Monday, October 31, 2011

Off the shelf...

This may come as a surprise to some folks (I know it did to me) but Noam Chomsky is not just a card-carrying Wobbly and pinko editorialist, but he's also one of the foremost experts on linguistics on the planet. If you want to learn something on the topic, it's hard not to bump up against his studies, and so you just have to filter out the wacky and drive on.

On a similar note, I'm currently enjoying my copy of The Greatest Show on Earth, which is a wonderfully informative and entertaining book and recommend and two thumbs up and so forth, but it would be ever so much more enjoyable if Dawkins would stick to his specialty, which is evolutionary biology, and not make a parenthetical aside once a chapter to blame the Chixculub crater on George W. Bush and Pat Robertson...

Unsolicited product endorsement...

Not that they need one, because Raven Concealment is very much the Flavor of the Month in kydex holsters at the moment. Except for a list of "Quick Ship" items, their current on-line order backlog is running at 16-18 weeks.

But they do set up at the Indy 1500 gun shows, and if you show up at their tables bright and early on Saturday morning, your custom holster should be ready for you to get ketchup on at lunch. Which I did. (Show up bright and early, that is, not get ketchup on my new holster.)

The best thing about doing it this way is that you can tell them "I need the holster set up for IWB carry at the 4:30 position with a twenty-five degree cant on a one-and-a-half-inch belt..." and if your gun is some bizarre model for which they don't have a mold gun, you can leave them your actual heater to use to make the holster.

I've been using the holster for a week now and couldn't be more pleased with it. It releases cleanly and it turns out that all my fears of kydex being uncomfortable for extended inside-the-waistband use were unfounded, at least when the holster is a quality one.

(Dear FTC: I did not play the "Do you know who I am on the internet?" card and happily paid full price for the holster. And I will cheerfully do so again at the next show to get one for my CCA custom 1911. So go piss up a rope.)

Well, that was weird.

Everybody knows that classic anxiety dream: The one where you show up at the office or have to do some public speaking... and you suddenly notice that you're in the nude.

Well, I finally had the inverse of that dream last night: They wouldn't let me on the nudist commuter bus with my clothes on. I explained that I was in a hurry and could take my clothes off on the bus and could we please get going? But no, I had to get off, disrobe, and get back on.

Why exactly there was a scene involving a nudist commuter bus in my dream, I can't recollect, but that part sure stuck with me for whatever reason.

(Incidentally, the bus was full of smiling passengers, many of whom had no business running around with no clothes on. Which is my biggest problem with "naturalists": Most people don't wear enough clothing as it is.)

EDIT: I meant "naturists", of course. Although Robert Pennock probably doesn't look like Fabio in the buff, either.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lazy Sunday morning...

Ran out this AM to get breakfast fixin's from Fresh Market and Locally Grown Gardens. Currently chilling with a Dandelion & Burdock soda and a bowl of hulled blackened pumpkin seeds for a snack. Yum!

While I'm trying to jump start my brain, here's some cool stuff I found around the internets:
  • A video that, once seen, cannot be unseen. You have been warned.

  • Science can be really cool when you think about it.

  • John M. Browning, economist.
Also from the Travis McGee Reader comes the QotD:
In New Hampshire, Republicans will vote on the date of Thomas Paine's publication of "Common Sense." They will choose Mitt Romney, proving that Paine's literary effort ultimately came to nought.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I don't believe in ghosts, but...

Some places on earth are definitely creepier than others. For example...

2003. Deer camp, just outside of Waynesboro, Georgia.

I'd woken up at 0MG30 on a cold November morning and gotten dressed in a pitch-dark cabin so as not to bork my night vision, and headed out to the stand.

I'm creeping very slowly... step... long pause... step... down the sandy trail, by the available light of the moon still up, with Spanish moss dangling overhead and the occasional burbling ripple or splash from the black waters of the beaver pond off in the swampy woods to my right...

...and suddenly this song pops into my head and will not go away.

Now, it was scary enough huddled under my covers as a middle-schooler, but it was downright hair-raising having it run unbidden through my head while standing in the middle of actual, you know, sand and black water, listening to things crawl and fly and creep around on the ground and wondering how effective a .243 100gr Sierra Game King would be on the ghost of Lucius Clay...

Okay, that's an easy one...

Nothing more clearly fails Joe Huffman's "Jews In The Attic Test" than a comprehensive, mandatory list of Jews (or Presbyterians, or blacks, or gun owners, or left-handers, or...) who might potentially be found in attics.

Which is all a national biometric ID database is when you think about it.

"Oh," comes the reply, "We just have to keep it from falling into the wrong hands! After all, this is about national security, and the government only has the best intentions..."


I'm sorry, did I break your concentration? I didn't mean to do that. Please, continue, you were saying something about best intentions. What's the matter? Oh, you were finished! Well, allow me to retort:
  1. If we can't keep h4x0rZ out of Predator drones and Chicoms out of our satellites, how are we going to keep $RANDOM_FUTURE_VILLAIN out of our comprehensive National Identity Theft Clearinghouse/Pogrom Database?

  2. "Keep it from falling into the wrong hands"? It's a government database! It's starting out in the wrong hands! I don't know if you were keeping track in the 20th Century, dude, but Governments out-pointed Nigerian 419 Scammers by several hundred million to zero on the big International Dead Guy Scoreboard.
I'd sooner trust Joseph M'bekebeke in a Lagos internet cafe with this information than I would a bunch of guys with snappy uniforms and lots of guns. At least if Joseph decides to use the information to find me and rough me up, he's got to come up with the scratch for airfare first.

Friday, October 28, 2011

QotD: Truth In Labeling Edition

"Finally, Obama adheres to his promise of transparency...

Buying votes by forcing banks to forgive student loans is the most transparent thing he’s done yet."

-Robb Allen, on the latest Free Beer! proposal from the White House.
Give the guy credit for some positively Clintonian savvy here: He couldn't have better targeted his base, short of ordering five hundred vegan pizzas delivered to Zuccotti Park.

Tab Clearing...

  • These days "responsibility" is rapidly becoming, not just unfashionable, but actually untranslatable.

  • One of the few bright spots in the economy?

  • When somebody has an ND, it's almost reflexive to call them on a violation of Rule Three ("Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.") But don't forget that when the action is being manipulated, the weapon can fire even without a finger on the trigger if something is broken or defective. In those cases, Rule Two, "Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy," is what ensures that the result is merely loud and embarrassing, rather than bloody and tragic.

He's got a point...

Making jokes about insurrection is a bad bad thing, but mobbing in the streets with those calling for it? Well, that's just cool!

As I've commented elsewhere, there's a whole new generation of kids who'll be able to tell their friends that they were at Woodstock.

"Sit yo ass back down..."

Educational Video: Watch what happens to the guy seated at the café table to the right with his back to the camera...


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Darth Vader's sing-along hour...

So I'm running errands in the Zed Drei today when the iPod serves up Madonna. And suddenly I find myself singing along. Sorta.
You know that we are living in an Imperial world
And I am an Imperial girl...
And I'm bouncing along, picturing a music video with our lead vocalist in a Femtrooper getup with a headset mic and all of her adoring supplicants in those black Imperial dress uniforms...

It's a lot of fun in my head, sometimes.

Surely this is so obvious that it has been done already.

QotD: Nepotism edition.

Dynasty: It isn't just a godawful '80s TV show anymore...
"When politics becomes the family business, liberty goes out the window as fiscal insanity enters through the front door." -Bill Quick on rumors of a Chelsea Clinton congressional run in '12.

Have a gun. It's a good start.

We're all familiar with the news story:
Mrs. Edna J. Blascowicz, 64, of Walla Walla, was pushing her shopping cart through the parking lot of the local Grocery Mart last Tuesday night when a man in a striped shirt and a black mask jumped out from behind a car right in front of her.
"Ha! Ha!" he said "I am a bad guy, and I am going to rob and rape you!"
Mrs. Blascowicz then produced her deceased husband's service revolver from her purse and said "I refuse to be a victim!"
"Oh, no!" exclaimed the bad guy, and ran off, to be later apprehended by police.
This incident happens often enough that the NRA manages to round up five or eight of them every month to put in the "Armed Citizen" column in their American Rifleman house organ.

Then there's the other kind of self-defense with a firearm; the kind that doesn't make the magazine. You need to think about that kind, too.

It's good to be the king!

Because then you can piss on the peasants! Even the ones that kinda like you!
50 pound slab of blue ice falls off Air Force One narrowly missing “Occupy Las Vegas” protesters
Missed! Damn the bad luck! Obviously, we need to get some JDAM guidance packages for the head on Air Force One. (Or use the drum circle as an aiming point.)

Of course, if you soaked a field occupied by Occupiers in urine... how could you tell?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Can't win for losing.

So, a recent SWAT callout in New Hamster drew some derision when it was revealed that the SWAT team in question had been in a four-hour standoff with a dead guy.

And I laughed, too, until I thought about it for another second or two...

They didn't shoot the woman they "made contact with" on arrival. They didn't shoot any dogs. They didn't shoot each other. No buildings got burned down.

Short of them actually not answering the call and disbanding the police department, what less would you want them to do?
"There's a crazy guy in there with a gun."

"Okay, ma'am. We'll sit out here and make sure he doesn't come out and hurt anybody."
I mean, from my wookie-suited standpoint, isn't this practically an ideal outcome?

Maybe they could go back in time to '92 and '93 and offer the feds some tips...

Tab Clearing...

  • Carteach0 offers his thoughts on carry guns.

  • Silicon Graybeard offers his thoughts on the rosy forecasts for the global economy.
Oh, and wasn't that a nice Obama '12 commercial NBC ran last night? I thought getting Leno to narrate was a good move; Barry needs better market penetration amongst unhip middle-age ofay folks in flyover country, and those people love them some Leno.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Overheard in the Office:

I'm in the office, messing around on my computer.

Roomie is in her bedroom down the hall, having turned in for the night...
RX: "Hey... Do you smell anything funny?"

Me: "What, like a dead clown?"

Explain this to me, please.

So I'm getting ready this morning and the TeeWee in roomie's bedroom is audibly tuned to the Today show. I guess it's some fashion segment, because the woman the announcer chick was talking to said "...and faux leather is very popular this year..."

I poked my head in the room and the jacket on the screen looked like a regular leather jacket to me.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but the reason someone would want to avoid leather was because they objected to the cruel and inhumane practice of draping themselves in the hides of slaughtered animals.

So, if that were the case, then why would they want to look just like they had engaged in the cruel and inhumane practice of draping themselves in the hides of slaughtered animals?

Given the values set implied by the choice of faux leather, wouldn't that be as tacky as, oh... say... having fake Jewish lampshades at home? And then claiming that you didn't agree with the Nazis or anything, but they were so stylish, plus they matched the sofa.

I'm thinking that these are bought by the kinds of people who don't subject their worldview to much in the way of logical scrutiny...

"Bob, your nemesis is on line one..."

If you want to see Gunsmith Bob get wound up, be in a vehicle with him that, due to "traffic calming" strategies, catches a series of red lights one after another.

"I'd like to get my hands on the guy who..."

Via a Wikiwander that led me (and I can't remember how) to the term "Barnes Dance", I have found your bête noire, Bob: His name is, or rather was, Henry Barnes and he is the man usually credited with inventing the "Green Wave". He apparently passed away in 1968 and no word is given as to whether it was a suitable demise, such as catching on fire and falling into a shark tank.

Making technology work for me!

Bobbi called from work yesterday reminding me that we were scheduled for some poopy weather later in the week and it would be kind of awesome if we got the back yard of Roseholme Cottage all raked and bagged before the next deluge.

I surveyed the situation. Roseholme is equipped with two rakes, and both are of the kind that fold up to grab the leaves when a sliding collar on the handle is manipulated. Unfortunately, one of them broke its gimmick, and without the gimmick they're fairly mediocre in the actual raking department. Apparently these rakes were sold between commercials for Snuggies and the Pocket Fisherman and are rather emphatically Not Available In Stores.

I was already planning to stop by Lowe's to get a bitty little Allen key for the setscrews on my flashlight, so I figured I'd pick up a rake while I was there; an ordinary, non-folding one, granted, but perhaps one that was more optimized for the actual raking part of the operation.

Once I got to the Palace of Hardware, I realized that transporting one of the budget rakes from the seasonal displays out front would require dropping the top on the Zed Drei. Maybe they had something more portable in the lawn & garden tool section. A bonsai rake, or perhaps a take-down titanium and carbon fiber travel model for people who like to go rake their parents' leaves every Thanksgiving? A folding rake that stows easily in your studio loft after you've... I don't know, raked the balcony?

I walked back to the gardening department and discovered something even better. Now, I've never paid much attention to leaf blowers, since they just blow stuff noisily around and you still have to scoop it up yourself at the end. But while I've not been paying attention, they've been adding a leaf-vac/mulcher function to all but the smallest and cheapest models. Lowe's had the next unit down from this one on sale for $49.99. That was less than the flashlight in my pocket!

I don't mind the actual raking part of the operation. It's relaxing and contemplative and if you're a total history dork you can maneuver piles and lines of leaves around on the ground and re-fight Waterloo or Little Bighorn as you rake, but the part where you have to get the leaves from the pile into the bag is made of pure drudgery, and last night's work in the back yard was a revelation.

This thing really sucks!

Monday, October 24, 2011

But what does that even mean?

I haven't even really digested the story, but you have to give CNN props for the cryptic headline:
Teen murder suspect carried 'backpack of hatred'
I mean, there've been days when I've had a purse of rage, and I'm pretty sure I've seen a dude with a wallet of crazy wandering around Broad Ripple before, and I know those kids that hang out by the bridge over the canal are well into a baggie of happy, but kid, that big ol' backpack'll give you scoliosis...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Overheard in Roomie's Bedroom:

I'm sitting in the office, typing away. Roomie is in the hallway bathroom getting ready to leave. The TeeWee in her room down the hall is running, tuned to Meet The Press, but the volume is low enough that I can't hear it from where I sit...
TV: *mumblemumblemumble*

RX: "What? That man is talking sense! You can't have that on TV! Who is that?"

TV: *mumblemurmurmumble*

[sound of Roomie walking down the hall to her bedroom]

RX: "Oh, duh. It's Ron Paul."

Happy Blogiversary to you!

Friend Matt is celebrating five years of blogging this month.

And it looks like someone else missed her own fourth Blogiversary.

The less people know about guns...

...the more they want a derringer.

In every discussion about the weird little titanium stackbarrel two-shooter from Heizer, you get some anime dork pining for a remake of the old C.O.P. Industries four-barreled .357 Magnum.

Yeah, that's what everybody needs: A four-shooter with a buck-wretched double-action trigger that weighs a full two pounds, is as pocketable as a brick, and is actually bigger than a 7-shot 9mm Kahr. That makes less sense than a kickstand on a tank. (Further, half of the examples I've seen that have actually been fired to any great extent have shot themselves loose in fairly short order.)

But it looks cool! And it was in Blade Runner and The Matrix: Reloaded and Battlestar Galactica and you can use one in Team Fortress 2! And if you take it to the range, everybody will look at you, which is the real reason for going to the range in the first place, as casual perusal of most any firearms forum on the 'net will demonstrate.

Apparently I just don't get it.

I've got the B, the I, N, and G, now all I need's the O.

ShtLE Mk.III? Check.
Proper, un-shortened Mosin 91? Check.
Gewehr 98? Check.
Berthier M1907/15? Check.
Springfield M1903? Check.

...and yesterday at the gun show I stumbled across something you don't see every day: A Moschetto per Truppe Speciali Modello 1891 in nice condition. The stock had not been slathered in varnish nor had the fore-end been attacked by Bubba's hacksaw. The receiver was not drilled and tapped and, for a wonder, the cleaning rod was still in its slot. It looked just the way it did when it was dropped in 1943.

I can't remember the last time I saw an unmolested Carcano loose in the wild. The ratio of Bubba-ed examples to originals is higher than for almost any other rifle. What made this example even more intriguing was the fact that it was an original carbine and not a shortened rifle, and the date on the barrel was 1917.

The clincher on the deal was that the old guy selling it had three of the Mannlicher-style clips for the rifle, without which it is a balky single-shot breechloader, and one of them was even full of what looked to be surplus 6.5x52 ammunition. I already had the WWII-vintage Carcano carbine, and more clips are better clips...

The "quadrant" style sight is interesting, and quite the contrast to the crude, fixed notch on my later carbine. The leaf, with its wildly optimistic range markings reading out to 1500 meters, releases with a little tortoiseshell button and flips completely forward into a recess cut out in the handguard to reveal a fixed 200m battle sight.

With an 18" barrel and only 36" long overall and weighing well under seven pounds, this handy little carbine would have been the bee's knees for cannon-cockers and engineers and other people who couldn't do their jobs while lugging around one of the five-foot-long smokepoles that were otherwise the order of the day. (Incidentally, this is usually how you can tell late-19th Century carbines from shortened rifles at a glance: The carbines tend to have side-mounted sling swivels and bent bolt handles, unlike the infantry rifle's straight bolt handles and bottom-mounted sling swivels, since it was assumed that the carbines would spend most of their lives slung diagonally across their user's back and you didn't want the bolt handle catching on everything while he was trying to work.)

So now I have an issue longarm from most all of the major combatants in the Great War of '14-'18: Great Britain, France, the United States, Italy, Germany, and Russia. If I can just find an un-converted Steyr-Mannlicher M1895*, I'll have the whole set**!

*No mean feat itself, since the vast majority here in the 'States are stutzens: Rifles that were shortened to carbine length and rechambered from 8x50R to 8x56R after the war. I already have one of the latter...

**Already did the easier grouping of Garand, No.4, MAS 36, M91/30, kar 98k, Type 99, M38 Carcano...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hooray! It's Fun Show time!

Let's sing the Fun Show Song!
Flintlocks and Flop-tops
And Number Three Russians
Black-powder Mausers
From jackbooted Prussians,
Shiny Smith PC's from limited runs
These are a few of my favorite guns.

Socketed bay'nets
On Zulu War rifles,
Engraved, iv'ried Lugers
That make quite an eyefull
Mosin tomato stakes sold by the ton
These are a few of my favorite guns.

Rusty top-breaks!
Smallbore Schuetzens!
And all of Browning's spawn
I just keep on browsing my favorite guns
Until all my money's gone.

Mostly looking for ammunition and magazines this time 'round. And I need another ammo can, for bulk .32 ACP (which is funny when you say it three times fast...)

May stop by the Raven Concealment booth and check out holsters while I'm there. And of course I'm still not totally averse to the idea of a screaming deal on a Savage .32 auto, or a Remington Model 8, or a S&W .35 auto, or a...

Friday, October 21, 2011

No stop signs, speed limits, nobody gonna mess me around...

Back in 1980, Charlie Daniels sang "just go and lay your hand on a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and I think you're gonna finally understand" as an expression of righteous American anger.

Nowadays you can't even get your Terrible Towel into Heinz Field without getting groped like a drunken prom date by some low-rent mall cop with a metal detector.

From the same era, here's how American theatergoers were treated to a glimpse of the indignities of Soviet society in the 1982 Clint Eastwood Cold War era thriller, Firefox:

The TSA agents from my flight experience at Indianapolis International last year would snicker behind their hands at such light-handed, un-intrusive decorum, and I'm given to understand that Indy's new airport is actually one of the better ones in this department.

If you are old enough to remember air travel pre-9/11 and could watch that scene without throwing up a little in your mouth, I'm not sure we're even speaking the same language. I mean, look at Clint's character in Sheremetyevo Airport in 1982, bowing up with indignation at being treated in such a fashion! At O'Hare or LaGuardia of 2011, his fellow Americans behind him in the queue would tell him to shut up and stop being such a big baby because he's holding up the line.

Oh, and as an added bonus, the TSA seems bound and determined to make every form of travel as safe and hassle-free as they've made air travel.


More surplus ammo...

Still digging. Found the following:
  1. Another full 20-rd box of Cor-Bon 10mm Auto 200gr FMJ "Penetrators".
  2. A 20-rd box of Hornady 10mm Auto 155gr XTP JHP with 11 rds left.
  3. A 20-rd box of Triton 10mm Auto 155gr "Quik-Shok" with 7 rds left.
  4. A 50-rd box of Remington UMC .40 165gr FMJ with 10 loaded rds and 6 pieces of spent brass. (I am assuming that this has something to do with my recent ownership of a S&W Model 646...)
  5. A 50-rd factory box labeled Remington UMC .40 180gr FMJ, but which actually contains odd lots of .40 S&W factory JHP: A couple PMC Starfires, a few Hydra-Shoks, some Winchester, some Gold Dot, some Georgia Arms factory new 135gr Gold Dots (I used to think that load was the berries for some reason...) for a total of 28 rounds.
Still not sure what to do with all this stuff...

Those clever squids.

The U.S. Navy was only too happy to turn to and lend all the assistance Hollywood wanted for the movie Top Gun; make mock of the summertime blockbuster fighter pilot fantasy Tom Cruise vehicle all you want, but it was still packin’ em in at the MEPS years after it was no longer in theaters. Well into the early '90s the rank and file of the Navy's deck-swabbers and wrench-turners were full of kids who'd raised their right hand with a head full of fighter pilot dreams.

It looks like someone at the Navy remembers that:

Props to whoever greenlighted any official involvement with Top Gun In Swim Fins; it'll be the most effective recruiting poster the Navy's had in thirty years.

(H/T to Larry Correia.)

Shut up, citizen; it's for your own good.

Those TSA goons, they just have no sense of humor! Look how they overreact if you try to do something subversive, like recite the Fourth Amendment out loud while they're fondling your naughty bits in front of God and everybody in the middle of the airport:
The story culminates in the writer being arrested (however the TSA would characterize it, it was clearly an arrest) for disorderly conduct, cuffed, and confined in a cell. Eventually she is patted down, and the TSA succeeds in intimidating her into being silent during the procedure...
Ah, how all our modern technology is shrinking the world! You used to have to travel as far as Budapest to get that kind of treatment from petty functionaries in ill-tailored business attire, now you can do it without even leaving your home city (which is a good thing, because they might put you on some secret list and not let you on the plane afterward, you uppity peasant.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The missing ingredients.

I blogged the other day about my craving for Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup.

Also, the other afternoon, I stopped at Fresh Market and picked up a dozen of their rotisserie chicken wings, which are like Buffalo wings, except that they're nekkid and not battered, and cheerily devoured them with a dab of Tabasco each, tearing off the skin and fat with horrid smacking noises.

And then last night, while running Bobbi on a drive-thru errand, I had the urge to stop by the local Arby's and get a French dip sammich to go, because I was craving that au jus.

If we accept that a craving means that our body is short some nutrient or another, I can only wonder what key ingredients I was missing... Grease, fat, and sodium?

Tab Clearing...

Okay, that's pretty interesting.

I've been doing the gun thing, both as a hobby and for a living, for a reasonably long time now. It's gotten to the point that it's a pretty rare occurrence for me to see a firearm and exclaim "Huh! I had never even heard of such a thing before!"

With that being said, "Huh! I had never even heard of such a thing before!"

Wait, what?

So, I had somebody chide me in the comments of my safari-on-the-cheap post for "dancing in the blood" and playing to the Anti's image of gun owners as "kill-happy yahoos" because I joked about this being a cheap way of getting that big game safari I'd always dreamed of without having to fork out for airfare.

What's interesting is that, while I was chided for joking about the deaths of magnificent endangered animals, I didn't hear a peep over having flippantly dismissed the death of a human being in the very first sentence of my post as "not the important part". I wonder what his reaction would be to that post I did where I suggested that somebody should do a montage video of jumpers from a bridge in Seattle and set it to "It's Raining Men"?

It's a joke, dude. In case you hadn't noticed, the humor around here can get pretty dang dark at times.

Some folks sure do get all bowed up over the strangest things.

Surplus to requirements...

I have a bunch of longneck-beer-case-size boxes that are all, like, a quarter- to half-full of ammo in the factory boxes.

While I was at Lowe's yesterday, picking up a couple new pairs of work gloves (long story), I had one of those moments where the little 20-watt bulb flickers on over your head, and I grabbed a few clear plastic stackable totes.

Anyhow, while getting the ammo re-sorting project underway yesterday evening, I started running across some ammunition that was surplus to requirements:
  1. A box of Winchester .40 Black Talon with 9 rounds left, one of which evinces extreme setback.
  2. A 50-rd box of Winchester Ranger .40 155gr (RA40155HP) with 44 rounds left.
  3. A full 50-rd box of Winchester Ranger .40 165gr Partition Gold (RA401P).
  4. A 20-rd box of Winchester 10mm 175gr Silvertips, containing 15 Silvertips and 7 of what appear to be 180gr Double Tap JHPs. (And the price tag on the box reads $12.99! Now there's nostalgia!)
  5. A full 20-rd box of Cor-Bon 10mm 200gr FMJ "Penetrators" (200gr @ 1150fps = 587 fpe.)
For trade? Sale? Anybody coming to this weekend's blogmeet have a use for any of this stuff? I'm open to suggestions...

...and the mountain is back in its original location.

Well, all the critters running loose in Ohio have been put down or rounded up, dashing my hopes for a safari on the cheap.

Looks like we're back to my original plan for an affordable lion hunt:
Dear Diary:

Day three of the safari.

After a quick breakfast of Tabasco Slim Jims and Diet Mountain Dew, my native guide, Fred, has maneuvered me into an excellent position for the culmination of my trip, the confrontation with Simba.

Careful not to spook the skittish herds of preschoolers, which would alert the lion to my presence, I ease around the concession stand. The cloying stench of cotton candy fills my nostrils...


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

QotD: Responsibility Edition.

At the risk of spoiling Reno's punchline...
"Right now your heart’s in the right place but your head… is up your ass."
You really should go read the whole thing.

Since Mohammed couldn't swing the airfare to the mountain...

In eastern Ohio some dude had an exotic game preserve on his little suburban ranch, with lions and tigers and cheetahs and bears and wolves, and he was found dead last night, but that's not the important part. The important part is that someone or someones unknown opened all the cages.

SWAT teams have been deployed, four school districts have been closed, residents have been warned to stay inside and, for all I know, the Ohio state legislature is rushing into an emergency session to ban something or other.

I know, I know... If you're like me, your first reaction was to hit your knees, exclaim "Praise Jesus! I knew I bought the safari-grade .375 Holland & Holland Magnum for a reason!" and rush out and buy a baby goat to tether in front of your blind, but take a moment to double check Ohio's laws for transporting long guns before you run out the front door.

Also remember that the Buckeye State's a little fussy about whose toter's permits they honor. However, there's probably no ODNR-established season or bag limit on Bengal tiger.

Meanwhile, you know that internet gun fora across the nation are pondering the important question raised by this event: "Is this a good reason to CCW a .44 magnum? "

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Sorry about the lack of content, still feeling ooky. Lots of words in my head, but a serious lack of willpower when it comes to getting them out my fingertips. I want to talk about guns in pockets, slings on long guns, hooks in bathrooms, and pants on monkeys... Actually, that last part might just be fever hallucinations.

I'm wearing thermal underwear under my jeans, wool socks, and both a short- and long-sleeved tee under a fleece pullover, and I'm still chilled, despite the thermostat reading 67°F in the office here. It's cozy under the covers, though, which is where I'll be again after a bowl of that famous sovereign cure, Chicken Noodle Soup.

You want to know a swell book to read when you're drifting in and out of awareness in the bed on a sick day? This Will Kill You: A Guide to the Ways in Which We Go. It lists, in loving detail, dozens of ways that we check out, describes exactly what happens during each one, and rates them for lethality, horror factor, and kills per annum. Plus it's packed with fascinating marginalia and trivial tidbits: The strange fate of Gary Hoy, and the lenient jail sentence of Issei Sagawa, for examples.

And especially why you should keep a stick handy in Guinea worm country...

The night Texas bombed Oklahoma...

On the night of July 5th, 1943, a USAAF B-17 lumbered aloft from the training field near Dalhart, TX on a practice bombing mission on a range to the north. The navigator, however, made one of those navigator-type errors and the square of lights on which the crew started unloading their practice bombs marked, not the target, but the town square of Boise City, Oklahoma.

Nobody was killed, largely due to the fact that the training bombs consisted of a couple pounds of dynamite and almost a hundred pounds of sand, to make them drop right, and the fact that one intrepid Sooner ran through the hail of aerial practice death and threw the main breaker for the square, removing the target for the bomber's crew. Also, this being small-town America in the '40s, the sidewalks had probably been rolled up and put away not long after sundown.

Phlegmmie and I stopped in the bustling metropolis (pop. 1,266) to snap a picture of the wry little bronze monument right on the town square:

Definitely an interesting historical tidbit, and something to toss back at the next person who sniffs "Well, America doesn't understand the horrors of war because it wasn't bombed in WWII!"
Interestingly, being bombed by the U.S. Army, and far more recently than, say, Vicksburg at that, doesn't seem to have affected their patriotism much in Boise City:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Overheard on the Phone:

Talking on the phone with Marko yesterday:
Marko: "...and so, no, my Mil SF novel still hasn't sold."

Me: "Have you thought about putting in more lesbian bondage ninjas? It seems to work for S.M. Stirling; look at how many books he's sold."

Marko: "Actually, that's the title of the third book in my series: Terms Of Enlistment, Lines Of Departure, and Lesbian Bondage Ninjas."

I must be sick.

I have got a serious mojo working for Campbell's chicken noodle soup. I just had one can and that barely took the edge off. I think I'll go heat up another.

The cats are confused. A mommy has gotten up out of bed and is puttering around the house, and yet no cat food has been forthcoming. Doesn't the feeding of the cats happen when a mommy wakes up? Huck is clearly puzzled, while Rannie has taken to sitting upright in the geometric center of the room and staring daggers at my back in the hopes that this will somehow induce food production.

Shocked by the monkey.

There are many things for which I am thankful in this life, among which is the fact that I have never had to answer the question "How was your day at work?" with "Well, there was this lady with a monkey, see? And..."

You can read that through two or three times and it doesn't get any less surreal. Or less funny.

I's misable, right?*

I've been doing battle with some sort of cold or flu thing for the last few days. Last night I tried going to bed early, but that only meant that my eyes flew open at 0300, and here I sit, blowig by doze, thoroughly miserable in the long quiet hours around oh-dark-thirty.

Anyhow, let's see what's shakin' on the intertubes....


Hey, remember Special Agent Bueller, the FBI Agent who had to move a stolen Ferrari F50 from one parking space to another and invited a local federal prosecutor to ride along for this mundane chore and then somehow and completely by accident wadded up the $750,000 car, totalling it?

Well, via Popehat I learn that a judge has just told the insurance company that these are, indeed, tough bananas, but the government doesn't have to pay them squat. Sorry about your Ferrari, dude; jack up the rates on your other customers to cover the writeoff. Next case.

Apparently being a Fed means never having to say you're sorry.

*(Reference for post title...)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

They take a bow, they know their place...

So, we've got some protesters in the streets who don't like The Man keepin' 'em down.

They're supported by organized unions. They're largely pretty white. Some are avowed socialists. And there's a creepy undercurrent of Jew-blamery going on.

I see that Chris Muir has beaten me to the Godwining, though.

Now we just need the speechifying veteran and a good beer hall in which to hold a political rally.


  • My new weekend morning guilty pleasure? An hour or so of Al's Current TV, the place where Olbermann washed up after he was deemed too much of a kneejerk bleeding heart pinko for msnbc. It's fun to MST3K their hand-wringing documentaries.

  • If there's one common bond that unites soldiers of all nations, from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe, it's piss-poor handgun training.

  • I have to agree that Michelle Bachmann went full retard, there. Of course she's going to balk at fundamental, structural tax code reforms! She admitted to being a tax attorney right there on live TV! That's like asking David Ortiz what he thinks about doing away with the designated hitter rule.

    She's a self-confessed tax lawyer and a known congresscritter; at least hookers and dope dealers return value for money in a free and voluntary exchange, all elected officials do is eat tax money and shit out red tape and misery.

  • It was a '74 Ford Gran Torino, Borepatch.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Odocoileus and Cervus and Antilocapra, oh my!

Back east, our hoofed rats come pretty much only in the one flavor: Odocoileus virginianus.

Out west they apparently come in all kinds of sizes, from little bitty ones...

...all the way up to honking great things that'll seriously mess up a Crown Vic.

QotD: Who's the insurrectionist, again? Edition

My roomie on the news from the Big Apple:
"(How come) You can have several thousand TEA Party activists (the people weenies like CSGV and the Bradys call "violent insurrectionists") descend on Washington with nary an arrest -- hardly any parking tickets, even -- but a smaller number of (supposedly peaceful, egalitarian) Occupiers of Wall Street in NYC (and other places) manage to clash repeatedly with officers and bring out the worst in both sides?"

I think the zombie Fonzie has officially jumped the zombie shark...

Hornady is now selling their light-for-caliber, underpenetrating FTX bullet with a green, rather than red, rubber tip as the "Z-Max" anti-zombie load.

This is the single dumbest PR move from an ammo company since Winchester decided to name their new hollowpoints "Black Talon" instead of the "Blossoming Petal Home Protection Bullet". Seriously, how long would Glasers have been on the market if they'd been dubbed the "Explode In Your Guts For Messy Flesh Wounds Bullet" rather than the tranquil-sounding "Safety Slug"?

At least some hypothetical future workplace shooter can get a slam-dunk insanity plea by using this stuff and then claiming he thought his coworkers were trying to devour his brains.

Scenic America.

Behold Cadillac Ranch, 20th Century America's answer to Stonehenge and the pyramids. A monument that answers the existential question "Why?" with a definitive "Uh, just because."

Phlegmmy, Goddess of Tchotchkes, and I stopped there on the homeward leg of the vacation and got a picture of Chewie the Purse Wookie with the cars as a backdrop.

Days of Pique.

Is it just me, or does that guy look like he's trying to get the ref to give the cop a yellow card? He's writhing more theatrically than a Spanish soccer player; I didn't put up that much of a fuss after dragging the splintered end of my tibia fifty yards down the asphalt of Peachtree Road. I especially like the part where he moves his foot from up by the front wheel and wedges it under the rear tire, just before kicking the scoot over and getting a hickory shampoo.

I had no idea until yesterday that the NYC protesters were holding their protest-cum-rave on private property. That changes my opinion considerably. You kids get off my lawn or I'll have the police turn loose the hounds on you. (Does the park not have a sprinkler system?)

Friday, October 14, 2011

What the iPod just played:

Wow, I hadn't heard that one since it was new.

On a side note, I stopped in the local Evildrome Boozearama (appropriately yclept "21st Amendment") and Garbage's "Only Happy When It Rains" was playing on the radio in the store. I be-bopped along down the aisle, singing "I'm only happy eatin' brains..." before exclaiming "Wow! I haven't heard this song in years. Practically since it was new!"

The counterchick said "Yeah, they just announced that this one was 'from the vault'..."

"You shut up! I was damn' near thirty when this song came out!"

View through the windshield, part two:

Westbound on I-40 through Arkansas at sunset was downright apocalyptic, what with them burning stubble off the fields along the highway. The above photo shows a particularly spectacular smoke cloud from a burning field in the distance. Either that, or the ChiComs nuked Wynne, Arkansas.

Coming home down the same section of interstate in the pre-dawn mists, I was particularly worried, because there were deer crossing signs everywhere, and I didn't want to wind up with Bambi's mom in the cockpit of my little Nazi roller skate with me.

There was a little municipal airport just north of the freeway whose runway paralleled I-40 about as close as an access road. You just know the Cessna and AgCat jockeys who fly out of there refer to the interstate as "Runway Four-Zero".

View through the windshield, part one:

Eastbound on I-30, a couple dozen miles west of Texarkana, what appears to be a giant walking dragline looms on the horizon.

It seems to be a popular subject for photos, too...

They raise 'em tough in Texas...

Seen at a highway rest stop between Amarillo and Itchy Paw Falls:

The Right To Work.

If you are breathing and have the ability to stack two rocks one upon the other, you can work. If you can find some other person who prefers their rocks in a rather more vertical orientation than found in nature, and convince them to trade some nuts and berries for your time and effort, you've got yourself a job. (Granted, the government claims it has a right to some of your nuts and berries in return for allegedly protecting you from sabertooth tigers, but that's a rant for another day...)

But this bit of D.C. sausagemaking that Joel points out gives me the creeping willies. When you think about it, the right to say whether a person is allowed to hold a job or not is perilously close to having the right to tell them whether or not they can exist. Where have I read something like that before? Oh, yeah...
"And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." -Revelation 13:17
Because I believe in going Godwin early and often, might I suggest that, rather than having special cards for all of us employable citizens to carry around in wallets already overcrowded with driver's licenses, social security cards, and toter's permits, why don't we get the graphic designers to work on some snazzy and eye-catching little patch that all the unemployables have to wear so that we know who they are?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What the iPod just played:

As earworms go, I've been stuck with worse.

However, I had no idea that the video was so wonderfully bizarre...

It's like living in a William Gibson novel...

Apparently some guy in Seattle has stitched hisself up a superhero costume, collected a team of sidekicks, and runs around downtown spraying people he considers "bad guys" with OC.

It's a thousand wonders he didn't get his ass shot.

I'm chalking this up as further evidence that we're living in Bob Heinlein's "Crazy Years".

The times, they are a changin'...

You're going to find this hard to believe, kids, but when that movie was made, it was illegal to drive faster than 55mph anywhere in the USA. It's true; you can go ask your mom if you don't believe me. It was a thing called the "National Maximum Speed Limit", and it created more criminals and scofflaws than the tax code and marijuana prohibition put together. With all the nattering about energy saving lately, I'm surprised the idea hasn't surfaced again.

Anyhow, nowadays I keep the cruise control set at 69.5 KIAS (78 mph actual, according to the GPS) and I don't even turn it off when passing cops in the median, as an honest "Clip-clop-clip-clop... Oh, mister troll, don't eat me! My brother is coming along behind me and he's much faster!" beats a guilty-looking braking-induced dip of the front bumper any day of the week. And it's gotta be a slow day at the Krispy Kreme for a cop to write you for less than ten over on the interstate.

And speaking of cops in the greensward, what is going on in Tennessee? Either west Tennessee is a radically different place from east TN, or y'all have broken the state since I left. I passed 25 cop cars in the median between Memphis and Nashville, and except for three old 'black & tan' Crown Vics, they were all hulking, brooding black unmarked Tahoes with window tint that would get you or I a ticket were we to apply it to our cars. I drove back and forth from K-ville to Oleg's crib in Nash Vegas more than a dozen times and I don't think I saw that many cop cars, total.

Passing a couple-three of those parked up cheek-by-jowl every few miles gives one a creepy "police state" feeling, let me tell you. I'm sure it's to save me from the scourge of interstate dope smuggling or something, but I'd rather the kid next door lit a spliff every now and again than have to buy the po-po the latest fashion in "interdiction cars" every few years.

Overheard in the Kitchen:

Me: "What day is today? Thursday?"

RX: "Yes, Tamara, this is Thursday. But only until noon, and then it's last Tuesday."

Me: "Hey, I'm still a little disoriented from my vacation. You know, 'If this is Tuesday, then I must be in Amarillo.'"

RX: "No, you're not an armadillo. What kind of vacation was this? 'And if it's Wednesday, I'm a stoat!'"

Me: "This is going on the internet..."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The covers of this book were too damn close together.

"At last they rode over the downs and took the East Road, and then Merry and Pippin rode on to Buckland and already they were singing again as they went. But Sam turned to Bywater, and so came back up the Hill, as day was ending once more. And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap.

He drew a deep breath. 'Well, I'm back,' he said.

Homeward bound.

Like rolling the string back onto the spool, I find myself in a room in the same Little Rock motel I was in this time last week, pecking out yet another post on a dinky Eee keyboard.

It's dark outside, I can hear a jet on short final overhead, and the TeeVee is making noise just because I'm not ready for silence at the moment. (Apparently I unplug from the net for a few days and you people let the Iranians get all out of control again. Can't have nothin' nice...)

Well, time to go check out and get eastbound and down...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Overheard on the phone...

While passing through Amarillo, the phone rang. It was Shootin' Buddy...
SB: "Are you still in Texas?"

Me: "Yup."

SB: "Is everybody wearing funny hats and pointy elf boots?"

Me: "Nope."

SB: "Then how can you tell you're in Texas?"

Me: "There're Texas flags everywhere."

SB: "But that could just mean you're in a steak house in Wisconsin."

Overheard at the range...

Arriving at the range on the morning of the second day of shooting, MattG, OldNFO, aepilot Jim, and I stopped up at the car on the long rifle range to inspect the damage inflicted on the previous day. OldNFO started to pop the hood latch...
ON: "Hang on, I just want to see what happened under here..." *raises hood*

Me: (in good ol' mechanic drawl) "Well there's your problem. Motor's got holes all in it."
(Actually, it didn't. Until later that day.)

Refrigerate after opening...

One thing I've always wondered about is how much less perishable rifle skills seem when compared to pistol skills. I get to shoot rifles past fifty yards maybe once or twice a year, and even if I'm no longer the rifle shot I was when shooting 3-position smallbore in college, I can usually manage to avoid beclowning myself.

Go a couple months without going to the pistol range, however, and I might as well take one of those remedial courses where the instructor gets up in front of the class and begins by identifying the end from which the bullet emerges. (Thankfully, I got in plenty of range time over the last month or two, plus that ToddG class was still fresh in my head, so I didn't look like an idjit shooting in front of people this weekend.)

The sun has riz, the sun has set...

...and we still ain't out of Texas yet.

Not that we were hurrying or anything. I got some neat-o pics in Boise City and Amarillo today, but they'll have to wait until I have something better than the Eee with which to post them.

My stocks of 9mm and deuce-deuce are notably depleted. Fortunately the Indy 1500 is coming up on the 23rd, which should make a splendid weekend for a Blogmeet!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Range Notes:

  • While the little 4" fixed-sight 22/45 is no target pistol, it's perfectly capable of hitting an 8" steel plate at 10ish yards... Edge on. ;)

  • Note to Self: Shooting up a car at 375 yards with a .308 FN SCAR is big, dirty fun.

  • Note to Self: The SCAR has a reciprocating charging handle, dummy.

  • I was really hoping I wouldn't like that FN .45 ACP pistol of Jennifer's. Oops. I wonder if they're still on sale anyplace?

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Look! Gun content!

It isn't my gun content, though, because the cylinder turns backwards...

I've always had a soft spot for the .32-20, and Bobbi's Colt is much purtier than my old Smith in the same caliber. (And the photo is teh awesome.)

Miles and miles of miles and miles...

Riding out to the range with OldNFO, aepilot Jim, and MattG, I felt the urge to pull out my camera and snap a picture.

"What are you taking a picture of out here, Tam?" came the question.

"Oh, nothing..."

I'd have used a panoramic camera, but you can just use the cut and paste function in your photo editor on the above pic to get a sense of the 360-panorama. Agoraphobes need not apply.

Saturday, October 08, 2011


So, someone brought an interesting piece to the range today: A replica of an old handgonne that he had fashioned himself, complete with a repurposed shovel handle for the stock.

I tried my best to look all nonchalant as other people were taking their turns firing it, stuffing cannon fuse in the touchhole and igniting it with a cigarette being used as an impromptu slowmatch on the windy prairie, but when offered a chance to try it out, it didn't take a lot of arm-twisting before I was stuffing a patched .54-caliber ball down the muzzle and tucking the stock under my arm and leaning into it and...


... with a ball of fire and a cloud of smoke, a hole appeared in the middle of the plywood target backer downrange, and, grinning like an idiot, I couldn't help raising that staff-mounted miniature cannon overhead and crowing "This... is my boomstick!"

You know what they call a Big Mac in France?

There's a little convenience store in easy walking distance of the hotel. Being two time zones west of home, it's easy for me to be an early riser here, and so yesterday morning at oh-dark-thirty local, I toddled over there to pick up some sundries.

The parking lot was full of serious working trucks, real cowboy Cadillacs, and the little tables inside were packed with weathered men in gimme caps bearing feed company logos, talking about whatever it is that men who have serious hands-on experience in fixing tractors talk about before sunrise.

It may be a thousand and more miles from the middle of the Hoosier state, and the accents and specific crop details may have been different, but it was like seeing Farmer Frank's blog come to life.

So I woke up this morning...

...and booted up the little Eee 'book and started to open a fresh tab so I could open and find something to snark about, and you know what?

Just no.

For today and tomorrow, the news of the outside world is just gonna have to snark at itself. I have some eatin' and shootin' and socializin' to do, and I don't need to ruin it by reading about what some jackhole in DC is doing to bum my high, man.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Notes to self...

Dear Diary,
  1. You've got to be smarter than the wireless router.
  2. Sunscreen works better if you take it out of the range bag first.
  3. I should have brought more ginger beer.
  4. Try not to be taking a big swallow of soda when MattG and Ambulance Driver are in mid-repartee.
It was dreamy. More later.

Notes from the road...

  • Before I left on this little jaunt, I actually picked up the book that was on the pile next to my copy of The Worst Hard Time. I wish I'd grabbed the latter also, as we traversed pretty much half the territory covered in the book yesterday, and every road sign was jarring up little "Wait, that town name sounds familiar..." memories.

  • Spent much of the day driving across the TX panhandle, or rather passengering across it. It's an area that's long fascinated me. The cool thing is that, as vast as the place is, you can see most of it from one place with a stepladder and a pair of good binoculars. I have joked about places so flat you could watch your dog run away for three days, but yesterday I saw them.

  • There is something really Bonanza-meets-The-Jetsons about sitting on the front porch of your hotel out on the high plains, which probably pre-dates the automobile by a year or two, and using its wi-fi network to update your blog.

Oh, and about that GPS...

"Do you want to plot your route to avoid toll roads?" is a handy question, but when you're 'way out past where Jesus left his sandals, "Do you want to plot your route to avoid your car getting high-centered?" might be more relevant.

Not that it happened, but let's just say that the car in which I was passengering got its undercarriage scrubbed with grass courtesy of the Tom-Tom...

I am somewhat disappointed that at no time did we get pulled over, because I was all ready to answer "Do you have any weapons in the car?" with "What do you need, officer?"

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Safe arrival...

Unfortunately, my cell phone is getting about -2 bars of signal.

Oh, well, that's why they call it a "vacation"...

Nobody ever went broke...

...underestimating the sense of the American shooting public.

In a world where Taurus sells every Public Defender Raging Titanium Polymer pistol they make, these should sell like hotcakes.

At least you don't have to thumb-cock it between shots like a standard Derringer, so it's got that going for it, at least. I mean, if you got two incredibly lucky shots, you could stop, not one, but two bad guys with it! (And then lightning would strike you, causing the winning Powerball ticket in your pocket to burst into flames...)

The quote of the moment comes from Ken Rihanek in comments over at ToddG's place:
"The industry trend is toward guns that are hard to shoot and control. This gun is a natural in todays market. They have outdone the airweight snubby."
This is why I shouldn't check the internets while I'm on the road. If I hadn't, I could have gone another couple days blissfully unaware of that little mutant.

More notes from the road...

  • I had never driven into Nashville from the north before. It's a fairly big city, but you'd never know it coming in on I-65 until you were right on top of it. It's not until you're only about 10.5 miles out that the typical suburban sprawl shows up, as suddenly as if it had been turned on with a switch.

  • You know you're in Texas by the names of things. Just across the line in Arkansas, you may pass Acme Pawn Shop, Bob's Transmissions, and Honest John's Used Cars, but go a few hundred yards west and everything is Lone Star Pawn, Longhorn Transmissions, and Big Tex's Used Cars.

  • I realized with a shudder that I was driving through western Tennessee, Arkansas, and northeast Texas at a not-inconsiderable clip in a car with yankee plates. Just in case I got pulled over, I began scheming on ways to casually work a "How's your momma'n'em?" into the conversation to establish my bona fides. I still haven't come up with a satisfactory explanation to give a deputy as to how I wound up with a yankee's car, but I am assured by various friends with experience in the matter that almost nobody who gets pulled over claims to be driving their own car anyway.

  • Driving through Arkansas yesterday, I realized that the last time I'd been down that highway, it had been with my friend Byron in his pick-'em-up truck, listening to his endless fund of entertaining stories. I'm glad I got a chance to do that.

GPS & me...

So, about the GPS...

I have a really good sense of direction, and I didn't flunk geography. Plus, I have a vague grasp of how the US Interstate system is laid out. Thus, for example, if I wanted to drive from Indy to, say, Dallas without becoming a FOPA test case on some roadside in Illinois, I would nav my way from Indy to Louisville and thence to Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock and on to the Big D.

Even if one doesn't know the numbers of interstates, this task is facilitated by great big signs hanging over the road telling you to which city this road will take you. Is the city between your starting point and your destination? Then you are on the right road.

So when I bought the GPS, it was mostly because they'd become cheap enough to make a decent roadtrip toy, with their running Time-Speed-Distance display and calculation. If nothing else, you could make a game out of trying to shave time off your projected ETA.

But I did discover one thing for which they're very useful, at least for me. Whizzing into an unfamiliar city, headed for an unfamiliar spaghetti bowl of entangled interstates, having Robby the Robot prep you ahead of time for your exits and lane changes is handy. Instead of having to read signs and try and psychically figure out which lane you're going to need to be in to get from I-65 South to I-40 West, while simultaneously dodging the drooling morons that make up urban freeeway traffic these days, you can now let the Auto-Nav feed you the correct lanes while you concentrate on moron-dodging. That's handy.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Thoughts from the road...

It's neat that my GPS asks me questions like "Do you want to plan your route to avoid toll roads?" and "Do you want to plan your route to avoid HOV lanes?" but it doesn't ask me "Do you want to plan your route to avoid Illinois?"

For a relatively bright little machine, it took it all the way to Columbus, IN to figure out that I wasn't going to heed its calls to turn around and drive through Mordor. Every exit would have it pipe up with "Exit right and turn around" and every exit would have me respond "Shut your whore mouth!" Finally it gave a sulky little electronic sigh and replotted its route through Louisville.

Listen here, Baby HAL, I've been land-navving on roadtrips for thirty years without help from you OR Rand McNally. Either you open the pod bay door or I'll open your access port with a crowbar and a gas axe; I will not be sassed by a machine. I bought you as a toy; annoy me enough and I'll risk the fine to toss you into the roadside shrubbery at 80mph.

Also, it's worth noting that when Apu assures you that his fine inn has the wireless internets, he doesn't necessarily mean in the room.

Technical Difficulties...

For reasons I'm not entirely at liberty to discuss at the moment, my attempts to blog last night and this morning were entirely more drama-filled than I prefer.

More in a bit...

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

QotD: Softcore Gun Pr0n Edition

From Ambulance Driver:
"If you're a gun nut and you don't shop at Brownell's, rectify that oversight immediately by bookmarking their site, and browsing their catalog. It's like the Victoria's Secret catalog for gun nuts!"
I LOL'ed.

It's the end of the world as we know it...

...and I feel fine, because I read!

Today is book bomb day at Amazon for Jim Rawles' latest novel,Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse, which is a not-really-sequel-because-it-takes-place-at-the-same-time of his earlier book, Patriots.

While not as much of a "How-To Manual Disguised As A Novel" as the previous book, there's still an awful lot of information packed into the storyline. Also, the book gives a closer look at the effects of a slow financial collapse and, via a character who finds himself stranded overseas, explores travel in a world where regular services are unraveling.

I enjoyed it. I hope you will, too.

Save me from my allies...

So there's this Muslim dude on death row in Ohio...

Now, you know I'm pretty ambivalent on the death penalty. On the one hand, there are definitely some crimes from which there's no coming back and being allowed to join society's reindeer games ("Yes, your honor, I killed and ate those kids, but I was feeling a little bipolar that day and I'm all better now...") On the other hand, it depends on us having the right guy, 'cause you don't get any do-overs with capital punishment, and you know as well as I do that the government couldn't pour piss out of a boot with instructions printed on the heel.

But there's no question in this case that the government has fingered the correct dude. I mean, he shot his soon-to-be-ex-wife and his about-to-be-former-brother-in-law right there in the courtroom and was found in the courthouse's basement with his baby daughter in his arms and a deputy's bullet in his chitterlings. It doesn't get much more red-handed than that.

So, anyway, dude's on death row and, like most guys facing the big sleep, he's taken a new-found interest in that ol'-time religion, which in his case means Islam, and he wants halal meals. And I'm thinking "Okay, what's the big deal? They've got kosher meals for Jewish murderers and vegetarian meals for killer hippies, so why not? We tend to go out of our way to recognize religious foibles of convicts, short of providing virgins and obsidian knives on the Solstice. I'm sure they have Mass for the mackerel snappers."

Apparently my opinion is an uncommon one among people who I guess are theoretically, nominally my kinda-sorta allies.

I decided to risk a few IQ points and read some comments. I was not disappointed. Or rather I was, but I wasn't surprised to be.

"james" suggests we:
"Feed him sawdust mixed with pig entrails and blood."
There's the love of Christ shining through for you. Meanwhile "Nat's daughter" suggests:
"You can't make this shit up! The nerve of this POS. Charles M. you are sooo right, they are laughing at us and who can blame them? I say we put him on a hunger strike and for his last meal, have a Rabbi serve him a BLT. Then we soak a bullet in pig blood and have a female soldier pull the trigger and put him out of our misery."
Do you kiss your mother with that mouth, young lady? Jeffery Dahmer didn't spend that much time and effort planning his dinner dates; I'm sure Nat is proud of you.

Finally, I read the comment signed "Florida Infidel", who offered the following
"Oh, good Lord, enough!! Notice how the savage is not worried one whit that he won't go to heaven for murdering his wife and brother in law, only for eating non-halal meals! That's rich! I guess when you are in service to Satan, double murder is just no big deal, but making sure innocent animals suffer the maximum amount possible while being killed for meat is a great way to earn those heavenly brownie points/gold stars!! The only reward this unrepentant double-murderer is getting is a one way ticket to hell, and I say no more coddling of him while he still here as a disgusting parasite on the taxpayers of Ohio! It's enough that he is obviously very well-fed on vegetarian and non-pork meals. Screw him and his demands!"
That was the end of my comment-reading experiment. If I had my way, people who didn't make use of paragraph breaks would burn in hell for all eternity, because they are obviously in service to Satan. Also, we should ration exclamation points.

You know, these are the people I'm going to have to shoot in the back the day after the revolution...

Monday, October 03, 2011

Reading at the moment....

There is a type of fiction that I refer to, for lack of a better term, as "construction porn". It seems that guys really like to read about the building and organizing of stuff: a new spaceship, a perfect survivalist hideout, a baseball team. It's not the action at the end that is the point of the book, but the building of the thing.

For instance, in Oh John Ringo No's Ghost series, the hero spends most of a book organizing the valley and village and castle he has come into possession of with the studied meticulousness of a small boy with toy soldiers or a grown man with a model railroad layout.

In Tom Kratman's Countdown: The Liberators, what's being built is a mercenary army. Oh sure, there's action. Jailbreaks and specops stuff in the mountains of Afghanistan and eventually the inevitable invasion of the fictional African country but, like Forsyth's The Dogs of War, the meat of the book is the setting up of the organization and the laying out of plans: Construction porn.

If you like mercenary novels and tank shoot-em-ups and whatnot, it's a pretty good book. I suspect that for fans of construction porn, it's... rather better. Anyhow, I ordered the sequel, which arrived in the same box as Dead Six, which I am reading now. Not much construction going on in Dead Six. Rather the opposite, actually.

Overheard in the Office:

Via Bayou Renaissance Man comes this tale of Cold War derring-do in East Berlin.

Me: "Wow. It's hard to believe that babies born about the time the Wall came down voted in their first elections last November."

RX: "You'd think they would have learned better."

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Old Obama had an albatross, BATFE-I-E-I-O!

Rumors are circulating that the whole agency might go under the bus between now and Votin' Season if this turns out to be a big enough millstone around the administration's neck. Seeing as how the BATFE is basically a taxpayer-funded GOP Vote-Generating Machine and has been for more than twenty years now, I am less skeptical about this than I would be otherwise.

While I wouldn't hold my breath expecting common sense from the federal government, if they were at all serious about reform, they'd roll the firearms industry regulation and tax-collecting functions back into Treasury, and ditch the redundant field agents.

Having a dedicated Agency responsible for "gun crimes" creates an incentive to find and, if necessary, manufacture gun crimes in order to justify their existence.

Sure, the FCC and FAA and USDA are no fun to deal with, but they rarely burn down churches full of people or smuggle machine guns to Mexican dope gangs.


Thirty-eight degrees out there, but the breeze from Mordor-On-The-Lake to the northwest makes it feel like 31. Brrr. Getting close to that time of year where the A/C tags out with the furnace.

Roomie is apparently sleeping in. Can't say as I blame her; it's cool enough in the house that things are way more pleasant on that side of the blankets.

As for me, I'm already most of a pot of coffee into my day, and am sitting here nibbling tortas and aged Gouda like a proper Broad Riparian. I did my Sunday morning ritual of flipping over to msnbc and using Chris Matthews to pressure-test my cerebral arteries. No aneurysms this morning.

Hey, Chris, you party hack, how come George W. Bush was a cowboy warmonger for launching drone strikes in Pakistan and the Arabian peninsula, but Barack Obama is a visionary, determined leader for launching drone strikes in Pakistan and the Arabian peninsula?

To hear Captain Tingly-Leg talk, you'd think that The Big O had not only launched the Hellfire missiles himself, but had also built the drones with his own two hands after summoning the Air Force into existence from the primordial chaos through the power of his will and his naked intellect... At least Olbermann had the integrity to hold Barry O's itchy trigger finger to the same standards as he held the Shrub's.

Me, I'm of two minds about the pot-shotting of guys like al-Alwaki. On the one hand, citizenship is not a magic olly-olly-oxen-free whereby you get to declare war on the US, but the US can only fight back with handcuffs and warrants. On the other hand, in the absence of a declared war, how hard would it have been to at least try and convict him, if only in absentia, to provide at least a wink and a nod to the forms and procedures and keep us wookie-suiters happy(ish)?

On the gripping hand, will we all be so sanguine in two or three years when the Hellfire missile drops, not on an American Al Qaeda terrorist in Yemen, but on an American dope smuggler in Presidio County, Texas?

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Video intermission...

Slow weekend. More later.

A crisp fall morning in Broad Ripple...

Hopped over to Locally Grown Gardens this morning, where I was greeted with a cheery "Good morning, Tamara!" from the proprietor, Ron. It's like grocery shopping in Cheers.

Picked up some farm-fresh eggs, an onion, and double handful of fingerling potatoes for Bobbi's breakfast project. Also a couple bottles of Fentiman's Dandelion & Burdock soda and some sesame & sea salt tortas from Ines Rosales for snacking later.

It's so cool having a place like that just a stone's throw away. I sure do loves me some Broad Ripple.

Where are they now?

Over the last several decades, some new handgun cartridges have been released and been sales successes: .40 S&W and .357SIG spring most immediately to mind.

Others, like 10mm Auto and .45GAP, didn't live up to their initially-predicted sales success, but continue on as niche cartridges, with fans that cling like grim death.

And then there are the ones that sank without a ripple: .357 Maximum, .41 Action Express, 9mm Federal... Other than the occasional dusty box of ammunition at a gun show, or fanatical handloading crank in the dank corners of some internet forum, these cartridges are hardly even remembered except for a "I wonder why the ______ never caught on?"

Well, if it's the 9mm Federal you were wondering about, Grant Cunningham brings the answer.

For those unfamiliar with the chambering, 9mm Federal was basically a rimmed 9mm Parabellum round to be used in snubnosed revolvers that would be produced by Charter Arms. To say that it "never really caught on" would be a kindly exaggeration; it was a flop, and is mostly useful as a Trivial Pursuit (Category: Firearms History) answer these days.

But why did it flop? Not being much of a Charter Arms aficionado, this was a question I hadn't exactly spent a lot of time pondering until I read Grant's post, quoting a friend of his who had been an engineer at Ruger:
Had some India Ordnance Factory revolvers in .380/200, copies of No. 2 Enfield which were provided as government furnished material on India contract. When 9mm Federal ammo arrived Roy Melcher was curious as to whether rounds would enter .38 S&W chamber and we didn't have any US made guns, so tried in the ROF No.2...
Click through to read the whole 'splodey story.

My mind suddenly pictured a wobbling, elderly hand dropping a cylinder full of 35,000psi Federal rounds into an antique .38 S&W Iver Johnson "Owl Head" top-break pulled from the sock drawer before heading off to investigate a bump in the night, armed with what was, in effect, a handheld pipe-bomb.

I'm pretty sure that lawyers had been invented by 1989, but all the ones at Federal and Charter Arms must have been on vacation the week that proposal got through the front office.