Monday, November 30, 2015

Not-So-Good Hands...

I liked being able to install the parts on the Glock myself. I'm notoriously un-handy, so that was a good feeling.

I've assembled an AR lower, fit a 1911 trigger and fire control parts, detail-stripped and reassembled a Smith Hand Ejector, mounted and boresighted a scope... None of this is stuff that comes easy for me, so I get a huge sense of accomplishment from doing stuff that most people see as a pretty routine task.

Range Updates...

Quick updates on the two test guns...

Stopped by the shop on Saturday with some Remington .380 ammo I'd originally purchased from Tactical Defense Solutions for the BG380 test.

150 rounds of Remington FMJ through the P250. More finger on the trigger fixed the shooting left problem. This stuff was unusually flashy; bright white muzzle flash was visible on many shots, even with the fairly well-lit conditions in the stall.

That's 400 rounds fired since the gun was last cleaned or lubricated, with no malfunctions of any type to report. 1,600 rounds to go.

Sunday morning before opening the shop, I took advantage of a little free time and stepped onto the range with the Glock 37 and a box of fifty rounds of S&B 230gr that I'd purchased from the store. Really liking the new trigger setup. The Tango Down Vickers Tactical Slide Stop installation seems to have worked, too. Go Team Me!

The gun shoots well.

The Glock 37 has now fired 270 rounds since it was last cleaned or lubed, with one parts breakage. 1,730 rounds to go.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

For those about to Glock...

So, last Monday night at work, I installed the ZEV connector and NY1 trigger spring combination from Brownells. This was actually the first time I'd done this myself. Myriad videos, diagrams, and step-by-step instructions are available on the intertubes to assist.

The factory trigger (called a 5.5# pull) weighed six pounds, according to my RCBS fish scale. Typical of a Glock trigger, there was a long, almost weightless takeup, and then a crunchy six pound break. With the ZEV connector and NY1 spring, there's a continuous weight on the trigger through the pull, and then a more defined break; similar in character to a DA revolver trigger but with much less travel. It measured seven pounds on the RCBS scale.

Tuesday afternoon, I took it out on the range to try my handiwork. This happened:


Sure enough, in the process of removing or reinstalling the slide stop, the slide stop spring had ceased functioning. Free to flop around all broke-dick, the slide stop was bouncing up and engaging under recoil. I held it down with my thumb and finished off the box of ammo. (S&B 230gr FMJ purchased at work.)

I probably need a little more finger on the trigger, but truthfully my mind was more on the slide stop issues than on pistol marksmanship.

When I got home, I got on Amazon and ordered a Tango Down Vickers Tactical Slide Stop which, thanks to the magic of Amazon Prime, arrived on my doorstep the next day. I installed it Thanksgiving evening and it seems to work fine.

Incidentally, this was an Amazon purchase, too. The Safariland ALS Concealment Paddle Holster ships with both paddle and belt loop attachments, and at less than forty bucks is a vastly superior alternative to the Fobus and Derpa competition.

The Glock 37 has now fired 220 rounds since it was last cleaned or lubed, with one parts breakage. 1,780 rounds to go.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Stocking stuffers...

Books that no person who CCWs should be without:

Fifty more...

Before I left work on Wednesday, I stepped out on the range and ran a box of Sig Sauer's .380 FMJ through the P250...
I'm getting a little comfortable with the DA trigger, although I can't seem to isolate the cause of the high-and-left shot placement.

If you look at the magazine, you can see the row of dimples just forward of the aft edge. This is from the spacer used to allow the stubbier .380 rounds to work inside the mag tube which is sized for 9x19mm.

That's 250 rounds fired since the gun was last cleaned or lubricated, with no malfunctions of any type to report. 1,750 rounds to go.

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #139...

Saw this one in the showcase at Premier Arms and couldn't pass it up. Sure, the trigger is derpy and Tru-Glo TFOs aren't my favoritest sights but still... Best guess is a 1992 born-on date. Combine that old-school Gen 2 cool with a nice stippling job and some other tasteful customizing, and I was all a-swoon. This thing's got "Future Carry Gun" written all over it.

Thursday, November 26, 2015



Things that have migrated from the internet to become Thanksgiving traditions here at Roseholme Cottage:
From the yelling in the kitchen,interspersed with the CHICKENY chorus, I believe the itnitial stages of turducken are being perpetrated.


Well... I certainly dragged ass getting out of bed today. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #138...

Sig Sauer P250 Compact in .380ACP

Pew! Pew! Pew!

Stopped in at the shop yesterday long enough to put another hundred rounds through the test P250; fifty rounds of Lucky Gunner's Fiocchi .380 FMJ and fifty rounds of nasty, steel-cased 91gr TulAmmo FMJ.

The gun continued to run fine. That's 200 rounds fired since the gun was last cleaned or lubricated, with no malfunctions of any type to report. 1,800 rounds to go.

Weird dreams...

Spent a long time in my dream last night getting chased through gantries and catwalks at dizzying heights. It was some sort of high-altitude docking complex for these balloons with gondolas like the Breitling Orbiter. Me and Jack Burton were running from Snake Plissken and Dennis Hopper's character from Waterworld.

I do not even pretend to know what that was all about.


For my foreign affairs post this morning, I'll just recycle this one from last month. I find myself wishing more than ever that Admiral Painter had run a more vigorous campaign in '08; I get a feeling that the geopolitical landscape would have been very different.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Overheard on the Internet...

New Project

So, Sig Sauer is adding .380 to the caliber options for their P250 line of pistols. In the Compact size, this means a pistol roughly comparable in size to a P229 or Glock 19, but a 15-shot .380 ACP instead of 9mm.

.380 generally being considered an inferior cartridge to 9mm for self defense, why would someone choose it over the equivalent nine?

Well, this is the easiest slide to cycle on any centerfire pistol I have ever handled in all my born days. Because it's a short-recoil operated pistol and not a straight blowback gun, the recoil spring is very light. In order to make the recoil-operation work with only the impulse of a .380's recoil to drive it, they had to make several other modifications...

The chamber area has several lightening cuts milled in it, while the top of the barrel hood rises at a more pronounced angle than the 9mm version.

The underside of the slide also shows where some mass has been pared.

The gun shoots fine. I fired ninety rounds of Lucky Gunner's Fiocchi .380 through it (I let The Jack fire the last ten) and it ran fine. The gun ran flat, with hardly any muzzle flip and was extremely pleasant to fire when compared to comparably-sized blowback .380s like those from Beretta and Taurus.

Obviously the P250's double-action-only trigger is going to take some getting used to for me. Once I realized I needed more finger on the trigger, my point-of-impact shifted toward the center, rather than high and left.

So, that's a hundred rounds through the gun. Let's shoot 1,900 more and see what happens, eh? Because if it runs like I hope it will, this thing would be a boon to people who, for reasons of infirmity, can't manage a regular nine. This'd be one hell of a Grandma Gun...


So, I was only half-joking when I said I was going to take a part-time gig at the neighborhood gun store wiping down counter tops and sweeping floors for a few hours a week in exchange for range time and an employee discount. I figured I could spare a dozen hours or so a week at retail clerk wages, since the upside was having a place where I could, say, shoot test groups for magazine articles at 25 yards in January without having to trudge back and forth through the snow to change targets.

Well, my plan was foiled when they decided they were hiring a new retail manager. Seeing as how my long-term plans for world domination pretty much require a successful and thriving FFL with an indoor range just blocks from my house, I took the gig, with the proviso that it not impede my travel plans for my budding gun-writing career.

Unfortunately, this means I have to re-accustom myself to having a schedule, and on this schedule, Tuesday is my Saturday. Or maybe my Sunday. I can't decide which, since I split my days off up so as to have a weekend off day for fun and a weekday off day for getting stuff done. Working two on, one off, three on, one off may mean you never have two days off in a row, but it also means "Friday Night" is never more than three days away.

Anyhow, my long-term goal here is to get the floor set up so that everything can be run off a checklist handily and I can hand the keys to my successor and go back to wiping counters for a couple hours a week.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sight Upgrade

The sights that came on the 37, while technically night sights, were about half as bright as a dead firefly. Of course, they were nine years old.

Just used as plain irons, they didn't work so hot for me, either. The front was low and needed re-blacking...
 ...and while the rear notch allowed a modicum of daylight on either side of the front blade, it was shallow.

I went to Brownells for Ameriglo CAP sights. Rather than re-invent the wheel, I'll just send y'all to go read ToddG's review of these sights. I figured they were worth a whirl.

As easy to pick up as any front sight, and yet a usable square post for precise shooting.
The CAP rear sight.

I took it out to the range and fired a box of S&B 230gr FMJ through it. The new sights were definitely easier to acquire when shooting fast.

This makes 190 rounds fired through the gun since it was last cleaned or lubed. No malfunctions of any type to report. 1,810 rounds to go.

Sweet Release

The factory Glock magazine catch can be a pain. It takes a determined press to release cleanly, and this isn't made any easier by the fact that the rear edge of the catch is nearly flush with the grip. Get into a mag change in a hurry and have your thumb just a bit too far back, and your thumb can bottom out against the frame before the catch is depressed far enough to release the magazine.

Factory competition-oriented Glocks come with a much more positive mag catch that sticks further out and is easier to release cleanly, but the competition unit comes with its own problems in that it sticks far enough out that it is easier to jostle by accident, plus it has sharp corners at the rear, and sharp corners are generally uncool on carry guns.

For years, the hot ticket was to buy or somehow source a Glock factory extended mag catch, grind it down just a little, re-serrate it, and round off the rear corners, and thus have yourself a groovy mag release on your carry gun that had all the upsides of the competition part with none of the downsides.

But what about lazy people and those of us with ten thumbs who shouldn't be trusted with tools capable of grinding plastic? How were we supposed to get a mag catch like that?

Vickers Tactical and Tango Down to the rescue!

Other than sights, I think it's the only nearly mandatory upgrade on a stock Gen 3 factory Glock. Other stuff is personal preference, but this is just a dramatic improvement for next to nothing, cost-wise.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Like a happy little boy pulling the wings off flies...

Coming Attractions...

Watch This Space...

Same Planet, Different Worlds...

Oho! The Odious Wilson is coming in for scrutiny amongst the chattering classes! They seem to have just discovered that Progressive pioneer Woodrow, first Democrat to be reelected to consecutive terms since that violent hick Andrew Jackson, was a loathsome racist who re-segregated federal service and viewed legal segregation as a (and I quote) "boon" to the poor inferior Blacks.

He was an avid follower of all sorts of social Darwinist nonsense, believed people were sheep who needed strong leaders, and thought he was just that leader. He was a darling of, and inspiration to,  cartoonish Italian strongman Mussolini. He wrote that the Constitution was too cumbersome because of its extensive checks and balances, making it difficult for the government to rule efficiently, as though that were a bug rather than Madison's painstakingly-developed feature.

So the Left is finally going to properly revile this old proto-Fascist who has haunted their family tree, eh? Not so fast...
We must also recognize the positive side of his legacy: the federal income tax, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Trade Commission, the Clayton Anti-Trust Act, and the other notable achievements of his domestic policy known as the "New Freedom" that in many ways served as a precursor to Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal.
Ah. It's just the racist stuff that's bad.

Okay then.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Uh huh. No doubt.

The power transmission lines from Ukraine to the Crimean peninsula have been blowed up by mysterious forces!
Images circulated on social media appeared to show Ukrainian flags attached to the damaged pylons.

Crimea was annexed by Russia last year, but the Ukrainian authorities have continued to supply power to the area.

"Crimea is completely cut off," Viktor Plakida, the director of Crimea Energy, told Russia's Tass news agency.
Just give Ivan his land corridor to Crimea or these "activists" are going to keep Gliwice-ing you until they can gin up enough of a casus belli to take it. Frankly, everybody else's plate is full right now, so you might as well get to Finlandizing.

They said the ground was too warm...

They said the ground was too warm and that the snow wouldn't stick to the pavement.

They were sorta right; it is melting off the pavement, but it's coming down faster than it's melting off. It's the pretty kind of snow, clumps of wet fluff the size of tiny kittens that fall from the sky and stack up on things photogenically. This is also unfortunately the kind of snow that brings down branches and power lines.

Subie weather for sure.

2,000 rounds...finally.

So, with a hundred rounds left of the 2,000-round total, I grabbed two boxes of Lucky Gunner's .45ACP and took the CCA 1911 out on the range to stagger across the finish line.

I should preface this by noting that the pistol, which hadn't seen a drop of lubricant in two months or any cleaning for nearly two cases of ammo, spent the night before this range session in the trunk of my car on a sub-freezing night. It was still cold to the touch on the range.

Bone dry and icy cold.
I loaded a magazine, inserted it in the mag well, used the overhand rack method just in case the extra bit of impetus might help, and watched it the slide ooze and shudder forward along the frame rails, stopping half an inch out of battery. I pushed it the rest of the way closed with my thumb, fired a round, watched it stop half an inch out of battery, pushed it the rest of the way closed with my thumb, lather, rinse, repeat.

I'll be honest, I stopped counting. I fired that first box of fifty rounds, and if a third of them went without me having to nudge the slide closed, I'll eat my hat.

After the first box of fifty, I took the pistol into the gunsmith's shack. I grabbed the first stuff that came to hand (an aerosol can of Break-Free CLP) and, locking the slide to the rear, glorped some on the underside of the slide and wet my finger off that and schmeared that on the muzzle. I held the gun muzzle-down for a sec to let everything trickle down into the frame rails and then ran the slide a couple times.


It felt like a new gun again, dirt or no. I took it out to the range and ran through the final fifty rounds as fast as I could stuff them into mags and shoot them into the target, ignoring the spray of black CLP flying off the filthy pistol and freckling my face and hands. No more malfs, of course.

CLP to the rescue.
Moral of the story: On an older style gun with large bearing surfaces between the frame rails and slide, lube is important. You'll notice that the gun performed okay for about the first three or four weeks and the first thousand rounds, but once it got good and dried out, it was a mess.

Mind you, this is a gun that went through a two-day, thousand-round class right out of the box and fired probably another thousand rounds after that without a hiccup; obviously neglecting lubricant is far worse than dirt. Something to think about if you choose to carry a gun like this daily.


The last hundred rounds.
This brings the total rounds fired to 2,000, all but the last fifty since the weapon was cleaned or lubricated, with fifteen a bunch of failures to go into battery (rounds #356, #1,085, #1,247, #1,492, #1,514, #1,578, #1,627, #1,663, #1,717, #1,774, #1,815, #1,823, #1,847, #1,858, #1,883, most of the rounds between #1,900 and #1,950), three failures to feed on rounds #513 and #1,724, $1,851, a failure to feed a round of Hornady Critical Duty +P on round #927, and a failure to eject a round of Hornady Critical Duty +P on round #930.


Fourteen+ consecutive hours in bed.

If I'm reading the thermometer right, I'm back to 98.6°F.

I've got a metric crap-ton of work to catch up on before I head into the shop early this afternoon.

Friday, November 20, 2015


Yeah, that's unfun.

On the other hand, I dozed feverishly through the local daytime TV lineup and had some bizarrely epic dreams mashing up Days of Our Lives and Dr. Oz.

Yeah, pretty sure this is the flu.

Hopefully it's a strain included in this year's vaccine so I haven't completely Typhoid Mary'd everyone I know.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Since the whole PS4 brouhaha hit the news, I couldn't help being reminded of this:

That elf with the fishing pole just asked if I had any good dynamite recipes.
Who's watching
Tell me, who's watching
Who's watching me

I'm just an average elf
With an average life
I work in Azeroth
Hey, hell, I pay the price
All I want is to be left alone
In my online home
But why do I always feel
Like I'm in the twilight zone?

And (I always feel like)
(Somebody's watching me)
And I have no privacy
(I always feel like)
(Somebody's watching me)
Tell me, is it just a dream

When I log on at night
And call my mount to take flight
PvPers walkin' down the road
I'm trying to avoid
But are NPCs really NP?
Or am I just paranoid?

When I'm in Sholazar
I'm afraid to leave my lair
'Cause I might turn around
And find NSA standing there
People say I'm crazy
Just a little touched
But maybe this all reminds me
Of The Matrix too much
That's why

(I always feel like)
(Somebody's watching me)
And I have no privacy
Whooooa, oh-oh
(I always feel like)
(Somebody's watching me)
Who's playin' tricks on me

[Instrumental Interlude]

(Who's watching me)
I don't know anymore
Are the critters watching me?
(Who's watching)
Well, are my guildies watching me?
(Tell me, who's watching)
And I don't feel safe anymore
Oh, what a mess
I wonder who's watching me now
The DHS?

(I always feel like)
(Somebody's watching me)
And I have no privacy
Whooooa, oh-oh
(I always feel like)
(Somebody's watching me)
Tell me, is it just a dream

Sick as a dog.

Went in to work this morning, but gave it up as a bad idea, since I could hardly talk and you don't want someone dealing with customers who has to blow her nose every 37.2 seconds.

I have dozed, medicated, and power-chugged V8 Fusion. Also, tried those zinc things, because why not? Next up: Longest, hottest bath ever and then sweating out the demons under an electric blanket.

Do tell...

"If greenhouse gases aren't reduced, the Middle East may become uninhabitable by 2100, a new study from the journal Nature says."
Be right back. I'm going to go start up the Zed Drei and the Subie and let them idle for a couple hours.

Fight Crime, Shoot Back

Remember Papa Roux, the east side Indianapolis Cajun joint that made headlines after a recent robbery by offering discounts to customers who could show a valid toter's permit?

Well, the owner just took the next logical step:
Papa Roux employees spent Sunday in the classroom at the Eagle Creek Firearms Training Facility. The firearms safety course was taught by Guy Relford, attorney and President of Tactical Firearms Training.
"With the increased awareness of the violence and just the fact that I am encouraging responsible responses to it, I figured the entire crew of Papa Roux should probably receive firearms safety training, including when and how to get involved, but more importantly when and how to not get involved," said Papa Roux Owner Art Bouvier.
I've taken Guy's classroom lecture on Indiana firearms and self-defense law, and recommend it whole-heartedly.

(Incidentally, Guy Relford will be doing his radio talk show from our showroom at Indy Arms this Saturday afternoon.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Overheard in the Hallway...

RX: "So what do you think we should do with the Muslim refugees from war-torn lands?"

Me: "You know what? I'm glad that's a call I don't have to make."

RX: "Except that, by the politicians you vote for, it kinda is."

Me: "What I don't understand is why they can't just go to Mexico and walk in like everyone else?"


But I thought that progressives were in favor of helping out the oppressed residents of backwards less-advanced Third World charmingly indigenous nations by giving them what they want?

Suppose what they want is to be annihilated in an Armageddon-esque conflagration that they believe will result in some eschatological mumblety-jumble? Shouldn't we help them find out if that's what happens?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Class Review...

Go and read my Shooting Illustrated writeup of my experience at the Cornered Cat Instructor Development Course. Do it. Now.

Little Achmed al-Dindunuffin

Mommy Goggles transcend geographical and cultural boundaries...

Their mother, speaking to a reporter through her nephew - the bombers' cousin - on the doorstep of the family home in Molenbeek, told Het Laatste Nieuws that they were sure he had not planned to kill anyone.

‘This was not his plan, that's for sure,' she said. 'The fact that his suicide belt exploded without killing anyone says a lot.'

The family added: ‘We even saw him two days before the attacks. There were no signs that they has plans to do anything violent.’

The family admitted he had spent ‘a long time’ in Syria.

Another family member at the brothers’ home claimed that he would not have wanted to become a suicide bomber: ‘Maybe the explosives went off prematurely by accident. Maybe it was stress.’
Sooooo...our theory here is that Li'l Achmed al-Dindunuffin, who was in the process of turning his life around, was on his way to weekly Koran Study when he tripped and fell into an explosives vest.

Not knowing how to get the vest off, he flagged down a passing rental car full of bearded men with Kalashnikovs (one of whom happened to be his brother) in the hope that they would take the vest off of him, and instead, they dragged him into the car to join their jihad... Do I have this theory about right?


My day off and I wake up with achy joints and muscles and a sore throat that feels like I spent all night gargling Brillo pads.

And it's piss-pouring rain outside.

I want a refund.

Monday, November 16, 2015

This is a thing that needs to happen.

 Why did nobody tell me about the forthcoming international giant robot battle?

Cheap insurance...

My Glock 37 was an LE trade-in and therefore its round count could probably be determined by multiplying the number of years it was carried by the number of rounds in the department's qualification course. It sure looked like it hadn't been fired much.

Still, there's always the chance that it was carried by an officer who liked to shoot and, further, was from a small department without a department armorer to keep on top of preventive maintenance. Therefore, along with the upgrade parts in the box from Brownells, I also ordered some cheap insurance:

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Tit for tat...

The opposite of news.

Damn. It was Islamic terrorists from the Middle East? My money had been on Japanese Methodists.

Meanwhile, Angela Merkel is setting up her career to be the 121st victim of the attacks:
"She called on Germans to show their determination not to be intimidated, by standing up for the values of respecting the right of each individual to pursue happiness and of living together in respect and tolerance."
I'm no political forecaster, but people seem to be fast running out of respect and tolerance.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Come toward me, brother.

One hundred left...

The Slip2000EWL applied over two months and almost 2000 rounds ago is now nothing but a memory. The snugly-fit slide that, when clean and freshly-lubed, normally feels like it's running on ball bearings now chatters and binds on a dry gun packed with crud.

I should have cleaned the gun more thoroughly and lubed it better at the start of the test, but you can't unring a bell. Hubris told my it would be fine; after all, it had come out of the box and run through a two-day 1,000-round class without any troubles. Indeed, the first 1k rounds here were mostly trouble-free... But the last 900? Oy vey, the poor gun.

So, another hundred rounds of Lucky Gunner's PMC 230gr FMJ went downrange yesterday.

This brings the total rounds fired to 1,900 since the weapon was last cleaned or lubricated, with fifteen failures to go into battery (rounds #356, #1,085, #1,247, #1,492, #1,514, #1,578, #1,627, #1,663, #1,717, #1,774, #1,815, #1,823, #1,847, #1,858, #1,883), three failures to feed on rounds #513 and #1,724, $1,851, a failure to feed a round of Hornady Critical Duty +P on round #927, and a failure to eject a round of Hornady Critical Duty +P on round #930. 200 rounds to go.

We can make it better, faster, stronger...

With the arrival of a package from Brownells on the Big Brown Truck of Happiness, Project Whimsy is well and truly underway.

Due to the off-beat chambering, the G37 was priced at $325 with night sights and one magazine. In the configuration it was in, it was absolutely ready for someone to purchase it, load it up, and throw it in the sock drawer as a ballistic rabbit's foot (or carry it if they were so inclined.)

Or, you know, it's a low-cost base gun to play with various Glock modifications, which is what I'll be doing with it while I do the whole 2,000-round thing.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Sometimes the monsters come to you...

38th and Kessler is down near the Indianapolis Museum of Art. There are some nice neighborhoods there, but they are narrow as a razor, hemmed in closely by the hard 'hood. Just like here in sleepy SoBro, you're rarely more than ten or twenty blocks from places where scary $#!+ goes down on the regular. And bad guys can travel.

It was 8:30AM yesterday when the city delivered an ugly reminder that you don't have to go looking for trouble; sometimes it can come looking for you.

Keep your doors and windows locked. Carry a gun. Odds are that you'll never, ever need it, but if you do, you're likely to need it pretty badly and in a hurry.


One of my favorite images from Friday's trip to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Rocky Start

Project Whimsy got off to a rocky start yesterday. I dug up some Tango Down/Vickers Tactical magazine floorplates amongst the crap on my gun cleaning table and figured I'd stick one of them on the G37's magazine, just because.

I have never seen a Glock floorplate so difficult to wrestle off the mag tube. I failed, and handed it over to my co-workers. I think it was the third contestant who finally beat it off the mag body by main force, possibly with the aid of a hammer. And then the new floorplate wouldn't go on because I didn't have a c-clamp handy.

The score so far is Glock:1, Me:0. I'll not be defeated so easily, however...

Mixed Messages

If you're putting up links to both "War on Christmas" pieces as well as links to articles mocking campus "Outrage Culture", thank you. You are giving me all the lulz to help me get through another day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Econ 101

If you don't know where you've been...

After the FPF Training class over the weekend, we drove out to Montpelier on Monday morning before heading back to the airport.

When the father of our fourth president built this home in the 1760s, this was out back of beyond. The French and Indian Wars, our branch office of the worldwide Seven Years' War, were still raging at the time; an airy, open manse was out of place in a region more populated with palisaded log blockhouses.

This is the view from the front porch of James Madison's crib. Looking out over this expanse from the library window over the front door, little Jimmy Madison sweated out the Virginia Plan which, through tireless lobbying and shrewd politicking, served as the nucleus of the Constitution of the United States of America.

He did this by using his ability to read and write a half-dozen languages to pore over the written records of previous attempts at self-governance, noting where they'd gone wrong and trying to compensate for them.

At the time, he was 37 years old; nearly a dozen years my junior.

The tour of the house deposits you into the back yard, where this life-size bronze statue of James and Dolley awaits.

I couldn't help but whisper, after snapping my photos, "It was the Interstate Commerce Clause, Jimmy; that's what packed it in. Oh, and it's a good thing you're sitting down, because you are going to $#!+ yourself when I tell you about the 17th Amendment..."

Still, whatever faults it may have, the U.S. Constitution has kept the wheels on for better than two centuries. That's a pretty good run, and it's not done yet...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Mixed reviews...

From a comment elsewhere:

The thing about Spectre (which I enjoyed, and I will explain why) is that it was a Bond movie whose plot followed the classic Connery-era Bond movie formula as rigidly as though it were kabuki. The things that made it perhaps jarring were that the classic Bond movie stepped from formulaic scene to formulaic scene without all the long, lush establishing shots afforded by huge budgets and modern cinematographic tastes; this one does not. The result is as confusing and discordant as putting long, Clapton-esque guitar solos between the verses of a Ramones song. Plus, the movie is full of visual in-jokes and call-backs to previous Bond movies almost back to Dr. No.

Ultimately, this film as much as any other lives up to Eleanor Ringel's comment in her review of View to a Kill: "Going to a James Bond movie is like going to the zoo. Either you're happy to see the giraffes again, or you're not." Despite the occasionally tedious cinematic insertions between car chases, gunfire, and explosions, I was happy to see the giraffes again.

ETA: Great (but long) essay revolving around the movie, and James Bond in general, and the decline of Great Britain, and lots of other things may be found here. Recommend. *caution: uses big words*

Monday, November 09, 2015

MiG vs. Saber...


It was late on Sunday afternoon, and it had been a full weekend of training. While John pulled students off the line in onesie-twosies for a little pop quiz, the rest of us were run through some relaxed drills and competitions.

Among the shooting was a string of drills consisting of a single shot followed by five dry-fire presses at seven yards. I was getting tired, and so I was pulling to the right and dropped a few... (The high center mass shot was aimed high center mass. The other eight or nine were aimed in on the upper A zone. We're not far enough back to blame the M&P9.)

I'll write up a full review of the class here in a bit.