Sunday, August 31, 2008


Will you look at this?

48 hours later and I'm still fairly squeeing with glee. I may actually get to vote for a candidate instead of against one. This feels weird... :D

(Found in comments at The Munchkin Wrangler.)

BONUS!: Sarah Palin pick retroactively makes the theme of #DNC08 “Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead” (H/T to Random Nuclear Strikes.)

If some is good, more is better...

...and too much is just enough.

How best to follow a great day at the range? Why, with another one...

A corps in the field and another in jail...

A veterans' issue in the UK:
It said that around 24,000 veterans are either in jail, on parole or serving community punishment orders after having been convicted of crimes. They make up around nine per cent of the prison population.
That's a not-insignificant percentage, no matter how you slice it. I wonder what the root causes are? Contrary to post-Vietnam Hollywood images, returned vets tend to be, on average, more squared away than the general populace.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Round Count For Today:

Someone Else's Guns:

3" Model 13 shooting .38 Spl +P: 6 rds.
Flat-latch Model 36 shooting .38 Spl wadcutters: 10 rds.
6.5" Model 629 shooting .44 Spl LSWC: 12 rds.

My Guns:

2" flat-latch Model 34: ~60rds of .22LR
'66 Colt Gov't Model: 224 rds assorted .45ACP (ball, SWC, 200gr GDHP)
As above, with Ceiner conversion kit: A lot. I mean, probably 400 rounds or so.

Which all adds up to a pretty darn good day at the range.

Hey, you! Get off of my cloud!

Last month we won Heller.

Last weekend I went to get trained up at Blackwater.

Yesterday Palin got tapped for Veep.

This morning I burned a ton of lead downrange and was just absolutely lights out with any gun I touched. And then I went out for lunch with a friend. Plus it's a positively beautiful day outside. My face hurts from smiling.

You know, the world may end tomorrow, but for today, ain't nothin' gonna break my stride. :)


Found here, thanks to here.

The local Indy cat box liner headed their piece with "Conservatives Pleased; GOP Insiders Puzzled." Yeah, Conservatives and GOP Insiders have pretty much been two separate groups for the last ten years or so...

EDIT: Couldn't figure out why my face hurts from grinning like an idiot since yesterday morning until someone on the web wrote "My God, she’s a Heinlein character come to life." Yup.

Just doing their jobs.

An ABC News producer busted by the po-po in Moscow on the South Platte for... well, felony politeness and misdemeanor loitering with intent to gawk, as best I can tell.

I'd like to say that I hope the meathead that shoved him into the street gets busted back to meter maid, but from what I can gather, this is pretty much the norm for the corporate culture of the Denver Police Department. Good work boys. I'm sure your Chamber of Commerce is thrilled with the little "Come to Denver!" commercial you just starred in.

More here.

Paul Begala is all butthurt.

(CNN) -- John McCain needs what Kinky Friedman calls "a checkup from the neck up."

In choosing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate, he is not thinking "outside the box," as some have said. More like out of his mind.

Smell that? That's one scared pinko, right there.

Yeah, Paul, I'd be all bitter if my guy had just announced a dull gray flannel Veep with all the charisma of a tub of library paste, too. Plus, Barry ain't the prettiest girl at the dance no more, as a commenter at Wachel's pointed out. Sucks to be you right now.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Total Eclipse of Their Card...

Hey, didn't that Obama guy make some kind of speech last night? I thought he was supposed to, but everybody's talking about Sarah Palin today, so I can't find anything about it.


That's gotta smart, Barry.

In other news...

McCain has locked up the horndog vote.

EDIT: Like I told him in email, I'm surprised he didn't go for the more obvious one: "Maverick & Cougar: Vote Top Gun '08"

Palin? Color me impressed.

I'll tell you what, this kicks the Barack *redacted* Obama campaign right in the slats and shows his VP choice up for the cynical, gun-shy, least-common-denominator sop to the old guard of the Dem party that it was.

(...and if McCain wins, we could have President Palin in four years. I feel a little giddy all of a sudden. I'm going to have to do some soul-searching here.)

UPDATE: I'm not the only person stoked by this. (Pay close attention to that last link. Awww, Biden, who's the sad clown?)

Oh, frabjous day...

Drain clogged. Sink leaking. Can't use dishwasher. Tempers frayed. Roomie's boss being dick. ("Is this an emergency?" "How would you describe standing water on the kitchen floor?" "Well, you need to come in.") Plumbers en route, maybe. Sometime before noon (they say).

I haven't had this much fun since I got my wisdom teeth pulled.

Manufacturing definitions.

So, as some of you may recall, the ATF recently released a document clarifying what it thought constituted "manufacturing firearms".

Since this made it sound like your gunsmith needed a Type 07 and had to pay excise tax if he put new sights on your Glock or spray-painted your 870 green, this raised some questions. Sean Galt decided to write to the BATFE for clarification, and included an extensive list of cc recipients.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


So I've got a bit of a Troofer infestation in my comments section. This one claims (obtusely) to be a Navy SEAL, but isn't going out of his way to dispel the rumor that a seal is a small aquatic mammal that balances balls on its nose.

Do you know why I have no effing respect for a Troofer like this one? Let me tell you why:

If you really and truly believe that eight goddam years ago the federal government conspired to cold-bloodedly murder nearly four thousand Americans on live TeeWee in the middle of downtown New York Frickin' City and then covered it up, why are you just flapping your gums on the intarw3bz instead of taking the fight to the frickin' enemy (as defined by you)?

And then you have the chutzpah to threaten people in my comment section? Pardon me if I think your threats are slightly less credible than Bigfoot stories. You don't have the stones to shoot a BB gun at the Trilateral Commission and their space lizard overlords and then you want me to quail in fear at your vague ninja skills?


Go whine about the Black Helicopters someplace else, loserboy.

Best. Intarw3bz. B-day. Post. EVAR!!!!

Happy birthday, LabRat!

(Well played, Stingray! Well played!)

"And now, from the Department of...

...Why Didn't I Think of That?"

Today(ish) In History: A Good Day for the Good Guys...

On (roughly) this date two years ago, a certain librarian very reluctantly busted some caps out of a .38 revolver.

I wonder if her instigator knew just how much good would eventually come from those first hesitant shots?

Congratulations, Breda!

Country girl can survive...

Remember that song I posted a link to a few months back? Here's an interview with the artist, Miranda Lambert:
What did you think when you heard you were going to be on the cover of a magazine called Garden & Gun?
I was excited. I think that fits my personality.

You’re a gardener, right?
Yeah, I live on a farm and I was just talking to my boyfriend last night about what we’re going to plant. Plus I’m a “gun-toting chick”—I have my concealed handgun license—so it all sounded perfect!
(Thanks for the link, Rob!)

Optimistic Googler of the Day:

Someone hit this place by Googling "indianapolis cheap ammunition". Good luck with that.

Oh, and while you're at it, Google "gps coordinates of secret fishin' hole" too, and tell me what you come up with...

I did not know that.

Triggered by something he read here yesterday, Charles Pergiel went on a geek safari and turned up an interesting factoid about Scandium...
The original use of scandium-aluminium alloys was in the nose cones of some USSR submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).
Huh. I did not know that...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

See the dot. Be the dot. Shoot the dot.

Todd Jarrett had a mission. He wanted to convince me that the Crimson Trace Laser Grips were not only a useful gizmo on a handgun, but also the handiest training aid since the invention of the snap cap.

He failed.

Full disclosure time: About five years ago, I was very active on the gun boards. I think the forum in question was The Firing Line, but it may have been The High Road during the TFL hiatus. Somebody asked about Laser Grips in the revolver forum, and I replied…

I called lasers a gimmick. I decried them as being detrimental to basic marksmanship. Most of all, I pooh-poohed the very idea of a battery-operated gizmo on a carry gun.

Crimson Trace apparently has always had a very forward-thinking marketing department. Even half a decade ago, they had folks stalking the internet forums to answer questions, and I quickly received a Private Message.

Hey,” it basically read, “you’re obviously a pretty knowledgeable shooter. You have a lot of posts; you’re on staff; people listen to what you say. Have you given CTC Laser Grips a fair try?” He offered to send me a pair for my backup J-frame on the condition that I give them a fair shake and report my findings, for good or ill, but honestly. “…and don’t just try on your indoor range; try them in low light. Try them on the move. Try them against multiple targets.

Sure enough, a package arrived in the mail with a refurbished set of the now-discontinued hard plastic grips with approximately the same contour as the famous J-frame “Boot Grips”. It also contained some propaganda literature and videos and, I was relieved to note, a spare set of batteries. I lost no time attaching them to the .38 Special S&W 442 I was currently packing.

I loaded up a bunch of the primer-powered CCI-Speer plastic training ammo, set up some IPSC targets in my living room, turned out most of the lights and, much to the chagrin of my cats, went to work.

Wow! Even cold, never having used the Laser Grips before, the difference was night and day. Drawing from concealment on the random signal of a timer, your eyes are on the A-zone of that first target. Especially when the gun is coming out of a pocket or purse, it’s hard to do that perfect IPSC presentation; no worries with the Laser Grips. As that dot tracks onto the A-zone, you start shooting, and the dot tracks your eyes onto the next target. Even if the batteries crap out, you still have your irons to fall back on, but picking up the first target is just amazingly faster. It’s like the difference between using iron sights and a red dot on a carbine; your eye doesn’t have to juggle multiple points of reference, and target fixation actually works in your favor.

But from where I sat, that was only a side bonus. At the time, I was working hard to master the double-action revolver trigger, and there is no better aid for diagnosing problems with grip and trigger squeeze than a laser. At the time, I was doing fifty rapid dry snaps a night with both hands and then, trigger finger wobbly with exhaustion, doing rigorous dry-fire practice, trying to keep my sights from wavering through the trigger pull. You can fudge your dry practice with irons, but that red dot don’t lie. Heeling the gun? Too much trigger finger? Not enough? The sudden lurch of the dot off target will let you know. I’d still be fumbling in the dark without the instant feedback the laser gave me. When Todd said he wasted his first million rounds of practice before using a laser, he probably wasn’t exaggerating as much as you’d think.

Is it a cure-all? Heck, no. You still need to know how to use your sights. The laser is an adjunct, not a substitute for basic marksmanship skills. But when even Jim Cirillo, who killed more bad guys than Cecil B. DeMille, said that a laser is a worthwhile addition to a fighting gun, I tend to sit up and take notice. (Incidentally, you may ask why I prefer the Crimson Trace grips over a LaserMax guide rod or a rail-mounted laser. The answer is that the CTC grips don’t require a separate switch to turn them on; the button is right there on the grip and doesn’t require an additional fine motor skill to activate.)

So when Todd Jarrett set out to convince me of the utility of Crimson Trace grips he failed. He failed because you can’t convert the already converted.

Oh, and about my worries about battery life? Well, it’s a good thing Crimson Trace sent me those spare batteries five years ago. That way when the set in my grips (which are on their second gun) finally go dead, I’ll have replacements handy, and won’t have to drive four blocks to the drug store to get more…

Return of the real world.

Off to mow the back yard and drag a weed whacker about the alley before Evil Mister Sun gets too high in the sky. Wish me luck...

UPDATE: Y'know what really itches? Skeeter bites and grass clippings atop a good sunburn...


Breda has a three-part review of the Appleseed event she attended this past weekend. PDB says "Allow me to retort."

Appleseed will be the topic of discussion on Gun Nuts: TNG next Tuesday night, too.

That's no moon, it's a space station!

At first I thought it was a simple error...
A nearly half-ton Texas woman charged in the death of her toddler nephew couldn't have beaten the boy to death because of her limited movement from weight problems, her attorney said Tuesday.
No, no, Mr. Reporter; a ton is two thousand pounds, so 500 pounds would be a quarter ton. I kept reading...
Mayra Rosales, who weighs nearly 1,000 pounds...
Oh, my!
Look, I try to be sympathetic, I really do, because lord knows I'm nowhere near as svelte as I used to be, but it only works to a point. Nobody just wakes up one morning and says "Oh, holy crap, I'm five hundred pounds! When did that happen?" There are all those intervening warning steps, like 350, 400, 450... You'd think that on passing one of those intermediary points between shopping at Lane Bryant and shopping at Omar the Tentmaker one would reduce the amount of stuff one put in one's cakehole, no?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

ParaUSA LTC 9 after-action report.

In 1950, Colt introduced a version of their Government Model with an alloy frame and a shortened, 4.25” barrel. Dubbed the “Commander”, it became a favorite of many who toted a pistol concealed on their day-to-day rounds, both for its more compact dimensions as well as the eleven or so ounces that the aluminum construction shaved off the avoirdupois of its bigger forebear. Many also swore that it balanced and pointed better in the hand, and some even claimed that the shorter tube made for a faster draw, although the latter rationale is dubious at best.

As relentless mismanagement drove Colt into an ever-decreasing market share, the two biggest players in the 1911 market, Kimber and Springfield Armory, introduced their own variations on the Commander. Although generally aping the original Colt product, the Kimber “Pro” and Springfield “Champion” used barrels an even four inches long, which caused grumbling among the purists. A quarter inch may not sound like much, but it did alter the lines of the gun, and not for the better; a Commander can be told from its early imitators at a glance.

Shortly after Para Ordnance made a splash by announcing that they were entering the single-stack 1911 market a few years back, they made an even bigger splash by announcing that they, too, were entering the Commander look-alike field with a new entry. To the delight of purists everywhere, and in a not-so-subtle dig at the aforementioned Kimber and Springfield, Para’s gun was dubbed the “LTC”. LTC is, of course, Armyspeak for “Lieutenant Colonel”, officer pay grade O-5, the equivalent rank to a Navy Commander: Para’s gun sported a “true Commander” 4.25” barrel length. It had the classic lines.

My friend Marko got one of the early LTC’s and played with it for a while, having a generally positive ownership experience and no complaints over feeding or function. He took a bit of ribbing from our gunsmith over the bake-on finish (Painted Ordnance), but as both my heavy rotation CCW 1911s at the time sported paint jobs, I couldn’t exactly tease him over it.

The original Colt Commander was available in 9mm, in addition to the more traditional .45ACP and .38 Super, and this year the newly renamed ParaUSA is releasing their LTC in the popular 9x19mm caliber as well. In a world where metals prices have .45ACP ammo boxes coming with attached credit apps, this is a good and practical thing. However…

Compared to the traditional calibers, 9mm Commanders did not have a stellar reputation for reliability, and so when Para announced that one of their choices for the upcoming blogger weekend was the LTC 9, I cynically picked it. I would be lying if I said I didn’t think that I would have plenty of opportunity to practice malfunction drills at Blackwater. When I found we were to be using frangible ammo, my heart sank even more. To my gun snob mindset, 9mm Para Commander + Frangible Ammo = One Long Weekend of Suck.

Boy, was I wrong.

On the first drills, my gun didn’t lock back on the empty mag. Although not a super-critical thing and one I’ve seen on tight new guns from every manufacturer under the sun, I mentioned this to our host, and he handed me a second one. After that? Not. One. Hiccup. By day two, the gun was so filthy that you could have planted crops on the feed ramp and was drier than a Temperance convention and still it kept gobbling up frangible ammo and spitting it out like the well-oiled machine it no longer was.

Para's nine uses their "PXT" Power Extractor. Similar in concept to the Aftec unit, it replaces the single piece, self-sprung conventional 1911 extractor with a multi-part internal pivoting extractor. Unlike the Aftec, the PXT uses a large extractor tunnel, which means that not only can the parts be made beefier, but it can use an extractor claw that is noticeably larger than the standard 1911 unit, which should provide better extraction. Also, Paras use a plunger tube that is integral to the frame, preventing the possibility of a badly-staked plunger tube from ruining your day. This fault is not as common as the intarw3bz and gun counter gossip could lead you to believe, but it's just not possible on a Para.

Quibbles? Sure; I’m a gun snob and no machine is perfect. The trigger was heavier than I like, but of my three 1911-type pistols, my Springer Pro has the heaviest trigger at 4.5#. I didn’t have weights with me, but I’d guess the “Gun Blog 9” LTC they handed me probably broke somewhere closer to six than four. Nothing I couldn’t fix with thirty minutes and a stone, and saying that the trigger isn’t as good as my heavily-massaged custom guns is praising with faint damns.

The special pistol was outfitted with Para’s adjustable rear sights of a BoMar pattern (fauxMars, if you will,) and a fiber optic front. These give a phenomenal, fast-to-acquire sight picture, but their sharp, sure-snag corners make as much sense on an alloy-frame 4.25” carry gun as a kickstand on a tank. Again, a couple minutes with a stone and some Aluma-Black will fix the most annoying part of this.

Lastly, the gun had a full-length guide rod. I cordially detest the FLGR as an abomination before God and John Moses Browning (pbuh). If God had wanted us to have full-length guide rods, we would have evolved opposable bushing wrenches on our right hands with which to disassemble our firearms.

But these are minor complaints, and mostly stylistic. The gun ran like Jesse Owens and shot like a house afire, and if you can think of another thing you need a gun to do, your world is more complicated than mine.

The acid test? Well, if I have to sell a kidney or get a paper route to do it, I am buying this gun. I may be a starving artist, but even a starving artist knows the value of a dead reliable, deadeye accurate pistol when she sees one.

Gravity claims another victim...

It was a bad week for nasty falls all 'round, it seems.

Get well soon, Billll!

You know you want to...

Listen to Gun Nuts: The Next Generation tonight at 11PM EDT, that is.

It'll be 15 minutes longer than usual (IOW, a whole hour) and chock full of the good, the bad, and the homely from the Gun Blogger Summer Camp this past weekend. If you want the dirt on Para, Blackwater, how useful a laser is in a shoot house, and whether Robb Allen snores or not, don't miss out.

You know what makes shooting such a neat sport?

What are the odds of you being able to get golfing lessons from Tiger Woods or a weekend of tennis pointers with Steffi Graf?

In very few sports are the top athletes so accessible.

Sebastian has a sort of extended mix compilation video up from this past weekend's class.

It just ain't the same.

The Metro & State section of yesterday's cat box liner had a picture from this past weekend's air show on the front page. It was a nice color photo of an F-22 Raptor formating on a P-51D in invasion regalia.

The Raptor's cool and everything, I guess, but it doesn't have a Merlin...

News Flash:

What do credit apps, tax forms, and fairy tales have in common? They all contain a bit of embellishment that... umm... may vary from the truth.

This apparently surprises some people.
Now, the credit histories of many applicants are not good enough to get approved for mortgages, except through some creativity - or chicanery - by brokers and loan officers.

The most common type of fraud that MARI found pertained to employment history and income. Many applications exaggerated how much borrowers earned and misrepresented their job descriptions.

I remember in the late '80s, when I was briefly selling cars for a living, having another salesperson tell me how "It's wrong to lie on these forms, so I just present the truth in the most favorable light possible," as he changed a garbage man making $12.50/hr into a Waste Disposal Engineer making... tap, tap, scribble... carry the two... round up to the nearest ten... $30,000/yr.

PS: Interestingly, the little poll shows that 44% of respondees are unaffected by the mortgage snafu. I'm going to postulate that those who really took it in the shorts, either being badly upside down in their crib or getting kicked to the curb by a foreclosure, are probably not regular readers of Perhaps if they ran that poll at an online gambling site or a 419 scam relief organization, they'd get different numbers.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Not the kind of spam I wanted to get...

I woke up hungry at 1:45 and decided to check my email before wobbling off to find sustenance. Before I did, I checked my email and noticed that I'd accumulated a bit of spam in the last couple days. Double-checking my spam folder before emptying it turned up an email dated yesterday from my Dad, via one of his other email accounts.

Apparently while I was busy driving to Blackwater on Thursday, my 89-y.o. grandfather, my last grandparent, was busy taking a header onto a doorknob in his house. He broke six ribs and cracked his shoulder blade in half. Luckily he retained consciousness and his cell phone and called my mom.

While I've been busy running around having fun over the weekend, he's been busy fighting for life on a respirator in an ICU. Things are still very touch and go.

Blogging may be light for a little bit. I promise I will get back to the fun stuff ASAP. Your thoughts are appreciated.


Woke up yesterday at 6:30AM (that's 0630 in tacticalspeak) at Blackwater. Spent most of the day on the range, 'til about 3:30ish. Packed up, rode the rock star Blackhawk! bus back to where the Nazi slot car was parked. Mad props to Caleb, who noticed that the effects of the sunburn had me hanging on my chin strap and cancelled his flight to share the driving chores back to Indy. I stayed awake the whole trip on conversation, caffeine, and leftover adrenaline.

I have so, so, so much to blog about, but it's going to have to wait 'til after I crash, y'all. More later...

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I may not have been the most stellar pistol shot of the weekend, but I redeemed myself okay when we got to fam-fire Para's new carbine.

We weren't keeping score, but I think I gave a bit of schooling. :)

More later...

PS: Sun poisoning sucks. Big rocks up off the ground.

Boy, is my face red...

...and not because I'm Todd Jarrett's "Special Ed" pupil, but because I typed on this very blog the words "Sunscreen? Check."

Yeah. Well...

SPF nine jillion doesn't work when it's still in the bottle, unless you, like, tape the bottle to your face to block the sun's rays or something. Whereas if you forget it in your room and don't bother to borrow anybody else's, you just get cooked.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #48: ParaUSA LTC 9

Shoot 'til it hurts...

I burned more powder today than I have at one time in a long time. We started early in the morning with some simple drills, picking up from where we left off yesterday with sight picture, a good firm grip, sight picture, trigger control, and sight picture. From there, it was time to work from the holster.

Todd made sure everyone could work safely from the leather plastic, and from there we went to shooting on the move, both moving towards and away from the target, as well as laterally along the firing line. Ironically, shooting on the move can be easier than you think, because you're generally zoned in on the front sight and what surplus attention you have is on your footwork and that doesn't leave enough brainpower to overthink your trigger pull and botch your shot.

Awesome Mad Max rental car. Spent Simunitions included.

After a ride in the totally rad Blackwater taxi to the chow hall for lunch, stages got more complicated, mixing movement and barricades and moving targets.

More later...

As the sun rises over the Blackwater compound...

...there are whole battalions of ninjas doing their morning kung fu exercises, like in the SPECTRE hideout in a James Bond flick.

Well, not really, but I'll bet some hippie read that and said "I knew it!"

Actually it's like the cross between a military base and a... well, a school. Except that the classrooms are, on the whole, a lot cooler. And I'm supposed to be at one of those classrooms in an hour and a half to make some noise. I'm going to have to sign off and get to the chow hall. (How cool is that? I'm going to eat breakfast in a chow hall!)

Anyhow, more later...

Friday, August 22, 2008

I could tell you what they showed me today...

...but then I'd have to kill you.

Actually, it was pretty cool, and I'm here to tell you all about it...

The day started with us piling into the ¡Blackhawk! bus, which is decked out much like something you'd find on a rock tour, except with more SEALs and fewer strung-out Betty Ford alumni. The bus is plastered with graphics featuring explosions, machinegun-wielding specops dudes, and enough exclamation points to write three grade school essays about Six Flags, and it apparently runs on a proprietary blend of awesomesauce and testosterone.

I followed this hard-to-misplace vehicle to the secret world headquarters of Blackhawk. We got to nose around a showroom. I poked at Gladius flashlights and SERPA holsters and MOD knives and drank free coffee. Then it was time for an actual presentation in the little conference room...

To Be Continued:

Off to a good start.

You know your day's off to a good start when it begins with having to stroll through a hotel lobby with your Louis Vuitton plastic Kroger bag of girlie toiletries that you left in the trunk of your car last night.

Blackhawk bus arrives for boarding in 70 minutes; gotta jet, y'all. More later.

Good luck with that...

"Hopefully this thorough report puts to rest the various 9/11 conspiracy theories, which dishonor the men and women who lost their lives on that terrible day," said Silverstein spokeswoman Dara McQuillen.
Y'know, if we live in a country full of engineers, it might. Unfortunately, we live in a country full of ignorant louts who think Martians from Roswell, NM shot JFK from the grassy knoll and carted his body off to Area 51. This is a country where real live grownups actually attended a bigfoot press conference, and then went home to watch programs about the healing power of Egyptian crystals on the goddam Discovery Channel. We are not a land of rational people. Look who won our presidential primaries, for Shiva's sake!

At the end of the quest, victory!

So after an 11 hour drive (verdammt road construction! I gotta say that Sen. Byrd is really bringing the bacon home to WV...) I spent 30 minutes looking around for the No-Tell Motel here in Norfolk. I finally found it at about 10:15. I asked for a single, and was informed "Have no single! Only Suite! One million dollars!" My eyebrows must have shot up, because I was informed "May-Tell Motel next door have smoking rooms! They only charge nine hundred thousand!"

So I went next door to the May-Tell Motel. No smoking rooms available. Also, the rooms were nine hundred and fifty thousand dollars. I explained that I only wanted one room and for one night, not a lease on the whole floor for a month. The clerk didn't get the joke.

So I took my room and decided to go downstairs to the hotel bar for a beer before beddy-bye, since my wakeup call was set for 0mygod30 in the AM. Guess who all was in my hotel bar? The whole gunblogger crew, that's who. And I'm so alert, I strolled right past them at first...

And now to bed. 0mygod30 comes awful early in these parts.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Overheard on the way out the Door:

RX: "Would you like to take a cinnamon roll?"

Me: "No, that's not my traditional roadtrip food. My traditional roadtrip food is..."

RX: "I know. Slim Jims."

Me: "Tabasco-flavored Slim Jims."

RX: "Ugh. I wouldn't use that for a suppository."

Me: "Yikes! Neither would I!"

Off to see the wizard.

I am not meant to be this active this early...

Let's see if I'm remembering everything:
  • Eyes & ears? Check.
  • Assorted Very Tactical tee shirts? Check.
  • Laptop? Check.
  • Backup laptop in case the first one pukes? Check.
  • iPod? Check.
  • Bandaids? Dammit, I've got to stop at the store.
I am off to turn my gimlet eye on the 9 sillimeter version of Para's LTC and hopefully not make a complete arse of myself in front of all the popular kids. Hopefully even learn a thing or two.

I've been asking people with more gun school experience than I for pointers and helpful hints, and the answers have ranged from "Remember: Front sight, press. And wear sunscreen." to "Don't (foul) up." I will try and keep all that in mind. Especially the part about not (foul)ing up.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


There's just something about a pistol that was built just for you...

As my bro Marko (who is even geekier than I, if such a thing can be imagined) puts it: "It's like having a Jedi light saber."

Quote of the Day:

"But hey, I'm learning something new every day. All these years I falsely believed that purpose of the law is to keep order. Wrong! Its actual purpose is to make corporeal every paranoia that crouches in the dark corners of the human pysche." -TJH, in comments here.

Lessons learned...

1) Knowing that RobertaX is not as keen on teh spicy as am I, I marinated two of the chops in liquid Jerk JuJu all afternoon before cooking. Next time, I'm going after those things with a fork like Jack the Ripper before I marinate them so that they soak up more JuJu.

2) Ah. So that's why my roomie has all those bitty glass bowls. Halfway through the prep process, I thought "Maybe if I kept my ingredients in all these little pudding bowls she has..." As Willie said to Joe, "I'll be damned, did you know this can opener fits on the end of a rifle?"

Truth is dumber than fiction.

Once upon a time, I had a neighbor who bought a Prius. "Wow!" we all exclaimed, "that thing sure is quiet!" We thought that this was peachy, as it helped preserve the tranquil and bucolic nature of our surroundings.

Obviously we'd never make it as politicians in California, a job that requires superhuman talent for picking fly poop out of pepper and finding the gray cloud around any silver lining.

The professional hand-wringers and worrywarts in Sacramento heard, or rather didn't hear, the same thing we did and immediately went looking for a downside. Preferably one that required busybody legislation to fix it.

They have apparently decided that these very quiet cars are a hazard to blind people and inattentive morons that stray into the street. Did they do the sensible thing and conclude that this was a splendid way to thin the herd? (Assuming that being nudged by a nerfwagen Prius blistering along at a furlong per fortnight has any herd-thinning properties...) Heck, no! There oughtta be a law to protect inattentive morons and blind people who meander into the street from the ravages of slow-moving ecoweenies in their chi-chi granolamobiles!

So let it be written, so let it be done.

Today In History: ...and sheep were nervous.

Once upon a time we had armies with cool names and generals with even cooler handles.

On this day in 1794, General "Mad Anthony" Wayne led the Legion of the United States to victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, routing a confederation of tribes that had been supplied (and perhaps goaded) by meddling Brits out of Fort Miami.

Or at least that's the way I heard it as a child.

Today's kids probably hear that evil imperialist troops were sent by Halliburton to disrupt the peaceful Summer Granola Festival of the innocent autochthones.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tamara's Big Kitchen Adventure...

Today we are trying Jamaican Jerk Pork Chops.

I'm going in. Wish me luck.

UPDATE: Day-umn! The house smells so good!

Overheard in the Hallway:

Me: "Understand that where I grew up, we sent Larry McDonald, Newt Gingrich, Bob Barr, and John Linder to Congress."

RX: "Didn't you say that that first guy was a Democrat?"

Me: "Yeah, but he was also president of the John Birch Society."

RX: "You know that, to Hoosier ears, 'President of the John Birch Society' and 'Democrat' sounds oxymoronic."

Me: "See, Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, and... well... it's complicated, okay?"

Today In History: Old Ironsides.

On this date in 1812, one of the touchstone episodes in the history of the U.S. Navy occurred.

A British naval squadron had been pursuing the U.S. frigate Constitution. On August 19, one of their number, HMS Guerrierre, had the misfortune of catching her.

The battlecruisers of their day, the U.S. 44-gun frigates were unusually heavy for their class; anything they couldn't out-shoot, they could outrun. Anything they couldn't outrun...

Constitution shot Guerrierre to ribbons, dismasting her in a short, sharp fight, and earning her nickname of "Old Ironsides" as the British broadsides proved ineffective against her thick timbers of Georgia live oak. The victorious ship became something of a mascot to the U.S.N., so far did its exploits go to boost morale in the fledgling service.

USS Constitution is still on the Navy's rolls, and remains afloat in Boston.

Overheard in the Office:

Here at Roseholme Cottage, we use a manual drip coffee maker to get things started in the Ay Em...

RX: "Hey, your coffee water's ready."

Me: "I know. I put extra water in the kettle so I could listen to it whistle for a while. It's such a cheery sound..."

I'm so very easily amused.

Monday, August 18, 2008

An unsentimental journey.

My pal Breda recently went out for her inaugural 1911 experience. Judging from the pictures, it looks like she rented your basic Colt 1991A1. Judging by the text, the target, and the big ol' grin, it looks like she had a great time. This is because she did it right: quality gun, name brand ammo, knowledgeable help, and a positive attitude.

True Confession: My early 1911 experiences were nowhere near as good...

It is often said that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. I regret to say that more than once I have fallen victim to having a little knowledge. Allow me to embarrass myself and set the Wayback Machine for almost eight years ago to the day...

Back in ’00, a guy made a post on The Firing Line about the reliability of the 1911-type pistol. I responded in high dudgeon with a list of the 1911-type pistols I’d owned and a litany of the woes I’d suffered while shooting them. On the surface, it read like a fairly knowledgeable post.

I was not a novice at the time. I’d been slinging guns across the glass for a living for, oh, seven years or so. I’d shot competitively, both smallbore rifle and action pistol. I’d dabbled at reloading. I’d owned probably a half-dozen pistols of the type that could loosely be termed 1911s. I was less than happy with the breed.

I cringe reading it now.

In the intervening eight years I have had what is almost a college edjumacation in firearms, with a minor in 1911s, and looking at that post is like looking at a high school yearbook; it was amazing how much I knew that wasn’t so.

Did you see where I referred to a “G.I. Springfield”? Yeah. It wasn’t. I mean, I knew it wasn’t military; but I thought the frame was made for a government contract. The “NM” in the serial number stands for “National Match”, right? (Hint: No.)

Everyplace I referred to “factory mags” or “G.I. mags”, I now realize that I meant “$5 gun show mags”. My “factory” Colt mags may have said “Colt” on them, but they didn’t have the horsie on them and had probably never been closer to Hartford than 500 miles. I knew a CMC or Wilson mag by looking at it, but everything else got automatically lumped into the "factory/GI" mag category in my mind. Why I expected a cheapo "USA" mag to work in a 1911 when I wouldn't let one within a hundred yards of my Glock remains one of life's great mysteries.

Being a savvy shooter, I had a “gunsmith” friend work on 1911s as soon as I bought them, without even shooting them first. I had him “ramp and throat” them. What he did was ruin them. I knew just enough about 1911s to trash a perfectly good gun.

Further, since they were all used when I bought them and I had no idea how to properly check one out, JMB himself only knows what kind of boogered-up shadetree smithing failures I was proudly carting home to mangle even more.

I was lucky in two respects in 2001. First, I started working at a shop with a gunsmith who really, really knew his stuff; Shannon Jennings taught me more about how 1911s work than I can properly credit. As an added bonus, working under the same roof as a guy with a known reputation let me see plenty of ruined guns when they were brought in for his ministrations. Seeing what is done wrong is as instructive in its way as seeing it done right.

Second, I bought a LNIB Springfield Professional, complete with the Wilson mags it shipped with from the factory. That let me see what a good 1911 was supposed to be like.

Needless to say, my views changed a bit. I’ve owned at least eighteen different 1911 pattern pistols since then (not counting the Radom or Double Beagle in the photo below)…

Other than the Detonics Combat Master and the Colt GI/ParaOrd hybrid, both of which were absolute basket cases that I purchase with open eyes, hoping to resurrect them, I never had a real problem with any of the lot.

Of course, this time around, I knew what I was looking at when I bought a used one. Also, this time around, I resisted the temptation to show how savvy I was by having them “ramped and throated”. You know, for reliability.

If I learn as much in the next eight years as I did in the last, I'll really be dangerous...

Today in History: A Mickey Mouse discovery.

On this day in 1868, French scientist Pierre Janssen used spectroscopy to discover a new element in the solar corona.

The element was helium. Unfortunately, it was on the sun and Janssen was on Earth, and so it would be many more years before anyone was actually able to use his discovery to advertise tires at sporting events or do a good Mickey Mouse impression.

Molony: Australian for "misogyny".

The mayor of a two-mule town in the Outback announces "Come to Mount Isa, where even ugly Sheilas can get laid!", and then appears baffled at the negative feedback.

Sometimes the jokes write themselves...

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #47: Czech this out.

Yeah, there's my little WWII-vintage Dušek Duo. It's a handy, well-made little Colt/Browning Vest Pocket .25 knockoff; mine found its way home as a war trophy and mostly sat quietly rusting in a sock drawer for the better part of a half century before coming into my possession. If you haven't shot one of John Moses Browning's (pbuh) pocket pistols or one of their close copies, you're missing out on how bitty pistols should work. With a Kel-Tec P-32 or one of the DA/SA Beretta or Taurus minis, I'm very happy to be getting A-zone hits at seven yards; with the Duo, I was able to clang a 6" gong at 15 yards as fast as I could pull the trigger. The short trigger and natural grip angle help it shoot like a much bigger gun.

It shoots nicely and is mechanically quite sound, but the cancer it has had won't be cured with anything short of a blast cabinet and a bluing tank; even maintaining stasis requires weekly scouring and oiling, so it's due for a prettifying. I'm debating the finish I should use, but I'm leaning towards emailing Galt's Guns and looking into getting it park'ed. It would seem weird to Cerakote the old relic...

Books: War stories.

I'd seen the movie A Midnight Clear and enjoyed it, so when I saw the novel upon which the movie was based on the "Experienced Books" shelf at Northside News, I happily gambled a dollar.

I have not been disappointed. It's a great read thus far, with the added bonus that it's been probably a dozen years since I saw the movie so that, while I may remember broad plot outlines ("She dies in the end,") the story is still fresh for me. Unless it crashes and burns badly in the last fifty pages, I have to recommend it as a good first-person novel of WWII. If you can imagine the travelogue portions and historical overviews excised from William Manchester's Goodbye, Darkness, leaving only the first-person narrative, you'll have a good idea of the tone and texture.

(PS: If I haven't extolled the virtues of the "Experienced Books" rack at Northside News, let me do so here. It's nothing but classics and a few selected best-sellers, all $1/each. In the last couple of months I've snagged Kim, Lord of the Flies, The Gulag Archipelago, Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer, and McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader, as well as Still Life With Woodpecker, Hannibal, A Midnight Clear, Force 10 From Navarone, The Hunt for Red October, and The Bear and the Dragon. As far as used book racks go, it's like a canned hunt or fishing in a stocked pond with dynamite.)

(PPS: Hey, Marko, you should read A Midnight Clear. It's mostly in first-person, present-tense.)

Blog Meet stuff.

It was a grand time, as usual. Conversation was varied and esoteric, and I got to trot out my tale of getting my wisdom teeth extracted by Doogie Howser. Old Grouch, Shermlock Shomes, and RobertaX were outdoing each other in the recollection of obscure SF short stories. It was an amazingly literate and educated crowd; more than once I almost blurted out "Well, I ain't much on fancy book learnin'." Scotch Eggs were much in evidence, as were Lawnmower Ales and the house Extra Pale Ale. (They were out of the house IPA, and ordering a beer that wasn't brewed on-site when you're at a brewpub is just wrong.)

After the general meeting broke up, Brigid, RX, and I wandered the streets of Broad Ripple, found a whole store full of hippies and Birkenstocks and tofu, and strolled the Monon and the Art Center grounds for a bit. By the time the shadows started lengthening, I had become pleasantly full of good food, good beer, good conversation, and warm sunshine.

A lot of those lucky people will be doing it again next weekend, while I'm off displaying my total lack of skill and talent in front of some of the most popular writers in the gun blogosphere. It'll be awesome!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Working at the ol' factory.

The other day I was heating up some leftover prime rib for lunch and I thought to myself "You know, that grated horseradish in the fridge would be the berries on this." So I pulled out the jar, but noticed that the use-by date thereon was September of '08.

Hm. How funky does this stuff get as doomsday approaches? Without putting a lot of thought into the matter, I uncapped it and took a big whiff.

Which was kind of pointless when you think about it, because even freshly grated horseradish smells like a stale onion in an old sweat sock. How can you tell when it's gone funky?

FWIW, this stuff was still just fine. Yum!

Wishing for the moon...

It's good to have impossible dreams. Mine is finding an IWB holster along the lines of the Summer Special or Versa-Max II, sized to fit the early Colt M1903 Pocket Hammerless with the 4" barrel length.

And un-bubbaized stocks for a Ross Mk.II rifle, a Mauser Kar.71, and a Mannlicher-Berthier M.1907/15. And a magazine follower & spring for a Siamese M1903 Mauser. And an extractor for a Frommer Stop.

I also want a gold house and a rocket car.

Blogarage sales.

For sale in the blogosphere:

Tac vest and holster.

'67 Mustang.

Take advantage of the fabulous Back-To-School savings!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Overheard in a Restaurant:

(Olympic women's marathon is on the TeeWee over the bar...)

Me: "There's a sport that's not made for spectators."

Dinner companion: "Maybe if they let you scoot along on mopeds to watch. Or if they ran it in a stadium..."

Me: "But it'd get pretty boring just watching people run in circles for hours."

DC: "I don't know, Indy and NASCAR seem to do okay."

Me: "Yeah, but marathon runners don't occasionally just cartwheel down the track and burst into flames for no reason. Now that would be some excitement."

Backwards compatibility.

One of the selling points of the EOTech Model 512 when I first started hawking them was the fact that they used the common AA-size batteries rather than the esoteric N-cell used by the Model 511. When I purchased one of my own, I was happy with the fact that I could pick up batteries at any old convenience store to keep my optic running.

Just a few short years later, almost nothing I own runs on AA batteries except for my camera and the flashlight I keep in the bedroom for blackouts. All my other lights, from the light on my carbine to my Surefire "tactical" flashlight and even the little TwinTask 1L I keep in my purse for general flashlight chores, use lithium CR123 cells. This means I need to keep the little battery compartments in my foregrip and pistol grip filled with two different kinds of batteries. This is a pain in the butt. I need to get rich so I can replace my 512 with a 553 that takes the newer batteries. Plus it comes in flat dark earth, which would match my gun, and that's important to the style-conscious armchair commando like myself.

Overheard in the Hallway:

RX: "It's like a baby Frankenstein."

Me: "A wha... huh?"

RX: "You know, 'Shock and awwww'."

Just a reminder...

...of where the cool kids will be this Sunday.

What's redneck for "chutzpah"?

So a couple of good ol' boys in my home state of Georgia claim to have found the corpse of a unique Southeastern variety of Bigfoot who had apparently committed the unforgivable Bigfoot sin of not dissolving into thin air upon dying. The find of an Appalachian Bigfoot is especially amazing, since the critter has to be stealthy, living in a neck of the woods that has had sports stadiums and outlet malls since neolithic times.

Of course our intrepid discoverers reacted the way that anybody in possession of rock-solid proof would react: They refused to let anybody see the purported remains and instead announced that the results of DNA testing would be released at a news conference in Palo Alto, clear across the country, on Friday.

At the press conference, the anxious and credulous were informed that the rare and elusive h. bigfootus crackerus is, in fact, a human-opossum hybrid.

(A big h/t to Unc for originally tipping me off to this astonishing tale.)

I'll take "Holidays With A Macabre History" for $500, Alex...

It's Children's Day in Paraguay!

Friday, August 15, 2008


Headache, sleep schedule completely fried... Just not feelin' it today. Does it show?

Readin', Writin', Reloadin'.

One school district in Texas has decided to step up and do the common sense thing to combat the possibility of school violence. In the coming school year, teachers with toter's permits in the Harrold, TX school district will get to take their practicum in pistol packing.

An upside to the Olympics.

A whole generation has grown up since the fall of the Iron Curtain and missed out on watching spectacles like the KGB having to guard their own athletes to keep them from defecting. It was always very instructive to me as a kid.

Now the Chinese are happily providing plenty of heartwarming stories on what happens when a totalitarian nation decides it needs athletes. "You! Leave the village and come with us. You are a gymnast now!"

Thursday, August 14, 2008

You know what I love about my new crib?

Being able to ride my bike two blocks for a yummy Cuban sandwich for lunch today.

How festive...

Rice spoke after Bush's announcement that U.S. aircraft and ships would deliver humanitarian aid to victims of the fighting.

Bush and Rice warned Russia not to interfere with the delivery of humanitarian aid, noting that Tuesday's French-brokered cease-fire allows for the delivery of international relief, and expressed concern over reports that Russian units were continuing to advance into Georgian cities despite Tuesday's cease-fire.

So there will be U.S. military aircraft and ships in a position to come under fire from the Russkies as they deliver humanitarian aid to refugees in Georgia. Gosh, how could that go wrong?

One of the more plausible WWIII scenarios in the late 1980s was a civil war in post-Khomeini Iran. The Soviets pick a side, we pick a side. We send materiel, they send materiel. They send advisors, we send advisors. We send troops, they send troops. Next thing you know, the First Guards Tank Army is through the Fulda Gap and driving for Frankfurt.

Things get touchy any time the military units of nuclear-armed nations are in the same neighborhood.

Crime Guns.

When I had my motorcycle accident years back, the Atlanta Police Department wound up in custody of my Glock 29 and Beretta Tomcat, as well as the Ruger Vaquero I was taking home from work at the time. I believe the initial stolen gun check went something like this:

Police officer (in E.R.): "Are these guns stolen?"

Me (on gurney, still no morphine): "ooowwww...No.o.oOOOOOOOWWWW!"

I'm sure they did something more formal involving at least running the serial numbers through the NCIC to see if they'd been reported stolen but, push come to shove, when it came time to get my guns back from the City of Atlanta, it was as simple as giving my ex a notarized letter to take down to the cop shop.

Fortunately, they weren't... Crime Guns. You know "Crime Guns", right? Those are the scary things involved in murder and mayhem, used in drive-bys and found by cooling bodies; referenced by the media in breathless phrases like "Data from the government shows that 25% of all Crime Guns yadda yadda yackety schmackety." Those Crime Guns must be an evil thing, no?

Yeah, well, let me tell you what the definition of a "Crime Gun" is: It is a gun that the ATF has run a trace on. The reason that the ATF would run a trace on a gun is because a police department has come into possession of the firearm when its owner was charged with some crime or another. On a good year for busting stockbrokers, there are probably a lot of Perazzi doubles that get traces run on them.

This year, the number of "Crime Guns" of the bucks-up custom 1911 persuasion is going to be high by at least one. That's because the Gallatin, TN Police Department took custody of a 1911 from someone who was guilty of the heinous crime of... well, nothing, actually. Unless being on the wrong end of .gov clerical errors is a crime now.

He still hasn't got his gun back. When he does, he'd better keep a close eye on it. It's a Crime Gun now, and you know how dangerous those Crime Guns can be.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Today In History: Happy Few.

On this day in 1415, Henry V of England landed in Normandy with 8,000 men and proceeded to spend the next few months handing the French one monumental ass-whuppin' after another.

Overheard in the Office...

Me: "I just went with the regular old yellow squash instead of springing for the organic kind."

RX: "The organic kind just means it had crap in the fertilizer..."

Me: "Yeah, I figured I'd save money, go with the bug spray and keep people's feces off my veggies."

RX: "It's usually from animals."

Me: "Well, that makes it okay then."

When did that happen?

I talked on the phone today with Marko. We went on at length over my lawn and garden stuff, what he was feeding the kids for lunch, my cookery plans, random "how's the family?"-type household stuff... and maybe five minutes apiece on cool topics like WiFi/iPods/laptops and the Russkie invasion of Georgia. I think there may have been two sentences in there peripherally related to firearms, but it was awfully peripheral, like "Writing about guns," or "How I carry on my bicycle," and not "Holy crap, did you see the new BlastOMatic 2000 Tactical Elite model?!?"

When did we get all dull and old?

Not venturing too far afield...

I'm going to try something only slightly different from my last big kitchen adventure, since I feel moderately comfortable with the techniques involved. I found recipes for baked lemon pepper herb tilapia and some garlic butter squash. Because, you know, everything's better with garlic, butter, and pepper.

UPDATE: Complete with chives fresh from the garden. Yum. Who's the cook? Who's the cook, beeyotch? That's right...

How do you say "Milli Vanilli" in Mandarin?

"The reason was for the national interest," said Chen Qigang, the ceremony's musical director, in a state radio interview. "The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feeling and expression. ... Lin Miaoke is excellent in those aspects."

Apparently the initial rehearsals were reviewed by the old men of the politburo, who deemed the actual singer, 7 year old Yang Peiyi, "Not hot enough to be the Chinese Britney."

Incidentally, the new Olympic Stadium is said to be able to host the simultaneous executions of over five hundred political prisoners, a 75% increase over the previous venue.

(H/T to the Munchkin Wrangler.)

That's what the commies get...

...for running a pirated copy of Winderz.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Just wanted to say...

...hooray for home-grown grape tomatoes!

That's all.

You may go about your business.

You might be in a cult if...

  1. Everybody dresses alike.
  2. You have to change your name to something weird.
  3. Bodies of small children get left in unclaimed luggage after being sprayed with Lysol to cut down on the funk.

"Police and Ramkissoon's family said the group is a cult," says the journo. I'd say that the preponderance of evidence supports their claim, wouldn't you?

'Nother Knife Auction coming up...

I've got to sell some Girl Scout cookies for gas money to make it to the tactical jamboree. Watch this space...

Today In History: East is East and West is West...

...and on each other the twain shall beat.

On this date, August the 12th, in...

1099: The forces of the First Crusade, commanded by Godfrey of Bouillon, handed a stomping to the Islamic Fatimid army at Ascalon, bringing the First Crusade to a successful conclusion. The sequels usually didn't have such happy endings.

1121: Orthodox Georgian forces routed the Seljuk Turks at the Battle of Didgori.

1164: Nur ad-Din led his Islamic troops to a shattering defeat of the Crusader states of Tripoli and Antioch at Harim in Turkey, while the bulk of the other Crusader troops were off meddling in Egyptian affairs.

1480: In the wake of the capture of the fortress of Otranto, Ottoman Turks behead 800 captives for refusing to convert to Islam.

1499: The indecisive opening acts of the naval battle of First Lepanto, which ended as a Turkish victory over Catholic Venice some two weeks later. (Second Lepanto was also a Turkish victory, but both are largely forgotten in the West in favor of THE Battle of Lepanto some 71 years later, where the Ottomans got their Hummus spread by the Venetians.)

1687: Habsburg forces under Charles of Lorraine annihilate the Ottoman Mussulmen at Second Mohacs, marking the beginning of the end for Turkish dreams in Europe.

Given the history of the date, it makes you wonder what's shakin' over in that part of the world today...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Quote of the Day:

Reader perlhaqr on lawn maintenance, from comments here:
You just need to play Emo music at the lawn. That way it'll cut itself.
perlhaqr wins the intarw3bz!

Look for some gene-spliced overly emotionally sensitive grass in the gardening department at Home Despot any day now...

The $0 pistol repair...

...or, "Doctor, it hurts when I do this."

My Glock 30 didn't like 200gr SWC ammunition from Georgia Arms. After a very brief moment of being stumped by this failing, I fixed it for no money and with no swapping or modification of parts, despite not being a gunsmith or engineer: I stopped trying to shoot 200gr SWC Georgia Arms ammo in my Glock 30. You run into this all the time in the gun world:

Customer: "My BlastOMatic 2000 has started jamming a lot."

Helpful Employee: "Wow, you never had problems with it before. What kind of malfs are you having? Failures to feed? Failures to eject?"

C: "Well, it's started not getting the round into the chamber sometimes, and sometimes it stovepipes the empty case."

H.E.: "Have you changed your grip...?"

C: "No."

H.E.: "What about ammo?"

C: "I'm still shooting that Blammuntion-brand 225gr FMJ from those five cases I got a good deal on last year."

H.E.: "And I know you're anal-retentive about cleaning and lube... What's changed?"

C: "The only thing different is the 19# TacticalCo recoil spring I put in the gun."

H.E.: "Huh? The BOM2k ships with a 13.5# spring. Why'd you change? Had it stopped working with the factory spring?"

C: "No, but my friends said the TacticalCo spring was better."

H.E.: "Yeah, but why?

C: "I dunno. It was just... better."

H.E.: "Try swapping the old spring back in."


C: "Hey, that worked!"

H.E.: "Imagine."

Two bits of common wisdom that are common wisdom for a reason:
  • "Doctor, it hurts when I do this!" "Well, stop doing that."
  • If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

(PostScript: Not that there's anything wrong with Georgia Arms .45ACP 200gr SWC; it's still my favorite .45 practice ammo. Just not in that particular Glock 30. With literally hundreds of different types of ammo available, which is easier: Getting a particular gun to shoot the one kind it doesn't like? Or shooting the hundreds of kinds it does?)

How did they find this out?

Apparently, hagfish slime tastes like chicken. Unborn chicken, granted, but chicken nonetheless.

You have to wonder how this discovery came about. "Hey, George, come here and lick this hagfish. Does this taste like egg white to you, too?"

That's kinda interesting.

Researchers have apparently been messing around with using thermoelectric generation, a process that converts heat (temperature differentials, actually) to electricity, to generate enough juice to replace a vehicle's alternator. Having been used in the space program, it's not like this is untried technology that's never been exposed to harsh elements either, although you don't get much in the way of slush and road salt in space...

Use a big enough battery to handle the load until the exhaust gas gets up to temp, or put a magnetic clutch in the alternator like the one on the a/c compressor, and you could remove a large source of parasitic drag from the car's engine. Surely you've noticed how your gas mileage improves when you turn off the air conditioning, right? Imagine being able to turn it even off-er.

Mortgaged bread and Chinese circuses.

Frank James on the recent WTO negotiations, canditatorial clueslessness on agribusiness, and a grim future: It makes for an interesting read.


In comments elsewhere on the web, someone complained that they didn't come here anymore because of the pointless sarcasm and condescension.

I commiserated. I mean, coming here if you don't like sarcasm and condescension would be like going to the zoo if you didn't like giraffes and monkeys.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Range Report.

Fun Tam won, and I went shooting with a friend who also needed to burn some powder to get ready for an upcoming course. I got to the range too late to shoot with Brigid, but now I know where the range is and can find it on my own. Hopefully next time.

First things first was a few mags of defensive ammo through the '66 Colt. My first three shots cold drilled the X dead-on but I started getting a bit of vertical stringing midway through the first mag, and by the end of the third, I had chewed a nice, oblong hole at 6 o'clock on the bull, centered maybe an inch low. Time for the Ciener.

Popping the slide off the Colt the old-fashioned way, I replaced it with the .22 unit and ran about another 100 rounds rapid-fire, trying to concentrate on not slapping the trigger and not driving the muzzle down in anticipation of the shot. Once the rounds were landing back atop the front sight properly, I pulled out my 2" S&W Kit Gun and spent a few cylinders making sure I still knew how a double-action trigger works. Yes, I did. Oddly, I still shoot better cold with a DA revolver trigger. Once you get the hang of it, it's a lot like riding a bike. Just don't "stage" the damn thing; pull it through smoothly.

Back to the Colt. As I was putting the .45 barrel and slide back on the gun, it was quite apparent that someone hadn't cleaned her gun last time she shot it, plus it was bone dry. Oh, well. A couple hundred rounds of Georgia Arms 200gr semiwadcutters, CCI Blazer 200gr Gold Dots, and mixed FedRemWin 230gr ball later, it failed to lock open after a magazine. I borrowed some erl (that's how we pronounce it back home) from my shooting buddy and glurched a big dollop up under the bottom of the slide, holding the muzzle down so it trickled into the works, and schmeared some on the barrel hood and muzzle area, dropped the slide and ran through a mag with it spitting filthy oil on my hand. Locked back fine. Drive on. After a total of probably 225-250rds (wasn't counting, but I reloaded all four mags at least seven times) the 20lpi checkering was starting to hurt my soft wittle, un-gloved hands and I was only going to reinforce bad habits if I kept shooting, and so I was ready to call it a day.

Time to clean the Colt, I guess. Maybe after dinner.

(PS: Oh, and one of the rangemasters there had just picked up one of those Jerry .22LR MP-5 clones and let us give it a whirl. That thing was a hoot! I was wearing out a cartridge box at the base of the berm with no trouble whatsoever. Do want.)

A slightly belated "Happy Birthday!"... my pal Squeaks, who apparently had a good one.

(Wow, a whole quarter-century old! That's, like, ancient! :p)

Internicine warfare...

Fun Tam: "I wanna go shooting!"

Dull Tam: "You've got another two loads of laundry to do, stuff to write, and the lawn ain't going to mow itself."

Solo flight.

So, last night I prepared to wow my roomie with my newfound confidence and mad, 1337 skillz in the kitchen: I made my first solo flight with fried asparagus and baked salmon a lá Gunsmith Bob. (Because anything that lets you grab most of a stick of butter in your bare mitt and rub it lasciviously over pristine salmon steaks is just big fun to make.)

No lemon juice from a bottle or garlic from a can, either. Okay, I didn't use evaporative trays to collect the sea salt from the ocean and the pepper was from a grinder, but other than that, I did everything but catch the fish.

I carried the plates into the living room, we sat at our respective TeeWee trays, I sampled my fare... It's probably considered déclassé, if not outright gauche, to make little ecstatic whimpering noises over your own cooking, but I did. Dang, that was good. I started throwing avaricious glances towards my roomie's plate, but she managed to hoover her vittles before I was even halfway done.

I guess we can call this a success. Go Team Me!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I laughed 'til it hurt.

Seriously, this is funny...

It has begun!

Lock and load! The undead uprising, the shambling horror, the Zombocalypse, is underway! Vampire bats have gone off the reservation in Venezuela...

(The second best CNN headline today? "Snake slithers into weatherman's pants." Which is the reverse of how it usually occurs, as everyone knows...)

Ooh, look!

Nazis in the comments section!

Now taking predictions:

Who arrests more protestors:

The ChiCom cops during the Olympics? Or the Denver PD during the DNC?

To make it fair, the ChiComs can only count protestors actually arrested (that means alive) at or immediately outside Olympic events; people shot or crushed by tanks elsewhere in the country do not accrue towards the total.

Further ruminating on South Ossetia...

...has led me to believe that the U.S. military has completely spoiled the media.

A whole generation of journalists and pundits has grown to maturity believing that war is a precision affair, with special safe zones like hospitals and places of worship where the enemy can yell "Not it! Olly olly oxen free!"; where bombs only hit bad guys and the exceptions to that rule are worth a circular firing squad of finger-pointing and a cashiered officer; where women and children are safe, "collateral damage" is something to worry about, and rape is a prosecutable offense; where invading armies are trailed by a thundering herd of engineers, civil affairs, and military police and JAG types, anxious to rebuild infrastructure, put up schools, and keep the troops in line.

This is not how war works. This is an aberration, a relatively recent Anglo-American twist on warfare brought to its current fine pitch only by the might of American technology and taxes that allow us to blow up a crude hand-built donkey cart carrying a couple of AK-47's with a $250,000 computerized satellite-guided bomb. And then worry about the wrath of the ASPCA for hurting the donkey.

Nowhere else, nowhen else, has war ever been fought like that. When the Russians go into South Ossetian towns, raining dumb bombs on civilian and soldier alike, that's the way war is and has been for the entire history of the human species. The French even have a special phrase for when nuns get blown up by indiscriminate rocket fire and babies are charred by napalm and the invading army rapes their way through a village: C'est la guerre.

Such is war.

Think about that the next time you rail at America's "brutal, fascist war machine".

Some gun facts:

Syd thinks a .380 is "about a half step above shooting spitwads", which would probably make all the people it had killed laugh if they weren't, you know, graveyard dead. He no doubt has a quaint faith in the Mighty .45, given the title of the site on which he posts. I had to comment:
There is a Vietnam-era helicopter pilot who has a souvenir helmet with a 12.7mm hole in either side of it, which is why I don’t trust any pussy .50BMG and carry a 14.5mm DShK.

The cranial vault is tougher than most people think.

Handguns are a lot less powerful than most people think. (Yes, even the “mighty” .45)

Ball ammunition is a lousy stopper and often deflects from skulls and ribs.

Pistols are a poor choice to shoot a body with. I don't have faith in any of them, not even .44 Magnums. The only reason you'd ever use a pistol for self defense is because you'd look silly wandering through the produce department at the grocery store with a slung Garand or pushing your stroller while carrying an M4 carbine.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Who writes this stuff?

Okay, so, Russian tanks have rolled into Georgia; Russki fighter bombers are swooping around, bombing the crap out of stuff. What does our intrepid journalist write?
News reports documented fierce clashes between Georgian and Russian forces -- engagements that caused deaths, property damage, and population displacement...
No! Really?!? Not property damage! Quick! Call State Farm! I swear, what are they teaching at journalism school these days? This clown could have muffed D-Day:
Allied and German forces clashed along the beaches of Normandy today, snarling traffic, damaging vacation cottages, and killing some people. Also, a woman reported having her hair mussed by a 14" shell from the USS Texas.
This is a military invasion, for chrissakes, not a tornado in a traffic jam.

CSI: Enfield, NH

The theories being advanced in comments are hilarious...


So, there seems to be a problem involving a bunch of baby rapers running loose in Afghanistan.

What's the problem over there? Asinine ROE? Are we short of ammo? I mean, I've got a case or two of M855 ball sitting around gathering dust at the moment, and I'll gladly donate it to a cause like that. Is having steel in your leg still a disqualifier? 'Cause I'll go answer phones at Fort Bragg if it'll free up some young healthy dude to go shoot some baby rapers.

Today In History: The Aluminum Overcast.

August 8th, 1946, was the date of the first test flight by Convair's B-36 "Peacemaker", the first intercontinental strategic bomber, and the largest operational bomber ever.

Final operational variants had six massive piston engines and four turbojets ("Six turnin' and four burnin',") and were the "mothership" aircraft in the fascinating FICON program.

For a good, up-close (if Hollywood-ized) look at the planes, check out Strategic Air Command, in which they co-starred alongside Jimmy Stewart.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Wait... It's not actually my eyes.

I've been using Gunsmith Bob's computer for the last better part of a week. I got home and fired up the Mac and... *squint*

Wait, my eyes haven't gone bad from the drive, it's just that almost six days of a 17" monitor at 800x600 can make the old 15" LCD at 1024x768 look a little postage-stamp-y.

State of the Interstate report...

Rolled out of K-town at 1112EDT, arrived Roseholme Cottage 1640EDT. Trip odometer showed a hair shy of 378 miles. Rolling average was ~68mph, plus a muy quick petrol stop just south of Lexington. Hands and feet still feel a little disconnected when I'm sitting still. Cats ecstatic to see me; I'm assuming my roommate will be also, but she's still off tending the Warp Core at the starship.

Interstate retard recap, trip notes, and vacation thoughts to follow. Maybe even tonight. Or maybe I'll just enjoy an Oaken Barrel Gnaw Bone and deal with the keyboard demons tomorrow. Who can say?

The drive home...

Time to point the Bimmer towards Hoosierville again. If you don't see a post by me this evening, it means I'm playing Children of the Corn somewhere between Cincy and I-465.

The only downside to long trips in the Bavarian Cruise Missile is that the seat sits somewhat low to the floor when compared to a sedan or SUV. When they screwed my leg back together in Summer of '00, they apparently only had one size of sheet metal screws handy. As a result, the end of one screw pokes out the backside of my shin bone up near my knee and when my leg is held in certain positions, it can twinge painfully against the tendons abaft my knee assembly. One of those painful positions is the one my leg is in while depressing the throttle on the superslab. Lor' bless cruise control...

Today In U.S. Military History:

On this date in...

1782: George Washington authorized the Badge of Military Merit, a cloth badge worn on the facing of the frock coat. It was purple in color, shaped like a heart, and awarded for valor. It wasn't until 1932 that the Purple Heart evolved into its current form as an enemy marksmanship medal.

1789: The bellicose-sounding U.S. Department of War was formed. It wasn't until 1949 that the name was changed to the (much less offensive to sensitive types) "Department of Defense". Hippies weren't fooled.

1942: After taking it on the chin since December of the previous year, the U.S. went on the offensive in the Pacific, landing units of the 1st Marine Division on the island of Guadalcanal.

On this week's episode of Quis Custodiet?:

A prescription narcotics sting in Florida managed to snag over fifty .gov workers among its eager victims. Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh managed to elude the dragnet.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The law of unintended consequences.

Og on how the US EPA indirectly contributed to the crappy air at the Beijing Olympics.

The Biggest Polluter In The World

What I meant was...

From my comment at Sebastian's:
Interestingly, when I made my post about seeing a poor future for our republic yesterday, nearly everyone in the comments section went on at length about gun rights. That's a problem, from where I see it.

The state I just left, Tennessee, has some of the better gun laws in the nation. Reasonable CCW, NFA weapons are okay, no special permits required to own or purchase, et cetera. In fact, its gun laws have been steadily getting better over the last ten years, with constantly loosening restrictions on CCW and other victories.

On the other hand, it's seen confiscatory increases in taxes and sales tax enforcement, draconian smoking laws, red light cameras, all on the state level, as well as all the plethora of post 9/11 intrusiveness. Children pass through metal detectors as they carry their clear or mesh bookbags to school.

I can see an America in ten or twenty years where we have a national ID card with biometrics and an integral RFID chip, asset forfeiture is still rampant, we're still losing a never-ending War on Drugs, tobacco and trans-fats are banned, minimum wage is $10/hr, and taxes are at European levels to support a European-style public health system...

...but we have national CCW reciprocity.

We're winning on the gun front. What about the other fronts?

May I take your order?

Spent the morning hanging out with the gunsmithing crew at CCA before heading back to the casa to catch the Braves game.

Before I left, I got volunteered to make the lunch run to Arby's. Gunsmith Bob scribbled down everyone's order on a piece of paper and down the road I went.

Rather than tie up the drive-thru with a monster order, I went inside. I stepped up to the register and the cashier asked me for my order. I looked at my piece of paper and read off: "Front & rear sights. Grip safet... Wait." *flip* "Large roast beef sandwich. Large curly fries..."

When I returned to the shop with the vittles, I recounted my embarrassing blooper. Gunsmith Bob said "Y'know, if they'd had sights and a grip safety, I'd have been impressed. We'd get lunch there more often."


Xavier has a report on an attempted bit of gun-bannery in American-occupied America.

It didn't work.

There's the circus. Where's the bread?

Obama the charismatic Rorschach candidate; McCain the ill-tempered oligarch; Cynthia McKinney, on work release from the funny farm to be the Green Party candidate; Bob Barr, who has promised the Libertarians that he will bite the head off this live chicken if they will please just let him be their candidate... The cast of characters in this election season is shaping up like the denizens of the Island of Misfit Toys from a live Broadway production of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

It says nothing good about the state of electoral affairs in our fair republic when you watch Paris Hilton's spoof of McCain and think "Well, how is she really any worse or less qualified than the current array of choices?"

Need something upbeat to read this morning?

Here you go.

Makes you want to go change a life for the better, doesn't it?

Today In History: Rising fire, setting sun.

On this day in 1945, Col. Paul Tibbetts and the crew of the Enola Gay unleashed a nuclear fireball over downtown Hiroshima, Japan.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

That was fun. And yummy.

Had lunch with Gunsmith Bob, Les Jones, and Say Uncle at Stir Fry Cafe. Gun talk, general conversation, and intarw3bz gossip with the old gang; good times! :)

Unc recommended the spicy noodles to me, and I recommend them to you.

Too much of a good thing.

Via the Maddened Fowl, I learned that the RCMP actually negotiated with the Canuckistanian bus decapitator dude for three hours after they showed up.

Now, okay, I'm as big on due process of law as the next person, but when you show up at the stopped bus, and it's empty of passengers except for one (1) dead guy and a blood-covered guy with a knife in one hand, a severed noggin in the other, and some human flesh hanging out of his mouth... well, that's not a "suspect", okay? You've got your man, Mister Mountie. That's the guy, right there.

"Come out of the bus!"



Problem solved; taxpayers richer by whatever amount it's going to cost to house and feed and try this guy; gene pool a bit cleaner than it was yesterday. What's the big deal?

Sunny delight.

In talking with various smart people over the last few years, I have developed a pretty bleak view of the immediate future of our republic. I really don't think it's going to get better in my lifetime. I really think the system is irretrievably broken. I really think that my declining years are going to be spent in a European-style surveillance-ridden nanny state; a giant England with NASCAR and slightly better gun laws.

We can't vote our way out of this mess; it's voting that got us into it in the first place. As long as the prison cell has cable TV, high-speed 'net access, and four bars of signal from Verizon, most folks are happy there. The only freedom you will enjoy is what you can eke out as a stainless steel rat in the meager interstices of a concrete and steel world.

There are some who think an apocalyptic pro-freedom revolution will occur when the true patriots will rise up and throw off the oppressive chains of the evil overlords. How that will happen in a land where a majority of folks expect to be bailed out of bad mortgages and have discounted digital TeeWee tuners provided for them by the .gov is only fuzzily explained.

Others remain guardedly optimistic.

I wish I could.