20071229

One piece at a time


An AR15 flattop upper is being assembled around an Alexander Arms 6.5mm Grendel 16" barrel. I lack the muzzle device, gotta work that yet. Acquired like Johnny Cash's automobile, one piece at a time.

TCM is pushing me toward a 1.5x long-eye-relief optic and I have one picked out.

20071227

We're callin' out the Cabinet Man . . .

TCM and I have exchanged a few hairy eyeballs over the last few weeks. He's a Paulist, I'm For Fred. TCM has seen the sights a girl can see from Brooklyn Heights, what a crazy pair!

I'm hoping he'll go back over the last few emails and assemble them into a manifesto, and we can bat this topic back and forth in this space.

Looks like only my devoted other five regular readers can draw him out. I keep pointing him to this and that criticism or commentary on Ron Paul's pursuit of the GOP nomination.

What'll it be, and why: Dr No With The Veto, or the Frederalist?

Note that my commenting system still sucks. If anybody can tell me how to scoop up all my comments from enetation and transfer them to the commenting engine here at Blogger, I'm all ears.

20071217

Maybe it was for The Children

Hooooweeeeee!!! The very green United States Air Force chose to recycle their spent fifty-cal brass:

The 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla., has found an innovative way to turn spent brass into cash for the wing’s quality of life programs.

By destroying it.
The wing just set up an “ordnance deformer machine” that will recycle about 240,000 pounds of spent ammunition casings each year. Then the base can sell the scrap for about $70,000.
The cases go for about $.20 each to recreational shooters, with no processing. Ammo prices are up recently, due to cost of materials, so $.20 might be ridiculously low.

The empty cartridge case of the .50 Browning Machine Gun weighs about 900 grains give or take, yielding 7 3/4 cases to the pound (corrections? please email).

I am presuming that Gummint-contract .50 BMG brass is indeed brass, rather than steel or aluminum, meaning it can be reassembled a couple more times before it's worn out and has no value over the material of which it's made. I am also presuming that when Uncle Sugar buys new .50 BMG ammo, he pays about the same for that new case by the trainload as a private citizen does for once-fired in boxes of 100. If I'm off, it's not by far.

The Air Force got snookered, which isn't surprising, or didn't want that brass to find its way to the market for reloading by private fifty-cal citizens, which isn't surprising either. Whether this brass would be sent back to Uncle Sugar's mills to become new .50 BMG or jobbed out to the market, USAF still screwed themselves, and You, Mr and Mrs Taxpayer, out of about $300k per year at just one base.

They have their own funny salute, too

HT Instapundit, Ricketyclick notes that if the Second Amendment speaks only to "members of a well-regulated militia" then it is incumbent on us to get ourselves well-regulated.

He hits the nail on the head, even down to the prized amateur radio license.

Too bad this idea is, what, a century old? It's called Scouting.

Though I imagine the Boy Scouts of America have allowed some creep into their mission and let marksmanship fall from favor; if this is so, it is also reversible with concerted effort.

20071129

Merry Christmas 2007

Was rattling through my dad's papers once again, and came upon this:

Ignore the date on the print, even in those days we hillbillies didn't leave our Christmas decorations up all year. Somebody just didn't get around to unloading the Brownie and getting the pictures developed right away.

I'm far right. The bookish fellow on the left is a regular commenter at DailyPundit, I hear.

Merry Christmas to you.

20071115

20071113

Bleg

I don't normally do this. Forgive.

My status as a US servicemember prohibits me from contributing to a Presidential candidate.

So somebody drop Fred Thompson a couple of bucks, willya? If you come through Cheyenne, I'll cook you dinner.

Hmmm, is that legal?

Watershed!

If this is the political position that the heart of the anti-abortion movement is willing to endorse, WUTT! is calling today a watershed moment. There is hope for Federalism if religious conservatives will embrace it, and that means more than wishful thinking for the Presidential campaign of Fred Dalton Thompson:

"On abortion, Fred is pro-life. Period. He does not, however, support a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution. His proposal is:

1. Overturn Roe vs. Wade and return the issue of abortion regulation to the states (where it was adequately handled for 200 years before Roe).

2. Allow each state to ban or place restrictions on the performance of abortion in its jurisdiction as it sees fit.

3. Begin the process of convincing the citizens of those states that would still permit abortion that the procedure is wrong and should be banned.

May I point out that, despite Bob Novak’s protestations to the contrary, the Director of the National Right to Life Committee has NO PROBLEM with Fred’s position (please see this article)."

I note that item (3) should be undertaken by true believers only, of their own initiative and resources, not with the power or voice of the Federal government, if (1) and (2) come to pass.

Lest you think Fred pandered to NRLC to get that endorsement, uhhh, I don't think so. He's arguing from a Federalist position, which is almost the inverse of pandering. He is also not hindered by any apparent 180-degree changes in direction from a prior voting record. What's to pander?

This echoes the way out of America's abortion mess that I first saw treated seriously in this book review. Didn't notice it at the time but it stands out now: fave Radley Balko wrote that review.

20071028

Light reading

Finished last week: Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond.

Finished this morning: The Conscience of a Conservative, Barry Goldwater

Starting: Extreme Islam, Adam Parfrey

20071025

Three girls, no bearskin rug


As promised, let me present to you the three Kalashnikovs I've built in the last year or so.

From top to bottom, Nadia, Jadwiga, and Franciszka.

Both Nadia and Jadwiga were rebuilt. Both are now jamfree and seat their magazines happily.

20071015

didn't need the jack, just the iron

Stumbled upon this in eBay: replacement DC jack for my Averatec notebook. Hundreds of them, in fact.

I fixed mine with just some soldering on the existing jack. Replaced nothing.

Review: Ratatouille

We took all the offspring units to the matinee, after Barbaloot heard good things about Pixar's latest, Ratatouille.

I found myself liking it, in spite of my general disdain for all things Mickey.

Three things leapt out at me from this picture, each of which earns the price of admission:

  • animation of hair and fiber. A lightning bolt hits Remy and his brother, singeing their hair. You can see the tiny balls of randomly-fused keratin at the ends of each hair in their coats. In another scene, an army of rats are bathed in a restaurant dishwasher. The wet, clean fur is modeled perfectly.

  • the food critic's writeup. Jaw-dropping in clarity, humility, and wit. Totally unexpected. Go here and find "the work of a critic is easy" in the page. I think a line is missing: "sometimes, the New needs friends."

  • the soundtrack. Stay in the theater after the rest of the crowd has bailed, and listen to the score while the credits roll to the very end. It's rich, layered. It's this guy's work, and it brought tears welling in my eyes and a lump in my throat, just like his score for The Incredibles. Yeah, I do get that way.

Sorry, I don't do stars or thumbs-up.

The chilling effect of state-provided medicine

Rush Limbaugh's program last week, regarding Bush's veto of the SCHIP
program, and his program today covering Lt Gen Sanchez's remarks about
Iraq war reporting, prompt me to observe how the two topics may intersect.

SCHIP is for damn sure a "gateway drug" that could nationalize the entire US
medical industry. Apart from the disaster it would cause to the medical industry
itself (I eschew the term "health care"), what would be the potential
consequences to other institutions, or to seemingly-unrelated civil rights?

Imagine that HillaryCare is implemented across the United States; military
retirees (such as Gen Sanchez) are migrated from TriCare to HillaryCare. It
would be a surprise if such a migration is not being contemplated by single-payer
proponents, or else they couldn't call it "single payer," could they?

There's long-standing precedent that if the Federal Government pays for
something, they can exert great (if not total) control over it. Hell, it isn't just
precedent anymore, it's a governing philosophy among the Left. They count on
getting that control, otherwise they wouldn't bother trying to get the funding
for it, whatever "it" may be.

Then let's say that Gen Sanchez develops a medical problem of some kind---all
manner of manageable-if-treated conditions come with retirement age. These
are now, under HillaryCare, under the control of government payers, auditors,
physicians, review boards, information technology (remember standardized
universal recordkeeping?) etc.

People in these careers will stake their advancement on drinking the single-payer
KoolAid, either because they are true believers in single-payer, or because they
owe their jobs to its existence.

Regardless, a person employed by that system, or responsible for making it work,
might want a critic to shut up. Consciously or subconsciously, they have the
means to do so.

"Hmmm, there's no record of a scheduled bypass surgery here, sir, I'm sorry," or
"There's an error in the database about your medications, sir," or worse yet,
"I'm very sorry, Ma'am, there was an error with the medications prescribed for
your husband, and these two medications combined are very dangerous. They
should never have been prescribed together."

Then a few days later: "No, ma'am, the Medical Cost Containment Amendment
of 2010 prohibits you from suing Federally-funded caregivers for your husband's
death, without permission. You have to apply for permission from the Program
to sue it." The application process will keep the Trial Lawyers well fed, even if
the lawsuits themselves do not. Gotta throw them a bone.

No doubt there are some on the Left who wish this outcome for their critics (but
will never concede that it could happen in a program run by the Left's "our
people"), so as presented, it wouldn't appeal to them. To sell this angle to the
Left, it will have to be cross-dressed a bit.

Since they insist on vilifying President Bush, ask them how much they'd like
their health care---top to bottom, stubbed toe to rehab to final bill, womb to
the tomb---directed by a Bush appointee instead of "our people"?

Forget tax audits: they're chump change compared to arbitrary bureaucratic
power over life and death.

Fair warning: this will get crass. Don't blame me.
The medical is the personal, and the Left wants
to make the
medical political---the polar opposite
of "personal." It can't help but become crass.
End of fair warning.


How safe would Cindy Sheehan feel in openly criticizing the Administration if
her next PAP smear literally depended on it?

20071005

Time to send Wayne some more help

I'm writing another check for Wayne Fincher's legal defense fund.

Please help with his legal costs, he's taking one for the rest of us.

Hollis Wayne Fincher Defense Fund
PO Box 215
Elkins AR 72727

20070918

Please don't Tase me! Please! I haven't done anything!

I need recommendations for a left-hand small-of-back holster for a Glock 23.

Really. Somebody. All I found so far is Galco.

20070913

Suitably stable

Our migration to Tiger seems to be running well, in spite of having to upgrade the OS in place rather than a clean install.

One hitch, not directly related to Tiger: can't figure out how to migrate an email account from Netscape 7.1 over to Thunderbird. Still prompts as if it's a brand new account that never existed before instead of importing folders.

20070827

At least they know a good design when they see it

At Barnes and Noble, Coronado Center, ABQ last week, this cover art jumped out at me:

It's a magazine that appears to have the production values and artistic sense of Wired, but concentrates on "doing good." Have a look for yourself, by all means.

From the article:

The problem is that “good design” didn’t look much beyond the object itself. An AK-47 rifle, for example, makes use of sound and appropriate materials and it demonstrates other criteria of good design, such as solid workmanship, efficiency, and suitability of purpose . . . the AK-47 is a classic in the annals of good design (it also happens to be most popular firearm in the world). But the question then is: good for what and for whom?
Well dammit, design shouldn't look beyond the object itself. The object serves a purpose. People give purposes to things.

People give purpose to themselves, or they glide through life without purpose at all. Which is the more destructive? This includes the devout, who no doubt will claim that a purpose was given them by the Savior---for purposes of this post, I consider them to have sought and chosen their purposes.

The Kalashnikov rifle is designed to do a given thing, and its design must be evaluated in terms of how well it does that thing. Good's writers understand and agree that it did indeed fulfill its purpose well. They merely disagree with that purpose.

From the X-ray, I can't tell whether they have an AK-47 or an AKM. I don't see rivets, I don't see the outline or the meat of the rear trunnion for the under folder. No cleaning rod running through the forearm, where an X-ray would show it starkly in contrast to the wood or polymer forearm, and the steel insert in the forearm's barrel channel. The pistol grip shows as much density as the thin walls of the receiver or the solid chunk of the front trunnion.

I'd put a Starbucks venti on the notion that this art isn't an X-ray photograph at all, but an artist's rendering of an AK from a field-stripped parts diagram, massaged to look like an X-ray, to suggest that they've really looked at how an AK is put together. "See inside! Ewwwww!"

Appreciation of good design doesn't stop at how well the device serves its application, but delves into how it is made, the meta-design if you will: this machine was made to be made cheaply.

20070818

Humble beginnings

A letter arrived today from Thrift Savings Program, which is the pretax savings plan for Uncle Sugar's military. I needed to sit down after reading:

We will no longer use your Social Security number as your primary identifier . . .
Humble beginnings. It's not without its bugs, of course:

. . . if you talk to our call center representatives, they may ask you for your Social Security number as added protection.
They'll still rely on the SSN as a password---verification of identification---but not as identification itself. It's not what I was hoping for, not what servicemen (and all taxpayers) deserve, but for the FedGov this is a huge step.

More of this, please, and more boldly.

20070814

Rev Horton Heat would be dismayed

The State of New Mexico has some inexplicable animus against the martini.

Their highway signs warning against DUI use the distinctive silhouette of the martini glass as the universal symbol for abuse of alcohol. It's unmistakable.

I'd venture to say that the Land of Enchantment has arrested more DUIs suffering impairment from lagers than from martinis of all kinds.

Gone

My brother passed away quietly, in his home, with family near him. I was able to see him and speak to him before that, though I could not bring Toad to meet him. His wife and children move on, with dignity and peace.

We just completed the trek down to Phoenix for his memorial and back, offspring units and all, by passenger car and reward points by Marriott.

This brother was the presence of my father while my father worked away, by the week, during my adolescent and teen years. This brother taught me chemistry in the short hours of summer nights. This brother, when heading out for the service academy appointment he fought for, rued leaving me behind with quarreling parents and a house rotting beneath me. I will always be aware of the long shadow he cast.

This is the brother who exercised the most, lived the "cleanest" if you will, and surprised the rest of us the most by suffering and losing an uneven fight with cancer while the returns on his investments in life were just beginning to roll in.

He died the day that the en banc ruling against Abigail Alliance came down. He could have benefited from the medicines that this case sought to make available. He probably could have benefited also from medical practice disconnected from one's employment; he lost valuable time shuttling from appointment to referral to appointment, until the only service of use to him was hospice.

20070808

If I were to have only one, or two, or . .

If I were to have only one rifle, I would consider myself a poor sorry son of a bitch.

In spite of the revered Colonel Cooper's teachings, I would not be satisfied with a Scout. Even JC wasn't happy with a single Scout rifle, even after he had a Steyr built to his specs. My Scouts and/or Pseudoscouts don't cover all of the bases either.

So neither Cabinet Man nor I have only a single rifle, and we seem to keep acquiring them, he at his customary rate and I at mine, with various purposes or roles attached to each.

But the question lingers. So flesh it with some assumptions:

TEOTWAWKI. Your stock of ammunition is what you have around you, possibly supplemented by what neighbors can spare or trade away.

Hits count. Fred gave you the Rifleman patch at a recent Appleseed clinic and you're confident to hit what you can see out to 400, maybe 600 meters. The rifle shoots better than you do.

Fixed, defensible homestead. What you've acquired through the years is still under or around you, and one purpose of the rifle is to keep it.

Partially organized but State-less attackers. Looters, vagabonds, rabble who were created in a city they find no longer habitable. Some may be trained as soldiers. They have no supply chain.

If any US troops show up, your mayor and sheriff stride out to meet them, say everything is fine, offer them breakfast and ask "who's the President?"

Golly. Any of the .30/7.62mm's cited in Boston's Gun Bible would do.

Change assumptions, then. Instead of equipping your own self and maybe some neighbors for Post-Housing-Bubble, let's say you're fielding an army of a few thousand, and you have a small country's treasury at your disposal while the copper and yellowcake mines are still producing.

That's easy. An AR15, converted to piston operation instead of direct impingement, internally dehorned, possibly carbon fiber instead of aluminum, chambered in 6.5mm x39 Grendel. There may be no full- or burst-auto. Every soldier starts out on a 16" barreled carbine and everybody qualifies with between 600 and 1000 rounds per year.

Your Brit expat DIs and Devil Dog marksmanship instructors find the better of them and graduate them to 20 or 22" barreled designated marksman rifles.

The crew-served weapon is the American contender to replace the M249, still firing 6.5 G on disintegrating links.

Any other set of assumptions probably lies somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.

20070804

"VOID IF TAMPERED" be damned

My treasured little 4.5-lb Averatec subnotebook has given me a couple of fits. This February, its video began to flicker erratically. I shut her down at once, then carefully found the screws that covered its video card. A phillips screwdriver bit punched through the VOID IF TAMPERED seals covering them. I blew a can or so of air through the copper heatsink and put it all back together. No more video flickering. I should go back in and apply a drop of heatsink paste on the chip, but . . .

Now the power cord has been overheating. Where the plug wart enters the case of the computer, there have been baked-plastic smells, and incredible amounts of heat, so much that my valued iGo Power power supply's jack got so hot that its insulation started to melt. I've been jiggling the jack so the charge indicator lights. But on my latest trip, even jiggling doesn't get the computer to charge from the wall.

Being a consumer product, the Averatec is built to frustrate shade-tree computer mechanics such as your humble narrator. However, I strove to get to the eentsy printed-circuit board where the plug wart attaches, and slipped it out.

Cold solder joint, oh very yes. I combed through my brother's garage for solder and iron. Found two rotary tools that wouldn't start, they would have been handy to clean the joint prior to soldering, but too bad. I touched the joint up, reinserted, had no continuity (couldn't find a multimeter in brother's garage either, bummer), took the board back out, cleaned the cold joint with a pencil eraser, resoldered.

Bingo. Now she charges and runs without jiggling. No overheating to the point of etching my fingerprints into the plastic of the jack.

How many people would sh17-can an $800 notebook computer rather than sleuth a power supply problem? Should I put out a shingle for fixing stuff like this?

20070726

Test to recover comments

Ain't too happy with my commenting code recently. As usual, can't tell whether this is user error, change in code that I didn't stay current with, or flat-out broken code or bankruptcy on the part of the commenting system provider.

So the purpose of this post is to force Blogger to republish WUTT, and lefthandedly to apologize to all 4 of my regular readers for the gacked-up commenting.

Update: four minutes later, I think enetation has been hacked. Instead of "comments" appearing at the link to comments, the word "poseurs" appears. Don't like that. Comments work if I'm logged into enetation. Took the changes back out. Stumped. OK, gonna turn Blogger's comments on as well.

'Nuther update: my account at enetation maybe. Changed templates and reviewed settings. Lessee.

Yet 'nother update: had to rerun the counter. New settings, new template. Yippee.

Nadia is reborn

Sorry, no pictures yet, the digital camera is in the shop and I won't annoy you with grainies from the camera in my phone.

But Nadia was reverently dismantled and rebuilt over the last week or so, using a spare Tapco flat but the superb rails scavenged from an AK-Builder flat that I, ummm, ruined.

Brownell's Teflon-Moly oven-cure once again covers the receiver, all else remains the scruffy, beaten "battlefield pickup" finish of the original kit.

Snapcaps cycle through this action fine, gotta see how live rounds do. And this time, all of my mags, including polymer Pro-Mags, seat, lock, and feed.

One problem, that has plagued every build of mine so far: the receiver walls at the trigger pin are just far enough apart that the pin can back out of the hole on the starboard side, allowing the trigger and disconnector to cant inside the receiver.

There's still a visible gap between the inside wall of the receiver and the circlip of the trigger pin. When that gap is closed, the far end of the pin flops out of the hole. Will my caliper tell me that the trigger pin hole dimples in the receiver have flattened? Or that I am not bending the flat square enough? Or is my tempering technique warping the receiver right there (and will stress-relieving prior to tempering solve that)? Kinda stumped.

On Franciszka, I fixed this with a dab of J-B Weld surrounding the hole on the starboard side. For Jadwiga, I'm improvising a fixture that will press "Y" dimples around the starboard hole.

Photos won't be up for a while, possibly a long while. Sorry.

20070712

Too bad they discourage gays in the military

Right about now I could use somebody who would know how to put a smoke detector in my rectum. That way I can tell when smoke is being blown up my ass.

20070702

Hell yes, I'm with Fred

The interview with Fred Thompson in the May 07 American Spectator clinched it for me.

He didn't so much as repudiate the campaign finance reforms that he championed in the past, but he did concede that they aren't having the success he had expected of them. He can be forgiven if he is willing to work to repeal them for laws that encourage campaign finance transparency and Internet-era accessibility.

Now where is he on the FairTax?

20070620

Just made the roll, and it doesn't look very different

. . . between Mac OS X 10.2.8 and 10.4.6. The key applications seem to work: Nutscrape, PGP and Quicken. Though I'll upgrade or replace all of them as I get to them. The very same applications that, a few weeks ago, ceased to appear in the Dock and seem not to want to be put back there.

Thunderbird for Netscape 7, BTW.

It was an Upgrade install. Normally I whack the HD drive and do a Clean install upon it, but I wimped out and didn't want to backup and restore 20GB of my sh17.

20070619

Teach your children well

It's another of those mornings where I am restless, pacing around the house while the family sleeps, but I cannot. If you don't believe me, look at the timestamp.

After running multiple over-analytical scenarios of house-modding, I notice that two layers of paper are taped to the picture window facing Lincolnway. One layer is a photocopy of a page from a How-to-draw-manga book I found at a bargain table years ago in the Mall of the Americas; the layer above it shows my daughter's attempts to trace manga upon the photocopy.

I carefully peeled the two layers from the window. They belong to one of my daughters, not sure which, but they do not belong on the window.

The trace looks very close to the original. In one way, that is good; daughter-unit sees and copies what she sees. In another way, not as good, in that she has copied what another creative mind has given to her, rather than creating her own vision.

In one way, good because she saw and was inspired; in another way, she did not complete the assignment. Some lines end before the idea behind them.

This is the torture and promise of rearing children. Finish what you start, or you pass the torture and promise together to them.

20070618

Oh I do so want a pair

. . . of Bionic Boots.

Wondering: if one gets reasonably stable standing in a pair of these, could one deliver a half-decent off-hand rifle shot from them? Imagine a platoon of riflemen running through a MOUT course with these things. Gives a new spin to "shoot. scoot and salute."

Today's burning Green question

A good friend of mine, formerly in the office supply business but nowadays a Dragon Soldier, tells me that when I replace an exhausted inkjet cartridge from my HP Photosmart 2500-series all-in-one printer and ship it back to HP Planet Partners in Tennessee, they do not refill it and ship it out to another grateful HP user.

Triangular contorted RECYCLED arrows to the contrary. He says they just throw 'em out. The postage-paid return envelope gives them Green cred and reduces the likelihood of customers refilling the little bastards and denying HP the repeat business.

I will probably never attempt refilling inkjet cartridges. It looks like something best left to companies that know how to manufacture them in the first place, or at least companies that can offer warranties on the performance of the refilled product.

Now, "throw them out" can also include offering the plastic package to the recycling gods, to be washed of all traces of ink, harvested of the little printed-circuit ribbon, and ground up, prior to reincarnation as Old Navy Performance Fleece. That qualifies as recycling in my book, but to many other Boomers it means an empty Rolling Rock bottle will be refilled with more Rolling Rock. Shame on us for unrealistic expectations.

But if my friend is right, I'm paying for the spent cartridge to be shipped to a distant place for proper disposal, not just in bucks but in the ethereal new coinage, marginal carbon footprint. I'd rather pay less and have it shlepped to the other side of town (versus other side of the Continent) for hashing back into its component molecules.

What's the business case here? Spending $.90 (postage and envelope) to gather up a plastic cartridge that cost $.10 to make and will be worth $.0005 as cullet polymer? Meanwhile releasing about a quarter of its mass as CO2 in the process to move it, strip it, and grind it? Raw deal, I think. What say you?

20070616

If I could only have one.

Rifle that is.

The Cabinet Man here. Long time, no post. I hope Fuze's offer to guest-post on occasion still stands. We'll know soon enough, I guess.

Fuze and I have more than once had a discussion that starts with the question: "If you could have only one rifle, what would it be?" [ed note: Can of Worms alert!!] Fuze is enamored with the AK platform and he has the nicely-done home-builts to show for it. But my impression of him is that he's an FAL guy at the core. He may choose to chime-in at a later time and prove me wrong. But I'm not here to speak for this blog's owner.

I too have strong affections for the AK and, for the no-notice, "Molotov cocktail hoodlums in the front yard at 2:00 AM" scenario, the milled Bulgarian SLR-101 tactically positioned at the front of the gun safe is my go-to gremlin repellent. I took that sweet piece of post-commie legacy to Gunsite and for five days held my own against all manner of Gene Stoner's Finest. Not once did the little carbine fail me and every pop-up hit out to 200 yards fell solidly with one round. The trigger is no work of art and, in its current form, it lacks any means of a bolt hold-open. But for the purposes of clearing my little 1/6-acre urban homestead of gang-bangers, Neo-Cons, zombies, Socialists, and other foaming undesirables, I'd rather have that Bulgy in my hands than any AR-15 I own. Not to mention that it's fun to shoot!!

I also have a soft spot for another Bolshevik import: the Mosin-Nagant. I have a number of these lying around, half of which are the superior Finnish-captured M39 variants. They are simply and soundly built and, when properly fed, reliable to a fault. The upgraded Finn sights are no small improvement over the Russian originals, though I went one step further and dressed-up a couple of the Finns with Mojo ghost rings. The 7.62x54R cartridge hits hard - and I mean 30-06 hard!! - and can be found in a good range of bullet weights. With Wolf Match Extra, one of my scout-scoped M39s shoots 1 MOA. Which means if it's acting hostile, using two legs for mobility, and under 750 yards distant, I own it. 'Nuff said.

But I digress. Sorta...

The reason for that little train of thought derailment was to highlight the fact that certain rifles do certain things very well. Equipped with a Surefire light and an Aimpoint red-dot, the Bulgy SLR is a hella' CQB weapon. When my eyesight is up to the task, the M39s can really reach out and touch someone. (Only onerous malcontents, of course...) But I wouldn't want to clear the house with the Mosin nor perform counter-sniper chores with the AK. We're talking compromise here, not perfection.

If I could have only one rifle...

...it'd be a Yugoslavian 59/66 SKS. The wretched commies win again!!

As with most things for which I have strong affections, there are a few SKSs lying around the house. Most are Yugo 59/66s but there's also a lone angry Russian. (I recently sold-off an odd-ball Albanian. Curious to look at but I never grew attached.) The SKS is by no means glamorous. It's a bit on the heavy side and when compared only to the compact form factor of the AK/AR, it borders on unwieldy. But it's commie-simple, as dependable as gravity, and actually looks like a rifle. There's wood and metal and leather: the three basic elements of the universe. The AK-47 was designed for rough use by largely uneducated and wholly unmotivated conscript soldiers. On the other hand, the SKS gives its operator some credit for understanding his role in the man/rifle pairing and, thusly, I suppose it's a truer proletarian weapon. For example, the SKS is considerate enough to lock back its bolt after the last round, signaling the rifleman through a subtle change in its recoil that renewed attention must be paid to its on-board ammo supply. And that's a good thing. There's no detachable magazine to misplace - nor extras to carry - and nothing to grind in the dirt while shooting from prone. The stripper clips, while imperfect, perform well and with adequate practice, can be employed as quickly as detach-mags. While a step or two more involved to field strip than an AK, the SKS requires no additional tools. Some folks don't like the look of the 59/66's grenade launcher gear and choose to remove it, replacing it with a muzzle break, flash hider, or other such Bubba-junk. Nossir. As is, the rifle has plenty of character so I leave that stuff alone. I don't ask my women to get boob jobs, either.

One of my 59/66s in particular has proven itself especially endearing. Its trigger doesn't completely suck, its stock is perfectly clean with no carvings or pock-marks, and its bore gleams as if it had been newly minted just yesterday. Fully de-cosmo'ed, it has never jammed nor slam-fired. It sports a Williams ghost ring rear sight and an OEM front post. On most days, even from a half-assed shooting position, I can put ten rounds in groups of ~5" at 100 yards. Certainly no medals will be awarded. But that's OK because it's not a target rifle and no amount of aftermarket froo-froo is going to make it one. And it doesn't seem to care much about its diet. It shoots Wolf as well as it shoots Winchester or Cheetah. (Yes, I still have some stores of Robert Mugabe's best 7.62x39 Cheetah ammo. Envy me.)

"But TCM, why the 59/66 for The Only One?"

Let's do the math, Grasshopper.

The middleweight 7.62 round is not ideal, but it's not the total slouch the AR banner-wavers would have you believe. From a 16" AK, the stubby 125-grain x39 bullet is - at best - a reliable man-stopper out to, say..., 250 yards, which is right about where its energy drops below 750 foot*pounds. But the 59/66 has a 22" barrel. That extra six inches is good for an additional 135 feet/second at the muzzle. (I have chronograph-sourced empirical data to support that claim, so don't argue with me.) That means the little commie caliber can still hit Plenty Hard Enough To Stop out to 300 yards, maybe 350 with a tail wind and a lot of holdover. Those ranges are no big deal to the Mosin, but we might wanna' clear the house, too, remember??

Now I know the 7.62x51 guys are already smugly asking how I'm going to engage the infamous 600-yard target. Well, folks, I'm not. We're talking your basic (mid-40s) visual range, hombre-a-hombre self-defense situations here. The evangelists of "The 600-yard Hit" are primarily concerned with (semi- or non-) organized civilian groups encountering organized, hostile forces armed with 5.56 NATO weapons. That's all well and good and I completely understand that way of thinking. For that kind of situation, nothing beats a true MBR: an M1A, an FAL, an HK-91, or a Garand. You'll get zero argument from me on that. But one of the criteria of this scenario is that I'm down to only one rifle, which means things have truly gone to hell. It's safe to assume that my problem is not 600 yards away with a crypto radio and mortars at the ready. I'm more concerned about the classic Zombie Biker threat. Maybe they're well armed, but probably not. Maybe they're well trained, but probably not. Maybe they're well organized, but probably not. So at 300 yards, I'm feeling pretty confident with ten rounds in the SKS and a clear exit strategy.

"Then why not stick with one of your Mosins?"

So, we're back to that, huh?? OK. Five-shot mil-surp bolt-action rifles are wonderful things. They're gifts from God and I can't own enough of them. But how about our Zombie Biker threat?? Or the group of agitated, trigger-happy squatters that won't move along?? Or the pack of wolves or a rapidly approaching bear?? I have to assume that I'll be facing these challenges by myself - I always assume that - and the process of engaging multiple, close-range targets with a bolt-action Mosin (or Mauser or K31 or 1903A3) is no minor problem. For that kind of work, I'd love to have my Bulgy AK. But we are talking one gun, aren't we??

Gimme' the SKS already!! I get ten shots as fast as I can aim, all while keeping both hands on the stock. I can quickly reload ten more rounds in a few smooth motions. I'm throwing out mid-power 30-caliber whoop-ass without 8mm or x54R recoil knocking me about the four corners of Central County. And I can still hit reasonably hard at 300 yards if need be. For additional assistance with that 300-yard target, the sight radius on the 59/66 is about 2½ inches longer than an AK's. I'll concede that that's not much but it is an improvement.

"Ha!! You're gonna' kill a bear with an SKS??"

A charging bear will get as many rounds as he needs to be dissuaded. All ten if that's what it takes. (The same goes for two-legged goblins.) And I'm likely to do a better job of changing the bruin's mind with 7.62x39 rounds than with 5.56 NATO. That said, I'm not going to hunt bear with a x39 chambered rifle. But given that little extra "oomph" afforded me by the longer barreled 59/66, at moderate ranges I could safely hunt deer, antelope, and wild hogs - assuming there are any left after the SHTF - and maybe even drop an opportunistic elk target that's up-close and personal. Predators such as coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, and feral dogs are no match for the 7.62 middleweight champ. Excepting alligators and the infrequent moose, that about sums up the four-legged critter issue for the Lower 48.

Let's not forget a couple of easy-to-overlook features. Assuming Bubba didn't remove it, the SKS has a permanently attached, collapsible bayonet. Don't underestimate its utility. How would you feel if at what appeared to be the final moments of a good brawl, your opponent initiated a bayonet attack?? Not scared, huh?? Ask a WWII Pacific Theater front-line combat vet what he thinks of desperate Japanese suicide charges. I'll bet he won't be laughing when he tells his story. And, as a last resort, the heft of an SKS would make it a formidable club. The AR - and maybe even an AK - could sustain terminal damage after a heart-racing bout of head bashing. The SKS loves that kinda' stuff!!

And lastly, there's the issue of cost. What are essentially unissued 59/66s can still be had for $200 and change. For that price, forget about a spare parts kit. Just get two rifles. Or three. And while 7.62x39 ammo availability was a big problem the last couple of years, that's no longer true. It's available in quantity today. It's not priced at $90/1000 like it was in 2003/2004 but it is affordable. And the prices are tolerable enough to justify a little stockpiling for the next drought. While the 7.62x51 folks are forking over 50¢ or more per round for their bit of the rarified supply of mil-surp x51 fodder, you're at the range getting in good practice time for 15¢ a pop. Few of the Average Joes can afford (the Pure Joy of) a $2000 Fulton Armory or LRB M14, a $250 Sadlak scope mount, a $1000 Valdada BDC scope, $800 worth of USGI 20-round magazines, and enough ammo to practice with 150 rounds every other weekend. As the saying goes, it's better to have $2000 worth of training and a $200 rifle than to have a $2000 rifle and only $200 worth of training.

So that's my take on the problem of Just One Gun. Gimme' an SKS, a Yugo 59/66 to be more specific. YMMV...

TCM

20070610

After the SHTF, please find me a good dentist

Swen reminds me of a post I've been brewing; I heard in real-time Rush's famous chiming-in on the "men afraid of using tools" kerfluffle.

Not over here, boss.

I've made with my hands: an air-cooled Volkswagen engine, assembled a couple thousand rounds of ammunition for pistol and rifle, brewed more than a few gallons of ales, butchered a few antelope, ground up a bit of it into sausage. I've built 3 Kalashnikov rifles, and am working on a few other blasters.

This weekend I replaced the shock absorbers on my truck. A couple months ago I replaced the gear oil in its transmission. I'll replace the oil in the front and rear differentials next.

The next large game animals I harvest will have their hides tanned, some brain and some vegetable.

Though even I don't get this part: I usually hire the oil changes out to someone else.

Met Fred, got the T-shirt

. . . but did not make "Rifleman" at the Worland Appleseed Shoot. And dammit, I drove the whole way to Worland and didn't shake Swen's hand.

Mortality sucks

I recently received news that my brother, 4 years my senior, suffers from a tumor surrounding his brainstem. His prognosis is poor, his wife tells me, but he is in the best care available.

I should plan to visit him soon, and bring my youngest, my Toad, with me because he is the only offspring unit of mine who has not met this uncle. This may be his only chance.

It also reminds me to draw these offspring units a bit closer. I took Boy out to Vedauwoo so he could handle a 10/22 and Jadwiga. He liked the Kalashnikov far better, because he hasn't figured out optics and he's still too short for a cheekweld on the 10/22. With Jadwiga's stock folded, he could rip out 3 rounds and hit a grocery bag at 20 yards.

20070521

Steal this television program

TCM laments in comments below that we'll be stuck forever with the cliffhanger at the season-ending of Jericho because the b@57ards at CBS cancelled the program.

Perhaps, but then perhaps not. If there is a burgeoning cottage industry of fan-production for Star Trek (think of the dollars they sink into props and costume) there has to be a way for fans to step in and keep a show like Jericho alive without CBS.

All you need is a run-down little town, a few police cars, a school bus, an amateur radio . . . nothing you can't already find in some deserted plains town a stone's throw from the Front Range.

BTW, I watched the second episode the other night, and still no fat women. But suspense of my disbelief was much further impaired by the tatted convicts impersonating cops. They picked up the blonde along the road and they were desperate for . . . gasoline?

And they kept the real deputies in the trunk? Alive? What for? And the deputies' uniforms fit the convicts? Gimme a frigging break. Sorry, I probably would have dropped this series by Ep 3 or 4 anyway, at this rate.

Which only supports my point. I'd wager that those implausible devices were inserted into the plot at the insistence of the Beeeg Teevee Netvoohhrk executives because that's what TV execs have always done.

If fans pick this show up and keep it alive, they won't have tin-eared empty suits telling them what to do to the script. The fans won't have any advertisers to please.

20070518

Debating season over there, Boss

My lackluster Senate campaign gets a kick in the yarbles with a good showing at the debates.

Ride like the wind, Bullseye!

Of all the lame derivatives Disney has made of their properties, they are missing a goldmine:

Woody's Roundup.

20070514

Sic




I just cracked open a case of Uncle Sugar's finest Caliber .30 Springfield Model of 1906 Ball Ammunition, recently delivered from the Civilian Marksmanship Program.

Some functionary of CMP decided that a liability statement of some kind must appear on the package to clarify that the ammo was delinked from milsurp machinegun belts and wasn't fresh new milspec.

This is really embarrassing. There must be tens of thousands of these cartons in circulation with the word "strickly" in all-caps.

Don't forget Wayne

Please send a few dollars to Wayne Fincher's defense. I did recently, and his wife sent a brief note of thanks and good spirits in reply.

The Wayne Fincher Defense Fund
c/o Mr. Don Bright
2225 No. Mockingbird Ln,
Fayetteville, AR 72703

Does it always have to be about football?

Senator Brownback's misapplication of metaphor is a more grave insult to the language than his failure to invoke Wisconsin's athlete named Faahhrv.

It also takes down a peg or two my consideration of Sen. Brownback for the position of chief executive of the Republic. He's technologically illiterate.

"Blocking and tackling" does not refer to defensive techniques in the game of American football--or if it does, that is a recent misappropriation of the term by linguistic thugs, cutpurses, and pitchmen. It is far older than that, a reference to the use of ropes and pulleys ("a block and tackle") to lift heavy objects. In modern times, it is used to signify drudgery, the repetitive tasks that do not demand raw strength so much as perseverance along a simple plan, one pull on the rope after another after another. It connotes slow progress. Blocking and tackling does not leave one exhausted so much as it leaves one sore, having traveled through several times more in length of rope than has the weight that was lifted.

In comparison, the blocking and tackling of football are glamorous, instantaneous, bruising spectacle. An angle of attack gone wrong, a misplanted foot, and an athlete's career can end.

It's a geek-vs-jock thing, and as jocks would have it, the world turns around jocks. Another term for "jock" is ambitious.

20070513

In Kansas, of all places

I just watched the first episode of Jericho. Only one observation of the show that sticks with me as improbable: no fat women.

There was a deaf girl. There was a school teacher on the bus with some likely internal injury---that didn't kill her after being stranded on that bus for hours and hours---she was kinda hot. The ex-girlfriend who drove over the crow corpses, she was hot. Heck, at my age the mayor's wife and protagonist's mom, she's passable. Any of them could fit down the aisle of a commuter aircraft without spilling someone's coffee.

Not one diamond-shaped quarter-tonner. Not a single one. I don't recall a fat guy, either.

And I didn't notice a Kansas accent.

Kinda hard for me to suspend my disbelief for the rest of the show, y'all.

20070427

It has arrived!


My first shipment of 6.5mm Grendel ammunition has arrived. At about $.70 per round delivered, it'll be a while before I have a SHTF-adequate quantity. Midway gets my money.

But in what shall I shoot it? That's another post.

20070410

One of my suppliers

In my K'lash building of late, I've used several parts made to order from "one of the guys on the boards."

After placing another such order recently, one "guy on the boards" has been particularly effusive in gratitude for the business. Only fair that I bring him to light here.

So hotbarrel, please take a bow. Quality kit and shamefully low price, he does it for the fun. The only way to reach him, that I know, is to join the gunco.net board and look for him under that name, 'hotbarrel', and PM him.

By all means, do, if you're taking up the (endangered) craft of home Kalashnifacture.

Happy happy, Joy joy!

Examination Scored
Congratulations on passing the NREMT cognitive examination. Your passing result on the cognitive examination will remain valid for a one year period from the date of the examination, 4/x/2007 (provided you meet all current requirements for National EMS Certification).
Please allow 2 weeks for the NREMT to mail out results letters.




20070401

Quote for the day

. . . changes in corporate law cannot eradicate poverty or materially change existing distributions of wealth, except by impairing the creation of wealth. Changes in corporate law will not clean the environment. And changes in corporate law will not solve the labor question. Indeed, the only changes in corporate law that will have a substantial effect on such issues are changes that make the world worse, not better.


HT Instapundit. And what, exactly, is "the labor question"?


20070329

What do you get when you cross . . .

Probably the greatest incarcerated fraction of society in US history, receiving the closest thing to socialized medicine short of the VA, drawn from an illiterate underclass, that still has access to all the drugs it wants and gives hypodermic needles and tattoos to each other?

A hepatitis-C time bomb.

Whom do we get to thank?

Addendum, 1 April: Don't forget prison rape.

20070313

Idea number 1201

Megan McArdle, guestblogging at Instapundit, quotes a blogger charting the trajectory of music along technology, wondering what comes next, and how to recapture the magic of music you haven't heard yet:
[the iPod confers] incredible levels of control over what we listened to at any moment. It’s simply next in the progression from LP (moving the needle from track to track), to cassette (pressing FF and guessing), to CD (pressing next, but still limited to one album). Now, at your fingertips, there is the power to pick any song, play it for any length of time, and skip to another song, and keep skipping until you find what it is you want to listen to. While there is great, great joy to be had in simply shuffling at random (the wild success of the iPod Shuffle definitely illustrates this), I think all will agree that it is not enough.

Well, it seems simple enough : equip your player with a Bluetooth transceiver and hope enough other player owners do too. Tuck a protocol between the Bluetooth and your player, such that when two players come within range of one another, they compare their inventories and exchange songs that the other does not have. For intellectual property purists, set a flag to play it once and delete it, but leave a chit identifying the incoming, once-played track. At the end, sound a prompt to the listener, "keep, or clear?" If you choose to keep it, it stores the artist, album, label, license terms and so forth so you can find it and (if the artist demands) buy it.

If you are among several people with shareplayers (a long workout, say), enter a share-ffle (shruffle?) mode that gives each player a turn to offer a track to everyone else.

A lurker mode allows you to walk down a crowded street, allowing other shareplayers' tracks to fade in and out of hearing. The protocol already skips tracks you already have, could even be told to skip artists, albums, labels, and genres you choose. FF allows you to skip a track from one player and go to the next-most-audible player. Play grabs a track, or its tag, whenever it sounds interesting.

As much as it pains me to say it, mobile phones with mp3 features are probably better-positioned to deploy this capability than straight mp3 players. They already pack Bluetooth and they're supported by companies that have a history of charging out the ass for simple features (remember paying a separate fee for "tone dialing" on your landline phone?).

As always, this reminds me of High Plains Drifter: somebody is leaving the door open and the wrong dog can come home. Serious consequences for a mobile phone. Equally serious for a non-phone mp3 player that eventually comes to dock in at a computer. But these are the same risks that file sharers take already.

20070312

Abject terror in the Di'trick

I've skimmed the ruling on Parker v DC, and read much of what the blogosphere has had to say about it, and have little to add, other than:

  • About damned time.
  • The Supremes can still dick it up, by ruling its applicability so narrowly, and government's compelling interests so broadly, as to render the Parker ruling itself immaterial. See what good the Fifth Circuit's Emerson ruling did for Emerson the man.
  • The Republicans in the Congress and the Executive can also snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by bowing, scraping, being conciliatory and bipartisan, and otherwise slicing their own throats along with ours.

I'm still stocking up on C/BE of various flavors.

Update, 30 March: GOP preparing to dick it up. See, I told you.

Andy, where's my 15 minutes?

All I want to know about 300 is whether Elephantinos the tinker appears and utters his signature line.

20070304

Ungulate sur la tension

  • You'll need a cut of some red-meat animal, game meats will do well, we cooked this recipe with antelope, a roast of about 2 lbs.
  • Four medium potatoes
  • Half a medium onion, diced finely
  • One 10oz can of cream of mushroom soup
  • Half a cup of fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • A tablespoon butter
  • A pressure cooker

Dice the onion and toss it into the pressure cooker over low heat with half of the butter, and chase it around with a wooden spoon until it begins to brown. Take it off heat and add 1 tsp garlic powder.

Eye and dice the potatoes so they are in chunks roughly half an inch on a side. Peeling is optional. Spread them in with the onions to an even layer.

Cut the meat into chunks about an inch on a side. Lay them upon the potatoes.

Dump in the can of mushroom soup and scatter the mushrooms over all of it. Sprinkle with black pepper. Add the remaining butter. If this is game meat, kinda lean, you can also add a teaspoon of bacon fat if you have it.

Add 1/2 cup of water. Bring the open pressure cooker to a simmer, remove from heat, put on and lock the pressure cooker's cover. Put back on heat, run the heat up until the cooker's regulator indicates it is at pressure (a hiss, usually) then back the heat off to lowest simmer; find the burner setting that maintains the pressure cooker at a continuous faint hiss.

Simmer for 20 minutes, then relieve pressure according to the cooker's directions. Serve.

20070303

Indian tanning

The animal hides I harvest this year will be braintanned. It just logically follows that if I shoot it myself, and dress and butcher it myself, with ammunition I handloaded myself, the rest of the animal deserves preservation that I can also accomplish. Ever the cheapskate, I want to do it cheaply even if that means more work, and maximize the products resulting from the animal.

I mentioned this to the two female offspring units, and they sound very enthusiastic about helping me. They'll get to keep some bones or other animal parts to show at school, maybe.
Mlle. Sklodovska is very interested in beadworked American Indian clothing, and a chamoised antelope hide would serve very well for that.

We'll see whether this enthusiasm persists when it comes time to scud a sopping wet hide, or mash an antelope's brain in a bucket.

Firstborn's infatuation

Firstborn now cares for a Tamagotchi, having seen many of her friends caring for them.

These devices appear to have been Furby-ized since I first heard of them maybe 15 years ago; hers has a little IR window through which it can communicate with others nearby, ostensibly so they can exchange electronic genetic material and procreate. Hers has had offspring.

For all I know, these little buggers can receive data through the screen flicker of a computer monitor (not the first time this has been done). This would enable Firstborn to download changes to her pet from one of the fansites, such as new foods, grooming, tricks or a simpler feeding schedule.

She has already "lost" 3 of her pets in this device, one because of a hard reset (I think), others not because of hardware malfunction, but because it must just have been their times to die. She was devastated the first few times, but now sniffles a bit and starts the pet over, always with the same name.

Gets me to wondering: is anybody hacking these things, distributing communicable diseases through the IR port? And how much protection is their Japanese maker placing on these devices to immunize them? And can the immunity also be transferred from device to device?

There's a networking-security graduate thesis in here somewhere.

20070223

BofA BS

We at WUTT! have been outspoken on the topic of illegal immigration; I dare to say we've changed our position on that topic but now have a position we can defend.

I started out at the early P.J. O'Rourke position. He was amazed, humbled, grateful almost to maudlin tears that people risked their lives on makeshift rafts and shark-infested waters to get here from Cuba. All so they can work 7 days a week for 3 or 4 dollars an hour? God bless 'em, here's a phone, call the ones you left behind and tell them to come too. We'll ship the rafts back for them.

Since having been mobilized to serve Uncle Sugar in the trackless sandy wastes, and reading of this fella named Padilla, my view matured somewhat. Not every swarthy undernourished illiterate, or swarthy college-educated H1B visa holder, who risks his life to reach these blessed shores does so to improve his life or those of his children; some seek to end mine or those of my offspring units, and take from me my prized Scotch whisky.

Now that I've listened to anyone who cares to offer his opinion, yes I've grown and now I agree that the borders of the United States should be sealed, effectively, then carefully reopened only to those whom we can positively identify. Bruce Schneier will dispute the equating of identification with security, and he has a point, but not the point I'm trying to make here. We must own our borders.

I offer the foregoing as my bona fides to visitors who identify themselves as conservatives, and any of the talk radio hosts I am inviting. If further bona fides are needed, a quick glance through my archives should suffice. For those needing the executive summary:

  • I'm pro-gun, annoyed that the U.S. Congress is as neutered, cloistered, untouchable, and image-obsessed as the leadership of the National Rifle Association (or maybe the other way around); what is my Life Membership paying for?
  • After they investigate, arrest, and successfully prosecute Mike Bloomberg for straw-man interstate firearm purchases, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can quietly close their doors and liquidate the office furniture. Any agents of theirs worth a damn can serve well in Constitutional agencies. The rest should never be allowed near a gun or a badge ever again. Some of them should be cleaning the toilet Mike Bloomberg will sit on in his prison cell.
  • I think that Roe v. Wade was wrong, and States should get to criminalize abortion if their legislatures so choose.
  • Global warming is not necessarily the catastrophe Al Gore says it will be, humans don't cause it, humans probably can't avert it, and if we could, why should we? An asteroid impact, on the other hand, surely will be that catastrophe, and we can prevent that with less money and time than curing AIDS.
  • Rush told me to subscribe to the American Spectator back in 1992. I did and still do (they had George W Bush's number in the 2000 primaries, bully for them; but Ben Stein's whining about his spoiled brat really turned me off). I listen to Glenn Beck, have since before he got the TV show. I like Mike Reagan. I'd like to listen to Laura Ingraham too, and Hugh Hewitt and Bill Bennett, but they arrive at my pickup's antenna from diiiiissstaaaant KNUS rather weakly. My employer frowns upon streaming audio. So I don't get to hear all I'd like and I may miss some nuance of their opinions about my topic below---forgive me if I do.
  • I'm mildly annoyed by the Latino radio stations that are filling in the gaps on the AM band, but I tolerate. I'm positively disgusted that the Federal government allows or even requires election ballots to be printed in any language other than English. And I conjugate irregular Spanish verbs better than a guy with the last name of Lopez.
  • I had my misgivings about going into Iraq. But now that we're there, we had better win it, and we can win it and are winning it. Ron Paul's vote against The Surge disappoints me, but he neither lied to his constituents nor pandered to his peers; find no fault with how he voted, but what he voted.
  • Once we have done with Iraq, we need to secularize Iran. We should have invaded Iran or at least severely destabilized it instead of taking down Iraq.
  • Oil companies are making record profits? Buy their stock and shut the hell up.
  • Big pharma companies making record profits? Ditto. Ironic that most of the people in Congress who contemplate seizing pharmas' profits would be dead but for pharmas' products.
  • The only reason I have a Bank of America credit card is that my employer, Uncle Sugar, mandates that I carry one. If I use any other card, Uncle's regs allow him to refuse to repay my travel expenses.
  • I left the private sector and took fulltime work in the military, with zero possibility of reaching an active-duty military pension. For the challenge and the satisfaction. If I said it was for the money, I'd be mentally unfit to serve.
  • Call me a lapsed agnostic, but I'd be quite content to enroll my four kids in the Catholic school my wife longs for. Just stop collecting school taxes from me for the government school they'd no longer attend.
  • Our single-income military family comes painfully close to tithing.
  • We're "single income" because my wife and I agree she does a better job raising the four kids than anyone else could, and that is more important to us than the income she could earn as a security-cleared BSEE.
  • I "married upward," after asking her parents for their approval.
  • I know how to place the apostrophe to form a plural possessive. Can't marry upward without that.
  • I support the Fair Tax, mostly out of conviction that every time your next-door neighbors slid a credit card or bought your daughter's Girl Scout cookies, that 17-to-21 percent cut off the top for Uncle Sugar would remind them that they buy more damned Federal government than they can afford. Maybe they'll start voting for people who will cut spending to what a 3 or 4 percent Federal sales tax would sustain, and keep voting that way until it actually happens.
  • When the Heritage Foundation sends me their fundraising letter cleverly disguised as a "Conservative Leadership Survey" I strike through their list of whom I'd select as "the three most influential conservative thinkers" and pencil in below "THOMAS SOWELL!!! MALCOLM WALLOP!!!! WARD CONNERLY!!! JACK KEMP!!! VIN SUPRYNOWICZ!!! WALTER WILLIAMS!!! RONALD F****** REAGAN!!! Now YOU pick three from MINE" and return it with a single, crisp $1 bill for their trouble.
Now that the bonafides are out of the way:

You talk radio hosts who are railing at Bank of America's plan to offer credit cards to applicants without Social Security numbers---you have a screw seriously loose.

Have you folks any notion of the problem of identity theft, and the utter dependence of this crime upon the Social Security number?

Have you any idea of the unfettered reach of the Federal government into affairs not of their damned business, all made possible by their slow, steady, now-complete morphing of the Social Security number into a universal identifier?

I find myself agreeing with the Claire Wolfe-types who wish they could get a credit card without the strings of the Mark of the Beast attached to it.

You focus so narrowly on the obvious (I concede) naked (I concede) effort of BofA to cater to a market that you and I agree ought not to exist, that you miss the bigger picture. We have an underground economy because the economy that lives above ground must survive the merciless ultraviolet glare of excessive laws our Federal government has no charter to pass or enforce. Laws that expose us to the depredations of identity theft. Laws that conveniently don't apply to the lawgivers.

Meanwhile the responsibilities and prohibitions that this Federal government has been given, printed in crinkly Victorian black-and-sepia from the first Contract with America, they ignore.

It's not just the criminals and the underclass who go underground just to get away from the UV burns. It's disheartening that one of those Big Impersonal Corporations you (and I) are usually quick to defend is drawing your fire. It's not the fish in a barrel you think it is.

I'm half-tempted to apply for one of those cards. Probably, though, I'd be turned down because I have a (genuine) Social Security number and I work for The Man. Then The Man would add my unpronounceable name to some list somewhere, and the credit I do have will be lost.

So please, Conservative Radiosphereans: rethink that one. It's not about illegal aliens. It's the choice between cola-nut and un-cola nut, between sic utere and salus populi.

20070217

the hyperbole is ramping up

As climate pseudoscience intensifies its stridor, it appears to me that I could easily take a "global warming" press release and splice in the term "asteroid impact" and instantly turn Malthusian guilt-porn into a cause for action with real science behind it.

Except that if we truly do nothing to avert the catastrophe of a near-Earth asteroid impact, no human will be left to carry out a "climate Nuremburg trial" on the asteroid-threat naysayers.

Franciszka


. . . is the Polish feminine for "free."

She wasn't quite free, after about $350 in parts kit, receiver flat, and various parts to legitimize her in the eyes of Uncle Sugar. But she's mine.

Receiver flat is from Curtis, the ak-builder. Parts from Gunthings. Tapco trigger pack and muzzle device. Headspace set by Manson go/no-go gauges. Et cetera. Receiver done in Brownell's Teflon-Moly oven-cure coating, the rest in clearance Rust-oleum barbecue paint. All cured in the kitchen oven for 30 minutes at 300F.

I'll have to sandblast the receiver cover and gas tube and give them the appropriate treatment, and the bolt carrier too. But now that I'm getting the hang of this Kalashnifacture thing, I'm running out of parts kits. I'll redo Jadwiga in one of Curtis's receiver flats, maybe Nadia too, sometime this summer.

Until then, perhaps I'll entertain y'all with a very sick-sexy centerfold of the three of them lying together on a bearskin rug or something. And I'm trying to figure out what to use, or how to use it, to put a color inlay in the range markings on the tangent rear sights. Fingernail polish doesn't work very well and its carrier strips off the barbecue paint. Maybe a water-based enamel? Any ideas?

20070212

Today's aphorism

No plan survives first contact with the enemy.

Plans do not have survival as their purpose. Soldiers do. The purpose of the Plan is to get the Soldiers into contact with the enemy, at the time and place most advantageous to them, and with sufficient resources to survive long enough to get to the next Plan.

20070109

Now I get to wear this

. . . instead of the DRF patch.


It's not much of a trade. Now my career field badge looks like the same dark blue smudge everybody else is wearing above his pocket flap. Took long enough for it to happen, too.

At least it's an interservice- and internationally-recognized symbol for what I do. No offense, guys, but Prime BEEF ain't about me.

Farewell, old friend


I'm not supposed to be wearing this anymore. Hard for me to take it off, I've been wearing this since 1986.