time. Had I not been wearing a helmet, (or if I'd been wearing any helmet that didn't have full face coverage,) the asphalt would have abraded the left half of my face like a high-speed belt sander, rather than doing it to the lid I was wearing. Not being a big fan of reconstructive cosmetic surgery or skin grafts, I'm damned glad I was wearing it.

To the left, one can see an item from a clever eBay auction: A "Ben Roethlisberger Replica Helmet", just like the one he was(n't) wearing when he dumped his bike recently. With nothing between his noggin and the pavement, things went rather worse for him. I guess if you have no vital organs to protect north of your collarbone, there's not much point in wearing a lid to protect them, is there? Maybe he and Gary Busey could have a spelling bee...

Meanwhile, on the Korean penninsula... appears that the People's Beloved Glorious Maximum Leader is still dangerously nuts.

You have got to see this.

Courtesy of Phlegm Fatale: Feast on the Flesh of the Haters.

"The main difference between my people and yours is that we bowl without irony." :)

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Today in 1972...

...five guys got busted for breaking into an office in the Watergate Hotel.

Thirty-four years later, after the Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush administrations, high school history students across the nation wonder just what the big deal was about the whole affair...

(We'll let Ford slide: Never assume malice where stupidity will suffice. If Saddam had succeeded in bagging Bush Sr., and then the world had blown up under a Quayle administration, could you have honestly assumed Smilin' Dan had done it on purpose?)

Boomsticks: Gratuitous Gun Pr0n No. 32

In honor of the upcoming UN Democide Enablement Conference, a wallpaper for you.

Mmmmm. Guns.

Hopefully, somewhere, an Anti just vapor locked.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Another one down...

First Marko, now Les Jones...

That's two friends now that have posted happy reviews of their swell new vehicles, rambling on about cubic feet of storage instead of cubic inches of displacement; waxing eloquent about how well it'll hold a child seat instead of how well it'll hold your face against the window glass on a cloverleaf on-ramp; enthusing about getting third-row seating rather than getting rubber in third gear.

For the record, the cupholders in my ride absolutely suck.

Then again, if I'm doing my job, my passenger won't be worried about holding onto their drink; they'll be worried about holding onto their lunch.

Of course, what's illustrated here is the dichotomy between the family life and the wild, free, and irresponsible life of the single & childless thirtysomething. I love all my friends' kids, and there's nothing cuter than spending time with miniature humans and having them think you're really cool for paying attention to them, but at the end of the day I have to be able to hand them back because I know I have my hands full trying to pay attention to the kid whose picture is on the upper right corner of this page. Some folks just aren't cut out for the parenting gig, but if it keeps me out of minivans, it can't be all bad. ;)

Blog Stuff: Blogging may be light for a while...

With Alston gone at work, blogging may be light for a bit, until one of the Greater Minions can be tapped with the Wand of Power and taught the rituals of opening, closing, pricing trade-ins, and the like...

On the upside, when my next chance for a day off finally rolls around, I will really appreciate it. :)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Boomsticks: Everybody's a ballistician...

With the CBS blurb on the current service cartridge, tongues started wagging all over the errornet. Folks at unlikely places like Democratic Underground were mouthing strange terms, like "5.56mm", convinced it was part of some plot by the Bushistas to kill good blue-collar American lads duped into corporate wars of conquest. The Homefront Gun Nuttery Brigade joined forces with the Army of Nostalgia and started beating the drum again for a return to .308 or maybe even .45-70.

Personally, I read the quote
[U]rban warfare in Iraq demands a bigger bullet. "A bullet that knocks the man down with one shot," he says. "And keeps him down."
and wondered if this Major Milavec really intended for every trooper to carry a 57mm recoilless rifle, because that's about the smallest thing I can think of that fits his description. Contrary to popular belief, engendered by watching countless action movies, rifle bullets are not death rays. No rifle round will reliably "knock a man down and keep him down with one shot." Not 5.56; not even 7.62. You can go to your local VFW and buy drinks for guys with scars from 8mm Mauser and 7.7mm Arisaka bullets.

Member Blackhawk6, an honest-to-gawd decorated hero of the fighting in Afghanistan, raised some excellent points on a post in a thread at The High Road; points that deserve a wider audience:
Here are a few more facts:
1. The overwhelming majority of the U.S. special operations community uses the M-4, including those who have the latitude to use different weapon systems. Ditto most coalition special operations units.

2. The overwhelming majority of private contractors, the overwhelming majority of whom are former SOF personnel, are using M-4's despite having no tie to the U.S. military.

3. Many SOF units are going to shorter barrels on their rifles.

4. No bullet guarantees instant incapacitation. None. There are a few credible reports of enemy personnel staying in the fight, albeit briefly, after being hit by .50 BMG.

With that out of the way, here are my opinions on the matter:

1. Much of the poor reputation that the M-16A2/M-4 family enjoys is a by-product of the Vietnam War. A combination of M-14 champions and arm-chair commando's have kept the controversy alive. Before a Vietnam Veteran comes and flames me, let me say I am in no position to comment on the M-16 and its performance in Vietnam. If you don't tell me how bad the M-4 is in Iraq and Afghanistan, I won't tell you how good the M-16 was in Vietnam.

2. I love our soldiers. I have spent my entire adult life in their company. To put it kindly, they are prone to exaggeration. "I emptied an entire magazine into him, center mass, and he kept coming," can often be translated into "I fired eight rounds and hit him in the foot once."

3. The majority of soldiers are great people but they are not weapons experts and many have difficulty qualifying with their weapons. Ego, especially when it comes to marksmanship, is alive and well. A number of reported, ineffective hits were probably misses. Question:What does a soldier see when he hits someone at 150 meters and it has no effect? Answer:The same thing he sees when he misses. Who decides whether it was a hit or miss?

(Curiously, the Army and I apparently agree on the last two points.)

4. Prior to 9/11 the population in the Army of people who had actually engaged in close combat was relatively small, to include our special operations units. While we had a number of combat veterans, very few had actually shot a person and witnessed the effects. Very few of our soldiers have shot anything, to include deer. Consequently, hollywood has shaped our perception of how a shot person reacts. Most people understand that bullets do not blow people through walls, but they do not understand much beyond that. Comments like "A .45 will knock a man down," or "Even if you miss with a .50 cal, the bullet passing by can rip a man's arm off," are not uncommon. As a result, when they center punch a person with a 5.56mm at 10 meters and he stands there for five seconds before falling down, they get upset. Time tends to get distorted when your life is threatened and five seconds becomes a minute. I think you all get the idea.

5. I am not a ballistics expert, but my high school biology background and a little reading lead me to believe that the three mechanism for incapacitation would be a CNS hit, loss of blood and shock. Shock is highly dependant on the individual and can not be counted on. That leaves a CNS hit and loss of blood. A bullet to the heart is a bullet to the heart. If you placed your shot correctly, as everyone apparently has, even if it went right through the body the operation of the heart has been disrupted. If you hit something in the heart, it takes time for it to die. If you want it to fall down immediately, you have to hit the CNS and that is hard. Talk to a deer hunter and when you do keep in mind that the deer is not a fanatic bent on killing you.

6. I find it interesting that much of the criticism levied against the M-4 and M-16A2 is not levied against the M-249. It has comparable barrel lengths and fires the same round. I have yet to hear anyone say that the para-SAW sucks beyond a 150 meters despite its short barrel length. Why is that?
The rest of his posts there are equally relevant. Go read.

Blog Stuff: This 'n' That...

Kate Moss will not be charged for stuffing diet aids up her nose.

Has anybody been paying attention to the little tagline space way down at the bottom of the page? I've been trying to keep it rotated with fresh, funny stuff.

We had a second sendoff for Alston last night; dinner at the local Outback. (Although there was no alcohol-fueled tapdancing at this one.) Hard to believe he's really leaving.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Blog Stuff: I'm too sexy for my boots, part deux.

When you're standing in front of the mailbox in unzipped 5.11 Tactical boots, a rumpled Nine Inch Nails tee shirt, and green surgical scrubs, and you reach in and grab the Victoria's Secret catalog, and the catalog bursts into flame, it's just the Universe's way of telling you that you are a fashion disaster...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

From the dojo of Master Ching Ching Kapow and Sensei Taprackbang:

At a local "Advanced Handgunnery School" the course topic for the day was disarming and weapon retention drills. The instructor, an alleged seal (although what being a small, furry aquatic animal who can balance a ball on its nose has to do with Gun-Fu is a mystery) selects one of his students, a local Master-class IPSC hotshot, armed with a simunitions weapon, as his training dummy:

Instructor: "Okay, now, I'm going to take away your gun, and..."

Student: *BANG!*

I: "OWWW! What the hell'd you do that for?!?"

S: "You said you were going to take away my gun, so I shot you before you could." (Student re-holsters sidearm.)

I: "Look, this is a training exercise, okay? What I'm going to do is take your gun..."

S: *BANG!*

I: "Oowww-OW! Stop it! Look, I'm just trying to t..."

S: "If you're going to take my gun, just do it; don't tell me about it. You might panic me and I'll have to defend myself."


Now you can go Walk the Earth.

Boomsticks: The Weekly Check on the Bias...

...on the Bias is up over at Alphecca. The big news today? San Fran's Gun Ban got shot down. The victim disarmament advocates are furious.

Word of the Day: How to speak Tamarese.

Heirlump: (ār'-lŭmp) n.

1. A family relic believed to be worth far more than it is; like an heirloom, but junk. "Mr. Smith wants $200 for his grandpa's old $49 shotgun; he doesn't realize it's just an heirlump."

Politics: Getting the vapors over privatization.

With the dramatic headline "Iraq contractors make billions on the front line," Nic Robertson displays a staggering naievity that can only be compared to someone who still sits in front of their fireplace on Christmas Eve at age 30, milk and cookies in hand, waiting for free stuff from an elf.
Private military contractors are earning billions of dollars in Iraq -- much of it from U.S. taxpayers.
Where does he think the money for all those public military contractors, like the US Army and USMC, comes from? Glenda the Good Witch?
[I]ndustry experts estimate Iraq's security business costs tens of billions of dollars.
No kidding. Did you think they were doing this for free? Out of the kindness of their hearts, maybe? See, it costs money to have guys with guns riding around in trucks guarding convoys out in indian country. It costs money whether those guys have patches that say "US Army" or "Blackwater, Inc." There are only two reasons to use the latter: A) There are not enough of the former on hand to do the job, or B) The latter can do it cheaper.

Now, personally, if I have a fixed amount of troops to use, and a fixed amount of dollars to spend, I'm going to use the military to do the things only the military can do: doing armed sweeps of terrorist-infested hamlets, dropping JDAMS on Al-Zarqawi, that sort of thing. For purely reactive, clearly defensive chores such as escorting convoys or guarding non-military facilities, I'll put contracts up for bid.

Nobody calls a Wells Fargo guard in Detroit a mercenary, do they?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Blog Stuff: Miscellaneous ramblings...

My plan to go to bed early last night was foiled by the fact that I woke up at, like, 2:50AM. Wide awake, I sat and poked at the 'net and read the latest at pdb's blog.

Then, still wide awake, I read some older stuff at pdb's blog.

Then I read everything at pdb's blog.

pdb, for those unaware of him, is someone who must have committed a heinous crime in a previous incarnation, for his chosen hell is not a place so full of mature consumers as, say, a music store or a gun shop; no, pdb has chosen the self-flagellation of the vidjo game bidness. I once worked in a Babbage's; six weeks of slinging Nintendo cartridges to the maturity-challenged and pimple-gifted in a mall would have extirpated the karmic debt of axe-murdering my grandparents, so one can only imagine what his past-life transgression was. *Shudder!*

Interesting to note the pet peeves we share...

Although some folks may think that the retail pixies magically seed my shelves with merchandise, this is actually not the case. Every day I have to walk the floor, determine what has sold and how fast, decide if anything new is needed, order the stuff, put it in the computer, price it, and put it out on the floor. Believe it or don't, stuff is hanging on certain pegs, in certain places, in a certain order for a reason. I can walk past my rack of, say, Galco holsters and, on the fly, out of the corner of my eye, know what's missing and needs to be re-ordered. Theoretically.

In real life, what happens is the nice customer comes up and asks "Do you have a nice holster for my Expensomatic Importblaster?"

"Why certainly, sir; I have a few different options for you. Do you prefer kydex or leather?"

"Oh, leather."

I walk him over to the Galco rack and point out both IWB and OWB styles for his pistol. He requests IWB. I show him the Galco Summer Comfort. He fondles the packaging, then opens the bag to huff some leather fumes. His lips move slightly as he silently reads the list of Expensomatic models that will fit this holster. Then his eyes widen. He has reached the price tag. The thought of putting his $800+ investment, hand-assembled from the finest virgin injection-molded polymer by Geman gun gnomes in the depths of the Schwarzenwald, in a holster that costs a staggering $64.99 is just too much to contemplate.

He starts to put it back.

Now, as an aside, I should mention that people who look for inside-the-waistband holsters for whamdigious huge plastic blasters are few and far between, therefore I only keep one of this particular model in stock. That means that, right in front of him, in the middle of a wall full of Galco holsters, is one empty peg, its backtag there to guide his hand home like a weary traveller to a firelit tavern on a winter's eve. His hand with the bagged holster wanders uncertainly forward and...

...puts it on the wrong peg.

"Can you show me something in kydex? Maybe around $20?"

"Sure, sir, follow me."


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Blog Stuff: Tabula rasa.

So, here I sit with only thirteen minutes left to go before I have to head out to another exciting day at the Armory, and despite beating my muse across the soles of her feet with a rubber truncheon, I can't get a lick of inspiration out of her. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

Well, I have the glimmerings of an idea for one or two posts, but they'll each take more than... well, now only twelve minutes to write.


More when I get home this afternoon, then.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Great Ammo Drought of '06.

SayUncle mentioned the rising cost of 7.62x39mm ammo, and offered an explanation.

While the order of a bazillion rounds of 7.62 for the Afghanis might mean the supply of commercial Wolf/Barnaul ammo remains scarce, it doesn't account for the fact that it has been scarce for almost a year now, and that the scarcity of imported Russkie 7.62x39 is not necessarily directly linked to the price of its domestic alternatives.

Here's a typical conversation I have with a supplier:

Me: "Get any Wolf 7.62x39 in yet?"

Wholesaler: "Hahahahahahahaha!"

M: "Okay, what's the next cheapest thing you have? PMC? Got any of that?"

W: "Nope, we ran out of that, and we won't be getting any more, now that PMC is out of business."

M: "Crap. Okay, what's the next cheapest? Winchester Q3174? American Eagle?"

W: "All I have left is a couple of cases of American Eagle."

M: "I guess I'll have to take it, then."

Thing is, the domestic companies never loaded all that much 7.62x39, since most shooters simply burned up cheap imported Wolf by the case. Then Venezuela bought 100,000 AK's and the ammo to feed them last summer, and that dried up the Russian ammo flow like somebody turned off a tap; the domestic production never really caught up to the increasing demand. If this Afghan contract happens, it'll be another long drought until we see more cheap imported ammo. 'Til then it's going to be brass-cased domestic stuff or nothing, and with metals prices and fuel costs both up, ammo is more expensive than ever. I've seen two or three price hikes from every manufacturer and distributor since last October, with some brands and calibers going up by as much as 20%. Of course, this affects all ammo, not just 7.62x39mm. Combine that with the shortage of Winchester .22 ammo caused by Winchester moving rimfire production to a new facility in Arkansas, and you have a recipe for scarcity and high prices all across the ammunition landscape.

Hoard you some ammo today. :)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Word of the Day: How to speak Tamarese.

Ski Makeup: (skē māk'-ŭp) n.

1. Way too damn much makeup; Tammy Faye face; warpaint. "She was wearing ski makeup. You know: six-inch base, twelve-inch powder."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Politics: Surprisingly, folks are in favor of free stuff.

The leeches and scalawags that infest the Capitol Building in Washington, DC stole money from my paychecks to fund empowered a 14-person commission to travel to fifty different communities and poll a bunch of people on what they thought about free universal health care. Unsurprisingly, folks were all for it.
Report doesn't say who would pay for such a plan, or its cost
Well, duh.

Hey, Sparky, why don't you go ask these same 23,000 people if they're in favor of paying an additional $1k/yr in taxes? Think the response will be similarly overwhelming? People are always in favor of free stuff. The headline couldn't be any dumber if it read "Americans in favor of gold houses, rocket cars."

I'd like the tax dollars back that they are wasting on this "special commission". I could use the money to like, you know, go to the doctor.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Politics: Attack of the midget vote-suckers.

AOL has a poll up. It's attached to a breathlessly panicky article about how bad gas prices are going to suck this summer.
In Hawaii, for example, you'd better walk to the beach because it will cost you $3.40 a gallon to drive there.
It'll cost me a lot more than that to drive to a beach in Maui; they won't blow-dry a BMW's Engine Control Module for only $3.40... Anyhow, the punchline is the poll itself. It asks "Who do you blame for high gas prices?" The available answers, along with the percentage of voters, are:
Who do you blame for high gas prices?
  • The Bush administration (Evil neocons) 45%
  • Oil companies (Evil capitalists) 38%
  • Other (Default answer for anyone with a lick of common sense) 7%
  • Congress (Midget vote-suckers) 7%
  • No one (Default answer for the illiterati) 3%
  • Gas stations (Evil capitalists) 1%
You'll note that the answers "Tofuista watermelons who've caused domestic oil to be legislated into the cornfield" and "Shrieking Islamonazis who threaten to turn the Middle East into a sea of radioactive blood" are not available choices in the poll. Discuss this amongst yourselves.

(Post title shamelessly stolen from PJ O'Rourke's chapter on Congress in Parliament of Whores.)

Blog Stuff: Talkin' 'bout my generation...

You know what's the most poignant thing about seeing those Cadillac commercials set to Led Zeppelin's "Rock And Roll"?

Knowing that Cadillac's demographic hasn't changed; it's Zeppelin's that has.

Politics: Keep your hands off my Constitution.

With the S.S. Republican having just struck the illegal immigration iceberg and being in danger of breaking up, the bridge crew of the GOP decided they needed an issue to rally the troops before elections this fall, so they picked... marriage?

What the hell? I keep hearing from the lefties what an evil genius political mastermind Rove is, and then something like this goes down? It's wrong on just so many levels...

First, if it's supposed to be an issue to "Energize the Base", then the GOP has well and truly forgotten what its base is. The GOP is the party of small government and laissez-faire economic policy. During the Cold War, it also became a haven for foreign policy hawks. Only in the 1980 elections did it actively court the religious vote in order to help get Reagan elected (let's not forget that in 1976, Jimmy Carter was the devout candidate.) Unfortunately, along with the religious views came a lot of William Jennings Bryan-esque populist twaddle that only served to turn off a lot of the core supporters of the GOP. Crappy ideas like fiddling with the Constitution over dumb stuff like this will only serve to alienate them further. It's so... so... déclassé.

Second, it's nowhere near the surefire hit that its supporters imagine it to be. I remember a thread on, hardly a hotbed of radical progressives, on the subject that went fifty posts before being closed as off-topic. Responses included:
this actually one of the few times I'm a democrat......
Why would I support this? Marriage is a religious sacrament, and government has no business interfering in it. Let each faith decide whether or not they want to perform same-sex marriages.
No. Doesn't belong in the Constitution.
Sorry, I don't support ammendments to appease the religious fanatic wing of the Republican Party. Republicans are all about "State's Rights*" until they are used in a way they don't like.
I am personally against homosexual marriage, but I don't see why the Constitution needs to get involved in this.
So, yeah, good job energizing the base, there, guys. Best of luck to you on that.

Lastly, this is just not a matter for the Constitution; it's akin to putting zoning laws or CAFE fuel-economy regulations in there. The Constitution is short, sweet, and the BIOS for running this nation's government. It contains nothing but definitions of the branches of government, short lists of what they can and can't do, a few bits about how they can finance their activities, and... well, that's it. That's all that's in there. Nothing about morals or billboards on the side of freeways or speed limits or drugs or anything. Just instructions on how to make and run a government. The last time we tried an amendment that had nothing to do with the purpose of the Constitution, all we got out of the deal was the Mafia and decades of bad gangster movies.

Can't we learn from that lesson?

(This topic has been done better at The Munchkin Wrangler and SayUncle.)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Word of the Day: How to speak Tamarese.

Whamdigious: (wŏm-dĭdj'-yŭs) adj.

1. Of exceedingly large size; whopping, gynormous. "I wanted to buy a tee shirt, but the only kinds they had left were babydolls too small to fit on an actual baby doll and these whamdigious ones I could have used for a pup tent."

Blog Stuff: Scientists gaze at Gaia's navel.

Using NASA's GRACE satellites, packed to the gills with accelerometers, star cameras, and other Big Science gizmos, scientists peeked up Gaia's frozen Antarctic skirt and discovered the remains of an impact crater so gynormous that you could toss the state of South Carolina in and hit nothing but net. Given the age and size, the crater was immediately picked out of a police lineup by eyewitnesses, who claim it wiped out 70% of all land-dwelling life some 250 million years ago, as well as shoving Australia northwards towards its eventual fender-bender with Eurasia. Scientists studying the Chicxulub Crater point out that, although theirs is a mere zit next to this newly discovered giant hickey on Gaia's crust, dinosaurs are still a lot cooler than trilobites.

D-Day, H-Hour.

At this moment, 0630 hours Normandy time, sixty-two years ago today, the bow ramps dropped on landing craft off the beaches of France, and a generation of young American men would stumble off them, through the bullet-churned water, and into immortality.
Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Forces: You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!

Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.
With those words from General Eisenhower in their pockets, the men of the 29th and 1st Infantry Divisions went ashore at Omaha beach. Largely inexperienced, facing tricky tides, clever beach defenses, and the murderously accurate fire of the veteran German 352nd Infantry Division, they floundered through the blood-streaked surf to the rocky shingle of the French coast. Despite hideous losses (A Company, of the 116th Regiment, landing in the zone known as "Dog White", within minutes had only a couple of dozen men left out of 200; only one officer was still alive as of 0640, and all their sergeants were dead or wounded,) they fought on and secured the beaches.

If Waterloo is the defining moment of British arms, and Stalingrad is the symbol for the Russian army, then surely Omaha Beach stands as the mark of the American soldier. Despite blunders and confusion, chaos and disorder, and casualties our generation seems unable to fathom, those untried troops fought their way ashore through everything that was thrown against them, and prevailed. They helped keep the light of freedom shining over half a continent through the dark years to come.

We owe them.


Monday, June 05, 2006

In case you were wondering...

...where your tax dollars are going.

While you are working today, slaving away to the time clock, every hour on the hour you should hear Mr. Theon Johnson's voice in your head saying “I spent my money just the way I wanted, and I think [fema] should send me some more”.

I'd type more, but I need to hop in the car and go sweat to pay Theon's cable bill.

Boomsticks: My first big bore rifle.

Well, that's not strictly true; I have a couple of rifles with 11mm bores, a 10.4mm, and a .577-450, but those are all black powder cartridge guns. The .405 Winchester T/C Encore is, however, my first big-bore smokeless cartridge rifle.

First released in 1904, the .405 Winchester was designed for, and remains romantically tied to, the Winchester Model 1895 lever-action rifle. Despite a moment of glory in Teddy Roosevelt's African adventures, the cartridge never really caught on with American shooters. Punishing recoil in the old-fashioned '95 with its crescent butt plate, plus a rainbow trajectory, meant that it just wasn't the gun for North American big game hunting.

With the re-introduction of the 1895, the .405 Win came back in a wave of nostalgia, currently being loaded by Hornady in both a 300gr softpoint and a 300gr Interlock spire-point (shown at right with a .223, a .308, and a .30-'06 for scale.) The Hornady load throws the 300gr .411" bullet at 2200 feet per second, which gives a satifying 3,220 ft-lb thump. Though a little short on sectional density for elephants, rhinos, and Cape Buff, it's still an ideal stopper on hogs and black bear, which I'm far more likely to have the chance to actually get to hunt here in Tennessee. If Jumbo escapes from the zoo, I'll just need to get a .416 Rigby barrel for the Encore. :)

The minions are increasing their firepower...

Dr. Strangegun got a toadsticker for the end of his SMLE ShtLE.

Thing One finished putting together his very first M4gery.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Blog Stuff: Happy to be me.

So this morning it was 75 degrees, low humidity, the sky was "severe clear" (as the pilots I used to work around termed it), the top was down on the Beemer, and "Red Barchetta" by Rush was blaring on the car stereo as I wended my way through the twisty farm roads in a pur sang sports car on my way to work. I was having a difficult time feeling sorry for myself.

After work, I again dropped the top on the Zed Three and blitzed home down the same roads. Then I sat on the porch, lit a couple of candles, and watched a smoulderingly gorgeous sunset across the lake. I wouldn't have traded places with anybody on the planet. At times like this, it must suck not being me. ;)

Blog Stuff: You have got to be kidding me.

I grew up scared to death of the End Times. Having sat through my share of fire 'n' brimstone revivals, I was worried that I might move and Jesus wouldn't get my Change of Address card, and then I'd get stuck here for seven years of locusts, acne, forehead tattoos, and wormwood. When the Left Behind series of books came out, I just didn't get the appeal. How can you write a gripping page-turner when some guy named John leaked the ending of your thriller to the world over sixteen hundred years ago?

Now in the same Mack Bolan Versus The Demon-Possessed Gunsels Of The Antichrist theme, we have a video game: Grand Theft Auto: The Whore of Babylon.
· Control more than 30 unit types - from Prayer Warrior and Hellraiser to Spies, Special Forces and Battle Tanks!
Prayer Warriors and Battle Tanks! What more could a kid want? Get this, you lose points for killing the bad guys. (What the hell are the Battle Tanks for, then?) There's some marketing genius for you. I'm gonna guess it can't be a grand strategy game, since you already know which side's going to win.

Raise your hand if you think any kid is actually going to spend their own newspaper route money on this dog? "Hey, kids! It's new, unsweetened fiber crunch! It tastes like crap, but it's good for you!"

(H/T to Kit.)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Overheard At Work...

Salesguy: "So, your Anti-Supernatural kit would have holy water, silver bullets... Basically everything you need for monster hunting. All packaged in tactical black nylon; sort of 'Black Arts meets Black Ops.' Goth kids would snatch it up in droves."

Me: "That'd be your anti-monster kit, then. What would you have in an Anti-Goth kit?"

Salesguy: "An Army recruiter with a stack of job applications."

Friday, June 02, 2006

Boomsticks: Carnival of Cordite No. LXI... up over at Gullyborg's. This time I stayed awake through the submission deadline. :)

Of special note, Zendo Deb has a link to some video footage that shows why it's good to be Mike Dillon.

Word of the Day: How to speak Tamarese.

Sh_t tickets: (shĭt tĭk'-ĕts) n.

1. Toilet paper: "Whoah! Don't go in there yet! We're fresh out of sh_t tickets!"

Boomsticks: Gratuitous Gun Pr0n No. 31

On Memorial Day, I wanted to do an evocative photo that would stand alone as my post for the day. I went into the museum, grabbed my Garand, M1917, and Springfield and (pulling the bayonets off the latter two) dragged them and my camera outside. I set the rifles up in the field across the road, intending to get either a fairly abstract closeup of the old warhorses, or maybe a starker, longer shot, with the holiday boaters on the lake in the background under a clear blue sky and the rifles small in the foreground.

I stacked arms and spent the better part of twenty minutes filling a memory card full of images, in the process getting some nice shots of the 1943 Springfield Garand, the 1919 M1903 Mark I, and the Eddystone M1917, but when I got back inside, nothing really grabbed me. Oh, I had some swell shots for later "From The Vault..." posts, but nothing really said "Memorial Day."

Reluctantly, I started returning the rifles to their resting places in the museum, and then, as I clicked the bayonet on the Garand, the muse struck. I went jogging back across the road, rifle in hand, and took the picture seen in this post. Composition-wise, it's my favorite: holiday boaters on the lake in the background, infinite blue heavens above, and the stark, solitary inverted Garand overlooking the scene. Still, though, despite finally having "The Picture" I was looking for, I wondered what to do with some of the better outtakes from the first session. Why not go 'head and share some of those too? So here they are... :)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Politics: Pork shortfall.

Fewer tax dollars from Dubuque hair stylists will be going to pay for the business cards of Homeland Security officials in New York City this year, thanks to revised funding levels from the DHS. City officials in NYC and Washington, distressed to find that their aides, leeches, and other assorted hangers-on will be forced to fart through high-thread-count cotton instead of the promised silk, immediately denounced President Bush. Sen. Chuck Schumer (Ass, NY) lost no time in making redneck jokes:
"Other states that have very little problems got an increase," he said at a news conference. "Georgia got a 40 percent increase. Somehow this administration thinks that Georgia peanut farmers are more at risk than the Empire State Building. Something is dramatically wrong."
I dunno, maybe there was some concern that Kings Bay and the Savannah River Plant were more vital national resources than yet another run of Andrew Lloyd Weber musicals. Yes, it's still federal pork, but shouldn't some of us dumb hicks and yokels unfortunate enough to not live in the Big Apple get a chance to squander some of it too?

Politics: In other news...

Hillary Clinton has apparently been endorsed as a Democratic party candidate for the Romulan senate...