Saturday, May 31, 2014

Okay, that's not as bad as I thought...

When you read a headline like:
Pennsylvania Man Stole More Than $350K of Human Flesh from Hospital
You have no imagination if you're not envisioning something like the following:
  • He's building a '10, '11, '12, '13, '14 person like Dr. Frankenstein assembling Johnny Cash's Cadillac.

  • There's some horrible Hannibal's Hamburger franchise running out of his basement, complete with passwords to get in, like a speakeasy or the Hellfire Club.

  • All that human flesh is going to be used to... Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fthagn! a portal for some dark god.
The actual story is actually kinda anticlimactic after the headline.

(As an aside, your second thought should have been "Who does a reporter call to get the current market price for human flesh? A secret extension at the Chicago Board of Trade?")

Fun Show Time!

Let's sing the Fun Show Song!
Flintlocks and Flop-tops
And Number Three Russians
Black-powder Mausers
From jackbooted Prussians,
Shiny Smith PC's from limited runs
These are a few of my favorite guns.

Socketed bay'nets
On Zulu War rifles,
Engraved, iv'ried Lugers
That make quite an eyefull
Mosin tomato stakes sold by the ton
These are a few of my favorite guns.

Rusty top-breaks!
Smallbore Schuetzens!
And all of Browning's spawn
I just keep on browsing my favorite guns
Until all my money's gone. 
Mostly just looking for ammo this time around, I'm afraid, although if I see a screaming deal on a "West Dakota Department of Fisheries"-marked 3rd Gen Smith autoloader, I will be sorely tempted.

Speaking of which, I've noticed a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth on the intertubes of late over the news that S&W isn't going to be stocking 3rd Gen auto parts anymore.

Oh, noes! *mock horror*

Look, they haven't cataloged the guns for, what? Half a decade, now? More? And I haven't called to check, but odds are good that they were selling out of New Old Stock already by then and had actually ceased production before that. Welcome to the way of all machines. Tried to buy old Hand Ejector or Top Break parts from Smith lately?

There's going to be a downturn in spares-'n'-repairs availability until parts houses fill the vacuum by buying old cop guns in lots. Which will reduce the number of guns in circulation. Which will drive up the price of older guns. And so it goes.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Long hot summer on the way?

So, yesterday those two dudes got all Bonnie & Clyde'd in the car in the alley at 32nd and Graceland.

Then, last night, after reports of shots fired at an apartment complex on the east side, an unmarked ISP car was trailing a suspect vehicle away from the scene when the passenger leaned out the window and lit the cop car up with a rifle, triggering a car chase followed by a bailout and manhunt on foot. (I don't get why the dude tossed the rifle. Did he think the cops chasing him wouldn't notice? That if he didn't have it on his person when he was caught it was, like, "Olly, olly, oxen free!"?)

Then, early this morning, out around 26th and Dearborn, neighbors called the cops with reports of hearing a woman's screams. When the officer rolled up and approached the house, a dude came running out from between the houses, firing at him and hitting him once in the vest before being killed by the officer's return fire. Two dead women were found in the house. Unsurprisingly, the po-po already had an official photo on file of the dead guy.

That's a pretty exciting weeknight in Indy by any measure, and it's just started getting hot. Let's hope this isn't the shape of things to come this summer.

Back to the range today...

Work, work, work.

(Actually, slow-fire benched groups at 25 yards with a compact pistol aren't exactly my idea of big dirty fun, so there's that.)

Printed out some targets.

And since I'll be shooting two-handed (and from a rest, to boot) it means that the traditional correction targets, a yellowed fading copy of which is taped to the wall of every shooting range in America, won't be useful for self-diagnosing any marksmanship errors. I'll be bringing my two-handed self-diagnosis target instead:

The value of "mass".

Roseholme Cottage is in the South Broad Ripple (or "SoBro") neighborhood, east of Meridian and north of 52nd Street. The range at which I am a member, Marion County Fish & Game, is out west of Speedway, about even with 25th Street. Traveling south-by-southwest to get there takes one past or through some of the rougher neighborhoods in town. The running joke here is when the morning news announces somebody got shot last night, I'll ask aloud "At Thirty-whatth and What?"

Driving home from the range early yesterday afternoon, it was still a gorgeous day on the Near Northside, although ominous clouds had been closing in on the range from the west. I was eastbound on 38th when a cop car, closely followed by two more, went blazing westbound running code and not sparing the horses. A couple blocks later, as I was getting ready to turn left onto Fall Creek Parkway at the Fairgrounds, here came a fourth, headed in the same direction as the first three.

Now, I take second place to nobody in cracking wise on the driving habits of the IMPD, but these cars weren't moving like they were headed to last call, but with that reckless speed that gets reserved for certain radio calls... shots fired in a residential neighborhood.

I'm sure y'all heard about this on the national news, right? Two people gunned down in their car in an alley in broad daylight! That's, like, 66% of a mass shooting when adjusted for inflation, right?

No? Y'all didn't?


Thursday, May 29, 2014

This probably won't come as a shock to some of you...

...but that BlammoCo SooperFang +P JHP self-defense bullet that's traveling 1100fps as measured at the box flap may only be averaging 1055fps as measured 8 feet from the 3.6" barrel of your carry pistol.

There was a joke back in the old muscle car days of the mid-to-late '60s, before the current SAE net horsepower rating standard was established, that "bhp" stood for "brochure horsepower".

In other news, join us as we ponder the question "How has a total nerd like me lived without a chronograph for so long?"

How do you say "I'm the only one qualified..." Mandarin?

Do they not have free acccess to YouTube behind the Great Firewall of China? Because the Chinese cops and teachers should have seen this one coming a li away. Did Lee Paige bleed in vain?

(via email)

"Non-Permissive Environment"

I sometimes get asked in email for pointers about concealed carry, and I find that I don't have much to offer on the topic, as I rarely actually do concealed-type concealed. I carry a service-size auto pistol and throw a gun burkha on over it more to stop strangers from starting idiotic conversations in checkout lines than to smuggle the gun in deep concealment past the lobby guards in The Matrix.

I can do this because I am self-unemployed and can dress like a hobo if I feel like it. Also, I can do this because there are damn few places in Indiana where it is actually illegal for someone with an LTCH to carry a pistol; a "No Firearms Allowed" sign here has all the legal weight of a Doonesbury comic strip taped in the window.

In other words, I rarely encounter actual "Non-Permissive Environments" where there are life-altering risks at stake such as getting fired or arrested, but instead have more experience with what this thread at TPI forums* termed "Social Non-Permissive Environments".

I was reminded of this difference because of the weekend's trip to the State Museum, which sported a No Weapons sign at the entrance that I do not remember being there on my last visit.

Normally I would stroll blithely past such a sign if I were visiting by myself, figuring that on the slim chance of anybody noticing anything and saying something (and nobody ever has,) getting tossed out would be almost as fun as seeing the rest of the exhibits. This past weekend I wasn't by myself, but rather with Bobbi and her friend, and I didn't want to ruin their day at the museum and so I did something I've done a bare handful of times in my life: Went back to the car and secured the pistol in the trunk.

If you ask me, this is why pocket pistols and purse holsters were invented.

EDITED TO ADD: It has been pointed out to me that, unlike a city park or county museum, the State Museum is not operated by a political subdivision (see IC 35-47-11.1) of the state of Indiana, but by the state itself, and therefore is not covered under the state preemption law. Well. Well, well, well. I have an idea for the next legislative session...

*Registration required.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

# This Poll

Bottom right corner of this page.


So there's a "mass* shooting" that would have been a page three wet firecracker in Compton, but do it to some cracker kids from the 'burbs serving their four years at the Special Snowflake Warehouse & Indoc Center and the nation just loses its collective $#!+.

Apparently busting caps in three people's asses is a lot bigger deal if you do it out the window of an '08 Bimmer instead of a '94 Caprice.

*Either "mass" or "shooting" having been defined rather sharply down, apparently.

Because I can't pass up an awful pun...'s a sculpture of a guy taking a knap.

Things that don't exist.

Dehydrated water, soundless music, and this abomination.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Gun For Dinosaur

People asked about the prehistoric time travel hunting books I'd mentioned in the past. Here they are:
  • Rivers of Time: Contains the original 1956 L. Sprague DeCamp short story "A Gun For Dinosaur", which was so popular that he revisited the setting and viewpoint character many years later with an anthology's worth of short stories. Paleo buffs will enjoy the juxtaposition of the dinos from the lumbering tail draggers of the '50s in the original story and the post-Bakker renaissance science of the rest of the 1990s era collection.

  • Time Safari: Another short story collection. This time it's David Drake, with his gritty, flawed hero slinging a Garand converted to use BAR mags while PH'ing for hunting expeditions in the Mesozoic. What's not to like?

Whistle While You Work

Heating element's on the fritz in the dryer here at Roseholme Cottage, so it's clotheslines in the back yard for a bit.

Standing there with a clothespin in my mouth and wrestling a wet Ballistic Radio t-shirt onto the line, my arm bumped the smartphone in my shirt pocket and I couldn't help but start singing...
"It was only an 'opeless fancy,
It passed like an Ipril dye,
But a look an' a word an' the dreams they stirred
They 'ave stolen my 'eart awye!"
 Notice how you never saw any proles in Charrington's shop? That's because they all knew he was a stooge.

Odd Coincidence...

Looking around the internet, I can't help but observe that the people who are screaming for better mental health screening and more proactive response from law enforcement today are the very same ones who were cutting checks to the ACLU to prevent stigmatization and loss of freedom because of ableist mental health discrimination last week.

Make up your ****ing mind, ya buncha ****ing hypocrites. Do you want the Department of Precrime dragging people off or not?

A truly free society is going to have some inherent safety issues. (Conversely, people get shanked in prisons all the time.)

Coming Attractions...

Saw the preview for this today in IMAX 3D:

Hellz yes, I'll be going back to see it. Did you even doubt it?

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path

The Indiana State Museum has a temporary exhibit called "Ice Age Giants", running through August 17th, on Pleistocene Proboscidea, a fair number of which have been unearthed in the Hoosier State.
Apparently this is dead elephant country.
 This has led to the state museum having a heffalump ossuary as well-stocked with Jumbo bones as the Roman catacombs are with lion table scraps.
Dem bones, dem bones...
...dem dry bones.
There's a gloomy nook with a metal replica of a Clovis spear affixed in place, pointing at the darkness of the far wall at a 45° angle, and a placard instructing you to lightly grasp the spear. When you do, the far wall lights up with the image of a mastodon in the swirling snow. It notices you and bellows, the ground beneath your feet trembling first to its trumpet and then, as it charges into the screen like some berserk NatGeo version of a FATS simulator, to the thud of its pounding feet.

These things are freakin' big.
And before the parts of your brain that know algebra and sonnets can react, your inner monkey is wishing for something other than the thin reed in your hand. Specifically, something that can throw fire and thunder at the pissed-off wall of fur bearing down on you out of the picture. If you could figure out a way to profit on whelk shells back here in the 21st Century, you could probably make a pretty penny smuggling .458 Win Mags back to the Clovis people. I bet they'd be enthusiastic adopters.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

1,000 words

Why I didn't go to my range for Friday Night Steel or the Saturday morning bowling pin match this week:
We just generally avoid that corner of town this weekend.

Overheard in the Office...

Discussing club affiliation required to purchase a CMP rifle (specifically, an H&R Garand)...
Me: "The ISRPA qualifies."

RX: "I'm not a member, are you?"

Me: "I think my membership's lapsed... Dammit! See, this is the part where, if we were talking about the NRA, I would spontaneously go online and renew, but..."

RX: "With the ISRPA, you will rent a camel, and ride to where the ink trees grow, and harvest a basket of inkberries. Then you will journey to the goose hatchery and pluck a writing quill. Then it's decision time: Egypt for papyrus, or go back home and peel birch bark? And then you will need to procure a stamp, for which you will need to risk your coins in the vending machine at the postal office. Then you will need to go online to find their mailing address..."

Me: "Omigod! Omigod! They've got Paypal up now!"
Well. Now I have a three-year membership.

Our state Org gets a ton of mileage out of our lobbyists. And by lobbyists, I mean three retired guys who pester legislators to vote right while showing them pictures of their grandkids. They're so good at it, we're running out of antigun laws to repeal here.

...and that's all I've got to say about that.

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #93...

I don't mean to keep coming back to the RIA booth so much, but I burned up a lot of pixels there. It was pretty hypnotic for a hardcore gun nerd. For instance, there's this rack right here, with pretty near half a million dollars' worth of by-God original Henry and Winchester rifles and carbines just sitting right there.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Wild, wild life...

Little digital point-'n'-shoot cameras seem to be a dying breed, largely supplanted in the snapshot department by cell phones. Our local Target, which used to keep a whole aisle of the things in stock, now only has a bare dozen or so models.

They still serve a niche with me, however. While bigger cameras like my old hand-me-down Coolpix 990 from Oleg or the newer Shower Pot SX500 have been supplanted by the DSLR for when I am Going Someplace To Take Pictures, and the really quite decent camera in the Galaxy SII suffices for I'm Someplace And, Hey!, There's A Picture!, there's still a niche for something to slip into a jacket or shirt pocket for I'm Going Someplace Where I Might Take Pictures But Maybe Not.

The digital zoom on the cellie wouldn't have sufficed for these snaps on the canal or at the Art Fair last Sunday:


Graptemys geographica?

Moar turtles on a log. These were on the stretch of the canal between the bridge where the Monon crosses and the bridge where the hippie fell off.
I would love to find a good shirt-pocket-size camera with more than 5x zoom (and preferably with WiFi) that didn't cost a mint. This little Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W650 is the right size, being about as big as a pack of cards, but is a little weak on the zoom for candid or nature shots, being only a 5x. Suggestions?

Off to the range...

As someone shared over on the Book of Face, "If you don't shoot weekly, you'll shoot weakly."

In the meantime, have a picture of a camel giving a classic Schwinn tandem the side-eye:

I have a sudden craving for saganaki.



I look at the pre-edit title of the previous post (preserved for posterity in the URL) and wonder "Was I typing with my nose? Did I have a seizure?"

Tangentially-related, I don't touch-type in the classic sense of the word, in that I don't sit with eight fingers poised over the home keys, but rather do this sort of "rote and peck" using seven fingers. Mavis Beacon would frown on the "H" being struck with the left index finger and perhaps give an indignant sniff at a "G" or "T" being operated by the left traffic digit. 

At any rate, as my hands have largely freed themselves from needing direct visual supervision to drive the keyboard, homonym replacement errors have crept in. It's like the digits get the order from the brain to go off and type the word "there" and they're all "Sure thing, boss! We know how to spell that!" and then produce "they're". Obviously I know the difference, but there has to be some weird neuromotor thing at work there for it to only crop up once I no longer had to watch myself type...

The Prayer of the Cat.

Bobbi brought home some delicious BBQ from Locally Grown Gardens last night and as she was eating at her desk, both cats gazed raptly up at the typewriter shelf holding her plate. She has translated their thoughts from Cat to English and transcribed them at her blog.

The Kids Are Alright...

In a very Hoosier news story that must read as though it's from another planet to a denizen of Gotham, a dude went driving around downtown Bloomington, IN yesterday, chucking thousands of dollars and then his wallet out the window of his car before checking himself in at a local hospital.

Pedestrians scooped up the cash and most of them brought it to the cop shop or the mayor's office.
"Right thing to do, I guess," said Sam Hanauer.


"He gets better, they can give it back to him," said Hanauer.
So, you know, welcome to flyover country.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #92...

I've mentioned before how much I like my little Mauser 1910/14 6.35mm and its 7.65mm big brother, but at the NRAAM, RIA had an example of their ultra rare Even Bigger Brother:

I don't believe I'd ever seen one of those in the steel before. Check out the fire bluing on the trigger and the takedown latch at the front of the guide rod!

Range notes...

100 more rounds of 115gr Winchester through the PPX means 300 rounds. I managed to induce the failure-to-lock-back by accident once in the first magazine, and deliberately again on the second. I was experimenting with trying to get my thumbs further forward on the frame, and thereby interfering with the movement of the slide stop lever. I'm not doing that anymore. No more malfunctions of that nature were experienced.

As you can tell by the head box, at speed I'm having a hard time remembering that (for me, at least) this thing shoots 115gr ball to just over the top of the front sight post at... well, that claims to be 7 yards, but I haven't measured. It sure looks longer. I'm used to the POI being right behind the center of the front dot.

Given that I was deliberately trying to up my speed with the longer quasi-DA trigger on the 8" circle, I'm not terrifically uncomfortable with that outcome. Between the 8" circle and the 3x5" is 90 rounds. The remaining ten were put into the berm to the right of the target just to get a feel for how absolutely quickly I could work the trigger. The cell phone app I was trying to use for a timer blows goats. I need to break down and get a real one.

The shots on the small dots were with the EAA Pavona. That was another 50 rounds of mixed WWB and Blazer Brass in two 5- and four 10shot strings. It seems to shoot pretty okay.

QotD: Important Distinction Edition...

Some time over Memorial Day weekend, you can count on some TV personality to, in between the sports stories and the "Memorial Mattress Sale!" commercials, burble something like "...and don't forget to hug a veteran this weekend!"

Bubblehead Les sets the facts straight:
"(O)n Veterans Day, you can say “Thank You for Your Service”, and you’ll get a reply.  On Memorial Day, those Thanks need to be said in a Cemetery."

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #91...

Engraved Bisley eye candy from the RIA display at the NRA Annual Meeting. In .38-40, no less, which is the 19th Century gun hipster cartridge par excellence, being a sort of rimmed, bottlenecked ballistic twin of the ultimate gun hipster cartridge, 10mm Auto. (I once had a Vaquero with .38-40 and 10mm cylinders. We called it the Space Cowboy.)

I think owning at least one O.G. Colt SAA should be on every gun nut's bucket list.

It's strange... I've managed to work up such a loathing for taking the trash out. It's not a particularly difficult or time-consuming chore. I think it's the whole "Friday morning before 0800" thing.

Either I need to come up with some "whistle while you work" head game to undo all the subconscious negative connotations I've built into it, or just suck it up and take it out Thursday nights and bask in the glory of being able to stay in my PJ's longer on Friday mornings.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

It's only funny 'cause it's true...

Great! Now my picture is in the dictionary next to "rueful laugh".

Future collectibles...

Fearless long-term prediction: 3rd Generation S&W autos will be a hot future collectible market. (Well, all the Smith traditional metal-framed DA autos, really, but the 1st Generation ones already are a little collectible and the 2nd Gen ones probably won't be as hot.)

Here's why:
  1. They're inexpensive. Old cop guns and "Value Series" 910s and 410s are a glut on the market right now. It's a cheap branch of collecting to get into, kind of like S&W revolvers used to be.

  2. There are a bewildering array of variants of varying degrees of scarcity.

  3. There are all manner of police department-marked guns out there, and collectors dig those, because it adds yet another layer of things to collect.

  4. There's room for a lot of original research out there. Twenty years ago, nobody in this country gave a rat's ass about, say, Finnish Mosins; now you can practically get an online degree in the field.

  5. The classic stainless S&W auto appears in lots of '80s/'90s iconic movies and TV shows, and that's the next big wave of retro.

So, back to the prediction: Five or ten years from now, people on gun fora are going to be lamenting the "West Dakota Department of Fish Hatcheries"-marked Model 6904 they passed up at next weekend's gun show for $350.

Almost QotD...

So, Portland being Portland, some dude who was half off his nut on recreational pharmaceuticals and a bit too much LA in his LARPing attacked a car with a sword. The writer at Gawker dropped a bon mot for the ages
But instead of a routine pirate attack—oh, Portland—they discovered an armored man who claimed he was a High Elf.

He was at least half right.
and then went on to ruin that masterpiece of dry wit with an elbow nudging "Get it? He was on drugs" explanatory sentence.

If you chew your reader's food for them, dude, next thing you know, they'll want you to rub their throat to help them swallow.

Automotif XXX...

Grocery Getter
The origin of the term "trunk".
...and sometimes unusual things just turn up in the Kroger parking lot. I don't know much about this era of automobiles, but I think it's a '32 Chevy. I love the "Save The Ales" bumper sticker in the rear window.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Overheard in the Hallway...

RX: "What's the high temperature supposed to be today?"

Me: "82, 84... something like that."

RX: "Wow."

Me: "It is almost Memorial Day. The weatherman was all excited about the temperature. They always seem surprised when summer comes back around every year."

RX: "Well, their technology is primitive. They always figure that once Fenris wolf eats the sun every year, then that's it."

Overheard in the Office...

RX: "...these are the people who thought the story of the fast food employees hiding in the freezer was plausible."

Me: "That's because they don't know those places have back doors, since they've never been behind the counter in one."

Clutch the pearls!

My seventh-grade D&D group could have put on a better junk-on-the-bunk display.
You have got to be $#!++ing me.

The amount of breathy-voiced sphincter-puckering going on at the sight of this lame collection of firearms, BB guns, and SLOs (that's "sword-like objects") from Gotham po-po and journalists is positively hilarious.

Chief Wiggum's spokesman doesn't neglect the miscellanea in his checklist-reading, either:
 As if that wasn’t enough, cops also recovered eight swords, one machete, some nunchakus and eight Codeine tablets, cops said.
Can't forget those codeine tablets! Shoot, a fella' could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff.
“It was enough to arm a small army or militia,” a police source said of the bust.
Or an understrength Hoosier Boy Scout troop, you shrieking git. Jesus wept, un-clench and get a hold  of yourself, man! It's some BB guns and the floor sweepings from the local pawn shop; you could turn up better out of the cabs of the pickup trucks in the parking lot of any blue collar employer in flyover country.

Maybe once De Blasio's let the city devolve back into a crime-ridden cesspit (say what you will about Bloomberg, but he made the clocks in Times Square run on time) you people won't shriek like schoolgirls at the sight of the small arms version of costume jewelry and Mardi Gras beads, you bunch of babies.

An angle I hadn't thought of...

Over at East Iowa Firearms Training, in a sizable post on firearms training, Bill offers an angle on the importance of making carrying your pistol a routine thing that I had not previously thought of:
"When you choose to carry – CARRY. Every day and every place you legally can. First, that just makes sense to me. A predator will never willingly give you the ability to choose the ground you fight on – they will do their best to find a time and place that best fits their needs. If you figured you “didn’t need to carry today” and your paths cross . . . your day will not end well. And, words like “well, I carried today because I was going to a bad side of town, my gun just made me feel safer!” may well be true for you on that day, but in court they lead to many very uncomfortable lines of questioning – “why is THAT the bad side of town?” – “didn’t you have other places you could have gone to pick up that same item?” – “did you harbor bad feelings about people of that color?” . . . If you’re going to carry . . . carry!"
Thinking about things like this ahead of time is the very definition of preparedness. Too many people don't think through these things, and instead chant the mantra "A good shoot is a good shoot. A good shoot is a good shoot. Om mani padme hum." Don't let George Zimmerman have been horsewhipped through the public square for nothing.

Automotif XXIX...

Residing on one short block near Roseholme Cottage in SoBro are...
 ...not one...
 ...not two...
...but three Subaru WRXs. 

(Also a regular Impreza hatch and a couple Foresters, because Broad Riparians apparently love them some Subies.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Johnny Cash warned me this would happen...

A young cowboy named Billy Joe grew restless on the farm
A boy filled with wanderlust who really meant no harm
He changed his clothes and shined his boots
And combed his dark hair down
And his mother cried as he walked out

Don't take your guns to Moe's, son
I like the menu there
Don't take your guns to Moe's

Automotif XXVIII...

Seen while out and about: '61 or '62 Buick Special parked up at a local transmission joint. I found it interesting that this early '60s Y-body compact, one of GM's early adventures in unibody construction, is not terrible huge even by the yardstick of the Audi A4 it's parked beside.

Rights are like muscles!

If you don't exercise them they get flabby!

I read that on the internet someplace...

Anyhow, since I'm rarely averse to a bit of recreational bomb-throwing, how many people who cheered when she got fired for exercising her freeze peach...

...are planning on boycotting Chipotle? And why?

Morbid targets...

Someone left one of those morbid "ghostly anatomy" targets at the range yesterday. Since I forgot mine (which I will not do tomorrow since I have already loaded them in the car) I appropriated the morbid target, which only had a few holes in it, most of which were well off center.

I wasn't shooting for score, anyway, mostly just for function and familiarization...

The little EAA shot fine: That's the first fifty rounds out of it inside that orange ring, a mix of Remington and Winchester budget FMJ from the bottom of my 9mm ammo can. (The head box is the PPX; I'm working on trying to run the light "double-action" trigger faster and running into vertical stringing. None of those gutterballs were mine.)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Range Notes...

Another 50 rounds of 115gr Winchester Value Pack stuff means 200 rounds through the PPX now. The slide did not lock back on round number 180, but I am fairly certain that was operator-induced and not the gun's fault. That said, it was magazine #2, and I'll be keeping an eye out for it in the future. Subjectively speaking, it's a very soft-shooting pistol.

Blrgl, part deux.

Two hours of sleep followed by three or so hours of fitful dozing to the drone of the TeeWee takes more out of a body than you'd think. Drive out to the range, shoot for an hour, drive back and hit the grocery store along the way and I'm wiped.

I'm gonna make a desultory good faith effort at weed-whacking, throw the battery on the charger, and the front lawn can wait until tomorrow. I am just not up to dealing with the logistics of cat sequestration and extension cord management right now. If the neighbors want it mowed before then, well, they've got mowers, too.

Overheard in the Office...

Roomie is eating a snack. Rannie is begging in that very vocal way that my little chatterbox cat has...
RX: "Cat, what's a five letter word for 'beating'?"

Me: "M-O-M-M-Y."

RX: "Wow, how sad is your life?"
Note to ASPCA: I don't actually hit the cat. That's what the squirt bottle is for. Actually, you don't need to even squirt the cat with the bottle, because just picking it up causes her to go seek excitement elsewhere. Squirt threats are thus reserved for the direst of things, like actual food theft attempts. 


Roomie went into work at 0300 last night.

I woke up to feed the cats at 0600, approximately an hour and a half after I finally climbed into bed, and then drifted back off to the dulcet tones of the Today show. I meant to get up at 1100, I swear I did.

Gotta get dressed and go to the range (all workplay and no playwork makes Tam a dull writer!) then come home and mow the lawn.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Automotif XXVII

This dead-serious Volvo V70R is my kinda sleeper. Only the stance, bright red Brembo calipers, and aero tea tray over the rear window offer hints that this ain't your mom's family bus...

Wagons were made to haul things: This one hauls ass.
Any car geeks can identify the race tracks represented by the decals in the bottom right hand corner of the rear window?

Spanish mine so good is not.

I only had the one semester of Spanish, but I think the sign says "Don't play cards with Baby Jesus."

Things I Just Don't Get, #921,753

I remember when the fad was to ruin your car's handling with little 10" diameter rims that were as wide as they were high, and use spacers so they stuck completely outside the bodywork.

Tangentially, the 3rd generation F-body design sure has aged gracefully. I think that may have been one of the high water marks of GM styling. They fruited some of the last ones up with too much aero gingerbread and fake scoopery, and then went whole hog with the study hall doodle/Texas lawn dart proportions of the 4th generation.

The 4th gen cars were better in every way, and some of the best bang-for-the-buck performance deals ever, but I can't see pulling into valet parking at a formal affair in one, unless you were crashing the party like something out of a Dee Snyder video.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Range Trip Notes...

(I'm putting these here so I can more easily search for them in the future; Facebook's not so hot for that. They're as dull as watching paint dry, so...)

A quick range trip this morning. 50 more rounds of Brown Bear through the Glock 19 yielded the first failure since its last cleaning/lubing: A light strike on round #1,057.The trigger pull felt funny, FWIW.

Fifty more malfunction-free rounds through the PPX. Still learning the trigger, but it's turning out to be surprisingly easy for me to run fast. (Well, fast for me.)

47 on DT with the G19. All three dropped rounds happened while driving the gun to the target or on a transition. I'm tempted to give myself a mulligan on the one on dot two, because that was after I got my head all out of the game taking notes after the malf. But that wouldn't be right.

Hey, look!

There's a post over here!

Off to the range...

The year of being less sucky with a pistol continues. I will not forget my Dot Torture targets like I did last weekend.

In the meantime, have a gun picture:

"Simo don't arshin!"

Friday, May 16, 2014

Gun Skool opportunity in Hoosieropolis...

JohnN is getting Ernest Langdon out here for a pistol class in October. Small class; I think only twelve chairs. Great opportunity. He's obviously a phenomenal shooter, but more importantly, I've heard nothing but good stuff about Langdon as a teacher.

Climate change.

I wanted to get the Bimmer back on the road in time for convertible season. Instead, I find myself glad I got the Bimmer back on the road because it has seat heaters, which I don't think I've ever needed in the middle of May before.

I hear they had frost advisories not far north of Chicago last night.

Smart People.

From my days on staff at TFL/THR ten years and more ago, long before I had one of these blog things, I got to meet some amazingly smart and insightful people. You already know a lot of them: Marko, Larry, LawDog, MattG, Johnny, John, Oleg, and a bunch more. It was a hell of a crew, and I still have no idea what I did to get picked to be on that team.

Sometimes, on mornings where I don't have a lot to say, or am in a hurry, I can just shunt you over to the great content they're putting out:

Overheard in the Office...

The traffic lady on the morning news has said there's a wreck at Banta Road...
Me: (talking to Huck) "Did you heard that? They ride their Banta Roads in single file to hide their numbers!"

RX: "What?"

Me: "I'm talking to your cat."

RX: "I thought it was 'Bantha'?"

Me: "It is, but 'Banta', 'Bantha', close enough."

RX: "There's been linguistic drift."

Me: "'Banta' is how Cockney sandpeople say it."

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Trust in government? Are you kidding?

You know, if I were even as little as 33% sure that all those routers were destined for overseas clients, I wouldn't lose a wink of sleep.

And I don't even necessarily mean Moscow or Tehran. Spying on foreign countries is what the NSA's there for, and there are two kinds of countries in this world: Those who spy on putative allies, and those who haven't gotten caught yet.

But given how the intelligence services' watch lists for domestic hanky-panky are proven over and over to be just another tool of hardball partisan politics, anybody trusting those pictures above to be acting in the national interest with respect for the rights of American citizens is so naive they shouldn't be allowed out in public without a minder.

Watergate wouldn't make page three today.

QotD: Dark Ages Edition...

Waiting to see the "cultural sensitivity" spin on this:
" 'Adultery' and 'apostasy' are acts which should not be considered crimes at all, let alone meet the international standard of 'most serious crimes' in relation to the death penalty. It is a flagrant breach of international human rights law,
While the Margaret Atwoods of the world worry about the Baptists enacting some horrible draconian theocracy here in the US*, it's actually happening in other corners of the world. I guess over there it's charming and ethnic and we shouldn't judge them by our imperialistic Western standards. Why, one person's flogging for an unapproved marriage is no different from another person's $15 ticket for jaywalking!

In the Tom Wolfe quote about that "great unexplained phenomena of modern astronomy: namely, that the dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe" one could substitute "theocracy" and "the Third World" for "fascism" and "Europe".

*Both atheists and believers want to feel oppressed here, because oppression is the coin of the realm in 21st century America and can be traded for valuable cash and prizes.

It's barely after nine...

...and Iowahawk has already won the internets for the day.


Not only was there the measuring tape trick with the pistol the other day, but I just got a postal scale in the mail. And the Chrony.

I have the urge to go measure stuff now. I feel like I should have a lab coat. And a pocket protector. I bet my roommate has some dial calipers.

FWIW, an empty PPX weighs 26.9 ounces, while an empty FNS-9 comes in at 24.6. I had an empty Glock 19, but it had a Lightguard on it and I didn't think that was fair. I'll probably go weigh it, too.

I wonder if I could get Huck to stand still on the platform?

*Oh, and the trigger pull gauge. Thanks for reminding me, pdb!


43°F under glowering skies, and the radar shows a huge band of rain just crossing the border with Mordor and heading this way at a brisk clip.

I'm guessing that today's not gonna be what you'd call "good chrono weather" either.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Because my Roomie's not on Twitter...

...I get to tweet the funny things she blurts out sometimes:

Rain, rain, go away...

I had planned to go to the range to get comfortable using a chrono today, and it's supposed to be piss-pouring down rain all day.

Chronographs have always been faintly mysterious things to me; things that other people owned and set up and then asked me to please be careful not to shoot. It's time for me to demystify them, so I'll be trying out both your classic Chrony and this funky new Magnetospeed doohicky, once the monsoon ends.

Mixed feelings.

So the Today show just showed a preview tour of the 9/11 museum located underground at the macabre al Qaeda victory monument in Manhattan.

Mike Bloomberg gave Matt Lauer the tour. I assume the NBC cameraman had to use a special wide-angle lens to get both of their egos in the frame at once.

I have mixed feelings about it. It looks like an interesting museum, if you're willing to go to Manhattan to see it, and it's an event that deserves memorializing but... I dunno.

I mean, there's a Pearl Harbor memorial and museum, too, but we built that after we had rolled up our sleeves and absolutely crushed the foe that attacked us. Make no bones about it; in 1945, to steal a phrase from Weaponsman, there was absolutely no doubt about whose boots were under the bed of whose sister. This round of warfare just doesn't have that feeling to it.

Sure, we bagged the guy that ordered the WTC hit, but VJ Day isn't April 18th, if you know what I mean.

*The April 18th mission was named Operation Vengeance. That was back before we started naming military operations after strippers, presumably for security reasons.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


I dreamed last night that I got hired for a technical writing gig: To wit, writing a Field Manual for the military on the mounted drill for the M9 pistol.

I'm wondering if anyone in the Army has fired an M9 from horseback in anger? There is an outside chance, you know.

Anyhow, how I wound up with this gig I don't know, because technical writing really isn't my bag, baby. And I was getting all bogged down in nomenclature arguments about everything from pistol parts to horse tack.

This was obviously a very complex version of the basic "unpreparedness" dream where you have to give a book report but you're naked.

QotD: Logic Is Dead Edition...

Chief Weems on the sudden binge of municipal governments in Georgia buying metal detectors and hiring security to keep CCW permit holders from being able to legally tote in government buildings in the Peach State after HB60 goes into effect on the first of July:
"That’s right; people who took no steps to keep out armed criminals are taking steps to keep out people who have actually passed background checks.  I just wanted to make sure everybody was clear on that."
Roll that one around in your head a bit.

A little birdie has informed me...

...that there are still chairs open for Massad Ayoob's MAG-40 class up at Sand Burr Gun Ranch in Rochester, Indiana from May 29 - June 1.

As they say on eBay: "A+++ Recommend! Would take again."

Ow... head.

I thought that, what with the rain and all, I could skip the Claritin. In retrospect, probably not a good idea, especially not when combined with "Sure, I'll have another beer and stay up and play World of Warcrack for another thirty minutes or so."

What a friend we have in Vitamin I!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Does this trigger pull make my butt look big?

I don't know where this method of trigger reach measuring came from, but I think I learned it from Kathy. You can use a dressmaker's tape or, if you don't have a cloth tape handy, you could mark a string and measure it against a ruler.

The safest way to measure is on the frame of the field-stripped pistol, although some firearms will require that they be cocked to get an accurate measurement. Clear the chamber and then, since the gun is only "unloaded" in a Schrödinger's Cat sort of way, ensure that the muzzle remains pointed at something that you would not mind putting a hole through when you put the tape into the trigger guard.

Basically, you're looping around the trigger and the backstrap to come up with a number that is more relevant to "trigger reach" than simply measuring the straight-line distance between the two points, since it takes the girth of the pistol into account as well. A single-stack pistol and double-stack pistol could have the same distance from trigger to backstrap as measured by calipers, yet the fatter gun would be harder for the small of hand to get a good firing grip on.

Some plastic cop guns I had handy:
  • Smith & Wesson M&P 9 (with CTC Lasergrip mounted): 7"
  • Walther PPX: 7"
  • FNH FNS9: 7¼"
  • Glock 19 (Gen 3): 7½"
Classics for comparison:
  • Springfield Armory PC9111 "Professional" (VZ Gator Backs): just a hair over 6¾"
  • Smith & Wesson K-22 Combat Masterpiece (Spegel stocks): ~7½"

First We Take Manhattan...

I have made no secret of my Sunday morning habit of pressure-testing my cerebral arteries by indulging in a bit of Meet the Press. I didn't understand the appeal of political talk shows when I was younger, and apparently this is because yelling at senators is an adult vice, like whiskey and cigars, the taste for which must be acquired over time.

Meet the Press is the senior show on the chatter circuit, having been on the air as long as there's been air to be on and sporting the slogan "If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press," and it serves as a reliable bellwether of what political matters are currently considered important by people who dwell east of the Hudson and south of Harlem.

Thing is, the pack of hippies, SWPLs, Social Justice Warriors, and wannabe-Europeans who have taken over 30 Rock like SDS protestors did the dean's office at Berkley have steadily run the old gray mare into the ground. We have reached the point that this most venerable property in the political talking head circuit has slipped to third place in the ratings and was preempted yesterday by a Limey soccer game, and likely will be in future weeks by the Monaco Grand Prix and the French Open.

Really, though, that fulfills the apparent current mission of Meet the Press quite nicely. Because the only things that'll make a Manhattanite feel more European (and therefore better) than being lied to about government healthcare plans by a political appointee are cheering for Manchester City F.C., watching Frogs play tennis on dirt, and being snubbed by Bernie Ecclestone.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Antique rifle markings can lead strange places...

Law & Ordnung

Arizona Rifleman on Swiss nonchalance regarding weapons:
I admit to doing a double-take when I saw a guy with a slung katana picking up some groceries in the main station, but nobody else seemed to care. “Guy with a sword getting a liter of milk and some eggs. Meh.”

Even rather unusual things, like the guy wearing a full-body ghillie suit with a rifle slung on his back buying a cup of coffee from the McDonalds, go completely unremarked-upon by anyone here.
Of course, the Swiss culture is pretty alien to me in a lot of ways. The very sight of the weapon in public is subconsciously tied to “Oh, this person is a participant in some organized and/or sanctioned activity.” And if there's anything to which the Swiss respond well, it's organization and sanction.

If you had a flamethrower, they would probably just assume that you were a licensed flamethrower owner on your way to your flamethrower owner’s club’s mandatory monthly practice meeting to keep your flamethrower certification in good standing.

QotD: Yeah, What He Said! Edition...

Whole theories of conflict are built on a "study" that supposedly proved an inhibition in killing each other. There's a problem with it...
(FYI, before anyone starts citing BG SLA “Slam” Marshall, do more background research into the repudiations of his “research.”).
If you won't listen to me, listen to him. After all, he knows a bit about killing folks.

Most of the really deadly carnivore species seem to have a deep reluctance to use their built-in lethal hardware in intraspecies conflict, and this makes sense; if lions or wolves went to full-throttle throat-rippin' every time there was a question of who got to use the drinking fountain first, pretty soon there wouldn't be any more lions or wolves.

Thing is, we're not long-term dues-paying members of the Really Deadly Carnivore Species Union. We just moved into the neighborhood relatively recently and where we were living before, we could get pretty medieval on each other to sort out social problems without worrying about accidentally killing the other monkey.

Ever since we figured out how to tie sharp rocks to sticks, we've been reliant on learned social behaviors to serve as a check on our capacity to do lethal harm in an eyeblink, and those learned behaviors can be a pretty thin veneer at times. Some folks never seem to get the hang of them at all.

Anybody who has read Ordinary Men or who owned a television set between April and July of 1994 should sprain their eye-rolling muscles every time they hear this theory that human beings have a "hard-wired" reluctance to harm other humans.