Sledgehammer's Cycles

Sledgehammer's Cycles
Sledgehammer's Performance and Custom Cycles

Saturday, December 31, 2011

What today's stylish gentleman is wearing tonight

Mode, pour l'homme des noix des armes*



.45 ACP tuxedo studs.  Because you want something in a manly caliber.


* Fashion for the gun nut.  L'Académie française can kiss my derrière.

"You don't NEED a 50 caliber rifle"

A few of us met up yesterday to shoot stuff.


It was nice to be able to bring something to the party - my Enfield No. 4 is at the top; #2 Son's SKS is next to the bottom.  This picture was taken early; there were probably three times this many when everyone showed up.  But #2 Son finally got to shoot his SKS.


With the help of the other attendees, they exhausted the 300 rounds of steel jacketed ammo that we couldn't shoot at the local indoor range.  Looking at the impact craters left on a scrap of steel we used as a target, I can see why.  The steel looked like the surface of the moon.

ASM826 and friend Dan organized the meetup, and hosted it at their local range.  The facilities were quite nice, with a 200 yard rifle range among the amenities we enjoyed.  You can see targets here at 50, 100, and 200 yards.


It was a blogshoot, and so of course there was a guest of honor.  .30-06 made him jump 5 feet in the air.


Sean Sorrentino really out did himself as Community Organizer, bringing blogger Knitebane and Bob from Templar Custom.  Bob manufactures custom automatic weapons and suppressors, and brought some of his creations that he generously let us shoot.  One of the most interesting was one where you could replace the barrel, without changing the point of impact (tested at 200 yards).


That's Sean shooting full automatic .50 Beowulf.  ASM826 caught the ejected brass in mid-air.  This was entirely overwhelming to shoot in a handheld weapon on full automatic.  Here's the cartridge next to a .45 ACP for scale.  As you can see, it's basically a latter day version of the .50-90 Buffalo cartridge.  This on full automatic would be handy if you were cornered by a runaway dump truck.


Which brings me to the point of the post.  Everyone there knew more about guns and was a better shot than I, as my journey to the land of Gun Nuttery is still hardly begun.  So I tend to look at things from a philosophical perspective.  The get together was a celebration of freedom.  Individual people from all over the place getting together to see interesting things, test their skill, perhaps improve their skill a little, and enjoy comradery out in the winter sunshine.  There was less risk to all involved than if we'd gone to a Real Ale festival.

And yet we still hear the objection that is the title to this post.  There are polite answers: in the last year, we've collected six guns here at Camp Borepatch.  I've shot a number of new types of ammo that I hadn't shot before, including two different flavors of fifty caliber.  I've gotten my Georgia Weapons Carry License (as had the lovely and dangerous Mrs. Borepatch).  We haven't committed any crimes with these guns, or even created a nuisance.  So why on earth should we be prohibited from doing this?

There are impolite answers to the objection, too: go to Hell, you statist prick busybody. It's none of your stinking business what I do as long as it doesn't harm you.  And being afraid because you're a wuss isn't "harm".  After all, we don't restrict african americans or homosexuals because someone might be made uncomfortable around them, that would be simple bigotry.  And so with us, and our harmless shooting get togethers.

Freedom is an odd thing.  It encourages diversity and non-conformance, as people do their own thing despite the possibly disapproving glances of the Blue Noses.  But even more, Freedom is a virtuous cycle, as some of those Blue Noses see in that diversity something that challenges their own assumptions about society, that makes them think, and sometimes even makes them change their minds.  Something that causes them to embrace diversity, in celebration of the harmless exercise of the human spirit.  And so the pool of diversity increases.

You know, I've been down that very road myself over the last few years.  And so to people whose first reaction to our outing is captured in the post title let me just say come on in - the water's fine.
Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.
- John F. Kennedy

UPDATE 31 December 2011 17:44: Made some corrections per Sean Sorrentino.

Well, that was something I didn't expect.

People saying nice things about my marksmanship.  (The post title was my idea)

Even Jay shows up to say something nice.  Nice way to end the year, I must say.

And this is a good time to say that it was cool shooting at 200 yards (and even cooler hitting a paper plate at 200 yards - iron sights, baby!).  And so, my gunnie New Year's resolutions:

I resolve to finally go to Appleseed to learn real shooting.  Dad qualified as "Expert" at Uncle Sam's Summer Camp, and so I have a high bar to, err, aim for.  I'll take #2 Son, if he wants.

I resolve to figure out just where my Enfield is zeroed.  It hits dead on at 100 yards, but it appears that the bullet is still rising then.  It was shooting high at 200 yards, so learning where it shoots is something that I have to do.

I resolve to start reloading .303 at least.  If anyone knows someone getting out of reloading who might sell their kit, let me know.

I resolve to start proper training, meaning the same shooting exercises (with scores kept and mistakes analyzed).  Regularly.  Jay and ASM826 were very kind, but the fact of the matter is that I'm a duffer on the range.  I don't actually mind being a duffer, don't get me wrong, just that I'd like to be a more skilled duffer.  How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice.

I'd like to say that I'll get a Garand.  I'm getting #1 Son's tuition paid, so that one may have to wait.

I'd also like to say that I'll get up to the Knob Creek machine gun shoot, but until I'm done bouncing back and forth along I-20 between Atlanta and Austin, we'll have to wait and see.

So, what are your Gunnie resolutions for 2012?

Hank Williams - I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive

New Year's is a time for reflection, on the past and the future.  A time to look back at the previous year to glean such wisdom as we can from its highs and lows.  A time to search our souls and resolve to be better - or at least different - in the new year.

Well, for some of us, anyway.

On New Year's Eve 1952 (or possibly early New Year's Day 1953), Hank Williams, Sr. met his date with destiny, in the back seat of his Cadillac.  While facts are hard to come by, Hank had lived a fast life, getting kicked out of the Grand Ole Opry because of his boozing.  It's possible that booze was involved that last night, outside Canton, Ohio.  He was only 29.

Ironically, Hank's last hit was this one, I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive.  Somehow, it seems fitting for New Year's reflection: we, too, will one day meet our own fate.  What will we leave behind?  What would we change before that final day?  Worthy questions.



I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive (Songwriters: Fred Rose, Hank Williams)
Now you're lookin' at a man that's gettin' kind a mad
I had lot's of luck but it's all been bad
No matter how I struggle and strive
I'll never get out of this world a live.

My fishin' pole's broke the creek is full of sand
My woman run away with another man
No matter how I struggle and strive
I'll never get out of this world alive.

A distant uncle passed away and left me quite a batch
And I was livin'g high until that fatal day
A lawyer proved I wasn't born
I was only hatched.

Ev'rything's agin' me and it's got me down
If I jumped in the river I would prob'ly drown
No matter how I struggle and strive
I'll never get out of this world alive.

These shabby shoes I'm wearin' all the time
Are full of holes and nails
And brother if I stepped on a worn out dime
I bet a nickel I could tell you if it was heads or tails.

I'm not gonna worry wrinkles in my brow
'Cause nothin's ever gonna be alright nohow
No matter how I struggle and strive
I'll never get out of this world alive.

I could buy a Sunday suit and it would leave me broke
If it had two pair of pants I would burn the coat
No matter how I struggle and strive
I'll never get out of this world alive.

If it was rainin' gold I wouldn't stand a chance
I wouldn't have a pocket in my patched up pants
No matter how I struggle and strive
I'll never get out of this world alive.
May you all have a happy and reflective New Year's Even celebration, and a happy and healthy New Year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

50 caliber automatic fire is awesome!

But oh, the humanity!


Long, fun day making things get loud (#2 Son is now entirely out of the steel-jacket SKS ammo), then eight hours driving back to Atlanta.  Oy, veh.

Proper blogshoot AAR tomorrow (with pix), but a huge thank you to ASM826 for hosting the shoot.

Twelve Days of Christmas - unhappy campers

Remember, it's the thought that counts ...


Via #1 Son, who says "I don't want to live on this planet anymore."

The weather forecast for today

LOUD.  With continued LOUD throughout the morning, and scattered LOUD this afternoon.


After arrival at the Super Secret undisclosed location (err, and after a dinner of Thai curry sweet potatoes), we stopped by ASM826's Man Cave classroom for reloading instruction.  That's #2 Son, making some .30-06 that he's fixin' to shoot today.

All joking aside, ASM826 is an outstanding teacher, both of how to shoot and how to fabricate.  With today's 4 boxes of .303 Brit added to the 3 or 4 boxes of empty .303 brass, I really have no excuse to not start loading.

Err, other than the range awaits.  Blogshoot AAR later.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Surfacing

Been busy, not even counting the miles.  Seems that I'm enmeshed in an Evil Plan ...

Best wishes to Brigid


Hope you have a quick recovery.  Stop by and leave her some commenty get-well-soon love.

For those of you living in a cave, the "arrow in the knee" story is here.

Road trip!

I'm off to a classified, off-site, undisclosed location to rendezvous with ASM826, Sean Sorrentino, and Old NFO (among others).  Details are, well, classified, but rumor has is that rounds will be send down range.

#2 Son is accompanying me, along with the obligatory plush children's toy to sacrifice to the blogshoot Ghods.  More anon.  As long as I can navigate South Carolina and its idiotic no-CCW-reciprocity-with-Georgia nonsense, things will be fine.

In the mean time, I have posts scheduled.  Nice to take guns to a blogshoot, I have to say.

Will no one rid me of these meddlesome Constitutional checks and balances?

On this day in 1170, three knights of Henry II Plantagenet cut down Archbishop Thomas à Becket at the high altar in Canterbury Cathedral.  I wrote about how Becket vexed the King with his demands for limits on Royal Authority, and how today's Progressives feel that same vexation (now that the Right Sort Of Person is in the Oval Office, natch).

I'm struck on how this has disappeared down the Emily Latella Media's memory hole, along with Fast And Furious and the violent crime at #OccupyUSA.  It's like they think we don't notice the bias of what's reported, and what isn't.  Of what's a story, and what isn't.

Maybe Instapundit was right - you should always vote for the Republican for President, because then the Media will be zealous in reporting on civil liberties overreach by the Fed.Gov.  It's a little sad that such a simple-minded theory seems to work so well in practice.  I'd hoped that our Intellectual Superiors™ wouldn't be so, well, Middle School obvious.  Well, a guy can hope, can't he?

It's drivel, and drivel of a shockingly low caliber.  I'd like a higher caliber drivel, please.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas

I don't know what musical Christmas lights would look like at JayG's place, but think they might look something like this:



Nothing says "get offa my lawn" like 40,000 Christmas lights playing Slayer.

In which I endorse Rick Perry for President

Not that it matters much, or that he has much of a chance of winning.  However, he's the best choice on offer.  The reason is that he's the only one who plausibly will address the problem facing the Republic.  Via Foseti, Wikipedia explains it:
What we have in this country today, then, is both anarchy (the failure of the state to enforce the laws) and, at the same time, tyranny—the enforcement of laws by the state for oppressive purposes; the criminalization of the law-abiding and innocent through exorbitant taxation, bureaucratic regulation, the invasion of privacy, and the engineering of social institutions, such as the family and local schools; the imposition of thought control through "sensitivity training" and multiculturalist curricula, "hate crime" laws, gun-control laws that punish or disarm otherwise law-abiding citizens but have no impact on violent criminals who get guns illegally, and a vast labyrinth of other measures. In a word, anarcho-tyranny.
Mitt Romney is a big government "fixer", which means that he instinctively reaches for the new regulation.  While I have a lot of admiration for Romney's personal life and personal morals, I have nothing but contempt for his what-do-you-like-I-like-that-too attitude towards governing.  I could easily see him bending to more of the "Domestic Terrorist" nonsense - or if he won't, he certainly has done nothing to convince me otherwise.  Quite frankly, the noise about how he's the only viable candidate is just that - noise.  It's the sound of the political elite trying to get a bandwagon rolling.  A moment's thought will dispel this as the mirage it is.

Newt Gengrich is without doubt the smartest man in the room (I'm not joking here), but the last three years have shown us the danger of electing a Professor-in-Chief.  Plus, he's clearly overly comfortable sitting on the sofa spouting support for what was even then clearly a dead program, so just how smart is he?  He said this was a mistake, but never said why he thought it was a good idea at the time.  Now, I like a lot of his ideas; the problem is that I don't know which of those he'd try to get implemented.  Given his unwillingness to explain the Nancy Pelosi thing, I suspect that I won't like the answer much.

R0n P4U1!!!!eleventy!!!! isn't just a kook, his response to the newsletter fiasco has turned a problem for his campaign into a disqualifying event.  He didn't know what was being published in his newsletter?  Oooooh kaaaay.  I don't think that he's a racist, I think that he thinks that I'm a dim bulb.  That expression of contempt for my intelligence is returned in equal measure.  Don't let it hit you in the ass on the way out, R0n.  He's simply dishonest and unwilling to take the heat, which means I don't want him anywhere near the Oval Office. 

I don't think that Michelle Bachman is crazy, but she's far too socially conservative for me.  Gay marriage is not the biggest crisis facing the Republic today, and so she's taking her eye off the ball.

The rest (Santorum?  Huntsman? Not even sure who's there or why) are rounding error.  They might make good Presidents, in some alternate universe where they break into double digits.  It's possible that I could reconsider one of these in the unlikely event that they show signs of being contenders.  But the first rule of getting elected is getting elected.  Not much to see here so far.

Which leaves Rick Perry.

He's not glib, although he does decently well with a Teleprompter.  People overly impressed with glibness will either vote for Obama anyway (Thomas Friedman), or will hold their noses and vote for him (Peggy Noonan).  In other words, this is irrelevant.  What is relevant is that he's the only candidate that's shown a long term instinct to resist the growing anarcho-tyranny of the current political elite.

The fact that the elite hate him is what the lawyers call admission against interest - we can infer the truth because it damages their case.

Ace makes a pretty good (and detailed) case for Perry:
But I don't want someone who is so confident that he is a more capable administrator of federal power. I want someone who is skeptical of federal power no matter who wields it, no matter how skilled and able an administrator he might be, even if that administrator is he himself, and so always prefers to shunt power away from the government to to the states, and their citizens.
Quite frankly, he's the only one with a record of walking this walk.  And this is the problem facing the Republic today - too much government, done in the interest of political lobbying, with government agencies writing thousands of new regulations in the interest of the special interests who have entirely captured those agencies.

At this point, I should confess that I don't much like Perry personally.  That doesn't matter.  He's the only one with his eye on the ball that actually counts.

UPDATE 28 December 2011 16:32: Via Hotair, here's Romney telling us that Massachusetts' RomneyCare was conservative, not liberal:



Presumably, that's why it's preferred 3:1 by those conservative Massachusetts voters.

He thinks that we're idiots, to swallow this drivel.  I'd like a higher caliber of drivel.

UPDATE 28 December 16:45: Ron Paul is crazy as a coot.  Foreign policy is messy, because international relations are chaotic.  The only way to interpret this is that we have no interests in the rest of the world.  Or he somehow thinks that his State Department will be staffed with Philosopher Kings, who won't make mistakes or fail to foresee what might happen twenty years down the road.



So what, I wonder, would be the unforeseen consequences (twenty years in the future) of withdrawing from the world?  Again, via Hotair.

Always trust content from Borepatch!

Over two years ago, I declared Cap and Trade dead:
It's over, folks. Done. Only a third of the public thinks that Mankind has anything to do with climate change, and this with a one-sided media carpet bombing campaign. That means that it's basically Democrats who think this: the country is divided roughly into thirds (Democrat/Independent/Republican).

But it's worse than that - even Democrats don't care. Climate Change is stuck in the cellar of concerns among even self-described Democrats. If you can't even get the Party Faithful to give a damn, how are you going to get a multi-Trillion dollar restructuring of the World Economy going?

You aren't.
This was still early in the LightBringer's term.  What's happened since?  Nothing good for the Professional Green Lobby:

Graciela Kincaid said she was part of a study at Brown University this summer that reviewed 1,606 speeches since January 2008 by administration officials.
From Graciela Kincaid:
The ratio of the administration’s usage of “climate change” versus “energy” has changed significantly since Obama’s 2008 campaign days. ...

Noteworthy are the State of the Union speeches, meant to be indicators of the president’s agenda. These speeches regularly favor energy to climate change messages. In 2009, climate change was mentioned only once while energy came up 14 times; in 2010, climate change was mentioned three times to energy’s 15; and in 2011 while energy was mentioned 9 times, climate change was not mentioned at all.
Obama wants to get re-elected.  In other news of the obvious, the sun rises in the east.  Only someone in the Professional Green Lobby would need this pointed out.

But no need to thank me, it's all part of being a full service Global Warming Climate Change Global Climate Disruption™ blog.

Quote of the Day

I'm only laughing on the outside:
The United States going broke makes sense. We stopped making things. Everyone has a B.A. on communications, journalism, English or something just as useless. But for China to go belly up takes some real genius. China has trade surpluses. You really have to go out of your way to spend that much money.
Everyone's looking at the financial and demographic meltdown in Europe.  People should look east, as the Middle Kingdom no longer can fudge the books on their economic performance.  Japan, too:

Japan has a Wile E. Coyote Economy. Just as the laws of gravity are suspended until that moment when Wile E. Coyote looks down, the rules of finance are suspended until someone notices that there is nothing supporting the Japanese economy.
Now here is the real sad thing. China looked down.
The global economy has listened to a financial elite who have hidden risk while skimming the surplus for decades.  The world is screwed.  Nice job they've done.  RTWT.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Learning

The illiterate of the twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
- Alvin Toffler
I had the pleasure of meeting Aretae and his family for dinner a months or so back.  They're a pretty astonishing family.  Mrs. Aretae has started a photoblog of their adventures.  I particularly liked this one.  And this one.

They home school, and so have made the entire country the classroom for their kids. The photos are from that classroom.  Those kids clearly have learned how to learn, and learn again.  Smart guy, that Aretae.

And Mrs. Aretae, too, as you'd expect.  Also, it's her birthday.  Stop on by - this is interesting enough to get her an Instalanche.  So get going.

Range trip (and Rib Roast) AAR

Range trip FAIL.

I took #2 Son and his friend to the range this afternoon.  It was packed.  Fortunately, the lovely and fastidious Mrs. Borepatch liked the range with the nice lady's room, so I got to use the "Members sign in here" line - sort of like flying with status!

Unfortunately, #2 Son's friend is not my son, nor am I his legal guardian.  Duh - should have thought of that.  Fortunately, the Missus and friend were nearby doing "girl things", so we could link back up.  The boys could play X-Box until then.

So I called to make a reservation (it was busy).  We all went off there.

It was busy enough that we couldn't be three on a line - we needed two lanes.  No problem, they could get us two (I'm a member, right?).  So we went in while friend's Mom watched through the ballistic glass (only two on a line, remember?).

So I'm with #2 Son, and he had the SKS loaded up ready to go, and the Range Safety Officer told him "Make your weapon safe and put it down, please."  The RSO had seen his stripper clips of 7.92x33mm, and was holding a magnet.  "Sorry, it's either steel core or steel jacket, you can't shoot that here."

Strike three.

#2 Son's friend had fun shooting my 1911, but that was about the only bright spot of our two trips to the range.  Oh, well, now we had a metric ton of commie ammo to shoot at the super secret range trip later this week.  And there's enough to share - No, really, shoot fifty rounds, or I'll have to post that you're a wuss ...

Sigh.

Oh, well, we had leftover rib roast, which means Yorkshire Pudding with #2 Son:

Pre-heat oven to 450° with a 10 inch cast iron skillet in it.

Meat ingredients:
2 rashers of bacon (dude, it's bacon)
fat trimmings from the roast, cut up
meat trimmings from the roast, cut into quarter inch cubes
half an onion, chopped
2 good handfuls of spinach, chopped coarsely
Dry ingredients:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
 Wet ingredients:
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
In a second skillet, fry the bacon and reserve.  Reduce the heat, add the roast fat and render the fat. Save the liquid, and remove the roasted fat bits for the pets.  Or to process for gunpowder or something.  Add the roast meat cubes, onion, and bacon to the skillet to warm over low heat.

Combine and mix the dry group.  In a separate bowl, combine and mix the wet group. 

Remove the cast iron skillet from the oven - it should be hot like the Space Shuttle's engine.  Pour in the fat.  Combine the wet and dry bowls and mix until combined (do not over mix).  Pour into rocket-hot skillet, and bake for 15 minutes.

When you pull the yorkshire pudding from the oven after 15 minutes, toss the spinach onto the warm meat.  It will wilt in 60 seconds or so.

Cut into wedges, and serve the pudding topped with the meat/onion/spinach.

It tastes better if you have your teenage kid cut up the meat.  Well, it does.

The Emilly Latella Media

Sean and George both point out a New York Times hit piece on concealed carry holders in North Carolina, and how they're supposedly going on a crime wave and ZOMG teh ebil gunz!!!1!!one!

Reading it, I thought on media bias, and on the dark days of 2003 and my own transition from a PBS-listening SWPL to someone who at least sees the media for what they are.  In particular, I remember all of the posts at Instapundit about the Iraq Museum "looting", and all of the information that the media wasn't reporting because it undermined the narrative:
THE BAGHDAD MUSEUM LOOTING STORY was exploded weeks ago, when it turned out that only about two dozen items, not the tens of thousands originally reported, were looted from the Iraqi National Museums displays. In other words, the original looting stories were bogus. Yet today the factually-challenged New York Times describes the museums as having been “largely gutted.”

Perhaps the former Iraqi information minister is now working as one of the Times’ anonymous stringers? As Jerk Sauce notes: “The article raises some worrisome points about the looting of archeological sites in Iraq. But given the reporter’s – or is it his stringer’s – willingness to misrepresent the museum looting, how credible is this?”
Not very, I’m afraid.
I remember weeks at the Sunday brunch table with the lovely and loves-her-coffee Mrs. Borepatch, seeing the front page trumpeting more of the "looting" story - every day for something like 20 days, and telling her "didn't happen."  She kept looking at me like I was crazy.

Then one morning, I found it: the actual article - in the NYT, no less - saying pretty much what Insty said.  The article was  buried on page A20.  Opened her eyes, right there.  As Emily Latella used to say, nevermind.

Except when they bury a story, they do it at midnight, at a crossroads, and with a stake through its heart.  Here's the NYT from two years ago:
Well over half the exhibition halls in Iraq’s National Museum are closed, darkened and in disrepair. And yet the museum, whose looting in 2003 became a symbol of the chaos that followed the American invasion, officially reopened on Monday.


Thousands of works from its collection of antiquities and art — some of civilization’s earliest objects — remain lost.
Well, no.  Or if they are, it was an inside job by Museum employees or managers.  But don't look too closely, because the narrative's already cast in concrete.

It's what they do.

It's been years since the motto "All the news that's fit to print" hasn't been a joke.  The NYT isn't in business to print news, it's in business to print comforting confirmation bias for SWPL progressives.  That's actually their business model - guys like me stopped subscribing years ago, and will never come back, so now it's all about holding onto their progressive subscriber base.

So bring on the confirmation bias.  Mixing relevant (felony) with irrelevant (misdemeanor) data on CWL holders?  Sure - pump those numbers!

It's what they do.

This is not to denegrate what Sean and George wrote, which is necessary fact checking* (I'd go further, and ask for data on felonies - how many are violent, and how many are, say, raising rabbits without a license?), but in the grand scheme of things it probably doesn't make much difference.  The Progressive world view is imploding, and the sillier and more childish the confirmation bias, the faster it goes.

For what it's worth, here's my argument about the NYT to progressives:  When was the last time you read a story in the Times that really made you challenge one of your beliefs?  And isn't challenging your core beliefs the most important test for any real intellectual?

It doesn't always work, because there are a lot of people who prefer confirmation bias.  But it always makes them uncomfortable.  Good.

As for the NYT's hit piece on CWL holders?  Nevermind.

* It seems that "Jobs Americans won't do" includes basic fact checking, at least at the NYT.

Reliabile cars

Insty links to an article about how Japanese cars stormed the US market:
But to America, these cars were new, different, cheap and dependable. Reclining bucket seats, a clock that worked, a five speed, 30 miles per gallon, and without a Detroit brand name. Suddenly folks in Des Moines tasted the auto equivalent of plain white rice and discovered it wasn’t poisonous.
This made me think about our old Subaru station wagon.  We got it when #1 Son was 1.  I'd just gotten back from a business trip, and the lovely and loves-a-deal Mrs. Borepatch insisted that I go to the showroom RIGHT NOW to look at it.  See, it was the end of the quarter, and with the promotions, we could buy it for rediculously small money (maybe $12,000 - this was back in 1993).

Well, we drove that car for 130,000 miles, and I think that the only maintenance we had to do was changing the oil and tires.  And we weren't the only ones - Maine is full of Subaru 4WD station wagons.  Inexpensive, reliable, practical.  Yeah, they're boring, too, but anything that gets us through a bunch of trips with the kids - without complaining (the car, not the kids) - is a home run.

Haven't had anything nearly as reliable since.

Range time becons

I don't believe that I've been to the range since the Texas blogshoot, which was before Thanksgiving.  Today I take #2 Son and one of his buddies to shoot his new (to him) SKS.  Going to be a good day.

Sadly, it's at a pretty well-heeled indoor range, so no bayonet charges against plush children's toys.  Which is a shame, actually.  I mean, we have bayonets and plush children's toys.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas - The Boss

Awesome.

OMG! There's a Lady with a gun!

And her husband, too.  The lovely and dangerous Mrs. Borepatch and I went out this afternoon to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens for some sunshine, exercise, and recommended daily allowance of SWPL.  The Camellias were spectacular.


To offset some of the NPR-quiche-and-brie vibe, I carried my 1911.  The Missus carried her Sig p230 in her new Dragon Leather Works Talon holster:


Unlike my Dragon Leatherworks Quantum which can be worn either inside the waistband or outside the waistband, her Talon is exclusively outside the waistband.  That's fine with her, as she finds IWB carry to be uncomfortable.  It took a little more fiddling via trial and error to find the right place on the belt (around 3:30 on the dial for her), but then she carried it all day long, forgetting she was packing.



As with my Quantum, her Talon is simply gorgeous.  But function trumps form (nice though it may be), and her holster held her Sig absolutely rock steady.  Sitting, standing, or walking, the pistol didn't move a millimeter.  She quite appreciated this, as her Sig has no safety - the first shot is a long double action one, but it's not like she can carry it "cocked and locked".  As you can see from the picture, there was no getting to the trigger, unless you wanted to.


And so we wandered around the place, mixing happily with the SWPLs.  It was fun (I'm going to take #2 Son back to the Conservatory - need to make sure that he doesn't grow up to be a barbarian).  And then on to Trader Joe's (it was a very SWPL day).

And funny, nobody got shot.  Even with the two of us packing heat.

Christmas Gunpr0n: SKS

#2 Son had decided some time ago that the SKS was his favorite rifle.  Besides, it's on The List, so Santa got hisself busy.


The Samozaryadnyj Karabin sistemy Simonova Type 56 (Самозарядный карабин системы Симонова) was Sergei Simonov's most famous design.  It's a semiautomatic gas operated (you can see the gas tube  above the barrel in the picture here) carbine length rifle chambered for the same short 7.62x39mm round used in the AK-47 (shown here between the full sized .303 British and .45 ACP).

Simonov designed it back in 1944, when reduced cartridges like the Sturmgewehr's 7.92x33mm kurz round were sort of in the air, so to speak.  Not intended to shoot to ranges of a thousand yards or more, the shorter cartridges not only weighed less but had considerably reduced recoil suited to fire superiority doctrine.

#2 Son took to the reduced recoil like a fish to water.  The integral, folding bayonet didn't hurt, either.


This is not an "assault" rifle, and so while the scary bayonet will likely give the vapors to all the Usual Suspects, it remains surprisingly legal many places.  The magazine isn't removable (well, it's not designed to be removed under battlefield conditions).  Rather, the rifle is loaded via stripper clips through the top, when the bolt is locked back.


The Magazine holds ten rounds, and so you might have problems if you leave the United States of America for such communist controlled places like New Jersey or Massachusetts.  I'm told that the magazines can be modified to only hold five rounds.  I've also seen after market drum magazines that hold 75 rounds, which sounds like a lot more fun.  Be prepared to pay a significant percentage of the rifle's purchase price to get one of those.

While these were manufactured all over the Warsaw Pact bloc and beyond (East Germany, Yugoslavia, Red China*), this one is Russian, from (I think) 1950. I'm told that Russian manufacture means that this can be treated as a Curio and Relic by the BATFeieio.  If you get interested in this, you should definitely check into this on your own, because I Am Not A Lawyer (nor do I play one on TV).

Strangely, this rifle has a stamp that says "Made in Russia" (in English).  I'm not sure what to make about that, except that it was perhaps remanufactured in the early 1990s for import to the USA.

The ammo is cheap as chips.  The guy I bought the rifle from had ten boxes of NORINCO for $4.99/20 each.  While I'm fairly open minded on Red China* in general, NORINCO is the People's Liberation Army, and therefore the adversary; needless to say, I won't be getting any more (it was an all-or-nothing deal with the rifle).  I rounded this out with some Tula for not much more, so now #2 Son has 300 rounds for this baby.  By way of comparison, I paid $18/20 for .303 Brit, and thought I got a good deal.  Shooting this is as easy on your wallet as on your shoulder.

It was a ring-style front sight and a flip up rear sight.  It's graduated to further out than is likely to be realistic (perhaps the triumph of optimism over sobriety), but this was designed for shooting to 300 meters or so.


So, let's sum up the benefits: it's inexpensive, easy to shoot, inexpensive to shoot, and still gives the vapors to the Usual Suspects.  Actually, it would make a decent SHTF rifle, too.  #2 Son is pretty happy with Gunnie Santa.

* I only say "Red China" to annoy the Usual Suspects.

That's pretty good Heroin Water, right there

#1 Son had to write, film, and edit a commercial for College.  Now where's he get that sense of humor?

Film Review: Red Riding Hood

Stinks.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas

The Feast feeds the soul, as well as the body

That's actually the most important part.  For those of you surrounded by your family, look around from the groaning board.  Step out of the flow of time, just for a moment.  This is what life is about.

Well, and beast.


Rib roast, with a rub made from herbs from our garden (rosemary, thyme, and sage) with garlic, salt* and pepper, and olive oil.  Roasting at 375° on a bed of root veg.

Oh, and Aunt Charlotte's dinner rolls, rising right now.  And a nice Pinot.

But it's not the food, it's the feast that counts.  If you leave the table with only your body sated, you're doing it wrong.

* You need a lot more of this than you think.  I used not quite a cup, and think I'll have to season it some more when it's done roasting.

Remember, ammunition makes great stocking stuffers!

Me, I got what I wanted for Christmas.  I'm home with the family.  Hope you got something equally nice.

Georg Friedrich Händel - Highlights from "The Messiah"

Image via Wikipedia
Handel was German, and made England his adopted home - as did the Hannovarian Kings.  While he wrote The Messiah for an Easter performance, it has become traditional to perform it - often with audience participation - at Christmas.  Because of the "Messiah singalong" tradition, there are an amazing number of people who can actually sing this.

I myself was able to sing without a score for many years - and not just hum along, but sing the proper baritone line.  The tradition of standing for the Hallelujah chorus is said to come from King George II standing when he first heard it.  That likely never happened, but it adds a jolly good audience participation bit.  This takes that participation and - accompanied by the world's largest pipe organ and the Opera Company of Philadelphia - dials it up to awesome:



But to really pull this off, you need quite good soloists.  This example - The Trumpet Shall Sound - is not at all easy to pull off.  That so many of the performances around the land do pull it off speaks to the drawing power of the piece.



But this isn't my favorite part of the piece.  The finale is one of the most magnificent endings ever written, and to me drives home the reason for the day.  I never fail to get goosebumps listening to this ( the bit at 6:36 is what closes the deal for me):



Amen.  What an ending.

May the peace of the day surround you and your families.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

When you send out all those Christmas cards, won't you sign my name for me?

Because I won't be home for Christmas ...



God bless our men and women overseas, in harm's way.  Be their shield, and bring them home safely to their families.  And to us.  Bless their families and keep them strong, while the families are broken by distance, and duty.  May the reunion be sweeter for the lost days and months.

May we not forget any of this.

Amen.



The sight of you would be my present that would make my dreams fulfilled ...

Remember them, and their families.

A heartwarming Christmas story

A man robs a Best Buy store.  Running out to the parking lot, he happens across four Marines collecting toys for the Toys For Tots program.  The man pulls a knife on the Marines.

Hilarity ensues.  Heh.

Merry Christmas, everyone


Photo by Borepatch, taken with a Pentax K1000.

I'll never smoke weed with Willie again

Yeah, it's Saturday, and that means country music.  Yeah, I know that Feliz Navidad really isn't country music (err, or something).  As a penance for violating the Nuthin' but Country rule, here's some Toby:



And I can swear truthfully that I've never smoked weed with Willie.  Although I expect that would give you a story worth telling.

May all of you have a Merry and non-busted Christmas!

José Feliciano - Feliz Navidad

(Image source)
The Holidays are a season for over the top sentimentality, and while I'm usually one for just that, sometimes you need a bit of an escape from the regular Bing Crosby routine.  José Feliciano's upbeat-but-different salsa inspired Feliz Navidad is just the ticket. Unsurprisingly, it's one of the most played Christmas songs.

Feliciano was born in Puerto Rico, blind from congenital glaucoma.  Perhaps because of his reliance on hearing, he gravitated young to music, playing pop music and classical guitar for up to 14 hours a day.  When the family moved to New York, he started playing in clubs, and then recording.  His success overseas in Spanish-speaking countries led to more recordings, and his Latin version of The Door's Light My Fire was his breakout hit. 

But Feliz Navidad was undeniably his biggest hit, and signature song.  It channels an optimism that is simply infectious - that despite the curve balls that life throws at you, there's always hope for the New Year.



Feliz Navidad (Songwriter: José Feliciano)
Feliz navidad
Feliz navidad
Feliz navidad
Prospero año y felicidad.

Feliz navidad
Feliz navidad
Feliz navidad
Prospero año y felicidad.

I want to wish you a merry christmas
I want to wish you a merry christmas
I want to wish you a merry christmas
From the bottom of my heart.

Feliz navidad
Feliz navidad
Feliz navidad
Prospero año y felicidad.

I want to wish you a merry christmas
I want to wish you a merry christmas
I want to wish you a merry christmas
From the bottom of my heart.

Feliz navidad
Feliz navidad
Feliz navidad
Prospero año y felicidad.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Santa Baby

Here's my least favorite version:



Here's my most favorite version:



Kensley, I hope Santa is good to you this year, too.

Yo, dawg


Awesome.  Found here.

Twelve Days of Christmas - Rock 'n Roll edition

Yeah, baby.



This is why we won the Cold War, right here.

What if you were about to die, and didn't?

How would it change you?



This is the time of the year to look back on your life.  For retrospectives.  Boy, this sure is one.  His talk is like this, only even more from the heart.



And something else I've posted before:
If you found out that you were going to die soon,
and only had enough time to make one phone call,
who would you call, and what would you say?

And why are you waiting?
For me, it's been quite a year.  Looking back, what stands out is family.  Coming into the holiday weekend, I hope each of you find yourselves surrounded by yours.

Dyslexic Christmas Carols

Merlin has it.  This is so awesome that it draws blood.

The Wisdom Hilarity of Crowds

What do you say to $45/gallon milk?  Well, if you're a commenter on Amazon.com, you say it a la Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven:
Once upon a mid-day sunny, while I savored Nuts 'N Honey, 
With my Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 gal, 128 fl. oz., I swore 
As I went on with my lapping, suddenly there came a tapping, 
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at the icebox door. 
'Bad condensor, that,' I muttered, 'vibrating the icebox door - 
Only this, and nothing more.'
There are 1,300 comments, all in a hilariously literary vein:
After a long hard week full of days he would burst through the door, his fatigue hidden behind a smile. There was an icy jug of Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl oz in his right hand. With his left hand he would grip my waist - I was always cooking dinner - and press the cold frostiness of the jug against my arm as he kissed my cheek. I would jump, mostly to gratify him after a time, and smile lovingly at him. He was a good man, a wonderful husband who always brought the milk on Friday, Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl oz.
Sadly, that one ended poorly.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Squeeky clean Christmas fun

Yeah, you can watch this with your little kids.  No, that's not a bad thing.

Twelve Days of Christmas - Southern Rock Edition

Holiday cheer from Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Some days, you just don't feel very social

On this day in history

In 1864, Billy Sherman entered Savannah on this day.


He sent a famous telegram to Abraham Lincoln:






I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the City of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty guns and plenty of ammunition, also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.

They still hate his guts here in Georgia. Burning a whole bunch of folks out of their homes might have something to do with it.

'Tis better to give than to receive

The Holidays are all about giving, which means free stuff.  In that spirit, here are some of my favorite free software packages.  Free as in beer, even.  Open Source rocks.

The Gimp

What do you do when you want to add a cute caption to a picture of your cat, or photoshop sparkly vampire sparkles onto Mitt Romney*?  You could reach for Photoshop, but that's hundreds of bucks.  Or you could download The Gimp (Gnu Image Manipulation Program).






It runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.  And did I mention that it's free?  Yeah, it's complicated (like Photoshop), but you can do really cool stuff, like showing where you left your wookie suit.


FreeCiv

I lost a non-trivial part of my life to Sid Myer's Civilization, back in the day.  So along comes the Open Source community with a free version that you can play solo or over the 'Net.





It's basically Civ II.  Free life-sucking time sink for Windows and Linux (maybe Mac, too).  Awesome.  Plus, you get that OSS cred at cocktail parties when you say I just downloaded it from Sourceforge ...

OpenOffice

Ever wanted to write something, and Wordpad just didn't give you enough word processor?  Or wanted to whack together a quick spreadsheet?  Or a slide deck to present you your kid's Scout troop?  Well, you can shell our the Benjamins to Microsoft for Office, or you can download OpenOffice.





I did my Should you be a Global Warming skeptic presentation using it.  Oh yeah, the word processor can count the number of words in a post (yeah, yeah, too many.  I know).  Awesome, and free. 


Ubuntu Linux

You've heard me talk about this before, but the next time you upgrade to an new computer, consider turning your old one into a studly Unix workstation.  You won't get most games (well, other than FreeCiv), but you won't get malware either.  Ubuntu is cool in that everything just works one it.  May run as fast as your new computer, too.


There you go.  Solid, high quality, free software.  Thank you, Open Source community!  Besides, using Open Source is manly.**



* Mitt is gayer than Twilight, not that there's anything wrong with that.

** Especially when it's The Gimp, and you're adding sparkles to a photo of Mitt Romney.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas songs that were never written

Thank God.  Farce the Music has 'em.  Including Miranda Lambert's:
Silver bells, shotgun shells
It's Christmas in Tishomingo
Aim your shot, see 'em drop
Soon Rudolph will be filleted
Actually, I'd listen to that one ...

The Willie Nelson one is pretty funny, too.

Twelve Days of Christmas - Politically Correctness Edition

Heh.

Politicization of Science

2cents posts on the intersection of science and government:
Climategate II has taken a very chilling turn.  One that to my mind raises far greater issues than the idiocy of AGW and the great hoodwink.  The Obama administration's criminal division of the Justice Department sought and executed search warrants against Wordpress, the blogging software company that hosts several of the blogs where the anonymous "FOIA" posted a link to the zipfile that contained the second batch of incriminating emails from Mann and the boys.  Worse, it participated in a physical raid and seizure at home of the blogger who goes by Jeff Id at NOconsensus.wordpress.com, where all of his computers and his router were taken.  His was the first blog to upload the link, probably because he lives in a time zone five hours ahead of the others.  He was assured that he was not a suspect, but they nonetheless had armed agents serve the warrant and seize the instruments of his blogging.  Others whose files were ordered frozen at Wordpress were Steve McIntyre at ClimateAudit.org and Tallbloke’s Talkshop at tabloke.wordpress.com.
There's much more - 2cents is a lawyer, so he has insight on this that you don't get from guys like me.  I'd add a couple of things:

1. Jeff Id, Steve McIntyre, and Tallbloke are not suspects, i.e. the Fed.Gov and UK.Gov do not think that they are "FOIA".  However, the confiscation of computers is very high profile.

2. It's not at all clear that FOIA broke any laws.  The idiot media keeps talking about a "hacker", which can only be described as drool-worthy spin.  The two ClimateGate releases were clearly from data collected by the University of East Anglia (UEA) in preparation for potential compliance with numerous FOIA requests.

3. It is clear that the UEA did commit a crime in not complying with FOIA requests.  However, the law was written such that the statute of limitations had expired.

And so, the interesting series of events: actions that do not seem to be criminal, motivated by a desire to blow the whistle on actions that clearly were criminal, have resulted in criminal investigation against people who are not suspects.

Why?

The most recent Climategate emails show clearly that the scientists were pressured by politicians to come out with more extreme results - to hype the Global Warming panic.  The emails show that environmental activists were in positions of responsibility in the governments involved. They show that the World Bank was involved in writing parts of the IPCC reports - and even peer-reviewed articles published in Science and Nature (the most prestigious scientific journals).

In short, the global power elites were involved in the minutiae of the content of scientific journals, trying to make sure that the "science was settled" that we were in a crisis.

Why?

Remember, the U.S. Government has funded climate change research to the tune of something like $90 Billion.

Why?

To understand why government does something, you need to think in terms of power and money.  Global Warming was an opportunity for both.  Enron celebrated when the Kyoto protocols were signed.  They thought they'd make a killing on Carbon markets.  So did the international financial community.  And some of that money was going to make its way back to the politicians in the form of campaign contributions.

And here comes this shadowy "FOIA" dude, peeing in the punchbowl.  So bring out the Justice Department.

At this point, let me just say that anyone who ever spoke the words "Republican War on Science" need to shut up and sit down in the back of the room.  Grownups are talking here.

And now we get to the most interesting part of the last Climategate email dump: most of the data is encrypted.  People who have looked at it say that it's locked up tight, with solid ciphers and long key lengths.  In other words, something enormously unlikely to get cracked.

I think that this is "FOIA's" insurance policy against exactly this sort of police crackdown.  Consider: the World Bank emails weren't explosive enough to encrypt?  So what was explosive enough?  More specifically, which politician's emails are in the encrypted dump, and how damaging are they?  All "FOIA" would need to do is dump the pass phrase onto the Internet - it's probably the first page of "A tale of two cities" or something (guess that, biatches!), and there are a thousand copies of the encrypted email archive.

This is the science story of the century, and the Press doesn't want to talk about it.  But they will, because they won't have a choice.  Get the popcorn, this is going to get even better than it already is.

Another Airbus software problem

Final report is out on the Quantas Flight QF72 incident, and blame is laid squarely on bad software:

On 7 October 2008, the Australian-owned A330-303 aircraft was cruising at 37,000 feet when the autopilot disengaged and the aircraft rose, before plunging downwards sharply, injuring 110 of the aircraft’s 303 passengers and three-quarters of the cabin crew. Three minutes later the aircraft did it again, and the flight crew was bombarded with warnings from the instrumentation – almost all of them false.

The pilots issued a PAN distress call, but upgraded this to MAYDAY after seeing the seriousness of the injuries onboard. They disabled the automatic pilot and throttle control systems and then managed the approach and landing at Learmonth, Western Australia using backup instruments. Since the source of the problems couldn’t be immediately identified the crew used manual pressurisation control and braking equipment because the automatic systems weren’t trusted. In all, 51 passengers and crew required hospitalisation following the incident.
Seems a device went bad and fed bad data into the flight computers, which lots their minds trying to make sense of it.  It's actually kind of amazing that someone didn't die here.

They're actually blaming this on cosmic rays (srlsy), although that's a bad joke.  The real issue (in my professional opinion) is that the computer should be able to recognize when it's lost its mind and tell the pilot that he has to start real flying, as opposed to the usual Airbus desk flying.

Um, maybe he really is mentally ill

So the California dude got taken to observation in a psych ward.  Yeah, he had 100 guns and a million rounds of ammo.  Yeah, people are freaking out about Black Helicopters.

Maybe everyone should take a nice, deep breath and chill the heck out:
GLENDORA - Police confiscated more than 100 shotguns, rifles and pistols during an early morning raid Friday at the home of a man who is suspected of exposing himself at Wal-Mart in Glendora.

...

The home was so cluttered with boxes and other items that it was difficult for officers to maneuver inside the house. Staab said he's never seen anything like it before.

“Every room was just stacked to the rafters with boxes,” Staab said. “There's a television show out there called 'Hoarders' that this house would certainly compete with.”

Police served the warrant after they received two reports of a man strolling around Wal-Mart and exposing his genitalia.

After reviewing store surveillance footage, police identified Steiner, Staab said.

“Clear as day you can see him ... exposing himself to numerous people,” Staab said.

“He would walk up and down the aisle, look, and when someone passed by he would reach to his crotch area and expose his genitalia and walk around, and then cover himself back up and continue looking,” he said.

A woman first reported that her 9- and 11-year-old children witnessed the behavior on July 4. She did not report the incident to police, however, until days later, Staab said.
Look, nobody knows better than I the abuses done by Statist Bastards in the name of government control.  But dude who live the packrat lifestyle and expose themselves to kids in Walmart may just be, you know, mentally ill.

Me, I'm willing to let this play out before passing judgement.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas - Christmas in Las Vegas



Via #2 Son.  The handheld filmed-on-my-phone effect seems to add to the whole Richard Cheese effect.

The New Soviet Progressive Man

When #1 Son was born, I had the idea that this little baby was a Blank Slate onto which I would write my Superior mores.  I learned pretty fast what generations of Progressives seem not to be able to make themselves face:

The various child creating behaviors of an Afghan farmer and his two wives, an American farmer in 1811, and an American accountant in 2011 have less to do with Islam, Protestantism, and post-Christian agnosticism than they have to do with the calories and the climate.

Christ did not create a New Christian Man.

Nazism did not create the Pure Aryan Man.

The Soviets did not create a New Soviet Man.

The modern Pan-national Progressive SWPLs have not created a …well, whatever the hell that New-mumble-Man-thing would be called.

...

Human nature does not change.

Keep that maxim in mind the next time you read a SWPL prog talking about how mankind has evolved, or such-and-so is “outdated” or “backwards”.

Evolution is not teleological and neither is social change.
Both react to situations on the ground.
The only question that is interesting is why they can't learn this lession.  The only answer that makes sense is that when they look in the mirror, they see a Philosopher King staring back.  That vision is so pretty that they refuse to look at anything other than the mirror.

But don't forget - they're smarter and nicer than you.

We don't care about the 1% or the marginal tax rate.

We want your soul:
This revelation was followed by another, equally momentous: his entire future depended on his ability to cry. Not just his career and his membership in the Worker's Party, his very survival was at stake. It was a matter of life and death. Jun-sang was terrified.

At first he kept his head down so nobody could see his eyes. Then he figured out that if he kept his eyes open long enough, they would burn and tear up. It was like a staring contest. Stare. Cry. Stare. Cry. Eventually it became mechanical. The body took over where the mind left off and suddenly he was really crying. He felt himself falling to his knees, rocking back and forth, sobbing just like everyone else. Nobody would be the wiser.
So strange how the Left simply dismisses the excesses of the Left, in a are-you-a-loony-that-could-never-happen-here sense.  They look at you like you're some sort of, well, loony when you ask them where their class warfare and 99%-vs-1% ends up.

They think they're smarter than you or me.  They're possibly not entirely ignorant, and so may have actually have run across C.S. Lewis' dictum that you and I have heard so many times:
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
If, by luck, they've actually heard this before, they will stare at you with the same cow-eyes. What-are-you-a-loony-that-could-never-happen-here. And anyway, the solution to this would be more Government.

The totalitarian impulse asks but little of you.  It only wants your soul.

No blindness as with him who will not see.  The non-canonical and possibly heretical Gospel of Thomas wrote of this two millennia  ago: The Kingdom of the Father is spread upon the Earth, and men do not see it.

See it, lefties.