Seen on the street in Kyiv.

Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

“The Mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” -- The TOFF *

"Foreign Relations Boil Down to Two Things: Talking With People or Killing Them." -- Unknown

“Speed is a poor substitute for accuracy.” -- Real, no-shit, fortune from a fortune cookie

"If you believe that you are talking to G-d, you can justify anything.” — my Dad

"Colt .45s; putting bad guys in the ground since 1873." -- Unknown

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"The Dildo of Karma rarely comes lubed." -- Unknown

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

* "TOFF" = Treasonous Orange Fat Fuck,
"FOFF" = Felonious Old Fat Fuck,
"COFF" = Convicted Old Felonious Fool,
A/K/A Commandante (or Cadet) Bone Spurs,
A/K/A El Caudillo de Mar-a-Lago, A/K/A the Asset,
A/K/A P01135809, A/K/A Dementia Donnie, A/K/A Felon^34,
A/K/A Dolt-45, A/K/A Don Snoreleone

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Timely Lesson from the Great War?

Adam Hochschild, in an op-ed piece in the New York Times, argues that one of the reasons why the First World War was as bloody as it turned out to be was because the British, French, and German senior officers cut their military teeth on colonial wars. The British, at the Battle of Omduran, had machine guns and artillery to use on a force armed with swords, spears and blackpowder muskets.

They were all used to having massive fire superiority against underarmed and often poorly disciplined native forces. They went into the war convinced that things would be no different.

But they weren't. The Reichsheer wasn't a bunch of "Fuzzy-Wuzzies" or Boers. They had Maxim guns and heavy artillery. The British Army, still, maintained three cavalry divisions, when cavalry had been shown to be worse than useless against troops with machine guns and that the only useful purpose for horse flesh in France was as draft animals. And even though it had long since been shown that German soldiers weren't going to panic and flee, the British insisted on mass charges.[1]

But has the lesson of the First World War been learned? It was been nearly seventy years since our nation has faced, on the battlefield, a foe as equally capable. One of the lesser-known historical points from the Second World War was that, until later in the war, the Japanese pretty much kicked our asses in surface ship actions. They had better gunnery, better powder for night gunnery and their Long-Lance torpedoes cut through American destroyers like sabers through a wheel of cheese.[2] The mass daylight bombing raids, until the arrival of large numbers of long-range escorts, were turkey shoots for the Germans.

What doomed the Axis, ultimately, was that the Allies had the resources of most of the globe available to them. Germany and Japan only had what its soldiers could see. When the Enola Gay opened its bomb-bay doors over Hiroshima, there was probably about as much aviation gasoline in Japan as there was at the Army Air Force bases in the Marianas.[3]

So what happens, come the day, when our soldiers have to face a foe which is not wearing homespun robes and carrying old AKs? What happens when the enemy has drones and satellite reconnaissance? Will our own generals, then, having cut their teeth beating on Iraqi insurgents and Afghani Taliban, be mentally prepared to take on an equally-matched enemy? Or will they, like the European generals a century ago, think that their technology will be enough?
[1] It is an enduring mystery as to why Kitchener and Haig weren't court-martialed and shot.
[2] If the Japanese had used their submarines in the way that we and the Germans did, it would have been a much different sort of war.
[3] And much better gasoline, to boot.

Seven Orbits Around the Sun

For this here blog.

Thanks for tuning in.
p.s, I'm posting this a long time in advance. So if something's happened in the interim, well, this is going to seem kinda creepy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why Are the Cops Equipping for War?

As kinda sorta suggested in a comment by Doug to this post:

Hey, FAA, Foxtrot Oscar Alpha Delta; ADS-B Edition

According to FAR 91.225, the FAA wants me to to equip my old airplane with the crap necessary to broadcast to ADS-B by 2020.

Thing is, I don't fly anywhere that I need to be able to do that. I don't fly IFR and, by my count, I've been above 10,000' MSL exactly once.

In order to comply with the rule, I'd have to put a piece of kit into my airplane that will cost five or six grand or so, and that's just for the box(es). It doesn't factor in the cost of installation.

So the FAA wants me to spend six large or so to install a piece of electronics that does nothing for me.

Here's a better idea: Since I don't fly anyway where I would need ADS-B(out), I also don't fly in airspace where I would need a Mode C transponder. So if I'm not going to install ADS-B, then I might as well just rip out the fucking Mode C transponder. That'll be less crap to maintain.

p.s., AOPA, thanks for nothing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Land of the Free--- Not So Much.

The Department of Justice* is maintaining that they can pressure anybody to become an informant, pretty much by any means they want, and it's all good.

The law enforcement establishment in this country is more and more becoming indistinguishable from the Stasi.

How is being forced by the government to perform a task, essentially at the point of a gun, not classified as involuntary servitude?

At this point, I wonder what those fuckers in the FBI would do if a million or more people descended on Washington, massed, and all chanted: "There is no god but God and Mohammed is his prophet."
* A name that is becoming increasingly Orwellian in its irony.

American Capitalists; the Good Guys

Case Knife, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary. The company makes both the knives and Zippo lighters.

They could go to China and crank them out there, but they don't. Nearly a thousand people work for them and those people spend their paychecks, so thousands more benefit in the local economy.

That's also one of the pluses of a family-owned company: They can take the long view and do what is best for everyone and not be slaves to the quarterly P&L report.

Must See- Aviation Edition

From the producer of One Six Right:

I'll be seeing this one, you bet!

Banksters Keep Rigging the Game

Lloyd's is "suspending" seven employees for rigging LIBOR rates.

They'll probably be back on the job on Monday. The fine of about $383 million is probably close to chump-change for the bank.

Oh, and yes, don't forget that the UK bank regulators had some harsh words for them, as well.

A Fortunate Clerk

A semipro mixed-martial-arts fighter broke up a robbery at the convenience store where he works.

Yes, he was trained. But there were at least three bad guys. It would not have been unforeseeable if one of them had a gun. In which case, this story would have turned out a lot differently.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Don't Worry, We'll See Them Again. Just Like the 6th Avenue El.

Six 737 fuselages caught in a Montana train derailment were crushed and baled this week, and their remains should be removed by Saturday, the manager of the scrapping operation said Friday. Pacific Steel and Recycling’s Missoula, Mont., branch recycling manager, Mason Mikkola, said in an interview that the company brought out a portable baler it uses to crush cars, and turned the six 737 bodies into large metal cubes. ... “I assume most of that stuff will get exported,” Mikkola said.

100 Years of Bloodletting

The First World War began 100 years ago today, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia at 11AM, local time.

Otto von Bismarck had the right of it nearly forty years previously, when he said, in 1878:
"Europe today is a powder keg and the leaders are like men smoking in an arsenal ... A single spark will set off an explosion that will consume us all ... I cannot tell you when that explosion will occur, but I can tell you where ... Some damned foolish thing in the Balkans will set it off."
The spark was in Serbia. Referring to a crisis in Serbia's neighbor, Bulgaria, ten years after his first comment, Bismarck had this to say:
"Bulgaria, that little country between the Danube and the Balkans, is far from being an object of adequate importance... for which to plunge Europe from Moscow to the Pyrenees, and from the North Sea to Palermo, into a war whose issue no man can foresee. At the end of the conflict we should scarcely know why we had fought."
And so it came to pass, though instead of Bulgaria, the powers of Europe went to war over Serbia. Everybody thought that it would be a short, charming little war.

In a few months, it settled into a bloody stalemate on the Western front. Battles were fought over moving the front lines a few hundred yards that resulted in millions of casualties. Ypres (multiple times). Verdun. Somme. Arras. Vimy. Champagne. Isonzo (many times). Brusilov. Gallipoli. Jutland. Atlantic. There were battles that would have been regarded as major losses of life in most other wars, but in this war, were regarded as bloody skirmishes.

The maps of Europe, the Middle East and Africa were redrawn by "statesmen" in Europe. Countries that had not existed in centuries sprang into existence. Boundaries were drawn with no regard for the locations of ethnic populations. In Eastern Europe, there was fighting over that nearly continuously until World War II re-enveloped the entire continent. World War II can be regarded as the second phase of the World War, with the time between 1918 and 1939 being when the major combatants rested, recovered the population of their cannon fodder and rearmed.

The German, Ottoman and Russian empires all fell. The seeds of the decline of the British empire were sown. Aerial bombing of cities and the sinking of passenger ships without warning became acceptable. Hidebound generals refused to budge from tactics better suited for combat with muzzle-loading muskets, resulting in the wastage of millions of men. The flower of (male) youth of several nations was nearly eliminated. The British landed-estate class system began to fall. The word "genocide" entered the lexicon. It took the Germans over 90 years to pay off the "reparations" assessed in the Treaty of Versailles.* The high-handed redrawing of borders in the Middle East and Africa have reverberated in blood to this day. The Iron Harvest continues. Unexploded shells are killing people nearly a century after they were fired from cannons.

Most wars, in retrospect, make little sense. The First World War ranks very high on that list of shame.
* The British, on the other hand, have never paid off their war debt to the United States and have made no move to do so for the last eighty years.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

R51, Version 1.1

Remington is not going to fix the R51s out there. They're going to replace all of them.

If you have an original R51 and you can afford to eat the cost, it might be worth hanging on to for a long-term collector's item. Although it might be into the next century before one of your descendants can cash in on it.

Sad Panda Time in D.C.

The D.C. ban on carrying firearms has been struck down.

Your Sunday Morning Rocket Noise

Launch of Vanguard I:

The Navy took three tries to get Vanguard into space, only officially numbering the satellites if they made it. To get to Vanguard-3 took 11 launches.

The first one was the first live-televised satellite launch. It was a spectacular failure.

Of some note was that was the era of the overlap between newsreels and network TV. The last few producers hung on into the 1960s.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Oh, My; Steam Edition

C&O 1309 is going to be restored and put back into service.

They only ran that class of locomotive for a few years.

I envision a road trip to Cumberland in the future.

Heater; New

S&W 442-2:

It has two things that I've come to value in a carry piece: Not a lot of weight and a shrouded hammer. I don't know as I'd want to go much lighter than this one with .38s. The shrouded hammer is pretty obvious-- nothing to catch on a draw from a pocket or from under a covering garment.

I thought about getting a hammer shroud for my Detective Special. They're still available. The two main reasons why I don't is that there is still the 1/2lb weight difference. Second is that the DS is nearly 40 years old and Colt doesn't make them anymore. When a gun is out of production for awhile, doing permanent modifications becomes known as "Bubba-ing".

Case in point: M1903 Springfields. There used to be a shitload of them available through various surplus weaponry sources. They were cheap. A lot of people had theirs "sporterized" (including my dad). But now they're becoming less common, unaltered ones are going for over a grand. Sometimes well over one.

Some Might Call It "Denial"; Shrinks & Guns Edition

Dr. Murray Shane, on NPR's "All Things Considered" yesterday, said that he didn't think that psychiatrists need to carry guns. (Go to about 2:44 if you just want to hear the comment itself.)

Right. The perp killed a caseworker and then was about to kill the doctor. The doctor drew his own gun and they exchanged shots. The perp did federal time for bank robbery and then for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Assuming that he had a stolen weapon, he was looking at at least ten years in prison if he were caught carrying the gun.

Laws prohibiting felons from possessing guns didn't stop this guy. Neither did the "gun free zone" signs at the doors to the hospital. What stopped,or at least slowed, this asswipe down from committing mass murder was two shots in the stomach from a .32 automatic.

Caturday; Retro Edition

From a friend's cell phone camera, Gracie (MPBUH):

Friday, July 25, 2014

LAPD: Can You Imagine Reed and Malloy Going Along With This?

The Los Angeles Police Department has opened an investigation into allegations that command staff in some of the city's police stations artificially inflated the number of officers they had on patrol to comply with department regulations.
The allegation is that the brass ordered the street cops to fill out logs saying that they were out in patrol when they were, in fact, at the cop shops doing paperwork or processing prisoners and such.

But not these guys:

Because It's Friday

N&W 1218.

N&W started a detailed overhaul of 1218 in the early `90s and never completed it.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Spashdown +45

Apollo 11's command module splashed down in the Pacific ocean.

There was still paperwork to do for the arrival:

(Click on the image to enlarge it.)

A view on why we can't do SLTT anymore.

Danger Tweet

A man and his kids were booted off a Southwest Airlines flight because he tweeted about a rude gate agent. Because somehow, that's a threat?

"Safety of flight" is being abused as mush as "officer safety" is abused. Both are used for covering up rude and abuse treatment by those in a position of temporary authority.

Good move, SWA. What would have been a tweet by a passenger displeased at one gate agent, a tweet that probably would have gone unnoticed, is now a public relations disaster of a story that has made it to television and to the dead tree press.

It could get worse, if the guy cuts a song about it. Ask United about that one.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What Are They Going to Do, Spank Him?

Yeah, like this will have any effect:
Beverly Hills police want Justin Bieber to behave himself after neighbors there complained about his loud partying.

Police responded six times over the weekend to Bieber's condominium -- twice for fan misconduct and four times because neighbors complained about noise coming from an apparent party, Beverly Hills police Sgt. Matt Subin told the Los Angeles Times.
The only thing that's going to dent his skull will be deportation. Let those fuckers up north have him back.

I don't know if even hard time would do it. He'd probably remake himself as some sort of honky rap mogul or something like that. For he's got the money to buy protection from being shanked and/or cornholed.

Handy for an Attack by Zombie Squirrels?


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Did Lowering Taxes for the Rich Destroy the Middle Class?

I wonder if it did.

Back in the days when the top marginal tax rates were in the seventies to nineties, there wasn't the incentive to screw the last dime out of everyone else. Sure, you might be able to get more profit my sticking it to those who were bringing home paychecks, but after a certain point, the government was reaping far more of a reward from that than the businessmen.

But then the tax rates started falling. It came to pass that if a businessman was able to wring more profit out of treating workers shabbily, let alone closing the factories and off-shoring them, then he got to keep most of it.

And so things started stagnating for those who were of the non-rich persuasion. Those who took home a paycheck, but not those who were paid in investment income of some kind or another.

And greed took hold. Companies began to see that if they paid their workers really low wages, then some of the costs of having workers would be foisted upon the government. And those who won Lucky Sperm Lotto could get even richer.

Sooner or later, it starts to fall apart. Low paid workers in companies that offer no career growth potential have no incentive to do more than the barest minimum to keep their jobs. In some of those businesses, especially certain one with blue signs, you can see the Soviet attitude of "they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work" on full display.

If there is a fix that can be done inside of the system, I don't know what it is. Our government at almost all levels, and in all three branches, is firmly in the grasp of the Oligarchs.

Keep your head down and your powder dry. I fear that the Day of the Pitchforks is coming. May not be soon, but it's coming.

Color Me "Disappointed"---Not So Much

Crocs is laying off about 180 staff after profits slumped more than 40%. The company, which is listed on the US stock exchange, said it would also be slashing its product range in order to save $10m a year by 2015. In the last three months, profits dropped 44%.
Just in case you've forgotten my feelings on those things.

Care to Guess Who Initiated Most Terrorist Plots on U.S. Soil?

The FBI.

It is quite possible that of the nearly 500 terrorist plots that have been uncovered, that without the FBI's encouragement, the number of actual terrorist plots would have been in the single digits.

Kids of sounds like the FBI's version of "Operation Canned Meat", at times.

In Europe, Today is Pi Day

As in 22/7. Stu explains.

Monday, July 21, 2014

MH-17: Who to Believe?

Nobody. Absolutely nobody, at least for now.

The video evidence of Ukrainian rebel Buk launchers may be that of Ukrainian government Buk launchers.

You can't trust either the Ukrainian government or the Ukrainian rebels to tell the truth. You'd be foolish to believe the Russian government. And, as recent history has shown, both the British and American governments (and their intelligence organizations) are more than capable of lying us into a war.

What do we know for sure? Only this: Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 crashed in eastern Ukraine. Was it a surface-to-air missile? Was it an air-to-air missile?

The only people, right now, who are issuing pronouncements as to who done what are those with a vested interest in spinning the situation their way.

Stand back, watch what unfolds and keep your powder dry.

Whilst the World Is Watching the Ukraine or Gaza or ISIS...

... Ebola is spreading in West Africa.

More people have died from this outbreak than have been killed in the latest Israeli-Palestinian brouhaha, but people dying from an infectious disease doesn't make for good television footage. Not when compared to shit getting blown up, that is.

And the correspondents are probably more afraid of a virus than of shrapnel.

Monday Morning.... Need Coffee!

Really lengthy series of cartoons on caffeine and coffee. Don't click unless you're in need of a serious time sink.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

"One Small Step" +45

Neil Armstrong (may peace be upon him) set foot on the Moon at this time, 45 years ago.

Along with the assassinations of Dr. King and President Kennedy, the Moon Landing has become one of those "where were you when" moments.

It was only a century from the completion of the first transcontinental railroad to the first flight to the Moon. Both endeavors were the engineering marvels of their times.

Bye, Jim

James Rockford has died at age 86.

I think that the first movie I'd ever seen him in was "Support Your Local Sheriff". I can't think of too many other actors who seemed to move as effortlessly between movies and television.

He was the star of "the Rockford Files", a terrific series. A dozen years after it ended, they made seven follow-on "Rockford Files" TV movies.

Updated: Forgot about "Grand Prix". Saw that one in Cinerama.

Tranquility Base +45

Eagle, the lunar module for Apollo 11, landed on the Moon, 45 years ago.

The landing was a triumph of both the American space program and for manned flight. As it later came to light, an unmanned lander would have crashed into a field of boulders. NASA didn't aim the LM at that spot, but a combination of irregularities in Lunar gravitation and residual thrust from air in the docking tunnel (when Eagle undocked from Columbia) caused a trajectory error.

Remember the RMS Lusitania

Go back about 99 years and you'll learn that destroying a transport laden with passengers, no matter what justification is claimed by those who did the deed, is a very bad move.

The Germans may have been justified in sinking the ship, but they badly lost the subsequent propaganda battle. The British were able to successfully paint the German U-boats as the wanton murderers of women and children.

When outrages such as the sinking of the Lusitania or the downing of MH Flight 17 happen, it can be difficult to separate out fact from propaganda. All sides have reasons to fudge the details, if not outright lie. Everyone involved calculates that the effects of being found out of having lied will occur long after they've harvested the maximum benefit from the tragedy.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise



Saturday, July 19, 2014

Carry On- Gun Weights

I brought home a postal scale from work to weigh some of the different handguns that I've carried over the years. The weights I'm giving are all loaded weights.*

  • Colt Government Model, Series 80:                 44.2 oz
  • S&W Model 10, 4" heavy barrel:                      37.2
  • S&W Model 696:                                              39.4
  • Colt Detective Special:                                     27.4
  • Taurus 605 (CT #305 laser grips):                    24.8
  • Walther (Interarms) PPK/s, .380:                     25.4
  • S&W Model 442 (CT #105 laser grips):           16.6

All the folks who keep harping on the "weight matters" point are right, up to a point.  It's probably a good idea to carry the lightest gun that you can shoot well enough.  The Pros from Dover all seem to recommend firing 300 rounds through a carry piece as a minimum function check.  I think that's a bit much with a revolver, but probably good advice with the self-litterers.

A PPK or an Airweight are guns that'll be taken along, while the heavy 1911s rest in the safe.  A pocket gun shouldn't feel like you're toting a flat iron.

Weight matters.
* Because nobody carries unloaded weapons.

Keep the VORs (and Bring Back LORAN-C)

The FAA has a Notice to Airmen out regarding GPS interference testing. Testing of some gizmo at one spot might wipe out GPS over a good chunk of the southwestern US and northern Mexico.

It would be pretty sucky if that was your only method of IFR navigation for a flight from Dallas to San Diego.

I'm not a radio geek, so take what I say with much caution.

GPS satellites radiate about a 500 Watt signal. At the receiver, it's down to about 10^-18 Watt.

That would seem to be freakishly easy to fuck with. Which is why LightSquared's proposed network never was allowed.

Caturday, Traffic-Study Edition

There is no truth to the vile rumor that the cat blocking the bridge from the cattery to the outdoor rec area is named Chris Christie.

Friday, July 18, 2014

DiFi Will Never Quit on the NSA

She's still fighting to expand the NSA's powers. Because that seems to be her mission in life, to let the NSA do whatever the fuck it wants to.
As compared to the Cybersecurity Act the Senate considered in July, 2012, the bill would dismantle many hard-fought privacy protections that had improved that legislation as it moved to the Senate floor. Indeed, the bill seems to disregard the revelations about surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency both within the U.S. and includes no new civil liberties protections responsive to those disclosures.
of course, it's not just Lady DiFi who is trying to pull the curtain back over the NSA's fuckery. She's getting lots of help from her fellow Statist, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Nuremberg). And MTAHNS has got its greasy paws in the mix, as well.

More and more, I am coming to the belief that about all that can be done is to keep one's head down and wait for the whole mess to come crashing down. A country whose government spies and monitors its citizenry is not a free nation, regardless of what fine words are enshrined in its constitution.

Mouth-Breathers Keeping Us Safe?

The TSA doesn't seem to know that the District of Columbia is part of the nation.

One might imagine that they think that the "D.C." in "Washington, D.C." refers to sexual proclivities.....

I haven't heard of anything this dumb since a guy I once knew was not permitted to mail a package because of a requirement to spell out the names of nations. The jerk in the Post Office thought that Austria was an abbreviation of Australia. (The customer then asked to see the clerk's boss "or somebody who is at least a GS-2".)

In Alaska, Bullets are Cheap

So here's the deal: A family of black bears took up residence in town. Lots of local interest, people snapping pictures of the bear family. Other than rooting through the trash and swiping a few picnic baskets, the bears bothered nobody.

But that didn't seem to sit well with the Fish Cops, who went out and shot the mother.

(An option not readily available to the cops in South Carolina, fortunately.)

One has to wonder of the AK Fish Cops have heard of the Internet and how shit like this can easily go viral and then they're having to deal with a gusher of outrage and butthurt from around the globe.

Because It's Friday

North Korea:

This appears to be working steam on an electrified railway line. Between that, and the sight of a horse-drawn cart in an urban area, says something about the economic conditions in North Korea. I'm surprised that the North Korean "minders" allowed the video footage to be shot.

Big City Police Chiefs and MH17

Anyone who has paid any attention to the gun control pronouncements of large city police chiefs will have learned that they are almost 100% in favor of not only gun control, but a total disarming of the local population of serfs. My own suspicion has been that's what they've been told to say and that even when tehy leave their jobs, they hew to the party line in hopes of getting another job.

So that's why Detroit Police Chief James Craig has been a real refreshing change:
“Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” said Craig, who has repeatedly said he believes armed citizens deter crime. “I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed.

“I can’t say what specific percentage is caused by this, but there’s no question in my mind it has had an effect,” Craig said.
Detroit's government was more-or-less deposed by the state last year, so maybe Chief Craig is freer to speak.


Of all the things that I've read on the shootdown of MH17, this caught my eye: A suggestion that MH17 may have been diverted over the Ukranian conflict zone. The ten previous flights MH17 flew south of the contested area, but not this one.

Very interesting. One might hazard a guess which side would gain from a civilian airliner being shot down over the area. It's not a hard question to answer, if one watches how this has played out so far.


The President has added some Russian arms companies to his sanctions list. I haven't been paying much attention to the equipping of the Afghan Army, but it seemed to me that the decision had been long-ago made to re-equip them with the same stuff that they were used to using, which ranged from Kalashnikovs to Russian helicopters.

the sanctions may make that process a lot more difficult. Just giving the Afghans the cash to buy what they want isn't really doable, not unless the idea is to give them a hundred million dollars and have them end up with most of it grafted away and the net purchases being a case of rusty Bulgarian knock-offs.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Go Ahead, Listen to CNN

You can be pretty same in assuming that whatever CNN says initially about the crash of MH#17 is wrong.

Press to MECO- Tab Clearing, Really

The keyboard on my work computer stopped working. I dug out the one that came with it, which I didn't like very much. But I had some older ones at home,so I brought this one in:

Score your geek points if you recognized it:


At a recent shooting group meeting, they played some safety videos. One guy in a video brought his pistol up in a two-hand grip so that his forearms touched his chest. Then he pushed his arms forward while hunching his back and lowering his head. When he was done, he brought his gun back to his chest.

It looked silly and, for some reason, the phrase "press to MECO" came to mind. Which has nothing to do with shooting, of course.


Let me see if I understand this: California's death penalty is unconstitutional because the Californians were not efficient enough at putting people to death? So if they had executed people like Texas does, there would have been no problem? Maybe there is a good legal rationale behind that, but it just doesn't sound right.


Not sure how I missed this one, but anyone who has paid attention to how the FBI has done business for most of its existence won't be surprised.


If Google was a real human.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Commence Operation Cover-Up... Execute!-- CHP Edition

Maybe the Chippies are doing an honest investigation of this incident. And maybe they're ensuring that the hard evidence conveniently disappears.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — An attorney says California Highway Patrol investigators have seized medical records of a woman seen on video being repeatedly punched by one of the agency's officers on the side of a Los Angeles freeway.

Chris Arevalo, executive administrator for psychiatric services at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, confirmed Wednesday that the CHP had served a search warrant on Tuesday.
I bet on the latter. For everyone knows that the best way to control somebody who is in distress is to knock them to the ground, sit on their chest and repeatedly punch them in the head.

I predict that this will be as open and honest as the FBI investigating itself.

Yet Another Gun Post

At my last range outing, the woman in the next booth and I traded guns. She shot my 442 and I shot her Kimber .45. It was Commander-sized, flat mainspring housing and it had night sights.

I was prepared to hate it. I've not had much luck recently with self-littering guns. But at seven yards, it shot seven rounds into one large and ragged hole. Just enough to the right that if I had aimed at center-mass, the bad guy would be minus a heart.

Sweet gun. Not going to buy one. The reason I got the Airweight was to trade off a little bit of shooting comfort for a lot of carry comfort. The Airweight is a good half-pound lighter than either my Taurus 605 or my Colt Detective Special. Compared to those, in a belt holster (IWB or OWB), it's like I've got feathers in the holster.

The LGS had two Pythons in the display case. Over two grand for either of them. Not for me.

How Does This Make Any Sense; UPS Edition

Take a look at this tracking report:

So... UPS took the package from Bensenville, IL, hauled it 500 miles to Kansas City, then shipped it to Forest Park, IL (which is right down the road from Bensenville), only to hand it over to the Postal Service and tell them "y'all take it from here".

How does that make any sense?

Be Careful Where You Go With Your Heater

Or you could wind up like this woman, who crossed from Pennsylvania into New Jersey with her gun.

Not that her car might not have been stripped by the cops, for having a permit in another state is cause enough in the eyes of  some cops.

Concealed carry, because it's regulated by the states, is a minefield for traveling. You may have reciprocity in one place, but not another. One state will require you to inform the cops if you're stopped that you're packing, other states don't. In some places, even if there's not reciprocity, one can get a permit for the adjoining state. But the residents of that state might not be able to.

I know that there are people who would like the Federal government to step in and mandate reciprocity. I disagree with that, for if they can do that, there is nothing to stop them from going the other way. And there is nothing more that Nanny McBloomberg would like to see happen.

As for Ms. Allen, she's likely pretty well screwed. Because while her only hope may be that Secaucus Fats does her a solid and pardons her, but since she both likely doesn't have the wherewithal to make large campaign contributions and she's in a minority group that would rather roll on broken glass than vote GOP, good luck with that ever happening.

(H/T to Weird & Pissed Off)

45 Years Ago

The launch of Apollo 11.

Step back 45 years from that day, to 1924, you'll find that Charles Lindbergh was in military pilot training. Lindbergh was still alive when Apollo 11 flew, he wrote the forward for Michael Collin's book "Carrying the Fire", which is about as much a "must-read" as anything else ever written about the American manned space program.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Back to the Old Days; NSA Edition

The German government is considering going back to typewriters as a way to limit NSA spying.

Of course, some idiot will then fax the damned letters and documents, which will defeat the entire purpose. Back in the day, the rumor was that the Japanese government copied all faxes from and to Westerners in the hotels and then gave the copies to the Japanese companies that were negotiating with the Western businessmen.

If the Germans are going to use typewriters, then they can't use copiers, which these days are all scanners that could be surreptitiously tapped. So it'd be back to carbon paper or carbonless multi-part copies.

White-canary-green-pink-goldenrod. The Selectrics made that work. In a manual typewriter with a wimpy typist, the bottom copies might be illegible.

Snubbies Don't Suck

At seven yards with a S&W 442, using Tam's target*, printed onto a sheet of copy paper:

Yes, that's slow, deliberate fire using the iron sights. I wasn't trying to hurry things along. Still, I think that's pretty good for a 2" barrel with a DAO trigger.

UPDATE: Two range sessions, probably 40 rounds of standard-pressure, total, and I can feel soreness in my gripping hand from the recoil. I might make up some mouse-fart loads for practice with it. This gun is definitely not a range toy.
*No, I didn't get the damned thing exactly circular when I printed it out.  So sue me.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

No Shit, Sherlock; Evolutionary Edition

Overuse of a single pesticide results in weeds that are immune to it. "Roundup", aka glyphosate, has been sprayed over fields for almost twenty years and now the weeds have evolved.

Monsanto's probably more than a bit to blame for this. I don't doubt for a picosecond that Monsanto overhyped and oversold the benefits of glyphosate to farmers.

But evolution and nature* will not be denied.
*Though there is likely no such entity as "Mother Nature". For if She existed, She would have wiped our species out a few centuries ago.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Going around....

Saturday, July 12, 2014

One Hell of a Shotgun

Every so often, in various stories, I see references to a ".12 gauge" shotgun. I've always assumed that was sloppy editing or typesetting, if not writing.

But then I became curious: What would the bore diameter of a .12 gauge shotgun be?

Shotgun gauges (other than .410) are a function of the weight of a lead round ball of the diameter of the shotgun's bore. Simply put, it is how many such round balls it would take to equal a pound. A 12 gauge means that it would take twelve such balls. So 1 pound of pure lead = 1/x, where "x" ix the gauge number.

First off, a ".12 gauge" shotgun would throw a 8.3 lb ball of lead.

There is, of course, an equation for the bore diameter. It is the inverse of the cube root of the gauge number, times 1.66992. Running that on a .12 gauge gives a bore diameter of 3.38".

Which would be one hell of a gun to shoot from the shoulder.

A different formula from Wikipedia yields the same result, with "n" as the bore number.

Crimson Trace Laser Grip Question?

These are the choices for a S&W J-frame:

LG-305- A bit of rubber and I can get three fingers on it: $249.

LG-105- Polymer, looks the size of the standard grips on a 442: $179

LG-405- Standard size, rubber overmold: $259

"Defender" series, polymer: $97.19

The specs for the laser itself all seem to be the same, 5mW.

User comments?


I've created a monster.

He won't just lie on my lap, oh, no. He has to be picked up and laid on his back. And if I don't, he'll bap at me until I do.

Friday, July 11, 2014

File This Under "Shit; Who Gives a"

A photo on LeBron James' Instagram account Friday seemed to confirm a Sports Illustrated report that he's leaving the Miami Heat for the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he spent the first seven years of his career.
Mr. James is a professional basketball player. He'd play for the Kiev Usurpers if the money was right. No rational person would expect otherwise.

The Lies of Emperor Alexander and Jimmy the Perjurer

Turns out that while the Obama Administration was trying to give out the impression that they didn't know of and/or disapproved of the British government forcing the Guardian to smash hard drives containing the Snowden data, they really did know of it beforehand. And they tought it was just peachy.

For even after Snowden's leaks, the idiots in the spy agencies can't keep their electronic yaps shut.
General Keith Alexander, the then director of the NSA, was briefed that the Guardian was prepared to make a largely symbolic act of destroying documents from Edward Snowden last July, new documents reveal.

The revelation that Alexander and Obama's director of national intelligence, James Clapper, were advised on the Guardian's destruction of several hard disks and laptops contrasts markedly with public White House statements that distanced the US from the decision.
I am going to restate my guidance on listening to what the spooks say in public: Every word should be taken as a lie, including the words "and" and "the". If Clapper were to tell you that the Sun was to rise in the east tomorrow, you would be well advised to stock up on flashlight batteries.

It's getting hard to keep the outrage going. The revelations of how those fuckers are watching us all just keep piling up. We learned last week that if you even look up information about the Tor browser, the NSA will watch you because they think you're a potential terrorist. Go take pictures of a train or a dam and the FBI may keep a file on you for thirty years.

At this point, one would have to presume that the NSA is indeed keeping phone data, including content, on everyone in the country.

Here's a "what if" idea: Many of us have free long distance. So say that two people are going to leave their homes for awhile. Person A calls person B on their landline, person B answers. Then one of them puts the handset next to a radio tuned into a news/talk radio station and they both leave and go about their business. If enough people were to do this, the NSA's servers would be filled with millions of hours of NPR/Limbaugh/Beck or whoever your local blabbermouth is.

Because It's Friday

Vietnamese steam:

Goddamn engineer seems to be in love with his whistle cord.

The First Step in Creating an Army of the Undead

That would be to send them draft notices.
[T]he Selective Service System mistakenly sent notices to more than 14,000 Pennsylvania men born between 1893 and 1897, ordering them to register for the nation's military draft
Because the zombies aren't going to volunteer.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Spy- Raus!

Germany is expelling the CIA's station chief. The Germans are saying it's not an "expulsion", just a polite request to get the fuck out.

Usually, when a "friendly" nation expels a diplomat, it's for deeply personal fuckery, such as getting drunk and killing a hooker. Tiffs such as this are normally worked out in quiet. That the Germans went public says a lot about the state of relations between Germany and the U.S.

Happy Birthday, Nikola

Nikola Tesla was born on this day in 1858.

If you plug something into an electrical outlet, you are drawing power from a generation and distribution system first envisioned and built by Tesla.

A Morning Coffee Post

That should read "I'd", not "I'll", because the preceding clause is conditional, but what the hell. Nobody seems to give a fuck about grammar anymore.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"It's Not What You Know, It's Who You Are Related To"; American Oligarchy Edition- Clinton Branch

Chelsea Clinton basically pulls down 900 large for a couple of nearly no-show jobs.

I'll readily agree that this is a condition that spans party lines. You're no more as likely to find one of the Spawn of Romney, Bush or Kennedy holding down a job in an assembly plant or dishing out lattes at a coffee shop than you are to find Chelsea Clinton doing it. And this shit goes on up and down the economic strata, such as kids who get into jobs because a relative gives them an in. There are no shortage of family businesses where the "lesser-talented" have virtually no-show jobs.

But imagine that you're a hard-working reporter somewhere. You're probably a few orders of magnitude better at it than Ms. Clinton, but you're covering zoning meetings in Iowa because that's the work you could get, as you don't have family connections.

Bet money on this: This really grated at somebody at NBC whose last name isn't that of a famous family.

One only hopes that she is aware of the advantages that her name has brought her, unlike, say, a certain former president who, as the saying goes, "was born on third base and believes that he hit a triple."

You Know That You Need to Have One

Everyone in Congress needs one of these, too.

Karma's a Bitch; Pamploma Edition

PAMPLONA, Spain (AP) -- An American who co-authored the book "Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona" became one of their victims Wednesday when he was one of two men gored at the festival.

Bill Hillmann, a 32-year-old from Chicago and a longtime participant in the nine-day Pamplona street party, was gored twice in the right thigh during one of the daily bull runs, organizers said on their website.
One might presume that his next book will be titled "How to Win at Russian Roulette".

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Taurus View

My LGS has a Taurus View in stock. the conversation went like this:
Me- "That gun is ugly."

LGS- "Hey! Those guns have feelings. What're you referring to?"

Me- "The Taurus View."

LGS- "That thing's hideous."
He took it out of the case for me. I don't think that I could have held onto it in recoil, for I couldn't get more than two fingers onto it. And as I suspected, the ejector rod moves the star about the thickness of three case rims.

He told me that I should buy it and take it to the range to do a range report. I told him that if he gave me fifty bucks, I'd take it to the range for him and try at least one round through it. We both declined each other's offer.

I think that the View ranks right up there with the "Double-Tap Defense" derringer, in that it's a gun that hardly anyone would want to shoot more than once.

And given that the price of the View is more than either a S&W Airweight or a Ruger LCR, I can't imagine who, in their right mind, would ever buy one.

So Stipulated

Joan Rivers is an asshole.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Gun Musings

I'm thinking of getting a pocket pistol, the kind with no protrusions, so that it can be carried in a pocket.

Since I'm a revolver girl, it seems as though the best choice may be a S&W Airweight. It'll have to be blued, for I don't like shiny guns for concealed carry purposes.


Chikungunya is Coming?

There are a bunch of cases in the US, now, but most seem to be travel-related. It does seem as though that this isn't a fun disease to have.

If American mosquitoes do begin to transmit this disease, it'd be a good idea to take preparations, such as using mosquito repellant, keeping your screens in good repair and making sure that there is no standing water on your property. Those little fuckers can breed in an upturned bottlecap's worth of water.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

If It Ain't Boeing, I Ain't Going

Airbus has filed a patent application for a virtual reality cockpit.

If a better rendition of this is released, somebody needs to overlay a Blue Screen of Death on the display, like this:

There may be a tricky issue about what known in the patent business as "prior art". This one of the renditions of Airbus's cockpit:

Looks kind of familiar to me:

And if Boeing adopts the same thing, I'll drive or take the train. For if the cockpit is "virtual", what prevents it from being remotely controlled, like a drone?

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

F-105 Thunderchiefs

If you were a Thud driver in the Vietnam War, you wanted to be certain that your affairs were in order.

Yepper, That'll Buff Right Out.

A rail derailment in Montana dumped three 737 fuselages into the Clark Fork River.

If you look at the nearest fuselage, you can see that it is cracked almost in two. Three more fuselages were dumped alongside the railroad track, but didn't fall into the river.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Myopic Bangity

I went to the range today. While I was there, I switched out my eyeglasses for non-prescription safety glasses and then tried shooting at an IDPA practice target with the aid of a laser sight.

21 feet, five shots, five hits COM.

I am very nearsighted. When I'm asked to read the top line of an eye chart without my glasses, the best that I can do is to say "I can see that there's a chart." Both front and rear sights on a handgun are a blur without corrective eyewear.

But I can see that red dot!

Better Sports Through Doping

The Tour de Pharmaceuticals France is underway.

May the best pharmacologist win!

Caturday; Jailbird Edition

"Lemme outta here, copper! I ain't done nuttin', see!"

"I wanna speak to my mouthpiece! I'm innocent, I tells ya!"

(The cat is a rescue cat. Go adopt one from your animal shelter.

Hell, Isn't That What Usually Happens?

Germany defeated France (in the World Cup quarterfinals).

F-35 Flammenwerfer

The troubles keep piling on for the F-35:
U.S. military officials have grounded all F-35s while continuing to investigate a runway fire involving one of the fighter jets at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

In a statement issued Thursday, the Pentagon's press secretary said Air Force and Navy officials ordered the F-35 fleet grounded after initial findings in the incident in Florida on June 23.
Back in the day, when these things weren't so fucking expensive, the Army/Air Force often would buy two different airplanes and fund them through initial production in case one of them turned out to be a failure. Even now, they get the top two flying.

But in this case, I doubt if the XF-32 would have been any better. The services have "christmas-treed" too many mission requirements onto the F-35, from VTOL close-air support to air-superiority. The Air Force, Navy and Marines publicly expect the F-35 to do every fixed-wing mission except trash-hauling and strategic bombing. That strikes me as being borderline locked-ward grade insanity.

If you read between the lines of this story, the Navy is hedging its bets on the F-35.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The NSA Is Probably Tracking You

If you have used the Tor browser or have ever been curious about it enough to research it, the NSA is tracking you.

Because It's Friday

Welsh narrow-gauge steam.

The Fourth

The unanimous Declarationof the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Unpatriotic Motherfuckers

Every swinging business that is open today and which doesn't absolutely have to be open.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Co-Ops Can Be as Reactionary as Any Company Run by the Koch Brothers

Oh, you might think that food co-ops are a bunch of lefty groups all in favor of promoting sustainable agriculture, social consciousness and recycled whatnot and so on and so forth.

But just let the workers at one of them think about forming a union to better their own conditions and the co-ops will go all Homestead on their asses.

Shorter "Privacy Board" Declaration: "There Ain't No Such Thing as Privacy Online."

That's pretty much the Privacy Board's take on the NSA collecting data on the Internet.

Oh, sure, the NSA denies collecting everything on the Internet (though the Obama Administration says they can), they say that their collection is "targeted", but they are lying. They always have been lying. And yes, they are collecting your phone calls.

I don't know what the answer is. Passing laws to change what the NSA does is going to be almost as futile as passing laws to outlaw global warming.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Some Things Never Change; War Correspondents Edition

"History of the Gatling Gun Detachment, Fifth Army Corps, at Santiago" by John H. Parker:
The newspaper correspondent in Cuba was of a distinguished type. You recognized him immediately. He was utterly fearless; he delighted in getting up on the firing-line—that is, a few of him did. Among these few might be mentioned Marshall, and Davis, and Remington, and Marcotte, and King, and some half-dozen others; but there was another type of newspaper correspondent in Cuba, who hung around from two miles and a half to three miles in rear of the firing-line, and never by any possibility got closer to the enemy than that. The members of this guild of the newspaper fraternity were necessarily nearer the cable office than their more daring comrades; in fact, there were a few who were known to have been eight or nine miles nearer to the cable office during battles, and those correspondents were the ones who made the great "scoop" in the New York papers, by which a regiment that laid down and skulked in the woods, or ran wildly to the rear, was made to do all the fighting on the first day of July. This latter class of journalists were a menace to the army, a disgrace to their profession, and a blot upon humanity.

A Non-Profit Company That Will Kick Your Doors In and Gun Down Your Dogs?

In Massachusetts, the po-po in part of the state have set up a regional SWAT team. They claim that the SWAT group is a private non-profit and is not subject to the state open record's law.

So if they're a private company, then presumably the "qualified immunity" given to police agencies when they do shit doesn't apply to them. And neither should it apply to their so-called members.

It is past time that we do something about these masked fat men with their M-4, who seem to get a special amount of jollies out of abusing people and gunning down their pets.

UPDATE: I'm not the only one to ask this question.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


I finally got around to watching the pilot of Tyrant. The protagonist is the son of a brutal Middle Eastern dictator. The son had gone into self-imposed exile at age 16 and became a pediatrician in Los Angeles. He and his nuclear family go back to the Old Country for his nephew's wedding and, as you might imagine, shit happens.

The country seems to be loosely based on Syria, though there are differences. One is that being the dictator of that country is the family business gong back several generations, which is pretty much not true of any nation in the Middle East, other than Iran. The similarities are that the dictator's son who was the heir apparent died in a car crash, leaving the son who was a doctor in charge. For Syria, the time between the first son dying and the dictator croaking was several years, not the greatly-compressed timeline of the show.

In the pilot, the doctor becomes really withdrawn once he and his family make the trip. His wife is rather clueless, she apparently pressured him into making the trip so he could have closure or some such nonsense. Their son is vapid and shallow and their daughter, like her father, wanted to stay home in LA.

In watching it, the only thing that was not boringly predictable was the series of flashbacks to an assassination attempt thirty years previously. Without that, I'd have written this one off. But I'll watch a few more to see if F/X can do this without it being a one-dimensional cartoon.

Though "cartoon" isn't the right word, for there are more subtleties in an average episode of the Simpsons than there was in Tyrant.

Garbage Trucks and Firefox

You know those side-loading garbage trucks that pick up and empty the bins in residential areas?

Nobody ever sees what's in those bins. So what's to stop somebody from using them for disposing of inconvenient bodies?

Any reason to update to FF30? I hate the look of it (if I wanted to use Google's Chrome, I would).

In Milwaukee, When Seconds Count, the Cops Are Up to a Half-Hour Away.

Because the cops are "proactive policing", they're not available for reactive policing.

So tell me, how is calling 9-1-1 going to save your life in such a situation. Effectively, if you need a cop in Milwaukee, you're on your own.