Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Breaking News: Was it a conspiracy?

Who really destroyed the Death Star?
8) How could a single missile destroy a battle station the size of a moon? No records, anywhere, show that any battle station or capital ship has ever been destroyed by a single missile. Furthermore, analysis of the tape of the last moments of the Death Star show numerous small explosions along its surface, prior to it exploding completely! Why does all evidence indicate that strategically placed explosives, not a single missile, is what destroyed the Death Star?
This was obviously all an excuse to drum up fear in imperial subjects so they'd support seizing the Ewok territories on the forest moon of Endor for their valuable granola mines and teddy bear factories.

Barmy Prince Charlie

That noted fan of quackery and superstition, son of the world's richest welfare recipient and future sovereign of the British Isles, took time out from his glad-handing tour of the Middle East to state that he thought McDonald's should be banned, since doing so was the key to everyone eating healthier.

We are not amused.

H.R. 1096.

Obviously, this has no chance of going anywhere, and is just a quixotic statement showing that his heart's in the right place, but still...

Ron Paul, you magnificent bastard, you've got my vote.

(H/T to Parallax Adjustment.)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Boomsticks: I hadn't seen this yet...

...but here's a chronology of the President's Day Massacree, including details of how we all got our marching orders from the NRA.

Poor Lefties; they've been playing on astroturf so long that they don't know grassroots even when fed a mouthful of divot.

Politics: Oh, it's fixed, alright...

From comments here:
"CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Meat cuts vanished from Venezuelan supermarkets this week, leaving only unsavory bits like chicken feet, while costly artificial sweeteners have increasingly replaced sugar, and many staples sell far above government-fixed prices...."
"Government-fixed prices". Pphhhtthhtt!

The government fixes prices like Tony Soprano fixes squealers.

H.B. 1022: I'll take "Dumb Laws" for $500, Alex...

Anybody with the reading skills of a five-year old and a modicum of self-honesty now understands that the Assault Weapons Ban (better termed the "Scary-Looking Guns" ban) of 1994 was a complete flop. It had zero effect on crime, affected guns that were hardly ever used in crimes, and attempted to come up with a list of largely cosmetic features by which a gun would be determined to be an "Assault Weapon". Gun manufacturers simply deleted these features, changed the names of their guns, and continued production.

If anything, it spurred interest in these guns. Before 1994, AR15's and FALs were niche guns, while AK and SKS type rifles mostly appealed to plinkers on a budget, due to their low entry cost and the availability of plentiful and cheap imported ammunition. During the ban years, whole cottage industries sprang up around these firearms, now glowing with the electric appeal of forbidden fruit, and these days it is a rare shooter who doesn't own at least one "Evil Black Rifle", possibly one that they have built from the ground up out of a kit.

The ban drew derision from those knowledgeable about the gun industry, since the guns it specifically mentioned by name were obviously selected by grabbing a Gun Digest and picking out the pictures of the most belligerent-looking heaters, without regard for price or actual availability. For instance, it named both the Fabrique Nationale FNC and the Beretta AR-70; both of which had been banned from importation back in 1989, as a result of which only a few hundred examples of each existed in the country, mostly sitting in collector's safes, protected from actual use by their scarcity-inflated four-figure price tags.

Photo courtesy of Oleg Volk

Now with H.B. 1022, it's obvious that they want to try again, only harder. They've expanded their "evil features" list to include the nebulously-defined "barrel shroud", described in such a way that the French Walnut forearm on grandpa's Belgian BAR disqualifies it, since it "partly or completely encircles the barrel" and is there to prevent the shooter's hand from being burned. We're again seeing the results of letting people who know nothing about something try to regulate that very thing. It's as if a guy who's never been to the zoo is writing a bill outlawing elephants, which are defined as "four-legged mammals with tusks".

All questions of whether this passes the Constitutionality sniff test aside, it's stuff like this that really erodes what little faith in government I have, (...and that ain't much, folks.) If they're this astoundingly inept when writing legislation about an industry I'm familiar with, then they are probably also equally clueless when writing legislation to muck up other industries I don't know anything about, such as agriculture or banking. Now that's scary.


A Not-Very-Smart bomb self-detonated outside the gates of Bagram AFB, missing VP Cheney, allegedly his target, by approximately half a mile but killing fourteen and wounding a dozen more.

No word yet if any bicycles were involved.

Politics: He's so retro.

"The privatization of oil in Venezuela has come to an end."
-VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ ordering the take over of oil projects run by foreign companies in Venezuela's Orinoco River region
Nationalizing industry; that's so... so 20th Century...

(And it worked so well the first time around, too.)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Blog Stuff: Well, it's certainly been good for some hits...

Blog Stuff: A confession.

I have a confession to make.

The last time I watched the Oscars was, like, fifteen years ago, and that was because it was on at the laundromat. I occasionally glanced up from my James Burke to check my laundry and note that the acceptance speech for "Best Best boy", or whatever, seemed to be nothing but a tedious thank you list, crediting Jesus, his pet border collie, and his parents for giving him the wisdom to pick the right extension cord.

Why would I watch? I'm not going to learn anything. It doesn't contain information about new movies; it's all about the movies of the past year. I already know which of those I liked, and what I liked about them. I'm also aware of whether critics liked them or not. It's not like I'm going to experience some astounding revelation like "Oh, I thought Titanic was a tedious bore, but it just won Best Picture, so I guess I'll like it now." If I thought a movie was good, I've already rewarded it the best way I know how: By forking over my hard-earned shekels to watch it a couple or three times.

They say a billion people were tuned in yesterday. Think about the real implications of that for a moment. That means that one billion of my fellow h. saps had nothing better to do on a Sunday night than watch a bunch of people they don't know (and probably wouldn't like if they did) go to a party they weren't invited to, and talk about what they were wearing. I suppose this must provide some pleasurable stimulus for the viewer, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what it is...

Quote of the Day:

"So... they're giving Oscars to PowerPoint presentations now?" -Gunsmith Bob

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Blog Stuff: I guess I know what I'll be doing after work tonight...

Google searches on "Jim Zumbo" are pulling in the illiterati in droves.

Lots of grist for the snark mill, there.

Can't hardly wait... :)

Blog Stuff: Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you...

...happy belaaated biiirthday, dear LawDog.

Have another good year. :)

Boomsticks: On second thought...

...maybe they are "terrorist guns".


Clouseau could connect these dots...

Iran is steadfastly refusing to cooperate with the UN on halting their nuclear program, which they insist is for power generation, not making bombs.

Iran has just announced a successful rocket launch; part of a peaceful communications satellite program, they say.

Color me and Cheney skeptical.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Couldn't have happened to nicer guys.

Apparently a group of terrorists in eastern Pakistan were a little iffy on fuse timing, but great at comedic timing.

The mental picture of some guy in a robe riding a bicycle down the road and suddenly exploding is going to keep me chuckling for the rest of the day. :)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Busy day in history.

Marx and Engels published the Communist Manifesto, causing Castro to nationalize all businesses in Cuba. Meanwhile, Crick & Watson discovered the structure of the DNA molecule while assassinating Malcolm X, causing Nixon to go to China in an attempt to keep Kamikazes from sinking the Bismark Sea at the Battle of Verdun.

Folks seem to get busy on February 21.


...who didn't see that coming?

You're nobody until you have a suite at Betty Ford.

Edited to add: I have finally found something that is impossible to make fun of. It is so hilarious in and of itself that any additional snark would subtract from, rather than add to, its intrinsic humor. Behold: Hair extensions, a Red Bull can, and a Bic lighter. All it's missing is the keys to a dented '77 Camaro.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

An Army of Davids, illustrated.

On Friday evening, a gunwriter who was apparently tired of his 42-year career put his word processor in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

Ten years ago, had his statement survived the editorial process and made it into print, we would have seen a handful of cherry-picked letters on the "Letters to the Editor" page of Outdoor life, and things would have pretty much proceeded along at status quo ante. Not now. Not today.

Here's what happens today:

Friday Night: Jim Zumbo, a paid writer of the old-school print and TV media, posts his now-legendary screwup on his new-fangled blog, without benefit of editorial restraint.

Saturday Night: The news breaks on ARFCOM, one of the busiest internet gun boards, with almost 200,000 members.

Sunday AM: Word hits the blogosphere. The head honcho of Zumbo's largest sponsor, Remington CEO Greg Millner, is alerted to the spreading conflagration while on the road in Europe, and posts on Zumbo's site that Remington is "reconsidering" its relationship with Jim.

Sunday PM: Megablog Instapundit (ironically, home of the author of An Army of Davids) and FreeRepublic pick up the story. Millner posts that they are severing their ties with Zumbo and an official presser will be released tomorrow. No equivocation about "our legal department is looking into contracts" like Gerber finally announced on Monday. This is unsurprising: Gerber is a knife company, while Remington is a firearms company. I can guarantee that Millner only needed to say three words into his cell phone to get the ball rolling back in Ilion: Smith. And. Wesson.

Monday AM: Remington's main web page is altered to announce the ash canning of Zumbo. Gun boards and blogs across the 'net respond by enthusiastically announcing their intent to buy Remington products.

...and that's how that works.

Religion of Peaceful Arguments.

A Sunni Muslim cabdriver from Somalia engaged two of his fares in a religious dispute Sunday morning in Nashville, TN. Apparently unhappy with their take on things, he re-entered his cab, accelerated to ramming speed, jumped a curb, and attempted to run both men down. He was 50% successful, and is being held on $300,000 bond on charges of attempted homicide and license plate thievery. Authorites are unsure of the motive for the attack, saying they don't want to rush to blame the man's religion.

Using an IED to make an IWMD.

Terrorists in Taji, Iraq killed six and wounded over one hundred by detonating a bomb on a tanker truck full of chlorine. Luckily they did it in a small village, rather than the middle of Baghdad, or the casualty total from the gas cloud would have no doubt been larger.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Thank you, Remington.

I may have mentioned that I buy a box of .22LR ammunition pretty much every day.

I think that today I'll be buying some Remington.

Can open. Worms everywhere.

Well, that didn't take long.

It's bad enough when a few blogs are talking about you, but when your worst faux pas ever gets linked on FreeRepublic,, and Instapundit, you are slated to receive server-crashing amounts of disapproval. As cancelled subscriptions mounted, Outdoor Life editor John Snow attempted to both distance himself and stand by his man at the same time:
I’ve been friends with Jim for many years and have shared countless great times with him talking about both hunting and guns. While I totally support Jim’s right to express his point of view—this is his blog after all—I don’t happen to agree with him on this matter.
That said, I don’t expect every other hunter and sportsman out there to have a set of opinions that moves in lockstep with mine. So while I don’t share Jim’s view on this, I also know that he is still the same wonderfully talented and good-natured person he was before this post went up. For those of you who have followed him for all or part of his more than thirty years at Outdoor Life, I would ask you to bear that in mind before damning him with personal attacks.
Meanwhile, Tommy Millner, CEO of Remington, reacted like a man who'd just discovered a cobra in his sleeping bag. Distancing his company from Zumbo so far and so fast that physicists are examining the incident as proof of teleportation, Millner spammed the 'net with comments like this email to the site administrator of GlockTalk:
You may feel free to advise your people of the following.

Remington is shocked and dissappointed by the comments of Jim zumbo which have been widely circulated on the web. These comments do not reflect either my own feelings or those of my company!

Accordingly we are severing all business ties with Mr zumbo and any of his companies effective immediately and will make a formal release tomorrow to this effect.

We appreciate the passionate support of our right to bear arm arms by all in the shooting sports.


Tommy millner
Zumbo himself, with "Career Flameout" alarms blaring in his ears, issued a hand-wringing retraction:
Someone once said that to err is human. I just erred, and made without question, the biggest blunder in my 42 years of writing hunting articles.

My blog inflamed legions of people I love most..... hunters and shooters. Obviously, when I wrote that blog, I activated my mouth before engaging my brain...
Unfortunately, the apology rang hollow on several notes:

1) The initial premise, which was that he'd had himself a rough day hunting, and therefore inexplicably and off the cuff called weapons used by millions of American gun owners, peace officers, and servicemen "terrorist rifles" because he was cold and tired. Sorry, Zumbo, but in whino veritas. You meant what you said when you typed it. If it hadn't already existed in your mind, it never would have come out your fingertips.

2) The lack of comprehension regarding the 2nd Amendment is still there. In effect, Zumbo says "Oh, hunters use these things? Maybe they're okay then." Jim, it wouldn't matter whether or not any hunter had ever hunted anything with an AR-15, because the Second Amendment has damn-all to do with hunting. It does not say "A nicely mounted buck trophy being necessary to the security of a free state..." you tool.

3) His attempts to buy his way out with name dropping and past associations are illuminating in ways he probably didn't intend for them to be. When he mentioned how much he loves the NRA, my first thought was "...and it's people like you who keep the NRA from being the uncompromising 800-lb gorilla the lefty media portrays it to be."

So, Jim, I remain unconvinced. You've exposed your true colors, saddened longtime fans, and empowered our enemies (to the extent of offering them a new shibboleth to use in the fight for H.R. 1022; "terrorist rifles", indeed.)

I hope you freeze in the dark.

You can take the girl out of the trailer park...

...but you just can't get the trailer park out of the girl.

Probably the most disturbing part of the whole thing, at least to me, is this:
Derrik Snell, who works at the tattoo parlor, said Spears showed up without notice and stayed for about 90 minutes as about 60 fans, photographers and gawkers gathered outside.
In other words, the word that Britney was inside the tattoo parlor was enough to cause otherwise-sane passersby to stop and gawk through a tattoo parlor window as though there was some spectacle worth seeing in there.

I don't get it.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Boomsticks: Who the hell is Jim Zumbo?

Wow, strip off that down-home looking camo, and underneath it this guy is wearing a pink Million Mom March tee shirt.

I must be living in a vacuum. The guides on our hunt tell me that the use of AR and AK rifles have a rapidly growing following among hunters, especially prairie dog hunters. I had no clue. Only once in my life have I ever seen anyone using one of these firearms.
I don't know about living in a vacuum, Jimbo, but you do seem to be carrying one around between your ears. To claim to be an active varmint or predator hunter and yet completely unaware of the popularity of the AR-15 in that market stretches credulity to the limit.
I call them "assault" rifles, which may upset some people. Excuse me, maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity. I'll go so far as to call them "terrorist" rifles. They tell me that some companies are producing assault rifles that are "tackdrivers."
I guess you've never been to an NRA High Power match, either. What the hell kind of shooting enthusiast are you? You've managed to make yourself sound like a wet-behind-the-ears neophyte completely unaware of the state of the shooting sports in this country, not a "traditionalist".
Sorry, folks, in my humble opinion, these things have no place in hunting. We don't need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them, which is an obvious concern. I've always been comfortable with the statement that hunters don't use assault rifles. We've always been proud of our "sporting firearms."
Ah, here we reach the rub. Listen, you gun-banning cretin: An argument could be made (and has been, by the Supreme Court in the Miller decision) that your hunting guns are not Constitutionally protected at all, except those that meet the requirements for militia service. In other words, if you have any scoped bolt guns in a service caliber, such as 5.56mm or 7.62 NATO, those are golden, but the .17 Remington 'chuck-popper you were fawning over in your name-dropping opening paragraph is a toy that is completely irrelevent to the spirit and intent of the Second Amendment.

Your attempt to throw me out of the sleigh, hoping that the wolves would be satisfied with my AR and would leave your precious bambi-zapper alone, is the most craven act of contemptible cowardice I've seen in a while. Now that I'm aware of your anti-gun nature, I'll be sure to cancel the one subscription to Outdoor Life that I have control over, and urge everyone else I know who subscribes to cancel theirs as well. Maybe after they ash-can you, you can go write policy columns for the Brady Center or the VPC.

I'm sure they'd love your little camouflage outfit and folksy wit. They'd find a place for you; after all, you're an "Authentic Gun Guy". *spit*

(H/T to The Unforgiving Minute.)

The Car meme...

Sunday morning. Head a little fuzzy from last night's excellent Rogue Old Crustacean Barleywine. What to blog about? What to blog about? Oh, goody! A meme!

1) Cars I wish I'd never gotten rid of.

This one's tough, because I've owned a lot of vehicles over the years. There was the 327-powered Chevy Monza, which was totally impractical as a day-to-day driver but too much fun to leave parked. There was a Guards Red '85 Porsche 924S, which was probably my favorite ride other than my current Z3. The one I really regret selling is purely for financial reasons. In 1987 or so, I briefly owned a 1970 Pontiac GTO. It was a tired ex-drag racer, with its fenderwells cut out and a wheezy Pontiac 350 toiling in the engine bay where the big motor used to live, but it was all intact except for some minor dents. Heck, the power windows still worked. I wish I'd put all the money I wasted on the three or four subsequent cars into restoring that one, and cashed out at the peak of the muscle car bubble in the early '90s.

2) Cars I wish I'd never owned.

When the transmission finally gave up the ghost on the 924S, I was forced to buy an Emergency Car. You know, the cheapest thing with wheels that would hold me over, getting me to and from work and the grocery store until a large bonus check showed up three months down the road. I spent those three months sentenced to a 198... 2? '83? (I'm blocking out the awful memory) Dodge Aries. This car, from the dark ages of automotive performance, was saddled with all the modern safety and emissions requirements, and didn't have a microchip to its name, so all the EPA-mandated engine shenanigans had to be controlled with vacuum lines. Miles and miles and miles of dried out, cracked, leaking vacuum lines, designed to leave you stranded at the most inopportune times and places. At least it was slow and ugly and handled like crap. When I got my check, I bought an '86 Fiero 2M6 SE (a story in itself) and gave the Dodge to a friend who needed a car for free, as a gift. We're no longer speaking to each other.

Surf's up!

Hello, Ashgabat!

I'm waiting for my first hit from Turkmenistan, now that crotchety old Niyazov is dead and his replacement, whose name I will not even attempt to pronounce, is turning out to be such a party animal.

Internet cafes! Next thing you know, they'll stop tapping people's phones and allow opposition political parties, and where will that all lead?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Blog Stuff: Notes from a day off.

So, with a whole day to do it and a whole list of things to do, I managed to...

...get my laundry done.

See, the whole plan for the day was contingent on me rolling out the door at 10:00AM, hitting the bank, the oil change joint, dropping my clothes off at the wash-n-fold, strafing Borders, eating at the Chop House, picking up my clothes, swinging by McScrooge's to lay in the weekend supply of Ruination, and lastly, hitting Kroger for a 12-pack of Vault Zero and some odds and ends.

Things began to fall apart because Lois McMaster Bujold is entirely too entertaining a writer. I was reading Young Miles (specifically, The Warrior's Apprentice) and enjoying myself so thoroughly that... whoops! Is it noon thirty already? Well, we can wait on the oil change 'til Monday morning; just a few more pages here... Next thing I knew, it was one thirty, and the three hours of sleep I'd gotten the night before were starting to tell. I set the alarm clock and went face-down for an hour's nap.

So, out the door, through the bank drive-thru, drop off the clothes, and off on our second mission: Hitting Borders to acquire a copy of Kildar. See, PDB and ColtCCO's enthusiastic reviews convinced me to buy Ghost. I read it and loved its sheer over-the-top cartoonery and wanted more. I'd hit Borders at Turkey Creek on the way home Wednesday night, and they only had Ghost and the third and fourth volumes in the series; I needed the second. So now I rolled into Borders at West Town. Unfortunately they also only had the 3rd and 4th books. Ditto Barnes & Noble. Likewise, Books-A-Million. AAaaarrgghh! Someone has snuck through town and bought every copy of the secong book in the series, while taunting me by leaving the later books on the shelves. Thank gawd for Amazon.

All this swanning about, in and out of bookstores had left me stranded on Kingston Pike, deep in the heart of West Knoxville, at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. I ducked into the Chop House as much to escape the gridlock as to eat a steak. Which, as it turns out, will probably be my last steak from the Chop House, since the little table tent informed me that they are caving in to the whiners and busybodies and eliminating their smoking section on Monday. Let's see... I've eaten there twice a month at $40 a lick for the past three or four years... How much is that? Anyway, I hope they invest it wisely, 'cause I won't be spending my money there anymore.

After the dismal news at the Chop House, I suppose that I shouldn't have been surprised that McScrooge's was slap out of both Ruination and White Hawk IPA. That was pretty much the cherry on the icing of the cake of my day. I picked up my clothes, decided to skip Kroger, grabbed sodas from the Unterweigel's, and slunk home with my tail between my legs before fate could kick me in the ribs again.

At least the sunset was gorgeous and Lois Bujold was as entertaining to read in the evening as she was in the morning. From what I can tell, the Vorkosigan series promises me hours and hours and hours of Hugo-winning reading for the forseeable future.

And now it's back to work.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Boomsticks: The superamazing rimfire.

WWJWD? has a post up on the survival virtues of the rimfire rifle. Good reading, but I'd like to make a couple of additions:

1) On the value of ammo:

Jeff Cooper once referred to .22LR ammunition in a future crisis situation as "ballistic wampum". Even in the absence of a world where shirtless guys are running about the desert with colanders strapped to their faces, this description rings true. Ammunition prices are inexorably tied to metals prices, and with metals looking to stay expensive, ammo isn't going to get any cheaper. I make a habit of trying to buy a box of .22 every day. True, I shoot every day at work, but I rarely use the whole box. The remainder gets dumped into ammo cans where it will sit until needed for shooting or as trade fodder. Simply put, you can never have too many .22LR rounds on hand.

2) On useful rifles:

The Ruger 10/22 is, no doubt, an excellent rifle. It has ascended to that plateau of firearms ubiquity (shared only by the M1911, AR-15, and Remington 700) where you can build a complete example of the gun, from the ground up, without using a single part from the original manufacturer. However it is slightly hampered in the versatility department by its box magazine feed. Two equally excellent tube-magazine guns, the semiauto Remington 552 Speedmaster and the lever-action Browning BL-22, will feed shorts, longs, and long rifle cartridges, as well as functioning with colibris, CB's, and shotshells (albeit as a manually-operated straight-pull, in the case of the 552.)

3) The training option:

If you're a user of the 1911 and AR-15, Ciener makes conversion kits for both your pistol and rifle. Cheap training, small game hunting, and pest control with your primary sidearm and long gun.

4) Ssshhhh!

A Gemtech Outback II is less than $600 out-the-door, including TN sales tax and $200 tax stamp.

H/T to SayUncle.

Blog Stuff: Funny Ha-Ha.

So, Cowboy Blob has another one of his caption contests up. This one I couldn't resist.

In other news, Pelosi-era budget cuts struck the Air Force particularly hard...


In an effort to be more eco-friendly, the Defense Department has ordered the armed forces to explore alternative forms of power.

Makes me want to burn a rainforest, actually.

What demographic is this supposed to convince, anyway?

My first thought was that this whiny little brat was a strong argument for the return of corporal punishment to the schools. When he got really snotty about two-thirds of the way in, only the fact that he was separated from me by a monitor screen kept me from running a hose from the tailpipe of my Beemer down his throat. Have some greenhouse gasses, junior.

If we want to regain the respect of the world, we should begin by announcing that children have no business expressing opinions on anything except "Do you have enough room in the toes?" -Florence King

H/T to Victory Soap.

Okay, now...

This really isn't very funny anymore.

1/31/07: Never Forget.

Courtesy of Conservative Scalawag.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

109 years ago today...

...the battleship USS Maine blew up and sank in Havana harbor. propelling the nation towards war with Spain.

The hate that dare not speak its name.

When is a terrorist not a terrorist?


If you're a young Islamic male and you go and kill people in Israel or Iraq, you're a terrorist.

If you do it in America, you're just a crazy loner.

Los Angeles, Washington DC, Chapel Hill, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Salt Lake City.

A lone guy, who just happens to be a Muslim, flips out and kills a bunch of people, random strangers, for no adequately explained reason...

Nothing to see here, people; move along.

Politics: You might be a crazy dictator if...

You make Valentine's Day speeches with weird asides to Condoleeza Rice, while intermittently blurting out "Death to the empire!"

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

...and then there were none.

Now that the second one has officially stepped down, all the flap over the two chicks tapped as "Official Bloggers" for the Edwards campaign has left me more stumped than anything else.

For starters, "Official Blog" makes about as much sense to me as "jumbo shrimp". All the best blogs on teh intarw3bz are some gal or guy, basically on their own stick, giving their view of the world. Not the Dems' view. Not Edwards' view. Theirs. The very thought of being someone else's diarist is bizarre, at best.

Second, what nutjob signed off on these particular two bloggers? I'll admit that I've never read them, and probably never will, but come on! From the excerpts I've read, this was about as dumb as it would be for some GOP candidate to tap Emperor Misha I and Kim du Toit to be their mouthpieces on the net. Not just a poorly researched choice, but honest-to-Wotan Strategic Intercontinental Stupidity. In a modern election campaign, every bit of muck that can be raked will be raked. If the lady that answers phones for you once blurted out "Shit!" in the middle of her third grade school Christmas play, it will be all over the internet as soon as the guy who played one of the wise men recognizes her name.

So ixnay on the "Official Bloggers": If a blogger likes you, you get the ink for free, the blogger keeps their indie cred, and everybody's happy.

This post sponsored by the Ron Paul For President Campaign. Just kidding.

The Munchkin turns two...

...his Wrangler has pics.

Politics: That's a strange new usage of the word...

So, the Democrats' Iraq resolution goes
"Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving, or who have served, bravely and honorably in Iraq."
...just not with money or reinforcements or anything like that. Only vague waves of warm & fuzzy support.

Humvees don't run on support, neither can you patrol Fallujah with it.

Kansas rejoins the present, for now.

At least until the next election cycle, evolution has returned to Kansas textbooks, depriving comedians world-wide of an easy source of punchlines.
"There seems to be a pattern," said board member Steve Abrams. "Anything that might question the veracity of evolution is deleted."
That's right, Steve, there "seems to be a pattern." You'll note that they also purged everything that questioned the validity of gravity. It's a conspiracy, I tell you.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Boomsticks: Gratuitous Gun Pr0n No. 39

Some long-overdue AR pr0n:

Superior Arms lower, DPMS 6.8 SPC AP4 upper, Vltor CASV-EL rail system, Magpul M93B stock, Leupold CQ/T optic on ARMS throw-lever mount, Ergo grip, GG&G vertical foregrip, PentagonLight MX-2 xenon light, Specter CQB single-point sling, and a partridge in a pear tree.

(Oh, and I made this. :) )

Call me suspicious...

This morning's two headline stories at

Gunman kills 5 at Utah mall, police say


Four dead in murders-suicide at Philadelphia firm

caused me to wonder what anti-2nd Amendment legislation is floating around Congress at the moment. Not that I'm given to wearing Reynold's Wrap yarmulkes, but whenever a national victim disarmament bill is seeking co-sponsors, a trenchcoat-clad, shotgun-wielding teen splashed all over the front page is, conveniently, never too far behind.

Politics: Eek!

Author Bruce Bethke plumbs a new genre: Political Horror.

(H/T to Oleg.)

Monday, February 12, 2007

I did not know that...

Apparently Harvard's new president comes from Knoxville roots, being a great-something-niece of McGhee Tyson.

Boomsticks: The rules of firearms safety.






I think they went a little light on me.

You Are 81% Misanthropic

You are misanthropic to the point of being scary. In your view, people are a disease.
You may want to lighten up a little - before you become a super villian!

Found it via here.

Something's up...

...when I walk outside to 36 degree temps and, compared to what it's been every morning lately, it feels warm.

Blog Stuff: Change Of Address cards.

PDB and Countertop have ditched blog-city and blogspot, respectively.

PDB may now be found at his shiny new digs right over there, while Countertop is over down that way a bit..

Sunday, February 11, 2007

New US $1 coins...

Apparently these will succeed where others failed because, well, they don't have pictures of women on them.

Good luck with that plan, y'all...

Blog Stuff: I'm cut to the quick...

I've apparently run afoul of the "Caring'N'Compassionate" crowd. They don't even want to know me. So much for the advertising claims of my antiperspirant... :(

Global, Warming. Local, Not So Much.

I can't remember the last time I've seen a two-week stretch of lows in the 20's in all the time I've lived in Tennessee or Georgia.

The wedding was a formal one; her daddy brought his white shotgun.

What would be the only thing cooler than getting married by a drive-thru Elvis?

Getting married on Valentine's Day at a shooting range, that's what.

On Wednesday the 14th, County Commissioner Greg "Lumpy" Lambert will be presiding over free "shotgun" weddings at Coal Creek Armory.

Is that not just the most romantic thing ever? :)

Boomsticks: Historical Geekery.

1) Thanks to a comment of Oleg's, I stumbled across what appears to be the definitive Carcano site on the intarw3bz. From there, I learned that my Beretta-manufactured Japanese Type I was made in 1939, and that the correct nomenclature for my little Terni arsenal-manufactured carbine is "Mo. 91/38 Moschetto Cavalleria".

2) If one more person says "Be careful! Those Ross rifles can blow up!" I am going to scream. The Ross was made in three major marks (and a bewildering variety of variations) and only the Mark III, which uses a distinctive interrupted-thread locking system is vulnerable to this. All ex-Canadian military Mk.III rifles were modified at the depot level to prevent this, but the legend remains, much like the legend of cracking Beretta slides hitting you in the face. This is neither here nor there for me, since my Ross is a Mk.II and has an entirely different bolt, but I've been warned by the cognoscenti nonetheless. How many folks who run around repeating this on the internet are aware that the common German Gew.88 Commission Rifle and many of its derivatives, as well as most Mannlichers, can have the bolt inserted without the bolt-head being attached, and will pick up and fire a round in this condition, with predictably disastrous consequences? Anyhow...

Also, for what it's worth, the Mk.III gained its loathed status with Canadian troopies in the Great War for a different reason entirely: It was a jam-o-matic. This seems an odd accusation to hang on a manually-operated repeater, but allow me to explain. The Ross Mk.III was designed to be an extremely strong and accurate rifle, and it was. It used chrome-vanadium steel for the barrel and that, combined with the interrupted-thread lockup has allowed it to withstand chamber pressures up to 150,000 psi in proof tests without failing. The straight-pull bolt also made it very fast to operate. A combination of that fast bolt and the multiple-lug lockup was its Achilles' Heel, though. "Interrupted thread" translates into seven tiny lugs that need to fit into seven precisely machined mortises with no room for grit. Further, the rearmost of these precise little lugs would come into contact with the bolt stop when the bolt was worked vigorously. So imagine our Canadian soldier, shooting at the oncoming Boche, and every time he works the bolt on his rifle, one of the locking lugs is getting a little burr peened up on it by smacking into the bolt stop. He's firing faster, the metal's getting hotter, the burr's getting bigger, and pretty soon he's having to shove the bolt closed with his body weight and kick it open with his heel. The peening problem was eventually fixed with an oversize bolt stop, but the damage had been done, and the rifle was replaced by the eminently more battle-worthy SMLE.

In a bizarre twist that must have made the now-deceased Sir Charles Ross smile, twelve years after his death in 1942, the Soviet team used Lend-Lease Ross Mk.III's rechambered in 7.62x54R to win the running deer event at the '54 World Shooting Championship in Caracas, Venezuela.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Politics: Wonder where he got his data?

Vladimir Putin claimed that it was the USA's almost "uncontained" use of force in the world that was encouraging countries to pursue nuclear weapons. How does he know what their reasons are?

Maybe question number twelve on the enclosed customer service comment card is "Why did you purchase your Genuine Russian Nuclear Device™?"

Friday, February 09, 2007

zomg that's funny.

So, yeah, I linked to a post at Kit's blog this morning. A little bit ago, I realized I'd left the window open in the background and went to close it, but before I did, I noticed a link she has called "Quotes". I had never clicked on that before, so I gave it a clicky to see where it led.

Kit hangs out with some funny people; do not attempt to read that page if you are suffering from broken ribs, or you will laugh so hard you'll cry. Ouch.

Politics: An expansion on yesterday's post...

What left me stunned and agog about Hillary's statement wasn't what she said, it was how she said it.

No American politician in the last century would have been pilloried for saying "I want to create a special tax on the profits of oil companies above a certain threshold, and earmark the revenues for a special fund to be spent on researching technologies to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil." That sounds so peaceful. Nobody would even blink at that statement.

What worries me is that when Senator Clinton came out and said the exact same thing, but in plain English: "I want to take those profits...", they didn't run her down with pitchforks, dogs, and torches. That's nearly out-'n'-out bolshevism, folks, and few seemed to mind.

Boomsticks: Envy.

I'm so jealous!

Okay, okay, that's it. I'm getting with ColtCCO at work and getting the paperwork rolling on a .30 caliber can for my .300 Whisper Mauser (which I'll also be able to use with my 6.8 SPC carbine.)

Boomsticks: An odd realization...

In fifteen years of selling guns, I don't think I've ever sold a Ruger Red Label shotgun. Obviously somebody is buying these things, but they're sure not doing it in front of me.

Blog Stuff: Sorry 'bout this.

I was going to avoid mentioning anything about Anna Nicole Smith on this blog because and are doing such a swell job of it that I'm sure you're all as sick of it as I am. When someone told me yesterday that Anna Nicole Smith had died, I had to flip through my mental card file "Anna Nicole Smith? Anna Nicole Smith? Wasn't she that kinda zaftig chick in those black-and-white Guess jeans ads back in the day? The one that got everybody all a-twitter when she went gold-digging and landed some geriatric gazillionaire?" I was completely unaware that she had popped back above the ground clutter on the media's radar in the last ten years (such is the TV-free life) and now that she's augered in, they're giving her death more ink than they did for President Ford.

So, since there are plenty of celebrity-watching blogs out there eulogizing and scandalizing in all their banner-ad festooned, audio-streaming glory, I figured I'd let them do what they do best, which is pretending to care about Anna Nicole Smith, and I'd stick to doing what I do best, which is making fun of stuff that pretty much has nothing to do with Anna Nicole Smith. That is, until I saw that PETA had released a statement on her demise. The highlight?
A long-time vegetarian who had slimmed down into a stunning beauty when she stopped eating meat,
...and she died at 39, you tree-hugging dingus. I'm her age and, while I lack the dope habit, I do smoke and I eat meat and you don't see me keeling over in any Florida hotels, do you? So there you go: Learn from Anna, go eat some steak today.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Politics: Making Atlas shrug.

"The Democrats know what needs to be done. Again, we're working to try to push this agenda forward. The other day the oil companies reported the highest profits in the history of the world. I want to take those profits..." -Sen. Clinton (Bolshevik, NY)
There you have it: "I want to take those profits."

It's rare that a politician has the sheer stones to come right out in front of a national audience and baldly, openly, and without euphemism say "I want to steal your shit."

Profits, for those of you who fell asleep reading the Cliff's Notes of Wealth of Nations, are what you get in return for working. They are what's left over after all the expenses have been met. They are the reward for doing what you are doing in the first place. If someone can, under color of law, take the very fruits for which you labor in the first place, why work? If they can take your profits, what's to keep them from taking your plant? Or your person? What, at that point, distinguishes you from a slave?

The only difference between Chavez and Clinton is that the former at least openly proclaims himself a socialist and doesn't feel compelled to cover it up with fawning platitudes about the glories of "the middle class". Chavez also seems to have greater respect for following the legal forms and standards of his country.

It's funny 'cause it's true.

1) Host videos for free on teh intarw3bz.

2) ??????

3) Profit!

Is it just me, or are we approaching a point where our entire economy is based on writing, publishing, transporting, and selling books written about the dangers of Tulip Mania?

Boomsticks: Daffynitions.

1) "Assault Rifle": An intermediate caliber, select-fire weapon (capable of both semi- and fully-automatic fire) designed to replace both rifles and submachine guns in the hands of troops.

2) "Assault Weapon": A legal term applied by the justice department in 1989 by executive decree to certain imported semiautomatic firearms with a combination of scary-looking features. In 1994 the definition was expanded to include certain domestically-made guns, but that was again dropped in 2004 after the sunset of the AWB. Ironically, the term "Pre-ban assault weapon" is an oxymoron, since by definition an "Assault Weapon" is a weapon with X combination of features that was built after the ban took effect.

That is all.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Boomsticks: The perils of my hobby...

Collecting old military rifles inevitably leads to trying to research them, learn more about them, place them in an historical context. This is fine if you are collecting, say, U.S. service rifles. The amount of detail known about the M1903 Springfield is downright overwhelming. With one or two reference works, it is possible to decipher the manufacturer and approximate date of origin of nearly every part on the rifle, turning it into a wordless story of the times (and re-arsenallings) it has seen. The resources for the collector of German Mausers or Lee-Enfields are nearly as good, and the recent flurry of interest in the Mosin-Nagant has unlocked most of their mysteries as well.

Not so much for some other rifles, though. Siamese Mausers, for instance. Supposedly some early Siamese Mausers were made at Oberndorf and have one set of defining features, while later ones were made at the Koishikawa Arsenal and have another, but what does it mean when mine has Oberndorf features and Koishikawa markings? I can't seem to find out. Or take the Ross, which was made in three main Marks, and a bewildering variety of sub-types. (The Mark II alone ran from the Mark II and the Mark II* throught the Mark II*****.) Where's the definitive guide to what's what with the Ross? As far as I can tell, there isn't one, and the near total lack of markings on mine isn't helping. It remains a mystery...

Oh, and a bleg: Anyone have a full-length un-bubba'ed Ross Mark II stock they're not using at the moment?

All stove up.

Yup, I definitely cracked some ribs on Sunday. I've broken one before (in almost the exact same location) when my left elbow hit my ribcage during a 60mph dismount on I-285, so I know what a broken rib feels like. This isn't quite as sharp, but there's still a fairly sharp pain associated with taking deep breaths, coughing, stretching.

No, I haven't had it X-rayed. Like I said, this isn't my first busted rib rodeo; I'm not forking over the co-payment to hear the doc say "Yup, you've got a broken rib. Take some aspirin. Have a nice day."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Boomsticks: I'll be facing M'bogo today...

I can smell him, out there in the bush. Rare and elusive; a Ross Mk. II. I've spotted him once before, but he got away.

This time, though, when he charges, I've got a $450-caliber check to bring him down.

(He comes with a set of .303 dies now, too. :) )

Blog Stuff: School's in session...

...headmaster Marko presiding.

Quote of the Day:
Someone's inability to buy vaccine or food or shelter does not constitute a legal or moral claim to the paychecks of those who can. That does not mean there's no charity or good will in a libertarian society, it merely means that if you wish to help the needy, you will not be stopped.

Anybody can do good with other people's money.

The boy can write.

This 'n' That

Islam is apparently like the Hotel California: Even if you were checked in by mistake, you need a court order to check out.

Although it won't pass, it is funny. (And social conservatives deserve stuff like this for torpedoing the party of Goldwater and Reagan.)

Oh, ick. Can't we like, chop off this creep's hand or something? Maybe send him to wherever we're sending suspected terrorists to get roughed up?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Blog Stuff: Weekend Update.

Friday night I went to the book store with Bob the Gunsmith; on the way there his phone rang, and we got diverted to get some peanuts & pecans for his mom. At Wal Mart.

"I don't wanna go to Wal Mart! Can't we go to the grocery store?"

"I just need to run in and get this one thing. It'll be just a minute."

"Bob, it's physically impossible to just 'run in and out' of a Super Wal Mart. Plus, every time I set foot in there, I turn into a raging elitist. I start thinking fond thoughts about eugenics. Genocide seems not only plausible, but attractive. I ponder the feasibility of an IQ-and-good-taste selective lethal virus, maybe triggered by a combination of polyester fumes and singing a certain note heard only in Britney Spears songs..."

"Just last week you were showing me that goofy video on YouTube and going on about how we were all part of the human race..."

"I was drunk at the time, Bob. I don't want to get in the cage with the monkeys, no matter how cute they are on YouTube."

We went to Wal Mart, I didn't get all genocidal (and Merck has yet to get back to me on my designer virus proposal), and we went on to Border's, where I bought the first P.J. O'Rourke book I've ever bought in the Economics section.

Saturday and Sunday were absolutely zoo-like at the shop. Democrats in Congress, the recent heavily publicized carjacking/double murder, and income tax refund time have combined to create a perfect storm in the gun store. We sold like five M4-type AR's on Saturday and Sunday alone. Sunday one of our guys was helping the TN National Guard protect the state from camel-borne invaders, and we were consequently a person short. The range was full and we ran a waiting list all day long.

At one point in the day, I took advantage of a lull to run next door for a pack of smokes. And by "run", I mean "run". I went to hop the fabric erosion control fence at the bott om of the hill, and the toe of my left boot just snagged the top of the fence.


I augered in pretty hard. I tried to tuck my arm and roll onto my left shoulder, but my reflexes aren't quite as catlike as they were, and all I succeeded in doing was pulling my left arm up and out of the way, allowing my entire body weight to crash down on my left boob.


I didn't know the sky could turn that color.

When I regained my breath, I looked around to make sure nobody had seen, then walked into the convenience store. To be greeted by "You okay? Damn, I saw you hit the ground and I was like, 'Oh! She must really be hurt! Get up, Girl!' You sure you're okay?", thereby ensuring that my pride was bruised as thoroughly as my ribs, which still hurt like heck today, thankyouverymuch.

...and that was my weekend.

Boomsticks: Caliber warz.

Reader Anonymous writes "Tam, not meaning to beat a dead horse, but would you be willing to rehash the 6.5 vs 6.8 argument?"


First, it's hard to imagine a horse any deader. That particuly equine isn't just "dead", it is bloating in the sun, all four legs sticking stiffly upright. To boil it down to its essence, 6.5 Grendel is a target round that isn't taking the target-shooting community by storm, while 6.8 SPC is a combat round that isn't being widely adopted by the military. Both will kill something deader than Elvis. 6.5 might be more accurate at a bazillion meters, if that sort of thing's important to you.

Of the two, 6.5 seems more likely to get Betamaxed, though through no particular fault of its own. 6.8 SPC has been embraced by the two 800-lb gorillas of the AR industry, DPMS and Bushmaster, while the Grendel is still mostly the sole province of specialty shops like Alexander Arms and Les Baer (Saber Defense makes them as well, but for such a large manufacturer, they sure have a low profile in the retail world. I couldn't tell you where to lay your hands on a Saber AR right now if my life depended on it, and I do this for a living.) Remington and Hornady load 6.8, while for 6.5 you need to count on imported Wolf or boutique Black Hills. On the other hand, 6.5 has a rabid band of adherents with a pack attack rep on the web second only to f u r r i e s. (I'm sure they'll be along to correct any slander in this post.) In other words, 6.5 is already shaping up to play Mac to the SPC's IBM.

This kind of caliber stuff is enough to make my eyes glaze over. Seven years ago I could get in passionate spittle-on-the-screen flamewars over whether or not 10mm did or did not totally pwn .45 Super, j00 n00b. Now I have a difficult time seeing how someone can get worked up over it at all. The difference in actual performance between, say 6.5 and 6.8, or 9mm and .40, or .30-'06 and .308 is so miniscule that to argue about it is to talk just to hear your head roar.

Curse you, Blogger!

Hm. I appear to have "upgraded".

Realize that I may be the most change-fearing individual on the planet. I am plenty comfortable using what works, and am rarely caught beta testing for anyone. (The only reason this computer has XP on it is because it came with it already installed; the backup PC is running Microsoft's last stable OS: Win 98.) So, anyway, I was pretty determined to be the last person to make the jump to the new Blogger thingy.

I clicked on my little funny-looking "B" this morning, and (as usual) selected the "Old Blogger" link. It took me to a page that said it was all ready to convert my blog. "I don't think you understand," I said as levelly as I could to my PC, "I don't want to switch my blog." I hit the back button and again clicked on the Old Blogger link, a little more firmly this time, to convince teh intarw3bz that I meant business, dammit. Once more it took me to a page offering me a Google account and announcing that it was ready to convert my blog.

Dammit. Back. *clicky*

Old Blogger. *clicky*

Right back to the same digital cul-de-sac. I was going to be forced to convert, like some Germanic peasant at the hands of Constantine's legions. I'm recalcitrant at the best of times; presenting me with a no-choice situation is going to draw muttered cursing at best, gunfire at worst. I didn't shoot the computer, though.

So, yeah, I've switched.

I don't have to like it, though.

Boomsticks: Doggerel.

"To avoid the legal nets that entangled Bernie Goetz,
Just yell
'Help, help, police!' like Kitty Genovese." -Anon.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Today is the day that everyone in the country gets all excited about a bunch of grown men in tights patting each other on the butt and getting in big sweaty piles on the ground.

Today is the day that I look forward to being able to go to any restaurant I like after work, with no fear of a line.

And tomorrow there'll be some cool commercials on YouTube.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

MISSING: One spine. If found, please return to city of Boston.

Okay, listen up. You citizens of Atlanta, Chicago, NYC, Seattle, Portland, LA, Austin, SF, and Philly, you can go now. No, you Bostonians sit back down; this is for you.

You there, the hippie from San Fran. Shut the door on your way out, okay?

Alright, Bostonians, what the hell is wrong with you people? Have your vertebrae atrophied so much that they can no longer support your brains atop your spinal columns? Have you devolved into a panicky herd of grazing creatures, easily spooked by blinky lights or sudden movements? I mean, for gawd's sake people, everybody else in the country looked at those little devices and said "Wow, a viral marketing gimmick." You all, on the other hand, freaked and called the cops. Who then shut your whole damned city down to save you from a blinking cartoon menace. You should be ashamed.

If Paul Revere were to get his warning in today's Boston, the lot of you would be on your cellies summoning the bomb squad to the Old North Church. Robert Newman and the lantern manufacturer would be forced to settle out of court and make a groveling public apology to the Mayor and his flock, and the Redcoats would have laughed themselves to death instead of getting shot up like they did. Look, here's a couple of flash cards for you to carry around to cut down on this sort of embarrasment in the future, okay?

This is a bomb:

This is an advertising gimmick:

See the differences? The ad gimmick is the one out in the open with the blinky lights. The bomb is the one that is hidden so that Jack Bauer needs a whole TV season to find it. Got it? Good.

Don't get 'em mixed up again.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Boomsticks: The surgery was a success, and the patient is fine...

The Vltor CASV-EL went onto my 6.8 carbine all easy-peasy-like. Nice and light, non bulky, and every bit as rigid as I hoped for. Let the torture testing commence! :)

Yay! Plymptoons on YouTube!

Dear National Weather Service: You suck.

When I moved from Atlanta to Knoxville, there was a good omen: On the second drive up, lugging my furniture 'way back in December of '00, it was snowing to beat the band as we climbed the mountain north out of Chattanooga. Goody! Moving some 175 miles north, and into the foothills of the Smokies to boot, I was ready for more snow than I'd seen in my decades in ATL.

When I moved from my first Knoxville apartment to my current domicile in '02, Mother Nature teased me by snowing me in for a couple of days, leaving the hilly, twisty asphalted cart track to my front door all iced up and unsafe for roadster travel. This was gonna be great!

The three years since then have given me bupkis.

Finally, last night, they were calling for the Big One. An Alberta Clipper from the Nor' Norwest was scheduled to collide with wet Gulf air pushing up the Tennessee valley from the southwest; Knoxville natives assure me that, when this weather pattern gets its timing right, K-town gets some serious snow. I joined the jostling throngs at Kroger last night to pick up the ritual bread and milk. I listened with glee as the National Weather Service called for maybe three inches of accumulation. I crowed in triumph when Rumor Central said that Delta was shuffling planes around the Southeast to get them out of potentially snowbound hubs. I stayed up late. I woke up early and bounced to the front door like a schoolgirl all ready to be snowed in. I opened the door and...

...bupkis again. Maybe a half inch, and certainly not sticking to pavement. It seems the two air masses got their timing off, with the bitter cold departing just a bit before the wet arrived. "What a ripoff of a snow!" I exclaimed aloud, causing my downstairs neighbour to laugh as she brushed the few flakes off the windshield of her vehicle, which was already warming up for the morning commute.

Ah, well. A snow day at work today would have just boogered up my regular day off tomorrow, anyway.