Saturday, October 31, 2009

The fabulous shrinking submarine...

For those of you who don't know, the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago sports one of the neatest exhibits: An entire WWII German U-Boat, captured intact.

I shot my very first roll of film in that sub, on a school fieldtrip, using a little 126 Instamatic to snap Sylvania flash cube illuminated pictures of my classmate's backs while we took the tour. (Good photo composition being something somewhat beyond me in the first grade.)

Funny, I seem to recall the U-505 being a lot... well... roomier inside. Maybe the Jerries should have looked into using six-year-olds for sub crews in the interest of reducing claustrophobia. Given the loss rates the Kriegsmarine was taking by 1944, they were probably heading in that direction anyway...

I forgot my camera back at Roseholme Cottage, but they don't let you take pictures in the sub anymore, so it didn't much matter.

No sense of proportion...

So I can't get a WiFi signal on my Eee and am reduced to the dead tree edition of the WSJ for my morning cardiac stimulation.

I am not disappointed: Smack in the middle of page one is a story about the Nekkid Pumpkin Runners in Boulder being hassled by The Man. Apparently, one guy streaking through the streets with a gourd on his noggin during All Hallow's Eve was cute, five or ten was a tradition, but the 150 they had last year was getting a mite out of hand, so this year the Boulder po-po is getting ready with the paddy wagon.

Now, while I'm generally on the side of the runners, I can kinda see the cops' point of view, too: There is a law on the books, even if it dates from days when even piano legs were modestly covered. One interviewee's response was priceless, however: "It kind of reminds me of what's happening in Tehran..."

Say what? Look, hippie, nobody's going to hang you or cut anything off, okay? You're exhibiting the same finely tuned sense of proportion as a sixth grader who threatens suicide because she doesn't get to go to spend the night at the slumber party with her friends.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Behind Enemy Lines...

I'm back in Mordor on Lake Michigan for the first time since '84. Hyde Park, to be specific; the throbbing center of the O-Zone.

Posting may be sporadic 'til Sunday afternoon.

Everybody's a music critic...

I don't believe I've ever heard of a fatal coyote attack before.

I'm sure that the fact that I initially broke out laughing at the link makes me a bad person: The link read "Canadian Folk Singer Killed By Coyotes", and my first mental picture was more Belushi in Animal House than something from Animal Planet.

If CNN had wished to be more solemn, they should have written the link to say "19 y.o. woman killed by coyotes", or "Young hiker fatally mauled by coyotes".

Instead, the way they wrote it is almost like a joke. The first word, "Canadian", starts it off on a humorous theme, because Canadians are all intrinsically funny: Witness John Candy, Mark Steyn, PDB, or any random Che-shirted Quebecois Separatist (although the Frog Canucks are trying to be serious, it still counts.)

Second, they described the victim as a "folk singer" and, really, who hasn't wanted to see one of those torn apart by wild dogs at some time in their life?

Color me skeptical.

So the talking head on the local morning news announced, in her most bubbly tone of voice, that the recession is over! As of yesterday! Sure, unemployment will continue to rise and consumer confidence, already at its lowest ebb ever, was likely to continue plummeting like a paralyzed falcon, but GDP had grown. Better than a "jobless recovery", we seem to have invented the "recoveryless recovery"; nobody's working and nobody's buying anything, but gosh darn it, we feel good about ourselves, so it's a recovery!

Never mind that all that "GDP growth" was imaginary, based on moving buckets of water from one end of the pool to another in hopes of raising the water level...

Excuses, excuses...

So my output has been a little low this week because we were early to the blogmeet.

Let me explain: Because we were early to the blogmeet, we stopped in to Big Hat Books, which is right next door to the Brew Pub. Big Hat is a neat little locally-owned book shop; the kind with pieces by local artists for sale and a friendly proprietress who is always eager to help. While there, I picked up a copy of Freakonomics, which I had not yet read.

I polished off whatever I was reading and started Freakonomics after my chores on Monday. Wednesday morning found me driving back to Big Hat for the sequel, SuperFreakonomics. In hardback.

Definitely interesting books. No matter your political orientation, there should be something in either one to piss you off and make you think.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

To my soft-hearted neighbors:

I know you love the feral kitties. I, too, am a fan of felines. However, if you give them a steady supply of food, they become like little welfare recipients; logy, dull, and disinclined to work. You cannot then complain when they lose the edge and don't eat the critters in your garden.

Help the kitties stay lean and hungry so they eat the nasty squirrels.

Overheard on the Phone:

Me: "...and there's no off-street parking and I don't have any change and the meters won't take a twenty and I accidentally turned into a bank employee parking lot and I was trapped like a cow in a slaughterhouse chute and now I'm turning out of another employee parking lot and I don't have a hands-free phone..."

Shootin' Buddy: "Okay, where are you now?"

Me: "I'm near the capitol building... uh... the corner of Ohio and... oh, something named after some other Yankee place, I'm sure. I think I can... Yes... I'm turning left on Ohio."

Shootin' Buddy: "Just come back north on Illinois and park by a meter near the restaurant. I'll come feed it when I get there. I'll let you have both hands to drive now. *click*"

I turn back north on Illinois and realize...

Shootin' Buddy: "Hello?"

Me: "Uh, never mind. There's a parking garage right next to the restaurant. I'm parked in it now."


One thing that's always baffled me is the profusion of exotic automobiles you'll see in downtown Indy of a weekend evening. The streets around the circle are almost crowded with exotic German, American, British, and Italian cars. Why anybody would take a stiffly-sprung, low-slung sports car with low-profile tires and a manual transmission and go drive it through that cratered hellhole of traffic lights and one-way streets at parking lot speeds for fun is completely beyond me.


I'm about to enter deepest Indianapolis to meet Shootin' Buddy for breakfast. I'm studying the map looking for a place to park when it occurs to me that I'd like to meet the inventor of one-way streets in a dark alley with a tee ball bat.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Double the eye candy...

Kevin has some totally gratuitous gun pr0n of the Heym double rifle variety up at his site.


You've got the right to protect yourself... if you can afford it.

Bob S. discusses how Texas's CHL system puts a heavy burden on the poor. Tennessee's was that way, too: By the time you'd paid the state and bought your training certs, you were about $200 out of pocket, and that's not even counting the cost of a heater and the means to carry it. That's a sizable chunk of change to a lot of people.

Hopefully they've got somebody around like a Texas version of James Rummel, doing the mandatory instruction out of charity, but I suspect that sort of thing is vanishingly rare.

It's a movement....

It has long been my perception that NFA ownership was increasing. It wasn't until my early 20s that I really got into the whole gun culture, about the time I got my first job at a gun store; at the time, in the early '90s, I could count the people I knew who owned NFA weapons on both hands. Most of them owned full autos of one variety or another, although I knew one guy with a pistol-gripped short shotgun (as a smoothbore handgun, these are registered as an "Any Other Weapon", or AOW in gun nut lingo,) and the only person I knew with a suppressor had it attached to a MAC-10.

Now you can't swing a cat at a gun show without hitting someone selling suppressors, and I'm one of the few people I shoot with who doesn't own a can (or a short-barreled rifle or a full auto or a tax stamp of any kind.)

It looks like my perception is backed up by the numbers.

If suppressors keep getting more popular, I think one of the gun culture's next attacks should be to get them removed from the NFA. After all, they're good for your health!

Pesky rodentia.

Last year, it was chipmunks destroying my feeble attempt at growing corn. This year, it was a squirrel making the pumpkin on our porch look like a JFK jack-o-lantern.

The folks at Locally-Grown Gardens claim they have some kind of pumpkin rodent repellent, but it's too late to save our gourd.

Move over, Elite Team Fighter!

There are things on the intarw3bz that I wish every day that I'd never stumbled across. For example, yesterday I...

Oh, jeez, I'm laughing almost too hard to type...

Yesterday I found what might be the ultimate in internet gun-wanking Walter Mittyery:

Everyone knows that not even an Elite Team Fighter can stand in the face of those masters of Gun Fu, the Grammaton Clerics, right?

Well, I felt better about the world before I realized that somewhere in America, the Star Wars kid's cousin is busting Christian Bale poses in mom's basement with a brace of Tokyo Marui Berettas and telling his friends that he has a black belt in Gun Kata.

Quote of the Day:

From George in comments here:
...and I thought the phrase was,
"PROMOTE the General Welfare", NOT

Huh? What? Sorry...

I couldn't hear what you were saying; I was all absorbed in writing something over at the Arms Room. All the talk lately about loaded chamber indicators and magazine safeties got me thinking...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A man with good taste in firearms.

Frank James writes:
Got another 1903 Colt .32 because my other one is in the shop and has been for some time now. Besides you just can't have too many 1903 Colt .32's.

I have to say that I totally agree. But then I have a weakness for old .32 autos in general, and Colts are just the neatest of the breed. Every now and again I get the urge to acquire a nice little IWB holster for mine because... well, just because.

A bear walks into the grocery store...

Actually, there's no separate punch line. That's pretty much the whole story.

Well, I mean, the critter cops came and rousted him with the aid of the usual Thorazine gats and nets and stuff, but nobody got eaten on the chips'n'dip aisle or mauled in the produce department or anything.

It tasted like pure nomminess.

So the other evening, Bobbi fried up some bacon & egg sandwiches, and cooked a few slices of my pancetta to throw on them. That was the first time I'd eaten it fried up like bacon, believe it or not.

Oh. My. God. It was like bacon, only baconier; the platonic ideal of nomminess.

Yesterday afternoon I fried up the remainder and ate it on crispbreads with provolone. I'm going back to Fresh Market today for more.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Uplifters are at it again.

Based on statistical analysis, the fascistii are gaining on me.

It took them six years from my arrival in Knoxville to pass an ordinance requiring the wearing of a sweater when it's cold outside; here in Indy it took them less than two.

What? You think my analogy is too odious? Then why did the statement from my Betters at City Hall say "This isn't about business owner's rights; this is about Health!" And as anybody who's ever had a mother knows, wearing a sweater when it's cold outside is Healthy!

A more robust citizenry would have made Christmas Tree ornaments out of any legislators so overreaching in their officious busibodiness, but the flame of the Spirit of '76 guttered and burned out long ago in this fair land. Maybe next we can legislate the proper size of frickin' toilet tanks. Oh, wait...

Words of Wisdom:

"Don't bring a knife to a coffee fight," or "The Starbucks in your hand beats the STI .38 Super open class gun left in the gun safe."

October Blogmeet Report.

I'd write one but, as per usual, the Hoosier Blogmeet Social Secretary has already done a better job than I could. She, like, took notes and stuff.


Do you know what I just realized is the dumbest gun part ever affixed to a gun? A "loaded chamber indicator".

Dumber than an integral lock, dumber than a magazine safety.

What's it supposed to do? Encourage people to think "Well, it's okay if I point this thing at Cletus over there because the loaded chamber indicator says it's empty..."?

Its very existence betrays a bad mindset to have around guns, which is the idea that "This one's loaded, so I'll treat it with extra special caution!" The problem is thinking that way implies the unwritten corollary that "I don't think this one's loaded, so I can handle it sloppily," which almost unfailingly comes back to bite the unwary in the arse and leave bullet holes in things better left unpunctured.

Shooty (and Eaty) Goodness Weekend Report.

Sunday morning dawned bright and early, as is its wont, and Shootin' Buddy showed up for the drive to the range. As we set off on our normal route, we noticed that Good Morning Mama! Cafe had, instead of the "Coming Soon" sign that had graced it for so long, a sign reading "Yes, we're OPEN!" Almost as though by magic, the truck steered right into the parking lot.

Good Morning Mama! is an offshoot of local favorite Italian restaurant Mama Carolla's, which you know is good because they always have a line out the door like they're giving dollar bills away inside. Their new breakfast/lunch joint didn't disappoint, either. I ordered a breakfast burrito with eggs, chorizo, onions, jalapenos, and cheese, and it came with a cup of chili verde sauce with which to slather it, should that that appeal to you. Shootin' Buddy ordered an omelette yclept "Swiss Bliss", which contained pancetta in addition to the titular cheese.

Suitably ballasted, we headed out to Iggle Crick for the day's blasting.

I broke in the 22/45 by pulling it out of its case, giving the bolt a squirt of dry lube, loading magazines and getting down to shooting paper zombies. The only malf the gun experienced all day was a dud primer on a Remington Golden Bullet. It even ran fine with the godawful Federal bulk pack stuff I was shooting (which, despite being all from the same box, gave reports varying over the decibel range from "CB Cap" to "Stinger".) I hate all the added mechanical goofiness on the Mk III: The "loaded chamber indicator" is the most unnecessary device in Christendom, the mag safety prevents empty magazines from dropping free, and the built-in lock will probably never even have its keys unwrapped. The only real upsides are that it does feel more 1911-like in my hand than the previous iteration and magazines interchange freely with the older model.

Incidentally, the dry lube was great. I got a can of Strike Hold from 3 Part Supply while we were at the show and Shootin' Buddy was standing in a fog of the stuff, having brought dirty guns to use as controls. He was hosing down loaded mags, spraying it into the cylinders of revolvers, going cyclic with Ruger MkII's and a pile of loaded mags to see if he could get it to burn off, the works. I was happy that it greatly extended my range time with my K-22, because the chambers didn't even start to get a little bit sticky until right about when we were ready to go home anyway. Anyhow, good stuff.


So I have a half-completed Sunday Smith to post, a range report to do, and a blogmeet to write up. What did I do? Overslept. Bleh.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Shooty Goodness.

What do we do after the gun show?

Go to the range, of course! :)

Off to breakfast in a bit, and then Iggle Crick. And this time I won't have to look at Shootin' Buddy when he's getting his Ruger 22/45 out of the range bag and ask "Did you bring enough for the whole class?"

7.65 Browning Automatic.

You know, yesterday, I was trying to think of an autopistol chambering in current common use that's older than the .32ACP, and I can't think of one.

The .32 debuted at the turn of the last century in the FN 1900; .30 Luger and .30 Mauser are as old and older, respectively, but neither one is in what I would call "common use" these days. All the older handgun cartridges I can think of are revolver loadings.

Huh. That John Moses Browning guy, he turns up everywhere.


The handiest thing to have at a gun show is something in which to carry your scores.

Luckily, ever since I started carrying my 5.11 PUSH Pack, which I got because of the fact that it fits my Eee as though it were made for it, I always have something handy. I have a feeling that most regular purses would not have dealt well with the additional burden of a pint bottle of water, a carton of .22LR, 100rds of 9mm, and a set of .45ACP carbide reloading dies, as well as swallowing the cell phone, cigs, lighters, flashlights, keys, pens, and suchlike that the purse normally holds. In fact, all I needed to do to make it ready for gun show cargo chores was remove the Eee. Tease me all you want about my "tactical purse", but that padded shoulder strap is a godsend when you're lugging an extra five or ten pounds around in there.

Another strategy I have seen used with some success is going to one of the tables manned by a big surplus vendor and buying one of the countless variety of dispatch bags, gas mask pouches, medic packs, or suchlike that they have piled on their table, usually for $10-$20. It's not like you'll never find a use for it after the show.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Something old, something new, something ammo, and something Blue (Book)...

In addition to some .22 and 9mm ammo, I snagged a Ruger Mk.III 22/45 and got a killer deal on a H&R .32 autoloader. Also, .45ACP dies were obtained, and I got a copy of the 5th Edition of the Standard Catalog of Military Firearms. I'll bring my old 3rd Edition to the blogmeet Sunday afternoon and give it to the first person who asks nicely.

View From The Porch:

The seasons are turning again here on the sleepy side streets of Broad Ripple:

...and here you can see why they call it "Fall":

I see more raking in the very near future...

You know what's awesome?

Being mumblesomething years old and still being able to feel like a kid on Christmas morning on gun show weekends.

Shootin' Buddy'll be here in just over an hour.

Other things for which I should keep an eye open: FN 1910 mags, quasi-reasonably-priced .32 ACP ammo, HKS 22-K and 22-J speedloaders. I also want to get hands-on with one of those Bushnell fakeOGs; I'm looking for a temporary dot, for ranges from indoors to across-the-street, that I can use until I've scraped up the gelt for a replacement EOTech.

I hate it when...

...I get all choked up first thing in the morning. At least let me get some coffee in me before you get me all teary-eyed.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Yay! Fun Show Tomorrow!

My main goal is a Ruger 22/45. I'm hoping to find a nice used Mk.II, but I'll settle for a Mk.III. Stainless would be nice, too.

I also need to pick up... and this is so embarrassing... some .45ACP loading dies. Probably get some bullets while I'm there, too. I'm assuming the primer situation is still pretty dismal. I know that the Mountain of Geese had nowt but some small pistol primers last time I was there, and Premier Arms hasn't had anything other than 209 shotgun primers since forever.

Unholy Alliance.

In Indiana it is against the law to buy alcohol for off-premises consumption on Sunday. It is also against the law for anyplace other than a liquor store to sell cold beer (although cold wine is apparently a-okay.)

So when legislation comes up that would overturn both these provisions, who do you get opposing it? An unholy alliance of churches who are apparently afraid that people will sneak out before the benediction to get a sixer of Bud before the Colts game kickoff, and package store owners afraid of losing their cold beer monopoly and getting beaten down in fair competition by Kroger.

Politics makes for some unnatural bedfellows.

If you take the king's shilling... gotta dance to the king's tune.


Does the little silver status bar across the top of the blog look different, or am I hallucinating again?

An appropriate word.

The word "hero" gets a lot of abuse in today's English, being used for everybody who manages to bravely fight their way out of bed in the morning, and awarded with a gold cluster for athletes and performers.

However, I think we can all agree that if you charge into the flaming wreckage of an 18-wheeler with a cargo of liquid freaking propane to pull the driver from the cab, you get to be called "hero".

Color me dubious.

I know that ¡Blackhawk‼ (FTC Disclaimer: The ¡Blackhawk‼ Corporation has given this blogger a box of free swag approximately 1'x1'x2' in size, as well as let her ride on their rock star bus and watch war movies) makes some pretty decent gear, as well as being the world's third-largest consumer of exclamation points, after Bolivia and Third-Grade Book Reports. Their pouch-y vest-y tactical-y stuff is great, their MOD knives are top-shelf, their new clothing line is comfy and practical... However, I've just never gotten that... you know... "gotta have it" vibe from their plastic holsters.

Now, I have some plastic holsters for 1911s; the aforementioned ¡Blackhawk‼ unit that I use for when I remember to go bowling pin shooting, a G-Code paddle (FTC Disclaimer: The G-Code paddle came out of a big box of prototype holsters for free at a Thanksgiving shindig that this blogger attended along with the owner of G-Code some four years before she started blogging) that also sees use as a range holster, and a Safariland 6280 (FTC Disclaimer: The blogger is not entirely certain where the Safariland rig came from, nor is she quite sure why she has a tactical drop-thigh holster in the first place, as she needs one about like a hen needs a flag) so it's not like I'm totally opposed to the concept. In a completely unscientific "Gosh, this feels sturdy!" test, the Blackhawk CQC stuff seems to fall somewhere between regular type kydex holsters and the run-it-over-with-a-tank Safariland gear. Mind you, I haven't tried destroying my own holsters with a hammer or anything to find out which is actually the X-Tremest!, although I'll be happy to break someone else's gear in the name of science.

What I find interesting is the email I just got from ¡Blackhawk‼ announcing the "selection of the BLACKHAWK! SERPA retention holster system along with select accessory components for the Elite Warriors of the United States Joint Special Operations Community."

Maybe the elite warriors of JSOC aren't as tough on their gear as our local Hoosier gunbloggers?

Happiness on a cracker.

I pedaled to Fresh Market yesterday evening and picked up some fresh-sliced hard salami, pancetta, and Swiss. I have some Wasa crispbread here at the house already. Lunch is going to be yummy.

Bobbi seems a little taken aback at the idea of eating the Italian bacon raw. I told her that it can be eaten as a cold cut, like prosciutto, or cooked, but she's still dubious. It does look kinda like regular bacon, which can be disturbing to the uninitiated, but it tastes like heaven on a cracker...

As an aside, the little detachable shopping basket on my bike is just the berries. If only cars came with a built in shopping cart for the grocery store!

BONUS!: Via Butch_S in comments, GM's 1964 show car with built-in shopping cart!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The post wherein I feel old...

Look, I know that when you send me an email that says "i would like if u could email more pix plz", you mean that you would like me to send you more photographs via email, but would it frickin' kill you to type it in English? If you could only see the spike in my blood pressure when I open an email to see that "txtspk" nonsense...

And do they not teach kids to use the frickin' shift key anymore?

Get offa my lawn!


Boy, I've been cranky lately. Snapping people's heads off; getting frustrated with the most trivial things. Should I maybe take a break from the blogging?

I know! I'll go search the internets for what causes unusual bouts of sudden irritability. Probably brain tumors or late-stage sudden adult death syndrome; that's usually what causes anything you look up on the internets.

How did I miss this?

Breda points to a review of the Showtime reality show "Lock & Load" that describes the program as "deadly dull".

Let's see: A dinner theater actor decides to make the rent money by manning the counter in a gun store rather than busing tables. And, to jump start his acting career, he's going to record all the transactions where he helps Imogene pick out a Taurus .38 or fetches a set of Lee carbide .45 Colt dies for Cletus and make an "edgy" reality series out of them because, hey, guns are "edgy" right?

And people are surprised to find out that eight hours of slinging guns across the glass is about as "edgy" as watching paint dry. Heck, I could have told Showtime that before they wasted the airtime.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not my day...

So I've got a bidder on Gunbroker asking for an "actual" picture of the 610.

I explain that I'm across town from the gun and my camera tonight, but the picture on Gunbroker is of the actual gun.

He says it's just a picture from a website.

I say "Yes, that's my website. That's a picture of the actual gun."

He says "I could say that was my website, too..."

Now he's emailing me saying if he's the winning bidder, he doesn't want the gun.

I've had enough for one day; I'm going to bed.

Something in the water today.

Pretend I'm a hypothetical college student. I am going to write a paper on self-defense, and my thesis is that "Most Gun Owners Consider .22 To Be Totally Ineffective For Self-Defense."

To gather support for my theory, I poll gun owners with the question "Which would you prefer for self-defense: A .22 or a big stick?"

26% respond "A .22", 44% respond "A big stick", 12% respond "A .44 Magnum Loaded With 240gr Federal HydraShoks", 10% respond "Screw you and your push polls, you Obama-votin' closet commie!", and 8% respond " Ron Paul in '12!" (This is the internet, after all...)

I change the title of my paper to "Gun Owners: Too Antisocial To Win?" and get an A+. ;)

Count - Pointercount.

The "Metrocons" discussion that started here continues here.

I find it interesting that some took it as a term that was prima facie derogatory and was referring to nominal conservatives who were anti-RKBA, whereas I took it to be merely descriptive, and to refer to conservatives who just really didn't give the whole gun issue much thought one way or the other, as it didn't often impinge on their day-to-day lives.

My parents, both Chicago born and bred and both solid GOP voters and social and fiscal conservatives as long as I can remember, have never been gun owners that I am aware of, and my mother at least has actively expressed verbal support for "common sense" gun legislation, along the line of "What does anyone need one of those for?" referring to scary-looking rifles.

Overheard in the Hallway:

RX: "I'm surprised that your banjo picture post didn't get more linkage."

Me: "Too small a target audience. You have to know about the sticker on Woody Guthrie's guitar and be aware of the zombie menace to really think it's funny and, face it, that's a pretty thin slice of the nerd pie right there."

Help a brother out...

Go take the survey at Murdoc's.

It's interesting timing, as recently I've had two conversations with people whose opinions I respect for being considered and informed, and all three of us had caught ourselves musing that in a self-defense situation at any distance much past "really close", we'd rather have a magazine-fed autoloading .22 rimfire rifle than nearly any normal pistol, simply for the fact that hitting with a rifle is so much easier than with a pistol. Incidentally, this is (or was) the reasoning behind the semiautomatic 9mm carbines sometimes still encountered in law enforcement work; it's not that they are more powerful than the duty sidearm, it's that they offer vastly improved hit potential at any range past contact distance.

Dream a little dream...

Lissa has a gun-related dream for the first time:
I very clearly remember that I had my index finger straight against the slide, safely outside the trigger guard. Four Rules, even in my SLEEP, baby!
It's cool that it wasn't one of the common panic-type ones: The gun that won't hit, or the two-zillion pound trigger, or the bullet-proof bad guy. I've only experienced a couple of those, and they were memorable enough that they're still available for playback in the Cineplex Tamarama years later.

Usually, however, I wake up from gun dreams thinking "Wow, I wish I could shoot like that in real life," because Sleep Tam is an unstoppable badass with a carbine or pistol and decisive in her actions, whereas Awake Tam is a mediocre shot with a propensity for dithering.

Fashion Statement, Part Deux.

So I'm talking to Matt on the phone yesterday and the topic of Barbecue Guns comes up. I at first aver that I don't really have one. I mean, I could slap my spare set of Arhend's cordia wood or Carbon Creations grip panels on my Springer or my Colt, but those are both beat-to-hell working guns with ugly, worn teflon finishes. "Like lipstick on a pig," is the term that came to mind.

"Oh, wait..." I recalled, "yes, I do have a Barbecue Gun." I wonder if those vintage mother-of-pearl stocks on my .44 Hand Ejector would fit on that 27?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Just riffing...

Bobbi's post about the famous sticker on Woody Guthrie's guitar gave me the idea to put a sticker on Woody Harrelson's banjo...

Somebody who's a more dab hand with the software should be able to take that ball and run with it. ;)

So true...

Go read NewJovianThunderbolt's ruminations on the phenomenon of "Metrocons".
You can read National Review Online for months without seeing a reference to the 2nd amendment. Longer if no 2A cases work their way through the court system. Only one or two contributors shoots a self-defense handgun regularly or has in the past. And it is hard to blame them. By definition they LIVE in the city. And the 2 cities they live in are NY and DC. Neither are known for having lots of places to practice with your boomstick. Or having a boomstick in your house/apartment.

Looks like he hulled Quasi-Con George Will right there. Although I'd been subliminally aware of the phenomenon, I'd never really put my thoughts to words like that before. Now I don't have to.

Open Carry Fashion Police.

Look, if you are wearing your gun out where God and everybody can see it, then your pistol and holster are as much a part of your wardrobe as your belt and shoes.

Anybody who'd open carry in a Fobus holster would wear Crocs in public, that's all I'm saying.

The Life Of Barry

Joanna sums up the current occupant of the Oval Office in one single Monty Python quote.

I LOL'ed.

Like old guns? Own a screwdriver?

Then a copy of Antique Firearms Assembly/Disassembly would be a worthwhile purchase. It originally interested me for having the instructions for taking apart top-break Smiths, but it also has pre-war Hand Ejectors, some single-action Rugers, old Colts, lots of lever-action rifles, and a few of the more common antique shotguns.

Just remember: If you break anything inside a top-break Smith, you're going to have a bear of a time finding a replacement and someone qualified to fit it. As a matter of fact, Smith top breaks are generally cheap enough that it might not be a bad idea to keep a parts gun or two to back up any one you actually use much. It's the same reason I encouraged my roommate to pick up an extra Savage .32 or two if she found them cheaply...

Not to put too fine a point on it, but...

...he's right:
"It's not a matter of whether or not they perform their intended role well; it's whether or not they collude with the state in not only misinforming the public, but actively -- with malice aforethought -- disinform the public. They propagandize for affirmative evil. They willfully spread lies. They conceal information they know and can verify in order to support their favored candidates and issues and then try to deny that's what they're doing." -Mark Alger, BabyTrollBlog


The buggy whip makers just don't get it.

Among the natives...

Reading Dr. Wintemute's little anthropological tour the the darkest wilds of Gunshowia, wherein he observes the rituals of the primitive inhabitants and attempts to interpret them for his civilized audience, is simply hilarious.

It would be fun to do one of Wintemute's natural habitat...
"The tweed jacket is a sign of maturity and a request for deference from lower-ranking herd males, or "neckbeards", as the juveniles of the species are termed. Note the artfully rumpled look that signals to prospective mates that the silverback is too preoccupied with affairs of the mind to be bothered with petty things like grooming. Note also the way that the sunken chest puffs outward in the presence of junior herd females, or "undergrads" as they are referred to in the vernacular..."

Meanwhile, I apparently need to get with the progam and buy one of them there pink guns, since the Patriarchy has gone out of their way to make them extra attractive for my l'il sensibilities. (This is me, rolling my eyes...)

(H/T to RobertaX)

Monday, October 19, 2009


Things get very surreal at this link. Maybe too surreal to be entirely work-safe.

Presented (almost) Without Comment:

Okay, so Barry wants me to refinance my nonexistent underwater mortgage and go back to school. What does Congress have to say to this profligacy?

Well, Nancy says (at least subliminally suggested by the ad on the right) that I'm supposed to get all swoon-y over some metrosexual guy who spends more on skin care products than I do.


It's the WebAds of the Apocalypse.

I'm buying precious metals, canned goods, and ammunition...

Welcome to the Future...

When I was very young, still living behind enemy lines in Chicago, we would occasionally go visit our kinfolk in Iowa on their working farm. I remember these visits only vaguely as very bucolic idylls...

This morning, at OhMyGawdThirty AM, I emailed a question to Farmer Frank. I received a reply a few minutes later, and sent him another email in return... "Bing!" I had a response in my Inbox in not ten minutes.

I looked at my clock.

I looked at my calendar.

There was no way on God's Green Earth that a working farmer was sitting in his office at this time of day, this time of year...

Another email was sent, and I quote: "Please tell me that I am not having emails answered by a farmer out in the back forty with a Blackberry. Let me cling to my quaint 20th Century illusions."


Welcome to the 21st Century, y'all...

A little frustrating, yet strangely addictive.

So, I've been playing first-person shooters on the PC since the days of Wolfenstein 3D, so "First-Person Shooter" and "Mouse & Keyboard" are linked pretty inextricably in my head. Also, when I think "video game controller", the first mental image to pop up on my head is a black square base with a single joystick and a solitary orange button in the top left corner, not some organic shape that looks like it was grown in a vat and is covered with more buttons, switches, and joysticks than the cockpit of the Concorde. Needless to say, Call of Duty 3 on the X-Box is taking a bit of work...

Good News, Bad News.

The gray skies are going away, and that means the thermometer will creep past sixty here on the porch for the first time in a while.

The downside is that the clouds are kinda like Baby Gaia's blanket, and when they go away it's kinds like her bare bottom is exposed to the cold vacuum of space at night. Oh well, at least a hard frost kills bugs.

Shooty Goodness Weekend Report.

Went to Iggle Crick with Shootin' Buddy bright and early yesterday morning, after a breakfast of yummy huevos con chorizo at Le Peep.

We were the first shooters there, and I got my Zombie Chuck target hung up and went to work with the .22 Combat Masterpiece and a borrowed Mark II 22/45. I shot the K-frame until the extraction got sticky and the Ruger until the raw spot on my thumb was taking the fun out of mag loading. Also, I was getting to the point where I could see the bottom in my ammo can.

I did some shooting with the Para LTC9 and ran sixty rounds of .45 through the Colt. The reason that I know that it was exactly sixty rounds is because as I was heading out the door, I grabbed the .50 cal ammo can that I thought was my .45 but was actually my roomie's spare magazine can. Oops. So I had to borrow some .45 ACP LRN from Shootin' Buddy, out of the stash he picked up at Knob Creek.

I'm still trying to work on my reloads by loading random numbers of rounds into magazines, anywhere between two and full, and mixing them up before starting a string. Also, I still have a bad tendency to pull stuff low when I start getting rushed or flustered. The A-Zone was chewed out of Zombie Chuck's noggin, but I threw a few into his teeth and neck and, more embarrassingly, gutterballed two right past his right earlobe. Dropping straight low on followups for me is largely a result of my sloppy trigger prep, but I got no excuse for the others.

Meanwhile, Shootin' Buddy noticed that his Ciener .22 conversion wasn't chambering the rounds completely. After a small amount of fiddling, the reason was determined:

Sorry for the blurry pic; cell phone closeups are tricky. Anyway, see the way that the red range rod protruding from the chamber has a gray/silver cylinder on the end of it? Yup, squib. Fortunately it barely made it into the rifling and prevented the round behind it from chambering fully. Federal Spitfire, in case anyone was wondering. Always be alert for bore obstructions, kids!


Rare 10mm revolver for sale. All proceeds go to my favorite charity: Me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Greatest Movie Ever Filmed.

They need to go back in time and take all the Oscars away from Gone With The Wind and maybe Casablanca and give them all to Zombieland.

Seriously, this is the only time I've ever blurted out "Oh my gawd, this is maybe the greatest movie ever!" out loud, in the theater. Twice.

That is all...

It's pronounced "Modus Operandi"...

So the news this morning reads:
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- A man wearing an explosives-laden belt blew himself up during a conference between Shia and Sunni groups in southeastern Iran on Sunday, killing at least 29 people.

The blast in Sarbaz in the province of Sistan-Baluchestan wounded 28 others, the semiofficial Fars news agency said.

Five senior officers of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed in the attack, Fars said.

Okay, that sounds about par for the course for that neck of the woods. Nothing to see here; move along... Then comes the plot twist:
While no one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, Iran pointed the finger at the United States without disclosing its reasons.

"We consider this recent terrorist act to be the result of the U.S. actions and this is a sign of their enmity," said parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.
Oh, yeah, Zippy, that one's got our fingerprints all over it. What was the giveaway? The way the guy was humming snatches of "Yankee Doodle" between shrieks of "Allahu Akhbar!" right before he pulled the pin on his Semtex Underoos?

Happy Blogiversary!

Go wish a happy blogiversary to Breda and Bobbi.


We're having the 23rd day in a row of below-average temperatures. And by "below-average", I don't mean "It was supposed to be 70 degrees and we only hit 69." Usual daily highs this time of year are in the mid sixties, and we'll be lucky to claw our way out of the low fifties by late afternoon.

On the heels of the second coldest July on record, this means that we got bupkis for tomatoes. The grape tomato plants in the backyard are still covered with stunted green things that can only be called tomatoes because of the position they occupy on the end of the stems. The neighbor's Tabasco pepper plant only half-ripened as well, and our crop of Serranos could have been bigger, with four plants yielding maybe five or six peppers worth eating.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Attention Californians:

Buy your pre-ban unregistered assault televisions now, before your state's energy commissars hand down their ruling in November and you have to smuggle them in from Nevada the way you do handgun ammunition and cigarettes.


Didn't sleep well. Weird dreams. Kept waking up. Woke up at normal weekday time by reflex. May give it up as a bad idea and crawl back under the covers and try this one again in a few hours.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Münchausen-by-Proxy Boy...

Holy jeebus, how did I miss this?
The father built the 20ft by 5ft silver helium balloon in his yard and it was designed as a transport vehicle of the future so "people can pull out of their garage and hover 50ft to 100ft above traffic." He also once posted a video of himself on the internet in which he describes Hillary Clinton as a "shape shifting reptilian".
Trapped in a runaway UFO or hiding in the garage, the kid is obviously in trouble: "Hello? 911? Yeah, my parents are frickin' crazy!"

Five rifles meme...

I caught the tail end of Gun Nuts Radio and heard Caleb talking with Robert of Blackfork Blog about the Five Most Significant Rifles, and I thought, hey, there's an easy idea for a post...

I'll start off with the gun made by the first guy, probably a German, who realized that putting a bit of a twist on his powder-fouling grooves made the gun shoot better. Of course, those early rifles had almost no military significance. The ball needed to be virtually hammered down the barrel from the muzzle end, and so the reloading process took forever. Contrary to the mythology, "Pennsylvania Rifles" (they weren't "Kentucky Rifles" at the time,) played virtually no significant part in the War of Independence; fast-firing smoothbores fired in mass volleys ruled the battlefields of the day.

This was changed by the introduction of expanding-base "Minie balls", which enabled a new generation of "rifle muskets" to be loaded almost as rapidly as smoothbores and fired almost as accurately as earlier rifles. The most significant, and one of the earliest, was the Pattern 1853 Enfield adopted by the British army, which combined a rifled barrel, adjustable sights, and percussion ignition into a sophisticated infantry weapon.

Its time in the sun was short, however. Unlike smoothbore muzzle loaders, which dominated the world's battlefields for centuries, the muzzle-loading percussion rifle barely lasted two decades, because a German inventor named Dreyse had perfected a system that used a rotating, sliding bolt, like one used to lock a door, to close the breech of a rifle, allowing the cartridge to be inserted from the rear of the barrel. This meant that the user could reload much faster, and do it while prone or kneeling behind cover, both of which were nearly impossible with muzzle loaders. While the British and Americans were still fumbling around with the best way to convert antique sidehammer muzzle loaders into cartridge arms, the Jerries had already won three wars with the first mass-produced standard issue bolt action rifle.

The Dreyse's main handicap was the fact that it was a single shot weapon and that, being charged with black powder, the bore fouled quickly even at the modest rates of fire of which it was capable. Various magazine-fed bolt action rifles only compounded the powder-fouling problems and it wasn't until the French released the Mle.1886 Lebel that the world was introduced to the devastating firepower of rapid-fire, smokeless powder magazine-fed rifles firing high-velocity jacketed bullets.

All that remained was to automate the loading process in a shoulder-fired infantry weapon, and while several abortive attempts were made, they all fell short in reliability or ruggedness. It wasn't until the U.S. Army adopted the M1 Rifle designed by John Garand that the infantry rifle reached its modern state. While there have been changes in construction, caliber, and rate of fire since then, it is notable that every military worth mentioning on the planet is still fielding a gas-operated, self-loading, rotating bolt rifle some seventy years later. Barring a major technological breakthrough, this basic pattern may have a longer run than the smoothbore musket...

The other impediment to my blogging time...

...this week has been in book format.

While I enjoyed John Ringo's Mack-Bolan-For-The-21st-Century Kildar series, I've never been one for his SF; I jumped into the Posleen books with both feet, but only hung on about as far as halfway through the second book.

I've also enjoyed Dave Weber's books, although the Honor Harrington series has reached a point where it can only progress if they invent new super-dreadnoughts that cost infinity dollars to build, launch entire stars at each other, and Honor herself inevitably gets promoted to God, j.g..

So when folks recommended the series co-authored by the duo that begins with the book March Upcountry, I was skeptical. But any book by two military SF authors with a Xenophon reference right in the title can't be all bad, right?

As it turns out, no. It's not bad at all. In fact, I'm about a chapter away from finishing the sequel, March to the Sea, and March to the Stars is in the on-deck circle and, barring a major cockup or totally unexpected shark-jumping somewhere in the final volume, I'll have considered this to be money and time well spent. Two powered armor thumbs up.

Is it just me...

...or is the new'n'improved Technorati well and truly fuXX0r3d?

In the few years I've been doing this blogging thing, I've seen several attempts come and go to "rate" the "relative importance" of blogs (some of which you'll find at the bottom of the page here, under the heading "All is Vanity...") and the only outfit that's ever come up with a way that works or matters is SiteMeter.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Overheard on the deck of the Titanic:

"Captain! The sea level's rising!"

High-speed digital electronic time suckage device.

If I don't get a lot written today, it's this guy's fault.

I managed to exercise epic self-control and do no more than just slice the tape on the box last night, because I knew that actually opening it would put paid to my laundry chores. However, now I've actually sat down to hook it up and slay some pixels.

More later...

Life, Liberty, and Low Latency.

(CNN) -- Finland has become the first country in the world to declare broadband Internet access a legal right.

There are days that I really feel sorry for the guys at The Onion. When the real world gets this bizarre, the satire business must get downright Sisyphean.

Wanted: One Very Special Gun.

Help Nate at Wasted Electrons find a very special .22 rifle.

...and then we'll sing the "No Dysentery For Me" song!

Today is Global Handwashing Day, kids!

Today is a day when blue sperm-creatures, drunken orange rectangles, and multilobed green alien beings can all hold pseudopods in harmony.

How much American taxpayer money went into just that goofy logo?

Although the whole thing is run by a "public-private partnership", it's somehow unsurprising to find that global employment agency for idealistic hippies, cousin-in-laws of third world dictators, and Fijian peacekeeping troops, the United Nations, hip-deep in the middle.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ups & Downs Of Daily Life...

UP: Had breakfast with Shootin' Buddy yesterday at the ever-reliable Taste. I went with the quiche of the day, which was garlic, chili flakes, mushrooms, asparagus, and cheddar. It was absolutely delicious, which it always is. I have never walked out of that place disappointed or less than full.

DOWN: I recently upgraded my desktop media machine from the decade-old graphite iMac G3/400 to an only-half-decade-old G4/1.25 eMac. The problem, of course, occurred when moving my music library. Granted, the vast majority of it was on an external FireWire hard drive, but I had started ripping my CDs on the old machine straight to the itty-bitty 13Gb internal drive. The sequence went something like this:
  1. Start ripping CDs to hard drive.
  2. Panic when you realize that you are going to fill the whole thing up. Only rip "favorite songs" off albums.
  3. Buy external drive. Continue ripping "favorites" by reflex.
  4. Realize that new external drive has ample room for entire CD collection; resume ripping complete CDs.
Now that the external drive is connected to a new machine, this has resulted in a situation where I'm not sure which CDs were left off the new drive and need to be re-ripped, and which CDs are only partially done. I thought life in the digital age was supposed to be easier?

Like SWATting a bug. An innocent citizen bug.

Few people would dispute that an armed murder suspect running loose in suburbia is a legitimate reason for a SWAT deployment; after all, "armed, barricaded suspect with hostages" is pretty much the raison d'être for the whole SWAT concept in the first place.

Deploying a perimeter and then assaulting an occupied house, all on the basis of a "He went thattaway!" is a little tenuous.

Not cleaning up your own mess is frickin' inexcusable.

(H/T to Zendo Deb.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

After a long hiatus...

...I'm going to try to get back to The Arms Room.

Look! A new Sunday Smith!

You keep using that word...

The discussion about "science != religion" is ongoing at Og's place...

Double Heh.

Like I said earlier:
We've gone from Lyndon Baines Bush to Richard Milhous Obama...

Once upon a time...

...I was working third shift at an inconvenience store. The particular neighborhood this store was located in was on the main line of travel between Atlanta's party zone and the bedroom communities north of town. It was also immediately adjacent to some seedy apartment complexes and the interstate, and all the businesses around me got robbed while I worked there; I actually watched the little kiosk of the gas station across the street get stuck up.

I was very friendly with the po-po, making sure that there was always fresh, free coffee; that and the fact that we were right at the intersection of four beats meant that there were almost always one or two cops stopping by. One of them asked me one night if I had a gun.

"I don't have a toter's permit yet," I replied.

"That's not what I asked."

"Well, it's against company policy..."

"Look," he said, "I'd rather see you alive and unemployed than a dead good employee. You have a gun, right?"

(With a hat tip to Unc.)

Gun laws Down Under will make you chunder.

Julie serves up a post on gun laws in Oz, which are worse than New Jersey's, and almost as bad as New York City's.

I was surprised to see that heavy handgun restrictions were in place as early as the 1950s, since there had actually been a serious danger of military invasion just a decade earlier.

What media bias?

The Indianapolis Red Star picked four swarthy-looking mugshots, totally at random no doubt, and plastered them under the headline Should Scary Negroes Like These Be Allowed To Carry A Gun?

Yay! Controversy!

So, the latest brouhaha is over Open Carry and who is and isn't a traitorous poopie-head:

SayUncle: Thinks Open Carry isn't the best means of gaining converts; otherwise apparently neutral.

Breda: Thinks she needs a retention holster.

Sebastian: Thinks open carry is counterproductive and should be a last resort. Like a Star Trek shirt with a hole in the armpit.

Alan: Thinks Sebastian is Zumboing himself.

Robb: Thinks he wants to Open Carry. Needs to change a bad law first.

Eseell: Thinks it's your duty to Open Carry.

Clayton Cramer: Some guy with a column. Seems to be massively against Open Carry but rambled off into a wandering rant about teh gay cooties, so I couldn't really tell.

Next on Circular Firing Squad: "Gadsden Flags: Cool, or Wookie Suit-ish?"

For the record, I've no real position on it one way or the other. I don't generally O.C., mostly to avoid excessive face time with the Po-Po and conversations with the occasional goober that can't resist a "Hey, you got a gun there! You 'spectin' trouble?" or "Did you know that your gun's cocked?"

I mean, I don't wear a cover garment around the house and yard, so I'm pretty sure all the neighbors have seen it, but I usually throw something on in the way of an overshirt or vest or whatever to perambulate about Greater Broad Ripple. On the other hand, I O.C.'ed all the time when I lived in a small town in the outer Atlanta 'burbs.

As far as one of those "Let's all strap on our heaters and go eat at Applebee's together!" demonstrations, I wouldn't because... ew, ick, Applebee's?!?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Overheard on the Internets:

Marko: I’m certainly a big fan of modern medicine, and it makes me sad to see the anti-science attitudes that are pervasive these days.

Me: You say “these days” as though humanity being composed of a seething mass of gullible retards was some kind of new phenomenon…

Caleb: It’s just now they can communicate more efficiently.

Me: The only upside to that is that hopefully we can get everybody on the internets nattering to each other about anthropogenic young earth UFO Mayan vaccine autism, and they’ll be too busy to listen to the guy up at the big podium telling them to throw Jews in ovens and machine gun everybody who wears glasses.

Audience fragmentation exploits the pettiness and short attention span of the naked chimp and makes mass movements harder to ignite and sustain.

LabRat: Dang. That’s some high-grade stuff to waste on a comment thread.

Me: Good point.

Bobbi's comment this morning was "So you see an upside to five hundred channels and nothing on?"

"Sure," I replied, "instead of ninety percent of America listening to three guys telling them what to think every night, now we've got seventy percent of America listening to five hundred guys telling them what to think, twenty percent playing video games or watching DVDs, and ten percent chatting about what they think on internet forums. You can't get a good pre-genocide Nürnberg pep rally going if half your audience is listening to shortwave rants about flouride in the water, cheering for the opposition, or playing World of Warcraft."

Beaten zone.

Here's the "Before" picture looking downrange at Knob Creek sometime around 8AM Saturday. (You can click it to embiggenate.)

They had Bobcats and front-end loaders setting up the neat-o targets. I think that pickup truck on a pedestal must have been a nearly irresistible target for the guys with the small cannons on the line.

Speaking of cannon, check out that adorable little mountain gun.

It was total candy-coated armageddon in surround-sound and full technicolor.

I'm turning into some kind of hippie.

I found myself actually missing my bicycle while I was out and about; one night I even dreamed about riding it to Fresh Market to do my grocery shopping.

If I start craving granola, somebody please kill me.

Object Of Desire.

I got my first closeup look at Lakeside Manufacturing's latest iteration of the belt-fed rimfire, the Razorback upper for the AR-15.

Oh. My. God. I haven't had a case of the Wants this bad in a long time...

What's it worth?

One question I used to hear a lot was "So, what's my gun worth?"

For some guns, that's a fairly easy answer... kind of. Used Glock 17s and Bangor Punta-era Smith Model 10s change hands often enough on the used market that "the going rate" is easy to establish; if you can find someone willing to pay it, then that's what your gun is worth.

The trick is when the weapon in question is not so common; nobody likes to hear "Well, buddy, I can't rightly tell you." It pained me to have to tell a customer that his Japanese "Type I" rifle wasn't listed in any of the standard value guides, nor could I recollect having seen one for sale in real life; in the end, the spot value of the gun was determined by finding a number for which he was willing to part with the gun, and that my boss was willing to pay. In turn, the gun was worth more to me than it was to my boss, and so I purchased it from him. And so on down the road...


...I'd say he's a shoo-in for Miss Vidalia Sweet Onion this coming April.

And don't forget the Heisman Write-In Campaign!

(I know it's a late hit, but I was on the road Friday and out for most of the weekend.)

Too punny!

Charles Hill goes on about Books Worth Reading, but gets the gold star for the day for his post title: "Canon Fodder". Wish I'd said that...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I loves me my old cars...

...but let's not forget that they were basically big sheet-metal boxes full of air. A '61 Chevy Impala weighed some 3700 pounds; the much smaller '02 Impala weighed 3600, and a lot of that weight was seat belts and air bags and padded dashboards. I loved my '67 Dodge Coronet, but I'd much rather tangle with a telegraph pole in my 'bitty '98 Bimmer...

Still and all, though, the best way for this to have come about doesn't involve the Fed.Gov. If folks want to buy cheap or nimble, they should be allowed to do so; people who prefer bubble-wrap-lined armored battlewagons should be allowed to buy them. Let the market decide, for heaven's sake.

(I once had an idea for a true luxury automobile: Build a car on a Checker cab type body-on-frame platform, with a pushrod small-block Chevy powerplant and a GM Turbo Hydromatic transmission, and overbuild all the interior components, from door hinges to seat bolsters, all of the highest-quality materials, and offer the car with a Lifetime Guarantee. For heaven's sake, it worked for Rolls Royce, and they perversely persisted in using their own engines, rather than using the common powerplant that motivates everything from Corvettes to ambulances... But there's no way a cheap throttle-body injected 350 would pass emissions these days, and a body-on-frame design doesn't stand up well in crash tests...)


A week in Tennessee... back home in time to spend a week house-sitting for a friend... and then back out the door for an overnighter to Knob Creek... In that time I have spent several days hanging out back with the crew at CCA, taken in a movie or two, spent sixteen hours roadtripping, attended a Blogmeet, taken in both Knob Creek and National Gun Day in Louisville, and slept in my own bed maybe twice.

This is the stuff that makes a reclusive homebody like me want to curl up into a fetal ball under her desk and gibber softly to herself for a couple days.

I hope to be back to normal by mid-week. After I unpack the bags I packed almost three weeks ago.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda...

Everyone who's been around NFA stuff has their "Gee, I wish I'd..." stories.

Myself, I'm pretty much over the "Wish I owned a machine gun" bug; they're expensive to feed, and all the really fun ones sit on tripods and are a pain in the butt to find someplace to shoot. Much like .50 BMG rifles, I find them interesting and think it's every American's right to own one, but as a city gal who drives a two-seat roadster, there's just not really room for one in my life.

But anyhow, my machine gun story...

Back in late '01 I was pretty flush, and at the time I had the hots for the Steyr AUG in a bad way, because it was cool and foreign and therefore must be Modern and Ultimate. This was during the height of the Scary-Looking Gun Ban, and the cheapest semiauto AUGs I could find were running three grand and change (importation of new semiauto AUGs had been halted with an executive order by George Bush in '89).

At the time, a coworker was helping broker sales for a local guy with a big NFA collection, which included a couple of full-auto AUGs. There was one on the list in good shape, complete with a stack of extra mags, for an asking price of just over eight thousand. Now, when you're looking at buying what is essentially a toy, $3,500 for a semi- and $8,000 for full-auto are practically the same price: Crazy. I came thiiis close to jumping on that buzzgun, but balked at the last minute and never gave it much thought after that.

The full-auto AUGs I saw at Knob Creek were all running at about $15,000.

How's your stock portfolio done in that time?


Be there, or be square.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hey, hey! Ho, ho!

U.S.C. 922(o) has got to go!

(H/T to Unc.)

Back from Mecca...

There is a place on this earth to which every true Gun Nut should make a pilgrimage at least once in their life:

This may seem odd, but up until this morning I had never trod the sacred soil of the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot.

From this day until the time I shuffle off my mortal coil, no gun show will ever really seem complete unless I hear the occasional BPTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHTHPPPHHHHTT! of a General Electric minigun turning cubic yards of money into metric tons of noise in the background...

Friday, October 09, 2009

Some days it doesn't pay to check the news...

Oh no they di'n't!

Written on the back of the Nobel Peace Prize was found this hastily-scrawled message
"I liek you do you liek me? Circle yes or no and tape your milk money here."

Quote of the Day in comments:
Late breaking news, recovered from the room where the deliberations took place was a notebook covered with hand drawn hearts and varying typeface versions of "Mrs. Nobel Prize Committee Obama". -Staghounds

Comment generator...

In lieu of having to generate content yesterday, Marko let his readers do it for him by throwing out a sure-fire chatter generator for gun nuts, asking the question "If you had to pick a rifle and a pistol in the same caliber for everything from self-defense to taking deer at 150 yards, what would they be?" and, lo! sixty-one comments appeared like magic.

Questions like this not only generate interest, they show where people's headspace is at on the whole issue. Folks who are actual hunters know how hard the "medium-sized game at 150 yards" requirement is with a handgun, and their comments reflect that. Weird caliber aficionados propose outlandish carbine or pistol choices to fit their pet caliber. Counterstrike kiddies wax lyrical about guns with which they've slain countless hostile texture-mapped polygons, while tactical types scorn the requirement for underpowered long guns or overpowered handguns.

My first thought in these "one gun"-type thought experiments is CCW. Since I carry a gun every day, the "one gun" has to be a gun I can carry every day. Throwing the hunting requirement in makes things tougher, because .45ACP is, let's face it, suboptimal on Bambi out past the other endzone. Then there's 10mm, but it has the problem that most loads in the chambering with enough sectional density to be serious choices for hunting aren't running too much over sonic, while the faster and flatter shooting ones seem a little light-for-caliber to make me really happy.

In the end, I usually pick a .357 Magnum K-frame (a medium-sized revolver; probably this one), because I can carry one every day, and pair it with a carbine in the same chambering,which can make use of the 158-180gr offerings in the caliber. Neither would be my first choice for either job, but both will do adequately if the user will.


Fell into the internets there for a minute. Content shortly.

Hey, how about this weather we're getting? Sure is a lot of it...

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Things I want...

I need to pick up a 6.8 SPC barrel and bolt from Bison Armory.

Thanks to that MGI upper, that's all I need to swap calibers on the gun. Frank has spoken well of the performance of the 6.8 on critters, and I've still got a 6.8 mag and a few hundred rounds of ammo lying around here someplace; that should take care of any rationalizing I need to do for the purchase.

Boyz In Tha 'Hood.

For those unfamiliar with Indianapolis geography or demographics, Brownsburg is a sleepy commuter 'burb to the northwest of town, 'way out past the reservoir, where the subdivisions thin out and the cornfields thicken, and minivans and MBAs start giving way to mullets and Monte Carlos.

There are no mean streets in B'burg, not even any mildly peeved streets; just Little League and yard sales on the weekends. This makes it hard for teenagers in Brownsburg to convince their friends that they lead secret lives as hardcore gang bangers (maybe they commute downtown like their parents, but for more nefarious purposes.)

One particular teen was so intent on proving his banger bona fides to his B'burg buddies that he shot himself four times with... get this: a pellet gun, and claimed that he'd been attacked by a rival. He even had his friend's dad call 911. The police were not amused.

A pellet gun? Jeezis, Opie, when Aunt Bea finds out you shot yourself with a pellet gun and got blood on the velour upholstery of her minivan, you're going to get in trouble. She's gonna take away your PS3 and it'll be no more Grand Theft Auto for you!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Quote of the Day:

How warm is the climate? It's so warm it's impossible to fact check a story!
I get a chuckle every time I hear someone toss out the line "The science is settled!" It just proves the speaker to be unclear on their terminology, because Buddy, if it's "settled", then it ain't "science", okay? Science doesn't "settle" things; it just provides workable hypotheses that we use until we get better data.


A 2.2-lb. double rifle in .22 Hornet.

Some things just need no particular reason for being.

(H/T to Og.)

Nose in a book...

I spent most of yesterday curled up reading Nation, by Terry Pratchett. What a wonderful storyteller that man is.

That reminds me; I need to get the newest Discworld novel, Unseen Academicals.

Also, this two-part article on the Bronze Age Collapse, which I found linked at Western Rifle Shooters, was fascinating. It's a slice of history about which we are still learning a lot, and if you don't find the systemic collapse of civilization from the Balkans all the way to the Nile delta fascinating, then you're not much of a history buff, are you?

"Last of the V-8 Interceptors..."

With the imminent demise of the Crown Vic, longtime staple of livery fleets and cop shop parking lots, Chevy is going to try to fill the vacuum by getting back into the RWD fleet sedan game. Well, sort of.

Having basically handed the market for RWD fleet vehicles to Ford on a silver platter when they dropped the B-bodies back in '97, Chevy is going to try to get at least some of it back with a "Law Enforcement Only" Holden Chevrolet Caprice. Lord only knows how they plan on doing the "Po-Po Only" bit; I knew a couple people in the early '90s who drove Taurii with the distinctive dual exhausts, dog dish hubcaps, and transmission cooler vents of the police package, which was obtainable via any dealer's fleet guy.

You know, the one thing Detroit, and especially GM, did better than anybody else was build big, plush, rugged, body-on-frame sedans. And instead of playing to their strengths, they pissed away whatever competitive advantage they had by playing the other guy's game, and playing it badly. Rather than squandering all their corporate blood and treasure on a whole host of poorly-conceived, ill-built, me-too-mobiles like the Citation and Cimarron and Skylark, they should have just licensed the Corolla and Camry as badge-engineered entry-level Chevys and let Buick be Buick. Now we have to import our American sedans from Oz; the shame of it all...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Do you know what is just frickin' awesome?

If you have an M4gery with a collapsible stock and an MGI QCB upper, the whole thing can be stowed disassembled in a typical laptop bag and put together in about ten seconds flat, if you remember to store the lower with the pins pulled out.

I feel like Bond, Jane Bond.

Where have all the Sigmas gone?

Khyber Passing.

(H/T to Unc.)

Teaching the teachers.

Matt has a post up about Day One of his instructor's training.

Not-so-gentle Ben.

Once again somebody gets a graphic lesson that large wild animals are not cuddly pets.

I don't get this about some people: Look, you know how hard a time you have understanding cats and dogs? Well, we've spent ten thousand years and more in an effort to unscrew the inscrutability of Felis catus and Canis familiaris, and they still both communicate with us about as well as Joe Biden after a particularly rough all-nighter, and they're fairly social animals. Black bears, on the other hand, make J.D. Salinger look like a social butterfly and only have two real modes of interacting with humans: running away from us or eating us, so if you get in the cage with the bear and it doesn't start running, then that narrows the possible outcomes right on down, doesn't it?

Monday, October 05, 2009


Looking at the picture of the zombie target again, some of those holes from the FN 1910 look awful big and ragged for .32 FMJ.

I wonder if it actually keyholed a couple? That might also account for at least some of the ~6" scatter that I refuse to dignify with the term "group"; the trigger and sights are a handicap, and I'm not that good of a pistol shot, but I'm not that bad, either.

The bore is kinda rough, but I've seen a lot rougher, and I don't recollect there being anything weird about the muzzle crown.

I'm going to need to take it with again next weekend, I see. I want to see if I can get it to shoot.

A graphic illustration of the Death of Newspapers:

From my roomie:
It's official: the dwindling Indianapolis Star no longer keeps pace with the urinary output of my smallest cat...
This is God's Honest Truth.

When I refer to the Indy Red Star as "Our Local Cat Box Liner", I am speaking literally. Other than Bobbi sometimes reading the comics and me occasionally using a Dan Carpenter column to pressure-test my cerebral arteries for weak spots, the paper is not used for anything at Roseholme Cottage other than lining Slinky's litter box. Some months back, it was severely downsized in page count. Now rather than accumulating an excess of newsprint in the house that must be recycled every now and again, the paper doesn't have enough pages to stay ahead of the kidneys of a 3-lb geriatric house cat.

Are you listening Gannett? The only reason we are still subscribing to your local rag is to give the cat a place to pee, and you can't even do that job right. You don't deserve a bailout; you deserve to freeze in the dark.

Making a statement...

Just so people realize that he really means it.

Some very simple ethics...

There is one basic physical crime against another's person: Assault.

This can be further subdivided into two specific charges: Physical assault that causes the other person's death, which we give the high-falutin' Latin name "homicide", and physical assault that doesn't do so.

A subcategory of the second kind is assault of the type, involving the sexual organs, which we call "rape".

Now, generally speaking, we recognize some possible rationales for these kinds of physical assault. For instance, there is the "self-defense" claim, in which it is claimed that the final victim was trying to do That Thing to the perpetrator first. To wit: "He tried to kill me, so I killed him before he could do so," or "She punched me in the nose, so I punched her back."

Then there is the defense of "It was an accident." For instance, "I was driving along in my car when she ran out in front of me," and "I was going for the slam-dunk and I didn't mean to hit him in the throat with my elbow there under the net."

Lastly, there is the claim of "I was just frickin' crazy and didn't know Right from Wrong," where the perp's excuse is "I was just frickin' crazy and didn't know Right from Wrong."

In the first and second incidences, we realize that there were mitigating circumstances. In the third, we realize (or used to) that the perpetrator is as crazy as a rabid dog and warehouse them away from normal people or dispose of them dispassionately.

Rape is an unusual type of physical assault in that it is hard to claim either of the first two mitigating circumstances: Both self-defense ("The altar boy was coming right for me!") and accident ("I tripped and fell on top of her and my you-know-what accidentally landed you-know-where") ring pretty hollow as defenses, and that leaves only the third excuse, the one where we realize that the perpetrator is as crazy as a rabid dog and warehouse them away from normal people or dispose of them dispassionately.

Watching people who should damned well know better reach for one of these excuses to cover one of their own is positively sick-making.