Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Long day in the hot sun.

Great class so far.

Good group of students; it's not anybody's first time, and everybody's gun handling is good, which is always very comforting. The downside to that is that every class has "That Guy", and if you're looking around and not seeing anyone standing out in that respect, then, well...

Anyhow, more later.

I learned something new!

I'd always wondered how they do the crowd-estimate thing in the news, and thanks to a piece at AOL News, now I know:
[T]he "Jacobs Crowd Formula": pace off the length and breadth of any crowd, add the two figures, multiply by seven for a slack crowd, by ten for a dense one.
Then, if you disagree with the cause the crowd is rallying 'round, you divide by 10; if you support it, multiply by a like amount.

Readin', Ritin', Reloadin'.

It's hotter than the hinges of Hades here in Indiana in August, so what does that mean?

That's right, it's Louis Awerbuck time!

Seriously, last week it was in the 70's and 80's... not too humid... just gorgeous weather. Yesterday morning I wake up and the Weather Gnome on the TeeWee is saying "...and by Tuesday, we'll be back into the nineties..." and I start cursing at the televisor, yelling "How does it know? How does it know?!?" I'm beginning to think that the "A" in AGW doesn't stand for "Anthropogenic".

So, yeah, today is Day One of Carbine & Pistol, and I'm stoked.

And this time, I brought my own sunscreen. It's, like, SPF 100+, which means I can last 100 seconds in the sun before suffering painful burns over all my exposed skin. It kept me from cooking at the State Fair, at least.

This is the first time since the Todd Jarrett course at Blackwater that the Para Gun Blog 9 is going to get subjected to a class; and that's due to ammo considerations. As a starving artist, I've been hoarding my ammo carefully so that I'll have enough .45 for regular practice and Aim Fast, Hit Fast this October, so it's going to have to be the nine this week.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Because I'm a giver, that's why.

From a commenter at John Robb's place, I was led here.

Haven't you always wanted the answer to questions like "Does God HATE Astronauts?" and "Does the Earth MOVE?" I know I did.

I just had to share that link with you guys. Go and bask in the gloriosity of it all...

Anybody ever put a can on an HK P7?

Oleg's wondering about the expense and difficulty of setting up a Jerry staplegun to take a suppressor.

From what I've heard about the difficulty of swapping barrels on those things, my first instinct is "pass", but someone out there may have better data.

Will they install a minimum-security wing at Cooperstown?

Jim on the whole sorry case of Roger the ('Roid) Rocket:
Please do not let this confuse you about federal law. Lying to Congress is felony. Lying in Congress is a hallowed American tradition.

Thank you, sir! May I have another?

It appalls me that one in five respondents is apparently a soft and toothless creature whose ingrained response to a claim of authority is a brief spot of confusion as to whether it's more appropriate to proffer its throat or its rump.

I don't get it. I mean, I was taught that an ornery, independent streak was a hallmark of Americans; that kowtowing and forelock tugging was something foreigners did. I was a teenager before I found out that e pluribus unum wasn't actually Latin for "You ain't the boss of me!"

Over the years, the decay of our national case of the stiff-knee has been blamed on everything from popery to communism to letting the TeeWee networks show Princess Di's wedding, but I don't pretend to know what the root cause is, just that I'm against it, whatever it is.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

God is in the details.

Over at the Advanced Armament Corporation blog, there's a picture of a custom 1911 frame just back from hard-chroming.

While it's really hard to gauge workmanship without holding the thing in your hand, I'd like to point out several nice details:
  • See the fine serrations on the rear face of the slide rails? Those will match up to serrations on the rear of the slide. The rationale is to give a non-glare surface facing towards the shooter, making it easier to pick up a good sight picture.
  • Note how the end of the slide stop is countersunk. This is supposed to prevent a trigger finger indexed high on the frame from inadvertently pushing the stop out to where it could tie up the gun.
  • Instead of a sharp corner to the bottom rear of the frame and mainspring housing, see how everything is nicely rolled under and blended? This helps keep cover garments from snagging on that corner without having to go to the extremes of a "bobtail" treatment.
While none of these features is necessary (and I personally don't even prefer the serrations or checkering on the rear face of the slide,) it's little details like this, if competently executed, that separate the sheep from the goats, all else being equal.

(H/T to Robb.)

Overheard in the Living Room:

Roomie and I are eating gyros in front of the TeeWee, watching Before the Dinosaurs on Discovery, when a commercial comes on announcing The Last Day of the Dinosaurs, a new show about the K-T Event, complete with giant tsunamis and computer-generated theropods getting incinerated by hypersonic blast waves and such.
Me: "Oh, I'm totally watching that. It's got dinosaurs and global armageddon! If it had ninjas, it'd be the greatest TV show ever!"

RX: "What about machine guns?"

Me: "Ninjas with machine guns!"
It's nice to see that they're refraining from showing programs about the sex lives of alien Nazi bigfoot ghosts 24/7 on at least a couple of the edumacational channels.

QotD: New Media Edition.

My roomie on Glenn Beck:
I know many of my readers are more fond of Mr. Back than am I. It isn't that I really dislike him, I just think the man's got a lot more Huey Long -- or P.T. Barnum -- to him than he has Ayn Rand. I'll take my Becks Billy and my Glenns Reynolds, if you don't mind, and if I want to be entertained, I'll read a book.
Unfortunately, as much as I yell "Keep your eye on the ball!" at, say, Neil Boortz's voice emanating from the radio speaker, the political entertainers actually have their finger located on the pulse of the voting public a lot more accurately than I do: Elections are far more likely to turn on issues like who hates them some mosks the most or which politician is gonna punish Big Oil the hardest than they are on anything actually substantive.

As everybody else has already reported...

...the EPA got punked on the lead thing.

So there.

Five Years.

Five years ago yesterday, VFTP saw its first post.

6,704 posts and 3,043,283 visits later, I'm still having a good time.

I hope the next five are just as entertaining. :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Maybe the coolest thing ever.

Expired: NASA

Tired: Corporate space projects.

Wired: Setting out a guitar case with a sign on it reading "Pls. donate to our cool manned rocket project. It'll be awesome." Then building a homemade manned rocket and a floating catamaran launch platform which you will tow to the launch zone behind your homemade submarine. Because, you know, it'd be awesome. All these guys need now is a secret island volcano lair and a ninja army, and they're livin' the dream.

Bonus quote of the day comes from Blunt Object:
“Denmark” is not trying to put a Dane into space. A bunch of Danes are trying to put a Dane into space. “Denmark” is (quite commendably) assisting by staying the f**k out of the way.

Overheard in the Office:

Me: Huh. That's interesting.

RX: What's interesting?

Me: Urea-powered fuel cells.

RX: Piss on that!

QotD: Gun Fun Edition.

I'm seriously considering taking one of my 10-22's and stenciling "Have Fun" on the stock just to remind me. -Six, at The Warrior Class, from a post on introducing new shooters to the sport.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Like Craigslist, but louder.

Someone seems to have launched a free site for gun classifieds: WebChronicle Gun List.

Check it out.

Lead and Circuses.

American Hunter has an article up by winnah-and-champeen Iain Harrison featuring some behind the scenes gossip from the set of Top Shot.

(Thirty-three days with no books or intarw3bz? Dude, there is no way I could have hacked that; I'd have been a shaking, gibbering mess no more than 72 hours in...)

(H/T to Unc.)

Philadelphia helps the economy...

...tank further.

I hope that goose was yummy, Mayor Nutter, because you ain't getting any more eggs from it.

When partisanship turns funny.

From a New York Times op-ed looking back on the women's suffrage movement:
But, at that time, women’s suffrage was still unthinkable to anyone but radical abolitionists. Since the nation’s founding, Americans considered women to be, by nature, creatures of the home, under the care and authority of men. They had no need for the vote; their husbands represented them to the state and voted for them. So, in the 14th Amendment’s second section, Republicans inserted the word “male,” prohibiting the denial of voting rights to “any of the male inhabitants” of the states.
Speaking of "inserting", notice the spinal-reflex insertion of "Republicans" in there? *shakes fist* Damn you, George Bush, and your patriarchal oppression!

I'd imagine that the Democrats of the time probably opposed wimmenfolk voting, too, but they were too busy lynching negroes to have their opinions on the topic recorded for posterity.

Thoroughly disorientated...

During my little Tennessee visit, I had fallen into a pattern of falling asleep around 1AM and waking up at six or seven.

I arrived back in Indy in the middle of a week where my roomie was covering the graveyard shift at work. The alarums at Roseholme Cottage are going off at 0100 hrs, and in a house this small, if one person's up, everybody's up.

So if I've been making even less sense than usual the last couple of days, now you know why.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I'm sure you've all seen this already...

...but this may be the funniest car ad of the century thus far:

However, somebody referred to it as "The best VW ad ever", to which I have to take exception. It was hilarious, yes, but the following is not only a brilliant ad, but also one of the slickest pieces of short cinema I've ever seen on a TV screen:

This old bagel of yours could be on fire and I couldn't even turn on the kitchen tap without filling out a 27b/6.

Today's comedy comes to us from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, who are going after people trying to evade the sliced-bagel tax.
Whole bagels sold for takeout are not subject to sales tax, but "any handling or preparation at the shop turns it into a taxable event," says Brad Maione, a spokesperson for the DTF.

Although Maione says the sales tax is not a new provision and that the stepped up enforcement is due to better technology, bagel-store owners say the tax was news to them.
Wait, what? "Better technology"? Better bagel slicer monitoring technology?

I'll be right back. I'm going down to Blockbuster and moving the DVD of Brazil from the comedy shelf to the documentary one.

Keeping the discourse elevated.

A union thug spent the dues of working people to travel to Alaska for the purpose of denouncing Emmanuel Goldstein. It's, like, the top story on CNN's Political Ticker, complete with a transcript.

I was, quite frankly, a little surprised that the phrase "I'm rubber, you're glue; what bounces off me sticks to you," appeared nowhere therein.

Some perspective...

Not to play the Victim Olympics or anything, because nobody gets a gold medal in those events, but I wonder when was the last time the person in this photograph got gunned down by the cops in a Las Vegas Costco for the crime of holding hands?

(All this is not to say that holding hands with the wrong person in, say, Laramie, Wyoming necessarily winds up being a picnic, either, but just being a plain vanilla Bitter Clinger is no guarantee of sunshine and roses.)

Can you translate this from "Constitutional" into "Throw his ass in jail"?

While the DEA's request for native Ebonics speakers was good for some cheap yuks, Ken at Popehat reminds us that the real meaning behind requests like this is often pretty darned unfunny.

The problem in a nutshell.

Any senator that can’t or won't read and understand a bill is a lousy senator.

Any bill that can’t be quickly and easily read and understood by John Q. Average will make a lousy law.

Stop me if you've heard this one...

Hey, did you hear about the drunken Indianapolis cop who wrecked his patrol car?

No, I mean the other drunken Indianapolis cop who wrecked his patrol car.

Meanwhile, Public Safety Director Frank "Gun Hatin'" Straub is all butthurt and lonely, asking "Why is everybody picking on me?"

Three guesses, Frank, and the first two don't count.


The National Shooting Sports Foundation would like you to know that
With the fall hunting season fast approaching, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Lisa Jackson, who was responsible for banning bear hunting in New Jersey, is now considering a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) – a leading anti-hunting organization – to ban all traditional ammunition under the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976, a law in which Congress expressly exempted ammunition. If the EPA approves the petition, the result will be a total ban on all ammunition containing lead-core components, including hunting and target-shooting rounds. The EPA must decide to accept or reject this petition by November 1, 2010, the day before the midterm elections.
This would make me want to get my wookie on. This would make me want to saddle up and bust caps. If the .gov was wondering what it would take to turn me into a wild-eyed militia kook, well, they've found it.

Naturally, the NSSF stresses the reasonable, Fudd angle, telling you to write your unaccountable, unfireable, unelected EPA bureaucrat and tell them
* There is no scientific evidence that the use of traditional ammunition is having an adverse impact on wildlife populations.
Which is, I suppose, more diplomatic than what I would want to write, which would be more along the lines of
* There is anecdotal evidence that the banning of traditional ammunition would have an adverse impact on government bureaucrat populations.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I always feel like...

...somebody's watching me.

I'm beginning to think Orwell was an optimist.

We won't get fooled again.

Arizona Republicans have decided they want to keep Middle-of-the-Road McCain (RINO-AZ) sucking at the government teat for another six years.

Look, pathetic loyalty to losers and chumps is cute and touching when you're a Chicago baseball fan, but creepy and disappointing when you're in a voting booth.

On the other hand, the GOP primary voters in southern Florida voted for some actual Hope and Change by a stinging 3-1 margin.

Oh, stewardess! I speak jive!

Apparently the squares at the DEA in charge of listening in on other people's phone conversations need to hire someone less square than they are, like perhaps June Cleaver, to help them figure out what suspects are saying.

Your tax dollars at work!

Notes From The Road...

Five and a half hours behind the wheel gives you time to think about lots of stuff. For example, just yesterday I was thinking that the penalty for doing 15 under the limit in the left-hand lane should be getting dragged out of the vehicle and beaten senseless with a lead pipe right there on the side of the road, pour l'encouragement des autres.

A little harsh for a first offense, maybe, but it would certainly discourage recidivism.

(To be fair, though, the person who triggered this train of thought may have set out for their destination back in '79 and didn't realize that the 55 MPH National Maximum Speed Limit had been repealed since they left. Boy, won't they be surprised when they finally get where they're going!)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

QotD: Very Foreign Affairs Edition.

PJ O'Rourke on his trip to Afghanistan:
If you spend 72 hours in a place you’ve never been, talking to people whose language you don’t speak about social, political, and economic complexities you don’t understand, and you come back as the world’s biggest know-it-all, you’re a reporter. Either that or you’re President Obama.
Everything I know about snark, I owe to PJ.

(H/T to Insty.)

I call shenanigans!

Our story so far:

One Officer Bisard, running code on the streets of Indianapolis, mows over a couple of stopped motorcycles at an intersection, killing one rider and crippling two more. The crash site is quickly covered in more brass than a circus calliope and Bisard is taken off for a routine blood draw.

The blood draw has him ringing the cherries with a .19% BAC, which is enough to convict almost two and a half regular people of Operating While Intoxicated, and an array of charges are filed.

Only wait!

Apparently the blood draw was not done at the proper legally-required medical facility, but rather at an occupational health center. The city's chief prosecutor, already under investigation for allegedly handing out sweetheart deals in exchange for commercial real estate, announces that he is forced to drop the OWI charges due to the error.

But is he really?

Let's check my email in-box!
The blood draw on the IMPD officer is admissible regardless of where the blood draw is done. All Brizzi has to do is send an investigatory subpoena to the doc in the box and all is well.

See Oman v. State, 737 N.E.2d 1131 (Ind. 2000).

I found this in 20 minutes...

Why did Brizzi skip down the hallway and dismiss the OWI/Death and not even call a meeting or detailing some his 125 attorneys to research this?
Further, MattG points out in comments:
[I]f the blood was drawn into a sterile vial, with a non-alcohol prep pad, in the presence of a good witness who will testify in court, then the blood SHOULD be allowed in. Sure, it can be challenged, but dammit, that's still good evidence.
Something is rotten in Denmark.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Guns in comic books.

JovianThunderbolt notes the absence of gun-wielding comic book heroes (and the presence of many who ostentatiously do not use guns):
I just found all that interesting, having never considered it before, and it reveals a cultural undercurrent. Before comic books the hero was the iconic cowboy. And the good guys CERTAINLY packed heat along with the bad guys then. In the enterainment media and romantizations.
I think that a large part of it is because guns are perceived as fatal. You can't shoot people "just a little bit".

Comic book heroes, by and large, do not kill bad guys; they tie them up and hand them over to the cops, at least metaphorically. If your hero had a gun, all he could do with it would be to shoot guns out the bad guys' hands, and that makes him pretty much a one-trick pony, even worse than Aquaman, who can not only breathe water, but can also talk to fishes, two important skills for stopping super villains, apparently. One reason Wolverine was considered such an "edgy" character for mainstream comics when he appeared was that he killed people. (Of course that trope has been done to death now.)

The other big part is that mainstream comic book companies are creatures of the Urban Northeast, where guns are the almost exclusive province of cops and bad guys. Curtis Sliwa was a media darling and Bernie Goetz was a dangerous vigilante in that world.

11. Flap his arms and fly.

CNN.com is leading off with a piece called "10 things Obama must do in 10 weeks" to help his party avoid a massacre in the November midterms.

The second item on this list is (I'm not making this up) "2. Channel Ronald Reagan".

Yeah. And monkeys might fly out of my butt.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Product endorsement...

Shootin' Buddy gave me a Maxpedition Fliegerduffel some time ago, and I have since managed to fall in love with it.

Small enough to fit in the trunk of the Zed Drei along with my range bag and a couple of ammo cans, yet roomy enough to stow enough stuff for a decent vacation (if you're me and "enough stuff" boils down to t-shirts, socks, jeans, and toiletries, a Nintendo DS, and some books,) it is packed with the clever features associated with Maxpedition gear:
  • The main compartment is one vast, open expanse, yet the sides and lid all have separate zippered pouches.
  • The zippered main closure wraps around all four corners so that you can access either end without undoing the two main fastex buckles.
  • There are three ways to tote it: A padded handle on the lid, a removable shoulder strap with a removable pad, and a padded backpack harness that can be partially unclipped and stowed in its own zippered enclosure on the bottom.
  • And of course the outside is festooned with MOLLE attachment loops so you can hang extra crap on it.
I have been unable to kill or even seriously scar this thing in about a year of determined trying. Recommend!

A V-8 only insinuates virility; multiple child seats prove it.

When Marko got the minivan munchkin-hauler, he called me on the phone to meet me for lunch and show off his new wheels. As he excitedly pointed out the "stow-and-go" seating and the various practical, family-friendly doodads in his new ride, I kept glancing surreptitiously across the parking lot at my silver Nazi rollerskate and thinking "Who is this guy? And what has he done with Marko?"

Of course, that wasn't fair. Robin and Marko needed a vehicle that could haul kids, dachshunds, and groceries; the only thing I need my car to haul is ass. This charming little promo video from Toyota points out the minivan's appeal rather well:

Tactical Tips:

I am forced to present this video sans editorial commentary, as I simply haven't got the words to do it justice:

(via email.)

A trip to the time capsule.

I attended the 2010 National Automatic Pistol Collectors Association convention yesterday with my friend staghounds.

It's a pretty esoteric little corner of the gun-collecting hobby. Also, it tends to self-select for age, and in multiple ways. For one thing, one apparently needs to have the means to participate. Oh, it's not like machinegun collecting in that one needs to actually be wealthy, but a table full of Lugers or M1911s or High Powers can add up to the price of a nice four bedroom split-level ranch pretty quickly and the number of people under 40 who can blow that kind of dough on a hobby is small. As a result, staghounds and I, both comfortably into adulthood, were probably among the five or ten youngest people in the room.

Given the demographic, then, it was not surprising to see the registry table at the entrance, with the member's nametags all lined up and pre-made and a little basket full of blank floral-bordered "Hello! My Name Is..." stickers sporting a bow on the handle and a sign reading "Girls Name Tags" affixed thereto.
"Which one of us wants to be the girl today?" I wisecracked.
"I'm feeling pretty," said staghounds, reaching for a sticker.
It was hard not to laugh loud enough to disturb the guest speaker, who had a circle of devoted listeners hanging on his every word as he explained esoteric rollmark variations in early prewar PPKs or some such topic.

The hotel conference room was full of a gun show in the classic sense, in that maybe only half the participants were there to sell anything, while the others were just displaying their collections to their fellow aficionados. These ranged from a guy who had a complete selection of literally dozens of .25 and .32 Mauser pocket pistols neatly displayed in wooden egg-crate trays to a gentleman with at least thirty Polish Radoms, each on its own individual wooden stand, ranging from a prewar "Polish Eagle" to the crudest of late-war slave-labor examples. There were oddities that ran the gamut from a .25ACP Webley pocket auto to one of the rare Walther Model 6's, maybe only the second one I've seen in the wild.

It was enjoyable, even if I didn't see anything that made me want to bolt to the nearest ATM and fill my sweaty little hands with cash to set alight. And since staghounds volunteered to wear the sticky nametag, I'll be getting a year's worth of NAPCA newsletters, which are full of the kind of articles that could come in handy for someone attempting to, say, write a book about old pocket pistols...

Musical coincidence.

So I'm driving down the freeway yesterday, listening to Moby's cover of "New Dawn Fades" on the iPod, best known as the tune from the Heat soundtrack playing when Hanna pulls over McAuley, and the next song the thing offers up in shuffle mode is the original Joy Division recording of "New Dawn Fades". What are the odds of that?

(One in 512, actually. I just checked.)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I thought J. Edgar Hoover was dead?

Maybe it's just because I'm currently reading No Heroes, the memoir of former FBI Hostage Rescue Team commander Dan Coulson, whose career went back to the days of Hoover, but when I learned this morning that WikiLeaks founder Assange had been slapped with charges of rape and molestering, my first reaction was "I thought COINTELPRO had been shut down?"

I mean, you gotta admit that something like that would've been right up ol' Jaye Edgar's alley.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hope and change.

When did people become unable to make change?

The bill at the taco joint was $26.71; Gunsmith Bob handed the (obviously new and overwhelmed) cashier a pair of twenties and, instead of punching in "four-zero-double zero-cash", she just hit "cash". This caused the drawer to pop open without the register displaying the amount of change she needed to make, and so she just stood there like a duck in thunder.

We'd be standing there still if I hadn't leaned forward and said "Thirteen dollars and twenty-nine cents."

I'm no math whiz. I can understand having trouble with quadratic equations or needing to grab a pad and pen for long division, but come on! This is basic arithmetic! This is third grade stuff!

Once upon a time I used to get upset when folks would slow the line down by using a debit card and therefore needing to punch in their PIN to buy a pack of gum, but these days that's usually much quicker than waiting for an innumerate cashier to laboriously count out the change from two bucks.

Like scratching an itch.

I have a little 2" Smith Model 64 that was my bedside gun for years. It was also my only stainless .38 k-frame and so it started seeing some use at the range, since it didn't mind being sweated on or rained on or left dirty in the range bag for a couple days. Pretty soon it was coming to the range on every visit and just living in the bag between outings.

Let me tell you something about revolvers: People wax poetic about their ruggedness, reliability and simplicity, but when they call a revolver "simple", it makes me wonder if they've ever had the sideplate off of one. The mechanical ballet going on inside a Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector makes your typical autopistol look like a stone axe by comparison. Further, a revolver demands clearances measured in thousandths at both ends of the cylinder in order for it to turn freely and still function with reliability and accuracy.

When you've put a couple thousand rounds of mostly unjacketed lead ammunition through a wheelgun, the lead and carbon deposits that build up can have an effect on the trigger pull and, not to put too fine a point on it, this had happened to my gun.

Revolvers are a pain to clean compared to autos, too. Oh, sure, just punching the bore and the chambers and giving the gun a wipedown is no biggie, but when it's really filthy, you need to pull the cylinder, and that means tools and that means a pain in the butt...

So there my 64 sat, in silent rebuke, on the corner of my gun-cleaning table for the better part of a year, looking like a rental gun that had been rode hard and put up wet, while I took other guns to the range.

Yesterday it finally got its bath. I feel so much better.


Apparently Officer OWI's blood draw had to be tossed because the cops investigating their brother officer's accident (the one in which he mowed down three motorcyclists, killing one and maiming two,) botched the procedure.

As a result, Marion County's chief prosecutor, whose office has a lot of experience handling OWIs, had to toss the drunk driving charges, and is proceeding only on the reckless homicide and criminal recklessness charges.

Perhaps the family of the deceased can come up with some real estate to offer Brizzi in order to ensure a vigorous prosecution on the remaining charges.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Laura, this is Jim. Jim, meet Laura.

Who knew that you can get a PhD without ever once having the First Amendment explained to you?

In America, your right to say idiotic things is affirmed by the First Amendment.

Your audience's right to call your sponsors and tell them that they think you're an idiot is also affirmed by the First Amendment.

And, finally, your sponsor's right to say "You're fired, you idiot!" is affirmed by the First Amendment.

Got it, Laura?

Lighten up, Francis.

Apparently a Federal appeals court just ruled that the roadside crosses erected to memorialize fallen troopers by the Utah Highway Patrol are unconstitutional and have to go.

Okay, I'm on record as thinking that roadside memorials are a little tacky, especially when they get all crusted with faded, dirty plastic flowers and mouldering teddy bears. And when blown up to twice the height of a grown man they cross the line into gauche, but unconstitutional?

Look, in a graveyard or on the side of the road, when I see a cross I don't think "Christianity", I think "dead guy". Unless there's a headstone with a Star of David or a crescent nearby to remind me, its cultural meaning pretty much swamps its religious one in that context. Granted, there are probably a million better things on which to spend money stolen from taxpayers at 1040-point right now, but this is small potatoes on the list of things to stress over. (And if the group bringing the suit is so worried about public religious symbols in Utah, why aren't they saying anything about the beehive on the troopers' shoulder patches? Or are they a little thick?)

We've got a president involving himself in New York City zoning spats and American Atheists are worried about government-funded future roadside Santeria shrines? Way to win friends and influence people, there, sport.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stressed out.

A known issue with the little Smith & Walther P-22s is that, given enough time and enough zippy ammunition, their slides can suffer from stress cracks that will occasionally cause the entire front half of the slide to separate and give the shooter a mouthful of zamak (which is the trade name for zinc alloy most commonly seen in Matchbox cars.)

Another gun that uses a slide made of zamak is the Hi Point. This seems to be (and it's painful for me to say this,) adequate in the bricklike 9mm, but the .40 cal variant makes me nervous. I'm sure that the engineers put plenty of mass in the slide, but all it would take is a bum casting to cause this, and bum castings are something I don't want to think about in a gun firing a round that generates 35,000 PSI and can spike to magnum rifle pressures if it experiences some setback with a 180gr bullet.

Needless to say, the thread Caleb linked to at the Hi Point fan forum is full of fanboys claiming that the gun must have been deliberately sabotaged...

Overheard in Gunsmithing...

Shannon: "Listen to this. It actually says '...the best quality gun from Rohm, the RG38...'"

Me: "Wow, that's like being the tallest midget at the county fair."

Yes, but what's it for?

Roseholme Cottage is in the Indianapolis neighborhood known as Broad Ripple, which consists of a business district containing bars and restaurants, vintage clothing shops, art galleries, organic produce joints, and hair salons, and a larger surrounding area of shady tree-lined streets with hopelessly twee little homes dating from the first part of the last century. Not too many blocks south, however, the boutiques and brewpubs are replaced with check cashing joints and seedy package stores, Volvos and Prii give way to primered clunkers and older domestic sedans on dub-deuces, and graffiti-ed plywood becomes more common than tastefully painted shutters as a window treatment. Should things get grim in the city, we'd be disturbingly close to the front lines.

Sure it's unlikely, but being old enough to remember riot police on the streets of Atlanta in April of 1992, having 30 rounds of Keep Off The Grass on hand makes a nice security blanket for me.

But as a piece of "bug out" gear, is a carbine really that useful? Frank James brings up some good points. You should go read them and ponder how a long gun fits into your Worst Case Scenario plans.

Slogan Fail.

So I'm driving down the interstate and pass a billboard which appears to be black except for a malevolent red HAL-like robot eye and the slogan "The Next Generation Of Does." And I think to myself "Oh, great, cyborg frickin' deer. Maybe I'd better get that 6.8SPC set up..."

Only it turned out to be a Droid phone billboard and they meant "does" as in the past tense of "to do" and not "does" as in Bambi's tasty mom. Hey, Motorola, I guarantee that half anybody with a scrap of Mossy Oak in their closet reads it the same way I did initially.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Life in real-time.

As I rolled through the parking lot towards the exit, a flicker of movement out of the corner of my eye caused me to stand on the brakes. From between the minivans to my right came a shopping cart with a baby carrier in it, the father pushing it chatting happily on his cell phone, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he had just pushed his child mere feet in front of the bumper of a moving car...
Every day you see them: People completely lost in their own little world while out in public. Cell phones, iPods, hand-held video games, nose down in a book, thumbs clicking out a text message, staring into the distance trying to remember what they need at the grocery store, or simply daydreaming. And then they say "I don't know where the car came from," and "The mugger was just there all of a sudden," and "That rock just fell out of the sky!" Do these people not realize that life is an audience-participation activity?
Sitting in the parking lot at Lowe's, I had the door to my roommate's car open and was about to get out when I snatched it shut again. The woman in the car next to me, absorbed in her conversation, had just thrown the door of her PT Cruiser open. Had I not pulled my door shut, there would have been a crunch and shouting and who-knows-what unpleasantness. Luckily, one of us was paying attention to our surroundings. She never even noticed the situation as she exited her vehicle and continued her conversation while walking across the lot...
People talk about going through life in "Condition Yellow" like it's some kind of paranoia. It's not; it's merely staying aware of the world around you. It's not even necessarily a "tactical" thing, either. Being alert and aware of your surroundings can prevent all kinds of minor mishaps that can make life annoying, painful, expensive, or all three.
As we ate our breakfast in the the little Greek diner, I watched the neighborhood wake up on Chicago's 57th Street. A guy pedaled his bike diagonally across the intersection, narrowly missing a pedestrian. The cyclist was staring off into the middle distance like he was receiving signals from another planet, distinctive white cords dangling from his ears. "How can people do that?" I blurted, "'I didn't hear the car!' 'The guy just jumped me!' He's oblivious!"
You can be all tactical and call it "Condition Yellow" if you want, you can call it "situational awareness", or you could just call it "paying attention"; whatever you call it, it means giving up some of the little luxuries we've all come to take for granted, like having your own personal soundtrack for the movie of your life, but there is a payoff. Sure, people think me a little strange for not cocooning myself with electronic entertainment in public, or constantly prairie-dogging my head up out of a book, but I'm just doing it to people-watch. Because if you don't watch these people, the oblivious idiots will walk right into you.

It's a start.

The relatives of Kathryn Johnson, gunned down in her home by Atlanta cops serving a dope warrant that they knew was based on bogus info, will be receiving $4.9 million from Atlanta's taxpayers to settle the family's lawsuit against the city. This closes out the civil side of things; on the criminal side, three of the cops involved have already been sent to prison for their role in the murder and the subsequent cover-up.

None of this, of course, brings Kathryn Johnson back

Monday, August 16, 2010


I had the strangest dream last night.

I dreamed I was shooting this huge shoot-'n'-move style carbine match kind of thing, where the course was about the size of a football field and the targets were sheet metal things shaped like IPSC targets. The guns were AR carbines that shot little metal BBs full-auto, like those guns at a carnival midway where you have to shoot out the whole red star on the paper to win a kewpie doll.

And there were two of these courses set up side-by-side and you ran heads-up against somebody shooting on the other course. I was competing against SayUncle.

Okay, the guns were obviously a mishmash of that carbine video I've watched a couple times, plus the game I saw at the state fair, plus the fact that I've got an Awerbuck carbine class coming up soon, so that I've been spending a lot of time with my blue gun and my real carbine. The head-to-head courses were no doubt triggered by Top Shot, plus seeing everybody gearing up for that multigun match the weekend before last. I have no idea how SayUncle got in there, and the worst part is that even though I remember I was shooting like a house afire, I can't remember who won, dammit.

What I do remember was waking up and being disappointed because that was an awesome completely imaginary shooting game...

Why hadn't I seen this before?

Now this is my kind of fine art.


Overheard in the Hallway:

Me: "I'm just not getting off to my normal zingy start this morning. No Vault Zero or Diet Dew."

RX: "I thought you had...?"

Me: "I have Cherry Coke Zero, but it's hardly supercaffeinated. Usually by this time I'm three Vault Zeros and two cups of coffee into the day."

RX: "Young lady, we need to talk about your excessive drug use."

Me: "Hey, I treat my body like a temple... to Bacchus."

Cool pics.

Bobbi was out in the yard a lot with the tree guy yesterday, alternately helping to sling downed branches and snapping pictures.

As you can see, that was a whamdigeous limb.

How stands the union?

So there's this Government Motors stamping plant out on the west side of town that's a goner. ZiL was all ready to shut the place down, but apparently some Illinois-based company figured they could buy the place and keep it running profitably if the Wobblies that run the joint would agree to pay cuts.

Faced with a choice of certain unemployment or a 47% pay cut, what do you think the glorious workers of People's Auto Collective #23 decided to do?

That's right.

"Close it!" shouted one picketer into the TV camera, a tough woman who looked like she strangled tractors with her bare hands for sport, "They kin jes' close it! People'll jes' have to go on th' welfare!"

Well, clearly that's preferable to the indignity of a pay cut.

To quote TJIC:
You don’t want propose to exchange fair work at a fair price – you want a government-orchestrated scam, and you want the rest of us to be taxed to pay for it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Go Team Me!

Congratulations to $LOYAL_READER in California! You are the 3,000,000th visitor! If there were fabulous cash and prizes to hand out, you'd get them, but you'll have to settle for my undying gratitude and a big fat IOU (kind of like I was the government or something.)

Thank you! :)

Almost there...

It looks like the odometer may roll over before the five-year mark after all...

Verily I say unto thee...

If thy pistol needeth an extractor spring, it is not an M1911, but rather a vile abomination in the eyes of the Lord.

-The Revelation of St. John the Divine, Chapter 19, Verse 11.


Round count.

How has the number of caps busted in a firearms training class become, in certain circles at least, a measure of its worth?
"Oh yeah, Joe Blastum's "Extreme Close Quarters Tactical Pistol Fighting II" is the best class I've ever taken; we shot over fifteen hundred rounds!"
...and you go look at the video linked in the AAR subforum at MallNinjaForums.net and think to yourself "He charged you $350 for that? I'd have let you guys dump a case and a half into the berm shooting from the hip for free if you let me keep the brass."

These days, when the cost of ammo can easily exceed the class fee, I'd want to make sure I was actually learning something worthwhile for all that dough.

The twisty loops of the intertubes...

So the video clip with Ralph Severe doing it wrong caused me to Google "Ralph Severe poser", which led me to...

...zomg! I remember this thread at TFL! Marko and I were reduced to tears of helpless, shrieking laughter by the photo captions. And there was a link to that "Sharp Phil" guy's site and his droll essay on "Internet Tough Guys", but the thread's, like, eight years old and of course the home.att webpage is long gone... But there's always the Wayback Machine... And I wonder...

Huh. Phil Elmore has apparently been writing the whole time.

Whether I agreed with him or not, I always found him an interesting read.

Q: If a tree falls right outside your window, does it make a sound?

A: Yes.

If it weren't for bad luck, we'd have no luck at all.

(Actually, that's not necessarily so. This limb's over twelve feet up the tree, at least a foot and a half in diameter at the point where it broke, and there's a good fifteen-foot length sagging to the ground. If it had failed catastrophically in a high wind instead of gradually one warm evening, it could have taken a corner off of Roseholme Cottage quite easily instead of just groaning along the roof before slipping off the eaves.)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Right and wrong:

PDB with gun school fail:

Dave shows it being done right:

Spend your training dollars wisely.

State Fair pics:

Bobbi has her first round of pics from the State Fair up. (There'll be a lot more where that came from; I haven't seen someone snap so many photos since the last time I hung out with Oleg.)

Steam engines and tractors and blacksmiths and such, this go 'round.

Overheard in the Office:

Since we picked up bacon last night, I try to drop a subtle hint!
Me: "So, uh... are we going to have breakfast?"

RX: "Sure, but I'll have to go to the bathroom first."


*general laughter*

RX: "It's a regional specialty..."

...and they vote.

At his blog, Kevin relays the tale of the 31-year-old who did not know who Adolf Hitler was.

I once worked with a young woman who was outgoing, fairly bright, had enrolled in the local VooTee's nursing program, and did not know that snakes were vertebrates. Or that stars were other suns like ours.

She was not stupid by any means, and yet had somehow managed to slide through twelve years of basic education without anyone really ever engaging her desire to learn. Now she was in college and trying gamely, but had an uphill fight ahead of her.

It's often been joked that you can ascertain someone's politics by asking them how they feel about prayer in public schools. If they say "I'm against it!" you have a liberal; if they say "I'm in favor of it!" you have a conservative; and if they say "Public schools?!?" you have a libertarian. We're spending a ton of money on each kid for twelve years and all too frequently winding up with bupkis. We might as well just close the schools and buy them all new Jaguars instead. They'd still be illiterate, but at least they'd have nice cars to show for all the cash we set on fire.

I don't pretend to know what the answer is, but what we're doing now isn't it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I have been to two carnivals, a rodeo, and a state fair...

You don't know how long I've wanted to say that.

Anyhow, one of the coolest things I saw at the State Fair: Miniature Donkeys!

Adorable self-propelled autonomous lawnmowers! You would be the coolest kid at the organic locally-grown produce market, hauling your goods back home in a little cart drawn by a microburro.

I seriously thought about getting Bobbi to look into zoning regs...

Would "rocked by scandal" be too strong a term?

While the IMPD is facing almost certain lawsuits in the Officer OWI incident, one of its sergeants is facing trial for Aggravated Dumbassery in the First Degree in a suburban county, where he had gotten into a bit of a domestic tiff with his girlfriend while driving around in his squad car.

The tiff culminated in Sgt. Blinn firing his service pistol in the car, getting it wrestled away by his girlfriend and tossed out the window, and finally parking his squad car and heading off into the bushes to lead the po-po on a multi-hour manhunt.

Needless to say, his future job prospects look pretty bleak.

What I don't get is this: I have carried a pistol every waking moment for most of my adult life and, despite sometimes being mad enough at people to spit nails, I have never, ever drawn that pistol and pointed it at somebody like it was some kind of tool of argument, let alone started busting caps. The screamingly obvious lack of impulse control on this sergeant is appalling; I sincerely question whether he should be allowed out walking around near decent folk.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What I did on my Summer Staycation...

We went to the State Fair today.

We had ribeye sandwiches and pulled pork and funnel cake.

I fed baby goats, which made me happy.

We rode the Ferris wheel.

We did not ride the heffalump, which made me a little sad.

I did not get sunburned.

We saw a ginormous pig.

Bobbi talked typewriters with a World War One reenactor.

We petted miniature donkeys.

It was a fun day, but my feet are tired.

Some days you can't tell CNN from The Onion.

(CNN) -- U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-New York, under fire for alleged financial wrongdoing and harming the credibility of Congress...
Harming the lolwhut?

Charlie Rangel wouldn't know an ethic if you stuffed one in a sock and beat him unconscious with it.

The man is such a canker on the body politic that he even stands out in Congress, and you've got to be a particularly ripe road apple to get noticed in that mulch pile.

The first tool was a rock. The second tool was a sharpened rock.

Marko has written a paean to his everyday carry pocketknife.

I, too, am a little baffled when I run into people who don't carry a knife. I mean, what do they use when they need to open something? Their teeth?

I still haven't gotten around to sending my Emerson Commander back to the maker for a tune-up (one of the tiny screws that hold the scales on went missing and the liner lock was starting to show some wear,) so for the past several years I'm most likely to be found carrying a Benchmade Stryker. It's big and sturdy enough to handle most any chore to which you'd set a pocketknife without being too bulky in the pocket, and the ATS-34 blade takes a wicked edge.

The biggest downside is that it's too big to fit in the pockets of my Gap jeans which have shallow girlie pockets more for decoration than for actually carrying anything, so on the days I wear those, I carry a smaller knife, usually a CRKT Urban Shark or a Spyderco Dodo, both of which are sadly discontinued. (Both also sport blade lengths compliant with even Chicago's anal knife laws.)


Another Smith & Wesson M&P-15/22 out-of-battery incident. Nothing dramatic except an extractor that achieved escape velocity. Wear your eye protection!

The owner is awaiting the word from the manufacturer over whether they'll spring for a new extractor or not.

(I still want one.)

What the NRA does best...

Taking credit for other people's work.

(In this case, the Zumbo incident, which they didn't even notice until Jim had been sent to his room without supper.)

I happen to know somebody who did a lot of the grunt work in getting CCW reciprocity between Indiana and Texas because it made frequent visits to Thunder Ranch easier, and when the deal finally went down, guess who crowed about their big victory?

Even a stopped clock can find an acorn twice a day.

It's fitting that Sebastian, with a blog named Snowflakes In Hell, should link to this story in the Philly Inquirer on the difficulty in spotting potential workplace shooters, considering that it contains... you may want to sit down for this part... contains the sentence:
Spotting a weapon in a company parking lot might not tell you much. There are many parts of the country, including Pennsylvania, where it is common for workers to stash a rifle in a pickup truck for deer hunting.
Notice it just said "common for workers" and not "common for deranged, psychotic moody loner workers." Amazing.

Incidentally, in many years of working in gun stores, I never really worried about disgruntled ex-employees...

More on Officer OWI...

The mayor and the police chief were on the local news station at 0mygod30 this morning to give an interview about the police officer who drunkenly piloted his Crown Vic through three motorcycles while running code last Friday, killing one rider and leaving the other two in critical condition.

The crash happened fairly early in the day, according to an earlier news piece:
Just before the crash Bisard got an oil change and had his children in the cruiser before starting work around 8:30 Friday morning.

"Took his children to a soccer camp, went back home and took a shower and put his uniform on. He was westbound on 56th when he received the run to assist," said Chief Ciesielski.
Apparently the sun's over the yardarm early at the Bisard residence.

This morning, the chief and the mayor were all kinds of contrite and apologetic, but also wanted to point out that Bisard had received the department's medal of valor not two weeks before the incident for his actions in the aftermath of a bank robbery on the south side last April. Officer Bisard tracked down the AK-wielding robber and, in an exchange of gunfire, took him down with his patrol carbine, killing him. The implication, of course, being that this left him with the Mark of Cain and he climbed into the bottle as a result.

That, however, doesn't account for the five earlier incidents where Bisard had used the front bumper of his patrol car to defend himself from a variety of objects that leaped out in front of him, including a fence, a pole, and one of those agile and aggressive concrete retaining walls. There would appear to be a problem here that runs further back than the incident with the bank robber, although I'm sure that didn't help, since our culture conditions people to feel gnawing guilt over the taking of a human life, no matter how necessary or deserved.

For their part, the Fraternal Order of Police is merely going to ask that the blood sample be DNA-matched to confirm it's Bisard's and, if it matches, they'll be washing their hands of him.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

zomg we're all gonna die, part MCMLVII

Apparently, people are flying off from the NHS paradise in The Place Where Great Britain Used To Be to go get elective surgery in developing nations, and are coming back with pretty exotic bonus prizes.

What gun for superbug?

(To be fair, hospitals in even the First Worldiest of places can harbor some awfully nasty germs, since they are, by definition, chock full of sick people...)

Oh, that's just festive...

It looks like the Greater Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officer who plowed through the motorcyclists while running code might have had Deputy Jack Daniels riding shotgun.

Don't drink and run code, kids!

BONUS!: Quote of the Day from Indy's police chief, who can't open his mouth without sticking his corfam low-quarter in it:
"Metro Police Chief Paul Ciesielski said he was "shocked, disappointed and quite frankly pretty darn angry that this would happen.""
"Pretty darn angry", Chief? Really? 'Cause I'm bloody furious that this drunk with a string of fender benders was still at the helm of one of my Crown Vics with one of my guns on his belt. You want him fired? I want him flogged.

Sic semper parasitus.

In comments at Breda's, Mike made a point about Ted Stevens' recent departure from this vale of sorrows:
"[I]t's a way out I would pick for myself: quick crash at 86 years old after getting filthy rich sucking at the public teat for decades - not bad."
I understand the sentiment. There's been an all-too-minor uptick recently in these professional parasites (from the Greek παράσιτος, meaning "to eat on my tab,") kicking the bucket and, Miss Manners be damned, all I can think nowadays when one goes away is "It's a shame he died outside of prison."

Flying mechanical critter attacks cars.

Little is known about the strange flying mechanical parasite that swoops down on small crossover-utes and compact cars, inserts its ovipositor, and implants a larva which gradually swells and takes over the controls of the vehicle, commanding it to wander the streets of America aimlessly for a while and then drive to a parking lot in California. There, the larva swells into a mechanical excrescence on the roof before molting and becoming the next generation of flying chrome android predator.

(H/T to Unc.)

The wildlife was pretty wild.

So last night I dreamed that Bobbi and I were living in this house in Alaska, a house with lots of exterior doors and big picture windows. And there was a leopard running around in the yard. And then a lion came along and started fighting the leopard. Next thing you know there was a regular lion and leopard infestation around the house, and I began to get a little worried about the flimsiness of the doors and picture windows, and so we started to move bookcases and sofas to cover them.

It was a pretty strange dream.

Unconstitutional is to Fatuous as Sisyphean is to...?

Ever since Jimmy Carter got the government so drunk one night that it woke up with a Department of Education the next morning, the ED has been a source of some of the most daft and silly ideas in a federal bureaucracy noted for them. This is no mean achievement; it's akin to being the weirdest guy in the Jim Rose Freak Show or the critter with the most heads at the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium.

The latest is especially hilarious, though. Don't take my word for it; listen to the Big Idea for this week's gala from Maximum School Leader Arne Duncan. Here are the words straight from horse's a... er, mouth:
The goal of the summit is to engage governmental and nongovernmental partners in crafting a national strategy to reduce and end bullying.
Wow. The Federal government is going to end bullying in schools.

Look, school bullying has been going on since Sargon wouldn't stop poking Lugal in the ribs with his reed stylus during third period math, and the only reason it wasn't going on earlier than that is there weren't any schools, so it was just plain bullying. If you backtrack those footprints at Laetoli, you'll see where one of the australopithecines was giving the other a noogie. This isn't some fancy new American invention, and you're as likely to stop it as you are to stop sex, war, or eating.

Further, where in the sweet name of Shiva do you get off thinking the federal government has any business at all even worrying about this, huh? I know you work for the Department of Education, but did you cut class a lot in Civics or AmGov or whatever they called it in your school? Don't you think that, had they wanted to, Washington or Hamilton would have leaned over and said "Hey, James, prithee put somethinge in there to keep little boys from dippinge little girls' pigtails in the inkwells..."?

Wait, wait, I know how this happened... The dorks running the Department of Education got wedgies a lot, and when they started crying and ran to the teacher, the class bully said "Hey, you don't have to make a federal case out of it!"

And now they can.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


This past Saturday night I watched Kick-Ass at Shootin' Buddy's. It was fun, funny, occasionally oddly poignant, and such a generally over-the-top good time that last night I watched it again with Bobbi on pay-per-view. I think I'll be getting the DVD of this one.

Anyhow, there's a section toward the climax of the movie that is scored with this positively haunting piece of music that was triggering serious deja vu...

And it turns out that the reason for that is because it was also on the soundtrack of Sunshine, a science fiction psychological-thriller-cum-horror piece that is sort of like 2001 meets Das Boot with seriously compelling eye candy and an ending that will really stick with you. And that music...

I can't get John Murphy's "Sunshine (Adagio in D Minor)" out of my head today.

When they said "dark future", apparently it wasn't a figure of speech.

"Just plug it into the wall, and it works!" has been synonymous with reliability in my lifetime in much the same way as "As sure as the sun will rise in the east."

If the power went down, it was an extraordinary, brief, and localized event, like a tree across some power lines or maybe a car hit a pole somewhere in the neighborhood; a really big outage caused by an ice storm or hurricane was national news. I think I've gone without electricity more than 24 hours maybe two or three times in my life. Intermittent power caused by an insufficient or overstressed grid was something that happened in the Third World.

Welcome to the Third World, baby.

Got generator?

EDIT: Broken Patriot shares some of the things he's done to make his place more resistant to grid disruptions. This is stuff that would have made Roseholme Cottage a happier place in the aftermath of the Great Storm of Spring '08...

Lies and the lying liars who tell them.

Once upon a time, I worked for a guy we'll call "Ken", because that was his name.

Ken was a real character, and I don't necessarily mean that in a good way. He had a very active fantasy life which he tried to share with the rest of the world.

In Ken's fantasy life, he was an SF sniper in Vietnam. He claimed that when "his sergeant" tried to take his beloved M-14 away and replace it with one of those cheap Mattel toys, Ken threatened to kill him, and was allowed to keep his M-14. (Which is an odd action for an eleven-year-old, that being about Ken's age when the M-14 was replaced in front line units.) Needless to say, Ken's unit was wiped out, leaving him the sole survivor, not once, but twice. And both times when he rolled all the bodies of his buddies over, they all had a jammed M-16 with a cleaning rod stuck down the barrel in their hands.

Ken's grandpa was an even bigger hero, having served in the USN during WWII, winning the Medal of Honor three times, and having three aircraft carriers sunk out from underneath him.

Needless to say, one of the most important tasks of myself and the other employees at the shop was to keep the owner from interacting in any way with the customers, lest he entertain them with his tales of imaginary derring-do in a fantasy Saigon, where he was apparently all the time stabbing pimps to death with his Gerber for vaguely-defined reasons.

A guy at GeorgiaPacking.org seems to have discovered an apparent relative of Ken's at a Fun Show who not only has the stories, but also decided to get the costume to go with them. (And yes, that MP badge does count for "impersonating an officer" under certain circumstances...)

(H/T to WRSA.)

Looming tragedy.

Pork bellies hit all-time high.

In case you didn't know, pork bellies are the ore from which they get bacon. Apparently a spike in demand has coincided with a drop in supply, et voila! Record prices.

(H/T to SurvivalBlog.)

Monday, August 09, 2010

"Bother!" said Pooh, as he stopped a 305gr solid.

Brian J. Noggle has a beautiful trophy from what must have been a truly unique safari.

I find myself wanting one like it in the worst possible way...

Like a twisted Disney cartoon...

Now playing: The Littlest Terrorist, starring Omar Khadr.

Okay, a couple things about the charges as listed in the CNN piece kinda bother me:
...charged with terrorist acts for al Qaeda and the killing of a U.S. Special Forces soldier.
First, define "terrorist acts" for me, please. What exactly did this guy supposedly do? Don't get me wrong: If you run away from home to go play Jihadi Joe, I've got no beef with keeping you locked up for the duration. You don't repatriate POW's til the shooting stops. If Canada wanted to hang him for being a traitor, I'd say extradite him, but I'm not sure we can count on the Canucks to do the right thing here.

My second and bigger problem is he is alleged to have killed the U.S. soldier with a grenade during a firefight on the battlefield in Afghanistan. If that's a "crime" now, we've got a bunch of 80-y.o. Japanese and German men we need to get to arresting. This is setting the same kind of dangerous precedent we set with the Vae Victis trials at Nuremburg.

It's hard to have a neat and clean war against opponents in mufti on a foreign battlefield. The traditional reward for fighting out of uniform was a drumhead trial, a blindfold and a cigarette, (although we probably wouldn't use the cigarette these days because they cause cancer.) Perhaps, in the long run, that'd still be the best way to do it. And if the situation doesn't warrant that treatment, then maybe it doesn't warrant being there in the first place.

Sigh. Always when I'm broke...

"Hi, $VALUED_CUSTOMER! We have a special 1-day deal for you! A Toshiba 640 GB Portable External Hard Drive for sixty-nine bucks! Hurry and act today!"

Yeah, great, Amazon. Where were you a month ago when I needed a cheap, biggish external hard drive and actually had money?

It's morbid and tacky, all rolled into one!

Never underestimate the ability of the entertainment industry to plumb the depths of bad taste, and don't make the mistake of thinking it's some new thing, either.

For example, the early TeeWee show This Was Your Life surprised one Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto with a mystery guest from his past: The guy who dropped the a-bomb on him! Surprise! This magic moment brought to you by Prell shampoo. Prell: It gives a girl's hair that radiantly alive look!

(H/T to Popehat.)

Edited to add:

Divemedic notes in comments that the Japanese have never apologized nor made reparations for their savagery at Nanking and numerous other places, but that fact is irrelevant to the point of this post.

As anybody's momma could tell you, that the Japanese behaved as animals during WWII does not excuse a lack of manners by an American TV show. I've got no problem nuking people to cinders in their beds, but using it to sell nail polish and embarrass an innocent man of the cloth on TV is just damned trashy and no-count.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

8.08 state.

Went to the range with Shootin' Buddy at the crack of early this morning with the intention of getting carbines dialed in for the Awerbuck course later this month. Only except Wildcat Valley was hosting a multigun match and the gamers had claimed the benchrest bay.

There's still a 100 yd bench over down on the bay with the steel critters, which they weren't using, and so we hied ourselves over there, but the morning continued to be made of fail.

The AR sight adjustment tools that Shootin' Buddy bought at Knob Creek turned out to be air-soluble, having completely vanished between then and now. The Troy BUIS, while using an A1-style windage adjustment, did not want to be adjusted with the tip of an M193 cartridge. The punch on my Leatherman Juice came to the rescue for one carbine, but the detent on the other one wouldn't work with it. Result: Only one of two dialed in.

My carbine had a new-to-me Aimpoint Comp M2 on it that also needed dialing in. Of course, that's a lot easier at 25 yards than it is at a hundred. I tried to get a rough boresight by yanking the bolt carrier group and squinting through the barrel at the target while fiddling the adjustment screws, but gave it up for a bad idea. I'd planned on a trip to Coal Creek Armory before class anyway, so I reckon I'll drag the carbine along and see if I can't get it at least boresighted while I'm there.

At least we finished up okay: SB had just picked up a Yugo Czech Mauser from his 'smith, who'd fitted it with a scout scope and XS backup irons. I'm assuming he'd had something done to the trigger, too, or else that was the nicest stock military Mauser trigger I've felt. Even with the low-powered long eye-relief scope and no better point of aim than the rough center of a plain white IPSC target a hundred yards away, I easily put three rounds of factory Remington softpoint into a space covered by the palm of my hand. (Which, for an old military rifle, is not half bad. If it'll do that for a mediocre shot like me, then if someone who knew what they were doing loaded for the gun and then slung up and tried, it'd probably really shoot.)

Saturday, August 07, 2010

What have you done for me lately?

That dastardly George Bush is somehow ruining the economy still.
President Obama has made a point recently to invoke Bush's name in what many say is a calculated effort to remind voters of the previous administration's economic policies, which Democrats argue led to the worst recession in modern history.
I'll bet he took the distributor cap off the economy so nobody could get it started back up, and then took it with him when he left the White House and hid it wherever all those Clinton staffers hid the "W" keys from the keyboards...

Okay, Barry, listen: That is weak. Weak.

You are, in effect, saying "Ooh, those nasty Republicans broke the economy soooo bad that we haven't been able to fix it. But you should vote for us anyway. Even though we can't fix it. 'Cause it's Bush's fault, so don't vote for this other guy over here who isn't Bush, but if you squint really hard he kinda looks like him..."

Ringing upbeat endorsement of your team there, Barry. If I were a Democrat candidate, I'd ask you to please keep your weaksauce appeals out of my district and away from my fundraisers. Blaming it on the other guy might work while you're trying to get elected, but it doesn't help you once you've got the job.

It's all your stick now, baby, and quit whining, because you asked for the job. Now you have to do it. Maybe if you'd actually stuck around and finished a term after you got elected rather than immediately getting bored and starting to campaign for your next gig, you'd know that. Right now the gig it looks like you're stumping for is "ex-president".

Dinner and a show.

Went out to dinner with Shootin' Buddy last night to a local restaurant; a sort of tavern-y place with a bar at the front and tables and booths in the back. It was fairly full, always a good sign, but we managed to get a table in the back corner. SB was sitting on the padded bench seat that ran along the wall, which meant he had, more or less, a seatmate not an arm's length away at the next table.

Said seatmate was well into that very friendly stage of drunkenness, and decided that maybe he recognized Shootin' Buddy. "Hey! I know you! Remember me?"

"Uh, no."

"Sure! You're... Steve!" (Not even close, BTW...) "It's me! Davey!"

And thus began the rambling narrative on the gentleman's Native American ancestry, his Vietnam War vet buddies, his spiritual guide, and which walking stick was best to use at the Feast of the Hunter's Moon, an event he earnestly wished we'd attend. Anyhow, as our entertainer's female companion finally spatulaed him off the seat and got him pointed towards the door, he turned and, with a little half-bow and his eyes squinted up like he was trying to remember the Gettysburg Address, very solemnly intoned "Na Mao Che Kim brunt puff ugh bargle watt. And that means 'I invite you to the Feast of the Hunter's Moon.'"

Rather than leave well enough alone, Shootin' Buddy (who has something of an ear for languages,) asked in all innocence "What language was that?"

"Huh?" blinked our floor show.

"What language? I mean, was it Miami? Shawnee?"

"It was... it was... Native American!"

Okay, then.

Friday, August 06, 2010

My timing skills are just awful.

I've been in Indy for three GenCons now, and it looks like I'm going to miss this one, too.

Oh, well. I lived in ATL from the mid-'70s to 2000 and I think I made it to DragonCon maybe three times.

QotD: The real Useless Eaters edition.

TJIC on lifetime career politicians:
In fact, the majority of these !@#$-bags don’t even realize that they’re doing damage – they burn down businesses, lives, savings, and investments, and then they pat themselves on the back for handing a contract to a campaign donor, or for building a new bus station and plastering their names on it.

For a specific example, as if one were needed, there's one of those people that Marko says aren't trying to steer us towards socialism:
...this gerrymandered race-baiting footsoldier of the class war, this remora on the flank of Leviathan, this vacuous sinkhole of consumption that does nothing but suck in tax dollars and shit out red tape and misery.
The subject of that quote hasn't done a single productive thing since she first stuck her face in the public trough thirty-seven years ago; I doubt she remembers what a real job feels like. She has been living on the looted pelf of the productive since before I could tie my own shoes, and the people keep sending her back for more because she brings back the pork and fuels their sense of resentful entitlement.


I'm about the opposite of focused right now.

I woke up at 0mygod30 in the AM to see roomie off to an early shift, and planned on just sitting up and getting some writing done, but after almost four hours I have achieved bupkis.

Worse, I've started to catch myself zoning off into the monitor for long periods.

I'm going to go take a lie-down for another hour or two.

Sorry 'bout that.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

"...they could see things in worlds invisible to mortal men; but too often they beheld only the phantoms and delusions of Sauron."

It appears Kagan has been confirmed.

Damn. Now the Supreme Court will stop being stalwart individualist defenders of the Constitution...

Handy factoid for larval lawyers:

Protip: Wikipedia articles tend to fall short in the "admissible evidence" department.

If you want to introduce bogus data to support your case, pay somebody with a goodly chunk of the alphabet after their name like everybody else, okay?

It's coming right for us!

MattG asks "What gun for radioactive Russian boar?"

Easy: The M65.

Duh. ;)

About that "cousin-humping" stuff...

Unlike you simple hicks, when Percy C. Throckmorton III marries his cousin, that’s just good breeding. It’s how you get refined creatures with tiny braincases like afghan hounds, European royalty, and Yankee liberal aristocrats.

Get up, stand up!

I realize I'm late, but I wanted to make sure that I was on the right side of this issue:

I understand why, in the narcissism-drenched, P.R.-scented corridors of the Jaye Edgar Hoover Building, where everyone looks like Scully and Mulder and acts better than Jodie Foster and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. put together, it would be automatically assumed that the only reason somebody would display the sacred seal would be to pass themselves off as a member of the sacred band.

Relax, G-man; I'm not doing any such thing. Go pester a real criminal someplace, why don't you? And look up "Streisand Effect" while you're at it.

From Crackberry to Sadsackberry?

Remember in 2008 how one measure of what a hip, modern dude Barry was was that they were going to have to take his Crackberry away?

Well, apparently that's old news now, because the Blackberry is officially so two years ago, dude. You know: "Last week called. They want their phone back." Hello? No apps? How can you have a phone without apps? I mean is that, like, your mom's phone?

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Who didn't see that coming?

After yesterday's rout in the Show Me State, just out of curiosity I punched "Missouri Proposition C rednecks" and "Missouri Proposition C hillbillies" into Google. I was not disappointed.

"Why won't you stupid cousin-humping rednecks vote for us?", indeed.

It's not a dry heat.

It's not raining. But it might as well be.

I woke up this morning before sunrise to the weather gnome telling me that it was 80°F out and the dew point was 77°. This would be a dew point described by meteorologists as "Extremely uncomfortable, fairly oppressive," or by laypeople as "I can't breathe! It's like being underwater!" (Above a dew point of 80°F, folks with bad lungs can start croaking.)

And then the sun came up.

This water can all just fall on the ground any old time it likes to, thankyouverymuch.