Thursday, April 30, 2009

In other auto news... looks like People's Automobile Manufacturing Collective #2 is going to be filing for Chapter 11 today.

It's sad, really. UAZ was making some of the more interesting vehicles to come out of Autograd. I'm sure their new .gov managers will guide them with the same deft touch they showed in the mortgage and mail delivery fields.

Just because something can be done...

Is your Remington 11/87 gamer gun with its super-extended mag tube not nose-heavy enough?

Does your inertia-operated Benelli M1 still occasionally cycle, despite the SureFire forearm, side-saddle, tac-sling, full butt-cuff, and EOTech holosight damping the recoil of even the heaviest buckshot loads?

Do you sometimes look at your self-shucker and think "You know, this thing just doesn't have enough springs, moving parts, and fiddly bits to break off and tie it up"?

Have we got the accessory for you!

I guess it's obligatory... shed a tear over Pontiac, now that People's Automobile Manufacturing Collective #1 has decreed that their "Excitement (& fake hood scoop & plastic cladding) Division" is going to go the way of Studebaker. It's a shame, because the Solstice and the G8 are the only interesting things coming out of ZIL these days. Allegedly they will be kept alive, presumably as Chevies.

I've only owned three Pontiacs: a ratty '70 GTO, a V6 Fiero, and an '84 Trans Am in black and gold with every option except David Hasselhoff and a wheezy five-liter carburetted smog motor that wouldn't pull a greased string out of a cat's ass. The GTO was, well, a GTO; you felt cool just driving it. I enjoyed the Trans Am for what it was, too; a good-looking, good-handling boulevardier from the dark ages of Detroit performance, when we were still wandering the emissions wilderness out of which the microchip-controlled fuel injector hadn't yet led us.

The Fiero, though... There was a car that embodied everything wrong with GM in microcosm. The idea was to produce a sporty-looking commuter runabout with as many off-the-shelf components as possible. Of course, Pontiac being Pontiac and advertisers being advertisers the world thought they were getting a sports car, rather than a lardy, plastic-over-steel two seater with no luggage space, undermotivated by an anemic pushrod four cylinder device that could only be called an engine because it was bolted to the input end of the transmission.

Handling was mediocre, performance was dull, fuel economy was average at best, plus it had all the luggage and passenger space shortcomings of a two-seat mid-engine sports car with none of the "sports". Lethargic performance combined with typical new-model recalls and rumors of spontaneous combustion in the engine room, and the car never really took off. Pontiac engineers added a V6 version, redesigned the suspension, offered a Getrag 5-speed manual option... the 1988 GT version of the Fiero was a capable little sports car, but by then nobody was paying attention. The car sank without a ripple. Now the whole division is about to do likewise.

Hey, if that's what it takes to get rid of the people who designed the Aztek...


Obama is a card table huckster who has drawn in the media as his crowd of intellectually vain, and null, marks. He gives phoniness a bad name.
And The First Hundred Days went so swimmingly, too!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Puma pants.

There is a phenomenon on internet gun discussion boards whereby people get completely obsessed with bears. Countless electrons have been slaughtered over the years in interminable discussions about what the proper (or, alternately, the "best") gun is to take fishing, camping, hiking, canoeing, bicycling, or to the mailbox in any location that has had a bear sighted anywhere within a 500-mile radius in the last fifty years. It has even spawned a term for overgaming underlikely scenarios: "bearthread".

Sometimes people get bored with bears and will shift to mountain lions for a bit.

Quote of the Day:

One crucial advantage that collectivists hold is that their philosophy looks beyond the length of their own lives. They can afford to invest in long-run destruction.
Y'know, there are times that I think that whole Age of Reason/Enlightenment and the silly individual rights thing it spun off was a fluke.

Owie. Stingie.

I have an aching bruise on the outside of my right leg from where I smacked it into the steering wheel getting into the Zed Three. It took some of the edge off the divot in my noggin I earned by walking into the tailgate latch of Shootin' Buddy's SUV.

Just as it was starting to fade, I added a spectacular egg on the outside of my left knee when showing my roommate how a single-point sling worked. Well, I showed her how it works for people with all the grace and deftness of Jerry Lewis having an epileptic fit.

Then last night I fell asleep reading with the pillows all doubled up under my head and now half the tendons in my neck feel like they've caught fire.

Jeeze, I feel like I've been worked over in the night by a tee ball team with aluminum bats. At least my feet don't hurt. Yet.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Since the Obama administration’s talk of banning so-called ‘assault weapons’ has resulted in a huge spike in semi-automatic weapon sales nationwide, the White House has recently begun a covert ‘whisper campaign’ suggesting the president might also ban U.S.-manufactured cars and trucks with fully-automatic transmissions, now dubbed ‘assault vehicles’.
I don't care who you are, that's funny right there.

Lucky, lucky, lucky...

Squeaky goes to Boomershoot.

UPDATE: Moar Boomer.

Can I be a conscientious objector in the OS Wars?

My current main desktop machine is an older 2.4GHz P4 running... uh... lemme check... XP Home. Sitting next to it on the desk is an old G3 400 iMac running OS X that I use for watching DVDs and as an iTunes server. I have two Mac laptops that see regular usage, one running OS 9 and the other OS X. And now comes the Eee with some version of Linux loaded.

Is it wrong that I don't feel particularly strong preferences for any of these?

Personally, my computer tinkering days are long behind me anyway, and the only time I spend in the OS environment itself is the few seconds between bootup and clicking on the icon for the program I'm going to use. Especially on the netbook; I've had people tell me "Oh there are much better versions of Linux for it," and I'm thinking "What, they'll let me click on the 'Firefox' or 'Open Office' icon even faster?"

Monday, April 27, 2009

I know this sounds funny...

...coming from someone who owns, like, ten or eleven old laptops, but guess where I'm posting from?

The front porch! Without an extension cord!

I totally agree with Breda: The touchpad on this Eee is way too touchy, so I switched off the "tap" function. I'm totally digging this little machine, though. I think all my postings yesterday were done on its bitty keyboard. I haven't even had to throw it back on the charger yet, either, which is cool.

I'm loving the spontaneous cordless freedom. Not even the weather can break my stride... (The western sky is all gray out here; I can think of at least one guy who's going to be bitter if the clouds deliver their promised rain...)

Ignorance of the law is no excuse...

...for threatening to arrest somebody for the non-crime of Operating A Video Camera In Their Own Yard In The First Degree.

Hey, I know that guy!

The dude reviewing burger joints for the local Examiner looks familiar.

Roomie took me to 96th Street Steakburgers shortly after my arrival in Indy; they are indeed some of the tastiest fast food burgers I've ever tried.

Oh, look! You can dress it up!

No thanks to Gewehr98, I've been spending my morning scrolling through various netbook dress-up doohickeys at GelaSkins.

Not only is my Eee cute, but I can dress it up like a paper doll! Awesome!

I like this one...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Notes from the day:

1) My Marlin Papoose is still a hoot to shoot. The sights are still completely broke-dick, however. Also, it would be swell if Marlin paid a bit more attention to manufacturing tolerances on the magazines. Fully a third of them need to be forcibly tugged from the well when the bolt locks back, which prevents me from maintaining a master grip on the weapon when executing mag changes. How am I supposed to do speed reloads with this thing if we have an infestation of zombie squirrels?

2) Note to self: No matter how awesomely fast you can reload your Para LTC 9 from slide lock, it doesn't matter if you then go and rush the first shot from the fresh mag, blowing it so far from the A-Zone that it lands in maybe the Q- or Y-zone due to trigger slap...

3) Have I mentioned lately how awesome S&W K-22 revolvers are?

4) A 1916-vintage Colt Vest Pocket will feed Speer .25 Gold Dot hollowpoints just fine, for whatever that's worth.

5) At the blogmeet, if you're looking for good gun conversation, pick the table where one guy says "How many times have you been to Thunder Ranch?" and the other guy says "Mmmm... fifteen?" and the first guy says "I've only been five or six times..." and another dude is talking about his issues getting sponsored in action pistol by a major manufacturer, only to get cut off by still another dude saying "Yeah, when I worked at Big Name Manufacturer, I used to go to a bunch of local matches with all our GMs (USPSA Grand Masters, for the uninitiated...)" If you keep your ears peeled, you might pick up a ProTip or two.

A Shooter's Bestiary:

A few thoughts on the various people that fall under the broader heading of "gun owner"...

By far the most numerous category of gun owners fall into the category best described as simply “Owners”. They may own only one gun, or they may own a handful. The gun may have been inherited, or bought in response to current events, such as impending legislation, perceived crisis (Y2K, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina), or a local crime wave.

Owners may never go shooting, or may find their way to the range once every couple of months. They may obtain a CCW permit and even carry fairly regularly and attend a training course or two. If asked what their hobbies were, “guns” or “shooting” probably wouldn't be listed among them. They are probably least likely to “vote their gun rights” although a politician that makes overt noises about registration or confiscation is likely to alienate them.

Hunters own guns to hunt. They may have one duck gun, or a battery of firearms for every game animal that walks or flies in North America, plus one or two for that “Someday Safari”. Hunting requires the least ammunition consumption of any of the major categories of gun usage, since a box of 20 rounds is more than enough to get the rifle sighted in before season and still fill the freezer. In addition to the NRA or GOA, a Hunter is very likely to belong to one or more conservation or outdoors organizations.

Shooters are much like owners, in that they rarely have a huge number of firearms. However unlike an Owner, a Shooter would definitely list “guns” or “shooting” as a hobby. They'll get to the range a couple of times a month, or maybe more, and probably spend a lot of time centered around the hobby, be it reading gun magazines, posting to online fora, or hanging around the local gun shop.

Trainers are what happens to Owners, usually CCW holders, who go to a couple of training classes and really get hooked. They look at shooting as their martial art, and try to get to as many classes as possible. A trainer is easy to spot at the range; they're the one repetitively practicing weak-hand clearance of Type I malfunctions. They consume a fairly large amount of ammunition and are quite likely to belong to several gun rights organizations.

Collectors are just that; more concerned with collecting the guns themselves rather than shooting them. An extreme example would be the guy who has two gun safes full of World War II Japanese military rifles, and only half a box of 7.7mm Arisaka ammunition in the house. Probably the least political subgroup, taken as a whole, unless their particular subspecialty of collecting is threatened. For example, a candidate wishing to ban semiautomatic pistols is unlikely to receive the enthusiastic support of someone with tens of thousands of dollars sunk in Colt's Government Models.

Gamers are people who have been bitten by the competitive shooting bug. Be it NRA High Power, action pistol, sporting clays, or cowboy action shooting, their weekends are likely to be planned around shooting. They tend to have the highest ammunition consumption of any of the types, and as a result are the most likely to be reloaders. In addition to usually belonging to national gun rights organizations, they are also dues-paying members of one or more sports sanctioning bodies.

There is, of course, considerable overlap between many of these categories, especially with Gamers. An active shotgun Gamer is likely to be an avid bird Hunter, a serious CCW-oriented Trainer is often an IDPA or USPSA Gamer, and a Collector of old military rifles may also be a Gamer that competes in vintage service rifle matches. I don't think I've met a gamer, at least outside of some clay bird games, that didn't fall into one or more other categories as well.

Myself? I'd say I was a Shooter and Collector who is in constant danger of becoming a Trainer and Gamer...

Quote of the Day:

In about 5 billion years, Sol, our star, will enter its red giant phase, and engulf the orbit of the earth. After this event, the universe will continue for at least 10^100 years. Well prior to that, Earth's atmosphere will boil away. Earth will be entirely, 100% destroyed, down to the last molecule, taking humanity with it.

The only way to avoid that fate is to attain star faring capability and get off this rock.

I submit therefore, that while stewardship of our resources is a laudable and necessary thing, that ultimately, our planet is 100% expendable, down to the very last molecule towards the goal of our ultimate escape.

Humanity needs exactly two game changing things: a compact, self contained, potent clean energy source along the lines of the fictional ZPM, and a star drive.

Such items will be the product of freedom, prosperity, and the material application of the intellect of man, and won't be dropped out of the sky as a result of granola munching Gaia worship.

Nature is pleased to eat us, or kill us in any of a number of lingering, nasty, painful ways.


(Inevitably, I am reminded of one of my favorite gags from the graves of academe:

Droning Prof: "...and in approximately five billion years, the sun will swell into a red giant, destroying the earth..."

Inattentive student: "Huh!? What?!?"

Droning Prof: "I said 'in about five billion years, the sun will swell into a red giant, destroying the earth.'"

Inattentive student: "Oh, whew! I thought you said five million years.")

(H/T to Kevin.)


I had the Dušek Duo and my little Colt's 1908 Vest Pocket out at the range yesterday, since I noticed that I'd somehow accumulated three full boxes of FMJ ammo plus whatever was loose in a sandwich baggie I found in my odds'n'sods bin.

.25 ACP doesn't make a big racket on a falling plate (high-velocity .22's out of a 5 1/2-inch Ruger were making more authoritative smacks), but hitting the plate from any real distance with the little gutter sights on these popguns does make one feel accomplished.

The Dušek dates from '43 and the little Vest Pocket is much older, dating to 1916, but as far as I know, both are still running along tickety-boo on their original recoil and magazine springs. Of course, age does not equate to use. I know for a fact that the Duo was a WWII GI souvenir that spent the last several decades in a sock drawer, and while the little 1908 was carried enough to wear it right down to the white, it likely wasn't shot a whole heck of a lot, either. I mean, how many 1,000-rd training courses or afternoon-long plinking sessions are you going to put a .25 with a two-finger grip and no sights through, anyway?

Still, to take these little antique paperweights out, load them up, and have them each cycle a few magazines with perfect reliability after sitting unused for heaven only knows how long made me feel good. You know who designed the Colt's 1908 (of which the Dušek is a copy)? That's right...


(Editor's Note: Tempting as it was, I did not load them both up at the same time and dual-wield them like a miniature Last Man Standing...)

Saturday, April 25, 2009


In case you can't tell from the post title, that was an excited squee of joy.

When roomie was googling about the intarw3bz the other day, she found a deal on an Eee PC 900 at, and she snagged one for me. Guess what was waiting on the front porch when we got home today?

This is exactly what I needed; tiny and light (even compared to my beloved PowerBook 2400c, which can only travel as far as its extension cord these days), yoinks of battery life thanks to its flash RAM "hard disk", and running Linux so I won't be tempted to use it as a portable gaming rig... Oh, I see lots of writing in my future. I can take this thing out on the front porch or to the Brew Pub or Sam's Gyros...


Plus, it's such a cute little thing; barely larger and heavier than a paperback novel. I think I'm in lurve...

I did okay.

I did alright at the pin shoot; there's no shame in getting beat by Caleb, after all. (As a matter of fact, I think all the shooters that beat me went on to win either the overall bracket or the second chance bracket.) I've got to work on keeping my cool and not rushing my shots when I get a pin lying on its side that hasn't been cleared from the table.

The 147gr JHPs worked as hoped, knocking the pins off with alacrity on anything like a solid hit.

Afterward we drove up to Lafayette and met up with Shootin' Buddy who gave Bobbi some basic AR instruction for her new carbine at his local range, since she had never fired one before.

I am absolutely whupped after hours of range time and a couple hours of driving, to boot, but it's a happy kind of exhausted. I will sleep the sleep of the just and be all recharged for the blogmeet activities tomorrow. Hope to see some of y'all at Eagle Creek to bust caps before lunch!

Bowling Pins Must Die.

It's time to head off to Marion County Fish & Game for the monthly bowling pin shoot. I think I'm going to be shooting my Para LTC 9 in minor today, since I have plenty of Winchester 147gr JHP and Federal 147gr HydraShok that I bought for the sole purpose of shooting pins. If you like shooting a 9mm handgun at bowling pins and you see surplussed LE 147gr hollow points at a gun show for 50rds/$20, you snatch them up. The heavy bullets have a lot more pin-clearing momentum than 115gr or 124gr projectiles, and the JHP configuration reduces the chances of the bullet skidding off the pin on an off-center hit and leaving a "wounded" pin on the table.

I wonder if Massad Ayoob's book about pin shooting, Hit the White Part, is any good?

Friday, April 24, 2009


It was time for all the pretty flowers to die with the ritual First Lawn Mowing Of The Season.

(Yes, I know that wild violets and the like are technically "weeds", but they are pretty weeds, and so they got a one week grace period before beheading. This is Broad Ripple; we're expected to be eccentric and hippielike.)

The iPod served up a choice lawn mowing mix, too, with L7, Urge Overkill, Joy Division, Spacehog, The Clash, No Doubt, and Kula Shaker. I felt like I was mowing the lawn to the soundtrack of a Michael Mann movie.

75F is fairly warmish when it was only 37F yesterday morning, by the way.

I am pleased to see that my delphinium has survived to see a second growing season.

Be Subversive! B-E Subversive! B-E S-U-B-V-E-R-S-I-V-E!

Sorry, my inner cheerleader got all carried away there. I'm all un-perky-ed now.

Anyhow, dig this awesome tee shirt for sale at Jennifer's place. Do want!

You should go buy one, too.

A couple of short primers...

...on getting started in action pistol shooting: From Caleb and Kevin.

The Mat these days seems a lot less Haz than it used to.

"Breaking news. A HazMat spill in northwest Indianapolis. News Chopper is on the scene..." came the announcer's voice. I stopped with my belt halfway on my jeans and turned to the TeeWee. HazMat! Cool! I wonder what it is? Chlorine? Sulfuric acid?

The view from the chopper showed a parking lot with all the flashing lights and bunny suits of a full-blown Code 23-19 surrounding... a semi tractor with a leaky fuel tank? "...the truck has leaked over a hundred gallons of diesel fuel..."

I realize that kerosene isn't really all that good for you to drink and that it might cause a bit of contact dermatitis if you immersed yourself in it long enough, but from all the drama, you'd think there was a plume of VX drifting downwind from Dugway, not a puddle in a parking place.

Just asking for it...

It's been covered elsewhere better, but I couldn't resist remarking on it myself...

Apparently, in response to a reminder from the Wisconsin AG that open carry is perfectly legal for non-prohibited persons in Cheesehead Land, the pissant martinet in charge of the Milwaukee PD stamped his little jackboot in anger and responded with a snit fit:
“My message to my troops is if you see anybody carrying a gun on the streets of Milwaukee, we’ll put them on the ground, take the gun away and then decide whether you have a right to carry it,” Flynn said. “Maybe I’ll end up with a protest of cowboys. In the meantime, I’ve got serious offenders with access to handguns. It’s irresponsible to send a message to them that if they just carry it openly no one can bother them.”
Well that's showing the attorney general who's the top law dog in the Dairy State!

Will the first person who actually gets this clown in a courtroom remember to name him personally in the suit, as well as the department and the officers who did the actual "putting on the ground"? I want him to freeze in the dark.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Your unicorn is being boxed and readied for shipment...

President Obama is going to make those mean credit card companies be nice to you.
WASHINGTON ( -- Ramping up his campaign to crack down on credit cards, President Obama will meet Thursday with executives of 14 leading companies to press his case for new consumer protections.
Jim at "The Travis McGee Reader" is skeptical, and predicts lousy results from a plan that is really no better than...
"...pandering to what his constituents really want -- Plastic with unlimited credit; a Visa whose repayment terms are, "When ever you get around to it, ol' Buddy." They really think it's possible."

In case you were having difficulty telling them apart...

Don Gwinn provides a handy "Terrorist/Not-A-Terrorist" chart.

I think that laboratory scientists cause cancer in mice.

A Nerf World advocate in Arizona is claiming that, in addition to being able to kill you dead, lead-free "green" tungsten ammunition might also cause your kid to grow a second head if you lick the bullets like an all-day lolly. Discussion is ongoing at Farmer Frank's place.

I'd be late to my own funeral...

...and I'm certainly late in wishing Mark Alger a happy Seventh Blogiversary.

Wow, seven years! That's, like, a hundred in people years.

News of the Weird:

Unarmed felon shot at by invisible gun which fires magic bullets that leave no holes.

I smell publicity stunt.

(I like the way ol' Duane's website makes a virtue out of necessity, stating that he doesn't carry "lethal weapons" without mentioning that it would be a federal rap for him to actually, you know, touch a gun.)


Brillianter has a post up on the definitions of "Training", "Practice", and "Testing". Some good points are raised, such as the fact that watching a video or reading a book is not really training, because there's no instructor to provide corrections and feedback. A book or a video is better than nothing, but how do you know if you're doing it right?

I also like the bit referring to competition as "Testing". The only way you're really going to get to use skills under pressure and in a measurable environment is competition. In the May '09 issue of SWAT magazine, there was a writeup of a three-day Carbine/Pistol Course from TigerSwan by Victor Wong. In the closing paragraphs of the piece, they had some interesting comments from TigerSwan's head honcho, a former senior NCO in a very high-speed, low-drag unit. According to the writer
"Having shot almost every type of competetive [sic] sport from skeet to bull's-eye to Service Rifle and IPSC, Searcy believes it is impossible to improve without shooting in competition, as you will inevitably plateau if shooting only on a square range by yourself. The stress of being against the clock, against other shooters and having an audience watch you forces you to develop the mental management necessary to execute the correct subconscious weapons handling skills under pressure."
When your gun pukes, do you just stand there staring at it like a duck in thunder, or do you reduce the malf without pausing and drive on? (If your gun doesn't puke, you're not shooting enough. Go shoot more.) A ticking clock and heckling onlookers may not be the same thing as a two-way pistol range, but it's a whole lot more stress and pressure than a quiet day at the gravel pit or the public range.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Empty Holster" protest at IUPUI.

Campus CCW protest makes the local news.

The report is surprisingly neutral, perhaps even sympathetic.

Even moar shooty goodness...

With my roomie having a day off, we took the time to go get in some range time at Popguns yesterday. I dragged the K-22 and an ammo can full of .22LR ammunition along, as well as running a box of .357 through my PC627. About two-thirds was fired two-handed, with the remainder split between strong- and weak-hand drills.

I also put just a little over a box of 9mm through the Gun Blog 9 in preparation for bowling pins this weekend at MCF&G. I found an ideal target for practicing pins at the range; it has five oval bulls with gray centers that are roughly the size of the sweet spot on a pin. I was loading five rounds to a magazine and shooting once at each bull, executing a mag change, and repeating. This gave me practice with transitioning from one target to the next as well as work on my reloads. Hopefully I will not suck quite as badly as usual come Saturday.

After shooting, Bobbi and I stopped at O'Malia's, where you can still get your groceries carried to your car by an angry wino, just like the good old days. Then we went to dinner at the Canal Bistro back in Broad Ripple. I heartily recommend the... well, everything I tasted was yummy, but my entree was a seared ahi tuna steak, and it was delish, just like back in K-town at the Kalamata Cafe.

Overheard while out and about...

(Scene: Interior of red econobox stopped at intersection.)

RX (looking in rear view): "There's one of those brown IMPD cars behind us."

Me: "Po-po be creepin'. Act like you're not doing anything!"

RX: "But I'm not doing anything..."

Me: "Try to look innocent!"

RX: "I am innocen... You know what would be funny? If I had a very realistic-looking squirt gun and pulled it out right now and just soaked you with it."

Me: "Yeah. The funniest part would be when I was looking over the cop's shoulder, yelling "Taze her again! Get out your OC!""

(Scene: Exterior, grocery store parking lot. Johnny Law has left his cruiser running at the curb while he goes inside to play with the DVD vending machine.)

RX: "Look! Free car!"

Me: "Let's don't."

RX: "But it's got lots of cool stuff in it."

Me: "Yeah, like a LoJack."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Best spam header evar!

I have not been able to stop giggling since finding this brilliant piece of mangled pidgin in my spam filter:
"You anymore never know shame before her!Hello!"
Well. If I anymore ever am worried about knowing shame, I'll be sure to give that guy a call.

It's H-Hour plus 2! You aren't in Berlin yet?

The Liberty Sphere has linkage to more discussion on the Nordyke decision.

While there are always some who'll say "What? You didn't repeal NFA '34? You gun-grabbing traitor!", the fact is this is another good step in the right direction. It's sure to get cited in Chicago, for starters, and as Dave Hardy points out:
This means plaintiffs, the good guys, are the ones who can petition the Supreme Court for cert.. They may have won on incorporation, but they "lost" on the appeal overall, and thus are the ones who can appeal further. This is good for them. Defendants are not in control, cannot move for rehearing en banc, or decline to file for cert..

In the World War Two analogy, we're off the beach and into the bocage. To paraphrase an email I received yesterday:
Step One: individual, fundamental right
Step Two: incorporation
Step Three: strict scrutiny standard
Step Four: Profit!!!

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n...

Bobbi X kicks it old school for Buy-A-Gun day with an Art Deco raygun. Go see.

Some more ruminations on the ammo shortage...

Die Time: In comments yesterday, Ed Foster mentioned "die time". This is exactly why you can't get, for example, .380 right now. At most manufacturers, the machinery they use to load .380 (which uses different "dies" to load different calibers) is only used for that purpose for a small portion of the year; the rest of the time it's used to load more high volume stuff, like 9mm. They churn out .380 for a couple of months, say, at the end of the year, and it's enough to hold the market over 'til the next winter.

Rumor has it that this past year's demand for 9mm FMJ was so great that Winchester didn't bother tooling up for .380 and kept the presses pumping out 9x19 ball. Even if the other two companies didn't do likewise, what percentage of the .380 market do you think that Winchester represents? Federal and Remington certainly don't load enough to take up the slack, and that causes the supply to crash to nothing.

Case Lots: Believe it or not, the kind of people that read gun blogs, post on internet gun forums, go to the range every weekend, and name their gun "Vera", are a small minority of gun owners. For fifteen years I tried to convince Joe and Jane Public to buy ammo by the case. I failed miserably. No matter how much you explain the price savings when buying a thousand rounds at a lick, or the fact that ammo doesn't go bad, most people would look at you and say "I don't know, $100 seems like a lot of money, and what am I going to do with a thousand rounds of 9mm?"

The ammunition manufacturing and supply pipeline is simply not set up for the average consumer to walk into Wal-Mart and buy two cases of ammunition. If your average shooter normally bought 100rds/month to take to the range and decided to buy two cases instead, "just in case", he has just bought more ammunition at one lick than he would normally buy in two years. Think about that for a second, and then multiply it out over several million shooters suddenly buying way outside their normal pattern.

Production Capacity: The manufacturers are running full tilt. The only way they could make more ammunition is to build more plant, and they are not going to do that for several reasons. The first is that this bubble will contract sooner or later. Joe and Jane Sofaspud are going to realize that they really don't need 10,000 rounds of Winchester .45 in the basement, and that minivan payment isn't getting any smaller. They'll sell it to Annie Appleseed and Ivan Ipsc and demand will cool down.

The second reason they won't build more plant is financial. Remember that economy thing? Yeah, well it's still bad. Business loans aren't really easy to get right now, especially for businesses that are square in the middle of the Media-Congressional Complex's crosshairs. When the stroke of a pen could cut your sales by 50%, you are not what lenders call a "good risk".

Supply & Demand: Right now prices are high not because of transport costs or raw materials costs, which drove the price spike of '05(really an honest adjustment, as ammo prices had stayed almost artificially flat for the better part of a decade,) but because of simple supply and demand. If I put my widgets out for $1, and the first guy that walks in the store buys them all, I'm obviously not charging enough for my widgets.

As demand stays high and supply stays small, prices keep going up. They will go up until they become high enough to cool demand. As demand cools, supply will build back up. In order to move the new supply, prices will come back down somewhat until they reignite demand. This is Econ 101, folks, and it's as predictable as 32 ft/sec² or π*r².

UPDATE: Grant Cunningham points out that when the supply chain gets sucked dry back to the manufacturer level, it can have ripples even farther up the line. Ammunition is not made of wishes and unicorn droppings, after all.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Good news, bad news...

The good news: Beech Grove Firearms had a few bricks of Federal Game-Shok .22LR plated hollow points left after RX and I split, as well as some CCI Mini Mags and Standard Velocity by the sleeve. Also a few dozen boxes each of various 9mm, .40, and .45 FMJ.

The bad news: You're probably not the first person to read this post.

In other Indianapolis area shooting news: Popguns has signs up to the effect that they are only selling FMJ ammo to customers using their indoor range and people who are buying handguns. Rumors were afloat about a local Wal-Mart having a 2-box limit on ammo purchases.

Shooty goodness weekend recap:

Friday: At noon (well, shortly thereafter, because I'd be late to my own funeral) I met Joanna and Caleb at Popguns indoor range, where I have a membership, and we did some shooting. Joanna had brought a Taurus snubby, and I let her shoot the K-22 and the Kit Gun, as well as the Gun Blog 9. Caleb shared some instructor tips with her, after pointing out to me that the gun had, you know, a fricken' laser on it, which is maybe the most useful tool for correcting trigger and grip problems known to mankind. After shooting, Joanna and I went to La Piedad for lunch and had a great time and Caleb punked out and went to mow the lawn or something.

Saturday: I drove up to Lafayette and was taken to the local gun show by Shootin' Buddy. It was awesome, because there was an ammo dealer there who seemed to specialize in strange stuff. I picked up five rounds of Norma 6.5x54 Mannlicher-Schoenauer, because it absolutely kills me to have a gun in the house for which I have no loaded ammo (I do have brass and dies, though...) But the big thing was that he also had three boxes of brand new .38 Automatic, which means I'll be able to take my 1902 to the range some fine day soon. From a guy who had a table full of odd magazines, I managed to get another vz.52 mag as well as a MecGar 9mm 1911 magazine.

After the show we went out to Wildcat Valley and burned up a few hundred rounds of .22 on the steel critter range. I gave my 980S its shakedown cruise and decided that I thoroughly detest the goofy red plastic blob it has by way of a front sight. It's annoying to miss steel critters with a rifle that I could hit shooting a .22 revolver double-action with no problem. On the upside, I had seven 10rd mags and four 7-rounders and could therefore load up a hundred rounds at a whack. We adjourned to the steel plate racks to burn up some pistol ammo before calling it a day and driving back into Lafayette for dinner at Maize.

Sunday: Because there hadn't been enough shooting done for the weekend, Shootin' Buddy drove down Sunday morning from Lafayette and we went for breakfast before hitting the range at Eagle Creek, trusting the rain to keep the non-serious at home. I brought my 5" 625 along and got some quality trigger time in with it. I really need to step up with this thing, because most folks agree that it's a nearly ideal bowling pin blaster. Also, the usefulness of having numerous mags was reinforced by the fact that I could drag the same big ziploc baggie full of mags that hed worked in the 980 Saturday and use them in the Papoose on Sunday.

You know what's more fun than shooty goodness? Moar shooty goodness!

And the beat goes on...

...and on and on and on.

I notice that in the absence of any fresh bloody shirts to wave, the media has pulled out some decade-old canned ones.

Agenda? What agenda? They don't push agendas; they just report the news.

Happy Anniversary... Breda and Mike!

Here's wishing y'all many more. :)

Two is one and one is none...

One reason I've actually heard people give for carrying larger capacity pistols is that they don't need to carry a second mag.

Folks, the second mag isn't there so you can have a shootout with hordes of pirates or ninjas, it's there because the magazine is the single most fragile and failure-prone part of any self-loading handgun. Thankfully, it's also cheap and compact and replaceable and you can keep scads of them at home and one or two on hand.

"What are the odds of it breaking in action?" you may say, but I posit in return that if you are actively busting caps at a bad guy, your day has already taken a pretty statistically unlikely turn and probably isn't going to get any more normal from there.

The picture above was taken at Eagle Creek range, where Shootin' Buddy was one round into a weak-hand drill when the tack welds securing the baseplate of his Metalform magazine to the mag tube suddenly suffered a spontaneous existence failure, causing the gun to vomit the contents of the magazine at his feet; spring, follower, and all.

If the magazine had been inspected beforehand, odds are that it would have been seen to have cracked two or three of the welds already. Inspect your magazines regularly. Keep them numbered so that you can tell which is which. Don't fall in love with them; if the floorplates are loose or the feed lips are spread or they show any other signs of becoming sub-optimal, discard and replace them.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rightwing Terrorism...

...'70s style. It must have been FOX astroturf propaganda.

(1970s, I mean. Grow up watching this stuff and it can make a cranky libertarian out of you.)

WTF, over?

Man, I have not burned this much powder in three days since my weekend at Blackwater. The only thing that made that happen is having a bunch of .22 trainers, and the fact that I normally go to the range lugging an ammo can brim lippin' full of .22LR rounds along with whatever centerfire I'm planning on shooting.

Except have you tried looking for cheap bulk rimfire ammo these days? Holy cow. Where is it all?

I've shot up probably a thousand rounds or more of my stash in only 72 hours, and that is going to be an absolute bear to replace.

I used to be fairly obsessive-compulsive in my .22 ammo sorting. The only thing that went in the ammo can was plated high-velocity stuff; I generally avoided unplated bullets, but now they get dumped in there, too. The only things that get kept separate now are my stash of Federal Gold Medal and Wolf Target Match, and specialty bullets like Super Colibris and SuperSniper Subsonic. The few rounds of Mini Mags I had left just got dumped into the can. This is just crazy.

Shooty goodness...

It's been a weekend filled with shooty goodness. I'll tell y'all all about it, but first I have to go do some more shootying.

Incidentally, noticing the weather outside has made me aware of a serious hole in my arsenal: I am in need of stainless rimfire handguns. A stainless Ruger 22/45, a 4" Smith 617, or a Model 63 or 651 would be the berries for those rainy days on the range. There's a roof over the firing line at Eagle Creek, but it's still going to be damp, and I don't want to drag my carbon steel K-22 or Model 34 out in weather like this if I don't have to.

Overheard in the hallway...

Me (cleaning up cat hork): "Hey, can you take the trash out? I'm not wearing any pants."

RX (from kitchen): "Dammit, we let you spend one weekend at Blackwater around that Robb Allen guy and look what kind of habits you pick up!"

Happy Patriots' Day!

"By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world"

Happy Patriots' Day to each and every one of y'all. :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

One of those "someday" projects...

An idea I've toyed with off and on for a couple of years is getting a carbine-length Marlin Model 39 (or just finding an abused one and cutting it back to 16.5") and getting a scout-type mount for a no-batteries-required dot sight, like a Trijicon Reflex. I think that would not only be fun to shoot and awesome on tin cans, but it would be a regular squirrel-murdering machine that could be stowed in a case less than two feet long...

Movie Idea:

Since Disney has always shown a willingness to pilfer the classics for their next movie, I'm proposing an animated Moby Dick. Of course, children these days all know that whales are harmless creatures who sing and that hunting is bad, so we'll make the viewpoint character a young Moby.

He'll be a moody and misunderstood kid who gets abused by mean sailors after accidentally bumping their ship. Some introspective preteen mopery follows, complete with a song, maybe "Why Do They All Chase Me, Mother Gaia?" He'll also need a sidekick/voice-of-wisdom character. Perhaps a talking albatross, who can explain that sailors are a touchy lot; why, once one shot at him with a crossbow!

In the climactic scene, he accidentally sinks the Pequod due to adolescent clumsiness while trying to make amends for the earlier encounter, but finally makes himself clear to a floundering Ahab, who can't swim so hot. The peg-legged differently-abled captain rides on his back, singing a duet about friendship with our whale as Moby swims into the sunset, towing a raft with the Pequod's sailors aboard, who act as the chorus for the song.

Whaddaya think? Will it sell? I'm thinking the royalties from plush whale toys and Ahab action figures ("With Real Harpooning Action!") alone would be a mint. And the ending is wide open for sequels if we wind up with a real money machine on our hands...

Friday, April 17, 2009

If at first you don't secede...

...try, try again.

"When in the course of human events (but only up to this point and nevermore after...)"

Tea Time.

More Tea Party photos from Ohio and California and Louisiana and Texas and New Hampshire.

"The sights on this gun are off..."

The K-22 I purchased recently had the rear sight cranked all the way up and to the right. No doubt the previous owner thought it shot low and left. If you go and look at the rear sights of just about any used handgun that has adjustable irons, you'll probably notice the same. It's an epidemic!

One time I had a guy come off the range at CCA with a target in his hand and an upset look on his face. "The sights on this gun are off..." he began.

"You're left-handed, aren't you?" I interrupted.

He looked as though I'd just pulled a quarter out of his ear. "Yeah. How did you know?"

"Because you're hitting low and right instead of low and left."

Xavier has more on the problem, as well as a pointer to some advice on solutions.

One of the best instructors I'd seen when it came to actually teaching new shooters to hit would stance behind them and murmur "Okay, take your time. You're not trying to make the gun go off. You have all day. You're just increasing pressure on the trigger gradually, that's all. You're not trying to make the gun go off. Just slooowly increasing the pressur..." and BANG! Nine times out of ten, the result was a perfect bullseye. Most novice trigger control problems are caused by trying to make the gun go off rather than just pulling the trigger and letting the break surprise you.

Fighting for Parody.

So, this weekend is the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure here in Indy. The commercials the local TeeWee station has been running crack me up, despite the seriousness of the cause, because among the montage of scenes from previous events there is one clip of a bunch of earnest-looking women who shout "We're protesting breast cancer!" at the camera as they go past. I always shout at the TeeWee "We're also protesting mosquitoes, gravity, green, and the number '5'!" I mean, you know that the Protest Culture has gone out of whack when people think you can "protest" the very existence of a concrete object, such as a cancer cell. Maybe Congress will pass a law.

This morning, however, I was left speechless and bereft of parody. They were interviewing one of the muckety-mucks of the weekend's activities, and she was under a full head of steam, speaking in such perfect PoMo Bureaucratese that I was about to blurt out "...and don't forget that breast cancer is everybody's problem. It can affect men, too!" but before I could say it she did, leaving me staring at the televisor doing my freshly-caught-trout impersonation.

It gets harder to be surreal every day.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It seems to be a day for eclectic meals.

Breakfast was a California Pizza Kitchen pizza-for-one (sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, and grilled chicken.)

Lunch was a honkin' big bowl of Asparagus à la Gunsmith Bob.

Rightwing Terrorism...

...apparently consists of standing around in a quasi-orderly fashion, waving signs, chatting with neighbors, picking up trash, walking back to the car, and going home.

If that inspires "terror" in you, I'd hate to think how you'd react if these people were really angry, you grass-eater.

Overheard around the house...

RX: "Are you cooking something?"

Me: "Yup."

RX: "I thought I smelled something hot."

Me: "You are smelling sun-dried tomatoes and pesto, the traditional breakfast foods of my people."

Buy A Gun Day.

Well, actually it was the "Weekend Before Buy-A-Gun Day", but who's counting?

I've always tried to keep a .22 rifle around. For years it was one or another of a series of Ruger 10/22's. From '01 to '07, it was a Browning BL-22.

The BL-22 was a sweet rifle. Slim and light, and topped with a fixed 4x Leupold rimfire scope, it was easy to carry and "minute of squirrel noggin" accurate. However it was also the only lever action rifle left in my collection by then, and I sold it, intending to replace it with a bolt-action CZ. When you have a whole bunch of Mausers and Mosins, a bolt-action .22 with iron sights makes a lot more sense than a glass-topped lever gun.

One thing and another, I never got that CZ and I remained without a .22 rifle until last Christmas, when a friend came through with a Marlin Papoose. Because you can never have enough magazines, I went to buy some additional 7-rounders for the Papoose at the Indy 1500. By mistake, the guy gave me two Papoose mags and one that didn't have the cutout for the bolt hold-open lever.

After a bit of checking, I determined that this fit the Marlin 980 and, as luck would have it, there was a stainless 980 on the shelf at Plainfield Shooting Supplies when I walked in with trading on my mind. Even better, when I got it home I discovered that, while 980S mags won't work in a Papoose, Papoose mags will work just fine in a 980S. And I have a whole bunch of Papoose mags, both 7- and 10-rounders.
Picture shamelessly boosted from the 980S page at Marlin's website.

So there we go; a serendipitous BAG Day purchase that fits an existing need and is cheap to shoot. Go Team Me!

Who else got something for Buy A Gun Day? I know Caleb's counting his new competition blaster with its Long Dorky Action trigger, and Robb got a P3AT, which is like a gun, only smaller. JayG got hisself an Argentine High Power.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I've seen the future, brother, and it is nutbar.

Presented without editorial comment:
  1. April 15th, 2009 1:31 pm

(H/T to Unc.)

The world is a strange, strange place.

And to think that some folks say that history is boring!

Good news from the Statehouse...

The Indiana Senate has passed Senate Resolution 42, making it yet another state with a Tenth Amendment/State Sovereignty resolution wending its way through the legislative process.

(H/T to Nathan Brindle.)

UPDATE: Awesome! According to the scandalous DHS report, this makes the Indiana Senate (to say nothing of those bomb-throwers who wrote the Constitution) "rightwing extremists" and potential domestic terrorists!
Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely.

(Emphasis mine.)

Attn, West Tennessee readers:

Rustmeister has an important reminder about this afternoon's Memphis Tea Party.

Secure-er storage.

Driving a car that can be unlocked with a boxcutter, I often wind up relying on the trunk to store valuables. Since the Z3 does not have a remote trunk release, I don't really have to worry about someone doing a quick smash-n-grab on the trunk's contents, but if it did, I'd either disable it or go with this handy mod.

Your cheerful post for the day:

To sum up, globally we are tracking or doing even worse than the Great Depression, whether the metric is industrial production, exports or equity valuations. Focusing on the US causes one to minimise this alarming fact.

(H/T to SurvivalBlog.)

Overheard in the office...

RX (looking at computer monitor): "Ooh! Two headlines, side by side..."

Me (interrupting): "...both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay our scene."

Like I said, Geekery: we has it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

So let it be written. So let it be done.

The April Blogmeet Date has been decided.

If you are not an equilateral quadrangle, nor participating in Boomershoot '09, you will be there.

Their whole life is a First-Person Shooter.

Marko has a post up on the pirates' fist-shaking threats against U.S. ships and sailors.

A commenter stated
At the risk of sounding a bit like a bleeding heart, this idiocy is liable to lead to a lot of dead seamen and a lot of dead 16-year-old kids with AKs before the bastards who’re sending them out get the bill.
...which I think misapprehends the nature of the situation in that corner of Africa, which is more something out of a bad William Golding acid trip set to the staccato beat of automatic weapons fire. I don’t think this is like the Somme or Verdun, where there is some Haig or Falkenhayn at home to be JDAM’ed. If anything, this mess is caused by a more or less total lack of adult supervision in the world’s second most notorious arms bazaar; a real-life Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, only with RPG's.

P.J. O’Rourke described flying over Mogadishu and looking down at all the buildings without roofs and realizing it was like a giant game of CLUE, except the answer was “Everybody. With an AK-47.


Who's the sad clown?

A commenter at Unc's extends the theory to explain the sudden full-court press at ABC:
The anti-gunners are very frustrated with having been left behind in the wake of Obama’s victory. They had thought that they had won, with full Democratic Party control of Congress and the White House, but now find themselves thoroughly stymied.
They're obviously filling the news cycle as much as they can. If a stickup artist wings two people at a 7-11, it's going to get national airtime as a mass shooting, and if someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder smokes a gun barrel, it'll be trumpeted in the headlines as a multiple homicide. They are not going to stop the constant barrage until they get what they want, or are distracted by something shiny, like a celebrity wedding.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Keeping children safe from with guns.

Mom A: "Oh, I do need to ask before I bring the kids over, do you have guns in the house?"

Mom B: "Why, no!"

Mom A: "Hm. So if something bad were to happen, you'd be helpless to protect my children until the police got there? I'm sorry, I really think I need to cancel..."

Although I don't think that's exactly what the grass-eating pants-wetters at ABC meant when they said 'Before Arranging Playdates, Ask About Guns'.

This is a joke, right?

Please tell me that this loon is really a freak from trolling for yuks from his mom's basement in Coeur d'Alene between shifts at Papa John's.

(H/T to DoubleTrouble.)


While in K-town, I stopped at the awesome used book Mecca of McKay's. While there, I picked up a copy of War Made New by Max Boot, and I'm now about halfway through it. It's a good read, and dovetails nicely with Victor Davis Hanson's Ripples of Battle, which I'd just finished.

What I'm kicking myself over is the fact that I'd walked past The Savage Wars Of Peace at McKay's dozens of times, and never bought it. Given the wildly polarized reviews, I wanted to see what the fuss was about for myself. We stopped at Half Price Books out in Castleton yesterday, but despite a good military history section, they had bupkis by Boot. Boy, I'm bitter.

Through the Looking Glass.

Here, put these glasses on. Now take a look around. Weird, isn't it? That's how it looks to this guy all the time.

(H/T to Mark Alger.)

EDIT: Apparently you don't need to be a fringe-y weirdo on the internet to share that viewpoint; you can be a fringe-y weirdo writing for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Go Navy!

Some of the boys took a break from Sleeping, Eating, And Lifting to bust caps in three of the pirates, freeing the captain and leaving the fourth pirate to be brought back to America in chains and hung from a gibbet at the entrance of New York Harbor as a warning to other would-be aquatic miscreants. (Well, a girl can dream, can't she?)

Apparently the C-in-C had given the trigger pullers all the clearance they needed, and good job on that, Barry. A suggestion? While you've got a couple destroyers, an amphibious assault ship, and a bunch of Marines and SEALs over there, you could maybe engage in a bit of nest-burning? After all, killing individual alligators doesn't solve the problem; draining the swamp does, and you're unlikely to find less resistance in the international community than right after a very photogenic hijacking/rescue scenario that reads like a Clancy novel.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It's Sunday...

...and that means it's time for the Sunday Smith. Freshly cleaned from having the bejeezus shot out of it yesterday, no less...

One annoying thing...

...about older S&W .22 revolvers is the ridiculously tight chambers. Yes, I suppose cutting chambers to match tolerances makes for an accurate revolver, but when only a few cylinderfuls of bulk Remington .22 leave the thing so fouled that you're darn near having to knock rounds in with a hammer to seat them fully, it can take some of the fun out of the experience.

I'd gladly give up a little bit of accuracy in a 2" Kit Gun to be able to get the fiftieth round into the chamber as easily as the first.

Lazy Sunday...

Continuing the "All Linky, No Thinky" theme I seem to be running this morning, here's a detailed dissection of the scandalous 20/20 hit piece on guns the other night.

(H/T to Gun Geek Rants.)

Fixing the economy...

...will apparently work up quite an appetite.

We are not amused.


...and then fearless Joe Biden drew his Webley-Vickers 50.80 and told the idiot king "Mr. President, your instincts aren't good enough." An excited buzz ran around the Oval Office...

(H/T to The Breda.)

Base truths.

When you're in a hole, stop digging.

When you're out of money, stop spending.

When the economy is in the tank and people are out of work, don't raise taxes.

That is all.

That's pretty much it in a nutshell...

I am not the world's biggest Ann Coulter fan...

...finding her a little strident for my tastes. I tend to prefer my wit a little drier, and hold the bombast please. Still, credit where credit's due, this was a good piece. The money zinger is here:
[Liberals] think they can pass a law eliminating guns and nuclear weapons, but teenagers having sex is completely beyond our control.

If only...

Oh, if only we had a force of maritime special operations troops, trained to board vessels under way and storm the bridge, rescuing hostages and killing tangos.

Wait... we do.

Oh, if only we had a Commander in Chief with the stones to do something about pirates other than simper and posture behind a teleprompter like he was auditioning for West Wing, such as unleash the hounds. I'm sure there are plenty of lads in the Navy who'd happily take a break from Sleeping, Eating, And Lifting to go bust caps in some pirates.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Happy Joy Joy.

I seriously depleted the level of .22LR ammo in my ammo can, dirtying up my K-22 Combat Masterpiece and my Model 34, as well as Shootin' Buddy's Model 17. Put about a hundred rounds of .38 downrange through my 2" Model 64, as well. The highlight of the morning was busting a couple of clays out on the berm (50yds?) with the Model 17, shooting double action; I loves me some reactive targets.

Stopped by Plainfield Shooting Supplies afterward and traded some extra AR parts straight up for a few boxes of .22, 9mm, and .45, as well as a new Marlin 980S, because you can never have enough .22 rifles. (A couple of gun shows ago I bought three spare mags for my Papoose from one of the vendors. One of them turned out to be for a 980 and not a Papoose. Could there be a better reason to get a gun than "Well, I already have a magazine for it..."?) FWIW, Plainfield had plenty of 9mm, .45, and .308 in stock, and priced reasonably, too...

Saturday Miscellanea:

Stuff to keep you kids occupied while mommy packs her range bag:
Mommy's going to the range now. She hasn't busted a cap in two weeks, and you know how jittery that makes her. Be good! Mind the sitter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Notes from the Road, #1:

On the entire trip to Knoxville and back, I only saw 4 car carriers. Three of them were carrying used cars and one was carrying Nissans.

Eighteen wheeler traffic in general was still light, although heavier than it was last December.

I'm having flashbacks...

Our new President is displaying all the resolve, aplomb, and effectiveness of Jimmy Carter during the Tehran embassy crisis.

Stabbing Northwards.

Departure from K-town: 1050 hrs.
Arrival in Indy: 1612 hrs.
ET: 5:22, incl. gas stop north of Lexington.
Distance: 374.6 mi.
Avg. speed (while engine on): 69.9 mph.
Mileage: 27.9 mpg.

Not a record run, but a respectable time nonetheless. The average speed would have been better by probably a whole mile-per if I hadn't spent the last fifteen minutes or so in stop-'n'-go early rush-hour traffic on Keystone Avenue. Still, counting check-in times and cab rides, I doubt I could have much bettered my time by flying. And while flying is more fun than driving in general, I doubt a 727 is quite as enjoyably nimble or as responsive to the controls as a 2,800lb Kraut roadster.

Keeping the cruise control on at ten over out on the open highway is a lot more relaxing and doesn't require any head-on-a-swivel behavior, really. I've never attracted a hint of interest from Johnny Law at ten over on the interstate, probably because I practice good lane discipline, leave adequate following distances, and signal my lane changes. In town, I just keep up with the flow of traffic around me; I don't want to stand out from the herd.

The Zed Drei tipped over the 108,000 mile mark about the time I hit I-465.


Where is Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon now that we need him? Or Lt. Stephen Decatur, Jr., for that matter? (Or President Jefferson?)

Is there a single person in our federal government who can find Derne on a map, or knows why Marine officers carry those funny-looking swords?

There is only one proper and customary resolution for this situation, and it involves a yardarm.

Overheard in the office...

Me: "Last night I dreamed I had a motorcycle again... In Manderley."

The dialogue can go all literary geeky in no seconds flat here at Roseholme Cottage.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Sword control now!

Metro Police say about 1 a.m., an elderly man and a younger man got into a sword fight in a house in the 5200 block of North Raceway.
These sword-wielding maniacs are out of control!

Of course, the sword nuts will claim that if swords are outlawed, only outlaws will have swords, and that swords don't kill people; deranged RenFest nerds do.

It's going to come down to a coin toss, you watch.

Chatter going on here about the date for the April Indy Blogmeet.

A man's got to know his limitations...

Reloading your own ammunition, while fun and practical and possibly the single geekiest gun-related activity there is, is not something to be done casually.

Especially on a single-stage press, reloading well and safely demands almost as much focus as shooting itself. You'll hear folks say that the most relaxing thing about shooting is that when you're shooting, you're not doing anything else; your mind's completely focused on the front sight and the trigger and the target, not "Did I remember to pick up a gallon of milk?" or "Where are we going to get a sitter Friday night?" Reloading on a single-stage press is the same way; it demands total absorption. On a progressive press, you might get away with having the radio on in the background, but if you're interested in not turning your firearm into shrapnel, your head still needs to be in the game.

Thus, when I asked Les Jones if he'd gotten into reloading yet, his answer made me happy. A man's got to know his limitations.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Who didn't see this coming?

Responding to a question from ABC’s Robin Roberts, Pelosi said that while Congress apparently does not want to take anyone’s guns away, “We want them registered.”
How does it feel to want, Nancy?

I'm telling you right now, right up front, that I'm not registering mine.

And then...?

(H/T to Crucis.)

I Am The Weapon.

There's a great post up at Atomic Nerds about weapons maintenance.

There's no point nattering on teh intarw3bz about the proper technique for "low crawling" if your ass is going to be sticking in the air just waiting for some marines to plant a flag atop it.

Book Bomb.

Today is Book Bomb day at Amazon for the new edition of JWR's Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse. If you haven't read it, it's worth the purchase. It's chock full of information, and an enjoyable story, to boot.

Patriots is already in the top 50. Combine that with Atlas Shrugged selling like Haagen-Dasz in Hades, and what does that say?

Depleted uranium butt.

Everybody has a dream: Run a marathon, skydive, climb Mount Everest, ride from San Diego to Jacksonville to Key West to San Diego to Prudhoe Bay to San Diego on a 250 Ninja...

Sigh. I miss Happy Happy Funbike.

Cold War part deux.

Remember the good old days of '00, when the clever CIA outwitted the dastardly Chinese using the magic of computers and modems?

Yeah, those were the days...

(H/T to Insty...)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The book of Shibboleth.

Everyone who's ever attended a gun show knows that you are guaranteed to find at least one table (and probably several) of genuine whackos: Neo-Nazis, conspiranoiacs, people who think space aliens assassinated Elvis with fluoridated water, that sort of thing. It's just the eddies in the stream where the First and Second Amendments flow together. Frankly, a gun show without Nazis to mock would be like a gun show without beef jerky.

Every now and again, some lefty discovers this and recoils in horror, completely ignoring the fact that their side of the political fence has its own equally charming equivalents (It ain't bible-thumping conservatives smashing store windows and playing slap-tickle with the riot cops every time the WTO comes to town...)

Something that I got a giggle out of in the latest bout of the vapors over Knob Creek is the mention of The Anarchist's Cookbook as a (and I quote) "soldier of fortune training manual":
highly secret “soldier of fortune” training manuals (”Militiaman’s Handbook”, “How to Change Your Identity and Erase Bad Credit”, “The Anarchist’s Cookbook”, “The Hit Man’s Guide to Assassination” . . .)
I am going to go out on a limb and state that these correspondents have never read said Cookbook. I can state this with reasonable certainty, because if there is a less right-wing, "soldier of fortune" book than The Anarchist's Cookbook, I am not aware of it. The book in question is a charming counterculture relic from the days when Baby Boomers sat around crash pads with flat stomachs and full heads of hair (or heads full of Hair) and planned The Revolution. For heaven's sake, it has recipes for hallucinogenic drugs (which you shouldn't follow, by the way) and instructions on how The People can rise up against The Man to stop the Vietnam War. By "Anarchist", it means Kropotkin, not Kazynski.

(H/T again to Unc.)

First down.

The RKBA ball has been moved up the field here in Tennessee with the passage of HB0962, which allows CCW in restaurants that serve alcohol.

Although it's progress, the bill is loaded with weasel words: "age-restricted venues" are a no-go, and a "curfew" amendment was added, stating that if you're packing heat, you have to get out by 11PM, no matter how good of a time you're having. Apparently 2300 hours is when the mischief starts; I'm not sure whether they pulled that time out of a hat or what. Still, it's progress.

FWIW, my new home state of Indiana allows folks to carry in "age-restricted venues" after 11PM, and they can even have a beer or two while doing so, and for some reason blood keeps not flowing in the aisles at the Broad Ripple Brew Pub. Go figure.

(H/T to Unc.)

Monday, April 06, 2009

Oh. Em. Gee.

The Barack action figure: The further down you scroll, the harder you laugh. I completely lost it about halfway down.

(H/T to Larry Correia.)

There's always one that doesn't get the word.

In the wake of Columbine, the law enforcement community did a lot of soul-searching and arguing and seminar-convening over the proper response to an "Active Shooter" scenario. The general consensus that emerged seemed to be that when innocent lives are at stake, first responders should saddle up and roll in on the psycho, hopefully putting him on the defensive and thereby minimizing the body count. Mark Steyn points out that maybe that memo didn't get circulated as widely as it should.

Let me get this straight: You don't want me to be able to bust caps to save myself, but you're not going to do it for me, either? Thanks so much for the concern. What am I paying y'all to do, again, exactly? As Marko is so fond of pointing out, the only thing that stops a spree killer is a gun. The body count is determined by whether the gun is already on the scene or needs to be carried there in the holster of a cop.

Video Perfessers:

Carteach0 talks about shotguns.

Caleb shoots and moves and shoots.

They'll obviously never be Elite Team Fighters, since they talk about boring stuff like skills and practice and safety instead of cool stuff like gear.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

That hope which springs eternal...

What a beautiful Opening Day.

Derek Lowe pitched eight innings of two-hit shutout ball; a performance of almost Madduxian proportions against the defending World Series champs. McCann crushed one into the upper deck on his first at-bat and Francouer drilled the first pitch he saw into the left-field seats. Best of all was watching the Braves' rookie center fielder hit a homer to the deepest part of center field in his first Major League plate appearance. He looked all of thirteen years old as he jogged around the bases, so excited that I was a-feared he might pee himself.

ATL 4, PHI 1.

Granted it's only one down and 161 to go, but for the next 14 hours or so, the Braves have the best record in baseball.

Subversive couture.

Liberty Girl is showing off the spring line of awesome Simon Jester apparel. Get you some.

Hating the player, and not grokking the game.

Henry Porter, a Limey columnist with that Moody Loner look that suggests he's only a pair of sunglasses and a hoodie away from typing manifestos in a tar paper shack, feels that the benevolent governments of the world should, while they're binding the mouths of the financial industry kine, look into regulating that soul-destroying internet thing too.

People's Enemy Number One in Porter's eyes is, ironically, the "Don't Be Evil" company itself, Google.

Now, personally, I'm no huge fan or detractor of the company, finding them no eviller or gooder than most other tech firms, but the thing that gave me the gasping giggles was his portrayal of Google as some eternal, thuggish, robber-baron monopoly that has taken over the internet, rather than simply the current top dog until someone comes along with a better mousetrap. I mean, wasn't it just a few years ago that sclerotic industry giant Microsoft owned the intertubes because they bundled Explorer with Windows? Now less than a third of VFTP readers browse this page with Microsoft's browser while over half use some version or another of Firefox. In an industry where empires rise and fall in less time than it takes to earn a Bachelor's in Computer Science, panicky cries of "Monopoly!" always strike me as a little, well, clueless.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

DET 1, ATL 3.

I watched my first televised Braves game in about a year. Granted, it was an exhibition game, but the real deal starts Sunday.

It appears that Francouer has remembered what he's supposed to do with that stick he's holding.

That Traitor Smoltz is still wearing the wrong uniform.

The Joy of (re)Discovery.

You would think that a principle as simple and obvious as the Law of Supply and Demand would be assimilated along with mother's milk, and yet some people seem to rediscover the damned thing every fifteen minutes.

Friday, April 03, 2009

This headline cracked me up...

Gang of villagers chase away Google car

Why do I get a mental picture of a bunch of villagers waving pitchforks and torches at a moaning green car with big silver bolts sticking out of its fenders, played by Boris Karloff?

So, what's the legal precedent here? As far as I'm aware, taking pictures from a public thoroughfare is perfectly legal here in the USofA, but I'm not clear on the situation in the place where Great Britain used to be. Do you control the photons bouncing off your house?

My reflexive answer is "Pull up your big girl pants and deal with it."

Besides, you'd think that Englishmen would be pretty inured to lenses these days. Lord knows that your average Londoner has more cameras pointed at them than Britney Spears leaving an OB/GYN office.

Hot Plans For The Day:

Today I will be cleaning .22 revolvers, while hanging out at my old stomping grounds at Coal Creek Armory.

Both my Model 34 and my K-22 Combat Masterpiece have sent enough lead downrange that it's time for the complete-taking-apart and bathing. The Kit Gun is so fouled that the cylinder is getting hard to turn.

It's tough to get a centerfire gun that dirty, at least when you're poor like me.

Gooood morning, Knoxville!

I got into town yesterday about 4:30.

Boy, the drive south was like driving four weeks (and 20 degrees Fahrenheit) into the future. Back in Indy, the trees have just started getting the faintest fuzz of green buds on their branches, but dropping down into the valley here was a treat for the eyes.

The only thing of note on the otherwise uneventful drive was the odd roadkill I spotted (or hallucinated) on the shoulder of I-275 just before crossing the Ohio river; either y'all have some weird, spotted, shaggy, long-necked deer up there, or somebody's missing their llama.

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

In a comment by "mac" over at The Munchkin Wrangler, we read:
They’re not removing themselves from the gene pool, just their children.
Um... yeah. See...


Aw, I just don't have the heart.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Things are tough all over.

The North Koreans are looking to get into the ICBM business...

Mount Redoubt is smoking away...

Rioters are smashing bank windows in London...

Fargo is flooding...


(Inspector Green needs to be introduced to his cousin, Soylent, tout de suite.)

(H/T to the Atomic Nerds.)

A candle on the cupcake.

Frank W. James' blog, "Corn, beans, spent brass, an empty page and a deadline..." turns one today.

Being a writer and a very introspective dude, Frank shares his thoughts on blogs and blogging.

Rumor central...

...notes that Knoxville mayor, former gran frommage at Pilot Oil, and Tennessee gubernatorial candidate Bill Haslam is no longer listed on that tool Bloomberg's "Mayors Against The 2nd Amendment" website.

At least fleas and ticks don't make fun of dogs.

A battered effigy of a banker in a bowler's hat hung on a traffic light near the Bank of England as protesters waved signs saying: "Resistance is Fertile," and "Make Love not Leverage."

Bankers have been lambasted as being greedy and blamed for the recession that is making jobless ranks soar. Other banners read "Banks are evil" and "Eat the bankers," and "0 percent interest in others."
Seeing as how it was the middle of the business day, any bets on what percentage of the protesters were on the dole? Which meant that the art supplies for their protests and the very food in their tummies had been paid for by...? Anyone? Bueller?

That's right, those icky bankers with their jobs, paying taxes. I'll take "Isn't is ironic?" for $500, Alex.

Pull the wagon, Kulaks! Pull it faster!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009