Saturday, November 30, 2013


I've bought myself a Christmas present. I reckon I should start working on the rest of the list now...

Life in the panopticon...

You may as well go 'head and give the government all your most confidential health records, because they're going to get them anyway, and they won't be stopped by you hiding behind any little ruses like "Not being an American citizen," or "Living in Canada," either.

I'm not sure whether the Canadian government gave it up for dashingly goateed Uncle Sam like a roofie'd lumberjack in a lonely logging camp or whether the NSA figured out that the master password for the OHIP was still set as "PASSWORD", but there you go.

Whole battalions of radical Islamic terrorists might be coming across the southern border hidden inside the bales of marijuana, but we're stopping that invasion of depressed Canadian paraplegics cold, right in its Little Rascal-ridin' tracks.

(H/T via email.)

Life's Little Annoyances #813,917

Don't you hate it when all the heavy stuff in the rolling trash can is way up high, making the thing more top-heavy than the USAF, and you're towing it across the lawn and the ground's all lumpy-frozen, causing the can to tilt and lurch and pivot from one wheel to the other, giving your wrist a sprain-inducing workout just to keep the thing from tipping over?

Yeah, me too.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday sale on CTC Lasergrips.


I don't get anything from that link, but it's a good sale and I believe in the product, so there's that.

Meanwhile, on Planet Manhattan...

The byplay on the Today show fascinates me, from an anthropological standpoint.

It being the Friday after thanksgiving, they've got Willie Geist and the rest of the B-team manning the front lines, backed by a handful of other faces dragooned from various NBC news properties whose contracts aren't strong enough to get 'em out of work today.

Some of these people put across personalities typical of shallow, venal narcissists one expects in the job, and some, like Geist or Roker, come across as fairly gregarious sorts that would be fun at a backyard barbecue if you could keep the talk away from politics. They are all, however, very definitely Homo manhattanus.

Discussing the story of the manager of the Pizza Hut franchise who got ash-canned for not doing his job yesterday, the woman on the left, a stand-in from some evening news program, wrinkled her pert nose and whined "Who'd want to eat Pizza Hut on Thanksgiving?"

"Maybe the firemen who put out your sister's hipster experiment in deep-frying a turkey? Or the cops who dragged your drunk stepfather off your mom after his fifth Jim Beam made him disinclined to put up with her griping about his table manners anymore? You know, the little people who have to make the world keep turning on your days off?" I yelled at the TeeWee.

Apparently someone on the production staff remembered that Yum!Brands, owner of Pizza Hut and a spinoff of PepsiCo, had a lot of advertising dollars, because after a second's pause in the discussion, one of the other interchangeable talking heads suddenly looked like a gnat flew into her ear and then perked up with "But I love Pizza Hut! Just not on Thanksgiving?"

You don't love Pizza Hut, honey; hardly anybody over sixteen loves Pizza Hut; but Pizza Hut is reasonably priced and usually open*. Get it? No, no you probably don't.

* Actually, while I will eat Pizza Hut when I am traveling, as their lunch buffet is cheap and a known quantity, I wouldn't have them on my radar as a place to go on Thanksgiving. Living in the South as long as I did, when I get hungry of a Christmas/Thanksgiving/New Year's/Easter, it's to Waffle House that I reflexively turn.

I've deduced their fiendish plot!

By getting families into mashed-potato-flinging arguments over divisive political topics at the Thanksgiving table, the government was hoping you'd stop speaking to your folks and come crash on its sofa.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tab Clearing...

Overheard in the Kitchen...

After dinner, cleanup is starting. I'm pre-washing things and loading the dishwasher.
RX: "Speaking of things that are going to need to soak in hot water, this gravy pan... Or you could just cut it up and eat it like cookies."

Me: "I'd be good with either."

Overheard in the Dining Room...

Bobbi is clattering around in the kitchen. I am standing in the dining room with a moderately-disgruntled Rannie cradled in my arms, on her back while I scritch her tummy...
RX: "I wonder if I can bake the mushrooms at 350° for twenty minutes, or would that be bad?"

Me: "I don't know!"

Rannie: "Mrrowr!"

RX: "Tamara doesn't know, Rannie doesn't know..."

Me: "I don't know these cooking questions. You might as well ask the cat."

RX: "I was."

...on second thought...

As you spend time with loved ones this holiday season, be sure to talk with them about what health care reform can mean to them,
Are you sure that's a good idea, Michelle?

I mean do you really want people gathering in small groups to talk about what health care reform can mean to them, when what it's mostly meant to people so far is losing their coverage, cockups, 404 errors, glitches, and lies?

I mean, sure, from my point of view I think it's a great idea to get people talking to each other about what health care reform means to them, because all it's meant so far is more red tape and misery. As far as I'm concerned, you can Slim Pickens this bomb all the way to the ground.

Your husband's signature legacy achievement was barely out of the gate before it was a punchline for Leno and Letterman: Put that in your gravy boat and pour it.

Thanksgiving 2013

So, here we are in 2013 and we are not celebrating Thanksgiving by taking our turkey dinner in pill form while dressed like the Jetsons, looking out the window at all the flying cars.

Conversely, we are not defending our Thanksgiving dinner of raw pigeon from the cannibal mobs of a howling Malthusian wasteland, either, so there's that.

The president's wife, acting in her capacity as Marie Antoinette, suggested a family holiday feast featuring a main course of sanctimonious moralizing with partisan gravy and tone-deaf giblets:
As you spend time with loved ones this holiday season, be sure to talk with them about what health care reform can mean to them,
Boy, I'll bet dinner table conversations with Michelle are just a laugh riot. Seriously, is there anyplace outside college Young Maoist's clubs where people actually talk like that? I'm beginning to feel sorry for Sasha and Malia; their dad seems like he can at least do normal human dad-type stuff okay, but I'm now almost certain that their mom would fail a Voight-Kampff test.

I'll be ignoring the wishes of FLOTUS. Instead today I will eat turducken and surf the 'tubes, pet a cat, take some pictures, maybe play some computer games or watch a movie, and be thankful for good friends, books, bikes, and boomsticks.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Failure to feed.

I walked through flurrying snow over to Twenty Tap to get some lunch.

Unfortunately, the joint was packed.

Judging by the number of parties with five or more people spilling out of booths, all the denizens of Champion's Downe and Squire's Greene and all those other places out in Fishers and Carmel that have rural-sounding names so you know the subdivision was built on what used to be a farm must have got off early from shuffling file folders in cubicleville today and decided to take office lunches at my neighborhood pub on the way home from downtown.

I went next door to the comparatively deserted Sam's Gyros and had an order of saganaki instead. It had stopped snowing by the time I walked home. I stuck my head in Fresh Market for some necessities on the way, and it was as zoo-like in there as you'd expect; they had the "take-a-number" dispenser up in front of the meat counter for the procrastinators looking for turkeys. Luckily Bobbi already grabbed our rapidly-becoming-a-tradition turducken.

Seasonal Affective Disorder manifests differently for some.

Overheard in the Hallway...

Discussing the neighborhood Corvairs...
Me: "There's a regular sedan and a hardtop sedan..."

RX: "How can you have a convertible sedan?"

Me: "What? No, a hardtop sedan has no structural B-pillar between the front and rear doors..."

RX: "I wouldn't ride in one of those!"

Me: "...kind of like the four-door coupes that are popular right now..."

RX: "How can you have a four-door coupé?!"

Me: "It's a sedan with a coupe roofline..."

RX: "'A coupé roofline'! I don't want to hear any more; they're just making this stuff up!"

Automotif XXIII...

Broad Ripple has its share of eccentric daily drivers. Seen in the same place as the last Corvair, this first generation one probably belongs to the same person. I'm yet again disappointed by a Corvair not sporting the vanity plate "F NADER".

Lack of a grille gives the rear-engined Corvair a blank and inscrutable visage that was hard for chrome-besotted motorists to trust.

The lip of roofline overhanging the rear window is a bizarre styling cue. This is an earlier car than the other one.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Can a safety layer be transparent?

I'd originally heard the term "racing stripe" used to describe a graze down the leg from holstering a firearm back when it was still caused by the thumb break of a cop's basket weave holster getting caught in a revolver trigger guard.

The phenomenon still exists, obviously, in the world of self-loaders. With a hammer-fired double-action gun, one can put a thumb on the back of the hammer to control it as one holsters, but this option is not available for striker-fired pistols without manual safeties. On those, "Being Really Really Careful" is your first and only defense against unexpected loud noises when putting your heater away.

Enter first the "Gadget" and now the Sure-Draw, the latter of which is currently causing some comment on the intertubes, some of which is the usual "I just won't pull the trigger when I'm putting the gun away," and some of which seems to misunderstand the nature of the device itself, apparently thinking it needs to be manipulated to fire the gun like a conventional safety.

Because I hate wasting several paragraphs of content at an Away game, I'll copy it over here, too...
No “squeeze” is required to fire the gun.

You can operate the pistol as though this device is not even on there and you would never know it was. It gives you the option, should you so desire, of putting your thumb on the back of the slide and blocking movement of the striker (or disconnecting the trigger) as you reholster so you don’t Grebner yourself.

I put my thumb there when holstering anyway because A) It verifies that the slide on the pistol is not being pushed out of battery by anything, and 2) It’s a good habit to have if you find yourself for whatever reason carrying a hammer-fired DA pistol as it will prevent a trigger-snag discharge from giving you a racing stripe.

There are guys who carry AIWB and who carry an HK/SIG/Beretta even though they’d prefer to carry a Glock simply because being able to control the hammer with the thumb on holstering provides an added layer of safety against blowing a hole in their femoral artery. A device like this or the “Gadget” would offer them the option of being able to tote the Glock while maintaining that added safety layer.

If someone would NEVER have an ND because yadda yadda booger hook something bang switch, then something like this isn’t for them, since they already have all the safety they need. *wiggles trigger finger like Limey actor pretending to be Delta Force*
Right now I carry M&Ps with no thumb safeties. My only protection on holstering is being really, really careful, although I put my thumb on the back of the slide just to maintain the habit. (When I carried 1911s, I holstered with my thumb under the thumb safety and pushing up.) If a device like this came on the market for the M&P, I'd buy three tomorrow.

I play for the scenery, really...

Sure, sure, there's the whole social aspect of WoW, hanging out with your friends online, and then there's the "complete tasks, kill critters, get paid" Pavlovian rewards of questing and leveling, but mostly I'm just there for the scenery...
It's so tranquil. Seems a shame to make a fuss by starting fights.

Note the giant double-gasbag dirigible in the background.
It's been my biggest problem with the original Halo. I'll stand there gawking like a duck in thunder at scenery like this and it gets me killed.

The situation, illustrated...

How screwed are we? This screwed.


From such tiny acorns do mighty oak trees grow...

Okay, it's not a planet-smashing superlaser manned by crews of dudes in snappy-looking uniforms, but it's still a cannon of a sort, and it's on a space station, which rates mondo cool points.

And it's on the Japanese module, which means it might have some hidden secret backup Gundam-defence mode, no doubt activated by moving the aiming joystick L-R-L-U-U-D-D-L while holding down the A and B buttons simultaneously.

(H/T to Random Nuclear Strikes.)

Monday, November 25, 2013

The howling savages of the Outback and the Chili's.

Omaha is a city of half a million, double that for the metro area. Home to Berkshire Hathaway and ConAgra, headquarters for the nation's intercontinental nuclear forces since the days when B-47s flew in black & white with Jimmy Stewart on the stick, and a transportation hub and meat-packing center since the late 19th Century, the largest city in Nebraska has been a metropolis for over a hundred years.

So you can imagine Brian J. Noggle's puzzlement when a Forbes writer referred to it somewhat oxymoronically as a "rural city".

What is a "rural city", anyway? I'm assuming he means anyplace that's not a local call from Manhattan but that isn't LA.

Every time I encounter this phenomenon I am reminded of the New Yorkers that allegedly brought apples and crackers with them from Gotham on their voyage to darkest Indiana, because you never know what kind of privations one might face out here on the frontier.

That time of year again...

In the twenties and bone-creaking dry out there, because any water in the air would get hard and fall on the ground.

I think it's pretty much a given that every morning for the next couple months is going to be a festival of low-level aches and pains in all my joints until my oil gets up to operating temperature.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Overheard in the Office (This Morning)...

Meet the Press is not on for my weekly circulatory system pressure test. Morbo's Inside Indiana Business came on early. There was momentary bafflement. I wondered aloud as to the absence of David Gregory's vaguely simian features from our televisor...
RX: "Neanderthal Thanksgiving is earlier than ours."

Me: "And Chuck Todd couldn't be arsed to step in for a week because he's still butthurt over Obamacare?"

RX: "The Gregories invited the Todds over for the Thanksgiving Feast."
As it turns out, there is some sort of Formula One racing going on. I watched a lap or two of zoom-zoom in São Paulo. When did cars start passing each other again in the senior divisions of open-wheel racing?

I had completely lost interest when the races turned into very loud and very long Synchronized Air-Wrenching/Timed Gas-Pumping competitions...

Overheard in the Office (Last Night)...

I was exclaiming over a photo from WWI which I did not recollect having seen before, of the Royal Pigeon Snafflers motorcycling away from the Royal Pigeon-Snaffling Lorry with wicker spanners full of pigeons. As one would imagine it would at Roseholme Cottage, this somehow led to a discussion of carrier pigeons...
RX: "They found a pigeon from WWI or WWII in a chimney... dead of course..."

Me: "Well I didn't think it had retired there. 'It was living in the chimney. Had gone quite mad.'"

RX: "It thought it was a bat! All black with soot and hanging upside down. Shell-shocked, most likely..."

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Party Line.

Remember what the representative from the flight attendants' union replied to Matt Lauer when they were emoting together about how Victorinox penknife key fobs were a bigger threat to the friendly skies than misplaced MANPADS?

She said:
"No. I'm a flight attendant; I'm out in the cabin. I'm a first responder and the last line of defense..."
Well. I certainly feel safer huddling behind Rebecca Anne and Chip, who have traded their youthful skin for cheap airfare and the glamor of waiting tables in a crappy restaurant at FL350*.

Anyhow, with the proposal to allow talking on cell phones in the air, the flight attendants' union has released their official position, and right in the opening paragraph of their statement you see:
"Flight Attendants, as first responders and the last line of defense in our nation's aviation system..."
Sweet Wilbur Wright on a steam-powered unicycle, is that the only thing that comes out of your little cakehole when your string gets pulled anymore?

Look, I could understand if you came out and said "Hey, people, this job is migraine-inducing enough without everybody yammering away like we're on a bus to a glossolalia convention. Can we get a couple of hours without being crammed in a communal phone booth? Some of these people are trying to sleep." Instead, you know nobody will take you seriously unless you somehow tie it to Safety on Airplanes, which equals terr'ism, so we can't be having any phones on planes because shut up citizen!

I'd like to use the flight attendant who came up with that "last line of defense in our nation's aviation system" as the last line of defense against an incoming SAM by setting her on fire and throwing her out of the plane to spoof the IR seeker.

You have got to be kidding me.

"Okay, see, Randy Beaman was at Los Angeles Airport, and he heard this really loud noise, like, and then he saw somebody with something in their hands and he thought it might be a gun, right? And so they evacuated half the airport and cops ran around pointing their guns at the rest. Okay, bye."
Jesus wept, this country has lost its collective mind. Somebody pops a paper bag or a tractor backfires or someone drops a phone book and the next thing you know people are spotting tangoes behind every trash can and dialing 911, leading to Reed and Malloy running around muzzling half of LAX with their patrol carbines like they're in a bazaar in Kandahar where a truck bomb just went off.


Slow start. Need coffee. And caffeine.

My great big weekend coffee cup. Available from

Friday, November 22, 2013

If his pants had been made of kerosene...

...the entire White House press corps would have died in the fire.
White House spokesman Jay Carney denied Friday that next year's midterm elections are the reason behind the administration's decision to postpone the 2014 opening date for 2015 enrollment in Obamacare -- from October 15 to November 15.
I was sitting at the hospital while they did whatever it was they were doing to Bobbi's mom, checking the oil in her bionic hip or something, when the waiting room TV played the clip of Carney prevaricating his ass off behind the podium and I just started cackling and cackling, heedless of the audience.

If I like this fib, Jay, can I keep it?

I'll just leave this here...

Don't mind me. I was just talking about finish wear and kydex holsters elsewhere and I needed a place to park a picture to which I could link.

That's about two years' worth of wear and tear: Daily carry plus dry practice, classes, matches, two Blogorados, et cetera. Mostly a Dark Star Gear IWB, but also a little bit with a Blade-Tech OWB and a Dark Star Gear OWB. (With the light, that is. Before I had the light I used a Secret City Weaponeers K-25 and then a Blade-Tech/Looper Hybrid holster briefly before switching to a Raven Concealment Systems Phantom.)

Overheard in the Dining Room...

Me: "I'll deliver your mom safely to the doctor..."

RX: "I'm going to hold you to that."

Me: "Well, not only is she your mom, but I'll be in the car too, which is sort of an added incentive in my book."

Five year itch...

You know you've got the bug in a bad way when you find yourself staring wistfully at a dumpy little Hawk on a soggy fifty degree November afternoon and thinking it'd be nice to be riding it rather than looking at it.

Marking my calendar because...

...zomg dinosaurs!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

QotD: Luxurious Idiocy Edition...

Over at Gun Nuts Media, Tim weighs in on the current lion hunting hooraw:
Nevertheless, people who say that Ms. Bachman should be killed (are you KIDDING ME?) for legally taking a lion bred specifically for hunting (which is totally different than the cow they ate which was bred specifically for food because…well…shutup.) will give money to organizations that accomplish nothing of value beyond paying lobbyists and euthanizing a whole bunch of animals.
I have joked before that I got the .405 Winchester barrel for my Encore in case any lions escaped from the zoo, but in reality, you couldn't get me to hunt lion with that rifle, and here's why:

That dude came »« this close to standing in a pile of his own innards.

Shilling for my corporate masters...

Well, I don't know that a freelance side gig really qualifies for the whole "corporate master" thing, but anyway, S.W.A.T. Magazine has a swag giveaway thing running.

Sign up if you want a chance to win free stuff. (...and it'd be cool if I spun the hell outta their site meter, know what I mean? ;) )

That would be singularly pointless...

A special snowflake whose child psychologists obviously subscribed to the Mental Illness of the Month Club is apparently suing a college for making her take two math courses?

The college's well-meaning counteroffer included offering "to substitute the second of the two required math classes with a course on logic" which would be the very definition of an isometric exercise, in that trying to teach this person logic would be exhausting and go nowhere.

Logic would bounce off her invincible shield of entitlement like BBs off a battleship.

Jesus, kid, there's a simple checklist of requirements here to get the diploma. I realize that up until now, the world has done you dirt by allowing you to show a doctor's note to get out of Reality, but you've reached a point in your life's journey where you aren't going to get the dolly by throwing yourself on the floor of the toy aisle and screaming "IwantIwantIwant!" and bursting into tears. Even if you have a lawyer down there doing it with you.

Let me tell you the real reason, kid...

Proving that there's no depth beyond which some disconnected dweeb who couldn't spell "tact" if Vanna turned around everything but the "a" won't sink to show how cool and edgy he is, some $#!+stain on humanity's toilet tissue has released a little game called 'Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary', in which the player is dumped into the role of the slayer.

Needless to say, after Captain Aspie dropped this steaming pile on the internet's doorstep and lit the bag, the reaction was practically unanimous condemnation. Indignant butthurt followed on the part of our coding auteur, who took to Twitter to whine:
the liberals don't like me because i've disrespected the dead.

the conservatives don't like me because of the gun control message.

the conspiracy theorists don't like me because it risks informing people of what happened.

and the trolls don't like me because it wasn't edgy enough.
No, Sparky, people in general don't like you because you're a douche. Go kiss a locomotive.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Automotif XXIV...

Seen out in front of Fresh Market today...

To this day, a plain ol' dead-nuts stock NSX has been the single most satisfying street car I've ever driven when it came to simply translating what I wanted to do in my head to what the car was doing on the road with absolutely no fuss or drama.

"...the verbal equivalent of guest towels."

(The coiffure and spray tan act as lures for ambulances, which they then chase down and suck the misery out of.)

Overheard in the Office...

RX: "Let's throw everyone under the bus."

Me: "The president has a big bus; there's room under it for everyone."

RX: "If I ever run for office, I'm going to make that my slogan: 'Let's throw everyone under the bus. It's warm under there and you're out of the weather.'"

The porous border between Frontierland and Fantasyland,

So the anointed successor of Shortshanks the First and the overwhelming favorite of the residents of Rose Hill and Mount Olivet, Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago (know to his admirers as "Tiny Dancer") has a little bit of a public relations problem at the moment, in that certain of his constituents seem to be shooting each other dead in job lots.

Naturally, the first thing to do in order to shift blame is to place the onus for your problems on things you have no control over, such as the laws of a neighboring state:
"Without uniform gun policies — say, in neighboring Indiana and Wisconsin — weapons still flow, Emanuel said.
"We take more guns off the streets than New York or L.A.," he said.
Does California not border Arizona, whose 'gun policies' are more lax than Indiana or Wisconsin? Does New York not border Vermont, whose ditto? Sorry, Rahm, but your two exemplar states border the two states with the most liberal firearms laws in the nation. The entire firearms-related section of Vermont's criminal code doesn't even take up an entire 8.5x11 page of small type, at least last time I checked.

 Further, even if Vermont and Arizona weren't there to refute his assertion, his claim falls down on the fact that the guns somehow have to make it to his fiefdom before they become dangerous. If guns were dangerous in and of themselves, then Milwaukee and Indianapolis would be knee-deep in blood, with ripples reaching out to maybe overlap slightly in Chicago. Instead, despite both neighboring states being awash in firearms, they are somehow inert until they get smuggled across the Cook County line, where that Lake Michigan air combines with the aroma of Wrigley Field hot dogs to send them into a rabid killing frenzy...

Aghast at the scurrilous slander being heaped on us by Rahm, we Hoosiers saddled up a Director at Large of the ISRPA and sent him charging into the op-ed pages of the Chicago business paper to rebut their mayor's heinous accusations.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Style over substance?

Jesse James Firearms had a sort of preview party showing off their offerings, because what the market is crying out for is more semicustom 1911s and another rollmark on AR lowers.

The guns are all I feared they would be.

A fruited-up 1911 with edges you can obviously shave with and a dust cover that ensures it probably won't fit many existing holsters... but, hey! It's only $3,500!

The AR. meanwhile, exudes a sort of "cargo cultish" vibe. I mean, I want to know why that gun is using a cantilevered optics mount set way back on the rail like that.

"Cantilever mount more expensive than regular mount. John Frum have cantilever mount on optic. John Frum kill many bad guy. We have cantilever mount on optic."

It just needs an AFG crowded way back against the mag well to complete the cargo cult look.

Both the optics mount on the AR and the FCS/dust-cover combo are classic examples of what I was expecting I was going to see from the moment I heard about Jesse James Firearms.

Remember, this comes from the custom chopper world where function "rides bitch" behind form.
"Let's make the air cleaner shaped like an iron cross!"


"Because it would look bitchen, that's why!" 
Why is that a cantilever scope mount for putting an IER optic out over the tube? Because it looks bitchen, that's why. Why is the high-traction grippy surface of the forward cocking serrations extended down onto the stationary part? Because it looks bitchen, that's why.

At least owners of Talo edition Taurus Judges with gold controls will have something to move up to if they hit it big with the lotto tickets they bought at the Gas'n'Gulp.

*This post has been lovingly hand-assembled from organic comments I left in a forum thread. Any blemishes are artifacts of me trying to stitch some disjointed paragraphs into a coherent whole, and should be considered part of its charm.

Are you ready for your closeup?

The wearable cloud-storage camera linked by Bobbi here, as well as Google Glass, remind me of crude forerunners of the implanted Companion AIs in Sawyer's novel Hominids. It's got deeply society-altering implications, and I'm not sure I dig all of them very much, but they're implicit in the very existence of cheap, small cameras, wireless data transmission, and nearly free digital storage. (Similarly, I'm uncomfortable with the idea of strategic bombing of cities, but it's implicit in a world where monkeys can fly.)

In a society where everything is recorded and stored, privacy is dead, but so is the whole notion of "he said, she said," disputes, since what was actually said can always be retrieved. "Go to the data center and call up the files for Citizen Zimmerman and Citizen Martin." Creepy, and it will likely alter the very foundations of society in the probably-less-distant-than-I-hope future.

Absolutely hilarious.

I just watched a table full of media talking heads cluck and chinwag about the shame of Wal-Mart not paying its associates a "living wage".

Let's do some research!

We'll plug "Today cast salaries", without the quotes, into our trusty Google search box...

Let's see... Princess Lauer tops the list,  raking in a cool $25 million a year for reasons that are unclear to me, as his shallow vacuity and clinical narcissism shine through even on the small screen. Two other Today cast members at that table also make it into the top tier: Al Roker at $7 mil a year and Savannah Guthrie at two megabucks per annum. Tamron Hall and Natalie Morales were there, too, but apparently they don't make the list.

Anyhow, this pack of mouthpieces, with a collective salary* greater than the GDP of Tuvalu lives on Fantasy Island, aka Manhattan, flitting through their daily lives past barristas, drivers, doormen, and waiters, most of whom would kill for the fair-to-middlin' benefits package Wal-Mart offers its full time minions, if it didn't mean having to move someplace icky, like Passaic, instead of sleeping four to a flat, waiting for someone to buy their script or call them back for a second audition.

It's as ridiculous as watching the pampered children of merchants and aristocrats call for the workers to rise up and throw off their chains.

*Although suggest it was a "collective" salary and should be divided evenly, and Princess Lauer would likely shriek to crack glass and flounce off with his 70% of it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Busy day...

Running errands... Getting told "no" by mechanics... I have some phone calls to make. In the meantime, watch the trailer for one of the greatest flicks evar:

No feet sticking out from under the house... I guess we're okay.

Looks like the worst of it passed to our north, although a 79mph wind gust was recorded downtown and a 110-year-old post office in the gentrifying Irvington neighborhood that was being renovated had to be demolished instead, lest its tired walls topple into the middle of Washington Street.

Here in Broad Ripple we never even lost power, although the carefully-raked yard is now covered in leaves again. At one point last night, I glanced out the kitchen window to note that the back yard, which forms a bowl bounded by fences as well as the house and garage, was full of a turbulent airborne leaf eddy that made it look like one of those booths where the money's blowing around and the contestant can keep all they can grab. Except, you know, with leaves rather than dollar bills.

The local TV station is calling it "Fall's Fury". No theme music yet, however.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

For what we are about to receive...

That looks pretty ugly right there. Somebody on Facebook was saying the Storm Chaser crew was in town, which is never a good sign.

On the bright side of things, I'm not out on Lake Michigan right now. It's looking positively Gordon Lightfoot-y out there in this radar image.

"Did you hear about the new Blastomatic 3000?"

I've owned a Browning BDM. It was a neat pistol. It was going to be the Next Big Thing, swore at least one gunwriter. I couldn't find holsters for it.

I traded it for a Macintosh SE/30, which I no longer own, either.

The pistol'd be worth more than the Mac would be right now, but I miss both about the same, which is to say "very little, actually". As a matter of fact, I might be persuaded to buy another SE/30, as I sort of half-heartedly collect Macs still, but the BDM tempts me not at all, because I don't collect failed attempts at fin de siècle mass-market cop guns.

It's actually one of several guns I went through, back when I was always game to find the Next Big Thing, but I think the shiny of being an early adopter has worn right off for me.

I mean, to be blunt about it, in the world of new self-loading service pistol introductions, it's safest to bet on failure.

Ignoring the churning mass of Brazilian/Italian/Turkish/Filipino dreck down in the cheap showcase, how many actually truly successful new pistol lines have been launched in the last twenty years? The USP. The M&P. Springfield Armory rescued that Croatian thing with a crap-ton of marketing dollars. It's too soon to call it on the SR9, but Ruger can throw a bunch of marketing money at it, too.

In a world where big, established makers like Steyr and Browning and Beretta and Colt and FN and SIG can bomb so abysmally in trying to get a successful design established in the market, it's always left me a little bemused to see people falling all over themselves trying to be Member #3 at, say,

Squirm, Nancy, squirm!

Meet the Press is just a delicious heaping bowl of schadenfreude this morning.

Pelosi has apparently been pushed onto the grenade with orders to obfuscate, deny, and distract. I have never seen more furious turd polishing in my life. Even the normally reliable David Gregory smells blood in the water.

This one interview is a rich enough vein of stammering excuses and bald-faced denial that GOP campaign managers across the land are probably decorating their cupcakes at the thought of mining it for commercial soundbites. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Overheard in the Hallway...

RX: "You have read Niven, haven't you?"

Me: "Maybe some of the Man-Kzin wars stuff, I think? And the first Ringworld book."

RX: "My god, it's like you were raised by wolves. I sometimes think you haven't read any science fiction at all..."

Absolutely surreal.

After all the phone calls and Twitter alerts and whirlybirds have subsided, it appears that what happened was this:

Some student at Ball State (but we don't know who) yelled the word "Gun!" on campus...

...and the entire northern half of the state collectively lost continence.

*golf clap*

The highlight for me is the surreal film footage of cops with patrol carbines clearing what appears to be a large lobby or atrium with the balcony above teeming with kids peering over, grabbing footage with their phones: Delta House right upstairs from the Green Zone.

Splendid performance awards to all students, faculty, law enforcement, government, and media involved. I'm sure nobody took note of the massively disproportionate response for future reference.

Overheard in the Office...

Bobbi is apparently perusing my Facebook page...
RX: "Oh, Tamara likes Coldplay. That is so sad."

Me: "What? Why..."

RX: "Well, it's not like it's Nickelback, but it's still sad."

Me: "That's going on the internet."

RX: *walking out of the room* "Okay..."

Me: *yelling down the hall* "For some reason, me having my musical tastes accused of fuddy-duddiness by you is extremely disturbing!"

Friday, November 15, 2013

It couldn't have happened to a nicer philosophy...

You're talking about Congress! All it ever does is eat tax dollars and shit out red tape and misery. How you thought they could help is beyond me.

Like the famous hippie said:
Trade and commerce, if they were not made of India rubber, would never manage to bounce over the obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and, if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions, and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievous persons who put obstructions on the railroads.

If schadenfreude had calories, I'd weigh 300 pounds.

As Obamacare continues its spectacular public impersonation of the LZ Hindenburg, dropping flaming wreckage across the politico-economic landscape, I am still just utterly gobsmacked at the dazed bafflement on the face of the true believers in government.

"How could this be going so spectacularly wrong?" goes the hand-wringing lament.

How could it not? Seriously! You think a bunch of people can sit down and... Lux Fiat! the rules for how 15% of the economy works in one fell swoop, in what amounts to a giant bong-fueled bull session, and have nothing go wrong? You might as well try to change the spark plugs on your car while the engine's running.

Then again, these are people who think that the efficiency of internal combustion engines or the amount of water it takes to carry off a turd are governed by legislative magic and not the laws of physics.

The naive credulity these people have towards the power of government, their blind faith that they can tamper with the machinery without it hurting anybody, differs in kind nor quality not one lick from the most snake-handlin' Pentecostal's faith that Jesus will keep the serpent from biting.

(As an aside, I'll note that stuff like this happens in microcosm all the time, when government decides to meddle with one industry or another, but rarely does it meddle on such high profile with an economic sector that affects everybody all at once, and on such short notice, to boot.

This isn't trying to gradually phase out gas guzzlers over ten years; this is making all cars that don't get >30MPG illegal to drive in January. But don't worry! If your cars don't meet the standard, the government will have a new car ready for you on the 1st. Promise! They've almost got the car factory finished!)


Saturn and Hummer, Pontiac and Oldsmobile, Plymouth and Mercury, AMC and Checker, Bricklin and DeLorean...

1955 Packard Patrician

The Packard above, from the dying years of the company, features a "Twin-Ultramatic" transmission, an improvement on the existing Ultramatic, designed by a young Packard engineer who had been lured away from his job at Chrysler by a $14,000-a-year salary offer. The engineer's name: John DeLorean.

Talk about a different era. You can tell the image the manufacturer wished to project with a vehicle name like "Patrician". Bunches of chrome gingerbread and a three-tone paint job. It even says "The Patrician" in script on the fenders behind the front wheel wells. If they still made 'em, they'd probably rate their own #OCCUPY movement. #OCCUPY_DOCTOR_SMITHS_CAR!

(Incidentally, the Wikipedia category "Defunct motor vehicle manufacturers of the United States" contains six hundred and eighty-eight entries.)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Illudium Q-35 Space Tractor

Cold outside today, which always makes me look through pictures I took when it was blazing hot, for the psychological warmth.

One of my favorite non-baby-goat sights at every State Fair is this Massey Ferguson 165. While it looks like something that would be used to farm somewhere out on Bobbi's "Hidden Frontier", I am given to understand that the huge tires are to reduce ground pressure so that it doesn't chew up turf.

Thanks to Shootin' Buddy for noticing this...

I think I'll go re-read Parliament of Whores to celebrate.


In the early days of the Cold War, Strategic Air Command was America's atomic fist, poised to send hundreds of bombers streaming toward the Soviet Union for nuclear combat, toe to toe with the Russkies.

To fuel these bombers on their way, SAC employed the Boeing KC-97 Stratotanker, first flown in 1950. Unfortunately, the dawn of the air-to-air refueling era in the USAF coincided with the dawn of the jet era, and ungainly-looking, waddling Stratotankers were soon tasked with topping off the tanks on sleek, swept-wing B-47 Stratojets and then the new B-52 Stratofortresses.

The bulbous "double-decker" look is because it was developed from the C-97 Stratofreighter, a cargo-carrying development of the B-29/B-50. If it looks familiar, it's because the civilian variant, the Boeing 377 airliner, was the aircraft from which the famous "Super Guppies" were made.

Even with four Pratt & Whitney radials churning the air with 14,000 combined horsepower, the difference in airspeed between the flying gas station and its customers was such that various tricks were employed to match airspeeds more closely, such as the B-52 lowering flaps and its rear landing gear, or refueling in a shallow dive.

On the left, a four-row Wasp Major: 28 cylinders displacing 4,362½ cubic inches and thundering out 3,500 supercharged horsepower. On the right: a hair dryer.
The KC-97 only operated in front line service with Strategic Air Command until the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker could be phased into service in 1957 to replace it, but it soldiered on in Tactical Air Command units, and in the Guard and Reserve until 1978. In the early '60s, jet engine pods were added to create the KC-97L, mimicking the solution that had been used to allow Tactical Air Command KB-50s to fly fast enough to top up jet fighters.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hoosier Daddy

So, let me tell you about a kid from Miami, Indiana who enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as a private in 1909, eventually took a commission as a lieutenant in the Indiana National Guard, spent time in the cavalry, was a captain leading an infantry company at Château-Thierry and commanded an infantry battalion in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. After the Great War, at the ripe old age of 27, he then transferred to US Army Air Corps and earned his wings as both a balloon pilot and an airship pilot.

Between the wars he won a few international balloon races; was the test pilot for the world's only successful metal-skinned dirigible; learned how to fly fixed-wing craft; and participated in an unsuccessful attempt at the world record for balloon altitude and bailed out after the balloon's envelope ruptured at altitude, riding the plummeting pressurized gondola down until it was safe to parachute.

During WWII he was promoted to Major General in '43 and took command of 8th Fighter Command before taking over the 2nd Bomb Division of the Mighty Eighth. He flew a couple dozen combat missions over occupied Europe and didn't retire until 1953, by which time the Hoosier country boy who'd been a private in the Marines when airplanes were novelties was now a lieutenant general who had commanded fleets of jets.

Meet Lieutenant General William Kepner:

So cool that his buddies probably stored their beer in his pockets.

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo

While we're on the topic of the fine products of North American Aviation, here is a B-25J Mitchell, wearing a North African paint scheme that is rather anachronistic for a late-war variant like a "J". This particular example was in the 1970 film adaptation of Catch-22.

I could not agree more.

Go and read.

Thank you.

The Hun

I don't think there needs to be a reason to put up a picture of an F-100C Super Saber.

Wet firecracker...

Yesterday's dusting of snow was well on the way to melting off when I walked to Twenty Tap to get a bite of lunch, and by the time I was schlepping the groceries home from Fresh Market it was only clinging, like some white and crystalline moss, in the shadows on the north side of trees and houses.

I know I've mentioned it before, but melting snow always leaves me with a vague and inchoate feeling of disappointment inside. It's an echo left over from when the sight was a signal to schoolchildren in Georgia that our little unplanned one- or two-day holiday was over and there would be school tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tab Clearing...


First sticking snow of the season last night here at Roseholme Cottage. (I say "sticking" because the dreary misty rain of a week or so ago had some suspiciously fluffy white drops hitting the windshield of the Subie.)

With no more trees in the front yard, leaf cleanup there isn't that big a deal this year, but now I'm going to have to wait a day or two for the leaves in the back yard to dry out.

Just because...

...I wanted to make a post at 9:10 on 11/12/13, that's all.

Carry on.

The legends of my people...

I first started working in a gun store in the early '90s. Clinton was in his first term, Ruby Ridge and Waco were fresh memories, the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban passed one after the other, and apocalypse was in the air.

One of the favorite rumors was that tens of thousands (or hundreds of thousands, whichever) of foreign troops were either in the country or right across the border, just waiting for Clinton to order them in to use the railroad cars with shackles and guillotines that lined every secret disused siding in Stump Jump, ID and Two Mules, KS.

At the time, a customer was bringing me his copies of The New American every month, and they had an article debunking some of the more fanciful rumors. Friends, when the Birchers say "Whoa, dude, you're sounding a little paranoid," it's time to pull back and reassess, know what I mean?

In that light: zomg! PLA to take over Hawaii!!eleventy!

Some people's kids, I swear.

Monday, November 11, 2013

This is proof that divers are crazy

A hundred years after an horrific November gale sank boats all over Lake Huron, a bunch of guys get in a boat to go dive into Lake Huron in November because...


...because I'm not sure why, actually.

But anyway, with fifteen-foot waves getting ahead of the bilge pump, common sense eventually prevailed and they went back someplace warm and dry.

A flare for the dramatic...

The headline reads "Walkerton man injured using a grenade launcher" but reading the story itself, I'm thinking it was one of those 37mm flare launchers. I checked at INGO, but they don't have any news yet other than links to the AP wire story.

Anyway, apparently the illumination round detonated in the tube and messed the guy up.

Makes a .40 cal Glock kaBOOM! seem a little passé by comparison, though, doesn't it?

Time and Distance...

The American Civil War is viewed differently in the North and the South in large part because most of it happened in the latter. It was a war that Hoosier and Buckeye boys marched away to fight, but it happened right in the front yards of Tennesseans and Virginians. Southerners of my grandparents' generation would have learned about the war from men and women who, as small children, had watched their homes burn, and anybody with a metal detector can still go looking for Minie balls and shell fragments near the historical markers that dot the roadsides.

Similarly, I don't know that we as Americans really get the Great War. Sure, we sent some troops there at the end, but the sheer scale of the thing...

Consider this: During the invasion of Normandy, V Corps suffered ~3,000 casualties total; killed, wounded, and missing. Antietam, the bloodiest single-day battle of the Civil War, saw over 3,500 KIA for Union and Confederate forces, combined.

By comparison, on the opening day of the Somme Offensive the British army took almost 60,000 casualties, over nineteen thousand of whom were killed outright. In the kindermord, the 'Massacre of the Innocents' of the first battle of Ypres, the Germans lost almost 20,000 KIA, a third of them practically children. The bones of more than 130,000 unidentified Frenchmen and their German foes are piled in the Douaumont ossuary.

And this awful corpse-furnace burned in one place for four years as Europe stoked it with the better part, literally, of an entire generation.

It's little wonder that the day on which the guns fell silent on the Western Front is still commemorated.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


  • Happy Birthday to all Shock Trooper Devil Dog Blood-Sucking War Machines everywhere!

  • There is a new Sunday Smith up at the other blog.

  • Today's wikiwander started at "Zanclean flood", has reached "lorica squamata" and is still ongoing.

Optics Pr0n...

My current if-I-won-the-lottery dream optic for an AR carbine. I'm kinda happy with the photo, too.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Stories waiting to be told...

There are some Sunday Smiths yet to do. (A couple Safety Hammerless revolvers aren't in the picture.)

Y'know, I'm not sure there's a single revolver in that picture that is less than a hundred years old?

The purpose of the internet...

For all the long chain of technological evolution; the blood, sweat, tears, and treasure; that went into developing the internet, all so that I could read this phrase...
Naturally, our vision for the future is Terminator-style urine-powered killbots menacing humanity, or at best generally making a complete nuisance of themselves hanging around toilets begging for a drink.
...I give thanks.

(H/T to Pergelator)

Send R2D2 downrange...

Ambulance Driver has a review up of the Bullseye Camera System. I got a glimpse of this thing in action last month and it's just slicker than owl snot. From scoring targets to dialing in optics, there are all kinds of uses for it.

Anyhow, there are pictures and everything. You should go see.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Continuing Edjumacation...

I'd really like to take a good shotgun class sometime in the coming year. Probably Awerbuck if at all possible, but I'm open to suggestions. It's nearing time to maybe take a refresher carbine class, too.

What I definitely do need is a good first aid class; specifically one that deals with what to do if I god forbid shoot myself while I'm on the range. (Or if someone else does while I'm there.) It's just a handy skill to have if you spend a lot of time handling guns.

I really really want to take ECQC. Very few classes are so highly spoken of by such a broad cross-section of the community. A class with Tom Givens is on my bucket list, too.

This idea needs to happen.

The Narrative...

So the Florida legislature looks like they'll not be striking down the state's near-decade-old "Stand Your Ground" law.

In their reportage on the topic, Florida cable news station "Bay News 9" leads off the story with a picture of... some guy whose case had nothing to do with the "Stand Your Ground" law.

Ignorance? Agenda? Both? Hey, they report, I deride.

(H/T to McThag)

Days of Our Lives

Spent yesterday in bed.

Slept through a lot of the morning news and the Today show.

Ralph Macchio was on Queen Latifah's talk show. It is a little disturbing to me that the Karate Kid now has a 21-year-old daughter.

Watched the local news at noon. It was surprisingly similar to the news at 0600. It's a big world, but not a lot happens in it before lunch, I guess.

Fished around for the remote half-heartedly but couldn't find it in time and so I snoozed through Days of Our Lives, a comforting drone in sickrooms across the land, letting you know the day's half done.

Dr. Oz assured me Sriracha would burn my belly fat. Also, the cooking segment on the Today show recently involved Sriracha. And there's a Sriracha sub at Subway according to the commercials I saw yesterday. Sriracha's on a full-court PR press right now.

Stuff happened on Ellen, but I snoozed through most of that, too. Except the part where they rigged up 18 leaf blowers and spewed TP all over the studio. I was awake for that part.

There were dysfunctional people on the Dr. Phil show. The guests were flat crazy, too.

It looked cold outside the window. I thought about going out in it, but came to my senses. I wandered into the kitchen and scrounged up a fruit cup and a granola bar.

Then came the news at five, which mostly confirmed that, again, not much had happened in Naptown since lunch. Then there was news at six, for those people who'd been stuck in traffic since five and therefore hadn't already been told that not much had happened since they left the house that morning.

On the national news, President Obama offered a handful of blame-shifting excuses that would have been embarrassing coming from a McDonald's shift supervisor giving me a refund for a cold order of fries. This, I was assured by a fawning Chuck Todd, was an apology for the ongoing fiasco of Obamacare. Long story short: The dog ate his legislation.

Bobbi got home from work and heated me up a bowl of soup. Progresso Italian wedding soup. Yum.

Dozed through Wheel of Fortune, and rocked at Jeopardy.

Then one of those singing shows came on, whichever one is on NBC, and I switched over to a golden mouldies station to be lulled to bed by the dulcet tones of a few episodes of Magnum P.I.

Thursday, November 07, 2013


My right hip feels like someone hit it with a bat.

I'm taking a lie-down.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013


When Huck wants to be fed, he engages in two kinds of attention-seeking behavior, having dimly connected "receiving attention from a monkey" and "getting fed" in his pointy little cat head.

Attention-seeking behavior #1 is knocking stuff off Bobbi's desk with his paws.

Attention-seeking behavior #2 is hitting Rannie.

Note how he is efficiently combining both behaviors at the same time in this photo:

Cat fight!

Things I don't get #491,638...

I don't get those "hybrid" holsters. You know, the ones where they rivet half a kydex holster to an amoeba-shaped dinner-plate-size piece of steak wrapper.

If the cowhide's thick enough to be useful, it's like trying to smuggle an old vinyl LP* down your drawers, and if it's flexible enough to be comfy, it seems they start curling up like a Pringle inside of a distressingly short period of time, with the area that would be the sweatguard on a normal holster flopping over every time the gun is removed.

People who don't like kydex complain about the plasticky, clicky pop you get when you draw a pistol from one, which will apparently make it harder to ambush VC on the Ho Chi Minh trail. These holsters do that.

People who don't like leather complain about how leather gets all grody and funky when it's carried up against your sweaty bod on a sticky summer day. These holsters do that, too.

Plus most of the ones I've seen attach to the belt with clips or J-hooks instead of snap loops, which doesn't give me the warm and fuzzies in the security 'n' stability department.

I know some people really like them, but I've never asked why, so I guess this is my way of doing so?

*Ask your parents, kids.

It's the talk of the town...

So Naptown's had a rash of things that qualify for the term "home invasion" in the last several months, leaving residents jittery and network news people ecstatic.

They have varied in nature, some being just "hot burglaries", a few where occupants are beaten and deprived of cell phones and wallets at gunpoint, and a couple of the especially scary "takeover" kind, where residents are wakened at gunpoint, tied up, sexually assaulted, driven to ATMs to withdraw cash...

The two most headline-grabbing of the latter type took place twenty-some-odd blocks from Roseholme Cottage, which is a little unsettling, but not surprising. 21st Century urban American geography is riddled with fault lines where gentrified neighborhoods or established old money ones rub hard up against the ghetto. The immaculate Tudors of Forest Hills are just across the Monon Trail from hardscrabble little bungalows, and it's not more than a ten or fifteen minute walk from the governor's residence at 46th and Meridian to neighborhoods where you keep your doors locked as you roll past abandoned Victorians with crack dens in the basement.

There's a reason that the previous occupant of this house installed doors that won't yield to a swift kick.

At the same time, the neighborhood where the takeovers occurred was far more suburban in nature, if not in geography. Whereas Roseholme Cottage is on a typical urban street where the houses are cheek-by-jowl and consequently there's a neighborhood dynamic where everybody knows everybody else's business, these houses were on bigger lots laid out with an eye to fostering seclusion and privacy, which has downsides not often thought about.

Good for Chief Hite.

The current IMPD chief came to the job in the middle of the Bisard scandal as well as a couple of lower-profile OWI (Officerin' While Intoxicated) incidents, and apparently has instituted some reforms already, although I don't know if daily briefings start with a recital of the Twelve Steps or not.

One of the reforms he apparently still wants is the power to fire his employees, the lack of which can give the department a PR black eye in cases like l'affair Bisard.

I understand that police officers do not give up their constitutional rights when they pin on the badge and that among those rights is the one to due process of law, but I can't think of any job I ever held where my employer would wait on the jury verdict to fire me if I'd killed somebody with a company car while three sheets to the wind.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Breaking local news...

Suspended (and now soon-to-be Former) IMPD officer David "Bottles" Bisard has just been found guilty on all charges by a jury of his peers.

Justice has been served.

Help a brother out...

Over at When The Balloon Goes Up!, they're trying to put together some data on CCW gun choices that can be used to help newcomers with the process of carry gun selection. There's a little survey about your choice of carry gat. It's anonymous, and it took me less than a minute to fill in just now.

Update: Mom X

The latest info on Roomie's mom can be found here.

Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, incense, and burnt offerings.

(Props to the fire/EMS guys, by the way. Bobbi was still on the phone when I heard the sirens roll up. If the response time was much more than five minutes, I'll eat my hat.) 

Target marketing...

When I moved to Indianapolis, I discovered something of whose existence I'd been hitherto unaware: commercials for farming stuff. Ads for seed and such from Monsanto or DeKalb just didn't have enough potential buyers in the broadcast markets of Atlanta or Knoxville.

I wonder if this video ad, via Borepatch, plays during halftime in the Icelandic Mixed Doubles Cod Juggling Championship?

Monday, November 04, 2013

What's the frequency, Kenneth?

Was stopped in my tracks at the sight of this beastie, out riding in the neighborhood tonight. The sound of the exhaust was the call of the wild...

I love the way the sparse engineering makes an aesthetic all its own: It's a motor with a seat and a couple of wheels bolted pretty much directly to it, and that's about it.

Technical difficulties, please stand by...

Posting this from the waiting room of the hospital. Roomie's mom took a fall. More later.

ETA: We're back home now. Her mom's resting at the hospital and getting the full sensor scan and is probably going to be there long enough to get some yummy hospital chow. Preliminary report is that it looks like she dislocated her bionic hip. Whether this is a result of the spill or what precipitated it remains unknown.

ETA: ...and reports now are that there might be some broken bones.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Stuff like this... why I follow William Gibson's Twitter feed:

Almost fractally wrong...

Forbes on the mystique of the AR for those patriot kooks and Constitution-lovin' weirdos:
The M&P15 (“Military and Police”) semi-automatic tactical rifle falls into the AR-15 class of weapons, which is preferred by Patriots for a number of reasons. Such guns are inexpensive, easy to shoot, accurate, customizable, and for a 10-year period starting in 1994, this type of rifle was banned by federal law, which gives the weapon a certain prestige among Patriot groups. Despite the M&P name, Smith & Wesson has actively marketed the rifle to civilian shooters.
Ms. McNabb, your statement is not only wrong, it's damned near fractally wrong. In other words, each individual phrase and sentence of it is almost as incorrect as the paragraph taken as a whole.

Pop quiz, hotshot: Which rifle in the picture below, taken in '03, was legally purchased between '94 and '04?

 Now, which one of those rifles was illegal to own between '94 and '04?

Highlight below for the answers:
  1. The center carbine was purchased in '03.
  2. None of those AR carbines were "banned by federal law", you dolt.
You are certainly entitled to your own opinions, JJ, however you are not entitled to your own facts.

ETA: Commenter Reno Sepulveda notes that apparently Sen. Feinstein has latched on to the "Military & Police" moniker as well. Someone needs to let these grabasstic busybodies know that the label has been used by Smith & Wesson more or less continuously since 1899, making it an older trade label than "International Business Machines" (whose products, I will note, can somewhat misleadingly be used for non-commercial purposes and entirely within the boundaries of one nation.)

The light bringer...

Pistol-mounted lights require specialized pistol holsters. One of the reasons I like the Lightguard is that, in addition to the grip-activated membrane switch that doesn't require any addition motions to activate, it adds hardly any bulk to the gun and therefore hardly any bulk to the holster.

The TLR-1s is obviously much brighter, but requires a separate motion to activate and is also larger, necessitating a fairly sizable holster. Some people carry those things IWB, but for me, it pretty much relegates the gun to OWB carry or nightstand duty.

Another issue is that the big lights require the holster to be fairly generously cut to get the thing in and out of there, like the RCS Phantom in the picture below:

Unlike the poster here, I can't actually get a finger in there in front of the trigger to pull it, but depending on the gun/holster/light combo, it seems like a possibility of which it would pay to be aware.

To everything, turn, turn, turn...

"Facing a deadly resurgence of al-Qaida in Iraq, President Barack Obama signaled Friday that he will begin increasing U.S. military support for Baghdad after five years of reducing it."
I'm confused.

I guess since we're pulling out of the war of necessity, the war worth fighting, we'll have troops to spare to deploy to to the wrong war, because apparently Barry's decided that surges work now.

I am sure that the administration will point out that they've always supported being at war with Eastasia...

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Coming back from the theater...

...the discussion in the car was about the genre of the movie Gravity.

We both liked it. Bobbi pronounced it the best science fiction movie she'd seen in a long time.

I disagreed, on the grounds that it's no more science fiction than The Hunt For Red October. She pointed out there wasn't any such thing as a silent "caterpillar drive" missile sub, either.

Still, it's easy to forget that there's a tiny village, population six, passing 250-some-odd miles overhead every hour and a half or so.

Sharps container IV

Small folders:
  • Boker Orion
  • Benchmade Terzuola Park Avenue
  • CRKT Tighe Tac

These are small knives, in the "gent's folder" size class, with the largest having a blade barely 3" long.

The Orion is feather-light, with a titanium blade and carbon fiber frame/scales. The Park Avenue is a "first production" #610/1000, with a boron carbide finish on the 154CM blade; the scales are titanium. Boron carbide was very much the style at the time; I think the guys at knife companies would have had their desk chairs coated in the stuff if they could.

Sharps container III

Very small fixed blade "neck knives":
Randall King Knives Syphon (boron carbide coated)
Spyderco SPOT
Randall King Knives Snitch
John Shirley Super Daily Kiri

I really need to fix a belt loop to the Super Daily Kiri's sheath. It is such a superior little thing for the hundred-and-one daily chores a knife gets used for, from opening packaging to putting a point on a pencil, but I fumble around too much with a neck sheath. It's tiny enough that it would carry totally unobtrusively in a horizontal position on the belt. (In the sheath, the whole package is about 4"x1".)

Friday, November 01, 2013

QotD: Gilded Vandalism Edition...

"He's something akin to the fellow who drives by your home and throws a bag of gold coins -- through the window glass." -RobertaX, referring to graffiti artist Banksy.

This is why we wear hearing protection...

The guy on the TeeWee as I was walking past roomie's bedroom was talking about the Triple Crown, but, well...

Sharps container II

I'm on a bit of a knife picture jag, apparently, so here are some smallish fixed blades...

Top: Bud Nealy Pesh Kabz, silver G10 scales
Middle: Very early Kim Breed "letter opener"
Bottom: Kim Breed tanto