Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'll take "Kevin Bacon" for $500, Alex...

So, my pal Joanna is going to be on Jeopardy! on Wednesday, June 3rd. Jeopardy! is, of course, hosted by one Alex Trebek, who also appeared in the X-Files episode, "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" with Charles Nelson Reilly, who was in Cannonball Run II with Burt Reynolds, who was in Striptease with Demi Moore, who was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon.

Quote of the Day:

"Steyn’s only mistake here is to assume that Obama would have any serious interest in American exceptionalism in the world. As far as Obama is concerned, what is exceptional about America is Obama."

Meme for the Fearless.

If you are immune to the mockery of your friends, Marko challenges you to list the five most embarrassing albums on your iPod.

I'm safe for the moment, because my Nano only holds 4 gigs of stuff, which means that there's nothing in there but some really hip, happenin', cool music and a couple of episodes of Firefly. ("Out Of Gas" and "Jaynestown", if you must know...) Dig into my iTunes directory, on the other hand, and you'll find some blackmail material...

  1. Blaze of Glory: That's right, I actually once paid money for the Jon Bon Jovi soundtrack album to Young Guns 2.
  2. Decade: Duran Duran's greatest hits. Teenybopper squealing not included.
  3. Demos & Remixes: The album itself isn't what's embarrassing, what's embarrassing is that I was such a huge Trent Reznor fangirl in '94 that I paid some obscene amount of money for a bootleg NIN CD.
  4. Dr. Feelgood: I have no idea how or why this awful Mötley Crüe CD ended up in my collection, but I dutifully ripped it anyway.
  5. ELO's Greatest Hits: Now there's an oxymoron for you...

The saddest part? That only gets me into the G's. (iTunes, in its anal-retentive robotic way, files the last under "G" for "Greatest"...)

It probably had Lucas electrics, too...

The English aircraft industry, like Australian fauna, has always been weird and insular and quite frequently turns out creatures that may not be evolutionary successes, but are spectacular in their oddness nonetheless.

Overheard at the gun show...

Looking at some really good gun belts, under a sign reading "AMISH LEATHER BELTS":

Me: "Who knew the Amish had such thick hides?"

RX: "Have you ever tried skinning one? Oh, they make such a fuss! It's a good thing they're pacifists, because they look like they'd probably bite you if they weren't, and then you'd have to stun 'em or something."

Friday, May 29, 2009

Speaking of Michael Flynn... turns out he has a Livejournal, where I found this video which has become my new anthem.

Third Book-itis.

So, output has been sketchy of late because I discovered a good used book store while house-sitting for a friend a few weeks back, and I've had my nose in two trilogies.

What is it with trilogies in SF/Fantasy genre fiction? Is it some unspoken law, ever since Tolkien's monster epic had to be split into three separate volumes to avoid giving buyers a hernia, that any story has to be split into a three-book-long arc? Anyhow...

Don't let Elizabeth Moon's Heris Serrano fool you; it's really a trilogy, just available as a single volume trade paperback. The concept is an interesting one: According to the author, it was set into motion by a friend suggesting "Why not fox hunting and space ships?"

And so we get the tale of young Heris, scion of an illustrious naval family, who has resigned her commission due to a scandal and gets a job skippering a private yacht for a wealthy dowager who is absolutely gaga over hunting and jumping and the whole horsey social scene. So not only do you get enjoyable space opera, you also get family and navy politics (as well as regular old politics politics) and a quick and dirty education on what people find so fascinating about getting muddy while chasing critters across fields while clinging to the backs of big ungulates.

This trilogy's Third Book-itis comes from Moon getting fairly ambitious with the number of viewpoint characters and plot lines in the last book and then getting a little rushed in wrapping it all up. Still, it was a very enjoyable read.

The second trilogy was by Michael Flynn: Firestar, Rogue Star, and Lodestar. These were going to have a hard time living up to their hype, what with cover blurbs from multiple reviewers that compared Flynn's writing favorably to Heinlein. Plus, when my roommate saw the books, she said "Oh, I envy you! You get to read those for the first time!" The icing on the cake was the Amazon reviewer who said that they were the best books in their (admittedly small) genre; better even than my favorite, Kings of the High Frontier.

Well, it worked. The first book sucked me in so hard that I didn't come up for air for over a day. It's a near-future story that is largely set around one woman, the wealthy heiress to a commercial empire, who is absolutely phobic over the idea of a large asteroid striking Earth and who sets out to do something about it.

What gives the story its depth, however, is that she doesn't just wave her dollar wand and *poof* there's a spaceship and everybody rockets off into the future, happily ever after. Instead we have a sprawling, Clavell-esque tale, with multiple viewpoint characters spread across aerospace companies and educators, test pilots and poets, as our main protagonist subtly uses her influences to nudge humanity into space, save the world, and still show a good Return-On-Investment to keep the board of directors and her trust fund cousins happy.

Third Book-itis in this case comes from the fact that Flynn's first book in the series was released in '94 and the third in '00 and I'm reading them in '09. The danger of writing near-future is that it might be history by the time it gets read. If the story and characters are stand-alone, that's no problem; William Gibson's Neuromancer is just as much raw, seminal cyberpunk today as it was in 1984 and Heinlein's '50s juveniles sell out every time they're reprinted.

Flynn's first two books, being largely character-driven, hold up amazingly well. The third one, however, takes place almost twenty years after the first, and to emphasize the passage of time, he has to play up the slang, the styles, and the technology differences between 1999 and 2017, and doesn't pull it off as well as he could have. The "new" slang sounds forced and the "future" computer jargon seems a little dated and it obscures characters that we want to see more of. It's still worth the read, but it leaves you feeling like Flynn was punching far above his weight class in the first two books; I'll need to read more by him to find out.

Anyhow, it might be a couple days before I'm writing really productively again. Why? Two words: Diamond. Age.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Behold, an animal capable of squaring off with the Slow Loris in a Cuteness Deathmatch.

(H/T to Dante's Firing Range.)

"...nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself..."

Dallas, TX is an unlikely addition to the list of places I wouldn't spit on if they were burning.
A word of caution before you head out for the long Memorial Day weekend: It's also No-Refusal Weekend. Which means? Well, if Dallas police pull suspect you're drinking and driving, you'll be stuck with a butterfly needle attached to a vacuum-packed container, and two vials' worth of your blood will taken and tested. And, no, you can't refuse the test...
I'll cheerfully contribute to the defense fund of the first drunk Texas cowboy to tell Chief Kunkle to "Come And Take It".

(H/T to Billy Beck.)

Smartgun Fail.

Discussion is ongoing at Unc's joint on the latest Authorized User or "Smart Gun" concept out of Deutschland.

The problem with the whole "Smart Gun" concept is that it is derived from an incorrect view of weapons. If you look at firearms as a type of sporting goods, then there's nothing particularly wrong with Authorized User technology. If it fails or malfunctions, it's no big deal in the grand scheme of things; you miss your duck or deer or clay pigeon or paper bullseye, and your afternoon or weekend is ruined, but hey, that's the price of safety.

But if you look at a firearm as a piece of emergency equipment, then Authorized User technology is a no-go. A cop's partner may need to use her gun; my roommate may need to use mine. It needs to work right the first time, every time. It cannot malfunction or, if it does so, it must "fail-dangerous", in such a way as to leave me the ability to use the gun to defend myself, even if the Authorized User function no longer works.

Look at it this way: Would you put fingerprint recognition sensors on a fire extinguisher? How about a biometric sensor on a reserve parachute? No, you wouldn't, because it needs to be as easy as possible for anybody to operate, even under duress and in harsh environmental conditions.

It's a series of tubes!

Bill O'Reilly had his secretary download an internet from the blog, and it made him confused.

Gee, he always struck me as such a hep cat; you know, really groovy and with it.

(H/T to Instapundit.)

More Chicago politics writ large...

The UAW delivers the votes; the UAW gets the spoils...
GM is widely expected to file for bankruptcy before the end of this month. If this were a typical bankruptcy, the company would be allowed by law to tear up its UAW collective bargaining agreement and negotiate for drastically reduced wages and benefits. That's not going happen. Phrased another way: The government won't let that happen.
Although they also got a whole bunch of GM stock certificates, which are about as worthless a medium of exchange as Confederate money these days. (Although they'll probably be as collectible in the future, and for the same reason.)

(H/T to Sebastian.)

How do I miss stuff like this?

You guys in Augusta have some of the best nutters commenting in your paper!
THE SWINE FLU is a plot by the right to kill off the poor, the old and anybody that doesn't fit their idea of a good American. Just watch out people, it is going to get worse.
Hahaha! Silly crazy person!

Anyway, what worries me is that I didn't get my immunization at my Secret Conspiracy Local #420 meeting last month, and the plot has already leaked out to the Bad Americans.

I was alerted to the leak of our nefarious plan by Barefoot Clown, whose comment is the QotD:
Fortunately for the "bad" Americans, the Republicans are running this conspiracy with all of the skill and competency they've shown for the last eight years.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Are we still here?

Are we still here? Nobody's been overrun by screaming hordes of North Korean troops? No?


Captain Crazy had me worried this morning. I've been digging a slit trench in the tomato patch all afternoon.

My Supreme Court nominee...

Lynda Carter is a woman of Mexican ancestry, which puts her on the list of Qualified Supreme Court Nominees in this day and age of Affirmative Action politics. Among her other qualifications, she stopped a bullet cold, made the Axis fall, changed their minds, and changed the world. She is obviously more qualified than Sotomayor.

As an added bonus, she would be the first Supreme Court justice with an invisible jet. Plus, she could use her golden lasso to compel witnesses to tell the truth, which would be both very useful on the job, as well as making for great television.

Wonder Woman for the Supreme Court!!!

Worth a thousand words...

The future of dead-tree newspapers.

Forget it, Jake! It's Chi-Town!

When the president comes from the bowels of Chicago politics, where the spoils system is evolved into a baroque and elaborate thing rivaling kabuki or Byzantine imperial court protocols, rumors like this should not be surprising.

Everyone knows that the first thing you do after you get elected is give the janitorial contracts in the city buildings to your buddies and deny the renewals of your opponents' liquor licenses.

(H/T to Shermlock Shomes.)

Overheard at nap time:

When I was little, Grandma would tell me that God had given me a brain and that if I didn't use it, he'd give me an aneurysm. That's a heck of a thing for a grade-schooler to worry about, and I've been mortally scared of waking up with the IQ of an eggplant ever since. As an adult nothing frightens me worse than the thought of Alzheimer's, of having my essential me-ness float off, never to come back, so what happened yesterday morning was pretty rattling.

I've got a pretty good sense of direction. I don't get "lost" in that I don't think I've ever been in a place that I couldn't find my way back the way I'd come, and once I've been somewhere, I can almost always dead-reckon my way there again. Well, yesterday morning somebody misplaced the coffee shoppe that sells filters for the Chemex at Roseholme.

I mean, I knew where I was; I certainly wasn't lost. But where was the ferschlugginer store? I could picture it in my mind, but it wasn't at the expected intersection. Or the other intersection. I had to orbit the block to find the joint, and was thoroughly shaken by the experience.

So I told my roommate about my experience, and my Alzheimerphobia, and she decided that the thing to do would be to awaken me from my evening doze on the futon and check to see that I was oriented in space and time:

RX: "Tam. Wake up."

Me: "Mmpph... huh? Wazzat?"

RX: "What's the date?"

Me: "Huh? I don't know. The 26th?"

RX: "Name two states."

Me: "Denial and confusion."

RX: "Who is the president?"

Me: *pause* "Oh... damn it!"

RX: "You're oriented, all right."

A little perspective, please?

So my email inbox is all full up now with spam about Uzbekistani mail-order brides, herbal love nostrums, and every pro-2nd Amendment organization from Armed Females of America to Zoroastrians for Concealed Carry warning me that "zomg Obama's nominated an antigunner for the Supreme Court!!!1!!eleven!"

Well, no duh there, Sparky. What did you think he was going to do? Dig up Charlton Heston's corpse and nominate him?

My favorite so far was the urgent request that I hurry and go vote in a poll asking "Should the U.S. Senate confirm Sonia Sotomayor to be a judge on the Supreme Court?" at Unsurprisingly, the results were about as close as asking "Ice Cream or Brussels Sprouts?" on aisle 5 at Toys 'R' Us. (Oddly, fourteen kids had voted for Brussels Sprouts. Out of a couple thousand.)

With Souter retiring, we're losing a sure opponent of the right to keep and bear arms, and it's pretty much a given that whoever replaces him amongst the Nazgul will be ready to step in and fill the gap. If we're lucky, their feelings towards firearms will only be mild antipathy rather than active loathing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Perhaps the coolest thing I've ever seen on teh intarw3bz...

Never before has so much time been so nobly wasted.

TUESDAY! Tuesday! BE THERE! Be There!

Tonight on Gun Nuts Radio is special guest Rob Pincus, founder of ICE Training, noted defense instructor, and a man who has seen me spew Old Crow all over someone else's patio!

Remember, whatever Rob says is right. (Because you don't dare contradict a man who has photos of your less-than-stellar moments.)

He's kind of like a berserker, only not.

Certain Norse warriors, known as "berserkers", would demonstrate their hooah-ness by charging into combat sans armor (and sometimes sans clothes.)

While that probably wasn't the intent here, it still shows a lot of panache.

Also, we probably need to block this guy's blog from being accessed via .mil addresses. He's obviously a bad influence.

Boy, everything is on YouTube...

Some comedy gold to start your day...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

FLASH: Insider leak!

Unreleased Barry O. campaign video!

Food + Action = Awesome

Behold dinner last night. On fire.:

That would be the OMG IT'S ON FIRE! roll at Bluefin Bistro in Lafayette, my reward for finishing fourth-from-last in my first-ever DCM match. (Overheard on the line: "Slow-fire? What the hell?!? The zombies aren't going to let me look through a spotting scope between shots!") Yes, I cratered badly.

Not much traffic on the streets...

...even for a Sunday in May.

Supposedly there are a bunch of folks driving in circles on the west side of town, though.

Multi-level Wrongness...

This article raises more questions than answers. The short summary is that someone with the finely honed fiscal judgment of that lady with the bucket of quarters at the slot machine on the end has had a fifty brazillion dollar entertainment system installed in his VW Passat. He then had an RFID chip stuck in him, as though he were an AKC stud Cocker Spaniel, that will allow him to unlock and start the car just by standing next to it and beaming pure pride of ownership.

So, on to the questions:

1) A fifty brazillion dollar stereo install. In a Passat.

2) Dude, you microchipped yourself like a Persian Longhair to match a Volkswagen?

3) You stuck an RFID chip in yourself? Srsly? Could you not have put it in one of your Spock ears instead?

4) If you drop your car off at the mechanic's on the way to work, do you have to climb through the Early Bird key drop-off slot yourself?

(A very disturbed H/T to D.W. Drang.)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I'm off to take a stomping.

I'm off to the shooting range, where I am going to get pwnt at an M1 Carbine match. My objective for the day: Don't come in last place.

I'm already practicing excuses:
  • "It was a borrowed carbine."
  • "The sun was in my eyes."
  • "I wanted that eight year old to feel good about her first match, so I threw the game."

Spam spam spam spam!

Spam: The official snack food of the recession!

(H/T to SurvivalBlog.)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Who knew?

I had no idea when I moved here that Broad Ripple was a nexus of awesome food, all within walking distance of Roseholme Cottage. So far there's been Taste, Zest, Boogie Burgers, Yat's, Locally Grown Gardens, Sam's Gyros, Northside News Deli... and today Shootin' Buddy and I had lunch at Blue Lagoon.

The buffet had curry chicken, jerk chicken, buttered steamed veggies, rice & beans... Oh. Emm. Gee.

Impossible Tasks:

Sisyphus, Augeas' stable boy, the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce...

Game on!

Photos of Caleb bringing the heat at Bianchi Cup.

I tease him, but only 'cause I know he'll come home and shoot rings around me. Blindfolded. With one hand tied behind his back.

Really, watch this space: You can say you saw one of Caleb's first appearances on the national scene. You'll be able to read about the future ones in the dead-tree gunrags, 'cause Caleb's got game.

The happiest lad in christendom...

Look at the smile on the face of the young Halo fan hefting a real-life FN SCAR.

Does he not look ecstatic?

Does that not warm the cockles of the place where your shriveled, bitter, clingy heart would be, if only you had one?

Does that not fill Paul Helmke's Spider-Man underoos?

Important tip: Don't cross the streams.

Remember that the sight plane of the AR-15 is a few inches above the bore axis. This can be important.

(Via email.)

Graded on the curve.

On Harvey Milk:
The bottom line is that Milk gets too much credit simply for being gay and too little credit for being just another creep politician.
But hey, Sean Penn, right?

More security kabuki.

So, Breda flies to Phoenix and back, and along the way is poked, prodded, swabbed, sniffed, frisked, and probulated more than anybody this side of a UFO abductee.

The final score? See for yourself.

Not only is air travel these days like a POW movie, it's apparent that the movie in question is based on Hogan's Heroes.

I'll take "Dumb Ideas" for $500, Alex...

So, in all the time I've been blogging, I've yet to get any of these fabulous wheelbarrows of cash that I'm supposed to get for being a part of the Triangle of Death.

Now I discover that, in addition to cash, I should be getting free stuff in exchange for saying nice things about it.

Think about that for a second: Somebody sends someone something craptastic and says that they can have it for free if they lie and say it's not craptastic. Didja spot the logic flaw? Yeah, me too. But that's okay, it's all the excuse the .gov needs to ponder some backdoor regulation on blogs, with which compliance will be as enthusiastic and universal as it is with the nation's marijuana laws.

Besides, so far my swag has been limited to a couple of inexpensive plastic holsters, which are nice holsters as far as such things go, but unlikely to displace my Milt Sparks or Gary Brommeland IWB rigs for carry. Oh and I got some shirts. And in return for a discount on a pistol, I promised to stop calling a certain gun company "Painted Ordnance". So, obviously I'm in the wrong sector of the blogging world, because the free stuff pipeline is pretty sluggish here.

In closing, I'd like to add "You'll never take me alive, coppers!"

(H/T to Sebastian.)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Perfect for the mom on the go who ain't got time for traffic...

Chevy's "Warner Brothers" edition minivan having been a huge success, they decided to follow up with a new "Wachowski Brothers" edition.

Nice shootin', Tex.

JD goes to the Charter Arms booth at the NRA Convention and the sales rep shoots off his mouth, hitting himself right in the foot. A letter to the president of the company results in a partial save, but it shouldn't have happened in the first place.

I'll refrain from giving my opinion of Charter's revolvers themselves (suffice it to say that it contains the words "wretched" and "pulsating",) and say that this is the kind of comment I'd expect to hear from a guy running a single table from Bob's Pawn Shop at the gun show in the county fairgrounds, not from a sales rep for a major manufacturer at a national convention.

(H/T to Sebastian.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Speaking of Blogiversaries...

Squeaky Wheel Seeks Grease has turned two.

Here's to many more!

Still roping goats.

H-S Precision's media spokesdrone says that their entire Lon Horiuchi fiasco unhappened.

No word yet on their forthcoming line of "John Lee Malvo Signature Edition" AR-15 furniture.

I hope they freeze in the dark.

California's dreamin'.

California, that self-absorbed nation-state on our left coast, has always prided itself on being a trend-setter in American culture. Currently the trend they're leading is "What do you do when you've promised citizens the moon, and the bill comes due?"

Put to a referendum, people voted against limiting the government cheese but also against tax increases. Quelle surprise.

I am convinced that the thin end of the political wedge in America is to be found under your typical California elected official's hat.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pop Quiz:

Which is the most important factor in determining a vehicle's average fuel economy?

  1. Final drive ratio.
  2. Aerodynamics.
  3. Rolling resistance.
  4. The powerplant's thermal efficiency.
  5. Pixie droppings and unicorn farts.

Next week Barack is going to cut down on inefficiency in scientific research by declaring pi to be 3 instead of 3.141592653 et cetera, thereby saving hundreds of thousands of decimal places every year.

You keep using that word...

Shootin' Buddy was in town on business and swung by for a late lunch. We went to Locally Grown Gardens, where I'd been itching to try their salmon and asparagus dinner, ever since seeing Old Grouch chowing down on it Sunday.

It was drizzled with a sauce that contained... umm... ginger and... I guess awesome. Seriously, I have been tossing the word "awesomesauce" around with abandon for a while now, but I actually tasted it for the first time today. If I had not been sitting at a picnic table out in front of God and everybody, I would have licked that plate clean until the glaze was off the ceramic. Mmmm-Mm!

Gun Stuff:

Salamander has some closeups of the Ruger LCR for those who haven't fingered one yet. It is good to see that they're finally making a compact revolver smaller and lighter than everybody else's mid-size revolvers.

Justin has a two-post-long review of the Tactical Solutions .22LR AR-15 upper. A rimfire AR upper is invaluable for getting in trigger time for those of us who live a healthy drive away from the nearest range that will let us stretch out a centerfire rifle. I can get to a pistol range, indoors or outdoors, once or twice a week. Real rifles are more a once a month proposition...


Look! A cute bay-bee!

(And educational toys to help teach her to count to 30.)

(H/T to Joe Huffman.)



I am a sucker for that very "vine-like" filework on the spine...

The new Trek movie was a lot of fun...

...and I only blurted something once.

There is a scene where young Spock, at the moment in command on the bridge, gets up and emos off to the elevator. Then Uhura gets up from her board and goes to see what's wrong with him. At which point I couldn't keep from whispering "Oh, just everybody get up and walk off the bridge. Hello? Who's driving the boat?"

Starfleet always was a heck of a sloppy way to run a navy.

However, as much as the Hard SF/Mil SF fan in me wanted to sulk and hate it, they couldn't keep my inner Space Opera fan and movie buff from having a great time.

Today In History: You ain't from around here, are you?

On this date in 1921, Congress responded to dangerously high levels of swarthiness and popery in European immigrants by passing the Emergency Quota Act, thereby ensuring that the melting pot retained a strong tang of boiled mutton, sauerkraut, and lutefisk.

(Speaking of which, there're two words you never hear together: "English" and "Cuisine".)

Monday, May 18, 2009

"Dear Random County Board of Education..."

"...I appreciate your offer of a teaching position at William Golding Memorial High, but in light of current developments, I am afraid I must refuse.

Thank you for your consideration..."

Uh-uh and no way. Not with your podium and someone else declaiming.

Well, duh!

And amid all the talk, there was notable silence: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decided not to appear on any of the Sunday shows to defend herself after a rocky week.
That's because the foot in your mouth doesn't get any tastier no matter how much you wiggle the toes.

Today In History: Media hysteria, the early years...

On this date in 1910, the Earth passed through the tail of Halley's Comet. In a sort of dry run for Y2K and the post-9/11 world:
Cyanogen gas, a poison, had been detected spectroscopically in the tail of Comet Morehouse in 1908, so people feared, understandably, they they might be poisoned by gases from the tail of Halley’s Comet. From Chicago it was reported that women were stopping up doors and windows to keep out the toxic vapour. In Haiti a voodoo doctor sold comet pills to ward off the evil influence of the comet, as did two swindlers in Texas who also did a good trade in leather gas masks. Purchasers were told that the pills (actually made of a harmless combination of sugar and quinine) would help them withstand the gases of the comet’s tail. Police arrested the men but were forced to let them go again when the gullible victims campaigned for their release.
Notably absent from the hysteria was a new Federal Department of Comet Gasses. No doubt it was considered and, had one been formed, it would still be with us today, a vital part of our federal bureaucracy, stuffed full of juicy sinecures like the Departments of Education or Energy or Homeland Security...

Sunday, May 17, 2009


So, today was apparently the official start of the '09 Bicycling Season for me. Shootin' Buddy and I rode up the Monon Trail into Broad Ripple Proper to look at the hippies looking at art.

Then we pedaled back down to Locally Grown Gardens for the blogmeet, only we were about ten minutes early, so we pressed on several blocks south before turning around and arriving fashionably on time (-ish).

Then we pedaled back home.

Ow, my butt.

(Bobbi X has a preliminary blogmeet/blogshoot wrapup on her blog. More to follow, I am sure.)

It's not that I have anything against them...

Since I started shooting, I've owned plenty of Rugers. My first gun was a Ruger 10/22, bought when I was eighteen, and I'm honestly not sure how many of the ubiquitous little rimfire autoloaders I've owned since then. Three? Four? Several, anyway.

Their double-action wheelguns have never intrigued me. I came late to the appreciation of the DA revolver, and my love for the platform arrived with my purchase of a Smith 625, and I've danced with the one that brung me ever since. Just because I don't feel any particular attraction towards them doesn't mean that I don't appreciate their virtues as revolvers, however.

Single-action Rugers I've owned a-plenty, from a three-screw Bearcat and a similarly vintage dual-cylinder Single Six to a .32 H&R Magnum Super Single Six, a brace of Blackhawks in .357 Magnum and .45 Colt, and likewise a pair of Vaqueros, one a Bisley in .44 Magnum and the other a dual-cylinder gun that shipped with one .38-40 cylinder and one in .40 S&W, but soon became a 10mm Auto Vaquero, affectionately dubbed the "Space Cowboy".

I've never had one of their rimfire pistols, although I keep meaning to jump on the first affordable Mk.II 22/45 I find. Their traditional P-series autoloaders never really appealed to me except on price: When I was young and broke I had a KP-91DAO for a while. I've recommended them to several folks in the "young and broke" category since then. They may be as big as a breadbox and heavy as a cinder block, but "not working" is generally not a failing attributed to them.

And then there was my No.1... It was an "International" model in .243, with a beautiful chunk of lumber that ran all the way to the muzzle. The Mannlicher-style stock would keep it from winning any benchrest competitions, as hand-wringing purists will be sure to point out, but that was not the task for which it was purchased. It was more than accurate enough for the field, and is one of the few firearms made by Ruger to which the adjective "beautiful" may be applied without one's tongue firmly in one's cheek.

So it's not like I'm a Ruger hater or anything. For the most part I've found their guns to be quite impressive from a functional standpoint, it's just that I wasn't much their target demographic. That's what has bothered me most about their recent efforts outside their traditional market: The SR-9 hasn't really caught fire; the LCP, being a flyweight gun for its caliber with a finger-and-a-half grip is prone by nature to short-cycle malfs if not held in a grip of iron; and now they're jumping feet-first into a profitable-but-crowded AR market experiencing a bubble of Dutch tulip proportions. I truly hope it works out for them, but the Magic 8-Ball says "reply hazy, ask again later".

Rather than issuing a fawning unpaid "Ruger Conquers Another Market!" press release, I am going to be honest and say that we shall see what we shall see. These are uncharted waters for the company; let's hope it's a successful voyage.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The very definition of Chutzpah.

The Yiddish word "chutzpah" is one of those words with a meaning that is best defined anecdotally, as it applies to audacity, but audacity of a very specific kind.

The most common explanation is that "chutzpah" describes the little boy on trial for murdering his parents who pleads for the court's mercy on the grounds that he's an orphan.

The Fair is in Town!

That's right, this weekend is the 39th annual Broad Ripple Art Fair. That means that in addition to being able to view the Common, or "Broad Ripple", Hippie, there will also be a variety of exotic non-native hippie species on view, as well as tons of confused tourists from Carmel. Here I'll attempt to answer some questions for the lost Hamilton County resident:

Q: Is that patchouli I smell?

A: Yes. Patchouli is the scent of Bolshevism. The Common, or "Broad Ripple", Hippie secretes it from a gland located in their Obama bumper sticker.

Q: Should I feed the ducks?

A: If it would amuse you and you wouldn't mind having ducks following you around Broad Ripple.

Q: Should I feed the kid in the fatigue jacket with three safety pins in his nose and a skinny dog with a bandanna around its neck tied to his guitar case?

A: If it would amuse you and you wouldn't mind having... on second thought, just No.

Q: Am I really seeing two giant arms sticking out of the ground, holding a turtle?

A: You are not only seeing them, you helped buy them. Aren't they pretty? They're a metaphor for the current situation in the executive branch, but we ran out of grant money before we could add the giant bronze fencepost upon which the arms were to be placing the turtle.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Late to the dance?

Did you hear? Ruger's gone carbon-neutral. Yup, they've wrapped ol' Bill “No Honest Man Needs A Handgun Smaller Than A Canned Ham” Ruger Sr.'s corpse in copper wire and lined the coffin with magnets, and now the whole plant is off the grid. They've broken with Bill's mandates by offering us Simple Civilians a whole slew of new guns.

In the wake of their little Kel-Tec ripoff .380 and a polymer skinned revolver named the “L.C.R.” (after “W.T.F.” and “W.H.Y.” were discarded), Ruger has finally showed up fashionably late at the AR-15 party, about the time that most of the other attendees were already dancing in togas or vomiting in flowerpots with lampshades on their heads. Heck, even Remington and S&W had been there long enough to get wasted and go wading in the “Make A Wish” fountain with their ball gowns hiked up around their knees.

Ruger vowed to “redefine the platform”, and attempted to do this with a piston system, never mind that HK, POF, LWRC, Para, Bushhamster, and Greasy Joe's Dixie Bar & Grill had already done so.

On the plus side, the Ruger offering ships with quality third-party small bits from Troy, Magpul, and Hogue, as well as acknowledging the fact that most EBR shooters would like more than one magazine by throwing three P-Mags in the box. The downside is that all of that name-brand bling costs money and most AR buyers simply DX half the factory parts on the gun in favor of the contents of pages 63 through 101, inclusive, of the Brownell's catalog. An AR with a street price north of one-and-a-half long is nice, but only when you've picked out the toppings yourself.

I wish Ruger luck and all, but it wouldn't shock me if this all ends in tears...

How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm?

By miring them axle-deep in the mud, that's how.

I didn't know you could get one of those things stuck like that...

It has been one wet spring here in the heartland. But what is merely an annoyance to convertible owners and people with leaky basements is a hard shot to the wallet for farmers.

Desperate to stay in headlines, H1N1 infects five more in NYC.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Five new cases of the H1N1 virus in New York City schools will force three schools to close for a week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference Thursday evening.
Those kids will have to get their germs at the mall like everybody else.

The show is on the road.

Things are under way in Phoenix, and you can get live updates from the field, all aggregated at the official 2nd Amendment Blog Bash website!

Wish I was in Phoenix, but reading everybody's reports'll be the next best thing to being there.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Problem With The Paradigm...

So in all this alleged GOP "soul searching", so gleefully reported by the media, we have Dick Cheney saying
"I don’t think the party ought to move dramatically to the left, for example, in order to try to redefine its base."
which yet again points out the limitations of the traditional "left/right" shibboleths. From where I'm sitting, the GOP has moved too far to the left for the last fifteen or more years. With the exception of the lies and broken promises of the "Contract With America", the GOP has consistently countered the Democrats' "Big Government" platform with their own "Big Government with a side order of Jesus" one.

The GOP wouldn't be in this position if they hadn't turned into Democrats Against Flag Burning (But In Favor Of Tanks.)

Seriously, spend like drunken sailors, expand existing government agencies while creating whole new ones of dubious Constitutionality, meddle in traditionally Democrat minefields like education and Medicare, and it doesn't matter how you rearrange the stem cell and gay marriage deck chairs on the USS Pachyderm, your ship is going down.

But before all you loyal donkeys out there get too giddy with your Gatorade dousings, ponder this: A rudderless GOP tendered up the lamest candidate imaginable, with the looks of Amonhotep III, a completely demagnetized policy needle, and all the public speaking skills of Marcel Marceau, and even with the most charismatic presidential candidate to make it to the finals since 1984, you still only got 52% of the vote. Barry should have beat McCain like a drum on personality alone, so I wouldn't be too quick to count the GOP out; after all, wasn't it just eight years ago that the Donks were pronounced DOA?

A guy who's always worth reading...

Kevin Baker's blog, The Smallest Minority, turns six today, which is like eighty in people years.

Tossing out a couple of smartass quips every day is so easy, even I can do it. Churning out several pages of deep thought every few days, on the other hand, is impressive. And Kevin is impressive.

Meme Time: Impractical-But-Cool Guns...

Via the rules at Shangrila Towers:
I'm only including firearms that the average Joe could go out and actually purchase here in the United States, without going through too many hoops. That means no NFA stuff, no exotic guns that never went into production (I'm looking at you, Jackhammer automatic shotgun), and no imports that never made their way to these shores.
Okay, I'm game. Here are my favorite guns that reply to the question "What's it for?" with the obvious answer "To sell!"...

1) Heckler & Koch SP-89

The whole genre is silly, of course, from the various semiauto MAC clones and the TEC-9 on the low end all the way up through the "Micro" Uzi Pistol and the B&T reboot of that malfunctioning paperweight Steyr used to sell. Really, what can you do with a foot-and-a-half long, three pound 9mm "pistol" that you couldn't do better with a Glock 17 and two mags? But the SP-89 sure does look cool, with that whole MP-5K cachet...

2) Franchi SPAS-12

An innovative Italian fowling piece that could malfunction in both semiauto and slide-action modes. As an added bonus, on the early versions the safety wasn't. Plus it had ergonomics apparently designed for people with hands that could palm basketballs and two elbows per arm. But it looked real mean and found its way onto the set of more action and SciFi movies than you could shake a stick at.

3) Barrett M-82

Well actually any .50 cal rifle, but only if you live east of the Mississippi. My old boss in Georgia had a Barrett. The longest range on his property was maybe 150 yards. Fish in a barrel was an exciting and challenging sport by comparison... "Sure kid, you can drive your old man's Corvette. Just don't leave the driveway!"

4) Half of the cool "Assault Rifles" from the salad days of the late '80s

Valmets, Beretta AR-70s, .308 Galils, Semiauto FA-MAS's (yes, they exist.) Sure, it's cool. Sure, you're probably the only kid on your block. But "practical"? Only if you define "practical" as "Nonexistent spare parts and scarce mags".
"Take it to Gunsite 223? No! What if it breaks? Then I'd have to shoot an AR or AK like everybody else."

5) COP 357

As big as a Glock 26 or Kahr MP-9, but heavier, and will only fire four times. Maybe. Spotty QC. A trigger pull that requires two grown men, a small boy, a mule, and a chainfall. But it has Science Fiction written all over it.

So there's my five. Feel free to play along!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sometimes it's almost too easy...

Unc says:
Ruger is dropping a hint at their site about redefining a platform. So, what gun design will they mimic next? I’m guessing an AR. But it could be a 1911.
I reply:
Judging from the fact that two of their nine sidebar buttons are related to product recalls, maybe the platform they’re going to redefine is the UPS Call Tag.

Modern manners.

The last gun store at which I found 9mm FMJ ammunition in stock (Premier Arms) had three boxes of S&B left on the shelf. I very deliberately and self-consciously only bought two of them, despite being completely out of 9mm ball at home, because bogarting all the ammo is rapidly becoming the newest social faux pas amongst the shooty set.

No joy in Motown.

So now that everybody's had a chance to look through Chrysler's filing cabinets, it's apparent that the Jerries took everything that wasn't nailed down and what's left is hardly worth saving. Meanwhile, General Motors is announcing a joint venture with Frito-Lay: GM stock certificates will be the new secret surprise in boxes of Cracker Jack.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record... can't buy BACK something that you never owned in the first place.

The tone of the article is so supine, so docilely toothless, that it leaves one in slack-jawed amazement that someone so obviously ovine could operate a keyboard with their little cloven hooves.
"When we do this again, we want to make sure we raise more money," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at a Parker Center news conference, where the weapons were displayed on tables, blankets and anywhere police could pile them.

"Look at this," Villaraigosa said as he pointed at the stock of a rifle. "It has an NRA sticker on it."
...and then he said "Boo!" and the audience shivered on cue.

Ooh! An NRA sticker right on the gun!

What in the hell is that supposed to mean, Mr. Villaraigosa? What significance does that have in your dim little mind?

(H/T to Unc.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Merry, Merry Month of May Indy Blogmeet!

The Best BBQ I've sampled north of the Mason-Dixon is the objective for this month's blogmeet (and delicious salmon for those who don't do the swine, although I have to say that Locally Grown Gardens' smoked pulled pork would make a rabbi kick a hole in a stained glass window...)

Obligatory Religious Food Joke:

Back in the days of mandatory meatless Fridays for Catholics, a Protestant moved into a largely Catholic neighborhood. His first Friday there, he drove the neighbors around the bend by throwing some ribeyes on the grill, their scent wafting about and tantalizing people dining on fish filets.

The next Friday, same thing.

On the third Friday, a delegation of neighborhood elders showed up on his doorstep and convinced him to renounce his Protestant ways. Water was sprinkled. "You were born a Protestant, you were raised a Protestant, and now you're a Catholic."

On the fourth Friday, just as everybody settled down to their dinner of whitefish and fries, the scent of seared beef floated over the neighborhood. Outraged, the leading lights of the village ran down to the new guy's house and peered over his fence to see him sprinkling water on a huge slab of beef, intoning "You were born a steer, you were raised a steer, and now you're a fish."

Try to remember not to forget... tune in to Gun Nuts:TNG tonight, where all the cool kids who are going to the 2A Blog Bash will gloat and talk about how they'll snicker about us uncool kids (our host, Caleb, will be tonight's sad panda) at the post-shoot pool party, with its open bar and cabana boys dispensing trays of free ammunition and wheelbarrows of cash...


SayUncle saw a charming sign at the bank yesterday: "Please remove sunglasses, hoods and hats before entering. Thank you. BankEast."

They forgot ski masks and bandannas.

Anyhow, the obviously desktop-printed sign was taped next to a non-TCA § 39-17-1359-compliant sticker that requests goblins leave their gats and heaters in their vehicles along with their Ray-Bans and ball caps.

Why didn't they just staple a sprig of wolfsbane and a few cloves of garlic over the doorway while they were at it?

All Linky, No Thinky:

A blog by a guy who has already survived when the SHTF.

Grant Cunningham's blog turns three; he links to some of his best stuff in a retrospective post.

Tango Down mags in stock here. I'm still waiting to read Pat Rogers' eval; he's apparently giving a bunch of them a year-long thrashing in a pretty tough lab.

Whoah, look at the time!

Sorry I'm late, kids. I got all bogged down in the comments section of this post. It is just brim-lippin' full of an amazing cross-section of aberrant humanity: nazis and trotskyites and plain vanilla tin foil beanie wearers, oh my!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Many small businesses are shovel-ready...

...according to this cheery Newsweek piece.

Meanwhile, because the government funding fire hose hasn't quite yet bloated college tuitions to the point where they are completely unaffordable without financial assistance, Barack would like to open the spigot wider to help turn even more unemployed wrench-turners and paper-shufflers into unemployed BA's.

Outdoor adventures.

There are people who get their outdoor adventures by wearing cross-trainers while jogging in the local park, and then there are those who hie off to the arse-ends of the Earth while still in their teens to learn ancient arts from those who still practice them in the ancient ways.

The former is easier, but the latter is way, way cooler.

Conan called, he wants his legal code back...

(CNN) -- Husbands are allowed to slap their wives if they spend lavishly, a Saudi judge said recently during a seminar on domestic violence, Saudi media reported Sunday.
The decision was completely bereft of anything like give-and-take, too. For instance, the judge did not continue with "...and wives may kick their husbands savagely in the junk if they leave the toilet seat up after dark."

That whole corner of the world is like a Renaissance Festival gone amok; one where the participants don't take off their medieval garb and come back to the 21st Century at the end of the day, because it's never Miller Time in a country where booze is illegal and most anything fun can result in having various bits chopped off in a court of law.

Your Monday morning Non Sequitur...

...can be found here.

Personally, I will never again look at clowns or Slurpees quite the same.

Shooty stuff...

A side effect of the current ammo situation is that my guns in oddball calibers are going to get more of a workout. I brought my Smith 544 to the range yesterday to use up an opened bag of .44-40 I found in the attic. It means I'm down to only 100-150 rounds of .44 WCF in the house now, but in the oddball calibers, I'm generally happy if I have one box on hand.

All those years of Glocks and SIGs and Berettas in .40 cal mean that I have several hundred rounds of odds & sods in .40 S&W ammo. I guess I should take that as a signal to drag my lone .40 to the range and burn it up. Especially since I don't currently have a loaded round of 9mm FMJ to my name. 9mm JHP? Oh, I've got half an ammo can full of that, but I feel bad shooting my bowling pin ammo at paper.

I have probably half a case or more of .32 S&W Long, which is a clear sign that my Model 31-1 needs to come to the range more.

Incidentally, Shootin' Buddy discovered this old Remington "Mohawk" stuff for sale in scenic Lafayette. The dealer swears up and down he just got several cases of it from RSR. I have no earthly idea where RSR would have turned up .22 ammo that was at least 30 years old, but there you go. I was in for a thousand rounds. It seems to work fine. Besides, it will feel appropos to shoot antique .22 ammo in my K-22.

Incidentally, while the Mohawk worked fine, a more recent batch of Remington .22 didn't. Shootin' Buddy buys Remington blue label target stuff to shoot in his suppressed Mk II. I wish I'd thought to scribble down the lot number of the stuff he was using yesterday, because the brass was brittle and not up to par. He had several hard primers and multiple split cases, some of them rather dramatically split...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

No blog for you. You come back later.

Off to go shooting. Back later.

(Actually, I would be gone already, but Shootin' Buddy was delayed on account of one of those notorious hoofed rats, the unfortunately unendangered Odocoileus virginianus kamikazus. He's okay, his vehicle less so, and Bambi came in a distant third. That's the one thing I worry about in the Zed Three; tag even a moderately-sized whitetail dead amidships and I'm going to have a lapful of unprocessed venison...)

Saturday, May 09, 2009

I could never be a narco-terrorist...

...because I am obviously not anywhere near tacky enough.

The blinged-out AK is the most mind boggling... Imagine putting plush Wilton carpets, hand-stitched leather upholstery, maple burl dash panels, and a flying lady hood ornament on a Toyota Tercel. You'd have a Cadillac Cimmaron is what you'd have.

(H/T to Unc.)

A jog around the blog...

Zercool reviews his new AR-type rifle.

Brigid reviews her Ruger 22/45 Mk III.

Action Flick Chick reviews... what else? Action flicks!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Is your garage sale lead-free?

You'd better hope so, citizen.

Jesus wept, first up this morning we had an allegedly-adult Congressperson propose a law banning name-calling on the digital playground under the penalty of being made to stand in the corner for two-to-five, now I read that they can fine me if I don't pay for gas chromatography tests on the Playskool toys in my garage sale.

Y'know, if I wanted to live in California, I would have moved there.

Dear Rep. Sanchez,

I hope this post makes you cry.


PS: You'll never take me alive, coppers!

(H/T to Billy Beck, via The Irritable Architect.)

Psssst! Wanna buy a zombie?

Too late, you just did. For $7,200,000,000.

In showrooms for '10: The new Chrysler Glorious People's Long March!

Hey, I can see the StG-44 from up here...

In case you didn't think that military small-arms development had kinda plateaued, please note that after €4,000,000 and 70,000 man-hours of development, the engineers at Beretta have turned out... ...a switch-barrel gas-operated poodleshooter with a rail farm, just like everybody else.

These days it seems to take tons of effort for what are really very small returns in modularity or MTBF. I think from here on out it's just going to be juggling minutiae until the next great leap forward.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

I am but an egg.

My fantasy boyfriend was apparently in fine fettle in Sydney the other night:
America has wound up with a charming leftist as a president. And this scares me. This scares me not because I hate leftists. I don't. I have many charming leftist friends. They're lovely people — as long as they keep their nose out of things they don't understand. Such as making a living.

When charming leftists stick their nose into things they don't understand they become ratchet-jawed purveyors of monkey-doodle and baked wind. They are piddlers upon merit, beggars at the door of accomplishment, thieves of livelihood, envy coddling tax lice applauding themselves for giving away other people's money. They are the lap dogs of the poly sci-class, returning to the vomit of collectivism. They are pig herders tending that sow-who-eats-her-young, the welfare state. They are muck-dwelling bottom-feeders growing fat on the worries and disappointments of the electorate. They are the ditch carp of democracy.

"Envy coddling tax lice..."


(H.T. to G.R. Durand.)

Shocking proof!

Barrett .50BMG semiautomatic machine gun assault rifles spotted in Mexico!

They must have been purchased at gun shows in Texas and Arizona, where these fearsome weapons of mass destruction are totally unregulated.


Get yer official Bredalucion Gear here.

I think it was my dad's fault...

When I was young, I overheard him mention "You can tell the movie was sponsored by Pontiac..." regarding Smokey and the Bandit. When I was old enough to watch it without having my young mind corrupted by a movie about beer smuggling and violating the criminal and traffic codes of five states, I saw what he meant: Not only the famous Trans Am, but all the cop cars, and a surprising percentage of traffic on the roads were Pontiacs.

Ever since then I've always tried to guess which companies are going to get thanked in the credits by the stuff shown on screen. I'm not sure that's how product placement is supposed to work, but there it is...

It ain't Citizen Kane...

Oleg managed to find and photograph the illegitimate love child of Elvis and Wolverine.

Speaking of Wolverine, I went to see the movie last weekend with Shootin' Buddy. As a CGI-driven superhero punch-'em-up, it's not bad. If you are going to judge it by the criteria you'd use to judge normal movies, obviously it's a total flop: "I didn't feel they had enough character development for the flying guy who shoots death rays from his eyeballs." Right, Gene Siskel; Terms of Endearment is showing in the next theater over.

Occasionally you get a genre flick that works as an actual piece of cinema, but I think getting The Dark Knight and Iron Man in theaters so close together has spoiled some people.

Anyway, it probably worked less for me than for some other people because... don't tell anybody... I used to be a huge X-Men geek and totally crushed on Wolverine. I stopped following the books back in '95 or '96, but I know the back story of the comic book character (at least as of 15 years ago; they do a lot of retconning in comicsland), which is different from the movie. It was like watching The Ten Commandments and having Pharaoh lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt in dune buggies with a colander strapped to his face. Sure, it looks cool on the big screen, but that's not how the story goes in the book. Halfway in I was saying "But he was in the Canadian military! Where's the Lotus Seven? Logan drove a Lotus Seven!"

Although, when you think about it, the movie Logan's El Camino is an eminently more sensible vehicle for the setting; how many Lotus dealers are there in the Canadian Rockies?

In order to keep people happy...

... employees of The Security Company Formerly Known As Blackwater in Baghdad will now be working for Triple Canopy. This apparently appeases the simplistic.

I think I'll wear my Blackwater hat to the organic iced tofu joint in Broad Ripple today and see if anybody notices.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Oh. Em. Gee.

This is the funniest thing I've seen on the intertubes in weeks.

It's an absolutely brilliant parody of the antigun position. (I was a little disappointed at the lack of an ND that blew away his Trinitron. If you put a gun over the mantelpiece, kid, you're supposed to use it.)

(H/T again to Kahr40.)

This gun would be a steal... over two grand. The asking price is a mugging, but sometimes a dry noggin is more important than a bitchin' 1911.

I'm still kinda bummed that I never ponied up for a CCA 1911 (the project was only just nearing fruition when I split), but I'll have to take my Springer Pro as a consolation prize...

...and I want a pony.

I'd just like a little less transparent hypocrisy from the left.
Why not ask for a gold house and a rocket car while you're at it? ;)

The hills are alive with the sound of... crickets.

So, you heard all over the national news about the rape/robbery massacre that was thwarted by the college student with a gun, right?



I guess you only get to hear about it when the bad guys win. Makes you wonder just who the newsies were cheering for when they played cops-and-robbers as kids...

(H/T to Kahr40.)

A different, noisier kind of blogmeet...

Caleb and Robb are gauging interest in a sort of "Gunblogger Invitational Shootoff". Everything's still in a real nebulous stage right now (and by "everything", I mean date, format, and even location.)

If you have input, now would be the time to offer it...

Blogmeet date...

Votes are being cast for May's blogmeet. So far the 17th is winning by default, but the concrete hasn't set yet.

This just in from the Ministry of Irony:

At the tail end of a liberally "I mean"- and "y'know"-peppered interview about such weighty topics as Miss California and Donald Trump, Joy Behar proves that irony is not her forte:
Behar: Because every time [Sarah Palin] is in an interview, she shows herself to be very, very shallow -- you know, as they say, stunningly superficial on another network.
If that's not the pot calling the Teflon frying pan black...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Another senseless gun-related injury...

Despite a visit from Murphy, Joe Huffman cowboys up and smokes the stage anyway.

Follow the money...

Once again comes the brouhaha over "taxing corporations" to make them pay their "fair share"; a debate that is always revealing in that it displays some fundamental ignorance of just where those "corporate taxes" come from. Every dollar that, say, Coca-Cola or Intel pays to the government comes directly out of your pocket. As I mentioned in comments here:
The only entity that can pay taxes, ultimately, is the individual consumer. "Corporate Taxes" are a myth. If the government wants to raise a million dollars to buy diapers for needy babies, and charges the Great Big Diaper Co. a $1,000,000 tax for the purpose, then Great Big Diaper Co. is going to have to lay off $500,000 worth of employees and raise diaper prices by $500,000. (Unlike the government, GBDC can't just print money.)

Now you have more needy babies and diapers are more expensive. Good job, government!
It really is as simple as that, folks. "Corporate taxes" are, in the long run, just regressive taxes that don't hurt progressives at the ballot box because the electorate is collectively about as smart as a colony of clams.

Proof that we are fundamentally unserious.

Would Ernie Pyle have interviewed Rommel at a secret, undisclosed location?

Hey, Mr. Obama; if you waterboard Nic Robertson, he could give you the address of a Taliban safehouse...

They may work at Best Buy, but they live in Gondor!

TJIC and David Friedman touch on the phenomenon of the social maladroit who really only blossoms within the greenhouse of their hobby. Speaking as someone who has always had a foot in the nerd camp herself and who has experienced the phenomenon from a first-person perspective, I completely... er, "grok" what they are saying.

Myself, I've been happy to turn my nerd gene to things firearm-related, but in the grand scheme of recognized social success in this society, using your knowledge of firearms to get a gig running a gun store is right up there with using the fact that you've memorized every plot twist from the X-Men to get you a job at the comic book store; neither one is likely to finance that vacation condo in Destin.

I think what Friedman's post overlooks is the old saw about the one-eyed man being king in the country of the blind. In the milieu of World of Warcraft or the local SCA joust or NerdCon '09, the person who is too timid to ask their boss for a raise is suddenly transformed into Thog the Troll or Ensign Danielle of the USS Excalibur; surrounded by like-minded people, they feel free to utilize talents which they are too socially-inhibited to use in the real world.

Hence the phenomenon of the convention organizer or chapter president or whatever who in real life does a job that demands none of that organizational skill or passion. You see it in every hobby, really, from book clubs to military reenacting to stamp collecting. In a subgroup where social status is derived from a different coin, then different people are going to be "rich", as it were, and it's unsurprising that it doesn't translate back in the real world when the wooden swords get put away or the Spock ears come off.

Monday, May 04, 2009

It's a weakness...

I don't know what my fascination is with the .32-20 (aka ".32 WCF"). It's not a particularly useful round, but it sure is neat; I confess to taking out my .32-20 Hand Ejector just to look at more often then is probably normal. I sometimes dream of finding a Marlin or Winchester levergun of a respectable prewar vintage to serve as a companion piece.

I got the vapors at Premier Arms pretty badly today when they had not one, but two old .32-20 wheelguns in the showcase: A Colt's 1878 "Frontier" and an old Peacemaker. I thought about asking if they'd take my car in trade for the pair, but it was a long walk home.

Notes to Self:

Note to self #1: For an awesome snack, clean and gut a couple of jalapeno peppers, stuff the halves with heaping spoonfuls of feta cheese, toss in the oven at 350ish for twenty minutes or so, and enjoy the yumminess.

Note to self #2: After enjoying feta-stuffed jalapenos, wash hands really, really thoroughly before rubbing itch in corner of eye. Especially while driving.

Pushing them into the gulch.

Barry is expected to announce today his administration's plan to create dozens of new citizens of the Principality of Monaco, as well as a corporate office building stimulus package for the Cayman Islands.
The Obama administration plans to raise $103.1 billion by removing tax advantages for investing overseas and will use that money to help make a tax credit permanent, the officials said.
Ah, Chicago politics writ large: Punish your foes and reward your supporters.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Notes from Gander Mountain...

1) .45GAP shooters are probably laughing behind their hands at people who mocked the caliber for being uncommon. It's a lot more common than .45ACP at big box stores right now. I briefly considered buying a couple boxes to shoot through my 625, but changed my mind...

2) .22LR availability seems to be a little better. I bought the last carton of Remington Golden Bullets to replace what I shot up today, but they had a fair amount of bricks of Federal Spitfire, as well as mid-price CCI and Remchester in the 50- and 100-rd packages.

3) There was plenty of .40 S&W.

4) .38 S&W, and .32 S&W Long are plentiful, and suddenly don't look so expensive relative to regular autopistol ammunition.

You gotta wonder how he remembers to breathe.

“I love everything he’s done and everything he’s doing,” Bennett said of Obama. “I think we should give him all-out support for anything he wants to do. We should all help. He’s giving our country back to us, and that’s the laws of the land – the citizens own the country.”
The utter vacuousness of those words does have one positive effect for Mr. Bennett: It makes him almost impossible for me to lampoon. Nothing you could put in his mouth would damn what passes for his intellect as much as his own utterances.

"Anything he wants to do"? Such trust! Such devotion! Such servility! Such throat-baring docility! Unglaublich!

(H/T to Liberty Girl)


So, as everybody on the internets has already told you, the US is going to fragment in a titanic cataclysm in six months and twenty-seven days. The various little regions are going to fall into orbit around those mighty foreign powers to which they feel the closest affinity, and that means that Indiana is apparently going to become part of Canada, eh? (Obviously the Russian prof who authored this theory teaches American Studies at Draw Tippy Turtle U.)

Anyhow, I for one do not welcome our new Canadian overlords, and I would like to offer my comrades in the no-doubt-soon-to-blossom Hoosier resistance a handy field guide to identifying our invaders:

1) The first major difference between the Canadian and you and I is that the Canadian has two stomachs and a gizzard. If you suspect someone of Canadianness, you should get your pocket knife out and attempt to ascertain how many stomachs they have. Your basic Canadian, afraid of discovery, will flinch back from the knife at their tummy. A patriotic American wouldn't be a'skeered to let you count their innards, since they have nothing to hide.

2) If there is still some doubt, ask the suspected invader "What shape is bacon?" If they reply "Round, eh?" then you've got yourself a Canadian.

We'll cover what to do when you've uncovered the invader in our next briefing. Until then, Viva La Resistance!

zomg cute!

And who doesn't love the slow loris?

Saturday, May 02, 2009

If it was an art school, the robot would not be wearing pants.

From the fact that nobody is paying the slightest bit of attention to a disembodied pair of robotic legs aimlessly pushing around a shopping cart while actively on fire, I'm going to guess that this video is from an engineering school.

News Flash: HuffPo readers have difficulty with News Flashes.

When President Narcissus asked for more free air at prime time recently, apparently so he could add to his home Blu-Ray collection of "Me On TV!", allegedly FOX initially declined.
Fox became the first broadcast network to turn down a request by President Barack Obama for time, opting to show its drama "Lie to Me" on Wednesday instead of the president's prime-time news conference.

Fox will direct viewers interested in the news conference to Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network, which will both carry it.
Okay, did all you brilliant VFTP readers catch that? FOX (the entertainment station that doesn't even show news programs, the one with Bart Simpson,) will not be airing the President's speech. They would direct viewers to FOX News, bugbear of the NPR set, who would be carrying it.

You got that, right? It was pretty obvious, no? It's not in Swahili or in invisible ink or some micro-tiny type face?

Let's go to our first HuffPo commenter, then...
I bet Fox News would interrupt Lie For Me if a high-speed car chase was taking place.
Okay, obviously some comprehension issues, there. Maybe he's a fluke...
Lie to me.... very funny! That's all Fox does!!! That should be the network's tagline. Lie to me! The show will be canceled long before 8 years and Obama will still be going strong. Fox news fair and balanced? One has to wonder if the entire network is becoming so unbalanced as to declare itself mentally unstable. CENSORING Obama's press conference is just one more lame attempt by Fox to control the message.
But... but... FOX News carried the press conference! Didn't you read the.. Oh, wait; of course you didn't. You heard the "FOX" bell ring and skipped to the end to drool some "BUSHITLER" into the comments section. Christ on a pogo stick, you are as dumb as a stump and as predictable as a sunrise.
Just in FOX news doesn't have a news division! "Unlike ABC, CBS and NBC, Fox does not have its own news division to analyze the event." Ahh correction Fox cannot analyze any event although there are really ANAL............We report you decide, NO that's not it, stranger than fiction,NO that's not it either. Out of balance like a bent rim yeah that's the one! Fox ran the show "Lie to me" this is the new GOP slogan. Ok GOP, all you had to do was ask from now on that's what you'll get.
You do realize that FOX is the one with American Idol and 24, and FOX News is the one with Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, right? And that they are not the same channel? No, you obviously don't, because you are dumber than an acre of fungus.

You know what the worst thing is about the internet? It gives you concrete proof that your fellow citizens are as ignorant as you've secretly suspected they were all along...

Friday, May 01, 2009


Now you can use your iPhone to help put the panic in pandemic!
Calling all iPhone owners anxious about the spread of swine flu: A potential app, the Swine Flu Tracker, may be on the way.

The Swine Flu Tracker, still pending approval from Apple, would be free.
That's good, because you'd feel like a real rube a few months down the road if you'd actually paid money for it. This whole thing's likely to amount to nothing, and if it is zomg-it's-Captain-Trips!, then your iPhone is about as useful as a kickstand on a tank.

By the way, has anybody been keeping an eye on the Politico-Media complex's left hand while they've been waving this Swine Flu hysteria around with their right? 150 dead people in a foreign country wouldn't normally even nudge a B-List celebrity wedding off the front page, so I figure they're trying to distract me from something, I just can't figure out what.

Remain seated, please.

At the range last weekend I was shooting just a couple lanes over from a gunwriter who had a few T&E handguns out for play. During a break in my shooting, he set one of the handguns in front of me, a menacing black S&W 310 Night Guard, along with two full moonclips of 10mm JHP ammunition.

I don't know the back story on the individual revolver; the double-action trigger on the gun was as nice as any non-Performance Center factory S&W I've fired in the last several years. Other than that, it was your typical “Night Guard” N-frame: a blacked-out alloy-framed steel-cylindered snubby with a Cylinder & Slide “Extreme Duty” rear sight and a tritium dot up front.

I also don't know the back story on the ammunition; it was JHP, with one moon clip in brass with a Black Hills head stamp and the other with a Starline, if I remember correctly. What I do remember about it is that the recoil was zippy enough to get me thinking about another S&W I used to own...

Back a few years ago, S&W was blowing out their “325PD” model revolvers, an N-frame snubby in .45ACP with an alloy frame and a titanium cylinder. I bought one, and (given the good pricing) had no trouble selling a few in the store. Now, this was in the salad days of pre-Katrina ammo prices, and on top of that, I was sitting on a few cases worth of premium Remington Golden Saber JHP that I'd gotten for just stupid cheap, and that was all I ever shot through mine while I played with it.

A couple customers had very different experiences with theirs, though. Auto calibers are taper-crimped rather than roll-crimped, and most bulk auto pistol ammunition isn't crimped very aggressively, as anybody who's ever chambered a round of WWB/UMC/American Eagle 230gr .45 or 180gr .40 FMJ more than once or twice and seen it set back into the case can tell you.

Specifically, with any kind of budget .45 ball, the flyweight N-frame would turn into a kinetic bullet puller, causing bullets to "jump crimp", or become unseated, far enough to tie up the gun only three or four rounds into a cylinder.

Now, I'm not notably recoil-averse, but the sharpness of the recoil impulse on the 310 was noticeably different enough from the .44 Special 296Ti I carry to make me wonder about how well inexpensive 180gr 10mm ball will stay seated.

(On the other hand, the C&S Extreme Duty sights were the berries. I'll be getting them for my own 3” 610 in the near future...)

Quote of the Day, Part Two:

IMO, one of the things wrong with the high price of health care is the overhead involved; an awful lot of that appears to be CYA and direct costs involved in malpractice insurance, thanks in part to a quirk of our legal system that turns physicians, hospitals and related businesses into a sort of low-risk pinata filled with money.
"Low-risk pinata..." I LOL'ed. Go read the whole thing...

How do I get to Carnegie Hall?

Having taken the time to acquire a 2" J-frame and a 4" K-frame in .22, as well as a conversion kit for 1911's, I'm now looking at getting a setup for my AR-15.

.22 is not only a lot cheaper than centerfire ammo, it also allows a long gun like an AR to be fired on indoor ranges and at other caliber-restricted venues.

Having the .22LR understudies allows me to get in a ton more trigger time than I would if I was limited to their full-bore counterparts.

Michael Bane has some interesting thoughts on rimfire practice. Definitely worth the read...

Quote of the Day:

[Since the] US GOV owns Chrysler and GM in partnership with the autoworkers' unions, does that mean we face the prospect of being exhorted to "Buy Un-American"?
Also, it seems that CEO Nardelli will be sent home without his supper. Meanwhile, the public seems to be speaking, but nobody in Washington is listening...

Random Boomstickery.

Hecate takes a class.

Awww, who's the sad clown?

Frank W. James on .40S&W reloading.

"We're sorry..."

CNN — The White House apologized Thursday "if anybody was unduly alarmed" by Vice President Joe Biden's comments that seemed to suggest Americans should avoid air travel or confined spaces of any kind.
They went on to say that a new Office of Apologizing For Biden Gaffes, complete with a cabinet-level Secretary of Apologizing, was being formed, and that under new Executive Branch policies, it would be a lean, efficient office, costing no more than $750M over the next four years to operate.

While no official announcement of who the appointee for Secretary of Apologizing will be has been made, Washington insiders say Arianna Huffington has the job in a headlock.