Tuesday, May 31, 2022

The valkyries ride even longer...

I finally got around to watching Apocalypse Now Redux, where Coppola added back nearly an hour of footage originally left on the cutting room floor to stretch his Vietnam magnum opus to a Wagnerian, bladder-defeating, you-may-want-to-split-it-over-two-evenings three and a quarter hours*.

Lots of cool stuff added back in and it makes for a more complete story... but it's less punchy as a movie than the original theatrical cut.

The fortieth anniversary version, which Coppola dubbed the final cut, is supposed to strike a happy medium between the two, deepening the story without getting too unnecessarily meandering. I'll check it out next.

*The best thing about the streaming revolution is that directors are more free to do 4-to-6 episode treatments of bigger scripts rather than try and pack everything into one sitting.

Lights, Camera, Inaction

My favorite restaurant patios may be great places for spotting cool iron rolling by, but it's an intersection of a couple of flat, straight city streets, not the Esses at Road Atlanta or a gnarly turn on "The Dragon" through Deal's Gap. In other words, it's not like I'm the Killboy of Broad Ripple or anything.

Shots showing any kind of action are hard to get. This Harley rider gunned it around a car that was dawdling while making a right on 54th, so the panning shot conveys a little bit of motion.

Maybe the Yamaha pilot here felt sorry for me and decided to do some icy hot stuntin'...

On a sunny day like this I can use the little 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6G zoom on the Nikon D700 and have ample reach to shoot anywhere around the intersection. That Harley is shot from the Twenty Tap patio, diagonally across the intersection, at 200mm and didn't even require much cropping. 

I love the lens because it's so compact; not much bigger than the 85mm f/1.8 AF-D prime. Part of the reason for its compactness is that it doesn't have a built-in autofocus motor, so it focuses too slow to be ideal for action photography (and is manual-focus only on the consumer-tier D3xxx and D5xxx bodies, which lack internal focus motors), but its optics are more than adequate for the 12MP sensors in my old D700 and D3.


Sunday, May 29, 2022

Automotif CCCIII...

Like I've said, sit there at the corner of 54th & College long enough and sooner or later one of everything will drive by. Sometimes two of everything, like this 1922 Model T Runabout and 1923 Model T Touring!

A friend on Facebook quipped "I'm telling ya, Broad Ripple ain't real. It's a Potemkin village to display the best parts of Americana."


Saturday, May 28, 2022

Automotif CCCII...

1970 Coupe de Ville, shot with a Nikon D800 & 24-120mm f/4

So, taking pictures of cars and filing them away in my little Facebook photo albums is my borderline-on-the-spectrum happy place. Some people go trainspotting, others stand around at airports and record aircraft tail numbers, I have my car photo albums, which I usually update every morning with the previous day's take.

What amuses me is when I post a picture of a car like this and someone gets all assmad because this dude didn't dress his Barbie doll the way the commenter would have dressed it if it were his.

Bro, nobody appointed me or you to be the fun police. Does it look like homie loves his ride and is having a good time? Yes. Yes it does. So why don't you make like the cartoon girl in that Disney movie, and "Let it go! Let it Go!"?


Thursday, May 26, 2022

The Long and Winding Road

One of the most underlined passages in Night Watch, according to Kindle:

In my circle of friends, we even have a single word for it: Derpeste.

It's all a road of improvement and learning, but first you have to realize that you have things you need to learn and improve, and that the You of Right Now is wrong about things that Future You will think are obvious.


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

So it turns out...

 ...that the kook in TX was wearing a plate carrier but hadn't put any plates in it.

Statistically this seems to be the most common discovery after the breathless media claims of "tactical vest" and "body armor"; the Buffalo kook was an anomaly in actually wearing plates. 

Plate carriers and chest rigs are cheap and readily available, especially for people not caring if they get airsoft-tier gear for their one-way trip, while plates themselves are harder to source and a lot more expensive. The middle of an active shooter incident is not the time to be trying to puzzle out whether homie is wearing armor or not.

Besides, even loaded spare mags in a chest rig make pretty good defense against pistol bullets, especially slow fat ones like .45ACP and .44Spl.

...especially if dude is using an AK with much more robust mags.

If you are unfortunate enough to have an active shooter event with a long-gun armed bad guy wearing a plate carrier erupt right in your lap, your point of aim is no longer some vague area on the upper torso.

All the Little Angels Rise Up

Never forget the Glorious Revolution of the Twenty-Fifth of May, and the people's struggle for justice, freedom, reasonably-priced love, and a hard-boiled egg.

(It's easily my favorite Discworld novel... one of my favorite novels, period, actually. Sir Pterry at the peak of his powers. I think I'll read it again.)

This Week's Episode...

Unplanned walkabout...

I've been shuttling an immunocompromised friend to medical appointments a couple times a week, so I figured it would probably be a good idea to stay current on shots, just to be on the safe side. Accordingly, I went and got a second Moderna booster yesterday.

My appointment was at the public lieberry at 42nd & College at 1130. The weather was lovely, so I walked to the 54th Street Red Line stop, arriving at five minutes after eleven, only to watch the southbound bus pull away just before I arrived.

"No problem," I think, "The buses run every 10-15minutes."

*glance at station monitor, which informs me the next southbound bus is 37 minutes out*

"Well, shit. I can walk to 42nd Street in 37 minutes."

So I did.

The bus, of course, whooshed past just as I was walking up to the library door.

There was a friendly rent-a-cop in a folding chair just inside the entrance, who greeted me and gestured me into the room where they were set up to augment my 5G reception.

On the way out, I noticed he was carrying a stainless Third Generation S&W auto with adjustable rears on it and a spurred hammer. I had to ask "That a 5906? Or a 4006?"

When he realized what I was asking, he replied "Oh, it's a Four Zero Zero Six," pronouncing every digit like it was a phone number. "That's a pretty good guess!"

"Just lucky I reckon."

I guess it was an issued gun from the security company.

It only took a five minute wait at the 42nd Street station to catch a ride back north.

Fault Lines

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Project Deuce-Deuce

A few years ago I put some serious round count on a Bodyguard .380, to the point of actually buying a Bladetech holster for it and using it in Chuck Haggard's pistol class at Paul-E-Palooza. In the process of shooting it that much, I learned a few things, such as the fact that allegedly the LAPD has a replacement interval for both recoil spring assembly and the mainspring* of 250 rounds on the ones they issued as BUGs.

Lately I've been enamored with the little Ruger LCP II in .22LR. It's so very shootable compared to the .380 version and the availability of ammo like Federal's Punch makes me wonder about it as a CCW piece.

I'm looking at buying a DeSantis Slim-Tuk and MFT Minimalist, putting in some range time, and scoping the calendars of traveling trainers passing nearby in summer or fall. A backup gun / pocket pistol oriented class would be ideal, but I'm enough of a weirdo to take it to a regular class, too.

*Remember that in these little hammer-fired locked-breech pocket pistols that the hammer spring is a big part of what absorbs the recoil. Once my BG380 passed about 800 rounds, ignition on non-Federal/CCI primers got iffy.

Drinking the Haterade

What I’ve come to understand over the years is that manifestoes like that of the white nationalist gunman in Buffalo are not really worth reading. They are written to be shared, but they are not confessional, and they shouldn’t be read literally. They are manipulative.

They are the story terrorists want to tell about themselves, not the truth. The Buffalo shooter’s manifesto doesn’t mention his history of animal abuse, for example. As with any writer of his own story, he was making choices about how he wanted to be seen.
She's spot on here. You should RTWT.


Monday, May 23, 2022

Automotif CCCI...

Having the Mecum auction going on last week barely more than a dozen blocks from my photo perch was practically hunting over bait, as this sighting will attest.

It's an ultrarare 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner with the factory supercharged 312cid V-8, one of only twenty F-code cars still known to exist.

I wished I had more lens than the 24-85mm f/2.8-4D on the D3, since 12MP doesn't allow for a ton of cropping. Oh well, we shoot with what we've got...


Sunday, May 22, 2022

Pop Culture Blender

Biff! Pow! Two to beam up!


Saturday, May 21, 2022

Automotif CCC...

Man, I love early iterations of the Detroit "Personal Luxury Coupe", like this 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ in Castilian Bronze.

I'll bet it's got the 390bhp 428 H.O. motor, a three-speed THM 400, and... oh, probably less than 14,000 original miles on the odometer.


Friday, May 20, 2022

Beauty and the Birds

Chris Arnade has a piece on the rooftop pigeon-keepers of Brooklyn that's absolutely worth a read. Heck, even if you don't read it, scroll through and look at his fabulous photos.
I first noticed the flocks of pigeons swooping and swirling above Brooklyn during my long walks back in the 2000’s. I immediately knew they were beautiful, I just didn’t know they were art. Well, art as most people experience it. Not as something to put in a gallery, but as something to elevate life above the mundane. Beauty for beauty’s sake, not for fame or money.

Recognizing them as art took a little more time.
Do yourself a favor and RTWT.


He called the ball on that one...



Be Careful What You Wish For

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Return of the Savage

It sounds like the title to the sequel of an old school bodice-ripper, doesn't it?

Really, I just wanted to use the line to mention Savage has re-entered the CCW pistol game after a nearly hundred-year absence, and my review of their entry is up at Shooting Illustrated Online.

But are you really armed?

Claude Werner, aka The Tactical Professor, is fond of replying to people who refer to pocket guns and snubby revolvers as "belly guns" with some variation of "It's only a belly gun if you can't shoot." Claude, of course, is capable of some impressive shooting with a KelTec P32 or a J-frame Smith.

Every now and again, though, you wind up with a product like that ridiculous sightless "Boomer" from Charter Arms that really is a "belly gun". As a result of doing a lot of shooting for work, I can index shoot (ie, with no more of a sight picture than having the gun up in my field of vision in a firing grip) pretty okay. I could probably keep them all in the 8 ring of a B27 out to maybe as much as ten yards with no actual sights on the gun.

Thing is, not every civilian defensive gun use situation is a "keep them all in the 8-ring" sort of problem. Just ask that retired officer working as a security guard at the Buffalo grocery store.

Now, I'm on record as saying that unless an active shooter situation pops off right in my lap, my Plan A is to head toward whatever the closest exit is that's away from the sound of the gunfire. 

But if you think you want to get yourself involved in that situation, you need to ask yourself if you have the ability and the means to do so, and the time to think about that is before someone's busting caps two aisles over in the Piggly Wiggly.

Automotif CCXCIX...

I'd photographed this thing before, when it was up in its driveway, but when I saw it out on the street yesterday while I was walking to the grocery store, I detoured for a pic.

The 510 series of the Nissan Bluebird, sold in the US as the Datsun 510, is a sort of poor man's BMW 2002, the ur-Maxima, and this one's obviously been set up to party...

Note the aftermarket brakes, serious rubber, roll cage, and there's an external fuel shutoff around back.

The Nikon D7100 I was using has the same level of weather sealing as the D800 pro body, and the DX 16-80mm f/2.8-4E lens has a rubber gasket at its base to keep water from getting into the body via the mount. (I still tend to do any zooming under the umbrella; no sense taking a chance on pumping moisture into the lens via the zoom mechanism.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

From elsewhere...

"Russia’s military BS, its inflated readiness and pencilwhipped training & inspections, deceived the worst targets possible: their own high command.

It’s pretty obvious that Russia thought they would pin the bulk of the Ukrainian army’s best units in the Donbas and trap it with a double envelopment, preventing it from pulling back to reinforce the capital, which would be seized by a coup de main striking south from Byelorussia linking up with the airhead at Hostomel.

All very Shock & Awe. Very lighting warfare and deep battle. And literally none of it came true because it was all wishcasting based on undertrained troops and fantasyland readiness reports.

Monday, May 16, 2022

QotD: I Hadn’t Thought Of That Edition

"When you think of it, a connoisseur is someone who likes almost nothing of something."
-Mike Johnston, The Online Photographer

"I hate these filthy neutrals, Kif."

Zap Brannigan on discovering that Vlad's ongoing cockup has driven Finland and Sweden into the arms of NATO:

Bonus content from the Department of Big If True:

Automotif CCXCVIII...

Righteous custom Chevy pickup truck. A 1957 model, I believe.


I don't get...

...the moronic obsession with labeling everything a "false flag" when we know damn well what enables this stuff.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Dead Man's Curve

"I was cruisin' in my Sting Ray late one night..."

"When an XK-E pulled up on my right..."

"He rolled down the window of his shiny new Jag..."

"And challenged me then and there to a drag
I said, "You're on, buddy, my mill's runnin' fine
Let's come off the line now, at Sunset and Vine
But I'll throw you one better if you've got the nerve
Let's race all the way
To Dead Man's Curve"

Dead Man's Curve, it's no place to play
Dead Man's Curve, you best keep away
Dead Man's Curve, I can hear 'em say
Won't come back from Dead Man's Curve

The street was deserted late Friday night
We were buggin' each other while we sat out the light
We both popped the clutch when the light turned green
You should of heard the whine from my screamin' machine
I flew past LaBrea, Schwab's, and Crescent Heights
And all the Jag could see were my six tail lights...

"Six tail lights?" 

I thought Jan and Dean were the square ones and it was the Beach Boys who were on the dope?

Clicking to embiggenate will get lots of detail. Shot with a 36MP Nikon D800, you can practically read the tag on the driver's shirt.

Purists shudder at the thought.

Here, have some cheesy Sunday morning car nerd music...


Saturday, May 14, 2022

Automotif CCXCVII...

My Chevy-fu isn't the strongest, but I think this Nova is a '74. It sounded very, very healthy.

The badge on the fender says "350", but the exhaust note and beefy roll cage say otherwise.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Speaking of baby formula...

I just found out it's not made with real babies.

Just kidding.

What I actually did just find out is that it's not just the supply chain issues and the huge recall by the largest manufacturer coming one on top of the other, but there's also a governmental regulatory angle that's making everything worse because of course there is.
Bad U.S. policy surely didn’t cause the infant formula crisis, but it just as surely made the situation worse than it needed to be. Trade barriers and poorly designed welfare policies helped create a brittle system dominated by a few domestic players—a system that might muddle through in the good times but one that crumbles in the face of a serious shock and struggles to recover thereafter. Meanwhile, American consumers (here, babies and their already frazzled parents) are left in the lurch, and world-class foreign producers can’t help much because they lack the necessary paperwork and financial incentives or because past U.S. policies have discouraged them from setting up official distribution channels or new facilities to serve the American market.
Oh, government! Is there anything you can't make worse?

Even if a Euro baby formula manufacturer saw an opportunity in the U.S. market shortages right now, by the time it could get its products approved for sale here, things would probably already be well on their way to normal and then they'd be facing tariffs that would make their stuff more expensive than the domestic product, so it would all have been a waste of time.

This is a problem when sudden demand spikes or supply shortages hit a market that's built around forecasts of steady demand. No doubt the infant formula manufacturers don't plan on having to suddenly double their output because Americans suddenly had twice as many babies... but that's the same net effect on the system as if half the suppliers had to suddenly recall their product; the other half of the suppliers would have to magically double their output, and that sort of elasticity is just not built into their plans.

(In some ways it's akin to things we see happen in the ammo industry. "Can't they just run the plant around the clock?" "Can't they just make more factories?" "Can't they just magic up some more components?")

Idiotic Sloganeering

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Real Talk

Here's what gets me going about that wheelgun sans front sight I linked the other day...

Taking the front sight off a Charter Bulldog is just pandering.

A Baughman ramp-type front sight does nothing to make drawing a handgun slower or more snag-prone. Its presence does nothing to make a revolver harder to "point-shoot", if that's the sort of thing you like to do for some reason.

Removing the front sight has literally no advantage except a marketing one, for signaling to the cluefulness-challenged.

With a dab of nail polish (or, if you want to be bougie about it, luminescent sight paint) and, hey presto! Your simple Baughman combat ramp is now a hi-viz front sight!


I LOL'ed...

It explains the woe and wailing from the Very Online crowd on the Left...

Yeah, pretty much what this dude said.

From a piece over at The Week:
I fully support the policy of providing Ukraine with intelligence to aid in its fight, including intelligence that leads to the infliction of painful defeats on Russian forces. It's also a good thing for Russia to know that we've played a significant role in enabling Ukraine to defend itself.

But it is a very bad thing for this information to be public knowledge. I don't blame the journalists who've reported it. If high-ranking, trustworthy government officials reveal newsworthy information to a reporter, it's usually considered acceptable to publish it. I blame the officials — especially since the Biden administration has made clear that it has not authorized the disclosures. This is a person or group of people showing off to journalists about their role in hurting Russia. That's extremely reckless and could well lead to an exceptionally dangerous escalation of the conflict that ends up with the U.S. and NATO being draw into a direct military confrontation with Russia.
Vlad's already running the story that Russia's actually dealing with NATO mercenaries in Ukraine. Reckless talk by insiders like this, who are basically trying to impress journos with how much they know, just bolsters his own story while closing face-saving off ramps. 

Supposedly the administration is livid about this, and well they should be, because their handling of the Ukraine situation is otherwise a rare W in long string of L's for the current White House.


Tuesday, May 10, 2022

King of the Beasts

Olympus E-600 & the magical Zuiko 150mm f/2

This is Enzi, the seven year old 450-lb male lion at the Indianapolis zoo. His brother, Mashaka, went to Santa Barbara's zoo.

There was a bit of drama in the lion enclosure at the Indianapolis Zoo one morning a few years back when Enzi's mom, Zuri, straight-up murdered Nyack, her mate and the father of her three cubs.

Monday, May 09, 2022

I needed that...

I hadn't been to the zoo in too long. This morning featured a much-needed mental health break.

Olympus E-3 & Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5

Truth in Labeling?

You may have heard that Charter Arms is offering a five-shot .44 Special snubbie entirely devoid of useful sights that they are calling the "Boomer".

Sunday, May 08, 2022


For those of you who weren't around at the time, check out the speedometer on this '82 Yamaha 750 Maxim. Notice that it only reads to 85 miles per hour, and that "55" is highlighted? 

That's because from '79 to '82, new vehicles sold in the US couldn't have speedometers calibrated any higher than 85 and had to have the National Maximum Speed Limit (55mph) highlighted. Also, oral sex, even between married couples, was still illegal in a lot of states. You can look it up

Stop acting like you're in some special dystopia.


Automotif CCXCVI...

Nikon D700 & 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 VR

De-badged and repainted, with an aftermarket grille, my Chevy-fu is too weak to tell whether this '72 coupe is an Impala or a Caprice.


Happy Mother's Day!

Dad, if you're reading this, tell Mom I'll call later this afternoon.


Friday, May 06, 2022

Automotif CCXCV...

I'm no Caddy expert, but I think this is an '86 Sedan de Ville.

Second year of the smaller front-wheel-drive de Villes, still with the throttle body fuel injected 249cid (4.1L) HT-4100 V8, putting out 135 net bhp.

Hit or Missile

So the chattering classes are currently losing their fecal matter about a passage from former SecDef Esper's forthcoming book:
President Donald J. Trump in 2020 asked Mark T. Esper, his defense secretary, about the possibility of launching missiles into Mexico to “destroy the drug labs” and wipe out the cartels, maintaining that the United States’ involvement in a strike against its southern neighbor could be kept secret, Mr. Esper recounts in his upcoming memoir.
I don't know where a layperson like Trump would have gotten the idea that we can just launch missiles from drones to eliminate problems in countries we aren't at war with. What a wack notion.

Now, the idea that we could do it in a large neighboring country and then try and claim it wasn't us was a little silly. "Uh, sir, this isn't like bullshitting Manhattan real estate appraisers."

People are acting like he got the idea from that Clancy novel, as though Trump had actually read a book, let alone a 700-pager with words like "geosynchronous" and "laser designator" rather than "Jane", "Spot", and "run".

The whole alleged plan ignores the first rule of U.S. drone strikes, which isn't "Make sure the target is covered by the AUMF and on the disposition matrix", but rather "Make sure the target's in a weedy little country who can't do shit about it."

"Sir, the Yemeni ambassador is on line five. He sounds pissed."

"Take a message. Tell him I'll have someone get back to him."


Thursday, May 05, 2022

Dial Tone

I got nothin' so far this morning. Have a picture of a neighborhood pupper.

Shot with the Hasselblad Lunar & Sony Zeiss 16-70mm f/4. That's such a nice little lens. It should have shipped with the Lunar as the kit lens. Its only real shortcoming for my purposes is I could wish for a few millimeters of focal length. The 16-70mm on the APS-C sensor is the equivalent of a 24-105 on full-frame; if it were a 16-80mm, it'd be about perfect.


Wednesday, May 04, 2022

May the Fourth be with y'all!

Forest, Trees

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Bang for the Buck

Spend big on the camera or the lens? The KEH blog had a piece on the topic.
If it's your very first camera purchase, I personally suggest going with a cheaper camera body and a more expensive lens. This goes for both film and digital shooters. If you're getting used to taking pictures, you're much more likely to enjoy the photos you can take with a wide-aperture prime lens or a well-built zoom. With a cheap lens, you may be stifling your creativity with stale image quality before even giving yourself the chance to get excited.
Reading this today made for interesting timing, as I was on the phone with David Merrill yesterday and he made the comment that one should "date your bodies but marry your lenses", which is also pretty much my view on the topic. Heck, part of the reason I'm shooting full-frame Canon DSLRs for work these days was that a reader got me the hookup on an EF 70-200mm f/2.8L; I literally got the lens and started shopping for cameras on which to mount it.

With the 2X teleconverter, it's a 140-400mm f/5.6...

Crowdsourcing Conspiracies

While Jones-style theorizing "engages in a sort of detective work," write political scientists Nancy L. Rosenblum and Russell Muirhead in A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy, the "new conspiracism is something different. There is no punctilious demand for proofs, no exhaustive amassing of evidence, no dots revealed to form a pattern, no close examination of the operators plotting in the shadows. The new conspiracism dispenses with the burden of explanation. Instead, we have innuendo and verbal gesture ... conspiracy without the theory."

In place of theory, however, is community. Conspiracism now is a group project — we see this clearly with QAnon — and the success of Libs of TikTok reflects that shift.
You can RTWT here.


Automotif CCXCIV...

Here's a '67 Cadillac de Ville ragtop in Baroque Gold.

Its power is supplied by a 429cid (7,030cc) 4bbl carbureted V8 putting out 340 SAE gross horsepower, so probably something like 255 in modern net bhp terms.

Here also is a '16-'18 Cadillac CT6 in Black Raven.

Its power is provided by a 3.0L (182cid) twin-turbo DOHC V6 putting out 404 SAE net horsepower, which probably would have been advertised as a nice round 500 gross back in 1967.

The de Ville is 224 inches long on a wheelbase only a hair short of 130 inches. Curb weight over two and a quarter tons and a turning circle damn near fifty feet wall-to-wall.

The CT6 is a big sedan by current standards... it's Caddy's flagship car, after all ...but it's still twenty inches shorter and six hundred pounds lighter.


Monday, May 02, 2022

Change My Mind...

Thing is, when you say something like this, people want to read it as "my favorite" or "the best" and that's not at all what I'm saying. 

I don't even like the little Kel-Tecs all that much. I've never owned a P32 and the only reason I have a P3AT is because it was a bequest from a friend; I've never carried it What I am saying that they are the most significant.



Boston terrier
Nikon D700 & 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6G

Compromises all the way down...

Some people don't like the idea of carrying a little LCP or a Glock 43, feeling like it's compromised for concealability, and then carry a lightweight Commander or a 686 with boot grips, as though those aren't compromises too...


Sunday, May 01, 2022

Pew! Pew! Pew!

An establishing shot for a blog post later today. I needed a subject to photograph at different focal lengths from different distances and while I was going through some boxes in the attic I found this little dude*...

This was with the EOS 5DS & EF 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro, which is not one of the cameras or lenses involved, but was handy.

*Geez, the "McFarlane's Military" figures were a lot cheaper than this when I bought a few to decorate a bookshelf at the old place back in '05 or '06.

A little consistency, maybe?

It amuses me how many people who are normally willing to yell "Shut up and dribble!" or "Dance, monkey!" when an athlete or actress strays out of their lane on some scientific or social issue are suddenly and enthusiastically supportive of a celebrity when the dancing monkey is dribbling to a tune of which they approve.

Take Elon Musk's recent twitter foray into pharmacology. He had some strong opinions on the drug Wellbutrin based on... well, nothing other than some pretty sketch anecdata, really.