Thursday, May 31, 2007

Politics: The real reason may be simpler... has a piece up about Mitt Romney's disappointing campaign, trying to analyze just what it is that the journalist doesn't like about ol' Mitt.

Why this takes a whole page is beyond me. Look, here's why you don't like him: He's a politician from Massachusetts. There you go, Mr. Klein; your whole column re-written in only five words. You're welcome.

Boomsticks: Who cares what it looks like?

There has long been a cult of purists among 1911 buffs who deride various modifications, mostly beavertail grip safeties, because they "look ugly". This is something I've never understood; sure, the beavertail looks a little goofy, like someone thought the gun needed a spoiler on the trunk lid or something, but it's not there for looks. It's there to locate your hand properly when you take a firm grip high on the gun, and especially if you shoot with your thumb on top of the thumb safety. The Commander-style hammer is also not just there for looks, since it goes hand-in-glove with the beavertail; a GI spur hammer would bottom out against the enlarged grip safety and prevent the gun from cycling.

As you can see in the picture on the left, with the thumb actually bearing down on the thumb safety, the beavertail prevents the pistol from being pushed down into the hand. I suppose there are people out there who want a beavertail for the looks (after all, there are people out there who bought Pontiac Azteks and who like the designated hitter rule,) but I just like what it does.

Lately, however, the Crusty Purist Cult has spread from the Church of the 1911 and infected the world of AR-15 owners, too. It was one thing to want an old "no-fence, no-forward-assist" Colt SP1 to collect for its retro 1970's SWAT cool, but soon the purists were demanding the old triangular handguards because the new ones were "ugly", as though someone was actually concerned with what the AR-15, not a particularly attractive rifle to begin with, looked like. Look, buddy, if you want flimsy, rattling, gotta-be-kept-in-matched-pairs A1 handguards on your rifle, be my guest. The A2's are infinitely better: sturdier, quieter, and it doesn't matter which goes on top or bottom since they're both the same. And as far as a railed forend goes, you don't buy those for looks; you buy them... well, let me quote Lyle, posting at Oleg's blog:
The forend rails aren't there for the nifty looks (at least not for some folks). They're there to hold your PEQ-2, and etc., so you have more of an advantage over your low-tech, dirt-sucking prey.
I buy old Mausers and prewar Smiths for looks. My 1911s and ARs are built the way they are for different reasons entirely.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

You're not good enough, you're not smart enough...

...and gosh darn it, people don't like you.

I am absolutely sick and tired of the very phrase "Self Esteem"; embodying as it does the concept that one should have warm fuzzy feelings about one's self for no adequately explained reason whatsoever, as though by simply existing, one was doing something inherently good rather than merely converting oxygen into greenhouse gas. With "Self Esteem" came the notion that we were to go to any extent to avoid things that may damage it in our little tricycle motors, even if it meant dumbing down grades and no longer keeping score at kiddie sporting events. All this seems to ensure is that we're producing whiners who will expect the real world to be as careful of their self esteem as the artificial environment of William Golding Memorial Elementary School was, and who will proceed to vote for anyone who promises to make it that way.

Whatever happened to self respect? The idea that one should have some sort of internal code and judge one's self based on how well one lives up to it? Or would that reveal that so many people are worth very little esteem at all?

Signs I'm getting old, #2743

I'm moving my PC case around on the desk here at VFTP Command Central while the Guns 'N' Roses tune "Breakdown" drones from the speakers, with iTunes causing the hard drive to chortle away during the process. This is reminding me of my first hard drive, a 10MB Seagate unit that took up a whole full-height drive bay in my PC case and stretched clean to the back of the chassis, weighing a couple pounds and matching the physical dimensions of a small shoebox. The .mp3 file I'm listening to would have taken up 65.4% of that drive's capacity (which held SimCity, Test Drive, Wizardry III, RoboComm, SillyLittleMailReader, and much more, with room to spare) and I'd have never dared to move the PC's case while the drive was running!

Who out there remembers having to "park the heads" on the drive before so much as jostling the case, even when the PC was off, in order to prevent a head crash?

(PS: Ooh! Now "Estranged" is playing! I haven't heard this in forever! Lurve it! More exclamation points!!!!!!!!!1!!!!11!!!!!one!!1!!)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Boomsticks: Suffer from projection much, Reverend?

Peaceful man of God, Rev. Michael Pfleger, exhorted his flock to "drag out" and "snuff" a law-abiding business owner. He also called for pro-civil rights politicians to be "snuffed". I am not sure, but I would guess that spittle flew as he made these exhortations.

If I was as much of a dangerous nut case psychologically unstable as he is, I wouldn't want anyone to have a gun either, I reckon.

Blog Stuff: Overheard at Work.

Me: "My fingertips are about to split open. Handling all those 4473 forms has leached all the oils right out of my skin."

Co-worker: "Put some lotion on them. Don't you keep some girly lotion in your purse?"

Me: *roll eyes* "Sure, it's right next to my $%&@ing nail polish."

(Note to self: Little tube of lotion on vanity at home should go in purse tomorrow where it may actually do some fricken' good. And I should cowboy up and stop sucking on my dried-out, stinging fingertips because it looks goofy.)

Obligatory immigration post.

Say you had a problem with bugs in your kitchen. You had a big pile of spilled sugar in the middle of the kitchen floor, and it just kept attracting bugs. You complain to me that you've tried everything: roach motels, bait traps, hermetically sealing your house, but all to no avail since the sugar keeps attracting bugs.

I'm just going to stand there and blink in goggle-eyed amazement, wondering "Why don't you try getting rid of the sugar in the middle of the floor?"

There is always going to be a problem when a prosperous nation has a land border with a poor one (you'll note that we don't have swarms of Canucks pouring across the border, except maybe to buy cigarettes,) but why compound it by offering a vast cornucopia of free stuff that makes entry too enticing to resist? As long as this is the land of the handout, people who want handouts will come here looking for one. When you subsidize freeloading you can't complain about freeloaders, domestic or imported.

Politics: Her words, not mine.

Cindy Sheehan titled her throw-in-the-towel post at the Daily Kos "Good Riddance Attention Whore".

I find I have nothing to add.

Monday, May 28, 2007


The capacity for the human mind to focus upon a goal and pursue it with single-minded determination is amazing. Given free reign, it is this tendency towards obsession that makes great things happen: Everest is climbed. The South Pole is reached. The Atlantic is flown solo. Diseases are conquered and devices are invented. And sometimes the same obsession goes a bit wonky and model battleships thirty feet long are built.

Memorial Day 2007



Sunday, May 27, 2007

Today In History: Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

May 27th, 1942: Reinhard Heydrich gets his via IED in Prague.

I hadn't known about his piloting. Knowing fighter pilots, they must've loved that. Some pogue REMF old-guy bureaucrat from Berlin shows up, demands a plane, orders that it have his personal goofy Dungeons & Dragons-esque Germanic rune painted on the fuselage, and within a month, he's balled it up on takeoff. (A notoriously easy thing to do in a 109; like all the great piston-engined fighter planes, it was notably unforgiving of a ham-fisted novice at the stick.)

Latest press releases from the Ministry of Too Much Information.

One of the things that happens to bloggers is the occasional tendency to share and overshare alike...

Marko gets a BFA. (Blank-Firing Adapter, for you non gun nuts.)

Joe Huffman plays Fantastic Voyage. (Personally, my rule of thumb when offered anesthesia is to go for the option of unconsciousness. If that's not on the menu, I'll take the closest thing they're offering. I'd have gotten knocked out to get my ingrown toenail fixed if they'd have let me.)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

So, yeah, Star Wars....

Cultural icon of my generation... changed cinema forever... blah, blah, blah.

You know what the whole Star Wars thing boils down to? One magic blockbuster summer movie, and five toy commercials. Oh, sure, Empire Strikes Back was more critically acclaimed than the original; darker, moodier, better script... But it ended as a cliffhanger, and cliffhangers have to be resolved, and it got resolved with the horrible formulaic commercial for stuffed Ewok toys and little plastic speeder bikes that is Return Of The Jedi. The third movie just put on display the weaknesses of George Lucas as a science fiction writer. Here was no Tolkein, painstakingly crafting languages with consistent rules of grammar and syntax; here was a guy naming races and spaceships after breaded seafood dishes.

Why didn't they just let it end with the first one? The good guys had won, the bad guys had lost, Luke had got the girl, Han got his cash, Chewbacca got a medal, and we were all screaming ourselves hoarse in the theater. Pinko film critic Eleanor Ringel in my hometown was pissed because a movie that just plain regular folks liked for no other reason than it was fun had completely overturned the Hollywood apple cart. What better way to let it end? Instead, Lucas had to pretend that he had the rest of the stuff all written down already, and there was more to come. Sure, George. Say what you want about having the whole shebang planned ahead of time, but we all saw that kiss in the first flick.

Anyway, thirty years later, I sure remember Star Wars. It's everything that came after it that I wish I could forget.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Make up your mind, Rudy.

Baseball: Revenge, unlike hot dogs, is a dish best served cold...

John Smoltz picks up win number 200 in a 2-1 victory over the Mets and That Traitor Glavine.

It makes me smile. :)

Blog Stuff: Overheard at Work.

So I'm walking back in from a break on the side porch at the shop, and Mr. P and Sgt. P are in a huddle by the registers. As I walk past, I hear Mr. P saying "...and they're really not necessary. They're like your appendix; you can have them out with no problem."

Wondering what they were talking about, I asked "What are?"

"Anal glands," said Mr. P.

"Eeeew! Ohh! I just want to go back to the world of five minutes ago, when everything was happy and clean!"

Sgt. P looked at me and said "How long has it been? A year now? You think you'd learn. Every time you come around a corner and find us laughing and ask 'What?', you wind up all grossed out."

It turns out that the two of them, both dog owners, were discussing some pooch-specific malady. Makes me want to snuggle my cat. Suddenly the occasional hairball doesn't seem like too high a price to pay...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

This space for rent...

I can't think of a darn thing to put here, and I have to go into work early today. Bleh.

I've been fiddling with my MagPul PMAG, doing silly things like tossing it down my stairs fully loaded, only to find that my camera batteries are dead, so I'll need to do the whole thing over again if I'm going to make a post out of it.

Anyhow, maybe more this evening. Chat amongst yourselves.

And it's a dessert topping!

The lakeside cottage I live in, while not technically drafty, is far from bug-tight. This means that once in a great while I will be sitting here at the keyboard of VFTP Command Central, only to have a droning buzz announce that a wasp is circling under the light fixture in the middle of the room. I'll grab the can I keep close to hand and wait for him to light on the dangling pull cord under the fixture. They always do. Then I give them just a little squirt. Just a dribble, really.

Of Gun Scrubber.

Unlike Wasp & Hornet sprays, which are pressurized to a brazillion PSI to spray nests under a house's eaves, you can make just a trickle come out the straw nozzle of a Gun Scrubber can, to drip down on the carefully-placed newspaper below. Along with the dead wasp. Because believe you me, it kills them Dead Right There. No flying around in their death throes, the way they do when nerve-gassed by more conventional anti-wasp ordnance.

Ah, Gun Scrubber. Cleans guns, kills wasps... is there nothing it can't do?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I should have seen the punchline coming...

...from a mile away, and yet soda came out my nose anyway.

Blog Stuff: Further rumination on the party thing...

Part of the thing that made me a bit incredulous at the whole Prom Party Shenanigans Scandal was the fact that there were criminal charges at all. I was unaware that it was against the law to allow a minor to drink at a private residence. Does this mean that if you allow your kid to have a glass of wine with dinner on special occasions, you're a bona fide criminal? Unreal (and also uncool.)

I'm not sure it was criminal in that time or place, (if it was, the statute of limitations has definitely run out,) but I remember that at the high school graduation party I attended, the parents who hosted it supplied beer and liquor. Car keys were deposited at the front door, and the only person allowed to leave before the next morning was a teen who could prove she hadn't had anything to drink, and even then she wasn't allowed to take any other partygoers with her on her snack run to the local grocery store. Heaven forbid that a bunch of young adults who are old enough to vote be allowed to sample alcohol under those circumstances.

Blog Stuff: You lucky, lucky SOB!

Dirtcrashr & Mrs. Dirtcrashr go for a ride in a B-25 Mitchell.

I am absolutely green with envy. Thankfully, he took pictures and posted them.

The two least productive days of my entire working life were caused by WWII aircraft. On the first, a guy was getting his multi-engine taildragger type rating in a C-47 painted in RAF colors, complete with D-Day stripes. He must've done a half-dozen or more takeoffs and landings there at Lawrenceville-Gwinnett airport, while I sat enthralled in the open hangar doors. Then, about a year later, thanks to an airshow in town, the restored B-17 "Aluminum Overcast" was parked on the field. All I could do was stare moon-eyed out the office window until it got too dark to see the plane...

"...and that's the latest on Brad and Angelina. Bob?"

"Today in science news, there seems to be a spot of bubonic plague running around the Denver Zoo. The disease has claimed its first primate, a Capuchin monkey. Bubonic plague is the disease that was known as the "Black Death" when it wiped out as much as two-thirds of Europe's population in the 14th Century. Visitors are urged to avoid rodents, such as squirrels and rabbits. Over to you, Steve."

"Thanks, Bob. This morning, Paris Hilton complained through her publicist about the low-grade toilet paper in jail..."

Apparently it's National Tourette's Awareness Week.

No shit?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Boomsticks: Bias? What bias?

Last week a legally armed and alert citizen prevented a multiple murderer from fleeing the scene of his armed robbery, pinning him until police could arrive. Note how the USA Today story makes Mr. Chappell sound more like a bystander than one of the heroes of the piece.

If he hadn't been on the scene, do you reckon the manhunt for an escaped Merriweather would still be underway?

Ammo prices and reloading...

By my calculations, it costs about as much to reload most calibers now as it did to shoot new factory ammo a year or two ago. Components are made out of metals, too, and therefore aren't getting any cheaper. This is why I'm stocking up on components for calibers for which I don't even have dies yet, like .30-40 Krag...

It could always be worse...

The Beemer averages about 22-24 MPG during my daily commuting. It'll see the far side of 30 during freeway cruising, but my short commute involves two interstate merges (The Westland on-ramp to I-140 and then the I-140 to I-40 West cloverleaf) in only about nine miles of driving, which pulls the average down heavily. All this means that I burn about a gallon a day, and the size of the tank dictates a fill-up not quite every two weeks.

It's a little car, and it feels weird to watch it swallow $30 worth of midgrade, but I suppose things could be worse. $7.10/gal? Yikes!

Blog Stuff: COOL!

Rachel Lucas, the first blogger I ever bookmarked and totally my hero, is back to writing!


News: Well, okay then.

The Editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel would like me to know that the aforementioned drunken teen prom party was so news, and that Mr. Butturini did not, in fact, beat him up in the third grade.

Politics: Pot, meet kettle.

As Carter's denunciation of the Shrub draws return fire from presidential spokesman Tony Fratto, I'd like to interrupt this hair-pulling catfight to note that it is the height of irony for the man whose supine, toothless foreign policy in the Middle East that is partly responsible for our current predicament to be criticizing anyone's handling of it. For shame, Jimmy. Don't you have a canal you could be off giving away someplace?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Boomsticks: Some reading triggered some writing...

I read something in a reference book that I knew was wrong, and this caused me to do a bit of web surfing, which in turn caused me to update my Polish Tokarev post at the other blog.

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Day Off clue...

It might be a day off work if you're still in your tactical house slippers at noon...

Note the stylish sweatpants, too...

(After Action Report: Those are the 5.11 ATACs that I bought here. In the interim I have worn them to work nearly every day, and for plenty of miles on a motorcycle. Only last week did the toe of the right boot suddenly spring free from the sole, instantly converting them to house slippers. As an indication of how much I liked them, as soon as I'm finished noshing on this burrito, I'm heading out to buy a fresh pair...)

Boomsticks: You know your tastes are eclectic when...

...the two items on your gun store receipt are:

1) One of MagPul's new high-tech polymer PMAGs for your AR15 and

2) A bag of new, unprimed Winchester .30-40 Krag brass for your 109-year-old Krag carbine.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

All The News That's...huh?

Standing in the checkout line at the grocery store last Saturday, I glanced down at the Knoxville News Sentinel in the rack by the register and was struck dumb. There at the top of the front page, above the fold, in the place usually reserved for things like War Was Declared!, Man Lands On Moon!, or Dewey Defeats Truman!, was something very much along the lines of Drunken Teen Prom Party In Suburbia. As news, this has to rate up there with Sun Rises In East. Yet somehow this shindig, and the criminal charges surrounding it, have been all over the local paper for the better part of the week.

I'm trying to figure out why this deserves so much ink. Maybe the accused suburbanite, Mr. Butturini, beat up the newspaper editor in the third grade or something.

Preventing Catblogging.

Thanks to this post at Dustbury, I am made aware of the most bizarre PC utility I have ever seen.

I guess it could prevent data corruption from when you beat your forehead on the keyboard in frustration after reading, too.

Blog Stuff: Overheard on the phone.

Marko: "So, what'd you think of the caption?"

Me: "That was too cute. 't3h n00b', *snert!*. 'She's such a n00b! She doesn't know anything!'"

Marko: "Yeah, 'I totally pwn3d her at Halo. She didn't even know how to work the controller; she just sat there and drooled on it.'"


So, I'm trying to put the polish to a post on gun snobs and why I are one, but I keep getting distracted.

There is obviously some small flying insect loose in the room that is invisible to my eyes but can be seen by kitties, because Random Numbers is performing spectacular aerial ballet under the light fixture in the middle of the room, occasionally kicking off a nearby chair at the top of her leap to get some truly Jordanesque hang times. Meanwhile, Mittens isn't in sight. I hear the distinctive *bwabwabwabwa-GACK!* of a kitty yakking, and Mittens reappears. I go looking for the pile of hork, but none is to be found. Strange. Anyhow, back to typing...

UPDATE: Random Numbers caught the bug and ate it. Given our relative size differences, that'd be like me leaping eight feet into the air and snatching a butterfly... and eating it when I landed, which would be both cool and gross at the same time.

Over at Squeaky Wheel Seeks Grease...

...Bonnie seeks handgun advice. Help a sister out.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Boomsticks: School's in session...

I have lots to say about ammo prices and supply. Fortunately, everything I'd like to say (and much, much more) is said here. Go learn.

(The initial post, from Dave, is most relevant. I'm a little uncertain on some of the stuff from Kola. Commenters below are just speculating, like the guy who said that all rimfire ammo is made in Mexico. This is what we call "not true" or "wrong". Winchester's, for instance, is made in Arkansas, which is still north of the border, last I checked...)

(H/T to Porta's Cat.)

Boomsticks: Gizmolicious!

Got a box from MagPul at work yesterday full of their sexy new PMAGs. They're black 30-rounders. I'll buy one and put it through the wringer. Results to follow...

Not trying to sound like a back seat driver, or anything...

...but God sure took His sweet time getting around to this.

Great takes on the subject by Babs and Matt.

I guess the thing that irks me most is reading reports of the $200 million tax-free dollars that flowed through Thomas Road Church's offering plates annually; how much of that went to help the needy, and how much went to politicking? It apparently also irked some bearded guy in a robe and sandals, who tried to chase the accountants out with a whip, but they called the cops and had Him hauled off.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Blog Stuff: Continuing the All Linky, No Thinky theme...

The importance of NPCs (Non-Player Characters, or "extras". -T.)

In D&D NPCs are the people who do all the mundane things of the world. From washing your horse, to planting corn, to being your lover. Most people in the D&D world are NPCs and will never go on a great adventure. If you treat an NPC badly they may steal your horse, poison your mead, or even GASP, stop being your lover. No one can get far without the support of the NPCs

Most people in the real world are NPCs also. Mundane people who lead mundane lives. But if you treat them wrong they might, key your car, spit in your beer, or GASP, stop being your lover. (Once again some things are truly universal).

-from All I ever needed to know, I learned playing Dungeons & Dragons.

I'm geeky enough to admit that that's pretty funny, right there.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Blog Stuff: Why We Write.

There are as many reasons to write a blog as there are people who write them. Some of us are out to be alternative news sources, others comment on their hobbies or pop culture or fashion, some of us are frustrated writers with short attention spans who can't keep their thoughts in line long enough to write an essay yet still want folks to chuckle at their pointed one-liners (ahem!).

There are others who are just putting their thoughts in a bottle and throwing them into the electronic surf, writing more or less for the pure pleasure of putting their musings in readable form and not much caring who reads them, if anyone. They're just happy to create. To leave a fingerprint. A log of their days, on the web. (Which is, after all, what a web log is supposed to be.)

If it hadn't been for Kevin at The Smallest Minority, I would never have read Skywritings, and I'd be a poorer person for it. Here, from the collected musings of someone I've never met, I have taken away so very much, and all for no charge. What a cool invention the Intarw3bz are. :)

Go, read.

Blog Stuff: Working in a gun store...

...I have heard more variations on the "My wife said 'It's either me or the guns. Dang, I'm gonna miss her...'" gag than Stephen Hawking could count. In that light, zomg is this funny!

(H/T to Z. Brain)

Somewhere, Mr. Heinlein is smiling.

A sunset. On Mars.

We took this picture. We did this. We did. Us humans. It's going to happen; maybe not in my lifetime, but soon. For every mouth-breathing idiot who wants to kill his neighbor because of their race, religion, or choice of dandruff shampoos, there are a dozen brilliant, dedicated people toiling away to make the future happen.

You can't stop this train.

(H/T to Paul Simer.)

Video from the Alaska Chamber Of Commerce.


And here you though you were seeing nature red in tooth and claw when the neighbor's cat took down a chipmunk in your tomato patch.

Having recently started toying with the idea of a move to Alaska, I suddenly find that my .405 Winchester Encore shoots bullets too small, and doesn't hold anywhere near enough of them.

An old story with a new twist.

It's a story as old as America, but with a nasty new twist: Papa Luigi/Pepe Rodriguez/Mr. Rosenblum/Seamus O'Stereotype moves to America and pours all of his life's savings and sweat into his bistro/taqueria/delicatessen/South Boston pub. He tries to get Number One Son interested in the family business, but in a fit of teen angst, Junior rebels and starts running with goodfellas/gang bangers/accountants/Riverdancers. Pop goes into his declining years, nobody in the family is left to run the shop, it gets sold to some faceless corporate chain, and Billy Joel writes a song about it.

The nasty twist for Muslim Tatar and Super Mario's Pizza is that the bad crowd that Number One Son fell in with was a bunch of bush-league Al Qaeda wannabes, and the particular way he was going to act out his teen angst was by shooting up a bunch of dad's customers. This has understandably cut down on dad's business.

I feel for the guy, but it's kind of a predictable consequence. I mean. if your delivery drivers had been planning on machine-gunning me in their off hours, it might keep me from taking advantage of your "two-for-one" lunch special, too.

In case you're reading this...

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

(Or more likely: Dad, tell Mom I said happy Mother's Day on my blog thing. I'll call this evening some time.)

Hey, look!

At some point during the night, the odometer here at VFTP Command Central tipped over 400,000 hits. Neat!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007


There you sit in the
middle of the floor kitty,
blocking my pathway.

Boomsticks: Been working...

The Commission Rifle post at the other blog has been updated with new photos by Oleg Volk and new text to go with them.

More to come...

Boomsticks: Gratuitous Gun Pr0n No. 44

Model 1955 Target made in 1956, 6.5" heavy barrel, with target hammer and target trigger. It's chambered in .45ACP using moon clips, has factory target stocks, and shoots okay for a fifty-one-year old gun.

They just don't make 'em like this anymore.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Beverage alert...

Swallow your drink before reading The Mother's Day Chapstik Story.

I warned you.

Politcs: Use correct change, please.

Suppose you went to Best Buy to pick out a new home stereo system. After mulling over the options, you picked out the one you want, bought it, and went home all excited about setting it up. When you got home, you look at your receipt and discover that they have overcharged your card by $1,300 (!!!!)

Okay, mistakes happen. You hop back in the car, drive back to Best Buy, and show them the receipt. The manager agrees that he has charged you more than the stereo was worth. In lieu of giving you your money back, however, he offers you a $100 store coupon and a promise to use the rest of your money to give you unspecified better service in the future.

Would you be pissed?

Welcome to Tennessee.

We're the only ones... enough.

Blog Stuff: Attention, Guy In The Silver Minivan last night...

The sign says "Yield", not "Give Up".

That is all.

Politics: Why I'm pulling for Fred Thompson.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not planning on voting for the guy; depending on who the Libertarians finally run, I'll be voting my conscience or for None Of The Above. However, of all the candidates and maybe-candidates announced so far who have a realistic chance of winning, he's my favorite because I can at least understand him. Hawkish, vaguely laissez faire fiscally, and socially conservative, I can mostly grok where he's coming from since that was the GOP stance during my adolescence. Plus, his Hollywood background should enable him to at least act presidential. I agree with him on maybe 35-40% of the issues, but compared to the rest of the field, we're downright sympatico.

Arranged against him in his own party are an array of ciphers, and a couple of neon pink RINOs who make Tip O'Neill look like Barry Goldwater. The Democrats, meanwhile, are offering me my choice of either one of several midgets from the neo-socialist peacenik Martian wing of the party, or the most amoral, power-hungry weathervane to wear a skirt in Washington since J. Edgar Hoover. Such choices.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Listen to him now and believe him later, little hyphenated man.

Marko on MultiCulti:
We don't need that kind of petty shit in America. It's divisive and destructive, and it does nothing but perpetuate neolithic tribal warfare. Here in the United States, most good and decent folks don't give a hoot whether their neighbor is black, white, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, or Great Pumpkin worshiper, as long as he minds his own business and keeps his hands to himself. America is not a funny outfit, or a chant, or a collective of ancestors. America isn't a religion, or a skin color, or a language, or a way of cooking, and anyone who claims such a thing deserves a swift kick in the ass and a ticket to whatever homogeneous country best suits their personal desires for uniformity of pigmentation or religion or diet or what-the-fuck-ever.
But damn that boy can write...

That was fast.

As everyone no doubt knows by now, The Tennessean pulled their HCP database off-line.

What kills me is that they put it up in the first place. What did they think the result was going to be? Didn't they follow the Christian Trejbal flap in Roanoke? Don't newspaper writers follow the... er, news? You'd think it would be kind of a job requirement...

The alternative theory, that they were such a special kind of dense that they thought the same stunt would play differently in the Volunteer State, is even less encouraging.

Boomsticks: *Ring! Ring!*


"Hello, I'm calling from XYZ Official Survey Foundation. We're taking a survey on gun ownership in America. Do you have a gun in your house?"

"Hang on, let me transfer your call to the guy who handles those questions around here, Mr. Dialtone."


Seriously, though; how accurate do they think their responses are going to be?

My reaction to the Frog reaction to the Sarkozy win...

First, anything that gets the noses of lefty college students so far out of joint that they go rioting and get pepper gassed and billyclubbed is automatically going to warm the cockles of my heart. I know, I know: Non Aggression Principle, civil rights, et cetera... But if watching a live action Punch & Judy show featuring some stringy-haired 23-year old Che tee-shirt-wearing college student getting a hickory shampoo vigorous enough to dislodge his iPod ear buttons doesn't bring a smile to your face, I don't know what will. Call it a guilty pleasure of mine, like sitting up late and eating a pint of Ben & Jerry's Vermonty Python while watching the volleyball scene from Top Gun in the dark.

Second, the guy's as popular in France's Muslim ghettos as a bag of pork rinds, which rates another thumbs up in my book. If non-assimilating misogynist welfare leeches hate him, he can't be all bad.

He wants to tighten up France's immigration laws, isn't the biggest fan of the EU, and wants economic reforms for the country, which all seem good. But mostly he makes socialists riot, which is reason enough alone to make me like the guy.

Boomsticks: New gun...

Or new to me at any rate.

Through a fluke set of circumstances, I have come into a Sharps Carbine, or a Pedersoli replica, at any rate, plus various accessories.

Yes, Dr. Strangegun, I will bring it to work so you can figure out what makes it tick.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I need a list of advertisers in The Tennesseean... I know where not to shop.

Blog Stuff: Blech.

I am feeling wretched today; I woke up wracked with stomach cramps and a vicious round of the dry heaves. What a way to start a day! I choked down some tomato soup (The World's Greatest Comfort Food), gave it all up for a bad thing and crawled back into bed. I just woke up again, just in time to go to work, so my creative output for the morn is going to be a fat zilch. Plus, I'm still all knotted up such that I can barely stand up straight without making piteous whimpering noises. This is gonna be a great day! (And by "great", I mean "sucks big rocks up off the ground".)

Since I haven't typed anything worth reading today, go check out frequent commenter Bonnie's new blog, Squeaky Wheel Seeks Grease. It's worth it for the title alone. :)

Blog Stuff: I don't know about you...

...but there is, to me, something especially poignant about this.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Today In History: Modern Times.

The inaccurately-named "Thirty Years' War" left a smoking crater where the center of Europe had been. What had begun as a game of slap-tickle between the Most Catholic Habsburgs and uppity Protestant Czechs quickly spun out of control into a fratricidal conflict that sucked in most of Europe from Stockholm to Madrid. When all was said and done, the largest army on the field in Western Europe was that of the corpse-eating rats, and Europe as a whole had developed a revulsion towards war that largely reduced the activity to Kabuki-like theater for the next several centuries.

From the late 17th Century to the early 20th, 'war' to the average European was something that groups of uniformed men would engage in at agreed upon times in open fields or sunny hilltops far away from un-uniformed noncombatants. (This didn't apply to shooting up Wogs, of course.) Even the revolution-era Frogs' introduction of the concept of The Nation In Arms only widened the potential pool of casualties, and not the potential theaters of war.

19th Century warning signs that war between white folk was returning to its old haunts and habits, like Vicksburg and the Prussian siege of Paris, were ignored and the conscript levees of 1914 marched towards the sound of the guns with cheery leftover Mauve Decade bonhomie. This was quickly blown apart on the fields of Ypres and Neuve Chapelle. The Germans, meanwhile, had been harassed on their march through Belgium by civilian tiralleurs and had, in their frustration, gotten a bit frisky with reprisals; from their point of view the Belgian civilians had violated the long-standing Western code of war by taking shots at the Jerries despite being dressed in mufti (we call these "illegal combatants" nowadays). Handed a propaganda victory like this, the Brits felt all the more justified in blockading German ports.

Faced with the overwhelming superiority of the Royal Navy, the Germans had only one card to play: Their U-Boat fleet. Lacking the dreadnoughts to play tit-for-tat with the RN blockade, they declared the waters around the British Isles to be a fair hunting ground for unrestricted submarine warfare. On the afternoon of May 7th, 1915, a British passenger steamer, the Lusitania, crossed the path of the U-20; the German skipper pulled the trigger on one torpedo, and the giant, almost 800-ft long, fast-moving liner settled at the bow and plowed into the ocean bottom some 300 feet below. She was carrying a bazillion rounds of .303 ammunition in her holds, which was definitely contraband and marked her as a target (although international law and convention at the time required her passengers and crew to be warned to disembark and given time to do so before she was sunk), but more importantly she was carrying 197 American passengers, of which 128 died in the wreck. The USA, possessed of a large German minority and proudly neutral until this point in what was widely seen as a European dynastic squabble, was shoved towards the Allies by what in future days would become an all too common feature of modern war: What Kapitan Schwieger did to the Lusitania, many Americans would be decorated for doing to ships with the last name "Maru" just thirty years later.

We're the only ones...

...corrupt enough.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Boomsticks: One million dollars for free.

There are things in this video that I have incorporated in my shooting in the last three years that have made me a jillion times better with a pistol than I was before. Go see.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Boomsticks: While gadgets are cool... doesn't matter how much you paid for the optic or what groovy features it has; if you stick it on the gun backwards, everyone will know you're a poser.

Baseball: Today in History...

Cy Young pitched his perfect game, the first in the modern era.

If Cy Young was so great, how come he never won a Cy Young award, huh?

Friday, May 04, 2007

You can't make this stuff up.

I wonder which Major League hurlers prefer the Yugo SK... Oh, hell, I can't even pretend to play nice here. Get the f&*k off my internet, you thimble-headed gherkin.

Politics: Go read...

...Marko on taxes.

Seen in comments at Lawdog's virtual crib:


"After reading through all the conspiracy theories about all the suspicious events in the world, I have noticed that every single one blames the wrong person. It was me. I did it. Name a conspiracy theory, and I'll admit I was behind it all. THe sinking of the Maine; Castro hired me to set the coal bunkers alight with a Habana. The Reichstag fire; it wasn't caused by the Nazis or Jewish communists, I was simply showing Karl Haushoffer how to light farts when things got out of hand. I pulled off 9-11 and framed Osama bin Laden because his brother Rasheed sold me bad falafel. WTC 7 fell because of my experiments with a copy of Tesla's earthquake machine. And the Pentagon was not hit by an airliner or a missile, but instead it was hit by a giant paper airplane when I tried for the world record. I destroyed Atlantis to promote Plato's novel; I promoted New Coke on behalf of Dr. Pepper. I keep the remains of the aliens from the Roswell crash in a freezer that's next to the vault containing every sock that's ever gone missing from a dryer."

Blog Stuff: Two days late and a LOLlar short...

...I have discovered LOLTrek. It's like a perfect geek singularity.

(H/T to Kit.)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Dear God, I actually miss the commies...

So I'm reading the Boris Yeltsin piece at Rolling Stone, getting a chuckle at watching a writer wax so venomous in his efforts to describe just how nyekulturny ol' Absolut Boris was without stopping to think that it might be a little... well... uncultured to mock a dead man for his rural origins, when I'm suddenly overcome by a vast ennui. An emptiness. I suddenly realized that I missed the commies.

It has been said that a man can be judged by his enemies, and one would assume the same holds true for those agglomerations of men known as "nations". And, while they lacked the suave black-and-silver menace of the Nazis, the postwar Soviets were as worthy a foe as any to have played The Great Game. Fortified borders, huge military parades, drunken madmen who pounded shoes on lecterns while threatening to bury us; these things were the stuff of a generation of air raid drills and spy novels and military speculation. Of course, the tiger turned out to be paper in the end, and the oligarchy was replaced by a kleptocracy so inept as to have to sell off unfinished aircraft carriers to the Chinese to use as riverboat casinos in order to generate the hard currency needed to keep the secret police payroll out of the red.

They've been replaced by our new foes, as depressing a lot as one could imagine: self-immolating neolithic goatherds drunk on a theology that makes the most ignorant snake handler in the backwaters of the Ozarks look like a regular Thomas Aquinas by comparison. May Day parades and fleets of ICBMs have been replaced by a comic opera dictator in a Southwest Asian banana republic hilariously flaunting a Weapons of Mass Destruction program that could be wiped out by the Massachusetts Air National Guard as a weekend training exercise if push came to shove. In the 1980s, Tom Clancy became a gazillionaire by writing a novel about the theft of a submarine that the Soviets had managed to pack full of secret technology. It's hard to imagine getting excited reading a novel about the theft of a Camry that Achmed has managed to pack with an extra couple hundred rusty nails.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Boomsticks: zomg that's the cutest!


Somewhere on the intarw3b, an Anti just vaporlocked.

Today In History: PoliSci majors everywhere, rejoice!

For unto you a child was born.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

My new Every Tuesday t-shirt:

Love it, love it, love it! You can buy one here.

Blog Stuff: A secondhand bleg...

One of my favorite bloggers has a request but has so far got no joy:
Remember when your library card had a little metal tab with numbers on it, and they'd put it on a little machine and insert the card from your book selection into a little muncher slot, and it would munch off the bottom side edge of the card a bit? I want one of those machines.
Surely somebody out there can help her out. I'm drawing a blank, which is odd because I was on the shoot-on-sight list of every local library by the time I was fourteen. (I don't think I still have any overdue books from back then, but I haven't looked under the bed recently.)

I do seem to faintly recall that the library in Dallas, when we used to go visit kin there, had a cool gizmo at the checkout desk that the ones back home didn't have, but I've slept since then.

Boomsticks: Just to keep things clear...

...after my posts of yesterday, and to make sure my libertarian street cred remains intact:

I'm not saying that I heart GCA'68 or anything like that. I think it's as unconstitutional as any other federal gun law. I just think that an almost infinitely dispersed set of paper logbooks and paper forms, complete with all the errors, misspellings, and crappy handwriting that entails (I have been doing this for nigh on 15 years; I have seen the same make & model of rifle entered into logbooks and on 4473s as a Bushmaster XM15E2S, an AR15, an M4, an AR15A3, an M4A3, an...) makes for a really lousy excuse for a "registry", and to call it one verges on placing one in the Reynold's Wrap yarmulke set. It is at best a flawed tool that could theoretically be used to build a flawed and incomplete registry at some future date, and not without alerting the general public.

Rest assured that I'm still good ol' kooky libertarian Tam. I still think you should be able to buy ammunition from street corner vending machines and that inexpensive pocket pistols should be sold blister-packed with a box of hollowpoints, just like those cheap cell phones you can get at the grocery store...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Because its wheezing, slushbox-equipped 305 smog motor is dragging around 1000 pounds of cruise control, velour, power window motors, plastic "ground effects" and screaming chicken decals, that's why. :)

(...and before the "Tam hates F-bodies" contingent leaves in a huff, please remember that I actually liked my '84 Trans Am, even if I was unlikely to confuse that plush poser boulevardier with a bolt of lightning.)

Blog Stuff: Wanna know what really happened to Goldilocks?

Go read the rest of the story.

No, no, no...

Over at the Gunblogs, Rustmeister commented on my earlier post, and included the line:
It's also a good explanation of how there's already a de facto gun registration in place.

With all due respect, I can think of hardly anything less registration-like than boxes and filing cabinets full of hand-written, misspelled, yellowing logbooks and Form 4473s scattered through the back offices of every gun shop in our fair land.

Is the system remarkably efficient at turning up the whereabouts (or at least the origins) of a gun that has been manufactured recently and hasn't changed hands too many times in the private sector? Yes.

But as for it being used as a "registry" or some "master list" of gun owners, the Powers That Be would be better off using the phone book.

Neat-o! Dig this groovy steampunk laptop!

From the other side of the retail curtain...

Sometimes I am reminded that certain facets of my line of work are as mysterious to other people as theirs are to me. In a recent post, Jeff Soyer quotes from an editorial from the Penn State Collegian:

Police rely heavily on databases when looking into gun ownership. Under the new bill, police would be forced to directly contact gun manufacturers in order to obtain gun ownership information. Time is a critical component when investigating crimes, especially those involving guns.

...and then Jeff goes on to fret about manufacturer warranty cards. Except that, contrary to the anonymous editorializer, police do not rely on databases, calling the manufacturer, warranty cards, or anything like that.

When the police get their hands on a gun used in a crime, who they call is the BATFE, not the manufacturer. The BATFE turns to its National Tracing Center and gets the ball rolling. Let's say the gun in question is a Blastomatic Euroshooter 2000, serial number XYZ123. The NTC would call Blastomatic USA, Inc. and inquire as to the disposition of gun XYZ123. Blastomatic would consult its records which, according to the Gun Control Act of 1968, it must maintain for twenty years. It determines that the gun was sold to The Very Big Sports Wholesale Co. back in February of 2006, and informs the NTC of this. The NTC then contacts The Very Big Co., who tells them that the gun was shipped to Billy Bob's House of Blasters in November of '06. (Slow selling model...)

Now Billy Bob's gets a call. The person at Billy Bob's who handles their log books (which, remember, must be maintained for twenty years) looks up the gun in question, and relays to the NTC operator that gun #XYZ123 was sold to a Mr. John Doe on March 25, 2007. Finally, John Doe is going to get a call. This is why it's good to keep a Bill of Sale if you sell a "papered" gun to a stranger.

Federally licensed firearms dealers are usually only too happy to check that serial number. The NTC isn't used to check and see if a gun is stolen; the cops can do that via the National Crime Information Center, usually using the laptop in their squad car. The NTC is used when a mysterious gun is found in relation to a crime; sometimes in the vicinity of a cooling body. If I can help get to the bottom of something like that, well, I'm all about it.

As you can see, no warranty cards were consulted in this production, so go ahead and fill them out or not as you please, but understand why you're doing it.

In the comments section, someone then (predictably) mentioned Using Credit Cards At The Gun Store. I know that in Tom Clancy productions and William Gibson-esque dystopian futures, when you use a credit card, it "sends up a flare in cyberspace" and some government console jockey or rogue hacker squinting at a screen yells "We got him, boss! He just bought a used Glock and 500 rounds of 9mm ammunition at Joe's Hunting Shack using his Visa card!"

Except it doesn't work that way. If they were so hot on your trail that they were actively monitoring your financial activity, at best they'd know that you spent $599.78 at Joe's on April 30th at 5:39 PM. For them to discover whether you were buying a Glock or a shotgun or a tree stand or annual range memberships for your golfing buddies or a gift certificate for your mom is going to require a warrant and a trip to the shop in meatspace. All Joe did is punch a dollar figure into a credit card terminal; the bank hasn't a clue what that money was spent on.

Gun shop owners and personnel tend to be a conservative lot, in the classic definition of the term. A surprising number are still uncomputerized in this day and age, and even those of us who are are going to want to see a warrant or a subpoena before we divulge any customer information of that nature. I also suspect that any nation-wide demand for that data en masse for some kind of National Registration scheme would see a rash of hard drive failures from coast to coast. Pesky Windows always was unreliable, you know.

Today In History: A tedious hobby is about to be born.

One hundred and sixty seven years ago today, the UK issued the first adhesive postage stamp, the "Penny Black".

One hundred sixty six years and three hundred sixty four days ago, the first philatelist stuck one in an album rather than on a letter.