Monday, January 31, 2022


As far as winters go, this one has been fairly mild. We've had a few decent cold snaps, but they've been brief. 

Snowfall-wise, this is the least snowy winter in Indianapolis since they started keeping track in 1871. The airport has seen 1.7" for the whole season. Here in Broad Ripple we got about an inch of fine, dry powder the other day, which was the most we've had at once so far this winter.

It was light enough that I decided to grab the little kitchen broom we keep in the basement for just this task and whisk the snow off the front steps and sidewalks before heading out for a walk.

I got about two whisks of the broom in before my back let me know it wasn't having any of it. This wasn't the old nerve twinge familiar from falling asleep atop a full-size steel 1911 IWB at 4 o'clock, but the sort of twitch in a muscle that you feel right before your calf knots up in an awful, spasming cramp.

I straightened up ASAP, successfully heading off the cramp, and finished the walks in some weird straight-back, leg-splayed horse stance.

I was super ginger about twisting or bending for the next day or so and it seems to have headed off whatever it was, which is good, because the last thing I need complicating my life right now is lower back trouble.


Remember, if you're cold, they're cold... bring them inside!

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

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Tunnel Rocket


Finally watched the scariest horror movie, for me at least: Free Solo.

The noises I was making as he traversed the Boulder Problem were heard by Bobbi clean across the house.


I'm sure we've covered this before...

Your house is not a free-fire zone. It is important to positively identify anything you are pointing your weapon at. If you're not willing to shoot it, you shouldn't be pointing a gun at it; that's right there in the basic safety rules. And if you don't know what (or who) it is, then how do you know if you're willing to shoot it or not?

Yes, you can search* and PID indoors quite adequately with a modern weapon-mounted light, one with good output and adequate spill, using good technique. If you do not know how to do that, use a handheld to avoid waving your blaster around and muzzling things... and people shouldn't.

You don't even really need any special gear, though. Your house does have built-in room illumination, right?

Alternatively, you can use your Tactical Audible Target Identification Friend-or-Foe System, or T.A.T.I.F.F.S.

You know, the one where you say "Who's there?" with your mouth.

*Although, really, why are you searching? If you're that sure that someone's in the house, why not just fort up and call the po-po and let whoever's in the house know that you've done so?


Saturday, January 29, 2022

You sound funny!

The Saturday morning cartoons on MeTV this morning included a 1935 Popeye short, "Be Kind to 'Aminals'".

It caught my attention not only because it was so very old... it was only the nineteenth Popeye short ...but because Popeye's voice was different. Turns out that in this one he was voiced by one Floyd Buckley, who went on to do the voice acting for Popeye in the WABC radio show.

Anyway, if you've seen any of the old black & white Popeye cartoons (which are the only real ones; color Popeye cartoons are haram), you'll notice the different voice immediately when our sailor man opens his mouth.

Also interesting is that in 1935 a horse-drawn produce wagon is not unusual. The U.S.A. motorized before any other country, but a lot of it was still livestock-powered in the mid-Thirties...


Friday, January 28, 2022

Lotus Position

The whole raison d'etre of Lotus's road-going sports cars was that they were far lighter and simpler than most and therefore achieved their speed and performance with much smaller engines than the competition...

Off the Spectrum

Shot with a Nikon F4 & AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4.

Processed and scanned by Roberts.

Dracula 64 is sensitive into the near-infrared part of the spectrum, which makes flowers and foliage look really cool:
The spectral sensitivity of Dracula35 is expanded into the near infrared range of the energy spectrum. Its spectral sensitivity to up to 750 nm.

He's big mad.

Krugman really doesn't like cryptocurrency. Really.
Now, maybe those of us who still can’t see what cryptocurrencies are good for other than money laundering and tax evasion are just missing the picture.
I don't know or care enough about crypto other than to have thrown a C-note at a couple memecoins a while back and peek in on them every few weeks to see what's going on (nothing good at the moment, by the way) but anything that gets up Krugman's nose can't be all bad.

(Is there anything funnier than grifters selling "physical cryptocurrency" on Amazon to fleece the unwary? "Edna! I got a Bitcoin on Amazon for $35,000 off list price!")


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The internet likes dog pictures, right?

This little fella was photographed with a D7000 & 16-80mm f/2.8-4...

...and this one with a Fuji X-T2 & 18-55mm f/2.8-4.

Both were waiting outside the grocery store for their people to finish shopping.


In the can...

According to Marko, the next installment of the Frontlines* series, Centers of Gravity, is in the publisher's hands. It's the final novel of the series, wrapping up Andrew's storyline, although he says he isn't done with that universe as a setting.

It's available for preorder on BezosMart.

*Frontlines is the official name for the series, I guess. I call it the "Plural Noun of an Abstract Noun" series, which doesn't roll nearly as trippingly off the tongue.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Flying Spark

I'm surprised that the ultraluxobarge makers Bentley and Rolls Royce have been so slow to get on the hybrid wagon, or offer fully electric models.

The two downsides of electric power, short range and weight, don't matter when you build cars that weigh like buses anyway and are pretty much never used for long-distance road trips. Further, the upsides of electric power, massive low-end torque and smooth & silent power, are the things that these makers trade on.

You'd think Rolls, especially, would have been all in on some road-hugging weight and whisper-quiet operation years ago. No matter how you isolate and muffle an internal combustion engine, it's always going to be more noticeable than an electric motor. If you just gotta have the most range, raid the corporate parts bins for the little turbocharged inline 3-cylinder from the BMW i8 and hook it up to a generator, and market that as a range-extending option.

These cars aren't bought by gearheads with gasoline for blood anyway, generally.

Dictator Down!

The other night Bobbi and I watched The Death of Stalin, and holy hell was it funny. Dark, sure, but darkly hilarious.

Let this flick be a reminder to you whenever people start raving about Trump... or Biden ...being some sort of totalitarian dictator what an actual totalitarian dictatorship looks like. 

The federal government is, and always has been, fond of overreach, but we've got a long, long way to go between wherever we are and people taking a Tokarev round behind the ear in the basement of the Lubyanka.

Also, I LOVED the way Jason Isaacs played Zhukov. There were a few really good performances in the movie, but that one stuck with me.


Monday, January 24, 2022

Fast as Lightning

The kung fu movie fad of the Sixties and Seventies triggered a moral panic that did to martial arts weapons like nunchaku and shuriken what Blackboard Jungle and other juvie delinquent flicks of the Fifties did to switchblades.

It's taken fifty years to realize that the main thing endangered by nunchaku was the wielder's own junk and start repealing some of these dumb laws.


Upside, Downside

On the upside I'm not celebrating my birthday at SHOT this year; I'm actually home instead of on the road.

On the downside, it's on a Monday.


Sunday, January 23, 2022

Happy Birthday to le Maitre

It's JMB's 167th birthday!

Just your friendly annual reminder that Fabrique Nationale started selling striker-fired pistols designed by John Moses Browning in 1899, thirty years before Gaston Glock was even born.


Off the Shelf...

Just finished reading The Next Civil War, and it was a worthwhile read. "Oh, Tam!" you say, "The author's a liberal!" Well, duh. He's a Canadian expat.

Still, just like your friends may have some outsider's insights on your family quarrels, Marche brings an informed and concerned, but ultimately detached, viewpoint to the centripetal forces straining our national seams right now. Plus, the guy went to a wide array of sources to come up with the half-dozen or so hypothetical scenarios in the book. 

It's worth a read, even if... maybe especially if find yourself frequently disagreeing with the author.


Saturday, January 22, 2022

Overheard in the Hallway...

Me: "Oh, I think you know the first rule of Passive-Aggressive club..."

Friday, January 21, 2022

Where the Bad Guys Get Their Guns

So, try and guess the firearm used by the dude who took the hostages at the Texas synagogue before the FBI's HRT helped him take the Room Temperature Challenge.

Was it:
  1. A deadly AR-47 assault weapon bought at a loophole?

  2. A fifty caliber sniper rifle bought from an "Iron Pipeline" crooked dealer?

  3. A stolen handgun bought from a crook?
If you guessed the third option, you're absolutely right!

According to the WaPo:
Over a roughly two-week period in Texas, Akram also searched on his phone for gun shops and pawnshops in the Dallas area, the officials said. But authorities have traced the handgun he used in the attack and think he bought it “on the street” rather than at a business. The gun’s last official sale was recorded in early 2020; it was reported stolen from a hotel room later that year, the officials said.
I am Tamara's absolute lack of surprise. Crime guns are stolen guns, or at least they usually are. Stolen from a family member or relative, boosted out of unlocked cars in suburban driveways, pilfered from hotel rooms... that sort of thing. 

Remember, your [$OBJECT_THAT'S_NOT_A_GUN_SAFE] is not a gun safe.

Sensor Analog

He doesn't need the dashboard light anymore.

Meat Loaf has left the building at age 74.


Thursday, January 20, 2022

Joss Whedon & the First Rule of Holes

Everyone's seen the kind of interview or profile we refer to as a "hit piece", where the writer goes in to interview their subject with the knives out and gets to stabbing.

In this profile of Joss Whedon however, the writer just handed Whedon the knife and he went to work on himself. 

It was a little uncomfortable at times, his lack of awareness.


The Great Train Robbery story's plot thickens...

Remember who has jurisdiction on the tracks? Yeah.
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
You never change your socks
And the little streams of alcohol
Come trickling down the rocks

The brakemen have to tip their hats
And the railway bulls are blind...

Wednesday, January 19, 2022


Is there an auction site that specializes in antiques and is easy to deal with? I don't wanna, but bills are piling up and until my writing output catches up, it's time for this thing to go...

Hit me up via the email address in the sidebar if you have some experience with a good antique firearms seller.


Getting the Easy W

I've totally embraced starting my day with the easy win of Wordle. I guess the word, get my little endorphin boost, share my result with my friends, and drive on with the rest of my morning routine. The fact that it only lets you play once a day keeps it from turning into a distraction from stress or an habitual nervous tic, the way Solitaire or Minesweeper seemed to. 

I think this columnist is spot on in her assessment; it's the right game at the right time.

Plus, hey, it's words. I've got a lot of those!

Who's buying all these guns?

Have you been watching Professor Yamane's new weekly video series, Heat Over Light? You should be! He's on his third episode now.

New eps drop on Wednesdays!


Sealift on the Move

The Russian LST flotilla has left the Baltic, which has to have the Swedes breathing a little easier, and linked up with the LST Group from the Northern Fleet in the North Sea. If they're headed for the Black Sea, that's a bit of a haul.
Sweden had mobilized reserves and deployed troops and armor to Gotland, due to concern over Russian flights nearby, and the sortying of the amphibious warfare ships had only ratched up tension. There was some supposition that a coup de main against Gotland could be used to forward-deploy SAM bases and close that airspace to NATO sorties in support of the Baltic countries if Russia invaded them, but that'd be a little spicy for Vlad. Ukraine is one thing, but NATO member nations are another altogether.

(The Swedes actually retired the S-tank in the late '90s, but they're pretty funky.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

L'affaire du Carhartt brings the lulz.

In case you missed it...

A job site bonfire of coats and coveralls in January, maybe?


Speed is Relative

They don't look very speedy, but the Graflex Speed Graphic managed to capture every Pulitzer Prize winning photo from 1942-1954.

Actually, the "Speed" in the name "Speed Graphic" comes from the focal-plane shutter, which could be set to as little as 1/1000th of a second.

The last Pulitzer-winning photo shot with a Speed Graphic, in 1961.

When people complain about DSLRs being big and bulky, they should be thankful they're not having to drag one of these around. A CaNikon pro body is svelte by comparison.



A little urban electric commuter pod styled after the old Isetta bubble cars is fixing to hit the streets in Europe and it is adorably twee. It's like if Funko Pop went into the car biz.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Carne de vinha d'alhos

It means "meat in wine and garlic" and it originated in Madeira and the Azores. Sailors from these Portuguese Atlantic islands brought the dish to the Americas, where it's known as "Calvinadage" in Trinidad & Tobago.

When the Portuguese conquered Goa on the Indian subcontinent in 1510*, the recipe followed along there, too. In India, "vinha d'alhos" became "vindaloo", staple of curry houses in Britain. 

While many Indian variations pad out the meat with cubed potatoes and 'aloo' is the Hindi word for potato, the etymology is from the Goan dish "vindalho". 

Bobbi made her second try at a vindaloo Saturday and it was excellent. Her recipe is posted on her blog.

*Even after Indian independence from Great Britain in 1948, Portugal held on to Goa until 1961, when the Indian military launched Operation Vijay and seized the remaining Portuguese colonies along its coast in two days of fighting. India's first carrier, the INS Vikrant, was deployed off the coast, but launched no sorties, serving only to deter foreign intervention with her compliment of Sea Hawk fighter bombers and Alizé anti-sub planes.

Hang on, let me get the popcorn...

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Blatant Anticymricism!

Dumb gun myths on the internet...

Here's a guy perpetuating a particularly hoary one: "10mm 1911s will crack their frames!"

The fact that he's somewhat specific about the nature of the crack's location... I am giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming that by "slide rails" he means "frame rails" ...and that it happens in less than 2000 rounds tells me he either recalls reading some of the initial gun magazine reporting on the Colt Delta Elite back in the Eighties, or is parroting someone who did.

Do you want to know about how and where Delta Elites actually cracked their frames? Sure you do!

Some early Delta Elites cracked their frame rails right above the rear slide stop hole, where the arrow is pointing in the picture below...

Pardon the potato-quality photo; it's not yet coffee o'clock here at Roseholme Cottage.

The crack didn't affect anything. It didn't propagate, either, since it was effectively stop-drilled by the hole beneath it.

Colt solved the problem by simply removing that section of frame rail. It hasn't been there on 1911s by most any major maker for decades. In fact, I have six 1911s in my possession at the moment, five of my own and a Springfield test gun, and I had to fetch that ancient Argentine 1927 Sistema out of the attic to photograph that bit of frame rail because it's the only one that has it. (Bobbi has a couple older 1911s that do, too, but she's sleeping.)

Here's what pretty much every 1911 made in the last thirty years or so looks like in that spot...

That's a 9mm Para LTC, which was selected for the photo because the full-length guide rod may make field-stripping a pain, but it does make it easy to pop the top half off the frame and back on again in a hurry. Notice there's no frame rail at all in the area of concern anymore.

So, I screen-shotted dude's tweet instead of linking because purveyors of bad info don't need their signal boosted, plus this guy has a history of deleting stuff when called on his errors. You may remember him from his outlandish claims of preternatural prowess with the NAA Mini revolver.

Anyway, homie fancies himself quite the firearms expert. He's even written books on the topic. Instead all he does is regurgitate gun counter grade fuddlore. As the ancient Romans used to say, caveat emptor, baby.


Saturday, January 15, 2022

Handsome Pupper

This handsome boy sat still for a portrait the other day...

Shot with the Olympus E-3 and the Zuiko 150mm f/2, which is a very nearly magical portrait lens...


Book reports...

Having finished re-reading The Number of the Beast and concluding that it is, indeed, Heinlein's second weakest effort, I went on and re-read The Rolling Stones. I'd only read it once before, probably twenty years ago at least, and it held up well as a story.

Sociologically in some respects it was very much a Fifties Y.A. novel, in that the protagonist twins have a bratty savant of a younger brother and a boy-crazy sister hoping to snag a beau from among the spacemen they encounter, but they also have an iron-willed MD for a mom and a grandma who's an ex revolutionary from the Luna rebellion.

The book was published five years before Sputnik and nearly a decade before Gagarin's flight, so Heinlein's imagining a future Earth with only three radio satellites and a space station is forgivable, as are scenes of people calculating trajectories with slide rules; almost nobody predicted the ubiquity of computers and Arthur C. Clarke had only floated the idea of radio relay satellites a handful of years earlier. 

On the other hand, its descriptions of life in lunar or micro gravity are way ahead of their time, and his description of anarchic Belter society predated even Niven's Known Space stories, to say nothing of The Expanse. It wouldn't be out of line to credit this novel as being the origin point for the entire trope of Belter society as a polyglot anarcholibertarian mining frontier one.

Definitely a keeper.

Oh, yeah...The Rolling Stones inspired tribbles, too.


Friday, January 14, 2022

Ultimate Star

Blogging has occurred at the other blog on an uncommon single-stack polymer nine. Come to think of it, "polymer-framed, double-action, hammer-fired single-stack 9mm pistol" is a pretty uncommon category.

Here it is compared to the new Savage Stance for size...

Supply Chain Disruption

Take a look at this stretch of train tracks just outside downtown Los Angeles. As the trains slow or stop before getting shunted into a rail yard, thieves break into containers and loot the Amazon and UPS packages inside them wholesale.

See all that crap strewn alongside the tracks? Those thousands and thousands of empty boxes and torn-open padded envelopes? That stretch of track had been cleaned just thirty days prior. That's only a month's worth of looting.

Apparently the stuff that happens on the railroad right-of-way isn't LAPD's jurisdiction, but rather is the responsibility of the railroad's cops. Not that there's a lot of enthusiasm for prosecuting property crimes in that neck of the woods these days anyway.

Anyway, if you live on the west coast and are wondering where your package is and the tracking number shows "Delayed", look on the tracks outside the Union Pacific Intermodal Terminal in Los Angeles.


Thursday, January 13, 2022

Do you suffer from projectile dysfunction?

Is your little shooter not working like it used to? Now there's a solution! Ask your gunsmith if LTT Advanced Shooter Care is right for you...

Automotif CCLXXVI...

2011-2013 Camaro Convertible in Black. Not "Midnight Black", not "Stealth Black", not "Interstellar Black", not "Three Feet Up A Well Digger's Ass In The Middle Of The Night Black". Just Black. Chevy ran out of creative names for colors that year after "Cyber Gray Metallic".

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Urban Wildlife

Around here we have squirrels, mice, rats, chipmunks, opossums, raccoons, the occasional adventurous whitetail (and so presumably ditto for coyotes), rabbits, and lazy semiferal cats who are apparently too well-fed by the locals to predate heavily on the smaller fauna.

Here's Peter Cottontail in the neighbor's front lawn yesterday afternoon. Fortunately I had the 18-200mm on the Nikon D2X, because the bunnies survive around here by being super skittish and bolting at even a hard glance. The only critters more shy than them are the chipmunks, whose presence is usually deduced by something small, brown, and stripey streaking for cover out of the corner of one's eye.

The same lens and camera were used to photograph one of the gargantuan local red squirrels in the front lawn the other day. They're obviously far less skittish than Br'er Rabbit.

"You talkin' to me?"

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Perishable Skills...

I hadn't busted any caps since that Modern Samurai Project class in Ohio back about Halloween. Been pretty desultory about dry-fire in the interim two months, too.

It shows.

FPF Training targets available here. (I don't get a kickback, I just like them.)

That's fifty rounds from the Stance and twenty-five from the Ultrastar at seven yards. Pathetic. It's not like I can blame going fast, either, because I doubt more than a handful of those splits dipped below the half second mark. The only good thing that came out of that was it appears I don't suck all that much worse with the Double-Action first pull on the Ultrastar than I do with the subsequent follow-up shots.


Our minds are being DDOS'ed...

This morning feels "all linky, no thinky", as Unc liked to term it, but I've got a bunch of really good stuff in tabs I've been meaning to clear. Anyway, here's another worthwhile read for you...
At one point in the book, Hari cites a former Google star, James Williams, who helped design some of the ways in which our attention is seized and directed by social media algorithms. Williams calls our current collective predicament something like a denial-of-service attack on our minds — what happens when they are swamped by such a dizzying array of information and distraction and stress that we simply have no choice but to shut down: “It undermines our capacity for responding to anything. It leaves us either in a state of distraction or paralysis … It can just colonize your entire world.”

Yeah, but full of what?

From a good piece on how the film (and sensor) size we call 35mm came to dominate the mindset and marketing of photography...
The very terminology became biased. Lens focal lengths, to cope with the hodgepodge of different sensor sizes, were already being given in "35mm equivalents," to the extent that many digicam lenses were marked in equivalent focal lengths—the focal lengths in 35mm terms the FOV of which they mimicked—rather than their actual, real focal lengths. Photographers might have no idea what the FOV of a 4.3mm lens on a 1/2.3" sensor might be, but they understood the FOV of a 24mm lens on 24x36mm, so the description "24mm equivalent" was descriptive for that 4.3mm lens. "Focal length multiplier," which described an advantage, was replaced with "crop factor," which implies an adulteration from completeness—to have a crop factor, you have to be "cropping"—cutting down or limiting or curtailing—something. What? Why, 24x36mm, of course. Then, when the simple concept of "35mm size" was replaced by the brainless moniker "full frame" (brainless because all deliberate standard formats are full frame—is a 4x5-inch contact print from a negative made with a 4x5-inch camera not the full frame?), it was an unmistakable signal that bias was afoot and roving the landscape. If 24x36mm is "full" sized, then it implicitly stands to reason just from the terminology that anything bigger is too much and anything smaller falls short.

Unforced Error

From a column on NYC's dumb new statute permitting non-resident aliens to vote in municipal elections, Mona Charen writes:
Immigrants who make the commitment of citizenship earn the right to vote and other rights. It is one of our crowning glories as a nation that we welcome immigrants as full-fledged Americans. We don’t have tiers of citizenship. But the immigrant must undertake to become an American before he can expect the benefits of citizenship. That means learning our language, our history, and our system (in fact, new citizens are often more conversant with our Constitution than the native-born), abiding by the residency rules, paying a hefty $725 fee, staying out of trouble with the law, and more. Simply living and working here is not an expression of commitment to the future of this country.

Observing a room full of immigrants from around the globe, hands over hearts, taking the oath of citizenship is a moving and inspiring sight. Watching someone from Canada, who just happens to be living in New York for six months, line up to vote is not.
As Charen points out, it's unpopular across the political spectrum (a similar proposal in San Francisco was opposed by 91 percent of GOP voters, 70 percent of independents, and 54 percent of Democrats) and is easily spun into "They want to let the illegal immigrants vote!" ad copy to whip up the nativist vote. 

It's not just wrong, it's monumentally dumb politics.


Monday, January 10, 2022

It's been a long time since they rock 'n' rolled...

Two compact striker-fired pistols with staggered magazines from Savage, both intended for personal protection, manufactured a hundred and eight years apart...

I'll be reviewing the Stance for Shooting Illustrated.


Memento Mori

This writer is near my old stomping grounds...
"Going around a slight bend, one emerges into a cleared area of flatness where the wall of trees and kudzu steps back a few hundred feet up and down a slope on either side. Here, a sign of civilization reappears in the form of a moderately sized, nondescript brick building. On seeing the building, I puzzled over why a business would possibly locate in such an obscure place–until I saw the gravestones."
It's a worthwhile read.



Taking a shortcut down an alley on the way to lunch yesterday, I was a little startled by something lying in the leaves, off to the side...

Just leaning against the fence there, staring up at me with hollow concrete eyes. Its gaze felt accusatorial, somehow. 

I've taken to carrying the EOS M with its 22mm f/2 pancake lens around in my pocket again this winter, set to monochrome, so I stuck the camera up in the thing's grille, snapped a few pics, and strolled on.

(Incidentally, if you shoot Canon's EOS M crop sensor system, it's probably a goner, but we've seen that coming for a while...)


Sunday, January 09, 2022

Lordly Gaze

Huck can look majestic when he wants to...

Canon EOS 7D & EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM, 1/80th at f/2.8, ISO 160

"Grave for Seven Brothers"

1:35 Tamiya kit, photographed with a Fuji X-T2 & 18-55mm f/2.8-4

The M3 Lee is one of the most unfairly maligned tanks in history. (For instance, the supposed Russian nickname for their Lend-Lease examples, "grave for seven brothers", is almost certainly a postwar invention.)

When early reports of armored warfare started arriving from Europe, it was clear that the Army's M2 medium tank, with its 37mm main armament, was woefully undergunned and work began on a medium tank with a 75mm main gun, what would become the M4 Sherman. But a stopgap was needed until the Sherman was ready, not only for the rapidly upsizing US Army, but also for the British, who had left much of their armor on the continent after Dunkirk. So along comes the Lee, essentially a hasty retrofitting of a sponson-mounted 75mm gun to an uparmored M2. 

Critics of the Lee seem to gloss over the fact that the Brits designated it a "cruiser" tank, as opposed to an "infantry" tank; in other words, its job was to drive around fast and blast stuff, especially enemy tanks. And for its first few months in the desert it completely BTFO'ed the best armor the Afrika Korps had on hand at the time. Panzer III's with the 50mm main gun were outranged by the M3's 75mm and the gyrostabilized* 37mm in the Lee's turret was adequate for pretty much anything the Germans had in the Western Desert. It wasn't until Panzer IV f2's with the longer-barreled 75mm started showing up that the M3 was seriously outgunned in the African campaign.

*From the M3A1 on, both the 37mm in the turret and the hull-mounted 75 were gyrostabilized in the vertical axis. Wehraboos always go quiet or change the subject whenever gyrostabilization of tank guns gets brought up.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Idiot firearms quote...

Some poor kid in Italy had a fatal firearms accident while on a hunting trip, the nature of which is hard to figure out from the information at the linked article.

The Newsweek reporter, as part of her story, contacted the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, CSGV's sister org, for some quotes and got this whopper:
Accidental shootings are one of the most common causes of death and kill nearly 500 people in the United States every year, according to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence.
One of the MOST COMMON? 

So don't come at me with that "one of the most common causes" nonsense. There are more than twice as many fatal accidents every year with skates and skateboards than there are with guns.



Huck looks very chill here, perched in his cat tree.

It's pretty biggish, with several platforms but only one little tunnel/cave, kinda like this one. Bobbi bought it soon after he moved in, when he wasn't yet full-grown, and it's always been exclusively his; neither Rannie nor Holden use the platforms except maybe as springboards on their way to the front window.

Ten years of a big cat like Huck climbing around on it has the platforms increasingly wobbly and Bobbi's talking about replacing it, possibly with one that has more than one cubby on it so Holden can have his own cave on the tree.


Friday, January 07, 2022

So close...

Sometimes you can have an awful lot of brains and still come to some pretty dumb conclusions.
I know of no more definitive expression of stupidity than proudly professing a total inability to understand an opponent’s position on a controversial issue. That a fetus is an integral part of a woman’s body and thus under her sovereign moral control, that a fetus is a form of human life entitled to certain protections, that in a world where maniacs go around shooting schoolchildren it’s a good idea to get rid of guns, that in a world where maniacs go around shooting schoolchildren it’s a good idea to get a gun—“I simply can’t understand how anyone can think like that.” Really? Can’t agree with it, sure. Can’t accept its basic premises, fine. But can’t understand it? And yet I catch myself saying this all the time, and what is more, I think I might be telling the truth. Because after a while the refusal to understand becomes the inability to understand.
When an article starts out like that, I have hope, but for the rest of the piece the writer bats not much over .500, at least in my estimation. As a certain serially-inept real estate magnate would say, "Sad!"


The shortest of short hops.

The regularly-scheduled airline flight between Westray and Papa Westray in the Orkneys is, at least according to Guinness, the shortest of its kind in the world. Flown by a Loganair Britten-Norman Islander (and being exactly the sort of little commuter hop the islander was intended for, hence the name), you can see why there's currently a project investigating the possibility of electric propulsion for these planes.

While on Papa Westray, you can visit the Knap of Howar, which is supposedly the oldest standing stone dwelling in northern Europe, at some five thousand years old.


Automotif CCLXXV...

I really dig the S4, and the B8 generation of S4 ('09-'16) might be my favorite in the looks department. Previous generations had used a gonzo 4.2L five-valve-per-cylinder V8, but the B8 replaced that with a supercharged 3.0L V6 putting out more power and avoiding the EPA's gas guzzler tax in the process.

Photo with a Nikon D800 & 24-120mm f/4.


Thursday, January 06, 2022

Like a psychic!

The new .30 Super Carry from Federal? Called it.

This is from my January 2020 column in Shooting Illustrated, which I wrote in October of 2019...

Since I'm a huge geek for .32, naturally this interests me.


Wednesday, January 05, 2022

World of Tiers

This rented exclusivity includes the enjoyable experience of being temporarily at the top of the masking hierarchy. As a Zoom-class traveler in Orlando, a guest in a mid-tier hotel for a conference, I was permitted to circulate unmasked – unlike hotel staff. But once I left the Hilton for the airport, this ended and I was back in the middle ranks, amid a thicket of mask mandates and vaccine bureaucracy.

Fortunately, the typical mid-ranking member of the Zoom classes doesn’t mind. He or she has grown accustomed to a low-touch world of remote work. The upshot is a mindset that conflates freedom from Covid infection with freedom from moral taint.
An interesting piece on the stratification of Pandemic America.


The Pierre Sprey nutriders will be insufferable.

The pilot of a South Korean F-35A jet fighter made an emergency "belly landing" at an air base on Tuesday after its landing gear malfunctioned due to electronic issues, a South Korean Air Force spokesperson said.

According to experts, the "belly landing" -- touching down with landing gear retracted -- was an unprecedented event for the $100 million US-designed stealth fighter now in use or on order by more than a dozen countries.

"The jet did an emergency landing as the landing gear did not extend. This would mean the jet did the 'belly landing,'" said a South Korean military official, who would not confirm whether the aircraft suffered any damage in the incident.
I literally LOL'ed at the part where the spokesman "would not confirm whether the aircraft suffered any damage". Bro, it's a high performance jet fighter that just did a belly landing. It's basically spare parts at this point.


Actually you can do that.

Will people please stop using that tired trope about shouting fire in a crowded theater?

It makes you sound like a goober.


Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Veteran of the Psychic Wars

Overheard in Front of the TV...

The Today show is on the televisor...
Craig Melvin: "...and today is the last day of service for the classic Blackberry phone." 
Savannah Guthrie: "Oh, I loved mine like a child." 
Me (yelling): "No, hell, you didn't! You abandoned it the minute the shiny new iPhone came along. If you loved it like a child you'd still be using it and they'd still be viable."

Monday, January 03, 2022


This floofy calico, seen giving me an angry glare, is one of the more skittish semiferals in the neighborhood. 

Rarely seen as far south as our house, this shot was taken from clean across the street from its subject, using an 80-200mm f/2.8 on a D200 earlier today.


Automotif CCLXXIV...

Spotted this Saab 900 on a side street and circled the block for a photo. It has the center high mounted brake light in the rear window, but doesn't have the more sloped nose treatment with flush headlamps that debuted on the '87 models, so it's almost certainly a 1986.

I used to crush on these things so hard. If this thing had been white with the three-spoke SPG wheels, I'd probably still be there taking pictures.


Sunday, January 02, 2022

Dead Meat

Bobbi cooked a pork butt vindaloo-style on New Year's Eve...

...and then the traditional Roseholme Cottage New Year's Day dinner of corned beef and cabbage. The weather fouled her plans of doing it over hardwood charcoal on the grill like last year but it atill turned out dandy... all the more impressive for having basically winged it. We filled our bowls for seconds while watching Wandavision on the telly.

As per usual, cooking deets are up at Bobbi's blog. Enjoy!


End of the Road

The Chrysler corporation launched its Plymouth marque in 1928 to give the company an entry-level brand that could compete with cheaper Chevies and Fords.

By the late '60s, the brand had lost focus. They offered a stripped-down version of the B-body muscle car, the Road Runner, that was cheaper than its Dodge equivalent. They offered a deluxe version of the B-body muscle car, the GTX, that was more luxurious than its Dodge equivalent. They offered a pony car, the 'Cuda, that was racier than its Dodge equivalent. Peak sales for Plymouth happened in '73, with nearly a million sold, and then the long slide began.

By the Eighties, they offered cheaper versions of everything in the Dodge/Chrysler catalog, with little differentiation. By the Nineties, the basic Plymouth even had the same name as its Dodge counterpart: Neon.

2000-2001 Plymouth Neon

By '96, there were only three models sold under the Plymouth name: The aforementioned Neon compact, the mid-sized Breeze, and the Voyager/Grand Voyager minivans. In an attempt to try and revive the marque, Chrysler released the Plymouth Prowler, a retro-styled "factory hot rod" that was a sales flop, and changed the Plymouth badge to one that featured a sailing ship, like the original badge that had been replaced back in 1961.

The last gasp appeal to nostalgia didn't work and, at the end in '00 and '01, all that was left of Plymouth was the Neon. The last Plymouth Neon... the last Plymouth, period ...built in 2001 recently turned up on Bring a Trailer, with only 68 miles on the odometer. It sold for nineteen grand.

Peace Officer

MattG serving and protecting on New Year's Eve:
This last shift, it was the end of 2021, and the beginning of 2022. New Year's Eve, on the end of a pretty bad year. I have a habit of almost always volunteering to work on New Year's Eve, because I like to take drunks off of the road. I also will admit to a minor thrill at "winning the toaster," or finding the first case report of the new year, preferably by arrest. I've gotten it many times. DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), DUI By Minor, Assault Causes Bodily Injury Family Violence, Public Intoxication, DWI 2nd, Possession...

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Video Killed the Essayist Star

Professor Yamane has a new YouTube project that'll feature an episode a week, titled Light Over Heat.
Be sure and subscribe!



I was out walking the other day and ran across this handsome fella...

One of the neighborhood ferals (well, quasi-ferals), chillin' on a pile of lumber in a neighbor's back yard near one of the entrances to the Monon Trail. He didn't seem terribly skittish, but I didn't want to spook him from his resting place, so I got about as close as felt comfortable and let the 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II lens on the Nikon D2X do the rest of the work.

Yesterday I went for a walk with Bobbi and followed the same route. In hopes of spotting him again, I had longer glass: Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 on an Olympus E-600. The APS-C sensor in the Nikon had an effective focal length multiplier of 1.5, giving the 18-200 roughly the same field of view as a 300mm lens. The Olympus's Four Thirds sensor has a 2X multiplier, meaning the equivalent of 400mm of reach in a reasonably compact lens.

I was ready to take photos of a skittish cat from quite some distance if necessary...

I had forgotten to factor Bobbi's cat magnetism into my plans. The little fella saw her and sauntered right on over.


Heavy Metal

I mean, having your very own Rolls-Royce Griffon that you can fettle in the garage and start up to delight the kiddies of all ages every now and again would be pretty dang cool...


Happy New Year!

Yesterday managed to ensure that, no matter what other horrible things happen in the next twelve months, at least Betty White won't die this year.

With that out of the way, let's cross our fingers that 2022 isn't 2020 II.