Wednesday, June 29, 2016

*spit take*

Well, the impending Trumpocalypse in Cleveland is having interesting repercussions. George Will, a knee forever in search of something to bend at, has announced he's taking his ball and going home, which has mostly drawn a "'Bye, Felicia" from the GOP punditocracy.
Meanwhile guess which magazine this is from:
"Once again American politics is threatening to become a competition between rival factions of statists, eager to use the government to reward themselves and punish their enemies, with “enemy” defined as anyone who doesn’t agree with them."
If you said Reason, you could be forgiven the assumption, but no, that's Jonah Goldberg trying on a wookie suit at National Review Online. While reading it, I had to keep glancing up at my browser's address bar to convince myself I was really reading Metrocon Fortnightly and not Wookie Suiter Monthly. It's a disgruntled twelve-paragraph ode to Mencken and Nock that stops just short of Goldberg unbuttoning his oxford to reveal a Rand Paul t-shirt.

Based on the pattern of recent events...

...I'm waiting for the U.S. government to denounce this Turkophobic, Islamophobic hate crime.

At least none of the hate crime bombers worked at the airport so far as we know, or we'd be getting more finger-wagging about workplace violence, too.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Automotif CXXX...

197...we'll arbitrarily call it a '77...Oldsmobile Starfire. Olds's badge-engineered version of Chevy's Monza 2+2, these were marketed as sporty-ish compacts, intended to compete with Ford's Mustang II.

Initially, the base engine for the Starfire was the Buick 231cid V-6, and it could be had with a four-speed manual. Given the dearth of performance in the mid-'70s doldrums, a 110bhp 3.8-liter six in a 2800lb car was considered kind of sporty.

Later model years could be had with small-block V-8s but in factory form, those things got whatever you call hip dysplasia when it happens to the front suspension of small GM autos. Oh, and understeer for days. (For those of you who are not car nuts, understeer is when your car loses traction and plows into the outside guard rail nose-first, while oversteer is when you hit the outside guard rail ass-end-first.)

Tab Clearing...

Al-Qaeda HR Dept.: "Knock it off with the EEOC compliance!"

"To prevent future acts of jihad from being misinterpreted as hate crimes, all affiliates, associates, and franchisees of The Base are asked to focus their mass casualty attacks and other acts of jihad on majority Anglo Saxon targets, preferably heterosexual ones."
So, I guess stay alert at the State Fair this year? Probably want to keep on your toes at any NPR-sponsored events, too.

That's got to be frustrating for Johnny Jihad: You tell everybody why you're doing something and they just condescendingly pat you on your little brown head and patronizingly inform you why you're really doing it. I thought Progressives were opposed to silencing the narratives of oppressed minorities and all about the self-identification? I guess it's okay to self-identify as anything but an Islamic terrorist.

Monday, June 27, 2016

This never fails to crack me up.

Two things are guaranteed to get Joe Sixpack riled up worse than fluoride in the drinking water:
  1. Changing anything about the money.

  2. The sight of military vehicles on public roads.
"American military vehicles on American highways! Holy cow! We must have been invaded by America!"

You'd think the government would build special high-speed roadways to move troops around on in a hurry... Oh, wait, they did. We just happen to use them to drive on, too.

You can try to reason with them about this. You can try to reason with a brick wall, too, for all the good it'll do you.

"Like a brick... house..."

"To the left is an SL2 MOT with Motor and 35 mm Summicron that fell 25,000 foot (7600 m) from a Phantom II fighter jet. Battered but in one piece, and deemed repairable by Leica."
I don't intend to drop mine out of any planes just to see how tough it is...

A photo posted by Tamara Keel (@tamarakeel) on

Assorted Whining

Woke up with just crazy amounts of lower back pain this morning.

And the weatherman had promised a break in the heat and humidity, but they seem to have rolled that back to tomorrow. Blech.

That, and I overslept and then totally forgot what I was going to write about this morning.

It's looking pretty Monday out there today.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Few Good Stormtroopers

From elsewhere:
"Princess, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with blasters. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Senator Organa? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Alderaan, and you curse the Imperial fleet. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Alderaan's destruction, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a woman who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to."


Although my experience with S&B's .357SIG ammo was less than encouraging, I decided to give some other Euro ammo a try and ordered a couple boxes of Prvi Partizan. C.I.P. standards for the cartridge have a 10% higher maximum pressure than SAAMI and this frequently leads to pretty exciting shooting from the compact Glock...

The PPU was no exception. Well, actually, it was like shooting Remington bulk .22 ammo, with the amount of recoil, muzzle flash, and blast varying wildly from shot to shot. I need to order more to chrono, but it would not at all shock me to see a hundred foot-per-second variation over a ten round string of fire.

I warmed up shooting at the upper A zone close in (five yards) and then rolled it back out to seven yards and shot at the lower A zone as fast as I thought I could get away with on the indoor range. Might have come close to picking up a flinch from some of the more blasty-ish rounds. Pushed one clean out of the A zone; saw it happening and cursed as the sights lifted.

The pistol went through the complete cycle of operation every time. The eleven coil magazine springs seem to have really helped. They still pretty much require an UpLULA to get the twelfth and thirteenth rounds in, tough, at least for my weak thumbs.

This makes it 1230 total rounds fired since the firearm was last cleaned or lubricated, with four failures to go completely into battery (#63, #78, #126, #748), four failures to feed (#221, #224, #282, #734), and one failure to eject (#1,033). 770 rounds left to go.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

From Elsewhere...


So, I've made casual references to having the iPhone/Apple Watch combo recently, but never really explained how that came to be.

Both Marko and Mike Grasso had Apple Watches and I thought they were pretty cool, but not enough to run out and change phones. My several-year-old Virgin Mobile Galaxy SII burner phone, with its grandfathered data plan and wifi hot spot, was just fine for me, even if I was about to buy its third battery.

I joked that Virgin Mobile's coverage was spotty, but the only places it really affected me were when I was at Blogorado and visiting Castle Frostbite; two times of the year that I really didn't mind being incommunicado for a bit. (Seriously, heading out from Nerd Ranch, my cell phone signal would cut off abruptly north of Española and I wouldn't hear a peep from my phone until returning; it was like the signal that Vacation had Officially Begun.)

This February I was house-sitting up in New Hamster and, it being an unseasonably warm winter, there was a nasty spot of freezing rain that turned the front lawn and driveway of Castle Frostbite into something like a skating rink with a 25° slope. I was wrestling the rolling trash bin down through the lawn, which offered marginally more traction than the driveway, thinking I needed to put on some crampons before coming back for the recycling bin when it hit me... I was way hell and gone in the middle of nowhere, out past where Jesus left his sandals, and if I fell and broke a leg badly or something, it was going to be days before anyone came looking.

Suddenly not having a cell phone signal wasn't as cool.

So on my trip up in April, I asked Marko which carrier he and Robin used, and while we were at the mall up there, I picked up an iPhone 6 and, thinking "What the hell, why not?" an Apple watch while I was at it.

And the watch has been useful. The way the phone transmits driving instructions to it is neat. Being able to receive and reply to texts without taking your phone out of your pocket is cool. In fact, lots of things that normally involve taking the phone out of the pocket, like seeing who's calling and whether you need to answer in the first place, can be accomplished with a glance at the wrist. That's handy.

For the first couple months I used the various analog faces and enjoyed tinkering with the selection and arrangement of the complications. But when I was hanging out on the range with Mike last Friday, I noticed the face he was using on his and, being a copycat, copied it.

It was a revelation.

I have never been the most organized person in the world, so the idea of making to-do lists is something that is not second nature to me. Besides, I'd lose the lists.

But what if I could make the notes and the to-do lists on my phone or iPad and my watch would automatically display the next thing on my schedule, strapped to my wrist, and tap me on the wrist thirty minutes (or whenever) before it was time to do the thing?

Wow, this is how you organized people must feel all the time! This is great! It's like a cybernetic aid for the disorganized.

"...Imma let you finish, but America had the best Brexit of all time."

Hipster George Washington...

Seen elsewhere on the 'net yesterday, and I can't remember where, but "After 240 years, they finally get that whole 'taxation without representation' thing." I LOL'ed.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Apparently the Brits needed superdelegates.


Up until yesterday it was very progressive to support the self determination of people in democratic elections. I guess that stuff is only for the Libyans and Sudanese, not crackers.

Contextual Handgun: The Armed Parent/Guardian

So, in the news recently was this dramatic security camera footage of a woman fighting off some creeptastic dude trying to abduct her 13-year-old daughter right there in the middle of the Dollar General.

If you carry a gun and have a family, odds are good that when you need to use that gun to fend off some bad guy, you will not be alone, but rather will have loved ones close at hand.

There's very little in the way of firearms training that specifically takes this into account, however. Recognizing this, my friends John Johnston and Melody Lauer have spent the last year and more putting together a curriculum built around the realities of employing a firearm in the situation that is every parent's nightmare: With toddler in hand or baby in arms.

Melody, known on the intertubes for her site "Limatunes Range Diaries" (now was hired by John Johnston to help stand up Citizens' Defense Research, the training division of Ballistic Radio. Melody's an EMT with a gun school resume that puts mine to shame.

John Johnston, host of Ballistic Radio, has been to a whole ton of gun school himself. It was in doing all this training that John noticed the void that the Armed Parent/Guardian class was designed to fill.

John's a big fan of two things:
Context, because a lot of tactics, techniques, or bits of gear get criticized by people who have no understanding of the context for their use; and high standards of measured performance.

It was the latter that had me criticizing the curriculum when it was first being bandied about. The class standard for shooting was high enough that I wondered aloud if students would be able to keep up.

I was wrong.

Day one began with a well-organized classroom presentation that laid out the reasons for the course and gave video examples of the sorts of situations that the training was created to address.

Melody explaining the actual vital areas on a target and how they shift based on the bad guy's orientation relative to the shooter.

The hand-picked students for the shakedown cruise of this class consisted of a bunch of industry professionals as well as a few students who had never run a gun from a holster on the clock before.

Day One was spent on the range after lunch working on basic gun handling and shooting from the holster, with the pace gradually picking up until we shot the current FBI qualification course.

Day Two started off with a ballistic gel demonstration which served to illustrate what a bad idea it is to plan on using your body to shield your loved ones. Against FMJ ammunition (or un-expanded hollow points), human bodies are concealment, not cover.

Context: Are there times when you want to close the distance on the bad guy instead of opening it? Well, is the bad guy actually holding your loved one? Will stepping in get the muzzle past your loved one?

Day Two featured the meat of the shooting portion of the class: Shooting with babe in arms or child in hand.

Shooting one handed can be hard...

...when the other hand has a child pulling and tugging on it. Techniques were discussed to mitigate this, such as pinning the child's arm to your side with your elbow, which stabilized your shooting immensely.


When I learned that the graduation exercise would be shooting the FBI qual with baby either in arm or set down before shooting, but with no change to the par time, I was again skeptical. That's tight, especially for some of the newer shooters.

Again I was wrong. The quality of instruction was good enough that the entire class shot passing scores despite having to deal with SAND BABY.

If you have munchkins, preteens, or adult kids who leave the grandbabies with you, I highly recommend looking into this class. It'll be available September 10-11 at DTS in Troy, Ohio, or you could contact Melody and look into hosting the class at a facility near you.

Pound Takes Pounding On Brexit Vote

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Gun Forum 101...

Thank you, Captain Obvious.

""We don't know who the shooter is or what kind of weapons he has, but the possibility this could be a terror attack is crossing the minds of people here in Germany," CNN's Atika Shubert reported from Berlin. "
You must need some sort of advanced degree to make stunningly obvious statements like that.

Reporter: "There is a silence. I must quickly fill it with noises from my mouth parts!"


...failure-free rounds thus far through the Wilson.

Took it to Indy Arms Co yesterday and put another hundred rounds of Winchester 124gr NATO ball through it.

I ran the target out to fifteen yards and fired a magazine through it, cold. Could have done better, there, but I'm still getting used to the sights. Pulled it back in to ten yards and put eighty more rounds into the target, saving the last ten to let the guys who were working there that morning get a chance to try some five-shot groups with it. Response to this gun has been pretty universally positive; the gee-whiz factor is off the charts.