Wednesday, September 30, 2009

O. Emm. Gee.

It's the Obamalympics! With all-new, Chicago-specific events!

Barry's an early favorite in the 100m Backpedal and the Under-The-Bus Crony Toss.

No word on who his partner will be in the new Synchronized Obfuscating event, which will be exhibition-only at this Olympics, but may become a medal sport in the future.

(H/T to Robb Allen.)

It's like the nature channel...

Phlegmmie has pictures of giant anorexic bugs.


The key to success... not being a jerk to people who are trying to give you money.

After last night's Roseholme Cottage Key Drama, I headed out after breakfast this morning and pedaled up to Broad Ripple Ave., where I had an excellent customer service experience at Broad Ripple Lock Service. Compared to Captain Surly at the big box store, who gave us an only quasi-functional key and a great big side of attitude for the low, low price of almost four bucks, BRLS provided service with a smile and whipped out a pair of fresh copies that each work better than the original for just two bucks a piece. In return, they get this unsolicited testimonial for free.

See? It pays to be nice to your customers.

Survival 101 textbook.

Today is the book bomb day for JWR's How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times.

His previous book, Patriots..., has been described as a "survival manual disguised as a novel", and this is the accompanying manual, sans novel.

It's very well organized and focuses on plenty of seemingly mundane and practical things, like food, medicine, communications, dealing with neighbors and forming strong communities, unlike a lot of other "survival manuals" that are five chapters of gun wanking sandwiched between an introduction, two pages about beef jerky and astronaut ice cream, and the index. (Incidentally, my roomie, super radio alpha geekette extraordinaire, found no major nitpicks in the section on communications...)

Remember: Preparedness isn't just about being prepared for Armageddon, it's about being prepared for almost anything: blizzard, blackout, hurricane, job layoff... This book is an excellent look at the proper mindset and preparations for being ready for life's curve balls. Get your copy today!

Safety first; accidents last.

Lights are important things to have on a bicycle if you plan on doing any riding at dusk or after dark. I'd prefer giant, pulsing strobes that would cause F/A-18's to try to land on my luggage rack, but I had to settle for multi-LED units.

And lor' bless the lowly LED: Before they became cheap and plentiful, you needed a dynamo on the bike, because a light any brighter than a half-dead firefly would suck the copper right out of a battery in about an hour.

I know this sounds silly to those of you who have only two thumbs, but I was inordinately happy when I got both lights mounted and functioning on my bicycle yesterday, and even after pedaling like mad up and down the rutted gravel alley, they remained attached and pointed in the proper direction. I rode to Fresh Market with roomie last night in two-tone, strobing splendor...

(...and a general hat tip to Xavier and all his mad bikie linkz.)

This is a handcrafted product, any flaws or imperfections...

There are some unusual website disclaimers out there in the internets:
The fbi/cia regularly hack this site, deleting material or intentionally misspelling and changing words to create on some pages typos and other errors in syntax and semantics. Corrections are made by web master as the hacking incidents are discovered.

Vote early, vote often...

Ballot box stuffing for the date of the October Indy Blogmeet is happening right now in the comments section of this post here.

If you have a preferred date, the time for glad-handing, logrolling, baby-kissing, and sending bribes to election officials is now.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sometimes the jokes write themselves...

I guess they were short a player at the Pervo Poker game.

Sometimes those who can do, teach.

My friend Matt is blogging his thoughts and preparations for his upcoming TCLEOSE Police Firearms Instructor course.

I'm thinking he's going to do a bang-up job...

The wonders of the microscope:

Here's bugs in your eye!

Awesome new diet plan!

I have recently made a new diet resolution: Beer Does Not Ride In The Car.

Barring truly inclement weather or me already being at the grocery store for the week's shopping, from now on if I want a six pack, it will need to be fetched via bicycle or on foot. I figure that the caloric expenditure of fetching it home should be a third to a half of the calories in the sixer, right there.

(Remember, there are only two surefire diet plans: Take in less calories, or burn more calories.)

Cap'n'Ball Cash.

Now that's a find worthy of Antiques Roadshow.

People's Grocery Collective #151.

There are rumblings on the horizon of a new right, to be enshrined alongside such rights already enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, like The Right To A Living Wage and The Right To Affordable Health Care. This new one is The Right To Buy Groceries From A National Chain.

Apparently, a grocery chain like Kroger must, once they've opened opened one, keep a store open even if the local economy goes down the toilet. It doesn't matter if the place hemorrhages red ink and more food gets stolen than bought, closing it would interfere with people's right to cheap groceries.

That's the weird dichotomy of the Granola & Prius faction of the left: They hate them some national chains (or at least national chains without the words "fresh", "whole", or "trader" in the name,) and yet they demand that these same national chains, in which they would not be caught dead, service the needs of... you know... THOSE people (wink, nudge, we care, give us your vote.)

Dick Daley will have his Olympics...

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- First lady Michelle Obama vowed Monday to "take no prisoners" as she and her husband launch an unprecedented bid for Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid.
You have to wonder what kind of dirt the mayor of Chicago has on the President to have the White House so on board for the 2016 Olympic bid.

Ah well, Chicago politics is nothing if not quid pro quo, and the Executive Branch is now merely Chicago politics writ large...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sorry for the delay...

While I was at McKay's, I picked up the last Jerry Pournelle novel that I needed to complete my collection (to the best of my knowledge).

I've had my nose in King David's Spaceship all day; more VFTP content tomorrow.

Now those were bikes!

There weren't any of your fancy schmancy mountain bikes when I was little; all we had were these, and we were thankful.

(And the roads were all uphill in those days, young missy. You should be thankful for all these downhills you kids have today.)

Lorimor meets the dinosaur...

Things were going fine until our ex-range officer showed up. He's old, cynical and doesn't know when to shut up. No one should shoot anything other than cowboy guns in his, or any other world. His favorite line? "You can always tell the 45 shooters. They're the ones looking for their brass."

Don't you hate the people who feel compelled to come up and offer unsolicited aphorisms while you're trying to shoot? I mean, that's not even advice.

Protest ProTip:

If you want to burn a flag, go buy one of your own to burn; don't try burning the one in front of your local VFW. Guys who have been shot defending that flag tend to take a dim view of such behavior.

Things I Want That Make No Sense:

1) A new-generation video game system.

I have video game consoles ranging from an Intellivision to a Game Cube and I barely use any of them. Like I'm actually going to do anything with a Wii or X-Box 720, or whatever they're up to now. But they sure look cool.

2) A double rifle.

I need a .470 Nitro Express double rifle like I need a hole in my head. But suppose a lion gets out of the zoo? Or Aliens teleport me into the middle of an African safari?

3) An iPhone.

Reflexive gadget lust makes me want an iPhone. But then I remember that I frickin' hate mobile phones. The very sound of a phone ringing is enough to set off Tamara Tourette's, and now they expect you to carry one with you all the time so you can be annoyed anywhere. Is it true that the iPod Touch will do everything an iPhone will except ring?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Further down the spiral...

As though the situation for gun owners on the lower left coast weren't bad enough, now California's AB 962 will, barring an unlikely veto by Rudderless Arnie, impose draconian restrictions on handgun ammunition purchases by inmates of California. Sebastian opines that
...there will be more ammunition moving through Donner Pass than was moving on the Ho Chi Minh Trail during the height of the Vietnam War.

I certainly hope so, but that doesn't change the underlying threat of laws like this.

I was riding in the car with Staghounds on the way up to National Gun Day, and we were talking about how clean highways were now compared to when we were little. A combination of P.R. campaigns and laws have made tossing trash out of your car something that is Just Not Done; beyond being illegal, it's actually frowned upon socially. As Staghounds, who is involved with the justice business, put it, littering may be subject to more social opprobrium than wife-beating, given the numbers of empty McDonald's bags seen on the shoulder of the road versus the number of hit spouses he sees. That sea change came about in less than half a lifetime.

And this, as he points out, is why these nuisance gun laws like AB 962 must be fought, and fought hard. By making gun ownership as big a hassle as possible, even without outright bans, fewer people own guns. When fewer people own guns, you have removed them from the day-to-day experience of most people ("Nobody I know voted for Nixon.") Once they are removed from most people's experience, further legislation and demonization is easy. For an extreme example, sit in a pub or cafe in England and discuss your shooting hobby or gun collection with a friend across the table and see how long it takes for a nervous patron within earshot to call the heat; parts of urban coastal America are already like that.


A good time was had by all. Brigid already has a post up, with photos.

I had a multicutural dinner, with a reuben crêpe and a yummy pilsener; I pedaled extra hard on the way home to make up for the extra frites.

Someone else's ruminations...

...on Ahmadinejad's sudden reversal in the popularity department: The guy has gone from euro-charmer to kryptonite almost overnight, and it seems like only Hugo "Pugsley" Chavez hasn't mailed back his BFF bracelet.

I'm not 100% sold, but it's interesting speculation.

(H/T to Borepatch.)

I know this makes me sound like a sad hippie...

...but I missed my bicycle while I was down in Tennessee.

Living in West Knoxville (Concord, actually), a bike would have been purely a recreational toy. I could have pedaled back and forth on the residential back street on which I lived, or ventured out onto Canton Hollow or Bluegrass and risked getting bunted into the great beyond when two vehicles passed each other in a blind curve. The only way I could have gotten any use out of one would have been to actually take it someplace to ride, as though it were a pedal-powered jet ski or snowmobile.

Here in flat, urban Broad Ripple, with plenty of shady side streets and the Monon Trail nearby, I can actually use it as a vehicle, which I am about to do. I'll type more when I get back from Kroger.

UPDATE: So, to Kroger and back, and then to the blogmeet and back; about four miles total. The basket held a twelve pack of Diet Dew and a plastic grocery sack stuffed brim-lippin' full of canned cat food, garbage bags, and that Glacéau Vitamin Water stuff (now with 50% more Placebon!) for my roomie. Given the stowage capacity, I could probably do most of my grocery shopping on this thing without having to make daily trips.

The Ratchet.

The whole "two party" thing causes problems if both parties pass the laws they think are necessary when they are in power, yet nobody ever repeals the laws that they know in what passes for their hearts are wrong.

This is how we'll wind up in a country with both the PATRIOT Act and National Health Care. The way things are going, there'll be a six month waiting list to get wiretapped, and you'll only be able to be waterboarded by a government-provided doctor. Folks will be sneaking off to Mexico for gray-market torture.


From Knoxville north to Lexington yesterday morning, it was raining just absolutely apocalyptically; sheets, buckets, darn near zero visibility...

I am obviously not meant to be driving for hours hunched forward over the steering wheel like Granny Nervous; the muscles in my shoulders feel like they're on fire today and my eyeballs feel like they've been inflated to 80psi. Thank goodness that my roomie believes in keeping plenty of Vitamin I(buprofin) on hand.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Back home again in Indiana...

On the road all day, so forgive my lack of loquaciousness.

On the other hand, I stopped at the superawesome National Gun Day show in Louisville on the way home. If you've never been, I highly recommend it. I stood at one table and, by stretching my fingers as far as I could, my pinkie was on a .45 Savage and my thumb was touching a Springfield M1903 with the Pedersen Device. Both were for sale; it was very nearly a religious experience.

Borchardts? 2. Webley-Fosberys? 3. Kynoch revolvers? 2. A whole showcase full of Bren Tens. More transferable Hotchkiss machine guns in one room than you've ever seen. So many Triple-Locks and Registered Magnums and 1902 Colts and Luger carbines that I got museum fatigue.

I'll write more normal stuff in the morning, after the glow has worn off...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hard times.

Les Jones offers some sensible ideas on the safest mattresses in which to stuff your cash these days.


Tonight on FOX: When mall workers attack.


Breda has uncovered the ultimate soft drink to go with the cheetos at those wee-hours gaming sessions: Jones Soda in new Special Edition D&D Flavors. Now you can actually quench the thirst of your inner geek by uncorking a bottle of Bigby's Crushing Thirst Destroyer.

I hate to break it to the hippies...

...but I've got a pretty airtight alibi for Saturday the twelfth.

I think the best (or at least the most darkly humorous) theory so far was advanced by John in comments here:
Personally, I was wondering if said 'Fed' because they couldn't spell 'revenuer'.

There are places on this planet, from Cabrini Green to Copperhead Road, where it's not the wisest thing to approach strangers and ask them questions about their career, source of household income, and suchlike.

Also, it seems that the initial AP report may be short on some key details and a bit, er, speculative on others.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Well, he's got the important qualifications covered.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the newest senator from Massachusetts is a Democrat whose last name begins with a "K".

Trying to throw your arms around the world...

Hope & Change goes international as Barry leads the call to hang a metaphorical "Gun-Free Zone" sign on the globe by uninventing nuclear weapons, as though djinn can simply be ordered back into bottles by thinking happy thoughts.

It's almost pathetic, the mental picture of this grad-school wunderkind sitting across the poker table from the dons of Moscow and the oligarchs of Beijing, expecting that they will sincerely join him in giving up their ultima ratio politburo, (not to mention thinking that unstable delinquents like North Korea or Iran will cheerfully beat their switchblades into plowshares and join in the chorus of kumbaya.)

We haven't seen naivety like this in the oval office since Carter gave up peanut farming for geopolitics.

The joy of discovery.

I'm not sure ACORN's really thought this through.

Hippo Birdie Two Ewe!

Happy b-day to Joanna, who is so tough she made cancer cry:
Today is my birthday, which is fun, although I'm now officially closer to 30 than 20. Most women my age get a little freaked out by that, but I'm actually glad about it. You see, Saturday is also my birthday: It's the two-year anniversary of when I kicked cancer in the knee and told it to shut up and go make me a sandwich, I'm too busy for that bullcrap.

My kind of bicycle.

Indy has a nice system of bike paths; bicycles are popular enough that last Saturday at the Brew Pub, I couldn't find a place to lock my bike in the jam-packed bike parking area. (Not a big deal, of course, as we were dining right there on the patio.)

Bike-crazy Portland, OR has solved the problem by bringing the bar to you. By bicycle!

(H/T to Insty.)

Sunday Blogmeet.

Indy Blogmeet at Brugges Brasserie this Sunday. Details here.

I'll be there. How 'bout you?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bad Ideas #659147

Yeah, that DVD'll come in handy when you're trying to find the jack hardpoints on your new Cherokee while standing in water up to your ankles on a muddy roadside when it's pissing down rain. Maybe you could use it as a tiny umbrella.

Out where the arugula doesn't grow and the clinging is bitter...

WASHINGTON — The FBI is investigating whether anti-government sentiment led to the hanging death of a U.S. Census worker near a Kentucky cemetery. A law enforcement official told The Associated Press the word 'fed" was scrawled on the dead man's chest.
It appears the natives are getting restless.

(H/T to Billy Beck.)

It's funny 'cause it's true.

For some reason, this political cartoon kicked over my giggle box this morning.

(Dude's got a giant header at his blog, you may need to scroll down a little bit.)

What gun for bear?

.454 Casull, apparently.

Y'know, that is one really nasty cartridge to fire if you have it loaded up the way it should be; full house loads in .454 Casull have higher chamber pressures than many rifle cartridges. Out of those stubby-barreled Rugers, they're downright unpleasant, especially in the muzzle blast department.


I had lunch at Calhoun's with Staghounds yesterday and, as is traditional for my trips back to Knoxville, we went to that awesomest of used book stores, McKay's.

I managed to keep it down to a dull roar, but I still came away with two bags chock full of books, including the USMC close combat manual, a book called Biking to Work, and the first season of House on DVD.


I overslept.

Wait, why am I apologizing to you people? I'm on vacation; I can oversleep if I want to.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Timeless quality...

Judging by the slide markings, my FN 1910 dates to the mid-to-late 1920s. Nowhere near as old as my old .32 Colts, but a respectable octogenarian nonetheless. As best I can tell, it's all original.

I took it out on the range today at Coal Creek Armory and ran some ammo through it, and it banged away happily without a hiccup, eighty-year-old springs and all. Despite the vestigial sights and the heavy trigger, it shot right to point of aim and would do so as fast as you could pull the trigger; of course, a pound and a half of steel doesn't move around much from the recoil of a little .32ACP cartridge.

I think I need to read this...

My longtime 'net pal Kathy, editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, instructor at the Firearms Academy of Seattle, and writer of the awesome website Cornered, has coauthored a book entitled Lessons From Armed America.

Now there's a book I know I'll enjoy reading.


There is a certain composition of asphalt that lets a sheet of water sit atop it; this makes driving at night in the rain very hairy for me, as the lane markers disappear in the reflections of light off the pavement.

It can be worse in the day time. There's a stretch of this asphalt just south of Florence, Kentucky, and I hit it Sunday afternoon, driving out the backside of a squall line and into an area of thin overcast with the sun trying to break through.

The sky was a brilliant, even sheet of white. Vehicles were throwing massive clouds of spray from the standing water, and the freeway was full of heavy traffic, still moving at a brisk 65-70. And best of all, the sheet of water on the pavement was reflecting back the bright, even white of the sky like a mirror.

Of course hardly anybody other than me had their lights on. And every now and then some driver, invariably in a white Marquis or silver Accord, would panic and lift off the gas and your first warning would be when the churning cloud of mist ahead of you began to darken imperceptibly some three car lengths in front of your bumper.

It was pretty white-knuckle, and the BMW, with its 3-series sedan genes, isn't even all that terribly low-slung. I can only imagine what it would have been like in something where you really sit with your butt on the pavement, like a Miata or Corvette.

(Note To Self: New wiper blades before the drive home probably wouldn't hurt, either)


As our nation enters Day Thirteen of the Representative Joe Wilson Crisis, CNN is staying on top of things, with up-to-the-minute reporting on every facet. There's even a column warning about paying too much media attention to coarseness in public debate and too little attention to substantive issues.

Their Irony Editor must be on vacation...

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Call Of Duty kiddies are in for a surprise...

With the rumored forthcoming importation of semiauto StG-44 clones by PTR, well-to-do video game fans of the eeeevil-est looking longarm of WWII are going to get a chance to find out just what an awkward, clumsy, heavy pig it is.

On the upside, its ergonomics are better than the G-3, but that's damning by faint praise...

At least these commercial guns will have better build quality than actual late-war German specimens, whose fit and finish made the angry monkeys at Century look like James Purdey and Sons.

Our eyewitness reporter.

Joanna is back from DC, where she spent a weekend living on granola and beef jerky to attend the 9/12 March. Go read.

Bad Omens...

Were I a resident of Afghanistan who had been assisting the U.S. and NATO troops in my country, I would look at this morning and start researching the feasibility of a new career in the shrimping industry in the Gulf of Mexico:

Combine that with Poland's latest j'accuse! and it's really starting to feel like deja vu all over again...

If there's one lesson we constantly teach the nations of the world, it's that they can always count on America, but only for about four years at a stretch. We should rightly be leery of foreign entanglements, but we should be equally leery of making promises we have no intention of honoring past the next election cycle.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A promising career nipped in the bud...

At 15 years of age, young Nameless P. Erpetrator had already showed enough ambition to lurk in other people's bushes with a shotgun at midnight. Certainly he would have gone far with his career, but it was tragically cut short by an armed homeowner.
No charges have been filed against Stevens, Dooley said. She said she didn’t know whether he holds a carry permit.
Someone please explain to the News Sentinel reporter that Mr. Stevens' possession (or lack thereof) of a carry permit is immaterial, as he was on his own property, and no special permit is required to air out bad guys in or about one's domicile, nor is there a season or limit.

Where the sidewalk ends.

So we pressed north on the Monon, some eleven or twelve miles from Roseholme Cottage to the workface of the trail mine, where jets of high-pressure tax dollars are used to hew bike path out of raw native railbed.

All told, it was a respectable twenty-four-ish miles for me; considering that I hadn't ridden more than a fraction of that in one day before, I was pretty happy. The thing that amazes me is that I could have kept going, too; it may be a fairly modest entry-level Trek, but it sure did ride nice, and compared to my previous steed it was like pedaling a cloud.

As an aside, one thing that amazed me while I was bicycle shopping is the continued existence of the drop-frame or "girls" bicycle. I mean, I guess I can see it on a town cruiser, but on a mountain bike? Who goes blasting down forest trails in a skirt?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I love to ride my new bicycle.

So, it was a little over a year ago that I started my bicycle experiment with a cheapie Wally World faux-mountain bike. I put a comfier saddle on it and a rear luggage rack and used it for quick local trips to the grocery or out for a bite to eat.

Over time, the disadvantages of the Wally World special became apparent. Oh, sure, the brakes and derailleurs needed constant adjustment, and the wheels were only true-ish, but neither of these were a real impediment in my local excursions (the longest grocery store round trip was barely two miles.) The big downside was that roomie had, and was rather proud of, a great big Giant Cypress hybrid, kitted out as an urban grocery-getter, complete with lights and fore-'n'-aft wicker baskets.

Bicycle excursions with my roommate tended to quickly turn into a dwindling view of her taillight as I fought fifty pounds of badly-aligned Chinese steel that always seemed to be balkily stuck in the wrong gear. It wasn't so much that I minded losing the Tour de Kroger, as it was that if I'd wanted to go riding alone, I would have done so. Growing dissatisfied with my current steed, I started shopping for a real bike.

The folks at The Bike Line in Broad Ripple were extremely friendly and helpful when I swung by one Saturday while out riding with Shootin' Buddy, and so when I was ready to buy I returned there.

I determined that I didn't need some exotic mountain bike, since the most challenging terrain I'd encounter on my daily rounds was the gravel alley or the front lawn. At the same time, since my runs to the store weren't being timed by anything more urgent than the thaw rate of a frozen pizza, I didn't need a high-speed road bike either. Not being particularly stylish, I skipped over the cruisers and went for a fairly generic entry-level hybrid; after a bit of tire-kicking I settled on a 20" Trek 7100. The guys at the shop were delighted to know that I was planning on using it as a general utility bike, and we quickly picked out a luggage rack and a quick-detach basket.

Wow. All the people who commented in that earlier post about how much happier I'd be with a decent bicycle weren't kidding; compared to my old bike, it's like night and day. Forget the light weight and low rolling resistance stuff; the shifters actually shift gears and the brakes produce something besides just a poignant desire to stop. (Although it's ironic that I'll probably burn less calories even though I ride a lot more; the old bike gave a workout, I'll say that for it.)

The other big difference between this bike and the old one is that all of a sudden, I'm kinda interested in bicycles. I spent the last day or so reading pretty much every bicycle-related article on Wikipedia, for instance. I need lights for this thing. A speedometer would be cool, too. And maybe another bike; you know, for exercise, with all the luggage-carrying stuff stripped off. I could even build one from the frame up, just the way I want it...

(PS: If any readers in Indy need a beater bike for short grocery store runs and the like, my old machine is free to a good home. Pass on the love, and all that.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

"Redefined", "Broke"; it's such a fine line...

So George W. Bush claims that he "redefined" the Republican Party.

With his "Compassionate Conservatism" and lines like "We have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, government has got to move," it's obvious that he spent too much time listening to his daddy and not enough time listening to his daddy's boss.

If you haven't yet read Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservativism Brought Down the Republican Revolution, I highly recommend it.

With a dead gay guy for a surfboard...

...and enough crocodile tears to float him, Nancy goes media surfing.

(H/T to New Paltz Journal.)

I'm lost at high finance...

So, what's all this about seizing Pugsley's money in Andorra?

He was giving it to terrorists? Buying stuff he wasn't supposed to be? Was this the Venezuelan government's cash, or was this Pugsley's private slush fund for hookers and blow and Che Guevara tee shirts? Help me out here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dialogue on racism...

Ongoing here, here, and here.

Shermlock Shomes asks the important question.

(For the record, the very word "race" is as quaint as the word "phlogiston", and reflects about the same era of scientific theory. Any school of thought that gives weight to "race" is right up there with phrenology for predictive power.)

You'll have to answer to the Coca Cola company...

It appears that the White House's nanny state nattering about a sin tax on sodie pop has displeased the Pope of North Avenue.

As a comparison of relative power between the President and the CEO of Coke, you'll note that President Barry hasn't yet given his rabbis in Chicago their Olympic games, but Bob Goizueta sure as heck got Atlanta theirs.

(H/T to Unc.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

CSI: Lafayette.

The current suspect is the D&D geek, in the driveway, with a broadaxe.
A large, medieval-style weapon was recovered at the scene.

McCoy described it as a doubleheaded, broadax with two 6-inch, stainless steel blades protruding from opposite sides.
Those East Coast college kids ain't got nothin' on the ones out here in flyover country...

Someone has a lucky day...

There are several novels that I try to buy every time I find a copy for sale cheaply, just so I have enough on hand to pass out to friends for subtle proselytization purposes: Starship Troopers and The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, stuff like that.

J. Neil Schulman's Alongside Night would be one of those books of which I keep several copies in stock, but for how scarce it is. Well, my roommate happened to stumble across a copy in the used book store yesterday, and not just any copy, either.

Pocket pistols...

Comparing John Moses Browning's two most successful .32 caliber pocket pistol designs is like night and day.

The Colt 1903, save for its simpler blowback method of operation, is very like a scaled down version of one of his larger, short recoil-operated pistols. It has a familiar arrangement of hammer, sear, and disconnector, operated by a sliding trigger, all of them, along with the grip safety, tensioned by a three-fingered spring.

The FN 1910, on the other hand, is a scaled-up FN 1906 Vest Pocket .25, all the way down to its pivoting trigger and coil-spring-powered striker. Despite having handled and fired numerous 1910's before, I had never really noticed that, probably because at the time I didn't have a lot of hands-on experience with the smaller .25's.

The strange part is that the Colt Pocket Hammerless, despite being the physically larger of the two, feels a lot smaller in the hand. The grip feels much slimmer, and the whole gun has a rounded, "bar-of-soap" feeling that makes it so amenable to being slipped into a topcoat pocket. The FN 1910, meanwhile, actually feels bigger than it is; the squared-off grip has a chunky, hand-filling feeling that reminds one that this gun was far more likely to end up in official flap holsters than in civilian coat pockets.

On the other hand, holding a 1910, you now know the answer to "What gun for Archdukes?"

I need to get them side-by-side on the range...

I can smell the metal shavings and hear the cussing...

Will's learning to cut & thread barrel shanks. Next he'll be cutting chambers.

Watching that stuff get done really gives one an appreciation for good gunsmiths.

Falling into the internet...

Les Jones links us to three tales of inflation.

Fascinating stuff.

The Downward Spiral.

Jimmy Carter just gets crazier and crazier as the years go by...
"I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that shares the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans." "That racism inclination still exists, and I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of belief among many white people -- not just in the South but around the country -- that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. I think that boy is perfectly qualified to lead this country."
Okay, I made that last sentence up, but given all the other bizarre crap that's popped out of Jimmy Carter's mouth since he went crazy just after the turn of the millennium, it wouldn't have shocked me one little bit.

Back when he was still in the big chair, busily flushing the country down the tubes, I had a really hard time hatin' on the man. Despite all his preachiness, all his pious wrong-headedness, Jimmy Carter came across as though he had not a mean bone in his body. For the first decade or so after he was run out of Washington on a rail, he confined himself to writing mindlessly cheerful little books that read as though they'd been ghost-written by Stuart Smalley and building houses for poor people with his own two hands and that was okay by me. I kept referring to him as "America's best ex-President".

And then sometime around '03 or '04, he just went completely nuts.

Put a sock in it, Jimmy, please. I'd like to remember you as a friendly, if misguided, useful idiot, not the withered old sack of vituperation you've turned into.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Your daily moment of pop culture wisdom:

The movie Ruthless People had a line in it that suddenly has new relevance for me:
Lt. Walters: "This could very well be the stupidest person on the face of the earth. Perhaps we should shoot him."

The guys at Men Are Not Potatoes have found someone who fits that description to a "T".

You have to wonder how someone like that remembers to fricken' breathe.


Filed under: Words I never thought I'd type...

I'm not sure exactly what it says about this administration that it makes Bill Clinton look better in retrospect, but it's nothing good.

The current freak show staffing the Executive Branch manages to combine the worst aspects of the ideological do-gooder ineptness of the Carter years with the well-oiled thuggishness of Clinton machine politics and the imperious self-righteousness of Dubya fresh out of a prayer meeting.

We've gone from Lyndon Baines Bush to Richard Milhous Obama...

A Blighted Christmas...

We had a global economy that had been artificially launched into orbit by people buying crap they didn't need with money they didn't have. When the money they didn't have dried up, then they couldn't buy the things they didn't need. And then all the boats that would have carried the things they didn't need to the stores that now can't pay their rent wound up parked here.

The only "green shoots" I see there are kelp wrapped around the anchor chains of idled container ships.

(H/T to Billy Beck.)

Overheard in the Bedroom:

The TeeWee in Bobbi's bedroom, used as an alarm clock, had come on with the volume turned to eleven. I couldn't help but overhear that after an automobile accident in town, someone was rushed to the hospital in "serious condition". How come nobody's ever rushed to the hospital in hilarious condition? Or whimsical condition?


So Patrick Swayze has shuffled off his mortal coil. Who will defend us from Cuban paratroopers now?


Also according to the TeeWee, Whitney Houston is going to be on Oprah's show today. I would pay good money to see Whitney accidentally stray too close to Oprah and get devoured like a drumstick in a shark tank. (I was always afraid that was going to happen to one of those Haitian kids who got within arm's reach of Sally Struthers during those charity commercials.)


Apparently Jay Leno is not dead yet.

Monday, September 14, 2009


The iPod served up a tasty stew of mid/late-'80s R.E.M., Concrete Blonde, and Jesus Jones while I was out and about today.

(Although it incongruously dropped a Die Krupps cover of "Enter Sandman" in between "Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)" and "Disturbance at the Heron House"...)

Well, well, well...

You gotta wonder how that link surf started out...

A fascinating interview...

An interesting interview with a WWII Russian tanker who served in the 6th Guards Tank Army, equipped with 76mm M4 Shermans.

Pics from Petrograd on the Potomac this Past Weekend:

JayG has some, with good ol' JayG commentary: Clicky.

I am not a luddite.

I'm just stingy on certain things.

I actually bought a Game Boy Advance. Yes, I know that it was last considered cutting-edge almost a decade ago, but I'm not the kind of person who spends a C-note on a toy like that; it cuts too much into my ammunition budget. The local game joint, however, has a splendid collection of Old Stuff That Beeps, and when it gets cheap enough, I can't say no. ("Ooh, look! A Sega Dreamcast!")

It got me looking at the current state of the art in hand-held video entertainment on Wikipedia and, boy howdy, has that stuff come a long way since the blinky orange LED's of my childhood.


I was saddened to read last night that James Rawles' wife, Linda, has passed away.

My sincerest condolences.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith go to Washington.

So I see that the storming of the Bastille went down peacefully over the weekend. The incredibly self-absorbed Barry O. has apparently said "l'etat, c'est moi," and continued prattling about socialized medicine, but others surely took note.

The earliest CNN pieces I read made noises about "tens of thousands" of protesters. Which is funny as all get-out, because anybody who looks at those pictures realizes that if that's "tens of thousands", then Louis Farrakhan had a Fifty Man March.

The best comment from the weekend was when the Mouth of Sauron... er, the White House spokesdrone made a statement indicating that he knew nothing of the march beforehand and that he didn't know "which group" this was. Nothing else better betrays the difference in mindset between Them and Me. To them it's all about The Group. This must have been some "Group", with newsletters and dues and party cards and marching orders and leaders; spontaneous organization outside the structure of some hierarchy is completely foreign to herd animals like that.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Today In History: Melodramatic Checkouts...

On this date in 1759, British General James Wolfe died in what was apparently an extremely picturesque fashion on the Plains of Abraham before the gates of Quebec, thereby missing out on the post-victory kegger and two-and-a-half centuries of bilingual street signs.

There is no truth to the rumor that the dude in the mohawk in the left foreground is pondering Wolfe's last words, which allegedly were " God, if I'd known what they were going to put on the french fries, we'd have just got back on the boats..."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Protestant guilt.

I've been horribly unproductive lately with... er... The Arms Room.

I'm going to try to remedy that.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Something in the vodka...

Stumbled across during my latest wikiwander:

The Wing-In-Ground Effect version of the yeoman 62-year-old An-2 "Built-In-Headwind" cargo biplane. Because... because... well, just because.


What radio station would have served up Ministry, the Sex Pistols, Linkin Park, and Concrete Blonde, back-to-back-to-back (and commercial free!) on my run to and from the grocery store?

The best thing about my iPod is that I like every album in there well enough to have actually paid money for it. That's a pretty good filter, right there. Worst case scenario, it's a track for which I'm just not in the mood, and a click of the skip button lets me try my random luck again. How did I suffer with a mere six-disc changer before this?

There's a little record shop near my crib that has big bins of $4.99 CD's out front in "Buy 1, Get 1 Free!" bins. Now I'm filling in holes and even replacing stuff that I previously only had on cassette; I haven't had such audio bliss in the car since I made my first mix tape...

The War on a Noun.

They hate us because of our freedoms, or so we were told, and so we've been trying to make Them hate us less ever since.

One step was the Internal, "REAL ID" act of 2005, which mostly succeeded in making married women who had taken their husbands' last names tear their hair out at the DMV, at least in states that fully implemented the procedures.

That last detail contains the rub: Half the states have given the feds the finger on REAL ID.

Stung, the .gov is trying again, this time with... REAL-ish ID!

Modern ruins...

Abandoned Russian military cities and fortifications on the Kola Peninsula.

The place is almost as run-down as Detroit.

EDIT: Speaking of military ruins, here's the satellite view of the remains of the KMS Tirpitz. Note the neat circular ponds along the adjoining shoreline, created by stray 12,000lb. "Tallboy" bombs.

Let's chat, shall we?

I know Congress and the President were running around calling all kinds of stuff "Patriot This" and "Patriot That" back in late '01 and early '02. Everything from bills to nominate this as a day of remembrance to bills to wiretap phones was hung with the appellation in a fervor of bipartisan bonhomie.

But we already had a "Patriots' Day", although I wouldn't expect a soul in either house of Congress to have the faintest grasp of the date and its significance.

This should be "Massacre Day" and stir righteous anger, not endless navel-gazing and hair-shirting.

Here I am!

So yesterday I pretty much spent the entire day with my nose in a copy of Foreign Enemies And Traitors, the conclusion of the trilogy that began with Enemies Foreign And Domestic.

Matt Bracken's novels are probably the best-written and most plausible feeling of what has grown to be an entire crowded genre of books; a genre that took off with John Ross's Unintended Consequences and now includes entries by everybody from Tom Kratzman to Boston T. Party. The first two books, EFAD and Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista, can leave one feeling a little unfulfilled; Matt creates some very sympathetic heroes (and heroines) and some deliciously boo-able villains, but for the most part the good guys only got the most Pyrrhic of victories and the worst of the villains never got stomped as thoroughly as they so righteously deserved.

Given that, Foreign Enemies was positively cathartic in places. Without giving away too much, let's just say that Matt doesn't end the series with a "To Be Continued..." It's over.

And I don't often grin like an idiot and occasionally cheer out loud while reading a book.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Your Thursday morning doom'n'gloom:

While the "zomg every single microchip will be slagged!" view of EMP is a little overstated, it's still a fact that anything plugged in to the grid is as good as toast, and that includes most of the grid itself.

What's being done about it? Well, there was a conference-type thing, but it wasn't, you know, official.

Meanwhile, hey, how about some socialized medicine!

(H/T to SurvivalBlog.)


Breakfast with Shootin' Buddy at Cafe Patachou.

I had the Overachiever omelette (bacon, cheddar, sour cream, and horseradish) again. I'm so predictable.

Now to email; I'm swearing a mighty oath to dig out from under a week-long backlog.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Sometimes I get reminded...

...that I'm not on the same page as everybody else.

I mean, my first thought when I saw this picture was "Oh, a British Q.F. horse artillery piece. Everybody knows what one of those is, because it's the gun from the duel at Néry, where three Victoria Crosses were awarded. That's the gun from the famous painting in the Imperial War Museum..."

Only, oh yeah, not everybody knows about Néry because not everbody's as big a nerd as I am...

Weird hunting regs...

Back when I lived in Georgia, before they "regularized" deer hunting regulations with surrounding states, they briefly had a strange rule for handgun hunting: To be legal, the handgun had to develop 500 ft/lbs of energy at a hundred yards. This pretty much eliminated all but the most powerful .357 magnum handloads, since no factory load in the caliber at the time had that kind of wheaties. It was also silly because the only way it could realistically be enforced would be to have game wardens carrying chronographs in the woods...

Needless to say, that particular regulation didn't last very long.

Within the last ten years, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama have adjusted their statutes for allowable hunting firearms until they were all broadly similar, one notable difference being that GA and AL let you hunt Bambi with a .22" or larger centerfire rifle while TN stuck to .24" or larger.

Not so in my new home state of Indiana. Oh, no. No shooting real rifles at deer up here. Hoosier hunters have to use muzzle loaders or shotguns with slugs or "pistol-caliber" carbines...

This all confused me when I got up here. Despite having Illinois on one side and Ohio on the other, Indiana seemed pretty laid-back about guns. Maybe, like any dumb law in Indiana, it had something to do with John Dillinger? But no, I saw the Johnny Depp movie and nowhere in it did he shoot a deer with a centerfire rifle. It turned out that the regulation sprang from a different reason entirely:

Whitetail were actually hunted to extinction in Indiana in the early 20th Century and had to be re-introduced. When they let people hunt them again, they made them do it with one hand tied behind their back to give the deer a chance. Well, as the saying goes, give a deer a chance and he'll take your bumper. Now the deer have spread like hoofed rats and do $40,000,000+ damage to windshields and corn crops in this state EVERY YEAR and we still have to hunt them with one hand tied behind our backs.

No scoped .30-'06s, no old Winchester "thutty-thutties", not so much as a single shot Thompson/Center rifle if it's chambered in an honest-to-O'Connor bottlenecked rifle cartridge suitable for Bambi zapping.

“Pistol caliber” rifles are okay, provided they meet the following criteria:
a) fire a bullet of .357 diameter or larger;
b) have a minimum case length of 1.16 inches; and
c) have a maximum case length of 1.625 inches.

You know where this leads? This leads to crazed young men taking measurements of exotic AR-15 cartridges and thinking strange thoughts, that's where it leads.

Your morning laugh.

Found this at Borepatch and laughed so hard I cried.

Blogmoot for the Blogmeet...

Votes are being cast for the September Blogmeet date over at Bobbi's place. Vote early, vote often!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

How many magazines is enough?

Every now and again, I hear someone talk about magazines and "How many is enough?"

As an answer to the question, I've heard everything from "two per gun" to "Obama per gun".

In a magazine-fed weapon the magazine itself, by virtue of being detachable, is the weak link; it's the part most susceptible to loss or damage, and therefore it behooves one to keep a spare. I know that for my collectible autoloaders I try to keep at least one spare and I even have an extra Lee-Enfield mag should the original on either my No.4 or SMLE get lost or go Tango Uniform.

On my recreational/range guns, I go further than that: The five 9mm 1911 mags I have aren't really enough to make me happy, and the even dozen I keep for my Marlin .22s feel like just a good start. For my serious pieces? I'm north of two dozen .45 ACP 1911 mags and 5.56 AR-15 mags, and I buy more every chance I get.

So I throw the question to y'all: How many magazines is "enough"?

Serious question:

Why is a weapon light that is considered eminently practical (if somewhat narrow-purpose) when attached to a plastic autoloader suddenly risible when screwed underneath a wheelgun? Do revolvers convey night vision, thus dispensing with the need for illumination devices? Or do they have built-in IFF sensors?

I mean, don't get me wrong, I laugh at the sight of the pimped tactical N-frame, too, but why?

Recognition Chart:

Handy firearms recognition chart for journalists.

I'm not 100%, but I'm pretty sure one of those is actually an Uzi.

(H/T to Sebastian.)

Quote of the Day: Illegaler edition.

...a man with a gun and restraining order against him (illegal) violated that order (illegal) and shot his family (also, illegal). Why, if only one more law could make it a bit more illegal, then it would never happen. -Unc.
Y'know, magic all the guns away and folks will beat each other to death with hammers.

Hippies, red in tooth and claw...

Now it's come to biting the fingers off people to demonstrate the need for Socialized Medicine?

Monday, September 07, 2009

Here's a timewaster...

Make your own rooney gun!

I knew this whole thing was spinning out of hand when I saw the first M4gery at the range with an airsoft dummy AN/PEQ-4 laser clamped to the crappy plastic Fobus railed handguards. Why someone would bolt a non-functioning fake infrared laser for spotting targets for imaginary airstrikes to their real carbine is beyond me, but there you go.

Other bleedover from the airsoft/Counterstrike kiddies that bugs the snot out of me:
  • Any MIL-STD-1913 rail farm gets referred to as a "RAS/RIS". Calling a Yankee Hill forearm a "RIS" or "RAS" is like tatooing "airsoft geek" on your forehead.
  • Anything with a can on it gets called "whatevergun-SD". The MP5SD is the suppressed variant of the famous Jerry subgun from the "You Suck And We Hate You" company, so now you hear kids standing in front of the showcase at the local Class 3 SOT and blurting "Awesome, dude! Look! A Ruger Mk.III 22/45SD!"
  • Hanging crap on a firearm that makes no fricking sense. If I had a dollar for every 16" M4gery I'd seen with the stepped barrel and collapsible stock, plus a bipod and a $79 Chicom ripoff of the Hubble fricken' Telescope on ultra-tall rings (and no cheek rest!), I'd go buy a new Colt LE6920...
  • Airsoft accessories on real guns. Dude, if you've shelled out the big union dollars for a PTR-91, live a little and put a real claw mount on it, not a cast zinc copy that will lose zero if you breathe on it too hard.

But, hey, ain't the free market grand? :)

The immigrant-owned dry cleaners had a sign...

...that said "We open lebber's day."

I haven't yet decided if I shall follow suit.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Now taking bets:

Who passes the sillier, more intrusive "zomg swine flu panic!!1!1!!one" legislation: California or Massachusetts?

On the other hand...

Went to dinner at the Brugge Brasserie with Brigid and Bobbi. A pretty darn good time was had by all.

The sun had come out and Broad Ripple was even more crowded than usual for a pleasant late summer evening. It turned out that there was some sort of footrace going on. At least I assume it was a footrace; there were a bunch of people running, and none of them appeared to be pursued by anything and they weren't chasing after anybody, either. Also, they had numbers pinned to their shirts.

Last time I ate at Brugge, I had the moules frites done up in their Provencal style, and this time I tried the steak frites. Both dishes were flat awesome (although it's a dirty trick to bury that awesome steak under all those frites.) Next time you're in Broad Ripple, you should give them a try!

I'm feeling a bit cheerier already. It's hard to be glum with a tummy full of steak.

Black dog.

Sorry for the lack of posting, kids. Just not feelin' it today.

My day started out bad and has literally gotten worse by the minute. At this rate, I'll be back under the covers before lunch.

Out beyond the last street light...

A favorite pastime in America is to mock the thoroughly corrupt political institutions of megalopolii like Chicago or the District of Columbia. While entertaining, this sometimes makes it possible to forget that, when one strays too far from the turnpike, one can witness similar scenes in played out in miniature in such scenic locales as Possum Hollow, Pennsylvania or Jericho, Arkansas. According to Yahoo news and the AP, in the latter hamlet...
"You can't even get them to answer a call because normally they're writing tickets," said Thomas Martin, chief investigator for the Crittenden County Sheriff's Department. "They're not providing a service to the citizens."

Now the police chief has disbanded his force "until things calm down," a judge has voided all outstanding police-issued citations and sheriff's deputies are asking where all the money from the tickets went. With 174 residents, the city can keep seven police officers on its rolls but missed payments on police and fire department vehicles and saw its last business close its doors a few weeks ago.
Yes, Jericho apparently didn't even have its own cops until a grant in the "1990s" (I'm going to use my amazing Kreskin powers to guess "sometime after September 1994") financed a cop shop. Most grants of this nature run out after two years, but the newly-formed Jericho P.D. apparently found a way to keep the dough rolling in even after the federal teat was withdrawn: traffic fines.

The road agent scheme ran on for over a decade and is only in abeyance right now because, and I am not making this up, the cops shot the fire chief in the ass right there in the courtroom when he was contesting his second speeding ticket of the day.

Hey, did you know that the current stimulus schemes are financing police departments for little towns (and additional officers for large ones) all over America right now? Of course, the funding runs out after two years, but I'm sure they'll find a way to keep the new po-po on the payroll...

(H/T to Men Are Not Potatoes.)

Saturday, September 05, 2009


I'm giving serious thought to shifting my collection around a little bit, getting rid of some newer stainless Smiths (3" 625 in .45LC, 646, 610 3", PC640 and the like,) and putting the money towards some things that interest me more these days...
  1. I need at least one Ruger 22/45, although two would be better.
  2. Some ammunition and reloading supplies.
  3. Picking up an FN 1910 or even a 1903 if I can find a shooter for a reasonable price.
  4. Getting a stainless Kit Gun.

If I play my cards right, I might be able to get a second AR lower and finish my rimfire 1911 project and still have dough left over...

We'll see.


A little dried out from the Claritin.

How's things in the world? Michael Jackson still dead?

Friday, September 04, 2009

Claritin-induced thoughts.

  • Now that Bengal tigers are about gone and sharks are getting seriously overfished, perhaps we could start a rumor in Shanghai that American feral hog livers will turn Mr. Whipple into Fabio.
  • I seem to have fended off the actual sickness-type sickness, but the evil foreign yankee weed pollen has taken the opportunity to fill my sinuses. No joint aches, no fever, sore throat mostly gone, but my head feels inflated to 30psi.
  • Why do I have a strange hankering for an FN 1910? It's a really elegant-looking little JMB design, but I need another .32ACP like I need a hole in my head.
  • I am bad about cleaning my "heavy rotation" guns. My Marlin Papoose, K-22 Combat Masterpiece, ParaUSA LTC-9, and 2" Model 64 all pretty much live in my range bag. The blued K-22 gets a wipedown and bore swab after the range session, but for the most part, those four guns only get a real cleaning when they start having function issues. I feel bad about this and will try to do better, honest.
  • Why am I telling you people this?

Frankenstein never scared me...

...and neither do most things in the "horror" genre. Besides, why would I read something to be scared?

Anyway, Stephen King always struck me as an ace storyteller whose true metier was the short story, although he could write a bang-up novel when he brought his A Game, which was about one try in four, by my tastes, with the rest being workmanlike tales with a certain 'contractual obligation' feel about them.

The only novel of his that ever really scared me... I mean really gave me the creeping willies... was Pet Sematary. I was living in a rented room in a lake house in the middle of the woods at the time, and I had finished reading the book at closing time at the little local pub. I found myself sitting there in the front seat of my Z-car after pulling into the driveway just after midnight, and for some reason I just had to reach over and flip the book upside-down before I could get out of the car, because I was actually too creeped out to look at the cover.

It was therefore with some interest that I read this at John Ross's recently-revamped website:
King is alleged to have said that he always wanted to write a book so scary he couldn’t finish writing it, and Pet Sematery came the closest. True story: In 1986 I had to make an emergency weekend trip to London as an underwriter for Lloyds. I decided to stay on Midwest time, staying up at night and sleeping during the day, since I’d be back home in two days. I bought a paperback to read in my hotel room. It was Pet Sematery. Reading that book at 4:00 AM in a strange hotel room in London was an experience I find difficult to put in words.
Incidentally, the only other thing I've read by King that honestly scared me was the short story "1408", from Everything's Eventual, and that had the distinction of doing so in a well-lit, crowded restaurant at lunch.

Triumph of the Swill.

Ten days.

Even a Dead Kennedy can only keep Michael Jackson's corpse off the front page for ten brief days.


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Back off, man, they're scientists!

Many people are unaware that the 20-lb. brains at Los Alamos have been nuking the undead 'til they glowed since 1945.

If you are moved by their courage and sacrifice, you should go vote for their awesome patch in comments at Larry Correia's blog.

The fate of the free world depends on you. Help keep New Mexico zombie-free!

Untruth In Advertising.

'When Thoreau judged that most men lived lives of quiet desperation I think he failed to consider the fact that, by a merciful provision of Providence, most men have little or no more imagination than an animal. Good reasons for despair may be all around the average man, but he won't see them.' -James Gould Cozzens

This slogan is a lie; a lot of the time it's actually kinda painful, like whenever the television is on or when you accidentally overhear a conversation in public and you think "Dear Shiva, if I had to listen to her go on like that through the whole dinner, I'd be using the fondue fork to tear out my eardrums before the dessert menu arrived."

College students, take note!

In this age of tightening budgets and soaring tuition costs, getting hammered can require selling a textbook or, worse, pawning your X-Box.

Never fear, however: A group of intrepid consumer reporters has thrown caution and their livers to the wind in the search for the Best Cheap Hooch of '09, just in time for back to school! Beverages are rated for color, bouquet, flavor, and similarity of aftertaste to common workshop solvents. See how your favorite libation stacks up: Clickety.

(H/T to Lissa.)

Instant Expert: Just Add Sheepskin.

Firearms laws are pretty complicated, and I'm just talking about the federal ones. Many, if not most, Federal Firearms Licensees don't know half of them. Here's an example: Most gun nuts know the combination of "evil features" that transform a wholesome imported semiautomatic rifle into the dreaded "assault weapon", but how many know the proscribed features for pistols? Self-loading shotguns?

Being the bookish sort and not much liking institutional food, I always read the booklets and circulars that the BATFEIEIO sent out to dealers, but I suspect that many use them to level the legs of wobbly tables. They're so busy staying on top of the big important legalities that the triviata slips by unnoticed; is it any wonder that their default setting so often is "Sorry, can't do that. It's 'gainst th' law"? If people who do this for a living are so often unclear on the arcana, one can imagine the fuzzy notions held by people on the outside.

This is what makes the latest "study" from Professor Wintemute, MD, MPH, especially hilarious: It seems that it consists of going "undercover" to gun shows and taking note of anything that "looks illegal". I'm sure it will be as packed with factual knowledge and sound research as his last effort.

Doc Wintemute has inspired me, however. I'm going to do a study on improper surgical procedures in the operating theaters of America. I'm just going to grab a mask and gown and go hang out in OR's, and note when stuff just looks wrong to me. I'm not a surgeon or anything, mind you, but I've prepared by watching a lot of House and ER, and reading a bunch of stuff. Plus, I'm very concerned about the issue, which should count for a lot.

It sounds like Wintemute has a bad case of what a physician acquaintance referred to as "doctoritis"; the feeling that, once one is awarded that MD (or PhD, or JD,) one is now an expert on everything. As a friend put it on the eve of her PhD: "This time tomorrow, I'll be twice as smart as I am right now!"

(H/T to Unc.)


Sore throat.

Hmmm. Wonder where that came from?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Strange things I want to do...

  • Reload .32ACP. Or .25. That would probably have a building-ships-in-a-bottle feel.
  • Have one of those little Z-scale choo-choo trains in a briefcase. I'm not sure why.
  • Shoot a matchlock.
  • Climb a mountain. Not a particularly big or difficult one, mind you. I'm not crazy.
  • Ride in a motorcycle sidecar.

Quote of the Day:

Rich Hailey on Awareness Of Your Surroundings:
"Exactly right," I said, "Carrying a gun won't do you any good if you don't pay attention. The first thing you have to do is realize you live in a bad neighborhood."

"No I don't," he answered. "It's the Old City. It's well lit and..."

"Your roommate was robbed at gunpoint at your front door. You live in a bad neighborhood."

"It's not that bad! There are lots of people who live down here and..."

"One more time. You live next to the railroad tracks. Have you ever heard of anything good happening by the railroad tracks?"

Today In History: Anti-Airship Piracy Setback.

On this date in 1925, the U.S. Navy's fledgling anti-Airship Piracy forces were dealt a severe blow when a sudden thunderstorm over Ohio tore apart the USS Shenandoah (pictured at left), killing 14 of her officers and crew. Miraculously, there were 29 survivors.


Get your Dead Commie gear here.

Guaranteed hippie kryptonite.


Frank talks about his deep roots in this state.

The way he does that, you'd think he was a writer or something. ;)

It's not really a lie if you're sincere...

Assault Rifle: A medium-caliber, select-fire shoulder weapon that bridges the roles between a machine pistol and a full-power bettle rifle.

Assault Weapon: A legislative term describing certain imported weapons that meet a list of defined cosmetic criteria. There were domestic "assault weapons" between 1994 and 2004, but the term no longer applies to anything but imported weapons, and is functionally meaningless outside a courtroom.

Assault Postcard: Mailed to your grandmother by her legislators and designed to scare her bloomers clean off with a combination of misleading photos, B.S. "definitions", and outright lies.

Wookie Suiters vs. Officer Clueless.

The thing that annoys me most about the video, apart from the goofy obliviousness of Officer Rerun, is the handy dubbed-in captioning. You know, where it says something like "Sparky's gonna love the FEMA camps."

Here's why: There aren't going to be any FEMA camps, Zippy. The whole idea of "FEMA camps" gives gives beer-bellied armchair revolutionaries from Cucamonga, California to Camden, New Jersey a nice safe "Go Code" that will never come; a bugle call that will never sound and that they'll only have to answer in their daydreams.

There aren't going to be any camps. Government will get a little more intrusive. Taxes will get a little higher. Laws will get a little more strict. All as we seesaw back and forth between Democrat and Republican administrations, each one tightening their favorite part of the ratchet and never repealing anything. And you'll keep going to work on Monday and tuning in to Alex Jones late at night and waiting for "The Camps" as the signal to start "The Revolution."

And meanwhile, we'll have turned into Sweden with NASCAR and better gun laws; Britain with baseball; a quasi-socialist "Third Way" country with its own American flavor and hot and cold running cable. And half the population wants this; half your neighbors; half your relatives.

And membership at the gun club is down, because who can afford to pay the dues these days, and did you hear how much the insurance is going to be next year? And your M1A will be "pre-ban" again, and nobody will have come to take your guns, and it's a shame about Bob, but he shoulda known better then to try to build that silencer in his basement. Maybe when they transfer him from Club Fed to the FEMA camp, then we'll go spring him...

(H/T to Billy Beck.)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Two Million Points Of Snark.

Four years and five days.
Five thousand and fifty eight posts.
Two million hits.
Go Team Me!


The Instapundit of the gunblog world turns seven...

Not only could they indict the ham sandwich...

...but it's probably actually guilty of at least one federal felony.

Remember, kids: Ignorance is no excuse for a law!

Your Tuesday morning doom'n'gloom:

The bottom line is this: mandated fiscal entitlements, projected into the future, are over 52,000 billion dollars. That will equal 90% of all household wealth in the U.S., and will place a burden of over 450 thousand dollars on every household in the land. This is almost ten times the present median household income level.

Mr. Walker concludes that “We face large and growing structural deficits largely due to known demographic trends and rising health care costs.” Further, “GAO’s simulations show that balancing the budget in 2040 could require actions as large as cutting total federal spending by 60 percent, or raising federal taxes to two times today's level.” -David Walker, ex-Comptroller General of the US.

There's only one way out of this mess, and it ain't gonna be pretty: "Mr. Sulu, fire up the printing presses at warp factor six. Engage!"

(H/T to SurvivalBlog.)