Thursday, October 28, 2021

That's convenient.

Apparently a common antidepressant seems to have therapeutic value in treating the 'Rona, possibly tied to its side-effect as an anti-inflammatory.
A widely available antidepressant holds promise as a treatment for Covid-19, according to a new study.

Covid-19 patients who received fluvoxamine were significantly less likely to require hospitalization than those who didn’t, in the largest clinical trial evaluating the antidepressant’s effect on Covid-19 to date.
Not only would it decrease the chance of severe symptoms requiring hospitalization, I guess even if you do wind up in the hospital, you're less likely do be sad about it!

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Bicycle Adventures

So, the Broad Ripple SUV hadn't been serviced since...early 2017? It's an elderly bicycle now. I bought it a dozen years ago, and it was a year-old New Old Stock model even then. Trek hasn't even made the 7100 since 2012.

I'd run it by the shop in '17 for a checkup, and then it mostly sat for 2018 because of the collarbone thing. It saw a lot of use for the last couple years, though. The tension on the shifter cable for the front chainrings  had gotten wonky; if you wanted to use either of the larger gears you had to maintain tension on the twist shifter or the worn-out chain would pop onto the smallest sprocket...or maybe completely off.

The brake levers could be bottomed out without a lot of effect, and the shoes on the front caliper were well-worn.

I suppose that I could have fiddled with the various cable adjustments and replaced the chain myself, but the bike is old enough that I figured it could benefit from a full looking-over. I dropped it off at The Bike Line up in Broad Ripple proper and was told it'd be a week or so. 

They emailed to let me know it was ready, and so yesterday morning I hopped the IndyGo Red Line and got off at the 66th Street stop, a two-block walk from the bike shop.

Midday, this far north, the Red Line isn't super busy.  Myself and one other passenger boarded here at 54th.

Freshly adjusted and with a new chain and rear shifter cable, it was like having a new set of wheels. The brakes actually stopped the bike with authority now, rather than leaving one thinking that maybe it was time to deploy the Flintstones method to avoid rolling into an intersection. The shifters shifted smoothly and stayed in the selected gear. 

I put in a few miles riding up and down the Monon Trail before adjourning to Half Liter for a late lunch and getting some writing done. It's gonna be a while before Broad Ripple has another day this pretty.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

A pleasant idea...

Via Bobbi:
Americans need a "No BS Today" section of their media-delivery card; we need to turn it upward in the front window and nail it down.

The Internet is a Cornucopia of Balloon Knots

Tim Miller on silenced speech.
The breadth and depth of this speech is so vast that someone who hasn’t engrossed themselves in internet political culture might have no idea of its reach. If you are over the age of 35, there are people on YouTube and Twitch and TikTok that you have never heard of who have significantly larger audiences for their radical political ravings than the most preeminent policy journals had during your formative years.

Example: Hasan Piker or “Hasanabi” is a 30-year-old smokeshow socialist gamer who once complimented the Mujahadeen heroes for fucking Dan Crenshaw in the eyehole. He makes over $200,000 per month to share his political insights with his 1.5 million followers in between binge sessions of Grand Theft Auto V. I promise you that even in the heyday of Henry Luce’s Time, no political writer, anywhere, ever brought in that kind of cheddar.

And when it comes to eyeballs, Hasanabi has nothing on right-wing YouTuber Steven Crowder, who has over 5 million subscribers. Crowder’s signature contribution to the national dialogue is a “Socialism is for F*gs” t-shirt, where the asterisk is a scribble that might be a fig.

The bar for "rich" is lower when you're six years old.


As a small child, I was pretty sure that money (by which I mean quarters and dimes and such) was something that was just spontaneously generated in the pockets and purses of adults, the way corn grows in fields. Magic, basically.

It wasn't until second or third grade, when I started bringing in the mail every day for a quarter a week, that I began to grasp that money actually came from someplace. Namely, money was a thing that was created by doing things you don't want to do, so that you can then use it to get stuff that you want.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

No Sig Sauer at SHOT '22...

Via Shooting Illustrated...
SIG Sauer announced this week that it will not be exhibiting at the 2022 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show. The event is the industry’s largest annual gathering—a tradition disrupted in January of this year when 2021’s event was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. It attracts distributors, manufacturers, buyers and media from across the globe.

“For over 30 years SIG Sauer has attended SHOT Show, and we did not come to this decision without much thoughtful deliberation,” the company explained in its announcement. “Our number one priority throughout the pandemic has been, and will remain, our employees. SIG Sauer has an extremely large presence at SHOT Show sending over 140 employees to the show and our pre-show Range Day event. Maintaining this presence, or even a scaled back minimum presence for 2022, represents a significant health risk to all 2,600 of our employees across our 13 U.S. locations, as individuals attending the show return to our facilities and risk continued exposure to our entire employee base.”
Considering that the Sig pavilion is pretty much the largest single exhibit on the sho floor, and Sig's private "Industry Day at the Range" has been a huge event for several years running, this is kinda newsworthy.

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Dammit.

Well, it turns out that the reason my monthly stipend check has not arrived this month is that my lawyer all those years ago did not purchase a lifetime annuity with a twenty year guarantee, but a regular twenty year structured settlement. My monthly income just took a nine-hundred dollar hit, and my future plans are all up in the air. Younger me should have paid closer attention to those papers and asked more questions.

I've had better days, y'all.

Posting may be light for a bit. I have a bunch of recurring payments I need to go cancel for now.

There may be some milsurp rifles on the block in a bit. Berthiers, Carcanos, Finnish Mosins, an oddball Mauser or two, that sort of thing.

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Killed by Smartphones

Hey, remember the Sony mylo? No? Don't feel bad, neither does anybody else.



Science Fiction Storm

Putting together a 1301:




It had been intended for another movie, but got overtaken by events. It was cool to see it onscreen finally, even if it had lost its Aridus Industries QD-C by then. Still had the same dot and weapon-mounted light though. (Accessories are often chosen by what's gonna look cool on screen or which company was the most eager for product placement. It's the movies, not real life.)

Anyhow, you might have seen it if you watch sci-fi shoot-em-ups...



The time a whole school bus got kidnapped...

If you've got a few minutes, this is a really interesting read...
...Chowchilla was not just the site of the largest kidnapping for ransom in American history, but also of one of the most idiotic crimes ever visited upon the state of California. It was a crime so perverse and unbelievable that it sounds like, for lack of a better phrase, utter bullshit.

What happened to Chowchilla is the story of a generation-defining crime that briefly shook the world, and the ripple effects it had on the state’s heartland. It’s about the huge differences between urban and rural California, the rich and the poor, how a town overcame being dragged to hell and back, and what we have to learn from the fading ghost stories of the 20th century.

Monday, October 25, 2021

QotD: Safety is a Process Edition...

From maybe the most important post at ToddG's blog...
The most dangerous gun handlers are the ones who think they’re too safe to worry about making a mistake.

As a community, we need to stop treating all accidental discharges as foolish and criminal acts. By placing every accident under the umbrella of sin, we do ourselves a disservice. We lose the chance to examine the details and learn from them. We lump the competitor who made a momentary transgression in with the idiot who’s never learned anything about safe gun handling. Worst of all, we create a mindset that tells us mistakes won’t happen to smart people (meaning, “us”) … which breeds complacency, which breeds more mistakes.
Bold & italics are in the original. It's worth a reading again refresher.

The thing that sets the tone for my opinion of a class & its instructor is the morning safety brief. There are industry best practices that are best practices for a reason, and straying from them is never a good idea.

You want to see the morning safety briefing done absolutely by the book? Craig Douglas's is the industry standard in my experience thus far.




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I'm trying...

...but it's so hard.



Hmmm...

From the NYT piece this AM:
Mr. Baldwin had been sitting in a wooden church pew, rehearsing a scene that involved “cross drawing” a revolver and pointing it at the camera lens, Mr. Souza said, according to the affidavit. Mr. Souza said that he had been standing beside Ms. Hutchins “viewing the camera angle.”
A revolver pointing directly at the camera lens would, of course, require dummy rounds in it. Sounds like the dummies here weren't in the chambers where they belonged, but standing around on set, handing each other guns.



Volkspistole

The entirety of my review of the Girsan MC9 is up at RECOILweb.


Spoiler warning: It ran fine for four hundred rounds. 

Generally if a pistol works without obvious problems out of the box, it will work for the limited amount of shooting most people do with them. If you're the kind of person who shoots fifty or a couple hundred rounds a year through a particular gun, one box at a whack, the showcases are groaning these days with handguns that are perfectly adequate to your needs.

I tend to hang out with and, at least on my blog, write to the people for whom five hundred rounds is a middlin' busy weekend. This definitely skews viewpoints. Like I commented on a FB discussion this morning:
"The blinged Regard I tested was pretty much what it said on the label: A rough-around-the-edges 92 clone. It ran fine, which is a tribute to the basic design. Durability is a cypher but let's be the cynics that most importers/manufacturers in this price bracket are: Customers who buy blasters for three hundo don't put three thousand dollars worth of ammo through them. These companies could engineer their pistols to crumble to dust on the 501st shot and only one customer in a hundred would find out, and the other 99 would call him a hater."
In various gun fora you'll find people who talk about guns a lot mistaking themselves for people who shoot guns a lot. "That's not [milspec/a Glock]!" from people who bust a couple hundred caps a month and spend more time discussing hypothetical ideal AR builds on the web than shooting the ARs they build.

I'm sure I'll get some "Oh, you just said the Girsan worked because they paid you to!" commentary. Bro, you have no idea how this works, do you? First, if had been a wretched pulsating ball of suck and fail, RECOIL has proven that they have no problem letting me say that. I got paid for shooting the gun and reporting what happened, let the chips fall where they may. Second, it's not like I'm keeping the Girsan. It's going back to EAA. 

Sure it worked, but I'm hip-deep in pistols that work here. It doesn't really light my fuse, but if someone needs a cheap gun that will function well enough to check the "have a gun" box, here it is, and that's basically what I wrote.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021

I watch the training films every Saturday morning.

My First Gun Pr0n...

I took this photo almost immediately after getting home with my first digicam, a Mavica FD88, back in October of 2001.

I don't know that I ever even messed with the filter effects on it, like sepia tone, so I tried it today...

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The Past Was Another Country

Manufacturers sure put serial numbers in funny places back before gun safety was invented. This Savage pistol made in 1919 has the s/n on the forward edge of the dust cover. You'd need to point the gun right at your own melon to read it (or you could do like I did and use the camera on your cell phone while pointing the blaster at the ceiling.)

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Grand Prix Tractor Pull

Ordnung Muss Sein

You'd think that Germans would be very orderly about naming things. Orderliness is a German cultural trait carried almost to a fault. 

Some military historians have claimed that the very disorderliness and ad hoc nature of the American armies in Western Europe gave them an edge against their Wehrmacht opponents. Perhaps the GI's would scatter a bunch of random objects in the middle of a forest clearing and when the Germans scurried out to put them in alphabetical order they'd get blasted with BARs and Tommy guns.

The photo below is of a 1939-vintage Leica IIIb. 


That's some very orderly-sounding nomenclature. Just from the name you know that it's better than a Leica II, and an improvement over the Leica IIIa, in the same way you know that a similarly 1939-vintage Panzerkampwagen IIIf was better than a Panzerkampfwagen II and an improvement over the Pzkw. IIIe. (This was a historical period where ordnung got a bit out of hand between the Rhine and the Elbe.)

Too much ordnung.

After the war, the ordnung wind got knocked right out of Leica's camera naming sails, as is related in this hilarious article which is worth reading even if you're not a camera nerd because it's just that funny:
When Ernst Leitz GmbH invented the M system in 1954, they named their first M camera the Leica M3 for a very good reason. The name M3 signaled to the unwashed masses that the camera was a rangefinder (the German word for this is messucher) with three framelines (the number 3). The name makes sense and camera-likers knew what they were buying. For this reason, the Leica M3 went on to be the best anything that anyone had ever made anywhere. But every Leica camera since then has been a gigantic leap backward, and a complete and unmitigated disaster.
Incidentally, all this talk of rangefinders and frame lines explains why Leica dwindled from a maker of photographic tools used by pros to a lifestyle brand largely reduced to peddling Veblen goods to the brand conscious bourgeoisie and well-heeled hipsters.

See, that Leica IIIb has a viewfinder with frame lines in it for a 50mm lens. When you attach a 90mm lens to it, like the one in the picture, you need to either try and guess what fraction of the image in the viewfinder will actually make it into the narrower 90mm field of view, or else clip an auxiliary finder (unhelpfully named the SGVOO) in and hope that parallax doesn't jack you up too much.

Single lens reflex cameras added a bit of bulk compared to the little Leica rangefinders, and the slapping noise of the SLR's mirror mechanism was unavoidably noisier than the whisper of a cloth shutter, as anyone who's watched a press conference in the marble hallway of a government building knows, but the convenience of actually seeing the final image in the viewfinder outweighed all that. 

Japanese SLRs ate the professional camera market whole in the Seventies, leaving Leica, who avoided the technology for as long as possible before releasing an overly-complex super-Teutonic SLR, to flounder.

The "diesel Leica".

This is why Leica discussion on the web these days is largely lawyers and orthodontists discussing the stitching on half-kilobuck waxed canvas bags on rangefinderforums while NFL sidelines, presidential press conferences, and National Geographic covers are the province of Nikon, Canon, (and, increasingly Sony, but that's a tale for another post.)

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Basically all of social media right now...


Saturday, October 23, 2021

More On Irritainment

Via Greg Ellifritz comes this article on the effects of irritainment. It's five years old, but more valid than ever. 

Bear Greg's advice in mind when reading it, though...
This is a really good article. It will likely offend anyone who strongly identifies with either the far right or the far left on the political spectrum. Keep reading, even if you are offended. The article describes the difference between fear and anxiety and how large interest groups on both sides of the political aisle increase your anxiety to create a predictable response. Understanding how your brain processes information is key to avoiding irrational fears and anxiety.
This quote from the article reminded me of something:
"What’s occurring in this meet-up group right now is what social psychologists call the “law of group polarization,” which states that if like-minded people are concerned about an issue, their views will become more extreme after discussing it together. Theoretically, most people here, and in similar meet-ups around the country, will leave the room not just with stronger opinions but with less empathy for those with contrary views."
It's like a macro variation of the social effect that a friend used to call "Agreeing Parties".

Friends A, B, C, D, and E are hanging out. Friend F couldn't make it that night. As it happens, Friend B doesn't actually much like Friend F, and uses the absence to air this grievance. This reminds Friend D of some minor beef they had with F and so, to keep the conversation going, they share their own story. 

Now the tenor for the night is set and the group dynamic starts to heterodyne about what a walking sack of assholes Friend F really is. The way to get social capital in the conversation at this point is to be madder at F than the person across the table from you. It feeds on itself and if you think about it, you've probably watched it happen.

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Friday, October 22, 2021

Monkeys Touching Guns

I'm sure anyone who reads this blog on any sort of regular basis has probably also read the post by my friend Jennifer where she refers to actors as "dancing monkeys". (Here's an archive link since the original seems to be down or loading extremely slowly.) 

This is an especially apt term when it comes to letting actors touch guns. Best practices on set have the guns only handled by gun wranglers except when actually filming. Would you hand a dancing monkey a loaded gun? No, no you would not. Not if you had a lick of sense.

If you let monkeys touch guns, they might haul off and shoot people, all in good clean monkey fun. They don't know any better; they're monkeys.

It'll be a while before all the details come out, but one thing I can tell you with a fair degree of confidence is that this was probably not a squib projectile that was then launched by a blank, like what happened to Brandon Lee. That wouldn't have had the energy needed to go through one victim and wound a second.

Actor Alec Baldwin discharged a “prop firearm” Thursday on a movie set south of Santa Fe, killing the director of photography for the film he was working on and wounding its director, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office said.

Several news outlets used the term "misfire" to describe what the gun did and, bro, I ain't buyin' it. They were filming a Western movie that was set in the 1880s. I would lay money that the prop gun in question was a single action revolver. Homie had to deliberately cock the hammer on that thing before pulling the trigger.

Almost certainly not one of these.

Firearms safety matters, even if you're a very rich and famous person just funnin' around on a movie set.


EDIT: There's some info from the set that makes this sound like it may have happened during filming. As in, Baldwin was firing toward the director of photography for the purpose of a shot, and the director was behind her and looking over her shoulder. Obviously hardly any details are available yet, but if that was the case and the gun wrangler handed him a gun with a live round in it, that's super messed up

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Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Fate of the Borders

No, not those borders; I'm talking about the defunct book store chain. There was one near my first apartment in Knoxville that Marko and I used to walk to a couple times a week. 

I remember going there with my old iBook to use their internet because they were one of the first places in the neighborhood other than Krystal that had wifi and their little cafe smelled of coffee rather than greasy sliders.

Anyway, it seems their size and their architecture make them unusually hard to repurpose as retail spaces...
But along with the memories, the worthless plastic, and a throwback webpage on the Barnes & Noble website welcoming former Borders customers, Borders lives on in the form of its vacated real estate, the afterlife of which is still unfolding. Storefronts in the category-killer segment have proven difficult to fill in recent years—many of the category killers who would otherwise lease them are themselves struggling or defunct, and the spaces tend to be too small for discount department stores and too large for most others. They’re useless to a Walmart or Target, which have fewer competitors than they had even twenty years ago; and they’re too large for things like drugstores, specialty shops, and most small businesses.
I hadn't realized that they originally outsourced their online sales to Amazon. That seems an exotic form of suicide for a brick and mortar bookstore chain in the early 2000's.

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Automotif CCLXI...

Tasty old 1967 Cadillac DeVille convertible in Baroque Gold. I think that interior color is called "saddle"? There were literally hundreds of color, material, and configuration options for the interior.

1967 was the last year for the Cadillac 429cid V8. For 1968 the 340bhp 429 was replaced by the new 472 cubic inch engine rated at 375 SAE gross horsepower. Those were big motors, but this is a nearly nineteen foot long car that weighs almost every bit of two and a half tons. (And the next generation would be even bigger. Downsizing didn't hit the DeVille until the '77 model year.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Hiking in the 'Hood

A Substack I've just started following is Intellectual Inting, which is written by a dude who is exploring some off-the-beaten-path America afoot, writing and photographing. His first two posts were walkabouts in Western Massachusetts and Appalachian New York, and I enjoyed them.

Then I saw the title of his third post:
Walking America, part 3: Indianapolis

Crap, I hadn't cleaned the place up because I wasn't expecting company, y'know? Plus we've been kinda busy, what with the pandemic and all.

I have to admit, I felt a bit of trepidation when I considered homie turning his gimlet eye on my adopted hometown.

These worries were only heightened when I realized what he meant when he said he walked from "beltway to beltway". Dude walked across town on Washington Street, the Old National Road, which...well, let's say that it's not the route that the city's Chamber of Commerce would have selected.

On the west side it's mostly okay, if not exactly glamorous. On the east side of downtown, though, it skirts Holy Cross, which is a pretty cool neighborhood, before running through The Swamp on its way to hip and gentrifying Irvington, after which it's back into pawn shops, check cashing joints, and good places to get stabbed on the way to the other side of I-465.


He wasn't going to be seeing my Indianapolis of Broad Ripple and Fountain Square, Mass Ave and Meridian-Kessler. I felt a little protective...

I shouldn't have worried. He did pretty good by my town, for a New Yorker.

Marker on the Old National Road, photo from Pedal & Pub II: Electric Boogaloo



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Automotif CCLX...

An early Porsche 928. If that Casablanca Beige Metallic paint is original, I think that makes it a 1979 model?

A 2+2 grand tourer with a water-cooled front engine and a rear-mounted transaxle, the 928 was controversial with Porsche purists from the start and still kinda is.

Parked on the street during the golden hour, the car was eye-catching. I was glad to have the D800 and 24-120mm f/4 VR with me. I'm getting pretty smitten with this camera. With the right lens, the D800's images have all the pop and colors I loved from the D700, with greater resolution and dynamic range.




Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Wrecking civility is just a byproduct...

...of big companies generating revenue, much like the toxic effluvium from a very productive factory running into the river, back in the Good Old Days!

Smoke (coming from your ears) means progress!

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Old Fashioned

I've been playing around with a weird lungfish of a digital camera as part of a project to revive a moribund blog.


Digital cameras of that vintage can be hard to use. Some used built-in flash memory and required specialized cables or docking stations to get the images off. Others used defunct memory card formats that can be hard to find these days or, even if they use a card format that's still around, are limited to tiny card sizes that are almost as difficult to source. Power-wise, while some used simple CR123 or AA batteries, many used specialized battery packs that are currently unobtainium.

The Mavica FD-88, though, records its images on 3.5" 1.44MB floppies. If you haven't thrown away all your old AOL Free Trial Install discs or used them as beer coasters, they can be formatted and pressed into use. Also, while ten-packs of Verbatim floppies may not be on the shelf at the corner drug store, they're still available on Amazon. While we're a long way from the days where every desktop tower had a floppy drive for emergency boot purposes, you can get USB-powered 3.5" external drives easily enough. Be aware, however, that while they'll run fine off a desktop or laptop, your iPad probably doesn't have enough ass to spin a 3.5" floppy drive.

Further, while the Mavica does use a proprietary Sony battery pack rather than a double handful of AA batteries, the NP-F550 was used as a common power source for consumer and professional Sony video equipment and is still widely available. It even uses the same "InfoLithium" technology used on current Sony camera batteries.

Even if you get your Mavica FD88 off eBay or out of the bargain bin at your local camera shop, the instruction manual is still available in PDF on Sony's site.

If you want to amaze your friends by recording photos or low res 320x240 MPEG video on a giant plastic SAVE icon, it's pretty inexpensive and accessible fun.

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This week's project...

The mysterious drain on the Mustang's battery was never satisfactorily traced, and so it sat dormant all summer. Since those are the top-down months for the Bimmer, I just kinda back-burnered that project. 

I need to throw the battery on the charger and see if it will still take a charge and then drive it back over to the shop and see if they want to take another whack at it.

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Monday, October 18, 2021

Vintage Pistolero

If you've been enjoying the write-ups on the old Savage automatics, or are just into vintage handgunnery and Americana, the booklet The Tenderfoot's Turn, by Bat Masterson is available in Kindle format for only ninety-nine cents.


Commissioned as an advertising gimmick by Savage Arms to promote their futuristic ten-shooter back in the day, original copies bring big money in good condition. The Kindle copy will let you read it without having to worry about folding, spindling, or mutilating a piece of fragile antique ephemera.

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Sharper than Sharp

A phrase I'd heard and had found myself repeating uncritically was that regarding high-megapixel camera sensors "out-resolving" the lenses that were on them. It came to mind again recently when I saw stuff like this.


That Six-Four Impala was shot with a 36MP Nikon D800 using a mid-'90s vintage Nikon 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-D lens. At first glance, it looks okay, but blow up to full screen or (worse) start pixel peeping at 100% magnification and something's...off. The lines of the car have a bit of blur to them, especially the chrome ones. It doesn't have the knife-edged *pop* I'm used to from the D700 or D3. That effect was visible in most all the photos I took on that excursion.

To make sure it wasn't my imagination, this past weekend I put the lens on the D700, with its 12MP full-frame sensor.


We're back to almost cartoonish sharpness on the lower-resolution sensor. Both shots are 1/320th at f/9. Clearly the D800 has enough resolution for glass to really matter. 

From Thom Hogan's original D800 review:
But this will be an eye-opener for some of you. Resolution not only reveals more detail, it can also reveal more about how your lens performs. A lot was written about how the D800 would out-resolve lenses. Get that out of your mind, because that's not what's happening. Your lenses are capable of resolving even more than the D800 models will manage. But along with that extra resolution comes the ability to actually resolve what the lenses are doing. Poor corners become very obviously poor. Edge to edge sharpness differences (miscentered elements, etc.) become more obvious, especially on a D800E at or near maximum aperture. Chromatic aberrations now encompass more pixels on edges, so often become more visible at pixel level, too. Be prepared to see how your lens actually performs, at least if you're a pixel peeper or printing big.

As it turns out, that list that Nikon had in their Technical Guide for the D800 turns out to be basically right: the modern zooms (f/2.8, f/4 max apertures), most of the recent fast primes (f/1.4, f/1.8), the Micro-Nikkors, the PC-E lenses, and the exotic telephotos (200mm f/2, 300mm f/2.8, etc.) are all very good on a D800 model. Used with discipline and given a bit of post processing clean-up, they can be stunning.

Drop down to the next level of Nikkors--the 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 comes to mind--and the results aren't quite so stunning. Heck, that lens is diffraction impacted above about 135mm, even shooting wide open, so this really shouldn't surprise anyone. That doesn't mean I wouldn't use that lens on a D800 model, only that my expectations would be that I won't get as much out of the camera as I would with even the 24-120mm f/4 in the overlapping focal lengths. Lenses that you can stop down to hit f/4 tend to do even better, such as the f/2.8 zoom trio.

Combat Fatigue

Two Mavericks

I'm not a huge fan of TV westerns. I mean, I'll watch old reruns of Wagon Train if I'm sick in bed just to see which future stars of '60s-'80s television I can spot in larval walk-on bit parts, but other than that I'll doze through most of them.

I've developed something of a fondness for Maverick, though. The writing's generally pretty good and I enjoy James Garner's character, a roguish gambler who gets by on wits and charm more than fists and firearms. (The fact that it's the first thing on MeTV after classic cartoons on Saturday morning helps.)

One thing about the show that does interest me is the unusually non-anachronistic portrayal of firearms in 19th Century America. Whereas a lot of Westerns tend to have everyone walking around with the big iron on their hip all the time, that ain't how it was.

Even in small frontier towns, Bret Maverick will ride into town with a gun belt bearing a holstered Peacemaker, but that usually gets left in the hotel room and around town, while patronizing the saloon or whatever, he's generally not visibly armed. 

When he is carrying a gun in town, at the poker table or around the streets of New Orleans or San Francisco, it's usually what appears to be a little .31 caliber percussion Colt with ivory grips. The smaller pistol is carried in a crossdraw outside-the-waistband holster with enough of the butt peeking out from under the front of his jacket to presumably avoid running afoul of the prohibitions on concealed carry which were very common in the late 19th Century USA.

His brother Bart Maverick, played by Jack Kelly, carried what appeared to be a tip-up No. 1½ Smith & Wesson, a five-shot .32 Rimfire Short with a bird's head grip, in an episode that was set in San Francisco and on board a sailing tramp freighter. (An episode based on a Robert Louis Stevenson story!)

These were definitely more believable than having everyone running around with horse pistols in buscadero rigs all the time.

Actual handgun from the days of the Old West.

Speaking of mavericks and gun laws, Professor David Yamane is something of an outlier in the sociology field in that he's been doing a deep dive into the sociology of gun culture in America. An outgrowth of his research has been a fascinating and well-researched book into the history of concealed carry laws (and, really, laws pertaining to carrying guns in public in general) that's available on Amazon now: Concealed Carry Revolution: Liberalizing the Right to Bear Arms in America.

It's available on Kindle or in dead tree, and really you should have a copy. It's written in an accessible, easily read style, saving the chewiness for the numerous footnotes. If you want to read about the trend of banning concealed carry in the US (started in Kentucky in 1813, and by the time Alabama banned it in 1839, it was the 8th state to do so) and the long slog back from those bans, this book is a must for you.

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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Vintage iron...

I don't think that's how they meant it...

This commercial came on during the cartoons this morning, causing some laughter here at Roseholme Cottage...


"Love is a roller coaster... You can't take your purse on the ride, you wind up strapped in upside down and someone throws up, and all you're left with is a souvenir photo of you with your hands up, screaming."

Automotif CCLIX...

Two hundred miles per hour was a number that was frequently attributed by car fans in my adolescence to the Lamborghini Countach. It felt like a betrayal to see actual road tests by Road & Track or Car and Driver that showed top speeds more like a buck-sixty and change, less with that giant cool-looking-but-drag-inducing rear wing. (An early-Eighties road test said that the wing was a $5500 option; about two hundred bucks more than the base price of an entire Chevette Scooter at the time.)

These days those claims for a Lambo seem a lot less outlandish. A Huracán LP610-4 Spyder like this one will allegedly hit the double ton, although finding someplace to do it would be tricky.


Even if I won the lotto tomorrow, I'm nowhere near extroverted enough to drive something like this.



Friday, October 15, 2021

"We had a paper once. Something ate it."

Well-written and -researched piece at The Atlantic:
The Tribune Tower rises above the streets of downtown Chicago in a majestic snarl of Gothic spires and flying buttresses that were designed to exude power and prestige. When plans for the building were announced in 1922, Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime owner of the Chicago Tribune, said he wanted to erect “the world’s most beautiful office building” for his beloved newspaper. The best architects of the era were invited to submit designs; lofty quotes about the Fourth Estate were selected to adorn the lobby. Prior to the building’s completion, McCormick directed his foreign correspondents to collect “fragments” of various historical sites—a brick from the Great Wall of China, an emblem from St. Peter’s Basilica—and send them back to be embedded in the tower’s facade. The final product, completed in 1925, was an architectural spectacle unlike anything the city had seen before—“romance in stone and steel,” as one writer described it. A century later, the Tribune Tower has retained its grandeur. It has not, however, retained the Chicago Tribune.

To find the paper’s current headquarters one afternoon in late June, I took a cab across town to an industrial block west of the river. After a long walk down a windowless hallway lined with cinder-block walls, I got in an elevator, which deposited me near a modest bank of desks near the printing press. The scene was somehow even grimmer than I’d imagined. Here was one of America’s most storied newspapers—a publication that had endorsed Abraham Lincoln and scooped the Treaty of Versailles, that had toppled political bosses and tangled with crooked mayors and collected dozens of Pulitzer Prizes—reduced to a newsroom the size of a Chipotle.
It's a worthwhile read.

(I was unsurprised to see Cerberus pop up in there. This is basically the same thing that happened in the domestic firearms industry and their fingerprints were all over that, too.)



Automotif CCLVIII...

It's a Triumph TR3A! The Zed Drei may say "roadster" on the doorsills, but a purist will point out that the Z3 has a folding top...and (optionally) a powered one, at that. A true roadster is an open car with only rudimentary, if any, weather protection. The TR3, for instance, had a pup tent sort of apparatus the occupants could erect that would valiantly attempt to keep most of the rain out of the now-notional "interior" and not blow right off the car at speed, but no guarantees were made.


They're so whimsical-looking when out and about in traffic, among the more normal transportation pods.

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Thursday, October 14, 2021

Tiny Tank!

Click to embiggen, but only a little bit.
A 1:72 model of a Jerry VK.45.02(P) H, which is a failed bid for what eventually became the Tiger II or "King Tiger". Two variants were proposed, one with a conventionally forward-mounted turret, and the one in the picture, the "Hinten", with the turret mounted to the rear, behind the powerplant.

A friend noted that this allowed the engine to serve as additional armor between the bow and the turret basket. I guess the driver and bow gunner could also serve as ablative junior enlisted?


Anyway, the picture was shot in 1024x768 resolution with a Sony Mavica FD88 as part of an ongoing project I hope to kick off soon.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #207...


I mostly got out of the 3" Smith & Wesson N-frame game except for this Mag-Na-Ported Model 629-1. It felt wrong to not have a .44 Magnum revolver of some sort around the house, and this one's a pretty cool example of the breed.

The pre-"Endurance Package" lockwork precludes the use of heavy loads ("Whee! My cylinder's turning backwards!") but who wants to shoot Elmer Keith Memorial Rhino-Rollers out of a 3" tube anyway? If you can't do it with a 240gr projectile at eleven or twelve hundred feet a second, you need to go get a long gun, not a bigger revolver.

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Atomic Gut Grenades

So I'd thawed a couple microwaveable jalapeño cheese White Castles in the fridge yesterday intending to use them for a late evening snack while doing laundry. I forgot about them, so I nuked them for brekkie this morning.

The wisdom of eating jalapeño cheese nuclear gut grenades first thing in the morning is yet to be determined.

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Ugh.

Moto Twitter is annoying at the best of times, but on a drizzly, foggy midweek morning in October, it's unbearably chirpy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

When Karens Attack...

So the story on the flight from Indianapolis with the bomb scare has come out, and it is dumber than you can possibly imagine.
American Airlines Flight 4817 from Indianapolis — operated by Republic Airways — made an emergency landing at LaGuardia just after 3 p.m., and authorities took a suspicious passenger into custody for several hours.

It turns out the would-be “bomber” was just a vintage camera aficionado and the woman who reported him made a mistake, sources said.

The woman was traveling with her husband and children, sitting across the aisle from her spouse, when she spotted another man in her hubby’s row scrolling through videos and photos of vintage cameras, sources said.

She thought he was looking up bomb-making instructions, and when the man pulled out his own camera and adjusted it she was convinced he was setting a timer on a detonator, sources said.
Get it? She saw some guy scrolling through videos of mechanical devices she did not understand, then he pulled a mechanical device she didn't understand out of his carry-on and started twiddling the dials, ergo, it must be a bomb. Clearly this woman is a graduate of Jack Bauer U.

Lady, the biggest danger on your flight for the past year hasn't been a guy with a bomb, it's been some drunk passenger throwing a toddler-grade shrieking shit fit over being asked to keep his germhole covered by a frazzled overworked stew and proceeding to try and exit the a/c via the emergency door at FL350.

Supposedly they evacuated the passengers via the emergency slides. If they got everybody down those slides onto the tarmac without anyone breaking an ankle, it's only because Embraer 175 cabins aren't but eight feet or so off the ground.

Granted, this isn't the most egregious example of "If you see something, say something, no matter if you're a panicky idiot or not," since that record is still held by the time a Cartoon Network guerrilla advertising gimmick shut down the entire city of Boston, but it's pretty spectacular.

The passenger who couldn't tell a shutter speed dial from a thermal detonator is not going to be charged with anything, since she was just doing her patriotic duty, and we don't want to discourage that, do we? Besides, panicky overreaction is not in the penal code.

Ce n'est pas une bombe

So the passenger got proned out on the tarmac in the way that normally makes conservatives yell "He should have just followed instructions!" and hauled off to the TSA offices where he got to explain cameras to the guardians of our nation's skies.


I hope the sky over La Guardia turns legal pad yellow and homie ends up owning someone when this is all over, but I'm not going to wager money on that outcome.

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Things you notice later...

There's something I notice in some of my earliest DSLR pictures, mostly shot with the Rebel XTi and 18-135mm travel zoom, that drives me up the wall these days.

That picture of the blown-up Kel-Tec P32 in yesterday's post was shot at Coal Creek Armory back in 2013, so it was definitely the XTi. That was before I knew what RAW files even were, so it was shot in JPEG and that's the straight-out-of-camera result and the chromatic aberration fringing everywhere is making me itch.

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Monday, October 11, 2021

I can see my house from up here!

If I got into orbit, I would be a picture-takin' fool, that's for sure.

"If it goes *pop*, stop!"

Greg Ellifritz experienced an unusual event when practicing with a Smith & Wesson Model 10 the other day: A squib round from factory ammunition. In this case, a standard pressure 158gr LRN .38 Special round from Prvi Partisan failed to ignite its powder charge properly, and the primer only had enough moxie to lodge the bullet fully into the forcing cone.

This shooter lodged a total of four projectiles in their J-frame, then tried to beat the cylinder open. The gun's toast.

Greg gives good advice on identifying and dealing with squib loads. 

I'd add that care should be taken with driving a stuck projectile out of a revolver if it's a JHP round, because using a small-diameter cleaning rod to try and force the bullet backwards out the bore can be complicated if the rod is so small as to just nestle down in the hollow point cavity and displace the bullet's lead outwards when rapped with a mallet. A range rod of close to bore diameter is preferred. 

With a semiauto, it's preferable to field-strip the weapon and drive the projectile out from the breech end.

The most important part is to stop firing if you think you've had a squib. Launching additional rounds behind a squib will almost always result in serious damage to the barrel, if not a catastrophic failure of the gun itself.

While a modern service auto might survive a second bullet launched behind a stuck projectile, this little Kel-Tec P32 certainly did not.

More than a whiff of late, really...

From a column titled "A Whiff of Civil War in the Air":
GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance went on Tucker Carlson’s television show and said, “Why are we allowing the companies, the foundations that are destroying this country to receive tax preferences? Why don’t we seize the assets of the Ford Foundation, tax their assets, and give it to the people who’ve had their lives destroyed by their radical open borders agenda?“

If we take Vance seriously, consider the sheer destruction of his proposal. To make it happen, you’d have to demolish the First Amendment, dramatically ramp up state power to seize private assets, and then enable distribution of those funds through pure patronage. There is no “common good” or “social justice” at the end of that process. It’s tribalism. Me and mine versus you and yours.

And if we’re not supposed to take Vance seriously, then that presents a whole set of competing problems. It represents the continued descent of our political class into what Jonah calls the “parliament of pundits”—a collection of people who exist less to set policy than to whip up anger and rage online.

It’s important to understand that there is no policy fix for malice and misinformation. There is no five-point plan for national harmony.
His book from last year, Divided We Fall, is worth a read, assuming you're not an accelerationist looking to get a chance for a more authentic sleeping-in-a-bunker experience than you can get at War Hostel Sarajevo.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Automotif CCLVII...

Parked on a side street in the neighborhood today was something you don't see every day...


It's a Goggomobil!

The ones imported to the U.S. had a ~400cc air-cooled two-stroke two-cylinder motor out back thumping out not quite twenty horsepower.


It's just too cute for words. It's unbelievably tiny, like go-cart small.





It's getting ever more savage...

...over at the other blog!



Saturday, October 09, 2021

Window Washing

This morning's cartoons featured a 1937-vintage Popeye number wherein he and Bluto do battle over who will clean the windows on Olive Oyl's high-rise office.



I thought the hooks on the outside of the windows they used to clip in with their safety harnesses were an interesting detail and wondered to myself if that was really how it was done back in the day.

Boy howdy was it ever.

Automotif CCLVI...

A sharp-looking 1980s Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce. 🎶Coo-coo-ca-choo, Mrs. Robinson🎶...