Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Big Boys

For all the times when Huck would pounce on Rannie, hoping she would play, and Bobbi and I would muse to each other that what Huck needed was a young and spry tom who was just eager to play all the time, Holden's arrival has taken some getting used to.

I'll be sitting here at my desk in the office and hearing the thumps and bangs of two big tomcats rasslin' around in the hallway...

...and when I stand up with a spray bottle in my hand and lean into the hall to see what's up and what sort of fight might need breaking up, the two of them will stop what they're doing, perk up, and stare right toward the spray bottle nozzle inquisitively.

It's very much a "What?!? We were just rasslin' around out here!" reaction.
.

Emergency Meme Resupply




This is obviously a joke. In real life you'd use OC and not Mace.

Zero Thought, Zero Logic...

The bobbies in some UK jurisdictions are getting way overzealous in their enforcement efforts...



"In North Yorkshire, police published a photo showing a group of officers stopping a car. "This driver was making an essential journey, unfortunately others are not," they wrote."



Did you catch that? Some dude is "out for a drive due to boredom" there in Warrington and the po-po disapprove.

Suppose I'm in living in Warrington (because, I don't know, I've taken complete leave of my senses and moved to England) and I decided to take the Mustang for a spin due to boredom.

Gratuitous Mustang picture to debug a Facebook image grab issue.

Assuming I remembered to drive on the wrong side of the road like they do over there, how many people would I come in contact with...within the magic six feet of... if I drove a twenty mile loop out from the house and back with no stops? Absolutely zero.

There would be zero chance of me picking up anyone else's germs, or giving anyone mine...unless I got pulled over by a platoonlet of snooping coppers who insisted on getting all up in my grille.
.

Information Overload

First, a couple pics.


Actually, I'm doing better today than yesterday, and better yesterday than the day before. This is where adopting a bit of Stoicism comes in handy. Stoicism isn't "don't care about things" or "don't have feelings"; it's about understanding which things you have control over, and controlling those things, and then just letting go of concern over the rest.


There's a lot of stuff going on right now that's outside of your control. Whether it's pandemic stuff or the associated legal or economic stuff, there's bad news aplenty to keep you busy reading all day. You can sit and press F5 on the CDC or DJIA  or $NEWS_SITE and get more info in real time all day while you're sitting at home. Right or Left, TV or Internet, news and editorial sites are a seething roil of panic and/or outrage, bad news and anger.

Here's some advice from a friend, dispensed in an online discussion sparked by that first image up top.
"So I’m spending half my time working right now reassuring people that a lot of what they are experiencing is totally normal. Anxiety prone people are biologically predisposed to be much more attentive to stimuli they find threatening and it feels superficially empowering to compulsively engage information about this crisis. 
But obviously it ultimately just exacerbates the anxiety and distress and then it’s this vicious loop of thinking more information is the answer.  
The information is all the same. You can learn everything you need to know with about ten minutes of reading per day. Everything else is just media doing the media thing. 
Also, the stress is just a background radiation right now so even if you aren’t dwelling on it, you experience it bodily through increased fatigue, restlessness, issues with concentration and short term memory, joint and muscle pain.  
I’m mostly telling my patients to be mindful of the line between being informed and just indulging a compulsion and to try listening to what their body is trying to tell them. Get plenty of rest. Move around. Get fresh air and sunlight. And find things that get you out of your head for a while. And navigating the stress of this while taking on the stress of hundreds of others is exactly as much fun as it sounds." -Michael Tichy, CNP
Ride your bike, play a game, read a book, binge watch that series you've been meaning to catch up on. But don't alternate hitting refresh on some news site or social media page and seething in the comments sections. Take care of yourself and yours and chill.
.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

L.A. County Blinks

After the California Gun Rights Foundation, Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association, and Firearms Policy Coalition turned the sky over California legal pad yellow late last week, it seems that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has revised their opinion of the vitality of firearms businesses...


QotD: CoronaTiger Edition

From Jon Hauptman on Facebook:
"Y’know, we look at Chinese wet markets and wonder when the next insane disease is going to jump from animals to humans.

And then you realize that some unsupervised speed freak is feeding diseased cow remains to inbred tigers in Oklahoma, as fast as they can shovel the meat into the cage."
Tiger King on Netflix has been the most amazing train wreck to watch during these trying times. Every time you think it can't get weirder or more awful, it does.
.

Monday, March 30, 2020

From a conversation elsewhere...

A friend was trying to puzzle out the manufacturer of a (probably Wish.com-sourced) compact light/laser combo in a picture. Having time on my hands, I tried to help...
"I actually went and poked around on eBay, which means that now my search algorithms are all jacked up and it's gonna start emailing me "Hey, we noticed you like meme-tier garbage light/laser combos, so you might be interested in...""

Sunday, March 29, 2020

That could have been sporty...

While the media made it sound like all the places in which we were sheltering were going to be sucked up into the clouds by tornadoes, this seems to not have happened.

Round One in the early afternoon missed us entirely, passing by to the north. Round Two, 'round midnight, was noisy but lacking in tornadoes or hail.
.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Meanwhile, in California...

Frickin' everybody...(CGF, NRA, SAF, FPC, and a partridge in a pear tree)...have filed suit against California for essentially cutting residents off from their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms by closing gun stores as nonessential.
.

Ancient Weapons

A grad student who specialized in Bronze Age weaponry made a pretty cool discovery in a monastery's museum...
"During a guided tour of the monastery's museum, in the last display case before the exit, something caught Dall'Armellina's attention: a metal sword, about 17 inches long, resembling those she came across in her studies as a Bronze Age weaponry specialist."
Like many swords of that vintage, it's a size we'd consider a largish dagger. You can find a guy in Britain making replicas of these weapons on this page. Every now and again I get tempted to buy one of those "carp's tongue" ones, or maybe one of the ones with the "antenna" hilt...
.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Spooky!

A pretty cool bit of spooky science fiction writing right here, if you need some reading to occupy the time while sitting at home.
.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Feline Update...

The catlock between the front and back halves of the house has been open all day.

Huck and Holden seem to be fairly amiable toward each other. There's have been a couple of minor, brief slap fights but judging from the sound effects and body language, it was more just play and sizing each other up than anything else.

And so far nobody has found it necessary to pee on anything, so that's good.
.

Just another day at the office. Literally.

Planning ahead...

A friend wrote this in a discussion elsewhere:
"I'm thinking if I were told to stay home, and not go to work, and not make any money because I was in a job where I couldn't work from home, and the local grocery store, while hiring extra people, only managed to snap up eight of the available 150 applicants...and the federal government got back to me with preliminary news that support would be arriving sometime in May, in the form of a $1,200 check, and rent was due April 1st, and delivery food was due about now, and I were living paycheck to paycheck...and the cops weren't responding to any calls without gunfire in the background.

Well, wouldn't I be likely planning some crimes right about now, just from a statistical likelihood?

Not a political post, I don't want to talk about the corporate bailout, or who's obstructing who in the House or Senate. I just want to know when the hungry people are going to start radiating outward from their points of origin. You can't tell a hundred million people to stay home and order pizza for lunch, and then act surprised when they run out of pizza money..."
I know that for most of my twenties, when I was living paycheck to paycheck and didn't even have a debit card or a bank account to attach it to, nor any really valuable personal possessions to sell for cash, I would have been pretty well boned inside a week of this.

People are edgy now. Imagine when NYC hospitals, which are still on a rising curve of this, are having to use the temporary morgues in the parking lot.

The Cincinnati PD notice posted here seems typical of what most departments are doing right now. Basically, they're not even going to send out an officer to take a report of an assault or a B&E.

Pay attention when you're out and about, and for heaven's sake, if you don't keep your doors locked, get in the habit.
.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Here we are again...

I know we talked about this on the blog back in 2013, but I have to remind folks that the ammunition supply chain is not set up for this sort of situation.

The vast majority of gun owners...as distinct from shooters...get to the range two or three times a year, tops. They buy a box or two of ammo, shoot it up, and go home. If you've ever bought an entire case of ammo at once, you are in a small minority. If you've ever bought multiple cases at once, you are a tiny sliver of that.

When all of a sudden everyone who owns a gun runs out to buy five or ten boxes, it will suck the supply chain dry, all the way back to the component level or even back to the raw materials level. Companies have just had to provide what would usually be a year or more's worth of normal sales all at once.

If you are a new gun owner, I'm sorry. Trust me, it's not normally this weird.

If you owned guns in 2013 (or 2008, or 2001, or 1999, or 1994) and aren't continually sitting on at least a rotating three month supply of your most-used calibers, I can't say I'm feeling a lot of sympathy right now.

Fortunately, it'll be a good while before my 9mm stocks are depleted enough to have to crack into this stash...


Monday, March 23, 2020

Emergency Meme Rations




Tab Clearing, Viral Freakout Edition...

I LOL'ed...

Flying Dutchman Norseman

This will be an interesting story to check back in on...

Apparently as the various countries started closing ports of entry and borders were slamming shut, thirty assorted cruise liners were caught out at sea.

Now they're looking for places to dock.
.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

OMG, you guys...

If you have Netflix, and you haven't watched the Tiger King reality show/documentary/train wreck, y'all need to get in there and do that.

I've known some weird folks and true characters in my time, but damn if this isn't a whole 'nother level of weird.
.

Florida Man In Office



If there's one thing I've learned from social media, it's that I vastly overestimated the average intelligence of people smart enough to use an "on" switch.


.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

On RUMINT

"My brother's cousin works for the county, and he says..."

The irony of having to share the following FB post anonymously is not lost on me, but nevertheless, it raises some good points:

Happy Apocalyptic Saturday, Tribe! I want to take a minute to talk about a topic I’m seeing run rampant across Facebook: Rumor Intelligence, colloquially known as RUMINT. You’ve probably seen your share of unsubstantiated rumors from anonymous sources. Suffice it to say I’m not a fan, because of the way these rumors affect the behavior of the public in negative ways. Let’s dive in.

***TL;DR: Disinformation and false rumors are rampant, even in .gov and .mil offices, so unless you have multi-source confirmation, or a single-source on whom you’d bet your life, you’re better off ignoring RUMINT. Disinformation in times like these can be dangerous, and further exaggerate existing problems (eg hoarding, panick buying, etc.)***

Now, even RUMINT is a misnomer since the most of what people call “Intelligence” or “INTEL” is just “information.” Within the USG, “intelligence” is defined as “The product resulting from the collection, processing, integration, evaluation, analysis, and interpretation of available information..,” about whatever. If a piece of information is reported but hasn’t been processed, integrated with other pieces of information, evaluated, vetted, analyzed, and interpreted, then it’s just information, which may or may not be of value.

In any group of people during uncertain times and crises, RUMINT escalates to a fever pitch, with everybody in an organization having heard me from somebody that works elsewhere in the building or down the street or at the headquarters or capitol building that X is going to happen or everyone is going to be doing Y. This is true of the military, law enforcement, schools, FEMA offices, you name it. Overwhelmingly, and I mean 99% of the time, these rumors are incredible in the true sense of the word.

A big part of the intelligence evaluation process is vetting, or skeptically evaluating the source or sources. Why do we believe this information to be true, and how sure can we really be. A single-source report containing information that is only coming from one source and not found elsewhere is typically not trusted as actionable unless corroboration can be found elsewhere. There a rare exceptions to this, when a single-source of information’s track record of accuracy, timeliness, etc. is proven and deemed trustworthy enough to accept that single piece of uncorroborated information as accurate.

We all have friends that work here and there in government offices, and it is tempting assume that they are “in the know.” Working in government myself I can be certain that decision makers probably don’t know what they’re gonna do more than 24-48 hrs ahead, and they’re gonna do their best to keep their employees in the dark to prevent leaks and adhere to “need to know.” To fill in those blanks, RUMINT runs just as rampant in .gov offices as any other.

I bring this up to set the problem as we all must vet our sources of information during these hectic times. I generally don’t trust single-source information, and I’d advise you not to do so either. The only exception would be if a friend told me, for example, “Washington State Police are doing X tomorrow,” and then it happened. Then the next day, she said, “The governor’s gonna announce Y at 4pm today,” and that happened too. At that point I’d consider her single-source info pretty solid, but not before.

Something else I’ll touch on briefly is aside from the typical Hanlon’s Razor aspect of false and panicky RUMINT, is the potential for intentionally disruptive RUMINT by various malign adversaries. Dimitri, the Russian digital subversion operator in St. Petersburg can probably telecommute too, and if his job is to sow alarm and discord in the US via social media, now is a pretty easy time to do it. Russian bot activity on social media increases 10,000% after every school shooting. How active do you suppose they are right now as Martial Law Light™️ looms in America in the midst of a pandemic? You may have heard really convincing RUMINT from a close friend who’s like a brother or sister to you. However, the person they heard it from may have gotten it from professional subversion agents and claimed it first hand to boost their ego and seem more important or whatnot. If a sneaky Russian agent can claim martial law is coming in 24 hrs over and over and keep people panic buying to stock up before “the order” goes into effect, they can cause real tangible problems that weaken the West, which is their mission.

What’s the “so what” of this wall of text? If I don’t see something with my own eyes, hear it with my own ears, or get it from multiple credible sources or a source I would literally bet my life on, I’m not passing it on. A certain segment of our society is in denial and won’t be swayed by it regardless, but the part of society that’s emptying the shelves of food, water, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper will take any RUMINT and run with it, with likely negative consequences.

I’m not a company man, and it’s not in my nature to say, “Wait for an official announcement,” but disinformation in these times can be dangerous, so I urge folks to be very circumspect in what information that pass on, and what information they trust.

Modern Problems

We brought Holden home from the shelter one county to the north of ours before stuff got weird.

Originally, we were supposed to take him back there on Thursday to get him fixed and finalize the adoption process, but that was nixed in light of current events. Instead, we were instructed to take him to a vet up in Carmel for an initial checkup, in order to get him a clean bill of health before the snip.

So Thursday afternoon saw me and Bobbi on the vet's front porch, answering questions on the phone about our recent travels and current health before a vet tech came over to unlock the door with a gloved and Purell-ed hand.

Not gonna lie, I didn't touch anything while I was in there, either.

While I was examining the features of the exam room, I ran my eyes over the track lighting on the ceiling. I'm a sun-sneezer, and as I eyeballed the light fixture, I felt a good ACHOO boiling up.

I stifled it.
.

Improper Flushing

A side-effect of the Great Toilet Paper Panic of 2020 is that the people who found themselves short of bog roll were forced to improvise. And that means that people have been wiping their arses with napkins and paper towels and other expedient solutions. And apparently this is putting some municipal water treatment systems at risk.
.

Friday, March 20, 2020

My Time To Shine

Taking Precautions...

I keep my Saber Red spicy treats dispenser on the hook immediately in front of my car keys, so that I can't get the keys without first picking up the OC. Now I've added something else to the key rack!

Henry Holsters has the OCD (On-demand Cleanliness Dispenser) in stock, but you're on your own for the 1-oz Purell bottles, it looks like.


Fresh Market was clean and still fairly well stocked, although pasta and potatoes had been hit hard. It was uncrowded, too. The few shoppers in there were giving each other wide berths. I made use of my detachable bicycle basket so I didn't have to use one of theirs. Handy as dammit.


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Duh.



I can follow the logic train of the hippies' hatred of plastic grocery sacks. I disagree because I find them incredibly useful. I keep them in coat pockets to serve as emergency rain covers for iPad or camera, for instance. They're great bin liners for small wastebaskets, also. But I know some people just toss them and let them blow about the landscape; so I can see why some folks would think that means they need to flex the guns of the state on them and ban the things because tha's what they do with stuff they don't like.

But the hatred of paper bags is something I just don't understand. They're recyclable, biodegradable, and (if they're not already made from recycled paper) the wood they're made from was grown specifically for the purpose of being made into paper bags. It's like abstaining from eating Green Giant Niblets to save the corn plants.

(Here at Roseholme Cottage, I tend to prefer plastic for its multitude of secondary uses, while Bobbi likes paper sacks because they're less likely to fall over in the cargo bay of her SUV.)
.

Automotif CLXII...

It's a communist-built Fiat. Let all the ramifications of that sink in for a minute.

Nikon Pronea 600i & 50mm f/1.4D lens, Kodak Advantix BW400CN film

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Saturday Matinee

Last Saturday Bobbi cooked some steaks for lunch and we watched the funniest Eighties comedy most folks haven't seen: Yellowbeard.

It's got most of the Python troupe, Cheech & Chong, and pretty much everyone you'd expect from a Mel Brooks movie except Gene Wilder and Mel himself.

It's also got a finalist in the competition for the funniest sight gag ever:

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Hey, look!

I wrote a thing over at the Ammoman School of Guns, about what to look for in used semiauto pistols in general and LE trade-ins in particular...
"For one thing, we are in the middle of a law enforcement pistol trade-in boom the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the early Nineties. Back then, the market was glutted with used .38 Special and .357 Magnum duty revolvers as the U.S. law enforcement community moved en masse to semiauto pistols. Many a Smith & Wesson collection began with those $100-$200 trade-in wheelguns.

Similarly, the current trend in law enforcement service pistols is away from .40 S&W autos to the 9x19mm cartridge. The result is an oversupply of department trade-in Glock 22 and Sig Sauer P229 pistols and their .40 caliber kin on the shelves of gun sellers today.
"

Panic! at the Ammo Counter

Well, gun owners stayed pretty phlegmatic for the last several years and we really haven't had a good ammo panic since early '13, but it looks like one is upon us again.

I'm fairly well set, but if it drags out more than a couple months, I'll be happy for my Ammo Panic Blaster...
"Versatility is a good thing and, besides, if the Zombie Apocalypse happens and down at the gun store all the shelves have been stripped bare except for one dusty box of .357 SIG frangibles and you don’t have anything that will shoot it, well aren’t you going to feel a little embarrassed?"
.
Glock 35 with Lone Wolf .357SIG barrel and Surefire XC1-B

Grandstanding

Being the governor of New York has got to be a frustrating gig for an egomaniac. How are you supposed to get your narcissism on when more people around the world know the name of the mayor of your state's largest city than know who you are?

Anyway, Governor Whatshisface was trying to get some ink over the fed .gov's response to the coronavirus situation:
"Every state doing their own thing, different cities doing their own thing, it's confusing, it's chaos," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday night. "The federal government should come up, step in, and say this is what we're going to do. This is what we do in schools, this is what we do in businesses, here are the rules and then the states can adjust the rules to their particular circumstances."
One would think that, being a state governor, he'd know more about this stuff, but apparently not.

See, Governor...uh, whatever your name is, in the United States of America, the word "States" has a certain significance. A lot of things still fall under the purview of the states first and foremost, and public health is one of those things. The federal government largely still plays an advisory role here. So get out there and do your job, governor.
.

Can we still say a meme is "going viral"?


Sunday, March 15, 2020

I guess every cloud really does have a silver lining.

"After years of urging its terrorists to attack major European cities, ISIS is now telling them to steer clear due to the coronavirus.

Any sick jihadists already in Europe, however, should stay there — presumably to sicken infidels, according to a ‘sharia’ directive printed in the group’s al-Naba newsletter, the Sunday Times of London reported.
"
I read the headline aloud to Bobbi and she asked if it were The Onion or the Babylon Bee.

EDITED TO ADD:

From my friend T. W. online:
"This isn’t satire. These people literally wipe their ass with their bare hand, and have sex with goats, and even they have the sense to tell assholes who’d blow themselves up over a cartoon to use their heads and not travel right now. Think about that."
.

Does Not Work That Way

Another kid who is an expert on firearms policy by virtue of attending a school that was in the same state as one where a school shooting took place has had an op-ed published at CNN.com. He wants to know which of the two remaining serious contenders for the Democratic nomination is willing to screw Second Amendment rights harder. He has some specific concerns:
"While a few laws have been passed, gun enthusiasts have found more creative ways to obtain their guns: getting them from older friends/family, borrowing guns from someone licensed or even purchasing guns online (a loophole to background check laws)."
Andrew Tuohy would like to rebut:
"Here at Omaha Outdoors, we’ve been inundated with inquiries from out-of-state folks – many from California – asking if we can ship them a gun directly. The answer is, of course, no. Despite what politicians and many in popular media claim, you can’t buy a gun online and have it shipped to your house. Well, you could, if you were a federally licensed firearm dealer (or federally licensed curio and relic collector) and your home was your place of business. Other than that, no, you can’t buy a gun online and have it shipped, especially across state lines, to your home."

.

My kind of national emergency!

Never before in my life has lounging around the house, still in my pyjamas, well into Sunday afternoon felt like doing the responsible thing.

Turns out I was way ahead of the curve on this one!
.

There's a word for that...

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Making the Gauge Better

True story: I've been an unabashed Magpul fangirl since back when all they made were...well, Magpuls. Every product they released seemed super clever, well-engineered, and was obviously designed by end-users. (It didn't hurt that their design aesthetic, both industrial- and graphic- was just tight.)

When the SGA first dropped, my heart sank a little. "Well, that's it. They've jumped the shark. A plastic shotgun stock? Well, I guess everyone's entitled to make one goofy product..."

Then I tried one. Now I won't use an 870 without it. I was wronger than dammit. It's got all the favorable attributes of a pistol grip stock and none of the drawbacks of one.

Toilet Paper Status: Protected.



.

I mean, he's not wrong...



It's the free-market solution!
.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Uncommon Denominator

Redfield said there has been "a surveillance system of deaths from pneumonia, that the CDC has; it’s not in every city, every state, every hospital.”

Rouda followed up and asked, “So we could have some people in the United States dying for what appears to be influenza when in fact it could be the coronavirus?”

The doctor replied that “some cases have actually been diagnosed that way in the United States today.”
The reason that all the talk about how dangerous this actually is, versus the regular flu or whatever, is specious is that we have no idea how many cases there actually have been.

How many people who died of the flu or pneumonia in the US earlier in the year had actually died of covid-19? How many people who just thought they had the cold or the flu and got better, have already recovered from a bout of coronavirus and don't realize it because they never felt sick enough to get themselves tested? Who knows? It's a lot of guesswork and handwaving right now.

All the numbers are based on diagnosed cases and, given the status of testing in the US...and the fact that prior to this month only a hypochondriac or a medical professional was likely to get themselves tested unless they were sick as a dog...it wouldn't be a stretch to say that the majority of cases in this country, at least up until extremely recently, likely went untested.

I've pointed this out before: People were dying in Wuhan in the first week of January. SHOT Show coincided with the lunar new year, as usual, and Vegas was awash in crowds of tourists from China, as usual. (To say nothing of various parts and accessories manufacturers exhibiting at SHOT.) Were any of them from Wuhan? How many cases of "SHOT crud" would have tested positive for novel coronavirus?

We have no idea what the actual denominator for this looks like, so even the most scientific pronouncements are still real sketchy.

All that being said, there's a bad sick going around. Take the kind of precautions being suggested and don't be Typhoid Mary for the elderly and infirm, okay?
.

I Bless the Raids Down in Africa

Apparently you can get a lot more racial discord sown from your ruble if you spend it in Ghana:
"On February 6, Ghanaian security services raided the EBLA compound. On that same day the group stopped posting on the social media accounts it had created. One of the workers told CNN they were told to lie on the ground and had guns pointed at them. They were interrogated by police and the phones used to post on the fake accounts were confiscated.

When CNN visited the compound two weeks later, it appeared to have been abandoned.

In a statement to CNN, the Ghanaian security services said their Cyber Security Unit had become suspicious of EBLA's activities and believed it was engaged in "organized radicalism with links to a foreign body." They added that they had determined that "EBLA receives its funding from an anonymous source in a European country."

Ghanaian security sources subsequently told CNN that all of EBLA's funding had come from Russia.
"
Intelligence agencies exploiting discord and fracture points in the societies of rival or hostile powers is likely as old as the existence of nation states themselves, but the internet and social media make it a squillion times more effective. And it's a lot more effective against democracies than autocracies.
.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

_____phobia!

Always good for a chuckle...

Second thoughts on some blasters...


Very positive experiences with, first the Gen5 Glock 26 and then the FN 509C have caused me to reevaluate my previous mild disdain for widebody subcompacts in the era of the slim nine...

I'd like to add that the TLR-7 they let us use in the Aaron Cowan class at the FN launch event was useful enough that I went ahead and ordered the one in the picture from Amazon when I got home. Bitty little lights have come a long way, and this one's held up to use on the test gun so far.

Also, yay for Thyrm CLENS on a pistol with a WML that gets shot a lot. There wasn't a size specifically for the TLR-7 on the CLENS sheets I got, but the Inforce APL ones are close enough for government work.
.

Overheard in the Office...

Holden is in the advanced stages of attention-seeking behavior in Bobbi's lap, which results in being scolded and unceremoniously set on the floor.
RX: (to cat) "No, no! No chewing on the arm! That is not how we get attention." 
RX: (to me) "Does he chew on your arm?" 
Me: "No. For that matter, Huck has never bitten me, either.
RX: "Why do cats bite me and not you?" 
Me: "I dunno. You look biteable?"

Relentless Strike

Finished up an interesting book the other day.

Sean Naylor set out to write a history of Joint Special Operations Command in the GWOT, from the start of things in the immediate wake of 9/11 up to the Abbotabad raid. He found he couldn't do that without going back to the start of JSOC itself, which came out of the failed Iranian hostage rescue mission, Operation Eagle Claw.

The end result is the book Relentless Strike, which details how the machine that was doing multiple raids a night in Iraq was built up over the years.

Experience gained by SFOD-Delta in Columbia and the former Yugoslavia (helping hunt narcoterrorists in the former and war criminals in the latter) was put to use going after al Qaeda and other targets in Iraq.

There's a lot of fascinating stuff in the book about how targets were found and tracked and their networks exposed. Overhead surveillance by drones and manned aircraft turned into games of cat and mouse as targets would change cars and go afoot to throw off tails. Cell phone calls were routinely monitored, and a captured cell phone was a gold mine of intel.

One network of HVT's attempted to avoid surveillance by the expedient of all using a single email address: Write an email, save as draft, and then an ally can log on to the same address halfway around the world and read the message without it ever having been sent and possibly intercepted. Which is great until Task Force Orange hacks the account and is reading the drafts...and watching where people sign into the account from.

It's a pretty good look into the whole history of the organization during the time period*. Recommend.


*And I have to say "history of the time period" since the days of hunting Zarqawi and Bin Laden are now as far in the past as MACV-SOG was when I was in high school, hard as that is to wrap my head around.
.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Bargain lens...



I've linked before to an older Ken Rockwell piece on not buying older digital cameras, and he had a point when he wrote it...back in 2005.
"Likewise, why would I want to bother using my three year old huge, heavy and cumbersome $4,000 Nikon D1H DSLR when a D70 is better, lighter, sharper, runs longer on batteries and is even easier to use for only $800?"
The D1H bordered on experimental, basically v1.5 of Nikon's first in-house DSLR, and it used big and fiddly NiCad batteries (which it drained at a prodigious clip). Five year old digital cameras were pretty well outclassed in every way in 2005.

Nowadays, though, I have no real problem using a Nikon D700, a camera that was discontinued in 2012. It lacks conveniences like an articulating touchscreen or wifi, but those are things I've never used enough to miss on a camera. I offload my pictures via SD or CF card and sneakernet anyway. This older camera is a screaming deal for a rugged prosumer full-frame body.

Heck, for several years after the D700 was discontinued, some people contended that Nikon hadn't offered a real replacement; the D800 & 810 were high-MP studio/landscape cameras and the D600/610 lacked ruggedness and weather sealing and shared the control layout of the consumer-tier Nikons. It wasn't till the 750 was released that there was a "true D700 successor".

But a new D780, the just-released second generation D700 successor, is a twenty five hundred dollar proposition, and even a refurbed D750 is still over a grand. Meanwhile, this fairly low shutter count D700 cost the same or less as the lower tier D5600 you'd get at a big box store, and unlike that D5600 it has the focus motor in the body so you can shoot lenses like that push-pull 80-200mm f/2.8 lens in the picture.

Since Canon's EF-mount 70-200mm f/2.8 L lenses have integral focusing motors, like all EF lenses, and will work on any EF or EF-S body, even used examples of the first, non-IS versions tend to go for more than six bills online. The 80-200 in the picture is the equivalent Nikon pro lens from the era and has great optics and that fast constant 2.8 max aperture like the premium glass it is, but its inability to be used on less expensive bodies keeps its price more reasonable.

Robin sitting very still in a little tree as I walked past with the D700 & 80-200/2.8

100% crop


Feeding The Binary

In New Partisan America, where every issue is divided on party lines, it even effects our reaction to disease.

If you're not absolutely flipping out about COVID-19, it's because you're one of those undereducated Trump-loving Chick-fil-A Americans. If you bought an extra pack of toilet paper and decided not to attend a convention in the middle of flu season, it's because you're one of those SJW librul snowflakes. It's an easy way to signal tribal affiliation to a stranger now, without having to bring up guns or abortion in a conversation.
"Say, what about this coronavirus?" 
"I am very concerned about it." 
"Really? Me, too! Trump needs to go! He's just botching this whole thing."
And media, both social and traditional, lives off this stuff. It's like life fuel for Facebook and CNN.

Like and share!
.

Monday, March 09, 2020

Perspective.



Mirrorless Musing...

For the last couple years now, I'd been shooting Sony full-frame mirrorless for work and had Canon DSLRs as fun cameras. However, I got sick of the terrible battery life on the original gangsta Sony a7 and the a7 II that required me to wander the floor at SHOT or NRAAM with a battery grip on the camera and a pocket full of spares.

So I sold the a7 & a7 II, and pressed the EOS 5DS into service as my work camera, intending to buy a used a7 III, with its greatly-improved battery life, when the launch of the a7 IV this spring flooded the market with trade-in III's.


Meanwhile, everyone's gaga over the soon-to-drop Canon R5, which seems to indicate that Canon's finally getting serious about full-frame mirrorless. This is the body that all those amazeballs RF lenses have been waiting for.

What this is telling me is that I should just go ahead and keep shooting Canon until the R5 Mk. II drops and slide back into full-frame mirrorless on those trade-ins. Especially since all my EF L glass will work on an R flawlessly with an adaptor.
.

I have brought this upon myself...

Any time one of us comes through the door from the front of the house with something in our hands, Holden assumes it is food being brought to him. So he wails piteously while weaving around your ankles or "following you in front" as slowly as possible and refusing to be chivvied along any faster, all while looking up expectantly.

This is annoying when what he thinks is a scoop full of kibble is actually a mug full of coffee.
.

Sunday, March 08, 2020

*waves hand in front of nose*

I had forgotten how pungent un-neutered tomcat pee was. Fortunately Holden is relaxed enough to confine his urinating to the litter box. There was the worry that the presence of another large, older tom elsewhere the house might make him anxious enough to want to scent mark stuff, but so far so good.
.

Saturday, March 07, 2020

Caturday...

Holden has been out of the katzenbunker only since lunchtime today, but he is acclimating well.

He's currently restricted to the office/hallway/bathroom, while Huck is in the front of the house.

Holden is actually physically larger than Huck, and there may well be a Maine Coon in his family tree somewhere, but he's about a pound lighter than the Miniature Broad Ripple Biting Tiger. He's not yet two.

He has to get his head cold cleared up before they can give him the snip on Sunday, so he's on antibiotics. Roberta Ecks has been medicating him after mealtimes and he's not been violently resisting.
.

Automotif CLX...

If I had this late W126 SEL (I choose to imagine it's a 560 and not some plebeian 300 turbodiesel or watch-winder 4.2L V-8; it had been de-badged), I would get a shoulder holster for my vz. 61 and spend my days LARPing as a Cold War assassin.

The W126, with only one facelift, was the top-of-the-line Benzo for over a decade, from the 1980 model year to the 1992 one. That pretty much coincided with the formative years of my car nerdery. And when they dropped the 338cid OHC V8 in it for the '87 model year, it pretty much became the apex predator of the sedan world.
.

Thursday, March 05, 2020

It ain't all churched-up Glocks and Langdon Berettas



I guess the guys at Car and Driver have to test Corollas and Civics in between the Quattroportes and Quadrifoglios, too. So far, this one's running more like a Corolla than a Quadrifoglio anyway.
.

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Safety First, Accidents Last...

My local gun store/indoor range has started offering a 1-hour, low-cost firearms safety class that doesn't involve any live fire or actual gun-handling.

I think that's a great idea for the "gun curious" as well as people genuinely interested in safety. Looks like they have special arrangements for Sunday school classes or neighborhood associations or whatever.

This is a great idea.
.

Bloomberg Bails

This morning's funniest tweet on the topic:


Of course, Bloomberg's war chest has already pre-paid for a bunch of media time, leased office space, contracted professional electioneering consultants. Whatever will become of that investment?
Bloomberg will put his resources “in the broadest way possible behind Joe Biden’s candidacy,” Tim O’Brien, a senior adviser to the Bloomberg campaign, said Wednesday. “We have long-term leases and long-term contracts with the team and the intention was always to put this big machine we have built behind whoever the nominee is.”
My shocked face, let me show you it.

Why, if I were of a more conspiratorial bent, I'd say that Mike's whole run was as much about finding an end run around individual campaign contribution limits as anything else.

Meanwhile, in a stunning and no doubt totally unrelated coincidence, Biden seems to have suddenly found religion on the topic of gun control and made it a much bigger talking point in his campaign. Even going so far as to offer Beto a position as AR Grabber-in-Chief in a Biden administration.
.

Freakout!

If you want a chuckle, go look at the Amazon search results for "hand sanitizer". It's like trying to find bolt carrier groups in December of 2012.

I'm afraid the top'll get slashed on the Zed Drei from someone trying to get at the Purell bottle in the passenger door pocket. It's actually worth more right now than the ancient incandescent Surefire sitting in there next to it.

Meanwhile, Mountain Home foods is so slammed with orders that they're apparently all just hiding under their desks and not answering the phones.

Jesus wept, people, calm the hell down, will you?
.

Nikon's weird offshoot

Although it was intended as a replacement for Disc and 110 film in little point-'n'-shoot cameras, there were some SLRs made for APS. The Pronea 600i (sold in the US as the 6i) was the higher end of the two Nikon offered. While it could use any of the company's F-mount lenses, it shipped with its own APS-specific kit zooms that were not backwards-compatible with other Nikon F-mount bodies.

The dual control wheels for adjusting settings would be familiar to Nikon shooters today, but at the time it was a feature shared only with the top-of-the-line F5. (Another trait shared with the F5 was that both bodies were used by Kodak to build out into early DSLRs.)

The busy display on the back, however, was very similar to the quirky setup on the then-current N70. To use it, one would hold down the "Mode" or "Func(tion)" button while twirling the wheel until the setting you wished to change blinked, then toggle through the available choices in that setting.  In fact, in its feature set, the Pronea 600i could be looked at almost as an APS N70, which was a pretty competent prosumer-tier camera of the time.

The little hatch on the back where you dropped the film cartridge in is simplicity itself. No leader to worry about, just insert the cartridge, click the door shut, and the camera will whir the film out to the first frame...or the first unused frame, if you'd previously used the mid-roll rewind feature.

Pro photographers stayed away in droves and derided the format due to the negatives being smaller than 35mm, but that's like deriding 35mm for not being as big as 120 rollfilm. APS was intended to be more convenient for non-photographers to deal with, like 110 and Disc before it, while being big enough for casual snapshotters to still be able to print reasonably decent 5x7 or 8x10 vacation photos. (Which, actually, was basically 35mm's market position relative to medium format.)

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Overheard in the Office...

RX: *makes self-deprecating remark* 
Me: *spins chair around* "Hey, why don't we take an idea from my sister and give up negative self-talk for Lent?
RX: "I couldn't stand the ringing silence."

Quirky!

Micro Four Thirds has a sensor that is about the same size as the old 110 film format. This is why I have an adaptor for the Pentax 110 lenses...



The Pentax 110 Auto SLR lenses are all f/2.8, because the lenses themselves have no built-in iris. The aperture blades in the camera are the same as the shutter; two L-shaped metal leaves that retract to make a diamond-shaped opening. If you use an adaptor to shoot these lenses on a MFT camera, you're always going to be shooting wide open.


Calm your pants...

No, you and your neighborhood militia are not going to be getting into running gun battles with Mexican cartel sicarios in the suburbs of Des Moines.
.

Monday, March 02, 2020

Unexpected flops...