Thursday, October 17, 2019


A pretty cool video presentation of the Battle of Midway, carefully presented from only the Japanese point of view...

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Overheard Online...

From a conversation elsewhere:
Friend A: "Anime by itself isn't supposed to be cringy. There's lots of good anime out there."

Friend B: "Intentional or not, that's the effect on me."

Friend A: "Well, what anime have you watched?"

Friend B: "Let's see... Pantyflash Crisis, Fanservice High School, and Animal-Eared Preteens, I believe."
I laughed so hard I nearly lost continence.

Tab Clearing...

Interesting Times

So, Russia has decided it will use its troops to head off potential conflicts between invading Turks and the forces of its ally, Syria.

Of course, Turkey is still a de jure NATO member and the spearhead of their invasion of Syria is not made up of disciplined Turkish regulars, but a wild-eyed pack of Allahu Akhbar'ing Arab militias operating under the sanction of Ankara, so I see no possible way this could go wrong.

Monday, October 14, 2019


An interesting writeup on a couple who have decided to party like it's 1889, for the most part, at least.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Pre-Assault Indicators...

Recognizing this stuff can be a lifesaver.

Being able to articulate it can be a freedomsaver.

I can't recommend training with John Murphy highly enough.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Sketchy on its face...

Unless there are some pretty serious extenuating circumstances, leaving the building to spray the area with your AK doesn't pass my "It was self-defense" smell test.

Spoiler Alert

Car and Driver had a little throwaway listicle* entitled "The Best-Selling Car in America the Year You Graduated High School: Find the top-selling car from each year, from 1978 to today."

Spoiler Alert: If you're a late Boomer or early Gen X'er, it's probably an Oldsmobile Cutlass. For most Gen X'ers, it's the Taurus or Accord, and then it's Camrys from there on out. (There's a jumbled period in the mid-'80s where Cutlass dominance had crumbled and a few forgettable GM and Ford products scrambled for first place; horrid little commuter boxes like the Escort and Cavalier. My graduating year featured the Chevy Celebrity, the most vanilla variant of GM's spectacularly mediocre '80s A-body. Imagine a car so dull that the Lumina was an edgy improvement.)

*Safari's spellchecker knows "listicle". Huh.

Seasons Change

Spending the tail end of September up in Vermont and New Hamster gave me a bit of a foretaste of fall, but it's finally caught up to me here in the Circle City.

After ninety degree temperatures just last week, we had a few days of perfect convertible weather for a breather, and then yesterday's cold front brought the first frost of the season and the lowest overnight temperatures since April.

Woobie weather has arrived, and it's almost time to swap out the cotton socks for the wool ones and the short-sleeved tees for long-sleeve pullovers. Next thing you know it'll be long johns and warm boots weather for walking to Twenty Tap.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Gratuitous gun pr0n #178...

Smith & Wesson's Model 59, seen here in a nickel-plated variant, was an eye-opening vista onto a whole world of copycat blasters...

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Net Gains

Found an interesting article explaining the differences between SAE Gross and SAE Net horsepower ratings, and also highlighting some of the shenanigans that went down with manufacturer's advertised horsepower ratings during the performance wars of the '60s, when "BHP" might as well have stood for "HorsePower as measured at the Brochure".

What brought this to mind recently was driving the '94 Mustang GT. The 302cid motor in that car is the tail end development of the pushrod small-block Ford V8; in another two model years it would be replaced with the overhead-cam 4.6L. It's rated in the ad copy as developing 215bhp and, while not completely overwhelming the driving experience like the 327 in my Chevy Monza did, it's always there with power on tap if you want to break the rear end loose and get up to shenanigans.

Thing is, it's a completely docile and tractable engine. It starts easily, idles calmly with hardly any "lope" from the cam, delivers reasonable MPG for what it is, and features good throttle response all across its rev range.

What makes that interesting is that it would have had, in Sixties advertising "Gross BHP" terms, close to one horsepower per cubic inch. I've driven and/or owned several of the really high-output small-blocks from the Glory Years of the Muscle Car, and those things are an experience. Hard starting in cold weather, tepid throttle response at low revs, lumpy cams that have them idling like a paint mixer (seriously, the radio antenna on my 327 Monza, which was purely camouflage and not connected to a radio, would whip violently side-to-side at traffic lights), and 10.5- or 11.5- or 12-to-1 compression ratios that demanded premium gas...if not a drive to whatever local station offered Sunoco 104.

It's interesting that the '94 Mustang GT has performance numbers that more or less perfectly overlap a '70 Boss 302, when you allow for differences in tire technology, and the 94 will do it with a/c, cruise control, and power windows. The EPA took a lot away in the early 'Seventies, but by the mid-Eighties, computer-controlled ignition and fuel delivery, as well as computer-aided design of intake & exhaust components as well as combustion chambers had given it all back and then some.


True Firearms Confession...

I am in constant danger of ordering a pistol-length 6.5 Grendel AR upper just to watch the fireballs.

I am not proud of this.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

QotD: Political Discussions on Social Media Edition

"It’s important to revere the founders. Wise men like FDR, Heinlein, Guevara, and Mencken left quotes to guide us in interpreting their intent in the Bill of Rights, which is the first ten amendments to the Declaration of Independence."

A surprising find...

I carted a couple large boxes of books to Half Price Books yesterday. If you've never done this, they have a pretty organized system for processing incoming books. Books are stacked and their barcodes scanned (or ISBN numbers entered) and sorted into stuff for which they're paying you and stuff which they'll be glad to take off your hands if you don't want to cart it home.

You can tell if they stumble on a real find because they'll hesitate, maybe wipe it down, and double-take at the monitor in front of them. When I saw the clerk do that over a yellow-jacketed book in the stack I brought in yesterday, I figured I'd better google it up and see what I found. I'm glad I did, because it appears that Dougal Dixon's Man After Man is bringing rather more than the $2.99 I gave for it all those years ago.

Anyway, I decided not to sell that one to Half Price Books and threw it on eBay instead.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Mental Picture

So, a dude comes up into some bar in Kansas City. The bartender doesn't serve him because dude is apparently yelling gang slogans. Dude gets mad, throws a cup at the bartender, comes around the bar and tries to chuck a bottle at him, and gets hustled out the door by the other patrons. He comes back with a buddy and some blasters and they shoot the place up. (I know you're going to find this a shock, but police already had mug shots of the suspects on file from previous arrests.)

But that's not what's funny. What's funny is the abbreviated headline on's front page:

"Came back armed with another man" reads to me like he came back with another guy who he started swinging around the room by his ankles.

Player Two Has Entered the Game

The Taxonomy of Modern Dangers sprang from the realization that ninjas, pirates, and zombies were not the only threats out there on the horizon that might cause a responsible person to want to keep a firearm handy. The threat spectrum was gradually fleshed out with face-eating monkeys, killer space robots, werewolves, vampires, clowns, and hippies, and the various shifting alliances and conflicts among the factions.

And now this headline pops up at CNN: "Pigs were spotted using tools for the first time, a new study says"

This is why we keep this stuff in an expandable three-ring binder, people.

A Ballad of the Republic in the Current Year

The Washington Post had a clever riff on the state of baseball in the Sabermetrics/Moneyball Era entitled "Casey @ the Bat":
The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney whiffed again, the eighteenth K that night,
A sickly silence fell, for somehow baseball wasn’t right.

A straggling few got up and left, annoyed they even came;
And most who stayed were kind of drunk or wagered on the game.
Yet still to come was Casey, whom the fans had long extolled,
Though at the age of 31 the metrics deemed him old.

But first ahead of him was Flynn, a player much accursed;
His BABIP was atrocious, and his WAR was even worse.
Another guy came up as well, his name recalled by few;
Confusion sowed by double switches made in hour two...
Go and read the whole thing. It's brilliant parody and I wish I'd written it.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Automotif CLIII...

The lady driving this old Super Beetle ragtop parked and ran into a shop. I grabbed my Nikon D700 off the patio table at Byrne's Grilled Pizza and started ambling over to grab a photo. A couple of other patrons of the restaurant saw me get up, swiveled their heads to see where I was headed, and then turned back toward me smiling and nodding.

If you don't love a Beetle, you ain't got no soul.

(Poor Nikon! "When I was new, I was a state-of-the-art multikilobuck professional camera! I was taking pictures of runway models in Milan and NBA action in New York. Now I'm just an aged used camera and this chick is using me to take pictures of parked cars.")

Seen while out and about...

Bobbi and I pedaled over to Twenty Tap for lunch today. I had the EOS 7D and EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 along for the ride.

This Royal Enfield Classic 500 Chrome caught Bobbi's eye...and mine, too, to be perfectly honest about it. I'd definitely tool around Broad Ripple on one of these.

This adorable golden retriever pup was charming everyone on the patio at Twenty Tap.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Automotif CLII...

"Pardon me, do you have any Heinz brown mustard in the squeeze bottle?"
Him: "Cool car!"

Me: "Thanks! You too!"
He gave the '94 a walkaround and got a kick out of the year-of-manufacturer plate. "I didn't realize any of these were old enough for vintage plates!"

Messing up our average...

The Broad Ripple area managed to go through all of 2017 and 2018 without a homicide. In February of this year, a dude got whacked during an attempted home invasion robbery at 64th and Central, but that doesn't really count because he was the one doing the invading and was killed by the invadee.

Now some guy gets plugged outside an after hours pub that I didn't even know was there, just north of the canal, behind The Good Earth. (For longtime blog readers, this is where the hippie fell off the bridge that one time.)

Weather Whingeing

Yesterday was August 63rd.

Or at least it felt like it.

September 30th ended a record hot September in Indianapolis with a record high for the date: 92°F. Mother Nature liked that number so much she used it again for October 1st and 2nd. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the previous hottest October day in the Circle City was October 8th a dozen years ago, when the mercury hit 91.

Today is apparently going to be September 1st-30th all at once, and our normal seasons will resume tomorrow, for which I am grateful.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

In case you haven't checked...

I've been getting caught up on content at the Patreon page since getting home from vacation. There are several fresh posts.

Who was on trial here, Mr. Crump?

There's a brand new dance but I don't know its name

From elsewhere, when someone else remarked that the Bokeh Binge would fizzle out as a style in fifteen years, I replied...
At first, extreme shallow DOF [depth-of-field] and a creamily blown-out background was a way of signaling "I have a professional camera with a big sensor and a ginormous aperture!"

Now it's a way of signaling "I have a high end cell phone!"

When quality computational photography trickles down to fifty dollar LG Cricket phones, it's gonna be time to find a new way to flex on the poors.

(And FIFTEEN years? Dude, cartoony HDR already looks SO 2015. I expect fauxkeh to have a similar lifespan. ;) )
Speaking of "the style of the time" (which is why I have an onion on my belt), Mike at The Online Photographer notes a side effect of modern photojournalism being shot on cameras with dizzyingly high resolution sensors, at least relative to what was available in the past. In reference to the photos in The End of the Caliphate, he writes:
"Naturally the first few times you look at a book like that you respond to the content, with emotion; it takes a cold heart indeed to see a picture of a woman wailing by the bloody steps where her son was just killed and think, "they got a nice blue in that dress." So only on my fourth or fifth time through the book did I really consider the technique directly—I looked at it in the light of our sharpness discussion. When I did, it occurred to me that if I had encountered this book thirty years ago or forty years ago, I probably would have considered it to be bizarrely, garishly, intrusively oversharpened; it might have impeded my appreciation of the content of the pictures. As it was, when I took my first pass through the book I just sort of thought, in the back of my mind, that it's a good example of modern photographic style, and got right into the content. It was what I've come to expect. No big deal."
Photographic fashion, like politics, may be the art of the possible. (This last is behind a paywall, but it's an interesting look at how the capabilities of the tools at hand influence style.)

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

It's not a dry heat, either.

So we just finished having the warmest September on record in Indianapolis, as well as the third driest.

The weather doesn't seem to be noticing that we just flipped the calendar page, either. The previous record high for October was 91 degrees on 10/8/2007, but they're predicting that'll be tied or maybe even broken today or tomorrow.

An Eye for an Eye

I envy this blogger's eye for an image. I tend to take a picture of an object or a person, rather than a scene, and I don't know if the ability to do the latter is an ability I can cultivate.

If the cost of doing so is the bitterness that comes through in that post, though, I think I'll stick with taking formulaic pictures of my roommate's cat.

As a matter of fact, contemplating this has triggered some introspection on my part about how much negativity I've allowed into my daily life. It's probably past time to cut sling load on a lot of that.

Automotif CLI...

This murdered-out Cadillac CTS wagon caught my eye. The market's overall preference for crossover SUVs (aka "station wagons with built-in booster seats") has always struck me as odd. If you were to compare an all-wheel-drive CTS wagon with a car-based ute like the Cadillac SRX, the wagon would give up almost nothing in off-pavement ability to the crossover SUV. The extra couple inches of ground clearance would make a difference in the sort of off-roading that most crossovers never see.

Actually, the CTS/SRX comparison is especially apt since the first-gen SRX was built on the same Sigma  platform/driveline as the contemporary CTS. You got a bit more ground clearance and headroom and better sightlines in exchange for being slower, clumsier, and getting worse gas mileage. I suppose that skidpad numbers aren't important to someone shopping crossover SUVs, but the fact that the SRX was Cadillac's best selling vehicle while the sharp-looking CTS wagon lasted four model years before being discontinued due to lack of interest will always puzzle me.