Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Double post...

Since I wrote out a big ol' AAR of the class I took here the weekend before last, I may as well cross-post it here, too...
AAR: AFHF Indianapolis, October 20-21, 2012
This fall's AFHF was my third class with Todd here in Indy.

My goal was to... well, mostly it was to not be Todd's "Special Needs" pupil again. Learning something would be awesome, too.

Class got off to a prompt start on Saturday morning, and the initial round of shooting tests was reassuring. (I'm sure I'm not the only person who, during the opening strings of fire in a class with strangers, is surreptitiously glancing around to see if That Guy has enrolled in this class.)

My first FAST drill of the day, although painfully slow, was shot clean and only a half-second off my best time with a 1911 back in 2010. Considering that I'd only been using the M&P for a little over a year now, this was encouraging.

Due to a couple of late cancellations, the class was fairly small, which meant that students benefited from a little more one-on-one instruction than is normally possible. The smaller class turned out to have an added benefit in that Todd was dealing with a bout of laryngitis, so thank goodness for not having to shout to be heard by the students in the back rows...

Todd remarked on how much my shooting had improved since last time, saying that it was obvious that I'd been practicing, and then proceeded to show me all the jillion and one bad habits I had that were keeping me painfully slow, such as reaching for the gun at a pace that could be measured with a sundial and a reload technique that was almost, but not entirely, exactly unlike what I should have been doing, even if we didn't take into account trying to stuff a handful of my cover garment into the gun as well.

No Chili's at the end of Day One, in the interest of Todd having some vocal cords left for TD2.

TD2 started out cool, and we did Dot Torture and worked on low-percentage targets in the morning; with the air temp in the high forties and low fifties, I was feeling pretty clever about my choice of thermal underwear. After lunch the temp crawled into the low seventies and we started doing SOTM stuff, and suddenly I didn't feel so bright anymore.

All in all, I was very pleased with the class and came away feeling pretty good about my progress. Last year I was having so many problems just hitting the target with what was, at the time, an unfamiliar pistol that I was unable to make use of a lot of the instruction I was receiving. This year I was upset when I missed, rather than surprised when I hit, and that allowed me to concentrate more on minutiae like reload technique and suchlike.

We closed out the weekend by going to Longhorn steak house which was a Totally Awesome Idea and whoever suggested it was a flippin' genius. And modest, too.

(Not to clutter up a software type post with gun nerd hardware-type stuff, but I truly believe I owe a lot of my shooting improvement to having a front sight that I can find rapidly, in this case, an orange Ameriglo I-Dot Pro. Recommend. Also, I disrecommend my holster, a Blade-Tech OWB with the most infuriating adjustable one-size-fits-most belt loop thing in Christendom. Further, the Amish dude that made my belt and the people at Blade-Tech have different opinions on what constitutes 'an inch and a half'...)

Apologies for any errors in this AAR, as I ain't much on fancy book larnin'. Thanks to JohnN for hosting the class and Todd for coming out and helping make me a better shooter.

Happy Halloween!

Neatest thing I've seen yet today.

"Quick! Get out there and look concerned!"

Indiana, like most states I presume, has dispatched its Rapid Deployment Force of rescue workers and power line repair dudes and whatnot to help take a mop and a bucket to the parts of the eastern seaboard on which Ma Nature took a dump.

This is going to be the annoying part of the disaster, where everybody's busy busting arse as hard as they can to fix things, but the weather has calmed down enough to let all the politicians and wannabe-politicians get out from under cover and, along with their flappers and sideboys, get all underfoot trying to look officious'n'concerned where people are trying to do actual work.

In a perfect world any politician, from president down to dog catcher, that showed up would be handed a mop and told to get busy. If they could not figure out how to operate the mop and demonstrate a minimal level of competence with it, they would be booted from whatever office they held.


Today is the day of the appointment at the dermatologist where they will be doing any scraping or biopsying or whatever, and presumably I will know how bad it is shortly thereafter.

Forgive me if I'm not just a big ol' bundle of levity today.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A frankenpost cobbled from comments and Tweets:

In comments, someone noted:
Did anyone else notice that LA, Cairo, Berlin, and the rest of the world has apparently shut down out of respect for the suffering of the U.S. East coast. Watched FOX for about 20 minutes this morning and nothing about the rest of the world. Mighty considerate of them.
To which I replied:
Dude, this hurricane is hitting the navel of the news media universe.

You are talking about the most solipsistic people on god's green earth; they will summon back
[the] drones covering dull events like civil wars and economic collapses to defend against this assault on the hive.
...and expanded further:
What I do know is that severe weather events panic the news media, because panic sells. When severe weather panics the news media in Shreveport or Walla Walla, only the local residents hear about it, because it's only local news media.

When severe weather panics the news media in the NYC-DC axis, the whole world has to hear about it, because that's where the world's news media dwells. 
(Of course, it's not necessarily fair to say that only the locals will hear about it. If there's godawful weather to be found anywhere in the U.S., NBC will generally make Al Roker go stand out in it for the amusement of Today show viewers.)

Overheard in the Hallway...

RX: "Doesn't [TV Personality Redacted] radiate 'I'm a smarmy little creep'?"

Me: "I'm betting he spent a lot of his middle and high school..."

RX: "...lunch money on porn at the newsstand?"

Me: "I was going to say '...years getting his head flushed down toilets', but yours works, too."

Barack! A-ahh! Savior of the universe!

First was the joke about the SEAL movie where the new leader, call sign "POTUS", shows up and whips the wacky misfit boys (and girls, because this is Hollywood) of SEAL Team 6 into shape so that he could lead them on a daring mission to take down Osama.

Then came Snarky Posters providing smuggled stills from the imaginary movie.

But, lo! Harvey Weinstein actually made it happen!

Perhaps dismayed at the dilatory post-election release date of Zero Dark Thirty, he is determined that Americans get a chance to see their Dear Leader bravely taking down Bin Laden before they head to the polls on the first Tuesday in November. No word if Barry actually fast-ropes out of a helicopter with a knife in his teeth at any point in the movie, or if there's footage of Romney-financed Halliburton operatives trying to sabotage one of the helicopters...

Cue Pat Robertson in 5, 4, 3...

In the last seven years, hurricanes have flooded both New Orleans and Atlantic City.

If one floods Las Vegas, I might start going back to church.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Overheard on the Phone...

So I was talking about the hurricane on the phone today, because I don't want anybody to think I love America less than our president...
Shootin' Buddy: "...No, I've already heard this storm blamed on climate change."

Me: "Yeah, but what caused all those hurricanes back when the climate was static?"

SB: "Dinosaurs driving around in their SUVs..."

Me: "Right, yeah, but what caused them before..."

SB: "Before Karl Rove and Dick Cheney invented SUVs?"
I did not know that...

Meanwhile, I realize that this is a very large-diameter storm, but it's still a Category 1 with an eleven-foot storm surge. Don't Panic: I think in Florida they call that "September".

Fetch my Reynolds Wrap yarmulke...

You know the old saw about how bad weather at election time favors the GOP because, I don't know, only Wall Street fat cats can afford umbrellas and warm coats these days or something?

And remember how George Bush used his evil HAARP technology to cause Hurricane Katrina because he hates black people?

Well, I'm just sayin'...

Maybe it's a coincidence and maybe it's not, but we've got motive and means, here. I think it's safe to tentatively hang the blame for anything bad that happens during Hurricane Sandy on Dubya.

...and weather is what you get.

The top of my landing page shows the current WX at Roseholme Cottage, Nerd Ranch, and Castle Frostbite.

Oddly, Castle Frostbite, in the Kingdom of Upper Cryogenica, is currently five degrees warmer than the ranch in the desert and ten warmer than the cottage in the flatlands. Must be that tropical weather they're about to get. You might have heard about it...

I swear, it can rain ten inches a day on Mobile or Pensacola for a week straight and barely get a mention between AAA baseball scores and the latest goings-on in minor cadet branches of Clan Kardashian, but let a Manhattanite's mousse get mussed and they're issuing directions to the island's denizens on how to safely have your neighbors for dinner should the subway be down for more than an hour, and the rest of the country is compelled to watch.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mini Gear Review #1:

RCS Vanguard 2 w/Glock 19.
The photo above is of a Glock 19 in Raven Concealment Systems Vanguard 2, which is like a holster, only smaller.

It's basically nothing but a little clamshell guard over the trigger, and a belt loop. Its biggest downside is that there's no real way to "reholster", should you have to draw it for real. You'd have to remove the holster from your belt, pop it back on the gun, and stick the whole assembly back into your waistband.

On the other hand, for administrative on-and-off purposes, removing the whole gun and "holster" assembly from your trousers is as simple as popping one snap (or un-threading one belt loop, depending on where on your belt you carry; whichever is quicker).
It also comes with a piece of string that you can substitute for the belt loop and strut arrangement; you tie it off to the hole in the bottom there and then loop it 'round the belt. 

Using a looped shoelace to make a "holster" is sometimes referred to as an "OSS holster", since back in WWII, our guys running around behind enemy lines would tuck their 1911s and Victory Models inside their drawers that way. If needed, they could toss the gun and not have an incriminating holster left on the belt for the bad guys to find. We still have guys in the Army doing stuff much like that, but they don't often carry 1911s or Victory Models anymore, hence the genesis of the above holster.

While not a general-purpose everyday carry kind of holster for me, I've found it perfect for days when my errands are going to take me through No-Toting Zones, since it goes on and off almost as quickly as just stuffing the pistol down your trousers, while giving the security of a belt loop (as opposed to clips or J-hooks, which just don't give me the warm-'n'-fuzzies.)

A day in the life...

Shootin' Buddy showed up and we headed off to Zest for brekkie before heading off to Iggle Crick for some shooting, as well as to present a major award.

After the range we went down to check out Beech Grove Firearms' new facility, which was neat, clean, well-stocked, and jumpin' with customers.

On the way to drop me off back at Roseholme Cottage, we stopped at the new sushi bar in Broad Ripple, appropriately yclept "Sushi Bar".

The sushi is better than Naked Tchopstix, and it has an advantage over Broad Ripple's other sushi bar, H2O, in that it's open more frequently than alternate Tuesdays after 5:37PM. I tried a "dinosaur roll", which was alternating unagi and smoked salmon on the outside and a tasty core of tempura scallops. Perfect combination of flavors.

Walking back to Shootin' Buddy's truck, a little MG TD came blatting up to the stop light. It added a certain Broad Riparian flavor to the day...

Export versions had their compression ratios bumped up to 8.0:1 since they didn't have to burn crappy low-octane leftover wartime British petrol. Thus fortified, they thumped out almost sixty horsepower (SAE gross) and could accelerate to sixty mph in less than a fortnight. (And sometimes beyond it, too!)

...but not so much as when, 200 yards down the road, a little BRG-with-gold-stripes MGB went zipping into the Kroger's parking lot as we were preparing to depart.

The charmingly eccentric MGB retained the undersquare all-stone peat-burning inline four of its ancestors and archaic "knee"-type dampers (or, as the Brits call them, "spanners",) but added shocking luxuries like wind-up windows. Later versions were saddled with the new US emissions controls and hideous 5-mph safety bumpers that each weighed about as much as a WWII Matilda tank of Monty's army. Never has such a painfully bog-slow automobile still been somehow miraculously fun to drive. You've got to hand it to the Limeys for that.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

You might be are a redneck if...

...on the weekend after Thanksgiving, you and your sweetie reverently move Dale and the mallard wine bottle holder off the mantlepiece to make room for your remote-control light-up porcelain miniature Graceland-in-Winter that plays Elvis Christmas songs...

Hunnert bucks at Lowe's. Hurry before they're all gone!
That might well be the single most thunderously gauche thing I've seen in my entire life; it's so tacky that it misses circling clean back around to cool by bare inches. I think it's the silhouette of the Young Elvis on the remote control for the music box that puts it over the top.

Friday, October 26, 2012

808 State... I'll wait.

So Windows 8 debuts to a resounding chorus of "meh".

Remember: Microsoft releases a functional OS only on every other attempt, so if history is any judge, this one’s doomed from the jump-off.

(Myself? I ran 98SE until I switched to XP in '02, and then clung to XP up until I bought this laptop earlier this year. Windows versions are like Star Trek movies: Every other one's a dog.)

For you kids who are fortunate enough to be too young to grok the graphic: Behold the suck.

Blogmeet & Blogiversary...

Roomie, who just celebrated her fifth blogiversary, has put together a snazzy graphic for Sunday's blogmeet:

"Drop-In" (Yes, those are scare quotes.)

Erin Palette writes:
...any product with instructions that require you to use a power tool is not what I would consider "drop-in".
Remember, the claims on the packaging are actually in code:
  • "Drop-In" really means "Some Fitting Required". (Either that, or it's so undersized you could drop it in from across the room.)

  • "Some Fitting Required" really means "Take it to a gunsmith."

  • "Gunsmith Fitting Recommended" ...and bring money.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Obamacare is safe now.

A post at Indiana Barrister reminded me of one of my favorite Futurama quotes...
Fry: My girlfriend had one of those. Actually it wasn't hers, it was her dad's. And she wasn't my girlfriend, she just lived next door and never closed her curtains.

Leela: Fry, remember what we said about ending your stories a sentence earlier?
So, about thirty-seven seconds after they get sworn in next January, the GOP-dominated House passes a bill to repeal Obamacare, whereupon it goes to the Senate and... and... Good frickin' job, Mourdock.

I'm going to miss those Donnelly ads that painted Mourdock as a radical who wanted to abolish the Department of Education; I'd cheer when they called him a Tea Party Zealot. "Yeah, and...?"

It's gonna be all-rape, all the time from here on out.

Future political historians (assuming there are any writing by candlelight after the complete fiscal collapse) will point to this as The Sentence That Saved Obamacare.

Overheard in the Hallway...

Me: "...and they're very comfortable shoes."

RX: "I thought you said they were gloves?"

Me: "That's what they're called. Merrell calls their barefoot shoes 'gloves' because they're like gloves for your feet."

RX: "Do they also make a shirt for your butt? Do you people even know how to dress yourselves?"


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

That's kinda neat...

One of the unexpected side benefits of the minimalist Merrell Pace Glove shoes?

Well, if you wear straight-leg jeans you can actually change your pants without removing your sneakers. (I mean, should that be necessary for some odd reason or another, you could.)

Overheard in the Hallway...

RX: "'Folding the flag is putting the nation to sleep...' No, 'putting it to bed for the night'."

Me: "'Putting the nation to sleep'? How's that work? 'I'm sorry, little Tommy, but Lady Liberty has to go away now'..."

Reading you five-by-five...

It's like I have a new-found ability to intercept and decode signals from the ether. I'm sitting there in traffic and I can almost hear the text messages flashing through the air...

Fool me three-hundred-fifty times, shame on me...

The GOP candidate for senator from Indiana, a man for whom I voted in the primary based on his seemingly outstanding job qualification of Not Being Dick Lugar, has been painted as a radical wookie-suiter in attack ads by his opponent. "He thinks Medicare and Social Security are unconstitutional!" intones the voice-over.

"Yeah, and...?" chorus my roommate and I.

Unlike the GOP gubernatorial candidate in our fair state, Mourdock's own ads have been free of the sort of fundamentalist dogwhistles that leave you wondering whether the man is running for political office or head deacon.

Thus, it created something of a stir when Mourdock dropped this bomb during a debate last night when asked if he opposed abortion even when the pregnancy was the result of rape:
"I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that's something God intended to happen."
Oh, Republicans, you never fail to disappoint me.

Sure, you talk a good small government game, and then the minute you get into office it's all about the gays and the 'bortion and the flag-burnin' and drug warrin' and Family-Values-with-a-capital-KJV and next thing you know you're No Child Left Behindin' and Department of Homeland Securityin' and if I wanted all that snoopy government busibodiness I'd have voted for the Democrat in the first place.

This is the sort of thing that can cost you a tight race against an opponent who sports an NRA "A" rating of his own. I'm not going to vote for Donnelly, but I'll bet others are giving him a closer look right now.

I hope you don't mind that I consider myself released from my pledge to make my mark by your name on the ballot come November, Mr. Mourdock, but you're going to need to go womb patrollin' without me.

Fool me once, GOP, and shame on you...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"Instead of the cross, the Albatross / About my neck was hung..."

Every morning during the local TeeWee news, we're being inundated with political commercials to the point that I'm not certain that there are any car dealers or mattress joints still in business, and I'm noticing a pattern: Only one side is mentioning Obamacare.

Every single commercial for a GOP candidate, from Romney on down to the county dogcatcher, is hanging Obamacare on their opponent in a tone of voice that makes it sound like the next thing to eating babies for breakfast.

Conversely, not even André Carson, holder of an hereditary sinecure in the Bluest district in Indiana south of the Chicago 'burbs, is coming out and saying "...and I voted for Obamacare!" in commercials otherwise gloatingly touting his Bolshevist voting record in Congress since he took the seat over from the embalmed corpse of his grandma.

It's almost like it's not polling well or something...

EDIT: Come to think of it, every GOP ad associates their opponent with Obama or the "Obama/Pelosi gang", or similar. For instance, nearly every ad for Mourdock pictures Donnelly with Obama, but not a single Donnelly ad does. Come to think of it, no Democrat ads I've seen for down-ballot candidates even mention the president. Hmmmm...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Overheard in the Hallway

The TeeWee announcer is hyping the debate tonight. Bobbi is mocking the hype...
RX: "We're coming down to the wire! It's the final debate tonight and the score is tied at one-all. Tensions are high, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone gets their nose bitten off..."

Me: "You know, I'd vote for the one that did that."

RX: "What, the biter or the bite-ee?"

Me: "The guy who bit his opponent's nose off and then raised his fist in the air and howled at the moon with the blood of his foe running down his cheeks. #%$@ it, we need a warlord for the Apocalypse."

RX: "That'd make a good campaign slogan. You think Mourdock'd use it?"

(Any bets on how long it takes for the humorless lecture on the Non-Aggression Principle to show up in comments? Side bets on whether it arrives before or after the finger wagging about how the president isn't a leader and we aren't electing a king and yadda-yadda.)

Ow. My thumbs.

There are some gun school classes that boast about having a "high round count" as an indicator of how hardcore they are. I don't get that at all.

Hey, I could charge you $300 to come spray a couple-three cases of ammo into the berm for a weekend while pacing back and forth behind you, wearing Oakleys and muttering vague encouragements and suggestions, like "Fix your grip!" and "Good combat accuracy!" and then hand you an official-looking certificate with more shields and eagles and stars and lighting bolts than a bowl of Tactical Lucky Charms at the end.

Granted, this would have a learning value somewhere between a game of Counterstrike and watching Heat for the twenty-third time, but that seems to make a lot of folks happy. It's like they don't realize there's not some direct correlation between how many times the gun goes *bang* and how much you learn.

As it was, I used up a thousand rounds of 9x19 in two days, and at that pace I was hustling to keep mags topped up at times, despite Todd's pretty carefully set-up lesson plan. For myself, that's pretty much nearing the limit in how much I can shoot and still learn stuff.

Besides, my thumbs are sore enough as it is.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

You didn't need to be the Amazing Kreskin... see that Obama's "assault weapons" comments were simply writing ad copy for the NRA in Fudd-heavy swing states like Ohio and Wisconsin.

Will the guy who blew off the UAW newsletter to stay home on election day get off the couch for one from the NRA? That's the gamble. Your closed shop or your SKS, Bubba: pick one.

You know what irks me?

I'm watching Chris Matthews this morning to get my heart started and pressure-test my cerebral arteries, and one of the big topics was Romney and the "Woman Vote".

See, in Chris Matthews' World, where the thrills go rushin' up the leg, there is no prejudice and everyone is an individual, and yet somehow every individual who isn't a white, college-educated dude moves in robotic lockstep. Other than well-to-do-Whitey-that-stands-to-pee, everybody votes in fungible blocs. Who gets The Black Vote? The Poor Vote? The Woman Vote?

I mean, one minute they're discussing the issues and how badly Romney sucks on all of them, and then Chris will turn to one of his distaff guests or one of his African-American ones and, although not phrased so baldly, ask them what they think their uterus or nappy hair is likely to compel them to do when it encounters the mysterious rays that emanate from polling places.

Hey, Chris; as part of the college-educated rich white guy bloc, how do you think you'll be voting in November? I mean, you do poll pretty strongly for Romney, after all...

Saturday, October 20, 2012


I usually come away from gun skool bemoaning my suckage.

This is the first time I've gone home after Training Day 1 feeling like not only have I learned something on that day, but that I've also shown marked, noticeable improvement since last year's class from drilling myself on the lessons taught. I'm actually feeling pretty good about my performance, having done things I wasn't sure I could do under any pressure.

Seriously, my first run at the FAST Drill cold this morning was a half second off my best time two years ago, despite the previous time being at the end of Training Day 2, and despite the previous best time being with a super-bitchin' custom 1911 of the type that I'd used for the past ten years, as opposed to this time, with a nearly-stock M&P9 like I've been using for the past thirteen months...

...and this despite a botched reload that could have been timed with a sundial. (Protip: Getting a big ol' handful of cotton chambray shirt will slow your reload right the heck down.)

A new sensation...

This weekend's AFHF class precluded my usual trip to the Indy 1500, which was a bit of a bummer, but... yay, gun school!

However, I figured to sneak in on Friday afternoon, since the show opens at 2PM on that day for a sort of sneak preview of the weekend, and at least walk the aisles some. I can't really afford anything right now, but maybe I'd stumble across some variant or barrel length of a Smith .32 or .38 top-break I didn't already have for stupid cheap, or an un-bubba'ed full-length Carcano or Stey-Mannlicher for a C-note-and-change.

Also, I sorta hoped the guys from Raven Concealment would have their portable holster-makin' gear there so I could get a proper IWB for my M&P9 with the CTC Lightguard mounted.

I arrived at the Fairgrounds at 2:03, and as I was preparing to park, I noticed that the line wrapped clear around the front of the building and halfway down the side. In spitting 46°F rain. In the middle of the day, on a weekday.


I whipped the car around, and headed for the nearest drug store to buy an umbrella, since I did not currently own one. I mean, the show had only been open for three minutes, and so it was probably taking some time to get the initial logjam through the gate. By the time I got back, surely they would have processed most of the herd and I shouldn't have more than a five or ten minute wait...

It was 2:26PM when I returned with my umbrella and now the line wrapped around the front of the building and all the way down the side (the length of a city block) and people were still streaming across the parking lot to get on the end of it.

I didn't even pull into the parking lot; I just kept driving. Screw that. There was not a single thing in that building I needed badly enough to stand for an hour in forty-degree rain, by myself with a bunch of strangers, fingers slowly getting numb and feet getting sore, before I even got into the crowded jostle of the show.

"But Tam!" you say, "Suppose there was a screaming deal on a Smith Triple Lock or a Colt 1905 just waiting in there?"

You know, there will be other shows, and the hunting's half the fun of the finding anyway. I know why that crowd was there, and I already have the stuff they were all herdin' up to get, and good luck to 'em all.

Me? I'm going to gun school.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Aye, there's a gale of a spam storm blowin'!

Th' spam winds are a'blowin' hard an' th' 'bots are bouncin' off the hull! I've been pullin' whole rafts o' debris outta th' intake filters an' it all starts wi' strange variations on th' same sentence...
Believe in residents within the concierge...
Rely on locals in the assistant...
Trust local people within the assistant...
Have confidence in local people on the concierge...
Rely on local people over the concierge...
Have confidence in local people in the concierge...
Believe in residents over the helper...
Rely on residents over the helper...
Trust locals on the helper...
Trust locals in the assistant...
Believe in residents in the helper...
Believe in people within the assistant...
I dinna ken wha' tae make of it, Cap'n!

QotD: It's The Economy, Stupid Edition

“Thank God Nina Gonzales had the courage to ask about assault weapons,” said Richard Smith, an unemployed construction worker, speaking from the cot in his mother’s basement. “I can’t think of a single more pressing issue.”
The whole post is worth reading for its positively Onion-like hilarity. More from the same blog, this time on the announcement of Newsweek ceasing its print edition:
Vast swathes of legacy print media are in trouble in the Internet-era, but Newsweek‘s demise is more like an assisted suicide than a graceful decline. It’s like a Type II diabetic who had already lost three toes deciding to immediately go on a diet consisting entirely of ice cream. 
 I know snark when I see it, and boy howdy is that some snark. If I used an RSS reader, I'd be adding this guy's feed right now.

Overheard in Roseholme Cottage:

Me (from kitchen): "Darth Vader's Wife Punched In Face In Domestic Dispute."

RX (in office): "What?"

Me: "I said: 'Darth Vader's Wife Punched In Face In Domestic Dispute.'"

RX: "Yes, but why are you even saying that?"

Me: "Because it happened. It's in the news. Right there on my computer screen."


RX: "Ohhh... He changed his name. He wasn't born Darth Vader."

Me: "Would it really have been any better if he had?"

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Oklahoma shooters...

There're still open seats in the Chandler, OK AFHF class next weekend. You won't be sorry!

QotD: Not At All Optimistic Edition...

Borepatch is noting a distinct downturn in Sunshine 'n' Kittens futures, recommends taking a short position:
This Republic has strong bonds holding it together, but those bonds will take only so much stress.  There are those in both parties who are reckless of the costs of their regaining committee chairmanships.  The force that is increasing the stress on the Res Publica are entirely the increased size of government - for government is power, and that attracts those who would wield it.
Go and RTWT.

Q and A

Reader JohninMd(help?) had a question in comments yesterday:
Question- just talkin' basic on-site ready locker, not fancy Crimson Trace night shoots or gun skoolz, what would be considered "standard supply quantity" in the ordinance bunker at Roseholme cottage? for the "serious" stuff, not nessarily the odd-ball collector's stash...
I have ".30 cal" ammo cans for .22LR, .32 H&R Mag, .38 Spl, 9x19, .44 Spl, .45 ACP, and 5.56 that I try to keep at least half full of general purpose range ammo. I start getting itchy if there are less than a thousand rounds of deuce-deuce on hand, so I keep a couple 500-rd bricks of cheap unplated stuff stashed away for a rainy day (like the Great Ammo Drought of '09.) That's twelve magazines through the 22/45 a weekend for two months' worth of range trips, which should keep me going until shelves start to refill.

As far as the two real calibers I use, 9mm and 5.56, a few hundred rounds of real ammo for each is set aside, in addition to whatever plinking ammo is on hand at the time.

Wasn't this a movie with Lancaster & Douglas?

So the NYPD have taken down eight members of "the Forbidden Ones, the Dirty Ones and the Trouble Makers", average age 51, and charged them with firearms trafficking.

Four of the guys are too sick or in need of detox to attend their arraignment hearings, and the rest are probably going to need to be placed in solitary confinement for their own protection once the rest of the criminal underworld sees the positively anemic junk-on-the-bunk photo that accompanied the article... 

Too bad about the Gold Cup, but the rest of the display looks pretty par for the course, all media nattering about AK-47s aside. Well, except for the signaling cannon, that is. Lord only knows what sort of mischief they could have gotten up to with that.

The bikes were a little surprising, too, appearing to be a selection of pretty stock-looking '80s rice burners, with the one closest to the camera being a first-generation Honda Magna. Is that a... a... Rebel second from the back?

No word on whether or not the desperadoes were planning on smuggling 32-oz. Big Gulp cups into Gotham along with the gats.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


This morning I realized that I had Gun Skool coming this weekend and only about five hundred rounds of 9mm FMJ to my name, and the president had opened his big mouth on the topic of gun control live on prime time TeeWee last night.

Experience told me that I'd better beat the locusts to Sam Walton's ammo fields before they were picked barren, at least if I didn't want to wind up breaking into my stash of big girl bullets to finish the class.

With enough ammo for the weeken now on hand, plus a bit extra just in case, I feel better. Now I can settle back in on the porch to finish reading Monster Hunter Legion. (Which is awesome fun thus far, BTW.)

QotD: Rock And Roll Never Forgets Edition

In comments over at Popehat, TJIC (who speaks with the voice of experience) addresses the persistence of a bad rap on the internets with an update to that hoary New Yorker cartoon caption:
On the internet no one knows you're a dog…unless you upload a JPG. Then everyone knows you're a dog forever and ever and ever.

Wednesday morning miscellanea.

I don't know how I missed this, but it made me laugh last night:

In other news, I always thought that "Zumba" sounded like the name of some vengeful African deity, and it appears I was right!

And now that I got that stuff out of my head, I can maybe write something...

...and everyone in the bubble rejoiced!

It has to have been tough being in the bubble these past few years. I mean, everybody you knew was in favor of renewing the assault weapons ban that had been stricken down by the NRA and their bought-and-paid-for stooges in the GOP, fat-cat good ole boys who were only too willing to dance to their gun industry masters' tune, since they were profiting by flooding the inner cities with guns and probably laughed when African-Americans were slaughtered for those profits. Racists.

Anyway, everybody at work in the newsroom is in favor of a new ban. Everybody at the cocktail party the other night was in favor of it, too. And the only person at the beach house last weekend who was against it was your hick brother-in-law from Texas. Or Arizona? Anyhow, one of those redneck states.

So thank goodness that the president came out and said what needed saying last night!
President Obama tonight said he’s interested in seeing an assault weapons ban reintroduced, breaking his silence on the legislation, which has persisted in spite of at least five mass shootings during his term.
Well, there we go. Barry decided it was safe to lick the third rail, live on prime-time TeeWee. And why not? Everybody he knows is in favor of an Assault Weapons Ban; it's just common sense gun control.

What I love about this is how every time he gives the gun control issue the most tentative touch with the tip of his tongue (what he actually said was "Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced,") the media grabs him by the back of his head and turns it into a great, big sloppy slurp ("Obama Calls for Renewal of Assault Weapons Ban" blares the headline.) These guys are writing the NRA's ad copy for them.

Another thing I found interesting, in the same way I find the things that scurry off when I overturn a large rock interesting, was a remark by one commenter on a firearms forum I frequent, a member who came of pistol-buying age in '94:
Every AR & AK Pattern 'Modern Sporting Rifle' in our respective stables will immediately regain all of its value, and as time progresses that value will increase.
That's Quisling talk, right there*. That turns my stomach almost as much as the guy I heard saying that he didn't want the Hughes Amendment repealed because then his modest collection of Stens and HK94 sear guns would nosedive in value.

*As well as displaying a shaky grasp of economics. An object has its intrinsic value in an open and unrestrained market. Putting artificial constraints on supply skews values: Witness the aforementioned Sten guns, which should be priced closer to a muffler than to the used car to which it's bolted.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Robb Allen asked a guitar question. I know bupkis about guitars, but I can't pass up the chance to make a pun, however long I have to stretch to reach it...
Ummm... Guitars make pretty sounds? That's about the extent of my guitar knowledge. That, and they're made of wood. (You can tell they're made of wood because you can build a bridge out of them.) 

By the way, it's not too late to give Robb a slightly-belated birthday present. All he wants is for you to go out and do something nice for somebody, just because. Exercise your whimsy!

Tab Clearing...

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Sleeping on the interstate, getting wild, wild life..."

Here in Indiana, the critter crossing signs (of which there is one every few hundred yards) all warn of the same animal: Odocoileus virginianus, the Eastern Hoofed Rat. In New Hamster, I saw ones for what Marko calls "swamp donkeys", or moose.

It was interesting to see the variety out west.

You want to watch out for elk. Seriously.

What was disturbing about this sign on the interstate in Colorado was the knowledge that the signs only go up after a certain number of the indicated vehicle/wildlife interactions have occurred in the vicinity. I got the mental picture of some Miata or Elan pilot enjoying the curvy highway between Raton and Trinidad when... WHAM! Hey, Boo-Boo! You dropped your pic-a-nic basket!

Diamonds and pearls...

So the Hi-Point test is finished over at Gun Nuts, and it was being discussed over at The author, Tim, noted that he had caught flak on a Hi-Point fanboi forum (if it exists, there's an internet fan forum for it, no exceptions) about his practice of not trying to chamber the same round too many times because of, you know, bullet setback and eventually messing up the primer*.

He seemed surprised by this, which caught me off guard, until I remembered that he'd probably only ever been shooting with friends and peers at the range or at gun school, and had never been shackled to a counter at a gun store or a table at a gun show and forced to deal with the hoi polloi at Copenhagen halitosis range. I therefore felt it necessary to point out that:
"I can tell you from personal experience that any Cletus unwilling to shell out more than a buck-and-a-half for a pistol is going to hand down his solitary loaded magazine of dollar-a-pop holler points like they were the frickin' family silver." 
Seriously, ammunition manufacturers are missing out on servicing this lucrative market by not offering garishly painted JHPs with dangerous-sounding names in ten-round blister packs. I'm not kidding when I say that I've seen Cletus and his buddy Jasper go in halfsies on a box o' them there Hydro Shocks, 'cause you want some good stuff to put in your new gun after you leave the range.

If you're on a low budget, and Lord knows I've been there as often as not, I truly believe you're better off with ball ammo that you know runs in your low-budget heater than some brand of sooper dooper JHP that you've never even function-checked in your gat.

Overheard in the Office...

TV Announcer: "NASA says that there could be real scientific value in Baumgartner's jump..."

Me: "Oh, shut up, NASA! Go play with your robots. You didn't have millions of people watching your YouTube feed* for your last Mars mission, and you know why? Nobody gives a $#!+ about robots."

*Well, and maybe they didn't have a live YouTube feed, either. I don't know. It was just a robot** anyway.

**Yeah, yeah, I know they perform valuable scientific research, but they don't get the world sitting at the edge of their seats... or digging for their wallet. Formula One or NASCAR wouldn't have five viewers and couldn't get sponsored by anybody bigger than Greasy Joe's Dixie Bar & Grill if the cars were radio-controlled.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

How time flies...

65 years ago today, Chuck Yeager right stuff-ed his way through the sound barrier in Glamorous Glennis.

Today, me and a couple million other people are watching a live YouTube feed of Felix Baumgartner ascending 23 miles over Roswell, New Mexico to attempt to do the same thing, only without the plane...

EDIT: Just watched the whole thing.

Check that...

I just used a global communication network to watch video footage and telemetry streamed in real time from the edge of space, where a man privately sponsored by an energy drink company leaped into the black sky and went supersonic without an aircraft.

What a fascinating modern world we live in!

A damned sight bettered.

Let's talk about Glock sights.

For starters, understand that unless you specify the OEM tritium option, Glocks do not come from the factory with sights, but instead have fragile plastic plugs intended to prevent debris from accumulating in the sight cuts. For some reason, they decided to make these plugs sight-shaped, and so they are often mistaken for the real thing by Glock buyers. These are probably the same people who try to use the cardboard "credit cards" that came with their new wallet.

My Glock 19 had the factory night sights, the front blade of which was installed crookedly enough to throw the POI (that's "point of impact" for those of you who just arrived) off by three inches to the left at 25 yards. Thus, rather than being satisfied with just straightening and loc-titing the factory front, I had a splendid excuse for installing a better set of sights on the gun.

Deciding to act a proper whore capitalize on the fact that I had a widely-read blog,  I wrote my secret contact at Brownells, hoping to wheedle a sight pusher out of him on the pretext of chronicling my ten-thumbed efforts. After some back and forth emailing and consultations with gunsmiths on which sight pusher I would be least likely to accidentally cause myself physical harm with, a box showed up on the front porch of Roseholme cottage containing sights, a bench block, a Glock dingus, a plastic punch, and a hammer.

Having seen night sights installed a jillion times, I knew how this went. I got clever and skipped the bench block entirely: "Bobbi! Can I use your vise?"

"You mean my carpenter's vise?"

"Er, is that what it is?"

"Yes, it's a carpenter's vise, not a machinist's vise. And it's not attached to my electronics tool bench, which you may not use to beat on things with a hammer."

"Fine," says I, "I know where there's a machinist's vise," and I hopped in my car and drove to Tennessee, Patron State of Shootin' Stuff.

Once there, I received tutelage from Gunsmith Bob in the finer points of sight installation...

"Once you've got it off the gun, you wrap the slide in masking tape..."

"But the vise jaws are padded!"

"And do you know how much grit might be stuck in those pads?"

"What's it gonna do? Make the gun ugly? It's a Glock, Bob; it's already ugly."

"You'd be surprised how upset customers will get over a scratch on their Glock. If we're going to do this, we're going to do it right. Tape the slide."

So I taped the slide and used a hammer and punch to drift the old rear sight out and put the new rear sight in the old fashioned way. I even took extensive photos documenting the process on both the Glock and the M&P, too, but their bits are quietly rotting away at the bottom of the dead hard drive on my desktop machine*.

Some pointers I took away from the experience:
  • Huck that slide up tight in the vise. It's a steel bar, so it'll stand up to a fair bit of clamping.
  • You have to tap hard enough to move the sight, but don't whack so enthusiastically you break the tritium vial. It's not that hard to figure the correct amount of force to apply, really, unless you have a morbid fear of hitting your thumb with a hammer, like I do.
  • Red Loctite on that Glock front sight is a good idea.
  • If you think you have the rear sight centered real good, it doesn't hurt to get the opinion of two or five other people.
  • There was a Glock®-brand sight pusher at Coal Creek. I attempted to make use of it, briefly. If you have access to a vise, use that and a hammer. The sight pusher is an abomination unto Nuggan.
As far as the sights themselves, I let a few other people shoot the M&P with the I-Dot Pros at the range last weekend, and the general consensus seemed to be that they were a fine piece of kit, with a great big luminescent dot to draw the eye, combined with a crisp notch-and-post if you had to make a finer shot.

*I emptied the camera's SD card in preparation for flying out to ABQ and didn't think to backup onto my thumb drive, so any pictures taken in the months of August and September are gone forever. Stupid.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Come shootin'...

Due to a last-minute cancellation, there's a slot open at the Indy Aim Fast, Hit Fast class with Todd Green next weekend.

I'll be there. Absolutely the best return I've gotten on my Gun Skool hours. Can't recommend it highly enough...

Tab Clearing...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Overheard in the Office...

RX: "We should go out tonight and look up in the sky. 2012TC4 will come within 59,000 miles..."

Me: "It's only the size of a house; still, that's practically a glancing blow on the cosmic scale."

RX: "...or 15 kilometers."

Me: "Wait, did you say fifteen...?"

RX: "Or whatever. I don't know what that is in American Money."

I laughed so hard I cried...

"Oh, great, I just had my pyjamas pressed and now this dwarf comes charging down the hallway!"
I have no idea where this originated, but I found it here. (EDIT: I should have known! How did I miss it back then?)

You've come a long way baby: Ninety-nine years in the future, you're going to be holding a cordless phone and cowering behind some moussed goober with a Belgian plastic .22.

Overheard in the Office...

Huck comes trotting down the hall, stops in the office door, rears as high up on his hind paws as possible, and begins gnawing at a spot on the door jamb almost three feet off the ground...

RX: "No, Huck! Don't eat the house!"

Re: Communism v. Capitalism

Why is this even still a question? We've done the experiment twice already.

Take a society of diligent, hardworking people with the same heritage and cultural values, put half of them under Communism and half under Capitalism, and come back and check the cars forty years later. Capitalism gives a range of vehicle choices ranging from the diesel Golf to the Benz 600SEL, and Communism produces the Trabant, and so few of those that they have to be rationed at that.

In the follow-on experiment, Capitalism produces the Hyundai Genesis and Equus, and Communism produces the... the... does North Korea even have an auto industry?

(Because I hate it when a bon mot dropped in comments elsewhere turns into something long enough to be a post-ette here.)

Overheard in the Office...

RX: "I've had two of those injections that give you fungal mennonitis... meningitis."

Me: "Mennonitis?"

RX: "It makes you go out and paint the bumpers on your car black."

Further Down The Spiral.

It's not anything you'd call data, and surely morons and gullible freeloaders have been with us since we came down from the trees (I mean, somebody had to vote for Pericles, Caesar, and Roosevelt,) but the two videos compared and contrasted by the Adaptive Curmudgeon are disturbing when placed side-by-side.

As he rightly points out, back in 2008 Ms. Joseph expressed her desire for the Dear Reader to pay for her fuel and mortgage politely, and in the form of complete, grammatically-correct sentences, while Obamaphone lady's ranting is barely coherent.

The whole thing depresses me. I realize that the people who want something from the government will always outnumber the people who want nothing but to be left alone, I just hate being reminded so graphically.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What good is a Liberal Arts education?

Well, if you had a good one, you'd have learned some Roman history, which would have included such tidbits as Caracalla's* introduction of the antoninianus, officially worth two denarii, but whose
...silver content was only equal to 1.5 denarii. This helped create inflation - people rapidly hoarded the denarii, while both buyers and sellers recognised the new coin had a lower intrinsic value and elevated their prices to compensate. Silver bullion supplies were running short since the Roman Empire was no longer conquering new territory, and because a series of soldier emperors and rebels needed coin to pay their troops to buy loyalty. So each new issue of the antoninianus had less silver in it than the last, and each contributed to inflation. By the late third century the coins were almost entirely made of bronze from melted down old coins like the sestertius. Vast quantities were being produced, with a large proportion of the stocks being contemporary forgeries, often with blundered legends and designs. Individual coins were by then practically worthless and were lost or discarded by the millions.
Ben Bernanke must have skipped class the day they covered this.

* While everybody knows the names "Caligula" and "Nero", the former is probably unfairly maligned and the latter wasn't a half-bad emperor until he slipped Seneca's leash. Caracalla, on the other hand, was a piece of work from the jump off and an unmitigated disaster as emperor.


One of the negative reviews of the Flashman books on Amazon (currently reading Flashman in the Great Game, and the great mutiny of '57 has just broken out,) led me to this essay by Fraser which was introduced as proof* that Flashy himself was just a stand-in for the author, who was obviously just as racist as his invention since he did not treat all cultures and creeds as equally worthy of respect.

Coincidentally, this and this wafted across the digital transom on the same day. You can't make coincidences like that up, even if you're George MacDonald Fraser.

*Apparently describing one's self as "conservative" is proof of honorary membership in the Klan, since the very word "conservative" has become a dog whistle for "racist" in some sectors.

How do you kill a zombie?

You cause the stepper motor in the hard drive to die in an orgy of clicks and tocks, which is the sound that greeted me shortly after turning Bender on when I got home from the Land of Enchantment.

How fortunate that I had recently backed up everything that seemed backupworthy onto a thumb drive. Now I just need to get in touch with Adobe today or tomorrow and get a fresh download of Acrobat and I'm golden.

Meanwhile, I have the laptop open on the keyboard tray of my desk in front of the dark monitor and silent tower of my desktop machine, which feels oddly like pitching a pup tent in the bedroom and pretending you're camping. "Look! I'm on an intergalactic cruise without leaving the office!"

There was a brief moment of panic this morning when it appeared the wall wart on the new laptop had picked this moment to crap out as well. Thankfully, it turns out that those things work a lot better when you actually set the power strip into which they are plugged to the "ON" position.

The only sad thing about this process is the certain knowledge that there's no way this el cheapo commodity laptop from HP will go the decade-long distance like the kilobuck-plus tower it's subbing for.

Fly The Annoying Skies.

  • I have come up with a new idea for an airline: The only difference would be that to reach the boarding gate, every passenger would need to scale a 12-foot cargo net with their carry-on baggage and no assistance. This would eliminate the sick, lame, and lazy, as well as small children, and all the consequent gagglef&^%ing around in the aisle that goes on on airliners. I'll bet boarding and debarking would be faster, even allowing for the cargo net, than regular airliners.

  • They've obviously gone completely pro forma on the exit row restrictions, as I saw people sitting there that were outweighed by the 45-lb escape hatch they would be expected to manhandle while I was playing Nero's Tiki Torch in the aisle.

  • Dear Jackhole sitting next to me: I realize that it was important for you to sprawl out in the most crotch-airing stance possible, but I paid for my whole damn seat, and that's why I shoved your leg out of my way, so don't look all pissy at me and expect anything other than the glare you got. At least I didn't call you out and humiliate you in front of everybody for three aisles around like the flight attendant did when you sprawled you other loafer out into the aisle when she was trying to, you know, do her job. I can't believe I have to play "Mom! He's on my side of the line!" with a balding, gray-haired grown man. Manners: They aren't hard.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kryptonite, Sweet Kryptonite.

I will be leaving the yellow sun of the Mountain Time Zone and unfamiliar beds and returning to the red sun of the Eastern Time Zone and the comforting surroundings of Roseholme Cottage, which means I will be losing my new-found super power of being able to spring awake and alert instantly in the mornings a full two hours before decent humans are even thinking about stirring.

Hit the meter, Ruth; it's stuck.

Something seems to be wrong with's site tracking software.

I find it hard to believe that more Americans clicked on a story about crucial foreign policy issues facing our republic in the upcoming national election than on a lifestyle blurb on a dude who croaked after power-eating cockroaches.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Two thumbs up...

Late lunch yesterday at Five Star Burgers in Taos. Recommend. Would do business with again. AAAA++++

Above is a "Taos Burger": crispy green chiles, BBQ sauce, and cheddar. Also, deep fried jalapeno slices and pickle spears with green chile mayo in which to dip them. Absolutely divine.

In New Mexico I had to tuck my gun burkha back behind the butt of my pistol since, while they do not honor my Hoosier toter's permit, they have no problem with unlicensed open carry. Jay G was in similar straits in Colorado.

A minor annoyance, since most people just plain don't notice, but there's the occasional lingering stare at your hip from a cashier or uninvited conversation from some goof who wants to know if you're a cop or not. Thankfully things were idjit-free on this vacation.

Overheard in the Truck...

We're on New Mexico Route 4, wending down a switchback into a canyon. I'm in the front passenger seat of the Nerd Truck. Just under my elbow is a guard rail and just under the guard rail is several hundred feet of nothing. I am leaving sweaty finger-dents in the truck's Jesus handle.

Stingray wonders aloud if we might see any tarantulas in the road, it getting to be the migratory tarantula time of year...
LabRat: "...and we had three of the fellas around the house last year, all excited... or confused. One of them kept climbing the screen door by the computer room there..."

Me [panicking]: "Dear God, I'm hanging off a cliff into space and we're talking about giant hairy spiders climbing the house in which I'm going to be sleeping tonight. This is GREAT!"

Straight from the pages of history!

We took a quick leg stretch in Cimarron, whose thousand-odd inhabitants are nearly outnumbered by rather elaborate historical markers.

In the background, one can see signs upon which various figures of the Old West are commemorated. Some of them had ties to Cimarron that could charitably be described as "nonexistent", such as William Cody or Annie Oakley, but Kit Carson and Lucien Maxwell were there, too, which made me squee, seeing as how I'd just finished reading the immensely entertaining and educational Flashman and the Redskins, in which both have not-insignificant parts.

Six thousand four hundred and twenty-seven feet; as high as though you'd stacked Chase Field atop Coors Field and stood on the roof. If they can get a Major League team and some good 'roids, home run records would be in jeopardy.

The MacObama phone...

The modern western social welfare state has an inevitable end point, a singularity of reductio ad absurdum whereby everybody forms lobbying groups to get the government to pay for everything, and nobody has to work at anything except standing by the mailbox waiting for the ducats to show up from Daddy Government.

The Scottish Tories are claiming that nine in ten of their countrymen are net drains on the public purse, what with one program or another, to say nothing of straight-up transfer payments. A reasonably intelligent Scandinavian could surf the free higher educational system for most of their adult life, studying for a variety of careers they'll never have. Gentleman farmers in Congress vote themselves farm subsidies.

So what do you do? Get everybody to vote to shut off the Free Cash faucet for themselves? (Most people seem four-square behind the idea of cutting off the redistribution of wealth to other people, but will painstakingly explain why their government check is righteous and necessary for the continued survival of the republic.) Or do we just continue to expand various "incentive" and "subsidy" and support programs and just pay everyone in candy bar wrappers and Monopoly money the way Third World countries like Zimbabwe or Italy do?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Not-so-phantom menace.

Seen at the Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos:

"Why, Johnny Ringo! You look like someone just walked over your grave."
To a child of the Cold War like myself, who grew up in the shadow of an Air Force base and a massive Lockheed plant, this was creepily like looking at a piece of The Bullet With Your Name On It. (Of course, like all nuclear warheads, it was actually addressed "Dear Occupant...")

Still kinda on the run, but...'s some excerpts from "What I Did On My Autumn Vacation", by Tamara K., 38th Grade... (My hosts have probably been endlessly amused by my constant goggling at the scenery out here, since there's so danged much of it. I'm constantly craning my neck around like a third grader at Disneyworld.)

We don't get much in the way of terrain features like this back in Indiana. That's gotta be a bear for growing soybeans.

Just north of Cimarron, NM, the deer are mighty strange-looking. Big, too.

No doubt exhausted by all the entertaining she'd been doing from Los Alamos all the way past Cimarron, Ma Nature took a coffee break from there to the outskirts of Raton.

Saturday, October 06, 2012


Connectivity is catch-as-catch-can, so pardon the lack of posting.

More later(?)

Friday, October 05, 2012

Time to go...

Of all the things I saw, that watch was the only one that really gave me the creeping willies.

I've done some sightseeing here... some very cool sightseeing... but everything's gotta get tossed back in the suitcases so I can head on down the road.

Catch y'all on the flip side.

Reefer madness!

So, last night I was a Level 70 Blood Elf hunter, running around the realm of Azeroth with my faithful pet sabertooth tiger, slaying Lovecraftian fish men and bringing peace between warring factions of Water Elementals and Fire Elementals.

This apparently disqualifies me for a gig in the Maine state senate, at least according to the Maine GOP:

When they were slicing up the demographic pie in Maine, it is blatantly obvious that the Republicans got the clueless, painfully unhip Church Ladies and the Democrats got the graphic designers.

She probably listens to that rock and roll music, too!


(via email.)

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na,


Back when it really was a series of tubes.

I believe my exact words were "If I don't get a photo of this, my roommate will kill me."

It's not a big truck!

How do you say "Yeee-haw!" in Wookie?

In the latest episode of "Where's Chewie?" he reprises Slim Pickens' role from Dr. Strangelove.

"Nukleer combat, toe-to-toe with the Rooskies!"

Schadenfreude ist die schönste Freude, denn sie kommt von Herzen.

It's times like this that I wish I still had the dish network, because I'd have tuned in to munch popcorn while watching Chris Matthews writhe and froth after getting kicked right in the thrill up his leg.

Anyhow: "Schadenfreude", it's pronounced "Schadenfreude".

Seriously, how could the Greatest Orator of Our Time have looked so lackluster behind a mic compared to that dull-as-dishwater, terminally unhip Mormon dude? This should have been like a little league pitcher facing Barry Bonds, but instead the wrong guy had the 'roids.

Okay, this is not good...

When the Taliban government in Afghanistan wouldn't fork over the tangos back in '01 and we went in to get them, it was as part of a multinational operation. We invoked Article Five of the North Atlantic Treaty and that's why there were Danish and German troops dragged off to the wilds of central Asia because of something that happened in Manhattan.

Guess who else is a NATO member?
NATO demands halt to Syria aggression against Turkey
Thank Shiva that archdukes are so thin on the ground these days, 'cause we sure wouldn't want one of those getting shot right about now.

Blrrgl...huh?!? Whazzat?!?

Time zones, how do they work?

My Indian Alarm Clock (a last tall glass of tasty beverage right before bed) misfired, because it somehow had me toddling off to the facilities at around 0530... Roseholme Cottage time, which is a normal wakeup time for me, but is 0MyGod30 in the morning here.

So I went back to sleep and woke up with a start, only to realize that the rest of the Nerd Ranch was slumbering peacefully because, while my internal clock was telling me that I was late for work, it was only a little after seven locally, but it was 6:30PM in Azerbaijan, and... oh, lordy, I wasn't going to have a post up by eight.

Anyway, sorry I'm late. World blow up or anything cool last night?

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

They were not amused.

Note To Self: When you point out to the TSA agent that the brand label on the X-ray machine ("Rapiscan") would be more appropriate if it were on the great big Porn-O-Vision machine, they are not likely to find it as amusing as you do.

Hey, the guy gave me the raised eyebrow "What's so funny?" look when I busted out laughing, so I told him. (The TSA agent who checked the gun case remarked that he had a 22/45 just like mine that he used for shooting steel matches every month...) I didn't get the feel-around treatment, so I didn't get to stare fixedly at the wall, muttering "Two by two, hands of blue..." over and over again.

I find it amusing that they are selling ad space on the bottoms of the trays you dump your personal effects in. When the day comes that America has cattle cars and camps, the boxcars will have ads on the side and the prisoner's uniforms will have sponsorship logos. ("Real Americans wear Nike when they get reeducated!")

Anyhow, I wasn't intending to post today, what with it being a travel day, but I am overwhelmed by the response from y'all to yesterday's post. LabRat brought me a box of Kleenex, commenting on how bad the sagebrush was this year. Yeah, allergies... that's what it is.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The suck.

I don't know why I'm unburdening myself here, except that it's somehow a little easier to do it to the imaginary people in my computer than it is the real people in my day-to-day life...

Some years back I had an actinic keratosis on the side of my nose, and it was treated by means of a chemotherapy-sort-of cream, which made it go away, but left a little patch of scar tissue.

Recently, that little patch of scar tissue started itching, and I scratched it, and it started bleeding...

...and it didn't stop.

And now I have a horrible-looking bleeding sore on the side of my nose that has grown noticeably despite my use of antibiotic ointment and hydrogen peroxide and aloe vera creams to stop it.

Yesterday I went to a dermatologist/cosmetic surgeon to get it looked at and, having no medical insurance, am waiting on a referral to the local teaching hospital for a biopsy.

Truthfully? I'm scared $#!+less.

If I have not been my usual chipper self these last couple months, now you know why, but I figured y'all deserved an explanation for my erratic posting and sometimes bitter retorts.

Hopefully all will be well here after some attention in the next month or two and VTFP will return to its normal cheerful snark.

Thanks for bearing with me.

Here's a puzzler and no mistake:

I would like to see a Venn diagram of the following sets of people:
  1. Those who say that rape and other crimes of violence aren't usually perpetrated by masked strangers in bushes, but rather by acquaintances or even family members, and...

  2. Those who say you shouldn't own a firearm because statistics show that it is more likely to be used on a family member or acquaintance than on a masked stranger in the bushes.

My first laugh of the morning...

So, some kids in the tony suburb of Fishers called their parents yesterday and told them that a man had pulled up to their bus stop and asked them to get in his car.

The chain of events gets fuddled from there, but apparently the parents called the school, and the school called the po-po, and by the time the heat showed up at the bus stop, the alleged perv was long gone.

Naturally this has triggered something of a hooraw, and the police have issued a statement that kids should keep an eye out for the bad man today and call 911 before calling their parents, and lor' bless 'em for any extra work they've brought on themselves this morning, but the cherry on the icing of the cake of the whole thing is that the only description given was "A white man in a red car".

Who was the first concerned parent interviewed?

That's right, completely tone-deaf to irony, the reporter did his concerned parent interview with a white dude sitting in a red car. I was laughing too hard to yell at the TeeWee screen "That's the guy! Right there! Ask the little girl in the passenger seat if she's there willingly!"

I'm glad I'm not a Hamilton County 911 dispatcher this morning, I can tell you that. Or a white dude in a red car that has to drive past a school bus stop to get to work.

I guess that's one way to look at it...

A woman calls her brother when she hears someone attempting to force entry into her house in the middle of the night. Her brother shows up and discovers a black-clad man in a balaclava on the premises, who proceeds to lunge at him with a knife. He fires in self-defense and the figure collapses, fatally wounded.

When the police arrive, the figure is unmasked and it turns out to be the man's 15-year-old adopted son, adopted four years ago when the boy's biological father went to prison.

If you live in Great Britain or Australia, this vignette of violence from gun-besotted America is reported to you as:
Father who mistakenly shot son 'devastated'
Listen, you poncey limey git, he didn't shoot him 'mistakenly' or 'accidentally'; he shot him deliberately, thoroughly, and quite well, thank you very much. I am sure he is devastated that he was forced into such a necessity, but a knife doesn't stab any less because it's your adopted child holding it.

Had this happened on your home turf, the papers would be wondering why an innocent and apparently much-loved elementary school teacher was carved up by his own son. Do you have a preference as to which of those stories you'd rather read? I know I do.