Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Quote of the Day:

Jim at the Travis McGee Reader on the Honduran contretemps:
If I had a serious bitch about this comic opera it would be against -- you guessed it -- wire services which kept leading their stories with soldiers ousting "the democratically elected president."

Gamerz v. Warriorz, Round MCMLXIX...

...or, as Uncle would say, "Can't we all just get a long gun?"

The discussion continues in comments here and at Caleb's. For whatever reason, it has reminded me of the following quote from Jim Cirillo's book, Guns, Bullets, And Gunfights: Lessons And Tales From A Modern-Day Gunfighter:
1. Are you a competitive shooter?
2. Have you competed in major matches and won awards?
3. Can you perform well under pressure or fear?
4. Are you a hunter? Have you shot big game?
5. Do you like outdoor physical sports?
6. Do you collect firearms? Do you reload ammo?
7. If you are over 28, are you married? Do you have children?
8. Do you like people? Do you attend civic affairs?

If you can answer “yes” to at least seven of these questions, you can make it. If you make all twelve, you will likely walk away from almost any armed confrontation.

Remember one important fact: even if you do fit the above profile in all aspects, you still must be able to train at least two hours per week, with someone else administering unknown judgment firearms courses under time limits and psychological pressure.

-Jim Cirillo; Guns, Bullets, and Gunfights, pp. 59-60.

Another word stolen...

The word "denier", coined just last week, has been boosted by the same shoplifters that purloined "fascist".

Atom Smasher, of the blog "Men Are Not Potatoes", responds:
I've committed treason against the planet, because I'm one o' them there "deniers". Now, I'd love to sit down with Paul (may I call him Paul?), hand him a fine beverage and a cigar, and explore the concept of applying the label "denial" to the process of simply not acknowledging things that aren't there. For instance am I a 'Salma Hayek in my bedroom' denier because there's no evidence that Ms. Hayek's ever been in there before and so I'm quite comfortable with assuming she's still not?
I don't care who you are, that's funny right there.

Bambi shortage?

SurvivalBlog often pokes annoying holes in the plans of people who envision a new career with a colander strapped to their face in some post-zombocalypse world.

One subset of that crowd seems to think that they're going to grab their L.L. Bean backpack and Tikka .308 and head for the hills (or at least out past the 18th fairway) and play Liver-Eating Johnson, thriving on venison that they'll skillfully stalk across the putting greens and through the topiaries.

Of course, anybody who hunts much will tell you that, even here back east where the things are like hoofed rats, the deer herd wouldn't sustain being hunted like that very long, and apparently there are areas of the country where they aren't like hoofed rats:
I've heard from consulting clients in California' Coast Range that deer harvest have dropped to pitifully low numbers in the past five years, because of the depredations of Mountain Lions. (Which have been elevated to protected species status in the People's Paradise of California.) The chances of filling just one deer tag, they say, are now slim except for anyone that has the time to willing to "hunt hard" throughout California's short deer season. So, I ask: If this has happened when there were just a few thousand excess mountain lions, then what will happen when there are an extra 5-to-10 million deer hunters wandering around California, shooting at anything that moves? (The California deer population has already dropped from more than one million to an estimated 485,000. That is not a lot of deer to go around, WTSHTF. And what will happen to the freshwater fishing stocks, when there are hundreds of thousands of set lines being worked, year round?
Good news for your front bumper; bad news for the Lord Humungus. Perhaps he'd be better off planting a garden on the putting green.

I mite have a problem...

It looks like I'll be bicycling to Kroger this morning to pick up some calamine lotion or somesuch. My ankles were itching around the boot line all day yesterday but I didn't think much of it; maybe skeeter bites in a weird place.

Nope. I pulled off the boots and socks last night to see the unhappy little round red welts of chigger bites, and the couple of spots at my belt line confirmed it. Must've picked the little buggers up at the range on Sunday.

Do you smell that?

It smells like pork in here...

Audio bleg:

So, the head unit in the Bimmer is an AM/FM cassette deck. The car was built in '98, when in-dash GPS units were still a novelty and iPods weren't invented yet. What's the best way to get music from my iPod into my car speakers?

I've seen gizmos that broadcast and gizmos that jack in through a dummy cassette. They range from $9.99 flimsy-looking junk to an $89.99 gooseneck cradle that mounts in the cigarette lighter and has as many buttons and blinking lights as anything Jack Bauer's ever defused.

Halp me, lazyweb! What should I do?

Monday, June 29, 2009

More humor from the BBC...

A Chinese firm's bid to buy the gas-guzzling Hummer car brand will be blocked on environmental grounds, according to Chinese state radio...

...China National Radio said Hummer is at odds with the country's planning agency's attempts to decrease pollution from Chinese manufacturers.
Did you hear about China's bold new environmental program? They're calling for a 30% reduction in PCB's in baby formula by 2011.

(H/T to SurvivalBlog.)

Kids these days...

It's an axiom among some folks that if you can't figure out an electronic gizmo, you should hand it to the nearest 13-year-old.

Of course, if the electronic gizmo in question is a portable cassette player and the 13-year-old in question is a kid in Scotland so dense that he practically has an event horizon, then this plan may not work. There he is in the picture, forehead beaded with flop sweat like Dick Nixon lying to reporters, trying to puzzle out the buttons on the device, despite the fact that they are emblazoned with the very same hieroglyphs for "stop", "play", "eject", "fast forward" and so forth as every other electronic media player in his house.

There exists the possiblity, of course, that he was playing it for yuks and I'm just a mean and reactionary old biddy. I mean, I was actually listening to a cassette in the car today. You know, just for some retro kicks. Anyhow, it's good to know that the last laugh will be on him...
You can almost imagine the excitement about the Walkman coming out 30 years ago, as it was the newest piece of technology at the time.

Perhaps that kind of anticipation and excitement has been somewhat lost in the flood of new products which now hit our shelves on a regular basis.

Personally, I'm relieved I live in the digital age, with bigger choice, more functions and smaller devices. I'm relieved that the majority of technological advancement happened before I was born, as I can't imagine having to use such basic equipment every day.
Yeah, junior, in 2039 you'll be hearing "Can you believe dad actually had to stick speakers in his ear and store audio files on a chip in his pocket rather than just having them beamed to his audio implant?" Feel cutting edge while you can, 'cause the future just keeps coming...


So, I'm trying to broaden my historical horizons. Let's take Europe in the middle of the last century as a "for instance": I could write up a half-decent off-the cuff outline of the European theater of World War Two, but my knowledge of the Spanish Civil War was limited to something along the lines of...
"Franco crosses from Africa. Nazis back Franco. Commies infiltrate the Republicans. Joe and Adolf fight it like a proxy war in a petri dish. Republican International Volunteer Brigades act as sort of a global idiot magnet. Orwell goes and gets disillusioned. Hemingway goes and stays drunk. Nazis bomb the crap out of Guernica. Picasso paints it. Fascists win. Commies lose."
...which, you must admit, is short on nuanced detail.

So I'm trying to remedy that lack by reading Comrades And Commissars: The Lincoln Battalion in the Spanish Civil War. It's a fascinating book, and it's taking all my efforts to be productive and not just fall back into it. Right now the American volunteers are bogged down on the Jarama front, still trying to elect their officers and form a machine-gunner's union so they can file grievances with high command; their brigade commander, a crazy thug of a Yugoslav colonel, thinks everybody is a coward; and there's a paranoid Frog who's tight with the comintern and wants to hang everybody for Fascist spies, or at least Trotskyism. Oh, and Ernest Hemingway is drunk in Madrid.

What's not to love about a tale like that?

It's pronounced "Heinous".

Once you're standing in line at the hardware store to buy the Quikrete, you've pretty much blown your shot at manslaughter.

The TeeWee announcer said the accused perps could be facing "65 years in prison".

Me: "I thought Indiana was a death penalty state?"

Roomie: "It is."

Me: "Well, what do you have to do to warrant it if beating a toddler to death won't do the trick?"

Massacre in Smallville.

In gun-free Chicago, six people were shot dead in the space of 24 hours.

Meanwhile, in Lafayette, Indiana, the perpetrator of the Great Massacree of 2008 was finally brought to justice.

Also in Lafayette, two people carrying loaded pistols ate lunch this weekend in a place that served alcoholic beverages. Then they paid their bill and left. Nothing much exciting happened, other than the fact that the restaurant ran low on stuffed mushrooms.

Breaking News:

Official Iranian government sources are claiming a man on the grassy knoll shot Neda Agha-Soltan, as they continue to suppress th... wait... wait...

This just in: Michael Jackson is still dead.

If it's just a game, why keep score?

"Warriorz" v. "Gamerz" has been done to death here already, but it's a perennial favorite piece of fat to chew on the gunternet:

Hardcore gamer Caleb plays defense here.

Texas Five-Oh MattG goes to yet another match here.

I blunted my skillz at bowling pins this weekend.

For the first time, I felt pretty good about my performance. Oh, I was still in no danger of winning anything, but for once I felt I shot better than "mid pack". I had a couple of really good runs, beating shooters I considered to be much better than me. This is always a possibility, since an element of luck is involved in head-to-head pin shooting; a bullet meeting a pin is a chaotic event, and sometimes the pin doesn't do what you expect it to. Kinda like real life, you have to react on the fly.

Also for the first time, I cleared two tables without needing to reload. Since we're shooting at five pins with a seven round limit in the gun, there's not much margin for error if you don't want to work on your reloading drills, especially when shooting a "minor caliber" pistol (ie, .38 Spl or 9x19.) Even with the pins set a foot further back and me using standard-pressure 147gr hollow points, I needed to hit the pin just right to ensure that I wouldn't have to come back to shoot a "wounded" pin off the table.

The run that made me happiest, however, was the one where my Para LTC puked on the third shot. The slide failed to go into battery, so I slapped the baseplate and ran the slide and... still bupkis. Flustered and under pressure from the metronome-like shooting coming from the other guy, I yanked the mag from the gun and stuffed a fresh one in its place and the world shrank to the front sight as the pins started flying from my table like magic; it was like watching my shooting in the third person. I was afraid to think about what I was doing lest I jinx myself, and as the last pin dropped, I looked up from the sights and scanned and realized that my opponent still had pins on his table. "Nice recovery!" said someone behind me. I was walking on air.

Of course I got totally skunked the next round, but that just means I need to come back next month and do better.

One thing I did notice is that some people approached the shooting differently from others; some kept spare mags on their belt in CCW-appropriate pouches and others just set them on the barrel in front of them. When guns malfed or went dry, some folks just dropped completely out of the action and others kept their head in the fight and got the gun running again as fast as they could. I try to emulate the ones that handled the gun the same way all the time; like kata. That easy unconscious competence is what I'm seeking and consistency and repetition is where that comes from.

As a couple of side notes, I found out that my Para LTC does not like Winchester Q4217 147gr JHP's. I don't know what it is about their geometry that makes them want to nosedive into the feed ramp, but they just don't like to feed if they're near the top of a full mag. The gun malfed more yesterday than it had in all the time I've had it up 'til now. And I'd just cleaned it for the first time in umpty-hundred rounds, too. (Who was it who said "Never shoot a match with a clean gun"? Ross Seyfried?)

Also, like most matches and most gun clubs, this one runs off a cold range. Yes, I understand all the arguments about insurance and varying skill levels and yadda yadda blablabla, but I am of a firm conviction that more unexpected loud noises have been caused by excessive administrative fiddle-farting around with guns to show that they're "safe" than have ever been caused by people wandering about with loaded guns safely holstered.

Anyhow, I'll be back next month, of course; I'm good and hooked now.

It could have been worse.

Thankfully I just clipped a buzzard rather than centerpunching the bejeezus out of Bambi at warp factor six.

(H/T to Stingray.)

Toter's Permits In Indiana.

In the previous post, others have wondered if the arrestee in question actually had an Indiana "CCW permit" (actually called a "license to carry handgun" in this state.)

I don't know if he did or didn't, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if he did, and the reason is the kooky pistol laws in this state. Indiana doesn't require any special licensing or whatnot to buy and own a handgun. However there's damned little you can legally do with that handgun unless you get a "pink card".

A "pink card" is easy to get: Take your non-criminal self to the cop shop and fill out a form and get fingerprinted (or fill it out online and just show up for the prints) and then fork over money. How much money you fork over determines how cool your pink card is: $5 gets you a "target/hunting" card, $30 for "personal protection", and $75 for "lifetime personal protection".

Given that it costs five bucks for a chit that lets you put your cased and unloaded pistol in the trunk and go to the range, and 25 bucks more for permission to go strapped pretty much anywhere, it is perhaps understandable that Indiana has an unusually high percentage of toter's permit holders.

Now, if you had sat through some eight hour course where some retired reserve deppity with an NRA instructor's certificate had told you lies about handguns, like "Load the first two chambers with snakeshot; that'll scare 'em off!" and then signed off on your shooting prowess after you'd successfully put four rounds out of five into the side of a barn, then maybe getting a toter's permit would have been a solemn enough event that you wouldn't inadvertently try to pack your gat into the Windy City, but we don't have that rite of passage here in Hoosierland (we also don't have special First Amendment training courses before being allowed to speak freely or go to church.)

Anyhow, bottom line: If you have an Indiana toter's chit, remember that it is no good in 50% of adjoining states, and it is doubleplus no good in Mordor.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Legal note:

Illinois does not have CCW reciprocity with Indiana. Illinois does not have CCW reciprocity with anybody. Further, the city of Chicago won't let you own a pistol, much less carry one, unless you're a crazy alderman and just want to wave it around at city council meetings. Even thinking about pistols is a crime in Chicago. Your Indiana toter's permit is no good in Mordor.

Running out the clock...

So I have a bunch of stuff to write about the pin match yesterday, but I've got to rush out the door to go meet Shootin' Buddy. We're going to his club, where they have steel plate racks and such.

More shooting is better shooting!

I'll type more when I get home this evening.

The triumph of man's ingenuity knows no bounds.

Someday, alongside names like Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler, Wilbur and Orville Wright, and Robert Goddard, schoolchildren will learn of Giuseppe Cannella, inventor of the jet-powered wheelchair.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dear Congress Critter...

...I'm not going to say something mean like "I hope you burn in hell", but if you'd be kind enough to hold these marshmallows while I volunteer my services (and any loose change I have lying around) to the campaign of whoever feels like running against you in next year's election, I'd rightly appreciate it.

Got that, Andre? I could spare a kind word for Satan himself if he was your opponent in the general election.

Just think, by this time in '11, you'll be a one-term ex-congresscritter looking for honest work. Better start sucking up to them lobbyists, weasel! :)

Gotta rest up...

I'm scheduled to get pwnt at the bowling pin match tomorrow at an hour when every self-respecting bird is still asleep on a Saturday morning...

Note to self...

When dining at a restaurant with table service, attempt to avoid sitting in the area served by the guy with the neck beard.

As anyone who has ever set foot in a comic book shop knows, the amino acids that trigger the trait of "good customer service" and those that give the "ability to grow a good neck beard" bind at the same location on the human genome and are mutually exclusive.

Worst. Service. Evar.

(Related Pet Peeve: If I'm hauling greenbacks out of my pocket as you approach the table to drop the check, and then you meander off leaving me to wave money futilely at your retreating back, don't mumble "I'll take that whenever you're ready," when what you really mean is "I'll take that whenever I'm ready.")

Cosmic Screwup.

We here at Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, LLP would like to apologize for the error that occurred in our mailroom. It seems that a package intended for one "M. Jackson" was delivered to a "D. Carradine" by mistake. We sincerely hope that this hasn't caused a loss of confidence in the normally excellent service provided by Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, LLP, and we look forward to your continued patronage in the future.

Thank you,

Well, I think they're cool.

The Firearm Blog is pining for a bolt-action rifle that eats out of STANAG mags, and so is Caleb, although Caleb reckons he'd settle for a CZ 527.

The CZ's are fine little carbines. I remember being a little startled the first time I fired one, since the only platforms from which I'd launched 7.62x39 before had been gas-operated eight-plus-pound autochuckers and so the stubby commie round had been mentally filed away with such chamberings as .22LR, .30 Carbine, and .223 under the category "recoilless". The only thing I didn't like about it was that the box magazine protruded right from the balance point of the carbine.

The Enfield that eats out of AK mags is intriguing; I saw one at a Gander Mountain recently; my shopping companion couldn't figure out what I was spazzing out so hard about. In comments at Caleb's post, CJR Multigun reacts simliarly, asking
I guess I don’t understand the attraction of bolt guns, especally bolt guns in Minor caliber.
Well, unlike at a multigun match, in real life most of us are going to spend a lot more time holding a rifle than shooting it. Outside of some zombie apocalypse scenario, where one may have to engage swarms of shamblers, the most likely targets are going to be shy ungulates that travel in twos and threes or stationary paper circles. These can be taken with a bolt action rifle rather handily, and a six-pound boltie with no protruding crap rests in the hands ever so much easier after several hours than a nine-pound slab with grips and magazines protruding at odd angles. Plus, an anvil might be more reliable than a Mauser '98, but that would depend on the make and model of the anvil.

I think the biggest attraction for the 7.62x39 or .223 or .308 carbines, though, is for people who already know and love EBR-style autoloaders; why not have a bambi gun that shares ammo? For instance, back when an HK-91 was my go-to rifle, I used my Spanish FR-8 to shoot up that nasty CAVIM 7.62x51 that cacked up the chamber flutes on my HK with bituminous coal.

So, yeah, I like my autoloading carbines a lot, but there's a place in my heart (and safe) for a manually-operated repeater, too.

Things I just don't get...

If you were Colt, and you were getting Umarex to build you an M4-looking .22 that you knew people were going to want to use as a trainer, why would you let them put a 180* safety on it rather than a 90* one like a real carbine? If you are used to the manual of arms on an AR-type weapon, you have to put this thing into what your thumb says is the Group Therapy setting just to get it to run.

On the other hand, rumor has it that the new S&W deuce-deuce AR trainer actually uses the same trigger group parts as the centerfire rifle, even though the rimfire upper won't pin to a standard centerfire lower.

Two Minutes' Hate.

SEOUL, South Korea — Punching their fists into the air and shouting "Let's crush them!" some 100,000 North Koreans packed Pyongyang's main square Thursday for an anti-U.S. rally...
Then they shouted "Long Live Our Dear Leader!", followed by "Applause!"

Spontaneous mass hate is a lot less impressive when it's happening someplace you couldn't take a spontaneous dump without filling out forms in triplicate, and there's a guy in every office and factory floor chanting "Inhale!... Exhale!..."
North Korean troops will respond to any sanctions or U.S. provocations with "an annihilating blow," one senior official vowed.
Of course, over the past fifty years, North Korea has threatened "annihilating blows" over such things as changes in the weather and the movie Team America, but their tantrums were paid less attention, but they tend to get more attention when they start playing with the big bottle rockets.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Proof that they Just. Don't. Get. It.

So the Iranian government is in fully hissy-fit mode right now, kicking out British diplomats, wagging fingers at Barry O., and threatening to hold its breath until it turns blue because it swears that the UK and USA are somehow "interfering" in its election processes.

Hey, Zippy, let me clue you in on something: We aren't "interfering" with anything. We haven't so much as lifted a finger. If we were actually interfering, you'd know it; ask your former next-door neighbor how our interference works.

Unless by "interfering" you mean not censoring our press? Not suppressing all mention about your thuggery and your politics so dirty that they make our own city of Chicago look a model of probity? Is that what you mean by "interfering"? Because if that's the case, you are just proving that you really have almost as little clue how things work in the wider world as your buddy in North Korea, and at least he can claim being nut-fudge insane as an excuse.

Blogmeet Recaps:

Last weekend was the blogmeet at the Brew Pub, and the after-action reports seem to have been filed:

It's shaped like the future!

A meandering discussion in the comments section of a post by everybody's favorite Retrotechnologist sent me to Google, where I found the Coolest. Cellphone. EVAR.

That kid with the iPhone and tatts will be stunned, shattered, and crushed into total unhipness when a bell starts ringing in your messenger bag and you haul out, not some goofy little electronic device playing the recording of a phone over its tinny speaker, but an actual, honest, Vishnu-on-a-velocipede Telephone. With a dial. And no cord. You would be like unto the god of the coffeehouse...

What Media Bias?

Don Gwinn pokes the fossils at the Chicago Tribune with a stick, and gets in a few licks on neo-nazis and intertubes blowhards while he's at it...

Real life is often stranger than fiction...

...especially when Dick Nixon was involved.

There's a story just out from the Nixon tapes that has President Tricky Dick telling RNC chairman George Bush the Elder that the best hope for the future of the GOP was to recruit hot-looking women.

The timing of the conversation is suspicious, since at that very moment the Secretary of State was in Beijing, being offered ten million women by Chairman Mao.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Truth in Advertising...

Via the legacy media at the AP, we hear the following:

As blogging rises in importance and sophistication, it has taken on characteristics of community journalism — but without consensus on the types of ethical practices typically found in traditional media.

Journalists who work for newspapers and broadcasters are held accountable by their employers, and they generally cannot receive payments from marketers and must return free products after they finish reviewing them.

No word on when Chris Matthews is planning on boxing up his free Barry O. and sending it back to Chicago. I guess when he gets tired of the thrill running up his leg...

(H/T to SurvivalBlog.)

His heart was in the right place...

...but heaven knows where his sense of history was...

Ron Paul on the House resolution condemning the Iranian government for its ongoing oppressive thuggery is a triumph of the "Washington Chopping Down Cherry Trees" school of American History:
I adhere to the foreign policy of our Founders, who advised that we not interfere in the internal affairs of countries overseas.
Yusuf ibn Ali Karamanli and his brother Hamet would probably find that statement confusing.

(H/T to Jim at the Travis McGee Reader.)

Could it be any worse?

Apparently the results of a tied election in Spearfish, Dakota Territories came down to shooting craps, pulling marbles out of bags, and all but playing "rock, paper, scissors" to determine a winner.

I thought to myself, "Y'know, that sounds as sensible as what we have already, so why not just dispense with the whole 'voting' part and let some peroxide blonde pull winner's names out of a drum on stage between the evening news and Conan O'Brien? You could hand out Congressional Race Entry Forms in Mickey D's value meals and besides, random chance couldn't possibly turn up worse candidates than Al Franken..."

One question.

Who in Wotan's name are this "Jon & Kate" I see referenced in hyperlinks at AOL.com or CNN?

I don't want to click on one to find out, for fear my brain will be sucked out my ear, but are they a country music act, or a TeeWee show like "Donny & Marie" or "Sonny & Cher" or "Hardcastle & McCormick", or what?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Funny, Funnier, Pennsylvania.

I have lived in places with some funny beer laws...

Georgia and Tennessee had local option, which meant that some counties in the dustier corners of the state may actually have still been "dry", and Georgia didn't let you sell beer for off-premises consumption on Sundays, because you might burn in hell for that. Local option also led to a patchwork quilt of quitting times:
"Oh, man, we're out of beer and it's after midnight."
"No sweat, dude, the Cobb county line is only three miles away and they sell 'til 3AM there."

Tennessee, on the other hand, would let you buy beer on Sundays after 10AM or thereabouts, which prevented people bereft of planning skills from being blotto in church, but wouldn't let any alcoholic beverage stronger than Bud Lite be sold anyplace but a liquor store. (...and liquor stores in Tennessee could only sell liquor. No mixers or pretzels or cigarettes or pickled eggs or what-have-you. That meant a separate stop before the party.)

Indiana at first glance seems a lot more laid back about the booze, since you can buy Jack Daniel's at the local CVS, but it's got quirks of its own: like Georgians, Hoosiers are convinced you'll spontaneously combust if you purchase alcohol on Sundays in a sealed container, and also won't let you buy cold beer anyplace but a dedicated liquor store because apparently John Dillinger once bought cold beer at a gas station or grocery store and look where that led. (If there's a weird law in Indiana, such as the one that says machine guns, suppressors, and short-barreled rifles are okay but short-barreled shotguns are Right Out, it's usually safe to blame that famous Hoosier black sheep, Johnny D.)

The weirdness of these beer laws pales in comparison, however, with the Keystone Kops laws Sebastian must put up with in the Keystone State. I still remember a couple of exasperated Pennsylvanians trying to explain PA beer laws to me at DragonCon '93. They gave up.*

(* They also started singing Drivin' and Cryin's "Straight to Hell" as "I'm goin' straight to Pittsburgh, just like my mama said...")

Things I used to like and don't anymore.

1) Hex-head grip screws on a 1911.

Who carries an allen wrench around with them all the time? On the other hand, there's almost always something handy that can be pressed into service as a screwdriver, including various parts of the gun itself.

2) Hogue soft rubber grips.

That neoprene is nice and sticky-grippy in my hand. Unfortunately it's also nice and sticky-grippy in my holster. By the end of the day my tee shirt would be all balled up around the pistol, which is considered to be a fairly serious faux pas at an ATM at two in the morning.

3) Blued steel for CCW guns.

Sure, I like traditional blue steel because it looks the way a gun should look, but when it comes to something that's going to get sweated on, maybe rained on, and be in and out of temperature extremes, I'd personally rather slap a coat of paint on it or make it out of soulless stainless steel.

Smack dab in the shadow of Mordor...

...they'll be offering a 2-day Appleseed Marksmanship Clinic this August 15th and 16th.

It's fun!

It's a good skill to have!

It'll annoy Mayor Daley to no end!

Register now and avoid the rush!

Circular definition: See "Definition, circular".

Frank Lautenberg hasn't had an honest job in years; he's been suckling at the government teat since the current president was a frosh in undergrad. After metastasizing from a mere Port Authority commissar to a senator in 1982, he voted about like you'd expect a Democrat from New Jersey to vote, being generally in favor of taxes and of bribing lower-income voters with other people's money.

He has a special place in the hearts of gun owners, due to a harmless-sounding proposal that turned into a nightmare of ex post facto misapplication: the "Lautenberg amendment". The idea seemed noble: People who beat up on their spouses probably shouldn't own guns. The writing and execution were so ambiguous that people lost jobs as armed security guards or police officers over ten year old misdemeanor convictions due to purely consensual Budweiser-fueled knuckle jousts with their brother-in-law over the possession of the TV remote on Thanksgiving.

Having nearly single-handedly saved America from the scourge of gun-wielding wife beaters, Frank is now going to protect us from terrorists. His latest hobby horse is that nobody on the government's double-secret "Terrorist List" should be allowed to buy a firearm. If passed, that means it's "Sorry, Sam, no Daisy Red Ryder carbine action air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time for you."

And who goes on the terrorist watch list? Well, that's still a secret, see, but it's a good kind of secret now, not the bad kind like it was when it was Bush's secret. Although given the current administration's tendency to broaden the definition of "terrorist" to include categories like "military veteran" and "Ron Paul voter", one can foresee certain future problems. If one gets to redefine "terrorist" as "person to whom we don't sell guns", as opposed to "person who commits actual, you know, acts of terror", then this War on a Noun thing gets a lot easier.

This is Frank's second try at linking the NICS check to the Watch List, the first one having sputtered and died a couple of years back. Luckily, like most anti-gun legislation at the moment, Lautenberg's proposal is getting about as much traction as a '66 Mustang with bald snow tires on a hot buttered skillet. But it still doesn't hurt to let them know you're keeping an eye on 'em...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fangirl squee.

If there is one writer that has consistently been the Pole Star in my constellation of snark lo these many years, it would be P.J. O'Rourke. Oh, sure, I've been influenced by H.L. Mencken, Florence King, and Hunter S. Thompson, but I've never had a schoolgirl crush on any of them. So it was especially cool when I heard that he had a new book out, since I already had pretty much every other book he'd published and I was jonesing for a P.J. fix. It was even cooler when I read that Turk Turon had gone to a book signing at the Cato Institute...

...but all that dissolved into helpless fangirl squee when I returned home from Knoxville and found the contents of the envelope Turk had sent to Roseholme Cottage:

The new book even has a grownup P.J. rebuttal to his immortal essay "How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink".

If you are vacationing in the Smokies...

...be warned that there is a four picanic basket alert that has caused part of the park to be closed.

Be on the lookout for these suspicious characters.

(H/T to Unc.)

Speak English, please.

WASHINGTON - Despite signs that the recession gripping the nation's economy may be easing, the unemployment rate is projected to continue rising for another year before topping out in double digits, a prospect that threatens to slow growth, increase poverty and further complicate the Obama administration's message of optimism about the economic outlook.
Look, sport, I know you're doing your best to slip Barry some tongue here, but it strains the credulousness of even the simplest among us when you say things like "the recession is easing" and "but you're all broke, out of work, and prices are rising" in the same breath. This must be some new definition of the word "easing" that I'm not familiar with.

Look, one of the saddest sights in the last couple years was watching the Bushbots loyally chanting "What bad economy?" with the pathetic earnestness of a coworker explaining that her shiner was caused by accidentally running into a doorknob. Don't y'all start, too.

Role model.

I think I have a new hero...

New Shooty Blog.

I have been made aware of a new gun blog out there called "The Defensive Handgun Blog". The proprietor is a lawyer in Virginia, but he's also an NRA-certified handgun instructor, so we won't hold the lawyer part against him. Go check it out!

Paranoid much?

Insisting that meddling Westerners were after their Lucky Charms, the bearded and turbaned dried apple dolls of the Iranian Guardian Council accused foreign governments of meddling in the election aftermath with their fancy Great Satan tools like Twitter and BBC and Grand Theft Auto and Denial of Service.

This should point out the utter craziness of the basic premise behind the Iranian theocracy: Imagine, if you will, that you found the half dozen or so most heavily Brylcreemed and polyestered AM radio preachers in America, the ones most disconnected from reality, and made them into a sort of Supremely Supreme Court; the ultimate arbiters of everything in the country. Before you knew it, video games and Tinky Winky would be illegal, it would be a death penalty offense to hide satanic messages backwards in your music or to be Marilyn Manson, the national anthem would be changed to "Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam", and the Kennedies would have to find honest work again, perhaps smuggling liquor from Canada like they used to.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

New CCW permit arrived in the mail.

This one has the following expiration date: "________".

That's right, for $100 the Indiana .gov will give you a lifetime toter's permit. It took about nine weeks from the trip to the main cop shop downtown to my maildude handing me the envelope.


I was going to say something about this, but for once, I find myself at a complete loss for words.


Rosy-cheeked Aurora, goddess of the dawn and bringer of the flannel tongue, is here and I have got to get all my stuff stacked at the front door before Shootin' Buddy shows up to head to the range.

I guess I'll be dirtying the freshly-scrubbed K-22. Mebbe something else, too. Although they're copacetic with rimfire rifles on the indoor range, it's generally too much of a pain in the keister to maneuver even the little Papoose safely in the cramped, crowded confines of Popguns on a weekend. Hopefully I'll get a chance to go later in the week; roomie bought me a membership for my birthday back in January, and I should be making better use of it.

...and then to the Blogmeet this afternoon!

In the meantime, here's old video footage Caleb shot of a GSG-5 in action at Marion County Fish & Game.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Back home again in Indiana...

...and more or less straight to bed.

Rumor has it that we will be shooting at Popguns tomorrow Ay-Emm. The range opens at 11AM, and I'll be the chick with her nose pressed up against the glass waiting for the doors to open.

Then to the blogmeet at three pip-emma.

Typing will have to wait until tomorrow afternoon or Monday morning, because the drive home from K-town has left me just absolutely worn out.

Quote of the Day:

Redefining the descriptor "drily", Jim notes:
I certainly wish history had something to teach us about how seriously we ought to take aerial threats against Hawaii by insane oriental governments.


I'm packing the car for the trip home, and a more detailed post is forthcoming when I get back, but here's the Cliff's Notes version:

I went to pick up my car yesterday, I called my roomie to let her know the score and give her an ETA. Gunsmith Bob and I figured that, since I was here for an extra night, we might as well make use of our ticket stubs from Wednesday night's rained out game and go watch the Smokies play before I drove home.

It was a great game, complete with a come-from-behind win in the bottom of the ninth, and the giddy silliness of a minor league ballpark was what I needed to take my mind off the automotive trauma.

Unbeknownst to me, a couple folks decided to point out my open guitar case on the sidewalk while I was away. When I dragged home late last night and opened my email before falling into bed, I nearly started crying. Thank you everybody. You can stop now, really. I'm already going to be spending my first afternoon home writing thank-you notes.

I've got to finish packing the car so I can head back north, and I've got a fun-filled post to write about the Bimmer Adventure when I get there. Catch y'all on the flip side...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ouch, my life.

It's a bad thing when smoke is pouring off your right front brake caliper, right? Especially when you're 400 miles from home?

I'll be taking it by the dealership in the AM. Gillespie Motors, where I used to have it serviced, is nearby, but I figure the Bimmer shop is more likely to have parts in stock so I don't have to spend an extra night in Tennessee. Hopefully it's just a warped rotor and all I'll need is a set of pads and a replacement disc.

Since I'm broke, watch for the Big Gun Sale when I get home. :(

The holster drama llama has followed me home!

So, Caleb has managed to stir some blog drama....

Now some guy in comments at Hell In A Handbasket is teeing off on belt snobbery. I had to respond:
"Screw leather belts too, I carry with a rigger belt, was sturdy..."
Well, "sturdy" is the operative word here, not "leather". Lots of people use rigger's belts for CCW. Me, sometimes, for instance. Just make sure it's a good one that's not going to roll into a tube under the holster.

Uncle Mike's makes one with a plastic stiffener that works great for around $30. I used it for a couple years, and still have it someplace.

Look, at the end of the day, I don't care how folks carry their guns, it's still (mostly) a free country. I'm just trying to offer some things I learned from accumulating my own boxes-o'-holsters.

Carrying a Glock 29 in an Uncle Mike's nylon pancake rig with 1.5" belt loops on a 1" leather JC Penny belt sucks. The belt rolls up under the holster. The holster slides and shifts on the belt. The gun flops in the holster. Ask me how I know this.

At the time I was doing so, I thought that the people who were always going on about stiff belts designed to carry a gun, with a snug holster that had loops properly sized to grip the belt, were all a bunch of effete know-it-all snobs. A belt was a belt and a holster was a holster, right? Only not.

Easier and usefuller.

Brownells may be the single most important company on the planet for inveterate hobbyist gun tinkerers and professional gunsmiths alike, but their website was always a little... how to put this gently? ..."user-hostile".

It seems to be all better now.

Thank you, Brownells!

(H/T to Sebastian.)

Things I Don't Get.

1) Why does my Marlin Papoose have a magazine safety? I had never really noticed this before, until I stripped it for cleaning, reassembled it, and went to function-check the gun and was rewarded by a complete absence of clicky noises when the trigger was pulled.

Magazine safeties are silly and of extremely dubious utility on pistols, and utterly pointless on rifles. Especially on takedown .22 rifles that are pimped as emergency guns for the outdoorsy crowd. If you're in some hypothetical wilderness survival situation and lose your magazine, you'll be reduced to trying to beat small game to death with the buttstock, which will almost certainly expend more calories than you'll get out of a squirrel or rabbit.

2) How come the only .22 pistol on the market that is deliberately designed for small hands is such a ruptured ball of crap? Seriously, the idea behind the Walther P-22 is great; it's small and light and sized perfectly for teaching children to shoot, but if you put a serious number of rounds through it, it will be reduced to scrap before your kid is old enough for a driver's license. For the same money you could get a vastly superior Ruger or Browning, but those are sized for adult hands.

It would be awfully disappointing to be teaching your kid gun safety and marksmanship with a P-22, only to have the zamak slide separate and undo all that money you'd spent on orthodontics...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


We drove out to see the Tennessee Smokies play the Carolina Mudcats, but Ma Nature had other ideas.

By about 20 minutes after the scheduled start time, the tarp was still on the field, and you could have floated a bass boat in the lake behind second base. Basically we went out, had hot dogs (well, I had the especial de la maison of Smokies Ballpark: BBQ Nachos) in an open-air restaurant with a hefty cover charge, got rained on, and then drove home, all without getting to see any baseball.

On the upside, I did pick up some tchotchkes: Stuffed dolls of the Smokies' mascots, Slugger and Diamond.

Charting an epiphany.

Lissa has an imaginary conversation with her younger self about the feel-good collection of useless grandstanders that is the United Nations.

It was the "peace-keeping" missions that always got to me. I mean, sure, you may have some well-disciplined and good-intentioned Canucks or Danes along, trying to score points for their motherland in the International Miss Congeniality competition, but their efforts are for naught when the bulk of the "peace-keeping" force is made up of two battalions of the Absurdistani Light Rifles who treat the assignment as a sort of rape-and-petty-theft wanderjahr.

Any organization that would put Syria on a Human Rights Commission has, to put it mildly, a fundamental structural flaw.

It means "Someone I Think Is Icky."

Right Wing” is rapidly replacing “Neocon” (which replaced “Reactionary” which replaced “Fascist”) as the favorite vague pejorative of hippies. Make the appropriate notations in your Berlitz.

What I don't get...

...is if you're already using corked bats, why would you need the 'roids?

At least I know that my favorite baseball player, Greg Maddux, wasn't using steroids. Or if he was, he should have asked for a refund.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard: "We will pwn j00!"

"We will very soon inform the public the details of these destructive Internet networks and we warn the people who want to use cyberspace to incite riot, threaten people and create rumors that legal action will be taken against them and the penalty they will pay is very heavy," the Guard said in a statement carried by the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
Further, they denounced Moussavi supporters as a "bunch of c4mp3r f4g5" and stated that the internet is not a big truck, but rather a series of tubes.

Since the Revolutionary Guard is a bunch of lamers and n00bs, the threat was considered to be of questionable validity.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We're big babies...

Part of being a Smith & Wesson fan is pissing and moaning and throwing a temper tantrum every time the company changes anything about their revolvers. It doesn't matter whether the change had any real effect or not, it's always a sure sign that the bean-counters are in charge and the company is going down the crapper and I'm never buying another gun from them and furthermore I'm going to hold my breath until I turn blue see if I don't!

Presented for your consideration:

The Fifth Screw: Well, it didn't really do anything. A five-screw sideplate is a little easier to re-install than later ones, but apparently not all that much.

The Fourth Screw: This one actually did something. The cylinder stop bolt in modern Smiths goes in with a bunch of poking and tweaking at a tiny spring. On older ones you just dropped the bolt in and then inserted the spring and plunger through the hole in front of the trigger guard. then stuck the screw in the hole. No muss, no fuss. Of course, this only matters if you're taking the gun apart and putting it back together yourself.

The Recessed (countersunk) Charge Holes in the cylinder: They only did it in magnum revolvers anyway. No real loss.

The Pinned Barrel: Here's one that can start arguments. With the pinned barrel, you'd screw it in until the hole lined up, and then drive the barrel pin in. This worked fine provided that it hadn't been an off day and the threads were cut to spec. If the threads weren't cut to spec, the force of firing could bugger them all up over time. The barrels after '82 were crush-fit snugly which lessened the chances of this, but...

The Two-Piece Barrel: With the crush-fit barrel, it was torqued 'til tight. Sometimes, this resulted in the front sight not being, you know, straight. The two-piece barrel eliminates this by mounting the front sight on the sleeve, which is always straight, no matter how the actual barrel is tightened. Of course, the inner portion is still crush fit, which can cause distortion of the rifling, something that didn't happen with the pinned barrels... All three methods have faults; you pays your money and you takes your chances. However it's funny to hear people claim that Smith went to two-piece barrels because they're "cheaper". These people obviously can't count machining steps.

Metal Injection Molded Lockwork: Meh. It seems to work fine, but it sure does make it harder to get a nice trigger pull. It does get rid of the hammer-mounted firing pin, which is marginally more breakage-prone than the frame-mounted variety. The MIM triggers, with their hollow backs, look cheap, too.

The Lock: Lots of people have locks on their guns: Bersa, Walther, Ruger, Taurus, HK, Springfield Armory... But none of these people sell tradition like S&W does; it's gone over like New Coke or water-cooling on a Harley. It doesn't help that the lock is visually obtrusive and mechanically suspect, especially on the hard-recoiling flyweight revolvers that make up such a large part of S&W's lineup these days.

Anyhow, this ties into another thought I've had on the subject, concerning Smith & Wesson's new "Classic" lineup. More on that later.

...and the deadbeat goes on...

The numbers are in for the month of May, and U.S. credit card lenders got stiffed by a record number of Americans.

Why this comes as a shock to anybody is a mystery, since for the last decade lenders have been passing out cards along with the freshman orientation packets on college campuses and including them as prizes in boxes of Cracker Jacks. When you hand out lines of credit to individuals that any sane person wouldn't trust with a burnt out match, you've got to expect that some of them are going to have all the sense of solemn obligation of a three year old at her birthday party. "Okay, they've trusted me, and now it's time to be responsible and pay them bac... Ooh! A pony!"

Of course, part of the whole collapsing bubble in which we're trapped right now is that Counting Chickens Before They Hatch has become the newest fad in the financial sector, with whole teetering edifices built on imaginary numbers generated by loans with less hope of being paid back than the Washington Nationals have of winning the World Series...

Training class.

Rob Pincus of ICE Training is going to be teaching a 2-day Combat Focus Shooting course at Coal Creek Armory this July.

If you're going to spend money on a pistol, shouldn't you spend a little on learning how to use it?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Oh. Em. Gee.

My roomie has discovered the throbbing epicenter of surrealism on teh intarw3bz.

I have never seen its like.

No User-Serviceable Parts Inside.

I have a confession to make. I was spoiled rotten for fifteen years. Working at a gun store with real live gunsmiths, any time I needed a revolver serviced, I could just bring it to work with me.

Oh, sure, I knew how they worked, and had seen up inside them plenty of times, but when it came to actually turning screws on them? Never did it. Some people may not realize this, since everybody always talks about how "simple" revolvers are, but the inside of a Smith & Wesson double-action revolver is the scene of a complex mechanical ballet that makes the guts of an autopistol look simple. A Glock or 1911 is a stone axe by comparison.

So when I mentioned on the phone to Gunsmith Bob that I was going to bring my well-used K-22 Combat Masterpiece down for a cleaning and a bit of trigger work, he told me "And you're going to do it. You have, what? Fifty of the things? There's no excuse for you to not be able to do basic work on them. We're going to have a little class."

Wish me luck.

Great new thrill rides!

The screamalicious Bad Debt Loop-the-Loop! The terrifying Revenue Plunge! The laugh-a-minute Red Ink River Log Flume! The spooky Ghost of Responsibility Haunted House!

It's all part of the plan for Six Flags to offer more relevant excitement as part of their bankruptcy filing.

Raise your hand if you overslept...

Yeah, me too.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

His insurance guy stopped returning his calls, too...

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declined Sunday to guarantee the safety of his defeated rival Mir Hossein Moussavi in response to a question from CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour.
Translation: He's toast.

We control the horizontal, we control the vertical...

...but some script kiddie in Minsk pwns your local power grid.
[T]he Obama administration - no doubt at the behest of the Greens - is paving the way. Billions of dollars in the "stimulus" plan is for purchase and deployment of "smart" power meters, centrally controlled network devices that can let power be remotely turned on or off. The power companies like them because it makes it easy to implement "rolling blackouts" - think California in 1999. The Obama administration and the Greens like them because they now can make you use less power.

The bad guys like them because they can now use automated malware technology to take over the entire power grid at once...
I'm sure this seemed like a good idea to somebody, but that person must have had the trust of a kitten and the foresight of an anencephalic flatworm.

Time travel.

I cut the TeeWee off in the bottom of the fifth, with the Braves down ten to nothing. Today's laugher is making yesterday's blooper-fest look like a close game.

It's like awakening from a dream and finding out that 1991-2005 never happened. I half expect to see Bob Horner step up to bat, or hear that Pascual Pérez got lost circling I-285 on the way to the ballpark again...

Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside...

Somewhere, a hippie just vapor-locked.

Snark from Steyn:

Steyn on health care:
According to the U.N. figures, life expectancy in the United States is 78 years; in the United Kingdom, it’s 79 — yay, go socialized health care! On the other hand, in Albania, where the entire population chain-smokes and the health-care system involves swimming to Italy, life expectancy is still 71 years — or about where America was a generation or so back. Once you get childhood mortality under control, and observe basic hygiene and lifestyle precautions, the health “system” is relatively marginal. One notes that, even in Somalia, which still has high childhood mortality, not to mention a state of permanent civil war, functioning government has entirely collapsed and yet life expectancy has increased from 49 to 55. Maybe if government were to collapse entirely in Washington, our life expectancy would show equally remarkable gains. Just thinking outside the box here.
People's selective blindness on this issue is amazing. Your most committed fan-of-government Obama voter will, like any other person with enough functioning brain cells to guide a fork from plate to mouth, carp endlessly about the ineptness of the DMV, the inefficiencies of the Post Office, the cronyism of the zoning board, and yet they will then turn around and clamor for this same witless behemoth to be placed in charge of their doctor's office too. What was that definition of insanity, again?

(H/T to New Paltz Journal.)

"If you are dense, please call the number on the bottom of the screen that you can't see..."

The Federal Communication Commission, on its Web site, said Friday's switch to digital television by 971 full-power stations had prompted hundreds of thousands of calls for help...
According to the Nielsen Co., three million people somehow managed to ignore almost a year of public service announcements, scrolling banners, billboards, smoke signals, passenger pigeon flights, and direct broadcasts from orbital mind-control lasers, and wound up watching digital static on their TeeWees.

I would think that if, after all that hoopla, you still aren't able to watch your stories in the afternoon or Dancing With The Stars over dinner, maybe you should just give up on the whole TeeWee thing and go for a walk, or read a book or something.


So, the Braves didn't get beat yesterday so much as they actively lost the game. One moment I was watching a Major League Baseball game (well, sorta; it was in Baltimore so they were using that goofy designated hitter rule that allows managers to sleep through games without having to trouble their grizzled heads about complicated things like pinch hitters,) and the next thing you know I'm watching The Bad News Bears In Breaking Training.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Good and bad, right and wrong, food and fuel...

Frank James has a thoughtful two-parter on economics, politics, and farming:
I firmly believe that those who attach a moral value or a judgement of right vs. wrong on how a commodity is used are following the same lines of thought as that raised by Karl Marx in Das Capital and later enumerated in The Communist Manifesto.


Book addendum...

While I was at McKay's yesterday, Staghounds pulled a book off the shelf in the Military History section and said "You need to read this, it's excellent...", except I'd already read it.

By sheer coincidence, later that evening, Gunsmith Bob pulled the identical book off his shelf and said "I'll let you read this while you're here, but I don't want to lose the copy, so..."

Two recommendations, same book, same day. I'll therefore recommend it to y'all: My War Gone By, I Miss It So.

I first read it in the back of a minivan headed to SHOT Show in Orlando. I started on page one in the driveway in Knoxville and glanced up fifteen minutes later to see that we'd somehow already made it to Florida. I'd let y'all borrow mine, but I don't want to lose the copy, so...

Overheard in the bookstore...

In something rapidly approaching tradition, on my visits to Knoxville I meet my friend Staghounds for lunch at Calhoun's and a trip to McKay's used book store.

McKay's is pretty coherently laid out, and we were over in what would have been the 300's had they actually been using the Dewey Decimal System, pointing out interesting books to each other (going to a used book store with another avid reader of similar tastes is the best way to find new stuff) when I hear him say "'Selling Women Short'? I didn't know that women were traded on the futures market..." which caused a fit of giggling that took a few minutes to bring under control.

I found some interesting books, but McKay's is big enough that I'll be able to make another stop there with Gunsmith Bob before I head back north of the Ohio. I've never been in that place when it wasn't jumping and the parking lot wasn't packed like they were giving dollar bills away inside. I've never left without spending at least $20, and the average is closer to $50. When Peter of Bayou Renaissance Man fame would visit, he'd usually earmark at least a C-note specifically for an afternoon-long visit to McKay's and head back to Louisiana with a couple boxes full of books. Whatever their business model, they need to license it to a store in Indy...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Brace for nomex bathrobes...

Apparently six people have turned into roman candles when their non-flame-retardant lounging attire combusted.

This seems to occur when cooking over an open flame, and so we here at VFTP would like to steal a march on the CPSC and hand out a few safety pointers:

  1. Don't let your clothes catch fire.
  2. For Vishnu's sake, if you botch step one, remove the burning item of apparel promptly. Don't just stand there and stare at it like a duck in thunder while the rest of your garments go up in in flames, making you look like the centerpiece of a pretentious artsy hippie festival.
  3. If these steps appear complicated or confusing, may we suggest alternate kitchen wear?

June Blogmeet Is Go.

Details here.

Bimmer: 1, Buzzard: 0

There are many "firsts" in life: your first kiss, your first date, the first time you bunt a buzzard into the Great Beyond with your vehicle...

That's right, I hit my very first buzzard yesterday, on I-74 in southern Indiana, just shy of the Ohio state line. I was tooling along at eighty in the slow lane and thinking "Wow, that's a big bird. Is that a hawk? Huh, it looks like he's going to land in the fast lane. He did! Whoops, my car has spooked him and he's taking off. OH $H..!!!" Now with him straining for altitude right over my hood ornament, I could see that he was not, in fact, a hawk...

There was a clatter of impact as all the hard parts of a buzzard pranged off the windshield header. I looked up, expecting to see a tear in the top, but it seemed to be intact, so I continued on to my next gas stop at Georgetown, Kentucky, sure that the roof of the Zed Three was strewn with buzzard subassemblies and wishing for a good rain to wash them off.

My fears were unfounded, however, as Buster the Buzzard didn't even chip the paint so's you'd notice. I hope his buddies ate him. I shouldn't have wished so hard for rain, however, because it then proceeded to rain like a cow peeing on a flat rock from Lexington all the way to the far side of the Tennessee border.

I-75 South was crowded with Michigan and Ohio plates. I don't know what it is about cars with Ohio plates outside of Ohio, but they all drive one of two ways. Either they creep along at one mile-per-hour under the limit, as though there were a valiant member of the Ohio State Patrol sitting in the back seat and peering over their shoulder at the speedometer, or they drive as though they'd just escaped...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Peace On Earth...Purity Of Essence...

"I don't avoid women, Mandrake, but I do deny them my essence." -Gen. Jack D. Ripper
So, yeah, about the codger who lost contact with Mission Control at the Holocaust Museum today... Have you read his manifesto? Yowza.

Just because you think they're all always after your Lucky Charms doesn't mean you can go start shooting at the voices. (But if you just have to start shooting at the voices, shoot at the one in your head first, please. Preferably out in the woods, or someplace with linoleum or tile floors.)

...and that's all I have to say about that.

Joe Huffman encounters the most irrefutable argument in the gun-banners' arsenal, which goes something like this:

If ten percent is good enough for Jesus...

...then it should be good enough for the Other Jesus.

That's kinda weird.

Remember me going on about the Michael Flynn books about the private space program?

Well, in the books the lead contractor was a Brazilian aerospace company, and the whole SSTO program was being developed on the island of Fernando de Noronha; probably a third of the first book takes place on the island, and the author describes it in some detail.

Well, it showed up in the news this morning as the place where they're stacking the floaters from the Air France... uh... accident.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

You don't have to be completely clueless to write for the Tennessean...

...but it helps.

Rodney Stanley, opining on the restaurant carry bill (and displaying his utter cluelessness on the state of the law in Tennessee):
Instead of weapons being used to protect one's home and personal vehicle, they could now be used by citizens in public venues.
You mean like they are right now? And have been for many years?

Look, Rodney, this probably comes as a shock, but all those folks around you in the mall and Wally World and the grocery store may already be legally packing heat, they just had to unstrap if they wanted to grab a burger for lunch at Applebee's instead of Hardee's. This law just fixes that. Unclench and return to normal breathing, okay? You're in no more danger of a shootout over the last bit of Bloomin' Onion at Outback next month than you've been over the organic arugula at Kroger's these last fifteen years or so...

That's some layers of editorial oversight, baby. Are you sure you're not wearing pyjamas?

(H/T to Unc.)

Today's photo caption contest:

"Fly, my monkeys! Fly!"

Alternate Caption:

Pelosi: "Don't tase me, bro!"

Overheard in the Gun Store:

Me: "Geez, I've got more rimfire ammo than y'all do."

SalesGuy: "That's not funny."

They had a few of the 500-round cartons of Remington Thunderbolt, but other than that it was onesy-twosies of shotshells, CB shorts, and one box of CCI SGB's.

SayUncle wins the internets.

Just the title of this post had me laughing 'til it hurt.

Your morning dose of apocalyptic cheerfulness:

"Welcome to the savage world of the year 2009."

I wonder how the unemployment rate stacks up between '92 and '09? I'd check, but I'd just depress myself.

On the other hand, in 1992 Dodge was still making the Dynasty, and in 2009 it's long dead, so there's an upside...

Quote of the Day:

Hecate reviews Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence, and offers her thoughts on the victim mentality versus the survivor mentality:
The urge to stay a victim is seductive. Our society favors victims, cosseting them and setting up well-funded groups to be their advocates. These groups depend on a steady supply of victims for their existence. Government and law enforcement officials also depend on a steady supply of victims to justify expanding their power and control over every aspect of subjects' citizens' lives.
Her comments on "stuck victims" are are interesting, too.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Funniest video evar. (At least this week.)

The video that single-handedly justifies the existence of YouTube.

"U.S. citizens detained..."

CIA spies aboard the USS Pueblo were... no, wait, wrong year...

Two CIA operatives posing as journalists working for Al Gore have been found guilty of spying on the Dear Leader (no, not ours; North Korea's,) and sentenced to twelve years hard labor in re-educational confinement strength-through-joy camps.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelley told reporters
"We are deeply concerned by the reported sentencing of the two American citizen journalists by North Korean authorities, and we are engaged through all possible channels to secure their release. A carrier battlegroup accompanied by the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit is at sea steaming for Korean waters now. I am authorized to confirm the deployment of additional USAF squadrons to Japan and the ROK, but I can neither confirm nor deny any rumors you have heard about the lights being on late at Pope AFB and Fort Bragg. I can say that we will show those people that you do not screw with a blue passport."
Actually, I made up all that stuff after "release". What he really went on to say was
"We once again urge North Korea to grant the immediate release of the two American citizen journalists on humanitarian grounds."
Which is pretty funny, really. You've gotta be a special kind of stupid to appeal "on humanitarian grounds" to a nation which fences its people in with guards dogs and electrified barbed wire while they starve to death so that their Dear Leader (not our Dear Leader, North Korea's,) can afford imported booze and hookers.

"Hey! I can see the New Socialist Man from up here!"

You can't make this stuff up...

Apparently, there was some fear that newly-minted squid officers would charge the podium and hack the Dear Leader to death with their ceremonial dress swords (which are, incidentally, dull as butter knives and only marginally more dangerous or weapon-like than a bent coathanger.)

Said newly-minted squid officers then marched off, damp diplomas in hand, and received the keys to jet fighters, Tomahawk launchers, whole teams full of SEALs, and other deadly weapons.

Security kabuki at its finest.

(H/T to Unc.)

The new Obama Administration show:

Dancing With The Czars!

That's pretty funny right there.

If you listen to fools, the mob rules.

California's impending götterdämmerung is almost too painful to watch for two reasons: First, because you and I will be expected to pay for it, and second, because it's just a foretaste of what's coming to a city or state near you.

It's come to California a little sooner than the rest of the country, because in California, democracy is more perfected than anywhere else in America. This leads to popular referenda with questions like:
  1. Do you want a gold house and a rocket car? Yes. No.
  2. Do you want to pay for it? Yes. No.
Thankfully democracy is not quite so perfected elsewhere in the US, because nine times out of ten, when you ask someone "Do you want free stuff?", be it bombers or boulevards or baseball stadiums, they'll answer in the affirmative without the slightest thought as to from where the money to pay for all this is supposed to materialize.

However there are people who would like to bring more perfected democracy to the rest of America. Here's one:

Wasn't that scary?

It is to anybody who lives in New York, Illinois, or California, because they already know how that works. See, the guy in the video says the presidential candidates will need to campaign everywhere instead of just battleground states. BS. With the presidential election decided by popular vote, candidates won't even have to waste money on commercials in Boise or Des Moines anymore. Just as the Illinois governor's race is decided in Cook County and Peoria doesn't matter more than spit on a griddle, so the presidential election will be decided in the BosWash, Chicago, and SoCal megalopolii and you kids in New Mexico might as well sleep in that day.

Just think how much fun that will be!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Pop Quiz:

Where in the Constitution does it specify the eligibility requirements for citizens to vote for the President? You know, age, sex, property owned, stuff like that...

(Insert Jeopardy music...)

Okay, pencils down.

Which of you answered "It doesn't"? You all get A's. It just says that the states will send electors who will cast their votes; the federal Constitution says nothing about how the states will choose their electors.

Quote(s) Of The Day:

Mark Steyn can get a little "Markie One-Note" about the failure of yuppie wombs to counter the fecundity of the Muslim Peril, but that takes nothing away from the fact that he's just brilliant; a veritable self-propelled, organic "Quote of the Day" machine.

From a book review at The New Criterion:
The all-pervasive micro-regulatory state “enervates,” but nicely, gradually, so after a while you don’t even notice. And in exchange for liberty it offers security: the “right” to health care; the “right” to housing; the “right” to a job—although who needs that once you’ve got all the others?
From an Orange County Register column on the Dear Leader's latest forelock-tugging Apology '09 world tour:
Like General Motors, the U.S. government spends more than it makes, and has airily committed itself to ever more unsustainable levels of benefits. GM has about 95,000 workers but provides health benefits to a million people: It's not a business enterprise, but a vast welfare plan with a tiny loss-making commercial sector. As GM goes, so goes America?
As always, RTWT. (Er, both whole things.)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Seen in Broad Ripple...

Driving through sunny Broad Ripple today, on the way to the Brew Pub for lunch, we passed a street scene typical of this hip, artsy district: Surly teenage skate wanks, families with strollers, bohemians walking dogs, children on bicycles, giant hot dogs and ice cream cones randomly perambulating about the streets...

The picture was taken at the mystic intersection of Westfield and Westfield, and involved a lot of conversation in the car along the lines of "Do you see that too?"

"What, the giant walking hot dog?"

"Yeah... Whew! For a minute there I was afraid it was just me..."

Sure enough, an hour or so later and a few blocks north, we were sitting in the Brew Pub finishing up lunch when the edible duo bopped nonchalantly by on the sidewalk past the windows, causing who knows how many conversations to grind to a momentary halt as diners took in the oddball sight.

I knew it!

Number 126 on the list of Stuff White People Like? Vespa Scooters. I knew my roomie was suspiciously pale.
Namely, scooters are perfect for gentrifying neighborhoods which are often short on parking and heavy on people who are impressed by Vespas.
That puts us smack in the target demographic, all right. I should look into a scooter myself.

(...and this was the giveaway for my pal Marko.)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Being room temperature is no excuse for breaking the law.

NYC issues parking tickets to dead guy. (Video.)

While he is cooling to ambient in the car.

For several weeks.

Amongst some hippie drivel at HuffPo...

...I managed to get a pretty good chuckle out of one line.

The setting is a classroom in Idaho in the far off future of 2109 AD. The teacher is telling her class of enraptured pupils about how President Obama saved the world back in 2009. Somehow it segues into a lecture on the horrific carnivorous eating habits of us early 21st Century primitives:
Professor Dawkins, who was the foremost evolutionary scientist of his day, denounced what he called "speciesist arrogance" -- this idea that human beings are the pinnacle of creation -- and he called other species our "cousins,"...
...and, as Shiva is my witness, the first thought that sprang unbidden to my mind was "Well, they are our cousins. Our rich, tasty cousins. Yum!"

...and right on cue:

No we can't!

(H/T to The Irritable Architect.)

No we can't!

Remember when you were little and you were whining to go to Disneyland or order a large pizza for supper or to get that shiny new toy, and your dad said "No, we can't afford it"?

He said that because he was a grownup, and it was his job to be responsible.

We need a new political party in Washington, to get the checkbook away from the 537 people who have been kiting checks like a runaway teenager who boosted mom's purse. Not the G.O.P., because they're part of the problem.

We will call ourselves the G.U.P.: the GrownUp Party, and our motto will be "No we can't!"

Chant it with me now:

"But all the other kids have ice cream and free universal health care!"

"No we can't!"

"Dad, I need a loan to keep my lemonade stand and automobile manufacturer in business!"

"No we can't!"

"No fair! Suzy got bailed out of her dumb high risk loans! Bail me out, too!"

"No we can't!"

"I want to go to Mars, North Korea, and Six Flags!"

"No we can't!"

We could have us a movement.

New cabinet level post proposed:

Now that the federal government has more czars than the Romanov dynasty, the Obama administration is thinking about appointing a czar czar, to keep track of all of them.

Better check your premise...

In a column dripping with pretentious hipster scorn for the ignorant cousin-marrying hillbilly rednecks of Kentucky taking guns to church, Gawker writer "The Cajun Boy" opines
Jesus must be looking down on all of this beaming with pride right now. You just know if he were down here with us he'd be packing, and probably using his heat to murder OB/GYNs who perform abortions.
No he wouldn't, you ignorant tool; it's illegal to bring a gun to church in the state of Kansas. You know, so people won't get shot.

(H/T John the Red, via email.)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Prepare for no blood in the streets!

Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen, who apparently doesn't like living in the governor's mansion, vetoed the "Guns In Restaurants" bill. The bill allowed Tennesseans who have completed a training course that includes legal instruction and marksmanship qualification, as well as passed an FBI background check, to carry their sidearms in restaurants that served alcohol, as long as they promised not to drink.

The veto was overridden by the TN state legislature approximately 27 seconds later, leaving Phil a sad, and very lame-duck, panda.

Now Tennesseans can look forward to the same kind of blood-soaked carnage I have to face every time I go to the Broad Ripple Brew Pub. Which is to say "none at all". (And Indiana doesn't even care if you tip back a few wet ones while you're packing, so long as you don't go ventilating passersby with your hogleg.)

Stone cold stupid.

Bob S. brings us the charming tale of a young man in Florida who sought to gain, and I quote, "street cred" for his future career as a hip hop artist by committing armed robberies.
This is one of the popular myths that people want to attach to firearms. That every "gun owner" has the same culture, the same values, the same principles. We don't. The results are clear & easy to see - Some people commit crimes with their firearms and some people use their firearms for sporting and self defense purposes without breaking the law. Same types of firearms, just completely different cultures.
As an aside, I will note that our larval thug's weapon of choice was a BB pistol and his getaway vehicle was a scooter. "Street cred" indeed.

Gun Safety for Dummies.

MSNBC has a chirpy piece about all the wonderful technology that's slated to take the place of common sense and good gun handling.

Of course, all the gadgets and gizmos in the world won't keep a dumbass from shooting himself in the foot, as long as he's the dumbass with the key to the internal lock and the fingerprint reader recognizes him as an authorized dumbass.

Gun safety begins with education and ends with good habits, rigorously and constantly practiced. All this Rube Goldberg garbage dangling off guns these days makes them safe only in the same way welding the barrel shut would; by making them useless. Which is what the other side views as the endgame, anyway.