Friday, March 22, 2019

Lots of Dots




It was interesting to see how much more common MRDS-equipped handguns have become at Tac-Con over the last three years.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Automotif CXLXXI...

 Seen in the Wendy's parking lot in Bowling Green, Kentucky, about half a block from the intersection below...


Slow travel...

Last year, when I drove down to Shawnee, Oklahoma for the EDP class, I did the drive as one long marathon haul. I blew out of Indy in the pre-dawn darkness, with the sun coming up about Terre Haute, and rolled into the Holiday Inn Express parking lot with a bit of glow left on the western horizon.

That was only 740 miles, and the run to New Orleans for Tac-Con this year (well, actually Westwego, just on the far side of NOLA) was another hundred miles further than that.

I decided that I was about shut of ten-plus hour days on the interstate in a convertible whose top was so drafty you couldn't hear yourself think.

Instead, I booked a room for the night in Cullman, Alabama on the way down, and again on the way back. I have to say that that is the way to roadtrip if you're not under crushing time pressure. A five or six hour drive allows one to get a leisurely start in the morning, check out of the hotel after rush hour is over, and still arrive at your destination before evening rush hour has started. Plus I'm accumulating points I can burn at my next inevitable stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Alliance, OH.


(Just be sure you don't get *too* leisurely about your departure if you're leaving, say, Cullman, which is on Central time and driving to Indy, which is on Eastern, lest your projected 4PM arrival actually be at 5PM. D'oh!)
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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Rush to Irrelevancy?

The CD changer in the Zed Drei's trunk crapped out years ago, and the cassette player in the head unit followed it shortly thereafter.

There's so much wind noise at highway speeds that getting a new stereo hasn't been high on my priority list, anyway.

Therefore I listen to the radio, and that means I just keep it tuned to NPR. It's not a good audio environment for music, so that means talk radio.I suppose I could listen to right-wing talk radio, but I prefer to be lied to polysyllabically.

Driving cross country is like island-hopping from NPR island to NPR island with little zones of country music and radio preachers in the interstices. Usually.

However, once past Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I couldn't find a good NPR signal until I was almost on the outskirts of New Orleans. On the way down to Tac-Con, I got preached at across Mississippi, but on the way back, I decided to listen to Rush Limbaugh.

I swear to God, from Hattiesburg to the Alabama state line, that dude did nothing but bitch about Millennials. Is this a new conservative thing? Because declaring your movement off limits to an entire generation is, well...it makes poor Rush sound ot-nay oo-tay ight-bray, if you know what I mean.
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Monday, March 18, 2019

Match Shot

Tac-Con 2019 Match winner Rick Remington shooting in the head-to-head elimination brackets on Sunday morning.
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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Thanks, Bosma

So, now Kentucky has joined the Constitutional Carry brigade...


Meanwhile, this is the first legislative session in the last four, if I'm remembering right, that we haven't even bothered to introduce a bill here in Indiana. House Speaker Brian Bosma is in the hip pockets of lobbies who are still assmad about strong preemption getting stuffed through the legislative process in 2011, and therefore he dutifully sends Constitutional Carry to die in committee.
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Ouch.

My right shin is in a really amazing amount of pain right now.

I'm hoping this is barometrically-related.
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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Overheard in the Kitchen...

RX: "Did you forget that you have ham here in the refrigerator?" 
Me: "I tossed what was left of my ham.
RX: "Well, whose ham is this?" 
Me: "I dunno. Is it opened?
RX: "No." 
Me: "Then I guess it's whoever's. It's communal ham. Which is also the name of my next band."


Monday, March 11, 2019

Pictures From an Expedition

At the corner of College & 22nd, I noticed the broken handset dangling from this pay phone. I hit the power window button and brought the camera up to snap a photo. Just as I framed it, the light went green and Bobbi hit the gas, since our lane ended ahead and she needed to get over to the left.

Fortunately I had inadvertently left the camera in Aperture Priority mode with the lens wide open, and the resulting 1/1600th shutter speed was fast enough to catch the shot without motion blur. A little cropping and messing with the colors in Photoshop got a not-unpleasant result.

Incidentally, if you go look at the intersection of College Avenue and 22nd Street in Google Street View, that handset's been dangling a while.

Down at Indy Reads Books, there's a row of three hulking black Underwoods sitting in the window.
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DST

How about we just leave the clocks where they're at now?

This idea seems to be gaining in popularity.
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Sunday, March 10, 2019

Gaining momentum?

With Maine and New Hampshire having both passed Constitutional Carry laws, I thought it was pretty neat that a person could drive from the Bay of Fundy to Burlington, VT strapped and without need of a permit.

Looking at a map posted by NJT the other day, it occurred to me that if either Nebraska or Iowa went to permitless carry, one could drive from Biloxi to Couer d'Alene without requiring a permission slip for your blaster.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Not really surprising...

Hi Point's social media account posted a picture on social media of some dude's 9mm carbine that he'd launched a squib into and then filled the barrel behind the squib with subsequent shots. Hi Point replaced the barrel under warranty, but some folks were amazed it didn't blow up.

It’s not surprising in a blowback gun, especially with a pistol cartridge.

Think about it: The breech isn't locked. The bolt is only held closed by its own mass and the weight of the recoil spring. Which is going to give first, the recoil spring or the walls of the barrel? In this case, the bolt is acting as a pressure relief valve.

Assuming someone who didn't notice that there were no holes appearing in the target was capable of noticing anything, he'd notice more flash and ejecta from the ejection port with each shot, accompanied by the brass being flung out of the gun with increasing force on every shot.

Similarly, someone stacking bullets behind a squib in a revolver should theoretically notice constantly increasing flash from the b/c gap with each shot.




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Thursday, March 07, 2019

Not actually by them, just by them...

Via Jennifer...



Super Manicure Brothers! Call of Beauty! Sid Meier’s Glitterization!

I had fun thinking up names!
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“I ask one thing: Do right by my daddy.”

Back when Marko and I were roommates in Knoxville, we got HBO for the sole purpose of being able to watch Band of Brothers when it came out. Therefore there's precedent for me getting a Netflix subscription, simply because I can't miss the forthcoming Frank Hamer picture.

It helps that the screenwriter wrote some of my favorite Westerns, and it seems like he was motivated to do an honest depiction of Hamer:
When 86-year-old Frank Jr. arrived, he had an escort comprised of his son Frank III and several nephews and relatives. Frank, himself, had a heavy bandage on his right elbow, covering an infected water moccasin bite. He wore suspenders, a Texas Longhorns ball cap, outsized sunglasses, and he was packing a sidearm at his rear waistband. We all sat in an empty Austin steakhouse at 11 am, at a dark back table, sipping shots of bourbon. After my introduction and explaining why I was there and what my mission was in terms of giving Frank Hamer his due, Frank Jr. stared across the table and said, “I’m still fixin’ to hunt up that Warren Beatty and put a bullet in the sonuvabitch.”
I'm so stoked.

Turns out that there might be another reason to get a Netflix subscription...



A post shared by Love Death + Robots (@lovedeathandrobots) on

Fabricating...

So, once upon a time, I bought a Frommer Stop. This is an intriguing little historical footnote of a pistol whose main purpose in existing is to serve as the answer to a Trivial Pursuit: Firearms Edition question:
"The two major pistols to operate on the long recoil operating principle are the Webley Mars and the ____________."
Thing is, when I finally got around to test-firing it, it didn't extract the spent shell.

On closer examination, most of the extractor was gone.


Now, on a blowback operated pistol the extractor isn't, strictly speaking, what you'd call necessary. On a gun like a PPK or Hi Point or Colt 1903, the extractor is only really needed to extract unfired rounds from the chamber. Tip-up barrel blowback autos like those from Beretta or their Taurus clones don't even have extractors. During firing, the spent shell is blown backward out of the chamber by the equal and opposite reaction to the same gasses that push the bullet out the front.

On a short recoil operated pistol, i.e. one where the barrel and breech travel backward locked together for a length of travel shorter than the length of the cartridge, you might still get some functionality with a broken extractor. There might be enough residual chamber pressure at the moment of unlocking to kick the spent case out of the chamber, although without the extractor claw to hold it in position to meet the ejector correctly, there could still be issues.

On a long recoil operated arm like the Frommer Stop, however, the barrel and breech remain locked together all the way to the rear, and the extractor is needed to hold the shell in place against the breechface as the barrel returns forward. Without the extractor, the round will likely just stay in the chamber.



No problem. Just buy a new extractor, right? Ha ha ha.

So, maybe make a new extractor? I worked at Coal Creek Armory at the time, and we had a full machine shop and gunsmiths on the premises who could build a gun from scratch with a lathe and a mill and a block of steel.

Okay, first, it wasn't like just the claw was gone. That would be easy enough to weld up and re-cut. This would require fabricating an entirely new part, and it's not like machinist's drawings were available for the piece.

So just get another Frommer Stop extractor and duplicate it! Except that I could count the number of Frommer Stops I've seen in the wild in my 25 years of manning gun store counters and attending gun shows without taking off both mittens.

Eventually, after a couple years of trying to find one locally that we could borrow to copy, the acquisition of a second gun was required to duplicate the part.

(This memory was brought up by a discussion on old cameras on the internet last night. And an extractor is a lot simpler part than anything you're liable to find in, say, a Ducati Sogno.)
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Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Time Measurement...

I was doing some research on the Canon EOS-1N film camera, and ran across some photos taken during the invasion of Iraq.

Not the Gulf War, but OIF.

"Surely," I thought, "this is some sort of anachronism. That was 2003..."

Nope. The Global War on a Noun has been going on for so long that we were a couple years into it and working photojournalists were still using film cameras.

I went and double-checked my timelines and, sure enough, in 2003 we were still in the very first generation of commercial purpose-built DSLRs: The Canon EOS-1D and Nikon D1X would have been the pro-grade models then.

At the same time, the 35mm Canon EOS 1V and Nikon F5 were probably the ultimate iterations of the pro film camera. They were bomb-proof, mature technology, and the infrastructure to handle 35mm film was still ubiquitous.

On the other hand, the 1D and D1X were developed from the same bodies, should be just as tough, and should simplify getting images home from the field.

Obviously, many were still sticking with film and that makes it feel like a long time ago, in a more real way than just looking at the dates on a calendar does.


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Tuesday, March 05, 2019

The Retail Apocalypse continues in '19...

"There's roughly 52 square feet of retail space per person in the US, compared to 19 square feet of retail space in the UK, according to CoStar.

This market oversaturation suggests the US is still in the "early innings" of mass store closures, according to a report last October by the advisory firm Cowen and Company.
"
The Macy's that anchors what's left of what used to be an indoor mall just up the road is making the go-aways, probably finally killed off by the super Target across the parking lot. (And the super Target is likely feeling the pinch from the new Meijer.)

Unlucky ship...

The battle of Lissa in 1866, which saw Rear Admiral Tegethoff's Austrian fleet defeat a numerically superior Italian force, had an affect on ship design for the latter half of the 19th Century. (Possibly because Austria was such a naval underdog.)

What was unusual about the battle is that Tegethoff formed his main squadron into a rough wedge and charged the Italian battle line, seeking ramming attacks and close engagement. This was outside the rather staid "line of battle" tactics that had been most common for the last couple hundred years.

For this reason, late pre-dreadnought ironclads tended to all feature rams and have an emphasis on main armament that could fire directly forward. Everyone wants to copy a winner. And while Tegethoff was shooting from the hip in an attempt to neutralize his opponent's advantages, taking ships outside their designed envelope, now ships would be built from the ground up with situations like Lissa in mind.

In a race to keep up with the local squadrons of European colonial powers, China ordered some state of the art ironclads from Germany. They were scheduled to be delivered in 1884, but France was in the middle of a war with China and asked if the Germans would please hold off on delivering the ironclads until France had finished beating China. The Germans obliged and it was another year before the ships were delivered.

When they arrived, the Dingyuan and her sister ship, Zhenyuan, seriously altered the balance of power in the China Seas.

Following the fashion of the time, they had ram prows and a pair of staggered wing turrets, each with a brace of 12" Krupp breech-loaders. These turrets were arranged so that all four guns could fire fore or aft, as well as having a limited arc to each side where a four-gun broadside was possible.

I'd say that the effects of firing a 12" naval gun right across your own decks is best left to the imagination, but we don't have to use our imaginations. During the First Sino-Japanese War, at the Battle of the Yalu, Admiral Ding Ruchang was using the Dingyuan as his flagship. Worried about the superior gunnery prowess of the Chrysanthemum Fleet, he tried to pull a Tegethoff, ordering his ship to close with the Japanese and open fire at a closer range.

The ship's captain, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with closing with the Japanese line and ordered the crew to open fire at extreme range. This happened while the Admiral's staff and some Royal Navy advisors were still on the flying bridge, and one of the advisors recollected being catapulted by the blast in his memoirs. (It didn't actually destroy the flying bridge, that happened later by Japanese shellfire.)

When I found a book focusing on the battle, I had to order it. It's such an interesting period in naval history.
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Monday, March 04, 2019

You're doing it wrong.

Some dude up the road in Marion was walking about with an unholstered pistol stuffed down the front of his trousers. He says he felt the gun starting to slip down into his pants and grabbed to catch it, causing it to discharge... right into his junk.

Dude didn't have a toter's permit, either, so there's every chance he's getting charged for it, too.

And to rub extra bonus salt into the wound, if you will, dude has made news as far away as Sacramento and DC.

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, it was a Hi Point.

If only they made a device designed to securely attach the gun to your waist and cover the trigger.
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Changing my mind, at least a little...

Initially when I stuck my toe back into the film photography world, I was pretty down on late-model Canon EOS cameras with auto everything. I wanted knobs and dials and the full retro experience.

I've since softened on that, at least to an extent. At least for the higher-end stuff. Having used the digital full-frame EOS 1Ds Mark II and fallen in love with it, I'm looking at the EOS 1N in a new light.
It helps that I've got a few good EF-mount lenses to go with it.

Hopefully once the weather turns I'll be able to get out in the neighborhood with it some more.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Instamatic...

So, cameras that used roll film (as opposed to sheet film, like that used in large format cameras) generally required the user to thread the end of the roll onto a takeup spool. In an attempt to make a more user-friendly volkscamera sort of experience, Kodak launched the 126 film format in the early Sixties.

Dubbed the "Instamatic", a name obviously intended to signify ease of use, the film was all spooled up in a little plastic cartridge which you could just drop into the camera and then remove when you'd shot up all the exposures. The film itself was about the same size as 35mm film, but the camera exposed square images on it.

About a decade later, Kodak followed up with a second Instamatic film format, the 110. This used film that was as wide as the 16mm film used in subminiature cameras, but with only one row of indexing holes. The frames were half the size of a 35mm negative (the same size as a current Micro Four Thirds camera sensor, coincidentally.)

To combat worries that the film would be too grainy if enlarged to a useful size, Kodak even came up with new emulsions that would permit decent sharpness with 5x7s, maybe even 8x10s with good glass.

Unfortunately the vast majority of 110 cameras were cheap, plastic-lensed abominations, and the reputation for taking poor pictures has stuck with the format. Most customers' 110 photos I printed at the lab were garbage.

What the 110 format allowed, though, was the first advent of the take-anywhere, truly pocketable camera. There were some decent ones on the market, too; built well, with quality glass.

Pentax made an entire interchangeable-lens SLR camera system in the 110. The lens that's on there is the standard prime, a 24mm f/2.8. (Since the negative is half the size of 35mm, that gives the same field of view as a 48mm lens on a regular full-frame camera.)

Interestingly, the shutter also functions as the aperture, so all lenses have the same maximum aperture of f/2.8. It's a real SLR, with a pentaprism, TTL light metering, the works. Pentax sold a suite of lenses, a flash, a motor-drive/grip, and other accessories. They made them from '78 until '85.
 
Rollei's A110 is a little metal brick of a camera that is slid closed and then open again to advance the film, like a Minox spy camera. The 23mm f/2.8 lens has a reputation for being one of the better 110 lenses made.

Fujifilm discontinued 110 film production in 2009, but you'll find some in cold storage on eBay and elsewhere, and Lomography started producing it in 2011. I just got a roll from Amazon that I'm going to use to test the little A110 and see if it works!
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Friday, March 01, 2019

When art & photojournalism meet...

I hadn't seen this amazing spread of photos, titled "Afghanistan: Chronotopia", before. It's definitely worth a look.
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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Spectacle

Yesterday was a mental health day (I think this is now called 'self care'), spent indoors... in pyjamas, in fact ...and the morning was in front of the televisor watching the federal government make a gigantic ass of itself.

Yesterday, of course, being the public circus part of Michael Cohen's Capitol Hill round robin of committee hearings.

Fittingly, on the local NBC affiliate, it preempted Days of Our Lives. I gotta say that, while the average congressperson is a better actor than the average soap star, the plot wasn't near as coherent and nowhere near as intellectually rigorous. It was every bit as entertaining, though. On a day when I'm lolligagging or sick in bed, I'm a lot more likely to doze off to the goings-on in the fictional town of Salem than I was to the ones in the Rayburn House Office Building yesterday.

Nobody did a very good job accomplishing what were their purported goals, as Popehat blogger Ken White noted in his piece for The Atlantic last night. A quick survey of Facebook and Twitter tells me that precisely zero people had their opinions changed, as this Wired piece notes.

The actual goals of a congressional committee hearing, which is to grandstand for soundbites for the constituents back home, were about all that was accomplished. That nice, beleaguered Mr. Trump was defended and that stubby-fingered Cheetoh Jesus was savaged and everyone got some sentences they can use in the ad copy for their 2020 primary runs.
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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Very Broad Ripple...

This is about the most Broad Ripple way to fetch the groceries I've yet seen.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Pocket Six Shooter



Chris gets right to the reason I switched from a .38 Special Model 442 to a .32 H&R Magnum Model 432 back in 2005 and haven't ever thought about switching back.

.38 Special does not expand reliably from a 2" barrel in any loading. The only way you'll see expansion from a J-frame is to step up to .357, but .357 Magnum out of an Airweight is punishing. Followup shots are slow, and that's the sort of recoil that adversely affects accuracy.

Look at Chris's posted times in the 5x5x5 drill for the different calibers. There's something like a full second's difference between .32 H&R and .357 Mag. I know the guy reading this who carries one of those flyweight Smith .357's with a frame made out of Riboflavin alloy or whatever is like "Well, I shoot magnums just as good as regular .38's." No. No you don't. Video with a timer or GTFO.

Since all pistol bullets do is poke holes, we need the holes to go as deep as necessary to poke holes in important stuff inside the bad guy, without poking holes in important stuff on the far side of the bad guy.

This is why I have Federal 95gr LSWC in my 432PD; it's reliably found in the denim on the far side of the jello block, just like 148gr .38 Special wadcutters are, and it recoils about the same in an Airweight snubbie, and I get six of them instead of five; a 20% capacity advantage.


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Saturday, February 23, 2019

It gets me out of the house...

Automotif CXLXX...

Ferrari California parked out front of Cafe Patachou this morning at 49th & Penn...

Amusingly, Patachou has made t-shirts featuring Yelp! reviews...



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Aw yiss...



I guess I have to get Netflix. (Back when Band of Brothers hit, Marko and I got HBO so we could watch, so it's not without precedent.)
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Friday, February 22, 2019

Blech.

Ever have one of those days where you just want to pull the covers over your head and try again tomorrow?
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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Big camera, little camera...

To take these pictures, the cameras were put in Program mode with ISO set to Auto, just to see how each one would meter the scene. All of them were wearing lenses that are the closest approximation I have to a 50mm f/1.8 full-frame lens, for that respective sensor size.

This picture was taken using a Pentax Q-S1 and the 01 8.5mm f/1.9 lens. Lens corrections were applied in Photoshop, but no lighting correction. With the 12mp 1/1.7" sensor, the less attention drawn to the noise in the shadows, the better. (The camera selected 1/60th @ f/1.9, ISO 1000 for the shot.)

This was the Nikon 1 J1 and the 1 Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.7 lens. The Nikon, with its slightly-larger-than-the-Pentax 10mp 1" sensor had the hardest time with the image. The camera went for 1/60th @ f/1.8, ISO 900. Trying to save the highlights using the auto function in photoshop left the shadows noisy. I could go in and tweak, I suppose.

Lastly, a Fujifilm X-E1 and Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8, which the camera shot at 1/55th @ f/1.8, ISO 800. The 16mp APS-C has plenty of dynamic range for the picture, but now we run into depth-of-field issues. The longer 32mm lens (still roughly a 50mm FF equivalent) has such a shallow DoF at this range with an f/1.8 aperture that the book spines are nicely in focus, but the cameras in front of them are starting to blur, and the boot toes and lens fronts are noticeably blurry.

Now my OCD self wants to repeat the scene with the EF 50mm f/1.8 on the 5D Mark II, but I'll have to wait for tonight.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Creating Jobs...

Who says technology doesn't create jobs? In addition to learning to code, here are a couple other jobs in our current bleak cyberpunk dystopia that only William Gibson could have foreseen:
  • Amazon Arbitrageur: Apparently there are people who make a living driving around to big box stores, emptying out the deep discount clearance shelves, and then re-selling the stuff at a markup as Amazon sellers.

  • Instagram Influencer: In the world of Count Zero, Tally Isham was a Sense/Net star who traveled the world, having soap opera adventures in exciting places that her followers could experience through her Zeiss Ikon eye implants. In the world of This Current Year, Meghan Young travels the world and climbs mountains in exotic locations, which her followers can experience through her Canon DSLR and her iPhone.

Monday, February 18, 2019

From conversation elsewhere...

Dammit, Jussie...

I kept silent on social media regarding the Jussie Smollett incident up until now, mostly because I saw how some of the folks who expressed skepticism on the matter got handled. Chris Hernandez posted on his author page on Facebook, and had people losing their fecal matter in the comments almost immediately.
"Yes, there is an *allegation* of a racist, anti-gay attack by Trump supporters. No, there is no evidence supporting the allegation. No video thus far shows an attack, or attackers matching the suspect description, despite numerous cameras in the area. No container for the bleach allegedly poured on Smollett has been located. No witnesses corroborate Smollett’s allegation.

Not only that, but the attackers tied a rope around Smollett’s neck and he left it on as he walked home after the attack, then left it on for forty more minutes after arriving home, then still had it on when the police arrived however many minutes later? Really?
...
If some conservative icon like Ann Coulter claimed Antifa had attacked her in a heavily-surveilled area but no video or witnesses supported her claim, and parts of her story didn’t add up, I’d call shenanigans and demand evidence before I believed her.
"
As a matter of fact, several friends with actual police detective experience independently used some variation of the line "If you take a report and the events sound implausible, it's probably because it didn't happen that way."

What pisses me off about this whole thing is that yes, there are still plenty of overtly hateful, racist assholes. There are even ones bold enough to curb-stomp a gay black man if they thought they could get away with it. But the number of those lurking inside the Chicago Loop on a freezing January night, waiting to tie a symbolic noose and cackle "THIS IS MAGA COUNTRY!" cartoonishly as they run off is statistically zero.

Even leave off the part about Jussie never mentioning the attack to the doorman/security at his building, never dropping his Subway sandwich, still having the "noose" around his neck when the police arrive... the attack scenario itself doesn't pass the smell test, let alone the irregularities in the aftermath.

The whole thing reads like some "ripped from the headlines" Law & Order episode, which is unsurprising since Jussie's been an actor since he was in elementary school, went to a $10,000/yr Catholic High School in suburban New Jersey, and has probably never seen an actual bedsheet-wearing Klansman in his life.

I don't know what drives a dude to feel like he has to generate some drama like this in his life, and it saddens me, in that it just makes it harder for the guy who isn't an actor, who didn't go to an expensive private school, and who actually does get curb-stomped by a couple of racist, homophobic assholes to be believed.

The lesson of The Boy Who Cried "Wolf!" isn't that there aren't any wolves, after all.
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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Overheard in the Kitchen...

Oh no, there could be two...

It already seems to be taken for granted that Bloomberg's gonna make a try for the Democrat nomination in 2020, but listening to De Blasio on Meet the Press this morning, I got a real "hat tossing in ring" vibe from him, too.

Also, that guy has an ego that can be seen from orbit with the naked eye.
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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Background Checks Stop Nothing

So, a dude with a previous conviction for a violent felony managed to pass a background check for an Illinois Firearm Owner ID card, and managed to pass a NICS check to purchase a handgun, and it wasn't until they ran his prints when he was applying for an Illinois toter's permit that the previous conviction turned up.

So they denied him the permit and sent him a letter asking him to pretty please hand the gun over.

Instead, he took the gun to his job and shot up the meeting where they were firing him, and then ran around shooting up the place in general. What stopped his rampage? Someone shot his ass. That's what stops murderous jerkwads: Getting shot. Not background checks, not fingerprints, not purchase permits or ID cards.

The only problem is that nobody there had a gun with which to shoot said jerkwad, so he pretty much had the run of the place while they waited for people with guns to show up.

That's what these incidents tend to have in common: A serious lack of shooting back.
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Thursday, February 14, 2019

It's true...

For good or ill, revolvers are on the wane. They were replaced as duty/service guns wholesale in the 1980s, and their strongest holdout niche, the 5-shot concealable snubby, is being eclipsed by the tiny pocket .380 pistol.

And it's not like Millennials are going to develop a sudden affection for revolvers (or 1911s) when they turn 40, either, any more than they're likely to suddenly develop an interest in Harleys with their first gray hair.

Elsewhere I predicted that in ten years the shrunken revolver market would be mostly big hunting magnums, weirdo .410 shot pistols, cowboy repros for SASS, and maybe a tiny niche holdout remnant of small and medium frame wheelguns.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Homicide

Last night before bed, I finished reading Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America.

I cannot recommend the book highly enough if you're interested in the mechanics and root causes of the freakishly high homicide rates in America's inner cities. The author spent most of a decade practically embedded with LAPD homicide detectives in South LA and obviously cares about the subject.
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Cats & Dogs

Photography is not a crime...

...except when it is.

One such case would be if you are a foreign student found wandering around snapping pictures of the antenna farms of an interagency intelligence facility located on a Naval Air Station. Especially if you'd walked past a bunch of fences and "KEEP OUT: THIS MEANS YOU" signs to get there.

That's the sort of behavior that tends to get teh feds a little bit spun up.

Obligatory "Reefer Madness"-grade video about the facility's main gig, supporting the War on (Some) Drugs, below. Presumably they're also making sure those tricksy Cubans aren't fixin' to invade or anything.


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Monday, February 11, 2019

Spoiler Alert: It's the latter...

Icy Night

Rebel T1i
Bobbi got home from her writing class just before seven last night, which meant we just had time to duck over to Next Door American Eatery for dinner.

Having had a pretty substantial brunch with Shootin' Buddy, I just had the Buffalo chicken bites appetizer and a gin gimlet for dessert.

iPhone 7 Plus
The night was thinking about icing up as we left...

Rebel T1i
Yesterday was the last day of spending a week with the Rebel T1i. Starting today, it's a week with the EOS 40D.

The 40D is actually older than the T1i, with a 10.1mp APS-C sensor using the DIGIC III processor versus the Rebel's 15mp/DIGIC 4 setup. However it's also a prosumer body, which is more rugged and weather-resistant and features a number of other features, like a top-panel LCD and the distinctive Canon control wheel on the rear of the body.

They're available used from Amazon sellers as cheap as $99 right now, and I actually got this one for $79 shipped from KEH back in November with a Black Friday sales code.
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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Battleground State

Illinois gun owners had fought hard for years and made hellacious headway in the battle to get CCW and at least a measure of preemption passed, so it's especially painful to see all that hard work threatened by their new Future License Plate Craftsman in Springfield, J.B. Pritzker.

The war never ends.
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I feel like this was a William Gibson plot...

"Publish and be damned!"

The post title is the famous retort of the Duke of Wellington when a publisher offered to leave him out of the salacious memoirs of a courtesan in exchange for a healthy sum of cash.

Similarly, Jeff Bezos seems to have correctly divined that the average American in 2018 has a lot less of a problem with the idea of consenting adults texting each other dick pics or bobs and vagene than they do about a tabloid surreptitiously getting ahold of said communications and attempting to use them for blackmail purposes.
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Friday, February 08, 2019

Serious Blasphemy

"Through the grapevine has come a hint that the designated hitter may become a universal reality in Major League Baseball in the not-too-distant future.

Hurry up. Oh, for the love of David Ortiz, Edgar Martinez and Frank Thomas, please hurry up.
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As of right now, the National League is the only remaining holdout of Real Baseball, which clearly states in Rule 1.01 that "Baseball is a game between two teams of nine players each", not "nine players plus a designated hitter".

Once the Designated Hitter appears in the National League, can the final gasps of the republic be far behind?
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19°F on the banks of Eagle Creek...

Trying different glass...

While inexpensive for a full frame zoom lens with that range, the 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM was disappointing. Not very sharp, lots of chromatic aberration.

Yesterday I swapped another old lens onto the T1i, the EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM. While nominally the same aperture range, the better glass and Image Stabilization make a big difference in sharpness.


Straw Gun Training

From an older post at Gun Culture 2.0:
"...Keller argues for a combat proven approach to training that focuses on the constants of gunfighting. The post-9/11 essence of gun training is spending time on a square range mastering the basic techniques that apply in every gunfight: getting the gun up, getting sight picture, and pulling the trigger.
...
[Y]et, he observes, many of his peers who have the same operational experience do not train in this manner. Instead, they are “getting wrapped up in the whole wooing the customer thing, with the fancy drills and the running around doing the GI Joe stuff. Some of the guys that do have experience are teaching that stuff but it’s because they know that’s what sells.”
"
Now, I'll readily admit that I've avoided a couple of the more... notorious? internet famous? ...trainers, but at this point my training resume is pretty varied. Since this stuff is usually for work (and could quite possibly come up if I ever actually have to defend myself), I keep a spreadsheet documenting my training hours.

Looking over that list and discarding all the various legal and medical and other classroom stuff and limiting it to only life-fire range classes, I count fifteen different trainers/schools since 2008. And those fifteen come from a wide variety of backgrounds: LE, .mil, private citizens...

I have yet to encounter anything I'd describe as "fancy drills" or "running around doing GI Joe stuff". I've certainly never attended a class where the basics of marksmanship were not stressed. In fact, in most classes I've taken, marksmanship was not just stressed but scored and graded and the best shooters were usually recognized in some way.

Maybe I'm attending the wrong classes?
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Thursday, February 07, 2019

You know what they say about opinions...

From the WML column, Marlon Rando has an opinion!


Well, I believe I will consider the opinions of dudes like Darryl Bolke and Chuck Haggard over Rando Calrissian and his fifty-year-old shoes.
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Tab Clearing...


Meanwhile, in American-Occupied America...

Via the NRA-ILA, Indiana pro-RKBA bills advance out of committee...
House Bill 1284, sponsored by Representative Jim Lucas (R-69), passed from the House Committee on Judiciary by a vote of 9-2. It would provide immunity for a justified use of force in certain instances to help prevent frivolous lawsuits. Victims of violent crime shouldn’t be subjected to unnecessary civil suits, therefore being victimized twice. This bill would also require a court to award, in certain instances, reasonable attorney's fees if it determines a suit was brought unjustly, helping to prevent financial ruin for individuals protecting themselves and others. 
House Bill 1643, sponsored by Representative Ben Smaltz (R-52), passed from the House Committee on Public Policy by a vote of 12-0. It would increase the duration of a 4-year License to Carry a Handgun (LTCH) to five years and also eliminate the fee. In addition, it would allow gun owners greater ability to carry a firearm for self-defense in houses of worship, while respecting private property owner rights.
Contact your state legiscritters, Hoosiers.
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