Sunday, June 30, 2013

Aluminum overcast...

The front office of a Boeing KC-97L Stratotanker at Grissom Air Museum rises like an aluminum cliff above us puny admirers.

First operational in 1950, the Stratotanker wasn't retired by Texas and Utah Air National Guard units until 1978.


Candid shot of Mas downrange scoping out his qual target.

I was in no danger of getting an autographed fiver. It was only blind luck recovering from that FTF kneeling at 10 yards that kept me from a 299. I've got to learn to slow down and use the time allotted shooting a qual like this. Bonus points are not awarded for finshing strings early to the detriment of the score...

Today was a good day...

Another good day at the range...

Shootin' Buddy took up reloading again during the current ammo shortage. His 230gr LRN reloads have been running well so far, at least until today, when this malf popped up a dozen times or so.

The malf happened in both his Les Baer TRS and this Springfield Lightweight Loaded maybe ten times today, total. Both guns were using Baer mags. The only thing in common was the ammo and the nature of the malf. To my eye, it looks like the rim wasn't making it under the extractor claw, but I can't think what factor in reloaded ammo would cause that across two different guns. Any of you twenty-pound-brain reloading gurus, feel free to chime in...


Gone shootin'.

Don't want to get rusty.

Back later.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

So I got...

...this spam comment that starts out:
What is Lol...? Every thing you want in Lol and Troll, Now you Get all in one Network, ThatIsLol...
...and I saved it in my spam folder because every time I look at it, my mind goes into Autocomplete and I get
What is Lol...? Thou art Lol. All that groks is Lol...
...and it hasn't failed to make me Lol yet.

(If you haven't read Stranger In A Strange Land, this might not be very funny. Or make terribly much sense, for that matter.)

Did you ever notice...

...that the Supreme Court is defending us from the tyranny of the majority when they rule the way we like, but they're overriding the manifest will of the people when they don’t?

This goes for liberals and conservatives, mind you. "Judicial activism" more often than not is just shorthand for "I didn't agree with the ruling," and that's cool, but be honest with yourself and come out and say it.

There will be partying in the conservative streets if some democratically-enacted laws are struck down. "Oh, Tam!" I hear, "But those are bad laws!" Exactly.

Overheard in the Office...

Me: "Normal people don't remember letters to the editor from thirty years ago in a magazine, do they?"

RX: "No, they don't, Tamara. I'm glad that dawned."

(Later RX: "I've studied normal people for a long time. I know how they are.")

One of my favorite letters to the editor... Car and Driver magazine was from... heck, back in the Eighties, I guess it was. It went like thus:
Dear Sirs,

I am not pleased. About anything. My life is one vast, arid expanse of joyless ennui, punctuated by occasional moments of terror or disgust. Consequently, I would like a refund on my subscription.

A. Camus
Ed. gave a witty retort* about belonging to the J.P. Sartre car club or something.

There are days I feel like writing that letter myself. Like today. I've got housework needs doing and assignments that need writing and email that needs answering and my give-a-damn is just flat broken. There's this big black dog staring at me and I haven't got a Milk Bone to my name with which to distract it.

I've got fun scheduled for tomorrow. Hopefully it will break me out of this funk.

*Car and Driver's letters column is always entertaining. Around the same time as the above, a reader in New Jersey wrote:
Praise the Lord
And pass the subscription,
Finally an issue
Sans a Porsche description.
which drew the response
We thank you for writing
To express your elation.
We value our readers
In the armpit of the nation.

Friday, June 28, 2013


So there was consummate Manhattanite Matt Lauer, hectoring teary Paula Deen on stage. You could see the mixture of contempt and glee on his face: Contempt for this Southern hick who had actually admitted to saying *gasp!* the "n-word" in the past and glee that here was someone he was so obviously Better Than.

Matt, you go through an orgy of pearl-clutching there in the studio over Deen's admission, implying that your sophisticated lips are unsullied by its passage, and yet you were in high school when Blazing Saddles came out? N-word, please!

Overheard in the Office...

Me: "You don't want a proton beam used on your brain?"

RX: "No, I do not."

Me: "Fine, ya big baby."

It never rains, but it pours.

Yup, it was a wheel bearing. It needed work on the brakes, too, to the tune of more than three bills.

Further, the local guy (who comes insanely highly recommended; it's been years since I've seen a small shop with such nearly universal rave reviews) won't do rear wheel bearings on Subarus, and recommended taking it to the dealer, so it still needs a wheel bearing.


Still, it's got over 200k on the odo and after more than 3,000 miles the oil is unburned and it hasn't used a drop, and you don't eat a pig like that all at once, so I guess I'm going to be calling around to get the wheel bearing fixed...

The things I miss while I'm off at school...

Residents of suburban Washington, D.C. were startled to find a bear in the neighborhood recently, but bears in the trash can are getting passé these days and it's gotta be a pretty slow news day for Yogi looking for pic-a-nic baskets in the 'burbs* to draw much attention outside of the tamest east coast enclaves.

Things were a lot more Mutual of Omaha in southern Indiana last Friday when a guy took a shot at what he supposed to be a bobcat preying on his girlfriend's cats and killed a leopard instead.

Yes, a leopard. Panthera pardus.

I guarantee that as this news story broke, gun owners across southern Hoosierland cast smug glances at their spouses, feeling completely justified in that purchase of a .375 H&H bolt gun. You know, the one they rationalized that they were buying just in case a leopard ever got loose or something.

The news article never answers the important question, though: What gun for leopard?

*Actually, at under a hundred pounds, this was more Boo Boo than Yogi...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Movie Mashups I'd Like To See...

Lucille Ball in Milla Jovovich's part in The Fifth Element, with the rest of the cast left the same. It would be epic.

"Mul-ti-pass, Ricky!"

QotD: That's Gotta Sting Edition...

"You foot hurt? Your left foot?" 

"Uh, yes, ma'am." 

"It hurts, yeah. My feet hurt, too." 
The difference, of course, being that Mr. Castillo hurt his foot playing JROTC prep school football while Rep. Duckworth left both of her feet in a pile of flaming UH-60 wreckage in Iraq.

In a just world, she'd have slapped a Tokarev with one round in the mag on the table in front of Mr. Castillo and then everyone would have left the room, leaving him alone in there to Do The Right Thing. Seeing as he appears to be devoid of anything you'd call a "conscience", nothing like that will ever happen.

Still, that was a smackdown for the ages.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Hun...

North American F-100C Super Sabre
The North American F-100 was the USAF's first frontline fighter capable of exceeding mach 1 in level flight.

Armed with four .79-caliber Pontiac revolvers*, the "C" version pictured above added wet hardpoints under the wings for drop tanks and other refinements to make it a better fighter-bomber.

*I just love phrasing it that way.

Uranus is hanging low in the sky...

From Luke Skywalker watching the twin sunset on Tatooine to the sweep of a ringworld rising from the horizon in Halo, strange stuff in the sky is a staple of SF. In that spirit, check out these photos by Ron Miller.

(via email)

QotD: Doing It Wrong Edition...

Linking to a story about a mutiny by U.S. troops in Oz during WWII, WeaponsMan writes:
If your leadership style requires using machine guns on your own troops, you’re doing it wrong.
I was unaware of that particular historical tidbit.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Speedy-ish Delivery!

Grumman C-1A Trader
The Grumman C-1 Trader was a COD (Carrier Onboard Delivery) version of the S-2 Tracker sub hunter. An enlarged fuselage allowed it to carry 9 passengers or cargo to the deck of a bird farm at sea.

The S-2 prototype flew in 1952 and the C-1 cargo variant first flew in '55. The last one didn't leave Navy service until 1988.

Overheard in the Office...

Me: "He lives in the Upper Peninsula; the only part of Michigan where I'd want to live..."

RX: "Yeah."

Me: "Worst come to worst, you could blow the bridges, build a wall along the Wisconsin border, and wait for the relief column to get there from Montana."
The linked site came to my attention via the comments section at Brian J. Noggle's blog. Every now and again Bobbi gets the urge for a Model A and goes and has a lie-down 'til it goes away.

"Why would you have a gun on at home?"

The footage below took place in a very nice neighborhood:

Upscale neighborhoods tend to have spacious lots with the houses arranged and lawns landscaped so the front doors have a measure of privacy from the neighbors. Additionally, the prevalence of two-income families in suburbia mean that neighborhoods like this are ghost towns from 9-5 on weekdays.

In Caleb's old stomping grounds here in Hoosieropolis, there were subdivisions where multiple front doors were getting kicked in in a single day by crooks who could be fairly certain nobody would be home. Would they have reacted like this to intimidate an unexpected witness found during their "work shift"? Dunno.

Tab clearing...

Five years old... Borepatch's blog.

Congratulations on your blogiversary, BP!

Statistically Improbable Phrases...

Actually overheard in the office here at Roseholme:
" ...Jesus's pants giraffe..."
...which would be the greatest band name ever. Admit it.

(Have you ever uttered a phrase and just suddenly known, with near certainty, that those words have never, ever been spoken in that particular combination by any human on the planet ever before?)

Monday, June 24, 2013

The skeeters sure get big 'round here...

Commenter Joseph said he has a soft spot for the Convair B-58 Hustler (which flew out of Grissom back in its days as a SAC base...)

Here you go, Joseph:

A photo of the museum's TB-58A from today's trip...

...and one from the last trip. Enjoy! :)

Overheard in the Office...

RX: "Apparently the Confederate... er, Commemorative Air Force..."

Me: "Confederate."

RX: "What?"

Me: "Confederate. You had it right the first time."

RX: "I thought they changed it?"

Me: "That's what they wanted you Yankees to think."

RX: "Whatever."
(Me, later: "Did you hear the DHS spent hours chasing a Cracker u-boat around New York the other day?")


A Republic F-84 is forever just about to tank up from a KC-97 amid the Indiana corn...

The pew!pew!pew! seat on the B-17:

B-17G at Grissom Air Museum. Click to embiggen.
Well, the Subie held up all the way to Rochester and back, but the right* rear wheel increasingly sounds like it is about to fall off. My guess is a wheel bearing, but I do not know.

Regardless, it's too hot and too late to deal with it now. I'll run it past a mechanic in the morning. In the meantime, I'm going to drink something frosty cold and do something fun, like laundry.

*I just spent a fair chunk of four days on the range. I came THIS CLOSE to typing "strong-side rear wheel".

Bucket list...

When I first started working in a gun store, I did not know a terrible lot about guns. Well, I knew enough to impress the owner and get hired, but I felt like I didn't know enough, and so I immediately started spending my time at work reading all the back issues of every gun magazine in the store from cover to cover, and devouring all the new ones that came in.

One name I saw a lot was that "Massad Ayoob" guy. In the intervening years, I'd read plenty more articles and books by him, but had never gotten around to taking his much-recommended class.

Scratch one off the bucket list...

Mas layin' down some facts in the classroom.
I did okay on the range and did not set myself on fire. I'll do an AAR and that kind of stuff later. For now, let me check out of the hotel room.

Short answer: This class has the reputation it does for a reason. There are lots of people who will teach you how to shoot like a ninja. There are darn few who will tell you when it's justified to shoot like a ninja, and how to avoid making yourself look like a ninja criminal in the aftermath. Ayoob is arguably the originator of the whole idea of Problem Number Two, as it is now often called.

Anyhow, more when I get home.

Bonus: The Grissom Air Museum is between here and Broad Ripple, and I've got a real camera with me this time!

(For those who have taken the class before, I got my autographed dollar bill and a 100% on the written, but I'd been reading the Cliff's Notes for years. Now I have authentication for my articulatin'. ;) )

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Long day, hot sun...

Good shootin', good folks, good times...

I'm going to check my eyelids for pinholes for a few hours; catch y'all on the flip side.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Target demographics?

I found myself wondering last night why MSNBC, a nominal news network whose main programming thrust is news-style programming and talking head political commentary shows, spends so many hours on the weekends showing those "inside prison" type shows. You know, the ones that are titillating reality shows disguised as documentaries: "Lockup: Raw" and the like.

MSNBC's target demographic of soft, docile, toothless Midtown latte sippers would never want to share a cab with these people, no matter how much they may prattle about helping them come voting time, and the only interaction they'd ever have with T-Bone or Mad Dog in real life would be from the wrong end of a sharpened screwdriver, so why the voyeuristic fascination?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Unbiased jurors?

They found six blind deaf-mutes who've never seen network TV in Florida?

It recently occurred to me...

...that another darn good use for the identical backup gun is that one can do dry-fire practice without having to engage in excessive administrative coonfingering of one's heater. (Hey, I'm a little slow.)

The one bona fide Accidental (as opposed to Negligent) Discharge I've seen was when dropping the slide on an HK P7 and the firing pin safety spring failed. No "booger hook on bang switch" required. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, and especially always if you're manipulating the action.

Administrative loading and unloading is one of the most likely times to hear unexpected loud noises; stop touching it so much.

From your lips to God's ears, honey.

Chelsea Clinton notes with apparent regret that her unwed great grandparents did not have access to Planned Parenthood, which gives her something in common with both halves of the country.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Overheard on the Phone...

Shootin' Buddy: "Say 'Hi!' to Mas for me..."

Me: "You and, like, the whole internet! Have you seen my comments section? Am I the last person on the planet to take this course?"
As an aside, this is the first time I've had homework at gun school. And I'm not only done with my homework, but I've been taking copious notes. I should have done that in regular, you know, school-type school.

Continuing Education...

About to start day one of MAG-40. I am pretty stoked, let me tell you. I even went out yesterday and got fresh spiral notebooks to fill.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I'm sure they're all undergoing NICS checks...

Petition at that all Syrian rebels receiving arms from the US be held to the same standards as US citizens: Full background checks and all that jazz. (I guess they'll have an easier time getting CLEO sign-offs for full-auto AKs than most)

I don't see why we don't just send 'em some double-barrel shotguns? They're much easier to use, and all they need to do is touch two off the balcony and Assad will abdicate...

(via MadMike on the Facebookenings.)


Having a difficult time braining today. Seem to have the dumbs. Words together stringing right not are.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tactical Facepalm.

YouTube: It's like a giant gold mine of "Things To Not Do With A Gun In Your Hand".

What if fiction were more like real life?

My friend John asked, in the comments section of the previous post, why I was tying together The Twilight Zone and Brave New World, to which I replied:
...and They Live and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Popular culture is full of scary stories of being The Only (Sane/Real/Free/Human) Person. What would it look like if someone really was that person? Like somebody going crazy on an airliner, I imagine...
In good fiction, we always identify with the protagonist that Sees The Truth, and rarely with the mind-numbed extras who hold him down until the guys in the white coats get there with their syringes, but there are a lot of the latter and only one of the former.

(Similarly, there's the Horror Movie Reality Gap that has always bothered me: What are the cops going to say when they show up at the cabin in the woods and Bruce Campbell has chainsawed up his girlfriend, but says he did it only after she became possessed by demons? He's not going to go back to work at S-Mart, I can tell you that...)

Tell me you didn't think this for a minute...

So, apparently a dude on an airliner from Hong Kong to Newark flipped out and started screaming that he had info from the NSA, he knew people who worked for the CIA, we were being mind-controlled, they were trying to poison us all...

...and he got gang-tackled by his fellow passengers and was carted off by the po-po on landing.

And, like any red-blooded American who's ever seen a single episode of The Twilight Zone, my very first thought was "Huh, his Soma must have worn off." Did he put on a pair of Wayfarers right before his little outburst?

I'm sure they had a nice pod throbbing gently in anticipation in the cell to which they bundled him off.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tab Clearing...

It's a very Monday morning...

Both morning news anchors on one of the local stations just got back from a week's vacation. Who knew teleprompter reading was such a highly-perishable skill?

Meanwhile, the video I could not escape on the televisor this morning...

Did you know Cindy Crawford was valedictorian of her high school class and won a scholarship to study chemical engineering at Northwestern? Marissa Powell, on the other hand, loves children, horses, and the color blue:

You gotta feel for her. For the rest of her life, she's going to be "The Girl Who Had That Brain Cramp On Live TV."

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Don't mess with X's.

Spot of drama around Roseholme Cottage yesterday afternoon. I'll let roomie explain.

Bobbi must have gotten her toughness from her dad, because her mom obviously still has all hers.

This morning's trivia:

Speaking of American Staffordshire terriers: Sergeant Stubby, of whose existence I was completely unaware until yesterday afternoon.

Wikipedia is like crack for trivia addicts.

Overheard in the Restaurant...

At a late lunch/mid-afternoon hangout with Bayou Renaissance Man, Bobbi, Brigid, and Miss D, conversation wandered far and wide, as one might imagine:

Brigid: "Who in town owns a Batmobile, license plate 'Gotham'?"

Me: "Like, the classic Batmobile from the TV series?"

Bobbi: "There's a company that makes those in Kokomo."

Brigid: "No, one of the new ones, like from the Dark Knight movie..."

Bobbi: "Oh! There was a guy in town who was a big collector of superhero stuff, he had a museum, but it closed and his whole collection was auctioned off..."

Brigid: "It was really neat! I waved, he waved... But Batman didn't signal when he was changing lanes."

Bobbi: "The Bat Signal is only for use in emergencies."

Miss D: "People signal Batman; Batman doesn't signal people."

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I report, you decide: Is that thirty people?

Local public media claimed an attendance of "almost thirty" at yesterday's anti-gun protest in Broad Ripple:

"Almost thirty." (If you're rounding to the nearest thirty.)
The guy in the hipster douchebag chapeau was from WIBC news FM, and the guy in the center background in the shades and lemon yellow shirt was the cameraman from WRTV who was there with a reporter. Just guessing here, but the guy in all black was either from one of the squishier Protestant denominations who portray Jesus as a union organizer or Father O'Flannery from one of those "liberation theology" Catholic organizations that lobby tirelessly for the canonization of Che Guevara.

Take away known members of the media, and attendance totaled seventeen by my count, most of whom appeared to be retirees or Mrs. Dr. Somebody-Or-Other stopping off to do a little activism on the way to the homeowner's association meeting. This is what you would expect from a demonstration in the middle of a workday. The blonde woman in the shades at far left and the guy in the plaid shirt and ballcap were the only thing keeping the average age out of the AARP zone.

Speaking of the guy in the plaid shirt, he was no doubt in favor of banning dangerous assault weapons, but the American Staffordshire terrier on his leash would suggest that he would be strongly opposed to breed-specific legislation banning his killer deadly assault dog.

Two wheeled grocery-gettin'...

Two grocery-fetchers and a commuter.

The bicycle trailer had an impressive lugging capacity. The owner was ahead of me in the checkout lane and I'm assuming she was fetching supplies for one of Broad Ripple's eateries or bakeries, because it's a rare household that will go through six gallon jugs of milk before it goes off.

There's no way I'd want to lug that much weight high up in the baskets (especially the one on the bars!) but that trailer looks awkward in its own ways.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Need chant suggestions...

They said that if I voted for Mitt Romney we'd wind up getting tangled in a proxy war against the Russians* in the Middle East, and they were right!

I'm getting together some love beads and misspelled signs to take to the anti-war demonstration, but I'm coming up short in the chant department.
"Hey, hey, BHO!
To War In Syria We Won't Go!

Hey, hey, Barack Obama!
How many... something mumble... kids today?"
It just doesn't scan. The suggestion box is open; knock y'all's selves out.

*So the Russians are sending arms to Assad and we'll be indirectly arming Al Qaeda again, because it worked out so well last time we did it. Did anybody here play the Third World War series of board games from GDW? Remember how their "tanks through the Fulda Gap" scenario got under way

Also, since when did Barack Obama and the Democrat Establishment start caring about dictators using poison gas on their own people? Didn't I just have to live through eight years of gum flapping and windbagging about how we were ogres for toppling a secular strongman and opening a power vacuum for radical Islamists because we got all squeamish and concern-troll-y about some nerve gassed Kurds? Seriously, didn't we just leave this movie?

Overheard on the Phone...

Me: "Imagine being... like, a teenager and working behind the counter at a gun store..."

Shootin' Buddy: "I was a teenager working behind the counter at a gun store."

Me: "Okay, you know how condescending the old guys were? How you had to prove to every new person you met that you actually knew what you were talking about; that they should listen to you instead of condescending to you? Now imagine being eighteen for your entire career."

Lede, buried.

The story should have been titled "Congress miraculously retains trust of one American in ten!" I'm a little skeptical of such high numbers. You have to wonder how anyone could be dumb enough to trust Congress and still be smart enough to answer a phone.

Congress's approval levels, not good at the best of times, are examining whale poop from the underside in the latest Gallup poll, lagging behind even the president, who still has the confidence of three of those people every day and a fourth on some days.

Raisin the landing gear.

A test passenger for the new "ultra economy" or "super steerage" class did not survive seven flights on a Russian Airbus A-330, according to news reports.

(Actually, he probably didn't survive even the one, but it took that long to find his freeze-dried remains. I'm sure he went through security before wandering out to the tarmac and stowing himself in the gear well, though.)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Speaking of the YB-49...

...about halfway down the page here is a picture of one overflying the Capitol. (Sadly, it did not proceed to bomb Congress.)

Also, plenty of tales from the YB-49 program.

Why another caliber?

One of these things is not like the others. (And it's not the obvious one.)
The first thing I started looking for when I went to carrying the M&P9 was... another M&P9. But when one turned up at a good price in .357 SIG, well, that was the choice for an alternate backup.

I like 9 and carry 9 because it's effective, easy to shoot, cheap, and popular to the point of ubiquity. Unfortunately, that last point means that, when periodic ammo panics hit (and they seem to be an ongoing feature of the shooting landscape since '05 or so), 9x19mm is the first pistol caliber to disappear from the shelves.

.357SIG? Its lack of widespread acceptance helps it out in those situations. I remember going into The Mountain of Geese during the Panic of '09 and noting that you could buy all the FMJ pistol ammo you wanted... if all you wanted was .357 SIG or .45 GAP.

So, it has the same sights and uses the same holsters and accessories as my main carry gun; I'll just acquire a spare .40 barrel and In Case Of Panic Buying, Break Glass.

EDIT: There seems to be some confusion in comments. This isn't "Oh, boy! I can shoot another caliber!" Calibers I got, more than a lot.

This is so I can shoot a reasonable amount of centerfire ammo for practice through my carry gun (or a clone thereof) even during a drought. There are some things I can't work on with dry fire or rimfire practice, such as managing recoil or sight tracking. I am trying to improve my shooting and that can be hard to do when you can't shoot.

"Very well, but how do you pronounce 'Kltpzyxm'?"

"Former U.S. Representative Jane Harman, a Democrat who served on every major House security committee before resigning from Congress in 2011, said getting the right briefer can make a big difference in how much lawmakers learn.

"Sometimes these briefings are a game of 20 questions. If you don't ask exactly the right question, you don't get the answer," said Harman.

Senators are generally provided with more information than members of the House. Staffers said high-tech intelligence issues also are particularly difficult because computer-savvy staffers - on whom busy lawmakers rely - are often barred from classified sessions.
So they'll answer questions... provided you know which questions to ask. And if you're some doddering congressbeing, of the variety who has their staff send an internet through a series of tubes, and you're deprived of your flappers and factotums, the odds of your even knowing what to ask are somewhere between "slim" and "lololololol".

This is congressional overseeing in the same sense that Col. Klink and Sgt. Schulz were guarding a POW camp.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I feel like freely assembling. How 'bout you?

Anti-gunners plan on doing a little protest thingy in scenic Broad Ripple this Friday at the corner of Riviera and Westfield (better known as the mystic intersection of Westfield and Westfield) in an effort to convince Susan Brooks (R-IN) to get her RINO on and support some Second Amendment infringements.

Eleven to noon and the weather is supposed to be absolutely Chamber of Commerce splendiferous. I'm thinking of showing up in my Kalashnikitty shirt and an NRA hat and then catching lunch at the Broad Ripple Brewpub or maybe Brugge afterward. It should be a nice day for bicycling; anyone else game for some counterprotesting?


In the spirit of those books that fetishize every doodle in the margins of a WWII German aeronautical engineer's notebook as "It's a good thing they never built this super war-winning weapon!"* or WWII flight simulator expansion packs that let you duel Lockheed P-80s and Grumman Tigercats against He-162s and Ki-83s comes Project Terminated, which details canceled projects of the Cold War period and What Might Have Been...

I was hooked at the cover "photo", which is a boomer's-eye view of a North American F-108A dropping away after tanking up.

Each chapter covers a different cancelled project. The first part of each chapter covers the actual history of the project and why it was cancelled, followed by a few pages of beautifully-illustrated glossy-paged "What If?" The effects of cancellations on other projects are explored, politics are dicussed and, most importantly of all, you can see a picture of a Vietnam-era camouflaged Northrop B-49D tanking up from a KC-135...

Most of the aircraft in the book are American, although the Avro CF-105 and BAC TSR-2 each get their story told as well. (And are shown on the back cover, formating on a B-70 for an over-ocean "photo" op.) If you're a plane geek or an alternate history geek, you might enjoy this book. If you're a plane geek and an alternate history geek, I'm not sure how you've managed to live this long without it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


  • Tacti-pen!

  • Wait, wait, wait... Through all the 3D printed gun brouhaha, I somehow missed the part where you can buy plug-and-play Star Trek replicators from Amazon for about what a decent AR-15 costs now. I need one like I need a hole in my head, but, oh, do want!

  • Views of the NSA scandal from all over the political spectrum. If you're not pissed, you're not paying attention.

  • Europe gets weather; America oddly not yet blamed.

  • Bicycle camper trailer

  • Airmen reminded not to download classified documents using NIPRNET, even if said classified documents have been leaked and are currently being hosted on media servers. WND misinterprets plain English, promptly goes full Chicken Little.

Random thoughts from the televisor...

Watching network TeeWee this morning, hoping for a germ of inspiration.

There's a local guy, a car dealer, who does his commercials talking through a great big fixed toothy smile, an effect like he's trying to deliver his lines while biting down on those bitewing X-ray films at the dentist. Further, his country accent flattens the vowels and blurs the syllables so that "pleasant buying experience" sounds more like "pleasant bang experience", which is probably a more accurate representation of what goes on at car dealerships anyway.

They're doing a story on lightweight football helmets from Simpson-Ganassi that are supposed to prevent concussions. They're interviewing a local high school football coach about helmets and concussions:
Coach: "The two things that scare me the most every time I come out to practice are lightning and..."

Me: "Clowns. You get these migrating clowns sometimes that'll climb the fence around the field and start bumping up against the players."

Now the local news is over and we're on to the national morning show. Matt Lauer is interviewing Bill O'Reilly. That much egotistical douchebaggery is hard to appreciate on the small screen; it deserves Imax.

The two of them are falling all over themselves trying to come up for excuses for the ongoing NSA scandal. Matt seems to think it'll be okay if it can be proven to have as much as a .037% chance of stopping a terrorist attack. O'Reilly thinks it's okay if it can be proven to have been Bush's idea. I'm fantasizing them both in a wood chipper.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Wonder Weapons!

Seen in comments at Vuurwapen Blog:
I remember a Military Channel special where they rated CQB weapons.

The show placed the Kriss in first place over the likes of the Uzi, MP5, P90, & MP7.
Let's not forget that, while the shows may be interesting and explosion-filled, the Military Channel is owned by Discovery Communications, television's leading purveyor of documentaries on the sex life of Bigfoot and how Hitler's time-travelling ghost helped space aliens build the pyramids.

Tab Clearing...

  • Objectivity, how does it work? (Does it make me a bad person if, every time Chris Matthews talks about the president now, this will be the first thing that pops into my head?*)

  • If you work with unstable heavily-armed 'roidheads, don't tease them about their poor shooting.

  • I LOL'ed. (As I'm sure the government knows, because I think my cell phone was in the room at the time.)

  • Much like booming beachfront real estate contributed to hurricane damage totals, there's an argument to be made that vast new swathes of vinyl-sided 2x4-and-particle-board slab covers in tornado alley may be running up the tornado tab.
*Matthews is getting downright stalkerrific in his utterances; Bobbi points out that being vaguely squicked out by Chris Matthews' creepy behavior may be the first thing the president and I have in common.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

While he may have been just plain crazy...

...I have to admit that the answer to the following pop quiz did not exactly catch me off guard:

The last name of the guy who ignored the "No Guns Allowed" signs in California was:
  1. O'Flynn
  2. Ivanov
  3. DiMaggio
  4. Smith
  5. Zawahri
Yeah, I got it right on the first try, too. This isn't necessarily indicative of Sudden Jihad Syndrome, but let's just say that it may predispose an already unstable kid to act out their angst in a certain fashion.

Interesting that the handgun in the pictures appears to be an Italian clone of the percussion ("cap-and-ball") Remington Model 1858 with a cartridge conversion cylinder installed. Any members of The Resistance behind the lines in California know the legal status of black powder revolvers out there?

Things I Don't Get, #4,821,948

Now, maybe time is hazing my recollections, but I don't seem to ever recall waking up one morning and thinking to myself:
"Self, you know what would be awesome? Flying halfway around the world to someplace with questionable drinking water and even questionabler restroom facilities and trying to get myself killed in a confusing civil war being fought by multiple factions for reasons my well-fed and central air-conditioned mind will never puzzle out in a million years."
And yet that's apparently how some people from Michigan Troop 810 go earn their Sharia Scout merit badges.

Look, if you're determined to shock mom and dad by running out and converting to a religion, remember that Mormonism has similar restrictions on intoxicants, lets you eat bacon, and the worst thing likely to happen to you while working on an LDS merit badge is a bicycle wreck.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

There's some men you just can't reach...

So, because I secretly enjoy suffering, I guess, I was off reading the comments section at the HuffPo article on Barry's response to the NSA story (Remember, like a photographic negative of his new Secretary of State, he was against it before he was for it!)

Front and center is the most amazing example of H. americanus politicus* I have yet seen. It goes by the name of "samidean", and I have recorded its mating call, which is so immaculately self-parodying that it should be enshrined as a textbook example of Poe's law:
"As their other FAUX scandals in Issa's kangaroo court fizzle out, the teabags have to have another one to scream about in their FAUX outrage, however where were THEY screaming about this when this all got started under BUSH'S Patriot Act, while he was calling Americans ANTI American for questioning him?

Do I like the idea that this goes on?  No, but then I am also a realist, and I know that since

Friday, June 07, 2013

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #61

If one is none and two is one, then three is two. There's a reason the third one's in .357SIG (instead of another 9mm) beyond "the price was right", but I'm not done writing that blog post yet.


Woke up early and pedaled down to 49th & Penn to meet Shootin' Buddy for brekkie at Cafe Pretenchou.

Fruit and bacon.
Putting a few miles under the tires at the crack of dawn was good for the cardiovascular system, but it has purged my head of creative content for some reason.

Have you seen this? That's creative. And for a good cause, too.

I did not come anywhere near getting run over this morning, which is good. The other day I almost got cleaned off my bike in a crosswalk by a left turner. He was too busy chatting on the cell phone to pay attention to his surroundings, and the bell on the bike is not loud enough to warn vehicular traffic. He missed the front tire by less than five feet.

Hey, does anybody have any advice on a good-yet-reasonably-priced Canon EF or EF-S macro lens for taking pictures of objects no larger than a handgun, and which would be good for photographing rollmarks or cartridges or small stuff like that?

Actual blogging will resume shortly...

Thursday, June 06, 2013

But, but, but... George Bush!

Well, the British media exposed the NSA's phone records grabbing, or at least one phone company's worth; one may fairly safely assume that identical orders were received by AT&T, Sprint, Joe's Bait Shop & Telecommunications, and everybody else with a tin can and a string.

What with nominally conservative outlets on this side of the pond hitting this latest tidbit like a mako taking a minnow off a light line, ABCNNBCBS had to say something, and mostly what Chuck Todd and his ilk have said has been "But, but, but... George Bush!"

Sorry, guys, but "He did it too!" isn't any more of an effective excuse now than it was in the third grade.

This is exactly the kind of crap that had civil libertarians so disgusted with the previous administration that they decided to give Team Donk a chance, and look what they got in exchange: A bad punchline of an Executive branch. "They told me if I voted for McCain that secret intel organizations would Hoover up all the phone records of every American, and they were right!" Har-de-har-har. It was funny the first thirty-seven times.

And what's the Mainstream Media doing? Hiding smoking guns like a lovestruck teenager for her gangster boyfriend. If you guys were manning the bridge in '73, you'd be doing special investigative reports on why security guards should mind their own business when they see a taped door lock. It could be taped for national security reasons! And George Bush taped locks, too!

Just walk away...

Sean Sorrentino posted his experience at a training class* recently, one in which he felt unsafe due to slack muzzle discipline and a resistance to being called on it on the part of the instructor.

The comments section erupted into an orgy of "he-said-she-said", complete with tactical chest-thumping and discussions of how many angels on the head of a pin can point guns at you as long as the slides are locked back and they say the chamber is empty.

All of which misses the point.

The point is that, as hard as it is, the time to leave a dangerous range environment is when you feel it's dangerous. Your hide is the only hide for which you are responsible. You don't have to wait until there's a group consensus that things are going off the rails, you don't have to wait until other people leave, and for Browning's sake, you don't have to wait until someone gets ventilated.

It can be hard to do, especially if it's a class or competition you have traveled a long way or spent a lot of money to attend, but a gunshot wound can cost a lot more than just a weekend and some cash. Just walk away.

*Well, I'm a day late and a dollar short, as usual.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Gearhead's Paradise...*

The power and the money,
The money and the power,
Seen in thirty minutes,
Within half an hour.
Pedaling to and from the grocery this morning I stopped and took a picture of this nice Honda period piece, a punched-out CB750.
Is it my eyes, or is that swingarm slightly stretched? The Utah Salt Flats Racing Association sticker on the tank makes me think "yes".
Then I ran to Lowe's for a light-duty cordless weed whacker/edger for those spots in the front yard where it's a pain to run an extension cord, and while I was there I spotted more internal combustion grooviness in the lot:
Aston Martin Vantage

'99 Forester photobombing Vantage pic.
Also at Lowe's, a 1950 Cadillac. Me not being any kind of what you'd call a Caddy enthusiast, you're probably wondering how I knew the model year...

Well, wonder no longer.

*No, I'm not saying that Broad Ripple is like some kind of Hoosier Mulholland Drive or Woodward Avenue or Deal's Gap, only that I saw some cool rides today and it made me happy and I would like to share them with you, as well as have a chance to bust some Coolio lyrics. This being the internet, someone will be along shortly to tell me how many more cooler cars they saw in their neighborhood today. "Here is my parade, internets! Please rain on it!"

It's a great big irony twofer!

The Betters in Europe are generally against guns in civilian hands; the colonials' Second Amendment infatuation is a relic of a bygone era, since militia rabble would have no chance to overthrow an oppressive government and besides, in order to maintain civilization, the state must retain a monopoly on force...

...unless you're sending guns to Syrian civilians, that is.

Xrlq won the internets with the following comment on the Facebookenings:
"Why would they want to arm the Syrian rebels? Don't they know the rebels are 43 times more likely to shoot themselves or each other than their evil overlords? If they really want to topple the Syrian government, they should send guns to the government itself."

Meanwhile, on the surprise second front opened up by antigun forces in Colorado, where Bloomberg dollars suddenly rained in like Russian paratroopers at the start of Red Dawn, sixteen thousand Wolverines have signed a petition to recall the state's Senate President, who responded by begging for more MAIG cash while tweeting "we cannot allow outside interest groups to determine what is best for Colorado."

Irony, thy name is John Morse.

There are aliens on this planet...

...and they're stealing video cameras:

Tuesday, June 04, 2013


You know what'll wake you up?

The sound of a cat doing the "Bwa-bwa-bwa-bwa..." noise of an incipient hork, on the pillow right next to your head.

I came up out of N3 sleep to Wide The Heck Awake without passing through any intervening stages, like this:

"Captain to the bridge. Ship's cat's about to blow chunks."
I scooped Rannie up with both hands and deposited her on the hardwood floor where she could finish producing her hairball while I went and fetched paper toweling and a bottle of spray cleaner.

This did nothing for the overall quality of my night's sleep.

Speaking of subs, it was on this day in 1944 that the U.S. Navy captured the U-505; the first time since the War of 1812 that the USN had captured an enemy vessel at sea. The sub is currently in the Museum of Science and Industry in Mordor-on-Lake-Michigan if you'd like to tour it.

Monday, June 03, 2013


I heard about Senator Lautenberg's passing on the radio while driving to the gun store.

I had been planning on just picking up some ammo and sundries, but I put one on layaway just for you, Frank. Spin a little faster.

Overheard in the Office...

Apparently someone on the televisor used the word "braggadocious" to disparage someone else:
RX: "'Braggadocious'? 'Braggadocious'?"

Me: "Don't you think using 'braggadocious' in a sentence is a little grandiose?"

RX: "I don't think it's even a word."
It's not.

Things I saw...

When did they put that there?
I have passed this sign literally hundreds of times in a car, on a bike, on foot... Yesterday was the first time I noticed it. The logo may claim to be old fashioned, but the font used in "switcheroo choo choo" is disco, baby. An internet search shows it to have been registered to Soren Industries, Inc., maker of "substantially wood" toys, in 1979.

I am the egg truck! Koo koo ka choo!
The above scene, which can be embiggenated, was snapped from the Monon Trail just north of the Fairgrounds leaving the fun show yesterday. Bobbi fell in love with the truckette at first sight. Nobody had been shot within ten blocks of where I was standing for almost twelve hours when this photo was taken.

Fun Show Report...

My previous moment of gun nerd nirvana was at the big show in Louisville where I was able to simultaneously touch with one hand, by stretching my fingers as wide as I could, a Savage 1907 .45 and a Springfield M1903 Mark I with the Pedersen device installed.

Saturday at the Indy 1500 the guy who runs had a table, and in his display case was not only a Savage .45 serial numbered "11", but also a prototype Savage .45, still in the white. Both guns were originally from the Savage museum via the collection of Mike Carney, were thoroughly provenanced, and I got to hold them both... at the same time. I nerded out pretty hard.

Whereas the little Savage .32s are neat and Road to Perdition-y, the big .45s always feel like they dropped in from a parallel dimension where they won the US service pistol trials. (In that dimension, USPSA shooters are shooting Art Deco double-stack .45s and a whole aftermarket industry has sprung up making parts for Savages...)

Keeping with the Savage theme, I acquired a nice little Savage 1915 .32 "hammerless". I seem to have caught the Savage bug from my roomie. Also got a couple boxes of .357 SIG ammo and picked up one of the no-longer-vaporware M&P Vanguard 2 holsters from Raven Concealment.

Did I mention that I got to hold two Savage .45s at the same time? Just wanted to make sure I got that point across. I guess I'll have to wash my hands sooner or later...

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Overheard in the Kitchen...

Roomie is cooking...
RX: "♫♪ Everybody in Nappanee knows... ♫♪"

Me: "Everybody in Nappanino's? What's Nappanino's? Sounds like an Italian-Japanese Fusion restaurant."

RX: "Actually, the young of the residents of Nappanee are Nappaniños. At least, the little boys are; the little girls are Nappaniñas."
According to Wikipedia, by the way, "Nappanee holds the distinction of having the longest city name in the United States containing each letter in its name twice."

Also according to Wikipedia, and completely unrelated to the above but I wanted to footnote this somehow so I could come back to it, toroidal CVTs are absolutely fascinating. The linked animation is funky to the Nth.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Retail Therapy.

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

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

Rusty top-breaks!
Smallbore Schuetzens!
And all of Browning's spawn
I just keep on browsing my favorite guns
Until all my money's gone.
Hopefully the locusts will have left something to buy...

I'm thinking my day would be made complete if I found an unloved early .38 Safety Hammerless that needed a home. Or, you know, pretty much any cool old prewar pocket .32 auto.

Anyhow, if a day at the Fun Show doesn't cheer me up, I don't know what will.