Monday, April 30, 2018

Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom...

Someone new has decided that blogging is a little more archival and better suited to long-form musings than the newer social media platforms. I'm encouraged by this! And his inspiration was Hognose at Weaponsman, which is as noble a blogging inspiration as there could be.

I give you: the Counter Jockey Chronicles.



Seen in the parking lot at the Peru Hamfest this past weekend. I quipped to Bobbi that there were only three in there when he first dropped the tailgate.

I wonder how many extraneous CRT's are in the attic? I mean, I want to save the NeXT and I know there's one little 14" Mac color monitor, and there's a 9" green screen Apple that goes with the IIc, but there are probably one or two 17" generic CRT's up there, Viewsonics or the like, that are mine. Probably one or two of Bobbi's two.

Heck, there's probably my first round or two of LCD screens, too. All that stuff is, essentially, garbage now.

It's a weird side effect of not wanting to throw away something that works and then, by the time it's depreciated to zero, we're living in a day and age where there's a city ordinance banning throwing away electronics. I wouldn't have any fear of slipping a dead calculator or clock radio in with the coffee grounds, but a 17" CRT is the sort of thing that could trigger an incident if Officer Obie finds it next to my junk mail at the bottom of a pile of garbage.

I read it on the internet...

Thus began the Twitter thread that quickly went viral.

Only there appear to be some problems...
According to the woman’s thread, the incident began after her boyfriend drove a friend to the airport in Newport News. She said he left their Norfolk home at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday for the roughly 45-minute drive to the airport. According to the airport’s website, the last flight on Tuesday was at 10:05 p.m. – a half-hour before he would have begun the drive. The next flight after that was at 5:39 a.m. the next day.
Almost nothing in the story matches up. And the tweeter hasn't replied to any of the media that have tried to contact her.

So, here's my question:

Was this an exercise in short fiction that got more attention than intended? Or did the "Boo" of the story give the OP a tale about "dropping his friend off at the airport" and a "harrowing police stop" to cover for an eight hour absence when he was off doing stuff that he didn't want his girlfriend knowing about?

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Photos from the 'hood...

Pupper was on his porch, not tied up or anything, just chilling. We made eye contact as I passed, but he didn't get up. When I paused on the sidewalk to snap some photos of the flowers in the yard, I looked up to see that I was being observed.

The dinosaur's gate was open, so I finally had a chance to get a good photo of him without any bars in the way.

Finally, it is springtime.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Getting Dirtier

Friday morning I stopped in at Indy Arms Co. with another two hundred rounds of 124gr FMJ CCI Blazer Brass ammo and the Smith & Wesson 5906.

The front sight had gotten so dirty that it was hard to get a good sight picture against the gray-black of the target, especially considering that I use my Wiley X Air Rage sunglasses as safety glasses on the indoor range.

The hundred rounds at the head on the target was actually fired much faster than the lower hundred rounds, since the sights were readily visible against the lighter background. I concentrated on a good grip and a sight picture and just trusted my trigger finger the Do The Right Thing. It was pretty zen for a bit there.

I mean, I know how to pull a trigger without disturbing the sight picture; I do it often enough in dry-fire. It's just a matter of controlling the gun in live fire and letting my trigger finger work. This came from following a discussion where Bruce Gray was talking about how there's no real necessary tradeoff between speed and accuracy. I need to go find that and see if he'll let me quote some of it.

Anyway, there were no malfunctions of any type to report.

This brings the total rounds fired through the 5906 to 500 since the gun was last cleaned or lubed, with no malfunctions of any type to report. 1500 rounds to go.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday morning...

Finally some more spring-like weather.

Thought about dropping the top on the Zed while I was running errands this AM, but decided it was still a couple degrees too airish to do so. Monday and Tuesday are supposed to be Chamber of Commerce weather, though...

I guess if you have a targa instead of an actual open air roadster you can go topless at cooler temps...

Sunny Range Day

First nice outdoor sunny range day in a long time on Thursday. I tagged along to ACC with Mike Grasso, since he had to sight in some pistols with slide-mounted MRDS. I figured to grind out another hundred rounds apiece through the 4046 and 5906.

The 4046 is growing on me, perversely.

This is the end result of two hundred and fifty rounds of Speer 165gr Lawman FMJ through the 4046. Note how much cleaner it is than the CCI Blazer Brass residue on the Model 5906 below.

Also note that two of my three magazines for the 4046 have the later blue follower, while one is older and has the original yellow follower. The blue follower mags are likely the ones that were original to the gun. Getting the eleventh round in them still pretty much requires me to use an UpLULA, and it kinda helps with the tenth.

Notice how vile the residue of only three hundred rounds of 124gr FMJ Blazer has left the snout of the Model 5906.

I was able to do pretty good work with the trigger on the 4046 by now. That's a hundred rounds in the head of the target, somewhere between seven and ten yards. The trigger is heavy, but the travel is short for a DA trigger, and I pretty much got the hang of prepping it in recoil so that it was ready to fire as soon as the sights settled.

Neither gun experienced any malfunctions of any type.

This brings the total rounds fired through the 5906 to 300, with no malfunctions of any type to report. 1700 rounds to go.

This brings the total rounds fired through the 4046 to 250, with no malfunctions of any type to report. 1750 rounds to go.

Ouch, Inspirobot.

Lost Ground

Kevin at Misfires & Light Strikes has a good point about the sharp decline in shooting shows out there in basic cable land. Show on The Outdoor Channel are preaching to the choir, when what we need is evangelism to the unconverted.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Overheard in the Office...

The TV down the hall is discussing Kanye West's statement that he wanted to run for president in 2020...
RX: "And who would that make the First Lady? I'm sorry, I'm just not ready for a First Lady whose ass I've seen." 
Me: "Too late."
Bobbi replied that she hadn't actually seen those pictures, so it technically didn't count.

Double action trigger work...

Just the 5906 at Indy Arms Co yesterday morning, since persistent drizzle scotched outdoor range plans.

Another hundred rounds of 124gr FMJ Blazer Brass went downrange. Eighty-five rounds at the lower A-zone, in long 5-7 round strings, decocking between strings of fire and trying to push some speed at seven yards.

The last fifteen rounds were fired at the upper A-zone in individual double-action press-outs from a compressed high ready. (See if you can spot the one where I pressed out and immediately yanked the gun back instead of following through on the sights.)

This brings the total rounds fired through the 5906 to 200, with no malfunctions of any type to report. 1800 rounds to go.

Auction ending tonight!

Crimson Trace Lasergrip and Lightguard, with genuine powder residue from the inaugural Citizen's Defense Research class! And Dark Star Gear holsters!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Even More Triggered

I've been working a lot on my trigger manipulation lately. I really wish I hadn't spent all those years doing the "pin the trigger, align the sights, let the trigger out juuuust enough to reset..." thing.

Here's a good piece by Jeff Gonzales on trigger prepping.

A sitting duck is easier to hit than a flying one.

Good look at institutional-level active shooter response training with some thought behind it.

Tab Clearing...

I can't even remember why most of those were open.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


Monday morning saw me at Indy Arms Co with the two Smiths, looking to move the round count ball downfield a little more.

The 5906 was fired at the upper 3x5" zone. I decocked on loading and any time I came off the sights at the end of a string. The DA trigger is easy to manage, but the SA takes some getting used to, because there's a long-ish almost weightless takeup and then a light-but-crunchy break.

The 4046 was shot at the 8" circle about as fast as I can run that trigger so far. The DAO on the Smith is not like the regular DA trigger. The travel is much shorter, and it's heavier, but there's zero stacking and a nice rolling break at the end. You just have to remember to shoot it like a revolver, and let it reset itself during recoil.

Both guns went through another fifty rounds with no problems, which brings the 5906 round count to 100 and the 4046 to 150.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Interrupting the narrative again...

What the hell? Where were you guys in the '80s?

As a child of the Cold War who participated in Civil Air Patrol and AFJROTC and who assembled one of the above-pictured model kits in high school as part of a project, something that I'd been hearing on the news recently startled me.

During the news cycles that followed the Russian's test announcement of the new SS-X-30 Satan 2, I kept hearing NBC talking heads saying the weirdest things:
"The missile can reach the continental US..." 
"The missile can carry multiple nuclear warheads..." 
"The missile is believed to be able to reach anywhere on the globe..."
...and all these were voiced in tones of fear and wonder, like this was shocking and scary new information.

I can sort of forgive that out of Dylan Dreyer, because she was in grade school when the Berlin Wall came down, but I was hearing it from Chuck Todd, who is only a few years younger than me, and Hoda Kotb, who is a few years older.

Now, I realize that since the end of the Cold War we haven't talked a lot about how Manhattan is thirty minutes or less away from a Russian SLBM launch 24/7, but back in the Eighties if you were old enough to turn on a television, you certainly knew it.

I'm not expecting everyone to have been a war nerd like me who memorized throw weights and CEPs like I did, but surely everyone who was at least a teenager in the Eighties knew that the Russians had missiles that could hit anywhere on the planet and that these missiles could carry multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicles, right?

So why, when the SS-X-30 announcement happen did everybody act so startled? Have they gotten so used to covering the comic opera missile program in North Korea, with its smuggled Iranian technology and repurposed fireworks?

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Official (and unofficial) 2k tests underway.

So, the 4046 has, judging from the appearance of the internals, hardly been fired. An extremely low-mileage gat with a born-on date in April of 2006 is about as close as I'm likely to get for a New-In-Box Smith & Wesson 3rd Gen auto to run through the usual 2k test.

The 5906, on the other hand, shows evidence of a reasonable amount of use, so while I'll do the 2,000 round thing with it, too, I'll be bearing its age in mind if anything should go south. The 5906 test should probably be considered to have a big asterisk.

With that in mind, I ordered up some 250 rounds of 165gr Speer Lawman from Lucky Gunner this past week, lubed both guns up with some Liberty gun oil, and headed off to Indy Arms Co to get this party started.

The 4046 was slow-fire at the 3x5 box from seven yards, trying to get the feel for the gun's trigger. The 5906, on the other hand, I was trying to run as fast as I could at the 8" circle from 7 yards. That one way low and slightly right and the one high and left where where I was caught off guard by the DA/SA transition.

The first range session was fifty rounds through each of the guns while the second was just a quick pop-in at the range for fifty more through the 4046.

This session I tried to work up some speed with the DAO trigger on the 4046, doing failure drills at seven yards.

So far, so good. Neither gun has experienced any problems. The 5906 has 50 rounds through it and the 4046 has 100.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Spring Cleaning

In order to raise funds for a couple of projects, I'm finally getting around to a little bit of spring cleaning.

The first order of business is making an eBay listing for a little box I've had sitting in a corner for a year now. It's a package deal with a Crimson Trace Lasergrip and Lightguard for a Glock, and a pair of Dark Star Gear kydex IWB holsters that'll fit a Glock 19/23/32 with the CTC Lightguard mounted.

There'll be some Gunbroker listings in the near future, too...

Thursday, April 19, 2018


Well, Patriot's Day passed without anybody doing anything to add a further anniversary to 4/19, for good or ill.

It was a slow day here at VFTP. I managed to get to the range, though...

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

This project is shaping up...

The zoo's my blues muse.

So, the first time I went to the Indianapolis zoo, we were there for a company picnic with Bobbi's employer. It was late summer of 2011, and I had the Kodak EasyShare V1073 that I'd bought to photograph the LuckyGunner blogger shoot along with me. I had a lot of fun shooting pictures at the zoo.

The next time I was there was again with Bobbi, on a lark on one of her vacation days in 2013. Two years later, I had a more formidable camera. The Canon PowerShot SX500IS was all ate up with megapixels (16!) and zoom-X's (30!) relative to the Kodak, and I did indeed manage to get some better pictures with it.

In the summer of 2014, Kirk and I bicycled down to the zoo, and I schlepped along my then-current camera, a Canon 20D with an 18-135mm travel zoom lens fitted. I was super happy with a few of my shots. I was more patient on the shutter, and had at least some eye toward composition.

Fast forward to yesterday:

The Winter That Won't End has not been kind to my SADS. I've been struggling with enough give-a-damn to get out of the house on plenty of days, and have had too many that saw me stay in pyjamas, sitting at my keyboard until well in the afternoon before I could yank myself out of a mope long enough to run errands.

Tuesday's weather was forecast to be sunny by lunchtime, with a temp that might flirt with fifty degrees in the afternoon. "You know what?" I thought to myself on Monday afternoon, "I'll bet a trip to the zoo tomorrow, just by myself, with no schedule to worry about, would be just the thing to snap me out of my funk. I'll bring good cameras, and it will be awesome."

So I drove down and pulled into the zoo parking lot and the signs were good. I'd tried doing this last Friday only to abort at the last minute when I saw that the parking lot was jammed full and half of it was school buses. Tuesday at lunchtime, though, there were only a half dozen school buses and the parking lot was barely a quarter full.

The weather, though, had probably something to do with it. It was 34°F and gusting as I walked across the parking lot. There were more kids running around screaming than I thought there would be, and my hands were getting a little cold as I stood looking down into the walrus tank...

But, oh what I was seeing through the viewfinder! I had the full-frame Sony A7 with me, fitted with the 24-240mm zoom that my friends had pooled their dough and surprised me with. Oh, you could see the walruses' vibrissae glistening and the water droplets frozen in space as they surfaced and spun and dove... These pictures were going to be great!

After about ten minutes of shooting, I noticed the kids were thinning out, and I decided to duck into the desert biome to warm my hands while I shot pictures of lizards.

There in the indoor display, shooting from an awkward angle, I was composing the shot using the screen on the back of the camera instead of the viewfinder and... what were those orange letters blinking in the top right corner of the screen?
Oh. Fudge. Except, much like that more famous Hoosier, I didn't say "fudge".

I fumbled in the little pocket of the Event Messenger 100 intended to hold spare memory cards. There was no card in there, either.

Oh. Fudge.

Wait, the zoo gift shop! They used to sell film in those back in the day! Maybe they had some cheap SanDisk 8GB cards for three times what they were worth?

I half-ran across the zoo to the gift shop, but no dice. Oh, they had some emergency battery chargers for smart phones, which is how half everyone records images these days. If you were perverse enough to be schlepping actual camera gear around the zoo, you were obviously expected to be squared away enough to have remembered to check your cameras before you left the house.

Walking dejectedly from the gift shop, I took a few deep breaths and centered myself.

I'd learned one lesson from that long ago trip to Tennessee: Anyplace worth bringing one camera is worth bringing two. The camera bag over my shoulder is the one I take with me everywhere. It holds my iPad Mini and its type cover, an Olympus PEN E-P5, and three lenses, with the 14-150mm zoom mounted on the camera. It's a good little rig and the one I used to do almost all my picture-taking at Tac-Con.

Determined not to waste the trip, I decided to just walk it off and shoot the zoo with the PEN.

Meanwhile, the sun came out, the temp rose into the 40's, and along about one o'clock or so, the zoo largely emptied out. I was glad I stayed.

The Olympus did just fine, by the way, and I had a fantastic time.

You know, the zoo is only about a twenty minute drive from the house, and annual memberships aren't terribly expensive. This is some cheap therapy, when you think about it.


In my brief flirtation with drag racing cars back in my misspent youth, I learned about things like "scattershields" and "transmission blankets".

See, in your car, there are rotating parts under and next to your feet that are spinning at high rates of speed. In race cars, they are subjected to sudden, violent forces and the torque of high performance engines. Here are a couple pics I found doing a quick Google search:

That there above is what resulted when a Torqueflite 727, a heavy duty automatic transmission, came apart under the force of a 2,000+ bhp blown Hemi.

That's the side of the car, where the bits of transmission exited through the passenger door.

This morning on the news, Savannah Guthrie was mouthing something about "...what happened yesterday on a Southwest Airlines jet, and could this happen to the engines of other airliners?" causing me to yell at the TV screen again...


Surely everyone else who has been confronted with this view has spent at least a few seconds idly contemplating what would happen if the compressor section shredded itself under centrifugal forces, right? Then you accept how unlikely it is and what a marvel it is to have this view at all. And you nod off to sleep.

It must be jarring to go through life not realizing the existence of any of the unlikely dangers that surround you every day, only to have one rear its ugly head unexpectedly.

(I thought for a moment that photo might have been taken on a Southwest 737, but on checking my records, that was a Delta bird, IND-ATL. It would have been a freaky coincidence to have a photo of the engine in question, but fortunately I do not.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Bad Neighborhoods...

So, I'm reading the news story about a woman who got shot multiple times in a CVS parking lot here in Indy last night. And I get to this part:
Police say the woman was shot multiple times in the parking lot of the CVS Pharmacy at Shadeland Avenue and Pendleton Pike around 8:30 p.m. Monday. An employee heard the shots and called 911. 
The woman reportedly drove herself to the 3900 block of N. Grand Avenue, near 38th & Emerson.
And as God is my witness, the first thought to flash across my consciousness was "Drove to 38th & Emerson? Did she want to get shot again?"

I mean, 38th & Emerson wouldn't be my first choice if I wanted to go get in a shooting...that'd be 42nd & Post...but it's definitely in my top five list of "Areas to Avoid in Order to Remain Un-Shot".


Just like the good ol' days of the Cold War, socialist hellholes that can't feed their own people will still have Kalashnikov factories.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Slipping down a rabbit hole...

There's a story here I'm wrestling with.

When law enforcement agencies in the US started the mass migration from revolvers to autoloaders in the mid- to late-'80s, Smith & Wesson's classic line of double action autos had the lion's share of that market, thanks in no small part to their crushing dominance in the police revolver business.

SIG-Sauer and Beretta had tiny market shares initially, when that upstart Glock began making ever-bigger inroads.

Yet the P229 and the 92FS are still here, if only barely, while the traditional S&W autoloaders are all but consigned to the dustbin of history.

And therein lies the story...

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

A post shared by Tamara Keel (@tamarakeel) on

I just stuck my head out the door to confirm what the noise I was hearing was. It was, in fact, a mower. The Democrat Next Door's landscapers apparently have the same motto as the postal service, because they weren't letting the fact that it was snowing deter them from their appointed rounds.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Clearing a tab...

I've had a tab open to this good report on Tac-Con '18 as a reminder to link to it. Sign up early for Tac-Con '19! Registration is usually full by mid-late summer.


Friday, April 13, 2018


Project underway...

While the classic P-series Sigs and the Beretta 92 cling to ever-thinning market share in an increasingly plastic world, the traditional metal Smith & Wesson autoloaders are no more, and there's a story in there.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Okay, this is Spring.

Sorry 'bout that.

I had a video clip on here yesterday morning of a dude getting a piece of brass down the back of his hoodie at an indoor range and, in the process of doing the hot brass dance trying to extract it, cranking off a pair of ND's to his six o'clock, narrowly missing an RSO.

The video was security camera footage from the range that had been posted to a secret Facebook group by the RSO in question. He had asked that it remain in the group (I don't know which group; I'm not a member) but someone leaked it and it went viral.

Unless I'm contacted by dude saying it's okay to repost, I'm leaving it down. Just because everybody else is violating dude's confidence is no reason I should.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Hard Lessons

So, you'll hear me harp a lot about anchoring your support hand during the draw and not "floating" it in space. This guy is an example of why you only collect the gun with your support hand at the "three" count of the draw (and only turn loose of it there during the re-holster.)

But while I was watching this video, I'm not going to lie: My stomach clenched as I thought "Oh, God, he's gonna do it again right here on camera..."

While I appreciate the dude being willing to share his errors so that hopefully others will learn from them, my initial reaction on seeing the video on FB was pretty strong...

Pimp-Slapped by the Invisible Hand?

I'm sad that I no longer have a Bank of America account to close.

If a company is going to insert themselves that proactively into a political fight, it's only fair that they experience whatever consequences will come from it.

They presumably thought that this was a move that would generate more goodwill than lost business. We'll see if the invisible hand pats them on the head or gives them a pimp slap.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Interesting Times

DDH-184 Kaga
The Chrysanthemum, "Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force", having already added to its blue-water abilities with a brace of 800+ foot long "helicopter destroyers", has now stood up a brigade-sized marine unit to go with them.

When a Japanese newspaper reported last December that the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force was looking at modifying the, "helicopter destroyers" to better support F-35B STOVL operations, it drew a strongly-worded response from Beijing.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Fewer ads...

Project Wonderful ads have gone away on this blog.

Truth be told, I'd been keeping them up mostly for nostalgia the last several years. I don't know what their advertiser policies were, but no small kydex benders or knife makers ever used them to get views on this blog. I was down to seeing maybe ten bucks a month revenue from them and so when they complained that their bot had crawled the site and couldn't find one of the ad boxes, I just deleted them all.

Frankly, these days this blog is more of an outlet for writing I can't sell elsewhere, and a business card for writing I wish I could. Writing it nowadays is a net loss, as every keystroke is one I could be doing for pay elsewhere, and the guns I shoot in 2k round tests here are bought out of my own pocket.

So, more Project Wonderful ads. Hope the blog loads faster for y'all. Peace! 😎

April showers...

While I first fell in love with my neighborhood under a light dusting of early winter snow and still think it looks charming that way, this is not the weather I ordered for early Spring.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Recycling a ten-year-old post...

On April 8th in 1913, the 17th Amendment to the Constitution went into effect. To anybody concerned with checks and balances and separation of powers who had actually read the Constitution, it's hard to see how this could be considered a good idea. As a matter of fact, it's hard to see how it could not be seen as undermining the very concept of a federal republic.

I know some of you are clicking for Wikipedia right now, muttering to yourselves "Seventeenth? Is that income tax, or when they let y'all chicks vote? No, it's Prohibition, right?" No, the Seventeenth Amendment is the one that calls for direct election of Senators. What's so bad about that, you ask? (Go on, ask.) Well, let me tell you...

Understand this first: I'm not one of those people who think the Constitution is divinely inspired and the perfect governmental document. However, for setting up a limited federal government with strictly enumerated powers rigidly separated among different branches that acted as brakes on each other, it's really pretty clever. There was a lot of thought put into a careful system of counterweights and oversights, and if you change one bit of it, you can throw something completely unexpected out of kilter. And boy howdy, did the Seventeenth Amendment ever do that in spades.

Firstly, our bicameral legislature originally copied one redeeming feature from the English Parliament. The lower house was composed of representatives directly elected, one per every X number of the population. Because of their (relatively) small constituencies and their two-year terms, representatives had to be very aware of the popular sentiment of "John Q. Public" and respond to it, lest they be replaced. In the English system, the upper house was the House of Lords, with noble members who had a lifetime tenure. Although they couldn't permanently shoot down legislation, they could apply a temporary veto which could be overturned by a determined lower house.

Our upper house was the Senate, whose members served terms three times as long as those of the lower house. Since we had no hereditary nobility (and were prohibited one by the Constitution) each state's two senators were elected by the state government itself. Thus insulated from the constant pressure of needing to worry about re-election and the public whim of the moment, the Senate would serve as a brake against the spasms of popular fads, and prevent asshattery like legislation proclaiming the theme song from Friends as the national anthem or Britney Spears being voted Dictator-for-Life.

The second, even more important, function served by senators, was as representatives of their state or commonwealth government to the federal government in Washington. Whereas a representative from Dubuque or Des Moines would be voting the whims of their respective constituencies, the senator from Iowa was expected to represent the sovereign interests of the Hawkeye State. This has very specific effects on the separation of powers in the U.S. Constitution.

One of the most telling effects comes from the fact that the Constitution specifically delegates the power to ratify treaties to the Senate. This is important both in the nature of our federal system of government and in the nature of foreign treaties at the time the Constitution was written. In the late 18th Century there were no treaties designating United Nations World Heritage Sites or allowable levels of CFC emissions. Treaties involved war and peace, mutual defense, and the setting of national boundaries. By giving the Senate the power to ratify treaties, this was implicitly acknowledging the sovereignty of the individual states. A mutual defense pact with Absurdistan could not be entered into without at least a majority of the states feeling that they had sufficient ties to Absurdistan to make it worth defending. Likewise for treaties setting borders or ending wars; approval by the Senate was the de facto shorthand means of gaining the approval of every statehouse in the federation.

Once senators became directly elected, it effectively demolished the reasons for a bicameral legislature and the division of powers enumerated in the Constitution. The senator was now removed from his or her lofty perch and made as much a weathervane of the public whim as the representative. Further, the senator from certain states, those dominated by a single large city, no longer represented the interests of the state, but rather those of the small portion of the state in which the majority of the populace was concentrated. The Senate, originally a legislative buffer against the popular whim of the moment and the inexorable demographics of urban centers that dominate the House of Representatives, now became the very same thing it was meant to counterbalance, but with a six-year term instead of a two-year one.

In the years since 1913, the effect has become all too obvious. Treaties are ratified based on pressure from the media, not their agreeability to the sovereign states that are bound by them. There is no longer a legislative brake on popular fads or the whim of the moment. We've bounced from New Deal to New Frontier to Great Society to everything short of the Great Leap Forward. Commentators can make mouth noises about "We're not a democracy, we're a Federal Republic" all they want, wingnuts and moonbats can natter about wimmen voters and the Electoral College 'til the cows come home, but this nation became a democracy, for good or ill, with the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment. And we all know what the apocryphal quote says about democracies:
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.

QotD: Priorities Edition

From Bobbi's post on the AARP:
"There's only so much room in the lifeboat. There are only so many dollars in the Federal Budget. How will you spend it? Who will you save? My goodness, Granny is in dire straits -- and so are the thugs trying to use her as a flotation device."

This is the best headline in the history of ever:

I had no idea that the awful culture war surveillance state corporate oligarch unfireable government bureaucratic mandarin acid rain cyberpunk dystopia would be this darkly hilarious.

Surreal World

I seem to have woken up in a world with remote control tongue implants and pink haired people with nose rings on Meet the Press.

Is this what flashbacks are like? The people on TV keep talking about "President Trump". I think they mean that reality show guy.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Project delayed...

My experiment in converting over to AIWB carry has been postponed until short-sleeve tee shirt weather arrives.

Short-sleeve tee shirt weather has apparently been postponed until Memorial Day or some nonsense like that. They're calling for more frickin' snow tomorrow night. I just want to pull the covers over my head until it's seventy degrees and sunny out.

Go home, Mother Nature, you're drunk.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Registration Leads to Confiscation

Back during the days of the 1994-2004 federal ban on scary-looking guns, I encountered an interesting phenomenon on internet gun fora.

This pair of pre-ban rifles cost decent used car money in 2001.
One of our members from Norway would occasionally post pictures of his rifles, with their folding stocks, bayonet lugs, flash hiders and other features that were tantalizingly verboten to new-production firearms in the U.S. at the time. Some of our stateside members would swoon and say things like "Man, I wish we had Norway's gun laws!"

That's where I'd get into the arguments, because I'd point out that, thanks to the firearms permitting system over there, the government in Oslo knew exactly how many of those rifles there were, who had them, and where they were. That, I would argue, didn't make for much of a Second Amendment-style deterrent.

Well, looks like they won't be having those rifles anymore.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Things on which you will be graded.

Gabe White delivers a comprehensive and thorough safety & medical briefing.
If you're a firearms instructor and I am taking your class, one of the first things on which I will be basing my impression of you & your class is your medical briefing on the morning of day one.

Before the first bullet goes downrange, I want to know who are the primary and secondary medics, the primary and secondary phone contact people, where the main class medical kit is, and which vehicle (if any) is staged and ready should we have to evacuate someone.

Same planet, different worlds...

So, this morning I'm idly perusing Facebook on my iPad. A bunch of my conservative friends...the ones who frequently go on at length about how they distrust (and therefore never watch) Mainstream Media...are going on at length about "Oh, see how quickly the YouTube shooter has just dropped off the radar of the MSM? She doesn't fit their narrative, so she's not even news anymore!"

So I snapped a pic of the TV screen so I could transmit the news from Planet Earth to the denizens of Planet Limbaugh:

Folks, on my planet, if you're the third story of the morning on national network news, before the first commercial break, that's the equivalent of being above the fold on the front page of the newspaper. That is most definitely "in the news".

If you're going to talk about what is and isn't "in the news", you gotta watch the news. Don't wait for Rush to tell you what is or isn't "in the news".

Now, I will say that the only reason this shooting made the news at all was because of when and where it occurred. "Three wounded in shooting" wouldn't necessarily have been the top local news story if it had happened at 3AM at 30th & Ruckle. It would hardly rate a mention if it had occurred in a laundromat on the south side of Chicago.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Focal Length Simulator

There's a neat toy at Nikon's website that lets you get an idea of the field of view at various focal lengths, from 14mm all the way to 800mm. You can even plug in specific Nikon bodies and lenses.

While we're talking about revolvers...

...have a couple gun pr0n pics from Claude Werner's snubbie clinic at Tac-Con this year:

Real Talk

Spring in the Midwest alright...

Yesterday it was 68 degrees and tornado-y out there, and this morning it's 34°F with fifty mph wind gusts and snow flurries.

Oy vey.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Rain, rain, go away...

It's raining too hard to even think about the outdoor range.

It's raining hard enough that I've abandoned my plans to drive to the indoor range. We are braced for what is likely a one-day record rainfall here in Indy. The previous one-day record for precipitation in April was 3.06", and we were over 2" while I was still in bed this morning.

Lotta low-lying streets between here and Indy Arms Company, and there's nothing I was planning on doing there that I can't do tomorrow.

I think I'll order some Indian takeout from DoorDash and stay home and write. I'm keeping a weather eye out regarding the advisability of trying to drive to the monthly member's meeting at Marion County Fish & Game tonight as well. The club driveway's pretty high above the banks of Eagle Creek...normally.

Monday, April 02, 2018

The times, are they a-changin'?

My friend Tiffany Johnson relates her trepidation regarding the upcoming NRAAM:

And it's an understandable trepidation. After all, this is the sort of thing still seen as a HYUCK HYUCK! knee-slapper in a wide swathe of the crowd there:

Hey, let's joke about one of the demographics most in need of a CCW permit and most harmed by waiting periods because that's hilarious, amirite?

Still, Tiffany has a point:
But here’s my bet for the time being: if there are aspects of the NRA that I want to blow up, I stand a better chance of doing so from the ballot-casting inside than from the sign-wielding, social-media-saturating, external periphery. I can look to folks like Adam Kraut to help get things done rather than just idly simmering in my distant discontent. Like dude from Armageddon said, out on the sidelines, all you can hope to do is inflict a minor, temporary burn. And right now, I just don’t think that’s enough to right the ship on Waples Mill. Don’t worry; I have no desire to blow up the NRA completely. But there are some wormy parts that ache for metamorphosis. And I never saw a butterfly emerge from outside the cocoon.
I can either sit up in the wagon and gripe about where it's headed or I can hop out, grab the rope, and help pull. Only one of those gives me any real input in its direction.