Wednesday, December 1, 2021


What do you call an elephant that doesn't matter?

An irrelephant.

M1 Garand resources

 A reader who prefers to remain anonymous sends the following list of M1 Garand links.

M1 Garand Resources Grand Collectors Org – must join, fantastic outfit!!,_M1_1951.pdf

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Caveat fissura*

Via I Want A New Left, here's an outstanding London Tube style map of the ancient Roman roads in Britannia. 

And remember, Stanford's Orbis project will tell you how long a trip in the Roman Empire would take.

* "Mind the gap"

Visit Rome's museums from the comfort of your own house

This is pretty cool:

Eight of Rome’s civic museums are offering new virtual tours. Available in Italian and English, to tours allow visitors to explore the museums floor-by-floor, in aerial views, through video, audio and information panels.

It’s a curated approach. Select objects on display and important features of the museums themselves are highlighted. You navigate by clicking on arrows, then click on hotspots targeting an object or area and the label/information pops up. If there is video or audio, clickable icons appear on the screen. You can also bounce around using the map icon in the bottom right.

 If history is your bag, Baby, then you should check this out.  Links at the original post. 

Dad Joke CXXXX: Special Thanksgiving leftover edition

What do you call a turkey that's coming back to haunt you?

A poultrygeist. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

Boer War chocolate bar found in attic

This is pretty cool: a 121 year old chocolate bar sent by Queen Victoria to the Tommys fighting in South Africa:

These chocolate bars were a New Year’s present from Queen Victoria to British troops in South Africa ringing in the turn of the century. More than 100,000 half-pound tins of chocolate bearing her embossed profile and New Year’s wishes in her own handwriting were produced by Britain’s top three chocolate companies, Fry, Cadbury and Rowntree. It was an awkward commission because all three companies were founded and run by devout Quakers who specifically sought out an “innocent trade” that would allow them to make a good living without having to compromise their pacifist principles. Victoria wouldn’t let them decline to profit from selling chocolates for troops fighting in an active war zone, so all three companies were strong-armed into it.



What Olympic sport generates the most conversation?


Sunday, November 28, 2021

Garand Rebuilds and Cartouches

 From the December 2003 American Rifleman, an article on Garands and an overview of all the different stamps and markings that give clues to the history of this rifle.

This is just a starting point.

Range Report: Sighting in an M1 Garand

I've wanted one of these for years, and so I up and ordered one from the Civilian Marksmanship Program.  CMP is an interesting program: it is chartered by Congress to provide DoD surplus rifles to the American public.  They get rifles from DoD (these days there are not a lot coming back from overseas Allies; I think mine may have come back from South Korea but that's just a guess).  CMP armorers refurbish the rifles so you are guaranteed to get a functioning weapon.  Pricing is good (I paid $750 and it came with a nice hard case and free shipping), but what they have is what they have.  Mine is a Springfield Armory Service Grade model (which means that it has some wear) manufactured in October 1943; personally I think that the dings in the stock add to its charm.

It does have a rather mysterious stamping that I haven't had time to research yet.  If any readers have any hints I'd be mighty obliged.

Now this isn't really a range report about the rifle - I posted one quite some time ago and so will just point you to it if you're interested.  Today is about how I sighted it in.  You see, after the armorer is done you have a fully functional rifle; you may or may not have a rifle that hits where you aim - at least out of the box.  You need to zero the rifle yourself, and that's what yesterday was about.

Now unless you have your own private range, you need some sort of spotting scope to look at your target after you fire a shot.  If you're at a public range (as I was) you can't just traipse downrange to get a closer look at your target when the range is hot.  Besides, it's a hundred yards away so that would be a lot of walking.  A scope (or binoculars) is better.

The M1 has a pair of knobs that move the rear sight either right or left (windage) or up and down (elevation).  You can see the knobs on the picture below, one on each side of the peep sight.

Here's a top view.  The sights and knobs are right behind the open internal magazine.

The process of sighting in goes like this:

  1. Fire a single shot.
  2. Look at the target through the spotting scope.  There will be a hole in the target (c'mon - you're shooting at 100 yards off of a bench rest.  Of course there will be a hole in the target).  If the hole is to the right or left of the bullseye then you need to adjust the windage knob.  It if is above or below, you need to adjust the elevation knob.
  3. My hole had the right elevation but was to the right, so I worked the windage knob.  If both windage and elevation are off you probably should adjust one first until it's right, and then work on the other (e.g. windage first until you have it dialed in, then elevation).  This way you only have a single variable that is changing between shots.
  4. Go to 1.
Now I was a dummy yesterday and left the manual of arms booklet at home and so it was a 50/50 coin toss as to whether I was adjusting windage to make the zero closer to the bullseye or further away.  I guessed wrong, and saw the next couple holes appearing further to the right from the X ring.  Sigh.  OK, dial back the other way.  All in all I fired 12 rounds to get windage right, correcting between each shot.  Then I scrounged some Shoot-n-See dots to cover the holes and put two clips down range.

Interestingly, even though I was shooting from a bench rest, I used a shooting sling for the second clip which tightened the grouping up noticeably.  Almost everything went into the red or black when using the sling, as opposed to a bunch in the 8 and 7 rings without the sling.  I'll leave a discussion of shooting slings for another day.

So there's no magic to sighting in, just a careful and deliberate shoot-check-correct-repeat process.  Now I need to get out regularly at 200 yards - and then 300.  Then a Garand Match, which they run at my club.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Off to the range

CMP came through.  Off to try it out.


Friday, November 26, 2021

Joe Bonamassa - Christmas Comes But Once a Year

Now that we're past Thanksgiving, it's Christmas season.  Here's Joe B to kick it off for us.  If your toes aren't tapping to this, we can't be friends anymore.


Dad Joke CXXXVIII, International Edition

 No matter how kind you are, German children are kinder.



Thursday, November 25, 2021

Black Friday ammo deal

Jack from emails to alert us to a Black Friday sale that they are having tomorrow.  It's a real Black Friday sale - limited qualtities, when it's gone it's gone.  Since nobody has enough 9mm (and since I seem to have bogarted the last deal), here's the info on tomorrow's sale (from Jack's email):

Basically, we have 9mm we’ll be selling below our cost. The manufacturer insists we don’t say who made it because we’re pricing it low enough that other retailers could be a bit sour about it. 

At 10 a.m.(ET)  / 9 a.m. (CT) we’ll make the product available and for sale on the top of our 9mm ammo page ( Because the manufacturer could be upset by the price and because we want to reward your readers with it rather than random Google or price comparison bot traffic it’s not “live” on our site yet. Our hope is that any of your readers who stumble across the promotion from you will have a chance to get the deal.

Product details for public disclosure:
  • American-made (Either Federal, Winchester, Blazer Brass)
  • 115 grain
  • Full Metal Jacket
  • Priced Below Cost
  • Two Pallets Available Starting at 10 a.m. (ET) Friday
  • Another Batch Live Monday morning at 10 a.m. (ET) on that same 9mm page
  • Standard shipping rates apply (not inflated over our “normal” rate - typically $15-$20 per case.)

It's quite nice of Jack to reach out about this.  He sent me a pic and described the offer and brand and it is quality stuff (he asked me to keep the brand hush hush). Hopefully by the time Google's bots pick up on this tomorrow, all y'all will have snapped it all up.

UPDATE: I forgot to point out that I get no consideration for this post and have no relationship with the company.

The Feast feeds the Soul

The company makes the feast.
- Anonymous
The feast is a very ancient concept, almost certainly pre-historic.  Man is a social beast, and the social grouping requires regular glue to bond its members.  Nothing like an unusually large meal to bring family and friends closer together.

But this utilitarian, cultural anthropological view risks missing the most profound aspect of the feast.  It's not the feeding of the bodies that's important; it's the feeding of the soul.  That's where the glue is found, not in the extra calories.

And in pre-industrial societies, those extra calories were important, as most people lived only a harvest or two from starvation.  And the spiritual aspects were still more important.

The picture is from Peter Bruegel the elder, The Wedding Feast.  Whether because someone was getting married or buried, feasts were for a reason.  Every feast had an event to justify the expense. 

It's not the calories, it's the psychological meaning that bonds us.  Many parts of America, born of the puritan tradition, have a problem with the excess.  Groaning tables seem to rebuke us: do you really need all this?

Yes, you really do.  This has been known since the ancient days; the Greeks had a saying: Moderation in all things, including moderation.  A feast short circuits the usual rules of restraint.  It has to.

Because it's not about the extra calories, which many of us perhaps could stand to avoid.  Don't.  The feast is about stepping outside of the normal flow.  A feast isn't about eating, it's about the glue that bonds us together.  See the glue, not the food - unless your gravy is a little too thick and sticky.  But even that is a meditation on the whole point of the thing.  Calorie guilt misses that point, which is spiritual, the feeding of the soul.

Today I'm thankful for many things, not least of which is all of you who stop by.  I hope that your feast today is a feast of the soul as well as of the body.
The liturgy, like the feast, exists not to educate but to seduce people into participating in common activity of the highest order, where one is freed to learn things which cannot be taught.

- Father Aidan Kavanagh

Dad Joke CXXXVII, Special Thanksgiving Dad Joke

From Granddaughter #3:

Why would you bake stones in your bread?  So you can Rock 'n Roll. 

After that, it got pretty strange ...

Happy Thanksgiving to our readers in the New World  (southern) Colonies (offer void in Canada, as you've already had your Thanksgiving holiday).  This is the quintessential American holiday; quite frankly, you won't find a more American holiday.  Infused with our national DNA, this is a day that the Fed.Gov tells you to give thanks for whatever you want.  And that's where it gets pretty strange, at least when you try to explain things to non-Americans.

Non-American: So this is a holiday?

American: Yup.

Non-American: What's the deal where the Government gives you a day off?

American: It's for us to be thankful.

Non-American: The Government tells you to be thankful?  About what?

American: Whatever you want.

After that, it gets pretty strange, in a very American way.  What are you grateful for?  Well, it's your choice - nobody will tell you what to give thanks for.  Even in this degraded age of Social Justice, nobody will tell you where your gratitude should be directed.

It's also a day for fun.  This is one of the classic episodes - dare I use the much desired adjective seminal? - of all American TV.  It is hilarious for American audiences, and yet might take some explaining for overseas folks.

That's just the set-up, of course.  The concluding line qualifies for the much desired adjective iconic:

After that it got pretty strange.

The newspaper humorist Art Buchwald bought a one-way ticket to Paris in 1948.  In the 1960s he wrote the following, to explain Thanksgiving to a French audience.  It's very funny, but funny in a way that offers surprising depth.  The local paper would publish this every year, and Dad (a scholar of Franco-American history) would laugh and laugh, every year.  You see, Dad appreciated the unexpected depth that showed through the fractured French:

This confidential column was leaked to me by a high government official in the Plymouth colony on the condition that I not reveal his name.

One of our most important holidays is Thanksgiving Day, known in France as le Jour de Merci Donnant .

Le Jour de Merci Donnant was first started by a group of Pilgrims ( Pelerins ) who fled from l'Angleterre before the McCarran Act to found a colony in the New World ( le Nouveau Monde ) where they could shoot Indians ( les Peaux-Rouges ) and eat turkey ( dinde ) to their hearts' content.

They landed at a place called Plymouth (now a famous voiture Americaine ) in a wooden sailing ship called the Mayflower (or Fleur de Mai ) in 1620. But while the Pelerins were killing the dindes, the Peaux-Rouges were killing the Pelerins, and there were several hard winters ahead for both of them. The only way the Peaux-Rouges helped the Pelerins was when they taught them to grow corn ( mais ). The reason they did this was because they liked corn with their Pelerins.

In 1623, after another harsh year, the Pelerins' crops were so good that they decided to have a celebration and give thanks because more mais was raised by the Pelerins than Pelerins were killed by Peaux-Rouges.

Every year on the Jour de Merci Donnant, parents tell their children an amusing story about the first celebration.

It concerns a brave capitaine named Miles Standish (known in France as Kilometres Deboutish) and a young, shy lieutenant named Jean Alden. Both of them were in love with a flower of Plymouth called Priscilla Mullens (no translation). The vieux capitaine said to the jeune lieutenant :

"Go to the damsel Priscilla ( allez tres vite chez Priscilla), the loveliest maiden of Plymouth ( la plus jolie demoiselle de Plymouth). Say that a blunt old captain, a man not of words but of action ( un vieux Fanfan la Tulipe ), offers his hand and his heart, the hand and heart of a soldier. Not in these words, you know, but this, in short, is my meaning.

"I am a maker of war ( je suis un fabricant de la guerre ) and not a maker of phrases. You, bred as a scholar ( vous, qui tes pain comme un tudiant ), can say it in elegant language, such as you read in your books of the pleadings and wooings of lovers, such as you think best adapted to win the heart of the maiden."

Although Jean was fit to be tied ( convenable tre emballe ), friendship prevailed over love and he went to his duty. But instead of using elegant language, he blurted out his mission. Priscilla was muted with amazement and sorrow ( rendue muette par l'tonnement et las tristesse ).

At length she exclaimed, interrupting the ominous silence: "If the great captain of Plymouth is so very eager to wed me, why does he not come himself and take the trouble to woo me?" ( Ou est-il, le vieux Kilometres? Pourquoi ne vient-il pas aupres de moi pour tenter sa chance ?)

Jean said that Kilometres Deboutish was very busy and didn't have time for those things. He staggered on, telling what a wonderful husband Kilometres would make. Finally Priscilla arched her eyebrows and said in a tremulous voice, "Why don't you speak for yourself, Jean?" ( Chacun a son gout. )

And so, on the fourth Thursday in November, American families sit down at a large table brimming with tasty dishes and, for the only time during the year, eat better than the French do.

No one can deny that le Jour de Merci Donnant is a grande fte and no matter how well fed American families are, they never forget to give thanks to Kilometres Deboutish, who made this great day possible.

2005Tribune Media Services

Kilometres Deboutish.  Le jour de Merci Donnant.  Chacun a son gout (that's particularly hilarious, at least to Dad and me).  After that it got pretty strange.  And As God Is My Witness, I Thought Turkeys Could Fly.

You won't have as great a jour de Merci Donnant as I will because you won't won't have The Queen Of The World cooking Thanksgiving dinner for you.  But I hope you have a great day, a day of being thankful for whatever you want.  That's very American, wherever you may live. 

(Originally posted 26 November 2020)


 For Thanksgiving. Hope you are with loved ones and the day goes well. Remember those that serve.