Monday, January 31, 2011

Snow? I wish...

One thing that I thought I was getting away from by moving to far-off frozen cold north yankee land was that perennial wintertime peril of Appalachia, the ice storm. Surely up here it would be cold enough during the winter months for precipitation to fall as good, honest snow.

Unfortunately, it appears that the same weather system that is set to dump a cheerful, fluffy foot-and-a-half of snowman ore on Mordor and points east along the Great Lakes is going to leave Greater Indianapolis coated in an inch or so of tree-toppling, powerline-dropping ice. We are not amused.

I'm off to the grocery store to stock up on French toast fixins.

Helping the cause.

Oleg suggests taking that ten or twenty bucks you were going to spend on your next box of ammunition and donating it to support ongoing 2nd Amendment litigation. Not a bad idea, really.

It's getting positively Rawlesian over there...

With the civil unrest still going strong in Egypt after almost a week and the police having largely abandoned the streets, private militias have taken to guarding neighborhoods, gated communities are manning checkpoints and barricades, and food is running out with deliveries disrupted by rioting and curfews.

Meanwhile, before everybody goes patting themselves on the back over this big victory for freedom and democracy, let's remember what happened last time we saw this movie: Dithering jelly-spined US president who speaks in platitudes, tottering aged strongman, rowdy mobs demanding democracy, global economy in the toilet... All we're missing is the angry-looking fundamentalist exile with the beard and the turban, and it's time to break out the old ELO albums and dust off Kramer vs. Kramer on Betamax, 'cause it's 1979 all over again.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Asked and answered...

"In what situation do you think you would need a 30 bullet magazine clip?"
Oh, I don't know... You tell me.

The picture of the three young Egyptian men standing watch in front of their block while armed with nowt but rakes and broom handles is especially significant to me since, being a slightly-gimpy, middle-aged woman, I'm just not really Bruce Lee with a stick, you know? It would certainly not be my preferred instrument for keeping a mob off my lawn.

Of course, there hasn't been a riot involving water cannons and dogs and armored vehicles and tear gas within fifteen blocks of this house since 1995, so obviously it can't happen here...

Mea culpa.

Sorry for the lack of posting Saturday, but yesterday was Internets Sabbatical Day for me.

I have to confess that I have not been making use of my Happy Sunshine UV Lamp like I should have been, and as a result the level of depression and lethargy I've been suffering of late has been hovering somewhere between "crushing" and "clinical".

Yesterday I tried to spend some time outside, and this morning I washed my multivitamin down with V8 and clicked on the synthetic sunshine; this funk has got to lift, because whimpering under a blanket is no way to spend your afternoons.

Friday, January 28, 2011

For my younger readers...

I bought my first gun in nineteen-hundred-and-eighty-six, so I understand that if you only came into the shooting hobby in the last six years, the following might sound a little weird...

I was a casual gun owner and occasional shooter up until the time I got my first job at a gun store some seven years later, about the time the Brady Bill became law. When the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (better known as the "Assault Weapons Ban") passed, I picked up a couple of extra magazines for my Glock 23 and SIG P-228, the only firearms I owned that would be affected. Conversely, I remember ordering a whole case of Ram-Line 10/22 mags for a customer who had a Ruger with an auto-sear in it. I thought he was being paranoid.

Boy, was I un-psychic...

Since then, my interests and preferences have shifted. These days my primary handgun doesn't hold over ten rounds, and the only weapons I own that do are various AR-platform carbines. But every time I go to a gun show, I buy at least one 1911 or AR mag. Any time I'm in a gun store and see that they have cheap ex-GI M16 magazines in their "Used Stuff" box, I pick one up. I keep replacement magazine springs and followers in my spare parts box. When I made my order from Brownells earlier in the week, I made a point of having them toss a carbine mag and a pistol mag in the box. Sure, maybe I seem as kooky as your great-grandparents who lived through the Great Depression and hoarded rubber bands and string until the day they died, but what's a little cheap insurance?

Magazines in self-loading firearms are wear items.
Q: How many mags should you have?
A: More.

QotD: The king's shilling edition...

"Once legalized theft begins, it pays for everyone to participate. Those who don't will be losers." -Walter Williams
You want the deficit reduced. You want budgets brought under control. You want your federal, state, and local governments to live within their means... but you sure don't want your government paycheck/subsidy/benefits slashed! Take the money from the other guy, I perform a vital service! They promised me that! I already paid in, and I just want what's rightly mine!

Here we all are, sitting around the cannibal pot.

(H/T to Gunrights4Us.)

Physical jerks.

Indiana is implementing a comprehensive plan to get Hoosiers in shape. No surprise, much of it has to do with eating better and getting more exercise.
How about implementing a comprehensive plan to mind your own business, there, sport?


Brigid brought over some cookies for my birthday the other day. One thing and another intervening, the ziploc baggie with the cookies in it sat atop the microwave 'til yesterday morning, when I pulled one lonely cookie out and brought it into the office to nibble while typing.

As soon as I finished it, I went back into the kitchen and got all the rest of the cookies out of the bag and carried them back in a double handful and devoured them, too, except for one, which I will make heroic efforts to not eat until lunchtime today. I'm not sure what the primary ingredient was, but I'm thinking it may have been crack cocaine or something with similarly addictive powers, because I want that cookie the way the white rat in that experiment wanted to push the little red bar.

Facebook for nothin' and your 'net for free...

The tizzy some folks are getting into over finding that their "likes" on Facebook are being turned into what is, in effect, on-the-fly ad copy is amusing.

What did you think was going to pay for this futuristic new way to stay in touch with your friends and family, to keep everyone you know updated on your every meal and movie and micturition? Did you think some kind philanthropist had donated the code and the server space and the bandwidth out of the kindness of his heart?

Here's an important tip: If you want to keep something private, don't write about it on somebody else's hard drive!

How quickly it all becomes an entitlement!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Well wishes appreciated.

For those that hadn't noticed, my roomie is blogging from waiting room of the hospital where her mom is undergoing heart surgery.

Fingers crossed while the docs work their voodoo.

UPDATE: Thank you everybody. Everything went well, or at least as well as these kinds of things go. Roomie is now home and napping, and I'm going to do likewise, because I'm tired to the point where the curtains look like they're moving when I know they're not.

They only ever play the one note, and it's sounding ♭.

So some guy named Thomas Hardy is out of prison on parole, gets picked up on theft charges, is released on bond(!), and then gets pulled over while driving a hot car and shoots the officer in the face. The police officer subsequently dies of his wounds and the finger-pointing in the halls of government has barely gotten started.

Meanwhile, the local professional hand-wringers are blaming the gun, of course. I guess the pistol must have messed up the Department of Corrections computers before secreting itself in the goblin's pocket...

Fuzzy around the edges.

I tried to set the internal alarm clock last night (that's where you drink a big, tall glass of water right before bed) but it backfired on me and I woke up at 0200 or so and couldn't get back to sleep until 4:30... just in time for the actual alarms to go off at 5AM.

Went downtown and had breakfast with Shootin' Buddy and now I'm home and feeling the effects of sleep dep. I can see the music. At least today's posts will be interesting to come back and read later...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The little engine that couldn't.

Apparently "high speed rail" is the new shibboleth.

The whole issue makes otherwise smart people say dumb things, like Jonah Goldberg, who tweeted last night:
"I hear the Roman Empire kicked ass because of high speed rail."
which wasn't maybe the best analogy, since "Via Appia" is how you say "Shinkansen" in Latin, and it sure wasn't private enterprise that laid that roadbed...

Anyhow, fast choo-choo trains are currently high on the SWPL list because foreigners have them, especially cool foreigners like the Japanese and the French, and who doesn't want to be more like a foreigner? They have exotic-sounding accents and know more about sushi and wine than we do!

Meanwhile, to prove that you are a libertarian or conservative, you have to hatehatehate fast choo-choo trains right down to the very marrow of your bones, since the only obvious use for high speed rail is to lose money while towing cattle cars to the concentration camps at face-distorting accelerations.

Me? I have no strong opinions one way or another on choo-choo trains, whatever their speed. If someone wants to build a railroad and drive their trains really fast on it, more power to them. If they have reasonable rates and are going somewhere I want to go and they promise to treat me like a paying customer or even just a dignified human being and not like livestock or an airline passenger, I might even purchase their services.

But I don't see where it's any of the Federal government's business how fast choo-choo trains go, or even whether or not we have them at all.

Something I don't understand...

At some point in American history, the first clause of Section 3 of our CEO's job description,
"He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient..."
came to be interpreted as "Our Dear Leader shall, once per year, commandeer all our airwaves so that He might make the Divine Will known to us all. And then all the networks shall read the entrails of a goat. And there will be much rejoicing."

Thomas Jefferson, lor' bless him, thought that having the prez stand up and declaim in front of Congress was a bit too Ave, Caesar! for our young republic, and so he established the tradition of sending the annual report over to Congress in written form, the same way that I.N.C., Inc. lets shareholders know how things are going every year.

Then Woodrow Wilson, never one to miss a chance for a bit of public demagoguery, preferably draped in bunting, revived the practice of entering the House chamber in pomp and circumstance and laying down the law in person. With few exceptions, such as Silent Cal, the addresses have been public spectacles* ever since.

*Chastened by his recent drubbing at the polls, Jimmy Carter, a humble man with a great deal to be humble about, sent in a written outgoing address in '81, but it's been Speeches From The Throne from then on.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More violent rhetoric...

Via CNN:
President Obama is planning to mention the Tucson shooting tragedy near the top of his State of the Union Address Tuesday in order to press members of Congress to "lower your tone and raise your sights"...
Haven't we had enough violent firearms analogies in political speech lately, Mr. President?

Oh, and what happened in Arizona wasn't a "tragedy"; it was an "outrage". There's a difference.

Last batch of SHOT vids...

Kyle Lamb of Viking Tactics apparently has a new book coming out on pistol fighting, called Stay In The Fight. I very much liked his earlier book, Green Eyes and Black Rifles, and so I'm looking forward to this one.

This is cool: Primary Weapons Systems T3 Summit toggle-action rimfire rifle. Oh, and a long-stroke gas-piston AR carbine.

Does it make me a big ol' pretentious elitist...

...if I was overwhelmed with a feeling of smug superiority for not having the foggiest notion of who this "Snooki" person was until I clicked on Marko's link?

If someone had made me guess, I probably would have gone for "Pop or R&B singer"...

(The Amazon "reviews" at Marko's link, by the way, should only be read if you are someplace you won't get fired for sudden gasping shrieks of laughter.)

I don't like guns in pockets...

...which is odd, considering that I usually have one in mine.

It's just the handiest place for me to keep a backup, and in wintertime, a J-frame in an outside coat pocket is quicker to access than the pistol on my belt, buried as it is under a parka and a fleece pullover.

Some people carry in a pocket for dress code reasons, and for them, there is the Executive holster from The Holster Site. Unc, who helped inspire the design, reviews it for Shooting Illustrated here.

The best line in the article?
"This would clear out a slot in the holster drawer and reduce the number of times I handled a loaded firearm."
Emphasis mine, because I can't tell you how warm and happy it makes me feel inside when people say that.


No blog for you. You come back later.

Monday, January 24, 2011

SHOT Show video, Part IV...

Marty Hayes talks about the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network.

Aimpoint's new Patrol Rifle Optic.

New High Performance Combat Uniform with Integrated Tourniquet System from Blackhawk!

The life and strange times of Huck the cat...

We have one of those double-decker shower curtains, with the decorative cloth hanging outside the tub and the translucent waterproof curtain hanging inside.

Huck's new favorite sport is to wait 'til someone's taking a shower, then stand on his hind paws outside the tub, but inside the outer curtain, and bat at the shower's occupant through the translucent plastic every time they get too close to it, over and over and over, for the duration of the shower. One of these days, of course, he will lunge too enthusiastically and go ass-over-teakettle into the shower, and it will all end in wet cat tears, but until then it will remain difficult to take a shower due to laughing so hard.

Same planet, different worlds.

I have some friends who still prefer to do all their transactions in cash. I, myself, am not that hidebound; I like my debit cards, for instance. I can punch in my PIN a lot faster than the average cashier these days can count out correct change while moving their lips as though they were telling the misbaha.

However, according to CNN this morning, I'm as out of touch as an 8-Track collector:
"Mobile payment is going to get really interesting and is going to see a lot of activity in 2011," said George Peabody, director of emerging technologies at Mercator Advisory Group. "We're going to start seeing more and more people leaving their homes without their wallets."
Yeah, George, I'm sure the State Trooper will be impressed when I show him a .jpg of my toter's permit on my smartphone. Especially since I don't even have a smartphone, and have no real plans to get one in the immediate future. It's smug predictions like yours that make me feel all reactionary and want to retreat to an all-cash position myself.

And so it goes.

In his latest feat of strength, Jack LaLanne just towed 10 boats across the River Styx...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Today In History: Happy Birthday, JMB!

Happy Birthday to the man who invented the one-piece slide and breechblock for autoloading pistols, the self-loading shotgun, the tilting-barrel short-recoil self-loading pistol and half the other firearms innovations we take for granted today...

Don't go away mad...

In the piece discussing MSNBC scraping Olbermann off their corporate shoe was this priceless quote:
MSNBC issued a vague, unemotional statement saying it ended its contract with Olbermann, who hosted the top rated show on the network.
Top rated show at MSNBC? Boy, that's like being the tallest midget at the county fair.

I mean, when you're locked in a vicious three-way battle with LOGO and The National Geographic Channel for eleventh place in the ratings, is it wise to fire your starting quarterback?

Overheard in the Kitchen:

Last night, roomie was reading the prescription info sheet she got from the pharmacy...
RX: "'May cause drowsiness or dizziness... Generic names: Atropine, Scopolamine...'"

Me: "Wait, what? You mean I can nerve gas you and you'd feel compelled to tell me the truth?"

That's not the answer, that's the problem.

Jim Acosta at CNN whines that we aren't offering the kind of political climate or "the kind of government that's worthy of our 9-year-olds," leading me to wonder if he remembers anything at all about the fourth grade, because from where I sit, we've got a government and a political climate that's easily worthy of the elementary school playground that I... Jimmy Acosta! You get little Sarah Palin's pigtails out of that inkwell right now and apologize!

You want to know something I remember from the fourth grade, Jim? The playground bullies always whimpered when someone got fed the hell up and punched them back.

I'd like to see us aim a little higher: How about a government worthy of our adults? I'll decide whether I need to eat my vegetables or wear a sweater today all by myself, thank you very much.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The ongoing Balkanization of my satellite dish...

Okay, I knew that there was children's TV, women's TV, dude's TV, Spanish-language TV, black entertainment television, imported limey telly to watch when you're feeling smug, several competing brands of GodTV, and anti-American propaganda TV on PBS and Al Jazeera, but for some reason I did not know until scrolling through the channel menu this morning about Jewish Life TV.

I was pressing the down arrow button on the remote control like one of those lab rats hoping for more coke, trying to decide whether Chris Matthews or Bill O'Reilly was more likely to cause me to Elvis the television set at 0600, when I saw a show called "Mensch Life" scroll by.

"Oh, look!" says I to roomie, "There's a show called Mensch Life on something called JLTV! I'll bet they have a morning medical show like Dr. Oz, called The Daily Plotz... Ooh! And they could have a prime time sitcom about a nice strait-laced orthodox widower attorney who lives in Atlanta and hires this redneck gal with this outrageously over-the-top magnolia blossom accent as a nanny for his kids!"

At this pace, everybody should have their very own TV station target-marketed directly at them by 2017. Production budgets will, of necessity, be small, but the ad conversion rate should theoretically be phenomenal.

Friday, January 21, 2011

...and more SHOT videos!

Black Hills Ammunition discusses their two newest 5.56 loads: A 77gr Mk.262 clone and a 50gr Barnes Triple-Shock X.

Travis Haley talks to Rob Pincus about his newest venture, Haley Strategic.

Spyderco's Fred Perrin PPT folder.

I was afraid of that.

Caleb brought up the KSG trigger reset issue to the guys at the Kel Tec booth and was allegedly told that it wasn't a bug, it was a feature! Others claim they were told the same thing when they asked about it.

It has been my experience over the years that there may not be another company in this business that can match their unique combination of brilliant ideas and flawed execution...

Good Night, Saiga?

ATF to announce a ruling on the Russian-made Saiga self-loading shotguns on Monday.

The Saigas have been skating on thin bureaucratic ice for a long time. Only the hen’s-tooth scarcity of large-capacity magazines kept them from joining the USAS-12 on the “Destructive Device” list (Remember, every shotgun bigger than a .410 is technically a DD, without a "sporting purpose" exemption) but their surging popularity in 3-gun competition has driven more large magazines to the market. Apparently 3-gun doesn't qualify as a "sporting purpose", since no clay pigeons, feathered critters, or stack-barrel Perazzis wielded by Vice Presidents are involved.

It’s awfully hard for the ATF to allow the importation and sale of Saigas with a straight face while keeping the USAS-12 on the no-go list. (The answer, of course, is to de-list the USAS-12...)

Do Your Part For The Corporatist States of America!

"The past does not repeat itself, but it rhymes." - Mark Twain
Back during the first Depression, a bunch of proposals by one Gerard Swope, president of General Electric, reached the ear of President Roosevelt and went on to become the reviled National Recovery Administration. Oh, hey, guess what?I'm not saying that this morning's headline sent a Santayana-esque chill up my spine, but I'm ready to see the ol' Blue Eagle banners any minute now...

What perfect timing...

According to my email in-box, Brownells has thoroughly revamped their product search engine and shopping interface, and just in time, too. At this past weekend's gun show, I had been about to buy a couple of trinkets and thought "You know, I can get these cheaper from Brownells..."

Their old product search engine seemed to have been steadily improved over time, but still had a decision tree that turned searching for and buying a pack of grip screws into a clickfest that sounded like a Minesweeper tournament. This is annoying when it occurs in the same universe that contains Amazon's "1-Click" feature.

I'm off for some rail covers for the M&P15-22 and a few other odds and sods.

Even more SHOT Show video...

Daniel Defense is selling factory SBR AR carbines à la the Mk 18 Mod 0. (I am really, really finding myself wanting an SBR lately.)

Robar's Robbie Barrkman discusses his company's new Poly T2 finish.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The cradle and the grave of liberty.

As anyone who knows me can tell you, I have a prickly disposition.

Since commencing the writing of this blog, I have typed out explicit wishes for harm on a variety of people. Recently I suggested that people who put too much credence in horoscopes should go huff exhaust fumes in a locked garage. When Dick Cheney dusted his hunting buddy with his fowling piece, I wrote that his only real crime was shooting a lawyer in Texas without a lawyer stamp on his hunting license. In a two-day period last November, I hoped aloud that Sen. Chuck Schumer, everybody at the FDA, and an anonymous TSA agent would all die in a fire, screaming. I've used the phrase "Die, hippie" with a specific hippie as the referent more times than I can count.

And I still have my guns.

This is apparently mostly because I don't live in Arlington, Massachusetts.

Travis Corcoran, proprietor of Heavy Ink Comics, whose nom de blog is "TJIC" does live in Arlington, Massachusetts. Travis identifies himself as an anarcho-capitalist; I'd say that on the philosophical axis, the pelt on his wookie suit is longer and more luxuriant than mine, if not quite as splendid as Billy Beck's.

In the wake of the recent shooting in Tuscon, Travis put up a post on his blog about how he didn't particularly feel like shedding any tears over the shooting of a politician, entitled "1 down, 534 to go!" Provocative? Inflammatory? Even tacky? Sure. But it was just speech. Political speech. The kind that's protected under the 1st Amendment, even when it's about politicians further up the food chain than congresscritters.

Comic readers tend to trend younger and lefter than the norm, and some of his customers found out about his post and decided to organize a boycott. I have no problem with boycotts; lord knows I've called for the boycotts of businesses that did things that annoyed me, such as using murderers for pitchmen. Some people were so butthurt, however, that they went to the authorities, and Travis received a knock on the door: It was the Arlington, MA po-po, there to relieve Mr. Corcoran of his guns, his ammunition, his firearms license, and his 2nd Amendment rights, all for having the temerity to use his 1st Amendment rights in the former Cradle of Liberty, now its grave.

Folks, if Travis committed a crime, then I'm a criminal, too. To quote another famous Bay Stater (who would no doubt be disgusted with the current state of affairs there)
"Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison."
I am TJIC.

Have you stopped beating your wife yet?

As you may recollect, NPR had a fair and balanced debate between the Anti-Gun and Even-Antier-Gun sides the other day, in regards to McCarthy's shrill magazine ban bill.

As it turns out, prior to the show, a blogger of my acquaintance received the following email:

From: Matthew Baskin
Sent: Fri, January 14, 2011 1:32:22 PM
Subject: NPR show On Point needing progressive gun guest

Hi Mr. Blogger,

My name is Matthew Baskin and I work for the NPR program On Point with Tom Ashbrook. I’m writing to ask if you’d be able to speak as a guest on Monday, January 17. We’re looking for a gun owner and 2nd Amendment supporter who is not opposed to the forthcoming McCarthy bill re: limiting magazine capacity. I’d be very grateful if you could put me in touch with any gun owner who is not opposed to regulation. Let me know if anyone comes to mind. Thanks very much.

Matthew Baskin

Which just goes to point out the Totally Unbiased nature of the debate.

Imagine the howls if the email had read "We’re looking for a civil-rights activist and 14th Amendment supporter who is not opposed to keeping the black man down just a little bit..."

Remember: Your tax dollars fund NPR. Be sure and let your elected congressthings know how happy that makes you...

Miscellaneous tabs I had open:

Yet more SHOT Show videos...

Spike's Tactical Compressor short-barreled carbine.

LaserLyte V3 compact rail-mount laser.

Mike Janich and the Spyderco Navaja.


Referring to last night's gala for the Chicom Head Honcho, the voice on the TeeWee just intoned"...and the First Lady wore a red dress, a color traditionally thought to bring good luck in China..." in a tone that left me surprised that she didn't add "...the superstitious little wogs."

Meanwhile, Barry told Hu we wanted to sell software in China. I was hoping that Hu would be honest and reply "Sure! But we only need one copy of each program."

Learn something new every day...

Well, it's not something I "learned", since I had both facts in my head all along, but just yesterday, the picture of the vase suddenly turned into two faces in profile...

I'd known that the early American pocket pistols featured some ingenious operating mechanisms, like the delayed blowback systems on Pedersen's Remington Model 51 and Searle's Savage 1907. Both those pistols, as well as H&R's Webley clone and Smith & Wesson's Clement copy, featured separate breechblocks...

...because Colt had the sole use of John Browning's patent on the one-piece slide and breechblock, not because it made sense to come up with new and complicated ways to make a pocket pistol work. Oh, sure, they touted the benefits in their advertising, but I rather think it was more of a case of trying to make lemonade than any kind of engineering fact. When Browning came up with a design, the companies he worked with would set their lawyers to work, patenting everything they could think of on it; think how many people blew their heads off cocking Winchester Model 1911 shotguns by pressing down on the barrel with the buttstock on the ground, all because Remington held Browning's patent for the bolt-mounted cocking handle...

(You'll also note that both the Savage's and Remington's grip panels either pop onto or dovetail into the frame, rather than being simply attached with screws. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that was patent-related, too...)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More video from SHOT...

Larry Vickers, world-renowned expert on shooting smelly bad guys in the face, talks to Rob Pincus about the new Daniel Defense Lightweight Patrol Carbine.

Which reminds me that my switch-barrel AR carbine is still sporting an M4-profile barrel. I really need to order a 16" pencil-barrel for it from someplace...

Thought so.

All the people who were defending these .410 revolving shot pistols as marketed for "snake defense" can be quiet now, unless tritium front sights and CTC Lasergrips are common accessories for snake guns where you live...

*Le sigh.*

Where's the light rail?

There's a thin coating of suck out there.

Yesterday it got up to a balmy 39°F, rained some, and got a good start on melting the snow cover...

Then it changed its mind and dropped into the low, low 20s last night, leaving a shiny glaze of ice on practically everything. So many cars and trucks turned into ditch-seeking missiles that chunks of interstate here and there in the Indy metro area were closed until they could fish everyone out of the medians.

I'll be giving it another couple hours before I attempt the grocery store, I think.

It doesn't say "Classic", "Custom", or "Gold" anywhere on the label....

Video of Kimber's new "Solo 9" from the floor at SHOT Show:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The glory that was...

I just finished reading Are We Rome?: The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America. It's easy for a book on this topic to go for the facile parallels, and I was pleased to see that this one doesn't.

Although from where I sit the author is a big ol' statist, most of his points are cogent, and he dismisses some of the more oft-offered comparisons via a good grasp of Roman history. Further, the book was worth it if only for this quote:
Rome prized its status as the city around which the world revolved. Official Washington shares that Ptolemaic outlook. Unfortunately, it's not a self-fulfilling prophecy - just a faulty premise. And it leads to an exaggerated sense of Washington's weight in the world: an exaggerated sense of its importance in the eyes of others, and of its ability to act alone. Washington led the fight against some of the twentieth century's most dangerous "-isms". Solipsism is one it missed.

Hey, hey, ho, ho!

Senator Lugar's got to go!

Seriously, it is time and past time to make this RINO have to go punch a time clock at a K Street office. Dude hasn't done an honest day's work since three weeks before I was born; he's been cashing government paychecks way too long.

A sad commentary on the industry...

I made this comment in another post, but I figure it deserved its own:
If you wanted to, you could design a centerfire gun that would crumble to dust after the 500th round was fired and maybe one in ten owners would ever find out about it (and the other nine would call them "bashers"...)

Friends is friends and business is business.

I can't remember where I saw the quote, maybe in an old "Cooper's Corner" column in Guns & Ammo back in the day, but it went:
"Yes, but what's it for?"

"Why, to sell, of course!"
Much derision has been heaped on Taurus in certain sectors of the shooting community for their ridiculous "Judge" series of .410/.45LC revolvers, but judging from sales numbers, Taurus has been laughing all the way to the bank. Something about the idea of a shotgun shell, even an anemic .410 bore, in a pistol tends to make the ballistic illiterati want to whip out the VISA® like nothing else I've ever seen.

America's premier revolver manufacturer could only watch it rain soup for so long before they had to stick out a spoon themselves. I predict it will be a sales success, given one caveat: The street price is going to have to be reasonable. I don't mean to cast aspersions on any certain demographic, but in my experience, the Venn diagram of those who are willing and able to dump a kilobuck on a brand-name Scandium alloy revolver and those who think a .410 revolving shot pistol is the bee's knees contains very little in the way of overlap.

In comments at ToddG's place, someone lamented
Smith and Wesson released THIS instead of an M&P10?
thereby demonstrating scant grasp of the mechanics of the gun business. An M&P10 would be cool, and they'd sell about five of 'em. The market has spoken, and it wasn't in 10mm-ese. Revolving shot pistols, on the other hand, which make about as much sense as a kickstand on a tank, are selling like sno-cones in Hades. And so it goes...

It's all about the Benjamins.

Another one of those guys that doesn't think he's a hero...

An interesting interview with a Recon Marine and Silver Star recipient can be found here.

It's worth the quick read.

Monday, January 17, 2011

High capacity clips!

Sebastian notes that the Henry held more than ten rounds, as the butternut ranks found to their dismay at the Battle of Franklin. Of course, there is the cutting-edge, modern lethality of this piece of precision Swiss death. And, as Oleg is fond of pointing out, don't forget the revolvers...

Note that none of the guns mentioned are even firearms under federal law, since they were made prior to 1899...

Fractured FORTRAN...

(Well, actually, it's BASIC, but that doesn't start with an "F" and therefore doesn't scan...)

Anyhow, roomie geeks out with an hilarious mashup of programming and song lyrics.

I LOL'ed.

Hey, baby, what's your sign?

So, as we all know, some people's zodiac signs were a little mixed up. For instance, all my life, I'd thought I was an Aquarius, which would explain why I...
" more than anything to be in the company of other people. One of the friendliest signs of the zodiac, they [Aquarii] are true "people" people."
As it turns out, the Babylonians thought the zodiac was prettier and more symmetrical without that oddball thirteenth constellation in the ecliptic and, since the astronomical knowledge of astrologers has been in a steady decline as we've regressed from Ptolemy to Jackie Stallone, it has taken 'til now to find out that I'm really a Capricorn. My true Capricorn nature would be the reason I am "grounded and practical" and am a "great organizer and planner".

Everybody who actually knows me is getting a good chuckle at this point, because neither horoscope said "You are a surly, disorganized loner with all the finely-honed fiscal acumen of a congressman after a three-martini lunch combined with the driving ambition of a tree sloth."

None of this actually bothers me because I understand that it's all a bunch of poppycock. Thanks to the magic of the inverse-square law, the heavenly bodies exerted less pull on me on the date of my nativity than the contents of the delivery room: When I was born, anesthesiologist was in the house of scrub nurse.

I had always assumed that everyone else bright enough to figure out which end of the spoon went in their mouths felt the same way, so you can imagine my chagrin when I read the following at
After news of the shifting zodiac signs went viral, some people may be rethinking their lucky lotto numbers or reassessing their spouse's compatibility.
"Lucky lotto numbers"? It figures that anybody who seriously believes this twaddle would pay the Stupid Tax. Look, if you are "reassessing" major facets of your life based on this earth-shattering news, will you please do it in the garage with the car running and the door closed? You'll think more clearly in there, I promise. If you won't do that, at least promise me that you won't breed and you'll stay out of voting booths.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Overheard in the Car:

Roomie points at a guy jogging down the Monon through the middle of downtown Broad Ripple who is wearing a knit cap, teeny shorts, socks, shoes, and a smile. The outside air temp is ~24°F:
RX: "Look at that!"

Me: "That dude is crazy."

RX: "He seems to have the ruddy glow of health..."

Me: "He doesn't have the ruddy glow of mental health."

Train schedule...

Todd Green at has posted his traveling schedule for 2011. Combine this with his home base activities in Virginia, and odds are good that he'll be somewhere within a day's drive of you sometime this year.

I can't recommend him highly enough; it's all well and good for an instructor to have a wall full of trophies or a resume including twenty years of jumping out of helicopters with a knife in his teeth, but if he can't teach you how to shoot better, all that means nothing. Ninja-fu doesn't transfer by osmosis and just shooting on the same range as a IDPSCSA Super Master won't make you shoot like one, too, else every match would be a 100-way tie for first place. A good trainer can't just do, they need to be able to teach. And Todd is an excellent teacher.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Big Cat...

Huck can now reach the top of the desk without leaving the floor...

In my experience, red tabby toms have usually been huge. At eight or nine months, Huck doesn't look to break the pattern...

They're not making any more...

Farmer Frank on '11 grain prices:
The market feels there needs to be 92 million acres of corn in 2011. That's fine and dandy, but here's the catch.....Last year we had 88.2 million acres of corn and the year before that we had 86.5 million acres. How do you manufacture tillable farm ground?
Good question...

I'm no prognosticator, but there's a reason we keep a few months worth of canned and dried food on hand at Roseholme Cottage. There's nothing that makes food taste better than eating dinner this year at last year's prices...

QotD: Horseshoes and hand grenades edition...

Regarding the commentators who described Joe Zarmudio as "almost shooting the wrong guy" because he had his hand on his heater as he ran towards the sound of the guns in Tucson, my roomie quipped:
I wonder if any of them realize that on that basis, they were probably "almost shot" last time they got a speeding ticket? Do they think Officer Friendly always rests his right hand on the butt of his gun?

Overheard in the Kitchen:

RX: "If you're driving around late at night in any city, you know you don't want your car to break down on Harvey Milk Boulevard..."

Me: "...or you'll come back to find somebody's hung café curtains in all the windows."

Friday, January 14, 2011

Some deaths are tragicer than others, see?

So, in the aftermath of the Tucson shooting, the usual suspects are blathering on about magazine capacity limitations...

Wait, that's not entirely correct. The usual suspects are always blathering on about magazine capacity limitations, it being one of the six stock phrases you get when you yank their strings. It's just that in the wake of Tucson, the media is sticking microphones in their faces again, and will continue to do so until they get distracted by Lindsay Lohan's next rehab check-in.

What's interesting is that Robert Levy, of Heller fame, is all okay with the idea.

The thing about "magazine capacity restrictions" is that they're fundamentally and philosophically flawed. Anyone saying that "magazine capacity restrictions" would have "prevented" the outrage at Safeway is either barely brighter than a turnip or being fundamentally dishonest:
  • If magazines were limited to ten rounds, then you're okay with ten corpses.
  • If it was just a six-shooter, you've got six cooling bodies to clean up on aisle three.
  • Even single-shot flintlocks (you know, like the kind you always say the "founding fathers could envision") leave Congresswoman Giffords on the same ventilator as Gaston Glock's latest offering.
So by saying you're in favor of magazines that hold no more than X rounds, you're publicly stating that it's only X+1 bodies that bother you. If that's not what you mean to say, then come out and state your real intentions.

Or are you chicken?

Today In History: The Making of Dan Brown's Fortune.

On January 14th, 1129AD, at the Council of Troyes, the Catholic Church formally recognized the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon.

On January 15th, 1129AD, at a tavern in Troyes, the first tinfoil beanie wearer spread the first wild rumors about secret conspiracies involving the Knights Templar.


My 20+ year-old color negatives are starting to get a little faded, and I'm not sure if all of my older 5.25" DOS floppies are are still readable, since I don't currently have anything that can read them. My oldest video game CD-ROM may be holding up fine, but I refuse to load Outpost just to find out.

"When I did open it up and look[ed] at the title page and saw the roman numerals at the bottom. . . I kept coming up with 1670. I concluded whatever that is I've got it added up wrong," said Rev. Shoup.
Well, it's not "carved in stone" or even a baked clay tablet, but it's still not half-bad...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Because earworms are for sharing...

The iPod served this up the other day in the car, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since:

You know, it's been many a year since I watched Cosmos...

All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain...

Drinking from the firehose that is the internet, you run across so many good little nuggets that will end up only half-remembered not a month or two down the road. For all the permanence of the 'tubes, a lot of stuff goes by me that, in its ephemerality, is more like a good conversation or that magazine article or newspaper column you wish you'd clipped than it is a passage from a book. I know that I often wind up wishing I'd bookmarked comments like this one or this one for later recollection, but I never do...

That's one thing I like about my physical dead-tree library: It's a real-life Memory Palace. I can vaguely recollect a factoid or passage, walk to the proper shelf or stack and spot the book by it's spine, and within a few minutes, I'm putting down a fresh coat of it on my faded recollection, turning it all bright and shiny again.

I'm like a cross between Quincy and Kreskin...

From the local TeeWee news:
Officers found the body of Matthew Greer around 2:00 am on Valley Avenue near I-70 and Rural Street.
This is a neighborhood where, after taking a wrong turn one night, the following conversation was overheard in roomie's Hyundai:
RX: "Was that a drug deal going down?"

Me: "Yes. Don't look; just keep driving."
Even though I am neither a psychic nor a doctor, I can tell you that the cause of death was being on foot near I-70 and Rural at 0200hrs. (I'll give the coroner a dollar if he actually puts that in the report.)

Mmmm... Express sights...

Og has photos of an Arisaka project nearing completion; specifically, photos of the three-leaf express sights on a quarter rib he fabricated himself.

The action had already been re-barreled to .30-'06 when he got it, but those express sights kinda make me wish it was chambered in, say, .35 Whelen or some classic mid-bore metric cartridge like 9.3x62 to go with them.

Safari dreams... The same reason I own a .405 Winchester barrel for my Encore. I may never get to Africa's golden joys, but if a lion gets out of the zoo, I'm ready.


With a Fresh Market right around the corner, the bacon in the Roseholme Cottage refrigerator is usually wrapped in butcher paper, not vacuum-sealed in plastic.

I didn't realize how spoiled I'd become until we picked up some regular ol', you know, bacon-type-bacon while we were out at the grocery store last night and cooked it up for breakfast this morning. It was good enough, I guess; I mean, it was bacon, you know? Like what you'd expect if you sat down in a decent breakfast joint and ordered bacon. But I've come to the conclusion that the thick-cut "market style" bacon from Fresh Market is the Platonic ideal, and all other bacon is just the shadow thrown on the cave wall...

If at first you don't proceed, file, file again...

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry yesterday followed up on a de facto campaign promise by re-filing alcohol-related charges against Officer "Bottles" Bisard, charges that his predecessor, Carl Brizzi, had dropped due to a claimed procedural error.

Let's hope this is just the first step of a complete Twelve Step Program for drying out the IMPD* and the Marion County Prosecutor's office. They say a new broom sweeps clean, but I don't know if a broom, however new, is up to the task of mucking out the Augean Stables.

(*Which stands for "I Must Patrol Drunk", as everyone now knows...)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Another senseless snowplow murder.

Barefoot crazy guy goes on a rampage in Canada. With a snowplow.

This just goes to show that when snowplows are outlawed, only outlaws will have snowplows. Or something like that.

He's a real gunwriter now.

Robb Allen takes a Taurus 709 Slim to the range, has two failures to feed (out of an unspecified number of rounds,) and the slide refuses to lock back on an empty magazine. Conclusion?
"Overall, I was impressed with the Taurus 709 Slim, especially given its price point."
Dude, get the phone; that's probably Combat Handguns on line one!

(I kid, I kid! ;) )

I have a better idea...

Insty brings the details on the proposed legislation that would make it illegal to bring firearms within 1,000 feet of important federal officials. It's a good thing this rule wasn't in effect in 1776, or Washington would have had to paddle that boat across the Delaware all by himself, and the painting would have looked kind of goofy.

I have a better idea: Let's make it illegal for important federal officials to come within a thousand feet of decent people. Failing that, maybe we can make them wear some kind of distinctive garment and carry a bell so we know where they are and can stay away.

(H/T to Sebastian.)

Hold the phone.

JayG was wondering if rotary phones still work. Coincidentally, blogger Keads posted about his Western Electric 302 phone the other day; we have one of those in use here at Roseholme Cottage.

I can tell you, they don't make 'em like they used to. How many modern phones could be used to beat an intruder to a paste and, when you were finished, still be used to call 911?

Well, at least he's honest.

With another foot of snow about to get dumped on NYC, Bloomberg promises to do better this time. He'll get that snow cleared no matter what:
"We're going to spend the money," the mayor said, referring to 1,700 snow plows and 365 salt spreaders that sanitation workers will use to beat back the winter weather. "Then we'll figure out where it's going to come from."
He's obviously presidential timber.

Remember, this is a city whose budget is $2 billion or more in the red, so if you have a check from the New York City government just lying around someplace, I'd take it to the bank at lunch today. Just sayin'.

Speaking of caps busted in asses...

'Way back in the summer of aught-aught, when I was recovering from all the surgery they had to do to stick me together after my motorcycle accident, I had a double occupancy room at the Big City Public Hospital.

My roommate was an African-American woman who I thought of as "middle aged" at the time, but looking back, she seems to have gotten much younger; I mean, she probably wasn't much over thirty-five. Funny how that works. Anyhow, she was recovering from a gunshot wound in the arm.

She had friends and relatives in and out of the room nearly constantly, which should have annoyed me, except that I was curled up with an on-demand morphine drip and was consequently pretty much out of my head on opiates for most of our joint tenancy. During one of my more lucid periods, I asked her story, and received the following amazing tale in response...

Our heroine was standing at the bus stop, minding her own business. (This, as everyone knows, is one of the most dangerous things you can do in the 'hood.) The bus stop was slightly elevated from street level by a low stone retaining wall. All of a sudden and for no reason, as these things so often go down, the man in the house across the street emerged with his girlfriend, started shouting death threats at her, and the pair proceeded to hop in his car and try to run her down.

They were unable to reach her with the car due to the retaining wall, so the crazy guy leapt out of the car, leaving his girlfriend at the helm to continue playing Death Race 2000, while he shouted that he was going back across the street to fetch his gun and come back and shoot her.

"...and so he did," said my hospital roommate.

"Wait," I replied, confused, "you saw him run into his house, come back out with a gun, come back across the street, and shoot you, and you just stood there?"

"If I'd'a ran, he'd'a shot me!" she retorted, looking at me as though I had a screw loose.

"Looks like standing still didn't work so hot, either," I said, returning to the joys of the electrically-dispensed poppy.

I wondered when that would happen...

There's a pawn shop south of 54th Street, not too terribly far from Roseholme Cottage; too far for a convenient stroll, but within easy bike jaunt.

It's one of those chain pawn shops; the staff all perky, young, and dressed in matching corporate-logo'ed polo shirts. They don't sell firearms, and the staff certainly doesn't carry any; it's probably against corporate policy.

Yesterday morning, shortly before 11AM, two guys burst in waving gats and stuck the joint up. Fortunately, the only casualty was one employee who broke for the exit and got a cap busted, quite literally, in his ass as he headed for the horizon.

I've been in there quite a few times, checking out the DVD or video game selection. Having seen the nature of some of the clientele, who mostly look like a casting call for extras in Get Rich or Die Tryin' II, frankly I'm surprised it's taken this long for the place to make the six o'clock news. I mean, it's not like there's any danger of anyone shooting back.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Trying hard to become the next Whigs...

According to the media, at least, Governor Cornpone is really popular...
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee appears to have the clear advantage out of the gate when it comes to the 2012 battle for the GOP presidential nomination...
I guess they didn't poll anybody I know. Heck, I know lifelong rock-ribbed GOP voters who have said they'd join me in voting Wookie if the GOP was dumb enough to offer up Huckabee or Romney in '12.

The meaning of the movie...

So I made a couple of references to the (in my opinion, massively underrated) movie Suicide Kings in the last couple of posts.

What I find interesting about the movie, and what seems to have gone unremarked in what little critical commentary there is on it, is a little piece of social commentary that is crucial to the plot: All the characters come from one of two "social classes". On the one hand are a bunch of prep school kids with bright futures and from the best families, and on the other are dirtbag mafiosi and street folk; junkies and pimps and whores, oh my! Guess which batch of characters turn out to be a bunch of self-serving spineless weasels who would sell their own mother for a buck and which are the ones who exhibit any trace of loyalty and self-sacrifice? Yeah, it's kind of like Blade Runner, where the only characters who display human emotions are the replicants.

In retrospect, it seems like it would be a ham-handed and preachy plot device, but it's so deftly handled that it takes me a little off-guard every time I watch it.

This guy had followers?

For those of you not familiar with the bizarre internet phenomenon known as "Game", it is this complicated system wherein 2nd level Nerds with low STR and DEX attempt to level up their CHA so they can go to popular night clubs and score the 9th level Hotties they are owed by nature using the tactic of "negging" or insulting them. You know, or shooting them in the face. Whichever works.

Granted, the picture of our Pick-Up Artist is a mug shot, but rawwrrr! Amirite, ladies?

Oy, vey! Let me out of the monkey cage now, please. I'm done taking notes in here.

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed right in my lap...

Yesterday turned into a cascading daisy chain of suck and fail, as can be deduced by my relatively low 'net output.

Of maybe five or six planned tasks, I managed to accomplish about one-point-five. At least I'll be snowed in today, which will give me no excuse for not crossing another two or three off the task list. (But will render a further two impossible, or at least highly improbable.)

I should start noting these...

We have a local TeeWee reporter who utters the most wonderful malapropisms any time he departs from a script. This morning, he was out in the 'burbs someplace for "Live Snow Team Coverage" and, looking into the camera very earnestly, he intoned
"I'm here in X County, where the first remnants of snow are just starting to fall..."
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Monday, January 10, 2011

"The Gene"

The talk about Christopher Walken in this morning's post reminded me of one of my favorite movie roles of his, which reminded me of Denis Leary's part in the same movie, which happened to include (in my humble opinion) Denis Leary's finest cinematographic moment...

A single death is a tragedy, except when it isn't.

So the homicide numbers for Indy in 2010 were released, with the final tally standing at an even, round hundred. I take interest in the fact that they subtract from the publicized total the dozen or so non-criminal homicides, where the "victim" was a bad guy shot by a good guy during the commission of a crime.

The reason I take interest in this fact is that they don't subtract the number of homicides where the decedent was just standing there, minding his own business, on a street corner in the rough part of town, at three o'clock in the morning, with a pocketful of dope and an arrest record that could wear the letters off the "PG DWN" key at the station house. People in the lines of work that occasionally involve draping sheets over these corpses have a grisly colloquialism for this sort of homicide they use when you and I aren't around: They're called "N.H.I. killings", for "No Humans Involved".

Maybe it's callous of me, but I wonder what Indy's total would be if we subtracted these, too?

Little-known fact of the day:

Any movie, no matter how terrible, becomes approximately 37x more awesome when it includes Christopher Walken.
It's true, and you know it.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Overheard in the Hallway:

Me: *clicks off Meet the Press and walks away in disgust* "Shut up, you sanctimonious jackholes!"

RX: "Ha! 'Sanctimonious Jackholes'... That'd be a great name for a Sunday morning political show!"

Sometimes misanthropy is easy.

So, some people got shot yesterday, as you might have heard.

At first, the internet rumor mill determined the shooter had to be of a dusky hue, either one o' them Muslim terr'rists or perhaps from MeCHA. When it turned out that he was about as colorfully ethnic as Theodore Cleaver, the race to pin the label on the whackjob began. He became everybody's "other".

He was a Tea Partier, a Marxist, a Randite, a Nazi, a dope-smoking leftist moonbat, a gun-toting conservative wingnut... Everybody's hobbyhorses are kept saddled up and close to the stable doors these days, ready to go steeplechase over the first handy pile of bodies the media makes available.

And boy howdy, has the media made these available! There was a congresswoman injured! And a federal judge and a congressional staffer and a cute nine-year-old kid were all killed! And, oh, yeah, so were three other faceless proletarian cogs, known but to God and apparently mourned by nobody in Studio 1A in Rockefeller Center.

You should be ashamed of yourselves, you savage pack of jackals. Stop making it so easy to be a misanthrope.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Okay, that's pretty cool.

Ultimak introduces a "Picatinny rail" optics mount for the M1 Garand. It's perfectly positioned for an intermediate-eye-relief "scout scope" or a red dot sight, and only weighs six point something ounces.

I only have the one Garand, and I don't shoot it all that much, but if I had one I used as any kind of a working rifle rather than just a piece of shootable WWII memorabilia, I'd slap one of those rails on it under an Aimpoint Micro so fast your head would spin.

Odd calibers, continued...

I engaged in some sleep-deprived nattering yesterday about odd handgun chamberings, which stirred some interesting discussion in the comments, and got me musing on what is and isn't an "odd" round.

Some are aren't so much "odd" as "old": The old hyphenated Winchester Center Fire cartridges, like .32-20 and .44-40 cling to life only by virtue of the jillions of guns made for them in the past and the the enduring popularity of Old West nostalgia. They've certainly become uncommon, though; you're lucky to find a single offering in either, even in a well-stocked gun store. Similarly, .38 Super, once popular, has largely been reduced to a special-purpose gun game cartridge over the years.

.32 Smith & Wesson Long has been relegated to the target-shooting fringe, and when was the last time someone chambered a firearm for .32 S&W or .38 S&W? I know Smith & Wesson themselves discontinued the Models 32 and 33 'way back in 1974. Two more that are in danger of heading down this same path are the .25ACP and the .32ACP. The rise of the tiny .380 and 9mm pistols has seen a concomitant dropoff in popularity of these traditional vest pocket chamberings.

Then there are those that never catch on, but never go away, either. Sure, 10mm Auto or .41 Magnum aren't terrifically common, but every year somebody continues to offer one or two models chambered for these cartridges, and I doubt they'll ever really go away. I don't know that they're really "odd" as much as "niche". Similarly, .50AE and .454 Casull, while never setting the sales numbers on fire the way they can a too-close target, will probably always have their niche.

Real oddballs would be the ones that never catch on and do actually go away: .41 Action Express is an oddball. So are .356TSW and Walther's 9mm Ultra. Smith's .22 Remington Jet and Ruger's .256 Winchester Magnum are oddballs. .357 Maximum and 9mm Federal; 9x23 Winchester and .35 S&W...

Actually, by contrast, the number of new cartridges that have been introduced and actually caught on is pretty slim: .40 S&W and its .357SIG spinoff are the only ones that really come to mind in the last forty years or so...


Did you see the chick who's blaming her jobless status on her iPhone? This takes "the dog ate my homework" to new heights.
Garvey, a 2005 Tulane University graduate, told the Herald yesterday that she worked late on New Year’s Eve and went to bed at 5 a.m., setting her alarm for 10 a.m. so she’d have plenty of time to make her noon shift.

But she awoke at 11:50, without enough time to make her shift, and was fired. Foundry’s co-owner, David Flanagan, would only say, “We loved her. She was a great employee.”
Look, Lindsay, no matter what your suit-shy boss told the reporter, you were not a model employee. They did not love you. If you were a model employee and they loved you, then on that day when you didn't show up at work, Mr. Flanagan would have called your guilty little iPhone and asked you where you were, and when you told him, he'd have said they'd cover for you until you could get dressed and get in. I know this, because I have found myself on both ends of that equation.

Instead, you were probably chronically tardy and constantly blaming others for failures to do your job, right? And so you got fired for cause the minute they had one they knew would stick.

Now you can blame Boston for exposing you to ridicule on the internet; that's not your fault either. Nothing is. Nothing ever is. You should sue somebody.

(H/T to Unc.)

Friday, January 07, 2011

Torn between coolness and crotchetiness...

I used to really get enthusiastic about strange cartridges. For instance, I briefly carried a TZ-75 in .41 Action Express, and I still carry a J-frame revolver in .32 H&R Magnum. Heck, I own a revolver chambered in .22 Remington Jet. Esoteric chamberings can make one feel like a distinguished connoisseur of firearms, a little separate from the boring herd.

Still, though, I'm starting to feel sympathy for the other view, the one that says most new cartridges are just introduced to sell guns, and that they rarely do anything all that much better than more established chamberings. For all my ownership of oddballs, I could probably get my handgun work done with naught but:
  • .22LR, first loaded in 1887.
  • 9x19mm, which dates to 1902.
  • .45ACP, from 1905.
  • .38 Special and .357 Magnum; 1899 and 1935, respectively.
  • .44 Special and .44 Magnum, dating to 1907 and 1955.
The youngest cartridge on that list is approaching eligibility for Social Security and the oldest is nearly as old as the Edison light bulb (and who here thought light bulbs would be banned before bullets?) and yet there's aren't many handgunning tasks that can't be handled by one of those seven loadings as well as anything else on the market.

I'll tell you what, I may own a lot of different calibers, but for the last several years, I've only really shot a handful; the ones on the above list, plus .32 S&W Long/H&R Magnum and .32ACP comprise the vast bulk of the handgun ammo I've burned up lately. Maybe I'm just getting boring...

"Oh, what a world! What a world!"

I'm not all filled with a sense of congressional hope'n'change yet, but at least I got plenty of schadenfreude from the writhings of San Fran Nan yesterday. The headline at the Democrat party's in-house public relations agency, CNN, reads:
Pelosi blasts 'hypocrisy' of new members
Well, if she says it's hypocrisy, it must be so; I can think of few people as intimately familiar with the topic as Ms. Pelosi.
"We still would have lost the election because we had 9 ½ percent unemployment," Pelosi told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. "That came from the policies of George W. Bush and the Republican's support for his initiatives."
Get that? It's George Bush's fault that the Democrats lost the midterm elections. Jesus wept, the Bush-blaming is so reflexive now that I'd like to be a fly on the wall at the Pelosi household just to hear the excuses:
  • "Dinner got burned by the policies of George W. Bush."
  • "The sink's clogged by the policies of George W. Bush."
  • "The policies of George W. Bush spilled a glass of wine on the living room carpet."
I'm not a huge fan of the policies of George W. Bush, but if one of their effects is to jack up the unemployment rate amongst congresscritters, maybe there's a hidden upside I hadn't heretofore considered...


It sure would have been nice to sleep in 'til 0400 this morning...

By noon tomorrow I should be thoroughly disoriented.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Well, duh, Quincy.

Ring knocker, Vietnam vet, former DoD guy gets found in a landfill. CNN reports:
The Delaware medical examiner's office has ruled the death of 66-year-old John P. Wheeler a homicide.
I realize that he was probably a real go-getter type of guy, but unless you get a lot of suicides tidily carting themselves off to the dump in your neck of the woods, I'd say that's pretty much a no-brainer there, doc.

Scout pro, Scout con.

I like slim, light, handy bolt-action rifles in reasonably potent calibers. For instance, I have two South American Mauser carbines, one from Venezuela and one from Chile, chambered in the classic 7x57mm Mauser. Both are just about an inch over three feet long and weigh in at eight pounds or less, even with the full military stock. Autoloaders in these calibers tend to be bulkier and heavier, due to recoil mechanisms and gas tubes and so forth.

Jeff Cooper spilled barrels of ink over how much he liked light, handy bolt-action rifles in reasonably potent calibers, too. I don't think he liked slim ones, though, because the one that eventually sent him royalty checks got his blessing had all the svelte grace of a gray plastic railroad tie. It was light all right, but suffered from issues with hard military primers and soft flimsy integral bipod legs.

Now comes Ruger with a little carbine built on their very Mauseresque M77 action. With a classic-looking stock that eschews geegaws like a built-in bipod in favor of being actually shaped like a rifle, it has integral backup irons, a mount for an intermediate eye-relief scope, and takes detachable magazines. This is all good.

Now the bad: Of course Ruger wanted the marketing cachet of the "Gunsite Scout©®™" name on their offering, and Shiva only knows what the per-unit licensing fee is for putting a laser-etched chicken on each gun, but I'll bet it's not free. (And if it's not, then that cost gets passed along to the consumer.) Further, when they picked their choice of detachable mags, they went with Accuracy International magazines which, like everything else from AI, are made of compressed unicorn tears and priced like imported sin. A quick look around the 'net shows them running ~$80 for a ten-round stick, and good luck finding those at Billy Bob's House of Surplus.

Tempting, but I think I'll let someone else take the depreciation hit. Besides. given the pricing in this economy, the baffling choice of mags, and the lack of cachet that the Ruger name has among tactical buffs and rifle snobs, I'd say there's a one-in-three chance that these will be available from CDNN in a year or so.

Too good to last.

Back in my hometown of Atlanta is the main campus of Georgia Tech University, a fine engineering school. And when I say it is "in Atlanta", I mean that it's IN Atlanta; the school's campus butts right up against some of the roughest neighborhoods in town.

I'd always considered it somewhat miraculous that the school's grounds seemed a relatively safe haven in the middle of an area that featured much more prominently in the crime blotter than in the Arts & Living section.

Apparently whatever magic force field there was has started to weaken, and the goblins are getting in amongst the little lambkins with some frequency now. And, despite Georgia having fairly sane CCW laws, the campus is officially gun-free. (Unless you're bringing the gun to commit a crime, that is...)


They're doing that weird thing to roomie's work schedule again this week; the alarums at Roseholme Cottage started going off at 0400 hrs.

In lieu of content, imagine me humming some soothing Muzak for another fifteen or twenty minutes while I get another pot of coffee going.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Barely over the airbrushing of Clement Hurd half a decade ago, I have just discovered that the latest edition of Huckleberry Finn will be altered to reflect modern sensibilities by changing the character names "N****r Jim" and "Injun' Joe" to "African-American Jim" and "Previous-Owner-American Joe".

Okay, revisionist history is bad when we do it about Auschwitz, but okay when we do it with 19th Century American literature, airbrushing the racism out of a book which is often about racism? This makes sense to someone?

What other works might we want to revise to bring into line with modern sensibilities so as to not overtask the minds of the young?
Macbeth: Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand?
I should stop, don't touch, and tell an adult.
John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am a way, a truth, and a lifestyle choice: no person cometh unto the Father, but by really wanting to."
EDIT 11/2018: As if to illustrate how out of hand shit has gotten in the last decade or so, I have retroactively edited this post to keep the blog from getting zorched by a 'bot at Google. So it goes.

Welcome to Indy, where the crooks enforce the law!

Boy, the hits just keep on coming, as it were, for the Marion County prosecutor's office.

With the previous prosecutor having left under a cloud of scandal and suspicion and a deputy prosecutor who amazingly still has a job after playing drunken bumper cars in Broad Ripple, the last thing they needed was another deputy prosecutor busted, this time for "battery, criminal trespass and residential entry charges."

Before new prosecutor Terry Curry can clean up the IMPD, he's going to need to shovel out his own office. I would start by hanging a placard reading “Meos tam suspicione quam crimine iudico carere oportere" over the desk of all the deputy prosecutors.

It'd never sell...

The tentative title for LabRat's new book on relationships: Men Are From Earth; Women Are From Earth, Too.

It'd never sell. It's a lot more marketable to tell somebody that their (man/woman) will respond to this Magic Formula, available in hardback for $19.97 and soon out in Audiobook, than it is to tell them that their (Joe/Susan) is a complicated and unique individual whose needs and desires will be changing from year to year and day to day and good luck with all that.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Losing my religion...

In comments here, Joseph notes that "IQs keep rising anyway."

And yet so does the Twilight series' box office take, which calls into serious question the predictive value of the WAIS...

Know nukes.

There's an interesting post and discussion thread at TheSurvivalistBlog on what happens to nukyular power plants when the EMP asteroid strikes during a nuclear war and the dead walk the earth in search of human brains.

The comment section is the really interesting part, mainly because many of the comments are coming from people who glow in the dark for a living and therefore presumably know what they are talking about.

New Year's Resolutions.

Since it's already the 4th of Nonuary (that's the period of time between New Year's Day and the day you actually start writing the correct year on checks) I figure it's high time I make me some of them Resolution things, so that I can be bitter and filled with self-recrimination by Valentine's Day like everybody else:
1) Stop procrastinating so much. Use that little notepad on my desk to keep a to-do list, and actually check stuff off it once in a while.

2) Be a better email correspondent. Make a point to answer at least two personal emails every morning. People like it when you reply to them and get sad when you don't.

3) Actually move the ball forward on turning Arms Room content into something salable.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Overheard in the Office:

I have mentioned before that my roommate gets lost in her own thoughts while she's in the shower in the morning, and then winds up in mid-monologue when she cuts the water off, the results of which can be very non-sequiturish for those of us who have been just sitting in the office down the hall minding our own business. Today's example:

*sound of water being turned off*

RX: "'A man, a plan, a canal, Suez!'; 'Able was I ere I saw Brooklyn'; 'Madam, in Eden I'm Steve'... It's the Island of Misfit Palindromes!"

Signs and portents.

Alan reminds us to brace ourselves, because Armistice Day this year will be the day that the world goes to eleven!

In turn, Roomie noted that the second day of the same month, 11/02/2011, should be declared International Palindrome Day.

Able was I ere I saw Elba!

I didn't even know they had a name...

The big fiberglass mascots on the side of the road in my childhood? They were called "muffler men". Drjim of Every Blade Of Grass has turned up fascinating links on this piece of kitschy Americana. For some reason I found them scary when I was little, and I wasn't the slightest bit surprised when one got all animated and tried to attack somebody in Stephen King's It.

Maybe that's why they're kinda nostalgic for me now: They represent the dangers of a simpler time, and it would be nice to go back to the days when my worries were leering fiberglass mascots and the Hamburglar instead of Congress and the federal bureaucracy. For one thing, unlike Congressmen, there's no law against shooting fiberglass mascots, so long as they're your fiberglass mascots and you do it outside of city limits.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

What kind of beer goes good with crow?

Some time back, I made a pretty harsh post about one Bill Holda, implying that he was either an idiot or a liar.

I was wrong.

Now, he and I may disagree on a lot of things, but it appears that he was neither an idiot nor a liar, but instead was honestly mistaken, and has taken steps to correct that. I'm not expecting that he's going to suddenly become my ideological bedfellow, but it takes a mensch to honestly examine his premises.

Dr. Holda, you have my sincerest apologies.

The Underpants Gnomes theory of social change.

Ron Radosh dissects Frances Fox Pivens' call for social change through social unrest:
  1. Rioting in the streets.
  2. ????????
  3. Socialist utopia!
The plan seems to have a weakness somewhere...

What I find most amusing about these kind of scenarios is that apparently, at the height of disturbances, tweedy intellectuals will step out of their ivory towers and take control of the rowdy mobs, leading them to the promised land. Because mobs of unemployed populist thugs and revolutionaries are always just waiting for eyeglasses-wearing intellectuals to come show them the way. You know, like they were in Cambodia.

Cinch the saddle tight on that tiger, granny.

(H/T to Western Rifle Shooters Association.)

I know you'll find this shocking and hard to believe...

...but a cop got busted in Indianapolis for drunk driving.

For a change, it wasn't an IMPD officer, but one from suburban Noblesville. The TeeWee news was careful to point out that "[t]he officer was off duty and not operating a city owned vehicle at the time of the incident", which marks him as something of an anomaly in these parts.

I swear, if I were to get pulled over and told to blow into the Intoxilyzer, it would take every scrap of self-control I had not to pop off with "You first, officer." (And the main reason I wouldn't is because I don't want to follow it up with "Don't taze me, bro!")

Metropolitan Indianapolis: Where the drunk drivers get pulled over and prosecuted by other drunk drivers!

How to kill a boomtown.

How many people do you need to kill to murder a city?

A morbid little question, and one that is apparently being explored just south of the Rio Grande.

Bummer of a super power, dude.

So the local gas utility is running a little TV commercial that starts out with the voice-over saying "This may look like a smoke detector, but it's a superhero..." and I thought to myself "Wow, that's a pretty lame super power. Can you imagine that interview at the Hall of Justice?"

Superman: "So, other than being able to transform into a smoke detector, you have no other super powers, Mister... um... Smoke Detector Man?"

Smoke Detector Man: "That's correct."

Batman: "Well, I'm sorry, but the Justice League of America doesn't have any smoke detector positions open at the moment. However, we'll keep your resume on file..."

Smoke Detector Man: *leaves, dejected*

Superman: "This is all your fault, Bruce. If you hadn't begged us to give your buddy 'Talks To Fishes Man' a job, nobody would think that we'd relaxed our entrance requirements so much! You used to have to be able to fly to work here, or at least own a plane. Thankfully we don't have to worry about Fishboy getting frisky while he's hitching rides in the invisible jet, because if he tried some sexual harassment at 30,000 feet, Diana'd braid his legs."

UPDATE: Roomie read this morning's post...
RX: "Are you making fun of Aquaman again? Isn't he, like, the prince of all the mer-people or something?"

Me: "You're thinking of Namor, the Sub-Mariner."

RX: "Probably the same guy playing both roles in disguise."

Me: "No, they're pretty easy to tell apart: Namor can breathe water, talk to fishes, fly, and bench-press Yankee Stadium. Aquaman can do all that stuff, too, except for the 'fly' and 'bench-press Yankee Stadium' parts, which renders him a good deal less useful."

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

Just in case you were wondering what that lanyard loop is really there for...

Happy 2011!

Overheard in the Hallway:

RX: "Tofu phở would be faux phở. And if you made it with a poodle, it'd be Fifi phở..."

Me: "...and if you used soy poodle substitute, it'd be faux Fifi phở..."

RX: "Add a splash of Bacardi and you'd have faux Fifi phở rum! And if you didn't like it, you'd say 'Fie, faux Fifi phở rum!'"

And, yes, we're mispronouncing it, but it's not funny unless you do.

Not much science and even less fiction.

Dealing with a bout of insomnia the other night, I lay awake in bed reading a thirty-year-old Pournelle-edited anthology of short stories and essays entitled The Survival of Freedom. Included in the collection is a story written in the late '70s by F. Paul Wilson entitled "Lipidleggin'", in which a dystopian future America has national health care and has banned cholesterol from food; the the story's protagonist is an antique dealer who is now running a profitable sideline in bootleg butter and eggs.

Now I'm living in a future America with national health care, where cities have banned trans-fats, it's against the law for me to throw electronics in the garbage, and people are discussing hoarding and smuggling 100-watt light bulbs.

What a total ripoff. I wanted the future with the flying cars, not the one with telescreens and Room 101.