Friday, October 21, 2016

I don't care who you are...

...that's funny right there.

Breathtaking lack of self-awareness...

So, this happened...

There are no clich├ęs in a gunfight (or rather "there are no cliche's in a gunfight" because an apostrophe means "Look out! Here comes an 's'!" in internetese) is just gem-like; perfectly fractal in its utter lack of clue at every level.

There was only one thing left to do. Quick, Robin! To Teespring! (And by "Robin", I mean PHLster, who saw genius and seized the day.)

I've ordered two. Excellent apparel for SHOT or NRAAM. That is our mascot, Sheepdogwolfbear.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Historical realism...

Declassified testimony that had been redacted from Douglas MacArthur's Senate hearings paints a pretty grim picture of our overall military readiness posture during the Korean War.

Conventional interpretation is that somehow the Chinese benefited more from the limited and only-in-bounds nature of the conflict than we did. I was certainly never encouraged to think about, say, the effects on our supply lines of the Russian sub fleet at Vladivostok being turned loose to prowl the sea lanes between Japan and Korea.

(H/T to Weaponsman.)

No respecter of kings.

Here's a pretty interesting little piece on dysentery's effect on the monarchy of England.

It probably claimed more than one royal victim. A drafty garderobe or campaign tent in the field would be a hell of a place to poop your life out.



On my daily peregrinations about the internets yesterday, some photos from a travel piece on CNN caught my eye.

By Cristian Bortes - Salina - TurdaUploaded by Rsocol, CC BY 2.0, Link
Apparently an ancient salt mine in Romania has been converted into a sort of underground theme park, with minigolf and an underground lake and everything. Best of all, its name is "Salina Turda".

Tell me that your inner third grader would not just be in absolute nirvana paddling a rowboat around an underground lake and singing "Salina Turda! Salina Turda!" just to listen to the echoes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How it's framed...

The headline at CNN looked pretty grim:
Yikes. Well, NYPD pistol training is hurting pretty badly these days, and we all know what happens when you give an undertrained person a gun and a healthy dose of paranoia via hours of scary dashcam videos.

Then I read the body of the piece:
The woman grabbed a baseball bat and attempted to strike the sergeant, Nikunen said. The officer fired two shots, striking the woman in the torso, he said.
Wait, what? What's the problem here?

Look, y'all, if you see someone swinging a baseball bat at me and I'm not already shooting them, I'd be much obliged if you'd get to shooting them for me. I don't care if they're 16 or 66 or what bathroom they use or if they're white or black or a sort of tie-dyed color.

A baseball bat to the cranium is lethal force and don't kid yourself otherwise. You start lethal forcing at me and I'm gonna lethal force right back at you to make you stop.

EDITED TO ADD (because it came up in the BookFace discussion):

Ignore the "Why didn't he draw his taser?" thing. That's a red herring. The use of force spectrum is not like baseball. You do not have to touch every base. If you need to run straight home from second, that's perfectly legal. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


It's feeling pretty vacation-y today.

Maybe later.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Fry Your Fingertips

Patent Troll

This is one of those things of whose existence I was vaguely aware, but had never paid much attention to.

Now that I've actually stumbled across the patent while looking for something else, I have to think that Mister Albert B.Pratt of Vermont was trolling the patent office, or was completely off his nut.

Come to think of it, I'll bet the folks at the patent office get to deal with plenty of nutters.
How was the hat not supposed to fly off your grape under recoil?

As a side note, even limiting my search to patents issued prior to 12/31/1920, it's amazing how many were issued that contain "breech block".

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Saturday night's alright for fightin'...

Well, a roller derby bout isn't exactly a fight, but derby's definitely a contact sport...

At some point around the turn of the Millennium, roller derby somehow exchanged the trailer park for a loft in the arts district, and swapped PBR for IPA (unless you're drinking the PBR ironically.)

My hosts here in New Mexico are both heavily involved, Stingray as a referee and LabRat skating for the local Los Alamos team. The latter had its final bout of the season Saturday night, an away game against Albuquerque at Expo New Mexico, which I gather is the state fairgrounds. I have an affinity for fairgrounds, so I tagged along.

The lighting indoors was...let's go with "suboptimal", and I almost went and locked the camera bag in the truck, but I decided to keep it with me rather than risk window breakage on the Nerds' vehicle. Besides, I'd hate for a thief to be embarrassed by trying to pawn the contents of my Lowepro.

I had the D1X and the D200 with me, but the usual zoom lenses I keep on them for travel are painfully slow for the lighting conditions in the exhibit hall, and especially when attempting to do action photography. Oh, well, I dialed up the ISO and opened wide...

Los Alamos was ahead at the half, but they were short a few skaters and the home team blew it wide open in the second period in front of a wildly enthusiastic all-ages home audience that filled the bleachers, the chairs, and the floor in front of my seat. After the buzzer, the fans all crowded the track to exchange high fives with the circling skaters, home team and visitors alike.

After the bout, we repaired to the local Rudy's for some well-earned postgame chow: baby back ribs and prime rib and a Shiner Bock to wash it down.

And then it was time to drive back up to the ranch, listening to Wolf 359 podcasts on the truck's stereo.

It was a pretty good Saturday night, all-in-all, even if it did ensure that I'm going to have to save money for some faster glass.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Tab Clearing..

Weird dream.

I dreamed I was back in Atlanta. I was hanging out with a photographer friend in the area around Lenox Square of a Saturday afternoon, and we were walking from restaurant to pub, taking photos and reminiscing about the good old days and how much the area had changed. (It had changed a great deal, since my brain was fabricating a dream Buckhead/Lenox that was a sort of amalgam of mid-'90s Atlanta and Twenty-Teens Near Northside Indianapolis, cityscape-wise.)

The night dragged on well past midnight and our wandering afoot had wound us up in the parking lot of the Brookhaven MARTA station, from where my friend bid me adieu and headed home.

I am now realizing that I'm in an empty big city parking lot, afoot, at 0430, with a camera bag containing a couple DSLRs and other very pawnable stuff, and I'm mildly inebriated and the better part of a mile away from my car. So I start walking southwest along Peachtree Industrial. As I'm trundling along, I'm taking heart in the fact that we're nearing the end of the crook's working day and it won't be but another thirty or forty-five minutes before joggers and early-rising first-shift types outnumber gang bangers, dope dealers, and last-call-dodging drunks on city streets.

Sure enough, a few blocks along and I pass a couple groups of runners headed in the opposite direction on the sidewalk; two to four dudes out huffing and puffing a few miles before work. As the second group passed me and I turned my head to follow them, I noticed I had a guy following me. He was looking around as though keeping an eye out for witnesses, and gaining on me pretty steadily.

I stepped up my pace but, P'tree Industrial being seven lanes wide at this point and already starting to pick up in traffic volume from its wee-hours doldrums, I couldn't easily just jaywalk across the street to see if the guy followed or if I was just being nervous. I would have had to pause long enough to look both ways and make sure it was safe to cross, which would have given him time to catch up, and that seemed no bueno.

Glancing over my shoulder again, I saw he was closing fast and still scanning around him. I quickened again into the shambolic jog that's the closest thing I have to a run these days. I heard him start to jog behind me.

"Hey, I'm not gonna hurt you. I just need..." he says.

"I don't have anything. Go away!" I yell.

"You stop!" Fingertips brush my right shoulder.

"Don't touch me! Leave me alone!" My right hand goes under my jacket and onto my pistol as I try to run even faster.

Accompanied by a growl, his hand tries to grab my right shoulder again, misses its grasp, and instead gives a forceful, unbalancing shove. I start to stumble forward, half turn, draw the gun and fire twice. He's very close. I hit right where I'm aiming and the dude stops running forward, stands up straight for a second...

But I've already turned and run another half-block. Finding an open doorway, I back into it. I fumble my phone out of my shirt pocket with my left hand. I haven't holstered the gun and I'm trying to work the phone and safely hold on to the pistol at the same time. I can't get my fingers to work my phone's screen right and end up asking Siri to dial 911. (Can Siri do that? Note to self...)

The guy doesn't follow me. I set the gun and the phone down on the pavement, collect my breath, pick the gun up and holster it, then pick up the phone to wait for the po-po. The cops show up. Detectives show up. There's yellow crime scene tape being strung up back down the block. The cops tell me the dude is DRT. For some reason, I feel compelled to defend myself, to relate the entire narrative I've just told you to the police.

I lay out the details of the guy closing on me deliberately, and all the pre-attack cues, everything from his constant scanning combined with direct movement towards me, to actually physically laying on of hands. Kathy Jackson is there for some reason. "Mas would be very disappointed in you," she says, somewhat wryly, after I finished my tale to the responding po-po.
"I didn't want to clam up and ask for a lawyer and look guilty, but I probably said too much and look like a Strange Ranger," I moped.

I had to wait there for a while. I'm relieved of my gun. By the next afternoon, they'd got video from cameras in three or four locations, including one of him trying to shove me to the ground and me shooting. They'd also completely combed over my social media accounts. It turned out that dude had a big knife under his coat and a long prior record. I woke up in the middle of them telling me that I was free to go, for now at least.

That was extremely weird.