Sunday, March 31, 2013

Things I wonder about...

Why does Kim Jong Un have three telephones on his desk? Are there three other people with phones in North Korea for him to call?

If there are, what is there to talk about?

"Still resolutely awaiting the treachery of the running dogs and lackeys of the Yankee imperialists with revolutionary fervor?"

"Yes, Glorious Commander!"

"Still keeping up the training of the 1-matches-100 valiant soldier?"

"Yes, Respected Comrade!"

"Sawdust and dirt clod rations prepared well this morning?"

"Yes, Maximum Leader!"


Still, North Korea was a lot more risible before they had missiles. For much of the world, a conventional war on the Korean Peninsula would be like knocking over a cup of coffee on a table with a raised lip around the edge: you could be fairly certain that any spill, while messy, would remain fairly localised. Bluntly, (and absent a draft) for your typical western hemisphere type it'd mess up the delivery schedules for the Galaxy S4 and the Veloster Turbo, but life would go on.

But the Hermit Kingdom with nukes on missiles, even if they're only "intermediate-range" ones? I can't get this picture out of my head.

North Korea engages in so little conventional interaction with other nations that you have to wonder if they really understand the idea of what is considered acceptable behavior at the grownup table. Kim Il Sung's philosophy of "Juche" has created a nation where the national mindset makes the most ardent isolationist of a Bircher look like a frothing transnationalist one-worlder; armed with nukes,  the DPRK becomes the geopolitical equivalent of the profoundly autistic young man with the body of a linebacker and the emotional continence of a three-year-old.

Tick tock...

Last day for the Honored American Veterans Afield fundraiser over at Walls Of The City. If you want in on the drawings, you gotta make your donation today.

Fabulous prizes and a good cause!

Future Collectible...

Seen parked up out front of 20 Tap the other day:

I didn't like their looks at first...
The Saturn Sky is only half as common as the arguably better-looking Pontiac Solstice, with less than 35,000 sold over its 4 (really 3) year run. By comparison, Ford built 84,000 Edsels during the course of its production run, and over half a million Mustangs in 1965 alone.

This and the Pontiac G8 are the sure-thing investments from the dead GM divisions, if you ask me. (I mean, if you happen to be looking for something to stick under a car cover in the garage...)

Here comes the boom...

First range trip in weeks coming up this morning. Here's hoping I remember from which end the bullet emerges.

I briefly toyed with the idea of bringing the gauge, but I think I'll hold off a little longer on the shotgun; that scar on my cheek is still pretty fresh for me to want to snuggle it up against the stock and touch off high-brass buckshot loads. You know my training motto: "No pain, no pain."

But first, Shootin' Buddy and I will grab breakfast at the SoBro Cafe, because yum.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Long nights...

Last night, in my dream, I was hanging out with Marko in a convenience store parking lot on a weekend night, trying to talk him into buying an exotic leather shoulder holster with his new-found SciFi writer's wealth. Why this seemed like a good place to try and have a conversation, when the only place you might find that was more covered up in noisy teenagers would be the stands of the local H.S. football field, is beyond me.

Later, I was herding a minivan down mountain roads, trying to stay in a convoy with MattG. Phlegmmy and the Atomic Nerds were in the back, and graciously not commenting on my driving. The makers of the van, apparently worried about its handling stability, had decided that the best way to keep it from flipping over was to make it impossible to make dramatic Δv control inputs and I was keeping up a running narration of complaints to Matt on a two-way radio:

"I'm trying to keep up, but this accelerator pedal couldn't be more awkwardly placed if they'd put it in one of the HVAC ducts and made you press it with a long screwdriver. And the brake pedal doesn't seem to do anything except give you someplace to rest your foot while you wait for engine braking and friction losses to bring the thing to a stop. And I'm not saying that the steering has an on-center dead spot, but you can spin the wheel through near two revolutions before the steering gear takes notice; either that or the tie rod ends fell out on that last hill..."

That's more-or-less-verbatim dream dialogue, for what it's worth.

The night before, I was aboard an Ohio-class sub where all the missile tubes had been replaced by a big seating area full of longitudinal rows of, like, fiberglass city bus seats. There was a MCPO yelling at us that the carrier group was going to sink us because people kept dropping brooms and whispering and making other noise that apparently showed up better on hydrophones than a yelling MCPO.

The really creepy dream was the night before that. There was a big stone... medieval manor? Town hall? Market? ...type building across the street from my parents' old house, where the neighborhood pool used to be. You know, a stone building with no ground floor entrances and a big old timber scaffolding type porch in front of the main entry on the second level. And there were big wooden barrels of fireworks everywhere. I think I was supposed to be guarding the door.

Anyhow, a bunch of early '70s GM full-size convertibles pulled up and parked all over the road and the grass, full of dudes that looked like a cross between the Lord Humongous's henchmen and Riff Raff, led by a Mansonesque dude that looked like a younger, more wild-eyed Ted Nugent.

They came charging up the steps and got my pistol away from me because it took me a second to realize "Maybe I should be shooting at these dudes?" and draw down, and then they proceeded to caper around setting off fireworks. I tried to slip away in the confusion, wondering why all the fireworks didn't seem to be bringing anybody to investigate, but my escape route was cut off by Ted and a couple of his henchmen, who wrestled me to the ground right there in the front yard of the house I grew up in.

I struggled and tried to fast-talk my way out of what seemed like a bad situation, and Ted was shushing me and telling me it was all right, calm down, that he was a little jealous of me because I was going to "...get to find out the truth about aliens and UFOs and angels and everything... all the beautiful things you're going to see..." and then he looked very serious all of a sudden, looked right into my eyes... "But, yeah, you're going to die."

...and then I woke up sitting bolt-upright in bed and panting.

That was freaky. Closest thing I've had to a nightmare in years.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Another big Thank You... everybody who helped with the nose thing, but one person I really, really, really need to thank is Bobbi.

I can't even bear to open my eyes with the bandage off my nose, and so she's been Florence Nightingale-ing for me and makes reassuring noises about what she sees while my eyes are squinched all tightly shut.

(The sight of other people's boo-boos doesn't bother me terribly much. I mean, if it's really gruesome I might get a little queasy, but I'm not that bad. My own injuries, however? Let's just say that even with tiny little paper cuts, when the adhesive on the Band-Aid finally fails and it falls off, I figure that's my cue that the ouchie underneath it is healed up enough that it's safe to look at.)

Seasons change...

It was a nice day for a walk yesterday. High 40s feel balmy after the last month, even if they still are about ten degrees too low for this time of year.

It looks like Monday's blizzard may have been winter's curtain call.
Little flowers blooming in the grass.

Doesn't it look like that snowperson is making a final curtsy?

While I like it when the snow melts to reveal little flowers underneath it, it'd be cooler if it melted off to reveal doubloons and pieces of eight and other pirate treasure.

Like tears of laughter in rain...

Sorry I'm late, but this post by Jeffro sent me off on a Blade Runner-themed internet wander this morning. I am a huge fan of the movie; I'm such a dork that my Ultimate Nerd Edition is one of my prize possessions.

That caused me to see this review:

Well, there's your problem...

...and chortle.

"My Laserdisc player finally broke, and so I can no longer watch my beloved MGM/UA release of Casablanca. I bought the movie on BluRay, and it's in black and white!"

I know it's not an exact parallel but, dude, caveat emptor and do a little research, okay?

(I'm not one of those purist militant types that won't watch the theatrical release with Harrison Ford's hammy Sam Spade-esque narration; I'll take my Los Angeles 2019 pretty much however you want to put it on the screen in front of me.)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

He wears Oakleys to protect the sun from his eyes..

...when SEAL Team Six gets taken hostage, they call him. He is... the most tactical man in the world:

This has been a public service announcement reminding you to spend your training dollars wisely.

The steady background drone of bulls__t.

When I was a teenager, it was a widely-accepted fact in my peer group that somewhere in the bottomland near our school there existed a Cold War-relic underground blockhouse* where you could totally listen in on all the phone calls in the neighborhood because it was the phone company's emergency nukyular war control center for the area. Needless to say, desultory searches of various manhole covers only turned up storm sewers and no bunker, although some folks swore their best friend's cousin had totally been in it.

In Tennessee, visible in a mountainside north of I-40 between Nashville and Knoxville, is the mammoth entry to a mine or quarry. It's especially intriguing at night, when the gaping hole in the mountain is brightly lit, but I never could be arsed to find out exactly what kind of mine it was. My boss at a now-defunct gun store, the one who was a "snipe" in Vietnam and whose dad won three Medals of Honor in WWII for getting three carriers sunk out from under him, told me it was a secret underground Air Force base and he had seen jet fighters launch from it and buzz his Ford Ranger on the Interstate.

Here in Indianapolis, of course, there is the Amtrak repair yard down in Beech Grove, right across the street from one of my favorite local gun shops. The goofy legends surrounding the Amtrak yard are so pervasive and persistent that Shootin' Buddy and I jokingly refer to Beech Grove Firearms as "Death Camp Guns & Gear".

Imagine if you had giant caves in your town, caves that you can see streams of eighteen-wheelers driving in and out of all day and night; think of the legends that could be spun around that armature! Why, you might conclude that it was the entrance to a secret underground network of highways and rail tunnels maintained by DHS and FEMA so that our masters in Washington wouldn't have to get stuck in traffic jams with the hoi polloi.

By the way, in case you're in Kansas City and you'd like in on the secret underground DHS/FEMA base there, here's their leasing office. I don't get a commission or anything.

*Five minutes' careful thought would have led us to realize that the storm sewers in a flood plain along a creek bed where the trees all had muddy water rings two feet up their trunks were an unlikely place to find an underground bunker full of abandoned-but-still-functional electronic equipment, but the kind of people who believe Sean's dad's GTO can totally go 200mph are not generally known for their critical thinking skills or advanced B.S. detection abilities.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Another Illegal Mayor Against Guns...

This is becoming has become the opposite of news.

You know, Bloomberg seems to be conceptually all in favor of prior restraint, so how about just prophylactically indicting everybody in MAIG? At this rate, they all will be eventually anyway.

For someone's sins...

It started out as a throwaway line in a forum post and turned into a sprawling Facebook conversation at near-midnight EDT:
Funny how many conservatives don't trust the government to be fair, just, or even competent when it comes to enforcing gun laws, delivering the mail, or distributing health care, but suddenly they're infallable [sic] paragons of virtue when it comes to strapping the right ne'er-do-well in the chair.
I don't have a problem with the idea that there are certain people who need to be dragged out behind the barn and Ol' Yellered. The guy who shot up the theater in Colorado? Or what's-his-face in Norway? That's The Guy. He admits to being The Guy. Those guys are wasting precious oxygen that paramecia could be using to evolve.

If society wants to get all squeamish in those cases, then hand me the claw hammer and I'll go in there and administer 28 ounces of Estwingazine intracranially and we'll be done after you pass me that Handi-Wipe. 

On the other hand, various pinko commie-symp crusaders keep turning up guys on death row who are apparently there because they committed the all-too common crimes of Having A Bad Lawyer and Looking Really Black In A Lineup, and when DNA evidence is finally examined it turns out that they couldn't have done it, yet we were all ready to let Ice Dog die for Ray-Ray's sins.

If we do kill the wrong guy, who gets the death penalty for that? Or do we all just get 1/300.000.000th of a death sentence, and so that's not so bad?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Just discovered that the little sunglasses garage in the Subie's overhead console won't fit a pair of Wayfarer clones.

WTF? That's like a garage that won't fit a Ford Taurus...

By the way...

The five of you who haven't bought Marko's debut self-published novel, Terms of Enlistment, should totally do so.

I am not a fan of most self-published works. Even if the writer is capable of crafting a decent plot and keeping it moving along without meandering expository detours, can write followable dialogue, and avoids the temptation of making the protagonist an obvious self-insert only with godlike skills and rogue-ish good looks, they tend to be so riddled with spelling and grammar errors as to be practically un-readable.

MAJ Caudill's debut effort clears even that last hurdle, and easily. It's a fast-paced and accessible book, even for folks who are not fans of that particular flavor of genre fiction and, further, it passes my test for A Good Read: As the (virtual, in this case) back cover gets closer, I found myself wishing there were more pages. This book's covers are too close together.

Breakout works from this ghetto are noticeable by their scarcity, and this book is fit to join them.

When I am empress of the universe...

In my previous post some people got a small case of the butthurt at my implication that shoveling sidewalks was one of the neighborly duties of living inside the palisade.

Don't get me wrong: I don't think it should be a matter of law. After all, they don't give you a ticket if you're the kind of person who doesn't say "please" and "thank you" to cashiers and restaurant waitstaff, so I don't see why they should give you one for not clearing your walks of navigation hazards.

In a perfect world, you would have the option of tearing the sidewalk up and thereby signifying a desire to not play in our civilizational reindeer games, but as it stands, an ice-covered sidewalk is practically an attractive nuisance for adults and I and eleven of your other peers would probably look dimly on you should an injury arise because of your failure to maintain it.

Monday, March 25, 2013

How To Live In Broad Ripple, Part 1 of a Series...

People who live in Broad Ripple generally like to do so because of all the nice places to which you can walk. It is easy to walk to these nice places because of the nice sidewalks.

When it snows, here's what you should do: Early in the morning, after you've run the freshly-ground organic fair trade coffee through the French press, grab your snow shovel and go get that white stuff off your walks. If you're out there before your neighbors, shovel five or ten feet of their walk, too, which will not only be neighborly, but will also let you feel a little smug! It doesn't need to be perfect if you're in a hurry for your Pilates class or something; just clear room enough for people to walk safely. (If you have a corner lot, don't forget that little bit of sidewalk that runs through the Devil's strip to the curb!)

Right. (-5pts for failure to clear curb cut.)

Failure to do this will make your Broad Riparian neighbors cuss as they slog through half a foot or more of snow where the sidewalk should be while on their way to 20 Tap to get a Powerhouse Diesel Oil Milk Stout and a delicious roast beef 'n' swiss sandwich au jus for lunch. No matter how prettily your lawn is landscaped during the summer, failure to clear your walks in the winter will make people think you are kind of a giant douchecanoe.

The sandwich in question.

The Climes, They Are A-Changin'...

As part of the hippieflage on the Subie, I cynically sprang for the special Indiana "Environment" license plate, partly out of fear that they'd issue one anyway because clapped-out green Forester and partly because I found out part of the proceeds go to helping DNR arrange deer culls, but I was wrong to be cynical about the power of wishing really hard about environment-type things. Look! The license plate worked! The seas are receding even as we speak!

ZOMG SNOWMAGEDDON! Life after white death.

They're saying 6.2" of snow down at the airport, but it's more like 8" here at Roseholme Cottage. It's still snowing, but looking at the radar, I doubt it's got more than an inch or so left in it, so it'll be time to go shovel the walks and dig out the roomie's car here before too long.

Maybe I'll see if I can break trail down the alley with the Subie.

Sorry about turning the Turing test back on in comments, but Blogger's spam comments filter has just completely collapsed under the onslaught recently. I woke up this morning to find twelve digital turds plopped in the latest comment threads since 0100, and that's not counting the sixty more in the spam traps.

Google jiggled their search algorithms back some time last year to more heavily weight backlinks in "social media" and news article comments sections, and even-less-scrupulous-than-usual SEO types responded by unleashed hordes of gibberish-'n'-backlink-spouting 'bots on the Blogosphere. Comment spam had been a desultory sort of thing before that, sort of the universal background noise of blogs, but by the end of the year I was scooping as many as 300 spam comments out of the trap first thing every morning. It wasn't so bad as long as they were getting caught in the trap, but now they're getting past the filter and I won't stand for that.

Anyhow, sorry about turning the CAPTCHA back on. I've got to go shovel now, but I'll be back.

In the meantime, courtesy of email, check out this link about a Nat Geo photographer who got "adopted" by a 12-ft. female leopard seal who apparently thought he looked a little scrawny and needed help learning to hunt penguins... (It's the third slide show at the link.)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Overheard in the Office...

Me: "Yeah, the Subie's been washed as many times in the three months since I've bought it as the Zed Drei probably was in any given year, and you know why?"

RX: "Why?"

Me: "Because I can run it through a Mike's car wash! The first time I took it through one, I almost went around and went back through again! They have Kung Fu Panda and Cookie Monster in the drying area... I wish they had that when I was three or four; automatic car washes used to scare the crap out of me. If they'd had big stuffed animals in the drying area..."

RX: "That would have scared the crap out of me."


I turned off word verification some time back because Blogger's spam filter was pretty good at not letting dreck through.

I don't mind cleaning a hundred-and-some-odd spam comments out of the filter every morning and a few dozen more over the course of the day; it's all part of running a blog.

But some sonofabitch in Riga or Shanghai has figured out how to squeak 'em past the filter with appalling regularity in the last week or so, and I'm increasingly waking up to find my readers being pestered in comments by Lithuanian spambots doing SEO for third-world Louis Vuitton knockoffs and sex toy manufacturers, or being asked to "Come Read My Blog:"

If they don't get their algorithms updated in the next couple days, I'm going to have to turn the CAPTCHA back on, and that makes me sad.


I have not been neglecting the Free Ice Cream Machine, I've just had it running over in the other room...

I got to talking about history and wandering around the intertubes and time just sort of got away from me.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Food Break.

Walked to Fat Dan's with Brigid; Bobbi met us there on the larger of her penny-farthings. (Pennies-farthing?)
You'd maybe get more attention on a baby elephant. Maybe.
The dining experience was wonderful in all its casual ambiance, with a sheet of butcher paper for your plate and tray and a roll of brown paper towels by way of napkins. The food is like getting invited over to a friend's backyard cookout, assuming your friend can really really cook and doesn't spare expenses on the raw ingredients.

Yes, that's the 'small' fries...
I had the Reuben again; they corn their own beef and the result is delicious. If you're ever in SoBro, give them a try.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #57:

MAS Mle.1873 revolver. Missing ejector assembly.
Back in the day of the low-velocity black powder cartridge, France fielded a sidearm that showed the lessons of hundreds of nasty little fights on the frontiers of empire: A double-action revolver tossing a fat, soft 11mm slug at ~700fps.

It would be replaced in the early '90s by an ultra-modern smokeless-powder design, firing a jacketed 8mm bullet of roughly half the weight at an even slower muzzle velocity, which made sense to somebody somewhere in the Armée bureaucracy, I suppose...

Stale leftovers...

...typed elsewhere this morning, because I have to run an errand:
Compared to the advances that permeate so many other technological fields, firearms have been a very mature technology for a very long time.

The only technological advances in man-portable firearms since the 1930s have been in materials and construction methods. I am unaware of any completely new operating mechanism after roller-locking recoil. Certainly the gas-operated, rotating-bolt, box-magazine-fed rifles which arm our troops would be instantly identifiable to John Browning in his 1890s Utah workshop, although the machined aluminum forgings and plastic furniture might seem novel to him.

A SIG P-226 would only be "exotic" to
Le Maitre in its use of stampings in place of machined forgings. Other than that, it's a short-recoil tilting-barrel box-magazine-fed self-loader, still shooting a cartridge developed for the Imperial German Army in the first decade of the last century. (Just think about cartridges: Of the major martial firearm chamberings, only 5.45, 5.56, 7.62x51, and .40S&W were developed after 1945, while .50 BMG predates the last World War and 9x19, .45, and 7.62x54 predates the one before that.)
I promise some fresh content later.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Buried treasure...

In the tradition of Albert Einstein, I managed to probably throw away with the junk mail misplace my monthly stipend check. I tore through the house yesterday, searching all the likely locations to no avail before doing the one thing that is sure to make it turn up again: Call the issuer and have them put a stop payment on it and mail me a new one.

The search had some beneficial side effects, however. In a corner, tucked neatly between a laptop bag and a stack of books, was a crumpled shopping bag from Gander Mountain that was a little heavy when picked up, due to the unopened 17-rd M&P 9 magazine and the 525-rd carton of Federal .22LR contained inside. Huzzah! That's about like finding a forgotten $100 bill in an old coat pocket these days...

Science Fiction

While up in New Hamster last month, Marko and I ran into town to do some errands. As one is wont to do, we stopped at Best Buy because it's a big building full of shiny things with blinking lights; sort of a bug zapper for nerds.

I'd been idly toying with the idea of getting a new camera for a while now, being less than completely satisfied with the little Kodak I bought as an emergency stopgap a couple years ago for the Lucky Gunner thing, and so I wandered through the camera department at Best Buy, poking this and hefting that, kicking tires and looking at price tags when, over on the clearance end cap, I noticed an open-box Canon PowerShot SX500 IS.

That seemed like a lot of camera for $149... I pulled out the Portable Magic Elf Box and confirmed that MSRP was, indeed, $299. Hm. Manual override on everything; a full 30x optical zoom... Sold.

The capabilities of modern point-'n'-shoots are simply stunning. The other night, Bobbi and I meandered into the yard to see if we could spot the comet, with no luck. Before going back in and getting out of the cold, I ran the zoom on the Canon all the way out and, on a lark, pointed it at the moon and squeezed off a single hand-held frame, letting the camera handle the rest...


Feel free to embiggen. "Shoot the moon" indeed...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

First Person Sh__ter.

While I do not play games on the Facebookings, the sheer variety of the games the machine constantly tries to pimp to me is amazing. Check out this torn-from-the-headlines offering:

Click to embiggen...
"Try vCruise, the exciting new cruise simulator from Spishak Software! Put together a team of tourists and attempt to survive a winter cruise on the SS William Golding. Organize foraging parties to raid the galleys on the lower decks. Defend the breezy chaise lounges on the shuffleboard court from the plebeian hordes boiling up from steerage. Keep a lookout for cannibals while your teammates defecate over the rail. All the excitement of a real cruise without leaving your office!"

Go Go Gadget Generator!

There's nothing wrong with using electric motors to turn a car's wheels. As a matter of fact, there's a lot right with it, starting with the fact that electric motors produce peak torque from the jump-off, which can make for great big smoky burnouts.

The downside is that it's hard to carry volts around in a lightweight, portable, easily-refilled form. Given current and near-future battery technology, pure electrics are going to be confined to urban runabout duty for quite a while yet.

Slapping an electricity-generating motor on board is the current fix for this shortcoming and most applications use fairly conventional piston engines in this role, although Jaguar has been dabbling with micro turbines for the chore. Meanwhile, some Jerries have let their gadget freak flag fly and come up with this solution. If you're not using the pistons to turn the wheels, there's no real need to have them physically connected to anything, is there?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Better, Faster, Stronger...

At some point in the last few days, the odometer at VFTP clicked over six million hits, which is kinda cool for a little personal blog about nothing in particular. Go Team Me!

Oddly, this number doesn't match the Site Meter icon at the bottom of the page.

Yeah, yeah, it doesn't include RSS feeds and even if it did, this is about fifteen minutes' worth of traffic at a big blog like Insty's, and who cares about blogs anymore anyway because 140 characters are just tl;dr these days and so we just send pictures to each other, but I'm tickled by it, so there.

Don't blame me; I voted for Coolidge.

“Who’s your favorite president, Tam?”


“Coolidge? Why? What did he do?”


…and did nothing deliberately and as a matter of policy, too.

Also, alleged to have sent vetoed bills back with the note “I see no constitutional authority for this law” scribbled on them. Where are you now that we need you, Silent Cal?

Today in History: Las Islas Malv...OW!

On this day in 1982, a bunch of Argentine "scrap metal workers" who kept referring to each other as 'Suboficial' and 'Teniente' and who just so happened to have an Argentinian flag with them, raised said flag on South Georgia Island. They were subsequently made to wish they hadn't.

...and suddenly I noticed the two faces in the lamp!

While I do not in any sense speak or read Latin, I do have a reasonable vocabulary of written words in the language. My curiosity is also piqued by etymology.

Therefore I kick myself twice over for having used the word "college" (or "collegium") all my life without ever noticing "co-lege"... "con-legium"... "together (by) law". Priestly colleges and burial clubs... It's Romanese for a group of people having a legal existence in its own right: Latin for "Inc."


(It was also years after high school German that I noticed that the name of a certain watch company meant something. I can be stunningly devoid of perspicacity at times; Clouseau-like in my obliviousness. If you would like to hide something from me, I would suggest the middle of the floor as an ideal spot.)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Stop me before I alliterate again!

The headline at the forum read:

Basically, Bloomie's Bitter Because Bench Bitch-slapped Big Apple's Bubbly Big Gulp Ban.

Shots in the dark, part deux...

The color doesn't match. Call the fashion police.
So the first of the two lights Brownells sent was the Inforce WML. Although intended for carbines, it seems fairly at home on the 870 forend.

Obviously a bigger gadget than the RailMaster, it is a little more confidence-inspiring in the way it sits on the rail, although we'll wait to give a final verdict on that until we've at least put a few rounds through the thing... Turned up the juice to see what shakes loose, if you will.

An interesting feature of the lights mounted on the side of the forend is that the front sight on the shotgun is brilliantly illuminated...

One thing I do like is the ingenious folding bail at the back. You can see the hinge? That little basket-handle-shaped piece flips forward and blocks the button to prevent white light NDs, if that's a worry of yours. Simple and smart. The thumbwheel-adjustable, no-tools-required, spring-loaded Picatinny rail clamp seems like another clever feature.

We'll see what happens when things get all recoil-y...

Overheard in the Smallest Room...

The time is yesterday afternoon. The scene is Roseholme Cottage interior.

I am finishing getting ready to leave, and have the sink running in the smallest room. Bobbi is moving about in the dining room. She says something that I struggle to parse over the white noise...
RX: "While we're out, I need to ǥάѕ ϯћє ᴌᴓѕҿѓӎѳҍїӏє цҏ."

Me: "You... what? You 'need to jack that geezer up'?"

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Shots in the dark...

I've always been partial to the idea of seeing what I'm shooting at, and that was only reinforced by the awkwardness of shooting the shotgun targets at the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Match with a headlamp rather than a proper WML.

Since you couldn't start the stage with the light on, it went like this:
"Shooter ready?"

*vigorous nod*

"Stand by!"


-reach up with off hand and turn on headlamp, then shoulder shotgun-


-reach up with off hand and adjust headlamp so it's not pointing over berm, re-shoulder shotgun-

That extra couple seconds of fumbling around will affect your score...

So when I put the Magpul forend on the new gauge, one of the things I also did was attach a little nubbin of rail to the forend so I could fit a pistol light or something.

Scrounging around the house, the only light I could find was a Crimson Trace Rail Master which, while a fine little light for a compact CCW pistol, just did not fill me with confidence the way it was dangling off that shotgun forend...

I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable with that...
 Further, those paddle switches that are so ergonomic when nestled up against the trigger guard? Well, they're less so when dangling out there like that, and they're just waiting to be inadvertently nudged on or off, to boot.

So I contacted the fine folks at Brownells and they sent a couple alternatives, a closer look at which will follow later this week.

Gun Show Post-Mortem:

Firearmageddon seems to be tailing off slightly, although only about two-thirds of the vendors had gotten the word.

I picked up an assortment of oddities:
  • 60 rounds of surplus 7.62x45mm, just because.

  • A box of .380 PMC Starfire.

  • A box of Black Hills 9mm +P 115gr JHP.

  • Someone was selling off their Y2K ammo stash and I paid $25 each for a box of 9mm Blazer and 9mm S&B, partly out of admiration for their capitalism and partly because I want to keep at least some ammo coming in, and of different varieties, in case I need to T&E a 9mm pistol.

  • Some other guys 'way back against the back wall had various bricks of .22 out for $40-$50 which, after passing through the $100+/brick reality distortion field of the show, seemed downright reasonable. I bought Bobbi a 333rd box of Winchester, because she was running low on stuff that would cycle in her Ruger. (Farmer Frank's generous gift of a mess of assorted old CCI .22 shorts and CBs and whatnot from a year or so ago will keep Roseholme Cottage's .22 revolvers going through the slump.)

  • A Lee hand press.

  • Three old Lee Loaders: .45 ACP, .357 Magnum, and .243 Winchester. The guy had 'em priced at $25 each, but sixty bucks took the trio.

  • I bought a Surefire P2ZX Fury. Remember when 65 lumens in a pocket-size flashlight was a lot? I can't imagine ten years from now looking back and saying "Remember when 500 lumens in a little pocket light was a lot?" but I'm sure I will.

  • My buddies the book sellers were there, and so I bought a book.

  • Lastly, I picked up a Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger, with an eye toward possibly up-sizing the turse, because an iPad is bigger than a Kindle Fire.
There was no line when we arrived or when we left, but the venue remained pretty packed after about 10AM.

Oh, I almost forgot the highlight of the show for me!

As we approached the entrance, I saw a knot of Cletii clustered around an object at which they were staring in bemused wonder like the Australopithecines facing the monolith in the opening of 2001. What could have drawn their attention? As I drew closer, I saw the object of their bafflement and my heart leaped for joy!

Now if they'll only read the instructions...
Thank you, Indy 1500! If you're going to mandate that I coonfinger my loaded heater in the name of safety, good manners would dictate that you provide me a safe backstop against which to do so. Thank you, thank you!

Because I don't like to let keystrokes go to waste...

Y'all're getting stuff from Away games this morning, at least until the coffee kicks in. I promise these are lightly-used words, only read once on Sunday, and still covered by the manufacturer's warranty.

From a post in response to a forum member who suggested that we can demonstrate our willingness to confront the suicide problem by tightening restrictions on the access of the "mentally ill" to firearms, including "safe storage" laws:
You know, I really doubt that.

There are countries whose suicide rate eclipses ours where firearms are effectively impossible for the average citizen to access.

Firearms are used so often in successful suicide attempts in the U.S. of A. because firearms are A) Effective, and B) Relatively Accessible.

Someone who uses a firearm in a suicide attempt is not crying for help; suck-starting a Mossberg is not the same as taking a couple Darvocets with a pint of Stoli and calling a 1-800-HELP-MEE hotline (or texting a friend and getting them to do it for you.) Someone who uses a gun is serious about checking out of the net.

Sure, there is a percentage (and I would submit that it is a small one) of suicides who snatch up a heater with no forethought and cap themselves in a sudden fit of depression, but I would wager that the majority of suicides who currently use firearms would, if firearms were somehow magically disappeared from the American landscape, go jump off bridges or play "Kiss The Locomotive" like their foreign cousins. (And how is your screening going to capture the "sudden fit" ones anyway?)
On to a different topic, this is from an email response:
Demographic shrinkage is an almost inevitable result of a prosperous technological society. When the author of the column bemoans that we aren't breeding enough serfs to stoke the furnaces of our entitlement programs, the problem is the entitlement programs, not the birth rate in the slave cabins on the tax plantation.

Social Security and Medicare cannot continue as currently constituted in a society where the average lifespan is creeping toward the nineties and the birth rate is dropping, but no politician of any party is willing to confront it, guaranteeing a catastrophic failure rather than a controlled shutdown.

(There is a concomitant problem, which is that countries that are still on the upslope of the industrialization curve have populations that are still breeding like rabbits and are steeping in a doctrine based on violent envy of the declining West, but the fix isn't to spawn more X-box-playing iAddicts to interpose their flaccid selves between the teeming heathen and our fair shores.)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tilting at windmills...

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.
I have this grim premonition that today's Fun Show is going to be like the Ante-Inferno of Dante's Canto III: a giant empty exhibit hall with a horde of innumerable tortured souls chasing fruitlessly after one guy holding a brick of .22LR ammo, pursued by a swarm of people shouting "Hey! Whatchu got there? How much you want fer that?"

Nevertheless, I saddle up Rocinante as I always do. Wish me well, my friends! There are rusty old Smiths still roaming free that need lassoing!

Friday, March 15, 2013


So, during the hiatus from The Arms Room, I got a couple Smiths in addition to the .35 Auto that I posted this time last year. This means there are a few more Sunday Smiths in the tank. Here's a sneak preview of one:

The tag is from "Emroe Sporting Goods" which, as best I can tell, is no longer a retail sporting goods store, but still exists as a company that sells athletic apparel to high schools and colleges here in Indiana; their history page says they started out as a one-room gun shop downtown in 1864. (Would that they were still there!) The price tag reads "$46.50".

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Putt-putt for the fun of it!

One word: Plastics.
The Subie is still lots of fun. The doors are so thin and light that they make the ones on the Zed Drei feel like an S-Class Benz. It feels sprightly and pulls well, despite the aged motor and flaccid struts in dire need of replacement (a brisk stop will have the car rock back and forth a little after you've halted, like it was in front of a grocery store and you stuck a quarter in it.)

The dash weirds me out. By the late '90s, Japanese manufacturers generally had heavily-styled dashboards like anybody else, but the agricultural panel in the Forester, with its clear and simple gauge cluster, clicky plasticky buttons, and a center stack as rectilinear as a wall at Mailboxes, Etc., is almost anachronistic, as though it came out of Japanese Anycar, model year '78-'88. (It's even more strange when you think that during those earlier years, Subaru was making its name with odd cockpits.)

I sometimes make motor noises as I putter around the streets of Broad Ripple...


...and when she got there, the cupboard was bare...
Had to do some shopping today, and my route took me past Wally World for the first time since December, so I figured "What the heck, let's see what the ammunition counter looks like..."


There was one lonely box of Remington .32ACP FMJ in the store and that was it as far as handgun ammo goes, save for a couple boxes of zillion-dollar .45 Colt down next to the .410 Judge loads.

There was hunting ammo and some .308 match, but all the 5.56 and 7.62x39 was gone with the wind.

12ga slugs and birdshot were okay, but 12ga buckshot was next to nonexistent: I picked up two 5-rd boxes of 2¾" 00B and two ten-round boxes of that silly new Winchester PDX1 buck-and-ball load. There was a three-box/customer limit, but the nice lady apparently remembered me and threw an extra box of the PDX1 on my stack and I just paid for it without saying anything. It felt like I was getting allowed to buy an extra pair of cardboard-soled shoes without a ration coupon at the People's Market in Cold War Bucharest because I knew the commissar or something.

Even at that, my meager purchase represented about a fifth of the 12ga buckshot on the shelves.

We live in tents and buy guns to kill each other...

...and we've eaten all the birds.

North Korea tells its people to cheer up, because no matter how many sacrifices they must make to defend the revolution from wreckers and from the imperialist running dogs and lackeys to the south, at least they don't have to live in America!
The Dear Leader loves me
This I know
For he makes me coffee
With melted snow!
I remember back in the '80s, when they showed The Day After on TV, they also showed a Soviet propaganda documentary filmed in... I think it was some of the rougher areas of Kansas City? ...on how bad life in the U.S. was, and my first thought was that some poor guy on Red Banner Tractor Collective #415 was going to look at these blighted urban streets with their chain-link-fenced unkempt lawns and plywood-covered windows and think "Look at all the cars!"

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I guess that's it?

Went in today and got the stitches out, which hurt less than I was expecting. This would be the first part of the process that was actually less unpleasant than I was prepared for!

Didn't see my Mohs surgeon, but his resident or understudy or whatever the medical term for a Padawan learner specialist is came in and she looked at the graft and pronounced it beautiful. I thought it looked like a bit of cadaver flesh in a little hole, but I don't have a trained eye so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

Apparently in five weeks, my next checkup date, it will look more or less normal and by six months it will take a close look to see that I'd ever lost a chunk of nose there, but I'll wait for those chickens to hatch before I start counting them.

In retrospect, this could have sucked a lot worse than it did, especially without all you guys and all your support. Thank you all for all you've done and for listening to me whine and everything. Y'all helped make this as anticlimatic an experience as anything involving the word "cancer" can be.

Let's go have fun now. :)

Déjà vu...

It's snowing.

It's still dark outside.

I just ate a hard-boiled blue Ameraucana egg.

All I need now is a dachshund or four and I'll feel like I'm back at Castle Frostbite in New Hamster...

Overheard in the Office...

RX: "Rumble in the Sistine Chapel! A hundred and fifteen cardinals enter, one pope leaves!"

Me: "They could put that on pay-per-view! It'd spice up the Catholic church's image; kinda bring it into the 21st Century."
Although, now that I think about it, that'd kinda take it back to the Fifteenth Century and the Borgias...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Captain! The sea level is rising!" -Titanic deckhand

The talking heads' twittering excitement over the Dow is hilarious. "Can the economy be this strong while unemployment is still high?" they ask.

When gas is up, it's inflation. When bread and milk is up, it's inflation. When gold is up, it's inflation. When the average price of anything goes up, it's a sign of inflation...

Except stocks. When the average price of stocks goes up, it's because the economy is strong.


Overheard in the Office:

Me: "That's one of the side benefits of the steel rod in my shin. Without it, I might get wrangled into... well, not 'taking up' skydiving, but at least jumping out of a plane once to check it off my bucket list. This gives me a doctor's excuse."

RX: "I'm of two minds on that... The jumping out of the plane, I mean; not the rod in the shin."

That tremble you feel means it's working...

Muncie, Indiana is almost literally "Anytown, USA".

Smack in the middle of flyover country, in a state with lifetime carry permits and gun laws that give the Bradys the vapors and which serve as a scapegoat for Chicago mayors' inability to enforce their own statutes, Muncie is as bitter and clingy as any small city you're likely to find.

Muncie is also home to an oblast of Academistan, Ball State University, whose residents, although nominally adults, have been steeping their entire lives in the steady mantra of "Guns are bad, h'mkay?"* that pervades the amniotic media in which they float.

Thus, Monday's events, in which continence was lost on campus over the sighting of a man holding... um... well, something, on campus:
Police say the man had no discernible threatening behavior, nor did he appear to be walking toward any specific building. It appeared he had a handgun in his left hand.
Lack of an actual threat shouldn't be allowed to prevent an honest panic. Plus, think of the stories! "Omigod, Becky! I have a friend who I was supposed to meet that day at the library, but she was sick and I had homework but I was totes almost there! I could have seen that man!"

No word if the object in the man's hand was actually a toaster pastry that had been accidentally nibbled into a vaguely gun-like shape or not.

*at least, between the commercials for Medal of Duty: Zombie Theft VII and the latest Tarantino flick.

Monday, March 11, 2013

You're probably wondering why...

...given that I have a whole tag on my blog devoted just to Hugo "Pugsley" Chavez, I didn't take note of his recent choking on his last cookie, or the cluster-bomb-target of scum and villainy that was his funeral.

I'll tell you why: His death made me sad and depressed.

I am always sad and depressed when a tyrant dies a natural death, rather than being hounded and torn by an enraged mob of his oppressed citizens, then hung from his heels in the public square to be beaten like a pinata by happy children.

That is a finale that gives me that warm, fuzzy sic semper tyrannis feeling down deep inside, not this wafting off into the never-never, veins pumped full of socialized painkillers distilled from the sweat of the toiling proletariat. There wasn't near enough screaming involved in Pugsley's curtain call.

Speaking of sequestration jokes...

There's a pretty funny one in one of the pictures Brigid took yesterday when she came to drag me out of the house for lunch here in SoBro. You should go read about our lunchtime adventures and be jealous of the yummy food.

Overheard in the Office:

Me: "Sure, Assad's an ass and slaughtering the opposition in the civil war, but the opposition is, like, the Allahu Akhbar Black Flag Red Banner Martyr's Brigades. It's good to see we've learned our lessons..."

RX: "What are you on about?"

Me: "We're arming the Islamic militants in the Syrian civil war, and I'll bet that's not one of the programs affected by sequestration."

RX: "Well, they did have to take a two percent cut..."

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Well, it's not a Sunday Smith...

...but will you settle for a Sunday Savage?

Just something to get half my readers all riled up...

I like DST so much that I think we should just stay on it.

Snip that hour of daylight off the front end of the day where it's only useful to roosters and paperboys and stitch it on the other end where decent human beings can use it.

Slow start this morning...

I've been sulking because I slept through Chris Matthews, and I do so love my weekly Thirty Minutes' Hate.

I guess I have to get up now. My face hurts. I'm going to take one of my carefully-hoarded pain pills.

There're some gun pics here. There will be more.

Talk amongst yourselves.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

At least it takes my mind off the nose.

When the doc was suturing the graft site (back along the right corner of my jaw and running up toward the hairline) closed, he was tugging so hard it was like he was lacing a corset; I half expected him to brace his foot against my ear for better leverage. 

Thankfully I was pumped full of enough lidocaine to let you tattoo The Last Supper with Fat Elvis as the guest of honor on the flank of a sleeping rhino, so all I felt was a disturbing amount of yanking and pulling this way and that.

The end result of this, however, is that I've been walking around for two days feeling like my grandmother's ghost is pinching my right cheek 24/7.

When I get high, I get high on speed...

Well, this is a triumph of target marketing:

Ooh! Yeah!
There's actual fruit juice in there somewhere, so there are theoretically vitamins and minerals and suchlike...

Friday, March 08, 2013

Overheard in the Office:

RX: "They're all upset about the NRA sponsoring this NASCAR race; it will come only 'two months after Michael Waltrip memorialized the victims of Newtown'..."

Me: "What does Newtown have to do with anything? It's going to be the NRA sponsoring the race, not the APA."

War of the rats...

A pretty amusing story involving jack-lighting dumpster rats:
"I switch on the handheld equivalent of the Bat-signal, and there, in the spotlight, sits Our Villain. And he doesn't even act like we're a threat to his dinner. He's about to find out how wrong he is..."
He paints quite the mental picture...

Felis catus remindus

The antibiotics must be taken twice a day. Who knew that Huck's noisy, frantic pre-mealtime attention-getting antics at 0600 and 1800 would suddenly become so value-added?

"What's that, little buddy? Time for me to take my pill?"

QotD: Gaffe-a-Minute Edition...

From Mark Steyn:
The United States has the biggest, most expensive government on the planet. For an ordinary U.S. citizen merely to be ushered into the presence of the president and his wife requires a Social Security and background check. But nobody thinks to do a Google search before getting the first lady and secretary of state to give an award to a Hitler-quoting terrorist-supporting America-hater.
Boy, I'll bet that Kerry and the rest of the State Department crew wish they could push the peregruzka button on that one!

The White House pays their sequester-proof official calligrapher $96k a year, and I know that they aren't actually making chicken scratches from nine to five, M-F, so maybe they could use the interludes to do something useful, like maybe Google foreigners about to be let into the Oval Office?

Bonus old shotgun pic... the other blog.

More other stuff to follow over there, soon.

Toss me the burner...

So, I'd been keeping house without a shotgun for a while, ever since I sold the Model 11. My roommate had a shotgun, but I didn't have one.

Well, that's not necessarily true. I'd acquired a vintage Remington Model 10-A at a stupid cheap price because it was a funky old Pedersen-designed takedown shotgun, plus stupid cheap price. (Seriously: I paid for it with singles out of the coffee can I keep change and singles in at the end of the day. I have a hard time passing up a working gun with a two-digit price tag.)

Still, it was a nearly-hundred-year-old shotgun of questionable reliability and a stock that consisted of more crack than wood and which would likely fly to splinters under the recoil of high brass buckshot, since it was largely held together by numerous coats of yellowing varnish.

So, for all intents and purposes, no shotgun.

The other weekend, standing in a practically-denuded gun store with Shootin' Buddy, I saw a brand-spankin' new Remington 870 slug gun, with the improved cyl. smoothbore 20" tube and rifle sights, a setup that screams '80s tacticool in much the same way as a two-tone 1911 with Pachmayrs. This particular SKU is no longer in production, but during rushes like this, the dusty corners of wholesalers' warehouses get cleaned out as beggars can't be choosers. I've had that conversation with a sales rep many a time:
Me: "Hey, Dave, you got any Remington 870 Polices?"

Dave: "Nope."

Me: "How about those regular Express Home Defense models?"

Dave: "Nope."

Me: "Geez, what about the Whiz-Bang Inc. Tactical Special Editions? They've got a bunch of extra high-dollar crap on them but I reckon I can price at a lower margin and move even them right now..."

Dave: "All out of them, too. I tell you what, other than bird guns, the only 870s I have in the warehouse right now are a few of those discontinued smoothbore slug guns with rifle sights. I can make you a deal on those..."

Me: "I'll take 'em."

Dave: "How many?"

Me: "Have you been reading the papers? How many you got?"
It was stupid cheap, like $350 for a new gun right here in the middle of the panic. And the Vice President said I needed a shotgun, and patriotic Americans should listen to their Vice President... Did I mention it was stupid cheap already? Not as stupid cheap as that Model 10 was, but it's getting to the point where anything from a quality name-brand manufacturer that has a three digit price tag and a "3" in the first slot is pretty uncommon.

So I did the right thing and took this dangerous gun off the street. I replaced the overlong and heavy plywood buttstock with a Magpul one via Brownells, and I figure to put a Mesa 4-shell side saddle on there and a sling and call it good.

Not that I really needed a gauge but, you know, now I've got something for if I want to dabble more in 3 Gun shooting or take a shotgun class.

Plus, I'm sure Joe Biden is proud of me.

Two Remingtons, roughly a hundred years apart...

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Well, that was... unpleasant.

It was a pretty good size chunk gone; nearly an inch square. The donor site for the graft left a pretty impressive line of stitches, too.

I'm trying to keep a stiff upper lip about the whole thing. We'll see how that works out. Right now, my face hurts like a sumbitch and I'm depressed and angry and starving and tired and just over it, all at the same time.

Hopefully I'll be back to my normal perky ray of sunshine in the morning.

Musical Interlude...

"Take it! Take another little chunk of my nose now, baby..."

Just had another slice taken, and the waiting resumes. I am given to understand that the missing piece now extends out onto the bridge of my nose.

Stage the first...

Mohs surgery is done in stages, with the doctor trimming around the edge of the tumor and then examining the excised bit under a microscope to see if the edges are clear. (As it was explained to me, it's like slicing out a Reese's cup, flipping it over and squooshing it flat on a microscope slide to see if any chocolate is extruding through the cup; if there is, you go back and excise a larger scoop and repeat the process.)

We've just done the first scoop, a divot approximately the size of a nickel out of the side of my nose. I am now sitting in the waiting room, awaiting news of if they need to slice more.

I am less than happy right now.

"Soft, docile, toothless creatures..."

The ongoing hooraw over the decision to allow passengers to carry their bitty little pen knives onto airplanes is positively appalling.

The Flight Attendants' union is still pitching a conniption over allowing more "deadly weapons" on planes. An NBC reporter was interviewing people at the airport yesterday morning, and the bedwettery of the "Man (for lack of a more apropos term) On The Street" was actually painful to watch. I found myself yelling "Oh, harden the **** up!" at the screen.

The only knives I currently own that fall under these criteria are attached to keychain-size multitools and are less useful as weapons than, say, my belt. Assuming arguendo that the vital ingredient of a person with hostile intent is present, you're in more danger from the plastic shank they give you with your food in first class or an improvised shiv made from the complementary beverage can than you are from the 2" non-locking blade on a Victorinox key fob.

I can't get over the amount of hand-wringing accompanying this. When I first heard the news, my ears perked up, thinking that my Spyderco Dodo or CRKT Urban Shark would be accompanying me aloft, but no. Imagine my chagrin. At least I'll be able to keep my keychain in my carry-on rather than having to check it throu... no, wait, I guess they'll probably still lose continence over the monkey fist.

While I'm amazed at the puling and cringing that goes on at the sight of a penknife, I guess I shouldn't be; as far back as twenty years ago, I've had a roomful of Americanus cubiculanus suburbia shrink back, eyes all askance, as I pulled out a tiny, money-clip-sized CRKT K.I.S.S. to open a box. (The irony there is that I started carrying the K.I.S.S. because the Spyderco Snap-It I had previously carried clipped to a belt loop had a propensity to spook the straights in an office environment.)

At this rate I expect solid evidence of h. sapiens' eyes migrating towards the sides of the cranium over the next few generations.

EDIT: Jesus, they've got a Flight Attendents' union rep on the Today show right now, and she and Matt Lauer are emoting and quivering in two-part harmony over the sight of the kind of thing I keep on my keychain.  Matt asks... well, he doesn't ask so much as he Oprahs; I half expected him to reach out and rest a comforting hand on her knee... "The TSA says they want to let the screeners focus on finding explosives, things that could actually bring down an airliner. Does that make any sense to you?"

As Shiva is my witness, she responded with "No. I'm a flight attendant; I'm out in the cabin. I'm a first responder and the last line of defense..."

...and she said something else, too, but I couldn't hear it over me yelling "No, honey, you're a waitress in a bad restaurant at 28,000 feet!" at the screen.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Eensy beensy snowflings...

So, sometime yesterday afternoon, the rain suddenly got all white and fluffy...

It must have thought I missed New Hamster, because it kept coming down, in fits and starts, all through the evening and into the night...
Fortunately, the worst of it passed by to the north. I hear Shootin' Buddy had half a foot of the stuff up there in the Wabash valley, but there's just shy of four inches of heavy, wet snow to get off the walks down here in Hoosieropolis. Which I am about to go do...

They ain't dead yet?

So, the media is nattering on about "trend-setting Silicon Valley company Yahoo! doing away with telecommuting," and as Tim Berners-Lee is my witness, the first thought to flicker across my mind was "Yahoo! is still in business?" and I checked the browser on my iPad and, wow! They were!

I wonder if this applies to the whole Yahoo! empire, or if the GeoCities division offices are exempt?

(I see that Best Buy has decided to emulate them. Is this going to be a new thing for investors to keep an eye on? When all the rats are ordered to report back onto the ship, go short?)

Modern Problems

So there I was yesterday, in the chair in grad perio for my followup visit. Photos had been taken, I'd drooled in a test tube for five minutes, and now we were on to one of the more unpleasant things that goes on there: dipsticking my gums.

She'd finished my upper jaw and had done the outer part of my left lower jaw when the woman who was doing the charting on my doctor's laptop said "Wait, it's not letting me save. It's just got this little spinning color wheel?"

I glanced over my shoulder and groaned. Yup, it was a  MacBook. The "beach ball of death" had just swallowed all the chart data and I was going to have to reschedule and come get my gums dipsticked again. They were all kinds of apologetic, and I told them not to worry about it; I certainly understood computer problems.

But I'll bet this never happened to Grandma.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

That was new...

Went down to the almost-a-dentist this morning and saw an SUV in the parking lot with an antenna farm on the roof and so many radios and orange flashers on the dash that it was a wonder the driver could see out.

Got up to the fourth floor and there in the waiting room, looking like 300 pounds of chewed midnight blue polyester-clad bubblegum, was a guy in unbloused BDU floods revealing an inch of white tube sock above his scuffed boots, a mechanic's shirt, an orange-lined blue jacket, a basket-weave belt with pouches for radio and multitool, and a mesh-back ball cap with "INDHS" and "HAM" flanking either side of the state seal.

I've met cop mall ninjas and fire department mall ninjas and even EMT mall ninjas, and everybody and their brother has met SEAL Delta Ranger Sniper mall ninjas, but I don't believe I'd ever clapped eyes on a DHS mall ninja before. This was an entirely new variety of holster-sniffer in my experience, but I guess every organization with a uniform has its badge bunnies; somewhere some poor schlub is wearing blue gloves and searching himself for secreted explosives while moaning "Yes, TSA Agent, yes!"

So, this guy goes driving around and pretends he's America's ninety-seventh line of defense, somewhere on the org chart between the USCG Reserve and the Knights of Columbus?


Dream big, my friend...

Rule 1: All guns are always loaded, insha'Allah.

I often complain on this blog about the Cletii and their casual disregard of the rudiments of gun safety. They make going to gun shows a slightly butt-puckering experience for those with an aversion to being muzzled by people whose trigger fingers behave as though they had magnets in them.

There's only one demographic that could possibly induce a higher pucker factor in me: Imagine Cletii, but with massive bank accounts, an unlimited sense of entitlement, and an unshakable belief that whatever happens is going to be the will of God, so... safety? Meh.

That was my first thought when I saw this gun show. You couldn't pay me to attend an arms expo in the Gulf States. I'd take my first, trembling step through the door into the exhibition hall and then freeze into a slightly-quivering statue, with my eyes fixed and glazed and this scene on an infinite loop in my mind:

Monday, March 04, 2013

I am irrationally angered by this.

Vandals broke into the garage at a Monroe home on Sunday, possibly looking for money. When they didn't find any, they poured paint and oil everywhere, including all over boxes of Girl Scout cookies.
Okay, thievery is bad enough, and so is vandalism, but what kind of giant douchecanoe destroys Girl Scout cookies? What did those thin mints ever do to you?

Hurting little kids' feelings and destroying cookies; that's some real class there, man. I'll bet that earns you tons of respect and street cred.



That's what the thermometer in Shootin' Buddy's truck read yesterday morning at the range: 24°F.

I ungloved* long enough to load my six 22/45 magazines twice, for 120 rounds of deuce-deuce downrange. I also fished out the seven loose rounds of 9mm WWB that were rolling around the bottom of the ammo can and ran them through the G19, because I at least wanted to see how it worked while all gloved up. It was my shortest range trip in quite some time.

The black-bullet Winchester M-22 had probably a half-dozen light strikes in all that, but since the gun was dry and hasn't been cleaned since the late Cretaceous, I'm not ready to blame the ammo yet.

We stopped by Bradis guns, and the place looked like it had been hit by locusts. No .22LR. One lonely Glock in the showcase and one lonely AR on the wall behind it. About the only thing that was plentiful were racks of Mosins and stacks of 7.62x54R spam cans. Also 5.45x39mm. Unfortunately, I'm all stocked up on the former and have nothing through which to run the latter.

*I use insulated bikie gloves for most of my wintertime warm hand needs that don't involve snowball fights. They're light, warm, and windproof, and I can use them on the bike, too.


Thursday. Thursday morning they take a melon-baller scoop to my nose and I find out whether I have to start wearing a bag over my head or run around looking like a leaf-nosed bat in public or what.

I'm relieved to be getting it taken care of, and scared to death all at the same time.


My dream last night had a musical score that I totally don't recognize. That's never happened before. I had no idea that there was a composer lurking in my subconscious.

The tune is earworming me pretty badly right now, and I'm trying to keep it from getting all mashed up with the Trentemøller tune that's stuck in there as well, although I have no idea how I can get it out and into a store-able format; I haven't touched a musical instrument since the cello in, like, sixth grade and I can't carry a tune well enough to hum it to someone who can transcribe it. It's like having a snippet of a strange xenomorphic speech trapped in your head that you don't know the alphabet for and your human mouth can't form the alien sounds.

But anyhow, on to the dream for which this particular piece of music served as the score...

So, as I noted earlier, I was recently up in New Hampshire, and then last night before bed I got together for a couple hours with a bunch of people in World of Warcraft, and so once my head hit the pillow...

...there was a Blogmeet up in a suspiciously online-video-game-looking version of New Hamster, like Manchester but with lots more large and spiky architecture and incongruous palm trees, and getting to the tavern where it was being held, you had to be careful as you circled in on your flying mount, because if you flew a little off course and got too low over Massachusetts you'd draw aggro from the Massachusetts State Police who would cast Felony on you. This would pretty much knock you off your mount and kill you with one zap, and when you resurrected at the graveyard, all your weapons would be gone.

I swear to you on a stack of John Ross and R.A. Salvatore novels I really dreamed this.

Sunday, March 03, 2013


Stay away from the NOS in the green cans. It tastes like slightly-watered, lightly-carbonated Delsym cough suppressant, complete with the faintly gritty mouthfeel.

It'll get the heart going in the morning, though, especially if you slam a can of the stuff after watching a Chris Matthews show that included Dan Rather as a panelist. I swear, I thought those two were going to ask the ladies to leave the room so the two of them could engage in some mutual fapping to a picture of the president. The only other time I've seen that look on someone's face, it was a member of the JV chess club talking about a varsity cheerleader.

I know conservatives get a little misty-eyed when talking about Reagan, and liberals of a certain age talk about JFK like he was the greatest thing to happen to the office since Jefferson was in it, but the obsessive adulation some of the professional punditocracy have for the current Chief Executive would get them slapped with a restraining order if they directed it at a secretary. You get the feeling that Chris Matthews has a little shrine in a closet, with carefully-clipped pictures of Barry taped all over the wall, or that the Secret Service is going to find Rather skulking in the bushes around the White House one night with a roll of duct tape and a steak knife.

Woke up to a cell phone battery that was flatter than western Kansas, and Shootin' Buddy's supposed to be here at 0800 so we can do a Broad Ripple breakfast and then go freeze our asses off at Iggle Crick, which opens for the season this weekend. Shootin' Buddy has gotten back into reloading, and I reckon I should look at setting the press up myself. I really want something better than this little Lee turret press, though...

Saturday, March 02, 2013

QotD: Money Where Your Mouth Is Edition

On Magpul's going from Hero to Zero overnight with certain elements of the online firearms community, ToddG offered a pithy counterpoint:
What I see is a lot of people on the internet making demands of "someone else's company" that they would not make of their own employer.

Does your (generic "your") employer allow you to carry a loaded gun at work? If not, how do you tolerate working for such an anti-2A company while simultaneously complaining that a company like Magpul which has demonstrably supported 2A rights isn't doing enough? Quit your job to make a statement and then I'll be impressed. All the people demanding that Magpul do more and more to make a political statement while they do nothing more than sit on their butts complaining to the internet is just getting old.
That's something worth pondering while one is cinching the saddle girth on the Drama Llama...

The fickle finger of fate.

Man, you can live right, eat healthy, exercise, keep all your insurance paid up, carry a gun for self-protection, keep three months of supplies stored in a pantry, fill your car's tank every time the gas gauge dips below the halfway mark...

...and get swallowed by a sinkhole in your sleep.

Sometimes I think the universe just doesn't play fair.

A moment of gun nerdiness...

Since I bought the M&P 9, it has been stoked with Winchester Ranger-T 127gr +P+ ammo. I bought a bunch of it at the Indy 1500 around the time I bought the gun, and I buy a little more at every show to keep ahead of shrinkage.

I have a bunch of other types of JHP ammo on hand, too, just in case I ever decide to become a whore test T&E samples of handguns on this blog, and it's all neatly stacked in boxes in a corner.

When I was finishing the saddling-up procedure to depart for New Hamster, rather than unloading the magazine that was in my pistol, I just dropped it, cleared the chamber, and grabbed two empty magazines and a box of JHPs to put in the poor man's Pelican*. As I did so, I noticed that the ammo box I had grabbed was not 127gr +P+, but rather the identically-packaged 147gr Ranger Bonded JHP, and I swear to you on the grave of Jeff Cooper that the very first thought that flickered through my head was not "Oh, I grabbed the wrong bullets," but rather "Well, it's winter up there so the heavier bullets are probably a good idea," and threw them in the case†.

I am such a dork.

*Well, SKB used to be the poor man's Pelican. Nowadays it appears to be the upper-middle-class man's Pelican.
Yes, I've run about a box and a half of the stuff through the gun before. It cycled fine, and actually seemed slightly more accurate than my regular carry load, but it's not "Ranger-T" or" +P+", and I can be successfully marketed to just like anybody else.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Where do you go from there?

So what's the Pope Emeritus going to be doing now? I mean, a few years of popin' has to be a pretty serious resumé builder, but you know that it's also going to lead to him being considered "overqualified" for a lot of more entry-level gigs.

"Well, Mr. Ratzinger, while I agree that you are more than capable of handling the duties of a shift supervisor in our call center, we're worried that you won't find the work challenging or remunerative enough and that, should an opening come available to head a major world religion, we'd wind up losing our investment in you and be forced to fill the position again. Certainly you understand our reservations here?"
If they let him keep the Popemobile as part of his severance package, I bet it'd haul a hella lot of pizzas.