Saturday, October 31, 2020


How had I not been aware of this song? I heard it the other day when I was having lunch in Half Liter's biergarten and it has been an earworm ever since...

Friday, October 30, 2020

Called it.

I'd been holding off on registering for SHOT Show 2021 because I knew this was going to happen...

Given the amount of international travel required and the fact that not only will the 'Rona still be running around, but it'll be in the middle of regular flu season, too (and this year I got flattened by the regular old flu and spent half of SHOT in my hotel room wishing I was dead), I didn't think there was a hope in hell of them going forward with it in January.


I LOL'ed at this hot take. He ain't wrong.

I'm not going to lie, I was more relieved than not at getting the cancellation email. 

Normally SHOT's a busy week for me, a lot of work and travel, and the only really fun part was seeing industry friends all in one place. But even my fairly tight group of friends generally only manages to get together for a half hour or forty-five minutes for cocktails in the evenings before people have to head back off to meetings or business dinners or back to the hotel to write articles and/or edit photos & video. That's a lot of head...and foot...ache to spend a couple hours, total, with friends. I get a lot more face time with the people I care about in the weekend of, say, Tac-Con.

It doesn't work like that.

 So, when a dude tried to get all stabbity in Philly the other day, the police stayed out of knife range, maneuvered until they had a clean backstop, and shot the guy. This has sparked the usual outrage.
Because Tasers cost money, Taser training takes time and money, and Philly taxpayers have not seen fit to spend that time and money. Also, Tasers are pretty spiffy when they work right, but they aren't phasers set on stun and many departments mandate a cover officer with a drawn gun being there when a Taser is deployed in case something goes wrong.
Last I checked, the knife works the same whether the person going all stabbity with it is crazy or not. Stabbings aren't any less fatal when done by people with mental issues. 
A warning shot?!? You are smack in the middle of the sixth most populous city in the US. Whose window do you want that "warning shot" going through?

And miss me with that "shoot him in the leg" nonsense. 

First, your average shooter is lucky to hit the target at all when operating under any pressure, let alone a specific part of it. If Philly can't pay for all their cops to have Tasers and Taser training, what do you think their departmental marksmanship program looks like? 

Second of all, a cop in the Philippines just bled out and died after getting kicked in the leg by a chicken, and you want to shoot people there? You need to stop watching movies and lose the damfool notion that it's possible to shoot people just a little bit.


Thursday, October 29, 2020

This year just keeps getting weirder.

  •  Cockfighting...which is legal under certain restrictions in the Philippines...has been banned during the Time of the 'Rona, but there have been underground cockfights still happening. The po-po raided one of these illegal events and, as the spectators scattered, one of the officers scooped up an illicit combat chicken. In the struggle to corral the hostile cock, its razor sharp spur opened the officer's femoral artery and he bled out on the spot. Killed by a chicken. (Insert ad for PHLster Flatpack here.)

  • Swordfish in the Mediterranean Sea are frickin' impaling sharks to death, just the way they did in those ocean cross-section drawings I used to do in second grade. I KNEW it!

  • Halloween, a blue moon, DST ending, and the election, all within a few days!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Laser Beams!

 In the late Eighties, along with the purchase by Tompkins, PLC, Smith & Wesson got a serious upgrade in tooling as the new owners brought the company into ISO 9000 compliance. Along with the CNC machinery came lasers for marking, supplanting old-school rollmarking for most purposes.

Looked at in a 100% crop from the EOS 5DS & 100mm f/2.8L macro lens, the burned aluminum looks pretty neat-o.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Who Guards the Guardian?

 I've talked up Surefire's Guardian before. It's my go-to travel light, especially on the (admittedly rare) occasions when I fly and don't check a bag. It's a one-light solution that gives me everything from a wide, even 15-lumen MaxVision beam for finding my way to the loo between tent pegs and camp chairs at Paul-E-Palooza to shining a conventional, focused 800-lumen spotlight on the tree line across the lawn at Castle Frostbite. 

Even if I have my regular EDCL2-T along with me, the honkin' big internal batteries on the Guardian save wear on the pocket light's CR123s. I also liked that it could theoretically be used to juice up a dead phone or other USB accessory...

I say "theoretically", because I did inadvertently discover one weakness. While it claims to use a "USB-C" connector, it's a variety of USB-C that matches no other connector in Roseholme Cottage. Having not used it since SHOT back in January, I pulled it out of a traveling jacket pocket to find it was flatter than the Texas Panhandle and I couldn't find the cable. No other cable in the house, not even on the numerous squids, fit it.

It's going to be in the camera bag pocket I use for other critical cables from now on, ensuring that I always know where it's at, as well as making sure it comes with when I travel.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

What is this world coming to?

 Sunday Smithery getting perpetrated on two Sundays in a row?!?

(Relatedly, I really need to point the 100mm f/2.8L at more guns. That's a nice macro lens.)


Saint Crispin's Day

On this day six hundred and five years ago, the French got their crepes folded at Agincourt by a force of English yeoman archers and dismounted knights & men-at-arms.

The pre-battle speech Shakespeare put in the mouth of Hank the Fifth is one of the most epic locker room pep talks of all time, and Branagh's delivery of it in his cinematic adaptation of the play is pitch perfect. Better even...and it pains me as a good American to say this...than George C. Scott's famous speech in Patton.


Busman's Holiday

What does a research librarian do while she's laid off during the Time of the 'Rona?

Well, research.

"In the past I’ve had to remind student patrons that you can’t cite Wikipedia on research papers, and if they asked why, I never had a great answer, just something along the lines of, “Um, it’s kind of lazy, don’t you think?” But now I’d advise them to visit a Talk page or two to understand what research is. It’s not just looking online for stuff; it’s a process of assessment, of re-searching through what you’ve found to determine what’s superfluous, what’s missing and what requires thought. The nakedness of this process on Talk pages makes it accessible. Professional researchers can be precious about our work, but research is a skill we can and should all acquire, given the abundance of information and misinformation mixed up at our fingertips.

Plus, it feels great. Few things are as satisfying as uncovering a hard gem of truth in the shifting sands of opinion, politics and legend. I worked my way slowly through the Sichuan pepper entry, unraveling the truth of an assertion while waiting to hear back on job applications, adding a citation while my baby slept."

Automotif CXCII...

 1983-vintage W123 300D still out there as a daily driver.

Boasting 87 bhp and a monster 127 lb/ft of stump-pulling torque, they'll barely get close to a hundred mph on a slight downhill with a tailwind, but they're harder to kill than a cockroach.

 My dad's boss had a 240D of similar vintage, and I once had to drive it to a local service station to get a tire plugged.

 I realized I was in the wrong lane at a red light and, needing to beat the panel truck next to me across the intersection, started brake-torquing it when I saw the crossing light turn yellow.

 The light turned green and I side-stepped the brake pedal with the little diesel clattering away for all it was worth. The panel truck still beat me across the intersection (I'm not a hundred percent sure the driver knew it was a race) and quickly pulled enough of a lead that I got a good look at the trailer full of lawn mowers and the crowd of bemused Mexican dudes peering out of the open back of the truck.


Saturday, October 24, 2020

The internet was a mistake.

Automotif CXCI...

 Barring something freakish in November...which is not at all out of the question in 2020...Thursday was probably the last sunny, 80 degree day to take a leisurely outdoor lunch on the patio at Fat Dan's.

I was enjoying a Fat Burger with cheese and sliced jalapenos, accompanied by fries and a frosty pint of Toppling Goliath's Pseudo Sue, when there came an angry rumbling noise burbling southward on College Avenue...


When you drive a car painted like that, it's probably no surprise when people actually get up from their sidewalk cafe table and jog over to take a photo.

I love the way the colors pop and the contrast (in more ways than one) with the IndyGo Red Line bus in the background. I'm pretty much settled on the Nikon 16-80mm f/2.8-4 as my favorite crop-sensor zoom I've ever used; it actually does what I'd hoped the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 would do.


Accidental exploration...

 The urban geography of Indianapolis is similar to Atlanta in that it has a perimeter highway, I-465 instead of I-285, and is basically quartered by the main north-south and east-west interstates inside that perimeter. Atlanta's east-west interstate is I-20 and Indy's is I-70, while I-65 traverses the inner metro of IND in the same general northwest-to-due-south orientation as I-75 in the ATL.

Yesterday I drove down to the general area of Bloomington, IN, and my path out of town caused me to muse that the entire southwest quadrant of Indianapolis, that area south of I-70 and west of I-65 but inside I-465, was largely terra incognito to me, despite having lived in Indy a dozen years now.

Roseholme Cottage is roughly in the gap between "reliving" and "college".

My return path got shunted by my robot navigator straight through this part of town. Normally I'd tell the robot to stuff it and stick to the route I knew, but since I'd been musing about it on the voyage down...and I didn't have any particular timetable to be getting home...I figured I'd get my sightseeing on. I went ahead and let R2D2 steer me through "Truck Stops", "Industrial Wasteland", and past "$20k Houses".

For being "Industrial Wasteland" and inside the perimeter highway of a major city, the corridor of Bluff Road between 465 and 70 is surprisingly bucolic for much of its length, passing legitimate working soybean fields at the southern end and not turning really gritty until you pass Holy Cross cemetery.

I ought to go back and explore some.


Friday, October 23, 2020

Automotif CXC...

This 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan, with a very seasonally-appropriate paint job*, was parked up on the northbound side of College Avenue yesterday morning. I was headed southbound on the way to Roberts Camera, but I pulled over and jogged across the street, D7000 in hand, because obviously.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

What gun for...wait, I know this one.

 As is often pointed out, one of the most dangerous animals in North America is good ol' Odocoileus virginianus, the white-tailed deer, aka the hoofed rat. Once extirpated over much of its natural range, it was inexplicably brought back from the brink of extinction to menace the crops and rural highways of America.

Deer kill a lot more people than sharks every year, usually by leaping through Camry windshields or causing Buicks to swerve off the road and into the trees.

However they will also, under the right circumstances, attack you, as a woman walking her dog in Colorado found out.

Apparently a kindly septuagenarian in the subdivision had found a fawn and nursed it to adulthood, whereupon it repaid her kindness by going buck wild, as it were, on her neighbor.

The neighbor got away with a goring, the deer was put down by the po-po, and the little old lady got tickets for her unruly and illegal pet's rampage.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #193...

A Smith & Wesson Performance Center 4006 "Shorty .40 Mk.3S", a Lew Horton exclusive from 1997.


Monday, October 19, 2020

Aptitude Test Redux

I once made a joke "aptitude test" for would-be gun shop employees, to see if the hopeful applicant could emulate all the worst tropes of the Local Gun Store sales clerk.

I will also note that, any time a forum poster bemoans the lack of clue of gun store counter monkeys, I tend to retort with "Have you taken a good look around on your side of the counter?"

The Counter Jockey of the eponymous Chronicles gets a good view of the weekend tire-kicking crowd at the local gun counter, and has posted an aptitude test to see if you're qualified to stand among them and get your nasty handprints all over his freshly-Windexed glass.


The cognitive dissonance is off the charts.

In a month when political op-ed sections have been full of fumbling explanations to Democratic party voters as to why there was bupkis they could do to block the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, some pundits are calling for an immediate end to the filibuster rule. This is, of course, based on the (far from certain) idea that the Dems will eke out a slim majority in the Senate and will immediately need to stampede legislation too unpopular to garner enough moderate GOP votes through Congress to the desk of a hypothetical president Biden.

Speaking of cognitive dissonance, the same editorial pages that praised the friendship between Ginsburg and Scalia as a model of bridge-building in the kulturkampf are now denouncing the latter's protégé (and successor to the former's seat), an accomplished law prof with the the near unanimous respect of colleagues, as some sort of Atwood-esque caricature. That little lovefest for bipartisan collegiality didn't last long.


Sunday, October 18, 2020


 A wild Sunday Smith appears!



 On Friday, I mentioned to Bobbi that, taken together, the optics on Thursday night's "Town Halls" looked terrible. 

After the goat rope of the first debate, Trump's bout with the 'Rona, and the refusal of the administration to accede to a virtual debate where a third party could presumably control the mics, I initially feared that Thursday night would feature both candidates retreating to private hugboxes. It somehow managed to be worse.

NBC sent law school grad, former NBC legal reporter and White House reporter, Savannah Guthrie to their Town Hall, and she was apparently attempting to atone for fellow network employee Chuck Todd's notoriously milquetoast interviewing style. She went after the president aggressively, and he gleefully swung back and it made for interesting television.

Meanwhile, ABC sat former Clinton administration senior advisor and Democratic White House Communications Coordinator George Stephanopoulos down for a collegial chat with former Vice President Joe Biden in a setting that looked like a play in a small school theater or maybe a sparsely attended university lecture hall.

Last night, NBC themselves confirmed that I wasn't the only one to come away with that impression.

I don't know what the ratings were yet, but if the WWF match didn't outdraw the Sominex commercial, I'd be shocked. Since POTUS is bigly into TV ratings, if he loses next month, watch for comparison of the two programs viewerships to get trotted out as proof of chicanery by the faithful. People seem to forget that TV ratings, like Google Analytics, don't distinguish between hate views and love views.


Saturday, October 17, 2020

That sounds like a winning sales pitch.

 Because "Why won't you ignorant cousin-humping rednecks vote for us?" didn't work, the new try is "How come you Trump voters are so gullible and stupid?"

I'm sure that's going to sway people to your point of view, Ms. Olen.


"Guns are normal, and normal people use guns."

Time Travel

The tiny little strip mall ACE Hardware a couple doors down from the drug store where I cashiered back in high school had a teeny little gun/knife counter crammed in the corner. They carried Rugers, mostly, as well as the full Buck catalog. 

There were two items in that showcase I used to sometimes go daydream about on my breaks: A BuckMaster knife and a Ruger Old Army in stainless. They were expensive, but not unattainably so. A more responsible me could have rolled my pennies for a few paychecks and bought them both. I don't know what I would have used them for, but, hey...what if the Russians had invaded or something?

Looking at eBay and GB now, holy yikes, do I wish I had bought them back then.

Yeah, yeah, I realize that they probably have barely kept pace with inflation and if I went back in time, I should buy Apple & Microsoft, not LARP-y knives and guns, but still.

Besides, you'd have to pay with coins and singles if you went back in time, because our current five-dollar-and-up bills would look like counterfeit money back then. Can you buy stock shares with bundles of singles and rolls of quarters? I mean, I guess you can, but it would feel weird.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Automotif CLXXXIX...

The day after spotting that '66 Satellite, in the parking lot across the street was this immaculate 1965 Plymouth Belvedere.

This one had been the recipient of an engine transplant and now sported a very healthy-sounding 440cid V-8.

Attack Ads

 This is the only other commercial I'm seeing in heavy rotation, trying to convince Hamilton County voters that the GOP-controlled state legislature wants to send us back to the Fifties.

Here we are now, going to the North side

 When I first moved here, we were in Indiana's 7th district, represented by hereditary congressman Andre Carson, and voting against him every two years was a November joy.

I'm surprised our Representative isn't Mr. Gerald M. Ander

We've since been redistricted, barely, into the 5th district, representing the northside 'burbs, with nearly polar opposite politics. Long considered a very safe Republican seat, the primary contest this year mostly consisted of GOP front-runners trying to outdo each other in bragging how much they hated socialism and would help Trump drain swamps. If the Democratic party contestants ran primary ads, I don't recollect seeing them.

What's interesting is that national parties and PACs seem to have decided that the 5th is in play next month. Having gone for Donnelly over Braun by half a point in the 2018 Senate race, someone's apparently thinking that the northern Indy 'burbs might send their first Democrat to the House since Reagan's first term.

Both Christina Hale, the Dem nominee, and GOP primary winner Victoria Spartz are monopolizing as much as half of every commercial break on network TV here, either directly with their own ads or with attack ads bought by outside support PACs. Lotta money getting spent in a race that should have been a slam dunk for the Republicans. 

Also interesting is that Spartz's ads in the general are not mentioning Trump by name, unlike her primary advertising blitz. Spartz has the NRA endorsement and seems to avoid SoCon kulturkampf issues, so she shouldn't require a lot of nose-holding for my vote.

Polls are predicting a close race, but the only polls that matter are the ones in November.


Thursday, October 15, 2020

1066 And All That

 I got a message from my peeps at Indy Arms Company asking if I'd be interested in a Smith & Wesson 1066, since they'd just gotten one in on trade. 

I mean, of course I was interested, but these things are full-on Dutch Tulip Bulb crazy on auction sites right now, so I didn't get my hopes up when I asked the price.

The answer made the decision a no-brainer, even if I had to divest myself of my Glock 43 to soften the blow.

The big single stacks, especially the 10mm variants, are the stars of the Third Gen Smif collecting firmament.

Doubly cool was that I picked up my 1066 from the shop on October 14th, the 954th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings!

The post title, incidentally, refers to the hilarious book that any history nerd and/or Anglophile should have on their shelves.


Fascists!, a website apparently intended to give people who like to bitch about stuff a place to do so, will delete your comment if you refer to the site as "".

Just a little public service announcement.


The longest year.

 News sites yesterday were mentioning that the Manhattan DA's office had released info that the Karen who called 911 on the Black dude birdwatching in Central Park had actually made a second bogus 911 call during the incident.

What caught my attention, though, was this line:

Wait, what? The George Floyd thing happened Memorial Day weekend. The Central Park Karen incident happened...well, it feels practically like last year now.

I yelled down the hall "Bobbi, remember the chick in Central Park who made the 911 call on the Black birdwatcher?"

"Yes, why?"

"When would you say that happened?"

"It was sometime in March, wasn't it?"

So it wasn't just me. To double check, I posed the same question to Mark behind the counter at Indy Arms that afternoon when I went in to pick up a test gun. He replied "That was last year sometime, right?"

It definitely wasn't just me, then. 

The news cycles have been coming so fast and furious of late in this cortisol-saturated year of 2020 that stuff that happened just over three months ago feels like it happened last year.


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Automotif CLXXXVIII...

Canon EOS 5DS & EF 24-105mm f/4L IS

 In the same tiny parking lot where I spotted the '68 TR250, but two days later, was this super-straight 1966 Plymouth Satellite hardtop coupe.

The Satellite nameplate went on the upmarket versions of the midsize Plymouth Belvedere. The base model came with a 273 V-8, but in 1966 it could also be had with the 318, the 361 and 383 versions of the B-block, and (new for this year) the Street Hemi.

It's been a while since I lived and breathed last one was a '73 Dart Sport 340 over thirty years the "408 Stroker" badge was a little puzzling until I googled it.


Called it, sadly.

Me in 2017:
The Indianapolis Star today

I hadn't shopped there at all in the last couple years because the Kroger chain tried to put me out of a job, but it's still sad to see the twee little neighborhood had been there since 1954...go under. 


A '32 Chevy in front of a '54 Kroger

Seasonal Stutter

 While not quite as hot as last year's record September, it was still a warmer-than-average month around here last month. Dry, too. September 2019 was the driest Indianapolis had seen in twenty years, but this year's was the driest September on record.

When October got underway I may have put the top up on the Bimmer with some reluctance, but I was looking forward to cooler and wetter weather.

Well, we only got a week of that cooler weather before a lengthy spell of Indian Summer set in. Wondering about the etymology of "Indian Summer" and whether it was still a permissible phrase in 2020, I set off to Wikipedia...

Anyway, I'm glad I hadn't broken out the wool socks and long-sleeved shirts yet.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

"HeY wAnNa gO Do cRiMeS?"

 Hey, look, you can get a kiddie-size Nerf gun militia dude's costume, complete with red, white, and blue skull-faced neck gaiter!

The kiddie-sized Nerf gun confidential informant's costume looks the same, but comes with a concealed Nerf wire.


Monday, October 12, 2020

On the bright side...

All about that base, 'bout that base, no center...

Sunday, October 11, 2020

"Can I shoot him now?" -The Internet

"Are you in reasonable fear of immediate, otherwise unavoidable, death or grievous bodily harm to yourself or another innocent person?" 

 That's the answer to the question in the title whether he has pepper spray or a gun or bare hands. If there's one of him or five of him. If you're in the middle of the street in a state with a duty to retreat or in your bedroom in a state with a castle doctrine law. If you're in a plane or on a train or on a boat while afloat. Unless you can articulate that answer in the affirmative, you should not shoot him, Sam I Am.


Saturday, October 10, 2020

Automotif CLXXXVII...

The one-year only Triumph TR250... 

Basically, Triumph released the TR5 as an up-engined TR4A meant to fill a niche in the market for a model year or two until the new TR6 was ready to go. It's essentially a TR4A with a TR6 motor.

But 1968 saw the dawn of ever-tightening emissions regulations in America and the new fuel-injected, 9.5:1 compression, 2.5L straight six would be tough to bring into compliance. (To say nothing of the cost bump, estimated at as much as $600, on a car that cost under $3,500.) So the US market got the TR250, with a pair of Stromberg carbs and an 8.5:1 compression ratio instead.

According to the Wikipedia article, out of just less than 8,500 TR250s sold, around six hundred of them are still out there, and here's one.

Range Fumbles

Imagine my chagrin when I decided to be clever by swapping out the grip module in the .357SIG conversion kit with the one from an original X-Carry...and then I get to the range and notice that the .40/.357 magazine has the floorplate with the finger-grip dinguses and the original gangsta X-module isn't relieved for them. 


At least the ammo fairy left a forgotten box of 115gr TulAmmo in the trunk of the car, so it wasn't a complete waste of a range trip.

Speaking of TulAmmo...

That's a weird little failure to eject on the last round, with the spent case performing a backflip into the ejection port. I've had pretty good luck with rather a lot of cases of this stuff over the last few years, but in this one box I had this failure to eject and two failures to extract, one of which saw the claw pop off the case halfway out of the chamber and the other left a stuck case in the chamber that required a bit of force to be applied to the slide to get it out. I was half expecting a split case or something, but it appeared normal to the eye.

Moving the Valkyrie

 The Museum of the US Air Force just put up a cool video of them moving the sole surviving example of coolest-looking bomber ever made, the North American XB-70A Valkyrie.

Friday, October 09, 2020

Still crazy after all these years...

The Gang That Couldn't Plot Straight

For a good breakdown of this farce, check this Twitter thread.


Wednesday, October 07, 2020

More Saber-Rattling...

 While the bulk of news coverage is understandably focused on domestic issues right now, foreign policy issues don't go away just because they're not at the top of the front page, as this piece at the NYT points out:

"Global Times, the voice of the Communist Party’s hawks, warned recently that the United States was “playing with fire” by supporting Taiwan, which Beijing claims as part of a unified China. Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, the editorial went on, would be “wiped out” if she moved against Chinese sovereignty. 

“I don’t think it’s just bluster, and I don’t think it’s just about venting anger,” said Bonnie S. Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, who is an expert on Taiwan and China. “I think there is growing pressure — and that Xi Jinping finds that it’s useful to display that pressure.”"

I could deal with the times being less interesting, tbh fam.


Automotif CLXXXVI...

Nineteen years is a long time to drive a car. Still love it.

And they're off!

Early voting got off to an unprecedentedly busy start here in Indy yesterday, with lines stretching for blocks outside the City-County Building.

"Voters started lining up at 5:30 this morning — two-and-a-half hours before early voting began. 

Our local polling place is rarely very busy, so I figure I'll wait until election day proper to vote back at all these people queued up and voting at me.


Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Plane Nerding, Travel Daydreaming

 Looking over the airport list from the Essential Air Service program is giving me ideas. It not only lists the airport and what carrier is servicing that run right now, but also the aircraft normally used on that run.

If you're a dweller in a "spoke" city, and most of your travels take you to other "spoke" cities, you spend most of your flying time on little Bombardier and Embraer regional jets. Every so often I'll see the inside of a 737, 757, or one of the smaller Airbuses, usually if I'm going to or from SHOT or if I'm headed to some manufacturer's dog and pony show held near a hub airport.

One time when I was flying out to visit Marko, the initial itinerary called for a hop in a Dash-8* to Cleveland before transferring to an RJ for the second leg to MHT, but something juggled the schedule and I wound up with the little jet on both legs. I'd been looking forward to riding in the twin-turboprop canoe, too.

Anyway, it looks like if you fly to Clovis, you'll get a seat in a Fairchild Dornier 328JET, and a trip to Alliance, Nebraska comes with a ride in a Fairchild Metroliner.

Go out, sightsee for a long weekend, and then either fly back or...ooh! Get a one-way ticket and then come home via bus and/or Amtrak! That'd be a cool trip to write about and photograph...

*Check that, I think it was a Saab 340, leading to several "Saab story" jokes in response to my whining.


It beats the old "5318008" joke.


So that tweet I linked to yesterday where the kid had gotten his TI graphing calculator to run OS 7 by overclocking it sent me down a rabbit hole.

Apparently these TI calculators have enough ass in the processing department that you can do some pretty groovy stuff with them. Via a page dedicated to programming the TI-Nspire, I came across someone who'd done a port of the original Quake to run on the graphing calculators.

Dude, when that came out I had a Compaq Deskpro 2000 5120 (that's the Pentium 120 pizza box desktop) and I had to add RAM and upgrade my video card to get it to run.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Nerd Flex



 Airbus, having gotten impatient with battery technology, is looking at hydrogen-powered aircraft in its hypotheticals. This has the potential to make runway slideoffs into spectacular events in a way that plain ol' Jet A just can't. (Kerosene's an awful accelerant, as any kid who went through a firebug phase while their friend's parents were going through a diesel Benz phase can tell you. Allegedly.)

Still, that blended wing concept still looks all cool and futuristic.

Speaking of cool and futuristic, check out this pusher turboprop, which...if the builder's vision pans out...could revolutionize commuter hops. The problem with airports on the tiny end of the scale is that it's so uneconomical to service them with conventional aircraft that the government subsidizes airlines to service them*, else they'd have no regularly scheduled air transport at all. Reducing the operating costs of the planes on these sorts of hops would be a boon.

*Yes, in libertopia the government would dry up and blow away and we'd have sky pilots buying Cessna 402's and freelancing passengers around between Enid, OK and Pierre, SD in exchange for silver coins, but until that day arrives, apparently we've deemed it important enough to have at least rudimentary provisions for scheduled air travel to and from some of the more isolated corners of the country to kick in from the public coffers. Like most public services, it's popular with the people who directly benefit from it and viewed as profligate from those who don't, and no doubt has its share of graft and corruption.

Saturday, October 03, 2020

магистрат носорог

So, among the internet flotsam that's bobbed past my vantage point recently was a picture of a failed proposal for a Soviet-era cosmonaut survival pistol, the TOZ-81...

It's a top-break bullpup .410 shotgun revolver that fires from the bottom chamber. It's like a Voltron of goofy internet gun dork obsessions. 

This gun is all ate up with "why"?

 So, that purveyor of branded lifestyle merch and booker of Erik Prince speaking engagements, Blackwater Worldwide, is in the gun biz, too, and one of their latest offerings featured some head-scratchers.

Meet the Sentry 12, a manually-operated, box magazine fed 12 gauge shotgun.

Box magazine fed shotguns are all the rage now, despite the fact that the shotgun as deployed in a domestic LE or home defense role is unlikely to be shot dry and speed loaded, or that getting fat, blunt12ga shells to feed reliably from a magazine is an iffy thing at best, or that even a five round 12ga magazine is a brick and eight- or ten-round ones are cartoonishly cumbersome. All that aside, some people just gotta have a mag-fed gauge, and I guess it'd be a shame to let them keep their money, so here we are.

But why doesn't it have a stock with an adjustable length of pull? It seems like that would be a no-brainer. Let's see what the press release says...
"The Sentry 12 is designed to be an ideal shotgun for law enforcement, addressing the need for re-configurations in rapidly changing situations. Typically law enforcement maintains color coded shotguns for lethal and less than lethal rounds that represents a higher cost to the department and tax payers. By offering a reliable magazine fed solution, law enforcement now have the option to purchase a platform that has colored coded magazines at a significant reduction in cost."

Oh my God, that is a terrible idea.

Depending on picking the right color magazine to make a firearm lethal or less lethal is profoundly dumb, completely leaving aside the fact that dropping the magazine without properly clearing the chamber is the most common safety mishap there is with magazine-fed firearms.

There's a reason that Simunition guns, for example, are completely incapable of chambering live ammunition, and if you want to know why, just ask that librarian in Florida...except you can't because she's dead because some ignorant chucklehead thought he could just use a regular gun as a non-lethal weapon by swapping ammo.

City attorneys and taxpayers are happy when departments that elect to use 12ga for less lethal go ahead and get rid of all the other gauges except maybe a couple breachers. They get worried when buckshot and beanbags are in the same county, let alone the same cruiser trunk.

This is bad and wrong and whoever wrote that copy should feel bad.


Friday, October 02, 2020

Who had "Donald Gets the 'Rona" for October?

The Commander-in-Chief 
Caught a case of covfefe
On the eve of the national election

This wretched annum
Of closed circenses and homemade panem
Inevitably led this direction

Thursday, October 01, 2020

"Like a Mullet in 9mm"

 It looks like the entirety of my review of a used Ruger P89 is online now, if you would like to read it.

"Normally, complaints about high-bore axis are overblown. For most shooters, the effect of the bore axis height on Pistol A versus Pistol B in split times is lost in the statistical noise. Not the Ruger, though. The slide is a massive casting, and the shape of the backstrap ensures that said massive casting is positioned well above your grip. As it slams back and forth under recoil, you notice it; it’s like shooting a Shake Weight."


Tab Clearing...

 Time for a reduction in the number of open Wikipedia tabs...