Monday, June 30, 2014

There aren't that many trees on the island... where do they get the sticks to put up their butts?
For the 5,000 or so children born in Iceland each year, the committee reportedly receives about 100 applications and rejects about half under a 1996 act aimed mainly at preserving the language of the sagas.

Among its requirements are that given names must be "capable of having Icelandic grammatical endings", may not "conflict with the linguistic structure of Iceland", and should be are "written in accordance with the ordinary rules of Icelandic orthography".
Jeez, lighten up, Finnbjörn.

Is there some law that says that if your culture is limited to resource-poor volcanic islands, it eventually goes loopy and gets into naming laws or tentacle porn?


Maybe the prettiest airliner ever. I watched the whole Ian McKellen production of Richard III just because there was a Dragon Rapide on the posters. True Fact.
British aerospace design runs hot or cold for some reason; their planes are rarely average-looking. The same nation that produced the glorious de Havilland Dragon Rapide also produced the Blackburn Blackburn:
It's not actually flying; the earth is shunning it.

If the Hunter's not the best-looking jet fighter ever, it's close enough that it's not worth arguing over. I think it's because it look like a sort of ur-plane. If you handed a toddler a crayon and asked them to draw a jet, it would have lines very much like this. It's sort of the platonic ideal of "jet fighter".
The same runways hosted the Hawker Hunter, a jet fighter with lines so pure that even the side-by-side cockpit of the trainer version can't ruin them, and the Fairey Gannett, a mutant turboprop sub-hunter of almost aggressive ugliness.

It's almost as though they only remembered it had to be aerodynamic at the very end of the design stage. "Someone sweep the vertical stabiliser back a little bit, will you please?" It does, however, look better than the Short Seamew.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Be careful what you ask for...

There's a thread at INGO speculating on the potential disappearance of Remington's R51, full of whinging about how "gritty" the examples at the NRAAM felt. I had to respond:
Massive lulz at all the "slide felt gritty" comments. The slide on a 51 (a real 51 or one of these new things) is going to feel "gritty" when you run it because there's a separate breechblock in there that bangs against a lug in the frame as you run it backwards. There's a separate breechblock in there because when the 51 was designed, Colt's held Browning's U.S. patent on the one-piece slide and breechblock (that's why contemporaneous S&W and Savage autos have separate breechblocks and H&R licensed a Webley design that did not have a slide that encloses the barrel. Firearms history is all about patents.)

Of course, that patent has long expired and there was no reason to revive the more complex design except for gun hipsters on forums whining about "If they'd just make a modern (Remington 51/top-break revolver/Colt 1903/Broomhandle Mauser), I'd buy five!"

Never mind that all those designs were complex and required a lot of hand-fitting, and don't work too well in the age of MIM and "Let The Customer Test It" QC, and so you wind up with debacles like the R51 launch.

I'll still wind up buying one, just because it'll be neat to have next to my original 51s. I may even try firing it someday.

Lawn Care ProTip...

If you live alongside a hilly, windy, narrow road in forested foothill country, and you take it in your head to grab your weed-whacker and go trim down the shoulder-high weeds that have grown up along your property line against the shoulder of the road, please don't do so while wearing a fawn-colored shirt and off-white ball cap, or oncoming cars will be testing their brakes while the driver does a tuck-and-roll job on the upholstery with her butt cheeks.

Monkey pattern recognition software is heavily influenced by color, and those colors normally mean one thing and one thing only on rural roadsides.

Thank you for your consideration.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

From discussion elsewhere...

140 characters is a lot better suited for fart jokes than philosophical debates.

It came to me in traffic the other day...

Gratuirous Gun Pr0n #96...

Finally going to get Panic Buy Carbine sighted in today.
Yes, the s/n is 'shopped.


Thanks to the hot 'n' cold running distractions piped into the house via fiber optic cable, this morning's coffee is made with thrice-boiled water.

I'll bet "thrice-boiled water" would sound exotic in Italian or Turkish and coffee made with it could be sold at exorbitant prices to hipsters.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Epic Rap Battles of History

Things I thought I'd never see: The Ukrainian Crisis As Told Through Hip-Hop.

Eastern European Nazi Hip Hop Videos... roll the concept around in your mind a little bit so you can examine just how fractally wrong that is.

I'm faintly surprised...

...that I haven't seen anybody trying to tie Tuesday's tornado in Indianapolis to Wednesday's decision striking down the ban on gay marriage in Indiana. People who link weather phenomena with newspaper headlines are, after all, rarely the sort of people who get all wrapped up in fancy-Dan concepts like "causality" and the "arrow of time".

No frogs were reported to have fallen from Tuesday's stormclouds, BTW, although I'll be on the lookout for a two-headed calf at the State Fair this year.

That was exhausting...

Long dream, lots of stuff happened; another one of those "year in a night" types where you wake up tired.

Near the end of it, I got a job flying for Delta, except it was some very disorganized nightmare version of Delta that gave you hardly any training and then emailed you your schedule and you were expected to fly standby to wherever your first route originated...

Which was how I ended up roaming the tarmac of some airport in Outer Dirkadirkastan in the middle of the night, wary of kidnappers and VBIEDs, getting the stinkeye from shifty-looking Pashtun ground crew and taxi drivers, wondering why I hadn't gotten my uniforms and was it an excused absence if you got lost and the plane you were supposed to be in the right seat of took off without you?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

And now, a word from our sponsors...

That's what it's all about, right there, folks. All of this lineage of technology, from Alexander Graham Bell to Tim Berners-Lee, was for the purpose of bringing you this video on how to use opossums to detect extraterrestrials trying to control your brain.

How perfectly Dada.

Rain, rain, go away...

...I wanna go outside and shoot today.

I really want to put another hundred rounds through the PPX, which would have it up to 485 rounds since I started counting.

I confess that I'm fascinated with the little volkspistole, the more details I notice about it. For instance, the reason it's hammer-fired instead of striker-fired is obvious once you note how much resistance the act of cocking the hammer applies to the slide. This allows them to go with a more lightly-constructed slide, since they're not counting as much on the slide's mass to resist unlocking forces.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Misanthrope's Delight

It has occurred to me that with a sophisticated enough version of Google Glass and a set of noise-canceling earphones, you could have a selective "Ignore" feature in real life.

Talk about your killer apps...


I didn't come here to be sassed by a machine.

So there's this cute little key rack that's supposed to help you ride your bike more...

Okay, let me insert this disclaimer here: If you live in suburbia and commute twenty interstate miles to work, this whole post will be as foreign to you as Tibetan throat singing or the dietary customs of the Maasai. The target demographic is people who live within a few miles of work by surface street or bike path and actually do commute or run errands by bike sometimes.

...anyhow, there's this cute little key rack that's supposed to encourage you to ride your bike more often by dropping the bike key on the floor every time you grab the car key off the hook. It does this so you actually have to pick the bike key up and hold it in your hand, thereby theoretically forcing you to at least stop and consider taking the bicycle after all.

It sounds like an effective gentle behavior modification tool, but I wonder how well the designer really knows how people work.

See, the problem is this: It's not like the prison warden screws this thing to the wall. There's nothing keeping somebody from keeping the car keys on the kitchen counter after the third or fourth annoying key-drop. Or tearing it off the wall and stomping it into scrap in a fit of pique. The only people that are going to put up with its shenanigans are probably already taking the bike or the car based on which is most appropriate for the weather and the trip.

It's like those filter tip things they used to sell to help you quit smoking; the ones that came in the gradated set of five, in increasing steps of filteriness. You were supposed to use filter one for, like, fourteen days or something, and then filter #2 for twelve-and-a-half, and then move to filter three, four, and five at designated intervals et voila! You smoke no more!

But anybody with the discipline to work through that program exactly by the instructions already had the commitment and willpower to just not stick a cigarette in their face in the first place, while anybody who wasn't serious about quitting would just toss the whole goofy mess into the drawer with the Mr. Microphone, the broken Furby, and that undeveloped roll of 35mm film from their trip to Puerto Rico in '98.

It's easy to trick yourself by accident; people do it all the time. But if you try and play head games with yourself on purpose, it doesn't work nearly so well, because you always see it coming.

The Crabby Hermit Kingdom

Giving free P.R. to the upcoming movie The Interview, which is a comedy about a couple of yayhoos recruited by the CIA to whack the Great Leader Dear Leader Great Successor, the Nork government frothed:
"The enemies have gone beyond the tolerance limit in their despicable moves to dare hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership," a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman told the country's state-run news agency Wednesday.
Dude, this is what comes of not having the intertubes in your country. Internet 101, dude: Don't Feed The Trolls. If they get a rise out of you like that, they're just going to keep yanking your chain.

Besides, the movie is obviously just as much making fun of the CIA as it is your Austin Powers-villains-meet-the-Star Wars-cantina national leadership, and you don't see Langley issuing any turgid pressers about it, do you? No, you don't. That's because the CIA are grownups that know how to handle mockery; Franco and Rogen better hire food tasters.

RIP Louis Awerbuck

"They say that when an old man dies, a library burns. We have lost Alexandria." -John Hearne

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

No Dogs Allowed in the Culture Club

So the old custom of eating dog is running into problems with the city-dwelling Chinese equivalent of SWPLs. Emulating the culinary habits of admired foreigners does have a long tradition in most places, although I'll note that as much as your average American NPR listener may reflexively leg-hump anything European like a love-starved Cocker Spaniel, you never see them calling for Secretariat and California Chrome on the menu at Maison d'Locavore.

Somewhere there's a remote mountain village where cows are beloved family pets and the people think I'm a monster.

There is no Bob but Bob... cut the other guy some slack.

Yes, this post is partially an excuse to give and receive Slack with this graphic.
Thank you Malaysian government for backing me up on the fact that "Allah" is just the Arabic word for "God", even if the way you did it is kind of a dick move. A lot of my Christian friends didn't believe me.

Maybe you could let the Catholics use the word "Allah" in their newspapers if they didn't capitalize it? You know, like we here in America do when talking about our neighbor's objects of religious veneration? Is capitalization even a thing in the Jawi alphabet?

Monday, June 23, 2014


"Lemme see your war face!"

I never look like I'm having fun when I'm shooting, which isn't true because I'm generally having a blast.

I liked shooting the SIG 320, but they put the slide release right where my thumb expects to find a 1911 safety, so we're just not fated to be together.

I hate wasting good material at an away game...

(From discussion here.)

Indiana has no training requirement or qual course for an LTCH; fog a mirror, fork over the cash, and you can carry for either five years or the rest of your life, depending on how much cash you forked over. The downside to this is that it really hampers reciprocity in states with strict training requirements. I've mentioned before that New Mexico, with its baroque caliber-related, pistol/revolver qualifications, does not recognize my Hoosier CCW.

For this reason, a faction of state gun owners were championing the idea of some sort of higher-tier überpermit, one with a training and qualification requirement, which would hopefully be recognized in more states than the existing sheet of pink mimeograph paper. (You have to cut a Hoosier permit out yourself, dotted lines being helpfully provided for this purpose, and if it's a lifetime one, you might wanna laminate that thing.)

The thing is that in a few other states that already have these tiered permits, a big sweetener for them was the fact that the upper echelon permit allowed you to carry more places, and there's already hardly anyplace you can't go in Indiana with an LTCH. I don't believe they'll allow carry into K-12 schools or courtrooms, and so there's no real upside to a "Platinum LTCH" here unless you travel a lot, and you can already get most of that covered with UT or FL non-resident permits. The fear of myself and others was that, if they introduced this "Platinum LTCH", our existing no-training, no-qual permits would be put at peril.

The solution? Pass the Upper Tier LTCH program on a bill that replaces the existing one with Constitutional Carry; in effect, going to an Alaska-type system, or one like Arizona's, except that we would leave intact the fact that you can still tote pretty much anywhere. (Reading the fine print on AZ's constitutional carry law, you need a permit to go anyplace that pours beer, which means any restaurant that serves food that doesn't come in brightly-colored cardboard boxes with pictures of clowns on them.)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Amazing Science Fact

Writing the Other Team's ad copy.

There are lots of good designs for self-defense projectiles on the market these days. The latest versions of the HST, Gold Dot, and Ranger work very well for their intended purpose, which is controlled expansion and deep penetration. Penetration of what, exactly, is tastefully and euphemistically left to the reader. (Hint: Ad-bay Uys-gay.)

When you see a company come along that is not speaking in euphemism, but rather couches their performance claims in phrases more appropriate for a vintage Mack Bolan novel ("The Mafia gunsels danced backwards in a ghastly syncopated lambada of death as the trio of 147-grain 9mm manglers from The Executioner's suppressed Beretta 93R ripped through their flesh...") then you should smell hype and assume that buying the stuff will only assist in spreading the derpes epidemic.

Worse than that, though, is when a breathlessly hyperbolic press release is spammed by Douchebag Ammo Co. to the entire right half of the internet, which is bound to lead to this stuff.

If you send a frothy adjective-laden presser about your zomg!DEADLY new bullet to noted firearms/terminal ballistics expert Glenn Beck*, what do you think the gun banners on Team Progressive are going to do about it?

*This is sarcasm. I don't know that Glenn Beck even knows what end the bullets come out of. He's certainly the last guy whose product endorsement I need on my shootin' goodies. That's like a Rachel Maddow endorsed jet ski, or having Rush Limbaugh proclaim that a certain brand of gas chromatograph is okie dokie!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

From the Book of Face last night...

If I had a HAMR,
I'd HAMR in the morning,
I'd HAMR in the evening,
All over this land,
I'd HAMR out danger,
I'd HAMR out a warning,
I'd HAMR out love between,
My brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.
It was hilarious at the time, actually. I guess you hadta be there.

Coal Powered Car!

Seen at the corner of Thirtywhatth and What:

Double the smug output because a Th!nk City is not just electric, it's a locavore car! (American market ones were made in Elkhart.)

They like to say that they're zero-emissions because they have no tailpipe, but that's not entirely true. I've seen this car's tailpipe. It's down off Harding Street; you can't miss it.

It really isn't about duck hunting.

The famous (or infamous) Miller decision that upheld NFA '34 turned on the fact that a sawed-off double-barrel hardware store shotgun had no contemporaneous military purpose and therefore no relevance to a militia. It's pure speculation, but if that dirt-poor moonshiner had been busted with a BAR or Tommy gun, the National Firearms Act would have been a queer historical footnote struck down in 1939 after less than five years.

A lot of gun-grabbers like to name-drop U.S. v. Miller while they're in the middle of some pious speech about how they respect our Second Amendment right to hunt ducks and maybe use the fowling piece to scare burglars off between seasons. This makes it obvious that they haven't read the decision, since Joe Biden's theoretical Perazzi has even less "reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia" than that Depression-era peckerwood's cut-down Stevens.

The Second Amedment doesn't read "A well-taxidermied deer head being necessary to the security of a free state...", which brings us to the latest decision coming out of Pennsylvania, where a judge ruled that
...she could find no proof that courts have extended Second Amendment protections to include recreational hunting.
And it's true. As commenter Geodkyt pointed out over there, if there's a constitutional protection to be found for hunting, it's in the Ninth or Tenth Amendment, or maybe... maybe in some fancy-dan penumbra emanating from our enumerated right to own M249 Squad Automatic Weapons to shoot invaders and tyrants and keep the King of England out of our face. After all, it could be argued that using them on deer would keep one sharp and skilled and would therefore help fulfill the actual purpose of the Second Amendment.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Courthouse Decor...

Putnam County, Indiana courthouse decor
Beats heck outta garden gnomes and pink flamingos...

God's not hard of hearing, pal.

So, there you are, happy with yourself for securing a seat in the emergency exit row (aka "Redneck First Class") and all stretched out catching some Z's, when you are abruptly awakened from a sound sleep by the member of the Junior Muezzin League above.

I'm thinking it's only grogginess that saved Ahmed from a startled nut punch, but maybe that's just me imputing my thoughts and reactions to our impromptu videographer. Look, I don't care if somebody jumps to the exit door and starts inviting me to the Methodist Fish Fry at the top of his lungs: It's rude, freaky, and disturbing. Normal people don't do that.

Now I understand that your religion requires you to pray x number of times per day, but there are specific instructions and dispensations for doing so in unusual circumstances so that you don't either drive those around you up the wall or startle the feces out of them, as the case may be.

In other words, you're just doing this because you've got the right to* and you're gonna exercise it and In Your Face, fellow paying passengers!

As somebody at noted:
"So they are the Islamic Equivalent to Open Carry Activists."
I snorted Diet Dew through my nose...

*FAA rules don't apply on an Etihad Airways flight from AUH to MNL.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I'll have the usual.

There's a certain level of comfort associated with carrying the same gun.

I used to definitely do the whole "If it's Tuesday, I must be carrying the Luger" thing. And I understand the desire, even if you're carrying concealed, to have something cool-looking or pretty on, whether anyone else can see it or not. If people weren't like that, they'd sell nothing but tighty-whities and granny panties in stores and Joe Boxer and Vickie's Secret would be long out of business.

I just don't do the CCW as fashion statement anymore. I haven't for a while. I change carry guns only marginally more frequently than the country changes presidential administrations. I sometimes miss the "Whatcha carryin' today?" easy conversation starter among fellow gun nuts ("Same gun I've been carrying since you've known me, why?") but maybe the time savings from not having to select a gun and holster in the morning is worth it.

I was reflecting on something similar regarding pocket knives in a recent conversation with Marko. I've got... well, dozens, at least, of pocket knives, ranging from fairly pedestrian CRKTs up through a Walter Brend/White Wolf auto that has appreciated to the point where I don't really want to carry it, and yet every day for months now has found me carrying the same Spyderco Delica with the "wave" opener. It's light, handy, has the handy "wave" opener, and I don't spend the time trying to figure out what's going in my pocket this morning: The same thing as yesterday, that's what.

I think it's time to admit to myself that I'm just a creature of habit. I may have all kinds of rationalizations for driving the same car for thirteen years, but maybe I just like knowing where the corners are.

Classic lines...

Sorry for the graininess; the dim light was playing hob with the cell phone camera...
Love the lines... And check out the wire cage skirt guards on the chain guard and rear fender. With the downswept cork-covered bars, leather saddle, and light-colored tires, you'd be the darling of the skinny-jeaned hipster crowd if you showed up at a Midtown gastropub on this genuine turn-of-the century machine spotted at the State Museum the other day.

Didn't we just leave this party?

"While some on Capitol Hill aren't shy about saying (al-Maliki's) days as the Iraqi leader should come to an end, at the White House it's more of a whisper."
Wait, isn't regime change in Iraq how we got into this mess in the first place?

We just can't resist meddling with governments in the Middle East. It's like Lucy and Charlie Brown and the football: Some political cartoonist needs to draw a dude in stereotypical Arabic garb teeing up a little football-sized dictator for a charging Uncle Sam to kick.

We seem to be getting our checklist out of order this time, though... Isn't Diem supposed to get toppled at the beginning of the war, not the end?


So, apparently fighting internet activism on the internet is a thing now?

That's entirely too meta for my tastes, personally.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

To paraphrase Shootin' Buddy...

QotD: Spread The Misery Around Edition

"Did you bring enough gigabit internet for the whole class?"
"Time to do a little thinking about your worldview and recognize that advances have to come gradually and be market tested.  They have to show the ability to survive the market, otherwise we end up with a single car "authorized" by the government and available to all.  And we know how the Lada worked out."

Cargo Cult Carry Handle

Jon Frum have carry handle on carbine. Jon Frum see in dark and kill many opponents.” 
Besides, it’s not like you need to be able to use the gun’s actual irons while you’re holding it over your head and Allahu akhbaring at the other team, or shooting kneeling prisoners in the back of the head.

Since there seems to be some confusion...

...regarding what constitutes a "straw purchase", it's pop quiz time here at VFTP!

Let's say I have an imaginary friend named Joe Blow. Joe is a deacon in his church, a school teacher, an Eagle Scout, and an all-around pillar of the community. He has never had so much as a speeding ticket, and is a fellow resident of the Great State of Indiana.

Now, envision the following two scenarios:
  1. Joe hears that ABC Arms, a gun store near me, has a sale on Blastomatics. Since Joe lives a few counties away, he says to me "Hey, Tam, can you go buy one of those Blastomatics for me? I'll cut you a check to reimburse you and throw it in the mail tomorrow." I go to ABC Arms and buy him the Blastomatic.
  2. Joe hears that a friend of his who lives near me has a Blastomatic for sale. He calls me up: "Hey, Tam, can you go buy that Blastomatic from Fred for me? He wants to do cash face-to-face. I'll cut you a check to reimburse you and throw it in the mail tomorrow." I go to Fred's house and buy him the Blastomatic.
Which of these two scenarios was the federal felony colloquially known as a "straw purchase"?

The answer is "#1". In both cases it could be argued that I am not the actual buyer, but only acting as an agent for the real purchaser, but only in one of them could it be argued that I had committed a federal crime because a "straw purchase" is a crime that consists solely of perjuring yourself on question 11.a on Form 4473(pdf):
Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form? Warning: You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person.
It is not, as I am seeing elsewhere on the 'net, "when you purchase for a buyer you know or suspect to be ineligible."

The BATFEIEIO's own "Don't Lie For The Other Guy!" ad campaign only muddies the water by making people think "Well, Joe Blow's not a crook! He could pass a background check!" 

Abramski was an attempt to get the court to strike down part of GCA '68. It failed. The defendant could have been a more sympathetic one, but sometimes you wind up in SCOTUS with the case you've got, not the one you want.

That '80s Show...

Garelli Supersport XL moped. 50cc's of early '80s fury. With pedals in case you run out of gas, although it's a real beeyotch to pedal any distance, if the memories of a misspent youth are correct...

Nothing says early '80s like a Honda V4. Nothing says "Rat Bike" like flat black paint, bar-end mirrors, and tape-wrapped open pipes. I debated waiting until the rider showed up and asking what he'd take...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday, Mondayer, Mondayest

Woke up early yesterday and stayed up very late, what time is it?

Also there were ominous clouds in the western skies as I was paying out extension cord to mow the front lawn late yesterday afternoon, and so I used the reel mower instead. I feel as though I'd been worked over with a ball bat.

I had a crazy dream that US airstrikes might be supporting Iranian SF units, but there's no way the news guy could have said anything that far-fetched.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

To the guy who was never in the pictures...

...because he was the one holding the camera.

Happy Father's Day, Dad! Hope it's a good one.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

"You have to license cars! SQUAWWWK! You have to license cars!"

I swan, no matter how many times the "treat guns like cars" thing gets stomped, it keeps coming back.

I don't need any license at all to buy any car I want. There's even a private road nearby where I could take an unregistered, unplated, single-seater car with no bumpers, airbags, or even headlights and drive it in circles at 200mph and the government can't say boo about it.

Sure, I have to take a rudimentary test to take the car out on public roads, but I can take it on any public road I want. My Hoosier driver's license will let me drive all over Manhattan or down Mulholland Drive.

I reckon I'd be comfortable with treating guns like cars, but your average anti gunner wouldn't.


So, I was in a splendid mood last night. Good weather this weekend. Plans. Stuff to do today and tomorrow. Chattin' away with some friends on the intertubes, when...

I snapped the crown off an incisor biting into pizza.

Festive. Just what I needed. The timing almost literally could not have been worse.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Steel Yourself

Part of the Year Of Not Shooting So Suckily is going to involve getting out there and shooting against other people, because it's way too easy to fool yourself without a clock and someone keeping score.

I'm thinking that Friday Night Steel at MCF&G looks like fun. Can't make tonight, but I'll be there for the next one. (And then there's bowling pins, which is just big, dirty fun.)


At least future generations will have an intact stabbed-in-the-back, we-won-on-the-battlefield, Democrat-CongressAdministration-wouldn't-support-our-ally mythos.

Who says history doesn't repeat itself?

It's not like you couldn't see it coming...

Despite certain optimistic Neocon Hawks assuring us that inside every Iraqi was a Walmart-shoppin' bass-fishin' HOA-belongin' Steelers fan just dyin' to get out, it keeps not being the case.

I'm surprised anybody can hear the gunfire over the sound of everyone who was talking Balkanization eight years ago high-fiving each other for their smug perspicacity.

The whole thing feels like a 2014 DJ playing a '90s grunge cover of a '70s stadium rock favorite.

We've got the '75 Spring Offensive, with outside-backed forces reinforced from a safe foreign enclave sending the running dog Southern lackeys of Uncle Sam fleeing, overrunning piles of US equipment that had been left behind to arm our wobbly ally.

We've got the setup for future generations of antiwar liberals and libertarian skeptics to repeat the "You created Bin Laden!" argument because, hey, how many of those fighters streaming in from Syria are packing heat that may or may not have been funneled from post Ka... Qa... Gaddafi Libya.

The Kurds, seeing that they better get what they can get while the getting is good, are grabbing Kirkuk. May as well set up your own 'Stan while everybody else is, I guess. That's gotta make Turkey all kinds of warm and fuzzy.

Let's see how sporty this gets.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Garand Prize

For those who haven't yet seen it, Keads went to a three-day Intensive Maintenance class at the CMP facility in Anniston, Alabama to learn the ins and outs of the US Rifle, Cal. .30, M1, and has been posting photo-laden reviews:
Getting into these classes is tricky, as the available seats for the year tend to fill up within 30 minutes of the course schedule being announced...

Going Rogue...

My baby dwarven rogue, chillin' in an Ironforge bar...
A large portion of my World of Warcrack experience thus far has been with the two classes where I've worked a character from 0 to level 90: A hunter and a monk. This rogue is different and a lot of fun.

There's a typical quest type that I've always found vexing and annoying: You'll be in some remote village or outpost and the local honcho will complain that the surrounding area is beset by (monsters/bandits/fiends from the nether hells) and they're led by The Big Baddie who is sure to be lurking in yon (cave/abandoned mine/ancient tunnel system) and would you please go kill him? In return, we'll give you some cash and these fabulous magic sandals!

With the hunter, who uses a bow or a gun and has a handy pet companion, this means shooting your way in, moving from position to position, with your trusty velociraptor or panther or giant crab or whatever moving ahead of you and tying up the baddies in fisticuffs while you shoot them off him. Then, after you get to the bottom of the caverns and whack the Big Baddie, as often as not you have to shoot your way back out past the monsters that have re-spawned in the wake of your slow advance.

With the monk, it takes just as long, but you have less time to bathe in the tedium, since you're more or less engaged in a constant flurry of punching, kicking, and whacking guys over the head with a bo staff, all the way down to the Big Baddie, counting on your self-healing mojo to keep you from turning up half-dead on his doorstep.

Ah, but with the rogue? With the rogue you just go into stealth, stroll down the tunnels right past all his minions, walk up behind Mr. Big Baddie, cosh him over the noggin, empty his pockets, do a squillion burst damage points in a sudden backstab, re-stealth yourself, and walk back out to collect your paycheck. Easy peasy and let's go save the next village.

I am enjoying this immensely.

I think we can all agree...

...that to even the moderately clueful, a vest like that only conceals what kind of gun you're carrying. That said, let's watch The Nicest Guy In The Shooting Sports:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Three yards and a cloud of dust.

Michiganders continue to move the gun rights ball downfield a bill (or two) at a time.

Meanwhile, in Illinois, a freshly-minted CCW'er gets started on his box o' holsters.

Do you know your state legislators? If you're a Hoosier, you can find out here.

Did we all learn our lesson?

If one teenager caps another teenager, you will never even hear about it...

...unless he does it on school property, in which case it's a MASS! SCHOOL! SHOOTING! and you get a presidential news conference and everything. No doubt all the bullied kids lusting for revenge and burning to air their grievances are taking notes here.

Networks don't care, though, because look how much dish powder you can sell with these kinda ratings! Netflix may have Orange Is The New Black, but they ain't got dead kids and S.W.A.T. teams!

"If we play our cards right," think the broadcast newsrooms, "we can stay in the black and relevant for another ten, twenty years! They can't TiVo through this stuff!"

Summertime In SoBro...

Yeah, yeah, actual summer doesn't start for a while yet, and daily highs have been running ten degrees below normal here, and there's apparently still some ice floating around Lake Superior, but if there's anything I learned as a kid, it's that summertime starts in the first week of June.

Scarlet Lane Brewing has the best beer delivery truck evar. Their saison is pretty yummy, too. I am told that, yes, there is a coffin-shaped cooler in the back.

Max Velocity

So, the other day I decided it was time to go ahead and rotate out the carry ammunition in my heater. I went to the ammo stash and grabbed the partial box of Winchester Ranger-T 127gr +P+ so I could refill the magazine and started to head for the door when I had an idea.

The M&P 357 also had a full magazine, left over from when I carried it last October, of Winchester Ranger-T 125gr ammo. I could take the chrono to the range and compare the two velocities out my own guns, because I'm all nerdy like that. Would .357SIG really be that much faster than the hot nine? Or was it just 9mm +P++, like some people (including me) kept insisting?

I got to the range, set up the chronograph in one of the pistol bays, and drew my pistol. I checked the headstamp on the top round in the mag, just to double-check: Yup, it said "+P+" right on it. Aiming through the skyscreens eight feet away, I cranked off a slow string of ten shots, then cleared the gun, set it down, and went to look at the numbers.

LO: 935
HI: 1220...

What. The. Hell?

That works out to an...

 ES: 285

You could probably buy better consistency than that in a Peshawar back alley. Something was fishy...

I went back and checked the mag on the table. Sure enough, none of the other rounds in there were headstamped +P+. Some time during last winter, I had apparently put a magazine full of RA9T 147gr ammo in the gun, just by swapping the magazines and without changing the chambered round. Then, when I cleared the gun for the last Indy 1500, I reloaded by rotating the chambered round to the top of the mag, so that when I dropped the mag to check, I saw the expected 127gr +P+ round on top of the stack.

I clanged steel with the rest of the magazine and then loaded it with ten rounds of actual RA9TA +P+ from the box I'd brought.

LO: 1190
HI: 1230
AV: 1206
ES: 39.34
SD: 11.13

Okay, that was more like what I'd been expecting. Winchester claims 1250 at the muzzle out of a four inch test barrel; 1206 at eight feet out of a real gun falls into "close enough for government work", and with a pretty impressive level of consistency, too.

Now for the .357SIG...

FWIW, I don't think the M&P 357 is that much trickier to shoot than +P-type street loads in the nine. It's louder, and chucks the brass halfway to Ohio (at least comparatively; it's no CZ-52, whose ejected brass is moving fast enough to make major) but the difference in splits isn't noticeable without a timer.

The tale of the tape for the .357SIG was:

LO: 1314
HI: 1394
AV: 1350
ES: 79.63
SD: 24.18

So, the velocity is spot on what Winchester claimed it would be, and close to 150fps faster than the nine. Is it worth it? I mean, it's harder to find, more expensive to shoot, holds two fewer BBs in the tank, and there's always that picture to bear in mind:

There was a time when I absolutely bought the death ray hype. Other than that P228 I used back in the early '90s for purse carry because I didn't trust a Glock in there, and my romance with the P7M8 back at the turn of the Millennium, I never carried a nine until I bought the M&P three years ago. I was all about .40 and 10mm and .357SIG, and then from '03 until just recently it was all .45ACP, all the time...

I dunno.

Anyway, I put the .357 back in the range bag, reloaded the M&P 9 with fresh BBs, holstered it up, and drove home.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

You... you... patriot, you!

So, as background emerges on Mickey and Mallory Knox, New Vegas Edition, the crowd at HuffPo has practically popped a chubby over their wookie-suiter roots. To read commentary around the net, these mopes may have held the guns, but Wayne LaPierre lined up the sights and Rand Paul pulled the trigger.

Of course this miserably fails the ideological Turing test, which is much easier for me to pass than it is for my opponents on gun issues or even general politics. They may actually skim the occasional article in American Rifleman or on PJ Media to bone up for a hit piece, but I can't help but swim in their stuff; it's so ubiquitous that you have to deliberately avoid it if you don't want to get it all over you.

I know their side of the story because I hear it all the time on NPR and NBC, in the editorial commentary disguised as neutral journalism. They, on the other hand, only know that "Those Gun People" come from "The Right", which is some kind of amorphous blob, an undifferentiated mix of Nazis and National Review, Ron Paul and Ronald Reagan, Jonah Goldberg and compound-dwelling Jew-haters, the Klan and Palin and Vanderboegh.

If you want to really get your civil war on, you gotta Other the opposition, and Team Open-Minded Non-Judgmental seems to be keepin' up with the Bob Joneses here.

Elsewhere on the intertubes...

...somebody asked about used guns. They wanted to know what people thought about buying used versus new. I replied
Out of all the handguns I've purchased over the years, only a handful have been new.

I have no problem letting someone else take the depreciation hit. Most people don't even shoot the things anyway. If used cars were like used guns, they'd all have fifty miles on 'em and factory air in the tires.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Ordnung Muss Sigh.

When I moved to Indiana, I had the pistol magazine situation under control. All I needed were full-size magazines for .45 ACP 1911-pattern pistols, and I was golden. I'd sold the CCOs and Compacts, sold the .38 Supers and 10mm Autos, and long ago sold off all the Glocks and SIGs and HKs and whatnot; as long I remembered to throw an extra Wilson 47D in every order from Brownells, I was set on handgun mags for good.

I can't remember which came first, the Para LTC in 9mm or the Ruger 22/45, but suddenly there was another kind of magazine to keep in stock, to stuff in the range bag.

Then I switched from carrying the 1911 to the M&P 9 and all the 1911 mags, .45 and 9x19, moved to a plastic tub in the attic and the mag pocket on the range bag was stuffed with Ruger .22 and Smith 9 mags.

Then came the Glock 19, which meant Glock mags. Okay, don't need a bunch of those. Then, during the previous 9mm panic, I got that M&P 357, and I have to keep track of those mags too, but mark 'em differently and store 'em so they don't get mixed in with the 9 mags.

Then along came these various plastic guns that I'm trying out of curiosity and I find I've got a big Danner shoebox full of mags from FN and Walther and Glock and I don't know who all else... and, oh yeah, the extra mags for that little .32 double-stack Beretta... and I feel so... so... disorganized.

Grinding along...

140 rounds of rimfire, 50 more rounds of WWB through the Glock 19, and 35 rounds through the PPX. (I had partial boxes of Winchester's "Train" and "Defend" loads left over from testing the EAA gun for the magazine. Both the JHP and the truncated cone FMJ ran fine in the Walther.)

Below is the target after the Ruger 22/45 and the Glock 19. Still working on speed on the Glock. My SHO shooting needs work, too. (That would be the source of the egregious dropped shot, there.)

Sunday, June 08, 2014

It was the "Kick Me" sign that did it.

I normally don't engage these kids because, to be perfectly frank, I could post a picture of poop and get more retweets than Shannon's organization has members*, but the retort was too obvious to pass up...

*Like most of these anti-gun astroturf organizations, they're well bankrolled and persistent with press releases, and so draw a lot of notice from a sympatico media, but when it comes time to put meat in seats, they just don't have the Wheaties. There'll be more people at the Friday Night Steel match at MCF&G next week than have ever attended any "anti gun rally" in Indianapolis, and probably by a factor of three or four.

"Oh, Government! Is there anything you can't dick up?"

Looks like the rain has mostly stopped...

...time for a tasty Broad Ripple brunch and then off to the range with Shootin' Buddy.

Because, as somebody said in the comments here or at Facebook, "if you don't shoot weekly, you'll shoot weakly." I'm making that my new mantra. Since it's a weekend, we'll be going to Iggle Crick.

Permanent steel targets in the pistol bays at Marion County Fish & Game
Of course, this year I've been trying to get my money's worth out of my membership at MCF&G on weekdays, too. I shudder to think of what it worked out to on a per-visit basis last year... Bonus: MCF&G now allows working from the holster in the pistol bays.

Considering that MCF&G is right in the shadow of I-465 and a stone's throw from the track, it's a surprisingly idyllic setting. Right after I snapped that picture and put my phone away, the other shooter in the bay told me to turn around. Lo and behold, there was Bambi's mom and sister, ambling across the clearing between the creek and the pond.

It's as though wildlife knows that a shootin' range is about the safest place for it. I'm told they occasionally had to pause matches to shoo deer off the rifle ranges at ORSA back in Tennessee...

Friday, June 06, 2014

"Gentlemen, start your soldering irons!"

One lucky alpha geek will win a trip to space.


...they played a snippet of Brian Williams' interview with President Obama that's supposed to air tonight. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Obama reflected on his own connection to D-Day. Apparently some uncle's nephew's cousin's brother's best friend served in the ETO.

I realize that one needs to be an iron tower of ego to even apply for the job in the first place, but damn! Talk about wanting needing to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral. Sometimes you just have to stare in slack-jawed amazement as you realize "This guy has absolutely no clue how full of himself he sounds to normal people."

D-Day, H-Hour

At 0630 hours Normandy time, seventy years ago today, the bow ramps dropped on landing craft off the beaches of France, and a generation of young American men would stumble off them, through the bullet-churned water, and into immortality.
Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Forces: You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!

Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.
With those words from General Eisenhower in their pockets, the men of the 29th and 1st Infantry Divisions went ashore at Omaha beach. Largely inexperienced, facing tricky tides, clever beach defenses, and the murderously accurate fire of the veteran German 352nd Infantry Division, they floundered through the blood-streaked surf to the rocky shingle of the French coast. Despite hideous losses (A Company, of the 116th Regiment, landing in the zone known as "Dog White", within minutes had only a couple of dozen men left out of 200; only one officer was still alive as of 0640, and all their sergeants were dead or wounded,) they fought on and secured the beaches.

It was perhaps the finest hour of American arms and on this anniversary today, as world leaders pose and pontificate and relate "their connection" to these events that took place before they were even conceived, nod and applaud politely, but mostly remember those whose connection to Normandy is through their blood in the grass and their bones in the soil.

Oh, and Airborne, Mr. Martin!

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #95...

Your Moment of Zen
3.5" 1964-vintage Smith & Wesson Model 27-2. If I had a favorite firearm out of the ones I own, this would be it.

The amount of handwork that went into the highly-polished top-of-the-line Model 27 in the pre-Bangor Punta days is not to be found on... well, pretty much any production gun today, outside of custom house 1911s and a handful of kraut boutique waffenhauses.

Who's yer state org?

Did I mention that our state rifle & pistol organization has moved boldly forward into 2004 and now accepts Paypal for memberships? Because it totally does.

Words Have Meanings.

For almost thirteen years I have been told by my government that we were fighting terrorists and "illegal combatants". Now I've got Jay Carney, outgoing Mouth of Sauron, referring to Bergdahl as a "prisoner of war". I didn't know terrorists took those; I thought they had "hostages"? I'm glad to see I'm not the only person left scratching their head over this bit of semantic legerdemain.

As an aside, Mr. Carney, now that you're leaving, I'm going to go ahead and say what everybody's been thinking during your tenure: Permanent Babyface shouldn't be a disqualifier for many jobs, but White House Spokesdrone is definitely one of them. It takes all the gravitas out of a situation when news of national or international import is being delivered by someone who looks like they're going to suddenly start making excuses for a missing homework assignment.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

I'm not ignoring you...'s just that I have to shuffle these paragraphs around until they form a more coherent narrative and don't read like a gun review for ADHD Quarte... Hey, Let's Go Ride Our Bikes!

It's an "adversarial"system, but...

...the judge isn't supposed to be one of the adversaries.

I googled up the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct just to double-check, and it's sure enough right there in black and... well, black and that unfortunate shade of legal-pad yellow they picked for a background:
A Judge Shall Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in all of the Judge's Activities 
Hmmm... Does this obvious display of emotional incontinence open up any previous verdicts the judge had handed down in battery cases and the like to appeal?

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Not to belabor a point...


Apparently some kid is down a well.

Rannie is all chatterbox-y and affectionate right now. If I don't keep my chair pulled in so that my belly button touches the edge of the desk, she hops up in my lap with a "Mrowrr!" and reaches up with a paw to pat me on the cheek while chirping and chortling and buzzing away.

I'm sure this has something to do with food, but I pretend it's because she likes me. It doesn't make writing any easier, I can tell you.

"Open the microwave door, HAL..."

In a sweeping move to incentivize the development of burger-flipping robots, Seattle has jacked the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour. This is going to be phased in gradually and will apply to big businesses first, because everybody knows that size is evil and must be mocked and punished, whether it's in corporations, SUVs, or the kid with the Star Wars lunchbox on the playground.

The only things that should be allowed to be big are things that let us feel virtuous, like whales, redwoods, or government!

Franchisees will apparently be punished along with their corporate overlords. It doesn't matter if you only own the one storefront and have five employees, counting your wife and kid, Mr. Subway: You're the face of Big Sandwich, and you're getting both barrels of our faux-proletariat parlor revolutionary outrage, right alongside your masters in Bridgeport. #OccupyFiveDollarFootLongs!

Well, Seatllites, get ready for long(er) checkout lines. In retrospect, though, it's not like you couldn't see this coming.

As a homework assignment, I'm off to find out how many people on the city council there have ever had to make a payroll or even fill out an employee schedule.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Range Notes...

4.5" on the right and 5.0" on the left. From a 3.6"-barreled compact 9mm at 25 yards, I guess I'll take it.

I might need glasses for 25-yard shooting.

Incidentally, I am impressed with how consistent Winchester's 9mm "Train" and Defend" loads are. This is the sort of thing I never would have realized without a chronograph.

Dream Job...

I dreamed I was living someplace that looked very like the Pacific Northwet, and I was interviewing for a job with this start-up company that used all kinds of rapid prototyping and CNC machining technologies (some of which only existed in my dream) to make all kinds of whimsical and one-off firearms designs to the customer's order.

Basically, you'd sit down with your consultant, a computer monitor, and stacks of books, and spec out this fantastical piece of your dreams. Within an hour or so, voila! The elves in the back room workshop would have it done and roll your .22 Gatling pistol or full-auto double-barrel bullpup shotgun out into the showroom on a wheeled cart and whip the white sheet off in a dramatic reveal.

I really, really wanted that gig.

The dream was probably inspired by the fact that this one guy who sets up at the Indy 1500 who always has interesting stuff, from Bulldog Gatlings and 8-bore underlever doubles to StG44s, had a Fuchs .416 bolt-action double rifle sitting there with the bolt out where you could see the mechanical weirdness and wonder.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

What's the area code for 1994?

"We can't stop here! This is soybean country!"
Lotta windshield time today.

Sometimes I wish I could pass the road time by dialing the younger me that was sitting there sweating half to death behind the gun shop counter in the summer of 1994...

'94 Me: "So... whatcha doin' there in the future?"

'14 Me: "Huh? Well, today I drove the BMW roadster up to Sand Burr Gun Ranch and just, you know, hung out with Mas Ayoob and shot T&E guns with other people's ammo, the way one does on the weekends."

'94 Me: "No, seriously."

'14 Me: "Livin' the dream, kiddo. Don't forget to work on your apostrophes."

The 320 shot nicely, but oh that slide stop.

Guns and grails.

I mentioned the other day that I'd like to have an old Peacemaker of some sort someday. Here's the thing: With gun collecting, that's a completely attainable goal. A surprising number of what we refer to as "grail guns" are within reach of ordinary mortals.

Now, one would absolutely need to be a person of some means to be a serious collector of old Colt's single-actions. Even the cheapest shooter-grade First Generation SAA is gonna be a grand or two, and nice ones are priced more like cars or real estate. Enough Single Action Armies to qualify as a "collection" is gonna be getting into serious money pretty quickly.

But suppose you don't want to collect? Suppose you just want that one shooter-grade Peacemaker to take to the range every now and again, and maybe take apart and clean while you watch Lonesome Dove DVDs? A tangible link to the old frontier that you can touch and hold and call your very own? Well, that's pretty doable, then.

Old Colts, as well as Trapdoor Springfields, Spencer carbines, GI 1911s, Lugers... Stay away from the rarest variants and be willing to accept a worn finish and some mismatched serial numbers and suddenly an awful lot of really cool and historic guns fall into that price range of used motorcycle/nice entertainment system/photography hobby/Florida vacation; a price range that is attainable by most folks via a bit of judicious brown-bagging of lunches.

And unlike that used motorcycle or home entertainment system, a classic gun won't be a thoroughly-depreciated paperweight five or ten years later. A Luger or Peacemaker might not be an "investment" in the hardest fiscal sense of the term, but they at least tend to keep up with inflation (and they're a lot more fun to take to the range than a stock certificate.)

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #94...

Third from the top? Yeah, that's a Vickers-Armstrong .276 Pedersen. Don't see those every day.

(Incidentally, the guns in the RIA display all had their firing pins still in them, unlike the guns out for coonfingering in the manufacturer's booths. Hence the zip ties.)