Saturday, December 31, 2022

The Navel of the World

This thing where New Yorkers don’t realize that independently owned c-stores are a thing everywhere is the most charmingly provincial little quirk.

A bodega, for those who don't know, is a little neighborhood shop in New York that sells mostly convenience store stuff: Toiletries and medicine cabinet stuff, snacks and beverages, maybe booze, prepared food, possibly some produce/ know, the eclectic mix of stuff you find at the non-chain convenience store in your neighborhood. 

Well, unless you live in the absolute 'burbs; then you might not actually have an independently-owned non-chain convenience store. Independent c-stores seem to be a largely (though not entirely) urban and rural/small town phenomenon. Think of a smaller, more disorganized QuikTrip or Pilot or 7-Eleven with a more eclectic selection of merchandise and probably a more prominent assortment of drug paraphernalia.

Of course outside of urban cores like the Five Boroughs, they are usually free-standing buildings that also have gas pumps, and the gasoline sales will likely be branded, which could make a carless Manhattanite mistake them for part of some petrol distribution chain because of the signage. However, just because Maqsud's Snak Mart is dispensing Chevron-branded gasoline, it doesn't make Mr. Hashemi an employee of the Chevron Corporation.


Friday, December 30, 2022

Before the Beep

A very deep discussion between Jon Hauptman of PHLster and Craig Douglas of Shivworks that is very much worth the time of anybody who totes a pistol or spends time thinking about personal protection...

In an actual self-defense scenario, there's no timer going "BEEP!" to let you know it's time to throw down and start blasting. Whatever cues there are are likely to be visual, not audible, and on top of it they might be murky or ambiguous and occurring in a rapidly evolving situation. It's not going to be an El Presidente drill with someone there to give you your score at the end.

(Which is not to say that technical gun-handling skills aren't important. They are! But they're just one piece of a complicated puzzle.)


On the one hand, ammo availability seems to have stabilized some and prices seem to have settled down towards a new equilibrium.

On the other, that case of 124gr Blazer Brass I just ordered still stung right in the wallet.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II & EF 70-200mm f/4L IS

Look at what a very good girl Sunny is, posing for the camera!

The well-loved 70-200mm f/2.8L lens I bought from a reader has taken some of my favorite photos and been a go-to staple at classes and events, but at next thing to three pounds it's a lot of glass to haul around the neighborhood on a walk. Plus it's the original non-Image Stabilization equipped version, which can sometimes make it less than ideal on the ultra high res 5DS.

I finally managed to find a deal on a used 70-200mm f/4L IS to supplement it. The f/4 IS version is over a pound lighter than the f/2.8, at 1.68 pounds versus 2.89 pounds. Roberts had one last year at a good price, but I hemmed and hawed too long and someone sniped me on it. When another one in good condition popped up there right after Christmas, I snagged it in preparation for TacCon in March.



"In a just-released deposition surrounding Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit, the Fox News star said he’d never believed—not “for one second”—baseless election fraud claims stemming from the 2020 election. That stance, directly at odds with many of his primetime segments and the beliefs of many of his closest allies, has put Hannity in an awkward position."
I guarantee he's all up to date on his shots, too.


Thursday, December 29, 2022

Pew! Pew! Pew! (x20)

My short review of the FN Five-seveN Mk.3 MRD is up at Shooting Illustrated Online.

If any pistol ever cried out for a slide-mounted red dot, this would be it. Some of the newer loadings even perform more credibly (in gel, at least.) I wish the safety were more conventionally located, rather than the proprietary dingus on the frame above the trigger.

I figured the slide velocity on the Five-seveN would be rough on the optic, but the Swampfox Justice has held zero thus far through about five hundred rounds.


Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Bonfire of the Inanities

Things are going great in Muskworld apparently.

Tesla stock closed under $110/share yesterday, down from almost $410/share in November of 2021, giving it the dubious distinction of underperforming even $META as a tech stock, and taking a worse percentage loss than pretty much any automaker stock.

Elon's antics have basically turned a dollar into two dimes and a nickel, as someone quipped. 

Meanwhile, the EV manufacturer is cranking up the incentives for people to buy their vehicles:
"As for price changes on Tesla, the automaker started offering a $3750 discount to U.S. customers on two models, the Model 3 and the Model Y, at the beginning of December. This amount doubled, to $7500, last week for customers taking delivery this month. Tesla also added another incentive—10,000 miles worth of free energy at Tesla Supercharging stations—for EVs delivered in December. Tesla buyers in other countries are also being offered various discounts, Reuters notes, including $5000 in Canada and around $850 in China."
Let's see what Elon's doing about this...
In one year, Tesla's market cap has fallen from over a trillion bucks to 344 billion and the stock's still in free fall. Six hundred and some-odd billion dollars just...poof!...up in smoke. Wow.


Vanishing Art

In case you hadn't heard the news, Cylinder & Slide is shutting its doors for good.

In addition to being a source for great custom 1911 work and some fantastic drop-in lockwork and other parts for the classic auto, C&S was also one of the handful of places out there that was still doing first-rate revolver stuff.

Bill Laughridge hanging up his apron and selling his tools means there's now one fewer place to get a wheelgun tuned up proper, and if you want an Extreme Duty rear sight for your K/L/N-frame adjustable sight wheelyboi, better jump on it now.

Proper revolver work is going to turn into a lost art at this rate...

Monday, December 26, 2022

Show Biz for Ugly People

"Do you think voters, non-sophisticates, make a difference between entertainment and politics? Politics is show business for ugly people." -actual quote from Roger Stone

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Old Year's Resolution

How much is enough?

The cover photo of this book was shot with a Nikon D700 on the garage floor here at Roseholme Cottage with a white Rubbermaid tub lid for a backdrop.

Now, the D700 was a big deal when it was released, but that was 'way back in 2008. It's a fourteen year old DSLR with a twelve megapixel sensor, but it's still up to doing photos for the full-color glossy cover of a book.

"Oh, but Tamara," you reply, "That's just a small soft cover book! The cover's only six inches by nine inches!"

To which I reply that the photo was originally splashed, more or less life-sized, across a full page of RECOIL Concealment, which is a pretty substantial magazine at about 9"x11"... (You should subscribe!)

"Okay, okay," someone says, "But that's a 12MP camera with a full-frame sensor!"

Fair enough! So here's a 2-page spread in the latest issue of RECOIL Concealment that was shot with an Olympus E-5 using a Zuiko Digital 14-35mm f/2 lens. The E-5 is another older twelve megapixel DSLR, except this one was released in 2010 and only has a little Four Thirds sensor, a fraction of the physical size of the one in the Nikon.

So that's 12MP printing a full 18"x11" double spread.

It turns out that twelve megapickles is definitely plenty for print, as Tim at Leicaphilia points out, and probably more than enough if you're mostly transmitting your images to friends via social media, per Thom Hogan.
"The maximum resolution of an iPhone (Max model) is 2778 x 1284, or 3.5mp. A current iPad Pro is 2732 x 2048, or 5.6mp. Your TV is likely 3840 x 2160 pixels (8.3mp), but not a lot of you are viewing your images on TVs. You might be looking at them on a TV-like monitor when you edit your images; a 5K iMac is 5120 x 2880, or 14.7mp, though once you add your software's windowing and controls, you're probably looking at the actual image being observed back down near 4K. "
There's not necessarily anything wrong with more resolution*, but don't let anyone tell you that you need it.

*Well, under most circumstances. I think Leica's new 60MP M11 is idiotic for a couple of reasons, but that's a topic for another post.

Merry Christmas from VFTP!

There will be much mistletoeing
And pirates yo-ho-ing
And drinking of beer!


Saturday, December 24, 2022

Doubling Your Problems Unnecessarily

Considering that every DA revolver comes with a free dry-fire training aid in the box, people's reluctance to get gooder with a double-action trigger has always puzzled me.

It's not really all that hard. 

The part that makes it hard is when people treat it like it's a single action trigger with a heavy, long-ass pull. 

They get that classic bullseye sight picture with a hard focus on the front sight, start to pull the trigger until they feel the cylinder rotate and see the hammer come back...and they attempt hold the trigger there, halfway pulled, as they try to correct the sight picture of the gun now wobbling in their hand until it's absolutely perfecBANG!

Don't do that. Pull the trigger through in one clean stroke.

I'm no revolver whiz and my dry-fire has been sadly lacking of late, but this is target-focused stuff at a pace of about 2rds/sec.

Now that you've Santa'ed for everyone else, get yourself a shot timer and a set of Lasergrips and get gooder with your wheelyboi.


Friday, December 23, 2022


Yeah, it's a commercial, but these drone fly-throughs of the Remington ammo plant are pretty cool...

Tree Men

This is the New York City-est thing I've read all year...
"Christmas trees are big business in New York. A lot of people see the quaint plywood shacks that appear on sidewalks just before Thanksgiving, each with its own tiny forest of evergreens, and they imagine that every one is independently owned, maybe by jolly families of lumberjacks looking to make a few holiday bucks. That’s what I thought, anyway. In reality, a few eccentric, obsessed, sometimes ruthless tycoons control the sale of almost every single tree in the city. They call themselves “tree men,” and they spend 11 months a year preparing for Christmastime — which, to them, is a blistering 30-day sprint to grab as much cash as they can. I learned early on that they’ve carved up the city into territories, that the same Christmas tree can sell for four times as much in Soho as in Staten Island and that turf wars aren’t uncommon."
Go and RTWT. 



Automotif CCCLVIII...

Here's a right-hand-drive 1994-1995 Honda Street Racoon, an adorable little kei-class minivan powered by a midships-mounted carbureted 656cc inline-3 cylinder.


The Big Chill

The air temperature out there right now is -9°F, but when you factor in the thirty-some-odd mile per hour gusts, we're looking at a wind chill of -34°F.

That's plenty cold enough to keep me indoors today.


Thursday, December 22, 2022

Unlikely Fave

Here, have a link to a happy upbeat feel-good article on Jenna Bush Hager, the last public figure for whom I ever thought I would kinda wind up fangirling.
"Ms. Hager has become the most broadly popular onetime first child of the modern era — and easily the most prominent one to stray from the family business — graduating from the nation’s most scrutinized underage drinker to its media personality most likely to tell a mass audience that she went commando this year to a dinner with Prince Charles before he assumed the throne.

She is the daughter of a man who once declared himself “misunderestimated,” positioned as one of the most powerful figures in literature today.

Over the hump!

To those of us who get the SADs, we've made it past the solstice! The days get longer from here.

We're only a couple months from the first crocuses and Spring Training. 

Just fifty-three days until pitchers and catchers report!

Coming soon to a lawn near you!


On Newsstands Now!

The latest issue of RECOIL Concealment magazine has a couple pieces in it by me, including a review of the Taurus 856 Executive Grade. Does this scratch the itch for a new production 3" fixed-sight heavy barrel K-frame-ish wheelgun? Read it and find out!

(While I go buy dead tree copies of issues that have my stuff in them, I also have a Kindle subscription. On a decent-size tablet like a regular iPad, it reads pretty good that way.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

That's funny right there...

"You have many options when it comes to birth control. Ask your doctor if the music of Rush is right for you."

I actually quite enjoy the music of Rush and even I thought this McSweeney's piece was hilarious.


Losing that spark?

While Elon's been busy shitposting at his new social media site, Tesla’s stock has continued a slide to a new 52-week low, closing under $138 a share yesterday. 

Pissing off smug rich liberals who are the main buyers of your product right about the time that every other carmaker on the planet is jumping into the EV market with both feet is not what I'd call an exhibition of business genius.

Musk deflected, trying to blame it on a general market slump, but that's a partial explanation at best...
"Tesla’s stock has dropped more than other larger automakers since Musk announced his plans to buy Twitter in Apr. 2022. Since that date, Tesla shares are down 59%, versus 26% for Ford and 12% for GM. The S&P 500 is down 14%."
Some big TSLA investors are not amused...

Big If True

Pentax claims they're riding to the rescue of film photography, which has held on thus far largely by cannibalizing the graveyards of a dead film camera industry.
"Film is popular again, especially with young people. However, old film cameras are becoming harder to repair as parts become scarce and the people who repair them retire, taking their knowledge with them. Consequently, film camera prices have increased, as has the cost of film itself.

To address these concerns, and no doubt to capitalize on what Ricoh sees as a business opportunity, Pentax has now launched an initiative to create, not just one, but an entire range of new film cameras.

If I'm reading this right, they're looking at three tiers of cameras: An inexpensive point & shoot, something in the $500 range, and a prosumer $1000 model.

That last one should be easy: Unlike Sony, Canon, and Nikon, who have all basically abandoned single-lens reflex cameras for mirrorless, Pentax has remained firmly committed to the DSLR. 

Their existing top of the line full-frame DSLR, the K-1 Mark II, sells for about $1800. Strip out the image sensor and its associated IBIS mechanism and image-processing hardware, remove the articulated 3.2" TFT LCD screen from the rear, and replace all that with a film back and motorized transport mechanism, and you should be ready to offer a rugged, weather-resistant turnkey prosumer film SLR for around a grand.

I guess the midrange camera could be a K-1000 reboot?


Tuesday, December 20, 2022


Ah, coastal Florida! The gentle sound of the surf, the glow of sunrise over the ocean, the smell of burning iguanas...
"An iguana caused “a large-scale outage” in Lake Worth Beach, Florida earlier this month – the third iguana-triggered outage in the city this year.

The outage impacted about 1,400 customers in Lake Worth Beach in Palm County, city spokesman Ben Kerr told CNN. The power was restored within 35 minutes, according to a tweet from the city.
In other news, Iguana-Triggered Outage is the title of my band's next album.


Automotif CCCLVII...

Here's an immaculate 1973 Buick Centurion convertible in Silver Cloud. The Centurion nameplate was Buick's shortest-lived one. It was the sporty version of Buick's full-size platform, replacing the Wildcat in the catalog for the 1971 model year.

1973 was the last year for the Centurion, and came with a 350 4-bbl V-8 as the base motor. An optional 455 4-bbl bumped the power to 250 SAE net, from the 175 bhp of the 350. (This was a sign of the times, since the 1971 and '72 model years featured only the 455, with no lesser engines offered.)


Monday, December 19, 2022

Hating Santa Claus: A Political Compass

Automotif CCCLVI...

Nikon D300S & DX 17-55mm f/2.8G

The XJ-S was the car of my dreams as a teen. Technically, this one is an XJS, since Ford shortened the moniker by dropping the hyphen in '91.

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV & EF 24-105mm f/4L IS

The composite headlamps, among other cues, mark this as a '92-'96 convertible with the 318bhp 6.0L V-12.


Sunday, December 18, 2022

Hey, look!

The Ruger P89 photograph on the cover of Massad Ayoob's latest book looks very familiar!

This would be another great stocking stuffer for people in your life just getting into the CCW lifestyle...


Purity Spiral

I recycled this old blog post for yuks at pistol-forum:
Examine your wardrobe.

Award yourself one point for any garment that meets any of the following criteria:
  • Military surplus
  • Has MOLLE loops
  • Non-hunting-oriented camo (double points for Multicam, triple for Kryptek)
  • Any gun- or gun-related company branding other than Beretta or Browning
  • Made by: Arc'teryx, Kitanica, Propper, 5.11, Blackhawk, et al
  • Has gun-specific features like mag pouches or holster compartments
  • Has epaulets 
Tally up the total number. This is your score. It is important that it be displayed prominently in online interactions because everyone with a lower score is a Fudd and everybody with a higher score is a Tactard. You must fight with them to the death.
Some people were confused about the exemption for Browning and Beretta apparel.

Basically, I gave Browning and Beretta a pass because both lend their logos to lines of branded outdoor wear for the sort of folks who own ballistic golf clubs.

A Browning or Beretta logo'ed fleece vest picked up as an impulse buy at Cabela's while one is purchasing a Citori or Silver Pigeon is therefore exempt from the scoring penalties assessed against one of those idiotic GLOCK-logo "Not A Pepper Spray Kind Of Girl"* shirts.

*You should be a pepper spray kind of girl. Or a pepper spray kind of dude. Whichever. Here's a reminder that POM makes good spray and an excellent stocking stuffer!


Friday, December 16, 2022

Doing the Right Thing the Wrong Way

I've written numerous times that I'm pretty ambivalent about capital punishment. There are some crimes so heinous that you can't just walk back from them and say "Hey, I'm sorry I ate grandma's face with some fava beans and a nice chianti, but I was off my meds. I'm feeling better now and ready to be a productive member of society!" I'm comfortable with the concept of having society's lifeguard blow the whistle and order that dude out of the pool.

Thing is, it turns out that a lot of people wind up on death row for Felony Being Black In A Lineup with a further count of Aggravated Having A Bad Lawyer. It's bad enough having to try to make things right with a dude you've locked in a cell for years by mistake, but it's impossible to do with a dude you've put in a coffin.

Conservatives don't trust the government to do most anything right, from writing & enforcing gun laws to delivering the mail, but when it comes to making sure they strap the right guy in Ol' Sparky, suddenly y'all act like the government couldn't possibly screw up.

So while in theory I'm pretty okay with the idea of capital punishment, in some frictionless setting where all cows are spherical and have equal mass and libertarianism works, here in the real world I just don't trust people to implement it right. 

If we as a society screw up and off the wrong dude, who gets the sentence for that? Or do we all get ¹⁄₃₃₃,₀₀₀,₀₀₀ of a sentence? 

All of this is a lead-up to suggesting you go read Kevin D. Williamson's piece about the lame duck Oregon governor effectively nullifying the death penalty in her state via executive Calvinball: 
Here we have two competing moral and political considerations: The death penalty should be abolished, but executive unilateralism of the sort being practiced here by Gov. Brown is an invitation to chaos. This raises an old question, one that has especially vexed conservatives in the liberal-democratic context: What do we do when a bad process produces a good outcome?
I do envy his writing chops.

If you get this wrong, there aren't any do-overs.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

"Wake Me When It's the Weekend"

Holden, snapped with the Fuji X-T2 & 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR

Happy Bill of Rights Day!

Bobbi has a pretty good post up on the BoR...
"The entire Bill of Rights is a list of things the government shouldn't be doing or getting in the way of -- and a lot of our law consist of attempts to get around those limits. The sweeping Ninth and Tenth Amendments are often treated as mere sentiment, and that's a pity."

Today in History: Steve and the Crow

The hinterlands of southeastern Europe in the mid-to-late 15th Century weren't likely to get top billing in your Western History class.

This was the time when the Wars of the Roses were popping off in Britain, which hogs the attention of Anglophones and Anglophiles. Meanwhile Henry in Portugal was still hiring navigators, Gutenberg was printing, and Ferdinand and Isabella got hitched to unite their kingdoms preparatory to wrapping up the Reconquista.

Whatever attention I've paid to goings-on in southeastern Europe at the time mostly involved the Ottomans continuing their conquest of the remains of the Byzantine Empire (1461 is when the Empire of Trebizond, the last intact Byzantine rump state, fell.) Oh, and that Dracula guy was doing his thing in the Carpathians.

Anyway, on this date in December of 1467, we had the Battle of Baia.

The King of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus (which means Matthew the Crow) was Dracula's cousin, and he was pissed about the Moldavians claiming a port on the lower Danube which he felt should belong to Hungary. So like any good medieval king, he invaded Moldavia with the intent of stomping them until they gave it back.

Moldavia was run by a Prince (or Voivode as they're called in those parts) known to history as Stephen III the Great. Considering that most voivodes of Moldavia didn't hold the job long enough to be promoted above probationary fry cook in a fast food joint, Steve’s 47-year tenure on the throne probably qualified him for the title of "the Great". Seriously, take Stephen Trey's numbers out of the accounting and the average 15th Century Prince of Moldavia probably had a reign measured in months.

So Stephen rounds up his army and heads out to confront Matt the Crow, who was holed up behind field fortifications in the town of Baia.

Despite being outnumbered, Stephen's forces dismounted and attacked from multiple directions, using torches to set the buildings and fortifications ablaze. The situation devolved into street fighting in the dark, with people hacking each other to bits by the light of the burning town.

Both sides claimed victory and made off with enough loot stripped from the other side's corpses to back their claims to the folks back home, but when all was said and done, the Hungarians left, carrying a wounded Matt the Crow with them. Baia remained Moldavian turf and the Danubian port of Chilia* was still in Moldavian hands until the Ottoman Turks conquered it in 1484.

*The Ottmans briefly lost it to the Russians in 1790, but the Russians had to give it back following a treaty, and then...well, you know how things go in that corner of the world. It's prudent to keep lots of flags in your basement depending on whose tanks are rolling down the street that day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

To Dream the Implausible Dream

Last night I dreamed I was in a penmanship class that Bobbi was teaching.

My fellow handwriting students included Taylor Swift and my friend Annette Evans, which proved this was a ludicrously implausible dream.

I’ve seen Annette’s handwriting and I seem to recall it’s pretty solid penmanship, so I’ve no idea what she would have been doing in the class.


Much free. Very speech. Wow.

Despite Elon saying his commitment to free speech extended even to the ElonJet account that used open source flight tracking info to tweet the whereabouts of Musk's aircraft, the account just got zorched.

Similarly, the first account to tweet footage of Elon getting booed offstage at a Chappelle show mysteriously disappeared, although Snopes points out that could have been a total coincidence.

This is as hilarious as watching BBS owners go through ugly post-divorce bad judgment binges back during the days of dialup. There's not enough popcorn in the world for these lulz.

Imagine paying all that money to make an absolute lolcow out of yourself.


Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Ain't that just holly and jolly?

Yeah, the battery in the Zed Drei is a goner.

Short trips, parked for a week or two at a stretch, and the first good cold snaps of winter put paid to it. The fact that it was eight years old didn't help, I'm sure.

Well, I know what I'm buying myself for Christmas instead of that case of ammo I wanted. At least they have them in stock at AutoZone down the street.



QotD: Carpe Diem Edition...

"Life is funny that way. What I’m experiencing now has taught me to value each day because its of infinite worth." -Tim at Leicaphilia


Slow Growing

Some fears of stagnation in this article at The Economist...
[R]ich democracies face a profound, slow-burning problem: weak economic growth. In the year before covid-19 advanced economies’ gdp grew by less than 2%. High-frequency measures suggest that rich-world productivity, the ultimate source of improved living standards, is at best stagnant and may be declining. Official forecasts suggest that by 2027 per-person gdp growth in the median rich country will be less than 1.5% a year. Some places, such as Canada and Switzerland, will see numbers closer to zero.

Perhaps rich countries are destined for weak growth. Many have fast-ageing populations. Once labour markets are open to women, and university education democratised, an important source of growth is exhausted. Much low-hanging technological fruit, such as the flush toilet, cars and the internet, has been plucked.
Of course, this calls into question the idea that constant economic growth is some sort of given.

It's really easy to show enormous economic growth by progressing from a society of huts and horseback to one of HVAC and Hondas. The jump between 4G and 5G isn't quite as impressive. 


Easily Amused

My needs are pretty simple. Give me a Nikon D2X, an 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II, and a curious squirrel and I can keep myself entertained for quite a while.

Monday, December 12, 2022

.327 Short Magnum

In a discussion elsewhere, someone was asking about the possibility of a J-frame sized six shooter using moon-clipped .30 Super Carry.

In addition to the fact that ballistically speaking, .30 Super Carry is just a short, rimless .327 Federal Magnum, there are other issues, some mechanical and some having to do with market realities and consumer buying habits...
All things being equal, heavier bullets are more likely to jump crimp, as they have more inertia.

All things are not equal, though, and lighter bullets...especially with autopistol chamberings that are very sensitive to a consistent COAL...tend to have less bullet seated in the case, so therefore less bullet area for the case crimp to grip.

Combine that with autopistol cartridges being taper crimped* rather than roll crimped, and you get the crimp jumping problem. Premium defensive cartridges that are carefully crimped and have sealant applied to the case mouth tend to be resistant to this, but who wants a revolver that requires you to practice with HST?

Further, if the revolver is set up to headspace .30 Super Carry on the case mouth and the rear of the cylinder was clearanced for rimless rounds in moon clips, then you wouldn't be able to run .327 Fed Mag, .32 H&R Mag, or .32 S&W Long (or .32 ACP in a pinch) which is one of the attractions of .327 Fed revos.

I think a .312" projectile, either a 95-100gr flat meplat SWC at 900-1000fps, or one of the modern 100-115gr JHPs at .30 Super Carry/.327 Fed velocities, is a nearly ideal personal defense handgun cartridge; largely equivalent terminal performance to .38/9mm, while being easier to shoot and holding more BBs in the same size package. It only falls down versus 9mm in some of the more difficult barrier tests like auto glass and sheet metal, but those aren't as important to the private citizen.

All That Being Said™, the ubiquity of 9mm and .38 is a tough hill to overcome in the market. Plus we still haven't convinced everyone that Nine Is Fine, so trying to sell them on esoteric arguments for an even smaller round is like pushing rope. Witness how fast everyone abandoned the P32 for the P3AT, when the former is, with both firearms loaded with FMJ, an absolutely superior alternative. People want the bigger bullets. And the holler points.
*And that taper crimp is sometimes bordering on nonexistent for cheap FMJ range ammo. Hence the Boberg problems...

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #228...

That compact Third Gen Smif goodness in .45ACP, .40S&W, and 9x19mm flavors:

Chat Noir

The low-light capabilities of modern cell phones still amaze me. This shot of Holden was with my iPhone 13 Pro Max by the light of a reading lamp with a twenty watt incandescent applicance bulb in it.

Speaking of the phone, it took me this long to realize that my new Peak Design case had slots in the bottom so you could attach one of their anchors and use it with any PD strap. Now I have a use for that Peak Design Cuff I have that I rarely use because I'm so rarely shooting little cameras.

The Cuff has a magnet in it so you can wear it coiled on your wrist like a bracelet or wristband until you're in a situation where you want a bit of security for the cell phone, like say you're taking a photo off a bridge or rooftop. Then you'd just uncoil it, pop the phone's anchor into the cuff, and your phone's secure.


Saturday, December 10, 2022

"Better come out, we've got magnums!"

I usually use my regular sunglasses (a pair of Wiley X Peaks these days) even on an indoor range, but that just doesn't work well for me anymore with the rudimentary matte black fixed sights on a compact revolver against a black target background. I had to actually bust the Hunter HD Golds out of the range bag to be able to make out the sights clearly.

I'm beginning to be of the opinion that the .327 Federal Mag cartridge is really best for a medium frame revolver with a full grip. While it's not at all painful to shoot in this Taurus 327 with the hot loads...really, that rubber grip is one of the better factory small frame revo grips I've tried...there is a noticeable amount of muzzle lift.

It's not so much that I think raw split times are necessarily important in self-defense type shooting, but being able to assess things in the moment, what Louis Awerbuck called "checking your work through your sights", seems important. Having my sights pointing at the ceiling for a half second after every shot really cramps that.

Even warm .32 H&R Magnum loads, like the 100gr LSWC in the picture, don't exhibit that level of muzzle flip.


Time keeps on slippin'...

The other morning I was getting ready to go to the range and quipped to Bobbi "I sure hope I remember how to drive."

Between same-day Amazon delivery, Fresh Market being a short walk away from Roseholme Cottage (and Fresh Thyme and a CVS just a short hop away via the Red Line bus), and having so many restaurants and coffee shops in walking distance, I hadn't actually driven my car since...the last time I'd gone to the range, maybe two or three weeks ago?

I walked to the garage, went to start the car, and... the battery in the Zed Drei barely had any juice.

Fortunately I had a jump starter* ready to hand to get the thing up and running. I drove it around for a bit before going to the range, and for another fifteen or twenty minutes afterward to get some fresh electrons in there.

But what the heck? I remember I replaced the battery in the Bimmer recently. 

I remember replacing it because it had been the original one that was in there when I bought the car and the auto techs were amazed that it had lasted a dozen years...

A dozen years?

That means I replaced it back when I got the Z3 worked 2014.

Eight years ago.


*Handy as a pocket on a shirt. I wish they'd been around in my hooptie-driving days.

Friday, December 09, 2022

Particular Idiom

Russian, especially colloquial Russian, is a language rich in earthy, colorful idioms, as this phone-translated menu from a restaurant in Bishkek shows... (Translation software, for instance, has no problems with passages from Dostoyevsky, but feed it a page of chatty posts from Russian gun nuts on LiveJournal, and it breaks down in machine frustration pretty fast.)

Thursday, December 08, 2022

End the Kardashianocracy?

Kardashianocracy, the ancient Greek word for "government by narcissistic reality TV stars" has gripped one of our major political parties and it's beginning to cause problems that are impossible to overlook.
Ponder on those numbers: What they say, and fairly clearly, is that any normie Republican senatorial candidate probably would have junked Warnock by five points or more. Instead the GOP ran yet another of Donald's ridiculous celebrity stunt candidates and paid the price.
But as more data becomes available on turnout in this year’s election, it is quite clear that turnout was not the main problem facing Republicans.

In state after state, the final turnout data shows that registered Republicans turned out at a higher rate — and in some places a much higher rate — than registered Democrats, including in many of the states where Republicans were dealt some of their most embarrassing losses.

Instead, high-profile Republicans like Herschel Walker in Georgia or Blake Masters in Arizona lost because Republican-leaning voters decided to cast ballots for Democrats, even as they voted for Republican candidates for U.S. House or other down-ballot races in their states.
Look, guys, back in 2016 Donald won a plurality of votes in several primaries against a crowded field of lukewarm fellow egomaniacs who were all too willing to egg him on in attacking their opponents, only for them to realize too late that he was the last guy standing. Then he squeaked out an Electoral College win against an historically unpopular opponent who ran a half-assed campaign because she expected to cruise to a coronation.

Don't take the wrong lesson from 2016, GOP.  

Not everybody gets to run against Hillary Clinton. 


Beyond the Soundbites...

Probably going to be a TL;DR for a lot of folks, but I think it's worth reading through.
Hello! Someone has referred you to this post because you’ve said something quite wrong about Twitter and how it handled something to do with Hunter Biden’s laptop. If you’re new here, you may not know that I’ve written a similar post for people who are wrong about Section 230. If you’re being wrong about Twitter and the Hunter Biden laptop, there’s a decent chance that you’re also wrong about Section 230, so you might want to read that too!
Considering how disastrously wrong most Section 230 hot takes are, and from partisans on both teams at that, I'm probably spitting in the wind, here.


Pickets? Charged.

Apparently the staff at the Times (I'm an American, so that means The New York, and not of London) is conducting a day-long work stoppage as a negotiating lever in an ongoing labor-management dispute.

The WaPo is being professional in its reporatge of the event:
Reporters won’t write stories or interview sources. Photojournalists will stay home. And if a spate of unsavory language breaks out in the online comments thread posted below a New York Times story, there might not be anyone on hand to delete it.

That’s the expected scenario at the Times on Thursday, after more than 1,100 employees began a day-long work stoppage at midnight in one of the most dramatic labor disputes at the company in decades.
Some people are showing support by, for example, not playing their daily Wordle game.

Personally, I'm not a member of any unions, so I don't feel any particular need to show solidarity, although I understand that some folks do, and that's cool. Further, I'm a paying subscriber, digitally at least, and it's not like I'm not going to read the virtual paper that's already landed on my virtual doorstep. So I wordled.


Tuesday, December 06, 2022

All is going great!

The World Cup has historically been a boon for Twitter, bringing in record traffic and an influx of advertising dollars.

But this time, when the global soccer tournament started on Nov. 20, Twitter’s U.S. ad revenue was running at 80 percent below internal expectations for that week, three people with knowledge of the figures said.

In tandem, Twitter was rapidly cutting its revenue projections. The company previously forecast that it would generate $1.4 billion in the last three months of the year, down from $1.6 billion a year ago because of the global economic downturn. But as Twitter kept missing its weekly advertising targets, that number slid to $1.3 billion, then to $1.1 billion, two people said.
The article mentions the existing complaints, like advertisers having no point of contact left in the gutted ad department at Twitter, worries about constantly shifting policies, and a new twist: Apparently automakers had done a fair amount of brand advertising with the platform in the past but are now cutting back due to "questions about whether Twitter’s data would be shared with Mr. Musk’s car company, Tesla".

Operation Mathias Rust

So some low, slow, antique Soviet recon drones turned into improvised cruise missiles just rattled some windows deep in Russian territory...

Monday, December 05, 2022

What you call hell I call home!

So, I've never bumped into the data limit on my T-Mobile cell phone hotspot. It throttles me after I pass the 100gb/month point, but all I ever use the hotspot for is light web surfing on my iPad when at lunch, not for gaming or streaming video or anything like that, so no biggie.

Anyway, when I was down in Georgia for CanCon early in November, I noticed that the Adobe Creative Cloud suite on my travel laptop hadn't been updated, so I went ahead and told it to do so...

...forgetting that I was on my phone's hotspot and not the hotel wifi.

A couple days ago, my phone dolorously informed me that until the start of the next billing period (Friday) my phone's hotspot would be throttled.

To 128kbps.

"LOL! You only adopted the throttling! I was born in it, molded by it! I didn't see a whole Mbit/s until I was already a grown woman!"


Forgetting the Lessons of the Great Wars?

This is a pretty chewy column, worth reading in its entirety:
But memory is never static. After the Soviet Union collapsed and generations turned over, World War II was recast as a moral triumph and no longer a cautionary tale.

In the 1990s, an outpouring of film, history and literature celebrated the “greatest generation,” as journalist Tom Brokaw anointed those who won the war for America. Under their watch, the United States had saved the world and stopped the Holocaust — which retrospectively vaulted to the center of the war’s purpose, even though stopping the mass murder of European Jews was not why the United States had entered. A new generation, personally untouched by great power war, reshaped the past, revering their elders but simplifying the often varied and painful experiences of veterans.

In this context, the double lesson of the world wars — calling America to lead the world but cautioning it not to overreach — narrowed to a single-minded exhortation to sustain and even expand American power.

Gag me with an order!

After the release of the probable cause affidavit in the Delphi case, everybody involved started grandstanding in the court of public opinion, so the judge has (predictably) issued a gag order for all the players in the defense and prosecution.

Folks, all we know of the county's case for sure so far is what was in that PC affidavit, which was just for the arrest. It's not the entirety of the prosecution's evidence. Other than that, everything else is wild speculation.

There is an upcoming hearing in January to decide if the gag order will remain in place, and one in February where the defense will ask for bail reduction or for the accused to be released on his own recognizance pending trial. Defense also wants the trial moved at least 150 miles away from Delphi, to Evansville or Jeffersonville, citing the difficulty of getting an unbiased jury pool in Carroll County.

Pretty thin, but that's why there's going to be a trial.


Sunday, December 04, 2022

Automotif CCCLV...

I was seated facing north on the patio at Twenty Tap when I noticed him motoring toward me in the southbound lanes. I'd have been a sad panda if I'd been facing the other direction!

They have the plastic sheeting up enclosing the patio for the season, so I had to scoop up the camera, get up from the table, and step outside to have a hope of getting a photo. That's why I almost missed the shot of this tasty, immaculate 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop coupe with its natty India Ivory & Harvest Gold two-tone paint job.

Assuming those dual exhausts are factory, they indicate it has the "Power Pack" option. Combined with a 4-barrel Rochester carb, the duals bumped the horsepower of the 265cid "Turbo Fire" small block V-8 from the 162 of the base 2-bbl version up to 180 SAE gross BHP.

Aesthetically, I think the '55 model year is my favorite of the 1955-1957 Chevies.


A new (to me) gun blog!

The blogger at Hipster Tactical writes about some pretty cool old guns, and if you really want my attention you can definitely write about your love for classic Smith autos like the 5906 and 4506.

Mission accomplished. You have my attention, sir.

The blog's been up for not quite a year and he looks to be averaging one feature-length piece a month, so not really a "blog" in the classic sense of "a web log of interesting things I've stumbled across" but rather more of a personal magazine or newsletter.

Check him out.

Gratuitous 5906 pic


Saturday, December 03, 2022

Cold Front

This morning was one of those ones where I could feel every old fracture site, and when I saw the morning weather report on the news, the reason was pretty apparent.

There was a front running diagonally across Indiana, southwest to northeast. On one side of the front, temperatures were unseasonably warm...53 degrees here in Indy, 56 down in Bloomington. Just forty to sixty miles away, on the other side of the front, temps were a lot lower. It was 40 degrees in Terre Haute and only 33°F a short drive away in Lafayette.

That would explain the being able to feel old injuries, as well as the roar of the wind outside, which sounded like an approaching subway.

Definitely heading into my least favorite time of year, when even a sunny day has no power to warm your bones and your shadow at noon looks like this...

Friday, December 02, 2022


Another close encounter with one of the neighborhood squirrels, same tree...heck, maybe the same a week ago.

This time I had the Nikon D2X & 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II. The 200mm focal length on the Nikon's APS-C sensor giving me the same field of view as the 150mm lens on the Four Thirds Olympus: roughly the same as a 300mm lens on a full frame camera.

Though physically larger than the 4/3rds sensor in the E-5, the Nikon's sensor has the same 12MP resolution and is much older, dating to 2004, six years earlier than the launch of the Olympus.

It still takes a pretty nice picture, though, especially with a good lens on it, and the 18-200 VR II is a very good walking around lens for a crop-sensor Nikon.

Please Don't Suck

With the success of The Peripheral, apparently William Gibson's a hot property in Hollywood once again, all memories of Johnny Mnemonic having been lost in time, like tears in rain.

Apple TV+ is going to be doing Neuromancer, and boy are my fingers crossed for it not to suck, because it's one of my favorite novels of all time.


I LOL'ed...

(And, yup, it's a real thing if you want to make a morbid little action figure tableau. Maybe get one of those tritium vials as a warp core prop.)


Thursday, December 01, 2022

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #227...

This prewar Smith & Wesson .44 Special Hand Ejector, 3rd Model needs nicer stocks and a Tyler T-grip in the worst possible way.


Cold Case Heats Up

The dude owns a car that matches the one reported by witnesses as being "parked oddly", admits being on the Monon High Bridge Trail that day, and also happens to own a Sig Sauer P226 in .40S&W...
On Oct. 13, 2022, investigators questioned Allen, who stuck to his story. He insisted he hadn’t seen anyone on the trail that day back in 2017 other than “the juvenile girls” near the Freedom Bridge. Allen said he owned guns, and that he kept them at home.

That same day, investigators executed a search warrant at his house and located “jackets, boots, knives and firearms, including a Sig Sauer, Model P226, .40 caliber pistol with serial number U 625 627,” the affidavit states.

Over the next five days, the Indiana State Police crime lab tested the weapon, and “determined the unspent round located within two feet of [the girls’ bodies] had been cycled through Richard M. Allen’s Sig Sauer Model P226.”

Allen was at a total loss to explain how an unused bullet
[sic] from that very gun wound up beside two dead bodies.
On the one hand, proving that the .40 round had been cycled through that particular gun beyond a shadow of a doubt is going to be tricky. A lot of that sort of ballistic evidence has turned out to be science-y guesswork. On the other hand, that's an awful lot of circumstantial evidence.

There are bunches of .40 cal P226's out there, but the proximity of Allen's to the crime is pretty sketch.

Picture of .40 cal P226 for illustrative purposes. I sold this one a long time ago.