Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tap dancing on a land mine...

"Instead of talking about guns, we need to be having a serious national discussion about mental health!"

Except that, in this era where "Having A Bad Day" is rumored to have a diagnosis in the forthcoming DSM-V, is that a discussion that we are really wanting to have? Right now? And on whose terms?

Expanding universe...

Chewie has a bigger ride...
When I got the iPad, it was initially for work purposes, but it was so much better for web-surfing than the Kindle Fire that once I had the Kindle app installed on the iPad, the Kindle Fire started getting left at home.

This created a problem, in that the 5.11 PUSH pack that I had bought specifically for toting the Kindle Fire was too small to easily hold the iPad. It fit, but barely. So I ended up getting a bigger Maxpedition Gearslinger to be my new tactical purse.

But the Gearslinger had more room in it! This meant that I could carry a DSLR in there, too! And a bigger flashlight for... well, I don't know, but a bigger flashlight! And I could finally get a LifeProof case for my iPad, which totally wouldn't fit in the smaller bag.

I'm digging the LifeProof, which appears to be waterproof, drop-proof, practically bomb-proof, and generally TamProof.

I am thinking, however, that a smaller dedicated camera bag that is nonetheless capable of holding a DSLR and an extra lens or two might be in order for trips to the zoo or cycling the Monon or what-have-you. I dunno... I'm open to thoughts and suggestions.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Do over!

I want a time machine so I can go back to those happy times of yore, right before I clicked over to this story linked at Robb's blog.

When real life becomes self-parodying, it's going to put me right out of a gig.

The "We Look Like Squares" Dance

While on the topic of airline security theater, is anyone else annoyed by the way the jihadis have complete control over our behavior when boarding airplanes. How do you sing "The Hokey Pokey" in Arabic?
"You take your shoes off,
You dump your shampoo out,
You hold your arms up,
And you turn yourself about."
Achmed must chuckle himself to sleep at night. Wait'll you see the security checkpoints after they try and smuggle a bomb under a wig or toupee...

The "Don't Shoot! Friendly!" Skies.

An interesting discussion over at pistol-forum.com ensued when someone floated the idea of a special super-duper grade of CCW permit that would allow passengers to tote on airlines, trusting on the expense of the training and the stringent qualification requirements to weed out the idiots.

The opinions, as such on the internets are wont to do, split into as many camps as there were posters, ranging from "Shall Not Be Infringed!" to "I'm pretty sure I don't want to be packed into a flying cattle car with Cletus coonfingering his Hi-Point at FL320."

I definitely agree that there are few more challenging environments to deploy a pistol than a narrow metal tube packed with screaming, moving no-shoots, and with a better-than-even chance that your backstop is going to be the instrument panel and the two meat stick actuators sitting in front of it. There's a reason that Federal Air Marshals have the strictest quals in the gun-toting business and that FFDOs aren't trusted to take the gun out of the cockpit...

On the other hand, it was within my lifetime (albeit just barely so) that Cletus could legally order hisself a pistol in the mail and then carry it onto an airplane with no more difficulty than carrying it past the "No Guns Allowed" sign at the local shopping mall, and I don't think shootouts in Coach Class were notably common events, so there's a reasonable counterargument that GCA '68 and the TSA security probulators are preventing gun battles over the window seat in much the same way they're preventing elephants from dancing on the drink cart.

Is the "blood in the aisles/shootouts over the in-flight magazine" argument really just the same as the "blood in the streets/shootouts over a parking spot" argument? I mean, I've seen some real idiots shooting and CCWing guns and yet, at the end of the day, surprisingly little carnage results from it.

In my bloodier-minded moments, the only "If it saves one life!" argument that really sways me is when the "one life" in question is mine. It may be callous to phrase it this way, but society accepts a lot of collateral damage with the sale of things like cars and booze and swimming pools, but gets all clenched up over firearms...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

98 bottles of beer on the wall...

There were ninety-nine, but suspended-pending-trial IMPD officer David "Bottles" Bisard apparently took one down, drank it, and then drove into something again.

On the upside, he didn't kill anybody this time and it wasn't my** Crown Victoria he was driving at the time.

*IMPD stands for "Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department" and does not, as one might presume, stand for "I Must Patrol Drunk".
**Well, 1/829,718th mine, at least.

Camera Obscura...

Out wandering around today, post-breakfast.

Stopped in a middlin'-large-box electronics store and got moderately excited at the sight of a boxed Canon Rebel T1i for less than I paid for my XTi... until I realized it was a body only, with no charger or lens or nothin'. Pass.

Stopped in a hobby shop that had a large and well-stocked spinner rack of books from Osprey Publishing. Perusing the selection, I noticed that they had a fairly large number of titles at closeout pricing. Unsurprisingly, these were titles linked to the more obscure corners of military history, at least from a general American viewpoint.

I stocked up.

See, I could sit down and draw you a rough outline of the WWII European or Pacific Theater of Operations, or the goings-on from the Channel to the Alps in '14-18, and growing up where I did, I was immersed in U.S. Civil War history on nearly every other school field trip it seems. So when confronted with military history reading, especially from the premier vendor of military history snack food, these days I tend to gravitate towards topics on which I am woefully under-informed with the hope of rectifying the situation somewhat.
  • Victor Units of the Cold War Stratojets and Stratofortresses everybody knows about, but I'm thin on knowledge of Britain's V Force during those early Cold War days. I picture Group Captain Mandrake in the office of one of these Buck Rogers-looking beasts.

  • Niagara 1814: The final invasion The last time we invaded Canada, our boys were hampered by bad logistics and poor strategic planning. Lets hope our current DoD contingency plans reflect that hard won experience.

  • French Foreign Legion 1872-1914 I already have many of their guns, so I'm going to read more about who used them, where, and why...
I like these books for their Cliff's Notes nature: If I find a topic especially interesting, I can use the bibliography in the Osprey Book as a jumping-off point.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

No dick 'er stickers.

Marko had a thoughtful post up on the topic of his minivan's sticker-free rump.

Meanwhile, observe one of the more colorful specimens of H. hippieus BroadRippleus:

Nuh-uh! YOU love your mother!
I normally don't sticker up my car like a third-grader's notebook as a matter of taste, but with the Subaru being largely devoid of anything like aesthetic appeal, I have gone a little crazy, indulging myself with stickers I never would or could have applied on a BMW roadster with a plastic rear window.

When I was younger and first started working at a gun shop, I took all the cool window decals we got from the various manufacturers and plastered them all over the rear windows of my 280ZX. Plus one of those suction cup signs reading "Caution: Driver Carries Only $20 Worth Of Ammunition." I shudder at my younger self a lot.

Not being Gray Man isn't very Sheepdog.
Nowadays, I refrain from the overt gun-related stuff*, partly out of a sense of mischievous glee at the hippieflage afforded by the stickers on the Forester, and partly out of the sober reality that I don't want to have to replace a window every now and again just for some yob to find out that I don't leave anything in that car that's worth more than the driver's side window.

*I like that the BCM and INGO stickers are nice and cryptic...

Friday, April 26, 2013


Got the DeltaPoint mounted down in the slide now. Deciding how to proceed on backup irons. Got the holster's sweatguard pared down to work with the slide-mounted dot...

More later.

Alert the Ministry of Irony...

Since when did the Democrat party become concerned with Middle Eastern dictators nerve-gassing their own people?
The White House said Thursday that it believes the Syrian government has used chemical weapons in its civil war, an assessment that could test President Obama’s repeated warnings that such an attack could precipitate American intervention in Syria
What now, Barry? Are you going to go in and find Assad's weapons of mass diestrauction?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Victory in Hoosieropolis!

Shootin' Buddy posted on my Facebook page this morning:
Wookies rejoice!

HB1563, with amendments, passes Indiana House 77-20. 1563 not only legalizes suppressors for hunting but repeal's Indiana's West Side Story Law (switchblade ban). It is unclear whether the Speaker of the House is a Shark or a Jet as he could not be reached for comment.

That was a loooong fight and I did not think we could do it in a short session. We only tried for suppressors and short-barreled shotguns this year (that was the plan in December).

NRA Annual Meeting 2014 in Indianapolis is looking wookier and wookier. Come to Indianapolis, carry a dozen pistols in a bar, drink a microbrew while flicking two auto knives open and shut in your hands after a long day of looking at guns and glorifying the name of Wayne LaPierre. LOL!
Indiana passed the lifetime carry permit law right before I moved up here, and passed a strong preemption law, a parking lot bill, a bill that cleared up the law concerning handgun transport since I've been here...

Now we've picked up switchblades and the incremental step of being able to use cans while hunting. Next is the ridiculous ban on Short-Barreled Shotguns (AOWs are okay; your bitty little Form 4'ed 870 12 gauge is fine if it has a  pistol grip, but not if it has a buttstock?*) 

Then? Constitutional Carry, I reckon... But if the RKBA fight in Indiana were a WWII movie, we'd be smoking the last holdouts out of their bunkers with flamethrowers at this point.

*I blame John Dillinger; if anything's against the law in Indiana, it's probably because John Dillinger was doing it.

Lucky shot...

Sitting in the office at my desk the other day, I spun around abruptly, bent over and held the camera at floor level, and clicked the shutter button with it pointed at Huck.

Considering the absolutely whimsical nature of the sequence of events, the un-cropped result was surprisingly pleasing...

"What's that you're pointing at me?"

Slow start...

Talk amongst yourselves...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Here comes the rain again...

Unless this guy was planning on planting rice, he's not happy.
Above is a view of brand-new Lake Kokomo taken last Saturday, looking west out the window of a southbound Subie on US 31.

It's still raining outside, and has been since yesterday afternoon. More than another inch, they're saying, landing on already-waterlogged fields.

1:1 Scale

Danger zone!
It looks like a very realistic diorama, doesn't it?

While I've been impressed with the quality of the pictures you can get from the Samsung Galaxy S II's camera, and I appreciate the spontaneity afforded by essentially always having a camera in my pocket, I finally gave in and went shopping for an old DSLR to use for when I actually set forth with the intent of taking pictures.

I kinda fell out of anything like real photography twenty-some years ago. Working in photo labs and as a photographer's assistant, I had access to cheap processing (a very important thing before the days of digital; ask your parents, kids) and so I burned up a ton of film for a young, broke kid. There's a cardboard box in the attic full of negatives, and somewhere up there is my old Canon AE-1 Program and my ML point-'n'-shoot. When the employee discounts ended, however, so did the picture-taking, and I never really took it up again even after getting my first digicam, a Sony Mavica that took pictures on 3.5" floppies (again, ask your parents, kids), back in late '01.

I got a brace of old Rebel bodies at very reasonable prices, a fixed 50 and an 18-135 zoom for lenses, and I've been starting to reacquaint myself with doing something other than pointing and poking. We'll see if the bug bites all over again.

Tab Clearing...

  • Warfighter Made: Customizing vehicles for wounded warriors.

  • Deal with terrorists? In suburbia today we can't deal with turkeys without the police, remember?

  • What would Joe Kennedy do if his shoeshine boy Tweeted him stock tips?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Recline and fall...

So the talking heads on the televisor are saying that the Brothers Kablamazov acted alone. Certain outlets towards the right side of your internet dial are incredulous at the very suggestion.

It says something that nominal conservatives in this country have become so passive and sedentary and reactive themselves that they don't believe a couple of motivated young men could engage in a kind of entrepreneurial industriousness without some sort of chain-of-command hierarchy and official support; missions and orders and sanctions.

This wasn't the Manhattan Project: in terms of planning and scale it made 9/11 look like an Apollo launch. This was the lemonade stand of terror plots, with bombs barely more complicated than a pinewood derby car. (But then I suppose a lot of people have their dads build those for them, too.)

Seventeen years ago, American boys still had this kind of gumption.

Tab Clearing...

Monday, April 22, 2013

I've been waiting to say this for a while.

"What do you need one of those assault rifles for? You think we're going to be invaded? That there's gonna be some crazy bomb-throwing jihadis running around your quiet suburban back yard?

Shyeah, as if! Are you some kind of paranoid tinfoil-wearer or something?"

Pew pew pew!

There is one well-known firearms instructor who, somewhat controversially, administers epinephrine to students in his high level class to allow them to shoot under its effects in a range setting.

Yesterday, I had a can of Full Throttle, a can of Diet Dew, and two cups of coffee at Good Morning Mama's before going to the range. While not necessarily analogous, it did not do wonders for my shooting, especially the SHO and WHO stuff with the deuce-deuce, which is responsible for the peppering of .22 holes all over the target. There are three really badly dropped shots in that picture, too.

Just call me "Shaky". I'll never be a real gun writer if I keep showing pictures like this.
In retrospect, I probably should have skipped the Diet Dew and the proffered refill on the coffee.

You can go "Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew!" As a bonus, I'm pretty sure its very existence makes Chuck Schumer cry himself to sleep at night.
Taylor Freelance +5 extended mag pad on the M&P in the photo above (also Leupold DeltaPoint) allows you to get bored with shooting between magazine changes.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Forty days and forty nights...

...but all in one night.

Scenes from the drive up to Peru:

Almost every third field looked like this.

These houses looked like they had moats.
A missing driver found today brings the death toll to two. Thankfully it wasn't like the flooding exactly one hundred years ago; Peru, the town we visited, was one of many central Indiana towns devastated by the great flood of 1913.


The Grissom Air Museum has an F-4 Phantom II cockpit for kids to sit in. Even big kids.

I debated including this picture because zombie nose, but what the heck.
Went to see Oblivion with Shootin' Buddy after the range and a stop for lunch at the mystical corner of Westfield and Westfield in the heart of Broad Ripple proper.

This is maybe the third really original SF movie for smart people I've seen in the last fifteen years (The Matrix and Inception being the other two.) Do not, for Hitchcock's sake, read any reviews or plot descriptions; especially avoid the Wikipedia article which gives the whole game away. Go see it as cold as possible and let the movie tell its own story. If you're like me, you'll thank yourself.

Now, photos from lunch:

From inside La Chinita Poblana looking out...

...and from outside looking in. Check out the supercharged Jag...

To think that I saw it on Mulberry Street...

In a little bit of a rush this morning; I'm supposed to head out to breakfast and then Iggle Crick with Shootin' Buddy at 0800 and I grievously and heinously overslept, no doubt involved with me being up and doing the Facebookenings at 0lordy30 in the Ay Emm.

Here are some pickchers of a neat ride in the parking lot of the hamfest I went to with Bobbi in Peru yesterday in lieu of a real post. This car is pretty cool, but not really in my wheelhouse; best as I can make out, it's some sort of Model T racer? I'm assuming the rear-brakes-only thing is a dirt track artifact? Hopefully one of y'all can edjumacate me...

That exhaust sounded glorious...

Note stylish radiator cap...

The passenger accommodations were as austere as the dashboard.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Busy day today...

Too tired to type. Drove clear to Peru and back.

Took scads of pictures. Brought the little Sony P&S but forgot to charge it and the batt'ry crapper out before we reached Kokomo. Used the camera in the cellie for the rest of the trip.

Here's a preview:
Y'know, that's a big frickin' plane when you get right up on it like that...
TB-58A Hustler at the Grissom Air Museum. If you have a chance, I highly recommend it. Climb the tower and take a look around!


There oughtta be a law!

After the horse is out, Sen. Lautenberg* looks around to close a barn door. Any barn will do; it doesn't have to be the one the horse actually came out of.

In retrospect, it was probably a bad idea to call them "legislators".

Burger flippers get graded on how many burgers they flip; assembly line workers on how many bolts they put in holes; looked at that way, can you actually blame someone whose job description is "lawmaker"? The only tool they have is writing laws, so every problem looks illegal.

We need a House of Repeal.

*This is my shocked face.

Friday, April 19, 2013

By the rude bridge that arched the flood...

What if the redcoats had said they were looking for dangerous terrorists instead of gunpowder?

Anyhow, I almost forgot to do my April 19th post today in all the fuss.

High-tech burglary...

Technology revolutionizes yet another career field, and puts the human snoop out of business. Certainly a lot higher-speed than paying some kids to hang bogus fliers on doorknobs and then driving through the next day to see which are still there...

(Via Bruce Schneier via email.)


So you've got one brother named after the first president of breakaway Chechnya and the other named after "The Sword of Islam", Muslim conqueror of Central Asia? 

And INS told their parents "Come on in, y'all!"? 

In 2002? 

Golf clap, Immigration. Way to keep on your toes. My tax dollars at work.

One would hope that a German couple at Ellis Island in late '45 with kids named Adolf and Arminius would have received a dollop of extra scrutiny, but maybe not. Like π, a certain level of bureaucratic derp is a constant.

Brilliant comment of the morning so far...

Describing the bombing suspect still on the loose after the gunfight with the po-po, Boston police commissioner Ed Davis said "We believe this to be a terrorist."

Well, thank you Sherlock Holmes. I'm not sure I'd have been able to puzzle that one out on my own.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Slow start here at Roseholme this morning...

I'm taking the bike for my morning ride; this 'not smoking' thing is having the predicted effect on my avoirdupois.

Murphy's Law posted a link to the oh-so-classy "Maggie's Dead" street celebrations in the place where Great Britain used to be, a phenomenon of which I remained blissfully unaware until yesterday afternoon.

I note with amusement that there is one person in all those photos who I would confidently bet was out of diapers when Mrs. Thatcher was succeeded by Mr. Major. I was reminded of the scenes of campus grief here in the U.S. when Teddy shuffled off his mortal coil; weeping children who would have answered a pointed question with "Mary Jo who?"

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cue the sad trombone...

Barry's so cute when he's angry.

I would have given my right arm for press credentials and the first question, just so I could have asked: "Mr. President! Mr. President! Who's the sad clown? Awww, who's the sad clown?"

Team Gun Control is positively frothing on Facebook. If I had a car that ran on hippie tears, I'd be set for years.

Some monkey's uncle...

At first we didn't think we'd get a good look at the white-faced gibbons. You could barely make out a couple, 'way up top of a 'rock' in the corner of the cage, when suddenly the one who was practicing hairdressing noticed us...
"Girl! Just look at this hair! It is a mess!"
...and leaped into the abyss from its clifftop eyrie, brachiating through the limbs and ropes down to where we were in order to get a closer look. Indeed, we were rather thoroughly scrutinized...

When you stare long into a gibbon cage, the gibbon also stares into you.
After a few long, pensive moments (and a thorough tactile exploration of one of its nostrils) it headed back up the cliff and returned to its grooming chores.

Bonus! Overheard in the Office:
Me: "Did you happen to notice if that was a little fella gibbon or a little filly...?"

RX: "You know, I don't make a habit of..."

Me: "...Staring at the genital area of the monkey hanging on the cage in front of you?"

RX: "No. And people that do, need help."

"Shrapnel" II...

Multiple other doctors' reports flatly contradict Dr. Walls' "no shrapnel" statements. Looks like he was wrong.

I've said it before: Anything you hear out of a journalist's mouth* in the first 48 to 72 hours after one of these things is likely to be speculation at best or fiction at worst. Witness all the flat-out BS that has sprung up about "No AR at Sandy Hook" all because one dumbass talking head who doesn't know a handgun from a hole in the ground said "four handguns" when he meant "four guns".

*And other sources may not initially be much more reliable. Law enforcement, in the initial panic afterwards, is going to treat every eyewitness statement as a lead until it is disproved, which is where all the shadowy second suspects and such come from. Panicking people come up with a lot of "They went that-a-way!" fabulation, and it is often further muddied by that guy in the audience who you also know from the gun shop. You know, the SEAL Ranger Green Beret LRRP sniper who was in the 'Nam? He's got some eyewitness testimony, too!

The punchline that won't die...

Back the last time we were worried about shooting at human wave attacks on the 38th Parallel, our boys wore wool uniforms in the Korean winter. To make sure that General Mark Clark's troops wouldn't be caught shivering in the trenches, Congress passed a program of price supports for wool and mohair and, as government programs are wont to do, it lingered long after our military's winter uniforms went synthetic.

Mohair price supports became something of a punchline for jokes about Washington waste and pork barrel vote-buying* and were deep-sixed by the Republican House in the mid '90s, only to crawl from the grave in the early Aughties, ensuring that poor ranchers like ABC anchor Sam Donaldson would get their government mohair subsidy checks.

It looks like Paul Ryan gets to look tough by proposing to shear the mohair moochers again. It's a good shaggy goat of a punchline that just. won't. die.

*Although even if you sewed up the vote of every real, live sheep rancher in America, that's barely enough voters to ensure your appointment as dogcatcher in Peoria.

Lettuce get ready to rumble!

Flying foxes preparing to squabble over lunch.
The brawls these things got into while hanging by their feet from the ceiling were epic. Bobbi described them as looking like "cats fighting with umbrellas."

Batophobes would not dig these flying foxes, what with their >3' wingspans. It's amazing that critters with bodies the size of small dogs and wings spreading half a fathom weigh only three pounds or less.

While you're on hold...

...with your senator's office, waiting in line to express your displeasure with the Mancin-Toomey legislation and how much you would appreciate their voting against it, you could while away the time by reading Julie's latest episode in the continuing drama surrounding the acquisition of another rifle in Western Australia.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Don't tread on me.

Nose-to-nose with a fair-sized eastern diamondback rattler. Thankful for the glass.

Brown funk...

Indy's zoo has bears of the non-polar variety, too!

The brown bear: Ranking somewhere between zombies and home invaders in "What's the best gun for...?" threads on internet gun fora. This big fella has sold magnum revolvers like DiFi has sold AR-15s.

Bobbi has a metapicture of this picture here.


He always looks pretty relaxed, actually...
While the temps in the low 60s may have been a bit balmy, the breeze and sprinkling rain probably felt good to this polar bear. (At least until a nearby crack of lightning startled him not long after this picture was snapped...)

'Splosions, gun ban treachery, too much MSG...

Sometimes you just have to say "Screw it" and go to the zoo. So we hied off to the Indianapolis Zoo.

Doin' the flamingo dance.
 It was something of a rushed visit; weather was closing in.

The gray sky in the background is what we call a "clue".

I really want a DSLR now. Too much fencing and glass can fool even the smartest autofocus the Canon ShowerPot can bring to bear.  Need a polarizing filter to cut down on reflections, too.

Still, that 30x optical zoom is capable of some pretty spiffy tricks for a point-'n'-shoot:

Sea lions don't actually roar...

Galloping off in all directions.

The reporters on the TV are just now pontificating over the significance of "BBs and ball bearings" according to a 'terrorism expert' they'd just interviewed.

Meanwhile, down in the emergency room:
Dr. Ron Walls, chair of emergency medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, said doctors did not identify any shrapnel, such as ball bearings, but saw a lot of "street stuff" that had injured their patients.

"Rocks, bits of metal, soda cans, anything that is really close to a blast like that can be fragmented," he said. "Everything we saw was ordinary material that could have been propelled by the device."
At what point does speculation end and just making $#!+ up begin?

EDIT: Just saw footage of a different doctor saying something about "pellets & nails" in a Dr. Strangeloveian accent.

EDIT EDIT: Multiple other doctors' reports flatly contradict Dr. Walls. Looks like he was wrong. I've said it before: Anything you hear in the first 48 to 72 hours after one of these things is likely to be speculation at best or fiction at worst. Witness all the BS that has sprung up about "No AR at Sandy Hook" because one dumbass talking head who doesn't know a handgun from a hole in the ground said "four handguns" when he meant "four guns".


Aside from the misuse of the word "shrapnel" (this is, for most laypeople, one of those "clip/magazine" distinctions without difference) the reporting of this thing is getting up my nose.

The chief of emergency medicine at Brigham & Women's keeps telling NBC reporters that the only "fragments" they're pulling out of people are bits of debris from objects you'd expect to find on the street. They keep asking him about "shrapnel". To save wear on his vocal cords, perhaps he could hold up a card on which he's doctor-scratched "We haven't pulled any ball bearings out of anybody yet that I'm aware of, but we'll keep looking for you."

NBC has theme music already.

On the spacing of the two explosions, Brian Williams (who humped a mic all over the Green Zone, you know) kept reiterating that "Those of us who've been to the wars overseas will find the second detonation* a common tactic..." or words to that effect. Anyhow, he wanted all the listeners to know he'd been in the $#!+. The Marine vet he used this schtick on didn't crawl through the line and choke him, more's the pity.

Meanwhile, the Boston police chief, who just had a herd of zebra charge down Main Street, can probably be forgiven for not expecting horses when he heard more hoofbeats that day. (And that's not to say that it wasn't deliberate, but it's looking like that's not the way to bet.) Like always, all the speculation being vomited onto the airwaves to sell commercials in the immediate aftermath is just future fodder for the the conspiracy 'n' coverup buffs.

*Like spacing a second charge to catch responders is some sort of Islamist innovation. *CoughEricRudolph'BortionClinicCough*

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dumbest line of the day so far...

Some yammerhead on the televisor: "This would appear to be some sort of homemade... or what they call an 'improvised explosive device'..."

Really? You mean he didn't go buy it off the rack at Crazy Vern's Discount House of Roadside Bombs?

I think that they fear if they don't feed the microphone a steady stream of words, it will become hungry and eat their face.


Up way late playing World of Warcrack last night.

As a consequence, way overslept this morning.

More later.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #59

Another Sunday Smith outtake...

You could just about shave with those front sights.
Check out those teeny sights! Obviously they had good eyesight in the 19th Century.

Above is a pair of .32 "New Departure" Safety Hammerless S&W top-break revolvers. On the left is a nickel 3" 1st Model from ~1891 and on the right is a blued 3 ¼"  2nd Model from about 1903. Note that in legal terms as far as the federal government is concerned, the big difference is not the latch that holds the revolver closed, but the fact that the one on the right is a firearm while the one on the left is not.

Somebody's Watching Me

I'm not going to go look for my dusty copy of The Anarchist Cookbook (is this the copy I bought back in high school? I doubt it...) for the exact quote, but even back in the late '60s when it was written, the advice "never say on the phone anything you wouldn't say with a cop in the room" was practically an aphorism amongst the book's target audience.

Nowadays I am typing this on a computer that has a camera and a microphone right over the screen. I haven't turned them on, but that doesn't mean nobody has. Like most people, I carry a remotely-activatable GPS locator with microphone around with me most of the time, and like most people's, mine even has a camera or two on it.

The telescreen isn't behind the mirror anymore; it's in your pocket.

A word to the wise is sufficient.

Overheard in Front Of The TV...

The eerily simian David Gregory* was needling Sen. Gillibrand (D-Imwit) about her prior 100% NRA approved voting record as a representative from Possum Hollow in upstate New York.

Being a politician, the only vertebrate† more flexible than a housecat, she changed direction 180° inside her own skin and said "That's how I know this bill is going to work! This isn't about the NRA! We need to yammer blather Bloomberg talking point straw purchasesneed to be illegal trafficking and et cetera!"
Kirsten Gillbrand: *emoting on Meet The Press about 'mothers who lost their children'*

Me (yelling): "You can't legislate with your glands, honey!"

RX (disgusted): "She doesn't have anything else to legislate with."
*Dude would take damn little makeup to play Dr. Zaius, is all I'm saying.
As a commenter has noted, the idea that politicians are, in fact, vertebrates has not been proven by experiment and is at this point considered a fairly sketchy hypothesis.
A current hobbyhorse of Gillibrand's, since her name is attached as cosponsor to a bill that would make straw purchases double-secret illegal.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

It's been a long, cold, lonely winter...

Going Green
Ma Nature's gotten around to pulling out her spring wardrobe here...

(I hope the rosemary survived its second winter out there. The last one was so mild and the plant had gotten so big that I may have been overconfident about its hardiness...)

Miscellaneous pistol add-ons...

I mentioned in an earlier post the base pads for the M&P from 10-8 Performance, but there is a similar product for Glocks! In case you didn't know, you can also avoid breaking a nail while clearing a Type 3 Malfunction in your Glock the Larry Vickers way, with Vickers Tactical Magazine Floor Plates for Glock Pistols, which is a mouthful of words for a little piece of plastic. But a very cool piece of plastic it is!

Note that both plates have dimples allowing you to number your mags by coloring in the dots, which is way cooler than just writing a number on the floorplate. (Unless you have more than eight mags currently in use for that gun, of course...)
I picked some up at Premier Arms last time I was there (they come five to a pack) and slapped them on a couple Glock mags when I got home. They work well for me, not interfering with my grip and not flying off when I dropped a loaded magazine repeatedly on the concrete basement floor. Be aware, however, that people with hands wider than mine have pinched up epic blood blisters during fast reloads using these things in G19/23/32-sized frames. Also, unlike the 10-8 baseplates for the M&P, they aren't metal, and so don't add that little bit of extra weight to speed the empty mag out of the gun...

Both gizmos are, of course, also available from Brownells: M&P, Glock. (I really should remember to set up a Brownells affiliate program account thingy one of these days...)

ETA: Ooh! Amazon has the Glock Base Plates! Free two-day shipping for Amazon Prime members! 


There are a couple-three tile-covered steps leading from the kitchen to the landing at the top of the basement stairs at Roseholme Cottage. In the process of closing the door behind me most ricky-tick so that Huck would not go explore the basement, I fell down them this morning.

There was the thumping and banging and then the subsequent keening and whimpering, which not only served as well as a closed door for keeping Huck away from the basement, but also brought Bobbi on the run, no doubt expecting to find a seriously busted-up roomie, given all the auditory drama.

As it is, I did not actually impale my right shoulder blade on the handle for the back door while falling past it, as I had initially feared, and Roomie says the scrape isn't even bleeding, and nothing appears broken, so tally-ho.

Friday, April 12, 2013

I missed this at the time...

...which was probably a good thing for my liver: "State Of The Union Drinking Game".

QotD: Truth In Government Edition...

On announcing that they suspended a man's constitutional rights over what turned out to be a massive case of derp*:
Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs said, "Today, we all look like fools."
You said it, Chris, not me.

*They say it was the NY State Police's derp. Not sure who the NYSP is blaming, but if they were as diligent about this as they were about reading EOTech instructions, I'd say that the dunce cap is all theirs on this one.


Up late last night. Overslept. In the great tradition of intarwebz filler material, have a cat picture:

While Huck doesn't jump up on the counter, he will occasionally reach up there.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Streets of SoBro...

Did you know this camera can make phone calls?

(click to embiggenate)
I've been messing with some of the features on the new-ish portable magic elf box's camera. Today I tried using the 'panorama' function. Above is a piccie of the heart of SoBro, the intersection of 54th and College, taken whilestanding on the corner in front of the Fresh Market and panning from southeast to northwest. Eateries visible in the picture are, from L to R: Bebop Pizza, The Jazz Kitchen, Moe & Johnny's, Cornerstone Coffee, Sam's Gyros, Twenty Tap, and Fat Dan's.

It's easy to fall into choice paralysis around here.

Tab Clearing...

Totally misread this...

Reportage on the current Hoosier legislative session included this nugget:
The bill would require all applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to complete a written screening test for possible drug abuse problems. Those later failing a drug test would have to seek treatment to continue receiving benefit payments.
I initially misread that as saying the bill would require welfare recipients to take a written drug screening.
Are you doing drugs? Circle one: Y N
It says a great deal about the current state of our nation that I did not find this notion implausible.

This is one of those laws that throws me into a quandary. While I think the War on (Some) Drugs is doing grievous damage to our Second, Fourth, Fifth... heck, about the only thing they haven't done is force you to let dope cops sleep in your guest bedroom, so your Third Amendment rights are still good... I also think that the rise of the welfare state has bred a dependent class, a perpetual underclass that votes for a living and works the urban suffrage plantations for the ultimate benefit of political masters, and has turned poor urban neighborhoods into human zoos.

So, yeah, I guess if you take the king's shilling, you can't bitch if he makes you pee in a cup.

The tears of Chuck Todd are sweeter than wine.

Chuck Todd, political analyst for the DNC's in-house propaganda network, and Matt Lauer were just having a little group cry on Today over the news that the NRA came out in opposition to even the watered-down Toomey-Mancin compromise bill.

Chuck noted that while numbers in favor of stricter gun control in national polls were plummeting from a post-Newtown high of 61% as Americans found their channel clickers, 82% of real, feeling human beings still supported stricter gun control, while only 27% of Republicans did so. This means, lamented Chuck, that while there's an 82% chance of some kind of gun control passing the Real People-controlled Senate, there was only a 27% of it getting through the GOP-controlled House.

If the GOP were concerned with getting the votes of women and minorities, said Chuck in his totally unbiased way, they'd get on board this gun control train! America yawned and wandered off for another cup of coffee.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Overheard in the Office..

Me: "If this drags out much longer they're going to completely lose their moment. Kim Jong Il will distract them, or th..."

RX: "Isn't this one is Kim Jong Un?"

Me: "Kim Jong Un, Long Jong Un, whoever; anyway, he'll distract them and..."

While it's early to make confident pronouncements...

...what I've heard thus far about the Senate compromise background check bill is... interesting.

Apparently it would, from the rumors I've gleaned thus far, require background checks for internet firearms sales and for firearms sales at gun shows, with transfers between private parties exempted.

I would talk further on my feelings about these matters, but instead I'll defer to the little Corsican.

Remember, these people legislate on medicine, finance, agriculture, energy production, manufacturing, reproductive issues, and a host of other matters on which they are no doubt as well informed as they so evidently are on firearms and current firearms law. Makes you feel all safe and cozy, doesn't it?

(Also, for those who missed this particular Schoolhouse Rock, the compromise Senate version would have to get watered down further get jived with a House version. I am as cautiously optimistic as I've been so far this year...)

Iffy reporting...

Local gun shop 500 Guns is in a neighborhood straddling the line between "working poor" and "sketchy" down on 16th Street near the Speedway.

It is the only gun store in town where you are greeted by a stuffed lion immediately on entering, and the walls are covered with memories of African safaris gone by, both photographic and taxidermic.

While they have a few XD/Glock/USP-type pistols in the showcase at any given time, it's mostly a place to go look at fine fowling pieces, drillings, and cased double rifles and other things that I'd never need in a million years and yet which still make me happy by simply existing. I have no personal use for a handmade .450 Nitro Express double, but I prefer living in a world where someone took the time to handmake one.

Anyhow, some savages did the smash-and-grab routine there in the wee hours of the AM today, using a stolen SUV to yank the bars off the outside of the window. Initial reports from the yammerhead in front of the camera were that "some guns were taken" but I'm withholding credulity pending more concrete info based on two things:
  1. The owner didn't talk to the reporter, so the reporter heard this secondhand, and...

  2. The visigoths did not get through the inner bars on the window and there's not a firearm within ten feet of those front windows. About the only thing you could reach from those bars, unless they rearranged the shop in the last three weeks or so, is a table full of old police basket weave revolver leather, left-handed used Uncle Mike's nylon sausage sacks, ugly rifle slings, and ten-round Glock mags; you know, the detritus that accumulates on the "make an offer" table in any gun shop.
EDIT: Latest reports are that one of the visigoths was small enough to squirm under the inner bars and make off with some handguns. Local cops are making noises about handguns being taken, since handguns are scary, even though the president says they're not as scary as assault weapons, and the vice president says they're not as scary as double-barreled shotguns, of which 500 Guns has aplenty.

Sunglasses at night...

Over at Mountain Guerilla, "John Mosby" writes:
I often get asked about the applicability of less expensive NODs, such as the older Gen 1 Russian imported stuff, and some of the stuff you can find at hunting retailers like Cabelas. In a word, don’t. I’m sure someone will post a comment on this article about how it’s better than no NODs at all. You’re wrong, and you are doing nothing but demonstrating your ignorance when you do. The only way the cheap stuff is even remotely viable is with the use of the IR illuminator device switched on. Having the illuminator device on is the NOD equivalent of taping a f___ing SureFire light to your face. If you’re dumb enough to assume that you’re the only guy in the area smart enough to have NODs, then thank you in advance for contributing to the cleansing of the gene pool.
...which immediately reminded me of this...
True story:

Many moons ago, back in '02 or so, I picked up a set of crappy Russkie Gen 1 NODs on a lark. I guess they're better than nothing, provided that it's pretty dark, but not too dark, and you're not trying to run around too much. You could maybe use them if you were sitting still watching a game trail or something.

One night a few years later a friend brought home a PVS-7 from work to play with in the back forty. I dragged my old Russkie NODs out for a side-by-side comparison. Of course there wasn't any comparison at all...

Anyhow, it was a pretty dark night that night, and as we got down under the cover of some trees near the lake*, the "Gen 1" Russian gear started having a hard time with the deeper shadows under the pines. I turned on the "IR illuminator" on my goggles...

"Uh, I don't think you would ever want to do that in real life," said my friend.

"Why not?"

"Because there's a really bright light between your eyes and... whoa!"


"Well, I flipped up my goggles and that light? It's not just in IR. There's a dim red LED right in the middle of your forehead." 
Even if nobody's shooting at the dot between your eyes, the Gen 1 Russkie NVGs fall more into the category of "toy" than "tool".

*Me moving slowly and haltingly, at almost the same pace you would in a dark room with your hands out in front of you, due to motion blur and the absolute lack of depth perception: Step, halt, look... step, step, halt, look... step, stumble, halt, curse, look...

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Overheard in the Office...

Me: "I've seen a picture of Major Caudill! He looked just like Marko!"
(Perhaps unsurprisingly, if you google 'Major Caudill picture', you get the linked shot. Maj. Caudill is gradually fleshing out into a real artificial person on the internet. It's kinda creepy. Marko should write a Stephen King-meets-William Gibson techno-horror story where a plagiarized author is stalked and pod-peopled by his virtual doppelganger...)

...in blog years...

Sometime next month, VFTP will celebrate its eighth blogiversary, which is a fairly long time in blog years.

But when this blog was still pink and squalling and making messes on itself*, Dustbury was already a senior at Blogger High.

*This blog is still pink and squalling and making messes on itself, but that's neither here nor there for the purposes of this post...

Now just hold your (prancing) horses!

A Texas TV report sparked a rumor on the gunternets that Colt (or a division thereof) was moving to Texas.

Well... sort of. Only not. Not really. At least not yet. It's complicated.

Colt Competition is a Type 07 manufacturer of boutique AR-pattern race guns (currently) based out of Orygun; they were one of the sponsors of last year's Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Match. They license the Colt name and logo from Colt's Manufacturing in Connecticut, but are not actually part of the company.

Will Colt's Manufacturing depart the Nutmeg State, its home since 1836? Maybe, but this isn't any kind of harbinger of the move.

It says "ultimate" right on the package!

Over the years, I have used all manner of loading assist devices for rimfire magazines, ranging from little plastic collars for depressing the follower button on pistol magazines to elaborate gizmos with knobs and windlasses and transfer cases for filling large-capacity aftermarket 10/22 magazines.

While they all did, in fact, assist in getting rounds into the magazine with varying degrees of success, my satisfaction with them tended to be inversely proportional to the advertising claims. It would not be an understatement to say that most of the more elaborate 10/22 loaders left me feeling like a kid who ordered Sea Monkeys and discovered that she did not, in fact, get little mer-people who would build elaborate undersea Disney castles in her goldfish bowl. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

Several people had recommended the "Ultimate Cliploader" for my Ruger pistol magazines and so, with a jaded sigh, I added it to my Amazon wish list, intending to purchase it myself for range use this summer. One Anonymous Reader beat me to the punch and sent it to me, and so the other morning when I had to run down to MCF&G to drop off my annual dues anyway, I dropped fifty rounds of deuce-deuce (the advertised capacity of the Cliploader) into a little ziploc and headed for the range.

Fifty rounds, five ten-round mags, a pistol, a gizmo, and destructions. The latter are extremely important to me, for I am ten-thumbed.

The first step was easy: Open gizmo and dump rounds in. Okay, I can do that. Then you just jiggle the whole thing around some until a bunch of the rimmed cartridges drop nose down into the little trough...

Insert a magazine. The opening is not wide enough to accommodate the button on the side, so the follower is automagically depressed. Tip the whole assembly vertical and the rounds drop into the mag. You may have to 'pump' the magazine in and out a time or two to seat the last couple rounds.

On two magazines the tenth round didn't seat and dropped out of the gizmo when the mag was withdrawn, so I just picked it up and popped it in manually.

Et voila! The loading, she is finished! Literally in about as much time as it would have taken me to load maybe a mag-and-a-half, and far less time than it took to compose this blog post, I had loaded all five magazines. This was a new sensation for me: Satisfaction with a rimfire loading aid.

Thank you, Anonymous Reader! I would like to give you a great big internet hug! This thing really is Ultimate! How had I lived without it this long?

My only worry is that I'm going to get all addicted to the ease of using it and then break it, leaving myself feeling all lost and bereft at the range. I am going to order a second one, just in case, and set it aside. (And think what great stocking stuffers these will make come Christmas!)

Monday, April 08, 2013

Kapalıçarşı yeniçeri

(Unfortunately, there's no direct Turkish equivalent of "ninja" so I had to roll with what the language offered...)

I'm not at all clear on the purpose of the "Stayin' Alive" gesture with the off hand during the man dance sequences.

The vehicular ambush drill is epic. Apparently, if your car starts taking fire from some dude with an AK, what you want to do is stop right in front of him and let your passenger hang out the window and return desultory fire. Passengers should also randomly yell "Allah" a lot. (Although, to be fair, I imagine that if my driver stopped right in the kill zone, I'd be yelling "OHGODOHGODOHGODOHGODOHGOD!" too.)

Also, if you're bodyguarding somebody and see a threat with a gun, your protectee should get on their knees right there in the street behind the dubious protection of your 501s while you chamber a round and engage and yell a lot.

What is the phobia half the world has about carrying with a round in the chamber?

YouTube: Enabler of more Monkey-See, Monkey-Do tactical asshattery than anything since the Zouave fad of the mid 19th Century.

Margaret Thatcher, 1925-2013


The Brits haven't had a PM fit to carry her purse since.

I have to say it was a good day...

Chamber of Commerce weather here in Broad Ripple yesterday, 74 degrees and severe clear. Brigid and I went down to the Broad Ripple Brewpub for lunch and some chillin', and it seemed half of the Indy metro area had the same general idea; we were lucky to find on-street parking only a couple blocks from the Monon Trail.

Mary had a little lamb, a little pâté, a little ham...
There was a general sense of winter cobwebs being blown off things in the neighborhood...

Rites of Spring: Getting the dust out of the SU carburettors.
Later in the afternoon, I pedaled the Broad Ripple SUV over to Fresh Market and grabbed some salad and a brace of huge bakin' 'taters while Roomie got the charcoal grill going for its first grilling of 2013. Then we enjoyed watching Archer (the current episode, and then that classic from the first season, "Diversity Hire") while eating steak and potatoes. I have to say it was a good day.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Bambi got run over by a Volvo...

Heading out towards Premier Arms, my route takes me past Indianapolis's sprawling Eagle Creek Park, a forested area just north of 56th Street that is almost five times the size* of NYC's Central Park.

Needless to say, this huge stretch of urban woodland has a... somewhat out-of-control deer population.

Broad daylight, just shy of lunch hour, joggers on the sidewalk along 56th Street, and you could lean out the window of your moving car and harvest a doe or two with a tee ball bat.

Sitting at the traffic light at the corner of Reed and 56th the other day, with the packed parking lot of the Indianapolis Colts' training facility to my right and light planes on short final to Eagle Creek Airpark overhead, I could have leaned out the passenger window and hand-fed the three deer that were standing there dumbly staring in the passenger window of the stopped Subie, no doubt wondering if I was about to do just that.

Naturally, the bunny huggers love these hoofed rats, these plush traffic hazards, and go bezonkoids when anybody suggests doing anything about them, and so we let nature, red in tooth and bumper, take its grisly course.

*Not counting the 1900-acre reservoir, which is Indy's primary water source, and along the base of whose dam I have counted as many as ten deer at a time, cavorting in broad daylight, visible from the interstate.

House Divided...

From a recent WSJ bit, complete with map:
Gun-control advocates have scored victories in states like colorado [sic] and New York since the Newtown, Conn., shooting, but more states have expanded gun rights than restricted them since the December tragedy.
The data come from the "Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence" who seem to be a little sad panda-esque about this state of affairs.

I haven't checked the tenor of the editorial page at The Metrocon Daily lately to see how they're feeling about our current national distraction from it's the economy, stupid, but it was all they were talking about on Chris Matthews'* echo chamber this morning. They even did a little homage to the opening montage of Mad Men, showing a cartoon Barack tumbling past screens flashing images of all the great current threats to the republic: Kim Jong Un, high gas prices, Wayne LaPierre...

(h/t to WeaponsMan.)

*...or, as Bobbi calls him, "the Baghdad Bob of the Obama administration."

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Worlds within worlds...

Seen today while walking in SoBro...

A bonsai evergreen sprouts in the nook of a sweetgum's roots...


In World of Warcraft one's character can engage in a little farming on the side. Not real-life hard-working farming, mind you, which wouldn't translate well into a video game format anyway (well, who knows... video golf games have traditionally been big sellers) but you just stick some seeds in the ground, come back the next day and harvest your plants and stick more seeds in the ground.

The plants are a little fanciful, especially squashes and pumpkins, which appear rooted to the dirt at first glance.

Anyway, in the sleep theater I had by way of dreams last night, I had to get Bobbi to come to the post office to help me pick up a huge pumpkin which Nanny Ogg had shipped me. Even gutted and deflated-looking, the pumpkin was a double armload that had to weigh fifty pounds.

Plus, it was some weird dream-slash-WoW variety of turnip-like pumpkin where the bottom half of the pumpkin was actually the roots of the plant. The whole thing was vaguely anthropomorphic-looking, too, with its bifurcated root... pod... things; shaped sort of like a giant orange vertically-ribbed deflated ginger root.

Anyway, it arrived already gutted, and I needed Bobbi to help carry the big galvanized bucket of seeds and pulp.

Also, there was air travel, flying back from visiting Marko on an 0300 flight out of MHT in a Fokker Trimotor.