Friday, September 30, 2022

First Shots...

Well, 158gr Fiocchi FMJ ammo shoots pretty much to point of aim at five yards from the Taurus 856 Executive Grade.

That's forty rounds at five yards for initial impressions. The uppermost of the low-left shots was my first shot...mea culpa...and the remainder of the low left ones were me getting flinchy toward the end of the session.


On the Case

I used Magpul cases on my two previous iPhones, but Magpul exited the cell phone case business* after the iPhone X. 

As guns have become increasingly something I have to do for work, cameras have become more and more my main hobby, so it's probably fitting that my new phone case isn't from a firearms accessory maker, but rather a photography gear manufacturer...

On the left is the Magpul case on the iPhone 7 Plus, and on the right, the 13 Pro Max sports a case from Peak Design, who also make a bunch of other camera bags and accessories I use. 

In fact, Peak Design is a company that reminds me a lot of Magpul, being cleverly engineered gear solutions designed by people who actually are end users of the products in question. That phone case isn't just a case, but part of a system that includes tripod mounts and bicycle attachments and all kinds of other stuff.

I guess with more and more people using phones as cameras, it only made sense for an innovative camera accessory company to jump into that market.

*If you want a lookalike for a newer phone, they're sold under the Rugged Shield name at BezosMart.

Natural Disaster...

Of all the images of southwest Florida that flickered past on the television screen this morning...washed-out causeways, sharks in streets, acres of flattened or burned homes...this one caught my eye.

That overturned Vitamin C Orange 1970 Plymouth Superbird, though!

Of course, the winged warriors from Mopar are such collectors items these days, with average prices at auction pushing a quarter mill, that as long as the VIN plate survives, it's gonna get rebuilt. Kinda like WWII warbirds that way.

EDIT: Oh lordy it gets worse if you zoom out. At least the much rarer '69 Charger Daytona stayed on its wheels, although Daytona rear windows don't grow on trees...


Thursday, September 29, 2022

I don't get it either...

When Ben Shapiro or his loyal henchman Matt Walsh go on extended rants about masculinity in, like, the military or whatever, I just don't understand why they'd tickle that hornet's nest.

JVL nailed it here...
"The point I’m trying to make is that none of the outcasts and weirdos who are talking about overthrowing the liberal order in the name of the Great Common Man would be at home in a Budweiser commercial.

Or at a real bar, where real people who work with their hands go to drink Budweiser.

Hell, I’d be shocked if any of these guys has ever even had a Bud.

Instead, these are people who saw the populist movement rising and decided that they could get in on the action and ascend to a place where, one day, they’d be the ones in charge. And then, instead of being outsiders, they could tell both the woke lib hippies and the lax-bro banker-establishment cons to get bent.

Two is one and one is none...

So what do you do with dual card slots in a camera, you ask?

Well, it depends.

Back in the day, when you had the one SD slot and one Compact Flash slot, it was common to record a JPEG to the SD and the much larger RAW file to the CF, since read and write speeds on Compact Flash were higher.

It's as common these days to have both cards of the same type, but some folks still use them like that. Others will have the second slot set up as an overflow when the first one fills.

I shoot everything in RAW these days, and so I record simultaneously to both cards, using one as a backup in case a corrupted card is unable to be read. That way if I shot a whole day's worth of photos at a class or event or something, all is not lost if a card craps the bed.

The only time I do differently is in the Fuji X-T2. I love Fujifilm's JPEG film emulations, and so I'll record RAW to one SD card for post-processing in Photoshop or Lightroom, and then a film emulation JPEG of Velvia or the like on the other card.



Here's a gripe...

Olympus's E-3 DSLR came out in late '07 and was roughly comparable to the Nikon D300 and Canon 40D. It had two card slots: A CF card slot like a normal camera and a slot for Olympus's almost-proprietary xD card. It couldn't record to both simultaneously, and you couldn't even set it to switch over automatically when whichever one you were using filled up. Oly was just clinging to xD like grim death and wanted to sell cards, I guess.

Anyway, a couple years later the E-5 came out. An updated E-3 with HD video, 2MP more resolution, and some other tweaks, it was the last gasp of Olympus's Four Thirds DSLR system, and the closest to a true pro body they'd yet made. They even bowed to the inevitable and replaced the xD slot with an SD slot like a normal camera.

Guess what? You still can't write to both slots simultaneously.

WTF, Olympus?


Turns out it's a physical activity...

Intense thinking and concentration burn more calories than most people realize. Getting really into a mental exercise can release adrenaline and elevate heart rate. If you wear a smart watch or FitBit and spend a day behind the wheel of your car doing any sort of involved driving, you'll often be surprised at the number of calories it says you've burned.

So imagine what it's like for really intense dudes who are doing olympic-level thinking...
In recent years, the proliferation of livestreams, fit trackers and other tools have created almost a game within a game at modern chess tournaments. Rubbernecking audiences watch for clues of mental cracking and physical distress in the quirky, contemplative figures bowed over the boards. At the 2018 Isle of Man International tournament, fitness metrics projected on a large screen revealed that grandmaster Mikhail Antipov torched 560 calories sitting stock still for two hours. By way of comparison, the average person will burn just 100 calories running a mile on a treadmill.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Sex on Wheels

Oh, man, this beautiful Egli-Vincent by Godet makes my heart go pitter-pat...

That's easily the best shot I've gotten of it yet, even though the lighting was a bit tricky. Normally it's just zipping past...

Gorgeous, hand-built machinery with a pedigree. I think this might be the very one that was on Bring a Trailer a couple years ago. 
[EDIT: On closer inspection, it's not the same bike, just very similar. They're all essentially one-off customs.]


Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Great Success in the Gear Box!

I checked the Taurus in a couple K-frame rigs from my Big Box o' Holsters, a Bianchi #3S Pistol Pocket and an old, long-discontinued DeSantis convertible OWB/IWB rig, as well as with HKS #10A speedloaders, and it fits them all.

Relatedly, for some reason I seem to still have a metric buttload of .357 L-frame speedloaders, including lots of Safariland esoterica, and I don't think I've owned a medium-bore L-frame since the GWB administration. Obviously this is my cue to finally buy that 586 L-comp of my dreams.


Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #219...

If you want to push my revolver buttons, a 3" heavy-barrel, full-underlug, fixed sight K-frame sized wheelgun is the way to do it.

I'll be reviewing the new Taurus 856 Executive Grade for CONCEALMENT to see if the actual blaster lives up to the big expectations Taurus has set for it.



It's frickin' 44°F out there right now, and only supposed to claw its way into the low sixties today, and that not until mid afternoon.

We might see the low seventies again this weekend, but it's gone from unseasonably warm to unseasonably cool like flipping a switch.

At least it's supposed to be nice and sunny. Got a long dry patch ahead of us, too, which I presume means some pretty good fall colors are coming up soon.


An auction you don't want to win...

So, imagine this. You're just some normal family in New Zealand, engaging in the perfectly normal practice of bidding on the contents of abandoned self-storage units, hoping to make a few bucks or find some hidden gems.

Among the goodies you get are some suitcases, and when you open find the desiccated, dismembered bodies of two kids.

Congrats, you just won a crime scene!

But wait, there's more...

The ensuing criminal investigation pretty quickly zeroed in on the kids' mother, who had long since fled for South Korea.

Fortunately there's an extradition treaty in place.


Monday, September 26, 2022


One of the neighborhood ferals spotted on the fence in the back yard. Judging by his markings, we're guessing he's from our extremely fertile neighborhood unwed mom, Copper.

As far as I know, she's still thus far eluded any attempt at capture. 

This kiddo has much of his mom's wariness. He was okay with the camera pointed at him, but as soon as my face came out from behind it, he was down off the fence into the neighbor's yard and scurrying off through the underbrush.

Photo shot with an Olympus E-3 & Zuiko Digital 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5.


Sunday, September 25, 2022

The Right Gear

Yesterday afternoon, just before strolling home from lunch, I noticed this little tiny little doggo lounging in the shade on the sidewalk out in front of Twenty Tap.

Now that shot was taken from my seat with the 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 II zoom on my Olympus E-3, an excellent walking-around lens, cranked all the way out to 54mm. With the crop factor of the Four Thirds sensor in the Oly DSLR, that's the equivalent of a 108mm lens on a full-frame camera.

I wanted to get a closer shot, so I either needed to get closer or get more focal length. Thing is, get too close to the dog with the camera and he's going to stop laying there and get up and try and see what you're up to and it blows the whole shot.

I also wanted to be able to get the shot at the camera's native ISO of 100 to minimize noise...

Fortunately, that green blur at the bottom edge of the snapshot there is my camera bag, and in that bag is my secret weapon for a situation like this: The Zuiko 150mm f/2.

Et voila!

ISO 100, f/2 @ 1/250th, trusting the in-body image stabilization of the E-3 to do its thing...

Automotif CCCXLV...

Here's a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado ragtop in Calumet Cream with what appears to be a Light Ivory leather interior.

Power was provided by the 500cid Caddy V8 in its final year of production. Now fully catalyzed, EGR'ed, and 8.5:1 compressioned, the ginormous "8.2 Litre" that had been introduced with 400 SAE gross horsepower in 1970 struggled to make 190 net horses six years later. (You could bump it to 215 by ordering the optional fuel injection.)

By the mid-'70s, convertibles were vanishing. They were heavier and had worse aerodynamics than fixed-roof cars, which hurt gas mileage, and they had a hard time with NHTSA rollover standards. Cadillac marketed the 1976 Eldorado ragtop as the last American convertible and quite a few of the roughly 14,000 sold were driven straight into garages and parked as investments.

When Cadillac launched a new Eldorado convertible eight years later, there was a class action suit as a result.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Truth in Advertising...

Here's an Aston Martin Vantage in...hand to God, this is the actual name of the color...Kermit Green.

Photographed with an old Canon EOS 7D & EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM in Aperture Priority mode, ISO 200 and wide open on a cloudy day.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Automotif CCCXLIV...

The side marker lights and grille tell us this Mist Green Plymouth Road Runner with an Antique Green vinyl top is a 1968.

The fact that it's a hardtop means it was made in the latter part of the model year, since the Road Runner was originally only available as a pillared coupe with a bench seat.

The 440 badges on the hood, if they're not lying, mean that someone's upgraded things in the engine bay from the original Road Runner 383 V8, since the '68 was only available with a 383 4bbl or a 426 Hemi. (The standard Road Runner 383 was a 335bhp version, with a hotter cam and other tweaks exclusive to the model, unless you ordered A/C, in which case you got the same Super Commando 330bhp 383 4bbl as in Uncle Lester's Fury.)

Lucy's got her football out...


Did I say it was going to get down to 49°F this morning? I was mistaken, or rather the weatherdude was. It was 47°F when the alarm clock went off here at Roseholme Cottage. Summer has officially ended.

Yesterday it was 67 degrees and breezy and in the shade, wearing my summer attire of blue jeans, a short-sleeve t-shirt, cotton socks, and a very lightweight gun burkha, it actually felt a little chilly. Understandable, since it had been 94 the day before and the indoor temperature at the house was hovering around 75.

Not quite time to drag out the wool socks, long-sleeve t-shirts, and heavier gun burkhas, but that's probably less than a month away. Call it three or four lawn mowings to go before lawn care involves rakes and leaf vacs.


Wish it into the corn field!

We do have a problem with people who seem to have an entirely too detached and casual relationship with violence, and an overlapping problem with people viewing guns as problem-solving tools. This is visible in plenty of non-gun areas, too. People are on a short fuse and have been for a while, with the events of 2020 and beyond only exacerbating an existing societal tension.

Part of it is that people can't chill and let go. We carry rage-generation machines around in our pockets. I'll bet the people I muted in that discussion are still raging at me. Don't know, don't care. My arguing-on-the-internet days are long over.


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Falling like a rock...

Man, the season's fixin' to change with a bang here in Hoosieropolis.

Yesterday at sunrise the temperature at IND was 73 degrees, the same as it was in Destin, FL, and the day's high was a sticky, humid 94°F with not much of a breeze. Last night, though, a front dropped through from the north and it's currently in the mid-sixties out there.

Tomorrow morning it's supposed to be right around 49°F at sunrise.

Fall will truly be in the air.


He'll yeah, borther! 'Til Van Halen!

"Mindset" and "Awareness" are two massively over- and mis-used words in tacticool land.

For starters, they aren't verbs. You can't awareness at a potential danger or mindset at a threat.

"I'm situationally aware!"

Great, that means you noticed the dude across the parking lot abruptly change the direction he was walking in reaction to your presence. That's a big pre assault indicator.

Now what?

"I've got combat mindset!"

Cool, cool...because he's got 'stick a gun in your face and demand your wallet mindset', too. What are you able to do about it?

To quote Annette Evans of On Her Own, "Awaring without skill only means you get to watch the train come at you from further away. Yay?"

The people who do well in these situations not only see the situation developing, they recognize it for what it is, have a plan to execute in that situation, and the skills available to execute the plan.

Credit where it's due, I totally stole "awareness is not a verb" from Craig Douglas.


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Kubrick was a prophet.

"Do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk, ice cream? Ice cream, Mandrake? Children's ice cream!...

You know when fluoridation began?...1946. 1946, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual, and certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Commie works. 

I first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love...Yes, a profound sense of fatigue, a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I-I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence. 

I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women, er, women sense my power, and they seek the life essence. I do not avoid women, Mandrake...but I do deny them my essence."


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Nature is Healing

Local fave restaurant Twenty Tap went through the Time of the 'Rona a couple years ago with a great deal of ingenuity.

They set up a bunch of outdoor dining in the parking lot two doors down that got them through the winter of '20-'21 with big heaters and even a couple of CONEX outdoor "dining pods".

Thankfully that's all over and done and it's been business as usual over there since probably the middle of last summer, except one thing...

Like every restaurant, they've been critically short-staffed, and their solution to the staffing situation was to open at 4PM on weekdays, basically just cutting out the lunch shift. 

The majority of their biz is the evening crowd anyway, and lunchtime competition here in SoBro is cutthroat. You've got a fairly small population of local office workers and work-from-home types in the neighborhood, plus a constantly fluctuating number of various trades and construction types, and that's it.

But apparently things are easing up, because my beloved "Office Away From Office" is starting up weekday lunch service again, as of today.


Ancient Traditions

Whatever your opinion on the archaic institution of the British monarchy, the funeral was worth watching. If you didn't, I'm sure it's on YouTube someplace.

Nobody does this kind of pomp and ceremony quite like the Brits, and they never will again. 

If you're alive and fifty or younger, it's odds on you're going to get to watch the next royal funeral and it's not going to be a patch on this one because Chuck's reign will last less than a third as long as his mum's, and the monarchy itself is a dwindling institution. If it endures, by the time they get around to planting George VII  in 2107AD or whenever, it'll probably be a thirty minute affair, not counting commercial breaks.

Anyway, if you watched it and had questions like "Are those Gurkhas? Mounties? Who are those dudes carrying what look like bowstaves*?", the Beeb has a lavishly illustrated explainer of the troops and personages marching in the procession. Granted, you'll probably still need to look up who the "Silver Stick in Waiting" is, but it's a start.

*Those are the Royal Company of Archers.

Turn, Turn, Turn...

Here's a neat animation showing the relative rotational velocities of the planets, as well as their axial tilts relative to the plane of their orbits.

The thought of Jupiter turning that fast is wild, especially when you consider that it's so huge that its famous (and shrinking!) "Great Red Spot" would easily swallow the Earth, nothing but net.


Sunday, September 18, 2022

Change of pace...

It was too hot out at high noon for a heavy meal, especially since Bobbi was planning to grill steaks for dinner, which we'd eat while watching the latest ep of Rings of Power.

Twenty Tap has a great smoked turkey Cobb salad. The smoked turkey is from Fischer Farms which means that it hasn't even entered interstate commerce except in the vaguest and most hand-wavey Wickard v. Filburn sense.

Thing is, I've really gotta be in the mood for turkey, even the smoked locavore kind, and I wasn't yesterday, so I asked them to hold the turkey...and I think they went heavy on the bacon just to make up for it.

That's a damn good salad.

Automotif CCCXLIII...

Here's a '78-'79 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham in Colonial Yellow.

The late Seventies were a dark time for Cadillac, much like they were for the rest of Detroit*. 

The '77-'86 Fleetwood Broughams were the first time the Fleetwood name was used as a separate model designator, rather than a trim level on the most upmarket Caddies.

Still, the Fleetwood Brougham is hard to distinguish from a contemporary Sedan DeVille without looking at the badges. Most of the difference is in the plushness of the interior.

Along with downsizing the car, Cadillac also came out with a new, smaller engine. The new 425cid V8 shared the same basic architecture and bore centers of the older 472/500, but had a reduced bore and a lighter block. It was available with a 4bbl carb as the L33, putting out 180bhp, or with electronically-controlled port fuel injection as the 195bhp L35.

This early electronic port fuel injection system was developed with Bendix and was a weird platypus of a system, being analog controlled and not having an oxygen sensor or any other kind of feedback device. It wasn't entirely a success and was replaced in the early Eighties with a digitally controlled throttle body system. There's a good description of it at this Curbside Classics piece.

*The Eighties were even worse for Cadillac, with the disastrous V8-6-4 engine, and some really weak badge-engineered variants on other GM cars. It wasn't till the Fourth Generation Seville debuted in the early Nineties that Cadillac experienced anything like a renaissance.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Automotif CCCXLII...

Here's a 1972 Cutlass Supreme in Antique Pewter. These could be had with 3- or 4-speed manual transmissions or a 3-speed auto, and an Olds Rocket V-8 of either 350 or 455 cubic inches. There were a variety of levels of output from those two basic powerplants, ranging from the base 160bhp version of the 350, with a single exhaust & a 2bbl carburetor, up to the 270bhp dual-exhaust 4bbl 455.


I LOL'ed

Conservative Twitter yesterday be all like...

Thursday, September 15, 2022


Dude here is obviously living his best life and knows it. I'm not any sort of whiz on WWII Jeep esoterica, but the hive mind on the Book of Face says this is a Ford GPW.

It's a lot breezier than this thing...

But did he have clown shoes?

Cops in Pennsylvania arrested an armed dude in a clown wig who said he was undercover to restore Trump and kill liberals.
Police say an officer who was in the area met the man as he was coming out of the store and took him into custody without incident. Police say the man had a loaded .40 caliber handgun in his pocket, and that a search found two more loaded handguns in his vehicle.

"The male continued to state that he was 'undercover' and then stated he was 'working to restore Trump to President King of the United States' and that he was armed to 'kill Democrats and liberals' and protect himself from 'drug traffickers,'" police said in the statement.
These GOP primary candidates are getting wilder all the time.


Super Sevens

I'm not really an early adopter, especially of electronica. I made two gear upgrades five years ago, in the fall of 2017. 

For one, I sold my Nikon D200 and upgraded to a Sony a7. That was going from a 12-year-old camera to a 4-year-old one. I also upgraded from the iPhone 6S I'd been using for a year and a half to an iPhone 7 Plus. Both the iPhones were about one model behind when I got them.

The Sony a7 didn't last long as my main work camera, being almost instantly supplanted by an a7 II the following spring, which was in turn replaced by my current Canon EOS 5DS just before SHOT in January 2020. The 5DS was launched seven years ago, but after two and a half years, I'm still happy with it.

Unlike my camera fluttering, the iPhone 7 Plus had a rock-steady five year run. It was still working fine, too, holding plenty of battery charge despite being used daily as a mobile hot spot. Still, though, it was the cheapest variant, with 32GB of storage, and app bloat and my incessant camera use had the memory slap full for the past year or so.

After the announcement of of the new 14's by Apple, my carrier put all the older models on sale, and so I finally upgraded again. If I get another five years of of this 13 Pro Max, I'll be tickled pink.


True Crime

This story out of Oklahoma is wild...
Today, the UAB remains active, still tied to gruesome homicides and big drug cases, according to court papers and news reports. In August, nine UAB-linked suspects were charged in the killing of a rival gang member who prosecutors say was lured out of his motel room, tortured and dumped in a ditch.

The missing people authorities have mentioned in connection with the Logan County case are mostly men with long histories of drug arrests and prison stints. One exception is 21-year-old newlywed Audrey Slack, who hasn’t been seen since Jan. 11.

That morning, Slack called her family from a motel outside Oklahoma City while on a road trip with her husband, Stephen Walker, who is more than twice her age and whose tattoos signal membership in another white-supremacist prison gang.

Slack said to expect the couple home by 8 p.m., but they never arrived. Their black pickup truck was found with a bullet hole and traces of blood and bleach on the interior, according to a search warrant filed Aug. 2.
Given some of the tales I've heard about those prison gangs, none of this story is particularly surprising to me, gruesome as it all is.


Wednesday, September 14, 2022

"I mean NO!"

Annette Evans of On Her Own will be doing a three hour class on pepper spray employment at the Sig Sauer Academy in Epping, NH this weekend.

It's a great chance to learn the ins and outs of the proper use of "Canned NO!": When to use it, when not to use it, and what it can and can't do. There'll even be the opportunity to practice with inert training spray, like Melody Lauer is doing in the photo below.

(These days I'm a big fan of POM. It's good spray, in a compact form factor with a flip-up safety lid that's safer to carry in a pocket, and when you get the right colors, it doesn't even look like pepper spray on casual inspection.)

Action Shot...

Michael Grasso with the FN America High-Power at the range on Monday.

The D800 and 24-120mm f/4 VR is a handy combination.

This was my first range trip just for the fun of it in a long, long while. Well, I did get some work done, but mostly it was fun spending time with a friend.


Keep on truckin'...

My Ford-fu is not the strongest, but from all the tells I can make out, this old F-1 is from the very first generation of the F-series, the 1948-1952 "Bonus Built" trucks.

The grilles were restyled for the '51 model year, so this is a '48-'50. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Days of Chrome and Cursive

Here's that 1967 Buick Skylark convertible in Arctic White we saw motoring up College Avenue last month. A peek at the dash shows us it has the 2-speed Super Turbine 300 automatic transmission.

The base powerplant in the convertible was the 300cid 2bbl Buick V-8 rated at 210bhp SAE gross. If you wanted the Super Turbine transmission, you could also get an optional 340cid 4bbl "Power Pack" V-8, basically a stroked 300 that also bumped the compression ratio from 9.0:1 to 10.25:1, rated at 260bhp SAE gross.

Like the all-alloy 215 to which they were related, the 300/340 Buick small blocks had aluminum heads, intake manifolds, and accessories, and were fairly light for Detroit V-8s at only a little over 400 lbs.

The photos here were shot with the 36MP Nikon D800 and should embiggenate nicely. You can read the climate controls on the dash and everything.

Dialed In...

Got the Swampfox Justice on the Five-seveN sorted and the old-fashioned RMR on this little thing is dialed in now, too.

Let the reviewing commence!

Wanna Get Gooder at Pistol Shooting?

There's an opportunity to take Technical Handgun: Tests and Standards with John Johnston in southern Indiana later this month.

It's a really good two-day class purely focused on handgun shooting mechanics. From the class description:
This class is fast paced intermediate/advanced level 20-hour class where we will dive into the weeds on technical shooting standards, and the fundamental skills it takes to be successful performing them. The two day curriculum is heavily student driven, and will vary slightly from class to class. A heavy emphasis will be placed on pushing people to new levels of automaticity. Multiple tests and assessments will be shot, cold, for recorded score, and the class's top shot will receive a “Major Award”. Expect a SIGNIFICANT amount of one on one time.

Shooters will be expected to already be proficient with their chosen handgun and carry method at the beginning of class. This class IS NOT SUITABLE as an introduction to formal handgun training. If you have never attended a handgun shooting class, please DO NOT sign up without first speaking to the instructor.
It's evolved somewhat since I took it a few years ago. In the level of instruction, I'd say it's broadly comparable to ToddG's Aim Fast, Hit Fast class.

If you're in the Indianapolis-Louisville-Cincinnati area, here's a chance to get some quality pistol instruction without a ton of travel expenses. Sign up by clicking here -> LINKY.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Derp... derp never changes...

You know that the dialog in the picture is...
Kid: "Pffftt... Bullshit you and grandpa killed all those mammoths with fire-hardened wood spears. Everyone knows you can't take a mammoth down without an obsidian spear point."

Dad: "Kids today and your tying one thing to another thing with rawhide! What happens when the stone and wood spirits fight and make your spearhead fall off? It just ain't natural!"

Purple Reign

This is the second groovy hot-rodded '48-'49 Cadillac coupe I've seen running around the neighborhood.

It's a slightly different school of aesthetics from the red one, but I wouldn't kick either one out of the garage for dribbling oil on the floor.

Let's try that again...

Going to take another whack at getting the dot on this thing dialed in today. 

My last effort, I went to Indy Arms Co and forgot my big range bag containing the little screw fiddler in the trunk of the Zed Drei and was too lazy to go back out to the parking lot and get it, so I just did some big, goofy mag dumps function-testing and went home.


I wield incredible power, apparently.

Out in the kook-o-sphere, someone got big mad at my post yesterday afternoon, the one explaining why I hadn't gone out of my way to make a special 9/11 post.

My lack of doing so, as a matter of fact, is (and I quote) "why it will happen again". 

I had no idea that my posts here on this low-traffic D-list blog had such a powerful effect on the fabric of reality.

I got worried.

So I scrolled back through the September 11ths of the last few years on this blog, making it as far back as 2018 before I got bored. I have really been slacking off in my performative angst, because none of those years had a stock photo of the burning towers and some glurgetext.

Worse, it's been a while since I made a special post on December 7th, so I've been putting the entire Pacific Fleet in danger from the Chrysanthemum Menace with my neglect.

Meanwhile, the mad dude in question keeps calling for the disbandment or defunding of the actual agencies who really do work to prevent another 9/11. He thinks they're the "deep state"*.

It's strange out there sometimes.

*I can't remember if he thinks they were actually behind the first one or not, but the odds are at least 50/50.


Sunday, September 11, 2022

I'm done with that.

I remember 9/11.

I remember where I was and what I was doing when those awful events went down.

I've spent years blogging about it on this date.

Y'know what? We invaded countries, some justified and some not. We overstayed our welcome in almost all of them. We bodied the dude in charge of AQ that day and turned him into an artificial reef in the Indian Ocean. We've passed dumb laws, most of which haven't done any good and should probably be reviewed with an eye towards repeal.

But I'm done with donning a ceremonial hair shirt on this date on this blog.


Automotif CCCXLI...

Here's a 1968 Cadillac Sedan DeVille in Baroque Gold.

It's a classic "hardtop sedan", with "hardtop" signifying that there's no B-pillar supporting the roof between the front and back doors. No B-pillar meant the door glass was frameless and when the windows were rolled down it was just one big opening from the A-pillar to the C-pillar.

The '68 had the 375bhp 4bbl 472 cubic inch V8 as the standard (and only) power plant option.

Lockheed Martin Whoopsie!

The CNN headline makes it sound worse than it is, though...
Pentagon halts deliveries of F-35 fighter jets after discovering a component manufactured in China
It would be easy to read that and imagine that some contractor installed, I dunno, Huawei-made self-destruct chips or anti-stealth RF transmitters in one of their subassemblies, but that's not the case.
The Pentagon says it's temporarily stopping deliveries of Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 aircraft after learning from the manufacturer an alloy made in China was in a component of the stealth fighter jet, violating federal defense acquisition rules.

The Pentagon said a magnet containing the alloy used in part of the integrated power package posed no security issue.
This isn't completely surprising, since China is huge in the rare-earths industry, which means the stuff magnets are made of. 

We only want American (or, I guess, allied nation) dirt in our jet fighter magnets, though, for what should be obvious reasons.



If you're a Tolkien nerd like me, you've watched Galadriel get retconned a bunch. The character Galadriel who was introduced The Lord of the Rings was expanded some and had background material added in The Silmarillion. Then there was a whole chapter centered around Galadriel and Celeborn in Unfinished Tales that rewrote a bunch of her past (and this is where she got retconned as the prime mover of the anti-Sauron alliance of the Second Age).

Heck, the Galadriel in the footnotes at the end of Return of the King doesn't entirely jibe with the character we met in the text.

If you want a good thumbnail of how her character evolved over time, this essay is a good encapsulation.

Seen in this light, some of the sperging around the Amazon Prime series has been pretty droll.


Saturday, September 10, 2022

Automotif CCCXL...

I told ya these were relatively common for a "special edition".

That one from a few weeks ago had side pipes and wore BF Goodrich Radial T/As, while this one has no side pipes and is rolling on Goodyear Eagle GTs.

I've seen two '78 Pace Cars in the 'hood, out of approximately 6500 built, and two third generation Toyota Celica GT-S ragtops...out of only 4500.


Friday, September 09, 2022


The argument was made, even before the Russian invasion, that Vladimir Putin was being driven by fear of NATO expansion and was seeking a neutral buffer to protect his country. While Putin doubtless disliked the idea that Ukraine could enter NATO, this was not his real motive. Ukrainian membership was never imminent. NATO expansion was not a plot hatched in Washington, London, or Paris to drive the alliance as far east as possible. It was driven by the former satellites of the former USSR, which had been dominated by that country since 1945 and were convinced that Russia would try to do so again once the balance of power turned to Russia’s favor.
I can't be alone in remembering that the free world never accepted the Soviet annexation of the Baltic nations. No frickin' wonder they'd clamor for entry into NATO as soon as the Iron Curtain collapsed into rusty flakes. Also don't forget that it took the Kremlin's state security organs well into the Fifties to stamp out the last armed resistance in the Ukrainian SSR.


The past was another country...

Sorry for the crap photos. It caught me by surprise and I had a lousy vantage point...

Here's a 1965 Pontiac Catalina in Fontaine Blue. The '65-'70 Catalina coupes, with their Coke-bottle flanks and fastback rooflines are some of my fave cars of the period, probably the peak years of Detroit dominance.

Of course, it also carried the seeds of the eventual fall.

See, the base setup in this car was a 256bhp 389 V-8 with a 2bbl carburetor and a 3-speed manual transmission. Or you could get the same 2bbl 389 with a higher, premium fuel only, 10.5:1 compression ratio and the 3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic gearbox, rated at 290bhp. There was also a no-cost 265bhp low-compression 389 available with the automatic, if you wanted to burn cheaper gas.

Optional engines included a 4bbl version of the 389, as well as a Tri-Power 389 (three 2bbl carburetors), a 4bbl 421 V-8, a regular Tri-Power 421, and a 421 H.O. also with triple deuces. The performance "2+2" package added further options like a Muncie 4-speed manual. 

That's something like three transmissions, seven or eight engines, no fewer than five different final drive ratios, et cetera, ad nauseum.

That's a lotta SKUs, as it were.

You could really tailor your car to your tastes that way, but when the Japanese hit the market with "You have a choice of maybe two engines, two transmissions, three option packages, and pick your color," it really simplified things.


Thursday, September 08, 2022

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #218...

If ever a pistol was made for an electronic heads-up display targeting system, it's the futuregat from Fabrique Nationale. I'm surprised it took this long.

Especially because the thing shoots crazy flat, so it's easy to track the dot between shots without it leaving the window, even if you have a thoroughly mediocre grip like I do.

The optic I'm trying out here is the Justice, kindly sent for the purposes of the test by the folks at Swampfox.


All downside, no upside.

"Belly gun"? Suppose it's not a belly fight?

Why would you deliberately handicap yourself by having a handgun with no sights? There is no upside, but tons of potential downsides.

More thoughts at this link...

A pistol with no sights was dumb when H&R (top left) did it a hundred years ago, and it's just as dumb today.

Lessons Unlearned

From the national news:
A gunman who livestreamed himself driving around Memphis shooting at people, killing four and wounding three others in seemingly random attacks, was finally arrested after crashing a stolen car, police said early Thursday.

The hours-long rampage had police warning people across the city to shelter in place, locking down a baseball stadium and university campuses and suspending public bus services as frightened residents wondered where the man might strike next.
They shut the city down. Canceled a baseball game. Buses and trolleys stopped running. All for one dude driving around a metro area of over a million people and occasionally popping rounds out the window or carjacking a fresh ride.

The fact that this was possible was then broadcast across the nation by prime time national news, no doubt reaching the ears of any potential copycat who cared to take notes.

Oh, also, he had a switch on his G-lock. Didn't he know those are illegal?

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

That felt weird...

With Quinn getting close to graduating high school, it felt weird to have Marko's blog in the sidebar still listed as "The Munchkin Wrangler".

I'm terrifically resistant to change, but even I have a point where I have to acknowledge the facts on the ground...


Gun Curious

The latest vid from Professor Yamane...

The world turned upside down...

Russia is buying millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea to support its invasion of Ukraine, according to a newly declassified US intelligence finding.

A US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said on Monday that the fact Russia’s defence ministry had turned to Pyongyang demonstrated that “the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, due in part to export controls and sanctions”
Imagine trying to tell your Late Cold War self that in 2022 Russia was going to be reduced to buying Iranian drones and North Korean artillery shells and rockets.

This is totally bass-ackwards from the way the world used to work.


Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #217...

Here's the final pistol of the four that were introduced at FN America's event back in March, the 509 CC Edge:

In addition to the straight, tabbed trigger, grip texturing, and mag & slide released from its larger sibling, the competition-oriented 509 LS Edge, it's got a QD compensator, a trendy gold barrel peeping out through the speed holes in the slide, and weighted anodized aluminum baseplates on its 12- and 15-round magazines.

Tab Clearing...

"We've got Santa at home, honey."

Awakening to an Amazon delivery that hits the porch just as you were waking up has a certain Christmas Morning feeling to it, even if you did have to do everything but drive the sleigh yourself.

It helps that it was a couple cartons of caramel, almond, & sea salt Kind bars, which are delicious and addicting like candy bars but supposedly slightly better for you.

Ten-year-old me would have loved the idea of summoning candy to my front door any old time I wanted.


Monday, September 05, 2022

Fun With Physics

I love the way the car is floating on its springs in some of the lower grav environments, and practically bouncing on its tires even at rest on Pluto, whose surface gravity is only about .06g. 

(Don't worry, the car's not going to bounce right off Pluto. Escape velocity there is still something like 2,700mph. It'd take a pretty small asteroid for the Duke boys to be able to yeehaw themselves clean out of orbit, aside from the fact that there'd be no atmosphere for the General Lee's 383 to breathe.)


Sunday, September 04, 2022

Shelf life...

One thing that really dings the utility of an occasional-use camera for me is how long the battery will hold a charge while the camera sits unused. I've had a couple of really nice little Samsung pocket cams that took great photos and had all the features I want in a compact (full PASM mode selection and being able to shoot RAW), but the batteries would drain over the course of sitting a week or two unused. It's a problem with the little Pentax Q mirrorless series, too.

On the other hand, the other day I picked up the Nikon Coolpix S6500 that I'd bought way back in 2014. I can't remember the last time I'd had it out or charged the battery, but it has to have been more than a year. When the power button was poked, it made its little chime noise and extruded the lens and the battery indicator on the LCD screen still showed a full charge, or close enough to full, anyway.

I threw it in the document pocket of my gun burkha and took it along to lunch on a whim...